Last week had perfect spring weather in the middle of February and it was glorious. Thank you, Midwest. I went for a jog, took my nephew to the park, and tried to soak it all in before the 40 degree weather and rain set in. Friday I went to a pediatric nutrition forum at the same hospital where I did clinical rotations and soaked up tons of information while eating free snacks #blessed then headed home across the state to see my parents and get a new car after mine was totaled in January. Other than seeing my family (of course), my favorite thing about being home is the food. Ohhhh, the food...
I got in Friday night and momentarily mad that my parents weren't home to greet me, but got over it quickly when they came back bearing Mexican and Angry Orchard. This place has theeeee best rotisserie chicken plus the random neon chips make my inner child happy.
I had plans to sleep in Saturday morning but my inner intern clock had me up at 6:30. I felt well-rested, so I rolled with it and brought coffee #1 back to bed to catch up on Grey's Anatomy. Does anyone else tell when their level of creamer in coffee is perfect by the color? I have an exact shade I'm looking for when I'm pouring in the half-and-half (I prefer coffee unsweet unless it's iced) and I have no idea how much I'm actually adding - just that my goal is the perfect mid-brown. I poured cream in first the other day and ended up with thick, practically white coffee...never again.
Then I made myself a quick breakfast sandwich with cup #2 of coffee before heading to a barre3 class that was free because it was a new instructor-in-training. Plus a big Tervis or two of water in between coffees so my stomach didn't rebel during my workout. I'm still taking it WAY easy when it comes to exercise, but b3 is always great about providing modifications and not judging when people need breaks!
After my workout, my dad drove me to a dealer to shop for a replacement car after mine got totaled in an accident in January. I was STARVING at this point so I grabbed the leftover beans and chips and ate them like a dip.
Also on hand was Justin's vanilla AB with apple slices.
After the dealer, I headed to the store to pick up ingredients for a dessert to bring to family dinner. I also grabbed a pressed KIND bar because I was hungry again and I've heard good things and let me tell you - this little bar did NOT disappoint! It was like a thick fruit leather, but the veggies dialed back the super-sweetness you usually get in a fruit leather to make a perfect flavor. I added almonds for a little protein/fat to make this bar last longer in my stomach because dinner was still a few hours away at this point.
I ended up making flourless brownies along with a newly invented variation of blondies that's perfect for spring (recipe coming later this week), and I added these caramel coconut energy bites to the to-do list while I had the food processor out so I could snack on them all week. There's something so calming about cooking and baking and I usually don't have time for too much, so I soaked up every second of my time in the kitchen before we headed to dinner at our neighbors'.
My mom has mad skills in the kitchen (my dad has mad takeout-ordering skills, bless his heart) and always has some kind of delicious dreamed-up dish for us to try, plus my parents’ best friends live right next door and can also bring the cooking A-game. I loved living at home during summers in undergrad for the weekly dinners with K + T, plus the casual yet cutthroat competition we’re all in to make the best dish. I briefly held the title last March with this leek and sweet corn risotto, but almost immediately lost to Kent’s Cuban pot roast. Then won again with peach crisp with French vanilla ice cream. Then lost to Cajun fried turkey. And so on and so forth. But this weekend, we had pork tenderloin stuffed with a roasted red pepper/basil/cream cheese filling with roasted veggies on the side and dare I say it's my new favorite family dinner dish ever. My family also had a huge container of leftover rice in the fridge so we toted it along to see if we could get help in emptying it a bit (success). I didn't take a photo of the brownies and blondies, but rest assured they were perfect and topped with vanilla ice cream.
On Sunday my mom and I brunched after church at a cute little cafe and this meal was heaven. Sweet potato hash with caramelized onions, bacon, and Swiss cheese topped with a poached egg and served with a latte the size of my head. Perfection. We visited my grandparents then I headed back to school to prep for the week.
Obviously, I love food. I also love to love through food, but it’s easy to get caught up in a flavor or the moment and forget that it’s okay to stop eating when I’m full. The stopping has been the most challenging part of eating more intuitively for me, because frankly we’re not designed to want to stop. Food is delicious, and eating is fun. Who wouldn’t want that to go on for longer? It also gets confusing to the brain when there’s food left but we’re trying to stop eating because we don’t need more. The single hardest thing for me is getting full in the middle of a packaged snack like a bar or bag of popcorn because my brain is like finish ittttttttt and leave the wrapper empty. And sometimes you just finish the dang thing and that's cool too. Right now, I'm trying to work on giving myself permission to stop eating when I recognize I'm not hungry anymore, and here's two actionable ways I've found that help me feel satisfied with my decisions:
Take smaller portions. Not in general, because fueling your hunger is important and you should eat what you need. But I’ve found I generally have less on my plate to confuse my brain if I start a family-style meal with smaller portions then add on until I’m comfortable.
Remember that it doesn’t disappear. You can always always save it for later, ask for a box, pack it up, etc. I think my brain is convinced that if I don’t finish my food, it will disappear and I’ll never get to enjoy that flavor or texture or sensation again, but WRONG. You can always make more, just like you can always eat it again later. This practice helps me be more present when I’m eating as well, so I can fully enjoy my food instead of being concerned that it’s going to go away.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go eat the leftover sweet potato hash in my fridge. ;)