Saturday, March 28, 2009

Frugal Friday

One of the joys of the morning this time of year is trotting down to the basement to say hello to my tomato seedlings. I plug in their lights, check that their heat mats haven't crapped out, feel the soil to make sure it's moist enough (giving them a little spritz on top and a dollop of water in the seed tray if they need it).

Garden centers these days are better about offering a wider variety of tomato starts than the ubiquitous "Early Girl," but since I have the time, space and inclination, it makes me pretty happy that I can create my own starts for a fraction of the price, AND have as much variety as I want. Well, not quite as much as I want [sigh]. This year, I am severely limiting myself to 11 varieties (and 11 plants):
  • Gold Nugget (orange cherry)
  • Green Grape (green cherry)
  • Koralik (red cherry)
  • Sungold (orange cherry)
  • Supersweet 100 (red cherry)
  • Sweet Gold (yellow cherry)
  • Black Plum (heirloom plum tomato)
  • San Marzano (classic Italian plum tomato)
  • Japanese Trifele Black (heirloom with 2.5- to 3-inch fruit)
  • Siletz (small slicer)
  • Silvery Fir Tree (3+ inch slicer with the prettiest carrot-like foliage)
Just as I appreciate variety in my vegetables, I appreciated them in my cookbooks. That must be why I have so freakin' many of them. Either that, or I have an addiction. Who's to say. With so many cookbooks, it's a common occurrence that when I crack one of them open for a specific recipe, I come across some amazing discovery elsewhere in the volume.

Such was the case with Donna Hay's The New Cook, which I referred to Thursday for my favorite risotto recipe. (I hadn't made risotto in so long that I had to remind myself of the ingredient proportions.) I had taken chicken out to defrost for Friday, but had no idea what I was going to do with it. Then I spied Donna's recipe for grilled balsamic chicken with lime. So perfect! A simple marinade of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, crushed garlic and salt and pepper, grilled and served over a bed of salad greens, with the juice of halved and grilled limes(!) squeezed over it. It met my main recipe ideals: healthy, simple-yet-interesting and made with ingredients I have on hand. As a extra-special bonus, I have a Costco bag of limes that I need to use up while they were still in good shape (also on the weekend's agenda is a lime-yogurt cake).

Speaking of no waste, I got four free eco-friendly lightbulbs today! Someone from the city's Climate Protection Initiative was going door to door handing them out and signing people up to receive more information. Cool!

Friday, March 27
Morning workout:
"Beautiful Technique" DVD (practice flow + choreography); "Baladi" DVD (maqusom drills).
Breakfast: Cafe au lait; 1 egg + 2 whites scrambled with onion and 1/2 red pepper, with 1 tbs feta cheese and 1 small tomato; 1 slice sprouted grain toast w/ 1 tbs peanut butter & 2 tsp marmalade; 1/2 c. fresh pineapple; cafe Americano; 32 oz. water.
Snack: Apple + 10 almonds; 32 oz water.
Noon workout: "Luscious: the Bellydance Workout" DVD (45 minutes)
Lunch: Green salad w/oil & vinegar, 4 oz. turkey breast, 3 oz. yellow pepper, 3 oz. cucumber, 1/4 avocado, 1 oz. walnuts.

Snack: Orange; 1/2 c. 2% cottage cheese, 1 tbs peanuts; 16 oz. water.

Post-work workout: "Body Fat Solution" workout A

Dinner: Grilled balsamic-lime chicken breast; mixed greens; 4-inch section of baguette with 1 tsp butter; 4 oz. red wine; c
afe Americano.

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