time flies!

It’s amazing how time can fly past when you are not looking. Many things happened over the last 6 months, and updating here has not exactly been the highest priority. Several of my friends and family have had children, I went to Italy, and several other fun things have happened.

I am going to try my best to start posting more often here, with some of the following ideas:

  • one recipe a month
  • one feature article a month
  • one health or weight loss article a month
This is a rather aggressive set of goals, so I will probably ease into it over the course of the next month or two.

world history series

I recently found a series on YouTube recently called “Crash Course: World History”. Each clip runs about 15-20 minutes, and will tackle one topic of world history. In addition to the Western history that most of us learned in school, this series discusses Eastern history as well. I had no idea that the history classes I had in high school skipped so much!

If you like history at all, you should check this series out.

spinach and cheese omelet

I normally eat a one egg omelet breakfast during the week. I crack the egg into the pan, pop the yolk and then throw a slice of cheese on top. It’s yummy. On Saturday, however, I usually eat a two egger, and throw some spinach (or arugula) into it for some variety. They’re dead simple to make, but here’s a recipe anyway!

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggs (I like the brown ones, but use whatever you like)
  • 1 big handful of spinach
  • grated parmesan cheese (or any hard Italian cheese)
  • 1/2 tbsp butter
  • salt, pepper, cumin, Sriracha

Get a nice non-stick pan, throw the butter in and melt it. Once it’s all liquid and foamy, throw the spinach in. While the spinach is cooking, I beat the eggs. I usually put in about a tablespoon of water, some salt, pepper and cumin with the eggs before beating them. I use a fork and try to get a decent amount air in the mix. Make sure the whites and the yolks are completely combined. The omelet won’t come out as nicely otherwise.

When the spinach starts to wilt, I add the eggs and make sure that they get all around the pan. When the eggs start to thicken, I add a bunch of yummy cheese. Once the eggs are mostly hard (e.g., cooked through), I fold the omelet. After I let it brown a little more, I flip it onto the plate, throw some Sriracha on top and chow down!

Sorry—no pictures for this one. I forgot, and I’m out of eggs.

St. Methodius

June 14

Methodius I was a Patriarch of Constantinople. Before he became the patriarch, he spent years fighting the second outbreak of the iconoclast persecution in the Eastern Church. Niκephoros, the patriarch of Constantinople, was banished and replaced with an iconoclastic patriarch. Methodius, a monk, was sent by the deposed patriarch to Rome to report the matter. After several years in Rome, and a change in the eastern emperor (Leo V was murdered and replaced by Michael II), Methodius returned with a letter from the pope that attempted to persuade the eastern emperor to change his ways and restore Niκephoros. That didn’t work out so well. Methodius was scourged and imprisoned. After 7 years, Methodius was let out of prison, and he defended the icons even more strongly than before.

When the emperor Michael died, his son Theophilus re-invigorated the persecution. Methodius, after going toe-to-toe with the emperor was again scourged and imprisoned. He managed to escape after a day this time, and continued to work on the emperor.

After Theophilus, the Iconoclast persecution was brought to an end. Theodora, Theophilus’s wife and the regent for Michael III, restored images and freed the prisoners. The current patriarch of Constantinople was an unrepentant iconoclast setup by the government. He was deposed and Methodius was made patriarch. He restored the icons to the Hagia Sophia (yeah, that Hagia Sophia, the one that was a Catholic or Orthodox church from 562 to 1453) in a solemn procession and deposed many iconoclast bishops throughout his patriarchate. The restoration, or “Feast of Orthodoxy” is still celebrated in Byzantine Churches today.

Methodius is a Catholic and an Orthodox saint. He is named in the Roman Martyrology on June 14.

St. Anthony of Padua

Memorial; June 13

The patron saint of lost things devoted his entire life to losing himself in God’s will.

After switching from the Canons Regular of St. Augustine to the Orders of Friars Minor, St. Anthony wanted to go to Africa and spread the faith, but he soon found that God’s plan was different. On the way to Morocco, Anthony became ill and due to poor weather was forced to stay in Sicily to regain his health. After moving around a bit, he stayed in the town of Forli. While he was attending an ordination, those present discovered that no speaker had been appointed. St. Anthony was called to speak. Those in attendance were not expecting much, but the Holy Spirit inspired St. Anthony to give an excellent speech.

After this, St. Francis himself instructed him to teach theology to his brother friars. Later in life, he was a forceful speaker against heretics. He performed many miracles and converted many of them. He was so successful that he was called the “Hammer of the Heretics” (Malleus hereticorum). Some of the miracles he performed while alive include bi-location, rendering poisoned food safe to eat and preserving people from the rain on numerous occasions.

There are many other interesting stories and facts about St. Anthony at the Catholic Encyclopedia.

meal plans

One of my major stumbling blocks in losing weight is that I go out to eat—a lot. I’ve found that when I make a meal plan for the week, I tend to not eat out as much. This is good for two reasons: eating out is not cheap—it is very possible to have homemade meals cheaper than anything from McDonald’s—and it’s not particularly healthy.

I don’t usually plan breakfast—my breakfast is too light to have a real plan. For a few months, I ate Nature Valley crunchy granola bars for breakfast. One packages has two bars and 180 calories. Lately, I’ve been eating one-egg mini-omelets with cheese. These add up to about 140 calories (70 calories from each component).

For lunch this week, I’ve planned salads. Salads are quick and easy to make, and they are very easy to change so that I don’t get bored. I have a salad recipe book that I purchased1  for ideas when I’m not feeling particularly creative. This week, I am eating a simple green tuna salad. The ingredients are: a handful of spinach; a handful of arugula; half a small onion, sliced; one can of tuna, drained and rinsed a few times; and some parmesan cheese on top. I make the dressing myself too: 3 parts grapeseed oil (I ran out of Extra Virgin Olive Oil…) to one part white wine vinegar, with a dash of salt and some herbes de provence to kick it up a notch. It’s a very tasty salad, and fills me up very well. Not bad for about 400 calories!

Supper is always the tricky meal. I have the most trouble eating my planned suppers. This week I plan to make a simple chicken stir fry, but I have already managed to not eat it once. The trouble I tend to run into is that I am not home many nights of the week. I won’t be home again until Thursday night, so we’ll see if I actually manage to get to my chicken stir-fry this week.

By keeping my meal plans simple and repeating the items throughout the week, I can buy ingredients once a week and everything averages out to rather low cost. A carton of eggs and a bag of cheese cost maybe $5 together if you buy the good eggs. That’s less than a buck a meal, because the eggs will cover two weeks. A couple of bags of salad greens, a bag of cheese (I’m lazy and grating cheese is a pain.), some onions and 5 cans of tuna cost around $15-$20, which is $3-$4 per meal. Not quite as cheap, but healthy and filling. My chicken stir fry is really cheap. The chicken was $6 for a 3lb bag plus about $3 for veggies. That’s around $2 per meal when you add in the rice and spice costs. Awesome.

footnotes

1. Twelve Months of Monastery Salads: 200 Divine Recipes for All Seasons. This is a very nice recipe book. Brother Victor-Antoine d’Avila-Latourrette has quite a few very nice cook books—I’ve purchased three. Some recipes are duplicated between books, but overall they are all simple and delicious. I try to buy from my local Catholic book store, but they didn’t stock this particular book.