Help for the Helpless?

Woke up this morning without a thing to do.  Aside from a good deal of eating, breathing and bathroom duties-my schedule is WIDE open.  Typically, I relish in these low-key days.  Unlike the rest of my family, I’m not what you’d call a “Busy Bee” by any strech.  However, today’s seemingly stress free agenda was just a tad stressful for some reason.  Do you ever have those days where the minutes pass as though youre moving through a flip book at a page an hour?  What bothers me is that I really could use this unrestricted schedule to really try to tackle my whole “rushed eating” issue.  Yes, I have the absolute WORST habbit of inhaling my food with zero intention and appreciation (or dislike) of taste.  I’m completely convinced that this habbit is one of the biggest stepping stones in my eating disorder recovery.  I love food.  I love reading about it and the poetic nature that so many of my fellow food bloggers or NYT Dining journalists describe their nibbles.  I want SO badly to put the amount of thought into my actual consumption of my eats that I do into preparing it.  I could analyze this up the you-know-what, but the most obvious and unfortunate reason seems to come down to fear.  Doesn’t it always?  Well with me it does at least.  What am I scared of?  If I’ve overcome the fear of actually putting the food into my body, why not enjoy the ride and god-forbid taste the lovliness or disgust that moves through my palate?  If you were to ask me how I enjoyed something, I bet you nine times out of ten I wouldn’t remember and recite the automatic response of  “it was fine.”

Take this morning’s glorious bowl of savory oats.  Not your average quaker express on the fly-oh no, this bowl of goodness took a lot of thought and patience beginning with lightly toasted irish groats simmering oh so gently on the stovetop overnight in its cozy bath of cream, milk, a pinch o’ sel, and a tiny sprinkle of both cinnamon and cayenne (I swear this smooth operator is so fine on its own, a poor man would think he was eating “Wagyu” with tuffle butter and gold leaf (look up “wagyu.”  and no, I haven’t been fortunate enough to put that baby to my lips).  So after the typical wake-up, use the loo, cleanse, brush, etc. routine; I enter the kitchen to a faint yet seductive smell of oats and spices.  The memory warms my heart.  But this pot wasn’t gussied up enough for my belly (or my caloric needs) quite yet.  It needed a lil extra lovin in the form of a baby pat of unsalted butta, a single perfectly poached farm fresh egg, a touch more sea salt and pepper, a few droplets of sriracha and a light sprinkle of crunchy maple pancetta bits (make more for snacking, trust me on this one) and a few grates of fresh parm.  I’m hoping my description will suffice as I haven’t the monetary funds to purchase a camera to have snapped a photo of this bad boy.  Food-gasm up the woo-hoo, right?  Wrong… I am so embarassed to say that for the several hours that went into preparing for this spoonful of goodness, it took me roughly three or four minutes to consume… and I didn’t taste a THING!!!  Travesty much? 

I can only conclude that it goes back to my fears.  The phobia at hand being my fear of enjoyment.  Sure, my T and I have established my intense fear of pleasure and comfort and downright happiness in the forms of relationships-but I conveniently carry this ridiculous fear into my relationship with food.  What if I like it?  What if I hate it?  What does it MATTER??!!  Lord almightythis is a problem.  It’s already 2:00pm and I’ve consumed two meals and snacks and I have little recolection of how any of it tasted.

I apologize immensely for this long-winded rant about my struggles.  I SOO wish that I could be one of those incredible food bloggers who whip up culinary masterpieces (or failures) and follow with the appropriate critiques.  But I can’t seem to reach the point of critiquing.  I might be a helpless case, but I would love to hear from y’all (or the one or two who might read this) about your own sturggles or even better, how you train yourself to eat with intention.  Let it be known that I have tried my fair share or reciting mantras and breathing prior to consumption, but as soon as the eating utensil crosses my lips-I go numb.  Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. 

Namaste, lovelies!

Mary Ann

Winner-Winner: Many-a-Chicken-Dinner!

Okay, while this doesn’t apply to all readers (especially the vegan/vegetarian/chicken-phobes), I’d be willing to bet a whole lot of money that I don’t actually have on the statement that most carnivores share my love for roast chicken or turkey.  Gentlemen, if you want to win my heart and my stomach-slow roast me a chicken and I’m yours til’ death do us part.  Granted, I do have a blog dedicated to my love of swine (specifically in bacon form everythingsbetterwithbacon.wordpress.com) I still believe that were I to choose a final meal before I die it would be a moist and juicy roast chicken.  Throw in some mashed taters and roasted brussels on the side for color if you care-but I’d be perfectly satisfied with the bird unadorned-so long as it has the crispy epidermal outer layer and the juicy interior (possibly some reduced drippings or homemade gravy NOT GIBLET) you’ll be sure to win my heart.  God, I could bathe in this dreaming forever, but lets remember the task at hand, Mary Ann… you’re blogging.

My reason for writing this ode to chicken todlay is because I’m pretty sure I haven’t stopped making it or (gasp) buying it since the first nip of autumn commenced.  Long before November 26th rolled around.  While I’ve definitely been roasting several of these birds myself (alternating flavors of garlic, citrus, maple, honey, rosemary, apricot, course mustards, simple butter and EVOO) I’ve also lazily snatched a few free-range (some organic, others not certified but the farmers told me they led pretty decent lives-better than most certified organic) pre-cooked birds from the market… Don’t hate, there’s no shame in paying for something outstanding that cost you nothing more than your entire  part of your paycheck.  I avoid that guilt by reciting the mantra to myself “less dishes… less dishes.”  The other issues I have with the pre-cooked is that a) my home isn’t completely saturated in the slow-cooked aromas from my oven and b)not enough pan drippings for a decent home-made gravy (note to self and readers: if you make a great gravy (which is harder than you might think) and you have leftovers (also a difficult assumption) FREEZE for emergency purposes such as pre-cooked roast chickens!). 

What both home-cooked and store-bought provide, however, is an outstanding base for a rich stock and further… CHICKEN SOUP (more appropriately deamed “stoup” a la Rachel Ray’s term).  Even if you’re midnight munchies have resulted in an anatomy-class-clean skeleton… that carcus (sp?) has some seriously intense flavor and potential left (also remember NEVER GIVE CHICKEN BONES TO A DOG!!!).  Simmer the carcus in several cups of water along with some aromatics (I tend to stick with carrots, celery, onion, garlic, sometimes parsnips) a bay leaf and herbs and seasonings to taste (avoid salt overload) and you’ve got the most intense base for a terrific chicken and rice/potato/noodle/barley stewp ever.  Strain this bad boy and pull of any remaining meat possible (you’d be surprised at what’s hidden in a licked clean carcus) and return stock to the stove.  I try to salvage some of the strained veg… but feel free to just add more to the final product.  Sometimes I sweeten with a droplet or two of raw honey or agave or straight up sugah and my recent creation (last night) was a smidge of dried red pepper flake and cayenne from my neighbor’s garden.  Just a smidge, as tasters can always add a lil Frank to taste.   I also added some a few handfuls of jasmine rice (WARNING:  the rice will drink ALL of your stock-which I love, but be less generous of your aiming for a “brothier” stewp)extra shredded chicken and CHORIZO to this recent project.  Out.  freaking. standing.  Nuf said.

Adios loves

Go buy a chicken, roasted or not, and relish in this most delicious and versatile culinary (and gustatory) adventure

Peace and love,

Mary Ann

pumpkin bread and Diners, Drive ins and Dives…

Yep, that’s the recipe for Mary Ann’s friday night. Actually there’s a lot more food/snackage involved, but I’m kind of avoiding that issue. So that’s where I’m heading, what do you do to resist the snack attack>? I feel like an addict and just can’t keep myself out of the cabinets, boxes, jars, fridge, etc. The really tricky thing is knowing how much i need to gain weight, but do it with intention and love. Does this make sense? My snacking tonight is not from a place of love, i can feel it. It’s an attempt to fill a void. Whether the void be lack of a social life, love life, friendships, family, self love, or whatevah-it’s not healthy and I think I need help getting out of this rut. Sure, I’ve done my share of therapy and treatment, but I’m curious what anyone has found to be the real turning point in there attempts at nourishing your WHOLE self. Any thoughts? I hope all our fellow foodies are enjoying themselves in SAN FRAN. My faaaave place ever!
peace and love all
MA

It really is that simple…

Today’s post is going to be sweet and simple: a link to Kath’s article from Breathe: It Doesn’t Matter.  Please do yourself a favor and read this.  Have a glooorious day, all!

MA

http://www.readbreathe.com/it-doesn%e2%80%99t-matter/

Pain Sponge…

Yep… you read correctly: “Pain Sponge” is what my family has labeled me since age 4.  While I’ve always been a pretty tough cookie about my own pain, I have the most unhealthy habit of trying to absorb others’ in an effort to take it away.  What’s this all about?  I know I’m not the only one guilty of this, because therapists seem to encounter numerous patients with this characteristic-often young women but more and more men as well.  What sparked this topic?  Well, our girl over at Snackface is feelin a little heartache about a little sitch with her best gal pal in the world and I am SOO wanting to take away that pain.  I dont even know either of these two girls, and I can’t even really relate to having such an awesome friendship in the first place.  So why did I tear up when reading her latest post about her best friend struggles?  Why do I desperately want to heal the friendship without any bumps, bruises or scars on their end-yet would totally beat myself up over something that’s not even directly related to me?  I guess I’m just interested in anyone’s thoughts about their own experiences trying to take on other people’s pain.

The truth is, I’ve been this way forever, for toooooo long.  I know it’s not beneficial to either myself or others, yet I’m addicted to it.  I feel guilty when I’m feeling pretty good while other amazing people are in a rut.  Imagine growing up where your parents get upset with you for watching starving children in third world countries and endangered species on TV while my brothers are scolded for watching Bevis and Butthead.  Kind of twisted, right?  Like in some way I was going to be able to solve these global problems as a six year old in Shelburne Vermont, crying at the suffering of others in front of the TV? 

Just curious thoughts of the afternoon, wondering how fellow Pain Sponges cope with these things.  Therapists can provide only so much help, sometimes you just gotta hear advice from other guilty pain addicts.

peace and love,

MA

Best Holiday part deux

Being that I recently opened up my laptop to discover she no longer had a breath of life in her, and my inability to either pay for the poor ol’ toshiba’s health care or buy a new one… I am currently using the local town library’s public computer.  The 30 min. limit makes it tricky to catch up on my other bloggy pals and write for lilpaula as well.  What I’m trying to say is, sorry in advance for the lack of substance in these early posts as I work up some financial support to pay for a.) a new computer; b.) a new car and c.) a place to live.  AHHHHH.  No, this girl ain’t stressed out at all right now.

Anywho…  I just had to ask any readers a very important question about this evening’s special holiday.  What are you doling out to the lil ones?  I can remember the scariest halloweens growing up were those whose houses attempted to dish us out apples and raisins and even those DREADFUL places that offered floss and toothbrushes.  Now I am, for the most part, a relatively shy, meditation practicing, kind and loving person.  But I just can’t sit quietly and let this form of torture continue without first advocating for these little children who, for ONE night out of an entire 365 days is FINALLY allowed to play dress up and run around neighborhoods schelpping pillowcases (yes, that is the only/best candy-carrying device and accumulate as much sugary goodness as possible.  I understand your concern for the health of the kiddies, but if you get this message before passing out heart rate monitors and vitamins, perhaps you still have enough time to prevent yourself from being the most avoided house on the block by stocking up on some regular or king sized bars and save yourself from embarassment.  Kid’s will IDOLIZE YOU!!  Remember… this day only comes once a year.

just sayin…

MA

Halloween = best holiday? Perhaps

I’m going to make this one quick, but I had to share my moment of creativity with a snack i made yesterday.  Despite my love for reeses pb cups… I opted for the “health food” candy in my pantry as the inspiration for this super festive snacky.

Ingredients:

-1-2 slices fave bread (depending on hunger), lightly toasted (I used cinn. raisin swirl)

-whatev form of pumpkin ya got (canned pure, pie mix, the real deal-pureed of course).

-nut butter (i used crunchy raw almond, but if your a skippy kid at heart, by all means)

-DARK CHOCO RAISINETTES!!!!!  the “healthy” candy

ASSEMBLY:

shmear mixture of punkin+butta onto toast(s) into the best punkin shape your artistic ability allows.  Make jack-o-lantern features in punkin.  Put said jack(s) into toaster oven or micro until his facial features start to melt into scary, melty, chocolatey yumminess(no more than 15 sec. for micro or you will be dissapointed inchewy texture of final piece).  Make sure you watch the action taking place in oven/micro as this is where the entertainment takes place.  Pretty pumpkin jack o’Hyde turns into jack o’ jekyl before your eyes!! 

This final step is critical:

Remove specimens from oven, placing on a napkin or plate if your civilized, unlike myself… and eat in the creepiest manner possible to celebrate this spectacular holiday!  Chocolatey, punkiny goodness OH MY!

(or you can just make some toast with pb, pumpkin and dark chocolate raisins and I still think you’ll appreciate the party that takes place in your mouth upon eating this combo).

Adios, mis amigos!

Clammy, cloudy, with a chance of showers…

… but it’s a good thing I have some tasty treats to warm my heart!  Today started off par usual with two meyer’s bagels (montreal wannabes from b-town) with crunchy pb, bacon and a drizzle o’ maple syrup.  Though the two were PLENTY, I decided to indulge and go for a third to pass the time before I had to be at work  at 5:30 am.  That’s right, you heard me y’all, I start work at 5:30 where I open a little bakery/espresso bar/convenience store in rural Charlotte, VT.  Someone’s gotta get the java going for early risers and I relish in the serenity that comes in the time before the sun rises.  And talk about a beautiful sunrise, this morning’s was one heck of a beauty-firey hues of magenta orange and gold over the good ol green mountains-ain’t nothing like it my flatland friends.  So at 5:30 I got my grinding on, the coffee grindiong that is and brewed some rich, earthy and dare I say glorious p pots of vermont artisan coffee.  I reccomend the Ethiopian yirgacheffe with a few splashes of sweetened condensed milk and a few drops of raw honey from a local bee keeper.  Meanwhile, my co-worker Meg whips up some outrageous baked goodness from the back kitchen so that our caffeine driven customers can get some proper sustenance from a tasty muffin, pastry or, if they have a more savory drawn palatte, they can fuel up with a “McBrick (egg sammie), a sofrito breakfast burrito or a slice (or two) of the quich du jour (today’s was a sausage, caramelized onion thyme concoction).  Of course I provide samples (more for my own tastings-you know, quality control is essential).  Well, it looks as though my tummy’s growling again (surprise surprise) so I’m off to whip up some goodies to calm this loud belly.  Peace and love my readers!

Scared…

So I gotta say, this blog world terrifies me and intrigues me to no end.  But I’m giving into my curiousity to see if I might just gain something by publicly journaling about my incredibly mundane life experiences.  Maybe it was "Julie and Julia" that inspired me, or perhaps the silly musings of blog writers Snackface and Kath Eats Real Food that motivated this journey I’m about to partake in.  I’m going to keep this baby short, because I’m such a beginner, but hopefully my posts will expand with a dose of entertainment for readers and a little much-needed catharsis for myself.  Peace and love dearies!

M.A.

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