Spring means ramps, for a short time only, much like the lifespan of spring in these neck of the woods. Our tradition is to christen the bunch of ramps by making an omelette with ramps, ham and cheese. I’d found ramps in the store here for the first time several years ago. I had a list of recipes I’d wanted to test out with my new  ingredient, but first I wanted a quick breakfast, which for me usually means an omelette. I thought I’d saute some ramps in butter first and then add the beaten egg in. The minced ramps sizzle and jump in the butter, and the pungent, onion-garlicky aroma quickly filled the house. In short order, it was ready.I couldn’t wait to take my first taste of this food item that had  the foodieverse in spasms of joy.

So, there I was, standing at the kitchen counter with my fork poised over the omelette, when my younger daughter came into the kitchen saying, “Mommy, what… is… that… SMELL?! It smells so delicious!”

I had her grab a fork and, to be fair, I called my older daughter down and within 2 minutes, the three of us devoured it. The lovely aroma of sauteed ramps hung in the air for a while afterward, and my younger daughter would stop from time to time and say, “Oh, Mommy, that still smells soooo good!

So now, my kids and I anticipate the first signs of spring and celebrate with our omelette, an annual family food tradition.

cheesy ramps omelette

In the coming days, I’ll be making some other favorites: Continue reading Ramps!

Stress Cravings

I first noticed the intensity of my stress cravings when my first daughter was a toddler. My, oh, my, was she a pistol. At the time, I was also pregnant with our second child, so my hands were full – usually of squirming 2 year-old.  One day, when I’d taken her to Story Time at the local library,  she’d been especially lively. The librarians had a felt board set up and were using it to tell nursery rhymes. They had little felt characters that would stick to the board and could be removed and repositioned easily. During a regaling of “Little Bo Peep,” one of the librarians asked for a volunteer of the toddlers to help with the felt board characters. My daughter jumped up, ran up, snatched a little felt sheep off the board and ran around our section of the library, giggling madly and waving the sheep in the air while being chased by a librarian and a pregnant me. Continue reading Stress Cravings

The Great Chocolate Easter Bunny Massacre

There comes a time in each of our lives when we must be honest with ourselves. These little gems of “self-honesty” serve as personal revelations every bit as meaningful as any religious experience one may have on a mountaintop or hallucinating in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights. For me, it came during one Holy Week, that week of high holy days beginning with Palm Sunday and culminating in the glorious spectacle of Easter. Not particularly religious, I was visited with an annunciation of my own, nonetheless.

Merely a month after my husband had demanded a divorce, I remained firmly lodged in denial, filled with utter certainty that I could effect a reconciliation through sheer force of will. Having packed the kids off to my sister-in-law’s for a long-anticipated overnight stay, I bought a bottle of my husband’s favorite wine, prepared some delicacies and lit some candles to set the appropriate mood. Thus loaded for bear, I waited for him to come home.

The minutes ticked past in larger increments until he finally entered, 45 minutes later than even on his latest days. My mood nearly as dark as the twilight sky, I sat in flickering light, frozen with a glass of Rioja in my hand, hors d’oeuvres cooling on the damask-draped coffee table and waited for him to come upon this awkward tableau. Continue reading The Great Chocolate Easter Bunny Massacre

new beginnings

In 2006, I lost 85 pounds over a 9-month period by following the South Beach Diet. I kept all that weight off for almost 2 years, but a series of serious real-life stressors prompted me to fall face first into a bowl of guacamole and reach for a Family Size bag of Tostitos as a life preserver. Since May, 2008 I have put back every pound I lost and added 15 extra for good measure. Now, at age 45, I am beginning to manifest some health problems as a result of the excess poundage. At my highest weight, I was 225 pounds and only 5 feet 2 inches tall. Although BMI is not the best indicator for overall fitness, it is what my doctors use, and these measurements rounded me out at 41, or morbidly obese. I am fortunate in that the way I carry my weight, that people can never guess my weight, but this is actually unfortunate because my fat is located in my midsection, the unhealthiest area for overall health.

Again, overall up until this point in my life, I have been healthy, with excellent results in cholesterol, liver labs, blood glucose and general bloodwork until recently. A series of ultrasounds found excess fat deposits in my liver, indicating the beginnings of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. On a positive note, the bloodwork indicates no inflammation, meaning that this is in the early stages, likely with no permanent liver damage.

But the time has come. It is time for me to reverse this. It is time to lose weight again, but permanently. I know I can lose it;. I’ve done it before. I even know that I can, under normal circumstances, maintain the weight lost. What I need to do is find better coping mechanisms than comfort eating when times get stressful.

I plan on writing about the  myriad issues I have surrounding food, body image and whatever else may rear its head as I embark on this journey.