food = reward

I’ve been learning a lot doing the Made to Crave Bible Study with Emily.

I’ve definitely had eating issues my whole life.  No, I was never bulimic or anorexic or over-exercised or anything; I just started out as kind of a “chubby” kid and learned to find comfort in food.  Despite losing the extra pounds as I progressed into puberty and became more active, I always saw that ‘big kid’ in the mirror.  Even now, as a phenomenally healthy and active (if I do say so myself) woman pushing 30 (gasp!), I still struggle–so much–with food.  After my weight loss last summer, I’ve finally found a peace, if you can call it that, with my body that I’ve never felt before.  As a kid, I always thought to myself, “If I was thinner, I’d be happier.”  Well, we all know that life doesn’t magically become perfect or anything, and it’s ridiculous to think that something like losing a few pounds can change everything.  But, as I tell Andrew, now that I AM thinner, I’m happier, but it isn’t because I weigh less; it’s because I FINALLY met a life-long goal of losing those extra pounds and becoming confident in my body.

Anyway, this isn’t about weight-loss or body issues (but don’t we all have a ton!); this post is about how this Bible study is changing my life, one chapter at a time.

One thing I’ve realized is that I view food as a reward.  All the time.  For everything.  I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with going out for ice cream after your team wins the tournament, or celebrating with a nice dinner, but people, I went out for an ice cream sundae to celebrate my weight-loss!  Is that not insane?  (It WAS good, I can tell you that!)

Anyway, I tend to think of food first when I want to celebrate, or do something fun, or meet up with people, or anything, really.  And it goes past just a ‘reward’ sometimes; it becomes something I ‘deserve.’ And it’s not just me.  Just the other day, I was at Wegmans to grocery shop–my ‘reward’ after my stats test–and I stopped in the cafe for a coffee.  As I deliberated between a regular cup of joe (to which I could add just a bit of cream and sugar and get by with minimal calorie damage), and that “candy bar latte” I’d been eyeing on my past few shopping trips, the lady behind the counter was patient enough to wait for me.  I ordered the regular coffee and mused that ‘it wouldn’t be such a calorie bomb, like the latte I was salivating over,’ when the cashier offered to put fewer pumps of flavor in it for me.  Realizing what I truly wanted was a “fun” coffee drink, I decided to go ahead with that.

Side note: I actually do that ALL. THE. TIME.  So much so, in fact, that Andrew’s sisters think it’s this huge joke and tease me that I always want ” half the pumps” when we go to Starbucks.  I just, for some reason, didn’t feel like it that day.

Anyway, back to the story.  While the barista was making my drink, I mentioned off-hand that I had just come from school, where I aced a test.  She quickly responded, “See? You DESERVE this drink!”

Just hearing those words come out of her mouth gave me a bad taste in mine.  Food–especially decadent food–has become such a comfort to us that we feel like we ‘deserve’ it after some arduous task.  Or triumph.  Or defeat.

Her comment definitely stopped me dead in my tracks and immediately made me think of what I was learning in the study.  I need to think of food LESS and God MORE.  That’s really all it boils down to, people.

I’ve been learning so much about myself, and in different areas of my life, through this study…more revelations to come.


a breakfast Pioneer Woman would be proud of

Or dinner, rather.

(And yes, I know I shouldn’t end a ‘sentence’ with ‘of,’ but it’s not really a sentence, and it just wouldn’t sound the same any other way.)


This is what ‘cooking’ (a.k.a. piling things on top of one another) looks like in my house right now.  Can I just say that Pioneer Woman has a dream house AND a re-done ‘lodge’ with a potentially nicer kitchen than her own?  Seriously jealous.  Not that I ever want two houses to clean.  EVER.

So, I decided tonight would be ‘breakfast for dinner’ night since it was supposed to be sometime last week when we had no food in the house (does anyone else revert to pancakes for dinner when you have nothing else??), but it never happened.  I’ve been dying to make PW’s Lemon Blueberry Pancakes since they appeared on her blog awhile back, and when they were included in the new cookbook, I put them in the rotation ASAP.

Note the plate of pancakes ON TOP OF the yogurt maker.  (I also made bread and hummus today, in addition to yogurt–AND I had a class, AND swimming, and two dog walks, and two loads of laundry, and vacuuming–whoever wonders what I do to fill up my time, well folks, that’s where it goes.  Unemployed Holly doesn’t know how employed Holly ever made it.)

I can’t tell you how sick I am of the yellow light in our dining room…. And the tiny kitchen.  And the carpet…I’ll stop before I a) bore you, or b) start sounding like a whiny brat.  CAN. NOT. WAIT. UNTIL. DREAM. KITCHEN. WITH. NATURAL. LIGHT.

The reason I say P-Dub would be proud is because I also made canadian bacon and eggs with salsa.  Well, I eat eggs with salsa, Andrew doesn’t.  But since he didn’t even start eating eggs until we went on a backpacking trip in the Boundary Waters a couple years ago, I’ll take it.

I hate to admit it (I really do), but they were a bit anticlimactic.  Good, definitely, but not so amazing that I can’t wait to have them again.  Andrew said they tasted like a blueberry muffin and that the blueberry flavor overpowered the lemon.  I told him he didn’t know what he was talking about since he a) doesn’t even really like muffins (according to him), and b) doesn’t eat blueberry pancakes.  EVER.  He’s a bit of a purist; plain pancakes, vanilla ice cream, strawberry yogurt, no mayo or mustard…  Whatever he is, it’s BORING.  (But I love him…)

All in all, they were pretty good and I’m glad I have another serving in the freezer, just waiting for me to drizzle a bit of my ginger maple syrup on them…  Because ginger goes so well with both lemons and blueberries!

And, in case you were wondering if we had any more counter space to spare…

Nope, not so much.  Dishes done compliments of Andrew, who has become dishwasher extraordinaire.  Seriously, he does them in the morning before work as I’m packing up his breakfast and lunch, then he does them immediately after walking in the door after the gym as he dumps his lunch stuff into the sink and I’m in the kitchen making dinner, and then (if I haven’t gotten to them yet), he picks up after we eat where he left off while I was prepping dinner!  Whew!  WHO IS THIS MAN?

If you like lemon and you like blueberry, make the pancakes.  If not, make Foster’s Market’s Panama Pancakes…you won’t regret it!

cuban bread

The other day, while we were at the Nyes’ house visiting, I (randomly) mentioned I’d been craving a cuban sandwich–you know, the kind with ham and swiss and a pickle?  No idea why I was even thinking about one at the time, but you know, that’s to be expected from someone like me.

Well, without a moment’s delay, Mr. Nye was in the cookbook cabinet and out came this baby:

The well-worn pages show it’s been loved and used for years (I saw a note by a recipe from 1998).  Mr. Nye explained that the recipe for the authentic cuban sandwich bread was in here, somewhere.  The traditional bread for the cuban sandwich is the ‘Pan Suave’ (which means ‘smooth bread’ in spanish–and, apparently, Cuban), as opposed to the Pan Cubano, which is made with lard.  The Pan Suave are also called ‘Cuban Sweet Rolls.’

I found it and decided to whip up some rolls this past weekend.  I even bought the ingredients for an ‘authentic’ cuban sandwich, which is ham, roast pork (which I found pre-cut surprisingly easily in the deli at Wegmans) and swiss cheese, as well as a mayo-dijon combo I could make at home.

I was having a terrible time getting it to come together in my mixer and think I added a bit too much flour in the process.  I should have just kneaded by hand.

Aren’t they amazing?!?!?!  Despite adding more flour than probably necessary and not rising as much as I thought they might, they plumped right up in the oven.  Before baking, I brushed them with an egg wash and sprinkled them with sesame seeds.

I packed both Andrew and myself a pre-sliced roll for our lunches, put what I thought we could eat in the next couple days in the bread box and bagged the remaining rolls for the freezer.

Here’s my lunch at school:

One roll and the ham, pork, swiss and pickle packed separately, along with a little mayo-dijon. (Because no one likes a soggy sandwich…)

Assembled sandwich!  The bread was a bit dense (perhaps too much flour?), but it was chewy and sweet, almost cake-like. I can’t get over how ‘pretty’ they look.  I mean, that’s all that counts, right?  (No, not really, but it’s still nice when it looks like the picture.  Except that this didn’t have a picture…but I digress.)

This sandwich was great–filled me right up!  I love pickles on sandwiches–must do that more often.  Not sure I would make this recipe again–I’ll have to return the cookbook, I don’t make cubans all that often, etc…–but it was a fun project.

Wish I had a scanner to photocopy the recipe…