The Cheesecake Addiction

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Archive for the tag “tuna”

Another Smoothie, More Bruschetta, and the Obligatory Tech Exhaustion Post

Well, ladies and gentleman–

I’m coming at you from bed. My health has taken a negative turn in the last week and pair that up with the exhaustion from tech…bed just seems to be the best place.

Mind you, this is not a crazy, exhausting, strenuous tech process. Actually, this is really smooth, calm, and a lot of fun. But the late nights and early mornings are taking their toll and so it is actually just the lack of sleep that has made me exhausted. How refreshing!

Of course, exhaustion at times means “emotionally compromised” and I think that’s where I’ve been for a few days. I’m proud to say it hasn’t affected my work. I’ve been determined to call a great show, and in doing so it has made for even more exhaustion. My mind is stuck on the issue mentioned yesterday: the note, hope, and holding on. Oy vey.

Perhaps another factor is the drama of the angst-y, hormonal, and sexually charged teens I work with…Their issues are bringing up my own to an extent.

Or really, maybe I just have too much damn time on my hands because I’m bedridden and can’t concentrate on anything else except finding energy to make a smoothie and my damn feelings. This is probably the case.

Whatever the reason may be, I hate it here. I hate it in this place of limbo. Not moving forward, not moving back. Stuck in illness and frustration.

Anyway…when the iPad is done charging (for the photos), I’ll make my way to the kitchen to make myself a banana chocolate smoothie and some tuna bruschetta for my protein-packed tech dinner.

Banana Smoothie:

Almond milk, banana, coco powder, a handful of frozen berries and mango, a little orange juice, and cinnamon. Blend to tasty banana-y perfection and let it heal your ailing tummy. ImageImage

It was SO GOOD. I’m drinking it now and can feel my body absorbing the nutrients. Plus, the chocolate kick curbs the sweet tooth.

Tuna Bruschetta:

Similar to last time, I just mixed a can of tuna with chopped tomatoes, garlic, basil, thyme, chives. This time, instead of garbanzo beans, I added black beans. I also added a tablespoon or so of capers. Dress it up with balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.

There you go, my friends. Easy, kind of rustic, and hopefully enough to get me through.

Funny, isn’t it? The things you think when you’re exhausted? How much more difficult thought management is when you don’t sleep?

Funny also how we always have one more thing to say, even if we think we’ve said it all.


Coming Solstice, Bruschetta, and Rock Bottom: One Year Later

2013-06-03 13.04.38-1If you’re just here for the food, totally cool. Scroll down to the pictures and you can read about some protein packed, healthy bruschetta. If you’re here for it all, right on. And read on.

One year ago this weekend (give or take a few days–that is how the calendar works, after all) was my rock bottom. I was alone in Zion, IL (cue Paul and Geoff: Jew skies…smiling at me), searching my soul, which pretty much translates to uncontrollable sobbing, phone fights, and a table for one at Applebee’s. The night was completely still. The lake was like glass, and the wind had vanished. And not to be totally dramatic about it, but I had never felt such despair. It felt like everything had burst out of me, screaming. This man had changed everything I knew to be true and safe and for reasons I still can’t quite comprehend, I was alienated from my family. It was the worst night. And somehow, I fell asleep and got through it and then…I woke up.

I checked out of the motel at 7 in the morning, got a cup of gas station coffee, and drove to the beach. Beach State Park was beautiful, wild, and untamed. There was a crispness in the summer air that morning that gave me life and strength. I was still in pain, but I was less lost. I knew what I had to do, and although it hurt like nothing ever has before (for reasons he probably still doesn’t understand), I knew I could. I couldn’t cry anymore; I could only breathe. I spent an hour just sitting. I wasn’t even really thinking anything. I was just gathering the strength I needed to move. Finally, I stood up and walked to my car. When I turned the car on, I heard a familiar beat begin to play.

“When I get older, I will be stronger

They’ll call me freedom, just like the waving flag…

When I get older, I will be stronger…”

One hand out the window, one on the wheel, and my phone in the trunk–I drove away.

It is one year later. One tumultuous year later. As you know, much has happened. Lots of good, a little bad. A few biopsies here and there. But where do I stand on all of this? And why should you care? Well, ok, you shouldn’t care, because this is honestly more of an open letter. I only tell you over and over because, while I feel listened to, I don’t feel heard. And I have some pretty damning and salient proof that I haven’t been heard.

Anyhoozle. I’m better. I’m stronger. And truly, for the first time–REALLY, the first time since this whole thing began–I’m not sad. Finally, my blood boiled with rage and then I calmed down (this was just a few weeks ago). True colors were shown, and it made it easier not to feel sympathy or pain for him. I realized someone this small has no power to hurt me anymore. Despite what you might think, I have done nothing but try to move on all year–and finally, I can start. I’m listening to the same songs I listened to all of last summer, and they carry some heavy-duty memories, but they sound different. They feel better.

“And it’s hard to dance with the devil on your back, so shake him out!…Happiness hit her like a bullet in the head, struck from a great height, by someone who should know better/The DOG DAYS ARE OVER. THE DOG DAYS ARE GONE. THE HORSES ARE COMING SO YOU BETTER RUN!”

So a long winded way of saying, I am so much better. Bruschetta:

A few of you may know this, but CDR and I have started a rooftop garden. It is so much fun and so beautiful and we have an endless supply of herbs! Yesterday, I was having a weak day (physically) and wanted to do something fun with tuna, so I thought…TUNA BRUSCHETTA SOUNDS DELICIOUS! And it was.

I gathered some herbs. Basil, Lemon Thyme, Lemon Verbena, Chives, and Parsley.2013-06-19 16.01.25

I chopped tomatoes, one clove of garlic, and all the herbs. 2013-06-19 16.14.23

I added a can of tuna packed in oil, drained partially so you still get some of the oil. I also added 1/4 of a cup of garbanzo beans for added protein. Finish it off with a splash of balsamic and salt and pepper.

2013-06-19 16.21.03

Voila. Super simple, super healthy, and super yummy.

We also made a lemon-verbena simple syrup, which I’ll stir into a cake in a few days–recipe testing for Cry Eye Fatigue Syndrome. Boil equal cups water and sugar until it reduces slightly, and let herb leaves steep for 15-20 minutes.2013-06-19 16.19.40

Tomorrow is the summer solstice, and Geoff is coming over for dinner. We’ll celebrate our bounty of herbs by using them in a bunch of flatbreads. And weather permitting, we might dine on the roof. Here’s to a glorious summer!


Loaded Tuna Melt

Hey, kids. Wow. 6 weeks flew so fast. I find myself hours away from the opening of Wizard of Oz–exhausted–but determined to stand up and steer the ship (or balloon, or…Oz puppet…or something…). An hour ago, I was trying to catch up on a bit of sleep when I got an email from my grandmother: The Stratford Festival has released its 2013 season…and would I like to go? Back to Canada?

Again, six weeks has flown. Feeling that dip again, I decided I needed to pull myself together. Stop moping, turn the news off (thoughts and prayers to CO, by the way…how absolutely heartbreaking), wake up, and for cry eye! Stop listening to Eleanor Rigby. Seriously, crazy. Stop it. You have cupcakes to make, a green dress to slip into, and a great show to call.

So, I get into the kitchen…and decided something. I don’t NEED to make cupcakes today. It is someone’s birthday–but I’m allowed–just this once–to buy the cupcakes from a store. I’m frickin exhausted and simply can’t spend two hours making 70 cupcakes. I just can’t. This is big, guys. This was Anna taking time for Anna.

But I was still hungry. And the potlucks at tech the last few days have been one carb and sodium overload fest that I decided I needed to make something healthy, packed with protein, and veggies need to at least make an appearance. Tuna Melt, anyone?

Let’s start with the tuna. The trick with tuna salad is to keep it moist enough, and for a a tuna melt–simple enough, without losing the integrity of the tuna. Just took two small cans of tuna (still too much for one person, but the leftovers are good) and drained them and mixed it in a bowl with 1/4 cup diced onion, 1 heaping teaspoons of dijon, 2 1/2 heaping teaspoons of mayo (I used LIGHT), and a couple dashes of hot sauce. And to try something new, I also added a few dashes of fish sauce. Salt and pepper, too, of course.

I buttered two pieces of bread (just on one side), and began layering up the sandwich (in the meantime, I had a small frying pan heating up on the stove). Extra sharp cheddar cheese, some tuna, lettuce, tomato, red peppers, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze.

And you should all know the cooking method. Just like a grilled cheese. Pan fry till the cheese is melted and the bread is toasted.

Delicious. Sure, not as healthy as it could have been…but it really wasn’t that unhealthy. The worst of it was the butter and mayonnaise, but there are always other options for that. You can pan fry in a little bit of olive oil (or even coconut oil), and omit mayo from the salad. Options, options, options. Experiment.

I am thankful tonight, that I get to go make art with some of the world’s best people. Never have I been a part of a process  in which every single member of the production team, crew, and cast are of the purest of hearts. Perks of working with kids, right? Their wonderful energy and spirits have really helped me get through the last month. And I am so proud of all of them. I hope you all come see it. Stahl Family Theater on Austin and Belmont in Chicago. Tickets are $12, curtain is at 7:30. You should all come.

Hold on to your breath, Hold on to your hope, Hold on to your heart…

Tuna Burgers

Hey everyone! I just finished reading (literally two hours ago) Richard Russo’s That Old Cape Magic, a novel that takes place largely on Cape Cod. It wasn’t very sad at all, but often, my eyes would well up as the Cape was described in perfect detail, and made me long to return. August. It’s not that far away. But anyway, as I was closing the book, Rachael Ray was on tv, cooking up some cod burgers and recalling her childhood on Cape Cod. All of a sudden, I was craving a lunch that reminded me of sitting on our deck, a block away from the ocean, and enveloped by trees (Woods Hole, guys). I could have run out to the store and bought seafood salad, and put it in a pita pocket with some avacado…a standby lunch when I’m there, but I don’t trust seafood salad in the midwest. I looked through my pantry and saw a small can of tuna. Okay, tuna burgers…um, burger.

Drain the tuna and put it in a bowl. I added a few heavy-handed tablespoons of teriyaki sauce, half of a clove of minced garlic, about a teaspoon of chopped scallion, a pinch of ginger (if I had fresh ginger on hand, and a larger quantity of tuna, I would have used that instead), half of a beaten egg, and a few crackers that I had crushed completely so that they resembled bread crumbs. I mixed it all together and then formed it. An interesting tip in forming tuna burgers—because they aren’t as sturdy as ground beef—is to line a small tupperware container with plastic wrap and put the tuna in there. Remove the tuna from the container (wrapped in the plastic) and there you have a nicely formed burger. Put it in the fridge to set up–that’s what mine is doing right now. It can hang out in there as long as you want, and that’s a good thing, because I’m not quite hungry yet.

Okay, a few hours later. I heated a little bit (a VERY little bit) of extra virgin olive oil in a skillet and pan fried the tuna burger—about three minutes a side. I toasted some whole wheat bread and sliced some tomatoes. I put some whole-grain mustard on the toast, then the burger, then tomatoes, and a few pieces of lettuce. I can’t even tell you how satisfying it was. Healthy, too. I wanted to take a picture, but this time I couldn’t find my camera. Here’s a picture of my house in Woods Hole. Is that better?

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