Sunday, October 2, 2011

Etsy Metal Blog Carnnival for October: Let's Talk About Food...

Food; a very complex and frustrating subject for me. From as far back as I can remember, I have loved food in all its varied forms. Both my parents loved to cook, and loved traditional foods from around the globe. Never a Autumn Sunday went by without my father cooking up a pot of Italian vegetable soup, or baking a fresh loaf of crusty sourdough bread. We ate Asian, French, Middle Eastern, Mexican, you name it. My family was unusual, in that we tended to eat more whole foods rather than Wonder Bread and TV Dinners, like most of my friend's families. To this I am very grateful. What I'm not so grateful for, is my struggle with loving food too much. As a kid I was never heavy. My childhood in New York was full of lots of physical activity; walking to school, swimming, biking, just being outside and moving. That all came to a crashing end when the family moved to Atlanta. No one walked in Atlanta. Very few "played" outside, as it was too damn hot or the speeding cars flying through your neighborhood would plow you over. My level of physical activity plummeted to near zero, while my appetite stayed the same. The food down here was so much richer, fattier, and just over all less healthy. Within a week of stepping off that Delta Airlines flight, I was eating my first chicken fried steak with biscuits and gravy. Kiss my lean figure good-bye!

After the birth of my first child, I knew I had to do something. After years of not loving my body, it was beginning to give up on me. I started exercising more, eating better, and feeling good. Then after my second child was born, at the tender age of one, she was diagnosed with Type-1 Diabetes. I learned more about food in a week, then most will in a lifetime. Now we were a low carb family/whole food family; lots of fish, lean meats, veggies, and low sugar fruits, like berries. To add insult to injury, she was later diagnosed at three with Celiac Sprue, an autoimmune disease that attacks the small intestines. My youngest was not the only one to be diagnosed with Celiac, my older daughter was as well. So now we were a low carb/whole food/gluten free family. OMG! What was there left to eat? Well, there was a bunch left, and once again I, along with the rest of the family, embraced eating in a whole new way.

Even with a healthier lifestyle, the damage had been done. All those years of being overweight had taken their toll on my body. In my forty-sixth year on this planet, I've come to the conclusion that I must do something more drastic. As much as I love food, I'm now trying to look at it as fuel, and not as pleasure and comfort, a very hard thing to do. I've started replacing two meals a day with either a green smoothie or a veggie juice. I've cut back on the red wine, and chocolate (one of my believed treats).
I'm hoping this works, as I'm tired of being tired. I want to feel more energy, to recover faster from a workouts, to stop this middle age spread that seems to have reared its ugly head. I will still treat myself, once and a while, to a family favorite. It's just not fall without at least one pumpkin pie or warm bowl of Italian Vegetable Soup. I will still have some home made gluten free pizza with the kids, but just not as often. I need to woo my body back into liking me. I know it will not be an easy thing to do.

So for those nights I'm treating myself to a favorite. I know this recipe will be at the top of my list.

Tom Kha Gai - Chicken coconut Soup
2 cups of coconut milk
6 thin slices of galangal
2 stalks of lemon grass (cut into 1 inch strips and crush with cleaver)
5 fresh kaffir lime leaves (torn in half, not cut)
250 g of boneless chicken
5 tablespoons of fish sauce (naam blaa)
2 tablespoons of sugar
Half a cup of lime juice
1 teaspoon of black chili paste (nam prik pow)
Quarter cup of coriander leaves
5 green chili peppers (I will use red chilis)

Slice the chicken into thin strips. 
Smash lemon grass with the flat side of a chef's knife once and then cut into 1 inch pieces; slice galangal into thin rounds; tear lime leaves into thirds; cut chilis in half.
Heat coconut milk and water in a saucepan for 2-3 minutes. Don't let it boil. Reduce heat to a medium and add lemon grass, galangal, lime leaves, chilies and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring continuously and not letting it boil.
Add chicken strips and cook for 5 minutes, stirring over medium heat, until the chicken is cooked.
Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of fish sauce and quarter tablespoon of sugar. stir, and continue cooking for another minute or two/
Transfer to a soup bowl and serve immediately, garnished with fresh corriander leaves.


See what my fellow Etsymetal compadres have to say about food...

1. Inbar Bareket -
2. Victoria Takahashi -
3. Cynthia Del Giudice -
4. kate jones -
5. Twigs and Heather-
6. Nova of Sweden -
7. Beth Cyr -
8. Nodeform -
9. Rebecca Bogan -
10. Panicmama Jewelry -
11. Evelyn Markasky
12. 2Roses:

13. Evelyn Markasky :


Inbar Bareket said...

WOW Jenny, Thank you for sharing!
That's hard ! keeping special diet no carb - that's hard - I know ! I my self have an autoimmune disease and I know how hard it is.... I don't fight with my weight anymore.

I Love Chicken coconut Soup especially Tom Yam :-)
I use a lot coconut milk - one of my favorite ingredients.

Evelyn Markasky said...

It is sooo hard to treat food as just fuel. There is so much tasty stuff out there. But you really seem to be on the right road and congratulations for figuring it all out for yourself and your family.

AdobeSol said...

Fantastic article!! Your recipe looks wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

mommyx12 said...

I noticed Nourishing Traditions on your shelf. My absolute favorite book of cook books!