Archive for the ‘Wegman’s’ Category

Supportive  Partner Woman (crafter of fine mershed perderders!) and I had some company last night. It’s been awhile since we had the chance to entertain together, so it was a lot of fun. Prep work started Friday night. I whipped together a beef marinade, consisting of olive oil, lemon juice, soy sauce (reduced sodium), mustard and Worcestershire sauce. SPW and I found some lovely sirloin cubes at Wegman’s during our last visit, so I threw those in the bag with the marinade and let them soak. I like marinades… not always the healthiest thing to add to the diet, but it’s a way to add a LOT of flavor and still have that stuff cook away.

We paid a visit to the Corn Wagon, which, sadly, sold out. That happens if you don’t get there early enough. What else can you do? We also stopped for beer. See, SPW is a beer snob and this can be a long drawn-out process. We came back with a variety pack from Fort Collins Brewery. We tend to like the variety packs… adds a range of selections to your beer fridge and allows you to try a bunch of stuff without dropping $40 on a full case of something you hate. Plus, Pennsylvania makes it difficult to buy just a six-pack, unless you want to go to a place that’s licensed for six packs, then you pay through the nose.

Post beer distributor, it was off to the grocery store.  We had to pick up some produce and a few other sundry items. Then it was back home to cook. SPW has been living the Julia Child dream the past week or so, so she decided to use one of Julia’s recipes to create a beef brisket dish. It looked pretty, had wonderful texture, but I found the flavor to be a little muted. That was rectified, however, when you added some au jus to it. I grilled chicken and steak skewers that turned out tasting pretty darn good, if I do say so myself.

The skewers of yumminess!

Other than the aforementioned steak marinade, I made a chicken one with oil, vinegar, and a load of spices. Couldn’t find any “poultry seasoning” so I just threw a few extra pinches of this and that in the bowl. My secret ingredient was bacon salt. It gave the chicken the slightest hint of bacon-y goodness. Granted, it was easy to miss if you didn’t know it was there. Threw the skewers on the grill and let them broil away happily. Also to the skewers I added some green pepper, some Mayan sweet onion, mushrooms and finished them with grape tomato. Adding the tomato to the end of the skewer had a two-fold purpose. First of all, grilling them really makes the sweetness come out, and secondly, the tomato sticks nicely to the skewer, keeping everything where it needs to be.

Cooked them around 15 minutes. Started the temperatures pretty high to get a nice sear on the meat, then backed the heat off to finish. No complaints… and only two of them left. I did have a whoopsie, though… when putting the skewers on the serving dish, one of them went *plop* on the deck. Since my deck surface is not the cleanest place on the planet (read: pollen and whatever dust is drifting over from the new school construction site) I disregarded the five second rule and opted to pitch it.

Most of the bounty on the table… still waiting on the broccoli. Thanks, Jed, for the picture!

Dinner was a decent success. It’s always nice to cook for more than one or two, and we had enough food that no one went away hungry. It’s funny that both SPW and I like to cook, are good cooks, and don’t cook enough. This is why we’ve taken to a Sunday meal at home when she has to work and I have off (like today). Thinking I might make some of the marinated steak and pair it with a lovely piece of sockeye that we scored yesterday. Such beautiful color to that fish.

So, post dinner and business, we adjourned to the Nerd Lair. I call it the Man Cave when SPW (The Management!) isn’t around, but when it’s coed, it’s the Nerd Lair. This is where I set up our home theater, as well as our bar. It’s basically the refuge from the everyday world. We’ve put a comfy couch down there, a couple of other chairs… bar stools (there are some things that you can’t do without) and a selection of adult beverages. I can’t really drink anymore, but that doesn’t mean drinking does not occur in the Nerd Lair. I’ve created a few twists on old classic drinks… one of SPW’s favorites is what I call my left-handed Philips head screwdriver. Take your basic vodka/orange juice combo, add triple sec for even more citrus flavor and for color, add a splash of pomegranate grenadine. It helps to use a decent vodka, and the official vodka of the Nerd Lair bar is Tito’s. I know… it sounds funny, a vodka called Tito’s, but this is one of the best vodkas I ever tasted and it’s half the price of Gray Goose.

Main part of the bar

Straight on view of bar and back part.

The Nerd Lair bar is actually something of my creation. The main part started life as a cabinet I found at the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store. It was in some bad shape, but I stripped the old paint and refinished it. I also hand-built the tile tops for both pieces. That wasn’t fun… I’m not a great tiler, but I think they turned out looking pretty good. The back part was a custom build that I threw together last summer. We didn’t have enough space and I thought this would be a fun project. Wound up taking longer than I had hoped, but I was pretty pleased with the outcome.

The nerd Lair also has a theme… Penn State. I know it’s unfashionable to be pro-PSU in this day and age, but both SPW and I are proud alumni and regardless of the Sandusky scandal, we still got a good education and made life-long friends.

As we are wont to do with these particular friends, the Xbox got fired up, the controllers connected and we played some Lego Rock Band. It reminds me of karaoke in college. No one is a particularly good singer, but we have fun just the same. The highlight of Lego Rock Band is how it crafts some of the artists as Lego mini figures. To see a Lego Freddie Mercury is amazing, but when you add a Lego Brian May, well, that’s just awesome. There’s a Lego Bowie as well as a Lego Iggy Pop.To me, the Lego Iggy looks a lot like Gollum from Lord of the Rings, but what do I know? We switched to Beatles Rock Band before we adjorned for the evening (morning?)

I think that’s going to do it for today. Have a bunch of stuff to accomplish and limited time to do it. Today also would’ve been my dad’s 77th birthday. Not a day goes by I don’t miss him, but some days are harder than others.

Have a great day, everyone!

Greetings!

First of all, apologies for not posting anything these last couple of days. I wound up being busy trying to write a piece for another blog I write for and, well, time just got away.

Had a very nice weekend… I didn’t have to work, which is always a nice thing. I spent yesterday with Supportive Partner Woman. We did a Wegman’s run (surprise!) and went out for dinner (and lunch, sorry to say). I was really jonesing for a burger, so we grabbed lunch at Red Robin. I haven’t had fries in I have no idea how long, and they were VERY good. I ordered a bacon cheeseburger on ciabatta =bread, hold the mayo. Burger arrived and was done perfectly. I didn’t even feel too much guilt. It didn’t totally bork my sugars, either.

After that, we detoured through Best Buy, gaped at a lot of stuff we didn’t buy, and headed to Wegman’s (insert choir of angels!).

Got a cart full of groceries, found some lovely sirloin cubes for making kebabs next weekend, and took advantage of some coupons. For anyone who cares, the truffles were down to $499.00/lb. Must be a down market in fungus.

We headed home with a stop at our favorite local store, Stauffer’s of Kissel Hill. It’s a nice market, decent selection of produce and a bangin’ deli. It’s almost like a mini-Wegman’s, minus the choir of angels. The real secret to the deli, however, is the people. If you go, be sure and ask for Shirley. She’s spot on with her measurements, very friendly and always makes sure you get the best service.

Headed home, put the stuff away, and chilled out. I priced a new surround sound amp (didn’t buy) and we eventually decided to go grab some dinner. Keeping with both the red theme and the coupon theme, we went to Red Lobster. Now, the “Eat This, Not That” book series says this is one of the healthiest sit down chains in America, and I can believe it if you order right. SPW (eater of seafood!) ordered snow crab legs with a baked potato. I went with the wood-grilled scallops, shrimp and chicken with a side of broccoli. Nutrition-wise, not too bad. 590 calories, 14g fat, but the killer is the sodium… 3060 grams. Yikes! Now I’ll remember that and order the crab legs next time… half the salt and less than half the calories.

We added some new (to us) tech to the arsenal this week, too. Our friend Trevor purchased a new retina-display MacBook Pro and sold us his used one. This makes SPW (Apple fangirl!) very happy and, well, I’m always in favor of tech. Looking forward to seeing what it can do. So far, like it a lot. Going to have to provide bunches of home cooking to make sure our tech support is well-fed.

So, the moral is that it’s possible to have a burger and fries (at least until surgery) and not totally nuke the calorie limits. Now today’s dinner will be surf & turf… have some lovely steaks and some scallops that we scored at Wegman’s (on sale) that are big as SPW’s fist (or so it seems). Not quite sure what I’ll be making with them, but that’s OK. I figure I’ll grill the steak and maybe grill the scallops? I don’t know. I’ll think of something.

Hope it won’t be three days until the next post… but I hope you had a great weekend and I’ll see you real soon!

Greetings!

Supportive Partner Woman (builder of Lego sets!) and I decided to beat the heat yesterday and take a drive to the King of Prussia mall. See, we have many pseudo-nieces and nephews and one of them, Ian, recently had a birthday. Ian has a bit of a Lego problem, too, but whereas I’m particular about which sets I buy, he will build darn near anything. So, since we needed to get him a birthday gift (late, but that’s how we roll), we felt a visit to the closest Lego store was in order.

Sopwith Camel

The Lego store at K of P is pretty sizeable. It should be, seeing as it pretty much serves most of eastern Pennsylvania and south Jersey. There’s also one at Christiana Mall in Newark, DE that is about the same distance away, but takes about 30 minutes longer to get to. Beside the point. We wound up buying a Lego Werewolf set and a couple of minifigs for the boy, and a Sopwith Camel set for us. Yes, for us. This will actually be the first non-architecture set that The Management will be building. She acquitted herself well building the top wing assembly all by herself. It’s a big achievement when you realize that she never built a Lego set as a child.

 

Save the Clock Tower!

So, after leaving the store we decided to pay a visit to the new Wegman’s, also in King of Prussia. They were having plenty of in store tastings, they even had a guy shilling the VitaMix blender. Our last visit to the K of P Wegman’s was a bit of a letdown… but I think it was because of the time of day… see, we stopped after the Neil Diamond concert. They really did redeem themselves. We managed to score a nice piece of sockeye salmon. It’s not Copper River, but the color is still a vibrant red and it should roast up beautifully.

Every time I’m in one of these stores, I can’t help but compare it to the big national grocery chains, like Giant. The selection, the cleanliness, the friendliness really make me want to never set foot in a Giant again. So, until such a point as they put a Wegman’s in cow country, I will be forced to shop at the same old boring stores, because it really doesn’t make a lot of sense to driver 45 minutes to grab a gallon of milk. I have hopes, though, of someday soon seeing a clock tower rising above the farm fields and retail power centers of Cow Country.

Other than the lovely salmon, we departed with some cherries, strawberries and bananas, a few other items, and some poultry sausage. That was recommended to me as a healthier alternative to boring old pork sausage. I look forward to trying it.

After leaving Wegman’s, we went in search of sustenance. My sugar had started to fall off and, well, we were hungry. We headed up the Turnpike and decided to make a return visit to The Drafting Room in Exton, PA. This is a lovely taproom and grill that SPW (drinker of many beers!) and I had last been to on my birthday. Perhaps not the healthiest choice, but considering the time, we were able to get seated right away and have food in belly soon after. SPW (avowed carnivore!) went with their hot roast beef sandwich while I decided to go with a burger topped with some Vermont cheddar. We both opted for a crab and corn chowder as an appetizer. The soup came, topped with a spicy, smoky jalapeno bacon, and it was delicious. If we would’ve been there alone, I might’ve licked the bowl. It was that good.

Sorry Mom, not a clean plate

The burger came and after a few bites, I was starting to run out of gas. Then it’s decision time. Ask yourself how many times you got the starving children speech when you were growing up. Or, as my very Catholic mother would tell us, it’s a sin to waste food. According to the psychologist I saw, that actually contributes to weight gain. We’re taught to clean our plates, but the portion sizes are insane these days, as a result, we wind up consuming way more calories than we should. A good idea when confronted with a huge portion would be to ask for a box first, and pack up half of your meal for later. That’s not really an option with a burger… they usually don’t reheat well, so I did the next best thing. I ate the rest of the meat and the garnishes while leaving the vast majority of the fries (I think I had two or three) and half the roll.

So today’s lesson… just because it’s in front of you, doesn’t mean you have to eat all of it. You can save some for another day or eat the portions that are better for you (protein and veggies, for example)

Greetings from the land of the slimmer!

I had an appointment this morning with the exercise physiologist and dietitian at the bariatric center. First thing, I got weighed. It was a cool 368 lbs. That’s a vast improvement over my last visit to the clinic for group where the number was 380. So, 12 pounds in about three weeks. Much better. The funny thing is that before you can have surgery, they ask that you lose 10 pounds. Guess I took care of that.

The first part of my appointment was with the exercise guy. I found Ryan to be very upbeat and encouraging. He was impressed by my walking regimen and wants me to keep it up. He also set up some appointments for me in their fitness center. It’s not big, but they only have six people at a time in there. They have shower facilities and most importantly, Ryan and/or Cory are there to show you how to exercise and lift weights safely and correctly. I start with a one hour session on Thursday and I’m really looking forward to it. Apparently, one of the risks with bariatric surgery is the  loss of muscle mass. As such, they want to build it up so you don’t lose all of what you have.

Cedar plank roasted Copper River salmon with mushroom risotto and steamed broccoli

Following my appointment with Ryan, I met Cory, the other physiologist. Then it was off to meet the dietitian, Shauna. She also seemed to be very supportive and was pleased with some of the dietary progress I’ve made. She was pleased to hear that both The Management and myself like to cook, and she was really pleased with last night’s dinner. We were at Wegman’s on Friday and I managed to pick up some Copper River salmon. I roasted it on a cedar plank with a sheen of olive oil, fresh ground pepper and sea salt on top. To go along with it, I made a mushroom risotto and steamed broccoli. The Management approved.

Today’s route.

So, I also added a new track to my walking playlist. I think my hair band loving friends will like it. Many might remember an 80’s hair band called Warrant. They were in the news in the past couple of years thanks to the death of lead singer Jani Lane. So, this weekend, XM 80s on 8 was playing a countdown from 1989 and Warrant’s little known track, Down Boys came on. It was very catchy and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. It sets a pretty good pace and I’m kind of scared to check my feet, because I might have overdone it a little. I did manage to walk about half of the Red Rose Commons perimeter. This gets me a little closer to my goal.

The one constant today is that everyone assures me I’m on the right track. It’s not easy, but when I saw 36_ instead of 37_, well, that’s a nice motivator. I’d love to have a 35_ next time. We shall see.

Today was a kitchen day. It didn’t start out to be, but it certainly ended up as such.

For whatever reason, I thought about making my own pico de gallo, but I started out with a little tomato, mozzarella and basil salad. Nothing to that… just dice up some Roma tomatoes, put them in a bowl with some cubed mozzarella (use part skim mozzarella for a little more health benefit), them I add just plain Italian salad dressing and some basil (fresh, if I have it, dried if not). Cover the bowl after tossing the salad, put it in the fridge, and it’ll be ready to go in an hour or so.

I followed that up by seeding and dicing more tomatoes and some red onion. I’ve never attempted to make pico before, but I’ve had it enough to figure out what I need. Just not sure if I got the proportions right. I also don’t have any cilantro, so I let the tomatoes and onions soak in the lime juice and will add cilantro when I get to the store. I know it needs to sit awhile, so no worries.

One tip, if you’re going to make something like this, make sure you seed the tomatoes. If not, you have a mess. It’s really easy to do. Just quarter a tomato and use a spoon to scrape out the seeds. It’s really easy with Roma tomatoes, since they don’t have much in the of seeds to begin with.

The other task I undertook was to make some marinated sirloin for burrito use. I looked at a few recipes and decided to improvise. I took a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, pureed them in a blender, then I forced them through a strainer to get rid of the seeds. To this puree, I added half of a red onion, some cumin, oregano, garlic and black pepper, ran it through the blender, dumped it in plastic bag with some sirloin tenders we located on clearance at the Greatest Grocery Store on the Planet. Picked the steak up on a good deal as it was about to hit its sell-by date. I’ll let the meat marinade overnight and grill it up on the morning to see what happens. Truffles, however, were NOT a good deal. Seems like the price fluctuates with the season.

In other news, we picked up a lot of ingredients to make a food contribution for a project we have in the offing. I’m cooking up a baked pasta dish with a choice of meat sauce or marinara sauce. That little project will keep us busy the next couple of weeks. I’m kind of doing it on the fly, but it’s pasta. Hard to mess that up.

Blood glucose reading this morning was 114. Pretty happy with that. It’s staying a lot more stable, which is a good thing. It was fluctuating wildly for a few months, plus, I wasn’t checking it as regularly as I should have been. Gotta toe the line if I want to succeed.

Anyways, back to work tonight. I have my first ever trainees… this should prove to be interesting.

Good evening!

Hope that you are all enjoying the holiday weekend. Please make sure to celebrate responsibly.

The Management and I ventured to the wooly hinterlands of New Cumberland for a meet up/picnic with our Disney friends. We had a lovely time filled with lots of laughs, stories and yummy food that I managed not to go overboard on. Cindy, our gracious hostess, made some awesome sliders that included andouille sausage, beef and pecans of all things. There was a tasty buffalo chicken dip, mac & cheese, and much other goodness. I did a batch of my famous chocolate chip cookies that did not last long, and The Management and I brought along the frozen concoction maker, a selection of booze, and ingredients for various margaritas. One of these ingredients was a reduced sugar sweet and sour mix. Instead of 25g of sugar, this only has 1g. That’s pretty sweet (no pun intended) in my book. In this case, fresh pineapple and mangos. The first one we tried was avocado. The Management thought it looked like wheat grass. I was thinking more of a nuclear specimen, but maybe that’s just me. A little later in the day, one of the kids wanted a strawberry virgin margarita. Threw a bunch of strawberries in the jug along with orange and lime juices and it turned out to be pretty darn good. After the kids were done, the turned it into an adult margarita that got really decent reviews. I plan on making that part of the repertoire.

You may be asking what I was doing with all these drinks, because as a diabetic, alcohol isn’t my friend. That’s a good point. I’ve long since passed the point where I have to imbibe. I had a sip of the strawberry and of the pineapple. The nice thing is that our friends understand my condition and respect it so that there’s no pressure to drink. I’m not a total abstainer, but I know when to say when and these folks respect that. The downside is that it’s been over a year since I last had a beer. Temptation was kind of removed as we didn’t have any Sam Adams Black Lager in the beer fridge. Had there been, the previous statement probably would’ve been null and void.

So, getting back to our Disney crew… we all met through something called Magic Meets, founded by Fred Block. Most of us were volunteers who started helping out in hopes of meeting people in the fan community. At least that’s why The Management and I joined the ranks. We never dreamed it would pay off like it has, not just in the quantity of people we have met, but also the quality. Besides getting to know Fred and his family, we’ve met people who live locally and formed a strong bond with, even though we’re very different. Magic Meets is currently on hiatus, but through the friendships we’ve made, we’ve been able to keep the spirit alive.

Since we were on the West Shore, it would’ve been a horrible oversight to not pay a visit to Wegman’s. I swear I hear a choir of angels every time I walk though the door. Nothing groundbreaking except for a nice brisket that The Management is planning on turning into a shredded masterpiece. I can almost taste it! We also picked up a few other items. Not a major trip, but any trip there is worth mentioning. There is a rumor that they might be coming to Cow Country. That would make my socks roll up and down if it pans out. Keep your fingers crossed!

I have to go back to work tomorrow, but I’m headed to another facility for the week. I’ll be doing User Acceptance testing on a new version of our page management and design software. It’s always fun when you get paid to try and break the software. The week after that, I have my appointment with the psychologist and my first group session in the bariatric program. I’m looking forward to them both, but I’m strangely nervous as well. We will see what happens!

Until next time, have a great holiday and remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

“Everything happens for a reason. Except for the spork. I mean, seriously, what the hell?” – Anonymous

Recently my employers have switched the provided plastic flatware from spoons and forks to the dreaded spork. You have no idea how much consternation this has caused. Grown men in the break room, weeping because they can no longer properly spear their manly steak and must resort to shoveling. A great wailing and gnashing of teeth from people attempting to spork their tomato soup without dripping any on their clothes. During a recent service anniversary party, employees were observed fleeing said party, handfuls of actual plastic forks and spoons secured to their bodies.

It is a sad state of affairs when one must fight the power of the spork. The spork has its place, that place, however, is not where I eat my dinner. An alert reader and fellow sufferer of the regime of the spork sent me the following information she found on Wikipedia:

            “Plastic sporks are common in prisons in the United States because they are difficult to form into weapons.”

Seriously? Could this be the true reason that the spork has been foisted upon us? Are there  really pressroom operators, composition specialists and CSRs in the exercise yard making prison shivs? This baffles me to no end. There are times when it feels like jail, but that’s only when you’re stuck in a windowless room for hours on end. There are no bars. There used to be bad chow, but then they closed the cafeteria on 2nd and 3rd shifts. I’m very confused.

Enough about the spork for now. Let’s get down to brass tacks, namely our excursion to the wooly hinterlands of Mechanicsburg. This is pretty exciting stuff for those of use who don’t get out much, so bear with me.

Around 11 AM, Mrs. T and I grabbed our environmentally conscious grocery bags, a cooler, some ice blocks and headed out to the Honda. After a stop for gas and a stop to drop off overdue library materials we were back on 283 west heading toward Harrisburg. Traffic moved pretty well until we got to the I-83 bridge. After crawling across the bridge, we entered the traffic wasteland of 581. Not pretty, but we made it to our destination…

Wegman’s. (Insert choir of angels singing)

After securing a parking space, we took our environmentally conscious grocery bags, grabbed a cart and entered grocery nirvana. First stop is usually the produce aisle. Brimming with every sort of produce you could want (and some you wouldn’t), we set to work grabbing healthy stuff. Broccoli crowns? Check. Four types of extremely crunchy apples? Check. Two bunches of celery? Check. $300.00 a pound summer truffles? (silence) Anyone? Anyone? That’s what I thought. When I posted a picture of the price tag of the truffles, the best comment was “Those truffle pigs have to be paid a living wage.”

After navigating the produce aisle, it’s considered good form to admire the tomato, basil and fresh mozzarella salad, then on to the meat aisle. They just have the nicest meats. The really nice thing is that the meat is vacuum packed and stays very fresh. Several trips ago, we bought pork chops and each chop was sealed individually on a sheet. Cut them into strips of two pork chops, stick them in the freezer, no worries. After picking up some pork tenderloin and chicken breast, we admired the brilliant red color of the wild-caught sockeye salmon and made our way to the checkout area.

All-in-all, a most excellent shopping trip. It should also be noted that Wegman’s stocks a decent selection of beers. There’s your typical mass-produced American swill (Yech, Budweiser) along with a decent selection of microbrews and imports. The prices are a little high, but you pay for convenience.

Upon leaving Wegman’s, we ventured across the parking lot to the true Holy of Holies. Chick-Fil-A. Anyone who knows me for any length of time knows about my affinity for Chick-Fil-A. These three words alone are the reason I could never pull off being a vegetarian. I’d drive too close to a Chick-Fil-A and next thing you know I’d be passed out in the middle of the restaurant surrounded by a sea of empty foil sandwich bags.

That was not the case yesterday, as I ate smart. I had half of a grilled chicken sandwich and half of a standard chicken sandwich with a small fruit cup and a bottle of water. Total caloric damage was around 435 calories. Little known fact about Chick-Fil-A is that all the entrée items are under 500 calories and the chicken is breaded on-site, as opposed to being breaded in a factory and shipped that way. If you’re going to eat fast food, eat Chick-Fil-A.

After lunch we headed to Dick’s Sporting Goods where I went looking for some new cross-trainers. I’m a big fan of New Balance, since they make their shoes in wide widths. I’ve been wearing their shoes for years now, starting with the 620, then the 621, 622 and now, the 623. Let me tell you, these are some COMFORTABLE shoes. Almost feels like you’re wearing slippers! Mrs. T. and I both left with a new pair of trainers. I wore mine last night and did nearly two miles on my break and no complaints from my dogs.

Tonight is going to be another drinking night, though, so I had better get my act together and sweat off a few. I leave you with the following:

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”- Maya Angelou

Today’s weight: 303.0 (Down 17 pounds since last Thursday)