Category Archives: Uncategorized

Mindful eating–Question 1 and Question 2

My parents are serious about periodicals.  A trip home means I can catch up on food and decorating trends as well as culture, goverment and even cleaning simply by perusing the ever full coffee table—Health, Smithsonian, The New Yorker, some type of public policy review, Good Housekeeping,  the newest menu magazines, Newsweek, The Atlantic Monthly, etc.    This year I walked into our room and saw a huge bag of magazines sitting by the bed.  “I saved these for you so take what you want, ” said my mom. Seriously, there must have been 40-50 magazines.  It was extremely overwhelming because I can’t even keep up with my bi-monthly Ready Made subscription.

I surveyed the bag and took a few home thinking that if nothing else I could use them for collages (right, I haven’t done that in three years, but still).  This week I picked up Health Magazine, July/August 2008.  There was an article called “How to think yourself thin.”  I”m a big believer in thinking things into reality so checked it out. I was pleasantly surprised because the main focus of the article was on mindful eating.

I love the idea of mindful eating. And I probably do it 10 bites a week and that might include time spent  tasting new products for the store or a new item at the cafe.  I’m not overweight, but I know that I still eat lots of things without even thinking about it. Many times I scarf down a meal (a delicious meal) and realize I didn’t take the time to really enjoy the food.

The whole day after I read the article I kept thinking about it and wondered what it would be like to truly be more mindful in  my eating.  I decided to challenge myself to pay more attention.  I’m hoping it will help  me slow down in other ways and maybe I’ll even be a better model for my son who, like his mama and daddy, loves to eat.

There are six questions  the article suggests that you ask yourself before each meal. In a short series of entries I’ll explore them.  Here are the first two:

1. Are you really hungry?  They give a “hunger meter” which I’ve included below, pretty much verbatim.

a. Take a moment to assess your hunger.

b. Give it a rating on a scale of 0 (ravenously hungry) to 10 (Thanksgiving stuffed).

c. When your hunger is at a 4, it’s time to start eating; waiting until you’re at a 2 or 1 might lead to overeating.

d. Start slowing down when you get to 6 or 7 and reassess: Are you still eating to satisfy your hunger? Or are you simply munching  mindlessly?

2. Do you spend at least 20 minutes on every meal?

I started with question 1 tonight when I ate dinner. I was definitely at a 4 and quickly approaching a level 3 or 2 when I sat down to eat. I made a sweet potato and black bean quesadilla for dinner.  A pepper colby from Morningland Dairy provided the creaminess and a dollop of Nancy’s thick full-fat yogurt acted as a sour cream substitute. I love a good quesadilla, and the sweetness of the potato blended nicely with the spicy cheese and black beans.

When I started to get full (6 or 7 on the hunger meter) I noticed I still had 1/3 of my quesadilla left (I used one of the San Luis whole wheat tortillas folded in half and they are big).  But I have to tell you that I still wanted to eat it.  So, being nice to myself since it was my first meal of mindful eating, I decided to just observe myself eating it and figured that maybe in a week or so I’d do better about how much food I made.  Thankfully my son thought it looked pretty good and  helped me eat the last 1/3.

The second question was much harder.  I looked at the clock when I started eating and it was about 5:15 p.m.  I tried to eat slowly and quickly wished that  I’d opted for a chewier meal–some tough salad greens, raw kale, fruit roll ups, beef  jerky.  Seriously, I easily could have eaten that meal in under 10 minutes had it not been for interruptions from my son which I welcomed so my meal would take longer. 

 I think eating more slowly will be one of the tougher things for me to change. Maybe if we ate more in courses at home I’d have an easier time. Appetizers, soup, salad….Well, it was a good first try.  Four more “questions”and many meals to go.  Well, not “to go” I hope.


Leave a comment

Filed under Delicious Tidbits, Uncategorized

Favorite kitchen gadgets

When I turned 40 several months back I asked for a manual hand mixer.  I have wanted one for quite a while and thought that any request I made on the eve of 40 would be met with a yes. In retrospect, maybe I should have asked for more. Ha ha.  Seriously, I  do love this kitchen gadget.  It’s great for scrambling eggs, banana bread, making pancake mix, and a wonderful way to introduce kids to cooking.  It’s fun and easy to use and you don’t have to worry about that wacky electricity and fingers getting caught in rotating beaters. 

Beck after a succesful waffle mix session. Notice the flour on the shirt!

For bigger jobs I will pull out the big ol’ Kitchen Aid Mixer, but it’s heavy and not really needed for simple mixing.  I know that the hand mixer came from Home-Eco which is on Macklind.  I’m sure you can get them other places, but Home-Eco is a great place since they are a “Green General Store.”

My other favorite kitchen tools are my pressure cooker and immersion blender. My in-laws got us the pressure cooker about six years ago and it has been a favorite.  Sure, it’s not total “slow” cooking, but I can make dried beans in one hour without any pre-soaking.   Kale cooks up perfectly in about three minutes.  And lentils are ready in as little as ten minutes. It makes cooking from scratch a little easier for me.

 I know some folks have bad memories of pressure cookers, but these are easy and safe to use.  I highly recommend getting a pressure cooker cook book to go along with your pressure cooker as it gives you lots of information about what you can cook and suggested times.  

And lastly, the immersion blender. We got this right before our son was born because I was insistent on making all of his food.  I’m happy to say I did make most of his food and  still do (this is probably the only thing I have really stuck with of all my pre-baby ideas of how I would parent–as my friend Amanda says,”You’re the best parent you are ever going to be before you actually have kids.”) The immersion blender made it so much easier. 

I made all kinds of concoctions when he was little–broccoli, barley, tahini, brewer’s yeast–that I blended to a smooth consistency so he could eat it easily.  I use it now to make smoothies or blend a soup or pasta sauce. 

There are a million kitchen gadgets out there.  My suggestion is to think of your per cost use.  How many times you will use it–weekly, daily, every five years?  The more you use it the more your cost per use goes down.  And if the item really will help you eat more healthy foods then it might be worth it. 

Yours in cooking and eating and supporting local food.


1 Comment

Filed under cooking equipment, Green Baby, Uncategorized

On eating

Last night I ate alone.  My son was asleep, my hubby was out, the radio was off, the computer was closed, the dog was quiet and I intentionally didn’t pick up the Sauce Magazine on the table even though I really wanted to. Tonight, I thought, I will really taste my food.

The meal was simple.  A grilled cheese sandwich with thick slices of fresh tomato from the garden, Mangia pesto, Companion Bread and Morningland Dairy sharp cheddar. The sandwich was perfectly browned and the cheese melted just right. 

I cut the sandwich in half and stared at the layers for awhile.  I was happy that I could still see the separateness of each ingredient.  The white of the cheese, the slightly cooked, but still firm tomato, and the pesto which was dripping its aromatic green oil over the rest of the sandwich.  I was ready.

The sandwich met all my expectations. I appreciated how warming it  melded the flavors together into summer goodness. I savored each bite. And at the end of the meal I felt truly satisfied. 

I wish I could say that I took time everyday to really savor  my entire meal.  This little exercise reminded me that I need to put away the newspapers more  often. I need to be more quiet while I eat–perhaps even in the company of others. That I need to finish one bite before I take the next. That I can take time to really enjoy what I’m putting into my mouth.

Yep, the “slow food” movement would be proud.

Yours in taking a minute,


1 Comment

Filed under Fun Stuff That Can't Be Easily Catigorized, Uncategorized

What is BeerBucha?

This is the true story of a happy accident, the result of which is now available EXCLUSIVELY at Local Harvest Cafe and Catering.

At 12:30am on 1/1/9 I watched my boyfriend’s brother-in-law pour our leftover contribution of Poema Cava (we use this at the Cafe in our mimosas) down the sink. RATS! But, as it was a family affair I thought it would be inappropriate to shout across the room for him to stop wasting our brut that we were planning to have with our black eyed peas and brunch. I spent the rest of the party trying to figure out just what we had in the fridge with which to celebrate in the privacy of our home in the morning. Luckily, family New Year’s Eve parties end early

The next day while the peas were cooking I took a grim inventory of the fridge. We had exactly two Miller High Lifes and one mango GT’s Kombucha, many flavors of which are available at both the Cafe and Grocery.

I recalled attending a brunch with friends several weeks prior during which we tried and enjoyed “beermosas”–the poor man’s mimosa, a combination of orange juice and lager. Those were surprisingly tasty.

As I peered in the fridge the mango kombucha orangely provided an instant color association with the beermosas, so i thought, “why not give it a try? Here we have the ‘champagne of beers’ and the naturally effervescent fermented goodness of kombucha…” “HEY, Honey,” I said. “How ’bout a miller-mango-mosa to ring in the New Year?” Needless to say, he was game.

The mango variety of GT’s Kombucha is particularly active. I believe this is because it is quite full of tropical fruit enzymes which mingle with the kombucha enzymes in an excitable way. All that enzyme goodness is just itching to get out of the bottle and into your digestive tract. It explodes. We’ve all seen it happen. And cleaned it off ourselves. And it can put a first-timer off, so Local Harvest only stocks it sporadically. It is a good idea to open it over a glass.

So I exploded some into a couple of glasses, added as much beer to each glass, and voila! beerbucha was invented. It was very fizzy and foamy. And it was quite tasty, too.

Since that first beerbucha it has become my drink of choice, and has endlessly piqued my friends’ curiosity. I have been experimenting with flavors and types of beers and ratios. I could go into great detail about all this, but it would be more fun for you to experiment on your own. If you have an adventurous spirit, if your friends only drink Stag beer and you just don’t like it, if you are a light-weight, if you crave some refreshment with your beer, if you’re a Belgian beer fan (which I’m not); whatever the reason, I encourage you to give it a try.

It did take a couple of months for folks to catch on, but the staff tried them at their last meeting and they are now being served at our Cafe, so you can try it in a safe environment…

1 Comment

Filed under Beer and Wine, Delicious Tidbits, Fun Stuff That Can't Be Easily Catigorized, New at the Cafe, Recipes, Uncategorized