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YAY!

We finally got the base cabinet we needed for the kitchen, cut the countertop and secured it in place. While we don’t have miles of countertop in our kitchen it certainly FEELS like we do.

Just having everything on something that’s supposed to be a cabinet is fulfilling.

Sorry I’ve been lax on pictures lately. Everything has been nothing short of hectic between planning a wedding, getting our kitchen (and the rest of our apartment) together and I’m finally making an effort to go back to the gym. Go me!

I started Weight Watchers on Thursday of last week and since then I’ve lost 6.5 lbs. I’m being honest with myself and I really think it’s mostly water weight loss, but it’s better than nothing and frankly at this stage of it I’ll take what I can get – anything to keep me motivated.

My goal is 140 lbs. That’s right in the middle of the healthy weight area for my height and because I have broader shoulders and hips I think that will work well for me. (I’d be slender without looking anorexic)

This morning I weighed myself at 188.5. That’s 48.5 lbs to go – too bad that I probably won’t continue to lose 6 lbs per week! That would make this incredibly easy.

I’m figuring this is what is going to happen:

I’ll lose weight up to 175 fairly easily – probably before the handfasting this September.

175-165 will take probably 2 months.

165-155 will probably take another 2 months.

At that point I’m not sure what I’ll do once I break the 150 mark. That’s a place I haven’t been since college – freshman year of college at that. I can say it will definitely be surreal.

The food on the Weight Watchers plan is actually pretty good. I enjoy cooking and since I’ve been in a cooking rut the last few months this has been helpful.  The portion sizes are a lot smaller than what I’d normally make, but I think so long as I really stick to them (and be okay with not being stuffed full) I’ll be fine.

The last week I’ve been making some pretty tasty meals including:

Tortellini vegetable salad

Asparagus, new potato and chive fritatta

Apple braised chicken – one of my FAVORITES (then again I love to braise anything)

Beef-vegetable pie (which if I brown the beef on the stovetop instead of cooking in the oven it will end up better I think)

Creamy curry pasta primavera – VERY tasty as well

and Wednesday I’m making Grilled ham steak with nectarine salsa

Doesn’t that sound tasty?

For next week I have most of my list prepared:

Chicken tortellini soup

Asian Noodle-Peanut salad

Beef, blue cheese and spinach quesadillas w/ Tex-Mex rice and bean casserole

Tofu and snow pea stir fry

Dijon Pork Cutlets

Baked Mac and cheese w/ broccoli

Japanese noodles w/ garlic toasted tofu

Huevos Rancheros

Cincinnati Chicken chili (one of my favorites kinds of chili!)

So far Garry has really liked the food. I’ve asked him to go on the diet with me, well not really “with” me, but not to buy junk food and bring it in the house or leave wrappers in the car. He can eat whatever he feels for lunch (although I’m nudging him to eat reasonably healthy lunches) but for dinner he’ll eat what I cook and in the portion I give him (and NOT complain that the portion is too small – that’s key).

What will be nice is when he will learn to cook that way too. Whenever he cooks the portions are ENORMOUS (at least double) and again, no surprise that we are where we are. He’s gained some weight since moving home a year ago and I’d like to see him lose some weight as well.

Losing It

And by “it” I mean the extra 50lbs of flab sporatically attached to my body.

I love food, and I’ll be honest, as of the last few months I’ve been pretty reluctant to actually cook a meal that was anything close to interesting. I’ve tacked on another 10lbs so now I’m sitting at 195lbs. Some people say I carry it well, I say that’s a load of balogna.

With our wedding coming next year I have been nothing short of frantic to lose this weight. I know it just doesn’t come off overnight, but I feel like a scared chihuahua running in circles and yipping pathetically about being worried I’ll look like a beached beluga whale on my wedding day.

So I joined Weight Watchers.

I’m counting it as part of my wedding budget – because at $40 a month it’s not cheap. We’ll see if it works, but at the very least I’ll have some more exciting meals coming.

Catering to your needs

One of the big hurdles in figuring out or wedding plans is catering. I didn’t want to feel resigned to marinated chicken and baked ziti being served on our big day, but in the world of catering that tends to be the norm.

Not trying to sound like a spoiled princess, I made the comment to my parents that I’d like something a little more “upscale” than that (not “expensive” but a little more creative). It’s been difficult (for me) to ask them to pay for some things regarding our wedding – mostly because of the history that I have with my family and money – but more so because I like to prove that I am self-reliant. Even having Garry help out sometimes was difficult for me to accept (although moving to our new apartment in February solved that).

I hunted around on the internet for local catering companies, what kind of food they offer and I was annoyed to find that most of the places had roughly the same menu. Augh. Finally, I found The Lost Dog Cafe.

Lost Dog (as we all affectionately call it) has been one of my favorite local restaurants since I can remember. It’s once of those places that’s fun, ecclectic and honestly, I’ve never had a bad meal there. My favorite dish is the Greek Chicken (for dinner) and there are LOADS of sandwiches too. On Friday I had a chicken sandwich with asparagus and sundried tomatoes. *drool* it was really good.

Garry had never experienced the deliciousness that is the food at Lost Dog. There was always one reason or another we never made it down, but finally he got to experience the magic of their food.

(No I wasn’t paid to write this post – their food really is just that good)

To my surprise they also do catering. When I looked over their catering menu I thought I was going to faint! They not only had my Greek Chicken listed as an option, but a whole array of food from varying cultures – there’s Greek, Asian (Thai and Indian), Latin, Americana, Italian, Cajun, Mediterranean.

Yum!

And you can choose to do tapas, afternoon tea, sit down meals, stations (you can do a few different stations too!) and it’s all so very yummy and delicious.

Just looking over the catering menu gets me drooling and dreaming of stuffing my face full of Greek Chicken the day of our wedding! :D

Too many cooks

I finally really learned the meaning of the phrase “too many cooks in the kitchen” yesterday.

Garry and I had my friends Pam and Rick over for dinner last night. I felt a little bad for Garry seeing as Pam is my ex-boyfriend Dylan’s mother and she works for our sister station in a neighboring city (there was a lot of chat about work, Dylan and my other ex – Dave – that works at the other station as well) but, more importantly she’s a dear friend of mine and is really like  a second mother.

Garry was getting a little impatient with my speed of getting dinner prepared so he went in the kitchen and started dinner. I was making asparagus carbonara (one of my favorite recipes) and I realized it’s definitely a meal that is best made when only 1 person is making it.

First off – I made an ENTIRE box of pasta. Yeah. That’s a lot of pasta. We needed maybe half of that. Once the pasta and asparagus were finished cooking and drained Garry was like “ok what do we do now, ok what’s next…” (which DRIVES ME UP THE WALL when he does it!) and – as always – I got a little flustered and just started throwing everything in instead of paying attention to what I should’ve been doing.

Well, it ended up that I put the entirety of the eggs into the mix (you’re only supposed to use the yolk) and Garry had turned the pan on before I needed it so it was hot and the eggs IMMEDIATELY started cooking before it could coat the pasta. I tried to throw some more wine in there to loosen it up, but to no avail.

The meal was okay. It was edible, but sometimes I just need to cook alone in order for the meal to turn out how it needs to turn out.

If you’d like to check out the recipe for Asparagus Carbonara, you can find it here.

Overall dinner was good and Garry made ice cream pie for afterwards (one of my favorite summer-time desserts) and it’s really easy to make. It’s a pre-made (or if you’re feeling ambitious you can make it yourself) pie shell (usually we use an Oreo shell), take some ice cream (a pint is usually enough) and soften it (usually right after you get home from the grocery store is a good time to do this because then it’s already soft), fill the pie shell to capacity and then even out the top so it’s nice and flat. THEN take some of the Magic Shell topping and cover the ENTIRE top of the pie with magic shell. Put it back in the freezer to solidify.

Yeah, it takes all of 5 minutes to make, but it is soooo good. We make it every year for my birthday (it’s in August so it’s always too hot to bake a cake) and have it with Chinese take-out.

Cabinet!

There was a moment of YAY on Tuesday when we went to Lowes and purchased our brand-new kitchen base cabinet!

I’ve been waiting for MONTHS to accomplish more with our kitchen and I”m hoping Garry will be so kind as to put the countertop on the cabinet for me so it can be fully functional by the weekend. 

Having this cabinet opens up more space in my office which will allow for actually finishing my office! YAY!

With having to tackle that task on the horizon I’ve been thinking more about the color scheme and designing silliness I’m going to do in there. The carpet is a blue commercial berber kind of deal and I’d like to keep everything flowing nicely through the space. The kitchen has light blue, brown, tan and cream – so I’m thinking of painting the walls tan. I know, sounds boring, but with white molding, white futon (faux leather) and two-tone espresso and white desk and night stand (a few throw pillows here and there and some artwork) – I think it will look awesome!

But more exciting right now is finishing the kitchen – or at least getting it to one more level of functional. We’re hoping that after the cabinet is installed we can start working on fixing some of the walls and painting. I think we’ll only be able to get one wall done until we start replacing our wall cabinets however, but it’s a start!

FYI – our cabinets are just plain unfinished oak and our countertops are just the pre-cut (you size it yourself) pieces at Lowes. So far we have our sink cabinet in and it looks awesome! (Although I’m thinking it needs one more coat of stain and definitely some poly – which we neglected to do during the winter – oops!) and our flooring still looks pretty good. We’ve definitely learned some important lessons about renovating so far (like take your time and do it right the first time).

Although there is one small, teensy-weensy problem. Our cabinet doesn’t have a shelf – meaning we’ll have to put one in there (Augh!) at some point. However, for the most part the cabinet will house our larger appliances (mixer, blender and some of the larger pots and pans) so we might not need a shelf afterall. After that is figured out (and we get some more moola) we’ll get to fixing the walls and installing the wall cabinets (that will be fun).

Right now our kitchen still looks like it’s from the ghetto, but in about 2 months time it will look infinitely better I think.

It looks like this will be the month I finally get to have a fully-functional big-girl kitchen! YAY!

Victory is mine!

(Sorry, that’s my favorite “I’ve accomplished something” music – it’s from Final Fantasy VII)

It looks like maybe in a few weeks we’ll finally be able to get the kitchen counter we so very desperately need. There are also some slight cosmetic issues that need to be taken care of as well – we have most of the stuff to take care of that already – and possibly we’ll get the upper cabinets done too.  I could be looking at a whole new kitchen by my birthday! :D

I’m a little over-excited about this to say the least.

Until then though – we’re sticking to our regularly scheduled budget/plans and unfortunately that is mostly a lot of very uninspired meals. I know this blog has really gone downhill since I stopped cooking loads of really awesome food.

However, mostly it’s because Garry and I are engaged and we’re planning our wedding for next year! (you can read my blog on our wedding here) So I’ve been preoccupied with making sure we have money to cover the costs that need to be covered and all that stuff.

This weekend is 4th of July which is the 2nd most-holy-grilling-day (next to Memorial Day weekend). Much to everyone’s surprise – we don’t own a grill. Luckily a friend of mine is willing to let us borrow hers for our Crazy Lady Night next week where I’m hosting it for the second time. We’re having an Americana-themed party (I love themed parties) and it should be a good time. Although – outside of hotdogs and hamburgers (and of course – spiedies!) I’m not too familiar with grilled recipes – so does anyone out there want to share their most glorious grill recipes with me? (FYI – I’m allergic to anything that lives in the water and mushrooms)

Faerie Fest 2010

Faerie Fest went really well this year – we had tons of people come through the front gate (where I was stationed most of the weekend) and everyone really seemed to enjoy themselves.

There was awesome music there too – thanks to Teribus and Jenna Greene (whom I got to see multiple times over the weekend) and many other musicians and performers. It was loads of fun.

We had lots of vendors there too. My friend Rob had a tent for his store Imagicka and thankfully the folks at Goblin Road came back with their ever-so-cute little goblin stuffed animals.

I purchased a red-headed Nose Goblin this year (I desperately wanted one last year, but was broke) and decided that his name would be Loki Jr.

(For those of you who don’t get the reference – Garry’s nickname is Loki)

I carted Loki Jr. everywhere this weekend. He was our front gate mascot and I think it drummed up quite a bit in sales for them because everyone was asking me about him (and a lot of my friends ended up purchasing one).

Well, then I got a little carried away.

I decided if his name was Loki Jr. he should have poofy hair like Garry. So I took my needle and picked the wool yarn hair. In the process I ended up pulling out quite a bit – which I’m going to (at some point) sew on his chest for chest hair. Then I thought that he needed clothes. So I found a rabbit skin ($4) at a vendor that I bought to make a winter cloak. THEN (I know, I went a little overboard) he needed a little key necklace (like the one Garry has that I have him years ago) and lo’ and behold there was a vendor that had little brass keys. I purchased one and put it on a piece of leather thong.

Here’s where I went a little nutsy. I decided I’d like to “tattoo” Loki Jr. So my friend Laurie brought me some embroidery floss and I went to town. So far I only have the outline of the backpiece done, but it shouldn’t take that much longer to do that (if all else fails, I can always undo the embroidery – the fabric is strong enough to take it – and paint it or use permanent marker).

I also have some of his military gear (the name badge for his cammo) so I’ll make a jacket for him with that on the back. I also have some fabric scraps I can make some fun stuff too. Yeah, I know, I’m a dork.

Anyway, I told the people at the booth my plans and they thought it was hysterical. They do some customized work, but those little guys tend to run around $200. I may have them do one for me next year with longer hair – I think they could manage that for me without too much cost.

Loki Jr is not a snuggle stuffed animal – he’s sitting on my bookshelf in the dining room with his rabbit cloak (which needs a good sized cloak clasp). He looks really cute up there.

So that’s the story of Faerie Fest and Loki Jr. I’ll have a few pictures up soon. 

Until then, what to make for dinner other than frozen pizza?

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