I hope I don’t crack: When your sacrifice is no added sugar or salt (sort of)…and no cocktails?!

Day 3 of Lent.  The whole giving up of something —  you know, sacrifice for 40 days — is not going well.  I’m to stay away from added sugar and salt (and drink more water).  Oh, and by the way, alcohol is also off-limits.  So, no cocktails.  Oh brother.

Well, I’m in for the night and made a home-cooked meal.  I’m not so sure I passed the test, but it tasted great.

I don’t know how I’m going to survive the next 37 days of Lent:

I hope I don’t crack: When your sacrifice is no added sugar or salt (sort of)…and no cocktails?!



Remember, I don’t use measuring spoons or cups or whatever fancy gadgets a normal person would use in their house.  I simply don’t have the patience.

So, this is what I threw together using a deep saucepan-type pot (you’ll see it in the pictures):

Sweet Teriyaki Noodles and Shrimp by The Brainy Pint Sizer (@brainypintsizer)

  • Broad Egg Noodles (about 1 1/2 – 2 cups)
  • 6 Shrimp (cut into 4 small pieces each)
  • Onion (diced — about 3 tablespoons)
  • Olive Oil (about 3 tablespoons — maybe 4 — just eyeball it)
  • Teriyaki Sauce (o-oh…sodium)*
  • Honey (sigh…sugar, but it is a “natural” sweetener, does that count?)*
  • Hot Pepper Sauce (this is optional; if you use it, add to taste)*
  • Black Pepper*
  • Ground Ginger*
  • Crushed Garlic*
  • Thyme*

* To taste.  The two you need to be the most careful about is the hot sauce and the ginger. Too much and the dish is ruined.

  1. After noodles are brought to a boil, lower to medium heat.
  2. Cook until al dente (soft-ish, but not mushy or boiled to death) and then drain.  Leave in strainer.
  3. In the empty pot, add the olive oil, the crushed garlic and the onions.  Cook on medium heat until onions are translucent, which should take about a minute or two.
  4. Add the teriyaki sauce, black pepper, ground ginger, honey, thyme and stir.
  5. In goes the shrimp, stirring quickly, and add the hot pepper sauce.
  6. The noodles go in next and toss quickly, incorporating well — but only for about 2 minutes (no more).
  7. Remove from the heat and serve.

The ingredients


Onions, garlic already in the deep saucepan, noodles at the ready.

Everything incorporated...not necessarily attractive, but not bad in taste.

The finished product -- plated.


I’m being stalked…by another birthday.

I’m not in a state of panic…yet.  But, every year, just before the birthday, I do the whole “taking stock” thing.  Does anybody else out there do that or am I just Ms. Crazy Woman?  Don’t answer that.

Wasn’t it just December?

The last few years, I admit, I’ve had growing anxiety.  And now, I’m being stalked…by another birthday. 

Alright, so going down the list…

  1. I love my career, buuuut…there are things I would change.  Now, I’m not so crazy that I’m going to up and leave a job — and certainly not without a plan.  I’m all about taking chances and “throwing caution to the wind”, but in these tough economic times, this city-workin’ chica needs to have a job with benefits.  I really do, however, have to work on the direction of my career.  I’m too driven to remain stagnant.  Yep, I smell change.  Truth be told, I’ve been smelling this change for years.
  2. I’m itching to be an expat — again (and I’m already an immigrant), but I’ll settle for being a second-home homeowner — after I buy my first home.  It doesn’t take much for me to be glued to House Hunters and House Hunters International.  I dream of home-ownership not just locally but internationally.  I have this desire that one day I’ll own apartments in Buenos Aires and/or on the Costa del Sol.  Now, mind you, I haven’t even been to Buenos Aires, but that’s a minor detail.  From what I’ve seen on television, it’s like a bit of old Paris in South America.  I have, however, been to the Costa del Sol and southern Spain — soooo beautiful.  I need to get on the road to meeting these goals.
  3. One word:  Cellulite.  Whhhyyyyyy??!!  Can you see the tracks of my tears?  Ugh.  I can’t stand it.  I fell off the exercise train several months ago, but I’m getting back on — soon.  Even so, while I was sweating and panting my life away at the gym, the cellulite didn’t disappear.  Who’s had that happen?  (Somehow I know hands are being raised in the air.  Some, both hands.)  Ladies, it’s not cute.  It’s right up there with the dreaded Muffin Top and multiple bellies.  (Remember this recent post?)  The “cottage cheese” on the body has to be beaten off with a stick.  Did you see 74 year-old Jane Fonda recently?  No?  Just do a search on Google.  When I grow up…heck, when I turn 74, I hope I look like that!  If I’m not wearing Spanx and/or control top pantyhose with some type of girdle (and mind you, I’m not talking heavy-duty, but still), there’s no way I’m getting into something figure-hugging.  And, anything with “give” is a blessing.  I may be “little” by some but I’m no frail-looking stick.
  4. Hair color and highlights are a godsend.  There are things that I need like food, clothing, shelter and a job.  Then, there are things that are a necessity like appointments with my Dominican hairdresser for a color and highlights.  I’ve had grey hairs for years, but they were always well hidden.  Now that I’ve gotten older, I’m not fooling anybody.  They’re right there as I look in the mirror.  As the saying goes, “I’m not going out like that.”  You’d best believe I’m in her chair every 6 – 8 weeks.  You know when people play the lottery and you ask them what they would do with the money?  One of the things on my list:  Have a hairdresser on call.

I really hope this Aquarius birthday girl won’t be sobbing too loudly to disturb the neighbors on my street.  Maybe I shouldn’t have had my special creation of crab cakes for dinner tonight, but I needed comfort food.  Oh well.

“Pint-Sized Craisin Crab Cakes” by The Brainy Pint Sizer (@brainypintsizer)

  • 1 can Bumble Bee Fancy Lump Crab Meat
  • 1 large egg (have an extra egg on hand as back-up)
  • Craisins/Dried Cranberries
  • Bread Crumbs
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 Tomato
  • 1 stalk Scallions/Green Onions
  • Old Bay Seasoning
  • Sea Salt (you can substitute with regular salt)
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 large, non-stick frying pan

Note:  I don’t use measuring spoons or cups.  I simply “eyeball”.

  1. Beat the egg vigorously (I’m “old school”; I use a fork) with the salt (to taste or none, if you need to stay away from salt) and the Old Bay Seasoning, along with the pepper (again to taste).
  2. Cut a slice of the onion.  Dice it finely.  You’ll need about 1 heaping tablespoon.  Slice the tomato.  Remove the seeds.  (Remember tomatoes have water.)  You’ll need about 1 heaping tablespoon.  Finely slice the scallion stalk. You can choose the green or white part; I prefer the green for color.  You’ll need about 1 heaping tablespoon.  Add all to the beaten egg mixture (above) along with about a heavy dose of the bread crumbs.  Don’t dump the crumbs in all at once.  As you combine everything, add a little each time as you stir. Everything should be incorporated thoroughly with the fork or a spoon.  If things aren’t glued enough, you may need to add another egg.
  3. Get a small handful of Craisins, about 2 tablespoons.  (Watch the sweetness.)  This is where you’ll have to have some arm strength.  Roughly chop the Craisins.  Add the Craisins to the mixture.  Really mix it in.
  4. This recipe makes four (4) medium-sized (kind of) “Pint-Sized Craisin Crab Cakes”.  Separate into four equal sections, add enough oil to the frying pan to cover the entire bottom.  Remember, you’re not deep-frying chicken or fish.  Your cakes should not be swimming in the pan, but should have enough oil for little sizzling bubbles.  Cook the cakes on a low-medium flame.
  5. Cook through thoroughly.  Lift a corner of one of the cakes. (A nice large/wide spatula works best.)  If the cake appears to be really nice and golden brown, it’s time to flip.  Heres’ the thing:  If it’s not perfect, falls apart slightly, etc., don’t sweat it.  It’s food.  Just make it with love and serve.