Magzines...

My entire life I have flipped through the glossy pages of magazines where pretty girls smile back at me and home remedies made promises that I don’t think they were fully equipped to keep. Keeping pages of the perfect body. The perfect lips. The perfect long flowing hair. And I always remember telling myself “I have so much to fix, I am missing so much.” I am broken but not for long.

Trying everything and knowing the results would be short lived. Realizing that I had to find my own way; the perfect way for me “Christiann’s Way”



Life isn’t measured by the pages of magazines telling us “You are only 7 Steps Away From Perfection. Perfect Thighs. Perfect Curves. Perfect Lovers. Perfect Days.”

My life is measured by me.

The secret to a life well-lived is beautiful skin, a whittled waistline and “stop him dead in his tracks” personality. The perfect pair of shoes. A healthy diet. Amazing sex. A Great Swimsuit. Makeup that feels like it is barely there. Being Confident. Family and Friends. And looking better naked.

Lady Antebellum - I Was Here




Just close your eyes and listen. This is a magical song and one that feels really close to my heart. This song has been on my ipod for awhile but today was the first day that I actually listen to the words. Just wanted to share the words with you.

Lady Antebellum - "I Was Here" Lyrics:
You will notice me
I'll be leaving my mark like initials carved
In an old oak tree, you wait and see

Maybe I'll write like Twain wrote
Maybe I'll paint like Van Gogh
Cure the common cold, I don't know
But I'm ready start 'cause I know in my heart

I wanna do something that matters, say something different
Something that sets the whole world on its ear
I wanna do something better with the time I've been given
I wanna try to touch a few hearts in this life
Leave nothing less than something that says ?I was here?

I will prove you wrong
If you think I'm all talk, you're in for a shock
'Cause this dream's too strong and before too long

Maybe I'll compose symphonies
Maybe I'll fight for world peace
'Cause I know it's my destiny
To leave more than a trace of myself in this place!

I wanna do something that matters, say something different
Something that sets the whole world on its ear
I wanna do something better with the time I've been given
I wanna try to touch a few hearts in this life
And leave nothing less than something that says, "I was here!"

And I know that I, I will do more than just pass through this life
I'll leave nothing less than something that says, "I was here!"
I was here

Pineapple & Carrot Cake

Cravings. This is my current one. Carrot Cake.


Pineapple & Carrot Cake
Servings: 8
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cookng Time: 1 hour

For the cake:
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 pound carrots, grated
1/2 cup diced fresh pineapple

For the frosting:
3/4 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted

For the decoration:
1/2 cup chopped walnuts


Directions:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Butter 2 (8-inch) round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.

For the cake:
Beat the sugar, oil, and eggs together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light yellow. Add the vanilla. In another bowl, sift together 2 1/2 cups flour, the cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Toss the raisins and walnuts with 1 tablespoon flour. Fold in the carrots and pineapple. Add to the batter and mix well.

Divide the batter equally between the 2 pans. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely in the pans set over a wire rack.

For the frosting:
Mix the cream cheese, butter and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until just combined. Add the sugar and mix until smooth.

Place 1 layer, flat-side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake. Decorate with chopped walnuts.

Forever & Always...

Memories can be triggered by so many things. A song, a smell, a picture and when you least expect it, they can take you back…

I don’t have one memory that doesn’t have you in it. Time will heal my broken heart. The saying goes, “When one door closes, another one opens.” To close one door means to say goodbye.
So this is my goodbye...

You warned me from the start but I didn’t listen. There was nothing you could say to keep me from falling in love with you. It took all of about three seconds after you smiled (You have the best smile and this uncanny ability to make anyone laugh) for me to realized that I had always loved you.

One thing that you taught me was how to have fun. We decided that we wanted to do something and we just did it. There was never a dull moment with you.

I trusted you. You helped bring back a girl that was lost, taking all her fears away, and teaching her how to let go. You helped me find myself.

I will never forget you. You will always be my best friend. We will always have that one rainy day in September. Thank You for everything.

I Miss You. I Love You. And remember its Forever and Always.

Always Tomorrow

The past two weeks have run together like a never ending story. I have caught myself saying there’s always tomorrow several times over the past few weeks. Between school, vacation, and the everyday little things I haven't really left much time for breathing let alone working out.

Every morning and every night when I look in the mirror I can’t help but get mad at myself. Why did I let this happen? Insecurity starts to ease its way back into my life and then I start to believe everyone who said, “Christiann, this isn’t possible. You just need to realize that you have big bones.” Once those thoughts have clouded my mind I start to tell myself that maybe I just wasn’t meant to be the skinny girl that turned heads when she walked into the room.

Shortly after my small pity party I snap back to reality and know that everything is possible. I am the girl that will turn heads when she walks into the room I just haven’t found the “Christiann Way” yet! Sure, everyone encounters speed bumps (set backs) in life and every now and then you have that stubborn one that makes stop dead in your tracks. This massive two month speed bump didn’t just stop me in my tracks but made me slam into reverse.

Shortly before my birthday I had 4 cc of fluid taken out of the band due to some complications. Twenty four hours after the fluid had been removed I felt free. I was able to eat and not have an immediate sickness overwhelm and consume my entire body. It wasn’t until the end of June that I finally accepted that everything needed to change. Taking a deep breath and closing my eyes as I pressed the re-start button on my life.

The decision was made and 2 cc were placed back in the band. Another appointment has been set for the end of July to place the additional 2 cc of fluid back into my band.

This change has sparked a serious of questions in my daily life. “Why is food my safe place and why does food make me feel free?” “Can you find something that makes you feel the same way but with different results?” After the second day of the unanswered questions, my emotions were being tested and then it hit me like a ton of bricks. I wasn’t free; food is my 4X4 cell that I can’t seem to breakaway from. I was sabotaging myself. Food had won (taken over my life) while I wasn’t paying attention. I was scared and immediately ran back to what I felt was safe. Eating.

The Difference a Year Makes!

Another week is approaching and all I can think about is the difference a year makes. Reliving the moments through memories, pictures, and stories. Although all 17 of us are extremely tired and mostly sun burnt we wouldn't have change anything about our vacation.


The entire weekend was jammed back with laughter and relaxing moments that we will tell our children about one day. One thing that wasn't far from my mind was this same vacation but the previous year. I couldn't help but remember what I looked like. I knew it would feel different but just wasn't sure how much. All I know is this time last year my life was completely different.

My Mom has always said "Christiann, you need to live with someone for an entire year before making any final commitments." It wasn't until now that I fully understood why that would be necessary. People adapt to the season and along with their adaption come their attitudes. Last year was the start of what I now refer to as THE JOURNEY, so far I have had some amazing moments.

Back to the Mom has always said story...

The Seasons change and so do I. Most importantly I am and will always be myself but at different times through the year I go through different emotional stages. Trying to figure out why but last summer around this same time I was having the same struggles with my weight that I am currently facing.

So, I leave you with this. I have been told that you can't fix something until you FIRST recognize the problem.

Red, White, & Blue Mini Tarts


Red, White, & Blue Mini Tarts
Serving Size: 3 Mini Phyllo Cups

Ingredients:
24 - Pre-made Phyllo Cups
1 - 8 ounce container of Mascarpone Cream
1/2 cup - Blueberries
1/2 cup - Strawberries
3 tbsp - Confectioners' Sugar
1/2 cup - Whipped Cream

Started by baking pre-made phyllo cups based on package directions. Bake and allow to cool while making the filling mixture.

Filling:
Mix Mascarpone Cream with Confectioners' Sugar until smooth. Once mixed fold in Whipped Cream.

Asembling:
Take filling and place in pastry bag for easier filling of phyllo cups. Fill the cups and then add 1/2 slice of strawberry on top and also 1 blueberry per cup.

Baby Heirloom Tomato and Cucumber Salad

Baby Heirloom Tomato and Cucumber Salad

Ingredients:

1/4 pound country bread, cut into roughly 1-inch cubes
5 tablespoons basil infused olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup aged balsamic vinegar
2 pounds assorted mixed baby heirloom tomatoes
1 cucumber, peeled and seeded, if necessary

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In a large bowl, toss the bread cubes with 2 tablespoons of the basil olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes, then toss the bread cubes and bake until golden, another 3 to 5 minutes. In a small saucepan, over low heat add the balsamic and simmer until reduced by half.

Cut the smaller tomatoes in half, quarter the medium tomatoes and slice the larger tomatoes. Cut the cucumber, lengthwise in half, and slice it into half moons or dice it into cubes.

In a large serving bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumbers and remaining oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the bread cubes and toss. Drizzle with the reduced balsamic and serve.

Cheesy Smashed Potatoes

Cheesy Smashed Potatoes

Ingredients:
3 pounds Red Bliss Potatoes
1/4 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
1/4 cup Sour Cream
2 tbsp Butter (room temperature)
1/2 - 1 cup Heavy Cream (room temperature)

Directions:
In large pot, cover potatoes with water by 1 inch. Bring to boil , add salt and simmer until potatoes are fork tender, about 15 minute. Drain and place back in pot and cook over low heat to evaporate the rest of the water, about 2-5 minute. Once complete take off heat and add in sour cream, cheese, & heavy cream and smash with potatoes masher until desired consistency.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Note:
I leave the skin on the potatoes it give a nice presentations. But this is up to your family preference.

Cheesy Smashed Potatoes

Cheesy Smashed Potatoes

Ingredients:
3 pounds Red Bliss Potatoes
1/4 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
1/4 cup Sour Cream
2 tbsp Butter (room temperature)
1/2 - 1 cup Heavy Cream (room temperature)

Directions:
In large pot, cover potatoes with water by 1 inch. Bring to boil , add salt and simmer until potatoes are fork tender, about 15 minute. Drain and place back in pot and cook over low heat to evaporate the rest of the water, about 2-5 minute. Once complete take off heat and add in sour cream, cheese, & heavy cream and smash with potatoes masher until desired consistency.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Note:
I leave the skin on the potatoes it give a nice presentations. But this is up to your family preference.

Dad's Homestyle Gravy

This recipe was given to me by my father this past Thanksgiving (2009) when I cooked my first Thanksgiving dinner. Everything was made from scratch which I was advised was much better and would add to the taste. I agree. Not only did my house smell amazing there was also a depth of flavor that you get by making your own stock.

Dad's Homestyle Gravy

Ingredients:
3 tbsp - Butter
3 tbsp - Flour
1 onion
1 carrot
1 whole stalk celery
Turkey Inners

First, Peel onion and cut in half. Also cut the whole stalk of celery in half. Peel carrot and cut in half.
Then in 3 quart sauce pan, place turkey inners and vegetables and salt and pepper. Bring to Boil then reduce to simmer. Simmer for about 3 hours.

After 3 hours make rou in large saucepan with butter and flour, bake until flour is completely mixed into butter. Once rou is complete whisk in one ladle at a time of stock until desired consistency. Take off heat and set aside until turkey is complete.

Once turkey is ready ladle in turkey dripping whisk together for some WAM BAM GRAVY!

** Careful Don't Make Your Gravy Too Thin!

Creamy Spinach & Artichoke Dip

This was a hit when I made it. It was creamy and had some spicy to it which everyone loved. I loved it because I put everything into a crock pot and was able to walk away and not worry about it.

Creamy Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Ingredients:
8 cups fresh spinach
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lemon, zested
2 (14 ounce) cans artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
6 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated
3/4 cup Sour Cream
3/4 cup Mayonnaise
1 tbsp Cayenne Pepper
Salt and Pepper

Directions:
Pre-heat over to 375 degrees. Spray 1 1/2 quart casserole dish with cooking spray; set aside.

Blanch Spinach. Remove from water and place into water bath to stop cooking. Then place into a salad spinner to remove excess water. If you don't have a salad sinner just squeeze out the excess water.

In medium bowl, mix together spinach, garlic, and lemon zest. Add Artichoke hearts, 1 cup Parmesan Cheese, Sour Cream, Mayonnaise, & Cayenne Pepper. Mix. Place into prepared Casserole Dish. Bake for 30 minutes. The last 5 minutes add the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan to the top.

Serve Hot or Cold. Along with Chips.

Fresh Fruit Salad

I absolutely love yogurt and fruit together so when I was watching one of my favorite food network shows Barefoot Contessa I came across this recipe.

You can serve this as a side dish or also as dessert.

Fresh Fruit Salad with Honey Vanilla Yogurt
Makes: 4-6 servings

Ingredients:
2 cups plain yogurt
2 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Seeds scraped from 1/2 vanilla bean (optional)
1/2 orange, juiced
1 banana, sliced
1/2 pint fresh blueberries
1/2 pint fresh raspberries
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled & cut in half
1 bunch seedless grapes, halved

Directions:
Combine yogurt, honey, vanilla extract, & vanilla bean seeds in bowl set aside. Combine the orange juice and banana slices in separate bowl. Add the berries and grapes and gently mix the fruit mixture together. Spoon the fruit into serving bowls and top with yogurt.

Roasted Turkey with Truffle Butter

Everyone has there finest hour in life. I believe that my finest hour in cooking came when I made our families 2009 Thanksgiving dinner. What started out as just trying to find recipes for my menu, manifested into this amazing journey. I was watching my favorite chef Ina Garden on Food Network and she revealed another amazing recipe to me. I cooked a 26 pound turkey so I double the recipe and cooked my turkey according to butcher. I will never forget my first turkey. Delicious, Tender, & Juicy...Everything that a turkey should be.



Roasted Turkey with Truffle Butter
Cook Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients
1 (12 to 14-pound) fresh turkey, with giblets removed
3 ounces white truffle butter, at room temperature
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Large bunch fresh thyme
1 large onion, unpeeled and cut in eighths
1 whole head garlic, unpeeled and cut in half crosswise
Good olive oil

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Drain any juices from the turkey and place it on a flat rack in a large, shallow roasting pan. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels.

Working from the large cavity end, gently run your fingers between the skin and the meat to loosen the skin, taking care not to tear the skin. (Be careful not to do this with rings on your fingers!) Place the softened butter under the skin and gently massage the skin to spread the butter evenly over the whole breast.

Rub regular butter generously on inside of cavity. Then sprinkle the cavity generously with salt and pepper. Place half of the thyme sprigs in the cavity along with the onion and garlic. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tie 1 length of string around the bird and the wings to keep the wings close to the body.

Brush the turkey with olive oil, sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Remove 1 tablespoon of thyme leaves from the stems, chop them, and sprinkle on the turkey. Roast the turkey for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until an instant-read thermometer placed in the center of the breast registers 160 degrees F. If you want the skin to be crisp, don't baste the turkey at all! About halfway through, when the breast is golden brown, cover the breast loosely with aluminum foil to prevent the skin from burning.

Remove from the oven, cover tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 15 to 20 minutes. Carve and serve with the pan juices.

HUGE

There is a new tv show on ABC Family called HUGE. I know, not really my target age group but it caught my interest. It put a smile on my face to watch a show and know that finally a network has decided to shed some light on the major issues that young teens face while growing up and also battling with their weight.

- Eating Disorders
- Anexity
- Family Acceptance
- Friends & Enemies

Although, I think that everyone should live a healthy live style I also believe that even if you are over weight you should not be judged because beneath the weight lies a person that has the same needs and desire as anyone else, love, respect, and acceptance. This is something that I am just starting to realize.

My weight loss journey started many years prior to my lapband, and it's an on going journey. Not everything can be blamed on my weight.  Weight gain is an outward expression of inner struggles.  In dealing with those struggles you seek comfort, which is easily obtainable through food.  The more comfort you seek the more weight you gain and thus the cycle begins. As you deal with your weight loss you are force to deal with the sometimes suppressed issues that lie dormant (hidden) beneath the weight. Also, you are never told that your hormones change as your body drastically changes another challenge added to day to day life.

FEAR of  failure is an ever present force, but I can't let that stop me because for the last 25 years I have allow fear to control me. No more excuses. We all have to continue to conqueur the speed bumps (or setbacks) that we are faced with in life and if you get knock down get right back up. Remind yourself of your final goal but remember to enjoy the ride. It may not always be easy but never give up, one day you will look back and realize "You did it!."

Happy 4th of July!

Hey Everyone.

Pixie is back. Okay, Okay! I know I have said that before but I truly am. I hope that everyone has had a great year so far.

Happy 4th of July! God Bless America!!!

"News Flash" Today I realized that I absolutely love cooking I think everyone in my life loves when I cook too. I am an emotional person and when I am in the kitchen I feel like nothing in the world matters except making wonderful amazing food.

It’s my aphrodisiac! My adrenaline starts pumping and I just don't want to stop cooking. So I realized today while making my mixed heirloom tomato and cucumber salad that I need to change the way that I look at food.

It’s no 5000 world puzzle to know that I have always had a battle with food. Hell, if I didn't then I wouldn't have needed surgery as my tool to get healthy. It has just taken me awhile to understand that it is okay to enjoy food.

So tonight we cooked dinner. Mom grilled chicken on the grill. She said that we had to do something Americana and well that was our take. I was in charge of dessert!  I also wanted a summer salad recipe .  I fell in love with this one while watching 5 Ingredient Fix. For dessert I made Red-White-Blue Mini Tarts and then I made mixed Baby Heirloom Tomato and Cucumber Salad.  Can you say De-li-cious!