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Curds 'n' Weigh

Curds 'n' Weigh

Monday, August 20, 2012

Curds 'n' Weigh is moving!!!

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday Night Bites

So, this post will be sort of a hit-and-run/drive-by, since I'm headed out of town in the morning and haven't packed a single thing...this seems to always be the case the night before I go out of town!

First, I would like to thank everyone who reached out after my last post.  I really appreciate the support and love.  After taking a moment to reevaluate, I am grateful for every experience because it has shaped the person that I will be.  My strength is made perfect in weakness.

Moving on :-)  I made some yummy turkey burgers tonight.  The burger itself is seasoned with minced ginger, garlic, onion, and carrots with a sprinkle of Bragg's and Worcheshire Sauce.  Because I used lean ground turkey, it was very wet so I used a handful of StoveTop... I hope the clean-eating police don't arrest me!  Grilled on the George Foreman and placed on half a Flat Out FoldIt with Greek yogurt.  I topped the burger with some spinach, feta, grape tomatoes and capers.  I am enjoying getting creative in the kitchen.

I had a fruit attack later that night so I pulled out a coconut I bought at the market a few days ago; I should have also bought a manual on how to open it!  After several minutes of trying using a knife and every other sharp object within reach to pierce the "eye", I finally settled on a corkscrew to get to the milk and a meat mallet to crack open the skin...don't judge me!  It was a lot of work, but it was worth the effort!  I had some mango, pineapple with chopped coconut...very hearty and filling...I felt like I was in the Caribbean!  Added a dash of rum into the coconut milk for a real island experience.  Sidenote...I would love tips for opening coconuts in the comments...please and thank you.

In other charms FINALLY arrived (and I'm about halfway to another one!!!)...unfortunately, the bicycle was hooked on the flimsy handlebar, so I'll need to send it back and get a solid bike.

One more surprise simply because I love my readers so much...another round of Just Dance!  I bought Zumba 2 and Just Dance 3 tonight and had a blast learning the new moves (this recording was my 10th song of the night), but my favorite is always this song on Just Dance 2...

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My tears dry on their own...

When I started this blog, one of the promises that I made was to be honest even when it's uncomfortable, to speak truth even when it hurts.  Today, I'm cashing in on this promise made to myself.  With tears burning my eyes, I am writing my truth and hope to find the cathartic healing that only raw and vulnerable honesty can provide.

A bit of background:  as has been previously alluded to, my relationship with my family is not the best.  Actually, if I'm speaking honestly...I'd say that in some ways, the relationship is virtually non-existent.  It hasn't always been that way...I can't tell you exactly what changed; perhaps it was me.

Things with my mom have always been tethered on a tight rope...I won't offer opinions about the reasoning behind her actions, but the reality is that her ability to handle the needs of a chronically-depressed, sexually-abused young girl was simply insufficient.  My mom did the best that she could with what she had...trying to raise four children at the age of 20 most certainly provided a unique set of challenges that I will never have to endure, so I can't say what should have been done.  I only know what I needed and what was not received. 

My mom often worked two or three jobs leaving me as the babysitter of three younger siblings by age six; this was also the same year that the molestation began.  I didn't tell my mother about it until I was 16 (which she later told me that she never believed)...I don't at all blame her for what happened, but I know that I never once felt protected as a child.  I now recognize that year as the start of my depression and isolation.  I started cutting at 10 and attempted suicide at least twice before the age of 16.  I am not saying any of this for sympathy or to place blame...only to say that, at no point during the emergency room visits, meetings with crisis counselors (one who even told my mother my secret that I was cutting myself) no point did I receive the help that I needed until I sought it myself.  Growing up, we were beaten often out of anger.  Perhaps we were horrible children who needed bruises and blackened eyes to straighten us out, but this form of tough love only drove me deeper into my isolation and caused my cutting and depression to spiral out of control.  To this day, I'm sure my mother doesn't know of the two times that I was hospitalized for cutting too deeply...she doesn't know of my 72-hour suicide-watch hospitalization while I was still living in her house! mother did only what she knew to do.  At the age of 17, I moved out of my mom's house and into the home of my pastor and his wife.  This was not to hurt my family, but because I was desperately running towards life and needed something to hold onto.  Leaving fractured my relationship with my mother and sisters, as well as the aunt closest to my mom.  Had I not left, I have no doubt that I would be dead now at my own hands.  I needed to find hope!  My mother and I didn't speak for a few years after I left...our relationship bruised by arguments to which I normally shut down in an attempt not to be disrespectful.  It has always been my nature to hold my thoughts and emotions in so that I can spare the feelings of everyone else.  Eventually, my mother and I moved past our problems though nothing was ever worked out.  We simply swept things under the rug and moved forward with the illusion of being friends.

In college, I decided to stop fighting the feelings I'd always had growing up about liking women.  I secretly had identified as bi-curious for years, but was too afraid to act on my feelings because God might instantly strike me down and send me to a fiery pit.  Eventually, I was not able to hide from myself anymore and started to identify as lesbian even before I ever had my first date with a woman.  I told my family and everyone seemed very supportive initially.  I told a great-aunt who, while supportive, broke my confidence and told another aunt.  The second aunt called and cursed me out!  Called me every derogatory name under the sun...I was told that I was supposed to love God, how could I be so vile...that I'm a dyke and will never find God's favor because I am disgusting!  To this day, she continues to speak harsh words about me to other members of our family.  My grandmother was initially supportive and told me that as long as I had reconciled with God that she was happy I found happiness because I had spent my whole life unhappy.  I was elated that, for the most part, the people closest to me supported me, though the weekly check-in calls grew fewer and further between.

My family's support changed when I introduced my partner (who I've now been with for almost five years!) to the family a few years ago on Thanksgiving.  Before the holiday, I specifically asked if I could bring her because I didn't want to make anyone uncomfortable!  My aunt, whose home it was originally planned for, backed out and we had dinner at my grandmother's.  The meeting went grandmother was very loving towards her.  We left and my partner immediately asked about what we should buy granny for Christmas, picked out the gift herself and kept reminding me to send it.  I later found out that my grandmother had quite a bit to say about things after we left.  Anytime that we've gone up since then, it is as if my partner does not exist.  I neglected to mention that the aunt who called and cursed me out is alcoholic.  We used to talk often, but when she birthed her son and began making abusive threats towards him, I refused to support her actions and threatened to call CPS unless she got help.  He was removed from her care at least twice, for at least six months to a year each time.  The last time he was removed, I volunteered to take him in because my family acted oblivious to what was happening in his home and nobody was willing to care for him.  Around that same time, my partner's job transferred and she could choose either Portland or Los Angeles.  Naturally, I chose Portland so that I could be closer to my family in Seattle and be able to bring my cousin up to see his mom and the rest of the family whenever he wanted to.  My offer to take him in was promptly shut down because somehow my love for women was considered perverse and meant that I must be a rapist and would harm this innocent child whom I love so dearly!  I was always closest with my grandmother growing can she think these things about me?  Even typing this angers me because I don't understand how my friends can see me for who I truly am, but my family makes me feel like a monster!!!  Needless to say, my relationship with my grandmother and aunt almost completely disappeared after that.  I understand that not everyone will agree with my lifestyle.  I understand that it is neither my place, nor my intention, to change anyone's fundamental beliefs.  What I don't understand is how people who have known me my entire life, can't see that I'm the exact same person, regardless of who I love.

I moved to Portland thinking that I would have a great relationship with my family, but after a few visits to Seattle when I first got here...I realized that a lot must change before we can ever have the relationship I need.  I am no longer willing to make my needs of less importance to make others feel good.  I am no longer willing to sit around silently while I am disrespected.  I haven't seen my grandmother and aunts in more than a year though they are only 2 1/2 hours away.  There are no calls (except the occassional birthday) and often when I call, there is no return call to my messages.  2 1/2 hours away from my family, I feel more separated and alone than I ever have.

When my grandmother started becoming standoffish and vocalizing her concern about my lifestyle, my mother quickly rose in my defense and became my biggest ally.  Again, I really thought that our relationship had changed and that she was my closest friend.  Fast-forwarding to a few months ago, I realized that when issues are not resolved, they don't go away, but simply hide in the shadows until an opportunity arises to attack.  I'm not really sure what caused this most recent collapse of my relationship with my mother.  I won't get into details, because they are irrelevant to this post, but it brings me to the reason I'm upset today.

This weekend is a close friend's birthday party in Seattle.  While I'm excited to celebrate with her, there is always a profound sadness with the realization that I in the same city as my family (specifically my mother!) but will see no one.  Sadness in knowing that I must always find a hotel room because we are not welcome.  Sadness in knowing that, in order for me to accepted, I'll have to be someone that I'm not (and refuse to be).  Perhaps it is my own stubbornness that traps us in this place.  For several years, I have considered asking a counselor to do a group intervention for my family to help us move past the generations of depression, harsh help us exorcise all of the demons that hide in my family's collective closet.  While I have considered this, I don't know what good it would do.  Until everyone is willing to change our family dynamic, I'm left to deal with my feelings about our dying relationship on my own.

Even as I type this, I'm tempted to delete this draft because if I publish it, the pain is real.  I am thankful that I have wonderful friends who validate me and allow me to be my authentic self; I am thankful that I have friends who see the love that overflows from my heart and are not blinded by bigotry, double-standards and dogma.  Sadly, even my best friend cannot remove the sting of feeling unloved by the very blood that claims to be thicker than water.

Monday, July 23, 2012

I am becoming...

I am becoming...someone unknown to me.  I have never met her, but I know she is confident; I have never seen her, but I know she is brave.  I am obsessed with my outer appearance, while her infatuation is the well-being of her soul. I am deafened by the silence around me, yet in stillness her spirit whispers wisdom.  She tells me that my scars quilt the patchwork of her essence; my stumbling blocks, the stepping stones to her destiny.  She is unintimidated by the things that frighten me...unflinching at what makes me afraid.  She wears my dishonor like a cloak, unashamed and unabashedly pursuing that which fulfills her.  She is not deterred by the distractions that beguile me; steadfast in her purpose, with blinders she progresses.  My doubts ignite her determination; my trepidation, her certainty.  She was conceived in my passion, birthed from my dreams.

(PS...this was my first time at target practice and I got a BULLSEYE!!!)

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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Breakfast McCurds 'n' Weigh

I've kinda been short-changing myself with breakfast recently: eating a Clif bar on the way out the door, cottage cheese and fruit or just an apple some days.  While all of these are okay choices, today I needed something more substantial.

I started out with fresh fruit and veggie juice: spinach, ginger, carrot, orange and pineapple.  A lot of people who are new to juicing are intimidated by leafy greens in fruit juice.  Drinking spinach seems so health freak/Popeye-the-sailorish, but surprisingly spinach really only affects the color--in addition to giving much-needed vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and if you let Popeye tell it...muscles!  This juice is my favorite because it just tastes like a not-so-sweet pineapple/orange juice.  The ginger gives it a nice refreshing quality and the carrots and pineapple blend to give it a cool lava-lamp effect :)  Fresh juice always makes me feel like I can scale mountains.

I made a hearty breakfast sandwich to go along with my superwoman juice: 5-grain flaxseed flatbread (fold-it style), one whole egg and one egg white, few grape tomatoes, some spinach, a pinch of feta cheese and avocado "mayonnaise" all came together to form a party in my tummy!

Toast flatbread on both sides in dry skillet over medium heat until warm and slightly crisp.
Spread mashed avocado on both sides of flatbread, about 1/4 of an avocado total.
Wilt spinach in skillet with one teaspoon Bragg's Liquid Amino's.  Set on one side of flatbread.

Saute tomatoes and feta until feta is bubbly.
Pour egg directly over tomatoes, cook for about one minute then flip.  Be sure to press out excess moisture.

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

I Choose Life

Today was a particularly stressful day at work: though I only have four other co-workers (besides the owner), the women in this office thrive on gossip, hearsay and drama!  I try to live a very peaceful, stress-free life and look at things from a positive perspective most of the time; this office is the polar opposite.

Very long story short...H, the owner's personal-assistant and self-proclaimed office manager, met with some colleagues from our sister company last Friday.  I have never personally met these colleagues, but have worked with them at length and we share a mutual high-esteem for one another.  During their meeting, she spoke negatively about J (the receptionist), T (my supervisor, head of Compliance) and myself.  Among other things, we are supposedly difficult to work with, she used to be "our boss" but since we moved offices (in May) we no longer listen to her, I walk around like I run things...among others.  What she said is not why I'm upset.  In fact, I found it humorous because she was never in a position of management, but tried to use her seniority to give other people her work (even though no part of our job overlaps and the only people that I have ever reported to are T and the owner).  The part that upset me is that just a couple weeks ago, though H has always been grumpy and cantankerous, I flat-ironed H's hair and did her make-up for her staff photo.

Let me give you a bit of background here: months ago, I started working on the company brochure and requested that J, the receptionist, and H provide staff photos since they did not have one on file.  H showed obvious trepidation at having her image immortalized on an 11x14 sheet of stock paper.  H is short, chubby, she resembles the rocker Meatloaf with frizzy hair.  I work in financial services and we deal with very high net worth clients; professionalism is of utmost importance in my field, yet H often looks like she has rolled out of bed and grabbed the nearest pair of capris and Birkenstocks.  She looks like she does not care, but in observing her conversation, I realized that she feels ugly.  When the conversation of the brochure came up and she refused to have a photo included, I offered to do her hair and makeup if it would make her feel better.  She turned down the offer and we didn't speak about it again.  About two weeks, after months of her doing malicious things (going through my office while I'm away, telling lies about me and other displays of personal dissatisfaction) she approached me and said that she'd seen the draft of the brochure and didn't like that she was the only one without a picture so she wanted to get her picture taken after all.  She asked if I would do her hair and makeup and I agreed.  I was excited for the opportunity to have her look in the mirror at herself and say "Wow".  I was excited for the chance to show her that she could be beautiful if she put forth a little effort.  I was excited to see her walk with confidence.  The act was from the goodness of my heart, not with any expectations; however, perhaps a small part of me believed that it would be a peace offering to help promote a more cordial and professional work environment.

Fast-forwarding to last Friday's meeting.  J, the receptionist, overheard H speaking about the three of us and confronted H about it after the colleagues left.  Claws came out, curse words were thrown and something akin to an old Western showdown occurred.  H called J over the weekend to apologize: she said she didn't know why she said such bad things about us, that both T and myself had been so kind to her in the past, she was deeply regretful.  She begged J not to tell the owner and, moreover, not to tell T or me.  J, unmoved, told her that she had to own up to what she did.

I walked into the office Monday, completely oblivious to the tension that fouled the air.  J pulled me aside and filled me in on what happened Friday and over the weekend.  H was quiet all day.  The normally boisterously loud grouch had been silenced.  Needless to say things were very awkward.  She called out Tuesday (the same day that the owner, B and T went out of town, leaving only J and myself in the office).  Yesterday, H said not one word again all day.  Today, H had been quiet all day until I overheard her again talking negatively about J and me.  I am confused at how someone can wear two faces so easily...until now, I had only heard that H had an issue with me by hearsay.  H has always been reasonably pleasant with me and any animosity was not directly targeted at me.  I don't know where this is coming from, neither do I understand how she can have the audacity to do the things she does.

I understand that it's not personal and says nothing about me and everything about her: her feelings about me are only a mirror of what she thinks of herself.  Knowing this doesn't make it hurt any less that I too often extend myself to people who only trudge upon my pearls like swine.  I feel betrayed, though I never had an illusion of loyalty.  I feel disrespected, though I always gave her more respect than she earned.

Normally I would come home and pour a glass of wine, sulk in my feelings until the sweet rest of intoxication took over and sleep pulls me into her bosom.  I would eat as many sweet, salty, fatty, creamy, empty foods as it took to numb my emotions and then I would feel guilty about my binge and eat more.  This time, however, I refuse to allow negativity to derail me.  I am going to Zumba tonight and going to sweat out my worries, breathe out my anger and dance out my frustration.

I choose life!

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pineapple Shrimp and Scallop Stir-Fry

This is a quick recipe that you can customize any way you like.  Use whatever vegetables you like, whatever protein you prefer, any of your favorite seasonings.  I love stir-fry because it allows you to use whatever is at hand and each time you make it, the taste is completely different.

Pineapple Shrimp and Scallop Stir-Fry
makes 4-6 servings

3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1" slice of ginger root, minced
1/2 medium green bell pepper, diced
1 1/2 cups carrots, julienne cut
1 cup celery, coarsely chopped
1-2 cups baby bok choy, coarsely chopped
1 cup brocolli, cut into florets
1/2 medium red onion, sliced
1/2 block firm tofu, sliced
1 cup pineapple, diced
1/4 head red cabbage, shredded
1 ounce raw almonds
1 medium orange
1 pound medium white shrimp, shelled and de-veined
8 ounces scallops, rinsed thoroughly
1T Fish Sauce
1T Bragg's Liquid Amino's
1T Sriracha, optional

Be sure to chop all vegetables before starting since this dish cooks very quickly and you won't have time to chop while you're cooking. I suggest cutting in the order that you will use the veggies to make things easier (but do whatever works best for you).  Heat large skillet or wok over medium to medium-high heat.  Toast almonds in dry skillet for approximately 3 minutes or until almonds become fragrant.  Set aside.

Remove almonds from heat and "fry" tofu in dry skillet.  Tofu should be sliced into even pieces.  Flip to brown on all sides.  Once browned, set aside.

Make a light sauce by mixing the juice of one medium orange, sriracha, fish sauce and Bragg's; adjust according to your preference.  Set aside.

Saute about 1/4 of your chopped pineapple until juice is released.  Add ginger and garlic, stirring until fragrant.  Add about 1/3 of your orange juice/sauce mix to the pan.  Add bell pepper, stir until fragrant (about one minute).

Add carrots, celery and about 1/3 of your sauce mixture; stir for about 45 seconds.  Add bok choy and red onion, stir until onion becomes fragrant (about one minute). 

Add brocolli, cabbage and remaining pineapples.  Cover for about two minutes or until brocolli and cabbage are brightly colored and pineapples have released juices.

Add almonds, tofu, shrimp, scallops and remaining sauce mixture.  Stir to distribute evenly and cover skillet again until shrimp is thoroughly cooked (about 3-4 minutes or until shrimp is pink). 

Serve alone or over brown rice.

Nutrition Facts: (assuming only 4 servings with no rice)  Total Calories 316; Fat 6g; Saturated Fat 0.8g; Cholesterol 140mg; Sodium 423mg; Total Carbohydrates 27.7g; Fiber 6.2g (25%); Sugars 11g; Protein 38.7g; Vitamin A 53%; Vitamin C 180%; Calcium 21%; Iron 30%.

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Bellies and Waterfalls

It's been a few days since I've posted.  My partner's best friend, Che, came to town from Atlanta, so things were very busy.  On Saturday, I cooked brunch for the two of them (waffles and eggs with fruit salad)...I had cottage cheese and fruit. 

Che wanted to check out Portland's nightlife, so I arranged dinner at my favorite Morrocan restaurant (complete with sitting on the floor on pillows, eating with our hands and belly dancing!)  After dinner, we walked around downtown and ended up at a Drag Show.

On Sunday, Che and I had a morning dance session before heading to the waterfalls.  I absolutely love nature, so am excited everytime we're able to visit the falls. 


After the falls, we got pedicures and I planned to go home and cook, but it was late so we decided to go to Red Lobster instead.  The entire weekend, I did a good job of planning my meals and staying on target, but I got off-track at Red Lobster (I blame it on the biscuits!).  I ordered grilled tilapia with broccoli (no rice, no butter), so I was pretty good about ordering light; however, with the salad and biscuits, I was already satisfied before the entree came.  The food monster took over and I finished my whole entree, though I certainly didn't need it.  I always order a Mega Mama when I go, so out of habit, I ordered the oversized cocktail--because I haven't been eating a lot of sugar, it was way too syrupy and I ended up giving the rest to Che and Monica, but it forced me to evaluate how I got completely off track simply because it was what I normally did at Red Lobster.  I am learning that certain places are too much of a trigger for me to eat right at this point in my journey...that's like sending a crackhead onto Skid Row.

I woke up Monday feeling sick to my stomach from the overload of carbs and fat.  I did a fruit fast for breakfast and lunch yesterday to try to get back on track.  Thankfully, I only gained 2 pounds this weekend, which I lost again as of this morning.

I'm very proud of myself because normally I would be extermely hard on myself for being side-tracked which would only lead to more bad eating.  This time, however, I realized that things was a busy weekend, a lot going on...this is life.  The real question is what we do when life happens.  I refuse to give up on myself!

I went charm-shopping, but wasn't able to find anything that I loved in the store so I had to buy online.  These are the charms I bought:

I bought the baby blocks for a few reasons: of my biggest inspirations for losing weight is so that I can have children.  I also love that it says "I love you" because it is a constant reminder that I must love myself enough to do what's healthy for me.  I bought the bike because cycling has served as a great motivation to exercise.  I love the idea of the charms...working hard to lose another ten!

How do you stay on track on the weekends or when something unexpected happens?  What reward system do you have in place to stay motivated?

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