Cone indulgence


Though we don’t travel that way often, we always stop for ice cream.

Coming back from Virginia on Sunday (we finally got to take our hot air balloon ride — more tomorrow!), Spencer suggested stopping by Hovermale’s — a classic walk-up hot spot in Fort Washington, and my dad’s favorite — for dessert.

We’d just eaten lunch in Berryville . . . and I’d had more than my fair share of snacks at an early-morning amateur radio event that morning.

But soft serve from Hovermale’s? I’ll find room.

Desserts just have that effect on me. Though I’ve done well keeping up healthy habits since I reached my goal weight with Weight Watchers in January, I have loosened up on my portion control . . . and how often I’m consuming chocolate.

And cookie butter. And pie.

Desserts are just . . . my thing. I love baking and often have a bear of a time turning down a cupcake. Though I can easily monitor my helpings at mealtimes and load up on fresh fruit and vegetables during the day, when it comes to passing up cake? I get a little wicked. Pretty cranky.

For so long, declining dessert was a means to an end. I was very focused on making my goal weight and religious about tracking every morsel I consumed — all with the ultimate mission to slim down and feel better. My life has certainly changed after losing 35 lbs., but I’m still me. My sugar cravings aren’t as extreme and all-consuming, but they’re there.

Though I’ll admit to being less friendly with my Weight Watchers Tracker these days, I am still very much aware of what I’m eating and make time to consciously plan my food each day. I’m accustomed to (painfully) turning down pie in favor of fruit, but the secret to long-term success?

Well, I know what it isn’t: deprivation.

Cutting out foods cold turkey would have been a quick way to torture myself — and probably quit. Obviously it matters if you’re allergic to a food or food group, but I’m certainly not allergic to truffles. I’m careful not to eat ice cream every day, but do I occasionally indulge? Absolutely.

More than anything, Weight Watchers gave me permission to stop shipping out on endless guilt trips every time I reached for a cookie. I learned to add the snack to my Tracker, adjust for the rest of the day, make different selections to stay within my Points and move on.

That power — to feel in control — changed everything. It gave me the strength to push through when I may have wanted to stop, and the occasional indulgence is what has kept me on the wagon all these months.

So I might have felt momentarily guilty for ordering a small mixed cone on a hot summer day . . . but those feelings melted with my ice cream. Life is all about balance, and food is meant to be enjoyed.

Especially if it’s in a cone.

Cover art: Let’s chow down

I’m not going to dance around the issue here, friends: your girl Meg likes to eat. I come from a long line of very fine folks who enjoy a good meal, I’ll add, and no — that’s not a reference to weight! I mean, we just like food. My grandmother Wilma loads us up on the meaty stuff, piling cabbage rolls and stews on me, while my grandmother Margy provides all the sweets: sugar cookies, white chocolate-covered pretzels and her famous peanut butter cups, most especiallly.

We’re no slackers in my house, either. Brownies and ice cream are usually milling about, and Spencer and I love baking. I’m improving my own culinary skills slowly but steadily, and I’m looking forward to the day I can prepare a whole meal — from scratch. (When I have the time. So, you know, maybe never.)

So it makes sense that, when browsing for books, my eye goes straight to anything featuring a delicious treat. In fact, just the knowledge that a book features food — or a chef, baker, etc. — is enough to entice me to pick it up.

Inspired by Kay’s lovely “Artsy Shelf” posts at The Infinite Shelf, I’ve been keeping my little brown eyes peeled for any cover art that looked so good I would, well, want to take a bite. A giant one. And it just turns out the some of the covers I remember best of the hundreds (thousands?) I’ve seen feature something delectable-looking. And most of the time? Well, as you’ll see, we’re talking cupcakes.

Some of these books I’ve read — and some I haven’t. If they’ve worked their way onto my bookcase or wishlist, it’s probably because I thought they sounded like an appropriate blend of delicious food and awesome storytelling. Here’s to hoping I’m right.

Are you attracted to cover art featuring food? Why or why not?


Pumpkin Pie Blizzard? Are they trying to kill me?

So I know I’m always harping about delicious pumpkin-flavored foods, but that’s just because they’re so insatiably delicious I can hardly catch my breath around them! Palmer and I were out running errands last night and, as a special treat, he suggested we run over to Dairy Queen for some little snacky treat. Sure, innocent enough. He wasn’t really too hungry and I wasn’t either, but when has that ever stopped me from getting dessert?!

Honestly, I wasn’t planning on getting anything. I’m going to be taking a break from my busy retail job in the near future — so I will be spending more and more time at my desk at my day job (I got a promotion, though — yay!) and less time walking around and on my feet, getting what little exercise I can. This roughly translates to “I really, really should be better watching what I eat.”

But HOLY GOD — what do we have here?!

A Pumpkin Pie Blizzard?! Are they trying to kill me? If you think I got a bit overly excited about the Pumpkin Spice Latte, you should have seen me standing there palpitating with my poor boyfriend on my arm. I literally couldn’t order it fast enough. I was stringing word after word after word together with hardly any of them making sense. The agony — but the ecstasy! Who knew they even had such a thing.

Off to the fair

I like to pretend that I hate the annual county fair — that it’s silly, and muddy, and just a little bit too “country” — but I have to admit, perhaps for the first time, that it’s actually pretty fun.

Despite the fact that it was nearly 95 degrees in mid-September, my mom, sister and our boyfriends Eric and Palmer (respectively) trudged over to the fairgrounds in the afternoon to check out the funnel cakes, ice cream, rides and games. Mom entered one of her lovely sunset photos in the photography competition and, though she did not win, it was nice to see her work on display.

As with any event I attend, my focus is usually on what sort of delicious edible things are around. In this case, of course, we’re talking fair food — not quite as exciting as baseball food, but still pretty awesome. Funnel cake was a main source of enjoyment, as was Palmer’s peanut butter-coated chocolate ice cream cone. Peanuts, cheese steaks, kettle corn and roasted almonds were other classic choices. I behaved myself and merely indulged in a little of Katie and Eric’s funnel cake — which I managed to avoid getting all over my pants this go ’round.

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Ice cream cake dreams

If you’re partying around my house, I don’t think it’s actually a celebration until we whip out the ice-cream cake. Yesterday was my boyfriend’s birthday and we commemorated the occasion in the typical fashion: via Carvel. Though my sister apparently is no longer a fan of the typical Carvel take-home cake (apparently demmed the “Lil’ Love” confection), she still approves of anything cookies & cream. So that’s what we had in honor of Palmer.

Store-bought treats are delicious, of course. And I’ve never been one to really turn down dessert. But I have to state publicly that I firmly believe my mom makes the greatest ice-cream cakes ever — and I need to get her “recipe” (or formation guide?). Growing up, Mom would make the cakes for the triple birthday party we have every year in July (I share a birthday week with both my dad and sister). I couldn’t tell you specifically what exactly goes in the ice-cream cake in an orderly fashion, but I know it usually includes: peanut butter; marshmellows; rainbow sprinkles; cookie-crumble coating; both mint & vanilla ice-cream; M&M candies or equivalent; possibly some form of nut coating on top. And I think there’s some caramel and chocolate drizzle over the top-most layer, though that could be my imagination.

Yes, the frozen ice-cream cakes of my youth were pretty awesome. But that doesn’t mean I still don’t enjoy a ready-to-go Carvel creation as well. Needless to say, all the plates were clean around my table.

Happy birthday, Palmer!