The Importance of a Culture of Positivity, and the Friday 5 for June 22, 2012 – Scattergories, Part II

On Wednesday, I had dinner with a much-beloved friend and mentor, even, at Momocho. Go for the margaritas, stay for the good company. …And the calavera t-shirts. I ate like a horse, from guacamole to smoked Gouda tamale dumplings.
One of the things that struck me about having dinner with my friend is how much I need to surround myself with positive people, people who are supportive of me, and believe in me, especially when I don’t believe in me.
I try to be a good mentor to others, and be their biggest cheerleader, because it is critical to developing not only them, but also myself. Because I believe in a culture of positivity, it’s imperative to support other people.  But at the same time cheerleading cannot be a one-way street: I need to feel reciprocity, otherwise, I just find that my well gets tapped too fast if I’m doing all the cheering, all the time.
It was nice to get a chance to have someone else help me refocus on what I want out of my life, and know that I can get there.
Big weekend, the final push before the end of the first summer session. It went by too fast, and I have a paper to write on Sunday, after a brief respite down in Columbus. I’m looking forward to getting some time away, no matter how short or busy it is.
In the meantime, feast on a more-dynamic Friday 5.
  1. What random letter was generated by the online random-letter generator? (this doesn’t really count as one of your five questions) B
  2. What food item, whose name begins with the letter in question #1, are you most likely to eat within the next few days? Charlie and I are headed down to Columbusthis weekend for an overnight from Saturday night into Sunday morning, where we will be getting together with our dear friends for breakfast, so there will definitely be bacon.
  3. What item, whose name begins with the letter in question #1, are you most likely to purchase this weekend? I am placing an order on Amazon in the next few days to replace my daily multivitamin stock, of which, will be included a bottle of Biotin Forte for my hair, skin and nails.
  4. What famous person, whose last name begins with the letter in question #1, makes you think thoughts you probably shouldn’t? Anthony Bourdain. I love me a well-read, foul-mouthed, way-with-words foodie.
  5. What is your favorite film whose title begins with the letter in question #1? The Big Lebowski; I wouldn’t hold out much hope for the tape deck…or the Creedence….
  6. What geographical location, whose name begins with the letter in question #1, are you most likely to see within the next few days? I will be in Berea, I’m sure at some point, this weekend.


Chocolate Protein Pankcakes

I’m not a “sweet” breakfast person. I’d just as soon eat a single pancake for dessert than a stack of them for breakfast. As of late, the only exception for this are the yeast-risen, hot-breakfast-cereal-mix silver dollar pancakes my dad made for us as kids. Mostly, you’re just as likely to see me eating a piece of fruit, granola bar, or a sandwich for breakfast, rather than “typical breakfast” foods.

But, in light of the fact that I’m trying to work on 20 pounds of body recomposition, high-protein breakfasts are  integral to me to firm up the muscles. I do the best I can to pack protein into my diet through the day, but breakfast is still one of those things that I’m getting the hang of.

Add to that I have a huge canister of chocolate whey protein that I’m having the hardest time getting through. I keep thinking that I’m going to make protein shakes, but I rarely get around to it.

Cue me seeing this recipe for protein pancakes that uses protein powder as the base. I cannot stand oatmeal, dry or cooked, and quinoa has tons of protein for a grain, so that’s what I subbed in.

These pancakes freeze beautifully, so feel free to do that with your leftovers. There’s a good chance you will have leftovers, too, as these pancakes are pretty filling! These pancakes aren’t “light,” but the calories come not from added sugars or fats, but from natural sources that will keep you sustained until you can get to your next meal.

Protein-Loaded Pancakes
adapted from Little Girl, Big Appetite
yields 3-4 pancakes

1.5 scoops protein powder
.5 c cooked quinoa (or dry oatmeal)
2 tbsp whole wheat flour
.5 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp ground flax or chia seeds (optional)
pinch of salt
1 whole egg (or two egg whites)
.5 c milk (cow’s, almond, soy…your choice)

  1. Cook quinoa per package instructions, set aside.
  2. Heat skillet to medium heat.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients (protein powder, baking powder, flour, salt, ground flaxseeds/chia seeds, and oatmeal, if you’re using that).
  4. Whisk eggs and milk together, add to dry ingredients.
  5. Add the set-aside quinoa. Mix batter to spackle-consistency.
  6. Cook pancakes about 2-3 minutes per side (flip when the first side gets large bubbles that burst and crater pancakes) and cook until golden brown.

That’s not all, though! I don’t like dry pancakes, but maple syrup on chocolate pancakes is a strange flavor combination, so try this as your syrup to pack in more protein!

Nut Butter “Syrup”
adapted from Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures

.5 cup nut butter (any kind: almond, peanut butter, cashew)
.5 cup local honey (good flavor, and local will have tons of local pollen to help build your immunity to local allergens)

  1. In a small pan, heat syrup and nut butter over low heat.
  2. Whisk together until nut butter butter is melted and the mixture is smooth.
  3. Serve warm over pancakes.

NaBloPoMo’11: Wino Forever

Part of the reason why I’m looking froward to dinner is because I will be bringing not only the Bacon Cheddar Scones from yesterday’s post, but also wine.

In the past, wine hasn’t been my drink of choice, but mostly because the really dry wines aggravate my heartburn. As I’ve leaned towards the sweeter wines, I’ve enjoyed them more. I’ve tried some wine and food pairings on dinners out and enjoyed it.

I don’t know if I’m at the point where I’m ready to do wine tours and uncork a bottle just to watch TV, but I feel like there’s no better time to try my own hand at pairing wine and chow than at one of the most ceremonial dinners of the year. I picked out two Moscatos and a Chardonnay for Charlie’s mom, but I tasted it, and it was so good, I might finish whatever she doesn’t drink.

Who knows? Maybe this is the beginning of a new holiday tradition.

NaBloPoMo’11: Tony

See that tiny flesh-colored dot there, below the big gray screen? You do?  Oh good, that makes one of us, then.

That right there, my friends, is one Anthony Bourdain.

Way back when Charlie and I started dating, he offered to take me to my first concert, which was Type O Negative (may Peter Steele rest in peace). I’d never listened to Type O before (and haven’t since), they weren’t really my thing, but I liked Charlie, and I wanted to enjoy the things that he liked, so I went with him.

Simply put, even after the concert, they weren’t for me. At all.

I was worried that there would be a reverse repeat of the situation, and Charlie would be bored the whole time, and wonder why I’d brought him. Charlie spent the whole night smiling and laughing, even guffawing louder than me during some parts of the show. True, he didn’t get how awesome it was that Zamir introduced Mr. Bourdain before coming out, but he couldn’t stop chattering in the car about what he liked about the show, what he agreed with, and agreed that he needed to read Anthony’s books.

Last night’s show touched on all of the major themes that Bourdain talks about in his books and his show: food as an art and a cultural unifier, how to be a student of the world and a good steward of cultural relations, and using both of the aforementioned themes to build a better world. All of course, injected with the intelligence and humor that is his signature style and why I keep going back to his books and any show he’s on.

It was more than worth the price of admission. And it really solidified the gelatin of an idea I had in my head that I have all of these things that I love, and I need to see them in person to add a different layer to the painting. This means making a point to go to book signings of authors I like, to a comedian’s show, maybe going to a tweetup or a ‘Con. Something like that.

And in small world news, I ran into the couple that had sat down the table from me when I went out to dinner at Momocho in August. While waiting for my date for the evening, I started chatting with them about food and the food scene around Cleveland, and had mentioned that Anthony Bourdain was coming to Cleveland, and I’d bought my tickets. Turns out, after I’d gushed so much, they read some of Bourdain’s books, watched the show, and bought tickets to the show. I didn’t get to say goodbye when they finished their dinner (I was pretty hammered on Happy Hour margaritas at that point), but I thought about them from time to time. So weird that I ran into them: I think it was a circle that was meant to be connected.

Mmm Pie!

Well, I’ve bought another year subscription for a Flickr Pro account, so you will continue to see photos cross-posted between there and here, and some expanded photos there.
Because pie crusts are so damn finicky, I tend to avoid making apple pie, even if it is several people’s favorites. But, since I got the press punch I mentioned in my last post, I thought I’d make a go of it. Here’s how it went:

I ended up making two: one for my family, and one for Sunday Night Dinner. They were hits in both houses.Here’s some tips I have about pie making:
  • use your grandma’s recipe: she knew what she was doing
  • use lard: it’s not as bad for you as those would have you believe, as long as you are using non-shelf-stable (i.e. needs to be refrigerated) stuff
  • roll out that pie dough on sheets of saran: much easier to roll, way easier to get into a pie pan

And, now I have enough leftover apples that I think I’m going to make some Apple Brown Betty.