Food and Weight: An Ongoing Journey

Archive for the ‘Pictures’ Category

As most of you know, there are three measures by which I know I’ve taken back my life from the health issues of last year: walking, cooking, and blogging. Slowly – far too damned slowly – I am doing all three.

Yesterday, I went to a most excellent housefilk at the home of some friends. Not only was I able to sit up for the whole thing, but I was able to get the rollator up the front steps to their building by myself (normally, Sue or Marc drags it up the steps, while I use the banister to haul myself up)! I was also able to walk to the car after the housefilk, and survive the car rides to and from Josh and Lisa’s place. I was even able to walk around their apartment a little without using any support at all.

But that’s not today’s accomplishment. The roots for that actually go back to a job I had from 1977 to 1987. Back then, I worked for Rialto Management Company, a small real estate firm in midtown owned by Ruben Shulsky. One of the best parts of that job was the little kosher meat restaurant across 30th Street and halfway between Broadway and Sixth Avenue. It had no name, but had some of the best food I had ever eaten. One of my favorite dishes there was cholent – a beef/bean/barley stew. Cholent is one of those things observant Jews eat for Shabbos lunch, because it can be started on Friday before sundown and kept on the top of the stove over a very low heat until they can turn the light off after sundown on Saturday. Well, I loved that cholent, but not being an observant Jew, I didn’t know how to make it. Over the years, I asked observant friends and looked on the Internet for recipes – and there were some interesting ones – but they never quite tasted like the cholent from that restaurant. Cholent is one of those things where everyone has a slightly different recipe, usually learned from their mom.

lucys-cholent-picA few months ago, an acquaintance of mine posted about cholent in an APA we both belong to (AWA, or A Women’s APA). I asked for her recipe, and she posted it in the following collation. I started it yesterday after we got home from the housefilk, and when I tried it for lunch today it was exactly the taste I remembered! I even put it into the Weight Watchers recipe calculator and discovered it’s 5 Points Plus per 1-cup serving, which is not bad for a meal! Without further ado, here is the recipe for Lucy Schmeidler’s cholent, as written in AWA:
Lucy Schmeidler’s Cholent

1 – 1 1/2 lbs lean beef, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 medium large Idaho (russet) potato, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 – 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
6 – 10 baby carrots
2 stalks celery, cut into 1/2″ slices
1 4-oz can mushrooms
1/2 cup pearl barley, soaked
1/2 cup navy or small white beans, soaked
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp paprika
2 Tbsp minced garlic
Cooking oil
Water to cover
3-qt heavy pot

Friday morning: Brown onions in oil. Add meat, potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, celery and water to cover. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking. (Deb’s note: We did this for about an hour. Also, since the roomie is allergic to mushrooms, we made it without, and when she had taken what she wanted, I added the mushrooms and reheated it thoroughly.) Add barley, beans, seasonings and more water to cover. Cook covered overnight over low heat without stirring. Serve for Shabbos lunch.

So, I want to thank Lucy for helping me solve a  – to me – 35-year search!

In other “taking back my life” news, my surgeon says that I am doing amazingly well – far better than she had expected. I went to lunch with the roomie to a place we often order from over on Emmons Avenue, the Opera Cafe. The food was excellent, as always, and it was good to get out. I’ve also started up the fannish dinner group again, although we have been sticking to places in Brooklyn so far. Future plans include maybe doing a Monday night dinner so the Kosher Krew can join us, and possibly some weekend brunches. There are just too many great places to eat around New York City. (And if anyone reading this is in the area and wants onto the list for the dinners, please leave a comment, email, or otherwise message or call me. I’d be happy to add you to the list. Attendance is not mandatory at all; all I ask is if you are joining us on a given week, let me know in case the group for that week is big enough to need reservations.)



First, I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday (if you celebrate) or a great Tuesday (if you don’t).

Dinner was better than I had expected.  Lots of good conversation, lots of quality time with some friends I don’t get to see all that often (and a few that I see on a regular basis), some brainstorming for a friend’s new project, and far too much really good food.

There were changes — as these go, there usually are — but everyone got fed, no one went hungry, there were yummy leftovers, and everyone had a great time.  As a bonus, I now have a living room where I can have company over when I want to, and the rest of the apartment is sufficiently clean that (while it would certainly fall short of my mom’s standard) I can have people over without having to apologize for.

The food:  The roomie made a turkey breast, roasted sweet potatoes, and her dirty mashed potatoes; I made my pistachio pie, my split pea soup and some chili; C made her broccoli/cauliflower mash, spaghetti squash, and butternut squash;  N made a glazed ham, stuffing, and one of the best green bean casseroles I have ever eaten (she made the mushroom soup for it from scratch!), as well as some lovely chocolate snaps; and R brought some lovely baked goodies.

Even better, I was totally able to stay within program, choosing to stuff myself with the veggies & protein and just sample things that I felt were not optimal choices for me.

As an extra surprise, C’s boss sent us a package of crackers (the kind you pull apart (with a loud popping noise) and a party favor, a paper crown, and some riddles and trivia come out.  We left the boss a fannish phone message of thanks,which we hope won’t shock her *too* much.

As often happens when I am around people, I forget to take pictures. I did, however take pictures of my now visible living room:

Kitt on the couch Entertainment Center Free Stuff Box & Holiday Tree Main bookshelves Dining table, Blocked Front Window, & Secondary Bookshelves

It was, all in all, a Really Good Day.

…and let me tell you, carrying the book around should be considered part of an aerobic workout!  Lisa noted that the book weighed 3 1/2 lbs.  Lisa answered questions, raffled prizes (with help from Charlie the Tuna), signed books, and took pictures.

The goodie bags were nice — pink plastic Hungry Girl bags, filled with the following:

  • a 5.6 oz bag of Hershey’s Simple Pleasures Smooth & Creamy candies
  • a sample of Simply Snackin Dried Beef Sirloin with cranberries and blueberries
  • a Vitalicious Mini VitaCake in Fudgy Chocolate
  • a Weight Watchers Chocolate Pretzel Blast mini snack bar (I’ve had these, and they are delisious)
  • a 1 oz. pouch of Funky Monkey Freeze-dried Fruit in Jivealime (Pineapple with lime – I found them to be too sweet after the first few pieces
  • a 2.6 oz pouch of Starkist Tuna Creations Sweet & Spicy Tuna
  • a mini cookbook from House Foods for their Tofu Shirataki Noodles
  • a .8 oz bag of popchips (I got sea salt & vinegar potato chips)
  • a package of 6 Flatout Foldit Flatbreads
  • an 18 oz. plastic bottle of Bai5 Antioxidant Infusion (mine was Panama Peach), which claims to have natural caffeine, and to be Kosher, Vegan, Gluten & Soy free.  That needs to be chilled before drinking, so it’s in the fridge, waiting to be tested.

The extra goodie for being a Weight Watchers member was a note pad

Raffle prizes included tee shirts, a basket from Weight Watchers filled with goodies, a years’ supply of Vitalicious products, a Hungry Girl thermos, and a case of Bai5.

I promised  pics, so here goes:

The evening was fun, I got to do some walking, meet some nice folks while on line, and I got home at a reasonable hour What more can you ask?

If you get a chance to meet Lisa, you should definitely go.

I won’t normally be posting quite this often, but I figured that for those readers who have never met me in person I should probably include some pictures, so that my journey so far (which actually began in April of 2009) can be noted.

This was taken about a week before I joined Weight Watchers in 2009:


This one was me at Christmas of 2009:Image

At Passover 2010:


In June 2010:


At my thinnest, June 2010, in a size 12 dress:


And, finally, this past July (2012), a few days after getting out of the hospital (photo credit ©Ariel Winterbreucke, 2012):



As I noted in my first post when I rejoined Weight Watchers this time I am a little lighter than last time.  However, it took about 2 1/2 years to get as far as I did last time, and I still had a way to go to hit goal.  I know that it will take as long as it takes, and that I need to do this — primarily for my health, but also for my looks — and that I got myself into this situation, so I’m the one that can get myself out of it.

As long as I’m posting, here are today’s reasons for wanting to lose weight:

  • Look Better
  • Feel better
  • Get off or lower blood pressure, asthma, and cholesterol meds
  • Be able to walk more
  • Be able to walk without the cane
  • Become a Weight Watchers leader
  • Look more professional
  • Be healthier in general

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