Monthly Archives

January 2012


No Fat Talk Tuesday: Stephanie’s Story

January 31, 2012

I’m so excited to be kicking off our first of many ‘No Fat Talk Tuesday’ posts. In the weeks ahead, women from all walks of life will be sharing their stories of learning to love their bodies and the importance of saying no to ‘fat talk’ in their lives. With that, I’ll hand it over to Stephanie…

Take a gander over at my blog, Girl Versus Dough, and you might wonder what makes me an authority on anything related to health and wellness – I mean, I’ve got posts on chocolate-glazed doughnuts and bacon pancakes, for goodness’ sake! Truthfully, some of it is the result of this mean sweet tooth I’ve been blessed with since birth; but the other part of it is a celebration of being able to bake these indulgent sweets, enjoy them in moderation and not feel like (or tell myself that) I’ve instantly ballooned to the size of an elephant. It’s been a journey, to be sure, and I can’t say I’ve completely escaped my battle with “fat talk,” but I can tell you I’ve come a long way. And I have a few people to thank for that.
My first thoughts of body image insecurity surfaced when I was in early high school – probably on New Year’s Day, actually, when I decided at the ripe ol’ age of 15 that my resolution was to lose weight. It’s crazy, I know, and I was a bona fide pubescent twig, but a voice inside my head kept telling me I wasn’t good enough, smart enough, beautiful enough until I lost those hips, that arm flab, those cankles.
I wish I could say that was the end of it, that I put my foot down and realized how crazy my thoughts were, but I can’t. High school and college were battles with my “fat talk” monster – a war waged between me and my floor-length mirror. 
Counseling helped, yes, and so did maturity, but you know what really got me through the thick of it? The people around me whom I love and who love me back. No matter what stage of life or body confidence I was in, they were there to lend an encouraging word or offer a model of success that helped me realize: If I have these beautiful people in my life surrounding me, then I truly am beautiful, too.

My mom was one of those people. Name any disease, she’s probably had it. In the last decade, she’s had broken bones, breast cancer, bumps and bruises that haven’t even been invented yet. But, she is the strongest person I know. Her resilience in the face of adversity is admirable, and whenever I think my body is inadequate, I remember my mother – and all her strength and beauty – is a part of me, and it gets me through.

My friends, also, have been the best support system in the world. Sometimes they’ve been there to tell me my outfit looked cute or I just got a great haircut, but they also were there to remind me of my good inner traits: Loyalty, kindness and wisdom. They say that you surround yourself with people who are just like you, and if that’s the case, I am beautiful.
And then there’s my husband. He makes me feel confident in myself every day. We’ve been married for two and a half years, and in every moment I am with him, I feel beautiful, even if I’m in my sweatpants and haven’t showered for (cough) three days. He knows how to give me confidence in myself without even saying anything, and to have that around on a daily basis, well, I’m set for life.
So whenever I look in the mirror and feel unconfident about my body, I remember whose image is really reflected back to me – one that has been shaped by beautiful people who, in turn, make me beautiful, too.

Thanks for sharing your story, Stephanie! And thanks to all of you who have so bravely and kindly offered to share your story on No Fat Talk Tuesday. I’m looking forward to the weeks and months of posts ahead. If you’re interested in sharing your story, shoot me an e-mail ( and I can share details with you. 


Missy’s Slow-Cooker Ham

January 30, 2012

When Joey really likes a dish he eats at a restaurant, he looks at me and asks, “Can you make this at home?” And more often than not, I promise to give it a try. Sometimes it’s a hit right off the bat (Chicken Parm from any number of Italian restaurants) and sometimes it proves to be a bit more challenging (I’m slowly but surely mastering Texas Roadhouse’s rolls).

But the first dish Joey ever asked me, no begged me, to make was his aunt Missy’s famous ham. I’m not quite sure why it took me over two and a half years to make this incredibly easy recipe. Joey would mention it time and time again, how it was the best ham he’s ever had.

Last week, Joey was in Minneapolis for three days, and as a celebration of his homecoming I asked Missy for her ham recipe to prepare. Joey was thrilled at the surprise, and I was excited to find out what all the fuss was about.

Being the curious food editor that I am, I couldn’t resist sneaking a small bite to see what all the fuss was about. I can tell you that this ham falls in the sweet spot between sweet and salty, with plenty of zing from the vinegar, onion, Worcestershire and paprika, paired with sweetness from the brown sugar. Not to mention it feeds a crowd and requires very little hands-on time. If we were having friends over for the Super Bowl (we’re not, we’re going to friends), this would most certainly make my list of must-makes. 

Missy’s Slow-Cooker Ham
*2 cups water
*1 cup packed brown sugar
*1/2 cup white vinegar
*1/3 cup oil
*1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
*1 teaspoon onion powder
*1/2 tsp. paprika
*1 1/2 tablespoons ketchup
*Dash of hot sauce
*1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
*3 lbs. shaved deli ham 

*In a large heavy saucepan, combine all the ingredients except the ham. Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes.
*In a large bowl, combine the ham and the boiled mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and marinade for 24 hours.
*Once ham has sat in the marinade for 24 hours, place ham and liquid in a 4- to 5-quart slow cooker. Cook for 2 hours on high. Serve on buns. Store leftovers in a sealable container in the refrigerator and reheat before serving.

Happy Cooking!

Soft and Wavy Curls

January 27, 2012

Are you all as addicted to Pinterest as I am? I should clarify that I’m addicted to looking at Pinterest and finding ideas. But since I’m slightly type-A, I find it hard to pull the trigger and actually ‘pin’ things for fear that my boards will become messy and disorganized. I suppose that’s all beside the point, since what I really want to talk about is hair.

Pinterest is, I’ve decided, most useful for two things: recipe organization and hair tutorials. You can find a hair tutorial on pretty much any style you’re seeking, although I have a sneaking suspicion that many of the tutorials make it look much easier than it actually is.

To date, my best find on the site has been this hair tutorial on how to create soft, wavy curls in your hair without looking too done-up. It comes from Katie of the blog Running On Happiness, and if you’ve never stumbled upon her amazing blog, I would urge you to immediately bop over and check it out. It’s not all that different from what I’ve done in the past with my curling iron, but she sneaks in a few insightful tips that have changed the way my hair gets its curl. I can’t say I’ve perfected the method, but I’m well on my way. And just in time for the weekend, when I actually wash my hair and put on makeup past 6 pm.

Happy Friday, all!


Chopped Green Salad Wrap

January 26, 2012
I’ve received a lot of questions from readers about what I pack for lunches and snacks when I go to work each day. I’m not going to lie, I struggle just as much as the next person. But since I would much rather spend money going out to eat with my husband on date nights, taking a packed lunch and snacks is the norm. 
A few of my favorite snacks being:
          *Lara Bars (cashew cookie, peanut butter cookie, apple pie, and pb&j being my favorites)
          *Cliff Bars (peanut butter, white chocolate macadamia and carrot cake being my favorites)
          *Greek yogurt and canned pumpkin with a dollop of peanut butter
          *Apples or pears with a few slices of cheese
          *Sugar-free applesauce with granola 
Lunch, on the other hand, is much less predictable. Sometimes I’ll tote along leftovers from dinner the night before. Other times I’ll make a quick salad with quinoa and veggies or a salad topped with lentils and feta cheese. 
This week I was looking through my fridge, trying to get inspired, and saw we had whole wheat tortillas, lettuce, pesto, feta cheese and broccoli. Never one to be a fan of raw broccoli, I found that chopping the broccoli into small pieces and tossing it with the other ingredients helped to ward off the raw flavor that I typically dislike. 
The wrap was super tasty and satisfying. So if you’re looking for a new addition to your workday meals, I would totally give this a try.
Chopped Green Salad Wrap 
*1/2 cup Romaine lettuce, chopped 
*1/4 to 1/3 cup raw broccoli florets, finely chopped
*1 oz. crumbled feta cheese
*1 1/2 tbsp. Trader Joe’s Champagne Pear Vinaigrette or other fruit vinaigrette of your choice
*1 tablespoon purchased pesto 
*Cracked black pepper 
*1 whole wheat tortilla 
*In a small bowl, combine the lettuce, broccoli, feta cheese, vinaigrette, pesto and black pepper. Toss to combine all ingredients evenly. Spoon mixture onto tortilla. Enjoy!
Happy Cooking!

Puppy Love

January 25, 2012
Joey snapped a few photos last weekend while Nutmeg and I were cuddling on the couch. She was, as you can see, trilled about being involved in a spontaneous photo shot. 
And yes, I’m reading Tim Tebow’s book, Through My Eyes, during my down time. Now that the football season is almost over, how else am I going to get my fix?
What good books have you read lately?