Ratchet Salad/Whatever Dinner

Isn’t it so great that when you decide to eat healthy (or try, happy syttende mai, Norske Nook lefse and pie), there’s a huge thunderstorm outside and there’s nothing in the house to eat?

I started off with some sliced meat I found. I think I had four bites before being like…yeah, it doesn’t expire for another month but it sure feels that way. For some reason, I had two bags of radishes, and not much else. So I ended up having a ratchet lady-from-work salad consisting of lettuce, a ton of sliced radish, some dried cranberries, and…that was it. Tossed with some oil and vinegar, it actually wasn’t too bad. I topped off the meal with some basil and herb couscous.

And of course, now the rain has stopped, but I don’t feel like going outside, especially if it starts raining again. Apparently this is what my life has come to. That, and reorganizing my bookshelf.


The Ballad of the Salad

It’s been four days now since the start of my latest attempt to get myself healthier. I don’t know if it’s working, but I’ve exercised every day, and I can count on one hand how many non-essential carbs I’ve had (a free sample of cake at the supermarket and a slice of banana bread before teaching my first class yesterday). Breakfast has been eggs, yogurt, fruit, and oatmeal in some order; midday foods have been tuna lettuce wraps, chicken, whole grain pasta, and salads; and dinners have been soups and salads.

I think I’ve eaten more salad in the last few days than I have in a year.

I mean…when there are all these wonderful foods in the world, who wants a boring old salad? Nothing like a hot, steaming salad.

But I’ve been attempting to jazz up my salads by adding some fun and healthy items to them. Tonight’s salad was lettuce, a quarter of an onion and half a cucumber (sliced with my Sharper Image veggie slicer), sun-dried tomatoes, and topped with pepper, olive oil, and some red wine vinegar for flavor, just like my grandmother used to make.

So, readers…how do you make your salads more pleasing to your palate?

Any suggestions considered.


Shame on You, Archer Farms Bagged Vegetables

So, earlier this week, Archer Farms bagged veggies were on sale at Target, so I bought some and made them. I usually have pretty good luck with store-bought bagged veggies, but these…

Were VILE.

First, I tried the broccoli/cauliflower/carrot mix. It smelled rancid after I cooked it, and too foul to eat. I had to toss it in the trash immediately. When I went out and came back later, I wanted to apologize to my entire floor for stinking it up with gross rancid vegetables.

And today, sweet potatoes. They looked okay in the bag, and when I heated them up, they didn’t smell too bad. But when I tasted them…

Sticky. Hard. Gross.

I bought Mann’s organic veggies and made them, and they tasted fantastic. Or at least what bagged vegetables in the microwave should taste like.

Ugh. Healthy eating should be less risky than this.


And It’s Still Passover…

And now that it seems like my blog is entirely about my lack of energy and food qualms, here’s some more about my lack of energy and food qualms.

So, I posted on my Facebook about my misadventures with Passover cooking, and immediately got meal invites (and local ones too…I feel special) so I ended up having dinner at the Gellers’ tonight, and at Rabbi Rebecca’s place for lunch on Saturday. I was going to go over to Hanna’s for dinner tomorrow night, but I don’t think that’s happening anymore due to a change of plan. Still, my stomach’s kinda bleh and it’s been crazy hard to focus. In addition, it just seems like other than a few people, no one is observing Passover around here. I’ve been going to Hillel for lunch, and it’s basically been me, the people who work there, some adults, and maybe one or two other students.

Dinner was fantastic though. Even the matzah tastes better when you’re around a table with 9 other humans (11 if you count the babies). They had some kind of orange soup, delicious baked fish, kugel, vegetarian lasagna, and pound cake, and much fun was had. This weekend is going to be full of work I don’t want to do, but I gots to make the most of it. At least I’ll only have to deal with Passover until Saturday night.

Oh, and despite flagging visitors, I got a six-continent day, so hello North America (USA), South America (Brazil), Europe (UK, Ireland, Portugal, and Greece), Asia (Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, and India), Africa (South Africa) and Oceania (Australia)!


A Riddle for A Wednesday Evening

What comes once a year, takes away your appetite while at the same time enlarging it, makes you about as energetic as a dying slug, gives you pornographic thoughts about donuts, wreaks havoc on your social life, gives you inexplicable itching in weird places and causes you to write annoying riddles and bad poetry?


Since the seders last week, I’ve had mushy pasta with gross, smelly tomato sauce; way-too-expensive gefilte fish; soupy mashed potatoes; an extremely dry chicken salad; macaroons that are either too soft or too hard but ultimately too full of calories; couscous with a weird flavor/texture; and way too much matzah.

At least it’ll all be over Saturday.

Also, I realized that I never bought any paper/plastic plates, so I’ve been eating my meals out of cups. Not having plates actually hasn’t been that bad.


A List of All My Food Vices

Food and I have always had a tenuous relationship. As I sit here, on my couch, I contemplate all my eating choices, just about constantly. I feel like I eat too little, then eat too much of the wrong things, then eat too infrequently, and then I get headaches and stomachaches.

So, here is everything I love putting in my face in hopes it’ll make me feel better. If this was all I could eat for the rest of my life, I’d have absolutely no problems. Coincidentally, it’s also all probably terrible for me.


  • Twizzlers
  • Just about anything chocolate
  • A sprinkled donut from Dunkin’ Donuts
  • Twizzlers Bites
  • Bridge mix
  • Malted chocolate balls
  • Jujyfruits
  • Chocolate chip cookies

Carb-y Stuff

  • Popcorn
  • Tortellini
  • Pretzels
  • Cheez-Its
  • Pretzel Bread
  • Sushi rice
  • Gardetto’s
  • Challah


  • Bananas
  • Clementines
  • Strawberries

And this is why I have problems.


Emily Pudding

That’s So Jacob Presents:

That’s So Nom: Treats and Eats from Jacob’s Completely Amateur Kitchen

Episode 6: Emily Pudding

You’re probably saying to yourself, “well that’s an unusual title for a post.” And I am here to say…that yes, it is. Lost night, a friend of mine on Facebook posted a meme game describing your burlesque name: the name of your first pet + the last thing you ate. I have never had any pets, other than a few fish whose names I’ve forgotten (I think at one point I had a Lars, an Abigail, and a Goldie, or something like that) but in seventh grade, I had a plant who I called Emily. I also had two cacti around the same time, called Lenny and Squiggy due to their resemblances to David Lander (Lenny was tall, spiky and skinny) and Michael McKean (Squiggy was a short, fuzzy, round one). I can’t remember what type of plant Emily was – she might have been a flower, or some ivy – but maybe this is a sign that I should go and buy another plant and name her Emily. And the pudding refers to an unusual pudding dessert/treat/thing I got from one of my favorite recipe sites, The Picky Eater Blog, run by Anjali.

The recipe is for Chocolate Mousse with Raspberries, but I couldn’t find any raspberries (not the season) and it ended up more like a pudding, so it shall hereby be known as Emily Pudding. Here’s how to make it.

  1. Toss a half cup of chia seeds, 1/4 cup of chocolate PROTEIN powder (fitness for the win), 1 cup of milk, and 1 squeeze of honey into your grandmother’s ancient blender.
  2. Blend a little, and when the machine starts to rattle because it forgot how to blender, turn it off, give it a stir, scrape the excess chia off the sides, and blend again.
  3. Chill for 15 minutes. In the fridge. The gloppy mixture, not you.
  4. Scrape it into a bowl, add in 1 cup of fat-free Greek yogurt, and mix it with a mixer.
  5. Notice that it’s a little more chewy than creamy, and tastes a bit off, so add some sprinkles of Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa powder.
  6. Finish most of it yourself while watching TV.

Serves 1 hungry Ph.D. and 2 girls across the hall who enjoy pudding.

This is Emily Blunt eating pudding.


Some Really Bad Homemade Food and Some Really Awesome Airport Food

I originally published this post on December 27, with the intention of finishing it when I got home later that night, but that didn’t happen, so here it is.

So, that morning/afternoon, I was doing the usual, lazily packing and at the library and stuff, when I realized that I was running out of time before going to the airport and needed to eat something. So I opted for Kitchen of India’s Biryani with Rice Pilaf. The image on the packaging looked tasty enough, but I suspected something was up when one of the instructions was “break up the material in the package with a spoon before heating.” I did so, and then heated it, but it in a bowl, and…terrible. I got through two bites before throwing the whole thing in the garbage. I hate wasting food, but it tasted that bad. It smelled just fine, but I could not get over the pungent, smoky taste of the thing. And at this point, I was officially out of time and had to hightail it to the airport to catch my first flight of the day, to Minneapolis.

Once in Minneapolis, I had to walk what seemed to be forever (and judging by the pedometer on my iPhone, I certainly got more than enough walking in that day despite sitting on two planes) and ended up in the G terminal, AKA the really fancy one with the iPad tables and the food court thing. I was hungry, and I had brought with me the rest of a loaf of bread. Now, the challenge was to find something to put on said bread that was not ridiculously expensive. Either that, or settle for an overpriced airport meal. Fortunately, in my wanderings around the food court, I took a second look at the salad bar/hot bar, and noticed that they had tuna salad and couscous a la carte, and at $8.99 a pound? I shoveled about two large scoops of each into a container, and along with a Snapple, paid just $10.79 for enough tuna and couscous to make two sandwiches, with some of each left over, and it tasted pretty good too, and I could’ve gone way, way unhealthier. So score for me.

Next week’s flight back to Madison is connecting through Atlanta, so hopefully I’ll have enough time to go over to the fancy food court in their airport and get something.


A Hot Food Review on a Chilly Day

The other day, I went to the store and bought some new foods to try over Christmas. One of them was Patel’s Dal Tadka Lentil Curry.

According to the packaging, it is a product of India, but is distributed by Raja Foods out of Skokie, Illinois.It doesn’t have a kosher symbol on it, but it bills itself as “100% Vegetarian,” so I’m inclined to believe it.

In terms of preparation, it took about 2 minutes in the microwave, and came out looking a little soupier than the picture on the packaging, but it still smelled and tasted all right. It was not very filling and it was not as spicy as I thought it might be, despite having cumin in it, but it was still decent. Would buy again.

For tonight’s dinner, I’m trying some Near East Quinoa with Rosemary and Olive Oil. Although, since I had to add my own olive oil, how much could possibly be in there?

I had a feeling this post would be painfully boring. Don’t worry, tomorrow I’m heading home to Baltimore via Minneapolis (west to go east?) for a few weeks, so that will be an adventure there, and getting there.