Category: FTS

Keen Whaaaaa!?! (Insert Ninja Chop Here)

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

Don’t worry, I’m not turning this into a recipe blog.  This post is for a friend needing a good quinoa recipe.

I first got into quinoa following Em’s arrival.  Having an almost entirely rice-based diet, I appreciated a decent, healthful alternative.  When I tired of regularly cooked quinoa, Dan would toast any leftovers in olive oil, bringing out the seed’s nutty flavor.  From that technique, our Fried Quinoa recipe evolved.

This kiddo-friendly dish makes a regular appearance when The Fresh20 menu features a recipe we don’t like.  It’s SUPER quick, easy and nutrient-packed.  You can make it vegetarian or add traditional fried rice meats (beef, pork, chicken, shrimp).  This recipe is great for using leftovers like fajita meat or BBQ ribs.

“Fried Rice” Quinoa

  • Grapeseed Oil (for the smoke point, but EVOO is okay)
  • 2 Medium Carrots, Diced
  • 1 Medium Onion, Diced
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, Minced or Pressed
  • 1 Broccoli Head, Cut into Florets*
  • 8 oz Mushrooms, Sliced (Preferably Portobello, but Standard White work just as well)
  • 1 Head of Kale, Destemed and Chopped (Or get that handy dandy pre-chopped Trader Joe’s kale goodness)
  • 2 Eggs, Beaten
  • 2 Cups Prepared Cold Quinoa
  • Soy Sauce to Taste (or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos)
  • Rice Wine Vinegar (Optional)
  • Salt to Taste

The key to traditional fried rice is making the rice ahead of time, allowing the moisture to escape.  The same goes for quinoa.  For best results, make the quinoa early in morning or the night before (I use a rice cooker) and refrigerate until ready to cook.

  1. Heat oil over Medium-High heat in wok (or large pan).  Once hot, add in Onions, Carrots, Broccoli and pinch of kosher salt. Sweat vegetables.
  2. Add Garlic and Mushrooms.  Saute for 2-3 minutes until fragrant.
  3. Stir in cooked Quinoa and Kale, thoroughly mixing all the vegetables. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Push the ingredients to the sides, making a well in the middle of the mix.
  5. Add eggs and quickly scramble.  Once scrambled, mix all ingredients.
  6. Splash with Soy Sauce and Rice Wine Vinegar.  Let cook an additional 4-5 minutes, giving the flavors time to meld.

I serve mine with Baked Eggrolls (I sub diced, sauteed mushrooms for the canned stuff and use Broccoli Slaw).

* I often add Roasted Broccoli rather than plain florets.  To prepare, coat the broccoli florets with EVOO, lemon juice, garlic powder, kosher salt and pepper.  Cook 10-15 minutes in 425º oven.

“By Ewic Cawl”

Saturday, November 16th, 2013

So I’m sitting on my bootie after a long day thinking “Hmm…what to do on the interwebs….”

Then, I remembered I had a blog!  Hey, I’m getting old.  I really need to take Ginko, but I keep forgetting to buy it.  Badumbum!

What’s ganooz… let’s see…  I’m sticking with my FTS regiment.   I’m proud to say that I haven’t missed any Power90 days.   Neither severe back pain nor a killer migraine stopped me from my downward dog-plank-warrior-to-crescent yoga torture challenge!


I’ve only lost 8 pounds because I haven’t been great at sticking to the diet portion.   I keep forgetting to drink water and started skipping meals, which is almost as detrimental to weight loss as overeating.   Take today, our human alarm clock woke me at 5:20.  I eventually put on a pot of coffee and went grocery shopping.  By the time I returned, cleaned the house, fed the kiddo and put her down for nap, it was 12:45 before I ate two eggs.   Insane.

And then I went to a 3 year old’s birthday party today.  On Saturday,  I ate through 1-1/2 empanadas, 1-1/2 tamales, chips & guacamole and one piece of chocolate cake.

Tomorrow is Sunday, so you know what that means…

I’ll need to eat through one nice green leaf.   😉



Jive Turkey Talkin’

Sunday, November 10th, 2013

We’re hosting our small family Turkey Day festivities this year.   There will be six adults and one toddler who’s certain to be stoked at having all her grandparents present.

With Turkey Day mere weeks away, I decided to menu plan this weekend.  I’d like to say it’s because I’m incredibly organized.  The truth is that I AM H-U-N-G-R-Y!   And the menu planning keeps my mind and not my mouth on savory, carby goodness.

Here’s the tentative menu:

Appetizer:  Brie, Cranberry-Pistachio Goat Cheese Log

Main Course:

  • Big Green Egg Smoked Turkey with Gravy
  • Honey-Baked Ham (provided by MIL)
  • Maisie’s Cornbread Dressing (my grandmother’s piece de resistance!)
  • Roasted Cauliflower Fauxtatoes
  • Jalapeño Corn Souffle
  • Gran Marnier Cranberry Sauce
  • Amaretto Sweet Potato Casserole (with crispy marshmallows on top)
  • Brussels Sprouts (provided by MIL)
  • Green Bean Casserole (from scratch – no canned soup here!)
  • Sister Shubert’s Rolls (provided by MIL)


  • Pumpkin Pie (provided by MIL)
  • Pecan Pie (provided by my mom)
  • Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Cheesecake

I considered nixing the appetizer plate, but I need cushion in case cooking the turkey takes a little longer than anticipated.   It sounds like a a lot of food, but I was planning on doing small 8×8 casserole portions of most of the sides.  And I’ll need to do a a dry run for the stuffing, corn casserole and cranberries to assure they make the final cut.

I know it seems crazy.  I just want there to be a variety of foods reminiscent of my childhood Thanksgivings.  Granted, there were 40+ mouths to feed back then…

Perhaps after a couple more weeks of “lifestyle changing,” I’ll rethink the menu.

Oh, who am I kidding?  It’s ON like Turkey Tom!

F’n F.T.S.

Friday, November 8th, 2013

So I kicked off my F.T.S program rather abruptly on October 28th.

I’d spent the preceding weekend being totally miserable in my too-tight pants and just about had a heart attack when I weighed myself (hello, denial!).   I decided to start with nixing the four F’d up things I’d let back into my life on a regular basis:

  1. Fast Food
  2. Fromage (okay, all dairy)
  3. Fizzy Fructose (Diet Coke)
  4. Frappucinos

After omitting those things, my next step was to order Tony Horton’s Power 90 series.  I compared all the BeachBody workouts, read reviews and opted to go with this 90 day, 4-phase fitness bootcamp that incorporates cardio and sculpting.   It arrived later in the week, so I pegged Monday, November 4th as my start date.   I’d wanted to do the Dr. Oz 3-day Juice Detox before starting, but I didn’t have time to get my produce before the weekend started.  Plus, I needed a last pancake hoorah with my BFF.

I got up this past Monday, ready to get this party started.  After a few technical difficulties, I delved into the Cardio Level 1-2 video.   Holy effinchwyst. I had trouble from the get-go.   The warm up was hell and “Power Yoga” with its sadistic plank – push up-downward dog combos.  But I stuck with it.  The next day was Sculpt Level 1-2.   With Ab Ripper.   I’m calling it Ab Reaper, because it just about killed me.   The Sculpt video requires resistance bands.  Resistance bands are appropriately named as I can easily resist them.  Can you tell I’m not an exercise fan?

But I made it through my first official week.  Saturday will be my rest day.  I’m making Friday night my “cheat meal.”   I’m a big proponent of a weekly cheat meal.  When I lost a bunch of weight in 2003, I hit a plateau until my BFF and I started getting a cheeseburger, fries and a banana split every Friday night.   Granted, I should probably start them when I’ve made more progress, but I’ve lost 6 pounds since 10/28, and I kept tonight’s cheat reasonable (cashew chicken with veggies and veggie fried rice.) What I really wanted was Tony’s beef enchiladas, a pint of queso and 3 margaritas. When Dan said he wanted Chinese, I was relieved.  He had no clue he was saving me from myself!

Part of me feels like I need to do more.  I’m so used to carb elimination diets (South Beach, Candida Detox), that it’s weird eating carbs (fruit, legumes) this early.   I’ll see how successful I can be at mastering moderation.   If I don’t see bigger results after two weeks of Tony Horton torture, I’ll incorporate some good ol’ South Beach Phase I butt-kicking.

So wish me luck.  I’m going to need it.  Especially since I’m the genius who decided to change my eating habits during the holiday season.

Yeah, this year, I’m the turkey.

Wait, I’m How Old?

Friday, September 6th, 2013

I’ve had an issue remembering how old I am… for the past 3 years.

I will confess to using a calculator when unsure of my age.   While my younger self would’ve told me to invest in some Ginko and do more NY Times Crosswords, I’m discovering it’s a common occurrence among my Gen X comrades.   Some of us even make the mistake of thinking we’re older than we are.  Maybe it’s because we have nearly four decades of random crap floating around our brains.  Or, perhaps there’s a 40’s forcefield shielding us from experiencing the same dread surrounding turning 30.  Either way, aging isn’t a bowl of Cherry Garcia, but it’s not so traumatic or stigmatizing as it once was.

Turning 37 is not so heinous as my 27 year old self thought it would be.

Now for my birthday reckoning.  It’s time to see how I did with those birthday resolutions from last year:

  • Be okay with being thirty-sss…sssiii…sssix. Actually, I’m okay with it only because I can’t really wrap my head around being closer to 40 than 30.   Check!
  • Get back to allergen diet weight.  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA  Uhhh, I mean “completion pending…”
  • Date my hubs. We went to dinner for our wedding anniversary but that’s about it.   Ergo, BIG FAIL.  I have a friend getting a babysitter so that she and the hubs can have a weekly date night.  I really like that idea.
  • Proof read closer before posting.  (Can I get an “Amen” from my regular readers)    I’ll give myself a B Minuss  😉
  • Learn how to make at least one of the following dishes well:  ropa vieja, chicken tikka masala, spaghetti bolognese or paella.  I did not master any of those, but I now make a mean Chicken Fried Steak, Cajun Chicken Fettucine, French Dip, Pot Roast and Fried Rice.  I’ve even dabbled in cooking fish!   Thanks, Pinterest, Ree Drummond and The Fresh 20! Or “screw you” as my enlarged butt should say.
  • Clean out junk rooms and have shutters installed.   WAHOO!  Shutters installed.  As for the junk rooms, they are not empty, but we’re so close to having everything either stored or prepped for our October garage sale that I consider this one at 80% completion.
  • Purge my wardrobe of clothes and accessories that I do not, should not or rarely wear.   Yes and no.  I got rid of a lot of crap thanks to our pre-garage sale purge last Fall.  But then I got chunky and bought clothes of which I am not overly fond.  Damn you, fat jeans and boxy knit shirts!  Organizational win/fashion fail.
  • Keep my car clean. Sorry, Felix!  I’m working on it…
  • Socialize with more toddy moms.  Yes!  Between neighbors, art class and music class, I’ve managed to meet other moms. That’s been beyond reassuring.  Now, I find other moms of younger kids asking me the same worry-laden questions I did when kiddo and I started socializing.  Surreal!

Now for the hard part…  My 37th Year Resolutions:

  • Unresolved resolutions?   DO OVER!
  • Write at least one blog entry per week
  • F.T.S. so that Emme can one day have a sibling to torture and boss around share in her joy  (kow)
  • Finish the master bedroom makeover
  • Transition the kiddo to her toddler room
  • Commit to hiring a babysitter
  • Regardless of stress levels, avoid nail biting (aka “cannibalism” as one friend calls it)
  • Avoid drowning my next iPhone in the tub, toilet and any liquid-containing vessel

Wish me luck.  I’ll need it.

That, and a big kick to my ass with my own heel.