Monday, January 31, 2011

Boozy Techy Foodie Sunday

After a long day of car-washing and babysitting on Saturday, Stephen and I decided to kick back on Sunday and take it easy.  We made a fruity cocktail with a liquor I’ve never had before!

Cachaça

Cachaça is a Brazilian liquor made with fermented sugar cane, and it’s most often used in the caipirinha, a drink made with sugar and mascerated limes.  I’ve wanted to try one for awhile, so I was totally stoked when he suggested it!  I might be a total turd and try making my next one with Splenda instead of sugar.  Every little bit helps, right?

disassembled computer

I think my computer is finally in complete working order…my fan sounded like death, but The Dude fixed it for me.  Now I can take my computer out in public without being completely mortified!  And I’ve been catching up on blog-reading without fear of it bursting into flames!  Wahoo!

For dinner last night, I made a variation of Kaycee’s chicken recipe, along with oven-roasted potatoes and frozen veggies.

dinner

I haven’t done as well this week with eating as I did last week, and I have to weigh in on Wednesday…not looking forward to that one.  I’ve got to remember that just because my life has changed, my eating habits don’t have to.  There’s no excuse for falling off the wagon!  I took my running clothes to work today and actually drove to the park when I got off.  However, it was already dusk and the park was closing by the time I got there.  FAIL.  Along with budgeting calories, I’ve got to budget my time better.  I think Wednesday night, I’m just going to suck it up and try out the gym, though going at night with all the other crazies who just got off work is one of my worst fears.

What’s your favorite fruity or “special” cocktail?  Do you get wigged out like me when the gym is crowded?  I hate working out in close proximity to other people!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Attempting balance

Stephen made me dinner on Thursday, and it was a big, fat WIN.  Not something I should eat every day, but it tasted amazing, and that’s all I cared about after a long day of work (a statement that could get me in trouble if said too often).

dinner on the stove

I made the green beansOpen-mouthed smile

Stephen making dinner

It had garlic and chicken and cream and pasta and pecans and holy crap it was good.

dinner

So last night, I tried to make something simple and healthy for Mom and myself to create some balance in my weekly eats.

bourbon citrus salmon

Boy did it suck.  Yeah, we’re still using Christmas dishes.  Hush.  I marinated some salmon by putting down slices of orange, some minced garlic, and then bourbon and letting it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours.  Normally when I do bourbon-based marinades, I mix it with something like honey or maple or something sweet to round out the flavors and balance out the alcohol.  I don’t know what I was thinking last night.  Strong bourbon + acidic oranges = sharp-tasting salmon with no depth of flavor.  It’s been far too long since I experimented with a recipe.

On the exercise front, I’m looking into working out at another branch of the Y closer to my office, maybe even on my lunch hour if I get crazy enough.  My all-or-nothing thinking gets in the way and I think, “I only have an hour to drive there, change, work out, (shower?), change, and drive back…it’s not worth it.”  I brought my running clothes on Friday but didn’t have enough time to go to the park with the errands I had to run.  Le sigh.  One of these days I’ll get it all figured out!

Monday, January 24, 2011

I’m not dead!

So…having a new full-time job and a new full-time boyfriend weigh heavily on a girl’s schedule.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely not complaining, but I’m sorry that blogging has taken such a backseat lately.  Tonight is the first night that I’ve spent more than like 3 hours at home in the past two weeks, so I thought I’d try to play a little catchup.

First off, thanks to the Boyfriend, my laptop lives again.  No longer will I be tethered to the shackles of the immobile desktop, and I’ve already promised to bake him like 80 batches of thank-you cookies.  Let’s hope they all make it out of here uneaten.

Second of all, I saw a new low on the scale last week.  Followed by a much bigger number.  Le sigh.  I’m oscillating between eating whole, simple foods like this:

chicken + green beans

and more “social” foods like this:

pizza

The good thing is, I’m making sure to add in more foods like these:

fruit

salad

…even when eating crap like this:

pastry ring

I’m not going to sit here and say “it’s all about balance,” because I’ve been far from balanced lately.  However, I’m at least cognizant of what I’m doing wrong and am trying a little to retain some iota of sensibility about it.

On Friday, I went to the Upstate with some girlfriends to celebrate the birthday of one of our own. 

girlies

Wine and pizza and the Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon rolls were consumed. 

wine

pizzacinnamon rolls

Saturday brought a beer festival to Columbia…and with it came more alcohol and more late-night pizza.  At least I got to spend some time with Carla and Mark, though the quality and quantity were severely lacking. 

Mark and Carla

I’m sad that I was more preoccupied with the beer than my camera, but at least I got a picture of the Boyfriend with a handful-o’-hops.

Stephen and hops

It is my mission in the coming week to get a good picture of the two of us.  Mark my words, it will happen.

So I’m plugging along at work and in life, trying to find balance between commuting at least an hour and a half each day, working 9-hour days, and spending as much time as possible with Stephen.  I could eat better if I really tried, but tne thing that is really weighing heavily on me now is my apparent inability to exercise.  I leave when it’s dark and get home when it’s dark.  I don’t think there’s any way I can wake up any earlier in order to go to the gym before work, and once I’m in out of the office and in my car, I either want to hightail it home or go grab a beer with Stephen.  It will probably get better once the days get longer, but right now, I’m a slug.  A slug who needs to  make herself go to a night yoga class this week…

Does anyone have any secrets about how to fit in exercise when the day just doesn’t have enough hours??  I should probably clear a spot in the clutter in my room and bust out some fitness DVDs…

Monday, January 10, 2011

Butternut, booze, and bridezillas

I wasn't home very much this weekend, but I had a whole lot of fun being gone!  I did spend Saturday morning in the kitchen getting ready for what should've been an epic Pizza and Movie Night at my fella's place with his friends and roommates....  I baked Irish Car Bomb cookies in addition to caramelizing onions and roasting butternut squash...

roasted squash

...for an awesome squash/onion/goat cheese/sage/maple syrup pizza that I assembled at his house.

butternut squash pizza

However, as food-centered as my Saturday was, I didn't eat enough of it.  This fact became significant later in the night when I drank mead on an almost-empty stomach...not a good idea, kids.  Heed my advice: If thou shalt drink copious amounts of mead, thou shalt EAT beforehand.  Oh, and especially don't follow it with beer.  Ugggghhhh.

At least I had someone taking care of me.

Stephen

Yeah, he cooks, toosmile_wink

I think people had a good time...there was some awesome pizza-crafting going on!  Hi, Lizzie! 

pizza crafting

We're doing it again soon but without the crazy booze.  Whew.  Have no fear - I'll blog the crap out of it when we do it again.

On Sunday, I went to a bridal expo with Lofton and some other bridesmaids; she's already married on paper, but they're having a big wedding later this year.  Before hitting up the expo, we stopped at Cupcake, for better or worse, because bridal expo = cake samples

Lofton likes cake

Sugar overload + knee-high boots + too many bridezillas = grumpy tired Kat.  By the way, I made her hat using this pattern, and I'm quite proud of it!

I was supposed to start my first day of work today, but this happened:

SNOWMAGEDDON

I almost made it to the interstate this morning before I got the call to stay home.  I'm glad, too - it actually was pretty treacherous out there and my anti-lock breaks kicked in a couple of times.  I won't lie, I was thankful for the snow day!  I'll have to wake up bright dark and early tomorrow before I find out if I have to go in; it was pretty crazy out there tonight, so I don't imagine I'll be able to get out of here in the morning!

Hopefully in the next day or two, I'm going to write a post about my job and how it's going to force me (in a good way!) to get back on track.

Did you get hit by this epic snowstorm where you live?  Did you find that starting a new job helped or hurt your healthy living habits?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Celebratory Tapas

Yesterday afternoon, I found myself in a situation I haven't encountered in awhile - SHEER PEE-YOUR-PANTS EXCITEMENT. 

I got a job.  smile_regular

 

When it rains, it pours, right?  It still hasn't sunk in, though it will when I have to wake up at 6am on Monday, and I haven't decided yet how much I'll share here on the blog (though social media + weight loss is a huge part of it!), but I'm thrilled to finally start my life! 

On the way home from my interview, I stopped at Lofton's place of work to share the good news, and Kaycee was there visiting at the same time.  Lofton was tied up at work and with other plans, so Kaycee and I decided to go to Gervais & Vine to celebrate!

my sexy date Kat + wine = bliss

wine

I had two half-pours: a zinfandel and a shiraz.  Something about winter makes me shy away from white wines.  Since Gervais & Vine is a tapas place, Kaycee and I got a few dishes:

My favorite, the fingerling potatoes with white truffle aioli.  Seriously y'all, when I die, I want to be buried with a plate of these next to my face.  Someone write that down.

fingerling potatoes with white truffle aioli

Eggplant fries with romesco sauce and honey yogurt sauce.  Aaaa-mazing, as usual.

Eggplant fries with romesco sauce and honey yogurt sauce.

The pizza du jour last night was to die for!  It had chicken, bacon, red onions, ranch, and I'm pretty sure some kind of bottled cocaine-based additive.  Mama's jonesin' for another fix already.

chicken bacon ranch pizza

We celebrated thoroughly...

chocolate toffee mousse cake

Chocolate toffee mousse cake.  Better than...well...I'll just say it was probably the best chocolate cake I've ever had.

Gervais & Vine is definitely my favorite celebratory place, one that makes you feel fancy schmancy just walking in the door.  I'm so glad Kaycee was able to come out and live it up with me, and I'm so excited for this next chapter in my life!

Do you have a favorite go-to place to celebrate, restaurant or otherwise?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Feast or Famine

All or nothing.  When it rains, it pours.  Blah blah blah.  I've had such unbelievably bad luck in a few areas of my life over the past few months, but it looks like maybe things might be picking up?  I've had a surge of job leads and have been hanging out with a pretty awesome fella, thanks to Miss Matchmaker Lizzie (I introduced Carla to her boyfriend...karma owed me).  So...things are shaking up.  I've had to make some adjustments lately and while it's not a bad thing, there's definitely stress involved.

What will this do to my weight-loss efforts?  When I get nervous, my eating habits tend to go haywire.  Anxious about an interview?  I won't eat and then will grab something calorie-dense and nutrient-low afterward in an effort to satiate and comfort myself.  Don't want to make an ass of myself on a date?  Pick at a salad, inadvertently allowing the beer it accompanies to take over quicker (a particularly bad practice).  Hang out with dude's friends?  Drink beer and eat pizza.

Even though I possess some less-than-healthy coping mechanisms when it comes to nerves and food, these recent turns of events are helpful, too.  After a particularly puzzling interview, all I wanted to do was go out and RUN off my frustrations, so Lofton and I packed up the dogs and headed to the park.  It's sad (or is it?), but now that I have someone to look cute for, I'm more likely to turn down a cookie.  But shouldn't I want to make these decisions anyway just for ME?

I think I'll take the newfound external motivators as a gift, but I'll definitely try pre-planning to regulate my eating habits.  We went to see Black Swan last night (so weird...so sexy...so good), and I ate beforehand so I wouldn't want popcorn.  I was planning to run today (though a surprise interview might throw that for a loop in the short-term), so I ate a ginormous omelet this morning to fill me up so I wouldn't have to worry about being hungry or eating right before running, both of which throw my tummy for a loop.

I've said it here numerous times, but I've always sucked at planning meals.  Maybe I should consider it a New Year's Resolution and actually whip out a notebook to plan?  Has anyone out there had recent success with beginning to plan meals?  Got any tips for sensible eating practices while hanging out with new people?

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year, New Start

I’ve been rolling my eyes at mentions of New Year’s resolutions, but today I actually feel like jumping on board.  We took down our tree last night, and while it was sad, today I’m starting to feel refreshed, renewed, and ready to tackle 2011.  I still haven’t drafted out an itemized list of resolutions, but maybe I’ll ride this motivation train there in the next few days.

I was afraid to look at the scale this morning, but I can deal with 185. That’s only 5 pounds higher than the lowest I’ve been this go-round, and while I’m not happy at all that I put on 5 pounds over the holiday season, it’s not 10.  I can handle 5 and then some.

I wanted to show off my FANTASTIC blogger Secret Santa gift from Lisa of I’m an Okie…I can’t believe how much awesomeness she crammed in there!

Blogger Secret Santa

It’s not the best picture ever, but there are snacks and gadgets and even some fancy-schmancy body splash!  I can’t wait to use that Bobble water bottle – it’s got a built-in filter!  Seriously, I’m humbled by the awesomeness of my gifts.  Thanks, Lisa!!

I’ve been avoiding the real world for the past week, doing puzzles and watching movies with the cats…

Despicable Me with Murray

…finally seeing the Christmas lights at Saluda Shoals Park…

Saluda Shoals Park Lights on the River

…and making an awesome new dish, Artichoke-Stuffed Chicken

artichoke-stuffed chicken

My friend Kaycee made something like this for our ornament exchange party and I had to try to replicate it.  Chop canned artichoke hearts into smallish pieces and mix with cream cheese, lemon juice, parmesan cheese, garlic, pepper, oregano, and capers.  Cut slits in the sides of chicken breasts, stuff with the mixture, secure with toothpicks, and bake for about 45 minutes at 350°.

You should make it for dinner tonight.  I mean it.

Over New Year’s Eve and Day, I hung out with a bunch of amazing folks.  A couple of friends got married on January 1st, so we got to celebrate their wedding over the weekend in addition to ringing in the new year!  On Friday, we joined the couple on a cruise around Lake Murray for their rehearsal dinner.  We had yummy Southern food

Southern cuisine

…and tons of fun being silly.

Black Peacoat Mafia

New Year’s Eve was a blast…

champagne toast

Doc's New Year Hat

…and the wedding on Saturday was so much fun!  Does anyone read Joyful Abode?  Here’s the pretty lady (and little lady!) herself!

Joyful Abode

I caught the bouquet for the first time ever, and my friend Tommy caught the garter – ha!

Next in line?

We had waaaay too much fun with the send-off ribbon wands!

friends with ribbon wands

I’m excited to see what 2011 brings!

Thumbs up for 2011

What’s one thing you want to accomplish this year?  Feel free to list more, though!