Monday, February 28, 2011


After Friday’s cry about Otto the cat, I started doing a lot of thinking about being a meat eater. Dennis made this awesome ribeye steak marinated in a sweet and spicy type sauce, and as I was eating it, I felt kind of guilty. He asked if I liked it and I said, “yeah, but it’s not as good as it was to me the last time I ate it.”

Wondering what was different, I said, “I think I need to give up meat again.”

I said “again” because when I was 15 I gave up meat. At the time it as mostly because I had very high cholesterol and I thought it would help. The thought of not eating animals did make me feel like I was doing something “good,” but it wasn’t a good enough excuse to get my mother to stop cooking with it. In fact, she was not very supportive about it (not in a mean way - it was more of a ‘You will eat what I make’ type attitude since we didn’t really have a lot of money and she couldn’t afford to cook separate meals.) So after a while, I decided to eat chicken but not beef, pork, or venison. This lasted about 3 years, and then I got lazy. I was in college, and at the time drinking soy milk was still considered weird (I always got picked on for choosing Soy Dream over milk in the cafeteria.) So being vegetarian was much more difficult than I had the desire to deal with.

Truth be told, I really don’t use a lot of meat when I cook anyway, and when Dennis travels for work, I go the entire week without one piece of meat without thinking twice. I don’t miss it. I don’t need it to feel like my meal is complete.

When he asked me why, I said, “Honestly, I get so upset when animals are hurt and abused. I got so upset over Otto last week, but here I am eating a slab of beef. It’s just .. not right.”


So instead of telling me I’m stupid or shrugging off my feelings he suggested making sure our meat is free range and grass fed, and said we’ll have to start paying more attention to the meats we buy. If we get them from local farmers, we’d be helping them stay in business while not supporting corporate slaughterhouses.

“But, you’re still killing the animal.”

I felt like I was a kid trying to understand how the world goes round. You know how kids can be so curious, innocently (and naively) questioning everything? Yeah, that was me yesterday. I almost felt like a hypocrite, and suddenly, it didn’t taste as good to me anymore.

So now what? Do I fall prey to the labeling thing and start going veg again? Or do I keep it open and only eat meat that I believe lived a happy life and was killed in a humane way?

Is there a humane way to kill an animal for our consumption?

I’ve battled with this on and off for years…this is definitely not the first time I’ve felt this way. I don’t, however, want to be labeled as something and the come Thanksgiving, fight with everyone about how I refuse to eat the turkey that was obviously killed anyway. Having it there defeats the purpose, no? What if it was a locally raised turkey and I could be helping a farmer put his kid through college?

Oh, the moral issues of eating meat. How do you feel about it?

Friday, February 25, 2011

This is straight up animal abuse

View more videos at:

This story broke my heart.

I didn’t even want to watch this news story because I knew it would hurt. But I wanted to give Otto’s owners a chance to prove me wrong. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t stereotyping the owners as being people who just didn’t know how to handle him, or who just have tried so hard with no avail and went to their vet for help.

Alas, I was absolutely right. The family was so frustrated after clearly over feeding and not properly caring for their animal, that they brought precious Otto (short for Ottoman if you didn’t watch it) to be euthanized.

In my eyes, this is a form of animal abuse. It’s avoidable and it shouldn’t be happening.

Everyone picks on us for having the largest cat they’ve ever seen.


Although he’s always been big (he was 10 pounds at 6 months) when he was 2 he hovered just under 20 pounds. Our vet said it was a normal weight for a cat his size, but advised that we be sure he doesn’t gain any more weight.

At his next checkup a year later, he was 24 pounds.


We didn’t know how it happened. Dennis had just started getting really sick with his Crohn’s, and I swear Marley felt sad for him. It was almost like he was suffering too.

We put him on a strict diet, but he hated it. The food was expensive and he refused to it it. He would cause such a racket at night knocking things over and jumping on our bed, meowing at us with such a hunger, that we decided to monitor his eating in a different way. We got him a healthy weight formula food he would actually eat, fed him small amounts throughout the day, and got him a buddy to play with.


We tried running him around the house, we tried luring him to his food…and even after all that, he still gained weight. By the time it was all said and done, he was 26.2 pounds, and our vet told us he was in great danger of disease.

We were devastated. But we were also determined to get him back on track.

I did a lot of reading up on overweight cats and I found out that feeding cats dry food is bad. They are carnivores, meant to eat proteins, so feeding them dry food can be detrimental to their health. They can’t process carbohydrates like people and dogs can, so they gain weight. And a lot of indoor cats don’t get the exercise they need to burn it off.

Both our cats were rescue cats that both came from feral backgrounds. Their instinct is to eat as much as they can at once because, in the wild, you never know when your next meal is coming. Couple that with dry carbs and not enough hunting, and you get a 26.2 pound cat that we love dearly and hate to see unhealthy.


So we did a complete change of their diets. We started giving them more and more wet food and less dry food. We started running Marley up and down the stairs more, and letting him go out on our patio to explore.


(until he starts eating grass….he likes to wait until he gets inside to throw up. so yeah, we have to monitor that too)

One time he actually starting chasing after a squirrel so fast that we thought we lost him. He took out a bird too. But we wanted to give him some of his natural instinct back without actually letting him be an outdoor cat because we thought it would help.


It takes time, it takes patience, and it takes a lot of dedication, but you can get your animals to lose weight and be healthy … as you SHOULD when you take on the responsibility of owning a pet. I feel like people get an animal for fun, but as soon as something goes wrong, they’re quick to abandon them. And as of Wednesday, Marley was down to 22.2 pounds.

The reason I bring this up is not to make you think I’m a crazy cat lady, or that I feel animals are better than humans. We need to wake up.

We are an obese country, not just our people, but our animals too. We need to stop and take a look around…take a minute to take better care of ourselves, our children, and our animals. They depend on us. And they deserve to be treated well too.


Happy Friday everyone, and if you have one, go hug your pet! And hopefully when Otto loses weight, he will be able to find a nice, loving and caring home to go to. Good luck buddy!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The best frosting ever

Something about store bought frosting scares me. Maybe it’s the crap that’s in it. Have you read the ingredient list? Even before I started becoming more conscience of what I eat, I’ve never been a store bought frosting type of girl. Too sweet, too sticky..I especially dislike buttercream frosting. Anytime anyone orders a bakery cake, it has that crap on it. So whenever I make a cake, I must make the frosting. This annoys Dennis as he loves store bought Vanilla frosting (ugh) so I try to make his extra sweet. Me, I prefer cream cheese frosting. And if you do too, this one will not disappoint. And I’m sure this would work with vanilla, chocolate, any kind of frosting you like.

The BEST frosting EVER. (Cream Cheese Version)


  • 1 8oz. package of cream cheese (I used Philly 1/3 less fat)
  • 3 T maple syrup, agave nectar, or sweetener of choice (I used raw half coconut nectar, half maple syrup)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 pint real whipping cream


  1. In a big mixing bowl with an electric mixer, mix the cream cheese, vanilla, and the sweetener of your choice until smooth and creamy. Taste.
  2. In another bowl, whip your whipping cream until it starts to form peaks and gets thick.
  3. Fold the whipped cream into your frosting.

IMG_1455Try not to eat the entire bowl.

The frosting gets extra creamy and the whipped cream gives it almost a lighter texture.




I loved it, but it wasn’t sweet enough for Dennis. Maybe next time I’ll make a separate bowl for him and add more sweetener, and then actually sweeten the whipped cream too.

I’ve actually used this cream cheese in my oatmeal as an after dinner/before bedtime treat.  And, I used some of Heather’s 2 Ingredient Fudge, melted it, and mixed it in with the frosting to make a cream cheese fudge frosting. Yeah, it’s that good.

Please, if you try this, let me know what you think! And by IF I mean WHEN because you really need to try this recipe!!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

President’s Day White Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

I’ve been on a bread making kick lately huh? I made one good loaf and now all I want to do is keep making different recipes. This one I found while I was looking for pepperoni rolls (remember those from last week?) This bread recipe was very simple: yeast, water, salt, sugar, flour. Period. (oh, and sesame seeds, since I have them on hand)


I used white whole wheat because I thought it would be a nice transition for someone in this house (ahem Dennis) who refuses to eat wheat bread.

I adapted the recipe from here. 

One-loaf standard recipe

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (I always use a thermometer to be sure my water is between 105-110*F)
  • 1 teaspoon yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups flour (Again, I used white whole wheat)
  • Sesame seeds (optional. I added these myself)


  1. In a large bowl, combine water, yeast, sugar, and salt. Let sit five minutes.
  2. Stir in flour, a half cup at a time, and mix with a wooden spoon. When you get to the 2 cup mark, it will start to get tougher to mix, and although this can all be done by hand with your wooden spoon, I move the dough into my food processor.
  3. Process the dough, adding the remaining 1.5 cups of flour slowly, until your dough forms a ball.
  4. Take the dough out and knead on a floured surface for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. (Or, if you’re like me, until you’re sick of kneading and you realize you got some help from the food processor.) Mine never comes out perfect and I always fear it won’t rise, but it will.  After a lot of research on bread making, a good rule of thumb is to knead until the dough can be pinched and the consistency is like an earlobe.
  5. Place in a greased bowl (I use Pam) turning once to grease the whole roll. Cover with a towel and place in a warm spot until it doubles (about an hour.)
  6. Take out the dough, punch down, roll out a few times on a floured surface and place in a greased bread pan (again, I use Pam.)
  7. Place the towel back on the pan, let rise for another hour. Bake at 350* for 35 minutes.***
  8. The original recipe says to bake for 25 minutes, but it was clearly not enough for me. It’s still very light and not as crispy as I would have hoped. You can always start out at 25 minutes and then check, but I should have trusted my instinct because I didn’t think 25 minutes would be enough.


IMG_1464  IMG_1465


The texture of this bread was more like a bagel, but I’m OK with that. Next time I will bake it for 35 minutes, and I can’t wait to try this with spelt flour, oat flour, and even regular AP flour to make the boyfriend happy. Overall, I like the ease of this recipe and when I mess with it a little more I’ll be able to properly grade it. Right now though, I still like my honey whole wheat recipe better.

Have you found a food that you can’t help but keep making over and over again until you perfect it?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Follow your Instincts

We’ve been getting unseasonably warm weather here in the DC metro area, and it’s been hard for me to run inside. Yesterday, I made happy hour plans with some girlfriends, so I decided to run before work to ensure I get my miles in. (Cherry Blossom 10 Miler here I come!)

It’s been getting lighter earlier too, which made this run especially easy for me. One of my favorite things about running in the morning is watching the sun rise. The sky lights up this orangey color, the birds start chirping, and it’s just peaceful to me.


But when you’re out there alone, it can make for a scary run.


(Isn’t that a cool photo? I got it from here)

I live in a pretty densely populated area, so there are always people out and about either driving or waiting for a bus in the morning, so I wasn’t worried about safety … until I got to a park that I love running through. It’s right next to a high school and it’s usually packed with people running and walking. As I came around the corner, I entered the park like usual and started running down the trail – and then it hit me: I’m the only one here.

One thing I DIDN’T do was run with my headphones. I figured I was already putting myself at risk by running in the morning when it was still slightly dark out, so I didn’t need the extra risk of not being tuned into my surroundings. As I ran farther down the trial and saw the glow of the sun peeping through the trees, I realized that I was running further into the woods. An eerie feeling washed over me and without even realizing it, I turned around and started sprinting back to the street.

I don’t know about you, but even though I cut my run short by a mile, I felt much better being safe than sorry. I just have to make that mile up later on this week.

Do you run/walk outside in the morning before the sun comes up? Do you feel it’s safer than at night?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Pepperoni Roll and a Vday (run) Fail

First off, as you can see I’ve made some changes to my blog. I added an About Me page (finally!) and will be working on a recipes tab as well. Any feedback will be greatly appreciated!

Second, I hate Valentine’s Day. I do, however, enjoy an excuse to make something festive. Red Velvet cake? Sure! Chocolate fondue? Why not? I, however, found out that a friend of mine can’t make the Cherry Blossom 10 miler this year and asked if I would be willing to take her bib. (Umm, yes please!) This means that running is a priority since I only have about 6 weeks to prep for this. And since I’ve been doing a lot more Body Pump and spinning than running these past 6 weeks, I need to get my butt in gear pronto.

So instead of going straight home from work to have a nice evening with D, I decided to trek my sore behind to the gym. Why sore? Because Body Pump is kicking my ass, and I just upped my weights in Sunday’s class.
Holy cow did I struggle through this run.

Do you suffer from treadmill envy? I sure do. If I know there are people around me that can see my speed, I turn it up. If I know the person next to me is running faster than I am, I’ll turn it up. It’s stupid. I’m competitive. But yesterday, I was feeling like running at a 12 minute mile pace was perfect for me … and I just couldn’t bring myself to run that slow. My legs were like bricks, my back and legs were sooo soorree…. but God forbid I let anyone see me running with a 5.5 on the treadmill. Helllls no. I’m a runner!! What would they think?? “Oh, well if I was running that slow I’d be able to run too!”

Why do I care?

On to the Pepperoni Bread. (it’s kinda red, no?) And since I was a complete mess after my failed run, I was no good to do anything more than making this for dinner.


 You can make the dough part of this ahead of time (which I did) and just add the filling, roll up and bake when you’re ready. It’s pretty easy once the dough is made, and after I tweak things I will come at you with a better recipe. For now, though, this will do.

INGREDIENTS: (makes two loaves)

Source Grandma's little red book
Submitted by Pualani Anzelmo Wagner

* 1 package active dry yeast
* 1/4 cup warm water 110*
* 1 cup warm milk 110*
* 1 tablespoon sugar
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 3 to 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
* 1 cup thinly sliced pepperoni (or Turkey pepperoni .. still just as tasty but without all that grease dripping down your arm)  
* 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese
* 1 egg and a little water mixed together
* Sesame seeds for sprinkling on top (optional)


In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over warm water and let stand for 5 minutes to soften
Stir in milk, sugar, salt and oil. Add 1 cup of the flour and mix to blend. Stir in 1 1/2 cups more flour
Then add remaining flour in bowl and mix. (I did this with my hands)
Place on a floured flat surface and knead dough until elastic (about 5-6 minutes)
Then cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled about 1 hour  
Punch dough down, turn out onto floured surface and divide in half
Grease baking sheet
Flatten dough like a pizza
Add all above mixture on the top of the bread


Roll like a jelly roll, pinch edges


Take egg and water mixture and wipe on the top of the bread roll, and bake 375 for 20 to 25 minutes



Looks good no? It was very doughy and I was a little disappointed. Dennis loved it though and has already asked me to make it again, so I’m going to have to play around with the dough a little bit.

Have you had a pepperoni roll before? Apparently it’s THE food of West Virginia. I grew up eating them in NY, but whatevs.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The “O face” brownies

I’m telling you, these brownies were ridiculous.


Dennis and I subscribe to Bon Appetit and this month’s issue featured a brownie boasting this headline:

“These are some of the best brownies we've ever had—fudgy in the middle and chewy on the outside with a shiny, crackly top. The browned butter adds a rich, nutty flavor.”

Dennis looked at me, drool and all, and said, “Yeah, you have to make these.”

I’ve never been one to turn down the opportunity to make something that’s claimed to be the best ever. Our hopes were high with these, and I will tell you that they didn’t disappoint.

O Face Brownies
courtesy of Bon Appetit

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (spooned into cup to measure, then leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, chilled
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 cup walnut pieces


  • Position rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 325°F.

  • Line 8x8x2-inch metal baking pan with foil, pressing foil firmly against pan sides and leaving 2-inch overhang. Coat foil with nonstick spray.

  • Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Continue cooking until butter stops foaming and browned bits form at bottom of pan, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

  • Immediately add sugar, cocoa, 2 teaspoons water, vanilla, and 1/4 teaspoon (generous) salt. Stir to blend.

  • Let cool 5 minutes (mixture will still be hot).


  • Add eggs to hot mixture 1 at a time, beating vigorously to blend after each addition.

  • When mixture looks thick and shiny, add flour and stir until blended.

  • Beat vigorously 60 strokes. Stir in nuts. Transfer batter to prepared pan.


Look at how rich this batter is!!!

  • Bake brownies until toothpick inserted into center comes out almost clean (with a few moist crumbs attached), about 25 minutes.

  • Cool in pan on rack. Using foil overhang, lift brownies from pan. Cut into 4 strips. Cut each strip crosswise into 4 brownies. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.


It has a crunchy first layer and the middle is so moist and chewy. And the butter? Yeah, the butter makes this recipe. Now clean up your drool and go make them. Now. You will not regret it, I promise.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Spring Fever

We had such a gorgeous day here yesterday. It was sunny and it reached a high near 50. Since Saturday was cold and rainy (and I’m the idiot who thought it would be a good idea to go for a run. Running in 40 degrees when it’s raining sucks. Just in case you didn’t know)  we decided to take advantage of the day before the Superbowl festivities began.



As much as I complain about traffic, my commute, and overall congestion in Northern VA, it’s actually a very beautiful area. I can drive 15 minutes and be at a state park or gorgeous running trial.





And after all that nature love, we went home, drank beer and watched the Superbowl. Hey, it’s all about balance right?

Stay tuned for a brownie recipe that will make you never want to use anything out of a box again…

Friday, February 4, 2011

Finding ayuerveda

I just learned about ayuerveda recently through a yogini whom I have known since junior high school. No she wasn’t a yogini then, but she is now and has been for about 10 years. She has completely transformed her life for the better by taking up yoga (and now teaching and writing about it) and the way her life has changed has made me a yoga believer.

The problem is that I have had issues with getting into yoga. I’m a mover and a shaker if you will, and I like to sweat. I love the way running makes me feel; not only because I’ve been an athlete my entire life, but just because I feel a massive sense of accomplishment when I’m done. Sure, that could be said for anything, but there’s something about running and playing competitive sports that I just explain. It just FEELS right, even when it feels wrong. Make sense?

However, this is how my life is in general. I’m uptight. I like to talk. My brain moves faster than the rest of my body does – it’s always non-stop, always thinking. I have digestive issues. I retain water easily. I am highly competitive. So what I should be doing is finding ways to balance those things. Instead of running, I should be walking. Instead of Body Pump and a lot of strength training, I should be doing more yoga and breathing exercises. Balance. Take my crazy brain and calm it down.

Ayurveda is Sanskirt for “the complete knowledge for long life.” The secret, of course, is balance, and finding your Dosha will help you determine how to find your balance.

A dosha is one of three bodily humors that make up one's constitution according to Ayurveda. If all three can exist in harmony or balance, then essentially you will be able to live your life to the fullest.

Now, this is all still new to me so if this doesn’t make sense to you, I’m sorry. I’m still learning. And I also found that I have a little bit of all three Doshas. I’m not sure if this is normal, and I’m not sure which one fits me best.

Check it out and see what fits you.

Pitta is principle of heat, digestion and all transformation in the body. Pitta is the acid secretion from the stomach, bile from the liver, and inflammation. Pitta sweat is sour causing body odor. Pitta is the color of the eyes and pitta people dream in color. Pitta also colors the skin and makes freckles and red hair. In the body, the element of fire always comes with water. Pitta is both. Pitta sense is vision but pitta also has a strong sense of smell.

  • Sharp, intelligent mind 
  • Bright, colorful eyes
  • Rosy cheeks
  • Judgmental, Critical
  • Ambitious, Workaholic
  • Yellow or Red Eyes
  • Body Odor, Acid Reflux
  • Hair Loss
  • Ulcer or acid reflux
  • Bleeds or bruises easily
  • Nearsighted, sensitive to light, migraines
  • Judgemental, critical
  • Any inflammation or sharp pain.
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Sleep before 10pm
  • Increasing bitter, astringent or sweet taste.
  • Avoid heating foods.
  • Avoid pungent spices.

Kapha is growth of tissue, production of mucous and fat, and retention of fluids. Kapha is the stable, relaxed dosha. Kapha people are great homemakers. Kapha is water and earth element. Kapha is white in color. Kapha senses are taste and smell.

  • Heavier, likes comfort and food.
  • Steady, calm, healthy, strong
  • Sweet, loving, kind, loyal, supportive

  • Lack of motivation, bored, tired
  • Slow to change, difficulty learning but good memory
  • Food cravings, possessive
  • Overweight, diabetes, edema
  • High cholesterol, blood pressure
  • Depression
  • Congestion, colds, hay Fever
  • Wake up early & exercise
  • Avoid meat, wheat and dairy after sundown
  • Avoid salty & sweet taste
  • Avoid fatty, fried foods

Vata is the principle of movement, often described as a 'wind'. Vata is a subtle dosha that goes out of balance easily. Vata people often suffer from deficiency of some type. Vata is the element of ether and air in the body. Ether has a spacey quality, and air has movement. Vata senses are hearing and touch.

  • Light body weight
  • Talk & walk quickly
  • Creative and imaginative
  • Anxiety
  • Irregular schedule & appetite
  • Gas, bloating & constipation
  • Dry skin
  • Colon disorders including constipation
  • Dryness including dry skin
  • Underweight
  • Arthritis
  • Nervous system disorders, worry, anxiety and stress.
  • And many others...
  • Routine sleeping and eating schedule
  • Keeping warm and comfortable
  • Avoid raw foods & too much cleansing
  • Increase sweet, sour, salty and pungent taste.
  • Stay hydrated
  • Keep the colon clean

(This information came from here)

What is your dosha? Do you know anything about ayuerveda?

I’m trying to find my balance because I am looking to get off the pill (again.) I was diagnosed with PCOS last year and I don’t really believe that I have it. However, the easiest and most quick way to “treat” it is with birth control. (I took a break from blogging when this happened because it wore me out) I’m ready to get my body back on track and if ayuerveda works, I’d much rather do it that way. Any of your suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Happy Super Bowl weekend!!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sometimes, life happens

My weekend was planned, my agenda was set. But then I got a call informing me that I needed to make a trip home for a family emergency. So, I woke up at 4:30 a.m. on Friday morning to make the 6 hour drive to upstate NY.

Don’t worry, nobody died. But sometimes you realize that plans must get pushed aside to take care of things that are more important. I’m ok, my family is ok, but I had a very long, emotional and draining weekend. However, here’s what I can share with you.

I made some cookies with the best little helper ever.


Chocolate chip cookies are so much fun to make, and when you have company like this, who can resist?

When I was a kid, I used to make cookie dough not for the cookies, but just for the dough. When my little helper asked if she could lick the batter, my first reaction was NO! There are eggs in there! But her mom said we’re still alive after all the batches of raw dough we’ve eaten, so I gave her a very little bit to lick. Bad?

It seemed harmless to me.


(I didn’t actually eat it. I know, I’m a scardy cat)

By the way, these cookies were so good. Not only because of the company, but honestly, you can’t go wrong by using the back of the Nestle chocolate chips bag. I did, however, cut the sugar in half (as I normally do) and no one noticed. As a matter of fact, everyone raved about how good they were.


Hooray for cookies!