Wednesday, December 28, 2011

WIAW- Awkward Moments

Click the pretty picture and check it out. Ya know ya wanna.

First of all? I am a gigantic hypocrite. Once upon a time I was all "Greek yogurt is so stupid. It's all like whatever and... whatever. Blah-dee-blah-blah-blah."

But then there was this.


Apparently... Vanilla is a game changer for me. Plain greek yogurt, fruity greek yogurt... Meh. Don't hate it. Don't totally love it.

But vanilla? The most basic-est boring-est flavor ever? Changes everything.

That is a sad fact. I am team vanilla all the way.

I could eat this stuff every single day. But since that little guy up there cost a whole DOLLAR? I limit myself to two a week.

I also steal them from my mom's fridge.

Thanks mom!

And my second recent hypocritical addiction is this.


Apparently I can. As long as it has this one particular dressing on it. And the leaves must be crunchy.

The dressing? A copycat Olive Garden italian. It's damn close. It's also damn delicious.

I eat plate after plate of it.

I think I am single-handedly clearing my local grocery store's supply of iceberg salad mix.

And my last new favorite thing?

Pozole. A mexican soup with a red broth, pork and hominy. I dump lots of raw cabbage and radish into mine. Plus oregano and cayenne. And lemon.

My mother in law made this over the weekend.

She also made menudo. And I cut the tripe. Did you know tripe has tiny black hairs in it?


And to make you forget about what a horrible hypocritical person I am?

Look what I caught my mom's dog doing to WiFi!

Haha. Awkward.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

WIA for days on end (Also: My Big Fat Italian Jewelry Party)

Click the big pretty picture and check out the party. You can be all creepy and food-gawkery like me.

This WIAW I decided to tell you What I made/ate for a party I hosted over the weekend.

Let's start at the beginning.

A few weeks ago one of my mother in law's (heretofore referred to as MIL) friends decided to start selling Lia Sophia jewelry.

So to help that friend start her business I agreed to cohost a party with my MIL.

Learning Experience #1: Lia Sophia is ridiculously overpriced. I mean the whole company is based around this kind of gigantic pyramid scheme. I didn't think anybody I invited to my party would actually buy the jewelry... but they did. I'm hoping it wasn't because they felt like they had to. I will say, however, that their stuff is much nicer looking than the things I find at Forever 21. It's all super sparkly and KAPOW. And they have a pretty great exchange policy. So there's that. I might be kind of in love even though I know it's wrong. So very, very wrong. Thank God for Ebay.

So "cohosting" with my MIL meant that I cooked all the food and had the party at my house and invited some of my friends and family. My MIL HATES party planning, I love it. My MIL bought the wine and also invited some of her friends and family. I HATE wine, she loves it.

We work so well together.

The party was this past Saturday and I spent a WEEK cooking and prepping for it.

A week?! A freaking week?!

Oh. You'll see why in a second.

I am just not really one of those people who is like "Ehhh I'll just pick up some appetizers from Costco and buy a cake and call it a party."

I've tried. I just... can't do it.

I get all twitchy inside.


It was Italian themed so I scoured the internet for all foods Italian. Particularly desserts. Beyond Tiramisu, I was pretty clueless.

Learning Experience #2: Apparently Italians REALLY love almonds. Like a lot. Especially in paste form. They also love dried fruit. And citrus. And coffee. And wine. If it's Italian, it will have at least one of those flavors. Pretty much always.

Back to the party. I so wish I had taken more pictures, especially of everything all set up. But I didn't. And I'm still pissed about it. I do have a few pictures of the food I made because as I baked various things I snapped pictures and sent them to my MIL. But not many. Anything without a photo credit is a picture I took. Also if the picture is crappy? You'll know it's mine that way too.

Learning Experience #3
: If you spend a week of your life (or longer) prepping for an event, remember to take some freaking pictures.

So when you walk into my apartment the first room you enter is the living room. We took all the furniture out and moved it into our bedroom and my husband's office. I also took every single appliance off my kitchen counter and set it on my dresser. (I mean What? You don't keep a coffee table, a sofa, your kitchen aid, toaster oven, and an extra TV in your bedroom? Pft. Weirdo.) This gave me plenty of room to set up chairs, a table for showing off the sparkly jewelry, and food stations.

I put the wine on a small table closest to the door. That was for the benefit of anyone who felt a little like this "Hiiiii lots of strange people I don't really know that well. OH LOOK! WINE!"

There was also a small table where I set up cups, blood orange italian soda, iced tea, ice, and water.

And then the appetizer table was also in the living room.

Our Lia Sophia "Adviser" did her presentation before dinner. I figured people might want something to munch on as they listened/mingled/drank wine and I was right.

Here's what went on the appetizer table.

Croccante. It's also simply known as almond brittle.

Amaretto Truffles. Also some regular truffles rolled in smashed hazelnuts and others in unsweetened coconut. Cuz... why the hell not?

Learning Experience #4: Truffle chocolate never hardens enough to not melt all over your hands. You can wait 8 hours, like I did, and it will still melt all over your hands pretty much immediately. You can freeze it, like I did, and it will STILL melt all over your hands pretty much immediately. However? If you scoop out the chocolate and immediately roll it in some cocoa powder or powdered sugar or coconut or smashed nuts? LIFE WILL BE SO MUCH EASIER.

Chocolate covered candied almonds. This was actually my first attempt at making almond brittle. It's... clearly NOT almond brittle. However, it did taste good. So I smothered that fail in chocolate and turned it into a win.

Learning Experience #5: Chocolate is probably the answer to all of life's failures.

Chocolate dipped dried apricots rolled in smashed hazelnuts.

I also made stuffed mushrooms, caprese stuffed tomatoes, spinach-artichoke dip with crackers, garlic parmesan popcorn, baked polenta squares topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella, and basil, and cream cheese and pecan stuffed dates baked in a honey-red wine sauce.

Photo credit:

Photo Credit:

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The stand out was definitely the dates. That was unexpected.

Learning Experience #6: If you make things ahead of time, label your tupperwares. A certain person I know might have stuffed the tomatoes with the mushroom-cream-cheese mixture instead of the basil-mozzarella mixture. Also that person might not have realized it until every single tiny tomato half was delicately stuffed. Then they might have spent the next 40 minutes cussing loudly and unstuffing and restuffing the tomatoes with the proper stuffing. LABEL YOUR TUPPERWARES.

After appetizers and the presentation I served dinner. I baked french bread (Yea I know, CLEARLY not Italian) a few days before and then made it into garlic bread the day of the party. (If you put garlic on bread, it makes it Italian. It totally does. SHUT UP.) The french bread straight from the oven was absolutely amazing. I ate a huge chunk of it with butter for dinner. Yup.

But 3 days later it was not lovely at all. The garlic bread was a horrible, horrible stale tragedy of yuck. Sad story.

I also made Caesar salad (not Italian, but for some reason people think it is, so I just went with it) with homemade dressing and croutons. In addition to that, there was an olive garden-esque "Italian" salad with pepperoncinis, olives, tomatoes, onion, more homemade croutons, parmesan and that dressing.

Oooohhh that dressing. I could eat it with a spoon. I did eat it with a spoon. I also ate so much of the salad that I felt like I was going to explode.

I will definitely make more. Soon.

I swoon for Italian dressing!

And then there was four kinds of pasta. Bow ties, linguini, penne and whole wheat penne.

I even made gnocchi. I spent HOURS perfecting my gnocchi.

Photo credit:

Then guess what? I went to reheat it right before serving and TOTALLY forgot about it.

That perfectly fluffy and just slightly chewy gnocchi I stayed up until midnight making? Yeah. Nobody tasted it.

But it existed. I swear it did.

And 5 kinds of sauce. (Which I kept warm in crock pots... the easiest part of the entire thing was the sauces.) All homemade. Marinara, alfredo, pesto, vodka cream and arrabiata.

Then there was meat. Pork and beef meatballs. Turkey meatballs. (I browned so many balls that night.) Garlic chicken. Hot italian sausage. Mild italian sausage.

And toppings. Lots and lots of toppings. Asparagus, artichoke, mozzarella, roasted red peppers, peas, bacon, olive oil, parmesan, olives, green peppers, caramelized onions, mushrooms, cauliflower, broccoli, fresh basil, fresh italian parsley, ricotta cheese, fresh tomatoes, lemon, yellow squash, zucchini, fresh crushed garlic, red pepper flakes, pine nuts, dried oregano... if you can imagine it. I had it there. Probably.

But it didn't stop there.

Oh no. After dinner? We had coffee.

I had a special table for all the coffee things as well.

A fresh brewed pot of decaf and a fresh brewed pot of regular. I even made a pitcher of chilled half-caff. I set out the typical accompaniments as well. Half and half, sugar, sweetener, kahlua (What? That's normal.), cinnamon and nutmeg.

But I also made these spoons.

That's a picture of them drying, but for the party they were arranged neatly in cups. A bouquet of dipped spoons in various flavors. Mocha, caramel, white chocolate mocha, peppermint and chai-spice.

People LOVED the spoons. I had NO idea that candy dipped spoons could be so exciting to people but they were.

And since it was an Italian themed party I of course had biscotti to accompany the coffee.

Two kinds. Because I wouldn't be me if there was only one.

Classic almond anise.

And chocolate pistachio.

It just occurred to me that biscotti might not even be Italian... It could be French. It sure SOUNDS Italian though so... Shhhh. Don't burst my bubble.

And then? After the appetizers, the salad, the pasta and the coffee?

There was dessert.


3 kinds of cupcakes. I photographed none of them because I am super lame.

An Italian cream cake with lemon frosting.

A chocolate cupcake with orange cannoli filling in place of frosting and sprinkled with chocolate chips.

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And lastly, a tiramisu cupcake with mascarpone frosting.

Photo credit

Learning Experience #7: You can totally freeze cupcake batter in Ziplock bags for a few days with absolutely no bad side-effects. And as an added bonus? It's way easier to cut a corner off the bag and "pipe" it into the paper than it is to spoon it from the bowl. Just be careful you don't squeeze the bag so hard the seam bursts open and chocolate cake batter falls all over the floor. Your dog might lick some and you might be completely paranoid that he's going to die a painful chocolate poisoning induced death. True story. But don't worry, he's okay.

Of course I didn't stop at cupcakes.

I also made Florentines. A delicious, lacey almond-orange cookie.

And I made Italian butter cookies. Some had a maraschino cherry in the center, some didn't.

I absolutely did not hand-make those shapes. My mother in law has this awesome contraption from Pampered Chef that did it for me. (Now Pampered Chef? That's a pyramid scheme I could totally get down with. Their little garlic crusher thing? LIFE CHANGING.)

Oh. But that still wasn't it.

I also made zabaglione. Which, by the way, is a whipped custard that tastes like Marsala wine. Cuz... Marsala wine is a key ingredient.

Learning Experience #8: If something you don't like the taste of (random example: wine) is the key flavor in a dessert, you probably will not like said dessert. Just saying.

Aaaaaaand I made panna cotta.

Photo Credit:

Of all the desserts the panna cotta was mmmmm'ed and OMG'ed over the most.

If you have never made panna cotta?



Don't do it.

I thought my life was totally ruined when I learned I could make the best creme brulee ever at home.

Well panna cotta is 100x easier than creme brulee and the taste is very similar, albeit less creamy.

But still?


And dangerous.

So freaking dangerous.


I warned you.

Don't do it.

And, finally... that was it.

That was everything I made.

Pretty sure.

We invited 55 people. I planned to feed 40. The universe conspired against me and almost everybody we invited got sick so only about 25 showed up.

Everybody ate appetizers but maybe 18 ate dinner and 10 had dessert.

Thankfully? My husband's grandpa and step-dad came after the party and helped "clean up".

I still had a ton of left overs. I froze some and gave a lot away.

I'm eating some today.

See? The lunch I just ate.

I ate some yesterday. And the day before that. And the day before that. I'll probably have leftovers tomorrow.

But you know what?

Totally worth it.

And while I don't have any pictures of the actual party to show for it, I did get 5 beautiful necklaces at a very reasonable price, and everybody who showed up was wined and dined and desserted way beyond their expectations.

So I'm considering it all a major success.

Although I'm still a little bitter about the gnocchi nobody tasted.

Freaking gnocchi. I always suspected you were concentrated evil in pillowy potato form.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday Fun Facts

Oh look at me, using the day and alliteration to come up with a super cutesy title!


But guess what? I'm leaving it like that.


Fact #1. I love wearing yoga pants. However, I have never done yoga. Not only that, if you asked me to show you something that even looked remotely like a yoga pose or to explain to you the general concept behind what yoga is, I'd run away. Cuz guess what? I have no freaking idea. And I don't want you to think I'm stupid. Plus in this imaginary scenario I'm wearing yoga pants and my butt looks good in them. You can witness this as I run away.

Fact #2. If you're kind of fat and you are going to get a dog... get the most psychotic, tiny, hyper one you can find. You will be forced to take him for long walks and runs or else face the consequences. The consequences will include- but not be limited to- his incessant desire to play with you (see also: maul you); chew up your furniture, door frame, ornamental couch pillows or any other material item you deem valuable; the fact that instead of actually sleeping at night he will gnaw on your toes; and other general half-brained "I'M BORED AND I HAVE A TON OF ENERGY BOING.BOING.BOING.DESTROY_ALL_THE_THINGS!!!" insanity.

I do not go for walks with WiFi. I literally try to run him into the ground. If he is not so completely exhausted I have to drag him back inside, something bad will happen to my beloved shoes.

Fact #3. I had pasta for breakfast this morning. Whole grain noodles, low sugar tomato sauce, and some veggies. I freaking love pasta. I could eat pasta every single day. Oatmeal can suck my pasta's... rigatoni. HOW DID I NEVER THINK OF THIS BEFORE?!!

Fact #4. I only have one more fact to share with you but it skeeves me out leaving this list at 4 items. MUST END WITH AN ODD NUMBER.

Fact #5. Apparently I am a wishy washy liar person. Remember I was all "Ehhnnn apples are just whatever. I don't even like apples."? Well I guess I changed my mind because I have been eating A LOT of apples lately. I feel like if, at this point in my life, I don't even know what fruits I do and do not like from week to week... that is a serious problem.

Forget world peace, I can't even decide if I like apples!

Awkward endings are so awkward, don't you think?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Inspired By Snooki

Yeah. 3 words I NEVER thought I'd say.

Allow me to elaborate.

Early this morning (2 am) I woke up to crashing, roaring noises. Apparently wind speed had reached 20 mph and branches and boxes and odds and ends were being heaved about all over the place.

WiFi (that's my dog) was convinced that the miscellaneous garbage was actually a cunning predator come to devour him and would not stop barking.

Then the power went out. Which you would think, since it was already night time, would not really matter... but I assure you, pitch black is quite noticeable.

Especially when you have a little dog trying to convince you that there is evil lurking just outside the door and all you can hear is creepy wind noises.

At that point, I pretty much knew I wasn't going to be going back to sleep anytime soon.

So I did what any person who doesn't have power and can't sleep does... I used my iPhone to check out the latest celebrity gossip.

That's a totally normal thing to do when you can't sleep cuz you're convinced that there's a serial killer outside or aliens are invading or that the wind is going to blow your roof over and you'll be crushed to death... right?

Thought so.

So back to Snooki.

Apparently she has lost a very noticeable amount of weight. I may be way behind the times on this news. I don't know because apparently I only check out celebrity gossip when I feel like my life is in danger... but it was a revelation to me.

She went from this.

To this.

No doubt, she looks good. Well. Better. I could do without the kissy face and the shoes that are a size too big, but I don't think anybody could deny that her body looks great now.

That's not the part that inspired me though. I mean, I've seen a lot of before and after pictures in my day. Some with much more dramatic and inspiring results.

Apparently, at her heaviest (sooo... the first picture) she weighed 130 pounds.

Uh.... I weigh 130 pounds.

Okay, okay. But she's really, really short and that's why 130 pounds looks like a lot on her.

Except... Uh... I'm really, really short too. Like 4'11 short.

So that means I look exactly like... DAMN it.

And that is the story of how Snooki inspired me to get my butt in gear and lose these last 20-25 pounds.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

WIAW and deep thoughts about gnocchi

Oh hi blog. Remember me?

Fewf. I thought this was gonna be awkward.

Okay pretty sure this was what I ate on... Monday... Yeah. Let's go with Monday.

Remember my very serious life or death quandary about... what to eat for breakfast? A lovely commenter pointed out that basically what I was asking for was the exact same qualifications for vegan breakfast.

Oh duh. Why didn't I think of that?

So here was my first attempt at vegan breakfast.

It ain't oatmeal!!

(I'm still boycotting oatmeal. We're not on speaking terms. On account of oatmeal being such a MANWHORE.)

It's actually bulgur. If you've never had it, I think it tastes a lot like brown rice but takes 1/3 of the time to cook.

I put it in the pan with some almond milk and then when it was done cooking I added slivered almonds and some chopped up raisin.

My morning snack was at the advice of another commenter on my breakfast post.

Green smoothie! Spinach, banana, strawberry, almond milk, sweetener. Done and done.

I started lunch off with a salad.

Spinach, almonds, roasted beets, butternut squash and poppyseed dressing.

I'm not gonna lie I ate 1/3 of the beets before I just could not take it anymore. I shoved the rest to the side and then eventually into the trash. Unfortunately their weird beety juices had contaminated the rest of the salad and I didn't finish it.

But don't worry. Cuz I had this too.

Ham and cheese PANINI!!

True story, I hate sandwiches. They are so boring and cold food doesn't really do it for me. I prefer hot meals.

But if you grill them and they get all warm and gooey and there are visible sear marks then it is no longer a sandwich... it is a... magical lunch food of deliciousness and awesome.

I am going to be eating paninis for days.

I don't have a picture of dinner. It was some overcooked honey garlic chicken (crock pot fail) with brussel sprouts, some spinach and Alexa criss cut sweet potato fries.

In a dream world after that I had a glass of water and went to bed.

In the real world where my bottom is ever-expanding I then went to my parent's house and had 4 pieces of pizza and some ice cream.

BUT let's not talk about that.

Let's talk about this.

Yesterday I made gnocchi for the first time. I made 3 different batches trying to find the perfect consistency. Unfortunately I have never had gnocchi before. I have NO IDEA what it's supposed to be like!

This was batch #2.

Chewy on the outside, but fluffy and bready on the inside. Batch #1 was super chewy and dense, Batch #3 was even fluffier than this and had almost no "chew" to it at all.

So if there are any resident gnocchi experts in the audience help a sista out.

Does this picture look right? Do you like your gnocchi chewier or fluffier?

The fate of my italian themed jewelry party rests in your hands.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Epic fail. Revelation. Quandary.

For an unknown reason raw broccoli with ranch dressing started sounding really good to me yesterday afternoon.

Let me stop right here to tell you that I like broccoli a lot, but not raw. I also do not really love ranch dressing that much.

This is already leaning towards disaster.

I tried to put the broccoli out of my mind but I just couldn't fight the craving.

(No I am not pregnant. Just super susceptible to Hidden Valley Ranch's subliminal messaging apparently.)

So this morning I got !!!!!!!!!THE MOST!!!!!!!!! brilliant idea to spread garlic herb cream cheese on some bread and top with super tiny chopped up raw broccoli.

My brain is all "Awww so cute! Broccoli sprinkles! This is going to taste so delicious! I am so excited!"

And then I tasted it.

And it was sooooooooo not delicious.

Not even a little.

You know what it tasted like?

It tasted like raw broccoli.


Did I mention?

I don't like raw broccoli.

So, don't worry, you are not missing out.

Broccoli sandwiches are pretty much as unappetizing as they sound.

Unless you cook the broccoli. And smother it in cheese and butter. Probably that would be delicious.

But since I was too low on time to bust out the saturated fat I just threw away my epic fail of a sandwich and had a banana and sweet potato instead.

Much better.

Why this sudden foray into eating vegetables for breakfast?

A few days ago I was bored at my mom's house and I randomly picked "You! On a Diet" up off her book shelf and started reading.

It mostly explains all the different things going on "behind the scenes" with our bodies when we eat. It then attempts to use this science to give guidelines for how we should be eating. There's some things about their recommendations that I don't like, but then for some reason the most simplest aspect of it all was like a revelation to me.

It's kind of a big deal.

I lost 20 pounds by counting calories. I started to determine how "good" or "bad" food was by how calorie dense it was and whether or not I considered the cost "worth it". I think I was also slightly brain washed by all the low-carb shenanigans going on around me.

(Yes, that's what I'm blaming it on. The carb counting zombies ate my brain.)

Yet in this book, the diet they recommend is based loosely off a Mediterranean style of eating.

Mostly fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, olive oil and nuts. And then some dairy. Seafood. Poultry. And then a tiny bit of meat, sweets, and saturated fats.

My brain suddenly clicked and instead of grouping peas, corn and white bread into the category of "bad carbs" it saw peas, corn, whole grains, fruit and legumes as "awesomely nutritious plant based foods" and white bread as "SUGARRRRR!!!!"

I think this could be life changing.

I've heard over and over and over again about how sugar is bad and how we should choose whole grains over white grains... but for some reason I just didn't get it. When I was eating a bowl of spaghetti I didn't understand that I was basically shoving spoonfuls of sugar into my face.

And a bowl of sugar? Just doesn't sound good.

But nutritious, whole, plant foods? Well that actually does sound good.

And all I have to do is stop vilifying certain fruits and vegetables, eat whole grains instead of white grains, and cut back on the sugar?


So here I am trying to eat planty foods for breakfast instead of my typical meat, cheese and eggs.

Oatmeal with nuts and fruit could be a good option but frankly after seeing 600,000 versions of overnight oats, "OMG OIAJ!" (oats in a jar, in case you're new here), and oat bran I kind of want to punch oatmeal in the mouth.

Seriously? You are just oatmeal. Don't get all cocky.

But beyond that... I'm kind of stuck.

I might actually try eating a salad for breakfast tomorrow.

Which is just plain weird.

So help me! What's a good breakfast that's mostly comprised of whole grains, vegetables, fruit, nuts or legumes?

And don't say broccoli sandwich.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A few things I've learned this week.

1) Grapefruit literally tastes like vomit. Seriously people. How can anyone eat that? No... Seriously. I need to know.

2) There IS a diet out there that doesn't treat carbs like they are the spawn of Satan. Yay! I want that one!

3) However pretty much everyone agrees that sugar and refined carbs are, in fact, the devil. Yep. That's right. Satan is a cupcake.

4) If you randomly start eating 90% plant based foods when you previously were eating nothing but sugar your body will be uncooperative. It has become coddled and lazy so it protests when you *gasp* eat things it actually has to work to break down into energy. There will be smelly farts and your husband will probably gag. Just handle it like I do, blame the dog, and finish the rest of your roasted cauliflower.

5) You can convince your husband to spend $70 on the new Zelda game by assuring him you will be getting 'lots' of exercise while swinging that wiimote around like it's a sword. This works because in his mind 'lots' of exercise equals cuter naked wife. Also possibly because you were smart enough to marry a nerd who loves Zelda too.

So as you can see, it's been a good week. Well except for the grapefruit.

That was just gross.

Friday, November 11, 2011

What is my problem?

There are these big issues that I'm having when it comes to taking better care of my body and getting all hott-ified.

For some reason, I've never really stopped to think about why I hate exercise, why I over eat every day, why I go out to eat too much, and why I don't eat enough of the good-for-me stuff.

Not asking why after noticing these patterns has been a huge mistake. Probably the hugest mistake I've made on this journey so far.

Because if I get to the root of my issues then maybe, just maybe, I can come up with ways to fix them instead of hoping it will all just magically go away.

So this is my brainstorming.

My four biggest, most basic problems. Why I keep screwing it up.

And how I'm gonna fix it.

  • I'm too tired. I don't wanna exert myself. I just want to flop on the couch all uselessly.
  • I had a long day. I just want to relax. See also: I just want to flop on the couch all uselessly.
  • It's not worth it. 10 minutes a day isn't gonna make me a victoria secret model, so why bother?
  • Strength training scares the crap out of me. I don't know what to do. I don't know how to do it. I'm gonna pull muscle, bust open a vital organ, and probably die if I try.
1) I'm tired because I'm not getting enough sleep. So sleep. Duh. Bed before 10 pm. Also? I should exercise when I have the most energy. FYI self, that would be the morning time.
2) If I exercise early in the morning then I can be useless in the evening. Yay!
3) Not true. I won't be Adriana Lima but I'll feel better and I'll be creating a good habit. It's all about the habits.
4) Okay, calm down. Just take baby steps. Don't act like you don't know how to do a lunge.

  • Someone else is eating
  • I'm bored
  • I'm depressed
  • I already ate "bad" earlier in the day so it doesn't matter
  • I get a craving/just want to taste something
1) Occupy your mouth. Get a diet soda as a treat.
2) Plan meals. Read. Organize something. Play with WiFi. Go for a walk. Put together an outfit. Fix something. Paint my nails. Take a bubble bath. Plan a dinner for friends. Help someone. Watch a documentary. Study/Practice. Learn to do something. Write.
3) Pray. Meditate. Throw myself into work or studying. Instead of being all selfish and focusing on doom and gloom, do something for someone else.
4) There is no such thing as bad. I didn't make the right choices. Oh well. Start making good choices now.
5) First of all, stop watching food network. Then try any of these. Gum. Flavored water. Tea. Coffee. Light hot chocolate. Baby carrots. Pickle. Roast a vegetable.

  • I'm out running around
  • I'm feeling too lazy or tired to cook
  • Nothing I have at home sounds good
1) Buy "better choice" frozen meals to keep in freezer at work. Plan better.
2) Have a few "quick" versions of foods we really like on hand. Then I have no excuses.
3) Usually this means I want comfort food. That's fine. But if I make it myself I'll eat less, spend less, and get in more nutrients. Try spaghetti. Grilled cheese. Quesadilla. Greek salad. Chili. Bean and cheese burrito. Cheeseburger.


  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Water
1) Top beds of spinach with more appealing foods like cheeses, nuts, and grains. Mix spinach into smoothies/eggs/pasta sauce. Buy vegetables I really like. Baby carrots. Squashes. Mushrooms. Cauliflower. Artichokes. Asparagus. Ears of corn. Peas. Brussels sprouts. Mung beans. Cucumbers. Green beans. Snow peas. Tomato sauce. Cabbage. Celery. Kale. Arugula. Edamame. Always have some type of cooked vegetable on hand. Make sure 1/2 of what I'm eating at lunch and dinner qualifies as a vegetable.
2) Buy white whole wheat flour and use it to bake. Find a whole grain bread I like from the store. Learn to cook quinoa, bulgur, and barley in delicious, easy ways. Don't forget that popcorn and oatmeal count.
3) Refill and drink the water from my sippy bottle 4 times. Keep it with me wherever I go. Yes it makes me have to pee a lot and my bosses probably think I'm freakish, but OH WELL.

Now I've addressed these problems and I KNOW what I need to do.

And knowledge is power, right?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

All or Nothing.

I have this problem.

It's what they call an "all or nothing" attitude.

It goes kind of like this.

"Well... considering I don't have time to run 50 miles today, it is completely pointless for me to exercise at all."

And then I just sit on the couch. For 5 hours.

It isn't a good attitude to have.

So yesterday somewhere I read a recommendation to do just one push up a day. And then the next week do two. And then do three. Etc. etc.

The idea being that something is better than nothing.

And I was like "Pfffftttt. I could totally do one push-up a day."

So I did about 15 push-ups.

And then because I was already at it?

I also worked out with the Nike Women's Training app for 15 minutes.

I'm probably not going to drop 10 pounds in a week with this mini work-out plan.

But I will say that today my butt was kind of sore from doing those squats last night.

And I'm actually looking forward to my next 15 push-ups and another mini work-out.

So maybe it's true...

Something is better than nothing.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

How going grocery shopping broke my heart.

What was in my shopping cart yesterday: 7 various spices, whole milk, whole wheat english muffins, mini whole wheat cinnamon bagels, a quart of nonfat plain greek yogurt, kale, 1 honey crisp apple, 2 tango apples, large container of plain old fashioned oatmeal, box of raisins, autumn spice tea, and pistachios

What was in the shopping cart of the person in front of me yesterday: Hawaiian punch soda, doritos, frozen pizzas, sugared gelatin cups, a bag of candy, captain crunch, apple pie, fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, heat and serve sausages, giant bag of hash browns and lots and lots of other processed foods.

This was not one of those "go into the store for only one thing and get distracted" trips. This was their bi-weekly (or possibly monthly) shopping trip. They had a ton of stuff.

And not a single fruit or vegetable in any form. Maybe there was some orange juice. And there was the bag of hash browns. But that's it.

No apples, not a single banana, no carrots, no can of green beans, not even a frozen bag of mixed vegetables. Nothing.

It made me so incredibly sad.

That's what they're going to eat for the next 2 weeks?

And it wasn't like these two ladies and their kids were an oddity. I see it all the time.

And it makes me so incredibly sad.

Not counting my spice collection, I had 11 items. They had probably 40. I spent $20 on the food I bought. They spent $160.

They paid with EBT and then scrounged up some dollars and change from their purses.

That made me even sadder because obviously they aren't well off and they had very little to show for all the money they had spent.

They even had to put back a few fruit pies and a 2 liter of soda. But still everything they had left is what I would consider "junk" food.

Now don't get me wrong- it's not like I am all high and mighty over here claiming that I NEVER eat processed foods.

Cuz I do. More than I should. These 20 extra pounds can testify to that.

Yesterday, for instance, I had pizza. But I didn't wash it down with pepsi, a side of cheetos, and a snickers bar.

Yeah, I had pizza. But I also had baby carrots, homemade beef stew with veggies, an apple, milk, and watermelon.

I'm not saying that people who live on processed crap foods are stupid or evil or bad parents.

I don't even think they are ignorant or uneducated about what constitutes a healthy meal.

Every single person I know can look at a bag of chips and a bag of apples and instinctively know which one is better nutritionally.

We all KNOW what healthy is, for the most part.

But I think there are all these myths associated with eating healthily that deter people.

Like that it's expensive. No way. Not if you shop smart. To make the same amount of meals I bet I could have spent 1/2 of what the women in front of me did.

Like that it's normal and that is how everyone eats. In this country it is pretty common. But that isn't saying much. In all of our history as humans, and even just 100 years ago, meals were pretty much home cooked with whole ingredients. There weren't drive-throughs or TV dinners. And even in many other countries in this day and age that is still the case. Our bodies do not thrive on refined flour, sodium, and sugar alone. Sorry.

Like that it doesn't taste good. Lies. Lots of people I know love the taste of watermelon, juicy peaches, and crisp apples. Plenty of people enjoy salsa, guacamole, sweet corn on the cob, marinara, sauteed mushrooms, crunchy baby carrots, baked sweet potato fries, and even fresh baby spinach. We all like some fruits and vegetables and if we tried new or old vegetables, in new ways, more often, I bet we could expand our personal lists of healthy foods we enjoy even further.

Or what about "I don't have time to cook"? Takes 30-40 minutes to bake some chicken breasts and you really don't have to do anything more than sprinkle some seasonings on it and throw it in the oven. Fish like salmon takes even less time. A whopping 10-15 minutes. Steam some cauliflower while you're at it. Boil some whole grain pasta. A bowl of oatmeal or a peanut butter and banana sandwich is done in 5 minutes. You can eat yogurt and grapes and salads straight out of the fridge. You don't have to bake your own bread or prepare elaborate meals if you don't want to.

Processed foods taste good. I get it. They're designed that way.

But healthy food tastes good too.

Balance it out.

They could save a lot of money on groceries and insurance and medical bills. They could add years to their life...

Every time I go to the store there is someone in line who is buying nothing but crap. I so badly want to flip over their carts and scream "FOLLOW ME! I will lead you to the produce aisle!" Because clearly they missed it.

I especially hate when they've got children with them. Adults get to make all the decisions about how money is spent. Kids get no say.

Is there a polite way to tell a total stranger "OH MY GOD you are killing your family!! DO NOT BUY THAT!!"?

I didn't think so.

So if you are standing in line behind a girl buying kale and quinoa and she is quietly weeping as the person in front of her buys Pepsi and popsicles?

Don't worry,

That is just me.

And sometimes the way people choose to feed themselves and their families just makes me so sad.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tofu troubles. Also I suck at budgeting.

I woke up this morning suuuuper nauseous. Then I went back to sleep.

The last thing I ate was tofu. Consequently my brain has associated tofu with that lovely Oh-my-God-I'm-gonna-hurl feeling.

Tofu will not be touching these lips for quite awhile.

I had to throw the rest of it away.

So when I woke up I had the furthest thing from tofu possible.

Pizza! From Costco. Yummmm.

I got to work and snacked on 1/3 bag of baby carrots. CUZ I AM ALL HEALTHY.

Eventually that wasn't cutting it though and I remembered I had some left over beef stew in the fridge.


I made this a few days ago. Classic beef stew with some stew meat, celery, carrots and potatoes. With a few twists. I decided I wanted to try turnips. My only prior experience with turnips was playing Harvest Moon games and growing and selling those guys like crazy. I had never actually tasted them.

So I chopped 'em up like taters and just threw 'em in the crock pot with the rest of the stuff. The verdict? They took on the flavor of the soup well, similar to the way the potatoes did. However I could definitely tell the difference. Taters have a "mealy" texture whereas the cooked turnips were similar to the smooth stewed carrots. Another happy difference? Turnips have like 1/3 of the calories that potatoes do. I didn't even know that until today. If I had I probably would have forgone the potatoes entirely. I think I am a fan.

I also stirred in some leftover pumpkin sauce I had made for pasta. Thickened up the stock nicely with no real change to the flavor.

After work I made a trip to the grocery store.

I mentioned I am trying to budget better, especially in the grocery department. My goal this week was to spend $25 or less.

I started out well. Spent $1 on salad greens earlier in the week.

And then... today. *Ahem* I went to the store for two things.

But while I was there I realized I needed a few spices. (A few = seven.) So... that was $20. But now I can create delicious things with caraway, fennel, allspice, cardamom, red pepper flakes, cinnamon and smoked paprika! But not at all at once.. I think.

So those two things I went for? Skim milk and bagels. But I got like 10 other things. Plus the "few" spices. And I didn't get skim milk, I got whole milk. And the bagels were really expensive. But they were PERFECT. Whole wheat, cinnamon flavored, and 100 calories each.

So the total for the week so far is $40. Oooopsy daisy!

I tried a honey crisp apple though! I usually buy gala because they are cheap. Also through a very scientific process I have discerned my favorite kind of apple is the "reddish-yellow" kind. Honey crisps happen to be reddish-yellow and I think the flavor is similar to the gala. Except... better. Both sweeter and tarter at the same time, and with a crisper texture. It's like the gala on steroids that pump up deliciousness.

Problem? I just don't think I love apples that much. The honey crisp was good, I admit. But I still rather would have been having pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe, a pear, a kiwi, grapes, blueberries... or pretty much any other fruit that is not an apple.

But I was starving as I left the store so I scarfed that baby. And then I busted open that milk and drank it straight from the jug. LIKE AN ANIMAL.

Actually no, if I was drinking milk like an animal I would have drank it from some fleshy boob jugs.

That was awkward.

So then I ate pizza.

And I drank this.

Delicious! One of those "extras" at the grocery store today. Only it doesn't really taste like pumpkin. It tastes like... eggnog. Weird, right?

Finished the night with two wedges of 2011's last watermelon.

On a totally unrelated note, I now know what WiFi does when I turn my back!

That's my boy!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What I Ate Wednesday (Tuesday)

Today I decided to try amping up the protein in an attempt to keep the hunger monster at bay. (It didn't work that well by the way. At the moment? Hardcore craving a quesadilla. Or 3.)

Kicked off the morning with a scramble.

Eggs, ham, tofu, and broccoli.

Why tofu with eggs and ham? Added protein for minimal calories and to get a greater variety of micronutrients in.

Also on the menu? This amazing tea.

Buy this!

Then it was off to work. Booooo. And at 11 am a snack to refuel.

Frozen strawberries, almond milk, vanilla, sweetener, tofu.

Definitely tasted the tofu in this so I'll have to try something different next time.

I read something online- tips about how to lose weight. A suggestion was "replace one meal with a salad". So I'm trying that.

Baby greens with a hummus dressing. (Hummus thinned with water) Topped with roasted brussel sprouts, carrots and baked falafel patties. I find that I like salad a lot more when it's mixed with some cooked elements. Tons of raw veggies just isn't my thing I guess.

I snacked on a handful of frozen grapes, a slice of watermelon and an ear of corn.

Dinner was something new to me!

Baked tofu with bbq sauce, green beans and "fried" brown rice. I didn't dig the tofu much. Much rather would have had chicken. Ha.

Also? There is a recipe online for baking brown rice and it is THE BEST brown rice I have EVER made/tasted/nommed upon. Make it this way. It will kick your old way's butt majorly.

Also also? The turkey bacon at Trader Joe's is thick cut and amazingly delicious. So much better than the regular name brands I have tried. Unfortunately, it comes at a price. A hefty one.

I spent the night doing a little exercising, roasting a pumpkin, and making pumpkin syrup/pumpkin cream cheese spread. I'm passing the syrup along to my dad who wanted "pumpkin spice" coffee but the spread is miiineee all miiiineee! I will possibly share it with my husband. Possibly.

I cannot wait to pick up some bagels at the store to accompany the deliciousness.

Now? I'm off to chill with this sweet little guy.

Love. <3

Friday, October 21, 2011

Life Goals

So our car is running, but it's really on it's last leg. We need a new car. We've needed a new car for awhile.

That means we really need to start saving money.

We realized that about a week ago.

Today I went to the store. 3 stores actually. (Hmmm. That seems like a problem.)

At one of those stores I spent $10 on various water flavoring packets and a random pack of sparkling diet cranberry juice.

That sort of defeats the purpose of me not buying diet sodas anymore to save money.

Especially when those random cranberry juices cost fifty cents a can.

What was I even thinking?!

Well, lesson learned.


I'm going to work out a budget. And I'm going to stick to that budget.


I'll let you know how it goes.

In other news I am slightly more on track with my eating than I was a week or two ago.

And my elliptical machine came yesterday and I did actually use it. So now I've just got to keep the momentum going. I gotta elliptical it up!

So hopefully soon I will be a skinny lady with a fat wallet and a four door fully functional vehicle.

Ahhhh yeeahhhh.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

If only I were a rabbit.

I wish this looked amazingly delicious to me.

But unfortunately, it doesn't.

Gag me with the fork.

Take that same base and turn it into any of these however? Yum.

The chinese chicken with it's crunchy fried toppings, nuts, glazed chicken and sesame seeds.

The cobb with it's grilled chicken, crunchy bacon, tender egg yolk and creamy blue cheese.

Greek salad with soft feta cheese, salty olives and hearty chickpeas.

And the taco salad. Cheddar cheese and flavorful ground meat, sometimes tortilla chips, sometimes spicy ranch dressing.

I pretend to like lettuce but really I don't think I do.

I like it buried amongst strong flavors.

Particularly cream, fat, and fried crunch.

I wish I was a girl who loved raw veggies.

But I so am not.

It's a serious problem, according to my scale.

I wish somebody would invent a lettuce that tasted like potato chips.

That would be awesome.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


I bought an elliptical machine! YAY!

By far the least painful work out I can imagine so now I might actually get out of my rut and lose the last half of this excess weight.

I DO need to force myself to find time to try out different strength moves and develop something that works for me.

And tonight meal planning is definitely on the agenda.

I'm excited to be back in the game!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Seven Things

Things that have happened since the last time I wrote.

1) I baked a pumpkin pie from a pumpkin. I even made the crust from scratch. The pie was amazing, my husband was very impressed, and I feel so accomplished for having faced my squashy pie fears.


2) I made a loaf of honey wheat bread and it tastes pretty good. This is the first time I have ever made a loaf of "sandwich"-style bread. I'm excited that now I know I can make my own bread at home with a handful of ingredients for a fraction of the cost of purchasing bread from the store. GO me.


3) My 2 year wedding anniversary was on Tuesday. I tackled more firsts in order to make a special dinner for my husband. First, I cooked a steak... not on the BBQ. I pan fried a new york in butter until it was crusty on the outside and juicy on the inside. A very nice and yummy treat. I ALSO pan seared scallops. I love scallops but mine (cooked in garlic, butter, oil, salt, pepper) were too bland for my tastes. I'm in the market for some sauces.


4) Summer has been angry and persistent this year. It has been 90s, 90s, 90s well past the usual point of cooling down. However that all changed yesterday. I woke up to the sound of very heavy rain and knew that fall had finally arrived. I celebrated by thrifting some much-needed cold weather clothes. 2 pairs of black boots (one flat, one heeled), a long navy skirt, a pair of jeans, 3 sweaters, and a gray thermal top. I am still hunting for a black coat, another pair of pants, a long gray skirt, a few long sleeve cardigans, and hopefully a sweatshirt or two. I also would not complain if I managed to find some super-thick black tights and cozy socks at Target soon.


(Similar to my purchases. Courtesy of polyvore.)

5) WiFi was still coughing a lot so we called the vet. They tested him for parasites, which they thought might be interfering with his ability to digest the antibiotics. He tested positive so now we are treating him for Giardia. He is still on a general antibiotic and another more specialized medicine geared towards clearing up any last bits of the pneumonia. He has shown a tiny progression as far as the distemper. As soon as I saw it I started giving him vitamin A and vitamin C to hopefully slow down the virus/boost his immune system. Otherwise he is a happy puppy, a terror to our toes, and recently at war with his own shadow and a random pile of firewood in our living room. Tomorrow is the last day of his Giardia medicine so I have to give him a bath and scrub/wash every surface in our house. Fun.

6) On Sunday we were surprised by the fact that our car wouldn't start. Super lame. It's not the battery itself but rather some other component involved. We can get it to start with a jump but it dies again within a few hours. My uncle cleaned the posts and tightened the connecting wires but still there is a problem. So he is supposed to come look at it soon. In the meantime my mom has been letting us use her car. Thank goodness for mothers.

7) I am getting fatter. I have not been eating well amongst all of this stress, but I want to change that. I downloaded an app today that has strength training routines and videos of how to perform each exercise. I'm going to try it out soon, as my mind has been craving exercise. I took a small step towards better eating last night as well. I cooked up chicken breast four ways. One I baked then shredded and mixed with a bit of bbq sauce and hot sauce. Another I sauteed in a tiny bit of oil and then poured a bit of spicy/sweet peanut sauce over. A third I sauteed plain in garlic and onion. Lastly I baked up some healthy-fied breaded chicken tenders. I am happy because all of these preparations can be used in a variety of ways. In wraps, on sandwiches, to top a salad, with pasta or rice, etc, etc. YAY being prepared AND having a variety.

Seven is such a weird number to end on, but that about sums it up folks.