RANT: Elite “Ate”

blackberry cobbler

Warm Blackberry Cobbler                                                                                                 

with Vanilla Ice Cream

VS

Mom’s Carrot Cake

carrot cake

_____________________________________

ice cream sandwiches

Groove Ice Cream  Cookie Sandwiches            

     VS   

Girl Scout Cookie Formerly known as Samoas

samoas

It’s Basketball season.

And being from North Cackalacki, ACC territory, I’ve been watching an unhealthy amount of Basketball. And speaking of unhealthy,  I’ve decided to make a bracket for the top unhealthy sweet foods I crave.  My “Elite Ate” Desserts, if you will.

Over the years, hundreds of desserts have battled it out with my taste buds for a chance to reign supreme.  I’ve been a pretty generous committee in years past, but this year’s tournament is proving more competitive, less processed and more delectable than ever!

Not all desserts that have made it to this year’s “Elite Ate” are the most delicious.  And the majority are not at all nutritious!  Many made it this far in the tournament by being tenaciously tasty, like Mom’s famous Carrot Cake, who would not have made it without the all-star ingredient: Cream Cheese Icing.

Some, like the Girl Scout Cookies formally known as Samoas, who beat the Swiss Miss Cake Rolls in the first round, got a bid solely because they were childhood favorites.

Krispy Kreme donuts put a snackdown on the ever-satifying Snickers bars, beating them in the Sweet Sixteen.  Those ‘Hot-and-Now’ glazed treasures are tough to beat, as they consistently bring the triple double (cheap, sweet, and ridiculously yummy to eat). But watch out for the Dark Chocolate Chips & Walnuts, known for their healthy, yet effective defense on cravings.

Groove Ice Cream Sandwich bars are a neophyte favorite, with their HFCS-free ice cream offense and their delicious homemade double cookie defense.  They will be a tough match up for Salt and Straw Ice Cream Pints, who are the returning Champions; small-batch and all-natural, they are expected to go far again this year.  I look forward to a sample of the fantastically fun recipes in their playbook!

So what’s in your Elite Ate?

krispy kreme

Krispy Kreme Hoy & Now      

 VS                 

 Baklava

baklava

__________________________________________
chochipswalnuts

Chocolate Chips & Walnuts          

VS      

SALT & STRAW Designer Ice Cream 

salt & Straw

RANT: Give a Little

Christmas New Years 2008 024Remember when you were a kid and your parents told you it was more fun to give than receive … and you were like “That’s crazy talk!”?

You never quite got the end of the Grinch, when all the Who’s down in Whoville sang together, not bummed at all that their gifts had been jacked.

I’m not saying I wouldn’t be upset if we were robbed Christmas Eve, but let’s just say I don’t need a thing under my tree.  (And I’ve been a very good girl this year – I now compost and ‘buy local’ and think only super positive thoughts! And I even stopped using my college ID to get movie discounts!)

Now, I am just grateful to have people to love and be healthy and happy.  It sounds like a rehearsed pageant answer, but I wish I could give that gratitude, love and security to every one this season–heck, all year long!  You know what, make it a lifetime supply. Unlimited Love and Gratitude, for all.

Maybe you have to grow up, or experience loss, or just realize how lucky you are to see the joy in giving rather than receiving. (or just move a lot and realize what a pain in the rump it is to have too much stuff!)

Any whos-down-in-whooville, I hope you all are giving love love love this Christmas.  Isn’t that the point?

RANT: Fa La La Lardo

Ok my lil’ Sugar Plums, tis the season for over indulgence.  If you made it through Thanksgiving without heartburn or a pant size adjustment, good on ya!  But holiday parties abound these next few weeks. So brace yourself and your belts.  I could name 900 tasty treats you are likely to encounter this Yuletide, from egg nog to saltine toffee (<-do not click there, it’s a recipe for crack.  But it’s easy and technically could be made with all natural ingredients….)

saltine toffeeDon’t do it! Don’t get sucked in to the holiday gluttony vortex!  Stay away from the smorgasbord!

Firstly, eat a handful of almonds and drink 2 glasses of water before going to any cocktail party.  Upon arriving, drop off your tasty treat (see above saltine toffee) with the host(ess) and then ask for a glass of water.  Sip this this down first, before grabbing a cocktail, and anytime awkwardness ensues.  Instead of gorging on the inevitably delicious distractions, take in the host’s family photos and decorations.  You never know what gems you may find! Don’t go all ‘sock drawer’ or anything–stick to the ground floor.   And avoid lingering in bedrooms.  As a guest, that’s kinda creepy.

If you find it relaxing or simply a must to have a cocktail or 3, opt for red wine or liquor drinks sans mixers (go for water with a squeeze of lime or honey).  Try to have a glass of water in between each one and definitely shy away from the egg-nog!  I don’t care if it’s “lite”.  You might as well have a bowl of ice cream!  Most egg nog is full of sugar and fat as well as High Fructose Corn Syrup, which we now know suppresses your body’s signal to stop eating.  So not only are you going to scarf down the ‘liquid bow of ice cream’, you are likely to eat your body weight in sausage balls and santa cookies as well.  Find the veggie tray, if there is one, or plan to eat elsewhere.santa cookies

Play it smart.  Don’t let your holiday season go to your gut!

RANT: Be Grateful

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

I used to joke that I didn’t need a holiday to over eat, that I could do that all year long.  I suppose the same could be said for ‘giving thanks’.

pumpkins

It’s nice that we pause, for one day in our lives, to give thanks (and to over eat and drink, yell across the table with loved ones, then sloth-out on the couch and watch football) but shouldn’t we do that all year long? Give thanks, that is.

So, like it or not, here are a few things I’m grateful for. . .and a few things I’m not so grateful for:

GRATEFUL:

Nourishing Food

Laughter

Family

A good story

Puns

Bargains

YouTube and creative comedy

Bass  (the beat to shake your rump to, not the fish, or the instrument, but those are cool too)

Those free return address stickers I keep getting in the mail with a nickel

The wild world web

Nike Commercials

The ability to talk like a hard-core gangsta though I’m a middle-aged, white girl

Ryan Gosling

Not having been to prison

SNL musical parodies

Time travel (when it’s discovered I’m gonna be super grateful–actually I just want to be able to fly somewhere without it taking all day)

NOT SO GRATEFUL FOR:

Junk Mail

Paper Cuts

The cost of a lift ticket

Things that don’t work that SHOULD

That mailmen don’t have more stylish uniforms

Music app commercials—just let us listen to the music, geez, I’m not changing car insurance!

Awkward sunburns (unless it happens to someone else, like my younger brothers, then they’re kind of fun)

The notorious Soccer Player “Flop” to draw a call. Come on guys, we’re losing potential fans!

The neighbor that parks their car so we can’t get in to our garage

Finding a human tooth in a sandwich once

_____________

So while this is the month of gratitude, let’s keep it going all year long!

 

RECIPE: Hard Boiled Eggs

hard boiled eggs

Eggs are nature’s perfectly packaged nutrient and protein rich little gift.  People used to avoid egg because they were told the yolks were high in cholesterol. Now research has found that eggs also raise the good cholesterol that our bodies need.  So I’m not saying go all ‘Cool Hand Luke‘ on me, but enjoy eggs regularly, don’t fear them!

It almost seems  ridiculous to call it a “recipe”.  So call it a reminder. Hard boiled eggs are your healthy, cheap, quick breakfast, snack or protein fix. Grab and go on your way out the door, or put ’em atop a salad for added protein and to keep you fuller longer. Make a batch to enjoy at your own pace, they’ll keep in the fridge for 5 days or so.

1. Put the eggs in a single layer in a saucepan, covered by at least an inch or two of cold water. Starting with cold water and gently bringing the eggs to a boil will help keep them from cracking.

2. After a minute in boiling water, remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let sit for 12 minutes

3. Either remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and place them into a bowl of ice water

4. Once cool, roll the egg(s) you want to enjoy on a hard surface to uniformly break shell, peel off shell and enjoy

(I throw a little salt and pepper on ’em)

RANT: why simplify?

I consider myself a fluctuator.  You know, a sorta healthy weight until the proverbial “___ hits the fan”, life gets stressful, then it starts ….

I’m not sleeping enough, I’m eating junky foods, and lots of it, then BAM! I swell up like 2 sizes….until stuff cools down and I’m able to get back to my routine of healthy living.

But then again, isn’t that’s what’s happening to all of us?

lower_your_stress_level

When you are stressed, you are not as good to your body.  You eat too much, and it’s usually too much of the bad stuff (did somebody say mozzarella sticks?!).   When you are stressed your sleep suffers, you don’t get enough water, nutrients, exercise, or time for play.  When you are strapped for time, you eat convenient foods, not good-for-you foods.  When we are frazzled, we’re not as nice to our loved ones, which causes them stress (and worsens our own).  When you body is stressed (you tired of me using that word yet, is it causing you stress?) it holds on to every calorie it can and packs on the fat tissue because it’s preparing for the worst (long winter without food? drought? famine?) Then shedding pounds becomes nearly  impossible!

I really think, as a nation, we aren’t all over-weight, we’re just all crazy-stressed!

Slammed with work, financial woes, kids’ schedules, social obligations, unrewarding jobs, unhealthy or broken relationships, facades to keep up, our own self-imposed stressors, taking on too much, ailing parents, car trouble, the list goes on…

stresssymptoms

So if stress makes you fat and unhealthy, then wouldn’t it make sense that de-stressing and simplifying your life would make you more healthy, trimmer and overall much happier?

What are ways you can simplify!?

(stress photos from Mandyrandall.com and Boundless)