28 February 2012

Something Wicked...

So I've changed the name of the blog. And I may change it several times over before I'm finished writing it. I've changed my goals ever so slightly and wanted a name to reflect that change. Why? I don't just want to eat less food, I want to eat healthy food. I want to be healthy, and I want a blog to reflect that and not a misinformed idea that just by eating less I will be healthier, that I will spend less, or that I will lose weight.

I started off the year brilliantly by trying to cut high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) out of my diet. This one thing has made me start looking at the labels of products that I probably shouldn't eat anyway. Sometimes, the product I want does not contain HFCS, but the ingredient list is a mile long, or it contains corn starch, so I take a pass. I slip every once in a while, I know this, but those slips are becoming fewer, and they mostly happen at work (I work at a bakery where I want to eat everything all the time).

In February, my goal was to add running to my routine and, somehow, though the month did not start out strong, I ran the last five days in a row. And I feel great. On top of the running, a co-worker lead me in the direction of Tabata workouts, which I think have also helped me feel so good.

I'm not sure what I'd like to add (or take away) for March. It is my birthday month, and I think I would like to participate in the St. Patty's Day 5K in my neck of the woods just to see if I can improve my time ( I ran 5km in 42:42 last Thursday. It was one of those things that made me know that I was doing exactly what I am meant to be doing).

So, we'll see what my March goal is. I've got another day to think about it, though a part of my thinks I should give up cake. This won't happen, but it's a nice thought.

26 February 2012

Green Machine!

Green, green; everywhere green.
As you can see from the picture, I bought a ton of green things when I went to the store, and let me tell you—this made a super awesome salad when topped with a little EVOO, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. If you'd like to replicate this awesome, just grab some kale, romaine lettuce, spinach, mushrooms, grape tomatoes, radishes, and avocado. This mix will last for days and will cost less than $3 per serving.

The Thin Mints, of course, are making a super delicious desert (though I have yet to check them for high fructose corn syrup). Girl Scout Cookies are never cost effective, but they're always for a good cause, and I was a girl scout for a long time.

On the high fructose corn syrup front, I'm doing rather well. Though the evil stuff is found in far too many items that I love, I have options that don't contain any. Plus, many (though definitely not all) of the food found without the syrup is healthier to begin with. I'm still trying to live without soda, though I've switched to diet in the hopes that I can use it as a gateway drug to drinking only water and juice.

You may also notice the fuzzy thing in the top left corner of the photo. That's my kitty. She likes to look at green things, though she looks at me like I'm crazy when I try to feed them to her.

14 February 2012

Toaster Oven Garlic Kale Chips

After looking at the recipes for kale chips, I thought that I would just go ahead and improvise because there's nothing in the world I like better than to pretend that I'm a chef. Add that to my love for garlic and the fact that my oven doesn't work, and you've got what I came up with here.


  • 4 c. kale
  • 1 T. coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 t. pepper
  • 1/4 t. garlic powder
  • salt to taste
Rinse and dry kale, then remove the stems and center ribs. Tear into bite sized pieces and lightly coat with coconut oil sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic. Place in single layer on baking sheet. Cook in toaster oven for approx. 7 minutes until kale has turned slightly brown on the edges. My toaster oven does not have temperatures, just selections for top, bottom, or both. I cooked them with just the bottom setting and they turned out great.

The result is a light and crispy kale chip with a hint of salt and garlic. It's quite tasty, I think, and makes for a healthy snack.

Some notes on this recipe: the drier your kale is before you coat it with oil, the less clean up you will need to do. Drying the leaves also keeps them from steaming. If you've ever dropped water in oil, you'll know why. Also, a little bit of seasoning goes a long way with this recipe. If it looks like you've added too much, you probably have. My first batch was ruined because I put far too much salt on the leaves.

If you're looking for variations on the theme, tons of other bloggers have made different recipes with them. Kalyn's Kitchen goes ahead and lists them at the end of her own kale chip recipe, so I'll just direct you that-a-way.

13 February 2012

Produce Confidential: Kale

The only thing I knew about kale before I picked up a bunch at the grocery store was that kale is green and leafy. I've seen kale chip recipes, a co-worker who put kale in her smoothies, and plenty of other uses for the vegetable, so I was curious.  Kale has all sorts of vitamins and nutritional benefits that counter its bitter taste. Now, when I see health benefits that include "risk-lowering benefits for cancer", I have to take that with a grain or two of salt, but kale, it seems, is a pretty impressive piece of leafy green vegetable.

Kale is what is known as a cruciferous vegetable. All that means is that it is in the cabbage family along with broccoli, cauliflower, and (my favorite) Brussels sprouts. There are three types of kale: curly, ornamental, and dinosaur.

To me, raw kale tastes a lot like raw broccoli (so, delicious), which would make sense. I can easily see kale as a way to spice up a spinach salad.

Peak Season

Kale is available throughout the year, although it is more widely available from mid-winter through the beginning of spring.

Nutrients in Kale*

1.00 cup, cooked (130.00 grams)
Nutrient%Daily Value

vitamin K1327.6%

vitamin A354.1%

vitamin C88.8%


dietary fiber10.4%







vitamin E5.5%

omega 3 fatty acids5.4%

vitamin B2 (riboflavin)5.2%


vitamin B1 (thiamin)4.6%



vitamin B3 (niacin)3.2%

Calories (36)2%

* Hijacked from The World's Healthiest Foods website

Health Benefits

Besides being packed full of vitamins and minerals, kale has a number of noted health benefits. Incorporating kale into your diet can help lower cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease. Eating kale and other cruciferous vegetables can also lower your risk of cancer. Again, I take that sort of research with a grain of salt, but any chance is better than no chance at all.

Pick Your Kale

Look for firm, dark leaves and healthy stems. Small leaves will be more mild in flavor. Kale can range in color from dark green to purple, so some varieties may be appropriate for adding color to salads and other dishes.


Store kale in a cool environment to keep the leaves from wilting. Kale does best in the refrigerator for up to five days, and the longer it is stored, the more bitter it becomes. You should not wash kale before storing.


07 February 2012


I went out to dinner with my brother the other day. We had an awesome time, eating way-too-greasy food and talking about our lives. While I am on a budget, eating out with my little brother is a luxury I can't give up. Even though we live less than two miles from each other, we see each other maybe for ten minutes each month other than when we make the time to sit down with each other.

So, while I admit that going out to eat is an indulgence that I really need to cut out of my life, there is always a time and a reason to let someone else do the cooking. Plus, it was really great to just hang out and talk.

Also, guess what!

02 February 2012

Oh, Hi There...

It has been quite a while since I last updated this blog. A lot has changed since I last updated this blog.

Here are just some of the things that have changed in the last almost-six months:

  • I have a new job. One that I adore and that I make a little more money with.
  • My student loans have become due.
  • I cut high fructose corn syrup out of my diet.
  • I have gone from needing to watch the money I spend on food, to really needing to watch my money, to not needing to, back to needing to, and now I don't need to watch what I spend on food, but I should.
  • I watched all of Star Trek: TOS and have started on TNG.
  • I gained a roommate, lost her, and then got her back again.
  • I have started learning the guitar!
Student loans are what killed my budget to begin with and made me realize that I needed to start watching what I spent on food. And, while I went to extremes when I first began this blog, the principle is the same. Last month I spent almost $200 at the grocery store. When I looked at the final number, I wanted to throw it all back up and return each bite. I'm single, I'm feeding only myself and my cat, and I get to eat for free when I work. Why spend so much on food? Where does it all go?

Then I look in my fridge and freezer, and I am back to where I started. Too much food that I don't eat. Too much that I do eat. I am stocking my freezer for some future date that I can't seem to see. Too much cake, always.

Cutting high fructose corn syrup from my diet has helped. Some. So much food contains the evil stuff...and yet I can still find items without. Like chocolate frosting.

So, I'm back here with a new intensity. My goals with this blog are shifting only slightly. Here, I will chronicle my adventures in cutting down how much I eat and how much I spend on food. I will also focus on eating healthy food in single-serving portions. We'll see how that works.

I'll be writing in this space more often now, too! Have a great day.