Its a Cookie Kind of Christmas

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This Christmas, it seems, I have loosened up my relationship with cookies.  I read with admiration my friends that are abstaining from the Christmas goodies. I have done that plenty of times myself through the years. But not this year. In the interest of truthfulness, I thought I’d share with you what I’m doing.

I noticed about a month ago that I was developing some rather obsessive behavior in regards to food. I mean, more obsessive than my usual obsessivity… I wondered if it was a backlash to my fairly restrictive diet for the past year. And I also noticed that I had become bored with my bedtime habit of writing down my menu for the following day. I thought about how I could remedy this without going backwards in my efforts to maintain my recent weight loss, and my effort to lose a few more pounds.

I decided to give another calorie counting website one more try. I’ve never been happy with negotiating these websites. They seemed difficult to use, especially with all the cooking I do. But this one is a goodie! I am totally enjoying it. Lose It is very easy to navigate, and very easy to add my custom foods to. It remembers “my foods” so all I have to do is type in a few letters and a list of recent choices comes up. It also has cute icons for each food. So if I type in Strawberry Cheesecake Protein Smoothie, first a strawberry icon shows up, then it changes to cheese, and finally it changes to a piece of cake! I can easily change it back to the strawberry icon. Its not necessary to have an icon for the food we eat, but it is fun.

Lose It gives you a daily calorie goal based on your weight. So as you lose weight, your calorie goal changes too. My calorie goal is about 1250. As you log your food during the day, it subtracts that amount from your calorie goal, and gives you the amount of calories you have left for the rest of the day. It has the option of logging your exercise calories so that you have a larger amount of calories to eat. I’ve never done this before, but I decided to log my exercise only on the days that I exercise for a whole hour at the gym. I thought that this would give me some variability to my caloric intake, and maybe would juggle my metabolism a bit. These extra calories came in handy for Christmas goodies, and also motivated me to take time to go to the gym if I was planning to celebrate that day.

Back to the cookies. I allowed myself to choose one favorite treat to make for Thanksgiving, and one to bake for Christmas. And I made my annual fruitcake for my mom. I either give away most of the goodies right away, or I wrap them well and put in the freezer for later distribution. I designate a couple of each cookie to keep for myself. I told my friend I felt like a squirrel. I have my little stash of cookies from my baking and from various friends wrapped carefully and put in my freezer. If I have calories at the end of the day (and I make sure I do!) I choose one or two to indulge in that night. I have some really light but delicious meals that I can choose from so that there are enough cookie calories left over. My turkey salad is a good example of this. Just romaine lettuce, with some turkey, laughing cow light, and my low calorie cranberry sauce. With the cheese and the sauce, no dressing is needed.

This seems to be working well for me. I have stayed on course according to Lose It, and have even lost a few pounds. I’ll report more about this after the new year.

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(About my Christmas decorations–I thought I was not going to decorate at all this year. Every time I went out to the storage shed and looked at the big plastic bins full of Christmas stuff, I just felt overwhelmed and left them all out there. I even bought a little live Christmas tree, but I thought it was going to get left outside too. Then one day I decided to just look in one bin. I chose a few of my favorite sentimental decorations and brought them in the house. In less than a couple of hours, I had enough decorating done to enjoy the season. Isn’t it funny how we allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by circumstances or too many choices? When all we have to do is just ONE THING. Feel free to apply this to your weight loss efforts as we go into a  shiny bright new year : ) )

A Bit of This ‘n That

Last night I spied the Apricot Scrub on my sink, and decided that today would be a day that I could do whatever I wanted to do. Apparently I wanted to blog, because I have written on each of my blogs this morning! A new recipe, and some newly finished quilts, and just a few new thoughts for this blog. Eventually I’ll get to that Apricot Scrub.

Yesterday was a crazy day. I had an electrician come and put in a new little wall heater. Yahoo! I have to be careful to not over-use it, because its not the most efficient way to heat the house. But on a cold morning, its a nice luxury. And, the guys came to take down some of the big trees on my property. Its quite amazing how they do this. One guy way up in the tree, lopping off one branch at a time. and then cutting it off portion by portion. The biggest pine tree was only about 12 feet from my house, and was leaning at a 60 degree angle over the house! Anyway, as you can imagine, it was quite a scene with all the dogs in the morning. I had made an appointment to board Noah for the two days of ‘tree-ing’ and so I left to take him down, as well as go to PT, the gym, and run a few errands. I got home just in time to see them working on that big pine. I guess this is why I decided I needed a day off today. The guys finished up their tree work last night, so its an extra quiet morning. I will pick up Noah from his trip to camp later this afternoon.

New recipe:  I got the original idea for this recipe here. I changed it up quite a bit (surprise!) and have enjoyed these Cranberry Lemon Protein Bars as both breakfast and a dessert treat, so thought I would share with you.

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Pretty good stats on this bar: 15 grams of protein in 185 calories. A nice sized bar too.

Here is the extent of my Christmas decorating so far:

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I brought in my big Christmas quilt, and covered the dog’s sofa with it. They seem to appreciate my effort.

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This camellia always blooms in December. It usually goes unnoticed by me. I need to move it to a better location. It always reminds me of the quote “Memory is the ability to gather roses in winter.”

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That’s all for now. I’m off to use that Apricot Scrub–its for my face, not the sink!

Christmasy Stuff

Well, I finally started putting up a few Christmas decorations this week.  I think I said before I planned on pretty minimal decorating because I am not having anyone over and I am going to my brother’s for Christmas.  Did I say that?  Well, anyway, that’s the plan.  Oh, and what you guys might be interested in is that also scheduled during my Christmas travels is a couple of blogger meet-ups!!  Squeeee!!!  Presuming that the weather cooperates and the stars all line up and all that stuff!

Anyway, back to the decorating.  I have a big artificial tree.  And I knew I wasn’t dragging that in this year.  So I saw these little noble fir trees for sale and they were already standing up nicely in the little stand that came with them.  Only when I got it home it spent almost 2 weeks on the porch falling out of its stand.  So when I decided it was time to bring it in the house, I got myself a hammer and MADE SURE that baby would never get out of the stand again.  Here’s the result:

Oops.  In addition, my agressive hammering had knocked a little piece off of the stand.  I didn’t notice that the little missing piece was actually a large hole in the stand until I tried to put water in it and it ran out all over the floor.  Oops.  Never mind.  We never put our Christmas trees in water when I was growing up and they were just fine.

My plan was to bring one box of ornaments in (I probably have at least three large tubs) and whichever ornaments came out first, those would be the ones that decorated the tree.  Lucky me.  The ornaments right on top of the first box were all the little bird ornaments.  That was it then.  It would just be a little birdy tree.  Added in one string of lights, and the sparkly garlands that were right on top of that first box, and I was done!

This peacock is a favorite ornament.  I bought it on a Christmas Eve trip to San Francisco with my nieces when they were little.  That was a fun way to get them out of their mother’s way when she was getting ready for our Christmas Eve dinner!

Another sparkly bird.

The cockatoo ornament on the left is so old and fragile that little bits of his tail end crumble off every year.

Look who’s waiting patiently under the birdy tree.  I thought that was funny.

I saw this in a magazine.  Unwrapped a few more ornaments and put them in a bowl with a pretty candle.

One friend gave me the little tree with the bird, and another gave me the sparkly silver candle holder for my birthday.

And the third friend gave me this pretty Christmas teapot.  Tada.  Instant Christmas decorating.  No need to bring in anything else.

And finally, Mr. Monk has found a new favorite place to roost.  Especially on cold mornings with a warm fire in the woodstove.  And yes, those are the same poor dumbells you saw decorating the hearth last year….

I’ve stuck pretty close to the Bobay plan this week.  Thursday I had a potluck dinner to go to. Guess who was stuck making dessert?  Yep, me.  I went through my entire cookbook, from my ‘too healthy for normal people’ recipes, to ‘pseudo healthy’ (the old cake mix/can of diet 7-up W.W. recipes,) all the way back to my pre-diet days of ‘how much butter and sugar can you fit into one recipe?’  I really debated over what to make. And I finally realized that at least 3 of the five women that would be there are watching what they eat.  I don’t know what their husbands are doing.  Anyway, I decided on this recipe that I think I’ve shared on here before.  But it is so good, and so easy, and so low in calories and relatively healthy, that I wanted to share it with you again.  Just perfect if you have to make a quick dessert that is sure to impress people.

You need 30 ounces of frozen fruit, and some granola, preferably granola without dried fruit in it.  The original recipe calls for triple berry, but I decided on a one pound bag of blueberries and a one pound bag of frozen peach slices.  THAT was a great combination (hey, I did pick up something from watching Paula Deen!)  Anyway, preheat your oven to 375, get out an 8X8 pan, and dump the frozen fruit in it.  Add 1/4 cup sugar and 2 Tbsp flour and mix it around.  Put it in the oven for 20 minutes.  Take it out and stir it around, and top it with 1 1/2 cups granola and put back in oven for 15-20 minutes.  Voila!  Instant dessert.  I got some of that slow churned ice cream to put on top.  Yum yum.  The recipe serves 9 and only has 127 calories per serving.  It was good leftover with some greek yogurt too.

Today I went to the big city to meet my sister for a little pre-Christmas get together.  Gotta say, that really got me in the Christmas mood better than anything I’ve done so far.  We went to that great Discovery thrift shop, and I got a couple of designer items that fit really great.  And we were there on the second day of their big 50% off sale, so it was pretty slim pickings!

This week, in spite of sticking to the diet and exercising faithfully every day, I have really been having those feelings of being SOOOOOOO FAAAAAATTTTT.  Like I told Jill,  I know I am SO FAT, but when I am doing so well, it doesn’t seem fair to feel SOOOOOO FAAAATTTTT.  Trying to analyze just what brings that on.  Is it that I am in a losing trend, and have unrealistic expectations?  Is it because my back is hurting more than usual, and instinctively I associate that with how I felt all the time when I was at my heaviest?  Is it just that I’ve been in a protective fog this past year, and now reality is setting in?  I dunno.  I even thought that maybe it was the clothes I was wearing yesterday, so I completely changed my outfit.  Whatever it is, I am glad that my reaction is NOT to give in and eat everything in sight.

Hoping you are having a great pre-Christmas weekend.  Take a little time out of your busy schedule to just sit and enjoy a moment of peace.