dark chocolate

37 With Bourbon

How was everyone’s weekend? I don’t know about you, but the sunshine FINALLY visited Portland and it was absolutely gorgeous outside. I did my best to spend as much time soaking up the Vitamin D as possible. I hung out with a friend and we gave ourselves pedicures in the sunshine. I dug a big-ass hole in my yard (like 3 feet deep) and planted my very own cherry blossom tree (which is blooming). Boy, that yard work was a good workout. 40 minutes of digging a hole burned 250 calories.

For Michael’s 37th birthday he spent the day watching The Masters and I spent the day with friends in the park (more on that soon). But I did make him dinner. I found a new recipe to try for chicken that I thought he would like. Salt and Vinegar Chicken–sounds weird, right? My thinking was that Michael likes the salt and vinegar potato chips, and the recipe had great reviews, so…why not?

I’ll admit, I was a little nervous that I would just be pickling my chicken but I wanted to try. Pizza was going to be the back-up plan. ๐Ÿ™‚ I also picked up Michael’s favorite dessert from Papa Haydn’s just in case too.



The stats on this recipe are pretty accurate–it barely took 15 minutes to throw this all together to marinade. Super easy. I was skeptical each step of the way–really? That much vegetable oil? Huh. Okay. Really? That much salt? Okay…

I used red wine vinegar and not cider vinegar. The oil and vinegar separated, which looked really cool in the bowl. But once I mixed in the rest of the ingredients it was okay. It looked like a raspberryย vinaigretteย dressing. I put the chicken in the bowl and let it marinade for a few hours.

While dinner was marinading I prepped everything else. I got the broccoli ready to steam and the baby red potatoes for roasting. I kind of made up my own recipe for the potatoes. Here it is:

The food smelled fantastic and my hopes were high. While dinner was cooking, Michael opened his cards and presents and Fat Kitty played with all the wrapping paper, ribbons and bows. Dinner all came together nicely and at the same time, added bonus. I poured us glasses of wine, Francis Coppola Chardonnay. It was a different flavor than I’m used to in a chardonnay but it was good.

Dinner was a complete success. Everything was delicious! How was the chicken? Fantastic. There was just a hint of the red wine vinegar and salt flavor and it wasn’t overpowering at all. The only disappointing part was that the chicken skin did not get crispy. I think next time it would be best to cook the chicken in the skillet, at least long enough to crisp it, and then bake it.

The most important part: Michael loved it. I was glad that everything turned out well since it was his birthday dinner and it was a new recipe with potential disaster written all over it. The potatoes were a huge hit as well. He LOVED them! It’s been agesย since either of us ate potatoes with dinner (minus the mashed potatoes we had at his mom’s house) and we just rarely eat potatoes anymore so it was a nice treat.

And for dessert: a Bourbon Ball! It is the most decadent dessert I’ve ever had. It’s a dense chocolate cake in a ball, with a dark chocolate genache exterior. The menu at Papa Haydn’s says the chocolate ball was soaked in Jim Beam Kentucky Bourbon but I don’t taste any alcohol in this dessert, I just taste decadent chocolate!

On top of the ball is a little bit of frosting and a chocolate covered espresso bean (which I eat). We shared the Bourbon Ball because it is way too rich for anyone to eat on their own. It was a good night and I was glad that my special guy’s birthday meal was delicious. We both agreed that the chicken recipe is a keeper.

Happyย birthday!

QUESTION: Quick! Name your most favorite decadent dessert that must be shared because it’s too rich to eat all of.

N is for Nemesis

N is for Nemesis

I have one Nemesis in my life. It’s a simple one. It’s a vice that I wish I could beat. My nemesis is sometimes tricky–it can lay dormant for awhile and I think I have it under control. Then my Nemesis pays me a visit.

What is my nemesis?


Recently I wrote about Happy Weight and making peace with my body image, peace with the number on the scale. I know that I could lose those “last few pounds” if I didn’t battle so much with my nemesis.

I really wish that I was a stronger person and could resist having dessert every day, but I just can’t. While I stay within my calorie range for the day, I do eat dessert most nights. Sometimes it’s a hot cocoa. Sometimes it’s cookies or ice cream. I try to choose low calorie options.

See, I love dessert. I always have. Dessert was my trigger food. Dessert was one of the main reasons I was obese. I lovedย ice cream and ate cartons by myself. Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food. Peppermint ice cream during Christmas time…I loved it.

Since I can’t completely kill my nemesis, I try to resist it as much as I can. I trick my brain by eating alternatives. ย While I talk on and on about eating whole, real foods, I do believe that eating lower calorie alternatives of dessert is a-okay. ย Sometimes I just need a TASTE to satisfy that craving.

I’m working on not feeling bad about myselfย when I eat treats. I’m eating them in moderation, within my calories for the day, so why am I beating myself up about it? Why do I feel like a failure for the day if I indulge in dessert? I don’t understand it myself. I do know that after years of restricting in order to lose weight, certain foods because trigger foods that I just avoided. So maybe it just takes some rewiring of my brain.

Recently I ย wrote about how I was trying to break the habit of mindlessly snackingย on candy at work. It was a habit that I wanted to break because I was WASTING so many calories each day eating candy that I didn’t even really LIKE. It wasn’t worth it. And I always felt bad about myself when I gave in to the temptation. I felt like I had failed for the day. For no particular reason, I decided that I would avoid snacking on candy from The Candy Room. A week went by and I was successful. Then another week went by and I realized I didn’t miss it.

This is not the first time I’d tried to avoid The Candy Room. I did it once before a year ago. But it only lasted about a week. I avoided eating candy and chocolate of any kind for a week. But once the week was up, I was eating candy and dessert again.ย I had a light bulb moment. I realized this time around that the dessert wasn’t the issue: the candy at WORK was the issue. If I just resisted the mindless munching during work hours, I made it through the day. Having a treat at night for dessert was enough sugar to satisfy the craving keep me from eating it at work.ย I realized once again that moderation is key: completely eliminating something from my life just made me want it more. But allowing myself to eat it in a certain scenario worked. I saved hundreds of calories a day by not eating candy at work. And was happier for it. AND I still got to enjoy a small dessert at home.

How I “Trick” My Brain

Some of my favorite desserts are low in calories. Here are some ideas I have to share that I frequently use myself:

1. Pudding. Making some chocolate pudding is a good option for a treat. I like that it’s easy to make and there are lower calorie options. For less than 200 calories you can enjoy a chocolate dessert. Who doesn’t like pudding?

2. Vanilla ice cream with fruit. In the summer time I add slices of strawberries to my vanilla ice cream. Sometimes I’ll drizzle a little light chocolate sauce on it too. Love the flavors!

3. Fruit Crumble. There are lots of quick recipes you can do to make a fruit crumble. One I used to do was cooking apple slices in a skillet with a little brown sugar, top with granola cereal and a scoop of ice cream–yum!

4. Fruit and honey. I recently made a dessert for a dinner party that was a hit. It was slices of pears with goat cheese, toasted walnuts and drizzled with honey. It was delicious and healthy.

5. Dark Chocolate. A few years ago I made the switch to dark chocolate. It’s so much healthier and after getting used to the dark, rich flavor I started to prefer it over any other chocolate. It’s good because it’s hard to eat a LOT of dark chocolate!

QUESTION: What is YOUR nemesis? What’s your battle plan?


A-Abstinenceย *ย B-Balanceย *ย C-Caloriesย *ย D-Vitamin Dย *ย E-Emergencyย *ย F-Fast Food and Fine Diningย *ย G-Gym Bagย *ย H-Happy Weightย *ย I-Intervalsย *ย J-Jumpingย *ย K-Keeping Saneย *ย L-Losing Weightย * M-Measuring Mistakes *