I have to admit: going into this week I anticipated that my diet would be on carb-overload. Staying with my Italian relatives, I figured that most of my meals would consist of oversized portions of bread and pasta. Although I have nothing against these food items, especially since I shun the pasta bar at the school dining hall and D.C.’s Italian food scene is nothing like that grandma used to make, a part of me was relieved to see some diversity in my diet during my first few days of vacation.
Like most foodies, I go through periods of food obsessions, and right now my obsession is grapefruit. In the drawer of my aunt’s freezer is nearly half a dozen plump grapefruit waiting to be segmented and juiced. For the past few days, my morning meal has been as simple as cutting up the citrus, sprinkling with sugar and finished with a couple of slices of jam-slathered toast. Even if grapefruit has a reputation as a diet food, I don’t see anything wrong with enjoying it all the time.
Typically I start my day off with a bowl of cereal or some type of energy bar, so the fresh fruit and crusty bread has been a healthier swap.
When it comes to my normal lunches, I am more of the lets continue to have breakfast mindset. This typically means a toasted bagel with apple butter or some other fruity spread with an assortment of dried fruits and nuts. On the weekends, I tend to make bowls of oatmeal sweetened with pumpkin pie spice and topped with Nature’s Valley or homemade granola. Even if it doesn’t sound that exciting or even that well-rounded, it keeps me satisfied and energized so I can power through my afternoons.
Here, lunch has somewhat all over the place. Over the weekend, Saturday my aunt made me pasta and beans (post to come!), Sunday we were at Sea World (also to come!) and Monday at Panera Bread. Since Panera ran out of large bowls during the lunch hour, I scored two small bowls of the Mediterranean Salad, therefore giving me lunch for the next day.
With my leftovers, I whipped up a light and fresh salad for my mid-day meal. The Panera salad came originally with:
- Mixed Greens
- Toasted Almonds
- Kalamata Olives
- Mandarin Orange Slices and
- Feta Cheese
- Salmon Filet
For the next day, I added a few extra touches:
- Black olives (since I ate all the Kalamata olives the day before)
- Dried cranberries
I’m a sucker for any type of salad with fruit, and since my aunt has so produce in the house I couldn’t help but toss some of it into my lunch bowl. Eaten alongside a ripened peach, it felt as if the calendar should have said June, not March.
Dinners have been interesting. The first night here my aunt and uncle prepared hamburgers on the grill, so as the odd one out, I ate a salad and some potato salad, prepared with hard-boiled eggs and sprinkled with paprika. Sunday, the family and I ate out on the way back from Seaworld and then Monday night I prepared myself my own meal as everyone else enjoyed pasta with my aunt’s homemade gravy (that’s red sauce to those non-Italians) and meatballs.
But yesterday I was in for a surprise. Maybe I am just naïve, but it never occurred to me that my aunt and uncle would be takeout food people. Even more, I never thought they would be Chinese takeout food people. After my dad and uncle finished up a round of golf, they picked us up some dinner from my aunt’s favorite Chinese place down the road. I never thought I would see the day when fortune cookies and containers of pork fried rice would be on my aunt’s dining room table.
Luckily for me, Chinese food is relatively vegetarian-friendly. Me being the fish eater that I am, I decided on the shrimp and broccoli. Mixed with some brown sauce and white rice and some crunchy fried wontons, I was more than satisfied when dinner was over.
As if I was not stuffed enough, then my parents let it slip that we were heading out for frozen custard as our dessert. I didn’t think I could manage to eat anything else, but when I saw pumpkin fudge listed as custard flavor on the board of the Abbott’s downtown, I couldn’t resist. Topped with sprinkles, the custard took me back to Thanksgiving and the pumpkin pie sitting in the corner waiting to be devoured after the turkey. It is a good thing that there are no Abbott’s in D.C.; until it does arrive, I guess I will sticking to the more healthful, but more expensive, froyo.
Since I ate all that yesterday, I think today will be a detox kind of day. Well, that is only if my aunt doesn’t keep encouraging me to “mangia, mangia!“