Saturday, June 26, 2010

Channeling My Inner Hot Girl

For three days last week I decided to do a bit of "internal housekeeping" in the form of a lean protein and fruit plan (never going to use the word diet here!). At my age, 43 in actual years, but forever 29 in spirit, it sometimes takes a little shock to get the bod back to maximum fuel burning efficiency.

By the way, for those of you who feel like the time is just flying by, I've figured out how to slow things waaay down - stop eating complex carbohydrates. I will admit that as a busy mom (whose husband travels 4 days per week) I have a tendency to grab a little of this or a bite of whatever they're eating, or maybe those last couple of tater tots before they hit the trash. This three day exercise, more psychological for me than anything else, brought to my attention the extra calories I was consuming, without realizing it. I had to really listen to my "inner food voice" (something I learned from my favorite Real Housewife Bethenny Frankel's book "Naturally Thin"). I also recalled a snippet from Justine Bateman and Kelly Cutrone's "Wake Up and Get Real" Vlog, Episode 19 "Your Weight" where Justine made an excellent point when she said in part "...I don't really want to eat the bread basket, I just want her to be quiet..." This resonated LOUDLY with me as I find that when I am having a moment of frustration with my kids I start thinking about cheese and crackers (and wine :)).

It was a challenge, but I believe that if you are willing, you can do anything for three days. There were obstacles people! I overcame the friendly neighbor who, just a short walk through the yard away, always seems this time of year to have a fresh pitcher of frozen goodness, the kind that falls from the coconut rum tree. Then there was the ice-cream cake put before me at the end of Day 2 - NOPE, I thought, I know what ice-cream cake tastes like and it turns out it's not the last one left on the planet.

During this short time I rediscovered my love of fresh fruits and vegetables, which I have always loved, but honestly have just gotten lazy. For dinner each night I enjoyed a huge salad, my favorite greens are organic baby romaine, with raw veggies and some form of lean protein. The salad pictured here is very simple, but the dressing I concocted was what made it really satisfying - I am a sauce person - I love big flavors and playing with different combinations.

I have said in previous postings and it applies here, that I realize I am not saying anything new or novel here, just a way for me to share a new recipe with you through this experience.

I have come through the other side feeling clear headed and rejuvinated!

Hope you'll try this salad and enjoy!

Note: I would have toasted some pine nuts to sprinkle over the top, but didn't have any.

Simple Grilled Chicken Salad


3 cups organic (optional) baby romaine
1 (3-6 oz.) thin sliced chicken breast grilled & cut into strips
1 medium tomato sliced, then halved

3 tbs. extra virgin olive oil (2 for grilling chicken, 1 for dressing)
1 clove garlic chopped
juice of one lemon
fresh cracked pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes


Add 2 tbs (one good "round the pan") of olive oil to pan over medium heat
Add chopped garlic and turn heat DOWN a little so as not to burn
Saute garlic for 1-2 minutes, then remove and SAVE for dressing
Lightly salt and pepper chicken on both sides, then add to heated pan
Turn heat back to medium-medium high and cook approx. 4 min. on each side
Remove to plate or cutting board and set aside for a few minutes while you make dressing.


In small bowl add olive oil, then whisk in, lemon juice, garlic, a few good cracks of the peppermill, red pepper flakes and voila!

Find yourself a pretty plate or bowl (or not) add lettuce, tomato and chicken - I would also top with a few raw or toasted pine nuts (your choice), but didn't have any for this one.

There are a dozen other veggies and things you could add to this (e.g., red onion, red or yellow peppers, cucumber slices, etc.) Make it your own!

Nothing like a fresh salad in the summertime ~ Please do let me know if you try it and what you think! Would also love to hear some of your favorite salad recipes, so feel free to share!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Another Letter from Gram: This One's For You Clarky!

Another gem from Gram. If I haven't mentioned before, she worked as a bank teller for 25+ yrs. in Southern California. I will never understand why her brains and creativity did not take her beyond the bank...I have an idea though that she lacked self-confidence. She was not a very social creature and spent most of her free time with her sisters or playing cards with a handful of close friends.

Looks like this was written in February or March of 1982 and she did receive a lengthy response from Anne Higgins, Special Assistant to the President and Director of Correspondence.

"Dear Mr. President,

Re: A lot of things that are on my mind.

And you are dear, Mr. President Regan, I backed you 99 & 99/100%, even though I belong to the lower middle class. But I need to understand what to me is simple plain fact, glaring truths ignored, that leaves that 1/100% question in the forefront of my mind. I need an answer, desperately, to clear up that feeling of the Sword of Damascus hanging over the heads of the hard working tax payer.

I want to back your cuts, I planned on buying shorter belts to be sure I tightened mine. Then I read about the hundreds of thousands of dollars, (dollars earned by the sweat of our brow), going to pay expenses for three past presidents. These men DO NOT NEED this money. They have become, through their political offices, millionaires in their own right. there is no rhyme or reason to drain our tax money for their POSTAGE, for MOVING expenses, for an OFFICE they could relocate in one of the many rooms in one of their many residences. There should NOT be one penny spent on any of their libraries. Not one is a Lincoln, Washington or Jefferson. A pension? Alright, though not one put in the twenty years that is necessary for the work force to put in to get one.

I am appalled and disgusted at the large tax break voted for the congress that was slyly attached to the Black Lung Disease Bill. Another unnecessary drain on our tax dollars. I cannot say disillusioned because Watergate culminated my downing suspicions of our elected officials. These men are already overpaid and do not need this extra benefit. Where is the belt tightening for them? Their fringe benefits, supplied by our hard earned dollars, are already a laughing, though through tears, matter. We are paying for ROYAL EXTRAS we would consider ridiculous to require our employers to furnish for us.

Make your cuts if you must (none would be necessary if there was proper and prudent management of our money) but make your cuts in the funds given to and enlarged on by the very men who vote this largess for themselves. Cutting the funds designated for the elderly and handicapped is gross, cruel.

Our servicemen who fight our bloody battles deserve top priority. Stop trying to take away what little and few benefits are given to them and/or their families on their return to private life, or after a flag has been placed in the lap of a wife whose husband has given the ultimate. Leave the ones struggling alone. If your advisers are calling the shots then please bring your compassion into play.

I'm sick of all of you and don't want to vote for any of you. Junkets, hell! I hope those puffy faced, bulbous nosed representatives we are supposed to trust all throw up in the morning when they look at themselves in the mirror, providing they shave their own faces. It makes me want to throw up myself when I think that part of our taxes pay for the perk that provides a barber to powder their faces and blow dry their wigs.

Millions of foreign thieves and slashes for our helpless? I cannot, do not understand. The unfairness overwhelms me.

I had such faith in you and your dream, but that faith is wavering.

I am distrustfully, but sincerely,

Martha Dordigan"

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Letter From Gram

In light of current events, I can't help but think of my beloved Gram and the letters she would no doubt be writing today! The folder I cherish holds all sorts of snippets, thoughts, poems and even some correspondence from the White House (circa Reagan era). This gem is typewritten in all caps on yellow legal pad paper, and even contains some white-out edits.

I only wish there were more!

I believe this went to the White House and the newspaper where she no doubt read it ~

"Now I have heard everything! The American Tax Payer is about to foot the bill for the Study of Lesbianism in Sea Gulls, YES, I said SEA GULLS. Does anyone really care!!! A group of persons playing expensive games, what in the hell will that prove? It's enough to make the over-taxed, hard working, average citizen's already high blood pressure soar out of the top of his head.

I work happily to take care of myself. There are no tax payer subsidized luxury fringe benefits provided, just the security that if I do my work with honesty and integrity, my employer will continue to give me the chance to carry my own load. The amount of money taken from my paycheck in state taxes, federal taxes, social security and other taxes, that I have no choice as to their fairness, leaves me just enough to live from paycheck to paycheck. Though frustrated, I try not to complain. Then I read your article on this proposed study.

I won't bore the politicians with a list of the people who desperately need support. They couldn't care less. the common sense, average taxpayer will know where that money really belongs and to whom.

It makes me wonder just which politician's relative is in charge of this grand endeavor. I will await with baited breath for the results, assuming of course, that there will be an itemized report.

Could it be planned that in the near future a like grant could be made for the study of how to relieve the tax burden from the shoulders of the middle class worker?

Wishing I could afford to sleep on satin sheets, but having to settle for cotton I am,


Martha Dordigan
Tax Payer"

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Meaner Younger: Access and Excess = Trouble

Got a call from a good friend over the weekend who was very upset after finding out that one of her daughter's classmates, a fellow 4th grade girl, had created an "I hate so and so" page on Facebook.

My curiousity piqued, I thought I would search for myself to see what kind of "I Hate ______" pages I could find on Facebook. Facebook returned approximately 321,000 results. Turns out people hate everything from the President to Justin Bieber, Cheaters, Stupid Bitches, Duty, Sluts, Traffic, the Blackberry, some girl on Big Brother in another country, Cigarettes, Goodbyes and even (gasp) Facebook...I'm certain I could have located rainy days and Mondays if I tried!

The Facebook Statement of Rights clearly states:

#7 under Safety reads in part: You will not post content that: is hateful, threatening...

#5 under Registration and Account Security: You will not use Facebook if you are under 13.

Obviously anyone can go onto Facebook and lie about their age, etc...but the bigger question for me is where are the parents? I realize that I will not be saying anything here that most of us don't already know - but I must point out that it makes me sad when I hear this kind of thing because there seems to be so much more power behind the meanness of girls today, due in large part to the advancements in technology.

It seems the "what you don't know can't hurt you" moniker has been basically obliterated with so much instant access to information. Oh, did I forget to mention that the girl they hate is also a member of the group so that she can go on and defend herself? What in the Sam Hill is going on people??

I am no psychologist, however, I do not believe that nine or ten year old children possess the intelligence or forethought to understand the damage they are doing, not only to others, but ultimately to themselves. How can they possibly understand the permanence of what they are putting out never goes away. How will they feel about what they've done ten or twenty years from now?

Why is Facebook not monitoring these types of pages more closely?

It all comes back around to the same burning question: Where are the parents?

Would love to hear your feedback...