Isn’t it Ironic

And isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?
A little too ironic, and yeah I really do think.
And yeah, well, life has a funny way
Of sneaking up on you
And life has a funny, funny way
Of helping you out
Helping you out

I started this blog, and cooking, several years ago to help me cope with the process of losing my mother to Alzheimer’s.  The goal was never to preach, tell people how they should live or pretend that I knew the answers.  The goal was to find healthier outlets for my grief, reclaim my health and break the cycle of this disease in my family.  Isn’t it ironic that in my grief over the actual loss of my mom, I’ve returned here all these years later much the same as when I first started.

The words, stories and recipes shared here serve merely as documentation of my personal journey through grief.  My personal memories and tales have no purpose really to anyone but me.  Though so many have read and commented, my intentions are purely to capture the stream of emotions flowing through me.  I say all that as a disclaimer because this loss has taken a toll on me.  As Baron Baptise says, sometimes we have to fall apart to come back together again.  That coming apart is the space I’m currently trying to move through.

The past year has been a difficult one for me health wise.  Recovering from my last femoral stress fracture was not as easy as the other two.  My body just wouldn’t cooperate and wouldn’t heal.   Then, just when I was able to get out and walk and ultimately start running again, I took a bad fall.  This fall left me with injured ribs, an injured peroneal tendon, put me in a boot for 8 weeks and unable to walk without pain for months after.  The effect of this on my physical and emotional health has been tough.  Weight gain, coupled with loss of the ability to engage in activities I love, has been emotionally draining.

Isn’t it ironic that the loss of my mother would be the driving force that pushed me out of this state of mind.  A loss from a deadly virus that is truly so painful, I should be driven to crawl into isolation, has forced me to take a hard look at so many things. Personal relationships, that have long been broken, have new light shed on them and will be shed.  Habits that linger, like people pleasing and taking on other people’s shit, are out of their hiding space and ready to be seen for what they are.

While I have no answers, I have a new perspective on why I’ve taken on guilt for calling someone out when their actions are hurtful to me.  I was raised to be in service of others.  I was raised to put other people’s needs before my own.  I was raised to not judge others.  All of these are truly wonderful qualities and I thank my parents for instilling them in me.  But, in my quest to not disappoint or hurt others, I’ve allowed others to hurt and disappoint me.  This is where my work lies, in the exploration of why.

During this global pandemic, I am taking time to do some personal work for myself.  I need the connection with others who have suffered loss to this virus.  Together, we are engaging and supporting each other through Baron Baptiste’s 40 day program.  I have started cooking again and thankfully walking without pain.  I am trying to gain some clarity on the places where I am stuck and hope to find healthier ways to deal with my grief.

Speaking of cooking, isn’t it ironic that I’ve finally after all these years mastered the art of making German Potato Dumplings on my first holiday without mom.  On Easter Sunday, with no family here to celebrate, I figured out how to make these pesky dumplings that have been the bane of my holiday meals for years.  There was a missing ingredient, one that my mother never used.  Gone is the farina my cousins suggested, that never worked for me.  And, in its place is potato starch, a truly magical ingredient that has solved my problems once and for all with the texture of my dumplings.  I’ve made them twice since Easter, as I’m truly excited to have this childhood item back in my cooking repertoire.

German Potato Dumplings

  • 5 lbs of Russet potatoes
  • 2 eggs
  • 11/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup potato starch
  • Salt
  1. Boil potatoes with skin on until soft
  2. Drain and cool
  3. Peel potatoes and run through potato ricer (manual one is fine)
  4. Place in refrigerator for several hours
  5. Remove from refrigerator and add all ingredients .
  6. Knead with hands until it forms a dough like consistency, adding additional flour as needed.
  7. Toast bread and cut up into 1 inch squares
  8. Form potato into balls, placing a piece of toast in the center of each one.  Balls should be slightly larger than golf ball size.  My mother liked baseball size.20200412_141628
  9. Drop potato dumplings into boiling water and cook until they rise (approximately 10 minutes depending on size)
  10. Drain with slotted spoon and serve immediately with gravy.  We had roast pork and potato dumplings with ours and turkey the second batch.

 

Community

Days like today remind me of all that is good and right in my Staten Island community.  So many runners turned out today to support the family of a young man lost in Afghanistan when he was just 24 years old.  Looking around at the runners today, I noticed so many groups running together.  There was my school’s group of runners, my yoga studio team and several other groups from local clubs and businesses.   Watching the early finishers go by on the other side early in the run is always impressive.  How do they run so darn fast and make it look easy?  What’s even more impressive to me though, is how they stick around to cheer all of us back of the packers in.  The running community is one of the most supportive and welcoming groups around.

Listening to this Gold Star family speak about their son today was such an emotional experience.  They were clearly overwhelmed by the large turnout for this 2nd annual memorial run.  They said it gave them hope that they will be able to give back to other families, but beyond that they said their biggest nightmare is that their son will be forgotten.  Judging by the turnout and many things said about their son today, I don’t think that will happen anytime soon.  Staten Island will soon be naming a ferry boat after SSG Michael Ollis.  Should you wish to learn about Michael and donate to the SSG Michael Ollis foundation, please visit their website.

http://www.ssgollis.org/

Tomorrow I start my second plant based cycle of eating.  I’m excited to experiment with some new recipes.   Knowing this, today we decided to have a juicy, grilled hamburger for dinner.  I know it’s very carnivore like to eat this as my last meal before heading into the cycle, but it really did hit the spot today.  We just grilled them up super quick and ate with a side of salad and roasted vegetables.  Easy cook and cleanup post run and now I’ve got an appointment with some reading material.

Roasted Peppers, Potatoes & Onion

Ingredients:

    • 1 bag of mini red, yellow, orange peppers
    • 1/2 medium onion sliced
    • 2 medium red potatoes
    • olive oil
    • Everything but the Bagel Sesame spice

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Slice potatoes into slices that resemble french fries
  3. Thin slice the peppers
  4. Slice onion and break into rings
  5. Combine all in a large bowl and toss with olive oil
  6. Pour onto foil lined sheet tray and sprinkle with Everything but the bagel spice.
  7. Cook for 20 minutes or to desired consistency
  8. Serve immediately

The salad was simply romaine lettuce, fresh organic strawberries sliced and some shredded cabbage.  This was topped with olive oil and Carter & Cavero Pear & Cranberry condiment.

 

What are some of your favorite plant based meals?  Please share with me for a future blog, or even just in the comments.  I’m going to need lots of ideas.