Category Archives: Food

A Gift

Yesterday was my birthday. I’ll wait while you shout ‘Happy Birthday!” and “I wish I’d have known!” and “I feel bad I don’t have a gift!” If anyone is thinking of singing, please don’t. Sadly I think the traditional Happy Birthday tune is quite dreary. But I certainly appreciate and accept your good wishes. <insert gracious nod here>

Got all that out of the way? Good.

I’m giving myself a gift. I told myself I was giving it starting today, but then I forgot. And the day is nearly over (just past 9 pm as I type this). So I figured by putting it in writing, sending it out over the wire and all, I’ll be more committed to my own gift.

Best of all, the gift I want to give myself won’t cost a dime.

It’s to treat my body well.

This means making a better effort at eating right, mostly. I’m already an avid exerciser. By avid, I mean I enjoy running and try to do it more days than not. Truthfully life (job and kids) and weather interfere more than I’d like, but I can still run further and faster than the average bear. I do want to start doing weight training. My arms are flabby and I have back fat up the ying yang. Needless to say, I don’t like how that looks.

Today I did not eat well.

Meals, I eat pretty healthy. I like pretty much everything. Food and I do not have trouble getting along. I love fresh fruits and vegetables, and appreciate creative food preparation and pairings. Flavor and variety are good!

But I also have a massive sweet tooth. Mostly in the form of chocolate. I’ve gotten into some very bad habits in the last few months due to that tooth (and its friends), and the pounds have crept on. This must stop. I deserve better than this.

I love myself. I love my body. And the best way to show that is to feed it good food and to keep the junk out.

There. It’s in writing. And after I hit “Publish” it will be out there for all my thousands (cough, cough) of readers to see and I will be committed.

We deserve it.

Weekend Post Mortem

We had guests this past weekend!

I’m not usually the one who hosts. I guess I got that from my mother – she was, and still is, a reluctant host. I love to get together with friends, but I’m much more comfortable on someone else’s turf than having everyone invade my own. Just because I do feel a little invaded – my home is my get-away and I like to feel enclosed in it.

But these were good friends and we were all looking forward to seeing them at our house! They arrived two hours past the planned arrival time on Friday night due to rain and heavy traffic, with my friend not feeling 100%. No matter, we had a nice dinner (pork roast with a soy and peanut butter dipping sauce and roasted broccoli which everyone devoured) and we even had cake in honor of my friend’s birthday, which is next weekend. Also? I made mango margaritas, which has become our traditional drink when we get together. By the end of the weekend I no longer had to consult the recipe – and the final batch was the best yet! We let all the kids have a “dip” where we let them dip their finger into our drink and lick it off. Hey, I have a rather suggestive photo of myself at around age 4-5 sucking from my father’s beer bottle.

I meant to take photos of all the food I served, since that was such a cause of angst when I posted last. The pork was a big hit and the next night I did a pasta dish with roasted tomatoes and garlic, which everyone also liked. The last night we did make-your-own pizzas on pita bread crusts which was perfect since by then she and I were exhausted and just wanted to get the kids fed and into bed. Mission accomplished!

We did a lot of shopping, since our state offers a no sales tax buying experience which my friend can’t get where she lives, but we also managed to squeeze in an apple festival to appease the kids. Here are some photos from that:

From left to right are Belle, G, Krystal and K:


Here is a better one of Krystal alone:


One of Belle which captures her “Belle-ness”:


And finally, my favorite of the two of them together:


We all had a great time – next visit, on their turf, probably the week between Christmas and New Year’s.

Eat What You Have

I am a terrible meal planner.

When I lived alone I virtually never planned dinner for myself. I’d get home from work and feel hungry, so I’d eat whatever I had. This often consisted of nuking a plate of tortilla chips smothered in salsa and cheese (a damn tasty snack, but not so nutritious as far as meals go), or angel hair pasta with frozen veggies and Parmesan cheese. Only angel hair would do because it only takes 3 minutes to cook – when I’m hungry I’m hungry! In fact, those are the only two things I can think of that I made with any regularity. Sometimes I’d get on a kick and buy lots of good food with the best intentions of eating and cooking better, but that never really panned out, or not for long anyway. I thew a lot of good food out because I just never got to it.

I’ve been parenting for over 7 years now and on the one hand I’m happy to report I’ve never served my kids tortilla chips for dinner, but on the other, I’d say we only have a meal I’ve planned more than an hour or two in advance once or twice a month. I know I have to feed them every night, but somehow it doesn’t really dawn on me most of the time until we’re all in the car on the way home at the end of the day and they are clamoring to know “what’s for dinner????”

Tonight was no different really. Except Krystal was home sick for the day so when we were leaving to go pick up Belle she asked that dreaded question (What’s for dinner?) and so I pulled open the frig. I took out whole wheat pizza dough we’d gotten at Trader Joe’s last weekend, some zucchini and summer squash I’d bought a week or so ago and never got around to grilling (the girls love it on the grill), and some leftover broccoli that I had grilled, but we hadn’t quite conquered the leftover part. I announced we were having pizza.

Originally I had planned to grill the zucchini and summer squash, but since I had no other reason to fire up the grill I decided to roast them instead. I cubed them and tossed them with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic cloves and put them on the bottom shelf of the oven. The pizza got covered in tomato slices from our container tomato plant and chopped leftover roasted broccoli and cheese. When it all came out of the oven 10 minutes later the kids said it looked like a restaurant.

It was all really tasty too. The entire pizza got eaten. We do have some leftover veggies, but those will probably get eaten tomorrow. I’m really happy that I was able to make a very tasty meal out of what was already in my refrigerator, which also included using up quite a bit of food that in a few days I would have had to throw out.

Eating what you have is the easiest way to save money on food. And making it healthy will keep the doctor away (just say no to tortilla chips for dinner!).


Back in February I decided I was worth the time, effort and money to join Weight Watchers to lose some extra weight.

I went to meetings (something I’d never done before) and counted points. Going to meetings was a huge logistical challenge for me, what with the whole working full time/parenting full time gig I’ve got, but I did do it.

I even lost some weight. Until I didn’t anymore.

And I’ve come to a conclusion.

While I’d still like to lose a few more pounds, I’m OK with where I am. I am eating much more healthfully, overall, than I had been. Oh, I’ve slipped up a few times, which mostly occurs when I dare bring ice cream into the house. And honestly, it will probably happen again, but I try to keep it in check. Eating enormous quantities of ice cream, as tasty as it is, does not equal healthy.  And I do love my dark chocolate. Frankly, I don’t know if I could get by on eating much less than I do now, long term. More to the point, I don’t want to! I love food, the healthy stuff as well as treats. And I’m not willing to give them up. But I am eating better, and I’m exercising most days, and I’m feeling good. Isn’t that as much as I can ask for?

So I bid WW adieu – thanks for the tools, but I am on my own from here on out. And I’m OK with that.

Egg Hunt


Ever since I first tasted the nectar that is the Cadbury mini egg, I have been under its spell.

I think it was 1997, and a co-worker offered me one. I declined, since I thought they were a malted candy, and I don’t care for malt. But she said, “No, no, you have to try one.” I took one to be polite and……..swooned. I went out and spent a small fortune on my own stash. Thereafter, every year on the day after Valentine’s Day I would stock up as often as possible until Easter, which is the window of opportunity to buy these things. I am not exaggerating when I say that some years I spent upwards of $100 on them. I always told myself I was stocking up so I could have them year round, but honestly, they never lasted much past Easter.

This year I have been more health conscious, as well as “trigger food” conscious, and I have only bought a few of the single serve packages, which the girls and I share. But for their Easter baskets I decided to get them each a big bag. The Target sale flyer this week indicated they were on sale for $1.99, so on Tuesday I stopped in. I scoured the Easter candy aisle and saw all kinds of pastel covered M&M’s, mini-Snickers, Kit Kats, Hershey’s Kisses in more flavors than I ever dreamed, as well as jelly beans, peeps and chocolate eggs and rabbits. But no mini eggs.

So I asked.

And was told they were all out. WHAT!?!?

I tried our local CVS, which had also advertised them on sale, and they were out too.

Today I tried another Target and the candy aisle looked like the canned goods aisle after a storm warning. Not only were there no mini eggs, but there wasn’t much of anything else either. I stopped in at a different CVS with the same, sad, empty-handed results.


  • It appears the secret of the heaven contained in Cadbury mini eggs is out
  • Recession? Maybe non-candy Easter gifts are way down, but based on the stores in my area, kids in these parts will need an extra dental cleaning sometime next week.

Have you seen Cadbury mini eggs in a store near you?

We’re Talking Summer

As you can see, we still have snow on the ground at our house:



Despite this, it was opening day at the ice cream stand near our house. Every other spring we’ve lived here they’ve opened the first weekend in March. Now, I believe in eating ice cream all year round, but I have always said I wish they would open later in the spring, and stay open later in the fall (they have always closed the weekend after Labor Day, which is way too early for me!). This year, when the first March weekend came and went without an opening, I wasn’t too surprised. It was definitely still winter around here, and I decided the owners had seen the wisdom in holding off. But last weekend, the first weekend of spring, I was really expecting it. Yet it didn’t happen. There was talk in our neighborhood that the owner had been having health issues and may not open at all this season. Say what??

Fortunately, by Tuesday there was a handwritten sign out front saying “Open Saturday, 11-9”, and all was right in the world again. I promised the girls we would go.

Today dawned foggy and grey, but turned sunny by noonish. And we made a trip for ice cream.



The kids couldn’t resist wearing flip flops:


And we weren’t the only ones enjoying a cool, sweet treat:


Cue the band – summer is really on its way. I am ready.

No Room in the Frig!

I’m on day, let’s see, Day 9 of Weight Watcher’s. I had my first weigh-in after being on the program for a week yesterday, and had a loss of 1.2 pounds, exactly in the healthy range. They recommend a loss of 1-2 pounds per week as a healthy rate of loss. I must confess that, although I’d read that time and time again since I first started reading teen, and then women’s, magazines, it wasn’t until I lost my post-marriage weight that it all made sense. You have to make gradual changes to make them a habit, and to ensure you can keep that weight off. And lest you think I was unsuccessful because I’m back at it, I want you to know that I lost 18 pounds nearly 4 years ago, but have gradually put back on about 7 of them. My goal is to drop those 7, plus maybe a few more.

But that is not what I came here to talk about!

Since I’ve been on WW, lo, these past 9 days, I’ve been trying to eat better. Which is kind of the point, no? And I am! I am eating healthier, feeling better, and trying to figure out how to make myself remember all this when I feel like throwing in the towel. I really do feel better when I eat better. Who’da thunk??

But I have a problem I wasn’t counting on.  My refrigerator is full! I am shopping more frequently than usual (1-2 times per week, versus 2-3 times per month) and even though I go in planning on only a few items, inevitably I come out with far more. And the fresh stuff (roasted broccoli and cauliflower is my current go-to, ever-so-delicious snack!) takes up a lot of room!


I really need to figure out a way to feed us all on this for awhile till it gets down. A lot.

New Ways to Spend Money

I posted some time ago (pause, while I find that post) about my internal dialogue about losing 5-10 pounds.

This morning I stepped on my bathroom scale and blanched. It was higher than it has been since I was on my way down nearly four years ago. I can’t say I was surprised, since I’ve been feeling a little chubbier than usual lately. Still, it was not pleasant to have that validated.

So on my way home from my morning at work I swung by a Weight Watchers location and went to my very first meeting. I handed over my credit card for my first month’s payment ($39.95) which includes unlimited meetings and their online tools. I also got introductory materials to take with me, which will be mine to keep forever. I was quite surprised when my initial weight, at noon, fully dressed, was almost a pound lighter than my  “first thing in the morning” weight had been a few hours earlier at home. I guess I’m glad it’s going in that direction, and not the other!

So we’ll see. Five pounds would make a difference, while I think I’ll feel and look better if I can get to ten pounds less, and find a way to stay there. I liked what the leader (a man!) said – “This isn’t about dieting, this is about living!” Who wants to die, when they can live, right? I do have food issues, which I’ve mentioned before, so I don’t see this as the be-all, end-all. I still need to deal with my relationship with food. But while I’m handling the emotional/mental part of that, I can be managing the mechanics of eating less and making better choices.

Did I need to spend $39.95 to do that?

No, but sometimes you have to put your money where your mouth is, and frankly, I’m worth $40.

Laying Off the Crap

I constantly struggle with weight issues. Much of this struggle is not visible to others: my BMI is in the healthy range (barely) and I am in decent shape (not as good as I was 6 months ago though!).  But struggle I do. For starters, I have a mammoth sweet tooth and an unnatural relationship with ice cream. So unnatural that I have had to stop buying it. Too many times I have gone through a whole container which supposedly has 14 servings (does anyone ever eat just a half cup of ice cream at a time!?!?) in less than 36 hours.

While I was married I put on quite a lot of weight. I was literally using food as a substitute for love, though I didn’t really realize this till later. After my divorce I joined Weight Watchers and lost it, and looked and felt great.I honestly don’t think I’d have had the mental or emotional “room” to lose that weight inside that marriage. Had we stayed married I feel sure I would have continued to pack on the pounds.

Now I find the weight creeping up again, and I am aware of two things. One, I am again using food as a source of love. And two, I’m feeding that need for love with too much crap.

And so, I need to lay off the crap. I need to stop reaching for another piece of chocolate just because the first (or second, or third, or…) is gone, or because I’m bored, or lonely, or frustrated, or…..When I feel the urge to eat “just because” I need to find another activity to feed that need. Not all needs can be fed with food.


These are the kinds of snowmen I can deal with

I hate winter. I hate cold, I hate snow, I hate all the bundling up you have to do because of the aforementioned. I hate how dark it gets so early in the evening (which admittedly is less winter’s fault, and more TPTB re: daylight savings).

But when Belle’s special snack day rolled around this week, I went hunting for a fun, winter snack to bring. And I found this in Family Fun magazine:0707_crunchysnowmen

Pretty cute, huh?

I procrastinated making them, and didn’t get started til after the girls went to bed on Monday night (snack day was Tuesday). I made 24 of them, and it took two hours, but here they are:


They don’t quiiiiite match the photo from the magazine, do they? But I must admit I thought they came out pretty well, all things considered. I didn’t have anything to use to make the noses out of, so I told Belle the snowmen are so cold that their scarves are covering their noses. She thought that was just fine! And yeah, I know part of the idea of a child bringing in a special snack is to help make it, but that was just not happening.

Krystal’s birthday is next week and she wants to bring them to share with her class. Guess what she and I will be doing on Monday (during the day!)?

Belle’s birthday is the day after Valentine’s Day. Can you say store-bought cupcakes?