Saturday, December 29, 2012

Big life changes

Yesterday afternoon, I forced myself to get in the car and let Eric drive me back to Maryland. I'm pretty sure that if I were single, or married to someone less handsome and funny, I would just quit my job and alternate sleeping in my parents' guest room and my sister's couch. 

We made a few stops before we hit the road. First, we had lunch at a Jewish deli with my dad and my aunt. They are both Jewish but somehow I've never eaten at a Jewish deli and didn't even know what most of the foods were. I tried my first knish.

It's a savory pastry usually filled with potato, but my aunt and I shared a spinach feta one. Loved it. We gorged ourselves on all sorts of another wonderful Jewish foods as well (I had a sauerkraut, swiss cheese, and roasted red pepper sandwich on rye). Eric and I take a lot of road trips to see our families and friends, and if there's one thing we've learned, it's that eating a heavy, large meal right before we leave is always a wise choice.

Then we drove down to Pennsylvania to see my Grandma and bring her some Christmas presents.

She definitely takes a close second to Harrison for cutest member of the family.

We finally got home around 11pm Friday night. After a week of doing nothing but enjoying ourselves, eating, and having fun, Eric and I were exhausted and slept in nice and late Saturday morning. The feeling of waking up, considering starting the day, then remembering I don't have any grad work to do or anywhere to be and rolling over and going back to sleep without setting an alarm is just divine. When I finally got "moving", I enjoyed some of my Christmas gifts.

Trader Joes gingerbread coffee - the holy grail of holiday flavors

I'm no longer a hipster bookworm. I can finally read like a member of the 21st century. I got a Kindle Fire for Christmas! Thanks Mom & Vince! Plus Eric got me that sweet super soft, warm hot pink blanket because he knows I'm always cold, and I love hot pink, just like everyone else on Team Edward.

Side note - I've brought the Kindle everywhere so far because I'm completely addicted to Divergent

Still adhering to my "wear pajamas at all times" priority
So that was one life change, but I'm still working on making another major one (no, it's not a cousin for Harrison, because if it were, saying it that way on a blog is really gross). I'm currently in recovery from about 10 years of vegetarianism, followed by 6 years of pescetarianism (eating fish but no other meat). I took a big step in my recovery on Thursday: I HAD A BURGER!
I even bought the meat!
 I ate some deep fried turkey on Christmas, and some ham (that wasn't great though, no one in my family really liked it), and quite a bit of bacon macaroni and cheese (seriously, if my parents didn't cook Christmas dinner for you, I pity you). But a burger is a big deal. It's obviously a staple, and a favorite for most carnivores. You can't pretend it's not dead animal like you can with my gateway meat, bacon. Yet the bun and the toppings make it a little easier to swallow (pun intended).

I take toppings quite seriously.
 I'll admit, I was nervous. My stepfather stood outside to grill it for me, in the dark, in the snow, while the temperatures were in the teens. That is some fierce dedication to the cause, so I would have felt awful if I couldn't choke it down. My main issue with meat is not a moral one (sorry, but I could really care less, Mufasa said we exist in a circle of life, so that's good enough for me) but a texture one. So you can see why eating a burger caused me some anxiety.

As I prepared for my first bite, no fewer than three cameras were flashing in my face and I thought I knew what celebrities must feel like for a hot second. The pressure was on.

Here I go!
SUCCESS! It was perfectly cooked (medium to medium well) and delicious. 

Goodbye, vegetarianism.
I cleaned my plate.

Look how much wine I have left - I didn't even need to down a glass for courage!
I think it helped that I was wearing Kara's hand me down shirt, so her love of meat was close to my heart, and that my aunt, a fellow recovered vegetarian (she lasted about 25 years!) was there cheering me on. 

I was pretty impressed with how full and satisfied I felt afterward - I must admit, you just don't get that feeling after eating a Boca burger. My aunt said she started eating meat after experiencing intense cravings for it and realizing her body needed it. I haven't felt that way, I never craved this burger or anything. It was more curiosity - I wondered how fried turkey tasted at Thanksgiving, so I tried a bite. Then it turned out to be really good, so I thought, maybe other meats are really good too, and I've been missing out! Apparently that was exactly the case. In my mind I am going to have a huge energy boost really soon from all the extra iron.

I'm not sure what's next - chicken still makes me nervous because it was a McDonald's chicken nugget that started this whole thing and I don't want to end up disgusted by meat for another 16 years. 

You may note that this post didn't mention any running or exercise of any kind. I could have, I just didn't feel like it. I'm still officially not training until 2013 so rest and laziness is the name of the game until then. Sorry I'm not sorry.

What meat filled recipes should I try now? 

What was the best Christmas present you received? I love my kindle so much but I haven't even taken a picture of Eric's gift to me yet!


  1. Steak was what finally did me in as a vegetarian (cheese had already killed veganism for me). My husband (then boyfriend) ordered one at a really nice restaurant and it just smelled so amazing. Congrats on opening up a whole new world of delicious!

  2. I have never felt so much pressure grilling a burger, nor have I felt such pride.

  3. I can just imagine how intensely people were staring at you for the first bite. Not feeling full and eating a bunch of crap to compensate is what ended my true vegetarian days. You'll still never see me with just a huge steak or anything though.

  4. Also, in its defense the ham has gotten better every day and has transitioned to a superb fried breakfast meat.

  5. Mike just started reading Divergent, too. I hope he loves it.

    You should start drinking green tea regularly if you're going to eat meat. Apparently, the average person has 4 lbs of undigested meat in their systems, but green tea will clear things up for you. You're welcome.

  6. Try a tongue sandwich. You will love the texture.

  7. Congrats on returning the the meat eating world. I must admit that I really only dip my toes in it myself. And it is a texture thing. I can't eat steak due to the texture. My daddy always said I was just to lazy to chew.

  8. I shed a tear of pride when I saw you ate your first burger. I agree with Mufasa - circle of life! Burgers are my favorite. And I hope Kari is wrong about the 4 lbs. YUCK!

  9. So happy for you! Steak is what did me in after 8 years of vegetarianism. Patrick kept grilling really delicious steaks (and he'd make me tofu or fish), but finally I was like "can I have a bite?" And it was totally worth it.

    Favorite meat recipes? Steak, especially with twice baked potatoes. And any sort of pork in the crockpot. We rub a rack of babyback ribs with dry rub, then toss those and an onion, into the crockpot and cover it with bbq sauce, then cook on low for 8 hours. AH-mazing.

    Welcome to the dark side!

  10. Next, you must try steak. Just a simple, well-done steak.

    Recovering from vegetarianism is weird. I thought I was so much healthier as a vegetarian, but once I started eating meat again, my swimming times improved drastically in, like, a month. So I expect to see speedy runs from you, missy.

  11. i love hamburgers. a hamburger, french fries, and beer is the BEST post-race meal!

    i don't do steak though...definitely has a strange texture thing going on...

  12. So just as I start on my not eating meat journey, you leave it. Who will I turn to now?!

    I have tons of meat recipes on my blog. Some of the best are the French Dips, Beef Stroganoff and Pasta E Faglioli. I would eat those every day if I ate meat.

  13. 1. That knish looks amazing. That sandwich sounds amazing. I need to eat jew food
    2. Gram is definitely the 2nd cutest member of the family
    3. I believe you should be working on a cousin for Harrison, but that's just me.. and Harrison.
    4. You definitely need to try a steak. Let's go to Outback yum

  14. I love burgers-hands down my favorite food! Hope you are enjoying your Kindle Fire. I got the cheap Kindle this fall and I love it so far.


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