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Monday, October 31, 2011

It's one scarey Monday morning.........

Happy Halloween to you from this
Monday Morning Witch!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Going pumpkin picking......

Gotta get ready for Halloween!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

It's been a hard day's night......

and I've been working like a dog.....I should be sleeping like a log.
But. I. am. not.
I am reading blogs.
Hoping they will lull me to sleep.
But all they are doing is revving me up.....

Cooking blogs are making me want to cook.
Decorating blogs are making me want to decorate.
And, Lap bander blogs are making me giddy with pride, humbled by the success and deeply moved by the changes in people's lives....
There's gonna be no sleep for this girl.....I can't tear myself away.

Friday, October 28, 2011

I'm very afraid......

of Halloween candy shopping......

Honestly, I have never ever been a candy girl.
Oh sure, I've always liked my share of nuts or peanutbutter or coconut covered in chocolate and I have been known to inhale 5 pound bags of strawberry licorice on a car trip or chomp on a few bags of gummy bears during a long movie....
But, or snacks always trumped candy or sweets in my world.
Give me a mamoth tub of buttered popcorn or a mound of gooey spicey nachos and I am happy, happy, happy....
Except in October.
In October, I still love those savory snacks but I want candy!
No. Scratch that---come October, I don't just WANT candy, I'm CRAVING candy with every ounce of my being.....
So, I've been doing myself a favor and putting off the Halloween candy shopping for the little trick--or-treaters that come by.
I haven't went into the candy aisle of any store.....
But, the other night, I had to stop off at Marshall's to buy some knee highs.
Marshall's didn't seem like a scary place for a girl like me with major candy cravings.
I was wrong.
Have you ever had a Lindor truffle?
How about a whole bag of them?

Please shop responsibly.....

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The weighty issues of motherlove in New Jersey....

I know most of you are not the New Jersey Housewife junkie that I am.
I freely admit to my obsession with all things Real Housewives of New Jersey.
That show is one of my guilty pleasures.
I have no idea why. I can't even begin to explain it.
It just is what it is and I own it.
There's no need to lecture me on the absurdness of it all or try to explain to me that it's junk TV.
None of that will work on me.
They are part of my life and I have made myself a part of theirs.
Well, sort of....
I comment on their blog posts, I follow their tweets and try to tweet back, I read everything I can about them, I become emotional over their situations, I chime in when I feel they need my advice, I support who I feel deserves my support, I root for the ones I want to root for and I rail against the ones that I feel need railed against.
If you've followed my blog long enough or know me in person, you already know that I even traveled hours to meet one of them and stood in a four hour line to get her autograph on the cookbook that she wrote.
You also know that I was thrilled beyond belief to go an event at a venue that one of the housewives owned. And, yes, I was not ashamed to admit that I was starstruck when I met the family.
I was impressed when I was invited to an event where one of them held an event. And, I was over the moon to know that I was staying in a hotel where some of them also stayed and hosted a party.
Naturally, I sought them out on my little jaunts to Jersey. I've looked for the stores they shop in and the road signs for the towns they live in. I even took pictures of road signs.
Ohmyohmyohmy, I gotitbad.

So, yeah, you can say that I'm a full blown New Jersey Housewife addict.
I know, I know....not exactly what many of you think of when you think of me.
Deal with it!

If any of you happen to follow the show or maybe even catch a story about them here or there, you know that the past 2 Sundays, Bravo hosted the New Jersey Housewife reunion show.
For those of you out of the loop--the reunion show is basically a show that is taped in the present which gives everyone a chance to revisit the past season's episodes (that were taped last year at this time) and reflect on the drama. Essentially, a year has passed in the lives of these women and their families since the end of the season we have all just viewed.
That should give you a lay of the land.
No, I won't go into all the drama and the details and the story lines.
But, boyohboy I sure as hell could.
And, I'd be more than willing to share lots of my own opinions on that bitch fame whore Melissa and her sex crazed, self absorbed husband, Joe....don't get me started....I can feel my blood boiling already.
No, that's not what I'm here to talk about.
I'm here to talk about this.....mothering and weight issues.

One of the women on the show--Caroline--holds herself in very high regard (ooooh, I used to like her...don't get me started).
She happens to be the mother of 3 adult children--Albie, Christopher and Lauren.
Her husband Albert had Lapband surgery about 2 years ago and lost a great deal of weight.
That following year, Caroline herself lost a good deal of weight. Although there was some speculation in the tabloids that she too had Lap band surgery--she completely denied it. Not perfect, she did it the old fashioned way....she cut down her portions and exercised.
Yeah for you, Caroline. You are so wonderful....
This past season, her daughter Lauren shared many times that she feels very self conscious about her weight and she even had several conversations on screen with her mother about her distress over her weight and how she looks.
Now, let me say that whatever I think about her judgmental bitch pit bull of a mother , I think Lauren is a lovely young woman who is very pretty and seems to have her head on straight.
Although God knows why she would cry about being fat on national TV but oh well...
The thing about her mother is that she never acknowledged her own daughter's feelings about her self image. One of her mother's comments was-- "you're like 8 pounds of sausage in a 6 pound casing" (they are Italian, they relate everything to organ meats....)
Fast forward to the reunion show...which was almost a year after the episodes were taped....and the issue of Lauren's self image and weight issues rears its ugly head the conversation. Mind you, Lauren is not there. She is, presumably, at home watching it on TV.
And, what does her own mother say....right there in front of a gadzillion viewers...."am I supposed to tell my daughter she is beautiful when she is overweight?"
Let me see if I can answer that Caroline.
No. You are NOT supposed to tell your daughter she is beautiful when she is overweight.

Funny thing....I just figured that everyone would agree with me about that.
Mothers are not supposed to make their own children feel badly about themselves...right?
I mean...RIGHT?
Okay, okay, maybe I am a little bit sensitive when it comes to weight issues and self image and all that jazz.
But, really.....

I was so fired up about Caroline's comment that I jumped head first into the foray on an online forum that I frequent (about RHONJ) and blasted her for that comment.
Here's what I said....cut and paste exactly from my online post...

Caroline said a lot of awful things throughout the reunion. But, I seriously hope she cringes when she hears herself talk about her daughter's weight. That was seriously terrible. What kind of mother says that???? A mother who thinks she is better than everyone

It appears there are lots of mothers out there that agree with Caroline.
And, they let me have it......wooooaaaaaahhhhhhh!
I was virtually bitch slapped all over the internet for how I felt and what I said.
I got some pretty nasty comments.
Caroline, of course, didn't chime in.
But, her cartel of ardent and adoring supporters did.
Most of them said that it's a mother's job to tell their children the truth.

So, if I'm hearing them right--the truth is that if you are overweight, you are not beautiful?
Maybe that's true in New Jersey.
Not in Judiland.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I believe......

that everyday is a make-up day.

There's so many ways to interpret that.....
*Always wear make up.
*Say you are sorry when you need to.
*Everyday is a new chance to get it right.
And, I believe in all of them.....

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Like most folks, I am of the belief that's it's important to make sure you get a good deal, you get your money's worth, you try to stretch a dollar as far as you can and that you should always make sure you get what you paid for.
So, with that type of thinking, it only stands to reason that when you go somewhere for lunch that advertises $2.75 for a to-go side salad that you make yourself, it might make sense that you'd pile as much as you could into that side salad container.
And, if you don't--- there's something very wrong with you--you are not spending your lunch money wisely....

Not so fast....

I eat Lapband style. Not bargain style.
Got it?
I'm not piling on as much as I can.
I am actually getting what I think I can eat and then happily handing over my $2.75 and then I'm on my way.
As far as I am concerned--a $2.75 lunch is a deal no matter what.
Where else can you get a scoop of tuna salad, 2 slices of cucumber and some carrot sticks for $2.75?
I don't think I'm squandering my money--by any means.
And, I don't think I'm doing anything wrong.
But, evidently a few folks think I am!
Take yesterday for example--I went to my cheapo lunch spot, ordered the side salad container and made my way over to the salad bar.
As I was scooping my tuna, I noticed another patron filling up her container with a fierce, almost maniacal ghusto---jamming everything imaginable into her container...piling fruit salad on top of coleslaw on top of cottage cheese on top of lettuce on top of bean salad.....eeeewwww .

Honestly, I wasn't snooping or judging.
But, really.....could all of that stuff jammed together really taste that good?
So, when I got to the register, I happened to be directly behind Ms. Jam-As-Much-As-I-Can.
She peered at my container and immediately decided she had to educate me...
"You don't pay by the ounce you know! Look at mine! You can get as much as you want for $2.75. I get more in here than other people can get in the whole salad container for $6.50!"
I smiled appreciatively and told her that I knew I could get more but I wasn't very hungry.
She eyed me suspiciously. "You can eat some of it tomorrow if you aren't hungry today!"As if she had just came up with some novel solution.
"No, I'm good," I smiled through gritted teeth.
That didn't stop her.
She went on and on about the fact that I should go back to the salad bar and get more.
I just kept on smiling and nodding. As nicely as I could.
When we got to the register, Ms. JAMAIC pointed out the comparison between our two salad containers to the clerk. "She doesn't know how to rock a 2.75 container!"The clerk laughed "oh, she's more into spending calories than money!"There it was. The awkward food moment.
The bitchy immature girl inside of me wanted to say "clearly SHE doesn't care about the calories!"
The let-me-tell-everyone-about-my-lapband girl inside of me wanted to explain what was really going on with my lunch and possibly sell them on the joys of Lapband living.
The holier than thou girl inside of me wanted to say something about being sensitive to not taking more than I can consume and about the fact that all of us should be more aware that there were children starving in Africa.
And, the non confrontational girl inside of me wanted to just pay for my damn lunch and get the hell out of there.
Yes, you guessed it....I did the non confrontational girl thing.
But, as I slinked out of there, I realized how the consumption of food has somehow become everyone's business.
Perhaps 5 years ago, I would have been Ms. JAMAIC.
Maybe I would have been the girl who wanted to help the poor soul who didn't know you could stuff $6.50 worth of food into a $2.50 container if you really tried.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Gettin' ready for the ghosts and the goblins and the witches.....

All I need are the treats and the brew.
But, I know better than to stock up early.
Decorate early. Buy candy and extra wine just in the knick of time.
Yes, I play it safe......

Yesterday, after working in the morning, I took a little jaunt to meet up with my dear friend Rene for lunch and to visit a new store that opened in Pittsburgh....Home Goods. Whatta jaunt it was. After waiting 90 minutes just to get in the store with some very fun women, we found ourselves surrounded by the most amazing home decorating items at very affordable prices! We were gaga with excitement.
Sadly, there was also a 90 minute wait for a shopping cart and a 2 hour wait to check out. So, we decided to just walk around to ooh and ahh and get some inspiration. After close to 2 hours of soaking it all in and making lists about all the wonderful things we wanted, we decided it was time for some more inspiration---aka.....Happy Hour. So, we made our way out of the store and headed straight to a little bistro to share some cheer and chatting. It was just what I needed to fuel my soul before going home to put the finishing touches on October in Judiland....

Yes, that's the Steeler's game on....I finished up the decorating and cooked up a late dinner while Carmen watched football. Such is October in Judiland....

It's hard to believe it's Monday once more.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Talkin' shoppin'........

It's hard to believe that last week at this time, we were getting ready to board the train to New York heart set on lots and lots of fashion finds.
Although we did manage to do a good deal of shopping......most of it was not for me.
My favorite shopping partner managed to hit the jack pot.
I don't want to disappoint you but what I came home with was more inspiration than loot.
My pile consisted of a faux fur vest that Carmen says makes me look like Kraven the Hunter (whoever that is), a beautiful scarf-wrap kinda thing, 2 statement type junk necklaces, a blingy junky ring and a pile of junky bangle bracelets.
Don't cry for me---I was more than happy with it all.
And, if truth be told--carrying even that small amount of stuff around the city was getting very tiring!
I'm much better off doing major shopping at a place where I can unload my stash in my car!
Which brings me to what I'm thinking about today---Fall, Winter and Holiday Fashion shopping.
With everything I already own, I do not need anything.
But that doesn't mean I don't want anything.
With all the New York fashion inspiration I managed to inhale on my trip, I'm prime for a little shopping trip.
Although a shopping trip won't happen today.....there's a very good one in my very near future.
My dear friend Martha and I and her sweet daughters are going on a shopping trip in a few weeks with a busload of like-minded, fashion-loving, bargain-hunting women!
So, as I sit here and sip my chai, I'm fantasizing about what I will be hunting down on that little excursion. Are there new boots in my future? Maybe a new coat? What about something leather...pants? skirt?
Fashiontasizing..... a beautiful way to spend these early Saturday morning moments.....

What are your fashion must-haves for the upcoming seasons?

Friday, October 21, 2011

PUMP(kin)-UP Friday!

Friday Morning.....
Pumpkin Chai Latte
2 servings

2 cups water
2 black tea bags
1 cup skim milk
1/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 slice fresh ginger (about 1 /8 inch)
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 vanilla bean
Freshly ground nutmeg
Ground cinnamon
Ground cloves
1 teaspoon honey

In a medium sauce pan, heat the water to a simmer. Split the vanilla bean in half and place on a piece of cheesecloth (or a coffee filter will work) along with the sliced ginger, cinnamon stick, a pinch of ground cloves, about 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and a pinch of freshly ground nutmeg. Tie the cheesecloth (or put a twist tie on the coffee filter) and place in the simmering water with two tea bags. Turn off the heat and steep for 3-5 minute, then remove the tea bags. In a bowl whisk together the milk and pumpkin. Take a ladle of the tea and whisk it into the pumpkin and milk mixture. Slowly whisk about one third of the tea into the milk and pumpkin. Now, slowly pour the milk and pumpkin into the sauce pan and stir. Cook over low heat for about 3 minutes. Remove the cheesecloth/coffee filter and discard (why would you keep it...right?). Stir in the honey and serve.

Friday Noon......
Pumpkin Protein Shake
1 serving
    3 slices of frozen banana
    3 ice cubes

    1/3 cup canned pumpkin puree
    1/3 cup 2% evaporated milk
    1 cup vanilla-flavored soy milk
    2 packets Splenda
    Cinnamon (to taste)
    Nutmeg (to taste)
    1 scoop vanilla protein powder

Add all ice cubes and frozen bananas, wet ingredients and dry ingredients to blender.
Blend until shake consistency.
Pour into large tumbler, add a straw and go!

Friday Happy Hour....
Smashing Pumpkin
1 serving (2 servings would be nicer.....)

1 ½ oz. Bourbon (I used Maker’s Mark Bourbon)
1 oz. Pumpkin puree
3 segments Tangerine with peel
½ oz. Grand Marnier
½ oz. Brown sugar simple syrup

First, make brown sugar simple syrup by mixing two parts brown sugar with one part water. Bring to a boil and then let cool down before mixing into drink. Afterwards, muddle tangerine pieces in glass with brown sugar simple syrup. Add remaining ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake. Garnish with nutmeg.

PLEASE PUMPKIN RESPONSIBLY! Don't drink and drive.....ride a PUMPKIN!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I'm not admitting to a thing......

but my pants are doing lots of talking!

There's been a little bit of mindless munching going on in Judiland.
Mindless band-friendly munching.
That little bit of munching is creating a little havoc with my pants.
Add that mindless munching to the new mid-life muffin top that appeared
recently and we've got some wardrobe issues going on here.

There's a little snuggness here, a little ripple there, a bit of pop there and a whole lot of sucking it in all in!

It's messin' with my fashionality.
You see, I just got pretty friendly with tucking shirts in and wearing fun belts.
Not that I do it everyday.
But, damn it, I want to do it when I want to do it.
So, I've gotta stop all the madness before things get out of hand.
First order of business---the chocolate chip cookies must be crushed.
Second order of business--the cocoa almonds must be pulverized.
Third order of business--I have to flood my system with water. Everyday!
Fourth order of business--I have to resist the urge to go on a diet.
Fifth order of business--I have to buy a high wasted pair of Spanks.
Sixth order of business--I have to use my best combat weapon against the tummy LAP BAND!

I'm no gonna take this sitting down can bet your ass on that!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Just the pix......

I've returned from my whirlwind trip to New Jersey and the city that never sleeps.
And, for the record, I was New Yorkerized.....I didn't sleep!

Here's the evidence....

Most of our drive to Collegeland and PhDland to pick up our kids and our drive to NJ looked something like this. The rain was torrential and the fog hung on day and night!

Once we got to NJ.....the fun began!

First stop....a surprise visit to my dear, dear college roomie and sweet friend--Andrea. It was a tear-filled, happy reunion that went way too fast. Although we keep in touch regularly, we haven't laid eyes on each other since her wedding day over 26 years ago. Just imagine, I was just my son's age when I saw her last!
Here we are in her office where she is the Assistant Superintendent of Schools in her County. Her wonderful assistant helped me arrange my secret mission. It was an incredible moment!
We both decided we look exactly the same as we did all those years ago.....
Here I am dressed for a night out with our family. First, we had a lovely dinner at Caio and then we topped it off at a welcome reception at The Tap Room with a bunch of the bride's fun Stanford friends who came in from California.....

The next day, we got all dressed up for a full day filled with wedding festivities. The ceremony was absolutely beautiful....held at the parish that bride grew up in.
After the I-do's, we were shuttled by party bus to a gorgeous reception at The Stone House at Sterling Ridge...

The setting was stunning. These tree centerpieces were hand cut by the bride and groom...
There was wonderful wine, amazing food......and lots of it!

Everyone enjoyed the s'more stations and bon fires outside.....

Everyone had a ball dressing up and taking photos in the booth. Here's Toni and my niece Rosa looking very adorable.....
And, the party continued....on the bus....and well into the night and early morning hours....

After a few winks of sleep, we boarded the train to NYC. We surprised the kids with a stay at The Millennium Broadway in the heart of Times Square. Everything was absolutely perfect....

At the train station in Summit NJ.....

Lunch at a little pizza joint on a side street....for a real taste of New York....
A dream-come-true visit to Anthropologie at Rockefeller Center. It was just yummy! Toni and I were in heaven. She found this adorable jacket.....among a few other things.
We stopped off at American Girl Place where Toni visited her childhood loves....

We did a bit more shopping.....
We saw the sights.....Bryant Park, the top of Rockefeller Center, name a few....
We got to experience "Occupy Time Square"......
And, then, I quit taking pictures.
My camera battery died and I forgot the cable!
My phone pictures were turning out lousy (as evidenced by the above picture!).
So, what happened after I quit taking pictures....
We walked and we walked and we walked and then we walked some more.
We bought street food.
We got deals from street vendors selling purses and scarves and trinkets.
We ate memorable meals.
We had fun in little pubs.
We stopped off for breaks at sidewalk cafes.
We shopped some more. Then some more.
We hit up lots of Starbucks for fuel and to compare Chai Lattes.
We people watched.
We walked some more.
And we walked some more.

Yes, it was a wonderfully exhausting trip.
It was a few days that felt like a month.
We crammed as much as we could into our time together.

Now, it's back to my regularly scheduled Judiland life.
Recovery and sleep is on the agenda.

Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Start spreading the news....I'm leaving today!

I'm going to where dreams are made of....
Where the streets will make me feel brand new
Where there's nothing I can't do....
Where the lights will inspire me....
Yes, I'm going to New York City.....

But, first...there's a little road trip to pick up some precious cargo at Collegeland and PhDland.
Then, there's that little plan to surprise a very special college friend who I haven't seen in over 25 years!
Then, of course, there's a little matter of a very special, fun and fancy wedding in New Jersey.
But, right now, before any of that can happen.......I've got some morning duties to attend to and then there's 3 beds strewn with fashion possibilities to deal with!
So much to little time!

Get ready New York City.....we're coming right to heart of you!

I'd tell you all about our NYC plans but some of them are very secretive....I can't risk that my children might read my blog (even though I know they don't....but they might).

So, go about your lives blog friends.....
I'll be back next week with some stories, some pictures and hopefully some new shoes.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Every SUPER Fashionista needs a CAPE!

(no, this is not me wearing's the exact one that I snatched up for less than $50!)

*It's easy to wear
*It covers up those body parts that you want to cover up
*It's flowy and big....and it's supposed to be!
*It looks so chic
*It's fun
*It's just downright adorable.

I've had a thing for capes since I was a little girl. I came by it honestly---my mother loved capes too. There were several Easters in my lifetime when my mother would make me a cape.
She would make herself capes to wear to her formal events too.....they were always so beautiful...brocaded with fussy trims with stones or sequins.
Those memories are so precious...

So, when the new cape rage hit the Fall runways, I just knew I needed to have myself a cape or two!
And, I knew exactly what they had to look like.
One had to be black and have leather trim and buckles. Because that was what my favorite cape looked like when I was a young girl...
And, one has to be over-the top dressy. Because it has been a dream of mine from when I was very small to wear a fancy cape just like my mother.
Oh, and I didn't want to spend a ton of money on either of them!

A few weeks back, I managed to find the black one with buckles. It was being displayed with a floppy black fedora......which, of course, I had to have as well.
Just in time for fashioning my Fall look.
Now, I'm on the hunt for my dressy look-like-my-mom cape.
I know it's out there somewhere....

Monday, October 10, 2011

Go Italian!

If you have not met Donald J. Pliner shoes yet, I suggest you make a Columbus Day Voyage to DISCOVER them.....

Tell me you don't just love my newest pair.....

They are just the perfect shoe to SET SAIL for New York City later this week.
The world in NOT FLAT, either are my shoes.....

Happy Columbus Day!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sunday.....just another day at the office....

Although Judiland will be shining brightly today and we are having unusually warm weather for October, I'm pretending like it's a cold and rainy and miserable and disgusting day.
It's the only way to deal with spending a gorgeous October Sunday in a windowless office.....
Yes, I'm cranky.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Does anyone have an extra bucket?

One that's filled with gin preferably....

You all know that my 90 year old father can be quite a character and a hand full and a real pistol and a bit of a demanding guy....even though he really is a sweetheart.
As it turns out....he can be all those things as well as a home wrecker.
It appears that he kinda sorta forgot to turn off the water in his bathroom and left the plug in the sink.
So, the water just ran and ran and ran and ran and ran and ran and ran and the sink overflowed and overflowed and overflowed....for get the picture.
He kinda sort caused a huge flood that brought down ceilings and destroyed floors and carpets and furniture and electrical connections and well.....just about everything in my sister's family room, his bathroom, his bedroom and adjoining hallway.
(my sister's once beautiful family room......)

Did I mention that I am staying at my sister's house because I am in charge of my father for a few days while my sister is in Columbus?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Rosemary's Baby......

This past summer, I decided to expand my rosemary herb plantings.
Although I've always grown rosemary, it was never one of my larger herb crops.
It was just one of those herbs that I did on a very limited basis.
As you know--I've always been a basil girl.
I grow every type of basil on the planet.....lushly and beautifully.
Yes, I am the queen of basil.
But, have no herb garden is even more expansive than just basil...I'm also the princess of parsley, thyme and sage.
To arrive at that moniker, I've been upping all of those plantings over the past few years.
But, I never expanded my rosemary crop.
In any case.... now that I am 50+, I guess I just got a little sentimental and wanted to do the whole Simon and Garfunkel Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme thing.
So, I became a rosemary farmer.
To get that accomplished....way back in May, I decided it was time to triple my rosemary plantings.
Well, here I am in October and I am dealing with more rosemary that I know what the hell to do with.
And, not only that...I somehow managed to grow a huge rosemary plant inside my house as insurance that I'd have enough rosemary to last me through the winter.
I guess I must have decided that I loved rosemary last year.......

Here in Judiland it's rosemary all the time...24/7, no matter where you turn!
What's a girl to do with all this ROSEMARY?

Isn't it funny that what we wanted last year is what we are trying to decide how we will deal with this year?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Afternoon delight!

I'm stopping in for a lunch time quickie.....something I typically never do!
However, sometimes, a girl just needs to break away from the mind numbing trials of a day at work where nothing is easy and everything takes an act of congress to get done!
It would be great if my afternoon delight had a twist of lime or a cute little umbrella but drinking mid day is frowned upon these days.
In my 31+ year career, there was a time when it was the norm.....
My how things have changed.
Now folks depend on chill pills instead of wine and gin.
Gotta get me some of those.
Although they do not taste as good.
But, they are calorie free....

Speaking of calories....I wanted to share an absolutely yummy and quick recipe that I whipped up the other day that I just know you'll want to add to your recipe box. I found it in one of my Williams Sonoma cook books while I was looking for some inspiration! I had last minute guests coming to dinner (my favorite kind of guests!), I had a few bags of frozen tilapia from Sam's in the freezer and about 2 hours to get things together. When I came upon this recipe, I knew I had every ingredient in house to make it!
The moon and the stars must have been aligned perfectly that day because it was a smashing success.....

Fish with Olives, Pine Nuts, Basil and Wine


  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 4 firm white fish fillets, such as snapper,
    rock cod, flounder, sea bass, halibut,
    swordfish or tilapia, each 6 to 7 oz.
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 4 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. finely minced garlic
  • 5 Tbs. fresh basil leaves, shredded
  • 1/2 cup Mediterranean-style green and/or black
    olives, pitted if desired


Preheat an oven to 350°F.

Spread the pine nuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until they take on color and are fragrant, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside. Increase the oven temperature to 400°F.

Season the fish fillets with salt and pepper. Place in a baking dish in which they fit in a single layer. In a small bowl, stir together 3 Tbs. of the olive oil and the wine. Pour over the fish fillets. Top with half of the garlic and half of the basil, and then distribute the olives around the fillets. Cover with aluminum foil.

Bake until the fish is opaque throughout when pierced with a knife, 10 to 15 minutes. The timing will depend upon the thickness of the fillets. Using a slotted spatula, transfer the fillets to warmed individual plates.

Pour the pan juices, olives and reserved pine nuts into a small sauté pan and set over medium heat. Swirl in the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil and the remaining garlic and basil. When warm and fragrant, spoon over the fish. Serve immediately.
Serves 4.

And, just in case, you want to make a meal out of's how I rounded out mine....

*I had a bag of Arugula in the fridge so I put together a light and fresh vinegarette to pour over the zesty green....again, I had all the ingredients....woo hoo...

Light tasting dressing for zesty arugula....


  • 1 garlic clove, minced to a paste
  • Pinch of lemon zest
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Pinch of dry mustard
  • 1 Tbs. white wine vinegar
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil


In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, mustard, vinegar, sugar, the 1/2 tsp. salt and pepper. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking constantly. Adjust the seasonings with salt.

In a salad bowl, combine the arugula and the vinaigrette and toss well. Serve immediately.

*I had a bag of frozen artichoke hearts from Trader Joe's in the freezer so thawed them in the microwave, then sauteed them in some olive oil and garlic and squeezed some lemon on them.

*I had a bottle of a pretty oaky chardonnay--it ended up complimenting the stronger flavors in the meal

*For dessert, I decided on something super refreshing since everything was so full of flavors. So, I ran out and bought a quart of a hi-end vanilla bean ice cream. I pulled my bottle of Italian Lemoncello out the freezer, my very fancy martini crystal martini glasses out of the china closet aned then I pulled a few pieces of mint from my huge mind plant in the garden and then put it all together. It was a showy and delicious way to end a delightful meal....

Now, I gotta get back to work.
My afternoon delight is over.
But, oh what delight it was.
Funny how talking about food and recipes and menus and recalling a nice, feel-good evening can help me get on with a day like today.
I guess I don't need those chill pills after all.
For today, at least.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Honor the PINK.......

There's not one among us who has not be touched by breast cancer.
Whether we lost a loved one to the disease or we know someone who suffers with it or we know someone who has fought the fight and won or we know someone who lives in fear of it each day.....breast cancer is part of all of our lives.
Life is fragile thing.
Each day, we are reminded of that.
Although we can't fight off every awful disease on the planet, we can take responsibility for our own lives and our own health while also encouraging others to do the same.
Breast cancer awareness is all a part of that.
It's the awareness and the strength and the support.
Together we are strong---by sharing our collective knowledge, resources, care, time and energy, we can wage a war on a disease that breaks hearts, breaks families and breaks lives.
Even if we can't give money or time each time we are asked, we can support the fight against breast cancer and all cancers by purchasing products that financially contribute to the search for the cure or participate in fund raising drives that aim to raise the money and awareness that can do that.
Even if our lives are too busy or we are living with financial demands that prohibit us from giving support of any kind, we can still contribute.
Caring for our neighbors and lending a hand or a prayer to those who suffer from breast cancer or any cancer can go a long way in supporting those who live every day with the disease. Your support, your kind word or gentle touch may be that extra dose of strength that they need to carry on.
Cancers are diseases that are fought one step at a time......together.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Talk about Lap Band issues!

I sure as hell had them on Friday!
On the very day that I promised to talk about Lap Band issues, I found myself dealing with them.
Actually, my issues were not caused by my Lap Band but having a Lap Band made them just an eensy bit worse than they already were!
I was dealing with a nasty dose of the stomach flu.
I am sure I don't need to share all the details with know exactly what I'm talking about.
So, in addition to the not-so-fun activities of having the stomach flu, I also had myself stressed about what all the stomach girations would do to my band.
It's a known fact that all the stomach shenanigans that are involved in the unpleasantries of the stomach flu can cause quite a bit of irritation to Lap Bands.
Put this way---non stop, uncontrollable vomiting is not good for Lap Bands.
Thankfully, other than the sheer awfulness of it all, my band and I managed to emerge unscathed.
But, boy-oh-boy, was it lousy. Headache. Chills. And all that over stuff.
It robbed me of an entire 24 hours.
Thank God it left as quickly as it came.
So forgive me today if I don't want to blog about Lap Band issues.
I'll leave that until some of my stomach flu memories fade just a wee bit more.
In any Saturday mid-day, I was as good as much so that after I dropped my nephew off at the movies, I ducked out for a little shopping.
I needed a little fix and since I had to work yesterday, I knew that I would not get any weekend shopping in. And, you know, I am getting myself ready for a little jaunt to NYC later this month (more on that later).... a girl needs a few new things.....

The shopping gods must have taken pity on me--knowing that I was truly on a very limited time table for shopping (as in--I was sneaking out on my dad duties!) and knowing about the terrible stomach flu experience I had just survived.
I took a little detour on the way back from the movie drop-off and I found my way to one of my all time favorite places--The Savvy Fox.
I've long been a customer there and Toni worked there this past summer.
It is truly a wonderful, fun experience to shop there.
It's very boutiquey with an upscale feel to it.
It's amazing what you can find--the women who run the place have impeccable taste and really do their homework on brands and fashion. (Toni got a first-hand look at the behind-the-scenes workings of upscale consignmenting. If I was impressed before, I was even more impressed after Toni shared what she learned...)
Two of the things that I bought were actually things that I had wanted to buy but both were sold out when I finally got around to buying them.....
I even blogged about these boots on October 2, 2008!
So, imagine my excitement when there they were.....sitting on the rack.....a BRAND SPANKING NEW PAIR.....for $12.99 (they were half off their regularly Savvy Fox marked price.....yippeee!) I scooped them up immediately and ran like a bandit to the counter and told the women to hold them while I shopped....I couldn't risk anyone else even touching them....
No sooner did I score with the boots.....I saw this little number peeking out from the rack....
So, yep, I scooped that up too. It was mine! For $16.99 (yes, 50% off of their marked price)! A brand new---with the tags--Leopard trench coat. Regular retail price on the tag......drum roll please.....$79.99.
Woo-hoo doesn't seem fitting enough for that score! You see, I owned this coat (or something very similar) back in the early 80's when the first wave of animal print craze happened. I loved that coat beyond reason. But, as the pounds packed know the rest of the story. So, broken hearted me donated it to one of my thinner friends who wore it for years with great pleasure. And, she looked so wonderful in it. I ached for that coat. Literally ached. Now, I own it.
Life is sweet....
But, the real reason for my joy joy joy came in the form of this amazing necklace....the black and gold one.
I almost fell over when I saw this necklace sitting in the jewelry case. First of all....Marianna jewelry is one of my favorites. Most of the time, I prefer to buy funky junky cheapo jewelry. But, I can't help myself when it comes to this jewelry. I pay the price! It's not pricey as in thousands and thousands of dollars pricey but the necklaces do go for about $150. A few months back I saw this necklace at the little shop around the corner from me that sells this brand. It was advertised as a "Steeler Necklace" because it's black and gold. Us Pittsburghers are suckers for wearing our team colors. Although I didn't want it for that reason, I thought it would go great with a lot of my leopard print clothes. But, not wanting to spend the extra money, I pulled myself away from it. Then, a few weeks ago, I found myself face-to-face with a great pair of shiney black, pointy toe pumps with some leopard trimming. I knew they would be the perfect shoe for my very fancy black dress that I bought for the fancy-schmacy wedding we'll be attending at this month in NYC. It was right then that I decided that I had to have that Marianna necklace. So, I high tailed it back to the little shop---only to find that they were sold out. "You know Pittsburghers and their black and gold..." the owner told me.
Well, woopdy-do, one of those Pittsburghers must have wanted to part with it because there it sat.....with a very reduced tag on it......$59.99. That baby was mine-o-mine!!!

And, just when you think my little shopping experience could not get any better......a pair of adorable black pointy toe pumps with a bit of white stitching just appeared in front of me. Shoes I definitely needed to coordinate with all of my black and white office wear. Brand new....never worn.....$10.99 (yes, also 50% off their regular Savvy Fox price). So, yep....they were in my shoe lovin' hands quicker than you could say Zapatos!

45 minutes.