Thursday, March 31, 2011

Me Against The Beet

I received this enormous beet, along with two others, with my Farm Fresh To You delivery last Friday. I opened the box and looked at the beets and then shoved them in the fridge 'cause hell if I know what you're supposed to do with beets. Everyone keeps saying "Just roast them and throw them on a salad! Delicious!" Except that does not sound delicious to me, although that may have something to do with a juice diet I went on a while back that required me to drink beet juice. It was not pleasant.

Nonetheless, I was at a loss for other ideas. There is a dearth of ideas on the internet when it comes to beets, so I was left with the ol' roasting option. So I scrubbed this beet and lopped off its top and bottom and put it in a dish ...

 And drizzled it with olive oil and salt and pepper and roasted it ....

and roasted it ...

and roasted it ...

for an hour.

 Until it looked really appetizing, like this.

It doesn't look like a bleeding cow eyeball at all.

And then I put it in a container and put it in the fridge, where it now sits.

I hear I can now chop this up and put it on a salad, with walnuts and gorgonzola and stuff. But I don't wanna. But I will. I'm skeered.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Definitely too much information

How much do you think all this stuff cost me?

And what do you think this thing told me today?

And how comfortable are you, exactly, with me discussing my nether regions in great detail?

To find out, visit me at Tired & Stuck today.

Tomorrow: BEETS!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Weigh-in & self sabotage

Today's weigh-in shows a loss of .8 pounds, which ... is shocking. Shocking because I expected to gain. I was feeling mighty bloated from my weekend carb/sodium fiesta. Weekends are my Achilles heel. Slowly but surely, I will beat weekends into submission.

Anyway, I now have lost a total of 6.2 pounds and have 37.8 more pounds to go! This week I vow to exercise. Really, really, really. It's sunny out and the least I could do is go for a walk.

I'd like to address last week's weigh-in and challenge, when I announced that I'd been challenged to fit into a certain dress by October, in return for my friend hiring a DJ for her wedding. I've elected to step down from the challenge. Not the weight loss part! I still challenge myself to do that. But I can't in good conscience expect my friend to base decisions for her wedding on my weight loss. Wedding planning is annoying enough without something like that.

But that whole thing did give me the idea to drag out a new piece of clothing every week that I'm looking forward to fitting into. I have several gems I'm simply unwilling to part with. Well, they're gems to me. Some clothes just worm their way into your heart and you can't give 'em up.

I bought this shirt to wear on my honeymoon five years ago, and that is the last time it fit. It's from Express and is a size medium and I am a size large. My bazoombas are two sizes larger now (GAH!!) and will most certainly not fit into this shirt, nor will my stomach and back fat.

I rully, rully do lurve this durn shurt.

And I have a good feeling about next week's weigh-in. Yep! I do.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Restless bones

I'm going to put this out there right now and you're going to have to take it, fold it up, and put it in your pocket:

I don't know what a bracket is. I don't get it. I never want to get it. I think basketball sucks major donkey balls. The end. 

I'm glad we got that out of the way.

In other news, the sun came out today for the first time in a month, which is making my skin itch because I want to run around the block, wave my arms over my head and yell something ... something like: THE RAIN IS GONE! GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

That pretty much sums it all up. 

Last week I spent a while writing down everything I hope to accomplish in the next several months and then scheduling out accomplishments-per-week. So far it's going pretty well. And I expect it to continue doing so, if only the sun weren't mocking me and my bones didn't want to get up and get on an airplane and fly about 3,000 miles away from here and drink margaritas. Bones, behave! Behave, bones!

I don't like that "Bones" show. Or "House." There, I've said it.

Actually, I find most television irritating these days, which maybe means I am getting crotchety in my old age. I know a couple who doesn't own a TV. They also don't have access to the Internet, and when I heard about that, I was all: YOU'RE TAKING THIS A LITTLE FAR, DON'T YOU THINK? That's what I said in my head. You can't reason with people like that.

Today is my customary Monday-punishment-for-eating-too-much-on-the-weekend thing that I do. Where I eat mostly fruits and vegetables for a day. It's a good punishment for Mexican food and pad thai and pizza (even if it was gluten free). And bacon.

Tomorrow's post will be less random, and tomorrow, with the weigh-in? I will post another photo of an item of clothing I'm looking forward to fitting back into. I saved a whole closet-full of stuff. It's either completely demoralizing or highly encouraging -- I haven't decided which. Toodles!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Call me crazy

This is all the stuff I recently bought, following the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster in Japan. And it's really just the tip of the iceberg as far as stuff I'm gonna need ....

... When the Big One hits. 

My husband is getting mighty tired of me mentioning the Big One, but mark my words! It's coming, and when it does, I'll be sitting on my porch with a can of cream of potato soup and a shotgun in my lap.

When an earthquake hits, I don't wait for it to get bigger. When I realize it's an earthquake, I dive under the nearest desk/table. And people laugh and laugh. Well. Who will be laughing when your head is squished and I'm sitting on my porch with my soup? Hmm?

There was an image that stuck with me from Earthquakes & Volcanoes 101 (Yes, I took a college course titled Earthquakes & Volcanoes 101. This is earthquake territory, guys! I learned a lot). The image was of a multi-story building that had been destroyed in an earthquake. One whole side of the building had sheared off and the stories had collapsed upon each other, and there, on the fourth floor or so, standing strong and wonderful, was a table. The message was clear: Get under the strongest table you have and you might be OK.

Anyway! Let's review my earthquake preparedness kit.

 First, I already had a couple of Thomas Guides and this Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook. When I bought the handbook ages ago, I did it for fun, but in truth, you just never know when you might need to know how to:

- break into a car.
- deal with a downed power line.
- perform a tracheotomy.
- deliver a baby.
- survive an earthquake (guess what the book says to do?? Get under a table!!)

I grabbed whatever soup was on sale at Target, plus some extra batteries, crackers, oatmeal, and a bunch of water. This isn't nearly enough water to last us if the Big One comes -- you're supposed to have a gallon per person, per day, for two weeks. But hell if I know where I'd keep 28 gallons of water.

My awesome new first aid kit. I'll be giving all the neighbors tracheotomies.

Face masks, ponchos, water proof matches and emergency blankets.

Nifty radio that you can hand-crank but which is also solar powered, and which you can also use to charge your cell phone!

I also got two flashlights and will be throwing a pair of scissors, a multipurpose tool, pillows, and two sleeping bags in there. 

Stuff I still need for my kit includes:

- Cat food.
- Toiletries.
- Copies of personal documents: proof of address, deed to house, birth certificates, insurance policies.
- Family & emergency contact info. (phone & addresses of work and homes)
- Candles
- Plywood, nails, duct tape, work gloves. Gonna need to board up the windows when the Big One comes.
- Bleach.
- Extra clothes/shoes.
- Plastic forks/spoons/dishes.

When all's said and done, I want all this stuff in one or two big bags, so I can grab it quick-like when the Big One comes.

And in all seriousness, guys, regardless of where you live, you should have something like this on hand. There are tons of natural disasters (tornadoes, hurricanes) and unnatural disasters (terrorism, nuclear fallout) that could necessitate an emergency preparedness kit, and if you have to evacuate for any reason, it's good to have it all ready to go so you don't even have to think about it.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Weigh-in & a challenge

Today's weight didn't budge up or down, which is an absolute miracle considering what I feasted on over the weekend.

Friday: Tostada loaded with guacamole and sour cream, plus bounteous chips and salsa and sangria. 

Saturday: Wine, cake, risotto, French onion soup -- all not on the diet, but delicious.

Sunday: (Here is where I hide my face in shame) I ate a spicy fried chicken sandwich, curly fries and a real Coke from Jack in the Box. My first fast food in months (and it was DELICIOUS).

But I'm back on the wagon, now, and since there was no weight loss, I still have 38.6 pounds to lose. 

And this week, I've been presented with a new challenge. First, a little background: I have a friend who is getting married in October. Currently she is not planning on having a DJ or dancing at her wedding, which I keep telling her is utter madness because she loves to dance. (Don't you love when your friends give you unsolicited advice about your wedding plans??)

So we were browsing through some photos and came across one of me at a wedding we attended six years ago, when I weighed approximately 40 pounds less than I do right now. And she said:

If you fit back into that dress, I'll hire a DJ for the wedding.

Which is a little cruel, right? But I'm game. And it's on, honey. Oh, it's on. You may as well book the DJ now.

Anyway, here is the dress.

I have trouble parting with clothing, therefore this has been collecting dust in the spare room closet for several years. It doesn't look impossibly tiny or difficult to fit into, does it? But I checked the size and it's a full three sizes smaller than what I am now.

But never mind that. I have about six months to lose approximately 40 pounds, which is only a little more than six and a half pounds a month. Which is completely doable, my friends.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The next cake you make

Do you like cake?

I've always thought cake was all right. If given a choice, I'd probably choose cookies or ice cream or even candy over cake. 

Until Saturday.

Saturday, our friends invited us to their home for dinner. It was gusty and rain was splashing against the windows, but inside it was toasty warm and we feasted on roast pork and risotto and French onion soup. We poured glasses of wine and listened to the music of our youth.

I'd volunteered to bring dessert. And it had to be gluten-free, considering my husband's intolerance for all things filled with white flour. The first idea that came to mind was a flourless chocolate cake.

I'd never made a flourless chocolate cake, and frankly wasn't expecting it to turn out well. I googled "gluten-free flourless chocolate cake," chose the very first recipe I came across and made it. 

And it is the best cake I have ever made, chocolate or otherwise. Flourless or otherwise. It was moist and decadent and rich and silky and it smelled like love. If you are going to make a chocolate cake any time soon, I must recommend you try this. You won't be disappointed.

Firstly, props to the Gluten Free Goddess for this recipe. I bow down to you. I am not worthy!

Secondly, let us embark upon the four bajillion photos I took of the cake preparation process.

I started out with two softened sticks of butter, a cup of brown sugar, a half cup of sugar, two tablespoons of cocoa powder, a tablespoon of vanilla, four giant Ghirardelli bars and eight eggs. Yes, EIGHT. You need 'em to make the cake rise. Not pictured: 3/4 cup of hot hot hot strong coffee.

The recipe says to butter a piece of parchment paper to line the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan with. This is my lame attempt to do that, and now that I've been your guinea pig, allow me to explain what you should actually do: Butter a big ol' piece of parchment paper and line the whole pan with it because if you don't the cake will stick to the pan. Try not to tear the paper like I did or the cake will leak through the crack a little. FYI I used a 9-inch springform pan and it took me 1 hour and 15 minutes to bake the cake. (I'm near sea level. If you're in the mountains it will take longer)

Next you throw the broken-up pieces of chocolate into your food processor and pulse it so that it makes an ungodly racket.

 When I was done pulsing, it looked like this.

 Then you add the sugars and pulse again til it looks kind of like this.

Now here's where there's a bit of an interruption in my picture-taking, because my food processor does this thing where when you fill it with liquid it wants to start leaking. So I have to hurry the hell up and blend stuff and then pour it out or it makes an unholy mess and then I lie down on the floor and cry.

So what I did while I was not taking photos was I poured the coffee, eggs and vanilla into the processor and then quickly (DEAR GOD, QUICKLY!!) blended it and poured it into the pan. 

When I poured it in, I realized there were some little chunky chocolate bits that hadn't gotten completely melted/blended. Looking at this mess, I was dubious, at best, as to how this would turn out. 

This is what happens, Larry. This is what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps. Or when you feed a woman scrambled eggs. Or when you ... try to blend too much liquid in your food processor. Do I need a bigger food processor? What is wrong with my machine? Why, Lord? Why?

Anyway! Before you bake this puppy, you wrap your pan with foil. Why did no one ever tell me to do this with a springform pan before? Why? It prevents oven drippage. This is what the cake looks like when it's done. A toothpick should come out of the center pretty much clean. The cake will fall a bit as it cools, but that's normal and you shouldn't be alarmed.

Looking at this parchment business, I was still dubious.

But then?

We took it out of the pan. We sifted powdered sugar on top of it. We strategically placed raspberries around it. 

 It looks pretty, pretty good.

This is Noodles. Noodles likes chocolate cake, too. Actually, I think Noodles will eat anything he can get his paws on, the little hound.

And this is the cake. Sliced and ready to be enjoyed. The outer edges retain a slight crisp and the inside of the cake is silky deliciousness.

We enjoyed it. We ate most of it.

There were only four of us. Plus Noodles, of course.

So anyway, seriously. Make this cake. You'll need to have a little time on your hands because it requires that once it's done baking, you cool it completely and then refrigerate it for a few hours. But it is so worth it.

Visit the Gluten Free Goddess here for the recipe. Happy baking! 

Friday, March 18, 2011

A Day of Silence I Can Get Behind

photo from The Boston Globe

More astounding images from one week following the earthquakes and tsunami can be seen here

There but for the grace of God or sheer random luck go you, I, our families, our friends.

Bloggers are participating in a figurative day of silence today, which marks one week since the unspeakable disaster in Japan. Currently almost half a million people are homeless as a result, 350,000 have no electricity, one million have no water. Fuel and medicine supplies are dwindling. More than 10,000 people are feared dead.

Ways you can help:

Donate to the Red Cross. 

Donate to Shelter Box.

Donate to Doctors Without Borders.

Please do not restrict your donations to only the efforts in Japan. These organizations respond to disasters all over the world and are in constant need of funding to help those who are hungry and diseased. The money is sorely needed, no matter where it ends up.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The problem being ...

I tried flax seed oil for the first time this morning and almost barfed all over the kitchen floor. But I managed to choke it down and then quickly shoved about sixteen strawberries in my mouth to mask the oiliness and flavor of it.

I've been told this is not the optimal way to take flax seed oil, but I don't feel like mixing it with anything else or putting it on my toast or whatever (I can't eat toast right now anyway - carbs are my enemy!). This junk is supposed to be chock full of Omega 3s and 6s, and basically it's supposed to turn my body into a walking baby incubator. All babies who decide to be incubated here shall turn out twenty percent smarter than your average dumb babies.

That's what they tell me.


I'm sort of annoyed with the Internet today. So many people on it are negative nellies. No matter what you do or say, it's wrong. Even if it's something totally harmless, like St. Patrick's Day.

Today is St. Patrick's Day, which is a silly Irish holiday on which whoever wants to can wear green, eat corned beef, and drink green beer. The end. And yet some people managed to be irritated about it and vent on the Internet. It's just a bunch of jackasses wearing green and getting drunk, you numbnuts. Get over it.

People get pissed off about everything on the Internet.

They get pissed off at people who refuse to get pissed off at stuff. They want everyone to be VIGILANT. You must vigilantly oppose something, at all times!

It makes me think of when I was a kid and my sister and I used to whine about everything. We didn't want to go for a ride in the car. We didn't want bologna sandwiches. We didn't want to take a nap. Finally my parents said that we'd better stop complaining and for good measure we'd better not say anything at all unless we had something nice to say.

So I stopped talking and haven't spoken since, until yesterday.

Just kidding.

Anyway, I just thought I'd send a passive aggressive message to the Internet today, and that is: I am pissed off about you being pissed off all the time. Quit that shit. Thank you.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

See me ...

At Tired & Stuck today. I am in the Red Tent with my heating pad and bottle of wine. Toodles!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A weigh-in & an explanation

I'm down 2.6 pounds this week, for a total of 5.4 pounds. Only 38.6 pounds to go!

What I did was I cut out most carbs, eating only a very small amount of whole grains. I still ate fruit, but only two hours after a meal or half an hour before a meal. I know it sounds insane, but it works (this is advice from the SugarBusters! plan that I used to lose 30 pounds previously). I cut out chocolate for the first five days and then added it back in, in the form of a square of dark chocolate in the evenings.

Life was getting unmanageable without chocolate.

I exercised one time -- went for a half hour walk. Strenuous, I know! I plan to start my real exercise program this week.

I had a cheat meal at a restaurant in Mountain View called Cascal, which I adore. Everything there is delicious. Paella, empanadas, ceviche, mai tais, and a chocolate souffle cake that slayed me. Worth every calorie.


Yesterday I put up a very vague post, and I'm sorry for that because it's annoying when people do that. I'm very stream-of-consciousness on here, and because I felt that at least part of what I was thinking of wasn't my story to tell, and that it is a painful story at that, I should just button my lip. 

But today I'm going to tell you.

I referred to a revelation. The revelation was that I may have been pregnant five years ago, about five weeks after my wedding. The night before my mother-in-law passed away I became very ill and was up all night vomiting from what I thought was food poisoning. At one point I decided I was probably going to die, so I should probably just give up and lie down on the bathroom floor, where I passed out. The mystery of my food poisoning was that my husband had eaten all the same things that I had that day, and hadn't gotten sick. It's still certainly possible that it was food poisoning, but I had the realization that it also could have been a pregnancy -- something that never occurred to me during what was one of the most stressful times in my life.

Obviously, if I was pregnant, it didn't work out.

For reasons known only to my warped brain (which isn't talking), this thought led to another thought, and another thought, and another, and then I came up with the idea to write a memoir of sorts. Which may sound ridiculous, but it is what it is.

Justin Bieber did it, and so can I.

Monday, March 14, 2011


I was reading a book last night and while I read it, I had a bit of a revelation. I may share it someday but I can't talk about here, yet, because it's too personal. You may be thinking -- a woman who discusses the intricacies of her menstrual cycle actually has something she does not wish to share? But it's true.

Upon having this revelation, I could not sleep. My heart was beating hard in my chest and my eyes were wide open in the dark. I was writing Chapter One of a new novel in my brain, and after about an hour of this, I swung my legs over the side of our bed and went into the office to write down the bullet-point version of what was in my head. 

Then I went back to bed and pronounced myself cured, except I was not, and still could not sleep. I tossed and turned for most of the night and caught snippets of sleep but those snippets were infused with colorful dreams of the new novel I'm going to have to write, apparently, if my rebellious brain has any say.

I awoke with it on my mind and brewed a pot of coffee while thinking about it and ate a plate of scrambled eggs while mulling it over and showered while mouthing the first words, trying out new sentences, and then I sat and began typing and it poured out like wine from an uncorked bottle.

I don't know which stories are worth telling, and which sentences and paragraphs and chapters are keep-able in any of the six-or-so novels I'm writing in my brain at any given time. But I think they all have to, and will eventually, come out, in black and white.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The plan

Today's plan:

- Watch/read about coverage of the Japan earthquake and resulting tsunamis until my eyes bleed.

- Put together my earthquake preparedness kit. It's probably time to stop putting it off, seeing as how I live along the Pacific Ring of Fire and they keep saying the Big One is due any day now. I've felt a 6.9, and that was pretty damn crazy, so the thought of an 8.9 makes me shake in my boots a little.

- Donate to the Red Cross.

- Write a snarky letter to the USGS. Geologists keep insisting an earthquake in one region of the Ring of Fire doesn't have anything to do an earthquake in another region of the Ring of Fire. My big white butt, it doesn't.

- Clean the bathrooms. Life still goes on...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Off my game

No worries, I am still ATTACKING weight loss and book-writing like a champ.

But I am at a loss here on the blog, a little writer's-block-esque. And I think I know why.


Or the lack thereof.

See, you may recall that my normal modus operandi is to eat chocolate every day? The reasons for this were:

1) I love chocolate. It completes me.

2) Chocolate makes me happy. Oh, did I say that already?

3) I am utterly, completely, hopelessly addicted to chocolate.

So, since no successful diet I've ever been on included nightly chocolate consumption, I cut it out. Until Monday, my husband and I had been snacking on dark chocolate M&Ms every night. We started this habit maybe a month ago. Before that, we'd been eating real dark chocolate, that 70% cocoa stuff, which is undoubtedly a lot healthier for you. Sometimes we'd get peanut butter M&Ms (I have an unhealthy obsession with peanut butter that is probably a topic for a different post), and occasionally we'd have ice cream, but mainly it's been these crack-tastic dark chocolate M&Ms.

Since Monday, I've been sitting forlornly on the couch with my "dessert" - a cup of tea. My husband has a bit of a wild look in his eye, like he might tear his shirt off and sprint to Safeway for a bag of M&Ms. I've been feeding him fruit, but I'm afraid it's not quite appeasing his addiction.

At this point you are probably thinking one of two things. Either:

1) Suck it up, tubby.


2) Just eat the damn chocolate already. Moderation, dummy!

To which I answer:

1) I would love to. Give me another couple weeks and I'm sure I'll have kicked it.

2) *face punch* Moderation doesn't work for me. Deprivation has proven successful in the past, though.

Anyway, all that to say, every time I try to think of a topic to write about, I can only think, "Chocolate chocolate. Chocolate chocolate chocolate chocolate chocolate chocolate."

It's like I am a piece of chocolate and I climbed into a portal in my own brain and everyone in my subconscious has chocolate bars for heads and all they say is "Chocolate chocolate?"

Which sounds suspiciously like a portion of the movie Being John Malkovich, which is a real treasure, if you haven't seen it.

I tried to find you video of that scene, and what I found was this, which is that scene, but with just the music. You get the idea, though. Malkovich malkovich?

Incidentally, in finding that video, I learned that the scene directly following this one -- the one where the drunk guy throws a beer can at Malkovich's head and yells, "Hey Malkovich! Think fast!" Was completely unscripted. Some impostor drunk guy threw an actual can of beer at Malkovich's head, and Malkovich's reaction was so awesome they decided to keep it.

Anyway. Chocolate.

I mean, goodbye.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Tired, Stuck & Defective

Come visit me over at Tired & Stuck today, where I expound upon why I need to lose weight, and why my lady parts are defective! (they're kind of one and the same)


Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Weigh-in + Indian Stew

The idea behind telling you my weight loss every week was supposed to be that I was being held accountable, right? So I should have stuck with the plan and told you every week, and I didn't.

But I've decided that I will, from now on.


Since my previous weigh-in, I am down 1.8 pounds for a total of 2.8 pounds. I'll take it. Only 41.2 pounds to go.

As you may have noticed yesterday, I am now approaching weight loss with an "attack" mindset. The weight needs to come off, like, yesterday. So I'm cutting out almost all carbs (other than fruit) and as soon as I determine that I am definitely not pregnant this month (which I am 98% sure I'm not), then the exercise is on like Donkey Kong.

Word to the young and thin: Stay that way forever.

So I've mentioned Indian Stew here a couple of times, but don't believe I ever posted photos. I love Indian Stew because it's vegetarian, fast, and delicious. I could eat gallons of it in a sitting, but since I am showing restraint this week, I will just eat one serving and eye the leftovers longingly.

So first start cooking some rice. Normally I make this with white rice, but since I'm eating whole grains (albeit very little), I made brown rice and it was good, too.

While your rice is cooking, chop up some onions and garlic.

Throw those in a pot with some hot vegetable oil and cook for a bit. Then throw in some curry powder and ground ginger and stir for a minute.

Then throw in some garbanzo beans and tomato sauce ...

Boil, then simmer for a few minutes, then squeeze in a little lime juice and throw it all in a bowl, dollop with a little greek yogurt and dash a little curry powder on top and consume. It may not look like much but the flavor is so wonderful.

Pardon my splashes, I was in a hurry to get this in my belly.

For the recipe, visit everyday food here...

Monday, March 07, 2011



Pardon me while I have one of those rare moments of inspiration, when I want to attack all of my projects with ferocity.

Those projects include --

- weight loss. I'm embarking on an aggressive diet and exercise program. I know this goes against everything I normally preach about the evils of diets. And they are evil, make no mistake. But, weight! Must! Be! Lost!

- book writing. The book must be written! I must buckle down, and finish the book! Write! Write! Write!

- blogging. I now write for two blogs. I must be inspired! Blog! Blurb! Keyboard diarrhea!

- house stuff. I must build a planter box and finish painting/decorating the living room and clean out the garage and the spare bedroom and paint everything else and re-floor the family room and put up a mantle and Decorate! Decorate! Decorate! We need plantation shutters and, unfortunately, vertical blinds in the family room! Go! Go! Go!

- vacation. I will vacate like a champ! I am going to enjoy the hell out of a vacation, sometime soon.

- learn to use my camera. The new camera -- it's new! It's big and complicated! Learn! Photograph! Go!

And that's about it. Nothing much, really.

Friday, March 04, 2011

It's a problem

It seems like so many people are planning weddings right now, I just can't help but think of my own wedding almost five years ago and how I would do it differently today.

Don't get me wrong -- I think for the time, it was right. But if I were getting married today? At age 32? And with hindsight being what it is? Here is what I would do....

I would go here:

Bora Bora


Viva Las Vegas

I would invite maybe 10 people.

I would wear something like this:

With my hair down, and no veil, but a gardenia in my hair is a must. 

That there is a lot of pomp and circumstance on my head

I would wear false lashes!

And three pairs of Spanx.

I would get a tan ahead of time.

I would write my own vows.

I would not wear shoes or if I were in Vegas, I would wear flats.

Yes, that is satin, and a drop waist. I am a crack smoker.

I don't know why I torture myself with these thoughts.

There is no way, being who I was at the time, that we could have had that wedding; the simple Vegas or beach wedding. My wedding day I was so freaked out I couldn't eat. I don't know why. Maybe it was the finality of it? Or being the center of attention?

There's no use in wanting to change how things were, and as it happens, it was perfect for many reasons. I guess part of my musings on how I would change things is just me knowing myself better, now. There's no need to do something for the sake of doing it, if it's not true to who you are.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Sweet pepper quinoa with sausage

This is an Everyday Food recipe from the March 2011 edition, and it's the second time I've made it because:

1. It's yummy.
2. It's fast.

The recipe in the magazine calls for rice instead of quinoa. I used rice the first time I made this dish.

 Picture from the magazine

And I admit -- it's better with the rice. But if you're like me and you're trying to cut out processed foods and eat your whole grains while also being gluten-free, quinoa is a good way to go. It ends up tasting the same, with a slightly different texture. (You could use brown rice, but it takes forever and a day to cook)

Also: Fiber! You'll poop like a champ.

So here you start out with two chopped bell peppers, whatever colors you want. I picked red and orange. I wanted a yellow one but all of the ones at the grocery store were shriveled and anemic. Also in this bowl are two diced stalks of celery and a diced yellow onion. You heat some olive oil in a pan and throw these in there with some salt and pepper and cook 'em for a few minutes.

Then you unwrap your sausage and take a picture of it. Then you throw it in a pan and brown it on all sides and then turn the heat down and let it cook through with the lid on.

When the veggies look like this ....

.... then you can throw in a cup of this. Quinoa. Pronounced keen-wa. Do not fear the quinoa. Then throw in some water, bring it to a boil, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

The magazine suggests tossing your spinach with red wine vinegar and olive oil. I appreciate the spirit of the recipe, which is: A homemade dressing is better than a store-bought dressing. My favorite store bought dressing has MSG in it, which makes me very sad. Anyway, what I do is I throw some olive oil and a little balsamic vinegar in a bowl, drop in a dollop of dijon mustard to bind it, salt and pepper it, and then a dash of garlic powder. You can really use any salad dressing you want, go crazy!!

When all is said and done, it pretty much looks like this, except that if you're a better recipe-follower than I am, your rice/quinoa will have some finely chopped parsley in it. That would have been pretty, wouldn't it?

Anyway, I really do love combinations like this -- some kind of salad with a tangy dressing, a spicy meat and a starch (or as close to a starch as I'm gonna get). I heap a little of everything on my fork and eat it all together.

So because this recipe is new to the magazine, it's not on the site yet. See below for instructions!

(BTW this will serve 4 people at 474 calories per serving and takes about 35 minutes to prepare)

Sweet pepper rice (or quinoa) with sausage

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 celery stalks, diced small
2 medium bell peppers (any color) diced small
1 small yellow onion, diced small
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 cup long-grain white rice (or quinoa)
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley leaves
1 pound spicy italian sausage (about 4)
5 oz baby spinach
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

In a medium pot, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Add celery, bell peppers, and onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until vegetables soften, 5 minutes. Stir in rice and 1 1/2 cups water; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook until rice is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove pot from heat and let stand, covered, 5 min. Fluff rice with a fork and stir in parsley.

(I find that starting the sausages right after you put your veggies in the pot to soften makes this all time out perfectly) Meanwhile, in a small skiller, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Add sausages and cook until browned on all sides, about 10 min. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until sausages are cooked through, 8 to 10 min. Let rest 2 min before slicing crosswise.

In a medium bowl, toss spinach with vinegar and 2 teaspoons oil. Season to taste with salt and pper; serve spinach alongside rice and sausages.

Post script: Today is my first post over at Tired and Stuck! Check me out!!