Archive for January 22, 2012

Doldrum-Defeating Strategies

I read recently that Hostess Brands, Inc. has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.  They had filed  in 2004 as well, reemerging in 2009, but then hobbled into this new year under a daunting debt of $994 million dollars owed to the Bakery and Confectionary Union Pension Fund.  

I struggle with mixed feelings about this announcement.  The mere thought of such nutritional atrocities as Ho Hos, Sno Balls, and Wonder Bread may throw the grown-up me into a figurative swoon of disgust, but air-puffed Twinkies and mass-produced twin-packs of crème-filled chocolate cupcakes also occupy a cherished segment of my memories of childhood.  The fact that my mother doled out these treats as if they required rationing coupons simply added to their mystique. 

I’ll admit it took many years and a lot of false starts before I finally weaned myself off my thusly acquired  sugar cravings via six-plus servings of fruit spaced throughout the day.  But now that I’m here, I refuse to waste calories on any processed treat – no matter how much nostalgia attaches to it.  Even homemade treats don’t hold the allure they once did, so those stacks of cookies and candy that rise ceiling-high on our sideboard throughout December usually make it safely to their intended recipients without being molested by moi. 

Do I suffer from the notorious Holiday Weight-Gain Syndrome?  Nah, not me.  I’m too busy making and packing up goodies to eat them.  My personal danger zone lies in the valley of the post-holiday slump I seem destined to slide into every January 2nd, practically like clockwork.  Suddenly I feel crumpled by tiredness.  I have trouble getting out of bed in the morning, I want to eat until I’m double-stuffed like an Oreo, and I start to feel trapped in my own living room.  Even with unusually mild winter weather ushering in this New Year, I feel vaguely derailed. 

And in a typical Minnesota gotcha’, our temperatures last week dropped from a sunny high of 55° on a Wednesday to a windchill of five two days later.  After years of dealing with such craziness, that’s not enough to produce Alice-like wonderment in me, but it is unnerving on a par with tuning in to Wheel of Fortune and seeing Vanna White wearing a pantsuit. 

And now today’s morning temp logs in at a minus-ten, with a ridiculous minus-30 as a “feels like” number.  Did I say trapped?  Cabin-bound?  Off-routine?  Unsettled and disoriented?  Cooped up in the house, I catch myself murmuring the phrase “my little tweetum pie-ums” to our snuggling chihuahua-papillon-mix pup Muñeca, until I am brought to my senses by a glimpse of JJ the cat, hovering in the corner trying to stick his paw down his throat. 

So, shake it off and look for some practical solutions, right?  “Warm up with a bowl of piping-hot, healthy soup…for a satisfying and slimming dinner,” suggests  “Our healthy soup recipes…all include chile. And studies show that capsaicin—a pungent compound in chiles—revs up the body’s metabolism and may boost fat burning,” they crow on.  Sounds like just what I need, but of course I’m compelled to come up with my own original formula for accomplishing those promised results. 

Inspired by a lovely soup cookbook I received as a Christmas gift and a quick skim-through of my computer recipe files, I come up with a Spicy Pinto Bean Soup that is guaranteed to clear your sinuses and get your motor purring.  While it simmers on the stove, I put together My Best Meatloaf Ever, and vow to never again eschew the simple pleasure of a humble, basic pan of this classic comfort food.  Staying on-theme,  I discover a recipe for Caramelized Pear Bread Pudding at the Eating Well web site, and modify it as you’ll find below, to make for a tummy-warming, spirit-lifting wrap-up to any midwinter soup supper.  I think I’m actually stoked enough to dig out the scarf and defy that dad-blasted thermometer.  But perhaps a second steaming bowl of capsaicin-charged bean soup first… (more…)

January 22, 2012 at 10:36 pm 1 comment

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 284 other followers


Recipe. According to Encarta, "a list of ingredients and instructions for making something." The thesaurus offers the alternate terms, "formula, guidelines, directions, steps, technique."

And what is the "something" we are aiming for here? Simply a life of robust good health in every important area - spiritual, physical, cognitive, and emotional.

To that end we offer inspirational real-life stories about PEOPLE OF FAITH AND COURAGE; menus and cooking directions meant to fuel your creative inclinations and your healthy body in the form of MUSINGS OF A MIDWESTERN FOODIE; and ADVICE FOR LIFE from the perspective of those who have lived it to maturity. (Click on the green category tabs at the top of this page to learn more about each section.)

Have a taste and see what you think. If you like what we are serving up, please tell your family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors to stop by for a visit, too.

For automatic reminders of new posts, sign up for an Email Subscription, above.

Past and current posts.

January 2012
© Sue Anne W. Kirkham and 2009-2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sue Anne W. Kirkham and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.