Mostly Musings, and also a Pork Chop

My life is really rough.

Well, I am sitting here at my kitchen table/desk/counter/ironing board/science lab station/giant cutting board snacking on white cheddar popcorn, sliced cucumber, and some red grapes.  I would take a picture, but while I was writing that, I finished the snack.  I have not written a new post in a week, probably because I’ve been eating the same thing day after day: peanut butter toast, too much fruit, some carrots, and one of the following sandwiches:

  1. turkey/swiss/spinach/tomato/mustard/honey/balsamic on whole wheat, pressed.
  2. roasted vegetables/fresh mozzarella or provolone/balsamic on (you guessed it) whole wheat, pressed.
  3. creamy peanut butter and raspberry fruit spread on, that’s right, whole wheat, toasted.

    Humble little tuna melt, with the wrong cheese!

  4. light tuna salad/yellow mustard/tomato/swiss(ran out of cheddar) on whole wheat, melted.
  5. pink lady apple/cheddar/honey/mustard on whole wheat, pressed.

In theory, I would love to experiment with breads.

Dumb millet and oat loaf, and my favorite thing ever: peanut butter!!

But when I can buy a loaf of organic, 100% whole wheat sandwich bread for under three bucks and have it last me a week, it’s really hard to justify purchasing baguettes and boules and brioches…  I bought a loaf of something different this week because Ryan encouraged me to “live a little” and I don’t know why, upon such kind support from my boyfriend, I chose a loaf of freaking crushed wheat millet and oat!!  I mean, it was sitting on the shelf next to the whole wheat bread I always buy, but sells for twice the price (with half the whole grain goodness) and it’s way too soft with weird little crunchy beads in it (um, probably the “millet”).  It tastes pretty decent when toasted with a hearty schmear of peanut butter, but honestly, guys, I would eat a sandy towel/wet sneaker/seared llama if it had good-quality, natural, stirred, and salted peanut butter smothered on top of it.

Mexican Corn. Good for the soul. Probably not so good for the heart itself. Corn is a grain, not a vegetable, but there seems to be some wiggle room with that... But in this instance, this fact is absolutely non-negotiable. This is the opposite of a vegetable, guys. Would you like some corn with your mayonnaise/cheese/salt? (Yes, please!!)

Anyway, dinner… I have been eating basically corn and beans and chicken.  Chicken soft tacos from Poquito Mas, because that’s something we do once a week no matter what.  Then, a random chopped salad from Wahoo’s Fish Taco Sunday night, when we were supposed to cook but after a zillion hours in the afternoon sun at Dodger Stadium (walk-off win/extra innings/crazy hot day), the idea of simply moving meat from the fridge to the grill made both Ryan and I want to die.  So we walked over to Wahoo’s, which is only a few blocks from our apartment, and I got a salad, with brown rice and black beans and grilled chicken.  Exciting, right?  And the night before, well, I ate rice and beans and corn tortillas, yes, but they were filled with grilled mahimahi.  We went out with Ryan’s friends and had a great time sitting outside on the swanky patio at the new Cafe Habana in Malibu.  We loved the original little Cuban/Mexican diner in New York, and it was right by where I lived my sophomore year of college.  Obviously, we ordered the famous corn appetizer.  You know, the Mexican street food, all smothered in mayonnaise, cotija cheese, cayenne pepper/chili powder and freshly squeezed lime?  And Cindy Crawford was there too, and she has this daughter, who is a child, but was so pretty I almost fainted out of displaced-and-useless-envy.  Stunning family, for serious.

We did make a nice dinner last night, and I will tell you about, for lack of a better meal.  But it’s just a solid supper, folks, that’s all.  Nothing amazing.  I have set my own standard of “cool” dinners so high, what with all this ridiculous pizza we’ve been craving/producing/consuming/photographing.  I need to make my own ravioli or raise my own chickens or something.  Last night, we had simple bone-in pork chops with lightly dressed Ceasar salads and oven-baked sweet potato fries.

Dinner, and it's not wrapped in a corn tortilla!

The pork chops were on sale at Whole Foods, much to Ryan’s delight.  I was off in my own little world, which is obviously the part of the grocery store where fruit is sold.  When I was done staring at the berries and papayas and broccolini, I decided to go find Ryan and bother him about vegetables.  Clearly, finding Ryan in a grocery store is not much of a challenge: I check the butcher station, and he is there.  If he is not there, it is because he is sniffing the pot of beef Bourgogne soup in the prepared foods section.  I found him staring at some meat on sale, with a big smile on his face.  Oh, we love options!   We chatted briefly with each other and the cool butcher dude and then bought some pork chops.  They were pretty good.  Marinated in brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, orange juice, some expensive and spicy BBQ sauce we have, and I think cayenne and cumin, too.  And coarse salt and ground black pepper.  Ryan grilled them and I ate my whole chop!  (I usually eat half.)

Make sure to coat the sweet potatoes in olive oil, or else they will not "fry"...

The salad was simple.  I just washed and chopped a head of nice and crispy romaine, plus added some roasted sourdough croutons (tossed in olive oil and garlic powder), and then tossed with an oily Newman’s Own dressing… then, of course, I dumped lots of Parmigiano-Reggiano shavings on top.  The sweet potato fries are a staple at our dinner table.  We’ve been making some version of them for a couple of years now, but I’ve really taken to this method I encountered via the New York Times‘ online feature, “Recipes for Health”.  I love how preheating the cookie sheet so it’s screaming hot actually “fries” the potatoes a little!  Anyway, basically the foil-lined cookie sheet is preheated in the oven at 500º, and then you coat sweet potato wedges with 2-3 tablespoons olive oil (a generous tablespoon per each pound potato) and coarse salt and pepper and cayenne and cumin or cinnamon or whatever you want and dump them on the baking sheet (but don’t crowd them!) and then reduce the heat to 450º, and then let ’em go for at least 20 minutes, flipping once around 18 minutes and then again only if you are crazy nervous about burning everything to a crisp.  Cooking times are super different for everyone, because of how you cut your potatoes, so keep an eye on them.

And now, they sizzle upon a preheated baking sheet!

Whatever.  We are going out for pizza tonight, which I requested, but that was hours ago, when I had an appetite.  I’ve snacked enough at this point to really only need some ice cream.  I mean, I’ve had a plate of cheese and crackers and red grapes since starting this post.  Shared it with Ryan, who went surfing… I am so tired of being hungry for dinner at six but not eating until nine!  I just snack and snack and snack and then the good stuff served at dinner isn’t as appealing to me.  Which is why, starting tomorrow, I am going to play with my eating schedule.  I mean, maybe I don’t need to wake up at six in the morning and eat breakfast and then go back to sleep… perhaps I could wait until nine to eat, and move lunch up to 1:30…  Hmmm…  Forget it.  I will just eat graham crackers with peanut butter and cream cheese all day, every day.

But let’s be serious, guys… even though I’m not hungry, and we’re going to Pitfire Pizza tonight, I will probably still find a way to have a chicken taco for dinner, because that’s how I roll.

Tomorrow:  Santa Monica Farmers’ Market.  Can’t wait!  Can’t wait!  Oh, cherries and strawberries and squash!  I love you, summer in Southern California, I just love you.

16 Responses to “Mostly Musings, and also a Pork Chop”
  1. Good luck with the job search 🙂 Prior to teaching, I actually worked in fundraising for a bit. Not exactly glamorous, or my favorite job ever, but at least it pays the bills!

  2. sweetlife says:

    that’s exactly why i can’t post everyday…beacuse I eat the same stuff during the week, oh the pink lady(my fav apple) sandwich sounds great…your too cute..


  3. Amazing sandwich combos! I love turkey, grainy mustard, apple, and sharp cheddar grilled. YUM 🙂

  4. Becky Sue says:

    Hi Lauren,
    Love your blog! Found you thru Monet! Poquito Mas! WOW! I miss them. I use to eat there when I lived in West LA on Federal and Santa Monica! You brought back many fond memories LA with this post!
    Happy Fooding!
    Becky Sue

  5. Jessie says:

    I had the most delicious fresh baked whole wheat loaf of bread today… Thought of you because you probably would have died having it. You know when some kinds of bread are only good with certain toppings? Not the case, it’s unreal on the tastebuds. Love the sweet potato fry recipe!!


    • Lauren says:

      Don’t leave me hanging. Tell me more. Write me a novel!

      • Fresh milled 100% whole wheat, water, honey, a touch of molasses….Nice nutty flavor with a hint of sweet. Good at room temperature but better toasted. Perfect for peanutbutter and honey. Amazing as a panini. Torn into a million little pieces by my wandering hands. So fresh… ahh I love it. I love love love it. I’ve got to make my own bread asap. That’s my new goal!!!

  6. Katherine: What About Summer? says:

    farmers markets are so great. I’ve never eaten Cuban; do they have vegetarian options?

    great idea of sandwiches; I haven’t ever put apple on one before

  7. Kathleen says:

    Hey Lauren! The reason I use a butter and shortening combo in the cc cookies is that shortening produces a softer and chewier cookie. The butter brings the flavor. Mixing the two gives me a texture that’s perfect for me. I wish I could get these results with all butter but I haven’t been able to yet! I use butter flavored Crisco-don’t use the regular. Have fun at farmers market. I love this time of year in Socal too! Hey, have you you ever been to SM flea market?

  8. Rebecca says:

    I love Elote (Mexican Corn). It’s not hard to make at home.

  9. Hi, I enjoyed reading your post. I like the marinade and the sweet potato fries. Thank you for sharing.

  10. Fun post:) And I love the marinade used for the pork chops…I am excited for you about your upcoming trip to the market… I have not been to the Santa Monica Farmers Market in a long time:(

  11. Mom says:

    I recognized the pork chop menu. That was very clever of you to change the marinade to disguise one of my go to meals! The Publix ad this week featured fiestaware in all the food photos………….your green plate is lovely with the tuna melt. Will you be featuring any of Mom’s “not so little” kitchen when you come for your visit?

  12. Wow! I’m impressed that you got the sweet potato fries crispy – My first attempt left me with soft and soggy fries, and lots of swearing in my kitchen. I don’t know what I did wrong the first time, but I’ll have to give your way a try next time!

  13. Monet says:

    I eat pretty much the same thing every day. Lots of fruits and veggies, hummus, peanut butter, melted cheese and of course, bread. And I adore pink lady apples…they are clearly the queen of the apple kingdom.
    Your sweet potato fries look nice and crispy, and I could probably eat the whole sheet. And I wish I could go with the farmer’s market with you today. Alas…I live in Colorado where farmer’s markets are canceled on a whim and we’re lucky to have 5 stands of fresh produce. Buy some fruit in my honor!

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