Thursday, May 31, 2012

My 150th Blog Post: Stealth Name Bombing and Why I Love Kristen Johnston

Hello LilyOnTheLam.Com Readers!

Happy 150th LilyOnTheLam Blog Post Day!  Imagine my surprise when I realized my work did not classify today as a paid holiday and I would actually have to ... gasp! ... work today.  Oh sure, Thanksgiving gets a day off but 150th Blog Post doesn't even merit an extra long coffee break?  Uh huh, I see how you roll.  

I have been putting off writing my 150th blog post because I wanted it to be "really special" ... and I am ... "really lazy."  Finally, I decided I needed to approach writing the 150th blog post like I approached losing my virginity ... with the attitude of "Let's just get this over with ..."  Seriously, I looked at my ... ahem, suitor and said: "Just do it already!"  I am nothing if not a big, steaming pile of romance.

So here I am and here you are ... ready to embark upon my 150th blog post together ... like Thelma and Louise in a car careening off a cliff into the Grand Canyon.  Well at least we got to have sex with Brad Pitt before this happened ... Wait, what?  We didn't get to have sex with Brad Pitt?  What kind of low-budget suicide mission is this, anyway?  Pffft.  Double Pffft.

Enough with the blather, on with the show...  "My 150th Blog Post:  Stealth Name Bombing and Why I Love Kristen Johnston"

GUTS the Book - Cats sold separately
I dedicate my 150th Blog Post in honor of Mr. Nicky G - the internationally known raconteur who first uttered the now classic saying:  "Sometimes you just gotta wake up and say `Hey, there's a brick house on me.'" (Copyright - LilyOnTheLam.Com - Thank you very much!)  Not familiar with that saying?  You really need to get out more.  I need to open a store for Nicky G sayings ... t-shirts, bumper stickers, thong underwear, coffee mugs ...  I'll be RICH - rich, I tell you!

You may wonder why I would choose to dedicate this 150th Blog Post to Nicky G ... It's not like he invented penicillin or Spanx.  True.  But I am going to spend part of this blog post ripping on Nicky G, so I might as well honor him first.  And hope Nicky G doesn't read this blog post.  Crap ... tactical error there.  Ah well ...

Nicky G and I attended the same Midwestern University together - although as I have consistently done for many years, I must emphatically point out that I was there for undergrad and Nicky G was there for grad school.  I am significantly younger than Nicky G, for the record.  I am also foxier and I am a much better tap dancer than Nicky G as well.  But I love him nonetheless and he's managed to figure out some way of existing in my shadow.  Excuse me, I need to sing "Wind Beneath My Wings" ...

One "morning" (which by University time zones means "well past noon"), Nicky G and I were having "breakfast" at this granola-y cafe that had recently been the "baby" in an estranged lesbian custody battle royale.  I didn't go to this particular cafe often, because I felt like I was siding with the lesbian who won sole custody of "the baby."  This feeling permeated and tainted my enjoyment of my buckwheat pancakes.  It was just too much drama for "the morning." 

On this particular day, Nicky G and I were both fuzzy-headed, possibly hungover ... or perhaps just spiritually hungover.  Nicky G looked at me and made some sort of philosophical statement about his life ... The type of thing that sounds really "deep" at the time, but then in retrospect you realize that as a college student your greatest personal struggle was wondering how many times you could skip your 7:45 a.m. class to sleep in before you'd flunk out.  Hardly the stuff of great trials and tribulations to anyone other than said college student.  

Nicky G set down his fork, looked at me and said "Sometimes you just gotta wake up and say `Hey, there's a brick house on me'" ... (Pause) ... "Wait, is that the saying?"  

My response to Nicky G, done in two ways:

My revisionist history memory:  I leaned over to Nicky G, tapped him sympathetically on the hand and said "No, you mixed up `Sometimes you gotta wake up and smell the coffee' with `I don't need a brick house to fall on me.'  But regardless, it was genius."     

My more probable response:  "WHAT?  DUH!! YOU MIXED UP TWO SAYINGS, YA DOOFUS!"       

It is this kind of witty repartee that has kept my friendship with Nicky G going throughout the years.  However life is not all perfect in Wonderland.  Nicky G does have a particularly annoying trait that has threatened to derail our friendship on several occasions.  

Nicky G is a ... stealth name bomber.  Gasp!  

Oh, you don't know what a "stealth name bomber" is?  First time in the Big City, Little One?  Allow me to educate you ... I lived in Los Angeles for several years, so I think that allows me to hold myself out as a name dropping and star-f*cking expert.  (And yes, I am being facetious - geez, I'm not that full of myself ... all the time.)  

I believe my life is like CNN - I owe it to "my people" to deliver the Lily News ... 24-7.  People count on me to be informed about all things "me."  So when I was at a Broadway show and James Earl Jones was sitting two rows directly behind me, not only did my entire Facebook friend list know about it within thirty seconds ... I also had conducted a Facebook and texting poll to determine whether I should go up to Mr. James Earl Jones and say "OMG - will you say `Lily, I am your FATHER'" or "OMG - I love you as the voice of CNN!  Powerful acting!"  (Btw, "Lily, I am your FATHER" won by a landslide.)  If I spot a celebrity, I'm going to tell the world about it!

By the way, have you read my epic two part blog post series detailing my meeting of Kevin Spacey?  ("A Space in My Heart for Spacey and Charo - Part One" and "A Space in My Heart for Spacey and Charo - Part Two")  Check it out!  "A must read" - declares the Tampa Palm Tree Harvesters' Monthly!

When I was at Baz Luhrmann's "La Boheme" and Steven Spielberg, Kate Capshaw, Michelle Pfeiffer, David E. Kelley, Patty Scialfa and none other than The Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen were four rows behind me, everyone I knew heard about it.  (Thanks again, Facebook!)  

They also heard from me in frazzled, rambling stream of consciousness, real time detail about: "how everyone in the theater was handing Steven Spielberg their Playbills for his autograph and how ridiculous I thought that was because Steven Spielberg had nothing to do with "La Boheme" and how I had the book "Catch Me If You Can" in my bag, which Spielberg directed and THAT would have made logical sense to ask for his autograph on the book ... but I would never ask for his autograph because that would be "uncool" and then I was standing next to Spielberg for like seven minutes while we waited for the theatre to empty and how I never realized that I was taller than Steven Spielberg until I was jammed up against him and now maybe in retrospect I am really regretting I didn't pull out "Catch Me If You Can" just to show him that I was above the Playbill-autograph seekers and we would have totally had a chuckle about it and then he would have invited me out for a post-theater decaf latte and asked me my thoughts on whether he should make a sequel to `E.T. - The Extra Terrestrial' and I'd banter with `Only if I can play Gertie, all grown up!' and we'd laugh and laugh and laugh ..."

Yes, when I have a star sighting; you're going to hear about it!  My public deserves all the details as they are happening!  No sitting on a killer story for "my people."

Which by the way ... when I was seven years old, my best friend's mother worked for a used car lot that had decided the way to really bring in the used car buyer market was by having a star from the old television show "Happy Days" appear for autograph signings.  And for some unknown reason, myself, my best friend and her 5 year old brother were being dragged to the used car lot like this was going to be some big event for us.  I was seven years old - reruns of "Happy Days" were not the stuff that made my heart go pitter-pat!  

In my book, "star from Happy Days" means either Henry Winkler or Ron Howard.  My best friend's mother informed us that no ... it was no one "big" like that.  Well then - what the flibberty gibbets is going on here?  (I was seven.  The expression "what the f*ck?" would not enter into my vocabulary until I was the mature age of seven and a half.)  I intensely scrutinized who else could be considered a star from "Happy Days" ... my seven year old brain was at a complete loss.  

I'll save you the suspense and anticipation.  The used car lot mystery celebrity turned out to be Anson Williams ... "Potsie" from "Happy Days."  I stuffed my face with a handful of free used car lot popcorn and muttered "THIS BLOWS!" while chewing with mouth open wide.  "Even Ralph Malph would have been better!"  I pouted.  

(FYI - sincerest apologies to actor/director Anson Williams.  What can I say?  I was seven!)  

We each left with an autographed picture of Anson Williams that had been signed in advance and handed out, so it wasn't even personalized.  It was only his name too.  Nothing cheeky like "Sit on it, Hugs and Kisses - Love, Potsie!"  I stared at the picture bitterly and said "I don't even think I know who you are" to Mr. Williams' face.  I wondered what level of hell Anson Williams had entered where he had to go hand out pre-signed pictures at a used car lot in a Minneapolis suburb.  Oh, the cruel underbelly of some celebrity sightings.

Which come to think of it, other than singer Matt Nathanson, the Anson Williams' autograph is probably the only other autograph I have ever received.  This could be why I never ask celebrities for their autographs.  And to be fair, I didn't really care about Matt Nathanson's autograph ... I just wanted to press myself against his delicious body for a photograph.  Mission accomplished!

So even disappointing star sightings like "The Potsie Episode" are readily disclosed.  I believe in full disclosure, people.

And even more important than star sighting is the "true connection" with power, infamy or celebrity.  Those closest to me (and by that I mean everyone in a 300 mile radius of me ... and this website) know that I used to hang out an actress' home who was the ex-wife of a one time huge movie star and now I - Miss First Name: Lily, Last Name: On The Lam - can do the "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" in four degrees.  FOUR DEGREES!!  That alone should get me a free churro on alternating Tuesdays somewhere.  (Btw, that churro comment is a shout out to you, Miss LM.)  One only needs to select the "Top Chef" label on the left-hand column of my blog to read about my brushes with reality TV/culinary demigod celebrity as well.  

To show even more of my "true connection" to power, infamy and/or celebrity, my blog is called "Lily On The Lam" in honor of the truly great uber-genius of our time - who is number 69 on this year's Maxim's Hot 100 Women List, Mr. Stephen Colbert.  In response to Tampa Bay's Mystery Monkey - Stephen Colbert on "The Colbert Report" started running a "Monkey on the Lam" series.  (My favorite - "Monkey on the Lam - Lobster Edition.")  

My cat's name is Finnerty - named after the husband of actress Kathy Najimy - Dan Finnerty, lead singer of the delightful comedic band "The Dan Band."  My first job outside of college was working with a kid who's uncle managed the band Cheap Trick.  Actress Mary Louise Parker has gone to my favorite tea room of all time, not when I have been there but still ...  (I wrote about this tea room in my 100th blog post.)  Again I say, FULL DISCLOSURE, people!  All celebrity connection details must be disclosed! 

If I look in any good etiquette book, I know there will be at least one chapter on proper disclosure of star sightings and celebrity connections.  And that chapter says all disclosures must be made upfront and within the first day of one's friendship.  It's true - just look it up.  So imagine my horror and "Southern Belle" shock when I realized that Nicky G has several celebrity connections that he did not disclose upon first meeting me.  And even worse - when he does choose to disclose - he does it subtly and casually like it's no big thing.  STEALTH NAME BOMBER.  You do not casually work in a celebrity connection into a conversation - IT IS THE ENTIRE CONVERSATION.  Rude, rude, rude!  

Nicky G, I am the etiquette police and this is your citation!

I had known Nicky G for at least eight months when out of the blue, the little f*cker STEALTH NAME BOMBED me.  As he was walking out of the room, he casually mentioned in a "ho hum, just another day in my life" manner that he went to high school with Kristen Johnston.  

Nicky G's high school alum

I don't remember what our conversation topic was that led to this stealth name bombing.  What I do remember is chasing after him and saying with full frothy spittle emerging from my mouth:  "KRISTEN JOHNSTON?  THE ACTRESS?  3RD ROCK FROM THE SUN KRISTEN JOHNSTON?  FUNNY, TALL, BLONDE KRISTEN JOHNSTON?  YOU WENT TO HIGH SCHOOL WITH HER?"  

(Side Note: For those of you too young to know "3rd Rock from the Sun" [a.k.a. young a**holes], Kristen Johnston was also the uber-wild and crazy Lexi Featherston from "Sex and the City."  She currently stars in "The Exes" on TVLand.)

So now where was I in the story?  Oh yes I was screaming: "YOU WENT TO HIGH SCHOOL WITH KRISTEN JOHNSTON????" Nicky G looked at me as if I had said "YOU PUT EGGS IN AN OMELET?  SERIOUSLY?  TELL ME THE TRUTH - DO YOU?"  He shrugged and said "Well yeah, but it's not like we were best friends or anything.  She went to the high school.  I went to the high school."  He said this all cool and blasé, like a stealth name bombing ninja.  

"WERE YOU IN THE SAME GRADE?"  I believe I may have been shaking him at the time that I demanded to know this information.  This was not a conversation.  It was an interrogation.  For some reason, Nicky G gets the high honor of being the person I have shaken the most in my life.  Poor guy definitely has shaken baby syndrome by now ... I may need to host the telethon.  My opening number?  Dead or Alive's "You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)."  I plan on using a lot of hair spray.

Nicky G extracted himself from my shaking hands of fury and said "Yes."  Still cool, still blasé ... but probably a little dizzy.  Or a lot dizzy.  Or suffering from a subdermal hematoma ...

I believe my next combined utterance/spewing facial movement was a cross between the Hulk growling, polar bears mating and whatever it is that Gordon Ramsey does when he starts swearing in a kitchen.


My memory gets a little hazy at this point.  I think the cops might have dragged me off of Nicky G.  There may have been some jail time.  Nicky G's brain might have been shaken into a pool of slimy goo after I was done with him, but he needed to learn his lesson

"No one and I mean no one, stealth name bombs me... EVER!"  

When I meet someone, I need full and immediate disclosure of every connection they have with any celebrity, serial killer or member of any Royal Family ... OK any popular Royal Family - suck it, Liechtenstein!  (And in my case, I also disclose any sexual relationships with men who later turned into ex-con Neo Nazis.  Read about it here!)

Again in the name of full disclosure, none of my high school classmates became internationally known actors.  (Way to not reach for the stars, my fellow Midwestern high school alumni!)  But I still tell anyone visiting St. Paul, Minnesota that they have to have dinner at the very tasty and fun Señor Wong's Restaurant which is co-owned by a guy who went to my high school.  So I am still representing!  MIDWESTERN RESPECT!

Oh and a couple years ago, one of the "Biggest Loser" contestants was an alum of my high school.  That's pretty much it for the fame department for like a century of students.  But I still was (sadly) revved up to see my high school cafetorium on NBC.  (One more time - FULL DISCLOSURE, PEOPLE!)  If you can't respect a cafetorium, who can you respect?  

All of this ranting and raving about Nicky G leads me to the heart of this 150th blog post for ...

Fast-forward to a couple months ago ... I had heard that Kristen Johnston had written a book called "Guts: The Endless Follies and Tiny Triumphs of a Giant Disaster."  (See the book's website here.) I immediately - and I mean IMMEDIATELY - went on (Barnes and Noble) and tried to order the book.  To my pouty disappointment, the book would not be coming out for three more weeks.  Damn you, pre-release book buzz!  I went on Twitter and ranted (ahem - tweeted) my frustration that the book was not out yet.  

And then a little Christmas miracle happened ...  

Kristen Johnston tweeted me back.  

OK, OK ... Clarification - Kristen Johnston's Twitter account "@KJoTheSmartAss" tweeted me back.  While I have the absolute utmost sincerest hope that it was the glorious Ms. Johnston tweeting me, I do recognize that it could have been her PR team, her personal assistant, her book editor, her housekeeper, the President of her Fan Club, her dog walker or a homeless guy that she gives day old muffins to in exchange for tweeting for her every now and again.  I know, I know ... but I was still excited to get the tweet!    

I had the sincere joy of tweeting back and forth with the Twitter account known as @KJoTheSmartAss a couple more times over the next week or so.  And if you look at the left-hand column of my blog, you'll see that I have quoted one of the tweets from @KJoTheSmartAss.  Can't find it?  It's right under my beautiful "shout out to Lily" picture of comedian Margaret Cho (who was guilt-forced to take the picture by my friend, actress Jillian Kinsman who was taping a spot on Margaret Cho's television show "Drop Dead Diva.")  

If you haven't bothered to read the quote on the left-hand side of my blog, I'll tell you that @KJoTheSmartAss tweeted something akin to "Lily, you are a joy and inspiration - I wish I could have a fraction of the powerful wit, charisma and magnetism that you have."  Or at least that's what I recall the Twitter account tweeted.  (Fact-checker side note:  The tweet between @KJoTheSmartAss and @SouthTampaLily was "You are one kooky broad.")

I like to think that if @KJoTheSmartAss is not Kristen Johnston, that at least it's her plucky sidekick/assistant Raoul.  I don't know if she has a plucky sidekick/assistant and even if she does, he/she is probably not named Raoul ... but in my imaginings, it's Raoul - and he is PLUCKY.  I see him in small hats and ridiculously soft cashmere sweaters, no matter what the temperature.  I fantasize that Raoul and I strike up a rapport ... our witty tweets laying the foundation for a solid friendship - well as solid as two ADHD Tweeting Twitterers can have.  I offer to take Raoul out for a cucumber martini the next time I am in NYC.  Raoul heavily considers this offer- because while I may be a stalker, he thoroughly enjoys a good cucumber martini.  But vodka please, unless it's Bulldog Gin.  

In the end, Raoul decides that my background as a Midwesterner and my now even more whackadoo residence of Florida may make me too unfashionable to be seen with -- so instead Raoul and I share a 40 ouncer in a brown paper bag while watching his yippee dog named "Miss Thang-a-dang-dang" get her nails done.  I believe she is a Yorkie mix.  

I pump Raoul for tales of what it's like to work for Kristen Johnston, but this isn't Raoul's first time around the Doggie Nail Emporium.  All pumps get summarily rebuffed ... a stronger buffing than Miss Thang-a-dang-dang's nails get!  At the end of our afternoon in NYC together, Raoul gives me an air kiss on each cheek and says "You know, when I tweeted that you were one kooky broad.  I meant it!"  A lone tear runs down my cheek as I realize that this is the single most defining moment in my entire life.  Happiness is finally mine!  Raoul then takes his little dog and goes home.

Sigh ... it's like my own little "making it big in New York story" - watch for Ryan Murphy to tell my tale on the next season of "Glee!"

With the vision/fantasy of "Raoul and Lily watch doggy manicures while drinking malt liquor" fresh in my head (and heart!), I was jumping for joy when Kristen Johnston's book arrived in the mail.  It was like I was one step closer to making my fantasy a reality.

Like a giant chunk of chocolate whip cream cake from Wuollet's Bakery, I wolfed down Kristen Johnston's book in one sitting.  And just like that chocolate whip cream cake, it was absolutely fantastic, satisfying and fulfilling.  (But a lot less calories!)  Who knew Kristen Johnston was such a heart-warming creature so acutely tuned in to the f*cked up human condition?  I started dog-earing the pages where I felt Kristen Johnston had written something powerful or soul-touching.  By the time I finished the book, it seemed like every page had been dog-eared!

I kid you not - my actual dog eared pages of "Guts"
I am not going to say something as cliche as "I fell in love with this book" ... OK well then I am not sure what I am going to say.  It was amazing.  You need to go out and get this book.  If not because you like Kristen Johnston, then do it because she went to high school with Nicky G!  (P.S. Everybody who is anybody knows I loves me some good merch - check out the GUTS t-shirt.  The motto on the shirt is priceless.)

Kristen's tale of addiction, denial and then her final pathway to rehab and recovery was inspiring - not because it was some "Look at me, I am WOMAN!" self-congratulation, but because of its "Here I am, this is what I went through" level-headedness.  It was very ... Midwestern in thinking, I guess is the best way of articulating my thoughts.  I grew up in Minnesota and went to school in Wisconsin and there's a lot less self-indulgence in the overall tales of perseverance.  OK I get that that is a sweeping generalization, but work with me here.

Even though I am not a tall, blonde, gorgeous, internationally known actor, I found myself relating to a lot of what Kristen Johnston wrote about in "Guts," such as her childhood torments and her inability to process or savor her initial success.  And I envied her eventual realization described when she wrote: "If I don't want to care what other people think of me, then I simply don't have to."  It sounds so easy and yet so many people live their entire eyes seeing themselves only through how they perceive others view them.

And when she writes: "I was pathologically obsessed with appearing as unneedy as possible," I wondered how Kristen Johnston knew my sad life's goal?  Has she been breaking into my condo reading my journals?  And if so, why haven't my cats told me?  Full disclosure, people!

I don't want you to think this book is some fluffy recovery piece or some equally vacuous downer, Kristen Johnston is known for her comedic dry wit after all.  This book had equal parts hard fought/hard won enlightenment to "oh no she didn't!" calamities!  Kristen Johnston also writes "Nurse Wretched turned around quickly and glared daggers at my vagina ..." Now go out and buy the book to find out the context behind that line.  (Or stay in and order online like I did!)

There were many thoughts, feelings, realizations and "holy f*ck, what am I doing?" moments in Kristen Johnston's book that I could really relate to ... some a little too close for comfort, to be quite honest.  I expected some puffy "Look I'm an author!" celeb tale with maybe some tepid "trying to be scandalous" tales about John Lithgow or Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  

I did not expect to feel like Kristen Johnston invited me into her living room and said "Hey, I've had some f*cked up times - but then again so have you - so let's cut the bullish*t and let me tell you my story.  I think it's one you can definitely relate to and maybe we'll both learn a little ... or at least laugh and shake our heads a bit at the insanity."  

"Guts: The Endless Follies and Tiny Triumphs of a Giant Disaster" is plain and simple, an unexpected punch to the heart and the abdomen, in all the right ways.

I feel like tweeting Raoul and asking him to tell Kristen Johnston to write more books ... NOW.  I very much enjoyed her tone, her wit, her candor and her Midwestern level-headedness.  It was surprisingly moving and riveting.  "Guts" was so much more than I ever expected.  While I devoured the book very quickly, as you can see by the number of dog-eared pages the messages in the book stayed with me for quite some time.

I hope you enjoyed my 150th blog post for  I wanted to write about something I considered special and Kristen Johnston's first book was definitely special to me.  My life, as of late, has not been as glamourous as I would prefer (future blog post!) and the Papillon section of Kristen Johnston's book (gotta read it!) has been ringing in my ears.  Lots of questions and thoughts stirring around in my brain and not a lot of answers at this point.  But I welcome the discourse in my head - better to have conversations with your inner self than a whole lot of denial and ducking of white elephants.  Check this book out for yourself at  

About 10 months ago, I was laying on a couch cuddling with my then "wicked paramour" (now "dirtbag loser" - kisses!!).  This was definitely in the lustful enchantment stage of the relationship, because I was pretending to listen and enjoy watching a documentary on Lemmy from Motorhead that the wicked paramour was intently interested in.  However I was becoming annoyed that the smooching part of our cuddle fest had ended because wicked paramour needed full use of all his senses to concentrate on watching Lemmy.  

So when my cell phone rang and I saw that it was Nicky G, I jumped off the couch and went to the other room to chit chat with my friend.  We were babbling on about "vapid but ever so important" subjects when Nicky G threw out this informational tidbit before having to end the call:

"Lady GaGa is my third cousin - my grandfather and her grandfather were first cousins.  It's not like I can get tickets or anything though.  Just that we're related."


The stealth name bomber had savagely struck again!!!    

Sometimes you just gotta wake up and say "Hey, there's a brick house on me."

P.S.  As if I could not love Kristen Johnston more, she retweeted my blog post link to all of her Twitter followers and sent me the following two tweets:  

 Ok 1st of all...the shit abt being stealth name-bombed KILLED me. I write every single 1 of my tweets. (Raol steaming gowns)

and Tweet #2 - read the comments section first then read this tweet because it will make more sense ...

 I also LOVE what u wrote abt GUTS, & playing Smitty was 1 of the highlights of my life.

Thank you, thank you, thank you Kristen Johnston for reading my blog and for the great tweets ... but does this mean Raoul of the small hats and cashmere sweaters is not taking me to the doggie pedicure emporium?  Boy, there's always a little bitter with the sweet!

Google Affiliates Ad: 
(The only product in Google ads that had the words "GUT" in it ... I am happy to bring you this ad for "Reptile Gut Load.")

Saturday, May 19, 2012

20,003 Reasons To Be Happy On A Saturday ... And How I Inadvertently Slept with a Neo Nazi

Happy Saturday, Readers!

Right after I typed "20,003 Reasons To Be Happy On A Saturday" as the title of this blog post, I heard a way too familiar "hucka, hucka" noise.  My bulimic girl cat (Diva - who I am pretty sure is the reincarnated spirit of a very pissed off Kurt Cobain) vomited her breakfast contents on my rug.  Not the easily cleanable tile that was a mere 1.5 centimeters away.  Nope - on the vomit absorbing throw rug.  Thank you, Diva!  I know 20,003 Reasons To Be Happy On A Saturday and cleaning up cat vomit from a pissed off reincarnated rockstar spirit is NOT one of them!

This wasn't the way I wanted to start this blog post, but it's a true metaphor for my life - whenever I am about to celebrate happiness, there's usually some regurgitation.  Live, learn and move on!  (And have lots of cleaning products!)

So ... 20,003 Reasons To Be Happy On A Saturday!  I have been writing this food/travel/restaurant and product reviews/adventure tales/dating angst/life in Tampa Bay, Florida/psychotic ramblings blog since the tail end of 2010.  I didn't really get into the swing of blogging on a regular basis until late 2011 though.  But once I found my groove, I was amazed at the readership that developed.  I love getting emails and comments from all around the world.  And I loved discovering that for some unknown reason, I have a lot of readers in the Ukraine.  (Thank you, Ukraine!)  Your readership (Ukraine and everywhere!) makes the frustration I feel at the ridiculous amount of random spaces that puts in my blog posts when I use a larger font, all worth it!  

Just recently I had my first reader in Brunei.  I hope I catch on there, because "My Name is Lily and I'm Big in Brunei" is definitely going to be my bar pick up line for the second half of 2012.  Don't try to steal it, you hussies!  I want all the foxy men for myself!  (By the way, by referring to men as "foxy," I caused a bit of my own regurgitation.) 

But enough about vomit ... (Which should be my tag line).  Yesterday, I saw that my humble blog was getting very close to 20,000 page views.  Now I know this may not sound like a lot of page views to some...  

(Yeah, I'm talking to you Mellissa at the I Breathe ... I'm Hungry blog!  Mellissa started her awesome, amazing, "I read it at least 3-5 times a week" blog in JULY 2011 and now has over 1.56 million hits [and counting.]  I would hate you but your recipes are too damn good.  So I will secretly curse you as I make your zero net carb flax and parmesan pizza crust and continue to read your blog on an obsessive basis.)  

While I do not have 1.5 million page views, approaching 20,000 page views for my wacky, snarky little blog feels pretty darn amazing to me.  Readers, you have made my Saturday!  Thank you!!  (Although perhaps I should add more recipes to this website, have you tried my recipe for Nutter Butter Cheesecake Truffle Balls?)

I woke up this morning (ahem - late morning ... ahem -- slightly before Noon ...) to find that my page view counter was at 20,003!  Sometime during my slumber, I had had my 20,000th page view and then 3 more people came to the party!  

Like an odometer rolling over, I feel like my blog has moved into a new chapter!  The "more than 20,000 page views" chapter!  I wonder if this is like an upgraded status on the airlines ... do I now get to board my life first with an extra piece of emotional baggage?  Maybe some extra peanuts at least?  

Welcome to "Lily On The Lam - Silver Elite Status!"  Please feel free to throw some confetti in the air and yell "woo hooooo!"  But don't curse me as you have to drag out the vacuum cleaner to suck up said confetti.  I don't do manual labor.  

Or maybe now that I've had over 20,000 page views, I'll start affecting a condescending, snotty air ... "I don't have time for the `little people' anymore ... Hello, I'm Lily ... beautiful day isn't it?  Why look at that cloud -- it looks like the number 20,003 ... what a coincidence, do you know who else has a number of 20,003?  My amazing BLOG!"  

Ahhh yes, I can run into patronizing, self-congratulatory mode at the drop of any hat!  It's a talent ... a gift really ... a gift from Jesus himself.  (By the way, has anyone bought a Grilled Cheesus maker where the image of our Heavenly Lord and Father gets branded on your sandwich?)  

I feel like I should have some super awesome, amazing topic for the blog post after 20,003 page views ... however this is my 149th blog post and I was trying to plan a great blog for the 150th!  The pressure of TWO great blog posts in a row is just way too much for this little brain to handle.  The stress of it all would cause a huge breakdown and my cat, Finnerty, would have to take over writing this blog.  And if you're an ardent reader, you will know that Finnerty is an a**hole.  (Evidence: here, here, here and here.)  Plus Finnerty is lazy ... he's not going to keep a consistent schedule of blog writing.  (Um, I guess I don't keep a consistent schedule of blog writing either ... ummm... well at least I don't lick my butt and then try to kiss my owner.  Take that, Finnerty!)  

So like most of my blog posts, I am picking today's topic out of my arse ... oops, I mean "out of the air," which is my sophisticated way of saying: "out of my arse."  In April, I went on a girls weekend to Sarasota/Siesta Key, Florida.  Sunday morning was our beach time and I whipped out a book I had purchased several weeks before and had not gotten around to starting.  

That book?  Rachel Dratch's "Girl Walks Into A Bar ... Comedy Calamities, Dating Disasters and a Midlife Miracle."

Now I have been a pretty faithful viewer of NBC's "Saturday Night Live" over the years, so I have seen comedian Rachel Dratch in action.  I would watch Rachel Dratch and wonder why Lorne Michaels and team always seem to fit her in roles of little old men or crazy mutant creatures.  I cheered the first time I saw her in a "Sully and Denise" sketch because finally Rachel Dratch gets to stop dressing as a man AND gets to make out with Jimmy Fallon.  I consider this a comedy career win-win.  

But then came the 30 Rock brouhaha where Rachel Dratch was supposed to star in the Tina Fey-driven television show, but then was allegedly replaced with Jane Krakowski.  I remember feeling sad when Rachel Dratch would pop up occasionally on "30 Rock" doing an eerily good impression of Elizabeth Taylor.  I would think "Oh really?  Is this what you do to Rachel Dratch?  Yank away her starring role and then throw her a bone with an occasional cameo?"  And then I would wonder why I was yelling at my TV and that the "bone" Rachel Dratch was being thrown probably paid a lot more than my job.  Then I would wonder why I was indignant-by-proxy for a comedian I had never met.  And at some point, I'd probably fall asleep on my couch.  Self-introspection wears me out.

While I evidently have such an affinity for Rachel Dratch that I was willing to take on the suits at NBC for her (assuming that the suits at NBC would come to my living room to discuss this topic with me, because I'm kinda lazy and low effort); I wasn't as big of a fan to know that Rachel Dratch had written a book.  No ... I was on (That's, if you're an internet super genius!  Wink, wink!) and I think I had purchased something like "Wild, Forlorn Hippos of the Serengeti" and up pops a "If you like Wild, Forlorn Hippos of the Serengeti ... you'll love Rachel Dratch's new book!"  

Now being a crazed internet shopaholic, who gets some sort of secret thrill whenever I push the "BUY IT NOW!!!  FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, BUY IT NOW!!!" button ... I thought "Hmm, Rachel Dratch ... a book?  Hmm ... how bad could that be?"  And I pressed "BUY."

I have to take a moment to sincerely apologize for my truthfulness ... I am very sorry Rachel Dratch that my reaction to your book was "How bad could it be?" and then I purchased your book.  Although in my defense, I strongly believe that you'd be happy with any of these scenarios ...

I get naked, put on a rooster head mask and go streaking through downtown Tampa and then buy your book.

I dress up miscellaneous cats in Scottish garb and recreate scenes from the movie "Braveheart" and then buy your book.  (I've never seen Braveheart, it is set in Scotland, right?)

I throw all my recyclables into the trash chute and then buy your book.               

The common theme here is that I think Rachel Dratch would be happy with whatever me and my 20,003 page views would do as long as it ended in buying her book.  OK maybe not that last one about throwing away my recyclables, since evidently Ms. Dratch is an ardent recycler.  (Just one of the delectable factoids you would know if you bought and read her book!)

Side Note:  If you're a regular reader of, you are well aware that I am the world's worst photo stylist.  When faced with a "how do I showcase this item in a photo?"  I usually respond with "Um ... more cats?"  So when wanting to take a picture of Rachel Dratch's book for this blog post (everything is better with a picture!), I was stumped as to how to appropriately photo style her book - as you may have noticed in the above picture.  

After much contemplation, I added this winning, photo stylin' touch and retook the picture ...

Yep, I think I nailed the emotional intensity of Ms. Dratch's book through my clever photo styling.  Who cares that I covered up half of the title to do it?  Who cares that now people think Rachel Dratch's book is called "Walks A Bar" and are wondering why she takes her liquor cabinet contents out for a morning stroll in NYC?  This is ART.  Sometimes you have to bend reality for art's sake.  I think Andy Warhol or the toll collector on the Veterans' Expressway said that.  Quite clearly, photo styling should be my next new career.    (Psst - Just don't tell my boss at the drive-thru "Cheese on a Stick" kiosk, I am not ready to give up that sweet, sweet paycheck.)

I also am going to take credit for the new trend sweeping the nation (#LilyOnTheLamNewTrend on - which is obviously "posting pictures on the internet of Rachel Dratch's book with weird objects that have nothing to do with her book."  Is it any surprise that I am an international trend setter?  I have 20,003 page views, people!

Back to the story ... so I bought Rachel Dratch's book - either because I am an internet shopaholic or because I have faith in Rachel Dratch's writing abilities.  You decide.  

The book came in the mail and ... And it sat on my bookshelf.  Until girls' weekend at the beach.  I knew that Rachel Dratch's book had to be the ideal summer read.  I was not wrong!  I was laughing hysterically to myself, devouring the first couple chapters until I realized I was supposed to be social and actually talk to my friends at the beach.  (Whaaaat?)  So I begrudgingly put the Rachel Dratch book back in my bag and tried to pretend like I was socially integrated.  

Although I absolutely LOVED the first couple chapters of Rachel Dratch's book; when I returned from the girls' weekend I didn't get around to picking the book up again to finish it.  Did I happen to mention I am lazy and low-effort?  However last weekend, I was flying to Minnesota for the weekend ... do you know what goes well with plane rides?  Rachel Dratch's new book!  I finished her book on my plane ride back to Tampa.  I was laughing out loud at Rachel Dratch's tales while receiving indignant stares from my fellow passengers.  ("Stop looking at me - go back to eating your Biscoff cookies.  Flight attendant, WHERE IS MY FRESCA?")

If I had to sum up Rachel Dratch's book, I would have to say "Freaking Heartwarming."  Feel free to add that to the book jacket of your next reprinting, Ms. Dratch.  " says: `Freaking Heartwarming.  Buy this book after you buy Wild, Forlorn Hippos of the Serengeti!'"

There are a lot of laughs in this book and while some are of the "Ohhhh Rachel, noooo...." cringe in your seat variety; the overarching theme of this book is perseverance, hope and not letting the big knocks completely knock you down.  Which to me, is a pretty darn good theme.    

I had this weird sense of calm, inspiration and hope after reading Rachel Dratch's book.  WTF?  Is Rachel Dratch channeling Deepak Chopra?  (Don't know who Deepak Chopra is?  Check out my blog post:  This Dog Loves Deepak Chopra, Do You?)  I don't know what Jedi mind trick Rachel Dratch is pulling ... but her book really ran me through the emotional roller coaster - happy, sad, confused, laughing, inspired, hopeful ... more laughter.  I was amazed at how much I enjoyed this book.  (OK that sounds like a backhanded compliment ... sorry Ms. Dratch!)  I guess I'll just say that I thoroughly enjoyed it.  

Also the book answers the age old question - "what happens when you see pigs everywhere?"  (What do you mean that's not the age old question?  Whatever!)  

Rachel Dratch also writes about her dating life and her own sad rule of threes - an alcoholic, a drug addict and a sex addict!  I think that's like some Vegas-style Dante's Inferno dating trifecta.  Reading about Rachel Dratch's love life, made me do my own sad, sad, sad accounting of past loves.  (Side Note:  Sitting on a plane thinking of all your past bad relationships while the plane is in full throttle bone-rattling turbulence does not equal a good time.)  I've dated alcoholics.  I've dated drug addicts ... and I am sure there's been a freaky sex addict in there somewhere too ... so I see your trifecta, Miss Dratch and I raise you ... with this story ...

When I was in grad school in the cosmopolitan wonderland that is Buffalo, New York (don't envy me!), I would visit my close college friend in Washington DC.  (Any excuse to break out of Buffalo!)  My DC friend loves to sing and so any weekend visit would require that I attend his church to hear him sing.  

First off, I should get points for entering a church without spontaneously combusting.  Second - I'm obviously a good friend ... having to attend church services that aren't even my religion (but ahem, wouldn't matter if it was anyway) ... is a huge move on my part.  It's higher than "helping you bury a body."  But not as high as "helping you kill a person."  My friend is gay.  His church congregation was made up of mostly gay men and elderly widowed straight women in hats.  I felt like an anthropologist in the wild.  Clearly not a part of this targeted population, but a curious onlooker watching and studying.  

After the church service, there would be a "coffee hour."  (AKA viewing the targeted population in the wild, socializing ... with caffeinated beverages and cookies.)  I was amazed at how many single men in their early 40's were there with their children.  My friend informed me that this particular subsection were all men who had been closeted.  Instead of living as gay men, they had married women and had children.  Then as they approached forty, these men decided to come out of the closet, divorce their wives and embrace their true sexuality.

First, let me say that I applaud anyone who stops living a lie - no matter what that lie is -- and embraces their true self.  It is heroic, courageous and admirable.  Life is too short to not be true to yourself.  

However, that being said ... I WAS FREAKED OUT to learn of this subsection of the church congregation.  I suddenly had visions of myself finding love, getting married, having children and then one day my husband saying to me "Yeah - I never loved you - at least not in that way.  I didn't want you to know I was gay so I let you decorate our house in Sears Outlet purchases and have held my tongue about those hideous flower-print palazzo pants you insist on wearing, but I cannot live a lie any longer.  I'm gay and my lover, Henri and I are opening a bed and breakfast ... Ta ta!"  Leaving me standing there feeling like an idiot- and my entire love life a sham.

Cue the wonderfully talented Jay Brannan singing "Beautifully" ... ("It's not that you're not beautiful, you're just not beautiful to me ..."  OUCH!)

One of my biggest dating fears was being presented to me over coffee and cookies in a church ... being a control freak, I have a neurotic fear of being duped, hoodwinked, conned ...  I am pretty intuitive and do tend to pick up things like a homicide detective, but there are still sadly many times where I get the rug pulled out from under me - especially when it comes to love.  (Latest case in point - Mr. Bad Ass Bandit - yeah, you heard me, fella!)

To think you are happy and in love, get married, have children ... and then find out your spouse is gay and leaving you ... well that has got to be the biggest con of them all.  Whether an intentional con or not, it's still destroying one person's world.  I could not even imagine what all the wives of these now very happy, divorced out and proud gay men were going through emotionally.   

Fast forward - Many years after the out and proud gay man church coffee hour, I am pleased to report that I have never had a relationship with a man who then turns to me and says: "I didn't realize I was gay until I had sex with you."  There has got to be a Girl Scout Badge for this particular event NOT happening in one's dating life!  What I neglected to realize, oh so many years ago in that church is that I have incredibly strong, military grade gaydar. The chances of me falling in love and marrying a gay man without having any inkling whatsoever that he's gay are even more remote than my winning a mega millions lottery.  There was no reason to fear this particular event's occurrence in my life.

But true to form ... with every happy moment (I guess if saying "I'm glad I never married a closeted gay man" can be referred to as a happy moment) ... it inevitably is followed with some cat vomit.

If we were playing the drinking game "I Never" and the statement was "I have never turned a man gay" ... I would not be downing my Clamato and Vodka to that statement.  (Heh heh, I just love saying "Clamato."  Do you know Clamato bills itself as the original tomato-clam cocktail?  As if there are soooo many tomato-clam cocktails out there on the market, that Clamato has to preserve its reputation by saying it is the original???)

BUT if in the same "I Never" drinking game, the statement was "I have never turned a man into a Neo-Nazi by sleeping with him" ... well I wouldn't be able to say anything because all you'd be viewing is the bottom of my red plastic Solo cup and possibly some Clamato running down my chin.  Yep ... I cannot say I have never done this particular statement.

By the way, there is no Jay Brannan song that fits this part of my story "It's not that you're not beautiful, it's just that you're a Neo Nazi ..."  Maybe Jay needs to expand his song catalog.  I'll direct the video.

Now for people who actually know me live and in person, they are probably sputtering at the revelation I have just made.  I'm your average neighborhood gal ... not some crime-spree loving renegade with a tattoo of Heinrich Himmler on my ass.  Besides, if you are a dedicated reader (if not-- re-assess your priorities NOW!), you may recall that I am 1/2 Caucasian and 1/2 Asian.  Not exactly an ideal recruiting group for Neo Nazi members.  Plus, I pay a lot of money at Salon 1.0 at Channelside on my gorgeous hair ... so I will not be embracing the skinhead lifestyle any time in this century.  

Given all this, you may be wondering what exactly is in my sexual repertoire that has turned a man I have been intimate with into a Neo Nazi?  Do I employ Hitler costumes in bed?  Can I only climax if I am having sex in a bunker and you call me Eva while wearing a tiny little Charlie Chaplin-style mustache?  (Moments like these, I am glad my Mother does not read my blog.  But find it hysterical that T's mother freely chooses to read all this insanity!  Thanks for reading, Mrs. S!)  By the way, the answer to the above two questions is "HELL NO!"  As if you had to ask!  Shame on you!

Evidently with no WWII sexual depravities of my own, a young man I had a fling with very long ago in my wayward youth has become a major drug dealer, alleged multiple murderer, ex con who also sports many swastika tattoos on his body.  Yeah, how's about them apples?  

Did sex with a 1/2 Asian (ahem ... me) lead this man to a path of destruction?  Would he be a state Senator if not for my drunken "love em and leave em" reign of terror?  And is a state Senator role better than a Neo Nazi drug dealer?  (OK I jest with that last comment ...)  

For the record, while many of the men I have had relationships with are emotional con artists ... I tend not to date actual convicts.  Or ex-convicts ... or murderers ...  And while a frightening amount of men I have dated do sport at least one tattoo (side comment:  that back piece you're getting looks ridiculous, Sergio!), the tattoos the men of Lily's boudoir have are not of swastikas or any Nazi propaganda.  Not one single "I heart Hitler" tattoo in the bunch of them.    

Needless to say, I was quite floored to learn that this man from my long, long ago past had taken quite a different path from when I knew him.  I also breathed a sigh of relief that he's not on my Christmas card list ... "I went to India for Christmas and New Year's - what did you do?  Ohhh, got another swastika tattoo and you believe I should die because I am impure and am of mixed race?  Gee, that's keeping with the holiday spirit.  I bought you a waffle maker ... perhaps you can use it for all those KKK brunches.  What?  Neo Nazis are different from the KKK?  Yeah, I guess I am hate-blind ... so hard to keep all those hate groups apart.  Merry Christmas!"           

And while in my heart of hearts, I don't believe that a brief fling with this sexually voracious 1/2 Asian dynamo actually turned this particular man into a Neo Nazi drug dealing, allegedly homicidal ex-con ... It is scarily interesting to contemplate and is just one more colorful story for the train wreck that is my dating life!

So Rachel Dratch, you may have your triumvirate of addiction boyfriends, but I raise you a "My vagina turns out Hitler Youth" card ... Consider yourself trumped in this game, Ms. Comedian!  Evidently I am the winner and the "takes all" means admitting I had a fling with someone who now is covered in swastika tattoos.  Um ... win-win?

And THAT is my 149th blog post ... maybe I should just stick to posting recipes.  

Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday Fifteen Third Installment: Soup Edition

Hello Readers:

This is the 3rd and final installment of the "Friday Fifteen" series, where I give 15 ideas for take to work lunches.  These fifteen ideas include: (1) Five recommendations for make ahead and freeze meals, (2) Five recommendations for quick to assemble meals and (3) Five recommendations for pre-packaged frozen entrees.  

You can read the first two installments of the "Friday Fifteen Series" here:

First Friday Fifteen
Second Friday Fifteen: Minnesota Edition

A)  Five Recommendations for Make Ahead and Freeze Meals
As this is the "Soup Edition," the recommendations for make ahead and freeze meals are all soup recipes.

A1)  Healthier Version of the Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana Soup
I love hearty, stick to your ribs type soups.  When I first tried the Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana soup many years ago, I knew two things - 1) this is great soup and 2) I could make a much healthier version of this.  It is a cream based soup with sausage, kale and white potatoes.  It is hearty, but more caloric than it needs to be.  

There are many copycat recipes of the Zuppa Toscana soup online.  I use a recipe like this one from  However, I make the following healthy swaps:
- I use hot Italian turkey sausage versus pork sausage.
- I use evaporated skim milk instead of cream.
- I replace the potatoes with either cauliflower or sweet potatoes.
- I double the amount of kale in the recipe.

I like to make a large pot of this soup and freeze individual servings.  Sometimes when I am reheating I add more kale, swiss chard or even spinach for a more fresh taste.  

A2)  Chicken Stew with a Biscuit Topper
I love chicken pot pie (see my earlier blog post "A Tale of Four Pot Pies" comparing different pot pies).  However freezing a chicken pot pie and then reheating quickly in an office microwave does not produce the tastiest results.  So instead I like to make ahead and freeze a chicken stew.  Then I reheat the stew in the microwave until bubbling hot.  I then take a biscuit - either homemade, store bought or a baked refrigerator dough- heat it for about 10 seconds in the microwave and then put the biscuit on top of the chicken stew.  All the flavors of chicken pot pie easily microwaveable.

Here are some chicken stew recipes to consider making ahead for your office lunches:

A more broth-based chicken stew from The Food Network website

10 Chicken Stew Recipes from MyRecipes.Com  

A3)  Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup
I love my slow cooker.  Living in Florida, I like being able to make meals without heating up the whole kitchen.  I love spicy soups.  Try making slow cooker chicken enchilada soup and topping it with additional tortilla chips or julienned tortillas.  A squirt of fresh lime juice right before eating, adds an extra punch of flavor.

Try this recipe from

A4) Tom Yum Goong Soup
I was in India in December and January.  Unfortunately, I developed a bad case of bronchitis.  I felt like a caravan of semi trucks had run over me on an hourly basis.  All I wanted to do was lay in my hotel bed and eat spicy Thai soup.  I think a vegetarian recipe of this soup makes for better freezing, but I have included a carnivore version as well.    

Tom Yum Goong Soup Recipe from The Food Network

Vegetarian version of Tom Yum Goong Soup Recipe from

A5)  Turkey Chili
One of my go to dishes is a ground turkey breast chili with a variety of beans.  I purchased a stuffed cornbread pan from Williams Sonoma.  It looks like a square mini muffin pan, but there are spikes in the middle of each square.  You can stick a cube of pepper jack cheese or jalapeños or whatever you'd like and then you pour the cornbread batter over it.  The result is a cube of cornbread with a hot filled center.  A bowl of turkey chili and a pepper jack stuffed cornbread square muffin would make a great take to work lunch!

30 Minute Turkey Chili Recipe from the Food Network

B)  Five Recommendations for Quick To Assemble Meals
If you don't have time to whip up a big pot of soup in advance, here are five ideas for quick to assemble meals.

B1)  Lily's Bean and Cheese Roll Ups
You can take the components of this dish to work and assemble it in a few minutes.  Take a whole wheat or spinach tortilla.  Place a couple spoonfuls of your favorite beans (I recommend black turtle beans or red kidney beans), mash with a fork and spread the bean mixture across the entire tortilla.  Sprinkle cumin on top of the beans and then add shredded cheese on top.  Microwave for 30 - 60 seconds until beans are warmed through and cheese is melted.  Add a spoonful of salsa.  Without burning your fingers, carefully roll the tortilla.  You can eat it as a roll up or cut it into pieces first.  

B2)  Baked Sweet Potato
A very simple but tasty lunch meal is baking a sweet potato in the microwave, then slicing it in half.  I like to spray the sweet potato with the olive oil flavor of "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter."  Then I sprinkle fresh ground smoked sea salt, fresh ground nutmeg and cayenne pepper on the potato.  The combination of smoky, salty, sweet and hot accentuates the richness of the sweet potato.  

B3)  Easy Pita Pockets
My local Greek restaurant has a catering menu where you can purchase gyro meat and chicken.  I like having these great spiced meats in the house for quick Greek salads or filling for pita pockets.  Grab a pita, throw in some meat, layer sliced red onions and cucumbers and top with tzatziki sauce.  You can also quickly assemble this at work.  A fast and easy lunch.  

B4)  Picnic Lunch
When I first moved to Florida, I had the same lunch every day for almost a month.  Our local grocery store, Publix, had a delicious tarragon chicken salad.  I would take a Hawaiian sweet bread roll, split it in half and stuff it with the tarragon chicken salad.  A side of watermelon cubes was my accompaniment.  This is a nice summertime style lunch to take to work.  If you're looking to up the heartiness quotient, I recommend taking some apple slices, spreading peanut butter on them and sprinkle with chopped honey roasted peanuts.

B5)  Meatball Sub
With a bag of frozen pre-made meatballs, a can or jar of marinara sauce, a baguette and a slice of provolone cheese - you have a very easy to assemble meatball sub.  Sprinkle some dried oregano and crushed red peppers to spice it up.

C)  Five Internet Recommendations for Pre-Packaged Frozen Entrees

C1)  Mayan Harvest Bake
One of the top internet recommendations for pre-packaged frozen entrees is Kashi's Mayan Harvest Bake.  Let me know if you agree with the internet critics in the comments section!

C2)  Beef Pot Roast
It is definitely not as good as the pot roast I make in my slow cooker, but for 210 calories Lean Cuisine's Beef Pot Roast is a decent and low calorie lunch option!

C3)  Mini Cheeseburger Sliders
If you cannot break away from the office to hit a local fast food restaurant, try Weight Watchers' Smart Ones Mini Cheeseburgers.  Just watch that you don't overcook these as they go from edible burger to inedible rocks.  These are no way the best mini cheeseburgers you could eat, but it takes the edge off a cheeseburger craving for 200 calories.

C4)  Got a Toaster Oven?  Try this pizza!
If your workplace has a toaster oven, grab a California Pizza Kitchen frozen pizza.  I like taking their Sicilian pizza, topping with julienned red and green bell pepper and red onion, then shredding a piece of string cheese over the fresh vegetables and bake per the package directions.  I feel like I'm having a great pizza without going overboard on the calories.

Last but not least ... the last recommendation in the third and final installment of the Friday Fifteen series ...

C5)  Butternut Squash Ravioli
The Lean Cuisine Spa Cuisine Classic Butternut Squash Ravioli entree is a mix of vegetables and butternut squash ravioli that has nice flavor without being too heavy.  I like to extend frozen pasta dishes by adding extra vegetables.  For this entree, I like to toss it with a mixture of steamed asparagus, green beans, red bell pepper, artichoke hearts and red onion.  I like to sprinkle a little bit of nutmeg over the ravioli.  It makes a great lunch.    

I hope you have enjoyed the Friday Fifteen Ideas for Take To Work Lunches Series.  Please feel free to leave a comment with your favorite take to work lunch idea - whether make ahead, quick to assemble or pre-packaged freezer meal!

Google Affiliate Ad:
Disclaimer:  To increase revenue for Lily On The Lam, I am adding Google Affiliate Ads.  However, I am able to select the ad featured for this section.  I either pick items I already own and can recommend or items that I would be personally interested in and that correspond with the theme of my blog post.

I chose this ad because if all else fails, order a case of Bumble Bee Tuna Salad Meals to Go and save time on meal planning!