Archive for May, 2008

Kashi Granola – Mountain Medley

Posted in food, personal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 27, 2008 by uglydudefood

Kashi Granola - Mountain Medley

I love Kashi. I can attribute a great deal of my 130-lb. weight loss to their GoLean and GoLean Crunch cereals. They manage to make tasty cereals that are packed with essentials (protein, fiber, whathaveyou). For my three-plus years as a vegetarian, they were one of my favorite protein sources. Additionally, their instant oatmeal is the best instant I’ve ever eaten.

Oooh la la! I received a package in the mail from Kashi recently. I’d like to revel in the fact that I receive free review samples from companies due to my super-popular Internet web site, but really I just signed up for their mailing list a few years ago.

The Package asks: “Ready to get off your rump?”

I reply: “No.”

The paper inside the box confuses things even more: STEP 1: Eat Granola. STEP 2: Get off your rump.

Using this handy chart, it is now possible to see how one can “get off of their rump” the Kashi way!

Using this even-handier chart, it is possible to see how one can “get off of their rump” and cut out that pesky, delicious middle man!

Kashi Granola - Mountain Medley

In the end, though, I did decide to get off my rump. A week later, I took Kashi Mountain Medley Granola where it was destined to be consumed–an overnight on a local stretch of the Appalachian Trail with my friends Brad and Tom.

Kashi Granola - Mountain Medley

Kashi Mountain Medley Granola is okay. Don’t get me wrong–in a lot of cases, granola is granola and that is that. Mountain Medley is a quarter-step above your run-of-the-mill granola. The raisins and c’raisins are plentiful and the grains are as tasty as the rest of Kashi’s oeuvre. I guess maybe I’m just spoiled by the goodness that was Dingeldein Bakery’s homemade granola, which is some of the finest I’ve ever sampled.

According to Kashi’s official web page, there are three other varieties of Kashi granola–Cocoa Beach, Orchard Spice, and Summer Berry. The Orchard Spice (mixed with apples and pecans) sounds exquisite, and I’ll probably pick up a box sometime to taste.

Fresh granola–especially at exorbitant bakeries–comes at a price. Kashi’s is the best off-the-shelf granola I’ve had. If you are looking for a slightly-more-economical substitute in your granola life and you don’t have time to make your own, Kashi Mountain Medley is where it’s at. I’ve got two turn tables and a microphone.

Here are some pictographs of the gorgeous scenery I encountered.

Susquehanna River

Fire!

Another view

Sweet and Sweetener

Posted in food, health with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 22, 2008 by uglydudefood

toothpaste for dinner
toothpastefordinner.com

Aspartame done effed me up.

For a while I was–with the exception of a diet soda every day–eating “naturally.” I wasn’t ingesting any of those silly chemicals. My diet consisted solely of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and dry cereals.

So when I jumped back on the “artificially sweetened candy” train, I wasn’t expecting what I got. I’ve been doing about seven sticks of “Extra” sugar-free gum daily to get myself through work. It may not seem like a lot–35 calories, but those chemicals do something special to you.

To put it lightly, Intense, daily gastrointestinal distress. Like, you have to hightail it to the bathroom or you’re done for! Thanks to freaking delicious bubble gum, I broke my streak of “No Twosies in Public Restrooms” for the first time in five years.

I used to say “p’shaw” to the clowns that talk smack on my good friend the calorie-free sweetener. I’ve seen the error of my ways, and it’s manifest in the error lingering around the bathroom.

At the moment, this is just aspartame. I haven’t noticed any detrimental effects with Splenda (and I consume a lot of it), but I wouldn’t be surprised if Splenda winds up turning my ears into butts that poop other, smaller butts onto the shoulders of my friends. Or something.

DEAD

Posted in personal with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 14, 2008 by uglydudefood

Okay.  I’m not dead.  But my car is.

On Sunday, my girlfriend and I were driving down a four-lane highway (2 lanes for each direction of traffic, natch) toward my sister’s college graduation.  As we were passing a tractor trailer (fully in view of his mirrors), he flipped on his turn signal.  He immediately and quickly began to merge into our lane.  I slammed on the brakes, but it wasn’t enough.

My poor car was slammed by the semi in two places–the front of the hood and the rear passenger door.  We were sent careening across a raised median and into the two lanes of oncoming traffic.

The truck driver did not stop.

Since the accident happened, I’ve been known to say, “With the exception of being hit by a tractor-trailer, things could not have gone more perfectly.

1)  We were in a tiny, 1-mile stretch without any walls dividing the highway.  Had we run into a median wall, we would have been killed.

2)  The two impact points directly sandwiched my girlfriend.  If the truck had hit where she was sitting it would probably have been the end of ol’ Rachel.

3)  We somehow, miraculously managed to miss all oncoming traffic.

4)  Despite coming within feet of it, we avoided the guard rail on the opposite side of the highway.

5)  When the car eventually screeched to a stop, we were sitting atop the median, completely out of harm’s way.

I feel incredibly lucky to be here today blogging obnoxiously.  Soon I will be the owner of a brand new car (I’m looking into the Prius at the moment).  At the moment, money is going to be tight and a lot of the more extravagant recipes and foods I have bookmarked to try may not happen as fast as I had planned.  Thank god for $21 worth of free artisan chocolate!

On a related note, when I had to kick the car door open, I felt like an action hero.

Loco for choco

Posted in food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 13, 2008 by uglydudefood

I used to love milk chocolate. Then I went on a crazy, obsessive diet and cut all chocolate out of my life for a period of years. When I finally decided to return to the realm of the healthy and the sane, the typical Hershey’s bars (even the Special Dark which contains more milk and sugar than any good dark chocolate bar should) left me with a nasty, saccharine taste in my mouth.

One day I was wandering through the “health food” section of my grocery store–although really, how much healthier is “organic” macaroni and cheese compared to a blue box of Kraft Dinner?–and I passed a rack of chocolates I had never seen before. They all had weird numbers on them and they told me where they were from. What the what? I picked up a 55% dark chocolate Chocolove bar. It was exquisite. Instead of an overload of sugar or almost-artificial creaminess, there was depth to this candy. This candy had secrets.

I couldn’t get enough. As I continued on my journey, the percentages kept getting higher and higher. 70%. 80%. My life changed the moment I put a chunk of Endangered Species 88% dark chocolate in my gob.

But there was a problem.

The numbers stopped going up. My grocery store didn’t carry any chocolate darker than that 88% bar. I wanted more! More complexity! Would I live my life forever chasing the dragon, trying to relive my first 88% cacao experience?

Not if the baking aisle had anything to say about it. I marched right up to the unsweetened baking chocolate rack–which, in hindsight, probably looked pretty silly–and I grabbed a bar of Hershey’s finest 100% chocolate. It had to be good, right? I mean, my experience has done nothing to discourage the belief that higher cacao percentage equals higher deliciousness percentage.

Mistake.

I guess this post is meant to say that I love dark chocolate. I love dark chocolate ever so much. In fact, I may be the only living proof of going retarded over chocolate that you’ll ever actually see.

Amano Artisan Chocolate produces some of the most wonderful, complicated dark chocolate flavors out there.   I was lucky enough to receive over $21 worth of their chocolate for free from BlakeMakes.

Via Amano’s website:  “In a world of mass-produced merchandise, Amano strives to return to chocolate’s roots by making the chocolate slowly and in very small batches while concentrating on developing the finest flavors possible. There is much fine chocolate made throughout the world. Each company or artisan has its own unique vision. We hope that you will share Amano’s vision of quality without compromise.”

Due to the fact that this is probably the most expensive chocolate I’ll ever eat, I feel like I need more ceremony than just chomping on the bar.  Any suggestions on what to do with some really, really good dark chocolate?  Should I use it to bake something? Share it with work friends and gauge reactions in some sort of faux-wine-tasting?  Or should I just chomp on it?

The Egg King

Posted in food with tags , , , , , on May 5, 2008 by uglydudefood

Musician/author Dan Bern has posted a new short-short on his MySpace blog about intense training for an egg-eating contest.

An excerpt:

Still. Perhaps there is a natural human response, so far unknown to me, that kicks in when you are absolutely stuffing yourself. Maybe 10,000 years ago you found food sporadically, and when you did, you had to eat like you might not eat for another three weeks. Maybe gorging yourself is as much a survival skill as running fast, or throwing a spear. Maybe in the early part of the 21st century, competitive eating rightfully joins the more traditional track and field events as a test of spirit and survival. Maybe some of that is still lurking in my genetic core.

Click here to check out the whole thing.

It turns out that the Fiesta Hard-boiled Egg-Eating Contest is very much a real thing.  Did Dan Bern really participate?  Is his tome true?  We may never know, but the reading is well worth it.