Lexd's Blog

I write about what I want!

COMMENCE: The best time of the year November 16, 2010

Filed under: food — lexd @ 7:00 pm
Tags: , , ,

Guys? Guys? Guys? Guys? Guys? Guys? GUESS WHAT?

Thanksgiving is in T-minus NINE DAYS. There is no emoticon that can express the size of my smile right now.

Ok, just for the heck of it: 😀

I know I wrote about it last year, but I have to do it again. People, this is my favorite holiday of the entire year. More than Christmas, more than my birthday (especially now that I’ve passed 25). Why? Because a D family Thanksgiving looks like this:

Cooking + eating + beer + football

Have you ever seen a more perfect equation?

As is our tradition, we’re going to shake up at least one of the recipes we always have. (TBH, I don’t know why we do this. Everything usually turns out SO delicious … we just can’t stop trying new stuff, I guess. Some people skydive. My dad and I shake up Thanksgiving recipes. It’s that kind of rush.) I’ve already done the unthinkable and decided on a new green bean casserole recipe, to get that french onion/mushroom soup monstrosity off of our table. Of course, the recipe I chose isn’t too risky … it’s Pioneer Woman’s green bean casserole recipe. I tell you, that woman does with food what Michaelangelo did with marble. To be honest, I am trying to resist copying her entire meal. Kind of kills the fun of recipe-hunting.

We really liked the stuffing recipes we did last year … gluten-free swiss chard stuffing (although I’ll be sure NOT to get any red chard this year. Pink stuffing never looks yummy, unfortunately), and a gluten-free cornbread and sausage stuffing. Over the next 9 days, I think I am going to try and turn my gravy recipe gluten-free … we’ll see what I can make work. It’s SUCH a good recipe, though. Thank you, Sunset magazine.

As far as everything else goes, it’s still up in the air. We generally have garlic mashed potatoes, crescent rolls, this jell-o ring my mom makes every year (I think that might be the one recipe out of my reach, though), sweet potatoes/yams, and cranberry sauce.

As I mentioned above, I am currently recipe-hunting. And, I am feeling sort of overwhelmed. I’ve developed quite the arsenal of food blogs over the last year, and THEY ARE ALL DOING A THANKSGIVING SERIES.

One thing I do want to accomplish this year, however, is to have some more vegetables that aren’t slathered in mini marshmallows, butter, or cream sauce. I know, blasphemy on the most gluttonous holiday of the year. But I’ve been doing a really excellent job incorporating more fruits and vegetables in my diet, and I’m going to be hurting next Friday if I don’t try and keep that up. We’ll see what I can slip by the family. Maybe something from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan?

Also … I want to tell you a secret before I sign off. (I am a huge nerd, I just did shifty eyes after typing that … and there is nobody here but me.) I think I am going to try and replace at least half of the mashed potatoes on our table with …

CAULIFLOWER.

Bear with me, and check out this recipe from Cheap, Healthy, Good. I’m going to lobby to replace the potatoes entirely, but I have it on good authority that you can mix potatoes and cauliflower without sacrificing taste … but saving serious calories. Or, maybe that broccoli/potato/red pepper mash I’ve made a few times?

Now you see the pickle I get myself into the week before Thanksgiving. And this is BEFORE I realize I haven’t even started thinking about Christmas yet.

Currently loving: Pumpkin yogurt, my new running shoes (Mizuno Wave Rider 11s) … they let me run without shin pain!, HARRY POTTER MOVIE RELEASE THIS WEEK

delicious picture by scubadive67

 

Whirlwind September 23, 2010

Filed under: other — lexd @ 11:09 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Many apologies for the lack in posting. It’s certainly not for lack of things to write about. In fact, things have been CRAZY.

Instead of writing some 1,000+ word post that nobody will get all the way through, I figured I’d just kind of do a bulleted list. I’m in PR and social media, see … bullets are our lifeblood.

Anyway:

  • Working from home is not the party people make it out to be. (Well, people who don’t work from home seem to think working from home is awesome.) It is really hard to do full-time, both because of distractions, and the temptation to work ALL THE TIME. As with anything, you need a freaking break every once in a while.
  • Behold: If you live solely on credit for a month, your credit card bills will reflect that. I don’t know how this one got past me, but I choked when I looked at my credit card bill this month. And then promptly created a payment plan for myself.
  • Live music is awesome, whether it’s in a coffee house, at a festival, or at a concert. I experienced all three in the last two weeks. I also forgot how many bands there are in the Seattle area … and how many of them are good. Les Marseilles (sp), for instance.
  • I am repeatedly disappointed with the Redhook Brewery in Woodinville. The last couple times I’ve been there, the food has been subpar, and the service was terrible. Honestly, their beer isn’t good enough for me to put up with that. This did not change at last weekend’s SausageFest event (Yes, “sausagefest”). They had ONE beer tent, and the event was held at the brewery. Are they serious? Poor planning. 6,000 people, 1 tent.
  • At said festival, I definitely tried a beer called “Meat Hook.” It was a bacon-infused ale. First taste: Pleasantly smoky. Aftertaste: “I just ate bacon and now I have reflux” taste in my mouth. Would not drink again. So, I retaliated by eating a bacon-wrapped meatball instead.
  • My 360’s hard drive is having problems. While this has freed up a considerable amount of time, it is also SO frustrating. I just hooked it up again, dammit!
  • I am officially making a goal of running in the Seattle Rock n’ Roll Marathon next summer. I did the maths, and I have time to do the couch to 5K plan (I’m in week 4 right now), the couch to 10K plan, and then a half marathon plan before then, with a couple weeks of breaks/fun runs.
  • That being said, my shin splints are just getting worse and worse. It hurts so badly to run some days (like today). I’m rocking the post-workout stretching and icing to try and help it, and as I start to run longer (and further) I’ll probably have my sister tape them to see if that helps.
  • I discovered today that hanging out on the elliptical for about 15 minutes after a run does a pretty good job stretching my shins and calves out. I’ll try that, too.
  • I got hired at a local restaurant/bar last night to pick up a few shifts a week. I worked a “follow” shift last night, and even though I was on my feet for 6 hours straight, I had SO MUCH FUN. I forgot how much I enjoy serving.
  • It’s a tequila bar, so I have a lot to learn.
  • My dog is the best coworker ever. He may not answer phone calls or help me proof my work, but when I am freaking out about something stupid, he gives me a “shut up already” look. When I’m legitimately upset, stressed and freaking out, he knows that it helps if he comes over to cuddle. Also, he’s always hungry, so he reminds me to eat. I just wish he wasn’t so gassy all the time. He can’t help it, he’s just getting old.
  • LDRs still suck. Looks like early 2011 before BF will be up here. It’s a hard balance to strike. We are saving so much money and paying off so much of our debt in our current arrangement. I guess it’s just sort of a “how long can we put up with this” situation. 😦
  • Rehabbing my shoulder is not going well. I’m pretty much constantly in pain when doing upper body workouts, so it’s been a challenge to keep motivated. Stupid scar tissue.
  • I put this up on Facebook … and I know a lot of people say this … but I really have the absolute best group of friends a girl could wish for. From my best friend of 18 years to people I met in college (and those in FL of course), no matter who I hang out with or what we do, I usually end up relaxing, laughing until I cry, and having so much fun. I love them so much. This was a huge reason I moved back to Seattle, and it’s proving to be 100% worth it.

I guess that’s all for now. Back to a semi-regular posting schedule 😀

Currently Loving: C20 coconut water (best I’ve found so far), The Vampire Diaries (I’m so sorry, I got hooked and couldn’t help it), rainy weather (there’s something that is just so comforting about the soft patter of Seattle rain), hearing the high school baseball games through the open window as I lay in bed tonight (the park is across the street from our house), surprise “I love you” text messages from BF 🙂

image from the Seattle P-I

 

There’s ALWAYS something else July 25, 2010

Filed under: food,other — lexd @ 5:15 pm
Tags: , ,

So I am waist-deep in packing our apartment for the upcoming big move (I’m not sure what “waist-deep” means in terms of packing, but whatever), and I am pretty much swinging back and forth from “I have this under control” to “HOLY SHIT I HAVE TO REVISE THE MOVING CONTRACT AGAIN.”

Like, swinging back and forth every 5 minutes.

I thought it was going to be awesome that BF will still be here after I leave, but it’s starting to make packing really hard. I know I can leave some stuff, but not too much … otherwise he won’t be able to fit it in his car. And, it’s starting to mess with my “if I can’t see it, it must be packed” mentality. Because there’s a lot of stuff still left out. I’m starting to veer into that “JUST FUCKING THROW IT AWAY” crazy-lady mentality.

And by “starting to” I mean “I’m here but don’t want to admit it.” BF poured himself a Jack and coke about an hour ago, and that’s when I knew I was crossing a line. This has got to be taken care of, though.

Anyway, I put this picture from CuteOverload on my iPhone background to take the edge off:

See? It totally helps 🙂

Also, I made myself this seriously incredible shake for lunch. I made it yesterday post-workout, and couldn’t believe how delicious it is, and even the texture … YUM. It’s like a semi-thin delicious milkshake.

Heaven in a Glass

1 frozen banana (I pre-peel a few and just throw them in the freezer for a week)

1 c. plain almond milk

1 level scoop of Designer Whey chocolate protein powder (although any chocolate p. powder would probably work)

1 T. creamy peanut butter (I use a natural one without added sugar)

Put all of the above in a blender and go to town for 20-40 seconds (until it’s mostly smooth). OMG I want another one right now. I may or may not have used my fingers (carefully) to get extra out of the blender. It’s that good. Plus, as far as I’m concerned, it’s a good mix of carbs and protein.

 

Attack of the Snack Monster July 18, 2010

Filed under: food,other — lexd @ 6:42 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

I have been outrageously snacky today. I had a solid breakfast (2 eggs-in-a-basket) and was fine … and then for some reason the snack monster reared its ugly head about 30 minutes ago. This is not me being modest … in the last half an hour, I’ve eaten:

  • String cheese
  • Piece of toast w/2T of hummus
  • 3/4 c. watermelon
  • Finger swipe of peanut butter
  • 2 bites of leftover cubed steak
  • 1 c. Frosted Mini Wheats (the tail end of the box) with almond milk, flax seed and 3/4 c. blueberries

I’ll also probably snag a piece of the parmesan cheese pretzel I brought BF from Mellow Mushroom Friday night (he just heated it up).

I think this snack rampage is the result of a few things:

  • Crazy workout yesterday. At the very end of my workout (went back to the Couch to 5K), I was at 8.5 mph! I sort of thought I was going to throw up afterwards and couldn’t even “walk it out,” but it turned out fine. I also upped the weight on all my strength training, and my arms/chest/back are killing me!
  • Aunt Flo is due in town later this week
  • I came up way short in calories yesterday, even though I never felt hungry after eating
  • Anxiety and stress from packing (our apartment is an absolute PIT right now, but I’ve packed 8 boxes already)

I probably should have gone to the gym earlier, in order to temper my hunger … for some reason working out tends to make me less hungry for the rest of the day. Maybe later tonight … BF and I are considering going to see Inception (which is amazing because we NEVER see movies in theaters), or maybe spending a little extra cash at Publix and making something fun and super yummy for dinner tonight. Gotta budget — we’re choosing one or the other.

Speaking of something super yummy, I wanted to share the recipe I made off the top of my head last night. If you’ve never stuffed chicken breasts before (or pork chops, Costco has SUPER thick ones that are perfect), I highly recommend it. It’s a good way to take something that is normally really “blah” to about an 8 on the flavor scale. My favorite combination is asparagus and a really melty cheese like Gruyère … but I didn’t have either of those on hand. So…

Cheesy Broccoli Stuffed Chicken Breasts (serves 2)

3/4 c. cooked broccoli

2 T. shredded/grated parmesan

4 T. shredded Italian cheese mix

Pinch Italian seasoning

Garlic powder and salt, to taste

Olive oil

Chicken stock

White wine

Red pepper flakes

Lemon

All I did was cook the broccoli, chop it up, and then mix it with the two cheeses, Italian seasoning and garlic salt. I butterflied the chicken breasts and then put half of the stuffing in the middle of each breast. I also topped mine with red pepper flakes (BF is not a fan). I pulled the top part back over and secured it with some toothpicks, and seasoned the top of the chicken with some olive oil and salt.

Then, I put them in a glass baking dish (I had to use a pie pan, since some of our stuff is packed, grr), and added a couple of tablespoons each of white wine and chicken stock to the dish. I covered the dish tightly with foil, and put it in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Once I pulled them out, I plated the chicken breasts, pulled the toothpicks out, and drizzled some fresh lemon juice on mine.

The nice thing about this recipe is that you can substitute just about anything. No broccoli? Try cooking up some spinach, asparagus or chard and using that instead. Instead of Italian seasoning, you could use oregano or parsley. You can also vary the types of cheeses, but it works best if the mixture consists mostly of a cheese that melts well (so … don’t use 6 T. parmesan). I bet a smoked mozzarella would be tasty!

Hope everyone’s having a wonderful weekend!

Currently loving: That I’m FINALLY full, jeez; throwing stuff away/donating stuff that we’ve been holding on to unnecessarily; date night at home tonight 🙂

EDIT: Scratch that about the pretzel. BF just put the last bite in his mouth, and then tried to take it out and offer it to me as I looked at him mournfully. I love him, but I’m not a baby bird … no thanks!

image from pinkyjane

 

Random Friday July 16, 2010

Filed under: other — lexd @ 6:36 pm
Tags: , , ,

You know, I had a very coherent idea for a blog post today, but threw it out (well, actually just delayed it) to announce the following:

  • While peanut butter is fantastic, this morning I discovered that there is such a thing as “too much peanut butter.” I didn’t have any fun fruit to throw into my green monster and I refused to have a plain one on a Friday (gotta take every chance you can to celebrate the end of the week). So, I swiped the jar of PB from our pantry and put nearly 2 tablespoons in. THIS IS TOO MUCH. It tasted amazing at first, but about halfway through my stomach and even my tongue were like, “you know what? we’re about done here, Lex.” I powered through it and I think the extra protein kept me full until 12:45, but … yeah, maybe less next time.
  • I just had a fantastically fun Friday lunch with a bunch of people in PR/social media here in Orlando. We met up at Dexter’s in Winter Park with a visitor from up north: Jason from IWearYourShirt.com. We definitely talked some business, but somehow I managed to mention the combine derby I went to, as well as the lady who cut me off on I-4 while eating corn on the cob last weekend. Sometimes I wonder why I can’t have normal stories, and then I realize that I laugh every time I tell these. Sometimes I have fun being me (well, most of the time) 🙂

Check out my lunch (before I demolished it): The cast iron skillet salad with salmon. Lookie, you get real (although less pretty) pictures now that I’ve entered 2010 and gotten an iPhone!

Have a wonderful weekend! With any luck, I’ll have my thoughts on the Old Spice Guy’s (well, Procter & Gamble’s) social media campaign this weekend or Monday. Here’s a huge hint: I LOVED IT.

Currently loving: Soreness from yesterday’s Pilates workout, Happy Hour with coworkers tonight, and the obligatory “IT’S FRIDAY!”

 

Well, you only get ONE July 5, 2010

Filed under: other — lexd @ 8:36 pm
Tags: , , , ,

As I type this I am post-weights/yoga session sweaty. (And my laptop is really warm too … which isn’t exactly helping things.) For breakfast I had a bowl of museli with almond milk and a huge pile of strawberries and blueberries. Lunch was an enormous salad devoid of meat, cheese and bread (my three weaknesses).

Before you tell me to shut up and quit bragging, there’s a reason I’m telling you this. During my yoga session today (YogaDownload.com detox yoga #3), I realized something. I’ve finally come into the stage where I want to take care of myself, and my body.

I was raised in a household that relied mostly on alternative medicine. Not to say we didn’t go to a doctor when we were really sick or anything … my parents were just hesitant to hand out medicine for each little ache and pain. Their philosophy was that you should try and treat the source of the problem, not just mask it with medication. At the time, as my head was pounding because I’d been to Starbucks twice, not eaten breakfast and gotten two hours of sleep the night before (high school was a bitch), I hated it.

“Look what modern medicine can do!” I always protested. “I don’t have time to address the problem, so it gives me a way to get through the pain until I can!”

That didn’t fly very often.

When I finally moved to college, I was all about meds (OTC stuff). I took terrible care of myself freshman year. I managed to eat decently most of the time, but I drank way too much coffee, way way too much alcohol, didn’t get enough sleep and wasn’t exercising enough. As a result, I was constantly sick, hungover, bloated, dehydrated … and generally toxic. I remedied this with a variety of things like NyQuil, DayQuil, Tylenol, diuretics, and occasionally Adderall.

It took about 3/4 of my freshman year to realize that waking up without a hangover/being sick/etc was VASTLY superior to having some sort of malady all the time. I continued to treat my body pretty badly, but it was at that point that I began to make some slight lifestyle changes.

Fast forward seven years later: Today. The changes have been more noticeable in the last year, but I’ve been gradually making some lifestyle changes that reflect how I’m beginning to feel about my body … that I need to take care of it. I eat better; mostly when I’m hungry, and what I want to eat. Even if that means a slice of apple pie on the 4th of July (guilty), I go for it. Treating your tastebuds every now and again is as much a part of taking care of your body as giving it what it needs to function (IMO).

When I do have health issues, I’m hesitant to take anything at first. I like to give my body some time to figure out what’s wrong and address the issue, instead of jumping the gun and suppressing it right away. Because really, if you’ve got a headache because you’re dehydrated, that headache is still going to be there when the Excedrin wears off in 6 hours. And, if you haven’t hydrated, it’ll come back even worse.

Not only am I officially losing weight, but I can tell my body feels better when I work out. I’m starting to see some definition in my legs, and I really find myself enjoying the relaxation period at the end of yoga sessions. I’m stronger, more flexible, and less achy.

Please don’t think I’m on my soapbox about this, because it’s your decision how you want to live, and how you want to treat your body. Everyone has a different level of functionality, and mine may be different than yours. My intent with this post is to point out what’s in the headline — you only get one body. How are you going to treat yours?

Currently loving: My new iPhone (I know, like 5 years behind everyone else)!, YogaDownload.com Detox classes (mayjah twists), that the Vitamin Shoppe by me has coconut water!

image from lululemon athletica

 

Protein sources May 27, 2010

Filed under: food,other,rant — lexd @ 3:02 pm
Tags: , ,

While I really enjoyed my personal training session on Sunday (so much so, actually, that I find myself enviously watching people with PTs as I’m sweating on the treadmill at the gym), there were a couple of things that irked me about it. The biggest one happened to be the discussion he and I had about protein.

After working out, he sat me down and asked me some basic questions about my dedication to my health, how much time per week I could dedicate to exercise, and my diet. Things were fine until that last topic, and then I told him that I was eating mostly soy-, wheat- and dairy-free (because seriously, I feel better with less in my diet), and trying to avoid meat for 2/3 meals a day.

His response: “So a low-protein diet, then.”

I’ve seen this gripe before on other blogs, and so I replied, “Not really. I eat a lot of eggs, beans, hummus, protein grains, protein powder and peanut butter.” For some reason, this still didn’t connect for him. “But no meat,” he said again. “Not if I can help it,” I replied. “So low-protein,” he said again.

At this point I realized that he subscribed to the protein = meat theory. He’s a personal trainer and he’s certified in sports-related nutrition, so I just kind of let it go at this point.

I understand that meat is great protein, especially skinless chicken breasts. But, that’s expensive, you have to keep it refrigerated, and frankly I hate dry chicken breasts (which that particular cut of meat is wont to be). But as far as I know, you can reduce your meat intake (or eliminate it completely) without negatively impacting the amount of protein you ingest … it’s all about what you choose to replace it with.

At this point I realized I haven’t really been tracking my protein intake very well. I usually try to get one source in at every meal and have some sort of protein shake within 30 minutes of working out if I’m not going to be eating soon after. Maybe this wasn’t enough?

WRONG.

After tracking my diet this week, I’ve discovered a trend — I am eating AT LEAST my recommended allowance of protein every day. On Monday, I was more than double.

The numbers may be just a little bit off, but when I can, I either record the nutrition facts straight from a web site/package on to MyPlate or use their “verified” foods … so even if this is ballpark, I’m still kicking butt on protein intake. Take that, meat-obsessers.

I also discovered that I eat a LOT of fiber … way more than the recommended amount. I can’t think of anything really bad about this; it’s not having any negative impacts on my digestive system or anything. Just something I discovered.

Anyone else run into the protein = meat issue?

PS – For those who care, the fort is still up in our living room.

Currently loving: NEW MOON (I just rewatched it last night for the first time since seeing it in the theaters) Team Jacob, that BF saved egg whites for me after making a key lime pie last night, the Costco-sized tub of spinach and artichoke hummus that is sitting in my fridge, compliments of BF (<3)

image from Phillie Casablanca