Monday, December 28, 2009


On the IPOD "Rockstar" by: Prima J

I have an extremely difficult time taking a vacation...Don't get me wrong it has felt like I have been on a food vacation for about a week now, but I mean a real honest to goodness vacation from work. So starting today I am on a staycation for the next 5 days. I have nothing planned but a tea with my nieces at the American Girl Bistro. Other than that my big plans for the week consist of seeing every movie possible in the theater (well every movie that fits into my criteria: funny, romantic, sad, or about food...) and having a girl's night on NYE (Mike has to work for a change.) On Saturday I am driving to my Grandmother's house in Silsbee, Texas for her 95th Birthday.

It is a completely different feeling to take a vacation at home... Normally when I'm on a vacation I'm planning out my days and making sure that I get to all the important places and try all the important restaurants in whichever city I'm in. But not today... I'm not going to make any plans... I'm going to do my best to make it to Nia but if I don't Oh well! I'm going to get a massage (maybe even a two hour) and a much needed mani-pedi. I'm going to do my best to not return client emails or phone calls until maybe Saturday morning on my way out of town. Not because I don't love my clients but because I need a break. I have worked my tail off throughout every holiday this year and have made over 1000 meals just in the month of December. I'm tired of looking at kitchen appliances....

Most importantly I'm going to spend some much needed time on my blog....

So until tomorrow here is to relaxation....

xoxo chef a

Friday, December 25, 2009


On the IPOD "All I want for Christmas is you" by: Mariah Carey

I some how got through all of the items to cook on Wednesday. And starting on Thursday night I pretty much ate my way through Christmas...I made the best gumbo ever for Thursday night and followed it with some of the best cookies I have ever made. I decided the cookies were so good because I creamed half super cold butter with half room temperature butter and it created what I refer to as pockets of goodness. But hands down the best thing about Christmas Eve in Dallas was the inch and a half of white powdery snow that covered the ground and the fact that Mike got out of work 3 hours early and was able to spend most of Christmas eve with us. Mike and I stayed over at my mom's house with my brother Andrew and we played Super Mario Bros for the Wii until the wee hours of the morning. We woke up to stockings filled amazing presents from my mom aka Santa. Then my brother Adam, his wife Audra, my Aunt Leen, and Uncle Stanley joined us and I made the tradition Christmas breakfast of scrambled eggs, lumberjack hash, and some nice chewy bagels.

Christmas night, while my poor husband had to work again, we went to my Aunt's house to celebrate with friends and family and to honor my grandparents who were married on Christmas Day. I think it is really just another excuse to eat...
Greenberg smoked turkey
Shrimp Remolade
Baked Bologna
Pasta Salad
Potato Salad
Apricot Jello Mold
Relish Tray
And my Grandmother's famous Egg Nog
Oh and about a million desserts!

It's a menu straight out of the 1950s....

And this morning I am about to pull myself together so that we can go celebrate Christmas with Mike's side of the family, but after tonight unfortunately the scale will be there tomorrow!!!! I hope everyone who celebrates had an amazing Christmas with family and friends and I hope everyone else at least had a relaxing couple of days off!!

Thank you to my husband for this beautiful little netbook that is allowing me to sit next to you and write this blog while you watch your beloved soccer game!!

If you notice this entire blog is about eating, but if I told you I ate celery sticks for the last three days I would totally be lying. Actually I dont think I even ate one celery stick!!

Happy Holidays!
xoxo chef a

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


On the IPOD, "Last Christmas" by: Glee Cast Version

Support...What exactly is support? Is support just someone being able to pick up the phone when you call or does it go deeper than that? Why is it so difficult for females to truly deep down be supportive of each other? I don't know maybe it has to do with the groundwork of competition that is set up as early as elementary school. At what moment did I become the "Fat" friend and why is it so scary for some friends if I'm not anymore?? I think in general we all set limits in our friendships. I have some friends who I expect more from and others who seem to get a "free ride". But lately things have changed some, I don't know if it is because I am actually learning how to take care of myself on the inside or if the amount of support that I am getting from you "my readers" is changing the way that I think about real friendship. To be honest it is very hard to continue a relationship with someone who refuses to be a part of the changes that I am making on a personal level. I mean this is the most important change I have made in my life. I have been completely honest with you about each step that I have gone through to untangle my internal food demons. I don't really understand why some of my closest friends refuse to read about it. What I love is the excuse, "I don't read it because I never really go on the Internet." Really....unless you are in the senior generation I don't believe you! We live our lives on the Internet. You would have to live in a bubble to not be on the Internet at least once a day. The funny thing is that I don't even expect them to read the blog everyday. Listen I know everyone is busy and although I love love love my readers who read everyday, I understand that not everyone can. All I know is that you, the ones who have sent me countless emails, comments, and phone calls, have changed my life. You have opened up with your own stories and because of that I have been able to let some more of my stories go. I can not thank you enough for the overwhelming support.

So just to catch you up with my holiday work schedule:
Monday I made....
Winter Chopped Salad
Shrimp Fajitas
Sour Cream Black Bean Enchiladas
Chicken Salad
Chicken Cacciatore
Mixed Berries
Vegetable Lentil Soup
Pan Seared Filets
Pepper Crusted Pork Tenderloin
Mashed Sweet potatoes
Rice Pilaf
Roasted Asparagus
Roasted New Potatoes
Sauteed Haricot Verts
150 Thumbprint Cookies

You tired yet...
Yesterday and Today
Caesar Salad
Spaghetti with Meatballs and Meat Sauce
Garlic Bread
Sweet and Sour Meatballs for 40
Raspberry Cheese Spread
Artichoke Dip
Black-Eyed Pea Dip
Fresh Fruit
A Turkey
Peppercorn Mustard Beef Tenderloin
Green Bean Casserole
Pumpkin Pie
4 dozen Coconut Cookies
and Countless Sugar Cookies

Even I am tired...
xoxo chef a

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Last Latke...

On the IPOD "Happy" by: Brandi Carlile

My "Aunt" Ellen had a family "Last night of Hanukkah Party" last night. We made about 200 latkes both regular potato and sweet potato (They were both pretty great if you ask me!) So there I was sitting with Erica and I said, "I so want just one more latke but I'm so full!" And then I realized why I wanted it so badly...I wanted that stupid latke because I knew in my head if I didn't eat it that I would have to wait an entire year for another one. I explained this thought process to Erica and her response was simple and Oh so true, "Don't eat it! If you want one before next year you will just make some."

Interesting....what a novel approach! I think that in general that is why I eat so much at special holiday functions...It is simply because I realize that this is my chance to have those certain foods and if I miss out I have to wait a year. But it's ridiculous!!!! It is actually insane that I am willing to eat more than I really even want to the point of feeling awful just so that I don't miss out on tasting just one last piece of something for an entire year. I mean I guess I should look at it that at least I am no longer eating food that doesn't taste good. I know you are all saying why would you ever eat bad food??? Well think back yourself...On how many occasions do you eat food that is just okay???? It's astounding!! As far as I'm concerned unless it is the best thing I have ever put into my mouth I'm throwing it out! Maybe it is wasteful and maybe there are children starving all over the world and I am truly sorry for that. But I am asking for every one's forgiveness now because this year I am picking me....

xoxo chef a

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Little to no oil please and the sauce on the side!!

On the IPOD "I'm There Too" by: Michelle Featherstone

I have been trying to search for the reasons why I am stuck on a plateau and can not get motivated to either workout more or eat less and I figured it out last night while facebooking with a friend, thanks Jen!! Jen had posted that although she looks at the nutritional info that is blasted all over the internet, sometimes it makes ordering out a heartbreaking decision. And I responded something to the effect of, "I so agree with you!" On many occasions I have checked out the nutritional info of my favorite dish at a restaurant and it has changed my view point forever and I can't even seem to ever order it again!!! Anyways her response was the light bulb moment...She said "if I could cook like you, I would just eat at home." She is absolutely right...that is the change that has happen in the last month and that is why I am on the ridiculous plateau!!! When I think back to what has changed in the last month that is the number one answer!! I have been working so much that the last thing I want to do at night is make dinner and on top of that Mike has been working till midnight most nights which means that not only am I going out more with friends and family for dinner, I am also staying up much later and even though I snack on good healthy things it is still calories....

And I should be listening to myself because on a regular basis I tell my clients the truth about restaurant nutritional information. Number 1 it is tested in a small batch before the item is really even on the menu at the restaurant (not realistic!) Number 2 chefs don't measure so even though the tested recipe was precisely measured the average chef doesn't really know how much oil, butter, salt, or sugar he/she added to the dish that you are eating. Number 3 the average restaurant chef wants the food to taste good he/she is not really worried about your calorie intake!!!! That is the difference between having a personal chef (who has a vested interest in your health) (sorry for the PR) and trusting some stranger with a white jacket on. Believe me I am by no means saying that you should never eat out again...All I am saying is stop looking at the nutritional info and just order smart! Little to no oil please and the sauce on the side!

And I am going to just try to eat smart and work my ass off (in the gym and in the kitchen) and just struggle my way though my busiest work season!!

P.S. If you are looking for foodie gifts, Please remember my Mom and I have a line of gourmet food products that can be shipped anywhere or picked up in Dallas... Mostly jellies, jams, sauces, and appetizer toppings that are great over cheese! And they are all fresh and made with natural ingredients...
Including flavors like:
Fire and Ice (Ice Wine and Spicy Red pepper),
Apricot Pepper (Our #1 seller),
Cinnamon Pear Jam,
Texas Caviar (Black-eyed Pea Relish),
Cowboy Candy (Candied Jalapenos),
Strawberry Cherry Jam,
Turquoise Margarita Jam,
Kiwi Mango Jam
Apple Butter and about 40 other flavors.
Email me if you would like more info

xoxo chef a

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

First Kiss

On the IPOD "At This Moment" by: Michael Buble

Twelve years ago today, Mike and I were talking in front of my parent's house and he kissed me... my response was simply, "So this means we are dating, right??" I guess I have always been a go getter. When I think back to it I imagine that he must have thought, "Oh God what did I just get myself into???"

Well 12 years later I guess my plan worked!! ha ha ha!!


I love shopping for gifts in the cold, with bright lights everywhere and Christmas music in the background. I love finding the perfect gift that lets someone know how much they mean to you whether it was $5 or $100. I love making latkes with family and friends and having special clothes to wear that will smell for eternity! I love playing a good cold hard cash game of dreidel! I love that when I went to buy a Christmas Tree for my parents house this year the same man was there selling them and I love that he can remember me from when I was seven and was there with my dad. I love that it means more to me to make the sugar cookies when my brother Andrew is in town because even though I would never admit it to his face, it still makes me giggle when he steals the dough to eat. I love that on Christmas eve we have a house full of different religions celebrating our love for each other while allowing each person to celebrate the Christmas they believe in whether it is based in Christianity or based in Santa, Stockings, and Daddys. I love that my Jewish Grandparents were married on Christmas day and it gives us all one more reason to celebrate together.

It is wonderful that we have all of these things to celebrate during a time of the year that has not always been so good to us... In two days we will mark 10 years since Mike's brother Joe passed away in a motorcycle accident. He would be turning 35 next month. It was extremely shocking, horrible and sad and the pain of his loss rocked our relationship to the core. He is deeply missed everyday. Two years ago we spent what would be our last Christmas with my father...He was extremely ill but we were thrilled to have those last few weeks with him. And last year we lost my mom's best friend and my Godmother Aunt Mickie, to breast cancer. We both miss her calls and her pop in visits, everyday...

I guess we should in a way fell lucky that all of these horrible things happened at a time of the year that is so otherwise happy. We should feel blessed that we have family and friends to celebrate the memory of these special individuals with. And even though it is so impossible to not want to eat everything in site this holiday season, I am going to relish in every twinkling light, holiday song, screaming kid in the store, family disagreement, and every unwrapping the present smile and I hope you will all do the same...

And as God is my witness I will get off this 40 pound plateau!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you Mike for taking a chance on a chubby, bossy, pain in the ass girl named Amanda!!!
I love you more and more forever and ever!!!!!!

xoxo chef a

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sweet Potato Latkes

On the IPOD "King of the Rodeo" by: Kings of Leon

Yesterday morning I was trying to receive the organic meat order that I placed the day before and run by a couple of clients real quick before my Nia class at 10:20am. Yeah well one of my clients didn't inform me that the Mayor's 5k Run would be on her street... I'm not exactly sure what she thought I was gonna do...Oh wait it must be another example of a client who doesn't understand that I have a life and although I love to cook and make money I don't have 45 minutes to wait in line to look at a dish she wants me to use for their Christmas Dinner. Once I was stuck in the line there really wasn't any turning back...her response was simply, "Oh is that why all the runners are on this street?" REALLY!! Anyways I missed the Nia class, what a bummer!

On the first night of Hanukkah I made the most amazing sweet potato latkes...actually I have never met a latke I didn't like but these might have been the best thing that I've put into my mouth.

Sweet Potato Latkes

1 1/4 pounds ruby sweet potatoes, peeled (you can use jewel or reg but the ruby have such a great flavor and color)
1/2 sweet onion
1/3 cup flour (or Matzoh meal, I used flour)
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
vegetable oil

Hand grate sweet potatoes and onions into a bowl. Add in flour, eggs, salt and pepper. In a med. to large skillet with sides heat about 1 1/2 inches of oil over med high heat. When hot form thin latkes with about 1/8 cup of the mixture. Fry until browned and crispy, if browning too fast turn heat down. Move Latkes to a wire rack that has been placed over a paper towel lined sheet pan. DO NOT PLACE LATKES STRAIGHT ON PAPER TOWELS THEY WILL GET SOGGY!! This recipe makes about 20 nice sized latkes. These are amazing!! You could also add some cayenne to the mixture if you want it a little spicy!!

Serve with sour cream and applesauce if desired...we just ate them off the racks!!

Happy Hanukkah!!!!

xoxo chef a

Friday, December 11, 2009

Bob and Janie

On the IPOD "Wait for you" by : Elliott Yamin

The Nia class last night was full, but I got there early and took my usual spot in the back row. There was only one problem ok two problems. Let's call them Bob and Janie... Well Bob is one of the few guys who takes Nia and Janie is somewhat new to the class. Bob was standing next to me on the back row and Janie was in front of me and to the right slightly. Well as we were dancing Janie kept moving to the left and back until she was litterally in my lap and Bob just turns at his own pace...the whole group turns left Bob turns right. I almost left the class I was so annoyed. My issue is that there should be rules of the classroom...If you want a space on the back row you have to get there early and if you don't get there in time then you can't just make your own back row right in front of the back row...It is BS.

After class I headed over to Lisa's to visit with her and our friend Erica and to spend some much needed time with Lisa's little one Asher who is on his way to 2. Asher and I have a very special relationship. I spoil him rotten...and I give him whatever he wants, Oh wait are those the same things??? Anyways, We sat down and had a long conversation of gibberish over a couple M&Ms, and yes I was speaking in gibberish too. And then we ran laps around the house to work off the M&Ms. That is the funny thing about me...I feel completely comfortable around kids, I always have. Being a mom someday is the one thing I have always known I will be good at. I am by no means saying that I will have perfect kids...But I hope to be there for them in the ways that they need me to be.

Today I have to place an order with an organic meat purveyor for my new client who is going through a stem cell transplant. This order is for 4 adults for 8 dinners:

4 pounds sirloin tip roast
2 pounds pork tenderloin
4 filet mignon steaks
3 pounds ground beef
16 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 thick cut pork chops

And now I'm off to cook for my friday clients...

P.S. I'm so over Mike working till 11:30pm. I am so over Mike working till 11:30pm. I am so over Mike working till 11:30pm.

xoxo chef a

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


On the IPOD "River" by: Joni Mitchell

I love this song for so many reasons... I discovered it when I read the book "Prozac Nation" by Elizabeth Wurtzel ( by the way the movie didn't even come close to doing the book justice). Anyways I read the entire book in about 36 hours, not really bad for a horrible reader with even worse ADD. I think I was one of the first people to read it and it moved me so much that I looked Ms. Wurtzel up in the phone book and called to tell her how amazing I thought the book was...I know pretty ballsy... So it must have been around Christmas time because when I called I got her voice mail and it was this song. I left her a message and even got a very nice return phone call. So I bought Joni Mitchell's record and the rest is history. The song came to me at a time in my life when I really needed a dark, somewhat depressing song. What you don't really know about me is that I took piano lessons for give or take 12 years, I then picked up a guitar the summer before 9th grade, taught myself to play on a cheap $200 Mitchell, upgraded to a beautiful 12 string that I not only led large amounts of Jewish teens in camp songs with but that I also used to write upwards of about 45 songs most of them in the minor key and all somewhat depressing and about among other things love, loss, and adolescence. So now as a sit here at Christmas time writing my own sort of memoir, I am thinking about how much her book meant to me and although this is not a book but more like a rough diary I hope that my words touch you in maybe some of the same ways.. Oh and by the way I own every version available of this song and some of my favorites include Sarah McLachlin, James Taylor, and Sara Bareilles.

I went to Nia today, I haven't been in a couple of weeks because with the move and holiday work it is sometimes easier to just run to the gym. But I realized how much I need to make going a priority. Nia just makes me feel better not only because it is a great workout but because it is an hour that I am giving is a complete gift!! Anyways class was different today as it always sort of is. We ended up on the floor, legs straight out in front of us and we were leaning backwards with our arms down by our sides until we almost touched the floor but not and then having to raise ourselves back up. Well first off I know I've told you that I'm losing my boobs... well obviously not enough because it was hard!! It felt like my boobs weighed about 30 pounds each which is insane because the last time I checked they only came in at about 7lbs a piece. All I know is that the skinnies with little boobs were just whipping up, but not me I was pushing the ground so hard with the back of my elbows that I'm sure I will have bruises tomorrow. Its okay though they are just battle scars, proof that I'm working my butt off I guess!

Oh and please if you are not too busy up there, can you send down some peppermint ice cream that is calorie free? Thanks God!

xoxo chef a

Monday, December 7, 2009

"Dieter on Board"

On the IPOD "Power of Two" by: Indigo Girls

Well Austin was great! So much fun!!

I made an interesting discovery today... I have four favorite food groups...bread, cheese, sugar, and vegetables. I do love vegetables: I love roasted brussel sprouts, asparagus, beets, broccoli, zucchini, any kind of squash, french green beans, regular green beans ( I have been known to eat green beans out of the can as a snack, I know I'm sooo gourmet!), spinach, mushrooms, and so on... But the other three food groups need a little work!! I can't help the fact that I dream about chocolate covered almonds and pizza. Or can I?

I stopped by Jamie and Summer's new store POME (absolutely beautiful clothes and accessories that I will fit into one day) in Preston Center today. I have to say that up to this point in the day I had dealt with one annoying issue after another so I was at my breaking point...I really didn't plan my meals so of course I was ready to eat my arm off by 4 pm (snack time). Unfortunately for me there were little snacks all around the store. So I had a small square of peppermint bark, a whole grain cracker and about 10 jelly bellies. For 10 minutes I felt great...a little burst of was too bad that an hour later I felt like playing monster truck on the tollway. I don't know if it was the fall after my sugar rush or the disappointment I had in myself for not being prepared all day. But all I know is that the guy in the blue accord saw more of my finger than he bargained for. Maybe I need to get a sign for my car that says "dieter on board!"

Roasted Asparagus
2 Pounds Asparagus
olive oil cooking spray
1/2 tsp or less seasoned salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 425*
Trim Asparagus so that you just have the top about 4 inches or so. Spread out in a single layer in a pan. Spray generously with oilve oil cooking spray and toss with seasonings. Roast for 12- 14 minutes.

xoxo chef a

Thursday, December 3, 2009


On the IPOD "Forever Young" by: Alphaville

16 years ago I was just a 15 year old waiting for the arrival of my new baby cousin Alexis. She arrived on December 14th, my whole life was about to change. I didn't know it yet but the two of us would become thick as thieves. I grew up, as she learned how to walk and how to talk back and by the time she was about 10 I'm pretty sure that she knew that she always had someone in her corner. She came to spend about 2 weeks with me the summer before she turned 11 and then the next summer she came again...that August Hurricane Rita came to town and Alexis, her sister Kaleigh, their younger brother Zack, my cousin Gail (their mother who was then preggers with baby number 4 to be named Lindsay), and my Aunt Dorothy came to lives with my parents for about 5 months. We just kept getting closer and closer... Alexis and Kaleigh have spent every summer since with Mike and I, sometimes for a week and sometimes for 6 weeks. Zack and Lindsay(lil bit) come too but they don't stay as long and I love them just as much!! The girls started working for me...learning how to cook and even earning some pretty decent money. I promised Alexis about 5 years ago that if she kept her grades up I would take her somewhere for her 16th birthday. Well the time is here and I'm keeping my word! Alexis (16), Kaleigh (12 going on 21) and I are going to Austin for the weekend. We are staying in a very nice hotel, eating breakfast in bed, getting our nails and toes done, oh course shopping shopping and more shopping, having some great Austin dinners and who knows what other kind of trouble we will get ourselves into (just kidding!).

Their plane arrives at 12:30pm in Austin and because I'm ridiculous and can't go anywhere without working...I'm squeezing in an Austin client first thing in the morning. That means I'm leaving Dallas at an astonishing 5:30am...I wonder if there is really going to be snow in the morning????

My Austin Menu
Jalapeno Chicken with sauteed green beans and summer squash
Turkey Chili
Pan-seared Chicken with Proscuitto Fig Sauce with Baked Asparagus
Cajun Grilled Chicken with Roasted Broccoli
Salt and Pepper Grilled Salmon with Whipped Sweet Potatoes

Gluten Free Ginger Snap Pudding

I've already planned out our days and scheduled in a workout time every morning!! Don't worry I'm going to keep all the details to report back to you. Hope you all have a lovely weekend!!


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Lonely Bag of Chips

On the IPOD "Blue Suitcase" by: Erin McCarley

So you know how there are those days where you feel like punching a hole in the wall...well today was that kind of day. I can't describe it except to say that my cooking flow was off. Nothing necessarily came out wrong but cooking is like a dance. It is all based on timing and movement. It is what I miss most about cooking in a restaurant... besides all the foul language and sexual discussions there is a dance that happens on the line and it is what separates an amazing restaurant from one that closes in 6 months. The difference in my job is that I am dancing by myself. The problem with not having a group of chefs to dance with is that if you miss a step there is no one there to get you back on the beat. And it is extremely frustrating when you can hear the beat but you just can't find it. So that was today in a nut shell.

I finally got done with work at about 5pm and realized that because I wasn't annoyed enough already, I forgot my workout clothes at home! Ugh!! So I ran(not literally) home to change. What started as a brief run in and out turned into an hour phone conversation with my friends Jamie and Summer. Now although it threw off the rest of the night, the phone convo was totally worth it and super funny and I think we all learned way too much about each other ;) !! Anyways, so although it took every bit of willpower I have, I got dressed and headed out the door to the gym. I made it through an hour workout and decided I would go to the grocery store and pick up a few things for home since I have neglected to go since we've moved in. So of course I'm going at the worst time in the day, first of all every joe schmo is there and I'M STARVING... I picked up everything on the list plus some lettuce, 2% mexican cheese, ground turkey meat and salsa for dinner (Just for me, Mike is working horrible hours, don't even get me started...). So I held myself together, even though I totally contemplated opening a Weight Watchers fudge bar in the middle of the store and devouring it. I even loaded all the bags in the way back of the car so I wouldn't open anything on the way home, but then out of the corner of my eye I spotted a bag of whole grain baked tortilla chips from work sitting oh so lonely on the front seat...I tried very hard to fight it but about 2 miles from home....I opened the bag. All bets were off I ate at least 5 in the first bite as soon as I realized what was happening I folded the bag up and threw it behind me to the back of the car. The lady in the car next to me at the stoplight either completely understood my craziness or thought I was a lunatic. I did finally make it home, I made my salad, put on some really short shorts that I haven't been able to slide myself into in probably 5 years and still shouldn't be seen in public in and turned on "Glee". And now at 10:30 pm my husband is finally walking in the door...
Goodnight all

xoxo chef a

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What do we have here?

On the IPOD "Eyes on Fire" by Blue Foundation

My Aunt Dorothy and Mom came over to help me try and make some progress on the maze of boxes I am referring to as my home for the moment. My Aunt and I were organizing photos and DVDs and my mom was tackling the closet. I know it doesn't really sound fair, but she is my mom she just knows how to do it better!! Anyways, everything was going swimmingly until I heard her call out, "Oh my goodness, what do we have here??" Okay well lets just say lots of stuff started going through my head...I didn't label the boxes well and we all have our secrets... So I took a deep breath and said, "What did you find?" Much to my relief she came out with 2 boxes of chocolate pudding that happened to be in one of my suitcases. She then found a stash of small boxes of raisins in another pocket of the same case... Well the pudding has a good reason, I cook for certain "special" clients in other cities and the last time I had a work trip I needed chocolate pudding and I didn't want to waste time trying to find the kind that I like to use, but the raisins on the other hand were strictly for personal consumption.

I began to feel like a young girl again when my mom would help me clean out my bedroom and we would run across a couple of candy bar wrappers. Yeah it sounds funny now, but at that time it was a tad embarrassing. I don't even think I was hiding the candy bar wrappers... nevermind I probably was subconsciously.

Anyways I was wondering who else out there is carrying around food in your bag, car, coat pocket, or desk drawer?? And to all the mommy's out there, How many times do you raid "little bit's" container of cheerios? I have to say that on an average day I at least have a 100 calorie pack of almonds in my purse, I don't necessarily eat it everyday, but it is there as some sort of comfort. I mean just in case I get stuck in the elevator...I don't want to starve to death!!

xoxo chef a

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Happy Birthday Mike!!

On the IPOD "Be Be Your Love" by: Rachael Yamagata

So I had to take some time off because of the holiday weekend (Thanksgiving and Mike's Birthday), but now I'm back. Not only back on track with the blog but also totally back on track with food. I mean I'll be honest I did eat whatever I wanted this weekend but not nearly the amount I have eaten in the past. I will give you an example, every year for as long as I can remember I have always had a piece of pumpkin pie the morning after thanksgiving and I always eat it with a sterling silver cocktail fork from the set of silver my mom has. For those of you who don't know me I love silver and china and glasses and crystal and all things pretty and nice. I don't only love the silver cocktail fork for it's beauty but also for the fact that it's miniature and although I am not miniature, i love miniature things. Anyways this year I didn't eat the pie, I don't really know if I didn't want it because I just don't seem to care about eating food as much or the more likely reason that it was a tradition I had with my dad and now that he is not here it just doesn't feel the same...

I do have to say that Mike's whole family joined ours for Thanksgiving this year and it went remarkably well (our families thank get along, thank goodness), but I did get very sad in the middle of dinner because I thought to myself what a shame it was that Mike's father wasn't able to really know my father. Even though Mike and I have dated for almost 12 years, we never really mixed families until after my father passed away...Mike's family really only knew my dad from what Mike told them and from what they heard the Rabbi say at the funeral. Mike was extremely close to my dad...he drove him to and from almost every radiation treatment, worked with him, and spent countless hours just hanging out with him. There was never a doubt in my mind that my father completely loved and approved of Mike. My therapist told me a long time ago that when you lose someone it is a lump. When they first die the lump is right in your throat, as time goes by it moves sometimes it is in your heart, sometimes in your stomach and sometimes it ever rest sort of comfortably in your foot. But on certain days it goes right back to your throat again.

This weekend it has been in my throat...I miss him! It does not seem like it has been even close to two years. It makes my heartbreak that Mike's parents will never get to meet the man that their son cared for enough to spend his time with. As much as my father made my life a living hell sometimes. As judgemental and hurtful as he was, that hurt does not even compare to the hurt there is of not having him here. So I have to admit that my sadness made it a little harder to put down the fork, ok a lot harder...

Other than that, today is my wonderful husband's birthday, oh and my Aunt Leen's birthday and one of my best friend Tiffany's birthday! It's is a very special day! We worked on the new place a little and then my aunt and uncle and Mike's sister and our nieces came to see the new place. Everybody loved it, our nieces loved it even more because it is within walking distance to the American Girl Store (which we did take a little detour to...) Then we went to a small birthday dinner where I only ate half of my food and brought the rest home...hey these are all little steps but they do truly change your life or they have changed mine. Now I am going to go and spend the rest of the evening with the most wonderful husband in the world!! I know I'm extremely mushy...its least we don't believe in p.d.a.!!

xoxo chef a

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mrs. Drunker

On the IPOD "Already Gone" by: Kelly Clarkson

On Saturday night Mike and I went with some of our best friends to see a concert at Winstar Casino. It's about an hour away. By the time we got there and started gambling a little, the boys decided that they wanted to play and had no real interest in seeing the concert...What a shocker! So Jess and I went to sit down in our second row seats (yay!!). Just as we were feeling so lucky that our seats were so great, the couple who was sitting next to us showed up... So lets refer to them as Mr. Drunk and Mrs. Drunker. I'll start off by saying that the seats at this particular venue have no arms think of it like a ballroom in a hotel with the dining room chairs lined up. So Mrs. Drunker sat next to me and let me repeat her entire opening act, "Oh, Daddy, these seats were made especially for me, I'm just so small that I fit right in. Obviously they weren't made for everyone..." I'm gonna go ahead and guess that she was referring to me. She is lucky that I didn't slap her across the face...I mean really who calls their husband daddy these days. I should have said these seats weren't made for drunk girls who put the T in WT! But I held myself together and even sat there patiently listening to them make complete fools out of themselves for an hour and a half. Let me assure you that I was completely in my seat and I wasn't even close to hers. But she acted as if I somehow was happy that the seats were so close together...

Moving on...So as you know we moved in to our new place which is beautiful. The fitness center is not ready yet so they gave us memberships to a beautiful health club across the street. I have figured out why it is not so great to move from club to club... I started on the treadmill, it was a Nordictrack. It was going great...I was power walking at a 12% incline when my Iphone somehow slipped and went crashing to the floor. I quickly jumped off not noticing that the arms on this particular treadmill were very long and I ended up gutting myself in the side. Of course I screamed because it hurt so bad. I made a complete fool of myself and I'm sure a great first impression. And now I am sitting in horrible pain with one of the largest bruises I have ever had. See I knew from the beginning that this whole working out thing was a bad idea and was going to end up hurting me!! I'm kidding!

So today starts the Thankgiving prep...I am cooking for three families this year plus my mom and I are cooking for our Thanksgiving of 26 people. Some of the items on my list are:

Raspberry Cheese Spread
Artichoke Dip
Guacamole and Chips
Hot Spinach Dip
Crudites (Veggie tray)
Butternut Squash Soup
Roasted Turkey with pan gravy
Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Cornbread Dressing
Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Praline topping
Sauteed Haricot Verts (French Green Beans)
Green Bean Casserole
Spicy Vegetable Cheese Rice Casserole
Roasted Asparagus
Italian Chopped Salad
Spring Mix Salad with oranges, pomegranate seeds, candied pecans and a raspberry vin.
Oh and a side a Grilled Salmon
Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Ginger Snap Roll

In total I'm cooking for about 125 jealous? I will check in with you in a little bit. Does anyone need any cooking advise, tips, recipes?? I would be happy to help out!

xoxo chef a

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Barbara's Cornbread Dressing

On the IPOD "Faith" by: George Michael

I find myself looking in the mirror trying to envision each pound lost. I wish my mirror had a cut out drawing of my old self so that I could actually see the difference.... Don't get me wrong I can feel it in my body but when you look at yourself everyday it is harder to see, if you know what I mean. In five pounds I will weigh under an important number to me, it has really no significance to the rest of the world but it seems to be the number I have gotten stuck on in the past and to tell you the truth I'm kind of nervous because although my motivation is completely different this time, I still worry that for some reason I'll just get stuck again... I think in general that is probably one of the hardest things about weight loss. I mean I have been working my butt off and don't get me wrong I have seen amazing results, but the results have definitely slowed down and that can get you a tad bummed out... I know that my weight loss will speed up again and then probably slow down again but it is getting over the slow humps without just giving up that seem to be the hardest. Especially here at the holidays when everyone seems to have the mentality of, "well we can just eat whatever we want and worry about it after New Year's."

I don't want to live like that anymore...I'm all for treating myself to great, fun food but I think it should be thought out. It's funny that our whole lives we plan out everything...where we are going to go to college?, what are we going to be when we grow up?, who are we going to marry?, when are we going to have kids? But when it comes to what gives us nourishment and energy we seem to be completely nonchalant about it. I don't want to be on a constant diet for the rest of my life. I want it to be able to eat 3 chocolate covered almonds out of the bag and not want another 10 more. But I also want to be able to eat 10 chocolate covered almonds if I want to and not beat myself up over it. Maybe I'll never get there, maybe this is some sort of pipe dream. But I would like food to stop controlling my life and I would like to control it just a little for a change!!

Here is the best Thanksgiving dressing recipe ever....

Barbara's Cornbread Dressing
1/2 cup butter or margarine
2 cups chopped onion
2 cups chopped celery
2 (6-oz.) pkgs. Morrison's Cornbread Mix, prepared according to package directions, crumbled (or your favorite corn bread the mixes make two pie plates worth)
4 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon pepper
2 1/2 cups chicken broth

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 9x13 baking dish. In medium skillet, melt butter; cook and stir onion and celery until tender. In large bowl, combine onion mixture, cornbread and remaining ingredients; mix well. Pour into greased baking dish. Bake at 350°F. for 45 minutes or until golden brown. You can baste turkey dripping into dressing before you bake it for the best flavor!

**if you don't want to use poultry seasoning because of the sage in it replace it with 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of thyme, 1/4 teaspoon of marjoram, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. But honestly I just use the poultry seasoning is not very noticeable . I'm not a sage fan and I love this recipe!

xoxo chef a

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Tasting Menu

On the IPOD "Blackbird" by: The Beatles and "Fifteen" by: Taylor Swift

Ok well first off it has come to my attention that I repeated a song...well it's a good song...but it was a mistake so I gave you two today!!

Second, We had our end of the year chef meeting at Five-Sixty, which is the relatively new Wolfgang Puck Restaurant. If you know anything about the Dallas Skyline the restaurant is in Reunion Tower or "the ball". The restaurant turns in circles, it takes 55 minutes for it to make a full circle. I get the coolness factor of a restaurant that turns although after two very strong martinis= not so much fun! They knew we were coming so everything was impeccable. I didn't eat anything that I didn't care for because I was saving my calories for the things I did like so I'm going to give you some tasting notes next to the menu...

Five Sixty Grand Tasting
Spicy Tuna Tartare, Sesame-Miso Tuille Cone, Bonito, Tobiko
(presentation and technique was perfect unfortunately I'm not a tuna tartare kind of girl)

First Course:
Sushi and Robata, Served Family Style
California Roll, Alaskan King Crab, Avocado, Cucumber
Miso Marinated Black Cod Skewers, “Nanban Eggplant” Spicy Miso
Tempura Fried String Beans, Togarashi Chili-Curry Salt
(all three were amazing!)
Second Course:
Arctic Char, Cardamom Raita, Tandoori Spices, Bengali Tomato Chutney
(This was fine..I love Artic Char but I probably wouldn't order it again)
Third Course:
Crisp Suckling Pig, Plum Puree, Sweet Bean, Pickled Cipollini Onions
(amazing!!!!Totally rich but a one bite gem!!)

Fourth Course:
“Shanghai Style” Maine Lobster, Pickled Ginger Curry, Crisp Spinach
(the philosophy of this dish is great the flavors are there... my lobster was a tad chewy but the spinach was wonderful it reminded me of a restaurant my Dad used to take me when I was little that had Fried Parsley!!)
Fifth Course:
Crispy Quail “General Tso” Sweet Chili Soy Sauce, Spicy Greens Salad
(By Far my favorite dish, I would definitely order this as a main dish! I'm salivating over it just thinking about it! Crispy, sweet, spicy, crunchy, ugh heaven!!)

Main Course:
Mongolian Grilled Lamb Chops, Hunan Glazed Eggplant, Chili-Mint Vinaigrette
(Not my thing... )

Dessert: Served Family Style (they brought us all the desserts as a professional courtesy)
Fuji Apple Crumble “Pie” a la Mode
Baked Alaska, Toasted Meringue, Huckleberry Sauce
Banana Cream Pie, Bittersweet Chocolate Sorbet
Valhrona Chocolate Souffle, Chocolate Sauce, Gianduja
Turtle Cheesecake
Fresh Baked Cookies
(Ok so I did take a bite out of everything but the Banana Cream Pie and the Apple Crumble were the best if you ask me and I didn't waste my time on the cookies!)
It was very good , but nights like this are what makes the holidays hard...I mean how are you supposed to lose weight if you are forced into doing a tasting menu...Im kidding believe me I wish someone had to force me to eat. But now that I have moved in and am in the process of settling in I hope to hit 40 pounds by monday or tuesday... So I will be spending some time working my ass off litterally in the gym today! I didn't get any Thanksgiving requests????
xoxo chef a

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

6 Pairs Of $1.99 Pants

On the IPOD "Bottle It Up" by: Sara Bareilles

There is nothing like a move to stress out your life...cable boxes, Internet connections, lost items that you must have on a moments notice in some box that you didn't label last minute, and it seems like every company you speak to needs more money and longer contracts. And the worst of it is your husband is working awful hours and your pots and pans are still packed up and there is nothing healthy to just grab for dinner, oh wait that last part is just me!

I even tried to be handy while Mike was still at work. I installed spice racks into the pantry, it only took me two tries, and yes that is pretty exciting for me! Other than that I opened the box labelled kitchen tools and then quickly shut it and decided to watch T.V. instead. I wish I could get a little motivated to organize, but to tell you the truth I spend all day looking at kitchen tools and it is pretty much the last thing I want to do when I get home.

The closet is even worse...Why do we hold onto clothes that even if we ever do fit into them again chances are we would just buy new things. A prime example: When I graduated high school we had to wear a white dress...(yes I know, my college prep school was still trying to convince the world that we were all pure). I had my dress made mainly because I didn't want to look like a chubby girl stuffed into a dress designed for a size 2. Now why have I held on to a white dress from 1997 that I will truly never wear again? Who knows but here it sits in my closet never to be worn again... The same thing goes for the 6 pairs of corduroys that I bought at Old Navy on sale (for $1.99!!!) 6 years ago a size too small thinking that I would lose weight to fit into them! My mom always told me to never buy things based on the fact that I would lose weight to wear them...but of course I didn't listen. So here I sit folding 6 pairs of brand new 6 year old winter pants that will probably sit here for another year before they either fit or don't!

So as Thanksgiving approaches I thought I'd give yall some tips...My first tip is about sweet potatoes. First of all I like to start with a variety of sweet potatoes, I like the organic ones because they taste better mainly because they are not overproduced and rushed to our groceries (ruby, jewel, jersey, or just regular). I poke a couple of holes in the skin and place them in a big foil pan. I roast them at 400* for about 1 hour or until they are very soft when I push on the skin and they smell right! Then I take them out and let them cool enough (not totally cold) until the skin just slips off. I place them in a big bowl with a little bit of salted butter and mash'em up with the butter. Here is where you can get creative... I like to add sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and that's it for me personally and this way relatively healthy. You could also add a bit of cinnamon and brown sugar and top with marshmallows or a pecan crumble (brown sugar, butter, a little flour, salt and pecan chips.) What I mean is that you can use whatever family recipe you like but the key is to bake them and not boil them which leaches out all the great flavor and nutrients unless you're planning on drinking the boiling water. And please for heavens sake don't buy the canned ones!!!!! I mean I'm all for wasting calories on a national holiday but make the calories worth it! I mean let's make a pact that if we do go nuts on Thanksgiving that we put our forks down if it doesn't taste amazing because I believe the food should always be amazing!! And yes that means I'm giving you the right to look your host or hostess in the eyes and just simply say, "sorry it's just not worth it!"....I'm kidding just fake a stomach ache!

I would love to hear what kind of recipes yall are interested in having for Thanksgiving...

xoxo chef a

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Move...

On the IPOD "1234" by Feist

I have so much to tell you...Let's go back to Thursday night. I asked ever so sweetly for my friend Lauren to try a Nia class with me and she agreed to. I even texted the instructor before class to request certain musical selections. So there I am in the back row (cause I'm a back row bitch) waiting patiently for her to arrive and as soon as she walked in we both started laughing and she informed the entire class that she was a little scared...The class started and as promised the music was great and Lauren did fantastic. The thing about Nia is that it is free expression so every now and then people just do their own thing, it can be either extremely liberating or a little weird. But honestly the more classes you go to the more comfortable it becomes and it is the most incredible form of stress relief in the world. The guy in front of us floating around everywhere also gave us something to laugh about, pretty much all throughout the class everytime we looked at each other. I think all in all she had a good time and when I told her that each class burns about 600 calories she perked up a little bit, I think she might even come back. It was good for me too because I pushed myself a little more than usual!

Friday was a big day because I finally signed the lease on our new apartment...We were supposed to move in June 15th and 5 months later the building is finally done enough that we can move in. The reason I haven't discussed that we were moving this weekend is because I didn't want to jinks anything. And even though the hallways are not what I would consider to be finished and there are little things that need to be fixed and changed, the apartment is absolutely beautiful and is everything I had hoped for.

But the move yesterday sucked, I was so tired that I fell asleep on the couch with no blanket and when I woke up at 5am I was so cold that I decided to take a bath...I woke up at 6:30am in cold water with my face pressed up against the side of the bathtub...not a pretty picture! The last thing I felt like doing was cooking:
Miso Glazed Salmon with Steamed Artichokes
Turkey Meatballs with Sauteed Spinach and Mushrooms
Low Fat Chicken Salad
Pan Seared Scallops with Spinach Souffle
Chicken Fajitas with Guacamole, Pico de Gallo, and all the fixins
Whole Wheat Pasta Salad (I know Lisa your so jealous right now...)
Fresh Berries
Low Fat Brownies

I don't know why I bought gingerbread cookies this morning but I did...For four small cookies are 110 calories and 0 grams of fat, I know your all thinking "Oh, that's not so bad", and you are right except that at 10 am when I felt completely overwhelmed that I had to cook, clean the old apartment, and unpack today, I walked swiftly (ok I might have run) over to the bag of cookies and ate like give or take 10, pretty sure that that whole 0 grams of fat doesn't hold true for 10!! See that's how they get you folks just because it says it is 0 grams of fat, Legally it just means that the portion size recommended has under 1 gram of fat, the grams compound very quickly when you go over the serving size. Anyways just has suspected the cookies really didn't make me feel any better they actually made my stomach hurt and added some guilt onto all the anxiety I was feeling. I pushed my way through work and on the way home decided to just suck it up and stop by the old place to clean it up...

Even though what we are paying in rent is minimal compared to what other's pay...for us it's alot for an apartment. So my way of saving money is that I decided to do the move out cleaning of our old place myself (actually it was just a way to justify the fact that I'm getting a massage later in the week!!!!) I'm here to tell you that I made a complete mistake I should have payed for a housekeeper and a massage!!!! God might have made me able to cook but cleaning is not my bag!

And now I'm sitting at the computer writing to you and realizing that Thursday to Monday is just too long to go without this release (probably why I ended up eating 10 (ok 12....they were small) cookies today. So I'm adding a new laptop to the list of much needed items!

xoxo chef a

Thursday, November 12, 2009


On the IPOD "Before It Breaks" by: Brandi Carlisle

I got an extreme urge to do a cartwheel this morning. At first I was reluctant as usual (I have wanted to do one for about 2 years now, but I always chicken out). But then I started thinking, i mean what's the worst thing that can happen... I mean besides falling, breaking a wrist, or dying a slow death... what the hell! So I went over to a nice grassy section of my mom's back yard and before I had a chance to change my mind, I just did it. Wow that was pretty fun! I mean let me assure you the USA gymnastics team won't be calling but I managed to safely get both legs up in the air simultaneously. It didn't have that effortless feel like when I was 7 but I feel confident that if I keep practicing I will get back to fighting form (I haven't taken gymnastics since 1987 and I'm pretty sure I never had fighting form.)

I think it is interesting how we all spend so much time protecting our own feelings... We can give a million reasons for why our past relationships haven't worked, we can even kid ourselves into believing that he or she didn't call us because they were just too busy. I have friends who have buried their past so deep that they think it would be impossible to find, but unfortunately what I have learned in my short life is that believe it or not if you haven't dealt with something it does stick around. You might not think about it everyday but it's there lurking, waiting for the right time to completely rock your world. I guess this can be good or bad depending on if you are ready when it rears it's ugly head. I know that there are some people out there who are reading this blog thinking that I should be embarrassed? Well I have to be honest and tell you that yes sometimes I am a little embarrassed! Sometimes when I run into an old friend I think to myself..."I wonder if they are reading?" Sometimes I write an entry and then question myself before I hit post. But to this day I have posted everything. I guess my advise for today is to let some of it your own way. It will not just go away. I used to tell my Dad that I thought cancer fed off of bad thoughts and regrets and that his would get better if he could just let some of the past go, who knew that advise would help me in the end. I know I have said it before but every minute of everyday still feels like a struggle for me...the pantry is still the first place I head to, I still pray to God to wake up skinny and even though I have learned to somewhat enjoy it I always think about leaving during the first 10 minutes of working out. I know that this is just a start for me and I have so much more to work through in this blog, but in a way it has already saved my life...
xoxo chef a

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pumpkin Ginger Snap Roll

On the IPOD "First Day of My Life" by: Bright Eyes

So after changing from my low sugar approach to counting calories, Ive come to an important conclusion...I can not eat whatever I want to as long as I count calories. It just doesn't work for me...or let me rephrase that I still lose weight but at snail speed. I know that some of this slowness is because I am working out more and more and obviously creating muscle and losing fat but some of it is due to the fact that my body hates sugar. I mean it loves sugar, it loves it so much that it stores it in my stomach and my thighs, well and everywhere else. So sugar and I are gonna have a conference tonight right after mahjong (lets be real folks...I'm not going to set myself up for failure. Mahjong is a Chinese Tile game that lots of Jewish ladies play in groups of four while they gossip(we would never!) and eat!) So we will have that talk on the way home I guess. Don't worry I am still being very good tonight. I made Chicken Satay Skewers with low sugar peanut sauce, Crudites (carrots, celery, fresh snap peas, cucumber spears, bell peppers), Popchips (a must), Low fat smoked Jalapeno Cheese with whole wheat parmesan garlic flat bread crackers, and then the best Pumpkin Ginger Snap roll which I'm gonna give you the recipe for right now...

Pumpkin Ginger Snap Roll

1 Cup Cold Skim Milk
1 pkg. (4 serving size) Jell-o Pumpkin Spice Instant Pudding
1 8oz container thawed free/sugar free/lite Cool Whip
30 Ginger Snaps

Pour milk into medium bowl, add pudding mix and beat with whisk for about 2 minutes or until blended. Stir in cool whip.

Spread about 2 tsp. on each cookie while stacking so that you are forming a log on a long serving platter. When finished frost the log with the remaining pudding mix.

Refrigerate at least 10 hours or overnight. Slice diagonally into 12 servings.

Each serving has about 130 calories and 3 grams of fat
Not horrible for a great dessert

I have always secretly wondered if I was on WW and was given a total of 25 points for the day, what would happen if I just ate 25 WW frozen fudge bars (1 point each) would I still lose weight???? I don't think so!!! So sugar and I are gonna take a little break and we will see how it goes... So I'm calling on you to send me you're best low sugar snack because I know that my claws are coming back out again and I won't be very happy. But I'm just curious at this point if I will start dropping pounds like crazy again or still stay at this 2-3 pounds a week pace, which don't get me wrong is great too!
xoxo chef a

Monday, November 9, 2009

Who is in control?

On the IPOD "Bottle It Up" By: Sara Bareilles

Ok so first off I have some of the best friends in the world, who throughout this journey have become incredibly supportive...don't get me wrong their are others who are threatened by my honest approach and have been less than helpful... But the great ones are really great! We had a wonderfully fun night watching the game last night with one of the most amazing girls I know!!! This morning when the same friend and I were on the phone she said, "We've got to work out really hard today to make up for last night (we ate pizza, my personal favorite)!" My response was, "well Sunday is my fun day and I eat what I want (which is true I believe that you need to have certain times whether it's one dinner a week or certain holidays to eat and drink whatever you want)" Her next response was, "well you should cut that out and you'll lose more weight!" Now looking back I know that my sweet friend was just trying to offer me support, but I have to tell you it made me feel like a little girl again looking in the cabinets at night and hearing my mom in the other room say, "Who's in there and what are you getting in to?" My first inclination was to defend myself and explain to her the reasons of my weight loss philosophy. I am not in this to lose 100 pounds in 6 months...I want to change the way I eat so that I can live a healthy life for the rest of my life. I do not want to become a freak over what I eat. I want to deal with my crap! I believe that my weight is not where it is because of what I eat it is why I eat.

After we finished our conversation the little girl inside of me was screaming things like..."I'm not gonna let anyone control me...I'll eat whatever I want to....If I wanna work out I will and If I don't I won't." I sort of felt like just quiting... Just running out and eating everything I could get my hands on. And I want you to know that my friend did nothing wrong...If I felt normal about my weight and about who I am I should've been able to take what she said as just friendly advise, but I didn't I let it turn into something completely different. It was a painful memory that as much as I have always wanted to be in control of my weight...I never have been. It's funny how we all have different ways of coping...she has had her fair share of weight issues and I think she accepts help from everyone whereas I have an extremely difficult time accepting help from anyone. I want to change this...It is not real fun to always be defensive. I love hearing how other people are losing weight and any advise and tidbit I have gotten on that front I greatly appreciate but I've noticed that any comments about how I should be working out or what I should be eating... feel like an immediate threat on my own authority. It is also sometimes very difficult to accept a compliment about my weight. Please don't think I am saying I want you to stop giving me advise, compliments, or any other information you think I should have!!!! I need it more than ever now...I want to learn how to hear it with an open mind and not be so quick to tell you why you're wrong. Maybe I'm wrong...maybe I need to let it go and not take everything as the gospel. I'm going to do my best to hear what the world is telling me...I might not always live by all the advise I'm given but I'm at least going to mull it over for a little while...
xoxo chef a

Saturday, November 7, 2009

My Humps

On the IPOD "My Humps" by: Black Eyed Peas

So although I really wanted to write my blog yesterday, I could not because of some unforeseen computer difficulties, ie: Mike needed to use the computer parts for a "project". Anyways I wanted to leave you all with a sort of funny embarrassing tidbit for you to mull over this weekend....
My boobs.
I have to tell you when they showed up at age 11 I was not thrilled. I never got to wear the little cute training bras because I went from flat to a b cup overnight. They were always in my way. I played volleyball, basketball, and softball when I was younger and I remember thinking , "ugh I wish I could just get rid of them." It wasn't really until I was about 16 and a DD that I realized they had power... Instead of thinking they were working against me I realized that although I was punished with weight issues I was blessed in the fact that I had a great rack and I didn't have acne. Hey you gotta notice your good traits right? I remember at about 17 when the Wonderbra was introduced and I thought it was a good idea to buy one. So there I am stuffing my size DD boobs into a D cup because that's the biggest cup they carried. That night one of my guy friends looked over and said, "Amanda have you done something different?" Yeah I was different alright... it was right then that I realized that the three of us were going to be very happy and I'm not referring to the guy!!

My boobs and I have been through everything together. We were together in my late teens and early 20s when I was super hippie and didn't wear a bra ( never a good idea when your boobs are big...first of all you should give them support as often as possible and second I could've knocked somebody's eye out. Hey but this is when I snagged my husband!!) Then they were with me when I covered myself up with as much clothing as possible because I thought that noone would notice my weight if my clothes were big. They were pretty well hidden for a good 6 years...And then about 3 years ago when I realized there were girl clothes out there in my size...they were back out again and by this time they had perfected the push up bra for big busted girls so I had one in every color. It was a pretty wonderful feeling to feel like a girl. It was in combination with the whole plus size model explosion. Since then I have tamed my sexy dress code into a more conservative look although I have been know to bring the girls out on special occasions. My friends make fun of me because 9 out of 10 times my hands are usually on my boobs, like in conversation obviously not all day I would look silly.

Unfortunately my boobs are shrinking... I have secretly always been a little nervous that if I lost weight they would just go away... And they are definitely changing. My husband even asked me the other day..."where are your boobs?" It's very sad, they have always been my identity...I wonder what my new identity will be...I wonder if my body will catch up and at the end Ill be a thin girl with big boobs? Hmmmm...What are the chances???? So if in public you see me holding them a little more please understand that I am trying to enjoy what could be my last winter with them!!

I said I'd talk about food in every post so I'd like you to know that I would kill for a skor bar right now!!!!

xoxo chef a

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Oldie but Goodie Club

On the IPOD "Let Him Fly" by: Dixie Chicks

Today started off like any other...I woke up, the alarm clock said 7:50am, I freaked out because I normally leave at 7 and then I remembered that I have still not changed the clock back an hour so it was really just 6:50am... 10 minutes later I pulled myself together and headed out the door. Most people don't understand my rush...they think that since I work for myself and make my own hours that I should just sleep in and get going whenever I feel like it. Yeah well, I've never been a sleep through the day kind of girl...I'm by no means saying that I have not been known to take a couple cat naps throughout the day, but in general I work off about 5-6 hours sleep and I usually wake up very early! I take my work very seriously, I run a very tight ship, and I would rather not be at a client's house later than 3pm. I am very particular about the food I buy...As I have said before I go to lots of different grocery stores each morning and without really thinking that hard I can tell you most products each one carries, how much it costs, and who is receiving a new shipment on any given day. I like things and people to be on time. I get extremely annoyed if I have to wait at a store and most butchers in town are very aware of how serious I am about the quality of cuts I want. When I starting Culinary School I was convinced I was going to be a Pastry Chef, I did very well in baking classes I even made a perfect score on my first technique exam but within about a month the instructor, Chef Chris Lalonde, of the saucier class next door, who would later become probably one of the most influential chefs in my career, walked into the class and informed me that I would not be a pastry chef and to transfer into his class asap. He was right and thank goodness I made an impact on him because otherwise I would be stuck in some bakery somewhere!! Sorry I went all in to this but I forget sometimes that there is a good number of you out there who don't know this stuff about me and I think it's important for you to know what I excel at and what I struggle with. If anybody out there has any questions please always feel free to write me.

On to the rest of my day...After work my friend Lisa called to ask if I would join her for a workout at my old gym. I decided to join her. Now I don't have a membership there anymore but my mom does and it used to be real easy to just quickly walk in and sign in. Not so easy anymore. Its like a fortress in there...I had to act like my mom, tell them my husband's name was Joe Bill (my dad) and I had promise to bring my card in next time. Suckers!! So anyways after about 10 minutes I realized why I wasn't so keen on joining...I would say about 50% of the people working out there look like they are going to meet their makers in the next 24 hours... There was a very nice gentleman in his 90s working out in bluejeans on my right and then another gentleman probably in his late 70s walking on the treadmill in knee highs in front of me. I mean Mike definitely did not have to worry about me eye cheating on him. But I did have a great workout...They have this machine there that makes you feel like your speed skating, it's great I'm like the best skater ever without skates on!!! I even threw in 60 crunches in the gym (I normally do these at home because I really don't want the mass of personal trainers at the gym to notice me doing something wrong ) . I wish you could go to any gym on any day for just 5 dollars a day. I mean I understand people who like getting into a routine but I'm not one of them...I like to change it up that's why I enjoy Nia class so much because it is different everyday.
So we decided to run by this healthier froyo place on the way home because they supposedly have a great peppermint yogurt (9 calories an ounce) (yes that would be at least 16 hours before I caved in). Yeah well it tasted like metallic medicine. So I didn't get it boo!!! When I got home we had a quick bite to eat, Chinese Chicken with brown rice, and watched a little t.v. and I managed to do 40 lunges during commercial breaks! My thighs and abs are not real happy right now...and I'm slightly falling asleep with the keyboard on my lap. Alright off to bed...

xoxo chef a

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

White Trash Milkshake

On the IPOD "Flies on the Butter" by Wynonna Judd

I had the longest cook day ever today... Two clients...Number 1 wife is on a special diet where everything has to be portioned out, husband is on a low carb diet, and then there are three children. Number 2 professional couple, no kids yet, vegetarian, low carb low sugar some whole grains. What ever happened to the days that I said I wouldn't take special diets...Oh well they are both very good long term clients. You might be exhausted by the menu so take a quick nap if you need to... :)

Baked chicken drummettes
Roasted Brisket with Carrots
Pan seared Filet Mignon
Jalapeno Cheese Sausages
Vegetable soup
Split Pea Soup
Jalapeno Chicken
Chicken Souvlaki
Southwestern Chicken
Marinated Flank Steak
Beef Stew
Egg Salad
Chicken Salad
Raw Veggie Packs
Citrus Sections
Szechuan Whole Grain Noodles
Grilled Veggie Melts
Winter Chopped Salad
Penne with Roasted Tomato Sauce, Fresh Mozzarella, and Julienned Vegetables

See you're tired...I told you!! Anyways I came home crashed actually in the bed for a 20 minute power nap and then managed to talk myself into going to the gym. Not only did I go to the gym but I pushed myself really really hard. I kept my heart rate at about 160 for a solid 40 minutes. My workout included sprints and the bike and even 15 minutes on the elliptical changing direction every minute. Then I came home made dinner, ate dinner, and then was hungry 20 minutes later... See the joy that is my life...always hungry!! It wasn't regular hungry either, it was the kind of hungry where you keep thinking of one particular craving. The funny thing is that as soon as pumpkin stuff shows up at the store, all my tummy can think about is peppermint ice cream. I know you're thinking, "whats the connection?" Well pumpkin means its getting close to peppermint season and I love ice cream and I love with all my heart peppermint ice cream with about 1/4 cup of milk poured over the top...Don't turn your nose up at it. It is what I refer to as the white trash milk shake! The milk creates a hard crunchy shell on the ice cream, it is really unbelievably good. Just try it go on you know you want to now!! Would I steer you in the wrong direction? No, I would never push you to waste calories unless it was truly worth it! So I am going to bed tonight without a white trash milkshake is a very sad day at the Marrone household!! The real test is going to be how many hours can I go without buying the damn ice cream. I'm saying it in hours because I'm not a masochist. My will power has been amazing lately so we will see... maybe I'll surprise myself!!
xoxo chef a

Monday, November 2, 2009


On the IPOD "All My Days" by: Alexi Murdoch

I have a love/hate relationship with Halloween. I love that I get to dress up and that its an excuse to really just have fun!! But I hate that I have to not only look at bags of my favorite candies for 2 months prior but I also then have to walk by rows and rows of my favorite candy on sale for a good month afterwards. After not having luck finding a naughty school girl plaid skirt in my size, I decided to dress up like a "Yogaholic who is addicted to Botox". I wore yoga pants, 2 different color sports bras overlapping, a tank top, a pink cloth head band, about 5 pounds of fake hair (in a pony tail), serious amounts of makeup, and I carried a yoga mat, an ecofriendly water bottle, and a small round ice compress for my botox injections. There are pictures on facebook!! It was really fun and we really had a great time!! Unfortunately I had to work on Sunday morning (working on the weekends is become a very annoying trend. I'm not complaining about the work...just feeling a little burnt out at the moment.) so that is why it has taken me so long to post.

Not to abruptly change subjects but I wish that I could tell you that I am not incredibly cruel to myself. When I look in the mirror I wish I could be happy about how my body is changing so much but instead I feel myself nitpicking everything. I am probably my worst critic. I have been thinking more and more about being 12 years old and being in the 6th grade (reference back to a post called 12 years old). I guess it has been weighing on me a little more than I thought... There is slightly more to the story that I didn't really discuss that I feel like I need to. In 6th grade after the occurrence that happened in the morning service, my weight continued to be a source of tormenting. It got so bad that I started making myself throw up so that I wouldn't have to go to school. My parents were completely distraught and took me to every specialist in town because they thought that I was really sick...I ended up in the hospital for about a week and then they brought me home and I still would not stop throwing up. They ended up putting me in a treatment facility ( yes you can call me Britney Spears if you want). I went through a complete program for about a month and never explained to anyone the real reasons for me not wanted to go to school. Looking back I really don't know why I kept it a secret maybe I was just embarrassed that I was being made fun of or maybe I was afraid that my father would be right and my life would truly be better if I was skinny...

A few friends have asked me if I want an apology from the girls who treated me this way...That is a very hard question. Of coarse it would be nice to hear that they have regrets over what was done to me and that they know after all these years that what they did was wrong. Then there is another part of me that feels like they would think that if they did apologize that it would make it just go away (which it wouldn't). I guess an apology would give me the satisfaction of knowing that someone was owning up to it. But whether I ever get one or not I have to learn how to stop abusing myself. I friend of mine sent me a posted picture of a girl in her underwear and on the picture there were words and phrases written on each body part like one leg ran through India the other ran a 12km, her hands can knead dough and so on... I look at my body and I see pain... It makes me feel uncomfortable at times. There are the odd times that I say "Oh wow. your lookin good Amanda." But to tell you the truth those times are few and far between. More frequently I stare at myself convince myself that I looked like Ive gained a couple pounds, then I get exceedingly nervous, I jump on the scale and then I finally believe that I'm still doing ok. You are probably reading this thinking what a freak... but I could sit here and tell you how much I love myself and how I feel so confident and blah blah blah....Yeah the feelings just don't go away like that. I am truthfully explaining that although I love who I am as a person, I do not love my outside. I don't like the way I look in clothes ( or not in clothes). I pick out new wrinkles and stretch marks on a regular basis... And my hair well just pretty much doesn't cooperate. I'm sure I could look at a picture of myself and write all the nice things my body has done for me, but it would be difficult to not include the reasons I'm angry at it. I don't know maybe I should do both. Anyways I guess why I am writing about this is because I want to make it real clear that the things we say to each other and to ourselves will never really go away even if we apologize profusely. They become ingrained in us. They make us who we are...for good or bad.
xoxo chef a

Friday, October 30, 2009

A Cat Sighting

On the IPOD "Thiller" by: Michael Jackson

So obviously yall were all scared to try out the zumba class...interesting. Actually you should have been...Zumba is just so friggin fast it's insane!! First of all I'm going to start at the beginning of my visit to Telos Fitness Center. I ran home to get changed for class and got to spend Oh about 12 minutes with my husband... Parked in the parking garage because I thought that there would be connecting stairs...nope had to take the stairs up and then walk around the building to get to the front door ( in the rain because it has been raining in Dallas for at least the last 40 days, why no one has built an ark yet I truly don't understand). They obviously should have had me design the building because just that alone made me never want to go back... Anyways once I got in I had to go downstairs to get to the locker room. Alright here is where the fun starts...I was minding my own business and just as I walked in the door I opened my eyes and what do I see...a cat staring me right in the eyes and I am not talking about the animal... I just don't get it at least have the decency to walk around naked towards the back of the locker room so that I don't have to be forced into exposing my virgin eyes. I mean look lady I know that you work hard on your body and your plastic boobs were established in 1982 but that doesn't mean that I want to walk into a brothel when I am at the gym. I mean I don't make you look at my fat ass or my less than perky boobs, so why do I have to look at your hairy snatch?!? Moving on...

So I managed to wade through the nudity to my locker and grabbed a towel and headed out. So I walked up the stairs to the lobby and then walked up the stairs again to the classroom. Well the teacher did give out neon light up bracelets and necklaces at the beginning of class what more can one really ask for. Shannon, the teacher, was very energetic...thriller was going to be the last 15 minutes of class , so the rest would be standard zumba. You know before I take another zumba class I really need to invest in getting my hips was fast and by fast I mean that I was not the only one who looked like they were gonna trip over their own feet. We couldn't get to thriller fast enough. There were at least 10 times that I thought about leaving but I didn't. I was expecting normal thriller not the zumba Michael Jackson on crack version. I felt like I was on a scary hidden camera show where they just kept speeding up the music until everyone dropped dead....I managed to make it though! It was fun I guess I at least know the moves to thriller!!

So when I was leaving I thought I could be smarter than the building. I thought to myself there has got to be a way to get to the parking garage from inside the building right?? So I saw a back staircase by the front door this has got to be it...I got in and ended up downstairs by the locker room. Then I went all the way to the other side of the building and saw a stair case that said exit, could this be it? Nope after about 4 flights up I realized that i didn't even know where I was and to tell you the truth i started to feel like I was in a horror movie ( i guess it was all the thriller). So I went back down and ended up right where I started by the locker rooms. I finally relinquished control to Telos and walked up stairs to the lobby out the doors around the building down the outside staircase and to my car. Ugh! That was a workout on it's own!!

Today's menu:
Winter Chopped Salad
Fresh Tuna Salad
Shrimp Fajitas with guacamole and pico de gallo
Mexicana bean and cheese burritos
Vegetable Mac and Cheese ( with sauteed broccoli, red onions, carrots, and red bell pepper)
Cacao Muffins

Thanks to everyone for the thoughtful comments about Andi. It was a really rough day for everyone...

xoxo chef a

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Andi with an i

On the IPOD "The Lucky One" by: Alison Krauss & Union Station

We have a family dog. Her name is Andi, I call her andi, andilucy, lucy, luse and she is a 16 year old Black Lab. She was best friends with my dad... they listened to lots and lots of music together and had lots and lots of snacks together including a late night snack at about 2:30 AM everyday. Every morning Andi would meet me at the back door when I got there and race me to the room my dad was in so that we could jump on his bed and wake him up. It was a tradition that was important to all three of us. During that 20 minutes or so my father and I would discuss our plans for the day and Andi would perform tricks, when she had enough she would bark until one of us rewarded her with some type of treat. I always figured that when he went she would follow quickly, but she just kept going and I began to believe that she was watching over us for him. She, like me, has a love for carbohydrates...there were many times that we would come home to an empty bread bag and we even once came home and she had opened a Godiva chocolate box and was eating the flavors she liked and had even spit a couple out that she didn't. Chocolate never seemed to phase her, she is my kind of girl.

She has been a great dog. She has also not been feeling so hot lately. I have been back and forth with the vet discussing how I would know when it was time to let her go. He told me that it was really up to me and that there are a couple of questions I should ask myself, 1) Does she have quality of life? 2) Am I keeping her here for me or is it for her? For months now I have answered pretty quickly, she seemed to still be getting joy out of life and was still wagging her tail so she must be happy. Well two days ago she spit out one of her beloved treats, I can't imagine how bad she must feel to not want a can't be good.

My mom called tonight and said that she thinks it is time to let her go... As much as I have known that this was coming it still breaks my heart that the time is really here. It is like losing another part of my dad. I know in my heart that it is unfair to keep her here for me but unfortunately it doesn't make it any easier. The reason I chose the song tonight is because It is the song that we were playing for my dad as he took his last breath. It seemed appropriate to honor Andi in the same way...I have to be honest and say that I am still wishing that when I wake up in the morning she will have made a complete turnaround, but that is probably selfish. I do love her and I will miss her, but I know she will be with my dad and that makes me feel a little better.

I hate that this week has been sort of a downer. It is real life seems as if stuff just happens in bunches. I am hoping to deal with this grief without the crutch of food...We will see how it goes...

Goodnight all
xoxo chef a

Update: I ended up at my mom's house at about has been a rough night. She is refusing to even eat bread so I know its time...I never thought I would get so emotionally attached to a dog, but I have. Funny enough I thought it was only fair to her to explain what is going to happen this morning...she seems pretty ok with it. I will miss her! xoxo Andi with an i.

Good News

On the IPOD "Make You Feel My Love" by ADELE

So we got very good news last night...My mom's heart is in great condition and they believe the pain she was feeling was an esophageal spasm. So we finally got to leave and she will visit a doctor sometime this week to figure out the whole spasm issue. Thanks to everyone for your support and well wishes! On a side note I am so over hospitals...everything takes on average 3 times as long as I think it should. Although I know I'm not a doctor or nurse and I truly appreciate all of their help, it is just a little ridiculous at times.

I so wish I felt like going to work today but I don't, I mean I'm going of course but to be real honest I really want to just sit in bed and watch reruns. So my menu for today is as follows:

Winter Chopped Salad
Tofu and Broccoli Stir Fry
Baked Chicken with Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Green Beans
Gluten Free Lasagna
Veal Picatta with asparagus Parmesan
Chicken Souvlaki with hummus and Tabouli
Sugar Free Chocolate Chip Muffins

Last week I did a really smart thing that is really coming in handy...I made like 12 chicken breasts 4 different flavors, packaged them in indvidual plastic bags, and then I put them in the freezer. That way when I leave the house in the morning all I have to do is grab the bag of chicken and then either pair it with some fresh green veggies or a salad for lunch. I've been packaging this way for client's for a long time, but its the first time I actually did it for myself and I think it is totally worth it!!!!

I will be taking a free, yes I said free Zumba class learning the moves to thriller TOMORROW night at Telos Fitness Center 13701 Dallas Parkway it is at 5:45 pm. Please let me know if you would like to join me. It will be lots of fun!!!!

BTW I'm down a solid 30 pounds!! Yay!!

xoxo chef a

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


On the IPOD "Heatbreaker" by: Pat Benatar

I have been very lucky in my adult life that my Mom has been relatively healthy (knock on wood) so when I walked into her house yesterday morning and saw her pretty much throwing stuff out of the medicine cabinet looking for aspirin because she felt like she was having a heart attack the whole dealing with a sick parent feeling rushed back in... When my dad was sick my parents house was like a cancer ward...there were "treatment rooms" (lines of meds and new monitors and such), the cafeteria (better known as the kitchen), lots and lots of calendars with doctors appointments and medicine charts, and wheelchairs and walkers. At one point we even had a plan of action that I printed off the computer that had questions like "how are we feeling today?" and "What is your current pain level?" Believe me when I say I hope to not go through all that again. Anyways back to my i told her to sit down I got her the aspirin and then my aunt rushed her to the er and I met them there. They did an EKG and took a blood sample and then we just sat there... a package of cheese-its later and after about 4 hours they finally moved us to a room in the heart hospital for further testing. On a side note there is something about a hospital that makes me hungry, I'm sure it has to do with being nervous and needing a form of comfort (ding ding ding "food".)

My mom is one of my best friends...I tell her everything and we talk probably on average 6 to 8 times a day. It has not always been this way...from the time I was about 8 until hmmm 23, alright 25, I pretty much thought I knew everything...but since then we have grown to completely appreciate each other's company. Even during the rough times I was still extremely close to both of my parents (my brothers actually used to make fun of me for it), but I guess I never wanted to have regrets and i was still pretty young and at home when my father first got sick so I think I was more aware of the limited time we might have with him. My mom is sometimes a little rough on me, she doesn't really sugar coat things and I sometimes feel her having a hard time restraining herself from making comments about what I'm eating. The funny thing is that if I watch too much then I get the "Amanda, you can't get crazy about this , you have to eat!!!" and if I waver I get, "Amanda, is that really worth it?" It actually has become quite comical lately. I would be lying if I told you that I don't worry on a regular basis about losing my mom... And I think when I worry i tend to get sad and then I tend to eat. So lets just say that yesterday was a very hard battle. This morning I cancelled work and I'm going to head up to the hospital to see how the echo cardiogram is going. I will fill you in this afternoon... I'm missing my comments I would love to hear from you guys!

xoxo chef a