Saturday, January 30, 2010

Gratitude #22 and #23

1. Chocolate

2. Wine

3. Homemade Soup

4. Sunlight

5. Smiles

6. Spreadsheets

Yeah, it's been that kind of day....

Friday, January 29, 2010

Butternut Squash and Turkey Chili

Trying to eat better is an interesting process. I'm surrounded by decent fast food and lots of good restaurants, so motivating myself to not only cook but use ingredients I'm not familiar with presents a very different challenge. I've only cooked butternut squash once and it didn't turn out well, so I was a little hesitant trying this recipe. However, it turned out really well and I'll definitely make it again! Matt's been numming up the leftovers all week, so that's definitely a good sign!

Note: I used one can of kidney beans and one can of great northern beans. Also, I cooked the chili for about 30 minutes instead of 20.

Butternut Squash and Turkey Chili
(serves 12)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground turkey breast
  • 1 pound butternut squash - peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch dice
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 (4.5 ounce) can chopped green chilies
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans with liquid
  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can white hominy, drained
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic; cook and stir for 3 minutes, then add the turkey, and stir until crumbly and no longer pink.
  2. Add the butternut squash, chicken broth, green chilies, tomatoes, kidney beans, hominy, and tomato sauce; season with chili powder, cumin, and garlic salt. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the squash is tender, about 20 minutes.

Gratitude #20 and #21

The Hollywood Sign from the Griffith Park Observatory. Beautiful!

It's been a busy few days! Lots to be grateful for. :)

1. Being a tour guide. Sam and Phil came to visit us for a few days, and yesterday I got to play in L.A. with them. So much fun!

2. Rain. Being a tour guide, you hope your city shows itself off well, and L.A. shined yesterday, my friends, it shined. Because of all the rain, the views were so clear and L.A. was beautiful and impressive. I was proud!

3. Barney's Beanery in Santa Monica. They serve Kona Longboard beer (draft!) and at happy hour it's just $2.75. Two, please!

The pendulum at the observatory. I had fun watching it swinging back and forth, telling time.

4. Griffith Park Observatory. So amazingly cool! I can't wait to go into the planetarium.

5. The Getty Center. Amazing architecture and a serene garden, with stunning views of West L.A.

6. Time with the hubby. With the looming pre-production/filming trip sneaking up on us, every moment with him is precious and fun. We're laughing a lot these days!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Gratitude #19

1. My hubby. He makes everything better by taking care of me. Especially by going to get dinner when I've had an awful day.

2. My girlfriends. Near and far. They are the best. Just wish I got to see them more often.

3. Sleep. My friend with benefits.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Gratitude #18

1. Having the flexibility to leave work early. This means I can come home and take a nap. Must be the clouds, I'm exhausted.

2. Guests coming to visit. Not only do I get to catch up with friends, but it motivates me to clean up our apartment!

3. Earplugs. Makes the busy street outside a little quieter. Only a little.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Gratitude #17

1. A savings account.

2. Rain which makes the colors in L.A. simply pop. It's beautiful today.

3. Sleep. Sleep is wonderful.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Gratitude #16

Don't be fooled by the cuteness...

1. This pet-stain/smell remover. We have tried a host of products, which make our place smell clean for awhile. Now it's possible that we've just adjusted to the whiff of kitty pee on the carpet (even with pee pads he can miss), but I swear this stuff works. The true test will be when Sam and Phil visit us next week!

2. My own perseverance. I got my weigh-in results from bootcamp. I gained a pound but lost 2.5 inches and 2.29 pounds of fat! Go me!

3. Advil. Nothing like it to relieve a bad sinus pressure headache in the middle of the night.

Smart Shopping

Ok, ladies and gents, I have a question for you:

Matt and I are really working on our budget, and we find we spend quite a bit of $ on food. We do our best to buy what's on sale, but we have effectively cut corn-syrup out of our diet, as well as caffeinated sodas (ok, ok, I'm down to 1 or 2 per week). We are also much more conscious of where our food comes from, especially vegetables, fruits, and meat. I know that coupons can save a lot of money, but the coupons seem to be for food we don't normally buy, much rather eat. So does anyone have suggestions on how to move forward?

Meanwhile, I'm seriously considering cutting our ground-line and when Matt leaves to film JourneyQuest, I'll most likely cancel Sparkletts and just get a Brita water pitcher, both cuts combined, we will save over $100 per month.

Progress,'s all about day at a time.

*Later on today I signed us up for fresh and organic veggies and fruits (excluding potatoes and a few other items we don't like) to be delivered weekly to our little home! At $31 per week, it will seriously help us on our grocery bill. Then when Matt leaves for 6 weeks, I can cut it down to every other week.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Gratitude #15

1. Day-Quil.

2. Chicken Noodle Soup.

3. LOST Season 5 on Demand on Netflix.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Gratitude #14

1. LOTR Trilogy. A lovely way to spend time with hubby on a cold, windy, rainy day.

2. Rain coats. This one I inherited from my mom's closet and I love how cozy it feels when the rain tries to pummel it's way through cloth.

3. Smoked Salmon. How yummy it tastes in a salad. I can't wait to move back to the PNW where we can eat fresh fish on a more regular basis. Farm-raised and colored fish just doesn't cut it.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Gratitude #13

1. Fitness Bootcamp. When facing another battle with depression, which happens a couple times a year for me, exercise is the key to "feeling normal" even when all I want to do is curl up in bed and have another good cry.

2. Free lunch at work today from The Chicken Lady. I've never been to her place, but I hear it's divine. Today is a fried chicken sandwich and mac/cheese kind of day.

3. The rain in SoCal makes for crazy and entertaining weather, that's for sure. It could be worse, folks!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Gratitude #12

1. Friends who listen. I am very lucky to have them in my life.

2. Dr. Heidi, my amazing chiropractor who helps me get back on track.

3. I'm not looking forward to Matt being gone for 6 weeks, but it does give us an excuse to go away for a few days next month so we can have some time to ourselves. I can't really complain about that.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Gratitude - #11

1. The rain. I don't mean to sound hokey or anything, but it helps me cleanse my spirits a little. Trips to Seattle are always fun, and always a little hard. So many memories. It's hard sometimes to always be cheerful when I come back, and the rain...well, it kind of re-centers me.

2. Matt at Dude Night means I get to watch hours of uninterrupted Grey's Anatomy on DVD.

3. MIL's recipe for Hamburger Soup. It's one of the ultimate comfort food recipes.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Grateful #10

1. My dad took on our oldest cat, Rudy, when we moved to L.A. five years ago. Five years later, Rudy is alive and kicking, with a few little health problems. My dad may complain about having pets, but I'm grateful that he loves Rudy so much, and that Rudy equally loves him right back. They are quite a pair.

2. Patience is not my strongest virtue, but 2 and a half years of therapy really helped me out in that department. Really proud of myself for not totally losing it tonight.

3. My wonderful hubby keeps me centered and grounded. He is the awesome.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Gratitude #8 and #9

Being out of town without internet access can interrupt the Gratitude listings, so here I go, making up for lost time!

1. Dinner at McCormick and Schmicks. Best. Crab and Artichoke Dip. Ever. French Silk Pie? Heaven.

2. The rain. Love and miss the rain. Keeps everything green and the air fresh. Remind me of this when I move up here and start complaining, ok? :)

3. My dad cracks me up. Parents drive us crazy, yes, it's true, but he is such a character. If you've ever wondered why I'm an actor at heart, all you need to do is meet him. I call him my acting coach for a reason.

4. Our realtor, Jamie, is awesome-possum. So savvy and smart. Knows exactly what we're looking for and is on top of her game.

5. The gas furnace in dad's den. Keeps me oh-so-warm during these freezing cold PNW nights.

6. The Majestic Bay Theater in Ballard. Heading there tonight to see Sherlock Holmes. It's been beautifully remodeled and every time I go back I feel as though I've stepped into a time warp. It's the most beautiful movie theater I've ever seen.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Gratitude #7

1. My dear dear friend Brie being not only on time to pick me up at the airport but waiting for me as I left the gate area! What a nice surprise!

2. My dad may be a basic cook, but there is nothing better than this old fashioned meal - steak, potatoes, and broccolini. With a cinnamon roll for dessert. Yum!

3. I am grateful that Cafe Apassionato is a short drive away for said friend to drop me off at when I get locked out of said dad's house.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Gratitude - #6

1. I'm helping out on Matt's latest project and having a great time!

2. A purring kitty on my lap helps chase away crazy people that intrude on my day.

3. I have 2 rain coats, which should be enough for my last-minute trip to Seattle tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Gratitude #5

1. Netflix On Demand. Best. Thing. Ever.

2. Sunshine and summer temps in January. Does it get any better?

3. If my crazy boy cat is going to pee on the carpet...well, at least he uses the pee pads...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Gratitude - #4

1. I am feeling SO much better this morning. Grateful for a comfy bed, earplugs, and soft pillows.

2. I am grateful that my hubby trusts me enough to go house-hunting without him this weekend in Tacoma. I am grateful that he trusts me so completely to find our next home.

3. Grateful for Hansen's diet peach soda. It's the only thing I can eat right now.

At the last minute last week, I planned a trip back to Tacoma to look at some more houses, and I'm hopeful that something will come up. I am not really looking forward to the freezing cold, but then I'm just going to have to adjust in small doses I guess. I fly in Thursday, go into the office on Friday, house-hunt Saturday, and leave Sunday. Whew!

I came down with a nasty case of the stomach flu night before last. Horked 4 times in less than 8 hours - no fun. I have not eaten anything since Saturday night except for water and hansen's diet peach soda. Watching tv and movies help keep my mind of the nausea, but I finished all my Grey's Anatomy discs from Netflix and am bored with our current selection of movies at home. Guess this is where Netflix On Demand comes in. Needless to say I'm not going into work today, and who knows about tomorrow. At this point it would be nice to not feel like "ick".

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Gratitude - #3

1. I am terribly sick with the stomach flu, and if it gets any worse, well, I'm grateful to have health insurance so I can go to the doctor.

2. I am grateful for my amazing hubby who stayed home to take care of me, and bless his heart, didn't get too grossed out while I horked 4 times today.

3. I am grateful that hubby also enjoys musicals as much as I do!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Gratitude - #2

1. I am grateful for Cindy, who instilled in me a love for cooking and new recipes!

2. Our cats may be psycho but I love them and am grateful for how much they make me laugh, and for their unconditional love.

3. I have a roof over my head and food in my belly. 'Nuff said.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Year of Gratitude

My friend Jenny has a great idea - to make 2010 the year of gratitude. I agree with her, that I too, get stuck in the monotony of what I don't have as opposed to what I am grateful for. So, every day I'll be posting 3 things I'm grateful for, and I encourage you to list in the comments or on your own blog what you are grateful for too! I know that 2010 is going to be a big year of changes not just for me, but for Matt and I. I want to remain positive and excited about the future, and unfortunately, I've been a bit of a negative nelly this first week of the new year. Time to shift gears!

1. I have not one but two jobs. In this economy, so many people are struggling to find work, and I have been blessed with these companies trusting me to get work done efficiently and in a timely manner. I couldn't be more grateful.

2. My weight loss. I was 20 pounds heavier when we moved here in 2005. Much of it was depression and not caring about myself or what I looked like. I still struggle with "weight loss" but don't believe the scale is accurate. I work out, I do my best to eat right and drink enough water. I am (and should continue to be) thankful that I've lost what I have!

3. These amazing people that are my friends. Far and wide, silver and gold. They have enriched me in ways that I didn't think was possible.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Late night thoughts

I can't believe it's 2010 already. Don't get me wrong, I'm pretty happy to see 2009 leave. I love how I feel at the start of a new-year: hopeful, happy, energized, and goal-oriented. It won't last more than a few weeks I'm guessing, as that's the norm, but that's ok. I know that lots of changes are ahead this year, and I'm super excited to see when they happen.

Naturally, the first big change is that we're working with a realtor up North to buy a house in Tacoma, WA. It's a huge decision, prompted mostly by us wanting to return to our roots. We also have the opportunity to contribute more financially if we move up there, never mind that we'll be closer to our family and friends. We won't be building air miles so frequently, but that's ok. We have dear friends in L.A. that we will miss terribly and need to visit. It's good that we still have some left, though, as my in-laws are living in Turkey and we'll need to visit them at some point. Darn! I'm also excited about being closer to family around the holidays. We just never seem to have enough time when going up to Seattle/Tacoma for just 1 week. People always get left out, and while they are kind and say they understand, it's tough to be so far away from so many that we love. But that doesn't mean that leaving L.A. will be easy. Oh no. We thought we'd be moving in February but unless we find that perfect house and perfect loan (ha), we will more than likely be moving in April or May (March is out since Matt will be filming). That gives me a little more time to visit the beach a few more times, go on a couple of hikes, and most importantly, enjoy what I do love about L.A. - year-round farmer's markets, 70 degrees in January, beautiful beaches, funky bars, good food, wine country, and most importantly, our friends.

Over our trip, I got to talking with my sister (who just turned 20 in December) and her friend about being in the 30's versus being in the 20's. I explained that for me, and many of my friends, that being in the 30's isn't as bad as it seems - rather, I prefer this age than my 20's. I seem to be so much more at peace with myself, more honest and carefree, less inclined to give a crap as to what others think. There is so much freedom in that frame of mind! The 20's were so chaotic, it was hard to figure myself out. And while I'll spend the rest of my life figuring myself out, because let's face it. life is what happens while you're making plans, at this point in my life, I'm quite pleased with where I'm at.

Happy 2010 to all!