Saturday, December 31, 2016

A Year of Food

Well, here we are. A year minus a day after starting this food blog, here we are. We made it. I've successfully documented all the food I ate this year. Literally all the food I ate in 2016 is contained in the pages of this blog. It's been a year of gains, hugeness, emancipation, leanness, swoleness, scrawniness, educational grinds, graduations, national travels, and human and bro experiences. So as we reflect on a Year of Food, let us finish it off once and for all.

As Sidney and I headed to my parents' house for New Years, I finally finished off the remaining scraps of those lemon heads that I've had for a while now.  

And when we got to my parents' house, I found some alma mater-themed M&Ms.

This would be significant foreshadowing for what was still to come. In the meantime, however, I passed some time with some chips and salsa.

And since passing time by eating is the best way to pass time, I did some more of it. It is New Year's Eve, after all! I'll never get the opportunity to eat in 2016 again! I must take advantage of this opportunity.

We had some roast beef with Italian cheese blend and Hawaiian buns. We also had  some cheesy artichoke dip. Festive!

Unfortunately, for the first sandwich I attempted to construct, I absolutely and completely mangled the bun. I proceeded as if nothing unusual had happened.

I then piled on some meat and cheese.

And, you know what, by making this more of an "open face" "sandwich" than I had originally intended I reckon that I actually got more meat and cheese than if I had been successful in constructing a more traditional sandwich. And yes, I used a fork to eat this. I am slightly ashamed, although it tasted too good for me to really care.

I went back for seconds, and this time I was more successful in splitting the bun in half. Therefore, I was able to more successfully stack the ingredients on the bun. Therefore, I ended up eating less this go around.

But no worries. I went back and got some more straight meat and cheese to make up for any deficits present in my second go around.

We then sat down to a nice, relaxing game of Trivial Pursuit.

I was on a team with my dad, Sidney and my mom were a team, and some friends of ours were the other team. Needless to say, but what should have been a relaxing game quickly turned into one of the most competitive experiences of my life. My dad and I started off very strong with a lot of sports-related questions. We then hit a lull, during which time the other two teams passed us by in the wedge count. We came roaring back, though, to win in an unlikely and unpredictable manner. It was glorious, and it was hard-fought. And, honestly, everyone did far better than they were anticipating. It was a lot of fun. Also, we had a gummy snack buffet!

Right toward the end of the game, midnight and 2017 were approaching very quickly, so we paused to welcome the New Year with cheering and fireworks.

And cake.

My wonderful mother went to the trouble to make me a KU-themed graduation cake! She said there was a surprise inside, so I was eager to cut into it. And when I did, this is what I found:

It's Crimson and Blue with Yellow accents! It was actually a very beautiful cake, and it was beautifully decorated, as well! To compliment this cake perfectly, we also had some Jayhawk plates.

And so I got a slice. It's a "white" cake with cream cheese frosting. Oh my, yes!

And what is better with cake than ice cream?! Well, nothing, perhaps. Or maybe whole milk is...

The thing about whole milk is that, while it doesn't taste like ice cream, it still tastes really good. The other thing is that it's easier to get the cake:dairy ratio just right. I mean, it's a whole lot easier to take a bite of cake and then a small sip of milk than it is to take a bite of cake and then a bite of ice cream. By the time you get the ice cream in your mouth, the cake is already dissolving. This obviously limits the combination's effectiveness. That is also why I might actually prefer cake and milk to cake and ice cream. But I'll still accept ice cream with my cake. I'm not stupid!

And when 2017 finally came, we toasted our thankfulness and our hopes. Instead of the customary champagne, I toasted with some sparking grape juice.

It just tastes better.

I also had a cookie that Santa had left for me on Christmas. It was a little old by now, but it was still good.

We also had some little smokies, because tradition. And a perfect compliment to little smokies seemed to be puffy Cheetos.

And do you remember those Oreo/chocolate cookie/brownie cupcake thingies? Well, apparently my mom had some left over cookie dough, but instead of scooping out countless cookies, she baked it all at once in a pan. I say good choice!

They were delicious!

This baking method affords a slightly different texture than traditional cookies, and it really is more similar to the texture of brownies. And maybe I just think that because they look like brownies (except for the color), but there was something different about them. At any rate, they were a good addition to all the good food we had to start the new year off right.

I'll see you in 2017!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Epic Failure of Epic Proportions

Clearly, the title says it all. But let's take it from the top.

I woke up around 0700 this morning to begin my final preparations. I had a single serving of some wheat crackers to jump start my metabolism.

I then proceeded to drink roughly 168 ounces of water in the next 3 or so hours to stretch out my stomach. Makes sense, right?

I got to the point where I was going to the bathroom every 20 minutes, so I stopped drinking water at 1100 (about 2 hours before the challenge would begin).

Also at this time, I ate 3 sugary gummy candies, again to kind of kick my appetite into high gear. By this point, I was pretty hungry, and the tease of these snacks only served to magnify that feeling.

And then, just like that, it was time. Everyone assembled at Old Shawnee Pizza. Once we were all there, we ordered. Quinn and I, without the slightest hesitation, ordered our 18'' Biggin challenges. I got mine with just Italian sausage and he got his with half chicken and half pineapple. Here we go...

Still brimming with confidence from the Johnny's pizza warm up, we waited for a while for the pizzas to cool down. They looked big, but we weren't that worried. I mean, we had a full hour. And let me remind you that I casually ate the Johnny's 18" pizza in  28 minutes. So even if this one was thicker, surely it wouldn't take more than double the amount of time.

At this point, our pizzas were sufficiently cooled down. We alerted the staff that we would be beginning, and they started the timer.

It was on.

After our first slices (there were 16 slices, which should have been our first red flag), Quinn and I kind of looked at each other with an "uh oh" expression on each of our faces. This pizza was definitely thicker than we had anticipated. Still undeterred, we ate on.

I'll take this opportunity to mention that the pizza was actually very good. It had so much cheese and sausage that it was, at times, hard to detect the slightest hint of crust. That's alright in my book!

But apparently not for challenges.

When I got to about 7/16 of the way through the pizza, it felt like I was already hitting a wall. I could tell that Quinn, who was a couple slices ahead of me, was feeling the same way. Our eating paces slowed to a crawl, and it was all but over at this point.

For the next 30 minutes, we tried everything we could to force more pizza down, but it just wasn't working. Quinn said he was feeling pretty full, and this is obviously to be expected. And while I, too, was feeling full, it was more so the richness and thickness of the cheese that was getting to me. I wasn't feeling incredibly stuffed, but the taste of all that cheese combined with the sausage was just getting too strong. To confirm this theory, I scraped off all the cheese and sausage from one slice, and I had no trouble downing the now naked crust in under 10 seconds. But then I was left with literally a clump of cheese and meat. But at that point it didn't matter.

We were now down to our final minute, and Quinn had the better part of 3 slices left. He was close. I finished with around 4 slices remaining, so I wasn't that far behind. But I won't say that leaving 25% of the challenge uneaten is a near miss. I guess it would have been worse to have eaten like 15 slices and missed it by one slice, but at least that scenario offers more hope of future vindication. If I hope to ever be able to complete this challenge, I would need to put in some serious work, but what that would comprise I have not the means nor motivation to complete.

As we left the restaurant, heads down in shame, we lamented our loss. Both Quinn and I agreed that it wasn't the most filling challenge ever. I mean, we both felt relatively fine. Heck, we even agreed that we could both eat some ice cream or something. It's just that the flavor of the cheese and the pizza as a whole became so overpowering. If there was a way to change the flavor mid-challenge from cheese to something else, I think we both could have finished it. But I guess that's why they call it a challenge. If everyone could do it, it wouldn't be a challenge.

The only reason this was an epic failure of epic proportions for me personally was because I was so confident going in. Never before have I been so sure I would be able to complete a food challenge than today, and to have that confidence just so utterly and unabashedly shattered before my eyes was a real gut punch.

After I got back home, I just sat in my car for a while contemplating the events of the last few days that led to my confidence being so utterly and unabashedly shattered before my eyes. The real question in my head became, "Do I even get huge?"

So, what's next? How about we start by making good on that ice cream.

Thursday, December 29, 2016


It is imperative that I eat light today to preserve valuable space in my digestive tract for tomorrow's challenge. That being said, I need to eat something to avoid gastric shrinkage. I chose to eat mainly carbs, since those will move along quickly. 

Don't let the above picture fool you. I only had a couple Santa hat kisses.

I then waited until dinner to eat again. And dinner consisted of, again, mostly carbs.

I only had half of a box of macaroni and cheese and a couple slices of bread.

I then added some straight sugar to help the process along. Logic.

Really, I didn't eat much today, but I think I ate enough. And hopefully these carbs will be out of my stomach by tomorrow afternoon! We'll see what happens!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Another Day of Eating Light

Eating a lot of food for consecutive days can really wear a bro down, so it was nice to take yet another day off from eating big. The other thing I have to consider is that I've got a pizza challenge coming up in 2 days! I need to be as empty as possible at 1300 on December 30th. So for breakfast, I had two Slim Jims.

Then, for dinner, I again went light, this time with almost entirely carbs (and a little butter).

I had some mandarin orange salad and a couple sliced of bread with butter. I also had some apple juice to drink.

A little later, Sidney and I split the gift that I had attempted to give in Sidney's mom's family's gag gift exchange a couple days ago.

Apparently, the recipient wasn't too thrilled with their gift and subsequently left their gift behind. I took it back, and Sidney and I had the last laugh as we enjoyed eating the perfectly good and fresh marshmallows.

Sidney and I then decided to eat our Reese's Peanut Butter Trees.


But even with these King Size peanut butter trees, I still ate pretty light today. I'm getting psyched for this pizza challenge. It's only a couple days away now!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A Sort of Day Off from Eating

After having eaten like royalty for what seems like the past month, I had a strange desire to reign it in a little. To help jump start this, I had a brotein bar for breakfast.

And then went and helped bag up some corn.

Yes, these are 50 lb bags. I did 60 of them, so it's pretty much like I lifted 3,000 lbs. I'm SWOLE!!!

Unfortunately, my mental capacity isn't quite up to the level of my Greek God physique. When sewing the bags shut, I actually sewed two adjacent bags together. Aren't I cute?!

I then picked up some leftover lasgana and cheesecake from yesterday. When I got home, I partook in the consumption of some lasagna...

...and some cheesecake.

And, before you ask, no, I did not have any whipped cream with my cheesecake yesterday. I wanted to judge the flavor of the cheesecake unassisted by anything else. With the baseline, today I wanted to assess the effects of the addition of whipped cream on the perceived flavor of the cheesecake. Well, I can report that, although it doesn't make the cheesecake taste any better (the cheesecake tastes great by itself), the combination of the cheesecake and whipped cream create a fabulous flavor when mixed in the proper ratio. And without going into to much detail, the proper ratio involves a hefty excess of whipped cream. This is more than what is pictured above. The reason for this is that, relative to whipped cream, which has a big air component, the density of the cheesecake means that for any given volume of food, the cheesecake will have a stronger flavor. This, therefore, means that for every bite of cheesecake of a given volume, the volume of whipped cream must be much greater.

See, not too much detail.

Later, for a snack, Sidney broke into the Ferrero Rocher.

I'll admit that hazelnuts aren't my favorite thing in the world. I'm not even that big of a fan of Nutella. I realize that this makes it impossible for me to be a true Italian, but everything else Italian I'm fine with! In all honesty, I much prefer the wonderfully smooth Lindt Lindor truffles, on which I almost overdosed a couple years ago.

But after the chocolaty hazelnut snack, Sidney and I tore into our Nerds Ropes. It bears repeating: this is one of my favorite candies.

That's over a foot of happiness, right there!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Family Christmas, Round 3

The morning after Christmas, I awoke to find some biscuits and gravy! What a great smell to wake up to in the morning.

I had a quick bite of the biscuits and gravy, but unfortunately Sidney and I had to rush back to her parents' house for their family Christmas.

This one would be Italian themed, which I could get on board with!  There was lasagna...

...garlic bread...

...and pizza pizza!!!

I got some lasagna, some bread, a couple slices of pizza, and some kale salad.

I would recommend going for an Italian themed Christmas dinner if you decide to make it yourself.

For our contribution, Sidney and I made an authentic Italian cheesecake. This was the first cheesecake we had ever attempted to make, so it wasn't the prettiest cheesecake ever.

But appearance isn't important. What is important is how it tastes. This cheesecake also has no crust, so there is even more pressure on the cheesecake itself to taste good. Well, here goes nothing...

I am proud to report that this cheesecake was very good! It wasn't too sweet, and it wasn't too sour. With cream cheese, ricotta cheese, and sour cream, I was a little skeptical. But my skepticism was put to rest quite quickly. This was one of my personal favorite cheesecakes that I've ever had. I was quite proud of this cheesecake.

I then had a chocolate cookie and a cashew turtle.

Again, this was a good combination of time with family and food.