Thursday, June 30, 2011


I have been on a shopping binge lately. I've been wanting wanting wanting stuff stuff stuff!!!
Partly because I am the perfect consumer. If I see something often enough and are encouraged to buy it, eventually I'll feel like I can't live without it. Luckily, I'm wise enough and frugal enough that I always make myself wait a couple days before I make any significant purchase. and by significant, I mean over $20 - yeah that cheap!
Not only do I not want to squander my cash but I don't want to end up with a cluttered house full of things that don't really make me happy in a significant way.
June was my birthday month so you can imagine how many retailers sent me my "Birthday Present" of anywhere from $5-25 off various order amounts from their stores plus free shipping, of course !
So, I browsed site after site looking for that perfect thing that I could get my fantastic discount on and was really disappointed to not find much that I could "treat" myself with.
I did buy several pairs of undies from Victoria's Secret though. Are they not the cutest things? I know when I wear them that I'll have a little bit more bounce in my step. btw, they were 5 for $25 minus my $10 birthday certificate and free shipping so I'm pretty pleased with my splurge, considering I typically go for the $6 Hanes multi-pack. Hey, they work and don't wedge!
I also bought myself the Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis method. I actually debated over it a while and checked out some of her vids on youtube and kind of love her method! It's fun and dancy and she doesn't give much instruction or encouragement, which is surprisingly comforting to me (some days I still need Denise Austin's peppy voice telling me she's proud of me though!). I really dug the no nonsense, count out your reps attitude so I've splurged the $104 for the 90 days of workouts which, as promised, should give me the body I've always dreamed of *if I do the work*.
I'm still debating a juicer and a dehydrator or a giant crock pot and a mini fridge to keep batches of home made cat food in (another story for another day).
Fundamentally, I cannot bring myself to buy a juicer and a dehydrator. It just seems wrong, don't you think?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cooking is easy - Parsley Pesto

Whenever I heard "Pesto" I always thought it was some magical concoction that only Italian chefs knew how to make. I found out - it's really easy! Especially with some pre-cooked shrimp to make it into a meal.
I started out with a bunch of clean parsley, a couple cloves of garlic and a bloop of evoo in the food processor...

Then I tossed it in a saucepan with the shrimp and viola! Shrimp pesto for dinner.
I proceeded to drop a bowl of it on the carpet as well - what a mess! The green and the oil - I may have to replace the carpet now since I'm not so good at scrubbing floors!
In other news, my crock pot died :( well, just the insert cracked so word to the wise: don't bake potatoes in it for 18 hours- be sure and get them out after the 6 hours!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Weekend Breakfasts

I love weekends, partly because I get to sleep in and then make yummy eggs for breakfast. My toast might look funny to you, that's because I don't have a toaster so I toast it in the frying pan before I do the eggs. Dry pan - heated on high for a minute or 2, then add dry bread and watch it for the steam to let up, flip it until the steam stops - done!
Since I had a bunch of mushrooms to eat up, I just sauteed them with onions for this spectacular dish. Actually, it was pretty plain - but satisfying!
It seems like weekends always start with a huge list of chores and end with only a slightly shorter list. Where does the time go?
I know...afternoon naps, reading in the sun and all those little distractions that come up.
I'm easily distracted. Just this morning I managed to get lost in flower arranging, recycling and some random infomercial (they make that stuff sound so good! Anyone ever use a "No!No!"? or that "set it and forget it" machine?) Lesson learned - never turn on the TV until it's time for your show. The European Grand Prix is on today - there is something too fun about it! Plus, races are pretty easy to watch while you do other things - on my list today: hang a shelf in the closet and pack another box of donations to send to charity.
How's your weekend been?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I steamed an artichoke!

And it wasn't as fabulous as I thought it would be. Oh well. At least I gave it a shot, right?
Long story short, I steamed it and the heart was really the only edible part. I also made my own dipping sauce out of mayo and hot sauce, which was pretty yummy.
Yep, you guessed it, there's a hunk of Hormel Roast Au Jus behind the bowl.
In other news, I just had my birthday again...I can't decide if I like birthdays or not. Frankly, they depress me.
I did get a ton of well wishes and I totally appreciate all my loving friends and family that don't remind me how old I really am so I can be eternally 25. Everyone else who won't leave me alone for the real number...well they might have to pump up their tires in the morning... mwaa ha ha.
Since my crock pot cracked (after the baked potatoes on fire episode - yes you can start things on fire in a crock pot) I got a new one from my sweet mommy. Apparently, I'm not mature enough to have a grown up sized pot though since she got me the cutest little child sized one. I love it though - very cute and I'll have many less leftovers.
I also got a hot air popcorn machine, super industrial baking pan and some other fun stuff including a car. Yay!
Like I said, I can't decide if the gifts completely outweigh the depression of knowing my life is whizzing by - but I'm leaning that way!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

6/20 Weekly Menu

I'm starting my weekly menu plan with my Door to Door box:
1 ea. Avocado
1 ea Local Rhubarb 0.5LB
1 ea. Cucumber
2 ea. Zucchini Squash
1 ea. Local Spinach bunch
1 ea. Local Leaf Lettuce
1 ea. Local Tomatoes 1LB
1 ea. Local Green Kale bunch
1 ea. Local Radishes bunch
1 ea. Local Oyster Mushrooms 0.25LB
2 ea. Local Bok Choy

I'm thinking lots of salads, maybe some kale chips. Got the eggs, shrimp and steaks to couple up. Also picked up a carton of Almond Milk and a box of chex. Sound good?
But what do you make with Rhubarb besides pie? I'm not so crazy about the sugar factor... suggestions?

Friday, June 17, 2011

My favorite black bean chili ala Suzanne

Messy looking, right? But I promise, it is the best and easiest chili in the world.
It is actually just a little different from the recipe I got out of a Suzanne Somers cook book. Maybe the white one...I can't remember.
Anyway, it's super easy:
1 can black beans
1 can diced tomatoes and chilies
1/2 medium onion diced
a clove or 2 of garlic, minced
glug of EVOO

Basically, sautee the onion & garlic in evoo for a minute or so then dump in the cans of beans and tomatoes, get it hot and serve with warm corn tortillas.
This is about enough for 3-4 people, depending on your bean tolerance ;p

It is seriously one of my favorite go-to meals any time of year. It takes about 5 minutes, costs about $1.50 and is super comfort food without the guilt.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

6/13 weekly menu

Hey y'all! I'm trying out a new routine - creating a weekly menu!!
This week's menu for one:

Lunch: Hormel Beef au jus, mashed potatoes, simple spinach salad
Dinner: Green salad with tuna salad, carrots, tomato, walnuts, craisins etc.
Lunch -Leftover beef from Monday
Dinner - Peppered Beef sandwich with pickles and carrot sticks
Lunch- Leftover Tuna Salad on greens
Dinner- Scrambled eggs with spinach, onions, ham and cheese
Lunch- Peppered beef sandwich with pickles and carrot sticks
Dinner - Curried shrimp and veggies
Lunch- Chipotle carnitas burrito bowl, guac
Dinner - snacks as needed after huge bowl from chipotle
Grilled steak, sweet corn and baked beans - snacks as needed :)Egg scrambles if I'm up for breakfast

Almost every morning I have a Larabar and a piece of fruit for breakfast. It's my super portable -take to work breakfast- that saves me time and gives me quick energy from the fruit and long lasting hunger control from the nuts.

Shopping list:
lunch meat

Getting my organics delivered really helps with the meal planning, part of the reason I don't do it regularly! I usually just wash everything up and it's pretty easy to match them up with some protein.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Review: Barilla pasta sauce - Mushroom & Garlic

Can you see that entire mushroom just sitting there? There were a ton of big mushroom slices and a couple little buttons even. Loved this sauce!! I give it a big fat 10 out of 10...

I, of course, started my adventure by slicing up a couple nice zucchini and sauteed them until soft-ish. Then I dumped the jar of sauce over them and simmered about as long as it takes to boil some Tinkyada rice pasta shells.

I cheated a little on my no dairy lifestyle with some parmesean cheese. I craved it!
And I'm glad I did, so there! This was a great dinner, and great leftovers 2 days later.
Also, TMI coming...I get to re-taste most prepared sauces like all night...and sometimes the next day. No burpage here so you know it was made with good natural ingredients and nothing possibly scary. I heart it.

That's all.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Possibly the best soup ever - Curried Butternut

I absolutely have to share this recipe because it is the best thing I've had in ages!
It was a totally simple recipe too - are you surprised?
Here goes:
Splash of EVOO
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 stalk celery, sliced
1-2 tsp curry powder
2 cups chopped butternut squash
2-3 cups broth or water
S&P to taste
1/2 - 1 cup coconut milk
1 Tbl maple syrup

So you sautee the onion, celery and curry in the EVOO, then you add the broth (I used veg) and squash and simmer about 30 minutes until it's tender.
Then, you take it off the heat and spoon it slowly into the blender so it cools off enough not to explode. Then puree it and serve warm.
I absolutely loved it! And this recipe makes enough for 3-4 people, depending on how much you fill the bowls so no week's worth of leftovers. Yay!

It will be on my fall cooking list for sure.

Stewed Okra - WOW!

Nummy? Check! Vegan? Check! Almost instant? Check!
Ok, Okra is not one of my staples. In fact, I think I had it once - battered and deep fried, smothered with ranch dressing (ala Oklahoma). I didn't like it.

So, don't ask me why but I was at the store looking at the frozen veggies and decided to grab a bag of okra. That was a good 9 months ago and tonight I finally decided to cook it, as recommended by a true okie! The recipe is so simple, so fast and yes - delicious!
1 bag frozen Okra (about 14 ounces)
1-2 cups of pearl onions
1.5 tsp salt
.5 tsp pepper
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 Tbl EVOO

I sauteed the onions in the olive oil a little then added all the rest and simmered it on low for about 15 minutes.

I'm seriously surprised at how good it is and the okra is so plump and juicy and tender - nothing like the last time I had it. I might have liked a little more tomato in this - but I still recommend it with 2 thumbs up ;)

Odd pairings: greens and meat style

Cooking is easy! Dontcha love how I make a salad now days? Tired of ripping up lettuce, I decided to just throw on some tomatoes, sesame seeds, cheese shreds and ham - topped with a little Catalina dressing. Looks weird- tasted great, no mess, no fuss!
Remember those Hormel main dishes I love so much? One night I paired them with...chard chips! It is now officially my favorite meal in the entire world! Luv luv luv.

So, all my food looks weird right? but it was super easy and healthy and that's what I'm all about!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Do you use Probiotics?

I have to admit, I've been miserable and finding very little help to figure it out. I finally got a new diagnosis (I know, how many diseases can one person accumulate?)...and I started doing my research. A friend with a similar disease told me that probiotics saved her and I should try them...
Well, let me say this: I was terrified to try anything new for fear that it would make me worse. Then I realized that the life I was living was the worst. Excruciating stomach pain every single day is the worst. So, I got brave and went to the store.

Side note, I gave up dairy so yogurt - not really an option. I scanned the supplement aisle. There were a million brands to choose from and they all had soy or milk in them. Then I spotted the cheapest one, Kroger Generic Digestion Support. It had 7 kinds of probiotics compared to the others that had 1 or 2 and it listed milk as an allergen, but not an actual ingredient. For $6 I was willing to gamble.
2 days later, I felt much better. 2 weeks later, I feel normal again!
I was able to spend 3 full days of my weekend hanging out with friends and family, working on projects and relaxing without the usual fatigue, pain and other symptoms that I don't want to go in to.

So, what do you think? Did probiotics save me too? Or is it a placebo effect? Either way, I'm happy to have days back and if you're like me and afraid to try them, I'm here to say you have nothing to lose!

I'd also love to hear if you use probiotics and have any advice or favorite brands because I know I'll continue my treatment and need some info!