I didn’t realize how addicted I had become to curling up in bed with my laptop until my laptop decided to not connect to the internet anymore. It has now become an expensive personal TV on which W can watch Peep and the Big Wide World, which we practically have on permanent loan from the library. (Peep and the egg, that is. Neverevenmind the others.)
Have you ever reached the end of a day and not been able to summon up even a fleeting memory of the past several hours? I might not have noticed had I gone to bed instead of sitting down at the computer to document those hours… they did involve an asparagus frittata, something I hurriedly (and frustratingly, when asparagus is woody and close to the price of platinum) had to test for a spring issue of something or other, so dinner was taken care of early. (W thought it was the Most Revolting Thing Ever, so I made him a pita pizza – first boiling up some cauliflower I had in the freezer which I whizzed with my hand-held immersion blender with some tomato paste and a pinch of Italian seasoning into something I could spread thickly between the whole wheat pita and mozzarella cheese.)
Asparagus, Tomato and Spinach Frittata
A frittata is a baked Italian egg pie, much like a quiche but without a crust. It has the same characteristics as an omelet, but is much less finicky since you cook everything together at once in the pan. The eggs bind together any combination of ingredients you like – meat, cheese, vegetables, potatoes, herbs, cooked pasta – anything that goes well in an omelet makes a great frittata, and it’s a great way to use up leftovers. If you want to wing it, the basic proportions are 1 to 1 1/2 cups filling for every 5-6 eggs. Egg substitutes work well for frittata too.
1 tsp. canola oil
1 small bunch asparagus, ends trimmed, chopped into 1” pieces (about 2 cups)
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved (about 2 cups)
1 garlic clove, crushed (optional)
1-2 packed cups baby spinach leaves, torn into pieces
3 large eggs
3 large egg whites
1/2 cup grated old cheddar, Monterey Jack, Gouda, Parmesan, crumbled feta or goat cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Heat the oil in a 10-inch ovenproof skillet set over medium heat. Sauté the asparagus for 2-3 minutes, then add the tomatoes and garlic to the pan and cook for another 2 minutes, until the tomatoes release their juices. Add the spinach and cook until it wilts.
Meanwhile, stir together the eggs, cheese, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Spread the vegetables into an even layer in the pan and pour the beaten eggs overtop; reduce heat to medium-low and cook the frittata for 5-8 minutes, until the bottom is set. To help it along, gently pull back the sides with a heatproof spatula to allow any uncooked egg to run underneath.
Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for about 10 minutes, until the top is set and golden. Serve hot, at room temperature, or cold. Serves 4.
I am loving all of your comments, by the way. I read them all. If I’m slow to reply it’s because I am minutes away from hauling this computer out the window, which may very well be my upper body workout for tomorrow. Beside me is a brand spanking new iMac, waiting for me to get up the nerve to take it out of its box and start learning new programs and transferring files. I’m sure rage burns calories? I remember reading about how fidgeting burns an extra several hundred calories a day – I have actually tried to be a fidgety person. It doesn’t work.
You make great points and have great ideas. I’m not against pulling together a little group so that we can all meet in 3D, if enough of you think it would be fun or helpful or just an excuse to get out of the house. We could call it Book Club. Everyone gets a free pass to go out for book club, right? If you’re into it say so, and I’ll see if I can’t nab the community hall or something.
My sister is going forward with this weight loss thing too. She’s a single mom of three kids and a (more than) full time teacher, and has the most stressful life and busiest schedule of anyone I know. She plans and budgets and schedules everything. We sat down a couple weeks ago and had a little pep rally – she had made up her mind to do this thing, to make it a priority, and we chatted for hours about how we felt and what worked and what hindered our progress. Her kids rolled their eyes at us. We came up with meal ideas and she filled her freezer in a preemptive strike against end-of-the-day hunger and crankiness. I’m happy to report, although I have not been authorized to reveal numbers, that the new scale she bought at the Linens and Things closing-out sale is moving in the right direction.
Tonight as we briefly compared notes we agreed that evenings are the worst; mornings are easy but either of us could easily graze from pre-dinner to bedtime. So I decided that considering a) this is the most important thing for me to accomplish right now, b) if I sit on the couch and watch TV all night (which never happens for either of us except on Thursdays when I watch The Office and she watches the Amazing Race), I am officially being productive. Both of us, as I’m sure a great many of you can relate to, possess this inner need to be accomplishing something at all times – I hereby consider reading and TV watching and napping to be productive if you’re doing it without unnecessary snacking.
(That whole not eating after 7pm thing, by the way? It has nothing to do with timing – although it seems to make sense to not eat before bed, it doesn’t really make a huge difference when you take in those calories, so long as you eat regularly and include breakfast. Think of how late they eat dinner in Europe! It’s effective because the vast majority of us eat the vast majority of our calories in the evenings, and if we cut out any snacking we might otherwise do between dinner and bed, we’d take a big chunk out of our daily consumption.)
I’ve had a lot of you ask about my eating plan. I’m trying to give you an idea in as real-life terms as possible – plan enough that you aren’t left scrambling when you’re tired and hungry, but not so rigidly as to not allow for moods and occasions and curveballs the day may throw you. I don’t believe in weighing and measuring and calculating everything that goes into my mouth. It makes food too clinical, and scary. It isn’t something I want to do every day for the rest of my life. I understand what’s good for me and what isn’t, and we all know – don’t we? – what to do in order to lose weight. Every time someone asks me “how I did it” I tell them by eating properly and exercising. And virtually every time they look disappointed and say “well I know that!” Although it isn’t easy, it isn’t that complicated. In fact, most of us could free up a lot of grey matter if we would just stop thinking about it and start doing it already. Yes, it’s hard. No, it’s not fair that some people can eat whatever they like and yet don’t have an extra ounce on them. (But I’ll bet they are not without their own struggles.) And it’s important, I think, to remember that although life isn’t fair, it’s generally unfair in our favour.