Archive | May, 2012

Just My Best Food Friends

19 May

I used to be incapable of crying during movies, even at classic Hallmark moments. I would stare, in amusement, at the people around me who had yet to adapt my Samurai approach. Fortunately, I did at some point acquire a heart, and can now muster a little eye hydration here and there.

At work, I am writing an article on the history of an NIH building, and it requires some digging. Last week, I spent a day scouring past issues of the NIH Alumni magazine, a well-composed publication that sadly is no longer in circulation, looking for leads on any researchers who worked, or scientific discoveries made, in this building. Though tangent to my search, I came across an article on “The Rocket Boys of NIH.” On February 9, 1957, 9-year-old Terence Boylan sent the following note to the NIH:

Dear Sir

My friend and I are very interested in space travel and have a great idea for a rocket ship. We were wondering if we could have a little sum of money ($10.00) to fulfill our project. We would [be] most grateful if you would send it to us.


Terence Boylan

Pretty cute, right? Asking the National Institutes of Health for ten bucks to build a rocket. But there’s more to the story: Terence wanted to build the rocket with his next-door neighbor and best friend, Bruce Cook, who had a severe case of cerebral palsy that left him paralyzed in all limbs except his left arm. When I read Terence’s description of his friendship with Bruce, that’s when I teared up a little: “He was just my best friend and playmate,” said Terence. “I’d go over to his house, grab his wheelchair, and push him down the street into our little village. We just hung-out together all the time.”I could, and have, read those sentences over and over. Really, friendship is a rare thing – how many people in your life do you just love, no matter what?

Most of us are probably not best friends with someone severely handicapped, as in the case of Terence and Bruce. But I think anytime you choose your friend despite his or her setbacks, it’s somewhat equivalent. Probably other kids were harsher towards Bruce than was Terence. And every time Terence wheeled Bruce into town he was defending their friendship – publicly, shamelessly proclaiming that the person he had the best time with was Bruce, and not the star football player or the prettiest girl in his class.

So if your sister is your best friend, the next time your mom criticizes her, because she needs someone to vent to, don’t use it as an opportunity to also vent. Defend her, even if your mom has a legitimate point. Because at the end of the day, your sister matters to you so much more than her faults.

And now let’s transition onto “food friends” – my besties are pretzels. I would defend them against my mother, should the occasion arise. Here are my favorite combos:

Start with: 1 serving (1 oz.) pretzels. Then…

Combine with 30 M&Ms 

Calories: 215

Dip in Jello Sugar Free Chocolate Pudding

Calories: 170

Make a trail mix – add 1 Tbs. white chocolate chips, 2 Tbs. raisins, 20 M&Ms

Calories: 310

Make lunch – eat with 2 Tbs. hummus

Calories: 180

Make lunch the next day – eat with 2 Tbs. whipped cream cheese instead

Calories: 180

I welcome any suggestions for furthering my pretzel love with additional pairings. Tweak it!

Three’s Lunch

5 May

Cooking, in my newest living situation, has been an upward battle. Here’s what I’m up against: five roommates (three actively practicing barbaric cleaning habits), a carpeted floor, and appliances the human equivalent of which would have traded in their 9-5 for Bingo and Early Bird Specials long ago. If you don’t believe me, I’m more than happy to elaborate…

The floor debris is impenetrable with broom or vacuum. And no, I never imagined myself vacuuming in the kitchen – sounds like something Amelia Bedelia would attempt while diligently misreading her boss’s instructions! The countertops are permanently scarred with dried morsels; if cultured guests came over, I’d have to claim the counters are “textured.” The sink must be self-conscious about the way it looks, because it’s never not been filled with dirty pots and pans.

And yet, somehow, a few lunchtime gems were birthed in my scummy, crummy kitchen. Using exclusively the toaster oven, I developed a nice trio of sandwiches. I used white bread, because it’s a nutrient-deficient food item that I can’t say no to. But if this is too unhealthy for you, then by all means swap it out for whole wheat. I’m sure there is at least one twist on a classic sandwich, or strange sandwich combo, that you have invented or know about. If so, please tweak it up!

CC & J


– 2 slices bread

– 1 Tbs. grape jelly

– 1 Tbs. whipped cream cheese


Toast the two slices of bread. Spread one with jelly, and one with cream cheese. If you want to feel like you’re in third grade and your mom packed your lunch (I do it all the time!): slice diagonally.




– 2 slices bread

– 2 Tbs. mozzarella cheese

– seasonings: salt, oregano, and garlic salt or onion powder



Sprinkle each slice of bread with 1 Tbs. of  cheese. Sprinkle seasonings on top of cheese. Toast until cheese is melted.



– 2 slices bread

– 1 slice Muenster cheese

– 1 half tomato, sliced

– salt (essential)

Heat a frying pan on medium-low. Place cheese and tomato on one bread slice. Salt the tomato. Place second slice of bread on top. Grill sandwich in pan until cheese is melted.