Trials, Errors, Coping Mechanisms

I’ve been struggling a little with both the No-AC and the vegetarian thing (only 10 days of that left!) lately.

First, the AC.  I haven’t turned it back on- with just a fan it was even nice enough for about seven of us to brunch in the apartment Sunday afternoon.  But for about two weeks I couldn’t sleep, because of both the heat and humidity, and the means I use to keep it under control.

Normally, I fall asleep like dead within a couple minutes of laying down.  I like sleeping, and I’m very good at it.  But with the noise of the fan or two, light and more noise from the open window (it’s above a parking lot), and plenty on my mind, I tossed around for hours.  I tried different combinations of window coverings, fan positions, sheets, and such.  Putting the fan in the window made things a little easier- at least the noise was all coming from the same place.  Really, though, the thing that’s made it noticeably better is that it’s getting cooler now at night- less humid and with a nice breeze, and we’re down into the 70s.  Back to death sleep the past couple nights, so that’s a win, but I can only hope it doesn’t get bad again.

It’s with walking or biking to work, or trying to cool my house, that I notice how I am no longer impervious to weather.  I’ve taken for granted not having to pay attention to it for years, since somebody made it obsolete for us, with climate control.  For about 2 seconds, I feel like a pioneer, struggling against the elements, but then I remember I can to drive my car to a grocery store to buy ‘food’ I’d have no idea how to make for myself.  Then I remember why I like not being a pioneer.

Speaking of ‘food’, know how I’m bad at balancing my diet?  Anyway, I forgot to eat anything with protein in it for four or five days, and felt terrible, after- no protein, no sleep, rough week- so last week I stocked up on soy patties.  They’re breaded, and the people who make them pretend they’re chicken.  They don’t taste anything like chicken, for the record: they taste like chewy breaded protein, and they’re not awful with ketchup.  Ketchup raises them to ‘forgettable’.  And now when I forget to eat real food, I can fix it by nuking some more fake food and getting my protein fix.  This is not precisely a dietary victory, I know.  But it works for me- easy enough even I’ll take the time to eat the stuff I need.

It does make me curious though- it’s a soy patty.  It’s not chicken.  The only reason we buy them is because they’re not chicken.  If we could have chicken, we’d buy that.  But we want the soy.  What’s wrong with calling a breaded soy patty just that?  It is to assuage the doubts of hesitant defectors-from-meat like myself?  Because I’m only left wondering how bad it would taste if they didn’t try to make it like fake chicken.  More ketchup would fix even that though, I bet.

I’ve got fake burgers to try after the fake chicken runs out.  I think the emotion that creates in me is resigned optimism.

Onward and upward, we hope, but on these two resolutions, I’d be fine with my current stalemate.

4 Responses to “Trials, Errors, Coping Mechanisms”

  1. 1 Kenneth Moore July 4, 2009 at 1:00 am

    I feel your pain… It’s bumpy going, but once you get past the soy-patty stage, there’s a lot to discover!

    One year ago, I would have just ordered chinese food delivery or bought microwave pizzas. I forgot to eat protein all the time when I started changing my diet–all I had was ranch dressing, veggies, coffee with International Delight creamer… You get the picture.

    But then, I discovered beans. Beans are amazing. And versatile. So are eggs. And hummus! Oh all these wonderful things! When you start looking, you realize how much protein is really out there.

    But sometimes I just need something more. So I go for sushi. That’s my special treat, and the only thing that keeps me from being fully vegetarian-verging-on-vegan.

    Also, the mass-cooking technique is wonderful. Make 4 quarts of some hearty bean soup or root vegetable soup or pureed sweet potato-apple-peanut butter-cayenne pepper soup (my favourite concoction), (or anything that keeps well, like pizza, or burritos that you bag and freeze, or whatever), portion it out in tupperware, and freeze/refrigerate it until you need a meal. Then it’s microwave town and not icky soy patty time.

  2. 2 virescent July 28, 2009 at 12:10 am

    Recipe for your sweet potato/apple/pb/etc soup, please? It sounds delicious!

  3. 3 Kenneth Moore July 29, 2009 at 11:40 am

    This is the first attempt at the recipe. It is very flexible! You can use whatever apples you have (fuji are a good general-purpose apple, but there are better ones for such things–I just don’t know what they are), add more squash, no squash, whatever you like (pumpkin?!).

    1 acorn squash, diced to 1-2 inch cubes
    2 very very very large sweet potatoes, diced to 1-2 inch cubes (omg so much work)
    3 washed, cored, quartered fuji apples with the skins still on
    1 large yellow onion, diced small (not necessary, but is nice)
    4 cups apple cider (optional–water works just fine)
    3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
    1 tbsp sesame seeds
    1 tbsp or so cinnamon
    1/2 tbsp nutmeg
    1/2 tsp or so cayenne pepper (I’m almost convinced I used more, because damn, this stuff has a kick)
    salt/pepper (about two pinches each)
    A dribble of vanilla extract
    A dribble of olive oil just for fun

    Toss all of the above in the crock pot for 8 hours on low. (Or you could simmer over a low heat for two hours, I think.) Then get out your blender. Toss portions in a bit at a time, puree, and put in a large bowl until you’re done with everything. If you need to make it a bit more liquidy (you shouldn’t have to), toss in a bit more apple cider.

    For this dish, I got about 4 or 5 quarts of soup, which is a ridiculous amount. Not all of this is in season at the moment, but it’s great in winter! Also, each cup of soup is about 140-160 calories (although it may vary depending on the cider, peanut butter, etc. used), but it is very filling, and two cups with some bread for dipping is more than enough of a meal for me!

  4. 4 virescent August 5, 2009 at 11:50 pm

    Good lord. That seems delicious. You have inspired me to get a crock pot.

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