Workday Excursion Wednesday!

What do I do at work? Besides work – I think about my next vacation, short daytrips or even places to explore on my lunch break. I’m just one of those people who must get out of Dodge on a regular basis for my own sanity. This urge doesn’t stop once I am sitting behind a desk (I try not to sit behind a desk that often for work, but for now…).

So, I think of little things to do during my lunch hour. You will never catch me eating my lunch at my desk – mouse in one hand, fork in the other – NEVER! I value my “me time”! If I didn’t use this time to explore and wander, I would end up sad, bitter, angry, hating and resenting myself, everything and everybody. Dramatic? Yes. But, it’s true. It’s important to know yourself and what makes you happy. #SelfCare, HELLO!

It doesn’t have to be a lunch hour hike, where you get all sweaty and need a shower afterwards. It can be a short stroll in the park, visiting a local shop or even eating lunch at a new and different place. I have to do something.

I moved to Westchester County nearly a year ago. So, YAY! To me, this means “New places to explore every day!”. I just use my favorite apps – Yelp, TripAdvisor and Google Maps – to do some research, and then I’m off…

To use alongside the apps, I purchased an amazing book: Walkable Westchester

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Yellow tabs = Weekday Pink Tabs = Weekends

The book is broken down into sections from tiny walks and parks to long weekend hiking trips! It’s such a great resource. I have used it for a couple of adventures, and, as you can see by the tabs, more are coming soon!

I decided to turn this into a weekly bloggy thing. I will share what I have done during my lunch hours each Wednesday. I call it “Workday Excursion Wednesday”! Yay!

I have gone a few places so far, so I will share a few standouts to catch you guys up!

First up: Kensico Dam – Valhalla, NY

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The Dam in winter!

I actually went here on an unseasonably warm day in February, so I need an update with foliage (if it ever stops raining, I will!)…

Next: Carroll’s Park – Valhalla, NY

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I had lunch here on National Picnic Day! I just bought a salad from the salad bar at a nearby grocery store, sat at a table and enjoyed the duck pond…

Went shopping: The Twisted Branch – Valhalla, NY

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Little oil and vinegar kegs! For tasting!

This is my favorite small shop in Valhalla! The Twisted Branch! I had to go in because I saw on Yelp that they had an olive oil and vinegar tasting bar, and I’m all for a good tasting. I ended up trying pretty much everything, and bought a bunch of different flavors! I am such a fan, and so is my (former restaurant chef, current home chef) boyfriend! If you bring in your empty bottle, you can get a refill for 15% off!

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I teamed up with The Twisted Branch for a giveaway on the DaytoDayDweeb Insta account @DaytoDayDweeb ! It’s for these two delicious products! US Only. Contest ends 8/24/18 at 8am!

A little drive: Chappaqua Pocket Park – Chappaqua, NY

This lovely miniature park is a short drive away.  I love everything to do with flowers, so I like to visit every garden I possibly can, big or small.

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Easy stuff: Around my office building

Some days I can’t go that far :-(, but I still must go! When this happens (rarely), I just take a walk around the office building. There are several seating areas and fountains, which makes it a pleasant experience and can (briefly) take you away…

A few tips:

  • Time your trip – It’s important that you time these visits properly so that you’ll have time to enjoy your trip and time to get there and back within a lunch hour. Use the Google Maps app for current traffic info. Also, if you are actually planning a more active excursion, schedule some clean-up time before you hit the office!
  • Use your apps – Some good apps, as I’ve mentioned are Yelp and TripAdvisor. They will find the awesome things available in your area. Don’t forget Groupon for local lunch deals!
  • DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT! – I’d never been to an oil tasting shop until I found The Twisted Branch, and now I love it! Whatever odd or new thing is available, just give it a try. You might actually like it!

So, do a little research! Make the workweek fun!

Also, if you are also located in the Westchester, NY area, give me some ideas! Where do you guys go to get away?

Making the Most of Every Day…

This is just a quick post…

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This is a nice little park next to my job…

 

quick Yay! I have a tagline! I thought of it while I was in the park during lunch today. Yes. The park, during my lunch break. Today (4/23/18) is National Picnic Day after all. So why not? That’s a question I ask a lot now that I think about it – Why Not?

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My picnic lunch – in case you were wondering!

Why not leave the office during your lunch break?

Why not take a walk outside during the day?

Why not appreciate the spring perennials (while they’re still around)?

 

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I’m referring to the daffodils in the distance!

It’s so important to take advantage of these little moments in life. Enjoy yourself!

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First perennial spotting of the year! In my own front yard!
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More, near the train station of all places!
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The latest blooms near my house…

I’m obviously a crazy flower lady!

What do you do to enjoy your day-to-day life?

Keto Party Food!

***Interesting Pre-Note: I wrote this before I knew the outcome! The tense may jump around a bit…***

Every time I start a “lifestyle change” a food related event pops up. It could be something big like a relative’s birthday, or a major holiday. Sometimes it’s just a small thing, like an office recognition dinner or “The Big Game”. Well, last week’s celebration could be considered “The Big Game”. Let me just get it out, quickly…It’s WrestleMania. There, I said it.

I was not one of those people who grew up watching wresting. I knew about Hulk Hogan and Macho Man Randy Savage (“Snap into a Slim Jim!”) because their fame surpassed the ring, but that was pretty much it. When I got older, my sister and my cousin would talk about “Raw” and they had crushes on Triple H and The Rock (I did take a peek at him back then…), but I still wasn’t into it.

Related(-ish) side story: When I was 21, 22, I went to a local bar with my friend and this guy kept cornering me. Not in a stalky way, he was just keeping all the other guys away from me by being in my face. I knew him from around town, but I wasn’t interested. He wasn’t terrible, he just wasn’t my “type”. My friend agreed – “He wouldn’t be so bad, especially if he wasn’t wearing an ‘NWO 4-Eva’ shirt!” Yeah, I think that was it. Yuck. My 9-year-old sister is into those shows! So when I thought of wrestling, I thought of that…

Fast forward about 17, 18 years. I meet a great guy, fall in love and move in with him and his dog (it happened that quickly too). I’m under the impression that things are great and then one day he says “Do you want to watch wrestling with me? I record it and fast forward through most of it.” Mmm hmmm. “There is the flaw!”, I thought. Well, I’m willing to try anything so, “Yeah! Why not?” I watched and it wasn’t that bad. What helped was that my boyfriend explained what was going on and gave me some technical and background information throughout. He’s not just a mindless fanboy about it, he understands the business. He also made it really funny, which helps a lot!

Needless to say, we’ve been watching Raw and Smackdown every week since I moved in. It’s a plan we make now, since he DVRs it. I have a couple of favorites (Elias, Matt Hardy and Braun Strowman bits are ridiculous/hilarious, Naomi is an impressive acrobat and yay Nia Jaxx, just because, I get it!).

SO NOW: Wrestlemania!

My boyfriend picked up his snacks – tortilla chips, seven-layer dip, things like that. But what can I have? I am on a low carb-keto life change right now! Why is this happening?! Well, I thought of somethings I could have, and maybe I’ll share them with him. Here are the recipes, for you!

I’ll start with the easy stuff – Cheese Crisps! I’m craving flavorful cheese, so these are perfect!

Cheese Crisps
I love silicone baking sheets!

 

I put Trader Joe’s Chile Lime seasoning on the three white cheddar mounds for a little kick, Italian seasoning on the three Italian blend cheese mounds (obviously) and Trader Joe’s Seasoning Salt on the three mild cheddar mounds because I haven’t used it yet and I want to know how it tastes (sometimes it’s that simple!)…

Cheese Flavors
There they are – the cheeses with the matching spices!

 

Put them in a 375 degree oven for, well, until they melt, and then take them out and let them cool into crisps! Easy stuff!

Cheese Crisps Done
Cheese Chips are (almost) done! I put them in the freezer for five minutes to help them crisp up faster!

 

Another simple recipe: Egg Salad and Bacon Chips!

I make the easiest egg salad. It’s especially easy now since we have the “Egglettes”. No peeling! Yay!

Eggs
Hard boiled eggs cooked in Egglettes!

 

I am making a 4-egg salad (because Egglettes comes in a pack of four and this is just for me and the BF), so I’ll add:

  • Mayo
  • Dijon Mustard
  • 21 Seasoning Salute

 

Egg Salad
Maille is the best Dijon mustard ever!

 

That’s it. I don’t like crunchy stuff in my egg salad (NO onions, blech) so this is a really easy recipe. Everyone is so into the Everything But the Bagel seasoning from Trader Joe’s now, but 21 Seasoning Salute is amazing with eggs. I still love it!

The bacon chips are so easy, I’m not going to even type out what I did because it’ll offend you. I will say that I use Morningstar Farms “Facon” because it is slightly better for you and, as a bonus, it’s more chip-like than real bacon.

Egg Salad with Facon
Egg Salad with “Bacon” Chips

 

Here comes a recipe with more steps: Loaded Zucchini Skins

I found this recipe on Pinterest but I changed it up a bit to make it more stuffed with goodness, more like Zucchini Boats with loaded potato fixins.

I halve a coupla large zucchinis and remove the zucchini guts (sorry, what’s another word for that? I can’t think right now…).

Zucchini

I put the hollow zucchini halves in the air fryer for about 7 minutes. I do this because I want to kinda dry them out so they’re more like potato skins. (*Hint* After they were done my boyfriend suggested that I drizzle some olive oil on them before putting them in the airfryer, and putting them in for 10 minutes. Will do next time!). I have no pics of this step for some reason! Well…

I heat my protein crumbles and zucchini guts through and add some of this Sriracha salsa that I love.

Crumbles
I had to add some spicy!

 

I stuff the zucchini halves with the crumble mixture and add shredded cheese on top.

Zucchini Stuffed
Covered and smothered!

 

Bake in a 375 degree oven until the cheese melts about 5-7 minutes

Top with sour cream, “facon” crumbles and chives for authenticity!

Zucchini Done
Artistic shot (my boyfriend took it)!

 

Recipe with the most steps: Spinach Balls

Here’s what I used:

  • Fresh Spinach (two bags)
  • 1/2 Cup of Almond Meal
  • 1/2 Cup of Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 Cup of Shredded Cheddar
Spinach Ball Ingredients
Two bags of spinach only yielded this much!

 

I had to add something green today, since none of this really has any nutritional value (Let’s be real, it’s awesome, low-carb and keto, but it’s still junk. It’s a party!)

I started by making a little almond meal using a small bag of blanched almonds. I am using these in place of the breadcrumbs that were required in the original recipe.

Then I cook the spinach down in scallion olive oil. Shout out to The Twisted Branch for making my new favorite olive oil – scallion olive oil – YUM!

Scallion Olive Oil
Best local find! Shop local!

 

I whisk the egg and then add the spinach, almond meal and the cheeses. I also sprinkle in garlic powder for some flavor.

I put this in the refrigerator to chill for about an hour so the balls will be easy to form.

I form the balls using an ice cream scoop and put on my silicone baking sheet (a HUGE lifesaver), place in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Spinach Balls
Big ole’ spinach balls…

 

Since I made such huge balls, they flattened down into spinach patties and they were excellent! I can see making these for a meal prep…

Spinach Patties
They baked like cookies!

 

Yum!

So that’s all for the food I pre-planned to cook today. My boyfriend suggested that I make my “famous” onion dip, which is actually a supremely keto recipe.

Onion Dip
This is pre-bake (and sideways)!

 

I already made this and posted it on Instagram, so you can find the recipe as a highlight on my Instagram account!

That’s all! Done! I know I’m having some of that seven-layer dip though (with the cheese crisps!) and we are set!

Whole Party
I added yellow plates and the book for “tablescaping” purposes! Ha!

 

So, these appetizers can be used for any occasion where you might be concerned about a high carb menu. I knew my boyfriend was going to have some stuff that I couldn’t have so this was perfect!

(Booooo! At the actual outcome of WrestleMania) Now, let’s hope that Roman Reigns beats Brock Lesnar! (Yes, I realize that I just said that…)

Enjoy!

An Autumn Meal – Part 1

I know, it’s been a long time since I have posted on “The Dweeb” (that’s what all the cool people are calling it), but it’s been for good reason. Reasons I can’t get into right now, but I will soon. Well, by the end of the year, at least. So, anyway…
I noticed that I’ve been making up a lot of my recipes, so I decided to look in one of the millions (slight exaggeration) of cookbooks I own to make a new and delicious meal. This week I looked to my Orange County Bounty cookbook, which was gifted to me from my friend Marian.
OC Bounty
Yes, I am one of those “tabbers”!
I like this cookbook because the recipes are organized by season and the recipes revolve around the fresh local produce of that season. In the Fall section, and I found this great recipe for Stuffed Swiss Chard.
OC Bounty Open
Redactions for copyright reasons!
I have most of the ingredients already, yet it’s something different from my usual fare. I made a special effort to leave the recipe as it is and not change it around too-too much. Changes: from rice to quinoa – it’s always good to add a healthy protein and I only made enough for one serving (4 leaves for me!).
Here are the ingredients:
Mise En Place
I only mise en place for the camera (stuntin’)…Walnuts, celery, onion, cottage cheese, feta cheese, quinoa and an egg to act as a binder.
So I mixed it all up used it as stuffing in my rolled Swiss chard leaves…
Season Water
Season every layer!

After you roll the leaves you fill your baking dish halfway, with water. I decided to add some 21 Seasoning Salute to the water. If I had broth on hand, I’d probably use that for even more flavor.

I decided that I needed a side…and it had to fit in with the fall theme…AND it had to use my new crinkle cutting tool. So butternut squash it is! I was inspired by Instagram to make the squash fries…
Crinkle Cuts
Yay! Crinkle cutting tool! I saved the bulb-y part for soup…
I tossed the fries in a baggie with some olive oil, pink Himalayan salt and garlic powder…
Fry Prep
Fry prep!
I put both in the convection oven (it’s still too warm to use the regular oven!) at the same time, but the squash fries took slightly longer (and they would not have if they were in one, single layer)…
Ready for Oven
These colors make me happy!
After about 35 minutes the chard was done and 45 minutes, the fries were done…
Chard and Squash
Healthy and delicious! Yay!
This is such a colorful meal! It makes me so happy just looking at it, and I’m ecstatic tasting it (that’s why I’m a dweeb)!
I am enjoying this meal with an awesome seasonal beer from Harpoon Brewery (Boston, MA).
Seasonal Beer
Yum!
I actually haven’t had beer in a few months (since a wedding) so this was really good and refreshing.
So, make this! It’s easy! Oh…what? Dessert you say? Well, okay then…
How could I make a fall meal, this beautiful, without dessert? I couldn’t!
Since October is National Apple Month: Hasselback Apples!
People are hasselbacking everything these days, so I thought “why not apples?” I thought I was being innovative until I looked it up on Pinterest. Yeah, other people have thought of this as well! So, here’s my take on it…
Hasselback Prep
Preppin’ like crazy today!
It is a pretty standard “crumble” recipe, on top of a half sliced apple. I used Cinnamon Oat Kodiak Cakes mix instead of regular flour and/or oats. That adds protein and lots of flavor. I used coconut oil instead of butter to form the crumble, just because I bought a new jar.
Golden Delicious apples are my favorite, so I used them of course!
Pour on the cinnamon blend (try to get in between the cuts, I actually let it cook for about 15 minutes and then when back in to put more of the mix inside the cuts) and cook for about 30-40 minutes. I covered my pan with another pan of the same size and added cinnamon water to the bottom of the pan so it would steam them a bit…
Hasselback Apple
NOM!
I topped it with some amazing Halo Top just for some extra autumn-ness!
Halo Top
Oatmeal Cookie, for more cinnamon and oatness!
So, now, enjoy! Make a day of this deliciousness!
I’ll be back next week with a fall recipe from another cookbook (that had been wasting away on the shelf!)…

Random Music Survey!

Remember I said that I’d talk about music sometimes? Well, today is that day! I found a music survey that I liked so I decided to complete (most of) it with my own answers. I don’t use quotation marks because this is not an English term paper. Fun stuff…

1. What are you listening to right now?

Love Don’t Live Here Anymore by Rose Royce — I have my old iPod Touch on shuffle and that came on. This is one of the songs in my vocal range, so I enjoy singing along and being dramatic (this song is dramatic as hell). You know how that is (I think?). Madonna is a fan of the song also, she covered it for two of her albums (Like a Virgin and Something to Remember). I the instrumentation, back when whole orchestras backed a group. It sounds like percussion done by Hit Stix though…

2. What song(s) make(s) you sad?

That changes from day to day. Seriously. When I broke up with a musician I was upset because he ruined all of my favorite songs (he used to sing to me – blech). The whole U2 catalog would upset me. I’m over that. Okay – Wind Beneath My Wings by Bette Midler. That song was written to make you sad though. I’m trying to think of something odd that makes me sad…hmm…okay…Like a Stone by Audioslave. I shouldn’t have to explain why. Oh, and Bruises by Chairlift. There used to be this viral video of a mother squirrel and a baby squirrel trying to climb up rocks and this song was the background. Every time the song comes on I get a little teary. It’s not sadness though (the squirrels were fine), it’s just emotional.

3. What is the most annoying song in the world?

Okay…I love this song, but, especially being the month that it is, September by Earth, Wind and Fire. Haha! Only because my family and I say “Bah-Dee-Ya” to each other, text it to each other, send made up memes to each other and I end up singing it for the rest of the day. It’s a total earworm.

4. Your all time favorite band?

It’s actually a toss-up between U2 and The Cure. U2 used to edge them out (no pun intended – ha!), but Lovesong was always my favorite song. Number one favorite song, no ties for first place there for 30 years now. Now I find myself listening to The Cure more than U2.

5. Best female voice?

Donna Summer. Hands down. She sings with such an ease – there is no straining or caterwauling. She sounds like she’s just effortlessly having a sing-songy conversation. That’s what I like in a female voice. That’s why Adele and Mariah Carey’s voices bother me so (Mariah, a little less, but I can’t stand Adele’s voice). I love Diana Ross also. I mean, she can talk through a song with her voice and it’s incredible. Tori Amos, love her voice. She’s another good-range-sing-along for me. I say that as Pretty Good Year plays on my iPod. Karen Carpenter. She’s can freaking play the drums while singing with that smooth voice. Tracey Thorn from Everything But the Girl has a crazy smoothness that I love. Bjork has a unique voice that I really love.

6. Best male voice?

Steve Perry from Journey. Seriously. I was a fan before the whole “Don’t Stop Believin'” craze. What’s funny is – I like my male singers with some straining and scratch.  Eddie Vedder’s voice I like. Chris Cornell – of course! Okay, here’s a smooth male singer – Freddie Mercury. I like Marvin Gaye’s smoothness too, especially in that song (one of my all time favorites).

7. Music type you find yourself listening to most?

Anything rock and the rock sub-genres. Although, I find myself listening to older R&B a lot more now. I think it’s because I have that old lady nostalgia kicking in. I mean, I listen to Vanessa Williams Dreamin’, Lisa Fischer How Can I Ease the Pain and Ralph Tresvant Sensitivity like “They don’t make songs like this no more! That is CLASSIC! They didn’t have to take off their clothes (sorry, Vanessa)! You could understand what they were saying!” The whole old lady schpeal. By the way, Selena did a pretty good Sensitivity.

8. What do you listen to, to hype you up?

Dance music! Like old house music, 90s dance stuff. Corona Rhythm of the Night, anything by Expose, Show Me Love by Robin S. I’m like one of the Night at the Roxbury guys that way. Oh yeah! Plus What’s My Name by DMX. I feel crazy after that. Or even, Party Up and One More Road to Cross. The entire …And Then There Was X album, I guess. When I was feeling stifled at work a while ago (yeah, that’s a good way to put it), I actually had to tell myself not to listen to Party Up during my commute. Haha!

9. What do you listen to when you want to calm down?

70’s Soft Rock – Steely Dan, Linda Ronstadt, Carly Simon, Elton John (“…Mars ain’t the kinda place to raise you kids, in fact it’s cold as hell…” Love that entire verse!), Fleetwood Mac, etc. BUT – my main “Calm Down, Erika” song is Hey Jude. Whenever something is stressing me out I either listen to it, if I have a device around, but most of the time I sing it to myself. The entire thing, “na-na na na” and all. I even call it my “Hey Jude Meditation”! the lyrics even have an inspiring and calming effect “…it’s just you, hey Jude you’ll do, the movement you need is your shoulder…”

10. Last gig/concert you went to?

Rachel Barton Pine at the Bardavon Opera house last year. More recently, the Susan Tobocman Jazz Quartet at The Flatiron Room in June (I was on a swanky date).

11. Band you find yourself listening to the most right now?

My car still has a CD player – a six disc changer at that – so I pretty much keep the same cds in my car. U2 Greatest Hits, The Police – Every Breath You Take: The Singles, The Cure – Mixed Up and The Cure – Galore. The other two cds I rotate with old r&b compilation cds or dance music compilations. I listen to old stuff from high school a lot more now.

12. Most hated band?

I don’t really hate a band. I usually just hate some song by a band, and even then I’ll end up knowing all of the lyrics.

13. Song that makes you think?

For the Love of Money by the O’Jays. It’s pretty clear what the song is about, I’m just always puzzled that it has been used positively in so many commercials over the years, just because of the catchy “Money Money Money…” part. Didn’t they ever see New Jack City? I even heard someone play the bass line in a church as the collection plate was being passed. He was being funny, but…

OH! And all of the street harassment songs. Yeah, there are so many songs that make street harassment seems like a cute, funny thing. It’s not. Examples: I Got a Man by Positive K, Nu-Nu by Liddel Townsell and, I hate to say it, but That Lady by The Isley Brothers. That Lady is my jam though. I will car dance embarrassingly to that whenever it comes on.

14. Band that you think the world should love as much as you do?

The Spinners. Okay. I know that they are well loved in the black community, but they had to have an Unsung episode. Come on now.

15. Coolest music video?

Sledgehammer by Peter Gabriel was so cool to me back in the late 80s. It used to scare my cousin too, so that made it even better (heh heh – evil laugh).

Now, I talk about how much I dislike this person, but 7/11 by Beyonce. My cousin (same cousin) and I have the moves down and she calls it “The Beyonce Workout”! I like it, because it shows her playful side (eww, that sounded fan-like, but I’m not at all). I like Solange a lot though, and I love the video for Losing You. It makes me want to be my awkward self in South Africa. I want that brick suit.

Janet Jackson’s Pleasure Principle! She’s just so cool in this video. I wanted to be in a warehouse, all alone, dancing aggressively. I remember when I was about 7 or 8 and my mom was straightening my hair with the hot comb. We were sitting by the hot stove and I said to her “I want my hair as straight as Janet Jackson’s in the Pleasure Principle video!” She said, “As straight as her WIG!” I was taken aback. It was then that I knew my mom was a hater. Ha!

16. Music video with the most babe watch?

Another Janet one. Even though this guy is a Republican (that matters), Antonio Sabato Jr. was so cute in this video! I don’t know. Give It To You by Jordan “Leather Wearin’ in the Summertime” Knight! Ha! I haven’t watched videos in a while. Plus, this is a silly question.

17. What do you play/would you play in the bedroom to spice things up?

I really don’t know. I get hyped up in a different way from music – I just want to listen to more of it and sing along and dance not, you know. I remember when I was about 14, before I was acquainted with “bedroom spice”, my best friend and I thought that Enigma’s MCMXC a.D. was the perfect album to lose your virginity to. I guess we’d seen Sliver too many times. Yeah. No. I still laugh a little to myself when Sadeness Part 1 comes on my iPod!

18. Can you play a musical instrument?

My voice, I guess. My brother and I actually have “perfect pitch”. It’s funny. I was the only one who could sing around him, without him getting mad, when he was younger.

19. Ever been in a mosh pit?

Nope, never.

20. Are you in a band?

Nope.

21. Last song that you heard on the radio/CD…etc…?

Well, I am listening to Enigma now for a laugh! Callas Went Away

22. What do you think of Classical music?

I love it! I have actually attended more classical music concerts than I have of any other genre.

23. What do you think of Country music?

It’s okay. I like Patsy Cline a lot. That smooth voice of course. Crazy is an amazing karaoke song, and I like Dolly Parton, of course. Fancy by Reba McEntire is a great song. At one point Georgia by Hanson was the number one most played song on my famous iPod (so proud). I went to the Grand Ole Opry last year, and I saw Exile, Charles Esten and Carrie Underwood. It was a great experience, but I wasn’t like “F–k yeah! Country! Woo!” Maybe I am an undercover country fan, I don’t know. I don’t hate it.

OH! Elvira was my favorite song when I was 3 or 4 years old! I think I liked the guy with the deep voice. Okay, I LOVE THIS! I remember when music wasn’t as segregated as it is now. Dolly Parton was on regular radio and Hee Haw was awesome…Those were the days!

24. Do you listen to music in foreign languages?

Yes! I love world music. I love this medley from Brazil. It is in heavy rotation on the epic iPod. I like flamenco as well (I once dated a guy who played the flamenco guitar – that’s how I was exposed). I love this – three generations of flamenco singers! Their voices are so similar, love it.

25. Funny concert moment?

Ben Folds at Bohagers in Baltimore, 2001. The entire show was just hilarious! It was like half stand-up, half music and it was awesome. He pulled out his keytar and starting making up songs. Great show!

26. What do/did your parents listen to?

My dad used to buy every top 40 album there was back in the 80s. He wasn’t a real music fan. My mom though, she listened to Aerosmith, Hall and Oates, America, Rick James, Charlie Rich – a real mix. I know all of the words on Hall and Oates Rock ‘n Soul Part 1. I still love Private Eyes. My little brother used to sing the lyrics to Kiss on My List as “Because your HIPPOPOTAMUS, is the best thing in life…” I still sing those lyrics sometimes. America is one of my favorite bands too. I have been influenced!

27. Songs that give you the chills

I have an actual eargasm when I hear Someday We’ll Be Together by The Supremes. Lots of songs do it to me sometimes, but that ALWAYS makes the hair on my arms stand up. It’s such a well done masterpiece, from beginning to end. I Heard it Through the Grapevine by Marvin Gaye, does it a lot, too. OH! And I Want You Back by The Jackson 5! Go Motown! When Linda Ronstadt did Ooh Baby Baby, that’s another one that gives me chills. I’m sure there’s more. There is! Electric Feel by MGMT,  Midnight City by M83.

28. Do you listen to rap?

Yes. Nothing super new though, and with rap there is always something new so I’m way behind. The latest “album” I bought was Drake’s More Life and I listened to Passionfruit over and over again like a teenager. I like Drake (of course, I’m a girl). It’s cute to see and listen to his sensitivity from afar, as opposed to actually dealing with someone like him in real life. He’s such a dweeb (that’s a compliment)! I mean, he wrote an entire song that is basically “I had sex with Jennifer Lopez”! Ha! Dork! I agree with Chris D’elia’s assessment of Drake though.

I do like Kanye, despite his life. 808s & Heartbreak is like a dark comedy, brilliant. I know he was in a lot of pain at the time, but this album makes me laugh, like a wtf laugh. Imagine if your psycho ex had access to a recording studio, it would sound a little like 808s & Heartbreak. When I hear Paranoid, I’m like “I think my ex said this projected crap to me – word for word!”. It’s genius.

So, there were more questions but I cut them out. I’m sure I’ll do another music survey again…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Burmese Tofu!

I don’t really remember how I got obsessed with making Burmese tofu. I think I was reading about how terrible soy is for women (especially if you have hormonal dysfunctions like I, and so many women, do), and I was looking around for a substitute (probably, sounds like me). I do remember this was several months ago. I have been wanting to make this recipe for a while now. I had the bag of chickpea flour, just waiting in the wings. When I started making mug cakes and waffles with the flour I knew I had to use it for what I originally bought it for (because I would end up making 101 chickpea mug cakes and no tofu). So, here’s how I started…

Ingredients
First time using pano on my phone and it’s for food!

The ingredients:

  • 1 Cup of Chickpea (Garbanzo Bean) Flour
  • 3 Cups of water
  • Several shakes of turmeric
  • Two shakes of crushed red pepper
  • As much garlic as you can stand in your cooking (I can stand a lot!)
  • About four grinds of Himalayan Pink Salt
  • A few grinds of black pepper

As you can see, I’m really precise (heh). The most important thing is the flour and the water – you can season this however you like. Some people use broth or stock in place of water and, hey, if I had some I’d probably use that too. So, you boil two cups of the water and, in the meantime and in a separate bowl:

  • Blend the flour, and the spices, with the remaining cup of water.

Once the two cups of water have reached a rolling boil, add the flour/spice/water mixture. It’ll look like this:

Mixed Tofu
Glossy…

So, you have to whisk-whisk-whisk away to get rid of any lumps and until the mixture looks glossy (like it goes in the picture). You are now ready to pour the mixture into your prepared pan. To get your pan ready, line it with parchment paper. I used an 8×8 Pyrex pan.

Spread Tofu
Smooth it better than I did! I should’ve used a bigger pan…

Smooth it out in your pan, using a spoon or a spatula.

Then, once it’s spread out in the pan, let it sit until it gets room temperature (so condensation doesn’t form when you put it in the fridge). Which brings us to the next step: put it in the fridge! I let it sit out for about an hour and put it in the fridge for about three hours and I got this:

Refrigerated Tofu

After it firms up in the fridge, you can cut up your tofu in any shape you want for your dishes. I cut mine two ways – in triangles and small rhombuses (yup, I said “rhombuses” – wait, is it “rhombuses” or “rhombi”?).

Stir Fry Pieces
Rhombuses (rhombi), for stir-fry…

Here I am frying the triangles in some olive oil:

Golden Brown
Try not to use too much oil – these are like little sponges…

They are SUPER YUMMY! Take a look at this:

Cooked
Golden brown and delicious!

Crisp on the outside, a little soft on the inside. Seasoned perfectly (if I do say so myself)!

So, I made some meals with it:

Meals

I will most definitely share my stir-fry on Instagram!

So this was an easy, delicious recipe. A success! I can add this one to my repertoire, change it up a bit, make different sides. A great soy substitute!

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Lazy Friday (?)

More like lazy days in general…

I’m supposed to be happy today. It’s Friday! I just haven’t been up for much lately. I have been trying to figure out why and here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

1) I am working from home more…A few months ago I got the option to go back to consultant status and work from home whenever I wanted. Boy, have I taken advantage of that! I only have to go in the office for the occasional meeting. While it’s pretty great, it’s kinda turned me into a shut-in. That’s because even though I’m home, I’m still on the clock. The emails, phone conferences and reports have not stopped just because I am not in the office. I still have to respond and actively participate because if I don’t, then am I really working? Hmm…I don’t want to have to answer that question.

So, I’m still at home, near a computer from 9-5. Why would I venture far?

Lighthouse
Random pic from my travels: Do you see the face in this building? Saugerties Lighthouse – Saugerties, NY

2) I have changed my lifestyle by way of food consumption…That’s a clever way to say I have been on a weight loss journey. Dieting, okay!

I was very happy with the way that I looked up until late August/early September of last year. It was then that I noticed I had put on about 15, 16 pounds. Did I do anything to take care of it at that point? Nope. In fact, I went on to gain 20 more pounds by the end of the year! So when January rolled around, it was clear that I had to make some kind of weight loss related resolution.

How did I gain so much weight? Well, last year, I went on a lot of trips. Trips that included me eating at a lot of restaurants. Going to a lot of wine tastings. Ordering a lot of cocktails (never underestimate how many calories alcoholic beverages add!). I took a lot of lunches out of the office. I picked up snacks at 7-11 and Quick Chek a lot. At one point I thought my veins pumped Burger King Chicken Nuggets, Trader Joe’s Macarons and whatever was in the latest Taco Bell Big Box. It was BAD.

So, this year I decided to take control and get back on track. It was actually kinda decided for me, now that I think about it. The main issue that I had was that I spent so much time in the office, so much time commuting, so little time eating real meals. WELL! Now I don’t have that excuse! After the initial sugar and fat detox (seriously, it takes about a month to get off of those “drugs”), it was very easy for me to get back into living a healthy lifestyle because I really enjoy cooking and I like using clean, nutritious, and sometimes odd, ingredients.

I’ve just been having such fun making meals for myself. No need to stop at a fast food place for dinner, I am already home, whippin’ up a huge, healthy taco salad (taco salads are my life). I go to the gym, that’s going “somewhere”, right?

Oh, and I’ve already lost the weight I put on (yay)! I just want to be a little more “tight”, “tighten”…

Teal Me
Tealin’ Myself: Yup, this is what I do when I’m bored.

3) I haven’t seen anything that has struck my fancy…SERIOUSLY. I belong on every event and ticket related mailing list, I have several event/ticket apps and I keep up with events on Facebook. Nothing has been interesting enough for me to go. I had plans to visit somewhere in March, I had my Amtrak ticket and everything. But, the day before, there was a major snowstorm! Okay, so I rescheduled my ticket. Then I rescheduled it again. And again. And again. I have literally (not figuratively) rescheduled my trip over 10 times.

Here is part of the actual email:

Amtrak Receipt.jpg
Yup, I’m dweeby enough to do this. I am rescheduling again soon!

I don’t know. Maybe I’ll go in September…

I’m hoping things pick up in the fall! I’m sure they will, there are a couple of events I am looking at and want to attend. For now, I’m just being dweeby…

 

Yogurt Sticks!

 

Yeah, I know how exciting the title sounds. I’m not even going to cheerfully type “But they are exciting!”. They may not be the most exciting things, but they are very useful. Think about the good bacteria! I guess, maybe they can be made to be exciting – I actually got several ideas once I started taking pictures of the process…

Anyway…

Yogurt Sticks. For me they are essential for a good smoothie. They add thickness, almost like adding ice cream or store brought frozen yogurt. That’s what this is like, “breakfast frozen yogurt”. Instead of buying a carton of frozen yogurt and putting scoop after scoop into a once nutritious smoothie, you get to add your own clean, healthy ingredients and control the amount of sugar added.

I usually start the “yogurt stick process” with a huge tub of plain Greek or regular yogurt. Not today. Why? Because yesterday at the grocery store I stumbled upon one of those “Buy these now because the expiration date is coming up soon” deals. It was for Chobani Yogurt and it was 87 cents!

Yogurt
Not too shabby…

I usually don’t buy flavored yogurt. Mainly because the sugar is out of control and for a little carton, it’s not worth it. This yogurt though, it has less sugar and more protein (yay!). Yes, I see there are 14 grams of sugar in one carton. I only use half of the carton in my smoothies though (so there)…

I start by scooping the contents of each container into two separate cups. Then the magic happens (seriously, it takes very little to make me excited)…

Yogurt Mixes
Flavorings…Necessary…

Then, I add different flavorings to each cup (woo hoo)! The yogurt is already vanilla flavored, but why not boost it by adding your own ingredients? Since I usually buy plain yogurt, this step is a must.

In the one on the left, I have cocoa powder and vanilla extract. The one on the right has cinnamon and ginger. These will go well with the the two flavors of protein powder I am using right now. So…stir them up…

Yogurt Mixed
Stirred!

After they are stirred and smoothed out, I add them to plastic “baggies”. I used basic, fold over baggies and not freezer baggies only because I know I am going to use these in 2 to 3 days. If I was saving them longer, I’d use a sturdier baggie.

Yogurt Bags
Get excited!

The good thing about these (cheaper) fold over baggies is that they can be stretched out to have a flat base on your surface, so it’s not such a mess putting the yogurt in them.

As you can see, I divided the mixtures into two so I have four baggies of yogurt. Less sugar, but you still get the good bacteria that yogurt adds to a smoothie. Yay, probiotics! Yay gut health!

I freeze these bad boys, usually overnight, and this is how they look:

Frozen Stick
Frozen yogurt stick!

I add the stick to my blender cup and then add all of my smoothie supplements. With this frozen stick, I don’t have to use as much ice either. Which is great because I usually forget to make ice…

Here’s what I’m talking about, with the corresponding flavors…

Both Smoothies
Natural Whey is THE BOMB! Yes, I just said that…

I use the cinnamon-ginger yogurt stick with the snickerdoodle protein powder and the cocoa with the decadent chocolate.

So, try this. It’s very easy and YAY for more flavor! Doing this just gave me a ton of other ideas…I’ll have to make and share!

Enjoy!

New Moon~New Blog

I was trying to decide when to “go live” with my blog for a few weeks, and then I discovered – July 23rd is the New Moon in Leo, conjunct Mars, which falls directly on my natal Venus/descendant. If you’re into astrology then that’ll mean something to you. If not, it just means it’s a good day to take action (Mars) and start new creative endeavors (Leo New Moon) for others to enjoy (Venus/descendant).

This blog IS NOT about astrology, though it’ll likely seep in every now and then. It is one of my dweeby interests and hobbies, so yeah…

So what is this blog about?

Food, health and work-life balance. Day trips and long trips – usually food related. Learning and teaching. Family. Some New Age principals. Some music. Dorky-dweebyness. Lots of positivity.

The dweeby stuff we do and think about every day…

Be Awesome
Do what the mug says!