Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The early (holiday) bird gets to enjoy

Well, the early holiday bird may get to enjoy, but the overdue blogger should repent for her non-blogging sins! Ha. Anyway, I'm here now, and I can't believe it's nearly the middle of December. That said, I'm JUST ABOUT DONE with my holiday shopping and go-getting. I have a few things to bake and two holiday get-togethers to handle, but that's about all. I will say, it's a nice feeling. I'm not bragging about being finished, but I'm saying it's good to sit back and take it all in. I put up my decorations right after Thanksgiving. I didn't do that because I'm one of these crazy Christmas people, but I did it because I had time and wanted to do it so I could sit in my living room, by the fireplace, of course and gaze at my handy work.

I'm one who believes the holidays are too commercial for their own good. We NEED to stop, drop and ENJOY (or roll, if you're on fire). I don't participate in that crazy Black Friday thing, in fact, I probably bought 95% of my gifts to give online! Internet=Greatest. Tool. Ever. I keep telling my Mom we need to stop with the gifts. My sister and I are too old. But I think if she lets go of that, it's like she's letting go of Christmas memories of years past. I get that. My hope every year is that the holiday comes and it's well-spent and well-celebrated. I hope to feel full, from food, of course, because we all know I can certainly do damage on the Christmas cookies, but also from family and friends. That's all. Most Christmases I've felt empty at the end of it all; like it came and went. Came with great fanfare but existed with much less. I want to enjoy the days leading up to THE DAY and the DAY OF. So let's strive for that. Just look at this picture of my dog, he's got the right idea: "Hi, I'm just sitting here with this green scarf on, what's up? Oh and P.S. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night."

And here's a New Year's resolution EARLY, of course, because that's what today's note is about. Doing things EARLY to enjoy them. Moral of the story. I will write and reflect more.

Happy Holidays......

Thursday, October 4, 2012

More on my diet and other thoughts

It's been awhile since I've been here. Not sure why. I keep telling myself it's because I don't have anything interesting or mind-blowing to share, but I really know it's just my down-in-the-dumps, can't-lose-weight-blah-blah-woof-woof attitude. Last two weeks at weigh-in, I've lost POINT-something of a pound. Last week it was -.4 and this week was even worse at -.2. Boy oh boy, I don't want to give up, but geez, the negative point-somethings aren't helping. I eat decent meals, but I think I'm slacking on the snacking. Or rather, I'm not slacking on the snacking. Anyway, that's that. And I'm ready to move on from talking about it. I've heard there's this movement where weight-loss bloggers have been taking pictures of themselves on a weekly basis and documenting their losses. It's helping them. I hate pictures of myself so I don't think I'd even look! haha.

On to more upbeat things. I've been reading quit a bit lately. Two books you should check out: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and Wild (From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail) by Cheryl Strayed. Flynn's is a novel and Strayed's is non-fiction. Both are brilliantly written and great stories.

And I have a recipe to share with you. BEEF STEW!! I'll tell you what, it got better as a leftover! Love when that happens.

Basic Beef Stew (adapted from
Serves 6-8

3 Tbsp olive oil
2 lbs top round or chuck steak, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 C all-purpose flour, seasoned with a little salt and pepper
1 or 2 large yellow onions, diced
1 1/2 C red wine
3 C beef broth (I used lower sodium and it was fine)
1 1/2 lbs red potatoes (leave the skins on), cut in quarters
1 C carrots, peeled and sliced (I used those already peeled baby carrots, cut in half)
1/2 C chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper, to taste.

  • In a dutch oven or large, deep pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat, until is glistens.
  • Dredge meat in seasoned flour. Place meat in the hot oil until browned, about 5 minutes on each side (don't overcrowd meat). Transfer browned meat to a bowl.
  • In the same pot, add chopped onion and brown for 3-5 minutes.
  • Deglaze the pot with the red wine. Add meat back to the pot. Cover and cook on medium for 25-30 minutes.
  • Uncover and add broth, potatoes, and carrots. Cook covered, on low to medium-low heat until meat is very tender, about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add more broth if necessary (this wasn't necessary for me, instead my stew was too thin--I added to the pot a stirred mixture of a tsp of flour and a little bit of water). When meat is cooked, stir in herbs, salt and pepper. Add fresh parsley before serving.
I bet you could freeze this too. YUM.

On a parting note, here's a picture that makes me smile. My husband and I went camping a few weeks back; it was a successful trip! Good time had by all, including my dog! Ok, I'll add two pictures that make me smile. One is a shot of the lake and the other is my dog discovering the lake.


Monday, September 17, 2012

I'm so hungry.....

I just licked the inside of a yogurt container until there was NOTHING left:

I did this in the comfort of my own office, hunched over my desk with my back to the door. Not one of my finest moments. Day 5 of the diet, and I'm losing the battle. I refuse to lose the war, though..........

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Today I did something I've been scared to do

I started a diet. Get this: I've been paying for a Weight Watcher's monthly membership since May and haven't gone to one meeting or one weigh-in all summer long. I've been scared. Not unknowing, just scared. Scared to see the my actual weight, THE number. I know my clothes are tight; hell I wear a dress nearly everyday because most of my pants don't fit. And let me tell you, the number was bad.....REAL BAD. The number was so bad it has scared me into not eating. Maybe that's what I've needed. Clothes didn't fit, eh. Yoga class was more difficult with the extra weight, eh. But to SEE the number was just what I needed. So, I'm back on the wagon after a week's free-for-all at the beach. I will eat, don't worry, I will just eat less. And no more of this, I suppose:

It's chicken Parmesan, by the way. Here's the recipe if you aren't on a diet or just have a really high metabolism and/or good "food genes," like my husband (bahhhhhhhhhh). It's a great recipe.

Chicken Parmesan


4 skinless, boneless thin chicken breasts (1/2 inch thick)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 eggs
2 cups panko bread crumbs
½ C grated Parmesan cheese + ¼ C Parmesan cheese (for sprinkling)
¼ C all-purpose flour
3-4 Tbsp olive oil for frying
1 C tomato sauce
¼ C fresh mozzarella, cut into small cubes
¼ C chopped fresh basil
½ C grated provolone cheese


-Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
-Season chicken thoroughly with salt and pepper.
-Beat eggs in a shallow bowl and set aside
-Mix bread crumbs and ½ C Parmesan in a separate bowl, set aside.
-Place flour on a plate, and lightly coat chicken on both sides.
-Dip flour coated chicken breast in the beaten eggs. Transfer breast to breadcrumb mixture, pressing the crumbs into both sides. Repeat for each breast. Set aside breaded chicken breasts for about 15 minutes.
-Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it begins to shimmer. Cook chicken until golden, about 2 minutes on each side. The chicken will finish cooking in the oven.
-Place chicken in a baking dish coated with a little bit of tomato sauce. Top each breast with more tomato sauce. Layer each chicken breast with equal amounts of mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, and provolone cheese. Sprinkle 1-2 Tbsp of Parmesan cheese on top and drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil.
-Bake in the preheated oven until the cheese is browned and bubbly, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Today's lesson: doing something scary is sometimes worth it. Well, I guess we'll test that theory at next week's weigh-in!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A 'Lazy Cook' at home

Today is my last day in the office. Tomorrow starts vacation, and I can't wait to attempt to do nothing. Today will be a busy day at work: tying up loose ends, filing things, readying my desk for my return on September 10 and setting my "Out of Office" assistant to reply ALL: "I'm gone, contact someone else." I love that. (Of course I'm leaving a more professional note than that!)

Last night I cooked "The Lazy Cook's Supper." It's a recipe my husband and I acquired from his grandfather. You basically slice onions, break up ground beef, layer tomatoes and zucchini, sprinkle Italian seasonings like oregano, thyme and rosemary, and dab on a little Parmesan cheese--throw all of these ingredients in a heavy-bottomed skillet or frying pan and put the lid on. Set the stove at medium heat and let the pot steam and cook for 45 minutes. That's it. You can serve the meal over rice, corn bread, toast, or just eat it as is. That's what we did. Here's a snapshot of the original recipe.

Lately I've been trying to spend more time at home. I'm the type of person that feels satisfied running around and doing things I probably would rather not do. That's strange, I know. But it feels normal, to me, when I'm busy. Even busy with things I'm not entirely into. What I'm working on, as a newlywed (eloped in June 2012), is saying NO to other people and saying YES to my husband. I'm understanding that it's ok to STOP and smell the roses or in my case STOP and watch a really bad episode of the Real Housewives of New Jersey or my latest fav, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.

The recipe might be called "The Lazy Cook's Supper," but cooking is never lazy to me. I enjoy cooking; it's a challenge for me. I try to cook or bake something at least once a week. It's true, too, practice does make perfect. You get better as you make more meals. I was always impressed with my Mom and her cooking skills. The way she could remember the ingredients and steps for her famous macaroni and cheese, among other dishes. I get it now, though, the more you cook, the more you just KNOW what goes where and what temperature works when. Cooking is an art and something that helps me stay home, stay relaxed, and stay in the moment.

Until next time.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

First post

Day one of my blogging adventure. So far so good. I'm here, blogging I guess, to remember the daily routines, the small stuff, the everyday things. So I thought I'd begin with my lifeline: THE calendar.

A paper calendar might be un-techie of me, but it keeps me happy. Crossing things off makes me happy. Though if my weekly days become unruly, I will redo them by using a custom-cut post-it note and rewriting my daily to-dos. See below.

On today's list: hit the ATM, Home Depot trip, dry cleaning pick-up, pack up a box to mail, cook dinner (Making the "Lazy Cook's Supper"--will share the recipe and its history tomorrow), and work on a craft project--a homemade bocce ball court for next week's beach trip.

I have my yearly calendars saved from 2007's sort of a journal, in a sense. I can tell you exactly what I was doing on May 3, 2009. Really, I can. On that note, I'm hitting the publish button. I like this.