Thursday, January 31, 2013

The blahs

I think I am having a post-nice-weather-weekend-and-job-offer slump. Add to the fact that we got some snow yesterday and some cold today, and all I want to do is sleep.

To catch up:  I got my five-miler outside last Saturday, and it felt pretty good. When I was done. I'm not gonna lie - the second half was kinda difficult. My friend Kathy, who had her own issues on her run in Portland, said it must be due to unprecedented hyper-gravity conditions. Yeah, that's the ticket.

It was still nice on Monday, albeit a bit foggy:

It was so quiet and still. I half expected Jack the Ripper to step out from behind a street light. And I didn't dare run in the street because I was afraid any cars wouldn't see me. Although since I only saw two cars in motion on my entire two-mile run, I shouldn't have been concerned.

I wish I could fill you in on more of the fitness front, but the only other exercise I did was 45 minutes of snow shoveling yesterday. Let me tell you - THAT is a core workout. The windchill is -11 today, but as the temp is supposed to be in the 40's this weekend, I'm not too worried about the snow lasting. I do need some motivation, though...

We tried a new-to-us restaurant last weekend. I had a Groupon to Tanduri Fusion in west Omaha, so we invited some friends and headed out. It was so good. We liked it even better than our until-that-point favorite Indian restaurant in town. I was mentioning this to Alex, and he immediately asked how the mulligatawny was. That is his yardstick for measuring Indian restaurants. The soup was fabulous, papadum and cilantro chutney arrived shortly after we sat down (the Indian restaurant answer to chips and salsa, I guess.) That was a first; usually you have to order it. I'm glad we had reservations, because at 7:00, there were several people waiting (and giving us dirty looks as we walked directly to our booth.) Despite being busy, we were able to converse with no difficulty. That may have been because we were in a booth instead of a table, though. Everyone had a different dish - two lamb, one chicken, and one shrimp - and everyone thought they had ordered the best meal. I wish I would have remembered to take photos, but here is a shot of my leftover thimpu chicken the next day. It was  perfect with some celery and carrot sticks, hummus, and crackers.

I should have planned last week's menu better, as we ended up having Indian food two nights in a row. Friday night, I made Cooking Light's Chicken Biryani, and served it with the cucumber-tomato-yogurt salad that was suggested in the recipe. I've made this before, and loved it every time. It is also very good reheated, evidenced by my having it for lunch two times.

Other dinners:

Garlicky baked shrimp, roasted Brussels sprouts, ciabatta roll, and salad

Seasoned chicken breast, roasted mini-peppers, roasted sweet potato slices. Wow - a monochromatic meal.
A lunch:

Leftover Santa Fe soup, carrot and celery sticks
A snack:

Sliced banana with Justin's chocolate PB. OMG. So good.
And some breakfasts:

Somewhat less boring. Goat cheese - avocado 2-egg omelet. I got distracted (squirrel!) and it cooked a tad too long. Check out the perfectly pyramidal sea salt crystal on the upper left of the omelet!
And that's about it. I'm planning on spending the afternoon doing laundry, reading, and taking a nap. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Just a shopgirl at heart - redux

Before I get to today's post, a quick update on Wednesday's:  I forgot about another book I just read, this one recommended by Jeanie (someone who reads even more than I do). I read Silver Linings Playbook right before January First, so there was some happy in there. I loved it and now want to see the movie. Dwight has no desire to (????), but as I have no trouble in going to movies alone, I'll be seeing it soon. And instead of starting The Marriage Plot, I'm reading Loving Frank after I talked to Aly yesterday and she told me how much she loved it and keeps thinking about it. As you know, that's the sign of a good book for me!

So you know last month when I wrote a post about being a shopgirl at heart? Well, I haven't mentioned it before, but I have been in the process of applying for a job over the past several weeks. I've exchanged numerous emails and had two 50-minute Skype interviews with two people in the company, and I found out on Tuesday evening that I was offered the position! This middle-aged mom really stepped outside of her comfort zone by even thinking of applying, and I GOT IT!!!

To back up a bit, I wasn't even looking for a job, but as I "like" this company on Facebook, and they're opening a shop in Omaha, out of curiosity I clicked on the link advertising the openings. Listen to this: "Do you make lists for fun? Are you always the organized one?" I couldn't believe it! My superpowers are listed in the JOB DESCRIPTION!!! I start the first part of March, so that gives me a little over a month to obsess about it get any big projects finished, like painting and redecorating our bedroom. And since I only have a little over a month left at the museum, I need to stock up on my faves there while that employee discount is still in effect!

But on to the mundane which is my life (thankfully!), and the real reason I write this blog - to keep me accountable. Yesterday was a treadmill day (ugh) but it is warmer today, and tomorrow is supposed to be just as nice. As I have a 5-miler scheduled, I'm thankful that it will be outside instead of plodding along in our basement.

I changed it up a bit for yesterday's breakfast:

I hate runny yolks so I always break 'em

Lunch was just Wednesday's dinner reheated, but still delicious:  beef tips with peppered mushroom sauce and roasted broccoli. While I made the two to be served separately, I didn't feel like dirtying another dish.

And because I have a sweet tooth:

White chocolate and peanut butter chips

Dinner was weird. Dwight had a meeting so I just poked around and found this in the freezer:

Tastes much better than it looks while cooking
Oikos key lime yogurt, a Vitatop, and two of the veggie "sausage" links. And because it was National Peanut Butter day, I spread a tablespoon on the muffin top.

Breakfast today was a PB bagel, grapefruit, and coffee - something you have seen so many times that I'm just not going to photograph it any more. You're welcome. But lunch was good! I stopped at Whole Foods this morning, and as it was nearing noon, a stop at the salad bar was in order. In the mix: romaine lettuce, tofu, quinoa, and radishes. I brought it home and topped it with Trader Joe's cilantro dressing. And I had a kombucha, something I haven't had for a few weeks and didn't realize how much I missed it until my first sip.

And I picked this up:

Guess which word on the label I didn't see until I got it home? That's right, chocolate. I've never bought this before because it just seems too dangerous. And holy moly, but it is delicious. I had a dot of a taste, and it will be wonderful in oatmeal. And on toast. And with an apple. Or pretty much straight out of the jar. But hey - chocolate is healthy, right?

I'm going to spend some time this afternoon having a calligraphy session. I need to practice a bit as I have a wedding coming up!

We have a low-key weekend planned. The highlight will be dinner out tomorrow with some friends; I have a Groupon to a local Indian restaurant burning a hole in my pocket. (Or my iPhone?)

Anyone have any big plans? Have a great weekend regardless!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A little unconventional. Just a nice name for weird.

We have UNO hockey season tickets, and we sit next to two other couples (and good friends that we've known forever) from the 'hood. A few weeks ago after a game, we were invited over for a late night winter hot tub, and since it was so spur of the moment, Dwight and I decided to take our own booze. Neither of us was in a wine mood, so we made gin and tonics and put them in our coffee travel tumblers, because who wants glass in the hot tub, right? We're there for about half an hour, and Kirk, who was sitting across from me, looks at my coffee mug and asks if I have coffee in there. Srsly. Who drinks coffee at 11:30 at night?! He said, "I don't know. You've always been a little unconventional." I know he meant weird. Welcome to my life. Maybe I should change the title of this blog....  "She's weird, but she shows up!"

So here's the weird, eclectic mix of books I have read lately:  I have been a reading fiend this month. The last time I wrote about books, I had just started The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I absolutely LOVED this book. It was magical. It was transcendent. It will make you believe in everlasting love. I want to visit this circus. Forget all the tired old animals and acrobats (and odd scary clowns) from the Shrine Circus of your youth. Think what it could be like if the only limit was your imagination. That is exactly what the author did, since each room was held together by magic. I keep thinking about the characters and the circus itself - always a sign of a wonderful book to me.

After that I read a book recommended by my friend Marcy, January First by Michael Schofield. It is the true story, written by a father, of his young daughter's battle with schizophrenia. (It's subtitled "A Child's Descent Into Madness and Her Father's Struggle to Save Her". Pretty much says it all.) She was diagnosed at age six, after exhibiting the symptoms basically since shortly after birth. It was a devastating read. He writes a blog, so of course after I finished the book I went and read some of his posts. I also found some scathing remarks about how he and his wife are exploiting their children (in addition to Jani's schizophrenia, apparently their son is autistic.) The parents have posted several YouTube videos, and after reading the not-so-complimentary comments, I found myself looking at the videos in a different light. They are a bit exploitative, in that there are several videos, and you know that the kids didn't exactly give consent. I wonder what they will think when they are grown up and watch them. There is also an Oprah interview from a few years ago, but I was pretty much mental illnessed out by then so didn't watch it. But back to the book - I couldn't put it down.

After that, I turned to Night by Elie Wiesel (also nonfiction.) I am probably one of the few people to have NOT read the book. It's a slim volume and a really quick read, but the words contained inside are immense. If you haven't read it, it is the recounting of his time in concentration camps. Again, and I don't use the word too often, devastating.

So now I am ready to start something new, and hopefully more upbeat. My friend Bobbi recommended The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides. I loved his other two books, The Virgin Suicides and Middlesex, so I'm looking forward to starting this tonight.

Okay, on to real life, instead of my fantasy literary life. (Which incidentally got me through most of my childhood. Which is common among us weird folks, I think.)  I got my four miles in outside this weekend, when the temp was in the 50's. It felt SO GOOD to be outside, on my old familiar trail. There was still some ice on the shaded parts, so I'm glad I wasn't on my bike like some people were. Although it was warm, there was a pretty stiff north wind which made walking across the dam on the east end of the lake quite a challenge. I am not a light girl, but it almost blew me over a few times. One thing I am glad of is a newly acquired skill of mine: ***STOP READING NOW IF YOU ARE EASILY GROSSED OUT!!!*** The ability to blow snot rockets. I got quite good at it last spring with all the miles I put on. I tell you, there is no more effective way to clear your nose!

I really need to stop thinking that because I work hard I should be rewarded. We have a new breakfast place that opened just down the road from us in a building that used to be a laundromat, a used bookstore, and a chiropractor's office, and since we hadn't tried it yet, Sunday seemed to be the perfect time. Breakfast - my favorite meal! I had the "not quite healthy breakfast skillet". I love the name - and that's exactly what it was! It had spinach, turkey sausage, and light monterey jack cheese - on top of potatoes. With a side of pancakes. It was absolutely delicious.

We are in a deep freeze right now, and by deep freeze I mean 27 degrees above zero. My cold tolerance has really lessened the older I get; I went to college in Grand Forks, and it was so cold that when we moved to St. Paul it felt downright balmy. And when people down here complain about the cold, well, they just have no idea. But Monday? It was cold. I decided it was chili night, and I was going to make what is probably my favorite chili recipe: beef and pinto bean chili from (where else?) Cooking Light. It takes a while to make, what with the simmering and all, so I decided to make Dwight's favorite chili as well, Real Texas Chili. This is also pretty time-intensive. He and Alex love it so much that I would make a double batch, and Alex would invite his best friend Pat over, and there would be no leftovers. So with two pots of chili simmering, the house smelled great and dinner was delish. And we have leftovers!

Beef and pinto bean chili on the left, Texas chili on the right

The fixin's

My bowl, fully loaded

In case you want the recipe for the Real Texas Chili:

3 pounds boneless chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 T vegetable oil
2-3 garlic cloves, diced
3-4 T chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
3 T flour
1 T oregano
26 oz beef broth
1 tsp salt
dash pepper

Add beef to oil and cook till meat changes color but does not brown. Lower heat. Stir in garlic. Combine spices and flour; sprinkle over meat. Add 3/4 of the broth (20 ounces); stir to blend. Add salt and pepper. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat, simmer partially covered for 1 1/2 hours. Add remaining broth, cook 30 minutes longer or until meat is almost falling apart. Cool thoroughly. Cover; refrigerate overnight to ripen flavors. Serve with sour cream and lime wedges.

Stay warm!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Saturday. Srsly.

I feel like I am getting back onto the healthy lifestyle bandwagon, not that I ever totally got off, but I may have taken a small detour....

I'm finding with working out, it's all about the old "use it or lose it" motto. After a break around the holiday season, I am back into it full force and it just feels so good. Seriously. Or rather....

Makes me laugh! Every. single. time.

It feels good to get my heart rate up, my muscles are feeling more toned, and my clothes feel better. I know that it goes hand-in-hand with eating healthier. I hate it when those people are right.

This will be a short post, because I have a short window of opportunity to get out to the lake and get four miles in this morning. It's supposed to be warm this afternoon (around 50), but the wind is supposed to be 20-25 mph out of the northwest, preceding a cold front that will only let us get up to the mid 20's tomorrow.

So to keep me accountable - or "showing up", here are a few meals since earlier this week:

Breakfasts (and I apologize - I love breakfast, but I don't change it up too much):

Oatmeal with coconut-almond milk, PB, brown sugar. And coffee

PB toast, grapefruit sections, diet cranberry juice. And coffee

Oats in a jar - the PB in an almost-empty jar gets all melty and delicious. And I'm sure there was coffee on the side.

PB bagel thin, grapefruit sections. And coffee.

An impulse buy from the freezer section at SuperTarget

Surprisingly good. While I wouldn't want it every day, it was a nice change. With grapefruit sections. And coffee.


Green monster with frozen banana, coconut-almond milk, protein powder, greek yogurt, and spinach

Leftover edamame salad with fake crab for added protein. And Coke Zero.

Tuna, hard-boiled egg, capers, mayo on toast. And an apple.


Portion-controlled snacks are so helpful for me!

Edamame salad (edamame, sliced radishes, olive oil, rice vinegar, and cilantro), toast (with REAL BUTTER!), and a mushroom omelet
White chili, apple slices, and some Trader Joes's flax seed vegetable tortilla chips

Leftover white chili, roasted veggies, and milk.

So darn dull. Sometimes I bore even myself.

It's off to Zorinsky!

Monday, January 14, 2013

An avid slow jogger

Dwight gets all kinds of magazines at work, and he used to bring them home. I had to tell him to stop, because every physical ailment that was the illness of the month? I had all the symptoms. But he still brings the Web M.D. magazine home. There was an article on Mindy Kaling in the last issue, in which she describes herself as "an avid slow jogger". That is SO me. Or sometimes I am an "avid fast walker". You get the general idea of my pace.

After the half-marathon in October (did you know I finished one?!), I was totally planning on working on increasing my speed, strengthening my core, and continuing my healthy eating plan. I think I forgot all of the above.

With the nice weather lately, though, I've been fast walking / slow jogging outside. It's been great to follow my old paths through the 'hood, except that my favorite 4-mile loop still has ice on it. Thank you, City of Omaha. I did have some nice days outside last week, and then the combination of a chafing issue (forgot the Body Glide) and colder temperatures made it way nicer to stay wrapped in my fluffy bathrobe instead of working out. But this morning I was back on the treadmill. It's supposed to warm up this week - outdoors, here I come.

I had a pretty productive weekend, in that I accomplished one major thing. I've been meaning to paint Alex's old room for a few weeks, and finally did it. And I must be getting better - I only got paint on the ceiling once (previously my specialty), and when I removed the tape, most of the paint on the baseboards was from the last time I had painted that room. Small victories. That room is actually MY room now - it has a couch, a desk, and a bookcase. I painted it a nice warm mocha - it is so calm in there. It really helps that I got rid of all the crap that had accumulated. The bookcases in the girls' old rooms are next!

My genes must be calling on the millenia-old memory of my northern European heritage and storing fat for the winter. I have been so hungry lately - it it's not nailed down, it's fair game. I stepped on the scale this morning with my eyes closed, opened one v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y, and I haven't gained an ounce. Go figure. I must be burning calories by shivering. But lest I get too smug, there is a mother-of-the-bride dress hanging in my closet that already necessitates at least one pair of Spanx. Gotta be careful.

I must be on a smoothie kick. Here are some breakfasts:

Abs Diet banana split smoothie
I have to show you the Before picture so you can see how much spinach is in my green monster

And you can't even taste it! Also in the mix: a banana, half a cup of  Greek yogurt, a cup of almond-coconut milk, and a tablespoon of peanut butter
I found little cups of grapefruit sections at Sam's. I have loved grapefruit forever, but it is not very user-friendly.
This breakfast cookie was in my swag bag from the marathon. Pretty yummy. And filling.
While I know I eat lunch every day, I just haven't taken any pictures. Lunch is seriously my least favorite meal of the day. As a matter of fact, when Erin and I are playing Draw Something and her word is lunch, she just writes "least favorite meal of the day".

But I've had some good dinners. Aly sent me a link to a recipe that she and Alex made and loved, Mediterranean Cauliflower. She said it would find its way into our weekly rotation, and she is right. It is SO GOOD. (I added extra capers). Go get the ingredients and make it this week - let me know how you like it. It is seriously beyond delicious. I served it with South Beach Diet balsamic chicken, and what we call summer salad - baby cucumbers, grape tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. Amy and Dennis gave us some different flavored oils and vinegars for Christmas - this salad was fabulous with basil olive oil.

The cauliflower was so good that we had it the next night with fish tacos. I heated up some black beans and mixed them with a few spoonfuls of Trader Joe's corn salsa.

And then tonight I made some South Beach Diet gingered chicken, which was only just okay. I gave half of mine to Dwight (give it to Dwight, he'll eat anything). Yes, that is Uncle Ben's long grain and wild rice, and yes, I realize the irony of serving rice with a South Beach meal. What can I say? I love carbs. The salad was fairly delicious - mixed greens with sliced pears, kiwi, and baby tomatoes, and TJ's pear vinaigrette salad dressing.

Why yes, that is on a tray. Because we eat dinner in front of the TV. We're those people.

Now it's time for a bubble bath and some Sleepy Time tea...

Monday, January 7, 2013

The North Dakota waddle

You know what it is. You encounter a slippery patch of snow or ice, your arms go out at waist height to try to balance, you tighten your buns and your quads, and you take little teeny Chinese-lady-with-bound-feet steps. Kind of like a Wallenda, only far less graceful. And you fall more. (Note: I am totally qualified to talk about this, because except for a brief 19 months in northeast Ohio, I have spent all my life in North or South Dakota, Minnesota, and Nebraska. We coined the phrase when in college at UND.)

So even though the last few days have been really nice, and I've been running walking outside, the patches of ice and snow at the end of driveways and street corners definitely affect my pace. But it is so nice to be outside! I did two miles yesterday and three today. The next two days are supposed to be warm (40's), and then it's supposed to RAIN on Thursday. That should take care of any pesky remaining ice.

I tried a new recipe last night, Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto from Iowa Girl Eats. It was pretty fabulous. And look how pretty it looks paired with a nice salad. The recipe serves two, and it was seriously filling.

A few lunches:

Rotisserie chicken sandwich, seaweed salad, and chocolate milk

More rotisserie chicken on a salad topped with Trader Joe's cilantro dressing. And check out my reading material!

Breakfast this morning was a sweet breakfast scramble from Carrots-n-Cake. I've made it before, and since I had a can of pumpkin sitting in my pantry just asking to be used, I made it again. Because of the egg and two egg whites in there, the protein kept me full all  morning.

Dwight has a meeting tonight, and I was planning on roasting some Brussels sprouts for dinner, but I was just so hungry after working out that I made this: Campbells crab and corn chowder, a grilled cheese, and carrots. It's a good thing I don't live alone, or more of my dinners would look like this.

Emily and I were talking yesterday, and while in our heads we thought that Erin and Tim's wedding was eight months off (August is the eighth month, right?), it's ONLY SEVEN!!! While there is still plenty of time, today has been Wedding Day for me - reserving chairs for the lakeside service (oh yeah - I went and sat in all of them), calling limo companies, and working on the guest list and budget. I know everyone out there who has thrown a wedding is going "Budget?! HAHAHA!!!" 

Time for a glass of wine and the BCS championship game. Tomorrow it's work and then the Creighton game with Debbie and Steve, preceded with dinner at Flemings, where they have 5 for 6 till 7: 5 appetizers, 5 cocktails, 5 entrees, each for $6, till 7:00. I can already hear the Kobe burger calling my name...


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Showing up - kind of

I named this blog after Woody Allen's comment about how 80% of life is just showing up. While ideally I would like to post every day, my life just isn't exciting enough for that to happen. Realistically, I'd like to post four times a week; it looks like I'm falling short this week by only posting three times.

While not too exciting, here's what's been going on:  I am back on the workout wagon, and I have to say that it feels great. I told Dwight that when I complain about it, he needs to remind me how good I feel when I'm done. I got some endorphins on Friday; it's been awhile since I've felt that rush. I LOVE ENDORPHINS! I've been alternating running / walking with the stationary bike for cardio, and I am following the Abs Diet weight training regimen on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I have found muscles that I forgot I had, but it feels really good. And the good news? It's going to be warm enough today that the sidewalks should just be wet instead of icy, so I can go outside for a run this afternoon! I tried it earlier this week, but there was too much shuffling across frozen driveways that it was just counter-productive. Dwight gave me an actual Garmin watch for Christmas, so now I can feel official.

[A bit of a bummer on the fitness front: I was psyched to register for the Lincoln Half. Registration opened on 12/21, and while I know it's limited to the first 10,000 runners, Emily had signed up a few weeks after registration opened last year with no problem. It was nuts here around Christmas, so when I finally sat down to register on 12/27 - you guessed it. Sold out. Sad face emoticon right here. Emily has been searching for other races, and the most promising is in Kenosha, Wisconsin on 5/4. The only drawback to that - other than the long drive, but we can stay with Jeanie and Tom (right, Jeanie?!?!?) - is that the race is on a Saturday, so that would necessitate Friday travel. The good part is that we wouldn't have to leave right after the race; we could recover for the afternoon and evening and drive home on Sunday. It's still a maybe, but I want to get a spring race scheduled to force me to get the long runs in. It's just too easy to slack off otherwise. Aly and Alex told me that would be the case, and I didn't know just how right they are.]

Onto the food front:

Friday nights are date nights for us, and by date nights, I mean I don't cook. It stems back to when the kids were little and in gymnastics class on Friday afternoons at 4:30 - we always had a family dinner out on Friday night, alternating who got to choose what restaurant. I really think that's how the kids developed such eclectic palates. It could be Thai, Indian, Chinese, Italian, or just plain good old comfort food. But I digress. This past Friday we decided to try a new-to-us restaurant, Amsterdam Falafel in the Dundee neighborhood. For those of you in Omaha, it's on 50th just south of Underwood. But don't blink or you'll miss it. There was seating for maybe 15 inside, although it does a brisk takeout business.

This was the menu:

I chose the falafel sandwich, and Dwight chose the kabob sandwich. While both were pretty yummy, I'd order the kabob next time - only I'd have the salad. The bread was a huge bun with all the insides scooped out so it was just a shell. We got a choice of sauces - I chose herb, while Dwight chose garlic and spicy. And those curry fries? For someone who's never met a french fry she didn't like, these were pretty close to heaven.

Dwight's kabob sandwich

My falafel sandwich

I made a Costco trip on Friday and just had to buy berries. I've been missing them, as they were a staple of my summer breakfasts. While I love apples, oranges, and pears, I just wanted berries. The blackberries didn't disappoint, but you can tell the blueberries were out of season. I ended up freezing most of them and will throw them in smoothies.

You know who likes Costco runs? That's right. Pete hid in the box and scared Ernie every time he walked by. (What?! A cat in a box?!) For 13-year-old cats, they can still play like kitties.

Looking innocent. Don't let him fool you.

Oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar. And coffee. Pure comfort food from my childhood.
PB bagel thin, fruit, cranberry juice, and coffee
2-egg scramble with leftover chopped asparagus and corn relish, fruit, and coffee

PBJ, carrots, and Special K crackers
Rotisserie chicken, seaweed salad, and some multigrain chips from Trader Joe's. And a Coke Zero.
Blackened chicken Caesar salad

These were an impulse buy at Trader Joe's. I was in the checkout line, it was 1:30, and I hadn't had lunch yet.

Leftover sweet potato wedges with 1 T PB
And dinner:

I took some of these...
...added to this (Christmas present from my sister-in-law)...
...and ended up with dinner

We had friends over for dinner last night but I didn't get a picture. I made an old stand-by that we had many times when the kids were growing up, mostly because it was easy and I could make it ahead of time and just bake. It was from my sister Jeanie's old parish cookbook, so you know it's good: place 4 chicken breasts in an oblong baking dish, top with sliced swiss cheese, mix 1/4 cup white wine with a can of cream of chicken soup and pour over the chicken and cheese, and top with 2 cups of Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix. And then drizzle 1/4 cup butter over all and bake at 325 for an hour. Your tummy will be happy.

I served it with Cooking Light's balsamic browned butter asparagus: roast (thick) asparagus spears at 400-425 till done (about 12 minutes). In the meantime, melt 2 T butter, and cook three minutes until browned. Immediately add 2 tsp soy sauce and 1 tsp balsamic vinegar, pour over asparagus, and toss to combine.

Add a salad with pear and kiwi slices, pomegranate seeds, and Trader Joe's champagne pear vinaigrette, and you have a pretty good dinner. And dessert...oh yes...I had made a trip to Jones Bros. Cupcakes - we had cupcakes and macarons. So much for healthy eating. But if the healthy Cathy shows up 80% of the time, I'm not going to beat myself up.

Enjoy what's left of the weekend!