Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Two Things

I could live on kettle corn and Diet Coke alone.

Who's with me?

My World Is Upside Down

Confession time, peeps. Are you ready for this?

I actually enjoy running.

I am screaming inside my head right now. It is like the universe is out of control and up is down and north is south and chocolate is actually bad for you. I feel like I don't even know myself anymore. Who am I? Who are you?

I think I need a padded room.

But before you all call me a traitor and never invite me over for dessert again, I want to be clear on the specific aspects on running that I like and don't like. First, I actually don't enjoy running WHILE I am running. Truth be told, I kind of wish I could collapse and die by minute 20. But, afterward. Oh, afterward, there is this heightened feeling of elation and lightness that can be attributed to either dehydration or some sort of runner's high...whatever that is.

Second, the feeling of accomplishment is monumental. And I carry this with me each day like I am some sort of professional athlete.

And third, someday my tuckus will thank me. And so will the new pair of jeans I want to buy.

So there you have it, folks. The FC has lost her mind and has once again bonded with her stupid treadmill. And if you ever get a phone call from me and all you hear is heavy breathing and gasping, don't hang up! Just send an ambulance and pray that I wasn't catapulted over the balcony of the loft in my apartment.

Oh, and bring cookies.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Weekend List O'Fun: Recap

Here is a review of my weekend because I am sure you are just dying to know. Try not to doze off.

1. Sleep in as late as humanly possible. And then take a nap.
I slept until 10:00 on Saturday morning. It was pure bliss, people, PURE BLISS.

2. Bake a new recipe that calls for equal amounts butter, sugar and chocolate.
I did try a new recipe and it will be posted this week. And let me tell you something, it is divine.

3. Go out on a hot date.
"Romeo, oh Romeo..." In other

4. Shop for new shoes.
Oh yes I did. And I found new black slingback heels. LOVE. THEM. With every fiber of my being.

5. Go salsa dancing.
Unfortunately no. However, I do have definitive plans to go in October. Que bueno!

6. Ride a horse.
Oh man, I wish! Does anyone have a horse I can ride? I would even clean out the stall. And I can bring my own saddle. Is that weird?

7. Get a new stamp in my passport.
Unless Highlands Ranch is giving out stamps these days, this did not quite happen this weekend.

8. Paint my bathroom.
Who wants to be inside painting on a weekend? Sheesh. What was I thinking putting this on the list?

9. Hit a bucket of balls.
I almost went but I decided to bake instead. Oh, the choices we must make.

10. Watch OU football.
You bet your booty. And can we say "BRING ON TEXAS?!?"

11. Eat kettle corn.
My fabulous friend Lizz buys me kettle corn almost every weekend at a local farmers market. It is why we are friends. Everyone should have a friend that buys them kettle corn. I highly recommend it.

12. Swim in the ocean.
Stinkin' land-locked state.

13. Hike a 14er.
Just kidding.
Wouldn't that have been HILARIOUS if I actually did this? Well, maybe not hilarious. Maybe more like demon-possession.

14. Go see a new movie.
I saw the new Wallstreet movie, where I subsequently ate my kettle corn. They were both sublime. And I think I may be crushin' on Shia. Just a little bit. But don't tell Chuck.

15. See as many friends as possible.
I saw quite a few! And I missed all the ones I didn't see. You know who you are.

16. Take another nap.
I snoozed for approximately 2.4 minutes today. It was heaven.

17. Run. Yeah, you heard me. Apparently working out has its benefits. Go figure.
Yep, I did it. Cue "Chariots of Fire." I am like the wind, like a sure-footed deer. Well, maybe more like a slow moving, uncoordinated antelope, but you get the picture.

18. Arrive to church on time.
I sure did! It was a minor miracle. And I was greeter.

19. Watch the the first episode of Chuck. Again.
Nope, didn't have time. But it is on my to-do list because Chuck appears in a tuxedo which means I am a white dress short of marrying him.

20. Hang with my mama.
Yep, we totally hung out. For shizzle. She and the seester and I went shoe shopping. Fabulous!

21. Suck the cheeks off of some cute baby, preferably one I know. Or not. Whatever.
To all of my friends with adorable babies (Tirzah, Rach, Kellie, Mandy, Laura, Melissa, Sherrie, Mika etc.): Where were your kids when I needed them the most this weekend? I may have to come and personally visit each one of you just so I can smooch on your kiddos. I hope you don't mind.

22. Avoid all toe-related accidents or trauma.

23. Sing in the rain.
No rain was to be found this weekend but I did sing in the shower. Does that count?

24. Wash all the bug guts off my car (another reason why I detest Kansas).
I almost pulled in to have my car washed but I was on my way to go shoe shopping and suddenly the bug guts didn't seem nearly that important. The magnetic force of Off Broadway Shoes was too strong and I was just too weak. I am a big, weak weeny. But that's okay, I can live with that.

25. Eat some peanut butter.
Absolutely I did. Didn't you?

So how was your weekend? I don't know about you, but I could use another one!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Weekend List O'Fun

Well hello there my friends! Thanks for the fabulous suggestions on what I should bake. Or if I should bake. Or if I should crawl under my desk for a nap. Sara's terrific idea of baking brownies pulled ahead at the last minute because I realized that I was out of every kind of baking ingredient other than a box mix of dark chocolate brownies. And who wants to run to the grocery store on a Thursday afternoon when you could be napping?


God bless Betty Crocker.

So, it's Friday, peeps! Can I hear a "hot diggity?"

Here is my list of things I would love to do this weekend. And I may or may not accomplish all or none of them. I'll just keep you in suspense until Monday.

1. Sleep in as late as humanly possible. And then take a nap.

2. Bake a new recipe that calls for equal amounts butter, sugar and chocolate.

3. Go out on a hot date.

4. Shop for new shoes.

5. Go salsa dancing.

6. Ride a horse.

7. Get a new stamp in my passport.

8. Paint my bathroom.

9. Hit a bucket of balls.

10. Watch OU football.

11. Eat kettle corn.

12. Swim in the ocean.

13. Hike a 14er.

Just kidding.

14. Go see a new movie.

15. See as many friends as possible.

16. Take another nap.

17. Run. Yeah, you heard me. Apparently working out has its benefits. Go figure.

18. Arrive to church on time.

19. Watch the the first episode of Chuck. Again.

20. Hang with my mama.

21. Suck the cheeks off of some cute baby, preferably one I know. Or not. Whatever.

22. Avoid all toe-related accidents or trauma.

23. Sing in the rain.

24. Wash all the bug guts off my car (another reason why I detest Kansas).

25. Eat some peanut butter.

That's a lot to do in 48 hours but I am feeling fairly optimistic! So what are your plans this weekend?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

To Bake or Not To Bake

Hey peeps! Happy First day of Fall!

I need your help: my girlies are coming over tonight for Women's Group and I don't know what to bake. Or if I should bake. Or if I should just crawl back into bed for a long nap and then take them to McDonald's for an ice cream cone.

I am so confused.

So please send your ideas, suggestions, recommendations, or words of edification my way.

Thank you. You are the absolute best.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Third Cup of Joe

I need an IV of caffeine.


Three cups of coffee just aren't cutting it.

I blame TV premier week and my treadmill.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Weekend With My Family

My family gets pretty excited when we have visitors. I mean REALLY excited. It's like we are anticipating the Queen...since I know what it means to anticipate the Queen coming to your house and staying in your old bedroom. And assuming the Queen wants pot roast, outlet malls and trips to the mountains, then it is bound to be a good time, my friends. I dig a Queen who can hang with the common folk.

So, when my cousin Katie and her husband Vadim came to visit last week, we were almost beside ourselves with joy. Even though we had work, Bible study, work and more work, we helped them cram in a lot of stuff, like outlet mall shopping, a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park, Red Rocks, Hacienda Colorado, Yogurtland and two batches of dark chocolate chip pumpkin cookies.

I would call that success with a side of weight gain, wouldn't you?

Here are Katie and Vadim. She is 22 weeks preggo with twins. I am so glad I have her genes.

On Saturday, Claire and I took Katie to Olde Town Littleton.

I would highly recommend this little street because they have a shop called the "Chocolate Therapist." It is a couch shy of being the most heavenly place on earth.

That drink is called "sipping chocolate." I am pretty sure I need that in a Big Gulp.

We also went to my favorite store: Willow. It is full of fun, funky things that I can't possibly live without.

Like these...

And this...

And this fun photograph of a sign. So I took a photograph of the photograph but was then asked to not take any more pictures in the store. Apparently that is illegal or something like that.

So then we strolled down to Sugar Rush:

And this is what we found inside: rows and rows of bright, colorful candy.

Sugar Rush hosts birthday parties for kids. If you do this for your own child, I would highly recommend a little protein and a pillow for the sugar-induced coma that will surely follow on your ride home.

Later that night, after the Sooners survived a horrific 4th quarter and managed a win against the Falcons, we gathered in the kitchen for a cousin picture or two.

This is how they typically play out:

First, there is one of Sam excluding me from the family.

Then there is one of me laughing like a weirdo.

Next is a really blurry one of my dad trying to figure out how to work a camera.

Then we have a semi-blurry one that has Sam looking like he is pregnant, Vadim with his eyes closed and the rest of us wondering how long we have to hold these smiles.

It is a minor miracle we have any family photos at all.

So in summary, it was a fabulous weekend and I can't wait for the next batch of cousins to come and visit (hint, hint). Just be ready for mild hysteria, mass confusion and more food than you know what to do with. In other words, like any other day with my family.

Monday, September 20, 2010

For the Love

This YouTube video was on BooMama last week and I just have to share it with you. It will put a little spring in your step. And who doesn't need a spring on a Monday?

That's what I thought.

Mazel tov!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Recipe Round-Up: Skinny Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread with Kellie

Oh friends. I can't tell you how good it is for my soul to be sharing recipes with you again. I have missed this. But my electric bill thanks you for letting me keep the oven off this summer. And so does my booty.

So, for my first recipe of the season, I have a special treat for you: a guest baker! All the way from northwest Oklahoma, I would like to introduce you to my sweet, charming cousin Kellie.

Kellie is my soul sister. I am fairly certain we were separated at birth, even though she and I do not share any of the same DNA and there is a four year difference between us. But who's counting, right? Kellie has been in my family since I was 11. She married her high school sweetheart, which happens to be my cousin Nathan, and has since produced four of the most adorable children on the planet.

In addition, Kellie and I like to take long drives in the country, eat cookie dough out of the bowl and fight over my aunt Marge's homemade hot fudge sauce. We might as well be clones.

When I took a last-minute trip to Oklahoma over Labor Day, I knew I had to have Kellie make a special appearance on this blog. So, along with the help of these two twinkies, Kellie and I whipped up this skinny chocolate chip zucchini bread in a mere matter of minutes.

Meet Rachel and Grace.

Er, Grace and Rachel.

Um...yep, that's them.

So, here are some of the things you will need:

Plus this:

And definitely don't forget these:

Let's do this, peeps.

First, grate the heck out of those zukes.

Just like that.

Watch out for zucchini carnage. It's brutal.

While I grated the zukes, Kel and the girls mixed the dry ingredients.

They stirred them together and set them aside while we worked on the wet ingredients.

Side note: Notice Kellie's red spoonula. I told you she was my soul sister.

Next up: egg whites. This is where part of the "skinny" comes into play.

I had Kellie do this. Egg whites kinda gross me out.

Pour the egg whites and one whole egg into a mixing bowl.

Side note: It's a good thing we did this at Kel's house because I still do not have my 90th Anniversary Kitchenaid Mixer in Candy Apple Red.

Apparently I am a little bitter about this.

Then, part two of the "skinny," add apple sauce in place of some of the oil.

Add your oil...

And your vanilla...

And then your sugar, sugar.

Mix the tar out of it.

I heart power tools.

Then add the freshly (or frozen) grated zucchini and mix again.

Once the zuke is well incorporated, throw in the dry ingredients.

Side note: Don't actually "throw" in the ingredients.

And mix again. Oh people, it is starting to get delicious. 

Next up: the chocolate chips, a.k.a. bits of heavenly deliciousness.

And you thought the zucchini were the stars of this show.  Think again, sister.

Now, once they are stirred in, grease two loaf pans.

And pour in. Put the pans in the oven and bake!

In the meantime, stick your head in the bowl.

There are no words to describe how much I love this girl.

And I am a pretty big fan of these two as well.

Once they bake and get all happy, pull them out and let them cool. Keep one for yourself to eat after the kids have gone to bed and take the other one over to your aunt's house to share with your cousin who traveled through the vast wasteland of Kansas to see you.

Or something like that.

The end result is an amazingly moist...

completely delicious...

zucchini bread that has more flavor and less than half the calories of regular zucchini bread. Now who doesn't want that? Exactly.

So, let's give a shout-out to Kellie and her sweet girls. They were the best guest bakers this blog has ever seen!

Here is the recipe, peeps. If you are familiar with Weight Watchers, this recipe was taken from their website. Kellie and I substituted chocolate chips for nuts and raisins. Naturally.

Happy Friday, y'all!

Skinny Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread
2 serving(s) butter-flavor cooking spray

2 cup(s) whole wheat flour
2/3 cup(s) all-purpose flour
1 tsp table salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
3 large egg white(s)
1 large egg(s)
1 cup(s) sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup(s) canola oil
2/3 cup(s) unsweetened applesauce
2 cup(s) zucchini, peeled, grated, and drained*
1/2 cup(s) chopped walnuts
1/2 cup(s) raisins, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Coat two 8- X 4-inch loaf pans with cooking spray; set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon; set aside.

Using an electric mixer, in a large mixing bowl, beat egg whites until frothy. Add egg, sugar, vanilla extract, oil and applesauce, and beat until thoroughly combined; beat in zucchini.

Add sifted ingredients to egg mixture and mix well; fold in nuts and raisins. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake in middle of oven until a toothpick inserted in center of bread comes out clean, about 50 to 60 minutes. Slice each bread into 10 pieces and serve warm or at room temperature. Yields 1 slice per serving.

* You’ll need about 1 1/2 medium zucchinis (about 3/4 lb) to yield 2 cups shredded zucchini.

We renovated Zucchini Bread from 9 POINTS values to 3 POINTS values by:
1. Cutting back on the oil and sugar and replacing some of each with applesauce for its moisture and sweetness.
2. Replacing most of the white flour with much more nutritious whole-wheat flour (and adding more baking powder to help maintain a proper result).
3. Replacing some eggs with egg whites.
Cutting back on the quantity of nuts and raisins used but chopping them up to help sprinkle them throughout.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Best Thing I Have Ever Eaten: Yesterday

Yesterday was one of those days that I could have used three of me. One to work, one to shop and cook and one to take a very long nap. To say that it has been a roller coaster of a week is an understatement and yesterday I nearly hit my emotional, physical, mental and gastronomical wall. It was not pretty folks.

And on top of that, I had a bad hair day. Does it get any worse? I think not.

The one bright spot of my week has been the arrival of my sweet cousin Katie and her hubby Vadim. They are from Oklahoma (surprised, right?) and are visiting for a few days. And they bring with them two little ones who are currently baking quite nicely in the oven, if you catch my drift.

If you didn't catch my drift, it means that Katie is preggo with twins: a boy and a girl! Just when you thought my family couldn't get any bigger, we are adding two more this winter! That makes the grand total from both sides of my family 42,195. It's quite impressive.

So, after hours of office time, the mad dash to the grocery store, cleaning, driving, picking up, stressing, crying, flailing and crumpling, I decided that I needed to make something homey, comforting and delectable for, I mean my guests. So, guess what I made.

Drumroll please.

Dark Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies.

Did you hear that? That was a heavenly chorus of foodie angels busting out some tunes because they know just how good these cookies can be! I make them every autumn (and sometimes winter, spring and summer) and they have become one of my ALL-TIME FAVORITE COOKIES. They make you feel, for one brief, delectable moment, that all is right with the world. And since I have been trying to watch my girly figure, I only ate one. But let me tell you something, it was, BY FAR, the best thing I ate yesterday.

When Katie and Vadim walked in the door last night, I had just pulled them from the oven and served them up with vanilla bean ice cream. I highly recommend this combination, especially when the cookies are still warm and gooey. I almost wanted to bathe in it but I was too tired.

So my friends, what was the best thing you ate yesterday?? Beef jerky? Filet mignon? Cheese Whiz? Taco Bell? Let's hear it. And I promise to post the recipe for these suckers soon!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I Am Practically An Olympian

You are never going to believe this...


Of course you do. I am sure I mentioned it once or twice.

And I may have complained a little.

Or a lot. Whatever.

And I may have cursed every cookie I ever ate.

And I may have loathed the concept of ever participating in group fitness challenges that require weigh-ins and actually working out.

Perhaps I muttered under my breath every time I lunged, lifted, crunched, sprinted (oh, who I am kidding, I don't sprint), jogged, punched, pushed and collapsed.

And maybe, just maybe, I disowned my treadmill and everything it represents.

So okay. I am not a fan of forced exercise. Big deal.

But guess what I just found out? Guess whose team won the ENTIRE STINKIN' CHALLENGE??


Can you believe it, people? I can't. I have no idea how it happened. Well, that's a lie. I do know how it happened. It's called "I HAVE THE MOST AMAZING TEAM IN THE WORLD." That's how it happened. And they both literally and figuratively pulled my weight. They are my new best friends.

You have just witnessed a minor miracle, my friends. I think I am going to put this on my resume.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

FAQs for the FC

Over the course of the past eight months I have received quite a few questions about my blog. Some of them have been posted, others have come via email, and still others have come face-to-face from people who are completely confused as to why I would even want to chronicle my comings and goings on the world wide web.

So, I thought I would let you know my answers. Perhaps you have been dying to know since January or perhaps you could care less and are just trying to find anything to do other than work today. Regardless, I am here for you. It's who I am. I can't help it.

Here they are, in no particular order.

1. Is that your natural hair color?
Yes, yes it is. If you will look to the right of this column you will see that my dad has black hair. Even though my siblings, nephew and mother are all blond, I was born with jet black hair. For a moment my mom thought they gave her the wrong child. This notion was enforced by my brother until I was nine years old. But after years of therapy and the fact that I take after my dad in many other ways, it is confirmed that I am indeed my father's daughter and no, they did not give me to the wrong family by mistake. At least I hope not.

2.  Would you ever move back to Oklahoma?
I have thought about this one a lot! You see, I come from generations of fine Oklahomans. Both of my parents grew up there, as well as their parents (for the most part). I love the people, I love the scenery, I love the copious amount of real cowboys. And I also love Sooner football. However, I also LOVE Colorado. I mean, have you looked west lately? This is where my immediate family lives, it is where I have my community, friends, church and job. Besides, I am now addicted to Yogurtland and I know for a fact that there isn't a Yogurtland in a 200 mile radius any of my hometown.

3. Do you take all the pictures on your blog?
Most of them. Sometimes I let Noah take a few and I am always surprised at how good he is!

Photography is a work in progress because I have buttons on my camera that mean nothing to me at this point. For all I know a missile is being launched somewhere every time I hit one. But I have come to love photography and hope to take a class on it this year.

4. Why are you "frustrated?"
I love this question! Actually, I am not technically frustrated, for the most part I am quite content with my life. However, I have always wanted to be a cowgirl. Growing up, I lived and breathed horses. And for a time, I owned one. And when I envision my future, I see horses, boots and manure involved. So hopefully at some point I will no longer be the "Frustrated Cowgirl" perhaps I'll just be "The Totally Stoked and Completely Clueless Cowgirl."

5. Would you like to go hiking this weekend?

6. How many pairs of high heels do you own?
I have no idea. Probably around 20 pairs. And I love them all. I tell them that every night.

7. Do you have any international trips coming up soon?
I wish! As of now, I am stateside until 2011. Originally I had thought that I would spend the first two weeks of November in India, but that has been postponed until next year. So, I guess you are stuck with me. However, if you find yourself with a couple of free tickets and no one to go with, give me a buzz. I can be ready in 2 hours. And I used to be fluent in Spanish. Emphasis on the  "used to be."

8. How many people read your blog?

Actually, I don't know. I used to have Google Analytics tracking it for me but it stopped working in June. So your guess is as good as mine. I usually just say "4" because it makes me feel like a rock star if more than 4 actually comment. So thank you, all of you commenters. (Is that even a word?)

9. What do you do when you have "bloggers block?"
I cry. Then I pout. I run around in circles for a while. I beg Claire to write my blog for me. I throw my laptop out the window.  And then I sit down and write whatever pops into my head first. Occasionally, I won't write anything, just to give my mind a break. Thanks for sticking with me during those moments of mental blankness.

And to be honest, I have no idea what I am doing. For some people out there, blogging is their livelihood. For me, it is just for fun. And to keep all 38,421 of my cousins in the loop.

10. Did you really break your toe last week while you were driving?
Yes I did. I am that talented. But thankfully it is better. I even busted out the red heels last night. And so far, no catastrophes.

11. Are you going to post any more recipes?
Yes I am! In fact, I am working on the pictures for one right now! Last week, while I was in Oklahoma over Labor Day, my cousin Kellie and I whipped up some fabulous chocolate chip zucchini bread. It was heaven in your mouth, people! So hopefully that will be ready to go in a few days.

I am also going to try to make a few more healthy dishes this season. As much as I love sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter (you have not lived until you mix those two together), my hips don't. But don't worry, they won't taste like cardboard. I would rather be forced to wear stretchy pants than eat cardboard.

12. Will you sing "Faithfully" by Journey for me?
Absolutely not.

On that musical note, I hope your Tuesday is moving along swimmingly.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Reasons to Smile

Last night I was sifting through some of my photos on file and I found myself laughing out loud. Thankfully Claire knows that is normal for me. So, I thought the best way to start off a Monday would be to share a few with you. I know I could use it, perhaps you can too.

I hope they make you giggle.

Or guffaw.

Or say "tee hee hee."

Or maybe even snort. Go on, snort. I dare you.

Perhaps you will chuckle, chortle, upchuck. Oh wait, not the last one.

Maybe you will burst into uncontrollable laughter. That always sends the co-workers running.

But most of all, I hope they make you smile. Mondays that include some sort of  outburst are always better than those that don't.


Location: Petra, Jordan
Description: I caught this picture out of a bus window. The fact that his tractor could go faster than the bus tells you a a lot about my bus ride. You don't see this everyday, even in Oklahoma.

Location: University of Denver - Claire's graduation from graduate school.
Description: Obviously Rachel and I were bored.

Location: My parent's backyard.
Description: Noah had my camera and apparently my mom didn't get the memo on looking pensive. It's like she knows something that Claire and I don't. I hate when that happens!

Location: Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa.
Description: "What?"

Location: Gage, Oklahoma - 4th of July, 2010
Description: My cousin Luke was so enamored by the fireworks that he had no idea a big drip of drool had accumulated on the bottom of his chin.

Location: the Pampas, Argentina
Description: My horse's name was "Revenge." And let me tell you, she lived up to. It is amazing I am alive, people.

Location: Rockies Game - Denver, Colorado
Description: You could say that Eric is a fan of licorice.

Location: Gage, Oklahoma
Description: My grandpa is getting a haircut. Apparently his barber took a little too much off the top.

Location: Probably in Oklahoma
Description: She may have been cute but apparently not very stimulating.

Location: Trinidad, Cuba
Description: The dude has a rooster in his lap. Enough said.

Location: California
Description: Sisters. They always look like this.

Location: Littleton, Colorado
Description: It's true, pregnant wives strike fear into their husbands.

Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Description: "Um, gross."

Location: Littleton, Colorado
Description: "Is that all you got?" Oh, that kid kills me.

Here's to a joyful Monday, my friends!