Monday, December 30, 2013

Auld Lang Syne

'Tis the season to reflect on the year that is coming to its close. For the last couple of years, the reflecting hasn't been easy or comfortable. I never really got back on track with my working out and tracking my eating in 2013 after going off the rails in late 2012, after we lost my mother-in-law. I'm still somewhat active, with walking dogs and doing stuff at our ranch, but it isn't goal driven activity.  I feel like I was a different person that year, and truthfully, I kind of miss her.  So, to borrow the words of the great poet Robert Burns, she's an old acquaintance who shouldn't have been forgotten.

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne ?

A friend recently posted about the pendulum swing of the Gemini psyche. It made me think about how my own pendulum has swung too far away from "health" mode and I've gotten off balance. I'm not happy about it, either. Emotional eating doesn't make the stress go away, it just adds something else to make me unhappy and stressed out about.

It's time to dust off my running shoes, charge up my Garmin, and take back control of my whirlwind life. Extra motivation comes from the fact that I registered for a half marathon in April, so I don't want to waste the money by not training. I've also contributed to a yoga Kickstarter program that debuts this spring. I've meant, time and time again, to start practicing yoga, so this will also be motivation. Hopefully nagging from another friend will help, too. Another area I need to focus on is healthy eating, cutting back on the grains and junk foods that I know aren't healthy for me. I used to eat so much better, but I really have let things slide this year. And no more GF goodies, either. Just because it's gluten free doesn't mean I should be eating it.

And there’s a hand my trusty friend !
And give me a hand o’ thine !
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.

May you have a blessed 2014.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

What's that smell??

It's a little bit whiffy in the Foodie house today. Actually, it's been whiffy for the last 24 hours. The mention of slow cooker ketchup came up yesterday on FB. A long while back, I got a HUGE can of crushed tomatoes from my happy place. I thought I would make sauce, or some such thing, since I had no tomatoes from the garden this year. Hmm. Slow cooker ketchup sounded right up my alley. The recipe mentioned, and another I found online, were for small batches with 15-28 ounce cans. Waaay smaller than the can I had. I adjusted the vinegar, spices and sugar accordingly, but man, it smells like vinegar in my house. Last night I banished my slow cooker to my garage to keep on cooking down. The result: now my garage smells like vinegar, too. I'll keep you posted on how it turns out.

Thursday, November 21, 2013


You know you haven't blogged in a while when you have to double check your URL. I've been in a blogging slump, cooking slump, exercise slump. You name it, I'm in a slump about it.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


Dear Joy,

I never knew you while you were alive, but I want to tell you now that you are an inspiration to me.

(source NY Daily News article)

Congratulations on a race well run. Rest in peace.



Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Dallas Marathon (update)

I must admit that I'm a bit bummed out this morning. The person who was putting together the relay team for the Dallas Marathon has backed out for unspecified reasons. I don't know the other people from the team, so I have no idea if they know other runners who'd step in so that the team stays together. The few local runners I know aren't relay sorts, they run the whole thing, so being part of a team wouldn't interest them. I'm the sort that needs a race on my schedule to motivate me to get up off of my ass and run. This isn't looking promising...

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Dallas Marathon (relay), here I come

It's been a while since I've run any great distance. Great being more than two miles. Time to lace up and start training again. A friend is putting together a relay team for the Dallas Marathon, pka White Rock Marathon, and I've said I'll take the second leg. Since she's never done a big race before, I said she should take the final leg so that she has the finish line experience. I chose the second leg because it winds through the Turtle Creek area. If you aren't familiar with Dallas, that's were a bunch of the rich folks live. I may as well have gorgeous houses, whose property taxes are probably more than The Aussie and I make in a year or two, to drool over while I'm running.

Monday, August 26, 2013

We're gonna need a bigger boat

Okay, maybe not a bigger boat, but certainly a bigger fridge. I was stalking Sisterhood of The Shrinking Jeans' Christy and Melissa over at Real Oilfield Wives recently, and came across a post mentioning a food co-op called Bountiful Baskets. Curious to see if they had a location near me, I hopped on over to their website. Not only did they have one near me, the had one in my town! Unable to resist, I signed up and made a contribution for the weekly basket. Unsure of what to expect, I also contributed for an "Italian Pack" add-in and two "Juice Pack" add-ins. Remind me, next time I contribute, not to get so much. My fridge is jam packed, I've re-tasked my salad bowls to be fruit bowls, and I spent half of yesterday cooking vegetables. Part of that time was spent just staring at the counter, wondering what on earth to do with all of the stuff! 

This isn't even everything. Not pictured are the bags of carrots, all the fruit, including two pineapples. In no particular order (all packs mixed together), I got:

1 bunch of spinach
4 ears of corn
4 Asian pears
6 peaches
10 limes
4 lemons
6 apples
1 bunch of bananas
1 head of romaine
2 bags of carrots
2 bags of baby carrots
2 heads of celery
3 bunches of parsley
1 container of mushrooms
1 eggplant (donated)
3 avocadoes (donated)
2 bunches of beets, with greens
2 pineapples
2 bunches of kale
4 zucchini
2 yellow squash
1 leek
1 head of garlic
several springs of fresh rosemary
several springs of fresh oregano
several springs of fresh basil
6 Roma tomatoes
2 yellow onions
1 red onion
1 hatch chilies
3 green peppers
2 chunks of ginger

So far, I've made an eggplant-less ratatouille, bacon braised kale, and kale with pine nuts, raisins and capers. The Aussie asked what I was going to do with all of it. My reply? Eat a !*&$% load of veggies this week.

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Whole 30 hasn't been pretty

From reading people's accounts of how they felt while doing the Whole 30, I expected great energy, sleeping well, clear skin, overall, feeling pretty good. My energy has been good, I've been sleeping okay, but clear skin and feeling good? Nope. It could be anything from a sensitivity to coconut oil, yeast overgrowth die-off, toxins leaving the body like rats leaving a sinking ship. I don't know.  All I know is that my eczema went from moderate to horrible in two weeks, and I'm miserable. I've gotten it on my face before, but only on one eyelid. Certainly not all over it. I look like I've been in a brawl. My eyes are puffy and red, I've got itchy patches under my eyes, and on my jawline, and my lips are terribly cracked at the corners, are chapped, and they burn. It's worse on my hands, too. The section on my middle finger is so bad that the skin over my knuckle has split.
So, I've decided to not continue restricting what I'm eating so severely. I will continue to eat whole foods, no junk food, no sugars, but I will be adding back in some whole grain products and some dairy. If Whole 30 works for you, great. It's helped me get off of a plateau, but I'm suffering in other ways. I need to be healthy on the outside as well as the inside.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Let's do this.

Let's see if I can't get back below my 10% level, shall we?

Starting weight:

This paleo/Whole30 thing seems to be working already.

Monday, August 5, 2013

I have to rant about something.

I need to get something off of my chest. I've been a member of Weight Watchers for over a year and a half. Sometimes I do well, sometimes I don't do well. I know exactly whose fault it is if I have a bad weigh in. Sometimes I eat crap. It's a fact of life. To paraphrase something that a leader said recently, "you didn't get to where you are now by eating too much fruit." No, most of us didn't. Some people got there by eating too much fried food. Some people got there by eating too much snack food. And some people got there by eating too much candy. I know, everything in moderation. But for crying out loud, who eats one cubic morsel of fudge when they've made AN ENTIRE PAN????

So I have to tell you, it really pisses me off to see them promoting a marshmallow fudge recipe. I refuse to even consider this a "healthier" version.  I don't care (actually, I do, because too many of these ingredients are processed crap) if you're using cooking spray to make each piece have fewer calories. I don't (see above) care if you're using light butter or margarine to make each piece have fewer calories. I don't care if you're using fat free evaporated milk to make each piece have fewer calories. No one needs to be eating something that has close to two cups of sugar AND 14 large marshmallows. Some of the people I see at meetings have real health issues. They're diabetic, they're on multiple medications. Eating stuff (I refuse to call it food) like this can be dangerous for them. And get real. You're pouring the stuff in to an 8x8 pan and the instructions are to cut this in to 36 pieces? They have got to be kidding. (Just how many of the uneven and irregular pieces end up on the cook's mouth, and not on a plate to "share" with everyone else in their family?? "Oh, no, the recipe only makes 24 pieces, not's all here.") And each piece is costs you 3 points?  If they want to provide alternatives, how about tell people to eat a few chocolate chips. That's the least offensive ingredient in the recipe. (It should be noted that I like chocolate chips and have, upon occasion, done just this.)

Studies show that the average person consumes over 100 pounds of sugar EACH YEAR. Is it any wonder people have health issues?

Go do yourself a favor. Don't make this. If you want something chocolate, go eat a piece of chocolate. And make it a real piece of chocolate. The good stuff. Don't waste your points on a bunch of processed crap. I have never heard anyone call marshmallows healthy.

End of rant.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Whole30 - At least I'm eating well

I might be cranky, but at least I can eat well. This was lunch. I planned on having leftovers, but the puppies help me eat, so we had all of it. I'm a sucker for a wet nose and Cindy Lou Who eyes. Besides, I plugged in my food from yesterday in Body Media Fit account and I was just over 1000 calories. No wonder I'm hungry and cranky.

Beef With Broccoli

8 oz. extra lean beef loin strips (thank you, Sprouts!)
2 cups broccoli
1 T coconut oil

Sautee until meat is done and broccoli is tender-crisp.


2 T coconut aminos
1 t fresh grated ginger
1 t minced garlic
1 t vinegar

Mix together and pour over the beef and broccoli.

Whole30 Day 1 Wrap Up - Well that sucked.

So, yesterday was day 1 of #Whole30. I ate well. I had my egg foo yung for breakfast, black coffee. For lunch I had two Applegate Farms organic (no nitrites, uncured, grass fed, etc) hot dogs and kale sautéed in coconut oil w/garlic. For dinner I had steamed chicken and broccoli, with coconut aminos and cayenne pepper. I had a peach as a morning snack and a handful of raw pistachios in the afternoon. Aside from the black coffee, I just drank water yesterday. When I plugged everything in to my eTools on Weight Watchers, I found out that I underestimated the points value for the hot dogs and was actually under my daily points. Well, that never happens. Since I couldn't make a meeting last night I went and weighed in during my lunch hour. Up from 167.7 in the a.m. to 171. This morning I was 169.9. (Yes, I know we aren't supposed to be weighing ourselves all the time, I just wanted some positive feedback after one day of clean eating and a crappy sleepless night. Didn't get any.)

I went to bed early (for me if I'm not falling asleep on the sofa, only to wake up at 2am and head to bed) so that I could get up early and take the dogs for walks before the sun came up. Didn't happen. That was one of the WORST nights sleep I can recall having in a long time. It was one of those "I'm lying here, in the dark, with my eyes closed, but I know I'm not asleep" kind of nights. When I did get some sleep, or what passed as sleep, I had these really weird dreams.

Needless to say, I'm really dragging today. Since it will be over 100 again today, I won't take dogs out until the sun sets. I just might be napping during lunch today. Or menu planning.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Whole 30 Day 1 - Dear Diary, I said I'd do what??

Dear Diary:

Today is my first day of doing #Whole30. This might not be pretty. I warned The Aussie that I was cutting a bunch of stuff out and that the first few days might be a bit rough. He's been warned. Today I'm having my coffee black. It's not too bad. I haven't used Splenda in my coffee for a month or so, so I have a head start.  I made a big egg foo yung type frittata for breakfast. Mushrooms, celery, bean sprouts (canned, because Kroger didn't have fresh), carrots, bell pepper, scallions and onion, 5 eggs, cooked in a little coconut oil.

It was humongous. I ate half of it, kind of wishing there was cheese in there, and it tasted pretty good. The Aussie even came sniffing towards my plate. "I thought I smelled omelet." The other half is being saved for breakfast tomorrow. 
I weighed myself first thing this morning. 167.7. Meh. Could be worse. I can't make it to my WW meeting tonight, but I'll go during lunch to weigh in. We'll see how this goes. I have a snapper filet in the fridge that needs to be used up. Might be good grilled. That could be lunch today. Not sure about dinner yet. Maybe baked chicken. I'll have sweet potato and The Aussie can have regular potato. I bought a bunch of broccoli the other day, planning on using it for a beef and broccoli stir fry, but maybe I'll use that for dinner tonight instead.  I'll keep you posted.  Bye for now.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

My adventures in tracking


I really wish I didn't like chocolate. I wish my husband didn't either. I racked up more points in chocolate yesterday than I did in wine.


coffee w/fat free half and half - 0
2 eggs - 4
2 T reduced fat cheese - 1
1 T poblano pepper - 0
3/4 cup mushrooms - 0
1 t coconut oil - 1

Morning Snack:

1/2 small avocado - 2


3 oz chicken breast - 3
1 T Kraft fat free mayo - 0
1 apple - 0

Afternoon Snack:

Smoothie (banana, berries, unsweetened almond milk) - 1


4 oz grilled steak - 5
3 oz grilled scallops - 2
3 oz grilled shrimp - 2
2 glasses wine - 9
veggies - 0

Late Snack:

Hershey's chocolate - 9

Once again, I managed to rack up 40 points.

Hopefully I'll do better today.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Okay, so my experiment yesterday was to not lie to my tracker. Ouch. 40 points. No wonder I am not losing weight. My daily allowance is 26 points. Those peanut m&ms cost me 6 points. FOR A QUARTER CUP! Forget those little crunchy bits of peanutty, chocolatey goodness. I'm going to save my points for something else. Like wine. Harrumph. Yesterday cost me all of my activity points and a few of my weekly points. Dinner wasn't even that bad. I made IKEA meatballs with sauce and veggies for dinner. Not good for a Monday.

So far today:
coffee with 2 T fat free half and half - 0
2 eggs - 4
2 T shredded cheese - 1
1 T poblano pepper - 0
3/4 cup mushrooms - 0
1 t coconut oil - 1

I feel like Dory from Finding Nemo, except that I'm chanting "must keep tracking..."

Monday, July 22, 2013

I'm not going to lie.

That's right. I'm not going to lie. On my tracker. I do, you know. I lie to it all the time. Don't measure, don't count things after dinner. Skip days. Don't include that extra glass of wine. Yup. I'm a liar.

For today, I'm not going to lie. I am going to track everything. The good, the bad, the ugly, it's all going to get tracked.

So far:

Breakfast: 1 cup of coffee w/ 2 T fat free half and half = 0 points
                  1 cup non-fat yogurt = 3 points
                  1 T honey = 2 points

Early lunch: 4 cups salad greens = 0 points
                     4 oz chicken breast = 4 points
                     1/2 cup water chestnuts = 0 points
                     1/2 oz crispy noodles = 2 points
                     3 T Kraft light raspberry vinaigrette = 2 points

I have 13 points left for the day. Not sure what I'm making for dinner, but I'm certain that I'll track it. I don't want to be a liar to you, too.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Perfect summer salad

Summer. The time of year when you can get the most amazing, fresh, in-season produce. In-season is important because it means you can find locally grown fruits and vegetables that were picked at the peak of ripeness and weren't trucked in from across the country, or from another country altogether.

Lucky for me, corn and tomatoes are in season right now in Texas. I wish I could take credit for growing these amazing vegetables, but I can't. I didn't plant tomatoes in my bed at the community garden this year, and I've never had luck growing corn. This year I planted potatoes and onions. I'll plant tomatoes for fall harvest.  Usually I steam or grill a few ears of corn, we'll enjoy them, but I tend to have some left over. Rather than have it go to waste (something I'm really working on), I left a few of the ears uncooked so that I could try making a salad. I'd had black bean based salad in mind, but that isn't what I ended up making. What I ended up with was even better. Feel free to play with the amount of veggies you use, and adjust the dressing quantities to match. I made enough for me for a couple of meals, but this would be fantastic to bring to a cookout.

Sweet Corn and Tomato Salad

3 ears of uncooked sweet corn - kernels removed
1 cup of grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/4 cup of red onion, finely diced
2 T olive oil
1/4 cup vinegar (I used an herb vinegar)
freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 T finely chopped cilantro (optional if you don't like or don't have cilantro)

Cut the kernels off of the corn cobs and combine with all of the other ingredients (except the cilantro)in a large serving bowl. Mix to combine. Refrigerate for at least an hour to let the flavors blend and the salad to get nice and cold. Mix in the chopped cilantro before serving.


Now to dream up something to do with those in-season Texas peaches I picked up yesterday...


Friday, July 5, 2013

Bang Bang Sauce. What else would be so appropriate for the Fourth Of July.

I have to admit, I have never been to Bonefish Grill and had never heard of "Bang Bang Shrimp" until Martinus, who I met at Fitbloggin 12, posted a picture of it on Facebook the other day. It. Looked. Delicious. The more I researched it the more I understood that it practically has a cult following. Fried shrimp, crunchy greens, spicy sweet sauce. What's not to love. I do love fried shrimp, but I knew I had been making less than stellar wine um, food choices this week, so I wasn't looking to duplicate their recipe exactly. I had a big bag of defrosted shrimp in my fridge that I was planning on cooking up on The 4th, so I decided to make a leaner grilled version of Bang Bang Shrimp. Delicious, if I do say so myself. Thank you, Martinus, for the idea.


Bang Bang Grilled Shrimp

1 lb large shrimp/prawns, cleaned and shelled
1 T garlic powder
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
1 t olive oil

Combine the above ingredients in a bowl and let marinate until you're ready to put the prawns on skewers.

Bang Bang Sauce

1/4 cup low fat mayonnaise
1/4 cup fat free mayonnaise
~ 1/4 Mae Ploy (sweet chili sauce)
1-2 T Sriracha sauce (to taste - this stuff is hot!)
1 t rice wine vinegar

Mix all together until smooth. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

If you're grilling, thread the shrimp on skewers and grill over medium heat for about 3 minutes per side, or until they're opaque. You can definitely broil in the oven or cook the shrimp on the stove. I have leftover shrimp in the fridge that I'm planning on cooking up for lunch and having over salad greens with more sauce drizzled on top. The sauce was delicious on my grilled steak, too.



Monday, June 24, 2013

On missing #Fitbloggin and how real life takes over...

There's a lot of buzz going on this week on the interwebs about Fitbloggin. I remember hearing about it a couple of years ago from fellow fitness/health/weight loss friends. Timing wasn't good for me the first couple of conferences because of family events. Last year, though, timing was good. I saved my money, bought my earlybird ticket, and then put it out of my mind until the conference drew near. Then I started freaking out. I'm not an extrovert by any stretch of the imagination. If I'm comfortable with you and it's a small group, I'm ok. If I don't know many people and it's a large group, I'm going to latch on to familiar faces and stick to them like a barnacle. Whether they like it or not. Just ask Steve, Meegan and Tara, and Jack. Oh, no. It's you again.... sigh.

Much as I will miss seeing old friends I met at Fitbloggin 12, meeting new friends, hugging lots of friends, and posing for pictures while wearing a purple wig and pink feather boa, I will not be going to Fitbloggin 13. This year, my life has been turned upside down and taken turns in directions I never thought I'd be heading. (See my new blog page to see the first glimpse of what I've gotten myself in to.) I've also not been blogging very much these last several months, so I could scarcely justify needing to go, or the expense. Heck, after I got back last year I went and got myself a wordpress site. Have I blogged there? Once. Did I buy Wordpress for Dummies recently in the hopes of getting off my ass? Yup. Some day, when I'm not hauling brush, digging up stuff and pruning overgrown shrubs, I'll get back to it. In the meantime, I hope everyone has an amazing time at Fitbloggin 13. Tell Roni I say hi. Oh, and be sure to tell her "thank you." She works her ass off putting this together.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

#BostonStrong with Go Sport ID

It's hard to believe it's been a week since the Boston Marathon bombings. A split second can change your life, for better or for worse. This tragedy has brought out the good in so many people and companies. Of of these companies is Go Sport ID. They have made a bracelet that reads Run For All. All For Run. Boston 4/15/13, and all proceeds are going to the One Fund Boston fundraising campaign. That's right. All. Proceeds. This fund will help those most affected by last week's bombing.  I can't take away the bad that happened to so many, but I can be part of the good that will help them recover from this tragedy. Join me in buying a bracelet, or ten, to help.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Today, it's not about the bling... #PrayForBoston

What happened yesterday in Boston was so horrific. All afternoon, Twitter and FB were buzzing, as so many of us tried to find out if our friends who were running Boston were ok. Thankfully, none of the runners/family members that I know were physically injured, but it was so close for some of them, it's scary. It sickens and saddens me that someone could do something so awful, but as someone who worked in New York City for many, many years, I know there are evil people out there. 

Today, it's not about the bling. Today, it's not about pace. Today, it's not about PRs. Today, it's about unity. Today, it's about solidarity. Today, it's about community.  My prayers go out to all who were affected by the tragic attack in Boston.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Barley and Spring Vegetable Risotto

Okay, I know that technically, this can't be called a risotto because it isn't made with arborio rice, but if Weight Watchers wants to call it a risotto, I will too.  My sister and I were talking recently about using barley, but I didn't have any recipes. Imagine my surprise when I opened up my WW Weekly on Saturday morning before my meeting. There it was. Barley and spring vegetable risotto. I sent her the recipe and she made it this Sunday. She said she added more vegetables, so it made 6 servings instead of 4. I am all for adding more vegetables than a recipe calls for. Zero points and I get to eat more. Yay! So I did the same, doubling the asparagus and the snap peas, plus I cooked up all of the mushrooms I had in my refrigerator and added them too. In my haste to shovel some of the finished risotto into my mouth, I completely forgot about adding butter, too. Oh well. Tasted awesome without it. The good thing about this recipe? Everything in it is on the Simply Filling Foods List. (I'm not counting the olive oil, since you're supposed to get a healthy oil that you don't count when you follow Simply Filling.)  I need to get back to following this plan. It worked so well for me in the past, and I've been in such a rut. I haven't officially started, since it's mid-week, but my new goal is to eat whole foods, nothing processed, for a week. Last night I had some of The Aussie's sandwich roll and a few Hershey's Kisses, so yesterday didn't count. Eating whole foods, not processed crap, is a good goal. So enough of my dithering on, here's the recipe!

Spring Vegetable "Risotto"

2 T Olive Oil (divided)
1 lb mushrooms (I used a mixture of baby bella, shitaki and portobella), sliced
2 cups finely sliced leeks (rinsed VERY WELL)
1 shallot, minced
4 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
3/4 cup pearled barley
1 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces (1 bunch)
1/2 lb sugar snap peas, trimmed and cut in half
1 t lemon zest (I sprinkled in TrueLemon)
1/4 t salt
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
1 t garlic powder
1 t dried dill (I totally forgot to put this in...)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan (I just sprinkled a teaspoon on top of my serving)

First up: Heat up a large pan over medium high heat. When it's hot, drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the mushrooms and cook them down. This should take about 10 minutes, and you'll need to stir them frequently. When cooked down, remove from the pan and set aside.

Next: Drizzle in your second tablespoon of olive oil.  Add the minced scallion to the pan and cook until they start to get translucent, about 2 minutes. Add in the leeks and cook for another 7 or so minutes, stirring so they don't scorch, until they start to cook down.  Now it's time to add the barley, stirring it around so that it gets coated with a little oil. (I have to tell you, I didn't think 3/4 of a cup of barley looked like much. Wrong.) When it's coated (I won't tell on you if you add a little more olive oil), pour in the stock. Bring it to a light boil, reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer. The original recipe says 30 minutes, but mine took closer to 40 minutes.  When the barley is almost tender, but still has a bit of chewiness to it, add in your vegetables, stirring well, and add your seasonings.  Again, the recipe says 3-5 minutes, but I still had a lot of broth left to be absorbed by the barley, and a lot more vegetables to cook. Uncovered, I cooked the risotto an additional 15 minutes so that it was the proper consistency.

Remove from heat, stir in cheese and lemon zest, and your dill, if you're using it. As I said above, I simply sprinkled a little cheese on top of my serving.  Because of all of the vegetables I used, this made 6 huge servings.


Friday, February 15, 2013

Am I inspired? Ask me after my workout today...

This is kind of a catch 22 for me. Am I inspired to work out? Not always, no. Do I feel better if I do? Usually, I do. These days, though, it's taking several days for the muscle soreness I feel after working out with my trainer to go away. I had every intention of going to a yoga class at my gym last night, since The Aussie and I were planning on celebrating Valentine's Day tonight, anyway. I didn't go. I was still too sore from the core workout I did on Wednesday afternoon. Heck, I'm still sore today, and I have to go back and train with him again this afternoon.  I don't feel super guilty for not going to yoga, because I did start up C25K again yesterday morning, so I got a workout in. But I did want to go to the class.  How do you deal with delayed onset muscle soreness? Do you push through it and end up even more sore or do you rest another day or two?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Laissez les bon temps rouler chicken and sausage gumbo

There are some times when you just have to step back from your food tracker and have some good old rib-sticking, tummy satisfying gumbo. Being that today is Mardi Gras, this is the perfect thing to make for dinner!

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

4 cups chicken stock (this needs to be hot, so heat it up in the dutch oven while you chop veggies and brown chicken)
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup diced onion
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup chopped red pepper
2 stalks celery, sliced
3-4 pounds of chicken pieces (legs, thighs, breast)
1 1/2 pounds fully cooked smoked sausage (andouille, keilbasa, turkey sausage, etc), sliced on diagonal in 1/2" slices
1 t salt
1 t cayenne pepper
2 t freshly ground black pepper
1 t thyme
1 t garlic powder
1 t paprika
1 t dry mustard
1 t ground file
1 t Tabasco sauce
2 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 green onions, thinly sliced on diagonal (optional garnish)

1. Chop up your vegetables.

2. In a small bowl, blend together the black pepper, thyme, cayenne pepper, paprika, dry mustard, file powder, garlic powder and salt.

Rub about 4 teaspoons of the spice mixture on the chicken pieces.

3. Combine the all purpose flour and 2 teaspoons of the spice mixture together and coat the chicken.

4. In a large frying pan, cast iron if you have it, brown the chicken pieces over medium high heat for at least 3 minutes each side. Remove chicken and set aside, draining on paper towels if needed.
5. To the large frying pan, add the vegetable oil and heat over medium to medium high heat. Add the flour and spice mixture that was used to coat the chicken pieces. (I needed to add more flour since I'm messy when it comes to coating chicken pieces). Stir the flour and oil together to make a "roux" (aka "a smooth paste"). Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly until it turns a nutty brown. DO NOT LET THE ROUX BURN.

When the roux reaches the color brown you want, add in the onion, bell peppers and celery to the roux and remove from the heat. Stir the mixture together to coat the vegetables, making sure there are no clumps.
6. In a large dutch oven, bring your stock to a boil. Whisk 1/2 cup of the hot stock into the roux mixture. Slowly add the roux and vegetable mixture to the stock, stirring constantly so there are no lumps.

Add the sausage and cook for 15 minutes, stirring often. (Note: I used Oscar Meyer turkey keilbasa and a Texas brand of smoked jalapeno and cheddar sausage. I think the jalapenos made it spicier than normal.)

7. Add in chicken pieces, bay leaves and hot sauce. Cook over medium low heat for at least 40 minutes, or until chicken pieces are cooked through. (I cooked over low for over an hour since I was making it in the early afternoon.)
8. When the chicken is cooked through, remove from the pot and cool. When it's cool, remove the skin from the chicken and the chicken from the bone. Cut into bite sized pieces and return chicken to the pot.
At this point, adjust your seasonings and it's ready.
Serve over hot rice and garnish with green onions.

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Spark: the journey

I don't like getting my picture taken. Some people photograph well. I am not one of them. The fact that, at one point, I was about 75 pounds overweight, was a factor, that's for sure. The fact that I'm actually posting pictures is nothing short of crazy for me. You'd better believe I edited pictures. A few of my friends in my Spark group posted pictures today of their journeys. Not before and after pictures, really, because as Susan said recently (I'm paraphrasing, please forgive me), "after ends in the grave." There is no after, because this will always be something I have to work at. The last two weeks have been frustrating. Between having and endoscopy last week and having the flu this week, I have been on the sidelines. Figures. So, to inspire me, I'm going to look at how far I've come, not how far I have left to go. Although, I think I do look cute in my Grand Canyon pictures.

 The blue shirt pictures were taken in 2007, late summer, when my mother in law was visiting from Australia. I think I've given away the v neck t-shirt, but I still have the button up blouse. Two things amaze me: first is how much that fit like a sausage casing in 2007, and second, how big it seemed this summer. I did wear it once, to church, but I actually tucked the blouse in to my black skirt. I don't know if this was me at my heaviest. Probably not. I don't look happy, and I certainly don't look comfortable.
 These pictures were taken in October of 1999. The Aussie and I took a much needed vacation and drove around the Southwest for two weeks. I'm in my mid-30s here, so the weight has started to creep on, but not enough to get me to do much about it. Oh, I'd join a gym every year or so, work out for a bit, maybe take classes for a bit. I wish I could write a letter to who I was then, or time travel like the nasty Senator in Time Cop did. He told his younger self to lay off the candy bars or twinkies. Something like that. I look at me here and I see what I aspire to get back to. I can do it. *knock on wood*

And this. This is me these days. Naively signing up for a DietBet, taking my picture in front of the mirror with their "word of the day." Life has a way of throwing plans aside. I won't be winning that bet, so I can kiss my $20 good bye. Oh well. I'm a work in progress. I'm certainly healthier than I was in 2007. The progress may take a bit longer than I'd like, but it is what it is. Besides, they moved the finish line for "after." It's no longer when I get to my goal. The finish line is a lot more permanent than that. So I'll just keep in mind, while I plod along my path: Forward is a pace.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Better than a parking lot...

Yesterday afternoon on FB, I posted the following:

"Feeling nauseous. I just "liked" a particular marathon page. It may be time to get my act in gear and start running again. The marathon is December 1st. I haven't run, if you call my turtle pace running, since June, when I did the Wounded Warrior Half. Is this enough time to train?"

The responses were very positive, and a friend from church who is a marathoner said "Yes!!!" So I started looking in to various training plans. I am not looking to push it, especially since I haven't run since June and I'm a little bit more creaky in the knees and hips. Hell. I'm closer to 50 than 40. I'm happy I can get off the couch some days, given as spastic and clutzy I am.  What I found is Hal Higdon's Novice Supreme marathon training guide. It's a 30 week schedule. This gives me plenty of time (knock on wood) to prepare for and train for this race.  It even gives me time to complete all 9 weeks of C25K beforehand.

Last night after dinner I told The Aussie to visualize spending a few days in Florida at the end of November/beginning of December in Florida. He says "okay, sounds nice." I then told him why. I said "I promised you that when I was ready to do a full, that you'd have something nicer than the parking lot at Fair Park to look at."

source: Pegasusnews
BTW, I'm feeling nauseous again. I just finished copying the training plan in to my calendar. Yikes.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Roasted Mushroom and Butternut Squash Pilaf

Ever since I roasted mushrooms to make a mushroom bisque a month or so ago, I have been enamoured with them. Roasting can turn regular white mushrooms with little flavor, into a delicious meaty morsel. I've used them in the bisque, I've used them in my loaded veggie chili, and now I'm using them in a lovely pilaf along with roasted butternut squash, baby kale and brown rice and quinoa mixed grains.

I cut up a pound of mushrooms in to chunks, about 8 pieces per mushroom, and I peeled and cut up a butternut squash in to 1/2 " pieces. Each came to about 6 cups of vegetables. I heated the oven to 400 and sprayed two baking pans with non-stick cooking spray. If you have the olive oil flavor, that's great. I sprayed the tops of the veggies, too. Roast them for 20 minutes, rotating trays after ten minutes. You want to make sure the water that comes off the mushrooms has a chance to evaporate.

In the meantime, chop up half of a red onion in to a small dice. If you want to use fresh garlic, chop up or press a couple of large cloves. One thing that I do to make things come together quickly is chunky garlic from a tube. You can find it, along with ginger, garlic paste, and cilantro paste, in the refrigerated produce section of your grocery store.  Get a large sautee pan heating over medium high heat. Drizzle in a tablespoon of nice olive oil. When it's shimmering, add in the onions. I cooked them so that they got a bit of a crisp on them, to add texture. Add in the garlic and quickly sautee.  Deglaze with a couple of tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. Now it's time to add in your mushrooms and stir the mixture together. Doesn't it look delicious?

I'll let you in on another secret of mine. If you don't have time to make your own quinoa and brown rice for this dish, or any other, for that matter, see if you can find this product: Seeds Of Change organic quinoa and brown rice. It's super easy to cook. Just 90 seconds in  your microwave.

Once the mushrooms are nicely coated with the balsamic vinegar and the onion garlic mixture, it's time to add in the kale. You can use a bunch of regular kale that you've taken the woody stems off of and chopped, or you can you baby kale. I'm fortunate in that my Kroger has started carrying baby kale in a large clamshell type container. It's probably meant for kale salad, but it hasn't made it that far with me. I keep sauteeing it with garlic and olive oil.

 See, it really cooks down. Keep turning the leaves so that they cook down evenly. Then add in the quinoa and rice mixture and the butternut squash. Toss everything gently, to combine. Adjust your seasonings, adding salt and pepper if you like, and more balsamic vinegar to taste. I finished mine off with a big splash of balsamic vinegar, some freshly ground pepper, and a dash of TrueLemon to give it a little extra zing. This made 6 very large servings. After having 2 last night and 1 for breakfast, I'm guessing I'll be done with the whole batch by tonight. ;)
Roasted Mushroom and Butternut Squash Pilaf
6 cups butternut squash, 1/2 " cubes
1 pound mushrooms, roughly diced (6 cups)
olive oil cooking spray
1 T olive oil
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 T garlic
2-4 T balsamic vinegar
1 package baby kale (3+ cups) or large bunch, stemmed and chopped
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 cup cooked quinoa
squeeze of lemon (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Monday, January 7, 2013


Epiphany (feeling)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
An epiphany (from the ancient Greek ἐπιφάνεια, epiphaneia, "manifestation, striking appearance") is an experience of sudden and striking realization. Generally the term is used to describe breakthrough scientific, religious or philosophical discoveries, but it can apply in any situation in which an enlightening realization allows a problem or situation to be understood from a new and deeper perspective. ...

Epiphanies are relatively rare occurrences and generally following a process of significant thought about a problem. Often they are triggered by a new and key piece of information, but importantly, a depth of prior knowledge is required to allow the leap of understanding.

Yesterday was the celebration of Epiphany at church. The sermon got me thinking about the other meaning of the word epiphany and what the Pastor called "Ah-ha moments." Granted, he's talking about spiritual ah-ha moments, but I started thinking about other types.

I can gripe all I want about not making any progress, but until I actually make myself accountable for what I am doing to myself, nothing is going to change. Part of the new Weight Watchers program, Weight Watchers 360, is about implementing small steps so that they become routines. I have to admit to myself that I have really been lax with tracking. The two weeks in Australia became two more weeks at home without attending meetings. Tracking went out the proverbial door for the month of November. It's been difficult getting my head back in the game, but I have to stop fooling myself. If I keep crap in the house, I'm going to eat it. When we were out on Saturday, I bought myself a Subway combo meal. The sandwich was fine, I had water, but I also selected a small bag of Cheetos. Before opening the bag, I did look up the points. 9 points for a little bag. So, I said, not worth it. But I kept it in my pocketbook anyway. Funny how that little bag opened itself and hopped in to a bowl last night. Granted, I didn't eat all of it, but I made the stupid choice to open it up and start eating Cheetos. Stupid, stupid, stupid. So an ah-ha moment is that I can't have this in the house if I want to succeed at getting healthier and losing weight. Another moment is that I have to stop fooling myself on how much I'm eating and drinking and I need to accurately track and measure what I'm eating. The program won't work if I don't actually follow it. So here's to a fresh start in a new year, new month, new week. Today's a new day. What happened yesterday doesn't need to affect what happens today.



Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Wow, I really dropped off the face of the earth. Well, not exactly, but I sure haven't been blogging much these last few months. Life happens. I can't say that I'm happy to see 2012 in my rearview mirror. I had some good times, for sure (hi Jen and Heather!!!), but I also had some really sucky times. Australia: it's a nice place to visit. The flight is hell. Add the reason we went, and it's doubly so.

So, here I am in 2013. The Aussie and I survived the end of the Mayan calendar, Texas White Christmas snowmageddon / icemageddon, had a great visit from my sister, and had a quiet New Year's Eve with The Aussie and our gang. That's over now, and it's time to regroup, get my head out of my *ss back in the game, and start treating myself better.

Mentally, I have been struggling to get my act together. I'm not the only one. My dear friend Shannon has put out the call and is rallying the troops! We all need to find our spark. I've been reading "It Starts With Food" and "Practical Paleo." I'm not sure I'm looking to go so extreme as to give up my milk in my coffee, but I do need to feed myself more  nutritious food and cut back on the processed "food" that I gravitate towards. I seldom have fast food or soda, so they aren't big concerns of mine. I do, however, like my chocolate and wine. And Chinese food. And cheese... Darn you, TJ's for those lovely little mini brie bites. 

Unfortunately, I've found that the older I get, the harder it is to get weight off.  It isn't just how I deal with food that needs a spark. I finally set up my Active Link and am getting a better picture of how much I am and am not moving. I haven't been doing too badly, but I need to do more. I signed up to run Bold In The Cold 5k in a couple of weeks. My cousin and I have done this the last two years, so it will be good to keep the tradition going. It won't be pretty. He hasn't run all year, I haven't since the summer, and we both have put on some weight. I don't care. I'm doing it anyway, won't even wear my Garmin, and all I have to do is finish.

Healthwise, I finally got myself to a doctor to discuss my owngoing health issues. I'm not looking forward to it, but I have an endoscopy scheduled. Hopefully some light will be shed as to why I continue to have a problem keeping certain foods down.

I also signed up to do Roni's diet bet challenge. I had never heard of this site, but thought "why not?" 4% in a month is a reasonable goal. I can't believe how much activity this challenge is generating!

All in all, January should be an interesting month. I wish all of you the best blessings for your health, well being and prosperity in this new year.