Good Food, Bad Food

Last week, I had both of these delicious bread-based dishes as meals. Depending on your  food point-of-view, either one might be labeled good food or bad food.

The first, my own very-low-calorie version of French toast, is made using a variety of processed foods, with only one completely natural “whole” food. It is so low in calories (150 calories) that I could have it every day of the week, if I so chose. If your goal is to eat very low calorie food which is also delicious and satisfying, this might be considered a good food. If your goal is to eat only whole unprocessed foods, or foods with the highest nutritional value for the calories consumed, this might be considered a bad food.

Here are the specific products I use to make this French toast:



And here is the finished product:


Yumm. I consider this a good food.

The second is a version of the classic toasted cheese sandwich. I don’t know who originally told me about this particular combo, but it used to be a staple in my summer meal rotation (before weight loss.) Then I avoided it for years, and probably the last time I had this sandwich was two years ago. But with a bumper crop of late summer tomatoes, I started thinking about this sandwich, and decided I wanted to make it again. It only has four ingredients: mozzarella cheese, garden fresh tomatoes, butter, and King’s Hawaiian bread. Three out of the four could be considered “natural” foods. People who want to eat delicious food and don’t care about calorie counting would consider this a good food. People who like to eat less processed food would also consider this a good food. People who are calorie counting might consider this a bad food. (Being conservative–cutting the bread thinner than usual, weighing out the cheese, and using only 2 tsp of butter–this sandwich still comes in at over 600 calories.)


I also consider this a good food.

The French toast is a good food I can eat frequently (although I don’t have it that often.) The toasted cheese sandwich is a good food that I can have once or twice a year. And that is enough.

I am still working on repairing my relationship with food–trying to not label food “good”or “bad” just based on its calorie count. I can choose to eat either meal, with the knowledge and understanding of the nutritional value of each, and how it will affect my day, knowing that my choices will have a direct effect on whether or not I will maintain my weight, or gain or lose weight.

Just a bit of this and that

I stepped out the door this morning to check on the garden and was shocked to see this:


Yes, one whole morning glory flower on that whole vine. As the days got shorter, I guess the vine did not get as much sun as it wanted, so its been weeks since I have seen a single flower on it.


Is it any wonder they are named morning GLORY? The flowers absolutely look as if there is a light source shining out from their center.

Hey, look what I did! My first furniture painting experiment. It went pretty well, if I do say so myself! I’ve only thought about painting this chair for about five years. What can I say? I have a hard time making decisions :)


The other day I was flipping back through my own blog, looking for something or other, and I realized that yes, quite a bit of progress has been made on the house. Here are pictures from this morning–the siding is up, and a lot of the painting is done. The roof is bare–they had to strip off THREE layers of old shingles! And already, by the end of today, J. the contractor had a good portion of the roof re-shingled!

The front of the house:


And the back:


And a gratuitious cute doggie shot:


And that’s all the news that’s fit to print tonight. Hope you all have a good and relaxing weekend!

Celebration and Reminder

Do you know its been almost 10 years since I started this weight loss journey? I’ll probably have more to write about that in the next few months. But for now I wanted to share something related to that.

A lot of people I know who have lost a significant amount of weight have gotten themselves a reward for that. Reward is probably not the right word. Its more of a celebration, a marker to remember a significant event in their lives. When I lost 100 pounds (now 8 years ago!) I planned to get something or other to mark that event. The thing was, I just couldn’t decide what to get.

I drive up and down Interstate 5 between my house and Oregon at least once a year (my BF lives in Oregon, and I enjoy going to Sisters also.) On my way, one of my favorite places to stop is The Websters in Ashland. They are a wonderful knitting and spinning shop, and also have wonderful handmade clothing and jewelry. I saw a necklace there, and thought that might be the thing to get. But it was expensive. I wasn’t sure I liked it that much. So I kept thinking about it. Year after year, trip after trip, I just thought about it. Sometimes I had regained a bit of weight, and thought I needed to wait until I was back to the 100 pound marker. So much time had passed that I thought it was a little silly to get anything at all.

Then one year in Sisters, I went into a jewelry store. They had the same necklace. But I still couldn’t decide…

The next year I went back to Sisters (this past summer) determined to make a decision, and finally get my 100 pound celebration! Well, I looked at the necklace again. My BF made me take it out and try it on. It looked dull next to my skin! So that was that. While my friend shopped a little more, I just browsed all the jewelry I knew I couldn’t afford. I saw a bracelet that I really loved–it was similar to one I had seen on one of the last trips I took my dad on–it was a good memory. Surprisingly, it was not any more expensive than that necklace I had been considering. Again, my friend made me take it out and try it on. Oh, and it did look good on my wrist! So there it was. This would be my 100 pound celebration bracelet–a few years and a few pounds late, but still a celebration.


I’ve been having some stressful days and nights with the construction/decisions etc. Sometimes I even feel sorry for myself. Ha! Did you know self-pity can lead to over-eating? Anyway, I decided that instead of keeping that bracelet for special occasions, I would wear it every day, as a reminder of what my life is really about. For the most part, it seems to be working. Most of the time I stick with my low fat tasty food options, and I’ve been going to the gym quite regularly, and walking Noah in between. When I eat something unplanned or a little more calorie-laden, I enjoy the deliciousness. I don’t beat myself up for not being perfect. I remember that I am in this for the duration. The bracelet is a reminder that even when I am not “perfect,” the healthy life I’ve chosen is a worthy investment of my time and energy.

Requested picture added:

Stones are larimar, blue topaz, and agate.

Stones are larimar, blue topaz, and agate.

Life Simplified

You know, this “simple life” is not really so bad! I don’t think I’ll ever go as far as this woman did, but my current life is not really so bad. Of course, I realize that it is pretty easy because I am retired. On the other hand, like that woman, if you are willing to live simply, maybe you could retire too!

Anyway, here are some of the advantages of the simpler life. It doesn’t take long to clean, because there aren’t very many rooms left to clean! I keep the studio door closed and my bedroom door closed. The dogs only go in those rooms when I am in there. What’s left is ONE ROOM that needs to be cleaned! Wheee!!! A quick sweep every morning, dust once a week (or so) and keep the clutter picked up.

I have a stove that is hooked up, and I’ve used it a bit to cook, but remembering that I have to wash whatever I mess up keeps my cooking in check. I’ve made a couple of batches of soup, some of my fav ham and cheese muffins, some “leftovers fried rice,” and one protein pancake. Otherwise I eat from my freezer and refrigerator. Oh, and I know a lot of you will be interested in this: I learned that you can cook beets in the microwave! Yeah!!

Of course, no matter how much I simplify, there will always be dirty dishes. Here is my handy dandy blue bucket. I can never get more dishes dirty than will fit in this bucket. Carry them out in the morning to the outdoor shower and kitchen sink, wash them, put them in the drainer to dry, and then bring them back in the house via the bucket in the afternoon. Of course, yesterday the rain put a LITTLE glitch in this system…


And, a phrase a friend of mine used–“where all the magic happens.”



This table is my one food prep area. That cloth there gets pretty messy, but that’s okay. Its folded, so there are at least four sides I can use before it has to go in the laundry basket. Simplify, people! When I need to chop some veggies or fruit, I use a paper plate. The tomatoes are there from yesterday’s pickings. They need to ripen for a day or so, and then are destined for another batch of that excellent roasted tomato basil soup.

Oh, and the laundry? Yes, it is a pain in the butt to put it in the car and go to the laundromat. On the other hand, I think twice before I throw my clothes in the laundry basket–“I think I can get one more day out of those jeans.” And when I do finally go, it is kind of fun to do four loads of laundry all at one time, instead of spreading it out over the course of a day.

Of course, this whole simple life thing is a temporary situation. Construction continues–lots of stuff I can’t even see–electric and plumbing–and eventually life will be different. I hope I take some of the lessons I’ve learned about simplifying back to that “normal” life.


A book I’ve been enjoying lately says gratitude is good for the soul.

I stood in my little mudroom and looked out at the late summer garden and saw it with different eyes. So many times I am just looking closely (and critically) at things–this weed here, that dead branch there, the dead flower heads that need to come off. But this day I marveled that in two years I am blessed with such a garden.


Petunias are the best. And free petunias are better than best! Most of the petunias that are still blooming are free ones that hybridized and self-seeded from last years garden. This bi-color one just now showed up!


And this one? I brought back some pretty petunias from Cambria. They went from that cool seaside climate to over 100 degree dry heat here. Needless to say, they did not fare well. I came back from my two weeks in Sisters to see some unknown plants coming up. I thought they were probably weeds, but decided to give them a chance. They were the offspring of those Cambria petunias!! I’ve never seen such a thing.


And from that book, Soul Keeping, by John Ortberg, here is a beautiful collection of words.

We all have two worlds, an outer world that is visible and public and obvious, and an inner world that may be chaotic and dark or may be gloriously beautiful. In the end, the outer world fades. We are left with the inner world. It is what we will take with us. I am an unceasing spiritual being with an eternal destiny in God’s glorious universe.



Decision Overload

Thank goodness I already went through this back when the studio was built. Otherwise I would be wondering what was wrong with me. TOO MANY DECISIONS!! That’s what’s wrong with me. Having the car accident on top of this construction, and then adding in a minor family issue has put me on decision overload. I’m tired all the time, although it seems like I don’t do that much. I have trouble getting into the studio to create, and I haven’t gone to the gym or done any exercise for a while. I can’t remember the name of the book, but Cammy reviewed it, and I read the sample. It was about how a human can only make so many decisions before they are overloaded. So I guess going to the gym and making quilts are the decisions that are losing out right now. All the others, one by one, I seem to be able to make. Since I arrived home two weeks ago, here’s what’s happened:

One day I heard a very loud noise right outside the studio window. The cement truck had arrived! Can you believe a cement truck was able to angle itself between the house and the tree without knocking anything over?


It was interesting watching J. the contractor and his helper direct that cement into the forms for the foundation.


Over the next couple of days, a floor was put in place and walls went up! That corner structure is the little pantry. There was a bit of discussion about how small the door needed to be. If I didn’t mind it not being quite a 45 degree angle, the door could be 2 inches wider. Yes please!


And then one day a roofline appeared


I came home one day to see siding and a window!


Oh, and this was one of my favorite things–a nice little sidewalk! There will be a very small deck there out the back door of the kitchen (where the ladders are,) and eventually we will turn that little structure (that I used to call the laundry dungeon) into a dog washing/wet studio (where I can dye fabric inside if I want to.)


And in between all of that, I was on the phone with various and sundry people. Looking at cars online, and making more decisions. The insurance company “totaled” my car, so I had to decide whether to buy it back or take their offer. Both my brother and my mechanic said “take the money and run.” So I got this car from the “bargain department” at my local used car lot.


Oh! And in between all of that? I snuck out of town for a couple of days to visit my mom, and to visit my friend, famous blogger Shelley! We have been able to meet so often because of our mutual Texas/California connections that we are more like IRL friends than blogging friends!


Of course, you know our visit had to include yarn store and quilt store shopping!

Other decisions I’ve been able to make: bathtub chosen, tile for bathtub and shower surround chosen, bathroom faucets purchased, kitchen faucet chosen, backsplash material bookmarked, cabinet maker chosen and cabinet plan in place, deposit put down on new appliances, kitchen floor material being seriously considered (vinyl tiles,) and paint colors kinda sorta decided on…

And that’s all the news that’s fit to print here in the forest. Hope you are enjoying your weekend. I am thoroughly enjoying two whole days without any hammering or sawing or other loud unidentifiable noises! I even DECIDED to go to the gym for a nice long swim, and sat down long enough in the studio to make a simple baby quilt!