Friday, May 21, 2010

Grilling Time!

Last year at this time, we were in full on wedding mode. My older sister got married in June, we got married in October. My whole family was in full steam ahead mode with showers, weddings, and what not. Needless to say, our poor yard got neglected. I always wonder why we decided to buy a house with such a massive yard. Living in downtown Newport on a tiny skinny street, I'd wake up in the morning, throw on my robe, go to the refrigerator and look to my left and the old man next door was eating his grapenuts at his kitchen table maybe 10 feet from me in my house. So, we decided to go the exact opposite and buy a massive lot of land.

The past couple weekends we've had the daunting task of weeding, raking, mulching, shoveling name it. One bright spot came out last night....the deck is powerwashed and stained, so it was wash off the patio furniture take it out of hiding and put it out game last night.

After that...we opened the grill. I LOVE grilling..everything seems healthier and tastier.

Here's a sneak peak of our dinner last night....

Sweet Potatoe Fries. Take 2 large sweet potatoes. I wash them, then slice them into large fry-like chunks. I steam them for a couple minutes in the microwave, then brush them with olive oil and throw some Essence seasoning (It's from Emeril) or Old Bay Seasoning and grill them up

Veggie Kabobs and some steak....hmmmm

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mourning the loss....

of my T3 Featherweight hairdryer. When my mom asked me what I wanted for Christmas a couple years ago, I forwarded her a link to Sephora's website to the T3. I felt like I needed this hairdryer. As a girl with thick wavy, curly in some spots, straight in others hair, this hairdryer was calling my name. I straighten my hair daily because when I try to do the curly look, I look like an 80's commercial for Ogilve perms. If you don't know what the 80's are or what an Ogilve is, you're making me feel old.

My mom's response..who spends $200 on a hairdryer? can for me for Christmas!

My betrothed and I had a lovely 3 year courtship. I took her out last week and she wouldn't turn on. I stood in my pink robe in utter disbelief. I tried 10 times to turn her on, played with the switch in the bathroom, and nothing. I may attempt to return her to Sephora, but I'm not sure how that will pan out after using her for 3 years.

We had many good times, many good and bad hair days. I always thought she did get really hot and wish there was a warm and cool setting. But, she had the best nozzle attachment for straightening. Now that Mr. Allan is in the picture, I know I'll never be able to buy another $200 hairdryer or to slip one by him. I'm so sorry our good times in the morning have come to an end. My back up Conair stinks and I've had poofy weird hair for the past week.

Celebrity Pregnant at 47?

As a 31 year old..this just seems nuts! But, in reading the news today, aka, Perez is reporting that Kelly Preston, wife of John Travolta maybe pregnant at the age of 47.  Age jokes aside, with the loss of their son last year and their 2 dogs this week, seems like some good news for the couple. I'm kind of expecting Martha Stewart to make her pregnancy announcement soon.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The highlight of American Idol

I've always been a big fan of the show. Mr. Allan groans, puts his IPod on, or leaves the room when it comes on. He does a great impression of Randy Jackson when he's in his "dawg" mode doing the chest punch.

But...this season has been disappointing. I liked Siobhan because she was different...but the top ten has been, well, a bit dull and boring. Kind of like eating vanilla ice cream with no toppings..its a little blah. To be brutally honest, the whole season has been a bit of a snore for me and I get through Wednesdays only because I know Glee is on next!

Last week produced a moment for me. Lee and Crystal singing their duet "Falling Softly".

When the Top Ten Tour rolls around to my area, I must say, I probably won't be indulging in tickets this year , but I did enjoy this duet and it was probably the best song of the whole season!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

What every woman needs...

I always thought I wore pretty fashionable things...including underwear. I always bought it at Victoria's Secret, Gap, etc. One day, Mr. Allan made a comment about a pair of underoos that really hit below the belt. As I was folding laundry and folding some boyshort striped deal from the Gap, he asked if I remembered the gum by the name of Fruit Stripes. I did, but had no idea what it had to do with the laundry I was folding. He then told me that my choice of underwear reminded him of the Fruit Striped Zebra in the commercials.

With my mouth to the floor, I tried to defend myself--it's not like I'm wearing Fruit of The Loom or Hanes Her Way Briefs for crying out loud. My underwear did not have as much material as a parachute and were far from anything that can be defined as granny panties. But, a change was needed because I was not going to have my undergarments associated with a chewing gum animal. That's when I found the best thing that's happened to my underwear drawer in a while...Hanky Pankys. I'm not sure where I read, heard, or found out about them, but once I bought a pair, there was no turning back.

So the question you're all asking is probably, what's the big to do about these. They're way more fashionable than anything you'll find at the Gap, they're insanely comfortable, and they make you feel skinny. That's right...s-k-i-n-n-y. No elastic bands digging into you and you'll never worry about the dreaded panty lines on the back of your pants (I'm not sure why people don't make a bigger effort to make sure they don't have them. As someone who wears a suit to work daily...I can attest to the many fashion faux pas panty lined ladies in the corporate world...that's almost as offensive as the ole bright white sneakers with a suit).

Some may gripe at the pricetag (typically around $15/pair) but it's money well spent, as they last forever. I've quickly come to realize that no modern woman should have a graphic picture or print on they're undergarments. So, do yourself and your significant other a favor and get yourself into a pair of Hanky Pankys.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A life changing moment all because of a dvd from Netflix

Part of my wifely duties has been cooking Mr. Allan dinner and making him healthy. I consider us to be a little above average in this department. If you really take a look around at the people around you in everyday life, obesity is a problem. I'll give a big old shout out to Michelle Obama. I completely and utterly agree with her that childhood obesity is an epidemic. Our culture has almost made it ok to consider dinnertime sitting infront of the television while the family eats chicken nuggets and tater tots. If you take a peek at the average kid's lunchbox, it probably contains 75% processed stuff..consisting of oatmeal creme pies (sorry Little Debbie and Sara Lee), squeeze-able tube yogurt, and juice boxes full of sugar.

Mom's out there are probably smuggly saying...wait til she has kids. Well, I guess we'll just wait and see, but the thought of filling a child with sugar, processed chemicals, and other oils and fats to make my life easier instead of taking the time to plan out a healthy shopping list with healthy lunches and snacks, well, it's nothing but laziness in my book.

Onto the topic at hand...Mr. Allan and I are big netflix-ers....especially in the wintertime when it's dark at 4 and cold. There's nothing better than opening the mailbox and seeing your new red envelope. A recent rave we have is the documentary Food Inc.

This documentary was featured on Oprah. I started to watch the tivo-ed episode when I got home from the gym one night. It was on and I took chicken out of the fridge that I was making for dinner that night. Oprah started to show a clip about chicken farms. I started to watch and was forced to pause it. I knew if I watched, I wouldn't eat dinner that night.

Different Kentucky chicken farmers were interviewed. Two different farmers let cameras in. After the big wig chicken companies got word, one farmer decided not to do it, but the other allowed cameras in. They showed the chicken houses where chickens are raised. The chickens were fat and could barely stand. They sucked off an irrigation system which provided their liquid diet of hormones and antibiotics to grow them quicker with larger breasts. The conditions were deplorable. One farmer plucked up dead chickens and threw them into a tiny backhoe to bury them. They also showed a graphic of what a chicken in the 60's looked like and how it took a certain number of weeks to get the chicken to that size. Flash forward to today, where, with the help of antibiotics and hormones, they can grow a chicken bigger in a fraction of the time.

Even Mr. Allan, who, at first, I thought would kind of give me the eye or the who cares look..its chicken lady..hopped on the bandwagon. I can say, that since watching this documentary, there has only been antibiotic and hormone free meat in the Allan household. Gotta make Mr. Allan healthy and strong like bull.

Here's the trailer to the movie...highly recommended, both by the Mr. and Mrs.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

It's Summer Salad time

Summer is in the air. My flip flops are out, the first pedicure of the season has already occurred, and the lawn furniture is out ready to be put on the deck. It's not officially summer, but for those New Englander's like myself who hate winter...the first sign of spring means whip out your tube tops, daisy dukes, and flip flops because summer is on it's way.

This week's recipe that got raves....a Greek style summer bean salad.

Mixed with the dressing before I topped it with feta in my bowl

Ready for me to eat

Greek Style Summer Bean Salad

1 Red Pepper, washed and diced
1 Green Pepper, washed and diced
1/2 of a cucumber, sliced and quartered
1 can chick peas rinsed and drained
10 Kalamata Olives, chopped or sliced
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
Crumbled feta cheese to top

Chop all vegetables and place in a glass bowl. Rinse and drain chickpeas and add. Chop olives and add. Mix oil and vinegar and mix well. I refrigerate for about 24 hours to let the vinagrette really soak into the veggies. Top with feta and serve.

Just a tip-- I only top the individual servings with feta. I did throw the feta in and mix it, but the oil and vinegar mixed with the feta after it sits for a while--well it looks a little milky and gross and takes away from all the nice colors of the veggies in this salad.

Also--Athenos makes some great feta cheese--some flavored. I used a lemon and garlic feta. You use such a small amount I splurged on regular vs. a low fat plain one.

S-U-P-E-R easy to make and healthy too!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Throwing away my granola bars

For years I've been a huge fan of Weight Watchers. I lost over 50lbs on the program and think it's a great, healthy way to learn a new lifestyle.

Lately, I've been hung up on way too many processed foods. Mr. Allan and I laugh when we think of how many meals we were eating that are in bar form. I was a granola bar, cliff bar, breakfast bar junkie. I was addicted to my 94% fat free popcorn. I think I got a small high off of the chemical butter smell. It's funny how I never thought twice about the chemical cloud I created if I accidentally burned a bag at work. I ate frozen muffin tops-- hey, how could they not be good? They were sold in the "health" food section of my grocery store. I drink Crystal Light by the gallon, fat free coffee creamer, spray name it, if it was low in calories I ate it.

Then, something not too uncommon happened. One afternoon I was watching Oprah. (in my defense I tivo it, so I'm not curled up on my couch eating bons bons listening to the Big O during the work day).

She had Michael Pollan on. He's the author of these great books:

He went through a couple of his "food rules." It was amazing how simple they were, yet how much sense they made.

#36 Don't eat breakfast cereals that change the color of the milk.

#11 Avoid foods you see advertised on television

#39 Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.

This book was a great, easy, common sense read. It was the first step of really changing the way we eat. Our first step was to really start looking at the food I buy each week. I do alot of cooking, but certainly have my go to quick meals....evil Mandarin Orange Chicken from Trader Joe's and my meatless chicken nuggets. It really never crossed my mind to think about what was actually in these foods. If it's my orange chicken, it's got to be chicken, right? Well, the answer really is, not really.

We've made a move to eat "cleaner" and to buy less processed stuff which is all too easy and cheap. So far, it hasn't been as much as a challenge as I thought. Mr. Allan and I like to be healthy. We enjoy it, we feel great, and hell, I do the grocery shopping, so whatever I buy- Mr. Allan eats.

But, when you really think about. It truly is common sense. When you reach for candy, microwave popcorn, or even a granola bar--what you're eating really isn't food, it's chemically processed junk....that doesn't do a body good.

So take charge of your life and your health, and snack on something in which you can pronounce all the ingredients that are listed on its package..or better yet, something that doesn't need to be preserved and packaged.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Steven Novogroski (March 3, 1955 - April 27, 2010)

The blogging has been slow the last couple weeks. I have primarily been in Western, MA with my mom. My stepfather passed away on April 27, 2010. He fought a long 21 month battle with cancer. He has been in my life since I was a bratty 9 year a long time. My mom and Steve celebrated their 19th wedding anniversary exactly 2 weeks before he passed away.

I am so thankful to have had him in my life for so many years. I think having divorced parents always made me worry about my mom or dad being alone while I was growing up. I was so happy that my mom found such a wonderful man to share her life with. She showed such love and dedication as she was his primary care taker throughout his illness. I was so grateful to have helped her and stay with her and my sister Heather that last week. My mom showed me strength  and courage I could never have imagined.

I am also so thankful that Steve was present at my sister's wedding in June 2009 and our wedding in October 2009. Here are some pictures from our wedding.

Steve, my mom, Mr. and Mrs. Allan and my sisters

Steve, Mr. and Mrs. Allan, and my mom

I hope Steve knows how much he will be missed and I also hope he knows that myself and my sisters (the 3H club as we refer to ourselves as) will take very good care of my mom.