Sunday, December 27, 2009

I'm going to try to make a New Year's Resolution early... be more dedicated to this blog. Not that anyone cares, but it helps me stay on track, and at the offset chance you're reading this, this is for you!

December has flown by, and it's been a whirlwind of bustling around malls, cooking sweets, ham, turkey, everything in between and trying to stay on top of school, work, and having a life. Same old, same old, right?

The nice thing about being in college (among, well, being in college) is that you get these nice long breaks with no commitments other than sleeping in, going out, staying up, hanging around and winding down. No homework, obligations, or anything for almost a month. If I could be having my college winter break right now, I'd be in heaven. Instead, I'm in online class hell, struggling to stay excited about class when everyone else is talking about New Years plans, having time off of work, and enjoying the last of the holiday fun. It's not been horrible, but I'd be lying if I wasn't starting to fade out a little. I love school, really. I'm a big nerd like that, but something about a semester at Nova followed by two online courses throughout December and January only to be rewarded with a three night a week graduate school course load is daunting! I'm just excited to be done with all these prerequisites and on to the good stuff. Speaking of the good stuff, I'm sure that's why you are here.

Holidays, to me at least, more than anything, mean good food with the people you care about. Not to be hokie, but memories are stimulated and created with food, it's true. So many good times have stemmed from families in the kitchen or around the table sharing food. For my family, it's no different. Things in December were busy enough for me to not take pictures of everything, or anything really, so I apologize, but I'll give you what I have.

As you saw earlier, I spent my Thanksgiving in Pennsylvania, with my boyfriend and his family. I begged and begged my mom to do a "Thanksgiving in December" and finally she agreed. So, on a snowy December day when we were stuck inside due to a blizzard, this feast happened. It was everything traditional of an expected Thanksgiving menu. Nothing strange for our family: turkey, stuffing (or dressing, as Susie calls it), mashed taters, cranberry sauce (straight outta the jar, how festive!), green bean casserole, cauliflower and peas with a cheese sauce, tasty dinner rolls and of course, pumpkin pie with fresh whipped cream. As you can tell from my plate (#1... shh), I indulged in everything... with gravy to spare. And it was glorious! The thing about this dinner is that in most cases, you eat it once, and maybe twice as leftovers. This fear of waiting 365 more days for the taste of spicy stuffing, or thick rich gravy is more than I can bear! So, the solution? Load up and go for round two... three? Okay, maybe four. Yeah, I had a total of FOUR Thanksgiving's this year... so no excuses for me over-indulging.

But, our pseudo-Thanksgiving came and went, and very soon we shifted from turkeys to gingerbread men, pumpkin pie to peanut butter blossoms, and cranberry sauce to wintry mint chocolate bars.

These are not real sugar cookies... just leftover pie crust from Thanksgiving. Decorated by this guy... and he was proud.
These are just some delightful peanut butter blossoms I whipped up with Alex. He wasn't there to taste test, but I'm sure you can imagine they were pretty good.

This picture is the ingredients to the beautiful gingerbread house sitting in our dining room. The finished product was worth all the slave labor!
This is Christmas Eve dinner. It's been the same for as long as I can remember... with a few new tricks here and there. We had a sort-of Cobb salad, but it's really just a mish-mosh of everything tasty one could put in a salad: lettuce, tomato, cucumber, avocado, fried onion, bacon, blue cheese and--wow. Good stuff. On the menu was roasted asparagus with Parmesan cheese, these wonderful rolls from Wegmans, baked potatoes and steak fondue--with sauteed mushrooms and dipping sauces a plenty! I love this meal, and yes, it's not super healthy, but for a holiday meal... not bad! The steak is cooked in a wine broth, not much oil topped with mushrooms. Lots of veggies in this meal!

This little number is a chocolate mint brownie in which I found the recipe online. It has pros and cons. The con is that it has to be stored in the refrigerator because of the topping, which hardens the brownies. Also, there is nothing really super special about the brownie layer. Like recommended on the website, you could easily just use store bought or your favorite brownie recipe. The pros-- the topping is delicious, pretty, and rich. It is really festive, too (if you add green food coloring!)

On Christmas morning, I brewed a big pot of coffee for my family, and following a great span of ripping open gifts and taking goofy pictures, we went out to breakfast at Amphora, a really good restaurant in Vienna. I had a really hard time deciding what I wanted (big surprise, right?) but I ended up getting the "ranch omelette." This tasty tex-mex plate had an omelette stuffed with Monterrey jack cheese, onions, peppers, and maybe tomato (I forget). On the side it came with black beans and salsa in a tostado bowl, with home fries. I tried to eat as little home fries as possible but really they were too good to completely resist. I love this restaurant for breakfast, and it was much more appealing than it's rivals, Denny's and Ihop.

And now for the main event: CHRISTMAS dinner. We have a delicious combination of honey baked ham, twice baked potatoes, cauliflower and peas with cheese, green bean casserole, pineapple casserole, and good rolls. I was absolutely stuffed after this... but then had a cookie or two, or three.

The point is, I ate well over the holidays, and I continue to indulge daily. What's life with deprivation? Not one for me. Anyway, it's 8:45 and far too late for me to be awake-- pathetic and true. Hope you all had a Merry Christmas, and have a wonderful New Years.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

In an attempt to avoid cold cereal or lack luster eggs, I set out to make an exciting breakfast for myself. It's not as fun cooking for one, but we used the extra crepes for dinner, so it's not a big deal.

They were surprisingly easy to make, and only 150 calories per three crepe serving. So I had my three crepes, half a banana and some sugar free Smucker's syrup on top. I will say, regular maple syrup and a bit of cottage cheese in each crepe would have blown it out of the park, but beggars can't be choosers. So this, along with a cup of coffee from my new (but used, technically) Cuisinart Coffee Grinder/Pot. That alongside my Peppermint Mocha creamer... sweet. When I was buzzing around the kitchen my mom told me I had a "zest for life." That may be true, but I also believe in enjoying my food, and not just eating it. Repetition, although reliable, can be boring. To stay on track, mix things up--literally. There's a lot out there to try.

Enough of my tangent. Lunch was that of a 5-year-old: macaroni and cheese with a hotdog! I usually don't have that kind of thing for lunch but the bread was moldy and pizza looked old so we improvised.

Dinner: ew. I mean, in theory, it would have been good. We used my extra crepes to make a savory version... We filled the crepes with ricotta, garlic, tarragon, and mushrooms. I love mushrooms but this recipe was horrible. We had to use dried mushrooms--which we then had to soak to rehydrate, and it just was disgusting. I couldn't even finish my plate and if you know me, you know I'm a a kid in the clean your plate club. I might even be the last proud member. Anyway, it was not a yummy experience and I probably washed it down with hot chocolate-- my new obsession.

Nothing too exciting on Monday. Same old same old for breakfast, lunch, and CPK Margarita pizza for dinner. (plus, Chevy Chase's Christmas Vacation). That was a much better ending to the nice... oh right, and of course, a steaming mug of the wintry favorite with a bit of whip cream. Easy to please.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Alright, so I wasn't necessarily on my best eating/working out behavior yesterday either. I was so excited to take a Kickboxing class, and I had enlisted one of my friends to come with me Saturday morning. We woke up, got there through the snow (yeah, snow in Virginia!) and walked in the Rec Center to learn it was closed because of a Christmas Craft show. I was so angry! It threw off my whole plan. Sadly, we left, and got coffee instead. Not a bad trade, but I wanted to be a little more active.

Breakfast was a Oatmeal Raisin Gatorade Energy Bar and lunch was half a peanut butter and honey sandwich with an apple. This all sounds well and good, but I spent my day sampling chocolates, cookies, ciders and dips at a couple shows I went to with my parents. Determined to get back on track, I suggested cooking dinner at home. The idea soared for a while until my mom decided she was too tired so we were going to go out to eat. Not just out to eat, but to Austin Grill-- one of my favorite Tex Mex restaurants. I couldn't resist. Where has my willpower gone? I decided I'd just try not to overdo it with the chips. Failure. We split nachos, enchiladas, and steak tacos and it was so good and I had no chance.

I must say though, when I came home, I just had one little bite of a brownie before I decided I should stick to a cup of hot chocolate instead. So, one tiny victory amidst many failures. But what could I do? We were watching Elf on my big blue couches. I didn't stand a chance. Christmas movies go along best with warm no, I won't totally regret my decision. Anyway, I'm going to try to get sort-of back on track now. I'm done feeling bad. I wish the gym was open today!!! Grr...stupid craft shows. Anyway, that's life. Adieu.

PS: This picture is old, but I forgot to upload my fantastic salad with tomato, cucumber, cheese, avocado, corn tortillas and onion. Delightful.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I may be the worst blogger in history, but if I had put any time into this bad boy, I might not have had time to get into grad school, pass COMMUNITY college or have any semblance of a social life. So sorry, avid fans, I can't say this won't happen again. Since my wisdom teeth were pulled and healed, I was so sick of soft foods that I kind of went on a rampage. It may or may not be going on still. The holiday layer is definitely upon me... and although that may have a euphoric ring to it, it's not welcomed. I keep forgetting I'm not an athlete, and yes, I still eat like one. Well.. it's just my sweet tooth. I tried to cut back but then tonight I happened to have a girl's night including a glass of wine and double chocolate brownies. Yes, feminism at it's best. Yes, the brownies were fantastic but no, I'm not feeling all that great about them now. Especially because I didn't work out, not once, during Thanksgiving. I'm talking seven days off. I guess my body could use a break but I'm mental enough to think I see a difference in one week.

Getting out of shape is the worst. Don't do it. I promise you, it's ten times easier to stay in shape than to lose it and try to get it back. That's why, right now, I'm making a promise to try to stay semi on-track during the holidays. A few things I won't say no to: Starbuck's Peppermint Mocha. To die for. Ice cream... minimally!! Some, not all, Christmas cookies. I'm more of a cake person, thank God, because if I wasn't... I'd be a train wreck during this cookie-dominating season. Also, it would be nice if I was satisfied with one sweet thing throughout the day. The more you eat sweet and salty, the more you crave, so it's best to limit it. I will try to work out 5-6 times a week. This used to be a no brainer for me, but I've slowed down since soccer ended.

Speaking of soccer, a group of my favvvvorite people of all time may reunite next summer for the ultimate soccer reunion on the mighty Northern Virginia Majestics. Yes, it is making my day a little brighter.

Speaking of brighter, I also got into grad school today! For Exercise, Fitness, and Health Promotion, so I better saddle up and get back on track.

Things will derail you, but those things should be the exception, not the rule. I'm going to try a kickboxing class tomorrow... if I get up that is. I had big intentions of waking this morning to do a power pump class but amazingly my alarm didn't go off...oops.

Anyway, yes, I'm sorry I have been a bad blogger...and if for some reason you were trying to find inspiration for being healthy, I probably have failed you. Not to worry. I'm getting back on track. Here are some of my mishaps... and lovely successes.

Hot chocolate and munchkins with Alex. Chow mein, egg roll, fried rice and hot and sour soup with dad. Delicious baked salmon with asparagus.

Polenta casserole with a Gorgonzola cheese sauce. Paella and salad. Waffle shop breakfast... egg white omelet with pancakes and cottage cheese.

Three of the yummy pies from Turkey Day: pumpkin, Jewish apple, and a chocolate layer pie.

The final product of Thanksgiving; Unprepared turkey R.I.P; Sweet potato casserole

Anyway, I'm going to try to hop to it and be a good blogger again. Tis the season! Cheers.