asparagus and shallot salad
I’m beginning to wonder why Mondays get such a bad wrap. Could be because it marks the end of wild weekends, full of sitting around in sweats drinking milkshakes (or whatever it is that you do on the weekend) and the start of the dreaded work week.
I just answered my own question. Never mind, Mondays stink.
Except, that’s exactly what I’m trying to turn around in myself. I need to start thinking of Monday as a fresh start. The day to turn things around, possibly after a weekend of over indulging. The day that stands for ‘it’s never too late to start’.
And that’s kind of what I wanted to talk to you about today. That and this freakin’ awesome Asparagus and Shallot Salad, but I’ll get back to that in a bit. I have some news/changes to share with you.
Changes that I’m beyond excited, yet nervous about at the same time.
Walk with me while I talk.
What I didn’t like, was the fact that I had become a mom who had given up on herself. I had gotten stuck in this mentality that, well, I’ve been pregnant and given birth (by c-section, so some might consider that cheating. I have a scar that says otherwise) so my body will never be what it was before, so why even bother trying.
Ugh. What a vicious cycle of negativity. True, will my body ever be free of stretch marks? I don’t know, but I’m guessing that it will never take priority in my budget to find out. And really? Who cares? They’re stretch marks. Big deal.
What I did eventually snap myself out of was the absolute conviction that I couldn’t get myself into any sort of decent shape reminiscent of what I was pre-kiddos. Don’t get me wrong, I was no super model or body builder, but I was a trim, healthy weight and I felt good about myself.
I wanted that back so badly.
It turns out, that good feeling about myself was totally attainable. I signed myself up for Weight Watchers and with some seriously hard work and dedication lost the 30 pounds I needed to feel back to my old self.
It felt great.
I kept up all of my hard work, although the effort became less and less as I went on and being mindful of eating healthy and working out became more in my second nature, for a long time.
Unfortunately, about 9 months ago, things took a turn. And no, the 9 months has nothing to do with a baby. Unless you consider this very blog a baby. Which in some ways it is. It’s a labor of love and hard work and passion and frustration and satisfaction and everything that is worth working for.
Except, for the fact, that in my drive to improve my cooking and photography and writing (don’t scoff, my writing has actually improved) I lost a bit of myself along the way. The part of me that took good care of myself. That ate mindfully, and pushed my body to keep it healthy and kicking for years and years to come.
I lost that girl. And that did not feel great.
So what, do you ask, does this have to do with you and me and Mondays and salads and this very long story?
Well, it means that I’m searching for that girl again, and with your help and the outlet of this labor-of-love blog, I’m determined to find her.
In the months since starting my blog, I’ve gained back 10 of the pounds that I worked so hard to lose. I’m not writing that to over share, but rather to force myself to admit, and put down in writing, what has happened and where I’m starting from now.
I could beat myself up about it (which I have a bit) and spend time wallowing and stress-eating marshmallows (which I have a bit) but instead, I need to look at this new start as just that. A place to start. Not a place I’ve fallen to.
It’s my Monday.
So what does this mean for Jelly Toast?
All I can tell you is this: I’m certainly not going anywhere. In fact, I may be around even more than before. But there will be a shift. Lighter, healthier recipes will be shared. But they’ll be just as delicious. Pinkie swear.
In my zeal to become a ‘food blogger’ I seem to have lost the real me. I thought everything had to be over-the-top indulgent in order to keep readers interested. The more fat, the more chocolate, the more caramel the better. I convinced myself that no one would want to read about a salad, or a piece of grilled chicken. Even though I, myself, totally loved reading about those things. I know, my reasoning just didn’t make sense. I realize that now.
Because I lack any true expertise in the way of health and nutrition, I was terrified about toting Jelly Toast as a ‘healthy’ blog for fear readers would question why on Earth I think I have the right to talk about and share healthy food? I’m not a dietitian, I’m not a vegetarian, I’m not gluten free, I’m not purely organic, the list goes on. I didn’t know if the real me would fit into the world of food blogs.
Well, I’m over that now. I am what I am, and what I am is a girl who tries to eat healthy. A girl who tries to feed her family in a responsible and thoughtful way. I’m a girl who shops at Kroger and Costco, is hit or miss with buying organic food, eats frozen burritos for lunch (they’re 6 WW points and fabulous) and more often than not, forgets to bring her re-usable shopping bags into the store with her.
Will every single recipe that I post be a good and perfectly healthy choice? No, because that’s not me either. I splurge from time to time. I’m a fan of a full-fat brownie and don’t really dig diet desserts.
But in all honesty, there will be probably fewer sweets posted, because frankly, we aren’t normally in the habit of eating 3 different kinds of cookies in one week (the last 9 months not withstanding). And the thing about blogging is that my family eats all of the food I make. Seriously, all of it.
I owe it to me, my family and to you, my awesome, incredible blog-y friends, to simply be me. Not what I think I should be because I’m a food blogger.
In summation (I wanted to sound like a college professor for a minute) there will be a shift to the healthy side of things. Which, frankly, is perfect for Spring. Rebirth and all that. Not to mention swim-suit season beating down our door. Speaking of swim suit season, I bought the cutest two piece swim suit (retro, high-waisted, polka-dotted adorableness) last year and only got to wear it once. I’m not going into summer +10lbs of where I was last year. No sirree.
And, because I’m getting back on track with my Weight Watchers, I will be adding Weight Watchers Points Plus values to most of my recipes (if you’re into that, yay! If not, just speed right by. No hard feelings here.)
Yes, I’ll even be posting the 12 point brownies. Just because they’re 12 points, doesn’t mean that I’m not going to eat one on occasion, I just need to keep track of it.
That’s growth people.
I hope you will enjoy this new path that I’m traveling, and be interested in traveling it with me. It’s always nice to have a travel buddy.
Oh! I almost forgot to mention: I got a new camera! EEK! It’s a Canon 6D (yes, I entered into the full frame world) and it’s a beauty. The learning curve is steep, as is the curve for learning Lightroom 4 which I’m tackling as well. I’ll save in depth camera talk for a future post, but you can bet it’s coming.
These photos of the Asparagus and Shallot Salad are the first photos to grace Jelly Toast that were taken on my new camera. I hope you enjoy them. Most photos from here on out will be from my 6D (unless otherwise noted).
Oh, and some parting words about this salad: It’s ah-mazing. Fresh asparagus tossed with mild shallots and nutty Parmesan cheese all tossed in a vinegary dressing. So easy, so unexpected, and so satisfying. It’s one of my favorite Spring time salads. Seriously.
I wish you the happiest of Mondays, my friends!
This is not a sponsored Weight Watchers post and I am in no way receiving compensation for this post. These are simply my opinions and experiences with the Weight Watchers program.
Asparagus and Shallot Salad
Weight Watchers Points Plus per serving: 2
1 lb fresh asparagus, woody ends discarded, chopped small
2 small shallots, thinly sliced
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 cup of white balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
In a large non-reactive bowl, toss together asparagus, shallots and cheese. Add olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and toss to coat. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow the vinegar to tenderize the asparagus and give the flavors a chance to meld together.