Archive | November, 2013

5 Thing Friday

22 Nov

1.  Ace Hotel Coming To Pittsburgh

Ace Hotel, New York

Ace Hotel, New York

So I read this article in Pittsburgh Magazine about “America’s Coolest Hotel” coming to the ‘burgh.  Well of course I wanted to read more because I’m a geek and turns out this hotel chain is super hip(ster) and there are just a few locations around the world – in swag cities like London, Portland, Paris, and now a revitalized  YMCA in Bakery SquareAce Hotel is known for contextualizing the hotel to the city, so we are all on the edge of our seats wondering how AH will showcase Pittsburgh’s complex industrial history.  Or at least me and other design junkies are.  I also might stay there just for fun because hello – micro-brew and small batch coffee on site?  Chyeah.

2.  Serial Killer Christmas Cards

lizzyborden1lizzyborden2

I recently discovered another Pittsburgh blogger – OhHonestlyErin – who seems to have a dry, off-beat sense of humor like myself.  She posted a link to her Etsy shop the other day, where she features her serial killer greeting cards.  I think these are surprisingly fun and hysterical!  I will definitely be buying some of her Valentine’s.

3.  Our house is done!

photo 2(1)

More on this over the next few days as well, but yay!!!  Everything is perfect and we haven’t even put on the finishing touches…or decorations.  haha I promise my walls aren’t normally so cold.

4.  Jace & Si’s Turkey Safety Video

You’re welcome.

5.  Dinner Partayyyyyyyy

Thursday was completely consumed with fretting over and prepping for our very first dinner party.  I am working on a full recap for over the weekend, but just know that I was totally in my element.  I feel like I did my Bubba proud!  Yes, this is my actual grandmother in a photo taken (obviously) on her wedding day.  She was a master entertainer and I remember growing up attending lavish parties.  In fact, one time my cousins and I served hors d’oeuvres on roller skates to guests!  The thing that makes me smile the most about the picture is that when she got married, she couldn’t even boil an egg!

Bubs

Advertisements

Goodbye, Sweet Hallie

15 Nov

I don’t want to be writing this.

I would much prefer staying in this little cocoon I’ve been living in for 5 days now.  But, isolating behavior like this is making it worse.

Last Monday night into Tuesday morning, the snow fell silently outside the windows while we slept. I was up on and off throughout the night with my beloved poodle, who was having gastro issues associated with tortion (which she is predisposed to).  I got up every 30 minutes to make sure she was hydrated and comfortable until we could get her to the vet for scope in the morning. (We thought she might have an intestinal blockage, although the x-ray done earlier in the day had turned up nothing).  When I woke up at 7:45 to check on her, she was gone.  Just laying there at the foot of my bed, as she always did, her dainty little back legs criss-crossed.  She could’ve been sleeping peacefully for all we knew, except Christina noticed the unnatural stillness.  I felt my heart explode into 1000 pieces.

Hallie2

Oh, darlin’ will I miss you.

I will miss your incredible almost human-like personality, your sweetness, your sweet soft hair, your rambunctious energy, the way you loved to play with Liberty, the way you loved to cuddle with just about anybody, your soulful eyes, and your constant presence.

Hallie1

I will miss my running buddy, my little shadow, my most loyal companion.  I have never met a dog like Hallie and I probably never will again.  She was just so incredibly sweet and smart.  Dogs and humans that came into contact with her fell instantly in love, captured by her gentle spirit and her contagious energy.

Hallie4

I don’t even know why I’m attempting to write this all out here because my emotions still feel indescribable.  I wake up in the morning and my heart can tell something is missing.  When I stand up from the couch, there is a vacancy where there is usually a furball. When I see Chief and Liberty playing in the yard, my heart swells up and searches for her.  There is just a hole where there used to be a lot of love.  I can’t say this enough:  I have NEVER had a bond with an animal like the bond I had with Hallie.  She will forever be missed by our family and I will think about her every single day.

Goodbye Hallie, we love you so very much.

Hallie3

Fierce Bitch Friday

8 Nov

I’ve had a series of mighty productive days!

I’ve been hitting the gym regularly and am pretty happy with my progress so far.  Not only have I been increasing my run duration each time, I’ve also been pushing myself to increase speed.  So far, so good!  I am hoping to stay as shin-splint free as possible.

I even used a mysterious machine at the gym this morning called an Arc Trainer, which just about killed me.  I did 5 solid minutes, though, and am not afraid to try for more next time.  Although by this time tomorrow, my quads may disagree with that statement.

ArcTrainer

Then, I decided to switch it up with some free weights a la Skinny Meg:

SM.BackFatBlaster

All I can say is HOO BOY, I am seriously out of shape.  But, you’ve got to start somewhere right? I finished and I can still walk.  Speaking of starting, I really could stand to work on planks.  I felt feeble trying to do just 5 decline planks with arm raise.  I feel like I would benefit from doing the plank a day challenge.  Who’s with me?!

30dayplankchallenge

Welp, that’s all I have to share today since I have about a million other things going on right now.

GlindaWorkBitch

 

Mushroom & Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups

6 Nov

So, do you want the bad news or the good news first?

The bad news is that Italian home-style cooking would not be considered very clean eating.  Lasagna is typically a heavy, carb (40g!!!) and calorie (upwards of 900!!!) dense meal that I basically only enjoy through osmosis.  (The osmosis of licking a picture on the Olive Garden menu – I swear I gain 5 lbs. just looking at it.)  So, yeah.

The good news is, this recipe is a much lighter version of a traditional lasagna.  In fact, based on my calculations this recipe is around 400 calories a serving, but 47 g of carbs.  So while it’s still a carb dense meal and certainly not what I would consider clean, the calories make it a much more reasonable “not so clean day” option.

The cool thing about lasagnas are that you can kind of do your own thing with the filling – whatever you are in the mood for or whatever you have on hand works.  I’ve also made a Ham, Spinach, & Ricotta Lasagna Roll-Up here before. This particular recipe is an oldie but a goodie, with infinite variations.  The original post had HORRIBLE pictures, taken when I was cooking by lamplight (Yes, I had a table lamp on my stove and that was the only light in the kitchen!), so I thought it could use a good update.

Mushroom & Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups

  • lasagna noodles (NOT the oven-ready kind)
  • 8 oz. box frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry (or fresh, wilted)
  • 8 oz. mushrooms of your choice, sliced thin
  • 15 oz. part-skim ricotta
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • pasta sauce
  • salt & pepper
  • shredded mozzarella or Parmesean

Cook the lasagna noodles al dente (10 min) and then spread them out to cool slightly.  I used a kitchen towel and paper towels for this:

LW.Noodles

While all that jazz is happening, you can make the stuffings.  Brown the mushrooms in 1 T. olive oil.  Salt & pepper them, then add in half a cup of pasta sauce.  Simmer for about 2 minutes and then set aside.

LW.Mushrooms

Also, mix together the spinach, ricotta, egg, and a little more salt and pepper.

LW.RicottaSpinach

Pretty easy so far, right?

Once the noodles are soft enough for you to work with, place about 2 T. of the ricotta mixture on each noodle, then top with 1-1/2 T. of the mushroom mixture.

LW.Rolling

Then, just roll them up!  I put mine in a casserole dish that has a layer of pasta sauce on the bottom to prevent sticking.

LW.Before

You could do a few things here:  Put it in the fridge until you are ready to cook, probably freeze, or top with sauce and cheese and bake those em-effers at 375F.

I clearly chose the em-effers option.  We don’t like a lot of sauce with our pasta in this house, but have at it (just remember that jarred pasta sauce is super high in sugar!) with your favorite sauce and cheese of choice.  I just barely sprinkled some Mozzarella on ours because the ricotta is cheesy enough!  Cover the casserole dish(es) loosely in tin foil and bake for 45 minutes at 375F.  Then, remove the foil and bake for 15 more minutes.

LW.Final

As you can tell, its really easy to keep your portions (2-3 roll ups) under control with this recipe because you scoop out one roll-up at a time.  I made the whole box of pasta (17 roll-ups) because we are in dire need of lunch options at our house, so we will be eating leftovers for days!

“You have nothing to prove to anybody.”

5 Nov

I write a blog, so obviously I read a lot of blogs.  All kinds – food, fitness, healthy living, green living, even some mommy blogs just because I like them!  While I am hooked on reading and following the lives of these women, there is a lack of realness from bloggers: unachievable goals which are actually attained by unrealistically athletic superwomen who eat in strange, disordered ways.  I suppose if I was in their shoes, I wouldn’t feel that way.  People probably think it’s weird that I dumpster dive for coupons.  From the outside looking in, its frustrating to compare my habits and progress to theirs.  Its like watching a celebrity lose weight after they have a baby.  Two weeks and BAM!  Back to size -3.  That’s just not in the cards for me.

I am a real person, with real problems (like balancing my 2 jobs and my dogs and my family obligations and my home renovations and my laziness and being tired and trying to find healthy things to eat and oh yeah shower while all of this is going on) and I’m doing the best I can.  I have to keep reminding myself of that without the context of superfluous excuses.

So I am here to unapologetically declare that I enjoyed every bite of the pizza I ate at 9:30PM last night – when I finally had a chance to sit down and relax after a string of extremely long days.

GG.JunkFood

We are entering the actual home stretch with the kitchen reno.  Finally.  After like a year.  It’s crazy that we flipped an entire house in a few months, but our own home projects linger on.  Realistically, they are the ones that are always moved to the back burner because they aren’t really effecting anything!  Here is what my kitchen looked like a few days ago:

KitchenRenoNov

You may see this as chaos.  I get that.  But, I see this as PROGRESSSSSS!!!!!!  So yeah.  I literally walked away from what I was doing and took this picture.  Realness. Since this photo was taken, the cabinet doors have dried and rehung (they look awesome!), the dishes have been done (duh), and the island has been cleared of all my on-call paperwork/binders/phone.    Honestly, all we need to do is stain and rehang the pantry doors, throw on some baseboard, caulk, and replace the countertops.  So…..friggin……close.

We obviously didn’t get much cooking done over the weekend in this hullabloo, though.  I did manage to concoct this monstrosity:

StuffedSweetPotato

A buffalo chicken stuffed sweet potato.  It was….not good.  I should’ve gone with BBQ sauce, but changed my mind at the last minute.  So for future reference, not a good combo.

And laundromat breakfasts have been looking like this:

oatmealfail

Half-ass cooked oats with almonds, cinnamon, stevia, and frozen blueberries.  Shockingly not as bad as it looks.

So you see…I could never be a celeb-status healthy living blogger.  Because I am real person who hasn’t been to the gym since Friday, takes my time getting projects done, struggles to find clean eats and vegs out with delicious white pizza and MNF.  I am also a fucking rockstar who rolled out of bed this morning, got coffee, hurried to the rental to bundle about 50 lbs. of landscaping mess to beat the garbage truck,  washed the car, VOTED, made it home in time to put our own garbage out, did the dishes, made myself some egg whites and turkey bacon, did 2 loads of laundry, AND managed to catch half an episode of Teen Mom 3 on DVR before work.  I think I would prefer my real life to a contextualized pedestal that I have to create and never fall from.  🙂

MayaAngelouQuote

%d bloggers like this: