Archives for posts with tag: food

Almost all of my birthday presents this year were books. People apparently know me well. I’m excited to read each of them and they each represent different aspects of my reading interests. So without delaying anymore, here are the new books in my collection.

Counting One’s Blessings: The Selected Letter of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. My friend Kimberly bought me this in January and saved it all this time hoping she wouldn’t hear of me buying it for myself. I am obsessed with all things royalty. I know more than anyone you know about the British (and related) royal families going back for centuries. In fact I want to get my PhD in history and study how the royal family relationships led to World War I. Are you bored yet? I’m not. I love it! And I’m excited to read these letters!!

birthday books

The Jane Austen Handbook. Sigh. My sister and I share a keen interest in all things Jane. I even threw her a Jane Austen theme dinner party for her birthday this year. I had not seen this book yet. It reminds me of What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens knew which I’ve had for years, except it’s all geared to Jane’s world. The first page I opened to, at random, detailed a lady’s typical schedule. It allotted 1 hour in the afternoon to either playing with her child or reading a book. Oh my.

A History of Food in 100 Recipes. I assume my mother heard about this on NPR. She has been a long-time listener which means I’ve been a long-time listener and now we frequently hear interviews and discuss them. While not a typical cookbook, it certainly has some yummy looking recipes. And I’m sure it’s full of the intriguing bits of information I love to store in my brain.

Honorable mention:

For Jason’s birthday he received Cronkite’s War which is the letters between Walter Cronkite and his wife from World War II. I assume I will be reading that one as well as I cannot keep away from anything related to WWII.

Have you bought or received any new books lately? Do tell!

Whole27 edited

Well, today was supposed to be my last day of the Whole30. I was looking forward to crossing that day off my homemade calendar, doing a happy dance, and then having a drink and some ice cream as early the next day as possible.


But best laid plans began to crumble a bit last week.


I loved how the Whole30 made me feel. I really did get the magic energy they claim it will give you. Not quite tiger blood perhaps, but certainly the toddler mother equivalent.


I need all that energy to be a good mom, but the truth is the diet was starting to interfere with my ability to parent well. Cooking from- scratch, compliant meals three times a day for 30 days in a row was hard. And expensive. And time-consuming. I reached a breaking point and no longer felt that doing it up to the bitter end was worth losing my sanity. I was no longer able to use my energy productively in mothering because I was so distracted by how all-consuming the diet was. I do not believe in sticking to a good thing when it’s no longer serving its purpose, so I threw in the towel a couple days early.


There are no plans to go hog-wild and eat crazy food. The Whole30 taught me a lot about food formulas that give me energy. I will need to experiment with how to add in less expensive and easier to prepare foods into those formulas, but I can’t imagine abandoning them all together. The before and after pictures are startling. I feel strong, energetic, and beautiful. I did not change sizes or probably lose much weight, but my body regained proportion, my skin is brighter, and I just generally feel wonderful.


But, I need to be able to eat a nice (not-fast-food) hamburger without worrying how it was cooked. I need to be able to have a sauce that has added sugar. I need to be able to eat deli meat sometimes. I need to have a restaurant as an option on a crazy day. And I need to be able to have a drink at the end of a long non-holiday-ish holiday.


I also have to get my grocery budget under control. This Whole30 was seriously expensive. It worked out OK because we couldn’t eat out or drink alcohol so those budget lines were added to groceries, but even with that it was expensive and not doable long-term.


I’m still processing what I learned so I think I’ll post again some further thoughts on the experience when I’ve had time to think a bit more.

I’ve long wanted to have a Friday Night Pizza tradition. It seemed to elude us pre-parenthood, but our schedules are more even and regulated and routine and in that environment my dream has flourished. Instead of making the standby pepperoni or sausage pizza last Friday, on a whim I decided to be adventurous and use up some of the veggies we had on hand. The result was a garlicky, oniony, Swiss chard pizza with ham, garbanzo beans, and parmesan. All I can say is, “yum!!” (And I made a super Pepperoni pizza as backup which was delicious as expected.)

Garlicky Swiss Chard Pizza*

*All ingredients are rough estimates. Use this as inspiration and make one using what you have on hand!

2 T. Olive oil

¼ onion sliced thinly into half moons

Pinch of salt

2 slices of off the bone ham, torn into bite size pieces (or similar amount of ham of your choice)

1 bunch of Swiss chard, de-stemmed, torn into chunks, washed, and dried

3 cloves garlic, minced (I used jarred)

¼ cup of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

½ cup grated parmesan

Fresh ground pepper

Personal size frozen pizza crust (I used Udi’s Gluten-free pizza crust)

Pre-heat eat oven to 400 degrees. Heat 2 T. olive oil over Med-High heat. Add onion, pinch of salt to keep it from browning, and ham and let cook until onion begins to get tender. Add chard and garlic and sauté until chard begins to wilt. Put the Swiss chard mixture onto the pizza crust. Sprinkle garbanzo beans amongst chard. Sprinkle parmesan across the top.

Place into center of oven and cook for 10 minutes.

Crack fresh pepper generously over the top; allow it to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Makes 1 personal size pizza.