And then you indulge

For the last month or so, I’ve been generally successful at keeping inordinate amounts of dairy out of my diet. Butter on my toast, cream in my coffee – these things remain. But generally speaking, I’ve avoided macaroni & cheese lunches (if you’ve ever had TJ’s frozen meal version, you realize what a sacrifice this is) and cream-cheese-laden bagels (which is nearly torturous in New York City of all places) for several weeks and am filling the space with roasted vegetables and broth-based soups instead.

But since the dietary change wasn’t due to any intolerance or other medical requirement (thank goodness), I’ve found myself resisting a craving for something creamy and rich and decadent more times than I can count. I gave in and enjoyed a divine tiramisu the weekend of my birthday, and nabbed a slice of NY pizza after late-night karaoke one night. I’m only human, after all. And each time I broke this self-imposed, narrowly-focused fast, I nearly breathed a sigh of relief with the richness of each bite. But it was also so fleeting, those cravings were never really satisfied.

And then, this weekend, I couldn’t hold out any longer. I found myself at the grocery store – there for eggs and fruit – googling semi-healthy recipes for that creamiest of creamy, delicious dips: the Spinach Artichoke Dip.

photo (3)Sour cream plus cream, mozzarella and parmesan cheeses (reduced and fat-free, all) found their way into a mixing bowl of goodness along with garlic, pepper and the aforementioned spinach and artichokes. Baked for 30 minutes and paired with the crispiest baguette I could find, I spent this weekend without a real meal, in favor of indulging in this overload of cheesy amazing-ness.

Now it’s back to reality, back to salads for lunch and baked chicken for dinner. But for this one exceptional weekend, I remembered – and fully enjoyed – the wonderful excess that is a spoonful of cheese on bread. And that, I figure, should last me quite a while.