For the past week, I've been working on two different #DigitalDetox challenges: write a poem and try a new food.
While writing a poem was a challenge, trying a new food was not. I seem to try new foods almost on a weekly basis, anyway. Yes, I have my favorites, and yes, I can be a creature of habit, but we're talking about food here. I love exploring new flavors.
So, while the "try a new food" challenge was in a way instinct and already built into my psyche, I did have to work at writing a poem. And while doing so, I discovered an app that I didn't know that existed on my phone.
Writing a Poem
I seem to spend a significant amount of time in the car driving my daughter around the city for her various activities. "Mom's taxi, reporting for duty." I am so looking forward to the day when she finally gets a driver's license and she can drive herself to dance.
But while I'm driving, I'm often thinking about something to do with writing or editing. I'm either working through a scene in one of my stories, plotting out a blog post that I need to write, thinking about how I'm going to phrase something in a client's editorial report, or any number of other tasks all connected to my writing or editing. And I'm always talking to myself.
Years ago, I started using the voice recorder apps on the phone, keeping notes on what I was thinking about in my scene. So... When my brain finally started working on the poem challenge, instead of hoping that I can remember what I was thinking long enough to get home and write it down, I decided to pull out the voice recorder app on my phone—only to discover that the latest version of the voice recorder app also has a voice-to-text option. It records the audio file, but at the same time, a dictation mode kicks in, creating a separate TXT file. It's not as flash as a dictation program as Dragon is on my computer, but hell, for the short session of voice recording, it was perfect.
And out came the poem.
I posted that poem earlier in a different blog post, but there is the entry in the #DigitalDetox diary.
While driving, I often think about words, so I chose to take advantage of technology. The irony of the situation is not lost on me, but we do what we can to take advantage of the solitude moments.
It turns out that my phone has a built-in dictation app, so I used it to create something.
It's not bad, but it's not great. What it is is done.
If you want to read the poem that was created, check out this post.
Trying a New Food
Trying new food is not a challenge for me as I do it all the time.
So, I had fun playing around with family favorite recipes to find new flavorsome ways to enjoy the meal. I trialed new ingredients and found unsuspecting substitutes for others. Leth the exploration continue.
I love food, and I love exploring new flavors. My family is often subjected to interesting concoctions that don't always work out.
But this week, I trialed new ingredients.
On Sunday, I wanted to use up what was left of our buckwheat flour, and the best way to do that is with buttermilk pancakes. But buttermilk is not good for my diet. "A minute in the mouth; an hour in the stomach; and a lifetime on the hips."
BUT, I discovered a substitute for buttermilk which was made from ingredients that I always have in the fridge.
As a substitute for 1 ½ cup of buttermilk, use the following:
- 1 cup of trim (low-fat) milk
- ½ cup of Greek yogurt, plain, unsweetened
We ALWAYS have plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt in the fridge. It means that I can flavor it however I'd like, including using in dinner with a savory, tangy flavor.
On Monday, I actually had pizza for the first time in a long time. My son had gotten a few pizzas from Sal's Pizza and I decided that a small piece wasn't going to send my diet completely off the rails. I had a single piece of the buffalo chicken flavor. It was okay. I happily ate it, but I still think that the pizza from Tutto Bene is better.
I also decided to trial a new brand of dried apricots. They are just sun-dried and not treated with added sugars or additives like the other brands can be. It was a complete surprise to open the packet and discovered that the drying process resulted in dried apricots that were near black.
I love the dried mango, the dried strawberries, and the dried cranberries from the same brand, but the apricots... I wasn't overly fond of the flavor as a standalone snack. However, it was nice when added to my couscous citrus breakfast. And I found myself having that a few times this week. (I've included a copy of the recipe below, if anyone want to give it a go.)
I served up lentil loaf for dinner one night, made from brown lentils and as many vegetables as I could throw in. I played around with our chilli recipe, throwing in different beans and mixing up the spice mix. And I pulled out an eggplant (something that I can't normally have because the hubby and daughter are allergic), and enjoyed every bite on my lonesome. But come the end of the week, I went back to a family developed recipe that my daughter and I concocted some time ago for seasoning roasts.
The new food trials are frequent and regular around here. Who knows what things we'll try next week.
The CousCous Citrus Breakfast
This is my couscous citrus breakfast. It's a nice meal when you are wanting something warm to get you started for the day. The recipe below is for a single serving.
- the juice of 1 orange (approx ¼ cup fluid)
- 3 tbsp couscous (dried, ideally small grain)
- 4 dried apricots, sliced
- 1 kiwifruit, diced
- ¼ cup plain, unsweetened yogurt (I like Greek yogurt, because it's thicker)
- 2 tsp honey
Juice the orange and heat the juice in the microwave for approximately 40 seconds (depending on wattage). You want the juice to boil, but not overflow.
Add the couscous and the dried apricots to the heated juice, and microwave for an additional 30 seconds. (This encourages the couscous to absorb the fluids faster.)
Top with diced kiwifruit, yogurt, and honey.
Instead of orange juice, use apple juice and top with berries and sliced apple. You could even add a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg.
Odd foods that I read about that I never want to try
Content warning: If you have a queasy stomach, you might want to completely skip this section and move to the declaration of next week's challenge.
As a side note, I came across an article on my feeds that where cannibals described the taste human flesh.
Now, I need to make it clear that I have absolutely no desire of ever trying human flesh (unless I've been in a plane crash in the Andes and the only way to survive the harsh climate was to eat the dead). But being a crime fiction writer, you never know when such information could come in handy.
I actually found the article interesting in a morbid sort of way. (It was only the story about a man eating his own penis and testicles after gender-reassignment surgery, and charging tickets for some of his fans to join him in the meal, that got to me.)
Next week's challenge
So, the ninth challenge in the #DigitalDetox diary is have a massage.
"Oh, hubby! You've been offering to give me a massage for quite some time!"
But because I'm nosy, I did look ahead to challenge #10. #10 (intended for the week after next) is go to karaoke. Hmm... I might need to do a little planning for that one, because I have no clue where there might be an open karaoke bar in Christchurch, New Zealand. If anyone knows of one, please let me know. I have time on my side to figure out that one.