Sunday, July 06, 2014

Getting My Goat

Since I mentioned my new-found love for goat cheese, I thought I'd post about it.

I love cheese, but I'm picky. I like cheddar, natural cheddar, Colby, cream, Havarti, and Brie. My previous favorite was Havarti. My new fave: goat.

I can't describe myself as being adventurous about food. I have to be able to stand looking at something if I'm going to eat it. I'll try things if they sound like they taste good. This is how I learned that "crudites" is just a fancy-sounding word for raw veggies. Chopped raw veggies are sometimes affordable, but if you slap that word "crudites" on the menu, forget it.

Goat cheese is not something I ever thought I'd like. Goat doesn't sound tasty to me because I grew up hearing that they eat any and every nasty thing they can get their teeth on. And it's cultural. I grew up with cow milk, so the idea of eating cheese made of goat milk (or even moose milk!) is one I had to creep up on.

A family friend came into town with my niece for a visit. For the Fourth of July, she made some beautiful trays of hors d'oeuvres: sausages, pickled veggies, olives (yay!), garlic (yay!), and different cheeses. She sweetened the normally tart goat cheese with a touch of honey.

Oh my heavens! That was the best cheese I have ever let touch my tongue. (Thank you, Jamie!)

So, while shopping yesterday, I wanted to get some more goat cheese. So many brands and labels... I chose one based on best price:

Tastes good plain or with honey
(or jam or marmalade)

Then I saw this one and just had to have it-

- but I was getting over my grocery budget (or whatever it is you want to call the miniscule amount of money I get to spend on food). My sister, bless her, got it for me as a treat. I love my sister. Now I love this cheese.

Probably because I'm not cultured enough (see what I did there?), I can't really describe the taste of this cheese. For both the plain and candied, I can say that they are really super creamy and richly textured. The one with the cranberries and orange peel has the tart under taste that is yummy with the fruits. I mixed the plain cheese one with a touch of honey. That was how I tried it at our get-together. What I can't wait to do is just try the cheese plain with no sweeteners.

What's nice is that, apparently, goat cheese has lots of nutritional benefits. Here's one person's experience with (and info on) goat's milk products.

Because I like the cheese so much, I want to try the milk. I've been using soy milk, but I'm always open to alternatives and choices when it comes to flavor and health benefits.

Maybe we need to try all of them?

flavor & preference count
I've read some good things about goat's milk being beneficial to bone health and the immune system. That's a huge plus for me. I'm not ready for sheep milk yet, but I think variety is good. The main considerations are health and tolerance. Flavor is a big plus. I'll try almost anything that's going to help me heal and feel better. I've tried lots of milks. I wasn't crazy about rice milk and I only like using coconut milk as a sweetener, recipe addition or for cosmetic uses. Almond milk is about the same as vanilla soy for me. I don't drink it, I just use it in cereals and smoothies.

Now that I'm hip to goat's cheese, I'm looking forward to using it on baking recipes. I just know that it's right up there with cream cheese as pastry filling or cake frosting.  As soon as I get settled in "Mayberry" and have the kitchen set up, I'm stocking up on the cheeses and milks.


Recap: Day One of Detox

(My morning-after recap of Day One - Saturday)

Everything was great until I finished off my first (and only) serving of coffee for the day. The whole time I was writing the intro post, I was feeling mostly very confident. I even wondered if I shouldn't be doing a 14-day challenge.

The first few hours zoomed by while I worked on sorting, packing and labeling boxes for storage. I downed 2 16-oz bottles of water while I did laundry. I was doing great.

Then I started craving a second coffee.

There are lots of days when I don't have a second cup of coffee and never think about it. Saturday was a day when I was thinking about my second coffee before I had finished the first one. It was a day when I began having involuntary fantasies about coffee. I almost had to take a cold shower to get my mind off of coffee.

I made it past the cravings by drinking more water. I was saving the prune juice for later. I decided that I could think of prune juice as a treat. Prune juice is dark like coffee, so I was hoping that I could satisfy my java cravings by visualizing the prune juice as very sweet, creamer-free coffee. How sad is that? Is that normal while in caffeine withdrawals, or is that bordering on needing-help-from-a-professional? (I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I was thinking of ways to add a few grains of coffee to my water just to tide me over. Thinking about it was just getting to be masochistic, so I put my tub of coffee where it was way out of my sight. I need to #SeekHelp.)

After around 2 in the afternoon, I was okay with just water. I wasn't even very hungry, which surprised me since I had been so physically busy all morning. When I was getting weary of the taste of water, I brushed my teeth. I love the taste of water after I brush my teeth. PRO: Helps that I hate the taste of coffee right after I brush. CON: what a waste of energy. What am I brushing off my teeth? The stains of cravings? Whatever.

I noticed something interesting about drinking so much water just partway through the day: I wasn't peeing a lot. Not nearly as much as I expected to, since there was no food intake to absorb any liquid... Maybe because of my java withdrawals, I spent a few minutes in the throes of a hallucination about my kidneys being damaged or my urethra being clogged by my junkie-like need for a hit of Yuban. My brain went into shock from all that damned water and fluoride and I swear I saw Juan Valdez out of the corner of my eye trying to hawk me some coffee like a beloved friend of the worst influence.

Yeah. Things were getting tricky.

The hardest part of the day was when I went shopping with my sister. It was late afternoon, I was starting to think about food more and more often. Bad time to be in the grocery store. If I could have focused more on all the wonderful food I was seeing, I might have given in. Thing is, I had to pee. Every ten minutes. I hate using public restrooms, but for the hour that we were in the store, I used up all the "rest" out of the "room"! I think my brain and bladder were playing Tag with each other. I'd see something edible that made my mouth water and my brain would Tag my bladder. At least being in the restroom so much kept me (temporarily) away from the temptations of food.

Now it's confession time. I slipped up once. Or twice, depending on how you count it.

I blame it on the olive bar at the store. I love olives. I love olives with pits. I love olives stuffed with garlic. I love garlic. This dang olive bar has all kinds of olives. And garlic. So I had an olive (just one) and some garlic (some = two). I hope there is an olive bar in Heaven.

To pay for my slip-up, I drank a whole 16 ounces of water as soon as we got to the car. Sixteen ounces of warm-from-sitting-in-a-hot-car water. Ugh. (And I chewed two pieces of gum. To save some vampires from my breath. My sister gave me the gum. She dang near shoved it into my mouth.)

So. I made it through Day One. I only made it to 3 seconds past 10:30 p.m. (because I hadn't had solid food since the same time the night before), but I made it. Then I broke my fast with a treat that my sister bought me: goat cheese. I never thought I could fall as in love with a cheese as I am with olives and garlic. I never thought I'd want anything to do with nourishment from a goat. (I'll tell you about the goat cheese in a separate post.)

I made myself drink another 16 ounces of water before I went to sleep. That brought my daily total to around 75 ounces. Short of the planned 88 ounces, but I'm okay with it. I'm just happy I made Day One of my challenge (except for the olives and garlic). By the way, I didn't drink the prune juice. I counted the olives and garlic as a replacement.

I had an epiphany while writing this post (as I start Day Two) where I identified my enemy as my habits, not my hunger. Just like everything in life.

I made it through Day One, mainly by keeping busy and focusing on how badly I want to feel well. I have this sarcoidosis that's disabled me, but I don't have to give the disease any more weapons.

My sleep last night would make Rip Van Winkle look like a coke addict. I dozed off knowing that morning was going to be the end of a rainbow where my coffee was waiting. Of course, I woke up about five times to visit the bathroom, but I had no trouble getting back to sleep each time.

This morning, I got out of bed so fast to get to my coffee maker that I almost pulled a ligament. By the way, this coffee... best coffee ever.