Posted in Diet, Endometriosis, Life, Personal Challenge

Make It A Hungry Girl Night

With my life in chaos for the past month or so, I have managed to pack on a few extra stress pounds.  Now, as I am working on getting my life in order, I am getting my life and diet back on track.  I am back to wearing my Bodymedia armband again and using the Myfitnesspal app to track what I eat (and it works with Bodymedia).  I am doing my best to reach my daily exercise goals–riding my bike to the grocery store daily helps.  I don’t do the fad diets–like Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, Atkins, Paleo, etc.  I just watch what I eat and exercise–the Bodymedia and Myfitnesspal are excellent tools to help me with my daily goals.  It is always hard at first to switch back to eating better and exercising but once you start, it becomes a way of life, in my humble opinion.  Plus, it helps my pocketbook, my stress levels, and my endometriosis.

My best friend and I are both on the same diet/exercise plan.  Actually, she is the one who introduced me to Bodymedia (makers of the Bodybugg).  We also started doing “Hungry Girl” nights where we would pick a recipe from one of the Hungry Girl cookbooks and cook it together, and we used to blog about it.  We have gotten away from that, she now has two kids, but I am making it one of my goals to bring it back into our lives.  Plus, an added bonus is it helps me with my personal challenge to try something new every day.

Hungry-Girl-300-Under-300-Lillien-Lisa-9780312676810So last night, I pulled out one of my Hungry Girl books (a gift from my best friend), 300 under 300, and started putting post-its on recipes that I wanted to try.  since I am staying with friends, I knew I would have to find something that they would also enjoy.  I chose “Rockin’ Chicken Ratatouille” (pg. 154).  It seemed like an easy recipe and I love all the ingredients so I hopped on my bike and rode over to Vons.

Here is my analysis of the recipe:

First of all, the prep time of 20 minutes is a lie.  I am not quite sure how long it took (I didn’t time myself) but I know it took a lot longer than 20 minutes to cut everything up for the recipe.  Granted, I made double the recipe since I was feeding three people and the original recipe is just 2 servings so that added time to the recipe as well.

I also deviated from the recipe.  Instead of chopping up the veggies and measuring it all out, I just cut up the entire item (eggplant, zucchini, onion and red bell pepper) and mixed it all in.  I also used Himalayan Pink Salt to season instead of regular table salt.  I increased the cooking time by 20 minutes, since I doubled the recipe.  And I cooked Barilla Veggie pasta to go with the Ratatouille.

Overall, it was an easy recipe (once everything is chopped up) and absolutely delicious.  My friends would agree, it was very tasty.  I would highly recommend this recipe, just remember that the prep time is longer.

(Nutritional info for recipe per serving: 299 calories, 2g fat, 660mg of sodium, 32.5g carbs, 9.75g fiber, 18g sugar, 37.5g protein)

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Posted in Life, Personal Challenge, Relationships

Single’s Awareness Day: Personal Challenge, 2-14-13

Today is known as Single’s Awareness Day or what I like to call “Make Single People Feel Like Crap” Day.  Since I am single and have been single on every Valentine’s Day since I was born, I have certain traditions for celebrating this day.  But since I am striving to try something new every day, I discovered something at Target yesterday that has enhanced my celebration.  I discovered Red Velvet Pop Tarts!!!!!DSC_0229

So now, I am sitting here and starting a new tradition.  I am eating my Red Velvet Pop Tarts while watching the 1967 film, The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.  Following this glorious holiday film, I will watch Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho followed with a Ghost Adventures Marathon.  Since I highly doubt I will find a man who would enjoy my February 14th traditions as much as I do, I think this is going to be my Single’s Awareness Day celebration tradition for many years to come.

Happy “Make Single People Feel Like Crap” Day!!!

Posted in Life, Personal Challenge, Southern California

Raclette in Victorville With Friends: Personal Challenge, Day 105 (12.30.12)

My friend Ida invited me out to her house in Victorville for a Raclette lunch/dinner party with her roommates and friends.  I have driven through Victorville on my way to Vegas but I have never actually spent any time in the high desert city.  I have also never had Raclette, a swiss dish where you put melted cheese on top of meats, veggies and breads.  So early this afternoon, I headed off for new adventures in Victorville.

wpid-2012-12-30-15.49.26.jpgIda had tried to explain Raclette to me but until you see the cooking apparatus, you don’t quite understand.  This really is a family style meal and one where you need to bring your appetite.  On the top part of the cooking apparatus, you grill the veggies and meats.  Underneath, there are these little pans that are used to melt the cheese.  When the cheese is ready, you take a piece of bread (or a tortilla), you put the veggies and meats on the bread then you scrape your melted cheese over the top.  You can use different breads, different meats, and different cheeses.  It was really good and definitely a good food option for a party.

As for Victorville, I didn’t really get to explore the actual city but I did like the wide open spaces and Joshua trees.  This would be a great place to do some star-gazing or to watch a meteor shower.  But not on this particular night, it was overcast and only 23 degrees.  I actually had to scrape ice off my windshield when I was leaving Ida’s house.  I definitely want to go back and explore Victorville a little more.

Posted in Exploration, Life, Personal Challenge, Southern California

The Slaw Dogs: Personal Challenge, Day 94 (12.19.12)

For some reason today, I had a craving for a good ole Detroit Coney Dog.  But I am in Los Angeles, not Detroit so I need to find some place that makes a good hot dog similar to my hometown favorite.

wpid-2012-12-19-16.51.22.jpgPreviously I had tried the Dog Haus but it wasn’t the same as back home.  I have also been to Pink’s, again, not a Coney dog.  But on Yelp, I read reviews that The Slaw Dogs in Pasadena is one of the best, and most unique hot dog places in Los Angeles.  Actually, they have several locations in the LA area.  So I decided to check to check out the one in Pasadena.

wpid-2012-12-19-16.51.38.jpgWhen I arrived, I couldn’t quite figure out the parking situation so I just parked on the street in the 1 hour free parking zones.  Inside, the decor is reminiscient of a bar but the family section of a bar.  There are tons of options, including “build your own” style hot dogs.  I asked for recommendations but their most popular items seemed to be heart attacks waiting to happen.  And I was craving something close to the Detroit Coney dog.  So I chose the traditional hot dog with Chili, cheese, onions and mustard.

wpid-2012-12-19-17.12.02.jpgSince I was the only customer, the service was fast and I was on my way home with my “doggie” bag.  Upon first glance, the hot dog looked good.  But my taste buds were disappointed.  It wasn’t even close to a Coney dog.  It was good, don’t get me wrong.  It is a good hot dog but not exactly what I was craving.

So my search continues for a Detroit Coney Dog out here on the west coast.

Posted in Life, Personal Challenge

The Best Chicken Pot Pies in Town: Personal Challenge, Day 74 (11.29.12)

wpid-2012-11-29-15.50.50.jpgWith the cool rainy weather, I decided I wanted to find some comfort food to warm me up. I was actually planning on looking for something new to try in the Hastings Ranch area of Pasadena but nothing appealed to me. So I kept heading east on Foothill until I reached Baldwin. I am in that area often, at the Santa Anita Mall or the Arboretum, so I thought I would explore the area south of Huntington Drive.

As I was heading south on Baldwin, I passed my favorite dumplings restaurant, Din Tai Fung. I thought maybe I could try another dumpling place but I wasn’t sure which one I wanted to try, there were so many in the area. So I pulled over to the side of the road, pulled out my phone and clicked on my handy dandy yelp app. I did a search for nearby restaurants and that is when something else caught my eye, Moffett’s Family Restaurant and Chicken Pie Shoppe. A nice hot Chicken Pot Pie sounded perfect on this chilly winter day in Los Angeles.

Moffett’s is located in the same shopping complex as the CVS Pharmacy and just south of the LA Fitness and JoAnn Fabrics shopping center. When you first walk in, it has a warm, down home country diner feel. The wait staff is incredibly nice and helpful. I was trying to decide between just a Chicken Pot Pie or the Chicken Pot Pie dinner. I asked the waitress for her opinion but when I mentioned I thought the dinner was too much food, she mentioned I could order the Chicken Pot Pie lunch for $6.30. It wasn’t on the menu but she mentioned it can with a bread choice, mashed potatoes and a vegetable. I was sold. I placed my Chicken Pot Pie lunch order and waited for my comfort food to arrive.

And can I just say, WOW! This was by far the best chicken pot pie I have ever had in my life. I was starving and it was so good, I completely forgot to take a picture of my meal. The mashed potatoes and biscuits were extremely tasty. The steamed vegetables were good but I think if the veggie choice had been corn, this would have made the meal perfect in my humble little world.

Posted in Life, Personal Challenge

Some Teri & Yaki in Pasadena: Personal Challenge, Day 72 (11.27.12)

wpid-2012-11-27-17.42.00.jpgEvery time I drive down Lake, headed toward downtown Pasadena, I notice the sign for Teri & Yaki. I have a sister named Teri and I always giggle at the spelling of the name of this particular food establishment. So I figured I would stop giggling and actually stop in to check it out.

I took the Metro Gold Line over to Lake (I want to make sure I get the most out of my monthly pass) and walked down to the store. The weird thing about Teri & Yaki is the entrance. You cannot actually enter the restaurant from the street. You have to walk behind the building and enter through the back door in the alley. There were very few customers so I didn’t have to wait for service. Not knowing what to really order, I decided to just stick with the basic Chicken dish with broccoli as my side.

I sat on a stool waiting for my order, taking in my surroundings. I thought the decor was interesting. You could sit in booths or at counters. It has a unique Zen type decor where they used the glass rocks that would be used in floral decorations. I guess it is a modern, more colorful take on the Zen style that usually goes for river rocks and bamboo.

wpid-2012-11-27-19.04.36.jpgI didn’t have to wait very long for my food. I grabbed my order and headed out the door, through the alley, back up Lake and hopped on the Metro. In retrospect, I probably should have stayed there to eat my meal. By the time I returned home, it was cold and I was too tired to make my way down stairs to heat it up in the kitchen. I was starving so I ate it cold. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t the best either. It was just OK, in my humble opinion. Maybe it is better when it is hot and fresh. But I can’t imagine I will be going back any time soon to find out.

Posted in Exploration, Life, Personal Challenge, Southern California

A Photo Shoot and Food Exploration in Downtown Los Angeles: Personal Challenge, Day 46 (11.1.12)

On Dia De Los Muertos, I headed into downtown Los Angeles after work.  I didn’t go there to celebrate the holiday, I went to assist a friend with lighting techniques.

The test photo shoot took place at the LA County Courthouse–my first time there.  There are tales of it being haunted but I didn’t get any strange vibes from the building.  I just thought it was interesting how it was like stepping back into another era.  There were all these phone booths but no phones in the actual booths.  It would have been fun to dress up in period clothing, maybe from the 20s, and do a photo shoot inside the booths.  Maybe another time.

After working on lighting techniques, we decided to take the Metro into the Boyle Heights area for dinner at Guisados.  My friends Mike and Ida have been there many times but this was my first trip there–and most likely my last.  It’s not that the food was bad.  The food was really good (a little pricey for me) but it surpassed my spice threshold.  My mouth was on fire and still burning for some time after we left the restaurant.  If you like super spicy Mexican food, this is the place for you but if you are very sensitive to spices (and have stomach issues), you might want to avoid Guisados.  Though they did have some interesting beverages, like the Armando Palmero, the latin take on an Arnold Palmer.

Ida suggested we go for ice cream to cool down my burning taste buds.  Who could possibly say no to ice cream?  So we hopped back onto the Metro but this time headed into Little Tokyo for mochi ice cream at Mikawaya, located inside the Japanese Village across from MOCA.  Since this place is known for its mochi ice cream, of course that is what I had to order.  At a buck a piece, I ordered the Red Bean and Green Tea mochi ice cream.  Mike and Ida opted for Gelato (portions are larger than you would think).  I was extremely happy with my mochi, especially the red bean (the green tea was pretty sweet).  It was exactly what I needed to cool down my sensitive palette.

Then it was back to the Metro and back to the courthouse to pack up the photo shoot gear.  It was really cool being there at night.  I want to take a few pictures but my phone died and my camera was locked up in Mike’s office.  Next time.