Monday, September 20, 2010

Not exactly healthy living related, but still awesome!

When I'm not cooking or eating or trying to live a healthier life, I love good music and great musicians. One of my favorites is Ben Folds, who is probably best known as the front man of Ben Folds Five, and is not only a ridiculously talented musician, but also an all-around decent human being.

Over the last two years, Frank and I have been to almost 40 Ben Folds concerts, all over the country. Ben has a new album coming out next week, Lonely Avenue, a collaboration with author Nick Hornby. I've heard it and promise you it's worth your money. It's very, very good.

Anyway, I didn't just write this post to gush about Ben Folds. I have some great news!

I will be interviewing Ben Folds via video chat this Friday, 9/24 at 6PM CST. I'll be asking about eating healthy on the road, and how he and his lovely wife help guide their children toward healthy living. Please go to to tune in when the time is nigh. I hope you can make it!

Ben Folds interview, in which I interview Ben Folds.

It's official - I will be interviewing Ben Folds via video chat this Friday, 9/24 at 6PM CST.

Be there for...

Lynn vs. Ben - The Video Chatstraveganza!

Join me as I challenge Ben Folds to a no-holds-barred steel cage video death match, where we will fight to the pain using only our words and winning personalities. I'll be asking him about trying to eat healthy on the road, if he kisses his mother with that filthy mouth, and if he or his lovely wife have any recipes to share involving fall root vegetables. I'm shooting for a Barbara Walters moment where I make him cry, in a good way.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It's a mad mad mad mad world.

What's the easiest way to play catch-up? With a list!

  • I turned 35 last week. We celebrated with dinner at Justus Drugstore (one of the best meals I've ever had), and a fireworks show at a family friend's farm. The fireworks were almost as amazing as the dinner.

  • We're finally watching Mad Men and now know what all the hype is about. We're about halfway through the third season and are loving it! There's such a Sopranos vibe about it, and it's so visually stunning. My favorite line - Beatnik to Don: "How do you sleep at night?" Don: "On a bed made of money."

  • I won a contest of sorts and as a result will be interviewing Ben Folds via video chat at some point in the next few weeks. Stay tuned for details. I've got some good questions lined up - let me know if you have anything you'd like me to ask.

  • Last month my mom and I saw Rufus Wainwright in concert. He was terrific. The first half of the show he did his best "Liberace-live-from-the-grave" routine while playing the entirety of his All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu. It was strange and sad and beautiful. The second half had him wearing a suit made from Betty Draper's old couch and playing songs we knew.

  • Mr. Awesome and I went to see She & Him. It was almost as good as I expected it to be. Almost, because whoever was running the lights was off-game, and the bass was way too loud. But Zooey Deschanel is divine, and M. Ward is mesmerizing.

  • I am really, really looking forward to summer ending this year. That said, this is the first summer in I don't know how many years that I have worn shorts, and I have to say that I like wearing shorts. But, in general, I like dressing for cooler temperatures much better. There are far more options.

  • Flossing is a pleasure that I hope you don't deny yourself.

  • Netflix streaming is like digital manna from the gods. We’ve seen some great movies that we’d never have found otherwise. Here are some good ones you should check out:

  • We’re eating dinner tomorrow night at the Broadmoor Bistro. It’s our first time, so I hope it’s good!

    At least a plateau gives you a good view.

    Every weight loss journey hits a plateau at some point, and right now, I'm standing on top of one. I've been stalled at the same weight for almost two months and it's frustrating. But I know that when things are stuck, they need to be shaken up a bit. That's why today I'm focusing my attention on how I got fat in the first place, what I've done to reach the point I'm at now, and how to start moving in a forward direction again.

    Healthy eating wasn't exactly a priority when I was a kid. While my mom cooked some nights, she also worked and that left me and my step-dad to fend for ourselves. More often than not, that meant eating out a restaurant. Our favorites were Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and any place that had good steak or fried chicken. You know, all the healthy places. If we weren't dining out, we were eating spaghetti or cereal or ice cream at home. Sometimes all three at once. Needless to say, I was never a skinny child.

    In high school, my eating habits changed slightly, but not much. I ate more fast food, but was also pretty active in show choir and drama. I danced, swam, walked a bunch, and managed to keep my weight from getting too out of control.

    Through my 20s and into my 30s, I just sort of ignored the elephant in the room, which at some point became me. I'd try fad diets occasionally - Slim Fast, Atkins, South Beach - but nothing really worked and none of them stuck with me. I kept telling myself I was happy the way I was, and that I could lose weight eventually. Eventually kept creeping further and further into the future and at some point, I sort of gave up on even eventually.

    Then I woke up. I shook the fog out of my head and took a good, long look at myself. I was not getting any younger, and I was certainly not getting any healthier. I was not the person I saw in the mirror. I had to do something.

    Enter Weight Watchers. Last year when I started, I didn't focus on goal weights or milestones - I focused on  one-day-at-a-time. Each step I took, each healthy choice I made, put me one step closer to becoming the person I knew I was. I tracked my points religiously. And it worked! Week after week, the scale and my ever-baggier clothes reported the same thing - weight loss. I was happy. I was satisfied. And that's where the plateau happened.

    Satisfaction and comfort are easy to get used to. But they're also what can get me into trouble. Just because I'm happy at this little rest stop doesn't mean I should park the car and unpack. I need to keep moving ahead until I reach a better place. When I get there, I can be satisfied and comfortable.

    Today, I resolve to track my points more diligently. I resolve to be a bit more active than I was yesterday. I resolve to get back into thoughtfully considering my food choices and remembering what is best for me.

    Today, as I stand on top of this plateau, I can see in all directions. I see where I was and can look back nostalgically on the good things, while leaving the not-so-good behind me where it belongs. I see where I am and where I want to be, and am excited to move forward.

    I am not yet the person I want to be, but I'm getting there.

    Thursday, September 2, 2010

    Stress can be sweet.

    While last week was Hell Week in the life of a university worker, this week was Hell Week Lite. Almost as busy, almost as many problems to solve and fires to put out, almost as much stress. Cooking is a great stress-reliever for me, especially cooking sweet things to satisfy my fairly agressive sweet tooth.

    I'm so looking forward to the long Labor Day weekend. And... to my 35th birthday this Saturday! I tend to get weird around my birthday - moody and nostalgic and not in a good way. Last weekend I had the birthday breakdown that comes just about every year, and while it made for a not-so-great weekend, I got past it just in time to celebrate full-force this weekend.

    Starting on Friday with dinner with Frank at Justus Drugstore in Smithville, Missouri, our first time visiting the highly-regarded restaurant. Saturday is dinner with my parents, followed by a fireworks show at one of their friend's farms. I'm so looking forward to everything and can't wait to fill you all in on the details!

    But we're not here right now to talk about my birthday. My 35th birthday. That's this weekend (I'm over the breakdown part, I promise). I mentioned something a few paragraphs back about sweet things, remember?

    I have two words for you: Awesomesauce Cookies.

    These cookies are, by far, the best cookies I’ve ever made. And they taste even better when you realize that they are not terrible for you! As I’ve said before, and I’ll say again – just because something isn’t bad for you doesn’t mean it tastes bad. Not only do these NOT taste bad, they taste better than darn near any cookie out there. Make these, and you won’t go back to the basic, high-fat chocolate chip cookies. I promise.

    Lynn’s Awesomesauce Cookies

    Servings: about 40 cookies
    Weight Watchers Points: 1.5 per cookie

    3/4 c. sugar
    3/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar
    1/2 c. (1 stick) salted butter, softened
    1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
    1 tsp. vanilla
    1 egg
    2 c. whole-wheat flour
    1 tsp. baking soda
    1/2 tsp. salt
    3/4 c. milk chocolate chips
    3/4 c. peanut butter chips

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

    Mix sugars, butter, applesauce, vanilla and egg in a large bowl. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt. Stir in chocolate and peanut butter chips.

    Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 8 – 10 minutes or until light brown (centers will be soft). Cool on a rack and enjoy!