Two Oh One Oh

I can't believe it's already 2010.
I can't believe I've lived in the south for over 6 months and haven't lost my mind (debatable.)
I can't believe Ricky and I have already been married for14 months. Insane.

So, this New Years Eve I'm doing nothing. I miss celebrating the New Year in Paris! Ricky is spending it with his sister, I think, but I'm not sure. I'll be at home and will probably fall asleep before 12 because I feel crappy.
Woe. Is. Me.

Goodness, listen to me fuss.
I hope all of you out there have a grand and lovely New Year celebration. I miss you my friends, my family, my husband. Hopefully one day we'll spend a holiday together.
Everyone be happy and safe, and don't vow to keep any resolutions that you know you'll fall through on. ;)
My resolutions are:
To start liking running.
To be more patient.
To keep up my new exercise and healthy eating thing I've got going on. It's been a month, what's several hundred more?
Pop some bubbly! I didn't buy any as I think drinking alone is odd, haha.


crab people

I did not have an excellent day today.

To cap off my fabulous day, I came home to find that Maggie had chewed apart the heels of two of my shoes, both from different pairs. Awesome.
Then when I went to let her in from going potty in the backyard, I found her gnawing on a dead bird.
Come on!

Okay, on to better things. Tonight for dinner I made myself some spicy cashew chicken, and it was awesome.
The sauce: soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ketchup, sriracha, garlic, ginger, 1 sliced green chile, red pepper flakes, water, and cornstarch.
Tip* When I put garlic and ginger in a sauce, I don't chop them, I grate them on my Microplane. It creates a nice paste that dissolves into sauces much better and imparts a very strong flavor.
The veg: celery, carrots, and mushrooms.
Chop chicken breasts into small pieces. Dredge in flour seasoned with pepper, then toss them into a hot wok with 1 tbsp canola oil. Let chicky brown, then add your veg, and cook until just a little soft. Add raw, organic cashews. Then toss your sauce into the wok, allow it to start bubbling, then turn off the heat and stir until nice and thick. Serve over rice!
I put green onions on mine, and I bet sesame seeds would be tasty too.
Massive apology for the terrible photo. For dessert I had a few spoonfuls of that fabulousness that is Talenti Gelato, this time in coconut. Bliss.
Speaking of fabulousness, how gorgeous is this clip?
Laura Kranitz Mara Hairclip - $50.00
at 80's Purple.

I've already done my workout for the day, but I'm in the mood for another one. I made dinner really early tonight, in hopes that it will help me sleep better. We'll see.

I miss Ricky.


Work is bad for waistlines

For serious, yo.
I swear they order pizza nearly once a week for lunch at my work. Not just pizza, but somehow it always seems to be a pizza I would like to eat. It's hard to resist the temptation to just have one piece, but when I think about the fact that since they get extra cheese and more than one meat, that one slice can have upwards of 350 calories! Today for lunch, forgoing the pizza, I went across the street to Publix and ended up with a small spinach salad with bell peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, carrots, and cucumbers, 1/3 of a fruit cup that contained pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, and cantaloupe, and 1 hard boiled egg. I put a tiny squirt of light Asian Sesame dressing on my salad, and had a bottle of water with my lunch. No way am I going to sabotage my weight loss for a slice of greasy pizza.
I'm really diggin' this not feeling like crap after I eat thing.


Chicky Boob

My super tasty, super healthy dinner.
1 baked chicken breast seasoned with 1/2 tsp olive oil, salt, pepper, and oregano.
LOTS of fresh haricot vert and roma tomatoes cooked with another 1/2 tsp of olive oil and 2 cloves of fresh garlic.
There was also wine, and a teeny piece of 70% cacao chocolate apres meal.
The best part was that it took 20 minutes, start to finish.
I'm going to Starbucks now, because I've been wanting some Berry Blossom White tea and I can't buy it anywhere but there.

Happy Short Work Week!

I've never been an "I hate Mondays" person, but today was hard. Four days off of work really makes it hard to get up and going at 0600. Meh.
Last night I prepped my kitchen for the morning. I layed out my oatmeal (unflavored, instant Quaker oatmeal. Boring, but it does the job.) and set up my coffee pot. I made spiced coffee this morning! In the brew basket along with some dark roast coffee, I sprinkled ground black cardamom, nutmeg, and cinnamon. This morning when I turned it on it filled my whole house with a delicious, spicy-sweet chai-esque coffee aroma. Did I mention that it was also delicious? Well it was.
Cardamom makes everything delicious.

And now for some gratuitous, meaningless, material things that I'm totally in love with.

I've yet to think out my new years resolutions (aside from "purchase all these items".)
Frankly, I think that's good enough, and at least it's one I'll want to keep!


Dear Jillian Michaels

You are hurting me. My abs hurt and my butt is killing me. I know that you mean well, but you yell at me and it makes me afraid. Sure, you are doing a great job, I've lost nearly 19 pounds and 6 inches total, but you make me feel like you're going to come through the TV and scream in my face.
Rethink your approach, perhaps?
Nissa Powell

Also, a few reasons why I like working out.
1. It makes me thinner, obviously
2. It helps my mood. I've struggled with pretty serious depression most of my adult life, and exercising daily really makes a difference.
3. It makes my skin better. I had mild acne for a long time, and it's practically a non-issue now.
4. It makes me feel accomplished, every day.
5. I swear it's making my hair shinier, but that's probably the diet change.
6. I sleep so much better.
7. It makes me feel about 100 times sexier than I did before I was this active.
8. I can do real push-ups. More than one! Enough said.
9. It makes me feel like I'm in control of something in a time where so many things are out of my hands.
10. It's helping my yoga, as odd as that sounds.

I miss my husband

Today marks the end of my 4 day weekend. It's been so nice to sleep in (as much as the Westies allow) and spend my days doing things that I want to do.
I started getting a headache at around 10:30 last night, and when I woke up this morning it was still there. So far I've taken 2 Imitrex pills and drank tons of water, but nothing seems to be helping. I've tried laying down, working out, deep nose breathing, rubbing my head... nothing. It's still going strong and is well on it's way to ruining my day.
I made dinner early today, as I'm anticipating an early bedtime. Nothing fancy, just some angel hair pasta with gorgonzola sauce. Super easy sauce, just simmer cream, gorgonzola cheese, salt, pepper, and some fresh nutmeg until the cheese melts. I love this stuff, but only make it maybe once a year, it's not the healthiest thing in the world. I have a salad with it, if that helps?
But it's so tasty! Now if only it could cure my headache...


Leafy Greens♥

I have a 10 cup bag of kale in my refrigerator. Yes, sadly, this is my sort of impulse buy. Whatever, at least I'm not hoarding candy bars.
I wanted to make a nice, hearty soup. It's been (Florida) cold lately, and it just sounded like such a good idea.
I heated some olive oil in my big pot. To that, I added 1 finely chopped yellow onion, finely sliced fennel bulb, and 3 cloves of minced garlic. Then I added about 1/2 cup of uncooked mezze penne pasta, and let that brown, so it would taste nice and nutty. Once the pasta was browned and the veggies were soft, I tossed in 8 cups of kale, a handful of fresh rosemary, salt & pepper, a Parmigiano Reggiano rind (yup), 4 cups of chicken broth, and 4 cups of water. Bring that up to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 8 more minutes and you've got some awesome soup.
Garnish with some thin slices of Parmigiano Reggiano, I used my vegetable peeler for mine.
I know that the whole rind thing sounds weird, but oh wow does it give this soup a great flavor. Be sure to take it easy with the salt, and use low sodium chicken broth, as the cheese is salty, and kale has a tendency to taste bitter.
What a great meal for a cold day!


Happy Christmas

Not a whole lot going on today. I slept in, called my family, and talked to Ricky. Not an ideal Christmas, but everyone I love is happy and healthy, and that's all I could ever ask for. ♥
Malo and Maggie (I should start calling them "Maglo" haha, like "Brangelina") were so cute today, all cuddled up together on the bed. I love my two black noses!
I wanted my house to smell like something delicious, and I had nothing better to do, so I made this Lemon Vanilla Tart. Those are oven-candied lemon slices on top, along with lots of fresh mint. This thing was dangerously good. I bet it would be great with key limes, too.

Teresa of Life, Homesteading, and Everything asked me for the specifics on my hot chocolate.
I didn't measure, lashings of apologies all around for that.
In a pot on the stove over medium heat, combine semi-sweet chocolate (I used chips, as that's what I had on hand,) sugar, and about 1/2 cup of soy milk. Whisk until chocolate is melted and everything is combined, then add more soy (or regular) milk and about 1/2 tsp of coconut flavoring (The McCormick stuff) or to taste. Whisk whisk whisk until everything is nice and creamy and blended.
For the whipped cream I just combined heavy cream, a little confectioner's sugar, more coconut flavoring, and vanilla bean paste in my mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. I dolloped that on top of my hot chocolate, and sprinkled on a little toasted coconut that I made by simply dry-frying some flaked coconut on my stove top, aaaaaaaand it was fantastic. If I weren't drinking wine right now ('tis the season!) I'd make some more of that stuff.
Recipe is here at Ever So Sweet.
Good tidings, everyone!

P.S.- I just (a few hours after this original post) made some more from scratch hot chocolate, with Splenda, soy milk, and peppermint extract. I'm excited.


Oh no! Tornado!

My county is under Tornado Warning tonight. Pish!
I took a picture out my back door of the rain. You can't really see it, but you get the idea. Look how sad and scared my gnomes are.
Nasty weather calls for tasty hot beverages.
Coconut Hot Chocolate!
(Homemade from scratch, naturally.)

My cute, holiday decorated entryway table.
I'm off to work out some more and watch Iron Chef. Happy Christmas Eve!

I wanted to include this. Forgive the blurry webcam picture. Ricky is TDY, as you know, and is cooking for himself in Clovis, NM. He sent me this picture tonight. He made pasta with my recipe for tomato sauce, and asparagus with prosciutto and onions. How impressive! I thought it was so sweet that he sent me a photograph. ♥


I would like...

a cupcake tattoo.

Tonight I surprised even myself

Today I went grocery shopping. I just needed some basics, but I passed by the seafood counter and saw some very attractive, never-frozen shrimp. I bought 1/2 a pound, figuring that I'd think of something to do with them. I really like shrimp, and fresh, never-frozen shrimp are so hugely different than the stuff you buy that's been frozen at some point. They taste like the ocean, not fishy at all.
So. I cooked my pretty little skrimps up in some olive oil. Once they were done, I removed them and added 2 minced cloves of garlic and some red pepper flakes to the oil. Then 1/2 cup of Pinot Grigio went in, and then some halved grape tomatoes and some fresh basil. Then the shrimps joined their new family in the pan, along with a tablespoon of nice Kerrygold Irish butter. Hell yes.
Seasoned with some kosher sea salt and very fine cracked black pepper. Thanks Peugeot.
To drink I had some Louis Jadot Rosé. I haven't drank rosé since Germany, but this one was pretty good. Nice and dry (sweet rosé is disgusting to me) and it paired perfectly with the seafood/pasta combination. This meal was so good that I actually said "yum!" out loud to myself. If you know me, you know that I don't say words like "yum."

At Publix I found gelato! Well, made in America gelato, but still. Talenti Gelato, cappuccino flavor. It actually tasted like espresso, which is a nice change of pace from super sugary "coffee" flavored ice creams. They also make sorbet in great Romanesque flavors like raspberry and limoncello. Awesome.

This is how Gojira drinks water, just so you know.



These are my drowned rats. So pathetic.

Lentil curry, for me, myself, and I.

I finally cooked a meal for myself. Shut up.
Tonight I made red lentil curry. Lentils, vegetable stock, onions, garlic, tomatoes, ground coriander, ground cumin, and cilantro. I thought about making up some basmati or roti, but decided that the lentils were filling enough on their own. I don't plan on being too terribly extravagant in the kitchen in Richard's absence, so be prepared to see a lot of vegetarian Indian dishes. It's not that I don't like to eat simply because he's gone, it's just that I hate having a messy kitchen when I only cooked for me... it's actually a lackadaisical type of thing!

I think Indian food photographs quite well, wouldn't you agree?



I literally cried when I read this. Why would anyone do something like this? Money? Publicity? Bragging rights?
It makes me sad. It makes me angry. I don't understand.
That place was where people died. Died. They were beaten, tortured, starved, and murdered. There are rooms there filled with the hair of women. With their glasses. My visit to that place is something I will never forget. It was a feeling that will stay with me and haunt me for the rest of my life. And these treated that place with such disrespect. They cut through barbed wire fencing that has been in place since the late 30's. They cut the sign into pieces. It makes me sick. That place is terrible, but it needs to be there. It needs to be there and it needs to be respected so that the world never forgets. This act was shameful and disgusting.
After our visit to Auschwitz and Birkeneau back in April, my sister wrote this. It's worth reading.

Lubke Sounds

This was my favorite coffee shop in Germany.
(second floor)
It's right outside of the train station in Trier, above a drug store. They have great espresso, tea, hot chocolate, and coffee as well as beer, wine, and liquor.

The best part was the amazing local art that was always on the walls, the music being played, and the vinyls for sale in the back. I miss this place so much! I wish there were places like this around here.
Here's me inside Lubke, back in 2007 when my big sister came to visit me.

Things that today has taught me

People are f***ing stupid. Okay, I already knew that.

If you cover popcorn with hot cajun seasoning, you will accidentally breathe some of it in. And that sucks.

My badass washing machine has a "delay wash" option. I can load the clothes, put in the detergent, bleach, and softener, and set it to start an hour before I get off work, since the Permanent Press cycle takes 55 minutes. That way I just come home and put them in the dryer. I hate it when you start laundry and then leave, and you come home and it's been sitting in there. Thank you, LG.

Running outside in Florida is not as crappy in the wintertime. I can handle this.

My puppy hates teddy bears, and will stop at nothing to eradicate them from my home

It's always a good time for Depeche Mode.

I miss my mommy.

Some people will always be catty, childish bitches. I don't know if you read this, but if you do, then YES, I'm talking about you. Grow up and be a woman.

When you ask someone, "Can you hold?" and they tell you "Yes," what they really mean is, "No, I can't. But I will, and then I'll be an asshole when you pick up again."

A lot of people in the South really hate the phrase "Happy Holidays."

Owl City makes driving a happy time.

My Name is Earl is not funny. Except for Jaime Pressly.

OH! And that Jillian Michaels knows what she's talking about, because I lost 3 more pounds this week. Woot.