A Healthy Hungry And A Book: Start of Another New Year

Is it too late to say Happy New Year!…..Didn’t think so. Another year has come, gone and now moving onward into the unknown of 2015. Oh that sounded depressing already! What is depressing is the first weekend of the New Year I watched the whole Uncut Twilight Marathon on TV and realized why the heck did I do that? It was a cold damp rainy day in the Seattle area and I had nothing better than to watch Twilight with cravings for Cheetos. Last month it was nonstop watching of holiday movies on the Hallmark Channel. Either way the first week and half has been eventful with changes, starting challenges, and making it through the first week and half of the New Year. Here we go!

Over the past week and half I have finished two books from my book list for PopSugar 2015 Reading Challenge. First book finished Isla and the Happy Ever After by Stephanie Perkins for a book set in high school and second one Solsbury Hill by Susan M Wyler for a book by a women author. Normally I do not do book reviews because everyone who reads a book will have a different experience then another. But Solsbury Hill by Susan M. Wyler is one of recent for which I recommend to those who have read Withering Heights by Emily Bronte.

Source: Pinterest

The story brings the legend of Catherine, Heathcliff and Emily Bronte into a contemporary love story about one woman who unlocks the devastating romantic history behind Withering Heights and how a legacy has an effect on her own life as well as destinies of all who live in its shadow. One part a mystery and one part love story mixed in with history of the Yorkshire moors. As I read the book on my way to and from work on the bus, I was held captive by the story, and was transported back to England that I had visited right after high school to the point no one really wanted to bother me by sitting next to me (must be scary looking when devouring a book). The ending to book was a real treat after a huge plot twist near the end turned out to be why the book is called Solsbury Hill. I have recommended the book to a few people who I thought may like reading it. My next book selection will be Withering Heights by Emily Bronte just to see the correlation from Solsbury Hill to the original Withering Heights for Classic Romance Novel. Here is a link to why the author wrote this fabulous book in the first place:http://blog.bookcountry.com/susan-m-wyler/

This past week been interesting and downright hungry at times. I decided somewhere in December to go on the Whole30/Paleo diet to reset and prime my body for eating healthy without going into shock. Looked simple enough with just eating fresh veggies , fruit, meat, and other sources of protein. Giving up dairy, sugar, chocolate (gasp!), grains, beans, processed foods and host of unhealthy fats for a whole month. What was I thinking? I started off not so well on New Year’s Day. I guess it was the fact that I had been up until 12:30 in the morning and just need toast with butter. Throughout this past week, there were moments where the lunch I was so proud to make turned into a sad depressing tasteless thing except the bacon.

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Sad Looking Salad

I think having bacon on the diet is what keeping me alive, and other tasty meat products. By Thursday I had to have just buffalo chicken salad with buffalo sauce smothering the salad fixings to really make it exciting to eat. Another disaster was making Paleo version of Cilantro Dressing. I follow all the directions, but for some reason I could not get the raw egg to emulsify enough to be called creamy. Just the thought of raw egg product all over salad greens was a salmonella and E. Coli epidemic ready to happen.  I just though screw it; I’m putting Kraft Ranch Dressing in it to thicken it up to make myself feel a little better about not coming down with food poisoning. At work I tried to be cheerful as much as possible (really don’t have to be cheerful to cancer cells. So I wasn’t!) When all I wanted was McVities Chocolate Digestive instead of carrots (oh carrots are another reason I am still alive)! In the past I had problems with cutting chocolate out of my diet. It always ended badly in the end. Fad diets are crap if they don’t allow you meat, chocolate and fruit. I will say I’m not as adventures in the veggie department, but I love to cook so this gave me a challenge to cook something new. I have found I prefer zucchini over cucumber any day. Just hopping to stop eating so many eggs! I’m feeling like Gaston in Beauty and the Beast!

Run Forrest Run! #colormerad
Source: Pinterest

Why am I running again? To run away from the fat ass that is why I run or even exercise. I decided to do a 30 day running and planking challenge to get started with my fitness goals this year. Color run in July is the end goal for a 5k run, and I want to continue to find races by the end of the year. So far it’s been a slow go on the treadmill, and I can plank for at least 45 seconds without wanting to touch the floor.

Two days into the New Year I completed two DIY projects for the apartment. I had wanted to do a few things from my Pinterest Craft Board, and though why not do them when I have the time.  First project was to frame all the foreign currency I had hanging around in a tin along with some old black and white postcards. In the process I discovered Command Picture Hanging Strips work well in keeping pictures on a texture wall (especially when an upstairs neighbor likes to cause the whole apartment to shake every time he walks!). The second project was making lamps out of some old beer/wine fermentation jugs my Granddad gave me long ago. I saw a pin on this and though why not make them? They were so simple to make, and were done in one day!

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Lamp Out of Bottles

Remember the post at the beginning of the year saying I was going offline on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram? Well so far I have kept my promise on Facebook and Instagram, but not so much has Pinterest. Why you ask? Well how in the world was I supposed to get instructions on creating my awesome lamps and cook all those Paleo approved recipes? Seriously I just went o there to look at the stuff I already pinned and nothing more. Since staying off Facebook for this long, I am less stressed out, feeling less like a complete failure in life, and accomplish more in the day. Instead I have found more time to read, blog, and just relax without feeling like I’m running a rat race of life for the first month of the year. I really don’t miss it at all. I will probably extend it through until the end of February or maybe March.  My new motto this year is “I no longer have the energy for meaningless friendships, forced interactions or unnecessary conversations. It’s a waste of my time and yours.” Just hoping this year is better than last.

Advent Merriment, And The White Elephant

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Photo Credit: Barbie Hull Photography http://christopherflowers.biz/tag/museum-of-history-and-industry/

One stormy night in early December Michael and I made our way down to South Lake Union to Museum of History and Industry for my company’s holiday party. The night started out with a storm that knocked out power in some area neighborhoods of Seattle and north. Getting there was a little bit of a challenge since we could not take I5 since it was all backed up. So down Aurora (SR99) we went, and it was smooth sailing from there.

The party was swinging by the time Michael and I walked through the door. There was signature drinks to be tasted and heavy hor d’oeurve to be sampled. I really like the lamb burger slider and the yummy lettuce wraps they had. I didn’t taste the signature drinks but I heard they were great. The three were Icicle Blue, Fireside and Holiday’rita. Around this time I realized how much of an introvert I really am. Large crowds of people bring this out not only in me, but in Michael as well. Having another introvert as a date becomes tricky since we both stand there like an island in the middle of the room unsure of ourselves.

After all the toasts were made, Michael and I made our way through the museum galleries to check out the history the building held. In the Klondike Exhibit Michael and I decided to see what our prospects were during the gold rush. Our results where night and day. Michael ended up with a person who mined $2,000 worth of gold, looses all of it in a night of gambling and then was jailed for jumping the man who won his gold. Not much of a luck strike! For me I got John Nordstrom and I went on to building a fortune off of the miners coming through and opening a shoes store that one day have a mark of fashion in the Pacific Northwest.

One gallery Michael really liked was the sports memorabilia on display. On display is the Seattle Super Sonics Basketball team’s NBA Champion trophy from 1979, along with the second base from the last Mariners game played in the Kingdome. The base on display has all the signatures from all the players on the team who played in the last game.  But it was the display with the Mariner game score book belong to Dave Niehaus that was the highlight of the evening. Niehaus would keep sore of every game the Mariners played in a spiral bound book while he was the announcer. Just seeing this made the night for the both of us.

Around 10:30pm we made our way to the door to go home and get ready for work the next day. As a small party favor, my company game each person a portable cellphone charger. The next day people who could not make it to the party the night before wanted one and the extra ones were gone by the end of the day.

A week later the research group I am a part of went out for our Holiday Group Lunch at Purple Cafe in downtown Seattle. All sixteen of us had a privet room reserved for our little late lunch around a long oak table surrounded by wine bottle from every wine region around the world.

We started off with three appetizers, the Baked Brie, Bruschetta, and Spicy Prawns with Shoestring frites. The Baked Brie and the Bruschetta where fabulous and there was more than enough of it for all sixteen of us. the Spicy Prawns had a kick of spiciness that after two I really couldn’t take the heat. Plus prawns have never been a favorite seafood of mine, so I rarely eat them. I will admit the prawns were meaty, and not those skimpy ones you sometimes find in the grocery store.

For an entrée I had the famous Classic Steak and Frites. Nine of us in the group all had this same dish and after thinking about it, I could have gotten away with having the Lamb Burger instead. Oh well. The steak was cooked medium-done, and the fries were nothing like a big fat greasy steak fries you get at some restaurants. To wash it down, a tall glass of squeezed lemonade.

For dessert, a Chocolate Truffle! I’m all for anything chocolate, and I don’t share my chocolate truffle with anyone. One of my co-works like to joke about bread pudding and why I don’t like it. I’m not a fan of the texture is all. On the menu under cheese section there was a cheese called Humboldt Fog. Either it was a wine or lemonade talking but I thought it said Humboldt “Frog” instead of Fog. I bet you get the picture why I needed a double take on that.

After waddling-yes I did waddle a bit out around 3.45pm to catch the bus back home, I felt like I had a food baby and in a food coma at the same time. The bus ride home was very uncomfortable and for the rest of the night I didn’t even what to look at food since I was still digesting all the goodness of lunch.

Advent started off with a breakfast high on the sugar scale mix with some caffeine Some church mornings need a little more boost then others. Our church decide instead of a Christmas Nativity play this year, why not have all of us come together as one big congregation (we have two Sunday services) and celebrate the coming of Jesus’s birth.  The service and the party was one of the best the church as put on in recent, and I will say even better than last year’s Advent party.

The White Elephant part of the story happened on the same night as the Advent party. Started out with me picking up a fruit plate since the deli forgot to make my pin wheel sandwiches! Oh well, fruit is better for you. The “white elephant” for those who do not know is where you bring a gift that you already have (ex: box of cereal) and exchange it for another gift someone else brought. There are many variations to how it is played, but the version played was anyone can steal your gift from you at anytime. The gift I brought was a commercial pot holder that has been hanging around the apartment since I have a whole bunch already. The gift I ended up with was a Starbucks thermos that no one took from me! I’m happy.

After all, this is only the beginning of what merriment waits come by the end of this month and year! By the time I’m done, I will be needing to go on a detox diet for a while in January.

Happy Holidays everyone!

It’s All About That Feast Boss!

 Tonight starts the turkey gorging. Round one of four Thanksgivings starts right now. By the end of Thursday night I will be waddling like a turkey! Bring on the food!

feeling hungry (Facebook 11/23/14)
I’m stuffed! I cannot look at another turkey for a long time, and thanks to me having multiple eating feasts, I’m starting the holiday season off with a bang – oh I mean a full stomach. Four Thanksgivings all in a space of few days can make a girl think she does need those New Years resolutions at the beginning of next year. So feast your eyes on the text and pictures while I sit over here and digest all this food. 
Where It All Started!

Started out with a Thanksgiving theme Young Adults group potluck at a member’s house on the Sunday night before Thanksgiving. Each of us brought something for the potluck, and me being not so much into Thanksgiving,  brought the rolls. They were not even good ones (feel guilty). The turkey on the other hand was called the “miracle turkey” because the turkey was forgotten to  defrost overnight by a member. Prayers went up in church for the turkey to be thawed out and ready by 6:30pm that night. As you can tell, the turkey did thaw out and was cooked to perfection by 6:30pm.  After dinner there were games to be played to help digest for the dessert, pumpkin pie cake.

Tuesday was non Thanksgiving theme Thanksgiving. Is that a thing now? At work we all walked down to the “jungle” (what is known as the area where Amazon located, across Mercer street “the Amazon River.”) to get to Cactus a southwestern, Tex-Mex restaurant. I had one of their specials called the Brazed Tostada and it was good, but I recommend having a side salad since there is only three small tostada. Thank goodness the lunch was not overly filling since I had to walk a block to get back on the street car back to work.

12th Man Turkey Day!
Yep Feast Mode! Photo Credit Michael Carlin via Facebook

 Michael’s text to me about the turkey he was getting for our Thanksgiving feast:

Michael: “I have a 25.6 lbs. bird for delivery this afternoon/evening.

Me: OMGOODNESS!!!!! Did I read that right? That is one bada$$ bird!

Apparently I have never seen a 25.6 lbs turkey in my life and to me this is one turkey on steroids. Just getting into the fridge was an adventure in its self, with it being a big as our Maine Coon cat (Maddie is 10 pounds lighter than the bird!). This bird could feed the whole Seattle Seahawks team at the size it was! Somehow Mom and I had the turkey ready by 1pm without any problems. By the end of the lunch, the turkey still looked like we didn’t make a dent in it and will probably be eating turkey for the next three weeks!

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Card game Pit.
After dinner we all gathered around the table to play a few games of Pit. Michael for a newbie played pretty well and won three game compared to my two wins. The game originally gets competitive among family was not competitive when Michael was playing. Thank goodness.

Around 5pm Michael and I headed over for our second turkey dinner with his side of the family (my fourth Thanksgiving). The beginning of the get together started out with the TV turned to the Seahawks vs. 49ers game. Everyone in the whole family was watching it or listening to it as the preparations for the dinner were being made. Half way through the dinner we all got the news that the Seahawks had one the game and put a whole new level of excitement to the festivities.  After dinner we all just hung out digesting enough to have pies for dessert.

So what happened after fourth Thanksgiving?…..

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Passed out from all the L-Tryptophan surging through our bodies from the turkey. Now on to figuring out how to make the turkey leftovers taste better.

I hoped everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and I’m thankful for all who have been reading this blog over the past year or more.

 

Two Kegs + Halloween = Work Halloween Party

It all started off with a visit from the Seattle Fire department. The Monday before Halloween the social committee at work decided to tryout the fog machine for the company Halloween party with the dry ice method to keep the fog low to the ground. This test resulted in a massive thick smoke like fog , and the building fire alarms going off. The fire Marshall was not happy about this and resulted in a fine with another surprise fire inspection (not so much as surprise thanks to Zymogentics across the street telling us they were showing up for their inspection). The flog machine was scraped, and so on to decorating the space without it.

The space took us all of the week to complete and only three hours to tear down at the end. Our bio engineered spider somehow escaped from the lab and took up residents in the elevator for majority of the week. He scared quite a few unexpected people in the lift.

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There were lots of black lights all around and a whole black wall devoted to all those who a departed from the company as a joke and as a company political statement. The point is to have fun no matter what!

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When there is two kegs of beer, large amounts of Jello shots, and people dressed up in costumes, there bound to be crazy things happening. When there scientists involved, the party become unexpectedly wild.  A brewer ( a former colleague)  at the Tacoma Brew Co. hooked us up with two kegs of beer for the party. One a IPA for casual drinking, and the other Lager for beer pong. Now you can see where I’m going with this right? One of my coworkers started “testing” out the beer pong tables at noon. By the time the costume contest rolled around he was buzzed! The beer pong for the last couple of work events has been a huge hit, and so we decided to up the stakes for Halloween. The room was tricked out with black lights and cups the glow in the dark to make it look underground. After a two rounds of jello shots from a food syringe, I somehow managed to get myself on the bus for home. I must have not been too buzzed at this point since I remembered the smell on the packed bus of pot, mildew, body odor and of course alcohol. I think I made the person next to me feel uneasy for most of the ride.

This year I decided to dress up as a 1920s flapper girl. The morning of the party I was wearing part of my costume on the bus to work when I was receiving strange looks by people. At one point a rider asked if I just got of from work at the local gentleman’s club! This came from someone who has seen me everyday on the bus in normal cloths. Apparently a flapper outfit looks like a high-end prostitute to some people wearing a black dress with tassel fringes, cut out lace pantyhose, black flat ballet shoes, curled hair, Cupids brow makeup and a feathered headband. Some people are completely clueless and one coworker said he didn’t get how someone would think it not a flapper costume. The flapper costume received a lot of praise for how it looked and even thou I didn’t receive the best individual costume award, people still loved it. For the group costume, my co workers and I wore costumes representing a time period. We did not win the award for creative, but I say we at least tried. As for the HR inappropriate one, this went to two coworkers who dressed up as an inappropriate banana, and Twister game. At one point I caught on camera their very inappropriate dance with their costumes. I think the picture will be disposed of after reviewing them  at work. Another costume that was borderline insensitive and genius was the Ebola Nurse. She being pregnant made the costume even more hilarious  and ketchup in blood collection tubes.

Next day at work I had a huge mess to clean up. This party must have been something wild since there were half eaten/drunk Jello shots everywhere. streamers and plates of food in all sorts of places, and disgusting green punch no one wanted. I wished I had taken a picture of the beer pong room after the party because it looked like a frat party happened in there. There were beer, Jello shots spilled on the floor, pong balls all over the floor, and black lights still on.

Halloween night was not as eventful as it should have been. The whole week I tried not to eat all the trick or treat candy before Halloween. Even buying the week of the event was not enough to curb my craving for Kit Kat Bars and Twixs. Shame on me! Even raided the  candy bowl at work. I have no shame! After spending the whole week avoiding the candy in the apartment, I only had one trick or treater. One! A three-year old in a purple dinosaur costume. I was so bummed from have the expectation of having all theses kids from the apartment complex coming and begging for candy. Even the guy downstairs went all out with music and a table of candy. We both were sadly mistaken. Halloween night did not live up to expectations. Oh well I guess I will be eating candy for a while and passed off some to Michael to take to work to get rid of.  I was very bummed out by not having any one. The night was spent curled up on the couch with Michael and watching a movie together. As Michael has said a few times “I’m old.”

 

 

 

 

Attack Of The Pumpkin Flavored Anything!

Pumpkin beer, pumpkin flavored coffee, pumpkins carved, pumpkins, and more pumpkins! Starting in mid September all the pumpkins come out like invading Vikings on a quest to make you swear to never have pumpkin flavored anything again. And I could not agree even better! Opening the advertisement for Trader Joe’s this month, 97% of the things in Fearless Flyer was either made out of pumpkin or flavored with pumpkin. Case in point, pumpkin spiced ravioli, pumpkin cream cheese, pumpkin bread pudding, pumpkin pie moch ice cream, and Greek pumpkin yogurt.  Some foods should never go the pumpkin route, and POPSUGAR’s article makes it clear on the best worst pumpkin flavored products.  I don’t have an issue with pumpkins, but it is getting out of control of recent.

Pumpkin Spice Lattes are nasty! There just too sweet, because the barista must put a whole lot of sugar syrup in to make it at least some what editable. Looks very unhealthy to me.

The thing is I have made pumpkin spice muffins and have tried pumpkin beer before. The muffins I would do again, but the beer, not so much. I have tried half a dozen pumpkin beers and not one tasted anything remotely pumpkin-y. All I could taste was alcohol, hops, spices and a not so great aftertaste on a few. I realized I just don’t get the whole “hype” about pumpkin beer and  I’m like my Dad in I don’t have the taste buds for sweet beer except chocolate.  I should just stick with hard cider or the German Oktoberfest beers around this time of year. Even the sound of butternut squash beer sounds abhorred to me. Hope “squash” is not the new beer next year.

There is nothing wrong with pumpkin in general, but I do have an issue with so much pumpkin flavored things.  I may be un-adventurous, and  rather have the traditional pumpkin products then sweet yucky flavored pumpkin crap any day. I am done with this trend, done since last year and hope it dies down next year. I did see a pin on Pinterest promoting squash dishes saying “pumpkin is soo last year.” And I agree.