Sunday, September 18, 2011

I continue to eat well (locally)

The Oats lady is back!
Originally uploaded by V'ron.
The relative ease of being a relative locavore continues. Blueberries are gone, but Michigan peaches are still about, and the melons are coming in with a venegance and they are actually good for smoothies. There's a wonderful cheesemaker who makes some really good cheese. I was buying a wedge of her really nice cheddar, and raving about how good it is stirred into steel cut oats. And whaddaya know, the oat lady was finally around with bags of steel-cut and other oats! Yum. Now I can make this wonderful recipe that my online friend Mimi turned me onto with ((except for the sea salt and the really good Olive Oil) completely local ingredients. It's called Sexed Up Oatmeal.

Like the recipe says, this works wonderfully but you really have to use top ingredients. Do NOT use pre-shredded Kraft cheese. You will need too much to get the flavor, and everything that is good and wonderful and wholesome about this will go kaput in a haze of over-cheesing. No, you want really good, flavorful, sharp (and i've used parmesan or some good stinky cheese made by my favorite cheese lady) cheddar for this. You also want excellent olive oil for this. You want to taste the fruityness of the olives. This is not the big ol bottle of cheap olive oil you use for cooking or salad dressing. This is the tiny bottle that just smells amazing when you open it. And that's the thing about eating this way. Cheese and oil are not ingredients, they are flavor agents.

So I loaded up this morning with this savory oatmeal which kept me really happy most of the morning, and finished it off with a peach. Had grass-fed beef burgers over the weekend and I dropped a pound this week. Half the battle I've learned over the years is enjoying, really enjoying your foodinstead of just slamming it down. That's easier to do when you feel good about it on a number of levels.

Holding stead this week, no gains, no losses.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Jumping back on to the (local) bandwagon

OK, fine, I admit it. I've fallen severely off the wagon and I'm not admitting just how much until I've climbed comfortably back on. Let's just say at least I dropped some 10 pounds over the summer, but I have some ways to go before I get back to where I was on a roll. I've decided to start writing again, on weight and body issues, mostly to keep myself going.

Right now, it's kind of easy to eat well. It's September in Wisconsin, and the farmer's markets are bursting with excellent fresh fruit and vegetables. I've even been able to pretty much eat ~80% local. I just made a wonderful potato leek soup with ingredients I got from the farmer's market, and even the chicken stock was made with carcasses I had from local chickens I roasted by putting them over cans of locally-brewed beer. We've had a lot of meals like this lately. Pizza on the grill made with fresh, not even cooked, tomato sauce, and topped with veggies I picked up at the market. Pasta covered with a pile of sauteed vegetables. Stir fries made with those same sauteed veggies, augmented with some locally-raised, grass fed beef, topped with a touch of shredded, local cheese. (There's this one cheesmaker that makes a wedge called Saxony that I've been all over lately.) Breakfast made with free-range chicken eggs, with uncured bacon on the side.

Just yesterday I picked up some fresh broccoli, and not in heads, either. The farmer had already picked off stalks, because it's the second picking and that main shoot that comes off a broccoli head just divides up into several smaller shoots that come later in the season. And she was right: this broccoli was actually sweet and -- get this -- juicy. We had it lightly steamed as a side dish for dinner last night. And I just snacked on these wonderful grape tomatoes that were incredibly flavorful -- almost salty without the added salt. I went to Woodman's for my weekly grocery run, and I pretty much skipped the produce section because I loaded up direct from the farmers the day before. And that's saying a lot, because Woodman's produce section rocks. I'm pretty much a Woodman's fan all around -- they *do* have a lot of fairly local brands, and lots of independent producers are there on weekends handing out free samples of their stuff. The only place that beats Woodman's is of course, our locally-owned and operated natural foods co-op, the Outpost. But like most of those natural foods co-ops, they can get pricey -- they don't have the economy of scale that a larger place such as Woodman's, enjoys.

But yes, it's easy to eat well and wonderful this time of year, which makes this a good time of year to get back on the wagon. It's a good time to develop a taste for fruits and veggies, when they're at their best, so that when winter kicks in and the tomatoes are once again tasteless and mealy and not quite ripe, you still find uses for them. (I found a recipe for oven roasted tomatoes in A New Way To Cook that really does make nasty, mealy greenhouse romas worthwhile -- just slow roast them in the oven for about 4 hours and use 'em in a soup.) Being a locavore means I'm eating a lot less crap, and crap is what really puts on the pounds, those pounds I'm not admitting  to quite yet. So that's my gocal for this month: really stick with being a locavore and developing a taste (and the time) to keep an eye out for making good food.

 Oh, and dropping another four or five pounds would be good, too.