What I’ll Be Drinking for the Rest of the Summer

The dreamy and verdant possibilities of early summer have already melted into the haze and sluggishness of late June.  Instead of charting out a novel, or planning a stargazing trip, my mental energy is focused on simply avoiding a sunburned noggin and counting the days until my neighborhood grocery store reopens.   I’m already at the point where I’ll settle for a few cookouts and a bit of mild, age-appropriate mischief.  At least I already know the most important thing:  what I’m going to be drinking.

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This is Who I Am

I was going to write about smoothies this week but it just seems easier to write about pork belly.

Now, even I can’t be “The Bacon Guy” every day.   I’ve worked hard these past seven months or so to change my eating habits, making sure I have plenty of fruit in the morning and trying to center my evening meals around vegetables and whole grains.  I’ve developed a strange affinity for turnip greens and no longer grimace when unsweetened iced tea crosses the threshold of my mouth and I really, really think the world would be a better place if we were all a little bit thoughtful about what we ate.

Okay… I get it.

But at some point we have to take stock and remember who we are. Yes, I still eat bacon. Yes, this is still a blog about pork products. Yes, I still think about ways to adding bacon to popcorn and toffee and yes I still grunt primally when I smell it from eight miles away, and yes I would fight man three times my size in an alley in the seedy back alleys of Barcelona for the last piece of perfectly seasoned chorizo (I would totally frikkin win, too) and yes, I want to lurk in the trees like Rambo and pounce upon wild boar with my knife and build an elaborate necklace out of its rib bones and yes, I want to smear myself in pig fat and run through the streets singing “alouette” at the top of my lungs.

But I’d settle for some pork belly.

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Question. What do vegetarian zombies eat?

Tee Hee. Anyway, I offer you the following cogent facts.

1. I enthusiastically maintain a bacon blog.
2. The last chocopot will be pulled from my cold, dead, sticky fingers.
2a I’m sorry if you clicked that link and didn’t already know how bad I need to clean my stove.
3. I have a family history of diabetes.
4. I need caffeine and am very picky about how I get it. Sometimes this means dirty dancing with the soda machines.
5. It is no longer 1993 and I am no longer able or even remotely inclined to run 30 miles a week. (yet)
So. 6. Obviously, eating well is a critical day-to-day challenge for me.

I mean, the exercise part is going to take care of itself. After about two months of running, I did get my first weight loss compliment the other day, which made me feel really good. But, like I said, I’ve been working on eating better, too.

It all started with this “health fair” they had at work. At first I was only in it for the $25 gift card, but I figured how much could it hurt to actually have my cholesterol and blood pressure checked?

Well, have you ever read Edgar Allan Poe’s short story, “The Tell-Tale Heart?” Toward the end of the story, the murderer is visited by three very polite police inspectors, who simply and calmly talk to the murderer… and witness a complete breakdown and confession.

It was like that.

They were sitting around me at the table in the break room with the results of my screening just looking at me. My glucose is normal and my blood pressure is fine. But I could stand to drop some weight and my “bad” cholesterol was, well, bad.

“Have you ever thought about whole grains?”

Never leave me a comic opening.

“Yeah, I have ‘thought’ about whole grains. But I bake all my own bread and I figure that if I want whole grains I can just use white flour and eat a Goddamn Flinstones Chewable.”

Now, I’m not sure of the precise words that came out of my mouth. But I am COMPLETELY certain that I did actually say “Goddamn Flinstones Chewable.”

The Health Fair Ladies were not impressed. At all.

Despite my snarkyness, their point was well taken. The “1/4 cup of whole wheat flour I typically add to my 3 cups of bread flour when I bake bread” thing just isn’t cutting it anymore.

So the key was finding something I liked. I settled on this.

I really do suck at cooking brown and wild rice, partially because I am an impatient person and partially because I never add enough water. The instructions always say about three cups of liquid for each cup of rice, I’ve never been able to do it with fewer than like five.

Unfortunately after I started the cooking I forgot about Mark Bittman’s brown rice pilaf. I’ll do that next time.

So, basically, I wated to report that I’ve found a healthy meal option.

Brown Rice: Add an ass-ton of water and boil it.
Broccoli: steam or blanch it. (I steamed it here)

Also, pretend that you don’t see that piece of andouille sausage there. Really.

One cup of rice and one rubber banded “thing” of broccoli made enough for one meal

And a tasty bento box.