Category Archives: Food

Beggin’ Pet Parade

The Beggin Pet Parade was this morning in Soulard, and since the good folks at Purina sent me two VIP tickets in addition to some great goodies (leash, blanket, treats, frisbee) we HAD to go. Nearly 70 degree weather was the icing on the cake and I knew it would be a great day.


I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect or what would be happening. I’m not a huge “group activity” or “festival” person because I get impatient and overwhelmed easily. But I figured we could manage a parade and besides, we had tickets to the VIP tent—which meant food and drink. Now, before you get too excited, remember I’m not eating meat right now and I had practicing to do later, so no drinking for me. We had hoped to run into my friend April but there were just too many people and the phone service was slow so we couldn’t communicate where we were well enough to find each other.


Only water for MacKenzie too.

I won’t bore you with unnecessary details (I know, who AM I?) but we had a great time just walking around. MacKenzie loved sniffing all the other dogs and enjoyed being out in the seriously unseasonably lovely weather.


Louie and I had fun people and dog watching and checking out the neighborhood. We walked the entire parade route before the parade and then decided to go back and get some food at the tent. There wasn’t much offered without meat but we got a little pasta and salad. There was a long line for the bar and since we weren’t day-drinking (like most do at these events, I do get jealous of people who don’t need to practice or do homework or other work later on weekend days!) we didn’t feel it was worth it.


And the perhaps lame part was that we decided to skip the parade. We’d seen a ton of dogs already and the weather was almost too nice to just sit around. Maybe we are weird, but we decided to walk around more and went all around Lafayette Square as well.


Swans! And geese and ducks!

The rest of my weekend was nice as well. Yesterday was beautiful and while I did have to work in the afternoon I managed to get a nice run in in the morning.


See I took a picture!

Here’s the two cats hanging out—this is pretty close for them but they seemed content enough for awhile! Fatness (dark cat) is pretty aggressive and territorial but Chloe (white cat) has learned that she’s MOSTLY all talk and just ignores her.


Last night we decided to go out for dinner to a local Chinese restaurant. We wanted to get green beans with a black bean sauce and this egg tofu with mushrooms dish. When our server informed us that they were out of the egg tofu, we were disappointed, but asked her which of the regular tofu dishes she recommended. We picked one of her favorite choices to order. The food came out a few minutes later and I tried a bit of the dish. I looked at Louie after my first bite and said, “I think this has chicken in it.” (Remember, we have been not eating meat for a few weeks now!). We asked the server if the dish had chicken, and she said, oh no, no chicken. Only mushrooms and pork.

(We decided to eat it anyway, since sending it back would also be wasteful, and we aren’t even REAL vegetarians. We learned a valuable lesson which is to ask if a meal has meat even if you think if won’t because, for instance, it is listed under the vegetarian portion of the menu, because you just NEVER KNOW. Also the dish was really quite tasty and a good recommendation, just not a good recommendation for a couple who is awkwardly trying to avoid eating meat.)

Did you go to the pet parade? Do you find it uncomfortable asking for special treatment if you have dietary restrictions or food allergies?

Day 8 of Whole 30

It’s been over a week of eating Whole 30 style. I feel like I’ve been eating this way forever…

I miss not thinking about food all the time, I miss having free time that isn’t dedicated to food preparation or shopping, and I miss being able to go out to eat without worrying about whether or not I’ll be able to get something compliant. I also miss feeling full for more than 30 to 60 minutes at a time (I eat until I’m full, but then it never lasts) and I miss having enough energy to run.

But my clothes feel loose, I have enough energy to get by, and it’s definitely true that I don’t feel ups and downs in my energy throughout the day. And I’ve been eating pretty darned well, actually. I’ve been eating and preparing things that I never did before, and that’s been fun.

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Homemade marinara sauce with hamburger over spaghetti squash. Which, for the record, does not taste like spaghetti or pasta at all, but is okay for eating a delicious sauce over.

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Two eggs over some fried sweet potato hash. This felt pretty decadent, and was one of the most filling meals I’ve had. I’m not entirely convinced that dicing and frying sweet potatoes is what the diet means, so it’s a once in awhile 5

And a entire roast chicken over veggies. No, I did not eat the entire chicken. Yes, I wanted to. I got full pretty quickly, and then as usual…about an hour later had mild hunger which I am just getting used to. I’m ignoring what that might mean because I really don’t feel like I can eat any more at meals. No, I don’t think this diet is sustainable long term for that reason, though perhaps over the next week the somewhat constant dull hunger will start to fade away.

What else have I been up to lately? Well, like I said, mainly food prep 😉 Saturday a big storm was predicted so I took advantage of my day off to…go food shopping. Trader Joe’s was packed but I was able to get quite a few delicious foods there (I live very near a regular grocery store, so Trader Joe’s is a once in awhile trip). Most of the rest of the day was spent preparing and eating food.

Sunday was a bit of a snow day. I was supposed to have a church gig followed by a double opera rehearsal, but my church gig got rescheduled for another day and the second opera rehearsal got canceled due to the weather (which didn’t end up being that bad, but I think for some folks who live further away it was still a wise decision.) I ended up watching some TV (currently working my way through Sons of Anarchy) and going to bed EARLY. Today I did an upper body workout at the gym and soon have teaching.

I’m looking forward to this week. Quartet and opera rehearsals, a workshop on Friday for violin teachers, and then Saturday I have BOOT CAMP at Celebrate Fitness! It should be a good week of eating (ha), practicing, playing violin, and hopefully I can knock off a bunch of items on my to-do list to. And do some running…hopefully…if I feel like I have the energy. Any suggestions for that, people? Last week I felt like if I did too much cardio (i.e. 10 minutes) I would pass out so I was taking it easy. I might have to start ignoring the recommendations for pre workout and start eating more fruit, I’m thinking?

Day 1 of Whole 30

So my “crazy” diet (Whole 30) has begun. I’ve never been one to believe in fad diets, nor have I been willing to give up my beloved grains, but I wanted a bit of a shake up and a challenge, so here we go. So far breakfast and lunch have gone well (eggs, salad, eggs, shrimp, etc.) and dinner is already prepped as I have to run to a rehearsal after teaching. Normally I would have packed a sandwich to eat while driving, and this time I have food I need a fork for, so my hope is to get to rehearsal in time to eat, and if not, then that’s what break is for?

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(this was a fun gig—background music for a school fundraiser—they were really nice and the gymnasium was absolutely transformed!)

The weekend went well. I’m getting back into the normal swing of things, which means lots of gigs on the weekends and extra rehearsals during the week. It’s not that I’m incredibly busy, it’s just that I have very few days off (no such thing as a weekend for a working musician) and lots of different concerts and gigs, and I am also trying to re-dedicate myself to working out and eating well and it’s tough to reconcile everything—along with practicing and keeping up on housework and errands. It’s just a matter of planning and trying to use my time wisely (and get out of bed at a reasonable hour…which means GOING to bed at a reasonable hour…)

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(view from Winter Opera’s rehearsal rooms—poster from last month’s production)

On an unrelated note, today is my mom’s birthday. Happy Birthday Mom!

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(those are actually beautiful flowers a student gave me for Valentine’s Day but it works, right?)

Tell me that I’m not crazy and that I can go 30 days without grains, dairy, and sugar…so far today is good and I have that feeling of “yes, I’m doing something good for myself and I’m going to eventually fit back into my purple pants even though by then they will probably be out of style” but I suspect the next few days may be a bit challenging as the new-ness wears off and I start missing the ability to eat a sandwich with one hand while driving with the other.

Or tell me that I am crazy…either way.

Vacation Recap

Oh hey there.


So, I’m back to work and all, after being gone for a lovely part of a week in Phoenix visiting my sister Leslie and her husband Peter.


If there’s a suitcase, it must be filled with cats.


They live next door to this big pile of dirt.IMG_8366

I went for a run and took a picture. I look like a sparkly vampire, don’t I. Note the palm tree in the background. I couldn’t find the beach though.


The first morning I woke up and this stuffed monkey was outside my door. I’m not sure whether it was a gift or a threat.


I need this print for my house too.


Peter and the cats hanging on the couch.IMG_8339

Albergo and Catalunya like to help each other clean and groom. It’s adorable.IMG_8402

Leslie made the crusts. I think she was possessed.


We did some serious baking. Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie.

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Dutch Apple Pie and Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake.IMG_8455

Martha Stewart’s Mac and Cheese. I stirred the bechamel sauce for over 20 minutes waiting for it to thicken. Tears were welling in my eyes, but it did finally thicken and tasted AMAZING.IMG_8448

We did some serious wine drinking. That giant bottle was a housewarming gift that they saved to serve at Thanksgiving. I can’t tell if the picture is blurry or if the effects of the wine have yet to wear off.


Lots of food was made, brought, and eaten. It was a wonderful day.

A few days before Thanksgiving we had lunch with the Boring Runner. It was delightful, and I’m glad I finally got to meet him after reading his blog for years.


Naturally we had to take photos. We all wore blue so we’d look good in the photos.


Why yes, my head IS bigger than everybody elses. And I was looking at a different camera, apparently.IMG_8377

This is my laugh or my “I’m poopin” face.


After our blogger lunch Leslie and I decided we had to get fro yo to really feel like bloggers. Then again she’s absolutely NOT a blogger, but I like to pretend I am. It’s weird that we sat outside to eat eggnog fro-yo in November, but that’s Phoenix for ya.


I don’t think I got enough toppings to count as a real blogger.


Did you know Trader Joe’s sells cats?


Vacation Time

I have a whole week off from teaching!

My last two posts were pretty cat centric, so I thought I’d try to balance it out with a less cat post.  I’m finishing up all the stuff I need to do to go out of town (laundry, packing, calling my grandma to wish her a happy 88th birthday!) and I’m pretty excited about that.

The weekend was fun. Last night I went to a “pajama party” at my friend April’s house. I didn’t know that I was actually pretty good at the game of “flip cup” because I’d never played before. I was a natural at flipping my cup. I didn’t play too many rounds though, because I didn’t want to make the other folks feel bad. Also I got bored and really prefer to just chat with people.

(I should have taken pictures, but my pajama pants didn’t have a pocket for my phone.)

I did take some pictures of a couple sandwiches I ate over the weekend (which includes Friday.)

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I do love sandwiches. If pressed I’d say my favorite food is pizza, but sandwiches are definitely a close second.

I did play a wedding yesterday. The season has slowed down a bit, but I had one yesterday and two next weekend.

The Crystal Ballroom at the Crowne Plaza.


I believe that’s my finger at the bottom. It’s possible I should consider trying to take better pictures.

We played for the ceremony and a bit of the cocktail hour (not the whole thing which always seems a little odd to me, but whatever.) People were dressed to the nines, as usual. I had fun looking at the hairdos and dresses!


And I did some running. This was after a particularly cold run in the park on Friday evening. It was dark by the time I got back, which I wouldn’t do on my own but I went with a friend who had a big dog so I wasn’t worried. The dog enjoyed running but not so much running in a straight line and not inspecting various trees and things along the way. I’ll be okay for the Turkey Trot on Thursday but don’t count on seeing any PR’s or even respectable 5k times from this girl. But I’m back at it, and that’s what’s important.


I’m back on the “take a lot of selfies” train too. I figure since it’s the Word of the Year there’s no shame. Plus my hair looks good in that picture and I like my black turtleneck. (Eyebrows are suspect but we can’t have everything now, can we?) Truth: my student was stuck in traffic so I had some time to kill. BOOM.

Traveling to a very different climate is always a challenge. I hate wearing a coat to the airport and then just carrying it around, so I’m going to try just wearing a hoodie instead…I’ll be warm enough for the brief time I have to be outside I hope, and then I will also be cozy on the plane. I have a couple books queued up on my Kindle AND I’m excited that we will no longer have to power down our electronics during takeoff and landing. Before there would be these awkward amounts of time where I’d have to sit and think or read the SkyMall magazine (or bring, *gasp* a regular book or magazine to fill the gap) but no longer!

Oh and to make you jealous, here’s our Thanksgiving menu:

Turkey, stuffing, gravy, carrot-ginger soup


Mac & Cheese, Brussels sprouts salad, pumpkin gooey butter cake

pumpkin orange cornbread, butternut squash pudding

Corn casserole, AmishCorn, Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Mashed potatoes, creamed leeks, cranberry

“legit” cajun red beans & rice, chocolate cake

The list is in order of what person is bringing what (names removed—we have an amazing email conversation happening)—I’m the one making Mac & Cheese, Brussels sprouts salad, and pumpkin gooey butter cake. I’m excited to do some cooking and relaxing this week. 

Giveaway winner and a question about korean tacos

I used a random number generator to pick a winner for my giveaway post the other day. The winner was comment #15, Sarah M—congrats! I’ve notified her via email. Thanks to all of you for entering, sharing your cookie ideas and cat pictures!

I didn’t take too many pictures over the weekend (bad blogger!) but I had a great weekend. I only had to play one wedding at the Jewel Box and otherwise was able to do stuff around the house, run, and hang out with friends.

I’ve been using RunKeeper to track my runs. The other day I was doing a run where I ran for 1:45 and walked for 1:15 (I’m working my way back up to longer runs, and this is where I am right now.) I generally run around the same kind of route with a few variances, so I generally know where the first mile is, and I heard it WAY too early, which confused me.

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You can see that my “fast” intervals seem, well…Olympic fast. Note to readers: I do not generally run 4 to 6 minute miles.


Ah! Mystery solved. That red line is the supposed route I took. I was actually running in a quasi straight line, not zigzagging like a crazy person and doubling back on my route every few seconds.

If nothing else, this run really shows me how inaccurate the satellite can be. I hate when people say that a race course is short or long based on their satellite reading…it isn’t always that precise. And sometimes it can be really wrong!


I have a question about Korean Tacos: are they are a real thing in Korea OR did the Koreans invent them for we Americans since we love tacos? I could probably google this but I’d rather ask you guys. The above tacos are from Kim Cheese, a Korean place near the school I used to teach at (which has since closed)—so yummy! Those are the spicy pork tacos. I will be back, and I’m kind of glad I didn’t discover the deliciousness of this restaurant until I no longer teach there as I’d probably want to eat there too often.  They have more than just tacos too.