Oh yes I did just quote Tom Petty. But, seriously. I’ve been on maternity leave for three weeks now. The whole two story townhouse is clean. All laundry has been washed – that’s including baby clothes and sheets. I’ve cooked and frozen several healthy meals for after. The hospital bags are packed. Carseat installed. People lined up with spare keys to check on the cats. I’ve finished the novel I was reading, re-read Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth and Marie Mongan’s HypnoBirthing, practiced my hypnosis and relaxation and affirmations to the point where I can recite them from memory, and made arrangements with the lady who’ll be dehydrating and making capsules from my placenta. (I know, can you get more primal than ingesting your own placenta…?)
OK, so let’s just agree that I’ll stop promising to write more often, and you guys (all, what, seven of you?) won’t feel too abandoned and distraught over it. I’m sure you’ve been getting by just fine without me. The thing is, I haven’t really been experimenting in the kitchen as much as I used to. It’s just a phase, I know. I always feel less motivated in the colder months, and then spring hits and suddenly I feel like tackling all sorts of projects.
So the result is that, yes, I’ve still been eating Primal, but I’ve pretty much just been perusing other people’s websites, and making their recipes. That said, here’s a photo of a shepherd’s pie I made from a recipe on Mark’s Daily Apple. If you haven’t tried this recipe, you really should. Amazing comfort food! I only made two little tweaks – I added a few splashes of Worcestershire sauce to the meat for some extra flavor, and I added crushed garlic to the mashed cauliflower.
Remember when you were a kid and you’d eat too many Pixy Stix – or whatever your poison was then – and get really hyper and energetic, running, jumping, climbing, your mom yelling not to knock over the lamp, and then…total shutdown. Seemingly out of nowhere you were exhausted or cranky (probably both) and were either crashed out in front of the TV, picking a fight with your brother, or trying to score more sweets off your mom like the conniving little junkie you were.
We all know about the sugar crash. We know the stuff is a drug, we know what it does to our bodies, and we know we feel better not eating it. Aside from using a little honey to sweeten things when I bake, snacking on fruit, or indulging in a square or two of good dark chocolate, Brad and I have both been avoiding sugar for nearly a year now. A couple of mornings I have a little orange juice with breakfast, because I just love it too much to give it up completely, but other than that I really only drink water – no sodas. I don’t have caffeine very often anymore either – especially now that I’m pregnant. On the weekends I might pour myself half a cup of coffee with heavy cream and stevia when Brad makes a pot for himself. The result of these changes is that we rarely get irritated with each other anymore, and neither of us suffer from the mood swings, afternoon fatigue, headaches, and other ailments that used to plague us pre-Primal. But I’m not revealing any groundbreaking new concept here.
So why am I telling you this? Don’t worry, it’s about to become relevant. I thought I’d share a little cautionary tale of my own. Fast forward from sugar-fueled childhood to a sugar-free adult me last weekend…
Now that we’ve told all of our family and friends and have made it over that crucial first trimester hump, I decided it was time to reveal what’s been stealing so much of my energy and attention since November. You might have noticed around then that I stopped posting so regularly. Not that being pregnant in some way precluded me from writing. And it’s not that I fell off the Primal bandwagon either – though I’m sorry to say, the combination of chilly weather, holiday treats galore, and an increased appetite have made the occasional slip-up inevitable. My meals have stayed clean, but I’ll admit to indulging in the occasional cookie…or pastry…or whatever. I think I’ll live.
It’s more that this has been a huge distraction in my life for the past few months – constantly occupying my mind with such profound thoughts as “What the…?!!”, “Hey, I get to buy new clothes! And furniture! And redecorate!” and “Wait, I’m not old enough to be somebody’s mom! OK well, yeah, I’m old enough, but… What the…?!!?” Just kidding. A little bit.
Happy New Year, everyone! I know I’ve been in and out over the holiday season, and I resolve to get back on top of writing regularly in 2012. Not because I’m so narcissistic that I think I’ve been terribly missed, but because I miss writing here. And well, yeah…maybe…hopefully…a few people out there actually check in regularly and enjoy my ramblings.
So, I’m kicking off the year with my favorite Southern New Year’s Day tradition – which also just happens to be totally Primal… Black-Eyed Peas and Collard Greens! If you don’t know the superstition, (and I assume that even if you’ve never eaten it, most people have at least heard of it) the black-eyed peas are for good luck, and the greens are for money. And who couldn’t use a little more of both? But old wives tales aside, this is just good ole’ yummy Southern comfort food at it’s best.
I’m happy to say I survived Thanksgiving and all its requisite gluttony. Not without a couple of cheats here and there, I’ll be honest. I know some people don’t agree with cheating at all. And I get it – it’s definitely easier to stick with any kind of lifestyle if you don’t have temptations lurking around to trip you up.
Just a warning up front for all those who are dairy-free. This recipe does contain dairy. A lot of dairy. More dairy than even I usually eat, and I totally love me some dairy. This is definitely a special occasion, holiday, sometimes-food. Or, a “better bad,” as we like to say. It has cheese, sour cream, butter, and a bit of heavy cream to make the soup. So if you don’t eat dairy, I can only offer my apologies because I have no substitutions to give. If you want to try it with coconut milk, or coconut oil, or vegan cheese, or something like that, I’d love to hear how it turns out! But I haven’t tried it myself, so I make no promises. Moving on…
My all-time favorite Thanksgiving side dish in the whole wide world is Green Bean Casserole. Not the recipe that most people know, with the little onion things on top and the gross mushroom soup. I actually hate that kind. No, I always looked forward to my mother making her special Green Bean Casserole, and it’s been my go-to dish for potlucks and holiday dinners for at least 10 years. I can’t count how many people have asked me for the recipe. And now…now I’m not supposed to have it anymore. Needless to say, I’ve been pretty irritated by this, what with Thanksgiving being this week and all.