Monday, February 1, 2010


Yeah.  That would be how I'm feeling.  I haven't had a full blown cold like this in quite some time!  I just keep plugging along though.  In that spirit and trying to get back into the swing of things:

Sunday Stats:
72 minutes on the treadmill; 12 minutes of walking fast, 60 minutes of running
1556 calories; 145g carbs; 57g fat; 121g protein
Gallons of sugar free decaf beverages but only 4 glasses of water
No alcohol

I spent most of Saturday preparing for dinner guests.  I hated to cancel on them what with me "just" having a cold but maybe I should have as between cleaning the house and getting our dinner together I pretty much was on my feet all day.

This was my menu:

Appetizers - crab cakes, clam chowder
Main meal - filet mignon, garlic baked shrimp, pan seared sea scallops
Sides - roasted vegetables, a concoction of eggplant, onion, garlic and plum tomatoes with basil; and twice stuffed potatoes
Our guests provided wine and dessert

The couple we had over we actually have known for several years through the karate dojo.  My husband and the wife of the other couple both taught there.  Eventually we all were students there.  We kept saying "let's get together" over the years and finally when the dojo changed the schedule at the new year, I made the call because I don't see them anymore since I'm a lower belt.

I made all that seafood because she decided a couple years ago that she wasn't going to eat meat anymore.  She said she loves animals but as of yet hasn't felt bad about fish or shellfish. 

It was a nice evening but the hubster and I were discussing it last night and much to my surprise he felt the same as I did:  they, but especially the husband, didn't come off the same personality wise as they do in classes.  So, the evening was enjoyable but somehow not quite what we expected.  On the other hand I thought that maybe that guy is a little like me:  a bit cautious and guarded.  So we should probably try to get together with them again and see if we can really get to know them.

Ever had that happen to you?

Yesterday I spent the day moving about slowly as I knew I needed to come back to work today even though I still feel craptastic.  I did get our taxes done and filed, which made Mr. Helen very happy when he got home from work.  Unfortunately between a garage roof, a new back door and a new bathroom vanity that refund is looooong gone.

I know most of the country has been experiencing cooler than normal weather so I thought my bloggy peeps might enjoy the recipe for the Clam Chowder.  It's one I found a long time ago in Cooking Light and have slowly adapted over the years.  Since one guest was a vegetarian, I sauteed the onion/celery mixture in a little butter:

New England Clam Chowder

4 (6 1/2 oz) cans chopped clams, undrained
2 (8 oz) bottles clam juice
4 bacon slices
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 garlic clove, minced
3 cups cubed red potato
1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp black pepper
3 parsley sprigs
1 bay leaf
2 cups 1% milk
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup half and half

Drain clams through a colander into a bowl, reserving liquid and clams. Combine clam liquid and clam juice.

Cook bacon in large pot until crisp. Remove bacon from pot, reserving 2 tsp dripping in pan. Crumble bacon and set aside. Add onion, celery, and garlic to pot and saute for 5 minutes or until tender. Add clam juice mixture, potato and next four ingredients (through bay leaf); bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Whisk together flour and milk until smooth. Add to pan. Stir in clams and half and half. Cook about 5 minutes. Remove bay leaf before serving.

Yields 8 servings (serving size: 1 1/4 cups chowder and 1 1/2 tsp bacon.)

Nutrition per serving: 158 calories; 18g carbs; 4.2g fat; 12g protein

Here's to getting back into my routine this week - and getting/feeling better.


  1. Your dinner menu sounds divine! I'm sorry you are feeling poorly.

    Making friends as adults is just hard work, I think.

    Feel better soon!

  2. Hope you feel better soon.

    Interesting how the spark wasn't there with the couple--that does happen. At least you tried!

  3. Hope you feel better soon Helen. Good for you for getting on the treadmill and running with a cold. Not sure if I could do that with how my sinsuses act up when I'm sick.
    That recipe looks so good I am going to have give it a try.

  4. Wow! Helen! Way to pull off a fantastic dinner when you feel like doo-doo!

    Everybody was feeling a little out of their element, I'm thinking, about dinner at your house. It just wasn't the same atmosphere as class. That's a good idea to give it another try and see if things mellow out.

    I love clam chowder. Looks like a recipe I'm gonna try. Thanks!

    Feel better soon!


  5. what an amazing meal.

    Hope you feel better soon.

  6. Yeah, we've had the same experience with couples. It feels almost like trying to make friends in middle school when we try to make couple friends. There are so many dynamics to account for and accommodate in a couple friendship.

  7. Helen I'm coming over for dinner. Snow or no snow.
    Way to go on pulling that off while feeling craptastic. Feel better soon. I know I keep saying this but spring is right around the corner!

  8. Wow - you put out a nice spread! The recipe sounds great - I may give it a try. Never made clam chowder from scratch.

    It's hard to find couples as adults where everyone is sympatico and comfortable and gets along...great find when you have that! You could try again with them, or maybe just let it go. Whatever feels right. I'm getting to the crotchety point of not wanting to have to work hard to get to know people. I tend to be forthcoming and open, and when someone else isn't, it's fine. But I know we prob'ly won't be hangning out too much.

  9. It is hard to make new friends as adults. There aren't enough neutral places to meet people. And when you're not feeling like yourself on top of that? Amazing!

  10. So sorry that cold just won't shake - but your menu sounds amazing!! I wish I liked clam chowder, just not my thing!

    I would say give it another shot with this couple - it may take a few get togethers to feel more comfortable.

  11. Feel better, Helen! Although being sick and doing 72 minutes on the treadmill is pretty fantastic!

    Quite a spread you cooked...too bad the company was a little off. Maybe give it one more chance?

  12. That was an amazing dinner you made. We have had people over before that we clicked with in one setting but not so much one on one.

    I hope that your cold goes away soon!

  13. The last time I did a dinner party it was a disaster.
    Unbeknownst to us, the couple was on the verge of divorce...Since it would make and excellent blog post, I won't go into it here. Let's just say it was the
    Oh, and what kind of martial arts do you practice...I am thinking of pickinig up Krav maga.

  14. Hopefully you will be over the cold soon. Kudos to you for going on with the dinner. I think you are probably right - they were probably just guarded a bit. I would try another get together with them to see if the mood lightens a bit. Who knows, they could have had a fight on the way over to your house too, which always causes some uncomfortableness.