Loony for Lemons

Nibbles & Sips

I am on a major lemon-loving kick and this is not the first time!

Let’s flash back to two summers ago, not long after we moved into the Dollhouse, where I went on about various lemon drinks in I’ll Drink to That: Lemon Edition.


I’m over the Shandy phase, preferring a good Arnold Palmer or Earl Grey Lemonade instead. The San Pellegrino Limonata is still an amazing soda and I almost picked up a 6-pack at the store yesterday but opted for LaCroix Lemon instead.

Now, if you’ve ever had a LaCroix fizzy water with a hint of flavor, you’ll know it’s not going to hold a candle to a full-fledged soda, but it wasn’t horrible, either. Of course, my favorite use for the LaCroix Lemon so far has been to spike it with a shot of Limoncello in a tall glass full of ice. Much more lemony that way with a slight hint of alcohol.


Speaking of Limoncello, though, I still have several bottles in the chest freezer from Fall 2010 when I made my own (see the Drink Diary wrap up for more on that). It keeps great and I might be using up some of it if this current lemon kick continues.

jwalker_lemoncupcakemartiniwmint-224x300And it looks like we celebrated National Lemon Cupcake Day in 2012 with a cocktail I might need to revisit. (Actually, I’ve been thinking above revisiting the blog’s past cocktail posts but in video form, especially the 50 Shots of America series.)

I’ve been starting each day, this month, with hot water and lemon–something I decided to try while on my staycation at the beginning of June and it’s stuck. Supposedly it’s good for your digestion, and the liver, and wakes up your metabolism or some such, I just find it incredibly refreshing.

Lemon Oreos are back on store shelves and, yes, I’ve indulged. I also picked up a package of the Lemon-filled Oreo Thins this week and–while I wasn’t sure if I was going to like the thin format, not the biggest fan of crispy cookies am I–I think I like them!

When we ordered Chinese take-out last week (Todd wasn’t feeling well and needed soft foods due to a broken tooth, etc.) I ordered Lemon Chicken. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it turns out it’s the same chicken as you get in Sweet & Sour but instead of the sickly-sweet, pineapple-studded red sauce you get a delightfully tangy lemon sauce. And they send a pint of it (the sauce), which is way more than is needed, so I saved the rest and may make more rice just to have with the sauce.

Lemon Egg Cup

Lemon Egg Cup

And while looking through past blog-mentions of lemons, I even found a lemon craft from the early days of The 64 Arts (2010!).

How far will my current lemon obsession take me and how long will it go on? Hard to say… According to an herbalist this is the season for bitter flavors, so it’s a natural inclination. Plus lemons are generally so light and best tasted cold, and that really suits my preferences this week (as you’ll see in next week’s menu recap). I have plans for a lemon-pesto noodle dish at the end of the week that I’m really looking forward to, as well.

Do you ever go on weird food kicks?

I’ve always (well, for at least the last 15 years) believed that cravings are our bodies way of telling us what we need. Even a pizza craving could be beneficial if what you’re lacking are amino acids from tomatoes, for instance, and that’s your #1 tomato vehicle. Or you like your pizza’s topped with triple cheese, maybe it’s calcium your body is low on.

So I’m giving into the lemony goodness around me. Sure, lemon cookies may not be the best option (we’ll chalk that up to a combo with the stress I talked about last week), but it’s more about the whole picture, right?

Follow That Craving!


The other night Todd made a yummy supper (grilled beef roast, fluffy baked potatoes loaded with toppings and steamed asparagus) and I just wasn’t feeling it.

Temperatures are already high here and Florida and this meal, while tasty, was hot, heavy, solid and totally not what my body was wanting. I’d been craving fresh fruit, fruit juices (water just has not been getting the job done, lately) and light foods in light colors.

A few years ago I did some basic reading on Ayurveda and wondered if there wasn’t something in my cravings to be found there.

Ayurveda is a [holistic] system of medicine from India that uses a constitutional model. Its aim is to provide guidance regarding food and lifestyle so that healthy people can stay healthy and folks with health challenges can improve their health. —Ayurvedic Foundations

Now, according to the quiz over at What’s Your Dosha? I’m Vata (with a slightly more Pitta mind). Even though I don’t fit some of the physical attributes of Vata (thin with a weight-gain difficulty? Hah!), I do fit other characteristics of the type (sensitivity to cold, delicate digestion, low stamina and so not a morning person).

Vata season is November through February and that’s the prime time for heavy meals and warm spices (a time I love, by the way–I’m usually all about sturdy foods). What we’re nearing the end of is Kapha season (March through June) when light meals are de rigueur to combat the “cold and wet” of the days leading up to the heat of Pitta (July through October) when light and cooling meals will keep the heat in balance.

Balance is a big thing in Ayurveda.

Of course, as I’m babbling on about one thing, Todd’s wheels start turning and he brings up Constitutional Psychology: the idea that body types can be classified as ecto-, endo- or mesomorphic based on physical characteristics. I hadn’t heard of those types before. Apparently this is really big in the body building world since it has a lot to do with bones, muscle and fat stores but doesn’t really affect the nutritional basics.

But what about those cravings?

I remember I would periodically crave all sorts of dairy out of blue. After noticing this happen a few times I began to think that it was my body’s way of telling me my calcium was low, or something like that. Incidentally: now that I have yogurt nearly every day, I no longer have those massive cravings for milk, yogurt or cheese. Not the most scientific testing method, but observation is a part of life, right?

Keeping in mind that I’m not a doctor or even a registered dietitian (though culinary school did include some nutritional training), I think there’s three reasons giving in to our cravings can be beneficial to our health:

  1. Cravings can signal something our body needs. Dairy cravings are simple, you could need more dairy or Vitamin D. But what about craving, say, pizza? Maybe your body needs some of those great tomato antioxidants and your body is just using a language you’ll easily recognize.
  2. Cravings can keep us from being overly restrictive. Dieting is usually the culprit here. When we restrict our diets to any sort of extreme (no carbs, no snacks, no sugar, etc.) sometimes those restrictions really get to us, wear us down and lead us to totally blow a diet (or lifestyle change) with a binge. By allowing small items that would otherwise be forbidden on your diet you lessen the chance of a binge.
  3. Cravings can signal a need for comfort. Different than a dietary need, when we start to crave foods from our childhood it can signal am emotional need for comfort or consolation. Sure, there are other ways to deal with emotional needs but having a cookie or cooking a favorite meal one night in full knowledge of what you’re doing can be quite soothing.

Moderation, as always, is the key, even when dealing with cravings.

What do you think? Given in or stand firm?