Doesn’t that taste like cardboard? (and other questions about food)

[Not a metaphor this time!] The following strange thing happened at Target on Saturday.

I was reaching for a box of energy bars next to a Target employee who was with his product cart. He was stocking the shelves and chatting with an older woman (customer) who was standing off to the side.

Me: *takes a box of energy bars off the shelf*

Employee: Don’t those things taste like cardboard?

Me: No, not to me.

Employee: But I bet they do to your husband.

Me: Actually, he likes them, too.

Employee: Really.

I ignored his sarcasm and turned to leave, but I stopped, because I couldn’t bite my tongue harder without severing it.

Me: There’s this misconception that healthy things taste like cardboard.

Employee: *pauses, then points at the price tag on the shelf* Well you sure PAY for them, though.

Me: *walks away, not looking at him* WORTH IT.

I used this exact rhythm and tone:

 

 

…because I thought walking off singing “worth it” in a Men On inspired delivery was taking the high road.

It so happened that the energy bars I got weren’t even expensive. A box of Lucky Charms costs more.

Also, mister Target employee man,

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-EatingHealthy

 

Ahem. My thoughts:

  • [Just curious: How did he know I was married? Callaghan wasn’t there, and I wasn’t wearing my ring.]
  • It’s the woman who’s buying and eating healthy things.
  • Since the woman is the harpy who buys the healthy things (aka “rabbit food”), her hapless boyfriend/husband is forced to eat them, too. Real men eat meat, so this is tantamount to castration.
  • All such energy bars are healthy, so they all taste like cardboard… because everything healthy tastes like cardboard, or is otherwise disgusting.
  • (Newsflash: there’s a difference between healthy and nutrient dense; not everything is both.)
  • “Healthy” foods are gross, and “unhealthy” foods are delicious.
  • “Healthy” foods are expensive.
  • Must broadcast ignorant opinions about products at the store where you work.
  • Must make a negative comment about a product a customer is buying.
  • Must try again with a second negative comment about the product when the customer contradicts the first one.
  • Must make a negative comment to a customer in the presence of another customer.
  • Must make a negative comment to a customer, regardless.
  • Rude.

To be clear, I wasn’t offended by his commentary. There was just a lot of stereotype, misconception, and unprofessional manner packed into that short exchange, and it surprised me.

So, yeah. In 2016, there are still folks who think that if ONE healthy food tastes, to them, like cardboard, then ALL healthy foods must be distasteful in one way or another. Never mind that there are plenty of “unhealthy” foods that are gross to a lot of people. Not to mention, most “healthy” food now is the bomb.

Dear Target Employee: The 1970s called. They want their Four Food Groups chart back. And their “party fare” Crusty Salmon Shortcakes. Party food can’t be healthy, ergo, it’s tasty!

 

It's a party in your mouth!

It’s a party in your mouth!

 

Because why pair your tower of sweet biscuit-cakes with strawberries, cream, and strawberry syrup with whipped cream on top when you can have SALMON! YAY!

In the war against this health craze (responsible for the proliferation of over-hyped, newfangled healthy food), gloppy salmon chunks dumped over cake with olives on top will prevail. At least this example of “party food” from the dark ages doesn’t involve crimes against Jell-O, as many of them did. I was there. I remember. NEVER FORGET.

Mom never foisted this particular monstrosity on us, but I remember foods like this glistening on other people’s tables at gatherings:

 

Nothing says "festive" like lime Jell-O mixed with vinegar, onion, cottage cheese, and mayo, with a pile of mystery seafood nested in the middle.

Nothing says “festive” like lime Jell-O mixed with vinegar, onion, cottage cheese, and mayo, with a pile of mystery seafood nested in the middle.

 

This is why we older Gen-X’ers are all in therapy now.

P.S. By the way, mister Target employee man, it might be a good strategy to encourage customers to buy things. Just a suggestion.

I’m off to fix a plate of cardboard for Callaghan. It’s what’s for breakfast.

A good thriller, tasty snacks, a fabulous t-shirt, and more! (April Favorites.)

So much went on in April, you’d think it’d have seemed to go by fast… but actually, it seemed like a long month. It was long in a good way, though. The month didn’t drag. It lingered. Here are some little things I loved in April:

 

  1. Hush (movie)

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-Hush

 

 

So many cat-and-mouse horror/thriller movies have been made, it’s hard to be impressed by them. It’s a tired convention; most of these movies are formulaic and too predictable to be “thrilling.” But Hush surprised us in some subtle and not-so-subtle ways, not to mention, we found it to be largely unencumbered by the cheesiness that’s become an expectation of this genre. If you’re into such movies and you can get your hands on this one (we found it online), I recommend it!

ETA: Improvements. I wrote this in too much of a hurry.

 

2. Trader Joe’s frozen organic mango chunks.

 

Trader Joe's frozen organic mango chunks

Trader Joe’s frozen organic mango chunks

 

We’ve been eating these frozen organic mango chunks for dessert after dinner… frozen as in straight out of the freezer, straight out of the bag. It’s like eating creamy mango-flavored Popsicles. They are divine. We have to portion them out, or we’d eat an entire bag in one sitting! Refreshing, luscious frozen desserts don’t get better than this, and it’s just fruit.

 

3. Sun tea.

 

Sun tea

Sun tea

 

Making sun tea for iced tea in Arizona is a given – it’s a tradition; it’s how we do it  – but of course it can be made anywhere there’s sun, I imagine. One of many things I’ve been enjoying about working at home is easy access to iced tea and fresh lemon juice.

 

4. Pro Bar bite organic energy bar (peanut butter chocolate chip).

 

Pro Bar bite organic energy bar in peanut butter chocolate chip

Pro Bar bite organic energy bar in peanut butter chocolate chip

 

You know I’m always on the look-out for energy bars that are wholesome, organic, and chemical-free, and I’m happy to report that these bars by Pro Bar exist. They are delicious. This is my new go-to bar following Body Combat, when I want to replenish a little before dinner happens a couple of hours later. 6 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, 8 grams of fat, and 11 grams of sugar… not too bad.

 

5. Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Multigrain pita chips with sesame seeds.

 

Trader Joe's Reduced Guilt Multigrain pita chips with sesame seeds

Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Multigrain pita chips with sesame seeds

 

I didn’t even know that these were “reduced guilt” pita chips until after I bought them (I was just concerned with the ingredients and the type of carbs they contained). These light and crunchy chips are fabulous with Trader Joe’s incomparable Mediterranean hummus. They’d be great with any kind of hummus or dip.

 

6. Vega Protein & Greens drink mix (vanilla flavor).

 

Vega protein and greens vanilla flavor plant-based protein powder

Vega protein and greens vanilla flavor plant-based protein powder

 

I usually get the Vega smoothie mixes for my protein drinks, but recently I discovered their protein and greens product. One scoop gives you 20 grams of protein with two servings of greens, and it tastes wonderful… the alfalfa, spinach, broccoli, and kale powders are undetectable! With those greens in there, you could blend this powder into a shake with fruit and plant-based milk and get the nutrition you’d get in a complete meal. So far, I’ve only mixed it with cold water, and it’s awesome. (I don’t use it for meal replacement, though… I drink it as a supplement.)

 

7. Derma e antioxidant natural sunscreen with clear zinc oxide SPF 30.

 

derma e Antioxidant Natural Sunscreen with clear zinc oxide (SPC 30)

derma e Antioxidant Natural Sunscreen with clear zinc oxide (SPC 30)

 

I love Lavanila’s The Healthy Sunscreen, which I’d been using since I went cruelty-free last year, but 1). it’s expensive, and 2). I could only find it at Sephora, which I loathe and avoid at all costs.

So I was stoked when I discovered that derma e, my new favorite skincare line, makes a facial sunscreen. Derma e is available at two places we frequent – Target and Sprouts – and the quality of their sunscreen rivals that of Lavanila’s. It’s much more affordable, and I don’t have to fight against panic attacks when I go in to get it (maybe one day I’ll write a whole post about my misadventures in Sephora).

 

8. T-shirt from Tombstone.

 

T-shirt from Tombstone

T-shirt from Tombstone

 

I love, love, LOVE this t-shirt I got when we took Callaghan’s father to Tombstone. The design is totally up my alley, and the rendering of the art is gorgeous. I’m not sure that the picture does it justice! Also, the shirt itself is thin and soft; it feels like I’m wearing pajamas. LOVE.

 

9. Foot socks.

Sometimes I go to Target and I don’t know what happens. Like the time I went to get basic foodstuffs and next thing I knew I was at home trying to explain these socks festooned with dinosaurs, ostriches, and a sunglass-wearing pug on a surfboard.

 

Foot socks from Target that I totally did not need.

Foot socks from Target that I totally did not need.

 

10. Scrivener.

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-Scrivener

 

http://www.literatureandlatte.com/index.php

My thoughts on Scrivener can be summed up in one question: How did anyone ever manage large documents before Scrivener?

 

What I’m Digging Right Now – May Favorites

May was a long month that brought a slew of healthy challenges. (If there isn’t already a book called The Introvert’s Guide to Surviving a Month of Houseguests, I might write one.) May was also fun, satisfyingly busy, and rife with “little things” that provoked delight. I actually had to decide which ones to feature here! I doubled some up, so the 10-item list below really contains 13 things. Let’s start with…

1). New reading glasses.

 

Animal print reading glasses in the shadows

Animal print reading glasses in the shadows

 

Before we went to California for Memorial Day weekend, I went shopping for a summer hat for Mom and ended up walking out of Steinmart with two hats for her and these reading glasses for myself, because seriously, who am I to pass on a pair of animal print reading glasses?

It’s great knowing my prescription, by the way. This purchase was a no-brainer, and in fact, I was hardly responsible… the display of animal print glasses pulled me toward it, and all I had to do was find the ones marked +1.25.  I actually needed a pair, though (my rickety old ones fall off my face when I look down).

 

2). Snapea Crisps Harvest Snaps.

 

Snapea Crisps! SO GOOD.

Snapea Crisps! SO GOOD.

 

Snapea Crisps are an old favorite of mine I re-discovered when we got back to the States. At some point during the month of May, they became a staple in our kitchen. They’re as satisfying as potato chips, but they’re baked rather than fried (0 trans fats, 0 cholesterol), and they carry nutritional value… one lightly-salted serving gives you 5g protein, 4g fiber, 230 mg potassium, 6% calcium and 8% iron. I always count out an exact serving of 22 pieces, because if I don’t, I’d probably consume the whole bag in one sitting.

Nutritional density notwithstanding, I know it’s unhealthy to snack on crispy, salty little things in front of the T.V. – we are aware, and we do try to keep it to a minimum. But… you know. Some things just go together beautifully. Rock stars and models.  Desert and rain. Snapea Crisps and Mad Men.

 

3). Artichokes and cherries.

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-artichokes

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-cherries

 

It so happens that two of my favorite varieties of edible flora come into season in May!

When I bring home artichokes, I keep it simple, boiling them with a bit of olive oil and salt and eating them with grape-seed oil Veganaise. Prepared in this manner, the artichoke becomes a glorious magic carpet that carries me off into a cloud of gustatory euphoria. Forget food porn. The artichoke is nature’s Demerol. We’re still indulging, as they’re having a long season this year.

As for the cherries, they ripened earlier than usual this year in the California orchards… they’re technically more a June fruit than May. Dad took us cherry-picking when we were there with Callaghan’s father, though, so they made it onto the list. We brought home heaps of lovely Brooks and Rainer cherries. Like the Snapea Crisps, I have to ration them out when I start eating them, because I will OD on them (if you’ve ever OD’d on cherries, you’ll know what I mean when I say it’s not pretty).

 

4). Clif Mojo Dark Almond Cherry Trail Mix bar and Cascadian Farms Organic Peanut Protein Bar.

 

My new favorite energy and protein bars... and a weird fruit that seems to be a mutant kumquat.

My new favorite energy and protein bars… and a weird fruit that seems to be a mutant kumquat.

 

Yet more food!

You know I’m always on the hunt for perfect energy and protein bars, “perfect” meaning simple, delicious and balanced. In May, I discovered the Clif Mojo Dark Almond Cherry Trail Mix bar and the Cascadian Farms Organic Peanut Protein bar, and they are fantabulous both pre- and post-workout. Anytime, in fact.

 

Now, let’s talk skincare products…

5). Olay Total Effects 7 in One Anti-Aging Eye Treatment.

 

Olay Total Effects 7 in One Anti-Aging Eye Treatment

Olay Total Effects 7 in One Anti-Aging Eye Treatment

 

I ran out of eye cream in May, so I thought I’d get one I hadn’t tried yet. I picked up the Olay Total Effects 7 in One Anti-Aging Eye Treatment, and it quickly became a favorite. It appears to have a tint of color, but it doesn’t… it’s slightly brightening, and it actually reminds me a lot of Clinique’s All About Eyes (it’s similar in color, and it has the same light, velvety texture and feel on the skin). I put it on twice a day, in the morning and at night. I’m definitely going to re-purchase it once this one’s finished!

 

6). Garnier Clean Nourishing Cleansing Oil (for dry skin).

 

Garnier Clean Nourishing Cleansing Oil

Garnier Clean Nourishing Cleansing Oil

 

I used to use olive oil on my face at night, so when I came across this new cleansing oil from Garnier last month, I thought I’d try it out. The verdict? Love it. It’s light yet rich with jojoba and macadamia nut oils, it smells nice, and it just feels good when I work it into my skin. Now, that part of my nighttime routine is less about removing my makeup and more about my face getting massage therapy. I rinse the oil off with water and follow it up with my normal nighttime cleanser (I’m currently using one by Simple).

 

7). Victoria’s Secret VS Fantasies fragrances in Sensual Blush and Amber Romance.

 

Victoria’s Secret VS Fantasies fragrances in Sensual Blush and Amber Romance

Victoria’s Secret VS Fantasies fragrances in Sensual Blush and Amber Romance

 

May brought warmer weather that I interpreted as an excuse to get a new fragrance. Walking by a Victoria’s Secret one day, I impulsively went in and tested every scent in their VS Fantasies collection on every available square inch of skin on both my arms until I couldn’t smell anything anymore. In the end, I decided to go with Sensual Blush (I got both the fragrance mist and the ultra-hydrating hand and body cream) and Amber Romance (the eau de toilette). I layer them, and the combination is sensational!

 

8). Chihuly in the Garden

When I realized that artist Dale Chihuly had returned to the Desert Botanical Gardens to show his work again – I’d gone with a friend to see his exhibit there a few years back – I had to seize the opportunity, and it was an excellent circumstance that one of our houseguests was with us at the time. Chihuly in the Garden was quite an unusual treat for a visitor from France! Spring in the desert is magnificent as it is, with all the cactuses in bloom… add the installation of Chihuly’s colorful glass sculptures amongst the desert flora, and you find yourself in a place of sheer alien beauty. It’s like springtime on another planet.

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-Chihuly2014_1

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-Chihuly2014_2

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-Chihuly2014_3

 

thatasianlookingchick.com-Chihuly2014_4

 

 

9). Chef (film)

 

chef-movie-poster-2014

 

We loved, loved, loved this movie! We loved everything about it… the story, the writing, the cast, the humor. It’s a comedy, and it’s incredibly well-done. I’m not in the business of writing film reviews, so all I’ll say about Chef is GO SEE IT!

 

10).  Evernote

 

Evernote-730x730

 

Ooh, online organizational tools!!

Yeah, I know. But what can I say. I had to start using it for work, and now I’m a card-carrying Evernote nerd with a paid subscription for a personal account (in addition to my work account). Two Evernote accounts! Yikes.

I still maintain my beloved Franklin-Covey agenda, though. Paper forever!

That about wraps it up for May. We’re only two days into June and I’ve already noted two things for my June Favorites post, so it looks like another fun month ahead. =)