Tonight while Carter was out to dinner with friends and Russ is in Chicago I went out with a bunch of girl friends to celebrate my friend Sara’s impending birthday. The place we went for dinner was one I have been interested in going to since it is an Asian tapas like place, but I should have looked more closely at the menu before we went. Despite my restricted diet I was not about to miss a fun night out with a great group.
The idea of tapas should be perfect for me since I can only have a small amount of what I can eat anyway, but the problem came in that none of the dishes are simple, clean food, but rather very interesting combinations that had many sauces, and starches.
One of my thinnest friends who normally loves to clear a bread basket sat across from me because she was having her insurance physical in the morning and was given a very restrictive list of what she should eat today. An Asian restaurant was not the ideal choice for her since she was not to eat salty things, like soy sauce, no carbs, like rice, no red meat, like steak or pork (don’t believe it is white meat). She asked me what I was going to eat and said she would just get the same thing.
As the rest of our friends enjoyed pork belly dumplings, and duck confit fried rice I asked the waiter to see if the chef could remake Ono Sashimi and take off all the good parts and just give us some green vegetables with our fish. He was more than happy to accommodate us. My food restricted friend said she would have the same.
When our plates of raw fish slices on little piles of vegetables arrived my friends said, “Is it fish?”
“Yes,” I said.
“Is it cooked?”
“Oh no, you don’t eat sushi?” I guess I should have checked with her about that one little bit of information. After eating a the tiny piles of shredded vegetables and two tiny bites of fish she declared she was still hungry. I guess so. We called the accommodating waiter back and found a shrimp dish that could be made into a chicken dish that fit her dietary requirements.
I guess I need to always ask the questions about seafood and eating it raw. If it were up to me I would eat good raw seafood everyday. But next time I really want to have it the way the chef originally designed it with all the sauces and the naughty bits. Two more days of this very restrictive shit, then I hear I get to add an extra piece of fruit at lunch. I really hope it can be a peach.
Despite staying on my diet vigilantly during my boat vacation I did not lose a pound, which made me furious. I brought my vita mix, made my protein drinks everyday, ate only protein and green veggies with one tiny bit of fruit a day and nothing! My counselor is imploring me to stick with this program and I am, but I am not going to be so strict during my vacations because there is no reason to not enjoy my trips and not lose weight at the same time.
There is all the time in the world to lose weight, but only some time to have a good holiday. I am not planning on going hog wild on my summer vacations. That plan did not work in Italy, but I am certainly not going to go to the same feats I went to in Beaufort.
Being good and not losing weight is by far more frustrating than just eating a healthy diet and if I gain one pound so be it. I am so close to my goal weight that there is no sense of urgency. I lose weight for myself so if I want to take a break from someone else’s program that is my choice, especially if their program is not doing what I want.
I have a couple weeks until my next vacation. Let’s see what happens being strict at home, maybe I can reach my goal before then and this will all be a moot point. Oh, weight control is a life’s work.
Any good cook or bad cook who happens to be a mother knows that the key to getting dinner on the table night after night is being able to cook a bunch of something and then transform it into a whole new meal the second night. I became very aware of this as a culinary trick my freshman year in college when my friend Lisa Mathews used to look at the cafeteria weekly menu and follow the food through the week.
“Following the food” was an important deciphering skill that helped us learn what not to eat because it had been around too long. For example the school chef might have started off on Sunday with roast chicken. Check, safe to eat. Monday might have brought hot open face Chicken sandwiches with Chicken Gravy at lunch. Still safe to eat, since the chicken was cut off the leftover roast chicken and the carcasses were used to make the gravy from just the night before. Skip a day of chicken to throw us off the leftover scent. Then on Thursday there might have been Chicken Tetrazzini for dinner. Big read flashing lights, “Wonk, Wonk, Wonk,” blaring horns. Do not eat! The chicken that was not all used up for Chicken sandwiches was then mixed with the leftover gravy, pasta and some new celery and topped with breadcrumbs made from the uneaten sandwiches.
Four days later for chicken that had been reheated twice was just too long in the repurposing leftover train. The real no-no was having the chicken and pasta soup at lunch on Friday.
Carter hates leftovers, but if I can repurpose them in such away that she does not catch on that they are the same food I can get away with it. My trick is never to publish a menu where she might learn to “follow the food.” By my sophomore year we had moved up to “Follow the food 201” because we started looking at the Sunday –Saturday menus back to back. The cooks were smart and started some new food on Thursday and if we were not looking at both menus we might have missed the fact that the Monday Taco Salad actually started with Hamburgers on Thursday — tricky.
Tonight since I am the only one home I don’t mind repurposing. I took last night’s leftover vegetable hash and put it in a fry pan to reheat, added some shredded leftover chicken breast and some a huge amount of raw angle hair cabbage and a little soy. My leftover not only tasted delicious, they changed continents, going from something Italian leaning to a purely Chinese dish. Who says I did not learn anything in college.
The one bad thing about going away for five days is that my garden did one of two things, one over produce giant zucchini or plants die all together. I have had years of trouble with tomato plants, they grow bear fruit and then wither and die after one round of tomatoes. Before I left for the boat the tomatoes were doing fine, except for the parts eaten by dear. I came home yesterday and the plants are about to expire with a load of fruit, some ripe, others still green. If I were not on such a strict diet I would make fried green tomatoes, but not now.
I am eating zucchini as fast as can, but I am getting a little sick of the quick sauté method. Tonight I decided to use some of everything I harvested in a hash, sans potatoes. My only refrigerator staple I added was mushrooms.
3 large Mushrooms sliced
1 medium Zucchini diced
2 handfuls of green beans, steamed and cut in thirds
20 cherry Tomatoes, halved
Sprinkling of Oregano
Dashes of garlic powder
Salt and Pepper
Heat a hot fry pan on high and spray with Pam. Throw the mushrooms in the pan. Cook for two minutes and then flip them over and cook another minute.
Add the zucchini and cook for three minutes, stirring once or twice. Add the garlic and oregano. Add the green beans and cherry tomatoes and cook another two minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
We wrapped up our fun trip on the Everest this morning and Carter, Ashley and I drove home. After passing Ashley back to her mother and picking up Shay Shay we came home to unpack and for me to get resettled at home. For Carter it is a quick turn around of unpacking and repacking for she is off to Philly tomorrow to meet up with Russ and go visit his family.
Carter tells me there is nothing she finds more exciting than traveling alone. I understand how grown up it makes her feel to take herself to the airport and check herself in and fly to meet Russ. Since she has done this kind of thing before she went online today to check-in and download her boarding pass. She thought it would be easy, like with Delta, but not so fast.
Russ bought her a ticket on American, but it turns out her flight is a US air flight. Since US Air and American merged in 2013 you would think someone would have already combined their customer interfaces, but no, that would be too logical.
Although Carter was able to check-in online there was no way to neither download a boarding pass to her Passbook on her phone, nor print a boarding pass at home. The best we could do was print her itinerary to get a boarding pass at the airport.
Come on American (nee US Air). Get into not just this decade, but this century. Young people are not going to consider flying on your carrier if you make dealing with you so difficult. Long gone are the days where people buy tickets only on price and are willing to be tortured because they got a really cheep ticket. Sure in the 70’s you could do that, but Carter’s generation is not that forgiving, or interested in just being cheep.
Yes, designing one system that will work with both your two legacy systems is a pain and costs big bucks, but really it is the cost of merging, so go on and get it done. At one point Carter thought she needed to download the US Air mobile App, and when she pulled it up and saw that it got one star with 99% of the reviews giving it a poor rating she just laughed. “I’ve never actually seen a company I’ve heard of get one star.” Welcome to the world of airlines.
Since Carter wants to do this whole trip on her own I hope everything goes smoothly at the airport. I am thankful that US Air and American are in the same terminal, but wait, why do we still even have the two names, what the hell was that merger about anyway?
As the sun sets over Taylor’s Creek I lie down on the cushions of the top deck to write my last blog from the Everest. We have had an adventure filled week here in Beaufort. Kelly and Dan who run and own this fabulous boat could not have been nicer. Our only freak hiccup of a clamp breaking allowing water into the boat was resolved quickly and Kelly more than made up for something no one could predict.
As part of her heartfelt apology she and Dan took us out on a cruise today which normally would have been a charge, but was free for us. Carter and Ashley rode most of the time on “the bunny” the aptly named sun bathing beds on the bow of the boat reserved for the girls to ride on.
While we have been docked we have enjoyed the calmness of the creek, the wild ponies grazing just across the way on Carrot Island, swimming off the back of the boat, Carter and I floating in the water on our backs hand-in-hand “like otters,” shopping in the cute Beaufort stores that have different things than mall stores, eating yummy dinners at restaurants which meant no cooking for Mom, our best meal was at Beaufort Grocery Co. followed by the Cedars Inn, sun bathing on the comfortable cushioned decks, reading great books, waving at passing boaters, sleeping late in our comfy state rooms, and laughing, laughing, laughing.
Our one adventure away from Beaufort to the Aquarium in Pine Knoll Shores, only made us more certain that staying on the Everest in Beaufort was the best place we saw. It was peaceful and not crowded with children kicking sand near us, no sharks were spotted, all our limbs stayed intact, there were no drunk, fat, heavily tattooed men talking loudly anywhere near us, we did not have a house party of college bound kids across the street from us playing music into the middle of the night and getting in raucous fights, and we never smelled a paper mill or fish cannery.
It made for fun for us all to have Ashley with us. I am hoping she is available for future vacations. The only sad part is that Russ only got 36 hours of vacation, but I have to say they were pretty idyllic.
So goodbye to the Everest and to Beaufort. I hope we can come back. But there are new adventures yet to be had this summer. I hope they are all as good as this one.
I have written in the past about the chance small world meetings that usually take place when we are on vacation and this one is no different. When we checked in with the owner of our boat, Kelly, the first day we got here she got to talking to Carter and Ashley, my bonus vacation daughter about school. Kelly teaches chemistry at a local college and she remarked to Ashley that the best student she ever had was a Korean girl the first year she was a professor.
Last night when we went to dinner in tiny Beaufort Ashley, ran into a woman she knew. Her name is Joanne and her brother is Ashley’s father’s best friend. Joanne works at the NC aquarium in Pine Knolls Shores and told us to come see her at the aquarium. She asked where we were staying and we told her the name of the boat and she said, “Oh, Dan and Kelly’s boat. They are some of my best friends.”
Today, Dan and Kelly stopped by the boat and we told them about Ashley running into Joanne and what a small world it was. Kelly made it even smaller when she said, “Joanne is my best student I was telling you about on Monday.” Well with all these connections the girls and I decided we absolutely had to go to the aquarium today. So after a fun morning with Russ kayaking, when he left for the airport off we went.
Joanne greeted us at the entrance and took us first to the ray tank where she had to feed them by hand and then behind the scenes where we got to see all the inner workings of the aquarium. We got to hold a baby alligator, and feed the shark, grouper and big fish tank chopped up sardines and shrimp. We met baby sea turtles and learned how they went from tiny hatchlings to year old turtles about to be released back into the sea. It was a fantastic experience that happened by chance.
Now after dinner I sit atop the roof deck of our beautiful boat and enjoy the sunset and wonder what exciting things and chance meetings will happen tomorrow. I love vacation.