“Oh what I want to know, where does the time go?”

Is having children in your thirties what makes you nostalgic and wonder what the hell happened to your twenties, which seems like a lifetime ago and just yesterday all at the same time?

Why is it that a simple song can send you back 12 years so much so that you can smell the ocean, hear the waves crash, feel the rocking of the boat and taste the Coors Light in your mouth?

Even living in a completely different place doesn’t matter, all of a sudden you’re there, at the barbecue, the bar, the house party with tan lines, natural (and artificial) highlights in your hair and an underlying shred of unwarranted self-consciousness leftover from one tumultuous relationship or another.

Fun times, right?

Dave Matthews, 50 Cent, Jack Johnson, Jimmy Buffet, it didn’t matter. Thank God for mixed CD’s to keep up with our roller coaster of emotions. “Say Goodbye” transports me back to a specific kitchen and a specific cookout on the Cape. I don’t even know if it was actually playing at the time, but for some reason it fits with the mood of the memory.

There’s just something about the freedom we felt and the carelessness we had that we’ll never get back because we’re moms now!! We have human beings who rely on us to keep them alive and thriving!

We used to wonder if the new perfume we bought would catch a specific guys attention or which sunglasses made us look hot but also that we weren’t trying too hard (I always went with aviators). How many calories were in a bottle of wine versus 5 beers. How long would you have to go nowhere on an elliptical to burn off a bagel.

You know, the important things in life.

On the rare occasion that I’m in the car without either of my children or my husband, I find myself turning the volume up almost as high as it will go and mumble the (incorrect) words to Can I Kick It by Tribe Called Quest and envisioning myself driving to pick up a girlfriend and a couple bottles of Prosecco instead of going through the Starbucks drive-through on our way to the grocery store or OBGYN.

I’ve even called some old girlfriends just to check and see that they d o the same thing. Maybe it’s a different song they choose, but it’s confirmed, nonetheless.

What is it about a few years of marriage and a couple of children that makes you secretly yearn for your previous life of free falling inconsistent blissful chaos? Even if that nostalgia only lasts for the length of that song (because we don’t ACTUALLY want to go back there, that place was a MESS).

Being a mom and a wife has made me uncharacteristically (and shamefully) proud of the fact that I used to torture guys I casually dated just to see how far I could go because I was tortured too, at one point.

I took my anger and broken heart out on innocent bystanders with good intentions.

Maybe I should create my own 12 step program and start an apology tour?

All of the memories in my twenties, the good, the bad, the ugly are crammed up in my subconscious mixed with chardonnay and tequila shots and they rear their (sometimes ugly) heads on solo car rides sending me reeling back only to be rudely awakened by the bright lights of the green and white Starbucks mermaid glaring, reminding me that I’m no longer a 20-something tan, skinny blonde whose only real worry is if 20 minutes on the elliptical was long enough or if I should work a couple extra hours that week to actually fill up my gas tank.

So ok, we’re not 20-something anymore.

Our old worries are replaced with new (much larger) worries and those cut off shorts will have to remain at the bottom of the pile of clothes we’ll never wear again but refuse to throw away.

So, is it weird to miss those days sometimes? Maybe just for solo car rides.

Thank God for Dave Matthews and Tribe.

Paleo Chicken Piccata (DELISH!)

20160216_195446.jpg20160216_194216.jpgOk, so eating healthy can sometimes be a challenge, am I right? Sometimes you just want the yummy, buttery dish that your grandma used to make or that they served at your favorite Italian restaurant…WELL, you’re welcome in advance because not only is this dish Paleo, Gluten-Free, AND healthy, but it is DELICIOUS! My very picky husband inhaled it and didn’t even ask if it was paleo or gluten-free.

Here’s what I did:

  • Almond Meal
  • Arrow Root
  • Marinated Artichoke Hearts
  • Lemon Juice (and fresh slices)
  • Garlic
  • Chicken Breast (boneless, skinless. I used about 2 1/2 breasts)
  • Capers
  • Butter
  • Eggs
  • Grape Seed Oil
  • S&P to taste

In a small mixing bowl, beat 2 eggs. In another, combine 2 parts almond meal and 1 part arrow root. Mix together with a fork.

In a large skillet, pour a small amount of oil over medium heat. Cut your chicken breasts down the center so they’re more thin, (you might even want to cut twice, depending on how thick they are). Mince some fresh garlic cloves (I used 1, large) and place in the skillet (careful not to burn).

Coat each piece of chicken in the egg and then roll in the almond meal mixture until completely coated and place in the skillet. Once all the chicken is in the skillet, allow to heat until the edges begin to cook through and squeeze some fresh lemon over everything (I like a lot of lemon, so I used 2 lemons). Sprinkle some salt and pepper to taste. Flip the chicken over and repeat.

Once the chicken is about 1/2 way cooked, pour your marinated artichoke hearts, juice included, over everything and add some capers (I used 3/4 of a 12 oz. jar of artichoke hearts and about 2 Tbs. of capers). Slice some lemon and place them on top.

Take about 1 Tbs. butter and cut into small pieces, place in between chicken. Reduce heat to low/medium/low, cover and allow to simmer for about 25 minutes.

I served this over steamed/mashed cauliflower with Napa River Chardonnay!

Healthy, Gluten-Free Chicken Carbonara

So, as you probably know by now, I LOVE to eat! If food is involved, I’m there. If I ate the way I want to eat, I’d be extremely unhealthy and I’d be concerned with my blood pressure and cholesterol. That’s why I re-create these recipes so I can enjoy everything I WANT to eat without consuming an absurd amount of calories and fat.

I was so completely satisfied with this dish, even without the pasta! I poured the cabonara over mashed cauliflower and thin zucchini noodles, which turned out to be the perfect combo.

20160203_201948.jpg

No dish is complete without a glass (or bottle) of wine, in my professional wine-drinking opinion, which is why I decided on the chardonnay, pinot grigio blend. I wanted the buttery flavor of the chardonnay with the light/crisp taste of the pinot grigio.  Let me tell you, Villa Cerrina knows their stuff!

20160203_194709.jpg

Here’s What I Did:

  • 1 1/2-2 lbs. Boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1/4 Onion
  • 4 Slices uncured turkey bacon
  • 1 tsp. oil (I used grape seed oil, but you can use olive oil or other)
  • 1/4 Cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 Cup half and half
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbs. arrow root
  • 1 Tbs. butter
  • 1/2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • S&P to taste
  • 3/4 Cup steamed, cut green beans

 

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and add the onion, chopped. Allow it to cook alone for a couple minutes while stirring occasionally. Once the onion begins to soften, slice the turkey bacon into small, 1/4 inch pieces and add to the onion. Let this combo cook for about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken, cut into cubes, and sprinkle all seasonings including S&P.

Once the chicken has cooked 1/2 way through, add the chicken broth and lemon juice and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the half and half, butter and arrow root, mixing well. Turn heat to medium/low, cover, and let simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and sauce has thickened.

I cut and steamed the green beans at the end and tossed them into the mixture so they were a little crisp.

For the cauliflower, I literally just steamed the crowns, drained and pulsed on high in my food processor. You really don’t need any seasonings or fillers in this because you want to enjoy the flavor and sauce from the carbonara.

For the zucchini noodles, I peeled the zucchini with a potato peeler on 4 sides until I hit the seeds. I put the noodles in a small skillet with a tiny bit of oil and tossed around frequently with a little salt and pepper. These noodles cooked very briefly because you don’t want them to get soggy, which they will very quickly.

Pour your mixture over the cauliflower and place the zucchini around the outside. Pour yourself a MUCH deserved glass of wine WHILE you cook AND while enjoying this delicious light version of a favorite dish!

 

I’m Not Funny…Or Witty.

So…as it turns out after reading several awesome blogs on both skin care and cooking, I have come to the sad realization that I am neither funny nor witty.

I hate to say that, because I always think I’m funny, but that’s just the conversations I have going on alone in my head. It’s with a tilt of the head and a smart remark that no one else can hear that I chuckle to myself. Embarrassingly, however, I think if I uttered these thoughts aloud, no one would laugh but me…so alas, I keep them to myself.

Before you think to yourself “maybe she actually IS funny, but doesn’t speak her mind”, first of all, I thank you for your faith, BUT I have tried sharing the thoughts that go on in my mind and instead of laughs, I get a lot of “aawwww”s, which are really in sympathetic tones to my attempts at witty humor.

I accept this. I’m not the girl who takes her top off and posts pictures of myself on a camel because she’s gorgeous and hilarious (all praise Chelsea Handler), or bakes a killer turkey stuffed with garlic butter, all while looking completely gorgeous AND being both funny AND witty (God bless you, Chrissy Teigan), or the beautiful, talented and hilarious Ali from http://bitchesbeglutenfree.com/me.html

It’s cool, though. Respect.

Hope you like all my stuff..even though it’s not funny…or witty. I just like wine and food and skin care.

The “Gluten-Free/Paleo” Life

Ok, so I say “gluten-free” and “paleo” BUT I don’t always eat this way. I try to eat mostly whole foods and stay away from breads, pastas and rice. TRY. Sometimes, like last night, I make a delicious dish that has rice in it and you just can’t substitute, like rice noodles for pad thai. I mean, zucchini noodles aren’t gonna cut it!

I drink wine. A lot. I love wine, I’ve been drinking wine since I was a little girl at my Nonna and Papa’s kitchen table. It’s not paleo and I could care less. These pictures were taken in Punta Cana for our wedding in November and you can bet your bottom I was drinking wine before the wedding…that shit was stressful.

When I do cut back on all the yummy things like pastas and breads, I don’t substitute them with gluten-free versions. I don’t have celiac disease, forcing me to improvise. I just feel less bloated and more toned when I avoid those simple carbohydrates.

Any advice I might give a future bride or anyone trying to get a bit more fit is to cut out the foods you know you shouldn’t be eating and replace them with whole foods that fill you up and satisfy your palate. Add weights into your workout routine. I was always a cardio queen. Give me an In Touch magazine, a stair-master and Rhianna radio on my Pandora and I’ll sweat my butt off and feel like I accomplished something, BUT it never toned my body. Adding Body Pump class (moderate weights with lots of repetition/total body workout) was what got me tighter and smaller. I always thought weights would make me bulky, but they did NOT. I didn’t drink soda or juices either. Ever. I’d rather have stevia in my coffee in the morning and wine during the week than a soda or glass of juice any day. I heard recently that one serving of soda has more sugar in it than you need for the entire week!

My go to substitutions to cut cravings and fill/satisfy me:

  • Avocado! I put this in salads, added it to veggies for side dishes or under a meat/protein
  • Beans! Especially black beans, I eat these in place of pasta or rice.
  • Zucchini! I made noodles under a sauce, diced and added to ground turkey for meatballs, cut up and sautéed to add to veggies to help fill me up
  • Mango! I know there’s a lot of sugar, so I would eat it early in the day and make ceviche with it, which included avocado, shrimp and lots of lemon and cilantro. I also ate it alone as long as I wasn’t going to have any other sugar for the day. It’s like candy!
  • Spicy sauces and seasonings! When you’re trying to eat well, you get bored after a while (or at least I do!) and start craving other food. Adding a lot of spice (if that’s your thing) REALLY helped me, and is actually great for your metabolism. I added siracha to eggs, cayenne pepper to bean salads and Frank’s Red Hot to pretty much anything, especially chicken tenders (a paleo version, found in my recipes) for a “buffalo chicken” dish with celery and carrots.
  • Protein muffins and paleo pancakes were perfect every morning with my cup of coffee (which I would rather cut off a limb than take away) and filled me up. (Both found in my recipes, as well)
  • Sparkling water with lemon and lime, MAYBE a splash of cranberry. This “mocktail” was my go-to when I was cutting back on the wine. I still put it in a fancy glass:)

Kind of regretting the 2 Hershey Kisses I had before this post:/ Oh well, no Nature’s Path cereal for dessert tonight! (something else I do).

 

Gluten Free Chicken Pad Thai

SOOOOOOO delicious!!

  • 1 Tbs. Sesame Oil
  • 1/2 Shallot
  • 3 Eggs
  • 2 lbs. Chicken breast
  • 3/4 Fresh Cilantro
  • 3 Tbs. Chopped Scallions
  • 1 1/2 Cup Bean Sprouts
  • 1/2 Cup Rice Vinegar
  • 1/2 Cup Lime Juice
  • 1/4 Cup Siracha
  • 1/4 Cup Fish Sauce
  • 1/4 Cup Liquid Amino Acids
  • 1/4 Cup Oyster Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup Crushed Peanuts
  • 16 oz. Flat Rice Noodles

In a sauté pan, pour a little sesame oil and heat over medium. Beat the eggs and pour into heated pan, scrambling as they cook. After cooked completely, set aside. Pour a little more of the sesame oil into the pan and throw in the chicken, cut into cubes.

While the chicken is cooking, stirring occasionally, cook the rice noodles as instructed (I boil for about 4 minutes because I like them cooked al dente).

Once the chicken has cooked thoroughly, remove the chicken, leaving the juice and add the diced shallot into the pan, stirring a few times while the shallot softens. Once the shallot has softened, add the egg and chicken back into the pan. Toss together and add the noodles. Finally, pour the liquid ingredients over everything and toss together. Finally, add the cilantro, peanuts and bean sprouts and toss once more. Serve immediately and ENJOY!!

I enjoyed this tonight with some Grower’s Reserve Chardonnay…because, you know…I like to drink wine while I cook…and eat;)