Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Semi-Abnormal Gal is Over and Out!

This is my last post here on Chronicles of a Semi-Abnormal Life. But no worries ya'll, this Gal isn't really going away, I just moved over to my own website now! (And it only took nearly a year to accomplish this goal! I always complete what I set out to do, even if it takes an absurdly long time.) Come visit ASAP! Also, if you subscribe to me via email, Google Reader or Blogger Dashboard, be sure to update your browsers/favorites/subscriptions!

Oh and no worries, you haven't missed much between my spring break and today, because now I'm on a Hunger Break! Don't know what that is? Read more here at ThatJessGal!

Love to all,
~the Semi Abnormal Gal turned ThatJessGal

Saturday, March 17, 2012

No Meat Shall Touch These Lips for the Next 40 Days-Half Way Check In

The Stats:

Starting Date: Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Ending Date: Sunday, April 8, 2012
Total Days Meat Free (so far): 24

The Eats:

Tofu Bahn Mi

Tiki Masala Soup with Shrimp

Trashcan Salads

Spicy Curry Noddle Bowls 

Vegetable Stir Fries with Tofu

Not nearly enough Paneer Cheese and Spinach, and Spicy Peas, Chickpeas & Potatoes with Five-Grain Pilaf and of course, Naan. 

Plus loads of: Tuna Salad with Crackers, Subway Seafood Sensation Subs and Eggs (scrambled, fried sandwiches, hard-boiled)

The Reflections:

This challenge has been fairly smooth so far but admittedly not very creative. I've been a very busy gal the last couple of weeks, so grabbing what I can, when I can has been the reality of the situation. I've discovered that the only time I struggle with avoiding meat consumption is when I fail to plan in advance. Of course this statement is true of nearly any healthy eating, I think, meat or no.

I've been eating mostly trashcan salads for dinner (I roast up a huge pan of veggies and potatoes on Sunday and eat off it all week in my salads) and tofu sandwiches or tuna/seafood subs for lunch. Breakfast has been mostly unchanged, I just don't include ham in my egg scrambles or sandwiches.  

Dining out has been painless as well, since my friends are awesome and we have been frequenting mostly Asian fare restaurants, which ironically I usually eat tofu at all the time. Dining out with others has also been the hardest on me, because I'm a big sharer of meals and it's irritating not to be able to steal a sesame glazed chicken wing off a friend's plate, or a bite of chicken pad thai off another's. I think that leaves me more leaning towards reintroducing meat into my diet after Easter.

This coming week will be the most challenging yet to be sure. I'm headed out on a road trip with my Mum to stay with her brother as we visit with my elderly grandmother who now lives permanently in a nursing home.  I didn't tell my uncle and aunt about my new "vegetarian" ways because I didn't want them to make a big fuss. But they are good southern hosts and both excellent cooks; which means bacon in even the green beans! Oh and my uncle makes some wicked good grilled chicken. Yes, a challenge to be sure. I'll report back soon.

How is everyone else doing with their Lenten abstinences? Have you learned anything new about yourselves?

Love to all,
~the Lenten veg head herself, Jess

Monday, March 12, 2012

Medium & A Pinch and Other Things that Shouldn't Go Together but Do

Some combinations are sound strange and yet they go together so well.

Potato Chips/French Fries on Deli Sandwiches.

Cheddar Cheese and Apple Pie.

Peanut Butter, Bacon and Bananas.

Salt and Melon.

Pickles and Ice Cream.

Penn and Teller.

(Not sure how that last one got in there!)

Another one of those wonderfully wacky (and incredibly tasty) combinations can be found at Bahn Thai.

Actually Bahn Thai is is a rather wacky, yet wonderful, place itself as it is located in a funky old hotel on the south end of Gville. In fact, due to it's arrangement in the hotel, BT has no windows, instead they have framed old Thai motif printed wrapping paper hanging where windows would be. It's awkward to be sure but the food is so good that no one cares.

I actually chose what would become my favorite item at Bahn Thai based on what sounded like a random combination of things.

Gang Kua w/ Tofu Red curry sauce with coconut milk along with tofu and sweet potato, pineapple, bean thread noodle, snap bean, asparagus and black mushroom.   

Yep, you heard right. Sweet potato AND Pineapple AND Asparagus? Whoa. Of course I had to order it. It was during the ordering process that things got even more wacky, wonderful and combination challenged.

See, Thai and American spice tolerance levels are quite different.  For some reason they forgot to put "Thai Hot" on the Scoville Scale but I'm pretty sure it falls in somewhere around 2,000,000 units. Phew. (and yes, I just made that measurement up, but it sounds reasonable, don't you think?)

Now most Thai restaurants have a "star scale" that you use to order how hot you want it. Five stars is "American Hot" and well, you just order Thai Hot if you are Thai. (my boy bestie I've been this move in action) For reasons unknown to this customer Bahn Thai isn't a fan of the star system. Or at least the star scale was missing on the menu.

When asked by the owner/server how spicy I wanted my Gang Kua I said "two steps down from American Hot, please." She replied "ok, how about medium with a pinch?" "Sure." I innocently replied.

See all the red flakes on the top of my lovely meal? I'm guessing it was the "pinch." Let's just say medium is sufficiently spicy for this gal. However, I discovered the odd sounding combination of flavors actually go together beautifully, and if I killed a few taste buds while savoring the sweet, tangy, green, sour flavor profile so be it.

But next time Bahn Thai, just medium will do it.

Love to all,
~the weird combination loving gal, Jess

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Day Light Savings Listening List

Herrrro my dears! It's a beautiful spring-like day here in NorCenFLA. And the best part about spring like days, is spring-like weekends. And do you want to know the very best part about this spring-like weekend?

You do? I knew I liked you, friend. Yes, you guessed correctly. The best part of this spring-like weekend is that Sunday, March 11th is the first day of Daylight Savings Time. Horray, horray, horray!

Wait. That wasn't what you guessed? And what did you just ask? Why am I excited about losing an hour of sleep? Well, because I love sunshine. I mean, I am a a born and raised Sunshine State Gal after all. And the best part about an extra hour of daylight for the next eight and a half months is I have more time to be outside soaking up fresh air and vitamin D.

What? You still aren't convinced? Oh boo. Well, how about a fresh playlist to enjoy during the extra hour then? You know, something to light up your ears, as the sun lights up your day. Yes, I'm cheesy. No, I'm serious. Ok fine. At least you do like music. We'll call it a compromise.

Florence and the Machine-Shake it Out
Drake ft. Nicki Minaj- Make me Proud
Neil Diamond-Sweet Caroline
Kanye West & Jay Z- Ni**as in Paris  (this is the explicit version-consider yourself warned)
Flo Rida ft. Sia-Wild Ones
Dia Frampton, ft Kid Cudi-Don't Kick the Chair
David Guetta, ft Nicki Minaj- Turn Me On
Beyonce- Schoolin' Life
Christina Perri-A Thousand Years
Journey-Don't Stop Believing
Y.C., ft Future-Racks
Say Anything-Every Man Has A Molly
She & Him- Gonna Get Along Without You Now
A Day to Remember- If It Means a Lot to You 
Fun. ft Janelle Monae- We are Young

Some if it is new. Some of it is old. Some of it is getting overplayed on the radio already. (but I promise I was listening to it first!) All of it will be perfect for an extra hour of light to read by the pool, run an extra mile or two, or just cruise around in your car, embracing the golden rays of sun.

Happy Spring Forward, friends.

Love to all,
~the music and sunlight lover gal, Jess

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Sanaa Makes Me Say "Ahhhhh"

An optional title for this post would be Fatty Fatty Moo Moos go Carby Carby Moo Moo 

Bestie Michael came up with the term Fatty Fatty Moo Moos for our group of friends, because we all LOVE food so much and are always going out on quasi extravagant dining outings together. (or at home, Michael is a great chef!)

But when this Fatty Fatty Moo Moo gal heads to Sanaa it is all about the carbs, specifically these beauties:

Warm, ghee drenched Naan will you marry me? Well, I guess we won't be monogamous, because I do tend to wander over to spend equal time with the Onion Kulcha and the Paneer Paratha too. Actually that is a threesome I can really get behind. Is that ok, Naan? We can invite these guys too:

Woah. I still write a food blog, I promise. Not one of those websites. Back to the yummy bites.

Even after the bread and dipping sauce orgy I had no problem making room the in bottomless pit I call my stomach, when this beautiful platter arrived in front of me.

From the Vegetarian Sampler: Paneer Cheese and Spinach, and Spicy Peas, Chickpeas & Potatoes with Five-Grain Pilaf.

It might come out from the kitchen in neat bowls, but nothing stays orderly around this messy Jessy gal. (Yep, I'm a huge fan of entropy...well, and playing with my food. duh.)

In fact no one at our table went home with empty stomachs or clean fingers. The spread at Sanaa is so simple, so satisfying and yet filled with such complex flavor profiles.

It's any foodie's (or Fatty Fatty Moo Moo's) afternoon delight dream lunch.

Now, when this herd of Moo Moo's take on Sanaa we really have no choice but to finish out the meal with this divine little cup. 

Oh Chai Cream, how are you so refreshing yet silky and rich? And Sanaa, why are you literally breaking my heart by taking it off the menu?

And our dessert's dessert? Why some giraffes and an ostrich!

The giraffes were particularly active and our party of 6 ended up spending nearly an hour out by the fire pit watching the animals and gossiping about food, fashion, career changes, technology and basketball. Just another Sunday afternoon for the Fatty Fatty Moo Moo crew.

Love to all,
~the, carby moo gal herself, Jess

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Gal Talk: Motivation

Motivation. It's a bit of a dirty word to a high school teacher. We are always trying to find a new way to motivate our students and let me tell you friends, in 2012 even this "young dog" is having a hard time finding any "new tricks" to motivate her students.

Motivation applies to many things. Motivation to be successful in a career. Motivation to be successful in a partnership. Motivation to raise a family, be a supportive parent, or understanding to an aging parent.

Finding the motivation to be healthy is one of the most common topics around the lunch table and blogging world, however. I don't usually say much about motivation around these parts for many reasons, mostly because I think "motivation" is truly different for everyone and should be a personal thing.

I know that I personally am not motivated when people yell or scream "hard, faster, push-push-push" or anything of the sort. I just don't really like yelling. Or being bossed around. Or anything that seems remotely similar to military boot camp. In fact at my triathlon one spectator (she was another competitor's coach, I think) started yelling at me to "push harder" during the last mile of the run and I may have yelled back a few not so nice things. Don't push me; it just makes me angry, not motivated.

Needless to say, most of the "motivational things" that are said in group classes, such as spinning, Body Pump and Body Combat don't really get me going either.

PS. This isn't my gym. They didn't have any group class photos. Lame, GHF. 

This Saturday I had a revelation. Right in the middle of Body Combat. Carrie, our instructor kept saying that if we we want "to see change you have to go get it. It won't just come to the doorstep" or something to that effect. Sometimes sweating my brains out makes my memory a touch fuzzy. I'm sure you understand.

Anyways, as usual I was tuning out the "motivation" spewing forth from the instructor's mouth until the last track. Push-ups. Ugh. I hate push-ups. And after a bunch of punching drills that had already shredded my arms and shoulders I really, really hate push-ups. Honestly I was about to fake my way through the set when Carrie once again said "change won't come to you, you have to go get it" and for some reason it finally clicked. If I want ripped arms, I have to fight through the push-ups. 

Now I know most of you are saying "duh, Jess. Did you really just climax with that?" Stay with me. Aside from realizing I need to embrace push-ups the important lesson I learned while teetering on shaking arms and abs was I am motivated by rational "cause and effect" statements. 

Guess that means that I'm finally motivated to be motivated. And you know what? It feels good.

Love to all,
~the "motivate me with logic and reason" gal, Jess