Sunday, May 31, 2015

Hop Into My Kitchen: Cooking with Chavi

It's only appropriate that I follow a post about body image and being overweight by writing about ... food! You see, I spend my Sundays when Ash is napping cooking for the week, or at least for the next few days. So here's what I was up to.

First thing I did was put the laundry in the wash throw together some Baked Salmon Cups. Basically, they're salmon cakes but made the lazy easy way in a muffin pan. The recipe I use is sort of "choose your own adventure," but I know they're done when they're crisp around the edges.

3 cans salmon (~18 oz)
1 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs
3 Tbls mayo
1 Tbls lemon juice
1/2 cup egg white replacer (you can use regular eggs)
dried parsley, salt, pepper, garlic powder + whatever else you want

Directions: Mix it all up. Make sure the mixture isn't too dry, and place in a 12-cup muffin tin. Flatten the tops a bit and throw on some more gluten-free breadcrumbs. I baked these for about 12 minutes at 350 Fahrenheit and wasn't happy with the progress, so I bumped it up to 425 Fahrenheit for another 7 minutes or so and they got crispy. As I said, I take a very "choose your own adventure" approach to cooking.

They make great finger food for toddlers. If you want, mix some mayo with sriracha or with dijon for a nice sauce to have with them.

Then I threw together some Corn Salad (corn, mayo sour pickles, dill, salt, and pepper) and Dijon Hearts of Palm and Tomato Salad (red wine vinegar, dijon, olive oil).

And then? Then the easy stuff. I trimmed and steamed some green beans I picked up at the Farmers' Market this morning. Love the farm-to-table life.

Then, my life was made a bit easier thanks to an awesome package from the kind folks at CookSimple with oodles of goodies to try and coupons to share and buy more, too. The great thing? All I did was write about how easy they'd made my life and how I would have been better off had I discovered them eight months ago (no, seriously). It's healthy, few-ingredient meal aids and meals in a box that are gluten free and kosher. A girl grown up on Hamburger Helper, I'm elated to find something that tastes better that fits my diet.

On the menu for this round of cooking was the Chipotle Sorghum Pilaf. It smelled like Autumn and tasted even better. Ash enjoyed it, despite my worries that the chipotle would have too much kick for a 17 month old, but he is his father's son. It was so tasty and easy. Check out this video for a bit more on it (and the bit in the video about the box + confusion has to do with using the bag as a measuring cup):

And lastly, I made two things at the end of last week that are particularly delicious that I'm quite proud of, although the recipes are completely not my own. The first is Breakfast Yogurt Pops, which Asher absolutely LOVES and the second is Peanut Butter & Jelly Muffins, which I love.

What are you making/baking/cooking these days? Share your favorite go-to recipe with me, please!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

A Plus-Size Confession from an Israeli Fatty

I started to write a post on Facebook, but it just kept growing and growing and growing (much like my waistline and the opposite of Mr. T's, which keeps shrinking). So here we are. This is probably one of the most stupid, open posts I've written in a while, but it's where my head is.

I'm slowly finding myself really disgusted at all the body image crap going around in my Facebook groups. People talking about how it's either horrifying that we're poo-pooing plus size models (OMG they can't be healthy!) or celebrating them (OMG they're so proud and amazing), but it's all ... sigh. I don't know.

I'm plus size. Curvy. Or as they call women in Israel, a "fatty" (shamenit was actually what a woman in a plus-size store called it). The country doesn't know how to accept or deal with its plus-size population, unfortunately, which I find deeply upsetting and disappointing.

Please ignore the hair. Ugh. 
I weighed 180 pounds my senior year of high school.  I've been a size 14/16 or 18/20 most of my adult life, heading into even larger sizes during periods of depression, but I've never "looked it." I look at Tess Holliday and she's only a size up from me in many clothing lines, and I don't think I look that close in size to her. I feel that close in size, but I don't think I look it. Do I?

Am I happy with my body size? No. Of course not. I have back aches, I have knee problems, my foot would probably heal faster if I didn't have extra weight. I'm an emotional binge eater (Shabbat is the worst ... no husband to feel embarrassed in front of as I eat half a package of cheese). I eat primarily vegetarian and my fridge is full of spring greens, tomatoes, asparagus, portobello mushrooms -- but everything in moderation does not always compute for me. I have what is known as a difficulty in understanding and recognizing the sensation of being full. And sometimes, even when I am full, food is a comfort.

Funny thing about that. I realized this week, that the first thing we do when a child is fussing or upset is ask them if they're hungry. Give them a snack. Food heals all wounds, right? We start so young.

Do I love myself? In the right outfit, on the right day, I can and do love the way I look. I think my curves complement my attitude and disposition. I don't argue with certain endowments HaShem blessed me with, but on some days I wish there was quite a bit less junk in my trunk.

Where am I going with this? I don't know. I look at Tess Holliday and I think, yay! Maybe they'll stop putting all the plus-size clothes next to the maternity clothes in Target. Then again, I think, I rarely have to shop in the plus-size department because somehow I can still manage an XXL there. Then I think, maybe I won't have to sell a kidney to buy a nice outfit or skirt at Lane Bryant, but I think that's probably a pipe dream for plus-size girls everywhere. But then I look at Tess Holliday and think, would I, could I, ever have been in her position? Celebrated for my size and the way my body makes that size look? Probably not.

This is me in late February. The wig is a $16 piece from Amazon.
Do I look like a marshmallow?
I lost 25 pounds during and after my pregnancy with Ash. But I didn't look any different. My weight simply shifted (apparently into my thighs or something), keeping me at the same clothing size and same shape. It's weird. The body. Weight. Image.

And, of course, I'm writing this post after spending the whole of Shabbat inside (Ash had a mean cough), where all there was to do was roll around on the floor and eat. Cereal, cucumbers, cheese, rice cakes, lentils, yogurt-granola pops (homemade!), tomatoes, more cereal, lots of water ... by the looks of it, nothing seems bad. And yet, here I am, feeling overly full and angry at myself.

Sometimes I think that I'd have an easier time if my addiction was drugs or alcohol. Those are the kind of things you have to seek out if you don't have them in the house. Food is always there. No one has a completely empty cabinet or fridge. There's a market selling food on every corner (you'll only find a bar on every corner in Chicago).

Anyhow. That's where I am with Tess Holliday and plus-size models and body image. It's an internal dialogue that I can't shut off. Eight months now separated from my husband, me gaining the weight from stress, depression, anxiety, and him losing it with working again and walking everywhere. It's probably my greatest fear about his return: the way I look.

Funnily enough, the moment in my life when I was most happy and comfortable with my body was when I was pregnant. It was like I had an excuse to be the size I was, and I was okay with it.


Friday, May 22, 2015

A Chaviva Infographic, Because Blogging is Hard

I'm so busy these days with the new job that I can't seem to find the time to sit down and plant my thoughts in any one place. I keep telling myself I'm going to make a video blog or I'm going to start blogging over on, but it never happens.

The moment I pick Ash up from daycare at 4 p.m. every day my mind and body basically hit hyperdrive to make dinner and keep him entertained and happy and do household chores until he's in bed around 7/7:30 at which point one of two things happens: I ramp up, put my head down, and get back to work until about 11 p.m. or I completely crash and end up mindlessly watching bad TV until 9:30 and then go to bed.

You can see the dilemma here. I never get to the "me" part of the day where I unwind and unfurl on the blog. I miss that feeling of having a me space. But maybe it'll change once Mr. T is back. Maybe.

Anyway, here's an infographic of what's on my mind/how I'm feeling these days. The only thing that didn't make the infographic is that my father is having a new host of medical problems. Being alone with a 17 month old has made traveling to Nebraska difficult, if not impossible, but I have to head back within the next few weeks for my own sanity. Stay tuned.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Stuff People Say to Converts

This video is overly long, and the viral nature of these videos passed a few years ago, but, I've gotten probably 80% of these comments at some point so I feel like it's worth sharing. And you?