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Reading List 2017

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

I’m going to attempt to list every book I read this year. This includes cookbooks and graphic novels. I’ll give a rundown of each book as I finish it. No description means it’s in progress.

KINDLE! I don’t read much on Kindle but I am reading Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman and I just read Dead Trees Give No Shelter by Wil Wheaton. The Gaiman book is an entertaining collection of vignettes. The Wheaton novelette is a really great short read. Speaking of Wheaton, if you’ve not listened to Ready Player One read by him, DO SO. It is incredibly well done!

The Blind Assassin, Margaret Atwood – SLOW. OMG so slow. It’s very literary, you know, florid descriptions and language. But SO HARD to get through. And very long.

The Peach Keeper, Sarah Addison Allen – Short book, sort of a mystery/ghost story. Pretty good.

China Dolls, Lisa See – The 2nd book by her I’ve read. She’s kind of an Amy Tan knockoff (one of Tan’s proteges). I like her mix of history and fiction. I learned a lot about WWII treatment of Japanese from this book. The other book I read from her last year was Dreams of Joy, which was set in the late 50s when the New Society (Communism) took over China. This book had some VERY disturbing things in it about how the people of China suffered during this time. But again, historical fiction is a great way to learn history.

The Burgess Boys, Elizabeth Strout – This is a family history kind of story. It’s depressing and slow. Not very good.

The Language of Flowers, Vanessa Diffenbaugh – I didn’t think I was going to like this one, but I did. It weaves the story of an orphan girl’s life with the Victorian tradition of using flowers to convey messages. Every flower (and other plants) has a meaning and this book uses these meanings to tell the story. Clever and overall a good read.

Blackwood Farm, Anne Rice – This 2002 novel is more of the Vampire series but with a ghost story twist. It’s long and full of her usual verbose style. It’s written in first person as a story told to the reader, a style she’s used before. It’s long and just OK. Lestat makes an appearance, so there’s THAT.

The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook, Patricia Tanumihardja – Got this for Xmess, but read it in January. Awesome recipes of every kind of Asian comfort food. Tons of soups and noodle dishes.

Les Diners de Gala, Salvador Dalí – An art book that happens to have recipes. It’s a collection of the recipes that Dalí’s wife Gala used for various dinner parties. Some of the recipes are very weird. But I didn’t get it for the recipes, it’s a beautifully done large coffee table book. I love it!

The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, Joshilyn Jackson – Eh, it was just OK. Kinda predictable, but it’s an ok beach read. I did like its Southern hillbilly roots and the insight into just how dysfunctional Southerners can be.
Carthage, Joyce Carol Oates – A twisted tale of family drama. I identified with one of the main characters, Cressida, in that we are both misunderstood by our families and we share a strong disdain for our families. Her escape and return resonated with me.

Hyperbole and a Half (hardback collection), Allie Brosh. A collection of her online blog/comics with commentary. LOL hilarious at times. A good read.

Haul from Half Price Books


Peony in Love, Lisa See
Wildflower, Drew Barrymore – Meh. It’s a collection of short essays from Drew’s life. She is a lunatic. Poor thing. Pisceans are always weird, but she is OUT THERE. She had no discernible upbringing, so I guess it’s the outcome of that. And her father was nuts, too. It’s a good summer read.

Magical Thinking, Augusten Burroughs – A funny memoir! I think I’ve read it before, but it’s still good the second time!

Dreaming in Chinese, Deborah Fallows – I found this book fascinating. This lady spent several years living in China and it’s her description of what it’s like to try to learn Chinese. Very insightful and a good read if you’re a language nerd like me.

What Comes Next and How to Like It, Abigail Thomas – This is a delightful little memoir that is written a lot like blog posts. I identify with Abby and her take on the world is much like mine.

Waiter Rant, The Waiter (from the website) – This is taken from a blog, but the writing is very good. The author’s insights into restaurant culture is spot on. Good read.

Thai & South-East Asian Cooking (cookbook, various authors) – I’ve already perused this one, but not read it through. Nicely illustrated and lots of soups, which are my current obsession.

Haul from Ollies!

Moar Books!



Hungry Heart, Jennifer Weiner
All Fall Down, Jennifer Weiner – UGH. This book is about some privileged white mom with a whiny brat of a kid. No wonder she’d addicted to Oxy. Had to abandon this one. Doesn’t bode well for the other Weiner book.
Woman of the Dead, Bernard Aichner
The Japanese Lover, Isabel Allende

Haul from Goodwill!


Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom, Julia Child
Out Stealing Horses, Per Peterson
A Cook’s Tour, Anthony Bourdain
Willful Creatures, Aimee Bender
Something Chinese that I got because it’s pretty.
Fugitive Pieces, Anne Michaels
Tweet Heart, Elizabeth Rudnick

Reading List 2017

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

I’m going to attempt to list every book I read this year. This includes cookbooks and graphic novels. I’ll give a rundown of each book as I finish it. No description means it’s in progress.

The Blind Assassin, Margaret Atwood – SLOW. OMG so slow. It’s very literary, you know, florid descriptions and language. But SO HARD to get through. And very long.

The Peach Keeper, Sarah Addison Allen – Short book, sort of a mystery/ghost story. Pretty good.

China Dolls, Lisa See – The 2nd book by her I’ve read. She’s kind of an Amy Tan knockoff (one of Tan’s proteges). I like her mix of history and fiction. I learned a lot about WWII treatment of Japanese from this book. The other book I read from her last year was Dreams of Joy, which was set in the late 50s when the New Society (Communism) took over China. This book had some VERY disturbing things in it about how the people of China suffered during this time. But again, historical fiction is a great way to learn history.

The Burgess Boys, Elizabeth Strout – This is a family history kind of story. It’s depressing and slow. Not very good.

The Language of Flowers, Vanessa Diffenbaugh – I didn’t think I was going to like this one, but I did. It weaves the story of an orphan girl’s life with the Victorian tradition of using flowers to convey messages. Every flower (and other plants) has a meaning and this book uses these meanings to tell the story. Clever and overall a good read.

Blackwood Farm, Anne Rice – This 2002 novel is more of the Vampire series but with a ghost story twist. It’s long and full of her usual verbose style. It’s written in first person as a story told to the reader, a style she’s used before. It’s long and just OK. Lestat makes an appearance, so there’s THAT.

The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook, Patricia Tanumihardja – Got this for Xmess, but read it in January. Awesome recipes of every kind of Asian comfort food. Tons of soups and noodle dishes.

Les Diners de Gala, Salvador Dalí – An art book that happens to have recipes. It’s a collection of the recipes that Dalí’s wife Gala used for various dinner parties. Some of the recipes are very weird. But I didn’t get it for the recipes, it’s a beautifully done large coffee table book. I love it!

The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, Joshilyn Jackson – Eh, it was just OK. Kinda predictable, but it’s an ok beach read. I did like its Southern hillbilly roots and the insight into just how dysfunctional Southerners can be.
Carthage, Joyce Carol Oates – A twisted tale of family drama. I identified with one of the main characters, Cressida, in that we are both misunderstood by our families and we share a strong disdain for our families. Her escape and return resonated with me.

Hyperbole and a Half (hardback collection), Allie Brosh. A collection of her online blog/comics with commentary. LOL hilarious at times. A good read.

Haul from Half Price Books


Peony in Love, Lisa See
Wildflower, Drew Barrymore – Meh. It’s a collection of short essays from Drew’s life. She is a lunatic. Poor thing. Pisceans are always weird, but she is OUT THERE. She had no discernible upbringing, so I guess it’s the outcome of that. And her father was nuts, too. It’s a good summer read.

Magical Thinking, Augusten Burroughs – A funny memoir! I think I’ve read it before, but it’s still good the second time!

Dreaming in Chinese, Deborah Fallows – I found this book fascinating. This lady spent several years living in China and it’s her description of what it’s like to try to learn Chinese. Very insightful and a good read if you’re a language nerd like me.

What Comes Next and How to Like It, Abigail Thomas – This is a delightful little memoir that is written a lot like blog posts. I identify with Abby and her take on the world is much like mine.

Waiter Rant, The Waiter (from the website) – This is taken from a blog, but the writing is very good. The author’s insights into restaurant culture is spot on. Good read.

Thai & South-East Asian Cooking (cookbook, various authors) – I’ve already perused this one, but not read it through. Nicely illustrated and lots of soups, which are my current obsession.

Haul from Ollies!

Moar Books!



Hungry Heart, Jennifer Weiner
All Fall Down, Jennifer Weiner – UGH. This book is about some privileged white mom with a whiny brat of a kid. No wonder she’d addicted to Oxy. Had to abandon this one. Doesn’t bode well for the other Weiner book.
Woman of the Dead, Bernard Aichner
The Japanese Lover, Isabel Allende

Haul from Goodwill!


Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom, Julia Child
Out Stealing Horses, Per Peterson
A Cook’s Tour, Anthony Bourdain
Willful Creatures, Aimee Bender
Something Chinese that I got because it’s pretty.
Fugitive Pieces, Anne Michaels
Tweet Heart, Elizabeth Rudnick

Reading List 2017

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

I’m going to attempt to list every book I read this year. This includes cookbooks and graphic novels. I’ll give a rundown of each book as I finish it. No description means it’s in progress.

The Blind Assassin, Margaret Atwood – SLOW. OMG so slow. It’s very literary, you know, florid descriptions and language. But SO HARD to get through. And very long.

The Peach Keeper, Sarah Addison Allen – Short book, sort of a mystery/ghost story. Pretty good.

China Dolls, Lisa See – The 2nd book by her I’ve read. She’s kind of an Amy Tan knockoff (one of Tan’s proteges). I like her mix of history and fiction. I learned a lot about WWII treatment of Japanese from this book. The other book I read from her last year was Dreams of Joy, which was set in the late 50s when the New Society (Communism) took over China. This book had some VERY disturbing things in it about how the people of China suffered during this time. But again, historical fiction is a great way to learn history.

The Burgess Boys, Elizabeth Strout – This is a family history kind of story. It’s depressing and slow. Not very good.

The Language of Flowers, Vanessa Diffenbaugh – I didn’t think I was going to like this one, but I did. It weaves the story of an orphan girl’s life with the Victorian tradition of using flowers to convey messages. Every flower (and other plants) has a meaning and this book uses these meanings to tell the story. Clever and overall a good read.

Blackwood Farm, Anne Rice – This 2002 novel is more of the Vampire series but with a ghost story twist. It’s long and full of her usual verbose style. It’s written in first person as a story told to the reader, a style she’s used before. It’s long and just OK. Lestat makes an appearance, so there’s THAT.

The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook, Patricia Tanumihardja – Got this for Xmess, but read it in January. Awesome recipes of every kind of Asian comfort food. Tons of soups and noodle dishes.

Les Diners de Gala, Salvador Dalí – An art book that happens to have recipes. It’s a collection of the recipes that Dalí’s wife Gala used for various dinner parties. Some of the recipes are very weird. But I didn’t get it for the recipes, it’s a beautifully done large coffee table book. I love it!

The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, Joshilyn Jackson – Eh, it was just OK. Kinda predictable, but it’s an ok beach read. I did like its Southern hillbilly roots and the insight into just how dysfunctional Southerners can be.
Carthage, Joyce Carol Oates – A twisted tale of family drama. I identified with one of the main characters, Cressida, in that we are both misunderstood by our families and we share a strong disdain for our families. Her escape and return resonated with me.

Hyperbole and a Half (hardback collection), Allie Brosh. A collection of her online blog/comics with commentary. LOL hilarious at times. A good read.

Haul from Half Price Books


Peony in Love, Lisa See
Wildflower, Drew Barrymore – Meh. It’s a collection of short essays from Drew’s life. She is a lunatic. Poor thing. Pisceans are always weird, but she is OUT THERE. She had no discernible upbringing, so I guess it’s the outcome of that. And her father was nuts, too. It’s a good summer read.

Magical Thinking, Augusten Burroughs
Dreaming in Chinese, Deborah Fallows
What Comes Next and How to Like It, Abigail Thomas – This is a delightful little memoir that is written a lot like blog posts. I identify with Abby and her take on the world is much like mine.

Waiter Rant, The Waiter (from the website) – This is taken from a blog, but the writing is very good. The author’s insights into restaurant culture is spot on. Good read.

Thai & South-East Asian Cooking (cookbook, various authors) – I’ve already perused this one, but not read it through. Nicely illustrated and lots of soups, which are my current obsession.

Haul from Ollies!

Moar Books!



Hungry Heart, Jennifer Weiner
All Fall Down, Jennifer Weiner – UGH. This book is about some privileged white mom with a whiny brat of a kid. No wonder she’d addicted to Oxy. Had to abandon this one. Doesn’t bode well for the other Weiner book.
Woman of the Dead, Bernard Aichner
The Japanese Lover, Isabel Allende

Haul from Goodwill!


Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom, Julia Child
Out Stealing Horses, Per Peterson
A Cook’s Tour, Anthony Bourdain
Willful Creatures, Aimee Bender
Something Chinese that I got because it’s pretty.
Fugitive Pieces, Anne Michaels
Tweet Heart, Elizabeth Rudnick

Summertime and the Conning is Easy!

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

Not really, cons are HARD when you shlep arcade games! LOL

We’re in the middle of our 6 weeks of cons. MomoCon is in the can and it was AWESOME!! The fan base is excellent, the staff of Momo is nice and responsive – we were treated very well. Even the dock of the GWCC was great! They let us drive the truck right onto the floor to our area and unload! It took 15 minutes! SAHWEET!! Even with $900 of expenses (truck and hotel), we made a little money.

Speaking of trucks, if you use rentals as much as we do, I highly recommend setting up a business account with Penske. We get a great rate on the rental, plus uber cheap mileage and we can pick up the truck the night before. Very handy!! We use 16′ trucks with liftgate currently, it’ll probably go up next year when we have more games. We had an issue with a truck last weekend – nails in tire – but they got us fixed up and back on the road in about an hour and credited us for lost time. The Penske truck yard is next to Nick’s work, so that helped. If you use trucks often, get a business account. It will save you hundreds!

I’ve finally broken the 185 barrier. My current weight is 184.2, but we all know that it’s probably 188 today, since that’s the way my weight goes. I’m happy that it’s moving again. Cutting back on the vino and starting harder exercise is probably helping.

Speaking of exercise, I’ve got a weight routine going. Sadly, I blew out my left knee with squats yesterday, so those will be skipped for a week or so, but hopefully I can still do extensions and curls despite my knees being little bitches. Here is what I currently do 3x/week:

Treadmill: 1 mile walk/jog warm up (or a full 30 min routine depending on my mood)
Free Weights:
60# leg extensions 3×12 (sets/reps) [this one needs to go up to 65-70#]
35# leg curls 3×12 [might go to 40# for this]
50# squats 3×12 [if my knees will tolerate them; we shall see]
8# bicep curls 3×12 [need to get 10# weights]
8# tricep rows 3×12 [need to work on form for these]
10# medicine ball core side to sides 25 sets

That’s it currently. I’ve got to go back on turmeric for my crunchy knees and see if I can convince them to allow me to do squats. ::fingers crossed:: Squats are really very good for what I need: leg strength. They work the whole upper leg as well as glutes and core. I’m going to dial back the weight to 30-40# and see if that helps, but I’m not feeling confident. Stupid knees. Stupid marching band. Ugh.

Other than conventions and exercise, not much going on around here. The usual insomnia problems, etc. I’m trying to keep Nick on an even keel by providing good food and a calm space for him.

We’ve got Southern Fried Gameroom Expo next weekend, then Heroes right after that. SFGE is an unpaid con, so we’re taking whatever we feel like. Heroes is our vacay con, no worky! We are taking promo material to put out, but that’s it. We plan to take it easy and drink our way through the weekend! We’ve got dinner plans with some folks we rarely get to see but other than that, NO PLANS and NO SCHEDULE. Aaaaaahhh!

Once we’re back from vacay, we’ve got commissions to do and more games to prep for DragonCon (Labour Day weekend).

We have tickets to Heroes and Villains con in November. There was a special 2 for 1, so I picked up a pair. We’ll see what this con is all about!

So that’s our summer! If you’re at Heroes, HOLLAH! We’d love to hang out!

Southern Biscuits

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

Biscuits are something that every Southerner should be able to make. And YES you must use White Lily® self rising flour. JUST DO IT. I don’t make biscuits often, but sometimes, like today, I just gotta have a biscuit!! Sadly I did not get pix of making the dough, but I did get a shot of the finished product.

Southern Biscuit!

Here is a handy trick for you! I never have buttermilk on hand, so I make mine like this:

Instant Buttermilk: Put 1 tsp of white vinegar into 1/2 cup milk, half n half or heavy cream. In a couple of minutes, the milk will curdle and voilà! Buttermilk. Just use about 1 tsp of vinegar per every half cup or so.

White Lily® Flour Biscuits
2 cups WL Self Rising Flour
1/4 cup (half stick) butter or shortening, cubed
~1/2 to 2/3 cup buttermilk (more or less)
Yield: about 8 biscuits

Preheat oven to 425ºF

Put flour in a large bowl and cut in butter with dough cutter or two forks. Flour should have a grainy texture with some pea sized bits of butter. Add in 1/2 cup buttermilk and stir in. Keep adding buttermilk until the dough is just sticking together. Turn out on a floured counter and knead just a couple of times to make a ball. Pat out to about 1″ thick and cut out biscuits with a cutter or a glass. Place on ungreased shiny cookie sheet (a shiny sheet will give you a better biscuit crust). Bake for about 10-15 minutes, until biscuits are lightly golden. Serve warm and enjoy!

One Year VSG Anniversary

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

Sorry this is a day late, but I did get the VLOG posted yesterday over at youtube! Please subscribe! I think I’m going to do some cooking vlogging over there…

May 16 2016, right after surgery:

VSG Surgery 5/16/16



So, one year has passed since I made the best decision I’ve ever made – aside from marrying my best friend. :) And this is what I look like now:

5/16/17 One year!



I’ve not met my goal of 80# gone, but 65# ain’t too shabby. I am goal oriented, so I’m not giddy with the 65#, but I’m glad I’ve lost it. I’m hoping that the new exercise routine will help me get past this mid-180s plateau.

I’m still wearing a L top and 14 jeans, but the jeans are a little loose. I think my waist has gone done another inch or two. Even if I don’t lose weight, I know the weight lifting will change the way I look, so whatever. I guess we’ll see!! Muscle weighs more than fat, so the numbers may not move much.

I’m still taking the same supplements, still taking Nexium. I tried to get off Nexium again and failed, so I guess I’ll keep taking 20mg in the morning and 10 mg at night. I can’t even go down to just once daily. Ugh. I just hope they’ll come up with a better class of drugs than the -azole PPIs (esomeprazole, omeprazole). I kind of like my kidneys and want to keep them for a few more decades. Sigh.

VSG is the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. The weight loss is great, but it did so much MORE for me than just that. The experience of having surgery got me over some of my worst phobias – particularly needles. I still don’t LIKE getting stuck, but I don’t pass out any more, which is a fucking MIRACLE. This has also helped with my dental phobia, too. And of course, getting tattoos, which I can do without any fuss now. The awesome nurses in Mexico were SO GOOD at their jobs. Even the multiple sticks for an IV line were not too bad. MIRACLE, I tell you.

VSG also “cured” me of ALL my inflammation issues. I quote cured because I don’t think it was VSG at all, I think it was changing my gut flora that did the trick. When you have any gut surgery, you disrupt the flora by the antibiotics and the fact that you don’t eat for a week. I think this is a very important part of why VSG ended my inflammation. There is SO much research regarding gut flora right now. I’m sure that it will be linked to all sorts of chronic conditions – especially the ones involving inflammation.

VSG also empowered me overall. I finally did something for myself and it paid off. This has given me a new feeling of being in control that I had not had for a very long time.

So when you hear me preach the gospel of VSG, what you’re really hearing me preach is the gospel of empowerment.

If you are tired of being sick, fat and tired, then DO SOMETHING about it. I sat around whining for about TEN years. FUCK THAT. I’ll never do that again! I let myself get fat and unhealthy because of my fear of medical procedures. I really can’t say it enough: FIND A WAY TO DO WHAT YOU NEED TO DO TO MAKE YOURSELF FEEL BETTER. If it’s the gym, a shrink, a doctor, or a medical procedure, make it happen. Don’t waste 10 years like I did!

Kitchen Tutorial #2

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

This part of the tutorial is every simple recipe I could round up from here as well as ones I make regularly but are not really worthy of publishing on their own. Easy, fast and low carb are the keys for these recipes, unpublished ones at bottom.

Common Cooking Mistakes

Salsa Verde Chili

Creamy Salsa Verde Chicken & Pasta

Baked Chicken with Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Sauce

Asian BBQ Pork Ribs

Read the rest of this entry »

Kitchen Tutorial #1

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

Since I spent all day writing this stuff out for a friend who needs a lifestyle change, I thought I’d publish for anyone else who might want to start doing low carb and/or cooking more at home. First up: basic kitchen essentials! Basic tools and getting your pantry started.

Basic kitchen utensils you’ll need:
meat thermometer
measuring spoons
2 cup measuring cup
microplane or lemon zester
crock pot (small basic one is OK)
square baking dish or pan
large heavy bottom frying pan nonstick is fine
small nonstick skillet for frittatas!
couple of soup pans, 2 qt
large wide bottom chili pot (or dutch oven if you want to spend $50+, it’s worth it!)

Basic pantry (NO canned veg other than what’s here!):
extra virgin olive oil EVOO (look for dark bottle, around $10 per ltr)
kosher salt (my recipes call for kosher, NOT table salt)
black pepper
sugar
cornstarch
dried basil
dried oregano
dried thyme
dried cilantro
sweet paprika
smoked paprika
L&P worcestershire sauce (it’s the best)
steak sauce
dijon mustard
olive oil mayo (half the fat, all the taste)
seasoned rice wine vinegar
4 boxes chicken stock (low sodium for you)
4 cans diced toms (I like Hunts fire roasted w/ garlic)
Herdez Salsa Verde (NOT spicy) for green chicken, white chili and green chili
1 tube tomato paste (it keeps the longest, look in Italian section)
capers (for chicken piccata)
2 cans Bush’s chili starter (any flavor, but medium is perfect)
2 cans white beans (great northern)
2 cans seasoned black beans
1 jar sundried tomatoes (for a recipe)
1 jar large pimento stuffed green olives (for recipe)
1 bottle Korean BBQ sauce (BiBiGo is great)
Keep canned soups on hand at all times. Progresso low sodium soups are pretty good. Whatever you get, make sure it’s low sodium.

Fridge:
butter, salted
sliced cheese (real, NOT American!)
shredded parmesan
heavy cream (for sauces, keeps forever)**
deli meat, smoked turkey, ham, etc.
Eggs
**Stay away from low fat dairy. Get full fat cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream and yogurts. To avoid sugary yogurts, get the kroger Carbmaster. It’s not as good as yoplait, but it is also not full of sugar. OR get plain full fat greek yogurt and top with some honey. It’s been shown that full fat dairy is better for you in the long run than reduced fat stuff.

Veg always on hand:
garlic (the prepared garlic in a jar is OK if you’ll use that more)
white onions
lemons (for piccata and I use for lots of things)

Low carb fresh veg for meals:
cauliflower (toss with EVOO, S/P and roast at 425 for 15 mins)
green beans (cut off stems and sautee whole in EVOO with minced garlic and S/P)
greens (baby kale is surprisingly good) Sautee with EVOO, garlic and S/P.
asparagus same as green beans but add some lemon zest and finish with lemon juice

Salad: (eat one per day)
romain hearts
celery
scallions
radishes
carrot sticks
grape tomatoes

OIL & VINEGAR dressing. NO CREAMY DRESSINGS.
Use 2 parts extra virgin olive oil to one part seasoned rice wine vinegar. Season with S/P. Add in some dried basil if you want or even a dollop of dijon if you feel frisky. Whisk thoroughly to emulsify. This can be held at room temp.

Frozen sides and veg are FAR superior to canned veg because of the sodium. Low sodium canned veg is disgusting. Frozen veg keeps all the nutrition and has far less sodium, even if you get it with flavouring.

Basic frozen veg to have on hand:
spinach (get it in the bag so you can use what you need)
stew veg (for easy crockpot stew)
frozen cauliflower is ok for adding to a recipe, not great alone
frozen greens are fine
frozen green peas are the only peas I use
DO not get frozen green beans or asparagus. That stuff gets GROSS when frozen.

You can also get frozen recipe ready veg such as diced onions and peppers, and they are OK, just not as flavourful as fresh. But if you want to sub in the frozen to save you time and effort, that’s just fine.

There are myriad frozen sides out there, but some outstanding ones I’ve found recently are:
Birdseye Protein Blends – usually a grain and veg, various flavours
Green Giant Fire Roasted veg
any veg mix as long as it’s not loaded with sodium

FYI, you can freeze 9 grain bread! It keeps forever and you can’t tell it’s been frozen. Restaurant trick!

Frozen Proteins:
frozen chicken tenders
frozen thin chicken breast if you can find it
frozen boneless skinless chix thighs

For beef I rarely buy it frozen. I buy it on sale and freeze. For quick chili, keep ~1# packs of 90/10 low fat ground beef or ground chicken on hand.

Other meats you’ll need for various recipes:
flavoured pork tenderloin
bone in, skin on chicken breast
Stew meat or chuck steak
flank, skirt or flat iron steak (look for it on sale!)

FROZEN MEALS
If you can’t take leftovers to work (I hear this is a thing??), I suggest going to a boxed frozen solution. One particularly good frozen box meal I found is Stouffers Fit Kitchen. They are good sized portions with a TON of protein and reasonable sodium. They are not the cheapest frozen meals, but they are cheaper than buying lunch every day. Even if you go with the small frozen meals and just buy a small salad, you’ll be doing better nutritionally. Eating sandwiches is better than fast food, but you still get mostly carbs with all that bread. If you could cut down the sandwiches to twice a week and do frozen+salad the rest of the time, you’ll see a difference.

But don't expect to see any posts unless there is a WP plugin.

Taxes and Obamacare Penalty

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

So after the fiasco with our shitty accountant last tax season, this year we decided to go it alone with TurboTax. GOOD MOVE. We tried the free service through Credit Karma, but it sucked balls. TurboTax cost us about $200, but that is $150 less than the asshole accountant AND it is accurate. Y’all know you can write off the cost of filing your taxes every year, right? You can! There are LOTS of things you can write off. Get the IRS forms and READ UP. There are lots of medical things and TONS of fees and shit you can write off in addition to equipment and office space.

We did NOT get any Obamacare penalties this year. Why? Well, because WE made sure to input ALL our expenses, which the asshole accountant did NOT, apparently, even after we gave them to him. Jerk. So we figure that guy cost us several thousand over the years we’ve used him. He cost us at least $600 just last year because he did not put in our expenses properly. Expenses change your NET income, which in turn affects how Obamacare is calculated. He was clearly not happy that we refused to spend $800+/mo on Obamacare and I think he fucked up our taxes on purpose. I’ve got no proof other than his attitude and the marked difference of our return this year, but I strongly suspect.

We were very happy with TurboTax, actually. It asked us lots of questions and provided the correct forms for everything. It is set up for multiple income streams and was overall quite easy to use. We recommend it, even if you have crazy incomes like we do!

We got almost $1000 back this year, as opposed to a coupla hundred last year due to the useless accountant.

My next band name is SUCK IT MARK, in his honour. :P

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misangela
Misangela

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