This ‘n That

So.  Thought you’d all enjoy a laugh at my expense.   Guess what was in the breakroom the day after I posted my lofty thoughts about choosing the best food to eat?  YES.  Mini Milky Way Bars.  YES, darn it.  I ate two of them…

Other than that, things are hunky dory around here.  On Sunday, my weight was up 2 pounds over my goal weight, and today my weight was 1 pound less than my goal weight.  I am really getting a lot of regular exercise in.  When I go to the gym regularly, I can increase the weights periodically to continue to challenge myself.  It is fun to see progress.  Of course the doggie walks continue–long in  the morning with Noah, and a shorter one in the afternoon with all three dogs.  The other day I was so proud of Monk.  I was in  the mood to walk a little longer in the afternoon walk, and we went for two miles.  He was a real trouper.   Here’s some pics of the dogs after that walk:

Sophie in her favorite place, on my lap, under a quilt.

So, what else?   Sometimes, no all the time, on a day after work, I am tired and a little cranky, and Noah is a little more enthusiastic, and has a LOT more energy.  Its not always pretty.  Today I was overheard to yell at Noah, “You’re not in charge of the world!” To which God whispered to ME, “Ditto.” Okay.  I did sort of laugh at myself when those words came out of my mouth.

Here’s my new tennies:

Here’s a little primer on making your own salad dressing.  Choose your ingredients.  For a single serving of salad I usually use about 1 teaspoon each of mustard, olive oil, honey, and balsamic (or other) vinegar.  Put in the bottom of the bowl you plan to have your salad in and mix well.  (That is some homemade mustard from a farmstand.  It is fabulous.)

Then add your greens and mix to coat evenly.  Add toppings and enjoy!

Baby lettuce and spinach topped with red pear, walnuts, and a cranberry-goat cheese!

That’s all I’ve got for today.  I’m going to follow Michelle’s advice, and unplug a little tonight.  I have to work again tomorrow.  And then THE BIRTHDAY SEASON BEGINS!!!

We Are Far Too Easily Pleased

With apologies to the great C.S. Lewis, the phrase we are far too easily pleased has been running through my mind ever since Halloween.  While Lewis is speaking of  infinitely more important topics than food, I think it does apply very well to the way many of us view food.

(I was thinking about this topic on a recent walk.  I ‘noticed’ this majestic oak for the first time.  Even though I had been on  this road multiple times, I was always too busy watching the road–never looked up to see what was right in front of me.)

Why do we succumb to the junk food around us–the mini candy bars,  the ‘tv dinners’ with a list of non-food ingredients a mile long, the artery-clogging fast food on every corner?

When you are mourning your loss of these ‘treasures,’ do you stop to consider the wonderful bounty of food that IS available to you?  Is a mini snickers  bar really as tasty as a fresh date topped with a walnut half?  Does a donut really compare to a freshly made ‘protein pancake’ topped with a mashed banana?

Some of the other luxuries I thought about when I said I was going to eat well for the next six days:  Vickie’s wonderful mixture of cottage cheese, crushed pineapple, and walnuts, Pubsgal’s spackle, homemade yogurt with fruit and muesli, wonderful salads, pumpkin custard made with pumpkin that I roasted myself, almond joy oatmeal, banana smoothie, roasted veggies…oh you know I could go on and on about food.

Here is the bounty that I brought home from the store today:

Fresh veggies!

Fresh fruit!

Okay, not from the store today, but had to represent some of my favorite grains and nuts: Oats, quinoa, flax, and walnuts.

Here is the full C.S. Lewis quote:

We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.


 

Next time you are tempted to ‘go on making mud pies in a slum’ think about some of your favorite healthy foods.  If nothing healthy can compare, maybe you need to spend some time cultivating new food choices.  Experiment with new recipes, new food combinations.  Allow yourself to have some higher calorie healthy foods like an avocado, or some walnuts, or whatever your version of a ‘holiday at the sea’ might be.

Doesn’t it feel wonderful in every which way to eat delicious healthy wholesome foods?

The Day After

Hey hey hey!  Boy, blogs were scarce on Thanksgiving day—where were you all?  Out celebrating with friends and family and enjoying the day?   Well, I guess that’s a good excuse LOL.  Actually it means your lives are balanced, doesn’t it?  I was working of course.  And can I just say, I am VERY THANKFUL that I can manipulate my schedule so I don’t have to work two days in a row too often.  That was tough.  Not the work, but the after.  I am so down in the dumps after working like that and being sleep deprived…

Well, enough of that.  Perky happy debby reporting in.  What?  You don’t know any perky happy debby?  Well, *I* am here.  Me and Noah and Sophie and Monk.  We are just about to go out for our evening stroll, and then I will take a shower while they eat, put my pajamas on, and prepare my own Thanksgiving feast!!

Can we talk about food for a little bit?  I KNOW.  Quite a surprise to come over here and find the main topic to be food.  Anyway, Wednesday, someone brought some ‘pumpkin bars’ to work.  They were the real thing–full fat full sugar.  Of course I had one.  Oh my.  I especially noticed the spiciness of them.  It was a delicious blend of spices, and a little different than I have tasted recently.  So I asked for the recipe.  Granted, it was a big recipe.  But people.  There were SIX CUPS OF SUGAR in that recipe, between the cake and the frosting.  Come on.  Why do we find it necessary to include the maximum amount of sugar possible in our quest for the best food?  Back to the spices.  There was 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, and 1/2 tsp ground cloves.  I think it was the larger than normal amount of cloves that I noticed.  Anyway, I will be using this combination of spices to experiment with my own version of pumpkin bars.

Thursday.  I knew our potluck was going to be good.  I had even asked some people to fill in with ‘green’ veggies.  We started the day with my contribution to the potluck.  Its always nice when we have something special for our morning break.  My Healthnet (health insurance) newsletter included yet another delicious looking recipe.  This one was for Chunky Cranberry Spread.  What was I to do–had to be served with bagels , right?  I found Thomas’s brand of bagels and got two bags of mini bagels–whole grain, and cinnamon.  I actually liked the whole grain better.  The spread was delicious, and was quite popular with all the nurses.  And you know what?  I googled cranberry cream cheese spread recipe,  and all the recipes (there were quite a few) had a bunch of sugar or marmalade or full fat stuff added to it.  Again, why is this necessary?  This spread was quite decadent, something I would only make for a special occasion.  But there was no added sugar, and it used light cream cheese (I also added Laughing Cow Light.) The recipe’s over there on the other blog.

Every year, one nurse’s husband volunteers to cook a turkey that morning and brings it up to us and even carves it for us!  Another nurse’s husband made a delicious medley of roasted red, yellow, and sweet potatoes with just a touch of olive oil, rosemary, and a few other flavors I couldn’t identify.  Really nice of these husbands to spend their morning cooking and bring the food up to us.  We had all the regular stuff.  One of my oldest friends at work is a Southern gal.  Pie making is her specialty.  I took a small slice of each of her pies (pumpkin and pecan) and brought them home for my evening snack.  And so ended the feasting.

Before I left work I had decided that for the next six days I will not indulge in any high sugar stuff.  Very healthy eating only.  Why six days?  Well, then the birthday season begins.  But I have already decided that I am not going overboard then either.  I get two treats, and then I will be done with that too.  I don’t think this will be hard to do at all.  I wrote down some of my favorite healthy choices.  I will make sure I have plenty of veggies in the house.  I find I am truly craving veggies after just one day like yesterday.  There are plenty of already prepared meal foods in the freezer.  There is all that turkey that I will put into little ziplock baggies to have ready, and I am also going to use some of it for a Mexican Turkey Stew recipe that I saw in my Cooking Light magazine.

Today I got out for the long walk with Noah ( it is FREEZING here, BTW.)  Proof of freezing:

Berry vines, leaves outlined in ice.

Am I the only one who finds leaves covered in ice fascinating?

Then I decided to go to the gym, and even hit a couple of stores for the Black Friday specials.  I generally avoid this kind of thing, but I figured the stores couldn’t be that crowded in our little town in the afternoon.  When I’m doing this kind of thing, I ALWAYS go to the gym first.  I know myself well enough that if I get tired or the shopping takes too long, I just might bypass the gym.

I SCORED on the sales.  I went to WalMart to check out the I Touch.  You all know, I just can’t decide if I really need and/or want one of these.  For a while I decided to go ahead and get an IPad.  But I’m just not sure I need all that technology.  Anyway, WalMart was out of the I Touch, so I didn’t even get to see it.  But I went by the women’s clothing looking for a specific type of jacket–soft and fuzzy, with a hood.  They had exactly what I wanted, even though it was a little more than I wanted to spend ($17–laughing at myself for wanting to spend less than  that on a jacket.)  Anyway, when they rang it up, it was on special for $7!!!  Woo hoo!  I almost went back and got two more, and then I decided that that would nullify the good buy I got on it.

Then I went to Big Five to check out their sales.  These shoes are only 4 1/2 months old, but they’ve seen better times.  I think Noah started those little holes.  I tried on a zillion pairs of shoes, but in the end Saucony, my favorite brand won out.

The feast!

Fortunately I had cooked my little turkey on Tuesday, because I was not in the mood to cook a turkey today.  All I needed to do was fix the side dishes.  All I wanted to do was to try the mashed cauliflower, make a little gravy, and have some roasted brussel sprouts.

I wanted to make some light gravy.  I saved the broth from cooking my turkey on Tuesday, and since it was cold, I could scrape all the fat off the top.  I just added some water, heated it up, and then added some cornstarch mixed up in cold water.  Made a nice gravy.  I’m used to the look of flour gravy, but this stuff tasted fine.

I cooked a whole head of cauliflower, and probably used about 3/4 of it.  Followed Joanne’s recipe.  OH. MY. GOSH.  I cannot believe I waited so long to try these.  Better than most mashed potatoes I have had.  Next time I might try using less ‘butter’ as I seldom  use that much butter in my regular mashed potatoes.  I had the brussel sprouts roasting in the oven.  Here is my feast.  One of the best thanksgiving dinners I’ve ever eaten on a TV tray LOL!

Noah the Big White Dog

I was reading another blog about the Harry Potter books and movies, and my mind just did a little fantasy flight thing and I thought, I could write a whole series of books by Noah.  They would be best sellers and the movies would FASCINATE everyone.  My very next thought was that Noah’s first book, written today, would have to be titled ‘Noah the Big White Dog is Bored.’ End of book/movie deal fantasy.

Like the opening paragraph would have to be:

If the lady tells me to ‘down’ one more time I am going to poke my eyes out.  Ooh, or maybe I’ll just chew on the edge of her robe.  Or maybe that piece of paper over there.  Hey, I wonder what’s UNDER the linoleum?  I bet I can get it up if I try hard enough!  What?  We’re moving to a different room?  DOWN AGAIN?  If only I had thumbses, Chloe, I WOULD poke my eyes out.  Then the lady would be sorry.

Its not that I don’t like laying down.  In fact its my most favorite position when I am not patrolling the yard and barking at necessary annoyances.  I just don’t like HER to tell me to lay down.  Remember, ‘Great Pyrenees are extremely intelligent and capable of independent decision-making apart from human direction.’

 

 

The end.  Whew.  Writing a book is hard work.  Who knew?

STORM WATCH PART 3

Not only is Noah bored, Debby is unmotivated today.  Its raining AGAIN.  Raining enough that I don’t want to take Noah out for a walk.  The computer says its snowing here in Pine Grove.  Harrumph.

Visit to the bay area was good.  It was supposed to be a ‘Thanksgiving’ visit with my dad.  Fortunately, he doesn’t like to eat large volumes of food any more, so instead of going out for a big lunch or dinner, we had some cottage cheese/crushed pineapple/walnuts that I had brought with me, and then went out for some frozen yogurt after we did a little shopping for him.  It was a good day.  He is so appreciative of the simple little things that I can do for him.

The commute home was AMAZING.  Usually if I try to leave the bay area by 3pm, it just crawls along until you get ‘over the hill.’  This time I left his house at 5pm and thought it would be even worse.  But somehow, the traffic never slowed down!  I had in mind that I wanted a cheeseburger without bun like Pubsgal occasionally has, but I didn’t want to jinx the commute by stopping and eating, so I remembered that In and Out does ‘protein style, and stopped and tried it.  Pretty darn good.  They used substantial fresh leaves of iceburg lettuce to wrap the burger in.  It was every bit as secure as a bun.  It did feel weird going to a fast food drive through–I bet its been three years since I did that.  Not going to make that a regular habit though.  Its just not a good path for me to go down.  I did think about waiting to get home to fix my own (I had everything needed at home) but decided that would be too late and I would be too tired.

Anyway, it was a great day all around.  But I guess that’s why I slept until 9am this morning???  Okay, enough prattle. I think I’ll get up and take on the day.  Which will involve getting wet, no doubt.  Yuck.  Oh yes, to be content in whatever state I am in.  Does that include wet, God?

Storm Watch, Part 2

THAT’S IT!  That’s all the snow we got out of these ‘two big arctic storms.’ Noah does love the snow though.  This morning we were out for an hour walking in mostly rain, and occasional snow falling.  I didn’t get nearly as wet as I did last night just walking out to the car.  That was some crazy rain.  BTW, Jenn asked how I keep Noah so white.  I don’t!  You can see in the pic that Noah is not white compared to the snow.  I am lucky, though, that for the most part his coat is very dirt resistant.  Even when he goes to the trainer to be boarded, and is outside for several days in red dirt, it seems to fall off of him once he is home.  I actually do like bathing my dogs, but not in the cold!  I have a hose with a shower nozzle that is attached to hot and cold  water faucets, so I can give him a bath on the back deck.  And, I have a high-powered blow dryer that works pretty good too.  Leftover remnants from my days as a dog groomer.

I saw these two berry bushes and thought they were so pretty.  I suppose they are the same species, but I wonder why the berries are a different color and they are right next to each other.  Aren’t the drops of water beautiful on them?  Just like a Christmas ornament!

All the rest of the day I stayed inside trying to keep warm, and waiting for the BIG STORM to hit.  I got a little cooking done–made a batch of my ‘Darn Good Spaghetti Sauce.’  Darn, that stuff IS good LOL!  I ate it on a big plateful of sauteed zucchini strips, onions, and mushrooms.  Yumm.  I gave myself permission to have pasta, and even got it down out of the cupboard.  But then I decided I actually wanted more veggies.  (Don’t ask what I ate at work yesterday.  It wasn’t good.)  To make the zucchini strips, just use a potato peeler and keep rotating the zucchini and peeling it until you get down to the seedy center.  Don’t use that part.

Oh, here’s how I actually had it–with a little shredded parmesan on top.  Perfection!

I made some more banana cubes.   I love getting the ‘over ripe’ bananas on sale for 20 cents a pound and making these cubes.  I just mash them up with a potato masher and pour them into ice cube trays.  Then when they are frozen, I store them in a ziplock bag, and they are ready to use for smoothies, recipes, or as a topping on my protein pancakes.  Which I had this morning–oh yumm.  I put a few (about 3 half walnuts?) chopped walnut pieces into the pancake batter in the pan, and then top the pancake with the thawed banana cubes.  The bananas are so sweet this way, I don’t have to add any other sweetener.

Went out for the late afternoon walk with Noah, and noticed these Japanese Maples.  The light seemed just right again.  ( I actually shot these two pics on the night time setting on my camera.)

I kept looking at this group of leaves, and then I realized that the ‘star’ of the group was the lowly dogwood tree in the back.  You gotta love God’s coloring book!

 

 

So, reading around the blogs today, came across a couple of long time bloggers still talking about the frustration of struggling with wanting to eat too much or not the most healthy choices.  Wanting to be done with the struggle.  I feel that way too.  Sometimes I am afraid, especially after a day where I am just eating too much because its fun or its there or whatever.  So a day like today gives me reassurance.  I didn’t have to muscle through my choices.  I just wanted to eat what I ate.  I didn’t want to eat when I was still full from the previous meal.  I didn’t have to trick myself into waiting a little longer.  But still, there’s that wish that the struggle would be over.  That I wouldn’t have days like yesterday.  That I wouldn’t have to be afraid.  I guess I think its part of the human  condition.  We (us weight loss ragamuffins) tend to think that we are the only ones who have these struggles.  I don’t think that’s true.   Its natural to wish that things were ‘other.’  I think the key is to keep working on accepting what is.  For me, this Bible verse is something I have aspired to for a long time, in many areas of my life.  And now I apply its wisdom to accepting the body God gave me.

I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.  I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.  For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

 

It Was A Dark and Stormy Night

Well you didn’t expect a creative title after a long day at work, did you?  I think this is the first post I’ve ever written after work.  I’m only doing it to stay awake for a little longer, so I don’t have to put the dogs back in their crates for a little while.  And because I can’t type and eat at the same time.

I can drink tea though.  Have I already told you guys about finding the Celestial Seasonings holiday teas?  I looked forever for them, in every grocery store I was in, and I finally found them on some end aisle, not anywhere near the tea aisle.  They are so worthy though.  Two of them (Gingerbread Spice and Candy Cane Lane) are decaf teas, so perfect for a treat in the evening.

Back to the storm.  Oh My Gosh.  This is a big one.  First thing that happened this morning was my alarm clock did not go off because there had been a power failure sometime during the night.  Fortunately, my bedside lamp went on and woke me up, so I was only a few minutes late.  I left this morning in the dark, driving out through some very wet snow–tree branches were bent WAY over the road.

In the morning I checked weather.com, and they were predicting two arctic storms coming through, dumping a bunch of snow down to 2000 feet (I am 2500.)  Later in the day I checked, and they were only predicting rain.  The predicted temperatures are right at that edge mark of 33-36 degrees.

When I left work, it was blowing heavy rain SO HARD.  For some reason I had brought my umbrella in to work with me (I’m usually not so prepared) and it was so windy it almost turned my umbrella inside out.    My pants and shoes got really wet–made for a nice drive home :((

When I stopped for gas–boy, I didn’t want to, but yes, it was necessary–I couldn’t believe how windy and cold it was.  That made me pretty happy, because I didn’t feel the wind blowing my car around like you sometimes do.  (This is the first winter for this car.)

Made it home, got the doggies in and out, and then it really started to pour.  Still no snow–yay.  And yay for me for being a little prepared for once.  I had some dry wood on the back porch and by the woodstove.  I got a nice fire going, and it is starting to warm up in  here.

I realize this is THE MOST BORING POST on the internet tonight, so here are the doggie views tonight for your entertainment.

Monk sitting in the dark. Not sure why he’s sitting up.
Sophie waiting hopefully for me to come back to my chair.
Noah and his ever-present bone. Being a very good boy tonight.
Christmas is coming, folks!   Here’s some early signs  I saw on our walk the other day (when the sun was out!)
Here’s a little book I got the other day–just tells how Christmas developed into this crazy giant-pile-of-gifts thing that it has turned into.  And then dares to suggest that there is a better, simpler, more joyful way to spend the season.  Well, I guess you can tell which side of the Christmas tree I stand on.  I don’t even know what that sentence means.
Okay, now the font got all weird on me.  Time for bed!  I’ll try to check in on everybody tomorrow.

Post in Real Time

5am:What time is it?  TOO EARLY!!!

5:45am:  What time is it now?  Okay.  That’s good enough.

6am:  Making coffee (Starbuck’s Anniversary Blend–yumm) and some homemade yogurt with muesli and walnuts on top.  Very satisfying.  New practice–let the dogs ‘sleep in’ while I have a little quiet time.  I highly  recommend this to you mothers of young children!  Of course it only works in the winter when its still dark outside…

7am:  The natives are restless.  Let them out, and get dressed while they are outside.  Saw this when I looked out the door this morning.

Well, it WAS first thing in the morning...

8am:  Out the door for a walk with Noah.  Funny thing’s been happening.  Even when I give myself ‘permission’ to take a short walk, I just keep on walking for an hour.  Almost exactly, even though I don’t have a watch on me.  Here’s some of the scenes from this morning’s walk.

Spy cam in action again (first pic is what I can actually see, second pic is with my camera zoomed in 12X–there’s people living over in them thar hills!)

The road home.  But we turned and walked for a bit longer.

It was cold this morning!  My angora gloves came in handy.  Did you know that angora is 7X warmer than wool?  What else do you want to know about angora?  Did you know I used to raise angora rabbits?  I raised the rabbits, ‘plucked’ their wool (its shedding) dyed the wool, spun the wool into yarn, and knit these gloves.

 

English angora rabbit--aren't they the funniest little creatures?

9am:  Back home, make a cup of TJ’s Gingerbread Spice coffee (DELISH,) check a few blogs, look HIGH AND LOW for my bag of buttons (I’m working on the fourth ‘Pay It Forward  Quilt’–mine!)  Cannot find them.  Read a few blogs, then get cleaned up and ready to leave the house.  Grab a couple of lo-bars for a pre-workout snack.

11am:  Hit the gym, do a vigorous weights workout.  Ooh–the scale was down 3.5 pounds from my goal weight.  What does that mean?  Absolutely nothin’.  But it makes me inexplicably happy for a while.

Here’s my favorite machine at the gym.  Its the only one I am glad is facing the mirrors LOL at myself.  Can you guess why?

That white bar across the middle is in *just* the right place.

12noon:  Lunch with a good friend.  I parked in front of the new W.W. meeting room, and went in to see my old leader and tell her I was still holding the line.  I think I am exactly the same weight I was the last time she saw me about three years ago.

Lunch was good.  Salad was too big, but a great combo:  romaine lettuce with walnuts, avocado, blue cheese, cranberries, and mandarin oranges, with an oriental dressing.  Sorry, no pic, even though I had my camera with me.  Great conversation with my friend, and we shared a mini-pumpkin pie.  Probably the only one I’ll have this year.

2pm:  Went to my favorite Costless Market.  I got a little turkey for $3.50!  I had just realized that I was not going to have leftovers this year (working, we will have a nice meal there.)  So decided to get myself a turkey.  I also got a cauliflower to try those cauliflower ‘mashed potatoes.’  Joanna described them in such glowing terms that I decided I had to try them.  I guess that will cancel out the calories from the turkey gravy…

3:30pm:  Home again.  Writing a blog…trying to sew between  uploading pics…BFF calls, good chat…the natives are getting restless again…

4:30pm  Leash up all three dogs and run outside again for a quick walk before it gets dark.  Back home, I load the batteries into the flashlight and LOOK FOR THE $%^%$## BUTTONS AGAIN.  No luck.  I guess I’m meant to work on another quilt for now.

6:00  Having a light dinner to ‘make up’ for the big lunch.  I’m not suffering here.  This is what I ‘felt’ like eating.

Boiled zucchini, small bowl of cottage cheese, pineapple and a couple of walnuts, and a cup of that delicious Candy Cane Lane tea. Yummm.

And yes, I was  blogging while eating this dinner.  Not very mindful of me, I know.

Back to work tomorrow, so will spend another hour or so with the doggies while watching yet another episode of the Dog Whisperer.  Habanada everbody!