Suck it IRS

I was going through the mail yesterday and Tony and I each got a notice from the IRS.  Um, never a good sign, right?  So I opened it.  Apparently they reviewed our 2009 return and found a credit that was erroneously applied to our account.  We owe them $45.  Fine.

The penalty to pay late?  .26 cents.  Still okay.  The interest charge from 2009 to date?   $95.04!  So they want us to pay $140.30 by December 19.  I am telling them to suck it and appealing it – I truly hate the IRS and if they had balls I’d like to kick them there.  Okay, whew, glad I got that out of my system. 😀

I had another hash for breakfast, this time with the leftover kielbasa from our red beans and rice from the night before – this time with egg, spinach and red pepper – my camera was fully charged too!  On the side was half a banana and a few pecans. Gosh I love pecans – especially eating pecan on top of the slided banana. 😀  Breakfast comes in at 405 calories, 29 fat, 21 carbs, 4 fiber and 15 protein.

I loved my work day yesterday – I had my checklist of things to accomplish, and slowly but surely crossed some of them off my list.  My desk doesn’t look like a disaster anymore and I hope to catch up on my filing by the end of the week.  No interruptions!

For lunch I had chili mac – I had two servings of Paleo Chili in my freezer so I brought one to be served over tofu noodles – I know, not quite Paleo but I love these things – a whole package is only 40 calories too.  Some people think they stink – just rinse them well, cook them in the microwave for 1:30 seconds, then rinse them again – my lunch comes in at 388 calories, 24 fat, 15 carbs, 6.2 fiber and 27 protein.

I had pork on the menu, but was wonderding what side dish I should make and remembered I had zucchini.  I decided to attempt another (almost) Paleo zucchini pancake as our side dish.  The texture was much better!

Zucchini Carrot Pancakes  (made 8 – 1/2 a serving is 156 calories, 5.4 fat, 17 carbs, 3.3 fiber and 9.9 protein)

  • 3 small zucchini, shredded
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs (to bind)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 large eggs
  • salt and pepper
  • oil of choice to pan fry (I used about 2 teaspoons olive oil)

Shred the zucchini and carrots.  Put in two layers of paper towel and squeeze as much moisture out as you can.  Add to bowl and mix with remaining ingredients.  Heat 1 teaspoon oil in skillet over medium heat – cook for 2-3 minutes a side.  Keep in a 225 degree oven to keep warm.

Dinner comes in at 356 calories, 7 fat, 298 carbs, 5 fiber and 47 protein.

Stats for Tuesday:

  • 1313 calories, 75 fat, 72 carbs, 18 fiber and 97 protein
  • 35 WW points (based on total calories, which includes fruit)
  • no exercise
  • average blood sugar – 139

Just curious who opens the mail in your house?  My answer is:  ME.  I’ve always been in charge of the mail since Tony and I got together. 😀

Have a great day!

My Work Is Done!

Trying to come up with a Paleo diet with foods I have on hand is a bit of a challenge.  Unfortunately right before I was going to take a picture of my breakfast, I realized I put my camera in my camera bag in the “on” position.  Dead as a doornail.  Luckily I had my charger with me and it fully charged by lunch. 😀

Breakfast was leftover pork from Thanksgiving hash with an egg, egg white, baby spinach and roasted peppers, with kiwi and grapes on the side.  Breakfast came in at only 257 caloires, 9 fat, 9 carbs, 1.5 fiber and 30 protein.  It looked kinda like this, except without potatoes!  (Thanks Google images!)

I was still working at a frantic pace to get everything done.  I had to ship all the documents my boss would need for trial.  I normally call Tony at 11:30 every morning to say hello and chat.  I thought, “I’ll call Tony in about 10 minutes” until I looked at my clock and it was already 12:15!

I made a chicken taco salad – baby spinach, lettuce, 4 oz. chicken, diced red pepper and carrot with a salsa/ranch dressing.  Lunch comes in at 350 calories, 12 fat, 16 carbs, 4 fiber and 40 grams of protein.

And by 6:15, this is what I accomplished:

It was actually 12 bankers boxes of documents, the last two boxes were in my trunk.  Somehow I thought I’d be able to put all 12 boxes on the cart and actually move it – not!

I am like that though – I try to bring in all the groceries at once.  It reminded me of when I was in high school.  I got a job at a restaurant as a bus girl.  The manager told me he never hired any bus girls because they weren’t strong enough to carry the trays of dishes back to the kitchen.

These were big oval trays and one of the first tables I cleared was an 8 top.  I just kept stacking the plates, silverware, glasses – everything.  I even took the tablecloth off so that I could come back and start resetting the table.  Only one thing.  I could barely lift the tray.  I could see my manager walk by and I thought to myself “there is no fricken way I am not carrying this tray to the kitchen!”  It took me about 10 minutes to lift it up, balance it and get it into the kitchen.

I had two things going for me – one was that I was in a side room that was closest to the kitchen.  Second was that there were no dishes stacked once I got in the kitchen and I just b a r e l y made it in the kitchen before I thought my arms were going to give out.  Not a broken dish!

I walked back into the room with a fresh tablecloth and silverware and start resetting the table.  A customer, who unknown to me had witnessed my feat of strength, walked over and said “hey kid, great job” and shook my hand.  He walked away and I looked into my hand and there was $100 bill!  I wonder if my sister remembers that story.

So my first thought is since I was coming home late, I would just pick up some grilled chicken from KFC, but Tony took dinner into his own hands – he fixed Zataran’s red beans and rice with kielbasa – I added chopped baby spinach to mine – as well as some chopped peppers Tony brought home for me – they are pickled cherry peppers stuffed with proscuitto and a tiny piece of cheese – so good!

Dinner comes in at 370 calories, 16 fat, 43 carbs, 5 fiber and 15 protein.

I realized after dinner after putting my food into, that I had only had just over 1000 calories for the day, so I had a nightime (unpictured) snack of a fuji apple, 1 oz. of cheese and 1/2 an ounce of pecans.  My snack and half an ounce of almonds eaten during my workday come in at 365 calories, 28 fat, 22 carbs, 5 fiber and 11 protein.

After packing boxes, running around like a maniac at work, and putting the boxes in my car then into Fed Ex, I was spent.  I did not officially work out yesterday although my body is telling me otherwise this morning. 😀

Stats for Monday

  • 1342 calories, 66 fat, 91 carbs, 16.4 fiber and 97 protein
  • 34 WW points
  • average blood sugar – 132

It was funny because when I dropped the Fed Ex boxes off the woman was like “you’ve been busy today!”  I explained that they were my bosses trial materials, and she said “must be some murder charge!”  I just thought it was funny that she assumed a trial automatically was a murder trial!  Um, we do insurance defense, not so glamorous!

Alright, I am off to see if I have Paleo chili leftover in my fridge for lunch and I plan on spending the first half of my day cleaning off my desk – I’ve neglected some tasks over the past few weeks and the piles on my desk kinda grew!  Make it a great day! 😀

The Zero Scale Weigh In

When I first signed up for this six week exercise and Paleo diet program, I had every intention of giving it 110%.  My first week I did great, followed the program, skipped with wine, ate well.

But then life got in the way.  Being away for my Mom’s surgery, longer hours at work = less time to meal plan and exercise.  So after 22 days I have this to show for it:

According to WW, I am down 3.4 in the same time frame, but that weigh in is on Saturdays and the Zero Scale WI is on Mondays.  I have to apologize to the company that sent me the scale, but I need to eat up the food we have in the house before I meal plan again – I would say this week my meals will be about 75% Paleo.

But the company wants you to get this scale at a discount!

Specifically, we just wanted to ensure you received the discount code Rich shared last week that allows your readers to receive 15% off their purchase of The Zero Scale by entering “zero” at checkout at

I still love the concept of the scale – to not concentrate so much on the exact number on the scale – here’s hoping after today I’ll hit the gym hard.  Today is the last day I have to get everything together for my boss who leaves tomorrow for a trial.  Hopefully then I’ll be able to breathe again!

Happy Monday everyone – hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend!

2011 Holiday Challenge Update and I was Bizzy in my Momma’s Kitchen!

Yep, you read that right – my Momma came home from the hospital yesterday!  Hannah was already there, and I called to tell her I was on my way to the hospital and she said “I am putting Nana in the car right now to bring her home!”

So happy – as anyone knows who has spent any time in a hospital, you get no rest and it seemed every time my Mom would fall asleep someone needed to wake her up for one reason or another.

I made my Mom a sasuage and spinach lasagna to have later in the week when she has more of an appetite.  What I knew she could have right away though was soup!  I don’t really have recipes for these soups because I make them pretty often and just throw everything in the pool and taste as I go along.

The first soup I made was turkey soup with rice.  I never cook the rice in the soup – I cook it on the side and add it when I take the soup off the heat.  I used a smoked turkey breast for the stock – you could really taste the smokey flavor.  And since my Mom loves onions in her soup, I obliged being the good daughter that I am. 😀

The  secret to my potato soup is that I start out with 2 tablespoons of butter and flour, cook that together for a minute, then slowly add three cans of chicken stock – the base is super thick that way.  About 10 minutes after I start the base I add the potatoes, carrots and onions, and at the end add 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of cheddar cheese.

My mom ate a bowl of turkey rice soup for lunch and a bowl of potato soup for dinner. 😀  She also slept for a couple hours.  While Hannah went to pick up her medications, I scanned through my Mom’s cookbooks.  I ended up making chocolate chip oatmeal cookies.  Funny thing was that the recipe said it would yield 40 cookies.  Um, I got 16!

So I guess I made mine a bit too big!

I had forgotten that my Mom used to make chocolate covered cherries every year for Christmas.  She’d make them in November and they would sit for a few weeks before they were ready – when they were you would just bite into it and a sugary sweet syrup would burst in your mouth.

And I don’t ever remember my Dad making this recipe, but I was just talking about making short rib lettuce wraps – I may need to make this one!  Seems like it makes a lot too!

So how are my 2011 Holiday Challengers doing?  Did you survive Thanksgiving Day?  I was down 1.8, and revised my goal to lost a total of 20 pounds by December 31, so that’s 5.6 pounds in five weeks – totally doable!

Can’t wait to get back in the gym this week – I actually have to work today and tomorrow is going to be crazy busy, then hopefully things at work will get back to a more normal pace.  It’s cold and icky outside, so I guess it isn’t too bad I’ll be stuck in an office all day.

Hope you have a great Sunday!


Weekly WI and Go See the Muppet Movie!

I had a gift card – spend $35 dollars and get $25 off at Nozumi in South Barrington.  We went there for lunch, only to find out that our coupon was good only for dinner.  Rats!  But we’ve never been disappointed so we stayed.

I’ve never had Sapporo beer on tap before – it was so good!

I got the short rib lettuce wraps again – I want to buy short ribs to see if I can make them at home – they are tender and flavorful.

For my lunch I got the Garden bento box – I probably only ate 3/4 of it I was so full.

And I stole a piece of Tony’s sushi:

Afterwards we went to see the Muppet Movie – so good!  It brought back so many memories of watching it growing up – like Shelley, I was literally smiling through the whole movie!

So I knew I had to go to Weight Watchers and weigh in.  Even though I haven’t been counting points or trying any new Paleo diet meals, I haven’t really eaten all that bad.  The exercise has been non-existent, so I was hoping to just maintain.

-1.8!  I’ll take it!  So my goal was to get down to 150 before the end of the year – pretty sure that’s not going to happen, so my goal is to lose 5.6 pounds before the end of the year, so I’ll have an even 20 pound loss to start the new year.  I think that’s possible!

My Mom is feeling much better – she may even come home today!  I am going to head out there in a little bit to hang with her and Hannah who’s already there.

Have a great Saturday!

Black Friday

My Mom and I once, and only once, got up at like 3:30 in the morning about 15 years ago to get to Best Buy to buy me my first computer.  If I remember correctly the sale price was around $500, which was cheap back then, and each store only guaranteed 10 computers per store.

We waited in line for probably three hours before the doors opened.  And then we see a guy park his car and walk right in the front door without even questioning the long line of people to his left!  We knew where the computer department was and I remember running, not because I was that excited about possibly getting my own computer, but everyone around me was running so it was run or get run over.

In the end, we did get the computer, but we both vowed we would never do it again.  Even after telling Hannah this story, this did not deter her.  We have a 24 hour Wal-Mart, but they had great sales starting at 10:00 p.m.  So Hannah get her shopping face on and left around 9:45.

I guess she got back home around midnight – she said people were pretty crazy, and they changed the location of things, so DVD’s that she wanted were in the garden dept.  One of the things she was trying to get for me was a small electric chopper – sometimes there are times when I don’t need to drag out my heavy food processor.  Just as she was about to reach for one, a woman takes her arm and scoops all 20 into her basket.  So crazy!  In the end she said it was worth it, she got some other things. 😀

We had a wonderful, laid back Thanksgiving yesterday.  Usually I try to make really complicated dishes that take days to prepare in advance.  This year not only did I not have time, but my energy was tapped out.  I didn’t even start to cook anything for thanksgiving dinner until 10:00 a.m. yesterday!

On our menu?

  • smoked turkey breast with a spicy rub
  • pork loin with lemons
  • tater tot casserole (Hannah makes it every year – its amazing!)
  • mashed potatoes
  • sausage stuffing
  • gravy
  • cheddar drop biscuits
  • pecan pie
  • pumpkin pie

For the turkey I made this dry rub:

  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1.5 teaspoons onion powder (left out because we hate onions!)
  • 1.5 teaspoons celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

I only used about 1/4 of the dry rub because our turkey breast was only 4 1/2 pounds.  We smoked it with hickory wood chips – and we also used the water pan so it steamed and cooked the turkey at the same time.  The smoker is low and slow – it took about 3 hours to cook, the last half hour I removed the water pan.  It was so tender and juicy!

Then we did a ham/pork on the gas grill with lemons, salt and pepper.  I threw out the wrapper, not exactly what cut this is, but it really tasted more like a pork roast then a traditional ham – still very tasty – and only $8 for this whole thing!

But I have to tell you, even though we had all this delicious food on the table, what I really wanted was . . . PIE!  I found these little non-stick pie pans at a thrift store.  I only had 3 so I had to make two batches, but they came right out of the pans.

Wanna know the secret to my pie crust??  BUTTER!

Best Pie Crust – enough for two 9 inch pies or 8 mini pies

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons half and half
  • 3/4 cups butter (1 1/2 sticks!)
  • 1/4 cup ice cold water (plus up to 4 tablespoons depending on how it feels)

I put the flour and salt on a big mat.  Make a well in the center and then add the cream.

Then using my bench scraper, I bring the flour into the middle and run the sharp edge of the bench scraper back and forth breaking up the pieces of butter – then slowly add the water and keep cutting the water and flour together – this process takes about 10 minutes, but its worth it.  Then I dump the mixture into a bowl – you know its the right consistency when the dough holds together and isn’t crumbly or too wet.

I made the traditional Libby’s pumpkin pie recipe.  I should have halved the recipe because now I have a huge jar of pumpkin pie filling!  I’ll have to be creative with that leftover! 😀

Fill the pies and for the pumpkin, I baked at 425 for 15 minutes, reduced the heat to 350 and cooked another 20 minutes, or until the middle is set.

Doesn’t that look so cute??  For the pecan pies, I baked at 350 for 30 minutes.

Tony said that I should never buy refrigerated dough again – this one is the best!  So we had six people at our Thanksgiving table, each person got half a pumpkin and half a pecan pie.  The best part though?  No leftover pie!  We had our indulgence and are moving on.

I would say our theme for the day yesterday was simple and low key – and it was wonderful!  Just missed having my Momma at our table. 😦

Hannah is going to be spending the day with my Mom today – I will go tomorrow in the hopes that’s the day she gets to go home.  I have a few projects I want to do this weekend – first is going through the 1,000s of pictures on my computer that I need to delete, and laundry needs to get done.

I think we are going out to lunch today and going to see the Muppets – is anyone else going to see that movie?  My Dad loved that show and we watched it every Sunday night growing up.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  I plan on going to WW tomorrow since I missed last week.  My goal is that I maintained since exercise was not in the picture this week!

Happy Thanksgiving!

After only having a few hours of sleep the night before last, and working non-stop yesterday at work, I think I crashed at about 9:30 last night and slept 12 hours straight – nice!

Luckily I only have my SIL, nephew and grand-nephew coming over and my menu is pretty simple.  I still need to make my mini pumpkin and pecan pies, and we are griling a turkey breast and smoking a ham.  Simple and delicious!

I thought I’d share some pictures I’ve taken the last couple days.  When I spent the night at my Mom’s house on Monday, I drank my coffee out of this cup – Hannah is four and my nephew Paul is probably six or eight months old?

The morning of my Mom’s surgery we shopped for a night gown in case my Mom preferred wearing that over a hospital gown – I told her she should have bought this one because my Mom has 2 cats, and the night shirt says “Cat-titude.” 😀

And we had time to stop by my twin sisters office and say hello!

Then it was time to get my Mom to the pre-op room at the hospital – they have these new gowns that are insulated and when she was laying down they had a hose that connected to it that blew warm air over your body – she was never cold. 😀

By the time they took her to surgery on Tuesday it was nearly 2:45 before I ate lunch.  She couldn’t eat so I didn’t want to eat in front of her – I had brought a protein box from Starbuck’s – it was perfect: hard boiled egg, multi-grain crackers, Justin’s peanut butter, grapes and a piece of cheese.

I ate my lunch at the 24 hour Au Bon Pain at the hospital and watched the traffic head to Chicago:

Then once she was in the recovery room, I got hungry again – this time I got a soup at Au Bon Pain – and one that I am going to try to recreate.  Although when I make this over, I will add a bit of chipotle pepper because it was just a tad on the sweet side for me, the pepper helped – kobacha squash and pumpkin soup.  I instantly thought of Maggie when I saw kobacha squash!

I spent the night with my Mom – glad I did.  I fed her ice chips, kept a cool cloth on her head, etc.  Even though she had a morphine drip, she was still pretty uncomfortable – but she slept!

Since I had to work yesterday, my sister spent the afternoon and evening with her – by the end of the day she’s gone to the bathroom by herself, sat in a chair and made six laps around the hospital floor – not even surgery is going to slow my Momma down!  I promised to save her some turkey and pie. 😀

Yesterday’s lunch was also bought at Au Bon Pain.

In the midst of me scanning documents, putting exhibit binders together, Tony emailed me and said “don’t worry, I am making dinner tonight.”  Music to my ears!

Guess what he made me??

Steamed mussels in a spicy tomato broth over angel hair pasta.  He bought 2 pounds of mussels and I thought “there is no way I am going to eat all that!”  But I did! 😀  Thanks Tony!


HAPPY THANKSGIVING!  What are you thankful for this year?