The Psychology of Begging

May 16, 2013 § Leave a comment

Warning:  This is not a health-related blog post.  This has absolutely nothing to do with exercise so if you are only reading this blog because you want to follow my workout editorials, this is not the blog post for you.  That being said, you should read it anyways cause it’s pretty funny.

So this morning I was getting my Trenta Green Tea at my Starbucks and noticed something that made me think and apparently inspired me to write a post.  There was a homeless man standing at the exit of the Starbucks, begging for money.  Now, this alone is nothing extraordinary.  In fact, I’m surprised when I don’t see homeless people at Starbucks.  What was exceptional was where we were.  This was at the Summerlin Starbucks in Las Vegas.  Summerlin is the “nice” part of Vegas.  You hardly ever see homeless people wandering around Summerlin.

Not only did this guy make a personal decision to move himself and his belongings all the way up to Summerlin, but he probably chose the single best place to beg for money.

How do you feel in the morning when you stop by your local coffee spot and get your joe to go?  You feel great!  Like you’re finally starting your day off.  Let’s be honest, the day can’t possibly start until we get a little caffeine in our systems.  What a perfect moment for someone to ask you for money!  This guy is a genius!  1. He goes to the rich part of town.  2. He begs at a Starbucks.  3. He begs at the Exit to the Starbucks.

While I didn’t stop and give him money, the guy in the fancy Mercedes in front of me certainly did as well as the person in back of me…which leads me to the next question…am I a horrible horrible person for not giving the poor genius homeless man my money???

Here are my top places to beg for money in Las Vegas:

1. Starbucks in a upscale neighborhood.

2. Right outside the arrivals gate at McCarren (lots of happy people arriving in Vegas, lots of sad people departing).

3. Outside of a spa/salon (guilt factor.  you’ve just been primped and prettied and then you see this poor soul who hasn’t showered in forever begging for your loose change.)

4. Outside of a bank (for obvious reasons).

5. On Sunday outside Church (another genius idea)

6. On Saturday outside Temple (although technically you are not allowed to handle money on Shabbat, all’s fair game outside a reform synagogue).

Any other good ones?

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Cauliflower Pizza Crust Recipe !!!! | Losing it, without LOSING it.

April 9, 2013 § 3 Comments

I just found this recipe on another blogger’s blog who I may start stalking from a far.  I’m a pizza lover.  In fact, it’s my desert island food (you know, if your stranded on a desert island and you can only bring 1 food…).  I can’t wait to make it!

RECIPE AT THE BOTTOM

OKAY….

So i got on the bullshit cauliflower fake pizza mashed potato bandwagon. AND IT WAS AMAZING!

Yesterday one of you lovely bloggers caught my attention with the cauliflower mania nonsense. I don’t know how it happened- but i fell down the rabbit hole and ended up on the other side of the world, googling cauliflower pizza crust.

I cannot stress 2 things to you enough. #1, i was SOOOO SKEPTICAL of this horseshit. and #2- it was 10000% DELICIOUS!!!!!

I said NO WAY . I am a pizza lover, i love dough and crunch and delicious, and i said this will NOT even taste good. I don’t even LIKE cauliflower. but all these photos (everywhere, especially if you hashtag it on instagram #cauliflowercrustpizza ) looked AMAZING. like golden brown crunchy discs sent from heaven with perfectly melted cheese.

IT IS a little more work than i thought it would be, because the cauliflower gets a little messy and turns into a damn scene, but it was SOOOO WORTH IT!! its literally more than half the calories of regular pizza, and it was SO GOOD!!

Around the edges look a little burnt, but i swear it isn’t- it just sort of gets darker because its vegetable and not actual dough. (magic)

Cauliflower pizza

 Its topped with sauce, cheese, and shredded chicken, and i put a few pieces of soppressatta on there for my husband. (i only snuck one, i swear. Okay 2. shut up don’t judge me)

OKAY : My recipe:

For the Crust: half a head of cauliflower, 1/4 cup of mozzarella, 1 egg, a little sprinkle of parm cheese, any seasonings you want. I used Basil, a blended Italian seasoning, garlic salt, salt, pepper, and 5 or 6 cloves of garlic pressed in the garlic press….( you need it to really infuse flavor into the “dough”)

THIS ENTIRE PIZZA only took HALF  a head of cauliflower:

Rough chop it, throw it in the blender to “rice” it….which just means grind it up as fine as you can get it…kind of so that it looks like cous cous, or smaller than rice.  you want it really fluffy. take it out, and cook it for a few minutes, either in the microwave, for 5-8 minutes or in a skillet on the stove top with a little bit of olive oil. Personally  i find that it gets m0re flavor that way, but i’m going to try the microwave way next time- i think it might be cleaner/faster/easier. When its soft, and you think its cooked, and its actually browning a little- take it off, throw it in the freezer to cool down a little bit.( i left it in for like 5 minutes….the reason is you don’t want to put an egg on something hot, because it will start to cook and curdle.)  Then, AND THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT: Strain the cauliflower into  a dish towel or cheese cloth. you want to get as much water out as you can, and squeeze, squeeze squeeze!  THEN, on a greased piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet, spread out your “dough” and create any shape or size you want. the trick here though, is the thinner you can get it- the crispier it will be. Its hard to get it even, and its easy to make holes in it, because its not really dough, so try to get it as even as possible, and as thin as possible.

THEN YOU BAKE. Now. Every recipe i read was like JUST BAKE FOR 15 MINUTES AND ITS DONE! i don’t know WHO WAS ON WHAT CRACK when they wrote that, but depending on ovens….this shit took 35-40 minutes. So its not quick. I thin i’m going to pre heat longer next time…and see if that makes a difference  I’d like to get it down to like, 20 minutes. cuz a bitch don’t have time to be waiting for this nonsense while i’m damn near fainting in the kitchen trying to not to eat the whole bag of shredded cheese.

Once its crispy and firm ( you can kind of lift it off the paper without it feeling like its going to fall apart) and its golden brown, and looks like pizza crust……add your toppings of choice! I threw on some :

– tomato sauce (quick sauce that i whipped up…..just a small can of tomatoes, garlic, onion, basil, salt, pepper, and italian seasoning…i hateeeee pre seasoned jar sauce..ick.),

-low fat mozzarella  and a little swiss and gruyer blend from trader joes (very little cuz its higher in cals)

-and shredded chicken. (prepared however youwant.)

Put the pizza under your broiler for like 2 or 3 minutes (keep an eye don’t burn) to melt the cheese, and THEN STUFF YOUR FACE!!!

via Cauliflower Pizza Crust Recipe !!!! | Losing it, without LOSING it..

My new clown kicks

March 21, 2013 § Leave a comment

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Insanity Day 6: It’s starting to work

March 20, 2013 § Leave a comment

I have not done my workout yet for the day but I have to report that I legitimately lost 1lb!  Woot!  Now, 1lb may not seem like anything to write home about but when you are only consistently seeing weight gain, then 1lb down is like Christmas morning to an eight-year-old.  It’s the best feeling in the world!  So, if I ONLY lose 1lb every 5 days, I’ll have lost 12lbs by the end of the insanity.  I can live with that.

Stuck on Napa?

March 18, 2013 § Leave a comment

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Never been to Napa?  Want to do it the right way?  Below is my sample “perfect itinerary” for the red wine lover and foodie in us all.  Please note: if you are a lover of white wine just go, go away, far far away.  Ok, I’m mostly kidding.

If you are flying, take Southwest (or any airline that arrives in Oakland) to Oakland.  Oakland is far easier to deal with than SFO.  Renting a car is also much simpler in Oakland.

Now, my friends and I have a tradition.  From Oakland, we drive 25 minutes to Berkeley to eat at the famous Chez Panisse for lunch.  Unfortunately, on March 8th, Chez Panisse suffered a horrendous fire but is planning on re-opening in the near future.  If they are opened, though, I would make eating there a priority.

From Chez Panisse, we head to Napa.  Some people say Sonoma is better, but fuck them.  I like Napa dammit.  Stop at a winery on the way to the hotel (which won’t have your room ready until 4pm anyways).  We stopped at Saintsbury.  I’m a Saintsbury wine club member and a big ole fan.  Best Pinot Noir in the universe if you ask me.  They also had an amazing Rosé on tap (yep- on tap) and it was delicious.  Because I’m a wine club member the tasting was complimentary.

Side note: if you have access to an industry professional who is on the trip with you, all your tastings will be comped.  Also, many tastings are free when you purchase wine anyways.

From Saintsbury, we head to the hotel to wind down a bit.  We recently stayed at the Vino Bello Resort which is attached to the Meritage.  Got a sweet deal – when I booked online they were having a 50% off sale.  I got a two-bedroom condo in the hotel for next to nothing. In the past I’ve also stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn (an OK hotel with nothing wrong, good for the budget) and Milliken Creek (expensive but lovely hotel).

For dinner, eat at Redd.  This is not a suggestion.  This is an order.  Best food, bar none in Napa valley.  Definitely try the fried oysters appetizer and the butterscotch pudding with pretzel bottom for dessert.  OMG I’ve spent the last year trying to crack the recipe code.  No luck.  AH-MAZ-ING.

The next day is winery day.  All wineries all day long.  Now, I suggest you don’t drive to all these wineries.  You have two choices; you could hire a limo to take you to each winery but it will cost upwards of $450-$650 for the whole day (10-4, which always ends up being 5), or you can hire someone from mynapavalleydriver.com (or similar company).  They provide a person who is fully insured to drive your rental car around all day with you as the passenger. This is only $35/hour.  Saved us a bundle.  Plus I had rented a mini van so us gals could sit in the back and have plenty of room.

Here are the wineries to hit (we don’t really go to wineries unless there is a lovely place to sit.  I hate standing up at a bar doing a tasting…it feels so rushed and uncomfortable):

Domaine Carneros: Beautiful!  Champagne & Pinot Noirs.  I would not start your day here though if you are a champagne drinker.  You’ll get smashed before your day even starts and the rest of the tours will suck.  Sit outside and enjoy the views.

Side note: unless you are really interested in knowing how grapes get smashed up into wine, don’t take the “tours” at the wineries.  The tastings are wonderful and long enough.

Paraduxx: Another beautiful setting and fabulous wine to drink.  Again, mostly reds.

Reynolds Family Winery:  Again, sitting outside next to a pond.  So lovely.  Fabulous wines as well!

Paradigm:  No traditional tasting room but excellent wine.  I highly recommend this hidden gem.  The owner is one of the founding investors of French Laundry.  He might tell you how you can score a reservation there.  I’ve found it to be almost impossible.

Beringer: You may think to yourself that Beringer is that cheapo crap wine but their reserves are superior.  I used to belong to their wine club and the wines they send you are the best of the best- all cabs, no whites.  Yum.

Winery to skip: Cakebread Cellars.  There was maybe one Syrah we all liked but the rest were duds plus they make you stand the whole time and automatically take you on a mini tour.  No thanks.

Winery we couldn’t get into: Far Niente.  Apparently they are not open on Saturdays and there is a waiting list.  Supposed to be amazing BUT I like to drink at places where I can actually afford to buy the wine afterwards.  When the prices start at $100 it’s not worth it.

Most of the wineries we go to have bottles ranging from $40-$100.  Yes, these are on the expensive side but the point is to get “good” wine.

On Saturday we lunched at Bottega.  Michael Chiarello was going around taking pictures with guests at their tables.  His ego almost didn’t fit in the pictures.  The food was good though and I had the most amazing cocktail.  The last ingredient in it was “lavendar air.”  We couldn’t stop laughing at that.  I asked the waiter if I could have “extra lavendar air” please.

Dinner Saturday night was at Market in St. Helena.  About a 30 minute drive from Napa, but it was great.  Who are we kidding?  It is very hard to find a bad meal in Napa.  Mustards Grill is another great option.  The first time I ate there it was wonderful, then second time was just ok, but it remains a staple.

Lunch the next day was at Farmstead, another must in St. Helena.  The BEST potato rolls in the universe.  We even packed up some extras for the plane ride back that evening.  The best part is that you can email the sou chef and he’ll send you the recipe.  So sweet.

Anyways, that is pretty much your perfect weekend getaway Napa trip in a nutshell.  Enjoy!

If You Love Rock & Roll

March 18, 2013 § Leave a comment

Next time you are in Vegas, check out this show that just opened at LVH: Raiding the Rock Vault.  If you like Rock and Roll…from all decades, you will definitely love this show!

Spill The Wine

March 15, 2013 § Leave a comment

Confessions of a wine hoarder 

Is it bad that I feel guilty whenever I open up an expensive bottle of red wine on a random Wednesday night?  I mean, I pay upwards of $50-$70 for these bottles.  I feel horrible that I’m not having a dinner party with the wine.  It’s like the wine is the guest of honor at the party and no one shows up but me.  Poor un-appreciated wine.  So so sad.  Sniff.  My husband doesn’t like wine, my 4 year old prefers white, so it’s just me.  Do I sit alone singing UB40 to myself while secretly indulging?  I think I just need to have more dinner parties.

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