Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Is food relaxing?

What is your relationship with food? Is it merely a substance that keeps you energized, or a delicious comfort that you make every attempt to enjoy? Is it a wasteful dread, or something you look forward to? Over the past few weeks, I've thought more about how spoiled I am to have practically every food that I want at my fingertips. I can go to the store, and create a Vietnamese dish within an hour, exotic ingredients included. How fascinating.

Lately, I've attempted to reduce my stress. Not that my life is anywhere close to unmanageable, rather ever-changing. It requires a sporadic recharge, and I haven't mastered how to do that. A few changes that have affected my stress-levels-- work has increased (great problem to have), I'm trying to be well-balanced for those around me (husband, daughter, friends, family), and the largest factor, I am pregnant and expecting my son in February (two-under-two). Side note: being pregnant doesn't offer any help in terms of being rational, energized, and not-emotional. These are all very minor but to someone who hasn't mastered handling stress, (is that any of us?) it can be a bit overwhelming when things fall through the cracks.

I've also processed how to relieve stress. What is key to approaching stress, handling it, and moving forward? Anybody, Bueller? I've considered several outlets-- reading, watching movies, spending time with friends, quiet time/journaling-- all good things but difficult to maintain on a regular basis. What is something I do on a regular basis that brings joy and comfort? I eat.

I did some research to find the percentage of people who eat for comfort and was disappointed with the results; 15% of people eat pizza for comfort, 67% of people eat fattening comfort food when feeling depressed, and my favorites... 35% of people reach for potato chips when sad while 32% for ice cream.  I can't relate to these statistics. While I enjoy my share of junk food, it's not something I crave or reach for in times of distress. Is there anyone out there who simply enjoys, dare I say healthy food in general, as opposed to guilty pleasures?

This brings me to my own relationship with food. I'm fascinated by food. I'm someone who cooks up to twelve meals for clients in one day only to find myself cooking a separate meal for my family that same evening. I like to experiment with flavors and ingredients. It's an outlet, it's a time when I am alone in my thoughts creating things, it's relaxing. So when I have to go to the store four times per week, I don't do so begrudgingly, rather embrace the experience. Julia from 'Julie & Julia' put it so eloquently, "I must be the only American I know who thinks shopping for food is just as enjoyable, if not more, than buying a dress". Amen, sister.

So maybe that's what I should do. I should prioritize flavors, technique, and reading cookbooks to begin my journey of managing stress, for stress is only as unmanageable as I make it. After all, I have the world at my fingertips for inspiration.

I'm aware that cooking as a relaxing hobby is questionable and at times a rarity so I wonder-- what do YOU do to relax? What can you incorporate in your day, be it five minutes or two hours, that recharges you? If you don't know the answer to that question, I highly recommend you test some options out and find something. I'm also curious so feel free to comment below if you have an answer! In the meantime, you can crunch on this--a quick snack that is packed with flavor, crunch, and relaxation.


Bold Popcorn


Ingredients


1/3 cup popcorn kernels
2 tbs oil/fat-- equal ratio of coconut oil and ghee is always a crowd-pleaser
Seasoning salt (I use Lawry's)
2 tbs grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp taco seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground black pepper

Steps

Add oil and three popcorn kernels to a 3-quart pot over medium heat. Once those kernels pop, add the remaining kernels to the pot and cover immediately.
Once there are more than 2 seconds in-between pops and the batch is popped, add the popcorn to a slightly larger bowl.
Add seasoning ingredients, and toss away!
Bon appetit!



Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Only Reason Why I Eat Cinnamon Rolls

A sad excuse for icing
You guys, let's talk about cinnamon rolls. I'm not talking the homemade kind (lo siento), I'm talking the ones you get from a can (off-brand no less). What's with the "icing pack"? I vote it shouldn't be called a pack, more so a taste, smidgen, and even molecule. It barely is enough to cover a small fraction of the rolls! Now, I'm aware that I already lost this argument when I used the word 'can' or 'off-brand'. Those of you who whip up EVERYTHING from scratch 1. well done, that is incredibly admirable, 2. Are probably are saying "you got what you deserved", and "you're a chef, why wouldn't you just make them yourself?" Because I didn't. There are times when I say, forget it, and I purchase foods instead of cooking them. I'm not kidding when I say, I'll eat anything. That's for another post, we have more important things to discuss.
Homemade cream cheese frosting

Anyway, I popped open the lovely can and read the instructions.  Side note: does anyone else catch themselves waiting to read the instructions until after the can is already popped? I read to preheat the oven to 350 degrees, yada yada yada, and to spread the icing over the rolls once out of the oven. I took one look at the pack of icing and chucked it aside with disdain. I opened my fridge in a panic only to remove half a pack of cream cheese, then raided the pantry for vanilla extract and confectioners sugar. Normally, you're supposed to bring the cream cheese down to room-temp but I was desperate so I drenched a dense cloth with very warm water and wrapped it around the mixing bowl. Quickly following, I let the mixer beat the cream cheese until it was soft only to add about 3/4 a cup of confectioners sugar and soon-after 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. I turned the mixer off, delicately dipped my index finger in the icing, and voila; it was delicious. I slathered the rolls with the homemade cream cheese icing then tented them, allowing the steam to assist in melting the icing juuuust enough. Once I licked my finger after the final bite of icing cinnamon roll, I took one look at the sub-par unopened 'packet' of icing and thought to myself... "never again".



The proper way to ice cinnamon rolls

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Reacquainted

Oh, hello. So nice to see you again. What's that, you don't remember me? Not surprising considering my last post was back in April of 2016. It was written thirteen days before Juliana came into this world, yet I feel like I just wrote it. Now she is 9.5 months old. I guess I finally understand why people say, "the days are long but the years are short".

Side note, I never reread my blog posts. I write them candidly, force myself to edit as much as I can before getting distracted, and send them off into the abyss of swiping thumbs and clicking mouses. Since it had been such a long time, I decided to read my last post for perspective. It was enlightening and accurate. While I can say I finally have a routine down with my baby, I'm trying to maintain the same for myself. While I'm first and foremost a mom, I am still an entrepreneur, wife, friend, and individual. That is where the blog comes in. For months it makes its way into my thoughts. Right as I think "I want to update my blog", poof it's gone.

Patience has been the ever-present lesson over the past year and I've learned it's 100% necessary when applying it to self-growth. While this post does not have a recipe, snippet of my daily food of choice, or restaurant review, it is symbolic of the growth you will start to see in the blog. After all, it has my name on it, I own it, and I will reclaim it. It will just take a vision and patience. Thank you for yours.

Until then, you can view snapshots of life and food on my Instagram page