Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Notes From the Pregnant Kitchen

One of the reasons I love my midwives is because they are so very attentive to my diet and nutrition. In my first trimester, before I switched over to their care, I felt pretty queasy most of the time and seemed to only be able to eat ramen noodles, cereal, peaches, and nothing. Then, when my appetite eventually returned, I was all out of whack. During an appointment, the midwives (There are 2, if you're wondering. It's not a giant team or anything.) asked me about my usual diet. Most of my answers were met with polite responses, though I could see the concern in their eyes. They had me keep a food journal for two weeks, then come back for another visit.

When it came time to review my journal, there was a great deal of silence, punctuated by brief comments or questions. "Not a lot of protein at breakfast... What's a McFlurry?...Oh dear what happened Saturday?"

The conclusion was that I wasn't way off, but I definitely needed some help. One of the biggest problems was that it took me 5 days to get one day's worth of vegetables. I didn't think this could possibly be right, but that's because I didn't know just how many vegetables they were expecting me to eat.

6 servings A DAY. Not fruits AND vegetables. Just vegetables.

Do you know that commercial for a fiber supplement where a woman sets her alarm to wake up and gnaw on a broccoli crown while sitting in bed? I pictured me doing that to fit in these 6 servings. But challenges are good. And I don't want an unhealthy, fat baby. So I was going to need to find a way to get into it.

The remedy: weekly trips to the farmers market. Whereas I'd casually dabbled before -- picking up a few odd items for somehow $55 and letting them all rot in my fridge for a week -- now, I'm a pro. I can be in and out of there in 15 minutes, and only spend about $20.

The produce all tastes better. And the farmers seem so kind. And for the last two weeks I've gone after a yoga class that concludes with 15 minutes of meditation so it makes for a whole mother earth, space case morning. In short, it's all much more exciting this way.

So here is what I've been most excited about eating lately: Heirloom tomato bruschetta and sauteed kale.

For the bruschetta, I chop up 2 - 3 large tomatoes of various colors. Then I add 3 cloves of garlic (which is slightly nuts; 2 is plenty but I just love garlic), then a sprinkle of kosher salt and a drizzle of olive oil. It's so easy and so flavorful. In this batch I threw in a little fresh basil, but I have to say I think I preferred an earlier batch without it. Basil may be one of those random flavors that makes me gag these days.

I bought some sourdough bread at the market too since they were out of Italian. I think it added a nice flavor. I toasted the slices in the oven under the broiler.

The kale, admittedly, came from Vons. I think it's not locally in season right now. It IS extremely trendy, however. I didn't think vegetables could be "in" but kale so is. I'm reminded of a line from Modern Family. Mitchell comes home from the farmers market and says to Cam, "Guess what the new spinach is. Kale" "(Gasp) No!" "I know, it's not ready to anchor a meal."

I sauté mine in some sesame dressing to make it taste not terrible. The nice thing about this is the little ridgey edges get crisp. This was a vegetable the midwives mentioned about 400 times for all of its benefits so FINE I'm eating it. As well as the even-lamer swiss chard.

But hey, it's all for a good cause. And by that, I mean of course to counteract my astounding new addictions to both candy and ice cream.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Movies + Food Trucks

If you're like me and you enjoy watching movies outdoors, but the thought of going to Cinespia at Hollywood Forever Cemetery makes you want to strangle someone, then fear not... there is still hope! It comes in the form of Outdoor Cinema Food Fest.

Setting up in parks around the city all summer long, OCFF screens favorite movies on a massive inflatable screen and charges only $10 admission. The best part about this is that you can buy your tickets online in advance. Then, the night of the screening, advanced ticket holders are given a one hour head start to get in and grab space on the lawn. This means that even if you do need to wait in a line for a little while to get a good space, you have a ticket that guarantees you WILL get in. Take that, Cinespia.

Oh, AND dogs are allowed to come with. We nearly brought Seamus, but worried he'd be all restless and get in the way.

In addition to the movie, there is also a band. And although I never much care for local bands I've never heard of, I appreciate the effort to up the night's entertainment factor.

The more important bonus is the collection of food trucks at the event. While you're also allowed to bring in your own food and drink (booze included), it never hurts to supplement your pretzel thins and pub cheese (my favorite snack lately) with some greasy food truck fair.

We checked out OCFF on Saturday. The movie was Fight Club, and the location was Exposition Park, over by the Coliseum and USC. Devin and I arrived shortly before the gates opened at 5:30. There was plenty of parking. The $10 fee was a bummer, but pretty standard. We spotted our friends Elizabeth and Jamie in line, just as people started filing in. We pulled a chat and cut to join them, but I don't feel THAT bad because we all had tickets and even if they got in before us they would've saved us a space.

The lawn was just barely filling up so we set up camp, spreading out blankets to ensure space for the 4 remaining folks in our group. Then there was nothing to do but wait... for three hours.

May as well eat stuff!

Food trucks

Tater tots with cheese sauce from Dogtown Dogs

Liz with mashed potatoes and spicy pork from Jose O'Malley's

Don't be fooled, he really did enjoy his hot dog

My companions cracked open beers and bottles of red wine, but you KNOW all the cool kids are really drinking root beer these days.


As the sun started to get low in the sky, I took note that the place had really filled up.

But even so, the lines at the port o potties never got to be completely hopeless. This is how I evaluate the abilities of an event's organizers. Good work, guys.

By the time the movie started I was already getting a little uncomfortable from sitting on the blanket. About 2/3 of the way through, I decided it was easier to lay completely flat and just listen instead of watching. Then, I kind of dozed off. I just can't do late nights these days! But a nap in the cool night air is nothing to complain about.

Leaving the event meant dealing with a little congestion in the parking lot, but not the worst I've ever encountered.

There are still a few screenings left for the summer so if you're trying to plan a movie/picnic night with friends, do yourself a favor and stay the heck outta the cemetery!