Monday, May 31, 2010

Praying to the Porcelain God

On the IPOD "Stay Here Forever" by: Jewel

One of my best friends Stacy came in town for the weekend and I have been looking forward to it for a really long time! We decided to go out for a really nice dinner at a restaurant called Loft 610 on Saturday night. As it got closer to the time we were supposed to go I was starting to feel a little funny... I ate some crackers and the feeling went away so we decided to continue with our plans.

When we arrived, everyone ordered drinks and although I don't miss the alcohol, I do miss the myriad of choices. We ordered a small appetizer of flatbread which we all shared and it was great. Stacy and I then shared a little salad of chopped veggies. When my dinner came a little wave came over me, but I pulled myself together. I had ordered Wild King Salmon but let me assure you obviously the baby wanted nothing to do with salmon!

I continued to eat a little bit because it is still mashed into my brain that food is the cure all for anything. Well it didn't take long before I was in the bathroom "praying." I finally thought it was over and went back to the table. Mike could see the fear in my eyes and sort of rushed the end of the meal... Stacy came back over to our place and things just got worse. Thank goodness everybody went outside when we first got there because another lesson I have quickly learned is that dinner followed by a car ride doesn't really work for me. When they came back inside Mike found me laying on the bathroom floor... It finally began to ease up and I finished the night with a popsicle.

The weekend continued with much of the same news... Here's to hoping cooking meals doesn't throw me into a tailspin today... fingers crossed!

My client menu for today is:

Chicken Souvlaki with hummus and tabouli
Chicken Enchiladas
La Scala Salad
Jalapeno Chicken
Chicken Fajitas
Egg Salad
Chicken Salad
Balsamic Braised Short Ribs
Roasted Brisket with Carrots and Potatoes
Cucumber Salad
Roasted Mixed Vegetables
Key Lime Pie

xoxo chef a

P.S. I am considering switching the blog over to wordpress... Does anyone have any strong feelings about this? You would still be able to follow the links off of facebook and twitter but it would make commenting a lot easier for you, which seems to be a problem at the moment. Anyways if you have thoughts please feel free to let me know!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The News..

On the IPOD "The Wood Song" By: Indigo Girls

Well the true beginning to this journey began three weeks ago yesterday... The doctor had told me that on Saturday May 8th I would be able to take a pregnancy test and get a real answer. So on Friday night, my friend Erica and I were taking our friend Lisa to her surprise birthday party and the plan was to stop at some point and get a test...Luckily for me Lisa received a gift filled with a pregnancy test along with other random sex paraphernalia, I happened to be sitting right next to her so I looked at her and simply said, "Yeah I'll be taking this!" Let it be noted that this was possibly the cheapest pregnancy test on the market, I'm pretty sure the girl that bought it got it at a "gift" store. So with that job out of the way we went on to having a great night...

To give you a little back story Mike was out with his work friends bowling and drinking way too much and arrived at home with an instant hangover (like the sick kind...)

So on Saturday morning I woke up at about 6 and bee-lined for the bathroom, test in hand. When I tell you about the cheap test I mean it came with a syringe that you had to use so that you could drop 4 drops of pee on the stick (like chemistry class.) So I placed the test flat, dropped the 4 drops on and waited the 2 minutes as instructed. It looked like a second line but I just wasn't sure so as Mike was "praying to the porcelain god" I peeked in and said "I think your going to be a Daddy, does this look like a line to you?" (I'm pretty sure this might have made him even more nauseous, I think guys always think they are ready for the first one but when reality hits they realize that their entire life is about to change.) His answer was a mumbled, "kind of..." Not exactly the answer I was looking for... So I quickly suggested that I run to the store and get him some Sprite and pick up a couple more tests. He agreed!

When I got to the store I got the sprite and bought one of each kind of test (just to be sure.) When I got home I quickly handed him the sprite and ran to the bathroom. I took the regular two line test first...and there were definitely two lines. Then I went ahead and took and digital test too, and there is said it in bold print YES+...

Now I'm not good at keeping my own secrets, other people's I can handle, but not my own. I would say by 4 pm all of my closest girlfriends knew. The only one we saved was Mike's parents and sister because Sunday was mother's day and it was just too perfect.

I wrapped a pacifier up in a cute little gift bag and handed it to them. Within a second they knew what it meant!

xoxo chef a

Friday, May 28, 2010

A Change...

On the IPOD "Godspeed (Sweet Dreams)" By: Dixie Chicks

The reason I picked this song today is because I always thought that this would be what I would sing to my kids to help them fall asleep... Well it looks like that time has almost come... Yep as some of you have already guessed I'm pregnant. That's of course why I have been up so much in the middle of the night and getting sick in cars and craving spicy foods.

To tell you the truth I was going to wait to announce it till I was a little further along but yesterday I had a very rough scare and the first thing I thought was that if something happens I want to write about it. The blog is my saving grace and trying to keep this secret has almost been killing me. After going to the doc this morning and getting really good news I decided that the truth is I want you all to be a part of this journey and hopefully the journey goes as planned but if it's not perfect I still want you there.

As of tomorrow I will be 7 weeks which makes my due date January 15, 2011! I am feeling pretty good just a little tired and a little nauseated. I know some of you will ask "well does this change your weight loss plan?" And the short answer is no. My doctor and I really don't want me to gain a lot of weight...the plan is actually to come out of this pregnancy healthier than I am now. So I'm working really hard to eat right and exercise (although no dancing for the next two weeks just to be extra careful.)

Mike and I are just thrilled and I am so excited to finally let you all in. Please think really good thoughts and if you pray we wouldn't mind that either. Now that it's out of the bag, you can expect some funny tales and definitaly the truth. Ugh! I just have so much to tell you we will back track a little starting tomorrow. So stayed tuned....

lots and lots of love
xoxo chef a

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Woke up on the wrong side...

On the IPOD "Gone Away" by: Lucy Schwartz I love love love this song, It's haunting!

Well hello 4am! I guess we have officially become friends and I should just get used to it. It is a little hard for me to write this morning mainly because I think that although I'm awake I'm not really here... I would try to go back to sleep but I can hear my husband coughing and if I'm in there tossing and turning neither of us will sleep.

Yeah this is not working I'm going to lay be continued

Ha! Well this was actually yesterday morning... after laying down for just a minute I woke up an hour late for work. You might be thinking oh well just an hour no biggie... Well that hour late turned into me rushing, accidentally stepping on the cat's tail. Him screaming, me checking on him and telling him I am so sorry but that he knows when I'm in a rush the best place to stand is not so much under my feet. Him finally getting over it right before I left. And then me managing to forget at least three items at each store before heading to my clients while forgetting all of my packaging containers.

Let me just assure you it was awesome...To top it off, knowing that I was not planning at all for eating I stopped by Subway to pick up a 6 inch nine grain veggie delight with spicy mustard, I mean you can't do much better for 230 calories in a rush... This is when the day just got terrible... So I'm in line to order my sandwich when the girl behind the counter says, the only bread I made this morning is the Italian herb and cheese (The most caloric and fattening bread they make)...This frustrates me because Subways whole advertising campaign is that you can stop by early in the morning and get breakfast and a sandwich for lunch. My issue is that I understand not having every choice available at 9am but logically you would think that the first two you make would be the whole wheat and a white so people at least have an option, just saying... So I left and drove 3 miles out of my way to a different Subway and got my 230 calorie sandwich!

It actually worked out well because there was another grocery there and I was able to pick up some containers and all of the forgotten items. When I got to work it was like every dish was taking double the amount of time, but I did finally get through in just enough time to pick my mom up from having a pain injection in her back (Sounds fun right!) When I got her home I opened up my laptop for a second thinking that I would write the blog but then quickly decided this morning was a much better choice.

The moral of the story is that when you wake up really early you just can't let yourself go back to sleep. It's just not worth it! :)

xoxo chef a

Monday, May 24, 2010

Car Sick

On the IPOD "If You See Him, If You See Her" by: Reba McEntire & Brooks & Dunn

There is nothing better than a music special on T.V. after a very long weekend! Sorry to everyone all wrapped up in "Lost" but it's just not my thing!

So we went to Austin this weekend for the memorial service for our friend Eric. To be honest it was incredibly difficult... First of all the normally short not even 3 hour drive seemed to drag on forever. And then once we were there, there was no shortage of tears. It is heartbreaking to see the men who are usually so strong in your life in tears. There was definitely nothing fun about the trip but I'm so glad we went.

Unfortunately the overwhelming emotions plus the car ride plus the mexican brunch added up to one car sick girl! Ugh! There is nothing cute about a sick wife. I don't care what anyone says, there are just somethings that your husband should not know about. And stomach sickness either way is #1 on the list! I'm feeling much better...I almost kissed the ground when the car stopped!

I'm working this morning and then going to a very sad (Boo!) going away lunch for one of my favorite girls Susie (She is just going to the shore for the summer but still three months is a long time.) And then I'm going to try and rest the remainder of the day, that should be an interesting task!

Here is the menu for today:

Turkey Meatballs with
Sauteed Mushroom Medley
Turkey Tacos with all the fixins &
Spinach Souffle
Miso Glazed Salmon and
"Mock" Vegetable Fried Rice
Peppered Beef Sliders with
Sweet Potato Fries
Barbecued Chicken with
Grilled Corn

Tonight I'm going to work on a new summer menu of healthy snacks to have in you fridge, I'll let you know what I come up with...If you have any ideas post them to the blog.

If you are having trouble posting comments to the blog please email me at and I will help you!

xoxo chef a

Friday, May 21, 2010


On the IPOD "The Blower's Daughter" by: Damien Rice

I'm sorry but I have to discuss something that is a bit off topic today. Mainly because I don't want to see this happen to someone else and if writing about an alternative might save someone's life then I have to do it.

On Wednesday night, my family lost one of our closest friends actually so close he was more like a part of our family. He fell into such a dark place that the only way he knew how to get out of it was to take his own life.

To be honest I don't understand suicide... One of my friends who has been in almost the same dark place tried to describe to me what a person in that condition is thinking. She said, "It's like their depression is a sickness and it's the only way they know how to stop the pain." This is my issue with it...First of all what makes someone think that when they die it will make that kind of pain go away? We are all in the same boat on this one...none of us really know what is going to happen after we die... But on the other hand their choice to end their pain causes a great deal of pain to their family and friends here, who have no choice but to live with it.

We are talking about an amazing 37 year old guy who was married and surrounded by friends. It saddens me to think that he didn't allow anyone in...He didn't ask for help or if he did it wasn't direct. He was truly one of the most hilarious and fun guys I have been lucky enough to meet in my life. And it just kills me that his beautiful wife is now left to pick up the pieces... I mean I can't even imagine.

My point in bringing this up is because I want to be clear to everyone who is reading this blog and who might be in some sort of despair. Suicide is not an answer. Please reach out to someone and let them know that you are in pain and need help so that you can be around to hear how much your friends and family care about you and we are not just telling each other. If you don't feel like you have someone to talk to please call:


There are professionals there who will listen to you and will get you the help you need.

Eric you are loved by so many and will be incredibly missed. I am so sorry that you were in such a terrible place. I hope that you have found the peace you were searching for and my heart breaks for your family...

xoxo chef a

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Fear (revisited)

On the IPOD "Fear" by: Sarah McLachlan

I have already discussed the topic of fear, but I'm back again...
How do you deal with fear?

I have to start out by saying that I'm a natural's what I do. I could worry about the wall if I tried. The anxiety I feel has been passed down many generations, it's like the present that everybody gets but nobody wants. And I'm pretty sure that anxiety is what is waking me up at 4 in the morning everyday.

When I think about getting pregnant these are the fears I have...
1. What if something happens, and I have to go through all of the sadness again?
2. How will I control my weight when I am not in charge of my own body?
3. How will I focus in dance class if I'm constantly worried about hurting the baby?
4. Is there such a thing as enough money??? (I think this is a normal one)
5. How will I ever stop worrying?

Those are the top 5 although there are many more that come in and out of my head. And I'm not saying that any of my fears are irrational. I just want to learn how to turn it off from time to time. I do think a healthy amount of fear is good for pushes you and helps you to achieve your goals. But when it stifles you, that's a problem...

So I'm thinking about taking a course in meditation... I have a friend who recently took it and said it was amazing. I figure what do I have to lose?

So there was a request for a recipe:

Summer Vegetable Soup

2 cups celery, (I clean the whole bunch trim a 1/4 inch off the end and finely chop towards the heart using all of the leaves)
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
1 large leek, split chopped and cleaned
2 32 oz boxes of chicken stock
2 16 oz cans diced tomatoes with basil and oregano
1 16 oz bag of frozen organic mixed vegetables
1 large zucchini, diced
Pepper to taste

I use a non stick soup pot, so that I don't have to add oil. Saute celery, carrots, and leeks over medium heat until soft. Add stock, tomatoes, and mixed vegetables. And bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a high simmer and cook about 30 minutes. Add zucchini and cook 5 min. more. Season with fresh ground pepper. I don't salt this soup because the stock and tomatoes both have enough salt but if you are using organic stock and tomatoes most likely you will need to add a little.

Oh, and my diet plan for the other day worked beautifully. It ended up being a great food day...I stayed on track, wasn't starving, and didn't really even snack!

xoxo chef a

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


On the IPOD "867-5309" by: Tommy Tutone

Up at 4am again...awesome!

Menu for today:
Vegetable Fried Rice
Spicy Cajun Shrimp Pasta
Egg Salad
Chicken Salad
Shredded Beef Tacos
Salisbury Steak with Pan-seared Mushrooms
Jalapeno Cheese Sausages
Fiesta Lime Chicken
Chicken Fajitas
Summer Vegetable Soup
Baked Chicken Drumettes
Filet Mignon

Ugh! I'm already tired from just writing it... It is days like today that I have to be really smart about my eating habits. I mean its gonna be a long day and since its 4:30 right now, my stomach will be expecting lunch say around 10am. So lets plan a menu for me and see if it works... (I never really cook extra from my menu for work which really annoys my husband, mainly because it is just easier for me to stay focused, but today I'm gonna try something new) So I love Gazpacho and that's an easy one to double. I could probably eat it all day and never gain weight...

lets go with...

Gazpacho at 10am

Fiesta Lime Chicken Breast(I'll post the real recipe for this later, but this is made using a Mrs. Dash seasoning blend that doesn't have any salt and it is great!) with 1 cup of Chopped Romaine Lettuce topped with Fresh Pico at about 12:30-1.

I have coffee with the girls at 3, so maybe I can come up with a healthy snack to take... like cup up apples with almond butter, yum!

And then I'm back to NIA at 6pm which I am sooooooo ecstatic about!!!! Yay I have really missed it! Thank goodness I'm not going out of town anytime soon!

And then dinner... what to have for dinner??? That will have to be decided at a later time...

For some reason I am really into spicy foods right now, which is not necessarily my thing... but I think it has something to do with not using a lot of salt and oil and instead relying on the spices to add flavor. Whatever it is it's working for me and I'm not missing the added salt or fat. Spicy food is also said to speed up your metabolism, which is always a good thing.

Ok well, this has been fun but Amanda is going to try and grap 50 minutes of rest before this day starts again...I'll check back in later to let you know how it went today!

xoxo chef a

Monday, May 17, 2010

Completes Me

On the IPOD "The Way You Look Tonight" by: Tony Bennett

I just got back in town from a great wedding weekend! My Dad's best friend, Uncle Paul was celebrating the marriage of his daughter, Jacki, and it was so nice to see my Aunt Phyllis and old friends and to be a part of such a special event. To be honest there was only one downfall... It just wasn't the same without my Dad there, I think we all felt a definite void. Before I tell you this story I have to explain that my Dad had great friends and most of them were long term friendships. We figured out this weekend that my Dad and Uncle Paul were best friends for somewhere around 50 years. I would have to say that in their day they would have been referred to as "Players." So when one of Uncle Paul's cousins came up to him and said how good he looked and he responded by pulling up his pant leg to show how good his legs looked, I looked over and said "Oh...that was such a Joe Bill(my Dad) move!" He responded quickly with a smirk, "Oh no Amanda, Uncle Paul taught Joe Bill those moves!" We both laughed!

It was probably the hardest on my Mom...I think that you don't realize until someone is gone that there is an ultimate balance in a good marriage. My dad was stronger while he was by my Mom's side and I think my Mom was more confident by my Dad's side. My Dad could work a room, he could "fake it" if he had to... He would smile and act like he owned the joint. My Mom is much more reserved and she can definitely not fake it, I'm pretty sure she has to make herself go talk to people.

When I look at my own marriage I realize that I play my Dad's role and Mike my Mom's. I think I'm lucky to see it now. I know from watching my Mom, that there is no use in trying to make someone into a social butterfly when it's just not there thing.

So I guess I'm learning day by day how this marriage thing works. It truly is meant to create strength in numbers. It is my gentle hand guiding Mike through a sea of unknown faces just like he guides me through a savings account. We as a couple build up each other's weaknesses and together become stronger. I only wish I knew growing up that that was the fairytale...It's not just about looks or even just love, it is about finding someone who completes you...

I really think that Jacki has found a man who completes her and I hope they have many, many years of happiness, just like our parents have.

xoxo chef a

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Food Journal

On the IPOD "Friday I'm in Love" by: The Cure

So you know that all week I have been food journaling...well all I can say is that it is truly amazing to see what I actually eat. Not in a bad way...I've lost a solid 9 pounds since getting back from Florida.

I have been eating really healthy but the interesting thing is that I've been writing down the time too and no matter what crazy kind of day I'm having I still keep the same eating habits. For example: I have to take this fertility medicine with dinner at night, but I always forget to take it and end up having to have a little snack later just so I can take the medicine.

I also run to the pantry around 3:30 or 4 in the afternoon, Ive known this one for a while because it's national after school snack time but honestly it's not like I eat lunch at 11:15am any more. I'm not even necessarily hungry in the afternoon, but that snack somehow makes me feel better...

To tell you the truth I'm contemplating cutting out the thought of real meals and trying the small plate thing for a bit. I mean would I eat less if instead of filling up a dinner sized plate 2-3 times a day, I used say a cocktail sized plate filled with really healthy food 6 times a day??? I think this is an experiment for next week!

I'm so excited for the wedding I'm going to this weekend, I just can't wait!!! Bummed that I'm missing Nia, but I hope my friends will dance for me...

Client Menu for today:

Tuna Salad with Pita
Summer Chopped Salad
Black Bean and Cheese Burritos
Spicy Veggie Peanut Noodles
Grilled Halibut with Fresh Peach Salsa
Grilled Veggie Flatbread
Beef and Barley Soup

xoxo chef a

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Why am I awake right now???

On the IPOD "What's Up?" by: 4 Non Blondes

I can't sleep...I mean let me rephrase that...last night I fell asleep at 9:30pm and of course now I'm awake at 3:30am. Ugh! There is nothing worse than being up in the middle of the night when you live with someone who wakes up if the floor squeaks. I mean Mike could have a party when I am sleeping and I wouldn't even hear it, but not me, I'm stuck in the office with no T.V. when all I can think about is the box of Chinese soup spoons that I need for a cocktail party tonight that are on the top shelf of the pantry. The issue is that I'm extremely A.D.D. so the chances that I will completely forget to get the spoons by 7 am is decently high!

Tonight's cocktail party should be a blast... One of my best friends is hosting it for her clientele and it is a great opportunity for me to open doors into a new group of women. At first she asked me to make chicken skewers...boring!!! Instead... I'm going to use the Chinese soup spoons and fill them with a twirl of Szechuan Peanut Noodles with a bite of Teriyaki Chicken on the top. Yum sounds good to me! And it better be a good party because I'm not thrilled about missing Nia!!

I have a family wedding this weekend which I'm soooo excited about, so yesterday I decided to go an see if I could find a new top to wear for one of the parties. Well I found this really cute black tank that is kind of crocheted at the neckline, unfortunately they only had one and it was a smaller size then I have been wearing but I grabbed it anyways and headed to the fitting room. First of all not to bitch but when will stores realize that trying on clothes under a freaking heat lamp is not comfortable and it actually makes me want to buy less. Note to retail clothing stores: The feel of burning flesh while trying on 6 pairs of pants makes me hate you and makes me never want to come back...just saying! Unfortunately, I couldn't walk away empty handed, the shirt fit and looked pretty hot actually! Whoo hoo!

For some reason, this is all I have been wanting...maybe because it's almost Summer!!


1 large Hothouse English Cucumber, diced small ( like pico de gallo size dice)
1 Red Bell Pepper, diced small
1 Orange/Yellow Bell Pepper, diced small
2 cans Petite Diced Tomatoes
1 Sweet Onion, diced small
2 cloves Garlic, minced
3-4 cups of Tomato Juice
1/4-1/3 cup of White Wine Vinegar
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Cayenne to taste for spice
1 Large Ripe Avocado, small diced

Mix first 8 ingredients in a deep soup pot using 3 cups of tomato juice and 1/4 cup vinegar. Using a stick blender, pulse blender to break up some of the veggies, don't overblend...the soup is better a little chunky. Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne and add more juice or vinegar if desired. Finish by adding the diced Avocado. Let chill for about 1 -2 hours or more and then serve cold. Note: The Avocado will not turn brown because of all of the acid in the soup so don't worry!

Options: You can also add fresh cut grilled corn or cilantro for a change

Have a good day!
xoxo chef a

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Pina Colada Pounds

On the IPOD "Love Me or Leave Me" by: Lena Horne
(Lena Horne died on Sunday night. She was one of my Dad's favorites and I thought it was only right to honor her.)

I had a great weekend... Friday night was my friend Lisa's surprise "girls only" birthday party. We had a great dinner and then I think managed to hit 4 different bars. Unfortunately by bar 2, I had realized that I kinda like my boring nights with my husband watching reruns on the couch. But I pulled it together and pushed through... when did I get so old???

Saturday night was Jule's karaoke birthday bash. Jule is the instructor of my Nia classes and we had a nice crowd of fellow Nians at one of my favorite activities Karaoke! It was so fun and it was great to see everyone in a whole different atmosphere.

On Sunday, I spent all day with my Mom. First my mom, my aunt, my uncle and I (I let Mike sleep in) went to this wonderful souffle restaurant called "Rise No.1". My favorite thing was the Marshmallow Soup, its a carrot and roasted tomato soup with three baby goat cheese souffles that look like marshmallows. It was amazing!! After brunch my Mom and I just hung out for the afternoon and then we all headed up to my in laws . My in laws are great and they invited us over for dinner and included my Mom which they do on a regular basis, which is so nice!! We had a nice time talking about our Florida trip among other things.

I finally got back to my pre-Florida weight. Those five pounds were hanging on for dear life, but they got the boot whether they were just water weight or pina colada pounds! I was so over them...

Over the weekend I did start food journaling again...mainly because I just want to be aware of what I'm eating. I feel great about my weight loss so far... It has been 8 months and I am feeling really good. I know I still have a ways to go but I feel myself getting healthier by the minute!

Tomorrow's Client Menu

Grilled Salmon with Spicy Mango Relish
Roasted Asparagus
Filet Mignon
Oven Roasted New Potatoes
Praline Baked Ham
Sweet Corn Casserole
Cheddar Chicken and Corn Chowder
Sauteed Green Beans
Summer Gazpacho

Happy Mother's Day to all the Mommies out there!!!!

xoxo chef a

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Dangerous Words

ON the IPOD "Take Everything" by: Greg Laswell

So I've been going back and forth on whether or not I wanted to discuss this but it has turned into me feeling like I'm holding it in and we all know that that path tends to end up in my kitchen so I decided to discuss it.

I'm going to start out be saying that my brothers are truly two of my very best friends. We have obviously been through every detail of our lives together... and I love them dearly. But I would be lying if I said that I have never been jealous of them... They have never had a weight problem... and they have always had a choice on what family activities to be involved with (and I'm not talking about the good activities, I'm talking about doctors appointments, hospice calls, taking care of business activities that no one wants to do.) I am by no means saying that they have never done anything... I'm just saying that the responsibilities of a daughter are different than a son.

The reason I need to bring all this up is not to bash them in anyway, it is mainly to show you how dangerous words are...

About 3 years ago, during a time in which my father was very ill, the three of us with our respective partners at the time and I would say 3-4 of my closest friends were hanging out at a bar called "Meridian Room" in Dallas. The subject came up that I, except for some awesome trips, have lived here. I went to college here and I stayed here.

My brother Andrew started in on me saying that I've never explored the world or lived my life...and that all I do is take care of our Mom and Dad... The lecture went on to include my weight! I was risking my health and not thinking of him or the rest of my family. To tell you the truth it is hard for me to remember past the outburst of crying that night but I remember words like unhealthy, disappointment, overweight, embarrassment, bad choices... To have this said to me in front of my family and my closest friends was probably one of the lowest points of my life. I felt abused and attacked! I think the episode ended when somebody finally turned to him and said "Enough!"

The thing is that it was hard for me to get defensive about it. I did stay in Dallas because my Dad was sick... it was also because I met Mike and there were more business opportunities here at the time. But to tell you the truth, I don't have regrets about that...I would have had regrets about not seeing my Dad everyday, I would have regretted not getting to grow up with Mike, I would have regretted not having some of the most incredible culinary teachers and I would have regretted not building a friendship with my mom (I was pretty much a pain in high school). On the issue of my weight...what was I supposed to say ... "you're wrong!" Obviously he was right, I was overweight and I still am. But does he even have the slightest clue whats it's like...NO! Did he understand that my weight defined me growing up? Did he understand that I felt trapped by it?? Did I as a child decide, well obviously the way I want to deal with my emotions is by eating??? I'm going to go ahead and say no...

But me bawling in the middle of a bar surrounded by family and friends was not exactly the most constructive way to bring up any issues he had with my choices...

What my brothers don't understand about my choice to be here, is all the stuff that is taken care of behind the scenes while they play. They don't know about the sick days, medical procedures, birthday parties, mothers day brunches, good days, bad days, sad days, and days when my mom's t.v. doesn't work. To tell you the truth I used to be mad about it (honestly sometimes I still am), but now I just feel sorry for them because they are missing out on her. And I am lucky enough to really know her...

I don't know why brothers and sisters are so critical of each other. Maybe it has to with loving a person so much that you feel like its safe. I, of course, forgave my brother for his outburst as I am sure he has forgiven me for things I have said. Because at the end of the day I know that he loves me and I love him, but it did effect my brain. It made me doubt myself, and I think of it often...

My brothers will never truly understand what it is like to be the daughter...They will also never understand what it was like to grow up as a chubby little girl with two older brothers that ate whatever they wanted and never gained a pound. Even though we grew up under the same roof at the very same time, our stories are so different which makes us kind of different and I guess that is what makes a family... A group of very different people, bound by blood...

xoxo chef a

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Salted Toffee-Chocolate Squares

On the IPOD "Almost Lover" By: A Fine Frenzy

So this morning I got out of my bubble bath to see two new very uncomfortable friends residing on my chest... I've decided that the hormone shots are somebody's trick on poor innocent women. My boobs are easily the size of two cantaloupes and not in a good way, I feel like I'm turning into "The Hulk." Although my husband seems to not have as much of an issue with my two new friends, I unfortunately feel huge and have a slight attitude problem as well. I thought maybe I was bypassing the emotional part of it until someone asked me if I was feeling ok, and then as if on command I started tearing up for absolutely no reason at all, awesome!

I have been busting my butt at work this week and feeling pretty good about it. Yesterday morning I picked up a copy of "Everyday Food", It's a little Martha Stewart Magazine and found this incredible cookie recipe that I just had to try, so I picked up all the ingredients thinking that I would make them at some point. Then it dawned on me, I was going to be hanging out with two of my favorite girls (Jennifer and Lauren) in the afternoon, maybe we could make them together!

When I got to Lauren's house we got all caught up and then decided to try these bad boys the way Lauren had no idea at this point that I was going to leave her with all of the cookies lol ! They took a cool 20 minutes and were fantastic, we even had to use a smaller pan and although I think they came out less crispy they still were fantastic! Jennifer took some home to her husband and his response was, "I think those cookies are pretty much the best things I have ever eaten in my whole life!" Wow that's a pretty bold statement...

Salted Toffee-Chocolate Squares
recipe adapted from Everyday Food, May 2010

12-13 Graham Crackers
1 8 oz Bits O' Brickle Toffee Pieces, in the baking aisle
1 1/2 cups Toasted Almonds, rough chopped
1 cup Butter
1/2 Cane Sugar
3/4 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
3/4 tsp Sea Salt

Set the oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Use aluminum foil to line a rimmed cookie sheet (Let the foil hang over for easy removal).

Lay the full graham crackers on the baking sheet, touching each other. Sprinkle the toffee pieces and the chopped almonds evenly over the crackers. Set aside.

Combine the sugar and butter in a small saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Bring the mixture to a boil (it will be foamy) and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for a few minutes, until the mixture has the consistency of a syrup. Remove from heat and pour over all of the graham crackers evenly.

Put into the oven and cook for about 12 minutes. The top should be bubbly when you remove it. Immediately sprinkle with the chocolate chips and sea salt. Let cool for about 10 minutes, and then use a pizza cutter to cut into 2 inch squares. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let cool fully before eating.

We didn't have a rimmed baking sheet so we just used a 9 X 13, lined it with foil and ended up obviously using less of everything!

Yum so glad I didn't take any home cause I would be eating them right now!! Thanks Lauren and Jennifer for helping a girl out! XOXO

Have a wonderful day!
xoxo chef a

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Hunger Pains

On the IPOD "Be Still" by: Kelly Clarkson

I would be lying if I told you I feel completely normal right now at 3:16 in the morning. I'm having crazy dreams and I have woken Mike up three times and let's just say he's over it :).

Why is it that when I wake up in the middle of the night, I'm I haven't eaten in weeks. The sad thing is the myriad of things I'm in the mood for: I would totally eat a ramen cup of soup (most likely the saltiest and most processed food product on the market), I would also tear up some bagel chips and extra spicy hummus or even a can of green beans. I know the last one is just plain weird yet if you were to be spying on me at the moment you would see me opening a can of organic green beans, it's not that I wouldn't rather have nice fresh haricot verts (french green beans), but I don't have any and to tell you the truth there is something comforting about the odd metallic taste of cold canned green beans in the wee hours of the morning...

When I was gone last week I did alot of thinking... I have been teetering with the revelation that I'm a little burnt out cooking wise and I knew that I just needed a jump start. I needed time to visit local markets and to cook from my heart instead of counting every calorie. I needed to throw things in a blender and see what came out.

Being a chef is sort of like having an attitude problem. It is half real cooking knowledge and half cockiness. It is a delicate balance, because if you think too much or question yourself you could end up losing your edge. To be honest the issue with my client a couple of weeks ago threw me for a made me question what I'm doing as a chef. It wasn't that I didn't know the answers, I think I just had to find them out again... I know that my first love is dinner parties where I'm given some amount of creative control and I know that I like personal cheffing because it allows me to create bonds with the families I'm feeding. But beyond that how does artistry intertwine with crazy diets. How do I change the school of thought that has made americans want the most amount of processed food for the least amount of calories instead of a smaller portion of the best tasting real food? I don't know the answer yet, but I know that if I want to stick with this career I need to find out. I know that I'm more excited about work tonight than I have been in weeks and that's a good thing!

I don't know... I'm sure it has to do with my personal dieting...I need to find a way to allow myself to love food. I will never be someone who looks at food as a source of energy nor do I want that. My relationship with food has always been a love affair, it just used to be a manipulative abusive one and now I just want it to be a healthy one.

xoxo chef a