Cast-Iron Cornbread

Cast-Iron Cornbread

You know how sometimes you catch a whiff of something and it immediately makes a thought or feeling pop into your head?

Like the smell of roast beef and tomatoes makes me think of my grandma's.  She often cooks with those ingredients, and it always takes me back through all the years of going to her house for dinner.  Feeding housefulls of people requires the right ingredients.  These ingredients always kept her family (and finicky-eater grandchildren) happy.

The smell of damp wood - yeah, not all food smells - instantly reminds me of being 6 or 7 and playing Lava Monsters in my great-grandpa's basement.  Yes, Lava Monsters.  Haven't you played that?  My sister and cousin and I would hop from chair to rug to stool around the room trying not to touch the cement floor "lava" while one of us, the monster, tried to get the others.  It wasn't the most graceful of games.  Bruises sometimes happened.  But ultimately, the thrill of avoiding (or being) a lava monster was worth it.

And the smell of cornbread and chili - oh, that delightfully dreamy aroma -  reminds me of a cozy home in winter, surrounded by my family.  

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My Bikini Competition Prep: Part 2

My Bikini Competition Prep: Part 2

When I decided to take on the challenge of competing in a bikini competition about three months ago, my expectations for the experience mainly involved toughing out killer workouts, banning junk food, and looking way fit at the end.

What I didn't expect was that it would change my life.

Actually, I'm not even exaggerating.  Whatever perspective I had on working out and healthy eating before totally changed because of this.  Not because I hadn't known a thing about that stuff before, but simply because diet and exercise came to pervade every aspect of my life for three whole months.  

 

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Mashed Butternut Sweet Potatoes

Mashed Butternut Sweet Potatoes

Are you back for more?

More, as in more recipes, or more, as in more talk about my experience with pre-bikini competition diet/exercise?  It don't matter, we got both here.

First off - if you want the former, this Mashed Butternut Sweet Potatoes recipe is juuust right for your comfort-food eating pleasure.  And I don't say that about just anything!  Sweet potatoes are simply quintessential fall food, no matter what, but when you mash them up all creamy-like, they can be downright irresistable.

Still, I imagine that at some point, you have been to a holiday dinner that served lovely, decadent, sweet potatoes, but you either knew better than to indulge too much (not my guess) or you wound up wishing you had passed on second helpings of the (clearly) butter and sugar-laden dish!  Or, possibly, you personally witnessed Paula Deen herself come into your Grandmother's kitchen and shush you while she poured an extra stick of melted butter and a cup of brown sugar into the sweet potato casserole.  And.  You still ate a bowlful without regret.

 

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Europa Expo: First Bikini Competition Down!

Europa Expo: First Bikini Competition Down!

"Who wants butt glue?!"

I never thought I'd hear that phrase, let alone be excited to hear it.

My hand immediately shot into the air as I rushed forward to get my bikini bottoms stuck securely to my ridiculously-dark spray-tanned butt.  One does not want to step out on stage with a wedgie.

This past weekend was my first time participating in a fitness show and getting excited about butt glue was just one of all kinds of new things that have happened to me.

If you've been following me throughout the last 16 weeks, you've been privy to my rollercoaster ride of bikini-contest preparation in which I played personal trainer, nutritionist, and boot camp instructor to myself.  

 

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