2013: Quinoa and Kale (Food Pop)

Quinoa

Quinoa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2013 The Year Of Quinoa and Kale

I know, I’m not in the majority, (I generally never am) but if I hear the words “quinoa” and “kale” way into 2014 I’m going to be sick. I heard way too much of it in 2013. Believe me, I’m not saying I ate a lot of it. I tried kale a few times and I dutifully ate it, albeit begrudgingly, but that was quite enough, thank you very much. Every person I know was talking about the different ways they used kale and the more they talked about it, the less interested I got. What was this, the flavor of the month club? Apparently.

Actually, if it had only lasted a month I would have been quite happy but the kale craze continued (sigh and it’s still going.)  Tied with Kale was Quinoa, something that took months for me to pronounce much less spell and eat. I made it once (it turned out like a cross between cement and glue) but bought it prepared other times. It’s a  grain, YAY. Since then I’ve heard quinoa salads with kale countless times. More than enough for me.

We eat fresh fruit and vegetables and red meat once in a while. Not often but sometimes we get a craving for a delicious juicy hamburger and instead of denying that hamburger we will go out and eat one. We will thoroughly enjoy it and some of those fries (extra crispy, please) and we will be completely satisfied and happy. We eat red meat about once a month or so, not usually more than that.

Now, coming from two different sets of European parents, (don’t ask) both my husband and I will not, cannot give up our sweet tooth (teeth?) I wouldn’t give up my sweet tooth voluntarily unless I had a severe case of Diabetes which I always pray I don’t get. With a Viennese father and a German mother (who has pre-Diabetes) I’m walking a very thin line. It’s worth it. The need for dessert is not just a desire, it is a full-fledged NECESSITY.

Why can’t 2014 be the year of the jelly doughnut?  I miss the good old days. How about a really delicious European pastry (such a lack of patisseries everywhere) just serving café and kuchen? (cake) in the afternoon like they do all over Europe. Maybe everyone is just too much in a rush here. My parents being European always had friends over for coffee and cake. Shouldn’t everyone? Can you honestly replace cake and coffee with a tall glass of green juice? I once added a shot of wheat grass to my apple-carrot juice and it took every ounce of self-control not to vomit all over Mrs. Greens. A true story.

The day is long, the nights are spent with family, a time to eat together and talk. What’s wrong with a warm baguette, some flavored olive oil, a block of cheese and some sweet purple grapes, my favorite dinner? Add a salad or some homemade vegetable soup, that’s plenty. But, please don’t add kale chips or quinoa that’s just so last year, at least for me.

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A Food Fantasy And Then Some…

Fritos Logo

Fritos Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If I could, I would eat my way through my misery right now. I would start with bags of potato chips, the real kind and not those baked ones that hide anxiously in our cupboards, ashamed to see the light of day. Along side them would be sour cream and onion dip, one entire, big bowl, set right in front of my face and of course, I almost forgot, Fritos too. Fritos were a favorite childhood snack and I believe they would be so comforting to eat now. I’d have a chocolate shake to go with them.

It’s time to switch to pure sugar, trans fat, whatever fat, I really don’t care. My first stop is to get a jelly doughnut or two, and please don’t be skimpy on the jelly either, I just hate that. A lot of sugar on the top, yes ma’am and thank you so much, your smile is making me enjoy this trip even more. Thank you for not judging me. You are so welcome and here is your tip for your kindness. Little things mean a lot.

I hate alcohol so I wouldn’t even bother wasting my calories on that besides, nothing goes better with jelly doughnuts (and I’ve added double stuffed, fudge covered Oreos too) than a tall glass of ice-cold milk. My salivary glands are working overtime, if you must know just dreaming of these delicacies. No hating allowed, this is my fantasy so shut up, oh and by the way, I’ve just won $600 million dollars so whatever you have to say, say it to my accountant and lawyer who will be handling the money flow because we just don’t “do that” anymore.

Will I GIVE you money? You are certainly not shy, now are you? To those, who have stuck with me, been loyal friends, have treated me with kindness, you don’t have to worry. You know who you are. So, if I worked with you forty years ago and all of a sudden you remember that we were friends for one week, don’t bother.

The money is in the bank, my husband and I (I guess we’ll take the kids too) are traveling around the world, First Class, I might add. The Food is fabulous and plentiful. Our own chef is with us. My son, the carnivore has the biggest steak I’ve ever seen and my daughter the vegetarian has macaroni and cheese four different ways, one with imported bread crumbs on top. My husband and I dine on shrimp cocktail and I will have a platter of different little things or as we call it in my house “a smorgasboard” and my husband will also have a steak with french fries, extra crispy, please.

We will have our pastry desserts, chocolate for my daughter and husband and vanilla/fruit tarts for my son and myself.

Uh-Oh.

I miss my dog. Oh dear, even being this rich has problems? Darn. Nothing is perfect.Well, I guess I’ll crawl out of my bed, stop fantasizing and wake up from my self-induced dream. The dream is fading, the food fantasy is gone, I haven’t won the lottery. But, my husband is downstairs in his office, looking for a Computer Job, my college kids are home for their break to visit, I’m worried about my mom and my dog is lying across my feet and my troubles seem simple, well, most of them. I’m a home-body anyway. I’ll start my new book. I guess I can handle that, for now. I don’t have any choice.

My Top 20 (Food Pop, Pop Cop, Odd Cop)

English: A jelly donut that was bought at Dunk...

English: A jelly donut that was bought at Dunkin’ Donuts in Brooklyn. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

20 RANDOM THINGS I LIKE:

The year is slowly coming to an end, the weeks are flying by. I’ve put together a current list of things that make me happy. Life can be hard, you need to appreciate the little things, here are twenty of mine:

1) Alex and Sierra (From the X Factor)

2) Miniature Almond Joys

I love these and their cousin Mounds but here you get an added crunch of the almond. I LOVE coconut, the taste lingers on your lips after you finish it. Don’t tell my dentist but if I have one of these before I go to bed I “accidentally” forget to brush my teeth. It’s so worth it. The only reason I added Mini is because if I have the regular size I start to feel guilty. ( You can’t possibly feel guilty after eating one of those.) Win-Win.

3) My Christmas (Thanksgiving) Cactus

Every year at Thanksgiving our Christmas cactus starts to sprout beautiful, bright red flowers. I guess our cactus is always early (like my whole family) and shows up ahead of schedule. Seeing some bright red color when the winter is so gray makes me happy.

4) Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (the movie) The one movie that divides sisters! I love it and my sister hates it.

5) The time 8:32. On the way to junior high school, I would always look out the window while I was standing in the overcrowded, adolescent, odorous teenage filled bus. We passed a bank near our school and there was a big sign with the time, every morning we passed,it said 8:32. For some reason, that number when seen, still makes me happy.

6) Believing in messages from those who have passed on and getting them for me or a friend. Powerful. Spiritual: “Love Does Not Die” ( Post)

7) I like the way my husband orders his french fries: “Can you make them extra crispy please?”

8) My friend Denise’s nut tarts. I have a friend who bakes the most delicious, bite size nut tarts, she could sell these professionally, they are like a work of edible art. Bite sized carmelized pecan heaven, I’m almost glad I don’t see her often. Addictive.

9)  Avegelemno soup, from our local Greek restaurant. Tangy, lemony with pieces of chicken and rice. Served with soft, puffy pita bread.

10) Goldfish (the living kind not the crackers) I had a goldfish named Frank that I loved dearly, umm, it died and it was all my fault. I overfed it. I still feel guilty and this was many years ago. I’m so sorry, Frank. R.I.P.

11) The sun and the color Yellow (see my weekly posts on Yellow Magic Madness)

12)  A body of water (any kind) ocean, lake, stream, pond…This is where I feel happiest, close to water.

13) Nature. As I get older I want to spend more and more time outside surrounded by mother nature. It was not that important to me when I was younger. Age gives you experience, wrinkles too but it also gives you wisdom. I like to be outside, weather permitting, as much as possible. Even with Fibromyalgia, I try to force myself outside when I can.

14)  Vacation:  For the last few years I haven’t had anything to look forward to in a major way. Sure, I look forward to see my friends or to go out to dinner but having something special to look forward to months from now is incredibly joyful. We are planning a trip with my mom in the Spring and I am looking
forward to that, more than I can explain. I definitely need something once a year, it will be my New Rule for myself. It doesn’t have to be anything big but it does have to be SOMETHING.

15) Jelly Doughnuts: We have them on New Year’s Eve, a European Tradition but I had one the other day while my husband had a Boston Creme Pie doughnut just for the fun of it. Delicious. Thank you, Dunkin Donuts.

16) Singing out loud (and off-key) to music streaming from my computer (classic 70′s pop rock, Bruce,

17) Listening to my husband whistle, happily. My father used to whistle happy tunes all the time, when my husband whistles it also reminds me of my dad, and that’s a good memory.

18) Pizza (There is no such thing as bad pizza, when it is leftover pizza and is too dry or it loses its taste, add strawberry jam.) I’m serious.

19) Books (Real books that I hold in my hand, no techno devices) Call me old-fashioned.

20) Flashlights.

English: Evening sunshine, Rutland Water. Just...

English: Evening sunshine, Rutland Water. Just to the SW of Lodge Farm, this part of the shoreline looks most inviting. It’s just a pity that the beach is mud and there is blue-green algae in the water! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

20 ( Illness- Free) Random Things About Me

Jelly Doughnuts

Image by JMRosenfeld via Flickr

1)  I hate spam in my folder and if it reaches above 10 or 15 I HAVE to delete it. I won’t wait the month they promise to automatically delete it. I don’t trust them, plus I’m a little OCD.

2) Need to love my dinner on Sundays. An old family tradition dating back to when I was a child.

3) Still love and own (and may purchase more) stuffed animals or as I call them “friends.” And, I’m not embarrased about it.

4) I have been known to put either grape jelly or strawberry jam on pizza. Happily. It started with dry pizza in college, it has continued. Don’t judge, try it.

5) I am happy for 3 seasons of the year. Winter? Not so much.

6) I have NO sense of direction but can remember every word from a fight with my husband that happened 25 years ago. (My husband hates this.)

7)  I love jelly doughnuts:  I always pick raspberry jelly instead of strawberry jelly at Dunkin’Donuts. Made that mistake once, won’t make that mistake again.

8) I don’t care about my age but I always care about my birthday. I used to think it should be a National Holiday…..and why isn’t it?

9) If there was a fire and my family and dog were safe and I could pick one item to save it would be Nokey, my frail, old stuffed animal that my Dad bought me when I was two. Nokey (from not knowing how to say Monkey, will be 52 on my/our birthday) in October.

10) My favorite cake is a cake that is chocolate with layers of raspberry jam and chocolate cream. An Americanized version of the Austrian Sacher Torte.

11) My husband is an absolute sweetheart who makes me a cup of coffee every morning; he makes a mean gazpacho too.

12) I sometimes worry about things before they happen, called anticipatory anxiety.

13) I don’t get people who get “high” on exercising. Never has happened, never will. I guess I’d have to exercise more to find out. LOL. So not happening.

14) The cicadas singing their songs at night in the summer comforts me. I imagine them having conversations with each other as I try to fall asleep.

15) I used to throw up in the bushes before day camp every day when I was little.  Did my parents think this was normal behavior?

16) Old friends are not “always” there. Some are, some aren’t. There is no guarantee. New friends are a special gift.

17) Chris Rock changed the way I think about my hair. I had my natural brown color glaze to hide the fake highlights he said everyone in his audience had.

18) Love Arnold Palmer lite iced tea and lemonade mix.

19) I used to have a crush on John Denver and before that, Bobby Sherman. In my fantasy we sang on stage, together.

20) Did I mention how much I love jelly doughnuts?

The Chocolate Covered Cherry Diet

I’ve discovered a secret to losing weight AND having whatever sweet treat you like most. Notice I said like, not love. There’s an important distinction. For me it’s called the “Chocolate Covered Cherry” diet and I have perfected it. My husband once bought me an entire box of  chocolate covered cherries, which to me, is my kind of sweet heaven. Instead of putting them high up  in the pantry closet or having my husband hide them from me, I discovered  another option, a better option. It’s full disclosure.

I put the entire box of chocolate covered cherries (I’m drooling) in our bedroom on my dresser. Right, smack, in the middle. I opened the box and ate one and told myself I could eat one, just one, every night if I wanted to. Part of me, knowing they were so easily accessible didn’t even want to have one every night. But, when I wanted one I had permission to eat it and found, except for one time when I ate two, I did stop at one.  They are SO sweet that you don’t want to eat more than one.

There are limits to this dieting technique. You can’t do it with something known to be your weakness or downfall. For me, I could not have a dozen jelly doughnuts on my dresser because they are my ultimate weakness.  I wouldn’t stand a chance of having one bite every night or even one doughnut every night. You need to know which food will help satisfy your sweet craving and which food item will start you bingeing .

Choose wisely. Very wisely.

Try it and see how it works for you. Remember the secret is not to set yourself up to fail. DON’T buy anything you feel is absolutely irresistable to you. Purchase something that you really like and whose flavor is so sweet, so intense that having another would be really too much.  For me, the chocolate cherries work. However, don’t  substitute them for anything with marzipan, jelly or vanilla. There are just some things, I can’t resist. Unfortunately, I know that from experience.

Off I go to the drugstore now, to buy my chocolate covered cherries that I need, for my diet.

Love, Loss and Leaving

12/31/09

My father died on New Years Eve, 8 years ago. Time of death was 10:20pm although the death certificate had a different, later time. I remember looking at the digital clock that still rests on the left side of the bedside table and seeing the number. I remember I was on the phone with my mother and she said “it’s done.” For a few seconds I was confused,  a steak is done. My dad was gone but that’s the only way she knew how to tell me.  Today is about loss,  New Year’s Eve will always be about loss. For most people loss is not unfamiliar to them. I an envious and jealous of those who do not know what grief and loss tastes like, looks like and feels like.

My dad is  gone and even though there are times I think I see him, or smell his cologne, he isn’t here on this physical earth anymore.  I try to forget about this date but I know I can’t; I think I am over the crying and the sorrow but of course I’m not. The remembrance candle burns dimly on the old kitchen stove. My father is with me in spirit and sometimes ,but much less often now, he sends me messages in dreams or songs or smells. What I do know is this, when I need him, really need him, he is still always there for me. For this, I am eternally grateful.

Leaving and loss go hand in hand. My children are in the process of” leaving me” in a year or two, they are getting ready for it and  gearing up. I know they should, they are 15 and 17 but I find the adjustment terribly difficult; more difficult than I thought it would be but I always get upset way before things happen. When the time comes, I’m a star; strong and proud.  I can cheerfully wave good-bye with a smile on my face and jump up and down with joy as they practically skip to summer camp but this is very different.  This is the start of a new life for them as well as for my husband and me. And, we all know, change is not one of my strong suits.

The moment a child is born, they are already leaving you, second by tiny second. You coo over the tiny pink shoes for your new sweet daughter, you feel a rush of euphoria when you find the right Thomas the Tank Engine for yours very special little two year old boy.   You applaud their independence, their first step, their first wave good-bye…..you just don’t know at the time what it really leads up to. No one ever tells you what it is like later on. People want babies desperately as we did. But no one ever told us how hard it would be when they grew up. It sneaks up on you, believe me, but somehow the children don’t feel it in the same way; they can’t wait to grow up. If you were crazy enough to tell them this, they would, as expected, laugh in your face. Didn’t we do the very same thing?

Loss is very lonely, any type of loss. All things end up with you being alone in some form or another. On one side it’s frightening, on the other side it’s reassuring. It’s all we have, we need to take hold of ourselves and hold on, for whatever light that will guide us and keep us. I am scared to death with life without my husband and my children, family members and close friends and my dog,  but I prepare for it in my mind.  Some would say this is crazy, others will say it’s strategy. I think it’s both. We all do what we have to do to go on, another day, another week.

There’s no need to put me on suicide watch; some days and nights are harder than others. Especially tonight. Tomorrow is another day, an endless day but a new one. The start of a New Year, 2010, that I pray will be better than 2009 was. I have to believe in that.

What’s left of the old are family traditions, jelly doughnuts and chocolate glazed doughnuts once a year on New Year’s Eve. For those of us who can’t make it to welcome the New Year, our own New Year is at 9pm.  Tonight, it will be just my husband and me.  Most times, I like to hide under the covers and welcome the New Year in from my comfy bed. The four of us used to jump down from a higher surface to a lower one to honor the passing of the old to the new. We would celebrate with Martinelli’s apple cider together. But tonight, it’s just another day of breathing in and out, until all the pain and the anticipation of pain, leaves you calmly, slowly, and very quietly into the dead of night.

When Life Sucks, Eat Chocolate

Yesterday, I snuck a Hershey’s milk chocolate bar from the kitchen  furtively up the stairs. In addition, for balance, a 100 calorie pack of Lorna Dunes. I slipped in to my darkened bedroom and hid under the covers.  On one hand I had a 100 calorie pack of “Lorna Dunettes” and in the other a big milk chocolate bar. Together, I thought, the taste would be exhilirating. It’s all about the contrast . Sweet, soft, salty, crunch …   in my world it  was like a mini “fmores”  ( faux smores) festival. Luckily, the only one in the family that noticed was my dog, Callie, who gave me a knowing look;. she  blinked twice and sped up the stairs in front of me. While I was not going to share my chocolate with the  dog, she does love Lorna Dunes; they are one of her favorite cookies; mine too.  Lorna Dunes are melt in your mouth cookies, they are the cookie version of M and M’s, another fine dining experience.

I know, I know, I’m an “emotional eater” and knowledge is NOT power. Yes, I eat when I am unhappy.  Yes, food comforts me, it makes me happier. Tonight, I don’t give a damn. Spent the last 2 entire days sobbing because my favorite, unofficial aunt (or, come on, fill in the blank) “faunt” passed away 2 nights ago. The day before that was my dad’s birthday; he’s been dead 8 years. That’s a hard couple of days. I cried until my eyes were literally stuck together, my nose was a candidate for Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer and my face was all kinds of puffy 3 ways. I didn’t care.  I ate. And, yes, it did make me feel better.

I hate hearing all these non-eating gurus speak about how emotional eating is so bad for us. I say, “so what?”  If it  helps (ok, ok, in moderation) just do it. As long as it’s legal, as long as it’s short -term. Basically, if I am upset or worried or depressed or all of the above and I crave chocolate, chocolate I will have.  Some days I want pretzels but that’s an ordinary snack one that I would not use for a cheer up convention. Pretzels are a clean snack. A healthy snack would not raise my mood an iota. For that we need endorphins (cool word, right?) the ones that they say people get after they excercise a lot. A real high. It’s hard to even type through my hysteria..I mean, really, exercise to get happy? Honestly, I don’t even understand the idea much less the concept. Exercise = Happiness? Not from where I come from. Believe me, I wish it worked for me.  It doesn’t.

When I was younger I loved Snowballs. Snowballs for those of you who don’t know (and I AM sorry) are a round chocolate cake with cream inside a la the Twinkie, BUT, most importantly, this exquisite sculpture of heaven-sent blessings are covered with a thick (i’m drooling) layer of pink marshmelow coating that has thousands of, okay, maybe hundreds, of  coconut flakes all over and inside them. It’s Christmas in April. It’s Channukah gelt, it’s jelly doughnuts on New Years Eve.

Look, some of us are not meant to be a size 6 or even 16. That’s life, that’s truth; that fellow chocolate lovers is the real deal. Don’t deny it. Skinny bitches might band together but those of us who crave carbs  know. Real women know. Give us pasta, pizza, chocolate, fritos, cookies and ice cream and we are happy. I’m not endorsing binging, I’m not endorsing purging. I am endorsing ” a little bit of this, a little bit of that….”(stolen from the Fiddler on the Roof) Anatevka…. Home to many of us.

Talking about tradition, my family has one for New Year’s Eve.  They are called jelly doughnuts. That is really the only celebration we have that I  have celebrated since I was a child. I could eat jelly doughnuts twice a day if they weren’t so oily (yum) and fattening (bummer) and be happy. Forget the champagne, my tradition needs a large glass of milk.  The jelly component is very, repeat, very, IMPORTANT.  The doughnuts I grew up with, once a year, were  pure and lovely pieces of art. Truly, the sprinkled sugar on top–NOT confectioner’s sugar, was equally placed all over the doughnut to perfection. That was from the Homestead Deli/Gourmet shop where we used to go when we lived in Kew Gardens, Queens.

I am not a perfectionist, I DON’T NEED that particular doughnut from that particular store. Dunkin Donuts are fine by me. And every year we buy doughnuts from them on New Year’s Eve, 2 chocolate doughnuts for my husband and daughter, 2 jelly doughnuts for my son and myself .Well, sometimes 4 jelly doughnuts because I just cannot choose between the raspberry and strawberry fillings.  Which to pick? How do I know I will like it? Why don’t I remember from year to year? These are important issues for me. At last,  an easy solution,  a Libra solution: I buy one of each  and only eat the doughy jelly part from both. How can you lose?  Maybe this year (probably not) I will write down my favorite and then just get that every year. Of course I’ve been saying that for many years and i know I won’t do it. Tis the season. Get happy. Eat.