Happy New Years Eve!

A bit of a delay in getting my post up, because I had to leave the house at 6:55 a.m. to make it to my doctors appointment for the clinical trial I am doing through my doctors research part of their business.  Traffic wasn’t too bad, and I got there at 7:50.  They finally called me in at 8:15.  They did three tests of my blood pressure and had the print out of the last two weeks of blood sugar numbers, insulin taken, etc.  The machine they gave me sends the information to them on a daily basis.

Finally at 8:45, the nurse came in, said she wasn’t sure when the doctor was even going to be in, and said to just go and that the doctor would call me to go over my numbers.  Awesome sauce.

The good news was that I was I was driving right past the gym I work out by my office, so I hit up the gym.   On my way to my doctors appointment I picked up a McDonald’s egg white delight – it was actually pretty good and only 250 calories.  My strength took me 18 minutes to complete, then I did 2 miles on the treadmill.  By the time I got home I was a bit hungry again, so I made a green smoothie – so good!  The strength was 4 rounds of that below – 30 second wall sits are no joke – my quads are really feeling it right now.

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But at least I am not at work, so I have that going for me!

****************

Yesterday I made a breakfast parfait with Fage plain greek yogurt, half a honeycrisp apple and since it was my last work day of 2015, topped it with whipped cream and a bit of chocolate syrup.  Kind of looks like an ice cream sundae!

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As I was putting my food together for the day, I literally was stumped on what to make, when I realized I had tons of leftover veggies from our tempura fondue we did on Christmas eve.  I had about 3 ounces of leftover steak so steak stir fry it was.  I did a quick pan sauce of 1 teaspoon teriyaki sauce, 1 tablespoon sambal oelek, and 1/4 cup beef broth.  Served over 1/2 cup leftover rice and it was delicious.  I can’t believe I doubted myself that I couldn’t come up with something!  #leftoverqueen

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I hate going out on NYE.  It’s usually over priced, crowded and not much fun.  And since I’ve worked so many NYE in the past, it’s nice just to sit home and be safe.  Hannah and Jacob don’t go out much either, so we are going to have an appetizer party tonight.  So I suggested we go out last night.

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If you ever see Dale’s Pale Ale on tap, get it.  It was really smooth with just a hint of bitterness at the end.  The kadults (kid+adults = kadults – I have Shelley to thank for this!) ordered chicken finger dinners, and it came with soup – they both loved the French onion soup, which I’ve been promising Jacob I’ll make for him and haven’t gotten around to.  Maybe I’ll surprise him tonight with that.  The best part though was missing in my book – the cheezy bread for the top!  I am going to use this recipe if I make it.

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Me?  I got pizza.  Duh.  Pepperoni and banana peppers.  My dinner with beer came in around 800 calories, but because my breakfast and lunch weren’t too bad, I only went over my calories for the day by about 150 – not bad!

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My exercise for the day:  10 minutes of strength, 1 mile at lunch, then 2 miles after work.

PicMonkey Collage - workouts

And because it’s the last day of the year, I give you my Top 9 on Instagram – 57k likes on all my posts!  Um, turns out you guys who follow me love pizza as much as I do!

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It’s just about noon and I already have 8k steps for the day – I’ll have no problem reaching my 10k goal today.

I want to again thank you for coming by my little part of the internet and seeing what I am up to.  I hope you all have a wonderful NYE no matter what you do – but please be safe. 

SEE YOU IN 2016!!

Hugs <3

Skillet Honey Mustard Chicken Pasta

As we get closer to the new year, I know a lot of us are thinking ahead to getting healthier in 2016.  I have some ideas of what I want to do.  And while I am going to be keeping track of my calories, I don’t want to consider this another diet.  I’ve had this blog for nearly 7 1/2 years and while I’ve had my ups and downs weight wise over that time, I am basically at or a bit heavier than where I started in 2008. 

But I am okay with that.  Like I’ve told you before, I am at a place now where I can look forward to what is ahead of me, and even though Hannah and Jacob live with me, I don’t have to “take care” of them which is my nature.  Not gonna lie there have been times where I’ve come home and they are at work.  I’d make my dinner.  Then Hannah would come home and I’d make her dinner.  Then Jacob would come home and then I’d make him dinner.  While I am sure they love this, I am no longer going to be a short order cook.  I am going to be meal planning based on schedules, and if their schedule doesn’t match with mine, well, tough luck.  Both Hannah and Jacob are good cooks, and I am doing them a disservice if I cook every meal.  

I have a feeling that 2016 is going to be the year of me!  Which is hard when you have a personality like mine that just wants to make everyone else around me happy, even if that means sacrificing my own happiness.  I know that I have to make myself the healthiest I can so that I have many years on this earth, and I am perfectly okay being selfish this coming year.

************

I had leftover steak and baked potatoes in the fridge, so it made perfect sense to have steak and potatoes for breakfast!  Guys, this is a super easy make ahead breakfast you can make for your whole family on the weekend.  Simply scramble half a potato with whatever your family likes:  steak, ham, spinach, mushrooms, etc. and then put that scramble in the shell of the potato.  They can be wrapped in foil and labeled in the fridge and everyone can reheat their tot by adding just a bit of cheese and popping it in the microwave or under a broiler if you have the time.  My whole breakfast, including the orange from my PIL orange tree from Florida, comes in at 394 calories, 51 carbs, 11 fat, 22 protein and 5 fiber.

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I have to say that the posole that Hannah and I made for dinner the night before last night was even better yesterday for lunch.  I made a corn tortilla panini quesadilla for dipping instead of chips and it was so good.  The flavorful spiciness was really pronounced in the best way possible.

12.29 022

I think I told you that for Thanksgiving, Hannah wanted to make this crack slurp noodles for her dinner.  The key ingredient?  Fried chicken skins!  Not kidding – my mostly vegetarian daughter actually went to the grocery store butcher counter and wanted to know if she could buy just chicken skin.  Um, turns out, you can’t.  So they pointed her to a package of chicken thighs and said she could buy that and just take off the chicken skin, so that’s what she did and froze the chicken thighs.  Didn’t even ask for my help to do it either!  Sadly, the dish was a bit underwhelming for her, and I felt so bad because she spent so much time on it.  I never do a big grocery shop on holiday weeks so when Hannah and I were meal planning on Saturday for the week, she said “you still have all these chicken thighs from the skin I used for my noodles.” 

So I did a quick Pinterest search for chicken thighs recipes and this one jumped out at me.   Only a couple problems.  We didn’t have any skin on the thighs to get that nice crisp skin.  Second, I don’t really like maple syrup, but her recipe inspired my dish that I tossed with penne pasta.

Skillet Honey Mustard Chicken
Serves 4
A simple, yet super flavorful pasta dish for a quick weeknight dinner.
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Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
495 calories
53 g
153 g
13 g
41 g
5 g
477 g
1553 g
10 g
0 g
6 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
477g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 495
Calories from Fat 118
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 13g
20%
Saturated Fat 5g
24%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 153mg
51%
Sodium 1553mg
65%
Total Carbohydrates 53g
18%
Dietary Fiber 4g
17%
Sugars 10g
Protein 41g
Vitamin A
11%
Vitamin C
38%
Calcium
7%
Iron
21%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  2. 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  3. 1 tablespoon honey
  4. 1 tablespoon mustard (I used co-op poblano mustard)
  5. 1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (I used 1 teaspoon)
  6. pinch of salt
  7. cracked pepper
  8. 2 teaspoon coconut oil
  9. 4 cups cooked penne pasta
  10. 8 ounce mushrooms, sliced
  11. 2 medium zucchini, sliced
  12. 2 cups beef broth stirred with 2 teaspoons corn starch
  13. 16 ounces chicken thighs, diced and tossed in salt and pepper
  14. chopped parsley
  15. In a skillet over medium heat, melt the coconut oil and add the mushrooms and cook until they start to get golden brown.  About 10 minutes.  If you don’t have leftover pasta like I did, you can cook your pasta now according to package directions, drain, and then put back in the hot pan to keep warm.  Mix the vinegar, soy sauce, honey, mustard and crushed red pepper in a small bowl.  Remove the mushrooms to a plate, and add the zucchini and cook for about 3-4 minutes.  Add those to the mushroom plate.
  16. Bring the pan to medium high heat, add 1 teaspoon coconut oil and once it starts to bubble, add the chicken and stir until the chicken gets golden brown is almost cooked through – about 5-6 minutes.  Add in the cider vinegar mixture, the mushrooms, zucchini and the cooked pasta to the pan and toss to coat the pasta.  Cook for 1 minute, then add in the broth/corn starch mixture and reduce heat to medium low and simmer until the sauce thickens.  This sauce is thick so it just coats the pasta.  Divide between 4 bowls and garnish with chopped parsley.
Instructions
  1. In a skillet over medium heat, melt the coconut oil and add the mushrooms and cook until they start to get golden brown.  About 10 minutes.  If you don’t have leftover pasta like I did, you can cook your pasta now according to package directions, drain, and then put back in the hot pan to keep warm.  Mix the vinegar, soy sauce, honey, mustard and crushed red pepper in a small bowl.  Remove the mushrooms to a plate, and add the zucchini and cook for about 3-4 minutes.  Add those to the mushroom plate.
  2. Bring the pan to medium high heat, add 1 teaspoon coconut oil and once it starts to bubble, add the chicken and stir until the chicken gets golden brown is almost cooked through – about 5-6 minutes.  Add in the cider vinegar mixture, the mushrooms, zucchini and the cooked pasta to the pan and toss to coat the pasta.  Cook for 1 minute, then add in the broth/corn starch mixture and reduce heat to medium low and simmer until the sauce thickens.  This sauce is thick so it just coats the pasta.  Divide between 4 bowls and garnish with chopped parsley.
beta
calories
495
fat
13g
protein
41g
carbs
53g
more
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/
12.29 032

You’re welcome for the awful kitchen lighting, and while this looks like a simple pasta dish, which it is, it has so much flavor going on – the tangy vinegar and mustard, with a hint of sweetness from the honey and then a spicy kick from the crushed red peppers.  Hannah had plain pasta with mushrooms, but Jacob gave this two big thumbs up.  #winning!

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So my exercise for the day:  I downloaded a new app that I am going to try out before I decide to recommend it or not (it’s not free) – I love it so far, but it’s only been a couple days.  It is a strength training program.  I did the fitness test, and based on that, it set up my first of five weekly workouts for week one.  After yesterday’s workout it asked me if it was too easy, hard – but in a good way, or too tough, and it would adjust the following days workout accordingly.  Yesterday’s workout was hard, but in a good way for me.  I was able to finish it!

It was four rounds of jumping jacks, push-ups, squats, and leg lifts, with no break in between.  It took me just over 12 minutes and because I am not in the best shape, I was huffing and puffing at the end.  It felt good though!  Then I did a one mile walk, and then after work did 2 more miles. 

PicMonkey Collage - workout

What I like about this app that it has instructional videos as you are going through the workout so it makes it really easy to follow.  I can definitely feel it in my abs and quads after so many squats and leg lifts.  I’ll keep you posted.

Hooray for my Friday!  I hope all of you are lucky enough to have the next two days off.  Not going to lie, I am happy not to be working on New Years Eve!   Off to put my food together for the day – I have no idea what I am making so it should be interesting eats!  Make it a great day!

The Last Christmas Dinner

Sunday we had Christmas with my sister and her family at my Mom’s house.  I always look forward to seeing my niece and nephews.  Even though we only live an hour away from each other, it’s crazy how the days, weeks, and months go by without me seeing them. 

Of course, my Mom was just happy to have her favorite child with her!

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Oh wait, her second favorite daughter was there too!

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Her tree is so cute – we both went with pre-lit trees a long time ago and have never looked back.

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We had a great time catching up and wouldn’t you know it, I didn’t take a single picture of my niece or nephews!  WTF?!  We had gifts to open not only from each other, but my Aunt and brother sent their gifts to my Mom’s house since we’d all be there.  My niece Rachel asked what I wanted for Christmas and I told her that all I wanted was her love and a sign that said I was her favorite Aunt!

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My Mom had Rachel’s picture on the fridge, and I sent this layout to her thanking her for her gift!  Until I looked up and saw that my twin sister opened the same gift!

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So not fair!  But then Rachel texted me that she’s going to make me a one of a kind t-shirt next year.

Now I think this is from my Aunt – my niece Claire was playing Santa and some of the gifts came out of the bags or boxes they were in – I’ll have to figure it out, but I fucking love it.

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That literally made me laugh out loud seeing that picture again!  We had a lovely dinner.  Hannah and I tweaked our recipes so that my nephew Mark could partake – he’s a vegetarian.  We made sure not to use chicken broth, or bacon.  Turns out all he ate was the two boca burgers he brought with him!

PicMonkey Collage - nanas

We brought the dogs with and they behaved amazingly well.  We were all a bit worried that they would get worked up with all the new people, but they did amazing.  And for their first time at my Mom’s house, Rummy especially made herself comfy on my Mom’s couch!  We had a lovely time, we laughed a lot like we normally do when we are together and it was the perfect ending to a holiday week.

Speaking of the dogs, Hannah had yesterday afternoon off and was experimenting with her camera she got for Christmas.  I just want to make each and everyone my screen saver!

PicMonkey Collage - roman

PicMonkey Collage - rummy

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So I decided yesterday I would get back to tracking food.  I actually didn’t do too bad over the holiday week, but let’s be honest, since I didn’t track anything, it was all up for grabs.  A cookie here, some Chex mix there.  You know the drill.   I switched to myfitnesspal to track my food because it syncs with a new scale I bought – I’ll talk more about that on another post. 

Breakfast:  corn tortilla, 1/4 cup refried beans, with scrambled eggs, cheese, shredded spinach and radish and hot sauce with tangerine:

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Lunch was a steak chopped salad.  I cooked the steak at home before work for 2 minutes a side then pulled it off the heat and let it rest while I finished getting ready for work.  Put it in a container and when it was time to put my lunch together, I ended up heating it in the container for 1 minute – perfect medium rare/rare!

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Hannah and I decided to use what food we had in the pantry/fridge/freezer for our meal plan this week.  A couple weeks back I bought a huge pork shoulder and decided to cook it in the crock pot to have the meat for tacos, etc.  Hannah told me she was going to make dinner last night – Posole!  I had plans to go to the gym after work, but our weather was horrible yesterday.  Rain, turned to sleet, which pelted your face and stung when you walked to your car.  We had a new attorney start yesterday.  I left a bit before 5 to make a bank deposit for work, and the plows finally made it to our parking lot, only to plow into the back of the new attorneys car, and she couldn’t drive it home.  And the car is less than six months old!  Luckily the plow driver had the decency to ring our doorbell and let them know what happened.

It was a slow drive home, but it only took me about 15 minutes longer than normal.  I walked in close to 6 to see Hannah looking over her recipe.  I checked it out and the first thing we noticed was that the recipe she picked out was a crock pot recipe – doh!  But since the pork was already cooked, we decided to wing it and make it a quick 30 minute meal.

Quick Posole
Serves 6
A great way to use up leftover pork - super flavorful spicy!
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
30 min
239 calories
41 g
0 g
7 g
6 g
1 g
620 g
420 g
8 g
0 g
6 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
620g
Servings
6
Amount Per Serving
Calories 239
Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 7g
11%
Saturated Fat 1g
5%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 420mg
17%
Total Carbohydrates 41g
14%
Dietary Fiber 10g
41%
Sugars 8g
Protein 6g
Vitamin A
42%
Vitamin C
152%
Calcium
11%
Iron
17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups chopped cooked pork
  2. 6 cups of water, divided
  3. 4 guajillo dried peppers, stems and seeds removed
  4. 3 cloves garlic
  5. 1 12 ounce can tomato sauce
  6. 1 28 ounce can hominy, drained and rinsed
  7. 3 tablespoons taco seasoning
  8. 1 teaspoon cumin
  9. 1 teaspoon Tabasco
  10. 1 cup crushed tortilla chips
  11. salt and pepper to taste
  12. garnishes of cilantro, radish, red cabbage, avocado and lime
Instructions
  1. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  In a microwave save dish, cook the two cups of water for 3 minutes.  While that’s working, heat a skillet and add the dried peppers to the skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes, just until they start to brown a bit and get soft.  Place the peppers in the two cups of hot water, and I used the can of hominy to hold the peppers under the water for 10 minutes.
  2. To the pot of water add the garlic, tomato sauce, hominy, taco seasoning, cumin, and Tabasco.  In a blender, put the peppers with water and the 1 cup of crushed tortilla chips and blend into a puree.  The tortilla chips will thicken the soup.  Add that mixture to the soup and cook another five minutes or so, adjusting the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
beta
calories
239
fat
7g
protein
6g
carbs
41g
more
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/
12.28.15 050

Jacob’s Mom ended up sleeping over last night because she’s got a long commute and our house is half way to her house.  She hates driving in shitty weather as much as I do!  We each had a bowl, Jacob had seconds and there is enough for my lunch today – so this made six generous servings.  My guess is that with all the extras, each bowl is about 300 calories – not bad!   It was nice cooking in the kitchen with Hannah too – each of us saying “what if we do this?!”  She was a bit skeptical about the tortilla chips, but said it turned out to be a great idea.

So with just my lunch time workout which was mostly strength and only a mile walk, I came close to my 10k goal.

IMG_5484

Yeah, I am going to have to change the weight on that – but that’s for another post Open-mouthed smile

Time to get this show on the road, but it’s like a Thursday instead of a Tuesday – woop!  Stay warm and safe and make it a great day!

What A Difference A Year Makes . . .

It’s funny how as you go day after day you sometimes feel as if your life doesn’t change at all.  But pictures remind you of how things used to be.  Two years ago Christmas Eve Tony and I were in the hospital waiting for test results.

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I miss holding that hand by the way.  Still makes me a bit teary to see that hand and I remember how nervous he was before going in because he thought for sure his colon cancer had come back.  It would only be a week later on New Years Eve that he’d begin the first of many hospital stays in the last year of his life. 

One year ago Christmas Eve?  Hannah and Jacob moved in!

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I remember taking that picture above and wondering how I got there.  It was so soon after Tony’s death and things were happening so fast, but as I can look back on this last year, I would have been lost without them.  They made me get up on the days I didn’t want to.  Made me laugh at silly stuff like Rummy kissing my face if she ever saw me remotely shed a tear which would inevitably make me laugh.  I never could have worked my job through all the construction of the front of the house if Hannah and Jacob weren’t here to meet the workers.  They saved me from a year of eating deep dish pizza every day and drowning myself in wine each night if I were to come to an empty house.

This year?  I am happy.  I think I spent the last year thinking about all the things I missed out on a future with Tony, when now I am in a place where I can look forward to what is going to come.  I feel like I have a purpose, not sure what it is yet, but feeling sorry for myself at being a widow at 47 years old isn’t going to bring him back, and I was given a gift of true love which I know some people never find.  And while I wish it would have lasted my lifetime, I was lucky for the 14 years I got to be with him.

So my Christmas Eve 2015 looked like this:

xmas2015 035

We have a safe roof over our heads, I have a wonderful friend Whitney who made my living room beautiful, Hannah and Jacob are doing great in school, my step-son Joe and his wife are healthy and happy. 

One of our traditions was to watch It’s a Wonderful Life, and last year I couldn’t bring myself to do it (and if I did, I don’t remember because I probably drank wine and cried through the whole movie!) but this year I was ready to watch it.  Except I couldn’t find it.  But I’ve seen the movie so many times I can pretty much recite the whole movie from beginning to end like a play if I had to.  But it’s always the end that makes me tear up when George opens the book at the end of the movie.

it's a wonderful life

Because of all of you, my friends – that I have met in real life and others whom I’ve never met but consider to be internet neighbors, have lifted me up so many times this past year and I thank you for giving me the wings to get through this year.  I have no idea what’s on my horizon, but I am in a good place, and I couldn’t have gotten here without all of your encouragement and virtual love.  So thank you!

*************************

I had an interesting Christmas dinner.  Tony’s sister is dating her first ex-husband.  For reals.  They married and divorced quite young, and their son Chris was born right around the time of the divorce.  Her ex-husband moved on, and basically were out of their lives for some 30+ years.  Tony’s nephew I think has met him a couple times in the past few years, but I wouldn’t have considered it a true father/son relationship.  I think just too much time had passed?  Anywho, her ex-husband wrote her a letter at the end of the summer, basically apologizing for ditching them, and through the course of emails, which led to texts, which led to nightly phone calls, they are now dating again.   And you know what?  I’ve never seen my SIL that happy before!   She’s like a school girl in love and I couldn’t be happier for her.

It may take the family some time to wrap their brain around it, and I get it.  My PIL had to help her out when her son was young, and I am sure Chris feels snubbed that he never got to grow up with his Dad and now his Dad is dating his Mom at age 34.   It would be the equivalent of me dating Hannah’s Dad and having him sit at the Christmas dinner table!  I thought it might have been awkward, but it was a great time.  Tony’s uncle (who gave me a very generous gift card – thank you!) and son came from Iowa too – which was very nice.   Turns out I know how to cook for a crowd! 

PicMonkey Collage - christmas

The dogs did great and were dressed in their Christmas shirts.  I was worried having new people in the house how they would react, but they did just fine.  I’ll be sharing two recipes later this week – Hannah’s thin sliced potato dish and my Mom’s brussels sprouts dish – I don’t even like them, but it was made with craisins, bacon and balsamic glaze.  I baked a ham in the oven and did turkey breasts and wings on the Weber grill.  Jacob’s Mom also joined as and it was a wonderful afternoon of good family and food.

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xmas2015-2 016

We couldn’t get a picture where everyone’s eyes were open – sorry!   It was around 40 degrees and you can see my grass is still green in the back yard – so crazy!  Although we are expecting snow and ice today with a winter storm warning, so it will be short lived.  All the pics were taken with Hannah’s big gift from me and Jacob – a Nikon D3300.  She cried when she opened the box, much like I did five years ago when I got mine.

I got a lot of great things – the kids got me an AppleTV. Holy cow can that be a time suck.  But it was also a good reward system.  If I went to the gym, I could come back and watch an hour t.v.  If I did two loads of laundry, I could watch another hour of t.v. 

PicMonkey Collage - loot

Hannah got some Boston Terrier loot, Jacob got me that kick ass casserole dish.  My step-son and DIL painted me that snowman plate and tiny snowman – and I literally told my DIL Lizz that I’d probably use that as my dinner plate all year round.  I got a sharing necklace for me and Hannah – one says “I love you. . .” and the other says “to the moon and back.”  I also got a new cutting board.  My OCD daughter hated my wooden cutting board because all she could think of was all the bacteria that could be hiding in it, so this one is plastic and really nice.  And the AppleTV?  I can see my phone on the t.v. and show pictures, look at Instagram and Facebook on the t.v. – not sure if you can tell but I took a picture of me sitting on the couch (green socks!) and I can view that pic on the t.v.  And to think I grew up with only 6 t.v. channels!

xmas2015 100

So from my table to yours, I hope you had a wonderful Christmas surrounded by healthy friends, family and good food.  Those are the most important things!  Tomorrow I’ll recap my Christmas dinner with my Mom and sisters family – it was good to get together and just laugh at what Tony used to call the “unseen humor.” 

Hooray for another three day work week!  Make it a great day!

Creamy Tomato Vodka Sauce

Why is it that the last day before work before having a four day weekend makes it seem to last three days long?  While we never get let go early before a holiday, we sometimes will it to happen.  Around 3:00 p.m. we thought “could this be the year it happens?”  That answer would be no.  Well, the big boss left at 4:45 and pretty much everyone else left five minutes later.

Several years ago my PIL sent me a box of citrus from Florida and I’ve told them that they never have to think about getting me anything else because I love it so much.  But sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s what – is it a grapefruit or orange?  I picked up what I thought was a grapefruit and threw it in my bag and off I went to work.

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Turns out it was a blood orange!  So delicious and juicy.  I like to let my citrus sit before eating it – I love the crunch and then the splash of juice. 

While it was 62 degrees when it was time for my lunch workout, I would have killed to walk outside in that weather, but it was pretty stormy – we even had thunderstorms roll through – so weird to see lightning and hear thunder in December.  So I hit up the gym – upper body and then 2.25 miles on the treadmill.  I was the only one in the place for the whole 45 minutes I was there – so weird!

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So there’s no real meal plan the week of holidays in MBK.  So I had more leftover ham macaroni and cheese that I chopped up with one cup of baby spinach, leftover chicken and some fruit.  And just a smidge of hot sauce.

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While I was working out, I was watching The Chew, and I am positive it’s a repeat from the summer because they were talking about fresh tomatoes vs. canned tomatoes.   Jeff and Katie both took their turns making pasta either using fresh or canned tomatoes.  Truth be told, there is not one that is better because canned tomatoes are simply fresh tomatoes that were canned at the peak of picking.  Obviously in the summer when tomatoes are $.59 a pound, I’ll use roma tomatoes for my sauce, but for a quick weeknight supper – canned tomatoes for the win!  They then went to Sunny Anderson, and she said she likes her pasta sauce 
“fat and boozy” and that’s how I got a taste for creamy vodka sauce.  Thanks Sunny!  We are pretty much BFFs.

Creamy Tomato Vodka Sauce
Serves 6
Super quick and easy weeknight vodka pasta sauce.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
106 calories
5 g
27 g
10 g
1 g
5 g
110 g
322 g
2 g
0 g
5 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
110g
Servings
6
Amount Per Serving
Calories 106
Calories from Fat 85
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 10g
15%
Saturated Fat 5g
24%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 27mg
9%
Sodium 322mg
13%
Total Carbohydrates 5g
2%
Dietary Fiber 1g
4%
Sugars 2g
Protein 1g
Vitamin A
8%
Vitamin C
14%
Calcium
4%
Iron
5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  2. 4 cloves garlic (or 4 teaspoons jarred) minced
  3. 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
  4. 1 tiny airplane size bottle of vodka
  5. 1/2 cup heavy cream
  6. 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  7. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  8. 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  9. dried parsley for garnish
Instructions
  1. In a stock pot, heat the olive oil.  Add garlic and onion if you like! and cook just until the garlic starts to brown – 3 or 4 minutes.  Add everything but the heavy cream, and stir to mix well.  Simmer for about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the heavy cream.
  2. What I typically do is once I’ve drained my pasta, I use that pasta pot to make each dish.  I put in about a cup of cooked pasta, pour the vodka sauce over the pasta and using tongs mix well so all the pasta is coated, then plate.  I ended up making meatballs on the side and then sprinkle with dried parsley and a bit of shredded Parmesan cheese.
beta
calories
106
fat
10g
protein
1g
carbs
5g
more
My Bizzy Kitchen http://www.mybizzykitchen.com/
12.23.15 028

I had every intention of posting my macadamia nut, chocolate craisin biscotti recipe, but I realized I never took any pictures of the ones I gave away, but I was going to make more last night.  That is until the power went out in our neighborhood.   The power actually ended up being out from about 9 until midnight – not too bad! 

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It was so windy!   Hannah and Jacob were out with friends (Hannah actually ordered a drink!  A Shirley Temple with a splash of vodka!) so I watched Love Actually on my tablet in candlelight and it was actually quite nice to slow down.  Fran, I have you to thank for suggesting that movie – it was so good!  It might just become one of my Christmas movie watches going forward.

Even with the house pitch black, our backyard was illuminated by the moon – it was so pretty!   I have a new app called “cortex cam” and it takes really good pictures at night using my iPhone 6 plus.

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As soon as I hit publish I am getting my grocery list together and venturing out to the grocery store – wish me luck!  I am pretty sure there won’t be anyone else out, right?!  We are having a fondue party tonight and tomorrow I’ll be having 11 for dinner.  Still not sure how I am going to seat 11 at my table, but we’ll figure it out.

Merry Christmas Eve!  Hugs <3

Treat Yo Self

Thanks for all the comments, emails, texts, instant messages on Facebook and comments on Instagram (am I on social media much?!) regarding yesterday’s post.  I thought back to our wedding day, and other anniversaries and while he’s not here, it is still my anniversary, so I decided that Hannah and I would treat yo self to winter pedicures last night.  We don’t normally do pedicures in the winter and we both said that needs to change.  It felt so good!  And with temps near 60 degrees today, you better believe I am wearing flip flops to work today!

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Yep, I have festive feet!  Although if I could have found a salon to do these nails, I totally would have gotten this:

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The night before last Hannah did a deep clean of my fridge and freezer.  The freezer had just gotten out of hand.  Nothing labeled or some things we couldn’t even identify! 

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Hannah has given me some “fridge rules.”  I cannot buy any more condiments until I use up the ones I have.  I also can’t open a can of refried beans and only scoop out 1/2 a cup, put the lid back on it and stick it in the fridge.  And she says that I need to start making smaller dinner portions because hardly anyone uses the leftovers (well, I do!).  She’s too funny – but I will try to keep the fridge clean.  I am finishing up my grocery shopping tonight for Christmas.  Tony’s sister, her boyfriend, son, grandson, uncle and cousin are coming for dinner.  So is Jacob’s Mom and my Mom, so it will be a full house!

Yesterday was another egg sammie for breakfast with some pretty tasteless fruit.  My PIL sent me a box of citrus fruit and I forgot to bring fruit from that box – I already pulled out a grapefruit for today though.

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It was pretty rainy and chilly yesterday, so I hit the gym at lunch.  15 minutes of lower body and then 2.25 miles on the treadmill.

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I don’t normally grocery shop or meal plan the week of holidays, so yesterdays lunch was a bit weird – just leftover mac n cheese and some leftover grilled chicken.

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Ah, that’s better – just needed some Tapatio!

After Hannah and I got our toes did, we picked up tacos for Taco Tuesday at our local Mexican take out restaurant.  I got two tacos and some rice and beans – so good!

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Their spicy salsa is amazeballs.

Hooray for today being my Friday!  I am looking forward to two four day weekends.  I’ll be back tomorrow with a recipe for macadamia nut, dark chocolate and craisin biscotti – it’s the gift from my kitchen for my bosses and co-workers this year.   Then I’ll be taking a blog break for the weekend.

Make it a great day!

Happy 15th Anniversary Tony!

Fifteen years ago I married my best friend.   We’d only known each other six months, but by then we’d already been living together for five months.  We just knew.  I am sure everyone around us wondered what the hell we were doing.  We didn’t care.  We were happy.

PicMonkey Collage - wedding

I’d only met Tony’s parents once before we got married because they had already retired to Florida.  We stayed at one of their townhouse rentals which made our trip to Florida to get married that much more affordable.  I think all in all we spent $2,000 on our wedding, and that included airfare for the four of us and our honeymoon in Key West!  My wedding dress?  It cost $19 at Filene’s basement.

But right after we got married Tony got in a fight with his Dad.  A fight that lasted 7 years without us speaking to each other.  In April 2007, I came home to find Tony hunched over in his recliner and he said he was having trouble breathing.  I wanted to take him to the ER right then and there, but he said he didn’t want to go to the ER at night.  Gah, that man could be stubborn!  We finally went the next day and they didn’t really know exactly what was causing the problem, but they ended up pulling two quarts of liquid off of his lungs – no wonder he couldn’t breathe!  After three days, one day they hooked him up to an EKG machine, and then all of a sudden everything changed.

Nurses and doctors came rushing in and they immediately rushed him down to the cardiac ICU.  I had stuff around the room, my purse, etc., and I just without thinking started gathering my stuff and one of the nurses had a look of panic in her eyes and said “I’ll bring this stuff to you – just go with your husband!”   We had just been watching a movie together five minutes ago, and fifteen minutes later when I got down to the ICU and they let me in to see him, he was hooked up to so many machines and lying flat on his back.

Endocardidis (sp!?) was the diagnosis and they needed to do an artificial heart valve replacement.  Wow, this was serious.  Serious enough that I knew I had to call my PIL and tell them about Tony because if you googled endocardidis, the prognosis for survival wasn’t in Tony’s favor.  So I called them.  After not talking to them for 7 years.  They dropped everything and drove up and got here just in time for Tony’s surgery.

When Tony woke up and saw his parents, he know whatever was going on wasn’t good.  He actually had no idea he’d been in the hospital for 16 days, or how close he’d come to death.  And I vowed that I would never let him know that.  I figured why did he need to know he almost died?

Until the day we were getting discharged and one of his doctors came in and said “You look great – I can’t believe we almost lost you.”  And Tony looked at me like “what?!”  It took him a long time to wrap his brain around what had happened since he was asleep for most of it.  He made me tell him every detail over and over for months afterwards.  He said he never wanted to not know he could have died because he wanted a chance to be able to say goodbye to everyone.

sandy beach

I think overcoming the artificial heart valve gave us a false sense that Tony could overcome any medical obstacle, no matter how grim it may seem.  Which is why it still surprises me over a year later how quickly he went from being okay to gone in such a short time.

We always talked about when we retired.  We’d buy a house on a lake with a big kitchen so I could cook all the time and we’d be able to walk to the water (without too many stairs!) and go fishing and watch the sunset.   And just be together.

I miss his hugs, him telling me how beautiful I was even if I was 175 pounds or 140.  It was an unconditional love that I may never find again, but I am thankful for the nearly 14 years we had together.  I know some people go a lifetime without a love like ours, so I will just be grateful for the years we had together. 

So Happy Anniversary Tony!  I know you are looking down on me and watching over me.  But I still miss you so much.  I love you!