I’ve been on weight watchers since, oh, October, I guess and so far have lost thirteen pounds, just ever-so-slightly less than one pound a week, which my online tools kit assures me is a healthy and maintainable way to lose but I suspect faster progress is hindered by the occasional wedge of brie, 1/2 bottle of wine and bowl of seafood pasta…you get my drift. Whatever – weight loss is not a race for me and I am now at the point where I’m sort of unsure how much more I want to lose. More, surely. But I am fast recognizing that more vigorous toning work may be necessary because while certainly I’m getting smaller I still look flabby.
This is not the point of this post.
But weight watchers works, it really does – want mussells, pomme frites and a white beer for dinner one night? You can! You just can’t then have, say, pad thai the next. Hurrah!
ANYWAY. When I decided to pay an actual organization to help me do something I should be able to do on my own, I told myself that I would not waste a whole bunch of time messing with it. So, if I hit a stall for even one week, I had to make a significant change in my habits. So, over the course of my weight watchers journey, I’ve made the following changes:
No artificial sweeteners (au revoir, diet coke)
No high fructose corn syrup
The halving of all restaurant portions, never snacking
No drinking my calories
Sometimes I don’t manage to stick with the above changes – I had a diet coke a few days ago, and a regular one a week before that. I’m pretty good about avoiding the HFCS and not snacking, but there are days when I screw up. Still, for the most part, I am proud and happy with where I am, back around my college weight, which is still too high for my smallish frame, but not, you know, grossly high. It’s amazing, the difference of 13 pounds and regular yoga.
BUT. Sometimes a desire just takes hold, and earlier this week I wanted nothing more than to make my grandmother’s dump cake to take to K.’s for dinner. Dump cake should probably be the scourge of the cake world…it has sugar and HFCS and cake mix instead of homemade cake and very little redeeming value beyond it’s utter deliciousness. Many of us have come to understand just how terrible processed food is for our bodies, and like so many of you, I have worked diligently eat fresh foods, to eat locally. But I always like what my dad has to say about all these canned and boxed foods, which is just how liberating they were for my grandmother, an English teacher. Suddenly, instead of making everything from scratch, she could come home and whip up a hot and satisfying meal in minutes, obstensibly leaving her more time for her family. Now, she happened to be wicked into cleanliness, so she used this additional time to iron the sheets and scrub the floor, but you get the idea. And I’m sort of charmed by the idea of my grandma making this cake, opening the cans and boxes that liberated her just the tiniest bit.
And, the cake is damn good, too.
1 20 – ounce can cherry pie filling
1 – 20 ounce can crushed pineapple
1 yellow cake mix
1 ½ sticks of butter, cut in pieces
1 cup coconut
1 cup chopped walnuts
Layer ingredients in the order given in an ungreased 13 by 9 pan. Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour at 350. Serve with coolwhip.
I took this over to K.’s this week, and still had a tremendous amount leftover. So I cut it up and froze individual pieces for breakfast. The near-coffee cake consistency makes it a nice breakfast if microwaved in the morning. A. and I had a discussion about dump cake and it turns out her family simply uses canned fruit, cake mix and butter without all the other hooplah. We were trying to decide if you combined cherries and chocolate cake mix…would it work? I love the idea conceptually and will probably try it at some point, but I wonder if the chocolate cake mix would be too bitter.
This is the first recipe from my mothers and grandmothers. I’ve finally given in and started my own recipe book on my computer because I continuously lose recipe cards, no matter how much I love them. I’ve taken to putting the recipe cards written in my mother and grandmothers’ hands in a scrapbook instead. My boss and I were talking a couple of weeks ago about just how important it is to learn to cook the recipes of our mothers and our grandmothers while they are still with us. It’s a project I’m going to spend the year working on, as it really shouldn’t take much longer than that. One thing I’ve noticed – my grandmothers and my mother had a repetoire of dishes that, while delicious, wasn’t particularly varied. I really don’t have many to master! I’ve already filed away my maternal grandmother’s beef stroganoff recipe (this version uses sherry) but if you would like it let me know and I’ll post it as well.
S. and I are off soon to apartment hunt in Pittsburgh – we see five places tomorrow. Wish us luck that it’s easy!
Edited to add: My mother is still alive. i just made it sound like she’s dead by screwing up the tense but some quirk in wordpress isn’t allowing me to edit right now, just add text.