You may have noticed a recent Facebook post about my late night sweet tooth last week. I try* to follow a rule in my kitchen: If I don’t want to eat it, then don’t keep it in my home. If I break that rule, I risk waking what I consider to be my very own super power: sugar makes me high. I’m not talking about that sugar twitch or spazzy need to run around the block. My super power is a warm, slow, intense sensation that rises from the base of my skull and melts into my ears and head. A relaxed giddiness. A silky smile. 3 delicious seconds after each bite.
Outstanding sweets – dark chocolate, rich ice cream, some perfect combination of flavors in the perfect bite of a perfect dessert….conjure the same result. So, you can understand how I can justify my way through a carton of coconut ice cream. Of course, I need that handful(s) of chocolate chips. Chocolate is good for me. Yes? No sooner after I indulge, I conjure self-induced amnesia and a plan to work out tomorrow. Bring balance back to my world. Absolutely keep a ‘cleaner’ kitchen.
Until nights like Tuesday, when the constant good decisions boil down into URGENT sugar withdrawal. In seconds, my brain tallies all random ingredients I possess and presto! I introduce you to: The Mug Cake.
Really, I’m surprised by how many woman still haven’t been exposed to one. It’s really a darling little concept. A few minutes of my time, easy pantry ingredients baked in a lovely mug = female bliss. Of course, when my URGENT sugar cravings run my show…I add a little ‘excitement’ to the process. I do not measure. I don’t really check the ingredients. I locate a big-ass mug. Guilt can creep in quickly, so the goal is to go, go, go without distraction. Extra cocoa. 1/2 the oil. less sugar. egg whites. Should add applesauce, but that would slow me down. Soon enough, I have something that resembles batter. Delicious chocolate batter. Pour it in my big-ass mug. Nuke it.
Now. This type of cooking usually works for me, but I should really know better when it comes to baking. Despite the beautiful rise of the cake above the rim of the mug (beautiful beautiful chocolate!), my final product was – nondescript. It looked like cake in a mug. It’s texture conjured visions of playdough and Fisher Price plastic. It couldn’t easily cut it, but would could move it around as a single unit when impaled with a fork. Would you know? I ate it any way.
Yesssssssssss. Low point. (head hangs).
I ate it any way.
Frenzied desperation is a point of no return. When I go so far as to bake (ehem) something, it’s going to be eaten. And it was horrible. Just horrible.
While on my elliptical machine the next morning, I knew I needed to do two things: Give you a better recipe and find me a proven gluten/soy/dairy-free version. First, you:
5 STAR RATING from hundreds of sugar fiends, just like me. Now, I’m off to discover MY kind of mug cake that meets my dietary needs. Once found, I WILL share! After all, a great cake recipe is a great cake recipe – right?
Until next time,
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free (living better as of 3/10/12)
It’s time to update you about my long-time health drama. I have had a sour stomach most of life. Just before I chose to stay at home, it completely whomped me. Throat, esophagus, stomach. Likely stress-missed meals-stress-missed sleep-stress- induced….numerous doctors, tests, meds and diagnoses culminated into one thing – not solving my problem. Finally, I quit what doctors told me to do. I stopped all medication. I changed the way I ate, in an effort to eliminate “pain” foods. I loyally attended yoga (stress reduction/better circulation) and even started acupuncture sessions. I wanted to fix myself – naturally.
*Enter new alternative medicine doctor.*
WOW. Her therapies literally swept pain out of my body. I FELT it. And in the process of treatment, she coached me about lifestyle and diet. She described me as an ‘earth’ body (whaa?) and someone who deals with spleen Qi deficiency.
I researched it. I was shocked, to say the least, to find case after case about people with the same issues and a common theme for resolving the problem: diet. Over and over again….all of my crazy symptoms didn’t seem so crazy. Was it possible that there was something to it? After all, Chinese medicine has been around for a heckuva lot longer than western medicine. There must be something to it.
According to literature, I am eating all the wrong things. My favorite foods essentially ‘weaken’ my spleen Qi. (stay with me). Instead, I need to drop the last of my dairy intake. Wheat is out. Refined sugar. High carb fruits- gone. Uncooked veggies. Cold food (ice cream!), soy, greasy food, bananas and anything unnatural -moot. Instead, my new diet is rich in other grains, cooked beans, garlic, baked root veggies, mushrooms, some red meat, basil and various strong spices.
And here I am.
My first efforts at cooking this food introduced me to TarteletteBlog’s version of Butternut Squash and Coconut Milk Rice. I found it on Pinterest, which continues to be an awesome source of information and inspiration. After tweaking it to meet my needs, it was awesome and substantial enough to leave me fulfilled. Better yet, my husband liked it. Best yet, it’s a great way to incorporate one of my favorite veggies: butternut squash!
So far, I don’t feel better….or worse. But I just had that surgery….AND I admit I cheat here or there. After all, life is too short to absolutely cut out chocolate (dark please) and frozen desserts (hello, ice cream). I just need to incorporate loads of the ‘good’ foods, until I can feel fulfilled by those means. Sigh. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Before I go, guess what? I’m in the process of updating my NEW blog title and site. Talking about work-to-home is limiting and frankly, it doesn’t fully express what I’m about. Change is refreshing.
My incredibly talented friend is having a giveaway today! Don’t miss it. Visit her blog: Gilda knits and knits and knits and enter to win! I’m throwing my hat in the ring! =)
Until next time,
and POOF! I’m back in the blogosphere. Happy Valentine’s Day! I’ve been laying around my house because of my hernia surgery 2 weeks ago. This down time is frustrating. Luckily, I also caught a bug – Pinterest ! I have been “pinning” and sharing a wealth of inspiration with friends…all pulled from the internet. What a perfect organizing tool. All of my decorating/recipe/inspirational thoughts are quickly filed, so my brain has room for creative thinking. LOVE it.
Despite doctor’s orders…I couldn’t stop myself from moving at least some of this time. It’s amazing how pain killers can make you feel productive LOL!
First family movie night, featuring Free Willy 2. The husband and oldest son where off to see a basketball game…or the movie might have changed.
Inspired by Valentine’s Day and a belly full of M&Ms, I launched a crafty project. It was so fun and easy! Thanks to the inspiration weibo.com/wodiy, the entire project took about 30 minutes. You can see the original instructions here, but you can also enjoy our pics below. The felt I bought was a little flimsy, so I incorporated a bead between hearts – double strung – so that the bead helped hold the hearts in place on string. I plan to use it for classroom decorations today.
While my daughter and I were being crafty, we also made some delicious whole wheat bread. Mmmmmmm!
See how uneven the tops are? If I had taken the time to shape the dough nicely, these would have baked up a little prettier. But the taste of homemade bread makes you forget about that. Mmmmm…
Here’s our recipe, courtesy of my favorite recipe website, AllRecipes.com:
Yesterday, I spent a whopping 4 hours putzing in my kitchen and dining room. Putzing, then tweaking. Tweaking, then cleaning. Cleaning turned into an all out offensive attack on any can, jar, box, appliance, dish or linen that failed to make my heart warm and fuzzy. My results: 2 boxes full of donations (courtesy of still unused wedding gifts)….one huge garbage bag stuffed with, well, garbage…and much more order in space. Getting rid of the stuff did make me feel like a cold-hearted B, but the act of keeping only what I use and LOVE felt good. Really good. Less was more.
In the process of doing all of this, I wore S.P.A.N.D.E.X yoga pants. Yup, I did. Why bring this up, you ask? My spandex is starting to feel TOO BIG (woot woot!) I am down 18lbs and a couple of inches on the waist and hips. Partly from health issues last spring. Partly from my new life-diet void of dairy and white flour. Mainly, I exercise.
I’ve lost significant weight 3 times: all post-baby blubber. Nice people would always say nice things about my ‘amazing transformation.’ Each time they said it I thought, thanks! Wait, what the hell? Was I really THAT fat?
This time, I was in the clear. No post-baby thing. Just exercising my free will to take care of myself. So when my kid’s teacher innocently gasped and then whispered, “you are so much thinner! Wow, you really lost weight! Oh, were you working at that?”
“Well I was sick for a few months. I’m eating differently now. And I like to do yoga and stuff. Thank you for noticing.”
And we go about our business – the teacher none the wiser about my internal woes. Was I really that heavy before?
Well, heck. I guess I shouldn’t care. I feel great. Less of me DOES feel good. And because I’m a person who likes feedback on my work, I am even more inspired to kick my butt on the yoga mat. Less of me feels like more.
Before I leave you, I have to share daughter’s recent art work. Completely innocent: the couple is forming a band. She thought the police officer would like to come and watch. Good grief. I hope this never falls into the hands of a child psychiatrist.
It’s another year of homework, runny noses and volunteering at school. This is THE moment where I can drop my kids at school and actually exercise for an hour. I have been waiting for this for years. Yet, just as I think I have a new schedule worked out, I am reeled into the volunteer trap (aka volunteering for too many things). This is partly due to the fact that I want to know what is going on with my kids. I also realize our schools need volunteers and I want to help. Much of the time, I sign up because I just feel guilty.
Let me explain. While attending an annual back-to-school meeting, the Head Super Volunteer must have said, “I know it’s very challenging for us working parents'” a MILLION times. Ok. I recognize that her statement is indeed true. The tone by which she continuously shoved her insight down my throat insinuated that I, Stay-at-Home Parent, could make it easier on Over-Worked parent. Stay-at-Home Parent has it easier.
Why had I chosen that ONE day to show up sans makeup, crisp clothing and a shower? I felt like a blemish in an unusually sparkly crowd. A very crisp crowd. good-looking. Lattes. Income makers. And there I was, presenting myself as the stereotype I despised: Bon Bon Mom. I was particularly sensitive, but my irritation with her words stems from my own observations about a lack of support by FEMALES. Working moms often believe they have it so much harder. Home moms often find a way to think they carry the harder burden. Both groups just want to justify that they are taking the best actions when it comes to their children. That they are doing their part. “Mommy guilt” strikes again. What better target than where the grass seems greener?
Now I’m signed up to volunteer on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays…amongst other odds and ends days. When I drop my kids off, I will often walk in behind them to report to duty. Instead of feeling guilty or bitter (well, maybe just a teeny tiny humanly bit), I am going to focus on the fact that I am SO lucky that I get to be so involved with my children and their environments. I will also shower more and purchase some lipstick.