Saturday, October 30, 2010

Marth failed me.

I love Martha Stewart. She's got all these great ideas, she's so crafty, she looks like she cooks a mean meal and she's approaching 70 and looks absolutely fabulous.

I have her cookbooks, her household tips book, and have used tons of recipes.

This week, I bought her LIVING magazine..something I normally don't do because I like the foody side of Martha better than the homey refinish furniture and make wreaths side of Martha.

In this month's LIVING there was a recipe for a pumpkin cream pie that looked fantastic. I smart of Martha and her minions...they took a classic, gave it a twist and it looked so good. The crust was made of gingersnaps and I decided to give it a test run to see if it was good enough to make the Allan Thanksgiving menu.

I gave it a whirl Thursday night and thought I'd slice Mr. Allan a piece and then bring in the pie for my trusty opinionated co workers to try. I'm a pretty avid baker and cook. I like to think I know a couple tricks in the kitchen and get around pretty well. So, everything went according to plan, crust made, pie in the fridge. Martha said it needed to set for 4 hours and it'd be ready to go.

Unfortunately Martha lied. This pie was a disaster. The filling never set. This is the pie after 36 hours in the refrigerator.

It was pumpkin soup in a very nice gingersnap crust. I had to pour the pie into the trash this morning as my cat tried to get at it and have a bite. He was the only one out of the family brave enough to give it a try. I did sneak a piece of crust...I'll give Martha that..the crust was excellent..such a cute twist and a little different from your flaky crust or graham cracker crust.

Well...I'm opinionated and if it's something I'm not satisfied with, I say it. So, of course I ran to Martha's website to speak my mind. I'm glad to see others had issues with this setting as well. I think the problem came with Martha's instruction in the recipe to use 2 cups of milk, a can of pumpkin etc. 2 cups of milk was way to much for a 9 inch pie. She said to cook the filling for 2 minutes until it bubbled in the middle. Mine was watery and I cooked for about 10 minutes to thicken it up....and it still was a watery mess.

Recipe and my comments :)

Sorry Martha. Your pumpkin cream pie recipe sucked.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Pie 101

I love to bake. I'll bake a cake, a cookie, a brownie, a bar..I've mastered cakey, crunchy, moist and chewy baked goods. One thing I'm still trying to master...pies.

I started baking pies a few years ago. I started with the handy dandy its rolled and made for you just defrost it Pillsbury crust.
It makes a decent pie. Once this was mastered, and it really didn't take too many tries, I wanted to make my own pie crust. I try to be health conscious, so I have a hard time knowing that a killer pie crust is probably made mostly of lard...and can't bring myself to make it.

I've been using Martha Stewart's Pate Brisee..her fancy french term for pie crust. It's a pretty decent recipe...
Pate Brisee recipe

Pie making is an interesting sport. There's lots of tricks to the trade and insider tips to really make a killer pie. I can see why so many people just cop out and go and buy pie. I could make some cakes but it feels very anti-Thanksgiving to not have pie.

I found this interesting article on's/ it's their Pie troubleshooting guide
Allrecipes Pie Guide

Some other tips to problem I always had was cracking dough when I roll it out. You need to chill your dough, but if you take the dough out of the fridge and roll it out, your dough will likely crack because it's too cold. Leave it on the counter for few minutes and then roll it out. Rolling out pie dough is something you get one shot can ball it up and roll it out again if you make a's just not the same and gets all gummy and weird.

Right now my biggest struggle is soggy bottom crust. I've heard that to get a really nice even bottom flaky crust on fruit pies (especially 2 crust pies..the ones that have a bottom and a top crust) you should bake the pie on a pizza stone..something I don't have since we grill most of our pizza but.....I'm out to conquer this with some test pies this week and next...because the Allan's are hosting Thanksgiving this year!

This should
1) be very interesting
2) hopefully be pleasant as long as I have no temper tantrums or mishaps in the kitchen...Mr. Allan calls these my "snicker moments"
3) be very delicious as long as I can keep my shit together!


I got out of my power yoga class last night and had the most gigantic-ginormous, monstrous vehicle parked infront on me. This was the view from my compact car.

I'm wondering why a car like this is necessary in RI, the Ocean State, the state who's largest hill is the Landfill, aka the Dump.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My Good Deed for the Day

It's the Hap-Happiest time of the year....umm coupons galore and online sales.

I LOVE Friends and Family discounts....and it's Sephora time until 11-3

Thank GOD! I just ran out of my fantabulous Kinerase moisturizer. Mr. Allan would have a kitten if he knew it cost $ he doesn't have to know...or maybe he might if he reads this, but I doubt he my secret is safe with my 8 blog followers.

Go get yourself some goodies

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Things that made me happy today...

1) my hair is now long enough that I can pull it into a pony tail at the gym....a weird short spikey ponytail...but I avoid the white girl afro I would get with just a headband once I start to sweat

2) I got into a yoga pose I would have never dreamed of doing. Just call me Gumby. Not bad for the girl with the "athletic" body and 2 tree trunks for legs. Yes, I sucked at sit and reach in gym class.

3) Kashi Cinnamon Harvest Wheat cereal. It's the meal of champions. I eat this for dinner (and sometimes breakfast too) when Mr. Allan is away. Unfortunately, I've eaten about 20 boxes in the past couple months. The hubs needs to be home more often.

4) 16 and Pregnant premieres tonight!!!!!

Yes, you are correct in thinking that it doesn't take much to make me happy.

Yes, you are correct in thinking that #4 made me the happiest!!!!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Angry Birds

This is my new obsession. I got the best new phone a couple weeks ago. It makes the Iphone look like ground beef.

My new baby that does everything and entertains me for hours especially in court when I'm in between cases and have nothing to do.... my HTC Evo from Sprint....

I know have the capability to download Iphone using boss mentioned a game called Angry Birds. I didn't think twice as it didn't sound like my cup of tea as I furiously tried to discover more words to form in Word UP!

But...during a long car ride this weekend, I downloaded and am now hooked! Today, the boss tells me not only is it the coolest app game eva...but there's a YouTube movie describing why the birds are so angry

for my angry bird it all began

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Things I'm digging right now

Here are a couple items making my fall fabulous....

non fat of course...a tall nonfat pumpkin spice latte has 200 calories and 0 grams of fat..a nice treat but you need to watch's loaded with sugar :(

I'm not a huge lipstick wearer..most glosses I get my hair stuck to my lips when the wind blows...but this almost has a tint of color and goes on nice and thick for fall

I really don't know how you a carve a pumpkin without one of these babies....

This a splurge with a price tag of $60 ...but I love it. I've used Orgins Never a Dull Moment, Kiehl's almond scrub, St. Ive's stuff...this is the rolls royce of face scrubs. It's fall and my face is feeling dry and weird so I love a good morning scrub with this!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Good dinner with a great deal found at Job Lot!

I was perusing through some old magazines and stumbled upon a past issue of Clean Eating. This Skinny stir fry looked good, I had tried it once before and decided it would be on deck for dinner this week.

I started cooking up some steak I cut into thin slices...

I had the recipe on deck in my handy dandy recipe book holder. Is it necessary...not really but it comes in handy. I'm queen of getting crap all over my hands and touching my magazines or recipes and destroying, if anything, it keeps my recipes free of grease spots and stains of who knows what.

And here's my deal of the week. I like Soba Noodles and this recipe calls for them. What are they? They are a thin Japanese noodle make from buckwheat flour. Why do I like them? Sometimes people complain that whole wheat pasta tastes different, or its chewy or gritty. Since soba noodles are so thin, you don't get any of that. They cook super quick. Usually I opt for whole wheat pasta over soba noodles..mostly because at my grocery stores, the Soba Noodles run around $3-4. BUT....insert mom, the older sister and I found them at Job Lot for $1!!!!!

Deal of the week...I normally don't make it a habit of purchasing too much food at Job Lot, but Soba Noodles for a buck..yes please!

So, this recipe is usually a go to recipe when we want something a little's got a great flavor, you can throw whatever veggies you want in it...but I am a sucker for broccoli...I LOVE only warning..go easy on the orange...sometimes I buy a huge honker of a navel orange and it's maybe a bit too much zest..I'd keep it to under a TBSP vs. zesting the whole orange..too much orange can sometimes overwhelm this a bit.

Beef & Broccoli Orange Stir Fry (Clean Eating Magazine, March/April, p.74)

12 0z Soba Noodles
Olive Oil Cooking Spray
1 lb lean round steak, pounded to 1/4 inch thickness and sliced into strips
1/2 white onion diced
2 c fresh broccoli florets, julienne cut
3 tbsp low sodium tamari soy sauce
1/2 red bell pepper, julienne cut
Juice 1 medium orange
1 tbsp orange zest
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp raw organic honey
2 tsp whole wheat flour
Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Heat large nonstick or cast-iron skillet over high heat for 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-high, mist pan with cooking spray and saute steak for about 5 minutes or until cooked through (for medium doneness, the steak will be slightly pink in the middle). Remove steak, leaving juices in the pan.

Mist same pan again with cooking spray. Add onion, broccoli, and pepper and saute over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes or until cooked through.
In a medium bowl, whisk together soy sauce, orange juice and zest, garlic and honey.
Add steak back to vegetables in pan and pour in soy sauce mixture. Saute steak and vegetables over medium high heat for about 2 minutes, then whisk in flour to thicken, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add noodles to pan and cook until warmed, about 3 more minutes. Remove from heat and serve.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I caved....

I've been going back and forth for the last 3 weeks trying not to give in and buy clogs.....and I caved last week. I tried to do something a little different and get some patent leather Danskos...I reasoned that if I was going for the unfashionable clog look why not buy the fashionable clogs.

It didn't work. The first day I had them, Mr. Allan saw the Dankso shoe box and groaned. I put them on to wear to work (I change into real shoes once I'm in Court). Mr. Allan was holding one of our cats and said, A-belle (our cat) can see her reflection in Mommy's shoes....uggghhhh...I didn't think they were that shiny. While walked to a restaurant to take our boss out for Bosses' day, one of my co workers remarked how shiny they were.

As you can see from my self foot portrait, you can see the reflection of my sliding glass doors in my clogs.

Operation Clog= fail. I'm not returning them, because on the weekends I don't live in a high fashion part of RI. But, I'm determined to find better, comfortable, more fashion plate worthy shoes.

So, for now, if I pass you in my shiny clogs, put your sunglasses on.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Eating Healthy is too Expensive

When I weighed 200lbs and was tight on cash because I was a po boy law student, those were the words that came out of my mouth oh so often. Truth is (according to Holly), telling yourself that eating healthy is way too expensive is a cop out excuse and you probably have no desire to really change your eating habits whatsoever. When I first went on Weight Watchers (just a side note...I lost over 50lbs with Weight Watchers. I think it's a phenomenal program to start you off and teach you portion control and monitor what you put in your mouth and how much you eat), but...when I started the program, I was amazed at all the food I could eat. BUT, I quickly became dependent on things like 100 calorie packages of Oreo Crisps and all this other processed crap. But, I didn't care because it was only 2 WW points! Once the lbs came off, I hit a big time plateau with about 10 lbs away from my goal. I then took a look at what I was eating, it was no wonder the scale wasn't budging. I could easily eat 2 meals a day and 2 snacks a day all in bar form and not be bothered by it whatsoever. So, I took a turn with my eating and steered myself in the direction of getting rid of the processed foods and eating more real food.

We still struggle with some things...Mr. Allan won't give us his Fat Free Coffemate Creamer. It's probably purely composed of chemicals, but I'll give him that as I drink my SO Delicious Coconut water based creamer. For the most part, my grocery bill hasn't budged all that much. I do divulge in some trips to Whole Foods and sometimes go a little nuts...but I consistently spend the same I did when my grocery cart was loaded with boxes and packages and not too many fresh foods.

So, you're probably asking yourself, doesn't she think she's the bee does she do it? I'll admit, sometimes it's a lot of organizing and getting my sh*t together before going grocery shopping...but this is how we do it....

If I have free time at work towards the end of the week, instead of stalking people's profiles on Facebook, I download and look at my 3 grocery stores' flyers online. My 3 stores-- Whole Foods- I buy my meat here and some other products that are somewhat difficult to find. I plan my meals around the meat that's on sale, or I stock up on something that has a great sale. For example...ground turkey was $2.99/lb...that's a fabulous deal in the land of Whole Foods, so me bought 4 lbs to stock up. The meat man was even nice enough to wrap it in individual packages for easy freezing. Dave's Marketplace-- they have really nice produce and lots of good sales. However, if it ain't on sale, Dave's is expensive for grocery items. A box of Kashi cereal is typically more expensive than Stop and Shop, unless its on sale. Their produce excites me...yes I said it. It's always so nice and bountiful and beautiful in there...and the free coffee doesn't hurt either.

Lastly, Stop and Shop. They get their own paragraph because of the immense euphoria I experienced there this morning. I'll give it to Stop and Shop, they're always evolving. Their produce isn't as nice as Dave's but they're introducing more organic stuff. I solely shop the perimeter aisles here. Weight Watcher leaders always told you that's what you should do, then they show you a website for a fat free donut. Even Stop and Shop has put their all natural and "healthy" stuff in the last aisle so you can live by the WW rule.

Here's a trick I like to use at Stop and Shop and yes, you may think I'm psycho and have no life but I'm making my mom proud with this one. Every Saturday morning, I wake up, feed the cats, drink my coffee, then off to Turbokick class I go! After my class at the gym, I grocery shop. Mostly because young children aren't running up and down the aisles at 9am. But, I've also learned that my Stop and Shop puts out a ton of meat on Saturday mornings. They also do a ton of markdowns for meat that has a sell by date of that day. They'll typically put a big $1.50 off Manager's Special coupon. So, I've been hitting up Stop and Shop, and cleaning up on their Nature's Promise hormone and antibiotic free chicken the past couple weeks.

Today, I nearly peed my pants. I saw in this week's flyer that their individually wrapped boneless skinless Nature's Promise chicken breasts were on sale for $3.99....generally a very good deal, and I don't buy the individually wrapped crap, because I'm cheap and it's pricey. As I went to grab some, the meat man was putting the Manager's Special coupons on meat that needed to be sold by today.

If you can see the's marked down to $2.66 a pound..and this package of 1.5 lbs of boneless skinless, antibiotic, hormone free chicken is $4.20....holy steal! gets better....the manager stuck a $1.50 off coupon. Yes, I got this package of chicken for $2.70. But, it wasn't only this package, I scooped up 4.

So, why do I want to buy meat that needs to be sold by today? Because I'm not having a chicken party tonight...I pop these babies into the freezer...the date on your meat is generally a use by or, in my mind, a throw in your freezer by date.

Just a very long verbose example of ways to make it work. You need to stop making up every excuse in the book of why you don't think you matter enough to fuel your body with food and nutrients it needs to be healthy.

So, you might think I slightly need to get a life because I get excited over a good sale on chicken...but at least I'm someone who slightly might need a life who's got a healthy BMI, energy, and feels good about what I eat and feed the hubs.

So, here's one little trick on how to stock up on good stuff to make you some healthy meals.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Back to my cookie roots

I tried dabbling in the cookie treat making business. But, getting married and having to be a lawyer full time for work kind of got in the way. That, as well as the fact that I just don't charge people enough to make it worth my time. But, I come out of retirement every once in a while if someone special needs some out of this world way too cute and oh they taste so good as well favors for a special event. One of my best friends, L, needed some favors for a baby shower she's co-hosting this weekend.

Here's a little step by step process...first...I made the fondant and then it's time to roll it out. Essentials wooden rolling pin (I hate the tapered ones.), my Silpat Baking Mat...(it's a counter saver). I dust the mat with powdered sugar and start rolling away. I then cut out the fondant with the same cutter I used for the cookies.

I put the cut out fondant pieces on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper so they don't stick to one another. I do this while my cookie dough is chilling. I don't like to bake the cookies, then stick the fondant on with corn syrup or royal icing. If you can bring your inner Type A personality out and get uber organized and cut the fondant before's sooooo much easier to pop the fondant on cookies that are immediately out of the oven. My fondant is homemade and the primary ingredient is mini marshmallows..the fondant immediately adheres to a hot cookie and avoids a messy, annoying step of sticking it on a cooled cookie...hope that makes sense to those non baking superstars.

These cookies are fresh out of the oven and i put the fondant right on. Another life saver...Silpat baking mats...I don't understand why people don't use these and insist on messy parchment paper that I can never rip off evenly or better yet baking sprays..hello...silpat keeps your cookie sheets non nasty!!

Here are the cookies on my 3 tiered cooling racks (best thing ever that I scored after Christmas at Target and they were 1/2 off because there was a snowflake on the box! Word to my mom for noticing that and teaching me how to really score after Christmas deals)

Here are the final products...c' know they're cute!

It was fun to bake and decorate. I love to see the dough go from a disc chilling in my fridge to these cute little favors. Hope the mom to be enjoys them as much as Mr. Allan enjoyed the couple reject imperfect ones he got to snack on last night!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

To Clog or Not to Clog...that is the question

I'm in quite the pickle. It's fall. That means alot of things. I have to wear pantyhose at work now. My legs are no longer sun kissed tan. They're weird and white. No more sans hose in the office, which usually means I start looking for more pants suits.

I've also had to put the flip flops away. Well, this weekend will mark the official turn over of my closet where the tanks, shorts, and bikinis get put in the plastic bin that gets shoved underneath the bed. I'm always very confused and torn when it comes to fall and winter shoes. I wear heels for work. I have problem picking out the newest styles and dropping some dough there. Mostly because I put on my heels once I'm in the courthouse. Generally, I'm not galavanting the streets of downtown Providence in 3" BCBG heels I may have scored at TJ Maxx. My conundrum starts here. I need somewhat casual shoes to sludge back and forth to the courthouse in.  It needs to have a slight heel so my suit pants don't drag on the grimy streets. It also needs to be something I can wear to the grocery store and to run my other very un fun errands in. I have plenty of boots in every height, color and style for when we go out on the weekends. But, let's face it. If I'm running to Walmart, I'm typically in a fleece and old jeans. I usually don't get all gussied up for trips to the big W.

So, 2 years ago I did the unmentionable. I bought a pair of these:

The dreaded Dansko. Some of you may read this and say, hey, I wear these, they're not that bad. I must disagree. I will side with you that they're pretty comfortable. But, fashionable, they are not. Mr. Allan loathes these shoes with a capital L. But, I sacrifice the style aspect for the comfort factor.

After 2 years of beating these bad boys up, they're worn and old looking and I decided it's time for something new. I went to Nordstroms to take a peek at the big shoe selection. I drifted towards the massive Ugg display. I'm kind of cool and with it, so of course I own Uggs. However, as I stood there amidst a crowd of 14 year olds, I realized, I'm one of those 32 year olds. The ones who can't admit that Uggs are not for my age bracket anymore. (it's like reading Cosmo and slowly realizing that when you're reading an article about skin care, you can no longer read the Skin in Your 20's page..and must flip to the 30's advice now)

This was further cemented in my head as I was at my local grocery store waiting in line this past weekend. It was an interesting crowd that afternoon...lots of scrunchies, matching velour sweat pant suits, and other fashion mishaps. I glanced at the woman in front of me. She had skinny jeans shoved into her Uggs. I looked up at her and thought, what is she trying to prove..she's pushing 40 trying to pull off Uggs. Then it hit me, she's only a few years older than me. So there's probably a 20 something year old behind me saying the same thing. Then it hit me, I am officially too old for Uggs.

But....the same day I had my Ugg revelation, I succumbed to the dreaded Dansko curse in Nordstroms. I looked at boots of all sizes which seemed impractical to trudge around the downtown streets in. I walked over to the Dansko display and thought, how bad can they really be if Nordstroms sells them, right?

I had the patent leather clog in my hand. I thought, hey, if my leather ones are as unstylish as I think they are, then patent leather is a step up, right? I asked the saleswoman for my size. About 5 minutes later, she came out with boxes galore. She said they didn't have the black patent leather in my size but she could order them. However, she brought other styles she thought would suit me. She proceeded to unleash these:

I was so insulted that I said No thank you and left Nordstroms even though I really really needed some Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer. I could not believe that the lady at Nordstroms thought the 2 above clogs were my style. It's bad enough I bought plain black leather 2 years ago, but do i really look like the velour bedazzled clog wearing type of girl???? So, I proceeded to walk around Providence Place Mall with a dirty insulted look on my face and wander through 2 more shoes stores with no luck. I've tried to cure myself from the clog curse by convincing myself that I absolutely must, under no circumstance, and desperately need to buy a pair shoe booties for fall.

So my battle continues. My husband is no fashion plate, well, maybe he is a little. But, when I put on my old clogs as we're headed to the Homestead for dinner (where we definitely do fall under the fashion plate status) I hear him groan and feel like I am the proud owner of the most unsexiest shoes in the world. I will admit, I have put the patent leather clogs in my shopping cart twice this week. I'm not sure why I'm so hung up on my clog conundrum....however, my clog saga drags on....

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Waterfire 2010 and my fun weekend with the sis and mother.

I was so excited to have my mom in town this weekend. She made the road trip down from Western MA and we helped her check a couple items off her newly created bucket list. Bucket list item #1...goto Waterfire. What is waterfire? It's a RI thing where they have bundles of logs all along the water in Providence. They're lit and we watch them burn. Might sound weird, but it makes whatever body of water it is look alot better, and it's kind of neat to watch.

So, here's our waterfire experience via pictures taken on my nifty new Spint HTC Evo Touch (no shame in the plug for Sprint for my Sprint sis Heather)

Here's Heather and my mom outside Cafe Nuovo. We ate there beforehand and it was excellent, although we made our reservation a month ago with a special request for a window seat, the owner didn't want to give it to us, but we got it.

The gondola landing is right outside of Cafe Nuovo. Lesson #2 we learned about Cafe Nuovo, they have 2 entrances to their parking lot. We took the wrong one and it took us about 25 minutes to travel a quarter mile with a traffic cop. While that sucked...valet parking at 5pm and being able to leave the car all night was kind of cool and made this trip less of a cluster.

Here's the Biltmore lit up at night...I got all nostalgic with Mr. Allan out of town for work seeing the place we tied the knot. (insert the awww here)

 Waterfire ablazing on the river or canal or whatever it is

Scores of people watching the wood burn. We stood above the crowd as it was a nightmare of strollers down there.

 Ballet girl dancing on a gondola

 Waterfire in full effect

 A look down the canal

 This was my favorite sight of the night. This was the last waterfire of the season and it was called "Flames of Hope" and dedicated to all breast cancer survivors. Many of the buildings down town were lit in pink to honor Breast Cancer Awareness month. This is RI's beautiful state house.

Other things we did with Mom this weekend...we hit the Scituate Art Festival. I had never been. I'm not terribly into crafts and arts but it was fun. Lessons I learned in case I ever go back:

1) get there at 10am when it opens. It was bearable when we got there and unbearable when we left.
2) Kettle Corn is my crack
3) My mom thinks kids in strollers don't belong there but said she brought us when we were little. She's turning into my sister Heather.
4) Pay the stinking 5 bucks to was soooo much better as we drove by scores of people walking down Rte. 6.

Another fun thing...we ate wieners. We drove through the worst parts of RI listening to the Sprint Bitch a.k.a. Heather's phone navigation only to come upon wiener place after wiener place closed!

Finally we scored! After this picture was taken my sister had 2 great quotes.

1) "My breath smells worse than my dogs"
2) My hand smells like a wiener"

what a great weekend! Mr. Allan if flying home tonight and dinner with friends!

Friday, October 8, 2010

My Mega Marshalls Treasure

I went to a conference in Narragansett, RI with my boss yesterday. I like to attend this conference every year because 1) it's held at a facility close to mi casa and 2) everytime I go, whatever co-worker I go with, we have a tradition of wolfing down our free lunch and then we make a mad dash to the best Marshall's in in Lil Rhody.

I spied this bag in green and fell in love with it. It's a Cynthia Rowley bag and for all I know it could be from 9 seasons ago. But, I like that it was a long oversized Hobo type bag and the leather feels so nice you just know its a quality bag even if it is so last season.

If I found a green bag why am I showing a picture of a blue bag? Because the blue is apparenly so two seasons ago that it was marked down from $129.99 to $ blue it is

my new bag in my hip office at work

This bag made me forget that the boot selection at Marshall's totally sucked yesterday

Old Navy vs. Athleta

So, I'm proud of Old Navy. I think of them as the cheap Gap and wannabe Banana Republic. I'm happy to see that they keep expanding their Yoga line and Activewear in general. I'm a big fan of their Yoga Pants. they're just under 20 bucks and I like the way they fit. These puppies even go on sale every once in a while for $15. I used to earn my nifty $10 rewards, but Mr. Allan took away the Old Navy charge, so I see those no more.

When I hit the big 3-2 this summer, I decided I was too good for my Old Navy Yoga pants and wanted to treat myself to something special. I get Athleta catalogs all the time and while I love the styles of exercise clothes and workout garb, my jaw typically drops at the price tag. BUT, I got my hands on a 30% off coupon a mere day after my birthday, so I saw this as a sign that I was destined to wear $60 yoga pants to class.

So, here's my expert research results on yoga pants. My expertise is based on the knowledge I attained wearing both pairs of said pants to Power yoga, Vinyassa flow yoga, Turbokick class, Body Step class, and running my butt on the good ole tread mill.

In this corner, we have Old Navy Yoga Pants. These bad boys retail for $19.95 and you can buy them at any Old Navy store and Although, size medium seems to go pretty quick in the stores.

Pros: 1) they're pretty reasonably prices 2) they're not way too long 3) they're sized pretty right on 4) they make me feel very svelte and tall

Cons: 1) they fade and make me feel like the poor girl with off black old yoga pants at the gym sometimes 2) they stretch out pretty easily. Sometimes I go in class feeling like a million bucks and walk out with saggy butt syndrome 3) This may sound weird, but the latest pair I bought from Old Navy have a new sewing pattern in the crotch that consists of a little crotch patch..I'm not sure how else to describe it. I know they probably put it in to help with some sweat issues, but I've noticed that once my pants get a month old, that little panel starts to sag. To my absolute HORROR, in yoga yesterday, I was in downward dog ,as I pushed my chest back towards my legs I glanced up and saw the wretched crotch panel sagging a bit. Quite unsightly...oh my yes! I'm not sure if sweaty dude behind me noticed, but i was horrified.

In the opposite corner, if you can contain reading after my odd crotch panel description, we have Athleta Salamba Pants

These Organic Cotton Salamba pants can only be purchases on, and brace yourself, they have a $69 price tag. In my defense, I had a 30 % off coupon.

Pros: 1) the picture is so pretty, how can you not want to work out in these pants! 2) they're made of organic cotton and the fabric really is to die for 3) they have this neat little Athleta logo design that is in the center of the back waistband on these pants. It's strategically located to make your behind look nice 4) they have a seam on either side of your butt that runs down the outer edge of your cheek. This is genius! The seam makes my butt look smalled and gives my rear view a more athletic appearance.

Cons: 1) A medium was too small and I had to go up to a these run small 2) they have a skinnier elastic waistband. When I tried on the medium, this skinny waistband cut into my middle and gave me a small muffin top...something you do not want to see in kick ass workout pants is a muffin top. When I exchanged them for a large, the elastic waistband still cut a bit, so I am self conscious of muffin top syndrome. 3) they're pricey.

So, after much deliberation, Old Navy takes this one. I can't get over the waistband on my Athleta pants. They would be god-sent if they had a thicker waist. Don't the Athleta gods realize that thicker waist band = most coverage for the dreaded beer belly section. In Athleta's defense, they do have another pair of pants that appear to have a different waist called the Kick Booty pants. However, these Salamba pants were advertised as the Best Natural Choice Pant from Health how could I not buy them??

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Pesto Making time

my garden is about done. I pulled up most of the plants this weekend and have a lone pepper plant that's still producing, ok, it's really hanging on for dear life and has a baby pepper that I'm convinced will grow into something I spared it from life in the compost bin!

I also picked the rest of my herbs. I got a fair amount of basil and had a Pesto Making day time to stock up for the winter.

I've tried many pesto recipes...I don't like it too oily, I'm not a fan of too many pignoli nuts and I like my garlic. So, here's what i've ended up with. My perfect chunky pesto. If I know I'm making a huge batch or doubling this recipe, I cut down on the oil. Then, when i defrost my perfect chunky pesto and throw it in some pasta, I add a little extra olive oil then.

Here's what I started off what...a buttload of pesto and threw in some garlic (don't panic..the recipe will follow my purty pics)

After some chopping in my Kitchen Aid food processor (a most perfect birthday gift from Mr. Allan one year)...

Here's a batch portioned into 5 little containers ready to pop in the freezer. Yes, those are little smiling Halloween pumpkins on my gladware. Be smart and buy this crap the day after a holiday at Target when it's 50% off....I make my Mom proud!

So, what do I do with my pesto? My favorite thing is to just add it to whole wheat pasta, maybe add some chicken and some vegetables. I also previously posted a fabulous scallop recipe from this summer!

Here's the recipe for Perfect Chunky Pesto

  • 3 cups fresh basil leaves

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled

  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • 3/4 cup olive oil

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • Throw it into your food processor and mix! Well, start off with the basil and garlic and pulse. Add the walnuts, then stream in the olive oil. I then add the salt and pepper and cheese!

    Monday, October 4, 2010

    I've been Mrs. Allan for 1 year today!

    Today is our 1 year anniversary. It's so hard to believe that 365 days have flown by so quickly...okay, maybe I'm being a bit dramatic, but this year really has gone by fast! It seems like just yesterday we were arguing about the guest list, who gets to ride in the limo and who's walking who down the aisle. I kind of lie, a little bit. Planning was fun but it did have it's stressful moments. I wanted to be thrust into the planning process and create this over the top spectacle of a wedding and then, Mr. Allan brought me back to earth.

    I think we did a very good of throwing a sophisticated and elegant affair. We focused on each other, tried not to get too caught up in all the gimmicky wedding stuff, although I succumbed to flip flop baskets and bathroom baskets like many other brides. My absolute favorite part of our wedding was our ceremony. Mr. Allan and I wrote very personal vows. They were a bit longer than your normal vows, but the things he said to me on that day make my heart melt.

    So, you might ask, how's the past year been? It's had it's ups and downs, it's gains and losses. We've seen each other through some very tough times, we've celebrated some very good times as well. I think we've grown as a couple, as individuals and have much more to accomplish together. We had some mini pay off all stupid debt. We're almost there....Mr. Allan has taught me to be a bit more financially savvy. I like to brag to Mr. Allan that I only bought 1 new work suit and 2 pairs of shoes all year, therefore, I am the best wife in the world. My other mini goal was to stay within 5 lbs of the weight I was when I married Mr. Allan. I'm glad to report I accomplished that and marriage has not made us fat :)

    So, one year down, many more to go. I put together a little trip down memory lane. Here's our memorable, magical, absolutely perfect (to us) wedding in pictures according to me.

    All photos are courtesy of our wonderful photographer, Melissa Robotti, who captured all the emotions of our day.