Once again we are trying to create more space in our comfy Queen Anne condo. We have a window in our living room that has an amazing view of Lake Union, the Fremont Bridge, and on clear days we can see the Cascade Mountains.
We had this clunky, turn of the century English pub table and chairs pushed up against the window, and we NEVER used it. So we decided a bar/ table with stools would be a great way to conserve space, and we could sip coffee and enjoy the view.
I told my friend Susie, the owner of Boot Girl Warehouse in Fremont, that we were looking for a thick piece of reclaimed wood. She said, "there's a piece of wood that's been sitting outside the shop for over a year, and you can have it".
So my FBP and I started this project with a gorgeous, FREE piece of rustic wood that had been weathered perfectly. We found a set of hairpin legs on Craigslist for $50, and we basically had what we needed to make the table.
Susie's Boot Girl Warehouse carpenter, Adam helped my FBP make a "frame" of sorts out of scrap barn wood he had laying around.
Plus, Adam helped my FBP make some cuts in the wood with some larger tools that we don't own. Yeah, I think the boys had some fun with their power tools!
This is the "frame" they made from scraps of old barn wood.
My FBP attached the "frame" to the large piece of reclaimed wood.
Then it was time to attach the legs.
This is the finished product! It's so rustic, and we love it!
It looks great up against the window...
Now we can enjoy the view from our comfy lil' Queen Anne condo.
We are searching for two industrial style bar stools around 24 inches tall to go with the rustic table. They are REALLY hard to find, but we are resourceful AND persistant. We will find something!
Ooooh, and the best part... this rustic table matches the upcycled coffee table my FBP made out of antique milk crates. Remember this?
I told my FBP that I'm not going to be satisfied until he's built every piece of furniture in our condo! HA! Thankfully he's a good sport and loves to build cool stuff!
Something about this rain makes me want to eat rib sticking meals. But after losing 20 pounds, there's no way I'm going to undo that just because of a little change in the weather.
I've mentioned that I do not eat a lot of red meat, but when I do I try to make it really count. I found some grass fed ground beef that was 85% lean and only 15% fat at the grocery, and that inspired this meal.
This is an "Eat TWO bowls and NOT feel guilty" meal!
Stuffed Cabbage Soup
1 lb ground beef
1 head cabbage
4 carrot stalks
4 ribs celery
4 cloves garlic
2 boxes of low sodium beef stock (love to get organic if they have it too)
1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes
1/2 small can of tomato paste
4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 bunch of parsley
2 bay leaves
1 package of Italian seasoning (next to Taco/Chili seasonings in grocery)
1 package of Lipton Onion soup mix
In a large soup pot, brown the ground beef. Then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. In same pot, saute roughly chopped onion, carrot, and celery. DO NOT SALT. You can open the Italian seasonings packet and use some of this to season as you go. Add the garlic and let saute for about a minute. Add the fresh thyme and bay leaves. Add the tomato paste and stir until it incorporates with all of the vegetables.
Add beef stock and deglaze the pot scraping up all the beefy bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the ground beef back to the pot, then the whole tomatoes and both seasoning packets (Italian and onion soup mix).
Finally add the thinly sliced cabbage. And turn up the heat on the soup pot to medium high and let the soup come to a boil. Then turn the heat down and let the soup simmer for 10 - 15 minutes.
At the very end, chop the parsley and add to the pot.
I serve this with crusty whole wheat bread. It's VERY healthy, but yet it's filling.
Remember, it's an "Eat TWO bowls and NOT feel guilty" kinda meal!
My goal is to lose another 10 pounds, and I'm gonna do it! My plan is to incorporate more fish into my diet.
Last night I found a gorgeous piece of fresh swordfish at the grocery. It's heartier than other fish, and if you close your eyes and eat it with A1 Sauce it ALMOST tastes like steak! HA! Ok that's not exactly true, BUT swordfish is super yummy! Plus you can whip this together in less than 30 minutes!
Here's what I did:
Lime Swordfish & Roasted Broccoli
2 swordfish steaks
salt and pepper
I used an indoor grill. You can do this on an outdoor grill as well.
Heat a grill to medium-high heat. Lightly coat olive oil on your fish, then add a little salt and pepper. Squeeze lime juice on a few minutes before grilling.
Grill swordfish 3 - 4 minutes per side. I like to rotate a quarter turn half way through grilling per side to get those nice grill marks. You can tough the swordfish with your fingers. If it feels firm, it's done. Add a little more fresh lime juice at the end.
I ate this swordfish with BBQ sauce from one of my favorite southern BBQ restaurants! It was delicious!
1 head of broccoli
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Trim the broccoli and place an even layer on a sheet pan. Coat lightly with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast up to 25 minutes. I like it when they turn brown on the ends. They are crunchy and super sweet!
You may have seen my blog last week where I confessed to losing 20 pounds, and I was really honest about how I did it; NO alcohol or sodas, riding my new bicycle (even in the rain), and lots of lean proteins and veggies.
Here is what I made for dinner last night. I bought Bruschetta topping at Trader Joes for a couple of bucks, and it's super yummy. So I thought it would be delicious on a nice piece of baked salmon. This is EASY to make, super yum, and all the way healthy!!
Bruschetta Baked Salmon & Zucchini
1 piece of fresh salmon
3 - 4 tbsp. bruschetta topping (Trader Joes in cheese section)
1 large zucchini sliced
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven 400 degrees.
In one large piece of parchment paper, layer the sliced zucchini then add salt and pepper. Place the salmon on top of the zucchini. Salt and pepper the salmon, then squeeze the fresh lemon juice on top. Add the bruschetta topping on the salmon. Put a lemon slice or two on top.
Fold up the parchment paper to seal the fish and veggies inside.
Bake 25 minutes. Cut open parchment paper and serve with brown rice. Or you can do like me and leave the rice out all together!
Every once in a while, I love to make comfort food and really treat my sweet fiance. It's literally been a year since I made this recipe, so I decided to whip it up on Saturday.
I found this recipe originally from Pioneer Woman, and I tweeked it a little to suit my tastes. The method is super easy, and anyone can do this!
You can make this for someone special in your life....the kids, granny, your honey boo, and they will thank you over and over!!
It's seriously LOVE IN A POT!
Love In A Pot Roast
2- 5 pound chuck roast
6-8 whole carrots
3 ribs of celery
4-6 cloves garlic
3-4 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs rosemary
3 - 4 cups of beef stock
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. worcestershire
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.
In large dutch oven, add olive oil on medium-low heat. Peal and cut onions in half. Add to the pot. Let them brown a good bit on both sides. Remove and set aside. Add roughly chopped carrots. I chop them on a diagonal. Let them brown up about 2 - 3 minutes. Add the celery. Then add the garlic and watch it closely. It will go quickly! Remove both from the pot.
Salt and pepper your chuck roast really well. Brown on all 4 sides in the same dutch oven. Usually it takes about 3 - 4 minutes per side. Remove and set aside.
Deglaze the pan with 1 cup of the beef stock scraping the bottom of the pot to get those yummy beefy bits. Add the red wine vinegar and worcestershire.
Now add the chuck roast back to the pot. Pour the onions, carrots, and garlic over the top. Pour in the rest of the beef stock until it is covering halfway up the roast. Add the thyme and rosemary.
Cover the roast and place into the oven for 3 hours for 2.5 to 3 lb. roast. 4 - 5 lb. roast needs to cook for 4 hours.
I serve the pot roast with mashed potatoes and crusty bread! YUM!
I stepped on the scale this morning, and FINALLY the magic number I've been hoping for popped up! It told me I've lost 20 lbs!!!
The picture on the left is me when Cassadee Pope came for a station visit back in May I think it was. I loved visiting with her, but I really don't like how I look in this photo. And the right is me today! You can really see the difference in my face!
If you want to know how I lost the weight, please read on. I am going to be super honest about this, and I hope it helps someone to be inspired to do the same.
You may already know first hand that once you reach a certain age, it is much harder to lose the weight than when you were younger, more flexible, and faster at everything!
I could go on the South Beach Diet for 10 days and lose 15 pounds, and be like, "oh look at me"! Well that was 30 lbs. and 15 years ago! Or I would whip out my big soup pot and rock the Cabbage Soup Diet for a week and drop 10 pounds. I'd seriously hurt myself if I tried to do something like that to my body now.
So I lost the weight the old fashioned way. I started at the beginning of June. Here's how I did it.
I cut out ALL ALCOHOL. When I say ALL, I mean absolutely every drop of alcohol. I used to love to go to Happy Hour and sip on those heavy IPA beers and nibble on Happy Hour bits. Or if I would have a glass of red wine while making dinner, and I'd end up having another with the meal. I read that 2 glasses of wine equals a bag of mini powdered donuts!!! That's crazy!
So I decided to do something drastic and with lots of encouragement from my fiance, I bought a bicycle! Since purchasing my bike in early June, I've rode over 215 miles on it. When I'm on my bike, I get this amazing feeling that I'm free and can do anything! It's hard to describe unless you get a bike and experience it yourself. You know those crazy people that ride in the rain in Seattle? I'm gonna be one of them! I've already started buying gear to make sure I am ready for the fall weather.
Believe me, no one is more surprised by this change in lifestyle than me! I used to point to people riding their bikes to work and say, "suckers"! So to be someone who is on my bike every chance I get seems crazy to me.
If you can simply cut alcohol from your diet, you will lose weight!
I also stopped drinking anything with sugar. No sodas! Ever! I drink sparkling water ALL THE TIME! I will keep glasses in the freezer and pour sparkling water in them and sip while I make dinner.
The only other thing I drink besides water and sparkling water is coffee. And I do put half and half in my coffee! I cut out alcohol, and no one is messing with my morning coffee!
I also line dance almost every day. Working with the Boot Scoot Troop and teaching dance on Friday at Bourbon Jacks helps too.
Let me tell you what I eat.
I've always been one to eat healthy as much as I can. I don't eat big meals with lots of carbs. I NEVER touch fried food.NO FRENCH FRIES, ONION RINGS, BLOOMIN' ONIONS! If it's touched a deep fryer, these teeth ain't touchin' it.
I eat lots of lean proteins and veggies. Once every two weeks, we will get some nice steaks at Ballard Market and grill them up. Otherwise, I do not eat red meat. No burgers! If I want a burger, I make one with ground turkey, chicken, or fish.
This all sounds so militant. But I do cheat! I LOVE Totinos frozen pizzas! Every once in a while, maybe once every two weeks I will mow one down. I just have to...it's in my Redneck DNA!
I also love to snack on M&M's. I keep them in the fridge, and I take em' out and eat em' one by one. I crack the coating off like opening a sunflower seed and then eat the chocolate inside.
If you're wondering, WHY? How could you make such a drastic change?
The obvious reason is I knew JMR was about to propose. I wanted to look good, and I wanted to feel good too! We will be planning a wedding soon, and I'd love to lose another 5- 10 lbs. before that happens. With the path I am on that seems doable.
I sleep better at night. I have more energy during the day, and I'm infinitely happier. If you are thinking about making a lifestyle change, do it! You will be so happy you did! I can't explain how different I feel about myself.
I love to play around with variations on meatloaf. My fiance LOVES Thai food and can mow down a jar of peanut butter in a couple of days if not monitored closely. So I was hoping he would really dig it if I put his favorite flavors into a meatloaf!
Pad Thai Turkey Meatloaf
1 lb. ground turkey
4 cloves garlic
1 white onion chopped 1 cup chopped carrots 1 inch fresh ginger
1 cup fresh basil
1 cup Japanese Panko bread crumbs
salt and pepper
Pad Thai Sauce: (put all ingredients in jar and shake until smooth)
3 tbsp. peanut butter
1 tbsp. fish sauce
1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp. sambol oleleck (Asian hot chili paste- get it at Fred Meyer)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Preheat oven 400 degrees.
Over medium-love heat saute in olive oil the onions, ginger, carrots, and add the garlic last. Pour this mixture into a large bowl with the ground turkey. Add the bread crumbs, egg, fresh basil, and 2 - 3 tablespoons of the Pad Thai sauce mixture. Form mixture into a loaf on a baking sheet.
Bake 25 minutes. Then, coat the top of the loaf with the remaining Pad Thai mixture. Bake another 20 - 25 minutes.
Let the loaf sit for 5 minutes once you remove it from the oven. Serve with your favorite veggies.
I love it when the weather starts getting cooler, because that means it's time to make yummy and comforting soups! My fiance asked me to make this last night. I was more than happy to do it!
It's comforting, but it's actually pretty healthy for you too. And you can adjust the recipe to remove some of the extra fat. I've actually made this without cream cheese, and it's JUST as delicious!
Creamy Chipotle Chicken Taco Soup
1 lb. chicken breasts
2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
2 stalks of carrot
4-6 cloves garlic
1 1/2 quarts chicken stock low sodium
1 can Rotel
1 Taco Seasoning packet
1 Ranch Dressing packet
2 can black beans rinsed
1 can red kidney beans rinsed
2 cans corn drained and rinsed
1 IPA beer of your choice (any yummy IPA beer will do)
1 package cream cheese
1 bunch cilantro
1 bag wheat chips (get your favorite)
salt and pepper
Salt and pepper the chicken. Brown on both sides on medium high with plenty of olive oil. DO NOT COOK THE CHICKEN ALL THE WAY. It will be pink in the middle. Remove from pan and set aside.
In the same pan with all the yummy chicken bits, saute the onions. Then add the chopped carrots. Let these soften. Now add all the bell peppers, then the garlic at the very end. Now add the chipotle peppers and some of that delicious adobo sauce it comes in. I like to add about 4 - 6 peppers, but y'all I LIKE IT HOT! So if you don't, only add 2 or maybe 3. I do not add a lot of salt and pepper, because you are going to add it with the packages in just a bit.
Deglaze the pan with the beer! Let this reduce by half. It will take about 10 minutes on low-medium heat.
Drain and rinse all of your beans and corn. Shred the chicken breasts with two forks. Again, the chicken will be pink inside. That is ok. You are going to cook it longer. Don't worry! :)
Add the Rotel, chicken stock, both packets of seasoning (taco and Ranch), the rinsed and drained beans and corn to the pot. Squeeze the fresh lime into the pot.
Bring the soup to a low boil and add the shredded chicken back to the pot. Boil on low for 10 minutes.
Now add the cream cheese! You can add as little or as much as you like! I've slowly started adding more and more, because my fiance claims to hate cheese of ANY kind. But he LOVES this creamy soup, so ya gotta just not say anything sometimes and let em' eat it and love it anyway. RIGHT?!
Turn the heat off and add the chopped cilantro.
I serve this with my favorite whole grain chips. You can add sour cream and cheese if you like too.
Zac Brown Band does backstage like no other artist! His backstage area is "HOME OF THE EAT & GREET"! They are gonna feed ya buddy! And it's some good ol' southern BBQ too!
The Gorge did not open the gates for ZBB until 5:30 pm, BUT that was the same time the Eat & Greet was suppose to start. So we had to go outside the venue to find P1's to give our Eat & Greet passes. We didn't want to cause a scene, so if anyone recognized us then we would hook them up. Well, that didn't take long...
We gave them their wrist bands and told them to follow us!
We waited for a few minutes while they got the backstage area all set up. It was so much fun to chat with everyone, and even had time for a few photos! Look at Wingo on the right hand side! That's Randy The Biscuit in the well...I guess that's a pink shirt, right?! HA! :)
They brought us all back and sat us down at these long picnic tables, and said, "at a normal back stage meet and greet, you are told not to take any pictures and then you get kicked out. We think that it's much better to sit down, break bread together, hang out like we would if were at our homes".
This is Zac Brown explaning the philosophy with Chef Rusty.
They go on to share what's on the menu for the evening. Then, Zac Brown and the entire band serve you the food! Zac wanders around the "Eat & Greet" saying hello and chatting with people. If you felt the urge, you could go over and say hello. Zac is the most mellow, down to earth guy. He's super easy to talk to, and kinda like the guys from Duck Dynasty, you can tell under all that facial hair is a really good lookin' guy! HA!
Get a look at this plate! Brown Sugar Glazed Pork Tenderloin, Zac Brown's secret rub on the beef tenderloin grilled medium rare, Zac's famous Pocket Knife Slaw that is mustard based, Muffuletta Salad, Spaghetti Squash, Brown Sugar biscuit, some other yummy stuff I can't remember, and Chocolate Bourbon Bread Pudding! I ate ALL of it!
We also had the pleasure of visiting with Zac on his bus. I noticed that he had several instruments hanging on the wall, along with a Crocodile Dundee looking hat. I guess he wears that when he goes on hikes at the venues where they play. They hiked all over The Gorge on Saturday during the day!
Just a good ol' dude from Georgia, Zac is one of the nicest guys out there making country music! He has a cook book out with all the recipes for the things we ate! Looks like I'm gonna have to pick up a copy and get down to some BBQ'in business!
In addition to teaching line dancing, I also teach partner-style dance including two-step, polka, waltz, East and West coast swing, cha cha, jitterbug. And, I love teaching latin dances like salsa and merenge! Merenge is an 8 count single step latin dance and was the inspiration behind the choreography for the Red Merenge line dance.
This is an advanced line dance. So if you want to be challenged, let's GO!
It has been YEARS since I've seen George Strait in concert! From the time I was a little girl, I can remember singing along with Strait songs on the radio! Have you heard? It's his farewell Cowboy Rides Away Tour AND...
GEORGE STRAIT IS COMING TO THE TACOMA DOME IN APRIL!
If you want to buy tickets, here is what we know so far...
George Strait fan club members will have an opportunity to purchase tickets during a pre-sale period beginning at 10 a.m. in the venue's respective time zone on Tuesday, September 24. Additionally, American Express® Cardmembers can purchase tickets before the general public. Tickets available to the general public will go on sale in select markets beginning Sept. 27 at 10:00 a.m. (time zone restraints apply).
I know what you're thinking... Nom nom nom! Right? I found this on Pinterest, and apparently the recipe is super easy! If you want to make this for someone special in your life and be the envy of the party, give er' a whirl! Maybe do this with Seahawks colors...Blue and Green??!! Whooooohoooo! I may try this!
Seriously THE EASIEST RECIPE EVER!
Found this on Pinterest:
"First, get your cake mix. Following package directions, bake two or three layers (I did two). Frost the cake. I did chocolate. I like chocolate. Lots of chocolate. It doesn’t matter if the frosting looks a mess. Really, you can just slop the frosting all over! Now get your Kit Kat Bars. Break them carefully into sections of two. Press them into the frosting all around the cake. Pour a large bag of M&Ms on the top of the cake. Get some cute ribbon and tie a bow! Done! Looks delicious and beautiful!"
I'm a huge fan of meatloaf, and I love to play around with flavors and different meat variations. Last night, I was in the mood for chicken. But I didn't want a boring ol' chicken breast. So this is what I whipped up.
Tangy Chicken Meatloaf with Apples & Celery
1 lb. ground chicken
1/2 white onion
3 ribs celery 1 green apple
4 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1/2 tbsp. onion powder
1/2 tbsp. garlic powder
1/2 tbsp. crushed red pepper
1 cup chicken stock
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tbsp. thyme 1 cup bread crumbs (I use Panko...I love it)
1 jalapeno (you can omit this-we had some from the garden)
salt and pepper
1 green apple (or 1 cup apple sauce)
1/2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 lemon squeezed
1 tbsp. honey
salt and pepper
*For topping: place everything in the food processor and pulse til' smooth.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Chop onion, celery, apple, jalapeno, and garlic and saute in a pan until tender on low-medium heat. Add 1 cup chicken stock and 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar. Let this reduce by half. It only takes a few minutes.
Let this mixture cool, then add to the ground chicken. Add egg, all spices, and bread crumbs. Use your hands to mix it all together. Be careful not to over mix it.
Line a baking sheet with tin foil. Then form chicken mixture into a loaf on the sheet. Coat the top and sides with the tangy apple topping.
Bake chicken meatloaf 1 hour. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
We went to Lake Chelan for Labor Day weekend. It was our first time there, and we were so excited to check out this great vacation spot that we had heard so many great things about including where we stayed at Campbell's Resort!
When we got there, we immediately checked out the view! Holy Lake Chelan! You are sooooo pretty! I think I could get used to this place...
We brought our bikes with us too, because we had heard about these great trails you can ride just outside of Lake Chelan at Echo Ridge.
We drive up this crooked gravel road for about 5 miles that snakes to the top of the mountain. We found the Echo Ridge Trails! We were so excited to get started!
So we tried the Novice Trail first....The Tootsie Roll! It was so much fun! The views were amazing!
I was feeling like the Queen of the Mountain! Like, "I TOTALLY got this"!
Then we rode the Whoop Tee Doo! Again, smooth sailing! It was a beeeee-last y'all! I was like, "oh yeah, I've so got this mountain biking thing down"!
I kept singing to my FBP the Tootsie Roll song. Do y'all remember this one? I was driving him CRAY CRAY!! It was great !
Then we drove a little further up the gravel road to the other trails. I didn't bother to look at the difficulty of the trail. I got this, RIGHT?!!!
About 15 minutes later, I'm hanging by my toe nails off the side of a mountain! My bike is dangling barely in my grip, and I'm looking at a vertical drop below me that I'm not sure I'm going to be able to live through without digging up some dirt with my knees.
Fortunately I had Goose as my co-pilot! HA! I said, "talk to me Goose"! And my fiance slowly talked me through getting down that vertical slope. He taught me how to feather my brakes and ease my way down.
I eventually finished "The Shoe" Trail...difficulty EXPERT! Here is that proud moment... phewwwwwie! Take THAT you ol' SHOE!!!!
We did have a great time on those trails and at Lake Chelan! What a beautiful place!
We felt rested and relaxed after hanging by the pool and hot tub all weekend. Look how tan we are!!!! Weeeee! We can't wait to go back to Lake Chelan!
Citing Ty Herndon as inspiration yesterday... Billy Gillman filmed a video and uploaded it to YouTube. He is also gay.
Billy claims the fact that he is gay has kept him from signing a major record deal. If that's true, that is sad and...
Ty Herndon has come out of the closet! Read the entire story from People Magazine HERE.
Here's a couple of my favorite Ty Herndon songs from the 90's:
Good for you, Ty. I support your courage and hope you can be a role model...
Meghan Trainor (who sings "All About That Bass") steps up to the mic and belts out an AWESOME version of Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off"! This is addicting! Check it out.
(photo: carla da souza campos/Flickr)
Here is the recipe I talekd about on the air today:
• 1 (18 -20 lb) whole turkey
• 2 stalks celery (roughly chopped)
• 1 carrots (roughly chopped)
• 1 onions (cut into quarters)
• 3 -4 crushed garlic...