August 05, 2011

Movin' On Up...Well, actually, more like MOVED.

Well friends, the time has come for me to do a little re-locating.  It's been 5 years here with Blogger, but I thought it was probably about time to expand my horizons.

Come join me over at will ya? It's the same website that you know in a brand new home. 

I'm in that phase of moving where most of the boxes are unpacked, but I'm still eating takeout straight out of the container if you know what I'm saying, so there may be a few kinks here and there.  Bear with me and my serious lack of technological skills and I will try and get back to your regular programming ASAP.  If it wasn't for the fabulous Lisa none of this would have happened in the first place, so many thanks to her!  And of course to you for reading. 
So come see the new digs!   


August 04, 2011

July Books

Oh, you all.  July was kind of a ridiculous month with respect to reading.  Ridiculous, as in -- it took me the entire month to finish one and a half books.  And even that WAS A CHALLENGE!

Here's the story:

Book -- One Half

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Well the whole internet was atwitter about this book and I certainly thought it sounded interesting.  It was claimed to be any one of the following: Harry Potter meets Twilight, Not Your Daughter's Vampire Novel, A Paranormal Romance for Grownups -- and while I agree with the accuracy of most of these sentiments, the most overwhelming quality of this book?   IT IS 600 PAGES.

For some reason, the length to me made it feel like a bit of a slog.  It's not like I can't read that many pages  -- I generally read 6-8 books per month which is far more than 600 pages -- but something about 600 pages OF THE SAME STORY just feels like climbing Everest when I just want to sit down and relax.  It felt like work.  

The entire story and premise were fascinating, the pace worked well, but I was busy at the beginning of the month and was reading 10 pages here and there and I began to dread picking it up because I was making NO PROGRESS.  I realize that technically this is not a reflection of the book, but a reflection of my reading shortcomings, so I don't want confuse the two.  The book was just fine at being entertaining, but it was a library book that I couldn't renew and after paying a week's worth of late fees, I had to give up.  So I only got through about half.  SOB!

The silver lining (or perhaps the Universe issuing a challenge) is that last night when I stopped by the library another copy was available.  I hate being a quitter, so damn if I didn't pick it up and  check it out AGAIN!  I guess that means you may have to hear about this book next month, so prepare yourself.  But I hear it actually gets better later on, so maybe I will have a whole new attitude.

The book I did actually finish this month (and thank god there was at least one!):

The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong 

This was light and Young-Adulty.   Moody Pacific Northwest Town, Mysterious Incidents, People Who Can Shapeshift-- any of this sounding familiar? So yeah, originality is not the most notable thing about this book.  It was, however, pretty well written and definitely engaging enough for me to finish in a day and half.  At 359 pages it was just the boost I needed to bounce back from being unable to finish a 600 page book in a month.  I've said it before and I'll say it again:  My Life Is Small, people.  Don't hate on this lame things that keep me up at night.  

ANYWAY, so mostly this book was cheesy in that very enjoyable way that derivative YA Lit can be.  If you like that sort of thing, pick it up!  My only caveat is to warn you that this is a trilogy, and the author uses trilogy in that loose form where they don't actually tell you three separate but related stories but rather they stretch one story over three separate books.  

I guess what I'm saying is:  CLIFFHANGER ENDING.  And the next book doesn't come out until April 2012 and by that time, I'm fairly certain I will have forgotten everything about this novel.  So keep that in mind.  
Since July was so dismal, I've got quite a few things I'm looking forward to reading in August, including not ONLY a celeb memoir, but fiction written by a celeb.  Hmmmm -- we'll see how that goes.  I'm skeptical about celeb fiction.  Have you ever indulged?  I'll report back what I think next month!

Any Must Read Recommendations?

August 03, 2011

Easy Paleo Turkey Satay Burgers

I'm just going to throw this out there:  Satay sauce is next to Godliness in my humble opinion.  

It's creamy, nutty and sometimes spicy -- and really what more can you want from a sauce? Just typing that made my mouth water.  The only two problems I have with it?  The peanuts make it very un-Paleo (Peanuts are a legume and not actually a nut...who knew?) and there is generally some type of soy sauce in it which I avoid like the plague (mostly due to gluten).  So while I occasionally throw caution to the wind and order if I am out, I wanted to make a version that I could eat anytime and know I wasn't  deviating from the style of eating that has kept me happy and healthy over the last year. 

I set out to make a sauce that would hit all the same notes as a good peanut satay (and would be a nice dipper for chicken) but also because I am lazy on most weeknights (shocker!) I wanted to find a way to turn it into a burger.  Burgers = King of Easy Weeknight Recipes! Everybody knows (said in my best Phaedra impersonation) that if you are looking for a good burger recipe, Rachael Ray is a great resource.  She's written something like 1000 burger recipes so whenever I'm in a pickle I seek out one of her recipes.  This time I used this recipe as inspiration (and did some tweaking to satisfy my own dietary needs.) 

The results were PHENOMENAL.  I have to admit this surprised me a little.  I thought for sure it would be edible, but I wasn't certain I would love it.  I only had turkey on hand and I thought it might be a weird combination, but it actually works out awesome because the creaminess of the sauce lends well to turkey because and its low fat content.  The toppings give a great texture combo and overall I LOVED IT!  I hope you will too.

Paleo Turkey Satay Burgers (adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine)


for burgers
Fat of Choice (I used coconut oil on this one)
1.25 lbs of Ground Turkey

2 Large Garlic Cloves, grated
1 Inch Ginger Root, grated
3 Green Onions, finely diced
Salt + Pepper to taste  (I went lighter on the salt than usual due to the salty sauce.)

for sauce
1/2 Cup Almond Butter
3 TBS Coconut Aminos/Tamari 
1 tsp red pepper flakes (less if you don't want your sauce to have some kick) 

for garnish
1 Bag of Broccoli Slaw (My favorite thing to have in the fridge! So useful!)


1.  Heat fat of choice over medium in a 12 in skillet (or you could grill these -- I just chose a pan because I'm lazy, remember?)
2.  In a medium sized bowl, mix all ingredients through salt and pepper.  Form into 4 patties. 
3.  Cook patties for 6 minutes one side, flip, cook 3 minutes on the other side so that the surface gets brown, then cover and continue cooking until inside is desired temperature.  I like my turkey fairly well done so I cooked it another 5 minutes covered.
4.  When turkey is almost done cooking, in another small pot, combine almond butter and coconut aminos over medium low heat.  Stir until combined and sauce has a creamy consistency.  If it thickens over the heat more than you like, feel free to thin it out with some chicken stock (or even water would be fine!)
5. In a separate bowl toss broccoli slaw with a few TBS of satay sauce
6.  Serve cooked burgers on butter lettuce garnished with a dollop of the satay sauce as well as the sauced broccoli slaw
7.  Enjoy your super rich, spicy Paleo-friendly satay dish!

The flavor is so complex considering the ingredients are so simple and it has become a great way to fancy up your everyday turkey burger.  If you end up trying this let me know how you like it! 

August 01, 2011

These Are My People

One Word from American River CrossFit on Vimeo.

Cute video from my friends over at American River CrossFit.  I've pushed my physical limits with just about every person in this video and never once has anyone made me feel like I was anything other than an awesome athlete.  I probably should have chosen a word like "Supportive" or "Uplifting" but instead my pre-workout anticipatory jitters got the best of me.  

See what words Garrett and I chose at 5:18 and 6:56. 

Honestly, I love this place.

July 31, 2011

What's For Dinner?

After scrambling through last week with no menu plan at all  (which I hate because I end up spending hours staring at the fridge wondering what to cook when I could be doing super productive things like watching Bravo or painting my fingernails) I got my act together and made a list for the coming week. There are a few things that I didn't get around to making from 2 weeks ago so I need to use up ingredients, and of course there is the overflowing garden to contend with so if the vegetable side dishes seem a little repetitive, that's why.  Also, coincidentally I managed to randomly pick out a bunch of recipes that originated at Simply Recipes.

Here's what's on the menu:


Lunch:  Taco Salad
Dinner:  Pesto + Goat Cheese Chicken + Garlic Butter Spaghetti Squash


Lunch: Grilled Chicken Salads (chicken grilled up this weekend!)
Dinner:  Blue Cheese Burgers + Caprese Salad (Garrett is addicted to this salad and it's basically all he wants to eat.  Good thing I pulled 30 lbs of tomatoes out of the garden last week!)

Lunch:  Chicken Tikka Masala + Broccoli
Dinner:  Flank Steak Stir Fry with Asparagus + Cauliflower Fried Rice


Lunch:  Garam Masala Ground Beef with Cabbage + Onions
Dinner:  Salsa Chicken  (I made an ENORMOUS batch of fresh salsa with a lot of those tomatoes...MUST USE) + Salad

Lunch: Out!
Dinner:  Bison Burgers (Summer Bucket List item!) + Chili Rubbed Squash

Leftovers, pick up meat share.


Go Shopping!  Usually I Sunday nights since I go to the store I make an impromptu dinner based on whatever impulse buy I feel like making.  ;)

Ok, it's YOUR TURN...

July 29, 2011

Fun Stuff To Read Because It's Friday

It's Friday. It's been an awesome week and literally every single day, multiple times a day I've said to myself --ooh, I need to write a post about that.  My mind is overflowing with ideas and things and but I can't actually get myself to sit down and put them into words.  It happens.  I have 2 amazingly tasty recipes to post, some thoughts on weight loss, a funny story about why Garrett is NOT in marketing,  ridiculous pictures and  a fitness update all sitting in the queue but no time or motivation to actually finish the task.  This week has kind of been a bear, and I've used my free time to do some serious rest and recovery and it always feels good to prioritize that.  I will get there next week but I kind of want to coast into the weekend.

In the meantime, since I'm OBVIOUSLY not contributing anything today but excuses, here are a few interesting reads from around the internet:

How To Make No Churn Honey Cinnamon Ice Cream - I don't know about you but everywhere I look lately there are awesome summer ice cream recipes, alas I have no ice cream maker and hesitate to buy one lest I find an excuse to eat ice cream three meals a day.  I would have no problem rationalizing that.  I'm thinking of trying this one though since there is no special equipment required.  Plus it just sounds tasty!  Honey Ice Cream always reminds me of Hawaii...ah, wish I was there!

Life is Short Manifesto - I've posted this before, but I came across it again this week and I just love every single line.  

Fun Pickling Recipes - I don't know what you are doing this weekend but I am playing PRESERVE THE FRICKEN HARVEST.  It's a fun game.  I pulled 14 lbs of tomatoes out of the garden on Sunday only to find 18 lbs the following Wednesday.  You know there will be some tomato canning going on (EEP!  No experience!)  Also, I'm drowning in various different types of cucumbers so I'm just going to roll the dice and see how they pickle even though they aren't specifically "Pickling Cucumbers." Wish me luck!

What It Takes - Last but not least I am totally in love with this post that I just read this morning from Liz over at InnerTeub.  I love the way Liz can really tell it like it is about many things, but I found that on this topic, I could really relate.  I actually wrote an entire post over at Bodies in Motivation about the way weight loss conversations can turn real irritating, real quick.  Over the last year I've been asked by a million different people about what my Weight Loss Secret was, so much so I dedicated an entire series of posts to that secret.   But the truth is, most people don't want to know the secret. They want you to tell them that they can keep doing what the want, and get results.  The truth is if you want to change your life, you have to do just that:  Change Your Life.  Don't keep doing the same workouts, going to the same restaurants, eating the same foods, going to the same happy hours.  Try something new, challenge your mind and body.  Give yourself credit because YOU CAN DO IT.  Wow, I did not think that I was going to get so soapboxy about this.  I guess I just feel like if I can do it, anyone can do it.  But the keyword there is Do It.  It ain't gonna happen sittin on the couch, ya know?

Nor does it happen taking crappy quality self portraits in your garage, but you know what I'm saying, right? 

Okay!  Since that got a little heavy, how about a dancing cat video. You have to smile at that don't you?

Hope you all have a good weekend! 

July 25, 2011

Weekend Recap, Because I Have NO IDEA What's For Dinner This Week.

Many moons ago -- you know, when I was in my early 20s -- I used to have to be at work by 5am regularly. Being the socializer I was, I often went out the night before and somehow made it to work bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready to take on the day. This ability is no longer my reality.  In fact I packed so much into this weekend that when my alarm went off this morning I couldn’t figure out if my radio was playing music or if I had been hit by a truck and the sound I heard was angels singing.  Then I realized it was Bon Jovi on the radio and while it is many things, Wanted: Dead or Alive isn't quite what I would call a Pearly Gate Anthem.  And my day began.

You all, I am TIRED.

I realize that all of you with adorable babies and multiple children are probably rolling your eyes and thinking Holly, you don’t know tired – so I won’t make this a post about trying to one up your fatigue. Instead I will show you some pictures and tell you some random things and we will call it a post for the sake of documentation, mmm kay?

For starters I spent the weekend checking a few more things off my summer bucket list  so you know despite my tiredness I am sublimely happy.  Friday my mom came out to visit for the weekend. She actually lives close by, but we both had similar errands to run and we were going to the same party on Saturday so we just made a weekend out of it. It was basically a girls weekend + Garrett.  You know he loved it.  

My mom can shop with the best of them, and Friday we did just that. After a crazy intense workout Friday morning, we headed out for most of the day to take care of business.  Taking care of business with my mom always involves at least one trip to Target where we A to Z every aisle in the store.  This is dangerous and while I love it, I do not recommend it if you are trying to save money.  My mom is a fantastic shopping enabler!  By the time we got home on Friday night we had just enough energy to have some dinner with Garrett, during which my mom got a long overdue lesson about the strategy of Formula One racing, we did a little prep work for the brunch I was hosting on Sunday, and then we all headed to sleep.

On Saturday morning we woke up early and I got to check my first item off the Summer Bucket List: Have a picnic in the Plaza in Sonoma.  My cousin Jim’s birthday was on Sunday so the bulk of my family met up in Sonoma at Sebastiani to eat and celebrate because that is how we roll.  Ok, truth be told we didn’t picnic in the Plaza, but my mom and I did get to see the plaza, because that was where we got sandwiches.  Qucik PSA: The ONLY proper sandwich choice when picnicking up in wine country is The Sonoma Cheese Factory.  They make the kind of sandwiches that God would make if heaven were a deli. Paleo diet be damned, when in Sonoma there must be sandwich consumption. I believe that is written in the epilogue of The Bible.

Then we headed over to have a picnic at a winery so I’m just going step in and call that close enough -- CHECK!  I seriously LOVE chilling with my family.

There was lots of wine drinking and baby squeezing and joke-cracking that afternoon. It was a fun, yet too short, visit with my family. All the photos are here if you enjoy that business.

Unfortunately Garrett had to work and miss out on the Saturday afternoon fun which was a bummer, but when we got home he went all out and put together an impromptu scotch/whiskey/bourbon tasting for the three of us while I did a few more things to prep for my brunch.  I don't even like any sort of brown liquor, quite frankly, but I highly recommend comparative tasting.  That's probably the coffee/wine geek in me, but it was so much more fun to taste the differences between all the different types rather than just drink a glass of brown stuff.  My favorite at the end of the tasting?

Who knew?  Never thought I would enjoy scotch on purpose.

Saturday night Garrett suggested we bust out some old family movies and all watch them together and if you guessed that this melted my mama’s little heart, then you guessed correctly. That Garrett knows just how to get brownie points, so the 3 of us stayed up way too late laughing and reminiscing about old family stories. Also, about how awful the fashion was in the 90s. I turned off those videos with no clear understanding of what purpose the mock-turtleneck served, and with extreme wonder surrounding why people ever wore matching sweatsuits. Awful, really really awful.

Sunday morning again came too quick, and my mom headed out because she babysits my little cousin Chelsea on Sundays and Mondays. After a whirlwind of a weekend my mom was off to baby wrangle. It’s a good thing I made a huge pot of coffee because you can tell by the look on her face that this little chicky doesn’t want to sit still for long. My mom needed all the caffeine she could get:

After she took off, I checked another thing of the Bucket List: Have a dinner party in my backyard before it gets sweltering. Except I didn't actually have dinner, I had a brunch, but I’m just going to call it complete anyway because Bobby Brown told me that was my prerogative. CHECK! Since Sacramento is always sweltering I thought my best bet for getting to eat outside was to do breakfast instead of dinner. Sarah, Elizabeth, Amy and Elisabeth came over and I would show you a picture of that lovely afternoon except I didn't take a single one!  I think that is the sign of good conversation if you can get 5 women in a room who document their lives via blog and not a single one busts out a camera.  Either that, or they thought my tablecloth was ugly.  I'm going to hope for the former.  

We had lots of coffee, cocktails and food -- so much food actually that I forgot to even serve the bacon I had cooked.  And no Garrett and I didn't have bacon for dinner, why would you even think that?????  Actually we didn't ONLY have bacon, there was also blueberry cake too.  We like to make sure we get in some fruit, you know?  

By the time evening rolled around I basically only had enough energy to play fashion police on the couch while watching my DVR.  For example -- WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE:

After contemplating that I was obviously too exhausted to do much else besides go to bed.  And now we are back to the grind on a Monday.  How does that even happen?

How did you enjoy your weekend, peeps?


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