Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Day 2 w/Moosewood and Finding a Groove

We're going on day 3 with our vegan diet, and so far, so good. I was always hesitant to feed our kids a vegan diet for two reasons-first, I figured it was nutritionally incomplete, but also I figured they just wouldn't eat the stuff. Well, it turns out, it's not so bad, after all, and truth be told, we are not strict vegetarians, we eat meat and dairy and eggs, we're just cutting back on meat as the focus of our meals. At the very least it will be more economical, because things like beans and veggies are cheaper, though nuts will break your back.

Also, I'd like to say a quick thanks to the Book Chook for the tip on the Moosewood online, haven't checked it out, yet, but suffice it to say that I'll be a frequent visitor to that one.

Had a bit of a comical event in making dinner last yesterday. I had picked a traditional, rustic Italian soup called Incavolata made with a tomato base cannelini beans. I had some white beans made up, and though they weren't the right type, I'm a big believer in deviating from protocol when needed, a good sign of being adaptable. Besides, you have to tweak recipes a little to fit your liking.

I made the soup and then the final stage called for lemon juice and corn meal (optional), which sounded good to me. However, before I added them, the soup was outstanding, and I figuured the final ingredients would push it to the next level, but two things happened. First off, the corn meal turned it into sludge. I had a dark red cream of wheat on my hands, and as I added more water to it, it began to dilute out the flavor. Secondly, the lemon juice, in my opinion, ruined it, and in conjunction with all that water, had to keep adding salt to get some semblance of the flavor back. I was crest fallen.

So what did I do? Being the neurotic, anal retentive person that I am, I set out to remake the soup the way I felt it was best, the only problem being I had no beans left. I could have made a version with black beans, which I had, but felt like the white beans were the right choice. I wasn't going to have time to soak and cook the beans, so it was going to have to be canned beans.

To complicate the matter, N had a dentist appointment, and since we were going to have the car (we only have one car, at least one that's legit), we were going to have to drop her off at work and then pick her up. So we were pressed for time.

This is what we did. We took mom to work, made it to the dentist just in time, where N had a shining check-up. I have to confess, I had initial reservations about our dentist, but I've come around and like the guy. I think it's all in how you interact with him, and as every parent knows, it's all about the hygenist, anyway, and they are all very nice. Also, the kids look really cute with their little bodies sitting in those massive dentist chairs.

From the dentist, we went to the market to get some more stuff for out healthy eating plan; some greens (kale, cabbage, etc), lots of ginger (part of my campaign to end flatulence, or at least temper it), and nuts, another part of healthy eating. The nuts were cheap, much cheaper than the organic ones we get at the Coop, so I bought a pound, only to find they are cooked in cottonseed oil. Being ignorant and all, I turned to the trusty internet and found a lot of bad press about the stuff. In fact, Andrew Weil says to go through your cupboard, find all the stuff with cottonseed oil, and toss it out.

I was bummed, I just a pound of the stuff, but decided to compost it. What a waste. Maybe some squirrels will find good use for it.

We then stopped off at the organic market, the Upper Valley Coop, which I am liking more and more, especially with our new eating philosophy, it's the place to be. Where else in this world are you going to find chick pea flour, not to mention some canned white beans? We then went to the hobby store and got the glue to fix my glasses, then to Rugged Bear to get the kids some good wool socks (blends, mind you, since we've found that pure wool socks are pretty much useless), which they were thrilled to pieces about. I'm glad they have some good winter socks, now, and they were on sale.

From Rugged Bear, we still needed to get some lunch, and I still needed to get home in time to make the darn soup, which is thankfully easy. AND, like the dork that I am, I promised to take the kids ice skating. Time was ticking away, because as afternoon approached, we still had to pick up mom, and I had karate to attend.

Of course, I began to stress out, big time, and did what I do in classic, cowardly fashion. I tried to start backing out of my word. "Do you really want to go ice skating? Do you really want pizza?" Fortunately, the kids know what they want, and they stood their ground and forced dad to be a real man and have some backbone. So we stopped for pizza, where I managed to negotiate eating it at home while I made the soup. Just FYI, Ramunto's in Quechee has a great deal on a whole pie, much cheaper than four or five slices.

Now I realize this isn't necessarily a healthy eating habit, but as I mentioned, we can't be too dogmatic about it. Kids still need to have a little fun eating, and I figure it they eat a little pizza or a hot dog now and then, then we'll just step up the fresh fruit and veggie side of it. Besides, mom and dad need a break now and then. Furthermore, it's pseudo-vegetarian.

Once we got home, I had time to make the soup, and it came out well, but then we ran into the dilemma that I face almost every day. The kids never see eye to eye on what they want to do. A had settled in by the fire with a good book, and she didn't want to go anywhere, whereas N was itching to go ice skating, and we had to pick up mom.

Well, after some negotiating, we came up with a plan. We would go ice skating, but at a new rink in Norwich. New in the sense that it's novel. Norwich is right next to the hospital where we work, so we could skate, hop on over to get mom, then back home to drop them off and I could go and break 2X4's with my head.

Sometimes things work out so beautifully you begin to wonder what you did to deserve it. Then again, there are enough failed plans to even things out, if not skew them against you. The rink in Norwich is actually a lot bigger than the Hartland one, which makes sense since Norwich is a bigger town, with more affluent and powerful people. Consequently, it was much more crowded, and crowded with suburban, cosmopolitan types. I.e, all the kids were in hockey gear, which is what you do when you live up here. I even had to ask one of the moms if we could skate here if we weren't playing hockey, and she was very nice and said, "Of course." I earned some points by helping clear the ice, and we had a great time.

Just wanted to mention, the kids have really come along in their skating, they have so much fun and look great on the ice. Best of all, N no longer needs his crates, so it's one less big and bulky thing to carry around.

As it got dark, we packed up, picked up mom, and jetted home. I had some time, so I built a fire, got dinner started, and then bolted off for karate. Though at times it takes all I've got to get out the door and go to class, I'm always glad I do. I really enjoy it, and it was a good class. I'll leave it at that. Testing for belts is coming up, so I've got to keep practicing.

When I got home I'd found that everyone LOVED the soup. It's not easy getting kids to eat healthy, but the only way to do it is by setting precedents. Feed them the healthy stuff before you inundate them with unhealthy but convenient crap. Once you go down the fast food road, it's hard to change direction.

So it was a good day, or should I say, great day. I love when that happens. Until the next time, thanks for reading.

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