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My new arrival! (Mid-week update)

Happy Thursday, Dear Readers:

Well, it’s a bit premature, but here is my first tomato, picked fresh from the HeatCageKitchen garden tonight:

Isn't it a cutie?

Isn’t it a cutie?

Granted, it’s not a BIG tomato, about 2″ across, 6″ around,but that’s OK–it’s mine!! Of course, if I hadn’t been so impatient I could have let it ripen a day or two more. But I wanted to get it before any outside creatures did. (Snails are so gross!) There are two more tomatoes growing on that plant; I haven’t seen any flowers on the second tomato plant yet.

The first of five bell peppers are growing well, as are the mint, green onions and rosemary. Rosemary grows in a drought–but we’ve had some good rain this week, and the parsley has started to sprout leaves again. Heck, the basil I chopped down to the nub is already sprouting leaves. I even found a flower growing on it already–and I harvested for pesto last weekend. Hmmm. . .how much more pesto can I make this year before winter?

I suddenly found myself with a painful throat infection on Monday night that causes a swollen gland, then two painful swollen glands with throat constriction and severe pain when swallowing. Tuesday I made it to a local walk-in clinic in the Friendswood HEB Grocery, and I walked out with yet another prescription for antibiotics. You bless these things when you can swallow again, but if I find myself with heartburn, I’ll be back on yeast-free and either the stuff I bought last time or another round of Nystatin and Fluconazole from my regular doctor. Oh, boy.

Since I’m no longer one of those folks with health insurance and paid sick time, I went to work, weak and barely able to talk or swallow. No sneezing or coughing or anything like that, just feeling like I needed to stay home. Fortunately, it was a slow day with many folks on travel, and while I didn’t do my usual 30 minute walk in the tunnel, I did go down there for something else, but I didn’t know what.

I wandered through Starbucks, Seattle’s Best, and a couple of the upscale convenience-store style shops down there, but didn’t find what I wanted. No coffee or chocolate for me, thanks. Then I went somewhere I generally don’t go, and found the very thing. Cold, sweet, and pretty healthy, in the last place you’d expect to find such a thing.

I went to McDonald’s. No kidding.

Now, I’ve been to McDonald’s on many occasions, just not very often. Sometimes it’s the only thing in proximity. Sometimes it’s convenient and right there. My biggest issue with MickeyD’s is that while their coffee is pretty good, they only offer Equal and sugar to sweeten it. No Splenda or Sweet ‘N Low anywhere. I have to make sure I have some pink stuff on me in case I end up somewhere that saccharin is not available, and that’s one of them. At least Starbucks has Sweet ‘N Low, and even honey in packets.

The McDonald’s in the Houston Downtown Tunnel is usually quite busy when I pass by during the crowded lunch hour, but yesterday it wasn’t crowded since it was about 2 when I went. I knew they had some new stuff on their McCafe menu, so I decided to walk over and take a look. Then I spotted it on the wall, and I wanted some.

The McCafe Blueberry Pomegranate Smoothie.

With a throat infection, after drinking hot tea all morning, you understand why this hit the spot. But it’s also incredibly delicious! It’s gonna be all I can do not to have two of these a day:

mcdonalds-Blueberry-Pomegranate-Smoothie-Small

I actually went back for another round today, and got a large. I’ll be spending money on this one for quite a while.

Holy Shish Kebab.

I did ask the clerk about what was in it–last thing I need is to ingest a lot of sugar, or, heaven help me, find out it has gluten as a thickener. You never know. She said, “it has just pomegranate and blueberries.” I also think she didn’t speak enough English to understand my question, because I found out when I got back to my desk that it has some fat-free yogurt in it. That’s fine, unless you have a dairy allergy. Thankfully, I don’t, but there are folks who read this humble blog who are allergic to dairy, hence the warning.

MAN this is a good find. I had to get sick to find this out? Move over Starbucks–this smoothie’s my new favorite!!

Starbucks and Seattle’s Best actually do have smoothies, but the berry smoothies are lower in carbs than ones with banana, pineapple and other fruits. Bananas are particularly high in starch, that’s why I avoid them–and if you’re diabetic, you should too. I might try the strawberry smoothie at Seattle’s Best one of these days, but McDonald’s definitely has a winning formula with this one.

Sometimes you just find things along the way. This delicious smoothie will keep me going back to McDonald’s, especially this hot summer in Houston.

I did discover that New York City had a high of 65F today, with a 100% chance of rain, and a low of 55F tonight, as a result of the storm that passed through Chicago and other areas last night. Heck, here in Houston, that’s a perfect fall day!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to watch a little comedy DVD and hit the Nordic Track. Rupert Murdoch is going to be a free man soon, and I need to be ready when he comes a-callin’!

Just kidding–I’m going to make up the exercise I missed today by not walking the tunnel. I wasn’t up to it, but the antibiotics are killing the infection and I’m feeling better.

Happy Dining!

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