Day 3 – I am Hungry Challenge

Today was rough.  It wasn’t about not enough food, it was about not being near my food when I needed it.

First I woke up with swollen eyes.  I’m guessing because of the sodium in the canned tomatoes from the fondue from last night’s dinner.

For breakfast I had my usual oatmeal and half a banana.  Although we were running late for school, so I didn;t get to finish it.  My daughter had her yogurt, with granola and fruit.  My son had a 42 second egg and cinnamon toast.  What’s a 42 second egg?  I crack an egg into a ramekin and mix in a splash of milk, then cover with a piece of wax paper (important so it doesn’t explode all over).  This timing works for my microwave.  But you may have to adjust for yours.  It’s a great, quick way to make an egg.

My son's toast and 42 second egg

I made the school lunches.  Typical veggie, fruit, crunchy snack (here crackers) and roll up.  His is turkey and hers is hummus (remember she doesn’t eat meat).  It looks like an orange color theme today.

school lunch

My planning problem was mid day.  I dropped the kids, went for a run, got ready and went to a meeting.  I figured it would only last about an hour, so I’d grab lunch before getting the kids when I got home.  Well the meeting was with a wonderful group of people and we were talking and went over 2 hours.  During the meeting we sat down for their coffee break and they invited me to join them for birthday cake.  I turned down the cake and explained about the challenge.  At this point I was very hungry (red velvet cake smelled great), but hadn’t had lunch and even if it wasn’t the challenge the cake on an empty stomache would’ve felt bad.  Turned out I felt bad anyways – since I hadn’t eaten since 7 am.  If it weren’t for the challenge I would just stop someplace near the school (La Boulange or Whole Foods) and get a salad or sandwich and eat it leisurely.  Instead I remembered I had a Cliff Z-bar (emergency for the kids) in my purse which I ate on the way to my house because I had a horrible headache.  I think from lack of food and lack of iced tea. (I unfortunately bought unfamiliar, inexpensive tea bags and brewed it myself thinking I was prepared with hot and cold options.  But, yuck.  Too much spice and cinnamon.  I miss my Mighty Leaf and Tejava).  When I got home I had 5 minutes to use the bathroom and make a wrap (turkey, cheese, hummus, tomato) and ate it in the car on the way to pick up the kids from school.  That wasn’t until 2:20 pm.

my wrap to go

The kids were happy with their smoothie popsicles for their after school snack.

smoothie pops

Dinner was still just the kids and I.  My husband is back tonight.  We got home late from Tae Kwon Do, so I put out some of the left-over cut veggies from the fondue to ease everyone’s hunger,  while I made dinner between kids’ showers and homework.  They chose minestrone soup (Trader Joe’s from a can), tuna melts and spinach salad.  This was good and quick.  However halfway through dinner I got a horrible heartburn pain.  I actually had to take an antacid and lay down for a few minutes.  I’m guessing (and who knows?) maybe I was so hungry and ate too fast that I gave myself the gas and then heartburn.

soup and sand
spinach salad - note croutons from left-over baguette

So if I’m planning to be out and about I need to pack something for myself to eat (an apple, half a sandwich), so I’m not stuck having to come all the way home to make food.  I would usally have some raw nuts with me, but didn’t think I should splurge at $9 a pound for this week’s shopping.

 

 

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I Heart Iced Tea

Yesterday was National Iced Tea Day.  Although you probably already knew that right?  I celebrated with a glass of iced tea.  Actually whether it’s a holiday or not, I drink a glass or two of iced tea.  There’s not a lot of beverages I drink.  My mainstays are water and iced tea.  I’m not big on bubbles.  I no longer drink coffee.  So tea, cold or hot is my drink.  Apparently this is true for many people, as tea is the most popular drink, worldwide.

Whether you brew it from a tea bag, buy a bottle or order at a restaurant – there are lots of options.  What kind of tea?  Is it caffeinated?  Plus there are the sweeteners to consider.  Watch out…  Many bottled versions have high fructose corn syrup.  Or there’s the fake sweeteners that are full of chemicals.  And you never know what you’ll get in a restaurant – Lipton, Nestea, fresh brewed, flavored, etc.

These are a few of my favorite iced teas…

My first is the Mighty Leaf, African Nectar.  This is good both hot and cold, but the first time I had the cold was at the Nob Hill Spa.  Brewing this at home or ordering it out (they also brew it at La Boulange) reminds me of my annual stress free day at the spa.  Mighty Leaf makes all kinds of teas in bag, loose leaf and iced tea forms in a huge variety of flavors.

My next favorite is Honest Tea’s Oo-la-Long Peach.  Honest Tea makes quite a few flavors and uses red, green, white and black teas, but this is my favorite.  Just enough sweetness and no chemical taste.

Finally our staple at home (my husband is an iced tea guy too) is Tejava.  This is bottled, plain black tea without sweetener.  This is good all on it’s own.  We stock up on the big bottles.

I have a few iced tea recipes in my book, Petit Appetit: Eat, Drink and Be Merry.  The antioxidants in many teas, hot or cold, can benefit everyone.  Just be sure to make decaf for the kids.  Adding a slice of lemon or orange makes it extra special.  The best way to sweeten iced tea is with simple syrup, as it mixes well with the cold liquid.  Granular sugar just adds grains without flavor. (My friends who endure my “iced tea with a splash of simple syrup” order at restaurants will attest for me).  Below is a recipe for a mint simple syrup that is a refreshing addition to hot and cold teas.

 

Minty Iced Green Tea

This is the standard and favorite “iced tea” in my family’s refrigerator. The mint syrup sweetens the sometimes bitterness of green tea. Despite the name this tea will not be green in color, much to my son’s dismay.
Yield 4½ cups

4 cups water

4 bags green tea

½ cup Mint Syrup (see below)

Bring water to a boil in a saucepan. Remove from heat and add tea bags, cover, and let steep for 5 minutes. Carefully squeeze tea bags and discard. Let cool.

 

Pour tea into a glass pitcher and add syrup. Serve over ice.

 

Mint Syrup

The symbol of hospitality, mint has been used for scores of culinary and medicinal purposes over the centuries. This simple mint syrup can be added as a sweetener to hot and cold teas, as well as lemonade and plain water (see below)
Makes 2 cups syrup

3/4 cup turbinado (raw) sugar

2 cups water

2 cups fresh mint (1 bunch), torn into 2-inch pieces
In a small saucepan, combine sugar, water, and mint. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until sugar has dissolved, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and let stand for at least 30 minutes.

Pour though a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl or pitcher and discard mint.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

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