6/28/13

A Few on Friday

1.  Do you need some soap?  Some shower gel?  Hop on over to Thistle Farms and get yourself some.  What is Thistle Farms?  Check this is from the their website:

Thistle Farms is a social enterprise of women who have survived lives of prostitution, trafficking, addiction, and life on the streets. By hand the women create natural body care products. Magdalene is the 2-year residential community. We believe love is stronger than all the forces that drive women to the streets.

Turns out, B and I were out of kitchen sink soap at our house.  Usually, I get the Caldrea from the Viking Cooking School and call it a day.  Looking forward to this as an alternative.  I got the lemon sage, what what?

2.  Isn't this lovely? 
Find it here

I'm trying to lead a calmer, simpler life these days.  Some days it works, some days it doesn't.  Regardless of how things are going, I think this quote is pretty cool. 

Tell you one thing, though.  It's tough to feel like you are having a calmer, simpler day when you are downwind from a gassy Akita. 

3. Speaking of that gassy Akita, he is terrified of fireworks.  I mean, we figured this much as most dogs are but didn't realize the extent of his fear until last night.  B and BBH and I had walked down to the levee for the viewing of our fair city's Stars and Stripes fireworks show (fireworks are cheaper in June, don't play).  I had walked down the levee to say hello to a friend when the fireworks started.  I see Brandon's ball capped head start bucking around and then disappear.  I look left and see him being pulled at full sprint by a terrified, 131 pound hound.  He looked like a cartoon with his legs and arms flailing around; he later reported that they sprinted the three blocks home.  

Really wish he would have had a go pro camera strapped to his forehead.  If only.  

Happy weekend dear friends!  Hope it's a good one!








6/27/13

Buffalo Chicken Potato Casserole

Not to be a bossy blawgger but I don't think you are ready for this jelly.

Ready for what? you might ask. 

Ready for Buffalo Chicken Potato Casserole. 

Whhhhaaaaaaaaat? 

Yes.  I went there.  I made it.  I ate it.  I loved it
So there is nothing redeeming or healthy or nourishing about this meal BUT if you are looking for an easy something to throw together on a Sunday night then this meal might be for you. 

If you are looking for an easy something to throw together on a Sunday night to help you to not panic while watching that Nik Wallenda turkey walk across the Grand Canyon, then this meal is definitely for you.  

It's also lovely paired with a carona light.  

But seriously, what isn't?  
 How's that for all one color?  Bam. 

This original recipe calls for some sort of dip that our fair grocer didn't carry.  This was not something I found surprising so instead of spending lots of energy on it, Win and I just put our heads together and came up with our own plan. 

Really, y'all.  Life is far to short to not eat trashy casseroles.  Join me in loving this dish.  And if you figure out the points, don't tell me.  I don't want to know. 

Buffalo Chicken Potato Casserole
adapted from Plain Chicken

32 oz frozen potatoes
2 cans cream of chicken soup
8 oz sour cream
8 oz buffalo wing sauce
8 oz blue cheese
4 cups of cooked, chopped chicken
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups crushed Frito's

Preheat the oven to 450. 

Combine all ingredients except for the Frito's and place in a lightly greased casserole dish.  Top with Frito's.  Bake for 30 minutes. 

**I divided this up, cooked one and froze the other.  You know what that means...round two!


6/26/13

WooHoo Wednesday!!! (What If We All Tried a Little Harder?)

I recently encountered a situation in which another party could have tried a little harder.  

I wont go into details  regarding this situation because if we (I) are (am) operating from our (my) mature adult selves (self) then we (I) know that it never really matters what the other party does.  

But really.  Home fry could have tried a little harder. 

OK.  I'm moving on now.    
If We Could All Just Try Harder 
Find it here at Life + Dog

There's beauty in the idea of everyone, not just the other party, trying a little harder.  Trying a little harder at kindness, patience, helping.  At listening. At holding doors.  At speaking.  

Whatever.      

Everyone's got their stuff, everyone is busy, we're all spent most of the time and some are fighting unthinkable battles.  

But.  

What if we just all tried a little harder?  I know I could.  And I know that things seem to go a little better when I do. 

So there. Say Woohoo!! and try just a schosche more.   

6/25/13

Vegan Black Bean Burger

Would you believe me if I told you that North Sunflower Medical Center serves a black bean burger that is so full of awesomeness it will make your head spin?  Well.  It's true.  The do. 

Kind of brings people together, the NSMC black bean burger.  Folks that often don't have the same dietary preferences all freak out over the BBB.  

Not to be confused with the BBH although I'm sure that they would freak out over him, too.  

So this vegan black bean burger was a delight.  Paired with green beans and some sweet potato fries, it was practically the perfect supper.  

For a 1/7 vegan.  

It was the perfect supper for a 1/7 vegan that didn't have anyone else to impress.  

But to bad their wasn't anyone to impress because let's be honest...that mustard heart is kind of amazing.      
Vegan Black Bean Burgers
 
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup finely chopped carrot
1/4 cup finely chopped pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped mushroom
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbl ketchup
2 tsp dijon mustard (I used Durkees and the world didn't end)
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground chili powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup black beans
1/4 cup of panko bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  
 
Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions, carrot, pepper, mushrooms and saute for 4-5 minutes or until soft.  Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds.  Add the ketchup, mustard, cumin, chili powder and salt.  Stir to combine.  

Transfer to a food processor and allow to cool.  Add in the panko and the black beans and process until smooth.  

Transfer to a bowl.  Divide into two equal parts and form into patties.

Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.  Cook the patties for 15 minutes and serve however you usually do your burger business. 

Serving size 1 patty
Points plus 5

6/21/13

A Few on Friday

I'm back turkeys!  Missed you guys. Missed ya'll big!

1.  I've discussed this before, but how clutch is Moonrise Kingdom?  
http://content9.flixster.com/movie/11/16/67/11166787_800.jpg 
It's just so weird and lovely, I adore it so.  HBO and it's loving to play things over and over and over again self is giving it lots of love. 

HBO is also giving Magic Mike lots of love but I haven't quite gotten around to checking that one out. 

2.  We are long over due here on the elevator for a solid and slightly skanky casserole.  Hows about:

Mom's Chicken a la Gloria, which is described on pinterest as a cousin to chicken Marsala but richer and easier.  Three freaking cheers to the people that come up with these descriptions.  Check this shiz out here
Mom’s Best Recipe – Chicken Gloria

So if that doesn't do it for you, how about some Buffalo Chicken Potato Casserole?  Oh yeah.  Get it.  The author of the recipe has blocked the copy-and-paste function so I can't show you a picture...just follow that link and check it out.  

Both of these, they are happening.  

3.  Pray for me.  Pray for me for lots of reasons, for lots of times but especially tomorrow morning as I lace up my Nikes and run the Hotter than Hades Half Marathon Relay with Emily.  Good Lord it's been so hot and humid lately.  Guess who's not going for their personal best?  This girl right here. That's who. 

4.  Look at this book!  I need it.

5.  Speaking of paddling, I love it.  But I do not love when my kayak hurls itself off the top of my Subaru while we are driving down money road.  This is precisely why the roof rack has been ordered.  My wagon is going to look like it has a little Mohawk.  Isn't that the sweetest?    

6.  This guy is the sweetest but you knew that already:

You guys are also the sweetest.  Hope you have a wonderful weekend!  Stay cool and do something that you love!     
   

6/14/13

A Few on Friday

1.  Our air went out earlier in the week.  Reason number 529 that I am oh so very insanely glad that I rent.  Say what you will about throwing money away and mortgages being cheaper....I haven't had to pay to fix an A/C for the 3rd time in two years. 

We all dealt in different ways, the Brownest Hound dealt by sprawling out in front of the box fan.
Hims was hot

2.  Brandon and I are now the proud owners of twin kayaks.

That face is, as my friend Malone pointed out, my "white water" face.

I do love to float and look forward to exploring the little nooks and crannies of the Delta that I'm not familiar with.  My kayak even has a glock sticker on it!  I love it and refuse to remove it.  Gives it moxie, I say. 

You know what else has moxie?  

A Few on Friday post with only two things.   

Short and sweet, turkeys.  Happy Friday to you all!    

6/13/13

Summer Squash and Onions

If you follow me on Instagram, then you know everything about me know that mine and Brantley's garden is producing quite well.  I was pumped to pull into my driveway yesterday and find these goodies hanging in a plastic sack on my door.
Brandon was also pumped as his very most favorite summer side is squash and onions.  Quickly the what to have for a side with our shrimp mystery was solved and all was well in the world.
I've posted this one before but since it's Throwback Thursday on many social media outlets, I'll post it again.  Enjoy the butter, my friends.

Summer Squash and Onions

1 onion, chopped
1 lb of squash, sliced
3 tbl of butter, divided
salt and pepper

In a pan, heat one tablespoon of the butter over medium high heat.  Add the chopped onion and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.  

Add another tablespoon of butter, a pinch of salt and the squash, stir, reduce the heat to medium low and cover.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes.  

Uncover, increase the heat to medium high and stir constantly for about five minutes.

Remove from heat, stir in that last tablespoon of butter, season to taste with salt and pepper.  

Serving size 1/2 cup
Points plus 2   


  

6/12/13

The Big M

Stop! 

Melasma time.

Da-na-na-na, na-na, na-na can't touch this! 

With regular face creams, that is. 
Pardon me for the bathroom selfie but I just wanted you to see what I'm talking about.  My melasma started appearing on one side of my forehead two summers ago and started appearing on both sides of my forehead last summer.  This summer, it's on both sides of the forehead and other various places on my mug.   

I went and got it checked out last summer but nothing really came of that aside from me getting groped by the dermatologist.  I made the personal choice to not give the bleaching cream that he gave me a try, mainly because of the proximity of the spot to my eyebrows. 

So, melasma is something that I get pretty focused on.  I think it's because I prefer to go makeup-less most of the time and the big M hinders that.  It may not be noticeable to you but to me it feels like I put a big blob of way to dark for me base on and then didn't rub it in. 

I've been tossing around the idea of starting a new night cream regimen, kind of the same way I toss around the idea of getting a hair cut or purchasing new clothes.  Meaning that there are fleeting thoughts that rarely materialize into anything.   

This past weekend, though, while spending time with both of my sisters, I noticed how great both of their skin looked.  They both use that Obagi system and it appears to be working out well for them.  That Obagi system is a bit out of my price range so I've settled on this:
Renewal Cream - product image

The Renewal Cream from Avalon Organics

Here's hoping that this little jar will be the answer to my brown forehead.  And here's hoping that it will help with other signs of aging and make me smell, overall, like an orange dreamcicle.  

Tell me, turkeys, what are your skin care secretes?  Do you have melasma?  Do you have any good dermatologist stories? 

GO.    

6/10/13

A Monday Rap

Ooooooh Monday.  

After a weekend trip to Nola I sure do wish that that you wouldn't have come so quickly. 

BUT.  In the name of seeing what is good instead of what is not, let's all take a second and giggle at this:
Happy Monday sweet friends!  

See you soon! 

6/7/13

A Few on Friday

Hey there fine friends!  Cheers to the freakin' weekend.  

1.  Upon reading about it on Nancy's little corner of the blawgiverse, I picked up Z for my newest read.  It is, so far, lovely.  
Biggest....stop trying to steal my book you don't even have thumbs! 

2.  Picking up this book kind of felt like admitting defeat since it meant that I was giving up on 100 Years of SolitudeAgain.  Everyone has the same name.  It's to much.  Reading shouldn't be that stressful. 

I've wanted to finish this book for a while as it's always come highly recommended by my ghi Lindsey.  I think.  I might have made that up.  

ANYWAY.  She's really good at things like reading books and grammar and spelling.  I want to read it because I want to be really good at things like reading books and grammar and spelling. In another fit of delusional thinking, I thought it just might help me get there. 

Alas.  Here's to being comfortable in your own skin; I'm off to read about people who are nuts.  

3.  I've been watching the series North American on the Discovery channel and have learned the following:

Don't even try to mess with a falcon.  Especially, with a mama falcon.  

I'd actually like to see a mama falcon go up against one of those moms from that new Lifetime reality show.  Wicked Moms I think it is?  I don't know.  There's a girl on there that went to Ole Miss and it was, well, difficult to watch.  I refuse to even link to it. 

4.  If anyone is seriously looking for a hound there is a 4 year old female Akita mix at the Oxford Humane Society.  
 
Isn't she an angel?  Looks so much like my BBH.  I'd love her but alas we're pretty sure that BBH demands that he stay an only child.  But I wonder if I just showed up with her?  No, no.  BBH and the Brandon both might pack up.  Each request I've made for Akita #2 has been met with a firm "no."  

If you're interested, get in touch with that shelter.  But folks, do your homework.  Do your homework on all dogs but especially on a dog like an Akita.  They aren't for everyone!  You can go here to learn about Akitas. 

And really, guys.  Don't shop...adopt!  Tons of cute hounds there. And in all shelters.  

5.  This sure is a bossy blawg post.  

6.  Look what me and my friend Emily are doing!
Emily has been one of my best friends for a long, long time.  I think I've mentioned this before, but if you would have told us 10 years ago that we were going to be doing things like this we both would have laughed in your face. 

7.  Speaking of running, it's a sad day for my trusty time keeper.  
I purchased this 'ole girl when I started running, she's been wrapped around my wrist for the good and the bad, the long and the short, the fast and the slow. I ran without it for the first time on Wednesday and I kind of felt like I was running sans sports bra.  Ok, not really, but it felt odd to be with out it.      

Well.  That's it for me on this Friday, friends.  Keep it real this weekend, enjoy yourself, all that jazz.  

Thanks for reading!

6/6/13

My New Favorite Hummus

So, ever since I went to my friend Liz's wedding I've been dreaming of Mediterranean food.  Goat cheese drizzled with honey....baba ganoush....hummus....olives that made you want to slap someone.  She did the damn thing, that's for sure.  
 
I wanted to try to recreate at least the hummus part of the feast for vegan day.  Each hummus making adventure I've taken in the past has been an absolute disaster.  Determined to change my track record, I set out to find a recipe that would wow.  
 
Well, would wow me.  Brandon doesn't get real fired up about hummus and BBH doesn't like chickpeas.  I'm kidding.  I have no idea if he likes chickpeas.  I'm just rambling at this point.   
 
I enjoyed this recipe because the dark sesame oil gave it just a slight kick.  Mine was almost to garlicky but that's probably because the only pepper grinder in my kitchen is a garlic pepper grinder.  That Brandon, he's got a thing for a fancy pepper grinder.  
 
So whip this up for your next gathering!  Unless I'll be there because I'll probably be whipping it up.        
Hummus Dip 

2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh parsley leaves, plus more for garnish
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dark Asian sesame oil
1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cumin
12 to 15 grinds black pepper
1/4 cup water
Paprika, for garnish
 
Combine all ingredients (except for the extra parlsey and the paprika) in the bowl of a food processor and combine.  
 
Serve with pita chips, carrots, whatever you fancy
 
Serving size 1 tbl (makes about 2 cups)
Points plus 2  

6/5/13

Woohoo!!! Wednesday (Say When It's Time To Take Action aka How To Stop Being Insane)

I was reminded last night of something that someone once said to me at a wedding, not to long after I'd lost a significant amount of weight.  This is paraphrased, of course. 

She:  You look wonderful!  How did you loose that weight? 

Me:  Thank you!  I did weight watchers. 

She:  That's wonderful.  I've tried that one before.  You know, folks like us, we're going to struggle with our weight for the rest of our lives.  

Me:  (probably with a forkful of cake in my mouth) Oohhh.  OK.  Yeah.  Thanks.... 
 
Right around when I started the 'ole WW.  And when I won fantasy football that year. 

It's interesting that I was reminded of this story the evening before I got on the scale for my weekly weigh, only to find that it had kept up, yet again.  

Ugh!  me thinks.  WTF?  I mean I know that last night Brandon and I discussed the election results while I ate canoli ice cream with a fork and I know that I had that horrible cold on Monday that could only be made better by shrimp lo mien and I know that I had crystal grill on Sunday night and I know that Saturday night I had that weird anxiety spell and ate cheeze its and easy mac and I know that Friday night Brandon and I went to Websters and I had potato skins but seriously...WTF??  

Whoa. Gets intense when you lay it out like that.  

A few weeks ago, I thought about saying what you want (it was eight pounds, now its, um, 10 pounds)This week, it's about action.  

The alcoholics had it right when they said:

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. 

Overeating, just like drinking or using drugs or gambling or sex addiction, is just another maladaptive coping skill.  It's something that you (me) might do when you don't quite know what else to do or when something feels weird and you don't know what to do about it.  

You're probably wondering if I hide in my closet and eat french fries, rocking back and forth when I'm having feelings.  Well, no.  But you know I love french fries.  But I have come to  understand that the best healthy eating / exercise program isn't going to do any long term good until you (I) get some insight into yourself (myself) and the relationship you (I) have with food.  Or whatever it is that you struggle with. 

Anyone feel like their at fat camp? 

Moving on. 

I quit smoking (sorry mom I lied those few times but aren't you proud of me now!!??) because it was time.  I was doing it, it was done, and it's stayed done.  I've never had a problem with drugs or alcohol, although adding up being raised in the delta + a few other factors, that's kind of shocking.  But that eating.  That's what's tough for me. 

However, in sticking with the addiction treatment model is where we might find some answers.  A bare with me, I'm writing this on the fly with bits and pieces of combined information that I've run across over the years.

One theory of addiction is that it is rooted in continued delusional thoughts and maladaptive behaviors.  Not delusional thoughts like the president told me to order those french fries but delusional thoughts like I'm sick!  Only shrimp lo mein will help.

Let's break this down.  Is there any medical evidence that shrimp lo mien possesses healing powers?  No.  Am I frustrated that I'm sick?  Yes.  So is there a chance that I want the shrimp lo mien because I'm frustrated?  Yes.  Ah.  Is there a chance that I think that since I'm sick I deserve shrimp lo mien.  Well of course I deserve shrimp lo mein!  I don't feel good!       

That's a good, solid example of some delusional thoughts.  

And here's another one.  That happened like 20 minutes ago!

OK so I gained weight again but this is vegan day.  I'll have a PB and J for lunch with a side of salt and vinegar potato chips!  Yay!  They are vegan and so delicious!  This weight will be gone in no time!   

Looks insane when you write it out.  But again, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results.   

Here's an example of a maladaptive behavior: 

I'm driving down the road, freaking commuting.  I'm bored, I'm ready to be home.  I'm over my music.  MPB is on my last nerve.  Wait!  I've got that Kind bar in my purse.  It's oh so healthy and claims that you will lose weight if you eat one between meals!  Score.  I'll eat that.  That'll give me something to do for, well, 24 seconds....  

I know how to be healthy.  I know that maybe turning off the radio and doing some praying or some breathing or some meditating would have helped.  I know that calling someone would have made me less bored.  I know that salt and vinegar chips are never a healthy choice.  I know that shrimp lo mien isn't something that is deserved.  I know all of this.  In fact, I spend most of my day, five days a week, discussing what is (emotionally) healthy and unhealthy with semi large groups of people.  Seriously.  The processing rarely stops.      

While the processing and the talking and the awareness is important, the doing is just as important.  I can recognize these thoughts and behaviors all day long but until I actually start doing something different, the insanity will continue.  For me, that means that the weight will continue to creep up and creep up and the next time I see that woman at a wedding she's going to shake her head, tisk, and say I told you so.    

Here's to stopping the insanity, my friends.  
PS:  I kind of feel naked on Howard Street after writing this. 

6/4/13

B.A.G. Sandwich

Nothing ups the awesome sandwich ante like a good, solid name.  

And......goat cheese.  Don't forget the goat cheese.  

I present to you today on this Tuesday the B.A.G Sandwich in all of it's glory.  

What, pray tell, does B.A.G. stand for you might ask?  

Bacon.  Avocado.  Goat cheese.  

Go ahead, raise the roof.  I know you want to, I'll wait.  

Simple, really.  Fresh tasting, too.  

Now all I need is for mine and Brantley's tomato plants to produce some good cherokee purple's and we'll have the, wait for it.....

T.-B.A.G sandwich.  

Bam.  

Aren't you glad you stopped in today?  
B.A.G. Sandwich

2 slices of wheat bread
3/4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
1/4 of an avocado, sliced
2 slices of crisp bacon

So I'm not even going to insult with instructuions on how to make a sandwich, just layer it all up and go to town.  

Also, I ate 1/2 of a piece of bacon just to make things less chaotic. 

Serving size 1 sandwich
Points plus 10

6/3/13

Pan Seared Tuna with Avocado, Soy, Ginger and Lime

Y'all.  I seared tuna.  In the kitchen.  At my house.  

This may not seem like a huge deal to you city folk but small town folks out there....you get it.  You get that we have to pack a cooler and drive if we want to make something like this.  You get that most any trip (at least for people who love food) to the city is accompanied by "Anybody need anything from Whole Foods/Fresh Market? Anybody??!!"

On a recent trip to Memphis, B and I swung on by the Whole Foods and picked up this lovely tuna steak.  We had the old girl wrapped up and packed down and placed on ice for the remainder of the journey.  It turned out to be the perfect Memorial Day dinner for us.  And for of course, the Big Browne Hound.  He obviously had some bites because in his book, tuna is the ultimate. 

Here's how it went down.  We start things off, of course, with a little salt and peppa...watta man watta man watta man wat a mighty mighty good man!  OK not that salt and peppa, the other salt and peppa.  
Blurry tuna because, well, it's got the kind of beauty that moves.  Anyone get that Ani reference?  Anyone? 

Cooking on up in some olive oil.  Don't play.   
Topping it off with cilantro and spices and olive oil and lime juice and soy sauce...oh my!
Serving it up with avocado and jasmine rice (With goat cheese and craisins!  So good!  I made it up! Score!)
What about those fanned out avocados?  You like that, don't you. 

All of these flavors came together flawlessly.  However, I didn't finish mine because after Brandon said "You know, next time you could probably cook this for a minute on a half on each side" bad mind took over. I immediately saw myself hooked up to all kinds of machines, giving my last will and testament while fighting a loosing battle to trichinosis.  Or salmonella.  Or whatever the hell you get from eating undercooked fish. And I wonder why I made the D in microbiology. 

All's well that ends well, though, and unless it's lying dormant somewhere in my bod I'm good.  

So grab yourself a tuna steak and make this one for yourself!!  A word on the points for those of you that are interested.  It totals out at 17 points per serving mainly because of the amount of olive oil that you cook the tuna in.  I didn't make any adjustments since I was searing shiz for the first time; I would imagine that things would be just fine if you eased up on the olive oil a bit.  

Sally forth.  

Pan Seared Tuna with Avocado, Soy, Ginger and Lime
adapted from Food Network

2 handfuls of fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 jalapeno, chopped
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 garlic cloves, chopped
2 limes, juiced
2 tbl soy sauce
1 pinch of sugar
salt and pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 block sushi quality tuna (about 12 oz)
1/2 ripe avocado, peeled and sliced

In a small bowl combine the cilantro, jalapeno, ginger, garlic, lime juice, soy sauce, 2 tbl olive oil, salt and pepper.  Set aside. 

Heat a skillet over medium high heat, add the remaining two tbl of olive oil.  Season the tuna generously with salt and pepper.  Sear on each side (I did a minute but will do longer next time) until the steak reaches your desired level of done-ness.

Transfer to a cutting board and top with the cilantro sauce.  Cut into thin slices and serve with the avocado.  

Makes 2 servings
Points plus 17