Archive for the ‘What I Am Eating’ Category

Day Two Hundred Sixty-Six

January 12, 2011
My perniciously delicious bread

My perniciously delicious bread

Well, once again I did pretty well until my own creation turned on me. I blame Mary Shelley.

I got up at 5:00 and took my walk in the deep new snow. And I did not go back to bed afterward. I was tired, but I felt human. I hope this means that my body is getting used to the new schedule.

As I did my job-searching and budgeting and sundry tasks, I followed my diet well — right up until the time the bread came out of the oven. Then I started nibbling. By the time dinner came around, I’d already had far too much. Then I had another piece with butter and honey.

I need to find a way to limit myself on this bread, or I’m going to have to only make it on weekends. And that would be a shame, because it’s so easy and cheap! Maybe I can get in the habit of cutting it up into portions immediately after it comes out of the oven, and scheduling the eating of the portions.

Yeah. It does sound unlikely.

Well, let’s see, can I think my way out of this problem? Treat it like an addictive substance. What if I was manufacturing crack cocaine, and in order to keep making a profit I had to maintain strict control over my own…

No. That’s a bad metaphor. This bread is much better than crack cocaine.

I’m going to sleep on it. Good night.


Stop & Shop & Hyperventilate

January 3, 2011

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I went to Stop & Shop to get milk and carrots. I’m not particularly fond of carrots, but they’re handy for keeping my mouth and belly occupied. After grabbing a bag I walked around the produce section to see if there was anything else that caught my eye. There was.

I saw the sweet potatoes and realized that I hadn’t baked one in a while. That made me think of acorn squash, which I then found in the bin beyond. Please don’t make the mistake of treating either one as a get-out-of-jail-free card; there’s a reason why they’re so tasty, even unbuttered. Always look up the nutritional values of your food. If you do that for either of these, you’ll probably decide, as I did, to make your standard serving much smaller than you first envisioned.

I swung by the far corner of the store to pick up a gallon of 1% milk. Then I did the thing that, to most of you reading this, is no doubt indistinguishable from masochism: I hung out in the bakery.

The bakery at Stop & Shop defies all my expectations. Usually baked goods from grocery stores are tasteless, textureless, or so overloaded with sugar that the cloying sweetness blots out whatever other flavors may be present. But somehow, this store is different. Their bagels are very good, and that’s coming from a bagel snob. Their muffins are good. I honestly haven’t tried much else, because I’m utterly addicted to their magnificent oatmeal raisin cookies. For god’s sake, I don’t even particularly care for oatmeal raisin cookies!

So, on to the masochism. Or rather, allow me an attempt to show you the fine distinction between my method and masochism. Let me take you on a tour of the Stop & Shop bakery with my brain as a guide. Maybe once I’m done, you’ll see why, for me, the only way to leave behind my maniacal cravings is to wade right through them and come out the other side.

First, take a look at the plastic bins covering the shelves facing the bakery, at the end of the dairy aisle. Some of those bins are filled with sugar cookies, some with chocolate chip, some with peanut butter, and some with my favorite: oatmeal raisin.

I can look through the transparent plastic and judge the texture of those cookies. On some days they’re slightly more browned than at other times. The variation is part of the appeal. If they’re darker, I can imagine their crispness as my teeth crunch through them. I prefer them to be a bit lighter; in that case, I know how each one would sag slightly as I raised it to my mouth. I can feel my teeth shear through the relatively crisp outer layer and into the softer, not-quite-gooey insides. I can feel the pleasant, rasping texture as I chew. I can taste the brown sugar and raisins and oatmeal, and the contrast between each bite of cookie and each sip of the sweet black tea I’d drink along with the cookies.

Now, look at the piles of boxed items on the table. Start with the muffins. There’s a box with one butter rum and one lemon poppy seed, among others. Another has two carrot cake and one cranberry. The butter rum is my favorite: I can see the way it tears apart in my hand, feel the crisp crust and slightly spongy interior, taste the melding of the sweet and buttery aspects. I gauge the texture and taste of the others by their appearance. Is the lemon poppy seed lemony enough, moist enough? The carrot cake looks perfect in texture, perfect in doneness; I salivate as I imagine the flavor. I imagine the light flakiness of the cake in the cranberry muffin, the tartness of the cranberries contrasting with the sweetness. My saliva ducts work even harder.

Walk around the side of the table. Look at all those ring cakes. There’s the coffee cake with the raisins and the white icing, that brings me straight back to the weekend mornings during my childhood when my parents would bring back one very much like it from Freihofer’s. There’s a… what is that, raspberry? Mmmmmmm… tempting. But right next to it… ahhhh, that’s the one I really want: the cheese. It looks utterly perfect: the cheese-to-cake and icing-to-cheese ratios seem spot-on, and the cheese looks moist. I must try one of these during an upcoming eat-whatever-I-want day.

Turn from the table and take a look at the racks and racks of pastries and muffins. There’s a pain au chocolat alongside its cheese equivalent; they look a little dry, but I’d love to try each of them. And there are the ranks of fresh muffins, tray after tray after tray. There are the butter rum muffins at the bottom right corner. And there go my saliva ducts again.

Turn around once more. Go back to the same set of shelves with the oatmeal raisin cookies. Above them and to the left there’s a rank of “gourmet cookies” in shallow plastic clamshell trays. God. They have white chocolate macadamia nuts cookies. I love white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. And the way they’re browned… they took them out of the oven at just the right moment. I want to see if they’re as crisp as they look on the outside, as soft on the inside as they should be. I want to know whether they’re as good as they look. Too few bakers bring their A game to the dough, so their white chocolate macadamia nut cookies amount to little more than chunks of white chocolate whose cloying sweetness drowns out any other flavors that might be present.

Oh look, they have companions worthy of their glory: triple chocolate chunk. Again with the saliva. I may need a hanky.

I took it all in. I swallowed buckets of saliva. And I walked away. Today, I walked away.

This is why I wallow in my desire for food. The compulsion ebbs and flows, but it’s too powerful to deny or avoid. All I can do is steer into the wave, let it wash over me, and hope to come out the other side intact. One day at a time.

That right there? That is some good bread.

January 2, 2011

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Grace recently discovered a fantastic recipe for no-knead French peasant bread. It is absurdly delicious. She just made some, and I couldn’t resist tearing off several mouthfuls that amounted to a good-sized piece. Then, once the soup was done, I tore off another good-sized piece, shown in the picture.

I just ate that delicious second piece with the bowl of soup. And with that, I’ve already had more bread than my body needs in a day. I do not need any more. So I’m not going to eat any more.

Really. I’m not going to eat any more. Never mind that I start to salivate and my palms start to sweat when I think of it, just sitting there on the counter. Rather than indulge in more bread, I’m going to focus on being grateful to have had any at all. ‘Cause, damn… that’s some good bread.

I stopped. And I shopped.

January 2, 2011

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So I went to Stop & Shop. What I stopped was: eating those delicious oatmeal raisin cookies by the bin; and eating toasted and buttered bagels. What I shopped for was: apples; bananas; broccoli; oranges; and biscotti. The biscotti remain my go-to solution for the muchies: 100-calorie emergency satiety ampules. The fruit provides vitamins and sweet but healthy snacks. The broccoli gives me vital bulk, fiber and vitamins.

Day Two Hundred Fifty-Five

January 1, 2011

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Today was a good day — my first day of following my diet in weeks.

I had my modest egg sandwich for breakfast, went on a walk with Grace and Katherine, limited myself to two unbuttered scones with tea, and had another egg sandwich when we returned. I went running with Grace in the afternoon; we’re proud to be continuing on the “Couch to 5K” program.

Before we hopped on the train into town to see “True Grit” with Eric, I brewed my usual thermos full of tea. Between 5:30 and 10:00 I drank most of that pot of tea and three Zone Bars, and ate the apple I’d strategically saved for the theater. I did not eat anything from Zaro’s or any of the popcorn that Eric bought at the Ziegfeld.

I’ve been thinking of all the food I chose not to eat today, which results in me thinking very fondly of all the food and drink I’ve consumed during the last month. I’m not beating myself up over that, because it feels like I needed it, and because I don’t think beating myself up is going to do any good. What I am going to do is follow up on this first day of not eating those things. I can compensate for that month of overeating — one day at a time.

Good night!

Scones with tea, and an afternoon meal

January 1, 2011

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

After our walk we had scones and tea at Katherine’s place. I limited myself to two scones, with no butter, along with my cup of tea.

When we got home it was already around 3:00, and I was getting hungry. I made another egg sandwich, this one with a single sausage link.

I’m skipping my eat-whatever-I-want-day… or am I?

November 6, 2010

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This morning I decided not to have an eat-whatever-I-want day this weekend. After all, I’ve had all too many eat-whatever-I-want days lately, the last one as recently as Wednesday. Next weekend I’ll have one, and it will feel great because I will have earned it.

Then I remembered that I have a bag of processed squash in the fridge in addition to the two in the freezer. I needed to make pumpkin pies tonight because it’ll start to ferment before too long. So I decided to have the pie be the one eat-whatever-I-want aspect of my day.

Then I remembered the most important mental distinction I’ve come to see since I started this blog: there is a difference between eating what I want, and eating all I can. I didn’t used to see the difference. Now I do, and in that disparity lies hope. I hope that, with enough work, I can widen the gap so that someday eating what I want doesn’t even resemble eating all I can.

So today was an eat-whatever-I-want day, even though it was just like every other dieting day except for the pie. And it would still have been an eat-whatever-I-want day even if I hadn’t had the pie. I ate what I wanted, and today I wanted to stick to my diet so that, on my next eat-whatever-I-want day, I will enjoy the food to the fullest because I’ll know that I’ve earned it. This is not punishment, and it feels wonderful to know that. This is me choosing what I want so that I can be what I want.

Chicken and Squash Stew

November 5, 2010

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Here’s the stew I just made, before and after cooking. Below is the recipe. As you can see, it’s quite wholesome. Now, if I can just limit myself to modest portions, I’ll be all set. I seem to have succeeded in this instance; as you can see, I measured myself a one-cup portion, and I seem to be sticking to it. Go me!

Oh, by the way: OM NOM NOM!!!

Chicken and Squash Stew
1 bag trader joe’s boneless thighs, thawed if possible
big butternut squash
4 stalks celery, cut
2 onions, diced
1 cup apple cider
some apple cider in a shallow bowl
salt to taste
plate of flour
garam masala
1 teaspoon chicken stock

wash and cut butternut squash into 1-inch cubes or bite-sized pieces (I leave the skin on, you don’t have to)
Cut onions and celery
load into crockpot on high
heat skillet with not much olive oil.
dredge chicken in cider, then in flour, put in hot skillet to brown
when one side is brown, turn over
when both sides brown, remove to crockpot. (place chicken on top of everything else)
mix chicken broth concentrate into apple cider
pour apple cider over contents of crockpot
sprinkle a small amount of garam masala and salt over chicken
put lid on and cook on high for 3-5 hours, or until chicken is cooked through.e

Apple pie with Khalil

October 20, 2010

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Khalil and I made an apple pie tonight… an apple pie with a butter crust, I might add. When the suckmeter got close to this pie, the needle got buried at -11.

I limited myself to a smallish or medium-sized slice, depending on what you consider to be a smallish slice of pie. Sure, I could have stuck strictly to my diet and had none, but I’m not so obsessed that I’m going to miss the opportunity to enjoy, with my Little Brother, a little slice of the pie we’d just made.

Acorn squash with butter, garam masala and ginger

October 20, 2010
Acorn squash with butter, garam masala and ginger

Acorn squash with butter, garam masala and ginger

Here’s a shot of my lunch: half of an acorn squash with a little bit of butter and a generous sprinkling of garam masala and ginger, baked in the oven for an hour or two. Mmmmmmm. It’s yummy enough that next time I’m going to forgo the butter.