While my husband has been in Afghanistan I’ve tried to be healthy, but there have been stretches where that effort has failed miserably. Last weekend was definitely one of them! Between cupcakes and dinner out with friends at a local pub on St. Patty’s Day, I ate more than my fare share of junky (but very tasty) food.
In a quest to get back on track I cooked lentils, carrots, garbanzo beans, and spinach in a spicy tikka masala sauce and enjoyed that along with some fresh (but not made by me) garlic naan for dinner last night. Unfortunately I am out of my husband’s fabulous homemade curry (or it’s hiding so far back in the freezer that I didn’t see it…), but it was a pretty tasty meal despite purchasing the sauce.
In the afternoon I cooked the lentils and carrots so that when I got home from teaching Jazzercise I could throw it all together and simply simmer the pot until everything had warmed through and the spinach had wilted. I did have a bit of a stirring mishap, throwing a carrot and some lentils onto the stove while try to get the spinach mixed in, but other than that it was a very successful dinner (and left over lunch today).
The dish was quick, healthy, and I am starting to feel slightly redeemed from the weekend. Cooking for one can be tricky, but I have a few more fairly simple meals just for me on this week’s menu — French onion soup (using just enough cheese and whole wheat baguette) with a green salad tomorrow and a salad of grilled chicken, corn, black bean, pepper, and quinoa is on the docket for Thursday. I am teaching Jazzercise Monday through Thursday this week, so I’m excited about having options for easy to make, healthy dinners already planned out.
Whenever I am in California, I always make an effort to get to my favorite food places (more than once if I can help it!)
Here are some of my dining must-haves when I am in the Central Valley:
• Dynasty: For my must-have Dim Sum fix, I stop into Dynasty. It’s the only place I have a chance to get my beloved, but rarely eaten, steamed and baked pork buns. Hey, you have to have options! We haven’t found any remarkable Chinese food in DC and there is no Dim Sum in our neighborhood so I try my best to get my fix when in California.
• House of Shaw: I find myself here for a daily visit to grab a delicious iced mocha (except Sundays when they are closed, darn them) and frequently also make this a meeting spot to catch up with old friends. As soon as I walk in the door, the owner is getting my iced mocha ready and when I stay to eat I always enjoy my food too.
• In & Out: I’m not a big burger person, but when in California I have to indulge myself with a plain cheeseburger (just the meat, cheese, and bun) and an order of fries. If the visit is longer than a week I tend to find myself craving a second visit. I think what makes it special and oh so good is the freshness. Yum!
• Matsuyama: Just like Chinese food, our neighborhood in DC doesn’t have any sushi options, so I always like to grab a roll or two for lunch one day. This visit included a tempura shrimp roll and a spicy tuna roll — nothing too crazy, but it was tasty!
• Wine Wizards: I grew up eating here with my parents for special Friday night dinners or Saturday lunches. I also used to waitress at WW during the summers of college and part-time in graduate school. While I wholeheartedly believe I was a terrible waitress I love the food, which hasn’t changed too much since my earliest visits nearly 30 years ago, and typically know almost all of the other people there when I stop in. All of the rotating special soups and quiches are delicious and I know that you can never go wrong with the always available French Onion Soup and Potato Raclette with Ham—two of my winter favorites. I’m getting hungry now just thinking about it!
In less than two weeks my husband will begin working in Afghanistan for a period of six-ish months. Although I have to admit I am not jumping up and down in excitement over here, it is a wonderful opportunity for him. One that he has been anxious to take on for quite some time and, because of that, I am happy that he will have the chance to embark on this adventure.
For me it means a few things in my routine will definitely have to change. Beside not seeing my favorite person at the start and finish of every day, I’ll have to make some other adjustments as well. I will definitely have to work harder to incorporate face-to-face human interactions into my daily life this winter. Between working from home and, well, living here if it wasn’t for jazzercise and my love of pastries made by other people I’d probably never speak to another human being. Thankfully we have lived in DC long enough that I have many lovely friends who won’t let me turn into a complete hermit — right everyone?
While my husband prepares to leave he has a lot of things to take care of on the work front, but he also is making his way through a very lengthy list of projects around the house. My favorite part of this list is the food portion. That’s right, his list has a food category. As readers may recall from previous posts, my husband typically does the cooking so getting used to making dinner for myself on a regular basis will also take some getting used to (and I am sure you will hear all about it).
Thankfully my darling spouse has filled our freezer with a variety of meals I can eat while he isn’t here to cook for me. He’s pretty much completed this section of the list based on how full the freezer is of soups including carrot ginger, french onion, leek and potato, and split pea, as well as with curry, hummus, and a few containers of chicken and black bean enchiladas. Can I just say that my husband totally rocks for doing this for me? Knowing that I will be able to eat a meal that he has prepared will help me feel a little closer to him despite the vast physical distance that will be between us. Now let’s just hope I don’t empty the freezer out during the first month!