My Post-Wisdom Teeth Surgery Diet

A couple weeks ago I had my wisdom teeth taken out. I was fortunate to only be blessed with three of them (yay for being a slightly more evolved human!) and I experienced essentially no pain at any point from the surgery through my recovery. I only used pain medication for 4 days as a preventative measure and never had to dip into the hard drugs the surgeon prescribed.

I know that I am very lucky and that many people have had much worse experiences following this surgery so my eating experiences will not translate well for everybody. I thought I’d share them though for anyone who might go through this in the future and for all you nosy folks out there who like to know random intimate details about others’ lives…don’t worry, I’m right there with ya.

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My Favorite Things…2016

Here are some of the things I’ve been loving throughout the last year. This list will satisfy all of your senses and nourish you from the inside out. Happy 2017!

Food & Cooking

Roast Chicken: I didn’t start making roast chickens simply because I aspire to be Ina Garten in my next life, but that is a major piece of it. [Step one: make a roast chicken. Step two: find a Jeffrey to eat said roast chicken…]  I also did it because it’s so easy and cozy. BUT you have to do this one thing. Or it won’t be nearly as tasty. Salt it a day ahead and leave it to dry out on a rack in the fridge uncovered. The skin will be so crisp and the meat will be seasoned all the way through. I promise. I’ve been roasting mine at a high temperature (typically around 450 F) for super crisp skin but the internet tells me that I could also do it low and slow for more tender meat (and less crisp skin). I’m tempted to experiment with the reverse sear method by cooking it low and slow and then blasting it in a hot oven to get the best of both worlds. Has anyone done that with chicken?

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Save our daylight! And my sanity, please.

I am having more trouble than ever adjusting to the extra hour we got on Sunday. I’m what you’d probably call a morning person and I’ve successfully(?) adjusted my internal clock to wake me up between 5 and 5:30 am. Let’s just say I’ve gotten very used to waking up before the sun has stretched its golden rays. And I’m comfortable with that. Morning is my “me time” and I treasure the cool breeze, quiet stillness, and slow pace.

HOWEVER, ever since the clocks turned back I have been regularly waking up at a rather absurd time. You don’t even want to know. If you thought 5:30 was crazy….well, just don’t judge me.

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Budgets – Don’t Be Frightened

I am now well into my second year of living out on my own. I have a big girl job, bills to pay, and live halfway across the country from my home and family. One thing that I knew would be a huge adjustment when my parents tossed me out of the nest was being entirely responsible for every cent I would spend. As an anxious, frugal, and money-conscious person I decided the first thing I wanted to do was set up a budget.

I knew the general premise of a budget – don’t spend more than you make – but had never created a full-fledged one for myself. The scariest part for me was guessing how much money to allow myself to spend in each category. Obviously rent, car payments, and internet bills were predictable numbers each month but what was an acceptable amount to spend on groceries, household necessities, and eating out? How much should I be contributing to my 401K, Roth IRA, and long-term savings? How was I supposed to figure all that out??

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Granola Dust

I love cooking breakfast but since I eat at 5:30am during the week it’s not easy to concoct lavish breakfasts. With eyes half closed, hair up in a messy bun, and slippers on, I turn to a couple of different meals that keep me full until lunchtime, often more than 7 hours later.

I’ll go through my breakfast pantry essentials and more of my favorite meals at a later time, but right now we are talking about the easiest and most well-balanced breakfast in a bowl.

Granola Dust.

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Pantry Staple Dinners

As you may have read in my previous post, I am the kind of home cook who likes to keep a well-stocked pantry so I know that I always have ingredients on hand for a delicious meal when I don’t feel like going to the store. Almost every meal that I cook involves a brief inspection of my fridge and cupboards and becomes a one-person episode of Chopped. The only differences are that I take as long as I want, nobody critiques my presentation, and usually my entire dinner fits into one cozy bowl.

I generally make these recipes with whatever vegetables I have on hand, because that is the most convenient and least wasteful system for me. Cooking in this manner means that I could make one type of dish a variety of ways, which fulfills my need for variation in my diet. I will specify in parentheses the vegetables that frequently make it into each dish in my kitchen.

A variation on Pad Thai

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Essential Ingredients for Easy Dinners

There is a big push within the world of food blogs and highly organized adults to plan out meals in advance. Word on the street is that it can save you time, money, and shopping trips and can relieve the pressure of deciding what to make when you arrive home to an empty fridge with only 30 minutes until your stomach begins eating you alive out of starvation.

I can see the appeal, particularly if you are cooking for a busy family with a rigid schedule and picky eaters who have very specific food preferences. However, as soon as I plan out something as basic as meals, I feel constricted and as though I’ve lost my creative license. I know this sounds overly dramatic but as someone who looks forward to spending time in the kitchen and craves variety in my meals, it is very important that it remains enjoyable.

Luckily I only have to worry about cooking for myself so I get to make the rules!

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Habits – Do It Every Time

I don’t really have to do something all the time if I want to make it a habit, right??

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but yes. Yes you do. As painful as it is for me to acknowledge.

I am the queen of excusing myself from little things that would help me form beneficial habits. So no judgment here.

By definition a habit is practiced regularly, therefore you cannot form a habit without doing the action consistently. More consistency leads to faster habit formation and stronger habits.

So then how do I (sometimes) successfully convince myself to do something every time?

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Smile To Be Happy!

You don’t have to tell me how annoying it is when someone tries to make you smile and you’re just not in the mood. Maybe you’re having a bit of a rough day. Maybe you’re in a fine mood but just don’t feel like walking around with a big grin on your face.

At work, my mentor will often pass me in the kitchen and tell me to smile. Because he’s a nice guy, I smile for the 2 seconds it takes to walk by him and then go back to my regular content-but-not-particularly-joyous face.

But perhaps he is doing me a favor.

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Raisin Scones

IMG_6374It’s been a while since I’ve wandered into the kitchen to make something sweet. This weekend the urge was so strong that I carved out time in my afternoon to devote to my buddies: flour, sugar, and butter.

After seeking inspiration from a cookbook full of delicious but complex recipes, I decided on scones. They are simple, quick, and can usually be made in just 1 or 2 bowls with no more than a wooden spoon. Today was a day for a simple recipe with consistently delicious results.

For consistent, well-tested recipes I often turn to King Arthur Flour. The scone recipe that I baked today is loosely based on this blueberry scone recipe.

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