Taking Small Bites

Three years after having weight loss surgery, two years after losing half my body size — and then gaining some back during pregnancy — I still have issues with food. It’s like a dirty little secret: the surgery affected my stomach and my intestines, my duodenum and my pylorus, but NOT my brain. I still love food the same way I did when I weighed 275lbs. I still eat a lot of the same things I ate when I weighed 275lbs. In fact, if you want to lose weight, do NOT hang out with me. My diet consists of eggs, full fat dairy, red meat, and most grains. And I never skip dessert or chocolate. I eat more carbs and sugar than most weight-loss surgery patients, and I do “suffer” for it — bloating, gas, diarrhea, all that fun stuff. Coldstone ice cream is worth some pain. Other foods (spinach, tomatoes) aren’t.

Another thing I suffer from is can’t-believe-I’m-an-adult-eating syndrome, which means  that sometimes I get the urge to eat all my childhood comfort foods and nobody stops me. Then I realize (1) I’m not actually hungry, just feeling emotional, and (2) childhood comfort food doesn’t help that and (3) goldfish crackers are just salty fake cheesy nastiness and I don’t even like them.

Right now I’m on a bit of a food burnout. Because I eat whatever I want, I run out of cravings pretty quickly. Plus, when nothing is off-limits (thanks to Lact-aid) everything is a little boring. Meanwhile, the other day, as I inhaled some flautas at a Mexican restaurant near our new house, I realized that no matter how hungry I am — or not — I eat like a ravenous squirrel at every meal.

Part of it is the reality of eating with five children. “Mom, I spilled my water.” “Mom, I need a cup.” “Mom, where are the napkins?” “Mom, can I have more?” “Mom, this is yuck.” “Mom, daddy needs salt.” “Mom, Zesty just threw up.” My children are expected to take care of their basic table needs for the most part, but I find myself getting up and down seventeen times a meal. If I want to eat it hot, I need to eat it fast, before the natives get restless.

But another part has no explanation. Even if I’m eating by myself, I find myself eating quickly and taking huge bites. Even if there’s plenty of food. Even if I’m not hungry.

I talked to My Chemical Romance about this, and told him that I’m going to try and take smaller bites when I eat. And I found it extremely difficult. I ate lunch with The Informant and My Masterpiece and we had plenty of food and everyone was happy, nobody needed anything — and still it was hard not to act like a total food vacuum. I’m going to work on this, but it may take some time.

Advertisements

The Thanksgiving Glass Incident

Recently I was talking to Little Miss Popular, and she was very upset because she’d just made spaghetti pie — the best meal on earth, unless you happen to have had your intestines re-routed, in which case you will only enjoy it til the acid from the tomatoes burns you from the inside out — and then her two-year-old broke a glass on it. Spaghetti pie plus glass.

In her defense, she didn’t actually expect her two-year-old to follow her instructions, which were, “Put that glass next to the sink.” Instead, he smashed it to pieces, right by the 8×13 pan of spaghetti pie.

She decided to feed it to her husband.

This reminded me of my first Thanksgiving with My Chemical Romance, in which the dish holding the mashed potatoes, like, disintegrated, and his grandmother scooped it up and put it in another dish, pronouncing it totally edible.

I think she may have used her hands to scoop it, too.

Everyone there — My Chemical Romance, his sisters, his mom, his aunts and uncles — balked, but she was adamant that we would eat those mashed potatoes. My Chemical Romance grew up just this side of poor, but I don’t think he ever had to eat glass before that day. I grew up never eating glass — nor vegetables. Now I eat vegetables, but I did NOT eat the glass mashed potatoes. Although after Little Miss Popular saw her husband survive the spaghetti pie plus glass incident, she ate it too.

Spaghetti Pie (by Stitches)

1) Make your sauce – however you like it on regular spaghetti, I just do a tomato based sauce with ground beef

2) cook your pasta – I like spaghetti the best but you can use any shape

3) combine pasta and sauce in a bowl/pot

4) in a 13 X 9 pan layer pasta mixture with toppings (cream cheese, swiss cheese, and mozzerella)  I usually do two layers of each pasta and cheese toppings.  Bake covered for 20 minutes at 350, then add one more layer of cheese on top (I use cheddar here) and bake for another ten minutes uncovered. 

5) Enjoy!

In my former life, I was a waitress

But I never worked at a restaurant like the one I was at yesterday for Jugs Night Out.

Our poor waitress — she was new, and she was not confident. When I was a teenager and I worked at a Mexican restaurant, I would smile as I wrote down customers’ orders phonetically then rush into the kitchen to make sure I understood what they wanted. Usually I didn’t.

(There seems to be this divide between people who want a server to write down orders, and people who want them memorized. I prefer to have mine written down. I always want more mayo or sauce or hold the onions — unless they’re carmelized — and if I’m going to spend My Chemical Romance’s hard-earned money, I want to get what I want.)

Also, going out to eat with Wii is always amusing, because she wants what she wants — and is much more specific than me. I want meat and cheese and sauce, and maybe some french fries that are extra crispy. Extra sauce — but I’ll take it on the side if it doesn’t end up on the meat. Wii is very specific. She has dietary restrictions, eats really clean, and wants to know how things are prepared, what are the ingredients, and if the fruit is ripe. Or fresh, or in season or something.

I get it — but I also know that if she’d gone to my Mexican restaurant, she would have run the risk of getting her food spit in. But she’d never have eaten at my restaurant. Everything was cooked in hydrogenated oils. Maybe servers are less inclined to spit in the food in nicer establishments.

Anyway this poor waitress encountered Wii, and what little confidence she had totally evaporated. The waitress didn’t screw anything up particularly — all of our food was right, except Nice-Nice’s took extra time — but she was flustered and forgot napkins and silverware and chopsticks and had a difficult time dividing the bill when we were finished.

She was training, and her trainer totally left her in the weeds. I suppose training on a Tuesday makes sense, because, like, who goes out to eat on a Tuesday? — except that this restaurant is new and hip and trendy and DELICIOUS. It’s called Cowfish and you should totally go there.

The upshot was this: the manager comped our entire dinner. The.Whole.Meal. And Mary F. Poppins had drinks; Nice-Nice, Little Miss Popular and I had apps. I ordered a to-go sushi roll for My Chemical Romance.

It was awesome! I can’t wait to go back.

Afterwards we went to Pinkberry — apparently the theme of our night was yuppie food — which was okay. The toppings were awesome; the yogurt was meh.

Porcelain, the only baby with us, was pretty good despite being awake the entire time. I look forward to our next JNO!

 

Thanksgiving Recipes

This year for Thanksgiving, we’re hosting my parents, Nice-Nice and her husband, Renaissance Woman and her husband — and the Happy Mathelete and her husband and kids are stopping by afterwards. For the second (or maybe third?) straight year, my parents will be here for Thanksgiving but not Christmas, so we’re opening presents early. My kids are getting a Wii. I have given up — or maybe I’ve just recognized that I’m having a baby and will be trapped nursing on the couch or in My Chemical Romance’s battery charger and want to keep them relatively docile and incapable of burning down the house. So they’re getting a Wii. Also, this means I’ll be able to cook in relative peace!

My portion of TG is turkey, gravy,  green bean casserole, stuffing, and mashed potatoes. Renaissance Woman is making broccoli casserole, sweet potatoes, and cranberries. Nice-Nice is making rolls and pie. This may sound like a ton of food for eight adults and six kids (most of whom don’t actually eat) but I’m worried it’s not enough. I was raised Jewish after all; I really love you only when I try to stuff food down your throat 24/7.

The turkey is coming from Creekside Farm. We were invited to view the turkeys before they were processed but I thought that might be a little traumatic so I said no. In a nod to my heritage, I’m using the recipe “Homestyle Turkey, the Michigander Way.” Is there a more dorky word than Michigander? I’m not sure. I used this recipe last year and it was awesome — same free-range turkey although from a different farm. The only thing that went wrong was that my parents transported the turkey from my house to Wii’s house, and in the process managed to get turkey all over their relatively new car interior, which was mostly cloth. It smelled, and cost a fortune to get it all out.

Ingredients

  • 1 (12 pound) whole turkey
  • 6 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 4 cups warm water
  • 3 tablespoons chicken bouillon
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 2 tablespoons dried minced onion
  • 2 tablespoons seasoning salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Rinse and wash turkey. Discard the giblets, or add to pan if they are anyone’s favorites.
  2. Place turkey in a Dutch oven or roasting pan. Separate the skin over the breast to make little pockets. Put 3 tablespoons of the butter on both sides between the skin and breast meat. This makes for very juicy breast meat.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the water with the bouillon. Sprinkle in the parsley and minced onion. Pour over the top of the turkey. Sprinkle seasoning salt over the turkey.
  4. Cover with foil, and bake in the preheated oven 3 1/2 to 4 hours, until the internal temperature of the turkey reaches 180 degrees F (80 degrees C). For the last 45 minutes or so, remove the foil so the turkey will brown nicely.

Gravy is Easy Turkey Gravy

Ingredients

  • 5 cups turkey stock with pan drippings
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup — I MAKE THIS MYSELF FROM SCRATCH.
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

Directions

  1. Bring the turkey stock to a boil in a large saucepan. Stir in soup, and season with poultry seasoning, pepper, seasoned salt, and garlic powder. Reduce heat to low, and let simmer.
  2. Warm the milk in the microwave, and whisk in the flour with a fork until there are no lumps. Return the gravy to a boil, and gradually stir in the milk mixture. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute, or until thickened. Be careful not to let the bottom scorch.

Green Beans are Grandma’s Green Bean Casserole. My Chemical Romance is not happy that I’m not using the recipe on the back of Camp*bell’s Cream of Whatever Soup, but I refuse to cook with anything that includes Partially Hydrogenated Heart/Brain Killer anymore. He claims he only eats Partially Hydrogenated Heart/Brain Killer once a year — at Thanksgiving! — but I put my apron down.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 (14.5 ounce) cans French style green beans, drained — I USE ORGANIC FROZEN GREEN BEANS
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup crumbled buttery round crackers
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in flour until smooth, and cook for one minute. Stir in the salt, sugar, onion, and sour cream. Add green beans, and stir to coat.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish. Spread shredded cheese over the top. In a small bowl, toss together cracker crumbs and remaining butter, and sprinkle over the cheese.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the top is golden and cheese is bubbly.

Stuffing is Slow Cooker Stuffing (I’m trying to save room in my oven)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 12 ounces sliced mushrooms — I MAY SKIP THIS; MUSHROOMS ARE NASTY.
  • 12 cups dry bread cubes
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram — I’m borrowing this from someone…
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 1/2 cups chicken broth, or as needed
  • 2 eggs, beaten

Directions

  1. Melt butter or margarine in a skillet over medium heat. Cook onion, celery, mushroom, and parsley in butter, stirring frequently.
  2. Spoon cooked vegetables over bread cubes in a very large mixing bowl. Season with poultry seasoning, sage, thyme, marjoram, and salt and pepper. Pour in enough broth to moisten, and mix in eggs. Transfer mixture to slow cooker, and cover.
  3. Cook on High for 45 minutes, then reduce heat to Low, and cook for 4 to 8 hours.

Mashed Potatoes is going to be really unexciting — my dad likes very bland food, so I’m not going to put anything fancy like the aged cheddar cheese with garlic that I just got at Cost*co last night that is so freaking delicious I could die — I’ll add it to mine.

Day Before Mashed Potatoes (although mine will probably be “Day Of” Mashed Potatoes. I have made potatoes the day before and you basically end up re-cooking it anyway to get it creamy and hot, so there’s no point.)

Ingredients

  • 9 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in potatoes, and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes.
  2. Transfer potatoes to a large bowl, and mash until smooth. Mix in the cream cheese, sour cream, onion powder, salt, pepper and butter. Cover, and refrigerate 8 hours, or overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a medium baking dish.
  4. Spread potato mixture into the prepared baking dish, and bake in the preheated oven about 30 minutes.

 

Now I’m hungry. I just made a quiche with broccoli, bacon, and the above-mentioned Cost*co garlic cheddar. I made two so that I can stick one in the freezer.

 

The first recipe I've written myself

… after playing around with ripping it off from several different other quiche recipes.

Yes, it’s for a quiche. A vegetable/cheese quiche. If you succeed, your quiche may look like this (only maybe not quite so yellow/green. I’m still not great with my new Nikon D3000 camera.)

Ingredients:

Pre-made crust (I use Wholly Wholesome or Trader Joe’s brand)

1/4c butter

1/2 onion, chopped

whatever vegetables you have on hand

1 container Boursin cheese

4 eggs

1c milk

dash of salt (I skip this because I am an “over-taster,” according to My Chemical Romance. And he is a “person who is going to have a heart attack at age 40 from high blood pressure issues due to excessive salt intake,” according to me.)

Preheat oven to 375*F. Melt butter in a saucepan on low/medium heat. Add chopped onions and cook slowly until onions are soft and translucent. (Do not burn! It makes your whole house reek! And then you’ll wonder if you — and therefore your unborn child — are inhaling carcinogenic burned-pan smell and maybe you should start over with an entirely new pan. And then you’ll remember this is your fifth kid, and you probably did much worse with the first four.) Add veggies and cook for about 5 more minutes. Add boursin cheese and cook until melted.

In a small bowl, beat eggs and milk. Pour a small amount of eggs/milk into pie crust. Cover with the veggie/cheese mixture. Pour the remainder of eggs/milk on top.

Bake for 40 – 45 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Friday Night Jugs

Every Friday night, My Chemical Romance goes to Nerd Night; Animal, Mineral, The Informant, and My Masterpiece watch a movie, and I have my girl friends over for Friday Night Jugs.

I have no idea how FNJ officially started. I love playing cards — my parents are actually professional card players, so games are part of my vernacular — but I refuse to play with My Chemical Romance because he is smarter than me and usually wins, and I’m a sore loser. Wii, on the other hand, is more my intellectual equal — at least when it comes to cards. Wii’s husband works very late most nights, so we were probably hanging out on a Friday night with our kids and they were bogarting the TV, so we decided to play cards like intelligent adults (SNORT).

Then we invited Nice-Nice, because she lives very close to me now, and she brought her baby, E, who still refuses to eat anything that doesn’t have Nice-Nice’s nipple attached to it.

I think next we invited Renaissance Redux — there! You officially have a nickname, RenRedux! I’ll explain it later — and Das Goofendorfer, both of whom have nursing babies.

In fact, everyone but Wii is either pregnant or nursing. I do not think she feels left out, though. She did nurse for four straight years.

Finally, Wii brought in The Mathlete, because we needed someone smart. She has the youngest baby, less than three months.

Occasionally we have She’s Super Sweet, and once we were graced with Six Degrees of Lora. She’s a photographer and everyone in the crunchy community “knows” her.

There are a few rules:

1. It’s always at my house and I make the best food. It’s at my house because four kids — and a half — trumps two (the next closest), and those two are Wii’s kids, who can hang with my kids if her husband isn’t home. Everyone else has not-quite-mobile babies. Also, Nice-Nice, RenRedux and She’s Super Sweet live very close. So it’s easy to get together for a game of four.

I make the best food because… I just do. Last night I cooked baked potato skins (sans bacon), mashed potatoes (made from the insides of the baked potato skins for Nice-Nice, whose baby doesn’t tolerate cheese), and black forest chocolate cake with overly-sweet vanilla frosting that I’d made for Nice-Nice the day before, when she watched my kids. Prior to that, I spent a few weeks experimenting with various deviled egg recipes.

I love cooking for FNJ because they appreciate my food!

2. When we have food, it stays in the kitchen.

This rule was instituted after a game-less game week in which we brought the food into my dining room and rather than play cards or games, we all stuffed our faces and yacked like girlfriends do all night. Wii said it was because the food took up the table, so we didn’t have any room for games.

3. Nice-Nice finds something offensive.

Nice-Nice herself isn’t actually offended; she merely points out that a certain phrase, gesture, word, look, food, child, joke, story, name, picture, internet site, magazine, book, movie, article, or Face*book game could be considered offensive. And how.

4. We offer three invitations to Friday Night Jugs; if you are invited and turn us down three times — without good reason — you are crossed off The List.

Honestly, I can’t see why anyone WOULDN’T want to come back after they attend once. The Mathlete drives over 25 miles one way for FNJ. Because it’s that awesome 🙂

I love Friday Night Jugs. It’s very refreshing after a long week, to hang out with my girlfriends. I look forward to Daylight Savings ending, when I can put my kids to bed even earlier and get more girl time!

Weird things I like/don't like

LIKE

1. Organic Milk. 2%.

This isn’t that weird — except for the fact that I’m craving non-raw milk right now. Maybe it’s the consistency of raw that is turning me off. The first few cups of raw milk are practically cream; the last few cups are like drinking skim ::vomit::  Sometimes the place I buy my raw milk runs out, which is how we’ll end up with a gallon or two of organic, and I’m totally hoarding it.

2. Nonfiction.

I just finished Orange is the New Black and it was the best book I’ve read in a long time. Which is really saying something when you consider that I probably read two books per week. Another recent nonfiction winner? Women, Food, and God by Geneen Roth. I’m on a wait list for the Oprah bio; I can’t wait for that one either. Along with The Imperfectionists, which is supposedly creative non-fiction.

3. Baking.

I love to cook, that’s not a secret. Baking has never been my thing because it’s so scientific; you really can’t play around with it. You can see or taste if you put in too much flour or not enough baking soda *Not that I would ever do that. Perhaps baking is appealing to my current control-freak tendencies, leading us to #4…

4. FlyLady

Yes, that evil witch with her stupid fairy wings and lace-up shoes — and her ridiculously clean house. I’m trying to form a long-lasting relationship with my “swish-and-swipe” routine. FlyLady is probably improving my marriage: she has taught me that expecting My Chemical Romance to do all the dishes is futile; six people plus a Dog Without a Downside use more plates and bowls than one person can keep up with. Even when using that modern convenience called a dishwasher — and we always use a dishwasher. I am morally opposed to washing dishes by hand. It is perhaps the one way in which I’m totally not-crunchy.

5. My Sixth Sense for Pregnancy

Recently I’ve noted that two women were pregnant long before they even announced it. One, I realized it on the very day she peed on a stick. Another was from a Face*book status. I thought it was abundantly clear to everyone who read it, but so far I’m the only one who has even guessed. Clearly I’ve got some ESP going on with my fellow breeders.

DON’T LIKE

1. Fiction

Oh, whine. If I pick up one more book that involves a “birth gone wrong” scenario, I’m going to live webcam my homebirth so that people can see that birth is normal. Seriously, even that bestseller that I waited on a library lists for months for, The Postmistress, somehow brought in a HORRIBLE TRAGIC BAD BIRTH STORY. The most frustrating thing is trying to find a book that (1) is well-written (2) doesn’t involve HORRIBLE TRAGIC BAD BIRTH STORIES (3) is well-written. Seems like you get either well-written or you get normal birth/no birth.

2. My therapist

Actually, I love her. Possibly too much; I want to know how much longer therapy is going to continue. I started seeing her because I needed a note from a psychologist clearing me for weight-loss surgery; two years later I’m skinny and still problem-plagued. At least in my mind. But having a therapist is a bit of a crutch for me: I use her to gauge where I am, and I need to trust myself to gauge where I am. She says I’ve made progress. Eh, I probably have, but who’s to say I wouldn’t have progressed on my own without her and her $10 copay?

3. Pregnancy brain

What was I just typing about? Where am I? What time is it? I got on this computer to do something, and now I find myself doing something completely different with absolutely no recollection of what I am supposed to be doing, and a vague sense that I’m forgetting something important when I go out in public, like my purse. Or a bra.

4. The Library’s New Hours

Or lack thereof. Due to city budget cuts, my local library is currently open four days per week, two of those days only until 5pm. All I want to do is read (nonfiction; or well-written fiction about non-breeders) and I get agitated when I realize it’s going to be three days before I can even browse paperbacks again. The next closest library is 20 minutes away.

5. The Heat.

GO. AWAY. Seriously.

%d bloggers like this: