Tuesday, January 31, 2017


So about 10 weeks ago, my beloved 14 (15 in 10 days) year old daughter proclaimed she is now a vegetarian.  

RIGHT????  Her and about 200 hundred other teenage girls in her school (as verified by her brother).  (She only ever eats chicken.  No red meat, no seafood, no "the other white meat")

So I just ignored the whole thing and carried on with my daily meal preparations - you know - moi?  the freaking chef for gluten-free, dairy-free, red meat-free & the other white meat-free husband family members...   

Yea - just what I want is to now be cooking  VEGETARIAN.  

Six weeks go by and this darn kid is still at it!  Picking at her broccoli every night...

UGHHHHH - so I'm now starting to swear become concerned.  Is she going anorexic on me???  Is this about staying "thin"?  Why is she only eating broccoli??  Does she look skinny?  Is she getting enough nutrition??  And...

wait a minute?  Did she just create a vegetarian PINTEREST board????  O-M-G - I am F**ked.

Soooooooo - Chef Tel here is NOW creating vegetarian meals TOO.  I mean - she freaking eliminated a whole food group and is incapable of substituting it herself.  Who's LEFT to do the dirty work lest she wastes away???  I DID just tell you I already do gluten-free, dairy-free, red meat-free & the other white meat-free, right?? 

I mean what's another ****-free??    Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!

I spoke with some clients who were creative in this area due to the same girl thang - teenage girl goes vegetarian...TEN YEARS AGO...unfortunately, their experience was that their vegetarians STAYED that way.  Do you see what's going on here?  

I was forced to remove the resistance and start Pinning.

Anyway - so I have been at it for about 3 weeks now.  I gave into it and worked hard to involve her in the recipe choosing, grocery shopping, prep and tasting.  Luckily - most leftovers will be wolfed eaten by her gluten-free, dairy-free, red meat-free, the other white meat-free father. 

There are recipes I will never make again and others that were very good.  The good news is - she's not only free of any meat/seafood/poultry product but she is also food inhibited-free!  Yes - she has ventured to beans and lentils and tofu for starters.  She's eating a better variety of vegetables like cabbage and sugar snap peas.

It's work.  Definitely work.  But I, myself, like really flavorful food and so I benefit too.  I refuse to make anything that is bland and boring.  If I'm going thru the trouble to shop and prep a vegetarian meal, it better have flavor!  Hence - the recipe trash can!

At any rate - there's the JOY.  She has left her food comfort zone, she is eating alternate protein, I am enjoying the planning/prep time with her and I'm getting great tasting food!  But I AM tired, a little. LOL.

That's the JOY and here's the reason for this post.  A recipe that needs sharing.  It was less work than it looks although it did take an hour, start to finish, as I of course had to make the vegetarian version as well as the gluten-free, dairy-free, red meat-free, the other white meat-free, ground chicken version.  But it was worth it and the leftover chicken mixture makes a GREAT "bowl" - the other trending food lately.  Many thanks to my inspiring, motivating niece Kelly, for turning me on!

Here it is!  So YUM!!!


1 pound ground pork (or chicken, turkey, or beef - pasture raised/organic when possible) 
1 teaspoon ground ginger 
1 teaspoon garlic sea salt blend (I used garlic powder and a bit of salt)
3 tablespoons coconut amigos (You could use soy sauce)

1 cup shredded, diced carrots (I bought them shredded a bag - GENIUS!)
2 cups shredded, diced cabbage
Optional: 1⁄2 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice (omit for AIP)

For Dipping Sauce

1⁄4 teaspoon Sriracha (omit for AIP) 1⁄4 teaspoon hot mustard (omit for AIP)
2 tablespoons coconut amigos or soy sauce
1.5 teaspoons coconut palm sugar (I used honey and also used white sugar another time)

1⁄2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar 

  1. Brown ground pork/chicken etc. in a large skillet with seasonings (garlic salt, aminos, five spice, and
  2. ginger). (I did this separately and also made a vegetarian version)
  3. Add carrots and cabbage once pork starts losing its pink color. (I made veggies separate)
  4. Cook ingredients until meat is cooked through and veggies are softened.
  5. Remove filling from heat.
  6. Now take one wrapper and spoon about a tablespoon of the mixture into the center
  7. As you start rolling the wrapper, tuck the corners into the ends so that the egg roll is closed from all angles.
  8. Repeat until all wrappers are filled – if you have leftover meat mixture you can use it to fill lettuce leaves or make
    more wrappers.
  9. Heat your avocado oil (I used Olive oil)  in a large skillet over relatively high heat (not the highest) – if your oil is not hot enough, the egg rolls may stick to the pan.
  10. Fry 3-4 at a time so that you may keep a close watch on them...you will want to brown all sides in the skillet.
  11. Remove from heat once your egg rolls are nicely browned and repeat with the remaining egg rolls 
  12.  For Dipping Sauce, combine all ingredients and get dipping’.

ENJOY - my friends!  I will carry on - sigh.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


So yesterday I was driving through downtown of a nearby town I frequent.  I was on the phone with my bestie from Florida and I drove by this amazing sight.  I told her about it and she told me to stop and take a photo.  But I JUST couldn't walk and chew gum at the same time, i.e. - talk on the phone, turn the car around, park and snap a shot.  OY.

It bothered me all evening and I woke up determined to drive back and get the shot.  Rain or no rain.  I knew it wouldn't be the same because the sun was out the day before and it was a whole different glow, but I went anyway. 

Not exactly what I wanted to portray but it was pretty. And next year - I will know!  And lie in wait!  Those leaves on the ground were literally GLOWING neon gold yesterday.  Live and learn...

 And yes - I still caught JOY on Day 54.

Monday, November 14, 2016


Is there anything more JOYful than starting your day with a 4 mile hike in the woods with your dog and your bestie and ending with a Mexican meal out with your - soon to be 15 year old daughter - who actually wants to be with you?  NOTHING!  Day 52 of JOY!

Today, I was clearing my desk of the mountains of crap that accumulates there and unearthed this little gem that I forgot I retrieved from my car a few weeks ago.

It is a clam shell my daughter painted.  Well - she used markers.  But the colors!  My colors!!!

I THIS!!!!

So much so that I displayed it right behind my keyboard so I could feast my eyes on it everyday.

Day 53 of JOY.  So simple...

Saturday, November 12, 2016


Oh boy.  I'm losing it.  I missed Day 47

and Day 48

and Day 49

and Day FIFTY!!!!  - That's the halfway point!  Today is Day 51.  Well - it has been difficult to move my rear into gear and post.  I admit.  I had to analyze that and ask myself why.  The answer is that I love to blog.  I love to write.  But it doesn't give me great JOY to just blurb a JOYful moment and move on.  But I also take hours to fine tune a TRUE blog post and I don't have time for that everyday.  It's a quandary.  But I will continue with my 100 Days of JOY commitment - albeit, MY way, LOL.

Anyway - so Day 47 was election day.  I went into it with great JOY knowing my candidate would win.  And she did - Hillary Clinton won the popular vote!  By more than a million votes!  

But alas - this country's system is not to elect by popular vote but by electoral vote.  Stupid.  Yes - I said it.  I have NEVER been a fan of the electoral vote.  I understand why it's in place but that doesn't mean I have to agree with it's premise.  And quite frankly, ME don't give a shit if you disagree with ME.   

AND YES I WOULD FEEL THE SAME WAY IF THE "OTHER" CANDIDATE WON THE POPULAR VOTE BUT LOST THE RACE.  Maybe I wouldn't have been so SAD because obviously, my gal would have "won", but I would still disagree with the electoral college.  I know you don't believe me but who cares.  I know...

So where was the JOY on election day?  I voted and I took my kids to breakfast.  First thing we saw when we walked into the restaurant.  Haaaaaaa.

What???  It's not like I was the one who posted it there!  Yesh - so sensitive...haaaaaa!

Anyway - I love sitting around a table eating breakfast with them.  I made them put their phones away and visit with their mom, I laughed with them, made fun of Donald Trump with them, ate delicious food with them - it was an hour of JOY in an otherwise soon to be JOYless day.

But you know what?  I was over it by 7AM on Day 48.  The man I think is an idiot is now the president of the United States and life goes on.  I picked my sorrowful ass off the couch and made my way up the stairs into the gym and kicked that sorrowful ass big time.  I had an 8AM class to train and I was NOT going to be a pouty, miserable, bitchy "loser".  I went in smiling and optimistic and then I kicked THEIR ass!  That's one way to get it out!  

What was JOYful on Day 48?  I'll tell you what.  That I was able to turn it around and just be happy to be alive.  To be happy to have the opportunity to buckle in and watch the show for the next 4 years.  To be happy to mentor those that were fearful, devastated, unhappy, pissed, shocked - I went into the election, positive there were more of us than "them" and I was right.  I still believe he is an inhumane, socially inept and unprepared idiot but for me - what we sow at home is what counts.  And I know I can sow optimism with my family, my clients, my friends.  Is it easy?  Not always.  But if I could feel this way at 7AM on the morning after a shocking election?  I'm good and that's JOYful.  Day 48 of JOY.  Bada BING!

Day 49.  Welllll - my 3 little pigs teens had the homecoming dance at their high school.  My daughter had friends over and there's nothing like a gaggle of girls playing dress up for real life!  I caught that JOY on Day 49.

Day 50 was very JOYful.  Can you believe my daughter has never been to Costco?  

Does that mean I haven't stepped foot in a warehouse, big box store in over 17 years?  Ummm - actually?  Yes...

Well - she was mesmerized.  And the fact that she is so much fun anyway, made it such a great day walking the aisles for 3 hours of "stuff".  She couldn't believe her eyes!  And much to my surprise, I found some really worthy deals and wondered why I had been paying full price for a lot of groceries for all these years.  Back in the day...I went regularly and just purchased specific items I knew were a great deal.  I took note as we journeyed through the place and I WILL be back.  Now my boys are intrigued! 

And here's a great thing - did you know the Costco brand (Kirkland, I believe) of ice cream is made by Haagen Dazs, the wine is Kendall Jackson and the vodka is Belvedere?  I'm told it's true because someone who knows someone who works there declared it's true!  Take it for what it's worth, people!  Decide for yourself!  After writing this last paragraph, I decided to google it myself.  Hmmmm - check this out:  


Anyway - the JOY didn't end there on Day 50.

Later that evening I found myself alone in front of the fire sipping on a nice, icy martini - opting to skip the volleyball and football games that my family went to.  It was a Hallmark Christmas movie night for me, baby!!!  But then a text came in from a bestie who wanted to meet for a drink and I was like - yea!  

Meet here, baby!

So, with holiday music as the background, in front of my fire, two BFF girlfriends had an unexpectedly JOYful evening, catching up and toasting to awesome, carefree lives evenings.  That was Day 50 JOY.  Does it get any better than that?

Here I am on Day 51 - the first day of the last half of 100 days of JOY.  (Say that 5 times fast).  Sometimes you just need a free day with no obligations and that's just what I am experiencing.  In fact - I'm at a bit of a loss as to what to do with my free afternoon.  Haaaaa - KIDDING!  

Yea - that's the JOY of Day 51.  FREEDOM!

Monday, November 7, 2016


Can you say - DISTRACTED?  Not only have I not posted since last Wednesday which is Day 41, Day 42, 43, 44 & Day 45, I didn't even recall that I needed to post.  Yea - I caught JOY - trust me.  There were some wisps on each day.  LOL.  But I'm not going backwards cuzzzzzzz - this is MY blog.  I make the rules!  Yup - I'm cheating.

But seriously - is this election a drag or WHAT???  I can't watch the news, I can't look at my newsfeed on Facebook; I just want it to go away!  But that is so not happening.  When Hillary wins?  

So yea - that's JOY on Day 46.  THAT thought...

Wednesday, November 2, 2016


I saved $481/year on my car insurance today.  What-is-UP-with-THAT???

I have literally NEVER insurance shopped until my son got his Learner's Permit.  When my insurance company quoted me almost $3000 to insure him when he gets his license?  I went ballistic.  I mean - I get it.  Teenage driver?  Yea - I get it.  But that's just INSANE.  

The first company I priced was even higher!  The second - dramatically lower - relatively speaking.  The 3rd company?  OMG - they wanted $4553 to insure him!  A two car, 3 driver family!  $4553.  How is there such disparity???


Then yesterday - I stumbled on a company while price comparing on some on-line thingy site and................they cut my car insurance by $481 and quoted adding my son for another $800.  I do not need to look further.  I'll let you know - if in 3 months when he gets his license - I get what I was quoted (or close) or I get taken for a ride.  In the mean time?  481 dollars BABY!!!!  Joy on Day 41!


Damn!  Missed Day 40!  But I didn't miss JOY on Day 40.  I went to the "store" with my $10 coupon and got a free chicken!  ANDDDDD - I got my legal senior discount.  How about THAT?!  I was legally a senior and I saved $5!  So I saved $10 + $5 + a $4.99 rotisserie chicken.  That's 20 bucks!  I was gooddddd on Day 40 of JOY.