8.31.2011

a curmudgeon, fried butter and idiots

I feel like a total curmudgeon today. That's right, as the dictionary puts it: a crotchety old man! I'm irritable, frustrated and sad. Not going to get into the reasons why, but it brings me to an important question that I'd love to hear different answers to: Why do we crowd our time with things that make us unhappy, and neglect the things that do make us happy? Ever notice that? A lot of us put the unhappy before the happy. WHY? I can't figure it out so please enlighten me.

On an even more perplexing note, can you believe they made Fried Butter on The Today Show this morning? 
Kevin Brown  /  State Fair of Texas



And then there is this horrible video about some idiots harassing Demi Lovato on Twitter (losers) for gaining weight. She looks pretty amazing to me. What is wrong with the human race? I smell one of my food/health rants coming in the near future...



And don't forget to vote for our photo!
We could win a sweet laptop and be able to blog for you from anywhere!

{taken by the lovely Carlos Almonte}

8.30.2011

grilled squid

When we went to Barcelona
our favorite meal was the grilled squid/octopus.
Didn't matter where...
...it was always amazing.
To this day, we cannot eat Fried Calamari with a straight face. 
It doesn't compare. 
GASP!
These little creatures are bursting with flavor.
When fresh, and prepared with simple ingredients and a little fire,
you can taste the ocean!

Last night we tried to replicate a traditional Mediterranean grilled squid.
We were successful.

Grilled Squid/Octopus
(for 2)


What you'll need:
1 pound WILD squid/octopus
1/4 cup olive oil
1 lemon (zest and juice)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
sea salt and pepper to taste

For Salad:
4 cups arugula
2 roasted cobs of corn
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 lemon, juice only
sea salt and pepper

What you'll do:
For Salad/Corn: Roast corn on cob (in husks and all) in oven at 350 for 30 minutes. After cooled, cut corn off cob for the salad. Whisk olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt and pepper for dressing and set aside. Add 2 cups arugula to each plate. Set aside.

For Squid: Marinate squid/octopus in olive oil, lemon zest/juice, garlic, parsley, sea salt and pepper for about 5 minutes. Heat a charcoal grill or grill pan to HIGH. Add squid to pan and let sear on both sides for 5-8 minutes on each side. Turn off heat and let cool.

Assemble dish in this order: Arugula, corn, a little dressing, squid, more dressing. 
 
 
If you get the squid WILD, and at a reputable shop like Whole Foods, Fairway or a local fishmonger... this will taste like you are relaxing on the Mediterranean. You can hear the breeze, the locals chatting,  the overall feeling of being in a place magical yet so close to home. All preferably over a glass of light, yet robust, red.
I think we are going to coin The Squid Diet.
For some reason squid is cheap too, even when wild.
The pound we bought only rang up to a 5.43 at Fairway.

8.28.2011

the aftermath...

I live on the Upper East Side of NYC.
Click through the slide show to see the damage from Hurricane Irene.

8.26.2011

be safe...

to my dear east coasters....
(which includes me and 80% of my people)
be safe this weekend.



ideas for stocking up:
(take out cash from ATM in case electric goes and you can't use cards)
water
fiber one bars
apples
cereal 
milk powder
canned salsa recipe:
(canned corn, diced tomato with chilis, beans, olive oil, limes)
tortilla chips
canned tuna or salmon
dried fruits
nuts
crackers
bread
peanut butter
nutella
wine
lots of wine

for those of you who save individual packets of ketchup, mayo etc... nice work!

don't forget your furry friends:
water for them
food
cat nip for cat lovers...
bones for dogs
litter
one of these grass things for dogs
have their leashes and carriers ready

other staples:
batteries
flashlights
charge the iPads and iPhones!
first aid kit
toilet paper

Fairway was a MAD HOUSE... take a look at the line just to get in.
Taken Round 5:30 on Friday...




You should also know that hurricanes bring out my inner pig.



8.23.2011

greek salad and goals

I've been doing well on my plan of shear exercise and eating well. I've lost about 16 pounds. My meals mainly consist of a protein shake for breakfast (from my nutritionist) or an omelet, salad with lots of protein for lunch, and the same for dinner with a carb like brown rice, quinoa, or whole wheat bread. I snack on veggies, fruit, jello, v-8 and fiber one bars.

And it's not boring if you love chicken and Greek flavors!

Greek Chicken & Herb Salad
(for 1)



What you need:
1 cup chicken breast, grilled or sauteed in a little oil 
(you can season with some garlic powder and s&p)
2 cups herb salad mesclun mix (includes parsely, dill, cilantro)
3/4 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 orange bell pepper, diced
6-8 kalamata olives
1/4 cup feta cheese
1 tbs olive oil
2 tbs red wine vinegar
sea salt and pepper to taste



What you'll do:
Assemble all vegetables and cheese onto a plate.
Place warm chicken on top and drizzle oil and vinegar on top.

What are you cooking to stick with your plan?

8.22.2011

dog days of summer

It's almost over...
How do you spend the dog days of summer?

This weekend I spent my time with family out in Montauk.


One morning I ran on the beach before most people had gotten up.
It was a moment I didn't want to end.
Imagine that:
A run you didn't want to end?





And now it's Monday.
Back to the grind.
Back to bending over backwards for people in your life...
offering your support, ideas, and help.
Your true friends will return the favor in some way...
others will forget you even contributed.
They take advantage...
because they don't know any better.
But that's the beauty of a back bend.
Sometimes it hurts and feels like a waste of time...
And other times it creates a great openness and lifts your heart.

8.18.2011

busy bees and peas

I haven't gone far, just incredibly busy. It's been one thing after another. Birthdays, parties, homework, work-work, planning, trying to be healthy, working out, watching re-runs (because I can't think of anything better to do sometimes and I need that time)... I'm honestly going to greet Fall 2011 with the openest of arms. I am looking forward to Fall weather, Fall food, and that overall feeling of ahhhh. Some of you may be scratching your heads because to most, Summer is the season of ahhhh. Can't say it is for me. The Summer equals long work hours (gotta prep the new TV season eventually), too many parties (I think everyone I know is a Cancer or Leo), overindulgence, massive homework... I could go on, but I do not want to bore you with my life.

So I'll shower you with peas. This is the best Fresh Pea recipe ever.
If you don't like peas, then you've only tried the canned/frozen crap. Live a little!

I think I'm one of the few in my family who LOVES peas. And when made like this, they are scrumptious!  I first caught wind of this recipe on Top Chef. Since seeing them being devoured a few seasons back, I've been dreaming about them for years! You can thank, Carla!

We served this with Red Snapper and mushrooms. I also added asparagus to it.


Ingredients
1 pound Fresh English peas, shelled
1 teaspoon tarragon, chopped 
*2 tablespoons cold butter 
1 teaspoon chives, finely sliced 
salt and pepper
1½ teaspoons lemon zest
1½ teaspoons chopped thyme
¼ teaspoon salt 

*her recipe  calls for WAY more butter but my ass can't take it!




Preparation

1. Prepare compound butter: combine butter, lemon zest, chopped thyme and salt & pepper. 

2. Blanch the peas in salted water until just tender (about 5-7 minutes). Strain. 

3. Toss peas in butter mixture, salt, and pepper. 

4. Garnish with snipped chives.

8.12.2011

make-up madness!

I'm very excited to give you a little tease today for a make-up giveaway coming soon to this here blog. It comes from the lovely Anastasia of Beverly Hills Collection.

About Anastasia:
"Anastasia has long been the definitive eye and brow expert for icons such as Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Oprah as well as hip up-and-comers like Diana Agron, Selena Gomez and Kristen Cavalari and has recently expanded into colors that match their superior standards for skincare based cosmetics."

She has so many products that will create these beautiful looks and more:

















Stay tuned for make-up product review and giveaway details!


8.11.2011

suzy's artsy-craftsy sitcom!

 

This morning I was pleasantly surprised by an email from Suzy of Suzy's Artsy-Craftsy Sitcom. I am currently featured on her blog today. Please stop by to read the feature and take a look at all of the hand-painted splendor that Suzy has created and has up for sale at her ETSY shop. She also has some great  tutorials. Such pretty details, don't you think?



This one of the Peacock is my favorite!



Which is your favorite?


8.10.2011

what are you craving?

I came across this jpeg of the breakdown on cravings. If we are craving sweets or salts it tells us what nutrients and minerals our body is really telling us to devour! Doesn't beat a sweet handful of  peanut m&m's but I'm going to give this a try the next time I feel snacky... like right now! It seems that the main crave killer for all craves is protein in some form.

{click here or picture to enlarge}

8.09.2011

my stuffed tomato = pizza

When we cook for our whole family, sometimes we get stuck with meals that don't exactly fit our healthy guidelines and it's tough to stay on track. You don't want to cook a different meal for each person, but if it's Pizza Night and you want to eat something just as delicious as everyone else without packing in the fat and calories, make my Stuffed Tomato for 1. It actually tastes like pizza! And you can of course double up the recipe for everyone else because this may make them jealous!

Stuffed Tomato for 1 
(or more, just multiply!)


1 large beef steak tomato
1/2 cup whole wheat orzo, or brown rice, quinoa, etc
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder
1tsp onion powder
1tsp dried oregano
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil, extra leaves for garnish
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley, extra leaves for garnish
1/4 cup shredded low fat mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

What You'll Do

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Chill the tomato in the fridge for at least one hour to firm up. Then slice the very top of the tomato off, get as close as you can to the top so you have a deep tomato once it's all scooped. Cut the inside of the tomato like you would a grape fruit half into wedges. Keep making incisions until the chucks start to come up. Scoop the inside of the tomato out until you have a nice hollow tomato. Don't scoop too much out because you want it to be strong to hold the stuffing. Put the tomato insides aside for filling.

Cook the orzo or rice, but not all the way. We are baking this, so it will still cook. Make sure it's a little firm still, but not too much. Drain your grains.

In a saucepan, heat olive oil. Add the tomato chucks, herbs, garlic, onion, pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Let it heat through. About 4 minutes. Add the orzo/rice and stir. Turn off heat. Add the parmesan and mozzarella and let melt. If you need more salt and pepper, add at this time. 

Carefully scoop the mixture into the tomato. Pack it in until the top. A little can come above the top. Sprinkle with a little more of the cheese and fresh herbs to create a crust.

Bake in oven for about 15-20 minutes.

Pizza lovers, you will REALLY love this one!

If you want to add more vegetables you can give my other Stuffed Tomato Recipe a try.

8.08.2011

run with the advice

This morning I had no idea what to blog about until I checked my inbox and read an article about running and then BLING, the light bulb started flashing bright. The article is about prepping for a race, which I am in not interested in, but it definitely fueled an idea for this post! Here it is if you are interested! 

My post is more of a pep talk! For you and for me...

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For about 2 months now I have been running. Along with a healthier (albeit in NO way perfect) diet, strength training, and Yoga I have shed 10 pounds. My endurance is also the strongest it's been. But like all people who workout too much, I get in a rut, or by doing the same thing over and over again (like running for an hour straight every day) my legs start to feel like they will just detach from my body and jump into the East River - because anything could be better than the torture they get from me!

So, Tip Number 1: It's ok to slow down. 

Don't beat yourself up because you've missed a workout due to injury or severe soreness. That is stupid. I am guilty of feeling this way too but my best advice it to just do something else that doesn't hurt you. Maybe biking feels better, or moderate aerobics, or a Yoga class. Yoga is also a great remedy for injury. 

Which brings me to... Tip Number 2: Become a Yogi

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If you workout regularly with cardio and weight training already, try adding a few Yoga classes into the mix. Do it on your off days or at night. Your muscles and joints will open up, shedding all of the lactic acid build up, and your mind will be put at ease. I'm not the body type that will shed pounds and look all sexy from just doing Yoga, so I do it to strengthen my mind, muscles and patience.

Ahhh, patience. 
Tip Number 4: Have Patience With Yourself, and Believe in Yourself!

If you've never tried running before, please do. And don't say you can't! (unless you really can't...) I was a true "I Can't" abuser. I never thought I could run. Remember in middle and high school when you had to run the mile in gym class and there was that group of girls who would walk the whole distance gossiping until the teacher started yelling that they only had 2 minutes to complete it? That was me. Every single year. I pretty much walked the long runs at soccer practice too. F that! I also blamed my thick thighs, shin splints, and heart rate for not doing it. Well tough shit for me now because I know I can do it and there's no excuse! I started running for 30 minutes, then 45, then 1 hour. With the heat waves I can't do more than an hour this Summer, but I am confident that in the Fall I can speed it up and try for 1 hr and 1/2!

So, it's Monday. Start the week off on a high note by going for a little jog after work tonight. Do 10 minutes, do 20, do 30, do WHATEVER. Give it a try. You might fall in love with the runner's high like I did.

And for those counting, it all depends on your weight and heart rate but I can burn up to 900 calories in an hour from running! (I use a Heart Rate Monitor).

**I am not a Dr so please run with caution!

Happy Monday!


8.05.2011

Tree of Life...

Not to get all morbid on everyone on a Friday (TGIF!), but how amazing are these Bio Urns? Basically, it's an urn for your ashes (if you get cremated) and it has a little tree seed and soil inside too.  So, without getting too graphic, if you go in here after you die you become a tree! If that's not contributing to the circle of life then I don't know what would these days. 


Just imagine if we could stop bulldozing land to create room for more headstones, and instead be able to add back beauty to the forests. Trees already have lovely souls... but can you imagine?


 Sorry for the quasi morbid post but I thought this was pretty amazing!
Have a great weekend!

8.04.2011

Natural Beauty

This video is of an experiment performed by Dutch make-up artist duo Lernert & Sander. Their mission was to showcase how much make-up us women wear in an entire year by applying it all in just one day. I wish I could say that after watching this little clip, and it breaking my heart, that I would boldly walk outside into the world tomorrow without "putting my face on." But I don't think I could. That saddens me. Nothing wrong with looking our best, but more often than not we tell ourselves that our best is not good enough... and that needs to stop!

Beauty is in the eye of...

I Needed a Refresh!

Don't mind me while I get all primped and prettied!

8.01.2011

Put the F*cking Lotion in the Basket! A Musical Review.

I saw Silence! The Musical (based on Silence of the Lambs) on Saturday night.


I haven't enjoyed a musical as much as this in a long time...
and I saw The Book of Mormon just a week ago!

(sidebar)
The Book of Mormon was great, don't get me wrong. It's a huge production with amazing music, has an incredible story and moral told by the brilliant and sick Trey Parker, and is HYSTERICAL. I was expecting fireworks and I got them.

But Silence! was special. It's Off, Off Broadway down on St. Marks in the East Village. The theater seats 160 (where The Eugene O'Neill for BOM seats 1,065). The orchestra consists of a pianist and a drummer. No one else. I wasn't expecting fireworks. But I got them!

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If you know the film well, this show will eat you alive with its humor. I was so pleasantly surprised, and I'm one of those people who roll their eyes to the back of their head at the thought of another musical based on a film.  If you saw the film once years ago this will all go right over your head- you have no business attending... sorry. But for those who are sick like me and have seen Silence of the Lambs more than they'd like to admit... this one is for you.

Remember such horrifyingly weird lines in the film such as:
(forgive me for the language)
" Are You About A Size 14?"
'Put the F*cking Lotion in the Basket"
and
" I’d F*ck Me"

Well, it's my pleasure to inform you that those are actual song titles in this musical adaptation! Charles Isherwood of The New York Times found this musical to be  a bit "stale" with "by-the-number" gags. Methinks he's never seen a parody before but who knows, I'm not a fancy NY Times reviewer. He also mentioned how "gross" it was. Really? It's a musical parody based on a film about 2 killers. One who eats people, and one who's making a female suit out of fat chicks' skin. Did he not get the memo? And using the adjective "gross" to negatively describe Silence! is just lazy. No shit it's gross!
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That's what makes it genius!
It somehow took one of the best thrillers of all time and made it absurd and hilarious. 
So absurd that I actually question the film's many awards. It's pretty corny and I love that this musical exposed its little soft underbelly!

And yes, the ensemble goes Greek Chorus in full lamb getup... with hooves.
Silence! The Musical is in theaters until August 27th.
Get tickets now!
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