So as I’ve been increasing my interest in both cooking and healthy eating, I’ve spent a fair amount of time searching the internet for healthy recipes I can try. As a result, I’ve noticed something: a significant portion of the internet has no idea what healthy means.
Now in some cases this is understandable; for example, I recently found an entire blog dedicated to healthier recipes for baking. She does a really great job making recipes that are significantly healthier than a typical, comparable recipe, and I intend to make a huge number of things on her site, but there is a limit to how healthy things can be when you’re baking. And that’s fine.
What’s not fine is when people post things like “extra super cheesy bacon squash mac and cheese” and pretend that it’s healthy because they used squash instead of wheat pasta. I’m sorry, internet, but that’s just not how it works. You don’t get to pretend that unhealthy dishes are suddenly healthy just because you took out the gluten; gluten isn’t even bad for you, unless you have celiac disease.
Ok, hang on, I’m sorry. I’m getting way ahead of myself here. I haven’t even started the story – I definitely can’t skip all the way to the end.
For some reason I do not understand, I had never had barbecue before I moved to South Carolina. Ok… so I actually do understand it, I’d never had it because I was an exceptionally picky eater as a child and until recently generally avoided meat, but the point remains. I had not ever experienced barbecued food. So as anyone who’s been here would know, South Carolina was a good place to move because their barbecue is amazing.
There’s one thing I’ve noticed about my coworkers: they have meetings. A lot of them. Like, spend almost their entire day in them a lot of meetings. While I also have some meetings, I don’t have anywhere near as many; I consider it a great day if I have three. And there’s always at least one day a week where I have none.
Aside from the fact that I enjoy meetings because they’re usually a good chance to learn something new and because they’re a great way to break up my day, there’s a pretty big consequence to my relatively empty schedule and that’s free time. A lot of it. Like 35 hours a week of it, compared to my average coworker’s *maybe* ten, but probably closer to seven.
While there are certainly some perks to the free time – I’ve been able to do a lot of research to catch myself up to everyone else, I have the time to actually get my work done because I’m not in meetings all day, I have the ability to stay on top of my email, etc. – there’s also a really huge downside. Namely, I spend the majority of my week having nothing to do.
I feel like this is very quickly turning more into a cooking blog than anything else, but alas, I keep making yummy things and I want to share them with the world.
I used to work right across from a CVS, and although it doesn’t sound like CVS would be a good place to grab lunch, they had a pesto caprese sandwich that was delicious and I would run across the street to grab one at least once every two weeks or so. Sadly, since CVS changed their food options and I no longer work near one, it’s been a while since I’ve been able to enjoy that lunch. So, when I found a recipe for homemade pesto, I knew exactly what I was going to use it for (with several modifications to make it healthier). And I’m glad I did!
Many of my friends and family members, or really anyone who knows how often and how far I run, insist that I’m a runner. So when I talk about not having hobbies, it’s not uncommon for someone to say “of course you have a hobby; you run!” And that’s all well and good, except that I do not consider myself to be a runner. I don’t know why that is – it doesn’t matter how far or fast I go, how many days a week, or how I place in races, I just don’t feel like a runner.
Although I still have no idea why I don’t feel like a runner, I did recently figure out why I don’t consider it a hobby. To me, a hobby is something you choose to do in your free time for your own enjoyment. And while I do choose to run in my free time, it’s not like I’m ever in a situation where I’m sitting around my apartment thinking “hm… I don’t have anything to do right now. I’ll go for a run!” It’s much more “ok, training plans says five miles today; let’s go!”
So that got me thinking – what do I do when I find myself sitting around with nothing to get done? Well for starters I rarely find myself sitting around with truly nothing to do. But. One thing I have noticed lately is that I frequently choose to go out of my way to make things at home that I could more easily have bought from a store.
I recently wrote a post explaining that even if you think the only thing you care about is losing weight, you should still care about the quality of the food you’re eating because it will affect how hungry you feel. I came across an opportunity to further emphasize that point, so I’m going to go ahead and do so.
My exceptionally large, but actual, dinner from Monday night which ultimately contained four servings of broccoli, four servings of mashed potatoes, and a serving of chicken, has 50 fewer calories (660) than this:
The original cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory, which also happens to be the lowest calorie (710) cheesecake on the menu that uses actual sugar instead of Splenda.