Mother’s Day Surprise

I surprised my mom and went to visit her in Florida for three days.

We had a ball.

Lunch at Rosemary in Sarasota.

Then my mom took me to her favorite museum in Sarasota.

Marietta Museum of Art & Whimsy

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Selby Botanical Gardens and a Chagall exhibit

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DRUM CIRCLE

SUSHI

A Mother’ Day Breakfast at BLU Island Bistro with my mom’s fav chef Alan fit for a Queen and her Mimosa

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An unusual Benedict with tomato and mozzarella and basil hollandaise drizzled on it.IMG_0890

3 different sausages and cheese for the Princess…IMG_0891

And a dog with an armadillo haircut…

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A Daytrip home to Sanibel…

Mandatory plate of oysters from Sanibel Grill

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Making sure the bookstores are stocked with Peri’s Sanibel Island Adventure….love seeing that on the shelf at McIntosh Books & Paper on Palm Ridge Road,

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AND the Island Cow, Bailey’s, and Amy’s Something Special…

A beachwalk with Shelley, a visit with Joyce and then the journey back North…

Chef Tony’s Suncoast Cafe at the Venice Airport for breakfast…

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Omelet with cheese, bacon, spinach, tomatoes and secret spices…

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Mom gets a Cuban burrito….

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Mom tries to dig me up a shark tooth….

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Are we in Ireland? Nope…Venice Beach, Florida…

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Mani-Pedi for summer…

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Mom takes me to her yoga class where they are more flexible than in mine and talk about food through the entire class….

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We shop. I meet some Venetian friends, we eat seafood at Captain Eddie’s and it is sadly time to head back North.

Thanks for the great weekend, Mom! I love you!!!

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Jeff Ruby’s Filet Mignon to A Diet That SEEMS to Work Due to Spices

I am still on the diet. I can NOT believe it! Part of it is that once I got the sugar, the wheat, and any other starches out of my body…I began to feel great! REALLY great! I am noticing the weight loss. At first it was in the face and now I am noticing other places as well. So, that is a real motivator! Now what bums me out is that I heard people lost 20-30 lbs in their 30 days and I am NOT one of those people. I don’t know if I have lost 10 lbs. So, that makes me sad…a little…okay a lot. I wanted it to fall OFF OF ME!!! But, I know it is happening. The other part that makes cheating NOT an option is that if you cheat…you go back to DAY 1 of the diet and tack on 30 days…so you might as well do the 30 days the first time! At least that is the way I feel.

I am really getting used to the diet. I also can NOT believe I said that! I have a feeling this is the new everyday for life diet for me. Except ya’ll know the minute the cheese can come back…it will! I miss you J.E. Gibbs @ FIndlay Market!!!!

The WHOLE 30 folks say it will really make you change the way you eat, look at foods, etc. It has!!!

I went to lunch yesterday with a very old college friend. We went to Cucinova in Kenwood.

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I had a salad. Usually, I would get ALL kinds of stuff on it and it would become one of those “UNHEALTHY” salads. Maybe a cup of thousand island dressing is not good. I love a salad almost swimming in dressing. Sad but true! Not now. It was full of veggies and chicken for protein. Instead of the heavy dressing which I like poured on my salad with a gigantic serving spoon. I had a balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Still lots of dressing. A girl can only give up so much!!

Last week, I met my Aunt Connie for salads at Verde. Nothing fancy but the salads were in the same vain as Chop’T salads, which I adore. Mostly, because they are chopped and the fresh ingredients are key. I had sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, onions, a hard boiled egg and chicken on it with a balsamic vinaigrette and it was not high in calories. The most fattening thing was the dressing!

Here is a big difference for me. BOTH days…I have brought half the salad home and eaten the remainder for dinner! Things I used to do in my Boston days and stopped doing in my New York days.

The day that worried me most was a company dinner at Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse. How do you not cheat there???

We started with king crab legs, shrimp and oysters. I did use a little cocktail sauce and horseradish sauce. Both tasted amazing. I don’t know if it was because it truly was or if it was because I had not eaten a sauce in DAYS!!! WEEKS!!!

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Then I ordered the special. It was a filet mignon with asparagus, crabmeat and bearnaise on top!

fliet with crab and bearnaiseIt was a work of art! It was divine!

I lived in Manhattan for SIX years! I ate at Peter Luger’s Steak house FOUR times! Supposedly, THEE best steak in THEE country or pretty high up there. I ate steak at Spark’s. Also, high on best steaks list. I have eaten steak in a LOT of restaurants. NO ONE makes a better steak than Ruby! You may say I am prejudiced, and maybe I am, but I have no qualms of saying other foods in other cities and countries are better, but Ruby’s steaks. Magnifique! They melt in your mouth like butter.

And then everyone else moved onto desserts. Desserts that looked really yummy. That cheesecake looked great! But instead I ordered something OFF menu. I asked the waiter if they made decaf capps. He said yes. Since, I can drink coffee cold but not hot…without sugar. I asked for an iced DECAF CAPP! He said, “I have never made one! You just want me to pour it over ice?” Yes, I do! He did. His presentation was beautiful. The drink was delicious and maybe Ruby just got a new drink idea for the menu! I know the waiter said he drinks iced coffees and may give this a try!

Our service was wonderful. I went out of the party room to go to the restroom. I asked a waiter where to go. Like a true gentleman, he offered me his arm and escorted me there. Is that downright adorable or what???

We were in the cellar room. Here are some pics from our dinner!

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The room was wonderfully quiet and conducive to conversation. This group is such a nice group to work with and I really enjoy being with them all. Usually, there is ONE in every office that is a real stinker and changes the culture or vibe of the office, but not this one. I find that fascinating and incredible and LUCKY!!

And what a wonderful gift to give your employees and spouses! A night at Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse!

Highly recommend these folks!!!  Well, both folks…the steak people AND the company I am working with here….TAAG…google them..they are here on Montgomery Road…great finance folks!!!

Nice, nice evening!

I must confess, I did go home and give Dulce a bite or two of steak. She adored it. How could she not? Dog food or Medium rare filet mignon? Which would you rather have?

My diet was okay that day…I was worried but I had carefully planned my day of eating and exercise and I was okay. It made me realize I can do this…

I must confess what I REALLY think is making a world of difference in this diet…this shocks me, but maybe not you, and definitely not chefs!

SPICES…..

Spices

I am amazed, impressed, completely shocked how a spice can enhance a flavor or give a food a Je ne sais quoi! (I don’t know!)

I have always used spices, but not like I am now.

I made kale over the weekend. I wanted something more than kale in olive oil with salt and pepper. I went online and found that Old Bay spice is great with it. This is not a cologne. It is the spice they put on the Maryland crabs…among other things. It was delicious.

I made cauliflower and put Beau Monde and Dill on it.

It opens up a whole new world to use spices and the best part is you can use them plentifully and they are not calories against you! How fabulous is that!

So, I went on Pinterest and copied part of a list of vegetables and recommended spices and I am going to experiment.

spices for veggies (1)It actually makes me want to try some vegetables I don’t even like or think I don’t like….like fennel. I am curious…will I feel different now with my cleansed body and if I spice it correctly? Who knows….I have never cooked with a rutabaga. I should try it. Not sure what it even looks like but I can figure it out. Never cooked with a kohlrabi. Not sure what that is either…

Last night, I had a snack that I was only going to eat a couple bites and I ate it all because it was so good! And it didn’t matter because it was a vegetable.

Leeks. I loved the smell of leeks but did not like the texture after boiling them in water. I found a super simple recipe. Slice them like a zuchini or a cucumber. Only the real meaty part after you have cleaned them well. They always are muddy. Dirty. Then push those coin shaped cuts in the center so all the layers come out in a bowl. You have a bowl full of thin circles.

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Toss in enough olive oil to coat them. A BIG pinch of salt and pepper. Stir. Then spread them out on a cookie sheet. Cook for 8-10 minutes and check…cook till desired texture. The smell is aromatic. The taste is crunchy and really yummy. As I said, I was going to eat a few and I ate them all.

I really feel good! I have no idea what that scale is going to tell me, but I have 12 days left!!! It has been a long diet. I am not going to lie to you, but to get rid of aches and pains, to sleep better, to lose weight and feel so much better about myself. It is so worth it! And I am learning a lot about food that I didn’t know…

Until we meet again…

Enjoy! Eat, travel, laugh…often….