Archive by Author

adrienne: crockpot pulled pork with sweet creamy coleslaw

2 Nov

Wow, what an absence we’ve had here at our blog! There are a lot of reasons for this–personally, besides being busy, my foray back into Weight Watchers has been entirely unsuccessful and I’ve been dealing with a lot of guilt and bad feelings which I would rather direct inward than project onto you all. That’s not the only reason, but it weighs (ha) heavily on me.

With that sad little introduction, do I have a recipe for you today! Two, even! Autumn is a great time for crockpotting and I’ve quickly fallen back in love with mine. I plan to post several great recipes here this season.

Today I’m going to share a fabulous–and slightly healthy–meal we had last night. Takes about 20 minutes to prepare (that includes the meat prep before crockpot and the coleslaw prep closer to the meal).

Crockpot Pulled Pork with Sweet Creamy Coleslaw

this was my second helping, tbh

Pulled pork and sweet coleslaw–a perfect combination of salty and sweet, of varied textures and temperatures. There’s a reason why good BBQ restaurants put it on top of their pulled pork sandwiches. These two worked really well together and we ate way too much of it. Serves 5, generous portions.

This meal is a combination of two recipes I found: this pulled pork recipe from Hungry Girl and this sweet restaurant coleslaw recipe.

Sometimes Hungry Girl’s recipes involve a lot of artificial ingredients (Splenda, reduced fat this and that, etc.) but this one doesn’t. The worst ingredient is ketchup. And the coleslaw’s dressing is a far cry from what you’d find in a bottle. It’s creamy, fresh, and just plain perfect. And I’m not normally a coleslaw fan.

One modification for the pulled pork recipe: I added about 1 c. of fat-free chicken broth to the pulled pork at the beginning. When meat gets too dry in the crockpot it gets that awful strange taste, you know what I mean? Adding the broth made the meat very tender.

Keep in mind that your coleslaw will need to sit to set, a minimum of two hours. Don’t try and eat it right after you mix it up or you’ll be sorely disappointed.

If you have any favorite crockpot meals, feel free to share!

adrienne: sweet balsamic green beans, bacon, and blue cheese… with chicken

14 Sep

My wife, Dr. A, commutes an hour and forty minutes (one way) twice per week to her office. I always feel like spoiling her when she gets home because let’s face it: that commute sucks the big one. Last night I went all out–rose petals in the bath, etc.–but I’m not sure which was better: that, or this meal I whipped up.

Tough call.

i usually hold the reveal until the end, but it’s so pretty

Roasted farmer’s market green beans, perfectly sweet and salty with a fig and meyer lemon balsamic vinegar, apple smoked bacon, and blue cheese crumbles. This dish is complimented by chicken breast, rubbed with pepper and chili powder and basted with balsamic, left to marinate until grilling time. The chicken, though good, plays second fiddle to these beans.

If you marinate the chicken beforehand, this whole meal can be done in about 25 minutes.

You can make the chicken without the beans or the beans without the chicken. I will be making a lot of the beans with anything.

Sweet Balsamic Green Beans, Bacon, and Blue Cheese… with Chicken
serves two

    One pound fresh green beans
    2 tbsp olive oil
    2 tbsp fig and meyer lemon balsamic vinegar (or flavor of your choice)
    Two slices apple smoked bacon (or bacon of your choice)
    1/4 c. blue cheese
    Two chicken breasts
    Vinegar to baste
    coarsely ground pepper
    chili powder

Chicken:
Cut chicken breasts in half lengthwise (horizontal). Cut slits into both sides of the chicken (allowing for perforation of the vinegar and rub). Rub chicken with ground pepper and chili powder to your taste. I eyeball these things, so I can’t guide you on measurements.

Sparingly baste the chicken breasts with vinegar and allow to sit for at least 20 minutes. I let them sit for about an hour, which gave them a really fresh chicken taste (if that makes sense) that wasn’t overpowered by the marinade. Marinate overnight, and/or with more vinegar, for a stronger flavor.

Heat grill to high heat. Right before putting the chicken on the grill, spray liberally with olive oil on each side (or vegetable oil… please do this away from the grill flame, ok?). I hate it when my chicken sticks to the grill. Almost nothing could be worse.

Put the chicken on the grill when you put the beans in the oven. Five minutes on high on the first side, then turn the heat to medium when you flip them.

Another five minutes, then I actually shut the grill off and let the chicken breasts sit in the heat, juicing up and staying warm. An alternative to this is to remove them from the grill and cover them with aluminum foil, letting them sit five minutes. A sprinkle of the blue cheese would do them well as they wait for your plate.

Green Beans:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Begin cooking your bacon in a small skillet over medium heat until cooked. Leave it a little chewy, as it will cook more as it bakes on the beans.

While bacon cooks, remove ends from beans (snapping irritates me so I use a knife)…

And toss into a mixing bowl with the olive oil and vinegar.

Hopefully your bacon is finished. Remove bacon and press in paper towels. Chop bacon into pieces–keep the pieces chunky, not too small. Add them to the mixing bowl with the beans. Then pour a few drips of the bacon grease over them–less than a teaspoon.

Secret, delicious step.

Cover with a plate and shake (your hands won’t get messy this way) until beans are coated.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spread beans on it, making sure bacon pieces are evenly distributed.

Bake beans for 15 minutes, or until they wilt and brown. They will smell amazing. You will want to eat them right off the baking sheet.

Try to restrain yourself.

Sprinkle the beans with blue cheese.

Pair with chicken and eat. I made sure that every bite of chicken I took had a little bit of the bacon, cheese, and balsamic glaze, and it was pure heaven.

yum

I’m not normally a veggies-first kind of gal, but this isn’t any normal green bean.

adrienne: back on the WW wagon

10 Sep

Did… finished… Warrior Dash this weekend. Kicked its ass. Surprised myself. So there was that.

mud. in. my. eye.

I plan on making a more substantive post about the Dash later this week, but there’s something else on my radar today.

Today I rejoined Weight Watchers.

Several months ago I ended my Weight Watchers online subscription after losing 80 pounds on the program in a year. Then I got stuck on a plateau for eight months. 176 pounds, every week, no matter what I did. My average weight loss or gain during that time was 0.0 pounds.

Now THAT is a plateau.

I stopped tracking my food and then stopped logging in at all. After months of inactivity I felt like I wasn’t getting my money’s worth. I knew that quitting WW was a bad thing to do at the time. I knew that as soon as I stopped tracking–and as soon as I quit–that I’d end up gaining weight.

This plateau is when a lot of people on the program quit or backslide. This is well-documented and everybody knows it. With full knowledge, I quit and became a WW backslider.

There are good and bad things about WW. Its focus on weight loss–the number–isn’t the healthiest way to track a journey to physical fitness, because of the obvious “muscle weighs more and you need to gain muscle, so while you’re gaining muscle to burn more fat your weight loss might plateau or actually reverse” conundrum. With this knowledge, I still knew that I needed the structure in order to control my food addiction. Weight Watchers knows that managing a food addiction is a huge step toward weight loss and a healthy lifestyle and it has developed an incredible system for this purpose.

Left to my own devices, I was fine for a while and then slowly, bad eating habits crept back into my life. Secret eating, snacking, bingeing, ordering delicious full-fat meals when we went out to eat.

Making recipes off Pinterest without regard for their caloric content.

pinterest, you temptress

Fucking Pinterest, man.

I watched a few pounds creep up on me, here and there, and ignored it. But in the doctor’s office last week I learned my weight for the first time in two months. I’d gained 20 pounds since my plateau last summer. I am nearly 200 pounds again.

I’ve talked about “moments” here before. When nothing else will motivate you, you’ll get that spark of motivation, sometimes unexpected–your inspirational moment when you realize something has to change. When I saw 196 on the scale, it hit me hard. It wasn’t as much guilt as it was acceptance of what I knew I’d been doing and the predictable results.

Food addiction is heartbreaking, agonizing, and omnipresent. I hate it when I see people comment on news stories about obesity and say things like, “Eat less and exercise more.” Usually a little more blunt, like “Get off your fat ass and stop shoving cheeseburgers in your mouth” or “Control yourself! It’s not that hard!”

This is partially true. I freely admit that my self control is lacking at times. But in many cases, definitely in mine, there’s the psychology of addiction that lies behind one’s obesity. There’s a reason why Overeaters Anonymous uses the AA 12-step program, changing all references to “alcohol” to “food”. I’ve been to one meeting. Intense. Made me cry. Too religious. But damn… truth.

Being addicted to food is like being addicted to alcohol or drugs, except unlike alcohol or drugs, you need food to live. It’s like telling an alcoholic that in order to live, he or she has to drink one-half serving per day of an alcohol of his or her choice, no more and no less.

Other kinds of addicts backslide too. Every addiction is strong and coping with them is painful. But unlike food addicts, they don’t have to deal with balancing their addiction with their needs. They can eliminate that substance from their life–as terribly hard as that is–and stay clean.

I can’t get clean from food. Food is always there. I need my drug to exist. The potential for abuse is always there.

As an alcoholic, nobody lines up shots of alcohol at work and leaves them out there all day. Nobody walks by your cube and tells you how much she enjoyed her shot and how she will have another one later on.

Today somebody brought in lemon crunch bundt cake and triple chocolate frosted bundt cake and today I have to say no. I have to walk by it to get my yogurt and healthy lunch, try not to look at these cakes (someone just called the chocolate one “UNBELIEVABLE”), try not to smell them. I get to hear everyone rave about it. This is the first step I need to take to get back on the program.

putting myself at risk just to take these

Control myself indeed.

So this is why I need structure, much like someone needs to go to his or her AA meetings every night. I need something telling me how to eat, how to be active. I don’t want to admit that I’m going to need this the rest of my life but I probably will. I know I will.

As negative as this entry may sound, I’m looking forward to going back on the program. I can feel the added weight on my body and I don’t feel healthy. I miss the body I had last summer and I wasn’t even at my goal weight. I’m excited to get back on track but understandably nervous about what will happen when that plateau comes. I could pass it by, I could get stuck again.

We’ll see how it goes.

For now, I’ve got 21 more points for the day and some walking to do.

adrienne: a non-runner’s arc of running: an emotional guide

27 Aug

It’s been two months since I last went running. Before that, probably four months. Since running three to four times per week was the way I lost weight, when I stopped doing it, my body really suffered. I’m plagued with interminable sloth.

And now I’m two weeks away from the Warrior Dash, which is a 5K with twelve obstacles that include cargo nets, ropes to climb, and swimming through muddied holes.

And running a bit through fire.

I kinda signed up for this when I wasn’t thinking about that interminable sloth predicament.

Finally, last night my Dash partner and I decided it was time to start “training”.

This is wrong on so many levels–the least being that I should be resting my body to be prepared for what will be its biggest challenge in its middle-aged life. (Wait, I’m not middle-aged yet, am I? God.) But I can’t rest now. Deliriously, I believe I can re-train myself to run at least two miles over the next two weeks.

Our goal at Warrior Dash? To finish. To cross the finish line, whether running, walking, or crawling. Hopefully not dragging a leg.

Whenever I stop running for a bit and start up again, my body goes through a twelve-step emotional process from start to finish. It is a distinguishable arc that goes as follows:

Fear
- Jesus Christ. I’ve got a race in two weeks and I’m so fucking out of shape that I’m not sure I’ll be able to run a half mile without stopping. I am not even sure where my sports bra is.

Determination
- Never fear! Despite the fact that I haven’t exercised in months, and have gained 15 pounds since my last 5K, I surely must have maintained some level of Epic Cardiovascular Fitness. I can do this!

Hope
- Fuck, I hope I can do this.

“The Trot”
- What my running partner calls what we were doing because she can’t in good faith call it “running.” Our running session begins with a trot; my desire to prove that I haven’t lost any of my endurance through eating massive amounts of chocolate and doing jack shit pushes me to run faster than my body can handle and I begin to lag in the first three minutes.

Seriously. Lag.

The Defib
- My body begins to shut down (dude, you can’t do this) and I have to jump-start it with threats (you’re going to have to do this in two weeks!) and persuasion (just run to the stop sign and then you can stop, but you really won’t let yourself stop but oh, wouldn’t it be lovely to STOP

FOREVER).

Insecurity
- How the fuck did I ever think I could do this.

Self-Loathing
- How the fuck did I let myself get to this point? This is usually when I begin daydreaming of stopping and sitting on a bench, nomming on nutella and peanut butter sandwiches. Last night this stage occurred when I had to take a break to walk and blame the humidity for my gasping. Unfortunately there was no nutella involved, only humility.

Faith
- You’ve done this before; you can do this again. I start running with the renewed strength of something deep down in me driving me to continue.

Psychosomatic heart attack
- OH MY GOD MY CHEST IS HURTING I must be going into cardiac arrest THIS IS THE ONLY EXPLANATION except I’m not really dying.

Pull Back
- Is when I realize I need to stop trying to run at an optimal speed and start running at an optimal, sustainable pace that is not going to beat many walker-bearing grandmothers but it’s something I can do for three miles.

Acceptance
- All right. I’m slow, but I’m running. Trotting. I’m propelling myself forward at an accelerated rate. And it feels good. I can breathe. Endorphins are flowing and suddenly I am painless. I am…

Euphoria
- Free. I could do this for hours if I had to. Hours and hours and hours! YEAH! I FEEL GREAT.

Vaulting over that impasse–that middle part of my run when my body wants to give up but my mind knows it can keep going–has always been a recognizable challenge for me.

I also realized that most messages I send myself when I’m exercising are negative. They’re based on how I think I appear when I’m running (my clothes, my jiggle, my speed) and how I’m not doing well. I put myself down a lot. And I think my body doesn’t need that emotional drag–it’s already got enough going on physically. It needs me to keep my spirit uplifted so it can focus on the task at hand.

So these next two weeks as I prepare for Warrior Dash, I’m not going to look at it as a negative experience. No matter how much walking I need to do, or how miserable I’ll look while doing it (see, there I go again)… I will be proud of myself for even trying. AND be proud of myself for kick-starting a fitness routine again, which I sorely needed. I’m the only one who can bring myself to victory, whatever that means to me.

Okay, I’m waiting for Chariots of Fire to start playing. Can I embed midi files on WordPress?

adrienne: peanut butter marshmallow milk dud cookies

15 Aug

This past Sunday was a (rare!) rainy day at our house. The Star Wars geeks (Dr. A and my son) occupied their time by doing an epic rewatch. So my daughter and I decided to make what I have come to believe are some of the best cookies I’ve ever tasted in an effort to lure them away from the space saga.

It worked. Well, for five minutes.

peanut butter marshmallow milk dud cookies

I didn’t expect them to turn out so damn good. I’m not a baker–I’m usually too experimental to be able to adhere to strict measurements. But taking a cookie recipe and adding a twist to it was creative enough for me that day.

I’ve been trying to use up what’s in our cupboards lately and noticed we’d had this bag of miniature marshmallows for quite some time.

Immediately, my thought was: can you make a marshmallow cookie?

And then: can you make a peanut butter marshmallow cookie?

My daughter’s enthusiasm hit the ceiling by this point.

After a quick Google search, I realized that such a beautiful thing exists and I had all the simple ingredients to make it. But wait… I looked in the cabinets again.

How about a peanut butter marshmallow MILK DUD cookie?

Oh, it can be done. It can, and it should. Everyone should go home and make these right now. Everything about them will make you both love and hate them at the same time.

I’m not kidding.

Come to the dark side.

Peanut Butter Marshmallow Milk Dud Cookies
aka The Dark Side’s Cookies
launching point: this recipe at all kinds of yumm, significantly altered.

1 c. butter (or margarine), softened
1 c. creamy peanut butter
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 c. granulated sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 whole eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2-1/2 c. flour
2 c. mini marshmallows
Milk Duds (approx. 36 of them, depending on # of cookies)
makes approx. 36 cookies, which you will eat in three days

Beat the butter and peanut butter together with a hand mixer until creamy. Add baking soda, baking powder, both sugars, eggs, and vanilla. Mix. Add flour and mix with hand mixer until smooth.

After this, add the marshmallows and fold them into the mix with a spatula.

add marshmallows ’til it hurts, basically

Make sure your marshmallows are evenly distributed or somebody’s going to get a cookie that, while good, is marshmallow deficient. This is your responsibility.

more mixing!

Roll dough into balls (2” or so), making sure to get 4-5 marshmallows in each ball.

Press one Milk Dud in to the center of each ball…

properly embedded

…then pinch dough over the dud to cover.

proper pinching by daughter

Line them on a parchment paper-covered baking sheet.

Bake 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees.

Remove, let cool.

try to wait to eat them…

These cookies are as delicious warm as they are cool. This is a fantastic base dough and the marshmallow adds great consistency. The Milk Dud, though melted, is like a little treasure in the middle. Gooey, chewy, maddeningly addictive.

What do we say to the God of health food?

NOT TODAY.

milk dud carnage

adrienne: ribs, portobellos, and eggplant… oh my

8 Aug

I had quite the navel-gazing post planned today, but I can’t quite work up the muster to tackle it. Instead, I present to you three recipes I’ve tried and loved over the past week, with my modifications.

-

BBQ Boneless Country Style Ribs with Portobello Baked Fries with Red Pepper Aioli

Sometimes you’re just in the mood for a big, meaty rib, grilled, slathered in barbecue sauce.

country style ribs – photo courtesy noglutennoproblem @ blogspot

I marinated the ribs for eight hours in regular Coke. Just Coke. The expert who taught me this years ago swears by Pepsi, but we’re a Coke household so that’s what I had. Now this is gross when you think about it–like really think about it–but soda (pop) has this way of dissolving meat (and other foods) upon contact. If you’re a soda drinker, it’s the equivalent of a mouth swish after a big cheeseburger and fries. So soda makes your meat more tender because it starts dissolving the fiber of the meat that keep it together. The flavor of the meat is only mildly sweet, which will work well with whatever sauce you choose.

After about 20 minutes on the grill high heat, turning once, the meat started to look done so it was time for the sauce. I used Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Chipotle sauce. High fructose corn syrup be damned, I love Sweet Baby Ray’s and have for years. Apply sauce to one side, close the grill and let it be for 5-7 minutes, then turn them and do the same on the other side.

Also, always let your meat sit five minutes after grilling or cooking. I learned this from Rachael Ray, and I really hesitate to ever say I learned anything from Rachael Ray, but it works. It locks in the juices and just … settles the meat. Trust me.

To counter the calorie explosion in the meat, I made portobello baked fries. A few changes:

I didn’t slice my own mushrooms–the store sells pre-sliced portobellos in a bin. I didn’t worry about the gills, which were still there in the pre-sliced mushrooms. Didn’t matter to me.

I failed at being Italian and didn’t have an egg, so I shook my mushroom slices in olive oil and then coated them. There wasn’t enough coating that stuck to be crunchy, but the flavor was there.

For my breading, I used: an equal part whole wheat breadcrumbs and panko, grated parmesan cheese, parsley, granulated garlic, salt, and pepper. Proud Italian Cook mentions using polenta in the breading, but that would have been too much work for me. Maybe next time.

To counter the low-calorie mushrooms, I made the red pepper aioli. Aioli is a fancy word for flavored mayo. Made it with Kraft mayo with olive oil and marinated mild sweet red peppers.

portobello fries and aioli, picture courtesy Proud Italian Cook

-

Eggplant Salad Sandwich

From the same blog (Proud Italian Cook… follow it… love it) this eggplant salad sandwich was amazing. Here’s a picture of the ones I made:

fried eggplant sandwiches

A pair of changes:
- I fried half my eggplant and baked the other half. I didn’t find any noticeable difference between fried pieces and baked pieces, and baked is healthier, so I’ll do that from now on.
- I’d add more torn basil to the lettuce/vinaigrette mixture to kick up the flavor.

This meal is surprisingly quick to prepare, minus the time to preheat the oven. You can slice the tomatoes and cheese and ready the salad while the eggplant’s in the oven.

After that eggplant is cooked–which takes about 20 minutes at 450 to get to tender-crisp, turning once–all you have to do is stack, pin, and eat.

This is definitely a fork-and-knife sandwich. I made two per person but we probably could have handled three. This left us wanting more.

-

Chicken Breasts with Artichoke Hearts and Feta Cheese

This was last night’s dinner and it was a hit. Gina’s recipe (at the link above) calls for chicken thighs but the breasts were cheaper at the store this week!

The side dish I made was an organic baby romaine salad with this Greek vinaigrette dressing, dried cranberries, and feta.

The whole dinner took about 30 minutes, not including marinating time.

I didn’t take a picture because I ate it too quickly. But here is Gina’s picture:

chicken thighs with artichokes, photo courtesy Skinnytaste

Instead of using my oven, I grilled the chicken on medium high after marinating it in the artichoke heart marinade for two hours, making sure to cut deep slashes in my chicken breasts so that the marinade would sink into it. I made a foil packet to grill the artichoke hearts. I started them both on the grill at the same time and they were done at the same time, so that was convenient.

The dressing was really tangy–I halved this recipe for two servings of salad and it still made extra, which I poured over the chicken and artichokes. I think that, despite what the recipe says, a 1:1 ratio of vinegar and oil always works better. One thing I hate is a dressing that tastes more of oil than anything else. So that’s what I did and it worked well.

I served it with two small slices each of cheddar bacon focaccia I got from our local grocer’s bakery.

Our plates were clean after this meal.

If you’re interested in the types of things I cook, or want to cook, follow me @ nutellabagel on Pinterest.

adrienne: wedding acceptance, honeymoon transcendence

25 Jul

Apologies for the absence here at eat me, drink me, bite me. As you saw in Dasha’s post, I got hitched and have been busy wedding planning/executing/honeymooning (which was much too short).

There’s a lot I could talk about in relation to the wedding–I could probably write a book about this wedding. But I’ll stick to topics related to this blog. Beauty and fitness, wedding and honeymoon style.

I think my wedding day was the first day… maybe in my life… that I’ve been in front of a number of people and not had a single worry about how I looked. I hadn’t lost the weight I wanted to–in fact, I’d gained ten pounds in the six months leading up to the wedding. But for some reason I didn’t even think about it that day. My focus was joy, surrounded by beauty everywhere. For also the first time in my life, I felt completely comfortable in my body. I feel lucky.

Looking back in pictures, I could nitpick the hell out of them. Just this morning I gave myself a quick admonishment for not covering up my shin bruise with makeup that day. And then I repeated to myself something I’d learned from the (fabulous) book A Practical Wedding and also a little from my own thoughts on wedding matters: the wedding day is not perfect, but ideally what it is, and was, is a perfect representation of what your life is at the time.

I had massive a shin bruise. Why? I have no idea, I’m a mother. I didn’t even notice the bruise until I saw wedding pictures later. My kids were pouty, wouldn’t wear their clothes right, and nearly didn’t make it down the aisle with me. It was so hot in our venue that sweat was rolling down my chest at one point, my hair was stuck to my neck, and my cover-up was stuck to my back. It was like getting married in fucking Costa Rica. Intentionally exotic, I told myself.

This is real life, here. It’s no “fairy tale wedding.” But my life isn’t a fairy tale. Nobody’s life is a fairy tale.

So I was complacent about the wardrobe malfunctions, sweat, and kid tantrums. I enjoyed my day even with family drama stirring in the background, mostly by ignoring it, to be dealt with later. That day it wasn’t my problem. This one day was for me.

me. it pains me to crop out Dr. A, as she was beautiful in every way imaginable, but internet anonymity prevails!

It was perfect. And I looked beautiful. I feel funny typing that, like that’s very presumptuous of me to call myself beautiful. Who am I to call myself beautiful?

Why do we do this to ourselves? I’ve gotten to the point where I can call myself beautiful in my head when I see pictures, but to say it to the general public seems arrogant. I’m not sure why we’ve evolved, as a society, to scorn people who publicly admit they are beautiful. To tell ourselves we shouldn’t say such things aloud. But maybe that is a whole other blog post.

This introspection came to a head when we were on our honeymoon and I posted this status update:

“Off to hike to a waterfall. Then hike around a lighthouse. Then late-afternoon kayaking. Very thoughtfully, all the things I have never done because I never could before I lost weight. Exciting and new.”

I immediately felt guilty for posting it, like I was showboating the fact that I was fit(ter). Never mind that I lost 100 pounds to get to this point; this was still showing off. I began to wonder: would this update make people feel badly if they were overweight? Because when I was morbidly obese I certainly felt, at times, irritated when my fitter friends would make posts just like this.

I worried, but the reasons behind my update were earnest and without judgment. I had several moments on our honeymoon during which I realized that I wouldn’t have been able to have these moments had I not lost weight. And here I go again, feeling like it’ll seem like I am judging others, but I’m not. The fact is, I’m only speaking for myself. If I hadn’t lost the weight, I wouldn’t have been able to hike, to kayak, to walk up stairs without losing my breath, to have even better sex, to sit in chairs without worrying about them breaking.

I would have missed this:

view of lake superior from the top of oberg mountain


I would have missed this.

after kayaking on caribou lake

I have been missing these things for years upon years. And the realization that I am able to enjoy them now, with a woman who is the love of my life, was transcendent. I rose above the pain of self-exclusion when it came to physical activities; I rose above the rejection of weight limits and the restrictions of my own body.

So my statement was as much a realization of this newfound self, this power I now had, as much as it was–perhaps–if I could be so arrogant for a second–to provide inspiration for others. Two years ago I couldn’t climb three flights of stairs and now I’m climbing mountains. If I can do this, maybe they can too.

I’m not where I want to be physically (is anyone, ever?). I’m using my desire to continue doing these activities as my own inspiration to get started on an exercise routine again.

I want to hike a lot more mountains in the days ahead.

adrienne: garlic scape hummus

18 Jun

This weekend I finally made hummus again and I wasn’t disappointed. I’d forgotten how good it is homemade. It’s quick, easy, and cost effective. This recipe makes at least double what you’d get in a container at the grocery store at half the price. It should keep at least a week.

And to kick up the seasonal flavor, Dr. A added some garlic scapes, which we found at our farmers market. I wish garlic scapes were available all year–they have the taste of garlic but they’re like a green onion to work with. They added a mellow garlic flavor that strengthened overnight. And let me tell you, it’s so delicious I could sit down and eat a bowl of it.

You can blend in flavor enhancers like roasted red pepper, pesto, cilantro, jalapeno peppers, or apricot (though if you’re going sweet, I’d forgo the garlic scapes). Later this week we plan on mixing our leftover hummus with masala spices to pair with our Indian dinner.

That’s if there’s any left by then.

garlic scape hummus

an absolutely horrid picture taken with my iPod

Garlic Scape Hummus
adapted from allrecipes.com, where you can find all sorts of professional pretty pictures of it

    2 cans (15 oz) garbanzo beans, aka chickpeas, mostly drained (retain about ¼ cup of liquid)
    ⅓ cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
    ¼ cup lemon juice
    ⅓ cup garlic scapes, diced
    1 tsp salt
    1 tsp pepper
    1 tsp paprika
    1 tsp parsley (fresh is best)

Place the beans, tahini, lemon juice, salt, garlic scapes, paprika, and parsley in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. This means pulverize it on high for a good 2 minutes at least. You don’t want any bean casings breaking up the flow.

Add your retained liquid from the garbanzo beans, a teaspoon at a time, to create a creamier mixture. Do this to your desired consistency.

Add more salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with a dusting of paprika, parsley, cilantro, sesame seeds, or whatever edible you have lying around.

Makes approx. 30 oz of hummus.

adrienne: all the sh!t you already know about fad diets

12 Jun

There are 96 different “latest diet plans” listed on Web M.D.

Ninety-six different diets to do the exact same thing.

I question why we have to resort to 96 (or 100, or three hundred, or who knows) different methods to obtain the same goal. And why people “go on a diet” at all.

Maybe I’m a big diet snob now, having been through Weight Watchers, but one of the things I learned was that you don’t achieve long-term health or weight loss through “diets.” You achieve it through changing the way you live. Not for a week or six weeks or a month. For the rest of your life. Sustainable change that makes you feel good at the end of the day.

Tell me… does the idea of eating pureed food out of a baby food jar sound like something you’d like to do for forty years?

baby food. it’s what’s for breakfast, midmorning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner, and dessert.

And it’s all well and good if you lose 10 pounds in a week on the cabbage soup diet, but you just let me know when that weight comes back on, okay? And how you feel at the end of every day. I am guessing you feel like utter shit.

Just guessing.

And you know, looking through these diet plans, most of them are a healthy eating plan (fruits, veggies, lean protein, healthy fats, low-fat dairy, eliminating processed food, high fat foods, and high sugar foods) combined with a gimmick that makes the diet its own. On the O2 diet, for example, you need to consume foods that have ORAC points! (oxygen radical absorbance capacity… whatever that means)

Tell me how much any weight loss achieved on the O2 diet is attributed to the change to healthy eating habits and how much of it is due to HIGH ORAC FOODS.

I feel like I might be saying what everybody already knows. But I see this happening over and over, being done by people who I know are REALLY SMART PEOPLE.

The true path to weight loss isn’t a gimmick diet that you do for a few weeks. It is about cleaning up our eating habits and moving our bodies. It’s about changing an entire lifestyle. That is for the REST OF YOUR LIFE. Until death do you part. Put a ring on it.

why do you have a fake hand?

Come on, we already know this. But fad diets are easier. They’re more fun. Sometimes you lose a ton of weight all at once and you feel awesome! Even if they don’t work or don’t last, you can tell your friends, “I can’t have that. I’m on the Hallelujah Diet.” or “I wish I could have a donut like you are enjoying but I am only allowed to drink cabbage.”

if only they made cabbage soup donuts

Cue the martyr.

By the way, nobody likes it when you say these things. Nobody thinks you’re more hardcore, more devoted, or healthier than them. If you’re making the dumbass decision to do one of these diets, don’t complain to me about how you can’t have a donut. If you were doing this healthily, you could have a donut if you really wanted. And you’d love it. Because it would be a treat, as it should be. Or maybe you wouldn’t love it, because you’d realize that hey, a donut doesn’t cure my ills or fill my heart with joy like it used to.

So quit complaining that you can’t eat a donut like my fat ass is eating a donut. AND ENJOYING IT.

Fad diets are also easier than real, permanent change. We’re all looking for the quick fix, for that massive drop in pounds that shows that what we’re doing works. Maybe some people use fad diets in order to ignite that change. That’s great. But they’re temporary unless you adhere to them (those that are healthy) for the long term.

And real lifestyle changes are a bitch.

Goddamn if I don’t want to eat the Chef’s Choice whopper at Burger King every night for dinner (by the way, BK was SOLD OUT of Chef’s Choice whoppers this weekend. SOLD OUT. How do you sell out of a burger! Jesus.), or at least four times per week. I want ice cream every weeknight for dinner, pizza every Friday, and to go out every lunchtime at work. It’s so easy and so delicious to live this way! And that, combined with human psychology that leaves us enslaved to habits, to rewards, makes permanent healthy living a very tough path to follow.

To me, healthy living is a huge bubble that encompasses many things.

Healthy Eating
I didn’t lose weight by juicing everyfuckinthing in my house and drinking it. But I did lose weight by portion control, incorporating fresher and healthier foods into my life, cooking more at home, and letting myself have treats and go out to eat sometimes.

Giving yourself rewards keeps your body and your mind satisfied. We all know one trip to Applebee’s won’t make you fat and it won’t kill you either. A few Dove chocolates a day also will not derail your health. Oh, and guess what. An entire day of eating like all you’ll have to eat tomorrow is paste made of palm leaves won’t kill you.

Moderation is key. Even attempting to moderate helps.

Healthy Moving
No matter how much good food we eat, or how much less food we eat, moving more and in different ways has to happen. Find an exercise you like and start it, slowly at first. Build up to super-athlete status.

Healthy Mind
Treat yourself well and your body is happier in return. Making healthy choices will make you feel better; giving yourself rewards (whether those are food, clothes, or otherwise) will also. Surround yourself with people who don’t drag you down. Make decisions that are right for you, even if they’re hard.

And for heaven’s sake, today, look up at the sky whether it’s rainy or sunny and be thankful for the life that you have. Breathe because you can.

view from my window, 11 a.m.

Feels good, doesn’t it?

adrienne: balsamic tomato basil mozzarella salad with couscous

4 Jun

Last night Dr. A (we’ll call my fiancée that now) introduced me to probably one of the most satisfying, yet lightest meals I’ve had in months. This Balsamic Tomato Basil Mozzarella Salad with Couscous was lightly sweet and salty all at once, with an intriguing mix of textures and flavors.

It’s also a trifecta of greatness: quick and easy to prepare, healthy, and tastes great. It’s so good for you, you can even splurge on a glass of wine. I don’t really like wine, but Dr. A does, so I’m trying to like it. Anybody with me on that? I feel so unrefined, not liking wine. Then again, I’m the girl who got drunk off a can of Margaritaville Fruit Punch on Saturday night.

That says it all, doesn’t it?

Balsamic Tomato Basil Mozzarella Salad with Couscous
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2 large servings, four sides
Calories: 400-500, depending on the prep/serving size

1 cup dry couscous
1-1/4 cup water
1 tbsp butter or margarine

Two large tomatoes
Sixteen leaves (or a large stem) of fresh basil
- Dr. A says: “…the more basil the better!”
4 oz. bocconcini (pearl mozzarella)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp garlic
salt and pepper to taste

Prepare couscous according to package directions. Or, generally: boil your water. When boiling, add couscous and butter, turn off the heat and cover. Let stand for five minutes and then fluff with a fork. Pro tip: you can also make couscous with chicken broth, vegetable broth, or by adding herb seasoning to the water.

Dice the tomatoes into ½” pieces and place in large serving bowl. Chop (or tear) basil into small pieces and add to tomatoes. Add olive oil, vinegar, and garlic. Mix. Add salt and pepper to taste (for us, it was about ⅛ tsp of sea salt and ½ tsp of pepper). Add bocconcini and mix.

Serve tomato basil salad atop the couscous.

Do not serve with Margaritaville Fruit Punch.

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