Sunday, July 12, 2009

Mid-Life Crisis and BLT's - Revisited

About 27 months ago I suffered what I now lovingly refer to as my Mid-Life Crisis or simply, The Crisis. 

There were several things going on my life that contributed to The Crisis

Our then 17 year old had just gotten his driver's license. 

The Best Husband In The World was just diagnosed with an incurable, life-threatening autoimmune disease, dermatomyositis.  

I quit smoking and was gaining weight overnight (for the first time in my life)

I had a stressful job that had me travelling on a regular basis while trying to serve a sales force of over 2,000 who 50% of the time made unreasonable demands and the other 50% of the time made impossible demands. 

We were planning a family trip of a lifetime to Iceland - yes, Iceland. The Best Husband In The World's dream trip - a Geologist's Disney World. Land of the midnight sun, the aurora borealis, glaciers, geysers, waterfalls, icebergs and volcanoes, all wrapped up in one tidy island. All the trip needed was micro-planning by the minute - by me. 

I became a grandmother. 

Oh, yeah, and I was fast approaching the 1/2 century mark. 


What's a girl to do? 

I did what any normal, red blooded American would do. I had a Mid-Life Crisis. 

Now, the way I looked at it, there were several ways of responding to The Crisis. 

1. I could have an affair. But I was already having the love affair of my life with my husband. How much passion could a middle aged woman muster? So, check off affair. 

2. I could change the color of my hair.  Oh, that was easy enough done. 90 minutes in the chair of my favorite salon and I emerged a red head, gone was the natural light brown I was born with. I was somewhat authentic since my youngest son IS a natural red head and besides, only your GYN knows for sure! 

3. I could trade in my super practical 50 mile a gallon, Honda Civic Hybrid mom car:

 and get a souped up luxury Saab convertible. 

New red hair flying in the wind, I put the pedal to the medal and drove this little baby girl off the lot. The whole transaction was painless, exhilarating and FUN! For about 4 hours. Then I realized:

1. A two door vehicle is not convenient when you have to constantly drive kids and their friends around.

2. The dog could never travel in a white leather interior.

3. A six speed manual transmission in New Jersey, land of the traffic jam - was building up my right bicep to Arnold Schwarzenegger proportions.

4. A four seater car with teenagers and friends doesn't add up to enough seats per bottoms. 

5. Nine months out of the year it's too cold to have the top down. The other 3 months it's either raining or too hot. 

6. If I didn't want to look like Carrot Top being electrocuted I would have to wear a baseball cap when driving with the top down - not a good look for me. 

So, the 27 month lease is up this week. The Crisis Car is going back to the dealer. 

It was fun. It was pretty. It was fast. And it so did not fit my lifestyle. (I am keeping the red hair, brown / gray roots and all)

Lesson learned, from now on when I feel The Crisis calling my name I'll stick to the exciting adventure of fooling around with common foods, like this BLT gone wild. 

Not Your Mama's BLT: serves 4

12 slices Whole Grain Bread, toasted lightly
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced into 4 slices
8 fresh basil leaves
1 red tomato
1 yellow tomato
2 cups arugula, washed and dried (or mixed baby greens)
2 boneless chicken breasts, cooked, sliced thinly
8 pieces panchetta (Italian Bacon), cooked crisp (or you can use turkey or regular bacon)
1 ripe Haas Avocado, pitted, then crushed (keep it chunky) 
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher Salt and Pepper

Thick slice the tomatoes, 4 slices each. 

In a shallow pan, layer the tomatoes, basil leaves and mozzarella cheese. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside to marinate for 15 minutes. 

In a small bowl toss arugula with olive oil, season with salt and pepper.

Lightly toast the bread. Spread a tablespoon of the mashed avocado on four pieces. Divide the chicken among the four pieces. Top with 2 bacon slices, 1/4 of the arugula, then a piece of toast. Next, layer in the tomatoes (red and yellow on each), basil and mozzarella cheese. Spread 1 tablespoon of the avocado on last piece of toast and top the sandwich. Slice in half on the diagonal. 

Serve with watermelon slices and fresh corn on the cob. 

Crisis Averted. 

Hmm.. maybe a little something with an automatic transmission and a moonroof.... 


  1. My Mom has that same car...hmmm, maybe she is having a crisis too? So what is the replacement on the horizon?

    Yummy looking sandwich. I have discovered a fabulous grilled cheese recently. With Pear and Bacon. My kids think they have died and gone to heaven when they eat it. I first was exposed at a Grateful Dead concert so we call it a "dancing Pear" sandwich. Put it on some fancy bread and maybe some arugala and it might even qualify as fancy!

    Glad to see you made it home in one piece. I hope Shane is on the road to recovery. My heart pains for his parents and family to have to watch him fight this!

  2. Tamis,
    Welcome Back! Wait - no fair telling me about the Dancing Pear Sandwich and not giving me the details!! Fess Up - Share Girl!

    Sadly Shane has a long road in front of him before he can recover. He has 3 more chemotherapy sessions, then surgery to implant "rods" and remove skin and get a skin graft, then radiation.

    Gladly - Shane and his entire family are coming here the end of October - his mom & dad are running the NYC Marathon and TBHITW and I are going to take the kids into the city to see the race. Sloan Kettering (we hope) is going to help us with Shane...

    Anyway, SHARE the RECIPE!! And welcome back. I'm looking forward to reading a blog about your vaca!

  3. First off, I hope your hubby's okay.

    Second, next time get a mid-life crisis BEACH HOUSE. It's much more practical :) Either that or eat more BLTs!

  4. I hope that by giving up the car you will also be getting rid of all the other things that contributed to your crisis.

    Ps - It is very cruel to write recipes of such great food when I am at work, very hungry and a break is a long way off ;0)

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Kathy B - hubby is doing well although still not in remission. We takes things one day at a time. :-) Beach House! Now why didn't I think of that??

    Eternally D - can't get rid of the kids or grandkids LOL... Sorry about making you more hungry. That's one of the perks of being a cook - I'm always surrounded by food!

  7. That is the best mid-life crisis ever. Good for you.

  8. Deb, yes! It was a good MidLife Crisis... no one was harmed, family remained intact and the car was fun!! No I'm back to being the humble, low-key mom / grandma / wife / cook queen of NJ.

    Life is good.

  9. You know- people my age (26) are now having QUARTER LIFE CRISES! You know what we do? We go and buy gas-guzzling Volkswagen SUV's. It would have been safer to buy the Saab! :o)

    That sandwich looks DIVINE. I will have to use that recipe- thanks!

  10. Jen,

    Oh no, Quarter Life Crises??? I'm glad I'm way past the 20 something mark. My MidLifer was expensive enough!

  11. LOL! Mine was a little candy-apple red Mitsubishi GSX - equally as impractical. It was gone as soon as I could save face.

  12. Nancy,

    I am so glad I'm not the only one!!



Wow. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I love feedback... what with being a cook and all. I will respond to your comments via email (if you do not have a "noreply" address or here, below your comment) As always, Bon Appetite!

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