Oh my goodness gracious. It's enough like cookie dough to be satisfying, but different enough that I found myself able to enjoy it without overindulging. Mama Pea's is a vegan version of this recipe - since I didn't have most of the specialty vegan items, I used Evan's original recipe.
2 cups chickpeasDrain, measure, wash, and peel your chickpeas. (Peeling them isn't absolutely necessary but it makes for the creamiest hummus and really is worth the effort.) In a food processor, add the first 4 ingredients and process until the hummus is completely smooth and emulsified. Remove the blade and fold in the chocolate chips. Move into a deep serving bowl and serve.
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup chocolate chips
As easy as that! Evan recommended serving it with graham crackers or baby carrots (Mama Pea served hers with pretzels) - I had it with apple slices, and it was delightful. Peeling the chickpeas totally made a huge difference in the texture. I used mini chocolate chips because it was what I had in the house, and I liked it - I think bigger chips might have been too much. I also didn't use the full peanut butter amount because I buy peanut butter in single-serve containers (about 2 tablespoons each), but I think it was okay because I didn't use the full 2 cups of chickpeas either (there is a cup and a half in a 15 ounce can). All in all, this was a nice little dip that I've already had to promise my co-workers I'd bring to our next office potluck - they were drooling over the picture and description!
And now, some thoughts.
In spite of occasional difficult times, I truly believe myself to be the happiest girl in the entire city of Chicago because while I have my struggles, I also have more than my fair share of things to be grateful for. There are tough days, but all in all, I would not trade this life for any other. I am accomplishing truly great things right now, and even though sometimes I find myself curious and unsure about the body of the girl in the mirror, I need to keep in mind that no matter what my exterior shows, I'm still the same person. At 345 pounds, I was intelligent and interesting, I had a great sense of humor, and I was capable of incredible things - such as deciding to change my life and get healthy. I'm still all those things, and more. I need to make sure I don't lose sight of that while I adjust to the look and feel of the new outside of me.
Jayme reminded me yesterday that when we experience a loss - even of something like weight - grieving is a natural process. I wish I could stand here and tell you that every day is easy and that the positives of weight loss are enough to eliminate all the tough times, but it simply isn't true. Don't get me wrong - I am very happy most of the time, and many days are relatively easy - but new challenges present themselves every single day, and learning to grow and change with them is not always simple. In fact, they're usually pretty scary and kind of overwhelming. I'm not just losing weight here - I'm losing my comforts and my crutches. I'm losing the shield for so long I've used to protect myself. I am losing a huge part of my identity, the only way I've known how to live my entire life.
These are things I never really considered at 345 pounds - at that point, my plan was very basic: lose weight, or else you will get sick or die. I had never lost more than thirty pounds and honestly thought this time would be more of the same - great intentions destroyed by self-doubt and feelings of weakness and inadequacy. I definitely romanticized the end result: I saw only how unhappy I was at 345 pounds and how perfect I imagined everything would be once I got to 135. I never really thought about what it would be like at 295, or 245, or 195, or any other point in between - I focused on the destination, not the journey. With each lost pound, my goals have gained newer and more specific points of focus. I have to learn how to treat or cope with the new set of life issues - my problems aren't entirely the same ones they were at 345 pounds, but there are still problems.
Going to the Lincoln Park Zoo yesterday really helped me feel better, for a number of reasons. It was nice to get out of the house and breathe some fresh air. The sun was shining and even though it was still a little chilly, it was completely refreshing. And I thought back to other times when I have visited the zoo - how embarrassed I was that I was holding my friends back because I had to stop and rest. This didn't exhaust me - it wasn't even a workout. I followed it up by walking to the grocery store and then the gym. Feeling the progress I've made helps me feel better about the visual transitions.