Book Giveaway Winner and the President’s Fitness Challenge

Liz is the winner of the book!  Congratulations!  You all will just have to take my word for it.  I did it exactly like last time, and Noah was most anxious to pick a piece of paper out of the bowl.  Email me your address, Liz, and I might even get it in the mail tomorrow!  Liz asked about the quilt on the wall in the last blog entry, and I looked up the blog where I showed close-ups of that quilt (you can click on each picture and get an even closer look.)

My blog accountability partner and I have been having fun emailing each other.  Part commiseration, part confession, part encouragement.  Just plain fun.  Today Jill told me about joining the President’s Fitness Challenge.  Of course I had to check it out.  I am well on my way towards winning a bronze medal with 330 points today (out of 40,000 needed LOL)  Of course, I am really looking to win the gold.  Because that reminds me of one of my all-time favorite movie scenes, where Cruella de Ville is in the back of the paddywagon with her three goons, and she says

“Congratulations!  You three have just won the Gold, Silver, and Bronze in the Morons Olympics.”

And the stupidest guy says,

“Wh-wh-who won the gold?”  

Hee hee.  That line cracks me up every time.  Probably especially since my ten year old niece could imitate that guy perfectly.

Anyway, I got a little off-topic.  Check out that President’s Challenge site.  Its kind of fun, and they have a real easy activity tracker, where you get points for whatever kind of activity you do, at whatever level you do it at.  I think it’ll be fun to keep track of my activity like this, and likely will encourage me to do a little extra.  Anyone want to join me and Jill?  My question is, do they re-set your points at the end of the year?  Because then we  are four months behind the super achievers that started January 1.

No pictures today.  I had a good day, with a little de-cluttering (my desk is cleared off!) and a little quilting, some laundry and dishes, and two walks with the dogs.  And my food was as in control today as yesterday was out of control.  Sigh.  Moving on…

The Morning After. And Book Giveaway!

Weigh-in:  172.6.  I’ll take it.

Hope you all had a blessed Easter Sunday!  I had a VERY nice quiet peaceful day.  Our church was having a pancake breakfast before church, but I opted to start my day with a most enjoyable and delicious protein pancake at home.  I added in just a bit of flaxseed meal–yumm.  I make them the same way every time now.  Bake in some walnuts, and then top with mashed banana.

On to church, where we had a lovely service, and I enjoyed greeting all my friends.

I had bought a couple of New York steaks that looked good, and boy oh boy, were they.  NO I didn’t eat two steaks.  One is in the freezer for a rainy day, which by the looks of it, we will get plenty of this spring.  Not complaining because it is beautiful and green around here.

I decided ahead of time that I could eat whatever I wanted on Easter.  An interesting experiment, because it did take a lot of the anxiety away.  I found that I WANTED to make good choices most of the day.  Like with the steak, I did have a baked potato with some real butter, but then I only wanted some plain fresh veggies and no bread.  That was a treat, and it was plenty.

Later in the evening I whipped up a batch of my mac and cheese with butternut squash. Oh man, that stuff is yummy.  And again, more enjoyable because you know it has the veggies added in.  Sorry I didn’t take a picture, because it is very pretty.

And I did have my traditional Palmer’s chocolate Easter bunny.  I used to eat Palmer’s chocolate bunnies in the weeks leading up to Easter,  followed by their biggest bunny of all–Daddy Big Ears– on Easter!  And go to the stores the day after to stock up on more.  So I would say going and choosing the smallest one I could find is definitely a change for the better there.  I thoroughly enjoyed that little bunny along with a small box of ‘peeps’  (yellow chicks only, please) that my friend had bought for me.  The end.

I have had quite a bit of time off from work lately.  I know that I am one who likes routine, and being a nurse working an everchanging schedule has generally not allowed that in my life.  So I have noticed that I really like the routine that can be fit into a week.  Like, lately, Saturday mornings are the morning I take a longer walk with Noah.  We went 4 miles on Saturday.  And then we went to our canine good citizen’s class in the afternoon.  Guess who was sacked out that evening?  Okay, BOTH of us were LOL.

Some interesting links:

A complete listing of sodium content in common foods.  This is an interesting website, as they are actually dealing with a disease that needs to eat low sodium.  But I found it fascinating that they added this cautionary note in regards to severely restricting sodium:  The body posesses exquisite systems which accurately regulate body sodium.  I remember learning about this in nursing school.  It was fascinating to me to see how the microscopic parts of the kidney regulate the electrolytes in your body.  Not to say we shouldn’t watch our sodium intake.  We should.  Just to say that your body is equipped to take care of a NORMAL amount of sodium intake (1100-3300mg/day.)

Georgie wrote an excellent fair-minded article about carbohydrates.  I have to admit it drives me nuts when people start throwing around the carbohydrate word.  There are a LOT of different carbohydrates in the world of food, and they are not all bad!

Miscellaneous picture show:

This would have been  a GREAT salad, if SOMEONE would have had salsa in her refrigerator… THAT situation has been remedied.  The guacamole on top was simply a mashed avocado with some garlic salt, a little lime juice, and a little cumin mixed in.  Very satisfying.  For some reason I like guacamole much better than chunks of avocado in a salad.

Still life at casa debby:

Spring is having a hard time emerging around here:

Yumm.  YUMM.  YUMM!!!  Lunch combo courtesy of Shelley–greek yogurt, granola (I found some organic granola at Walmart!!), walnuts, and dried cranberries.  Yumm!

Sophie has a hard time settling down when my lap is not available.  When I am sewing she generally tap tap taps back and forth between my sewing table and the living room, which is where she thinks I belong.  She has a very strong sense of where she thinks things belong.  Finally, when I refuse to follow her directives, she will get in this little doggie bed that I store under the table where I am sewing.  She cracks me up.  As you can see, she is still not completely relaxed.  Especially when there is a camera around…

I guess that’s enough for a Monday morning.  OH, EXCEPT I HAVE TO GIVE ANOTHER BOOK AWAY!  I keep forgetting!  (BTW, these books are all slightly used, from my own collection .)

The End of Overeating is one of the most useful books I have read.  The author explains in scientific terms just why the fat/salt/sugar combo is so hard to resist.  For myself, this is one scientific theory that I have found to be true.  Once I read his explanations, I could literally taste the salt in  the chocolate chip cookies, and knew that that was a big part of the reason that I loved them so much.  Another ‘proof?’  The addition of ‘salted caramel to everything from yogurt to coffee to boxed chocolates!

I have stayed very aware of this theory, and try to minimize my consumption of this combo in foods.

If you want the book, please say BOOK in your comments, and Noah will choose a winner on Wednesday!

Random Thoughts

Well, not entirely random.  As usual, mostly about food and exercise.

Yesterday I took another flying trip to the bay area (not airplane flying, just down and back in one day.)  I did NOT want to go.  I was tired to start, and it was about my dad’s failing health, and I was just DEPRESSED.   I was thinking about why I was depressed, and I think a big part is that my house has gotten really cluttered.  Its small, so it doesn’t take much.  Mostly magazines, books, and fabric–too much and not in the right place.  I decided that I would really put an effort into de-cluttering.  More on that later.

So I did stop at the gym for a workout before I got on the road.  That always makes me feel better about myself.  It was a good workout.  I really pushed myself.  All day yesterday I felt really great.  Very energetic and strong.  So this morning when I woke up and felt TERRIBLE, that was disappointing.  My back hurt, my left ankle was practically collapsing, and my right knee ached.  Ouch.  What was it?  It didn’t seem like just the usual day after a workout aches and pains.  Was it the 9 or so hours in the car?  Or was it the way that I slept?  Who knows.  When my body feels that bad, I immediately imagine the future and wonder what kind of shape I’m gonna be in.  I kind of surprised myself that I just took some ibuprofen, and didn’t even wait for it to work, but just headed out the door with the three doggies in tow.  After a while everything felt okay, although Monk was very happy that I was going his speed instead of Noah speed.

While my dad and I were out, we went to Chili’s for lunch.  I looked everything over, and almost ordered a big lunch (they make it so tempting–you can get a ton of food for $8.)  At the last minute, I said nope, just the bowl of soup and one piece of garlic bread (that’s what my dad likes to get.)  The waiter offered us the basket of bread, and we both said no, just one piece each.  That soup is definitely the ‘cheapest’ thing (calorie-wise) they have on the menu.  Very salty though.  When I have something like that  I know I am changing my taste buds to be satisfied with less salt.

One of the ladies that helps my dad brings him a Fiber One bar every time she comes over.  He takes them politely, but doesn’t really want to eat them.  I kept finding them around the apartment–I told him it was almost like an easter egg hunt!  So, I brought those home with me.  I don’t know if this is a step backwards or not.  I used to LOVE those things.  Then, when I started eating ‘cleaner,’ I left them behind.  I was surprised when I looked at the label that they didn’t have wheat in them.  We’ll see.  They are every bit as delicious as I remember.  140 calories of high fiber junk food.

So today I read quite a bit in one of the recent organizational books I have read–Organized Simplicity.  Written by a   blogger.  Its very well written.  I didn’t really get to the practical nitty gritty of how to organize and simplify, so I set my timer for 30 minutes and went to work on the clutter.  An hour later, I had a good bit done, but its just a dent.  Nevertheless, those clear clean spaces make you feel good.  One funny thing I found was a book I had bought–Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat?

Food today.  BTW, I really do think making a plan for the day is a VERY GOOD tool in our fight to maintain control.  It gives me something to look forward to when I might be tempted to eat some unplanned food, and it helps me to see that I am eating a balanced ratio of food during the day.  I started the day out with the one-minute muffin.  The ingredients are very similar to my spackle.   And it did hold me until lunchtime.  I think I might like it better cooked in a skillet.  But seeing a muffin appear after one minute in the microwave was pretty fun too.

Lunch was something I had had up at my friend’s house.  I remember it was fun  because it was such a big bowl of food.  A cup of strawberries cut up, one pear cut up, 1/2 cup of cottage cheese, and 100 calories worth of chopped walnuts.  Yumm.

Afternoon snack was the rest of the strawberries and the aforementioned Fiber One bar, with a cup of coffee.

For dinner I flipped through my Trader Joe’s cookbook looking for new ideas.  I am going to shred some already cooked pork on top of some romaine lettuce and shredded carrots, and top it with some homemade guacamole.  Late evening ‘dessert’ will be some yogurt, pecans, and honey (thanks for that idea, Jill.)

Loved the Twofitchicks Podcast with Lynn.  Lynn has a great natural way of chatting that is so enjoyable.  She said one thing that has really stuck with me.  She said she meditated on/remembered exactly how she felt at her favorite lowest weight.  I just really like that idea.  I tend to think about how I felt at my highest weight.  I’m pretty sure I didn’t have the above mentioned aches and pains at my recent lowest weight of 155.  I hope that it is not just the age thing, and the progression of arthritis.  Hopefully losing some of this weight will help that.  And when (not if) I get back to 155, I am going to consciously think about how I feel so that it will be imprinted in my memory.

The Amazing Flax Seed. And Other Good Stuff.

That amazing flax seed

I can’t stop eating Spackle 2.0.  Its like eating Better-than-Cookie-Dough for breakfast every morning.  In fact, I should re-name it that.  Doesn’t it sound more appetizing?  Its fun to eat, but the real reason I like it is that it keeps me full and not thinking about food for up to six hours.  Very few 300 calorie foods have that effect on me.  Lori noticed the same thing with her one-minute muffin.  (I’ve got to try that again if I can ever stop eating the spackle long enough.)

Besides the filling effect, flax seed meal is touted to have a myriad of health benefits.  Here’s a really good article I found on it.  Be sure to scroll to the end of the article.  There is a fantastic sounding muffin recipe that I am going to try later this week.

But the best part about flax seed meal, aside from its filling benefits and its health benefits, is that it tastes great!  That was really the first thing I noticed about it.  It has a nutty flavor that I really like.  I’ve had it on top of cottage cheese and fruit, used it in an apple dessert, of course my muffin recipe has the whole seeds in it, added it to my scone recipe and really improved the end product, enjoyed it in Miz’s smoothie recipe, and of course there is the spackle.

One thing I have been thinking about (when my thoughts drift to obsession) is that a good thing can be carried too far.  I think it could be possible to eat so much flaxseed that you develop a sensitivity to it, like how so many Americans seemingly have a sensitivity to wheat.  Everything in moderation, people!  But if you haven’t, please give flax seed meal a try.  Its scrumptious!

Lynn

Okay, I haven’t even listened to it (saving it for my lunchtime listening) but just wanted to shout out about Lynn being on the newest Two Fit Chicks podcast, talking about my favorite subject (besides food):  weight maintenance!!  I’m so excited!!  Lynn is one of my all time most favorite bloggers in the whole world.    Lynn’s the reason I discovered blogs in the first place.  And many thanks to Miz and Dietgirl for their hard work on these podcasts.  I look forward to each and every one.

The Queen’s response

Did anyone notice in the last post–the last comment was from my good friend Juice, who pointed out the study that had found that Dachshunds were the most aggressive breed of all?  The Queen heard this and demanded an audience to defend her heritage.

To the uninformed masses:  I feel the need to defend my heritage.  My ancestors were bred to hunt down one of the most fearless and aggressive animals around–the badger.  In fact, Dachshund means ‘badger dog.’  Although our legs are short (so we can get down into their underground tunnels,) you might notice the extra large chest size –that’s not just a vanity feature–my people have HEART.  We are not just aggressive without reason.  (ed. note:  unfortunately, dachshunds seem to have trouble distinguishing small people from varmints.)

My guardian

This morning Noah and I set out on our walk.  As usual, I told myself, you only have to take a short walk.  After we had walked up one hill I was feeling more energetic so we headed on up the next hill, where there is a nice flat surface at the top.  As we headed up, Noah had that extra alert look that he sometimes gets when there is a dog or a deer ahead of us.  Only I noticed it was a quieter look than when there is a dog ahead.  And then, my guardian dog sat down!  Alrighty then, we won’t go up that hill.  I am so proud of how Noah has grown up.  Here he is at Canine Good Citizen Training class.  Red flag or no, he was the star of the class.  The trainer even used him for a demonstration!

I asked someone to take this picture for a couple of reasons–to have a picture of me and Noah together, and because Noah was freshly bathed, and also to have a ‘truthful’ picture of myself at this current weight.  There is a weird shadow on my face that I don’t like, but other than that it is a good truthful picture.  I wish I weighed less, and I am working on it.  But on the other hand, I still feel comfortable wearing a white tank top.  I think working out so hard gives me more confidence and makes me more comfortable with my body the way it is.  For me, that’s a good thing.

Weigh-in. And So Much More!!!

Weight:  173.2

But wait!  There’s more!  Thank goodness, huh, because that’s not much to talk about.  It could have been worse, what with a week out of town and traveling, and then two days in a row of eating out this week.  Overall, I am happy with how I am able to go right back to eating well and making good food choices, and I am happy with my exercise level.  But that’s not gonna get it done evidently.  There has to be some diligence.  And maybe a little suffering (aka hunger.)

Okay, on to the more.   A couple of days ago I tried Lori’s socca bread idea, where the main ingredient is chickpea flour (also known as garbanzo bean flour, which I don’t like to think about, since garbanzo beans were one of my most hated foods as a child.)  Being highly adventurous, I decided to add italian seasonings to the bread.  So.  I”m not sure if it was the taste of the socca, or the taste of the spices, or the texture, or even that I thought it was a little too oily.  Either which way, I did not think it was worthy, and so discarded the leftovers.  But, I still have a bag of that chickpea flour, and Lori had mentioned that it might work in the sweet direction as well.  While I was walking I started daydreaming about how I could make a healthy decadent cookie using the chickpea flour.  I am convinced that using WAY less sugar in a cookie recipe is the key to breaking the ‘I must have another’ cycle.  If there is 1/2 cup or less of sugar in a recipe, I find that I am satisfied with one serving.  This is what Vicky does with the cookies she makes.  Anyway, I got home from the walk and remembered that I had bought a bag of Bob’s Redmill gluten free chocolate chip cookie mix!  Guess what was the first ingredient?  CHICKPEA FLOUR!  Score!  However, this being a mix, it still had the lethal combo of fat/salt/sugar that I am also convinced is difficult to keep under control.  These cookies were AWESOME!  They went straight into the freezer, and will probably make their  way to work with me.  A little too dangerous to keep around, I think.  But if you are looking for a gluten free cookie, these were  great.  And actually they were a good sized cookie for about 100 calories.  I think next week I will experiment with my ‘healthy cookie recipe, which will include the chickpea flour, oat bran, flaxseed meal, butter, unsweetened coconut, walnuts, chocolate chips, and ONE-HALF CUP OF SUGAR.

Next item.  I’ve been enjoying quilting this week.  Here are some shots of the quilt I quilted on  my BFF’s  longarm machine.  This is a big quilt–84X84 inches, which makes it difficult to quilt on a home machine.  After I got home, I just had to quilt the last border here at home, and then sewed on the binding and finished the binding by hand.  Its very unusual for me to keep working consistently on one project to completion.  It felt good to get it done.  And now its on my bed!


This picture shows the back flipped over so you can see the quilting.

The other day I stopped at a new thrift store on my way home, and there was a little gateleg table for only $57!  I have been looking for one of these for a couple of years, ever since my sewing table replaced my dining room table.  With my limited space, I thought that one of these little tables that fold up so small would work for me. It is very plain, so I had the idea to make a quilt to fit the top of it (imagine that…) and I used an idea I had been playing around with to finish the top yesterday!  I even have it sandwiched and basted all ready to quilt!  Very simple, but I really like this one.  I have been obsessed with squares and strips for a while.  I sew the squares together by hand in the evening.

Yesterday Noah got a lot of attention, in between all the quilting.   We took a four mile walk in the morning.  And in the late afternoon he finally got a bath!  Boy was that overdue.  Its hard to get a picture showing how pretty and fluffy he is.

Mr. Monk waiting patiently on the arm of the sofa while I work on the computer.

He doesn’t wait too long before making himself more comfortable.

I had all these pictures loaded and the Queen reminded me that I had not included her in the photos.  I don’t know why she sits this close to Noah, but it makes me happy and nervous at the same time.  You just never know when she might take offense at the way he looks at her…

When I go to the gym, I have been enjoying doing a circuit with the free weights, and recently I added in some mountain climbers, which really ups the cardio effect of the workout I think.  At any rate, it makes it a LOT HARDER!  But I like that .  However, I find that I am having a hard time going to the gym more than once every three days.  What with getting in two walks a day with the dogs, and making one of those a more vigorous and/or longer walk, I am tired and sore and achy.  So I guess it is what it is.  And I will give myself a break, which is what I advised good buddy Jill to do. Speaking of Jill, I tried a new yogurt combo that she recommended.  Probably everyone in the world knew how good this was besides me.  Plain (homemade) yogurt, honey and walnuts (pecans would probably be better, but you know what I keep on hand.)  De-li-cioso!

Speaking of things everyone in the world already knows,  HULU.COM???  Yes, I did know about it before.  But every time I tried, there were stops and starts and it drove me nuts.  Not worthy.  Well, I decided to try one more time.  Guess why I haven’t been blogging as much?  DANCING  WITH THE STARS AND BIGGEST LOSER marathons have been running non-stop this week.  Oh yes, it was a very good decision for me to give up tv a while ago.

And now, Noah and I are off to Canine Good Citizen classes.  His trainer recommended it for some of his, ummm, social behavioral issues.  “Don’t worry,” she said.  “We will just red flag him for the first couple of weeks.”  Poor guy.  He can’t help it that he lives with a reclusive spinster.

Feeling the Need to Blog a Bit

Feeling the need to blog a bit.  Even though I should be going to bed.  Tomorrow is our sewing day and I am bringing the lunch.  So exciting.  A sewing day that is safe!  You know what I mean.  Not that there are explosives at sewing day.  Just that there is usually WAY too much tempting food at sewing day.

So here’s my plan.  First, I roasted a whole chicken last night, because whole chickens were on sale.  Do you guys do this?  SO easy, and so much tastier than those rotisserie chickens in the grocery store.  Sometimes I stuff the cavity with lemons and onion, and squirt the lemon juice over the top of the chicken along with some garlic salt.  This time I just sprayed the top with pam and sprinkled  on some italian seasonings.  Scrumptious.  But that’s a lot of chicken for one person.  So the leftovers will be shredded for the salad.  Then I got some fuji apples for 38 cents a pound.  So there will be some chopped apples in the salad.  I got a pack of those romaine hearts at the store–chop chop.  in the salad.  Let’s see, got some almond slivers in the cupboard (impulse purchase from Costco) a few dried cranberries for color, some shredded carrots, and either goat or blue cheese–got both in the cheese drawer.  Must use up before they go bad.

I made some microwave applesauce today.  Does everybody know how to do this?  Basically follow the directions for the pear spread over on my recipe blog.  I peeled and cored some fuji apples (they were on sale, what can I say?)  Then put them in the food processor on chop.  That thing is pretty nifty.  I’m still just learning how to use it.  The apples take longer to cook than the pears, but only 1-3 minutes longer.  I added a lot of cinnamon instead of the ginger and vanilla in the pears.  This was so good mixed in with some cottage cheese and walnuts for lunch.  Sometimes I don’t take pictures of my food because everything, it seems, looks a little like baby food or cat food.  You gotta believe me, it tastes great!  I also had some fresh broccoli for lunch.  There was a method to my madness.   I wanted to have some leftover broccoli for dinner.  This was an excellent combination:  sweet potato topped with sauteed mushrooms and onions, and the broccoli on top.  That’s a little of that leftover roasted chicken on the side.

And for dessert–fage yogurt with one date chopped and a few walnuts chopped up:

Today was an outside day for Noah.  The boy knows how to make himself comfortable.  He drags that giant pillow out of his dog room and places it right in his favorite sleeping spot.  And he brought along his two favorite security sticks.

So as you can tell, I am doing just great with my food choices since arriving home.  I am tracking my food and calories, and am especially trying to wait until I am hungry to eat.  I still need to work on portion size.  Because once its on my plate, its very hard for me to stop eating it.

Gonna end.  Will try to post something a little more informative tomorrow!

Home Again!

Hi all!  I missed you all!  I’ve visited most of your blogs, but there’s no way I can catch up on commenting.  I think I’ll just continue on from here.  That was almost an entire week with no access to a computer!  (Of course my friend has a computer, but I told her ahead of time I was going to take a break from email and blogging.)

I haven’t driven up to Oregon in the springtime for quite a long time.  We used to go up there for dog shows every year, and I loved all the blooming trees and bushes along the roadside and even at the rest stops.

People always ask, “What are you going to DO?  Well, when me and my best friend are together, it actually doesn’t matter that much what we are going to DO.  We just enjoy each other’s company no matter what we do.  That said, we do spend a good part of our time sewing, quilting, looking at fabric, reading quilting books, and taking quilting classes.  Oh, and we watch A LOT of movies, and eat quite a bit of popcorn.

Almost every visit, my BFF offers to let me quilt one of my big quilt tops on her long arm machine.  We both think it is SUCH a good idea.  After this year we pinkie swore that we would never do this again.  I’m telling you, its like trying to produce fine art with a jackhammer.  I have such admiration for my BFF and other longarm quilters who do such beautiful work.  It doesn’t seem like much exercise, but the muscles you have to use to hold very still have to count for something!  Here’s a picture of the kind of machine I was working on.

All that said, I did get one quilt top basted and ready to be quilted, and I completely quilted another large quilt top (I’ll show you some pictures in the next day or so.)

So.  I usually take a ton of pictures when I am in Oregon.  But my BFF has moved from the country to the city, and there just didn’t seem to be the photo opportunities that I found at her last house.  The only picture I took was on the drive home today.  This was such a gorgeous scene, and there was a place to pull off the highway right there.  Otherwise, I just enjoyed all the gorgeous scenery without recording it.  Sorry ’bout that.

And here’s the scenes from the couch tonight:

Sophie was snoring more than Mr. Monk!

Noah will be home tomorrow, and I’ll probably be more coherent then too.

Food and exercise report:  Only got in two good walks, and of course the intensive upper body workout on the longarm machine LOL.  I took the fixin’s for the Spackle 2.0 with me, and I had that every single day for breakfast.  This stuff can hold me for 6 hours, and for 320 calories, that’s a good deal.  For lunch I had yogurt or cottage cheese with fruit and walnuts almost every single day.  We fixed dinner at home a couple of nights, and ate out a few nights.  Overall, I’d give myself a ‘B’ for food choices and volume consumed.  That said, I do not plan to weigh myself until Saturday.  Gonna give myself a chance to ‘even out.’