Monday, May 14, 2012

Just get through it

Ravings: Mother’s Day is just a rough day for me. It’s a day filled with conflicting emotions, pain, sadness, gratitude, and love. I would like to say that I’m glad it’s over, but it seems to be staying with me. It’s the roller coaster of emotions that are so impossible to plan for or deal with. Bad days I can face, even if I don’t always know they are coming. There’s just something about the ups and downs and the complete confrontation of the loss that creates a profound loneliness that is difficult to shake. It comes over me like a wave, drowning me in sadness, and then easing off a bit, allowing me to see the sunshine and feel the warmth on my face before pulling me under again. And the heaviness of it is still with me this morning.

For me, it seems to be the hardest day of the year. Other significant days have difficult moments, but Mother’s Day is permeated with loss. I have mitigated much of my grieving by not declaring this state as final. I allow myself the possibility of not knowing what will happen down the road. I’m not sure if this is healthy or unhealthy but it allows me to not be overtaking with grief. It offers some hope, and sometimes hope is enough. I use this hope to get me through the other days, but Mother’s Day strips me of that protection. It’s raw and painful and real. It’s a day that will never be about me.

Cravings: It’s a bit difficult to switch to food after that outpouring of emotions, but I do love food and maybe this will help me lift that fog. First up from last week is an Italian black bean burger with a side of watermelon. Then from yesterday is a slow roasted butt roast with roasted tomatoes and mashed potatoes. I cooked for my mother-in-law, which prevented me from staying in bed all day. And Sat morning I made some more dog treats and some granola nests with yogurt, nuts and berries.

Italian Black Bean Burgers

2 cups cooked black beans
1 Tbsp homemade Bam Seasoning
3/4 cup panko
Mozzarella cheese slices
2 eggs
1 container chopped tomatoes
1 Tbsp dried basil
1 Tbsp dried oregano
4 eggs

Combine all ingredients in a food processor until incorporated. Form into patties and fry like a regular burger, placing the cheese on top toward the end so that it can melt. These don't actually need to be cooked, just warmed through so it doesn't take very long. These would probably not hold up well on a grill, however. They aren't as held together as a regular burger. In the meantime, combine tomatoes, basil and oregano in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer, covered for about 10 mins, then lower the temperature so that it's barely simmering. Crack each egg on top of the tomato sauce, being careful not to break the yolk. Cover and allow to cook for another couple minutes. To serve, put a handful of arugula at the bottom of a large bowl or on a plate, top with a burger, then ladle some tomato sauce and an egg on top of the burger.

The watermelon slices aren't quite sweet yet, but they were refreshing and went very well with the spice and acidity of the Italian Black Bean Burgers.

Slow Roasted Rolled Butt Roast

1 rolled butt roast
1/4 cup Jason's spice mix

In a hot skillet, brown all sides of the butt roast. Rub spice mix all over outside of roast. Place on a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil or in a roasting pan. Roast at 250 for about 1 1/2 hours or until desired doneness.

Roasted Tomatoes

1 package grape tomatoes
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Spread tomatoes on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast at 250 for about 1 1/2-2 hours. Shake pan to keep them from sticking a couple times during the cooking process.

Mashed Potatoes

5-6 small to medium red-skinned potatoes
2 sweet potatoes, peeled
2 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup plain yogurt

Chop up potatoes and put in a pan of boiling water. Boil until soft, about 20 minutes. Drain, reserving about 1/2 -3/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Once drained, put the cooking liquid back in with the potatoes and mash with a potato masher. Add the butter, buttermilk and yogurt and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper as desired.

Granola nests with yogurt, nuts and berries (adapted from Mommie Cooks, found on Pinterest)

4 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup honey
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 Tbsp allspice
2 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
1/4 cup almond meal

In a small saucepan, combine butter, honey, brown sugar and allspice and melt together. In another bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients. Add the butter and honey mixture and mix well. Mush granola mixture into and up the sides of a muffin tin to form a nest. It's very sticky so it helps to spray your hands with non-stick spray. Bake at 325 for about 15 minutes and allow to cool. Fill with whatever ingredients sound yummy. We used plain yogurt, blackberries, raspberries and pecans and then drizzled with honey.

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