October 22, 2012

Don't Let The Skinny Girl Cook

    I don't know about you but when I plan on going away for a girls weekend the last thing on my mind is making sure everything I eat will make any nutritionist jump for joy.  Not that I am saying every meal should be a feast reminiscent of Thanksgiving however people I want some food I can grab onto.  Especially if I am spending the day pretending to be an outdoorsy type person.
     OK yes I am currently on weight watchers ~ and doing quite well I may add.  No where in my plan did I expect to come back from a 4 day retreat in the mountains with 9 other husband-less/childless for the weekend women having lost weight.  Heck if I came home having gained less than 2 pounds my plans were successful.  In fact when I told my WW leader where I was headed she admitted that every time she spends time in the Helen, GA area SHE gains weight enjoying local fare.
   You should have seen the food that we brought this weekend in addition to the supplies for dinner.  A pack of hungry teenagers would have been impressed with the amount of snack foods we amassed.  We had all major food groups covered: Chips, Chocolates and Cookies. I actually felt guilty that all I had brought was a  bag of butterfingers.  In addition to the 3 C's there were even healthy snack choices with a variety of fruits, granolas and such to choose from as well.
***At this time it is important for me to just come right out and say that I was the heaviest person on this trip.  Most of the remaining 9 women are incredibly healthy and active.  I admit that chances are my views on the food are maybe not coming from the healthiest standpoint***
    The plans were to spend the days out enjoying all that fall in North Georgia had to offer.  The first day my group hiked Tallulah Falls, which was incredible ~ more on that adventure another time.  We then hit a farmer's stand, enjoyed lunch in town and walked around the annual Oktoberfest.  The other group had spent the day zip-lining and hiking.  We were to all meet back for a dinner of Brunswick Stew and cornbread.  The crock-pot that was brought along should have been my first clue that things were going to be interesting.
     Before I go any further I have to acknowledge how incredibly generous it was of Skinny Minnie to offer to not only do all of the basic food shopping for our trip but to cook all 3 dinners and our picnic lunch.  Skinny Minnie's family lives an incredibly healthy lifestyle and her shopping/cooking reflects that.  I am quite confident that I will never see her grace the inside of a weight watchers meeting.
     When we returned Friday evening none of us were incredibly hungry which wound up being a very good thing. The group of 5 that had arrived earlier nearly ate all of that evening's stew.  I'm guessing that when Skinny Minnie was planning to feed 10 women she was thinking about the portions she serves and eats at home.  No one was minding portions this weekend.  It didn't take long for the grazing of the snacks to commence.
     Saturday while packing up for the picnic lunch it was evident that healthy snacking on fruits and veggies had taken a back seat to their unhealthy counter-parts.  The plan that day was to have a picnic at Unicoi State Park park followed by an intense hike.  After submitting my body to a hike on Friday and wanting to be able to drive home Sunday without the aid of life-support I opted out of the hike and volunteered to use up the untouched healthy snacks to make salads to accompany the night's dinner of Chili.
     Chili is one of those foods that is truly reflective of its' cook's style.  Depending on where you live your chili may or may not have beans in it.  Fresh tomatoes verses canned verses none at all.  Some cooks' chili require a personal fire extinguisher others seem a step above ketchup.  One thing I think most people will agree upon is that chili should be something that is thick, hearty and warms your soul. I'll be honest I've never really thought about making a lighter version of chili, Skinny Minnie did.  I have the same crock-pot that she does.  When I make Chili in it I'm lucky to serve my family of 5 (OK I have a teenage boy which counts as two I guess) 6, and have enough for hubby to take for lunch twice.  I make a rich meat and bean chili, while I use fresh vegetables you really can't find them once everything gets going.
     I stopped on my way back to get supplies for homemade bread so the chili had been cooking for a few hours when I got back and did smell wonderful when I returned but not what I expected.  Skinny Minnie's version of Chili and mine definitely were not lining up.  The crock-pot, not even full,  was bubbling with what I would consider a rich soup.  Bits of veggies were floating on top of a flavorful broth.  When I stir my chili my forearms are getting a work-out, not so much Saturday night.  I thought maybe if I put it into a pot and cook it down some it would get thicker, however I quickly discovered that if I did that there wouldn't be enough to feed 6 people not 10 hungry hikers so I left things alone.
    Do you know how hard it is to respect someone else's cooking?  I'll admit I had never thought about it before.  Years back while working during a church camp I was so lucky to be assisting a woman whose kitchen talent was incredible.  She taught me short-cuts, recipes and tricks that I rely on to this day.  I'd like to think that she even learned one or two things from me but I'm hard pressed to think what they could have been.  Working with her and following her recipe was easy b/c she was right there if I had a question or suggestion.  So when I found myself wanting to doctor Minnie's chili Saturday I really struggled with those thoughts.  In the end I decided not to change anything because in the long run it was her Chili we were serving that night, even if I did think it was more of a soup LOL.
         Did anyone complain about the food? What are you nuts of course not!! It was good and nutritious and most importantly someone else did the cooking. Next time I hope we had let the fat girl do the cooking ~ oops that would be me!!


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