Thursday, November 24, 2011

Gobble It Up: Southern-style Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake

For as long as I can remember I've had this undying need to create some sort of showstopper dessert for each holiday. There is nothing, I repeat no-thing, that gets me more fired up than seeing some ridiculous themed dessert on the cover of a magazine that requires far more skill than I actually have, and deciding that will be my holiday, baking "Everest" for the season.

Like I said, this goes back as long as I can remember, starting with the Fourth of July, triple tier, Jell-O jigglers, cake. I must've been somewhere between ten and 12 years old when I spotted this beauty on the cover of some ladies mag. I made the thing two or three times before I was finally able to get the tiers to stand majestic like our Lady of Liberty (as opposed to the previous Leaning Tower of Pisa versions) and to get the scratch made icing thick enough to keep those Jell-O stars from sliding down the sides. FYI - I just googled hard for about twenty minutes trying to an image of the cake from whatever magazine it was on and/or some replica that was close, but no dice. Don't worry, I'll keep looking.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Balancing Act

When I was a kid I took gymnastics class. It was the type of class where you got exposure to all the different apparatuses (FYI - I googled, that is the correct plural) and skills. Now, I have very little memory of childhood, but you bet your leotards I remember the time I tried my first backwalkover on the balance beam. My hands missed, leaving me to flail backwards, feet over head, smacking my crown on the beam before falling off altogether. And like most cracks to the melon, there was a valuable lesson to be learned.

Unfortunately, the big ta-da! wouldn't come until nearly tweny years later when I realize I am horrible at balance. I took a hiatus from this blog and filled in my time with a million other things. I got distracted. I got "busy." I got overwhelmed with life. Whatever, whatever, I dropped the ball on doing something I enjoy that gives me a creative outlet and I'm ready to be done operating in that zone. I realize one of my big challenges in this life is achieving that exquisite lesson of balance, and the virtue of some valuable "me time."

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"49% Less Than Half Ain't Really Much Of Nothing..."

Confession time: I've been half-assing it. Yep. I'm owning it. Let's get all the excuses I've been using out of the way with: "work is crazy," "I'm traveling like mad," "when I'm not traveling I'm catching up on everything else," "the hotel has a crappy gym, I can't stick to my routine anyway," "I didn't sleep well because I was at a hotel so I need the extra sleep this morning instead of working out," "I don't have any fresh food in the house from being gone so much, there's no point in restocking the groceries anyway, I'm about to leave again," "I finally have a night off' I want to celebrate!" - I'm slightly purged, but there's probably forty-five more cop outs that could be added to this list.

That said, I put my best foot forward today. And for that I'm giving myself a pat on the back. I packed my latest installment of Oxygen magazine - I did it half-heartedly. As I sat on yet another airplane, I cracked the spine and felt annoyed by all the "you can do it" messages and hard bodies. I was just deflated. I kept reading and there was an article from a fitness idol of mine (in her mid-thirties) talking about how hard it was for her to learn the art of self-control and the true meaning of commitment - in her case she was applying this to health and wellness and relationships. This I can relate to.

Monday, August 1, 2011

"I Could Be So Much More Than This..."

The past couple of days have been the "fall to pieces kind." I hope you don't know these, but I'm pretty sure all of us do. The kind of days where someone looks at you funny when you pass them in an intersection and you feel like breaking down. Or you find yourself staring out a plane window wondering why there isn't more joy in the world - or your world in particular.

When I went to hit the treadmill today I dug in to the archives for some Jimmy Eat World. I don't have a whole lot of  "aggressive music" and I wouldn't say Jimmy Eat World is aggressive, however they do have some hard charging, sing-along, haul ass tunes that get me moving. Then "My Sundown" came on and I almost started crying on the treadmill when I was reminded how much I love this song and how much it resonates. 

Give it a whirl. The lyrics literally make my heart split open in the best most truthful "look in the mirror" of ways. Enjoy. 

Pork and Peanut Stir Fry Shelley-style

I don't particularly mind eating the same thing day in and day out for breakfast, or even lunch. But dinner, that's a whole other story. Maybe it's because it's the time of day I enjoy eating most, maybe it's because I consider it the food grand finale of the day, I don't know. Fact is, I am always trying to find something tasty and creative and I admit, it is often challenging.

Adding to this challenge is having a "picky eater" as your most frequent dining partner. That my friends is the situation I find myself in. Now, me... I'm what you would call an "adventurous" eater. I've been known to chase mozzarella sticks down Jeff Hill (that's in O.U. for those of you who haven't been there) brush 'em off and devour them in seconds flat and eat a hoagie off a questionable (at best) apartment floor. However, my usual dinner guest is nowhere near this comfortable with food. He's frightened of chicken, consistently questions the number of times I've washed my hands while prepping dinner, and won't touch anything that isn't cooked to a crisp. This makes my cooking life all the more challenging.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Healthy Living On the Road

If you know me well at all, you know my full time gig is in consulting. Which means a lot of things and may one day lead to my bestseller I plan on penning titled, "Your Consultant Does Not Want To Go To Dinner With You." This has less to do with being hit on by clients - which truthfully never seems to happen to me unless they're cute, old grandpa-types innocently flirting or gay men who think I'm fabulous - and more to do with clients that seem to find it totally appropriate to plan every last detail of your time on-site with them, down to your meals. Anyway, I digress.

Traveling a lot leads to the inevitable hot mess of trying to make healthy choices on the road. It's a real trial. In fact, I was once interviewed on this topic, see here . That said, as I type I'm in an airport waiting to head to Connecticut for work for the next 2.5 days. So, my thought is if I "put it in writing" perhaps I'll do a better job of holding up to my end of the bargain to travel healthy... that said, here's the game plan:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cardio Done Smarter (Not Harder)

Let's face it, I've gotten to a place where I hate cardio. My goals have transitioned towards strength training and it's hard to find the fortitude to get my buns on the treadmill, elliptical, bike, etc., etc. However, it's a necessary evil that I've been avoiding far too much lately. After scoping out the July issue of my Oxygen magazine and seeing a walking workout on the treadmill I thought a couple of things: first was - "walking can't possibly be enough for me to feel I exerted myself and why even bother with this work out?" Second was, "I don't feel like doing running intervals today, walking? Let's do this!"