Dinner and a movie

Thursday night we went out for sushi at Fuji Sushi on Brookside, a first for us. They have an all-you-can-eat special between 5 and 7 p.m., so we took advantage of it. We sat at the bar where they were frantically rolling sushi of all types, trying to keep up with the demands of their early-bird special.

We went for the "Emperor" plan...5 pieces of sashimi, 2 types of nigiri and 2 rolls. EACH! And you could order more after that, but we were so stuffed with just the first round. All of it was super yummy. We especially liked the Michelle roll and and I.J. Roll. Everything was fresh, tasty and beautifully presented. The portions were generous, especially compared to other sushi places in town, like In the Raw. We'll definitely go again.

Afterwards we went and say Slumdog Millionaire. What a film! We totally get why it is so acclaimed this award season. Seeing the footage of Mumbai really impressed upon me just how good we have it. I remember after working Bangkok having the same feeling. Of course there are places right here at home that need improvement, but it's nothing like what the poorest of the poor in developing countries face. The movie was touching, poignant and also incredibly uplifting and devastating at the same time. Amazing.

Today it was FREEZING! In the 20's with wind...such a stark contrast to the record high of 81 on Wednesday. So we bundled up and went to a matinée of Frost-Nixon. Another excellent film filled with riveting performances. Afterwards we headed to T.G.I.Friday's for my new crave: California Turkey Burger with Sweet Potato Fries. Afterwards we had frozen yogurt at Braum's. YUMMY, yummy!

Speaking of yummy, on our grocery shopping trip today we picked up some grāpples. They are a mix between an apple and a grape. It smells heavenly and tastes divine! A grape flavored Washington apple. They are not genetically altered, but they are infused with natural grape flavor by taking a bath in purple grape juice and water. I could totally see kids snapping these up as their favorite treat. They are kind of pricey, so we won't be purchasing them regularly, but I was curious and pleasantly surprise that they tasted as good as they smelled.

He works hard for the money

My honey has been working like a dog! Five double shifts this week after four last week. Yay for our savings account but nay for his poor body and mind. The second, "part-time" gig is evolving into something more substantial. So it's a drain right now, but hopefully, it will give us some more options in the near future.

When J has a double he works 5:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. and then 4:45 p.m. until about 10:00 p.m., unless it's a Friday or Saturday and then it's more like 11:00 p.m. That leaves time for little else than sleep! And while it's fairy easy to get by on 4-5 hours of sleep in your 20's it certainly is not something that is sustainable long term once you hit your 30's. So he's powering though, but eventually, it will catch up!

Thankfully, we have some R&R planned for next weekend. I have a conference in OK City all week and he'll drive down on Thursday evening and stay with me. There's an alumni event that evening for our university and I want him to accompany me to it. From there, he's free of any obligations! I told him that if all he does is lay around in the hotel room, sleep, order room service and pay-per-view it will be worth it! Hopefully he can get a massage too. And I am done on Saturday, so we'll get to play a little in town before heading back home. It's only and hour-a-half south of here, but we've never been, so we're looking forward to exploring the area. Supposedly Bricktown is really fun.

Clean Eating

Since the New Year there has been a revolution in our household. We've made a commitment to eat better and get more exercise. For me, that has meant walking 2-3 miles/day and making some major changes to how I have been eating.

Now I am eating 5-6 minimeals every three hours that includes lean protein, lots of fresh veggies and low glycemic fruits, and high fiber carbs. I have also cut out all caffeine, dairy, added sugar, added salt and added fats. I have increased my water intake from 1.5 liters/day to 3+ liters a day. I have already dropped 19 lbs. from making these changes. And I am never hungry because as soon as I am it's time for another minimeal.

We have also really cut back on eating out...maybe once every two weeks or so. So that means we're cooking more at home, which is great! Here are two newer recipes that I have enjoyed with our new, cleaner eating lifestyle:

Turkey-Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini


4 medium zucchini, halved and de-seeded (scoop out centers with a spoon, discard center flesh)
1.2 lbs ground turkey breast (1 package)
1 cup of fresh mushrooms, chopped
2 cups of fresh baby spinach, chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup of cooked quinoa prepared with
2 cups of low sodium chicken stock
1 tablespoon Ms. Dash Tomato-Basil-Garlic No-salt seasoning
1 tablespoon Ms. Dash Garlic-Herb No-salt seasoning
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Season turkey with Ms. Dash blends and cayenne pepper.
Brown turkey with onion in a nonstick skillet
Add in chopped mushrooms and spinach until it is all incorporated and veggies are soft
Mix in prepared quinoa and mix well, remove from heat
Spoon turkey-quinoa mix into hollowed out zucchini shells
Bake, covered in a glass or ceramic casserole dish for 25-30 minutes or until zucchini can be pierced easily with a knife

Makes 4 servings.

Italian Wedding Soup


4 cups of low sodium chicken stock
1.2 lb of ground turkey breast (one package)
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 cloves minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup shredded kale or swiss chard
1/2 cup of canned cannellini beans or northern white beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup diced tomato


Mix turkey with basil, oregano, garlic and cayenne pepper in a bowl, using your hands Lightly roll into 1/2-inch diameter meatballs (approx. 1 ounce each...about 16 total) and set aside on a plate.

Over medium-high heat, cook meatballs in a nonstick pan until lightly browned on all sides. Place cooked meatballs on a plate covered with paper towels to absorb excess fat.

In a 3-quart saucepan, bring chicken stock to a boil. Reduce heat and add kale. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until kale is tender. Add in 8 meatballs (reserve the rest for another recipe), beans and tomato and let simmer until heated through.

Makes 4 servings.


It's been nearly a week since I've blogged. This is partially due to the fact that since NYE my laptop has been unusable due to a broken DC port. So, I have to get online from home on J's laptop, which he is also sharing with my mom. So, three adults sharing one computer means less blogging from yours truly.

That said, hopefully I can get my laptop fixed soon. Maybe once we get our tax returns? That is if we ever get our refund from California, considering they're flat broke, cannot pass a budget and will be issuing I.O.U.'s to their citizens. How about I issue an I.O.U. for the debts I owe? Yeah right!

I cannot even fathom the consequences. California, on the other hand, will do just that. And layoff state employees including teachers, social workers and law enforcement. Nice. I am so grateful we got out when we did. What's scarier is that CA's economy is like 7th in the world. The fact that they're totally broke speaks volumes about the state of economy these days.

Speaking of which, I love how they're offering an $8K tx rebate for first time home buyers. What's the catch? Trying to get financing as a first time home buyer. J and I would love to take advantage of this opportunity but we don't have 20% down for a down payment nor do we have funds for closing costs. So, we wait. There are such cute homes for sale here in Tulsa and they are totally affordable. Maybe by this summer we can see what loan options are out there for us.

Until then, we're enjoying our midtown rental. The beautiful thing about renting is that if something breaks or goes awry it's on the owner to get it fixed. Case in point: our outake drain was backed up this week which caused all sorts of nastiness in the bathroom. We made a call and 2 hours later we had a plumber power-snaking our outlet. We were back in business in no time. For free. When it's our own home, we'll have to anty up the cash. So for now, we're okay with that.

Valentine's Day 2009

J and I don't really do Valentine's Day. To us, it's a "Hallmark Holiday" and totally over-the-top. We basically exchange cards and that's it. That said, February 14th is a very special day for us because it is the day Regina, our pug dog, was born in 2004.

This Valentine's Day marks her 5th birthday! Such a milestone. I cannot imagine our lives with out her. Her silly face, the way she twirls in circles when she's excited, her love of riding in the car and taking walks, the way she's like a kid with new toys, her incessant need to lick EVERYTHING (including bare feet, doors and the couch). She's our little girl. She has made us grow as people. Stretching our hearts to have a little more patience and a lot of more love.

Happy 5th Birthday Carina Regina Valentina! Here's hoping the next 5 years are just as great!

Tornadic Activity in February?

Yesterday was a balmy 75 degrees with blue skies and white puffy clouds. Until about 5:00 pm. then the skies turned gray. Then the thunder and lightening started and the rain poured down. Luckily, for us in Tulsa, that's about as bad as it got. Unfortunately for Oklahomans southwest of us, they didn't fare so well and actually had destruction and deaths caused by the storm.

I was out to dinner with a friend and we were enjoying ourselves so much that I guess I didn't notice the weather change much, although I did see some flashes of light and hear claps of booming thunder. When I went to my car I was ankle-deep in water! YUCK! The 2 minute drive home was interesting because the whole right lane was flooding. I got home and J and mom were bundled up in the living room watching the weather channel. My mom has been here one month and has already gone through an ice storm and now this tornado watch. She was feeling a little overwhelmed by it all. We tried to reassure her, but I know how she feels. It's exactly how I was feeling last summer, especially when I was just here in the beginning of June by myself with the two pugs.

The dogs have certainly adjusted since then, they don't grumble or bark when the thunder claps. They know that when it's raining they need to make use of their pee pee pads. They pretty much slept through it all last night. I, on the other hand, did not sleep well at all and when I got up at 2 a.m. I saw my mom's bedroom light peeking through the crack in the door, so I am pretty sure she didn't either. I don't know if we'll ever get used to the weather here. We've lived so long with the looming threat of earthquakes that we just never worried about it. They hit and you deal, feeling confident that 99.9% of the time there will be no severe damage. But with the weather here, it's almost worse because you know it's coming, you have some warning and yet you have no idea how bad it will be, where it will hit or what problems it will cause. On days like this we definitely feel like Californians in Oklahoma. I wonder if/when that will ever change.

Movie Weekend

Well the weather is much improved...it was in the low 70's yesterday! And by evening it was still downright balmy. Nice. Makes me look forward to Spring when the trees are blooming and I can ditch my boots. My allergies? Well, not so much. But I digress...

Seems this weekend has been all about movies for us. J and mom saw Underworld:Rise of the Lycans on Friday night. I wasn't up for a movie that night, so they went without me and saw something I would never get through. Then, yesterday mom and I saw He's Just Not That Into You. It was cute although the overall theme of women talking themselves into bad boyfriends (and husbands) made me sad. I will say, the Aniston-Affleck storyline reminded me somewhat of J and I, so I liked that...especially at the end.

Since I knew I was going to the movies I ate low-carb all day so I could have a small popcorn. I just cannot smell popcorn and not have it. So knowing that I planned ahead and am happy that I did. So far the new way of eating is going well, I was even inspired yesterday to make-up a new recipe. I took some ground turkey breast and browned it with fresh, chopped garlic, diced mushrooms and chopped, fresh, baby spinach. I seasoned it with some Ms. Dash (no salt) and a little cumin. Then, once it was done, I stuffed it into hollowed halves of fresh zucchini and baked it at 325 degrees for 15 minutes.

Of course, it would have been tastier with cheese melted on top, but I am off dairy, so it was good to me. I had a lot of the "turkey hash" left over so I tried some today scrambled into my egg whites and that was tasty too. Ya know? It's amazing what a little effort in the kitchen will yield. Tasty and healthy meals that are quick and easy to make. It feels good to put myself back on the top of my list and making this a priority. By doing so, I am never hungry, eat yummy foods and lose weight. It's a win-win! Today, the sun is shining so we're going to do 4 miles on the Riverside trail...I am sure the dogs will love it!

Getting Healthy and Shaping Up...and a rant.

Okay, so I am not one for resolutions per se, but I am a goal setter (and achiever). So 2008 was all about transitions and 2009 is all about action for us in the Wright household. That includes getting active! On a regular basis. And eating better. For health and wellness. This is a shift in thinking for me. Until now "eating better and exercise" were code for dieting to lose weight.

Well, I have had a shift in thinking on this. Do I want to lose weight? Sure. But it is not the primary goal here. The good news is, it's working! I am down 10 lbs. My goal is to be 50 lbs. lighter by summer. I am eating home cooked, minimeals every 2-3 hours, drinking 3 liters of water a day and eating tons of lean protein, fresh fruits and veggies. And walking 2-3 miles/day at 65% of my target heart rate.

Which brings me to a rant. Why oh why do people feel the need to say to overweight folks, "you really need to lose some weight." For the love of all things sacred, don't they know that WE KNOW THIS?! We think about it everyday, for probably more hours in the day than is actually healthy.

And, I am sorry, but you know what? Never, ever in 30+ years of my life on this earth, (being hyper-aware that I was "bigger" than others even though I never really was actually overweight until my late teens, but thought I was my entire life from the time I was 4 because I was bigger than other kids my age), has being told "you should lose weight" actually been helpful or beneficial to me. Not even when it was uttered from the mouths of those who love me most. It hurts. And actually has made the situation worse for me many times (hello comfort food)!

So if you're reading this, and you've never struggled with your weight or even if you have and won the battle or in the process of losing weight yourself, please, please don't tell me "it's out of concern...love...caring.... insert whatever veiled-nicety-that-makes-you-feel-better-about hurting-my-feelings....that you need to lose weight." Trust me, I know. And furthermore, no one will ever lose weight long term if they are doing it for any other reason other than their own. So, yeah, your "gentle nudge" is not motivational. Unless you're trying to motivate me to ditch our relationship for one with Ben & Jerry.