A Healthier Year… Hopefully

So I decided that I really want to get back on my diet. I have gained back almost all of the weight that I lost three years ago. I cannot keep going down this path. Hopefully I will get my depression in line again and I know that will help a lot. It’s incredible what stress and depression can do to the human body. So I am willing to write about my journey on here and even share some very humiliating photos, but I want to do this because I know I’m not the only person in this situation. And please don’t think this is because I am one of those people who make a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight. I’m doing this to get healthy since I don’t believe in making resolutions because they cause you to fail.

Tonight I decided to try something new. My boss brought in leftovers of some stuffed bell peppers that she made and it looked and smelled incredible. Knowing that I had to go to the grocery store, I decided to make my own thing using most of the ingredients my boss said that she used. This was so easy to make and used all fresh ingredients. Here’s what I did:

1/2 green bell pepper, diced

1/2 orange bell pepper, diced

1/2 medium sweet onion, diced

3 stalks of celery, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 package Extra Lean Jennie-O Ground Turkey

2 ripe tomatoes, diced

about 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

about 1-1/2 tbsp Herbs de Province

1 cup brown rice, cooked

1 cup baby spinach leaves

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Once heated sauté garlic, bell peppers, onion and celery. Add salt and pepper. Let them sweat for a few minutes until the onions are transparent. Add ground turkey and cook through. Add Herbs and rice. Cook for a few minutes to let all of the flavors absorb. Add the tomatoes just before removing from the heat. Add more salt, pepper or Herbs if needed. Serve hot over spinach. I added a little ketchup to mine just for a little sweetness and my grandma put some in a couple of tacos.

I can’t tell you what the nutritional values are. I don’t measure when I cook so sometimes it’s hard to get an exact recipe out of me. My great-grandmother and grandpa taught me how to cook and I swear it’s the Italian in me. I ate a smaller portion than what I would normally eat and it filled me up.

This year I want to eat healthier and buy more fresh produce than I used to. It might cost a little more but it will be healthier.

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Spaghetti…Mmmm

One of my absolute favorite comfort foods is spaghetti. I think that is really where my Italian heritage comes through. I am a pasta junkie!! I love all kinds of pasta. As all of you know, I must have gluten-free pasta only because of my Celiac Disease. Tonight while my mom and I were wondering about the small market by my house (I’m still getting used to calling my grandma’s house mine) I noticed a new gluten-free pasta that I have not heard of yet. Cadia. And even better… it’s organic and fairly cheap… for gluten-free.

My stomach has been a little queasy lately and I wasn’t sure if pasta was right for my stomach but I decided to give it a shot. Besides it was the only things that sounded good. My grandma thinks I need some red meat in me and I agree but I didn’t want to make a separate trip to the large grocery store (which I hate by the way) to buy buffalo (a.k.a. bison but whatever) and spend God only knows how much on when I have no money. That’s one of the problems with my body, I can’t even have beef. Don’t know why. I just can’t.

So my spaghetti tonight went vegetarian. Nothing wrong with that. Pasta and sauce. Nothing more. So good.

Happy New Year

I cannot believe it is 2012 already. This last year flew by. One year ago I started a challenge to blog every day. I kept up with it for six months. Then I rarely blogged for the last six months of 2011. I just found that my life is not all that interesting and found it difficult to write about anything in my life. I cannot say if this year will be different as I am dealing with yet another bout of depression (I’ve forgotten to take my pills for about a week now) and stress.

I looked at the picture that was taken at Thanksgiving and noticed that I have put on almost all of the weight back on that I worked so hard to lose. My motivation is no where to be found and I’m finding my self not caring about me anymore. I kept telling myself that I was going to focus on me last year and to what end? Another year alone. Another year of listening to people being shocked that I’m still single.

This year (56 days to be exact) I turn 30 and I am not ready for it and NOT excited about it. For whatever reason 30 is HUGE for a woman and I always told myself when I was a kid that I wouldn’t be upset about turning 30, but I am. Although, back then, I thought I would be married with kids by now. I remember when my mom turned 30. Even though I look forward to spending my birthday at Disneyland, I don’t want this birthday. I will take all others, just not this one.

I tried yet again, for the second time, with online dating. The type of guy that I am interested in, wants someone who isn’t me. I’ve developed a crush on a Facebook friend of mine whom I’ve never met and probably never will. He is exactly the type of guy I want to spend the rest of my life with and there is no chance in hell I will ever get the nerve to ask if he would ever be interested. He’s fit, I’m not. I know that I won’t know anything unless I try but falling in love scares the living shit out of me. I’ve been single for so long that (like my mom says) I’m set in my ways and I’m used to being single. I’m used to living life as I am right now, but I don’t want this life. I want something completely different and I’m too scared to do anything about it. I still cannot look at myself in the mirror and see a pretty girl staring back. I just cannot do it. It’s been 9 years since my first and only kiss. Nine God damned, miserable years. Seriously, I want to know what I did in a past life to deserve this.

I did manage to go on more than one date with a guy this year, but I freaked out and broke it off before it ever got anywhere. I don’t want to live in Bishop anymore. I just don’t. This will always be home, but it’s not where I want to be. I’ve decided that I want to be in San Diego. Every time I visit it becomes harder to leave. It was like that with Phoenix too, but San Diego is different. San Diego feels like home and I cannot afford to move.

Another Achievement Down

I just cannot get myself motivated to blog these last six months. I want to but just cannot think of anything that I really want to write about. But none the less… here I am.

Earlier this year I wrote about a few goals that I wanted to achieve in my life. Three days ago I crossed another one off my list. I have wanted to know for some time now if I could manage to cook Christmas dinner from scratch, all by myself. I did. It all started out with me planning on cooking my first turkey. I cannot eat ham because pork and my stomach do not get along so I get turkey or chicken during a lot of the holidays. I don’t mind at all.

I bought a turkey before Thanksgiving and had planned on cooking it then since I could not go ou of town with my mo, dad and brother because I had to work. Our plans for Thanksgiving changed and we had lunch at the Care Center with my grandpa. So then I decided to cook it for Christmas. My brother talked me through how he cooks a turkey and I also got advise from my grandma who hs cooked two turkeys every year for the last 50 years. I got a lot of advise from both of them. When it came time to prepare it on Christmas Eve, my brother had to take out the neck and giblets. I could not get myself to do it. Even as I writing this all I can think of is EEEWWW. We placed it in a brine and let it sit overnight in what I began calling our extended fridge. It’s the family room that we try not to use in the winter because it costs too much to heat and so it tends to get down to the 20’s in the room. Perfect for keeping salmonella off poultry while it sits in a salt water ice bath.

Knowing that I had a lot to do, I decided that the best course of action would be to make all of the dishes that will be served cold and worry about the hot foods the next day. I am extremely proud of the fact that I made cranberry sauce from scratch and it turned out tart and delicious. I found the recipe on my Jamie Oliver Recipe app on my iPhone. I cannot wait to try out more recipes from that app. I also made two jello salads, one that my grandma usually makes every year (I forgot an ingredient) and one for dessert.

Waking up Christmas morning was a challenge. I did not want to get up, which would have been unheard of for me when I was little. I dragged myself out of bed at 7:30 in the morning to prepare the turkey for the oven. My grandma cut up the veggies to put on the bottom while I rinsed the brine off the turkey and put some butter under the skin. Ma helped me cover the bird in olive oil and I sprinkled some Herbs de Provence over the top of the turkey. I sprinkled it with a little paprika and place it in an oven bag on top of the veggies. It went into the oven and I moved on to making pancakes for Ma and me for breakfast.

After about two and a half hours, the meat thermometer read 168 degrees F and I pulled it out of the oven and covered it with a towel to let the temperature rise to 175 degrees. It smelled amazing and when I cut into it, it was a little dry. Not as bad as I thought it would be but I was proud that I actually cooked a turkey. Ma and I knew we would never hear the end of it from my brother about not cooking it breast-side down and it turning out a little dry. After lunch I finished off making the rest of our Christmas dinner.

I found a recipe for Herb Roasted Vegetables on one of the MANY daily recipe email I have signed up for. I cannot help it. I love recipes and the more the better. This one is diabetic friendly and just what I needed. I figured I would be the only one that would eat it because it has sweet potatoes, but surprisingly my mom loved it. She couldn’t tell the difference between the sweet potatoes and the parsnips (which was the first time cooking or eating them for me and I love them). It was a great recipe and once that I will be making a lot more of.

The last thing on my checklist for dinner was gravy. I carefully strained all of the juice from the bottom on the pan that the turkey cooked in into a large measuring cup. I started to make a rue in a saucepan but once I added the liquid to it, it didn’t thicken at all. I added cornstarch to it and it thickened beautifully but separated by the time I could get it to my parents’ house.

All in all, the food was fantastic and I did it with minimal help from my family. No one minded that I was doing all of the cooking because they knew that I wanted to do this for them on Christmas. I am proud of what I was able to accomplish in two days during one of the busiest and hectic holidays. I could not have asked for a better Christmas.

It’s Been a Long Time

I cannot believe how long it has been since I last blogged. Three months!! I just haven’t had the time to sit down and type out my thoughts and I’ve also been going through yet another bout of depression. My mom finally figured out why I really started feeling the way I did. I was house-poor living in an apartment. My debt got to the point where I could not afford my rent on top of paying the minimum due on my credit cards. I was struggling month-to-month.

In August, we had to put my grandfather into a care facility after he had to be in the hospital for three days. We don’t have the strength to lift him if he falls and we had been talking about it for a while too. His quality of life improved within the first week of being in the Care Center. With Pa having to go into the Care Center, I knew that it would be hard to have my grandma live in a three bedroom house with just her and the dog. I asked one of the hardest questions I’ve had to in a long time. I decided that it was time for me to give up my apartment of six and a half years and move in with my grandma. I had to put almost all of what I own in a storage unit but I came to the realization that my apartment became one of the main sources of my depression. The mess just built and built because I didn’t see the point in cleaning it because I never had anyone over.

It has been a good transition for me. I never became sad to lose my apartment. Not once have I felt like I’ve made a mistake. I know that I should have moved out of there a few years ago but I kept trying to make it work when it couldn’t. No matter what I did, I gained weight because I just didn’t care. I’ve gained about 30 pounds in just over two years. Depression is a horrible thing and can do things to your body that you almost cannot control. I’m still getting used to the way my grandma does things and I know that I have to live by her rules because it’s her house and I am just living here.

For the first time in a long time I know that I can save money and still pay off my debt in a timely manner. For the first time I am feeling good about where I am in life. I still suffer from depression and need to remember to take my medication but I don’t have an empty house to come home to (except right now because Ma is in Alabama visiting her brother and it’s just me and the dog). For once I get to cook for more than one person, which quite frankly I don’t know how to do.

I’ve temporarily put my Etsy stuff on hold because my stuff isn’t selling and I’m not sure why. I think I just need time to reinvent my shop and re-do the photos. I also need time to make a lot more stuff. In the meantime, I decided to start selling Scentsy. It’s a great company and I love everything that they have. You can visit my shop at http://courtneymcelvogue.scentsy.us and you can even order things from me there.

In just the month that I have lived here, I have already read three books. I haven’t read that much in two years. It just started to seem like everything that I liked wasn’t important anymore. As February inches closer and closer, I’m really not looking forward to turning 30. That’s right. 30! I’m nowhere near where I thought I would be at 30. I’ve started trying online dating again but nothing is happening. The type of guy I like just isn’t interested in a girl like me. At least I haven’t found one that does. I went on a few dates with a guy but we were just on different levels and I’m not sure I’m fully ready for a full-time, being with each other every second of every day yet. I still need my space and time to myself and I don’t think he wanted that. He plunged when I dipped my toe. Stupid metaphor I know but that’s what my brain thought of so I went with it.

Well I’m getting really tired and need to get to bed. I will try to blog more than once every three months.

Comic Con 2011: Preview Night

Comic Con 2011 began this year for my mom and I with a quick tea from Katy’s Cafe in Imperial Beach. With a some-what quick drive through Coronado and over the Coronado Bridge, I ended up taking the wrong exit since I hadn’t driven over that bridge, in that direction, in two years. Once I got off the freeway, my mom grabbed the map and navigated me through the Gaslamp District to the parking lot we wanted. The pedestrian bridge is now finished and you can walk over the train tracks rather than wait for the trains and the trolly to go by. It makes it easier to get to the Convention Center.

We headed up the escalators to get our badge and my mom had no problem getting her badge, but mine would not print because the lady said that mine was listed as an exhibitor. We couldn’t get tickets for this year when they went on sale because the servers kept crashing. Lucky for us, we know the owner of the local art supply store, who is a vendor at Comic Con, and he got us tickets. We think because Ron couldn’t spell Yahoo when ordering the ticket and he put it under his email address that it caused mine to be placed under an exhibitor. It took us a while to find where to pick up that badge but once I got mine, off we went.

You could tell that attendance was down just slightly, but that didn’t affect the attitude of the people around us. Some of the costumes were absolutely incredible. There weren’t too many people dressed up on Preview Night but the ones we saw were amazing.

My mom and I had dinner at SyFy’s Cafe Diem at the Hard Rock Hotel. I love going in there and look forward to it every year. The prices went up but that is to be expected with the economy right now and you get a lot of food for the price. You have to go into Comic Con with the mind-frame that everything is going to be expensive. Really expensive. There are ways to avoid that as well. We didn’t eat every meal at one of the restaurants around the San Diego Convention Center. Instead we brough our own snacks and lunches with us. It works out great.

After dinner, we decided to walk around the Gaslamp District for a bit because I wanted to know where the Nerd Headquarters was that Zac Levi was putting on. We found the place with ease and weren’t allowed to go in because they were still setting up but I did see Zac walking around in there checking on things. We chatted with the security guy there for a few minutes.

We went back to our hotel and got an early sleep so we could be ready for Thursday and the Nerd Quest.

Getting Ready for Comic Con 2011

I don’t remember if I mentioned that my mom and I ended up getting tickets for Comic Con this year. Thanks to our local art shop that also sells comic books and is a vendor at the big event managed to get us some tickets. My mom and I leave Wednesday morning and get to enjoy all of the wonderful things that preview night has to offer.

If you’ve never been to Comic Con then you cannot understand how big this event is. One a busy day (i.e. Friday or Saturday) you are looking at around 500,000 people (if not more) crammed into the San Diego Convention Center. Even with that many geeks, nerd, freaks, actors, producers, writers, artists and a few absolutely normal people, there is SO much to see and enjoy. I’ve written about my last two experiences and I am glad that I get to experience it again for the third time.

Between the two years that I have been to Comic Con, I have met nine actors and gotten pictures with; three of who I would marry in a heartbeat. In order they are: Matthew Gray Gubler (Criminal Minds), Josh Gates (Destination Truth), Saul Rubinek (Warehouse 13), Allison Scagliotti (Warehouse 13), Eddie McClintock (Warehouse 13), Amy Bruni (Ghost Hunters International), Kris Williams (Ghost Hunters International), Neil Grayston (Eureka) and Zachary Levi (Chuck). Josh Gates and Allison Scagliotti I met in both 2009 and 2010. I’ve met with and talked to more actors but never got pictures with them. One I do regret from last year, Mindy Sterling. Best known for yelling, “SCOTT!!” from the Austin Powers movies. My mom got to talking with her and she was very nice. I just didn’t think to ask her if I could get a picture with her. My first Comic Con in 2009, I regret not actually meeting with Kathy Najimy from the Sister Act movies.

This year I’m taking my good camera since last year my smaller one acted up and I got a lot of fuzzy pictures. The only problem with my good camera is that I don’t have a way to download the pictures from the memory card onto my laptop. I can’t find the disk from when I bought the camera so I can’t download the software. I tried getting something from the internet off of Canon’s website that might work but it didn’t. So I bought a portable memory card reader. The only problem is that my laptop will not read the smaller disks, only the standard size. I’m going to try something tomorrow but if that doesn’t work then I just won’t be able to share pictures with all of you until we get back home and I’ll be limited to the amount of pictures that I can take. Sucks. I know.

My mom and I are coming up with a few ways to save money this year since I had my car serviced today and we had to put off some of the work until we get back because none of us have the $1200 it’s going to cost. My mom’s boss gave her a bag that is insulated and on rollers so we have more than enough room to take food with us. I got to thinking about that and I’m going to put my purse, laptop, camera, cords and what-not into my smallest luggage bag that has rollers. That way I won’t have a heavy backpack that bumps into everyone and I don’t have to kill myself lugging a backpack everywhere.

Who know’s who I might end up meeting this year. All I know is that my mom and I are so excited. I cannot believe that Comic Con is upon us already. It seems like we were just there last year. Seriously, where has the year gone? It seems like time is flying by at an alarming rate and I cannot keep up. It’s crazy. anyway, pictures or no pictures I will try to keep everyone who comes across this blog informed on the coming days. So excited!!!!!