Tongue Trifecta

October 19, 2008

While I was studying today I did some prep work for the week in the kitchen, or rather my stove-top did the cooking for me ;)

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I always tell people if you can just take a few hours out of the weekend to cook some of the time intensive stuff it makes the weekdays so much more pleasant. I cooked (on the left) a bunch of brown rice for dinner (raisins in the bottom one!) and 5 servings of oatmeal just for fun. Sometimes I do enjoy a break from cleaning the pot everyday! For those of you who may not have been reading this summer, I had to leave the house at 7am I pre-cooked my oats just as normal in a big bulk pot and then packaged them in containers. That’s how you turn stove-top into "instant oatmeal." You just need a little milk to rehydrate I still think fresh oats are best, but since the husband is going to be gone 3/5 days this week, I thought it would be nice to have breakfast already made.

So I set out to make steel cut oats (1 cup oats, 3 cups water, boil, cover, simmer for 30 minutes) but for some reason I decided to add an extra CUP of water….and then realized I meant for it to be MILK so I added that too!! I suddenly had oatmeal soup. So I brainstormed ways to fix it, including draining it, but I decided I needed something to absorb the liquid: oats!! So I added a cup of rolled oats and 5 minutes later had the perfect combo. This could become a regular recipe.

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When I cook things in bulk I use my food scale to portion it all out. Just subtract the weight of the food from the weight of the pot (which you should have pre-weighed) and then divide by the servings. Makes it easier to get them all even, since my eyeballs are horrible at the job.

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So that was the kitchen prep!

I got a good chunk of studying done and then had snunch at 5:00!

A cup of our leftover potato soup , which is JUST like mashed potatoes and divine -

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I also had a half-eaten end piece of bread and some crackers -

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And then I went back for more crackers and hummus – just because. AND had a handful of crackers more that I didn’t photograph…

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Food For Thought

I’ve been having a lot of trouble recently stopping eating. I haven’t been listening to my body at all these days, and I really haven’t felt that in control of my eating since my trip to Boston. You may not have noticed in my blog commentary and think my thoughts are irrational based on what I’ve been eating, but it’s not about what or how much I’ve been eating, but my state of mind .

I love this passage from Fit From Within that a long time ago that always stuck with me:

The rationale behind three meals a day is simple: if you start to eat only three times, you have to stop only three times, and stopping is the problem ….This doesn’t mean there can never be an exception, that you will never have afternoon tea or an after-theater snack…Nothing that you eat rationally and out of choice rather than compulsion will interfere with the fit-from-within process. Nevertheless, I highly recommend that, unless you have a medical condition that requires you to eat more often, you stick with three meals a day most of the time.

If you do, there will be several waking hours during which you will have nothing in your mouth. This is good. This is when you learn to focus on your inner life and your outer world instead of food. It’s also when you come to know at a visceral level that, although food and water and air are indispensable for maintaining your body, the essential individual that you are is sustained by something else, something more.

Eating three meals a day is both a discipline and a gift. In the beginning, it might take all the fortitude you’ve got to get form one meal to the next without picking up something to eat. Call in your inner resources, understanding friends, or something else that inspires you. Learn the difference between what it feels like to be hungry and to think you’re hungry because you’re used to eating often.

In conclusion, I think…..I am bored . Despite all the studying, I need some mentally fulfilling activity in my life that I choose. So my solution is to really, seriously devote time to reading fiction each day. I use the lame excuse that I should be studying if I have time to read, but really, you can only study so much. I LOVE to read, but it’s one of the first things to go when I’m busy. So I’m going to make the time. Get me off of the computer!!

Dinner

I made a favorite dinner of ours tonight: Happy Herbivore’s Red Lentil Dal and Saag . The only change I made was to omit the onion (and I used curry power instead of plain tumeric. And I used kale for our greens). Both are excellent, filling, flavorful, healthy recipes. If you haven’t cooked with garam masala before, you must go buy some. It’s like cinnamon meets savory spices. The third dish was just Lundberg Short Grain Brown Rice (my FAVORITE) with raisins and garam masala .

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I also had a bite of this jalapeno corn muffin the husband brought home from EarthFare.

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I am off to take a bubble bath and assess my "to read" pile.

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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Megan October 19, 2008 at 7:52 pm

Wonderful dinner and pics! What a great idea to prepare your oats ahead of time! They look nice and thick and full of texture!

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2 VeggieGirl October 19, 2008 at 8:00 pm

WE HAVE THE SAME FOOD-STORAGE CONTAINERS!!!!!!!!!! :-D

Yes, I’m easily amused. Sue me.

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3 Bridget October 19, 2008 at 8:00 pm

I heart steel cut outs and its I also like to make multiple batches…esp since those take so long! Thats a really interesting excerpt! Makes sense though, and I too have trouble stopping sometimes. Have a great night!

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4 coco October 19, 2008 at 8:07 pm

I can’t be more agree with you Kath. Sometimes we can’t stop putting food into our mouth because I think that can fill our others desires or solve our problems. Most of times we do it unconsciously. But once you realize that you’re doing it (as you’re now) you’re one BIG step closer to its end. Because once you realize it, you’ll find the real source of the problem and if you really want to make a change, you will do it and “stop eating” will just come naturally.

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5 zestycook October 19, 2008 at 8:19 pm

Kath, great idea to prepare in advance. I do the sunday cook-offs as I call them as well some weeks – especially if I think it is going to be a crazy week. Dinner looks delicious!! Enjoy the bath

zesty

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6 The Healthy Hostess October 19, 2008 at 8:20 pm

Kath,
I have been gone for 3 days and I feel like I missed so much in the blog world. It is good to be back! You would have loved the fresh, amazing seafood!
I love the book Fit from Within and I remember thinking a lot about the passage you posted tonight. I have the same problem with looking for something important to do in the summers when I am not teaching. I think reading is a great idea, also getting ready for the holidays would be fun! If I had some extra time now I would do Christmas gifts and cards. The new Real Simple has some cute holiday ideas to get ahead of the game! Just an idea!
:)

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7 Jen October 19, 2008 at 8:21 pm

What a fantastic dinner! I haven’t ever tried garam masala, but I have seen it in many recipes lately. Enjoy your night!

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8 Marianne October 19, 2008 at 8:23 pm

Hey Kath, do you write out a plan on the weekends for each of your meals for the week, or do you have a general idea, or what? I’m just curious, since you do alot of prep on the weekends. Do you find you are satisfied with the meals you chose possibly 7 days before hand (if that’s what you do). Thanks!

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9 melissa October 19, 2008 at 8:31 pm

Hi Kath,

Thanks for your honesty. I feel the same way lately. I like feeling as though I never feel guilty or obsessive about food, but I graze and nibble all day without appreciately the food at all. A long time ago, you recommended Moran, and I picked up one of her other books,”Fat, Broke and Lonely No More.”

There is a quote, I love, despite not really following it, “Eat three times a day and develop the courage, grace and poise to keep food out of your mouth the rest of the time.”

Thanks for bringing it back to me. Good luck with reading. I think I need to start crocheting again, it is impossible to eat while crafting!

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10 ttfn300 October 19, 2008 at 8:35 pm

wow i’ve been doing the same thing recently (a bit worse tho…), and realized that it was b/c i was so bored reading papers for work. gotta break it up!

on a side note, I was going to include this post in my Lentils roundup if you don’t mind? (you can check my blog for details!)

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11 Christie October 19, 2008 at 8:54 pm

I feel the same way about stopping eating and also about reading. Maybe a connection? I don’t know. Once upon a time, I had a job where I was allowed to read during downtime at work. Since we can’t do that anymore, I find that I eat more and I NEVER get to read a book anymore. I could read at home instead of surfing the web all the time but I don’t. So I think I will start! Thanks for the insite.

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12 Justy2003 October 19, 2008 at 9:25 pm

I definitely know what you mean about having trouble stopping eating. Sometimes I think I get too “comfortable” and just eat whatever. Usually it’s still healthy, but it’s also still calories…it’s important to try to listen to my body instead of my mouth. If I listened to my mouth I’d be eating all the time! Fit from Within was a great quick/easy read…I may need to read through some of it again!

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13 Rose October 19, 2008 at 9:27 pm

I made a batch of premade oats last week and like you, I do agree that fresh is best – but this works in a pinch when you just add milk!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on your eating. I feel that way right now too – I am having trouble controlling everything (and I have noticed in it in the scale the past few weeks). Thanks for the reminder that we do need some time for ourselves once in a while. Good luck reading!

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14 Molly October 19, 2008 at 9:47 pm

Yum, your oatmeal looks so creamy!

I think this problem you’ve brought up is experienced by just about everyone. I mean, food is…yummy, so the natural impulse is to just keep eating! I guess the trick is to connect your mind, mouth, and stomach – it’s hard though! Kudos to you for being intuitive!

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15 bobbi October 19, 2008 at 9:48 pm

I love the idea of prep, that’s so me:)

Thanks for sharing about your struggles with food right now. I think that discipline is very important but I think 5 small meals is the key. I love eating mini-meals because they keep me full, but I have been hungry a lot lately after lunch and want to keep eating so I guess I have that problem too…lol

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16 Amanda October 19, 2008 at 10:14 pm

Kath,

I’m really glad that you shared your thoughts in this post and you were not afraid what some people might say. In the beginning of the summer, I was home and studying for my CPA exam and I found myself always eating or drinking something – it almost became necessary to have something nearby while I studied. Although often it was just carrots and hummus, I gained about 5 lbs over the month.

When I started working and packing (aka planning meals ahead), it was easy to keep track of my eating because the kitchen wasn’t the next room away!! It was also a pretty good feeling to let the hunger come and THEN eat. Another recommendation is leaving the house to study if you can. If you have to pay for a snack, you will definitely re-consider and assess your hunger :)

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17 magpie October 19, 2008 at 10:31 pm

I’ve been feeling the same way :( My breakfast has been so late that it’s only a few hours til lunch, then I snack, then it’s dinner, and then usually another snack… I think I need to focus too.

That is some awesome planning action – I’m about to head back to the kitchen to prep lunch for tomorrow and put away groceries. I got wheatberries today! I’ve never tried them before :)

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18 BBQPeach October 19, 2008 at 10:53 pm

I don’t know that I’ve left you a comment before, but I’ve been reading your blog for about a month now and love it! I’ve gotten some great ideas from it.

I feel you on the being bored/eating tie-in. I find myself eating at work because I have nothing to do, eating at home because I have nothing to do(and I live in a loft, thus avoiding my kitchen is hard!). I love reading too—I may borrow your idea ;) Or I’ll blog! I’m trying to be a better blogger.

Again, hello and I love reading your blog!

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19 madison (follow my weigh) October 19, 2008 at 11:26 pm

thanks for the tip on stove-top “instant” oatmeal! and thats awesome you’re going back to your hobby of leisure reading =)

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20 Miss Tiffie October 20, 2008 at 12:46 am

Hi Kath!!!! You know how you put banana usually into your oats.. do you add that in with your batch for the week when you make them in bulk ever? Also, do you just warm it up aka “rekindle” it and then add in your mixins for the day?

I never have the time to make oatmeal before I go to work (so I tend to have it only when I work at home or for dinner) and I was considering making a few batches so I could bring to work, add a little milk to it and nuke it in the microwave or something. Do you ever bring oatmeal with you for lunch or something?

Thanks!!! & yay for lesiure reads!!! Don’t forget to recommend the good books to us :]

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21 Lara (Thinspired) October 20, 2008 at 2:30 am

Thanks for including that excerpt, Kath. I have never read that book but it seems like it raises some interesting points.
Also thanks for the idea of cooking the oats ahead of time! I do that with rice but didn’t know it would work with oats, too!! Genius :)

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22 mi October 20, 2008 at 2:42 am

that excerpt from the book is very interesting – thank you for posting it! i definitely find it hard to stop eating sometimes, especially if i’m going through delicious things ;)

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23 sarah October 20, 2008 at 4:35 am

insightful post! i too want to get into reading more — both for the reasons that you cited and because i really do find it SO much more relaxing and therapeutic than watching tv. i spent saturday night in bed with a book and it was actually pretty awesome.

as for the eating, i honestly don’t know if i could do the 3 meals/day! mostly because of schedule-type issues (having to go ~7 hours between breakfast/lunch and lunch/dinner). however, i do find i do better with structure to the meals/snacks (ie, knowing ‘i’d like to get some fruit + protein in with this snack’). having to bring everything with me also makes things easier — except that sometimes i need to remind myself not to eat something just ‘cuz i brought it and it tastes good!

have a great week — i am excited to hear more about your reading picks!

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24 Esmeralda October 20, 2008 at 5:06 am

Your dinner looks delicious. I love the combination of sweet and savory especially in a rice dish. One of my favorite rice dishes is a mixture of brown rice, lightly sauteed chopped onion and carrot, chickpeas, sultanas (or raisins), sliced almonds, cinnamon, allspice, salt, and a drizzle of olive oil. I occasionally add a little ground turkey or lamb to change it up. The rice mixture makes a great filling for baked/microwaved bell peppers (red, yellow, and orange are so tasty).

I empathize with your current struggle with food. I think about food from the time I wake up at 5:30 am to the time I go to bed around 11:00 pm. I believe part of the reason I think about food is because I have problems with hypoglycemia so I have to plan what I eat to avoid those “drops” during the day. I have tried 3 large meals a day, 6 small meals a day, snacking, no snacking, etc. Through trial and error I have discovered that I feel better with a small breakfast (1/4-1/2 cup granola/muesli, 1/2 cup yogurt/milk, banana, decaf coffee), a piece of fruit around 10:00 am, a medium-sized lunch, a small snack around 3:00 pm (usually 1/4 cup yogurt and/or a small piece of fruit), a small dinner, and a small snack around 8:00 pm. So I basically eat something every 2-3 hours. I haven’t added my daily caloric intake on this eating plan but I haven’t gained any weight since I started a year ago. Like you and most of your readers, I try to be a “healthy” eater – lean meats, fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, seeds, yogurt – and I exercise daily. I believe that we all have to listen to what makes us feel better but we also have to recognize when we are eating out of boredom, stress, emotion, etc.

Good luck! You’ll overcome it.

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25 beth October 20, 2008 at 6:06 am

well, thank God you are not perfect…you are human!!
i can recommend a good book: To my dearest friends by patricia volk.

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26 Beadie October 20, 2008 at 6:46 am

Figuring out why we eat other than hunger is the hardest thing about listening to our bodies and eating intuitively. Congrats to you for figuring out why and putting a plan in place to stop it! Happy Reading!

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27 haya October 20, 2008 at 7:14 am

i’ve been studying a bunch for a big exam tomorrow myself and i totally know what you mean about not letting myself do any fun stuff (watch tv, read magazines, do the crosswords in the paper, etc) because I think I should be studying. It is true that my brain can only handle so much studying each day but it’s hard to know what that limit is.

we made your potato soup yesterday! made it a tiny bit way too thick (as i usually do with soups) but it was lovely and warm/mashed potatoey. think next time i might add a big more in the way of seasonings for some kick.

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28 Suzanne October 20, 2008 at 7:18 am

Hey Kath,

Do you store the oatmeal in the fridge or do you freeze them? Will it say good in the fridge until you eat it on Friday?

A hot bowl of oatmeal sounds good right about now – it’s frigid here in jersey! In the 30s! I had to break out my scarf and gloves. Too bad I brough my TJ Greek yogurt instead. :(

Stay warm!

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29 Biz319 October 20, 2008 at 7:50 am

Nice post Kath! I used to be a huge reader, but have somehow gotten away from it.

I am a magazine whore for sure (I subscribe to maybe 15!), but there is nothing like digging into a good book.

I just got David Sedaris’ new book from the library – I need to put it on my nightstand and just spend 1/2 hour before bed reading.

Happy Monday!

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30 Kath October 20, 2008 at 8:23 am

VeggieGirl ,
Welllll I’lllll be! lol.

Marianne ,
I plan out our meals generally (“Sunday = lentil dal and saag”) but I do do a lot of rearranging depending on my mood and hunger and how our days went. The good thing is we always have the ingredients we need, and I usually don’t plan Fridays so we often bump a weeknight meal that got pushed back to Friday. And sometimes we plan something (“Spaghetti”) and it turns into something completely different with the same ingredients. So while we do plan, I’d say cravings + moods dictate the menu.

melissa ,
LOVE that quote!!

ttfn300 ,
Don’t mind at all!

BBQPeach ,
Thanks for the comment!

Miss Tiffie,
I usually make it with the bananas in (when I make rolled oats alone in advance) but since I made steel cut yesterday I’ll add the banana that morning (BEFORE heating so it gets soft!). You can do it either way. But generally all that I add in advance is the oats, milk, banana and vanilla and add the mix-ins the day-of. I don’t take oats for lunch because I almost always have them for breakfast and feel I should have more variety in my diet.

Suzanne ,
I do store them in the fridge, and I think I will be fine by Friday. I’ll let you know!

Biz319 ,
When you wrote:
I used to be a huge reader, but have somehow gotten away from it. I thought you mean of KERF and I thought “I wonder what about the blog turned her off” but then I realized we were talking about BOOKS!

Kath

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31 Cyclist Kate October 20, 2008 at 8:28 am

Just wanted to say thanks for sharing your thoughts on mindless eating! I find myself doing a lot more mindless eating when I’m in school, and I think it’s for the same reason that you don’t do as much fun reading–there’s part of us that feels guilty if we’re using spare time for something other than studying! Because of that, I tend to try to get myself to sit down and focus when my time might be better spent doing something else, so I find myself getting up to snack a lot more…maybe the answer really is just structuring in something fun so we don’t feel that deptrivation that needs to be filled in some way! Awesome post!

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32 Bear October 20, 2008 at 8:42 am

Does anyone know what the the calorie count for the red lentil dal is?

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33 Rhodey October 20, 2008 at 9:04 am

thank you for this post. i think i should really get that book. i find that lately when i am bored i am mistaking it for hunger, and that is not good!!!!

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34 Kath October 20, 2008 at 9:21 am

Bear,
The total recipe had:
2 servings of lentils (~340)
Broth (~25?)
Tomato (~15?)
Tomato paste (~60)
= 450 total.
I’d say it makes 3 servings, so about 150 kcal each.

Kath

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35 runjess October 20, 2008 at 9:36 am

I have the same problem when I get bored. Even when I’m occupied, if the task I’m doing is boring, I think about food too much.

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36 Cat October 20, 2008 at 9:54 am

Thank you for sharing your thoughts about mindless eating, as well as being so candid about your own struggles. I think it takes a strong person to admit when you stumble. You will get things under control though – you are an amazing person.

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37 Roxana October 20, 2008 at 6:27 pm

I love making oats in advanced, because whenever I heat them back up I feel like they are so much better! The oatmeal cooks even more so it opens up more and becomes more tender, so I like it a lot :)
I love it when you take the pictures of your food on the placemat, it always looks effortlessly elegant.

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