Breakfast Bowl.

The only thing I knew about my breakfast yesterday was that it would start with this:

A cup of Chameleon Cold-Brew diluted with water and cream. I picked up this jar after reading about Chameleon Coffee in Bon Appetit. Although it’s a little expensive at $6.99 a jar, it’s also delicious. I’ve never really tasted anything other than “coffee” in coffee, but this brew has distinct notes of chocolate in it.

I was a little disappointed when I realized that this jar didn’t have four full servings in it — more like three and a half. I’ll be sure to check the measurement on the bottle for the full four servings next time I purchase this coffee.

As for breakfast, I knew I wanted to use up one of my Lou’s Famous Chicken Apple Sausages, but I was at a loss as to what else to make with it. Enter kale. I had about half a bunch already trimmed, cut and ready for use in the fridge, so I sauteed it with some chopped onion, salt and pepper. Then I added in the sausage, sliced into bite sized pieces, and stirred until the whole dish was warmed through. I topped it with a bit of sour cherry goat cheese.

Delicious, especially considering no forethought was given to this meal. This mix would probably make a good lunch or dinner, too!

 

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Filed under breakfast, coffee drink love, primal, review

Caves.

“I fought a war to walk a gang plank
Into a life I left behind
Windows leading to the past
Think it’s time I broke some glass
Get this history off my mind”

Caves, Jack’s Mannequin

A few days ago a friend of mine that I met during my last hospital stay uploaded a picture of himself onto Facebook. This would have been no big deal had there not been a tube in his nose. I actually didn’t even notice it at first, but from the picture’s caption I gathered that he was in treatment again. I was immediately glad that he seemed to be getting help, but also distraught over the picture.  He’d never needed a tube before — was he refusing to eat? How sick had he become?

I hadn’t seen this friend in months but I could tell from FB pictures that he was looking worse and worse. I’d reached out to him on several occasions but we never really got it together. I couldn’t be bothered to go further out of my way for someone who simply could not appreciate my friendship. I wanted to help him — hell, I bought him an entire goodie basket of protein drinks and bars over Christmas — but he wasn’t in the state of mind to really accept my support. Whenever we did get together, our conversations would revolve entirely around eating disorders. Instead of feeling happy about seeing him, I would leave distressed over the fact that all we had talked about was our respective disorders. That wasn’t healthy for him or for me.

I went through a shock of emotions after seeing my friend’s picture. At first, I was hopeful. I worked furiously on gathering up gifts to send to the center where he’s receiving treatment. I remembered when my friend from high school, Molly, sent me a care package chock full of amazing gifts during my last hospital stay. I’d actually been discharged by the time her box arrived at the hospital, but when I opened it at home I was ecstatic and so grateful to have her as a friend. Her gift made me feel loved, and I wanted my friend to feel the same way.

Next, I was angry. Angry at my friend, angry at myself. I was angry at him for posting such a triggering photo onto Facebook. Perhaps he didn’t think it would triggering, but I found it to be very much so. I immediately compared myself to him. I decided that I’d never been that “sick” and privately insulted the severity of my own eating disorder. It’s a strange thing that to someone with an eating disorder, being very sick can be a good thing. Being super sick is almost something to aspire to — when I was in a bad way, I wanted to see my bones, all of them. Any that I did see were never good enough. My sickness what slight and unworthy in comparison to his.

Upon seeing his picture, I was envious of my friend. Envious that he got to remain in the clutches. Jealous that he’s still so skinny. Ridiculously enough, I was envious of his treatment center! I looked it up and the photos show exquisite bedrooms and living rooms, all nicer than my own house. Although treatment centers often seem like hell on earth to a person with an eating disorder, I was so relieved the last time I stepped foot into the hospital. I knew I would finally be given a break from the hell that was my eating disorder; I would be able to start functioning again. Some of my best friends are those I made while we were mutually in treatment together. There’s something about sharing something so personal with each other and living in close proximity that makes it easy to develop extremely close friendships. I was jealous of my friend for having such a great opportunity.

Finally, I was sad. Sad and still angry with myself that I could feel all of these evil, awful things. That I could possibly, in the depths of my mind, want to go back to treatment. That I could want to be sick again. I don’t want to go back to treatment. I don’t want to be sick again. I have fought so hard to be where I am today. It wouldn’t be fair to myself or my recovery to turn back now. And I won’t. I know that where I am is infinitely better that the place where my friend is. Sure, he has support 24/7. But I have a life. I am living. I wouldn’t say I’m thriving yet, but the possibility’s there. Never before have I had such potential. I wouldn’t give that up for the world, much less an illness.

I love my friend and I want to be there for him when he returns home. I want him to feel comfortable reaching out to me. I want him to actually reach out to me, because he never has before. I don’t want my own emotions to get in the way of my ability to be a positive influence on him. I know that I am bigger than the thoughts that sometimes plague me.

Also, I want him to try. To put up a decent effort. He owes that to his parents, to the treatment centers he’s stayed at, and to me. But also, most importantly, he owes it to himself.

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Well Done.

This morning a nice lump sum was deposited into my checking account and I decided that it was time to go shopping! Jay had to exchange a shirt at Target and I had to go grocery shopping, so off we went. I stocked up on lots of produce, meats, cheeses, and some other expensive items such as Lucini’s Savory Fig Balsamic Vinegar. It’s fifteen dollars but it’s divine.

When I got home, I did lots of other fun stuff like clean the bathroom and write an entire blog post only to have WordPress malfunction and erase the entire thing. Lots of fun. My stomach was also in knots most of the day so I wasn’t feeling to good. And then dinner happened.

I decided to make a grass-fed burger atop a simple salad with some mashed avocado. I was so excited for this meal and after taking photos promptly dug in. I cut the burger in half and discovered that the entire inside of the burger was still raw, bright pink and scary looking. Now, I know quite a few paleo-aligned people enjoy their meat rare and even raw, but I’m not there yet. I like my meat cooked to medium.

Once I got over my horror I picked the meat up off the salad and threw the burger back onto the pan for another five minutes, by which point it was cooked to medium doneness. Truth: I have made burgers maybe once in my life. Truth: I always nag Jay when he overcooks our burgers, even the slightest bit. Now I understand why he’d rather keep those burgers on the grill that extra minute. Now I understand that if he’s taking his time to make me some dinner, I should probably keep my mouth shut.

I’m sure with time and experience I’ll learn just how long to grill or pan fry burgers to perfection. Until then, I will continue to appreciate Jay and his mad grilling skills. Truth: he grilled the most pain in the ass cheese and veggie filled turkey sliders while we were down the beach. Twenty four at once. In the rain.

Truth is, he’s a keeper and I love him.

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Filed under bubbaloo, dinner

Beach Eats.

Although I failed to blog at the beach, I took lots and lots of pictures. Of course, most of them were of food.

My favorite breakfast down the beach was probably the above; a plate of eggs sandwiched between a small sliced tomato and some leftover, warmed blue cheese balsamic potato salad. So good! I really enjoyed the potato salad, which I made by loosely following a Bobby Flay recipe from Southern Living. My grandmom always has tons of magazines and I took one to the pool with me every day to scour for recipes.

A typical post-breakfast scene.

I tried to pack a good serving of vegetables every day at the beach by having massive salads for lunch. This one was my favorite, by far.

A bed of romaine and fresh tomato topped with leftover sauteed green beans and coconut roasted carrots, plus a hard-boiled egg. I made my favorite coconut oil spiced carrots for my grandparents one night and while my grandmom was initially skeptical due to the red pepper flakes (she hates spicy!), she and my grandpop both enjoyed them. I was happy to see my grandpop get some coconut oil in too, as I’ve heard that it can help immensely with Alzheimer’s, which he suffers from.

Of course, Jay was the first to find some fun in my food and I christened this salad Herbert the Happy Salad. How could you not want to eat that face?

On our last night down the shore, Jay and I went to Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner. I’d never been before but Jay had and he raved about it. I went for the Thai Curry wings and Jay ordered the spiciest dry rub that they offered.

These were definitely uniquely flavored and quite spicy! I didn’t really taste the spice at first but after my third or fourth wing I was chomping on celery like crazy to cool my mouth. Jay’s dry rubbed wings were really good too. Needless to say, we will be back.

Although I rarely drink, I decided to finally pop open the bottle of beer that my coworkers bought me for my 21st birthday. There’s a pub inside of the Whole Foods that I work at and a few of my coworkers are trained to work in there; thus, they have access to lots of specialty beers! I had no idea that they would actually buy me a beer and it was such a sweet gesture! Plus, I love owls. The decals were perfect.

I don’t have much of a taste for beer yet but I did enjoy the brew. I felt pretty buzzed halfway through and had to put it aside for later because I was making dinner! To my credit, though, it did have an alcohol content of 11.2!

Have a great Wednesday!

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Filed under breakfast, bubbaloo, dining out, dinner, lunch, salad, whole foods, wiaw

Just Beachy.

Long time no post, hmm? Let me fill you in. Last Sunday Jay and I drove down to visit my grandparents in Virginia Beach for four days and I’ve been working every day since we returned home. It’s nice to sit down, relax and know that I have nothing planned for tomorrow.

Our mini vacation, while enjoyable, was also stressful for me. It was cloudy most of the time and I consequently spent more than my fair share of time in the kitchen. When we got home, I felt so relieved, which seems sort of backwards and sad but it’s something I can’t help. Home is where I feel comfortable and happy, it’s where everything is familiar. The knives are sharp. That’s important. And I also feel more stable here.

As for our vacation, Sunday was absolutely beautiful. Jay and I arrived around 1:30 pm and let the day melt away with swimming, sun bathing and the like. Unfortunately Sunday was our only cloud-free day. It poured most of Monday and we had a few showers on Tuesday, too. Luckily, Jay and I got outside for a walk on the beach one morning and spent at least an hour each day swimming in the pool.

If only that blue sky on the horizon had been directed towards us! You can see the big, huge gray cloud overhead. I thought the slate-gray color of the water was lovely. Ominous, but lovely.

While I loved being down the beach and hanging out with my grandparents, my grandmom and I seemed to butt heads in the kitchen. A lot. I helped her make dinner almost every night and really couldn’t work in peace without her questioning me or suggesting that I do something differently. I know in most instances she was trying to help, but sometimes I just need space to do my own thing.

I like trying out new recipes, using quality ingredients and eating fresh food. My grandmom relies on tried and true recipes that she’s followed for fifty years. She saves the smallest leftovers, all in saved, opaque I-Can’t-Believe-It’s-Not-Butter containers so that you can’t even tell what’s what. She also tends to value coupons and cheap produce over quality ingredients. It’s frustrating to me to say the least. I cringe every time she whips open the Crisco or sprays a pan with baking spray. It’s called BUTTER people. It won’t kill you and it tastes a hell of a lot better than the rancid, manufactured products that line her pantry.

I know that instead of criticizing her, I should accept my grandmom and her cooking methods as they are. I should recognize that any dessert she makes, whether it’s made with butter or crisco, still has a lot of sugar in it and isn’t good either way for me to over indulge in.

I think that a lot of my frustration with my grandmom was due to my feeling a lack of control over what I ate down the beach.  I decided on this vacation that I would allow grains back into my diet; it would be very difficult and borderline insulting to my grandparents if I did not consume the same things that they did.  Also, my grandmom makes the best oatmeal coconut cookies known to man. Oh, and another thing — I’m not sure if I’m cut out for this whole paleo-diet thing either. But that’s another post for another day.

I simply wanted to enjoy her handmade pies, cookies and other treats while down the beach. It shouldn’t have been that difficult. Nevertheless, I was stuck in my head a lot, calling myself fat and feeling remorseful about that second cookie. I am convinced that I gained weight while on vacation and it’s been pretty hard to deal with. Instead of seeing a toned stomach, it is simply flab. My legs are bigger. My arms are bigger. No piece of me is how I want it to be and I’m angry. Angry for letting myself go. Angry for caring. Angry that I’ve come so far and still indulge my eating disorder with relentless mind games.

To be honest, I haven’t felt this adamantly opposed to my body in a long time. Perhaps it’s because I spent a week in a bathing suit, staring at and criticizing myself. Perhaps it’s because I weighed myself and didn’t like the number on the scale. Perhaps it’s because I haven’t been eating as “clean” as I would like. Perhaps I really am gaining weight every time I feel sickly full. Perhaps that number was accurate.

I need to breathe, calm down and take this next week to focus on productivity. I need to focus on letting go of the simple things that nag me. I need to not weigh myself. That’s a bad, bad thing for me to do. I need to focus on the things that make me happy. I need to get consistent and decent amounts of sleep. I need to stretch, exercise and recover. I need to take care of myself — that’s all. And it’s all so much.

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No Vacancy.

In in effort to use up the bone broth sitting in my freezer last week, I got to work on making some mushroom soup! I had cremini mushrooms sitting in my fridge from the farmer’s market, as well as tons of raw cashews that needed to be used. So I googled up mushroom soup and found that Against All Grain’s Cashew Cream of Mushroom Soup fit my needs exactly.

Making the cashew cream was a breeze in my Vitamix. Making the entire batch of soup was pretty easy, to be honest. All I really had to do was whip up the cashew cream, saute the mushrooms and spices together, add the bone broth, and blend. I had soup to last me for days.

Of course, I wouldn’t really recommend eating this soup on a hot summer day outside on the deck. But that’s what I did, and it still tasted good. I served this bowl up with some leftover roasted chicken and topped it with some fresh parsley.

I love that you can blend the soup to your desired consistency. I went for a bit of texture, so the soup had the tiniest bit of chew to it. Dare I say it was almost as good as White Dog Cafe’s wild mushroom soup? This batch was cheaper, at any rate. I think this soup will be perfect in late fall and winter, when I really need something to warm my bones.

On a completely unrelated note, I have finally reached my summertime goal of completely weaning off of my antidepressant. I can’t say that the transition has been seamless. I had a few periods of nausea/dizziness at work today and I also felt very out of it. I literally thought a customer was asking if we sold “budgeries,” and I told her that I didn’t know what they were. Then she held up at battery. Oh. Right. Batteries. Nope, we don’t sell them, but we do recycle them!

Really though, I’ve been feeling a bit on edge and very emotional. Everything I feel just seems to carry more weight. I’ve been playing Death Cab’s “I’ll Follow You Into The Dark” on repeat and crying every single time he sings, “If there’s no one beside you / When your soul embarks / Then I’ll follow you into the dark.” It’s just such a sweet, sad line.

I know that it will take some time for my body to adjust to the lack of false serotonin being pumped into my brain, but it’s a bit unsettling to be feeling so consistently down. I wonder if this is just what I’m really like. I wonder what the Celexa really did for me — did it just numb me? I’ve been listening to music and writing so much more these past few days. I feel more productive and just feel more in general. But I also experience more painful emotions, too. Maybe that’s only fair.

It’s only day four of being off my medication so I’ll have to keep track of how I continue to do from here. I really don’t want to go back on medication so hopefully things will start to settle down and even out soon.

And just because:

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Filed under paleo, recipe, recovery, vitamix

Terrain at Styers.

Last week my mom took me out to lunch at a lovely restaurant called Styer’s Garden Cafe. It’s actually located inside the store Terrain, which is also a nursery. Yes, it’s a bit confusing. It’s basically like an upscale home goods store, nursery and restaurant all tied into one beautiful location. I was in awe, to say the least.

Terrain is housed under the same corporation that includes Urban Outfitters, Anthropoligie, etc., and I definitely got an Anthro-esque vibe from a lot of the pieces inside the store. I was overwhelmed by all the cute jars, canvas bags, quirky utensils and bath salts. When I spotted a jar of almond peanut butter my eyes lit up, but I knew I could make something much cheaper and more delicious at home.

We sat down inside a green house that was brimming with rustic wooden tables and flowers. I fell immediately in love with the “distressed wooden cabinet” that you can see there in the corner of the restaurant. I came home to find out that it only costs upwards of twice the amount in my savings account. Someday…

Fresh flowers adorned every table top. We were literally surrounded by green life and my mom asked our waitress several times about the different flowers that surrounded us on each side and above.

I was ecstatic to find that they served water in Ball Mason Jars! Such a simple but fitting touch.

Our meal started off with bread baked in a flower pot. Such a unique concept. It was served with wildflower honey and sea salt infused butter. Not paleo by a long stretch, but I made an exception because the bread was freshly baked and I needed some sort of vehicle on which to try that divine butter! The bread was delicious, fluffy and light. I would be lying, though, if I said that my ratio of bread to butter was equal. Sweet, salty butter for the win!

My mom and I decided to split the beet salad as an appetizer. It was nice and light but it didn’t blow me away. I actually think that some of the components were missing. Do you see black olives, fennel, and orange? Because I don’t. I didn’t taste them either. I let my mom enjoy most of it.

Our entrees came out not long after the beet salad. My mom got the gnocchi with summer vegetables and loved every bite.

I chose the beet cured salmon salad on the recommendation of my mother, which came with a poached egg and capers. I really wanted to like this salad. The presentation was beautiful and I’m sure the quality of the food was wonderful. I didn’t realize when I ordered the salmon that it would be cold and slimy. I took a bite but couldn’t really choke more than that down, so unfortunately I had to send it back. Perhaps my tastes are simply unrefined, but I do enjoy raw fish in sushi. This dish just didn’t have much flavor, aside from the fishy taste.

We waited a while for my second entree to come out, but the wait was well worth it. I got the Grilled Filet Mignon which came with a “field greens salad, shaved asparagus, radish, red onion, smokey blue cheese, almonds, [and] balsamic vinaigrette.” It was simply delicious. I don’t think I’ve ever had steak that good in my life. It was juicy and incredibly flavorful; not overcooked in the least. I finished the entire salad and about two thirds of the steak. The rest I saved for dinner.

The service was polite but also impersonal. The clientele is rather hoity-toity and our waitress’s attitude reflected that. I wouldn’t say that the service was bad by any means, but I did feel a little uncomfortable.

After lunch my mom and I walked around the nursery a bit. I was enamored with the swing top canisters and ended up buying one, plus two little jars to match.

I’m not sure yet what I should fill my canister with but the little baby jar is already full of some homemade maple almond butter!

My mom suggested filling jars like these with soup and giving them as Christmas gifts. Sounds like a plan to me!

Overall, I was absolutely delighted by Terrain. The food was of excellent quality and the atmosphere was so calm and relaxing. The greenhouse is a treat to dine in. Terrain, the store itself, is filled with so many goodies. I can’t wait to go back and just peruse some more. The menu is also seasonal so it will be interesting to see what they’re serving in the fall. I also have a special friend that I need to buy a gift for and Terrain seems like the perfect place to get her something! More on that later, though.

Have a great night!

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Filed under dining out, review