Monday, June 30, 2008

Baby's Got Back


What can I say? I laughed so hard I was crying. I guess I need to go back to the no C diet.

All the Cs

It's late, I just want to say that since I've been in El Paso I've had: cake, cheese, cookies, candy, sour cream, more cake, chips, corn, carrots, coke (mexican...mmmm), and chorizo. I was starting to have dreams/nightmares about eating C foods. I know when that happens it's time to end the diet. I made it through all 12 days. Yeah. Now I have to try not to wreck the weight loss over doing it with the Cs. The scales here in El Paso so far are mean. I know I didn't gain 8 pounds in the last 3 days! Maybe you just weigh more here in the desert! Hahaha.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Formal Wedding

Yesterday I accompanied my mom to a wedding (my dad was happy to stay home and sleep). The ceremony was very nice, with live music and singing. There were more people at the reception than were at the church (Rude! Don't get my mom started). The reception was a lavish affair at the country club. They did a whole bunch of stuff I'd never seen before....like dancing around with balloons (the kind you make balloon animals with) and making all the guys wear aprons when they were gathering to catch the garter. They had live music at the reception also. We all had fun dancing. Just us girls. During one of the few moments of non-blaring music I managed to catch the bride and groom together to say Oseh Shalom over them. It is part of the Kaddish prayer that I basically tell people means "peace out" or "peace to you." It sounds all cool cause it is in Hebrew, so people feel all special. Wow, I can't believe how late we stayed. It was a really good time. Weddings are fun. Me and Mom in our formal attire.
I had a ton of fun with my mom's friend Carol.
Here's us girls dancing. Look at me with my tongue sticking out!

The beautiful bride.

Roasting Peppers

My mom had a friend bring some produce from Mexico including some poblano peppers. It was really nice of her because it saved us some money, a long wait on the bridge (in 100 degree heat) and the risk of getting caught in drug lord cross-fire (no joke, the violence in Juarez is unreal). So my dad and I prepped the peppers for transport back to Fort Worth.
To prevent us all getting salmonella, E. Coli, or Hepatitis I washed the peppers as best as I could. My mom didn't want us roasting them in the house because she didn't want black ash flying around the kitchen. My dad fired up the grill and we roasted them on the heat plates. We did it in two batches and found that closing the lid helped it go a little faster (the temperature shot up to almost 500 degrees). When they came off the grill they went into a metal bowl lined with a wet paper towel and then were covered with another wet paper towel. That helps kinda steam off the skins. When all the peppers were done we put the bowl in a plastic bag to try and trap the steam. After we let them cool a while my mom, dad, and I peeled them. My dad scraped out the seeds and afterwards my mom and I rinsed them off. At the end we put them into ziploc bags and put them in the freezer. Now when Ross wants to make cream of poblano soup all he has to do is take a bag out of the freezer and defrost it.







Thursday, June 26, 2008

Mid-Year's Resolutions

I honestly can't remember what my new year's resolutions were. I'm sure one of them was breaking 150. Since I've done that, and Summer has officially started I thought maybe I should come up with some mid-year's resolutions.

1. Put things back where they belong.
This should help keep the clean areas clean, and prevent other areas from getting so messy. I have a tendency to just dump things into piles.
2. Stick with the program.
The last time I dropped below 150 I was probably there just a couple of weeks. This time I've been below 150 for 3 months. Now I'm testing to see if I can get down to my "ideal body weight."

I guess those are the two that I really want to work on. I also need to:

3. Take better care of my skin and teeth.
I'm really bad about my skin care routine. I have all the products, but don't use them regularly. I'm also really bad about flossing everyday and worse about wearing my retainer.

Okay. I think three is a good number. That gives me some things to concentrate on. Number 2 has a ton of things wrapped up in it, so I don't want to make a huge list of resolutions that I'll forget about by next week.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

New Beginings

I think that's the title of Erica Cain's TV show. Ha! Well, I have broken through my weight loss plateau. I just hope that I can keep it going. At this moment I'm pretty hungry and really wanting cheese. Just 3 more days. I can do this. So hopefully it's down hill from here, at least for a little while. I have a feeling I'm going to get hung up again in a couple of pounds. We'll see.

Also, it looks like I'm going to have a job when I get back from Vegas. That's right! I was hired by 24 hour fitness to teach yoga. I don't have many details yet. I filled out the new hire paperwork today and they are going to do a background check on me before I can have my employee number. The pay is more than minimum wage and Ross and I will both get free memberships! Now I can go to the gym with Tiffany if I want to! I'm nervous and excited. I've never taught a class before. The routine that I came up with for my audition (I felt like I was trying out for the cheer leading squad) is only 18 minutes long. The classes are an hour, so I'll have to come up with 40 more minutes of stuff to do. I'm not sure I'll make much money doing this, but at least I'll get out and hopefully meet some people...make some friends. I'll be able to figure out if I like teaching yoga and if I want to take yoga teacher training (it costs a chunk of money). I won't start for at least two weeks, so I have time to come up with a couple of routines and some music mixes. Yeah!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Crazy No C diet

Well, most of you know I am obsessed with my weight. And most of you know about my crazy no C diet. If you don't know, I'll go over the rules of my no C diet this time around.
1. I can't eat anything that starts with a C (definite exceptions being chicken and celery).
2. I try to drink 80 ounces of water daily.
3. No alcohol while on this diet (not usually hard for me but rule no. 1 might drive me to drink!)
4. Work out 5-6 days/wk (this hasn't really been going so well)
5. Keep food diary.
6. No fried foods.
7. No eating after 730p (I'm doing better with this one).
8. No extra snacks.
9. Take my vitamins every day.

Well, I've hit a bit of a plateau with my weight loss and decided it's time to break out the no C diet again. This is a diet. A temporary thing. Doing this for more than two weeks drives me crazy. I'm just doing this to try to break down below 145. Despite a rough start last Monday I've been doing very well. I have resisted cheese many times, chips, crackers, cake, chocolate, cream (ice), cappuccino, coke, and corn. I don't drink any sodas because they have HFCS, and corn is definitely a no-no. This am I weighed in at just over 145. I think if I actually work out this week I'll be able to drop below. I'm going to continue this craziness until I get to El Paso on Friday. And just because I'm out and about I'm not going to use that as an excuse to eat a bunch of junk. No cheese is torture and I don't want it to all be for less than 24 hours of weighing less than 145. I want this insanity to help jump start me toward my next goal. I think it's snack time now. Hee-hee.

Blueberry Pie

Making blueberry pie on Wednesday night was just the start of a crazy weekend. I suppose I'll put some of the details of that in another post. Maybe.
This whole blueberry pie thing started a couple of weeks ago when my mom invited Ross over for cherry pie (never mind that she's 600+ miles away). He didn't seem interested. Then she said she was also making blueberry pie. Both of us perked up, but alas, the 600 miles kept us from going over for pie. I decided to make some blueberry pie for us, but the cost of fresh blueberries (I wouldn't dare use canned pie filling...duh) was prohibitive. 5.99 for a pint of blueberries? Since when? Target had them last week for 2 bucks a pint, so I bought 3 and made a blueberry pie. I don't think I'd ever made blueberry pie before. Tim gave me the recipe from the latest Cook's Illustrated and I used that as a guide. Due to circumstances beyond my control I didn't try the pie until Friday!!! When I finally did it was good, not great, but good, and I definitely liked it better warmed up in the micro a little bit. So I'm going to lay out here basically how I made the pie. I had some trouble with the dough. I think that was because I didn't let it chill enough initially, plus I might have miscounted when measuring out the flour. I'll have to try it again....

Pie Crust

--this is my mother's recipe...but I substituted vodka for half the water as suggested by part of the Cook's Illustrated recipe. Oh, and I increased the sugar. I wanted it a little sweeter than usual because blueberries can be so tart.

2 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbl. sugar (mom uses one Tbl.)
1 c. butter (cut into small pieces)
1/4 c. vodka (ice cold)
1/4 c. ice water

1. Mix flour salt and sugar together in large mixing bowl.
2. Cut in butter using two knives or a pastry cutter.
3. When mixture is crumbly add vodka and most of ice water.
4. Mix dough thoroughly until it forms a ball. If it is too dry add rest of water.
5. Divide dough into two balls and flatten into discs.
6. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.--It is important to keep the dough as cold as possible throughout the entire process. Roll out the dough with a roller, don't press it out with your hands. This will warm and soften the dough.
7. When dough is chilled roll out one disk and place at bottom of pie pan. Return to refrigerator.
8. Make pie filling.

Pie Filling
--this is basically the recipe from Cook's Illustrated, but I added some spices cause I thought it was too boring.

3 pints fresh blueberries
1 granny smith apple, peeled and shredded
zest of one lime
lime juice
2 Tbl. one minute tapioca--ground in coffee (spice) grinder
3/4 c. sugar
vanilla
nutmeg
cardamom
pinch of salt

1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position.
2. Place cookie sheet on rack (this helped cook the bottom crust very well).
3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
4. Place 1 1/2 pints blueberries in small saucepan. Mash with potato masher and cook over medium-high heat at least 8 minutes. This is to boil of some of the juices so the pie isn't watery (apparently watery blueberry pie is bad).
5. Cool cooked berries.
6. Wring shredded apple dry using a kitchen towel.
7. In a large bowl toss together all filling ingredients.

This is what the pie filing looked like before it went into the pie.

8. Transfer filling to pie plate. Put pie back in refrigerator.
9. Roll out second dough disc.
10. Cut holes into dough using small biscuit cutter or lid from spice jar.
11. Place dough over pie and seal the edges, making it all pretty.
12. If top dough has gotten soft place the pie in the freezer for 10 minutes.
13. Glaze pie dough with one egg beaten with one tablespoon water.
14. Bake pie on cookie sheet and bake 30 minutes.
15. Reduce heat to 350 degrees.
16. Bake pie another 30 minutes.
17. Cool pie at least 4 hours before cutting.

Here's my pie. Ross really liked the crust. Tim and Margot approved of the pie. They both enjoyed it--Otto only got one bite!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Photo of Gecko House

The geckos slink behind the plate and basically curl up behind the face. I couldn't get a good picture of the back.

Sunburst

No photo cause I don't have my camera. I miss it. I want to take pictures of the dumbest things. Maybe I can borrow Margot's later. Last night Ross was taking out the trash and he was spooked cause he heard something that sounded like a plate or dish moving. We don't have any dishes outside, so he was a little perplexed. Then he saw some movement on the wall. He realized that the sound had come from the terra cotta sunburst on the wall. The geckos were coming out of their house to eat. My mom and I have the same sunburst. I hang mine by the back porch and she hangs hers by the front porch. Both of us have geckos that live in/behind our sunburst. At night they come out and eat bugs that are attracted to our porch lights (and my kitchen light). These little things amuse and delight me.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Overloaded

This weekend was so crazy. Shopping sprees (I now have a pair of Lucky button fly jeans! Yeah!). Birthday Parties. A bounce house. Beer Pong. Cupcakes. Six flags. Sun. Heat. Wow.
We were at 6 flags a lot longer than I thought we would be. We managed to get there at 10a the morning after beer pong! We were there until 5 p! I can't decide which ride is my favorite. I really like the Superman Tower of Power ride. We rode that one 1 and half times. The first time the ride malfunctioned and didn't drop us, it just brought us down slowly. They let us ride it again on a different tower (there are three towers). We rode the Titan twice. That's the blue and orange coaster in the photo. I don't know how to describe it. The first drop is really steep. I like so many of the rides. The lines weren't too bad, the worst line was the one for the food and drinks! Dang! Ross stood in line for half an hour for a funnel cake and one of those 13 dollar novelty cups. Ross had a coupon for the cup, so he only paid 10. We had free refills for the day and refilled it 6 times. 7 drinks for 10 dollars isn't bad. We even found a place with unsweetened tea so that we weren't sucking down HFCS. When we take it back we can get refills for 99 cents.
I'm currently battling the munchies and sleepiness. Yesterday I was so tired from our crazy weekend that I actually took a nap. I'm on the no C diet until we go to El Paso next week. 10 more days without cheese! Wah! (I had some yesterday though...oops.) Dinner is going to be fish and broccoli. So hungry. And so sleepy. It's snap time.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I Promised

Well, I'm finally done. I promised that after vacation I'd work on the back room. It took me four different sessions and a broken nail, but the office is clean! The before picture doesn't actually show the worst of it. Of course it got worse before it got better. I spent an hour cleaning in there this am and you couldn't even tell! I really hope that we can keep it under control this time. I did dump some things into a box for Ross to go through/put away. The corner still isn't cleaned out. I have two boxes of books back there and stuff I want to get rid of. I need to clear that area out, but everywhere else looks much better. On the list for today is also the living room (minor) and the kitchen (needs a lot of work, I'll do a few specific things today). It's time to put the scooba to work. And I need to take the pizza crust out of the freezer for dinner tonight.I turned two piles of paper into 20 piles of paper...

Oh so clean!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Latest Obsession

I regularly become obsessed with finding the perfect whatever. I've gone on missions to find the perfect--black sweater, brown sweater, yoga pants (that one is on hold), jeans, shoes (many times), tea pot, bottle opener, frame, hair brush, mirror, duvet cover, material for some project or other, gift box, sweater to recycle, recipe, pattern, jade bracelet (even though i have one i haven't stopped looking), Buddha, gloves, wallet, shaving set for Ross, earrings...you get the point. Gee I sound rather selfish and shallow....I have my own idea of what is perfect and I'm very picky. I keep looking until I find exactly what I want.
Anyways, my latest obsession is tea tins. I have some old Taylors of Harrogate tins that I have slapped labels on and I use those to store tea (pictured right). They are a great size and stack nicely. Well, since I came back from San Francisco with 3 bags of tea that I just stuffed onto the shelf, I decided that I need (yes, need) more tea tins. The thing is, I'm so picky. I like the ones I have. To me that is the perfect tea tin. So, I went looking for some square tins. Round tins abound, but square tins are scarce. Today I looked online and then scoured a few more stores. I've realized it is going to be hard to find cube tins...the ones that I have found online are square on bottom, but tall. The other problem is that with most of my missions I have to find the perfect thing at the perfect price! Today I broke down and bought some short square tins (pictured left). They are cute, but only hold a couple of ounces and don't stack as well as I'd like. Still, I think I'm going to go back and buy one more. I've taken all the tea out of the cabinet and counted up how many tins I'll need--11! Dang I have a lot of tea. I actually thought about buying some Harrogate tea so I could use the tins...but it's pretty pricey. I do get tea with it though....but then where will I put that tea?!!? Sigh. The search continues.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Movies

Well, last weekend we saw Indiana Jones and this weekend we saw Kung Fu Panda. It was really funny. We took Ethan (i.e. paid for his ticket), but I'm not sure how much he enjoyed the movie. Maybe he was just taking it all in... The story line isn't perfect, but it was a good movie. Ross wants to see Iron Man this week and I kinda want to see Prince Caspian. Ross turns into a little kid every time an ad for Wall-E comes on. I'll take him to see that when it comes out. I think it is going to be a movie filled summer.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Six Flags

Today was our first trip of the season to Six Flags. We haven't been for at least three years, but this year we got season passes. We had fun...rode 5 rides then called it quits. The Superman Tower drop was really cool, and there was no line really for the Judge Roy Scream coaster or the Titan. We are going again next weekend, and I'm sure we'll go during the week a bunch of times before the end of the season.
A souvenir cup costs 13 dollars! They offer free refills all day long on the day you buy the cup, then 99 cent refills for the rest of the season. Okay. That's not too bad. Everyone seemed to have one! No one was sharing. I saw a guy pushing a stroller full of cups! I don't think every child needs his own huge cup of unlimited corn syrup refills. I guess I'm getting old and cranky cause the 12 year old girls baring their bosoms and bellies was a little unnerving too. Ooh, and the smells! The place is a gallery of strange and unpleasant smells. I guess Six Flags has something for all the senses...Maybe I'll take some photos next week.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Go Karts

So, tonight I got past my irrational fear of Go Karts and had a lot of fun. We met up with some folks at a place in Hurst and played some arcade games and rode the Go Karts. 3 times! I'm a little sad I don't have a picture to post. The first time out kinda hurt my neck, but the other two times were okay. I had fun, especially during the last round when I had the fastest car. It's a bit pricey. Maybe we can go again on a Tuesday when they have unlimited arcade games and Go Karts for 20 bucks. Some of the guys also tried out the batting cages. That didn't look like fun to me. We have season passes to Six Flags, we need to go soon--we haven't been yet. Maybe this weekend.

Wrong

Okay, so here goes another rant. Ross likes to look for metal cabinets on ebay. The problem is that most of the ones he finds are very far away--and for local pick up only. He recently found a listing for some cabinets in Dallas. The listing only shows one picture and doesn't give any details...number of cabinets or dimensions. Ross emailed the seller asking for more photos and dimensions. The guy responded and said he doesn't close on the house until the end of the month and then he can give more details and Ross can go see them. Huh? The listing ends Saturday. So the guy is basically selling something he doesn't even own! That's just wrong. Oh, and he's asking 3,000 dollars. I could get new cabinets for that! Just wrong.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Subject-Verb Agreement

My latest pet peeve is that subject-verb agreement doesn't seem to matter anymore. The bachelorette declares in one commercial that "one of you are going to be my husband." What?!? Okay, so she said it...does ABC have to use that clip in an ad? This weekend I was reading articles online...on Yahoo. One article stated "name and face was." Hello! Name plus face equals two things and two things were. I've just noticed it more and more lately, and it's no longer just random people that I overhear at the store. Now it's on TV and online, and I've even seen it in the newspaper--total disregard for subject-verb agreement. It really irks me.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Simple Pleasures

Yesterday's lunch (we weren't up early enough to have breakfast) was honey wheat bread, cheese (stella fontinella and port salut), blackberries, nutella, and honey. I especially enjoyed the fontinella with the honey. I bought the honey on our last trip to Italy. The honey is miele di castagno (chestnut)--not something I'd ever seen before. I also bought a eucalyptus honey for my mom. I only got a tiny little jar (sample size) and now I want more. The flavor (especially with the cheese) is heavenly. Ross got some excellent blackberries. Some of them are tart (which I like) and some of them are riper, sweeter, with 100 flavors exploding at once. The whole experience made me a little giddy. Such a simple little meal brought me such joy and pleasure. I can only hope for many more moments like this...

Sunday, June 1, 2008

San Francisco Summary

We had a really great time on our "vacation." It wasn't like our normal vacations ... just laying around and planning everything around food. We did so many touristy things. On Tuesday we went to the Aquarium. We like to go to aquariums. It was okay. We got to pet sting rays, sharks, star fish, and sea urchins. The petting pools are always my favorite part of the aquarium. Overall it was over priced, but the ticket was included in our city pass, so it was no big deal. They had skate egg casings with windows cut into them and you could see the different levels of maturation. OMG! They were like strange alien creatures wiggling around. In the video the white lumps at the bottom are the yolks.

video

After the aquarium we went on a bay cruise. It was a bit cold and windy, but I survived the trip out to the Golden Gate Bridge and around Alcatraz. Our next tourist stop was the Exploratorium. That place is heaven for kids and engineers. We spent all afternoon there. We even spent the extra money and did the tactile dome. Ross could have stayed even longer (I was getting worn out), but the place was closing, so we had to leave. At the end of the day we were again totally exhausted, even though we didn't walk that much.

Wednesday we biked across the bridge. We had some good Thai food and ice cream in Sausalito before taking the ferry back. Another exhausting day. And my sit bones still hurt! On Thursday we rented car and went to Muir woods. It was very peaceful. I wish we had something like that close to us here. I really like the mountains. After that we headed up to Sonoma Valley and did a few wine tastings. We never really had lunch, and it was getting late, so we only managed wine tasting at three places. The first place was this huge (16,000 sq ft) house (mansion I guess, but I hesitate to call it a castle). We tasted a few things and Ross and I agreed that the red Zinfandel was awesome! We got two bottles at 40 bucks apiece. No hesitation. It was amazing that we found something that we both like. Ross is really excited about the wine, and it survived the return flight--yeah!
After wine tasting we had to wait a while for restaurants to open. Grrrr! I hadn't had lunch and I was hungry! We ate at a nice place that filled up right after it opened. My only complaint was that the mashed potatoes were bland and watery. I can say the same for the chili Ross had on Tuesday. He was a little disappointed. I've spoiled him. I'm such a food snob I wouldn't eat the cookies that the hotel laid out at tea time. Ross tried one and said it wasn't as good as mine. Haha. When we got back to San Francisco we drove down the crookedy Lombard Street. It was a much more relaxed day.

On Friday we did some last minute shopping. After our breakfast of tea and croissants at the hotel (I wish they also had cheese. Cheese makes the world go 'round! Also, I'm sure Ross would have enjoyed some hot chocolate rather than tea.) we walked through Chinatown one last time. It was so nice to see everybody line up in such an orderly fashion to get the morning paper. I'm used to people pushing and shoving. Cherries were 79 cents a pound! I love to see the Chinese markets. We walked all the way to the Ferry Building and I bought a bunch of teas. I had a big cheese craving, so we bought a hunk of cheese at a cheese shop and some rolls at the bakery. I later bought a couple of apples and that became our in-flight meal. After that shopping I spent a bunch of money at Lush. I always do. It's so funny that they have a store in Dallas, but I'm always buying stuff in New York. I go half way across the country when I could go across town...hahah. Then we went into the mall. Corny, I know, but it was because of my jeans obsession. I went into Lucky Brand Jeans (yes, there's one in Dallas) and asked them some questions and tried on a few pairs of jeans. I had told Ross that since I got bicycle grease on my almost brand new pants (his fault...duh) I was going to make him buy me some jeans, but I was only kidding. Ross tried on some shoes at Clark's. He really likes the Clark's he bought in January. I wore my Clark's on most of the trip (I wore a pair of my NY shoes to the wine tasting and dinner on Thursday). He found a pair he really likes. They are pricey, so he says they will be his back to school shoes....ha! After the shopping we picked up our luggage and headed down to the train to ride the BART back to the airport. We got home late, but with no problems. I did manage to cast on all the stitches for the other side of the shorts that I'm knitting. I meant to do that before we left. Yesterday was a lazy day recovering. I made some guac and we took that to a party.

Oh, I forgot...Pip. The hotel has a live in cat--which helped slightly with my Bailey-separation anxiety. On Thursday and Friday he came to visit us. He must have known I'm a total sucker. He stood at the door and meowed. I let him in and then he stood at the bathroom door. The bathroom was really nice with marble counter top and a footed tub. Anyways, I let him into the bathroom. I knew he was looking for water. He drank out of the faucet for a while and then curled up on a chair in the room and went to sleep. Before we left for the day I picked him up (heavy!) and put him in the hall. He came into the room on Friday and ran under the bed. We just left the door open since we were checking out. Bailey has been very vocal about her disapproval of our vacation. She's been very clingy and whiny. I missed her too. Well, now it's time for brunch I guess...