Sunday, March 28, 2010

Medium-sized package

On Friday, I got a medium-sized package (tee-hee!) in the mail…

Medium-sized package

…filled with some very sweet treats from Hazel Hill Chocolates

Hazel Hill

Well, not from them.  They’re from my partner in chocolate-covered crime, Kevin!  We’re both secretly trying to sabotage each other’s diets while also rooting for each other’s success.  Ahh friendship, you fickle bitch.

 

So what’s in the package?  This giant caramel apple (which I’ve been instructed to eat posthaste and still haven’t done yet – oops).

Caramel apple

(I need a new backdrop…my comforter is getting tired.)

 

In the box were a layer of nut clusters (I say “were” because, sadly, they are no more – this is why I can’t be trusted around chocolate.)

Nut clusters

And underneath those…

Truffles

TRUFFLES.  What. The. What.???  He even included a handy-dandy hand-drawn legend.

Chocolate legend

Cute, right??  After eating a few too many nut clusters at first, I banished the box to an oft-forgotten refrigerator; out of sight, out of mind.  Though so far, I have shared a “chocolate cake ‘thing’” with Mom.

Cake ball

It was essentially like Bakerella’s cake balls (I last made some in October for Catherine), and in comparing the two, I think I’ve committed myself to making some for Kevin after his competition, something I’m happy to do!

 

I made his last chocolatey gift last a few weeks…in keeping these latest indulgent treats in a spare fridge in a spare room, hopefully I’ll be able to make them last awhile!  Stay tuned to his blog, because I’ve sent him something that should be arriving soon, though I think I owe him something else to make up for the epicness of this Hazel Hill haul!

 

Thanks, Kevin! 

Saturday, March 27, 2010

2010 Start! Midlands Heart Walk

This morning, Mom and I (along with a few of her co-workers) did the 2010 Start! Midlands Heart Walk (don’t ask me why it’s called that).  I thought beforehand and even up until 30 minutes ago that it was only 2.2 miles, but it turns out it was 3.3 miles – woohoo!

Kat and Mom

And right now, my hips are paying for it – whatever muscle or tendon that lies right in front of your thigh over your hip sockets is pissed at me on both sides.  I sat in pigeon pose awhile this afternoon trying to open my hips up and stretch them out, but they’re going to be tight for awhile, I can tell.

 

Don’t you like our nifty matching shirts?  Even Annie, the hospital’s therapy dog, had one!

Annie the therapy dog

The walk went off without much of a hitch; we spent the first mile or so bobbing and weaving through the crowds, but we decided to slack behind our group on the Gervais St. Bridge – it was kinda scary jumping a foot or two away from oncoming traffic to keep up.

Midlands Heart Walk

Look familiar???

Gervais and Vine

I said “much of a hitch” because as we rounded the corner to the finish line, we got stopped by a train.

Stopped by the train

A train had stopped right in the middle of the road that led us to the finish, and as we were slowly walking up to it, it started moving, so we opted to not try to find a way around it.  The catch is, a train starting to move from a dead stop takes a long-ass time, especially if that train has lots of cars on it.  Apparently this happened last year, too, but I don’t remember it.  You’d think they’d reroute the walk or change the time or something!

 

After the walk, we went over to the Botanical Garden at Riverbanks Zoo for their Springtime in the Garden Festival; they had a lot of different vendors and experts, but I was more interested in the flowers (plus, my shoes gave me wicked blisters and I was whiny because of my hips, so I didn’t do too much running around, though I did get some herbs!).

Flower

Flower

Phlox

Tulips

Riverbanks Zoo Botanical Garden

Flower bed

Flowers

Flowers

My alma mater has an extension office at the zoo, and they were on hand to answer questions about all things horticultural…and hand out lollipops. 

Lollipops from Clemson

Isn’t the “green thumb” paw cute??  I’ve always loved that icon!

 Clemson paw green thumb

For lunch, we went to a local Greek restaurant, Zorba’s, where I got chicken with salad (I didn’t eat the rice).

Zorba's

For dinner tonight, I made one of my pork roll-up creations; inside was brie, spinach, and this Peach Chutney from Four Oaks Farm, just down the road a piece. 

Peach chutney

Pork roll-up

Of course I had a giant wad of broccoli to round it all out. 

 

Do you have a recipe like this pork roll-up one of mine that you can tweak with different substitutions?  I’ve tried a few different fillings but the possibilities seem endless!

Men and chocolate

I had this epiphany today (I hate the word “epiphany.”  When it’s thrown around too often, the thrower-arounder comes across as insincere. However, I got slapped in the face with realization about something, and that’s the best word I can think of to fit the situation).  So, whatevs, I had this thought today wherein I parallel men and chocolate.

lynx [source]

 

I don’t trust men.  Sorry to use such a terrible generalization, but I have such bad experiences with men that I question the motives behind their every action (sucks for me that I’m a hard-wired hetero…it’d be so easy to hate men if I were batting for the other team).  I’ve come across a few exceptions to the “men suck” rule (if you’re a male who’s reading this and you’re one of those exceptions – you rock, and you have my sincerest of apologies for pigeonholing you), but for the most part, my negative preconceptions are always proven right.  I want a fella of my own someday, but I doubt I’ll ever find him because I’m so particular and have such high standards.  So instead of opening up my heart and risking getting burned yet again, I shut down and don’t even try.

 

So how are men like chocolate?  If I start talking to a guy, I overanalyze, I obsess, I do all the wrong things (when there’s no man in my life, I laugh at all the things girls do to drive them away; when there is a dude in question, I fall subject to all those bad habits – WTF?).  If I have chocolate in the house, I can’t stop thinking about it, I eat it all at once, I do all the wrong things. I can’t trust men or chocolate because I can’t trust myself with either.  I turn into this irrational, compulsive, obsessive monster around both of them, and I can’t seem to moderate my behavior!

 

So, great, I’ve made this huge realization.  Now what?  How do you go from not having any chocolate/contact with a man to having a healthy relationship with either/both?  How do I bring chocolate into my house without wanting to eat it all in one sitting?  How do I approach a relationship with a fella without being “that neurotic girl” and letting him consume my thoughts?

 

Moderation is key! Balance is the answer!  Blah blah blah bullshit.  It’s going to take FOREVER, and I hate that.  I get easily frustrated when I’m not instantly gratified.  However, I’m broken inside with regard to both and can’t expect myself to heal overnight.  I don’t know what initially “broke me” when it came to sweets; why can’t I police myself? I have no clue.  I’m 26 and I’m just now barely starting to show signs of improvement in that area.  Dudes, on the other hand…I’ve always been cynical about them, and then everything went to hell a few years ago, essentially confirming all my worst fears.  If I ever have a chance of being able to trust again – myself or anything/anyone else – I have to practice little bits at a time.  Chocolate isn’t the enemy, and men aren’t the enemy.  My inability to trust is the problem, and I haven’t been giving myself good opportunities to practice that. 

 

Instead of not having any chocolate or buying a whole bag, get one piece (even a few!), bring it home, and save it for a specific time.  Don’t snarf it quickly on the drive home.  Instead, savor it, make it last, and make it mean something.  When it comes to guys…[sigh] I’m still kinda lost at how to fix this aspect of myself, but I know I need to follow similar rules as with chocolate.  I need to talk to more of them, first off.  Completely abstaining from contact with men isn’t helping to convince me they’re not all bad, and when one suddenly pays me attention, I pounce on the poor guy.  Secondly, when I do have regular conversations with guys, I need to separate myself from them every so often.  I need to stop being a slave to the interactions, to realize that I don’t need to “eat the whole bag at once.”  If they’re worth talking to [if the chocolate is worth eating], they’ll still be there to talk to [it’ll still be there to eat] later. 

 

This all boils down to that damned all-or-nothing thinking I’m plagued with.  As you can see, it happens in almost every aspect of my life, and it’s going to take awhile to fix.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Who’s responsible for the public’s diet?

In this post, I try a recipe, make up my own, and touch on a potentially controversial issue, but first, some artsy fartsy springy pictures:

Dogwood

Dogwood

Plum tree

Plum

Plum tree

Forsythia

Forsythia

Last night for dinner, I tried a recipe from Jessica at How Sweet Eats (she has SOOOO many recipes that I’ve bookmarked to try…her baked goods always make me drool a little). Here’s my version of her Happy Chicken:

Happy Chicken

I mixed 2 eggs and some milk along with dried parsley and garlic powder in a big ziploc bag and let it sit ~30 minutes before dredging it in a mixture of plain breadcrumbs, Panko, Mrs. Dash tomato & basil seasoning, and salt & pepper.

Happy Chicken

(I added some onions on top!)

Happy Chicken

Alongside it, I made a sauteed spinach thingy. I used:

  • EVOO
  • 3/4 a giant bag of spinach
  • 1 cup baby bella mushrooms (I got one pint and used half for the chicken, half for the spinach)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbls garlic (I like garlic…a lot.)
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • pine nuts
  • parmesan cheese

Sautee the onion, garlic, and mushrooms in the olive oil on medium-ish heat. Add the spinach and keep stirring until wilted. Add the wine and continue to cook ~5-10 minutes, then stir in the pine nuts and turn the heat to low until you’re ready to serve (I worked on this while my chicken was in the oven). Top with shredded parmesan cheese when you plate it.

Malbec

Yeah, I might’ve had a glass or two of this as well. I had to make sure it was good enough to cook with!

Mushrooms and onions

(On today’s agenda: scrub the stovetop)

Spinach

Sauteed spinach

Happy chicken and sauteed spinach

This meal definitely got RAVE reviews from both my mom and me. Thanks for the great recipe, Jessica!!

Who’s responsible for our healthy choices?

I saw a post on Perez Hilton the other day (because my primary news sources are him, Twitter, Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, and “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me”) about Pepsi making their products healthier by cutting salt, sugar, and fat from their recipes.

PepsiCo Inc. announced today that they have ten year plan to make all of their products more healthy for the everyday consumer.

Sodium found in key products from the company, like Frito chips, will be decreased by one-fourth per serving in the next five years. Other goals include cutting the average added sugar per serving in products by 25 percent and saturated fat per serving by 15 percent. Plus, also look for more whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy in all of their other products.

What’s your opinion on companies changing their recipes to try to improve the health of the public? Are the companies’ formulas to blame for our poor health, or is responsibility in the hands of the consumer?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Spectacular salads

I’ve been on such a salad kick lately (as you may have guessed by my new header)!  I used to eat them pretty often for lunch (remember my buffalo BBQ chicken salad I couldn’t [still can’t] get enough of?), but I was limiting myself as far as dressings go.  I was stuck in a ranch rut!

 

One of the things that got me un-stuck was this fab product:

Braswell's Vidalia Onion and Summer Tomato Dressing

I found this Vidalia Onion and Summer Tomato dressing by Braswell’s at Fresh Market last week, and it’s making my salads all fresh and summery!  It’s so different than the ranch and balsamic vinaigrette I’m used to.

Salad with Onion and Tomato Dressing

Yesterday after my biweekly checkup (I only gained half a pound over the last two weeks – not good, but not as bad as I expected), I had lunch with my good friend Lofton at Panera where we both had the Fuji Apple Chicken Salad (no tomato!!):

Panera Fuji Apple Chicken Salad

Last night I continued the obsession trend with a recipe from Ina Garten – Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette.  Mom made this for me for my birthday a few weeks ago, so I wanted to give it another shot and add chicken to the mix.

Roasted Butternut Squash

Luscious roasted butternut squash and toasted walnuts.

Toasted Walnuts

We didn’t make it exactly according to directions, but it was amazing all the same.

Butternut Squash and Chicken Salad

I even had leftovers for lunch today. 

Butternut Squash and Chicken Salad

What’s your favorite salad recipe, ingredient, or dressing?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sick Day

This was just supposed to be a shallow “what happened today” post, but then it got heavy at the end.  My apologies/you’re welcome.

 

Last night I went to my first-ever Pilates class!  At one point, I was super-intimidated because I was contracting my abs so hard, I started to shake; later on in the class, our drill sergeant instructor said, “if you’re experiencing the quiver, you’re doing it right!”  So I went right back to working hard and quivering harder.  There were a lot of moves I could only do a few reps of before resting, and I know I’ll get stronger with time, but it was frustrating to not be able to keep up 100%.  All in all, I’d like to go back next week; even though she was tough (and didn’t explain things very well to the newbies), this class is exactly what I need for my weak core.  I haven’t been able to do anything today without my abs burning…a delicious sensation indeed! 

 

Speaking of aching, I’m sick.  During Pilates, I got a bad headache and assumed it was due to poor breathing, blood rushing to/from my head, or electrolyte imbalance (I chugged water yesterday like it was going out of style).  However, I got home and my headache persisted, only to be joined soon after by a terrible sore throat.  Sleep didn’t help, and it’s gotten worse today…everything aches, my throat is sore and swollen, and I’ve had a fever.  Whine, bitch, moan.

 

For lunch I had one of my buffalo chicken salads with a crap-ton of hot sauce to try to numb my throat.  I was too bleh to lug the camera to the kitchen, so it’s off the record.  For dinner, I was craving French Onion Soup (totally out of character for me, right?)

DSC_1529

It was comparatively low in sodium when stacked against the other brands, but still something I probably should’ve shied away from the day before I weigh in (more on that in a second).  I promptly unhealthified it by adding sandwich thins “croutons” and some parmesan cheese.  I’m so in love with this new mug I got over the weekend!

DSC_1532

I wanted something cold for my throat, but those cheap old sugar free popsicles make me cringe…biting into them is like nails on a chalkboard.  Mom found these at the store for me:

DSC_1536

Philly Swirl Splenda-sweetened popsicle/creamsicle thingies - 14 calories apiece, and they’re soft-ish and small-ish and perfect for what I wanted.  I hope this crud goes away soon…it’s really making me bitchy and unproductive, two personality traits I really don’t like in myself.

 

Here’s where it gets heavy and starts to resemble the beating of a dead horse…

So the weigh-in…it’s happening tomorrow (Wednesday), and if I could cancel, I would.  However, I know that I need the most support when I want to cut and run, so I’m going.  According to my home scale, I’ve gained a couple of pounds over the past week, which is totally inexcusable.  I’m really starting to get beyond mad at myself for all this “putting my foot down and then giving in to temptation” crap, and that starts the self-loathing/self-soothing/self-guilt cycle anew.  It’s disheartening that I’m going through this program, which isn’t free, and I’m not putting into it what I want to get out of it.  I’m wasting yet another opportunity like I have so many times in the past.  It’s not going to happen TO me, I have to MAKE it happen.  And before anyone says “quit being so hard on yourself,” please take into consideration that I let myself get away with too much (wow, the schizophrenia that’s unfolding here is all kinds of unattractive).  I’m the one who chose to drink all that wine this weekend.  I’m the one who opted to eat all that bread this weekend.  I’m the one who snuck chocolate chips today and didn’t plan on telling anyone.  I’m the one who makes all my decisions, and I’m the one to blame.  So how can I go from being mad at myself for screwing up to wanting to succeed and taking the steps to actually make it happen?

 

And now that I’ve gotten all that out, I’m thinking about it semi-rationally.  People who go to Weight Watchers have weeks where they don’t lose at all or might even gain.  I’ve been losing (almost) steadily for several months and just within the past month and a half have slowed to a near stop.  OK, here comes the frustration again… Yeah, yeah, maybe I need to cut myself a break, but we’ve all been saying that this whole time.  When do I officially need to snap out of it?

Can anyone identify with what I’m saying?  Better yet, can anyone offer advice about going from Point A (being mad and blaming myself for screwing up) to Point B (wanting to succeed enough to make good choices, being kind to myself in order to ensure success)?