Five easy pieces

I’m home from two weeks working away and 3 pounds heavier on the scales this morning. But since being a healthy weight is all about doing the best you can and climbing right back on the wagon every morning, that’s what I’m doing.

I’m giving myself tiny pats for ordering light beers or single glasses of wine (who can afford more than one?) in restaurants, for putting no butter on bread, for skipping lots of bread, for skipping red meat, for sharing dessert (even if the Carrabba’s tiramisu is 1,440 calories per serving OMG I swear I didn’t know!), for eating breakfast and a small, healthy lunch daily. For walking and for (almost) keeping up with my yoga and my calorie-counting on livestrong.com.

And when I didn’t do so well — like, for instance, the evening my host came home with a basketful of little glassine bags filled with The Fresh Market’s most irresistible candies (packaged like any other drug of choice) — my body smacked me upside the head the next morning with a sugar hangover to beat all. ‘Just a reminder,’ it said. ‘Take care of me, and I’ll take care of you.’

So the next night, after a healthy dinner of chicken, collards, lentils and bread at an Ethiopian restaurant, I came home and chose exactly 5 pieces of that dratted candy — 3 sour pumpkins, 1 peanut butter malted milk ball and 1 cashew and white chocolate. I knew if I had none, the candy’s presence would gnaw at me until I ate too much (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it). So I ate 5 and quit. I was actually very proud of myself for the quitting part. (And, BTW, there was nothing easy about it!)

I came home Friday night and soon after our friends Jody and John arrived from Virginia. Our late supper was Port-A-Pit smoked chicken and squash casserole (I knew P-a-P chicken was terrific, had no idea how much we’d like the squash), slaw and an apple crisp and vanilla ice cream. I ate no seconds, drank a lite beer and took it easy on the half-fat ice cream. Figured today’s another day, and indeed, it is. The omelet whiz himself is making egg white omelets with Cubanelle peppers from the garden, and then we’re biking. Onward, upward (or downward in the case of my weight).

Cooking buddy Beryl found this recipe in the Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook and I’ve never used another since. It is perfection and easier than pie!

June’s Apple Crisp

Heat the oven to 350. Fill a pie pan with peeled apple slices. Drizzle the juice of one lemon over the apples. In bowl mix 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Using 2 forks or fork and pastry blender, cut in 1 stick butter until mixture resembles a coarse meal.

Gently press topping over apples, sealing to edges if you can (no biggie if you can’t — the juices are going to bubble up no matter). Bake for 1 hour or until top is golden and you see those luscious bubbles.

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