I've felt these past two weeks as if I were starting life over again.
One of my friends noticed the difference the other day when he saw me in our lobby. "You look...happy?", were his words.
I had no real answer other than that I happened to wake up on the right side of the bed that morning, but that really if he had seen me the day before I probably would have been a full force kind of disaster. Category 5 hurricane-esque. Good days, bad days. We all have 'em. So who knows.
But then I thought about it. And you know? I have been happier lately. (Aside from Saturday, of course, when I saw the cutest little two year old at Starbucks and almost started to cry after my ovaries exploded in my peritoneal cavity. That was fun.)
Maybe it's the fact that I can feel myself starting to be able to run again. Not perfectly or entirely pain-free or quickly. But I don't feel like I'm lopsided anymore. I ran a 10K on Saturday (even though my physical therapist threatened me with his eyes when I told him I was going to do it. Psshhhhh. They don't scare me. I can take them.). Really ran it. And it felt like I was being reborn. And the more I can run, the more I want to do good things for myself and my body. Eat better. Be kinder. Not look at myself with denigrating eyes (the kind of eyes that will take this outside and then kick you when you're down. Now those...those scare me).
Maybe it's the fact that in a week I will be headed to San Francisco to see my best friend. She is going to make me feel whole again. Completely. Entirely. We are going to laugh so hard that our stomach's hurt and I am going to cook her deliciously healthy food (what, did you people think I was going to go on vacation and not cook! What kind of a vacation would that be?) and walk everywhere and visit the Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market every day and spend so much money there that I can't afford to come home and thus will have to stay forever. Oh and we are going to eat mass amounts of Bi-Rite ice cream.
And I want to see you. Yes. YOU. If you live in and around SF please please please email me and we can make a date! I haven't been on dates in a long time. So I should warn you, I'm a little out of practice. But you'll think it's cute and charming and endearing, right? I hope so.
Really, though. I think this newfound happiness of mine likely has something to do with the fact that I discovered good feta cheese. Real feta cheese. The Whole Foods container even goes so far as to call it "authentic Greek feta cheese".
Okay so maybe it's not the most real authentic serious feta cheese in the world. But compared to the pre-crumbled stuff that I used to buy...I promise there's no comparison. That cheap-o stuff was dry. And so tangy and powdery that it hurt to eat it. (Though that never really stopped me.)
But this feta cheese? It's creamy. Addictive. It melts in your mouth. It's everything you never knew that feta cheese could be. You'll somehow find yourself in your kitchen mindlessly cutting slices off the block of it while you wait for your cauliflower to cook. Oh and yes, you'll be making this recipe while you're doing it (duh). Because though the components of this sound very plain Jane boring. Their whole is so much greater than the sum of their parts. The tangy acidic white wine vinegar combo is cut beautifully by the fatty walnuts and feta cheese. And the cauliflower and pasta just soak it all in. Bask in it. Really, it's glorious.
Today at Eat.Live.Be. we are looking back at that habit we were going to try to break two weeks ago. Remember that? You thought I wasn't going to hold you accountable for that, didn't you? Well, I am like an elephant. I never forget (unless we're talking about embryology, autonomic drugs, or how to tell the difference between nephrotic and nephritic syndrome...then I forget within hours. Apparently.)
So first I'll tell you how I did. My goal was to try to stop seeing food in such binary terms. Good v. bad. Black and white. Not even a speckle of gray. In the hopes that this would cut down on the guilt and berating and subsequent binges as soon as I "messed up". While I did have some slip-ups along the way, I would say that on the whole I've done pretty well. Sure, I taste tested a few cheesecake bars and a brownie or two but I didn't let it ruin the rest of my day. There were a few hours of self-denigration, to be sure. But then I did something completely novel. I moved on. Without trying to nibble on everything else in my kitchen. It was weird. And awesome. And has certainly contributed to my current state of happiness.
So how have you guys done? Leave a comment or write a post about it!
And be sure to see how all the other Eat.Live.Be-ers have done!
- Sarah Caron from Sarah’s Cucina Bella
- Cate from Sweetnicks
- Chris Arpante – Melecotte
- Patsy – Family, Friends and Food
- Claire – Cooking is Medicine
- Sarah Rogers – Sarah’s Sweet Creations
- Rivki from Healthy Eating for Ordinary People
- Claudia from Journey of an Italian Cook
- New Jersey Epicurean
Pasta with Cauliflower, Walnuts, and Feta
Serves 3, adapted from Chez Panisse Vegetables
1 head cauliflower
1 medium onion
4 cloves garlic
1/2 lb whole wheat pasta
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
red pepper flakes, to taste
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/4 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
2 oz GOOD feta cheese (no crumbles!)
1. Put a large pot of salted water on to boil. Chop the cauliflower into small florets. Peel the onion and slice it very thin. Peel and finely chop the garlic. When water comes to a boil, cook pasta until al dente (or to desired consistency).
2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the cauliflower and saute. When it begins to soften, season with salt and pepper and add onion and red pepper flakes, cooking until the veggies are brown and tender. Add the garlic and remove from the heat, tossing and stirring so the garlic will cook but not burn.
3. Add 1/2 lemon's worth of juice to the veggies to start and the white wine vinegar. Add the walnuts and parsley. Mix and season to taste either more salt, pepper, vinegar or lemon juice.
4. When the pasta is done, drain it and add it to the cauliflower. Taste again for vinegar and lemon juice, as well as salt and pepper. Serve with the cheese crumbled over the top.
I am submitting this to:
Meatless Mondays hosted by Chaya of My Sweet and Savory
Maniac Meatless Mondays hosted by Rebecca Jean of Midnight Maniac
Presto Pasta Nights hosted by Cassie of The Kitchen Alchemist