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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Camilla rhymes with Gorilla which is like a Monkey and Monkies like BANANAS. BOOM.

Tonight I was rescued by banana bread. It pulled me out of the gym. I'd been there for about 4 hours. I felt like I couldn't leave. . . and then I remembered I promised a friend fresh chocolate chip banana bread tomorrow. So I left!! Thanks, banana bread!! You are more powerful than a locomotive, and stronger than my compulsive exercising.

Ooh the banana. . . Where do I even start. Bananas are one of my "fear foods." Because as far as "regular" fruit goes, they are highly caloric. I don't eat them. Ever. But it hasn't always been that way. When I was growing up I LOVED them. In fact, bananas never lasted very long at my house. We were big into slicing them over cereal and smothering them with peanut butter. MMMM.... I remember standing at the kitchen counter and eating peanut butter bananas one after another. If childhood had a taste, mine would taste like peanut butter bananas. And V8. Not together.

Anyway, because we loved bananas so much, we rarely had brown bananas with which to bake. We ate them too quickly. Which might be why we favored zucchini bread. . . . But nowadays you can BUY BROWN BANANAS. And they're always REDUCED. That blows my mind. Brown bananas are sweeter. And brown bananas = banana bread!! To me that's like thinking coal should cost more than diamonds. Mind. Blown.

But I digress. . .

For some reason making banana bread has never provoked any anxiety from me. I'm not sure why. . . maybe it's a coincidence. Or maybe it's just not scary. I love making it. It smells like heaven, it makes my little brother ridiculously happy, and compared to some other baked goodies it's not terrible for you. PLUS you can do all kinds of things while it's in the oven. Such as:
  • kill large spider
  • wax eyebrows
  • deep condition hair
  • wash dishes
  • sort recycling
  • drop jar of pasta sauce
  • clean pasta sauce off floor
  • wash hair
  • write this blog
Oh how I love being productive while banana bread smells waft through my house. . .

Also I want everyone to know that I'm currently wearing a leopard print bathrobe and sparkly shower cap. Pwetty.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Meet the Seth.

This is Seth.

He is my little brother. He my BIGGER little brother. And he's my official taste tester. I'm not sure how discerning his palate is, but he's 19 and 6'1" and has the metabolism of a teenage boy. Because he is one.

 Since I bake late at night there have been times when I've knocked on his door super late and said, "can you taste something for me?" And he always does. Even in a sleepy stupor. He's a good sport, and super patient with my neurotic baking self.

Anyway I love him. He eats my food. It's the least he can do. . . I did used to change his diapers after all.

Seriously how cute.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


I am so grateful for the people who ask me to bake for them. SO GRATEFUL. So I apologize if this post seems ungrateful in any way.

Tonight was a battle. Not a struggle. A BATTLE.

Yesterday I told my friend I'd make cookie dough truffles, and I felt fine. I was totally confident. I made the dough without issue. Pasteurized the egg (to make it safe), mixed the dough, rolled little truffle balls, put them in the freezer. . . no big deal.

And then tonight I had to cover them in chocolate and decorate them . . .

The thing about baking is you put everything together, stick it in the oven and walk away. You can't do that with truffles. You have to be there and aware THE WHOLE TIME. You have to make sure the chocolate doesn't burn. You have to make sure the candies you've dipped are solidifying, but not before you decorate them. And you have to decorate them. There is so much awareness required. So much handling of ingredients. I could feel myself falling apart about 4 truffles in. I didn't want the chocolate on my fingers. I didn't want to smell it. I started crying. My mom woke up and came downstairs to find me sitting on the floor trying to breathe. It was a full panic attack. I thought my heart was going to explode, I was terrified. Terrified of chocolate, and that I'd somehow lose control and binge on it. That it would somehow seep through my pores and make me fat without my consent. Chocolate Rape. An irrational fear, but so very real for me.

Once I calmed down enough to think clearly, I was so ashamed. Why is this so hard for me? Why is food so scary?

My mom stayed up and helped me cover the truffles so I wouldn't have to touch the chocolate. I don't think they turned out as pretty as they could have, simply because my fear was so intense I just wanted to finish them as quickly as possible. My muscles were so tense during the process that it feels like I was hit by a car.

I don't think truffles will be on the menu for a while.

Now I'm feeling conflicting things: I'm proud that I powered through and did what I comitted to do. I'm sad that it was so difficult. I'm angry at myself for not being stronger. I'm relieved that I didn't give up. And I'm THANKFUL for a patient mother who understood what I needed and was willing to help me without trivializing my fear. How I love my angel mother.

And now, allow me to introduce my arch nemesis. The Cookie Dough Truffle. You are Sauron to my Middle Earth.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What's Wrong.

"I have to tell you that you look healthy. I don't know you very well but when I read your blog I think you're trying to get attention and manipulate people to give you money and I find that disgusting. I hope for the good of your family and yourself that you find for your own good, but you should know that you're not fooling every one."

No I didn't type that wrong, the last sentence doesn't make sense. I wrote a response but I sounded stupid. So, in lieu of a clever comeback, here is what Opal (my treatment program) wrote in my discharge papers:
"Opal's recommendation for Camilla is to seek RESIDENTIAL care for her eating disorder including care from a dietitian, therapist, psychiatric provider, and medical provider. . . She is still experiencing: eating disordered behaviors including restriction with her intake and over exercising. Beliefs that maintain the eating disordered behaviors include:
  • That it is not a problem requiring intensive treatment
  • External locus of motivation (i.e. participating in treatment for others, not for herself)
  • Beliefs that she is not worth the financial cost of recovery.
  • Recommendations for further interventions include: trauma, body image, and self-esteem work.
Her mood is dysthymic and anxious generally. Her urges to engage in eating disorder behaviors are observed during PHP (partial hospitalization program) wherein meal completion was frequently a challenge.

DSM IV-TR Diagnosis at discharge:
  • Axis 1: 307 Anorexia Nervosa, restricting type; 296.32 Major Depressive Disorder, Recurrent, SEVERE, 300.1 Panic Disorder with agoraphobia.
  • Axis III: low heart rate (37 bpm), orthostatic hypotension, joint pains, amenorrhea, Hx of low white blood cell count
  • Axis IV: Family and FINANCIAL stressors

I already feel like this isn't a "real" problem. But I know I need help. And I know I can't afford it on my own. I'm trying. Give me a break, mean e-mailer. I'm sorry if I offend you. I really am. Rest assured I already hate myself. This is supposed to be my happy, upbeat blog. So now that I've addressd mean-emailer, it will be.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Nun's Farts. MMM....

Last night I got it in my head that I was going to take the choux dough I just mastered and FRY it. Turns out, that's already a thing. They're called Pets de Nonnes. Which means nun's farts. Classy. But apparently nun's farts smell like heaven and taste divine.

So that's the fancy name, but I just call them donuts.

They didn't take long to make They looked a little weird, but my little bro Seth (taste-tester extraordinaire) LOVED them. So even though they looked funny I decidedto dress them up in chocolate and powdered sugar and surprise my friend with some because it was his birthday.

Sometime after 1am the Night Baker drove on down to Bothell and dropped them off. It's so fun to bake for people. It's more fun when it's a surprise. And it's fun times a million when something you've never made before turns out well enough to GIVE AWAY!! I love it. So much in fact that on the way back to  my house I decided I'd take the rest over to Nic (best friend). . . unfortunately by the time I got home (15 minutes later) there were only 4 left.

SETH  . .

My baby bro loves my baking. And I love feeding him. So it all works out.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Tonight I posted that I was making chocolate chip banana bread. I didn't get a single offer. Not one. Not even for a dollar. I know my feelings shouldn't be hurt, but they are. Not hurt. Crushed. I fail at everything.

I can't do anything right.
My ideas are lame.
Or that's how I feel...

If I'm being impartial, though, it was a good thing no one wanted any because around 9:00pm I had severe anxiety. About everything. I had a self imposed need to vacuum, scrub the bathroom, do the dishes, wash the recycling, and clean the house. THEN I felt like I had to LEAVE the house because I was so sad. I couldn't be there anymore. My heart felt like it might burst. So yeah, baking anything was suddenly not an option. Which made the fact that I hadn't sold the banana bread a good thing . . .

Then again maybe the anxiety came from knowing no one wanted my bread and having no one to cook for. . .

It's was very much a "chicken or egg" scenario.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Melting Down Like Buttah

I'm not great at very many things, but I've always been able to knock out a pastry crust in about 30 seconds. A perfect one. Tonight I had a meltdown because my pie crust didn't turn out right. I felt like a failure. That probably sounds ridiculous. It is a little ridiculous. I started over. It still wasn't right.

Luckily they still liked it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Nothing An Eclair Won't Fix.

6 years ago today I was getting married.

Yep. That happened.

For whatever reason this day makes me so sad, even years later. It's like a reminder that my problems and I are not worthy of love. And it hurts a lot. A. LOT. So I cried a lot in the morning and took out my frustration on a treadmill in the afternoon. And a bike. And an elliptical machine. For 4 hours. And I felt like a failure. I failed at my marriage. I failed at recovery. And now I'm letting my eating disorder beat me.

Then I made a different choice.

Know what rhymes with "I do"? Pâte à Choux (paht-ah-shoo). Know what I've never made but have been wanting to?  Pâte à Choux. So know what I did? I taught myself how to make these little pastry shells. The first batch turned out a little flat (much like my first marriage . . . ), so I cooked the roux a little longer the second time around and the second batch turned out lovely! (see the metaphor there? Haha.)

Toot Toot (that's my own horn.)

They can be filled with savory or sweet filling. I filled two with vanilla pastry cream, covered them with dark chocolate ganache and dusted with powdered sugar.

The rest I put in Shelli's fridge to do with what she wants. :) Nom nom nom.

Serious Therapy. New Skill Aquired.
Like. A. Ninja.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Baking with a Child is like Baking Therapy on Steroids.

The title of this post might be a little confusing. All I mean is that if baking is therapudic for me, then baking with a child is that times a billion.

About 2 weeks ago my good friend Shelli called me and we lamented how we haven't seen each other in far too long. Last time I saw Shelli, Chiara (her three year old) was a tiny baby. Since then she's had another baby (Noelle) who I'd never met. We decided it was really important that I go see her. I needed it. I needed a break in my routine.

Like I've said, baking keeps my mind occupied and my hands busy. It calms me down. Also cleaning (seriously how am I not married??) So while I've been here, Shell has been nice enough to let me bake. I'm depleteing her pantry and she's letting me even though her husband is in medical school and she has two kids and keeping a pantry stocked isn't cheap. That's love, my friends.

Chiara is the BEST helper. She's 3 going on 30. Definately smarter than many kindergarteners. And I can say that somewhat authoritatively because I've worked with many many children that age. We made pretzels my first night there. She watched me knead the dough for maybe 15 seconds before asking to take over. And she kneaded like an old pro.

Then she figured out how to make a "snake" with the dough in a more effective way then I was showing her. . .

Then she twisted the dough into a pretzel shape all by herself, and after doing that she decided she didn't like that shape and invented one she liked more. (someday she'll hate me for posting this picture.)

I just stood there grinning like I had something to do with her billiance. And even though I had nothing to do with it, teaching her made me feel so wonderful. I loved watching her enjoy the process, asking to help, wanting to check on the things in the oven, enjoying the fruits of our labor. Watching her enjoy her pretzel made me feel brave enough to try a bite myself. And yes, they were yum.

My second night here we made chocolate chip banana bread. Again she was a champion helper.

Very focused. Very meticulous. Very awesome. AND she likes to clean our mess too. A child after my own heart. Mercy me, how I adore her.

I wish I had a video of us baking together. She's so verbal. She's very cerebral about everyhing and she talks about what she's doing. I love it. She could have a cooking show.
Cooking with Chiara and Camilla. I'd totally watch.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

. . . Until It Wasn't.

The thing about being anorexic and loving to bake is it can go from joyous to torturous in half a heart beat. And for no apparent reason.
That happened tonight.

My sister's boss requested oatmeal chocolate chip cookies on Tuesday, and today I felt like that was doable  so I promised to bring 2 dozen for him tomorrow. On facebook I "advertised" that I had an additional 4 dozen available (feeling ambitions and optimistic, I guess) and three more people signed up for cookies. I got home and started baking. It was lovely for a minute, until it wasn't. I don't know what changed or when, but at one point I had to remove myself from the kitchen and do a myriad of other things. Wash my hair. Fold laundry. Scrub the floors. My heart felt like it was going to explode and I couldn't process what was happening, I just knew I couldn't touch the food anymore. I hate that. I miss the days when I could be in the kitchen making anything and everything and feel joy! Or even indifference. Anything is better then the paralyzing anxiety I felt tonight.

**When baking, laundry, and hair washing combine. . . it's like the perfect storm. Stylish.**

I'm hoping that as I push through and just DO IT, food will get progressively less scary and the fun will come back into my culinary world.

When my little brother got home I made him eat a cookie to make sure they were ok. I'm not at a place where I can do that yet, so I usually have him taste things. He always says my stuff is "bomb." Adjective, not noun. And that usually makes me so happy to hear. Tonight I just felt guilty. Guilty for making him eat a cookie: something I can't even do. It almost felt like asking someone to ingest poison on my behalf.

Anyway. . . I did it, at least. 5 dozen cookies completed.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Mind If I Bake??

So my first attempt at selling my treats was awesome. I just wrote on facebook that I'd be making chocolate chip cookies and selling them for whatever people wanted to pay. Right away I got a tremendous response. Kristian (big brother) got a little excited and wanted to upsell everyone. I had to tell him "I can't bake on demand, only when I feel like I can. That's why I'm just selling things I was already going to make." But by the time the dust settled I'd committed to make 8 dozen cookies. . . I'd originally planned on maybe 4. Or whatever one batch is. . .

The good news is I was loving the kitchen tonight! I had so much fun baking for everyone! It takes me a while because I have to do everything slowly and methodically (it decreases my anxiety if I'm very purposeful about everything I do...) but I was happy. I felt productive and PURPOSEFUL and that was an amazing feeling! It energized me and I felt so much joy. Food was my friend, tonight. And it felt wonderful. Welcome home to my heart, old friend.

Monday, July 9, 2012


I bake at night.

A year ago I moved home to Seattle to receive treatment for anorexia nervosa after struggling with it for almost 18 years. Ironically I've found that baking is very therapeutic for me. It helps me see food in a positive light, it brings me joy to see people enjoying something I made, it's a way for me to show love, it helps me feel purposeful, it keeps my mind occupied. I enjoy challenging myself with new techniques and trying new recipes. Food feels less scary when it's home made with love.

Not many people know that treatment for eating disorders is very expensive. Not sometimes. ALWAYS. I'm talking like hundreds of dollars a day, minimum. A large part of the reason I don't want to get treatment is because I feel a tremendous about of guilt about the cost. I don't want to burden my family, but I can't work right now. Friends have mentioned they would pay for some of the things I make, so I had this idea: selling baked goods online for whatever you think is fair. A donation towards treatment, an excuse for me to bake, (hopefully) re-discovering the joy of food!