Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 The Good, The Bad

I think 2009 was a crappy year for alotta people. Except for maybe, Taylor Swift. Other than that..? I wrote down 2 lists, one - the good and two - the bad of 2009. And really, the good much outweighed the bad. huh. How about that!

Here's my lists:

2009 - The Good!

- We got our pup Onyx in January!
(He doesn't like when I blog - he'll put himself in awkwardly uncomfortable positions and sigh loudly so I see how uncomfortable he is, because of my need to blog, it's all my fault don'tcha see.)

- I started going back to school this year. While it made for a very stressful year, it has to go on the good list because these are forward steps to a better career.

- After MONTHS of no kitchen, we finally finished phase 1 of renovations!



- My family came to Charleston, Pops, Mommala, the family P, the family S, AoM! A great year of visits! And I expect y'all to come back in 2010 too.

- I started this here blog, which I luurve!

- For Christmas, we got the best gift ever!

Good stuff right? 2009, you've taken a lot of slack, but you know what, maybe you weren't so bad afterall.

But wait, there's still the bad list:

2009 - The Bad

- My bad list has a series of 3 things, all cause and effect related to each other, but listed separately. #1 - I hurt my back while moving into new house. (Resulted in weekly visits to the chiropractor all year)

- I got laid off my job. (but found another right away thankfully!)

- Stress due to getting laid off, work, school, back problems, kitchen renovations, etc. lead to WEIGHT GAIN - AAAAHHHHHHHH!!! Say it ain't so. Rewind, I need a do over! This was the #1 worst thing about 2009. Grrrr.

- Having to work Christmas. Which of course I resolved by wearing a sweater that made me laugh. See Santa? See dee beadie eyes? Haha! And it's a sweater VEST ala the Pete's Sweaty Balls skit on SNL - See HERE.

So there are my lists. All in all, the good still outweighs the bad, so while at first thought, I want to call 2009 the year of Bah! it actually was ok. Here's what I've discovered and all of you were probably waiting patiently for it to bonk me in the head: there is no way for this bipolar way to exist in harmony. I cannot have both my baking and being fit, at least not until I am fit first. Then maybe in moderation and only with self control and a serious workout afterwards.

But for now, I must give it up if I want to lose weight. Alright, so resolutions may be hokey, but here is mine: Finish what I start.

This past year I've started so many things and not saw them to completion, this is what I will vow to do. For starters, I'm going to be doing the Quantum Wellness Cleanse, a 21 day cleanse of body, mind, and spirit. I need a good kick start you see. The cleanse includes giving up caffeine, alcohol, gluten, animal products, and sugar for 21 days.

It's going to be tough, but it must be done. I need a swift kick to the hiney (Kick em in the left knee, kick em in the right knee, kick em in the H-I- neee!) to get going. I realized that it doesn't matter what you do to lose weight, all it really boils down to is willpower. I'm working on this. That's why I think this cleanse will be good, the book talks you through it day by day, hence the mind and spiritual cleansing in addition to body.

Wrong or not, I will be celebrating Tonight!! YEAH! I'm talking all 5 things I'm giving up tomorrow, I'm having tonight. My menu: turkey wrapped asparagus, chicken meatballs, veggie quesadilla, cheese and crackers, champagne, and THIS.

Photo and recipe from


Friday, December 25, 2009

A very Merry!

A very Merry Christmas to YOU!!!

I have not been blogging very much lately, I think after the semester ended I shut down completely. I hardly come on the computer at all, and I don't miss it one bit. I would like to report I've done nothing but relax but I've still been crazy busy, trying to get my grad school application in before it's rapidly approaching deadline.

BUT I have done a little relaxing.. I've been wanting and trying to get into a good book. I have stacks and stacks to read thanks to Mommala. I have about 5 started, then I found myself away from home one day, bored, so I picked up a paperback to pass the time. And wouldn'tcha knowit, that's the one I've been immersed in, "The Lovely Bones" I'm actually really enjoying it, and just about when I finish, the movie will be out!

Speaking of movies, there are soo many I want to see right now, I need to go to the theater every day for a week to see them all. My macho motorcycle man does not care for the chick flicks, so I will have to see most of them by meself. To celebrate getting all A's last semester (thankyouverymuch)we were going to see a movie. (I know- ca-razy celebrating right?) I really really want to see Did you hear about the Morgans, because those trailors crack me right up. (I love the part when they tell the Morgans they are going to Ray, Wyoming and Hugh asks if that's anywhere near Phil, Wyoming. Just about bust a gut at that) Anyodel, what did we see? 2012. Which was good, despite being almost 3 hours!

How bout this post, eh!?

Not very Christmasy, but I have to work. In protest of having to work, I am wearing an ugly Christmas sweater. The first reaction I got was great, just what I wanted. I was walking down the hall and someone smiled at me and said Merry Christmas, looking at my face. As I returned the sentiment, she looked down to the sweater and smile faltered, almost into a look of surprise, amazement, dismay, and bewildermint all in one fleeting moment before returning to my face and a sorta sympathetic smile in it's place. All of this took place in less than 5 seconds. HAHA!! This is great! It's just a little way I keep myself amused these days. Other people don't know quite what to make of it, I get some "NICE! SWEATER!"'s and some whose eyes betray their stoic faces, telling me they are laughing on the inside.

I will post a picture soon, very soon. :)

Hope everyone has a blessed, happy, safe, and merry Christmas!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Edumacation on Christmas

I was looking at some Christmas recipes and came across some pretty funky looking recipes that do not sound appealing to me one bit.. but the food is red and green so I supposed they thought it was Christmasy? It just seems wrong, I don't want to eat something red and green for Christmas, especially if it's savory, are you with me? Hmm.. I suppose maybe there may be some clever but delicious colored fare.

It got me thinking about why red and green anyway? So I googled and here is what I learned:

Red symbolizes the blood that Jesus spilt to redeem us from our sins.
Green is the color of life. Therefore, green symbolizes the potential for eternal life that Jesus' sacrifice made possible for all of us.
The evergreen tree is green all year round. So, it also symbolizes eternal life.
The flame of a candle, the lights on the tree and the star on top are all meant to remind us of the new star that appeared to proclaim the birth of the promised Messiah.
The bell is a reminder of the bells worn by sheep. They provide a means for the shepherd to find the sheep that has wandered from the flock and become lost. They symbolize our pleas to the Good Shepherd for guidance back to His flock.
The candy cane is shaped like a shepherd's staff. It symbolizes the responsibility that we all have to be shepherds, to help each other and guide each other back to God.
Finally, the bows on the top of the presents are symbolic of brotherhood. It should be a reminder that, just as the ribbons are tied together, we should all be tied together by the knowledge that we are all God's children and, therefore, brothers and sisters.

Interesting huh? In such a politically correct world,meaning seems to be slipping away. I am a bit ashamed myself that I had to google to learn!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A cookie disaster

I've spent all day in the kitchen and have nothing to show for it! Tre disappointing and uber embarrassing. I mean, I let those cookies be the boss of me and know what? They won.

And so here I sit, covered in flour, dejected in spirits, and exhausted. AoM tells me I should have been drinking wine while baking and by golly, she's right. Perhaps some spirits right now will lift my spirits. Oh yes, cheap bottle of zinfandel in the fridge, I hear you calling.

And I am coming to get you.

I have never failed at cookies before. I just don't understand.

Check those out. If life was perfect, they'da turned out like these:

Embarrassing. Am I right or am I right?

I will conquer this cookie. Oh yes, dear cookie, you may have won the battle but you haven't won the war!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Chocolate Jubilees

Chocolate Jubilees

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup shortening
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
3 tsp almond extract
4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup quick cooking oats
1 cup baking cocoa
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 jar (16oz) maraschino cherries, drained and chopped
1 cup marshmallows

In a large bowl, cream butter, shortening, and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in extract. Combine flour, oats, cocoa, baking soda and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips, cherries, and marshmallows.

Roll into 1/2 in. balls and place 3 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375 for 12-14 minutes until the edges are firm. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Makes 5 dozen

Recipe from Taste of Home Best Loved Cookies magazine

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Smart cars make me giggle

You too?

Maybe it's because it reminds me of Mr. Bean, and not just Mr. Bean, who makes me laugh hysterically. But also remembering the first time I showed it to Pops, who wheezed and cried from laughing just as hard as I did. What a ridiculous man, that Mr. Bean is.

Pops too sometimes.

Here's the story. Yesterday I arose sleepily around 9am, and I coulda slept a whole lot longer but sleeping past 9 just doesn't feel right in the land of moral goodness. Dang it all morals. So, here I am - up, sleepy, 9 am, stumbling downstairs to let the dog out. When I take a real stumble, I mean, graceful. My foot slid down the side of the step and somehow something told me not to try to catch myself because I would make it worse, how weird an angle it was already. Besides, no one was around to see me, and O was taking a duex in the very back of the yard.

So, on my dupa I crashed. Eh, not bad, I thought to myself. Ungraceful, but, I think, I think I'm ok? Next thing I know O sees me on my dupa and comes charging. YAY! Momma's on the floor, it's time to PLAY!! In he comes and crashes me out of my dazed stupor with a million puppy kisses to the face. Ew.

To sum up, I spent all day yesterday on the couch with my foot elevated and iced. Today I visited the doctor and learned I sprained my foot. The worst part? First, the house arrangement. Kitchen/food/drinks downstairs, everything else, including bathrooms, upstairs. My foot isn't wanting me to do stairs at the moment so I have to make a crucial decision, be near the kitchen or near the bathroom? Decisions decisions. My husband was home to help me out, let me ask you - would you rather have your hubby help you with food or with bathroom duties? Um. Luckily, I have a super duper husband who brought me food all day.

Good news! Julie and Julia came out today! Of course I bought it, that's what made me want to blog in the first place. It just so turned out that I had to get a prescription for my foot, and my pharmacy just happens to be at Target.

Super duper hubby dropped me at the door of Target to get a head start to the pharmacy while he went and parked. As I hobbled in, this sweet old man was hobbling in right behind me. Aw. Sweet. Anyway, he called out to me --

"M'am? You ought to get in one of these electric scooters!"

"No, no," I smile real big to stop myself from laughing at the ridiculousness of the thought. "I'll manage. Thank you!"

And so off I hobble, and barely made it to the first aisle past the registers, hubby already caught up. Nevermind how slow I was going, I just couldn't wait to laugh with him over being told I need to be in an electric cart!

As he walks up to me I start to open my mouth to tell him but he speaks first.

"Why didn't you get in a motorized cart?"

I'm not quite sure but I think my mouth may have fallen open at this point. Really? Haha, right. Do you think I should? (I am, afterall, very indecisive) Nah, and off I hobble on to the pharmacy. Finally I get there, turn, and hubby is not right there, alas, I see him aaaaaall the way down the back row there, coming at me at a whopping 1 mph, in a motorized cart. I did a bit of a laugh, like a Mr. Bean type laugh, and then he got up to me and jumped out before I could get a good picture. Dang. That woulda been a keeper.

So, prescription is not ready and I start thinking to Julie and Julia on the other side of the store. Right-o then scooter time, yeeeah! I get to the back of the store, peering down aisles as though doing a drive by. Kind of like a Disney ride, you know, real slow so you can check everything out? And who do I see? The man who told me to get in the cart in the first place.

So, I give him a "I gave in, you were right" kinda smile and shrug, keeping on. Next thing I know, he's scooting on by me (He did get there first and grabbed the "fast" cart - I'm convinced!) and challenges me to a race!

Well that there just made my day. As he left me in his dust, he called back, "Merry Christmas!" And it just made me smile.

Then I got my movie and life was good.

How bout them smart cars? LOL. Man, do they make me giggle. Endlessly. They're like the size of a recliner. Like someone sat on a recliner and they put some walls and a floor and ceiling around them, attached some wheels.... SMART.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Butter my butt and call me biscuit!

A couple of weeks ago I went to a Pampered Chef party. I've known about Pampered Chef for some time, but have never been to a party nor bought anything. Well. Sucker for kitchen stuff am I, although I did show restraint because I wanted a lot more, we spent around $100. The majority of which went towards their deep covered baker, enter into exhibit A:

Exhibit A

This thing will cook a whole chicken, raw to ready to eat in 30 minutes! IN THE MICROWAVE. Whaaaat? For real! And you probably wouldn't believe either if I told you, it was the juiciest chicken ever. And you probably wouldn't believe it if I told you, I am not the best at making whole birds.

I mean, I can make chicken breasts and various recipes with ground meat, but the whole bird? I've made probably 4 turkeys in my life, and this was only my 2nd chicken. Of the 6, I've only made 1 that came out without a hiccup. By hiccup I mean, duh - you left the giblets in! Who does that? Me. I even reached in and pulled something out, apparantly it wasn't everything! This deliciously juicy chicken? I told my husband - I don't know what's wrong with this bird? I've never seen anything like it - I stuck my knife in to cut off the breast meat and it was just bone.. where's the breast? Somehow I pulled a few squibbles of meat to serve us for dinner, all in all, what's up with this bird? Disappointment.

After dinner, hehheh. I went to see if any other meat could be saved for later consumption, and ta-da! Flipped the bird over and there were the breasts!! Are you kidding me!? I was carving it upside down the whole time??!! I'd like to think that now, I've learned and done everything stupid that's possible, next time I will make a perfect bird.

Back to Exhibit A -- I wish I could buy this pot for everyone, it is miraculous! I highly recommend you find a Pampered Chef representative and buy this immediately! Now! I will wait until you come back.

Then click HERE for the recipe. I didn't use this recipe but I'll try it next time.

I've got to get my buttered butt back to studying. Happy Sunday!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Something looks different..?

A makeover bab-ay yeeeehahhh!!

I loooooooooove my new design so much I thought I would tell you about my day. I know you are dying to hear about it anyway, so wait no more!

Last night making my pot of yumminess for dinner was the only study break I took, so while I cooked I listened to the news. Aside from, you know, good ol cheating Tiger, the only thing I caught was 100% chance of rain tomorrow, leave for work early. Ok! I must go to bed so I can leave 10 minutes early! ~End Tuesday~


5:05am - alarm goes off. Normally, I smash that durn snooze button like nobody's business. This morning my fist was centimeters from crashing down when I heard the ratatatat of the rain outside. Then the thump thump thump of the dog's tail. Boy, does he love mornings! (Says Kaloula with a grumble, but you know this) And thus begins my day.

It was business as usual getting ready. I usually leave by 6:10, today I put a little extra jaroobalooba in my step to be ready by 6:00 ~ Which comes very quickly but I am ready! But wait, where's my Id? Where's my umbrella, I have to walk 1/2 mile when I get there, and downtown FLOODS. I tear through the house like the animal, a big flurry tornado whizzing from room to room. No id, no umbrella, and guess what, it's 6:10.

After a harrowing drive to work, I waited about 20 minutes more to drive thru a foot of water to the parking garage. Brilliant. Wouldntcha knowit, voila! I find both my id and umbrella, in the car, while I waited. Anyhoosit, my story has grown tiresome to me. Long story short, by the time I got into work, late, I may have well have jumped in the ocean, I was that soaked. But you know what, by the end, the final street to cross into work had the deepest river of them all, half way up my shins, and I just had to laugh and splash through, because. Just because, what else are you going to do? By the way, if any of y'all want to give a girl some rain boots for Christmas, :) or if you know Santa please put in word for me. Size 9.5. Word.

Back to work
~~~I get inside, check my email, and see THIS bit of fabulous gloriousness of a makeover and life was GOOD. It's the little things afterall. ~~~

So then I went about my day! And then it was time to go home, reverse all the previous anxiety ridden commute. Why do people drive like morons in the rain? Just wonderin. You know? Because THEY DO. Not just, not slowing down or allowing a little extra space, but morons! I got cut off just as I was coming to a red light, which sucks you know because you've already judged the distance between you and the car in front of you, so you know precisely what speed and braking distance to go, next thing you know, some idiot cuts in, and you have to slam on the brakes, and all the crap in the car goes flying forward. To which, I think hard about what friendly gesture to bestow on this foolio, and settle on a little toot of the ol horn.

Now, the horn. A few words about the horn. I think the purpose of a horn is to prevent accidents right? But I pay attention to horn blowers, and it seems to be mostly women who use it. And usually directed at a man. Ever notice? Pay attention! I think it's a form of passive aggression. They want to yell, they want to be heard! There's no accident about to happen, but they want to let the men know, hey you. You really made me mad just now. Women, they plan ahead. They get in the proper lane, with plenty of time. I have to turn right in 2.2 miles, let me get over. Men, they like to get to the .15 miles away from their right turn, to get in front of as many people as possible, then swerve over, cutting off the women. Who lay on that horn, hey mister. I've been in this lane for 2.2 miles, and I'll be darned if you get in front of me.

Because of this observation, I try to refrain from using the horn unless I am about to be in an accident.

Today? Was a little of both. The **ahem** man who cut me off, I honked my horn because it's wet out and I almost slid into his trunk, but probably not. More likely, I was just thinking he was an idiot for not being in the correct lane, right before wanting to make a turn.

This isn't always true mind you. Just mostly what I notice. If you're from New York, they honk for entirely different reasons altogher.

They honk for entirely different reasons altogether. (Airplane reference)


Thank you to the blog fairy!

This blog was a little Seinfeldian, about nothing. But nevertheless, my new blog needed a new posting!! I have 1 week left of school then I'll get back to the cooking! And I'm **hoping** for a new camera from Santa so that I can start taking some beautimous photos to also post. Until then, wish me luck on finals and do you like my new blog!? Holla!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Grown up

I feel light. On top of the world! responsbilities, no heart aches, just free! Staring out at an endless ocean, breathing in it's scent, the aroma of possibilities. The water is calm, the only sound the waves gently lapping the beach. The temperature is perfect, a little warm, but not hot. I raise my face to the sun, close my eyes and soak in the sun's glow.

With a start, my eyes fly open and I search, what time is it? 2pm. I'm in bed. All of a sudden a giant boulder comes crashing down on me, my eyes are heavy, my heart, twisted in knots. My body, slow, heavy, beat down.

Isn't it the worst, waking from a delicious, hopeful dream to a harsh jarring reality?

Then I hear a little banging, it's music... coming from... somewhere. Can't hear the words but can make out a thumping bass and an angry tone. Thump, anger, thump, they beat me down, thump, mad at the world, thump thump.

I close my eyes, and try to go back to the beach, but there is a knot forming in the back of my head.

What I want to know is, when did I become a grown up? How can this be? I feel like a giant polar bear, more like a grizzly but I like polar bears better, and this is my reality so I say polar bear. I just woke up after a 10 year hibernation. Youth, is a thing of the past. I don't recognize this life, it's so.. different.

Did you ever get into a swimming pool and run like crazy in a circle with a couple other people, run run run! Until all of a sudden you've created a current, you let go and Wheeeeeee! And then try to stand up in it but can't, the pull is too strong so you just goooo with it! (You have, right?)

This is my life right now. I feel like I'm running in circles, but I'm running alone, faster and faster trying to get that current to pick me up and take me to places where I'm successful, free, happy. Maybe my problem is that I'm running in circles, always end up right back at the beginning. I need to go in one direction, forward.

Please pardon my lack of blogging lately, I've been rather introspective. Not to mention busy running in circles! 2009- you've been rough on me. Alas, I am determined to cleanse, renew, and enter into 2010 with hope. I'm hopeful for so many things, but most of all to climb out of this hole I've seemed to dug myself into.

Bitter, party of one?

I'm so leaving you in 09.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Not much doing at all

I'm kinda slowing down a bit these days but it's been nice. My brain needed a little break. Oh yes I've still been cooking, duh, girl's gotta eat no? But I haven't thought about taking pictures and posting recipes. Consumption comes right soon after cooking complete. It would happen a split second earlier if I didn't have to call hubby to the table. Alas, he gives me a little break, to walk from the kitchen to the bottom of the stairs, where I (quietly) yell to COME N GET IT! Saunter back into the kitchen, pour us some tea, and sit at the table and wait. And wait a bit more. Optimal time to take pictures I know, I just...haven't ya know? Because I'm on a (brief) mental break.

Not so good the week of Thanksgiving. Even worse the week before the GRE and 2 weeks before finals! Thanksgiving is Thursday but we are having it today so we can volunteer Thursday. Even with bird in oven at the moment, I'm not finding that happy place to get up and cook, what up with that? So not me.

I've heard that usually before a major life change you go through a major discontentment.. that's where I'm at now. Really frustrated with things, especially this feeble attempt at weight loss and I really don't think I've lost a pound yet. I'm tired. And tired of being tired! Ready for life to change for the better but doing some soul searching to find out what direction it will take. So as I venture on this journey, please shake your head in dismay at this horrifying story:

My copy and paste doesn't want to work, click the above link to find out about this horrible shortage of eggo waffles. :( Sad day indeed.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Eggplant & Tomato gratin

It's getting to be end of the semester time, which means 2 projects due, last tests in 3 classes followed by 3 finals, and GRE! Last time I took it I couldn't sleep for a week I was so nervous. My score wasn't where it needed to be, so I'm retaking it - only this time for some reason I can't stop sleeping! I have been taking naps every day I'm home, missing valuable study time. Maybe it's the getting up at 5am. Perhaps I should rethink that? Although I will say, it has been much easier to get up at that time! No weight loss to report yet. Unfortunately and discouragingly.
Here was my dinner tonight, ringing in at a nicely low 300 calories, whoop whoop whoop! I found it in the most unlikely place too - Family Circle magazine! From June 2007 -- I've made it several times and love it every time. I'm the only one in the house who likes eggplant though so I don't make it as often as I'd like.

Eggplant and Tomato gratin

2 large ripe tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggplants, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
3/4 tsp oregano
3/4 tsp basil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup fat free half and half
1.5 cups shredded reduced fat mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1. Place tomato slices on paper towels; sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt. Place more paper towels on top. Let stand 30 minutes. Pat top of tomatoes to remove as much liquid as possible.

2. Coat both sides of eggplant with nonstick cooking spray. Heat broiler.

3. Broil eggplant slices on baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray for 5 minutes on each side or until tender.

4. Reduce oven to 350. Coat a 2.5 quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle bread crumbs over the bottom. Arrange eggplant and tomato slices, alternating, around baking dish and down center in a single layer if possible. (This wasn't possible for me - no big deal!)

5. Sprinkle casserole with oregano, basil, garlic and remaining 1/4 tsp salt. Drizzle with half-and-half. Top with both cheeses. Cover with foil.

6. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Remove foil; bake 10 minutes or until cheese is golden.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Attention to the Mommalas!

Christmas shopping has begun! If you are like me, you stay in the land of Far Far Away.. from the malls and crowds... and do all your shopping online. Which also means, shop early to avoid big shipping charges and also, before checking out, go over to sites such as and to make sure there aren't extra savings out there - I can usually find at the very least an additional 5% off coupon for anything on the internet. Every little bit helps right!?

Check out Picky Palate's site for a great giveaway for online Christmas shopping at Out of the Toy Box. They have lots of unique award winning toys, but of course my favorite (ahem, I mean, um,..if I were a child) are the food toys!

Sunday, November 15, 2009


They say it takes 28 days to develop a habit? If this is true - 7 days down, 21 to go! This week I woke up by 6am every day, and either going to work or to work out. I'm not going to lie, it killed me! It was pure sweet torture.

The working out bit was fabulous, I felt really good and kicked some booty. Then I was sore and exhausted for the rest of the day! I had to drink more coffee than usual. Even then I was dragging. I just hope this gets easier.

I mean, I hate life when my alarm goes off at 5:05 am. I hit snooze, but my faithful pup jumps out of bed. Oh, to have the energy of a 2 year old lab. Then the alarm goes off again 10 minutes later and I give it the angriest look I can muster. Still, it doesn't care, continuing to blare into the depths of my sleep. I reach over, pound it off and let out a big sigh. And lay there for another 5 minutes, angry at the insanity of rising before the sun. Then comes the thumping, good old lab energy. His tail starts thumping the floor, the wall, the dresser, faster and faster and I can't make it stop so I blindly reach for my glasses, knocking everything on the nightstand over in the process. And the thumping continues.

I haul da booty from bed, sometimes my body will get off the bed but my head refuses to leave the pillow. With a final pathetic groan I lift up and drag my poor sleepy body to the bathroom. And the thumping continues.

These are my mornings. Every morning. I went to work 3 days and worked out the other 3.

My husband, helpful man is he, went to the gym with me and also reminded me that I would lose weight much quicker if I changed my diet.

True indeed, true indeed.

If only I didn't love food. If only eating was a chore. If only I hated to cook. If only I didn't have the metabolism of an elephant.

I believe I am cursed. All I have to do is THINK about losing weight and I gain 10 pounds, just like that. I can maintain my weight for months and months, then decide to lose weight, and on it comes. Oh why, oh why do I love food so much?

Just 21 more days! I hope to report back that I bound out of bed at 5:05am, no more snooze button, rush over to the gym, come home and have endless energy. Stand by for that! But don't hold your breath. I still think getting up before the sun is inhuman. Why won't someone bring back the siesta? Please?

This week I made Peppered Shrimp Alfredo and it was gloriously good! I used whole wheat pasta, roasted red pepper alfredo, and low fat half and half instead of cream. This recipe is a keeper!

Recipe adapted from (click above link)

8 oz whole wheat linguine
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound portobello mushrooms, diced
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 (16 oz) jar roasted red pepper alfredo sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup low fat half and half
cayenne pepper to taste
salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, melt butter and olive oil together and cook onion until tender. Add garlic and mushroom and cook for 2 minutes, until soft. Add shrimp and cook until pink and firm. Pour in alfredo sauce, half and half, and parmesan. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly until thickened. Stir in cayenne, salt, and pepper. Stir drained pasta into the sauce.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Other People's Blog Recipes..

I am still new to the blog world and still enthralled at all the fabulous recipes people are posting. Here are a few of my favorites that I've tried.

How can we forget Smitten Kitchen's Tomato and Corn Pie.

Then there's Pioneer Woman, with some fabulous recipes of her own. I made her Mac n Cheese:

And! Can't wait to make this again: Penne ala Betsy!

And finally! Sitting on my oven cooling as I type, YES!! Picky Palate's Black bottomed Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes!

Don't hate.


Monday, November 9, 2009

Squash, Pear, and Onion au Gratin

I've often been intimidated by the butternut squash. What the heck do I do with that thing? But I love squash, so here's what I've always done. I'll buy a butternut squash, get all excited and bring it home and sit it on the counter and stare at it.

That's it.

Because what the heck do you do?

I imagine back to the days of the neanderthals. How did they know to crack it open and what to do with it? I often wonder about how many foods were discovered, like the coconut. Who first looked at that thing and thought to crack it open? Well, ok, a coconut probably fell from a tree, bonked some neanderthal on the noggin, cracked open, and while all his buddy nomads bust a gut laughing at him, he scooped it up and...licked it? I don't know?!

They must have gotten to where they saw something, anything, and cracked it open. Everything was edible on the inside. Even the hunters, kill the animal, crack it open and eat.

It makes you wonder how many mistakes or mishaps there were with cracking and eating. Maybe there was a designated taster, the village idiot. Sent to be the first taster, and as long as he didn't die, it was safe to eat.

These are the things I wonder about.

Well, this time I finally bought a butternut squash and figured out what to do with it and oh what I've been missing out on! Soooooo good. I mean real good! Give it a go!

Squash, Pear, and Onion au Gratin
Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook

1 1/2 lb butternut, buttercup, or banana squash (banana squash? Never heard of it!)

1 large onion, sliced and separated into rings

1 tbsp butter or margarine

1 medium pear, peeled and thinly sliced

3 tbsp fine dry bread crumbs

1 tbsp parmesan cheese

1 tbsp melted butter or margarine

Peel the squash (!) and slice crosswise into 1/2 inch slices. Remove and discard seeds. Set squash aside. (I love when recipes tell you to set something aside)

Cook onion rings in the 1 tbsp hot butter for 5-10 minutes until tender.

Arrange half the squash slices in the bottom of an 8x8x2 inch baking dish. Top with half the pear slices. Repeat layers. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Cover with cooked onions. Bake, covered, in a 350 degree oven about 45 minutes or until nearly tender.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and 1 tbsp melted butter, sprinkle over vegetables. Bake, uncovered, about 15 minutes more or until tender.

The original recipe calls for also putting in 2 tbsp walnuts with the bread crumbs which is probably really tasty but I didn't have any so I left that bit out. Served with slow cooker parmesan chicken and mashed cauliflower.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

All-In-One Holiday (Bundt) Cake

Can I call myself a baker if I do not own a bundt pan?

Whenever I see that word bundt I think of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and the husband's parents bring the Greek parents a bundt and they not only had no idea how to repeat the word Bundt but also had no clue what to do with it, so they stuck a plant in the center. Boon? Boon - t? Buoount? Whatever, find someplace for this thing.


I have a habit of rearranging stores when I am shopping. (Sorry to anyone who works in retail!) Target, I rearrange the heck of on a weekly basis. Bed Bath and Beyond - monthly. You know how it is -- walk in and decide you can't live unless you have the eggplant purse with matching scarf. Continue to the shoes, ooh. Those are cute, $20 throw em in the cart! Then onto books and movies, they're only 10-15 bucks, can't decide between 2 - get them both! Then on to home goods, a bundt pan! I need one! In the cart it goes.

Then I remember why I came to Target in the first place - prescription, shampoo, toilet paper, garbage bags. Ooh. Combined $20, maybe I should put something back. So the movies go back, right next to the hairspray. Do I really need these shoes. Sigh. Longing stare. I do! I really really do. Maybe next paycheck if I really want them. Sigh. Damn. Ok, they go back next to the candles. Next, the purse and scarf follow.

Then, standing amongst the pretty plates, I start to read the books and decide.. should I buy them here, or wait to get them used for $2 on amazon. Ok, I'll get one. And the other will go right next to this pretty silver platter. And the bundt pan. I really do need one. I get up to the register, decide it can wait, but don't want them to give me dirty looks for putting it in the checkout line, so I put it next to where the eggplant purse once was.

And that, good people, is Store Rearranging 101. Leave the store with exactly what you went for, nothing more. :)

Here's another thing. Remember my "gimme somma dat" cookbook I got for my birthday? About a month later I realized there's a whole blog movement around this book! It's called Tuesdays with Dorie. Last Monday I wanted to bake so I went thru the book, and picked out the All-In-One Holiday Bundt Cake. Little did I know, I went to the TWD website afterwards and they are making the same thing. The dilemma I find myself in, is do I follow their rules of not posting the recipe? I'm not part of the club so I'm not bound by rules... so I'm gonna be a rebel... here it is!! Cue the Billy Idol music.

Oh yeah, and for obvious reasons, I made mine in a springform pan!

All-In-One Holiday (Bundt) Cake
Recipe by Dorie Greenspan

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of salt
1 tsp ground ginger
10 tbsp unsalted butter, room temp
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
1 large apple, peeled, cored, and finely chopped
1 cup cranberries, halved or coarsely chopped
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and ginger, set aside.

Beat butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, and beat for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce mixer speed to low and add pumpkin and chopped apple, don't be concerned if the mixture looks curdled. Still on low speed, add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated. With rubber spatula, stir in the cranberries and pecans. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top with the rubber spatula.

Bake for 60 minutes or until a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool for 10 minutes before unmolding, then cool to room temperature. Dust with confectioners' sugar.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Sunday Breakfast and a new treat

I love cereal. I mean, adore it. I mean, I will eat it all day long. I don't stare at the box while eating it like I used to growing up. My brother and I used to fight about who got to look at the box while eating. It's kind of funny now that I really think about it.

Anyway, this is not about my love affair with cereal. (Although I did enjoy one box each of Boo Berry and Frankenberry last month -- OOoooh!!) I eat a bowl of cereal every morning. Except! Every Sunday after church I cook us a mean breakfast. Yesterday we had a bit of shopping to do after church, and IHOP was right there and it doesn't even sound appealing anymore and that used to be my favorite. Now.. Nope. They can't cook like I do, I'm sorry to say. I ruined going out to breakfast for myself, on account of being able to cook everything just as we like it, something IHOP just doesn't do for me anymore.

Specifically - egg whites and turkey sausage. For the two of us, I make 4 egg whites and 1 whole egg. Just a little bit of milk, and whatever seasonings we're feeling that day. A dash of the S&P, a little garlic powder, all purpose salt free seasoning..

And the star of the show, fried potatoes. Aw yeeeaaah. Sorry, IHOP and Waffle House, you can't touch these.

Fried Potatoes

1 medium sized onion, cut into large chunks
3-4 tbsp butter, divided
4-5 cooked red potatoes, cut into chunks
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Seasoned salt
All Purpose Salt Free Seasoning
Black pepper

Melt 1 tbsp of butter in a medium pan and cook onions until tender. Add the potatoes and garlic and 1 more tbsp of butter. Add seasonings to your liking and fry dem taters up! Add butter as necessary to keep potatoes from being dry.

We like our potatoes on the crispy side, so I fry them for about 15 minutes. Don't be shy with the butter and seasoned salt. This is not the healthy portion of the breakfast - that's what the egg whites and turkey sausage are for!

I just found a new indulgent yet lighter in calories treat. Wow ohmygoshyouhavetotryit!!!
Check out the website HERE. That's all I have to say about that. Freaking fabulous!!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

This and that

My days as of late have been more siesta....less cupcake.

I am aching to bake! But alas I know, should I bake I will eat. I admittedly have not been following my exercise plan. I'm doing a little of this and a little of that and that but really not accomplishing much of anything at all.

Which is why I've been slow with the blogging lately. All talk and no action makes Kaloula a very dull girl. And frankly, I'm tired of it. With no good progress to report, I've taken the stop blogging and talking about it so much stance. What was meant to keep me accountable is not working. What the hell works?? I need somma that please!

On a bit of a brighter note, my chubby frog pants! Well, they're just too durn big!! Which is all at once exciting yet dang it all, I just spent all that money, and wore the pants making them unreturnable to find that out. Also, well I could always wear a belt but who thinks to put on such conventional things? Not me clearly. The other day I was walking around in the new cords I bought and they were loose, giving me a false sense of skinniness. If your pants are too big it should automatically make you skinny, no? Today I put the ol faithful jeans back on, and they are just a wee bit snug so there I have it. I'm am destined to wear ill fitting pants till I lose weight.

There I go talking about it again.

I had grand plans of cooking tonight, a recipe I was formulating in my head, but then I ran out of time and ended up making an easy weeknight standby from The Mommala. I sauteed up some onion, pepper, and garlic with ground chicken, mixed in 1/2 cup combined bbq sauce and ketchup. Unroll a tube of croissant dough and press it all together, then put the meat down the center of the dough, and roll the sides up. A little of the top will be exposed, cover it with cheddar cheese and pop it in the oven for about 15 minutes. Another easy fail proof weeknight dinner. I have no pictures, as we ate it up.

I am retaking the GRE at the end of the month, this time I hope with less anxiety. :) November looks to be yet another ca-razy month, let's dive in shall we?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I need a vacation.

GRE anxiety-ridden + Sick + Busybusybusy = One exhausted Kaloula

GRE anxiety-riddent + Sick + Busybusybusy + One exhausted Kaloula = Fajita Night!

No recipe needed. Go to Sam's Club, pick up premade chicken fajita strips, bag o' guac (doctored with tomato, cilantro, onion, and jalapeno), prepackaged fajita veggie mix, box of rice and beans and there you have it. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

GRE: I've been studying, I would like to say studying my booty off, but I just checked and said booty still there.

SICK: AGAIN. ARGH and SNARK. In a semi maybe fully related matter. I believe I pick up these bugs at work. First of all -- if you're sick, please stay home. You may feel you can "tough it out" No my friend. Unless you want the dirty snarky looks from those you are infecting as you sneeze and cough with such reckless abandon as to where your germ friends are freed, namely THE LUNGS AND NASAL PASSAGES OF EVERYONE AROUND YOU. There's no such thing as "Bring your germs to work day" We don't want any. Thank you.

And secondly. (Kaloula says with a smile) Work leaves me impecunious. ($5 GRE word) But I am happy to be employed.

Here's what I currently have pumping through my blood so that I can be focused for studies:

BUSYBUSYBUSY: A word on being busy. I think back to high school, when I would get up at o'dark thirty for swim practice, followed by school all day, and another couple hours of swim practice followed by homework. Add to it (when did I find time for this I don't know!) 3 ! part time jobs, going to an occasional party, volunteer work, church, ample tv watching, reading books for fun, hanging out with friends. When the heck did I find time?! I think as you get older maybe the days actually grow shorter.

I'm having trouble figuring how to fit it all in. Working full time, taking 3 college courses, studying for GRE, volunteering, general home maintanence, spending time with hubby, exercising, going to church, BLOGGING. I wonder if high school me coulda did this? I have no time for the fun stuff, except for 1 much needed date a week. There are some who do all that AND have kids and make me feel like such a slacker. Phew I've got enough on my plate!

The only way for me not to turn into a ball of mush having a giant panic attack, completely overwhelmed, crying in a corner and screaming for mercy is to keep myself centered. If I lose sight of my goals I feel like a hamster on the spinny wheel on the long road to nowhere.

So I try to read a motivating book, just a couple pages before bed to remind me of the bigger vision. Right now I'm switching back and forth between "Believe that You Can" by Jentezen Franklin and "The Trump Card" by Ivanka Trump.

Then I light my all time favorite candle, this is so awesome, and it's from Walmart!

This candle smells sooo good and hello! Pumpkin roll cake recipe on the back of that little card!

Then I go to my happy place. Mentally until I can get there physically.

AAAAhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh..... (That's something between a scream and a sigh)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Pardon my veracity but I have an exigent need to blog.

It's time for disabuse. Although at times arduous, I have no qualms about my ennui. It is my predilection that I need a swift kick to the arse. No chicanery! I have prevaricated too much and look where it's got me.

I started rather extemporaniously, but now I see I was only making things convoluted. So now, austere and audacious, I will voraciously pursue my diet/exercise plan. ***

***$3 words brought to you by the erudite, truculent folks at GRE.***

I am keeping myself accountable via this here blog. I have been doing a lot of thinking lately, about life, and it really does seem like I make things convoluted. It should be simple - take care of yourself, eat right and exercise. I am embarrassed to look at myself and it is clear that I didn't take care of myself to get this way, and all I can think is - Duh! Eating crap and not exercising, not very smart. And letting problems get me down, also taken too far. I mean, everyone has problems. Why are mine worse than others to where I am losing control? There's no need, I am seeing very clearly tonight. It's all about perspective.

I just spent an hour on the treadmill to have these revelations, huh, maybe there's something to this exercise helping mind, body, and spirit. I've read a lot of books on success and they all also mention how it starts with yourself, staying in shape sets the tone for your whole life. If you can't take care of yourself how can you take care of anything.

Lately I had been feeling so down, looking at life and feeling like I'd failed. My job is not anything I'd thought I'd have 10 years out of college, I'd put on weight -- just nowhere I thought I'd be at 31. I know the only true way to fail is to give up but really it is a struggle to keep your head above water and not get swept away by the current. It's hard to feel completely in control... Maybe that's where I went wrong, I let go.

I am finding myself feeling somewhat down but altogether optimistic. I am making changes, even though it is going to be a long road to turn around.

There's something else I need to learn, how to put a you tube video on blogs. :-o Check out that song about Turning Around!

Well, I will continue to blog about my journey. The start here is a little rocky but I am focused. I hope one year from now I will be blogging and will be close to my goal weight and in grad school.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Great! Just fabulous.

After all that talk about googling cupcake bakery names, for some reason it never occured to me to google Kaloula -- after all, I just took the first 2/3 letters from my first, middle, and last name and combined them. Surely, that was unique?

Nope, not so, I was informed.

So - I googled.

I was told it was a frog. So then of course the wheels start spinning, smoke from ears and all. I could have a really cute logo, with a cupcake and a cute little frog sitting on it! Oh, how cute! A frog! Somehow I could incorporate a cute little frog..!!

And then I made a startling discovery:

In fact, this is not a cute frog afterall. In fact! The caption under this picture read "Chubby frog" Oh! Dear.

A truly bewildering discovery indeed. Stop laughing at me.

Hahahaha. Well, ok, it is a little funny! Ah, well. I'm sticking with it, and will hope to define my own version of Kaloula.

Not to segway from that, although it is fitting, I went shopping for some new pants today. I've been putting it off and putting it off till finally I realized I'm wearing the same 2 pairs of pants over and over waiting for the others to fit. It was not easy let me tell you, to buy more.

On What Not to Wear, they talk about wearing clothes that fit and people on there have been the same as me, not wanting to go the size up.. And they say to just tear out the tag and you won't see it. I think I need to do that. I can't WAIT to give these to goodwill. Or burn them.

Chubby frog indeed.

My goal is still to lose 20 pounds by the New Year. It's not going to be easy with all the Thanksgiving and Christmas treats, but this chubby frog shopping trip was a great big motivator!

My plan? It's a combination - a little weight watchers, a lil herbalife, and a lot of exercise. And to hang my before picture up as a reminder of how I will never look again!! Perhaps a reason to keep that tag in the pants, as a shock therapy reminder, but alas, I will not.

Ok, well. That's all I got tonight. Cheers!

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Canadian Thanksgiving

Last week my family was in town, in between work and school I spent as much time with them as I could. Which quite frankly was exhausting - but nice!

They arrived Monday, which, lucky for all of us, just happened to be Canadian Thanksgiving! So I cooked..

Veggies and Turkey recipes from Food and Wine Magazine

Macaroni and Cheese!!!! YUM!!!
Recipe from Pioneer Woman. Thank you for that!

And the PUMPKIN - well that was just a small bit of fabulousless that I can't wait to make again and again and heed these words, you. MAKE THIS FOR THANKSGIVING!! You won't be sorry! It's soo simple to make, get a 2-3 pound pumpkin, clean out the stringies and seeds, but keep the meat. Is it called meat? I think so. Keep the sides that are squash like.

THEN! Cut up some bread cubes and mix together with some of your favorite cheese and 2 cloves of garlic. Put them in the pumpkin. THEN! Stir nutmeg, salt, and pepper (to taste) into about a cup of heavy cream and pour it over the bread. Stick it in the oven when the turkey has about an hour left to it, bake it until you can pierce the pumpkin with a knife. I wasn't paying much attention to it to be perfectly honest with you, I just let it go ... I think it was about 45 min- 1 hour. Serve it straight from the pumpkin. Num Num Num.

Photos above courtesy Jackie Arthur. And no, we're not Canadian, eh!
The week quite unfortunately was cold and rainy, so we did what any family who sees each other twice a year at best does when it's cold and rainy. We decided to visit a haunted* cemetary.

* allegedly


Not really.

Really - the whole visit centered around FOOD and my Mommala got several not so flattering better not be shared with anyone pictures of moi. Now, I am back to being by my lonesome, me and my faithful treadmill loving pup, Onyx. Who lets me blog but somehow knows when I switch to homework and whines like a weiner when I start. No I didn't get my homework done, no no, I had a whining O punching me like a boxer whenever I started. Yes, I tried. Yes, I know who got kicked out of Project Runway last night. My dog lets me watch that. He dictates what I do. Unless I let him on the treadmill for a go.


I have yet to learn how to photoshop that mess in the background out. But it's not there right now, I swear. Stop looking at my mess and look at my silly dog anyway.

Going to switch to the homework now. GRE in one week, please everyone and anyone, send good luck my way!!