Sunday, February 28, 2010

Banana Pancakes

On the IPOD "Banana Pancakes" by: Jack Johnson

This morning I woke up and decided to make breakfast. You would think that as a chef, I cook elaborate meals at home, but if truth be told it is actually a rare occurrence. So the first thing that went through my mind is, how can I make a really special breakfast that won't kill my eating habits for the day? And then it came to me in a song... Banana pancakes "Whole Grain Style"

Whole Grain Banana Cinnamon Pancakes

If you would like to make these the easy way... Buy your favorite whole grain or regular pancake mix and add 1 mashed up banana and about 1/2 tsp. cinnamon to the recipe for about 1 cup of mix.

1 large ripe banana, mashed
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup of oat flour

Mix first three ingredients in a large glass liquid measuring cup (You can use just a regular bowl, but the measuring cup has a spout making it a bit easier.) Sift all the dry ingredients into the bowl and mix until blended.

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. If it's an older skillet most likely you will need a little oil or spray. Then pour batter into the hot pan. When bubbles appear on the top (about 1-2 minutes) flip each pancake and cook about a minute more. Stack on a plate top with a little butter, about 1/2 of a sliced banana, and a little bit of whipped cream. Serve with syrup. Yum!

It definitely was a decedent treat! I hope everybody else had a wonderful weekend filled with love and happiness and amazing friends because luckily I did!!

xoxo chef a

Friday, February 26, 2010


On the IPOD "Seduces Me" by: Celine Dion

Well I wasn't going to write tonight, but then I kind of started to beat myself up on the way home and I really wanted to let it out and not forget it...

I went to the Haiti Dance event tonight. From 6-7pm I took a Zumba Class, From 7:15-8:15 pm I took a Nia Class and from 8:15-9pm I took a pole dancing class...

Just when I felt like I am really gaining some major self confidence, I went to this other place...It's not depressed (I actually don't think I have a depressed bone in my body), It's this self critical, impatient, and out of control feeling place.

It might be stemming from the fact that I lost it last week and almost gave up on the infertility drugs or maybe it is the intense pain in my left calf, but more than likely it's in my head. I noticed it first in Zumba when I caught myself looking at other people and judging myself against them and then in the Nia I thought about leaving not once but twice which is something I never do. The last straw came in Pole Dancing. We were trying some turns and I felt myself holding back and then Clarissa, the instructor, noticed as well and even asked me, "Why are you holding back?" At first I felt myself trying to come up with excuses, my hurt leg... But I've decided it was just plain old fear. I was scared that the pole couldn't support me, like I was gonna break it. A fear of embarrassment. Interesting that I can tell this computer almost every detail of my life, but I'm scared of a little pole.

Sometimes I wonder If I was skinny would I still have the fear or is my weight a crutch. Have I oddly enough found safety in this body? Maybe Ive created a comfort zone. I really only wear black and I'm not even Goth, but I feel more comfortable in black. I stand in certain places in the dance room because the view in the mirror is in a seam and I look 10 pounds lighter. I've learned to protect myself! My whole life I have been hiding behind these other titles: singer, chef, friend... And in that I've lost trust in myself that I would be ok and liked/loved if I was just plain old me.

Probably in years past if I had the same experience as I did tonight, I would have cried for a couple of minutes and then I would never think about it again. I would have told myself that obviously I'm just too heavy for pole dancing, but today I feel different about it...Don't get me wrong I'm still scared of it and I did cry a little bit but with the fear came curiosity and hope that Ill be able to do it... one day...

xoxo chef a

Mom Advice

On the IPOD "Rehab" by: Amy Winehouse

Yesterday morning I woke up, got out of bed, and thought I was going to fall over. My calves hurt so bad.... It felt like I was having a constant "Charley horse." I took some "Midol" because that is what I take when anything hurts (If they give it to the Marines, then it's good enough for me.) And then I tried to go on with my lovely day. I got dressed in my new "Nia" pants (which are a little tighter in the tush are than I am used to), I even made my husband wake up just to feel my butt and then started on some much needed office work. The I met one of my best friends, Tiffany, for a quick lunch and had an ab workout from all the laughing...I made Tiffany feel my butt too!

By about 3 o'clock I was having serious doubts about going to Nia, my left calf was in dire straits. I made a quick decision to rub my legs with both "Bengay" and "Arnica Gel" and within five minutes I had decided that was the worst decision of my life!!!! My friend Theresa was subbing the Nia class though and I really wanted to go. So I just decided to give it a try...

The first thing I did was talk to my Nia girls about the Zensual class, my new pants, and I even let two of them feel my butt. We are funny girls we each have our spots on the dance floor...when the class started we were all ready to go and then about 5 minutes into class a straggler came in and stood within a foot of me, now the annoying part was that the room wasn't even that full so the fact that she was completely in my personal space when there was clearly more room was not acceptable. I probably kind of annoyed her because my leg was hurting so bad that I had to keep stopping so then she moved into Karen's space. Now Karen had a new approach, she gave her the funniest stare down that I have ever seen in my life. So funny that I couldn't keep it together and I just started laughing. Karen finally gave up and moved to the back row with me. The she started to inch over to Arlene's personal space...I again couldn't keep it together. The pain in my legs got so bad that between songs I said to Arlene, "I need mom advice, what do I do?" She turned to me and said, "Just tell her to get out of your space!!!!!" She didn't realize that I was talking about my legs! It was so funny that the three of us sounded like little girls giggling.

I rushed out of class to go to dinner at Susie's house with a special guest who reads the blog...Dinner was amazing, Susie made this Soba noodle dish with a really good primavera sauce that I 'm hoping to get the recipe for so that I can post it! We talked about eating issues and weightloss and of all things "Bully Sticks" (this is a dog treat that Susie buys, you are actually going to have to look it up, it's a little disturbing!) I did get Susie to try on "Kandi", and I think she liked it!

I am hoping my legs and the muscle relaxer decide to work by tonight because I'm going to the "All you can dance party for Haiti relief" at Move Studio. Can't wait to see everyone there!!

xoxo chef a

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Kandi and Veronica

On the IPOD "Everywhere I Go" by: Lissie

Last week I signed up for a 6 week series workshop called "Zensual Dancing Bootcamp"

"A powerful exotic dancing workout designed to tone, strengthen, build flexibility, increase confidence and improve posture. An inspiring, motivating, and seductive way to get into shape that has women coming back for more!"

I was really excited about it because the "Hot Seat" workshop was so fun. The first class was last Wednesday. The group of girls in the class seem great and we did a short run through just to get ourselves used to dancing in the room and with each other. I'm so glad I took the workshop first though...I already felt pretty comfortable. We also got some details about what we needed for the next class: knee pads and "stripper" heels!

Now let me assure you that I've heard every joke in the book about the knee pads this week and for the record I learned about all the uses way before I took a dance class!

Now I'm all about the outfits...I feel like If you really want to play the sport, you really need all the accoutrements (you really need to say this word with a French accent to get the full effect.) So today before class I went to buy my heels... There is a store here in Dallas called, "Electrique Boutique" (they are online too!) They have all kinds of things including costumes, heels, and even a couple of boas and tutus. I figured I would just go all out with the shoes...I mean they aren't expensive and the higher the heel the better the workout! As much as I wanted to try on the "Tip Jar" clear 7in Platforms (yes you read correctly these are 7in platform sandals that have a slit in the platform so that people can slide the tip into your shoe!) instead I decided to just buy the version with no "tip jar" in clear and in black (my signature color!) The salespeople were incredible, so nice and helpful...I tried on at least 6 different shoes in 2 different sizes.

On my way to buy knee pads I decided that my new shoes needed names... When my Aunt Mickie was going through chemo she named her wigs and in a homage to her, I decided that my shoes needed names because I don't want to be nailed down to just one! In the clear shoes my name will be Kandi with a K and an I and in the black shoes I will be know as Veronica. I think both names give me two full characters: Kandi- not the sharpest tool in the shed, but she is fun, flirty, sweet, and kind of has that "girl next door" mentality and Veronica- is maybe a little too smart, sexy, passionate and probably deep down a little dirty!

When I got home I put on "Kandi" and proceeded to break her in a bit. Um...I could definitely feel the nine flights of stairs that I decided to run down at my client's highrise yesterday... I know that I'm going to build up unbelievable strength in this workshop, but I honestly don't know how I'm going to be able to squat low enough to drop to my knees without hitting my face first.

When I got to class, most of the girls didn't have their shoes yet. So we went through the routine barefoot, which was a great idea because I really felt like I needed to break the shoes in more. Even on the second day of the class, I feel like it is allowing me to open up so much more and to feel comfortable in this body that I have hated for so long. I can't even explain to you how much I am looking forward to the next class...

When I got home I decided to put "Kandi" back on...I mean I feel like if I'm going to write about her I need to be wearing her as I write!

xoxo chef a (aka "Kandi" and "Veronica")

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Nightstand Incident

On the IPOD "Mrs. Robinson (Remastered)" by: The Lemonheads incident

On Sunday I decided I was going to be super productive and repaint our nightstands! You might ask, "Amanda, are you good at home improvement projects?" Well to answer your question, I've got great ideas and I'm really good at watching home improvement shows... But unfortunately I don't like to follow directions!

So I went to the store and bought every brand of spray paint they had, a tarp, sand paper, and even some clear coat for that "professional look". Then I stopped by my mom's house and got the electric sander ( I know, power tools...what was I thinking.) Mike ran to do a couple of errands and because I'm extremely impatient I started without him... I laid out the tarp on our patio, moved the nightstand outside, ended up forgoing the electric sander and just used the sand paper to rough up the surface .

I changed into painting attire, took my shoes off, and even left my phone inside so that I wouldn't be distracted... Everything was going great until I realized that the tarp looked oddly brown all over...I guess I'm not as good as I thought I was with a can of spray paint! The bad part wasn't that the tarp was brown, the bad part was that there was a solid 1/2 inch of brown paint on the bottom of my feet. And even worse than that when I opened the door to try and find a way to beam myself to the bathroom to wash my feet off I heard knocking (ok it was more like banging) at the front door.

At that minute I realized that I had locked Mike out and more than likely since I didn't have my phone and was outside for at least 45 minutes, he wasn't real happy... So I wrapped my feet up with paper towels and scooted myself across the living room to the front door. When I opened the door "Hi" was definitely not the first word he said... I quickly said sorry and then scooted my way to the bathroom. For the next 30 minutes or so I scrubbed my feet, until they almost fell off. Spray paint is pretty resilient!

After all of that the nightstand did turn out pretty decent...I think I will wait a couple of days before I paint the second one!

Yesterday was a rough cook day for me...

Seafood Bouillabaisse
Taco Bar
Turkey Meatballs
Chicken Lomein
Pan Seared Filets
Chicken Enchiladas
Chili con Carne
3 different kinds of grilled chicken (Greek, Fajita, and Jalapeno)
Beef and Vegetable Stew
Zucchini Parmesan Bake
Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussel Sprout Medley
Corn and Black Bean Pico de Gallo
Cucumber Salad
Country Green Beans
Fruit Salad
Key Lime Pie

My friend Stacy asked me for a recipe for Shakshouka. This is my favorite one, I actually ended up making it for dinner last night... so good!

Shaksouka (Eggs in Purgatory)

1 tsp. olive oil
1 med. onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, roughly chopped
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. tumeric
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 T of Siracha (you can use more or less of this depending on heat desired, I would not double this if making a larger batch)
1/2 cup of vegetable broth
2-4 eggs depending on how much sauce you like

Heat olive oil in saute pan over medium high heat. Add onion and cook until soft. Add garlic and peppers and cook about 3 minutes more. Add crushed tomatoes, spices, and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and simmer very low, uncovered for about an hour. Now some people break the eggs into the sauce and simmer in the sauce for about 8 minutes for poached eggs. Im not a big fan of that, I like to cook my eggs "over-medium" in a seperate skillet and then serve them on top of the hot sauce. Your choice!

Ok I really have to get ready for work...

xoxo chef a

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Art Room

On the IPOD "A Case of You" by: Joni Mitchell

When I was very young, my mom met a lost women(Susie) walking home from our Elementary school. She had just moved to Dallas with her husband (Alan) and two girls (Marni and Amy) and she couldn't remember which way her house was...Of course my mom showed her the way and then became best of friends.

Their house was always one of my favorite places to go... I mean are you kidding me, two beautiful older girls (remember I didnt have a sister), an art room under the stairs and a laundry shoot that I'm pretty sure, knowing my brothers, we used for much more than laundry... The girls were my brothers ages...Growing up, Marni was so much fun. She was a mommy's girl just like me, although I was a daddy's girl too. . I was lucky enough to get some of her hand me downs and of course those were the best because they were Marni's. Her older sister Amy was like a living Barbie doll. As far as I was concerned she was the most beautiful sophisticated teenage girl I knew. I think I pretty much idolized them. The funny part is that when the older kids were off doing grown up stuff that I, as my brothers usually put it, just didn't understand, I was usually sitting with the adults having a grown up conversation or I was in the art room creating a masterpiece.

As we grew up the girls got busy with their owns lives as did my brothers. And what used to be family dinners turned into me tagging along with the adults... On the plus side, I got extremely close with Susie and Alan. After college the girls met boys, got married and moved back. I couldn't have been more thrilled! I was finally going to to have that "close girlfriend" relationship with these two women who were always everything I wanted to be...But just as we started to get close both girls up and moved to California...

As the time went by each girl had baby after baby making a grand total of 6 (3 each) 5 boys and 1 baby girl.

Susie has been following the blog since the beginning. She goes to Nia with me when she can and has been incredibly supportive. A while back, she told me that both of the girls were reading and loving it.

About 2 weeks ago I got an email from Marni telling me that she is obsessed with the blog and that she and Amy were coming into town and just had to see me and talk to me about it! To say the least I was pretty excited! So Susie and I started talking about planning a day for me to come to the house. We decided that I would come over Friday and make Shabbat dinner for the family (unfortunately I couldn't stay for dinner because I had another commitment.)

Shabbat Dinner Menu
Spring mix Salad with Candied Pecans and Fresh Raspberries with a Raspberry Vinaigrette
Pecan Crusted Artic Char
Roasted Mixed Veggies
Rice Pilaf
Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cake
So yesterday morning I was greeted at the door by Marni and 5 little boys! The boys and I made dinner. We took turns peeling carrots and chopping mushrooms. It was definitely a zoo but so much fun. The girls wanted to discuss everything; fertility, weight loss, my dad, the hardest entries and the easiest too! Marni, especially, knew the ins and outs of every post and the best part about it was hearing her version of what she was getting from the blog.
I guess the interesting thing is that I have lived my life thinking that I was the only one that felt these ways. I never thought that the girls around me whether they were skinny or not all had similar feelings. At times while writing this blog I have wished that this happened sooner in my life, but then I remember that maybe all of the hurt feelings and the secrets made me who I am!
I am absolutely looking forward to having a "close girlfriend" relationship with my now "not so much older" family friends!! Thanks for a very special and memorable day!
xoxo chef a

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Wishing Tree

On the IPOD "Very Last Country Song" by: Sugarland

The summer I turned 10 I decided to go away to sleep away camp. I remember walking into my cabin with my mom and dad and noticing a little girl, lets just call her "Spellman", who I recognized from Dallas. She was unloading toilet paper and candy from her bags I quickly turned to my mom and said, "You better go to the store, I didn't bring toilet paper!" My mom assured me that although "Spellman" was very smart the camp did provide toilet paper...

Camp made me who I am today... In the small town of Bruceville, Texas I learned how to ride a horse and how to love a horse. I learned how to make lanyard key chains and how to climb a ropes course. I made friends for life...It was this secret place away from the popularity contest of regular school. I did miss my parents that first year but when the friendship circle came around on the last night I thought I could live there forever...

While living with my friends those 4 weeks every summer, I learned about divorce, I learned that families weren't perfect, I learned about death when my grandfather died one summer and I learned how to comfort others by the way that I was comforted when I got back. I learned how to fight for what I believed in and I learned how to lead hundreds of kids in song.

As I got older I learned hard lessons too...I watched my friends have "real" boyfriends. I watched them fall in love and then have their hearts broken. I had alot of unrequited love but in a way I think I was the lucky one... I learned how to sneak out of a cabin and how to come up with really good reasons for why I wasn't where I was supposed to be. I learned how to kiss a boy and how to protect a friend. I learned how to make "special" brownies (well that was at home, but I did learn how to sneak them into a weekend retreat. Hey don't judge we were all good kids just experimented like any other teenagers...) At the end of the day I learned that it isn't only about the road that you take but more importantly its about who is riding in your backseat.

At camp there were these two trees that started close at the bottoms and then grew away from each other, kind of making a v shape. We called it the wishing tree...If you said a wish while you put your hands on the trees and walked through with your eyes closed real tight . Whatever you wished for would come true. I spent alot of time at that tree...I wished to be skinny. I wished for a boyfriend. Knowing me I probably wished for world peace! And then I wished to be skinny again!

The reason I bring it up today is because I was thinking last night...If I was back there today what would I wish for as I walked through the trees????

Not to lie I would probably still wish to be skinny...But I would also wish to be strong, to be unique, to have faith, and to try everything at least once...

The friends that I have from the 9 years that I spent at camp are spread far and wide. Jessica, Julie and "Spellman" are my mahjong girls and we try to see each other at least twice a month. I talk to many others over facebook and through email on a regular basis. And there are very special twin sisters in Cincinnati and Connecticut that I could probably send subliminal messages to if I needed them.

If there is any gift that I will give to my kids it will be to go to sleep away camp. And when we buy a house the first thing I will plant is a couple of wishing trees!

xoxo chef a

Monday, February 15, 2010


On the IPOD "Heaven" by: Brandi Carlile ( I also listened to the original Bryan Adams version)

I have decided that it is time to buy a new scale. Don't get me wrong I love my scale...The two of us (my scale and I) have spent many mornings talking about treating my kindly and showing me the right numbers! I love the fact that it runs about 5 pounds lighter than say a doctor's scale and that I had it at my heaviest and everyday when I step on I get almost giddy at the fact that I have lost so much weight! But if truth be told I think it is time for a digital scale. I feel like I need to see each 1/4 and 1/2 pound that I lose and my scale usually does more of a wavering act between a couple of pounds.

I know some of you are saying, "Oh Amanda, don't worry about the scale, just put it in your closet and don't use it." Well my response to that is that when I get to say within 20 pounds of my goal weight I will try your way but until then I need to see on a daily basis that what I'm doing is working! More than likely, if I know myself at all, I will keep the old scale even if I put it into my closet just so every now and then I can get on it and see just how far I've come...

On a totally opposite topic...Do you ever feel like you're in a movie and the music that is playing in your car or at your house is like your soundtrack? That's kind of what I feel like when I'm listening to music while I write the blog. To some it seems like the music that I put on the blog is just a random choice but actually that is a totally false statement. Alot (maybe too much) thought is put into each day's choice and usually I have listened to the song at least 20 times on the day I use it. Sometimes it is based on the lyrics and other times it's the way that the melody makes me feel even if the words don't really make sense for the day.

Menu for tomorrow:
Crispy Fish Tacos with Fresh Corn and Pepper Salsa with Chipotle Crema
Seared Filet Mignon with Mock Fried Rice
Baked Chicken Drumettes
Homestyle Meatloaf
Cilantro Lime Chicken
Shrimp Fajitas
Spicy 4 Cheese Mac and Cheese
Seafood Scampi
Creamy Chicken Salad
Sugar Free Chocolate Cream Pie

Tomorrow's blog is about something very dear to my sure to read it!!

xoxo chef a

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day

On the IPOD "Crash into me" by: Dave Matthews Band and "Besame Mucho" by: Diana Krall

So first of all the reason I picked these two songs tonight is because I personally think "Crash into Me" is one of the sexiest songs ever written and "Besame Mucho" is the song that we danced our first dance to at our wedding. And don't worry I will post the"Sexy, Love" playlist at the end of this entry, I know some of you are very interested...

I have had a wonderful weekend... Saturday morning I went to the Valentine's Nia Class and it was amazing. Perfect music, perfect friends, and perfect work out!! Right before class I got a call from a wonderful family friend who offered us tickets to the NBA All Star Saturday night event, which we took, of course. After class, I went to the store to buy Mike his surprise gift, which was a candy "bar" that I made out of glass canisters filled with his favorite candies. I then went home and spent a good solid hour straightening my hair and before I knew it it was time to go to the event.

The event was great! It was something we would have never done had we not gotten the tickets. We even ran into a couple of Hornets (alumni of my high school, We were the hornets), one was my really good friend, Jason, who we hung out with through College but haven't seen in a good 6 years. It was great to catch up! After the event we went to one of my favorite sushi restaurants, Oishii. It was great as always!

Sunday morning I slept in till like 9, which is very very rare and such a treat! Mike took me to brunch at the first restaurant we ever spent Valentine's day together at 12 years ago, SO Sweet! We spent the afternoon just relaxing and then I made dinner...

Wedge Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes and Point Reyes Blue Cheese
drizzled with a Peppercorn Blue Cheese Dressing
Seared Filet Mignon and Shrimp Scampi
Scalloped Potatoes
Roasted Asparagus with Caramelized Baby Carrots
Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee
with Organic Strawberries
It was sooooo good!!! I feel so lucky to be sitting here with my husband!! Best decision ever!
Ok so here is the playlist:
"Closer" by: Nine Inch Nails
"Crash into Me" by: Dave Matthews Band
"Crazy Bitch" by: Buck Cherry
"What's Your Fantasy" by: Ludacris
"Cater 2 U" by: Destiny's Child
" You Make Me Wanna..." by: Usher
"Work It" by: Missy Elliott
"Feelin Love" by: Paula Cole
" Push It" by: Salt-n-Pepa
" I Would Die 4 U" by: Prince
"Lovesong" by: The Cure
"I'm Yours" by: Jason Mraz
"The Nearness of You" by: Norah Jones
"Besame Mucho" by Diana Krall
"Be Be Your Love" by: Rachael Yamagata
"Only Love" by: Wynonna Judd
"Dream" by: Priscilla Ahn
"Make You Feel My Love" by: ADELE

I hope you all had an amazing Valentine's Day, whether you were celebrating your love of your spouse or lover, your child, your family and friends, or yourself!

chef a

Friday, February 12, 2010

Broken Hearts

On the IPOD "You Make Me Wanna..." by: Usher and "Only Love" by: Wynonna Judd

On Thursday night while Dallas was getting buried underneath 12.5 inches of snow ( I know I know easterners 12.5 inches seems like nothing to you, but in all fairness we don't own snow plows!) I was trying to make a healthy version of some sort of chocolate cookie.... Lets just say it didn't end well...My mom said they tasted like passover cookies (For those of you who don't know Passover is a Jewish holiday where you can't eat leavened bread, meaning that baked goods are pretty much not great!) By the way this is the exact reason baking is not my thing...I mean don't get me wrong I can make a killer cake, cupcake, creme brulee, chocolate mousse, and even cookie as long as it is full of fat, sugar and every thing good!! Oh well I threw out the chocolate cookies and made a batch of the vegan cookies from last week lowered the oil to 1/3 cup and instead of cherries I added chocolate chips. They were to die for!!!

So I wanted to take a minute before Valentine's Day to discuss of all things getting your heart broken....

When I was in preschool I thought I was in love with a little boy named Tommy L. He took me on a date to Wendy's and kissed me on the cheek on the playground. I really thought he was the one until I found out that he also was taking my friend Missy to Wendy's! At the time I thought my heart was broken...Oh I had so much to learn...

I can honestly say that in my short 31 year love life I have had my share of broken hearts... I was always the best friend and never the love. I was great at putting myself in the position to be used, I think at times I prided myself in it! When I was younger I fell hard and fast for pretty much any guy who gave me a chance... I even continued to talk to a boy who once told me that he could've seen himself falling in love with me if I had just been skinny... Obviously I was into self abuse! I did my share of abusing others as well... I'm actually very lucky that I was forgiven by my own husband for some bad decisions and hurtful remarks...not to say that he has been perfect either ;). But thankfully by all accounts Mike and I have worked very hard at working through all the hurt feelings of the past and that is probably the very reason that everything is sooo good now!

Unfortunately the hurt feelings and broken hearts that happened in my younger years were never really dealt with on an adult level so the feelings lie there and wait for just the right moment to shake me up. It is actually quite amazing how long a hurtful remark that was said to you by someone you "loved" effects your life... Unfortunately somewhere down the line we all learn how to give the power of our self worth to the people around us instead of creating it ourselves. Some people are lucky to get the power back before they get married others like me are sort of a work in progress...

I had a friend tell me a couple of weeks ago that they needed to talk to an ex so that they could get closure...Is there such a thing as having closure for a broken heart or is the only way to really cure a broken heart to find someone who wants to put it back together? I wish the closure came from something someone else was going to tell me, but I personally believe that closure comes from your own heart... At a certain point it just hits you that it is time to let it never really completely goes or not that I have tends to leave just a little bit of a scar.

xoxo chef a

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Passionate Songs

On the IPOD "Work It" by: Missy Elliott and "Crazy Bitch" by: Buck Cherry

The gym is not completed at the building we live in so I am forced to work out at this ritzy titzy club across the street. The best way to describe it as a bunch of very fit people, me, and a whole bunch of creepy old rich men staring at pretty much everyone....even me. I thought one old guy was going to have a heart attack when he was staring at my boobs while I was pedalling fast on the the bike. Gross!!! I got up and moved it was so uncomfortable! I actually hate it at this gym so much so that I am devastated when there isn't a dance class I can go to instead. But I knew I needed to work out and I was a little excited about listening to the new playlist I created called, "Sexy, Love, Nia."

The playlist is really for Nia, for a Valentine's Day Routine. Jule had asked us, "what songs make you feel sexy?" Well that's my interpretation, I think the question was originally, "Whats your favorite love song?" Anyways, I put together a collection of "love" well really "Passion" songs. It was amazing what these passionate songs did for my workout. It was truly an enlightening experience...I'm normally ready to leave at 3o minutes("the national ADD time limit") but I made myself stay 45 minutes. Today I stayed over an hour just so that I could hear the next song... When I say it's a mix it really is...It has everything from Nine Inch Nails to Norah Jones. I will post a full list on Valentine's Day and until then some of the songs will show up on the on the ipod playlist.

I really had to fight back the desire to dance on the treadmill... So I want to hear from you...What songs make you feel passionate? What songs make you feel loved? If you are having problems posting comments on the blog please click on the area underneath the blog that says how many comments there are and a box will pop up, fill it out and then where it says post as, click it scroll down and use your sign in name or post as anonymous but please sign your name at the end of the comment so I know who you are!!

Also I love knowing who my followers are so please take a little time and click on follow and fill it out you can sign in with google , twitter, or yahoo or you can set up a google sign in using your existing email address.

Also on a side note I got an email from a very old friend who was worried about posting on the site because I havent seen them in 20 years... Let me clarify if I didn't want everyone to be reading this I wouldn't make it public and I would not post links on facebook... I know sometimes the posts might make you feel they are too private or personal or honest. They make me feel uncomfortable too, but it is the most free I've ever felt... The passion I feel about writing this blog is the same passion that led me to a kitchen and really the same passion that led me to Mike. It is now a part of who I am...and by reading this blog you are also a part of me, I would love to know who you are...

On a side note, I really really really want an oreo. Well actually like 5 oreos. Oh how I love you, processed foods!

Cant wait to hear from you!
xoxo chef a

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Moon Walk

On the IPOD "Dream" by: Priscilla Ahn

For starters it is a must to download this song! I love, love, love it!!!

Throughout this entire process I have had lots of embarrassing moments but nothing has matched the embarrassment that took place this morning...

When I left for work this morning it was raining so I made a plan to shop at stores in an order that would allow me to be the most efficient. When I left the last store it was pouring and of course this is when my car key decided not to work (it's just my luck.) By the time I got into the car I was soaking wet. I finally got to work and the rain had let up but I was afraid that it was just going to start again so I tried to load my arms up with as many grocery bags as I could. Because of my current weight loss, my pants are a little big so I pulled them up and tied them tight. Before I knew it the weight of my soaking pants won and they started sliding off. So there I am waddling in the rain with at least 10 grocery bags on my arms and my pants around my ankles. My only saving grace was that to my knowledge nobody saw me. I guess I should look at the bright side and remember that just four months ago the pants would have been tight!

I am so happy that my client for tomorrow sent me some new recipes to try out. Some of the highlights of the new menu are:

Cajun Creamy Shrimp Salad
Crunchy Baked Salmon Cakes
Broiled Halibut Tacos with Spicy Cabbage and Lime Aioli

It is supposed to be about 27 degrees tomorrow morning so let's all hope that I can manage to keep my pants up!!!

Goodnight all!
xoxo chef a

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Hot Seat

On the IPOD "Cater 2 U" by: Destiny's Child

So as some of you know by my facebook post, I took a workshop last night called "The Hot Seat."

"A how-to "playshop" using two chairs, YOU, and some spicy, sexy moves. You provide the moxie! This practical and fun lesson will challenge every fitness level, and modifications are available for every beautiful body type. You'll leave with a routine that you can keep in your back pocket, knowing you have some wicked new skills."

I have to tell you that it took me a full week to sign up for the class. I thought about it and thought about it and finally decided that if anything it would be a great blog so I just dove in head first I guess. All day I kind of got myself excited about it...I picked out some super cute red heels with bows on the toes and did my hair so it would be super flippable! And then all of the sudden 7:15 came around and I definitely had little butterflies in my stomach, but as soon as I walked into the studio most of my fears just left.... The other girls were all sweet and nice and most importantly they were all "real" girls some skinny some not so much. I might have been the chubbiest but it wasn't so much so that I felt uncomfortable. The interesting thing was that I kinda felt like I was safe, like I was on my home court...I take Nia at this studio 3-4 times a week and it somehow feels like home.

We started off the class sitting in chairs in a circle (think AA meeting). Clarissa the instructor told us a little bit about her life...She told us where she came from and how she started as a fitness instructor and how she felt like exotic dance lessons could give girls self esteem and help them, kind of like therapy, move past some of their intimate issues and how it would make them feel strong and confident. We then went around the room and said our name, the type of music we call our "Home" and why we were there. So again like therapy...

"My name is Amanda. My home music is definitely indie although I really like all music. And I'm here because I have battled my weight my entire life and I started writing a blog last year and I promised myself that I would try new things and find out who I am outside of my weight and I also have fertility issues and have been feeling pretty ungirly lately (at this point I started tearing, up got to love a cryer) and I thought I needed a boost!" (see they didn't know how good at therapy I am .....)

The entire class kind of looked at me in awe... It's as if I have taken an honesty pill... Oh well it's the new me everyone better get used to it...

After that we started class. Each of us took our positions next to our chairs, put our heels on and started learning how to move our bodies. I kept thinking, look at you Amanda you can kinda do this... By the end of the class I had moved in ways that I didn't think was possible. I learned how to do a "Cobra" and a "Body Dive." And more importantly I felt confident and pretty and ready for more! The class was serious but it was also fun and funny at times...It felt a little sad leaving these women that I had shared such an intimate experience with...

After I left the first thing I did was tell me mom that she should be glad that I was not a skinny teenager because more than likely I would have ended up on the pole! She laughed! I headed home and had about an hour before Mike got here. I thought what a good time to practice...I did the whole routine and felt so proud of myself that I did it and that I actually remembered it. I don't know that I'm necessarily ready to show it to my husband yet, I think I'm going to keep this to myself for a little bit.

I will be taking more exotic dance lessons...for me!!! My advise for you is to try it...Find a reputable company here in Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston look up . Just try it, it might changes your life! Also if you are interested in Nia classes in your area go to .

xoxo chef a

Thursday, February 4, 2010


On the IPOD "Thank You" by: Dido

On Wednesday night I had sent a request to my Nia instructor, Jule, asking her to do any routine in class that possibly had a little Ingrid Michaelson music in it. Ingrid's music makes me happy, even the sad songs... So Thursday night came along and Jule started off class asking everyone what they hoped to get from class. The responses varied from joy, community, stress relief, sweat... And then Jule asked me, "Amanda, what are you hoping to get from this class?" And I said, "Happiness" Her response, "why happiness?" I admit the question caught me a little off guard. "Because I want to feel happy after all the stresses of the day."

Not exactly a great answer but it felt more comfortable to say that in front of a room full a people. I guess I didn't feel that it was an appropriate time to have a mini breakdown... Let me explain; I am happy! I love my husband and my family. I love my job on most days, even though it is terribly difficult to make everyone happy and I wish everyone could grasp the idea of text messaging!

But I'm over this body... It feels like it is constantly working against me! Every single day it is a struggle...what am I going to eat? How much am I going to work out? Why haven't I lost a pound in the last two day? Why do I have to take this stupid medicine that makes my cheeks bright red and gives me hot flashes? Why do I have to work twice as hard to lose weight? I'm so freaking annoyed!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm also annoyed at the news! What happened to reporters telling people the NEWS and not their agenda of the news... And why when watching the news, do I have to see 85 million commercials about "nutri system", "jenny craig", and every freakin weight loss surgery center in the area!!! I'M OVER IT!

So should I have said that in class?? What about the fact that it pisses me off that I can't seem to sit with me knees in front of me, hugging them, because my fat doesn't fold that way!!! And yes I know that there are other ways to stretch and modifications, but it doesn't make me more comfortable with the fact that I can't do it!


Menu for today:

Veggie Sticks
Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette
Black Bean Sour Cream Enchiladas (I'm sorry Amy I promise to send recipe!!!)
4 cheese Truffled Mac and Cheese
Special "Caroline" Tuna Salad
Barbecued Baby Back Ribs
Chicken Fajitas with Fresh Pico De Gallo
Mozzarella Heirloom Tomato Salad with a Balsamic Reduction

xoxo chef a

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Vegan Cookies

On the IPOD "More Than Anyone" by: Gavin DeGraw

Well the "letting it go" idea of last week is not exactly going as planned...This morning I actually thought to myself, "I'm so sick of this, just shoot me up with a baby and call it a day!" Just kidding...kind of. When I called my doctor to explain my thought process, He reassured me that we were making progress and that I need to be patient...really has he met me, patient is not in my vocabulary! Oh well, I guess that is why he is the doctor and I went to culinary school.

I made my first batch of vegan cookies using one of Alicia Silverstone's recipes. They were pretty amazing. Here is the recipe with the changes I made: P.S. My friend Lauren is going to help me exchange some of the oil for applesauce to lower the fat. I will post that exchange as a comment as soon as I hear from her...

Oatmeal, Walnut and Dried Plum (I used Cherries) Cookies

Makes 12 (mine made 36 half sized cookies)

1 cup quick cooking rolled oats
3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour)
1/3 cup maple sugar (I used organic cane juice sugar, maple sugar was $12)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup safflower oil
1 teaspoon good vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon molasses
1/4 cup chopped dried plums (1/3 cup chopped dried cherries)
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts ( 1/3 cup chopped walnuts)

Preheat oven to 350* Line baking sheet with parchment paper

Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl combine the wet ingredients. Add the wet to the dry and stir to combine. Fold in fruit and nuts.

Roll tablespoon size (I did 1/2 T sized) balls of dough. Place balls on cookie sheet and press down slightly to flatten the tops. Bake for 8-12 minutes (shorten time for smaller cookies) or until lightly browned (for chewy) or browned (or crispy). Transfer cookies (once easily removeable don't rip them off the pan ;) ! ) and then cool completely on a wire rack.

I am a lyric kind of girl! I love music, but there is nothing truly better than hearing what you feel inside as words to a beautiful melody. The song choice today includes lyrics that I wrote to my husband years ago at a turning point in our relationship. It brings back such raw emotions, but to this day it still completely holds true...

"Look in my eyes, what do you see?
Not just the color
Look inside of me
Tell me all you need and I will try
I will try
I'm going to love you more than anyone
I'm going to hold you closer than before
And when I kiss your soul, your body'll be free
I'll be free for you anytime
I'm going to love you more than anyone"

xoxo chef a

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Doctor...

On the IPOD "Baby (feat. Ludacris)" by: Justin Bieber

I have decided that I watch way too much 9pm prime time television shows about solving crimes! I embarrassingly enough ran all the way from the parking garage through my building and into my unit because I was sure that I was being followed... This is the reason that I have not and will never watch horror movies.

I am happy to report that I have lost 3 1/2 pounds since last Thursday when I gave up most processed foods. I am by no means saying that it is just because of the non-processed foods, this early in the game it probably has more to do with the fact that I am being very conscience of what I eat. My main vice at the moment happens to be in the form of drinks... Besides lots of lots of water, I usually splurge on a skinny vanilla latte in the morning and a Diet Dr. Pepper at some point after work. I know pretty boring... I used to have a cocktail after work but now I'm just lame!

The coffee is the easy part because I'm sure I can figure out a way to drink my coffee that doesn't include sugar free flavored syrup... The hard part is the Diet Dr. Pepper! The funny thing is that I used to hate diet drinks and now all of the sudden it is like all I can think about! I mean it's sweet and bubbly and by all accounts it should be horrible for us, which in some ways it totally is, but as far as the "bullshit" label reads it is perfectly healthy. The reason I am saying that the label is bullshit is because unfortunately I'm right!

Since the nutritional facts box came out on the market, the food companies have found ways to make foods look healthy to the average American...How many of you depend on those food labels? Did you know that the information is only tested based on one sample of the product. There are no rules in place to retest food... More than likely we should only be using nutritional facts as a guide. Take spray butter for example: Don't get me wrong I love spray butter and I don't think it is a horrible product at all, but did you know that it is not calorie or fat free, in actuality 1 Tablespoon of spray butter has 5 grams of fat!

I kind of feel duped! Oh well! I am really trying hard to eat real foods and not bars and 100 calorie packs. It is not easy! I mean I love an American cheese, mustard and doritos sandwich just like the next girl (favorite sandwich as a kid,) but maybe that is how I ended up in the predicament I am in!

I wish I could tell you that I'm ready to give up my affair with the Doctor, Diet Dr. Pepper that is. But truthfully I'm just not there yet...It's coming though...Maybe....

xoxo chef a