Tag Archives: food

Where will You Go?

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Cole Vassiliou, native hut,  apocaplyse

Photo by Cole Vassiliou

There are a few of us who live far enough away for others that our current homes will be a safe choice for the End Times. However most of us need to get the heck out of where ever we live to a safe place. Cities will be overrun with mobs, dead bodies, and backed up sewers. Places with water pumped in, like where I live in the middle of the Sonoran Desert, have only a few days of water before people start dropping like flies.

So where will you go?

Sure you want to look at water tables, chemical and nuclear facilities, and weather. But, come on, what’s really important is what kind of food can you grow there?

Who knows how many years it could take before trade starts up again, so what can’t you live without?

If you love seafood you’ll need to be near the ocean. What kind? If it’s lobster, up north you go. Shrimp, you need to head south.

sea food, lobsters, apocalypse

Photo by cellar_door_films

Blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries all need cold dormant time. So do all stone fruits such as peaches. This means snowy areas. However if you want oranges and avocados you need heat.

apples, apple trees, apocalypse

Photo by L E Carmichael

Oh, yes, you are going to have to choose. And if chocolate is what you can’t live without., then you best start finding a way to travel down to South America.

So, where will you go? What foods will you be willing to give up and what can’t you imagine your life without?

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What Would You Eat?

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docguy, apocalypse, ice cream

Photo by docguy

The apocalypse is coming, you have a week before it gets here. So, what would you eat?

I know you don’t have to get ready. I mean, come on, you’ve already packed your bug-out bag and carefully marked caches of food and supplies in route to the perfect place to hole up and survive the End Times haven’t you? The only real worry you should have is whether the Event kills the people already living there, or are you going to have to do the job? And if they die on the carpet, how will you get it clean if there is no electricity?

Please don’t die on the carpet!

apocalypse, mango, magoes,

Photo by Tatters:)

Anyway while planning and plotting you’ll need to eat. Will you eat healthy so you can be at your peak physical ability? Or will you desperately gorge on foods that you love with all your heart?

There are foods out there you might not see again for a long time, if ever. So what will you eat? Which restaurants will you go to? What foods will you savor as bitter tears of sadness roll down your cheeks?

apoclypse, avacadoes, avacado

Photo by ercskiff

On my list: ice cream, avocado enchiladas, pad Thai, mangoes, shrimp, and egg rolls until my eyes roll back into my head.

Post Cupcake Sadness

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Photo by thesparechangekitchen

Photo by thesparechangekitchen


My loving husband bought me gluten free chocolate cupcakes. For the sake of my sanity, we won’t discuss the calorie count of these amazing treats. Before I ate my cupcake, I asked my daughter to make one of the gluten free cake mixes.

She rolled her eyes and asked why. Um, hello, post cupcake sadness. She looked at me as if she didn’t know what I was talking about.

Post cupcake sadness is a serious condition. While eating one’s cupcake there is happiness and joy, which can last for a while. But the next day, or a few short hours later, when there is no cupcake, there is much sadness, wishing one had waited to eat the cupcake, and hoping cupcakes will magically appear.

But now there won’t be the horrible post cupcake sadness. Now I can go and have a yummy piece of cake, and all will be right with the Universe again.

Photo by Lynn Kelly Author

Photo by Lynn Kelly Author

See, it’s all about being prepared.

How do you prepare for life’s difficult moments?

Take it slow and make it hot.

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I like to snack, but I also am hoping to lose weight, and the two don’t always go well together. Of course I do try to eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies, but sometimes I just want something else. So I snack hot.

You see, I have a delicate tongue. I like spicy, but I honestly can’t handle very hot and spicy foods, which means I eat them slower. You are beginning to see the mad brilliance of my plan, aren’t you? When I snack on spicy foods, I can’t eat them as fast, nor can I eat as much. If I do, my tummy will be very unhappy, and in all honesty, my butt the next morning. Ouch.

My favorite slow and spicy snacks:

Dried mango covered in chili: This is sweet and spicy and reminds me of the Mexican tamarind candy. Trader Joe’s has it, and all I can eat is one piece instead of the whole bag of plain dried mango.

Wasabi peas: Not only do I get the crunchy/ salty combo, which is important for any balanced diet, but sometimes a pea will have a lot of wasabi on it and I get a ‘fun’ rush of heat which clears my sinuses and makes my body shudder. So really this is a whole body food.

waasbai peas, Alica Mckenna-Johnson, Isa Costa, spicy snacks

Wasabi Peas by Isa Costa

Hot Cheetos or now as I react badly to MSG, Barbara’s Jalapeño Cheese Puffs : Now these are an extra treat because the nutritional value is much lower, but again I can’t eat as quickly or as many so they get put on the list.

Spicy Chocolate: There are many different brands to choose from, but dark chocolate with chili in it is something to be savored slowly. Make sure to get one with a good kick, or you’ll eat it too fast.

So what is your favorite slow and spicy snack???

Betrayed by Junk Food

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Alica Mckenna-Johnson, Chocolate

Chocolate Understands

So it’s one of those mornings and the adult part of my brain that was trying to get me to work out, lost. Which means it is now time for junk food. So I am pondering what to eat when I realize that I no longer have my junk food favorites. Sure I can order Chinese, but I want something now and the restaurant isn’t open yet.

Deep sigh.

So I head to the store but what can I get?

I’m vegetarian gluten and dairy free- by allergy not choice. What in hell can I eat???

Junk food is supposed to mask my emotions not make unhappy ones. Is junk food now betraying me??

I slog through the aisle trying not to cry because explaining why I’m sobbing in front of the display of macaroni and cheese is not something I want in my police records.

Then I see them, the one food that is obviously a gift from the gods because it spans the healthy food junk food yummy barrier, AVOCADOS. Carefully I fondle select two perfect avocados and head to the chips. Picking a bag of organic blue corn chips, that were on sale, I scurry to the froze food section where I grab a box of vegan, gluten free taquitos and coconut based caramel ‘ice cream’.

I have succeeded! The Universe loves me. I can now go home and medicate my sorrow in junk food that won’t make me pray for the grim reaper to come for me the next day.

As I prepare my feast I will listen to this lovely, happy making teaser from the BBC radio 4 production of Neil Gaimin’s Neverwhere. Benedict Cumberbatch is singing.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0169jdc

Juggling Explosives

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Photo by mbtphoto. Doesn't he make juggling look easy?

Photo by mbtphoto. Doesn’t he make juggling look easy?

Last night I had a minor melt down. I managed to hold off until the kids were in bed then the ugly thoughts and tears began. Now my overly emotional state might have been caused by the email saying I hadn’t placed in a writing competition I’d entered, the fact that I had gone almost a week without thyroid medication, or that I worked straight through the weekend and got the see my husband for only a few minutes each day (I’m rather high maintenance).
No matter the reason, I was in a bad place.

And while I was sorting my clothes- the nice ones to give away and the sweat pants which would fit once I abandoned my diet and stopped exercise, because why does the crazy night clerk at Circle K need to look good. I mean surely Circle K would hire a failed writer, mother, wife, human being right???

I had a thought. Yes, it hurt a lot a little bit, hush! I imagined myself as a juggler trying to keep all these balls in the air, work stuff, paperwork, work kids, personal kids, hubby, house, cooking, writing, sleep, social media, blogging, reading, working out, showering, crap that come along and fucks up my day. And there are all these balls and they are different size (based on importance) and some things like my family and work have more than one ball because, hello, there is a lot of shit to take care of.

Cold, heavy dread suffocated me as my eyes filled with tears. I shuffled to my computer and began filling out on line application to Circle K. I was never going to be able to do all of this, never. Needing a moment to figure out what my assets to the Circle K International team might be I scrounged up a hidden Snickers bar and while numbing my sorrow with chocolate and caramel, I began to imagine my life without writing.

I could still write a little bit, and of course pop in a social media and blogging enough to maintain what I had already created but I couldn’t keep trying to pretend I could do it all, when I was obviously failing at EVERYTHING!!!
So after moping about and finishing my Snickers bar, I decided to go to bed. I stumbled over the pile of clothes and as I brushed my teeth, not looking in the mirror because I didn’t need to see the evidence of five years of dieting failure at that particular moment, I had another less painful thought.

What if I gave each of the three main areas in my life one hour?

What if I gave one hour during my six ours off per day to my family? I could clean (we have a small apartment so I could get a lot done) I could prep food for dinner, or put together something, or put something in the crock pot. Sure my family isn’t home, but I can still support them and the space they live in by doing 1 hour a day. AND, because I am a multi-tasking fiend, I can listen to audio books while I’m doing so.

Okay this was sounding reasonable, which is not something I normally hear from the voices in my head so I paid close attention.

If I also gave 1 hour of focused time to work, one hour where I did something focused with the kids (preferably) or paperwork (an occasional necessity) I would feel better about how I’m doing my job. And I already read to them at bedtime, so 30min are already getting done, if I’m having a bad day and need to count it in.

This plan also gives me 1 hour to dedicate to writing every day. One hour where I will focus on my writing and nothing else.

Now I can still check Facebook and Twitter while the kids watch Sponge Bob, and I can read blogs while I eat lunch. Multi-tasking can still happen. But maybe, just maybe I will feel like less of a failure at life if I focus some time every day on the three areas I feel like I am always sucking at.

What do you think? How do you juggle your life?

Riding the Yo-Yo from Hell

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Photo by BestofWDW


What do you get when you mix a full moon, a moon time (i.e. my period), a cold, and the stress of the holidays? You get the emotional instability I like to call, The Yo-Yo Ride from Hell.

I am doing my best to make sure the yo-yo comes back up. Which means eating well, getting enough sleep, and exercise. And when the yo-yo is up I remind myself to be inspired by people’s successes and to not compare my journey to theirs. To breathe and take everything one step at a time. To try to find solutions instead of wallowing in problems.

Unfortunately as we all know a yo-yo also go down. Down into the deep, dank, dark, despair of my despondent, desperate, desires.

Photograph by chatblanc1


Like many people money is a trigger for me, and also like many people I didn’t plan, save, or shop ahead, and the holiday’s loom before me. On the up swings I am planning caramels, small knitted projects, and thoughtful gifts I can afford for the few people I can get them for. And I know that those who love me understand. On the down swing I am a FAILURE. A miserable, pathetic failure who knows better dammit! And everyone is judging me!!!!

I have told many people that my favorite Christmas was the one I began shopping for in August because it was so relaxed. Have I ever done this again- NO of course not, that would be crazy to repeat something that had worked so well the first time.

So on my down-swings I am trying to breathe, watch happy things on youtube, sleep well, and remind myself that this is temporary, not only will the yo-yo go up but also, eventually I will be able to get off this ride. And on the flip side, being broke means I can pretend to be righteously shunning the shopping madness of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. We’ll ignore the fact that if I’d had money I would have shopped Cyber Monday. 🙂

So how are all of you doing this season? Are you stressing out or have you been saving and shopping early and get to glide through the holidays on fluffy pink clouds of happiness?

Photo by TheAlieness GiselaGiardino²³’

From Should to Sheldon

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Photo by MelodyJSandoval


I am by nature a brat. Through a healthy diet, proper sleep, exercise, and a strong routine, I can get a lot done. But if one of these is messed up, everything is in jeopardy.

I do my best to stick to my goals and routines, and settle back into who I want to be. However, there is a guaranteed self-destruct button labeled should.

If I can’t get myself back on track inevitably I was say to myself, “Hey, Alica, you should___________.” It doesn’t matter what is in that blank: take a shower, chop some veggies, eat fruit, write a bit more. Suddenly I’m sitting on my ass, reading, and eating potato chips. From the bag—no portioned controlled bowl for me!

I try, I really do. I try to use “could,” as in “I could write for an hour.” But “could” is just a “should” in skinny jeans and a Duran Duran tee shirt.

Now “need,” if backed by my boss, the stench from my body, or a pink bill, will get me moving again. But I can tell a fake “need” from an actual “You will be in trouble if you don’t do this need.”

This sounds amazingly childish, and honestly it really is childish, but this is who I am. Apparently I get things done when someone in a position of authority expects something from me. Getting stuff done on my own, for myself, not so good.

Pathetic right? And not such a good fit for a self-publishing author.

I’ve tried different things, but really it comes down to tempting myself into doing something as one would a small child. “Just do ten minutes. You can even set the timer. Just write for ten minutes and then you can have a piece of candy.”

This will usually result in my remembering that I love writing and I write for a while once I get warmed up.
This also works with chores, and even food. Hey, just add a cup of fruit to your lunch, the rest can be Cheetos.
What is crazy and the most depressing, if I think about it, is that I like having a clean house. I like eating healthy foods. Most of the things I resist doing ,I enjoy, or at least enjoy the outcome.

Photographed by brunurb
Come on Evens I need to pee!


I feel ridiculous, like Sheldon so wrapped up in only doing what the dice allow him to do, he can’t even go to the bathroom! Hey wait, maybe that would work! Maybe when I get like this I could just roll the dice: evens I do something productive for a while, odds I sit and read. That way I’d have a 50% chance of getting something done during the day!

I could roll as I complete a task, or end a chapter. OMG! The Big Bang Theory is brilliant. This changes everything, I’ll just become like Sheldon!

What do you think, do I have a good plan? And, by the way, I hate to be rude but you’re in my spot.

I Blame My Fellow Bloggers

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Photo by alitaylor

A friend of a friend is putting together a photography book, and asked for volunteers to be photographed. Well this happened during a week that many of you were writing about being vulnerable, taking chances, and doing something you’re afraid of. So high from inspirational words and the desire to be more than I am right now, I said “yes.“
Now she’s ready to take pictures; she’s waiting for me to schedule an appointment so she can take my picture . . . where I will be naked!!! Yep, naked. Now I can choose partially naked, but that defeats the purpose of facing my fears doesn’t it *glares at all of you inspirational people.*

The book will be a collection of photos of moms, some with their children, mine are too old for that. The goal is to change the way we look at our bodies, the way we see beauty, and all that good stuff.

She’s a talented photographer and works in black and white, with lovely soft light so I have hope of the photo turning out well, but I haven’t made an appointment yet.

Why?

Because all that strength, beauty and good crap is deep, deep inside of me, under a layer of Ben and Jerry’s I’m storing for when the end times come.

Photographed by Caitlin


Can the proper pose and lighting mask skin stretched to the size of a small elephant never to return to its pre-parasite condition? Will black and white be able to cover up the fact that I prefer to sit on my ass and eat nachos all day long instead of doing sit-ups??

I doubt it. But I believe that her point is we should love our bodies as they are. Be grateful for their strength and the life they have carried and nurtured and all the crap is great, but I would like it more if I had a flat stomach and a size six waist.

I’m hoping I’ll be brave enough to do it.

Would you pose nude for an art book? If you have any advice?

Food Porn from Shogun Japan

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After a minimal amount of research, I am very busy you know, I have several dishes to share with you. I wish I had prepped more for this segment of my Armchair Adventures, but I was gone for two weeks for work, we took the work kids to San Diego for a week then the next week was a drug intoxication recognition seminar in Phoenix.

I hope you enjoy what I have managed to come up with.

Rules to Armchair Adventures Food Porn. If I haven’t significantly changed a recipe then I will just talk about it and offer a link to the website I got it from or the book I got it from.

My recipes are gluten free and vegan due to my dietary needs. If I’ve altered a recipe I will leave a link to the original one so if you want to try it you can.

The first dish we made, my 12 year old daughter made this one, is a vegan version of nikujaga, meat with vegetables. The food blog I got it from had already made the changes and these is a photo, thankfully because I forgot to take a picture.

I didn’t change much, just the tofu. I’m not a huge fan of fried tofu and I am trying to eat healthy so I baked my tofu, here’s what I did.

Cubed I pkg of extra firm tofu
Placed on a oiled cookie sheet so cubes didn’t touch.
Brushed on a mild sauce.
Baked in a 350 oven for 20-30 min.
Let the tofu cool before removing it from the cookie sheet.

Okay the tofu is going to stick, next time I make it I’m going to try parchment paper and see if that helps.
Baking the tofu like this dries it out a bit, making it chewier and it doesn’t break up when you cook it.
Sauce- you was to use just a little bit- if you choose to use any at all. The sauce I used

¼ c water
2Tbs Tamari
2Tbs Braggs
2tsp Marin
2 tsp Spike – an all purpose seasoning
1 tsp garlic pwd

I mixed that together then using a pastry brush brushed some onto the tofu. I also could have used the sauce from the dish, or left them plain. But don’t add too much you want the tofu to dry out.

I liked this dish a lot, it had a good flavor, which was subtle not over powering like some American Japanese restaurants can be. I can easily see a Samurai eating this dish. This is something I have bookmarked and will make again.

In all of the books pickled vegetables are mentioned so I decided to try some. I went to the market where they have a large import selection. I found a selection of pickled Japanese vegetables and choose: cucumbers, missed vegetables with lotus root, ginger, and plums.

Hubby made some really yummy rice and vegetables in a bottled Teriyaki sauce, which was yummy. When we take an Armchair Adventure to modern Japan I’ll try Teriyaki recipes myself.

Pickled Cucumber- these were good, there was s spice in them I was unfamiliar with and they were a bit saltier then I am use to.

Pickled mixed vegetables- I liked these, they were a bit sweet and still crunchy.

Pickled plum- I couldn’t eat this at all, it was sour and very salty. I might try and find a recipe with pickled plums and see if I can eat them that way.

Pickled ginger- this one was a cheat, I love ginger and I’ve had pickled ginger many times before. Once I was done with my taste test I dumped the pickled ginger all over my rice and vegetables.

Warning- check the labels we found MSG in many of the pickled vegetables at the store.

I did take my daughter out for sushi to celebrate our journey to Japan. She was very brave and tried a lot of new things. The spicy crab roll was her favorite.

Do you have a favorite traditional Japanese foods? Any recipes or food blogs you can share with us?

Don’t forget our vacations to Shogun Japan isn’t over yet, on Friday I’ll be sharing several movies to finish up our journey.