28 Day Diabetes Diet Meal Planner- Menu Me! by Easyhealth Nutrition [pdf, epub | 1,84 Mb] ISBN: B00RNFSV56

  • Full Title: 28 Day Diabetes Diet Meal Planner- Menu Me!: Lower Carb Menus & Easy Recipes
  • Autor: Easyhealth Nutrition
  • Print Length: 94 pages
  • Publisher: 
  • Publication Date: December 30, 2014
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: B00RNFSV56
  • ISBN-13: 
  • Download File Format | Size: pdf, epub | 1,84 Mb
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Directions
Has your healthcare provider recommended a carb controlled diet for managing type 2 diabetes? Looking for sample menus to help you get started? Menu Me! 28 Day Diabetes Diet Meal Planner- for 30gm, 45gm & 60gm Carbohydrate Diets puts you in control with a month of menus and easy, delicious recipes the whole family will enjoy.

Book highlights include:
-28 days of menus (breakfast, lunch and dinner) for 30gm carb/meal, 45gm carb/meal and 60gm carb/meal diet plans.
-Over 80 easy-to-fix, dietitian-tested recipes designed to help those with limited cooking skills feel confident in the kitchen. Our tasty recipes use easy-to-find ingredients and most use less than 6 items!
-Get your healthcare provider’s input on which carb level is right for you then let Menu Me! make meal planning easy!

 

Editorial Reviews

 

Keywords

OOK TO CELEBRATE THE GARDEN

MATT WILKINSON

Thank you so much for picking up this book and reading it. I have many cookbooks and not one person has thanked me for buying, reading or using them—so thank you. I hope that as you read it, you will be inspired by the same love of good food that inspires me every day.

CONTENTS

A GREEN THUMB

ASPARAGUS

BEANS & PEAS

BEETS

BROCCOLI

BRUSSELS SPROUTS

CABBAGE

PEPPERS

CARROT

CAULIFLOWER

CORN

CUCUMBER

EGGPLANT

FENNEL

GARLIC

HORSERADISH

LEAVES FROM THE GARDEN

NETTLE

ONION

PARSNIP

POTATO

PUMPKINS AND SQUASH

RADISH

TOMATO

ZUCCHINI

BASICS

INDEX

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

A GREEN THUMB

SO WHY A BOOK ON VEGETABLES, I HEAR YOU ASK

It’s quite simple. Thinking about the vegetables first is how I cook. I look to the season we are in to get my ideas about what will be on the menu where I’m working or what I will eat at home that night, and there is no better way to find out what is in season than looking at the often underrated vegetable. I build my dish around what vegetables are in season because this is when they will be the cheapest, most readily available and, most importantly, taste the best—and surely this has to be the most important factor when cooking, It’s a simple concept that when things are in season they taste so much better … But, then, how have we lost this simple thought process to eating? Look at each season. In spring, I walk into the garden and I feel alive—there is a fresh and crisp feeling in the air and soil, the trees are budding and their leaves have sprung forth. When I harvest the beans or peas from their stalks, there is a zingy snap to them—whether cooked or raw they taste so sweet. In summer, the earth is warmed and the plants almost hot to touch; with careful watering, they stay alert as though they are ready for battle. Just close your eyes and think of the smell of tomatoes—it’s unmistakable and makes my mouth salivate waiting for the first bite. Autumn arrives and the mood around the garden softens, the plants are readying themselves for the cooler weather. The vegetable patch has had a great time; the basil, sorrel, spinach and Swiss chard are looking magnificent and the butternut squash and zucchini are still going great guns. When winter arrives, I add the year’s compost and some manure to the soil and look at my blooming red cabbages that have been in the ground for so many months now. The broccoli is so alive and glowing such a deep green that I think I might harvest it for dinner tonight, and the salad leaves are crisp and so fresh.

Once I have decided what seasonal bounty to make the most of, and considered how the flavors will marry together, I then add the protein to my dish, usually meat or seafood, then some carbs if needed.

If you think back to times gone by, this was the way everyone had to eat. For most people, meat and seafood were not readily available, were too expensive or were hard to store (no fridges or freezers then). Over the past fifty years, technology has meant we can be a little lazy in our food thinking with great cuts of meat and seafood on hand. Today a lot of people think about what protein they feel like eating—will it be beef or chicken, fish or pork? Then what starch will be added to bulk out the meal and, as a final touch, throw in a few vegetables. This is where I’m a little different with my veg-first approach. I hope you feel inspired, while reading this book, to try the old-fashioned method to choosing the vegetable first. Vegetables are so much more diverse in flavor, types and availability than any old piece of meat.

MY FAVORITE VEGETABLES?

You might also be wondering how I arrived at the list of vegetables included in this book. Well, I can’t begin to tell you how hard it was to select them. (In fact there is even one vegetable in the book that I do at times detest. I’ll leave that one for you to discover, kind of a Where’s Waldo element to the book.) But let me tell you about some vegetables I didn’t have room to include: the sweet, earthy and diverse celeriac (celery root) and its sweeter, sexier looking cousin, celery; the Welsh national emblem vegetable, the grand ole leek; two personal favorites of mine that have the same ending name but come from different families—the delightful and thistle-looking globe artichoke, and the earthier yet knobbly sunchoke; and lastly the glorious funghi family, which some of us hate but others love (technically not vegetables, although they too come first when I am planning a meal). Perhaps, one day, there will be book number two, where I could include these: The Vegetables Mr. Wilkinson Forgot.

However, this being said, twenty-three out of the twenty-four vegetables in this book I could not live without (and, in writing the book, I’ve come to appreciate even the one I had long dis
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om manager

Personality traits

Salaries

Education and training

Advancement prospects

Unions and associations

Other dining-room personnel

Chapter 6: Living the Good Life: Working in Hotels, Resorts, and Spas

Seeing What Working in a Hotel or Resort Is Like

Making food for many people in many different areas

Understanding kitchen structure

Getting Acquainted with the Hotel and Resort Staff

Executive chef a la hotel

General manager

Head banquet chef

Banquet manager

Other culinary hotel and resort staff

Exploring the Spa Scene

Enjoying a slower pace

Placing an emphasis on nutrition

Gourmet cooking with high-end ingredients

Meeting the Spa Players

Executive spa chef

Other culinary spa careers

Chapter 7: Cooking for a Crowd: Volume Cooking

Catering: It’s a Party!

Working for a catering company

Catering to your own needs

Career profile

Cooking for Institutions

Considering institutional cooking

Looking at types of institutions

Career profile

Part III: Taking a Specialized Approach

Chapter 8: How Sweet It Is! Becoming a Pastry Chef or Baker

Measuring the Difference Between Pastry Chefs and Bakers

Edible Artistry: Understanding the Job of a Pastry Chef

Working as a pastry chef

Finding out where pastry chefs work

Career profile

Sifting Through the Job of a Baker

Working as a baker

Finding out where bakers work

Career profile

Savoring Specialization

Becoming a chocolatier

Decorating specialty cakes

Gaining Education and Experience

Baking/pastry arts certificate

Degrees in baking/pastry arts

Externships and apprenticeships

Chapter 9: Life On the Inside: Personal and Private Chefs

Personal Chefs: Making Meals Easier

Pros and cons

Working for multiple clients

Finding out where personal chefs work

Career profile

Private Chefs: Cooking for a Single Client

Pros and cons

Working for one family

Finding a job as a private chef

Career profile

Chapter 10: Old and New Trends: Food Artisans and Scientists

Taking a Traditional Approach: Food Artisans

Seeing what food artisans do

Finding out where food artisans work

Career profile

Looking to the Future: Food and Culinary Scientists

Checking out food and culinary science jobs

Finding out where food and culinary scientists work

Career profile

Chapter 11: Drink Up! Jobs in the Beverage Industry

Working at a Winery

Positions at wineries

Career profile

Tapping Into Breweries

Positions at breweries and microbreweries

Career profile

Pouring Drinks at Restaurants and Hotels

Positions at restaurants and hotels

Career profile

Part IV: Checking Out Non-Cooking Careers

Chapter 12: Culinary in a Media World: What It’s All About

Getting Your Love of Food in Print

Types of food writing jobs

Career profile

Sounding Off on Food

Broadcast opportunities

Career profile

Taking Food Online

Jobs within the digital media industry

Career profile

Chapter 13: The Star Makers: Public Relations and Marketing

Taking a Look at What Culinary PR and Marketing Professionals Do

Playing the name game

Contemplating the pros and cons

Spending a day in the life of a PR and marketing professional

Spotting Where PR and Marketing Professionals Work

Career Profile

Personality traits

Salaries

Education and training

Advancement prospects

Unions and associations

Chapter 14: Showcasing Food for Others

An Apple for the Teacher: Culinary Instructor

Getting the basics on culinary instruction

Finding out who culinary instructors are

Seeing where culinary instructors work

Career profile

Giving Food the “Wow” Factor: Food Stylist

Clarifying the food stylist job

Exploring food stylists’ workplaces

Career profile

Say “Cheese!” Working as a Food Photographer

Discovering what it’s like to be a food photographer

Finding out what kinds of places hire food photographers

Career profile

Chapter 15: Careers in Purchasing: Specialty Foods, Cookware, and More

Getting the Lowdown on Purchasing

Buying and Selling Specialty Foods

Purchasing for specialty food stores

Purchasing specialty foods for the grocery store

Career profile

Purchasing Cookware and Kitchen Equipment

Working as a purchaser for cookware stores

Managing a cookware store

Career profile

Buying for and Selling to Restaurant Owners and Chefs

Buying restaurant supplies

Selling restaurant supplies

Career profile

Noting Other Careers in Purchasing

Part V: Landing the Job, Moving Up the Ladder, and More

Chapter 16: Landing a Culinary Job

Starting Your Search: Where Do Yo
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y pass when I don’t cook at least one of these recipes. Bonhomie for the belly and succour for the soul.

{ Cooking at home }

‘Heat is just another form of seasoning,’ I was once told by that Celtic force of nature, chef Richard Corrigan. This is a man whose intelligence is matched only by his generosity and, as ever, he’s spot on. The flavour and texture of a piece of meat is affected by the amount of heat used, from quick sear to slow simmer. Yet too often the amateur cook fears real heat. We soften our onions on a piddling flame, and complain that it takes 30 minutes, not ten. We’re afraid of burning our meat, rather than browning it. And we struggle with gas that seems to have only two settings: nothing and too hot.

Experience is everything, and the more that I cook and learn, the easier things become. I still panic at the thought of hollandaise sauce, for example, yet soufflés hold no fear. It doesn’t help when chefs tell us how easy everything is, forgetting that they can bone chickens in their sleep, whereas I’d rather braise my own nose than attempt it again.

Professional chefs do have many advantages: when they dry-fry chillies, they have extractor fans that are so powerful they rip the words straight from their lips. No question of gassing out the house as it does at home. Nor do they have to contend with the smell of burnt dripping hanging around the sitting room for weeks after cooking huge portions of boeuf Bourguignon. Or the stench of chip fat clinging tenaciously to every fibre. They can blacken steaks to their hearts’ content, flambé duck without fear of ruining the ceiling and fling the fat with reckless abandon. That is the point of a professional kitchen.

At home, things must be a little more subdued, but it’s never quite as calm as the blessed Delia might suggest. She makes it look easy, as she’s been doing what she does, beautifully, for many years. All I’m saying is that cooking is often messy, smelly, noisy and painful. That a pan full of hot fat will always spit like a cobra when introduced to a handful of raw meat. And sharp knives continue to slice open even the most lauded of hands. Don’t fear the heat, and cooking suddenly becomes a whole lot more easy.

{ Fat }

Once upon a time, in the not-so-distant past, we worshipped fat. Fat was health, wealth and happiness. ‘The fat of the land’ was something to be coveted rather than disdained. We hankered after great wobbling dollops of marrow, gleaned from the bone with a specially shaped scoop. Fought over the last scrap of chicken skin. And lusted after lard, dripping, suet, schmaltz and butter. Fat carries flavour and aroma, provides the sexiest of textures, allows us to relish in our meat and delight in our food. Without fat, life would be one long lunch with Hare Krishnas.

Fat is also utterly essential to human life: our brains wouldn’t function without the stuff, our cells would cease to survive, join the bleedin’ choir invisible. Hormones would wither and die, immune systems buckle.

If the body were allowed to choose its fuel, it would go for fat, no question. Fat provides double the energy of similar amounts of protein and carbohydrates. Yet 50 years back, saturated fat suffered a spectacular fall from grace: from hero to zero in a matter of months. Scientists noted that coronary heart disease had suddenly become the biggest killer of all. At the same time, after the bleak paucity of the rationing years, there was an increased consumption of animal fats. No surprises there. Fourteen years of mock goose and Woolton pie will do that to an appetite. Scientists put two and two together and came up with four and a half. More animal fats, more heart disease, ergo animal fat is a gimlet-eyed, stone-cold killer. Animal fats became Public Enemy Number One. Despite the fact that there has been no conclusive proof linking saturated fat with heart disease, fat’s image was changed for ever.

That’s not to say that one could survive solely on a diet of butter, bone marrow, lard and milkshakes. Too much of anything, from rice cakes to lardy cakes, is never a good thing. The palate would start to tire and the body bloat. A healthy diet means a balanced diet, lots of green stuff, nuts, pulses, fish and the rest. Fat doesn’t kill; rather, too much of the wrong kind can. Allied with sitting on your vast, wobbling butt all day, munching Quavers by the ton and slurping entire reservoirs of Cherry 7-Up. So in short, embrace animal fats, revel in them, but don’t exist solely upon them. And buy the very best you can afford. Fat you can see, wrapped around kidneys or hugging a leg of lamb, is not the stuff to worry about. It’s those hidden buggers, creeping around all those processed foods, that are the truly dangerous foe.

Spaghetti with meatballs

{ SERVES 4 }

500 g/1 lb 2 oz minced pork

250 g/9 oz minced steak or beef

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You might associate chia with the 1970s grassy-haired fad product, Chia Pets. But today, it’s the latest superfood, a tiny black seed from the desert plant Salvia hispanica. Chia is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, protein, and antioxidants, and when it’s added to a liquid, it thickens that liquid into a pudding-like consistency. For this recipe, use a refrigerated variety of coconut milk rather than the thick type that comes from a can.

JAR SIZE: half pint

MAKES: 1 serving

½ cup coconut milk

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons chia seeds

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon maple syrup

1 tablespoon coconut flakes

¼ cup diced fresh tropical fruit like pineapple, mango, or kiwi

1. Place the coconut milk in a small mixing bowl. Sprinkle the chia seeds into the milk and stir to combine. Stir in the vanilla and maple syrup.

2. Transfer the mixture to a half-pint jar, scraping up any stray seeds. The mixture will not completely fill the jar. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

3. After the pudding has thickened, toast the coconut flakes in a small, nonstick skillet. Toast over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the coconut has turned lightly golden, 2 to 3 minutes.

4. Transfer the coconut to a small plate or bowl, and let cool. Spoon the tropical fruit over the chia pudding and sprinkle the coconut on top. The pudding will keep, covered and refrigerated, up to 3 days.

Note: If possible, give this pudding a stir a couple of times as it’s setting. This will help distribute the seeds and prevent them from settling on the bottom, which creates a gummy layer in the bottom of the jar.

Raspberry-Chocolate Smoothie Jar

I didn’t understand what the fuss was about smoothie bowls until I finally tried one: Thick, creamy, and icy cold, it was like eating ice cream with (healthy, of course!) sprinkles on top for breakfast! Keep chunks of fruit in the freezer so you’ll be able to make one of these jars at a moment’s notice. An immersion blender and a blending cup are just the right size to blend up a single serving. And although I’ve chosen the combination of dark chocolate, berries, and toasted walnuts, you can choose your own delicious toppings. Granola, dried fruit, a drizzle of honey…the choice is yours.

JAR SIZE: half pint

MAKES: 1 serving

6 ounces vanilla Greek yogurt

½ medium banana, cut into chunks and frozen

¼ cup frozen raspberries

⅛ cup fresh raspberries

1 tablespoon toasted walnuts

1 tablespoon chopped dark chocolate

1. Using a countertop blender or an immersion blender with a bowl or blending cup, add the yogurt, banana, and frozen raspberries. Blend until smooth, occasionally using a small spatula to stir chunks up from the bottom of the blending cup or bowl. The smoothie will be very thick and spoonable, like soft-serve ice cream.

2. Spoon the mixture into the jar. Top with fresh raspberries, then walnuts, then chocolate.

Breakfast Salad with Grapefruit Vinaigrette

Buttered toast, tangy grapefruit, a perfectly cooked egg, and, of course, crispy bacon. They’re all here in this salad, which is as delicious at lunchtime (or even dinner!) as it is in the morning.

JAR SIZE: pint

MAKES: 2 servings

2 eggs

3 slices bacon

1 medium pink grapefruit

½ teaspoon honey

⅛ teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium red pepper, cut into strips

1 cup baby spinach

1 cup croutons (see page 18)

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Place the eggs in a small saucepan and cover with cool water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low to maintain a simmer, and cook for 3 minutes. Turn off the heat, remove the eggs, and transfer to a small bowl filled with ice water. Set aside. When cool, peel the eggs but leave them whole. This method makes an egg where the yolk is set but still just the tiniest bit runny.

2. In a medium nonstick skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp, turning occasionally, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the cooked bacon to a paper towel–lined plate and set aside.

3. Supreme the grapefruit (see page 18), reserving the juice. Squeeze the center membranes of the grapefruit into a bowl. Discard the membrane.

4. In a small bowl or jar, whisk together 2 tablespoons of the reserved grapefruit juice with the honey, salt, and pepper. Whisk in the extra-virgin olive oil. Set aside.

5. To assemble the jars, divide the vinaigrette between two pint jars. In layers, add the red pepper, grapefruit sections, spinach, and croutons. Crumble the bacon over the croutons. Slice the eggs in half and nestle them on top. Salad will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 1 day.

How to supreme citrus: To supreme is the technique of segmenting a citrus fruit while removing the skin and the tough membranes. It’s a valuab
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enough, but its answer leads us to some surprising and unex-

pected places. Ecologically, salmon inhabit large swathes of the

North Pacific and Atlantic Oceans and, thanks to their intro-

duction in the late nineteenth century by fish culturists, the

South Pacific and South Atlantic as well. For eaters, salmon

are usually one of seven species from the Onchorynchus and

Salmo genera that English speakers call king, keta, pink,

coho, sockeye, masu and Atlantic salmon. The culinary lingua

franca of salmon, however, contains plenty of synonyms and

regional and national variations. In many parts of the globe,

king salmon are called tyee, Chinook, black mouth and chub.

Sockeye go by the names red, blueback, nerka and Kokanee;

coho can also be called bluebacks, though they are more often

described as silverside, white or silver salmon; to many, keta

is simply a marketing term for less pleasing sobriquets like

chum, chub and dog; masu is cherry salmon; pinks are hump-

backs; and Atlantic salmon has dozens of names, depending

on when and where it was caught.



At the same time, salmon nomenclature is actually more

complicated than these regional and national variations, for

the names we give salmon – and the very idea of salmon

themselves – are as much gastronomic as ecological. The

Salmonidae family contains six genera and  species, yet

we know only seven species as salmon. Many of the other

 species have as much scientific right to the salmon

moniker as the seven species that eaters call salmon. Part of

the Salmonidae genus, Salvelinus, is to all intents and purposes

a salmon. Species in this genus are often anadromous (spend-

ing most of their lives in the sea but returning to fresh water

to spawn) and they exhibit many of the same physiological

traits and evolutionary histories as those possessed by the

fish consumers call salmon. However, Salvelinus often find

themselves in fishermens’ nets and on eaters’ plates under the

names Arctic char, brook trout, lake trout or Dolly Varden.

There are even plenty of Salmo and Onchorynchus that leap

into our pans, but not as salmon. Salmo trutta is the Atlantic

salmon’s closest living relative. Genetically it is more similar

to the Atlantic salmon than pink salmon is to king salmon.

Eaters, however, call it a brook trout. Most perplexingly of

all, scientists studying salmon  in the s concluded

that rainbow trout were more closely related to king and

coho salmon than king and coho were to keta, pink or sock-

eye. These scientists cleaved the very category of salmon

in two.

As muddled and complex as it might be, salmon

nonetheless do have a nature – a set of qualities that distin-

guish them from their piscine cousins. For the humans who

wait on shore with nets or patrol the coasts with hooks, the

most remarkable – some might say miraculous – part of a

salmon’s nature is its ability to transform the sun’s energy

into food for humans more quickly and efficiently than



Sockeye fishermen, British Columbia, late th century.

almost any other creature in the sea. In nature’s food web,

salmon promise tremendous returns for people who rely on

turning the sun’s heat into the chemical energy that human

digestive systems then cycle through our bodies. Salmon so

efficiently convert the sun’s energy into food because they

are dietary generalists. Much like us, they eat everything.

They do not have special features like a whale’s baleen or a



dolphin’s canines that might restrict their diets. In fact, salmon are constantly feeding, in large part because of their

gill-rakers, which continually filter food from the ocean.

Salmon passively consume daphnia, diaptomus and cyclops

(all zooplankton), surface plankton, small crustaceans and

dozens of larvae in such a way. They also actively eat squid,

candlefish, herring and sand lance. They thus feed on several

different trophic levels and in a variety of different ways.

When this characteristic is combined with their extraordinary

metabolic and growth rates, a normal fish becomes an

extraordinary producer of proteins and fats, which, some-

time in the not too distant past, exploded from a chain

reaction in the sun.

Not only do salmon efficiently convert the sun’s energy

into food for humans, but they also deliver that food in

meal-sized packages right into the hands, hooks and nets

of waiting humans. The survival mechanism that first

caused salmon to stray from their natal streams  million

years ago today yields this unique trait. Scientists call it

anadromy, and it sends every salmon on a journey from its

freshwater home to the ocean and back during its lifetime.

There are , species of fish in the oceans, but as luck

turns out,
when I entered school that I had the first glimmer of a life different from my own. In my teen years I questioned everything and everyone, causing my parents—and especially my mother—no end of heartache.

When I started kindergarten, I didn’t know a word of English. I had grown up in a Greek bubble. Everyone I knew and socialized with was Greek. My theios (uncles) and theias and my cousins—these were the people I saw on a daily basis; this was my family and my social network. When I went to school, my mother dressed me in a suit with dress shoes and black socks. I got the sense that all of the kids were laughing at me, but I couldn’t understand what they were saying. When I first distinguished the words “black socks” and understood them, I finally knew why they were laughing at me. They were all wearing jeans and white tube socks. I was the immigrant kid dressed for school as if he were going to church. They were eating hot dogs and hamburgers for lunch. I was eating souvlaki and spanakopita.

Some things got easier—I learned the language and made a lot of American friends—but other things got more difficult and more complicated. I straddled two worlds: the Greek world I lived in at home after school and on weekends—a world my parents knew and trusted—and the American world I inhabited at school. And in each world, I was a different person.

I wavered between these two worlds because I loved my family; the foundation and principles with which I had been raised; the pride of culture, cuisine, and heritage—but I also resented it and my parents, specifically my mother, because she was essentially the one who raised us. My father was always at work and my mother made the rules in our house. The way I saw it, she was the one who stood in the way of me really integrating into the local culture. As a result, she, not my father, was the one who bore the brunt of my frustration.

But as my mother hoped and knew I would, at the end of those rebellious years I came out on the other side with a great appreciation for my family ties, roots, and Greek heritage. While I was growing up under different circumstances, my youth wasn’t all that different from that of my suburban Long Island peers. Happy childhood, rebellious and troubled teen years, and an early adulthood with a loving and caring family: I still sat at my mother’s table and devoured everything she cooked every night of the week at our daily family dinners.

Many people believe in fate, luck, serendipity. You can call it whatever you want. There are so many junctures in my life where, had I turned left instead of right, it would have altered my path—would have changed my life dramatically. Some people know what their passion is from a very young age, some people never figure it out, and, for some, destiny delivers it to their door.

After college, still living at home in my parents’ house, I was working as an accountant and I was unhappy. This was not the career for me, but, admittedly, I was lost and didn’t know what career path I wanted to take. As many of us who weren’t quite sure what to do with our lives did at that time, I decided to go to law school.

I had lived at home during college and now I wanted the opportunity to live on my own. My plan was to apply to law school in California and, after I had saved enough money, move out there and go to school. I needed a job with flexible hours so I could attend classes but still earn enough money to pay my way through school. Becoming a waiter or bartender seemed like obvious choices. But back then, you couldn’t just walk in off the street and get a job in the front of the house (restaurant-speak for the dining room staff). The restaurants wanted a résumé of related experience.

After a month of applying to countless restaurants, one day I commiserated with my sister Maria, who told me that she had a sorority sister whose boyfriend was the manager at a T.G.I. Friday’s. The restaurant was in the next county, a twenty-five-minute drive from where I lived. I never would have applied there were it not for Maria. Maria’s friend asked her boyfriend, and I had a job.

From the minute I hit the floor, I loved working as a waiter. I couldn’t believe what a perfect match it was for me. It was as if I had been groomed from childhood specifically for this role. From a very young age, it was always my job in my parents’ house to make sure that everyone who crossed our threshold was made to feel welcome, to feel at home. I asked people what they wanted to drink and delivered it to them. I made sure their glasses were full and that they had enough to eat. I committed their favorite drinks to memory and for years to come would remember what they liked and be able to serve it to them before they could ask. They were happy and, in turn, that made me feel happy.

It was at T.G.I. Friday’s that I met Anna, the woman who later would become my w

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