F Is For Food, T Is For Tuna

When I have nothing else to do, I think about food. I always think about food. Some would say that its my downfall but others who know me well would say its my savior. I love food, all types and even though I used to be scared to try new foods I am getting so much better except for icky textural issues.

I will not eat raw oysters and slurp them down my throat. The mere thought of doing that makes me want to gag so no, I stick tight to being inflexible. I would say “Not for a million dollars” but to me, a million dollars is a lot of money so I could be bribed, potentially. Sushi, raw, same reaction, it’s the slippery texture that I can’t seem to get by though I have tasted it in tiny bits a few times. Not my style, at all. Chicken teriyaki and rice please, I am not ashamed.

raw oysters @ Sway

raw oysters @ Sway (Photo credit: dionhinchcliffe)

I am proud to say I do eat mild fish now which was a big leap of faith for me, I never ate any fish except tuna fish that came out of a can (which to me was totally unrelated to real tuna.)  Yes, I did have a real disconnect but it worked for all the years I didn’t put it together. Tuna and tuna were very different, one was for a sandwich with mayo and the other one was disgusting. I know, I know. I’m a little slow.

I know I am fussy and crazy but I have tuna-approved places like the diner in the next town where I regularly order it. It’s perfect, not too mushy, not chunky at all, the right amount of mayo. It is a tuna-approved lunch place. If it looks, smells or resembles dark cat food it is not for me. That is why I have

7dd_3176208-tuna-the-cat

7dd_3176208-tuna-the-cat (Photo credit: Wolfgang Lonien)

friends and family to order things first and I will taste it and decide later if it is okay to order next time. (Except for Sarah my bff who will not share her food, not even a bite but that’s okay.)

Another place in town sells “Spa Tuna” with apples and raisins and just a hint of mayo that is wonderful as well. I will not eat tuna in an unknown diner or restaurant, I stick with safe foods like scrambled eggs or a ham and cheese sandwich or soup. An adventurer I am not.

Beverages, to me, have to fit the food. For example: a tuna sandwich goes well with either a Diet Coke or Coke or hot chocolate. Period. Never would I drink orange juice or water with it, it needs the sweet balance. Likewise, I have to force myself to drink plain water to keep hydrated, so my kidneys don’t flop and fail on me instantaneously. I add lemon or lime juice to the water to pretend it isn’t water at all. Epic fail.

Growing up we never drank water. It was Hawaiian Punch or Lemonade or Grape Juice or other sweet beverages. But, water? Never. Luckily, my daughter drinks a lot of water but not my son. He also doesn’t drink enough water either but he does drink organic fruit juice which is better than nothing.

When you have no control over anything in your life you either lose control or you need to have control over something. For me, it’s food. In the beginning I wanted to lose weight and I did, I also kept it off. After that, I got into a major dessert phase where I needed a good, yummy dessert every single night.

Phish Food

Phish Food (Photo credit: Vanessa (EY))

I am trying to pull back from that now because I feel I am getting hooked ( HA HA I know I’m hooked) on sugar. So I am down-sizing my dessert (sigh) and will only have them intermittently. I will miss you jelly doughnuts, Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food, and Starbucks’ Iced Lemon Cake. Not to mention you my darling Orange Hostess Cupcakes…I have a whole blog post just about you!

I’m not making promises on how much I can deny myself dessert. I will try having less. I made banana bread yesterday with raisins, funny how that does not appeal to me at all. I will try, that’s all I’m saying…

 

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Yellow Magic Madness #18

Cheerful, bright yellow, play teapot. Would you like a cup of tea?

Big Yellow Teapot

Big Yellow Teapot (Photo credit: unloveablesteve)

Travel Lessons Learned the Hard Way

Airline Food

Wear clogs, not sneakers (in case you have to go through security) dress in layers (airplanes are usually too hot or cold) travel as lightly as you can (I have NOT learned this YET but I am working on it) and most importantly, ALWAYS BRING A LOT OF FOOD. We used to bring elaborate home-made sandwiches and snacks, beverages and dessert to keep us happy but that rule changed too. I usually am a snob about airline food especially after I got food poisoning after a meal in the sky. So, Adapt: Buy food after security, a lot of it and of course, buy chocolate. A lot of chocolate. Take Dramamine and keep it in a very handy location. Just sayin……..

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Coffee vs. Tea

19-century porcelain tea- and coffee-cups styl...

Image via Wikipedia

Coffee And Tea

Mmmmm. In the morning, when I first wake up, I look forward to very strong coffee that either my husband makes or that I make. We generally use about 3 scoops for a large mug and it is aromatic and strong. It is not for the weak or instant coffee drinker. Generally, I mix Cafe Bustelo (espresso) with some sort of flavored coffee to balance the taste. I’ve had coffee from the grocery store, like Hazelnut Creme or Vanilla Creme mixed with Starbucks (as a treat) or espresso.

I have favorite mugs as well, mostly thin-lipped, some classic like a Starbucks mug, some entertaining like a cow mug or a yellow mug with a thumb holder or a bull mug my husband bought me in Malaga that has a top to keep the coffee hot. If there ever is a morning that I don’t feel like a cup of very strong coffee, I am sick. Very sick. When I am sick, with a sore throat or a bad cold, I drink tea with honey and lemon. However, for a stomach virus I drink tea with milk and sugar only. In the fall and winter, when my daughter comes home from school, we drink a cup of tea together. My favorite tea-cup is one from my friend Sarah, a petite, red and white flowery design that belonged to her grandmother. I feel honored that she gave me that cup with a box of English tea she loves and now, that I love. I drink that tea every afternoon; sometimes my daughter keeps me company and she drinks green tea. I love those times together.

For me, it isn’t a matter of coffee or tea, it’s both, for different reasons, different times and different lessons to learn. I gather my thoughts with one cup and yet another one calms me down, and of course, in the early morning, strong coffee, a hearty roast, kick starts and welcomes me to start the new day.

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Plinky Prompt: What Do You Do When You Are Snowed In?

Snowed In

Image by caribb via Flickr

SOMETIMES DOING NOTHING IS REALLY, REALLY NICE.

We were snowed in last week and with 20 inches of snow and nowhere to go I entertained myself by listening to music, writing, reading and eating. Maybe food doesn’t count because we always eat but isn’t it such a great excuse when you are snowed in?! I made brownies (excuse: because we are snowed in), I ordered pizza (because we are snowed in), I watched stupid television shows (again, because we are snowed in) and I made some phone calls….(because we are, you know the rest). Being snowed in isn’t really bad at all if it’s just for a day or two. I relaxed in front of our fireplace drinking hot chocolate with whipped cream, I cradled my 8-year-old mutt and didn’t concentrate or worry about anything. How do you spell “snowed in?” I spell it PEACEFUL.

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The Joy Of A Lovely Cup Of Tea

It's Teatime!

Image by The Infatuated via Flickr

I’ve always been an avid coffee drinker, super Starbucks strength. I have a cup of strong coffee every morning, without fail, made the same exact way, with Fat Free Half and Half and one packet of Truvia. I’m hooked on coffee in the morning but only drink that one cup a day, which I am sure is equivalent to 3 cups of coffee if made by anyone else.

Why is that you can have a “good” cup of coffee but a “nice” cup of tea?  The only time I used to drink tea was when I had a stomach ache and then I would begrudgingly drag out the tea tin. Stomach ache = peppermint tea. A cold= Lipton tea with lemon juice and sugar or honey. That was it. I never enjoyed it, it was like a prescription for an illness or ache.

Just recently my son received a goody box from England filled with all types of delicious Cadbury chocolate and a small plastic bag with tea. He offered me the te so I decided to try it and made myself a cup. It was strong, earthy, bold. I didn’t use milk, or honey or sugar. I sipped it with delight. After that, I dove in the cupboard and reached all the way in to the back shelf to get the old container of tea which housed my own collection. I was pleased to find that I had an assortment of tea:  Lipton, Peppermint, Lemon, Orange Pekoe, Chai, Chamomile, Green and Black tea, Sleepytime tea and my new personal favorite, Jasmine tea. The scent alone of Jasmine tea is enough to ensure a great, big, smile of relaxation and a deep, soothing breath.

I find coffee drinking a sociable act but a cup of tea for me in the afternoon is quite solitary yet peaceful. It has become my new afternoon ritual. It gives me the opportunity to gather the day’s events together and gives me time to rethink and relax before  making dinner.

I still  use the one of the same mugs I use for coffee  but it doesn’t feel right. Tea requires a more dainty,  pretty cup. I need to buy one, a pristine, flowery tea-cup, perhaps one found in a thrift shop where I can imagine it was owned by a gracious older lady.  I drink tea differently too. While I happily slurp my morning cup of coffee, I sip tea, gently, lovingly and with more respect.

Now I have two things to look forward to each day, one in the morning when I am barely awake and one in the afternoon when I could use a break.  I sniff the scent of the tea container smelling rose, fruit,  nuttiness, a soothing peppermint. It can match my mood, it can comfort my soul.

In this world, that is scary and unpredictable, it’s comforting to have a new routine that gives me pleasure. We all need to make nice things happen for ourselves and appreciate them. I put my troubles aside, I sit down in a comfortable chair and I quietly sip my tea. It’s like sipping a little piece of meditation.

Starbucks: Tutti, Frutti, Venti, Schmenti –Repost

Starbucks Supports Linux

Image by EgoAnt via Flickr

When I want a special treat that involves energy- inspiring caffeine,  I go to Starbucks for a small, skim latte.   I go rarely but once every 4-6 months I treat myself. However, I refuse to go in there talking the Starbucks talk. I ask for a small or medium, on purpose. I get great pleasure out of it.  I don’t know if I am doing this to annoy them or If do it to make a personal statement; probably a combination.  The self-imposed lesson to communicate: “Hey, you have really good coffee, but the silly  names of the sizes? Too pretentious. So, I order a small, or a medium and nobody cares, except me, and they hand me my coffee and I am happy.

I was banning Starbucks altogether until my friend Sarah, introduced me to the skinny vanilla latte. It’s so good and the calories are (supposedly) low and that it’s a guilt-less treat.   I hate to admit it but this is the product that brought me back to Starbucks. However, when I see how much it is, I cringe and feel guilty at the waste of money; I believe it is near three and a half dollars. That’s insanity and logically I know that. Until I take that first taste of that frothy sweet piece of heaven. Now, when I go, I don’t hesitate, I know what I am ordering; I am ordering the vanilla dream, that light, skinny, sweet taste of comfort.

It’s a dilemma. I’m paying an enormous amount of money for basically three sips of a beverage. I know I am not paying for just the flavor, I am paying for the Starbucks brand and hype.  I am paying for the product recognition of that white and green cup and the cute, cardboard brown wrapper to protect my hands from getting too hot.  I am buying someone elses skill to make the coffee and clean up the coffee grounds so I can sip it and feel like a million bucks. Something about that is just not right; but it works. That is why Starbucks is so successful, they know what they are doing and people just keep on sipping, and slurping.

Putting my lips against the white plastic cup is enjoyable. My lips and tongue search and linger to find the right, exact  angle to take a sip from the alloted slot.  I take it to-go and walk outside, my taste buds lingering on every sweet sip. It’s basically coffee for sugar lovers (or sugar-free facsimile).  It’s a brand that works and even though I boycott, even though I try to save money, even though I make fun of the names of the sizes, unfortunately I am hooked. There lies the contradiction, of course it’s pretentious, and part of me likes that and part of me doesn’t. I don’t like the names but I like the cute cups and logo?

The smell of the coffee shop, the people sitting at the round wooden tables with their books or computers or friends. You feel like you are part of something when you go to Starbucks and you are. Yes, it is undeniably over-priced and pretentious, but it’s also good, strong, coffee with attitude, to go.