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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

It's HALLOWEEN witches!

Look at the calendar! 

For those of us who just finished dealing with the effects of good old Hurricane Sandy, we won't be having any trick-or-treaters knocking on our doors tonight!   The weather predicaments of the past few days have put a damper on the festivities in many of our neighborhoods.....including mine.  Trick-or-Treating has been postponed until Saturday!
I guess I will have to blame SANDY for the fact that I will be staring at that big basket full of goodies sitting by my door for another 3 days. 
This must be what the TRICK part of this holiday is......

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

When the storm is raging......

treat yourself to a little celebrational comfort......

All this hurricane and storm talk yesterday sure did get me thinking about how I was going to get through it.
As I fought my way home last night through the rain and wind, with the radio blaring warnings, I decided if there was going to be a storm of historic proportions, I had to commenorate it somehow. 
A Celebration with Hurricane Sandy sounded like just what I needed. 
Plus, since it was a Monday and it was raining, I needed some comfort. 
Celebrational comfort.... 
Typically, when I am in need of comfort, I get to work in the kitchen.
However, since I managed to cook up a storm on Sunday, I didn't have much room left in my freezer for another cookathon.
Especially since I buy a turkey each week during November....gotta leave room for my birds! 
And, let's keep in mind......we are empty nesters and my husband is gone a good portion of the week. 
Who is going to eat the results of my Sunday cook-off?
And, let's face it---celebratory comfort is a bit different than plain old comfort. 
So, I decided to pour myself a nice class of a favorite full bodied red wine and try out a little treat I have been meaning to whip up since I heard about it....and I am so glad I did....... 

I started with 2  mini brie bites....I put them on a very fancy dish......

Then, I put a dollop of this on each one.....
Then, I put a few of these on top of each.....

Then, I put my fancy little dish in the microwave (oh yeah, make sure your fancy dish is microwave safe!) and I zapped it for about a minute.....until I saw it oozing and bubbling....times may vary so you might want to just keep an eye on it.
Then, I got myself a few of my favorite TJ's crackers....
And, I lit a few pumpkin scented candles and got comfy with the storm.

Try it during your next celebratory comfort moment. 
I hope that wherever you are, you are warm and dry and safe too......

Monday, October 29, 2012

He's the one!

 Here I am leaving the house on Saturday to start celebrating Bruce being in MY HOMETOWN.......
Rock & Roll YEAH! 
Okay, I promise, this is my last mention of the Bruce Springsteen concert until the next time.......
But I feel like I owe it to you to tell you just how absolutely incredible Saturday night was. 
Bruce rocked Pittsburgh.
It was pure magic.  
He rocked me.
I was enthralled.  Filled with joy. 
I never sat down.
I sang every song.
Every inch of my being was Brucified.
For 3.75 hours, I was 20 something again.
I was filled with the Spirit in the Night.  All night. 

So, as you can imagine, I was hurting just a wee bit yesterday.
Because I am NOT 20 something any more.  
However, I had to roll myself out of bed....because I am NOT 20 something any more.
I had a full day of chores and errands that needed done.  Plus,  yesterday  was the first class in the Thanksgiving cooking series that I take each November at Williams Sonoma.

By the time, I got home.......I needed comfort.  

Between my weary bones, my slight headache and my aching legs and feet and the cold rainy day....I was in dire need of comfort. 
And, you know how I comfort the kitchen.....

So, I chopped and stirred and chopped and stirred some more as I reflected on another wonderful night with Bruce......
I miss him already.   

Stuffed Mushrooms

  • 24 ounces, weight White Button Mushrooms
  • 1/3 pound Hot Pork Sausage
  • 1/2 whole Medium Onion, Finely Diced
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
  • 1/3 cup Dry White Wine
  • 8 ounces, weight Cream Cheese
  • 1 whole Egg Yolk
  • 3/4 cups Parmesan Cheese, Grated
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste

Wipe off or wash mushrooms in cold water. Pop out stems, reserving both parts.
Chop mushroom stems finely and set aside.
Brown and crumble sausage. Set aside on a plate to cool.
Add onions and garlic to the same skillet; cook for 2 minutes over medium low heat.
Pour in wine to deglaze pan, allow liquid to evaporate.
Add in chopped mushroom stems, stir to cook for 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set mixture aside on a plate to cool.
In a bowl, combine cream cheese and egg yolk. Stir together with Parmesan cheese.
Add cooled sausage and cooled mushroom stems. Stir mixture together and refrigerate for a short time to firm up.
Smear mixture into the cavity of each mushroom, creating a sizable mound over the top.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
Allow to cool at least ten minutes before serving; the stuffed mushrooms taste better when not piping hot.

Creamy Italian Artichoke Soup

4 cans artichoke hearts drained and put through the food processor till pureed
1 clove of minced garlic
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 can of cream of chicken soup
1 c. half & half
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups chicken broth
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
2 tablespoons romano and parmesan grating cheese
1 stalk of celery chopped fine or through processor
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, black pepper, salt, garlic powder and parsley
1/2 cup Chablis or preferred white wine
2 tablespoons of melted butter or olive oil combined with
1/4 cup Italian flavored bread crumbs mix together well, set aside for topping
1 package shredded mozzarella for garnishing

Drain artichoke hearts and rinse under hot water then puree in food processor add grating cheese. Combine soups,creams and chicken broth; stir over low heat until smooth. Add artichoke hearts, spices, wine . Heat thoroughly, garnish with buttered Italian flavored bread crumbs and mozzarella on top.

Fish Chowder

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1/2 cup celery, finely diced
  • 1 cup onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • Pinch of thyme
  • 8 to 10 whole plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped into 1/4-inch pieces or 2 cups stewed tomatoes, finely chopped, without the juice
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 6 cups clam juice
  • 1 pound boneless pollock, cut into 1-inch cubes (or haddock or scrod, if preferred)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • Salt to taste
In a 4-quart stock pot, heat olive oil. Add garlic. When the garlic turns brown, remove it quickly with a slotted spoon and discard. Reduce the heat.
Add celery, onions and spices to oil. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and tomato sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Add clam juice and pollock. Cover and bring to a boil.
Remove cover and boil 10 minutes longer. With a wire whisk, whip soup to break up fish into pea-sized flakes.
Reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
Add parsley and salt to taste.
Creamy White Chicken Chili
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 cans (15-1/2 ounces each) great northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) chicken broth
  • 2 cans (4 ounces each) chopped green chilies
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

 In a large saucepan, saute the chicken, onion and garlic powder in oil until chicken is no longer pink. Add the beans, broth, chilies and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in sour cream and cream.

  Italian Post Roast

  • 2 whole Beef Chuck Roasts
  • 2 jars Roasted Red Peppers
  • 2 jars Artichoke Hearts, Drained
  • 6 whole Sundried Tomatoes (jarred)
  • 2 whole Yellow Onions, Peeled And Quartered
  • 28 ounces, fluid Beef Stock Or Beef Broth
  • 2 Tablespoons Parsley Flakes
  • 6 cloves Garlic, Peeled
  • 1 cup Wine (red Or White)
  • 2 Tablespoons Flour
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 12 ounces, weight Egg Noodles
  • Fresh Parsley, Minced

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
Throw chuck roasts into a large, heavy pot. Pour on the roasted red peppers, the drained artichoke hearts, and the sun dried tomatoes. If the sun dried tomatoes are packed in oil, drizzle in about a tablespoon of the oil. Add onions, garlic cloves and beef broth, then place the lid on the pot and cook in the oven for four hours.
Remove the pot after four hours and use a fork to confirm that the meat is falling apart/fork tender. (If not, put back into the oven for 30 minute increments until totally tender.)
With a slotted spoon, remove the peppers, artichokes, onions, garlic, and sundried tomatoes and place them in a separate container. Remove the meat and place it in another separate containers. Cover the containers holding the veggies and meat and refrigerate them several hours or overnight. Place the lid on the pot and refrigerate it for several hours or overnight.
When you're ready to serve the roast, remove the meat and veggie bowls from the fridge and nuke them just to heat them up. Set aside.
Cook egg noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Remove the pot from the fridge and carefully skim off the solidified fat from the top of the liquid. Discard the fat. Mix flour with 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid and set aside.
Add wine to the cooking liquid then bring it to a boil over high heat. Boil the liquid for several minutes, until it reduces by at least half. When bubbles appear all over the surface of the liquid, drizzle in a tablespoon or so of the flour paste. Check thickness: if it's too liquidy, continue to boil for another minute or two. If it's too thick, add some more broth or water. You want to wind up with a rich, thick liquid/gravy.
Arrange cooked noodles on a large platter and arrange chunks of the meat and the intact artichoke hearts and peppers (and garlic cloves!) all around the meat. Spoon the thick gravy all over the top and sprinkle on minced fresh parsley.
Serve immediately!



'Tis Monday once more............ 


Friday, October 26, 2012

Have purse.....will BRUUUUUUCE!

Bruce is Coming To Town!

I am so BORN TO RUN.....
In a little less than 30 hours, I'm hitting the THUNDER ROAD with this little beauty.....courtesy of my forever friend and her darling Vegas daughter!  TRAMPS LIKE US!!!!

Yes,'s a custom  made BRUCE PURSE.....

on one side is the Darkness on the Edge of Town Album (my favorite of all time!) .......

on the other side The River Album........

Going to see BRUCE......CHECK!

Yeah, I are jealous!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Sometimes it's just hard......

to always stay on the road!  

You know how it is.....the week (or the month or the year) is going along well then all of a sudden, we hit a bump and whoababy everything seems to just go haywire.  That one bump causes us to lose your footing and to start spiraling into hopelessness about everything else.....including our ability to stay on track with our healthy eating and exercise routine.
Let's face it---sometimes life is hard.  With. a. capital. H!
With everything we all have to do in a day, it's tough to keep up with even the most minute things--like shaving our legs and removing the clothes from the dryer.  
How can we stay on top of things like eating healthy and getting regular exercise when your world feels like it's topsy turvy, out of our control or even to the point of just plain lousy?
Although we each have our own coping mechanisms to deal with those things in life that just knock us for a loop, I have found that it takes awhile for those mechanisms to kick in--it's just the normal cycle of how people deal with either a crisis or an event that rocks their world.  
I'm thinking about this right now because I am literally living on little to no sleep these past two weeks--between working very long hours, taking care of all the things that need taken care of in Judiland and being the 24/7 go-to person for a very, very special friend who is dealing with a very difficult situation.  It makes me wonder if I am really doing what I need to do to take care of myself! 

 In the early hours of yesterday morning, the situation that my friend is dealing with escalated even further into a full blown, very scarey crisis.   As I huddled on the phone with her deep into the night, hearing her pain and trying to offer comfort, I couldn't help but be frightened for her and what was to come.  I didn't know what to say and I told her so.  Then, she said something that got me really thinking ...."I can't do this when I am so unhealthy and uncared for." 
Now, before I continue here---I should note that my friend is not really  unhealthy.  She  takes care of herself--she eats well, exercises regularly and is very good with check ups and healthy behavior.  And, she is not uncared for in the typical sense.  She has a very loving husband, a strong and supportive family and a wonderful group of very close friends who would do anything for her.  Yet, in the depths of her anguish, this is how she felt.  She felt saddened and frightened by the weight this situation has placed on her entire family and didn't want to put more on their already teetering emotions.  And, she was too embarrassed by what was happening in her life to share it more broadly with her group of friends---even though she knew that she shouldn't be.  Even with hours of trying to encourage her to reach out more, it was clear that was not going to happen--for reasons I fully understood. So, there she was--carrying the weight of it all....being dragged down by it and feeling  that she could not care for her health or for herself.   Thus---being uncared for and unhealthy. 
For me---I do not see an unhealthy and uncared for woman.  I see a strong and an everything-to-live-for woman who was dealt a very big blow in her life---one that would rock even the strongest of us.  Knowing what she was going through, I knew that she  put her needs on the back burner--trying to balance it all and help others deal with it...all the while not cooking, eating poorly, not sleeping well, not having the energy to exercise.  That's what we women do.  As she shared the seriousness of the situation and the depths of  her pain and frustration, it felt somewhat odd for me to say "you have to take care of yourself right now....".  Even though I knew that's what she really needs to do.  As a woman myself, I knew that part of taking care of herself meant dealing with and handling this crisis that was weighing her down and breaking her heart.  Yet, we all know that to deal with difficult situations  in the way that we need to, we must be at our best--which is not easy when you are dealing with the HARD STUFF.   
It's times like this when we have to stop and look at ourselves and realize that we too will have bad days and hard times---hopefully not as bad or hard as my friend is dealing with---but, nonetheless, we are not immune to the black clouds of life.  Reminding ourselves--each and every day-- that we matter and making it a habit to remind ourselves of that is something we should all strive for!   Even if we don't want to call in the troops for help or share our struggles with the world--we need to find some way to deal with the less-than-ideal moments of life without losing our footing when it comes to our own well being.
Many of us have made significant strides in our overall health and well being--whether it be through weight loss or exercise or therapy--we've done it and we owe it to ourselves to keep DOING IT!
That's my pep talk for today.....
You're Welcome!  

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Are you PLUS SIZE?

Ralph Lauren's first PLUS SIZE model......or, at least that's what they are tauting!

It appears that PLUS SIZE has taken on a whole new number.....12.
Yes, the folks at Ralph Lauren have dubbed a woman who wears a SIZE 12 as PLUS SIZE.
Forgive me but I don't get it.....perhaps every woman who weighs over 90 pounds is considered PLUS SIZE?
Yes, I know, I am a little late to the party on this one.
You might already know all about it and been chatting about it all over the place. 
The news came out in mid September about Ralph choosing this gorgeous 6'2" Aussie beauty to be the face of their new PLUS SIZE line. 
But, you know.....I was busy, busy, busy in September.
It just flew way past my radar.
Yes, I'm losing my touch. 
The I see it.....has nothing to do with size or the way a person looks.
What it has to do with is LABELS and MARKETING.
Slapping a LABEL on a  Size 12 woman and saying "this is PLUS SIZE"?
Now Ralph Lauren is being applauded for recognizing PLUS SIZE women? 
Isn't he sweet...and nice and sensitive and worthy of praise? 
Gimme a break!
A few years back, I did a posting on this very same thing. 
You can read it HERE.......I still feel exactly the same way so no need for me to repeat myself!  
I guess Ralphy didn' t read it! 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Spooky things are happening......

The ghouls of October are rearranging by body! 
They came under the cloak of darkness.
Silently and slyly, they put a ripple here and a bulge there!
Magical beasts that they are--they did it without the scale even noticing! 


Although I've dealt with a few visiting pounds here and there, today  I weigh exactly the same as I did last year at this time. 
I know this because I keep track of these things. 
So, why is it that when I put on one of my perfectly fitting skirts (from last Fall) yesterday did I notice a slight bulge across the tummy area?
The only thing I can think is that my body has been posessed by the demons of the season.
Surely, they must be trying to trick me into thinking that I have gained weight!
How dare they try to frighten me into believing that the problem is weight gain or the perils of age-related body redistribution. 
I refuse to be a fashion slave to these beasts.
Bring on the SPANX! 


Monday, October 22, 2012

Monday......take me, I'm yours!

Because......I'm BORN TO RUN! 
It's Monday!  That means that I'm one step closer to singing with Bruce! 

I will not be doing any prolific blogging this morning.
I must conserve my energy.  For Bruce. 
Plus, I have to be at the office disgustingly early. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Good Morning Sunday......

Last evening, I spent quite a bit of time sprawled out on the couch with a stack of magazines....still nursing this lousy cold that is still having it's way with me....
I know, I definitely doesn't paint the picture of  the  sophisticated, socialite partygirl that you probably think I am.....
Perhaps this will help.......
Last evening, I thought it best that I give myself a break from the twirling, bubbly party that is my life and pamper myself in the lady-of-leisure fashion that my body was craving.   So, clad in my new Victoria Secret Fireside Long Jane Sleepwear,  I spent quite a bit of time lounging on the chaise with a stack of  lovely magazines and a  lively bottle of Frenzy 2011 Sauvignon Blanc that I victoriously unearthed a few weeks back at a wonderful market in my son's new hometown.    

Although the remnants of  my cold remain this morning, I feel more mentally refreshed than I have since July. I'm sure once the hubbub of my day starts happening, this feeling will be history. 
So, I figured it best that I tap into my mental refreshment before it is stolen away by the demands of what will definitely be a very demanding day.....
With that in mind, I decided to revisit a few of the recipes and tablescapes that I languished over during my magazine browsing episode last night and to scour the internet with the hope of starting to cobble together an 80's rock-n-roll inspired Happy Hour that I am hosting for some of my 80's rocker friends this coming Saturday night before the Bruce Springsteen concert.   OMG I LOVE BRUCE!  BRUUUUUUUCE!  OMG I CAN'T WAIT UNTIL HE COMES TO TOWN!  GOTTA START MY FIST PMPING PRACTICE NOW!  OMG I LOVE BRUCE!  BRUUUUUUUUCE!  OMG! OMG! BRUUUUUUCE! I AM SO BORN TO RUN!BRUUUUUUUUUCE!!!!
Forgive me, I can get quite excited about Bruce Springsteen......
If you have any good ideas---for foods, decorations, etc.....please share.
No need to suggest music---my playlist is already's all-Bruce, all-the-time.
And, no need to suggest activities---we are just gonna get our Bruce on.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Who is to blame for America's fuel consumption going up?

If you are one of the millions of people classified as's YOU!

According to a new study, obesity is a heavy drag on fuel economy.....

It appears that obese Americans are hindering car manufacturers' efforts to meet federal regulations requiring 54.5 mpg for vehicles by 2025.

Once again, let's blame the fat folks! 

 Although I am not in any position to debate any study  since I don't do studies or research about much more than recipes, fashion and home decor, I am left to wonder WHO commissions a study such as this and why?
I am sure there is some very good reason for it and I'm sure the findings are useful.....someone has to find an excuse for why the price of cars will be going up or why the car companies can't meet fuel economy regulations.....
So, let's just commission a study......
I am curious about the discussion in the room when it is decided to do a study on how obesity effects fuel efficiency.
I'm sure it was much more scientific than a bunch of skinny PhD engineers sitting around saying things like "let's go after something that is out of our control.....oh yeah.....the growing obesity epidemic!  Obese people are to blame for everything else....let's try to pin this on them too!"
I'm sure this study has it's merits and it's soundproof in it's findings.  The logic seems legit.....even to a non-techi, non-mathwiz like me. 
I just hate that it's one more indignity thrown at those Americans who truly need help in dealing with obesity.
Perhaps someone should throw some real money and time at making weight management, weigh loss surgery and other obesity solutions more available and afforadable.....

Let the car industry loose on the government health care regulators and the health insurance industry.....NOT THE OBESE FOLKS! 

I'll leave you with that to think about and chat about over Happy Hour drinks tonight!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 18, 2012


No.....NOT that debate........

No.....NOT that debate.......

Somewhere along the line, America has decided that debating matter how big or small or how universally interesting or not or how painful or a fabulous spectator sport.
We just can't get enough.
Debating has now entered into every nook and cranny of the human condition and every aspect of everyday life.
There is nothing off limits.
Who are more complicated – men or women?
Gin or Vodka?
Eat to live or live to eat?
Co-ed schools vs. single sex education schools
Do video games cause bad behavior in children?
Abortion - yes or no?
Women marrying younger men
Honest and poor or dishonest and rich
Do nice girls finish last?
Advantages of being a man over a woman
What are more real – pirates or ninjas?
Do vampires get AIDS from sucking infected blood?
Did God create the universe vs. did it occur naturally
Is there life after death?
Are we aliens?
Bottled water vs. regular water

With all the topics to pick from, it's wonder why weight loss surgery would get any debate time at all. 
Yet, there are hundreds (probably thousands) of folks out there who have no qualms about pushing the notion that the ONLY way to really be respected for your weight loss is to do it naturally. 
Now, this type of thinking and assertions always set me off. 
Not only could I enter into a pretty awesome debate on what naturally really means but I could also haul off and punch these holier-than-thou pundits.
Although I'm not prone to violence of any kind (except for when maybe  someone steals my martini....),
narrow minded, judgemental thinking--especially when it comes to choices individuals make for their own lives and their own health--puts me *this close* to being a hair-pulling and kicking-in-the-balls kind of gal. 
There are moments when I come completely unglued at the headlines that read "See How She Lost 100 Pounds Without Surgery" or hearing a celebrity or some self-appointed expert rail against weight loss surgery.

Really, folks.... it all comes down to the same thing----making the necessary decision to change your life and taking the steps to get there.
Simple as that.
I get it and I'm not even a celebrity or an expert! 
(although I am a MOD--mother of a Doctor....)

Spreading the belief that having weight loss surgery somehow diminishes a person's strength or self worth is an assault on a person's free will to improve their life and health. 
There are people out there who could benefit from surgical intervention to deal with the threats that obesity brings to their lives yet they are so heavily influenced by the opinions of others and the fears that these folks push about weight loss surgery that they do not even consider an option that can truly improve (and possibly even SAVE!)  their lives.

My body. My decision. YOU are out of the equasion!

Persons of influence have a responsibility to watch their mouths! 
As in--STFU!   

As a WLS SURVIVOR (and thriver!), I have been the victim of this type of push back about my choice to have this surgery as opposed to just going on a diet many times by ill-mannered and ill-informed people. 
Rude. Insensitive.  Downright ignorant.
And some of these folks are people I know---family and friends!
I am sure every WLS person has a story.
Thankfully, I  hold my own.  When I feel like it.
Sometimes it's just not worth my breathe or the possibility of jail time. 

THANK GOD FOR MY BLOG.....pounding away on my key board helps with my hair-pulling and ball-kicking urges......

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

What's hiding behind THAT door?

If you try to look, I might have to kill you.....

At the moment, I am smack dab in the middle of doing that dreaded change-of-season task---switching over from my summer wardrobe to my fall/winter wardrobe.   It's a multi-weekend project that I never really get 100%  finished.   This year,  I am aiming to change that. least that's what I promised myself. 
It's not going too well. 
At the rate I am going, I should be done by April when it's time to do the old switheroo again. 
Perhaps I should just live in the mayhem that has become my closet, my bedroom and all of the other bedrooms on the top floor (except for the bathrooms....). 
Now, if I can only convince my husband that it's okay to live this way.
And, if my children would accept the fact that their bedrooms are no longer their own, we'd be good.
But, more importantly, if I can convince our upcoming houseguests that it's a new form of decorating, things would be just fine. 
 Honestly, I have stacks of things everywhere.   Except, of course, in the living room, dining room, kitchen and office. 
I am one of those people who keep their big messes behind closed doors. 
Living and navigating amid these huge tanglements of hangers and clothes and shoes and boots and scarves and hats has me wondering how other people do it. 
How do they keep their entire house so damn orderly and camera-ready and company-ready at all times?
I mean--where do they put all their shit stuff?
Right now, if you came to visit me---things on the lower level of my house would be look relatively orderly.
Sure, the house is not 100% decorated for Fall but I assume you wouldn't judge me on that.
And, unless you are looking---you might not notice the not-so-shiney hardwood floors, the crumbs on the kitchen floor, the dust that's accumulating on the furniture and the cobwebs on the top of the draperies. 
You'd probably enjoy the smell of the pumpkin candles that I have burning when I'm home and since you would be visiting--I am sure there would be some aroma of a yummy food that's cooking. 
But, damn, if you decided to descend the steps, I might have to block your passage.....I'd have to make a mad dash in front of you to make sure all the doors were tightly closed. 
In fact, I might even try to force feed you wine or martinis just to keep you away from the steps! 
So, where am  I going with this?
I'm not really sure. 
I guess I'm just wondering if I'm the only one? 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


October is now 16 days really feels like Fall!!!

We all love the crunch of Fall leaves under our feet, the cool breezes of the season, the smell of bonfires in the air, the thrill of Friday night football games and the excitement of Sundays wearing our NFL team colors, cheering on our favorite teams.  We are looking forward to wearing our cuddly sweaters, donning our favorite knee high boots and wrapping ourselves in our fashionable scarves and lovely fedoras.   We are excited to carve our pumpkins, display our favorite witches and golbins at our homes and pass out candy to those cute little trick-or-treaters on our doorstep.  
Yes, Autumn is here in all it's splendor and brillance.  A season to behold.....
Yet, lurking amid all that seasonal loveliness and childlike fun, there's a sinister undercurrent of discomfort and a joy-sucking fear that finds it's way to our hearts and minds......
What is it? Seasonal Weight Gain Articles in every damn magazine.....
It's enough to scare the heeby-jeebies out of anyone.
It's even worse than those haunted houses and scarey movies that spring up all over October! 

So, there I was---on Saturday night, lounging on the couch, covered in my favorite leopard fur throw with a stack of magazines and a big steaming mug of hot chai tea, with my favorite pumpkin candles burning and the lull of soft rock in the backround-- nursing this awful cold-flu thing that has had me it's grips for the past week and trying to recover from a week of overwhelming work, long hours and general craziness. The perfect setting for what I thought was the perfect way to try to regain my mental and physical health. 

Now, maybe it's because I don't choose to read scholarly or literally acclaimed magazines or perhaps it's just my hypersensitivity to all things weight and diet related but out of the 8 magazines I had chosen to relax with--there was only one of them that didn't mention the October to January weight gain problem.  The one that didn't mention it was Vanity Fair (although,there were enough pictures of beautifully toned bodies to make even the most gentile, healthy person feel a bit bitchy witchy).  Naturally, I scoured each article--holding on to each word as if it were gospel--coughing and weezing my way through each page (probably leaving tons germs on each page--so if the articles don't make the next reader awfully sick--my germs might!). 
Here's some gruesome statistics from those articles.....booooo.....scarey......
*The average person will gain anywhere from 7-10 pounds between October and January
*Depending on which article you read....the average person will consume anywhere between 4500 to 7100 calories during one holiday meal (and THIS is only for ONE meal!)
*The average person will only lose 50% of those pounds, thus carrying 5 extra pounds to the following year's weight gain of 7-10 pounds

Are you shivering and shaking in your shoes yet?
Yeah, I know the feeling.

However, now that I have given up the cold meds and my mind is a bit clearer, I have decided I have nothing to fear. 
I am not the average person
So, clearly none of this pretains to me....... 
(I suggest you adopt the same attitude.....don't let the  Holiday Conga Line defeat you!)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Did I really say that?

Now, I guess I gotta make good on it!

I mean, REALLY?
Did I really say that I would work 10+ hours a day, head up a major event at the office, finish all the laundry, do all the banking, decorate my entire house for the upcoming Fall holidays, start Christmas shopping, take care of my father, put away my summer clothes and shoes, rearrange my closet, get my fall and winter clothes and shoes out, eat a dinner everyday that contains at least 3 ounces of protein, watch the VP debate, pack healthy lunches, get the house back in order from my son's move and get back to a regular exercise routine?
Who in the hell do I think I am.....SUPERWOMAN?

This is for all of you out there who set up wildly impossible demands on yourselves.....

We are our own worse enemy! 
Can I get an AMEN out there?

Thursday, October 4, 2012


The day is finally here.....the one that's been 27 years in the making!
We're packing up the all the vehicles and the big moving truck and heading to another state, another town, another house.
My son's new state, my son's new town and my son's new house.
He has done all the hard work to get there.
Now, it's time for the heavy lifting.....!

I'll be back NEXT WEEK.........!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

From one Everyday Gourmet to another.......

I want to let you in on a little secret.....Store brand and Tostito brand  tortilla chips are much better than some of those fancy schmancy  pricey so-called gourmet chips.

As I'm gearing up for another weekend of foodie activity......this time I'm taking my menus on the road.....I've been bouncing around with some ideas on what I need to pack with me, what I can just buy on site and what make-ahead foods I can prepare before we head on our caravan adventure.   If you know anything at all about me---you know I am ridiculously obsessive about  into putting together menus ahead of time.  It's just what I do.  I labor over each recipe---from the appetizers to what drinks I will serve to thinking through taste and texture sensations as it relates to the activity or the event. I even sketch it out down to the most minute details--what color napkins I will use, what utensils will be used and if there will be any type of table scaping.
And, I keep very detailed logs on all of this--from the  initial planning to how it all went to the guests who were present.  It's a sickness really.  A sickness that makes me very happy....and just a tad bit stressed. 

This coming weekend, we will mostly be unpacking and setting things up and doing all those things that go along with moving into a new house. So, I want to make sure I don't overcomplicate anything.  I have a bad habit of overcomplicating foodie events....or so my family tells me. 
In addition to not wanting to overcomplicate things, I have to also remember--I won't be in my own kitchen.  Nope, I will be in my son's kitchen.  He won't take too kindly to me christening his brand spanking new kitchen with my usual brand of creativity in motion messiness....
So, the other night, in preparation for a shopping trip, I was digging through some 'gourmet' foods that I stockpiled over the past two weeks when we were hosting other foodie events....I came upon the contents of a gift basket that one our out-of-town guests  from the West Coast brought with him.  He must have got the word that we love Mexican food because there were 4 different types of "Wine Country" salsas, three flavors of  some type of maragarita salt and 4 bags of various "Laurie's Gourmet Tortilla Chips". 
Too bad there was no tequila.
Because I sure could have used a yummy margarita after I taste-tested those chips.
I immediately went to my menu log and made a note---NO GOURMET CHIPS...EVER!

Perhaps all my years of eating store brand or Tostito brand chips have wrecked my pallette for the higher power of chips!
I might have been called a food snob once or twice in my lifetime but I assure you, I cannot be called a tortilla chip snob....

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Pumpkins and packing.......'s the taste of October!  
Packing.....that's how I am kicking off October! 
A visit to the pumpkin patch! It's always been a Fall family  ritual.  We do it for the kids!  Don't we?

This past weekend, our nest was full.
Our sorority girl came home to share in the Fall festivities in Judiland.
It was our son the doctor's last weekend as being a Pittsburgher (in location only....he will always be a Pittsburgher in his heart and mind!)
So, we did it up in grand fashion----lots of cooking, lots of shopping, lots of comings and goings, lots of partying and lots of lots of fun! 
So much so that I'm still recovering.
But, my hours of recovery are coming to a screeching halt......because it's packing time.
Before I head off to immerse myself in boxes and newspaper wrappings and all the things that go along with packing up an entire 27 years of life, I wanted to share something with you.....

I know that I tell you more times than you probably want to hear that I just love my Lapband and that it has given me more than I could have ever imagined. But, I'm going to do it again.  
I know that there are times when a weight loss journey can feel overwhelming and at times, thoughts of giving up and  the feelings of frustration over take us.  It may not feel like the losses are happening as quickly as we had hoped.  Sometimes, it may feel at if it's not even happening at all.  The scale is stalled, we find that we can't control some of our bad habits or we are faced with so many food challenges and we can't figure out how to deal with them.  Other times, we ask ourselves if this is really a lifelong solution to an issue that we have battled so many times before.  We are plagued with doubt or possibly even regret and guilt.  We all know those feelings.  Don't think you are alone. Do not give up the's worth it on so many levels.  Even when you feel you are getting nowhere, do not give up.  Have patience, be kind to yourself, do not beat yourself  up, reach out to others for support, if you need help--get it....and above all---trust in your Lapband.   If you have a Lapband, you have a tool of a lifetime.  Allow it to be your pathway to the happiness and success you deserve!  
Although I have been successful  with my band(up to this point!),  I know my journey will never end.   Even after all the weight is gone....the work continues.  I need my band and the support that comes from everyone who is on this journey.....maybe even more than I did while I was in the throes of losing the weight!  
Life is not perfect on the other side of weight loss but we aren't trying to make our lives perfect---we are just trying to be healthy and feel good and live longer lives and wear cuter clothes (which sounds pretty damn perfect to about you?)! We are just like everyone else....even our friends who have never dealt with weight issues in their lives.  Losing weight will not make life rainbows and butterflies 24/7 but it sure helps to open up our eyes to help us see those rainbows and butterflies!

It's weekends like this past one that always humble me and drive home the fact that  100+ pounds ago, I would never have been able to or wanted to do everything that we jam packed into 2 days. 
From early morning frolicking at the pumpkin patch to dancing till all hours at the casino---filled with all the laughter and the fun---my Lapband made it all possible. 
And, my Lapband will also be what will make it possible for me to go to work each day, pack up everything that needs packed up each night while also tending to my regular home and dad duties and then unloading all of that packing at our final destination.  YIKES.... I am tired just thinking about all of that....

My Lapband gave me more than a smaller pants size.  
It gave me another shot at good times.  It gave me the chance to make fun memories to last a lifetime. And, it was the tool that helps me to be who I am today, to do what I need to do today and to give of myself to those who I love today.....and tomorrow. 
Yes, all of that......with a PUMPKIN ON TOP......

Pumpkin Chai Latte

 Chai is my crack!  Add the pumpkin and I am deliriously orgasmic.....

  • 1 non fat cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • pinch ground cinnamon
  • pinch ground ginger
  • small pinch ground cloves
  • crack of freshly ground black pepper (or a small pinch of pre-ground pepper)
  • 1 black tea bag
Mix together all ingredients, except for tea, in a small saucepan. Bring to just barely a simmer, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, drop in tea bag and let steep for 4 minutes. Remove teabag and serve immediately. Garnish with a sprinkling of cinnamon, if desired.

Happy October all!