Day 2: Lighten Up for the Summer

How was your detox bath? Did you give it a shot? If you didn’t get a chance to try it yesterday, really try to give yourself half and hour before bed sometime this week. You’re body will thank you for it, I promise.

Day 2 is all about lightening up for the Summer.  I know that typically hair salons are closed on Mondays, so actually getting or making an appointment today may be out of the question, but take a few minutes today to look at some different hair styles and colors.

I am a brunette. And I know they say blondes have more fun and all, but I prefer a deep, rich, chocolate brown. But since it’s summertime, I think it’s time to change it up a bit. Now, I’m not talking going platinum or anything. But I have been toying with the ombre look. You’ll have to wait and see.

I don’t want to forget about you other gorgeous ladies. The blondes and redheads of the world. Maybe it’s time to think about taking it down a shade or two with highlights, a bayalage effect or a trendy ombre. I’m a fan of the ombre, can you tell?

Don’t feel left out if color isn’t your thing. Maybe think about switching up your style with a new cut. Maybe a couple inches off the bottom or some bangs or maybe some pretty long layers.

Check out some stunning celebs who are a sporting different do’s these days. Maybe you’ll be inspired. Need some more inspiration? Check out Hair and Beauty. And don’t forget to search Pinterest. You can always find inspiration there!

es

sg

kw

By the way, I’ll be waiting for some Before & After photos! And remember, it’s only hair!

Leave a comment

Filed under scattered thoughts

30 Day Beauty Challenge

30day
I don’t know if it was the birthday, PMS or just the mood I was in at the moment, but the other day I looked in the mirror and picked myself apart from head to toe. From “My roots are showing!” to “My feet are too ugly for sandals!” to “Oh God I’m too fat for shorts, let alone a bathing suit!”.

It got me thinking. I wonder how many other people feel the same way. And for the love of God, WHY! Life is too short to beat myself up everyday. There are enough jerks in the world to do that for us.

So to kick off the summer, for the month of June, I decided to do something special for myself everyday to make me feel more beautiful, younger, energetic, radiant and healthy.

Want to join me? You don’t have to do what I do, but I would love to hear your beauty secrets. Do you have a recipe for a foot scrub you swear by or an exercise you do that gives you an ass like J-Lo or a trick to dragging yourself out of bed for an early morning run? I know you’ve got secrets. It’s time to spill the beans.

Day 1: Detox Bath

Once a week for 20 minutes, sit in a hot bath that contains a handful of Epsom salts, 10 drops of lavender essential oil, and a half cup of baking soda. This combo draws out toxins, lowers stress-related hormones, and balances your pH levels

Leave a comment

Filed under scattered thoughts

25 Things you may or may not know about me

Happy Monday everyone! Last week I shared about new format, schedules and structure. More writing is one improvement I want to make. So today I’m just going to share a little bit about me. So, here’s some useless information I thought I’d pass on! I wonder if my friends know all this? Hmmm.

1. I dream of being famous, but hate being in the spotlight
2. I’ve been gray since I was 20, but you’d never know it.
3. I hate easy listening music.
4. Growing up, I wanted to be a marine biologist, until I got a scare in a riptide and now I won’t go in the ocean past my knees.
5. When I was 12 I climbed Mt. Washington
6. I love skeet shooting
7. My favorite dessert is New York style cheesecake with pineapple topping
8. My great, great, great +++ grandfather, Franz Gruber wrote the music to Silent Night
9. I have stupid looking thumbs so you will never see them in a food shot
10. I have mild dyslexia, which I didn’t know until I tried writing code for web design. That was a disaster!
11. Putting your hands in front of my face is a good way to get yourself hurt. Just sayin.
12. I am a licensed Cosmetologist
13. When I was 17 I stole my uncle’s car and drove to Florida
14. I would love to take figure skating lessons
15. I have a dream to someday publish a children’s book
16. I love junior fiction books
17. I lose my voice every Spring and Fall, like clockwork
18. My favorite piece of jewelry (beside my wedding & engagement ring) is a pair of sterling silver earrings with baltic amber that my aunt brought me from a trip to visit our family in Poland
19. I am a hockey mom and a big Bruins fan. Don’t Poke the Bear!
20. I used to hustle pool in high school
21. I drink my coffee really strong and really dark with just a splash of skim milk
22. I’ve been on a diet ever since I can remember
23. I was once confused for Monica Lewinsky
24. I HATE kale, no matter how trendy and healthy
25. Disney World is my favorite place on earth

2 Comments

Filed under scattered thoughts

Happy Birthday!

cake
Well, yesterday was my birthday. For those who don’t know me, here’s a fun fact. I hate my birthday. I hate the thought of getting older. And I loathe being the center of attention. Although, I do like cake. So you can’t call me a total grouch.

For the past couple of weeks I have been reevaluating some things. I feel like a change is coming in my life. Have you ever felt like that? Like being on the beach when a storm is rolling in. It’s in the air. You can feel the electricity. Smell the charge. The colors change and for a few brief minutes, things look completely different. And then it happens.

Now, I’m not saying a storm is coming. Just change. Something new. Sometimes things just change and you have no control over it. Sometimes they change because you’ve made them change.

I’ll be the first to admit, I am as stubborn a Taurus as they come. I tend to just not listen to you if I don’t agree with what you’re saying. My husband knows this all too well. He gets very aggravated with me and for good reason. I imagine it can be very frustrating.

One thing we have been discussing lately is change. Specifically structure, schedules and organization. Mind you, these are the conversations I am talking about that he can see I have dug my feet in the sand and am not hearing a word he has said. He is a saint I tell you. I’d punch me.

Well, I hope he is reading this because I have heard him and even though it is making me want to gag, I want to say “He’s right”. Yup, there I said it. HE’S RIGHT!

I’m sure you’ve heard it said “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results”. And for the past couple of years I feel like I have been running in circles. I miss deadlines, forget appointments, misplace items and race to be on time. Yet instead of making changes I complain about how things are and how things have to change, not I have to change of course, but “things”. Am I alone in this? I’ll go out on a limb and say no.

In case you missed the memo. We live in a busy world. Families to take care of, jobs to do, homes to care for. I always ask myself “How do people do it?”. Nannies, chauffeurs, housekeepers and lots of money. That’s what I come up with. In reality I would venture to say that it is all about organization and teamwork. Sadly, organization is not something I am naturally gifted with. I know this. I admit it. For years I have said “I work better under pressure”. That is the mantra of a disorganized person. We convince ourselves we function better under stress because that is what we know.

Maybe it is because I am so wise (I did just have a birthday you know) or maybe it’s that I am completely sick and tired of all the stress I feel lately, but this is where the change is going to start with me. It has to or there will be no growth and everything stays the same.

My good friend Danielle, Editor-In-Chief of the fab online magazine ENJIdaily sent me an article she had written on making changes and it really made sense to me.

I was ready to stop writing here. I went back and forth. It was becoming a burden. I keep saying “I have no time!” Truth is, I need to find wasted time. So for the next week I am going to see where my time is going. If I don’t know where the waste is, I can’t cut it out, right? Have you ever gone onto the internet “just to find a quick (fill in the blank here) and 2 hours later your eyeballs have dried out and you wonder where the time went? That happens to me all the time! Thank you Pinterest.

I am also looking at tweaking my format here. It’s funny because even my blog name came about because of all the disorganization in my life. That should have told me something right off the bat. I have been blogging for 4 years now. I can’t believe it. It has no way morphed into what I had dreamed it would, but once again I have not made any changes to allow that to happen. So please stay tuned while I restructure my life.

Oh, and by the way, in case you’re wondering. I made a cake and we ate it. I’ll share later though I promise!

Leave a comment

Filed under scattered thoughts

Polish Easter Link Love

Wesołych Świąt

That’s Happy Easter in Polish. I hope. I had to use Google Translator because my Cioci wasn’t around to help me out.

Easter was always a big deal in our house. There were colorful, hand-painted eggs, sugar lambs in our baskets, pierogi, and babka. There was a decorated lamb cake and a butter lamb with a Polish flag for the table.

I have been busy getting ready for our Easter and I wanted to share some love and amazing Polish recipes from some really amazing bloggers. Just click on their photo and it will take you directly to their site.

Have a blessed Easter!

Potato Pancakes (placki ziemniaczane)

Potato Pancakes (placki ziemniaczane)

Cheese Babka

Cheese Babka

Chocolate Babka

Chocolate Babka

Apple & Cottage Cheese Pancakes

Apple & Cottage Cheese Pancakes

Poppyseed Roll (Makowiec)

Poppyseed Roll (Makowiec)

Paczi z Budyniem

Paczi z Budyniem

Leave a comment

Filed under cooking

Chocolate Chia Pudding

Chocolate Chia Pudding

Chocolate Chia Pudding

I am craving chocolate. Like, really craving chocolate. Like, I would tackle my own child for a bite of her KitKat kind of craving. And since I have that little issue of dieting going on right now, I could be in a real pickle.

Mmmmmmmm pickle.

Sorry. I’ve got issues.

So, back to the chocolate dilemma. We all know a little chocolate is good for us, but let me be straight with you. An ounce or two just isn’t gonna cut it. I need something chocolaty and substantial. Something that is going to satisfy my taste buds and also fill me up, so I won’t continue to search for something else to stuff in my face afterwards.

This pudding does all that and takes almost no effort, which you know I’m all about. The downside…you do have to wait awhile to eat it. I typically make a couple of these and stick them in the fridge and wait patiently so they are readily available when a craving strikes. Sometimes I make them and take one to work with me and it’s ready for an afternoon snack.

These babies only have two ingredients. Yes, I said two! They also do not use a bowl or a mixer, only a simple mason jar. You can add whatever you want to it, fresh berries or shredded coconut, but I typically use just chocolate. I may add some dark chocolate chips or some sliced almonds on top along with a squirt of whipped cream. You have to have whipped cream! I’m okay with an extra 15 calories for 2 tablespoons. They should really post the serving size as mouthfulls not tablespoons. You know what I mean.

All you do is take a clean mason jar, add 1 cup of Chocolate Almond Milk and 2 1/2 Tablespoons of chia seeds. Put the cover on and shake it. During the next 20 minutes, give it a couple more shakes then place in the fridge to set. It will take several hours to set thoroughly and it won’t be quite as thick as regular pudding, but still delicious. Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings, cocoa powder, sliced almonds or fresh berries and you have a totally crave-worthy chocolate dessert that won’t bust your diet.

You can thank me later.

2 Comments

Filed under cooking

Sweet and Sour Pork

Sweet and Sour Pork

Sweet and Sour Pork

I hate the word “diet”. Can I get an amen? The rebel in me automatically wants what I can’t have. By the way, I hate the word “can’t” too. One thing I enjoy every once in a while is good Chinese takeout. Although every time I have it, I feel like garbage the next day. Bloated, sluggish, icky.

One of my favorite dishes is sweet and sour. It’s probably not very diet friendly though. Sweet, tangy sauce smothering a heaping plate of white rice. Oh but it’s soooooooooo good.

The other day I received an email from the Food Network that contained several lightened up Chinese dishes, this being one of them. I made it that very night and may I just say, “O-MAH-GAAD Yum”.

It is so easy and even better than the takeout. The sauce is still thick and tangy, and the vegetables were crisp and fresh. Served over a bed of earthy, brown rice made it more nutritious and flavorful. I would say it is easier on your wallet and your waist. So if you’re having a Chinese food craving, cook this up. It will become a favorite, I promise.

Ingredients
1 pound pork tenderloin, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons ketchup
3 tablespoons sugar, plus a pinch
3 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, thinly sliced
3 scallions, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 cups snow peas, cut in half

Before you start anything, get your rice cooking. Brown rice takes about 45 minutes to cook compared to 20 minutes for white. So plan accordingly.

Toss the pork with 1/2 tablespoon vinegar and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Mix the remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar, the soy sauce, cornstarch, ketchup, 3 tablespoons sugar, 1/3 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon salt in another bowl. Toss the pork with 1/2 tablespoon vinegar and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Mix the remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar, the soy sauce, cornstarch, ketchup, 3 tablespoons sugar, 1/3 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon salt in another bowl.

Heat 2 tablespoons peanut oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat. Add the pork and slowly stir until it turns mostly opaque, about 2 minutes. Remove the pork with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate. Discard the oil and wipe out the skillet. Heat 2 tablespoons peanut oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat. Add the pork and slowly stir until it turns mostly opaque, about 2 minutes. Remove the pork with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate. Discard the oil and wipe out the skillet.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon peanut oil in the skillet, then stir-fry the garlic with a pinch each of salt and sugar, 15 seconds. Add the carrots and scallions and stir-fry until crisp-tender, 2 minutes. (Add a little water if the garlic starts to stick to the skillet.) Add the pork, snow peas and soy sauce mixture; stir until the pork is cooked through and the sauce is thickened, about 3 minutes. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon peanut oil in the skillet, then stir-fry the garlic with a pinch each of salt and sugar, 15 seconds. Add the carrots and scallions and stir-fry until crisp-tender, 2 minutes. (Add a little water if the garlic starts to stick to the skillet.) Add the pork, snow peas and soy sauce mixture; stir until the pork is cooked through and the sauce is thickened, about 3 minutes.

Per serving: Calories 348; Fat 15 g (Saturated 3 g); Cholesterol 74 mg; Sodium 674 mg; Carbohydrate 27 g; Fiber 4 g; Protein 28 g Per serving: Calories 348; Fat 15 g (Saturated 3 g); Cholesterol 74 mg; Sodium 674 mg; Carbohydrate 27 g; Fiber 4 g; Protein 28 g

Recipe from The Food Network

2 Comments

Filed under cooking

Italian Pork Cutlets

145

I learned a lot about cooking from my mother in law. As long as I knew her, there was always Sunday dinner. It was a day for a family meal and card playing. If four people showed up, you pretty much got roped into a game of 45’s. If four people who knew how to play Whist showed up, then Whist it was.

There was always lots of food and lots of yelling at the table. Cards always seemed to frustrate her. Of course, if you knew her, you knew that didn’t take much. Almost everything irritated her. She did not have a whole lot of patience or tolerance for much of anything. Sometimes it was actually pretty comical and my husband loved to instigate her. Even with her irascible temperament, she was still one of the greatest people I’ve ever known. If you were one of the few people she loved, she really loved you and you could consider yourself lucky.

This was one her recipes. She made it often. Usually with thick turkey cutlets served with mashed potatoes, turkey gravy, broccoli sautéed in olive oil and garlic and always a loaf of fresh Parisian bread from the bakery. But occasionally with pasta and red sauce.

I haven’t had her version in awhile. I think it might make me sad to sit down to that meal without her.

After much annoying, she did finally teach me how to make those cutlets. Although she never wrote anything down, she just threw stuff in and added things until she had the batter just the right color and consistency, so it took me a while to be able to get it just right.

I switched it up a little bit by making it with pork and pounding it out real, real thin. Other than that, it is the same as hers. Well, almost.

I always serve these with pasta and marinara sauce. I spoon some sauce over the cutlet, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and a dash of red pepper flakes. Drool

They are always a huge hit. My son hugs me and tells me I’m the best and I should open a cutlet store and the boys will fight over who gets the last one, or at least who will get home first the next day to eat the leftovers.

They do take a little time and effort, but are totally worth it. I hope you are able to give them a try.

Italian Pork Cutlets
Batter
1 egg
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 Tblsp dried parsley
1/2 c, All-purpose flour
1/2 c. water

Cutlets
1 lb pork loin, sliced and pounded thin
2 c. breadcrumbs
1/2 c. olive oil for frying

1. Combine batter ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.
2. Slice pork loin into thin pieces. Place between 2 pieces of plastic wrap on a cutting board (that is placed on a towel or something to cushion the blows) and pound super-duper paper thin with a rolling pin. Try to keep the thickness even throughout. Remember the thinner the better.
122

3. Place cutlets in batter and squish around with your hands to coat. Sometimes I do this the night before so I can get a jumpstart on dinner.
127

4. Place the breadcrumbs in a seperate dish (I use a pie plate) and coat each cutlet on both sides and set aside until ready to fry the entire batch.
128

5. Before frying, heat oven to 325F and prepare a large cookie sheet topped with a cooling rack to place the cutlets on and have another cooling rack topped with paper towels ready.
6. In a large frying pan, heat 1/4 c. oil on medium-high heat until ready to fry. You can tell it’s ready if you drop a little batter in and it starts to sizzle. If your oil isn’t hot enough, your cutlets will be heavy and soak up a lot of oil.
7. Depending on the size of your pan, cook several at a time. Cook 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Cooking times will depend on how thin your cutlets are. But, they cook rather quickly.
8. When done, place on paper towel lined sheet to drain, then transfer to the other baking sheet to keep warm in the oven while you fry the rest of the cutlets.
8. After cooking half of the cutlets, wipe out the pan and heat the remainder of the oil. Continue cooking the rest of the cutlets. If you skip this step the breading that has fallen off from the previous cutlets begins to burn and they get too dark.

Serve with pasta and your favorite marinara and a hefty sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

Enjoy!

1 Comment

Filed under cooking

Food Journaling

cookie

Keeping a food diary is an effective way to keep track the calories that you eat everyday. It is a dieter’s best friend

There are tons of online journals out there. I love My Fitness Pal. It’s so quick and easy and, has an enormous database. But you don’t need a pc or a special app. A little notebook can do the trick as well.

Here are 5 reasons that you should start keeping a food journal today.

1. What are you eating?
You probably think that you know exactly what you eat everyday. You probably even think you could guess the number of calories that you take in through your meals. But the truth is that most people eat more than three times everyday and most of their extra calories probably come from eating between meals. Especially if you are trying to lose weight, keeping track of these calories is what’s most important. When I am diligent about logging everything I eat, I am shocked at not only how many calories I consume, but how much fat and sodium as well.

2. Weight Loss Aid
By seeing exactly what you eat everyday, you can begin to cut certain types foods out of your diet. Something you might have thought was healthy, may be incredibly high in calories. My nutritionist once told me that people actually got heavier when low-fat products came out on the market. It makes sense too. Many low fat products have higher calories because they add sugar to make it taste better. We also tend to eat more because it doesn’t give us the same fulfilment as the full-fate version and we are justified because it is “low fat”. By taking this into account, you can cut these calories out of your diet.

3. Meal Planning
I plan my entire day at one time. It makes it easier for me to know exactly what I am eating. I know if I have something that isn’t on my plan, I have to scratch something else off.

4. What You Should and Shouldn’t Eat
Whether you’re not getting enough vegetables into your diet or you’re skipping lunch a little too often, your food diary serves as a record of everything that you do–and do not–eat. Knowing that you are deficient in certain food groups can be helpful and can help you plan out your diet a little better than ever before.

5. Accountability
When I started using a journal, it really made me see exactly what I was eating. That piece of cake tasted great. But was the second piece really necessary. Looking back at the calories you had to log in will make you think twice about it next time.

I challenge you to try a journal for a week. Let me know what you find.

3 Comments

Filed under scattered thoughts

Light Lemon Berry Cheesecake

Light Lemon Berry Cheesecake

Light Lemon Berry Cheesecake

I started a new diet bet. Only this time at work. We follow the same rules as the online Dietbet just no submitting photos in our underwear. They don’t allow that kind of stuff at work you know.

So, in our group we decided a weekly healthy potluck would be a great motivator and a chance to get together and share recipes, success and failures. Hopefully not failures.

Although cheesecake isn’t your typical “diet” food. I thought it would be a great time to try this recipe from Katie Lee. I had ripped it out of SELF magazine a few months ago and tucked it away.

I made this delicious, guilt-free cheesecake last night to bring in for our luncheon. At 239 calories per serving, 8 g fat (4 g saturated), 33 g carbs, 1 g fiber and 12 g protein, this was something I thought I could share without sabotaging my fellow dieters.

I must say, one of my favorite parts of a cheesecake is the thick, buttery graham cracker crust and this does not have one. It is more like a light dusting of fine crumbs along the sides with a bit heavier layer on the bottom. So I did kind of miss that a little. But I would absolutely make this again. I thought it was a wonderfully delicious alternative to a traditional, heavier cheesecake.

It was creamy, light and lemony and the texture was just like “real” cheesecake. I did add 1 tablespoon of melted seedless rasberry jam to the fruit to give it a nice sweetness and shine. The fruit on top was fresh and sweet and was a nice contrast to the slightly tart lemon. Let’s not forget incredibly easy to prepare. This would be a perfect addition to an Easter dessert table.

Enjoy!

Vegetable oil cooking spray
1/2 cup whole-wheat graham cracker crumbs
8 oz (1 package) light cream cheese, cut into quarters
2 cups light cottage cheese
3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup berries, such as raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and sliced strawberries
1 Tables melted seedless, raspberry jam (optional)

PREPARATION
Heat oven to 375°. Spritz an 8″ round springform pan with cooking spray. Using the bottom of a measuring cup, gently press graham cracker crumbs into bottom and sides of pan to form a crust. Coat with cooking spray.

In a blender or food processor, mix cream cheese, cottage cheese, eggs, sugar, lemon juice, flour, zest and vanilla extract until smooth, 45 seconds. Gently pour into pan. Bake until it looks set but has a slight jiggle, 40 minutes. Let cool in pan 20 minutes.

Refrigerate at least 2 hours with a towel or oven mitt underneath.

Mix berries with melted jam (if desired) and top with berries to serve.

2 Comments

Filed under cooking