Kelsey Williams Rocks.

Claire Crawford, you should be ashamed of yourself.

Kelsey Self Williams, an NBA cheerleader for the Oklahoma City Thunder, was the recent victim of a “fat attack,” brought on by CBS Houston blogger, Ms. Crawford (real name Anna Megan Raley). On Wednesday, Apr. 24, Crawford asked her blog readers if Williams was “too chunky” to cheer. Her remarks? “Williams has been criticized by some folks in Oklahoma for having ‘pudginess’ around her waistline. Is this chick ‘too chunky’ to be a cheerleader?”

Crawford then went on to comment that the Houston Rockets, who were playing the Thunder, “weren’t the only bad looking people on the court.” And as if that wasn’t enough, she conducted a poll in her article with three options: ‘She has the perfect look to be an NBA cheerleader,’ ‘She could use some tightening up in her midsection’ or ‘She has no business wearing that outfit in front of people.’

Gross. You are a female so start supporting your fellow females, not writing trash about them. And your half-assed redemption isn’t going to make up for the shit-storm you’ve created: “But if she’s comfortable wearing that tiny outfit and dancing for NBA fans, then good for her,” Crawford said. “Besides . . . not every man likes women to be toothpick skinny. I’d say most men prefer a little extra meat on her bones.”

Good grief. OK, yay for Crawford for trying to correct herself. But the damage was already done. Fortunately the article has since been taken down and Crawford’s Twitter, Linked In and MySpace accounts have also been taken down, but once this story hit social media outlets it blew up like crazy.

But the one person who isn’t outraged? Ms. Williams herself.

Williams recently Tweeted, “We wouldn’t know what blessings were if we didn’t go through trials. Thank you to EVERYONE for the compassion and love today. I’m in awe.” Nicely said.

I checked out pictures of Williams and to be honest, I think she’s gorgeous. OK, maybe the picture that was used in Crawford’s blog wasn’t the best picture of Williams in the fact that she is obviously in the middle of a dance move and the way her body is positioned may make her look “pudgier” than she really is. Whoo. We all have certain pictures that are shot from funky angles, etc. Who cares?? She is a cheerleader who is probably a size 4 who was photographed while dancing…IN A 2-PIECE. And she looks damn good doing it! I’m pretty sure that if she looked that terrible she wouldn’t be out on a court in a 2-piece, shakin’ what her mama gave her with a big grin on her face.

Kelsey-Williams-182x300

Seriously – there was no reason for Crawford to be so nasty. Unless Williams has been giving drugs to grade-schoolers, wearing stripper heels to baseball games (ladies, you know who you are and it is NOT OK) or not calling her Grandma on a regular basis, leave her alone. And seriously – this girl has her head on straight: college graduate, recently married, is the Fashion Editor and Co-Creative Director for Twenty Something Magazine, owner of a company called Elite Events by Kelsey, which does event planning, and oh yeah…in her spare time she is a cheerleader for a NBA basketball team. What a loser. Oh excuse me, a FAT loser. Riiigghhttt.

My point is that Williams seems like someone young girls can look up to in many different ways, one of them being confident about their bodies. And would we want to give young girls a negative message about their body image? No, we wouldn’t. In fact, no one – regardless of their age – should have a negative body image. It’s something we all have to work on every day but it’s worth it. So try to be like Kelsey Williams: don’t listen to the haters and love yourself.

Get Out Of My Way, Me.

I’ve been a little blah lately about working out and tracking my eats. Go figure – this always happens. But you know what they say – get back on the horse, right? OK, horse, let’s go.

Step One: Eat more veggies and fruit.
The problem with this is that the grocery store by our house has crap for fruits and veggies. They are terrible! Plus, when we do buy them – there goes half of our food budget. It’s ridiculous how much it can cost to eat healthy.

So The Boyfriend and started the community coop for our produce needs and we are on our second batch of goodies. It’s fantastic and so much cheaper than the store. I know, I’ve raved about it before, but it’s really just that great.

(www.communityhelpingscoop.com)

This week we came home with apples, oranges, bananas, strawberries, grape tomatoes, avocados (those were extra – but I got 6 for about $3!), a cantaloupe, lemons, red, green and yellow peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, potatoes, leeks (which I have no clue what to do with), romaine lettuce, goat cheese (from a local farm – this was extra too, but still inexpensive), and kale…which we totally passed on and gave it to the guy in line in front of us. (I’ve tried to make kale not taste like crap many different times with many different recipes – I do not like it. End of story.)

We still have some stuff left from two weeks ago and it’s still looking good. That’s the huge difference between this produce and the crap from the grocery store – it stays fresher, longer. And it is usually a bigger portion and always tastes fresher. Like you just plucked it off a vine or branch. Nice.

So the eating has been getting better because now I have all of this yummy food and some great recipes to go with everything….which The Boyfriend is slowly learning. ;)

Step Two: Exercise.
I’m back at it with Zumba and I realized that I really do love it. It’s just getting my ass there that’s the issue. Ugh. But I just bought some brand new kicks which are fantastic so I’m kind of excited about going again. (Saucony: Outduel – they are not only comfy and supportive but cute as well. Yay!) Call me crazy but when your feet aren’t killing you, exercise is a bit more bearable. Plus during dance class, I like to pretend I can dance like Fergie. That’s always a good time.

shoes

So the exercise is slowly but surely getting back on track. The eating is as well. I have a few ideas to try out to see if that will also help with this long road ahead of me. But most days, I still feel like something is off. I just can’t put my finger on it.

Then I realized – I’ve been a lot touchier about when The Boyfriend makes comments about my appearance. Don’t get me wrong – they are always good comments, but I’ve been having a hard time hearing ANY comments about the way I look lately. So I started wondering why I’m so hard on myself sometimes…

Rewind to last week when I read about a study by Dove which showed how women perceive the way they look vs. the way others perceive the way they look. These women would get to know a total stranger for a little bit, and then leave them to go into a studio and sit behind a curtain. There they would describe their faces while an artist sketched what they said. The artist never saw them. After that, the people they got to know earlier would go in, same situation, and describe these women to the artist – and again, he would sketch them based on these descriptions.

After all of this, the artist would hang the two sketches up, side by side, for these women to view. The results were very interesting. But since I was reading about it, I couldn’t really get the full impact of the concept behind the words.

Fast forward to today. I randomly found the link and watched it – it gave me goose bumps.

LINK: http://youtu.be/XpaOjMXyJGk

Step Three: Self-Appreciation.
We are so much harder on ourselves than we need to be and the women in this study realized it when they looked at the sketch of how they described themselves and then the sketch of how someone else, who had just met them, described them. The other person’s description made them look happy, pointed out their best features, made them look full of life. It was quite the wake up call…and it got me thinking….

I’ve always had a bigger nose. For the longest time, I didn’t think it necessarily fit my face and even now, it’s a bit asymmetrical…which bugs me. Back in my late teens I thought about having it redone to just straighten it up and thin it out. No biggie. It would still be my nose, right?

But then my Dad passed away. And one day after that, while going through pictures of him, I realized that I have his nose. And his mouth. And his eyes. I have my father’s face.

There’s no way I would change any of that.

(Side note to my mom: Don’t worry, I think I look more and more like you as I’m getting older.)

So since that day, I’ve tried not to let things like that bug me as much. Yes, my nose is wonky. So what? Shit happens – it could be worse. But what I have come to realize is that I need to not worry about the things that I can’t change or that would take a lot of time, money and serious surgery pain to change. But I CAN worry about the things that eating healthy and exercising would change. (AKA, my weight. In case you weren’t sure where this was going.)

So as usual, I’m taking it one day at a time. And with each new day, I’m going to try to let those compliments The Boyfriend pays me sink in, instead of brushing them off. I’m going to allow myself to feel good about the healthy choices that I do make and not beat myself up over the not-so-good choices that happen. We’re only human.

Which leads me to my new favorite quote: “What screws us up most in life is the picture in our head of how it is supposed to be.”

So true. Now excuse me, I have to get out of my own way so I can finish my veggies.

Rum-Glazed Pineapple With Toasted Coconut And Low-Fat Vanilla Ice Cream

Rum-Glazed Pineapple With Toasted Coconut And Low-Fat Vanilla Ice Cream

1

Serves: 4
Active Time: 45 min
Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:
•1/2 cup sweetened coconut
•1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
•1/4 cup spiced rum
•2 tablespoon butter
•1 teaspoon vanilla
•1 pineapple, peeled, halved, cored and sliced lengthwise into 12 wedges
•1 pint low-fat vanilla ice cream (such as Blue Bunny, etc.)

Directions:
•To toast coconut, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread coconut in a single layer on a baking and place in the oven. Cook until coconut browns, about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring the coconut about every 5 minutes for even browning. Place coconut in a small bowl and set aside.

•Preheat grill or burner for 5 minutes. Add brown sugar, rum, butter, and vanilla to a small saucepan and place on the grill or burner. Cook until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat.

•Brush pineapple slices all over with rum glaze. Place pineapple on the grill and cook until browned and lightly charred, brushing with more glaze as they grill. Remove from grill.

•To serve, place 3 pineapple slices on a plate and top with a scoop of ice cream and toasted coconut.

http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/07/grilling-rum-glazed-pineapple-with-toasted-coconut-vanilla-recipe.html?utm_source=Community+Helpings+Coop+Newsletter&utm_campaign=2e8051ab1e-Missouri_schedule_order_copy_01_3_8_2013&utm_medium=email

Strawberry Goat Cheese Bruschetta

Strawberry Goat Cheese Bruschetta

g

Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 15 min
Ready In: 25 min
Serves: 6

Ingredients:
•½ cup balsamic vinegar
•12 slices Italian bread
•1 tbsp. olive oil
•1 lb. strawberries, washed and diced
•2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, plus a little extra for garnish
•1 cup goat cheese, room temp.
•Salt and Pepper

Directions:
•Heat vinegar in a small skillet over med-low heat. Simmer until reduced by about half, 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

•Prepare a grill for high heat. Place bread slices on a foil-lined baking sheet and drizzle with oilve oil.

•Combine strawberries and thyme in a small owl and set aside.

•Grill bread in the preheated grill until browned, about 3 min per side.

•Spread goat cheese on toasted bread.

•Add pepper, salt and reduced vinegar to the strawberry mixture.

•Spoon over the goat cheese topped bruchetta.

•Garnish with additional thyme.

http://www.nutmegnanny.com/2011/06/01/spinach-strawberry-goat-cheese-salad-with-pomegranate-vinaigrette/?utm_source=Community+Helpings+Coop+Newsletter&utm_campaign=2e8051ab1e-Missouri_schedule_order_copy_01_3_8_2013&utm_medium=email

Spinach, Strawberry And Goat Cheese Salad With Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Spinach, Strawberry And Goat Cheese Salad With Pomegranate Vinaigrette

salad

Ingredients:
•For Salad:
1 pound baby spinach – washed and dried
1/2 pound strawberries – tops removed and sliced
Handful of almonds – toasted
1/4 – 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese

•For Vinaigrette:
2 equal parts POM Pomegranate Juice Concentrate
1 equal part olive oil
1 equal part champagne vinegar
Fresh cracked pepper – to taste
Kosher salt – pinch

Directions:
•For Salad:
Wash and dry spinach and put in large bowl. Add strawberries, almonds and goat cheese. Add pomegranate vinaigrette and toss.

•For Vinaigrette:
Whisk ingredients together and pour over salad. *Can also be stored in the refrigerator until ready to be used.

http://www.nutmegnanny.com/2011/06/01/spinach-strawberry-goat-cheese-salad-with-pomegranate-vinaigrette/?utm_source=Community+Helpings+Coop+Newsletter&utm_campaign=2e8051ab1e-Missouri_schedule_order_copy_01_3_8_2013&utm_medium=email

Roasted Corn On The Cob With Cilantro Lime Butter

Roasted Corn On The Cob With Cilantro Lime Butter

corn

-Prep Time: 20 min
-Cook Time: 25 min
-Serves: 6

Ingredients:
•6 ears corn, shucked
•Cilantro Lime Butter, recipe follows

Cilantro Lime Butter:
•2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
•1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
•1 lime, zested and juiced
•2 teaspoons salt
•3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
•Put the butter in a mixing bowl and, using a rubber spatula, mix in the cilantro, lime zest, lime juice, salt and cayenne. Use immediately or refrigerate.

Directions:
•Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
•Coat each ear of corn in 2 tablespoons of the cilantro lime butter and wrap individually in foil. (Make sure to wrap tightly!)
•Roast until hot and steaming, about 25 minutes.
•Serve with extra butter on the side.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/dan-smith-and-steve-mcdonagh/roasted-corn-on-the-cob-with-cilantro-lime-butter-recipe/index.html

Holy Fruits And Vegetables, Batman!

This is exciting – we have finally found a place to buy good produce for a wallet-friendly price. Hello, St. Louis Area Community Helpings Coop.

Yes, I blogged about this not too long ago but last night The Boyfriend and I went to pick up the food and were pleasantly surprised! Here’s what we came home with:

veg

That would be: 6 bananas, a container of strawberries, 5 pink lady apples, 1 large mango, 1 whole pineapple, 5 navel oranges, 2 red grapefruits (Is this the plural? Or is it just “grapefruit?”), 1 large thing of asparagus (Group of asparagus? No clue what you would call it.), 5 corn on the cobs (cobs?), 1 large thing of celery (again – no clue about the proper term here), 1 onion, a huge thing (ok…) of romaine lettuce, a small container of white mushrooms, 1 red pepper, and 1 cucumber.

ALL FOR $23.

You go pick all of up at a location in your neighborhood, there are signs with each veggie/fruit letting you know how much to take and you fill up your bag. Takes 10 minutes. It’s fantastic! On top of that, each week they send an email out with different recipe ideas to go with the food you picked up that week. (I found some good ones – see my next few posts.)

They have multiple locations all over – from Arnold, MO to East Alton, IL to Wentzville, MO to Troy, IL. There’s really no reason to NOT do this! Plus all of the produce comes from local area farmers and many of the other products they offer on their website come from small businesses in the area. The organization is run by volunteers only and they work really hard to make this happen.

The Boyfriend and I are going to do a little grocery experiment for the month of April – we’re going to keep all of our receipts from any sort of grocery purchases and tally it up at the end of the month to see what we’ve saved by using the Coop for our fruits and veggies. I’m thinking it’s going to be a nice chunk of change!

Speaking of The Boyfriend and I, last night we got home and laid everything out on the island. I then washed everything, put things away, stored some of the “tend-to-go-bad-quickly” veggies in my special veggie containers (they are supposed to keep your veggies fresher, longer), etc. I then decided I wanted to use some of this goodness for dinner.

Which included a pineapple. A whole pineapple. I don’t know why this intimidated me so much. But it did.

So I went at it – and it went well! I am now a whole-pineapple-cutting professional. Whoo, me.

So now I have all of this pineapple and it’s delicious (I will never buy pineapple in a can again) so I decided to use some of the pineapple for a mango salsa! Yum.

Mango Salsa:
1 diced mango, 1 cup of diced pineapple, about a half a cup of diced cilantro, 1 small red pepper, ½ cup of diced green onions, 1 tbsp of olive oil, a pinch of red pepper flakes to give it some kick, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix it all up and ta-da! Delicious salsa.

Then I decided to cook up some of the asparagus with olive oil, cook up a little whole grain quinoa and toss some chicken breasts in the Ninja crockpot. I added a little Caribbean Jerk spice to everything and dinner was done! It all took about 30 minutes.

photo

So now I have this awesome view every time I open the fridge – lots of color from the fruits and veggies and lots of potential to be creative with my cooking.

As if I would follow a recipe, anyway. :)