Thursday, May 28, 2009

Race for the Cure, June 6th. Please make a donation

I’m running in the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure on June 6th for my friend Jenn. At 31 years old, she learned she had breast cancer 10 days before her wedding day and began chemotherapy 4 days after her wedding. Since then, she has had 8 chemo treatments, a mastectomy and she just finished her final day of radiation treatment last week, on May 22nd. She ‘gave cancer the beats’ and I’m so thankful for that. Congratulations Jenn and Daylan. I'm thinking of you every day!

Please support the Susan G Komen Foundation by making a donation or joining the run with me. I apologize for the short timeframe, but any donation you can make, no matter how small, is hugely appreciated.

To make a donation, please click here and then click ‘Support Colleen’ above the donation meter.
Thank you, in advance, for your donations and for a quick thought/well-wish for Jenn. She is the strongest woman I know.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Restaurant Critic- On the Road- San Francisco

I ate at way too many places in SF, so I will just list out and give a 1-5 star rating for each...

Friday:
Naan N Curry- Irving and 8th Ave- (lunch) 1.5 stars
http://www.naanncurry.com/

Americano- Hotel Vitale- Embarcadero- (Happy Hour)- 3.5 stars
http://www.hotelvitale.com/dining/index.html

Perrys- Embarcadero - (dinner)- 3.0 stars
http://www.perryssf.com/

Ozumo- Embarcadero/Rincon Center-(drinks) 4.0 stars
http://www.ozumo.com/


Saturday:

Farmers Market at Ferry Building (breakfast) 4.0 stars
http://www.ferrybuildingmarketplace.com/

Askew- Marina - (lunch/snack/fast food) 3.5 stars
http://www.asqewgrill.com/

Café Pescatore (dinner) 0.5 star


Sunday:
Z- Clement/7th (brunch) 3.5 stars

Irish Bank- Alley btwn Grant/Kearney and Bush- (drinks)- biased 4.5 (see picture)
http://www.theirishbank.com/

Park Chow- 7th between Irving and Lincoln- biased 4.5 stars

http://www.chowfoodbar.com/



Monday (work began)
Park Hyatt (breakfast) 4.0 stars

Market Bar at Ferry Building (lunch) 3.5 stars (standout: crab deviled eggs)
http://www.marketbar.com/

Cortez- 550 Geary (dinner) 4.75 stars (food was outstanding, atmosphere was a little dull)
http://www.cortezrestaurant.com/


Tuesday
Yank Sing (lunch) Ricon Center- dimsum- 2.5 stars (it's been better)
http://www.yanksing.com/

Wine Merchant, Ferry Building (drinks)- 3.5 stars
http://www.ferrybuildingmarketplace.com/ferry_plaza_wine_merchant.php

Slanted Door, Ferry Building (Dinner)- 4.0 stars
http://www.slanteddoor.com/

Epic, Embarcadero (drinks) 4.5 stars
http://www.epicroasthousesf.com/


Wednesday:
Anchor & Hope- Minna St (lunch) 3.75
http://www.anchorandhopesf.com/

Press Club- Yerba Buena Ave- (drinks) 5.0 -this place is awesome http://www.pressclubsf.com/

Amber - Yerba buena Ave (dinner) 3.5- food was good, overpriced indian food
http://www.amber-india.com/

So now I'm on a fruit and salad diet. Yes, I ate at all those places. Yes, it was over the course of one week. Yes, I can remember them by heart b/c I love love to eat in San Francisco. And yes, I did give one place only half a star. The food was pretty bad, but the company was completely wonderful and thoroughly enjoyable. It was just a very bad display of food and I'm sure the only reason it remains open is location (connected to our hotel in highly touristy area). You'll notice, I am biased to a few places. I love love love the Irish Bank. It's just awesome and I've spent many a drunken afternoon and night there. And Park Chow- the ginger cake with carmel sauce and pumpkin ice cream?? YUM! Plus, I enjoyed that with my SF Girls (the Sex and the City girls) which was just completely awesome.

I miss San Francisco. I miss my friends. I wish I could remain as close as we ever were but still have my life in CT with Dave. But I am so fortunate that my job sends me back there often enough to see them.

(**and now you know why those resolutions include so much healthy stuff? yeah, my body needs a swift kick in the pants to get back into shape)

Sunny SF and time with the Girls

Holy Moley, it's been a while. Wow, it's been a while since I've sat at my desk, it's been a while since I thought about blogging. And seriously, when time goes by, what on earth do you talk about? I (just me/solo) spent two weekends ago with my two friends Mara and Veronica in San Francisco. It was so awesome to all be together and I got ample time with each seperately and together. I could have spent weeks with them, but life sure does get in the way sometimes. Man, I had a great time. And- ahh, san francisco was HOT and sunny. Yes yes, Hot. I got sunburned, I sweated like a pig and loved it. After my weekend with the girls, I had dinner with my other girls- Vanina, Liz and Angela. It was also a blast to catch up with them, just the girls, like good old times. Really, there is nothing better than girl time. And then I had meetings/work all week.

The day after my return my parents arrived for Memorial Day weekend. It was great to see them! Although I really just wanted to be home alone with my husband, it was nice to see my parents. A weekend with my parents isn't exactly hectic, but it can be stressful. Planning out food and meals and cooking and drinks- oh my. It can be exhausting. The good news is they had a good time, we had a good time and slowly but surely they are getting used to my house (they know where the coffee mugs are). It was a great time.

AND, do you know what happens on MONDAY??? That's RIGHT- It's June. And June begins my resolutions. Although I need to change one of them... So here they are again- to recap:

Run every (non-raining) Wednesday night with Cathy at Fleet Feet, beginning June 3
Run in at least two 5K races this summer, June 6 and July 11
Be active 6 times a week (run 2x/ yoga 1x)- I changed this
Come home after work, tend to the veggies and relax/take a walk
Attend our town's new Farmers Market on Thursday nights from 4-7 and plan meals based on veggies bought, beginning on May 28th
Spend more time with friends

Things to do less: Plan Read Worry Stress Organize Nag
I'm practicing for June 1. Looking forward to it. I tried hard to not read this weekend and I got SO much done!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

When 'Local' makes it Big- Give me an effing break


Did anyone see this article? When ‘Local’ makes it Big- http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/13/dining/13local.html?_r=1&ref=dining

This is repulsive. I am appalled. This actually makes me sick. Frito-Lays is coming out with a ‘locally grown’ potato chip? I ask you, what the hell does it matter if it’s a locally grown chip if the machines used the make and package the chips are using all that energy and creating all that pollution? The bags they use to bag those locally grown chips will not ever be broken down. Furthermore, are they going to limit the distribution of said local chip to only the area where it is grown? NO... Have you ever found a potato chip bag in the woods after seemingly years of rain and snow? Yeah, it still looks like a potato chip bag? While Frito Lay does own Sun Chips and Sun chips is starting to use a bag that is biodegradable, overall, these small, yet marketable, attempts at bettering our planet are weak and pathetic.

Like the ‘organic’ cookies (which merely means the wheat/flour is grown without pesticides), the processing of these potato chips will not change. The chips will still be wholly unhealthy snack items with the loose catch phrase of being ‘local’. They will still contain unnatural preservatives and unnatural ingredients, yet perhaps they will be organic AND local Since there is not regulating body for ‘locally grown’ food, there is no limit to what these big processors can say on their labels.

You can’t blame big companies from trying to sell more products to the uninformed consumer. But the idea of a local potato chip is sickening. I hope consumers stop and think about this claim for a quick moment before buying this. Buy your crappy potato chips regardless of where the potatoes are grown.

Or better yet, WALK down to your local farm stand, buy a potato from the farmer who grew it, bring it home and fry it in a skillet. Now THAT is a local potato chip!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Notre Dame Fight song


Yesterday, listening to my ipod at work, the ND fight song came up in my shuffle. I had to hold myself back from high-knee marching around the office and clapping.

When we got married we chose the ND fight song as the song we'd be introduced to at our reception. A minor mix up allowed us to instead have our first dance segway song be the ND fight song, which allowed all attendees to clap along as we walked into the dance room. Our DJ was fabulous and gave us a cd with some of our more memorable songs as a gift. The first song is the ND fight song. Whenever the radio starts playing that we just kinda laugh.

Spring/Summer resolutions

I'm borrowing Jenn's idea with resolutions. It's funny because I planned all my travel in springtime so I can be home in lovely warm New England for the summer. But, as a result, it makes a hell of a spring. Between quick weekend trips and biz trips and yard/garden work, I am absolutely DYING for June to arrive. Ahhh, what June means to me is ENJOYING the fruits of my labor. The garden (not veggies yet) is growing in perfectly. All plants are taking shape, the hostas grow from nothing to these big bushy mounds and we've got some flowers already. I've removed all the nasty weeds (but am due for another cruise through the garden on weed patrol) and now it's time to enjoy it.

But I'm feeling very overwhelmed. Even the magazines we get overwhelm me and the stack of books I want to read start to nag at me. I find I'm rushing home to read (which is supposed to be relaxing) and feeling like I'm still unable to keep up.

So, with a plan to be less busy, here are my resolutions:
Run every (non-raining) Wednesday night with Cathy at Fleet Feet, beginning June 3
Run in at least two 5K races this summer, June 6 and July 11
Be active 6 times a week (run 3x)
Come home after work, tend to the veggies and relax/take a walk
Attend our town's new Farmers Market on Thursday nights from 4-7 and plan meals based on veggies bought, beginning on May 28th
Spend more time with friends

Things to do less:
Plan
Read
Worry
Stress
Organize
Nag

That's a good list I think. I need to re-read this the last week in May to be sure I know what I'm signing myself up for.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Happy Sunshine

This morning, coming home from the gym at the ungodly hour of 6:15am, the sun was out and shining so brightly I put on my sunglasses. I love this time of year, when the days get longer (and when it stops raining).

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Better than Amy Poehler's new show "Parks and Recreation"

We went to our first public forum this week regarding the town’s proposal to buy a farm from a family in our town and preserve it as green/open space. The land is currently being farmed for hay. The price of the land is $3.5M. At the forum there were two for and two opposed to this transaction. There is a vote on Tuesday to determine if the town should go through with it. Some issues are the price seems inflated, some were concerned about the Non-Profit entity assisting with this transaction (Trust for Public Land) skeptical the price they negotiated with the sellers wasn’t in the best interest of the town/taxpayers. Some were concerned about additional taxes should this land NOT be purchased and houses built, the population would increase, those residing in said houses would probably have babies that would need to be schooled in our town etc. The topic is a fascinating one, unfortunately there was no independent party there to answer questions truthfully that the taxpayers can trust as accurate to the best of their knowledge. Also, the moderator of this forum was weak and worthless which allowed for some shameful behavior.

I won't deny, at a few points in this 2 hour forum I giggled. Some of this was quite funny. One of the speakers was just awful and kept rambling on and on, fading in and out of the microphone causing attendees to shout "we can't hear you" and the Trust for Public Land speaker couldn't get her slide show/visual to stop from automatically advancing so for the first half of her much-longer-than-8-to-10-minute speech, we were distracted by the slides being wrong. The funniest part was, because they were advancing automatically and the person manning the computer would bounce back to the previous/correct slide, they couldn't advance the slide on command. The speaker didn't realize the issues with the computer, she was facing us, but she would look to the computer person and make the hand signal to flip the slide and it wouldn't flip. It was funny.

However, what was most shocking/fascinating was the forum was the shameful behavior of those in attendance. The forum speakers had their obligatory barbs at the others side, but the attendees- my goodness. They ought to be ashamed of themselves. At the end there was time for questions. The weak moderator requested this was a time for questions and not propaganda however the first questioner spouted off on a tangent, bringing up points that were interesting and not mentioned in the preliminary speeches, but his propaganda of approximately 5 minutes prompted the attendees to start shouting ‘QUESTION- WHAT’S YOUR QUESTION?’ The old man asked his question but seemed pleased he got to spout off his opinion. Some others got up and asked several interesting questions. One person asked a few questions, all relevant and related to which a woman in her mid-60s (I’m guessing) dressed in a suit and quite professional started calling for the moderator to limit the questions to 1 at a time. She shouted two times from the line that he was taking up too much time. Clearly the questions he was asking were not of her point of view. And THEN, to add icing to the cake, when SHE got up to ask her question, she spouted off in propaganda. Oh my gosh! If school children acted that way, they would be pulled from class and sent to the principals office. And OF COURSE they act this way, look how the adults who help mold their lives act!

I was horrified at the way this quiet small town residents treated each other. It was awful and they ought to be ashamed of themselves. As an attendee who wanted to get some more details about what this vote was for and the details surrounding it, I feel very confused on the details. Unfortunately the forum didn’t begin with an overall ‘ok, here’s what the situation is, people will share both sides and I will answer the logistical details.’ Nope, none of that. Just the two opposing sides and then people shouting and disrespecting each other and the rules as the moderator stood by watching it all unfold. It was a horrible show of humanity and I walked away from that being horrified I live with these people. If I could say one thing to them it would be, “Ladies and Gentlemen, you ought to be ashamed of yourselves acting this way. Get a hold of yourselves and conduct yourselves in a way you hope the children of our town would act.”
Sidenote: Man, my protein nuggets are awesome!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Best Protein Nuggets EVER (sofar)

Several years ago I met with a holistic nutritionist who was one of many (about 6 professionals) that told me I need to eat more protein. I used to eat an abundance of fruits and vegetables, some grains and too much alcohol (fruit, right?) I explained to her that protein tends to be expensive and time consuming. There aren't too many natural protein foods you can carry in your purse with you. Everything needs to be refrigerated (yogurt, cottage cheese) or cooked (eggs, chicken, beef) and nuts, while high in good fat, were difficult for me to eat knowing how fatty they were. She was against anything not natural so protein powders and protein bars were out of the question (way out). She suggested I make ‘cookies’. Except these aren’t really cookies because there is no butter or sugar involved. I LOVE cookies and found it rather cruel for her to tempt me with the word ‘cookie’ but then describe something that truly wasn’t a cookie. Rather than grabbing and shaking her while screaming about the sacrilege of naming these THINGS ‘cookies’, I realized I could give them a shot. After all, who has time to whip up a veggie omelet every morning?

My first few attempts at this ‘cookie’ were not bad. I have renamed them protein nuggets because they are NOT a cookie. They don’t melt flat from the sugar and butter in the oven into precious yumminess. Nope, these protein nuggets come out of the oven about the same shape they go in. But, I make these nuggets every few weeks, throw them in the freezer and munch on one every morning on my way into work- commonly referred to as my first breakfast (yes, I eat two breakfasts, another around 10. I eat two lunches too- but that’s another story).

So I’ve tried several recipes, discovered some fantastic new additions and realized when you omit the dried fruit they are too hard unless you let them completely defrost- who has time for that? I generally use some basic ingredients and then toss in whatever else I have in the house. The measuring and formulas are ‘some of this, some of that’ but this batch, holy moley, is AMAZING. And before I forget what I did, I need to write it down because WOW, these ones are good. I’m not sure if it’s the large amount of dried fruit, the steel cut oats rather than the rolled oats or the added coconut. YUM! I’ve also made nuggets with rolled oats and have added cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves for flavor. I’ve even added protein powder to them too, but that seems to give them an acrid flavor.

So, here it is:
Colleen’s Protein Nuggets (makes 3-4 dozen)

1 cup almonds
1 cup peanuts
1.5 cup steel cut oats
1.5-2 Tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup peanut butter
¼ cup honey
1 cup canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling, just pumpkin- find in the baking aisle)
2 eggs
¾ cup dried cranberries
¾ cup raisins
¼ cup chopped dried dates
½ - ¾ cup coconut
1 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375.

Put 1 cup almonds and 1 cup peanuts into food processor for approximately 20 seconds. You’ll want to make smaller bite-sized peanuts and almonds. When happy with the chopping size, throw them in a bowl. Add oats, baking powder and baking soda to bowl.

Using a Kitchenaid Stand Mixer, beat peanut butter, honey and pumpkin with the flat paddle until blended and creamy. Turn mixer to low/stir using the flat paddle (not the whisk). Add the nut/oat mix to the bowl. Mix thoroughly. Add 2 eggs. Mix thoroughly. Then add the dried fruit and coconut mix thoroughly. With a spoon, stir in chocolate chips. If you don’t have a stand mixer, I suggest blending the eggs in with the PB, honey and pumpkin then stirring in the nut/oat mix, then the dried fruit and chocolate chips. The batter will be thick and dense and heavy.

Using a large spoon, spoon dollops onto a greased nugget/cookie sheet. Be sure to pat down any little batter sticking up since they will not melt when cooked. Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes. Until the bottoms are brown. After removing the nugget sheet from the oven, wait a minutes before removing from pan. Delicately place nuggets onto cooling rack. Let cool completed and then freeze.

Let nugget defrost for 5-10 minutes before enjoying- goes well with coffee. You can eat them hot too- hot steamy protein nuggets, yum.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Twittery Blog

Does anyone I know Twitter? It's interesting, I just watched a video about it. You can make mini blogs in less than 140 characters. I think I'm too long winded and I am not on the computer enough to do it. Same with Facebook. I don't do facebook b/c I have about 30 minutes a day I get on a website like Facebook because it's blocked at work. So Twittering sounds interesting but I wouldn't do it enough to really make it worth while. That's what I think anyway. I read somewhere that you can follow Ashton Kutcher via Twitter. I wonder if his life is as exciting as mine, but I am not joining Twitter. But if i could twitter, this is what my weekend of twittering would be:

Friday:
*Heading out for shopping and dinner with Jenn. Forgot my cellphone at home so going commando.
*Dinner was great, got 5 pairs of pants... now I need to get them hemmed. My tailor will LOVE me.

Saturday:
*Off to farmers market and Farm-Fresh breakfast with free gift certificate.
*Farmers market was sold out of asparagus, the sole reason we went. Only 3 vendors anyway.
*Dave liked spice store, got some good stuff: vanilla bean, chicken stock gook and cumin
*Planning walk to Dogpark with Jenn and Izzie. Excited to spend time with Jenn so much lately.
*Izzie did great at dogpark, except for mini dog/rat who kept licking her hoo haa. Too bad she can't feel pleasure.
*Pruned Rose bushes. Hope they don't die
*Fancy fish dinner and prosecco al fresco. Threw together couscous and zucchini sides. Look how beautiful that plate looks!

*opened another bottle of wine, husband sleeping on couch, several more glasses drank
Sunday:
*day of chores: grocery shopping, more coffee, protein nuggets, steak for dinner
*Raining, looks like I'm grilling in the rain- boo!
See, I don't think twittering is as fun as blogging. Sometimes it's worthwhile to write a story, with an actual subject noun and predicate (is that the right word?) I often skip the pronouns in sentences. I assume people can determine WHO I am talking about when I write something but it's nice to write full sentences and tell stories. I like when people can find the humor in life made from ordinary situations. Sometimes I think I can do that. More often I am impressed that other people are so good at it!
So another exciting weekend in CT for us. Saturday weather was gorgeous. But today is rainy and cool. I hope my broccoli is doing ok out there. It's not cold enough for a blanket to go on the plants, but we did have to turn the heat back on in the house. New England weather is so funny.