Post Number 200! An Update and A Recipe.

Hello there, and welcome back to my little blog. I know blogs are so early 00’s but I still read them, so I figure other people out there do too. (And thank you for doing so!)

So, life update. I’m still working like crazy at both jobs. I did make a conscious decision to take fewer hours at my second job, but I still end up working quite a few days a month there. I’m still waiting to hit that Powerball. No word yet.

The cats are good boys. Dean is getting super chubby despite the fact that I do NOT over feed them – I just feel like some cats are pre-disposed to be chubs.

He’s super cute though. Even when he is grumpy as hell.

Made a few changes around the house – I got a new stove! My old one was giving out on me last year, which I finally noticed the week I was baking all my Christmas cookies. Of course. So between holiday gift cards, cash, and a little help from mom and dad, I was able to get a new stove. Best part? Convection. Fancy!

I’m still getting the hang of her, however. I was used to the old stove that didn’t get as hot or cook food as fast. I gotta keep on my toes with this one!

Dad also helped me refresh the living room with a new coat of paint. It had been a pretty butter yellow for years but I was ready for a change. I wanted something a little neutral but dramatic, and I thought a medium beige-ish gray would be perfect.

And it is.

And finally, my biggest life update: there’s a boy. In my life.

Yes, a boy. We’ve been dating since October. I like him. That’s all you get.

Onto the recipe! I had this one in my brain for a couple of weeks and took advantage of a day off recently to give it a go. It’s easy enough to pull together on a week night yet just ‘fancy’ enough to serve to someone special for an at-home date night.

I love corn served alongside scallops, I think the sweetness of the corn complements the succulent butteriness of the scallops, and the pop of heat from the roasted poblano pepper gives the puree a great kick.

I started with a few ears of corn, four or five. Shuck and remove silk, drizzle with olive oil, and season with a little salt and pepper. Grill on high for approximately 10-12 minutes until roasted on all sides.

Grill the poblano pepper for a few minutes on all sides until the skin is blackened and blistered.

Remove from grill and place in a zip top bag or a covered bowl for a few minutes until the skin softens and you’re able to remove it easily. Remove the stem and seeds, and dice the pepper. Remove the corn from the grill and cut the kernels off the cobs.

Place half of the corn in a blender and puree until smooth.

Edit: This is where my pretty new stove’s super-hot burners kinda bit me in the butt, I had to move so fast to make sure nothing burned that I couldn’t take any more photos of the action. Whomp whomp.

Add pureed corn to a medium saucepan, stir in remaining corn and diced poblano. Add 1 TB butter, a splash of cream or half and half, 3 TBS parmesan cheese, a pinch of salt and fresh ground black pepper. Heat on medium low until the butter melts and the mixture bubbles slightly.

In a large saute pan, heat a few tablespoons of butter until melted. Pat the scallops dry and season with a little salt and pepper. Add to the pan with melted butter and cook on both sides until browned and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from the heat and serve immediately with the corn and pepper puree.

I served it alongside these easy sautéed green beans.

Yum. Tender, perfectly cooked scallops. Sweet, creamy corn with just a touch of char, and the perfect amount of heat from the poblanos. I highly recommend this one before the corn is all gone for the summer.

Sautéed Scallops with Roasted Corn and Poblano Puree

  • Large Scallops, 4 per person
  • 4-6 ears of corn, shucked and cleaned
  • 1 large poblano pepper
  • 5 Tb butter
  • 3 Tb grated parmesan cheese
  • 4 Tb half and half, milk or cream
  • salt and pepper
  • Other seasonings, as desired for corn puree (I used a little of this.)

Brush a light coating of olive oil over the ears of corn and season with salt and pepper. Grill corn until roasted on all sides, approximately 10-12 minutes. Grill poblano until charred and softened, approximately 10 minutes. Place poblano in a zip top bag and allow to cool. Remove blackened skin from the outside, remove seeds and stem, and cut into small dice.

Remove corn kernels from cobs. Puree half of the corn in a blender until smooth. Pour the puree into a small saucepan, add the remaining corn kernels and diced pepper, 1 TB butter, cream or half and half, parmesan cheese, and desired seasonings. Stir over medium low heat until incorporated and the mixture starts to bubble lightly.

Melt remaining butter in a pan over medium heat. Pat scallops dry on a paper towel and season with salt and pepper. Sautee scallops in pan until brown and just cooked through, approximately 3-4 minutes per side, depending on size of scallops.

Serve scallops immediately over corn puree and enjoy.

 

 

 

Weekend Off!

This past weekend was pretty great.

Let’s back up to the part where I actually get weekends off now. I don’t think I mentioned that my hours at Job Number Two finally changed — I was offered the chance to work weekend day shifts instead of the awful night shifts I had been doing — and I jumped at it. I offered to take every other weekend, Saturday and Sunday 7am-7pm. Which means every other weekend off.

Every. Other Weekend. Off. Kind of a big deal for me, honestly.

It also means working four to six shifts a month instead of two or three, and the added day shift crap that you have to deal with at a hospital, but more shifts also = more money, so we deal with the day shift crap, and did I mention every other weekend off?

Yeah. I’ve been pretty happy with this development.

However, much like when I was working three Saturday nights a month, I still have the tendency to fill these weekends off with all! The! Things!

Which brings us back to this past weekend. From the time I clocked out at the office Friday at 5pm until I went to bed Sunday night I was going, going, going. I had a blast all weekend but man, was I exhausted.

Saturday morning started bright and early, with a little house cleaning and food prep. I was having guests for dinner after an afternoon out so I wanted something that would take minimal effort once we got back to the house. Crockpot shredded chicken tacos fit the bill nicely. Still working on the recipe for those, by the way. A little bland for my tastes right now, when I figure them out I’ll be sure to post.

The afternoon was spent in retro dresses looking at classic cars in Macungie at Das Awkscht Fescht.

Cutest dress ever, yeah? Thanks, ModCloth! I enjoyed seeing all the different cars, too. I’m not the biggest car person, but classic cars are always fun.

After car-hopping (ha), we came back to the house to hang out a bit and enjoy the air conditioning, ate tacos and funfetti cake, and watched a little RuPaul’s Drag Race. Then I mowed the lawn at 8:30 at night because my dad was coming early the next morning and lord knows he would have had a conniption at the state of it, and fell asleep almost immediately after.

On Sunday Pops picked me up around 10 (see? good thing I mowed that lawn!) and we drove down to Philadelphia for some baseball. I bought the tickets as a Father’s Day gift and I’m almost glad the Phillies are having a terrible year because our seats were awesome.

Hashtag no zoom.

Before the game, we split a cheesesteak and some ice cream, walked around the park a couple times, and got to see Pat Burrell from about 40 feet away.

Hashtag yummy.

And during the game? We sweated our butts off. Hot as blazes, and since our seats were so close, we were in the sun all day.

But all the stretching during warm ups was worth it.

This guy.

And this guy. ❤

The Phillies lost to the Braves, unfortunately – they had won the first few games of the series but couldn’t pull out the sweep. After the long drive home and making sure my work clothes for the week were laundered, I collapsed into bed, exhausted but happy after one of my best, busiest weekends in a long time. I do have to work this weekend of course, but next week I’m off for seven entire days. I wonder what I could POSSIBLY do with all that time? 

A Quick Update, and I’m Moving On.

It’s been quite a while since my last post, and I’m sure I have a perfectly good excuse, but let’s not dwell on the past, shall we? Much has happened in the past few months, and we should at least catch up on some of it. I’ve got a few recipes waiting to be written up, and a couple other things to talk about, but the biggest thing that happened around here…and I can’t believe I’m about to tell you this…well.

I had surgery.

Yeah, no. THAT surgery. The one I’ve been mulling in my head for ten years. The one I talked myself out of dozens of times because “Oh, I can do it on my own,” or “I don’t need to have major surgery to do that,” or “I’ve seen too many problems with it, it’s too scary.” THAT surgery. Weight loss surgery.

I’ve been researching everything since last spring. I had given myself one last chance to get it right on my own, and by mid-summer I had yo-yoed again, gaining an approximate 20 pounds after losing 15. This is probably the fourth or fifth time that happened in the past two years, and I was done. So I pulled the trigger and at the end of July attended an informational meeting about one of the programs in the area, at a hospital where I have no previous ties so as to eliminate the chance of running into people I knew. A little more research showed that I had picked the right hospital, and the absolute best surgeon. By the next week, I had eight or nine appointments made through the next three months, including a physical with a new general practitioner (who I love and was fully on board with everything, thank goodness), and I was. Doing. This.

I had three monthly appointments with a nurse practitioner, basically to get weighed in every month and talk about my habits and what to expect during pre and post op. I had two nutrition classes, and one behavioral health class, plus one on one appointments with the nutritionist and the behavioral health specialist. The program prepares you for what you’re about to go through, and their people evaluate you to ensure your own success, which I appreciated. There’s also a great network of support, with meetings every month to attend if you’re having problems or just need someone to talk to. As much support and love as I’ve had from friends and family throughout all of this, I am glad I have the support of the program as well — it’s just good to talk to people that have been there and know what you’re going through.

The surgery itself was on Friday, January 10th – or four days ago, as I write this. Five, when it will publish. I had what is called a vertical sleeve gastrectomy, or VSG. It’s a laparoscopic procedure in which 85% of your stomach is cut off and removed. There are no implants. There is no rerouting of innards. There is only a small, half-banana shaped tube where my stomach used to be. Everything went well – I was told I was in the “sleeve of the month club” by my doctor. Recovery was a little rough – I had a fair amount of pain and nausea, but by Saturday I felt much better and was able to come home. I feel better every day – hoping that tonight (Tuesday night) will be the last time I take my pain meds to sleep.

As far as food, it’ll come. I’m on clear liquids now – all the chicken broth and jell-o I can handle, and I can have a protein shake made with water. This weekend I can switch to full liquids – tomato soup, yippee! — And from there move on to pureed foods, soft foods, and eventually everything I can tolerate, within reason of course. I didn’t have this surgery to lose weight while still eating junk – just less of it. There is a fair amount of work to be done on my part – getting lots of protein, staying adequately hydrated, making sure I take my vitamins, and of course exercise, which I’m so looking forward to.

The most important people in my life – family, close friends, some coworkers – have known about this for a while, though there were a few people I didn’t get to clue in to everything until right before, only out of lack of opportunity. I’m sharing it here because I didn’t feel the need to hide it. I’m happy and at peace with this decision, and I know it’s the best for me. Whether or not anyone else supports or likes this decision is on them, not me. I don’t have diabetes, nor am I pre-diabetic. I don’t have heart problems, or issues with cholesterol. I’m just tired, and constantly in pain. And I decided I can’t live that way anymore. I’ve gone through my entire life – 38 years of it – being overweight, unhealthy, and ultimately unhappy. I’ve spent the last ten years trapped in a body that was unable to do many things I wanted or needed it to do. It just took me until this year to be ready to take the steps necessary to change it. I’ve taken my life back, and nothing anyone says or thinks can stop me, so you may as well join the ride. I don’t promise it’ll always be smooth, but it will damn well be exciting.

“What Do You Mean, You’re Not on Facebook Anymore?”

About two months ago, I was sitting at home scrolling through my Facebook feed, and I just thought, “Ugh. I hate this. Why am I here?” I clicked off the page, started looking at something else, and not five minutes later found myself back on Facebook, looking at the same crap I had just looked at (and chided myself for doing so) again. That’s when it hit me: I’m kind of over Facebook. Like, totally. Over it. All of it –  the fake bragging. The passive aggressive posts. The potty training updates. The rage-inducing politics. The duck-faced selfies. The “Doesn’t-This-Recipe-Look-Amazing-OMG” posts that TOTALLY BELONG ON PINTEREST HOLY CRAP PEOPLE GET YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA STRAIGHT BEFORE I SMACK YOU.

So I went to my settings page, I found the button that said ‘deactivate profile’, I took a deep breath, and I clicked it.

And I never looked back. And then I braced myself for the inquisition.

“Wait, you just deleted it? Just like that?”

No, I didn’t delete my profile. I deactivated it. It’s still there, somewhere, with all my pictures and oh-so-witty-status updates and such, it’s just not active. People that I was friends with on Facebook can no longer see me. If I choose to reactivate it at any time, all I have to do is log in, and I’ll show back up in everyone’s newsfeed again. (Shrewd, Zuckerberg). I don’t think I’ll ever delete the profile, I just won’t be active on Facebook for a while.

“Woah. But…why? What made you do it?”

Eh, I realized I was spending too much time on a site that just truly annoyed me more than anything, and WHY would anyone do that to themselves? There’s more to it than that, but it’s a little personal and I don’t want to get into it here.

“Oh. Was it me? Did I post something that annoyed you?”

No. Absolutely not. It wasn’t any one thing that made me do it, just a myriad of annoyances.

“Well, you know you *can* block people from your feed, and block certain people from seeing everything you post…”

Yes, I do know this. I have taken advantage of those functions on more than one occasion, believe me. But like I said, it wasn’t just one post, or one person. It was the whole experience. Plus I’m really not a fan of how integrated Facebook has gotten into everyday life. There’s just SOME things I shouldn’t need to “Connect to Facebook” for. Believe me, no one on Facebook cares what I’m buying from Old Navy, or what I’m looking at on BuzzFeed.

“You’re much stronger than me! Have you ‘cheated’ at all?”

Twice. Once about a week or so after I deactivated the account, to see if Facebook wasn’t as annoying as I thought it was and if I made too hasty of a decision (nope, still annoying). The second was about two weeks ago, I wanted an old picture that was on there. I still didn’t miss it.

“Do you think you’ll come back?”

Some day, probably. Maybe around the holidays. Maybe sometime next year. I’m not sure. I am sure, however, that I’ll do it differently next time around. Less lingering, less profile creeping, less…everything. I needed to go cold turkey first, then I can think about occasional use.

“Okay. But I miss you.”

And I miss you, too! I know not everyone posts everything everywhere and I know I miss stuff and I’m sorry. I’m hoping in the long run this will only serve to make my real life interactions with friends more meaningful. It’s not like I’ve deleted myself from the internet. You can follow me on Twitter and tumblr and my Pinterest is kind of amazing, not gonna lie. Plus there’s  my blog and Flickr and Instagram and I’m still on Google+!

“Wait, Google+? What’s THAT??” 

Um…

Getting Back On The Horse (Now With More Parentheticals!)

For the past two years, it’s been almost impossible for me to put a half decent blog post together, mainly owing to the fact that the only functioning computer I had at my disposal was a teeny little Acer net book. I love that little thing. I take it everywhere. It’s perfectly fine for emails, shopping, watching netflix, updating facebook or Twitter, but when it came time to upload pictures and attach them to posts and, indeed, write at all…suffice to say it was less than desirable.

I’ve been saving up for a new computer for a while, and I knew for sure that I would be going Mac with my next purchase. (Yes, I worship at the altar of Steve Jobs. I’m a fangirl. I drink the Kool-Aid. Whatever, they’re prettttyyyy. And they’re amazing machines, so. Hush.) I just wasn’t sure if I was going desktop or laptop, Air or Pro, 21.5 in or 27 in., et cetera and so forth. Finally the other weekend I had had enough. I was attempting to study for my Cat Scan registry exam on the net book, and it was. Not. Going. Well. (Neither did the exam, but I can retest in a month or so. Serves me right for only studying from one review book.)

So I logged onto the Apple store, logged onto my bank account to make sure the cash was there, and finally, FINALLY, pulled the trigger. And today, a brand new (to me) refurbished 21.5 in iMac is sitting on my kitchen table, and I could not be happier if I was being hand fed grapes and cheese by Bradley Cooper while Alexander Skarsgard played with my hair and scratched my back.

Image

I mean, COME ON.

So with this new development I’m hoping to start posting more. I’ve got a few recipe posts I’m working on, and some other things to share. If I can stop staring at the computer long enough to write about them, that is.

Ten Weird Confessions

I will snuggle in bed with as many blankets as you can give me, but I can’t sleep with anything on my feet.

I’ve always wanted to light a lighter under one of those emergency sprinklers to see if it would really set them off.

I carry at least six tubes of lip balm/gloss on me at all times.

I won’t eat an egg sandwich, ever. No McMuffins, no breakfast burritos, won’t even scoop them onto toast. No.

I love the word “supposebly”, even though it’s not a word. Same for “irregardless”.

I think a Boston accent is as sexy as a British one.

I love being in the dark.

I frequently have entire conversations with myself.

I say I hate horror films but JAWS is my favorite movie of all time. In truth, I’m just a pussy and Freddy Kruger scares the shit out of me.

I fall asleep sitting up at least three times a week.