My Bikini Left a Run Away Note…

Okay, fellow Divas… it’s been a while. I know, I’ve been in remiss, but what can I say? Life, love, birthdays, end-of-the-school year… all that happens.  But, now I’m back…and apparently there is even more of me than before!

Since I last wrote, I have turned 40. 
(Yeah, I might need a round of applause for that, as I have had trouble saying it, much etching it in stone for all to see!)

And, my mother had always warned me that when you turn 40, things don’t work quite like they used to. This sags a bit more over here, droops a bit more over there. No, it didn’t magically happen all in one day, but it is like some giant glacier slowly melting and moving downhill over the years, when suddenly it has invaded my back yard!  Who knew I would ever compare my body and skin to a glacier!?  Well, apparently it is appropriate, as my clothes don’t want to fit on me like they used to, and my bikini has actually packed her bags and gone south… so, what’s a Diva to do? Well, this Diva isn’t going to take it lying down (well, maybe if I’m getting a massage) but otherwise, I’m going to do something about it!

Background Info:
I was very active growing up. Always playing outdoors, climbing trees, keeping up with my older brothers. I was also an elite gymnast, spending 7 hours a day at the gym for most of my elementary and junior high years. I later discovered cheerleading was a lot easier and more fun, so I cheered all through college at the University of Florida. Needless to say, I never had to worry about what I ate!  

Fast forward 20 Years:
Okay, I admit it…I haven’t done anything since those college days. I’ve been living on  the memory of those active days, and it has finally caught up to me. I’m still fairly thin, but there’s no muscle tone… at all!  So, I’m embarking on a journey to regain my former glory! Plastic surgery isn’t an option. (I can’t afford it and even if I could, it doesn’t build muscle, does it?) So, that leaves me with good, old-fashioned, bust-your-butt working out. (Ugh! How UnDiva-like!)

So, join me as I journey this uphill trek. I am sure some of my readers can relate to life getting the best of us…it happens!  So, perhaps my battle will help you decide to take a step toward a healthier lifestyle, too.  I’ll keep track of my ups and downs on here and would love your feedback, advice, and encouragement.

My path is easy, just two elements: exercise and eat nutritiously. So, to get my journey started, here’s what I’ve done so far today, the first day of my trip.

Exercise
1) Joined a gym.

2) Cardio for 21 minutes (Alternated between walking 3 minutes and running 3 minutes on  treadmill)

3) Weight machines

  • Leg extension
  • Leg curl
  • Bench press
  • Shoulder press

4) Free Weights

  • Biceps
  • Triceps
  • Shoulders again

*Note: I am having trouble moving my arms today!

Eat Nutritiously:
Breakfast:
DanActive
Fruits/veggies from Maitland Farmer’s Market

  • Boiled peanuts (yummy protein)
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Sweet peas

Smoothie:

  • Blueberries and strawberries (frozen and easily accessible stored)
  • Honey
  • Soy Milk
  • Banana
  • Ice cubes

This Vitamix blender is totally da bomb! Easy to use and clean!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So far so good… I will keep you updated. But for now, find something active for you to do today, even if it is just walk around the block once the sun starts to set and it is a bit cooler!

Shrink Wrap Pot Roast

Nope, you didn’t read the title incorrectly…that’s exactly what I came across in the grocery store yesterday. The meat, the veggies, and the seasoning were all neatly wrapped in plastic and bound together in a kit. It’s part of Tyson’s “Slow Cooker Creations” and I didn’t bat an eyelash as I set it into my cart.

It boasts a “5 minute prep” (which actually turned out to be much less once I figured out which pot went with the slow cooker base… I hadn’t ever used it before) and was truly easy peasy! So, I ventured into the Library confidently this morning and started to act like I knew what I was doing! (Those Triple D’s were apparently on vacation today.)

The nutritional value was fairly good for “prepared” food: sodium 290 mg, low in sugar and cholesterol, and high in protein with 22 grams.

So, this was a definite winner for the Undomesticated Diva household!

What Type of Woman Are You?

So it’s Good Friday, but things aren’t looking very good around my house. The laundry is piled up hip-high in the laundry room, dishes are still in the sink, the dogs need washing, and I’m not sure I can even get into my son’s room without a jack hammer or backhoe. The pets are guilty of tracking in dirt and leaves by every door, and am I the only one who has several stacks of unopened bills, junk mail, and unwanted direct mail set around on the kitchen counter?

So, I’m sitting here on the couch (okay, the one corner that’s not loaded down with the clean clothes that need folding) and I’m wondering if it is too early to break open a bottle of wine.

I’ve had the sliding doors opened to the backyard because the spring weather is seductively calling my name, whispering to me that I shouldn’t really have to clean on a day like today. My son is at the beach with friends, my husband’s at work, and yet I am stuck here amid a marathon of Law & Order reruns… okay I admit, I’ve opened the bottle of wine now.

Yeah, there’s not much in the refrigerator, but is there ever?  And, my husband will probably be calling in an hour or so to see what’s for dinner.

“Reservations.”

I could probably change clothes and go for a quick run, but who am I kidding? (The glass of wine is half gone.)

There are so many productive things that I could be doing, should be doing, would be doing if I were another type of woman. If I were like my mother, not only would the house be spotless, I would have swept out the garage and relined the drawers.  If I were like my mother, the bills would not only have been opened and paid, but the checkbook balanced to the penny. If I were like my mother, I would have been at the gym when it opened at 6 a.m. and gone by the grocery store on the way home. (I’m on my second glass now.)

But I’m not like my mother… I’m not that type of woman. I am the type of woman who realizes the laundry will wait until I am good and ready to do it. (Or when I run out clean clothes…) I am the type of woman whose husband will still love her even if the dishes haven’t quite made it into the dishwasher yet. I am the type of woman who can always workout tomorrow. 

I am the type of woman who can do all those as well as place a pretty mean take order from P.F. Changs at the same time as I am sending happy birthday wishes on Facebook. I can shove the dog out the door with one foot as I tweet away about an upcoming charity event.  I can turn a blind eye to the mess around me and look to the sunset and appreciate it for the beauty it holds. I can love my son for the hard work he does at school, the manners he demonstrates in public, the smile he gives his grandparents. I can find self-worth in the way I make other people feel rather than the domestic skills I lack.

I am the type of woman who will not let the sweat pants and t-shirt I am wearing make me feel less sexy. (Well, maybe just a little.)  Yep, that is the kind of woman I am. You may not have the same priorities as I do, the same outlook on life, the same disparity of cooking and cleaning, but I will proudly take a stand on the type of woman I am… will you?

 And as I finish typing this blog post I smile to myself (and hiccup as I finish the second glass of wine)… I am also the type of woman who can take a pretty bad Good Friday and turn it into something pretty good after all.

“Why, yes, I am cheap and easy…”

Although I’m a non-cooking Diva, I still have to feed two hungry guys in my household. So, what to do? 

I was on a great Food Blog Forum  earlier this week following a discussion about why so many people do not eat healthily.  Time and money seemed to be the main sticking points. The perception is that we’re just too busy to cook something healthy and that good food costs more than the regular McDonald’s fare.  Well, since my husband is a bit of a health fanatic (Translation: McDonald’s isn’t served often at our house!) I have to be a bit creative… which actually means I don’t have to be creative at all…I’ve already discovered the obvious secret for a non-cooking Diva to be healthy!

Every weekend, I head to the Maitland Farmer’s Market and I make the rounds for some fruits and vegetables.  I look for a variety of colors–reds, oranges, greens, yellows–and things that I know my son might actually consume. Some of my regular purchases include:

  • Baby bell peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Seedless grapes
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Snow peas
  • Bananas
  • Clementines
  • Mangoes

Only every once in a while will I sneak something new and exotic in, such as Starfruit or Papaya.  All of these foods are regularly available at my farmer’s market or at the local grocery store and don’t cost very much.  For example, I spent $22 this morning on all of my weekly produce. (So, that defeats the “eating healthy costs more” argument.)

Once home, I take 10 minutes to wash some selected fruits and veggies (defeating the “time” argument) and then display them on a set of plates.  This is the key, I think, making the display look attractive… for some reason it really does make my son more apt to eat.  One set out, my hubby and son are told the plates need to be empty by sundown.  And so, they munch all day long, grabbing a few grapes as they pass by or taking a handful of cucumber slices as they plop in front of the T.V. 

I usually include one bowl of snack food, such as some kettle corn I got from the market this morning.  This gives us a little something yummy along with the healthy, and this subliminally equates fruits and veggies as being equally desirable as other snacks. (Gotta be sneaky, right?)

Today's offering...

The nicest thing about this method is that I don’t stress over my son having to eat his vegetables at dinnertime, because he has already met his needs.  This makes mealtime a really enjoyable time, rather than one of arguments over what to eat. 

On Sunday nights, I will go ahead and wash the rest of the fruit and veggies, put them some storage containers so they are easily whipped out after school to munch on the rest of the week.

So, there you go…this Diva’s secret to healthy eating, cheap and easy!

One Lump or Two? (In your tea, that is…)

So, while I’m not very adept at cooking, I am quite a tea fancier… and I found myself totally captivated by a coffee table book on the subject of Tea recently.  It was a wonderful reminder of the great tea traditions and origins of my favorite drink. So, while I can’t share much cooking knowledge, I thought I could share a bit about tea…

Origins of Tea

Knowledge of tea dates back to almost 5,000 years ago in the Chinese and Tibetan area. Legend says water had just been boiled when a few tea leaves blew into the drink of Emperor Shennong, changing the color. He braved a sip, being pleasantly surprised with its sweet taste. He later championed tea for its restorative properties. Tea quickly grew to other countries, but remained exclusive to the Far East until Marco Polo brought back this commodity along with silk and other goods. Of course, the growing of tea plants remained fairly secret until the British plied this information via the opium trade.

Popular Teas

All teas come from the same type of tea tree, the Camellia sinensis; however, the climate, soil, and watering all have an influence on the quality of the tea leaf. It is then the processing of this tea leaf that determines whether it is black, green, white, oolong, or other.

Black: Black tea comes from tea leaves being processed to stop the oxidation process, and then heated once again to preserve the flavor. Black tea usually has more caffeine than the other varieties, but its flavor is usually bolder and lasts longer.

My Favorites: Any of the Assam teas (from Northern India) and Lapsang Souchong (dried over pine bark for a smokey flavor…not for the faint of heart!).

Assam Tea Gardens in Northern India

Green: Green tea leaves are leaves that have undergone minimal oxidation during processing. They contain less caffeine and boast several health benefits.

My Favorites: Gyokuru (grown in the shade to increase the chlorophyll) and Matcha (a powdered green tea, often used to flavor ice cream).

Traditional whole leaf green tea serving

White: White tea comes from the tips of leaves before they open…often still safely inside the felt-covered buds. Because of this, white teas are very mild and sweet in taste.

My Favorites: Silver Needle (from the Fujian Province and best when harvested between March 1 and April 1) and Ceylon White (from Sri Lanka).

 

 

Silver Needle white tea

 

Oolong: Oolong tea is a traditional Chinese tea that is processed somewhere between a black and green tea. These teas are often rolled into long curly strands or into small balls known as “gunpowder” tea.

My Favorites: Four Great Bushes and Pouchong (a light floral aroma).

Oolong tea rolled into curls

There are other types of teas: yellow, blends, infused, Pu-erh, etc. But, with a general knowledge of black, green, white, and oolong, you can start experimenting to see what type you find desirable.

For my Orlando readers, here are a few tea houses to try:  Infusion Tea in College Park and Dandelion Communitea Café in Little Vietnam.

Who cares what was being grilled…

So I was at a wonderful cook out (yummy steaks from Fresh Market!) where the hostess baked some sliced red  potatoes as well as red and yellow bell peppers doused in olive oil. Delish and easy! ————–>

Okay, enough food talk on this cooking blog…let’s get down to what I really wanted to blog/vent about today: My hubby.

I am blessed (cursed) with a beautiful man. That’s right, Mr. U-Diva is a real hottie…seriously, he used to do high-end modeling down in Miami, so I really mean it. Check out one of his “modeling” pics. (Yeah, he’ll kill me when he’s seen I’ve posted it!)

Mr. U-Diva

Now, this incredibly gorgeous man does have some truly serious character flaws that gave me pause on our wedding day… he takes well over 15 minutes to floss each night, he leaves the gas tank in my car frequently on empty, and he secretly runs the sprinklers more than two times a week even during the county-wide water restrictions. (That would make you reconsider “till death do us part” too, right?)

So, back to the cook out where Mr. U-Diva and I are both in attendance, he hanging with the guys and me with the women. I was in Gossip Group #1, which consisted of two other ladies and we were chatting away about… er… well, it

Actress Kristin Bell

 really doesn’t matter what because in nearby Gossip Group #2 was the hostess and her out-of-town sister Kristin Bell. (Okay, so it wasn’t really the actress Kristen Bell…this girl was even thinner and had bigger boobs, so of course I hated her right away.)

I was chatting along in my own group when I hear Ms. Bell suddenly ask the hostess, “Whose the cute guy in the blue shirt?” The hostess’ eyes darted right at me, and of course I pretended not have heard, but Mr. U-Diva was the only guy in blue shirt… Yep, my blood pressure started to rise just the teensiest bit.

I heard the hostess explain who my hubby was and the fact that he was MARRIED, so I was taken aback when Ms. Bell bee-lined to my hubby’s side and interjected herself into his Guy Group.  She flashed her too-white, too-tall teeth, fluttered her too green eyes…she even placed a hand on his arm as she giggled at some imaginary joke. Yep, my blood began to boil ever so slightly.

(Surely she wouldn’t want him if she saw the way he absent-mindedly slowed down at green lights, or the fact that he occasionally snored at night!)   

The cook out continued, and I chose to take the high road and ignore little Ms. Busy Bell as she waltzed in and out of my hubby’s Guy Group. Now, another irritating quirk to Mr. U-Diva is the fact that he quite frequently is oblivious to the nose on his face, let alone somebody waving something in front of it. So, when Ms. Bell offered to get my hubby another drink–he looked at her for the very first time as if he had yet to even notice her–I smiled to myself.  (He really hadn’t noticed her… after 18 years of marriage, I do know my husband well enough to know the difference!) And the very best thing about it was Ms. Bell also realized he had not noticed her. (Love it!)

So as she slunk away to the cooler, I decided it was time to go on the offensive. I met her over the drinks and introduced myself as Mrs. U-Diva.  I then complimented her blouse (it was kind of cute) before making my way to the Guy Group where I plopped myself on Mr. U-Diva’s lap.  My presence was enough to keep Ms. Bell way on the other side of the patio for the remainder of the cook out.

And as we drove home that evening, I never mentioned Ms. Bell’s hot pursuit of my hubby. He happily droned on and on about the basketball tournaments…and I didn’t even mind the snoring that night. 

So, as I snarf down a protein bar and get my sneakers on to go walk a few miles (there are other Kristen Bells out there after all), I remind myself that being married to Mr. U-Diva is a blessing, but one a heavy one to bear at times… as if he even knew it!

Undiscovered Territory & Mushroom Soup

I am so excited about how the Undomesticated Diva Facebook page is spreading…  obviously there are plenty of us out there!  (Perhaps we should unionize and do away with cooking and cleaning forever!)

In celebration of the number of recipes fans are posting, I’ve decided to actually try a few, which means I must go where I’ve never gone before! (Well, maybe just where I haven’t really liked to go before…) Yes, the undiscovered territory to which I allude is The Library.  Now, let me explain something… we actually call this area of the house–you know the one with the oven, dishwasher, and refrigerator in it– The Library. (My husband claims that when he redid the kitchen for “resale” value, he might as well have put a Library in instead, because I do much more reading than cooking.)

I tried to sneak into The Library under the radar, so the Triple D’s (those Damned Domestic Dieties) wouldn’t detect my presence, but how does the saying go? Best laid plans? 

Here’s evidence of my trip…and yes, I survived to write about it! (FYI: My hubby edited the video, thus the running commentary…)

Special thanks to fan Joy for submitting the recipe!