Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Peach Ice Cream with Agave Nectar

In an effort to cut out sugar in my diet I've been using more agave nectar in sweet treats. Thanks to my wonderful mother-in-law, I got the kitchen aid ice cream making attachment for my birthday so I'm now able to make ice cream at home. We've tried a couple recipes so far that I've found on the internet. A double chocolate one that was ok and an apricot one that came out more like sorbet than ice cream. I wanted to use some of the fabulous peaches I've been getting from the farmer's market to make peach ice cream. So I bugged my brother for the recipe he uses from the Ben and Jerry's ice cream book. I made some modifications to use the agave nectar and incorporate his suggestion that we incorporate some alcohol in order to make it a bit softer. It came out pretty great, still missing something, but we'll have to experiment a bit further. But it's still tasty. Here's the recipe:

  • 2 cups peaches, finely chopped. I peeled mine
  • 1/3 cup raw sugar or cane juice crystals
  • 6 tbsp agave nectar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (either freshly squeezed or from a bottle)
  • 1 tbsp dark rum
  • 2 large eggs (or 3 sm-med ones that I get from my CSA)
  • 2 cups cream
  • 1 cup milk
  1. Combine the peaches,1/3 cup raw sugar, lemon juice , and the rum in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, stirring the mixture every 30 minutes (I just did this occasionally)
  2. Remove the peaches from the refrigerator and drain the juice into another bowl. Return the peaches to the refrigerator. Whisk the eggs until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes.
  3. Whisk in the agave nectar, a little at a time, then continue whisking until completely blended, about 1 minute more. Pour in the cream and milk and whisk to blend. Add the peach juice and blend.
  4. Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze following manufacturer's instructions.
  5. Optional: Our ice cream maker doesn't do chuncks very well, so I pureed the peaches in my food processor.
  6. Halfway through the process, add in the peaches.
  7. Freeze until the ice cream is the desired texture.
  8. Enjoy!
This was yummy. Things we will think about adding next time: Sherry or marsala wine instead of rum, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, caramom. All in all I like the ice cream with agave nectar. I've cut the sugar from the original recipe, I've found I don't need as much, it tastes plenty sweet. We've found that it (and the agave) helps with the I want another bowl immediately syndrome. I can have my one small bowl and be done. We also use local milk (hartzler's this time) and cream (snowville creamery), eggs (from our CSA) and peaches.

Hopefully this will be the start of me posting more regularly.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Kitchen Literacy: How We Lost Knowledge of Where Food Comes From and Why We Need to Get It Back Kitchen Literacy: How We Lost Knowledge of Where Food Comes From and Why We Need to Get It Back by Ann Vileisis

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
I didn't actually finish this one. While the historical look at how our food evolved was interesting, after reading Pollan and Kingsolver, her narrative was a bit dry and difficult to keep up with. It was due at the library and I couldn't renew and it's not worth the effort to put myself on the reserve list again.

View all my reviews.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Blizzard 2008

Originally uploaded by lyssann
As of 11 this morning we had 12 inches of snow. That orange thing in the left of the shot is the bottom of the bird bath.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Things I want to do in 2008

Wow. I started this a year ago with my resolution to be a healthier person without worrying about the number. Many things have changed since last year. Some of which I hope to be posting about soon. But things I would like to do in 2008. I'm trying to limit these to things that are measurable and are end actions in and of themselves.:
  1. Run a 5k. I did several 5ks last year, which I'm very proud of, but I didn't run any of them. This year, I would like to be able to finish one in under 45 mins which has been my average time. I'm well on my way since I've joined a new gym (since we moved and the other was no longer convenient) and have been running on the treadmill already. I've even managed to run the majority of the 30 minutes. A heart rate monitor has helped tremendously with this. I now know when it's time to slow down a little and when I'm just being a wimp.
  2. Go dancing. Husband and I take ballroom dancing classes which are great fun and we go to the dances our studio offers occasionally on the weekends, but I would love to go out dancing and show off my stuff.
  3. Have a yoga routine. New Year's Day I went to my friend Lori's restorative yoga session at Alpha State and it was wonderful. I felt relaxed and flexible and centered even if I was hungover. It reminded me how much I miss yoga. I will do this more often.
  4. Read 36 books this year. I got close in 2006, not so much in 2007. I hope to be closer in 2008.
Habits I want to cultivate in 2008:
  1. Be active. Everyday. 30 minutes. This will be hard for me. I like to make excuses, but for many reasons (some of which I will share with you in an upcoming post) I need to do this. No questions asked, 30 minutes a day.
  2. Eat healthy and as local as possible. For me, this means few refined carbohydrates, lots of fruits and veggies, and good for me protein. I'm trying to source as much of this as local as possible. I'm learning to eat more in season and like more vegetables. I've recently learned to love cabbage a whole bunch. Sauerkraut, cabbage salads, fried cabbage (well not really fried, but wilted in a pan with butter, kind of like you would noodles). In the end this is good for me and the environment.
  3. Garden. I'm not sure when and if I mentioned this, but husband and I have a new (to us) house. It doesn't have a huge yard, but it's big enough. I have plans to take care of and tame the garden this summer. I also want to grow more of my own food. Last year I grew herbs and tomatoes in pots on our (apartment) deck. This year, more herbs, I'm going to attempt greens and am already thinking about what else I might want to grow. I'm trying to start small and not get overwhelmed. Also, I'm a realist and remember how much I didn't like weeding at my parents' house. Somehow this seems different since it's mine.
  4. Ride my bike more. I live 1.8 miles from work. Surely I can manage to ride my bike to work a few days a week when the weather is nice. We also live very close to lots of lovely restaurants and downtown. I hope both husband and I will be riding more often.
  5. Watch less tv. We gave up TV for December. It was an interesting experiment. Husband and I decided that we watched too much tv and needed a change. So we stopped. The only exception was How I met your mother and due to the writers' strike, it only aired 1 time in December. I found I had a lot more time to read and do other things. The first week was difficult, mostly because we had watched tv when there was nothing else to do. After that it wasn't so bad. We're continuing on into the new year with 1 hour a night on weeknights and video games only on weekends.
  6. Floss. This should be self explanatory. I need to do it more often.
  7. Be better about not getting behind on things. I'm notorious for sending birthday cards, presents and all sorts of things late. I'm just not good about it. I feel bad about this. I want to be better about it as I know it brightens people's day when they get a card, etc. Also, I know it drives my husband batty when I take forever to put away my laundry and it makes me nuts to go more than a week without sweeping the floors (we have hardwood, the dust bunnies threaten to take over if I wait longer than that). Less avoidance, more doing. In the end it's better, just like going to the gym, but I just have to make myself do it.
  8. Blog, hopefully once a week. Honestly dear readers, I like to blog, but only when I'm the center of attention (I'm a leo, go figure) and I've discovered I'm not good at digging deep and sharing things that are a little bit scary, which in the end, sharing a part of myself is the part of what makes a blog good. I think I've been scared by all the stories about people who got fired for blogging about their jobs or people who have had ramifications by blogging too intimately about their life. I'm not sure what to do about that, but I want to be more open and honest about my processes in hopes that it will help someone else out there. So I need to get brave (and real, though I find that expression overused).
  9. Remember that I rule, just as I am, right now. All of the above are great things and yes, they will enrich my life, but I want to do them because I want to do them, and not have them become things that I torture myself over. They are aspirations and if I do them just a little more frequently than I did last year, I'll be happy. In the end, I want to be having fun with my life and hopefully I can continue to do all of these things and have fun.
Because these things will require talents and skills and things that I already possess, I want to remind myself of the things that I already have that will help me accomplish these goals. Because, after all I started this blog as my goal being health and a healthy way to think about my life instead of a negative way. So, things I already possess that will help me toward these goals:
  1. A loving and supportive husband. He really is fabulous.
  2. A new and comfy bike I got for my birthday last year. Thank you fabulous husband and his mom and boyfriend.
  3. A gym membership.
  4. I enjoy working out, I feel better afterward. Getting there is often the hard part, but remembering that somewhere, deep down, I do enjoy the challenge of just 5 more minutes or running just a little bit longer or faster.
  5. The knowledge of how to be a healthier person and what to eat and how to eat.
  6. The time and resources to give to many of these things.
Well, happy 2008. I think it's going to be a good year. I wish you all happiness and health for it!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

This is your brain unplugged.

As we reach the end of the year, I'm beginning to think about how much if anything has changed since the end of last year. Physically, probably not much. However, my attitude is different, at least a little bit. I think I've become a little bit more accepting of who I am and what my body is. So in that way I'm definitely healthier. I have also totally cut out artificial sweetener and soft drinks. The only thing I have any more that qualifies as pop is club soda and that's occasionally. It is now basically water and tea for me with a glass of milk from time-to-time.

As for eating, in our house we now eat much more local food than we did in the past and I made it to the farmer's market almost every weekend of the season, except when I was out of town. I tried new vegetables. I found a local source of flour and bake almost exclusively (when possible) with at least half whole wheat flour. I've learned some ways to cut out the yicky processed white sugar and bake often with local honey. I hope and plan to be able to ride my bike to work when the weather turns back around. I really do think about what veggies I can include in my meals. I ate spaghetti squash for the first time. My pumpkin pies this thanksgiving were baked almost exclusively with pumpkin I roasted myself.

I'm still working on being a better eater. But I definitely try more things than I used to (including fish and mussels this year!) I still have a weakness for anything sweet. I also am still looking for physical activities that I enjoy doing. However, I am now a homeowner with my own little plot of land and next spring I will have gardening a plenty.

I am also still working on making time to keep myself in a good headspace with mediation or some other form of mental relaxation. I did keep it going for quite some time, but still struggle. Dustin and I have given up tv for the month of December because we found ourselves relying on it too much for entertainment to the detriment of other things (housework, this blog!, reading, baking, cooking). I've found it incredibly difficult so far. But I would guess by the end of the month, the new year will have us thinking about how much time we really do spend/waste in front of the tv.

Happy Holidays to you and yours and I would imagine that the lack of tv this month will have me back sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Oh people out there in blogger land! Has it really been since July 10!?! I can't believe that. This summer has just flown by. I have really enjoyed it and especially making it to the farmer's market almost every weekend. I've even learned to roast an eggplant! Alas, it's been a very tough month for me personally in ways I'd prefer not to share with the big wide internet world. (see also dooce).

I have really struggled to stay healthy this last month and I know that I need to share that with you all too, not just when I'm feeling great and staying on track. But I do feel a certain amount of guilt about it. My birthday definitely helped pack on the pounds but due to some restraint the past weeks, I'm finally regaining control. Realizing that I can be centered and focused in a storm and not want to eat ice cream all the time is a big step for me. I've also been taking walks as a way to destress at the end of the work day and leave work at work.

I am also working on some ways to integrate this healthy lifestyle into my life in a more streamlined way. Stay tuned. I hope!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


After a weekend of partying for the 4th and my mom's surprise birthday party, I came back this weekend committed to being healthier. Especially since Sunday I just felt awful from eating awful things. And really, I don't enjoy junk food much anymore (except for sweets, and even that is lessening as I don't want to deal with the aftermath). I did a lot of baking last week and hopefully I'll get an update up about that soon, but in the meantime, back to the health update.

Yesterday I did very well, I had a great healthy lunch a salad with spinach and romaine (not local, sorry, the local lettuce was very bitter to me last time) with feta and almonds dressed with lemon juice and olive oil. For protein I had a grass-fed beef bratwurst. Yummy, though not in the traditional bratwurst way. Dinner was stir fry with zucchini, summer squash (both from the CSA), chicken, the last of the peas from the CSA, green onions (local!) and brown rice. Oh, and homemade egg rolls (from the freezer which I had made to use up the last of my bok choy). Breakfast is always pretty healthy for me.

Today I still did pretty well. Lunch was a frozen dinner, but from "ethnic gourmet" it was chicken tikka masala and pretty tasty. Though I was hungry by 1 and ended up with some Kashi dark chocolate and oatmeal cookies (and a bite of my co-worker's brownies with cream cheese icing). Dinner today definitely took the cake and is the whole reason I'm writing this entry. It was half local ingredients and had I been able to get to the Worthington Farmer's market last weekend, could have been all local ingredients. I made beer battered pork chops (with green onions and mushrooms) with roasted rosemary potatoes and roasted green beans. So yummy. And so colorful I had to take a picture beforehand.

Pictured are the potatoes from the farmer's market and purchased from a lovely little amish girl. They're heirloom. Rosemary from my garden (0 miles), green beans from my CSA (50 miles), Rainier cherries that I got a steal on at the grocery store and are wonderfully tasty (too many miles), and shredded zucchini that went into zucchini bread (more about that on the baking post) from my CSA (50 miles).

Here's what dinner looked like cooking:
This is pork chops and mushrooms (from the grocery store), green onions (farmer's market), thyme (from my porch, 0 miles) and beer (leftover from a party, made in San Fransisco). This is adapted from a recipe originally from www.savingdinner.com.

And last but not least, the potatoes that were so good my husband didn't even put ketchup on them. I simply sliced them up, sprayed with olive oil and sprinkled with garlic salt (nonlocal) and put rosemary on top. They were accompanied by roasted green beans which is a recipe from my Garden Fresh Vegetable Cookbook. These were also sprayed with olive oil (I suck at drizzling) and roasted at 425 degrees for approx 15 minutes and then sprinkled with salt when done. This wasn't my best batch because the beans were a little over grown, but still tasty. AND all of this was extremely healthy and pretty low cal. And it could have been all local except for the spices.

I feel proud that I whipped up a dinner that was healthy for me and (getting there) for the planet AND my husband proclaimed that it was a great dinner and he was full. Then I went and walked 2 miles with my friend Laura. Yay!

I've definitely noticed that I enjoy food I cook much more and that good vegetables just taste better and I don't mind eating them. If you told my family I bought cherries they'd probably be shocked. But they're tasty and make a great dessert.

Now, in the interest of being healthy it is time for me to meditate, read, and go to bed.