Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fatso Tuesday and Other Randomness

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. That means tonight we will probably finish off the last of this birthday cake I made for my friends.

It looks very simple but my, my is it tasty. It is my version of Cheesecake Factory's Linda's Fudge Cake. I love ganache. Oh and please disregard my unsteady piping. Letter are hard! I love doing the little flower doo dads, though.

I start my job tomorrow. Finally. It took them ages to give me a start date. I've been spending today doing some odds and ends that I doubt I'll have time for in the near future. I did my taxes and only need to print and e-file----hello refund!

I also went the grocery store. I think this is my favorite chore of all. I could wander the aisles for hours if left to my own devices. But there is one grocery-related thing that is even better than that: saving loads of money.

We shop at a grocer that has "member rewards." I feel like most large cities/chains have these. Basically, if you sign up with the store you are privy to in-store discounts and coupons. On top of all that, you earn "points" each time you shop, which ultimately turns into money. At the end of each quarter are given special corresponding coupons.

Today, after scouring the weekly ad and the pantry, I came up with a modest list. I know I'll always be adding a few items once I get there based on unannounced sales and availability, especially produce. By the time the cashier had finished ringing up the 30 items, the total was $81.21. This was before any member pricing or coupons were figured. After my store card and coupons were scanned, the total dropped to $19.41. I did not pay full price on anything today and still walked out with bread, milk, fresh and canned produce, pasta, soup, steak, chicken, cheese and hummus.

I can't help but feel a bit smug as I leave the store. Thank you, Ralphs. I think I love you.

Well, the dishwasher is running, and I have laundry going. I am about to head to the kitchen to throw dinner in the crock pot. I'm going to try a new mac and cheese recipe. I'll post it if it turns out. There will be heavy cream, so I doubt it'll be a complete failure.

Happy Pancake Day!

Monday, February 8, 2010

This is It (Not a movie review)

Four days. Not bad. I'm rather proud, actually. But don't expect this to be a pattern because I just may fall off the face of the earth. Again. It's been known to happen.

Easter is April 4, I believe. Which means Ash Wednesday is February 17. Which means in exactly 8 and a half days at this time I will probably be cranky. In 13 days, the gloves will probably come off. Day 39 will be, well, I'm sorry world. I cannot and will not be held accountable for my actions.

Let me explain. This year for Lent I will be giving up SWEETS. I will not be the only person foregoing dessert. But it is still a huge, major, massive, stinkin' deal for me. I'm already lamenting my surefire demise. It will kill me. Okay, maybe not, but it's still how I feel.

Here are 3 reasons as to why this is a big deal:

1. I have never participated in Lent. For whatever reason, it was never observed in my family or church growing up. I knew of the Fish Fridays in school and that my friends were supposedly giving things up, but it was never highlighted in my life.
2. This girl has gots to have her dessert. I have a really bad habit of needing something sweet to top off meal or an evening. Isn't there scientific research that proves chocolate does a body good?
3. I love to bake. I spend a LOT of time online perusing recipes, bookmarking and scribbling down ones I'd love to try. (For cooking, I use recipes for ideas. I rarely cook from a recipe. However, baking is a whole other world. Measurements are generally recommended and not "to taste," as in cooking.) It's sad that I know the last treat I will concoct before Lent begins are the oh-my-gosh-are-they-yummy Blackout Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache (a la Cheesecake factory's Linda's Fudge Cake) for my good friend's birthday on Saturday.

So while the above reasons will make it difficult, here are the reasons I'm doing it, in no particular order:

1. Spring Cleaning. I have never really been a participant in New Year's Resolutions but do go through seasons where I am really determined to accomplish something. Last spring/summer it was running. I was half-way done with my half-marathon training when I was sidelined by injury and, well, life. I had never run so much or so well! I am looking to kick-start my wellness again and figured that giving up so many calories something that I really enjoy would be a great start. And if I could lose a couple pounds without really trying? Bonus!
2. Quiet Time. I am looking forward to using that time to get into the Word more during times I'd normally be looking for recipes or whipping up batches of goodies. It's something I've always struggled with, and although cooking/baking does not take priority, I just like the idea that I'm freeing up more time so I will have even fewer excuses.
3. Competition. I'm really competitive. With others, with myself, with the computer in online boggle... I hate to lose and hate when I don't follow through with what I say. Still waiting to run that half-marathon... This is something that will be incredibly difficult yet totally achievable if I stay the course. So far only the Boy knows of this plan (actually, was this his idea?) but now I'm letting the world you three know, too.

We're still figuring out the rules: What counts as sweets? Just confections and candy-type things? How about honey on toast? Or sugar in tea or coffee? Frozen yogurt/sorbet? It's fruit, you know.

But the most major question of all: Do margaritas count as sweets? I shudder to think...

P.S. I have a margarita recipe that is amazing, no mixer involved. It's been called The Truth Serum before. Just sayin'.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Oh Gorsh

Okay, I am officially terrible at keeping this blog up and running. It has been 7 months, more or less, since I last posted and my oh my have things changed.

I am back in the land of sun, stars and fake boobs tans. And sushi. Oh, and hiking in shorts and tank tops.

However, it nearly killed me leaving this almost one-year old behind, though. (I may or may not attempt to smell the Burts Bees Baby wash while at Target...)

Who doesn't love avocados? If you don't, please don't tell me.

Thankfully there is Skype, although due to the nature of mobile children, it usually turns into a session of my sister holding the webcam and following Riley around like those zoo cams you see online. We watch her lick her reflection in the mirror, pick fuzz out of the carpet and generally practice all of her new and ever changing skills.

Let's see, in an attempt to not recap the mundane details of the last 7 months, I'll highlight this past week.

I am waiting for my job to start up, so I have had some time on my hands. I have:
-watched several episodes of I Love Lucy
-hiked with a friend twice
-been a 'reporter' for a friend at one movie premiere red carpet (Dear John)
-saw one Kirstie Alley hiking at the trail head of a park
-eaten 3 bowls of Frosted Flakes (in 36 hours)
-practiced self control yesterday and did not spend $300 at Costco (only $21.76...some was the Frosted Flakes)
-viewed and bookmarked about 8,329 recipes
...and more things you could care less about.

Maybe I'll stop back in another seven months or so? One day this blog will be a priority. Maybe. :)