Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Kicking the Habit

As a step toward feeling better and NOT as a New Year's resolution, I have decided to try and dial-back sugar consumption in our household. It is going so-so.

On the upside, I have discovered stevia. It has already replaced the teaspoon of sugar in my coffee, with none of the tummy-burning side effects of some of the other "alternative" sweeteners that I've tried. It's a small win, but I'll take what I can get.

On the downside, I am still firmly in the grip of an intense sugar jones, and am probably not a lot of fun to be around at the moment. The kids are also not taking things so well. After our Voodoo Doughnut binge (the blame for which lands squarely on Anthony Bourdain), the withdrawl has been unpleasant. I know, that just like exercise, the first few days to a week are the painful part, after which you start feeling benefits and eventually end up feeling better than ever. It's the getting there that's not so fun.

Next on my list of healthful adventures - the making and drinking of green smoothies. I'm not expecting them to be received with open arms, but we're going to give it an honest go. This is going to be an interesting week around here...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I like to prune it, prune it

The modest increase in daylight seems to have given rise to a mild case of Spring fever in yours truly. Unfortunately, my cranky arthritic joints aren't really on board with all of the gardening & cleaning chores that my panicked brain insists that I get cracking on. As a sort of mind-body compromise, I've been doing some of the lighter yard work, like pruning my zillions of trees.

In reviewing the layout of our yard and garden over the past year, we've had to make a few difficult decisions about which plants and trees will be staying, and which ones will not. It is honestly painful for me to cut down a healthy tree, but I've decided that sacrificing a few for the good of the many is the best course of action. They are just too crowded, and if left to grow to maturity, will completely blot out the sun in several parts of our yard. And so, seven or eight of my poor little trees have a date with destiny this coming weekend. I console myself by knowing that the harvested wood will be used well, and by promising to plant at least as many new trees (in more appropriate locations and of varieties better suited to our climate and our family's needs) as trees that will be taken down.

In fact, just today I picked up a 3-variety dwarf apple tree from Costco. It will bear us Gala, Chehalis and (my favorite) Honeycrisp apples, yet remain nice and compact, without throwing too much shade or crowding out other plants & trees. It is a little surprise gift for my darling husband, who makes a mean jug of hard cider and has been pining after (pun totally intended) his own fruit trees with which to make his potent potables. But before the reward comes the work, so angry knees & shoulders or not, I'll be outside quite a bit this week, pruning and chopping. Uhg.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Field Trip – Boulder, Colorado

Well, it appears that my fount of snappy titles hath run dry. I’m going to go ahead and blame it on these past few days’ lack of oxygen and/or excessive wine intake because… well I can’t think of anything else to blame it on.

For 48 whole hours, I managed to shake the confines of my lovely but too familiar hometown, and sneak away to Boulder, Colorado with the hubby. ‘Twas lovely.

I got to spend the day tooling around the town solo while the hubster toiled away, earning that paycheck that I so gleefully redistributed in the city’s lovely shops and funky little restaurants. In the evening, Bill & I met up and had dinner at a little bistro on Pearl Street, SALT. The food there is incredible, and in addition to being tasty, is also seasonal, locally sourced and organic. Everything we ate and drank there was phenomenal, but the serious show-stopper was the Dark Chocolate Caramel Salt Tart. Words cannot describe…

In addition to eating and drinking, which I probably did just a little too much of, I went on an odd but interesting tour of the Celestial Seasonings tea factory.

I learned a lot about how teas are made (Egyptian red hibiscus is what puts the “zing” in their Zinger teas), and got to spend a good 10 minutes inside a room in the factory, known as “The Mint Room”. The mint leaves, you see, must be sequestered from the rest of the other tea ingredients because of the sheer potency of their aroma. Visiting the mint room is a polarizing experience. Folks love it or hate it. I, for one, have horrible sinuses, so my minty experience was a therapeutic one. I huffed and snorted the menthol-y goodness, while other tourists, eyes watering and noses burning, were forced to cry "uncle" and step out.

I also attempted to take a tour of the Redstone Meadery, but arriving too late, was forced to settle instead for a tasting of half a dozen of their exquisite meads, darn it all. ;)

Good food, cool people, and a breathtaking landscape. John Denver was right, people. He was right.