December 30, 2009

The Kitchen Revealed

The kitchen is pretty much done and I could not love it more.  Best. Color. Ever.  Did I mention my fabulously handy husband hard wired lights under all of the cabinets?  Sorry to keep rubbing it in, but the man has mad skills.


Our tri-colored dog is a perfect match!

We still need some art on the large wall and maybe some window coverings but for now we are fini, finito, finished!

December 28, 2009

Don't Forget...

My Biggest Loser contest starts December 29th so please send your starting weight to me on Tuesday at or via Facebook message.  No weights will be shared or published so don't fret.

The competition looks fierce:  Me, Karin N., Marija, Carolina, Kristy L., Ann K., Jen K., Tracy C-R., Danielle, Claire, Jamie Z-H., LaVerne, and Amy S-C.  That's 13!  Did I forget anyone?  Any more takers?  It's never too late to start.  I can't wait!

Forgot the rules?  No worries, check back to this post.

Jillian posted this on FB earlier this week and I thought it was fitting, write down "why" you want to lose this weight and use that as inspiration when you need a little push:
"He who has a Why to live for can bear almost any How"- Nietzsche. So true. Weight loss is hard. So how do you tolerate the "how" of it? The answer, "Why" is weight loss worth it. Example: are skinny jeans worth passing on donuts? Is avoiding heart disease worth 30 min of exercise? With the new year upon us, mediate on your "Why". Then begin educating yourself and acting on the "How".

December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas!

We had the pleasure of sharing our Christmas dinner with the Trahey's again this year: Steve, Stef, Grace, Eve and Steve's mom Rosann.  This has been an almost-yearly tradition since I moved out to Colorado.  We had the usual holiday mishaps: I overcooked the beef a little bit, dropped the cake slapstick-style on the dining room floor and wall, and sliced my thumb open when a knife flew out of the dishwasher and I was dumb enough to try and catch it, you know, the usual.  Other than that, it was the perfect holiday dinner.  We still ate that cake by the way.  Don't judge.  15 second rule.  The menu is below. 

The Menu
Apple Cake
Steve's Mom's cheesecake

The Wine
Argiano Toscano non confunditur 2007
Orin Swift Saldo Zinfandel 2007
Chateau du Tertre Margaux 2003

I started taking pictures of the meal but then I got distracted I guess because I didn't get past the appetizers and salad (more wine anyone?)

p.s. I highly recommend the prosciutto rolls. Make sure the prosciutto is thick enough and I would use less arugula and more fig.


December 20, 2009

So, Are You Going to be the Biggest Loser???

I've started Biggest Loser-type challenges at work a couple of times and they've been very successful.  Personally, I am motivated both by the competition and the accountability.  While my initial thought was to start after the New Year I started thinking to myself that I might not want to workout while I'm on vacation because I might hurt my chances so to speak.  Dumb.  So we'll start a little early and take advantage of the time we have off to do a little something nice for ourselves.  Take a little Me-Time this holiday and plan your workouts, meals, grocery lists, find a gym, by a workout dvd, etc.

A Few Rules:
  • First weigh-in will be Tuesday December 29th with a 1 week grace period for those traveling. 
  • Taking a 'before' pic is a good way to gauge your progress, followed by an 'after' pic when we're done
  • Weigh in every Tuesday for 12 weeks and report your progress to me via email (no one's weight will be shared on this blog but if you don't want to share your weight with me you can send me your percentage lost)
  • I'll post weekly results (unless you prefer to be anonymous)
  • Final weigh-in is Tuesday March 23
  • There will be a prize for the winner (uh, I mean loser), just haven't figured out what yet
A Few More Rules:
  • Ladies only, and only ladies I know (anyone else can certainly follow along)
  • We're on the honor system, cheaters need not apply
  • Weekly weigh-ins should be on the same scale, at the same time, in the same outfit (or sans outfit if you prefer) and don't do something sneaky for that first weigh-in like down a gallon of water or put on your snow suit (Claire, this means you).  See above - honor system.
  • The person that loses the largest percentage of body weight (not number of pounds) will be our Biggest Loser
  • Post a comment to this blog or send me an email if you want to participate!!! 
After the night I just had last night I'm so ready for this. Nothing like a good hangover and holiday excess to get things into perspective!  If there is anything I need to add or change to make this better just let me know.

December 15, 2009

Best. Apple. Pie. Ever.

Impossible French Apple Pie - the pie so good you'll never want crust again.  Perfect timing for the holidays.

This recipe came from my Grandpa Bell, but may have been stolen off the side of a bisquick box decades ago for all I know.  But who cares.  Best.  Pie. Ever.  Hands down.

6c sliced pared tart apples
1 1/4t cinnamon
1/4t nutmeg
1c sugar
3/4c milk
1/2c bisquick
2 eggs
2T butter softened

Mix 1c bisquick, 1/2c chopped walnuts, 1/3c packed brown sugar, 3T firm butter - mix until crumbly

325F, grease 10x1.5" pie plate

Mix apples and spices and turn into plate. Beat remaining ingredients except streusel until smooth. Pour mixture on top of apples. Sprinkle streusel on top. Bake until knife inserted into center comes out clean, 55-60 minutes.

My Tips: bake this on a cookie sheet as mine usually boils over. In Colorado it usually takes me about 80 minutes baking time...maybe it's the altitude or maybe I cut my apples to thick. Use more spices on your apples - it never hurts. I use more walnuts, because who doesn't like more walnuts. I like to bake this pie the night before or morning-of because to me it is even yummier after it sets up awhile.  Bon appetite.

December 9, 2009

Let's Get Healthy Shall We?

Most of you know I’m a HUGE fan of The Biggest Loser and Jillian Michaels. I’m re-reading Jill’s book (she’s my BFF, so yes, I call her Jill) Master Your Metabolism and thought I would share the highlights with y’all. Most of you probably know all of this, but just in case you’ve been living under a rock somewhere in Mississippi…

If you want to look like my BFF Jill, read on.

 Step 1 - Remove:
• processed foods
• hydrogenated fats (shortening, partially hydrogenated blah blah blahs)
• refined grains (enriched, white stuff)
• high fructose corn syrup (in the interest of job security on my part, a certain beverage company is coming out with a naturals product line using sucrose)
• artificial sweeteners (that certain beverage company will also be producing products with natural zero calorie sugar substitutes like Stevia)
• glutamates (MSG)
• reduce intake of these “less than stellar options”: starchy root vegetables; tropical, dried & canned fruits; excess soy; excess alcohol (gasp); full fat dairy & fatty meats; canned foods; caffeine
• remove toxins from your life (there is a whole section on this, too much for this blog)
• Basically, “if it didn’t have a mother & it didn’t grow from the ground, don’t eat it!”

Step 2 - Restore:
• legumes (beans)
• alliums (garlic, onions, leeks, chives, shallots, scallions)
• berries (organic)
• meat & eggs (wild fish, grass-fed beef,)
• colorful fruits & veggies (in season, organic)
• cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage)
• dark-green leafy veggies (spinach, arugula, turnip greens)
• nuts & seeds
• organic dairy (full fat cheese in moderation, watch out for the junk in some of the low fat products)(once you get used to it, Greek yogurt is way better than the brands that fall into several categories of the “remove” section above)
• whole grains (steel cut oats, barley, whole wheat pasta, quinoa pasta (my favorite), amaranth, spelt)
• Go Organic! It is the best way to avoid 90% of all hormone-disrupting agents in our food supply (pesticides, hormones, chemicals, antibiotics, etc)
Basically, eat whole, natural, real foods as often as possible

Step 3 - Rebalance
• eat breakfast within an hour of waking up
• eat every 4 hours (3 meals, 1 snack)
• eat until you are full, not stuffed
• don’t eat after 9pm
• combine foods correctly (40% carbs, 30% protein, 30% fat give or take)
• sleep at least 7 hours a night
• move your body every day
• be good to yourself

Once you become aware and really look at your food labels you might be a little shocked by how many ingredients are in your favorite foods. I’ve been trying to follow the rule if it has more than 5 ingredients it probably isn’t good for me. Your best bet is to “shop the perimeter” as we’ve all been told, or better yet, grow your own food or shop the farmer’s markets then you don’t have to be bothered with those pesky food labels.

So, how have I been doing?  So so.  I've been working out, but could do more.  I'm really happy with how yoga is going, getting back into the swing of things.  Getting some therapy on my knee.  I could be eating better.  Still down -2lbs but need to kick it up a notch.  As a little extra incentive I will be enlisting all of you in a little Biggest Loser contest of our own after the New Year so get ready. 

If you're interested in the book...

December 6, 2009

Her Name is Jen, and I Love Her

She came home with me tonight and I can't wait to take her out on the town.

Our Basement Hideaway

I don't think I ever posted any pictures of our basement after we moved in.  This is where we spend the majority of our time in the house - so cozy.  Before we moved in we painted the walls a light green, the trim bright white, and had new carpet installed.  It is in need of some artwork but other than that, we love it down here.  Dick's artwork is hanging just to the left of the tv but it didn't make it into any of these pictures - it looks great down here.  (I just bought a digital SLR so I've been taking A LOT of pictures.  Beware.)

December 4, 2009

Hell Yeah, It's Christmas!!!

Christmas was big in my family.  Huge.  The biggest of deals.  Then I lost my mom and grandpa (the Christmas ring leaders) and moved across the country all in the span of less than a year - only to find out that Bernie hates Christmas, more specifically, Christmas decorations.  This may have been a deal breaker if I had known ahead of time.  I blame Frankenmuth for Bernie, home of Bronner's Christmas Wonderland

It's hard to get in the spirit when your significant other is shouting bah humbug.  But then against his better judgement I'm sure, Bernie came home on our first Christmas Eve in our new house with a 16 foot pre lit tree.  Such a sweet, and manly, jesture.  That tree was so big and bright it lit up the entire front room.  GE, we bring good things to light!  Look at the cathedral ceilings and the large day bed to really appreciate the scale.

We (when I say we, I really mean I) couldn't really enjoy this tree because it was out in the living room.  I'm under the belief that you need to be in the same room as your tree for maximum enjoyment.  So, I went out and got a reasonably sized tree for our family room.  So we could enjoy a tree in the room we were in the most.  Makes sense, right?

So in the last 7 or so years we accumulated two trees and about 5,000 ornaments, some even from Bronner's (thanks Karen).  The big tree didn't follow us to the new house, but all of its ornaments did.  We now have three shelving units of Christmas decorations in our small storage room for only one small sad Target tree.  I think next year a new tree is in order, and the Target tree will be our basement tree.  So we can enjoy it in the room we're in the most.  Poor Bernie.  For now, the Target tree reigns supreme in the parlor.  Merry Christmas!

Parlor Shoppign Guide: in case anyone was wondering, the awesome new lucite table came from Overstock, the lambskin rug is from Costco, and the jute rug is from West Elm.  The mirror, purchased earlier this year, is from Restoration Hardware.  "Vintage" day bed circa 2004 and monogrammed Christmas stockings are from Pottery Barn.

December 2, 2009

Prelude to the Keri-Julia Project

Doesn't quite have the same ring to it as the Julie-Julia Project. The only thing I don't like about this ladie's idea is that I didn't come up with it first. 536 recipes in 365 days? Seriously? I love the idea however I'm just not that ambitious. Plus, all that butter will be bad bad bad for my other goals. 

How about 365 days, 25 recipes?  Julia's book is on my Christmas list along with a book by Thomas Keller.  Plus I probably own 30 cookbooks already.  I'm excited to give it a go, even if it is on a much smaller scale than the original.  Stay tuned.  Maybe like Julie I'll start talking about myself in the third person, however, Keri thinks that would be a douche bag thing to do.

Julie Powell's first blog post:

Sunday, August 25, 2002
The Book:
"Mastering the Art of French Cooking". First edition, 1961. Louisette Berthole. Simone Beck. And, of course, Julia Child. The book that launched a thousand celebrity chefs. Julia Child taught America to cook, and to eat. It’s forty years later. Today we think we live in the world Alice Waters made, but beneath it all is Julia, 90 if she's a day, and no one can touch her.
 The Contender:

Government drone by day, renegade foodie by night. Too old for theatre, too young for children, and too bitter for anything else, Julie Powell was looking for a challenge. And in the Julie/Julia project she found it. Risking her marriage, her job, and her cats’ well-being, she has signed on for a deranged assignment.

365 days. 536 recipes. One girl and a crappy outer borough kitchen.

How far will it go? We can only wait. And wait. And wait…..

The Julie/Julia Project. Coming soon to a computer terminal near you.


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