It's been a while. And I am not even sure where I have been or what I have been doing. No, that's not entirely true. I have been spending a lot of time immersing myself in the world of clean eating and trying to understand what is or is not permissible in this way of life. See? I didn't say diet, I said way of life. Cause it kind of needs to be. And yet, it's so so so so hard.
So far, I have been clean eating for several weeks now and have lost a measly pound. One pound. Pathetic. But I will say that I feel clearheaded and awake and alive - something that I have not felt in a very long time. I don't wake up with a headache anymore, I go through my day without that fuzzy feeling. It's been weeks since I have fallen asleep while putting the baby down for a nap or while getting the kids to bed at night. I used to fall asleep like that all the time. As in Every. Single. Day. And now, now I'm having my smoothie for breakfast, eating fruits, vegetables, quinoa, greek yogurt, almonds, salmon and other things like that all day long. And drinking tons of water. And still, it's just so darn hard.
I really wanted to have some chocolate ice cream last night. So I had some. Only a spoonfull, but I was still so mad at myself afterwards. It almost feels like you can't win.
But - I do have one skirt that fits now that did not fit at the end of April. So maybe it's not about the pounds per se, maybe it's just that smaller clothes fit, so something must be going right - even if the scale just won't budge at all.
Anyway, I did have a point here. It's coming up on a year since my grandmother passed away and a couple of my super-creative cousins have rallied the rest of us lazy relatives, and now we (they :) are putting together a book of recollections about my grandmother. Everyone was supposed to have had their submissions in by May 20th. I wrote mine, just forgot to send it in. No really. I did. It's been in my gmail drafts for ages.
It's about a nut cake (food. what else?) that my grandmother was famous for. I used to make it often years ago, but now that clean eating has swept through this house, I am thinking that anything with 3 sticks of margarine is no longer welcome here. So I won't be making this and taking pictures. But I also wouldn't refuse a piece should someone perhaps bake it and stop by with a piece. Just saying.
Here's the recipe, along with my (late) submission:
Food makes powerful memories.
This past Mother's Day, while driving, it hit me, probably for the first time, that I had no grandmothers left to call that day. This was it. A chapter of my life was over, a chapter that was still open last Mother's Day.
Last Mother's Day, I was lucky, I had it made. My mother, my aunt and my grandmother came to my house for brunch. I didn't go the regular route with lasagna or baked ziti. I made some weird stuff - focacia bread pizza, mushroom fritattas and pretend lemonade margaritas - and true to Bobby's Judy's style, she tasted everything without hesitation - because everything I always did was golden. I could do no wrong and whatever I decided to wear or cook or bake or make was amazing and exactly the right choice*.
I am having trouble remembering even one time that Bobby Judy came to visit without bringing food.
Especially tuna fish, which she apparently used her magic wand to make because I have never before and never since tasted such good tuna fish.
Bobby Judy did not leave me many recipes; she liked to cook from recipes in her head and really stopped experimenting or even making her usual for the last many years because she felt that steamed vegetables, cottage cheese and rice cakes were the way to go, just like the Start Fresh lady said. And if the Start Fresh lady said it, then well, you know, that was it.
To this day, I cannot steam cauliflower without feeling like I am back in her apartment.
But there is one recipe that I do have - one that we made together when I was young and one that I have made countless times since, anytime I need a fancy cake. It's easy, it's quick and it tastes like Bobby Judy's house and smells like her housecoats. What more can you ask for?
Bobby Judy's Nut Cake:
5 cups flour
2 egg yolks
2 ounces of yeast
5 tablespoons sugar
3 sticks of margarine
4 egg whites
1/2 pound of ground nuts
juice of one lemon
1 cup sugar
1 grated lemon peel
For the dough: Mix all the ingredients together in the bowl of a standing mixer. Mix on low until all the ingredients come together to form a ball of dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least an hour, or overnight.
For the filling: Beat the four egg whites until they make a snow. Fold in the rest of the ingredients.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Allow the dough to come to room temperature.
On a flour covered counter top, roll out the dough into a large rectangle.
Lay the dough on a clean dish towel.
Spread the filling on top of the dough.
Use the dish towel to roll up the dough and filling, jelly roll style.
Transfer to a parchment lined rimmed cookie sheet and bake for 1 hour or until golden brown. Allow the cake to cool and wrap it in foil to keep it fresh.
Best if stored in a Ziploc bag.
Does not need to be refrigerated.
*Except once. Early on in my marriage, I showed up at her house wearing a beret and she said, "yoy, that's an unattractive hat, it doesn't show off your beautiful face?" Was I insulted? Maybe a little. But she immediately ushered me out the door to a fancy hat store on "the avenue" so who was I to complain?
Are you a Mom?
Of course you are,
your shirt is dirty :)