Tuesday, January 13, 2015

You can thank me later...

Seriously. No, srsly.

I can never pass up a chance to use this guy

Just pin these two tips right now to your "I can do it" Pinterest board.

Okay, #1:  I consider myself a pretty good cook - not gourmet by any means, but being a chemist, I can find my way around the kitchen. Except for one very basic technique: hard boiling eggs. Basic, easy-peasy, simple - right? Well, no. Mine used to be okay when I did it my mom's way, which was boiling them to death for 20 minutes. They peeled okay most of the time, but they were too hard and rubbery and had a green rim around the yolks. So then I started experimenting. For years. Big mistake. I used everyone's Never Fail Hard Boiled Egg recipe that I could find, and they all failed. I used salt in the water, baking soda in the water, putting the eggs in the water then starting to boil, putting the eggs in boiling water, ice water, timing differences, using old eggs - basically every permutation possible. And they all peeled horribly and looked like the surface of the moon:

So finally I quit following recipes and pulled bits and pieces from everything I learned and came up with my fool-proof (really!) recipe. And my eggs look like this every. single. time.


I bought these yesterday, so old eggs are not necessary. I use a bulletin board push pin to poke a hole in the wide end of the egg. Not sure if this is really necessary, but it's kind of fun and my motto is if it's not broke, don't fix it. Okay, use a large enough pot to hold the number of eggs you want to boil. I always make 11 eggs (they fit into my mason jar), and a 4.5 qt (I think) pot. A big one. Bring a bunch of water to a seriously rolling boil, sprinkle in some salt, and lower the cold eggs in using a slotted spoon. Start your timer for 13 minutes, then lower heat to about medium-low. You want a few bubbles, so maybe it's a high simmer? In the meantime, put a bunch of ice cubes in a large bowl and fill with water. You want a cold, cold, cold ice bath. After 13 minutes, use the slotted spoon and put the eggs in the ice bath to cool. When they are cold, crack and peel. And this is how I store them so we have a go-to snack:


Okay, hint #2. Totally unrelated as it has to do with plumbing, but maybe it will save you a service call. You know how when you start your disposal and it just grinds and grinds and water starts rising in the other side of the sink and you think oh shit? Well, this tip is from an actual plumber, who made a trip to our house years ago but didn't charge us because he was in the neighborhood anyway and I think felt sorry for me. I wrote it down then and taped it inside the cupboard below the sink. I've had to use it a few times since, and I had to use it the other week so thought I'd pass it on. The plumber said it creates more force than plunging.

Fill garbage disposal side with water.

Plug other side and hold down tight. The stopper will want to push up. Seriously, lean on it!

Turn on disposal.

And that's it!

You are welcome.
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EDITED: I forgot to add that I sprinkle some salt in the water when I put it on to boil. Half a teaspoon or so. Again, not sure if it's necessary, but it works for me. Look at those beautiful hard boiled eggs!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Meal ideas - stop now if you're easily bored

Okay, this is a dull post, but I really need to clean up my photo albums on my phone, so here are all the meals I had in the past week. I took pictures of literally everything (well, almost everything) in order to post them on the TwoGrand app. I missed some wine, a gin and tonic or two, dinner at friends' house, lunch at Panera - that kind of stuff. But I did enter everything into My Fitness Pal, and while there might not be photographic evidence, I put them in TwoGrand also. 


PB gluten-free toast, apple, OJ/club soda

oatmeal with berries, almond/coconut milk, and I'm pretty sure there is some PB hiding in there

gluten-free Udi's, berries, OJ/club soda

regular PB toast, berries, HB egg, OJ/club soda

mmm...bacon, eggs, toast

scrambled eggs and mushrooms with sriracha, berries
Kashi Go-Lean Crunch with almond/coconut milk

 Some lunches:

big salad with all kinds of goodies (but not enough protein; I was starving by 2:30)

leftover turkey breast, snap peas, avocado

leftover chicken, leek and wild rice soup, avocado toast

Skinnytaste's oven "fried" pork chop, brusssels sprouts salad (same amount of food - size does matter!)
These were the two recipes I was excited about in my last post, and if you click the title, it will take you to the recipe. The pork chops were really good - like a fake shake-n-bake. They were even good left over the next day. (Several days later, not so much). The shredded brussels sprouts salad was quick and easy, and while Dwight liked it, it was a little too high-FODMAP-ey for my tummy, if you know what I mean... I can eat them cooked (small amount), but as I found out, not raw. 

beef stir-fry with spinach. I found this recipe in the latest Costco magazine - it may be a Weight Watcher recipe because the points are listed. It's basically a stir-fry, but served over lightly wilted spinach instead of rice. And it was really, really good!

soup from a mix my sister-in-law sent. it was really beyond delicious

pierogis with a dollop of greek yogurt, sauerkraut, roasted peppers

leftover pork chop, brussels sprouts sauteed with bacon (or, pork with a side of pork!)


banana split smoothie
comfort tea

this should technically be under "lunch" since it was what I had yesterday between breakfast and dinner. what can I say; I was in a baking mood

Now as a reward for reading all the way to the end, here is a screenshot of the current weather from one of my favorite apps, Authentic Weather. I even paid 99 cents for it because it makes me smile every. single. time.

I'm pretty sure it will be warmer next time I write. TTFN!
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Monday, January 5, 2015

Just put on your lipstick

So happy 2015! I am starting the fourth year of this blog - hard to believe. Although don't expect great things; I wrote 81 posts in 2012, 35 posts in 2013, and 32 posts last year. At this rate, in a few years I won't be writing at all. But since it's time for the new year, new me, yadda yadda yadda, here goes:

I know I used this last year. Still cracks me up.

Now that I'm retired and our fall traveling schedule is over along with the holiday season, I am finding myself a bit at loose ends. (Although if you looked at our house, you'd be surprised that I'm not busy every second, but that's fodder for another post...) Several years ago when one of the girls was going through a bad breakup, I told her that I didn't care what she did, but every day she had to put on some lipstick and leave the house. It didn't matter if she walked around the block or sat in a Starbucks, she just had to get out. Now I'm finding myself needing to take my own advice. It's w-a-y too easy to sit around in yoga pants and no makeup and before I know it, it's time for bad and I haven't done anything. So I guess slapping on some lipstick is just another way of Showing Up... Although on Saturday, when we saw the forecast for yesterday and wind chills were supposed to be in the -20 to -30 range, I told Dwight that I wasn't planning on going anywhere on Sunday. He said, "Oh good, then I don't have to put on my lipstick!" It's the new euphemism around here. One of us will ask, "Where are you going?", and the reply is "I'm just putting on my lipstick".

I am redoing the last week of Sean Flanagan's weight training program (thank you Christmas and New Year's for throwing everything out of whack), and next week I am ready to start the second level. I looked up the proper form for all the new lifts and moves I'll be doing, and get ready for some whining! First off, I love lifting because it makes me feel like a badass. But starting next week, things I have been doing as part of my workout for the past month will now be my warm-up. Whining and whimpering, I tell you! Now to lose the five pounds of winter weight that I have gained on top of the few extra pounds I've been dragging around so I will be able to see the muscles I am making instead of just feeling them!

And so to that end, I'm back to food photos and accountability. (I'm sorry or you're welcome, which ever camp you happen to be in). Breakfast today was a MaryLu's protein waffle with raspberries and blueberries and coffee:

Lunch today was a Big Salad with romaine, red cabbage, avocado, pomegranate arils, and a hard-boiled egg with white balsamic vinaigrette, and a kombucha to drink (probiotics, you know):

Today's afternoon snack was an Abs Diet banana split smoothie:

If you are at all interested in a photo diary of what you've been eating, you can start a blog or Instagram your food (I'm cathyboll - follow me), OR you can try an app I've been using off and on for several months: TwoGrand. I'm cathyb if you decide to join. You basically post a picture of everything you eat, and you can also log your activity.You can follow anyone you want, or choose people at your goal weight, your current weight, your age, activity level, special diet, etc. I stopped using it for awhile because some of the people seem to be bordering on eating disorders. Like calling ten almonds and a glass of water breakfast. HUH?!?!?! I don't so much look at what others are doing as look back at what I've done. For example, I was looking at lunches I've posted and saw back in October I ate proscuitto, string cheese, carrot sticks, and a few Crunchmaster gluten-free crackers. It looked delicious so I made it again recently.

I'm looking forward to dinner because I'm really hungry I'm trying two new recipes. I'll just keep you in suspense for the next post...

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