April 23, 2013 § 10 Comments
This is about as typical of a weeknight supper as you get in our house. Roasted fish plus roasted veggies. Bam! Done! Thank you very much. Of course, the ways you can change this up are infinite with different spice rubs or sauces, different types of fish or veggies. We eat salmon most often, caught by our friend Dave who fishes commercially in Alaska. But, this time I had some cod.
I roasted it very simply, but then fancied it up by adding a pistachio and herb pesto – which was nothing but my way of saving the wilting ends of a couple bunches of herbs and the remnants of a bag of pistachios. Roasting a lemon or two with the carrots not only lends flavor to the carrots, but it also emboldens and rounds out the juices of the lemon. The arugula I tossed in at the last minute, to lightly wilt it. Easy peasy lemon squeezey (literally in this case, ha!).
Vær så god!
February 7, 2013 § 18 Comments
Even when you’re a northerner through and through, and you cherish each of the four seasons, there are times when winter starts to wear on you. Just a little bit.
There are times, when it’s been a while since the snow cover has been refreshed and a while since the temperature has been above single digits, and it starts to feel drab and dreary and repetitive. It loses its luster the way snowbanks do as they get trampled over and sprayed with dirt.
But then, in the midst of all that, you may have a morning where you wake up to hear the cheery whistle of a songbird, “twee-ooo,” letting you know that it may get up into the teens today, and suddenly the world feels a little more alive. Then, the clouds may roll in and blanket everything with 4 or 5 inches of fresh powdery snow, and the world feels a little more clean. And hopefully, on such a day, you’ll decide not to go cross-country skiing on the groomed trails, even though you have a 50 km race you were supposed to be busting your butt training for, and instead go tromping in the woods, playing tag with the dog, searching for animal tracks, and making snow angels, and then you’ll remember why winter is gorgeous and magical.
Even the most wonderful things need paying attention to, or you’ll forget how very wonderful they are. « Read the rest of this entry »
May 14, 2012 § 35 Comments
The past couple of semesters, I’ve taught a graduate class on theories of behavior change in nutrition and public health promotion. (Talk about a mouthful of a course name, right?!) One of my favorite theories we cover in this class is one called Self Determination Theory.
I like it because in many fields, health promotion most definitely among them, we spend a lot of time thinking about what people are doing wrong and trying to figure out how we can convince them to do what we think is best for them based on what we (the experts, that is) think is important. And, when you spend a whole lot of energy focusing on the many things people aren’t doing or don’t really want to do, it’s easy to forget that people are also capable of amazing joy, creativity, curiosity, and completely intrinsic motivation.
Self Determination Theory is exactly about that. About where people’s motivation comes from and how the more they can connect a behavior with things that intrinsically motivate them, the more they will internalize that behavior, and the more likely they are to keep doing it.
May 7, 2012 § 141 Comments
When you think about it, it’s remarkable, really, just how many opportunities we have every day to do something new. Much of the time it doesn’t feel like it. Our days follow patterns. We have baskets full of habits and well-worn ruts that we comfortably cruise along in.
And actually, a certain amount of repetition and stability in your life turns out to be really important and healthy. Which makes perfect sense. Nature is full of rhythms and patterns. We reside within them, and if completely rhythmless we feel jostled and jarred and seriously uncomfortable.
But if we don’t keep our eyes open to all the myriad of tiny dips and swerves within the patterns, it can be easy to feel trapped in some sort of mold that looks a lot like same-old-same-old.
I forget sometimes, that I’m the one making the decision to walk down the exact same street to get to the subway every time I go, when in reality, there are dozens of paths that run there. The destination is the same – rhythm – but I can switch the route up – discovery!
Same with cooking. We need to eat. Pretty darn regularly, in fact! And it’s easy to find ourselves making the same things over and over again. Of course, I’ll be the first person to sing the praises of old weeknight standbys (did somebody say spaghetti?!). They’re lifesavers. But, it’s also remarkable to me just how very many things I’ve never made before, or techniques I haven’t tried. Even with a decent number of years of cooking under my belt. « Read the rest of this entry »
March 31, 2012 § 11 Comments
The other day, I stole a few moments to bop over to Sara’s lovely blog, Sprouted Kitchen, to take a peak at what she had cooking. When I arrived I was instantly arrested, not by the recipe but by the quote she began her post with.
“Beet’s concentrated jewel-like color is both its joy and its downfall. It is Murphy’s law that it should marry so happily with the virginal white of goat cheeses, mascarpone, and thick puddles of creme fraiche, none of whose looks are improved by a pink stain curdling the outer edge” – Nigel Slater, Tender
This captivated me. This simple, beautiful statement that captures so much of the personality of beets. They are enticing and they are challenging, colorwise, flavorwise, every which way.
March 16, 2012 § 33 Comments
This is where I am right now: it has been quite a week. Actually, to be perfectly honest, and for lack of a better way to put it, it’s been a pretty terrible week. It could have been a worse week, and for that I’m thankful – that it wasn’t worse – but, it has still been the sort of week where, at the end of it, you need a really effing huge (and I almost never use fake expletives, so you better believe I mean this) glass of wine to salvage any vestiges of sanity and good humor you may have hiding somewhere.
The week before was a rough week, but it was merely busy. It was just work. I can handle work stress with a tearful breakdown only every couple of weeks (crying is how I seem to let emotions out. Any emotion. Happy, sad, angry, stressed…It’s not convenient, but it’s how I work.). But this week it got personal as well.
February 3, 2012 § 6 Comments
Ok guys, I’ve got to come clean. I’m a hater. Okay, well not really a hater, though I’m worried I’ll come across as such (Hmm, I don’t think “hater” and “as such” are frequently used together in a sentence like that. Also, I sound like a ding dong when I try to say something like hater. But I’ve gone and done it, so let’s put it past us, alright?). I just don’t really get American sports, and I’m afraid I really don’t get the Superbowl. (I can’t even remember if it’s one word or two.) Up until college, I kind of thought the Superbowl happened once every four years, like World Cup Soccer (that is, football to the rest of the world) or the Olympics.
The Olympics! Now there’s exciting sports to watch! Particularly the winter Olympics. See, by virtue of how I was raised, I find Nordic skiing, biathlon, long-distance speed skating, and the like, to be the most thrilling displays of athletic prowess. Oh my gosh. I lose my words. I think about the men’s Nordic skiing relay in ’94 and ’98, the EPIC battle between Norway and Italy, Norway losing (gasp) on their home turf in Lillehammer by 4/10ths of a second, then avenging their loss in Nagano, with a dramatic sprint finish by Thomas Alsgaard, beating the Italians by 2/10ths of a second.
Phew! Heavens. My heart races and I find myself squeezing the life out of the nearest chair arm just thinking about it. I have to catch my breath for a second.
Okay, now tell me that that’s not more exciting than the Superbowl.
July 15, 2011 § 2 Comments
In spite of having a substantial dose of the type A in my personality, planning is not one of my strong suits. Particularly not the detailed kind. When I plan, checklists, and spreadsheets, and timelines usually fail to make an appearance. Instead, I make a broad sweep through the general idea of what’s going on, or what I’d like to have happen, and then I have a tendency to assume it will just fall into place.
I have been known to forget to order chairs for an event, or to reserve a room for a meeting, or assign tasks to people. Sometimes I think it’s because I don’t try hard enough. That if I were more patient and focused, I would be able to keep track of details.
But really, often it’s not for lack of trying that I don’t plan adequately, it’s because sometimes it simply doesn’t even occur to me to think about the things I miss. I try hard, but they never make even a cursory appearance in my brain. It has a bit of the same sticky mental feeling about it as the way, no matter how hard I think about it, I can never spell guarantee right on the first try.
January 9, 2011 § 5 Comments
We’re pretty solidly on our way into January, but I’m still thinking vaguely about resolutions. I haven’t really made one. Or I’ve made half a million. Both, And. Like so many other people, I’d love to eat even better and exercise even more. Overall we do pretty okay in this household, however there is always, somewhat unfortunately, room for improvement. But, as far as I can tell, my real resolution for this new year has been to start parting my hair on the other side of my head. This was a sudden decision not founded on much of anything in particular. It was sort of intuitive, and it also has been seeming to me symbolic somehow, the part in your hair sitting right above your brain, and all.
I couldn’t help myself, and just this morning I decided to look up what parting your hair on the right side “means” according to who knows who, the people who like to develop theories about the meanings of unconscious body language and self-presentation decisions, I suppose. A right side part (which I have just introduced to my scalp) supposedly means you’re creative, artistic, and outgoing. The left side (my former side) means you’re responsible and a strong leader. (A middle part means you’re balanced. It also makes my face look ridiculously long, so I guess I’m giving up my aspirations toward balance ;). ) This is interesting to me because, remarkably, the message of the left side part – dependable, a leader – is the self I’ve spent much of my life trying to project, while never feeling it was that good of a fit. The right side part – creative, artistic – is actually more aligned with my natural approach to the world. The trouble is, I’ve never thought very highly of my artistic talents. I have that bent, but I don’t usually like the art I create. It tends to be goofy, even cute, and I can’t shake off of myself the dogma that art should be serious, beautiful, heart wrenching. « Read the rest of this entry »
April 5, 2010 § 1 Comment
When I was little, I used to totally lose my marbles at holidays. All my favorite foods! Desserts! Fun activities! I would go totally nuts with excitement – especially over the food. Now that I’m a “grown up”…I’m pretty much exactly the same. In general, I really do try to keep my diet pretty healthy and fresh and I especially try to keep it low in sugar. So, then when it’s a holiday and I’m surrounded by sweets and yummy foods, I may let myself just a little too loose – particularly if whipped cream is involved (which, if I have any say in the planning or implementation of whichever holiday it is, there always is). I seem to basically have some sort of animal instinct to make sure that not a single speck of whipped cream anywhere in a 10-mile radius of me ever goes to waste. (I feel somewhat duty bound now to note that, if I’m wearing my nutrition cap, this is exactly what we advise people not to do – it’s best to try to eat about the same amount on a holiday as any other day, eating slightly less of the meal, perhaps, to make room for dessert…easier said than done, that’s for sure, but worth a try).