volunteering at Pixie Project

One of Those Weeks…and a Winner

Is Mercury in Retrograde or something? (Sadly, it’s not, I looked.) I swear, it’s been the absolute week from hell for both Michael and I and according to my twitter feed, many of my friends, too. What is UP?! The Universe is definitely slinging some sh*t this week. From crappy work BS, to really bad knees to having to wait over a month to see a new specialist…Oh yeah, I guess I didn’t tell you guys about the winner knee specialist with zero bedside manner who told me if my knees hurt “that badly” that he could give me a walker or wheelchair.

Um, excuse me?

So yeah, I haven’t been in the best of moods this week. After several tearful meltdowns, some stress eating, escapism through Ironman in 3D, I finally made it to the end of the week. You know what helped me make it through the week? Walking dogs in the pouring rain.

Doesn’t sound like it would be a pleasant experience, does it? But Thursday after work when I went to the Pixie Project that’s exactly what I did. Michael had to work late so I went by myself. The first dog I walked was named Chewy and was probably the oddest looking dog I’ve ever seen…and yet he totally stole my heart. His odd appearance was endearing and he was such a sweetheart it was hard not to think he was adorable. Not only that, people on the street stopped me to look at Chewy and ask about him. He definitely had a striking look.


He was part Boxer and part Cocker Spaniel. Strange, eh?

Chewy was a bundle of energy and SO EXCITED to be going for a walk. He didn’t care that it was raining and honestly, neither did I. He galloped like a horse and at times would stop and look up at me to make sure I was still with him. I find that so sweet with dogs!

Chewy and I went for a long walk and then it was time to go back to the Pixie Project. I had time to help out more so I ended up being “promoted”! Instead of just being a dog walker, I got to help with “potty breaks.” Basically at the end of the night before they close, all the dogs get to go out one more time to pee. I got to see the back kennel area, which I’d never been in before, and was trained on how to leash up the dogs (which we didn’t do as dog walkers, that was done for us).


The first one was Adelle and she was the sweetest little girl. Everything went well and then she was ready to go back inside (they are trained so well–I’ve yet to have a dog rebel against going back inside the kennel). She was a lovebug. Until she met up with another dog, then she was a fierce monster. (Hahaha)

Just to give you a quick description–the kennel area is a big warehouse with smaller individual kennels for each dog to have their own space. There’s a side for the big dogs and the row of small dogs (who I was taking out for potty breaks). You go through on caged gate, close it, then go through another and close it before you walk down a little hallway to each individual gate. It’s to ensure that no one escapes and gets very far. Foreshadowing, much?


Next was Danny, a feisty little chihuaha terrier mix that we’ve walked before and I remember him well. He was SO EXCITED to go for a walk and barely let me get the leash on him. I took him out of his kennel and then led him through the first gate. I was holding the leash and turned my eyes away from him for less than 2 seconds while I latched the gate behind me when I turned around he was gone. The little ninja had slipped out of his collar! I panicked, thinking OH MY GOD he got loose and into the big dog sections! They might eat him! I ran around calling his name and then found him exploring the little employee break room. The stinker. Long story short, the director said someone had put the wrong collar on him and he needed a smaller one. Thank goodness he escaped inside where he was safe and not outside! I was so anxious the rest of the night and double checked every single dog’s collar to make sure they couldn’t slip out of it.


Finally, Abby was the last dog I took out for a potty break. She was a tiny little thing, the size of a teddy bear and so soft. If I was going to take anyone home it was going to be Abby. She was like my kitties–soft, small and cuddly.

Abby was also a little shy and didn’t like being walked. Something tells me she was a purse dog before she came to Pixie Project and never had to walk anywhere. Poor thing. So I picked her  up and took her outside to the bushes and then she was done. She didn’t want to play much, maybe because it was pouring rain. I picked her back up and she licked my face and nuzzled against me as we went back inside.


I left feeling happy and re-energized. All I wanted to do was spend the rest of the night playing with puppies! Why can’t this be my job?!?!


Now for the winner of the Foodist giveaway! The winner is….

Screen shot 2013-05-23 at 9.39.36 PM
#8! Deb! Email me your mailing address asap and I’ll pass it on to the publisher so you can receive your book.

Thanks to everyone who entered and I hope you like the book, Deb!

QUESTION: How has your week been? Any plans for the holiday weekend?

A Week in Dinners

Today’s post is a quickie about my dinners this week. Without further preamble, here you go!

Baked Salmon with Mustard Sauce and Kale.

The way I bake salmon is fail-safe. I use a piece of foil, put the salmon down, season it however I want, then loosely wrap the foil. I bake it at 350 degrees for 16-20 minutes depending on how thick the salmon fillet is. Usually 18 minutes is a good time.

I have about four or five favorite salmon “recipes” and this one is probably #2. I make it a lot. I take some dijon mustard and add a little brown sugar, mix well and top the salmon with the mustard. It’s sweet and tangy at the same time. This time I added a little cayenne pepper to it to see how much of a bite it gave the sauce. It wasn’t very spicy.


I sauteed some kale in a skillet with chicken stock and topped it with the salmon. It was a filling, delicious dinner for 400 calories.

Thai Noodles with Broccoli.

I have fallen in love with the Thai Kitchen noodles. They come in a little packet (like Ramen) and there’s about four different flavor. This time I used the lemongrass and chili flavor. The packet itself is around 170 calories and it’s SO GOOD!


I cooked the noodles and added steamed broccoli to it. I topped it with sriracha sauce. I know it was an “easy” dinner and nothing fancy but I loved how tasty it was. I made a salad to go with my noodles. The salad was: spinach, Oregon Gorgonzola, slivered almonds and half an avocado.


It was definitely enough food, and it was only around 400 calories for everything. This is a good dinner for me when I’m cooking for just myself because it’s so easy and quick.

Cheeseburger with Greens.

Michael is the burger connoisseur in our house and he makes good burgers! Since Michael is gluten-free, he uses gluten-free buns for the burgers. I’d much rather just skip the bun altogether, so that’s what I’ve been doing lately. He grilled up the burgers and I had a slice of smoked Gouda on mine.


I added stoneground mustard to the top of my burger and had steamed green beans as my side with pickles and green olives. Weird, I know, but so good. Not seen in the photo was the glass of Cabernet I had with dinner, too. Calories for dinner: 650.

Spicy Shrimp Tacos.

Tuesday night was dog walking! It was a really nice day, the sun was out and warm and the dogs were super excited to be outside. Michael and I walked Cindy and Tiki again. We’ve walked them before. They are an adorable pair.


They are a funny pair. They walk really fast but they have tiny little legs so it’s hilarious to watch. They also have to stop and pee on EVERYTHING. Even if there’s nothing else coming out. It’s silly.


They are sweet and affectionate and so chill. After those two, we walked Bessie. She’s not for adoption (she previously was, was adopted and was there for some medical treatments only). She was a basset hound. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve only seen basset hounds in cartoons and never in person. 😉


When Michael and I got home from volunteering at The Pixie Project, ready to make dinner, I realized our dishwasher was broken. This comes after Michael’s old TV broke and then his iPod broke…so instead of fixing dinner, I spent an hour washing three days worth of dishes that were sitting in our broken dishwasher!

Despite that, dinner was simple and quick. Michael sauteed the shrimp in a skillet with coconut oil and cayenne pepper. I prepped the small corn tortillas.


Two tortillas equal 110 calories. I put refried beans on it, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, chopped jalapenos, and black olives in the tortillas and topped it with shrimp. The shrimp was super spicy! A serving of shrimp was about 100 calories but dinner ended up being around 700 calories total because of all the fixings (and tortilla chips)!

Grilled Cheese.

Yeah. It was one of those weeks and by Thursday I was over it. We’d had house guests the previous two weekends in a row so I hadn’t done a whole lot of grocery shopping. Which meant the choices for dinner were slim pickings. We decided on grilled cheese. Michael picked up a fancy loaf of bread at the store and we had grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner.

Robyn's Birthday

Guess which one was mine? 😉 I went with half a sandwich. The bread was pretty rich. It also got smashed down pretty good with the press.


I had steamed broccoli with Goddess Dressing and some green olives. I just felt like I needed some green on my plate. Man, it had been a long time since we had some REAL BREAD. Michael even broke his gluten-free thing to enjoy the sourdough. It was so good. (We might have eaten a piece of bread slathered in butter while dinner was cooking…and we might have both looked like we’d been on a deserted island for a month starving…)

The grilled cheese was exactly what I needed last night. Sometimes comfort food is good. Calories were high. I estimated around 800 with all the snacking I did while dinner was cooking. But the grilled cheese was so good!

QUESTION: Any remarkable dinners this week?