Saturday, July 31, 2010

Central PA Nostalgia

Sometimes, I have these crazy moments of insanity and nostalgia where I miss my life growing up in Central PA.

When I first moved out of the area, I couldn't get out of there fast enough. What would it be like to have a mall...or 3 malls, 10 minutes away?? How about a wide variety of restaurant selections? Entertainment?

Don't get me wrong, I love the convenience of living somewhere more urban than where I grew up. However, when I go home to visit my parents, the sheer tranquility of waking up with no noise, a giant plot of land, and...nature...makes me miss home.

Now, obviously, we're much better off in Maryland than the concrete jungle they call New Jersey. But there are many things I miss about my hometown in PA:

1. Space: It's nice to be able to walk out your back door and not be forced to talk to your neighbors. Let's face it, sometimes I just want to walk outside in my underpants and not worry about who's going to see me.

2. Hartley's Potato Chips: The only people that will ever understand this obsession are those that grew up on these treats in Mifflin County. I have never found a chip that will compare. When I give them to friends and they aren't completely floored by their deliciousness, I get personally upset and offended.

3. No traffic: Minus the drive through Harrisburg, my humble hometown in PA boasts NO traffic. NONE. I thought there was traffic when I lived there...then I moved around a city. You don't know traffic until you've been parked in the middle of a highway for hours, or sat at a green light...through several light changes.

4. Family: I think this is pretty obvious. I wish I could pop over for dinner, or host a dinner at my house. Or even call my sister to run into JCPenney's with me.

5. OIP (Original Italian Pizza): This is one of the only restaurants in my hometown. Little did I know, when I gathered there with my friends in high school, that I'd be longing for their homemade bread dipped in ranch dressing some day in my future. Or a sub. Or pizza. Or a grilled chicken salad.

There are plenty of other things I miss. Will I ever move back? Probably not. As much as I miss it, I would probably move back for a month and complain about the same stuff I did before. I'd much rather cherish my visits.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Garden Update

I haven't posted anything about my deck garden recently. Some of you have asked me how it's going.

My herbs are doing great! They pretty much grew out of control and I've used them in a lot of cooking...and gave some to everyone who has stopped by my house.

As for the veggies...that's another story. All the plants are alive and well. They actually are growing fantastically and are sporting plenty of blossoms and veggies.

So what's the problem?

The problem is the overgrown tree rat that calls the tree in my backyard home.

My tomatoes, peppers and jalapenos were growing splendidly. Several were ready to be harvesting. I came home one day from work and went out on the deck to look proudly upon my garden...and I was horrified.

The jalapenos ready to be harvested (about 7 of them) were gone. GONE! I saw little claw marks in the soil. Squirrel sized claw marks. Then, I looked to my right and there was a jalapeno laying on the deck with squirrel sized teeth marks in it.

I can only imagine that the little rascal ate all the jalapenos and had the worst case of heartburn a squirrel could possibly imagine. I was so raving mad. I worked so hard to get those little peppers to grow! I contemplated rat poison, beebee guns, traps...but Nile talked me down.

Oh well, at least I still had my peppers.

Wrong-o! The next day, the bell peppers were gone. I'm convinced it was the same offending squirrel. Same with my tomatoes. I swear I saw the furry culprit one day, hanging out on our deck like he owned the place. We had a 5 minute stare-off, until I busted through the door scaring him away. He was fat too...with a pudgy little belly. Probably because he eats so well.

Looks like my plants will be making their way to my parent's house this weekend.

Food Reviews

I've happened upon some delightful new food finds recently in my local supermarket. Let's have a look at what it is currently in my kitchen.

Barber Foods Fit and Friendly Broccoli Cheese Stuffed Chicken: I happened upon these in the frozen foods aisle one day. I had their other varieties many years ago, but they are usually high in fat, sodium and calories. This one has some pretty impressvie stats and comes in at only 190 calories per portion. They're indiviually portioned, so they are great for single diners, and they take only 30 minutes to bake fully frozen. They are a little smaller then I expected, but then again, it's probably the right portion size for meat.

Dole Fruit Crisp Bowls: These are a great addition to my cubicle lunch. They have several flavors, but my favorites are the Apple Cinnamon and Apple Pear. The sauced fruit is topped with an oat and brown sugar crumb topping that you mix together to make a delicious dessert. You can find these puppies with the applesauce.

Hidden Valley Harvest Dill Dip Mix: I actually happened upon this by accident. I really wanted the ranch dip mix, but Giant was all out, so I picked this up instead. I mixed it with low-fat sour cream and kept it in the fridge for veggies. Definitely a just might replace the ranch. Look for it in the salad dressing aisle.

Those are my new favorites! Bon appetit!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Fitness Update

It's been a little while since I've posted a fitness update, so here goes.

Today, I received Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred in the mail. I found Workout 1 On Demand a few weeks ago and did it a few times, so I decided to order the full package online.

I thought that I could be able to move to Level 2 (there are 3 levels) I attempted it today. I got through...barely! I'm pretty sure walking and stairs will be an issue tomorrow. I think I'll go back to Level 1 for a little while. 

The workouts are quick...20 minutes with a light warm up and cool down. Her method is 3 minutes strenth training, 2 minutes cardio and 1 minute ab work. You do 3 of these 6 minute circuits and during that time, have your butt completely handed to you.

Anyway, I give it 2 thumbs up. I've heard good things about it, so I'll check back on progress.

As far as my 5K training is concerned, it's going as well as can be expected. I started running outside, so I'm set back a few weeks because it's way different from the treadmill. Since Baltimore is currently experiencing a record-breaking heatwave, running outside in the evening has been impossible. It was 106 when I got in the car to come home from work yesterday...enough said.

I have it in my plans to get up in the morning and run to avoid some of the heat. That was my plan today...and yesterday.'s still my plan. We'll see how it goes. I like my sleep a whole lot.

As far as going to the actual gym...I haven't been there in a while, since most of my workouts haven't needed gym equipment. I'm keeping the membership though because it's my idea to run in the morning and strength train at night.

Anyway, I'm headed to take a long, hot shower. And take several Advil.