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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day rewind.....

to 1983...........
Carmen and I with his niece Rena in New Jersey.....
Memorial Day weekend 1983

I remember this trip to New Jersey so well.
Ah, the memories.
Carmen and I are now parents of adult children and Rena is now a happily married woman.
Carmen is no longer wearing a gold chain, his temples are graying and he got rid of the moustache during the Clinton Administration.
As for me...I have a better manicure, my hair has lost it's curl (no more perms!) but I'm still wearing my sunglasses on my head.

Here's the back story....
This picture surfaced in a little village in Italy and was identified by an American family member who stopped by to visit them a few weeks ago. "That's Carmen and Judi!".
Twenty eight years later-- by the power of the internet, it found it's way back to us this past Memorial Day weekend.
It's a funny thing.....the people who had this picture all these years (and never really knew who we were) have always known me as that regular looking girl from America with the poufy hair, not as that obese woman from America who ate too much pasta.

I'm sure I was wearing my beloved Levi's in this picture.
I wonder if I could have worn those same ones this Memorial Day....

I hope you enjoyed a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.
As for us....our weekend was jam-packed from sunrise to sundown for 5 days straight.
Now, I need to rest my weary self to take on JUNE.....I'm not nearly as young as I was in the picture above. And, either is Carmen!!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Over the hump......

gettin' ready to climb the mountain!

The next three days are chalk full of things to do, places to go, places to be, scheduling issues and work and more work.
But, once that's all said and will be smooth sailing.
As long as I manage to retain my sanity, maintain my strength and keep my sense of humor, I plan to kick off the smooth sailing part on Saturday night by celebrating my beautiful children at this wonderful place.
Carmen and I found the place quite by accident a few weeks back while on the hunt for an antique boutique that I had heard about.
The antique place turned out to be a dud but this little place saved the day for us.
After spending a relaxing and lovely Sunday afternoon there and thoroughly enjoying ourselves, we knew it was the perfect place to honor our amazing children---one finished her second year of college and got herself a summer job in her area of study---with a paycheck to boot---and the other aced his PhD proposal---I'm *this* close to saying "my son, the doctor".
That's what I call reasons to celebrate!
This place has a gorgeous dining deck that overlooks a calm and serene lake.
Their food is extraordinary.
And, did I mention how glorious their martinis are?

So, cross your fingers friends that I get over the mountain and sail into the martini and the wonderful evening that's waiting for me.....

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Brought to you courtesy of.........

The Red, White and Blue........

With less than a week left to pull together a gathering to usher in the summer, I thought I might share with you a few menu items I am considering for the big HELLO SUMMER/MEMORIAL DAY Weekend festivities and I'd like to ask you for your help s well!

Please help me decide which of these ideas and recipes I should try out.
If you haven't figured it out by now.....I am into recipes and menus and entertaining and feeding people. I truly treasure the moments when I can share this part of myself with the people I love. I can't change the economy, I can't stop the wars and I can't take away the pain and suffering in the world. But, I can feed and nourish the hearts and souls and bodies of those around me. And, give them a good time to remember.....

Cocktail Time!
Sometimes I like to do a signature cocktail to introduce my guests to something, to create an ambiance, to initiate a theme or just to make things a little more focused and less hectic. Other times, I do like the "open bar" type of offering.

Tom Collins?
Wine and beer?
Whatever they want?

Appetizer Time!
When I entertain guests, I believe in appetizers. It's a very integral part of the experience as far as I am concerned. As an added bonus--appetizers go perfect with cocktails! There's nothing finer than a before dinner cocktail and a few nibbles with my guests! It makes me happy and I'm hopeful it makes them happy. I know there's lots of people who disagree with me. That's okay. Personally, I consider entertaining an event--no matter how big or how small the group is--they are in my home, I want them to enjoy themselves! A little foodie foreplay is the best way to insure that...

Tray of roasted veggies/antipasti platter of excellent cheeses and quality Italian meats? Chips and salsa?

Strawberry and Brie Bruschetta
I have to be honest....I'm having a bit of a love affair with brie and fruit recipes lately....
  • 12 slices French bread
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 (8-ounce) wedge Brie cheese, sliced
  • 2 pints strawberries, washed, stemmed, and sliced
  • 1/4 cup raspberry vinaigrette


Spread the French bread with the butter and lightly toast. Remove from toaster and arrange cheese slices on the bread. Return to toaster oven.

When the cheese is melted, remove from toaster oven and arrange strawberry slices on the cheese. Drizzle each piece with the raspberry vinaigrette and serve immediately.

Drunken Watermelon Appetizer

Doesn't this just scream "HELLO SUMMER?"?

1/2 cup lime or lemon juice

1 tsp. tequila

2 Tbsp. honey

1/2 tsp. salt

dash white pepper

1/8 tsp. tabasco sauce

4 lbs. watermelon, cut into cubes and seeded

1 cup crumbled feta cheese


Mix all ingredients except watermelon in small bowl and stir to dissolve honey. Taste for seasoning, cover, and chill for 1-2 hours to blend flavors.

To serve, dip watermelon in juice mixture, then sprinkle with cheese and eat. Serves 10-12

The Salad Course
I'm known for my salads. Because I usually bring along one of my lettuce salad concoctions wherever I go, I try to offer something a bit different when entertaining at home.

Artichoke Salad
I found this recipe on someone's blog. Shame on me for not giving this blogger credit. But, when I lifted it a few weeks ago, I was so excited about the prospect of eating it that I scurried if someone was going to catch me!

1-2 packages of thawed artichoke hearts - sliced thin
3 celery ribs - sliced thin
1/2 fennel bulb - again sliced thin
Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano - you determine the amount
Salt and pepper to taste
a fistful of chopped (fresh) Italian parsley

2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon

Dried Fig, Arugula and Goat Cheese Salad
Here's another recipe that I happened upon on either a website or blog. Again, I have to send out a huge apology for not knowing who to give the credit to! I was attracted to this recipe because I love arugula (if you don't love arugula, you might not want to try this one!)

  • 1/4 cup walnuts
    1 1/2 sprigs rosemary, stems discarded
    1 tablespoon honey
    2 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar
    1 tablespoon water 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon pepper
    4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
    6 ounces arugula
    6 white dried figs, stems removed
    4-6 tablespoons goat cheese
    Toast walnuts on a baking sheet in the oven at 300 degrees until they are just fragrant, about 4-5 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool. In a food processor, or metal bowl, combine rosemary, honey, vinegar, water, mustard, salt, and pepper. Slowly blend in the oil. Combine arugula, figs and walnuts in a salad bowl. Give the dressing a final whisk and toss with salad and goat cheese.

    The Main Course
    Since this is a summer kick-off, it's only right that we grill something. With that thought in mind, I'm thinking about shish-kabobs. So many little time to decide!
    What's your favorite grilled food-on-a-stick recipe? SEND THEM NOW!!!

    The Sides
    This part of the meal has been decided....

    Grilled Corn on the Cobb with assorted flavored butters

    Grilled polenta with sweet Potato and corn relish

    The Dessert Course
    Here's an idea that I went ga-ga over when I saw it in June's Southern Living Magazine.....

    In a wine glass.....fill 1/4 of the way with Prosecco
    Place a purchased frozen fruit bar (with the stick facing out of the glass) into the glass

    So, tell me....
    What should I serve in Judiland?
    Your vote matters to me!!!
    And, I can't wait to get your bestest and most secretest grilled shish-kabob recipes!

    In the spirit of community and celebration.......

    Monday, May 23, 2011

    Kick off your week with this diet tip.....

    Do not spend good shoe money on bad food.

    That might be the best diet tip I ever come up with!

    It's good to start off the week thinking about shoes instead of Big Macs.

    Friday, May 20, 2011

    Happy Friday........

    I'll be back.......on MONDAY!

    Have a great weekend bloggerettes!

    Thursday, May 19, 2011

    Hand me the remote, please....

    I need to fast forward through Thursday.

    No, no, there's nothing awful looming.
    And, yes, I'm fully aware that at my age, its completely unwise to wish away time.
    But, just imagine this---there's a Tanguerey Martini with my name on it waiting at the end of my day.
    With a lime.
    It's date night/martini night in Judiland.
    I know, I know.
    It happens every Thursday.
    So, what' the big deal?
    I'll tell you what the big deal is.....
    I'm gonna make it a big deal.

    Now do you get it?

    Wednesday, May 18, 2011

    Today is a gift.......

    that's why it's called THE PRESENT.
    Based on this philosophy, I am going to spend the next hour opening my gift instead of talking about it. That frees you up to do the same.

    Tuesday, May 17, 2011


    No. No. No.
    Don't worry friends!
    No lectures needed!
    I didn't smoke it off.

    I ate it off.

    Yes, that's right.

    Let me repeat that for those of you who didn't get it the first time.....
    How did I lose weight?

    Trust me friends, I am not selling anything here and I am not jockeying to be the poster child for no-diet weight loss.
    I have no fantasies of seeing my image on the back cover of The National Enquirer with before and after pictures of me in a polka-dot bikini.

    We all know that I lost 100+ pounds with the help of my Lapband.
    Old news. Old, old news.
    What we also know is that for the past few months, my scale has been registering a bit of a weight gain---8-10 pounds---depending on the day.
    It floated me over the 140 number that I picked as my RED ALERT weight.
    My pants got a bit snug. I could feel my belly popping out.
    I won't lie--I hated the fact that there were some clothes that didn't feel good.
    I had a little bulge here. A little ripple there. Some pants I didn't even bother to put on.
    I could feel that weight morning, noon and night.
    Indeed, it was frustrating.
    No--let's get real here-- it was maddening and sad and disgusting and just downright pissing me off.
    Mostly because for the past 3 years and 9 months, my Lapband I were in sync.
    There was no dieting, no crazy pills or over the top exercising.
    I was eating food. I was stopping when I was full. I was making good choices. I was getting a reasonable amount of exercise.
    Well, most of the time.
    Sure, I indulged here and there and slacked every so often.
    This is real life, after all.
    But, in the end, I was doing it right.

    Then....boom.....out of nowhere (or so I thought)......the scale declared a weight gain.
    I had a bit of an inkling that it was happening even before the scale confirmed it.
    My jeans whispered it to I tugged on the button and zipper.

    The biggest kicker to all of this was that I thought I did not know how to lose weight without going on some kind of diet.
    So, I was perplexed and mystified as to how I was going to get rid of those unwanted pounds without joining Weight Watchers or giving my hard earned money to Jenny Craig or subscribing to one of those new fangled diets or worse yet--without buying me some diet pills.
    Trust me....I had fleeting moments when I actually considered those options.
    There was one moment at CVS Pharmacy when I caught myself in the weight loss aid aisle.

    But, I didn't.
    I gave into my Lapband.
    I let it to it's job.
    The job it's been doing for 3 years and 9 months.
    Once I got past the panic and the conundrum of it all.....I realized that I was working against my Lapband.
    I was spending more time figuring out what I could get past my Lapband instead of just eating regular food and stopping when my Lapband told me to stop.
    I wasn't allowing my Lapband to do it's job......stopping me from eating too much.
    And, I wasn't doing my job.
    Because let me tell you....I am no dumshit girl.
    I know how to get out of doing my job.
    I know buckets of loaded mashed potatoes and piles of chocolate and big bowls chips and vats of ice cream will ease right past my Lapband without causing any problem at all.
    I had to go back to doing my job and letting my Lapband do it's job.
    It was as simple as that.
    No starvation. No extra cash. No pills. No extra miles to walk.
    Thank you Lapband.

    But, I do have one secret to share with you that helped me lose my weight gain.
    A secret that has nothing to do with a Lapband.
    Here it is....listen closely.
    Pick a number on the scale.
    Any number. Not too high. Not too low.
    A number you can live with.
    When the number on the scale surpasses the number you chose.....start doing your job.

    Now I think I'll have that smoke....

    Monday, May 16, 2011

    I brake for New Jersey Housewives......

    and I'm not afraid to admit to it.
    It's Season 3 Premiere Night.
    We're gonna meet the 2 new housewives.
    There's lots of drama promised.
    Crying. Screaming. Fighting.
    And some sexy shoes.

    As far as I am concerned, it's the best way to spend a cold, dreary Monday night in May.....

    Sunday, May 15, 2011

    Savouring Sunday......

    I think I am going to buy myself an eggplant.
    Bread it.
    Fry it.
    Make some good marinara.
    Put in some extra basil.
    Layer it all with some excellent cheeses.
    Bake it up.
    Share it with the ones I love.
    And a glass of wine.

    The perfect way to hold on to the weekend......

    Saturday, May 14, 2011

    Saturday in the rain.......

    Another day of rain is expected.
    Thank God for my Lap band.
    I won't be eating my way through it.
    Thank God for my respectable collection of dry white wine and my secret stock of contraband cigarettes.....

    Friday, May 13, 2011


    Author and certified nutritionist and founder of DetoxTheWorld, Natalia Rose says.....

    “There is something wholesome about cooking shows, it strikes a chord with the natural desire people have for intimacy. Home cooking, even if unhealthy, makes people feel like they’re loved and connected in a real way, a part of something unifying and joyous. Top it off with the natural
    entertainment value of creating something in real time, the obvious visual appeal and some easy, fun kitchen banter and you have all the elements of great broadcast television rolled into one."

    That explains alot.
    I love you Paula Deen.

    Blogger Debotchery......

    Wondering where your favorite blog posts are?
    Well, wonder no more......

    A Note from our friends at Blogger....

    What a frustrating day. We’re very sorry that you’ve been unable to publish to Blogger for the past 20.5 hours. We’re nearly back to normal — you can publish again, and in the coming hours posts and comments that were temporarily removed should be restored. Thank you for your patience while we fix this situation. We use Blogger for our own blogs, so we’ve also felt your pain.

    Here’s what happened: during scheduled maintenance work Wednesday night, we experienced some data corruption that impacted Blogger’s behavior. Since then, bloggers and readers may have experienced a variety of anomalies including intermittent outages, disappearing posts, and arriving at unintended blogs or error pages. A small subset of Blogger users (we estimate 0.16%) may have encountered additional problems specific to their accounts. Yesterday we returned Blogger to a pre-maintenance state and placed the service in read-only mode while we worked on restoring all content: that’s why you haven’t been able to publish. We rolled back to a version of Blogger as of Wednesday May 11th, so your posts since then were temporarily removed. Those are the posts that we’re in the progress of restoring.

    Again, we are very sorry for the impact to our authors and readers. We try hard to ensure Blogger is always available for you to share your thoughts and opinions with the world, and we’ll do our best to prevent this from happening again.

    Posted by Eddie Kessler, Tech Lead/Manager, Blogger

    Wednesday, May 11, 2011



    I'm not at the fair eating cotton candy.
    I'm just on the merry-go-round.
    I have no idea why I can't seem to get off of it.

    Something has changed.
    What is it? What is it?
    Oh, I know.....
    My empty nest is no longer empty.
    I need a little extra time to re-adjust how I sit on my fancy pony.
    I'm sure I'll be back in the saddle again.
    I'm one of those girls who always figures it out.
    But, while I'm here, I might as well enjoy the ride.

    Tuesday, May 10, 2011

    Just made it!

    I'm getting my blog post for today in.....before the stroke of midnight!
    That's what happens when your regular routine gets mine did this morning.
    And, that's what happens when your night turns upside down.
    Even though I do not have the energy or presence of mind to say anything worth reading, I just needed steal a moment of normalness.
    Yes, banging on my keyboard talking to no one in particular and sharing random thoughts with strangers who are friends is what I consider normalness.....

    Monday, May 9, 2011

    Let the summer begin......

    Now that my girl is home......
    Let the sun begin to shine.
    Make the days warm.
    Give us the warm glow of summer.

    Somehow Toni's move back home this year feels a little bittersweet.
    No, it has nothing to do with the fact that I scrubbed her oven for almost 3 hours straight and almost passed out from the fumes of all the cleaning products we used to clean her college apartment.
    Nor is it a result of having every bone in my body ache from all the packing and hauling and cleaning and then dealing with the rental management company's inspection.
    Nope, it is not because I am *this* close to passing out from exhaustion.
    No, those are not the reasons for what I am feeling right now.
    It's because I feel time closing in on us.
    When we closed the door on the cute little apartment she lived this year, an overwhelming feeling of endings flooded my heart.
    I know, I know, feeling sad is not a good look for me.
    I'm sure I will get over it.
    Having my girl home will help with that.....

    Sunday, May 8, 2011

    It's a MOTHER of a DAY.......

    So, this mother is busy getting ready for it.......
    So, there's no time to chat.....I've got pots to stir and concoctions to concoct and it looks like I'm missing a few chairs......
    But, before I go, I thought I'd share with you what I've got planned for our before-lunch cocktail hour....

    Raspberry Kissed Bellinis
    In a large punch bowl:
    1 bottle Prosecco
    33 oz bottle of Peach Nectar
    6 ounces of Raspberry Vodka

    Raspberry Brie Bites

    • 1/3 lb brie cheese
    • 30 miniature phyllo cups (2 boxes)---found in the frozen food section near the desserts
    • 1/3 cup seedless raspberry jam
    • Preheat oven to 350°F.
    • Cut brie into 3/4 inch cubes and gently press one cube into each mini phyllo cup.
    • Top each cup with a dollop of jam.
    • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

    May your day be filled with love, laughter and sweetness!

    Waiting for the sun to come up on another Mothers' Day in Judiland.....

    Friday, May 6, 2011

    Movin' and shakin'......

    and packing and cleaning and packing and cleaning.......

    Yes, it's time to clear the way.....our college sophomore is returning from collegeland!
    Just in time for Mother's Day!
    I'll be back Sunday......we'll pick up where we left off then!
    Have a great weekend!

    Thursday, May 5, 2011


    Happy Cinco de Mayo......from ME to you.....

    If you are looking for something healthy to enjoy with your you is absolutely the best Gauacamole Dip ever.....


    2 fresh avocados
    2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
    1 Tbsp. fresh cilantro — minced
    1 Tbsp. red onion — minced
    1 tsp. kosher salt
    1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper


    Place all ingredients except salt and pepper into a large mixing bowl and mash with a fork. Season with salt and pepper, and adjust lime and cilantro to your preferences.


    Wednesday, May 4, 2011

    Economics of Sizes 101.

    It's all about the clothes.
    And the shoes.
    And the everything else!

    My life long occupation of losing and gaining weight is what has kept the entire fashion industry alive.
    I'm 100% sure of it.
    I'm sure I'm not the only one.
    Please tell me I'm not the only one.
    Because, honestly, those fashion designers are living a pretty cushy can't only be because of my scale dancing!
    If I am the only one keeping the industry going.....please don't tell my husband.

    How many wardrobes have you purchased over the years based on weight you've lost or weight you've gained? Come on, own up to it. Don't leave me out here on my own!!

    I firmly believe that I have shopped through so many sizes that I could open a clothing store.
    A very nice, upscale, fashionable, massive clothing store that contains every size imaginable.
    Given that, I suppose I should look at all my size wrangling as an investment.
    But, my mind doesn't work that way.....the economics of fashion is foreign to me.
    Well, to be more precise--economics and fashion do not even go together in my head.
    Much to the chagrin of my who-cares-about-fashion husband.
    I just like clothes....and shoes....and belts....and accessories
    I will admit that sometimes what I am wearing is the only thing that gets me up in the morning.
    So, beat me.

    To continue..... here I sit....on the edge of the infamous change-of-seasons-wardrobe-changeover. And, as I've confessed to you right here on my blog-- I'm wearing just a few extra pounds than the last time I wore many of my cute little Spring and Summer fashions.
    This, my friends has me shaking in my shoes.
    Shaking in cute shoes but shaking in shoes nonetheless.
    I've pulled my Spring and Summer clothes out of their winter home, I've gazed at them, I've gently glided my hands over them but yet I have not had the courage to put them on.
    Instead, I have been having irrational thoughts. Crazy, ridiculous thoughts.
    My fat girl problem solving behavior has kicked in.
    Yes, my friends---here I sit--with a ton of oh-so-great clothes crammed into my ginormus closet and I have been so afraid to try them on that I am reverting to the only way of dealing with my size fear that I know how---GO SHOPPING.
    I's only a few pounds.
    Really. Only. A. Few. Pounds.

    I think it's time I put on my little-girl-pants and deal with it all..... don't you?

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011

    Hello May......

    sorry it's taken me so long to greet you.....

    The only thing I can say is.......let the real LAP BANDED woman come forward!
    This's back to Lap Band basics for me.
    Because no matter what lousiness the weather has been handing us, I'm still hopeful that summer is on it's way.
    You know what that means?
    Cute little tops, sassy little capris and no extra belly bulge.

    May....the month I will not diet.
    May....the month I shall return to my rightful place on the scale.

    Monday, May 2, 2011

    Progress and success takes time.......

    and even when you find victory, you must never give up the fight......

    Fighting terrorism or battling weight.....very different challenges..... yet they both demand perseverance, conviction, dedication, hard work and a very strong support system.

    Military intelligence is like our Lap bands......they are the tools.
    We have to bring the muscle.

    God Bless us all.....

    Sunday, May 1, 2011

    That was some party......

    Scenes from last night.....

    Here's Claire Voyant......our entertainment for the evening.....whatta a gal!!!

    Here's Carmen and I hanging out at the bar....
    The our hats and animal print...with the birthday girl....
    The birthday girl and I.....
    The birthday girl with Claire Voyant....

    Closing out the night.....

    Yes, a good time was had by all.....