Collecting Celebrity Body Parts

The plague has left!!! I feel like a brand-new woman! Same boobs, which is a disappointment rivaled only by the realization that I’d never marry Jordan Knight or that my Jerry Garcia beanie baby will never be worth more than the pack of cigarettes I bargained for its purchase back in 1998.

It was going to bring me possibly tens of dollars. TENS OF DOLLARS!!

Guess I’ll just have to keep collecting celebrity fingernail clippings to sell on ebay. (pay no attention to the fact that some of them look like dog nails…some celebrities have claws…little-known fact.)

Because of my new-found healthy status, today is the FIRST DAY OF THE REST OF MY LIFE!!! Come to think of it, so was yesterday, tomorrow will probably be another FDOTROML, but that’s not the point.

The point is…..I am no longer on vacation, my body feels like complete crap from spending a week with my loving, yet entirely enabling and, well, food-loving, and maybe not given to physical-activity family. To commemorate the fact that I was missing my family, and yet glad to be well and physical, I spent yesterday ACTIVE! I walked a ton. I ate more watermelon than what I think is considered safe, and I CHUGGED H20!! I also drank no wine, had no sugar other than the watermelon and a bit of dark chocolate, and watched the CUTEST BOY EVER play his first baseball game.

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It didn’t take long for me to sit back and say to myself “oh thank the gods I’m moving my body today.” Not because of some over-arching plan I have (which I do) to build some muscle and lose some fat, but because it just felt right. 

I’m a mover and a shaker, and the less I move, the more I shake–jiggle–whatever. I also get all restless leg syndromy all over my whole body. Imaginary ants crawl under my skin and into my medulla, and I get a bit…pissy. I like the feel of my muscles when they’re sore from a good workout. I like the exhaustion I feel at the end of the night when I’ve brought my body to its maximum daily expenditure of activity. I like knowing that my kids see me this active.

Kids with active parents are more active, just like so often kids of readers are more likely to read, and kids with multi-lingual backgrounds tend to be multi-lingual themselves. All of these things are GOOD and I believe, ESSENTIAL to a strong future. I spent a week in physical limbo and realized I need to follow my own advice even with my family. It’s as essential to me as air and books.

Alas, I also like to have fun.

So I combined the two for today’s recipe:

Grown-Up Watermelon Pops

moonshine watermelon pops

 

What is it that makes these a “pop”? Since they basically just look like watermelon on cupcake wrappers? First, they’re frozen…so there’s that. Second, they’re soaked in HIGH PROOF booze before being frozen. Specifically, vodka and moonshine. Why “high-proof”? (90 or above) Because freezing and/or heating can screw with the booze. Also, this way you don’t need to worry about brain-freeze while you get your warm-in-the-belly sensation.

And just why aren’t these on sticks? Because watermelon rind is hard, I only have one fully-functioning hand, and I prefer to buy my fingerless gloves based on a fashion decision, not because I don’t require the extra fabric.

Though, my grandfather used to tell me about the one-armed surgeon every time I tried to hang my hand out of the car window, but I was also 4 and sitting in the front seat, with no car seat, sooo…

Watermelon Should Have Alcohol

Watermelon Should Have Alcohol

Ingredients

  • six slices of watermelon (triangle in nature) about 1" thick
  • 1/2 cup of mint moonshine or regular moonshine
  • 1/3 cup 100 proof vodka
  • 1/4 cup lime vodka
  • drizzle of agave syrup

Instructions

  1. combine all alcohols in a measuring cup
  2. set watermelon up in a baking dish
  3. pour alcohol over melon
  4. let set two hours
  5. drizzle with agave
  6. freeze
  7. eat
  8. don't drive.
  9. for real, don't even try.
  10. I can see you.
  11. put those keys down
  12. pick up more watermelon
  13. call a cab.
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Glenn Beck Soiling Himself in a Rolls

When I was a kid, Saturday night television was pretty awesome. At 7pm on ABC you had Disney movies each and every week. At 9pm you had Freddy Krueger on USA. It was the thing I looked forward to every week almost as much as I looked forward to hanging with my cousins and eating the cookies my aunt baked, and devouring whatever my MawMaw cooked.

When I was much younger I was not at all affected by the terrors of the “Nightmare on Elm Street” series. I thought it was ridiculous. My brother? Well that’s not my tale to tell (but suffice it to say, I think he still fears boiler rooms and going to sleep.)

This is not true of me anymore. Not since I found scary books. Unfortunately, I love them. I am a damned glutton for punishment. Recently, I read a book by Joe Hill titled, NOS4A2 it’s easily the scariest effing book I’ve read in a long damn time. Ok, I take that back. I recently read the blurb on the back of Glenn Beck’s book and feared deeply for America, as I am fairly sure people won’t read as fiction, which it so clearly is.

NOS4A2 has to do with an evil vampire who steals children in his rolls royce, kills their parents, and feeds on their souls. A light read, obviously.

Well, here’s the thing. There is a limo service in my neighborhood that specializes in old cars. One of them is an old Rolls Royce. I like to walk/run at night for the cooler weather. I always run with earbuds in. So, say, if I were to have a rolls follow me in traffic, it would take a few blocks for me to notice. I would then probably nearly soil myself in fright. After a few minutes of chanting “it’s only a book, it’s only a book” I promptly took a left and ran down a different block.

It was merely a precautionary tactic so that I wasn’t slaughtered and my children left soulless. JUST PRECAUTION! SAFETY FIRST!

Do I feel a little worse about telling my brother all those years ago that Freddy Krueger lived under his bed?

Yeah, nope. Still funny.

One, two, Freddy’s coming for you, three, four, better run away from a wedding party in a rolls royce because they’re going to kill you….I think I may have messed up the lyrics a bit there.

Not to worry! I am just nuts.

I also made some glazed ones.

Sweet and Spicy Cocoa-Nuts

Sweet and Spicy Cocoa-Nuts

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Keywords: side breakfast gluten-free paleo soy-free vegetarian kosher

Ingredients (2 cups)

  • 2 cups whole cashews, roasted
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

preheat oven to 300F

combine ALL ingredients and place on a parchment lined baking sheet in a single layer

bake for 7 minutes, toss, bake another 7 minutes

let cool

eat

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De-Flowering the Donald

There is a really good reason why I choose to read over watching much network television, other than the fact that I am an extreme book nerd, I am also tired of the bullshit. Seriously, reality television makes me seethe. There are some that I like, I admit it. I enjoy “The Taste”, and “The Amazing Race” is fun to watch on the treadmill, but mostly? They suck.

For instance, I don’t give two shits that Nikki Minaj and Mariah Carey hate each other. I do, however, think it’s disgusting that they’re in a position to be great role models for young women, and instead they’re acting like spoiled children while simultaneously perpetuating the myth that women can’t work together. I hate that the show that purports itself to be the vehicle in which the next great performing artist will become a household name spends its first several weeks cherry picking the most deluded, desperate, and untalented to have the judges make a spectacle of.

How is it that people do not see this as contributing to the bully culture? Sure, they know what might happen simply by being there, but there are also people who genuinely and naively believe in their talent, and are crushed and humiliated in front of millions.

Then there are the dating shows. “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette”, specifically.  What a ridiculous concept. A gaggle of women or men, treating each other like crap, talking badly about them to a camera confessional, competing for someone who will surely ditch them after casually bringing their competitors to the “bachelor suite” for some non-committal nasty. That’s not demeaning at ALL! Seriously, Elizabeth Cady Stanton is rolling in her grave. I don’t even care if they’re not actually knocking boots in the suite. They’re blatantly inferring that they have or should.

I’m not a prude. I know what grown ups do behind closed doors, and I don’t expect people to be married to do it. I don’t care about much about casual sex it seems people have on a regular basis. What I do judge is the concubine style courtship that takes place on this show. If we’re going to go back to this particular era, can we go ahead and Chris Harrison and Mark Burnett whipping boys?

Let’s just save everyone the trouble of being irritated with these sexist representations of our culture, and combine Miss USA and The Bachelor. It’ll be like the celebrity edition. Roses AND sashes. They’ve already got the wardrobe, or lack thereof. Sounds like a win to me! Just as how one is only permitted to reign as Miss USA for a year, one will only be expected to be engaged to the bachelor with a diamond paid for by Tacori, for one year. It’ll also have the added benefit/added desire to kick yourself in the head addition of the Trump. He’s given out and taken away several roses in his time.

UGH. NO MORE. Give me more “Glee” and “Hell on Wheels”. I want to sing along or watch Common do…anything. Seriously, could that guy GET any more talented? I’m thinking no.

No more shows adding to the bullying culture, no more glorification of the demeaning of women and reduction of relationships down to giving or receiving a friggen flower–no more weight-loss shows that exploit children, no more CRAP. Alas, I may be in the minority in this view.

Rant over. Pear chips beginning.

Everyone and their brother has made apple chips. They’re easy and delicious, I can’t blame you. I love them myself. What I’d only had at Harry and David, though, was PEAR chips, and they’ve always been my fave. I figured if I could make apple chips, pear chips should be easy. They were. They are also delicious.  I spiced mine up with vanilla and cinnamon, and they are out-of-this-world good.

Cinnamon Vanilla Pear Chips

cinnamon vanilla pear chips

vanilla pear chipspear chips

Cinnamon Vanilla Pear Chips

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours

Keywords: breakfast appetizer side snack vegan dairy-free gluten-free low-carb low-sodium paleo soy-free vegetarian

Ingredients (varies)

  • bosc pears
  • vanilla extract
  • ground cinnamon

Instructions

heat oven to 250F

slice pears extra thin

sprinkle pears with extract and rub over surface

sprinkle with cinnamon

lay on a cookie sheet, sprayed with cooking spray

cook 1 hour, flip, cook one hour more

let cool serve

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We Need T and A on the Runway

Having a good day, scamps? I am! Well, there was this thing where I realized I needed to increase my b-12 injections, so that’s lame. (read:was told to, ordered, tattooed with instructions, berated by professionals of the field) Stupid damaged duodenum.

BUT!! I learned a new fact that immediately made the filthy jokes burn into my brain in rapid succession.

The crack of a bull-whip is actually a tiny sonic boom. You of course know what this means for every rodeo rider and the great Indiana Jones…great pickup lines.

“you know, I can whip it out faster than the speed of sound.”

“not even the sound barrier is strong enough to hold my whip”

“wanna know what’s long, faster than the speed of sound, and fits in my pants?”

Apart from learning I now have to shoot vitamins in my ass once a week, yesterday was pretty stellar! I spent a leisurely morning at my son’s Lunar New Year pageant, made noodles for lunch to celebrate, and partied like it’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week here in NYC. (ok, it is MBFW) Pretty boss, right?

Fashion week mostly makes me vom. It is the height of excess and deprivation. Don’t get me wrong, I love clothes. I love fashion. I don’t love 15 year old girls dressed to look like they’re thirty, forced to starve themselves so that they look as though they’re walking clothes hangers.

Everybody’s body is different. Some may be that thin naturally…most are not. My body is VERY different. I am high waisted with super long legs, but also a long torso. I am flat as a board and have a goose’s neck. But damnit, it’s mine. It’s not the traditional “ideal” body type, far from it, but I earned it. I am fortunate enough that apart from weird genetic skin dryness and rosy cheeks, I have pretty good skin, and super thick hair. I am also lucky that even though I hate the freckles that pebble my shoulders, the man loves them. I am NOT where I want to be. I want my boobs to be somewhere other than where they are, (like Maine) and I’d like the skin on my stomach to be smooth. I’d also like a size 8.5/38 foot. I really don’t see that happening unless you cut off my toes. (and then pointy shoes wouldn’t fit) Pretty sure those are essential. I also hate my nose with the fire of 1000 suns, but that is a story for another day. Mostly though, I’m ok with myself. I like my skin and bright eyes and healthy nails. I like that I’m not often sick (read *sick* not *uninjured*) I like that I know that even if I were to be stripped of all the physical aspects of me that I am ok with, I like knowing that I am smart, educated, and talented in other areas. (you can’t see me, but I’m waggling my eyebrows)

These models are being groomed to believe that subsisting off of air, cigarettes, water, and kale is what is normal. They’re being told that unless they disappear when turned sideways, they’re useless. They’re not expected to be intelligent, just pretty. They are purely decorative. What a waste.

I also don’t understand why the most emaciated of women are used to show clothing, when countless studies have shown that the subconscious mind of the male is unerringly drawn to women with fuller hips, rounder rear, and generous bosom. These things signal fertility, which of course, is a biological imperative to the continuation of our species.

It’s a damn mystery. Also? I can tell you from having been super thin, it makes you look older. No bueno.

But being HEALTHY looks damn good. It can also taste damn good. Like for instance the meal I made last night. Chicken Enchilada Pasta Bake. Can I just tell you I could’ve sat over the pan and eaten every last bite? It was THAT good. It was also really affordable, easily made vegetarian, and would freeze like a dream.

I use chobani plain in this recipe again, and before you think I’m simply kissing up, let me tell you I am not. I am really just enamored with using Greek yogurt in recipes, and Chobani is the one I buy. (It goes on sale a LOT at Target and is also available in giant tubs at Costco….thrift, people.) This recipe also uses frozen chopped spinach. If you’ve never incorporated it into your cooking before, you really should. I got a box of organic frozen chopped spinach for $1.50. Like.A.Boss.

Chicken Enchilada Pasta Bake

chicken enchilada pasta bake 3chicken enchilada pasta bake 5

Chicken Enchilada Pasta Bake

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Keywords: bake entree chicken cheese pasta garlic

Ingredients (serves 8)

  • 5 boneless skinless chicken thighs or the pulled meat from one whole, roasted, or rotisserie chicken, or 3/4-1lb ground chicken/turkey/beef
  • 1 box frozen, chopped spinach, thawed
  • 1, 14 oz box of whole wheat or rice pasta (or any pasta really, bite sized like elbows, penne, farfalle)
  • 1, 15 oz can of black beans, rinsed (for vegetarian dish, double this)
  • 1 cup green salsa (I use Mrs Renfro’s)
  • 1 scant cup or individual container of plain greek yogurt (I use chobani 2%)
  • 2 tbsp evoo
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • juice of half of a lime
  • tabasco to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • salt and pepper
  • 5-8 oz shredded pepper jack or mozzarella cheese

Instructions

preheat oven to 350F

cook the pasta al dente in a pot of boiling salted water and set aside

heat oil in a skillet on medium high

cube chicken into bite sized pieces

stir spices in the oil with garlic and onion until fragrant

add in chicken and cook until cooked all the way through.

add remaining ingredients save for cheese and pasta, and stir well, adding the chobani last.

add pasta and toss

taste for seasoning (more tabasco? salt?)

pour into a 13″-9″ dish and top with cheese

bake for 30 minutes, if you’re going to freeze this…DO NOT BAKE

serve with more cilantro, greek yogurt, salsa, etc.

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Beer Cheese Me.

Yesterday, at the gym, the TVs were playing one show on a loop: “The Biggest Loser”. I’ll admit to having watched season 1-3, fascinated by the trainers (I still love them) and the courage it took for the contestants to stand in front of everyone and be weighed in their skivvies. Now, the show just gives me the skeeves.

America is a fat nation of fat shamers. In spite of the fact that a full 30% of its population is overweight or obese, the shrill of fat shaming has reached a fever pitch. This year, the show brings kids into it.

Somewhere in Hollywood, a producer said “I know what will help these kids battle obesity!!! PUBLIC HUMILIATION!!” More likely they had dollar signs in their eyes and evil in their black hearts. Perhaps they sold their soul, and simply couldn’t understand why this would be a bad idea.

When I was heavy, I didn’t wear shorts, let alone let someone film me vomiting from over-exertion. Hell, I’m only 10 stone now, and still do not want anyone to film me at the gym. It isn’t pretty. I think I make faces only the man should see. (British weight measurements sound better..I also measure my sugar by cubes and my awesomeness by how big my balls are)

I don’t think the answer to childhood obesity is to exploit children on national television. “Hey kids, you’ve clearly not been bullied enough! Let’s open you up to the scrutiny of millions!! I am SURE the kids at school will ONLY focus on the fact you were on TV, and definitely NOT why!!!” Moreover, I can understand wanting to pull your children out of dangerous habits and prevent permanent obesity, but what in the fresh hell would drive you to exploit your own kids like that? Money? Fame? Is it worth it? Probably not.

It also probably makes people think you’re a dick. Just saying.

Seriously. Kids are assholes. Not all of them, mind you, but trust me, some are just assholes.  I know this because I was tortured by said assholes. Tortured. I was tortured before twitter and facebook and horrible group boards. I was tortured before mass text messaging and google alert, and there were times I thought I’d not be able to go on. I simply cannot fathom how horrible bullying is now in the age of social media.

We cannot go on like this.

I don’t think anyone disagrees that the US needs to set a better course for our future. We’ve all but eliminated phys ed from our schools in favor of test prep. The food we serve in our cafeterias is often barely passable as food. Lower-income neighborhoods have easy access to fast food and convenience junk, but little else. Kids aren’t taught how to eat or why in our schools.

Tradition begets tradition, and in the US the tradition has become soaked in deep fryer oil in front of the television. I spent more than one evening in my youth, eating french fries while watching “Full House.” (insert daydreams about Uncle Jesse here) I am trying to do better by my children. I want them to appreciate movement. I want them to love the strength and energy the right foods gives them. I don’t want them tortured at school.

What do you think about weight-loss shows featuring kids?

Ok. Rant over.

Happier subject.

Cheese. Beer. together. Happiest marriage ever.

Even better? It doesn’t have to be absurdly unhealthy.

I grew up on the southern classic “pimento cheese”. It’s an amalgam of mayonnaise, cheddar cheese, butter, pimentos, and an asston of salt. Needless to say, it’s effing ridiculously delicious. I used to LOVE pimento cheese spread on bread, fried, and topped with potato chips after frying. Fried on cheese on butter on chips. What could be bad? Sure, one bite could give you a coronary, but you’d die happy.

Nowadays, that’s a once a year treat. That doesn’t mean I don’t crave it like Sarah Palin craves relevancy. I just don’t eat it. I find substitutes.

There is another hillbilly classic that not as many people know about, but is still absurdly yummy.

Beer Cheese Spread.

Typically made with an amber beer, cream cheese, full-fat cheddar, and mustard, it is decadent and heavenly. It’s also much easier to make less calorically dense. Using 2% plain chobani for the cream cheese, Guinness for the beer, and a reduced fat cheddar. I swear, you’re mixing it with beer, don’t freak, it still tastes fab.

It also makes a killer grilled cheese.

Beer Cheese Spread with Chobani

beer cheese spread

beer cheese spread 2

Beer Cheese Spread with Chobani

by Cat Bowen

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: (rest time) overnight

Keywords: appetizer breakfast condiment entree sandwich side snack vegetarian soy-free nut-free cheese

Ingredients (1 1/2 cups)

  • 8 oz reduced fat cheddar (hand shredded)
  • 4 oz flat guinness
  • 3 tbsp 2% plain chobani
  • 2 cloves roasted garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • several generous dashes of Frank’s Red Hot
  • dash Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp chipotle powder

Instructions

stir all ingredients together and refrigerate at least 8 hours

serve with crackers, as a grilled cheese, add to an omelet, eat on a cold sandwich with lettuce and tomato

hollow out a roma tomato and broil it inside (350F 15 minutes)

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