Cottage Cheese, Chocolate Custard, Sweet Potato Fries…Oh My!

For me, the theme of this past week has been random cravings. I personally think it’s very enjoyable to pay attention to my cravings, because it makes the experience of eating more fun and more satisfying. When I’m not clued in to what I feel like eating, I tend to find meals and snacks sort of blah and I end up not eating frequently enough (which ends badly…thank you, reactive hypoglycemia) or I end up just mindlessly munching on food and/or finishing my plate because I’m not fully satisfied. I enjoy reading Kylie Mitchell’s blog and one of the reminders she often gives is that not ever meal needs to be a gourmet experience. Sometimes food is “fine” rather than “oh-my-gosh-amazing” and that’s totally okay. But for the most part, I try to make the most satisfying choice in any given moment because I generally feel best when I do.

Things I’m Loving Lately

Cottage cheese.

I realize that if you’re not already someone who loves cottage cheese, you might think that’s completely disgusting. My husband, for one, finds cottage cheese to be creepy, but I love it, and I love to combine it with other foods.

One way that I’ve been eating cottage cheese (for years) that other people think sounds gross is by adding sliced banana, a scoop of peanut butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon. If that sounds strange, hear me out! It’s not really any different than adding peanut butter, banana and cinnamon to Greek yogurt, which is another tasty snack. Except with cottage cheese, it’s less tangy and a touch more salty, which I personally love.

Lately I’ve also been enjoying it with a variety of other chopped fruit (blueberries, strawberries and banana, pictured below) as well as mixed with dill and black pepper and used as a dip for celery.

Growing up, my grandma used to serve us cottage cheese on top of buttered noodles with black pepper, and I loved it. I think since I ate cottage cheese so often as a kid, it never occurred to me that other people might not like it. I guess I understand that the texture can be a little off-putting for those who aren’t accustomed to it, but as for me and my belly? Cottage cheese is here to stay.

Do you like cottage cheese? How do you like to eat it?

Shortcuts for a Simpler Life

If you’re craving something, just eat it.

I find that it completely over-complicates things in life when we are constantly questioning, avoiding, or trying to suppress hunger. Hunger and cravings are two bodily signals that God gave us for a reason, and I firmly believe that we’re better off when we honor those signals instead of trying to resist them. Not only does it tend to amplify the craving/hunger when we resist it, but the mental effort it takes to do so is a complete waste. My life is so much more fulfilling when I focus on things that are more important than my own body.

One of the most beautiful gifts that recovery has given me was the realization that when I just eat when I’m hungry and choose the foods I’m craving, I stop thinking about food when it’s not a meal/snack time. That means I no longer get lost in daydreams about desserts, no longer spend hours scouring Pinterest for “lighter” versions of my favorite recipes, and no longer agonize over the calorie count of my meals. In fact, I am more likely to end up overeating when I pay attention to calories than when I tune out the numbers and trust my body instead.

Case in point: I spent the hour-long drive to my sister’s house craving chocolate ice cream until I finally found a Culver’s. For $2, I had the most dreamy chocolate cone, my sweet craving was satisfied, and I didn’t think about food again until dinner time. Bless.

Note: this picture was taken in the Culver’s parking lot when my car was parked.

Life Hack

A few weeks ago, my husband and I attended a cooking class and one of the off-handed comments made by the chef really stuck with me: because of the high moisture content in sweet potatoes, they crisp up better in the oven when you cook them without oil.

This completely shocked me, since I had been programmed to believe that crispiness comes from being fried, and being fried comes from adding oil. Shows what I know…

Anyway, one day I had another craving (go figure) for sweet potato fries and rather than leaving my house just to go to Culver’s (no shame in this, however) I decided to use the sweet potato I already owned and try out the no-oil “fries” method. Instead of tossing in oil, I spread them out on a parchment-lined baking sheet, spritzed with cooking spray and sprinkled with salt. 35 mintues at 400 degrees later, I had my lunch.

I’m reluctant to call them fries because they weren’t actually fried and did not taste like sweet potato fries, but they were crispy sweet potato pieces and they were highly delicious. I dipped them in Trader Joe’s creamy Greek/Feta dressing and it was the perfect combo.

I will admit, these sweet potato “fries” tasted much different than the home fries/hash browns I make when I toss them in oil first, and in some ways I do prefer the oiled variety. However, these were much crispier than the oil version, so do with that what you will. The chef also noted that carrots tend to get crispier when roasted with out oil for the same reason, so that’s something you might want to try one day. I’ve never had the urge to eat crispy carrots that weren’t raw, but I’d be willing to take a bite if someone else made them for me.

Weekly Word

And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

Isaiah 58:11

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