Saturday, October 31, 2009

What's your favorite Halloween candy?

Getting ready for Halloween
Originally uploaded by love_yellow

I'll admit that I have become a chocolate snob. It's the only candy I eat so if I'm going to treat myself to something sweet, it's gotta be the good stuff... chocolate by the higher end makers and usually dark (60-75%). Neither I nor my husband enjoy the non-chocolate candy (the pure sugar stuff), so that doesn't make it into our house, with the exception of Finnish salmiakki that's gifted to us by his family every so often (but only little of it gets eaten).

BUT every year at Halloween I indulge in those "lower end" chocolate candies because of the fond memories I have of trick-or-treating as a kid. My favorites haven't changed over the years. I think my favorites will always be:

- Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
- Snickers
- Mounds
- M&M's (preferably peanut, but plain is fine too)
- KitKat

Chocolate is a requirement. I also loved Necco's as a kid and I see they've remade them recently with all natural ingredients. But as an adult I just don't enjoy the pure sugar candies - the sugar has to be accompanied by chocolate and fat for me to enjoy them. But I would probably taste the new Necco's if I come across them.

Every year I have the same dilemma... should I buy candy that I like or candy that I won't eat?

If I have leftover candy that I like then I'm happy that I can enjoy the leftovers. But I obviously don't need it and shouldn't be eating it, especially with the upcoming holiday eating season coming up! Which is precisely the reason why I should really purchase candy that I won't eat.

Oh what a dilemma. Thankfully I only have to face this decision once a year.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Lucky to have lemons

No... this post is NOT about making lemonade when life gives you lemons. It's about my lemon tree!

I feel so lucky to have a lemon tree that produces lemons constantly almost all year long. I love squeezing a little lemon juice in my drinking water - it's so refreshing and cleansing.

The lemons don't all come at once where I have one big harvest during the summer - they pretty much come all year long. It does take a break every once in a while but I only go 3 months maximum without having access to fresh lemons.

And about every other year I lose all my lemons in the deep freeze of winter, when the temperature drops to freezing point for several days in a row. Yes, it does hit the freezing point here in Northern California.

I truly feel fortunate to have such a wonderful gift from nature. I look at my tree every day from my kitchen window while I make breakfast or wash the dishes - it's the centerpiece of the view to my backyard.

Did you know that lemons are actually alkalizing?
It's commonly believed that lemon is acidic because it's sour in taste. However, in the view of nutritional science, lemon is an alkaline food.

When we take in lemon juice it'll oxidize to form water, carbon dioxide and an inorganic compound. If it contains more sodium, potassium or calcium, it'll become an alkaline food. Because when sodium compounds dissolve in water, it forms an alkaline solution.

Learn about the nutritional benefits of lemon on the WHFoods site.

Pruning the tree...
My husband trimmed a few branches a couple of weeks ago and so I got a nice harvest just from the branches that came down.

The tree had been invaded by some insects near the base of the trunk so we thought we were going to lose it. But my husband did some tree surgery - removed all of the dead wood and sealed it. I fertilized it a bit after that and after 2 years it seems to be doing well.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Basil from my garden

Basil from my garden
Originally uploaded by love_yellow

While I love the change of seasons I hate that I have to harvest all of my basil, or else the leaves turn yellow and tasteless.

My tomatoes are pretty much done so I had to buy a couple of heirloom tomatoes from the supermarket. Also picked up a chunk of fresh mozzarella.

This could have been my last summer salad - we are well into October after all. I do feel lucky to be in Northern California where I can still harvest basil in October.

I like to serve my Caprese salad over a bed of organic mixed greens. Makes me feel like I'm eating more greens... and I guess I am! :-)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

McCann's steel cut oatmeal

They've changed their packaging and I do like the new one better. Old on the left, new on the right.

My husband eats oatmeal every morning (with blueberries). He's tried all of the brands, including the local Trader Joe's steel cut 5-minute oatmeal, and he says this is the best. It's hard to find in supermarkets so I have to order it online.

I'd love to buy a local product so if anyone has any suggestions, please let me know! It has to be quick cooking steel cut oats. He won't eat the rolled oats, nor the steel cut that takes 30 minutes to cook.

P.S. This photo was taken with my iPhone and uploaded using the Flickr app. I use both the Flickr app and the DarkSlide app - neither are perfect so I'm using both until one has all the features I need and a UI that I like.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Late July organic cookies

Never go grocery shopping when you have a sweet tooth. You always end up with stuff in your cart that you would not have picked up otherwise.

On my last trip to the "healthy food" store I came home with a box of these organic cookies.

Vanilla bean with green tea filling in chocolate cookies. Pretty good but... too sweet.

It drives me crazy that all cookies are made with too much sugar. Can't anyone just make some good cookies and dial down the sugar? Would no one in America buy them if the sugar content was lowered by about 30-40%? Can there be an option to put some of the sugar on the side and just add it if you want more?

Just because they're organic and were purchased at the "health food" store, it doesn't mean they're actually good for you... I know that. That's why I usually bake my own and later the recipes to my liking. But I would REALLY love to find some great healthy-ish cookies with a less sugar. Is that too much to ask?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

On Blogging

Well it's been a while since I updated my blog. I got busy at work, then went on vacation for several weeks and getting out of the habit made me put my blog way on the back burner.

Not that I haven't thought about topics I want to blog about. It's just that I felt guilty about the time I would spend sitting down to write about it when there's a hundred other important things to do.

So I decided that instead of thinking about my blog entries as a long thoughtful essay or one that's filled with interesting or valuable info or recipes and instructions... that it would be OK to just post short entries. That quickly jotting thoughts, ideas and reflections is perfectly fine.

That revelation may just motivate me to write more consistently from now on!

Do you maintain a blog? If so, what drives you to write? And what drives you to write consistently? Even if you have few or zero followers, do you feel obligated to keep your blog up to date? :-)

BTW, I'm sure you know by now but if not, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Here are a couple of sites where you can learn more about breast cancer.