She's Got Words

December 29, 2012

Combo-Mac-n-Cheese

Filed under: food & drink,health & wellness — Gigi @ 5:34 pm

I’m dyin’, y’all.  Seriously, it is bad.  I’ve been starved for a good mac-n-cheese recipe since I left Atlanta and P’cheen is no longer in my backyard.  It doesn’t help that every time I make mac-n-cheese tiny man sticks his tongue out at it ’cause it isn’t as orange, and “watery” as he prefers.  *cue my gag reflex and eye rolling here*

I get it– no, really, I do.  I fully understand that if a kid is exposed to only one type of a food, especially one filled with artificial flavours, dyes, and preservatives it is nearly impossible to steer them into a love affair with something homemade, and good for them; well, as good for you as gooey, cheesy-covered noodles can be.  We even had this argument over grilled cheese the other day.  His claim that I never make “good grilled cheese with the orange, wrapper cheese” hit me right in the stomach- especially since I had just lovingly hand crafted for him an amazing, mouth watering grilled cheese with the most mild cheese I had on hand.  A sandwich he swore he would eat and enjoy.  A sandwich made with the last two piece of bread in the entire house which denied me my very own delectable cheesy goodness.  Let me tell y’all, I had to leave the table for a few minutes for a break after his admission.  I was that hurt.  Even so, I still get it.  So how do I fix it?  

I’m not gonna give up.  I will do whatever I can, within my power, to find the perfect combo-mac-n-cheese there is.  In short: it has to be wholesome, with whole grain noodles, but not chewy plastic-y noodles one often finds with whole grain.  It must be gooey and creamy, but not made so by velveeta or some other processed crap.  And most importantly, it must be soul-satisfying without leaving me feeling like I need to spend a week in the gym to stem the flow of cheese heading straight for my butt-cheeks.  I’ve scoured the interwebs looking for the perfect blend, but I have to say there isn’t much out there.  With this being the case, I’ve taken it upon myself to engineer my own combo-mac-n-cheese from bits and pieces of other recipes that I’ve had former success with in hopes that I’ll stumble upon some hodgepodge of perfection.  So hike up your girdles, girls, this is about the get serious.  

mcncheeseVersion numba 1 of Combo-Mac-n-Cheese

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs
  • 3 cups skim milk, hot but not boiling
  • 1.5 cup low/no sodium chicken stock, hot but not boiling
  • 5 tbsp AP Flour
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 16oz low fat/skim mild cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 cups whole wheat elbow noodles
  • Worcestershire to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • nutmeg to taste
  • cooking spray for pan

Set the oven to 375°.  Bring pasta to boil in salted water until cooked just under al dente.  You want the pasta to be soft on the outside, but still firm on the inside.  Generally boiling for ~3-4 minutes less than the directions achieves the desired consistency.  Once pasta is cooked, drain it in a colander and rinse under cold tap water. Allow to drain completely while building the sauce.
In a medium sauce pan heat the butter till melted and bubbly.  Add the flour to the butter and whisk for about a minute or so, till the paste is cooked through.  Gradually pour, in a steady stream, the hot milk/chicken stock mix into the paste while whisking the mixture.  Continue to cook and whisk until the sauce bubbles and thickens.
Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in cheese, Worcestershire, salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Remember your pasta has cooked in salted water, so not much salt will be needed in the sauce.  Your cheese sauce should be the consistency of sweetened condensed milk.  If you want to get a little creative, add some powdered garlic, powdered onion or cayenne to your sauce at this time to give your mac-n-cheese a bit of a kick.
Mix the pasta and sauce into a casserole dish and sprinkle the bread crumbs on top.  Bake for 20 minutes or until the top is golden, the sauce is bubbly and the noodles have completed their cooking.

April 13, 2012

A Mani/Pedi & Easter Candy

Filed under: health & wellness,me, myself & i — Gigi @ 1:32 pm

Since I’ve yet to find a suitable nail salon here in Fargo; one that provides both good customer service and quality nail services at a reasonable price, I have resorted to saving my pennies by doing the work myself.  In all honesty I’m pretty picky about how my nails are done, so I have to be fair here and admit I’ll probably never find a salon to make me happy.  Plus the ritual of doing my own nails is a very cathartic and rewarding experience, and who doesn’t like collecting all those fun and interesting polish shades?

So off I trotted last night to find a new fun polish and to replenish my dwindling spa supplies.  After a good ten minutes of debating the perfect shade of gold and silver (I’m going for the ‘molten look’ here, thanks to Sarah P and her silver nails last Friday) I grabbed my other items and headed off to the discount candy isle for a little treat.  I’ve been really good about watching my caloric intake lately and getting a good amount of exercise in each day, so I wanted a little something to reward myself.  I firmly believe that giving yourself little, reasonable, rewards for good behaviour is a great way to continue your motivation and progress.  No one wants to continue a behaviour if there’s no short term reward, right?

Before I even rounded the corner of the candy isle, I prepared myself mentally for the plethora of sugary goodness available.  I made a firm pact that I could have one treat under 110kcals, even though I still had 230kcals for the day to spend.  I headed past the chocolate bunnies and the jelly beans and went straight for the filled chocolate eggs.  I knew there was no way in hell my true desire, a Cadbury egg, would have fewer than one zillion calories, so I was on a hunt for a compromise egg; one with that wonderful chocolate shell and a suitable alternative creamy center.

Peanut butter cream eggs wouldn’t do, flavoured marshmallow fluff eggs couldn’t suit me, either.  I wanted something perfectly chocolatey, perfectly creamy and perfectly gooey all in one.  Finally I found it:  a Russell Stovers chocolate covered marshmallow egg with a caramel center.  I was skeptical, though.  All the other eggs I’d been looking at were 200+kcals per egg- I just knew this perfect little egg would blast away my limit completely.  I scanned the little egg into my calorie counter app on my phone and was shocked and happily surprised to find not only was the egg a mere 110kcals, but the fat content was just 3g!  Happily, I scooped up my little treasure and headed to the cash stand.

The clerk greeted me and made idle small talk about the weather outside until he went to ring up my chocolate egg.

“Wow, after all that time standing there in front of all that candy, all you are getting is this little egg?”

“Well, yes. Anything more I’d have to it work off and I’ve already worked out enough today.”

“Awe, well, working out is overrated and candy tastes so good.”

“Yes, it does, but it still isn’t worth the cellulite. Have a nice night!”

“Yeah you, too.”

A treat is a treat, ya know?  I have worked too hard to get what little success I’ve achieved so far and no amount of chocolate satisfaction is worth losing that success.  I’ll indulge a bit here and there, but gorging myself on Easter candy is not gonna happen.  

Now how I savour and enjoy that little egg when I get home… now that is the real treat.  *cheesy grin*  

April 4, 2012

Somebody That I Used to Know

Filed under: health & wellness — Gigi @ 1:36 pm

Now that I’ve evoked images of a naked Gotye and Kimbra screaming at each other while covered in paint, I have to say that song is very poignant for me right now, but for reasons that are not related to this post.  I’ll try not to digress in the very first paragraph; instead I’ll direct you to what I first thought when I saw that video– Kimbra’s back.  

Long, lean, nary a fold or tuck of skin in sight.  Now mind you, Kimbra is a mere child at barely 22, but I can remember a time when my back actually looked like that.  Hell, I can remember a time when I still thought my back looked like that, just a scant 5 days ago.  You see my reality was completely shattered last weekend when I happened to catch a glimpse of myself in the small mirror across from the larger one in our bathroom.  

There, caught between the reflections, was my mother’s naked back fat.  I was so horrified that I locked the door to the bathroom and cried for twenty minutes while the boys were out walking the dog.  The only thing that pulled me off the floor and stopped my sobbing was the reality that if the hubs caught me in such a state it would send the house into an unnecessary tailspin and that I was wasting water.  I pulled myself up, forced myself to shower and only confessed the situation to my loving and accepting husband while laying in bed later that night.  

Now, for those of you who’ve yet to have the pleasure of meeting my ‘mamma’ I will say this:  NO ONE calls her fat in front of me.  Granted, my mother is 5 by 5 and wheezes like a tea kettle when she walks from the kitchen to the bathroom, but she’s MY mamma and you better be respectful.  She and I have been round and round about her health, and at this point I’ve thrown my hands up in defeat.  It is her responsiblity to take care of herself, not her child’s.  I can’t force her, from 1,500 miles away, to take her meds and check her blood sugar, or to stop drinking sodas and get more exercise.  I’ve come to grips with the fact that I may very well lose my mamma by the time I’m 40.  Knowing this won’t make losing her hurt any less, but at least I’ll be some what prepared for this inevitability by her lack of action to take care of her body.  

Even so, when I saw my mother’s back fat trapped in my own reflection Saturday morning, I couldn’t help but feel a tad bit hypocritical.  OK a lot hypocritical, and for that I am formally apologizing to my mother right here and now.  See, mamma, it’s in print: I’m sorry for nagging you all these years about your health while I’ve let my own fall to the wayside.  

As I said on facebook today, I am getting ready to do something very brave here.  No, callin’ my mamma fat on the interwebs is not what I meant, although I’m sure she will have a few choice words for me when I hear from her this afternoon.  No, in my “back fat counter strike” efforts I am about to show my back fat to the world.  Yep, you read that right: photographic evidence posted for the world to see of my nekkid back in all its folded and fatty glory.  

Up until Saturday morning, even though I know I’m not at my prize-fighting weight, I had this grand delusion that at least my back was still sexy.  That when I happened to be viewed from the rear my *ahem* assets were still trim and fit; that only from the front could my love of all things fried and yummy be seen.  But this reality has been shattered.  Gone is the illusion that my body has any resemblance to what it once was.  I have officially let myself go.  

I remember 6 years go sitting in my living room posing for a nude self portrait to prove to myself how fat I was getting.  I remember shuttering at the image that popped up on the little screen when I saw how much my waist had grown and how much my hips had blossomed.  Now when I look at that picture I think of how very beautiful I was then and how far I’ve let myself go.  (please note I not calling myself ugly…I’m just making a comparison of body shapes- then and now)  

Point of fact: Now I’m not saying I’m fat, y’all.  I’m not saying I’m obese either, but I am saying who I am now is not who I want to be and if I’m gonna ever be who I want to be I have to get a handle on things now!  My mother was once an aerobics instructor and was barely 100 pounds soaking wet at one point in her life, but somewhere along the way something slipped and here she is having to powder her thighs to keep them dry and “unchafed”.   At least my mother had the excuse most women my age have- she had a baby, but even so she lost a great deal of weight after I was born and got back down to a very healthy size before she somehow lost the battle later on.  I have no excuse.  There is no reason to have been so lazy that I’ve allowed 20 pounds to creep up on me in 6 years.

On my wedding day I weighed 140 pounds at 5 feet 3 inches tall.  The hubs doesn’t know this because he wasn’t there when I happened to see the scale in the restroom of the beauty shop while I was getting my hair done.  He didn’t see the abject horror that erupted on my face as I watched those numbers continue to spin well above my personal perception.  He had no idea that on what was supposed to be my perfect day that I was crying inside at how bad things had gotten.  On that beach, that day, I didn’t just vow to love him forever, but I vowed to become a person we would both be proud of.  

It has been a little over a month and a half since that fateful day. Even though I know I have lost a great deal of weight in that time, due to walking and eating less, my back fat discovery this weekend is just proof positive that I can’t become complacent.  I have to keep shocking myself back into reality and always remember it only takes a little slip to fall.  

So, ready for some shock and awe?  

August 2006 pre back fat weighing in at around 120ish pounds.  

April 2012 current back fat weighing in at 132.5 pounds

I can no longer be ashamed of this, cause this is who I currently am.  I need to accept what I am right now and make the strides necessary to change if I feel it is so important.  I can no longer harp on my mamma for being unhealthy if I am heading down the exact same path she’s trotted down.  This photo is now my phone’s screen saver.  Every time I see it, I am reminded of somebody that I used to know and forgot so long ago: me.  I want to meet that person again and enjoy my life as her once more.  Sure, she’s not gonna be the same as she was, but I’m hoping that she’ll be even better with a little hard work.  Ultimately I want to slip into a pair of jeans and not feel like a bloated cow in the sun.  I want to go shopping for cute clothes without having to strategically minimize all the curves that go the wrong way.  I don’t need plastic surgery.  I don’t need a “cure”, I just need to nip it all in the bud and get off the couch.  

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