Perfect Attendance/Imperfect Eating

by Sarah on March 31, 2011 · 7 comments

If they gave out Perfect Attendance Awards to teachers, I would totally win one. Until this past Tuesday, I had not missed a single day of work. EVER. I’ve never called in sick while teaching* nor taken a personal day. I say until this past Tuesday, because on Tuesday, I finally took a day off.

*When I was working for crazy family, I called in sick once so that I could go to an interview. I had to fib a little bit—I mean, it wasn’t a full on lie, as I was sick….sick of working for them–but they were shady and looking for my replacement without telling me, so I didn’t feel bad.As I have ten days (five sick leave, five personal leave) and only 9 weeks of school left, it seemed about time to go ahead and take a mental health day. [Trust me. I needed one.] Now, one might think, “Oh, wow, I bet once you had the whole day to cook and plan your meals you had three well-balanced, beautiful bowls of food and perhaps two carefully thought-out snacks.” Ha! The only thing carefully thought-out was my post-workout morning coffee.
And it all went downhill from there.[Actually, I'm not sure that downhill is the appropriate term, as I don't know where "it" went. Or what "it" is exactly. Let's just say, I didn't eat with a plan...and I'm not sure I really ate a very good meal even once.] There was quite a bit of papaya and (unpictured) grapes and watermelon nibbled on all throughout the day.

This banana bread I found in the freezer and had set out to thaw the night before provided me with breakfast….and mid-morning (and later morning) snack….and then a side at dinner…and perhaps a bit more before bedtime… The random cuts are what happens when you aren’t sure if it’s freezer-burned so you keep cutting little pieces from random parts of the bread, because when you get a good bite you don’t trust your tastebuds that the whole thing is actually good, and you need to keep checking.

So, what did you do on your day off, Sarah?
Well. First, I did my taxes.(I know. Exciting. But did you know how easy it is to do online? A life-changer.)

The financial theme (of boring pursuits) continued as I went to the bank. At least I got some Dum Dums as a reward.
I also compiled all of my random coupons into an envelope for my car.
(I live on the wild side of life. Clearly.)
One of those “coupons” was actually a $25 gift card to use at globalgiving.org.I had “won” this during South by Southwest at Fader Fort, where Pepsi had set up a booth for the Pepsi Refresh Project.If you agreed to answer this question on camera……they gave you $25 to donate to charity AND a free T-shirt! I talked about how my “art” was cooking and I would set up cooking and nutrition classes for kids. In that vein, I used my gift card to pay for a pre-schooler to receive gardening tools as a part of the school gardens in Washington, D.C. sponsored by Martha’s Table.My heart felt good, but now my mind (and stomach) needed some nourishment…best way to soothe my mind (and stomach)? Cooking!*
*cooking [verb; gerund]: throwing random things together in a food processor or pot or oven and seeing what happens; see food experiment Three go ’rounds in the food processor later…I had three new treats to taste and tempt you with (later, little ones…the time will come for that….). Then, with slightly unsettled insides (too many licks of the spatula will do that to a person), I was off in search of my next adventure.

Free Ice Cream Day at Amy’s Ice Creams! What?! How lucky could a girl be? Since I remembered how crazy lines could get when I was in college and Ben & Jerry’s would have Free Cone Day, I headed to the nearest Amy’s to make it right at 3:00. Sad for me, luck was NOT on my side this time, as that location had closed and I didn’t know (clearly, I don’t like to actually BUY ice cream when I can find it elsewhere for free…). Or maybe luck WAS on my side, because the second-closest (is that a word?) was also in perhaps my favorite four-block radius of Austin–the home of Whole Foods.Since I was there, I thought I might as well check for some free samples. Some pineapple, an orange slice or two, a nibble (or three) of the incredible Fourteener Bread (seriously, find that people), and a little cup of oil-free Texas Caviar later… …I was at Amy’s and lined up in what was an unexpectedly short, and fast moving line.[This door art sort of made me want to buy window markers and decorate my car. It could be the Smart Mobile!]

I, of course, slowed down the line considerably as you know my tendency to waffle (cone*) back and forth (and up and down) when making food decisions. I have to give a hand to the people of Amy’s, however, as the extremely tall guy serving me was uber patient and answered my questions. I ended up with 1/2 Oreo and 1/2 Grasshopper, with chocolate chip mix-ins. *Sorry for that one.Seriously, this was delicious. Actually chocolate CHIPS as opposed to chocolate drops…do you know the difference? ;) And while the mint + cookie combo was good, I have to say the bites of just Oreo were phenomenal…different than ordinary cookies ‘n cream…almost like a cake batter with broken Oreos….which reminds me of Oreo Cake…which I now want to make…..
Moving on.
I have to admit, after all that sampling of cooking experiments earlier, I only ate half of my free ice cream and saved the rest in the freezer (including the plastic spoons, as I have developed a strange complex whereby ice cream and frozen yogurt don’t taste right if you eat it with metal). To soothe my stomach I drank a Diet Sun Drop (which was also free, as my roommates had somehow acquired it during South by Southwest).

And then, since I was home alone [insert Macauly Caulkin's mouth-open, hands-on-cheeks face here]…I pilfered through a number of boxes and bags of cereal in the pantry (sorry roommates…) and made a delicious mix of crazy:

  • Peanut Butter Puffins
  • Puffed Wheat
  • Multi-Grain Cheerios
  • Cap’n Crunch Berries (best move EVER)
  • Kashi Golden Goodness [which, P.S., on the website they have labeled "original" which makes me think they will be churning out multiple varieties like the Honey Bunches of Oats they are impersonating]

Also featured? The new Frosted Mini-Wheats that my roommate had bought. [Thanks for the five biscuits, Erin! Hugs!]. Honestly, I didn’t buy them because they have HFCS in them, but they are the closest thing I’ve found to the ones made when I was little filled with raisins. I like them. I don’t want to like them. But I like them. A little blogging later, and I was off to the interest meeting for the new Austin Food Blogger Alliance. Although there has been a loosely arranged facebook group and community, there is a move towards creating a more official platform for blogger education, celebration, and communication (both among ourselves and with local businesses), following a code of standards and ethics.

The informational meeting was at Takoba, and there was a great turnout, including a number of people I hadn’t met before. Lots of cameras, of course. :) And the “famous” food bloggers of Austin. ;) After some meet-and-greet of new (hopefully soon-to-be) friends, I found Teddy, Cara, Lindsay, and the other usual suspects. Cara offered up a bite of her veggie taco (which includes sweet potatoes and I have been wanting to try it forever), but I declined…a little full from my cereal binge earlier.A sudden rainstorm (OK, not so sudden…it had loomed for the entire day, and thus I was prepared with Mr. Duck) sent us inside… …where I forgot about my full belly at the offer of yet more ice cream. This time, mixed with CAKE! A new company, Sweet ‘n Dirty Treats had come to proffer samples of their product. This Angel’s Lava (white on vanilla) was incredibly delicious…I wanted more. But I-for once-didn’t ask. Then I went home, and you’d think I was ready for a nice, homemade, fully balanced dinner. Instead, I went with 1/4 of my Strawberry Lemonade Pie (although I didn’t eat all of the crust—I’m a sucker for the custard y’all)……and a scoop of my Sweet Salmon Salad on green leaf lettuce (looking something like this, but with additional bell peppers, carrots, and mushrooms as well).And then some more of that banana bread. Just a little bit more. I promise.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Shelley March 31, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Wow- that was one full day, lady! I hate that I missed the AFBA HH. You'll have to fill me in on the deets when we're volunteering on Sat. Thanks so much for the help. Can't wait!

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Maria @ Oh Healthy Day March 31, 2011 at 3:08 pm

Why isn't there a CA Bay Area Food Blogger Alliance? Seriously, Austin has EVERYTHING! I'm jealous.

I've taken probably a total of 2 sick days in the past 3 years and one of them, I actually tried going into work and they sent me home. Sometimes I want an annoying little cold so that I can call in sick and spend the day eating Crunch Berries and drinking Diet Ginger Ale.

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Claire @ Un Bello Aperitivo March 31, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Austin is really a hopping place; full of lots of free things! I want to move there!

I hate being pressured to make a decision…especially with food! Thus, me + free ice cream day long line = lots of angry people behind me, haha.

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Tricia @ Saving room for dessert March 31, 2011 at 6:36 pm

Wow that is so weird. I took a half day of vacation to come home and do my taxes on Turbo Tax! Then I posted a blueberry bread and jumped over to see what you're up to. You're up to a lot! Don't feel bad about mental health days. We all need 'em. I have about 200 hours sick leave built up and they don't pay it out when you leave. Sometimes I just don't feel bad about an 8 hour dentist appointment once a year. Have a great evening!

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Missy March 31, 2011 at 9:27 pm

Now that is a well deserved menatl health day spent wisely (I mean un-wisely? If you were thinking too much it wouldn't have been a mental break.)

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marchele March 31, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Hey! Thank you for enjoying my sample! I can't wait to share with you my other flavors. BTW, I will be a vendor at the Austin wine and Music Festival. I look forward to sharing my experiences with you.

Later,
Marchele

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Travelbug April 1, 2011 at 8:44 am

Just found your site and you totally made me laugh with your ability to say exactly what you are thinking as you are thinking it which is totally what i do on my blog as well :)
I must try that strawberry lemonade pie!

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