Day 812–Did I Get Hit in the Face?

Three important things happened today:

1) It’s Easter/Taylor Bezner was baptized.  Easter is obviously a big deal…kind of why we do what we do.  And anytime someone is baptized and dies to their old self it’s noteworthy.  Welcome to the family Taylor!

2) Had Easter lunch with the Florence family.  It was good food, great company, and a beautiful reminder of how amazing family can be.  We had four generations, a surprise announcement of a pregnancy, a bubble machine (BUBBLES!), and beautiful weather. The last one didn’t last, but thankfully I was inside when the heavens opened up.

3) Played a little basketball at church.  And by a little I mean two hours.  First couple of games were great, and then it was like someone put a lid on the basket.  Couldn’t hit any threes, couldn’t hit any jumpers…I even missed a couple of easy layups.  Therefore, I had to contribute other ways: defense, rebounding, passing (thank God I decided to practice that skill in my youth) and trying to outsmart the other team.  I got beat around pretty well, including one between-game break when my jaw started hurting.  I innocently asked “Did I get hit in the face sometime?”  Everyone just started laughing…apparently I had gotten whacked quite a few times.  Not sure when it happened, but it hurt for a couple of hours.  Kind of weird.

Breakfast–Homemade french toast! I used a challah loaf that I let get stale overnight and Alton Brown’s custard recipe…they were goooooooood.  Solid morning.

Lunch–Delicious Easter lunch!  Snickerdoodles, brownies, ice cream, salad, rolls, grapes, green beans, turkey…excellent.   I easily could have taken a nap, but we played ball instead.

Exercise–Basketball! My legs hurt. As does my face.

Dinner–Pollo Campero.  One empanada, two tacos, and 1/4 grilled chicken.  Awesomeness…I love that place.

I get to pay taxes tomorrow…woo…

Have a good one.

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Day 811–Dolcetti

Today I was finally able to mess around in the kitchen a bit, and the results were spectacular.  One of my pet peeves is a restaurant that does a lot of things good, but nothing great.  For example, the Cheesecake Factory.  Gigantic menu, tons of options, nothing is bad…but other than the cheesecake, do you really go there for the food?  So as I move forward and work on the pastry aspect of my hobbies, I want to do a few things extremely well.  The first slam dunk is my Dolce Bars, which will be making a public appearance at the Taste of Sugar Grove next weekend.  My cake is good, although I haven’t messed with it enough to get cupcakes down or come up with a solid icing.  So I knew I needed something else…

Enter the Dolcetti.

My cookies are good. Very. Very. Good. But cookies are cookies.  What I wanted was something different…something special. So I took my cookie dough, altered the cooking time and temperature, and dropped smaller portions into a greased mini muffin tin.  Wowza.  Dolcetti is Italian for little sweets, and these are bite-sized pieces of perfection.  The muffin tin allows for the crunchy, golden deliciousness on two sides instead of one (since they come out as cylinders, geometrically speaking) and the new shape allows for a giant, gooey center.  It’s pretty much cookie perfection.

Dolcetti.  Gonna be huge. Pun intended.

Breakfast–Yeah yeah…nothing to see here. Move along.

Lunch–Finished up the Lupe Tortilla and roasted another sweet potato.  I caramelized some onions, sauteed some asparagus, and had a great meal.

Snack–Two Dolcetti. So so good.

Dinner–Leftover burgers from Life Group last week.  Soy-sriracha burgers and some Sweet Chili “Way Better Snacks” chips.  Awesomeness.

Exercise–After dinner we went for a walk.  About three miles, enjoying the mild weather and beautiful sunset.

Happy Easter y’all.

Have a good one.

Day 810–TGIF

One of the goofier holiday monikers has to be “Good Friday.”  The most innocent person in the history of the world was murdered in cold blood by a group of angry, confused, jealous religious zealots who couldn’t understand why love meant doing things differently than they had for hundreds of years.  We find ourselves facing the same predicament today: the command to love above all else has somehow become contradictory to what society tells us to do.  While celebrating homicide always seemed a little strange to me, without Friday there is no Sunday.  Yes, the resurrection is vitally important and worthy of observation.  Sunday is when death lost once and for all.  But Friday…today is the day our sins were forgiven. Today is the day our sacrifice was made for us.  Today is the ram, pierced and trapped, allowing us to slide off the altar we deserve to be on.

So thank God it’s Friday.  Or more accurately, thank God for Friday.

Happy Birthday Toy…it’s a pleasure and an honor to be your friend and co-laborer in Christ.

Have a good one.

Day 809–Banana Pudding

In one’s weight-loss journey, there are certain obstacles to overcome.  Many of them are expected: burnout from exercising too much or too often, boring/bland “health” food, holidays that pack on pounds painstakingly lost.  Some of them aren’t as expected…like the occasional homemade dessert that introduces itself when you weren’t planning on it.  Tonight we had the…opportunity…to volunteer at the David Phelps concert in Stafford.  I say “opportunity” with hesitance because really, Toy asked us to volunteer with him and I felt bad abandoning him to his lonesome.  Phelps has an incredible voice, and it really was amazing to see how many passionate fans he has and how his music moved them…it’s just not my style of music. At all.

During the first act tonight, Evan, Abby, and I went to the Wendy’s nearby to grab a late dinner.  I was fighting the temptation to get a Frosty for the walk back/second half, and was successful in making it out of the restaurant unscathed.  Then we walked in the doors and Cheryl Britt said those magical words: homemade banana pudding.  Instantly I was overcome with jubilation for not purchasing a crappy Frosty and wasting my money and calories on such a trifle when there was golden, puddingy goodness waiting in the bowels of the Stafford Centre.  That jubilation quickly subsided, however, when (two bowls later…) I was very VERY full.  It was delicious.  It was not nutritious.  And I would have eaten the entire tupperware had I been alone.  Banana pudding is one of my true weaknesses…lots of sliced bananas and sweetened whipped cream make it pretty much a cup/bowl/trough full of heavenly delight.

So thank you David Phelps…you got me banana pudding.  And an extra pound or two on the scale.

Worth it.

Breakfast–Apple cinnamon oatmeal.  It was a good fiber load to start the day.

Lunch–Peanut butter and strawberry-rhubarb jelly sandwiches.  To cut down on calories, I used hamburger buns rather than bread.  It was…okay.  Not a suggested substitution.

Dinner–Wendy’s.  Spicy Chicken sandwich and a large fry. (And, you know, two giant bowls of banana pudding.)

Celebrating Toy’s birthday tomorrow! Woo!

Have a good one.

Day 808–Creekside Drive

Not really any point to the title…when I was born we lived in the Dallas area at 808 Creekside Drive. It was a good house…I appreciate it housing me in my infantile and temporarily half-blind states.  After 808 days, witty blog titles are a bit harder to come by, and my stellar good-looks don’t really come through in digital type.  So this is what you get.

I didn’t get around to baking today, because I weighed myself and I’ve actually lost weight recently.  So this restart is working…didn’t want to mess it up with cookies. Or pie. Or whatever I would have come up with.  I did get to make some good stuff for dinner though.

Breakfast–Half a plum.  I was so excited because I got some good looking, ripe plums…and they tasted like air.  Literally. No taste whatsoever, some juice but nothing to write home about…I chunked it rather than finish it because it wasn’t worth the time.

Lunch–A roasted sweet potato with sauteed asparagus, leftover Lupe Tortilla fajitas, and a couple of tablespoons of salsa.  It was SO GOOD. Filling, healthy, and of course it tasted amazing.

Dinner–Some bulgur, homemade mango-tangelo salsa, and smoked pork tenderloin with a chile-lime marinade that was really REALLY spicy.  The salsa had black beans, corn, tangelo segments, mango slices, lime juice, and a little chile paste thinned out with olive oil.  A dash of chipotle powder, a good dash of salt, and deliciousness, here we come.  The marinade for the pork was made with the same chile paste–Costa Peruana Aji Panca.  It’s labelled as a “2” on their spiciness spectrum, with their hottest form coming in at an “8.”  I don’t know if the 2 concentrated down when I cooked it or what, but DANG.  The 2 packs a punch.  The 8 scares me.  It was still a great meal, but wowza.

Dessert–Handful of jellybeans.  Starburst jellybeans are a wonderful part of Easter.

Working a concert tomorrow night (woo…) and then the weekend!

Have a good one.

Day 807–That Time My Wife Bought Me Les Mis for Easter

That’s right.  Best. Wife. Ever.

Today was supposed to be a lazy day, so naturally I was woken up by Abby cleaning the house like a madwoman.  She’s not so good at lazy days. Although, in her defense, she did fall asleep at 8 pm last night, so she was well-rested.  We spent the morning cleaning, organizing, and running errands so we could do more cleaning and organizing.  Somehow, it still looks like a bomb went off in here…whoops.

Once I started running out of steam, I knew there was one more errand I had to run: Whole Foods for some produce.  I found plums, tangelos, some baby carrots, and some great bunches of asparagus.  Tangelos are freaking awesome…I don’t know why I’ve avoided them before.  They’re also really cheap at WF; 99 cents a pound for great citrus is nothing to scoff at.

So that’s pretty much the day…cleaning, organizing, citrus, and now we’re watching the aforementioned Les Miserables. Because Abby is awesome.

Breakfast–I cleaned instead of eating. Meh.

Lunch–Genghis Grill!  We had a free bowl thanks to their points program, so I was able to enjoy my beef and shrimp deliciousness in guiltless happiness.

Snack–TANGELO.

Dinner–Shell pasta with sauteed asparagus, zucchini, carrot, and chicken and apple sausage.  Really good, colorful meal.

Dessert–FroYo! I’ve been having a hankering for ice cream recently, so I indulged in a little froyo rather than my usual calorie bomb.  It was pretty good…there was some psychotic little girls’ softball team there on a fundraiser, so the atmosphere kind of sucked.  But the taste was spot on.

Tomorrow I’m going to play around in the kitchen.  I’m pumped.

Have a good one.

Day 806–Confession

What we have here is a failure to communicate.

I haven’t blogged in over a month.  That’s totally on me.  I could list excuses, like I hate blogging after soccer matches because I’m so worked up from coaching, or that my grandmother passed away and I was in Abilene for a funeral, or even that we went on a ski trip to Salida and I was internet-less for over a week.  All of these things would be true, and legitimate excuses.

But the real reason is that I’ve slacked off, I’ve regained a lot of weight, and honestly I just didn’t care.  I didn’t care about the blog, I didn’t care about the weight, I didn’t really care about any of it.  When I started this thing, it was fun.  It was cool to see the numbers drop, it was a challenge to find new exercises and stay motivated, and it was a blast to make healthy food for our meals.

I LOVE food.  Not in a “everyone likes to eat, I just like to eat more!” type of way, but I’m passionate about food.  I want a house so I can plant a garden.  I get issues of Bon Appetit and get so worked up over the recipes and ideas that it takes me a week and a half to read each magazine because I have to put it down and walk away to let my brain rest.  Since we’ve last spoken I got paid to make a cake. I GOT PAID TO DO WHAT I LOVE. Isn’t that everyone’s dream? My problem is that my dream happens to interfere with my waistline.  I had to sample three or four cake recipes to find one that I liked.  I went through a few icings to find one that fit what I was trying to do.  Couple that along with regular life, everything else that was going on (and is going on) and I just didn’t have the time to cook healthy foods.  Andrew Knowlton, whom I would love to share a meal with, just wrote in BA about the disturbing culinary trend of fat overload.  If you’ve eaten at a fine dining establishment recently, you’re at least subconsciously aware of what he’s talking about: everything has bacon or pancetta or duck fat or bone marrow or cream or heaps of butter in it. As an INGREDIENT. Butter-poached beef with duck fat fries and a “salad” with lardons is a great tasting meal, but do you realize what you just ate?

I do…I cook junk like that all the time.  My “meat drawer” in my fridge right now has bacon, two kinds of sausage, and Spanish chorizo, and most of that I use as seasoning for other foods.  This is the proper way to use meats and fats–don’t get me wrong–but when I start making black eyed peas with bacon AND sausage AND chorizo, doesn’t the vegetable lose a little something?  Like nutrition?

Mr. Knowlton pointed out something that I believe I’ve struggling with for a while, even though I didn’t know it.  I actually had a whole package of bacon in my refrigerator that WENT BAD.  I didn’t even know bacon could expire!  Even more telling, I found myself daydreaming up a dish yesterday centered around a watermelon radish. I don’t think I’ve ever even purchased a radish of any sort (unless you want to count our daikon snafu in Colorado) in my life, and yet I was craving one.  That has to be a good sign, right?

My body knows what’s up; its tired of what I’ve done.  My mind is slowly joining the ranks.  This doesn’t mean I’ll be blogging regularly again–I truly hope I do, because it keeps me accountable, but no promises–but it means for at least the foreseeable future I’ll be thinking about what I put in my body.  I’m excited about it again, I’m challenged by it again…and that’s way more than half the battle.  I’ve got over 800 days that prove that truth.

Now I just need to find some watermelon radishes.

Have a good one.