Saturday, February 6, 2010

Comfort Food for the Snowed-in Student

Today I hit upon two ideas so delicious that I am at a loss to explain how they never before entered my mind. And, of course, both were healthy and nearly sugar-free.

The first was a delightful little mid-morning snack that hit the spot so well, I had to have it again for my lunch. It is such a simple idea, too! I mixed sugar-free tapioca pudding with sugar-free vanilla pudding, and then added sliced-up strawberries. Ambrosia in a bowl! Why did I never before think of this? Another treat that I'll be indulging in tomorrow is the Jello that I fixed. No, not your typical boring Jello. I like to mix one package of the sugar-free cranberry with a package of sugar-free raspberry, and then add real fruit. In this instance, I put in pre-pitted sweet cherries (all berries are low on the glycemic index, thus making them a dietary staple for me).

For dinner, I had teriyaki pork loin that I cooked in my crockpot for about five hours. It was so tender and moist that the meat practically disintegrated on the fork! Teriyaki sauce is usually sugary, but I learned today that it still comes out very well using agave nectar. My usual sweeteners are Sweet 'n Low for coffee and tea, and Splenda for everything else. Agave nectar is better, and has the wonderful attributes of not affecting blood sugar at all, as well as being 100% natural and good for you. Unfortunately, it is also expensive and difficult to find. I try to reserve it for special dishes. Today, as I am once again snowed-in, I felt it was a great day for using agave nectar.

Tomorrow, I'm planning to fix a sugar-free stir-fry for my lunch. The great thing about stir-frying is that you can use up any leftover meats, and nearly all vegetables do well when cooked this way. Now, sadly, I can no longer have carrots or baby corn in my stir-fries, but there are a whole host of other vegetables at my disposal. Carrots and baby corn (or any corn), obviously, are too high on the glycemic index - both are pure starch and not only affect blood sugar, but also entice the body into putting on more weight. Raw carrots are okay in moderation, but they lose all nutritive value when cooked. To play it safe, I just gave them up altogether. The benefits found in raw carrots can also be found in other vegetables which are lower on the glycemic index, as well as being more versatile (i.e. you can cook them without losing nutritive value).

Aside from eating comfort foods and indulging in a DVD, today was also a great day for getting some of my reading done. One of my professors, sadly, has an apparent desire to kill off students by means of the books he has chosen. The past two were so dull that they made me want to stick my head in the oven (which really would have done no good, since I have an electric oven, but I'm sure you catch my meaning). The most recent book, a work on consumer society during Fin-de-Siecle France, seems a bit more promising so far, for which I am duly grateful. My other professors, thankfully, have been far kinder in their reading choices, choosing books which are both informative as well as interesting.

Tomorrow, I will be focusing my reading efforts on some of the books I'm using for my largest paper of the semester. As the paper is over a topic that I find fascinating (the work of Britain's Special Operations Executive during WWII), I am looking forward to delving deep into research. I'll come up for air long enough for meals, but I intend to get 10-12 hours of research under my belt tomorrow, as opposed to my usual 6-8 hours. Yes, I really spend that much time reading each day, AND still find time to cook, clean, do DIY projects, get in shape for the Army, spend time with Jasper, and maintain my blog. What can I say, I'm Superwoman! Or, I don't have cable, have no social life, and have given up on the luxury of 8 hours of sleep per night.

Well, time to indulge in a little me-time. I have a Victorian novel and a hot bath waiting. Fin-de-Siecle France can get by without me for awhile - I'll pick it up again on Sunday.

UPDATE: I just learned that I spent the day reading the wrong book - the one I read won't be used for another week. Great; now I have another book to read: the correct one!

No comments:

"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"