The Dark Side of a Food Blog

blog twitter.jpgIt sounds silly to say a food blog has a “dark side,” but for me mine definitely did. When I started this blog over a year ago, the point was to be healthy….. and by that i mean lose weight. I thought that if I posted some low calorie/low fat recipes that I could help myself slim down. I love food and cooking, and blog would hold me accountable to my goal. It worked. I was eating less calories, working out more and losing weight.

What I didn’t realize is that I was on the verge of not eating enough. I would get startling cravings that would last all day and couldn’t be satiated. I stopped feeling hungry. And that’s when the trouble started… I began binging and purging…I was bulimic.

FullSizeRender-2.jpgThis wasn’t the first time it happened, it been a problem on and off since college. When I told my boyfriend at the time his response was: “Never do it again or I’ll tell your parents and send you to the hospital.” While he was right, and I shouldn’t be throwing up what I ate, the response was starling. It wasn’t helping me. That comment made me think to myself: “Ok, well I won’t tell you or anyone else.” And I didn’t… for years.

My eating disorder was never severe enough to force me to go to a doctor. It didn’t happen every day or even every month… that was until last year. My eating disorder and depression took over my life. It wasn’t until last fall that I began to get help. Since my first therapy appointment my eating disorder hasn’t beat me. That doesn’t mean there aren’t days when I still hate how my body looks, or obsess over what I eat, but with help from some amazing doctors every day is getting a little bit better.

The Future of My Food Blog

So why tell this amazingly embarrassing amount of information about myself? Why am I willing to tell the world the dirty little secret about myself? I want my blog to now help other people. I want to turn it into a source of hope for others. I think it’s hard to talk about eating disorders. I think there’s a lot of shame behind them and for that reason a lot of people don’t get help. I want to be healthy… the *REAL* healthy. Make it about enjoying food while getting a lot of nutrients, not just losing weight.

IMG_2427For my birthday last month I got one of the best birthday presents I’ve ever gotten in my life. A Shun chef knife. This knife isn’t messing around. I turned a tomato into confetti. This knife was given to me by someone so important to me, who has been by my side through the depression and the eating disorder. Someone who has encouraged me to cook despite my struggle with food.

So I take this knife and move forward with recipes that will make me happy. The goal is to post recipes that are fairly easy to cook. I know when I’m having down days, the energy to actually cook is hard. I want to post recipes that aren’t super restricting, and that can hopefully help others struggling with the same issues.

The world is filled with diet trends and “skinny” recipes. I’m ready to start something new. Food you can feel good about and enjoy. I promise there won’t be 8 lbs of butter in a recipe, but I also know I won’t be afraid to use a little. It’s all about balance… at least that’s what I’m trying for.

I promise my future blog posts won’t be as depressing. I’ve had a few that have showed a lot of my soul. But I’m hoping from this point it’s all about moving forward. My food isn’t just for those who are struggling. It’s for everyone, and it’s hopefully recipes everyone can feel good about.IMG_1834

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Green Bean Fries

IMG_2432These are a great side dish… and super easy to make. They’ll go well with a sandwich or a burger as an alternate to fries. Although let’s be honest… there’s nothing quite like a good french fry sometimes. These green bean fries are crispy and satisfying. They’re also a little spicy since I add some cayenne pepper… of course if you’re not as big of a spice fan as I am, then you can just take it out.

 

 

 

What you’ll need:IMG_2426

  • 2 cups of green beans
  • 2/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 egg whites

IMG_2431Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Trim the ends off all of the green beans and set aside. In a bowl add the egg whites and a splash of water. Mix together. In a separate bowl, add the bread crumbs, salt, pepper, garlic powder and cayenne pepper. Mix together. Coat the green beans in the egg wash, and then in the bread crumb mixture. Put on a baking sheet and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the bread crumbs are golden brown. Watch the green beans very carefully and check on them frequently so they don’t burn. They may need a little less or a little more time.

Enjoy this quick and easy veggie side dish!

Almond Coriander Baked Chicken

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In my journey to find a more balanced lifestyle (and I want to emphasize balance. I’m not dieting), I thought about using the large amount of chicken broth currently in my freezer. After marinating on it for awhile (pun intended), I decided on using it to bake a basting liquid to cook chicken in. I then turned that liquid into a sauce. The outcome was pretty amazing. Granted I’m a sucker for bone-in chicken.. and wine. The coriander adds really nice floral notes, and the almonds add a great nuttiness.

It’s so easy to make, and really doesn’t dirty too many dishes in the process.

What you’ll need:

  • Skin on, bone in chicken. (You can use a whole chicken broken down, or what I did, which was two large breasts and a pack of thighs)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/8 cup sliced almonds
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • coriander
  • paprika
  • flour

(all of the spices will be dashes, or to taste. I feel like the best way to cook is just to taste as you go… which may be why I’m not a great baker haha)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Take the pieces of chicken. Season both sides with salt, pepper, coriander and paprika. Coat a pan with olive oil, and put on medium-high heat. Place the pieces of chicken skin side down in the hot oil. Brown on both sides and remove from the pan. IMG_2425-1

When the pan cools a little, add the white wine, garlic and almonds. Simmer until the wine reduces some and thickens (it can still be fairly loose). Stirring occasionally. Then add the chicken broth. Once again allow the liquid to reduce. Stirring occasionally. There’s no thickening agent so it won’t become super thick, but when it reduces some and thickens a little take off the heat.

IMG_2429Put the chicken in an oven safe dish, and pour the chicken broth mixture on top of the chicken. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 25-35 minutes (the thighs take closer to 25 but the breasts take as long as 35. Just keep an eye on it). After about 20 minutes, take off the aluminum foil and allow it to finish uncovered.

When the chicken is finished, take the liquid at the bottom of the pan and put it back into a pot on the stove, and put on medium heat. Whisk in a few pinches of flour until it thickens into a sauce consistency. (**note: you have two options here. Either put a little bit of the broth with the flour beforehand and make a paste before mixing it into the rest of the broth mixture, OR be very very careful and gently sprinkle the flour into the broth while it’s heated on the stove. If you put too much in at once, the flour will clump up and not mix in evenly.**)

Once you get the sauce the correct consistency, drizzle it over the chicken and serve. It’s a really delicious and satisfying dish. Great protein. If you pair with a vegetable then it’s a complete meal!IMG_2430

A New Chapter

It’s not easy to start over. Especially when you’ve been working towards one goal for a long time. In my last blog post I talked about my struggle with depression, and the health struggles that went along with that.

Suffering from depression and anxiety doesn’t mean you’re crazy. It doesn’t mean you’re just having a bad day. It’s a condition that’s hard to explain, and embarrassing to share. In fact, I would be surprised if many people knew that I was struggling.

FullSizeRender-2I was on track with my career path, a young TV news producer who had already made it to the 4th largest market in the country. I was learning how to function at a new station, in a new city, with much different hours. That’s when it happened. When I really started going downhill. Talking about it made me feel weak. I now know that I’m stronger for talking about it, and the more I do, the better I feel. I took leave from work for 5 months, to deal with the depression, the anxiety and a lot of the physical symptoms (migraines, feeling sick to my stomach, stomach pains, extreme fatigue) that came along with it.

I intended on going back, but then I took a new leap. After speaking with my doctors and deciding what would be the best course of action, I resigned. It’s heartbreaking, ending (for now) a career I had worked so hard to cultivate. But depression isn’t like breaking your leg. It doesn’t just heal. Even when you’re feeling better, it can be amazingly easy to fall back into it. And if I can help it, I don’t ever want to feel the pains of a panic attack again. So the best thing for me is to take a step away, work on some lower stress projects, and focus on growing.

IMG_1614So here’s my new chapter. I’m freelancing. I’ve already landed two separate reoccurring jobs. One writing for a blog that focuses on weddings, and the other creating marketing materials for a start-up real estate company. I may not be making as much money as I was, but for now I can live a little more modestly. And It’s nice to have projects where I can work on my own schedule. I also can make sure I’m exercising, getting outside and taking time to relax.

I’m excited for my new chapter, and a little afraid, but I know this will be a really great journey.