Weighing In #14!

Hi everyone!

I cannot believe how long it’s been since my last post!

We have been so busy with trying to cram as much fun into every second of the day before school started this week.. that I have, unforch, neglected wordpress. Sorry!!  I have been taking every advantage of time, even working from home more than normal, just to have more time with my girls… and the beautiful weather we’ve had. Thank God we have this long holiday weekend coming up to get more time together and maybe a beach day!!

Alsoooooo, cause it’s our 12th Wedding Anniversary on Sunday!  TWELVE YEARS!  I cannot believe it!  So exciting!

So, ok. Weigh in!  I weighed myself last week, and did the best weight loss dance ever, cause I ended up down that .5lbs! Bringing me to that 15lbs loss I wanted this Summer! YES!

But then, I weighed in this morning, and with a touch of disappointment I am here to say..I didn’t lose anything since.  ARG!  I was really trying to not go overboard with all the eating out and splurging we’ve been doing, darn haddock plate and clam chowder obsession!   I guess not gaining is something.  Right?  Ugh, I just feel so blah about this, maybe it’s this gloomy weather today, but I am not going to let this defeat my spirit!

I have felt real good lately, and still ‘shopping’ in my old clothes bins that I stumbled upon three years ago.  I keep forgetting how many cute tops and skirts I used to wear before!  Which is the BEST feeling in the world!  Going into your “someday I’ll fit into these clothes” Tupperware, and trying that one special dress on and it fits!  Such an elation, excitement and motivator not to have to succumb to donating them because they won’t fit!  Even after all this time, I still get giddy when I get a skirt from back then to zip up easily. You know… without having to suck in the gut or lay on the bed sucking it in!  I do have one dress in the bin I haven’t tried on yet, cause I am afraid of the let down of not fitting into it.  It is a dress from my First Anniversary dinner.  A super cute black linen J Crew fit and flare dress that has eyelets peppered all over it and a plunging neckline; but the eyelets are about a quarter size in the shape of palm trees.  I was at my thinnest when I wore that dress, and it was the first time I wore something that made me feel sexy. So, I am waiting till I see a way smaller number on that scale for that fitting. hah

I did give myself a lot of time off from the gym this Summer, like A LOT!  Which I am not sure yet if it was a good idea or not.  heh I guess my first day back will be a good indicator.  But I love work out pains..so bring it on!  I am happy about the girls being in school full-time, because now I can jet to the gym, go for a walk, or take my bike out anytime during my work from home days.  That is a HUGE freedom for me.  Like HUGE!  I haven’t worked from home on a Thursday or Friday without children afoot since August 2005!  This is why I have been joking about how awesome it will be without them at home so much.  I had forgotten that I could just go grab a coffee in five minutes without them home. Wrap gifts anywhere in the house. Shop for stuff online without hassle or fear someone will see what I am doing.  Do you know how many movies they have sat through so I could wrap presents or buy stuff online without them hovering over me?  A LOT! 

Ok, well I gotta get my act together to finish some proposals and then clean up. It’s fantasy football draft at my house tonight, and it’s a late nighter!  I can’t wait to see everyone!

xoxoxoxoxox

 

Weighing In! #13 and OVERJOYED!!

Lucky Thirteen! (Italians believe 13 is a lucky number.)

I am just going to say it: I AM SO FRAQN HAPPY!  I weighed in this AM and guess what everyone?

I LOST ANOTHER LB! 

SAY WHAT!?!? 

I know it seems like nothing, but every pound counts!   And with this loss…I am so ecstatic to say that  I am officially down 62.5 lbs since I started this weight loss journey (March 2010)! And since my recent out loud 2013 challenge, of wanting to lose 15 lbs by this Summer, I have lost 14.5 lbs!  I will make this goal though, I just have to!!!!!

There are a few things I’d like to just bring up since it’s on my mind.  When I got on the scale today and saw this number, I remembered a day in 1998, when my husband and I (back then boyfriend) walked down to the Friendly’s in Melrose near my house.  We made a stop at Hunt’s Drug along the way. I remember what I was wearing, too.  I had on a tight white tee-shirt with the Guess Inc rhinestone logo on the front, and a pair of faded Guess Inc jeans that I had bought from my first few days managing the Guess Inc store. Well, I coManaged Newbury St and the Cambridgeside Galleria stores, which at that time, was a great job. Not great for my wallet, but my wardrobe loved it. I was so happy to own those two items and remember feeling like I was a real adult. (so dumb).

Inside that drugstore was a vintage standing scale, that still worked.  Back in those days, I never weighed myself for the fear of what I’d see, and I had no idea what I weighed.  So, we each hopped on that scale to get a reading. Ugh .. I was a pretty hefty gal, cause that scale’s reading made me depressed. And the kicker and saddest thing of all is that at this very moment, I am 1 lb heavier than that number and I am so happy over it.  hah How funny this is right?  But you know what?  I am so happy that I AM this number that I just don’t give a rat’s butt what it felt like 15 yrs ago.  I am a different person from that day, a totally different person.  The ‘new’ me is this weight. She feels amazing. Is beautiful and isn’t going to let a number get her down..unless it’s higher than this one. hah 😉

That introspective part of myself lately has actually felt happy.  I brought it up in conversation today that my surgery and the weight loss that I have been accomplishing is somehow helping me rediscover myself.  Like all that weight was hiding that real me.  I know this sounds strange, but I feel it’s so true.  I felt so lost, and I am finally being found.

Well, I gotta go clean up the kitchen. It was taco night!  And, my kids like to make their own, so needless to say..it’s a mess. If I had a dog, he’d have a field day eating off the floor.

Love you guys!

Thank you for reading!

xoxoxoxoxox

Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Ricotta Stuffed Shells
FILLING INGREDIENTS:
32 oz container of part skim Ricotta Cheese
3/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano Cheese (1/2 for the ricotta filling, and the rest to sprinkle on top)
1 tbsp dried parsley flakes
5 oz Skim Shredded Mozzarella
1/4 tspn grated nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

3 oz fresh Mozzarella (for top)

1 package of cooked pasta shells, cook to packaging directions (usually are to cook for 9 minutes in boiling salted water)

2.5 cups of Tomato Sauce

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, place all the filling ingredients and mix until incorporated well.

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All the ingredients ready to be mixed.

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All the ingredients mixed.

In a 9×13 baking pan, cover the bottom with 2 ladles of sauce. Set aside and start filling the pasta.

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Cover the bottom of the baking pan (9×13) with two ladles of sauce.

Handle the shell gently, and open it up.  Take a tablespoon of the ricotta mixture and place inside the pasta.  Place the filled shell on top of the sauce in the baking pan, opening of the shell facing up.  Continue lining them up until the pan is filled.

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Line up the stuffed shells along the sauce lined pan.

Once pan is full, place remaining sauce atop the shells.

Add the fresh mozzarella ripped into pieces on top of each shell.

Then add the grated cheese over the whole pan.

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Cover the stuffed pasta with more sauce, the grated cheese and mozzarella.

Cover the pan with tin foil and bake covered for 30 minutes.

Then remove the foil and let cook for another 6-7 minutes.

DONE!

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Done! Cover and cook for 30 minutes, then another 6-7 minutes uncovered.

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Up close and YUMMY!

My latest obsession.. Mayim Bialik

In the list of my many obsessions, this is a newer one.   I am addicted to Mayim Bialik, well, her blog on kveller.com.  It’s a Jewish parenting website.

No, am not Jewish. I know.

Who doesn’t remember watching Blossom as a kid? It was one of my favorite shows growing up in the 90’s!  Blossom, the lead, was a floppy hat wearing teen.  The daughter to a lounge act musician, who was left by his wife to pursue her dreams (Blossom’s mom).  Blossom’s older brother, Tony, was a recovering alcoholic/druggy turned EMT. I loved his character a lot.  Her other brother, Joey, was a dumb jock, but all around good guy. Played by Joey Lawrence, of course. Hey what happened to him? Blossom had a crazy life with her fast talking, kooky, bff Six; whose name I loved, and a real cute boyfriend. It was a great show.

It was all Mayim all the time back then, till that show ended, and she disappeared from the limelight.  Rather than starting back on a new show or continuing on in TV, she decided to go to college. I remember learning this; being fascinated by the thought that she had a great acting talent and would’ve kept going, but decided to go to school like an average person.  Blew my mind, but who can blame her with how teenage stars ended up at that time. And. College is a great idea anyway.

Quickly, we all forgot about Mayim in our TV lives, but then we learned, through I think the graces of our obsession with VH-1’s I love the 90’s series, that she was able to make the switch from TV phenom to actually getting through college, studying to become a neuroscientist!! Flash forward to the late 2000’s, and she pops up on our favorite show, The Big Bang Theory, as Dr. Sheldon Cooper’s brilliant ‘friend that’s a girl, but not a girlfriend’, Amy Farrah Fowler. One of my favorite characters ever on TV.

We then learned that she is, in fact, a neuroscientist, like she plays on TBBT.  Was married, but just went through a very recent divorce. A mother to two boys. Holistic. Vegan. Writer. And a blogger.

And, we all fell back in love with Mayim!

Ok this was just me, but you get the point.

So. Back to her blog.

Mayim has so much good to say.  By good, I mean she writes with passion about her real experiences and feelings.  She is so funny, heartfelt, thought-provoking, and personal (in a very good way).  She writes about her life, with two children, and the quirky things they do.  And, even though I am not Jewish, being Sicilian/Catholic is pretty close (hah), the relative nature and honesty in which she speaks about her life, divorce, being a mother, and how it all intertwines with her inner feelings and faith, is so relatable and intriguing.

I am absolutely hooked.

Spinach and Portobello Mushroom Calzone

Spinach and Portobello Mushroom Calzone
Pizza dough, stretched (for this recipe I used restaurant bought)

3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 portobello mushrooms, washed and sliced
10 ounces fresh spinach, rinsed, stems removed and chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil; 1 tbsp for sauteing and another tbsp or so to use for dough.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Lightly coat a large sized frying pan with olive oil and place on medium heat.

Add minced garlic cloves and cook till translucent.

Add the spinach, and cook till all wilted. Salt to taste. Set aside on dish to cool.

Fresh spinach washed.

Fresh spinach washed.

Spinach after being cooked.  Now set aside on a dish.

Spinach after being cooked. Now set aside on a dish.

In same pan, sauté the mushrooms and coat with the pans remained liquid. Cook until mushrooms are tender. You may salt to taste, but this can be avoided since there’s still salt remaining from the spinach. Set mushrooms aside.

Take a baking sheet, cover with parchment paper and add a drizzle of olive oil.

Place the dough half way over the pan to make a semi-circle pocket.

Dough folded over the baking pan.

Dough folded over the baking pan.

Drizzle a touch of olive oil on top of the dough, spreading it with your hands across, then sprinkle with some grated cheese.

Then on top add the spinach.

Spinach

Spinach

Follow by adding the mushrooms evenly across the spinach.

Spinach and mushrooms

Spinach and mushrooms

And then on top of all vegetables, add the mozzarella and the remaining grated cheese.

Shown with all the ingredients together. Now fold over the dough, crimping the outer edges (adding olive oil on the edge between the two layers).

Shown with all the ingredients together. Now fold over the dough, crimping the outer edges (adding olive oil on the edge between the two layers).

Before folding over the dough, use your hands to add a touch of olive oil along the outer edge of the dough- where the top and bottom will meet.

Fold the half of the dough over the top. Cinch along the seams, crimping where you just placed the oil as you close it.  I like to tuck it under, as well as crimping it, shaping the calzone into an oblong shape, but you can leave it as a half circle.

Ready for the oven!

Ready for the oven!

Cover the top with a drizzle olive oil, spreading it over the top completely.

Place in oven and let bake for 30 minutes until golden brown.

Done!

Done!

Fresh Salsa

Fresh Tomato and Ancho Chile Salsa
2lbs vine ripe tomatoes
1 medium jalapeno pepper, stem removed and seeded
3 cloves garlic
1/2 tspn dried, ground cumin
1 handful of fresh cilantro
1 dried Ancho Chile, follow instructions below
1 small onion, cut into quarters
1 lime, juiced
Salt and Pepper to taste

All you need is..fresh tomatoes, jalapeno pepper, lime juice, fresh cilantro, onion and an Ancho Chile.  AND A FOOD PROCESSOR!

All you need is..fresh tomatoes, jalapeno pepper, lime juice, fresh cilantro, onion and an Ancho Chili. AND A FOOD PROCESSOR!   What great colors!

Soak the dried Ancho Chili in hot water (from tap) for about 20 minutes, until soft and easy to rip stem and seeds with your hand.

Soak the dried Ancho Chile in hot water (from tap) for about 20 minutes, until soft and easy to remove stem and seeds with your hand. The Ancho Chile will add a smoky flavor.

Turn your food processor on, and start adding in all the ingredients as follows:

-garlic

-onion

-cilantro

Let process till all is minced.

-jalapeno

-Ancho Chile

Let process till all is minced.

Turn off processor, and add in.

-tomatoes

-lime juice

-cumin

-salt and pepper

Turn processor back on until desired texture is reached.

DONE!

Done!

Done!

Delicious!

Chips and Salsa

Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage

Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage
1.5 lbs broccoli rabe, trimmed, then chopped and boiled to remove bitterness
3/4 lbs (4 links) Sweet Italian sausage, removed from casing
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 lbs cooked orecchiette pasta
1/4 cup room temperature water
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

The pasta can be made in concert with the following instructions. Start boiling water now, then once it comes to a rolling boil add in the pasta and cook according to package.

In a large stock pot, bring 2 quarts of salted water to a rolling boil and add in the broccoli rabe. Cook until the stems are tender, about 3-5 minutes.

Boil the broccoli rabe to remove the bitterness.

Boil the broccoli rabe to remove the bitterness.

Drain and set aside.

Sausage removed from casing

Sausage removed from casing

Over medium-high heat, in a high walled pan or low walled stock pot, heat up the pan with 1 tbsp of olive oil.  Add in garlic and saute till transparent.

Then quickly add in the sausage.  Cook, and break up the sausage with a wooden spoon.

Break up the sausage with a wooden spoon to make the pieces smaller.

Break up the sausage with a wooden spoon to make the pieces smaller.

Add in the water, and cook sausage through.
Add in the broccoli rabe.
Stir to combine with the sausage.

Add in the broccoli and mix well.

Add in the broccoli and mix well.

Cook until the broccoli rabe is hot throughout.

Season with salt and pepper.

In the same pan/pot, lower heat, then add the pasta to the sausage mixture.

Everything in the pan incorporated.

Everything in the pan incorporated.

Then add in the cheese and toss well over low heat to combine.

Serve with more cheese grated on top.

Done!

Done!

Enjoy!