Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Where's my yeast?

Although this post seems a bit more Mr. Hyde than my recent Dr. Jekyll posts...(Get it? More evil than good? Yep, I knew you'd get it. I didn't believe the rumors. I knew you were smart!)...I think you're going to likey today's post. Try it and love it. Guilt free, of course. (wink, wink)

After a recent trip to my new favorite place on earth, Whole Foods, I returned home with a $20/pound chunk of parmesano reggiano, a $7 ball of mozzarella, some organic roma tomatoes, and some beautifully brown baby bella mushrooms ('shrooms to be discussed in the next post). Yum! It's making me salivate just listing these palate pleasing pieces.

Man, I'm killing the alliterations today. :D Are you impressed, Mrs. Hay?

On a previous trip to the wholey land (hahaha...I'm cracking myself up!) I had purchased a stalk of basil. (When I say previous trip...it was probably like 2 days prior. Yes, I'm addicted.) That's really the best way I know to describe it, a stalk. The directions on the bag said to put it in water to extend its life. Well, I'm not sure what I expected, maybe something like the plants that thrive on just water? Ya know the ones, with the beta fish in the bottom? A fish, some water and a plant and poof a little ecosystem in a jar. Miraculous, I tell you. But my stalk of basil wasn't thriving very well. Hmmm, maybe I should've thrown a beta fish in there. That conversation at the pet store would have been a bit weird.

Store Guy: Can I help you ma'am.

Me: Yes, I need a beta fish.

Store Guy: Ok, I can help you with that. Do you also need an aquarium for your fish?

Me: No thanks...I have a lovely stalk of basil growing in a jar of water.

Store Guy: Huh?

Yet I digress.

Back to my point and the ingredients. My point was...that I had a stalk of basil that was quickly needing some attention. And not the attention of a beta fish. Attention from the sweet marrying of roma tomatoes and mozzarella. Honestly, it's more like a weird love triangle kind of marriage.

So first thing is first. I wanted to make a margherita type pizza...roma tomatoes, basil and mozzarella. I wanted it on a thin, chewy, homemade crust. And I wanted it yesterday.

I started off how every home grown chef starts off...with the google. I consulted the google about a great homemade pizza dough recipe...and I found one. It was perfect. I took the laptop with me to the kitchen and made it a countertop. (Buh dun chhh) Then went to the pantry to find my yeast. Where is my yeast? Where did I put it? I specifically remember buying it along with my self rising flour. I see the flour. I do not see yeast. Hmmm, where's my yeast? I asked Eagle Eyes to help me find it. And....still...no yeast.

No yeast? No yeast means no yummy, homemade, google pizza dough! No yeast means my basil goes yet another day without attention. It means it might parish in the middle of the night never knowing the full love possibilities of a girl named Roma and a boy named Mozzarella. No yeast means I gotta figure out plan C.1.a.4.ii. Ugh! Only children who have their mind set on dinner and are thrown a wrench do not enjoy moving to plan C.1.a.4.ii. They wanted their pizza yesterday, remember?

With no yeast in the house, I did the second thing that any home grown chef does...I went to Dollar General. UGH. This place mostly sends chills down my spine, but I was hopeful that the only food carrying place within four miles of my house would carry yeast. Let me just save you a trip. It does not. Cheap toys that break before you get them home? Yes. Checkers who are audibly so very excited that Jen is pregnant that they have to let the entire store know with their immediate and exuberant jubilation? Yes, most definitely. But do they have yeast? No.

What they do have, is a Chef Boyardee Cheese Pizza Kit. Yes, a kit. I was sad, and disappointed, and full disclosure, I was a bit embarrassed. In lieu of my yummy homemade pizza dough idea, Dollar General's lack of yeast forced me to settle for this pizza KIT. Yes, a kit! Oh my. I was only praying that no one saw me as I approached the over zealous checker with my kit in tow.

My plan was to use the crust mix and nothing else. Smart, I thought. So I went home and prepared the crust. At least I wasn't using a pre-prepared crust, I kept assuring myself. After all, I still get to kneed the dough and, if my spectators are lucky, flip it in the air a few times, right? Haha...not really. For the safety of all involved (it was just me), I opted for no dough flipping. Not that night anyway.

Ok, long story longer...I made the dough and much to my surprise I was pretty happy with it. It was light and fluffy and it wasn't as bad as I thought a kit from Dollar General would be.

I had read on The Pioneer Woman's website about a pesto pizza she had made using the same toppings I was using, but used pesto as her sauce. Guess what? I had no pesto...and neither did Dollar General. Surprise, surprise! Plus, I refused to use the pizza sauce that came with the kit. What to do, what to do? I, for some reason that night, was adamant that I didn't want to use a tomato based sauce so I thought of my favorite pizza from my favorite home town pizzeria that uses an alfredo sauce instead. YES! Alfredo!! Why hadn't I thought of that? Wait, I just did.

That settles it...Chef Boyardee pizza dough, roma tomatoes, sliced mozzarella cheese, basil from the stalk...and...homemade alfredo sauce. Everybody say it with me now...mmmmmm. After all, I DID just buy some $20/lb parmesano reggiano! AND I had some half and half in my fridge that needed to be used to boot! YES! The stars are re-aligning!

Can I take a moment and stress the utter importance of using a magnificent piece of parmesan to really make your alfredo go from "this is actually pretty good" to "Mom, this is so good I wish my mouth was bigger."

True story.

(Please excuse the amazing photography...all pics were taken from my iPhone since my laptop is being obstinate and not reading my memory card any longer. iPhone picture quality is lacking to say the least.)

Here is my beautiful pizza constructed as follows: Chef Maceyardee's pizza dough, topped with fresh, homemade alfredo sauce made with parmesano reggiano and half and half (YUM!), covered with sliced roma tomatoes, almost fresh basil from the stalk, and sliced mozzarella covering the entire pizza! Then to top it all off and just to be down right naughty, I finished the entire thing with more grated parmesano reggiano. I'm kind of surprised I didn't eat the entire thing right then and there. I guess the raw dough kept me straight.

Into a hot oven until the cheese was so bubbly I actually had to stick a cookie sheet below it so the gooey cheese would stop dripping onto the bottom of my oven. You KNOW it's gonna be good at that point. And just when the cheese started to get brown...she was finished...and here she is...

This about sends me into food convulsions.

Here's a closeup.

And if that wasn't evil enough for you. Here's how the night really ended up.

This pizza was delicious. Simply and utterly delicious. I really think the homemade alfredo sauce was what really made it killer though. Well, that and the no holds bar quantity of mozzarella completely dousing the pizza. Oh geez, and let us not forget the pizza kit!

Dear Chef Boyardee, please accept my sincerest, most heartfelt and public apology. Your pizza kit, did, in fact, produce a very lovely crust for my pizza heart attack. I do apologize.

But to Dollar General...seriously, man??? Where's my yeast??

Oh! I almost forgot. I had a few left over tomatoes and mozzarella slices, so I made a makeshift salad and topped it off with some balsamic vinegar....YUMMMMMM!

Until next time!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Justification Shmustification

Justification-the act of defending or explaining or making excuses for, by reasoning.
As in, "Macey should win an award for her ability to use justification to make unhealthy food choices."

I know, I know, I KNOW! You're probably just as tired of the whiny, bad decision-making, unhealthy food blogs. I know I am. But I promise, I will add in some other beautifully thought out blogs...some day. That is, when I can aptly justify it. (Bu dun chhhh.)

Truth of the matter is that I do win an award for justifying unhealthy food choices...it's called guilt. As soon as I think about bad food, promptly justify it in my head, then act on it, I'm usually awarded with a sudden, powerful sense of guilt. Not only did I just undo all of the hard work I put in at the gym, but I sadly realize that I seriously lack any necessary will power to understand the consequences of bad eating are far worse than the fulfillment of the justification.

It usually goes like this...I invite you to take a trip with me as I explain a typical justification shmustificaton situation. (Hey, I kinda like that!) About 2 o'clock in the afternoon, approximately 2.5 hours after I've eaten my lunch I get the craving. You know...the craving. The craving for something sweet. I wonder to the kitchen where I find the bowl of fruit that I just bought at Whole Foods for just this very moment of weakness. I pass it by. No, I need something...stronger. And I find it...in the fridge lies 1/4 of a left over cake I took to a friend's house. My mind says NO, not cake! It's laden with sugar...it's consumed with fat...it's burdened with empty calories...it's filled with evil caramel sauce and naughty sweetened condensed milk...it's moist, deliciously moist...it's chocolatey, perfectly chocolately...it's covered in sinful whipped cream...and it's beckoning me to take a bite. It NEEDS me to take a bite. So I take it from the fridge, grab my fork and indulge with a bite. Just one bite. One bite isn't going to KILL me! With a smile on my face and a moan from my tummy, I put the fork down. Then after an entire 4 minutes of not eating anything, I decide I need another bite. And another bite. And, yet, another bite. Each bite commencing with it's own justification..."One bite won't kill me", "Is this little bite really going to cover my abs?" "I work hard to eat what I want and I want this cake." And before I know it, the cake is gone and I'm left feeling out of control.

Guilt is the reward for my justification...and it's a lot longer lasting feeling than the enjoyment of the cake. So why, oh why, dear Lord, is that not part of my thought process? Why can't I see the cake, realize that 1.) I worked WAY to hard at the gym to throw it all away with a moment on the lips and 2.) After I do oblige I'm really going to be kicking myself for it! And probably literally kicking myself to work that cake back off! Why is this so hard to fathom when it comes to a game time decision..fruit vs. cake? I should know by now that I regret the decision every single time. So why, oh why, do I do this to myself? Really, why? It's not a rhetorical question, I need some answers! (Oh help me Jesus!)

Before I completely mentally beat myself up, I have decided to try something...something new, something revolutionary, something that no man before has ever even thought about thinking about. Something that the moment I tell you, you will most certainly gasp, your eyes will widen and you might end up hitting your forehead with the palm of your hand.
So, my question to you is....

Are you ready?

Ok, here it is...



I've decided to start eating backwards.


(Pause for dramatic emphasis.)

(Pausing for the gasp, widening of eyes, and impending palm to forehead connection.)

I know. You're shocked. It's okay, let it soak in for a moment....now, let's continue. Unlike my hopeful yet defeating attempt at South Beach, Eating for my Type (that's blood type, thank you very little) and yes, I even tried being Vegan, this cunning idea is not just a fad diet, here today, gone tomorrow. This is real stuff, man. It's eating with your food behind you. Hello?! How ingenious is that? How can I keep eating what I can't see? How can I feel like I'm depriving myself if I can't even see that half of my food still remains on my plate, even though my brain is telling me that my stomach is full? How is this not the biggest thing to hit the health industry since leg warmers and tube socks? People, I stand (actually, sit) before you today and proclaim that I have found the "magic pill". I'm writing a book. I'm developing a user-friendly guide full of useful tips of how to "Eat Out and At Parties and Still Keep Your Friends", which includes a handy back apron and floor mat. Plus, I've enlisted Cindy Crawford to be my miracle working spokesperson. It's gonna sell like Sprinkles cupcakes at fat camp. And you're gonna say...oh yeah...I remember her (me, not Cindy Crawford) when she was just a lonely ole blog writer, bitterly obsessed with the struggle between working out and eating right!

Ok, so obviously, I'm kidding...kind of. I'm not talking about physically eating with your back to your food. I'm talking about taking your normal days' food and flipping it around. I didn't ask permission from the lovely lady who sent me this information, but she knows who she is and Runner Girl, I thank you and hope it's okay to share the info you so blessed me with! Here is the article she sent to me. Read it. If you don't feel like reading it, let me summarize.

(MRT: I think I pretty much flunked the Summarizing chapter in English class...because obviously my parents forgot to pass on the necessary strand in my DNA structure that allows one's thoughts to be short and concise. I don't know how to "get to the point", as my husband usually requests. Details, baby! They're important. They paint such a lovely picture of what's going on. More so than a black and white...uh hem..boring...Reader's Digest version. I have a problem. I know.)

Back to my summary.

Man Version: Eat your big meal in the morning. A decent sized, filling meal at lunch. Have a nice snack. Eat a light dinner. The End. All is equal and well in the world. Ba da bing ba da boom.

Woman Version: Do you ever feel like you are so good to yourself until about mid afternoon, then all hades breaks loose? This totally makes sense...just think about it for a second. Would you rather fill your car up with gas and park it in the garage for the night or fill it up with gas and take it on a long, lovely, desperately needed road trip? Say, with a group of girls to do some fabulous shopping and relaxing spa time to unwind and escape the hustle of stresses of every day life? Yet, I digress. The point is, why fill up with your biggest meal of the day right before you put your engine to bed? You're filling up to go to sleep. Why not eat those calories when you know you're going to use them? In the morning! Just think, you could actually have enough energy to make it through your day!!! Doesn't it just make more sense, even on some far-reaching logical thought train, that if you're going to have a big meal, you'd want as much time as possible to actually use it and burn it off before you go into hibernation mode?

Eating close to bedtime is like a bear going into hibernation. The difference is, that the bear does it because he needs to store the fat and calories so he can snooze for the winter. (Does that not just sound wonderfully enticing right now, to sleep for months and months?) The point is, he eats so much to store it. Isn't our goal to un-store it? So to un-store it, we need to not store it. There. It's really as simple as that. Ha!

The correct answer is this: it makes no cotton-pickin' sense to eat the majority of your calories at night when, if you're like the rest of us, you sit your saggy butt right down on the couch and watch you DVR queue until bed time. Why not, instead, eat the majority of your calories at the beginning and middle of your day so that you actually have enough energy to make it though the day?! How about avoiding the desire to skip breakfast, eat a measly lunch (or maybe not), then ravishingly prepare a dinner (or grab one on the road because you're so hungry) that you will scarf down...just in time for bed. Not enough calories to be alert and pleasant throughout the day and too many calories late at night before bed. It makes no sense. None.

What does make sense is properly fueling your body for the energy it requires to make it through your day. Did you hear that? PROPERLY fueling your body. Sorry, that doesn't mean doughnuts. That doesn't mean bacon and sausage. It means fiber dense whole grains. It means a small glass of OJ. It means eating the fruit from the fruit bowl (uh hem), since after all they are not just a pretty centerpiece. (Although they are pretty.)

After complaining for the umpteenth time about how hungry I was in the afternoons and how exhausted I was throughout the day, my Runner Girl sent me the article for help. I wasn't eating enough at the right times. Most days I'd start off with a Fiber One bar and head to the gym for an exhausting 1200+ calorie burn off. Then I'd head home and try to replenish my freshly broken down muscles with a piddly salad. Literally 30 minutes later I was starved. And I was starved enough to eat anything and everything I could get my hands on. Well, anything besides the naturally sugared, God given fruit from the aforementioned fruit bowl. Then when I filled up on junk, the cycle began. 30 minutes later, I was still hungry...still grabbing food. Food that wasn't replenishing what I just lost at the gym, so I was exhausted. I was exhausted and hungry and fueling up with junk. It was a vicious cycle.

For the last week I've been working on eating backwards. Eating a decent sized, good carb and protein filled breakfast to get me through my workouts. Eating a nutritious, but filling, good carb and protein filled lunch. Drinking a protein shake filled with fresh fruit and nut butters for a snack. And finishing my day with a light dinner filled mostly with veggies and protein.

The results? I've lost 12 pounds, 3 inches and feel like I'm 15 again. Hahaha...I wish! Honestly, I am feeling a lot better throughout my workouts. I'm feeling more satisfied and energized throughout the day so that I don't feel the need to justify the cake. The cake is from the devil. I find that I'm not even thinking about the devil cake. I'm trying to eat for fuel, not for fun. (Man, that is the hard part!) But my biggest struggle is getting my hard-gainer husband to stop offering me ice cream at night!!! Men!

Now if I could just learn to justify cleaning the house every single day. This could be a happy, happy world.

Until next time!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Weight Just a Second!

Someone broke my scale.

Well, either that, or Tulsa has somehow shifted closer to sea level. I wholeheartedly believe that someone sneaked into my house and broke my scale. I called the police to file a report but the operator hung up on me. She murmured something about putting the twinkie down....I'm not entirely sure though.
(Mom, notice how I used the word "sneaked"? That was just for you. See, I do listen to you! Mwah!)

Here's the deal. Although I'd love to blame my scale, an obvious slide closer to sea level, or even a shift in lunar alignment (I'm not even sure what that means), the truth of the matter is that a mysterious 8 pounds have found their way onto my scale. Seriously. It's gotta be broke, right?

I know what you're going to say and honestly if you say it I might throw something at you. They include any of the following:
"It's muscle! Everyone knows muscles weighs more than fat!"
"Oh heavens Macey, nobody really looks like those supermodels on magazine covers."
"Macey, you're perfect the way God made you."
"Well, I can't tell!"
"Are you pregnant?"

First of all, no, I'm not pregnant. (Geesh, it's just 8 pounds guys, but now you think I LOOK pregnant? Thanks.) I am tempted to throw things when I hear those comments because heck, I don't WANT to look like a supermodel. Surviving on a cracker and 7 almonds for the entire day? No thank you! I KNOW that fat weighs more than muscle. Sorry, but I don't really care if you can tell or not. I can tell. And since the scale just groaned as I stepped onto it, that, my friends, does not make me happy. I also am well aware that I am perfect in God's eyes, but that's not really true if I'm not treating my body as his holy temple. The question is am I?

Truth be told I want to be healthy! I want to make healthy choices for myself and my family so that we can be the best us that we can be! I know, from actual science (ewwww, ahhhhh) that putting healthy things into the body results in better output. All systems just function better! Heck yeah, that's what I'm talking about. And hey, if we're really being honest here and my jeans happen to sit just right on my backside, then I'm not going to complain. I'm all for a win/win, people!

Well over the past 6 months or so I haven't even stepped on my scale. Not that I was worried about things, I just figured I'd do what most "fit" enthusiasts suggest: to gauge my progress or regress based on how my clothes fit.

I think you can see where this is heading.

I have been working my non-literal butt off for the past 6 months. This is another one of my problems...I'm ready to start working my literal butt off. Why isn't this thing just melting away into that perfect toddler butt that I've worked so hard for? I have been putting in a good 10-15 hours/week of hard core physical, sweat dripping, heavy breathing, muscle burning activities per week. Including but not limited to a variety of cardio, weight training, plyos and swimming. I had a goal of wanting to be lean....lean and cut. And maybe, just maybe take on some sort of competition. But I wanted most of all to be healthy. And I figured, if I'm lucky my inside health would be outwardly evidenced by becoming lean and cut. Read: not big and bulky, which is where I feel I normally end up.

***!!!!WARNING!!!! Soapbox ahead!!! Scroll ahead if opposed to soapboxes!***
For the thousands of trainers who say that women cannot physically put on mass because it's not in our "genetic makeup" I'd like to slap you across the back of the head with my breadstick...and break your scale. Women absolutely CAN and most definitely WILL add mass to their frame if they eat incorrectly! You will never see a muscle's definition if there is a layer (or two, or six) of fat covering it! Everyone has muscles. Everyone has the ability to show em off, but you can't show off a beautiful flower arrangement with a down comforter thrown over it. (Yeah, that's all I could come up with, but you catch my drift, right?)

If you are eating the same amount of calories and start weight training then yes, eventually you will see results because you are working with a net loss of calories than you were working with prior to weight training. If you cut calories, then you'll see faster results. However, if you are of the mindset that since you're working out that you get to eat MORE, more than you were eating prior to weight training, I've got news for you...you will NOT see results. Well, that's a lie. You will see results, you'll see that ugly little number on the scale go up, up, up. And your pants will get tight, tight, tight. Because now you're building muscle but replacing the calorie deficit with more calories. Thus you're just padding up the down comforter and not allowing that beautiful flower arrangement to shine through! Or you're adding more and more flowers to the arrangement, but you're just making the comforter poof out more because the problem is the comforter, not the flowers. Is this making any sense? The little image in my head makes perfect sense! I invite you to come inside and check it out!

And yes, I understand that building muscle increases metabolism and uses more energy for longer, thus burning more calories. I get that. My point is that yes, women CAN add mass. And they do it by weight training and NOT eating right. Eat clean instead of downing a whole pizza, and your muscles will repay you by eating away at the fat around them and showing off their sculptured beauty that you so worked hard for!

*** Breath***End of Soapbox***

Thank you for listening. You may now remove your fingers from your ears.

Now, where was I? Oh yes, my non-literal butt...

So I work out hard each week, and (news flash!) it is true, I like to eat. (Evidenced by my last 500 blogs all dedicated to the subject of food!) This is where my problem starts because I don't always choose the carrot sticks over a handful of m-n-m's. The person who sneaked into my house and broke my scale, I believe, also increased the temperature of my dryer. My jeans now feel a bit tighter in my thighs and my literal butt, which should not be happening if I'm replacing fat with muscle. Muscle, although weighing more than fat, takes up a LOT less room. So, clothes should be fitting better, not tighter. Sigh.

My impressive deductive reasoning skills tell me that if I'm working my non-literal butt off every day and I'm seeing an increase on the scale AND in my jeans then the obvious problem is with my m-n-m habit.

Which makes me wonder...do people actually have "habits" with good things...like carrot sticks? Like raw broccoli? "Oh Jen, I can't go out with you tonight, I overindulged in my crudite platter again!" Does that happen? Do those people feel bad about the overindulgence? Or do they feel great? Or do they just feel gassy?

Most of my meals are, as I categorize them, "decent". I usually start off well in the morning. Lunch is iffy. Dinner is usually good. Snacks are terrible. I have always refused to keep a food journal because I guess it's like people who don't go to the doctor because they don't want to hear the bad news. Yeah, that's me. I don't want to see it written down that I ate 12 malted milk Easter eggs throughout the day. (Man, grabbing two at a time adds up!) I know I'm not perfect and I just don't feel like seeing my imperfections written out on paper. It's sooooo, sooooo school like! I know my journal will be marked up with red pen. I won't get an A at the top of my paper and that will make me feel like a failure. And lately, feeling like a failure is just not something I want to feel like!

But I think that may be just what I need. Maybe, just maybe it's time to face the facts. Even if those facts are marked up with a red pen each day showing me how I am failing my plans for health and God's desires for a holy temple. Even though I work my non-literal butt off, if I really want to work my literal butt off, maybe I should take the advice of the 911 operator, put the twinkie down and walk away.

I encourage you to keep a food journal. If you don't want to, then that should be your first sign that you're not living optimally to be the best you that you can be! And if that doesn't motivate you, then how about better sleep, more energy, better brain functions, heart functions, reproductive, respiratory, digestive....you get the point. The payoffs could literally be life saving. Although I'm still not convinced my added 8 pounds is really due to a shift in lunar alignment, I'm vowing to continue working my non-literal AND literal butt off with the help of better food choices and (huff. sigh. groan. eye roll.) start keeping a food journal.

Until next time!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Long Time No Read

I haven't been sleeping well. No news there. Though I'm convinced it's hormonal because the sleeplessness seems to come in cycles. (Note to self: start logging sleepless nights. What part of the month it is. What I had for dinner. What thoughts are running through my head like a hamster on a wheel. What jeans I wore. High heels or flats? If I'm soaked with sweat. (Pretty pic, I know.))

That last one is true. Some mornings I wake up completely saturated in sweat. Yummy. Like I just worked out for hours. It's weird. It's gross. It means a lot more laundry. And that alone is enough to motivate me to search for answers. I'm 30, for Pete sakes!

So one day following a sleepless night I took advantage of Zoey's naptime and decided to also lay down myself. (Or is it lie down? Whatever. You know what I mean. I approached my bed, crawled under the covers and assumed a horizontal position.) While I was horizontal (aka supine. Yeah baby, I'm smart!)...while I was horizontal I had a blog post idea. "Oh yes, I'll write about that. Good idea, Macey...oh, *pop*, *pop*, *pop* (those are ideas popping into my head) and those will be my supporting pieces...yes, yes, good ideas Macey....NO! STOP!"

It was just as the creative juices were really flowing that I decided I would NOT think about those things during my much needed nap time. I knew I was limited for time with Zoey sleeping, so I had to seize the opportunity...for sleep, that is. So I tucked myself in, pushed the pause button on my blog post idea, and went to sleep.

And then I woke up.


When I woke up, I realized I didn't push pause, I pushed the stop and erase now button. And when it verified if I really wanted to delete my ideas, I pressed yes. It was GONE! My idea. My supporting pieces. All gone! Where they went, I haven't a clue. I suppose they will find their way into my cerebrum again someday. Probably when I least expect it. Probably, if I'm really lucky, at a time when I can't take notes!

So I've been waiting. Thinking. Meditating. Sleeping. Wondering. I even went to a hypnotist to find where my ideas where hiding, but only found out that I forgot to turn the washing machine on and turn the coffee pot off. Doh! Alas, not even a smidgen of a hint of an inkling of a twinkling of an idea of what I was going to write about. So with the days quickly passing, I decided I'd write about the fact that once upon a time I had an idea. Wow. Interesting! So there it is folks. Really, it's a post about nothing at all! Does that mean my brain is void of all rational thoughts? Probably. But if we're being completely honest here, we've already known that for a while now.

So to add a little sustenance to the nothingness, I will offer some stories straight from my crazy offspring. (Offsprings? Geesh, maybe I should read more. Note to self: read more. Note on top of original note to self: nursery rhymes don't count.)

Today Gavin informed me that the tv in the playroom "wasn't working right". These types of comments and requests are usually made to dad. Everyone in this house knows that electronics and I don't mesh. We're like polenta and goat cheese. Or shorts and Uggs. For some reason the stars don't align with our complicated relationship. We have an ugly past. But being that Sean is the working dad that he is and I was just attempting to write about the nothingness inside my void brain, I was the only one at home with "authority to plug things in". Even though I'm sure those privileges will be revoked soon enough.

So Blog Mom put down the computer, grabbed her Electronics Fixer hat and went to the playroom to investigate. Just as the boy said...the TV wasn't working right. At least it wasn't showing the movie that was obviously running in the dvd player. Just a blue screen. I used my super sleuth skills to check that the tv was on VIDEO...check. I checked all plug ins...check, check, check. A couple were loose, so I pushed em in farther and checked the screen. Still blue. I checked everything I knew how to check and even went for the fix all "reboot" that seems to help out the laptop 9 times outta 10. I turned it all off, then back on. No luck. Screen's still blue.

When I tell Sean about the tv here in a bit I fully expect my Electronics Fixer hat to be taken back and my plugging in authorities to be revoked. It could be a sad night.

But the funny part of this story is not how I played directly into my role as the non-fixer. It's about the scene that was taking place behind me as I sleuthed my way to failure. (Yes, I made sleuth a verb.) I shall call this story Oh Be Careful Little Mouths What You Say and here it is:
Gavin and Zoey were playing house, or something of the sorts. Zoey grabbed her purse and her keys. Gavin gave Zoey a list of items they needed from the store. On her way out, she grabbed her phone (or course) and Gavin yelled, "don't forget we need dog food". Zoey left the room, came back about 5 seconds later and sat down in a chair. After a second and verifying to Gavin that she remembered the dog food, she looked around the room and said, "You kids need to clean this crap up!".

I about fell out. I think I did.

I turned around unable to hide the smile on my face and told her she did not get to talk like that. And I realized, it just hit me, she obviously got that from her daddy. Ha!!

The second story of the day comes to you via a paper Gavin wrote at school. I will call this story Everything is Gravy When You're High and it goes a little something like this:
Gavin usually gets done with his in-class assignments quickly, so to keep himself occupied he draws on the back of his papers or practices writing sentences. He said his teacher is usually busy helping other students with the assignment so she doesn't help with his extracurricular spelling. She tells him to "just sound it out".

While going through his backpack today I found his normal school work. I flipped over all the papers to see what creativity was oozing through him today. Most days I'm greeted with an "I love you Mom" or a beautiful mosaic of colors. But today, I found this. A piece of paper with this written on the back:
"Avery is butfl. She is hiye. What the?"

No. I'm not even kidding. I kinda wish I was.

This is what I am hoping it translates to:
"Avery is beautiful. She is...(I'm actually lost here. I was hoping for 'nice', but it's just not fitting.) She is high. What is the meaning of love?"
It's a stretch. It's a very, very large stretch. But it's better in my make believe world.

This is what I actually saw the first time I read it:
"Avery is buttful. She is high. What the...?"

Huh? Avery is buttful? Does that mean she's a little round in the backside? That she's got junk in her trunk? At the age of 6? *Sigh* I don't know where Avery came from, but I keep imaging a 6 year old Jennifer Lopez addicted to crack. And Gavin questioning it with a "what the ....". I guess I can't shield my first born from the real life forever. Wait. Who am I kidding...he watches Big Brother.

Totally kidding. He doesn't watch Big Brother. He said Big Brother was trash tv compared to the Real Housewives of Orange County. Now that's real life, folks. Fabricated, silicone-filled, extension-attached, fake-friending, botox-ridden real life! I'm kind of addicted to the trash. Don't tell anyone.

We'll be praying for and with our children tonight. They obviously need it. I'm concerned. I also might change my name to protect the guilty.

Finally, if I ever remember what I was going to write about, you might hear from me sooner than later. If not...it might be another post about nothing.

Until next time!

Friday, February 19, 2010

I Run So I Can Eat

I once saw a fit, athletic, healthy, middle-aged man wearing a shirt proclaiming these words: I Run So I Can Eat. I wanted to run to him, give him a high-five, a hug, a shoulder rub and tell him "Dude, I totally feel your pain". And it's kinda nice to know that you, Mr. Athletic Man, suffer from food issues too!

You can get your own...here. (The t-shirt, not the issues.)

Warning!! I would not wear this shirt if you do not run or workout, if you've never owned a pair of tennis shoes, or genuinely have no idea what I'm talking about. Cuz it would be wrong. And weird. And people would make fun of you. So really, I'm here for you. You can thank me later.

I have done some sort of physical fitness since 1st grade. (I'm not bragging just providing some captivating back story.) I started off in gymnastics. Then, after I was discovered by a classmate's father during a lunch with his daughter, I started playing softball. Seems in first grade I was a head taller than the other girls in my class. My classmate's father had recently lost his third baseman to a broken arm and was out scouting for her replacement. (Not really. At least I don't think so. Rec sports can be hard core though, so who knows.) So one fateful lunch in first grade turned into a phone call to my mom then into a 14 year relationship with softball. We were together a long time, through good times and bad. But I was also seeing another sport during that time. I played basketball for eight years. A shorter love affair.

During my high school softball days I used to go to the week of tryouts with a huge knot in my stomach. It had nothing to do with my softball skills or abilities that would soon be tested. It had everything to do with that 1 mile jog out to "the tree" and back. That was it, a mile. A silly mile. But I dreaded it like a child and an impending shot. I HATED that run. We seriously considered digging up that tree one year, thinking that we wouldn't have to run if there was no tree!

I thought a silly mile was bad, but I didn't even KNOW running until I got to college. College athletics are serious when it comes to conditioning. I mean, what? Just because you're paying for my tuition you think I need to be in top physical condition? Geesh, picky much? In the off-season it was common to have an awesome (highly sarcastic) day of conditioning consisting of an hour swim, a 3 mile run, and weights. (Yeah, all in a row. We were tough. I cried a lot.) I figured out something that I pretty much thought I already knew...I HATE to run. Still.

One thing I also remember is never really worrying about what I ate. My pregame meal in high school was a personal pepperoni pizza with ranch (of course) and probably as much Dr. Pepper as my tummy could hold. College wasn't much better with either a pre or post game meal out and constant snacks. I wish I would've worn a heart rate monitor back then to see the exuberant amount of calories I used to burn. I was a lean, mean, calorie consuming and burning machine. Those days as a college athlete were hard. They were mentally and physically challenging like nothing I'd ever experienced before.

That is, before last week.

I had heard of Crossfit before. There was a group of young land dudes at Samson who were going super early before work to do Crossfit in Jenks throughout the week. These guys were all former athletes and current triathletes and distance runners. They weren't couch potatoes. I knew Crossfit was hardcore when I heard that the very first day one of the guys threw up. Gulp. Wow, sounds like fun. Where do I sign up? Not.

Well, after leaving college, starting a career and a family it was time to find my way back to the gym. Man, hormones are a beast! Now food was finding a way to stick to me. I was having to think about what I was putting into my mouth. I was still eating athlete/pregnant quantities but I wasn't doing anything to burn it off! So the extra calories clung to my body like a warm tongue to a frozen light pole. So I got a gym membership.

Six months ago I started taking classes at my local gym. Classes are good for Macey. Classes mean Macey can't quit when it hurts. (It's SUPPOSED to hurt!) Classes mean people know Macey's coming and expect Macey to be there. Classes are filled with women (and the occasional brave man) who are all in the same boat. In fact, one instructor has a saying that I particularly like, "Keep going, don't stop, we're all hurting together." And Macey's pain likes the company.

These classes were hard. It had been a while since I'd really sweated like that. I wore my heart rate monitor and after a cardio class followed by a pump class (weights) I would typically burn 1,200+ calories and man, did I feel good. It was a huge challenge, I was committed to it, and I loved it. Then I was introduced to Crossfit. Visions of puking athletes came to my mind as I heard "if you think your classes are hard, you should try the intensity of Crossfit". Yeah (eye roll), so I've heard.

But not being one to back down from a challenge and feeling a bit more fit after 6 months of classes, Sean and I signed up to try a few Crossfit sessions. Our sessions have consisted of total training times varying from 7-20 minutes. Short, huh? To me, at first, I thought there's no way you can get a good workout in in that short of time. I need hours, man. And pools of sweat pouring off of me.

First session: 21 thrusters, 21 pullups, 15 thrusters, 15 pullups, 9 thrusters, 9 pullups. Easy, right? Riiiiiiiighht. No, it wasn't! Since I can't do the recommended and helpful "kip" pullup, I got to do jumping pullups. Cheating, sorta. If cheating means feeling like you're gonna die. And afterwards, (Oh. Em. Gee.) I thought my heart was going to leap out of my chest or just give up and stop. My mouth was filled with cotton balls. Who puh teez cogen baaz in my mof? My muscles were screaming. 5-7 minutes of pain.

Our next session: A killer circuit of the following back to back: 1 minute of pushpress, 1 minute of box jumps, 1 minute of rows, 1 minute of sumo dead lift high pulls, 1 minute of wall balls, followed by a one minute rest. 5 total minutes of going as hard and as fast as you can. 1 minute of rest, then repeat...3 times. That workout is affectionately called "Fight Gone Bad". It was bad. It was very bad. Macey wanted to puke. Macey didn't. Sean did. Haha...just kidding. We both (barely) survived.

For more information on Crossfit, go here (at your own risk)!

Although I am still a firm believer that to lose weight and get a sculpted body (if that's what you're into) then it takes about 70% of an almost-perfect diet and 30% of a great sweat-inducing workout. It's all about the food, baby. Putting the bad stuff in will only work against you. Think about dumping sand into your gas tank. Gas+sand=...well...I'm really not sure, but it can't be good. Your body needs the right "gas" for it to function. Clean gas. (Ok, I gotta say it cuz you're probably already thinking it...Clean gas IN=Clean gas OUT. There. I said it for you. Have your little chuckle.) You gotta limit the "sand" you dump into the tank. However...and I share this like it's the big spoiler to the end of LOST...however...you can have a little more "sand" in your tank without the disastrous side effects if you are working your butt off, literally. You gotta have some give and take. I'm all about equal opportunity.

So the man...with the shirt...who I wanted to hug...is kind of a genius in my world. Thus why I wanted to hug him. If you want to eat that donut...you gotta work for it, baby! Work for it, or it's gonna giggly implant itself right there on your thighs. I know, it's an ugly reality. I'm here to proclaim the truth.

I run (or lift, or spin, or walk, or step, or Zumba, or sweat) so I can eat!

Until next time!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Focus, Macey. Focus!

During my softball games, after an error in the field, a strikeout, or prior to an at bat that desperately needed to produce a hit, I could set my watch to the sure fact that my dad would yell from his stadium seat, "Focus, Macey. Focus!". If his shouts of fatherly help were after an error or strikeout, you could bet I would not look up into the stands to make eye contact. I knew it was coming. He knew I could hear him. I knew I had messed up and my dad's idea of proper course correction was to remind me to focus.

After all, wasn't focus the only obvious answer to my softball problems? Who doesn't focus when stepping up to the plate to face a 68+ mph fastball whizzing by just inches from her body? You HAVE to focus in order to get your brain to read "ball" or "strike" (read: swing or don't swing) just milliseconds after the ball has left the pitcher's hand. You also HAVE to focus to have your brain to tell your foot to step, your hips to fire and your hands to throw the bat toward the speeding ball while FOCUSING on the spin of the ball, determining its speed and rotation, thus calculating its movement in order to move your bat at just the right time, speed, and angle to meet that speeding ball at just the right spot so that it doesn't foul off, pop up or hit right at a fielder, but to smack it, hard, in a gap. Or if we're lucky, straight over the fence. Now. Who's not focusing?!

However, sometimes, instead of his fatherly course correction yell, dad's shouts were for encouragement. Before a big at bat, I would look into the stands. All he had to do was raise his hands to his eye as if focusing a large lens...and I knew what he meant. Focus, Macey. Focus. Focus on what you're doing. Because focusing leads to a clearer, truer picture.

I know many times stepping up to the plate to face an Olympic pitcher (yes, literally), that I told myself over and over, "I can hit this girl. I can do it. I know I can." I couldn't have focused any harder on focusing. I was in the moment. I was ready. I was relaxed and confident (or at least I faked it to scare the pitcher). There was nothing she could throw past me. I fought. I focused. But I didn't always get the hit. Was it because I didn't focus? Because I didn't focus hard enough? Or was I focused on all the wrong things?

I do this in my adult life now. In a past post I talked about my New Year's resolution was to "finished everything that I...". I've finally determined that my problem with finishing the task at hand is, in fact, my lack of focus. Every now and then when I stop one task to work on another one that's caught my attention the little cartoon cloud pops up with my dad's face in it telling me, "Focus, Macey. Focus!". And more often than not, I'm literally having to re-train myself on how to stay focused. I have to realize that the crumbs will still be on the table after I finish getting vitamins for the kids. I think my fear is that I'll forget. I'll forget the crumbs are there and when finally we sit down to eat dinner, there they'll be. Staring at me. Taunting me. Telling me that they won because I lost focus last night and never cleared them away.

Not only does this issue with focus run through my daily life (my daily parade, thank you very little!), but it runs throughout my time with my husband, my children, and my heavenly Father. Each night something takes my attention away from all of the well laid out plans I had intended to do. Homework time with Gavin, special time with Zoey, and snuggle time with Sean all somehow seem to get over looked for fixing dinner, cleaning up, laundry, bath time, a new show that's got my attention, researching labeling guidelines...the list goes on and on. Something always takes away my focus.

Crumbs on the table are the least of my concerns. It's when I hear the familiar yell, coming this time from my heavenly father, that really gets my attention. Although it's not coming from a parent in the stadium, it comes as a gentle tug on my heart, a whisper inside of my head, "Focus, Macey. Focus!". Stop focusing on the crumbs. Stop focusing on who's cooking what for the Super Bowl. Stop focusing on your lip gloss. Focus, instead, on me.

In the world we live focusing on God is not an easy thing. It doesn't just happen. Good focus takes effort and discipline. In much the same way as a successful hit at the plate requires extreme practice and discipline, so does our focus on God. Every day we have to decide the things we will do. Every second we have to decide the thoughts we will think. If you are feeling unfulfilled, depressed, or empty, I would fester to guess that you are not living the life God intended you to live. Return your focus to God. Don't let anyone steal your joy...not the devil, not the government, not the mean lady at the gym, not long lines, unavoidable delays, or yet ANOTHER day of snow!

Focusing on God gives us a clearer, truer picture of God and his purpose and intent for our lives. As we re-align our focus back to God (or to God for the first time), I KNOW we will receive new joy, more power, and greater peace by following his will. Peace! What an awesome reward!!

I follow an amazing blog, God Speaks Today. Each time I receive an email update that she's got a new post, I usually drop everything to read it. She inspires me. But most of all she makes me realize that I'm normal! I'm attaching her lasted post about her problems with focus.


Today I will focus on the task at hand. Nothing will steal my focus or my joy. And when I properly focus I will be rewarded by seeing a clearer, truer picture. I will be prepared to face the curve balls that each day throws my way and I will smack that ball...straight out of the park. I will live the fulfilled life that God has intended for me. And I will have peace. I hope you find it too. If you have any trouble, just call my dad...he can remind you too, to focus.

Until next time!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Not Giada's Noodles

You know when you make something and it's so good you have to write it down immediately cuz you "gotta remember" this one? Well, I found one of those meals. I think I stole part of it from Giada Delaurentis from the Food Network, but really there was quite a bit of time between her show and when I made this dish that I'm sure it's not food infringement...right? Right. We'll go with that. Sean still goes into an immediate wide eyed, wide mouth drool when I mention Giada or if he catches a glimpse of her on tv. He doesn't even know she's a cook. I remember one time I said, "Oh Sean, look at these noodles Giada's making." His response? "I don't see any noodles...". (Gasp.) Men!
(I picked the more...uh hem...appropriate picture of her.)

Before I tell you about the dish that I made I need to mention a few things.

  • I didn't measure anything. It's all by sight. So don't go into measurement freakout...just make it look good. If it looks good to your eye, it will taste good to your tummy!

  • I bought a bag of frozen shrimp. I have no idea the size of the bag...and I probably thawed half of it.

  • I bought my sundried tomatoes from the new, cool, little condiment bar at Reasors. They have little bowls. I have no idea how many I had. (See a theme yet? No measuring!)

  • When I say you need quite a bit of oil, believe me, you do. You should cook your garlic and shrimp in the oil and then pour it all over your pasta and crumbs...they will soak it all up, so you need quite a bit. If you'd rather, you can start light and add more later, but the more flavorful way is to let the shrimp and garlic cook in the oil and use that oil for your pasta sauce.

Ok, that's enough...here's what I did:

1.) I took TOASTED ALMONDS and about a handful or two from a box of TOASTED GARLIC TRISCUITS and chopped them up in the food processor until they were like thick dust.

(I bought some slivered almonds and toasted them in a skillet until I could smell them. Side note: I am very, VERY good at burning these babies. A smoke filled kitchen, the vent blowing on high and a loud, "DANG IT!"are usually soon to follow if I'm in charge of toasting something!)

2.) I thawed 1/2 a bag of FROZEN COLOSSAL SHRIMP, then seasoned the shrimp with salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and old bay.

(I always buy the shrimp that have been deveined. It's up to you if you want to leave the shells on, tails on, or rip em all up. And feel free to buy fresh shrimp.)

3.) I boiled a BAG OF FROZEN 5 CHEESE RAVIOLI according to package directions.

(It doesn't take long.)

4.) I heated a good bit of OIL in a skillet (I've been mixing vegetable and olive together lately). I added in whole GARLIC CLOVES, then the seasoned shrimp. Let the shrimp and garlic cook on both sides.

5.) While the shrimp and garlic cooked away to delish goodness I drained the pasta, reserving a bit of the pasta water. I added the processed triscuits and almond mish mash and some freshly grated parmesan cheese to the pasta.

6.) Then I added one JAR OF ARTICHOKES (in water) to the food processor. Process. Add to the pasta.

7.) Next add some SUNDRIED TOMATOES to the food processor. Process. Add to the pasta.

8.) Add garlic, shrimp, and oil to the pasta.

9.) Top this delicious mixture with more freshly grated parm and behold the wonders that are shrimp, pasta, and lots of other good stuff!

It's delicious, even if it's partially stolen. No, they're not Giada's noodles. But since Sean doesn't know the difference, it's all good.

Eat and enjoy!

Until next time!