Friday, December 30, 2011
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Mushroom Lettuce Wraps
Note for next time. Although these were VERY tasty, this "Mushroom soy" I suspect was Teriyaki
and was super sweet (aka, sugar). I woke up feeling hung over and had a headache. I must learn to ASK the waiter about whats in my selection.
A "heartbreakingly delicious" national bestseller about a chef, her students, and the evocative lessons that food teaches about life.
Once a month, eight students gather in Lillian's restaurant for a cooking class. Among them is Claire, a young woman coming to terms with her new identity as a mother; Tom, a lawyer whose life has been overturned by loss; Antonia, an Italian kitchen designer adapting to life in America; and Carl and Helen, a long-married couple whose union contains surprises the rest of the class would never suspect...
The students have come to learn the art behind Lillian's soulful dishes, but it soon becomes clear that each seeks a recipe for something beyond the kitchen. And soon they are transformed by the aromas, flavors, and textures of what they create.
Santa Claus left Stella, my honorary niece, a squeaky bone under our tree this Christmas. Last night when the family popped on over for a visit, I was finally able to show her that Santa left a little something.
Its amazing when you can see a dog's expression. Stella LOVED the squeaky bone. You can tell by her short bursts of excitement that she would let out (in my very small apartment).
Mom had told me that she carried the bone in her mouth the whole way home. Its about a mile walk.
"That's what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown"... My heart is FULL.
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
The reason I've been using the above mentioned ads, catalogs and screen caps is because I don't actually have ANY subscriptions to ANY magazines. And for some strange reason, there is not much to pull from out of B's ESPN or Sports Illustrated magazines.
So I figure its time to put some of these built up Coke Reward Points to good use. I have "screen captured" the finalists in my selection. The larger featured magazines are weighing more in my favor. I have enough points for a few magazines, but wanted to get some that were going to be Petunia friendly.
Whole Living, is a huge contender for me, since its about eating whole foods. Whole grains, fruits and veggies. It does not consist of processed foods out of a box, can or simple sugars. So this might be ideal since its on the harder side to find recipes sans white flour or sugar. (Diabetic cookbooks tend to simply feature more artificial sweeteners such as Splenda which I don't eat either).
I feel like a "home" oriented magazine would be ideal since now, B and I are "in the beginning stages of looking for a home to buy"... Now if only I'd stop getting the sweats every time I look at those multiple listing websites. But this is the direction of our future, so I want a magazine that suits my taste and helps me see whats out there so I can dream big.
And Oprah is... well, she's just Oprah. I certainly admire her for her altruistic tendencies, and the light that she brings to causes and issues that are important to her. She seems to surround herself with people who are in the know. I would imagine she has a huge support system. As my therapist says, powerful people are supported. So I'm trying to find the support I need.
What magazines speak to you?
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Saturday, December 24, 2011
I almost wrapped up paper towels and the toaster, just to stick them under the tree too!
Friday, December 23, 2011
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Monday, December 19, 2011
Thursday, December 15, 2011
12 Things Happy People Do Differently
by Jacob Sokol of Sensophy“I’d always believed that a life of quality, enjoyment, and wisdom were my human birthright and would be automatically bestowed upon me as time passed. I never suspected that I would have to learn how to live - that there were specific disciplines and ways of seeing the world I had to master before I could awaken to a simple, happy, uncomplicated life.”
Studies conducted by positivity psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky point to 12 things happy people do differently to increase their levels of happiness. These are things that we can start doing today to feel the effects of more happiness in our lives. (Check out her book The How of Happiness.)
I want to honor and discuss each of these 12 points, because no matter what part of life’s path we’re currently traveling on, these ‘happiness habits’ will always be applicable.
- Express gratitude. – When you appreciate what you have, what you have appreciates in value. Kinda cool right? So basically, being grateful for the goodness that is already evident in your life will bring you a deeper sense of happiness. And that’s without having to go out and buy anything. It makes sense. We’re gonna have a hard time ever being happy if we aren’t thankful for what we already have.
- Cultivate optimism. – Winners have the ability to manufacture their own optimism. No matter what the situation, the successful diva is the chick who will always find a way to put an optimistic spin on it. She knows failure only as an opportunity to grow and learn a new lesson from life. People who think optimistically see the world as a place packed with endless opportunities, especially in trying times.
- Avoid over-thinking and social comparison. – Comparing yourself to someone else can be poisonous. If we’re somehow ‘better’ than the person that we’re comparing ourselves to, it gives us an unhealthy sense of superiority. Our ego inflates – KABOOM – our inner Kanye West comes out! If we’re ‘worse’ than the person that we’re comparing ourselves to, we usually discredit the hard work that we’ve done and dismiss all the progress that we’ve made. What I’ve found is that the majority of the time this type of social comparison doesn’t stem from a healthy place. If you feel called to compare yourself to something, compare yourself to an older version of yourself.
- Practice acts of kindness. – Performing an act of kindness releases serotonin in your brain. (Serotonin is a substance that has TREMENDOUS health benefits, including making us feel more blissful.) Selflessly helping someone is a super powerful way to feel good inside. What’s even cooler about this kindness kick is that not only will you feel better, but so will people watching the act of kindness. How extraordinary is that? Bystanders will be blessed with a release of serotonin just by watching what’s going on. A side note is that the job of most anti-depressants is to release more serotonin. Move over Pfizer, kindness is kicking ass and taking names.
- Nurture social relationships. – The happiest people on the planet are the ones who have deep, meaningful relationships. Did you know studies show that people’s mortality rates are DOUBLED when they’re lonely? WHOA! There’s a warm fuzzy feeling that comes from having an active circle of good friends who you can share your experiences with. We feel connected and a part of something more meaningful than our lonesome existence.
- Develop strategies for coping. – How you respond to the ‘craptastic’ moments is what shapes your character. Sometimes crap happens – it’s inevitable. Forrest Gump knows the deal. It can be hard to come up with creative solutions in the moment when manure is making its way up toward the fan. It helps to have healthy strategies for coping pre-rehearsed, on-call, and in your arsenal at your disposal.
- Learn to forgive. – Harboring feelings of hatred is horrible for your well-being. You see, your mind doesn’t know the difference between past and present emotion. When you ‘hate’ someone, and you’re continuously thinking about it, those negative emotions are eating away at your immune system. You put yourself in a state of suckerism (technical term) and it stays with you throughout your day.
- Increase flow experiences. – Flow is a state in which it feels like time stands still. It’s when you’re so focused on what you’re doing that you become one with the task. Action and awareness are merged. You’re not hungry, sleepy, or emotional. You’re just completely engaged in the activity that you’re doing. Nothing is distracting you or competing for your focus.
- Savor life’s joys. – Deep happiness cannot exist without slowing down to enjoy the joy. It’s easy in a world of wild stimuli and omnipresent movement to forget to embrace life’s enjoyable experiences. When we neglect to appreciate, we rob the moment of its magic. It’s the simple things in life that can be the most rewarding if we remember to fully experience them.
- Commit to your goals. – Being wholeheartedly dedicated to doing something comes fully-equipped with an ineffable force. Magical things start happening when we commit ourselves to doing whatever it takes to get somewhere. When you’re fully committed to doing something, you have no choice but to do that thing. Counter-intuitively, having no option – where you can’t change your mind – subconsciously makes humans happier because they know part of their purpose.
- Practice spirituality. – When we practice spirituality or religion, we recognize that life is bigger than us. We surrender the silly idea that we are the mightiest thing ever. It enables us to connect to the source of all creation and embrace a connectedness with everything that exists. Some of the most accomplished people I know feel that they’re here doing work they’re “called to do.”
- Take care of your body. – Taking care of your body is crucial to being the happiest person you can be. If you don’t have your physical energy in good shape, then your mental energy (your focus), your emotional energy (your feelings), and your spiritual energy (your purpose) will all be negatively affected. Did you know that studies conducted on people who were clinically depressed showed that consistent exercise raises happiness levels just as much as Zoloft? Not only that, but here’s the double whammy… Six months later, the people who participated in exercise were less likely to relapse because they had a higher sense of self-accomplishment and self-worth.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
I'm really excited about this breakfast.
Breakfast for me can get kinda boring. My usual breakfast is:
1) Left over pancakes from Sunday (especially if I have yoga in the morning)
2) Hard boiled eggs (if I'm on the run)
3) Frozen fruit & yogurt Smoothie (if its the summer time)
6) Yogurt with date paste and Ezekiel cereal on top for a granola-y crunch (can only have this when I actually have some organic Greek yogurt in the house)
7) Whole Wheat cereals.
Hmmmm... not too bad of a selection, come to think of it, but I guess I don't normally "get" to have waffles or English muffins, or biscuits.
The Husband spotted these Ezekiel English muffins in the freezer section of the supermarket. I almost hesitated cause well... they were NOT cheap. But I remembered how I do feel like breakfast is one of those meals that I just circulate around and around, and what about a little mix up!
So I literally throw the entire unbroken English muffin from Freezer to toaster oven. About 5-7 minutes later I burn my hands while taking it off of the rack and using whatever is on the counter (usually the back of B's coffee spoon, will break them open (still using my hand so my fingers keep getting burned)
I then top with a little bit of jelly that is made of just the fruit itself, and sweetened with some other sort of fruit juice, a nice glob of nut butter (in this case, Almond butter, but I have used peanut butter in the past)
And I am one happy camper, along with my cup of Joe.
Now as I type this up, I think how this cold be fun to do a cinnamon toasty vibe or even a peanut butter and dark chocolate chip thing for a desert.
Monday, December 12, 2011
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
This woman... kinda fascinates me. I'm not sure why. She's sort of appalling... she's outrageous and obnoxious. I do know why... she makes no apologies for who she is. She's confident and never doubts herself or her abilities. From the stories told, she was born that way. She has this "Why the f*ck not" attitude, and I'd like to be more like this.
The first book I listed to was "Are you there Vodka, It's Me, Chelsea." She narrates this book and tells tells from growing up, summers in Martha's Vinyard and trips to Costa Rica with her father later in her career.
The next book I listened to was "Lies That Chesea Handler Told Me"... which is narrated by the people who write the the stories. Kinda funny, again, she's just so over the top.
All and All, these are both pretty entertaining to listen to on any drive and and out of work. Especially while sitting in LA traffic!
Monday, December 5, 2011
Friday, December 2, 2011
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
I know that Thanksgiving is supposed to be about the turkey... I mean family... I mean gratitude...
I have to be honest... for me, its about the Stuffing. And ONLY about the stuffing.
Last year, I had to fore go stuffing because I had begun the process of cleansing my body of all grains, white sugar and flour. It was quite hard for me to smell the Stove Top and stay clear away from it. But I did.
This year was gonna be different. I didn't want to miss out, but decided that I didn't have to succumb to the crap that's in prepackaged stuffing mix (albeit extremely tasty!)
I took a loaf of this Whole Wheat seeded bread from Whole Foods and cut it up into cubes. I thew it in the oven and toasted the pieces. They I let it sit out for a day or two to get nice and dry. Then I sauteed some celery and onions (bought that already chopped from Ralphs, a little luxury for me) and threw in some sage and marjoram, chicken stock and into the pot went the bread.
It wasn't Stove Top, it was a heartier version. The bread remained dense, but really it turns out for me, stuffing is really sage and marjoram.
This will be a repeat offender for the coming thanksgivings. I might add some ground pork and mushrooms too since I don't think the husband ate any of mine. No sense is not catering to my own desires for the future :)
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Monday, November 28, 2011
Man, nothing can bring fragrance to a room like Hot Apple cider, stewing all day while you are hitting the appetizers, main course, and desert.
I love making this because I literally put a gallon of apple juice in the Crock pot the night before. Throw in 2 cinnamon sticks, about 8 clothes and a star anise.
Some people will put the spices in a little bouquet garnish but I in the past just let the little guys float. This time, I added 1 nectarine to the pool... but studded the nectarine WITH the cloves... so no floaters! It was really neat, and easy and reminded me of some clove studded orange thing I made in elementary school... I can't seem to remember what the purpose of said ornament was (I'm gonna have to ask my mom now).
The apple juice totally sweetens this cider up but if its not sweet enough, go at it with your sugar of choice.
Keep the Crock pot on low throughout the entertaining process to keep the cider piping hot
.... could go for some now!
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
I'm kinda obsessed with these things... just saying. They feel sweeter than anything I put in my mouth these days. I bet they'd make a good cheesecake.
i can easily eat 10 of these a day... that would pretty much be 10 proper apricots... without the water, which is a key factor in stuff making you full...
when these are gone... I need to stay away from Fresh & easy for a while.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
But... I love the dress. Nuff said.
Monday, November 21, 2011
Today my little cousin Karisa turns 25... WTF. I remember when she was born... I was 6. I remember the shirt I was wearing when I was holding her...
Well, Happy Birthday Little K. For you, I baked this cheesecake in my beautiful Emile Henry pie plate that I got for my wedding from Josh and Kelly.
It's been packed away hidden from our "just joking" almost move back to NY. It was in the "we're only gonna be here for 6 months" box that I could do without for... 6 months. Almost 2 years later, I fished it out of a mis-marked triple packed box in a box in a box. Fun!
I'm really excited because this was the first time that I made a cheesecake in something other than a spring foam pan. It turned out really well. I baked at just 1 hour in a water bath. It's creamy and sweet (using dates that I just threw into the food processor along with the other ingredients).
Ok... I didn't make this for Little K's bday. It was just a fun reason to post this picture :)
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Not the case with other popular bestselling books. And this is usually why I stay away from anything hard hitting... You won't see me sitting under an umbrella on a Dominican beach with the Kite Runner, or sitting in a coffee shop with The Song of Salomon, or curled in the nook of my couch with Marlee and Me. Its just not gonna happen... (was on edge after book 4 of the Harry Potter series!)
Its no different than Romantic Comedies never willing Oscars... Its always the hard hitting movies like Precious or Boys Don't Cry that land those statues in glass cases or over fireplaces.
It was suggested to me by my friend Anne that I read David Nicholl's "One Day" rather then paying the $5.25 to see Anne Hathaway at my local theater. I put the book on reserve and announced to Anne that I was number 356 in line for the copy at the LAPL system...
Fast forward 8 months and I finally got my copy.
Anne and I read such "Chick lit" fiction such as Emily Giffen's Something Borrowed, Something Blue, and a few other titles. Not always as predictable as the historical romance genre, I can usually pin point at least 1/2 way through the book how it will end...
But I didn't get that feeling until day 5 of book reading with fewer than 40 pages to finish... I won't give the book away. This is no fairytale. Nuff said. And I hate feeling anything other than elation. I get enough feelings from watching Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice.
Let me not give you the wrong impression... I liked the book. It was nice to dance for a week outside my comfort zone. The premise of the book was cool too... It takes place over 20 years on July 15th St. Swithin's Day.
Some of the book takes place in Edinburgh, Scotland and having been there, it was fun to be able to feel transported a bit. Especially to Arther's Seat :)
I'm gonna try my hand next at Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" series. Another suggestion from some pretty awesome women :)
Friday, November 18, 2011
Thursday, November 17, 2011
I would imagine that this shit is NOT good for you, but damn... I'm in in love with my hands! (Especially while in downward facing dog at 7:00 am on a Thursday.) It makes me smile.
I mean, the worst that would probably happen is poisoning... or my finger beds falling off... no biggy!
I had Anna (my manicurist) paint the white lines REALLLLLLY thin to really make them look the real whites of my nails. I'm in love :)
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Serenity and drunkenness don't really go together and safe for the occasional glass of champagne or wine with dinner, Sylvie doesn't drink alcohol. neither does she smoke or take drugs or eat red meat or bread or refined sugar or potatoes.
Um... this pretty much is me... with the exception of French Fries.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
I would love to think that I prayed to my Fairy Godmother, that this pumpkin would turn into a house in my adorable neighborhood.
Or a high paying, short work day job complete with magical benefits, 401k, job security and flexibility!
Or a winning lotto ticket that would afford me time, money and reason to travel around the world!
Man, I love magic pumpkins!
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Its that time of year again when cookies and candy and sweets OH MY are on the brain.
I just passed our reception office and like clockwork sit 2 big plastic jack-o-lanterns filled with candy and chocolate. I spent 5 minutes or so sniffing the mini "fun size"-d bag of m&ms and Twixts.
I "stepped away" from the pumpkins. Note to self... stay AWAY from Reception 'til January.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
I pulled out a long sleeve shirt, full pants, and put on my black leather boots that can withstand the rain. My purple umbrella and raincoat were both waiting for me in my car. Not the smartest thing since I pass through many unprotected entrances and carports before I come to my own car. I keep my work bag, lunch bag, and purse close as I can to ensure the huge droplets of rain stay away from my important papers.
The dive to work is hideous. The first rain of the season brings out the most panicked drivers. We all know that a few months of oil build up is about to mix with the rain. And its really coming down. But I don't mind. I'm listening to my newest book on tape, Bossypants, written and narrated by Tina Fey. And this sh*t is funny!
I run into work. Despite having my raincoat on now, and using my umbrella, the umbrella isn't really big enough to carry my monstrosity of an ensemble (again, Lunch bag, work bag and purse... good thing it wasn't a yoga day).
I fix myself a cup of tea (having downed already 2 cups of coffee this morning) and enjoy the sullen gloomy weather, all bundled up at my desk, work work working.
My tummy grumbles, and even though I packed a lunch (leftover brown rice pasta and new england clam sauce & steamed Brussel sprouts) the weather is just screaming for Turkey Chili from our stage cafeteria.
I suit up and walk across the studio lot ducking under any breezeway and awning that I can fine. The rain is taking on a diagonal directions so my pants are getting wet. My thick rubber heals are protecting my feet from puddles, but I'm still careful where I stand. Racing into the building and giving the umbrella a few shakes out of respect for the venue, I run to the counter...
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
My worst commute was The Valley to Santa Monica. Man, I'd come home just, rip shit mad. Road Rage was a very real factor in my life. Then, I found books on tape. Cue the angels. The books usually took me to a far away place and certainly away from the 405 parking lot. It usually only took me about 1 disk to get attached to the plot, and then, I would just listen, and drive.
My favorite author to listen to is Maeve Binchy. She doesn't read her own books, but most of them take place in either Ireland or Greece, or Italy. Between Maeve's words or the narrator's accents, I would drift away to a special 'happy place', and my hands would loosen around the the steering wheel.
By the time I reached my parking spot at home, I usually "had to" wait in the car for the chapter to end, or a good place to stop. But the point was, I would enter through the threshold to meet my beloved with a much different attitude. (Sometimes, I would HOPE for more traffic... shhhhhhhhh!).
Another fun series was the Shopaholic books from Sophie Kinsella. Again, the English accent helps, and the light fun content was enough to distract. Nothing truly though provoking here.
My last and current job has kept me 2 years 'steady' with the same commute... which, is a Medium sized commute if we were playing the 3 Bear scenario. 30 minutes or so on and off the brakes to get to work, 17-25 on the way home. All of 5.1 miles. Luckily I don't usually come home feeling like my temper had rocked off the Richter scale from the freeway. Summers were so great, but now that the kiddies are all back in school, commuting has gone back to sucking medium suck. Stop and go for all of 5 miles just sucks.
Enter, Kristen Chenoweth. My friend had mentioned that she heard that Kristen's book, "A Little Bit Wicked (a play on her developing the role of Galinda in Wicked on Broadway".
Turns out, Ms. Kristy from Broken Arrow, OK also narrates her book so I ordered it from my library and waited, and waited, and waited... I finally got the notice that it was my turn :) I think I waited a few months. So long, that I forgot that I ordered it until I got the email.
The minute I popped it into my cd player in the car, I was ADDICTED. She is so freakin cute, entertaining and enchanting. The experience as a whole was so delightful. I can not rave about it enough. She is honest and funny, and the alliteration is amazing. I finished disk 6 today... and I was so sad. Its over. Done. Blah. But I did make a copy of it, so I can throw it back into circulation when I need a pick me up!
Thursday, September 29, 2011
These are the last 3 weeks worth of flowers make my apartment oh so cheery :)