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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Well, hello there!

Yesterday after my bike ride, I took Patton for a brisk walk. And by brisk I mean holy crap, it was chilly. Anyways, because it was chilly and because Alex was watching Clifford, I went solo and took my phone with me for amusement. I'm glad I did because, despite doing this same walk several times a week, I had never before noticed this little guy.

I guess even cacti understand the benefits of a good vista, huh? I've never seen such a thing before, but when I showed Todd he said he'd seen them before, albeit not often. Oh wait! Who is this guy's little neighbor over there?

The cactus on the left looks a little worse for wear but dare I say he's.... hanging in there!?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Workout Wednesday! Sorry for the format screw-up

Oh wow. This is a tough one! It's easy in the sense that you only need a couple of weights and a small amount of space in your house, but man it knocks you on your butt. I got it out of Women's Health but couldn't find it online, so I took pictures of each exercise. God bless the camera phone!

Do each exercise for a minute, back to back without stopping. After doing all ten moves, rest up to two minutes. Repeat twice for a total of three rounds of hell.


Okay this is really pissing me off, but for some reason Blogger refuses to accept that the photos for moves three and four were landscape and not portrait. They're saved as landscape on my desktop. It uploads as landscape but RIGHT before Blogger saves it, it switches. So screw you right back, Blogger. Anyways, that's why the next two moves below are in different lighting, because I had to re-take them just now. Ugh.

This things destroy me:

These are actually fun once you get the.... swing... of things? BAHAHAHA

Time to lie down right? Yep! And die? NOPE

These are fun too. It took me awhile to get the hang of it, but I found if I just stood with my feet spread out like you do for warrior poses in yoga, then I could easily switch from lunge to lunge without having to readjust my stance.

And now the finale!

Except you're not done! Rest for a minute and then do this crap all over again... twice.

Monday, February 25, 2013

DIY Microwave Popcorn.

Long, long ago, Todd and I bought a bulky popcorn popper that looked like a miniature popcorn vendor's cart. It was loud, took forever and took up a lot of space. Eventually I just shoved it in some cabinet and threw out the popcorn because just, no. This is America and I can't be standing around waiting for popcorn to pop, OKAY?

Anyways, I have always loved popcorn as a relatively healthy snack (though it's not strictly Primal, I still love it to this day and you will never pry it away from me, ever), but the other options weren't super healthy or calorically cheap. Yes, popping it in oil is delicious and olive oil is health and blah blah blah, but I didn't enjoy the added 200 - 300 calories (depending on how much oil you use).

So lately I'd been buying microwave popcorn in those single serve bags. But then there was that guy? Who got POPCORN LUNG?! Plus it's got a lot of other additives and while the phrase "clean eating" is being thrown around like a worn out rag doll lately, it's nice being able to pronounce what you eat, or to know what is in a food by looking at it.

So color me delightfully surprised when I discovered, thanks to that mystical goddess Pinterest (and of course it would be a goddess, because men and Pinterest? what?), that you can make microwave popcorn at home. Without anything more than popcorn kernels and a brown paper bag.




First you're all like, No, this cannot be, that is insane! The microwave popcorn people invented that sealed up, easy-to-open bag for a reason because NO ONE without a PhD in Popcorn could ever do it all by themselves. But then you start wondering, wait a second. It's just a dang bag.

Well, folks, it works and it's easy and delicious and devoid of additives, oils, and crap you can't pronounce. Simply take a paper lunch bag, add 1/3 cup popcorn kernels, fold the opening of the bag over a couple of times and microwave on high for about two and a half minutes. And you're done! That's a bingo!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

These two.

Like, God Bingley, get a life. Or a girlfriend or something.

I guess he just likes the company. Patton is obviously like IDGAF (acronyms and intent are NOT cussing okay), so you know that the lion's share of love comes from the dang cat. Which fascinates me since he doesn't seem to even like any of us.

 He's totally calling me out for my judgment. And probably for my intrusion as well. SUCK IT UP CAT. You eat my food and scratch my baby. FEEL THE JUDGMENT.

They're like the Odd Couple. Ice T and Coco. Forrest and Jenny. Tweedle Dee and Tweedle I BITE.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

"I want to see the lizard."

That's what Alex said when I told Todd to come check out the blizzard.

Now, let me stop here to say to all people who live in a winter-friendly area: DON'T LAUGH AT ME. This is legit a Tucson style blizzard, OKAY. I have to blog about this because it is historically important.

These pictures don't even really do it justice. I hate how tiny and far away everything looks, and how miniscule the snow flakes look but my God they were like big fluffy cotton balls floating down. Lemme zoom a bit.

Them's are flakes, man!! Then this little guy showed up:

Eat up, my friend!

They were hitting up the nectar buffet all day long, and I'd like to think they were grateful for a meal. If only I had cocoa mugs small enough.

Alex had a blast, too. Unfortunately I was in the middle of cleaning up so by the time we coudl get out there, the snow had stopped falling.

But that didn't stop her from eating some snow...

And grinning about it.

From eating some slush...

And being all, WTF about it!

And doing a little snow stomp here and there. Well if the grass hadn't been dead before, it'd definitely be dead now.

Look at how proud we are of our tiny grass patch with our even tinier snow patch. Go desert dwellers!

But then the coolest thing happened. Later that night...

BOOOOOM more snow! Look, I'm from back east and even though Tennessee is pretty mellow when it comes to winter, I still HAD a winter. Snow did happen. Ice storms were more likely but snow FELL man. so I was running around the back yard like a puppy at chuck wagon time when I realized what was happening.

I look like an axe murderer but THERE IS SNOW IN MY HURRRR

Beautiful blurry hawthorne, covered in snow.

I look like hell here too (yay no makeup) but we have snow on our heads! CALL THE POLICE.

I love love love this photo.

It was such a wonderful surprise. I would like to think that God was listening the night before this all happened, when I mournfully, wistfully told Todd I always thought I'd be raising my kids in Nashville, in grass, in seasonal shifts. So, thanks Lord!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Holy Hash Browns, Batman!

Did I just say hash browns? I sure did! JUST LOOK:

Yes, yes, it's an artless photo, but look past that and focus on the crispy crunchy cheesy crust on that bad boy. BUT WAIT. Aren't I on a low carb diet? Why yes I am! So it may shock and horrify you to learn that this hash brown casserole is actually comprised of spaghetti squash! Not a potato in site! PHENOMENAL. I got this recipe from Detoxinista and, like all the other recipes I've tried, it was just delicious. AND HEALTHY.

Cheesy Spaghetti Squash Casserole
serves six

1 spaghetti squash
1/2 a yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
olive oil
1.5 - 2 cups plain Greek yogurt (how much really depends on the size of the squash)
3 - 4 oz cheddar cheese, divided
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 375. Cut your squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and place both halves, cut side down, on a cookie sheet. Bake for about 30 - 35 minutes, until you can easily pierce the skin with a fork. Remove from oven and let cool.

In a skillet, heat some oil and butter over medium and add your onion. Saute until golden and tender. Turn off the heat, add your minced garlic, and toss quickly to avoid overcooking the garlic.

May I just stop here and say that, whenever a recipe says to add the minced garlic WITH the other veggies right at the beginning,  you should IGNORE that advice? Because it never, ever works out that way. Minced garlic takes like 30 seconds or less to become fragrant. So, I love you, Detoxinista, but do not recommend cooking minced garlic on medium high for five minutes, because no.

Transfer your cooked onion and not-burned garlic to a medium bowl, and add the Greek yogurt and about 2 - 3 oz of the cheddar. Stir this up and then fork out the spaghetti squash tendrils into the bowl. Mix all this stuff up very well, and season with S&P.

Dump the concoction into a casserole dish and smooth the top with a spatula. Sprinkle the rest of your cheese on top and oh for pete's sake just go grab another small handful because the lack of potatoes saved you about 389578467 calories.

Return to the oven and bake about 30 minutes, until the top is golden brown and full of heaven and puppies and promises of money. EAT.

This dish is so good, and is perfectly reheatable for leftovers the next day. YUM.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


This past holiday weekend, we went camping for a couple of nights to celebrate a friend's birthday. The weather was gorgeous and we were able to enjoy the run of the mill camping activities like a good long hike with the dogs, and a sunset beer up on a high ridge, overlooking the gorgeous hills, nooks and crannies that are hallmarks of the area. And we saw a lot of deer poop!

I had been really looking forward to that hike, but I have to say that some serious enjoyment went down when I holed up in our tent, cozied up under blankets to protect against the buffeting wind, with a glass of wine and a magazine. Todd, Ryan and Dwayne set up chairs and put up numerous targets against the high hill across the wash, and did some "plinking" which, for those who do not know, is shooting a small caliber gun at small targets, like cans. So they sat there, shooting the breeze, smoking cigars and drinking beers and shooting cans. Every man's dream, right?

They were so thoroughly enjoying themselves that I had to take some photos. But if you recall, I was seriously enjoying myself, so like heck I was moving out of that tent. But luckily, the breeze came to my rescue, blew up the tent's fly and I was able to snap some shots. Check out these good ol' boys.

Can't you just smell the cigar smoke, wafting on the breeze and through your monitor?

Can't you hear the little ping ping of Todd's .22 rifle Winchester thingie (I think that was it), and the subsequent bellows of triumph when they'd send those cans flying off the rock?

Can't you just imagine the high pitched wining sounds from an over-eager German shepherd who so desperately wanted to chase every single stupid bullet because OMG CHASING THINGS and never mind being third smartest dog breed?

Friday, February 15, 2013

All aboard! WOO WOO

So the other day Alexandra and I squeezed in a trip to the park after my morning of chores and complaining about doing chores. At this particular park, which is also next door to a zoo, there is a little choo choo train (and no, you cannot just say little train, you have to say little choo choo train because it is just that cute), and Alex loves to watch it, hear the bell ding, and above all else, here it go woo woo. I sound like a moron in this post already. Oh and can I just say that I gave up cussing for Lent and that is just such a blow to my blog writing skills because COME ON I LOVE TO SWEAR.

Anyways, this particular sunny afternoon, I had brought with me the four dollars required to purchase two tickets on the choo choo train and that is precisely what we did. We picked the red caboose because seriously, that is the place for cool people. We got to ride from the zoo entrance, across the street and around the duck pond with a pretty fountain in the middle. We saw a ton of pigeons and ducks, and had a grand old time.

Just look at how happy she was, my lovely little munchkin:

She's got my eyes for sure, and I just hope she's got my eyebrows because I don't have to pluck, YES I SAID IT AND IT'S ALL TRUE

She's probably wondering why her stupid annoying mother has to keep photo bombing her. Is that still a thing? Or are we over it?

I love that little face. It kills me, almost as much as not cussing is killing me now!

This photo shows how Alex decided to cross her legs the moment after I crossed mine. And it makes my heart do the Grinch thing where his heart grows three sizes too big and breaks the little gold frame around it. I actually wanted to get that image tattooed somewhere because it was such a great representation of how my marriage and motherhood has felt, and how happy my husband and child make me.

There, there is your sap crap for the day. I bet you miss all those F bombs right about now!

Monday, February 11, 2013


Funny, one time I put in my weight and height and all that crap and while my BMI was totally normal, the site dubbed that as "acceptance" and I was just like, OH THANK YOU.

Anyways, acceptance... What does that mean? It means, in context of today's post, that I need to accept that there are just some things I am not good at. Things that, 90% of the time just don't turn out well. I need to realize that there are things I am amazing at (picking husbands, making babies, baking flourless bread), and other things that I just suck at (math, being patient, using cheese graters).

It's the latter subject in that last parenthesized string to which I currently refer. How many times have I grated myself? Too many to count! You'd think I'd just give up, but noooo.

Isn't that absolutely disgusting? I kinda feel like an asshole, posting that pic and enlarging it like I have, but oh well. I bled like a stuck pig for about 20 minutes. All because I was too impatient (recall list of weak suits) to wait for Todd to finish what he was doing and come help. All because I was making my fabulous mushroom soup early so I could sit on the sofa and drink wine watching Once Upon A Time and Downton Abbey.

I mean, I am a woman who has stabbed herself in the center of her palm one holiday season because I was trying to dislodge a melted, iron-hard candle from a glass holder with a goddamn steak knife. I broke the glass, naturally freeing the candle and leaving nothing else to stab but myself. Yay!

I need to accept that fact and either wait for Todd to do it or use my Kitchenaid food processor. But the cleaning, and the parts, and oh come on, I won't hurt myself this time righOH GOD JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL THERE IS BLOOD EVERYWHERE.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

God Bless You, Mark's Daily Apple.

Okay, so like, I am a total convert to this Paleo/Primal lifestyle. Sure I still enjoy occasional cheese, my wine and my martinis, but aside from that, it's all out of here. Gluten makes me feel like crap. Grains make me feel bloated, burpy and gross. Yesterday we had fried chicken and I did use 2tbsp flour and some Panko, and felt okay after, but I had spent the entire day grain and legume free, and by golly it felt great.

I was experiencing a lot of reluctance and resistance to going full out Paleo but then I got into Mark's Daily Apple. His way of life is what he calls Primal and I just love it. He put up one of his typical days of eating on his site, and it showed he had an ounce of Gouda, a glass of wine, and tons of veggies with some great cuts of meat. I was like, I CAN DO THAT. And I fell in love!

Paleo fanatics are intensely strict about what they can't eat. No gluten or grains (corn included), no legumes or cheese, no sugars outside of fruit, no alcohol or caffeine, and we all just died inside a little, am I right?

But what I love about going Primal, a la Mark's Daily Apple, is that the major emphasis is on grains and gluten. Get that shit outta here. Dairy is pretty heavily restricted, especially if you have intolerance towards it, but if you can handle it, as in, if your body doesn't react poorly to it, go ahead. Don't go nuts, but enjoy.

And I'm like, YAY because parmesan. That is all.

I highly encourage you to check out the site and subscribe to get his daily newsletters. They're informative, motivational and humorous. Sure, I have my cheat meals, as evidenced by last night's amahzing fried chicken with omg gluten, but by and large I've been grainless since January 4th. I was only going to do this a month but I don't want to stop. Thanks to Mark Sisson, I really think I can handle it. There seems to be a much more laid back approach with the Primal method. I'll admit the second I read "gouda" on his FitDay meal tracker I was sold like bakelite at a jewelry auction.

Another thing that he discusses is the Primal way to get in your exercise. He goes into it here about how endless cardio workouts just get you nowhere. Now, we all know these days that strength training, intervals, etc, are far more beneficial than ever before considered, but Mark really drives home what is best, and I'd like to share the pyramid he lays out for the visually driven.

While I am a huge fan of running, and know first hand how well it can keep you in shape, I am very interested in this perspective, especially considering how intensely fit and in shape he is for a fifty-something. Plus, since my feet are so jacked up from plantar faciitis and since I somehow significantly injured my right ankle/heel this past weekend, this stuff is super doable. I'll already have logged over 26 miles on my bike this week and I did a great Todd workout last night so I'm already right in there with the Primal thing.

I've been really enjoying switching over to more veggies and meat and fats, less carbs, and little to no grain. I've enjoyed making dog walks a top priority to my late afternoons and focusing on getting my workouts in. After the intense training schedule I did for the triathlon, I really lost my steam and omg-gotta-get-to-the-gym mentality, because I was drained. I was sick of swimming, biking and running. I wanted to take a nap.

I don't currently have a gym membership either. I have a bike, I have weights and kettlebells and stability balls and jump ropes and yoga mats at home. All the tools are in my hands, and I've got Mark's Daily Apple to thank for lighting the fire under my butt to get healthier and get back in the game, both with fitness and with my diet. As one contributor to his site said, it's better to be a fit dad (or mom) than a fat dad (or mom) for not just yourself but for your whole family. And by fat, I don't just mean physically, but mentally as well.

Anyways, I guess I'm done fan-girling over here.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Sweet Potato Chiiiiiiips

Another faux chip post! Aren't you lucky! Why, yes you are. Tonight you can make these so you can eat them so you can soak up all that Friday night whiskey in your belly. Hey! Did I mention these are oil free?! Hey, did I mention I rode my bike this morning and am still jangling from the adrenalin rush that comes with riding a bike on a six lane street?! BLAHRSHBHABLARGHITY

Sweet Potato Chips

1 - infinity sweet potatoes, scrubbed and dried. NOT PEELED.
Sea salt

Set oven to 400. Using a mandolin, thinly slice your sweet potato. You know, I think I may have sliced mine a wee bit too thinly, as you can tell by some of the browned spots. Which actually didn't offend my allegedly extremely sensitive palate. So I don't like half a jar of olive brine in my martini, OKAY?! I AM NOT SENSITIVE. OKAY?!?!?! ::sobs::

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place a single layer of sweet potato chips on top, and sprinkle liberally with sea salt.

Bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven, flip each chip, say that three times fast, and return to oven for one to two minutes. Check back frequently because my first batch was destroyed in literally the last 30 seconds it was in the oven.

Allow to cool so they can crisp up even further and presto, delicious, healthy, oil-free, fry-free chips. And let me just tell you, an entire 5" long sweet potato is only 130 calories. That is a whole mess of chips. Tell THAT to the 10 measley fried potato chips you get in a 140 calorie serving. BOOM

God it's like I'm high off bike riding.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Peekaboo Park!

Today's been, well, today has been just swell. Got up at 9:45am, all three of us, because Alexandra is awesome and amazing like that. Thank God I got to all my chores yesterday because there just wouldn't have been time for them today with a sleep in like that. To say we are blessed beyond our wildest dreams is shortchanging the experience, let me tell you.

We went shopping today for some  new shirts for Alex since, thanks to mommy and daddy's tall people genes, she's almost too tall for 3Ts and she's not even three. Yeah, I know those are just a guideline but STILL. Our girl is a tall one and now she's got a few great new pieces that fit. Oh, and we had a lovely lunch, NO TEARS ON EITHER SIDE of her plate of food.

You know, can I take a moment here to just discuss how awesome she's become with food? Now, as a first time mommy, I had my handful of stressful, breastfeeding-hormone-induced freak-outs because she used to not eat anything! I mellowed out some and sure enough, without the stress and panics there was room for pleasure and exploration. She now eats lamb, brie and bleu cheeses, camembert is like, hey, no big deal. Girly-pop eats broccoli, peas, carrots and corn, cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce. She tolerates sweet potatoes, a bit of sushi here and there, and entire side dishes of Mexican rice. I AM SO LUCKY. Because I'm not suggesting it's due to our refined palates or anything, trust me. I won the fucking lottery here.

Anyways, so yeah, a great protein-packed lunch, shopping trips, and I bought her some second hand tap shoes so the last twenty minutes before her nap were punctuated with the jolly, joyous staccato of her clap-trapping around the house, doing tap dance moves she saw on an Elmo video. It's all just been laid back and delightful, and the gorgeous day, sunny and in the seventies, sure did its best to add to all the good stuff going on.

We have a book here at home called Peekaboo Park and you follow a mom and toddler sun through the park, rhyming things and opening flaps to play "Peekaboo!" we found such and such. Well, that book was the first thing that came to mind when I saw this at the park this morning:

Like, oh my GOD people, what? And this wasn't even the cutest little face, because she was in that tube when a couple of huge military planes flew overhead and I asked her if she could see them. Her little face smooshed against that hole, wide eyes lifted skyward, oh man. I just can't even tell you.

My bestie Kendra went with us and Alexandra absolutely ADORES her. The other day we went to the children's museum and Kendra, my Kenny B, met us there. When Alex saw her? Come into the room? Yeah. She stopped what she was doing, squealed in delight and ran over to hug Kendra. Tuesday afternoon? At the end of my lunch break? Yeah. I tried to kiss her and she shouted, hand raised like Magneto or a fucking Jedi, and screamed "I DON'T NEED A KISS."

So, in that picture up there, the joy of her gazing at Kendra is illuminated in those gorgeous eyes. Lucky Kenny.

Wouldn't it be funny if I said that she only had one hand gripping the peek-hole? Especially since I just mentioned an X-Man. I guess she'd be Grabbo Girl.

Hey you. Hey love of my life, light in my heart. Peekaboo, baby. I see you and I love you.