I hope that title was decriptive enough.
Three things to discuss today:
3. A Whole30 Vegetable Soup
I'll start with number 3 first because I'm always hungry. This soup was so good that Josh was concerned he might have to make room in his life for a third soup. Currently, he only eats chicken soup and oddly enough, cauliflower soup. And now there might be a third. He's worried.
You should try it - and it's Whole30 compatible too.
Here's what you do:
Saute 3 sliced onions in some olive oil.
Add 2 cloves of minced garlic and a little salt to the pot and keep sauteing.
Wash, peel and thinly slice two large carrots.
Add to the pot and saute the carrots too.
Wash and slice 6 zucchinis into 1 inch pieces, add them to the pot, cover and let them cook for about a minute.
Add 5 cups of water to the pot and bring to a boil.
Partially cover the pot and lower the flame so the soup simmers until the carrots are done. The zucchini will be done a lot faster than the carrots, even though the carrots are a lot smaller than the zucchini. Go figure.
Once the carrots are done, allow the soup to cool and then use your very handy immersion blender to partially puree the soup.
It's really very good.
Moving right along to numbers 1 and 2 on the list above. They're intertwined so we'll just mix 'em up and call this number one and a half.
Manners and Chanukah**. Mannukah. Something we seem to have none of these days.
Right around night #4, my kids seemed to get very blase about the whole "gift each night" thing. As in, this is it? I didn't want that!, along with some tears. And that my friends, is not
even a little bit okay. But lest we defame only my children, this seemed to have been going on in many other houses in the neighborhood. And before we malign the neighborhood, I really do think it's a generational thing. Having said that, next Chanukah I am supposed to remind several of my friends about this ungratefulness. Next year, we are not giving the kids a gift each night of Chanukah. Yup. You heard me.
So here's the thing. I grew up getting a little something each night of Chanukah and I kind of like that tradition. But it's not working for us. In fact, on night five of this Chanukah, we did not give gifts. We had a gift for each kid, wrapped and ready to go, but we didn't hand them out. Instead, we used a popcorn maker to make popcorn and we all watched a movie instead, with the lights off and the couch turned to face the tv. And once the kids got over the initial shock of not having anything to unwrap, they loved it.
I think that's what it she be about - experiences. Popcorn and movie might not sound like much of an experience, but for my kids, it really was. Piling onto the couch and getting cozy under one big blanket with popcorn and drinks - it's just not something we do as a group, ever. Maybe it should be, maybe we should do it more often, but that's a whole other guilty-mommy-blog-post.
*In case you've been wondering where the heck we've been since seemingly dropping off the internet since the middle of Chanukah, we've been right here. Being lazy. I think (hope) we're back now.
** I know it's over, but I think it's still okay to talk about Chanukah, mostly because I still haven't finished putting away the menorahs.
Yup, it's over. Thirty long days that went weirdly quickly at the same time.
I weighed in this morning and found that I am down 7.3 pounds. At first, I was kind of upset. I had really wanted to see Biggest Loser type numbers but as my brother so sagely pointed out this morning, this is a lifestyle and not a diet because diets are bad and don't work. And also, like he said, something must have changed internally for the better over the past 30 days. I can't know what it is because I (sadly) don't have x-ray vision, but I do know that I am sleeping (and waking up) better, am way more even-keeled when it comes to my kids and am generally in a much better mood than I have been for a long time - and those are all totally worth it.
I began a second round of Whole30 this morning, but this time I am including exercise.
Why all over again?
A bunch of reasons, but mostly because I have not yet slain my sugar dragons. I still want what I want when I want it and what I want is mostly chocolate and brownies and just plain handfuls of chocolate chips. And while logically I know that those things are not good for me, I still know that they taste amazing and make me feel better. And therein lies the problem. I don't want those foods - or any food - to make me feel better. I want food to be just that: food. No strings attached.
More than losing weight, I am looking to sever the emotional ties that I have to eating. And those ties are very deep-seated and very rooted into who I am. This is something that I have been struggling with my entire life, something I will most likely struggle with forever (although hopefully to a lesser extent) and something that I worry about a lot when I look at my daughters, and my sons too. They're still so little and they have so much living to do, and I don't want food to follow them around like an emotional noose. Food is just food. Nothing more, nothing less. It is not a reward, it is not a hug, it's just fuel to make a body run.
I explained to my seven year old who sometimes has trouble knowing when he is full and should be done eating that G-d put us here with all these yummy foods so we can eat to live and not live to eat. He didn't seem to fully understand it the first couple of times (many adults don't), but the other day he uttered those words back to me after dinner, after not finishing all his food and what can I say? It made my heart smile. And he smiled back and walked away from the table when because he was full - and that's more than I ever could have said for myself thirty days ago.
Maybe, if I can conquer my issues, my kids can avoid these issues all together. That, I think, is my dream.
Oh, December 11th, how I've been waiting for you.
Tonight marks the end of day #30 of this Whole30 experiment.
I have been surrounded by chocolate Chanukah gelt, jelly donuts and many many homemade treats this week, but you know what? I was really okay with my clementines. Shockingly, a clementine provided enough sweetness so that my brain was able to decipher the "end of meal" message. Tomorrow morning, I weigh in. I'm, at the same time, both terrified and super excited.
Tonight also marks the fourth night of Chanukah. And in case you ever wondered what a living room looks like when four kids receive lego at the same time, well, wonder no more.
Not to change the subject or anything, but what comes to mind when you hear the word Chanukah?
I mean besides for presents.
Yes, very good, latkes and other assorted items that require frying. And grating. I hate grating vegetables. But as we were having dinner company tonight, I kinda sorta had to fry something, so like the good wife that I try to be, I made potato latkes (from a box and no one said a word - ha!) and I made corn latkes, a special request from the husband.
Josh has also dropped many hints this week regarding sufganiyot, also known as Chanukah jelly donuts. There's no where around here to get real sufganiyot (and jelly donuts from Dunkin Donuts are not the same thing) and I think Josh thought that I might make some. From scratch. Are you laughing? Cause I am. I mean, it a calm world where all I had to do was make dessert, I would absolutely try and make donuts. But see, here's the thing. The amount of frying that went on here today between the regular and corn latkes was, in my opinion, obscene. But I did want the hubby to have sufganiyot. So I found a recipe for Jelly Donut Muffins.
I only made one switch in the recipe and that was to swap almond milk mixed with
a tablespoon of vinegar for the buttermilk because I wanted to keep the muffins
pareve. Otherwise, I stuck with the recipe as is - and they were great, or so
said the people who actually like jelly donuts. Everyone else ate leftover sugar
Happy fourth night!
I was in charge of dessert today.
Not such a simple task because really, even though today is day 28 on the Whole30, I wanted to dive head first into the chocolate Chanukah gelt today. Seems that I have not yet slain my sugar dragons. Have to keep working on that.
This afternoon, we attended our family's annual Chanukah party, giving extra thanks that the party was not in our house this year.
We brought along some of the Chanukah sugar cookies we made the other day, some sugar-free peanut butter cookies for my dad, cinnamon bun muffins* and some cheese latkes. The cheese latkes were not part of dessert, but I felt empty handed coming with just those few other foods. And also, I had about a quarter of a big container of ricotta cheese left in the fridge and it was very unclear to me how much longer it would last.
Having never made cheese latkes before but at the same time wanting to use up the ricotta cheese, I went with google and a few seconds later, I had my recipe from shiksa.com, a website that I had never heard of before but will be visiting again.
I changed her recipe very slightly because I was concerned that the latkes would not be sweet enough and in my head, I was picturing something along the lines of latke cheesecake. Either way, they got great reviews, with a request for a make-again from the husband, and that's saying a lot about something dairy. Again (and even I am getting bored of saying this) but I did not taste these myself - no dairy allowed on the Whole30, but all the latkes were gone so that must be saying something good.
Here's what I did:
1 and 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
3/4 cup flour
5 tbsps sugar
1 tsp baking powder
Mix all the ingredients very well. Cook as you would regular pancakes, starting with a hot frying pan and flipping the latkes after two minutes. Just an FYI, this latke batter does not bubble, thereby giving you an instant clue as to when to flip 'em. Just flip them after two minutes and you'll be fine. Oh, and the second side does not need that full two minutes. I guess it depends on how high your fire is, how large your latkes are and so on, but you'll get the hang of it. Just remember, the first pancake is always the sacrificial one - kind of like your first kid. You have no idea what you're doing so you just wing in, and in the end, all is still good.
These made 15 large latkes and at the end of the meal they were all gone.
*More about those soon.
You know those cookies we baked yesterday? We used the same recipe we used last year, and once again, it did not disappoint.
And happily, we decorated today. We love this icing.
My kids sampled one of each kind of cookie and they all approved. (I wanted to write "unanimous approval" there but I wasn't sure how to spell either word. Did I spell them right? Wrong? Who knows.) My point? All the cookies are exactly the same, just in different shapes. The kids were not grasping this and so many many cookies were eaten in the name of "just tasting". Josh better come home soon if he wants to "taste" too.
Anyway, would love to see your Chanukah cookies!
A Farmer's Market opened up near our house a while back. And I capitalize Farmer and Market because it's not actually a farmer's market where locals come to sell their eggplant and squash; it's an actual store called Farmer's Market.
I really like this store because it forces you to shop the perimeter, as nutritonists like to recommend. The whole store is the perimeter - all fruits and vegetables and more fruits and vegertables, with a few aisles at the far end of the store with all kinds of overpriced canned goods. I don't visit those aisles, except to grab the weirdly cheap milk they carry. And it's horomone-free milk too, so I'm not really sure why it's the cheapest milk in town, but I am not complaining.
So why am I telling you all this when the title of this posting clearly indicated that some cookies should be coming to town? I'm sharing the wonder that is my fruit store because as I ran through the store ten minutes before pick-up at school this afternoon, I noticed that the cauliflower looked very nice and was very on sale. So I bought some.
And when we all got home, I made cauliflower soup, a yummy soup that has been a staple of my journey through the Whole30.
I love soup, but I don't like washing and peeling a bunch of different vegetables. Cauliflower soup is easy. Saute an onion and some garlic in olive oil, wash the cauliflower, cut it into large pieces and add them to the pot. Fill the pot halfway with water, season with salt and pepper and bring the water to a boil. Cover and simmer until the cauliflower is cooked, about 30 minutes, depending on the size of your cauliflower pieces. Once cooked, let the soup cool completely. Once cooled, use your handy dandy immersion blender (you must have one of these. If you don't, go get one now. Go. It's okay, I'll wait for you) and puree the soup. And you're done.
Wait, you can make this even easier. Use frozen cauliflower. I do it all the time.
And my point here? I ate the soup while rolling out my Chanukah sugar cookies. Yup, I stuffed myself with two bowls of soup, which incidentally, is the right amount of soup to make you feel like if you eat even one cookie, you will explode. Works for me.
My new motto: I love cookies, but I love (almost-but-kind-of-not-yet-at-all) skinny more.
Next up: cookie decorating with the kids.
Are you a Mom?
Of course you are,
your shirt is dirty :)