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Still searching for comfort food

March 7, 2008 - Kathie Evanoff
The sun came out yesterday and helped lift my blue funk a bit.

I felt comfortable leaving the house without an extra sweater for the first time in weeks and wore my sunglasses as I drove to actually block out the sun and not just the sun’s reflection on the snow. I was still on the lookout for comfort food; however, and decided instead of giving in to high-carb cravings, I would try to find something healthier.

After an assignment for work kept me busy nearly until lunchtime, I stopped at a local grocery on my way back to the paper’s remote office in Niles. I was looking specifically for Amy’s frozen macaroni and cheese, but not just any type. I was looking for rice noodles instead of white pasta. The grocery didn’t have it and although I knew where I could get it, I didn’t want to make the trek, which would have meant backtracking and taking me out of my area. In addition to trying to eat healthily, I also am trying to save myself unnecessary trips that will use up precious ounces of gas, not to mention put extra miles on my leased car.

Instead I veered from the grocery store to the end of another street and stopped at a local organic and health food store where I knew Amy’s products also were sold. I stood at the frozen food locker staring at a shelf labeled, “Amy’s Rice Macaroni and Cheese.” The shelf was empty. I couldn’t believe my luck, or lack of, as it turned out. Since breakfast, I knew this was what I wanted for lunch today. I even tossed a two-ounce can of tuna in my purse on my way out the door that morning.

There were other packages of Amy’s mac and cheese in the locker, but they were made with white pasta and soy cheese. I don’t have anything against soy cheese, it is certainly high in protein, but this package is also higher in fat than I feel comfortable with in my lunch bowl.

But I gave in to the call of comfort food and allowed myself the white pasta mac with the soy cheese. It wasn’t bad. The cheese was stickier and not as creamy as my preferred brand and if I hadn’t known it was soy cheese, I probably wouldn’t have known the difference as far as taste. I mixed with it the tuna and a single serving size container of frozen broccoli and carrots. It made a nice bowlful of flavor and the rest of the afternoon, probably due to the 15 grams of fat it contained, I never gave a thought to an afternoon snack. Later for dinner, my husband, now off his later shift and back to cooking, prepared breaded pork chops and baked potatoes. His special baked potatoes include a large bay leaf (from his own bay laurel shrub), placed in the center of the split potatoes before wrapping in foil and baking (Okay, I know this is really steaming).

Today; however, winter is back in full force. The roads were clear when I got to the office this morning, but now they are snow covered and messy. According to, we are in the midst of a winter storm and the interactive satellite picture on my computer is showing a wide, white band of snow stretching from Kentucky upwards through northeast Ohio and into New England. My husband and I were planning to do a restaurant review this evening, but I think we will try that again tomorrow and will simply stay home tonight.

My breakfasts continue to be large bowls of rolled oats with a banana, walnuts and cinnamon. Today’s lunch was a challenge; however. I was tired of the usual choices that surround my office and since tomorrow is grocery day (if we can dig ourselves out), the kitchen didn’t contain anything conducive to packing a lunch. I really wanted a burger and fries, but instead made the short walk to Subway for a club sandwich (with fat-free Italian dressing) and a diet coke. It wasn’t what I was in the mood for, but it filled me up and I managed to stay on track.

Later for dinner, my husband made his own comfort food, which is pork and sauerkraut with mashed potatoes. I added a salad and a glass of milk. Now we will just sit back and watch it snow.


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Breakfast: 1 ½ cups of creamy oatmeal made with mashed banana, two tsps. brown sugar, a healthy shake of cinnamon and a half ounce of walnuts adds up to 1 ½ ounces grains; 1 ounce meat; ½ cup milk; ¾ cups fruit; 1 ½ tsps. oils; 60 discretionary calories (sugar in tea and brown sugar in oatmeal)