Saturday, July 31, 2010


On the IPOD "Fix You" By: Coldplay

Although I had a great time with chef friends in Denver, I'm so glad to be in my own bed at my own house. I was hoping to post while I was there but I just ran out of time...

I cant wait to tell you all about the conference, but right now I am busy writing menus for clients this week. My menu for tomorrow is:

Turkey Meatballs with Homemade Marinara
Spinach Souffle
Shredded Chicken Enchiladas with Rojo Sauce
Roasted Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussel Sprout Medley
Chicken Souvlaki Skewers
Hummus, Tabouli, and Fresh Pita
Shrimp Fried Rice with Stir-fried Vegetables
Egg Salad
Roasted Chicken
Mashed Ruby Sweet Potatoes
Spaghetti Bolognese

Other than cooking...The baby has definitely gained an appetite over the weekend so I'm trying to learn how to control it slightly so I don't go overboard. I guess the good thing is that my eyes are much bigger than my stomach so even when I think I can eat, it sometimes ends with just a bite. I'm giving myself a full day to recoup before I step on the dreaded scale until then I'm hoping for the best! Two of my younger cousins are coming to spend the week with me, Alexis(16) and Lindsay(almost 5), we are going to have lots of fun and some much needed girl time!

I promise to check in later with a full update from the conference...

xoxo chef a

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Birthday Wish

On the IPOD "It Doesn't Hurt" By: Katie Thompson (this girl has an unbelievable voice so worth checking out!)

I really had one of the most amazing birthdays this year...after having a wonderful weekend celebrating with my husband and family, and then having another celebration at Nia on Tuesday, I was sort of perplexed as to what to do on Wednesday (the real day.) After close friends started calling me and asking what the plans were I decided to ask a small group of my oldest girl friends, who have truly been an inspiration to my life this year, to join me for dinner at Kobe Steaks, a Japanese Hibachi style restaurant.

As it got closer to Wednesday I really started to realize what an amazing year it has truly been. Although at times I feel like I have only scratched the surface of my food issues, when I really look back at the steps that I have made to change my life and the honesty in which I've gone about it, I have to say I'm pretty proud of myself. I never thought I would ever be able to let the world in to this internal battle that I have faced alone since the age of about nine. And I really never could have believed that my insecurities would become a topic of daily conversation. But yet here I am starring into a computer screen excited about what the next year will unfold.

The minute I blew out my first birthday candle this year I realized how much things have truly changed... It was the first birthday wish that didn't start out, "Please just let me be skinny by next year!" For the first time ever I knew that I didn't need a wish or prayer to get me where I want to be, because I finally trust myself that I'm fully on board to changing my life. I'm not looking for a quick fix or a miracle cure but instead I'm looking for a new path. I have learned that the most important piece of that puzzle is to surround myself with positive friends and to limit my time with those who are not behind me. I have left the pity party that has been stifling my life and have gained the control that I never even knew I wanted.

Even though I have said it before, I will say it again... this journey has been blessed with your support and guidance and I hope that you will continue to follow me on this incredible path.

xoxo chef a

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Food Guilt

On the IPOD "Fire and Rain" By: James Taylor

Oh two o'clock why are we best friends this week?? It really makes me miss 4 o'clock who I would much rather spend time with!

I am definitely having mixed feelings about my body and food this week. I'm still waiting for that day that I totally look pregnant and the world around me can see a baby bump instead of what feels like just an expanding waistline... I mean the closest people around me can see a baby bump, Mike, my mom (who informs me on a regular basis...I'm not quite sure I like this by the way!), and some of my friends. But really for me the tell tale sign comes when my pants roll under my belly instead of staying where they should. I feel like I need suspenders! I feel a little guilty telling you this but when I look in the mirror I don't get that, "Oh my goodness there's a baby in there, that's so exciting" feeling. I do get it when I'm laying on the couch and I feel this odd sensation of fluttering in my tummy which I'm pretty sure is the baby moving around, but as far as a love for my's not really there yet.

I said in the last post that I wanted to talk with you about my food issues. I want you to know that this is very hard for me to do because I feel like I should want to eat for the baby's sake. But in truth I am having major control issues... I wish I could tell you the amount of times I have gone back and forth over whether the effects of real sugar products are better than the unknowns of all of the artificial sweeteners out there. I'm a strong believer that fake processed foods lead to overeating and that they are really not a weight loss tool but instead an expensive way to gain weight. But on the other hand I look at the calorie count and I am sometimes persuaded to think that I could eat or drink so much more because of the lower calorie counts of those foods that maybe I should give it another try. The real issue is the guilt that I put on myself about going either way... There are certain foods that I feel comfortable with: fresh fruits and vegetables (and I'm not including treated produce ie:grape flavored apples), real cane sugar, organic dairy products and meats. I feel like I know these products and even with all of the issues in the food industry I still feel confident that if my 95 year old grandmother eats them that they must be ok. But what I question is that when they say that the younger generation will be the first generation to not live longer than their parents did, could it possibly not only be because of environmental issues but could the main problem lie in what we are putting in our bodies. Have we become just another prop in the food industries major marketing plan??

When I was just trying to lose weight and I sometimes felt like I needed help, I did look to all of the low fat/sugar free products to help me on my journey, but have I been misguided? My goals were to lose the most amount of weight as quickly as possible by eating lower calorie foods, exercising and trying to limit the amount of food and times that I ate. Now the tables have turned slightly, I am trying to eat the healthiest foods, still exercising, and trying to eat small meals as often as possible (which can be very difficult when you are used to limiting your intake of food.) All the while feeling like any wrong decision I make is going to somehow screw up my child for the rest of it's life. I mean don't get me wrong I know that it is all about being smart and eating a range of foods. But for as much as I know about the food industry I still feel so confused... I am by no means confident in my food choices and I think that it leads to a sometimes overwhelming amount of guilt.

I hope that this doesn't come across the wrong way or that people think I am too hard on myself, but this is the truth this is what runs through my head everytime I put something into my mouth and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only girl out there who is feeling this way... at least I hope not!

xoxo chef a

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Working Out On Empty

On the IPOD "You Lost Me" By: Christina Aguilera

On Tuesday I learned a very important lesson, Listen to your body! You would think that after almost 32 years of life I would know that one, but I think in general I have been ignoring my body most of my life.

This is how the day went... I left the house at around 6 am and headed to the store and to my client's house. After work I picked up a couple of sandwiches for my mom and I and met her at my place so that she could help me go through the closet in the nursery room.(Thank you MOM!) I had a veggie sandwich with cheese (There is no question that I'm having a difficult time eating protein at the moment.) We worked on the closet for a couple of hours and then I took a quick little nap before Nia. On the way to Nia I realized that I hadn't eaten anything since 12 but I was running late and was going to see if they had a bar or something at the studio. Unfortunately they didn't... So instead of listening to my body at this point...I just grabbed my water and headed to class. About 15 minutes into class, I started to feel funny... My leg started cramping and there was no question that my body was letting me know that something wasn't right. But did I listen...nope I just went on with class. After class I met my friend Jamie for dinner and I had a chicken sandwich. On the way home from dinner I was not feeling well at all, so badly in fact that I got extremely sick when I got home. Now I haven't been sick in 5 days so it did make me worry a little, I put a call into my doctor who called right back and had a serious talk with me about making eating a priority and not ever going more than two hours without at least a snack. He said that I let my blood sugar get too low and then worked out and most likely I need more fluids as well.

Of course I'm going to do everything I can to face my recurring food issues head on since obviously they are still causing problems. I mean I've been guilting myself over food for the last 24 years what would make me think that being pregnant would somehow fix it. If anything it is making me even more aware of how much control I give to the numbers on a scale even if in exchange I ignore the truths that my body is obviously screaming at me. I'm going to take the next few days before my birthday to talk openly and honestly with you about how I am truly feeling about food, my body and my health and hopefully it will help me get on the track I need to be for the next 5 1/2 months and maybe even for the rest of my life.

xoxo chef a

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I've Been Missing You...

On the IPOD "I'll Be Missing You" By: Puff Daddy feat. Faith Evans & 112

I am so happy to report that I was finally given the go ahead to return to Nia this week. My first dance class was on Saturday and although it will take a little time to trust in myself that I will not mess anything up, there could not have been a better feeling than when I walked through the doors... I never in my life thought that I would actually miss a form of exercise, but low and behold I was soooo wrong!

I think that Nia might be one of the major things that have made the last 2 1/2 months so difficult. I mean weight loss has been a major focus in my life since about September and then all of the sudden I went from working out almost everyday and watching everything I ate to being preggers, not being allowed to work out and eating 75% carbs to try and calm the nausea. And on top of that it is not necessarily something you can openly complain about considering I've been on the other side of not being able to get pregnant!

But now that I'm not throwing up every second and it seems that I will be able to dance, I can be honest and tell you that there has been a part of me that has been missing all of it... not just the Nia classes, but also the feeling that I can somewhat control my diet. I'm by no means saying that I want my goal to be to lose weight right now, but I definitely like the idea that I can try to eat a more well rounded diet and hopefully have a really good and healthy pregnancy.

I am also excited about the fact that I can be a little more into work since food will hopefully never be my enemy again... This means I can discuss recipes and menus again and tell you everything there is to know about the upcoming chef convention and about the exciting class I'm teaching.

Thank you everyone for sticking through this morning sickness mess and supporting me to get back on track!

As for work tomorrow I'm making...

Chicken Fajitas with grilled peppers, refried black beans, and fresh avocado
Mock Fried Rice with Szechuan Grilled Shrimp
Classic Turkey Meatballs
Roasted Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Brussel Sprouts
Baked Crispy Cornflake Chicken Pieces
Fluffy Baby Spinach Souffle
Teriyaki Grilled Salmon
Orzo Salad with Roasted Vegetables

xoxo chef a

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


On the IPOD "Can't Go Back Now" By: The Weepies

Yesterday morning was just like any other except that I had an appointment with a specialist for some standard gene testing and a special sonogram to find out the baby's sex.

So there we ALL were, sitting in the waiting room of the doctor and by ALL, I mean Mike and I, my mom, and both of my in laws. My anxiety built a little when it hit me that I was going to be in stirrups with a vaginal probe in while the entire group was in the room but then it all changed...

As the nurse took me back for blood work I calmly asked, "So this is a vaginal probe sonogram right?" She replied quickly, "Oh no, this will be your first just regular old sonogram." Well at that moment all of the air escaped my lungs... "What! you are kidding right... my mind was set on the vaginal probe!" She looked at me in awe..."You would rather have that in front of everyone??" "Um YES, it's a chubby girl thing! The idea of sitting in a room on a table with my belly exposed while being rubbed on is not my idea of a good time!" She laughed. After she took at least a liter of blood she ushered me back to the waiting room.

And then it happened... "Amanda, We are ready for you!" Now let me explain that I really did want everyone to have to opportunity to experience seeing the baby, I just forgot about the fact that it might include me laying on a table not fully clothed.

I'm going to go ahead and say that the girl who was doing the sonogram was having a bad day, her mood was less than happy considering we were about to look at a baby, but in my head I had decided she was probably annoyed with the crowd. So she said, "ok I need you to pull down your bottoms to your bikini line." Um well I didn't even know I had a bikini line but I went ahead and pulled it down to where I was comfortable. Obviously not far enough, she then pulled it down so far I thought maybe we should have a drink first and introduce ourselves. I glanced over to my husband, who at this point was laughing because he could tell how uncomfortable I was! The ultrasound tech then proceeded with the sonogram. Look I am fully aware that she was looking for a baby the size of a lemon inside a tummy that isn't exactly small, but it literally felt like she was taking out her frustrations on me. There was a moment in time when I almost yelled, "Just get the !/?$%@! vaginal probe!!" And that is not something you hear everyday!

After 10 minutes of pain, she explained that the baby was breech and therefore she could not get a good view to guess the sex but that doctor would be in in just a minute to go over the scans... Now the doctor was very gentle, he knew exactly where to press to check what he needed to. He looked at every organ and checked the spine and explained to us that the baby looks great with no signs of a problem. He tried and tried to get the baby to move but of course I'm not surprised that my child would be stubborn, I would actually be more worried if it wasn't. Mike is now completely convinced it's a girl! Im still sticking with a boy, although I might be waivering slightly!

Im going to change gears slightly...the reason I had to rush out so quickly yesterday morning without posting the blog is because my client emailed me in the middle of the night that her dinner party had exploded to almost twice the size! I could have made a big deal about it to the client but honestly when I'm hired it is my job to make the client look good while making my service desirable so sometimes you just have to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and move on with your day. After working a full day of clients making 20 different entrees and then a dinner party serving:

Chopped Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes, Hearts of Palm, English Cucumbers and Balsamic vinegrette

Char-Grilled King Salmon
Sweet and Spicy Corn and Pepper Relish
A large variety of grilled vegetables including local grown squashes and zucchini, bell peppers, organic carrots, and Asparagus

Wild Berry Triffle

Let's just say I really felt preganant by the end of the night!!! FYI my bikini line is covered in bruises, thank you very much ultrasound tech!!

So now we have to wait another 3 weeks before we know what we are having... I guess in a way we are lucky though, I've heard that they are really guessing the sex at 14 weeks anyways, and with my luck they would have guessed wrong!

Just so you know what you are looking at in the picture... the baby is of course facing up, the shadow like image in front of it's face is actually a partial view of the placenta. It is pretty cool what they can see these days!!!

xoxo chef a

Monday, July 12, 2010

Camp Days

On the IPOD "California Girls" By: Katy Perry

So this weekend was amazing! We left Dallas on Friday night after work and got to Waco at about 11:30. My Israel trip "Garin Greene" all had met at a local bar and we were the last to arrive. There is truly nothing better than seeing faces that changed your life. Some I have not seen in 15 years, but I can honestly say that we just picked up where we had left off. There was no fakeness or power struggle, it was just old friends hanging out and talking about their lives. After about an hour at the bar we moved to the hotel and everyone came to hang out in our room. We talked and laughed till 3 in the morning!

The next morning a group of us met for breakfast at IHOP. This might have been my favorite part of the trip, we were loud and funny and real. We gave updates from friends who weren't able to get to camp. Not much has really changed except that we all grew up and most have real jobs now, some are married, some are divorced, some are still looking... a few have kids, a few are pregnant, and some are still growing up themselves. We had at least a 10 minutes discussion about the "Shake Weight" that included demonstrations. We talked about our Israel trip and who we hooked up with. We touched on politics and the real world. And we promised to meet as much as possible! At the end of breakfast we lost a couple, who had to get back and we said our goodbyes and headed to camp.

Not much has changed in Bruceville, Texas. There hasn't been any massive growth, the houses look older but pretty much the same. Camp on the other hand has changed. There are new buildings and a new courtyard, what we used to call the shortcut, which was a steep valley through the middle of camp that was covered in loose rocks and I'm sure sent a few to the infirmary, is now paved and much less steep. There is a new zip line and new lake activities and there is even a zoo! I ran around with everyone about half of the day and then I retired to the arts and crafts room to make lanyards while my husband, along with the rest of the group, went to canoe, which let me assure you was completely fine. We ate dinner and had song session and by that point I was exhausted and although I didn't want to leave everyone and I definitely didn't want to leave camp, I knew we had a long drive home. So we hugged and said our goodbyes and walked to the car while my all time favorite camp song was playing in the background. It was the perfect day!

Of course yesterday I was beat, I think I slept most of the day and only really got up to go over to my friend Amy's house for one final hang out with her and her sister Debbie, who had come in town for the reunion.

It is amazing how much one place changed my life...It is also incredible to have such a strong group of friends who are able to just pick up where they have left off. No explenations, no hard feeling, no harsh expectations, just true friendship that has lasted more than half of our lives. I hope that my kids will be able to have the opportunity to spend their summers at this amazing place in the middle of Texas. And I hope to be back in 5 years so that my four year old can experience it for the first of many times.

To all of my camp friends who have changed my life forever, there is really no way to thank you for the impact you have had in my life other than just to say that I would not be the person I am today without your friendship and I never could have asked for a better group of friends.

xoxo chef a

Friday, July 9, 2010

Camp, Snacks, and Airplanes

On the IPOD "Leaving On A Jet Plane" By: Peter, Paul, and Mary

So the big day has come, as soon as Mike gets off work tonight we are off to the Greene Family Camp Reunion. The best part about it is that tonight a group of kids that I spent an amazing 5 weeks in Europe and Israel with in 1995 are meeting up to talk and reminisce and drink, well that is except for me! I just can't wait for Mike to experience the wonderful place where I truly grew up. Yay!!!!!

Yesterday was the first day that while driving home from work I felt the most intense hungry wave come over me. It was not like my normal, "oh I'm bored maybe I'm hungry..." It was more of a, "Dude, pull over this minute and get a freaking cracker before I hurt you!" And I did...I pulled into the closest gas station and got a bag of crackers. I guess the time has come for me to carry around a stash in my purse!

I finally booked my airfare for the chef convention at the end of July that I'm speaking at! It honestly kills me to pay for airfare... I guess it's the thought that I'm paying $400 for 2 hours (which really ends up being 4 hours because you have to get there so early) of being utterly uncomfortable. I'm all about upgrading but not for a 2 hour work flight! Anyways it should be an interesting trip considering I'll be pregnant and I'll be at a higher altitude, let's all pray that I'm over this sick feeling by then...

I can't wait to get done with work and be on the road to Bruceville, Texas. I'm even more excited to tell you all about it when I get back...even the camp food which by the way, I'm totally looking forward to!! And then two short days after I get back and we will know if we will be seeing blue or pink. What an exciting week that will change everything...

xoxo chef a

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Baby Marrone

On the IPOD "We All Fall In Love Sometimes" By: Jeff Buckley (I am fully aware that you have to buy an entire album to hear this song , but it is well worth it if you are a Buckley fan, you can also hear it at

Well this is the newest picture of our little baby... I'm hoping when we go next Tuesday we will find out the sex and get some clearer pictures, but some cool things to note on this pic are the little white dots going across its tummy are of course the rib cage and the thicker white line down the back is the spine. Technology is pretty freaking amazing!!

The rest of the checkup went very well...everything looks good! I've lost a little weight, but I kind of expected that considering that I've been pretty sick at night. The goal from this point on is to eat healthy and try to maintain my weight until I'm feeling better.

I am working a lot this are some of the Summer things I'm making for my clients:

Mexican Chopped Salad with Fiesta Lime Chicken, Homegrown Tomatoes, Black Beans, Roasted Corn, Avocado, and Sharp Cheddar Cheese with a Garlic Herb Vinaigrette

Gourmet Slider Burgers

Angel Hair Pomodoro

Jamaican Jerk Grilled Chicken with Mango Salsa

Creamy Shrimp Salad with Toast Points

Crunchy Oven-Fried Chicken

Peppered Pork Loin with Roasted Garlic Au Jus

Grilled Vegetable Panini

Honey Barbecued King Salmon

Besides that... I'm beyond thrilled about my sleep away camp reunion this weekend!! It will be Mike's first time to experience my summer life as a kid. It is pretty cool to have my two world's kind of collide at least it seems cool now...

Ok well since I seem to be falling asleep over the keyboard...I'm going to take a short nap before work!

xoxo chef a

Monday, July 5, 2010

The "Golden Brown" Menu

On the IPOD "Feels Like Home" By: Edwina Hayes

Well first off I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July and for those of you who get to take today off...I'm so jealous! I instead am doubling up my day today because I have a doctors appointment right in the middle of the day tomorrow.

I have to go on a rant today and I have to be honest and tell you that the hardest part of my job comes in the form of two requests. The first one I don't even have to explain to you..."Can you make me a really healthy, low fat, low calorie, low sugar version of _____ that tastes exactly like the original????" For the record I'm a chef not a magician! The second one is a tad bit more difficult, "I have three kids ages 6, 8, and 10 and I need you to cook healthy food for them that they will eat because all they will eat is junk!"

Unfortunately this is probably the most difficult... This is not your kids problem... it's yours and if you are smart you will try to change your ways now. We are lazy as a society. Our ancestors fought so hard for us to have freedom of choice but we hardly ever use it. How many times in the last year have you ordered your child a kids meal? I mean you're sitting in a great restaurant with lots of choices but your 5 year old in eating chicken nuggets (that the restaurant brings in frozen), Mac and cheese (that is being sold to the restaurants in premade cups that you just throw in the microwave), or a wonderfully processed hot dog. It is so easy to forget that when we were kids there were by far less options. Most of the time in a restaurant our parents ordered off the regular menu and we either shared with them or with each other.

I was lucky. I grew up in a home where my mom cooked every night. And she didn't cook two meals one for us and one for the adults, it was one meal and we hopefully chose to try it. Kids will never learn to try new foods if we continue to serve them the same foods all day long! They are growing up unaware of what real food looks like. They think it comes in a box with heating instructions! I actually had a child say to me two weeks ago that she only likes the apples that come already sliced in a bag. Are you kidding me? I remember losing teeth in the side of an apple! We are creating a society without taste buds. I have yet to open a freezer and not see some form of chicken nugget whether organic, all natural, or all processed. It is still a chicken nugget!

I remember having large family shabbat dinners on Friday nights. The menu was always the same:
Baked Chicken
Roasted Brisket with carrots and potatoes
Some sort of Green vegetable of the day
And little tiny rolls with poppyseeds on top

The Shabbat dinner I catered last week...the client brought in kids menu from a local restaurant:
Chicken Strips
French Fries
Onion Strings
and pasta with butter

(I saw at least 10 adults eating the kids menu as opposed to the by far healthier and better tasting adult menu)

What is wrong with this picture???? Kids food has turned into it's own food group, "Golden Brown"! I would say the funniest comment I've heard recently is when a child was home from camp one day and she asked me before she left, "Do you think you'll still be cooking when I get home?" My response was, "Most likely, Ive got lots to cook today." She followed up by saying, "Wow, I thought it only took 10 minutes to cook food!"

I'm not trying to be hard on you or even tell you that your child should never eat a chicken nugget again, but I think in general parents are frustrated because they want their kids to be healthier but when kids menus are shoved in your face everyday, and you are tired and stressed out and working too much, it is just easier to order off the "golden brown" menu than it is to argue over broccoli. Unfortunately the difference in generations is that we got chicken nuggets, french fries, and onion rings as a treat. That's why we still get excited sneaking food off the kids table. But for children today it is not a treat, it's just dinner...everyday! So I guess my chef advise is to stop ordering off the kids menu... start allowing your kids to experience real food so that one day when they are on a date thay actually know how to cut their own food and they don't ask for dipping sauce on the side! :)
xoxo chef a