Cooking and food

Dinner Last Night

Photo from

I found a recipe on Paula Deen’s website called Hot Chicken Salad. It contained chicken, cheese and smashed up potato chips, among other things. I thought that was a winning combination, so last night I made it for dinner.
The link to the recipe is above, but here is a basic rundown of the ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 2 cup cooked chicken breast meat, cubed
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2/3 cup crushed potato chips

After reading the reviews on the Food Network website, I made the following changes; used half the amount of salt and mayonnaise called for, used lightly salted potato chips and added some chopped green onion.

It was delicious. The lemon juice adds quite a zing to it. I’m not crazy about the crunchy celery in a warm dish, but eating leftovers, cold, it was perfect. I might sauté the celery  first, next time. I  am going to toast the almonds first, as well. And I might add some craisins.

Cooking and food, Wellness Wheel: Physical

All I wanted was a pepsi, and you wouldn’t bring me one.

I’ve been trying to get back on the water wagon for several weeks now. We even have water delivered and one of those cooler thingies. I call it a “bubbler.” Because of the noise. But my hand keeps reaching for the delicious diet pepsi. 

With that in mind, Wm and I decided to discontinue buying any soda pop for the house. No more soda in the house would mean we would have to drink water, or water with Crystal Lite. From past experience I remember that once you are drinking 8 glasses of water a day, you tend to prefer water to anything else. I am not yet at that point.
The mornings are the worst. 
I am not giving up soda entirely. We can drink it when we go out. I have taken this rule to mean it is ok for me to go out and buy a soda and then bring it home with me. It gets me out of the house at least once a day. Which is good. 
This short, rather dry post is brought to you buy the fact that I am trying flex my now atrophied blogging muscles. 
Cooking and food, depression, Weight Watchers, Wellness Wheel, Wellness Wheel: Physical

Ok, let’s just get this over with and then move on.

Wellness-Wheel-Physical.png I have a confession to make. I’ve avoided talking about it because, oh I don’t know, SHAME. And the hope that it would all just magically go away. I’ve gained a lot of weight in the past year. Summer of 2008 I was the skinniest I had been since Jr. High. But by summer of 2009 I had gained a great deal of the weight I had lost on the diet I started 3.5 years ago.

I never believed I would gain it back. I thought, not me, if I start to gain even a little weight, I will nip that right in the bud. Well, I not only nipped it, but I ate the entire bud. So to speak. I can break my weight gain down into three phases.

Phase One: Wil’s schedule changed in summer of ’08, to a 2pm to 10 pm schedule. On the one hand, I was THRILLED I did not have to figure out what to make for dinner each night. Sometimes I would make something that would leave us with leftovers that Wil could take to work the next day. However, this meant we were both eating a lot more crap. A lot of snacky and fast food. His schedule went back normal in the fall, but the damage had already begun. I had lost interest in preparing healthy dinners.

Phase Two: I discovered French Toast flavored bagels at the Safeway. I ate them ALL THE TIME. They smelled just like french toast or pancakes. But the taste was much more subtle cinnamon/ maple. They are delicious. Before Wil’s schedule changed back, I would sometimes eat nothing else but these bagels all day. During phase two, I attempted to go on Weight Watchers. That was in November. But I decided I would like to start making Christmas cookies instead. Of course, then I would eat them and have to make more.

Phase Three: In reality, all phases are affected by the return of my depression. I do believe that was the biggest culprit into my weight gain. Some need to fill the emptiness I felt with bagels, cookies and tiny cherry pies. It never works. So I started a new antidepressant and INSTANTLY gained 20 lbs. I kid you not. BAMF! Weight gain. I went on Weight Watchers again and lost 1.4 over five weeks. I gave up. I went off the pills to try without their side effects, but the physical symptoms were too bothersome. I could psych myself out of the mental, but the physical ones were taking their toll. Additionally, Wil and I were eating these delicious Angus Beef Hot Dogs all summer. We ate them regularly for lunch, sometimes for dinner when it was hot. We’d stick them in the toaster over and cook them until they were crispy. Man, they are so good. And big, you had to use a hoagie roll because they were too big for hot dog buns. It wasn’t until recently I looked at the fat content. TWENTY FREAKIN’ GRAMS OF FAT! And we ate them like candy. 

And there you have it. I put off saying anything about it. I am back on Weight Watchers. I wanted to have a bit of success before I blogged about it. The first week I lost 1.2lbs, which was disappointing as the first week is usually your biggest weight loss. The 2nd week I lost another 1.2lbs. But this last weigh-in was a loss of 2.4lbs. Weight Watchers yelled at me for losing more than 2 lbs a week. That felt nice since I know I ate over my points that week. (early birthday dinner.)

I had to bring it up because it is part of addressing that physical spoke on the Wellness Wheel. And because being overweight has a ripple effect across your entire life. So it’s bound to show up again, in future blog posts.


Cooking and food

Well, it’s better than talking about the weather. Which is beautiful, btw.

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I wanted to try to make lasagna. Lisa sent me a link to this recipe. I made it and it was AMAZING. So good. I fell in love with it. The only thing I did differently was to use shredded mozzarella and hot Italian sausage, which Wil is a huge fan of, instead of breakfast sausage.

I was pretty pleased with myself. We ate on that lasagna for 3 days. When it was gone, I missed it. I dreamt of the next time I’d get to eat it. Low and behold we had a house guest the following week. So I made it again. This time, I followed the recipe and used sliced mozzarella cheese. The result was awful. I’ve never been so sad about anything I’ve cooked. I was so looking forward to it. The problem is, she talks about how simple and generic all her ingredients are. Nothing fancy. I took that too literally and used some Kraft Mozzarella slices. Basically, it was like making lasagna with white American cheese. Overly gooey, overly salty and not good. Very bad. It was thrown away.

Since I was so sad, I thought I would give it one more try yesterday to cheer myself up. Perhaps I am slightly obsessed with eating this lasagna right now. Once again, success! Using shredded mozzarella.

So, that’s my lasagna story. I wanted to post the link to the recipe, in case anyone is interested.

Cooking and food


Like the english muffin, the waffle is a dish with an admirable appetite for butter. I like that in a breakfast food. I remember my stepfather assisting some kid* in buttering his waffle saying, in all seriousness, “It’s very important to get butter in each and every one of the holes.”

While enjoying my Eggo this morning, I realized he’s right. You DO have to get butter in all the little valleys of the waffle. Butter is savory, it has salt in it. A bite of waffle with just syrup is only sweet. But a bite with butter AND syrup is a marvelous mix of sweet and savory, to return to another a bite of just sweet is a disappointment. It is worth the extra effort.

Buttermilk Waffle, I salute you. Welcome to my tummy.

*I think my friend was babysitting this kid and she brought him by our house for breakfast. I remember him taking it VERY seriously. He was that kind of kid. He probably insists, to this day, that each and every waf in his waffle has butter.

blogging, Cooking and food, William, work

Must have meat.

The hiatus was unintentional. I have reasons. Maybe we’ll discuss them later. And I feel extremely rusty now. I think I will baby step back.

1. The old lady in front of me at the store today smelled of beans and franks. Also, I’m pretty sure there was a guy in bulk foods who had recently pooped his pants. I have the nose of a dog.

2. Does anyone have a really good lasagna recipe? I want to learn to make lasagna. Feel free to share. Must have meat.

3. I didn’t mention this earlier, but Wil was laid off at the end of January. We knew it was coming. He’s looking for a job. Please give him one if you have one free. Must be fun and pay lots of money.

blogging, Cooking and food

A subject more universally understood than World of Warcraft

I do love english muffins. One, because they call themselves “muffins” even though they are not part of what I would, traditionally, consider the muffin family. Cheeky. And, they make the sublime Egg McMuffin possible. (You want to blow your own mind? Make your own egg mcmuffin at home. With cheddar cheese. Good god, that is good eating.)

What I like best of all is the way the english muffin encourages my excesses. No sooner do you touch your knife to the muffin, then the butter disappears into deep crevices. And you have to get MORE BUTTER. More butter = more better, that’s just a fundamental truth. Everyone knows that.

Thank you, english muffin! Welcome to my tummy.

Canada, Cooking and food, William

Happy Thanksgiving Canada!

We are not having a Thanksgiving Dinner. I made one last year in October, but not November. I think this year I will make one in November.

  • A: Thanksgiving dinner is a lot of work.
  • B: Wil doesn’t care about the holiday and try as I might, I just cannot feel Thanksgivingy in October. On a Monday. Before my birthday and Halloween.

a – b = no Thanksgiving Dinner. We are having a special dinner. I bought two out-of-our-budget steaks, which are now marinating in a chipotle tabasco sauce. And while I did not make a pie, I bought one. I caved. But you’d better believe we’ll be thankful for those steaks.

Since it is Thanksgiving, and my birthday is in one week, I have decided to play a game called I’m So Grateful for that this week. The fact is, the world’s been bringing me down lately. Everywhere you turn it seems gloomy and doomy. The banks, the economy, the environment, the landfills, the immigration issues, the housing crisis, Sarah Palin, our crappy apartment, and I’m getting really sick of Stephen Harper’s face. I’m afraid my thinking has been very negative and pessimistic. And that’s not good for me. I know the warning signs.

So I’m going to force myself to think more positively. Every day I’ll try to turn my thinking around. Today I’ll start small with just mentioning how grateful I am to have food on my table and a warm house in which to eat it. And the kittens. And whipped cream in a can, love that stuff, eternally grateful for that. With a grand finale of why I Am So Grateful to turn 41 on the 19th. It’s going to take me a week to figure that one out.