Hablo ingles?

Work was crazy this week — I almost couldn’t remember how to speak English when I got home on Friday because I had been speaking Spanish so much. Despite having to manage all sorts of emotional drama in my non-native language, however, I was able to take many snack breaks because, as you know, my agency does quite well with food.

I got the ball rolling this week when I couldn’t find coconut on Monday and ended up getting a pack of lemon “not sweet” plantain chips (couldn’t find the sweet ones — it wasn’t my day) instead to share with Jessica and Deborah:

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Deborah played her part in curing the afternoon munchies by offering me some bites of her chicken burrito with salsa and guac:

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My little afternoon snack sampler plate:

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You know already how Tuesday went down. Wednesday, we took a bunch of our families on a trip to Lake Welch at Bear Mountain.

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The families loved the chance to get out of the city and had tons of fun frolicking in the lake and on land:

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They brought their own lunches, but we also brought along some afternoon snack supplies.

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Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches:

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And 10 million watermelons:

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I ate the lunch I had packed (the leftovers I had been collecting all week!) and had half a sandwich and, ummm, probably half of a watermelon. I had to get to it before the flies did!

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And Katty gave me a bunch of her chocolate-covered pretzels:

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On the bus ride back to the agency, I broke into these maduros (finally, the sweet plantains!) that Jessica found and shared them with Beryl and some of the families:

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When the plantains were gone, I immediately conked out for the duration of the trip back to work. Upon arrival at the agency, we realized that one of the leftover watermelons had broken in transit. I snapped right to attention and set out on a rescue mission, running the dripping watermelon into the advocacy kitchen while Deborah opened doors ahead of me, helpfully calling out, “Right this way, Baby!” Because, you know, I carried a watermelon.

Between the two kitchens at my agency, I managed to find enough takers so that the watermelon did not die in vain. I also ended up with a massive amount of watermelon in my emptied lunch tupperwares, hmmmmm …

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When I got home Wednesday night, I immersion-blended the watermelon until it was liquid and poured it into ice cube trays to freeze. The watermelon ice cubes made an excellent addition to my jasmine iced tea:

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And to my banana soft serve (with 1/2 a coconut, peanut butter, and a hazelnut chocolate ball):

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Do you speak any languages that are not your own natively? And do you ever forget how to speak your own language? And what do you do with watermelons?

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Shredded

Somehow, another week has gone by! I don’t know how it happened, and I really can’t even remember what happened, but I know that the weekend is here. In fact, if I didn’t have so many pictures of food, I might think the week never happened at all. So you see, food photography does serve a purpose.

Apparently, this has been a colorful week in terms of my lunches. Can you guess why?

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Yesssss, the CSA beets made their debut! I shredded the beets with CSA zucchini, CSA kohlrabi, and CSA garlic and mixed the whole thing with red wine vinegar, herb-infused olive oil, and coarse sea salt:

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The beets took total charge of the salad of course. This takeover suited me perfectly, though, since I love beets. The salad worked wonders in my omelet (with a CSA egg of course):

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I ate the omelet in my “garden” because I like to live in luxury like that:

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And I only took about 10,000 pictures. I would have taken more but, you know, the colors were just so dull 😛

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The beet salad also held up quite well underneath a morningstar black bean burger for lunches at work:

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(Though you could throw a morningstar black bean burger on top of anything and have a pretty successful meal.)

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A girl can’t live on beets alone, sadly, so some other items had to get involved. Gina had given me her free sample of chocolate chunk “weight management” shake mix a couple weeks ago (I did this with the vanilla sample), so I decided to put it to work.

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I dumped the powder into a bowl (fyi, there were no chocolate chunks in this mix, despite the title!) and mixed it with a bit of yogurt to get a frosting consistency:

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The frosting wouldn’t leave me alone all week and kept popping up in the most random places!

On top of a poached CSA egg on top of a grilled blueberry muffin from Wife:

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On top of yogurt, cereal, and fruit:

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Plus many un-pictured cameos via my finger 🙂 This still tastes fake and overly sweet, but the chocolate definitely beats out the vanilla!

Somewhere amidst all the shredding and weight management (haaaaaaaaaaa) this past week, I also had a midterm due for my family therapy class. Part of the midterm assignment was to create a genogram for three generations of my family, and part one of creating the genogram was to put together this map of my family. Can you figure it out?

Genogram

Basically, my family’s genogram can be summed up in one sentence: Everyone got divorced and lived happily ever after 😀 Clarification: Everyone lived happily ever after until Sarah had to do this assignment and the divorces and remarriages made her life miserable for two days. Erin Gunn put it perfectly when she was here last weekend and said, “I take it you’re an advocate for divorce … until you have to show it in a genogram.”

Do you prefer to shred your body, your food, or your family? 😛

Cake-scapades

As is often the case around these parts, Tuesday began with cake.

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Myrna’s birthday was last week, and she brought in leftovers from the weekend’s celebration. I grabbed a nice big slice and packed it up to take home nibbled on it all day long.

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Actually, before the cake, Myrna was also responsible for my brillllllliant breakfast:

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I was proofreading one of Myrna’s papers (she’s in social work school, too), and she knows that the way to my red pen is through my stomach, particularly when mangu is involved!

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That mangu became breakfast and lunch. It probably should have been dinner, too, but there wasn’t any left by then 😛

Around the time that mangu part two was taking place, the nurses all gathered in the conference room right next to my desk for some sort of mystery feast. They closed the sliding glass doors (surely out of courtesy to those of us still working) which added even more to the exclusive and private mysterious aura.

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Erik, aware of my compulsion to photograph food, held his plate up to the glass door so I could take a picture through the glass:

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Thanks, Erik. I can almost taste it.

I needn’t have worried, though, because Tuesday turned out to be one of those days when food just kept rolling in. Pansy had saved a plate of food from the nurses’ mystery lunch (which turned out to be a birthday lunch in honor of Dorothy) for Rosalie. Rosalie, knowing how much I love to taste everything, saved some to give to me. Everyone is always looking out 😀

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I gave the French fries to Beryl because, you know, potatoes.

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At almost the same time, Nydia gave me her leftover chicken club salad from Wendy’s. I peeled and discarded the chicken breading and then pushed that salad to one side and inserted the birthday lunch leftovers into the other side.

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I had a bite of the chicken (so crispy and delicious!) and those yellow noodles with sweet sausage and then gave the rest to Deborah and Myrna when they got hungry. Some salad was left, so I saved that for the next day’s lunch, of course!

Later in the afternoon, Nydia got a call from Inginia downstairs, announcing that she and Maria had made chambre, a Dominican stew with eeeeeeeverything in it. I ran down for a cup of it, but I saved that for another day, too, since I was too stuffed to eat more (and hell had also frozen over).

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Despite the fullness, however, the angel food cake with fresh strawberry topping left from the nurse’s lunch had been taunting Jessica, Deborah, and me all afternoon because it was sitting right there in the conference room … but on the nurses’ side. We get scared to cross to the other half of the room sometimes because we don’t want to seem greedy or anything like that. When Erik walked by, however, we flagged him down. He’s a good eater and we share our department breakfasts with him sometimes, so we knew he would understand. After some minor bargaining, Erik went in for the kill:

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And he came through a true hero 😀

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Jessica was very happy:

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And so were the rest of us!

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Mmm, angel food cake with fresh berries is one of the best summer desserts (not as good as this one, though!).

Have you engaged in any food subterfuge this week? And who are your food heroes?

The dinner I earned

On Monday afternoon, I developed a serious craving for coconut. Not shredded coconut, mind you, but big hunks of fresh coconut meat. There’s a juice bar around the corner from my office that normally sells it just like this:

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With this image of coconuts past burning in my memory, I headed out on a mission. I arrived at the juice bar … and did not see any coconut. I looked up at the lady in the takeout window pleadingly. Hay coco hoy?? No, no hay. Now, it is quite rare that I have a craving and actually set out on a mission to honor it with a purchase. I’m just not into spending money. This was obviously a serious need. I combed the blocks of East Harlem searching for fresh coconut meat with no luck. Finally, in a moment of pure desperation, I caved and bought a whole coconut from the grocery store next door to work:

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Clearly, there was nothing I could do with this thing while at work, so I decided to wait out the craving until I got home and could smash the coconut against a cinderblock in the privacy of my home instead of in front of my coworkers, many of whom grew up with coconut trees in their backyards.

Before I left work, Nydia tipped me off that step one would be to use a knife to gouge holes in the “eyes” so that I could drain the coconut water:

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So far, so good:

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Nature’s best hydrator:

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Once the water was drained, I pulled out the biggest knife I could find and went to town:

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Things got pretty loud as bits of shells were flying around my kitchen … and the coconut seemed no closer to allowing me entry. My roommate Brigitte came out to inspect. Is everything ok here? I explained to her that I needed coconut and that I was trying, very unsuccessfully, to access the meat inside the shell. Brig suggested that I look up proper coconut cracking procedure. That didn’t seem as fun as my if-i-just-hack-at-it-enough-times-it-will-open approach, but I was desperate and gave in to google.

Apparently, the trick is to hold the coconut in the palm of your hand like so and simply use the back of a knife to tap it all the way around its middle until it just magically splits in two. Suuuuuuuuuuure, this will work.

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(As you can see, I had already removed my top layer of clothing as a defensive maneuver in case of accidental explosion.)

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Lo and behold, those little taps made the darn thing split in half like it was born to do it!

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The next order of business was to remove the shell. I had a vision for this coconut half, so there was going to be no cheating like shredding the coconut directly out of the shell. I found directions that told me to heat the whole, drained coconut for 15 minutes in a 450 degree oven to loosen the shell, so I put the halves back together and did what I was told. It was still pretty snug after the heating, but I decided to proceed with a screwdriver and a hammer:

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Things were rough in the beginning and fingers were harmed:

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But it was all smooth sailing once I got the first big chunk off:

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Throughout this loooong torturous process, a vision of something earth-shattering had been taking shape in my mind.

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I pulled a frozen banana out of the freezer — can you see where this is going?? — and blended up some green tea cinnamon banana soft-serve. I served the ice cream in the coconut shell topped with a bit of peanut butter and a hazelnut dark chocolate from Gina:

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Earth-shattering indeed!! I would drain, crack, and shell coconuts all day long just for the chance to eat this every night. In fact, maybe that is what I should do. Career change alert!

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Eating that ice-cream coated coconut bowl at the end made me sooooooo happy. And that best part is that I still have half the coconut left so that I can repeat 😀

Have you earned any meals recently?

Unplanned

Saturday was an excellent day for multi-tasking. I woke up at 8:30, got ready for hot yoga, opened my front door, took a step, and WAIT! Why is there an eight-foot drop into the basement stairwell where my front stoop used to be?!

I did not take a picture, but it felt a little like stepping off the edge of this:

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Apparently, my landlord had decided to replace my pretty brick stoop with an ugly metal stoop, and I happened to walk out in the perfect moment of transition when there was no stoop to be found. Luckily, Santiago (my building maintenance man) was standing nearby and was able to prevent my fall to certain death (which would have been the most embarrassing moment of all because I was wearing my too-short hot yoga shorts and I would have hated to die in those) by quickly inserting a wooden ramp into the situation so I could get down to street level.

When I managed to leave my apartment while simultaneously not breaking my neck, I knew it would be a productive day. I set off to meet Vani and Erin Gunn for hot yoga. After yoga, Erin drove us back down to Brooklyn to join Kate for some CSA action.

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This week, we got beets (!!!), zucchini, yellow squash, patty pan squash, green cucumber, white cucumber, peaches (!!!), blueberries, cherries, kohlrabi, eggs, garlic (!!!), and a teeny bit of mesclun. I made us salads with that mesclun and the leftover salad and kohlrabi bits from the week, and then we took off for Hanco’s for the balls and study time (reading time for Erin Gunn!).

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This moment represented multi-tasking success story #2 because I worked on my midterm while Erin distracted me and then convinced me that I needed to join her for celebratory drinks and dinner in honor of her fiance finishing his CFP exam. We started at East End, and Erin continued to be a bad influence by insisting that I drink and then buying me more drinks even when I refused. I had three stoli blueberries with seltzer and one sweet-tea-infused vodka (new discovery alert!) with seltzer:

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I also made friends with Lincoln when his nachos arrived.

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The photography session led to discussion of the blog which led to explanation of the blog title which led to me demonstrating my expansion abilities (think instant 5-month pregnancy … before I had even eaten a bite!) which led to Erin Gunn coming and intervening before I accidentally ate two nacho platters as an appetizer.

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Instead, I was deposited into the middle of a mandatory-jager-shot situation.

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I do not like jager at all, so I was sneaky and did not actually drink my shot. We left East End eventually, and Mike was so excited for dinner that he was giving high fives to everyone in sight:

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We traveled to Germany for dinner.

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In reality, we only traveled to 86th and 2nd, but Heidelberg is pretty darn close to Germany.

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(Except for the very Irish Harpoon promotion)

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We were seated in a basement that was decorated like an outdoor patio.

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And somehow managed to actually be outside … sort of. Here’s the view of the sky directly above my head.

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I went to the bathroom and came back to find that “we” had ordered the sausage platter for four, a dream come true. Ummmmmmm …

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While we waited for the sausage, I enjoyed many slices of super dense dark rye bread:

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The boys (Bobby and Mike) ordered larger-than-life beers:

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And Bobby enjoyed QT with his boot:

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Erin Gunn and Mike acted cute:

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Eventually, the meat arrived:

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Along with red cabbage and potato salad:

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Potato pancakes:

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And spaetzle:

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I had a potato pancake topped with applesauce and loved it (I don’t know how this was possible, as I loathe potatoes), a bite of each kind of meat for expansion’s sake, and piles and piles and piles of sauerkraut and red cabbage (wayyyyyy more than pictured):

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Bobby finished the boot:

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And Matty plugged away on his baby boot.

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The highlight was the arrival of Andes mints with our check. (Why is it so blurry? The mint was definitely not moving!)

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I left soon after for the painstakingly endless commute home and found my new stoop intact, thank goodness!

Who has a bad-in-a-good-way influence on your life?