Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Halloween

I could have named this blog The Candy Guy, because I love the stuff (as if my ode to candy corn didn't clue you in to that already!). I used to eat pounds of it, literally pounds of it, on a pretty regular basis. My idea of a perfect evening was to get in bed with a good book and a large bag of candy, preferably Richardson's Gourmet Mints. Creamy mint center, surrounded by semi-sweet chocolate, lovingly contained by a candy shell... ahhh yes, my old yellow, pink, orange, and blue friends.

But it didn't matter what candy I had, or how much -- I'd eat until it was gone.

About the time I hit 230 pounds (on an average sized 5'10" frame), I realized this was not good for me. This happened to coincide with my mints disappearing from the shelves (I still don't know what happened to them, but you can buy them online, which I take great comfort in knowing!). So now I only periodically eat candy, and when I do I try to determine how much a 'normal person' would eat in one sitting. Then I double -- sometimes triple-- that, and only buy that specific amount. Of course, I still eat it all, but at least I've managed my consumption a little.

This is the first Halloween that Food Guy Jr. is aware of what's going on around him. At almost 14 months, he still hasn't had his first bite of candy, but I think tonight that's going to change. We'll see what happens.

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Candy Crack Corn, and I Don't Care...

With Halloween only a few days away, I have to write about candy. It won't be the last time, I assure you. The Food Guy LOVES candy and can talk about it endlessly.

But today, I'm thinking about just one kind of candy. It's triangular. It's orange, yellow, and white (sometimes brown too!). And it is more addictive than just about any other sweet. The question I have is this: WHY is it so impossible to have just a few candy corns?

As the trees start showing the first hints of oranges and yellows, matching bags of candy corn start appearing on the supermarket shelves. They're usually pretty cheap, so you buy two, maybe three. You open the bag, thinking "Oh, I'll just have a few corns, maybe put the rest out in a nice bowl on the coffee table..." You grab a few, go back about your business.

Flash forward 15 minutes, and all three bags of corn are gone. Your teeth ache. Your head feels foggy. Your stomach is in turmoil. You are disgusted with yourself. And you're looking for your keys because you need to get back to the store for more candy corn!

By the time Halloween passes, you're thankful they've been replaced by chocolate Santas and candy canes, because you can't keep yourself from buying a bag every time you see one, no matter how grossed out you are with them, and yourself.

When I say "you" throughout this blog, I admit that I mean "me." I used to think it was only me. Then I met Mrs. Food Guy. The two of us can mow through five pounds of candy corn faster than an ordinary person can get the bag opened. It's not pretty, believe me -- two adults sitting on a couch, complaining of wanting to puke while at the same time keeping close tabs on the other persons corn-pile (can't have one of us getting more than their fair share of corn!), trying so hard to eat just a few but finding themselves unable to quit shoving them down their gullets.

What do they put in that stuff? It brings to mind the traditional song:

Candy crack corn, and I don't care,
Candy crack corn, and I don't care,
Candy crack corn, and I don't care
My teeth's have gone away!!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

I Hate Recipes

Whenever I follow a recipe, I get this idea in my head of what the dish is going to look and taste like. Usually the picture in my head is somewhat influenced by the picture that invariably accompanies the recipe (imagine that!). The finished product always looks so perfect... I can practically taste it.

Then I start to cook. It isn't long before I find something out of whack. Once I was making a curry, and the recipe called for just a half teaspoon of curry powder. I may be guilty of ocassionally over-spicing a dish here and there, but a HALF a teaspoon of curry powder in a giant pot of curry??? I wouldn't even taste that. I might as well just wave the curry powder over the pot and say CURRY CURRY CURRY for the amount of flavoring that would give the dish!

I probably cook 10 meals of my own creation for every one I use a recipe for. And just about every time I follow a recipe, I think it was a waste of time. Is this just me?

Now if only I could make something that looked THIS good:

Friday, October 24, 2008

Everybody Loves Bacon

I was going to wait a little while to write my first post about bacon. But I've recently learned something that I just have to share.

People LOVE bacon. It's not just me. Even vegetarians seem to have a thing for bacon.
The story goes like this: A few weeks ago I posted a simple comment on my Facebook page about bacon. A one-liner. It generated a surprising number of responses from my friends. A week later, I came across an article about a suspected bomb that was removed from an office building. It turned out to be a package of bacon. I thought this was pretty funny, and posted a link to the news story. Again, a ton of responses. Now, not only do I have bacon on the brain, but I keep finding these bacon items to share. And every time I do, I get tons of comments from other people who seem to love bacon as much as I do.

So what's the deal? The reasons to love bacon are many and obvious: it's salty and greasy and crispy and smoky. It's an indulgence. I'm sure much of the allure is that we know it's bad for us. Us bacon lovers take a little pride in our risk taking, knowing that enough bacon could clog our arteries and expand our waists. Yeah, I eat bacon. I live on the edge, man!

It's also one of those foods that fits so nicely in its niche. If bacon was something you had for dinner once a week -- a slab of bacon with a few sides -- it would lose some of it's charm. But when you think of it, nestled warmly next to a pile of eggs and homefries, it brings a smile to your face. The perfect tableau.

But bacon is no one-trick cured meat! Oh no -- bacon goes with so many things. What else can you serve with breakfast, on a salad, on a hamburger, and put on the top of an apple pie? The only other food that I can think of is cheddar cheese, which I'd be happy to write about in another post.

Finally, let's talk about the smell. The Smell! My idea of a perfect day would begin with waking up in a warm bed on a cold morning, the smell of cooking bacon in the air. Nobody ever smells bacon and wonders "What is that delightful aroma?" It's an unmistakable smell. And now, sitting here just writing about it, I can practically smell it.

I'm about to eat an almond butter sandwich and I'm thinking how nice it would be if there were a few slices of bacon in the there. Because as I always say, Everything is better with bacon!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Mmm... Smoothies. Smooth!

Smoothies may be considered a beverage, but the Food Guy doesn't see the need to discriminate between liquids and solids. I drink a smoothie for breakfast several mornings a week, and it sticks to my ribs better than any bowl of Grape Nuts.

I'm not proud of this, but I don't eat a lot of fruit. I like fruit, but somehow it just isn't a real go-to food for me (maybe because there's no bacon-flavored fruit. If there was a bacon fruit tree, I'd have an orchard!). But my smoothies are loaded with fruit (are you dying for my smoothie recipe yet? You'll have to keep reading...) so I feel really good about drinking them.

Have I mentioned how delicious they are? I love my smoothies so much that sometimes, when the alarm goes off at 5:30 am and my sleepy brain says "Ahhh, missing one workout won't kill me. I'll go to the gym tomorrow...", my sleepy stomach responds "But what about my smoothie??" And I get out of bed. Because yes, my smoothies are good enough to warrant getting up early, moving big slabs of iron around and running for miles and miles.

And they're portable. I make my smoothie and head off to the shower. I drink it while I shave, while I get dressed. I can chase the little guy around the house and still get my breakfast in.

There's one more thing about smoothies that I love. This is a new one. And it has to do with my son. He's just over a year old, and when he was tiny, I used to come home from the gym, put him down for a nap, and hope my smoothie-making wouldn't wake him up. As he got a little older, he was scared of the blender sound, so I'd yell out a warning before I started it up. My wife would bring him into the kitchen so he could see what was making the noise. Then one day we realized that he had grown to like the sound of the blender -- he wanted to watch the blending. So I offered him a sip of my smoothie.

At first, he looked in that big cup, at that weird, thick, purple stuff, and he laughed and laughed. Then he took a sip, and got a big smile. And a big purple smoothie mustache. Now when he hears the blender he comes running. He actually smacks his lips in anticipation of his sip of my smoothie. It's something he and I share on a regular basis, and it's pretty cool.

So now, finally, my smoothie recipe!!!

8 oz. low fat soy milk
1 frozen banana (peel it before you freeze it!)
1 cup frozen berries (blueberry is best, but that's just my opinion)
1 scoop protein powder (I like chocolate!)
1 tablespoon flax seed
1/4 cup rolled oats
about 1/2 cup water

I like to start with just a little water, blend for a moment, and add water as needed. I like a thick smoothie but if you like yours thinner, more water is your friend.

Nutrition Info
(this varies depending on the type of protein powder you use)
400 cal
7.5g fat
68g carbs
26g protein
Iincidentally -- this is an ideal ratio for a post-workout meal. And a terrific breakfast even if you haven't just been to the gym)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Food Guy Writes

I'm now officially The Food Guy. I love food -- talking about it, cooking it, eating it. I love all kinds of food, so this blog isn't going to be some elitist (we hate elitists!) foody blather about fancy restaurants and fine wines... though I suppose I shouldn't rule that out if the mood strikes me. What I want to write about is what I love about food -- it doesn't really matter what it costs or where it came from. What matters about food is how it tastes and how it makes you feel.

So on that note, I'm going to say a few words about my favorite food: Hamburgers. I think I've eaten at least one hambuger a week for 10 or 15 years now, and in the weeks that I haven't, I've felt their absence. A hamburger is basic. It's not complicated, though you can make it complicated if you really want to. A good hamburger is juicy, flavorful, has the right toppings for the moment... When the juices drip down the side of your hand and fall from your wrist bone to the table, you know you're eating something special.

That's all I'll say about hamburgers for now. It's not much, but it's a start.