Friday, December 31, 2010

Gritty Beets

So I realized I had even more material on beets after I posted last nights entry.

I cut up those beets (chioggia btw) the pretty stripey ones. I added them to this recipe along with some crimini mushrooms. Every dish needs MOAR veg obvs.

I really like them, Joe thought them too mushy in the center, but this guy doesn't like zucchini, beet, or mushroom... so if mushy was the problem I'm okay. I've got the second half of the batch in the oven now and I plan to freeze them. Apparently once they go through the freeze thaw cycle they dry out a bit more. I'm hoping they make easy weekday breakfasts. If you make them, seriously oil the tin WELL. Getting them out in one piece is the hardest part. I used butter on the second pan, I'm not really sure it made a difference.

I'm peeling my beets, something I realize I have never ever done. I grew up eating canned beets, and I can buy pre-cooked ones at TJ's now. So I'm peeling this beet, and I realize I haven't handled a beet since that time I got locked out in kindergarten.

Now, story time:
One day, mom and kid sister aren't out front when I get out of school. This is new, but after being questioned by a concerned teacher I decide to peel out and walk home. I lived really close to the school, and my hometown was crazy small. So I cross downtown Croswell to my house (.7 miles, thanks google maps). When I get to the house the back door is locked. I knock, and no dice. Its cold out, fall I think... not snowy cold. Since I can't get in the house I'm not just going to sit on the back step... so I try to think where I should go. I'm 5, and this is like the second unprecedented event today... so I decide I'll just walk to my dad's office at the factory, which is on the edge of town. (.4 mi) away. I'm dressed for the weather, I know where it is, I'm pretty pleased with this plan. So I head out again, part way to the factory the sidewalk ends so I'm walking along the roadside and starting to think this adventure is pretty bad ass, I've also decided that I must have walked like 6 miles. A big truck passes and something bounces out. It looks like a big rock, but its vegetation of some kind, so I pick it up. I'll bring it to my dad for an opinion, he knows stuff.
When I arrive in the front office I ask the receptionist to please see Craig Bailey. She looks a little surprised to see me, but I get buzzed in. She sticks me in his office and in a few minutes they find him. He walks in super shocked and not a little pissed.
"I walked!"
"I don't think she's at home, I knocked. The door was locked"
"What's this" *holds up the beet*
That's a sugar beet, why do you have that?
"It fell off a truck, why is it a SUGAR beet".... I'm now thinking maybe it's like, a CANDY beet.
"That's how they make the sugar at the sugar plant, they cook it into sugar"
The plant is Pioneer Sugar, the biggest employer in town, and the namesake of the school mascot so I'm very familiar with that concept. The sugar plant smells bad, not quite paper plant, but close. I am completely puzzled about how this football sized dirty potato looking thing turns into white granulated sugar.
He takes this moment of puzzled distraction while I ponder my beet to call the house.
Mom picks up.
"you lost track of the TIME!?!?"
"I don't know... COME GET HER!"
"I tried to go home, but the door was locked"
"Yeah, let me get you something to draw with"
My dad had the most bullshit doodling supplies as I recall. He got me like a felt tip and yellow legal pad out of his supply closet and told me to stay put. My mom came to get me, and I recall the biggest let down being that no one wanted the beet, and they were not going to let me return it to the sugar people and they were not going to show me how they did this process.

I remember getting quizzed over and over again at the dinner table that night about what had possessed me to walk "all the way" to the office, and not any number of neighbors who we all knew, including my best friend's house which was on our own block.
I was completely baffled.
I thought my logic was sound. If you can't find your mom, you go get Dad, and its RUDE to just show up at the neighbors house. I knew I had to call before I could go over to my friends house.
I patiently explained that I couldn't use the phone if I was locked out.
I also remember really enjoying this feeling of being implacable while adults around me freaked out. Sometimes you just do what you gotta do.

I kept thinking about the day of the sugar beet while watching True Grit on Wed with Jac and Rachel. The girl is older and the circumstances vastly different, but I couldn't help but think. I'm sure most people think something like this could never happen, but I felt like it was the most realistic movie I'd seen in ages. Once you get some shit into your head, and once a situation is already at play... sometimes you just have to keep moving, sometimes you just have to do what must be done. I'm trying to street team this movie pretty hard. Best movie I saw in 2010, seriously. I hate spoilers, so some code for those that have already seen it I will close with.

"Stand UP Tom Cheney!"

Hell yes. and special thanks to Hyperbole and a Half.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

People, talking about food.

My foodie friends have been such an inspiration to me in this last year.

I've been reflecting on this alot. Having people in my life who either HAVE to think about food all the time (allergies), who make a choice to live another way (veg/vegans) or who just really LOVE food (Monika). I eat things now that honestly wouldn't have occured to me a year ago. I've been an adventures eater for years, a point of pride really. But between the nouvea cuisne pork belly obsessed, and the delecious but often high calorie ethic options in my Rainier Valley work - neighborhood. I was trying alot of new food... but maybe not the healthiest. Turns out squash mac is delecious. I love Kale and Chard... something that shocked me. Even Joe, on a ride-along he doesn't have a choice in happily eats mushrooms cause they might make me better. I regularly cook now with miatake mushrooms, I only tried them because they are supposed to do some magic cancer shit. Turns out they taste so meaty in dishes you could swear it was bacon, not really but they are GOOD.

After getting sick, it's pretty evident that while I don't attribute my cancer to any given factor now would probably be a good time to really start taking care of myself better.

My friend Sarah beat me to the punch talking about my 28 fruit and veg challenge, as her and her dude Jeff have taken it up as well... in fact VS style, admirably. I'm in the 4th? week now of actually tracking my numbers. The only time I haven't made it so far was Christmas week. I got over 25, but at a low point on Christmas Eve was persuaded to add "Merlot Grapes". I'm not beating myself up, cause the week was full of repeats. I ate brussel sprouts like 5 times, 5 delicious times.

I track it on my fridge chalk panel. I got the idea out of book called anticancer where a doc with cancer pretty much just lists every nutritional statistic listed to cancer. It's a really dense book, but its where the 28 number comes from. Diversity in our food is apparently super important ... although according to Bill Bryson we should have realized sooner. If limited diets cause beriberi and scurvy, then its an idea that bears taking further. I've been reading his "At home" which is so specifically relevant to my interests I feel as if he wrote it just for me. It's full of ridiclous trivia, about home, architecture, food.... so great.

So I'm doing my challenge, and suceeding for the most part. I feel like that brings up the other side of this. Sarah wrote about trying beet greens and not having that go tasty. I've got a picture of my quickly wilting beets (yeah that says organic, i'm wasting farmers mkt food and hating myself for it) next to some monkey bread my friend Rachel brought me. So this is where we get to one of my huge motivators for the 28. Sugar is pretty universally agreed to be bad for folks with cancer, the cancer eats the sugar first... it gets dibs. So I limit my sugar, or... try to. As soon as you start thinking about what you cannot have... its all you want. So I try think of it like a budget. I try to say no to sweets that aren't my favorite thing to save room in the "bank" for something awesome later. This kinda plays into the taking care of myself thing. I eat alot less choclate candy crap, but now I eat REALLY GOOD chocolate.
This stuff I buy, 5 bars at a time when I can get up to a 10,000 villages store. I even sent it to my sister that had thyroid cancer for chritsmas. I sent her chocolate, not cancer... to be clear.
So, you eat less crap... but you discover something that tasty.

And when your friend makes you a monkey bread.... you eat that shit, and it is delicious. But you suck it up and figure out what to do with those damn beets before they go south cause dammit food is expensive and if you don't eat your beets, there is no dessert.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Pretty Sharp

Thinking about New Year’s resolutions…

2010 Was a rough year.

I was going back to school at UW to get my long awaited undergrad degree. Work was going well, and we'd hired someone to pick up my slack at the office. I was starting to taper back.

I turned 28 on March 9th, Joe and I had a nice dinner and we talked about kids. Probably two more years now before we try to start a family, I want to finish school.

I find out on March 15th that my co-worker has quit without notice. It was finals week at school, When I returned after finals week to work we had our annual safety trainings (my biggest work project of the year) which I had to do solo.

In late April I was diagnosed with Cancer. I had been taking an online course to try and stay in the game with my education, but by May I was in Chemo. I had to drop the class so I could focus on treatment.

We did two kinds of chemo, and then my mastectomy, and now radiation to my chest and slated this month radiation to my brain where they found it most recently making me Stage IV.

In January my radiation is set to be done, and then we wait 5-6 months before we do a full scan to check and see how my treatment has taken, has it kept everything away?

In that interim I'll be taking a handful of preventive drugs, and I getting into a more intense regimen with my naturopath regarding nutrition, and the active program regarding physical activity.

So 2010 was all about killing the cancer, 2011 is going to be about healing me from the attempt.
This time however they're going to build me better, stronger than ever.

Wishlist for 2010

Fix Mercedes to a state where she can faithfully take us camping.

Go Camping, lots.

Fix the FIAT, fix it nice enough so I can take her to the greenwood car show for fun with my Father in Law.


Europe again this May?

NYC this fall?

Go sailing again.

Go back to Vegas and rent the mod-house again.

Home Improvement.

What are you looking forward to in 2011?