Her week of vegetarianism

My daughter is a lifelong carnivore. Recently, she’s shown an interest in going vegetarian for a week. She wants to see if she can do it.

Of course she can do it.

Especially since I was a vegetarian for eight years before she was born.

We started with lunch today.

I made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with carrots. Not only vegetarian but vegan, too.

Dinner was a stir-fry. I made a sauce of Chinese cooking wine, low sodium soy sauce, extra virgin olive oil, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, fresh lemon juice and tahini.

I toasted some sesame seeds in my cast iron skillet.

Cooked some potatoes and Brussel sprouts in the sauce and then added grated radish, carrot and cabbage.

Served with saffron rice.

It was tasty. She enjoyed it.

So we’ll see how the week goes.

I’m already meal planning in my head:

  1. Ravioli
  2. Baked beans and corn muffins
  3. Vegetarian burgers
  4. Breakfast for dinner
  5. Scalloped potatoes and vegetable casserole
  6. Falafel
  7. Homemade pizza
  8. Zucchini cakes
  9. Mexican
  10. African chick pea stew
  11. Salad

Better honed ideas when I get to the kitchen.

My compost heap makes me happy

When my teen daughter still attended elementary school, I liked to garden. I have a small yard in an urban setting but it was enough to hold some herbs & a few vegetables.

I noticed quickly that my soil was mostly clay. To rectify this, I started composting.

I turned the area under my deck into my pile of decomposing refuse. I took a plastic coffee can with a lid and collected the compostables from our kitchen.

Now that plastic bucket gets stinky. But nothing a session with the hose can’t rectify.

The soil that this makes is so rich and dark.

It’s satisfying.

But it’s the “turning” that makes me happy. That’s when you periodically dig holes and bury your freshest fruit-and-vegetable bits to the bottom of the pile.

I have my own shovel and I love to dig and rearrange and mix all the different stages of compost.

It makes me happy.

Stress eating… hello Dunkin’ and Starbucks and bakeries

I have always had a love of candy.

And when I started working at Target, the baristas there extended my love of sweets to include various fancy overpriced coffee drinks. (Yes, Starbucks, that salted caramel mocha latte and the caramel ribbon Frappuccino are delicious.)

But when I started focusing on eating for health and bodybuilding, the sugar had to go.

Historically, I’ve never been a coffee drinker. But a bout with severe anemia ten years ago had me relying on a five-year-old making coffee because the afternoon sun had stolen all my energy on the walk home from her kindergarten class.

I would literally rest on the living room rug and that coffee would give me the energy to climb my way to the table.

So when I needed to end my sugar habit, I replaced it with a plain cup of coffee with a touch of cream. If I were hungry, that would stave my hunger until I made a proper snack. If I were eating out of boredom or emotion, the coffee gave me something to do.

But now, almost five years later, I realize I have become a stress-coffee-drinker. That if I’m gloomy, or tired, or bored, or upset, I go get a cup of coffee.

I’m still disciplined about sugar, though I am slipping back into my old ways, but I notice now I want coffee AND pastry.

Relationships with food can be tricky.

Road trip to Washington DC

So, while my daughter was on Spring Break, I experienced something I hadn’t experienced in a long time.

A paid holiday.

A long weekend.

We spent Easter in Washington, DC, with my traveling companion, M. and his Indian housemates.

Washington, DC, is approximately 3.5 hours from my house by car. I say approximately because traffic can fluctuate.

We left at 8ish Friday morning, stopping at our local Target for band-aids, nail polish remover and bagels. We always run into people we know and give lots of hugs so we didn’t get going until 9.

We stopped around 11:30 in York, Pa., to use the gym. We certainly are getting our money’s worth from our Planet Fitness membership.

And then… after a hearty upper body workout and slaying the crunches… there was a Five Guys outside.

We had the man who waited on us cracking up.

Follow me on Instagram for more photos

We arrived in DC at 3.

We hung around the house and had some amazing paneer for dinner. Then we went to Harris Teeter for groceries. This jelly bean addict was offended to see that they only carried Brach’s or Starburst jelly beans. No Just Born?!?!

In the morning, I took our Indian host to the gym in Silver Springs.

In the afternoon, we visited the Frederick Douglass house. That Victorian home is in tact. His books. His desk. His ice box. His dumbbells. His chair. His trunks. His rug beater.

Took my breath away.

Then we went to National Harbor. To the Peep store. Where, even though I am from the Lehigh Valley where Just Born makes my jelly beans and Peeps, I purchased a big batch of candy.

And fed my Indian host his first Peep.

See that here:

https://youtu.be/TgBQ2T4j_Nw

North Carolina memories (and the great little town of Littleton)

So, on my little girl’s 14th birthday we found ourselves in North Carolina. Our plan was simple: the Sylvan Heights Bird Sanctuary in Scotland Neck and the Cryptozoology & Paranormal Museum in Littleton, N.C.

I fell in love with Littleton, with it’s population of 640. It reminded me of the small town near my childhood home (population, 400) but a tad more vibrant.

Littleton had several churches, three restaurants, a police station, an independent pharmacy, an independent hardware store, a library and an arcade.

And the newspaper box had about a gazillion copies of a freebie newspaper that appeared to be an advertising supplement to the local daily. It was literally one broadsheet, both sides, which made it four pages. About 2/3 of one page was the classifieds.

And in the middle of this broadsheet was the weekly Food Lion circular.

And it was in this sweet town we found Grandpa’s Barbecue where I had a good helping of sweet potato pie and the best potato salad I had ever eaten. The potatoes where practically purĂ©ed.

From there we went to the Crpytozoology Museum, which I believe I mentioned in an earlier post.

That place was two rooms in this couple’s house. He was a retired photographer from the New York Daily News and he said the area has a strong paranormal pull.

Of birds and beasts

We arrived at the Sylan Heights Bird Sanctuary at around 11 a.m. The birds were amazing.

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Endangered Sun Conure

After we left the bird sanctuary in Scotland Neck, we traveled out to Littleton, NC. The town has 650 people and a downtown that has three restaurants, a pharmacy that closes at noon on Saturday, an arcade and an old-fashioned hardware store.

I fell in love.

We ate at Grandpa’s Kitchen. And I even had sweet potato pie.

After a brief walk around town, we went to the cryptozoology and paranormal museum. Turns out the whole town is haunted AND packs of Big Foot roam the area.

Littleton has made television for its unusual traits. Check out these videos:

Places with Pierce

Bigfoot in Littleton oh CBS

Tybee Island

My chronology is getting out of whack but we visited Tybee Island, the light house and then ventured toward North Carolina (with a stop at Carolina Cider Company for fun sodas, candy and food souvenirs. Hello?!? Sweet potato butter! Pecan syrup!)

We left Savannah via the pretty bridge. Time lapse of us driving over part of the bridge: https://youtu.be/EHNpEvdcxi4

For our visit to the aquarium see here: https://angelackerman.com/2018/06/23/university-of-georgia-marine-education-center-and-aquarium/

178 stairs and some cool souvenirs later we were on the road again…