Today I realized that it has been November for 2 whole days bringing with it the inconspicuous end of the October Challenge.
What I learned:
- Dinner tables are awesome. They inspire conscious eating, mediate therapeutic conversation, and bring our entire family together.
- Eating unprocessed food is easy, if you have access to a farmer’s market. And, chances are that you do. National Farmer’s Market Survey
- Supermarkets are unnecessary… as long as you are willing to spend more time in the kitchen. Over the course of October, I made my own bread and snacks. Had I been slightly less lazy and better at planning ahead, I could have made my own pasta sauce, salad dressing, taco sauce, and chutney. Making my own tofu is on the horizon.
- Meals at home are healthier, more economical, and have less impact on the environment.
- Meals out are often highly processed, expensive, and have damaging environmental effects.
- I love to cook.
- James loves when I cook.
- I still hate doing dishes.
What was hard:
- Inhaling good food is an old habit of mine. Choking on bits of food and even water have not had any major consequences yet, but slowing down would be a good idea. Eating slowly is hard.
- Finding the energy to cook every night.
- Being perfect is hard. Circumstances arise. Don’t be ashamed. $1 slices on St. Mark’s are hard to resist on a Halloween night out with friends. So are drinks, but that’s why you need the pizza.
- Planning ahead. As I’ve said before, I live mostly day-to-day. Buying fresh veggies and not having any pre-made food around the house makes some meal planning necessary. I still don’t like it.
The end of the October Challenge came and went without the slightest notice. There was no satisfied sigh released as when finishing the last lingering page of a book; no anxious impatience as when approaching the final days of a long school year. There was no celebration of achievement and there were no self congratulatory remarks. I literally came home today, started to cook dinner, thought about how this dinner would be great for the October Challenge, and realized… it’s November.
What does this all mean? This challenge will now be a part of my daily life.
Sunday morning was damp and lazy giving me the perfect excuse to take a personal day. As much as I would have liked to go watch the NYC Marathon, I really just needed a day at home. No long run in central park, no errands around the city. The only activity of the day worth mentioning is this:
My very first casserole. Spinach and rice (and chard) casserole from the Moosewood Restaurant cookbook. So domestic. Organic free-range chicken eggs held the rice together while lending a fluffy texture. Raw milk cheese added a subtle cheddar flavor.
Right out of the oven, steam and all.
James decided to hang out with me in the kitchen for a while and ended up making a batch of cornbread. I’m obviously quite a distraction because he put in a 1/2 tbs of salt instead of a 1/2 tsp. Oh well, right? It still tastes good.
Do you like brussel sprouts? I have actually never had them before, but I purchased an unsuspecting pint of what look like teeny tiny cabbages this week at the farmer’s market.
(I love this picture. James brought a tripod home for his field research, and now I can play with the camera settings a little bit more)
Last night I actually planned ahead and pre-made a batch of seitan. Tonight I used the brussels and seitan in a recipe from Veganomicon–Braised seitan and brussel sprouts with sun-dried tomatoes and kale.
(Aided by a tripod, I was finally able to get a larger area in focus)
The cooking time was only about 15 minutes, but I am the slowest vegetable washer and chopper this side of the Hudson. Any tips?
Today was my first run after a half marathon last Sunday. I ran 3 miles, and it felt so good! Well, minus the fact that my left knee hurt for a good portion of the run. Stretching and ice are the anticipated treatment.