Cauliflower FTW

July 11, 2012

You know those recipes that substitute something awesome-but-naughty for a healthier alternative? Like brownies with applesauce instead of oil. Or spaghetti squash instead of actual pasta. The results aren’t the same but are usually different in a tolerable way. One such substitution that I’ve always baulked at is cauliflower-for-carbs. Like instead of rice or mashed potatoes. I mean COME ON. Sometimes, there’s just no good way to replace an ingredient without seriously compromising the taste of a dish. Except a recipe I tried recently totally blew that theory out of the water.

Before I share the recipe, I should mention that since my surgery, I’ve finally completely cut out white flour and sugar, both of which are essentially like crack for me, with white flour having the added bonus of wreaking total digestive havoc. Several years before my surgery, after finally internalizing how poisonous sugar was to me, I fell into a pattern of eschewing it for months and months, followed by having lots of it during a short period, then remembering how shitty it made me feel, and thus quitting it again for months and months. I’d switched to whole wheat pasta and tried to focus on whole grains but still often ate white flour. Honestly it felt totally impossible to quit both.

When I was very sick right after my surgery, I had a tiny bit of white flour in the form of Saltines and as I felt better, had more and more even though it was only in small amounts. I quickly realized that it’s much better for me to cut it out completely than to try to eat it as though my body and mind treat it normally. It’s difficult but I know it’s much better for me and I feel so much better, which I try to remember when I’m craving a huge bowl of pasta and 15 cupcakes.

So I’ve been on the hunt for satisfying recipes that contain neither white flour nor sugar. Mainly I’m eating a lot of fruits and vegetables but sorely miss some guilty-pleasure foods like pizza. Sure, I could have a few bites of regular pizza but I know what it will do to my mind and body so I was looking for an alternative when I saw a link on Pinterest to this recipe for mini-pizzas with a cauliflower crust. I know it sounds totally ridiculous and revolting but I have to be willing to try stuff like that if I’m going to make it without white flour and sugar so I bought the ingredients and gave it a whirl. And folks? They are freaking delicious and there really isn’t that much of a cauliflower taste. I don’t know why but I’m SO glad, because it’s satisfied my yen for pizza. The one caveat is that the cauliflower crust doesn’t hold together in an absolutely stellar fashion. It doesn’t completely disintegrate but don’t expect a sturdy, bready result. (If you have any suggestions for fixing this, I’d love to hear them!)  Here’s my version of the recipe:

  • Preheat oven to 425°.
  • Grate 2 cups worth of cauliflower.
  • Saute it with a bit of olive oil for a few minutes, just to take off the raw edge.
  • Mix it with:
    • 1 cup of cottage cheese (I use 1% milk fat)
    • Italian seasoning to taste (I use a few teaspoons)
    • 2 egg whites
    • Warning: this concoction looks and smells disgusting. Avoid taking a wiff!
  • Spray a muffin tin with Pam.
  • Press a tablespoon or so of the cauliflower mix into the divots of a muffin pan.
  • Bake for 10 minutes.
  • Remove muffin pan from oven and top each crust with:
    • A teaspoon of sauce (I use tomato basil)
    • A sprinkle of Parmesan cheese
    • A piece of turkey pepperoni
  • Bake for another 10 minutes until the cheese is melty.
  • Let them cool before gingerly removing them from the muffin pan.

I refrigerated mine in 3-piece portions and packed them in my lunches. They were about room temperature by the time I ate them. I didn’t try reheating them because they were delish as is. Enjoy & feel free to share your tips and recipes in the comments.

Keepin’ It Real: Melasma

June 29, 2012

In the interest of being forthright about my trials & tribs, I’m about to show you a very unflattering photo* of me:

Melasma

See those dark spots on my forehead and upper-lip? Yeah. That’s Melasma. It’s a hormonal skin condition that creates patches of hyper-pigmentation. It’s not lethal or anything but the way it looks has been really hard for me. As it is, I struggle with keeping my self-esteem up and now feel even more self-conscious. I went to a dermatologist this week for my yearly checkup and got some cream that may lighten the spots. I also replaced my over-the-counter Neutrogena sunscreen/moisturizer with some über-protection the derm recommended. Any sun exposure makes Melasma worse, which will put a serious damper on my pool time with Moxy. Fortunately, I just bought a big, floppy straw hat which I’m hoping will keep my face completely covered.

I know this is a very first-world problem and many people have much worse and more-serious issues to deal with but it’s been difficult for me nonetheless. My body is already changing like crazy since surgery and now my mug is too? Yikes!

This gives me the perfect opportunity to remember that my self-worth shouldn’t be tied to my physicality. I’ve fought that misconception my whole life (“My body isn’t perfect, therefore I am a loser!”) though, so it’s going to take a while to internalize the healthier ideal.

P.S. Google searches informed me that Brooke Burke has Melasma as well, which is just another item on the long list of things we have in common. 😉

*I took that pic right after I swam laps so I’ve got wet hair & goggle suction marks under my eyes but the light was just right for capturing my spots.

TP Troubles

June 24, 2012

Guess what? The Goose is fixed and honkin’ up a storm but now I have a new problem – a ridiculous amount of terlet paper! You see, right before my car accident, I bought a big package of Charmin MegaRolls. (One roll is the equivalent of 4 regular-sized ones, which I love, since I’m a lazy sod.) The pack I bought contained 12 MegaRolls and wouldn’t fit in a regular bag, so I threw it in the trunk. As I was waiting for a ride at the scene of the accident, I grabbed some necessities out of my car but couldn’t bring myself to stand on the side of the road with an enormous pack of terlet paper. Once my car was at the body shop, there was NO WAY I wanted to priss into the testosterone-filled garage to fetch my TP, so I just bought another pack of MegaRolls. Now that my car is all fixed, I’ve got more toilet paper than I know what to do with! I mean if nuclear winter comes and we’re all infected with some kind of mutant dysentery, I’m all set. Maybe I should get some pals together to toilet paper someone’s house. Other ideas?

Got Milk?

June 14, 2012

After bariatric surgery, you have to be extra careful you’re getting enough vitamins and minerals since you’re eating so much less and the way your body absorbs nutrients has completely changed. Trying to meet those needs has been especially difficult for me because I’m not a good pill taker – I gag and make a fuss. In addition to taking calcium pills, my doctor wants me to drink 3 cups of milk a day. I’ve never been a milk drinker but have found a combo I can tolerate (1% milk + sugar-free Hershey’s syrup.) To mix things up, I’ve been trying other non-dairy milks but haven’t found one I like. I’ve tried unsweetened almond milk & unsweetened coconut milk, both of which I like cooked in foods but not straight up. Next up, I’m going to give soy a whirl.

Moxy & I went to a free screening of Rock of Ages last night. It was cheesy in some parts but so well done. The music was an absolute blast. I was especially impressed with Tom Cruise. Who knew he could sing? He apparently turns 50 this summer and looks DAMN good for having been around for half a century.

And while we’re on the subject of celebs, can we take a moment to discuss Alec Baldwin’s fiance’s name? It’s Hilaria. How can he proceed with this union?? He’s funny. Really funny! And his wife-to-be is called Hilaria. COME ON! 😉

And here’s the latest from Instagram. Fun, striped Mary Janes I got at Urban Outfitters:
Mary Janes

A beautiful sunset I caught on a recent walk
Indiana Sunset

New-to-me – cute mini ‘nanas, which make the perfect snack:
Mini Bananas

A sweet, vintage crewel I thrifted for only $1.50:
Crewel

Sweet Abbs likes to hang out by the tub while I take baths:
Abby

Lately, In Pictures

June 9, 2012

I’ve been having fun taking lots of pics lately, which I share on Instagram. Here are the highlights:

I did some late night sewing earlier this week. I’ll upload a pic of the finished product, which was cute but wonky.
Late-night sewing

Blowfish’s recent blog blitz definitely got my attention. That coupled with a 25%-off coupon got me to buy these sandals. They are very comfortable but waaaay higher than I’m accustomed to so I’m a bit precarious. I already turned my ankle once, proving that I’m not meant to wear high shoes.
Sandals

At a recent appointment, the vet told me he recognizes some signs of senility in Abby. That hadn’t occurred to me but does explain some odd behavior. After bawling, I put on a smile and am just trying to make her remaining time happy.
Abby

Lovely hydrangeas I spotted while yard salin’ last weekend:
Flars

Flea market find I’m wishing I’d splurged on:
Clock

A beautiful fountain in an Indy neighborhood I love:
Fountain

Huhuhuhuhuhuhuhuh _in rear_
Sale in rear

Do Me, Baby?

June 8, 2012

A local radio station played 90s hits all morning, which I loved especially since I came of age during that golden era. I was shocked at how completely disparate the songs were. How can Bell Biv DeVoe’s Do Me! belong to the same decade as Weezer’s Undone – The Sweater Song?? I remember loving both songs, one being more representative of middle school and the other of heading off to college. I could not get over how scandalous the lyrics to Do Me! are.

Backstage, under age, adolescent
How ya doin?
“Fine,” she replied
I sighed, “I like to do the wild thing!”
Action took place
Hey, kinda wet
Come on, don’t forget
The J, the I, the M, the M, the Y, y’all
I need a body bag

That is horrifically awful! And yet at the time, I was so far from sexually active that they were just meaningless words to me.

It was also pleasant to be reminded of Swatches, which are mentioned in Do Me! I had several and loved them all. The last one I had got stolen at a party my senior year. Two friends of mine were trying to throw me in a pool but were kind enough to take it off first. Thankfully, they had mercy and didn’t actually throw me in the water but I never saw my Swatch again. Mem’ries!

By the time I discovered Weezer, I was much more maudlin and therefore appreciated their equally ridiculous lyrics:

I’m me
Me be
Goddamn
I am
I can
Sing and
Hear me
Know me

If you want to destroy my sweater,
Hold this thread as I walk away

What exactly that means is beyond me but it sounded tortured and bizarre, so I loved it.

In other news, my preferred exercise has flip-flopped. Last year, I mostly swam laps. I would occasionally walk on the treadmill but hated every minute of it, as it was awfully uncomfortable hauling around that much weight. Nowadays, I find that I vastly prefer walking and dread swimming laps. I’m making myself do it once a week but I take walks otherwise. I love being outside and I especially love getting to listen to music while I walk. I turn inward and reflect and process and mull – good for my bod and my soul!

Perdóname

June 6, 2012

Ahhhh, finally – a new masthead! Here’s hoping it will inspire me to blog more often. Life post-surgery has been quite an adjustment. I already struggled with time management and now, often feel even more overwhelmed. Sometimes it seems like I can barely manage with meal planning & preparation and exercise and vitamins and protein and and and. I wonder how on earth people stay on top of everything when they have big families and busy lives. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that eating well and taking care of your body take a lot of time and continued effort. For most of my life, I only dealt with those needs in fits and starts and I definitely paid for that.

All that is to say I feel busier than a 1-armed paper hanger and yet also feel I have very little (other than a changing body – 106 pounds down at last check) to show for it. I often want to blog but actually making time to do it happens more and more infrequently. But what spurred me most recently was getting into a car accident. It was on the Friday before the Indy 500, which I know nothing about except that it wreaks total havoc on traffic here in Indianapolis. I rear-ended a mini-van in busy traffic. It was totally my fault and I felt like SUCH an asshole. It didn’t help that the couple I hit was completely adorable, a sweet pair both in their 70s. Of course the most important thing is that everyone is alright but I still felt awful. Their mini-van sustained very little damage but my poor Civic was undrivable. Luckily it’s being repaired and life goes on but the timing of this incident was of particular interest to me. Only days before, I’d been mulling over how I misused food my whole life to deal with the pain and discomfort I felt when I made mistakes. I was thinking, “I really need to learn to practice self-forgiveness. Mistakes aren’t the end of the world!” And then BAM (literally), a perfect opportunity to apply that wisdom. Naturally it’s far more difficult in practice but I’m giving it a whirl – safely, with my hands at 10 and 2 o’clock. 😉

P.S. If you have a chance, please go see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. I can’t say enough good things about it!

InstaLife

April 10, 2012

You probably heard last week that Instagram is now available for Androids. I was elated because I’m a terrible photographer and the magic of Instagram makes my meh photos presentable. (People are already complaining about Facebook’s recent acquisition of Instagram. Hopefully FB won’t kill a good thing.) I thought I’d share a few snaps from my weekend.

Pretty, brand new cloth napkins I thrifted:
Pretty, brand new cloth napkins I thrifted

Abby snorflin’ for Easter Eggs:
Abby snorflin' for Easter Eggs

A dandelion outside 3 Sisters Cafe, where I had lunch with @ChiBaby73:
A dandelion outside 3 Sisters Cafe, where I had lunch with @ChiBaby73

A lemonade party after a day of thrifting:
A lemonade party after a day of thrifting

I’ve been on a roasted asparagus + sea salt kick lately – so fast & easy!
Roasted Asparagus with Sea Salt

Colorful, Easter-y nails:
Colorful, Easter-y nails

Oh and one other thing → I saw Jeff, Who Lives At Home over the weekend and cannot recommend it enough. It’s been awhile since I’ve been so moved by a movie. It was funny and sweet and surprising. LOVED IT!

P.S. If you want to follow me on Instagram, I’m mymsie76. Feel free to leave your username in the comments and I’ll follow you.

Rough Weekend

April 3, 2012

You know what’s annoying? How it seems like there are certain shirts I absolutely cannot wear more than once without spilling something on them. And it’s always a shirt I like a lot. Like for example, this green number:

Green Shirt

I just splattered butter chicken all over it!

P.S. That butter chicken recipe is soooo yum & easy-to-make. I used chicken tenders so I didn’t bother marinating them and I opted for curry instead of the spice combo the recipe suggests. It also freezes beautifully, if you don’t gobble it up first. 🙂

Post surgery, I’ve found that I crave spicier, umami-er foods than I did before. I only get a few bites so I prefer tasty ones! Also I’m mostly eating vegetables, as they seem to be what my body wants. For breakfast, I’m loving MorningStar’s Veggie Sausage links with mustard. That may sound revolting but it hits the spot.

Let’s refocus on what brought me here in the first place – my need to vent about a tough weekend. My Dad had to be hospitalized for the first time in several years. I cannot imagine how demoralizing that would be, so my heart aches for him, even though some of his behavior has been extremely frustrating and counter-productive. I’m so worried about his deteriorating mental health and feel overwhelmed and unprepared for how to best care for him from a distance. Adulthood = hard. 😦

After a particularly sad conversation with my dad, I came home to find poor Abby stuck, sprawled out on the kitchen floor. She’d apparently fallen and accidentally pushed away the mat I have in place to help her get traction. She’s fine on carpet but just flails and struggles on slicker surfaces. It was clear she’d been stuck awhile, which absolutely gutted me. I felt awful for not having come home earlier and for not thinking to move her kibble & water to a carpeted room. Even when I helped her get up, she could barely stand or move. I’m guessing with her arthritis, she was staved up and sore from being in such an uncomfortable position for several hours. *bawl* My poor senior girl! We took a looong, slow walk and by the end of it, she was getting around a little better. Once we got back, she plopped down at my feet, heaved a big ol’ sigh, and sawed logs until morning. In the days since then, we’ve taken lots of walks and she seems back to her usual self but I’m ever-more aware that our time is limited.

The next afternoon, I was headed to meet B for lunch when I realized I’d lost my keys. After searching high & low, I found them outside next to a fresh pile of some random dog’s poo. I’d apparently dropped them the night before when I was clearing up Abby’s deposit. What a weekend!

I’ve been spinning my wheels lately working on a blog pitch to chronicle my post-surgery life. (As of last check, I’ve lost 85 pounds!) I have Friday off so I’m hoping to stop being a perfectionist & stop beating up on myself for taking so long and finish the damn thing then. I’ll keep you posted about what happens & hopefully in the meantime will be back here soon. Oh and one more thing: if you have the same kind of crazy as I do & suffer with perfectionism, check out Amber Adrian’s awesome, normalizing, solution-oriented Recovering Perfectionist essays & consider signing up for her equally-awesome newsletter. Today’s edition was especially helpful. Let me know if you’d like me to forward it to you.

Just What I Needed

February 7, 2012

I did something really dumb last night and am just sick about it. I was refilling my Spray ‘n Wash spray bottle from a refill bottle I bought at the grocery store. I was helping the earth by choosing less packaging! Shouldn’t that count for something? But I was doing it on top of my open laptop, which granted, was really dumb. So some glugged over and got onto my trackpad and those little left-click and right-click buttons, which I never use. I wiped up the mess as quickly as I could but now my computer won’t turn on or do anything. I cannot afford a new freaking laptop right now as I’m inundated with surgery & ER bills and my couch is on its last leg. WHINE. I’m hoping after a period of rest, it will work again. Otherwise I’m going to have to bug my poor friend George, who I often harass when I’m having computer problems.

Last week Indianapolis hosted the Super Bowl so the city was abuzz with excitement. Downtown was completely transformed, including building a theme park called the NFL Experience. I never made it down there to check things out because I’m an old curmudgeon who doesn’t like crowds. I did, however, spend the week completely freaking out about all the celebrity sightings. Just knowing that Ryan Gosling went to a Subway near me nearly sent me over the edge! Since then I’ve been wondering 1) how much the Subway employees freaked out and 2) what he ordered. A salad or a full-on sub? I’m guessing he’s a Buffalo chicken kind of guy. Or maybe meatball marinara?

Hey Girl Indy