Thursday, March 6, 2014

Emotional Eating and White Bean Dip with Toasted Pita Chips

I've been too quiet here.  You usually know that means I'm going through something I can't really talk about until it is over.  Major changes have been afoot in my life and my job. Not that I can really go into much detail on the inter-web...but things with my work are drastically different. It was one of those changes due to this economy that the boss said, "We love you. You have an unblemished record.  This isn't your fault. We wish we had 100 people just like you..." and then they still let me go. I was told it wasn't personal. It was business.  But it felt personal to me. I couldn't help but beat myself up.  Cry. Cry. Weep.  Scream...I've been going through all the steps of grief and I've finally come to the one where I feel like I'm able to at least understand that it could be for the best.  It isn't a secret that major changes can trigger post-traumatic stress. I'm the bread-winner for my family. Believe me when I say, I'm feeling the stress.

  I feel like a part of me died this week.  I loved that job. I have spent years becoming an expert in my field.  I'd be an idiot to expect myself to just blow through this experience without feeling anything.  So why would I try to stuff the feelings I have?  Going through the actual feelings and letting them take a natural course is a lot like vomiting.  It feels awful when you're guts are wrenching...but when it is over the junk is out of your system.  

I've never been very good at dealing with grief.   Stuffing my emotions comes very naturally. Top that with being a self-proclaimed perfectionist and extremely hard on myself and I'm a great candidate for being an addict.  I never allow myself to "fall apart".   I'd rather be numb than feel pain.   Sugar makes me numb.   If I wasn't a card-carrying Mormon, I'd probably be an alcoholic.  Food is the only thing in our code of health that doesn't keep us from attending our highest worship...but how often have I let it keep me away from true comfort that God offers me?  

I've been told that food is one of the hardest addictions to break, mainly because it is so readily available.  You don't need ID or a special note from your doctor ,or need to meet a shady-character in a back alley to get Twinkies...unless you're at Fat Camp. Food addicts wear their addiction every single day.  It won't go away easily.   It wasn't until I started really looking at my addiction to food that I realized how much I really did lack in spiritual maturity. I needed to rely on my God so much more than the false idol I had created in the form of a brownie.  Do I always turn to Him? Nope. However, I am getting better.

So how have I done this week on my weight loss goals?   It was one of those major changes that in the past would have driven my addicted-to-food self over to a pan (or three) of brownies.  I wasn't even close to perfect.  I admit I've let myself slip a bit over the last couple of days. But, today I caught myself.  I had some bean dip and whole grain pita chips. I got off the couch and exercised instead of watching all the Net-Flix episodes of Dr. Who.  Do I expect myself to be perfect? Heck no.  Do I expect myself to keep trying. Daggumit! Yes!!

We'll be fine. We'll be more than fine! 
  I got some severance pay. I have a few weeks to catch my breath, focus, and regroup. A day after the fateful meeting with my boss, I was offered a radio-show co-host position by Jan D'Atri. I'll still be doing TV segments. I still have books being published. I have things going...but...Nothing is certain.  Guess what?!! Welcome to LIFE!  Fear of the unknown is lame.  Lame.  Boring.  I have not even really allowed myself to be focused on the doubt because that is pointless. It is wasted energy.  Worry is the lowest form of negative thinking. Seriously. Why think about the worst thing that could happen and re-play that in the mind over and over? It takes just as much energy to focus on the best-case-scenario and making that happen.   I have been focusing on the amazing things ahead...and getting excited.

Moving On! 
 Somehow I still have to find reasons to eat healthy.  So I found my  Taking care of myself is not being selfish. I have to get past that mentality. Before I ever came to a mortal body, I was me.  When this life is over and this spirit leaves this frame, I'll still be me.  Everything that happens in the time between birth and death is just experience for me to feel and learn. This is the time for me to become my best me.  No matter what!  With all the labels I need to fill (mom, wife, friend, chef...) in the end it will be what I did to improve this spirit that I will take with me.  Did I face my fear?  Did I take God's hand and walk through fire?!  Did I trust?!  

Truth.  I've always been, and I'll still need to be, a champion-warrior-princess.  Thank you Lord. Thank you for reminding me of who I am.

 Eye of the tiger music playing in the background...Guess who's making more bean dip?

Chef Tess Italian White Bean Dip 

with Toasted Pita Chips
2 cups cooked cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup chicken stock or vegetable stock
1/4 cup (loosely packed) fresh Italian parsley leaves
¼ cup loose packed basil leaves
Freshly ground black pepper

6 pitas
1 tsp Chef Tess Romantic Italian Seasoning

Directions Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the beans, garlic, lemon juice, stock, and parsley in the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is coarsely chopped. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer the bean puree to a small bowl. Cut each pita in half and then into 8 wedges. Arrange the pita wedges on a large baking sheet.  Sprinkle with chef Tess Romantic Italian Seasoning. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes, or until toasted and golden in color. Serve the pita toasts warm or at room temperature alongside the bean puree. 

Always My Very Best,
Chef Tess


  1. Oh sweetie - I'm so sorry! I know it hurts... God has a plan... something better in store for you. :( I do want to THANK you... because of you (some chick I found on the internet a couple years ago), I have learned so much about dehydrated foods, and food storage, and TODAY - my family is prepared.

    Stay strong. Stay healthy. Continue to be that Leader. Many hugs!

  2. Oh sweetie, I wish I didn't understand what you are feeling so sharply right now, so well. It's almost like we are two sides of the same coin... My prayers are with you and your family. May God's strength and courage be yours, as are His daily blessings...