Thursday, March 30, 2017

America's Test Kitchen

It's not been all bad while I've been away. Back in February I entered a contest sponsored by Georgia Public Broadcasting and America's Test Kitchen (ATK.) They posted three ATK recipes, asking to make one, take a photograph and submit it as the contest entry.

I made the Red Lentil Soup with North African Spices, and submitted this photo on the day before the deadline. The soup was wonderful, and easy to prepare. 

The next evening I checked my e-mail and found that I was one of the three grand prize winners! I won the amazing prize pack of cookbooks, membership to the online cooking school, and the signature America's Test Kitchen red apron.

And best of all, I was invited to a dinner with Bridget Lancaster and Julia Collin Davison, hosts of the show. If you're a foodie and a home cook like I am, you know how exciting this is. Bridget is one of my cooking idols, one of my fantasy "three for dinner" along with Ina Garten and Anthony Bourdain.

The dinner was held at Better Half in Atlanta, the winners of the contest were there, along with some of the local supporters of GPB (aka big donors.) They showed us a wonderful time, the meal was fantastic, all from the America's Test Kitchen cookbook but with a special twist by chef Zach Meloy.

I got to have a couple of conversations with Bridget! She lives up in the north shore of Boston and it was so great to visit with a home girl. And she and Julia signed my cookbook. It was a really special evening. I still smile when I think about it.

By the way, my hair is purple now.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Making My Way Back

This is tough to write. Fear of judgement, fear of admitting defeat, admitting that I've failed.

After multiple injuries from work and never recovering full from the initial fall that I wrote about, I lost my way, fell back into old patterns and gained weight. Maintenance is hard when you can't walk and workout to the level that you are used to. I'm not trying to make excuses, I got lazy about portion control, got depressed, turned to food for comfort, and the vicious cycle started all over again. I stopped blogging because it just made me feel bad about myself. This was a mistake, because it had always been my biggest helper, blogging it out. Fear of being judged has kept me away. But I'm human just like everyone else and shit happens. And a lot of shit has happened.

Now, my mobility is seriously compromised and I'm in almost constant pain. I'm under the care of two orthopedic specialists and will be having an MRI soon on my spine and both knees. 

I've struggled with trying to get back into healthy eating patterns but now it's become do or die. The doctors did NOT shame me or say that I needed to lose weight to get better, because I mentioned up front that I needed to be treated as any other patient. I asked, and the knee doctor said that reducing weight can help take the pressure of the knees and that it's worth a try. But after many stops and starts, I realized that I was going to have trouble doing it on my own. I researched my options and decided to join Weight Watchers. It was the one program that I had never tried, and I looked into the Smartpoints program, which is definitely suited to do within the framework of a real food template. Not like Weight Watchers of old that seemed to promote the use of fat free and artificial sweetener laden garbage. 

The revised Beyond the Scale program seemed like a good fit for me because I'm doing this for my mobility. I didn't want to get caught up in the obsession about the numbers on the scale, and while weighing in is part of the program, it seems that it is only a part of it. I'm in the beginning of my third week and LOVE the meetings. I didn't think I would, but the support has been so valuable. I've been a bit of shut in these past few months because of the pain, basically just going to medical appointments, and the supermarket when I felt up to it. The meetings have been a life line!

So, here I am, making my way back. I'm not going to turn this into a Weight Watchers blog with that being the only focus, but it will get mentioned. I'm going to start blogging as a tool for motivation and accountability. I'll post about my progress from a medical standpoint. And of course, any good recipes I find, I'll definitely share. Food is still one of my favorite things.

That's all for now. Happy Spring!