Sunday, August 24, 2008

Liquid Cheese Crack

I am a fairly healthy eater. I eat lots of fruits and vegetables. I make my own bread and English muffins each week, using whole grains and little sugar. I eat red meat rarely and chicken about once a week. And I eat very little processed foods. Our recycling bin rarely has more than peanut butter jars and coffee cans in it. This is how I have come to eat after learning to listen to what my body wants and needs.

So even though I try to eat mostly whole foods instead of processed, that doesn't mean that my body doesn't have it's little quirks. Case in point: Snyder's Hulless Puff'n Corn.

I can't remember exactly why we bought it the first time. Most processed foods don't even appeal to me--they taste like chemicals. But something attracted me to it and we bought a bag.

The first thing you need to know is that Puff'n Corn is a highly processed food product. The label hints that it's popcorn with the hulls magically removed, but actually it's an extruded corn product coated in a cheese-flavored powder.

The second thing that you need to know is that Puff'n Corn should be a controlled substance. It is instantly addictive. One bite and we were in a cheese-corn frenzy. Neither Kevin nor I could move our hands from bag to mouth and back again fast enough. The little cheese-flavored nuggets melt in your mouth--you barely have to chew them.

And they taste fabulous. Snyder's proudly proclaims that the bag contains "Our Famous Cheese Flavor." I don't know what cheese flavor means and I generally avoid "flavored" food products, but my principles get put aside in favor of this cheesy, melty goodness.

This Liquid Cheese Crack has become my food vice of choice. I've only had it twice: once about a month ago and then again yesterday. As with any overindulgence, binging leads to a hangover of feeling bloated and full. But, I know that some day in the future, I'll be minding my own business at the grocery store, diligently purchasing my fresh fruits and vegetables, when I'll hear the siren song of the liquid cheese crack and will heed its call.

How can I resist?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Fire Fire Burning Bright

Sometimes you need the someone to remind you to stop burning the candle at both ends. And that instead, you need to open a bottle of wine, enjoy good food, and watch a different fire burn.

Life's been busy lately. We're gearing up for fall at work, I'm committed to my fiber art, the garden is growing at a ghastly (but delicious) rate, and life maintenance needs continue as always. So to admit that I was a touch grumpy towards the end of last week is not terribly surprising.

As I was leaving work on Saturday, I called home to ask about dinner and if I needed to pick anything up. Kevin told me not to worry because he had already had the evening planned.

A recent fallen tree left us with piles of pine firewood to burn. Rather than have one big bonfire, we've decided to burn it slowly in our patio fire pit. Two weekends ago, we had our first fire and burned through a portion.

So Saturday evening, Kevin decided we would have another fire. He picked up a bottle of wine (a yummy Argentinian Malbec) and some finger foods. We cut up chicken and veggies, sliced a loaf of bread, and cracked open the wine.

And we started a fire.

Well into the night we lingered over the wine and good conversation as we watched the dancing flames and listened to the wood crackle.

By the end of the evening, as the fire dimmed and the embers glowed, I was completely relaxed. Kevin knew exactly what I needed.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Last Night's Musical Accompaniment

'Cause I'm B.L.T.
I'm dynamite!
Oi! Oi! Oi!

I don't even like AC/DC, but it's just so appropriate!

But I do like Bacon and Lettuce and Tomato, especially from our own garden. Look at the size of that beauty.

We have so much tomato leftover that BLTs for lunch await!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Now it's Getting Exciting

I'm posting this entry from our backyard. It's a gorgeous day in Central PA and I couldn't bear the thought of sitting inside.

So I packed up my laptop and various accoutrements and headed outside for fresh air and Vitamin D. As long as no little ants crawl inside my laptop and fry themselves (and my motherboard), I think this will be a great day.

While the our backyard is pretty nice, the biggest excitement is happening out front. Our garden is thriving. Check that. Our garden is absolutely out-of-control. We had no idea that tomato and squash plants could get so big. Here Kevin shows off our waist-high squash monster.

We have an heirloom tomato plant growing called the Mortgage Lifter. Apparently, these tomatoes grow large; in some cases, up to two pounds apiece. Here's our first. The scale isn't clear from the picture, but it can sit in two cupped hands. We'll make BLT's tonight to celebrate.

Every day or so we head outside to harvest what is ready. For the first couple weeks, we would get to pick a zucchini or two and maybe a couple of cherry tomatoes. But now our garden is really flourishing. Here's last night's bounty: three crookneck squash, a zucchini, a handful of cherry tomatoes, a small red tomato, a small yellow tomato, and our monstrous Mortgage Lifter.

Our food bill has dropped dramatically as we plan meals around what our garden is producing. And we are eating so well. Thursday night I made a Zucchini and Chick Pea Curry that was delicious. Friday was homemade pizza with Pesto and Yellow Tomato Sauces from our garden. And yesterday I baked two loaves of zucchini bread: one sweet and one savory.

Having our own garden has been a revelation. We had no idea it could be so satisfying. We're already making plans for expansion next summer.