Take your protein pills and put your helmet on

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It comes back to David Bowie way too often on this blog. I don’t even know why. Some of his songs (especially this one, this one, and this one) would certainly make my desert island playlist, but I wouldn’t think to put him in my top 5 or anything. Unless, of course, I haven’t checked in with my Top 5 Brain since I was, like, 18. I heard somewhere that’s where a lot of people get off the boat, musically, and I didn’t come around to Bowie until I was 25 or 26, so…


I guess that line from “Space Oddity” ended up in my head because some weeks I’m so busy, it feels like I may as well be on a different planet from my home base. This is why my freezer is often stocked as if in preparation for nuclear winter. Like so: freezer 1

freezer 2

So basically, lots of frozen soup, frozen fish, frozen beans, frozen sprouted grain bread, and frozen vegetables. No wonder Whole Foods sends me coupons more befitting a family of four instead of, well, one.

If you’re thinking, “Your microwave probably will not work in the case of nuclear winter, Jess,” you are absolutely right, and have obviously thought this through way better than I have. This is why I just count my blessings that a busy week is about as bad as it gets—and to make sure I have plenty of sardines and dry-roasted edamame on hand. Just in case…

What’s in your freezer? Who were your favorite musical artists at age 18? 

My Grocery List

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I recently received a request from the lovely Karen Skogland to do a grocery shopping post.

I’m not sure if I’ve written before about how much I love grocery shopping, but it’s one of my favorite day-to-day things. My hairdresser and I were laughing recently about how we kind of hate clothes shopping—we like to just go in and get out with what we came for ASAP—but love shopping for food. It doesn’t even feel like a chore! I love the whole experience of looking around, selecting the perfect produce, gathering together the components for a meal…it also satisfies the workaholic side of me that loves crossing items off a list.

Generally, I try to stick to the basics,  I usually allow myself one impulse buy per shopping trip. I find that budgeting for that keeps my finances in check without making me feel deprived or bored.

groceriesIn general, I keep a well-stocked pantry, so my weekly shopping list is not quite this long. Here’s what I would buy if I were moving—or returning from a long trip and had basically nothing left in the fridge or cabinets. This is not intended to be an Eat Like Me list, but more a glimpse into what one nutritionist keeps in her kitchen.

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The Kitchen Lady

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I was in a meeting recently, and a few people from other departments were talking in another language about some weight-loss regimen one of them was on. All I could gather was that it involved drinking a lot of water and eating egg whites. I couldn’t help feeling like they were talking “over” me or “around” me about the topic because I’m the unit dietitian who actually knows about sane, healthy weight loss and would likely disapprove of their crazy fad diet.

We were passing the phone around to talk to a patient’s family member, and when one of these women was about to pass me the phone, she said, “And here’s the, uh, kitchen lady.”

I hung this up in my office as a reminder not to curse at work.
I hung this up in my office as a reminder not to curse at work. Think it’ll help?

Not gonna lie—I kinda lost my sh!t a little bit. I said, “Yep. Four f***ing years of  schooling and a f***ing Masters degree and I’m still the goddamn Kitchen Lady.” For better or worse, I think only the social worker heard me. You can take the girl outta Jersey…However, I instantly switched back to cheerful work mode. No reason to take stuff out on someone else.

I don’t know if this is good or bad, but either way, this job has lowered my bullish!t tolerance to zero. That said, it’s also made me calmer and more patient, more inclined to be kind and open-minded. And I always refer to people by their title—chances are, they worked hard to get where they are. Here’s to hoping that one day, mutual respect will be a reality instead of a pipe dream.

Le sigh. On the plus side, I just found out I have 12 vacation days I need to use between mid-November and the end of January. And 2 personal days. Hopefully some time off will quell the wtf-ness. Until then, gotta keep on keeping on with the help of some good food, good sleep, and exercise that makes me feel at least energetic enough to handle what comes my way!

How do you combat the wtf blues? What would you do with 12 vacation days? 

Mad Scientist Activity

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When I have someone to cook for, I make an effort. If you ever come over to my place to eat, you can usually expect a balanced, colorful meal prepared with love/like, and chances are I’ll have asked about food allergies and dietary restrictions so I don’t kill you or piss off your higher power. I mean, come on, you’re talking to a gal who once learned how to make f***ing seitan to please a man. Granted, I still make said seitan on occasion because it’s delicious, but that’s beside the point…

When I cook for myself, however, which is most nights of the week, things can get a little strange. I tend to make concoctions following the general theme of “stuff I like,” which usually translates to “things I should never serve to company.” Case in point: this week, I’ve been enjoying polenta (my fellow interns’ project inspired a craving) with veggies (zucchini, mushroom, dinosaur kale and broccoli with lots of shallots & garlic, cooked in miso broth) and poached eggs. Last night I tried adding a drizzle of tahini, just to see what would happen, and I was very pleased.

So yeah…I don’t know if “lazy” is the word so much as “mad scientist,” but hey…

Do you cook differently for yourself than you do for others? What are some of your most memorable concoctions? 

Pack Up & Go

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This week so far, I’ve learned that a box makes a decent table. 

If I’m a little bit absent this week now you know why… 

It will all be worth it by the time I’m moved into my new place, though. After four years in Hells Kitchen, I’m excited to be moving on to another neighborhood, another chapter.

It’s been real, Hells Kitchen

And check out my new orange kitchen…Yeah. I totally did that, just because I can. 

I’ve certainly  uncovered a few weird things while packing up. Exhibit A, a gag gift from my sister, circa 2006… 

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever encountered while packing? Would you paint your kitchen a bold color? 

Pulling a Chris

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Chris has this amusing habit of putting foods and other kitchen items back in strange places when he’s distracted. I think my favorite is still the tortilla chips in the freezer—I laugh out loud whenever I remember that. Just did now.

Anyway, I was on my own for dinner tonight, and when I got home from class, I was super-tired and not exactly in the best frame of mind. As I was getting ready to cook, I poured myself a glass of water and then put the pitcher back in the fridge.
When I turned around, I couldn’t find my glass of cold water anywhere—not on the counter, not in the fridge. What the hell?
Naturally, I’d put the glass back in the cupboard, full of water. Clearly, I’m having a genius day…
Do any of you guys do silly stuff when you’re tired or preoccupied?