Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Power of Choice

On the IPOD "Hey, Soul Sister" by: Train

I so wish I could have posted this yesterday but unfortunately my computer and I were in a fight!!!

Does making choices give you power?

Today in Nia class, Jule, the instructor, had us focus on making our own choices. She then discussed with us a little bit about how the freedom of choice can give a person power. At first I have to say that I felt a tad uncomfortable...The pleaser in me even thought hummm I wonder what choices I am supposed to make. I thought about what she said all day, "Are the choices I am making giving me power?"

Everyday I am forced to consciously make a choice to stay on track ... to eat right, to work out, to focus on the betterment of my life! Sometimes it feels selfish since it is so completely not in my nature to put myself first. But I am trying to truly get to the core of who I am and to realize that every second of every day I GET to make choices that deeply effect my life.

I always say that the best thing my parents ever did for me when I was growing up was that they let me switch schools four times. It was a blessing because I was able to reinvent myself each time. Now I probably could have taken more advantage of the situation and I don't think that at the time I was really trying to find my true self. I think I was just trying to play the part, but I was young. It did teach me that it was ok to change myself though.

For the last 20 years I have lived as a "fat girl" I have made many choices in my life to try and cover up my insecurities. I have even spent way too much time trying to fit into other people's molds all on the path to feel some kind of acceptance. But in truth it just screwed me up more. I found comfort in food which in turn made me feel like I was choosing to be a "fat girl." But I'm done with it, I'm not choosing it anymore!

In the last almost 7 months I have learned how to make good choices, not based on what someone else wants or needs, but I make them based on what I want. I didn't even notice until today that it gives me power...

Just three days ago my aunt said to me..."you even walk different now, like a dancer!" When she said it I thought to myself I know dancing can change your posture but is that really what has changed the way I carry myself?? I do think that I stand up straighter and I breath better and that is in direct correlation with dance classes but I think it is so much more than that...

I think I'm proud of myself... I think I like the choices I'm making and I think I'm even starting to respect myself...

xoxo chef a

p.s. Tonight I will be posting recipes trying to catch up from the computer issue yesterday!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

72 Hours of Cooking

On the IPOD "Heartstopper" by: Emiliana Torrini

I can't believe I am just now able to post this blog...I have literally been cooking for the last 48 hours and I have another 24 hours to go. Tomorrow night is the first Seder of the Jewish holiday of Passover. Passover is probably my biggest work day of the year. I don't know how it ended up like that but I think it has something to do with the fact that 85% of my Jewish clients stay in town and have a Seder. I am usually booked about 6 months in advance.

Anyways let's just say that I'm writing this blog on borrowed time... Tomorrow morning starts the last 8 hours of complete insanity. The best part about it is that I'm am able to fit in a little time to help my aunt with our family Seder. Here is what I have been cooking for my clients...

Beautiful Butter Lettuce Salad for 16 people
3 pounds of Fresh Grated Horseradish
30 pounds of Roasted Turkey with gravy
200 Chicken Drummettes
30 pounds of Apricot Chicken
35 pounds of Balsamic Braised Short Ribs
40 pounds of Roasted Brisket
Creamed Spinach Madeline for 80 people
Matzoh Charlotte (Sweet Cinnamon Souffle) for 40 people
8 pounds of Whipped Sweet Potatoes
10 pounds of Roasted Creamer Potatoes
Spinach Souffle for 25 people
10 pounds of Sauteed Haricot Verts
3 gallons of Matzoh Ball Soup
15 pounds of Tzimmes
6 dozen Meringue Cookies
2 Large Trifles
Strawberry Shortcake for 40 people
4 pounds Matzoh Toffee
Chocolate Ganache Flourless Cake

Let's just say that there is a very high chance that I will drink way too much wine tonight!!!!

I wish I could write more but to be honest I am finishing this at 5:30 in the morning after falling asleep with my laptop in my hands last night! I will be writing tomorrow...

Wish me luck!
xoxo chef a

Thursday, March 25, 2010


On the IPOD "Sleeping to Dream" by: Jason Mraz

Wednesday night was my last night of "Zensual Bootcamp Level One." I'm going to start off by saying that I love this class. I even love the fact that I made it until the last class before I made a complete fool of myself! During our last free flow dance I bent over, like touching the floor, and came up way toooooo fast, I then lost my balance, tripped over my 8 inch stripper heel and ate it!!!! I was pretty much down for the count, not real sexy! I assured everyone that I was fine which I was but today lets just say I'm definitely feeling the burn!

I left the class feeling a little sad...maybe because more than likely the group of women that I have begun to feel pretty comfortable with would probably be going in different directions but I think even more than that I was a little sad to give up the hour once a week that I was allowing myself to really be free.

There is something empowering about moving in a sexy way... It's that mix of feeling slightly uncomfortable and feeling in complete awe that you don't look half bad doing it. I have more than once caught myself walking like a stripper in the grocery store...shoulders back, hips moving, and legs crossing with a slight drag. Victoria Secret model here I come lol!

Without going in to too much detail I can tell you that it has changed my life at home too. I treat myself better...I indulge in what I refer to as "whole bottle bubble baths" (its when you use the whole bottle of bath product!) In general I'm much more confident and I feel sexier than I did a month ago. I haven't even "danced" for Mike, it doesn't seem to be about that.

A month ago I saw this chubby girl who couldn't get pregnant in the mirror, I had lost that girly feeling that makes you feel attractive. This class helped me find it again! I am looking forward to taking more classes that help me to find my inner self. And I guess during the next couple of weeks before the next bootcamp starts I'll just have to walk around the house in my 8 inch heels and knee pads! I'm sure my husband will be soooo disappointed, Not!

xoxo chef a

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Toe

On the IPOD "That's Not My Name" by: The Ting Tings

This morning was one of those mornings where you wake up super early and you think about getting up and taking care of all kinds of things but then you fall back asleep only to wake up late!!! Soooo late that you pick up the closest thing to you to wear and hope that it matches... (at least I always have various pieces of clothing in the car just in case!) So I ended up in the car with a tank top and a mini skirt on and lets just say it was a tad cold!!! I found a bra and some yoga pants in my gym bag in the back seat and managed to slip them on in the parking lot of the first grocery store that I got to. (No unfortunately I can't say that this is the first time that I have gotten dressed in the morning in a parking lot!)

The reason I was in such a rush is because the Tuesday after spring break seems to always be the most ridiculous cook day...

Matzoh Ball Soup
Jalapeno Chicken
Fajita Chicken
Blackened Chicken
Marinated Flank Steak
Pan-Seared Filet Mignon
Salisbury Steak with Red Wine Marinated Button Mushrooms
Egg Salad
Cucumber Salad
Mixed Berries
Crispy Beef Tacos
Jalapeno Cheese Sausages
Oven Fried Chicken Drummettes
Pasta Primavera with a Spicy Tomato Basil Sauce
Pecan Crusted Tilapia
Chopped Salad with celery, cucumbers, carrots, mixed bell peppers, tomatoes, mozzarella, hard boiled eggs, cauliflower and a Garlic Dijon Vinaigrette
and ridiculous amounts of vegetable side dishes

I just got tired again trying to remember everything I cooked today!!

So, as you know I have really been pushing my comfort levels in the last couple of weeks... And the time came for me to actually try to wear a different color other than black.

On Monday morning, I wore a grey pair of pants to Nia and although I felt a little weird I handled it ok and was even able to forget that I was wearing them halfway through class.

Today was a completely different story... After work I took a much needed shower and then decided to try on the dark maroon colored dance pants that have been staring me in the face for the last few weeks. I slipped them on and off about 4 times before just deciding to go to class. Right before I left the house I switched tank tops (terrible idea!) When I got to Nia I immediately felt like slipping out of my own skin...

First off the tank top was wayyyyyyy too short! I slowly walked to the back of the room and took my old place as a "back row bitch". I was very honest with my friends that I was feeling a little uncomfortable...and I tried to stop thinking about it but then it happened... While we were turning I noticed something that by all accounts was maybe the worst thing I have ever seen in my life!!!! I had the dreaded camel toe! As quickly as possible I tried to adjust my tank top so that it would stretch lower...I'm pretty sure I even broke some of the stitching... Nothing was helping....the more we moved the higher it went. I tried to stop it! Between each dance move I pulled and yanked but nothing was working. I tried to tell myself that nobody cared but it didn't matter... I cared! The worst part about it was that Jule's playlist in class was incredible and I couldn't even enjoy it because all I could see was my worst enemy!!!!

I could not get out of class quick enough...I mean it was like the floor was on fire or something. My friend Arlene even called me to make sure everything was ok... I just have to say that I have never been happier to see my wonderful, loyal, incredible, stupendous black pants all lined up in a row waiting for me to come back home.

Don't worry maroon pants...I'll give you another shot...I just have to find a very long tank top!

xoxo chef a

Sunday, March 21, 2010


On the IPOD "Need You Now" by: Lady Antebellium

This weekend has brought on all kinds of questions regarding forgiveness... My dad was always a strong believer in "forgive but don't forget" and he wasn't quite as big on the notion of asking for forgiveness. My Mom is very good at asking for and giving forgiveness and of course taught us how to apologize and how to accept it at a very young age. As kids we were always kind of split on the matter: Adam and I probably forgive the easiest, Andrew finds it harder and the three of us as a whole are probably all resistant to asking for it.

I guess the reason I bring it up is because I'm wondering:

Does forgiving and being forgiven change your body image?

Let me explain a little bit...I am not referring to a higher power kind of forgiveness. I'm talking about a face to face, person to person, heart to heart kind of forgiveness.

Over the last 31 years I have collected a ridiculous amount of baggage. I'm right on the edge of being real sick of carrying it around. I feel like it's digging in to my back and if I get myself really worked up about it I feel like I can't breathe...

Giving forgiveness seems like the easy part because it's on my terms. I can most likely forgive on the surface, but I'm really talking about forgiving from your core. Actually finding a way to let it go and not hold on to even the smallest thread. Don't worry I'm not saying I won't remember it. It has changed me, that I can't deny but I'm just tired of carrying it all.

Asking for forgiveness is harder...First of all you have to admit you're wrong...can you admit that parts of it were wrong??? No, not really I think you have to honestly take full blame...

I guess the question is, what happens if you are not forgiven? I have always heard that you ask for forgiveness three times and if on the third time you are not forgiven then it is on them.

Do you need forgiveness to move past a mistake or is asking for it enough?

I really don't know the answer to this. And I can't really tell you yet if this is really the key to letting your baggage go. But I do know that my baggage does relate to my weight. And I know that it's holding me back. And I know that I play a part in all of it. And I know that I want to fix it however I can.

By the way, I'm completely aware that this is not an overnight fix.

Menu for Monday:

Turkey Meatballs with Fresh Marinara
Sauteed Spinach and Wild Mushrooms
Greek Chicken Skewers
Spinach Salad with hearts of palm, mandarin oranges, toasted almonds, and avocado
Miso Glazed Salmon
Broccoli Lo Mein
Low Fat Brownies
Chicken Drummettes
Vegetable Baked Ziti

xoxo chef a

Thursday, March 18, 2010


On the IPOD "So Close" by: Jon Mclaughlin

Last night when I got home I decided reluctantly to jump onto the scale, which I haven't done in about 5 or 6 days... I was so excited that I jumped off and jumped back on again... You know how you have that number in your head that you can never seem to get under...its just there everytime you lose...you get to it and you think alright well I'm here.

Well I have been floating around my number for awhile, but last night when I stepped onto the scale I was a solid 5 pounds under the number!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!! And that was at night after dinner!

And they told me that Clomid would make me bloated and might make it harder to lose, Well I frickin showed Clomid!! At least for this month...lol!

I can not explain to you the natural high that I am feeling at the moment!!

Whats funny is that after I stepped off the scale I checked myself out in the mirror and thought to myself, "Oh yeah, I can really see it...those five pounds make the biggest difference ever!"

Well I really doubt that. But it does show you that the way you see yourself completely relates to the way you feel about yourself!

This was that little boost I needed! It makes me want it even more...

I hope you get a little boost today!

xoxo chef a

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


On the IPOD "Naked" by: Avril Lavigne

I can't believe this post has taken so long.....

Anyways as I was dancing in Nia class on Tuesday night this strange feeling came over me...I felt naked!

I don't know if it was because I was standing in the almost front row but something has enlightened me to the fact that I'm kind of naked now...I know funny that it has taken me 6 months to realize it.

It might have to do with the amazing response I got from the post "Baby Fears". I have received numerous comments, emails, and calls...and they are still coming.

I cant explain to you exactly how comments help me, but they do! They make me accountable. They make me happy. They let me know that my random thoughts are changing your life in some ways as well as my own. They comfort me... And sometimes when I don't get a comment I'm not sure you all got it! :)

If you were to have told me 6 months ago that in 6 months I would feel naked most of the time, I don't know that I would've been strong enough to write this blog...I think that the fear would have taken over.

Feeling naked is weird...It can be uncomfortable. Sometimes I look around and think...how many people in this room know my inner most thoughts? Do they think I look thinner? Do they feel like they know too much or do they want to know more? When I meet readers who I don't know from my personal life I think...hummm I wonder if I'm what they expected? Are they impressed or let down?

When I first felt naked on Tuesday, It really stressed me out and I felt like running and hiding in a corner as fast as I could but as the hours passed my feelings have changed about it...

I feel like I'm standing taller and prouder. I feel uncomfortably comfortable! And I kinda like it!

xoxo chef a

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


On the IPOD "Party in the U.S.A." by: Miley Cyrus
(We listened to this song numerous times today)

I'm going to start off by saying that when I started to write my post tonight this is the story I told...but while driving home I realized that I have something much more introspective to write about today. I started to add it to this post but I really felt like it needed its own and I didn't want my precious time with my nieces and nephew to take a back seat to something so raw. So it is very possible that I will post two entries within hours of each other...

To say that I am tired does not really give you a full description of my day. After a little bit of work this morning I picked up my nieces and nephew for a fun filled day with Aunt Amanda... We grabbed a quick lunch (I had a turkey burger with half or a whole wheat bun, lots of veggies and spicy mustard) and then headed to "Bounce U" (an indoor kids playground that has huge inflatables like an obstacle course, boxing rink, tower slide, basketball, and a dodge ball court.) Running the obstacle course 6times with young kids is extremely fun until its 11:00pm and your arms and legs are covered with ice packs...I should have caught on when all the mothers were sitting to the side reading magazines (BTW I hope I will never give up the chance to run around with my kids in exchange for a magazine article...) After we bounced for an hour and a half, I took them to an old-fashioned penny candy store and gave them each $5 to spend however they wished...Hey I'm an aunt it was either a candy store or Toys R Us! It is slightly amazing that it took everybody a solid hour to figure out how to spend their $5... What a great day!

Client Menu for Tomorrow

Arugula Salad with Parmesan, Pinenuts, and Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
Linguini Pomodoro with Grilled Vegetables
Falafel with Cucumber Tomato Salad, Hummus, Tahini, and Pita
Spicy Red Snapper Tacos with
Corn and Pepper Relish, Shredded Cabbage and Chipotle Aioli
Chopped Spring Salad with Balsamic Drizzle
Pan Seared Pork Chops Au Jus
Sweet Corn Pudding
Fresh Snap Peas
Horseradish Crusted Beef Tenderloin
Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

xoxo chef a

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Hoop, Hoop, Drop!!

On the IPOD "And the Birds Sing" by: Tyrone Wells

First of all thank you so much for your comments yesterday. It really does make my day to hear from you!

Well yesterday I took a Lenny Kravitz Hoop Nia class, like hoop as in hoola hoop mixed with Nia and all to the music of Lenny Kravitz. Lets just say the entire class got real tired of hearing my hoop hit the floor. I'm a star hooper on the Wii fit but obviously when hooping actually entails a real hoop, my skills are less than adequate. I'm by no means giving up...I even kept the hoop up for like 10 seconds but then my core pretty much gave me the finger! It was fun though...I'm always up for a new experience especially when there happens to be good music involved!

After class, I went to help my mom make a trial batch of a new flavor of jelly, "Extra Hot Hot Jalapeno" (My mom has a product line of gourmet jellies and sauces.) Just as I was filling the glass jar, it slipped out of my hand and slammed down against the hard floor. Thank goodness the glass didn't break, but when I say there was hot jelly everywhere, I mean there was hot jelly everywhere. All over me, all over the floor, and even all over the ceiling. After a good hour of cleaning I invited my mom to dinner at our house. The clumsiness didn't stop there...

A totally from scratch home cooked meal on the weekend is quite the anomaly at my house, but when I actually do cook, I tend to really cook. I decided that my husband deserved a traditional Italian Sunday dinner. While making the gravy ie: homemade marinara sauce, I managed to spill an entire bottle of crushed red pepper on the floor. As I was sweeping it up(not exactly my forte), I had an insane sneezing fit and actually had to step away from the kitchen for a good 15 minutes to compose myself! Dinner ended up being great except for the fact that Mike and my mom caught on to the fact that the pasta was multi-grain...Ha ha, I tried!

My streak of clumsiness hopefully came to an end this morning when I opened the back of my car only to not catch a bottle of jalapenoes rolling out and crashing on the ground...Obviously jalapenoes and I are not friends at the moment! Im going to go ahead and blame everything on the time change...

xoxo chef a

Friday, March 12, 2010

Baby fears

On the IPOD "All the Pretty Little Ponies" by: Kenny Loggins

I've been extremely productive today...I spent half of the day cooking and the other half doing office work...its pretty amazing considering that on a normal day I would find anything else in the world to do rather than using the other side of my brain...

I have kind of a cool annoucement...You can now find my blog at Chef-Amanda.com !  You can still find it however you are now, but it's just an easier address to tell your friends how to find it :)

So on to the serious stuff...

You would laugh if you knew how many sentences I have written on this post and then erased, it is actually becoming quite entertaining...  Ok here it goes no erasing....

Deep breath....  So I have been on meds to gets preggers for 3 months...And it has always been the plan that we would try this for three months and then add on a little Clomid (another baby drug) and try that for a couple of months.  But when discussing it with my doctor, I kind of spewed out, "Well maybe we should just wait until I've lost more weight!"  His responce was, "no, no you'll do fine. I really only want you to gain about 15 pounds during a pregnancy so the eating plan you are on now is actually ideal."  I said ok...

It wasn't until later that night that I really felt my heart pounding in my chest and realized that I was having a mini panic attack about this decision...  I'll tell you why...

Don't get me wrong I want a baby, I've always wanted to be a mom, Mike and I both have always wanted 3 and I am almost 32, so you do the math.  But I'm completely freaking out... For starters I'm just kind of getting used to this body.  I'm actually not completely disappointed when I look in the mirror.  I also don't want to give up dancing...I look forward to it and I can't imagine not being able to do it even for a couple months.  The idea of feeling sick and tired and still working on not using food for comfort is completely frightening.  I just don't want to feel like I'm giving up... Then it hits me maybe all these feelings are just covering up the fact that I have fears of miscarring again.  With the amount of nausea I'm feeling right now you would think I'm already preggers.  Oh wait, thats what happens when you actually dealing with your feelings....

Then I start to feel selfish, this was always the plan...I know I can do this.  I still have time, I just need to focus on taking care of myself and if I get pregnant great.  When I do, I will add 300 healthy calories to my diet and I will dance until I can't and when I can't anymore Ill still go to class, sit on an exercise ball and dance like I do when I'm driving in the car. I will work everyday, just like I do now, to not use food for comfort and I will not give up!  I will try as long as I have to for a healthy viable pregnancy while knowing that I have you and my family and friends to help me through any difficult times.

Alright I got my fears out...I'm sure there are many more in there, but this at least make me feel a little more comfortable that all of you know I'm slightly terrified...

I never would have thought that losing weight would change my feelings about everything....

xoxo chef a

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Feelin Sexy...

On the IPOD "Nice & Slow" by: Usher

What makes you feel sexy????
Tonight I took my fourth class of the Zensual Bootcamp series. All I can say is that every class is like a journey into some other part of myself. And tonight I made a huge discovery about who I am as a dancer... In everyday life I am a perfectionist, I truly strive to be the best chef out there and I don't really deal well with personal mistakes, but as a dancer I'm different...

The class way broken up into two sections today the first part was more instructional and the last part was a free flow dance where we were directly in front of the mirror (No instructor to watch.) I was much more critical about the way I looked when I was learning the moves than I was when I was actually dancing. I don't try to be the best one in the room and I don't really care if I mess up. But during the instructional part, I was worried about how much my legs don't like crossing, I could barely stand to look in the mirror at certain angles and I even caught myself freaking out over the 1/2 inch of tummy that was showing when I bent over during certain moves. During the free flow I just danced. I didn't think once about what the other girls were doing and I was oddly proud of the way I looked.

After class when I was talking to the other girls I got the impression that I was in the minority. I guess most of the girls were more uncomfortable during the free flow... When I brought up the idea of taking just a free flow class some of the girls responded by saying that they just didn't feel ready yet, but maybe when they had a chance to perfect the moves.

I have to tell you that as I drove away I was questioning why the biggest girl (me) in the class is more comfortable dancing while looking directly at myself in the mirror than I am when I am actually learning the moves???

Then it hit me... the music makes me feel sexy...and when I'm learning the moves I'm not listening to the music, instead I'm judging myself... This realization totally makes sense to me... I took classical piano lessons for 12 years and my teacher would get so annoyed with me that I would learn the song first and fix my finger placement after I "felt" it. I learned how to play the guitar not by taking lessons but by buying a guitar and writing songs. Obviously when it comes to music I do things backwards... I don't care about being perfect I care about feeling something!

A couple of girls in class were interested in a sexy music playlist. Here is a list of some songs that make me feel sexy...

Nice & Slow- Usher
My Love- Joe
What's my Name- Brian Mcknight
Feelin Love - Paula Cole - maybe my all time favorite
Sex Therapy- Robin Thicke
Glory Box- Portishead
Pour Some Sugar on Me- Def Leppard
Any Time, Any Place- Janet Jackson
Weak- SWV
Lost Without U- Robin Thicke

Wow, I am totally excited for the next Zensual free flow class. Who knew I would ever be so thrilled to stare at myself in the mirror!! Here's to feeling sexy for a change...

I meant to post this a couple of days ago...

Low Carb Mushroom, Onion, and Blackened Jalapeno Quesadillas

2 small Jalapenos
1 medium Onion, chopped small
2 8 oz containers Crimini Mushrooms, Sliced
12 oz Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
10 Low Carb Flour Tortillas, soft taco sized (I used low carb Mission)
salt and pepper
cooking spray

Broil Jalapeno in a foil pan under 500* broiler until the skin is black and it looks burnt (can do this over a gas flame as well)

Move to the side to cool...

Brown mushrooms and onions in a nonstick pan over medium high heat until they are browned and there is little to no juice left. Add a little salt and pepper to taste.

Peel off the skin of the jalapenos, remove the stem and the seeds and mince
Add the minced jalapeno to the mushroom onion mixture

Heat oven to 425*. Line 2 cookie sheets with foil and spray with cooking spray. Place folded in half tortillas spread out on the cookie sheets about 5 per pan. Fill each in this order: a little bit of cheese, a sprinkling of the veggies mixture and then a little bit more cheese (a total of about 1/4 cup of shredded cheese per tortilla). Spray the tops of the tortillas with cooking spray and bake for about 7 - 10 minutes or until the tortilla starts to get a little crunchy and slightly browned.

These are so frickin good!! Serve with really good guacamole!

I'm going to go ahead and post this right now even though it is 3 am. I hope it makes sense in the morning!

xoxo chef a

Monday, March 8, 2010

I am too old for this!

On the IPOD "Sin Wagon" by: Dixie Chicks

Forgive me Father, for I have sinned! That is what I felt like when I walked in to Nia at 9:45 Monday morning.

This weekend made me feel like I was 25 again although a much older, sicker version of 25. The weekend really started on Saturday morning at Nia. Two of my friends were going out to dinner to celebrate their birthdays and I threw it out there that Mike and I were interested in going to karaoke, well Sharyn and Melissa were all over that like butter on a hot biscuit (yum I wish I was eating a biscuit right now!) So we set it up that we would meet around 10 with our boys at a local karaoke bar.

We got there ordered our first round of drinks and started picking out songs to sing. My first choice was "Sin Wagon" its my favorite! Before I knew it our first round turned into shots of tequila and Jager. By the end of the night Sharyn and I were in a slurred version of a deep conversation that I'm pretty sure neither of us remember....

My brother Andrew and his girl Natalie came in on Sunday morning to celebrate his birthday on Monday, so my Mom and I ran up to the store to get supplies to make a beautiful dinner. (I pretty much made the same menu as my dinner party on Friday night except I decided to make a Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cake for dessert.) This is a prime example of why I don't bake: When we got home the first thing I did was put the cake together, I mixed all the wet ingredients together in a bowl and then started cracking my eggs in. Well my fourth and final egg was, let's just say all kinds of wrong so because I didn't follow standard culinary directions and crack the eggs in to a bowl first before adding them, I had to throw the whole batch away. So after cleaning all the bowls up, I started again this time cracking the eggs first just to make sure I didn't have another issue... By 5 pm. dinner was prepped, cake was iced, and I was trying to relax from me big night out the night before.

Dinner was great, everyone was happy. We sang Happy Birthday and then I went to serve the cake... as soon as I started to cut it I knew something was wrong. It just didn't look the same as it has before. One bite in and I realized that when I was rushing to make my second cake I forgot to add the oil. Thank goodness nobody cared and it was just my family!!! (I think subconsciously I just didn't want a chocolate cake around!!)

After that mess we decided to go out and celebrate. My brother Andrew really celebrates!!! He works as a bartender in Austin and he pretty much is a home town celebrity here. So our little nights out turn into BIG nights out... Let me get the stage set for you... It was me and Mike, my brother Adam and his wife Audra, and Andrew and Natalie. We started out with a quick game of bowling where I scored an amazing 58 points ( don't worry I'm not planning on going pro.) After bowling we headed to a great dive bar called the "Goat" in Lakewood, for "Rockstar" karaoke Sunday. I never get to go to karaoke anymore so twice in one weekend was such a treat! After karaoke we went to "Cosmos" another great dive bar in Lakewood. Before I knew it, I had way too many birthday shots and drinks called "Sex with Jackson" referring to the head bartender and very good friend of ours. But it was Andrew's birthday and I was sticking it out for the long haul (well kind of). We left Cosmos at 2 and I was driven (while I napped in the back seat) to a "greasy spoon" diner. Memories of our time at the diner are blurred to say the least, which is really too bad because I didn't even get to enjoy my grilled cheese on rye bread with grilled onions (which is my ghetto version of a patty melt without the patty) and tater tots (yes I am three.) I managed to take another 10 minute nap from the restaurant to the house. It was now ridiculously almost 5 in the morning!!!! I went to sleep and woke up at 9:15 am. I had already notified my client that I knew from past experience that there was no way I would be working on Monday. And as soon as my eyes opened the guilt and stomach ache rushed over me and by 9:45am I was nauseous and in a Nia class.

That was the best decision I made all day because birthday lunch turned into another birthday dinner. And another night out. Mike was lucky he was working!!!! It ended up being me, Adam, Andrew and Natalie moving furniture at a bar and shaking our money makers in the middle of the room. I finally reached my bed at about 1:20am.

I have to say that even though I can barely move, I would've never given up this weekend. My brothers are truly my best friends. Besides my husband, they are my two favorite boys to hang with. I am so blessed to have a family that through all the other bullshit has decided to make each other a major priority. We have been through so much together and sometimes a girl just needs her big brothers around.

Now all I have to do is stay awake long enough to drag Natalie and Andrew to Nia tonight!!!! Do you think I can chop while sleeping at work today????

xoxo chef a

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Who determines your self worth?

On the IPOD "9 Crimes" by: Damien Rice

My plan was to sleep in this morning since I just posted an entry last night , but my mind keeps racing about this post, so here it goes.


I have spent a lifetime trying to figure this one question out! For the last 31 years my self worth has been determined by my friends and family.

Lets start with the friends first because well it's on my mind... I have an incessant need to please my friends, to the point that I have been known to put my life on the back burner so that I can help them. In the last 5 years, I have helped them start businesses and I have been there to take care of their sick family members. I have helped with school projects and carpooled kids. I have pleaded with their boyfriends for their forgiveness and been their therapist. To some, I have apologized and apologized for just being me. I'm by no means saying that I have never made a mistake but as far as I'm concerned being a friend means accepting that we all make mistakes. Let me assure you that it is not my friend's faults, I have chosen to offer myself up and most of my friends appreciate it, but some have learned to abuse it and that is where the problem lies...

I read an article last week about detoxing your friend closet. It touched me by one group of sentences about what friendship should be:

"We never have to wonder where we stand, these friends and I. We never fear for our mutual emotional safety in each other's company. I can tell these friends anything and know they'd never belittle me, or think less of me, or write me off, or gossip, or use my past or current spasms of childishness/pettiness/insecurity/anger/fear against me. I'm talking about genuine affection and goodwill." -Paige Williams

Since I have started this blog, I have been gaining self worth. I realized it last week when a very close friend of mine asked me to give up part of myself in order to continue the friendship, and I said no. 6 months ago I would have met her demands, but today I'm different. I'm stronger and most importantly I know that I matter! I'm not saying it is easy, I go back and forth every day about changing my stance but there is this little feeling inside of me that is helping me create boundaries, it's amazing. Everyone should get one of these little feelings... I wish I could manufacture it and sell it!

In the past, I think that part of me thought that having more self worth would hinder my ability to be a good friend. I was afraid that I would lose that giving part of me that makes me me! But what I have realized is that having more self worth is actually helping me be a better friend. I'm still going to be a giver because lets face it, that's who I am. But I am going to try my best to not be swallowed up by it. I'm sure it will be a struggle, but I'm ready to face this one!

xoxo chef a

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Hey Mickey!

On the IPOD "Mickey" By: Toni Basil

So last night a tried my fourth Zumba class. When I tried it the first time 6 months ago I thought I was going to have a heart attack, but when I tried it again last week at the Haiti Event I realized that losing 50 pounds really might have a major impact on my ability to survive the one hour class! There is no other way to describe Zumba except to say that it is just fun...Good high energy music, lots of footwork, and a great teacher makes it even better. I would have to say that besides the samba which actually happens to be "my favorite" dance (meaning I get it and can relatively do it) the best part of the class was when we did a routine to the song "Mickey." Lets just say we all found our inner cheerleader!! Sure wish I had brought some pompoms!!! When I left I felt like putting my hair up in a super high pony tail with two team color ribbons and adding the word "like" at the beginning of every sentence I said.

What you don't really know yet is my love for working and giving dinner parties. I love everything from the china and the crystal to my special sauces in squeeze bottles. I love love love to prepare high end dinner parties for special clients who give me amazing creative control. I'm preparing a short notice small dinner party tonight. This is what makes my job great!

Dinner Party for 6 on Friday Night:

Raspberry Glazed Cheese with Crispy Wheat Flatbread

Organic Baby Spinach Salad with Kishu Mandarin Oranges, Sun-Dried Cranberries and Cherries, Texas Goat Cheese Crumbles and Sweet and Spicy Pecans with a Champagne Vinaigrette
Peppercorn Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Mustard Cream Sauce
Roasted Garlic Butter Mashed Potatoes
Grilled Asparagus

Mixed Berry Trifle

Tomorrow I am giving myself the day off of work!!!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!

I know it's the weekend but I will be writing a very important blog tomorrow so please check back in!!

xoxo chef a

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


On the IPOD "A Beautiful Mess" by: Jason Mraz

It is interesting how the universe works... about 3 days ago I had a very deep conversation with a beautiful friend of mine. She was explaining to me her own insecurities with her appearance. After I left I started to ask myself, "What makes me feel beautiful?" It's weird that in general I have never felt "ugly" (unless I looked at a picture of myself, pictures are much less forgiving.) Most of my life I have looked in the mirror and thought, "there she is... the fat girl with the pretty face!" It probably came from the countless comments growing up such as, "Oh Amanda, you have such a pretty face imagine how pretty you would be if you lost weight..." Not kidding, real comment!

As I have gotten older I have found more and more things to point out in the mirror. I'm going to be extremely self critical for a moment, it will really be ok but if you start to get nervous, take a deep breath and get over it!

Its 6:45 am on Tuesday morning... I stand in front of the mirror naked this is what I see...

I see my feet that completely remind me of my father... they are way too big as far as I'm concerned. I see my legs that have never only touched in four places... and my butt that is definitely not as smooth as it should be. In general, I have way too many stretch marks to have never given birth and I can still see the scar in my belly button from a surgery for an ectopic pregnancy 10 years ago. I see boobs that have dropped at least a full inch since I was 20 and more back fat and chicken cutlet action in the creases of my arms than should ever exist. I see that my right earlobe is 1/4-1/2 inch lower than my left and although I actually do see a pretty face I also see that it has aged to include at least 5 distinct wrinkles. The most noticeable change is my hair... It went from being dark brown, thick, and curly to after my father died becoming thin, graying and frizzy.

After I had just enough of the emotional abuse I was causing myself I decided to head to work...


Low Carb Mushroom, Onion, and Blackened Jalapeno Quesadillas
Lasagna with Sauteed Spinach
Shredded Chicken Enchiladas with Black Bean and Corn Salsa
Roasted Vegetable Linguine with Tomato Basil Sauce
Cajun Grilled Chicken with Roasted Broccoli

Last night it was a normal Tuesday night and I went to my Nia class. I guess kind of went looking for answers... My instructor Jule said that the focus of class was something about finding your place in the light and in the dark. I really took it to heart... I closed my eyes for a second and decided to just let go... I kept finding myself in the mirror. I was thinking, Wow alright I kind of look ok. After class my friend Theresa stopped me and said, "Amanda I don't know what it is but you look hot tonight... you are putting off some kind of energy and I could not stop staring at you..." Well I not gonna lie that made me feel pretty good, but to be honest I felt it while I was dancing... I don't know if it was the amazing playlist that Jule seems to always put together for class, my new dance pants, or maybe it was just the way I allowed myself to feel in my own skin... but I did feel different.

The feeling continued into tonight's class (Zensual Bootcamp.) The funny thing is that to continue the weird connection with the people in my life... My instructor Clarissa was telling me about an exercise involving staring at yourself in the mirror to find your "real" self. I mean how did she know that obviously I need to sign up for that class!! I walked out of class feeling oddly confident...

So tonight we are going to try it again...

What do I see in the mirror...

I see feet that allow me to stand for sometimes 8 or more hours a day while working. I see legs that are much skinnier and stronger than they have been in years. I see a butt that is pretty decently "banging hot!" ;) I see curvy hips that I can move well and feel sexy in. I see boobs that my husband loves and calls his.... I see arms that can whip cream into butter and hands that are made to be able to carry off some serious rings! I see a face with good features and eyes that could tell you everything. And I see hair that can fly in the car with the music real loud and the windows wide open. I kind of see BEAUTIFUL!

xoxo chef a

Monday, March 1, 2010


On the IPOD "Breathe" by: Michelle Branch

Well this is my 100th post! I have tossed and turned over what I should discuss on this special day... I tried to decide if I should bring numbers back in... It's not really a secret but I want to make sure that everyone understands that this journey really has nothing to do with a number. It has to do with a feeling... I feel like I have lost 100 pounds in 100 posts. It is not all real weight... Each day that I write I lose a pound of something. Whether it is a pound of hurt, resentment, guilt, or fat, it doesn't really matter at the end of the day.

6 months ago I started a mission...

"I am on a mission to cure my personal addiction of food. I'm not on a mission to be skinny, although if that happens great! I am trying to figure out why I eat, what I eat, when I eat! It should be a journey filled with laughter, tears and probably a little self abuse."

To be honest I still have lots and lots to figure out, but I never could have imagined that I would have even figured this much out... I am a different person today! I feel strong not only in my arms and legs but most importantly in my heart. I have for once in my life surrounded myself with positive energy...

I have found AMAZING women to dance with... I have connected with friends and family in a way that I never thought was possible... I have again and again fallen deeper and deeper in love with the man that I want to share the rest of my life with...

Today I feel so incredibly blessed for giving myself the gift of 100 conversations with you and this keyboard... I am nervous and scared, but excited for the next 100.

I can't thank you enough for following me and leading me though this journey and I can only hope that you will stay and enjoy the ride.

It took a lot of thinking to find the perfect song for today, but I kept coming back to this one because I felt like the lyrics say exactly what I wanted you to hear... I obviously needed to let you in and although it's hard, if I just breathe everything will be ok...

"And I take it just a little bit
I, hold my breath and count to ten
I, I've been waiting for a chance to let you in

If I just breathe
Let it fill the space in between
I'll know everything is alright
Every little piece of me
You'll see
Everything is alright
If I just Breathe"

xoxo chef a
P.S. For the record as of 9:33 pm on March 1st I have lost 49 pounds since I started this blog!! Pretty good although I have to admit I'd like to amp it up a little... You gotta have big dreams right???