Monday, April 25, 2011

Lemon Mint Vinaigrette

Lemon Mint Vinaigrette

Really nothing more to post than an amazing dressing recipe. When I was in New Orleans a couple weeks ago I had a great arugala, watermelon, strawberry salad with mint vinaigrette at Emeril's restaurant NOLA. It was amazing and I knew I had to recreate it as soon as I got back. We were having dinner at a friends house on Friday and I offered to bring the salad just so I could make this. I looked around the internet and found a recipe that seemed similar to the one that I had  - I think I got it from Eating Well or Cooking Light, I can't remember, but here goes.

Mint Vinaigrette
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
This makes enough for a very large salad and then you will still have some left over. I am going to make this for Mother's Day brunch in a few weeks - its such a great refreshing salad and dressing. Dress up the salad with slivered almonds and goat cheese if you want to beef it up a little on the protein side. 

Please let me know if you make this and if you like it, especially you NanaScilla.

Rating = Damn Good

Friday, April 22, 2011

Therapy, Crying in Public, Angry Shavasna | Skinny Creamy Spinach Dip

Skinny Creamy Spinach Dip

I don't cry much, at all in fact, most of my friends can probably count the number of times they have seen me cry on one finger, or less. I think Chris and I were together for four years before he saw me shed a tear. I don't know why I am so averse to crying, but it probably has something to do with growing up with a Nana who who belittled crying, stating every time that I cried "that only babies cried, and I was no longer a baby, therefore crying was not acceptable." There was a lot of "I'll give you something to cry about" statements when the threat of tears showed on my face. I guess it made an impression...

One of my main fears of therapy is that in one of the sessions I will cry. I am petrified of this. Crying when you are alone in your car is one thing, but crying in front of someone else, someone who themselves is not crying scares the shit out of me. Handicapping vulernablility is the only way that I can describe it. In today's New York times there was a great opinion blog post about crying in public, titled Look at Me, I'm Crying. I absolutely love this blog post, it makes me think that at some point, I'll be able to cry without personal stigma. Read it, its a great post, especially when she comparing crying in public to tripping and falling in public.  Great.

I went back to therapy this week, it was an okay session, most of it was setting up my background information with questions like "have I ever been hospitalized for a mental illness, suicide attempt, etc, has anyone in my family had mental issues, what do I think my strengths and weaknesses are, etc." Apparently when insurance pays for your therapy they do a thorough background check on you first.

I was given two assignments this week. Each day I need to perform a Progressive Muscle Relaxation series, (there are literally tons of videos on this on YouTube if you are interested) at least once, preferably two times a day. And I also need to keep an anxiety/stress journal. Each morning, afternoon and night I need to write down what my anxiety/stress level is on a scale of 0 to 10 with 10 being the best score (like the Olympics). I asked if I needed to write down what was altering my stress levels and was told that that would come later, we aren't at that point yet (well, phew, because I am not ready to face the things that alter my stress levels just yet, thank you very much). 

I go back to the doctor next Friday, I'll be interested to see what my anxiety/stress journal shows, and also to see if I can get a handle on how to do this progressive muscle relaxation thing the right way.

Okay, now onto the recipe.

I love spinach dip. Creamy spinach dip, but let's be honest its strappy dress season and no one needs to be knocked in the face with my arm waddle, so here is a low fat version that I got from Gina's Skinny Recipes. The recipe as it is is 2 weight watchers points (the old points) for 1/4 of a cup. Here is a link to her blog, and also her recipe below.

Servings: 8 • Serving Size: 1/4 cup • Old Points: 2 pts • Points+: 2 pts
Calories: 79.4 • Fat: 6.2 g • Carb: 3.3 g • Fiber: 0.9 g • Protein: 3.2 g
  • 10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and excess liquid squeezed out
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • 5 tbsp light mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1/4 cup scallion, chopped
  • fresh pepper to taste
Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Can be made one day in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving. Makes about 2 cups. 

Now, I have to be honest, I left out the raw garlic because it does a number on my stomach, and with the IBS I don't need to go pissing of my insides anymore than I already have. When I tried the recipe as is, I thought that it had way too much mayonnaise in it, so I added another 1/4 cup of sour cream, this helped, but I still thought it was a little bland so I added some seasoning that I had. That helped, but I still have to be honest, I still think that 5 tbsp of may is too much, I think you can get away with increasing the sour cream and reducing the mayo to 3 tbsp. I'm not sure what that will do to the points value, but it can't alter it too much. I'm bringing the dip to a friends house tonight with a fresh veggie platter, I'll see what the crowd thinks tonight, maybe they won't have any issues with it.

Rating = Good

Shit, I almost forgot the angry shavasna part. On Wednesday I went to my community yoga class that I just love love love, and I haven't been able to go in almost a month due to traveling. It was an awesome, ass kickingly hard class and at the end I was just spent, and was so glad that I could just lie back and enjoy my shavasna with my lavendar eye pillow and the soft music. Just as I was settling into it, the bitch in front of me...her f'ing cell phone starts ringing. Are you serious, you brought your cell phone into class with you. You are an asshole. I just spent an hour and a half trying to find inner peace and now all I can think of doing is donkey punching you because you are a terrible, horrible, person. Thanks. 

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

I'm leaving on a jet plane

If any of this crap going on in my body is attributed to SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder, I'm about to go all ape shit on it. I'm leaving on a jet plane, first for Florida, and then for the Big Easy. Nothing but warmth and sunshine in front of me. I'll try to blog from the road, I just don't know how feasible that will be. But I'll try.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Not So Happy Pills AND | Fruit and Nut Tabbouleh

Fruit and Nut Tabouli
I had my yearly physical on Monday. I was glad that the appointment was this week as I wanted to let my PCP know that I had started therapy and also that I had been dealing with a rather bad stomach ache for the past few weeks. Its not a constant ache, but one that seems to come and go, but gets worse after I eat (sometimes while I'm eating) along with this ache are some serious noises in my belly, the kind of growling swirling noises that make people look at you in meetings, like their wondering if you you're going to have to excuse yourself to go shit your pants.  So I explained the stomach issues, the stress issues, the I'm in therapy issues and the doctor along with a battery of questions asked if I was "happy". I had to be honest with her and reply "I've been happier." 

After my physical she asked if I would talk with her in her office. Dum, dum, dum. So, I took of my johnnie, put on my street clothes and walked into her office and shut the door behind me. First, she wanted to let me know that my stomach issues were most likely caused by stress induced Irritable Bowel Syndrome, great, so not only is my throat filled with polyps, my head is going in a hundred different directions, now my colon has decided to join the party and get pissed off too. I picture my colon as an angry old man with salt and pepper hair sprouting from his ears, clenched fists and a horrible screwed up face like he just walked into someone elses fart. 

It was after the IBS conversation that she asked me if I wanted a prescription for an antidepressant/anti anxiety medicine. 

I was crushed. 

I do not want to be looked at as the type of person who needs the help of pharmaceuticals to be happy, I want to be happy on my own, on the inside, without help. I explained to her that I have a stigma when it comes to drugs, my father was not part of my life because he was addicted to drugs, heroin to be exact, and he's dead because he couldn't stop, because the drugs and the alcohol killed him. Its too close to me. I've always prided myself on being the strong one, the one who didn't need the things that other people needed to get by, I'm the girl who wouldn't take the Vicodin that my doctor prescribed when I broke my pelvis, I didn't need it.

I refused the prescription, and walked out of the doctors appointment with what felt like the scarlet letter of depression tattooed on my face, like everyone could clearly see now that I needed help.

It just so happened that I had a nice calming bikini wax scheduled right after this  appointment, lovely. There's nothing like the first bikini wax after a long cold winter, and yes, I'm being facetious. As I disrobed from the waste down and hoped up on the waxing table, placed the soles of my feet together, I realized that the position that one gets in for a bikini wax is quiet similar to the yoga pose Baddha Konasana - see below.

So, basically you do this, but then lay down on your back. So, I laid back, in my modified yoga pose and said to myself, "I can relax, I can deal with stress, watch me, I'll be the best yogic bikini waxer ever", so I closed my eyes and felt no pain. Which is no easy feat as the woman who was doing my bikini wax clearly had nothing to do for the rest of the day, and took her sweet time, going over spots that I swear she had gone over 2 or 3 times before. At the end she commented to me that I never flinched or said a word, or seemed to feel any discomfort at all. No, no I didn't, because I don't need no stinking pills.

We're had dinner at a friends house Saturday, a married couple who are also in therapy, although they go for couples therapy. I think it's funny that Chris will be the only one at dinner not in therapy, its like he's the one thats weird.

I'm made a Mediterranean grilled vegetable appetizer platter to bring over and I thought that this would go perfectly with the roasted vegetables and hummus. This recipe comes from the Vegetable Planet Cookbook that I bought last summer, which has just been waiting patiently for me to give it some lovin'.

Dried Fruit and Nut Tabbouleh
1 cup bulgar wheat
2 1/2 cups hot water
2 seedless oranges peeled, segmented and chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh parsely
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1 cucumber peeled seeded and diced
1/2 cup onion finely diced
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 clove minced
1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
1/4 cup currants
1/4 golden raisins
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1.  Combine the bulgar and the boiling water and cover for 20 minutes, strain through a fine mesh strainer after and put in a large bowl. Add the orange segments.

2. Combine the rest of the ingredients into the bulgar and oranges, mix to combine. Enjoy warm or cold....its great either way.

Rating = Good