Guest Bedroom Paintings Pt. 2

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I think I mentioned on many different occasions that I started a guest bedroom overhaul.  And I was mentally prepared to share it until I spent a day repainting that room, only to later discover that I hated what I had done.  I mentioned stalling out and hitting a road block.  But I’m really only stalling out because I can’t stand the thought of repainting that room a more pleasing color, and I’m lazy.

Probably like most of you, I’ve been burning the candle at both ends so finding the time to paint feels daunting.  I’ve focused a good bit of my creative attention on smaller projects I can knock out in an afternoon (or less).  You might have seen Guest Bedroom Paintings or maybe you didn’t, I dunno.  Anyway, I’ve done another little painting project to gussy up the bedside table on the other side.

I love a good mix of prints and I always have so any chance to exploit that is fine by me.  I had another small canvas to use and I was digging on some stripes at that time. I painted the entire canvas in a stark white paint.  And if you’re asking yourself why I painted a white canvas in white paint it is because no matter how white the canvas is at first glance…you’re going to find tons of smudges and other imperfections.  Just paint the damn thing and keep it moving.  Then, I covered the canvas in strips of a wide painter’s tape.

DSC_0670After that I removed every other strip of tape to expose the canvas that would be painted in black.  It’s a lot easier than getting out the pencil and ruler.  Hello, I ain’t gonna measure this.  I know some other girls that wouldn’t measure it either.

DSC_0671So I painted the exposed canvas in black paint and made sure to paint a thick coat and removed the painter’s tape as soon as I could.  It keeps the acrylic paint from drying and as a result, cracking and chipping, when you remove the tape.  And if you’ve been on Pinterest at all lately, you know state art has become pretty trendy.  I did an image search online and resized the image for my needs and traced it onto some cute scrapbook paper.  And since I love North Carolina, that’s that!

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Adventures in Healthy Pt. 2

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Let’s keep it rolling with some healthy recipes I’ll actually eat.  And more importantly, a recipe that I will make again, a true sign of deliciousness.  Erin and I decided that if we were going to run a food prep marathon, we deserved a decent dinner during the process.  We got some fresh shrimp that day so that dictated which meal we were making that night.  We crossed our fingers and attempted to make Shrimp Scampi.  It was a shot in the dark, I’ve made shrimp once, and homemade sauces, like, never.

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Ingredients:

4 tsp olive oil

1/2 lb raw shrimp, deveined without tails

6-8 cloves minced garlic

1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup white wine

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup minced parsley

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

Directions:

Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet, then saute the shrimp for 3-5 minutes or until barely pink.  Add the garlic to the skillet and stir constantly for 30 seconds.  Remove the shrimp and keep warm.  In the skillet, add broth, wine, lemon juice, parsley, salt, pepper and bring to a boil.  Boil until the sauce is reduced to half the original amount.  Pour the sauce over the shrimp and serve on a bed of rice or with fettuccine noodles (we chose the latter).  Garnish with uncooked parsley if you wish.  This makes 2 servings.

I’m here to report it was fantastic.  It might sound crazy but I think this would be perfect for a summer dinner party because it’s so light.  Sangria, scampi, a fabulous dessert.  Yes, I said dessert…because everything in moderation.  If you know of any crowd-pleasing skinny recipes please send them over!  Have a great week yall!

Adventures in Healthy

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Like I mentioned before, eating in doesn’t always sound so appealing.  When you compare it to the probable sabotage of eating out though, you might be like me and want to find a way to make it work.  Now,  I’m no foodie and I do not have a refined palate.  I’m good to eat a chicken sandwich for dinner from now until kingdom come.  But I figure if I’m going to try to cook some healthy options at home and expect my husband to eat, I’m going to have to venture out of my comfort zone.

So my workout partner, Erin, and I discussed “freezer meals” in an effort to have real food to eat while at work and attempting some healthier recipes in the process.  It was an all day marathon of selecting our recipes, making our list, shopping at 3 different stores, making our dinner, two snacks, and four freezer dinners.  It remains to be seen if all these recipes will be edible…I don’t have much hope for any kind of sauce made from cauliflower but we’ll see.

But right off the bat, we do know there are a couple of recipes that are winners.  Erin really wanted to try these no-bake energy bites.  They remind me of those no-bake cookies I have made in the past.  You know the ones….2 cups of sugar, a ton of butter, cocoa, oatmeal.  Yeah, they’re delicious.  Delicious and terrible for you.  Cue the energy bites.  I could certainly eat those and not feel like I cheated myself out of what I wanted.  And not in that, “I wanted something sweet so I settled for this thing instead, but now my craving really hasn’t subsided because my substitute was no real substitute” sort of way.  Like, it’s a real substitute and can satisfy whatever craving you’re having.

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Ingredients:

1 cup old fashioned rolled oats

1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

1 cup sweetened coconut flakes

1/2 cup ground flaxseed

1/2 mini chocolate chips

1 tsp vanilla flavoring

Directions:

Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Roll into bite-size balls and store in the refrigerator.

Eat in!

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Sometimes, cooking in just will not do.  Either you’re tired or uninspired or craving something you cannot replicate in your kitchen.  I get it, I totally binged on Chinese food the other day.  But with all this gym going and the reintroduction of apps into my life that calculate my caloric intake and nutrition…eating out just isn’t looking all that great.

I had made some easy decisions at the beginning of the year that would impact me at work: I was absolutely not going to eat from the cafeteria unless I had to since everything served to nightshifters is deep-fried and fabulous, I was not going to partake in the fresh doughnut train as it made its way through my unit (which is just about every other day), I was going to pay attention to my fluid intake since I hardly drink anything while working, and I wasn’t going to eat any vending machine treats (a dang Air Head takes more than a 1/2 mile on the elliptical to work off!).  All that was great but then there’s the other battle: if you don’t put any thought into your meals for work you end up packing your lunch and eating for convenience.  That’s almost as bad as all the rest of the things I was trying to avoid.

Truthfully, I would like to attempt some “skinny recipes” too.  But for now, I’m just focusing on increasing cooking and preparing food at home.  Now I’m not about to suggest that this recipe is a healthy option…but it’s certainly not the worst thing for you if you compare it to what you might consume outside your kitchen.  It’s simple and quick and has very few ingredients and that’s perfect.

Rosemary and Dijon Chicken          

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Ingredients:

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1/2 cup dijon mustard

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

rosemary

Directions:

Mix mustard, syrup and vinegar together.  In a greased dish, place chicken breasts and season with salt and pepper (minimal salt, lots of pepper).  Pour the mustard mixture over the top of the chicken, coating each piece.  Bake for 35 minutes at 425 degrees.  Add chopped rosemary ( I only used 1/8 of a cup) over the top of each piece of chicken and bake an additional 10 minutes.  Serve warm!

This recipe was husband approved, and that doesn’t happen often with these internet-Pinterest recipes.  I will say though, to use the rosemary sparingly…it’s potent.  Happy cooking yall!

My only Snomageddon Post

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Alright folks, the snow has melted and everyone in North Carolina has returned to regularly scheduled programming.  In case you don’t live here, we received a little slamming from Mother Nature about midweek last week and everything came to a screeching halt.  I mean, if Wal-Mart closes…it is serious.  For the most part, it seems like most people in North Carolina love the snow except for people that have to go to work regardless of the conditions.  But I love it even if I do have to work; it’s so beautiful.  However, I never realized how much I wanted to enjoy the winter weather and sled until Thursday morning when I was officially off work and all the stores that sold sleds were shut down.  So in that regard, it wasn’t fun and I was bummed about it.  Everyone on FB posted videos of them sledding down the hills Clark Griswold style and I was jealous.  But the other thing people seemed to be doing a lot of was making snow cream.  In all my years, I never tried to make it myself.  Thankfully, D knew how and I had all the ingredients on hand.  At least one snow activity seemed within reach.

What you need:

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6 cups of snow

3/4 cup of sugar

1/2 cup milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract or flavoring

MIX!

What I think: That stuff is gross.  I’m just going to put it out there and say people make snow cream for the novelty of making it and not for it’s fantastic flavor or texture.  I was expecting Mother Nature’s ice cream or something and I was sorely disappointed.  Dustin wasn’t upset and made me feel better by telling me mostly only children like it.  So it’s no wonder with my refined taste that I didn’t enjoy it, ha.

Now the snow is basically gone and it’s 70 degrees outside in true “End-times North Carolina Weather.”  And I guess I’ll happily trade winter’s snow cream for summer’s margaritas.  Cheers to that!

What did you call that?

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In the spirit of the Super Bowl and all the glorious food there is to eat at those parties, I’m going to share a little comfort food recipe with you that’s sure to please the masses.  Every holiday, we visit D’s family and I know two things are going to happen: we’re going to have belly laughs with a handful of sweet people and I’m going to eat my weight in Booger Pudding.  Might not sound appetizing, but it is.  In fact, if it’s my holiday to work I always beg D to bring me Booger Pudding so as not to miss out on all the fun.  More than likely, you’ve had a variation of this dessert at some point in your life.  This is like a better version of the oreo & pudding layered dirt cake.  D’s Aunt Lisa makes it all the time, and even if we’ve run the holiday family gamut and I’m stuffed to my gills, there’s always room for Booger Pudding.  So here’s how ya make it!

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Ingredients:

1 box fudge brownie mix (prepared per directions on box, I like Ghirardelli Double Chocolate)

8 crushed Heath Bars

1 large tub of whipped topping

1 large box of instant Chocolate pudding (prepared per directions on box)

Directions:

After preparing the brownies, let cool completely and crush them into pieces.  Put a layer of brownie crumbs in the trifle dish, topped with a layer of chocolate pudding, whipped topping, and Heath bits.  Continue to add layers in trifle dish until all ingredients are used, it should make 2-3 layers.  Serve chilled and enjoy.  So easy!

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Resolution Pain

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I don’t know about you, but this New Year’s resolution stuff has been a humbling experience so far.  Not quite as humbling as being reduced to tears while completing the initial fit test of Insanity…but humbling nonetheless.  Yeaaaaah, that happened.

D joined a gym and I felt pressured to take advantage of the “free guest” option of his membership.  Not because of anything he did, but for the simple fact that I didn’t know how to avoid the gym anymore.  It’s right down the road from our house, it was free for me, and I don’t always have something better to do.  So against my better judgement, I went.  And I was displeased at the thought of it.  I felt like I was on my way to Globo Gym or into battle.  I just knew there were going to be all these gladiators in there, sweating and hollering and staring at all the lesser ones (me) that shouldn’t set foot in their arena.

Thankfully, none of that stuff was true and overall, it hasn’t been that bad.  Although, there certainly have been some cringe worthy moments for me.  On day 1, I stepped on a treadmill and hit start.  In an attempt to increase the speed…I was changing the channels on the TVs.  What’s worse is I didn’t even know I was doing it until I got off that thing and D asked me what show I was trying to find.  Ugh.  I got on an ab machine and thought it was locked out because I couldn’t make it move.  I made D get on there and unlock it but as it turns out I was going in the wrong direction with the moving parts.  How ridiculous I must have looked.  But I’ve gone back since and I’ve actually gotten my own membership, and I’ve been able to do more in an hour than I’ve done in years.  I’m in pain but I’m proud.  And I’m watching people in the gym to find out how machines are supposed to be used before I make an ass of myself again.

As much as I didn’t want to,  I’m on the gym kick.  And yes I know…some people are so annoyed with people like me since we’re taking up all “their” machines being all “New Years Resolutiony” and all.  Thank god they’ve got willpower though, to hang tough for a few weeks when people like me fall off the wagon.  Or at least that’s what’s been said about a million times across social networking sites.  I noticed it before, and thought it was rude but I ignored it since it didn’t have anything to do with me.  But now, that makes me mad.  I didn’t want to post this for fear of offending someone but I decided I should share my feelings since everyone else seems to do the same with little regard for how it might make someone feel.  It’s not directed at anyone in particular but more of a generalized complaint.  Here goes nothing.

Newsflash: you’re in the wrong place if you think weight machines and treadmills belong to you just because you’ve shown a longer commitment or you’re in better shape.  Thing is, they’re everybody’s machines since we’re in public.  Feel free though, to kick me off the machines in your personal gym.  Dare I say, I think you have a social responsibility to let me use that machine and be happy I’m there trying to make the same commitment you have made.  And it wouldn’t hurt for you to know where the defibrillator is…just for posterity’s sake.

I’m no expert but I think there has to be some happy medium.  Yeah, I agree, you should get off your butt and do something on a regular basis.  Maybe you’re strict enough to pair your physical activity with a limited diet of kale smoothies, egg whites and other gross shit, but I am not.  But that doesn’t give you the right to judge me for eating birthday cake or pizza or convince yourself that I shouldn’t even be in the gym if I’m going to eat that stuff.  There’s no need to be cranky because you want that pizza too and you’re too proud to just admit right out there in the open that eating pizza is fine.  Much to my surprise, there’s a “free pizza day” at my new gym.  I didn’t know what to think of it at first.  At the time it seemed counter-intuitive to put that temptation right in the face of a determined gym-goers.  Then I thought it was actually kind of nice.  It’s nice that they are acknowledging that you can be committed to your health and still have pizza on occasion.  They’re saying, “Hey, we know you eat pizza when you’re not here!”  And I know it probably sounds weird to those of you reading but at least you were at the gym working out and making an effort when you ate the pizza versus sitting at home watching TV and ordering for delivery.  At least you kind of earned it?

Please, don’t be sizing people up in the gym.  Don’t be looking at the weight I’m pushing and criticize me for it.  That shit is CRUSHING me and you could kill my frail little spirit so easily (and I think you know that).  Whatever you’re able to do, that’s great.  Whatever you’re working to achieve…go ahead friend!  In my case, I would love to feel better about myself and enjoy my health.  But I think even more than that I’m hoping for stress relief.   If I found a way to physically rid myself of some burdens then a lot of other things would fall into place.  So before you write me off based on your standards and goals for gym going…try to consider that maybe I’m not aiming for the same things you are.  Our measures for success might not even be similar.

We all have to start somewhere and think before you judge someone that may not be in as great of shape as you.  At some point in your life, YOU were the one in someone’s way at the gym.  You have no idea what battles strangers in the gym face.  Maybe I have a thyroid problem and I’m on medication that makes it nearly impossible for me to lose weight.  Maybe I’m a stay-at-home mother of four and now that all of my children are in school,  I have a few unclaimed hours for the first time in 8 years to take care of myself.  Maybe I’m somebody that’s been on both ends of the spectrum and everywhere in between at different times of my life.  Perhaps I’ve been out of shape and overweight, and I’ve been in incredible shape, and I’ve been beaten down from a lengthy eating disorder that still haunts me everyday.  Maybe I’ve been so scared of failing that its kept me out of the gym for far longer than I intended.  You never know, so think before you open your big ole’ mouth.  Your negative attitude can be detrimental.

But conversely, thank you to those of you that have been in the gym for a long time and show us newbies that what we want can be done.  We see you, and even if we try to pretend you aren’t there because we know we’re not worthy, we see you.  You make it not so painful to show up when there’s a million other things we would rather be doing.  And even if you aren’t aware, you’re silently encouraging us all and inspiring better health.  Kudos to you!

Hope you all are still on the wagon, whatever your resolutions were.  Best of luck for continued success.