Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I'm Leaving, on a Jet Plane!

I'm getting ready to get on a very, very, very long flight, so I decided to pack my own meal rather than rely on the overpriced offerings at the airport and the paltry offerings on the plane. I'm also concerned about some serious jet lag as I am flying east and across seven time zones. According to "sources," recovering from jet lag depends on the number of time zones you crosse while traveling. In general, your body will adjust to the new time zone at the rate of one or two time zones per day. For example, if you crossed six time zones, your body will typically adjust to this time change in three to five days. So in essence, I should be recovered just in time to fly home!

In order to help combat jet lag, you should exercise, sleep well, stay hydrated and stay sober (!) well ahead of your flight.  In general you should try to avoid alcohol the day before and during the flight. Alcoholic beverages can cause dehydration, disrupt sleeping schedules, and trigger nausea and general discomfort. Also be sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated fluids, especially since the humidity on the plane is kept at a desert level of only 10%! Other food tips:

•Oranges are thought to help fight stress.
•Almonds and sunflower seeds are high in melatonin, the hormone that helps control your sleep and wake cycles.
•Bananas prevent muscle cramping.
•Ginger ale aids digestion and helps with motion sickness.
•Dark Chocpolate contains anadamine, a chemical that produces a cozy, euphoric feeling. (I got that under control!)
•Apples are rich in fiber and help to stabilize sugar crashes.

Try to avoid:
•Beans, cauliflower, broccoli, for obvious reasons.
•Odorous foods that will annoy your neighbor. Trust.

For more thoughts on bringing your own meals, check out Pack a Picnic.

Happy travels!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Eat, Like, a Meal

Remember those old Chunky soup commercials? "The soup that eats like a meal?" (Here's a highlarious reminder. What is going on with that roommate sitch anyway?) Those wacky commercials were on the air back in 1985 and it seems like it's been as long since my last post! Whoopsie!

Speaking of meals (not that I have been making many lo these past few weeks), I may not be cooking all that much, but I have been eating a slew of salads thinking that I am super healthy. And then I realized that these so-called salads have the word "chef" or "cobb" in front of them. Who am I kidding? Meat, cheese, bacon? Hello!

Well, how about adding some quinoa to justify the healthfulness? Totes. Done and done. A classic cobb, minus the grilled chicken, plus the quinoa, equals...a salad that eats like a meal.

Classic Cobb Salad (Plus Grains)
Adapted from Bon Appétit

6 ounces bacon (about 6 slices), cut into 1-inch pieces (plus more for snacking)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced shallot (about 1/2 medium shallot)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 small garlic clove, grated
1/4 teaspoon honey
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups baby greens
3 cups cooked grains (such as quinoa, semi-pearled farro, or wild rice), cooled
2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled, quartered
1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 ripe tomato cut into 1/2-inch wedges
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese

1. Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crispy and most of the fat is rendered, 7–8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate.

2. Whisk the lemon juice, shallot, vinegar, Dijon mustard, garlic, and honey in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in the oil. Season the dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Place the lettuce on a large platter. Arrange the the bacon, grains, eggs, avocado, tomato, and cheese over. Drizzle with the dressing. Serves 6.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Hot Fudge

It's that fabulous time of the year when I post about ice cream, like here and here. First of all, it's hot outside so obvs one should be eating ice cream, but I've also come to realize that I am not eating enough of it! There are some super fantastic brands and flavors out there that I have sadly been allowing to pass me by. This disturbs me! Granted, I should really stick to celery and water for reasons that need not be explained, but a small taste of some real ice cream every now and then probably wouldn't kill me. Would it?

Any of my Ann Arbor peeps out there remember Stucchi's? I practically lived there. That place ruled! Coffee Toffee Fro Yo? Totes! My fave! White Russian Fudge ice cream? Oh. Yeah. Wish I had some for the hot fudge sauce of my youth, but the Hudsonville ice cream I had locally in GR did the trick. Now you can get another Ann Arbor fave, Steve's ice cream, now available in grocery stores. Try the Salty Caramel. You're welcome.

Sure, there are probably more elegant versions of hot fudge sauce out there, but you can't beat the speed and consistency of this sauce. I grew up on it and am still making it, so that must say something. Right? Enjoy.

Hot Fudge Sauce

4 ounces unsweetened (or bittersweet depending on how sweet you like your sauce) chocolate, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Ice cream, for serving

1. Add the chocolate and butter to a small saucepan and slowly melt over low heat, stirring frequently.

2. Add the condensed milk, vanilla, and salt to the chocolate mixture and stir to combine. Cook until hot and slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately over ice cream. Or eat with a spoon.