I haven’t baked much of anything for the past few years unless a birthday or special occasion required it. It isn’t that I no longer enjoy baking; I consider it a relaxing activity — especially when I can take my time and get involved in the process. Redirected habits are primarily to blame for why I no longer fire up my oven as much as I used to, but I miss it and enough time has passed that I’ve managed to try a few new recipes. A Dorset Apple Cake, for starters. Of course this was inspired by our last trip.
I think the first time I tried to make an apple dumpling I was about 26, give or take a year. I don’t remember cooking much during that particular time in my life, but what I did cook has stayed with me — for better or worse. A successful pot of chili verde qualifies as one of my better accomplishments, and apple dumplings one of my worst.
I’ve been back from my trip East for a couple of weeks now and think I’ve finally caught up with sleep and processed all my memories along with the more than 500 photos I took. It’s a relaxing task to process photos after a trip and I find myself grinning like a sap as I work, time passing much more quickly than I’d like. Laundry, dishes, and other chores are waiting, but to be so engrossed in a task that little else interferes with is a good thing — something that confirms I enjoy what I’m doing. It helps when the photos I’m processing are of good things as well: lovely places, good times with people I care about, and great food, of course.
I go to the farmers’ market armed with a single bag theory thinking I will surely be limited to a reasonable number of purchases, yet fail every time. I’ve become pretty good at packing that bag which seems manageable while I’m filling it. A few bundles of greens can’t take up all that much space, right?
But then the rainbow carrots look so good, and I can’t pass up a gorgeous head of romanesco cauliflower. Or is it broccoli? A mixture of sprouts, some chard, and baby beets end up in the bag before I’m done and once home I wonder where to begin. There certainly isn’t enough room in my fridge for it all.
The carrots and beets will be fine for a while, and the sprouts will go easily into so many things: my smoothies, salad, omelets, an open-faced egg salad sandwich.
But the kale. Oh, the kale. I couldn’t resist buying three different kinds.
But there’s a method to my madness with kale. It’s easy to think “salad” first, because the kale is fresh. But did you know you can freeze kale? And guess what? It’s not soggy, soft, or looking like something that was lost in the nether regions of my veggie bin when it’s thawed and ready for use, either. In fact, you can use it frozen. More about that later.
Let’s talk salad for now.
It’s official. My husband and I are two months into our decision to change the way we eat and guess what? It works! Works, as in, we feel pretty darn good and have lost weight. His loss of 18 lbs. has been steady and sure with minor plateaus here and there, and true to my personality, my loss has been a series of ups and downs — most recently dipping to 14.5 lbs. then back up to my goal of 12 lbs. total for the two months. Six pounds a month. That’s all I need. Only six. I can do that for the next six months, right?
When I catch myself analyzing it all too much, he patiently reminds me we said we weren’t going to turn any of this into a crazy hair-splitting quest to starve ourselves to thinness in as little time as possible, or to beat ourselves up over numbers on a scale. And no, we weren’t going to count every single calorie we ingest. Instead, it is more to consider that we do have to exercise more consistently and appropriately, and also monitor the types and quantities of food we eat throughout each day to balance everything out. I guess I just need to do all of that while waving my arms about in the air. But, we can already see changes in one another, and that’s fun. Did I say fun? All right, then. Motivating.