February 4th

theresa albert - my friend in food


Six of Spades with a Side of Pensive Thoughts


Hi reader, its Monday morning and I am sitting at my computer, staring at the screen; wishing my brain would come up with a witty post and my fingers would start typing. But to be honest here, I am having a hard time writing a post for this week. In the wake of all the devastation that has occurred, my battle with food seems a little trivial.

And so I struggle. I have struggled all weekend with these thoughts.

As we hear all the horrifying news coming from Japan and as I read on Twitter about a mother struggling with the loss of a child, I can’t help but look at my life and feel blessed. Feel lucky that for right now, my family is doing okay.

I spent the weekend thinking. Soul searching. Wondering how to balance events from around the world with our own personal struggles. How do I feel compassion for others without feeling insignificant in my own existence? Sure I can write #perspective on Tweets, but come on; I still live each and every day. I still want to lose weight, get in shape and eat better. I do not want to feel guilt over wanting to achieve these things and saying them out-loud.

I have no solution on this Monday morning and I am still trying to find the balance. But I have started a journey that I hope produces some answers. I have begun researching where best to make a donation for a cause that touches my heart. I have decided to yell less at my children. And I will lose that weight, because it means I will be healthier.

And so with all this in mind and a little heavy in the heart, I will tell you just how much I loved the Six of Spades. It spoke to me. Beans are a new food group for me. For many many years I avoided all beans in all forms. I loathed their texture. Their feel in my mouth. Seriously, as a kid my mom would make chili and I would pick out each and every bean in my bowl before I began eating.

In my late teens, I traveled to Israel and discovered hummus. Thankfully it took me a few years to realize they were made from chickpeas – the enemy. By that time, hummus had become a staple in my diet. But that was the one and only exception.

However, as a parent we all know children follow by example. We must be the leaders. So, I waved goodbye to my days of bean picking and began eating chili with all the ingredients left in my bowl. And you know what, I loved it! It took a few weeks to get over the texture element, but I did. So now I eat chili and so do my kids.

I also now cook a fabulous black bean dish with roasted tomatoes and tons of fresh kale.

I make a chickpea and red onion salad as a side dish once a week.

I love cassoulet.

I eat beans in all shapes and sizes – except for baked beans and bean salad. Just can’t get past those two dishes.

This is good for me, all this bean eating. I have a high cholesterol level and the beans can help me lower it. I struggle with Irritable Bowel Syndrome and having regular “movements”. When I go irregular – I eat beans. They help clear me out and get my system moving again. This helps reduce my IBS attacks.

The kids love it because they fart and then they joke about it. I love it, because I do not want body functions to become a taboo subject. We are teaching them when it is and isn’t appropriate to make “rude” jokes so hopefully they won’t let one rip at grandma’s house!

And lastly, for the past year I have been making a concerted effort to eat less meat. Beans are a great way to accomplish this goal.

Before I share with you my weekly challenge, I would like to end with the following thought. I dedicate this post to all the lives devastated by events from around the world this past week. Please take a moment to remember them or find a way to help someone out.

Lunch Dinner
Monday Big salad with feta cheese and tuna fish (kid free day!) Lamb Roast with quinoa salad
Tuesday Homemade macaroni and cheese with cucumber slices Baked Salmon with side salad and couscous
Wednesday Big salad with hard boiled eggs (kid free day!) Pasta with homemade pesto and a side salad
Thursday Leftover macaroni and cheese Cuban Black beans (meat free) over rice
Friday Grilled cheese sandwiches with red pepper slices Steak and baked potatoes with sautéed asparagus
Saturday Pancakes and bacon Asian stir-fry with shrimp
Sunday Scrambled eggs with vegetables and cheese added Roasted Chicken with side salad and quinoa salad

** One last thing. The photo I chose for this week was taken while sailing in the Baja, Christmas 2006. While we were sailing, the Tsunami struck Thailand. We were pretty much out of touch, but every few days we would hear news of the disaster. I think this photo was taken just after we learned of the number of lives lost.



Heather Lochner is a mother to two wonderful and energetic children and a freelance writer. Together with her children, husband and dog, she has recently relocated to Toronto after spending 15 years on the West Coast – many of which were spent living aboard her sailboat. Heather loves to exercise but always finds a reason to sit on the couch. While she knows carrots, whole wheat pasta and lean meat are good to eat, Heather loves to munch on a burger, chicken wings and poutine. Heather loves to cook, but is notorious for ruining every batch of chocolate chip cookies. She looks forward to seeing what’s in the cards during this Ace journey....www.heatherlochner.com


10 Responses

    March 15, 2011 at 2:12 pm Reply

    Oh Heather, we are all struggling with this dilemna…we are so grateful for each and every day. Thanks for sharing.

    Deborah Lamb
    March 15, 2011 at 2:12 pm Reply

    Black beans with tomatoes and kale sound great. Can you send me the recipe?

    nadia frost
    March 15, 2011 at 2:40 pm Reply

    My son has been asking questions about the news he hears on the
    Radio about Japan. He wants to help so we are looking for ways
    To donate as well. Beans… Yes we should eat more beans!

    March 15, 2011 at 4:14 pm Reply

    What a wonderful, touching post. Thanks for sharing it with us. I think we all are struggling with feelings that our own worries and challenges are insignifcant given what has happened. But you came up with a great solution: if somehow we can do something to help one another then we are part of the healing. I don’t think it needs to be a big thing; a donation, or not yelling at our kids or just being nicer to strangers or smiling at them works for me. Thanks again for the post and ideas…. Off to make black bean chilli for dinner. Yum!!!

    March 15, 2011 at 4:50 pm Reply

    hey heather,
    great post! i say that with thanks for sharing with us your reflections on Japan while trying to be fair to yourself. i also adjust my attitude with every rude awakening and think less of what stuff i have and more of being aligned with living a happy life, including good health. you may have started with a writer’s block but your graceful words were clearly inspired by the empathy you feel for those that are suffering. glad you got over the bean thing, beans are smart, the more you eat them the more you ______. (^8

    March 15, 2011 at 9:48 pm Reply

    What a touching post. We really are so fortunate.
    Glad that you have conquered the bean dislike! What was the name of that amazing bean dish at Mona’s that you wouldn’t touch? Umm so good. Big hugs to all of you. xo

    Theresa Albert
    March 16, 2011 at 5:56 am Reply

    Heather, you are a beautiful writer. All we can do is pray, love and eat to find some joy in world of weird. Though I hated that book :)

    March 16, 2011 at 5:09 pm Reply

    Lovely post Heather. Yes, the tragedy in Japan certainly makes one reflect on the important things in life…my heart sinks every morning when the radio comes on. I find the dignity and the calmness of the Japanese very inspiring though. Beans…I’m with you on the bean salad – big yuk, but I loooove black bean quesadillas. Black beans with tomatoes and kale sounds very good.

    March 16, 2011 at 10:20 pm Reply

    Um. not to be shallow, but could I get the recipe for the black bean and kale dish too please?
    Miss you.

    March 17, 2011 at 4:04 pm Reply

    An awesome blog post. You are such a great writer!!

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