Thursday, August 16, 2012

Foodie Journal, page 1

I am a Foodie. Love, love, love food!!  My love affair with food began about the age of 18.  I remember the day I fell in love with food, I was sitting across from my boyfriend (who is my husband now) at a restaurant.  He was eating something with grilled onions and I was eating the house salad which is basically just lettuce. I thought I didn't like onions because I had been fed raw onions for most of my life. Out of curiosity I tried some of his grilled onions and I was amazed at the flavor of grilled onions - right then and there the world of food opened up right before me. I was thinking "Why haven't I ever had grilled onions before?  What else have I missed!?"  I can't imagine what my reaction would have been if I had tried Scottish Salmon from Craft in that moment instead of the grilled onions - I might have reenacted the famous diner scene from "When Harry Met Sally".  Because let me tell you the Scottish Salmon is mind-blowingly good. Prior to that eventful day I didn't enjoy eating because I thought food was boring. At the time I didn't like Filipino food except for pancit and rice and being Filipino that's what my mom mostly cooked. In addition, my family didn't go out to eat very often and we had the same dishes throughout the years. My mom worked in the evenings so my eldest sister cooked what my mom told her to cook.  It was same ole, same ole - easy dishes a teenager could  make. We had a few new dishes between long stretches such as eggs benedict my mom made for us one time. So when I got out on my own I discovered dishes I never knew existed and realized food is really yummy and exciting.  I feel like I've been making up for missing good food for the first 18 years of my life and it shows when you look at my booty and waistline.

To me food is undeniably art. Food can bring about a range of emotions such as happiness, excitement, passion and even tears.  Certain dishes can bring on memories of loved ones or special moments. I've seen some desserts so architecturally beautiful that it was almost a shame to eat them.  Food is even better when it tastes like a symphony of music in your mouth with notes that make you close your eyes to appreciate its goodness.

I've decided to create for myself a Food Journal where I can look back on some dishes and moments. I wish I took pictures more often when I went out to eat.  I was often embarrassed to take pictures of food in restaurants with a camera.  Now that we have cameras in our cell phones it is much easier and more discreet. Some of the pics are not great because they were taken with an old BlackBerry (no flash). But the pics get better as you scroll down because I finally upgraded my phone.

Shredded Beef Nachos @ Yucatan Taco Stand in Southlake.
 Grilled Latin Sandwich @Yucatan Taco Stand in Southlake, TX. 
Yucatan Taco Stand
Dessert at Craft Dallas (unfortunately closed in July 2012).  I wish I took pictures of the food we were served because it was truly awesome.  But this was a fancy restaurant and I felt too embarrassed to take pictures.  I took this pic because I was drunk and didn't care anymore.
Main Street Bread Baking Company in Grapevine.  The restaurant made Zagats sometime between 2007-2009 which is why I chose to eat lunch here.  Both the food and service is sub par (I came back 2 more times the following year and that statement is confirmed).  It must have been a good day when the people from Zagats ate there.  However, the desserts and croissants are beautifully made and quite delectable.
Girls lunch @ Main Street Bread Baking Company.  
Coal Vines Pizza and Wine Bar in Southlake.
Vanilla Birthday Cake @Coal Vines Pizza and Wine Bar.
My favorite hamburger is the Farmhouse Burger @ Cheescake Factory. Who can resist a fried egg and pork belly on a juicy burger?  I am VERY DISAPPOINTED they took it off the menu.
forgot name of dish @ Cheesecake Factory
Fried Mac-n-Cheese Bites with Truffle Dip @ Macaroni Grill.  This is super yummy.
Zucchini Fritti @ Macaroni Grill.  Two thumbs up!
Comida Deluxe @ Chuy's in Arlington
I especially like this at Chuy's - sanitized and protected silverware.
Chicken Friand and Tomato Basil Soup @ la Madeleine.
 Sake Bomb @ Ginger in Southlake.
The sake bomb is a beer cocktail made by pouring sake into a shot glass and dropping it into a glass of beer.  Sometimes 2 chopsticks are placed parallel on top of the glass of beer, and the shot glass is carefully balanced between them.  The drinker then chants "sake...sake...sake...SAKE!" and slams the table with his fists causing the sake to fall into the beer.  (definition courtesy of wikipedia)
Black Bean Rice Pudding with Coconut Cream @ Ginger.
Fried Bananas with Coconut Ice Cream @Ginger.
Figs at Central Market.
Here's our street sign - Foodie Crossing.  
Toy cupcakes that really smell like chocolate. I almost bit into one it smelled so good.
Candle cupcakes that smell divine
Have you ever noticed that Barnes & Noble price for coffee is slightly cheaper than Starbucks?  
If you thought you were getting a better deal I'm sorry to say you are not.  
Pictured above are venti-sized caramel machiattos. 
The bigger cup is from Starbucks and the smaller is from Barnes & Noble. 
At least they are honest enough to charge less.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Truth Be Told

When I began my blog last year I had no idea what to do and found an article that gave helpful advice on blogging.  Out of all the tips given the only one that stuck with me was to not use your blog as an outlet to pour out your emotions, especially if you were mad at your husband or friend.  The article said to keep your blog upbeat and light. There were many times I wanted to write not-so-very upbeat posts which were inspired by politics or my anger at some injustice.  But I would remember the "upbeat and light" advice and let the emotions pass.  In order to keep the upbeat atmosphere I never revealed the reason why I have not been blogging consistently. I suppose that I didn't want to expose myself as weak and sad either. But blogs are similar to journals and in journals we write about the good times and bad.  We confess everything about our lives even our faults and problems.

I've been ill.  I have been dealing with headaches every day.  My husband kept telling me that having a headache everyday was not normal, but I didn't listen to him because the Motrin was making the pain go away and I was functioning.  But eventually I was no longer functioning.  In addition, I was also going to a CareNow facility to treat my ear infections.  After having the sixth ear infection I finally went to an Ear-Nose-Throat doctor who told me I wasn't suffering from ear infections.  After trying a couple of treatments (one of which I  had a terrible reaction to) I still felt immense pain.  Nothing seemed to work.  He couldn't figure out what was causing the pain in my ears and head.  One day he leaned against the counter and put his finger on his chin and said, "You are a mystery."  His diagnosis was hearing loss with painful hearing and no treatment.  Then he referred me to a neurologist, whom I've been seeing for about 3 months now.  I've had an MRI, MRA, EEG, cognitive tests, pressure tests, etc.  The doc informed me that I have 3 degenerating discs in my neck and my MRA showed a small blip in my brain.  This Saturday I'm getting a CT scan in order to get a 3D view of the blip. I'm praying that the CT scan is clear.

This is a journal entry I wrote in May before I knew about the degenerating discs and blip.  I'm allowing myself to be vulnerable to the world even though I pride myself in being an extremely strong person.

I'm feeling melancholy.  I'm also feeling scared...scared of what could possibly be causing my pain.  I've been ill for 9 months now.  I thank God that it's not bed-ridden illness and for the precious few days that I actually feel normal.  I'm just not the same person I was 9 months ago.  I can't think clearly, I have no energy, and every day I feel pain.  Pain in my ears, pain in my head, pain in my neck and shoulders, sometimes in my it's pain around my eyes. My days have blurred together.  It's starting to wear me down. I am not living the life I was meant to live.  I feel okay when I'm lying down -- but I will not allow myself to just lie around all the time. So in faith, I get up and try to do something as if nothing were bothering me.  My goals are small now: get the kids to school, cook, clean one thing even if it's the simplest task such as hanging 4 shirts or wiping down the counter.  I long for the days when my house was clean and I actually was a good mom.
To make matters worse I have not created one thing and have barely written. I don't have time to create because when I do feel "fine" I need to do the chores and tasks that sit around the house waiting patiently on me.  I feel guilty because I don't want my children to feel neglected. I can't even hold a regular conversation with them because their voices hurts my ears. If I'm always shushing them, eventually they will stop talking to me. Yesterday when I was making a sandwich for my son I thought about using a cookie cutter to make it cute. But I felt too tired. I made him a plain sandwich and nothing else. Later that night I as I laid in bed I was thinking "Girl, you didn't even give him a fruit or carrots with that sandwich.  You're a terrible mom."  He's old enough to get his own food, but he's not making healthy choices so I like to prepare his lunch.

Everyday I pray to God.  Everyday I wake up thinking "I'm healed! I'm not going to have any pain today."  But as I begin to move around I start to feel the disappointment rise within me as the pain also rises.  And the devil likes to bring doubt to my mind. He also reminded me that when I was an adolescent that I thought about suicide all the time.  Ironically, at the time I was healthy as a horse and I couldn't get sick.  Now I have a good life and I want to live I've become chronically ill.  What's up with that?!  I've asked for forgiveness for my suicidal thoughts.  I've asked God to pull out the roots of the bad seeds I planted in my head.  I've become so introspective questioning myself, "Are you bitter?  Do you hold unforgiveness in your heart?  Did I do something to cause this?"  So many things are brought to mind. So many regrets. I've searched myself and I don't think I am bitter nor holding a grudge of unforgiveness. In searching my thoughts I have come to the realization that I MUST speak positively to myself.  All my life I've cut myself down and used self-deprecating humor.  I wonder has my self-loathing contributed to my sickness?  Now it's time to love and forgive myself. I've been working on loving and liking myself for the past 3 years.  It's just so hard after all these years of despising (too strong a word?) myself to actually like and love myself.  I don't understand why I easily remember all the mistakes I've made and have a hard time remembering  the good times and what I've accomplished as if it's never good enough.  

But I haven't lost hope.  I know God is a good God.  He loves me and I know He doesn't want me ill.  I place my trust and hope in Jesus.  I know one day I will have a testimony of healing that will give others hope.

The battle is not really physical, but a battle of faith.  I name and claim healing.  I'm not asking to be healed; I believe I am already healed.  

Proverbs 4:20-22  attend to my words' incline your ear towards my sayings.  Let them not depart from your  eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart.  For they are life to those that find them, and health to ALL their flesh.   

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