>All good things must come to an end…

>…even this super awesome weekend.  Boo.

Jason and I went to Boston both Friday and Saturday nights this weekend – first, to Kelly MacFarland’s CD Release Party at Mottley’s Comedy Club.  Very fun show, and Kelly’s CD is a riot!  Perfect for those long commutes when you need to just laugh out loud.

Kelly had a huge cake to celebrate her new CD, Bombshell.  Mmmmm…who doesn’t love cake?!?!

 When we left, we walked by Red Auerbach on a bench and Larry Bird’s shoes.  I wanted Jason to pose.  Cute, right?  He just wanted to eat dinner…at 11pm.  I couldn’t really blame him.  And with all I’ve vented and unloaded on him lately…I’m lucky he still wants to eat dinner with me at all!

Saturday, I had tea with my girlfriends from grad school.  We get together at the Boston Harbor Hotel for tea every year (or so!) and catch up for hours.  We really should just plan on the whole day…I always feel like time flies and its another year before we see each other again!

I drove home, picked up Jason, and headed back into Jamaica Plain where we had an amazing dinner with friends.  Seriously, the best food, conversation and board game competition I have had in a long while!  I just hope that my competitive edge was still polite.  The boys were good – darn good.  And they kicked our butts in both games.  Such a fine line…when board games are paired with red wine…

I made my first from-scratch cake today!  I have been craving chocolate lately, and if you know me, you know I’m not a huge chocolate fan…so its all together kind of strange.  But…I wanted to find something easy that I could throw together for Sunday dinner and control some of the healthy/clean level…but that everyone would eat.  This is what I found:  Eating Well’s One Bowl Chocolate Cake  I replaced both the sugar and brown sugar with Sucanat and it already called for whole wheat pastry flour…so it seemed like a winner!  And a time frame of less than an hour from start to finish made it all the more appealing!!!

I couldn’t resist…Heart Month starts Tuesday!!! 

Sometimes a broken heart is hard to handle…unless its chocolate cake.  Seriously, though…it was awesome.  The only problem is that there is coffee in it.  Emma may not sleep tonight…
This week all builds up to Friday – National Wear Red Day!  You may not hear from me all that often this week, but please remember to wear red on Friday and Make It Your Mission to fight the number 1 killer of women (and men!) – heart disease.
Go Red!
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>Snow Day!

>Our day began at 3:15 this morning when my poor neighbor took her sister’s dog out and locked herself out of the house in the middle of the storm…so we got to hang out for a while until a key arrived…by police, on foot because the cruiser couldn’t make it up the hill!  Its a much longer story, but let’s leave it at that.  Everyone is ok, we had fun catching up and I’ve had enough coffee today to sink a ship!

I did start to do work around 4:30 this morning, so by 4 this afternoon, I was ready for some playtime in the snow with Maddy, Emma and Desmond!  Break time!!!

Princesses of the Mountain

Even my little furry prince had fun chasing the girls up the snow banks

Nice view at sunset!

How much snow do you have???

>What a frigid day…

>Seriously, its been less than 10 degrees all day.  I think my heart may have actually frozen for a bit today…and if you were on the receiving end of that, my sincere apologies. But the fire’s going and I’m thawed!

Last night, I took out my contacts…and my eyes were dry.  This isn’t normally anything to get upset about…unless of course just 6 months ago you took out dry contacts and tore the heck out of your cornea.  I should have learned my lesson from all the blinding pain…but no.  I apparently didn’t.  So, Mr. Corneal Abrasion, we meet again.

So, this morning, to make sure I got Monday off to a good start, I made my favorite breakfast as of late – oatmeal with cinnamon, banana and natural peanut butter.  Got the kids off to school, got my triple venti non fat latte, and headed to the office!

For lunch, I had some tuna with fresh lime juice, fresh cilantro, cumin and grape tomatoes over Ryvita crackers.  It was surprisingly light and refreshing!

Afternoon snack was an apple and peanut butter…perfect afternoon boost!

Dinner was chili that Jason put together while I got my eye checked out!  Under there is some tasty cornbread Nonna made to help out the chef…perfect for this frigid night!
Its back down to -2 degrees out there.  Stay warm, friends!

>The Perfect Remedy…

>…for a bad kink in my Friday was a night of karaoke with Jason and Joanna (and a whole place full of others) where I got to belt out Chain of Fools.  Nothing like a little (rather appropriate for the day) Aretha to make you feel good…  I followed that up with a day with baby Colin!  Seriously, how adorable is he???  So teensy tiny and handsome…already a hockey-playing heart breaker!

This morning, after Maddy’s basketball game (she hit the backboard today!!!!), I headed to the Wayland Winter Farmers Market where I met up with Nicole, Marty and the newest Lucey – Colin!  He is absolutely precious!!!  They came back to the house for some spinach gnocchi that I got at the market, and to chill out by the fire and catch up.  Such a great time!!!
We had a little visit from Joanna, Lauren and the Cobe-ster, and now its movie night with the girls.  They’re in their sleeping bags on the floor and we’re watching Despicable Me.  Low key night by the fire…I love it.  Its days and nights like these that really ground me…especially during crazy times! 
On tap for tomorrow:  yoga at Mystic Fitness, ski lessons for the girls at Wachusett, grocery shopping, some cathartic cooking, and some rest for the busy week ahead!  PHEW!
Less than 2 weeks to National Wear Red Day…what are you doing to Go Red?

>Dinner Dash

>Tonight was proof that I can plan all I want….inevitably, things just get away from you when life gets super busy.  Like dinner, for example.  It wasn’t until I was on my way home from the NH office at 5 in the sleety rain that I remembered there were people that needed to eat back home.  

Luckily, my partner in crime was home already and able to take a quick inventory over the phone.  We had butternut squash already peeled and quartered.  We had pearled barley.  And some leftover chicken breasts we baked on Monday to use this week.  Voila – we had a healthy version of risotto waiting to happen! 
However, while it was cooking I gave Murphy a treat…and I’m not going to lie…they smelled really, REALLY good.  But I actually exhibited some will power.  Something I’m not all that good at usually…
So, tonight’s dinner dash was a “clucking” butternut risotto.  Easy to put together, especially if you have a tag team effort!

Clucking Butternut Barley Risotto
1T olive oil
1 1/2 C pearled barley
4C low sodium organic vegetable broth
1C water
2 shallots, thinly sliced
3 scallions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 butternut squash, peeled, diced, and roasted (spritz lightly with olive oil, bake on a baking sheet at 400 for 35 minutes)
1-2 cooked chicken breasts, cubed (or shredded rotisserie chicken would work too!)
Heat oil in a medium sized pot
Add shallots, garlic and scallions, cook until translucent
Add barley, broth and water
Bring to a boil, then simmer over medium low heat for 25 minutes or until liquid is almost absorbed
Add squash and chicken, cook for 5 more minutes
Turns out creamy and super flavorful without butter or cheese!  And no added salt, other than what is in the broth…so the lower the sodium, the better!
Now, its time to tear the kids away from their post-dinner exercise (Just Dance 2) and get them to bed so I can get to the pool!  My goal is eventually to be able to do 18 laps without stopping.  Right now, I can do 10 pretty quickly with teensy tiny breaks between some of them.  Let’s see how far I can go with barley in the belly!
Help!  Is anyone out there training for an athletic event?  What is it and what’s your plan?

>Random Dinner Mix

>

Tonight was the perfect night to sit inside by the fire…while poor Jason cleared the snow and slush in the rain.  After he came home from a full day at work. Then, he helped our neighbor, too.  
What a good guy 🙂
 Luckily, he’s all over the snowblower, lawnmower, etc.  So I get time to play in the kitchen!
 Jason and I are trying to get ourselves back on track with our clean eating, so today was some lean protein, whole grains and lots of veggies.  My problem was that I didn’t eat enough greens today….and I am starving right now.  Jason’s problem was that work was so busy, he didn’t eat lunch or his snacks…and he’s now off to the gym.  But not before he ate a good dinner!!
So, dinner was a mix of foods…
Last night, I pre-made the girls’ dinner because I thought I would be at a meeting until after 8 (thank you mother nature for the early night!)
This pasta bake had one package of brown rice penne, one jar of tomato basil sauce, one bag of frozen spinach – thawed and drained, and about a half cup of reduced fat shredded mozzarella cheese on top.  I did sneak a few of the crispy crunchy noodles off the top.  They are my macaroni guilty pleasure…
 When I came home early, I decided to throw some tilapia filets in the oven just sprinkled with curry powder. 

 I also rooted through the fridge to see what we had for veggies and grabbed a bunch of asparagus and an acorn squash.  Simply roasted with some olive oil, and we had some tasty veggies!

It was quick and easy, which was good.  I was able to crank out some work…you know, to make up for the 2 hours I lost commuting to the office this morning.  Normally, it takes me 20 minutes.  It was INSANE!  

I’m trying to muster up the energy to get off the couch and make something to bring to NH tomorrow.   I’m thinking a container of the Clean Eating granola I tried out last week.  I could do that in no time…  That and some yogurt and we can have snack time at work!  

Wouldn’t it be nice if work could be more like preschool???

>And the award goes to…

>…me, unfortunately, for Mother of the Year! 

All I can say is luckily I realized it before I dropped my poor daughter off.  But, I got her out of bed, dressed, got her some breakfast, psyched her up for the school day (and she did not want to go today… apparently she reads more than I thought) and drove her to school.  As I pulled in the driveway to school singing Party In The USA with her, it hit me…  Today is Friday.  They’ve sent home like 10 flyers reminding us that there was no school today.  Back home for a day of snow angels with Nonna!

In my defense…I did get the most wonderful news this morning that one of my dearest friends had her baby at 5:59am!  A beautiful baby boy that I can’t wait to love!!!  So I’m going with the fact that the new love in my life was distracting me!!!  I’ll make a note to hire a sitter the day after Auntie Bridget has my new niece, because I will surely be a mess!!!

That being said…I also promised to bake for the bake sale at tonight’s Kane School Snow Ball.  Yup.  A note to all parents that will be there…I bought cookies, but I frosted them myself…had Jason frost them…  Not very Perfectionista…but Jason did a great job with the cookies!

So there you have it, folks.  Admission that today, the Perfectionista Persona is clearly on vacation.  I guess that means today’s lesson is that we’re all human.  And, even though we’re not perfect…try as we may…life goes on.  I guess. 

But – I did, despite my early snafu, wish my former opponent a very Happy New Year at Starbucks this morning.  Karma points.  Have to keep that Karma piggy bank full!!!  It just goes to show that being nice to someone who has been mean to you in the past can actually feel good.  Yeah, its kinda like a “take that” kinda good.  But its good nonetheless.

And…I did manage to put up my window decorations at my NH office.  THAT was one little Perfectionista-like thing that got accomplished today.  Phew.  Not a total loss.

I do want to give some serious props to my teammates in NH.  They are the most thoughtful group of women around.  I had a rather challenging week, and I arrived to my desk this morning to find a bottle of wine, a teddy bear with heart pjs and candy hearts, a balloon, and some Calgon to take me away.  I wonder how far Calgon can take me…
Thank you, friends.

>Up and at ’em

>4:30am is very early.  In fact, its still dark outside.  Very dark.  And very cold.

But Jason and I are up, and we were at 4:30.  He headed outside to touch up the plowing and to clean off my car, so the least I could do was cook him breakfast and pack him a lunch…and since its THAT early…I also did some work, packed Maddy’s lunch, got breakfast for the girls ready, and am writing this post!  Now, just a shower and some clothes and I am golden!

Today is a full day; full of work, fun, and probably some angst and other stuff.  I get to start my morning, well, later morning, with Kelly MacFarland who is the sweetest and funniest comedienne I’ve had the pleasure of knowing.  She has been such a fantastic partner in Go Red For Women here in Boston and around the country…and she is wonderful to work with to boot!  PS – she has a CD coming out at the end of the month and its on pre-sale on itunes.  Check her out – she will make you laugh so hard you tear up a bit.  I’m just saying…

So…what did we eat at this dark, cold time of day?  Something that will hopefully get me energized until I can get to my Starbucks!!!!  Egg whites, with sliced baby bellas, baby spinach, and a little goat cheese.  One of my all time favorite (and easy!) breakfasts!

Have a great day everyone! 

>Snow Day Dishing…

>

One would think a snow day is the perfect day to catch up on stuff around the house…like my blog.  Not to mention my laundry, cleaning the office…maybe help Jason shovel…
Nope.  Not today.  So much work, so little time…  
But now I’m catching up while the water boils for dinner tonight!
Breakfast on Monday was hot multigrain cereal with Teddy’s natural unsalted peanut butter on top.  It was my first time making this particular grain combo…so it was ok.  (today’s was much better!)

 Jason was on dinner duty (again!!!) Monday, and he made baked chicken with rosemary and pearled barley risotto with peas, asparagus and scallions.  It was fantastic…again!

Tuesday was a bit of a rushed morning, so for me, breakfast was a spinach feta wrap from Starbucks with my triple venti non-fat latte.  
However, dinner was a whole new ballgame. 
I stopped by Whole Foods in Framingham on the way home to pick up some fish.  The guy at counter was awesome.  He looked like he could have been in the Zac Brown Band, and we had a great talk about fish at Whole Foods.  I learned a lot, and got a great piece of fish for dinner!
Dinner was baked salmon with a black bean salsa topper, a warm chili corn salsa on the side (both from the famed Clean Eating cookbook) and red quinoa with peach salsa, avocado and fresh cilantro (recipe from me).
 Tonight’s ingredients included:
Salmon
black beans
tomatoes
onion, chopped and divided
cilantro
frozen corn, thawed
chili powder
red bell pepper, finely diced
red quinoa (2 cups)
vegetable broth and water (to equal 4 cups)
1 large avocado
1/2 jar Trader Joe’s peach salsa
Unfortunately, the quinoa brought down the Beppo score for the night.  The Salmon scored a 4, but there was some sand or something in the quinoa despite the extensive rinsing…so that dish brought the overall score to a 3.25.  No photos tonight because I can’t bring myself to divide Beppo’s head like that!
Does anyone know what that grainy crunch in my red quinoa was???

>Weekend Eatings…

>

What kind of wife would I be…
 if I didn’t give credit to Jason for his Thursday night dinner last week?  So what if he doesn’t read the blog 🙂  He made brown rice pasta with homemade turkey meatballs.  And it was delicious!
Moving on…
I love Sundays.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.  Love them.  This weekend we celebrated the Epiphany.  The Befana still comes to our house, and us big kids even get gifts!  After our lamb dinner on Saturday, Sunday was my day to shop and cook!  After 3 hours of grocery shopping with Jason (ok, we took our time!), I got to work!
 First, I tried homemade granola from my new Clean Eating cookbook (thanks Secret Santa, Katy!)  I think this will be a Sunday staple…
Ingredients:
oats
dried cranberries
ground flax
raw pumpkin seeds
raw sunflower seeds
slivered almonds
unsweetened coconut
agave nectar
sea salt
 Then, I moved on to vegetarian chili for dinner.  It was the perfect sunny yet frigid day for it!  And, there was football on!!
In today’s chili:
1T EV olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onions, chopped
1 carrot, diced
2T tomato paste
1 can each of black eyed peas, black beans, kidney beans, cannellini beans, & pinto beans, rinsed
2 small cans no salt added diced tomatoes
half of a beer of your choice – I used a winter beer this time (winter and pumpkin are my faves in chili)
2-3C vegetable broth
2-3T chili powder
2-3T adobo seasoning
1T+ cinnamon
1T+ hot cocoa mix
Combine in this order, bring to a boil, then simmer to the desired consistency

 And then, the grand finale…chocolate spiked oatmeal cookies from the Clean Eating cookbook.  I am very VERY excited about cooking with this book!!!

These are sooooo good.  And if they’re in the Clean Eating cookbook, they’re considered clean, right???
They are made with:
oats
whole grain pastry flour
flaxseed meal
cinnamon
baking powder
sea salt
agave nectar
one egg white
unsalted almond butter
vanilla extract
dark, semi-sweet chocolate chips
Delish…unfortunately, I said I was done eating cookies after the holidays.  Maybe I meant when these are gone…
How do you fight off the cravings???