Friday, November 20, 2009

Well, we delivered in Houma, and now we are on our way to pick up our next load which will take us to Florida. We're traveling across I-10 south of New Orleans right now, and I'm enjoying the scenery. Now, I'm sure most people think of swamps as murky, stark, depressing places, wasted space, eyesores... but I find them hauntingly beautiful. Perhaps it's because of where I grew up. Southern Baldwin County, Alabama has its fair share of swamps, marshes, estuaries, and bayous. They are "In Between" places - halfway land, halfway water, not fully either; mysterious, teeming with life and color, delicately balanced. Home to egrets and herons, crabs, snails, gators, ospreys, and fish of all kinds, Spanish moss, Cyprus trees, vivid neon green and red algae, wildflowers of all colors, palmetto, and sawgrass.

Perhaps I find them so intriguing not because of the wildlife, but because of the mystery. In between places have a kind of magic to them. Legend says that fairies have power in the in betweens. Stories of spirits and rougarous, will-o-the-whisps, hoodoos, Swamp Thing, and Marie Leveau all capture my imagination.

There's also something about Cajun culture that I love - Zydeco, joie de vivre, good food ... mmm, that Cajun food - jambalya, crawfish pie, file gumbo...

No more boudan for me though. It has rice in it. Dang it, I love boudan.

Which brings me around to my diet. Latest update - I've lost 15 lbs so far. As I expected, my weight loss is slowing down. I expect to lose about 2 lbs a week or so.

Sticking to the primal diet has gotten harder, but not for the usual reason. I'm not hungry all the time, even though I'm taking in fewer calories than I used to (between 1000 and 1200 a day as opposed to the 1600 to 1800 that I used to eat) - in fact, some days I have to make myself eat enough to stay above the starvation level. What's making it hard is monotony. It's hard to get primal foods at truckstops, so I find I'm limited to just a few choices - those being hard boiled eggs, beef jerky, and cheese sticks. Even those aren't good choices because the beef jerky has sugar added, and in a lot of cases MSG, and the cheese has lots of preservatives and chemicals. I can broaden my choices with fast food salads, but even that isn't a great choice because they use so many preservatives and who knows what in their meats and dressings.

We have stopped at grocery stores a couple of times, but there aren't that many who allow big rigs in their lots. Even when we can stop, there isn't much room in the little fridge we got for the truck, so I can't buy much at a time. Here's what I've been eating:

Tuna packets - these come in flavors now, so it's not as monotonous.
nuts - pecans, walnuts, almonds, macadamias
fruit - apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, melon
beef jerky - trying to cut down on this one because of the added sugar and MSG.
hard boiled eggs
salads - whenever I can.
stuff cooked on the truck.

Now, my husband and I drive as a team, which means we are always moving. We very rarely sit, and when we do we often don't know how long we'll be sitting still, and it's never on any predictable schedule. This makes it difficult to cook in the truck.

It's hard to prepare food when bumping down the road. I can't often stay awake for the two hours or so it takes for our lunch-box oven to cook most things when we are on a hard run, which is most of the time - I need to be either sleeping, keeping up with paperwork, making phone calls, and planning our trips when I'm not driving. (This is one of the reasons my posts here are so haphazard as well.) Now, at the moment we are waiting to get loaded, and I have a buffalo steak marinading in the fridge. I don't know whether or not I will have time to cook it this afternoon. I try, though. I like to cook, and I like home cooked food.

Here's what I've been cooking when I get the chance:

Chop up 1/2 a zucchini, 1/2 a yellow squash, 1/2 a small onion, a couple of baby portobello mushrooms, some sweet bell peper.
Put in a tin loaf pan (the size that fits so nicely in a lunchbox cooker) along with some beef tips or other meat of your choice. Top with 1/2 a can of diced tomatoes (I like the ones with cilantro and lime), season to taste (pepper and garlic powder for me.) and cook for about 1 1/2 hours. Optionally, you can substitute the diced tomatoes with marinara sauce and when it's almost done you can add a layer of mozzarella cheese to the top.

Kabobs - pretty much the same ingredients - zucchini, squash, portobello mushroom, sweet bell pepper, meat of your choice. Load onto bamboo skewers, brush with oil, sprinkle with black pepper, and put them in a Forman-style grill. These are great because I can get them ready before hand, cook them while we're moving,  and hand one to my husband while he's driving so he can eat with minimal distraction and mess, and we don't have to stop rolling.

I tried eggplant pizza (using slices of eggplant instead of grain-based crust) but that didn't work out so well. I couldn't close the Forman grill on the toppings, and I got tired of trying to hold it almost closed to melt the cheese - so my toppings never got hot and the eggplant wasn't done all the way through.

I plan to pick up our mini-crock pot when we are home over Thanksgiving so I can try soups and stews, and I'm going to make up a couple of no-noodle lasagnas and beanless meat chili to freeze in those little loaf pans and bring out with us so all I have to do is pop them in the cooker to heat. I also plan to use some of my time at home to find more recipe ideas and make lists of ingredients I can carry on the truck to make them. What I want to be able to do is buy only a few ingredients at a time, but be able to make several different meals from the same ingredients (that way I can use them all up before they go bad, since most things come in such large packages these days and I usually have plenty left over after only one meal - hence the two recipes above.)

I'll keep you updated, dear reader.

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I'm a 34 year old wife, truck driver, writer, and photographer with a love of adventure and travel. I am a Libertarian, and a total sci-fi geek. I studied archaeology at Auburn University.


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