Dec 15, 2014

Menu Plan Monday: Cooking for One

I hate hate hate hate hate cooking for only myself!

Last week I pretty much refused to, since getting lunch was usually large enough to be two portions. But, by the weekend I was down for the count. No energy, back problems, not completely attributed to the change in weather, but more likely to the increased gluten (bread) intake (yes, I have been emo-eating again. Peppermint brownies, can you blame me?).

So, yesterday I started cooking for myself again and clean eating.
Sunday: Ghetto Fabulous Claim Jumpers Jamaican Jerk Chicken and Sweet Potatoes

Monday: Honey Mustard Chicken Tenders (no breading) with steamed veggies
Tuesday: Tilapia with green beans and grape tomatoes
Wednesday: Cedar Planked Maple Salmon - or leftovers from work holiday party. I'll be making Sweet Potato Pie. No, it does not taste like pumpkin pie, it tastes MUCH better.

Thursday: Curry Shrimp and Spinach
Friday:  Something with steak.
Saturday: Primal Jambalaya

Dec 11, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Disneyland 2003

 photo Mark_Twain_group.jpg
On the Mark Twain, back when my son was shorter than me and I was skinny.

Nov 16, 2014

Movie Review: Interstellar

I'll try not to give away any spoilers.

I went into this movie a little skeptical because as much as I adore Matthew McConaughey's accent, I wasn't sure I could take him seriously as a father and the hero of a serious sci-fi movie. I wasn't sure that I could take Interstellar as a serious movie for that part either, but OMG! Did it ever deliver!

Disclaimer up front, I took Physics for Dummies in college. The topic fascinates me, but the math is entirely over my head, so I won't be addressing any of that below.

First off, I was stunned and impressed by the score, and lack of it. The silence was used perfectly. By the way, the IMAX theater I saw it in had no issues with the sound mix. I wasn't taken out of the movie at any point due to sound issues. The score did exactly what it was supposed to and then some.

The Hunk was with me (and he's an A/V nut) was so stunned by the visuals of the gargantuan and I quote "What music?" He did notice the silence and the effectiveness of it during all of the scenes that occurred outside of the ship.

T.A.R.S. and C.A.S.E. are my new favorite robots! Especially T.A.R.S. Love his sense of humor, at all levels.

Anne Hathaway's Dr. Brand came off as smug and supercilious without a real reason to behave so, especially once the twist near the end is revealed. I think they could have done so much more with her character since she was the only female scientist on the team and obviously believed in the success of Plan A.

The other doctors didn't leave as quite a strong impression, except for Matt Damon's Dr. Mann ... but *spoilers*. His whole story arc brings an added tension to the movie and further examination of human motivation and need to survive no matter what.

Throughout the movie I was reminded multiple times of 2001 and 2010 and think a rewatch is needed of those two classics and then watch Interstellar again. It is worth multiple viewings. Some people may complain about the slow pace of the movie, but it's needed just so you have time to absorb everything that's going on; and there's A LOT going on, in multiple timelines. For a nearly three hour movie, it passes quickly enough. You may need a kleenex or two, just in case.

Overall verdict: Must see. Must own.

Nov 10, 2014

Geek Out in November!

Cosplay everyday? And I have to go to work in corporate wear and can't wear t-shirts? Challenge accepted.

I think I might be nuts. The first few days were easy with Comikaze going on and some easy inspiration:
A photo posted by Annette (@dananner) on
but by the end of the week I was taking polls on G+ (still am, at least every other day) and letting the interwebz help pick my outfits.

So far, I haven't had to buy anything new, but the day may come where I need something shiny and metallic, or red. You can follow along at my Instagram, and sometimes on G+.

 Want to join? Here are the rules and prizes: The Return of #NERDVEMBER « Set to Stunning

Nov 9, 2014

Menu Plan Monday: Let's try this again

I admit, I fell off the bandwagon, a few times lately it seems. We've been eating in/out a lot (thanks +EAT24), and a lot of rotisserie chicken, and breakfast for dinner, or popcorn for dinner. I just haven't been motivated, you know?

So this morning I gave myself a kick in the ass and went through all of my recipes that could easily be converted to dairy-free, soy-free (the hardest part), and gluten-free. I had no idea how many items have soy in them! We're trying out three different butter alternatives right now. I got some ghee at Trader Joe's for myself (going to try Bulletproof coffee - but with k-cups and coconut oil) and two other brands, one explicitly soy-free, the other has soy lecithin, from Ralphs. I also need to find some coconut aminos (soy sauce alternative), but Joy has been OK with me making any Asian meals with the spices and no sauce (like Beef and Broccoli).

I only made it to the C's in Pepperplate (available for iOS, Android, Windows, and Kindle Fire). And it only took me 10 minutes. I guess I have more paleo-type recipes than I gave myself credit for, not including all of the chocolate desserts I seem to have in there.

Here's what's on deck this week:
Monday: Apple Chicken Sausage and Kale soup. Finally biting the bullet and eating kale instead of spinach.
Tuesday: Turkey Tacos - minus the cheese. That will be interesting.
Wednesday: Orange Chicken - no soy sauce
Thursday: Cajun Salmon - whew! No conversion necessary!
Friday: Caribbean Chicken with Pineapple-Black Bean Sauce (and mango chutney!) (rice for her, not for me).

Oct 8, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Splish Splash

Oct 6, 2014

Menu Plan Monday: Reset

Either my scale has been lying to me, or my emo-eating is out of control. I have managed to regain 3-5 hard lost pounds. This does not please me. Oddly enough, except for the Keebler version of Samoas, it's all been "gluten-free" treats -- double chocolate chip cookies, bread (Cajun Salmon, avocado and romaine on a slice of Trader Joe's brown rice gf bread #mouthgasm or maybe I was just really hungry and getting rid of leftovers), pizza, and other baked goods. I even bought gluten-free brownie mix, but haven't made it yet. My persistent food-baby-belly is calling me on my bullshit.

I also noticed that my Starbuck's consumption is way up. Time to start tracking my food intake again (just for accountability +John Lieske, I have a tendency to eat just about anything put in front of me). No one ever complained about me being a picky eater when I was a kid.  Overall I have a healthy relationship with food. I like it and it likes me, a little too much. I like to cook it too. It's also time to catch up with a few more people on Fitbit, Towards that end, I started a burpee challenge. Basically one burpee per day until I can manage 30 at the end of the month. After that I might try Neila Rey's Burpee Challenge (but after feeling like passing out after 6 this morning, we shall see).

And now, why you really clicked on the link. What am I stuffing our faces with this week?

Monday: Turkey Burgers (with arugula and avocado and probably salsa or grilled pineapple) and homemade jo-jos for the kid
Tuesday: Shrimp Stir-fry for me and chicken fajitas for Joy
Wednesday: White Bean and Sausage Saute
Thursday: Curried Turkey Cutlets with Dried Apricots
Friday: Roast Chicken and Sweet Potatoes

Sep 29, 2014

Menu Plan Monday: Adjustments

I was going through a downtime and didn't realize it. S.A.D can affect you even if it's sunny and 90+ degrees outside, because you aren't getting outside... because it's to damn hot! I was only getting maybe 15 minutes of sun and had stopped taking my Vitamin D supplements. All the cues were there -- ennui, lack of interest, no motivation, and I just wanted to sleep. I was blaming the heat. I mean, it's draining when you feel like you're melting! The week before I had been in more humidity than I like. You shouldn't feel like you'lre breathing underweater all the time. Thank goodness for AC.

Anyway, I had gotten off track, no menu planning in weeks, and even though my daughter kept asking me to go to store, I kept putting it off, to the point that I ordered in at least twice last week and cooked just the very basics for her. Oh  yeah, I was emo-eating a lot of chocolate, in any form I could get it.

So Joy took matters into her own hands. We're still adjusting to all of her intolerances, but she has a pretty good idea of what she can eat from Trader Joe'ls since her current best friend also has several food allergies. It'ls made the transition to gluten-, dairy-, soy-free easier for her. That, and Lactaid pills.

Monday: Beef and Bean Chile Verde
Tuesday: Cajun Salmon with stirfry veggies (had to take out the soy beans)
Wednesday: Chicken Chili (lasts for days!)
Thursday: Steak Salad (Ceasar, no cheese for her, lactaid so she can eat ranch dressing. Mildly successful, she couldn't eat as much as she wanted).
Friday: Domino's GF pizza with no cheese. And leftovers.

Did I mention that the chili lasts for days?

Sisterlocks Style: Octopus Bun

How do I know it's time for a re-ti*?

I can barely stand my hair and want to chop it all off! Instead, after much Pinterest searching and YouTube hunting, I came up with a bastardized bun for short to medium locks. A large part of the problem is that on installation day, my hair ranged in length from 8-11 inches and there was no way I was going to have them cut three inches off in various places! So my locks are not a uniform length and ... some days are interesting hair days.I wasn't in the mood for a ponytail and wanted to try something a little more elegant. When I was younger I would do braided or twisted chignons for my grandmother. My first attempt this morning was at a sock bun (I wish it would have worked because then my Tiana hair would be set!) However, that was a total fail. The shortest locks just did not want to get tucked. I also needed at least two more hands.

So I parted my hair down the middle into two high pigtails (because of my ridiculous thickness). I took a large jeweled scrunchy and wrapped that around the pigtails. I tried pinning and tucking again, to messy results. Even when I was in high school and college I never did messy buns. I just don't like the way they look on me. I used to gel my hair (with J.A.M. of course!) to within an inch of its life. Straight edges for me thank you very much.

But I digress ... I  undid the bun and before I started ripping my hair out thought "Hey... let's try that chignon idea." I started parting and twisting and pinning and ended up with abut 4 twists per ponytail. Pinned and tucked to resemble a monkey-bread bun, but not a hair out of place. All the while thinking that I have #Tentacthulhu hair now.

*re-ti: re-tightening.

Sep 11, 2014

Throwback Thursday: NYC

Helping the economy.

The next day, I went by 1 WTC as it was still under construction.

There Was an Old Lady...

I'm not saying that I am old mind you. I'm barely approaching middle-aged these days, but my children, they insist on aging me prematurely. In trying to decide how to describe my current home life,  I couldn't decide between "There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly"

or Tom and Jerry.

Why? Because the menagerie now includes a dog, a cat, and two mice. TWO! Because they get depressed and die if there is only one. Or so my daughter informs me. I really don't care as I try to keep each little scream in as she hands tries to get me to pet them. Hmasters and guinea pigs I can deal with. Mice ... are mice. Know what I mean? But at least she isn't allergic to them (yeah, she's allergic to dog and cat dander now too).

I hope no one swallows a fly. I am not buying a bird!

Sep 10, 2014

I am NOT a Mac

... But, in the last 24 hours I have learned way more about maintenance and repair on a Mac than I ever imagined knowing. Because, they are supposed to just work.

Given all of the time invested, maybe I should have taken +Robert Partridge's suggestion and installed Linux, but I'm sure K12 would pitch a fit at that (see friendly banter below).

They recommend Chrome, but not Chromebooks.

I'm so very grateful for the Mac forums and one friend who completely understood what I was seeing and experiencing from some badly articulated grunts, curses and huffs of frustration. Do you have any idea how hard it is to make me inarticulate???

Now I know about Spotlight and that Disk Utility is just as useful as on a PC and a few more keyboard commands that saved my sanity. Mostly. Three hours to repair permissions. Can you believe it? Oh, and the disk had to be repaired too.

I started composing this when I thought I was practically done and only needed to install Google Drive ... I was wrong. Now the WiFi is acting up. As in timing out even though I have not changed anything with my network in at least 6 months.

It is my express goal to get this Mac mini working again, otherwise, my daughter will end up inheriting my laptop, and we can't have that, at least not until I have my Pixel.