Friday, September 17, 2010

Fave Food ABCs

As expected, I decided to skip working out today.  I might do some arm weight work tonight, but even that is unlikely. 

Of the 17 weeks I've been officially in training for MTCM now, I've worked out at least 5 days on each of those weeks.  And of those 17 weeks, 4 of them have been weeks where I've worked out every single day (generally meaning 13 straight days of exercise).  Since it's not the same activity every day, I think going 7 days a week is fine sometimes, but I didn't want to do it this close to the race now.  I'm about to transition into major marathon prep mode, which means germ avoidance, alcohol avoidance, extra caution when it comes to pretty much everything (I'd never want to fall down the stairs, but when it's less than 2 weeks to marathon, I will actually make many extra trips up and down the stairs at home so my hands aren't so overloaded I can't hold onto the railing).  And since my 5k strategy for tomorrow may still include running faster than most coaches would advise (I really want one of those cool awards!), I figured a day off today was good. 

Plus, yesterday was my husband's longest workday of the year, so he got home really late last night and also skipped boot camp this morning.  Since that's a workout we usually do together, while I don't mind going solo, it was easier to just stay in bed this morning while he slept and reset my alarm to catch an extra hour of sleep. 

So since there's no workout to write about and not much to report about life in general, I'm stealing this idea from Mary's post on the same subject.  My favorite foods for each letter of the alphabet. 

A:  Apples.  I always say that I love fast food, by which I usually mean apples.  Grab it and go.  Favorite kind are Honeycrisp, but I've only known that for about 3 years.  A co-worker raved about them and now I'm hooked.  Runner-up:  Avocado. 

B:  Brownies (Joy's caramel brownies come to mind first!).  Runner-up:  Baked potatoes (or twice baked potatoes). 

C:  Cheesecake.  One of my favorite foods of all time.  Runner-up:  Cheese.  Another favorite food of all time.  Honorable mention:  Corn on the cob.  Almost made the cut:  Cauliflower.  Lots of C foods I enjoy, one of the toughest letters to choose.  My cheesecake of choice is the recipe of a family friend -- I like it best when she makes it, but I haven't gotten to enjoy that in about 10 years.  I can also make it, but it's never quite as good, but of course I still love it.  I probably make it once a year and then eat more than half of it myself (I usually share the other half with friends or book club; my hubby doesn't like sweets).  

D:  Dolmas -- vegetarian and without pine nuts.  Was reminded on our honeymoon of how much I like these.  Am intimidated by the thought of making them and have never tried.  I heard it takes hours to work on the grape leaves alone, but I'd guess the filling wouldn't be too tough.  Runner-up: Donuts.  Hate to say it.  Eat them less than once a month, but when I do, I eat a bunch!  My faves are blueberry cake and lemon-filled.

E:  Eggplant parmigiana.  Runner-up:  eggplant involtini.  Can you tell I love Italian food?  Honorable mention:  English muffins, which I eat daily. 

F:  Fried mushrooms (if I have to choose one thing), fried cheese sticks, or french fries (probably in that order).  Something fried.  But it has to be good.  I'm kind of picky.  I've only found one place where I really like the fried mushrooms (Hunky's in Dallas), fries are slightly easier but I still don't like them much about half the time I get them, and actually, I'm not even a little picky about cheese sticks.  I almost always like them.  I also like odd specific fried things.  I liked the fried butter at the Texas State Fair last year (tasted like buttery toast to me).  I like the fried eggplant at a pizza place that I adore in Milwaukee (Balastreri's).  Runner-up to all things fried:  Frozen Custard from Leon's in Milwaukee.  I eat it every time I'm in the city, even if it's 10 below 0! 

G:  Grapes, preferably good, large, green, and seedless, though I know seedless is unnatural and modified and all that.  When my husband and I are on our way home from Italy, we sometimes try to look at the bright side and think of things that we're happy to come home to -- since they eat natural (seeded) grapes there, seedless grapes always make my list (a general population that showers daily always makes his list).  When grapes are in my lunch bag, I have trouble concentrating at work until I go to the fridge and get them.  The only days I ever eat them at work in the afternoon are if I've completely forgotten I packed them.  Grapes probably count as one of my all-time favorite foods.  Runner-up:  Gelato (see I).  Honorable mention:  Guacamole.  Didn't even like guacamole until about 2 years after I moved to Texas.  Oh, the many years I missed! 

H:  Hearts of palm.  Love them in salads, make me think of my grandma.  Recently included them in a salad I brought to a running party this summer (saying goodbye to a couple moving away) and was amazed at the number of people who didn't know what they were.  Especially since it's kind of a healthier crowd, I just assumed they'd at least recognize them. 

I:  Ice cream -- actually having trouble thinking of other "I" foods.  Ice cream of choice is B&J's Oatmeal Cookie Chunk (see O below for further detail!).  Don't actually eat that B&J's often.  About 2-3 pints per year, all during marathon season.  As for eating other kinds, it's fairly rare.  Maybe twice a year?  I like gelato though and we eat that almost daily on vacation overseas -- but that's usually only a couple weeks per year.  Runner-up would be Italian food in general, but I couldn't let that be my answer since it kind of seems like cheating since it's so broad. 

J:  Jicama -- another fun salad addition.  Hubby and I meet for Mexican food after my runs that are 20 miles or more so I can replenish my salt levels.  We generally go to a place called Cantina Laredo, and alongside my entree (avocado and artichoke enchiladas), is an unusual salad with jicama, lettuce, red peppers, carrots and mango. 

K:  Kiwis.  Always enjoyed them but didn't eat them regularly until we ate them for breakfast everyday during part of our honeymoon, now I love them with yogurt and remember to ask for them from the grocery store pretty often. 

L:  Liverwurst.  Not!  Trying to decide here.  Lentil curry and lavash are both in consideration, recent things I've started eating.  But since those aren't long-standing L food loves, I'm going to go with Lemon Bars made with my mom's recipe (which was my grandma's recipe I believe). 

M:  Mac and Cheese.  Almost any kind -- gourmet 4-cheese, or basic Kraft spirals.  It's just good stuff.  Another one of my favorite foods of all time (see also C, G, O and P).  Runner-up:  Mushrooms.  Can't seem to get enough of them, on a bun, in a pasta sauce, sauteed over rice, fried.  Pretty much any way except raw (which I'll eat, but isn't ever my preference). 

N:  Nachos?  I had a surprisingly difficult time coming up with an N food that I like.  I'm not a nut person.   For nacho thoughts, see T.  But I also like nachos when I'm at a game or carnival type event that has limited vegetarian options.  I pretty much never make them at home, but I used to like them with Velveeta cheese microwaved over the chips.  My folks would occasionally let us have that as a snack before dinner.  I don't think my husband would ever purchase Velveeta for us.  He's too healthy for all that, but it was really my original cheese love. 

O:  Olives.  One of my top 5 favorite foods.  Used to like only canned black, but have expanded that within the last 15 years to kalamata and green (except when stuffed with pimientos, which I like on their own but don't love with the green olives).  When I was little I used to put them on all my fingers and pretend they were Russian soldiers in hats.  I've been fascinated by Russia most of my life, which is why I was so excited we got to go this year on vacation.  It was my first time there and it was just as incredible as I'd always imagined it would be.  Runner-up:  Oatmeal crispies (a kind of cookie I make with my grandma's recipe). 

P:  Peas.  Probably my favorite food of all time.  Pasta is second, pizza is third, peaches are fourth, popcorn is fifth, Pringles light are sixth.  P was a much tougher letter than I ever would have guessed.  I can actually think of lots of other P foods that I enjoy but don't make the cut. 

Q:  Quiche.  Very cheesy and vegetarian.  I hate quiche if it tastes "eggy."  Love lots of veggies in it to go with all the cheese. 

R:  Raspberries.  Just hate that the seeds get in my teeth and that they spoil quickly, but I also love raspberry-flavored things like smoothies, gelato and cakes, along with anything else that can be raspberry-flavored.  I've recently found that I also enjoy golden raspberries.  Runner-up:  Raisins.  Eat them almost daily on my yogurt usually. 

S:  Strawberries.  Runner-up:  Sandwiches (especially from Gourmet Exxon in Charlottesville, Bashir's in Charlottesville, and Eatzi's in Dallas, those are probably my favorite sandwiches of all time).  Honorable mention:  Skittles, probably the candy I eat most often, but still rare.  I'm not a big candy person.  Until I became a vegetarian in 2001, I definitely would have put steak above strawberries. 

T:  Taco salad.  Ideally with beans, cheese, lettuce, salsa and olives, all in an awesome shell.  Runner-up:  tangerines, especially around Christmas-time. 

U:  Ugly fruit.  Jamaican citrus, frequently available here.  Can't think of many other U choices. 

V:  Vegan Chinese Thanksgiving Buffet!  There's an awesome restaurant here, all vegan, buffet lunch on Saturdays.  I eat like crazy every time I go, about twice a year, so I think of it as my own personal thanksgiving -- I have that same overstuffed feeling when I'm finished.  It's called Suma Veggie Cafe.  The most fake meat I ever eat in one sitting.  My fave dish there reminds me of General Tso's chicken, but without the cruelty!  Oh, I love vegan Chinese thanksgiving!  I am hoping to go with my friend David one Saturday in October.  My husband doesn't love it the way I do, so he's always happy if I can enjoy it with someone other than him. 

W:  White chocolate.  Runner-up:  Wasabi peas (goes with my love of all things peas).  Honorable mention:  Wraps.  Almost made the cut:  Wheat Thins.  Good thing I don't count water as a food, because I love that more than white chocolate.  I drink more water in a day than anyone I know or that my doctor has ever heard of.  I drink so much my doctor was worried and I had to be tested for all kinds of stuff when he found out last year how much I drink.  But I love it and don't often drink anything else.  Wine occasionally, but I'd choose water probably.  But they're drinks and not allowed on this list! 

X:  Xtra side of cheese!  Haha.  Can't think of anything. 

Y:  Yogurt, which I love and eat daily, sometimes twice daily, but I actually can't think of other choices for Y really. 

Z: Zucchini.  Another tough letter, but one of my favorite vegetables.  Especially grilled.

So my actual all-time fave foods, attempting to put in order:  Peas, Grapes, Cheesecake, Olives, Cheese, Macaroni & Cheese.  Mmm.... 

Not the best fuel for a 5k tomorrow, but all I can think about right now is a day enjoying all of those foods!

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