I need to give up stress baking. Stress + Baking = Polar Bear Reaction. That’s a Martha Beck term.
I was busy and stressed before, during and after our move to Evanston, IL. Discovering the slow Chicago job market has been a source of additional stress. I have continued my Martha Beck relaxation exercises, turning the Watcher on myself to analyze what I’m feeling. I have made some progress.
I decided to take up running. Usually when I begin an exercise program, I throw myself into it, reaching exhaustion in a week, then I give up for several weeks until I guilt myself into starting again. I’m doing something different this time. I am listening to my body and taking several days of rest in between workouts. This is working out well because I am slowly building up endurance, and my workouts feel so much better when I am well rested rather than dragged out yet forcing myself to go through the motions.
As far as eating, we have continued to watch our portions. As an example, about a year ago Steve and I could finish off an entire homemade pizza by ourselves. These days, we cut the pizza into six slices and one slice is enough for a meal. And we only use half the sausage, mushroom and onion topping on the pizza, so the rest can be used for an additional meal over pasta with the leftover pizza sauce, or even a second meal after that tossed with scrambled eggs. White sugar has been replaced with Sucanat (evaporated cane juice) in our coffee. We’ve been eating more salads, now that we have access to quality vegetables at Whole Foods.
And then I decided to make some chocolate chip cookies. To use up the brown sugar. (Isn’t that a great rationalization?! How much is brown sugar, like two bucks? Martha Beck even has an entire chapter devoted to throwing away food. We aren’t human garbage cans, you can throw away food.)
I rolled the entire batch into balls and put them in the fridge, to be baked on a future date (we’d never eat two dozen cookies before they went stale). But I’ve been scarfing down cookie dough balls all week.
After dinner we went for a walk to Dick Blick so I could get a sketchbook, and on the way home I was feeling a little light-headed. I knew cookie dough would make me feel awful in the morning (Sugar! Sugar! Sugar!). Instead Steve suggested a bowl of cereal and a glass of orange juice, then he sent me to bed at 8:00 pm.
However, if you’d love a killer Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, here is the one I use, from Martha Stewart: Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
I have tried many chocolate chip cookie recipes. I know many swear by the one on the Nestle’s bag, but I don’t like it. I think it’s boring. I like my cookies chewy, and that recipe is not chewy enough. The one above made me stop testing recipes.
And a tip from Alton Brown to make the cookies ultra-chewy perfection: bake until they are just done – until the wetness is gone from the tops of the cookies. Then take them out of the oven and leave them on the baking sheet (I use my Pampered Chef baking stone) 10 minutes. Then move to a cooling rack. Chewy perfection.
But for now I need to put the recipe away and concentrate on healthy eating. And we will have less stress now that Steve found a job!