Sweet Tea & Liberty

Hi. My name is Ali & it’s been one week since I took a sip.. of sweet tea.

I also take goofy selfies at stop signs.

I also take goofy selfies at stop signs.

Don’t mean to make fun of AA, but lately I have a new appreciation of the willpower & restraint it takes to give up something you adore just because you know it isn’t good for you.

Of all the things I miss, sweet tea is certainly the one I would love to bring back.

But it just isn’t worth it.

So water it is & occasionally coffee.

Still figuring all this out but so far it has been fun.  Like a daily puzzle. Track the numbers in the food & make it all work.  It’s a good distraction to give me a break from stressing over the love life or lack there of.

Cooking at home & having lots of healthy options ready to go has made it almost easy. Thankfully I have always been a lover of vegetables & who doesn’t love fruit?  There are a ton of great recipes for nearly anything you can think of all over the internet. Discovering a few new ones has been just what I needed.  (like this one.. hummus crusted chicken has rocked my world!)


The biggest issue so far has been being afraid of eating anywhere outside of the kitchen. Used to just hit a drive thru when time was short. Quick cheap meal on the way to class is what got me into this mess.

Yesterday I found myself dashing from class to the beach & hungry. First instinct was just grab something quick. But I don’t really know what to get. Iceberg salads have never been appealing. Prefer lettuce with some actually taste & nutritional value and that isn’t wilted from being made a couple of days ago. I could blow all my calories on one meal, but that would leave me either going over or starving the rest of the day. I’m sure there are options, but I didn’t have the time to figure out where to go & what was safe.

So I headed home. I took time out to make a hummus wrap & bag some berries that would travel just as good as anything that would come in some greasy bag and was a heck of a lot tastier. I was pretty proud of myself. Just a bit of thought and this all works out.



Didn’t think about the cherries. The pits in particular. A smarter version of me would have brought a spare container to put the pits in. A smarter version of me would have used a reusable container not a plastic bag. But live & learn.

I will get the hang of this.



Comforts of a Home

Feeling less than yourself physically brings a yearning for those things in the past that made you feel better.  Those moments that defined the good times.

After a day that started with another sleepless night, I made it to work.  Determined that I was on the mend, I wore heeled boots which in retrospect was a really stupid idea considering I was on cold meds & going on just a couple hours sleep off and on last night.  For once not due to dreams.  Just coughing & all the joys of having a head cold.  So before I even got to the door, I was down.  The misty rain combined the slight step up from parking lot to walkway did not agree with the boots.  As I was falling I remember thinking, I hadn’t even sipped the hot tea I had.  But down it went too.  Ceramic mug busted all around me, I had to laugh seeing the co-worker opening her car door.  “Did see that?” I called.  To which she shook her head & looked at me strangely as if saying “why are you on the ground?”.  A simple “You okay?” was much nicer than what I’m sure she was thinking about my mental health.  “yes, just slipped.  Guess I got the worst part of the day over with.”  was all I could get out.  She laughed and she was there helping to pick up the pieces of the mug that would never come home.  Thankfully other than wet clothes and a few bruises and scrapes, the mug was the only real loss.

glad I have tissues for my issues & my nose is getting nearly as red!

There I was at work.  Feeling a bit defeated but hopeful.  The longer I sat there, the worse I felt.  Couldn’t breath through my nose, which made me sound AWFUL on the phone.  Even worse, it made it hard to even be drinking water from a leftover styrofoam cup I found in the cabinet.  Of course it was quiet in there today.  My morning interview never showed up.  Which made it seem like every time I blew my nose it was louder than I’m sure it was.  I was just gross and I needed to go home.  Still I didn’t want to abandon the work.  When another coworker asked if I was feeling ok, I didn’t lie, “I’ve felt better, but hanging in there.”  She admitted she didn’t think I would have made it through the day yesterday.  I confessed I didn’t feel like I was going today.  Just even joking saying it made me realize, I really didn’t feel like being there & I wasn’t actually contributing much anyway.  So when it was mentioned that if I needed to it wouldn’t be a bad idea.  They could handle it – & pretty much were having to since me on the phone wasn’t working.  I moved all my other appointments, knocked out a few tasks and left.  I’m sure they miss the coughing, sniffles & regular nose blows.

I give.  As much as it sucks when you can’t just defeat and move on, sometimes you do need to take time to surrender.  Hoping it pays off and I wake tomorrow feeling 100% better.

As tempted as I was, no movie marathon or anything fun really to skipping work.  My body was achy and exhausted.  Came home crawled into some all to familiar sweat pants and a comfy tee and back to bed.  Read a few more pages of a book and blew my nose a billion more times then passed right out.

Before sleeping I had that moment where you feel so bad you just want to cry.  Not that it would do any good.  You want someone to just take care of you.  Someone who would make sure that the blanket wrapped around you was just right, that you have fresh water to drink and that you are okay.  Make you comfortable.  That safety of knowing someone is there to make it all better and cares that you don’t feel great.  Luckily I have been blessed with knowing how good that feeling feels.  I’ve had people over the years who have showered me with that love.  On that thought, I have to smile.

Brings back memories of my grandparents, my parents and relationships long gone.  Those little details can mean so much.

Even now the act of eating a grapefruit brings back more memories than I could ever express.  Like getting into trouble a million times over for climbing my grandfather’s grapefruit tree – even when it wasn’t loaded with fruit.  How we would load up and bring the bags of fruit with us when it was time to go.  Eating them for breakfast felt a bit like we were still there with the rest of the family.  All the ones we picked off the ground to toss into the canal to scare off the alligators and the deep plopping sound the heavy fruit would make as it hit the dark water.  The nasty mess they would make on any shoe that was unlucky enough to stride across one as it decomposed on the ground, a fate that seemed worse than being eaten to me.

not sure how my sister managed to get away with staying in that tree long enough for this picture to be taken, but its proof we ALL were naughty enough to be up in that tree at times.

Things will never be the same.  Memories can do so much damage sometimes, but it is nice to be able to experience how vividly they can also heal.  I know this piece didn’t come from that same tree.  May not have even come from Florida.  Yet it feels so familiar and comforting.  So tonight, I rest.  I dine on this almost perfect fruit (it isn’t as flavorful as the ones we would freshly pick, none ever will be). Hopefully I will sleep soundly full of vitamins and lots of memories to warm my heart.

So nice, had to do it twice

Yesterday was one of those rare days lately where I ate at home. Something I have gotten way too out of the habit of since I was restricted with the hand in recovery last year. Lifting heavy pans while cooking was just too dangerous & even washing dishes was difficult one handed. Just too easy to go out or bring home take out.

But then I missed delicious meals like this…

ahh… berries, black eyed peas, dry salad (I know I’m weird) with coconut chicken!  On purple sparkly glitter plates!!

Sure it wasn’t exactly a lot of cooking going on, but it was enough to feel home cooked & healthy.  I loved it!  Something I have really missed, although Wilmington has some incredible spots to dine that certainly have a home feel with the delicious fresh food and friendly familiar faces.  Still getting time to actually sit down and eat a real lunch is bliss.

Its one of the biggest things that got on my nerves with my previous job.  Duty calls and I did the job, but it was a benefit I missed for sure.

So today I put in sometime with applications and submitting resumes and then it hit me…. LUNCH TIME!

Same meal, but I switched it up to meatless monday!  Substituted the Quorn patty from the back of the freezer for the chicken & added in some BBQ sauce to spicy it up a tad.  One thing about living alone is there seems to always be leftovers!

Nothing like having Baxter begging for blueberries & being able to share some with the birds.  A gal could really get used to this.

But then again…. there are the bills.  So more applying, more thinking & budgeting.  I could dwell in the situation & how the uncertainty looms, or I can thrive in the moment & enjoy it for what it is.  A chance to regroup.

I have a sense that things are going to be just fine.  (& yes I realize fine is not always easy, but in the end its going to be ok)

PLUS I get to dream of great places to work…

which may or may not let me have lunch breaks, but for the moment I am loving each & every one of them.

The WHAT of the month club?

The season of chaos & traveling has begun!

Spent a wonderful long weekend with my parents & family eating the Thanksgiving feast for days on end.  It was great, but still too many meals from one session of cooking!  Still I adore the memories those recipes bring back & miss the people that used to sit around that table.

Growing up I have memories of holiday gifts that never stopped.  Yes my grandparent got us the Harry & David Fruit of the Month subscriptions!

Not sure how it all got started or why, but to me it was incredible!  Each month a box would arrive & although I’m sure they knew ahead of time what was coming, I never did.  It was always a surprise.

Being the kid who loved almost every fruit & vegetable imaginable, it was always a fun day when that box arrived.

In reminecsing about the past & holiday memories, I got to looking online at the Fruit of the Month club.  Turns out there is a “of the month” for almost everything possible to be shipped & even more!  Candy, cookies, popcorn, soup, tea, wine and even a swine & wine of the month to deliver a red wine & pork product with every turn of the calendar.  Candles, soaps, plants, flowers, cigars & more.  Seems like if you can enjoy it, you can order it.

Course living alone it would be a challenge to even get thru half the box before the fruit went bad, but back then we loved it.

Wonder if there is a dog treat of the month club somewhere? I’m guessing that would be a hit with Baxter.  For me…. I haven’t a club what club of the month I would sign up for.  Maybe I will just have to commit myself to making something new every month.  My own dessert of the month or seafood recipe of the month.

Any suggestions? Experiences with “of the month” subscriptions?

Supper. Simply.

Somethings just seem to come with the changing of season or the coming of holidays.  After Halloween / Samhain (repeat AFTER) has past, its time to start the holiday choas.  It starts with Veterans Day, which many forget completely, & seems to go non-stop right up to Valentine’s Day!  One thing that I tend to associate with this time of year is pie.

In November I am far from alone.  Some can’t imagine a holiday meal without the pecan or pumpkin pies.  Others go for chocolate or apple.  Either way with the bikinis tucked away for most of the country the indulgent season begins.  A slice is comforting.

One site I am watching lately is AllRecipes.com’s Pie Countdown! The pictures & descriptions make my mouth water with a new temptation daily.  I wish I had the time to make each & every one.  Then again I can’t imagine what I would do with a new pie each day.  I long for someone else to make them & let me try a slice!

I love the idea of pie… just not the abundance.

Which leads me to doing things like buying pumpkin pie flavored lip gloss, scented candles & even a fragrance to wear that smells like pumpkin pie!  Something I ordered my 2nd bottle of last week & it arrived today…

Along with a few others! ONE WAS EVEN A SURPRISE FREEBIE!  I adore Demeter Fragrances.  I miss being able to go to Ulta & other places & just spend a while smelling the various different scents.  I can still find popular ones, but it doesn’t seem like anywhere here has the library.  So I ordered a few online from them directly.  The Frozen Margarita one was a total surprise! I love the way they smell so close to the actual items.  Well the best parts of them anyway!  I never had a margarita that smelled that good.

But alas on to dinner….  something quick & simple.

A trusty favorite – Bell & Evans Coconut Chicken Breast!  Simple & better than any frozen chicken I have ever had in my life.

The directions for cooking always give me a giggle!  I go for the oven baked route, but I’m sure that pan frying is good too.  However no one should be using a microwave for anything this good! Even says so right there on the box.

Also was dying to try the lime pepper seasoning on some fresh asparagus! No disappointments there! Again simple as can be.  Just snapped off the woody ends off the asparagus, sprayed a little oil on the stalks & sprinkled the seasoning on.  The tossed them into the oven to bake along side the chicken tenders.

While they were roasting, I decided all this talk of pie had me craving something sweet & warm.  Also something that wouldn’t be around to haunt me for days & days…

So thanks to an apple, a bit of butter & some instant maple & brown sugar oatmeal – I ended up with something delish!  Simply sliced the apple thinly & layered the slices in a dish.  Topped the slices with the dry oatmeal mix (be sure that its mixed up – you know how the sugar tends to wander to the top of the packet at times….) then dab on a few slices of butter.  Next it was tossed into the party happening in the oven to bake away beside the asparagus & the chicken.

Oh my! Looks like a couple of mozzarella sticks got in there too.  Ooops. {guilty grin} This was a quick & VERY easy way to end the day in a healthy & delish way.

Without any pie!