50 Shades of Don’t Bother

In recent months, I have become addicted to audiobooks.  (Thank you, Audible.com.) 

It started with my mom’s collection of the Harry Potter series on CD.  Then there was the Hunger Games trilogy.  (Which I have already listened to twice.)  Since then, I’ve added several books and an Audible subscription to my collection.  I can’t get enough of them.

I listen to them in the car.  On my lunch break.  While walking the dogs.  While trying to fall asleep at night.  (It’s like having someone read you a bedtime story!)  I am hooked.  I haven’t listened to a single book that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy.

Recently, I became curious about the Fifty Shades of Grey series.  I figured I’d use a credit and give book one a shot.

To quote a favorite movie of mine?  Big mistake.  HUGE mistake.

Oh my gosh, this book is awful.  Not only does the reader sound like some sort of teenage cheerleader-bimbo, but the writing is atrocious.  Someone really needs to give the author a thesaurus. 

I cannot recommend highly enough that you avoid this book.  If you must read it, but the paperback—on sale.


Stubby Carrots

This is what happens when you thin your carrots too late.  They look like giant thumbs!  (But they still taste wonderfully sweet!)  I am looking forward to planting our next crop in August–and getting it right this time!


I'm still proud of my little guys, though… after all, they started out like this:

Carrot sprouts

I think I'm going to go back to the mixed carrots in the Fall–I like plain old orange just fine, but I love the surprise of the mix! (These were last Spring's carrots.)


Weight Watching


On Friday morning, Catch and I started Weight Watchers together.  We weighed in on our scale at home, added it into the Weight Watchers web site, and started tracking.

I tracked the heck out of every last bite this weekend.  It feels good to be held accountable.

My first goal is just 5% of my body weight.  I am going to give myself until July 20th to reach that goal, which seems like more than enough time, but we will be on a cruise for a week in between—so we’ll see.

This is not our first foray into the world of Weight Watchers.  We both lost over 50 lbs several years ago, but have since gained a good chunk back.  We were doing so well and then we just lost all of our steam.  I’m ready to find that momentum again.

I’m hoping to start posting about our adventures in healthy cooking and our attempts at physical activity here as our journey progresses.  I absolutely hate exercise (hence my waistline), but Catch doesn’t mind working out, so at least I have her to nag/support me.  I’m starting small with walks, and we’ll see where that leads us. 

There’s no turning back, now.


Father’s Day

It's Father's Day.

Despite the tumultuous relationship I've had with my father throughout my life, I have tried very hard in my adult years to just let it go. Life is short, right? I love my father. It's unconditional. He will always be my father, and I will always be his daughter, and so I spent my twenties (and a lot of money in therapy) coming to terms with his shortcomings.

I thought I was in pretty good shape.

And then this glorious Hallmark holiday rolls around. I am sitting at a restaurant with my dad and my brother–taking them out after a movie–and I get a call from my mother.

The news is not good. He has let us down again. In a major way. I mumble some noncommittal words into the phone and hang up. I look over at my brother. He is happy–munching on buffalo wings as he and our father catch snippets of golf on the big TV.

What can I do? I don't want to ruin my brother's day, so I put a smile back on my face and struggle through another hour of cards and gifts and bonding when all I really want to do is cry.

At 31, I should be used to this sort of thing. I should be used to his lies and let downs. Every time, I think it will get easier–easier to live with–easier to understand–easier to overcome. Every time, I am proven wrong.

I am so, so tired of being wrong. Just once, I would like to see the good in him and be right.

Garden Love

I have been waiting and waiting for this particular tomato to start ripening.  Looks like we've finally had enough warm weather!

Giant Tomato

Our carrots are getting bigger by the day and they are so sweet.  Last night, Rolo sat in front of the barrel they're in and whined and whined.  He LOVES carrots.


I've been collecting recipes for stuffed poblano peppers on my dinner recipes board on Pinterest and I can't wait to try some of them.  Our Poblanos are coming along beautifully.


It's been a long week, so it was nice to sit outside with a bottle of wine (from Palumbo Family Vineyards in Temecula–we're wine club members–LOVE them) and relax for a while.  

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If only we could fast forward to the weekend–I am ready for some R & R!

Got Zucchini?

Our zucchini plants this year are seriously mediocre.  It's something with the soil, I think.  Usually I end up with more than I could ever possibly use, but I'm actually buying it at the store this year.  So sad.  

BUT, for those of you with too much zucchini, I offer you this simple side dish.  I whipped it up a few nights ago, and I seriously recommend it.


Zucchini on the Grill

  • 2 zucchini, halved lengthwise and chopped in 1/2" pieces
  • 1/2 of a red onion roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp. Herbes de Provence
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped (or two cubes of the fantastic frozen stuff from Trader Joe's)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Add all of your ingredients into a mixing bowl and toss well.  Fire up your grill to medium heat.  Dump the contents of your mixing bowl into a grill basket and grill your veggies for 5-7 minutes, or until done. 

Easiest side dish ever. Very flexible, too.  You could add cherry tomatoes, yellow squash, or whatever your heart desires.


Garden Fresh

Is there anything better than summer produce?  

Last night, I made a caramelized onion pizza with fresh tomatoes (not from our garden just yet–a few more weeks and we'll be swimming in them!) and basil from our garden.  We cooked it on a pizza stone outside on the grill.  One word: YUM.

I also chopped up a couple of our lemon cucumbers, sprinkled them with crushed red pepper flakes and a bit of thinly sliced red onion and then doused it in seasoned rice vinegar.  It will be perfectly marinated by the time my lunch hour rolls around today.  Can't wait!





Swimming Fool

While walking the hounds a few weeks ago, we ran into a man on the street who was enamored with the dogs.  He said his mom had a basset hound years ago and he always thought he'd get one someday, but hasn't because they can't swim.

To him, I say:

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Guilt Free Chocolate

Need I say more?

I originally read about this here and saved it in Google Reader so I could find it again because it definitely seemed like something I'd want to find again!  Then, we had a barbeque a few weeks ago with some neighbors, and one of our neighbors had made the same recipe–except she served hers in a pie crust.  It's that flexible.  Love it.

All you need is a box of Jello sugar free chocolate pudding, 2 cups of fat free milk, and a container of Cool Whip Free.


Prepare the pudding as directed, fold in 3/4 of the container of cool whip, chill and serve with a dollop of the remaining cool whip.  We added a bit of extra chocolate to ours.  I just melted some chocolate chips in the microwave, spread the melted chocolate onto some parchment paper and then refrigerated until we were ready for dessert.  Then I chopped it up into little bits and sprinkled on top.


In the end, you have a dessert worthy of company… or a Sunday night watching movies on the couch.


New Camera Bag

It's been a while since I've used my camera for much of anything.  I have a Nikon d5100, and it's heavy and difficult to carry.  I'm always nervous that I'll break it, so I rarely carry it with me.

This is where my most excellent wife enters the equation. My birthday was last week, and she surprised me with a beautiful new Kelly Moore bag.


I am in love with this bag.  It holds EVERYTHING.  I've been carrying my camera, two lenses, ipad, wallet, gigantic eyeglass case, wallet, keys, phone, headphones, lipstick, etc. and it all fits.  All of the little pockets and pouches are fantastic.


I can't wait to take a road trip with this thing.  It will so simplify the purse/camera bag juggling act I've been doing.