Monday, January 31, 2011

Dear Winter,

I'm ready to come back.  Please take a hike.

Yours Truly,


Hello there, human!  I am the one they call Onyx.
I do everything I can to interrupt my human when she is on this blog,
yet she will continue to write away.  She is not home so I am taking over!

I am canine but sometimes I like to act like I'm human, aside from taking over the computer, I like to imitate them in the car.

I haven't learned to sit like the rest of the other dogs yet, instead developed a nifty way to sit with my back legs off to the side.  Because I chill.

And when it's time for dinner, the loyal minions serve me.

As for you humans, I just give my well practiced nose down eyes up pose and you are twisted around my little paw!

Now that you are under my spell, please send treats.

With Love,

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Superbowl Menu

After perusing the blog world and other parts of the net, I've come up with my superbowl food menu.  Since there's only going to be the two of us, I'm keeping it a little short, but I'm sure we will still have plenty of leftovers!

**All pictures are from the blogs where I got the recipes**

I hope mine turns out just as pretty!

Skinny recipes - a must when eating lots of food!

A little something fresh, on the lighter side, so as to save room for dessert!

For Dessert, I'm still on the fence:


Double num!


Sigh.  Fabulousness.

It's still a week away and I change my mind several times daily. 
If the Superbowl was today, this is what I'd make!



I finished my fast last week and already have had some pretty incredible things happen.  2 prayers  - 1 answered, 1 seemingly close to being answered in one week.  Incredible!  This past week, eating has been a challenge.  All of a sudden there were no restrictions and I felt lost.  I made a few bad choices and realized I missed being on the fast.  The structure was really good for me.  I decided to continue fasting, Monday through Saturday and take Sundays off, for an indefinite amount of time.  You may see a different sort of recipes in the coming months, focusing on natural healthy ingredients.  And maybe a few Sunday funday recipes too.

My husband and I have lived in our house for a little over 2 years now.  We never heard of random city inspections or yard ordinances, until it happened to us.  We have a giant carport in the backyard, and who knew (?) we weren't allowed to have a "needs a little work" car under the CARport?  

When we first moved in, the insurance company told us we had to remove all the branches on half of a tree that was too close to the house.  My daring fearless hub just climbed up that tree like a monkey and chopped the branches down himself, threw them to the ground...and left them there.  I stayed far away because it looked like a snake pit to me..weeds and these long thorny vines grew up and around and entangled in the mess.

Along comes Mr. City Inspector..he couldn't see into the backyard from the front of the house so they went through the forest behind our house to peer into our yard and send us a nastygram - fix it or face a large fine.  And when I say nastygram, sheesh, these people made me feel like the biggest dirtiest slob on the planet, and I assure you, I clean the house often, we are not dirty people! 

Yesterday while hubs cleaned out the carport and garage, I was busy with the forgotten branch pile of thorns.  Please observe:

The pile:

And the pricklies:

It's HARD to get rid of those things!  Their roots are as long as a stinkin TREE for crying out loud - which I did because those thorns would attach themselves to my wrist and grab hold at an angle, so I would have to drop the rest that were in my hands, gently remove the hook from my wrist and try not to cry.  Today my wrists look as though I am a cutter..they are tore up.

6 hours of hard labor -- thank goodness the weather was perfect for weed pulling -- I finally had the pile cleaned.  We ended the day, exhausted and completely sore, by taking a much needed dinner and a movie date.  Mozzarella sticks, caesar salad, pasta primavera, and Jason Statham for dessert.  Yummm.

Have a great Sunday!  1 week until the Superbowl, I don't care for either team (Packers knocked out my Bears, Steelers knocked out hubs Jets) so I'll be watching for the commercials and half time show this year...and of course enjoying lots of superbowl food!  I'll be perusing the blog world for some fabulous football food today.  I'll post later on what I find.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Gosh do I love my..

Quite some time ago now, I used to read like there was no tomorrow, 2, 3 books at a time.   All my days off were spent at Borders and I hardly ever left without buying another book.  Now I have bookcases and bookcases and stacks and piles of books that I can't seem to get rid of, we've grown attached.  My husband thinks books just sit around gathering dust, he doesn't get it.  Well, the good man got me a Nook for Christmas!  I looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooove it!

All of a sudden I've been reading again.  I don't know why?  Because I have a fancy new toy?  None of those pesky pages to turn anymore?  Who knows but I've been a readin!  Here's what I read so far:

- The first book I got, because it was only a dollar and change was Where Angels Go by Debbie Macomber.  I read this really fast.  It was a light hearted feel good read, I enjoyed it.

- The second was Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry by Kathleen Flinn.  If you loved Eat, Pray, Love, as I did, you will love this book too.  It's a memoir style book about a woman who is layed off her job and decides to move to Paris and go to Le Cordon Bleu, and all her cooking adventures in school.  I hated for this one to end.  Bonus--there are recipes at the end of every chapter!

-Next was How to Bake a Perfect Life by Barbara O'Neal.  Kind of funny to go from the previous one to this one, because it is also food oriented and also includes recipes at the end of every chapter.  I really enjoyed this book very much.

- Currently reading: House Rules by Jodi Picoult.  I'm only on page 52 but already sucked in.

- Waiting to be read: Water for Elephants, One Second After, and The Omnivore's Dilemma. And must not buy anymore books until these are finished.  The thing is, it's so handy to buy a book!  And usually if anyone at all recommends a book, I instantly either write it down to buy or make a mental note and pick it up the next time I'm at the store.  Now with the nook, I just have to hit the shop button, buy, voila!  Less than 2 minutes and the book is downloaded right to my very hands.

Enough about that, here's what I really want to talk about.  I've been rather forgetful the past couple weeks.  I started this post with intent on writing about something else entirely and now I've gotten to the point where I was going to do that and now of course can't remember what in the world that was.  Sigh.

Fabulous post coming soon.  As soon as I remember what it was.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Chocolate for a Cause

A Paws Cause that is!  Valentine's Day is quickly approaching (and by then THIS girl will be able to eat chocolate) (and believe me I plan on it!)

I am 32, and I have only spent very few of those years without a dog, everyone of them a rescue.  I hate to think about how many sweet pups don't find a home.  Those SPCA commercials tear me up, throw in Sarah Mclachlan and I'm dead.  Then the pictures of these dogs, looking all sad.  Ok, here's what I have to say about that.  Marketing, very clever marketing.  Everytime I go to the SPCA, the dogs are barking and excited and saying pick me! No pick me!

Deb @ On Cupcake Moon posted this on facebook and I am all over it. is a site dedicated to saving lives of animals in rescue organizations around the country.  100% of their net profits are going to help these animals, that is incredible!

Their chocolate is Vegan too!  I would love to give it a try..check out these flavors:

  • Peanut Butter Pit Bull (crispy peanut butter and chocolate, countering the negative public image of the pit bull-type dogs)

  • Pick Me! Pepper (sweet ’n spicy dark chocolate with peppers, highlighting the advantages of choosing pets from animal shelters instead of breeders or pet stores)

  • Foster-iffic Peppermint (dark chocolate with peppermint, highlighting the need for people to provide foster care for shelter animals as they await their forever homes)

  • The Fix (plain 72%, highlighting the importance of spay and neuter)

  • Mission Feral Fig (fig, cranberry, almond, and spices, highlighting the humane solution for feral cats, TNR)

  • FUTURE “Forever Mocha” (mocha coffee flavor, highlighting ways to help people make and honor a lifetime commitment to their pets)

  • I love this idea, love this company!
    Eat chocolate, Save an rescue animal.

    PS - If you'd like to send me chocolate for Valentine's Day, send me an email and I will be more than happy to help you help save an animal.  It would be my pleasure!

    Monday, January 17, 2011

    Stuffed Baked Potatoes

    First off, a bit of Chicago pride - GO BEARS!! Woohoo..I totally don't watch the regular season, I have to be honest.  Usually I am working on Sundays so I just don't think of it.  But come playoff time, I'm all about football.  My hubs is from New York so I'm hoping for a Bears/Jets Superbowl!  And another reason I'm still super excited for superbowl - the FOOD!  I get to eat whatever I want and really looking forward to it.

    Today is my 16th day on the Daniel fast and I thought it would get easier, but I think it's getting a little more challenging, food wise.  I'm trying to remain focused and attempt new recipes that will make it easier.  Last night I made these stuffed baked potatoes.  They turned out good, and my non-fasting hubs enjoyed them too.  These are also from the Moosewood Restaurant Low Fat Favorites cookbook.

    Stuffed Baked Potatoes
    recipe from Moosewood Restaurant Low Fat Favorites

    4 baking potatoes - I used sweet in this recipe but either would be delicious
    2 cups corn kernels
    1 cup cooked pinto beans
    2 cups prepared salsa - for Daniel fast make sure there is no added sugar
    salt and pepper to taste

    Preheat the oven to 400.  Slice the potatoes in half lengthwise and bake, cut side down, for about 45 minutes, until soft.  Remove from oven.

    Combine the corn, beans, and salsa and mix well.  When the potatoes are cool, scoop out the centers leaving 1/4 inch of pulp on the skin.  Mash the scooped out potato pulp and stir it into the corn mixture.  Add salt and pepper.  Refill the potato skins and bake for 30 minutes.

    Thursday, January 13, 2011

    Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burrito

    Here is a Daniel fast friendly recipe that I found in the cookbook Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites.  It is very easy to make but it took me a little longer because I have a small food processor and took about 4 batches to process all the ingredients.  It was well worth it though, these were really good! And PS - many apologies for the picture, I snapped a few really quick and got to the business of eating.  Must remember to cook before I get very hungry and save time for a photo shoot!

    Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burrito
    recipe slightly adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites

    5 cups peeled cubed sweet potatoes
    1/2 tsp salt
    2 tsp canola oil
    3 1/2 cups diced onions
    4 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
    1 Tbsp minced green chile
    3 tsp ground coriander
    3 tsp ground cumin
    3 15oz cans black beans, drained
    2/3 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves
    2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
    1 tsp salt
    8 - 8in whole wheat tortillas

    Preheat oven to 350.
    Place the sweet potatoes in a medium saucepan with salt and cover with water.  Cover and bring to a boil, then simmer until tender, about 10 minutes.  Drain and set aside.

    While the sweet potatoes are cooking, warm the oil in a medium skillet or saucepan and add the onions, garlic, and chile.  Cover and cook on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender, about 7 minutes.  Add the coriander and cumin and cook for 2-3 minutes longer, stirring frequently.  Remove from heat and set aside.

    In a food processor, combine the black beans, cilantro, lemon juice, salt, and cooked sweet potatoes and puree until smooth.  I have a small processor so it took me about 4 batches to get it all.  Transfer the sweet potato mixture to a large mixing bowl, and mix in the cooked onions and spices.

    Lightly oil a large baking dish.  Spoon about 2/3-3/4 cup of the filling in the center of each tortilla, roll it up, and place it, seam side down, in the baking dish.  Cover tightly with foil and bake for about 30 minutes, until piping hot.  Serve with salsa.

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011

    This is what I tell myself when I go out to where I know temptation will be..I get the song going in my head, a lil Black Sabbath guitar, then! And then visually in my head will put on my armor, total RDJ style, and declare myself immune to the temptation.  Yesterday it came in the form of a trip to walmart.  McDonald's assaults your nose the second you walk in, and who can resist those french fries?  Not me, but me as Iron Man..

    Today is day 11 of my Daniel fast.  This morning when I woke up, I had a great sense of peace that I haven't had in a long time.  My mind was just calm.  I felt happy even though it was 4:45am and I was awake.  (Can you imagine such a thing?!) 

    Now it's afternoon and I'm struggling ever so slightly, it's that know the time when a girl needs chocolate in the worst way?  Luckily I have been doing a lot of reading and researching, learning as I go, about this fast.  I know this is bigger than me so I'm putting on my iron man armor to it.  "The flesh" refers to our souls, the part of us that experiences feelings like cravings.  After 11 days I feel that I've reigned in the ol bag o flesh and my spirit has taken over.  11 days is too far to go back to square 1, I am in it for the duration, and my spirit feels happy.

    During the Daniel Fast, we want to put our spirit in charge of the other two parts of us. When our flesh is acting out with a craving, we take control of it with our spirit (just as a parent takes control of a rebellious child).
    Darn you, rebellious child and your chocolate cravings!  Ugh!  You're grounded!

    I'll have to admit, when I started this, I was a little unsure of how the food would go, what with no sugar, processed food, meat or dairy..  I thought it would require a lot of planning and preparing food in advance.  It really hasn't been that bad though.  My favorite has been getting a bag of stir fry veggies, steaming them in the microwave, and then there's little one cup portions of brown rice that you can heat in the microwave too.  I nuke it up, then stir fry them up. I add zucchini and onion to it, and a little soy sauce.  So good!  Yesterday I made some sweet potato black bean burritos.  There were a little time consuming to make but very good - I'll post the recipe soon.

    I picked these pictures for no other reason than because I found them peaceful.  I would love to sit on this pier and do nothing at all but think and meditate.  It's beautiful!  I found all pictures at

    Sunday, January 9, 2011

    The First Week

    It's not that I've forgotten to blog, not even that I haven't had time...

    But when I open up blogger and see my dashboard and all the food blogs I follow with temptuous looking desserts and non Daniel fast food..

    It's rough.

    I was off work the first 3 days of the fast and good thing too, because I had the worst headache and was fatigued to all get out.  I am somewhat embarassed to admit I spent the days lounging around the house, I wanted to meditate and be in the mindset of fasting but my brain wouldn't go there.

    On day 4 I had a little bit less of a headache, although it came on later in the day.  I must be more toxic than I thought!  And I don't smoke and rarely drink.  Pure caffeine and sugar baby.  All in all day 4 was an ok day.  This is my first fast and I wasn't sure about how it would work.  But I'm going forward in faith, and I can say that I feel great today.

    On day 5, I was brave enough to cook 2 different dinners, one Daniel fast dinner for me, and another with meat for my carnivorous husband.  Sheila at Strawberry Cake posted a recipe for spaghetti sauce.  I made mine without meat, added mushrooms, took out the sugar, and used whole wheat pasta.  His was made according to the recipe, but with ground turkey instead of beef.  And regular pasta.  And I just have to say, his pasta, after simmering for 3 hours on the stove, looked and smelled to be the best pasta I ever did make.  And I couldn't even lick the spoon.  I stood there and watched as he drained his pasta, added a dab of butter to it, stirred it up and then added the sauce.  Ohhh it looked goooood.  I can't WAIT until February and I will be making this again.  On this day I also woke up and knew without doubt that I will be doing this for 30 days instead of 21.  This means I will be done on February 1st.  And since the Superbowl is February 6th, I plan on having a big cheesy pizza!

    On days 6 and 7 I had to work and didn't feel all too bad anymore.  The headaches were mostly gone. I planned my food for the day very well, and I'm feeling better and better every day. I no longer miss caffeine and sugar.  I'm stronger willed..heading into the breakroom I ran into some other people walking in carrying a stack of pizzas.  I'm a real sucker for pizza.  But I went in there, had my leftover spaghetti, didn't feel a thing when they took a bite, closing their eyes to savor, and exclaiming how good it was.  I may have winced a little at that, but I didn't want any pizza.  I know I will have mine in February and until then, I'm in the zone.

    Today is day 8, and like I said, I feel great!  I can't imagine going backwards now, I think it will only get better from here.  Tomorrow I'm going to start Jillian's 30 day shred.  I know I've been writing mainly about the diet portion of the fast and not the spiritual, but the spiritual is the reason I am doing this.  As for that, all I can say is, I'm learning and growing, and have a long way to go.  I definitely am not in a place to do this alone so I've been doing a lot of reading and research.  The main 2 resources are the book Fasting by Jentezen Franklin and the Ultimate Daniel Fast blogger. 

    Sorry about waiting a week to update..really that first week is tough but I'm happy I made it through!

    Saturday, January 1, 2011

    11 things for '11

    2010 is officially that year that was.  It's amazing that overnight I can wake up and feel transformed, like this is a new beginning, a book of blank pages.  I have my list of resolutions, which are more like goals for the year.  I'll have to share them later in the year because a few of them are surprises!  Oh!  Surprises.. There's a few good ones.  Anyoohoo, I decided right now, I should come up with another list of 11 things I want to do in 2011.  That'll be 2 lists of goals and to-do's but I do enjoy a list, in particular, crossing things off a list.  The resolutions are goals to better myself, this list is more gifts, rewards and a reminder to have fun.  List list list.  Have I said list too much? List.

    Here goes, a bucket list if you will, 11 things I'd like to do in 2011:

    1.  Daniel Fast (Starting tomorrow! Also on the resolution list)
    2.  Jet Ski (I've never been and hello!  I live on the ocean!)
    3.  Host a dinner party (a simple thing for some but would you believe I've never done this either?) (really!)

    4.  Go hiking, find a waterfall

    5.  Run a 5K.  (PS I hate running.  No really, I hate it.  But I think it may be a necessary evil. sigh)
    6.  Volunteer
    7.  Bring my dog to a dog park

    Who?  Me?  Dog Park?

    8.  Travel to a city that I have never been to.  Preferably out west.  (goodness!  It's harder than I thought to come up with 11!) 
    9.  Learn to use my camera and photoshop. (so mishaps like the background unfinished floor behind my dog don't happen anymore!)
    10.  Give random acts of kindness at least twice a month
    11.  Take a class to learn something new (I don't know what that something will be yet..)

    Ooh I just can't wait.  This is going to be a fabulous year of TCB -- Takin care of business!