A Jewish Tradition

Before I begin, I want to take a minute to explain this blog entry.  The last couple of weeks have been pretty awful, and I really haven’t been up to writing about anything funny.  Yet, the more I thought about it, and the more time went by without me writing, the more upset I was with myself.   First of all, I felt like I would be letting down my followers, because obviously FGW is their only source of laughter, joy, and entertainment, and also because this is my outlet.  This is the place where I get to laugh at myself, speak freely about my life, explain to people why I am the way I am, and sometimes, on rare occasion, I talk about the serious stuff that happens in my life.

About a week and a half ago, I lost my Papa.  I would love to go into what he meant to me, and what I’ve been going through emotionally, but in reality, I’m writing this to get myself out of the funk I am in.  If I start writing about how sad I am, I will never get back to making anyone laugh, including myself.  Instead, I wanted to look at the happier side of things.  To do what I do best, and write about the (if you will) ‘funny’ parts of my experience with his passing.  To be honest, nothing is funny about this situation, but as I thought about what I wanted to write, I just thought about this one part of the Jewish tradition, that is still lingering with me.

So let’s begin.  It is tradition, when someone passes who was Jewish, that you bring something ‘sweet’ to the family.  You know, instead of flowers that you can look at, and enjoy, we prefer something to sweeten our day.  Coffee cake.  Cookies.  Candy.  Toffee.  Fudge. More candy.  Brownies.  Candied nuts.  Tiramisu.  More Candy.

You get the point.

After the funeral, it is tradition to sit Shiva.  This is a time when people come to visit the family, pay condolences, share stories, have a prayer service with the Rabbi, and… bring and eat sweets.

For four days straight, I was surrounded.  Every where I looked there was candy.  I wish I was kidding, and I also wish I had photographic proof, because it was THAT ridiculous.  I couldn’t turn my head 10 degrees without another bowl of candy being there, in front of me.  The dining room tables were covered in delicious treats.  If our days weren’t ‘sweetened’ by the treats surrounding us, then our blood sure was.  I’m serious.  And the fact that I have NO self control, made the situation even worse.  When I say that I couldn’t stop eating this shit, I’m not kidding.  ‘You’ve been watching what you eat for a long time now, you probably don’t even want that crap!’  Bullshit.  I. Ate. It. All.

Every day that went by, during Shiva, I ate more.  I lost all control.  After Shiva was over, you’d think I’d get back on track, but no.  Sugar is some addicting shit.  I have been craving sweet, ever since.  In my attempt to control myself, I have been eating sugar free popsicles, no sugar added fudgesicles… and FUCKING GELATO.

Now, I would like to turn this back to my Papa, for a moment.  During the time that he was sick, I noticed, more than ever, that he was a sucker for anything sweet.  I would watch him eat cookies before his soup for lunch, dig his hand into the (always full) bowl of M&Ms next to his chair, and choose the BIGGEST chocolate in the box when it was passed around the room.  I always knew he had a sweet tooth, and I knew that it trickled down through my family, but I really truly started to see where I got my own sugar addiction from.  My Papa.

I’ll never eat an M&M again, without thinking about him.

 

On a lighter note, I’d like you to take a moment and picture this scene in your heads:

My family is sitting in my Nana’s living room.  We are all gathered early for the first day of Shiva.  We have set the table, and made coffee.  The candy bowls are full, the coffee cake is cut.  One problem.  The freezer is full to the brim and ‘what if someone brings something that needs to be frozen?!’.  In true form of my family, there is only one logical solution.  Eat the ice cream.  I mean, the containers are taking up space, and we have to make room, so we might as well start eating it.  As I scoop a small amount of ‘Chocolate Peanut Butter You’re Going To Die’ in a bowl for myself (while listening to my family say, ‘ALLISON, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!- As if they should be doing it either), I look around to see every adult, sitting in a chair, placed on the outside perimeter of the room, with a bowl and spoon.

Apparently, laughter isn’t the best medicine.  It’s sugar.

 

I love you, Papa.  Thanks for making my world, and my family, so amazingly sweet.

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I’m All About The Numbers

Ok, so, some people reading this blog have known me for a very long time, and could probably attest to the fact that I am NOT good at math.  I never picked up anything in math class very easily, and when I couldn’t understand something, I usually just let my brain do its thing… and wander some where else.  Like, ‘oh, you can’t do this? Ok. Let’s go on a swirly whirly ride into a daydream’.  This is why I failed at all my math classes.

So, now knowing this about me, I bet you’d be surprised to know that I have become focused- err… obsessed with numbers.  ‘What numbers could she possibly be talking about?’ you may ask.  That would be a very good question!  Nutrition Facts.

I’m not here to bore you with how I carefully read each label, which I do.  I’m also not here to tell you about how I surprise myself with learning how bad the foods are that I previously thought were healthy, which I also do.  No, I’m here to tell you how I sit, sometimes for hours, adding nutrition labels, measuring portions, and analyzing meals that I make at home.

This all started with Turkey Chili.  I made a huge batch.  Enough to feed me probably 10 meals.  While I cooked, I kept a notebook to the side, and jotted down the N.F.’s (this is how we will refer to Nutrition Facts, from here on out) for each and every ingredient.  If I used the whole can of tomatoes, I figured out the facts for the whole can, and wrote that down.  Calories, Fat, Carbohydrates, Sugar, Protein.  Once I had the entire list of ingredients and their N.T.’s, I added them all up.  This gave me the total numbers for my massive batch of Turkey Chili.  When the chili was done cooking, I carefully measured it out by serving size, and then divided those totals by the number of servings that it made.

Since then, I have done this for every single meal I make.  Turkey Chili, Turkey Meatballs,  Bean Salad, Chocolate Protein Balls, Cloud Bread, Cauliflower Pizza, Cauliflower ‘Fried Rice’, Overnight Oats, etc. etc.

Here’s where the obsession begins.  When I figure out the N.F.’s, I immediately start thinking about how I can cut down the calories/fat/carbohydrates… or whatever, by using different ingredients.  That’s when research happens.  My  best example is Overnight Oats.

I thought Overnight Oats would be a good breakfast for me to have, and would be a nice change of pace from a protein shake or eggs.  I used a recipe, adjusted certain things (like not using sugar, and instead, using Truvia), and made the stuff.  When I was finished, I added up the N.P.’s, and realized that it was an INSANE amount of carbohydrates and calories for a 4oz. portion.  Like I didn’t want to waste my time eating this!  Thus began two hours of researching how I could adjust the recipe.  I was adding, scribbling, and crossing things out in my notebook, and ultimately purchasing new food products off of Amazon.

Two days later (what up, Amazon Prime!), I was making my Overnight Oats again.  This time, however, I had managed to cut the calories by half, and the carbohydrates by a third.  Proud of myself doesn’t do this justice.  I was like a kid in a tasty oatmeal shop!

Since then, after I have perfected my recipes, I write down ingredients, brand names of products, and then finally- N.F.’s for each serving on a small index card.  I store these in a little box, tucked away, and I can pull them out anytime, and make the meal, without worrying about doing my math.  Perfection.

So, I’d like to take a moment to give a big shout out to all my math teachers- from Kindergarten to Senior Year.  You did it.  I like my math…  just don’t ask me to start doing any algebra.

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This was my latest creation.  My take on Texas Caviar.  This is one of the neatest written logs I have EVER done.  And yes, that’s one of three, of my handy dandy notebooks.