Friday, January 29, 2010

When The Big Girl Undies Are Tight....

Have you ever had one of those "A-Ha!" moments? One of those spiritual awakenings that happens behind closed doors, standing-in-your-birthday-suit kind of moments? I had one last year and trust me, it wasn't pretty.

I had a 6 year old and a 20 month old. I'd like to blame my kids for why my Big Girl Underwear (BGU) was getting harder to yank over my hips but do I really want them to grow up with that complex?. (P.S. BGU was worn during pregnancy as I refused to buy maternity ones). After each baby was born, I was able to drop the weight. But once they reached toddlerhood (hence, all the fun, cheesy, carb-filled finger foods emerging simultaneously) the lbs would slowly creep back up like a bad wedgie (are there any good wedgies?). While Baby Nicolas was hitting all his milestones, I was going through my own growth spurt. I used any excuse to eat something sweet. I picked, I baked, I picked some more. I eagerly pot-lucked the best comfort food with my neighbors who praised my cooking way too much, thus encouraging my habit.

I had no idea how much and how often I was eating. I later realized, I was Mindlessly Eating and I was busting out of the BGUs, even though my prego days were a distant memory. How the BGUs lasted through 2 pregnancies and their aftermaths, you ask? They were Victoria's Secrets...you just cannot kill their underwear, trust me!

I was teetering over the edge of a size twelve and flirting with a fourteen. Did Thrifty and Nifty Girl want to spend money on a new wardrobe, or did she want to acknowledge the elephant in the room? OK, I was not as big as an elephant, mind you, and most would say I looked "just fine". But you know when it's time to do something...especially when you feel like a sausage coming out of its casing. You just know your body, right? And truly, I knew I was heading down the wrong path.

I had just turned 41 (and thank you Prevention magazine for calling this Middle Aged). I was becoming more conscious of my future health and how I wanted to live my life. I was one of the "advanced maternal age" mothers and knew I was going to need a lot of energy for this Marathon called Motherhood. I had been feeling so tired and depleted and I struggled to get through the days. I rarely exercised, and when I did, I would eat more thinking it was OK. I made every excuse you can imagine: "I am too tired to exercise, I won't give up all the food I love, I don't have time to focus on me". Blah. Blah. Blah.

Part of my BGU Epiphany was about putting myself in a place that mattered. (Warning: Becky's Bytes getting sappy now). You see, I foolishly thought that if I exercised and took care of myself, my family would suffer, miss me, not function, blow up, etc. I thought that by putting myself FIRST, then they would collapse into last place. Then I thought, why does anyone have to be last? Can't we all be first? Aren't we all equally important in this family? Lucky for me, the answer was a resounding YES. Yipppeeee, my self-esteem wasn't as low as I thought it was! I finally realized that being the martyr and making excuses was not how I wanted to continue living. I would find a way to MAKE IT WORK. I needed to pull a Dr. Phil and Get Real with ma-self and fast! And one of the many voices in my head kept saying, "If Mamma's not happy, nobody's happy"...just ask any mother who has a little alone time, even if it's in the bathroom stall at Target without her kids.

I promise to write more in upcoming posts about the steps I took to become a better, healthier version of myself. Do you have a similar BGU Epiphany you'd like to share? I'd love to hear about it!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Mommy's Little Crack

Ok, before you think this is about mommies who wear their pants on the ground, simmer down!

I just had the best cup of hot chocolate and what I like to refer to as, Mommy's Little Crack. Every day I need chocolate in some form or another or life for those around me will be very unpleasant.

I bought Trader Joe's Simmering Hot Chocolate (actually for my husband's Christmas stocking, but whatever). This delightful treasure comes in a tin in powdered form. I followed the directions on the box and to the milk, added a dash of cinnamon and a dash of cayenne pepper. I know the pepper part sounds freaky but just go with me here. Have you seen the movie Chocolat with Juliet Binoche? Well, that is what got me hooked on the cayenne part. It adds a nice zing to the semi-sweet chocolate and really hits every part of your palette. I then topped it with whipped cream and had a really nice moment to myself.

Pants, not on the ground but Mommy sure did enjoy her little crack today.

www.traderjoes.com

Thursday, January 21, 2010

All We Are Saying is Give Beets a Chance....

The beet. Yes, you heard me, the BEET. (P.S. Why is she writing about beets? Isn't this blog about food and fun? What's so fun about beets?) Like the title says...

The Beet is one of the most under appreciated, feared, and frowned upon amaranths of the vegetable kingdom. For years, they have been tossed aside from restaurant salad plates, not quite making the cut. I, too, was guilty of this crime until I learned how to make my own freshly cooked beets at the ripe old age of 40. Did you know that the Romans used beetroot as a treatment for fevers and constipation? And, Beetroot juice has also been considered an aphrodisiac? Huh?!

Now that I have your undivided attention, let me give you just one way to prepare and enjoy this lovely, colorful, deliciously, nutritious bulb.

First, you go to the market and buy your beets. Some stores sell them with the greens still attached. The greens may be sauteed like spinach with some olive oil and garlic or juiced raw (they have TONS of nutritional value, especially when juiced.) I have an old Juiceman, Jr. and went through a big juicing phase some years back. I wish you could have seen the looks my coworkers gave me when they saw my giant Rubbermaid straw cup filled with blood red beet juice while they sipped their DD coffee. Then there was the day the cup runneth over on my desk and they almost had to call Security due to the "crime scene" that ensued.

Moving right along. If the greens are attached, cut them off right against the beet bulb. Discard them if you REALLY have to or try the saute thing. Scrub the beets well with a vegetable brush and dry them (no need to peel 'em). Poke a few fork holes in them and wrap 2 or 3 beets in aluminum foil. Wrap them so that you can easily unfold the foil when you have to test them. Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for approx 45-60 minutes. Smaller beets will cook faster. They should be fork tender when done. When you think they are ready, take them out and unwrap the foil to let them cool a bit. Once you can safely touch the beet, take a piece of papertowel and rub the outside skin layer off. The skin should easily peel off revealing the nice, shiny beet. By now, your fingers will be a lovely magenta color which will be difficult to wash off. (Side note: You could try the Glad Baggie Method, invented by my sister Jennifer. She would encase each hand in a plastic baggie while eating N.Y. System Hot Weiners so her hands wouldn't smell like B.O. for days. I've also seen my husband do this on the rare occasions when he is forced to touch raw chicken.)

Slice them up into desired shapes. I like to make 1/8" to 1/4" slices. Then I cut the slices in half so they are more manageable to eat. My mother, Ginny cuts them in crazy, random chunks. Place the beets in a plastic container that has a secure lid. Next, in a measuring cup pour about 1/2 cup of red wine vinegar and a splash of balsamic vinegar. To this, add about a 1/2 tsp sugar. Mix it up and pour over the beets. If you need more coverage, simply use more vinegar and sugar to suit the amount you are making. Cover tightly and shake it around so all the beets are nicely covered. Put in the fridge and every so often, shake it up to let the marinade do its happy dance all over the beets. I think they taste better the next day, but you can eat them the same day if you give them a few hours to set.

Enjoy as a side dish, on top of salad with some goat or feta cheese and your beet is back, baby!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

It's Official, I have become my Mother....

Yes, it's true. I have become Ginny. Bought my first outfit at The Job Lot. Now, for those of you who are unfamiliar with this Rhode Island institution, they sell anything from Oriental area rugs, olive oil, pickled peppers, sponges, pajamas, underwear (all the way up to 3X),lightbulbs, poster boards, ladies days supplies, cereal, dressing, tuna fish, shower caps, books, canned anchovies, dishes, couches, toys, housecoats, candles, tools, hot rollers, duct tape, and more importantly, fine women's clothing. (BTW, my parents are loyal patrons of The Job Lot. How else could our family afford my dad's 45 year obsession with duct tape?)

I entered the store and immediately saw the sign, "Eddie Bauer Pants $10". I thought it was too good to be true but it turns out they really are EB pants! However, I have to say the stamp inside is a little suspect, what with the big, black Sharpie line running across it, as if to say, "No, you are not Eddie Bauer! BAM!" And why is there another stamp of "SHAW" right next to it? Are they related to Shaw's supermarket? Nevertheless, they had my size so I bought them. Also scored a blue matching EB top for 7 bucks. Outfit complete.

If you feel that clothes shopping at The Job Lot is beneath you, think again and get over yourself! You are totally missing out on some fab deals....like men's and women's fleece pullovers for $5-$10. Ladies Hanes cozy soft jammie sets, less than $8, seriously, many brand names and crazy sizes to boot! Cozy flannel lounge pants $5. Kids checker games, $1.99. So many toys, dirt cheap.

Isn't the money better in your pockets, even if those pants have been violated by Mr. Sharpie?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Things You Won't Read About on this Blog

Poopie diapers, breastfeeding, parenting tips, how to make your newborn read,timeouts, chicken nuggets, playdates (btw, who invented that term?),1st day of school jitters, being Super Mom, having it all, and potty training.

This is my solemn promise to you. If I ever sound like Kathy Lee Gifford, please stop me, ok? Thanks!

The Next Von Trapp

Do you see why I think my life is so amusing? Here is 2 year old Nicolas' version of Doe a Deer. Enjoy.
video

Becky's First Byte

Hi Everyone and welcome to "Becky's Big Bytes", the Mother of all blogs. Judging by the number of blogs out there today, I think it's safe to say that EVERYONE has something to say (some of it is better left unsaid, right?). We are a world filled with opinions, ideas, inventions, hopes, dreams and fears.

I know you're short on time so I'll try to keep this quick! Just want to give you a little background...

I have been toying with the idea of a blog for over a year now and finally took the first step. Afterall, you have to start somewhere, right? I've spent the last year jotting down notes, observations, recipes, money saving tips, etc and kept thinking, "Maybe someone else would benefit from these ideas." This week I finally decided to jump on the blogosphere bandwagon with the encouragement of a long lost cousin (another story for another blog), and a long lost college friend, Sharon. Thanks for giving me that little nudge!

I will be posting as often as I can. What exactly will she be posting, you ask? Well, that is a good question! Stay tuned for the answer. I promise not to disappoint. Thanks for coming!