Monthly Archives: April 2012

Feaster

I realize that I probably have no readers left, since I have pretty much abandoned my blog for the last four days or so.

I sincerely apologize, but this past weekend was super hectic and busy, but I’m back! Which will elate some of you and I’m sure will also make others wish I’d just shut up already.

I haven’t weighed myself since last week, because I’m terrified of the number the scale is going to reveal. My scale and I are no longer on speaking terms. I think he’s feeling pretty sad and neglected, and I can’t blame him. I have been avoiding him like the plague. I don’t even glance his way on the way in or out of the bathroom. I realize it is impossible for me to gain 23 pounds back in one weekend, but I think I ate enough Reese’s eggs and marshmallow creatures to gain back a solid 22.5.

Needless to say, I fell off the wagon in a big way Easter weekend- as a matter of fact, I am renaming this past weekend to Feaster weekend. Because I feel like all I did was feast my face off. And I don’t really think I “fell off” the wagon, per se- I think a better analogy would be that I was hurled off the wagon by a giant Peep with enough force to break every bone in my body.

I’m trying to get back on track with my eating and gymming. I’m going to console myself with knowing that it isn’t about how many times you fall off, but how many times you dust yourself off and get back up. At this rate, I am feeling pretty damn dusty, but I’m back at it and that’s all that matters.

With all of that being said, we had a lovely (F)Easter weekend, with a lot of good, quality food family time. My kiddos were elated when they saw their Easter baskets, which they promptly consumed the entire contents of, then proceeded to act like total crackheads the rest of the day. I don’t think I fully understood the term, “sugar high” until yesterday. It got to the point where my almost-three-year-old’s mouth was moving so fast that I couldn’t understand what was trying to come out of it.

Reminder: next year, lots of trinkets, toys, books and non-chocolate and marshmallow goodies for their baskets.

Of course, we had an extra delicious and decadent Easter dinner, per tradition. Our dinner included an absolutely delicious butternut squash soup, and, despite the fact that butternut squash soup is typically a Fall recipe, it was so darn good (and easy! and fast!) I’m going to share it with you right in the middle of Spring.

Butternut Squash Feaster Soup

1/2 a stick of butter

1 large onion, chopped

about 6 cups of butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped into 1″ pieces

4 cups of chicken broth

salt and pepper to taste

2 8 ounce packages of cream cheese

Melt your butter in the bottom of a deep pot. Sautee your onions in the melted butter until they’re soft and translucent. Add your chopped squash, chicken broth, salt and pepper, then cover your pot and bring it to a boil. Cook the squash about 20-30 minutes or until the squash is tender. Take a slotted spoon and scoop all the squash into a blender or food processor along with the cream cheese until it’s smooth. Add the pureed squash/cream cheese mixture back to the liquid in the pot, give it a good stir, and heat it through.

If you don’t want to make it as rich, you can add half the cream cheese, or use reduced fat/fat free cream cheese, or maybe even omit the cream cheese entirely. I can’t attest to the fact that the recipe sans cream cheese is as good as it is with the cream cheese, but it sure smelled good prior to adding the cream cheese, so maybe just pureeing the squash and adding it back to the liquid might be really yummy, too. Next time I make it, since it will most likely not be for a special occasion, I’m making a lighter version and only adding half as much reduced fat cream cheese. But I’m definitely making this again, soon. This was really, really, really good. I may or may not have had three bowls of it last night.

Don’t tell my scale that.

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Bowling Ball Casserole

My almost-three-year-old son is capable of producing some pretty hysterical answers when you ask him what a certain thing is, when you know damn well he has no clue what it really is. He’s come up with some pretty off the wall responses before, which is always good for a laugh.

For example, the time I asked him what a bunch of cilantro was, and he said it was a “huge lizard with grass”. Or the time that he called a pineapple a pine cone (close!)

This afternoon, as I was gathering all of the ingredients for tonight’s dinner, I caught him sizing up the two eggplants I’d set on the counter. He can barely see above the countertop, but he was trying his very best to get a good look at the two purple strangers hanging out in the kitchen with mommy. Finally, the suspense was killing me- I had to know what he was thinking. I asked him, “Carl, what are those things?”

“Bowling balls.”

I laughed so hard I snorted, so I have hereby changed the name of this recipe to Bowling Ball Casserole, with the upside being that you don’t need to wear ugly shoes to enjoy it.

Bowling Ball Casserole

olive oil

2 medium eggplants, peeled and cut into 1/4-1/2 inch slices

~1 pound of chicken breasts, deboned, deskinned and with any excess fat removed

1 large onion, chopped

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes

2 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste

1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped (doesn’t matter if it’s flat-leaf or curly)

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Peel your bowling balls eggplants and slice them into 1/4-1/2 inch wheels. Sprinkle some salt on them and let them hang out on a paper towel for 20 minutes or so to draw out excess moisture. Grab a large pan and heat up some olive oil in it. Chop your chicken breasts into bite-sized cubes and brown them in your pan. Add the onion and garlic once the chicken is browned. Once the onions are soft and translucent, add the parsley, the diced tomatoes, the tomato paste and all your spices. Stir it well then simmer it for about 10 minutes on low heat. Grab a 9×13 baking dish and spray it with non-stick spray. Cover the bottom of the dish with eggplant wheels, pour some of the chicken mixture over the wheels, layer more eggplant wheels over the chicken mixture, and so forth, like a lasagna. Make sure your top layer is eggplant wheels. Pop it into your 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.

You can serve this over pasta or rice, or eat it by itself. I devoured it all by its lonesome and it was really good. You can also opt to add mozzarella cheese to it to give it more of an eggplant Parmesan twist.

I offered my son some of the finished product, knowing full well he wouldn’t touch it simply because it wasn’t macaroni and cheese. I just wanted to hear what he was going to say. Never disappointing in the hilarious and unexpectedly inappropriate comments department, he proclaimed, “I can’t like a bowling ball! It’s too hard!”

Took every ounce of my strength to not respond with, “that’s what she said.”

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A Loaf By Any Other Name…

I never thought I’d use a Shakespearean reference in a blog post about turkeyloaf, but hey, it works.

Today was one of those days where I felt totally uninspired. I wanted to cook, but I had no clue what to make. I turned to my trusty Pinterest food boards, but, alas, nothing called out to me. Everything looked run of the mill, nothing looked particularly appetizing or interesting. Even Pinterest wasn’t helping, and that’s when I realized we were fifteen minutes from a meal with a number for a name.

After a lot of back and forth, my husband finally suggested turkeyloaf. With the new wave of pink slime reports all over the news, we have been trying our best to stay away from the Slimy Ground Beef of Death. Turkeyloaf sounded like a great idea. Sorry for the tangent, but when I think of pink slime, am I the only one who thinks of that green slime they used to douse people with on those Nick shows in the ’90s? Only pink and beefy?

Yeah, I knew I wasn’t the only one. Also, I am pretty sure I just gagged.

Fast forward twenty minutes. I found myself at my local grocery store, pushing a cart around, tossing random ingredients into my cart, fully enjoying a (rare) peaceful grocery shopping trip without my two heathens in tow. You know, where I can actually look at what I’m buying, and have one entire uninterrupted thought, without having to referee a fight over who gets to hold my keys/cell phone/dignity.

I have made turkeyloaf a million times, and I don’t think I’ve ever made it the same way twice. I always change up the recipe, add things, leave things out, and the best thing about it is that it always comes out great. It is one of those fool-proof recipes that is nearly impossible to screw up. Which is great for me, because I am capable of being a pretty big fool.

Impossible To Screw Up Turkeyloaf

1 1/2 pounds ground turkey

1 onion, chopped

1 cup milk

1 cup bread crumbs

1 egg

1 – 1 1/4 cups baby bella mushrooms (optional)

seasoning of your choice (I used Goya Adobo, you can use the pre-packaged meatloaf seasoning or whatever else your little heart desires)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Dump all the ingredients into a big bowl and mix it all together with your hands. There’s really no other way to do it as effectively as when you mix it with your hands- it’s a little bit gross to have meaty hands, but suck it up and wash them. I mean that in the nicest way possible.

You can leave the mushrooms out if you’re not a mushroom fan. I love mushrooms. (Not that kind, this isn’t the ’70s.)

Take the mixed up ingredients and put them in a loaf pan sprayed with non-stick spray or olive oil, or if you don’t have a loaf pan, shape the mixture into a loaf shape and put it into a regular baking dish.

Cover it with aluminum foil, pop it in the oven for one hour, then wait patiently for delicious turkeyloaf goodness.

I paired the turkeyloaf with roasted asparagus, which may just be the easiest and most delicious way to eat asparagus.

Just put your asparagus on a cookie sheet, drizzle it with olive oil, sprinkle it with salt, then let it hang out in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes, then devour those crispy little babies like nobody’s business.

My plate, which was empty within ten minutes of landing in front of me. That turkeyloaf didn’t stand a chance.

 

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The First Step

If I had a dime for every time somebody told me I should start a blog, I’d be a millionaire.

I don’t think I ever actually intended to do it, though.

I always knew I had a knack for writing, but I didn’t think it’d ever be anything except a hobby. Growing up, I’d fill notebooks and journals with stories, poems, all kinds of creative writing, but I hid all of my journals and notebooks in shoeboxes in my closet. I didn’t want anyone to see any of my writing. As a matter of fact, I was kind of embarassed by it.

I have never really put much weight on my thoughts, my feelings, or what I’ve had to say. I’ve relied a lot on my sense of humor to get me by, because in my mind, nothing is worse than that “heart-to-heart” person who manages to turn everything into a serious, emotional, heartfelt situation. I am the stark opposite of serious and emotional. On the contrary, I try to make light of absolutely everything.

Yet here I am, posting my thoughts on a public blog, for the entire Internet world to see!

But this time, I have a purpose.

All my life, I’ve waged an internal war with my body image. I cannot recall a time in my life where I was totally satisfied with the way I looked. I have always thought I could stand to lose some weight, even at my lowest weight.

I draw confidence from the fact that I am a funny, cheerful person who knows how to make people laugh. That is most definitely my forte, and I work it to my advantage as much as I possibly can. An inexplicable joy overcomes me when I make people laugh and bring people happiness. It’s very gratifying, and something I enjoy doing very much.

However, in terms of body image, I am the polar opposite of confident, which is why I started this blog.

I grew tired of being self-conscious, always feeling like my clothes didn’t fit me properly, comparing myself to my girlfriends and finding that I was consistently the “bigger girl”. I know it isn’t a good idea to compare yourself to others, but it becomes difficult not to, when the difference is so apparent.

It is time for me to be confident in every aspect, not just in my sense of humor or my ability to make a witty remark. It’s time for me to feel beautiful inside and outside, to look in the mirror and finally be happy with what I see. I’m not looking to be a size 2, or even a size 10, I’m just looking to be a size healthy and happy.

They say the journey of a million steps starts with one step- the first step- and that the first step is usually the hardest. And boy, is that ever true. I have never been more particular about what I eat, I have never said ‘no’ to myself so many times, and I have never gone to the gym so much in my entire life.

But it’s working. I’m seeing results. I’m feeling accomplished, more energetic, happier. I want my kids to have a healthy, happy, energetic mama- I want them to have a hard time keeping up with me!

I know I’m nowhere near where I want to be, but I’m most definitely a hell of a lot closer than I was yesterday, or the day before, or the day before that.

So here’s to the first step, and every step thereafter.

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