Wednesday, February 2, 2011


I know this is extremely typical for the beginning of a new year- BUT I am one of those thousands of people who has set health goals, starting back on January 1st.

During my last semester at SIUE, I was very diligent about going to the gym. I was on campus 4 days a week, so I was in the gym 4 days a week.
It felt great to stick with the goal to workout everyday, I set some other goals....but I didn't reach any of them. I could tell that I had more energy and started to feel a little better in general, but it was still incredibly frustrating to put in all the time and effort only to fall short.

I wanted more. More change, more goals reached, more confidence, but I had no idea what else I could do (without spending a shit ton of money).
After driving past many, strategically placed gym signs, advertising "new year, all time low rates" I decided it was worth my money to join a place here in Saint Louis (even though I am Still paying for SIUE's gym. Because colleges are awesome like that).
One welcome tour and free meeting with a personal trainer later, I was hooked. Again, I knew that if I wanted more results I would need help, from a trainer, which would also mean spending more cash. I went for it.

Student teaching, which I am currently attempting to get through, is my final step for school. Because of the added responsibility and the early mornings, I've been able to tie together my health goals with teaching. No more weekly drinking (minus snow days, of course!) and healthy lunches everyday.

With so much work to do for the school, setting specific times and days for the gym has been crucial-and beneficial. Such a creature of habit and OCD enough that I desperately need a routine to stick with something.
I met Marlo, paid for a month of working with her and she is kicking my ass! Assignments, nutrition discussions, the works. She's fucking awesome.

Yoga 2 days a week has already made me feel miles better. The anxiety from teaching in Cahokia has diminished-which is huge. For years I have missed taking actual classes -lead by a good teacher-and to be able to get back into Finally feels amazing!

Three weeks have past and I already feel better. These snow days are actually messing with me, throwing me off my weekly routine.
Spending the extra cash I have on my membership and for Marlo instead of on man-cans of PBR has been a nice trade off. Still, thinking about how expensive it is for the help and support to build a new and improved healthy lifestyle is depressing. I have almost completely eliminated spending on "going out"- food, drinks, shows...everything, just so I can pay for what I want from the gym. Which is fine. I'm happy with those choices, for now. I know in the summer when I am freed from school, ready to travel and have some fun this may be a different story.

Marlo may fall to the wayside for awhile, later on. Hopefully what I learn from her in this first month, and maybe a second one as well, I will be able to use myself.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Impromtu Dinner Party

LOVE LOVE LOVE spur of the moment dinner parties.
Cooking, eating and drinking with friends is my favorite thing to do.
Last night was the most unprepared I have even been while hosting one of these, but that just made it more interesting. :)
Sichuan Green Beans
Veggie Soup
Baked Butternut Squash
Strawberries and Watermelon with chocolate and cream cheese dip

Sichuan Grizzle Bizzles!- I have completely stopped measuring any ingredient when I make this, so again, bear with me.

Fill a cast iron skillet almost to the top with fresh-from-my-parents-garden Green Beans (about 1 1/2 lbs)
Cover well with Olive Oil (like, a lot)
5 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 TBS Ginger, minced
1/2 small onion, chopped
About 1/4-1/2 of a red pepper, keep slices long
About 1 tub of Tofu, cubed
3-4 TB Cooking Sherry/ Rice Wine Vinegar
Soy Sauce (LOTS), needs to heavily cover everything
Sesame Oil, to taste

1. Add oil large pan, enough to thinly cover the entire bottom...and all the green beans.
Cook Green Beans on med-high heat for about 12 min. Until they are soft, some will be browned.
2.Add the Garlic, Ginger and Scallions before Green Beans are completely cooked
3. Once the Green Beans, Garlic, Ginger and Scallions are browned, add the Sherry, Soy Sauce and Sesame oil. Stir and cook for a few more min.
4. Toss Tofu in at very end
Option- Coat and fry Tofu cubes before adding to mix, keeps it nice and crispy

This is sooooooo good.

I don't have the recipe for the soup, but it had Zucchini, Yellow Squash, Corn, Beans, lots of salt and pepper. VERY yummy and had an awesome, hardy flavor! Thanks Dominique and Coop!

The Butternut I just baked the day before with a little Raw Sugar sprinkled on top of each section.

Fruit and chocolate is good no matter what. :)

Thanks to everyone for coming out and enjoying all the food!




Birfday Cupcakes

I wanted to surprise Chris with some birthday cupcakes when he got home from New York....He did get the cupcakes, but they were about a week late. :)
My super amazing plan was to make peanut butter cupcakes with a thick, fluffy coco frosting. This is what really happened...

Peanut Butter Cupcakes! These Rock.

1/2 C Peanut Butter
1/3 C Shortening
1 tsp Vanilla
1 1/2 C Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
2 C Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
3/4 C Milk

Cream together PB, Shortening, and Vanilla. Gradually add Brown Sug; beating until
light and fluffy. Add Eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.
Sift together dry ingredients, add alternately with Milk.
Bake @ 375 for 20 min, makes close to 2 dozen.

The cupcakes turned out rather dense, but it is Peanut Butter, so I sort of expected that. Not fluffy but full of flavor. NOW! The next step! Fluffy Frosting!
I've never made frosting before. I usually stick with a basic powder sugar icing and use it on cookies. I grew up eating holiday treats with this type of icing and it is the Best, especially after a day or two when it hardens!

My 50 year old Better Homes cook book was going to be my frosting sherpa.

After debating what kind of frosting would go best with PB cupcakes, Plus trying to match what I know Chris liked I decided on a recipe-my the name of it, how I could go wrong?!- FLUFFY FROSTING. Ok, great!
Almost all of the recipes involved boiling the sugar and I was quite excited to give this a try.

Fluffy Frosting:
1 C Sugar
1/3 C Water
1/4 tsp of Cream of Tar Tar OR 2 tsp Corn Syrup
Dash o Salt
1 Egg White
1/4 tsp Vanilla

Bring sugar, water and corn syrup and salt to a boil, cook until sugar dissolves.
Slowly add to beaten Egg White, constantly beating with an electric beater until
of spreading consistency; Add Vanilla.


I beat that mix for over 10 min. It wasn't even remotely close to being "Fluffy Frosting".
At this point I'm still determined to achieve a fluffy frosting status for these cupcakes. Recipe #2 was just called Boiled Frosting, basically had all the same ingredients except in different proportions, but also had a description I had never seen before...
While you are boiling the sugar and water, you are supposed to keep cooking it until "Soft ball stage, 236 degrees" Um, ok. So, with no candy thermometer I was just guessing and....

Again! Nothing!
This one was Slightly more fluffy than the first...but still not even in the same universe as frosting.
Failure, frustration, I gave up.
Any suggestions on how to make Fluffy Frosting would be greatly appreciated.

This time, these little cakes had to go naked.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Facebook Find

My awesome band mate Heather just posted this on The Facebook and it looks delicious:

Oyster Mushroom Recipe!
"This is AMAZING. made it last night and again tonight. get some shrooms at Jay's International on grand."

8 ounces fresh oyster mushrooms (rinsed)
1 tablespoon garlic (minced)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon rosemary (minced)
1 teaspoon butter
2 teaspoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon dry white wine (or sherry)
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Step 1: Slice mushrooms into pieces. Sauté garlic in olive oil for 15 seconds. Add mushrooms and sauté 3 minutes.
Step 2: Add rosemary and butter and stir fry until butter is melted. Sprinkle mushrooms with flour and stir fry.
Step 3: Add wine and soy sauce and cook until liquid slightly thickens and the mushrooms are tender.

I'm always looking for good mushroom recipes considering I am way too picky when it comes to eating fungus.

Friday, September 17, 2010

1:00 am Lasagna

I apologize in advance for my poor ability to measure things out.

1 box of "oven ready noodles" (even though they kind of suck)
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 Carrots, diced
1 Yellow Squash, diced
about 2 Cups of fresh spinach
Tomato sauce & Diced tomatoes (I used about 1/2 of 15 oz can of each)
Cottage Cheese (I used about 3/4 of the large tub you can buy)
Mozzarella (or whatever cheese you want to use)
13/9 baking pan

1. Sauce the bottom of the pan, 1st layer of noodles
2. Sauce, tomatoes, cottage cheese, carrots, onion, squash, cheese, spinach, 2nd layer of noodles

Bake with foil cover for 30 min, take foil off and bake for about another 5 min.


Thursday, September 16, 2010



Having to be at SIUE for most of my life during the week has really depreciated my ability to make yummy foods.
It really sucks.
Plus, for about the last week I've been subsisting on peanut butter sandwiches and crackers=no es bueno.
I decided at the beginning of the week that I would make a big thing of lasagna so I could just bring small amounts of it with me each day, brilliant right?!
It took me until Wednesday to actually make it....and I started this process at about 1:00 this morning.
1 AM Lasagna!
I will post the recipe when I'm home and I don't have to rush off to a rehearsal, but the one thing that I was really disappointed with were the noodles.
I was grabbing things as fast as I could in the grocery store, came across these "no cook, oven ready" noodles. I'm thinking, SWEET, because I would like to sleep at some point tonight. Bought them.
They worked...ok...? The ones on top never really got to a soft, cooked noodle state- they mostly crisped up even though I had covered them with tomato sauce.
The others beneath had the exact opposite problem- MUSH! Mushy noodles. Not terrible but not good. It didn't ruin the whole thing luckily. I just ate the last bit I brought with me today.
FYI In-a-hurry-lasagna-makers, the "oven ready" are just not worth it.