B&J’s Hearty Vegetable-Beef Soup

Long time, no post, I know. But I haven’t known what to do with this blog for over a year because my living situation has greatly improved and my mental health has improved with it. I don’t feel the need to talk about my eating disorder at length anymore but some readers expressed an interest in recipes. So, with that in mind, have one that my spouse and I came up with together.

 

B&J's Vegetable Beef Soup

B&J’s Vegetable Beef Soup

 

Recipe:

B&J’s Hearty Vegetable-Beef Soup

Ingredients:

1.5lbs of beef cut into ½” cubes – dealer’s choice but we usually use rump roast or a London broil

5 cans (10 cups) of no salt added beef broth

12oz frozen sliced carrots

1 (one) 15oz can sliced new potatoes

1 (one) 15oz can rosemary, and oregano diced tomatoes

1 (one) 15oz can basil, rosemary, and oregano diced tomatoes

1 (one) 15oz can roasted garlic diced tomatoes

1 (one) 15oz can no salt added diced tomatoes

1 (one) 15oz can no salt added corn

1 (one) 15oz can no salt added green beans

1 (one) 15oz can seasoned black beans

1 (one) 12oz box of noodles – we usually use garden rotini

4 tablespoons garlic powder (3 to be used during browning of meat, 1 to put in the soup broth)

1.5 teaspoons dried oregano (optional)

½ teaspoon dried sage (optional)

½ teaspoon chili powder (optional)

Method:

Brown the meat in large stock pot with 3 tablespoons garlic powder and ½ teaspoon chili powder

While the meat is browning drain the cans of: corn, green beans, potatoes, and no salt added tomatoes

Once the meat is brown, add the beef broth, drained cans, cans of undrained tomatoes, undrained black beans, and spices. Bring to a boil then simmer for 40 minutes.

After 40 minutes, add the frozen carrots to soup cook noodles according to box directions.

Serve by putting some of the cooked noodles in bowls and ladle the soup over the top. Store noodles and soup separately.

Makes A LOT of soup and noodles.

Soup in storage, noodles are in the cottage cheese container.

Soup in storage, noodles are in the cottage cheese container.

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Dill Pickle Dip

I saw this recipe in a food group I belong to on Facebook. I asked the author permission to share it and they said yes.

Dill Pickle Dip

By Olivia Callaway

1 8oz block of cream cheese softened
1/4 cup of yellow onion
1/4 cup of dill pickles
Dried dill flakes
(Pickle juice added to reach desired consistency)

She says she used something similar to a Slap Chop to chop up her onion and about 5 spears of pickles. The picture she posted had pretzel rods as the dip vehicle so I think it’d work lovely with crackers, hard pretzels, veggies, really I think the sky’s the limit here.

Pasta Salad with Tuna and Peas

So, here’s a recipe I’ve adapted from someone I used to know. It’s really easy to make and pretty cheap, also fairly balanced.  I’m guessing at the amounts used ’cause I eyeball it then taste it as I go.

 

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz multi coloured pasta (Wacky Mac is good but any multi coloured pasta works great)
  • 10 oz canned tuna (we used whole white albacore)
  • ~1 cup mayonnaise or more/less to suit taste
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 tablespoon powdered garlic or more/less to suit taste
  • Juice from half a lemon, carefully seeded

Optionally can add shredded, raw carrots, celery, or any other crunchy veggie that sounds good.

What To Do:

  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Immediately drain and rinse with cool water until the pasta is cold. Drain thoroughly.
  2. Put the peas in a colander and rinse with cool water until thawed and soft all the way through. Drain thoroughly.
  3. Open, drain and flake the tuna.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the peas, pasta, optional additional veg, garlic powder, and mayo. Mix until well incorporated.
  5. Put the tuna on top, squeeze the lemon over the top of the fish, and then mix thoroughly.
  6. Taste, adjust mayo/garlic to taste; serve with bread/crackers.

Do let me know if you try it and how you like it. Me, my husband and father have this pretty often.

End of the Road or Change in Topics?

I’m not sure what to do with this blog anymore. While I still struggle with my ED, it’s not been a primary focus in about a year ’cause I’ve been concerned with other things, like facing homelessness and chronic illness/pain, and realizations about myself. Plus I had to have a surgery and I’m still pretty messed up from it. Sometimes I think I should just delete this blog ’cause, while I started it in hopes that my words might make people feel less alone, I don’t know what to say anymore that’s even remotely on topic.

I don’t need this blog to be a journal or venting space ’cause I have a semi-private one for that. I do have a couple ideas about what I could write about from time to time but I’m not sure if my audience (if you’re all still there after my repeated unannounced hiatuses) would be interested. I’ve got some recipes to try, could talk more about chronic illness in general… I don’t know.

Thoughts, comments?

IMAlive – My Review and Experience Using A Crisis Chat Line

This post contains mentions of self-harm, suicide, homelessness, and disordered eating. Read at your own discretion.

I’m writing and posting my experience contacting IMAlive, a crisis support chatline, to hopefully help people use it if they need to. I almost didn’t contact them, myself, because I didn’t know what it was like. However, this is only my account of the one time I used IMAlive and everyone won’t necessarily have the same experience.

About a month ago, my partner, birds, and me ended up having to sleep in a hotel lobby for a night, not knowing what we were going to do the following night, because our resources to stay in the hotel had run out and we still had no income, despite our best efforts. I had already relapsed on self-injury several times during our stint in that hotel due to the extreme stress we were under, I had lost a significant amount of weight because not only was my ED triggered but we usually couldn’t afford food, and I was fighting suicidal idealizations on a daily basis. That night was one of the hardest of my life and I didn’t get much sleep because a disturbed older man woke me up in the middle of the night to ask me where he could smoke (our state has a ban on indoor smoking in public buildings so I told him he couldn’t and he got irritated with me).

The following morning, we desperately tried to find somewhere, anywhere, to go so we wouldn’t end up on the street in the middle of winter. We didn’t have any word back yet and I was actively planning suicide at that point so I went to IMAlive’s website because I knew I was in crisis.

I’d tried to use them in the past but every time I tried previously they were closed and I never could find hours posted anywhere. But this time I was taken to a page I hadn’t seen before. It asked me to enter my age range, zip code, and gender (I selected “other”). You could remain as anonymous as you can when entering that information or put in your email address. I chose the former.

Within minutes (two or three), I was typing to one of IMAlive’s trained volunteers who called themselves Alex. They asked what they could call me and I told them my name. They also asked about my situation, how I was feeling, and generally just listened and offered support. I could tell they had been trained in how to deal with people in crisis and that made me feel better, especially because I tried another chat service (NOT a crisis line) that left me feeling less than helped at the end since the people on that service weren’t trained.

I don’t remember the details of what we chatted about but I felt more hopeful by the end and Alex asked me if I would like it if they sent me a followup email in a few days. I said yes and they asked for my email address, which I supplied.

My friend helped us get into a new hotel that evening and then a couple days later, Alex emailed me to see how things were. I updated them but didn’t hear back; I’m unsure if that’s policy or what.

So, that’s my review of my experience using IMAlive. I hope this might help someone feel more comfortable using the service who otherwise might not because they don’t know what it’s like. Please, please, if you’re thinking of hurting yourself, contact IMAlive or another crisis line. You’re worth than you think you are in those moments.

Personal Update: Eating Disorder Feelings. Plus News Article

Content Warning: This post contains detailed discussion of eating disorders, disordered eating patterns, and dysmorphic body image.

 

Our living situation remains pretty much the same. B is frantically looking for work. We’re awaiting word on SNAP and his unemployment payments but it’s likely the shutdown will further delay these things. We’re trying to make it on ~$50/wk and it’s brutal. Some of my friends have helped out by sending/giving us money for food/gas but it’s been difficult to find a way to eat enough, especially since the food bank we usually go to often only has random things like bread and veggies; nothing to really make meals with. We’ve started to go to the Salvation Army food bank, which we haven’t gone to before due to their policies on LGBT+ and non-Christian people, but they give out food boxes to the needy that you can actually build meals with.

Dealing with my eating disorder during this time continues to be difficult at best. I’ve lost weight. I can tell because my clothes are looser on my body, not because I’ve weighed myself. Part of me is thrilled beyond words because I hate how my body looks at the weight I’m at but then I try to remind myself that I hated how I looked and thought I was “fat” when my ribs were visible. I’m unsure if I’m really as heavy as I see myself in the mirror or if my ED is lying to me. Probably the latter.

We’ve had more access to food the last week or so but we’ve not been eating more as a result. I don’t want to yo-yo between this starvation mode and gorging myself on food to the point I feel sick and B just hasn’t noticed when he’s hungry lately so neither of us realize it’s been more than seven hours (or longer) between meals. It doesn’t help that B recently confided in me that he has disordered eating thoughts and has for years. I’ve suspected for a long time but I haven’t pestered him about it. We’re quite the pair.

The stress we’re under is causing my other health issues, such as my fibromyalgia and eczema, to super flare, too. Something has to change soon.

 

Now that I’ve updated on personal things, onto the news video I found that infuriated me: An 11-year-old girl in Florida was sent home with a letter from her school recently. That letter stated that she was “on a trend” to be overweight according to the BMI and her health is at risk. This girl is incredibly physically active and doesn’t look overweight at all. Her mother’s fighting it and talking to the media. The media, in turn, is talking to doctors who buy into the BMI hogwash, despite all the evidence that it’s bunk and is not a good indicator of health.

Here‘s the link. Watch with caution due to discussion of weight, BMI, and doctors harping on how being skinny is the best way to be healthy.

Housing Update + Eating Disorder Discussion

This post contains discussion of homelessness and eating disorders.

The last week has been super rough. We lost our housing and my fiance lost his job within 12 hours of each other. It’s all been really scary and difficult. The first night, before we found out he’d lost his job, we slept in B’s little Saturn coupe with our birds. We couldn’t even partially lay down due to how small the car is inside and the birdcage. The second night and for most of the others, we’ve slept in a tent we acquired from a local homeless and at-risk group. We’ve set up in my friend’s back yard and they’re letting us use their kitchen, bathroom, and wifi.

Sleeping in a tent is weird. I’ve never camped before because I just didn’t understand the appeal. Apparently a lot of people like it but I have trouble sleeping with the knowledge that it’s just a couple layers of fabric between me and the outside. I get a bit paranoid about what could be lurking out there and every little noise sets me off and wakes me up. I have to be super exhausted to fall asleep.

But, we’re safe and with people who genuinely care about us. So that is something of true value.

Food has been difficult. The stress has my eating disorder running away with me and every meal is a calculated effort to eat. Eating makes me feel sick to my stomach ’cause my ED doesn’t want me to eat so I have to chew very slowly and not be left alone while I’m eating now. I’m very concerned about food, like, how we’ll get food and other things.

I don’t know. I don’t want to talk more about this. I just thought I should update.