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Posts Tagged ‘seafood’

I have moved away from the far-reaching skies of Kansas since my last long-ago post. Taken a new librarian position at the U.S. Naval Academy and devouring all the seafood that crosses my path. Oh my goodness people! Really, it is so delicious! I have fried catfish in my new little kitchen. Prepared shrimp in a cream sauce. Taken pasta primavera that was left over from one meal out and reheated it at home with added shrimp. Also took leftover restaurant raviolis stuffed with mushrooms (soaking up creamy Alfredo sauce with every bite) and added shrimp the next day. Ate the best haddock fish sandwich ever. (Um, actually my first haddock fish sandwich. What have I been waiting for??) Raw salmon at a small Japanese sushi bar. Good ol’ fish and chips several times. Maryland crab soup. Crab dip with toasted baguette slices. Side note: Crab dip was not the best – too much Old Bay. For crab dip, I think my brother and our son make the absolute best. True lump crab meat flavor coming through! And since they both live in Virginia, maybe I will uncover some in my near future.

I have to force myself to not order seafood at every meal. Friday night I enjoyed a Mexican restaurant with co-workers, and I stared and drooled at the seafood dishes on the menu but this time stuck to black beans and gooey cheese for my protein. It was difficult. But I’m trying to force myself for two reasons:

ONE: Too much of anything is not good for anyone. And part 2 of # ONE – I realize I am adding to the problem of over-fished waters.

TWO (and most importantly!): I do not want to tire of this seafood. Ever.

However, I have been here three weeks, and I will forgive myself for being such a glutton. For now. But discipline must take over!

There is a fantastic farmer’s market not too far from my apartment which I visited yesterday morning for the second time. Yesterday afternoon I made large pot of vegetable soup with a few navy beans thrown in. I was thinking of adding garbanzo beans, but being that I am now a civilian employee of the Navy, the other seemed much more to my liking!

I still have boxes to unpack, and as I finish that project and study my new surroundings, I am renewing my commitment to healthy cooking. My kitchen is smaller here, but I like to possess just what I need before donning my invisible chef’s hat.

Plus, I cannot continue to eat out so much. The first week here I had an excuse (sorta) because my unpacking was so in the early stages. And I wanted to treat my hubby to special meals, because he had taken a week off from work just to fly to Kansas and drive two days with me and the kitty. I didn’t even have to ask him – he just volunteered to give up a week of well-earned vacation days simply to help me. So, um, those are my excuses!

But now in my refrigerator I have fresh tomatoes, onions, beets, eggplant, okra, yellow squash, corn, and kale. Sitting on my counter is the perfect cantaloupe that will probably be ready to slice open later today. And there is a really tasty blue cheese that I will have to crumble somewhere. Oh my goodness where do I start?? For real.

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“Where have I been?” you may ask. Simply really busy at work. Sure, even though I’ve worked many extra hours and weekends, I could have written my blog, but I couldn’t seem to concentrate on anything but the library and what I needed to accomplish. And during this time I have been so busy that I have done more quick meals than healthy ones. Which, as we all know, makes one less productive. So I’m not really sure I helped myself with that decision.

I’ve eaten more meat. bummer. Oh not tons of it, but every once-in-a-while, those awful hotdogs sounded so delicious! And French fries. I’ve eaten two hamburgers. Chicken on rice. Even a piece of fried chicken!!

However, this weekend I will work on getting my life back in order. I am trying to work on my debt ratio (ugh), so I will spend time on that one. Did I say “ugh” yet? I will relax a little by reading a mystery fiction book and watch two DVDs I rented from the public library. But before I get started on all this excitement (!), let me tell you a little about the few tasty and healthy meals I did enjoy these past few weeks.

The hubby and I met with the Radford gang, my group of friends from college I met in the year “mumble mumble“, and we have been meeting, along with our husbands, for at least one weekend a year for over “mumble mumble” years! Several times we also spent weekends together with our children as well. Anyway, we stayed at this wonderful house right on the beach on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We stayed there the whole weekend, except for a few quick runs to the grocery store. One night we had grilled steaks, baked taters, and salad. I did eat a smidgen of Brent’s steak, but mostly I had a huge fresh vege salad and the baked tater with some cheese for protein. And a glass of Riesling, my favorite wine. Yes, only one glass. People who know me understand it is best for me to have no more because I talk even more than usual after one glass. I won’t even attempt a second!

Another night we had a purchased frozen lasagna that was delicious! It had ground beef and Italian sausage stuffed in there between the noodles. I’d like to tell you I did not know the meat was mixed in there with the soft, gooey cheese, but I knew. I conquered it. It was good. I made one of my staple dishes: marinated vegetables. I use tomatoes, bell pepper (color may vary), onions, broccoli and/or cauliflower, and carrots. Sometimes I add olives and feta cheese, but not this time. I tried to eat a lot of that so I wouldn’t eat so much lasagna, and I think I succeeded. And did I mention garlicky bread?!? Oh yes there was bread! White flour bread! Oh my goodness! With all that butter and garlic?!? Conquered that, too.

I was a good girl the morning we had one of those egg and cheese and sausage casseroles. Not a bite. Honest! I had a healthy cereal mixture with extra wheat bran and ground flax seed I took with me in my suitcase. Val brought fresh fruit, so I topped off my grains with banana, strawberries, and blueberries. Mmmmm. . . . . And for a snack later in the day I prepared Tommy’s famous Sex Dip, a secret recipe I learned while working at UNC in Chapel Hill. Well, I actually had been making it several years before I was ever introduced to Tommy and his own version, but he used a special preparation method, and that makes all the difference in my book! In the past I always called it an artichoke cheese spread, but when I prepare it the way he recommends, I call it by the proper name, Sex dip.

I recently spent several days in Washington, DC, at the Depository Library Council Conference. And I ate a few very good meals. And some cake. oops! My breakfasts always consisted of grains, nuts, fresh fruit, and 1/2 of a Luna bar. And Starbucks coffee at 8:00am when we could meet with the Council members before the day of educational sessions got started.

My first night there I met with two other Kansas librarians and I did something rather silly. You know how I really miss seafood, and that night I started with crab bisque and ordered a crab meat appetizer for my entrée. Silly, I know. But it was so scrumptious! The appetizer had lots of huge lumps of the crabmeat and was served with toasted baguette slices. I could not eat it all so I shared.

Our group of nine Kansas librarians (such a wild bunch we are!) went out together for lunch on Monday and I opted for a cobb salad without the chicken. It was very, very, good. And filling.

That afternoon during the 3:00pm break in the conference we had cake and pretzels to celebrate the honor of the San Bernardino County Law Library in California being named the Federal Depository Library of the year. And that, sigh, is where I ate a huge piece of chocolate cake! By supper I was not hungry, but I went out to dinner with Val, a friend (and fellow UNC MLS graduate) who is now the regional government information librarian in Alabama. I ordered just French fries. Really, I wanted fried taters. Surely you understand??!?!

The last night there I went out to dinner with my friend Christine, a government information librarian from the public library in Kalamazoo, MI. We really, really both like to eat, and we both wanted seafood. So we decided on this rather pricey restaurant about a half-mile from our hotel. We were both excited, because the menu spoke of the freshness of the seafood served, and even had the location of the catch of each seafood they served! We both care about that issue – where our food is grown and harvested. Food policies. Eating locally when possible. Well, we were both disappointed. My one little oyster was so covered in breading that I’m still not sure there was actually an oyster in all that stuff. The salmon was covered in a heavy BBQ sauce (where was the salmon flavor?). The crab cake did not have breading on the outside, but there was so much extra something mixed inside the crab cake that I didn’t eat more than 3 bites. The delicious crab flavor was lost. Christine’s lobster was over-cooked. I tasted it, and the flavor was pretty good, but the texture was just tough. I’m usually easy to please, but I don’t think I will ever return to that same restaurant.

However, the evening was not a total waste because we got to catch up on our lives, discuss the upcoming presidential election, and share information about our work days. The evening was cool, the walk was great, and seeing her again after four years was wonderful.

Well, I will have to see what type of culinary adventures I come up with this weekend. I know I have some potatoes. Stuff for a tossed salad. Raw cabbage. Canned veges. Frozen veges. Several kinds of cheeses. Splurged on a few gourmet olives at Dillons. Two small avocados. Frozen shrimp. Whole wheat pasta. And hot dogs.

What is it about those darn hot dogs? When I cook them I have to fry them and then double soak them in paper towels to get out a lot of that grease that gives me an upset tummy. What gives here?

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