I'm Seeing Stars

I read a post on Instagram recently that prompted me to take a snap shop and save for a rainy day. "The day will be what you make it, so rise, like the sun and burn". My siblings and I were raised to grab the bull by the horns and be seize-the-day-with-a-smile type individuals. No wallflowers here. Your day is what you make of it. So I say, brush your teeth, get out there and show the world those pearly whites. Divide and conquer. Walk tall and carry a big stick. You know what I mean. When in NYC this past winter, I saw another sign. It read "Don't worry, everything is going to be amazing." I believe this. I have to repeat these words to myself slowly from time to time but it does the trick. Life is short, smile and get on with it already. All will ultimately be well in the world. Speaking of carpe diem, my hunt for the next fitness endeavor continues. In reality, I need to get on and shake these boring ten pounds that I seem to gain and lose like the tides. It should be noted that these are the same ten pounds that I complain about to my mother, bore Matthew to tears with and quite simply obsess about.

Last spring I took a new job whereby the associated regimen resulted in a serious case of what one of my best friends coined "trauma trim". Displeasure aside, it was a funny albeit very real term. I looked fabulous. My skirts hung low on my hips. Skinny pants zipped and buttoned effortlessly. Why does discomfort yield weight loss? I went through a big break up as I approached my 28th year. Tears and melancholy aside, someone told me that I "had never looked better". I think this was followed with a "keep it up". Well thanks I guess. I was very svelte indeed and all my hipster European clothes were the business. Fast forward to now. We have a high ho time on weekends that completely undoes the hard work of the prior week. I had a work event yesterday and tried on one of my favorite dresses from last summer. Alert: the cabin is losing pressure. You know it's terrible, last summer I wasn't satisfied with how the dress looked, which is utterly ridiculous. The reflection in the mirror before me yesterday morning resembled that of stuffed sausage in its diaphanous casing. Back on the hanger it went and into the rear of the closet. I will repeat this exercise in two weeks time and hopefully shed one less tear the next go around. Honestly, it is a seemingly never ending and frustrating cycle. Stay tuned.

Now onto another topic that has burned my eyes multiple times this week. Sweat pants. I saw a couple of people wearing them at the shops early this morning. What in the world? Never mind it is approximately two thousand degrees outside, sweat pants have their place and it is most certainly not in this weather. One man loading his trunk was wearing a tank top, sweat pants, thick socks and sandals. Sweat collected at my temples just watching him. I seriously stopped and gazed in total astonishment. A passerby mumbled something about the inferno heat and these pants. I tell you one thing, I truly feel for whomever manages the laundry in these people's homes. 
My brother, who lives in Los Angeles, has taken to calling them "give up on life pants". Apparently they don't have their place in the City of Angels and they shouldn't here either. In the summertime at least. Winter, knock your socks off provided they aren't stained (as the gentleman wearing his grey pair this morning was) or too revealing (I bore witness to a ripped pair two days ago that left very little to my already crippled imagination). Last winter I bought some Lulu Lemon sweatpants in the "we made too much tab". They are a cool hue of turquoise and tailored. I am still circumspect about where they go. J.Crew makes a nice pair every winter as well. Finally, I did recently see a gal with a phenomenal figure wearing fitted capri sweatpants. I suspect however these are in a league of their own. Shiver me timbers.

Today is my partner-in-crime's birthday! I love and adore birthdays. He not so much. I think we might have a bit of a Birthday curmudgeon on our hands. Let's face it, some people see birthdays as just another day. Growing up, birthdays were the real deal in the Breyer household. Loads of kisses and well wishes from our parents. Dad came home from work early. Special notes written on napkins in our lunch bags. When we were little my Mom baked chocolate cakes with chocolate frosting and decorated them with rainbow colored beads. We sat at the dining room table eating from a red plate that said, you are special. In my teens, we always celebrated at our favorite Mexican restaurant. When we were a bit older it was a steakhouse. When I was in college and out of the house, I received phone calls early in the morning from Germany. As a working girl, beautiful flowers were delivered to my home. My Mom always sent cards that were delivered a pair of days in advance. In them went words like "we love you" and "we are so proud of the young woman you have become". For my family, birthdays were and are a bigger deal than Christmas.

So to kick off the birthday celebrations we went on a picnic last night. A nice way to break up the monotony of the week and a happy deviation from the Wednesday evening bar route. We did feel a pinch guilty watching all the runners in Freedom Park as we reclined on our blanket but never mind that. I prepared a smorgasbord of salads that taste delightful chilled. We packed up the cooler, stuffed a blanket in a bag and off we went. I think we might make this picnicking business our new thing. I see it as an opportunity to prepare a lighter than usual supper and a chance explore other parts of our great city. So for yesterday's affair, I made a chicken salad alongside some other goodies I will post in the coming days. The below was the cat's meow. Great on sandwiches, salads or eaten directly from the bowl with a fork in hand. Bon appetit. I'm off to tackle the Booty Loop.

Happy Birthday MCJ, I love you a whole bunch!

Roasted Chicken Salad

3 lb roasting chicken - I find the smaller the chicken, the tastier the meat
1 lemon
1 bunch of thyme
A few sprigs of rosemary (optional)
1 head of garlic
1 TBS fennel seeds
1 tsp red pepper flakes
4 ribs of celery - in the Cuisinart
1 head of flat leaf parsley - in the Cuisinart
1/4 cup of light mayonnaise
1 big spoonful of tarragon mustard (normal Dijon mustard will work fine too)
pinch of kosher salt
Fresh pepper

Down to Business

1. If you did not do this the day before, fear not. Rinse your chicken with cold water, remove the innards and pat dry with a paper towel. Now that your bird is ready for decoration, place it in the dish in which you plan to roast it. Remember to place it with the breasts facing the sky. One of my biggest pet peeves is when I am inattentive in this regard. Generously salt your bird.

2. Stuff the cavity with a lemon cut in half, a head of garlic and the bunch of thyme as well as rosemary. Your bird will appear to be bursting at the steams. Bravo!

3. Decorate with the red pepper flakes, fennel, some generous pinches of salt and liberal cracks of pepper. 

4. Now that your bird is ready for the oven, feel free to tuck chopped vegetables around it. This is not mandatory but an easy way to produce a one pot meal. We usually like carrots, mushrooms, Brussel sprouts or quartered red onions. Yesterday, I threw in a bag of chopped organic carrots. Once they were done I decorated them with the zest of one lemon and a drizzle of wild honey.

5. You want to roast your chicken at 450 degrees for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Be sure to check on the vegetables. Your carrots only need 45 minutes or so.

6. After the allotted time, your bird should have a lovely, crisp and golden exterior. Let the chicken cool for a bit and pull the meat off and put in a side bowl. Matthew helped eat the skin as we took the bird apart. Note I did not include any skin in my bowl of chicken but you can certainly.

7. In your Cuisinart, pulse the parsley and celery. Add to the same bowl as your chicken meat. Now add your mayonnaise, tarragon mustard, a couple of pinches of salt and fresh cracked pepper. Stir. We like dry chicken salad but if you like yours a bit more "wet" (that's what she said), add more mayonnaise.

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