Out of Town

Yes, that’s right. I am going out of town again. I am leaving this week on a trip to Haiti, which I am combining with a pleasure trip to visit a friend.

But what I want to write about was “how I ate” on my most recent trip to a quilt event. Yes, again. I am writing about how I eat when I travel. This time I tried a few new things, and so thought my experiences were worth talking about.

The event was the Ricky Tims Super Quilt Seminar. This is a very good, very organized event. The hours run long, but they put plenty of breaks between sessions–time to move around and yes, eat. For those of you who aren’t quilters, this is a “no sew” event. It is all demonstration and information, and you don’t have to bring your machine or supplies with you. I really liked that, since I usually end up making something I don’t like in most of the workshops I attend! Plus, easy peasy!

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Ricky does a concert and inspirational talk on one of the evenings. He plays a grand piano, but I couldn’t get a good shot of that. This is one of his Indian flutes.

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Alex Anderson and Pam Holland also presented informative and inspirational talks.

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Back to our food discussion! That last trip I took out of town I ate a little too much sugar and wheat, and I didn’t like how I felt. So I left determined to not eat (much) sugar or wheat on this trip.

Here’s a few of the things I did. I took my own yogurt and granola with me. I took some of my low calorie baked goods with me for breakfasts. I took some of my favorite Quest protein bars. And I grabbed my bag of Skinny Pop popcorn for snacks in the evening.

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I knew there was a Costco just down the road from the hotel I was staying in. So after I made sure there was a little fridge in the room, I headed over to Costco for a bag of my favorite salad mix–the Kale Superfoods salad. This salad still seems like a treat to me. While I was there, I got a box of their cherries. I was set! I had food for breakfast, lunch, and snacks, and would only eat out for dinner.

My favorite department at Costco!

My favorite department at Costco!

In the morning, I checked out the breakfast buffet, and got a few eggs to try (yuck–discarded.) I ate my own muffin and had some coffee. But look! I had a container for my salad!

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Here’s how to pack your yogurt and granola for lunch, if you forgot your little container with the ice in the lid… (file under: where there’s a will, there’s a way.)

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Every afternoon they had a 45 minute break about 3pm. Ahhh, just the right time for my coffee break! (and mandatory Quest bar.)

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Now, in the interest of full disclosure on “how I eat when I travel,” let me fill in the blanks. The first night I had dinner with some old friends. I made a good choice for my dinner, and for whatever reason, they did not serve bread with dinner!! Weird. But good for me, because if it was there, I would have eaten it.

The second night the hotel had given me a free entree coupon for my favorite restaurant–Texas Roadhouse. And oh yes, I certainly did eat their bread. And the third night I went with some new friends to a local hamburger joint! That was really delicious. We split an order of garlic fries three ways, and the burger was really normal sized. I really enjoyed that meal.

Oh, and one day I had time to drive around the town a bit, and happened upon a See’s Candy store. Ruh roh. But I have a new plan. If I do go in, I only buy 2 pieces. So much better than going in and buying half a pound and then trying to NOT eat it all at once!

The event ended at 5:30 on Saturday night, and I thought that I would stop for dinner on the way home. But I decided that I really wanted to get home and could wait until then to eat. Only thing was, I needed to go to the bathroom. Okay, perhaps I could have found a bathroom somewhere besides in the Coldstone Creamery… That was probably my poorest decision all weekend. But I enjoyed my small serving, and even left a bit of it uneaten. And that was dinner.

So even though I did not stick completely with my plan of no sugar/no wheat, my food amounts and choices were quite reasonable, and I did not gain an ounce. I kept in mind some very good advice from my friend, Cammy:

Adaptability – It’s good to have a plan, but sometimes life interferes and the plan gets fuzzy. In the past I had an ‘all-or-nothing’ mindset and generally caved into the chaos. I still do that sometimes, but more often than not, I’ve learned to adjust and adapt and do the best I can in a given situation.

Back home, the little dogs were happy to see me. Speaking of adapting to a given situation, they seem to adjust quite easily to all the changes around here.

The living room awaits new floors,windows, and wall paint.

The living room awaits new floors,windows, and wall paint.

The "dining room" aka furniture storage receptacle.

The “dining room” aka furniture storage receptacle.

As long as they have a soft bed and a heater, they are happy.

Monk and Bess share the bed next to the wood stove.

Monk and Bess share the bed next to the wood stove.

The queen on her dirty laundry throne.

The queen on her dirty laundry throne.

Monk and Sophie share a little bed in the studio (do you see the theme here?)

Monk and Sophie share a little bed in the studio (do you see the theme here?)

And now I must end and pack my bags (and do a million other last minute things! Eek!) I will have lots of adventures to tell you about when I return!

Happy

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This picture makes me very happy. Mr. Monk has been having a tough time lately. His arthritis, especially in his rear legs, became very severe a couple of weeks ago. And then a “sports injury” to a front leg (he jumped off of a chair. yes, I know I shouldn’t have left him up there unattended…) aggravated it to the point where he was having a hard time walking.

He was already taking glucosamine. The vet added rimadyl, but it didn’t seem to be
helping at all. In fact, he was getting worse by the day. So back to the vet, who added an opiate (who knew?) After a couple of VERY UNCOMFORTABLE days, and an increase in  the opiate, Monk has had a few days where he seems relatively comfortable. When I heard a familiar gnawing on the bone, I turned around and was so happy to see him enjoying a chaw. I love this old man a little too much.DSCN0491

A Day in the Life of… The Monk

It has been brought to my attention recently that The Monk has gotten short shrift on the blog.  You guys are sworn to secrecy–DO NOT TELL THE OTHER TWO DOGS THIS–Mr. Monk is one of my ALL-TIME favorite dogs.  All time.  And believe me, that is a lot of dogs–over 70 if my count is correct (I used to raise and show dogs.)  So I decided to follow The Monk around for 24 hours and let you in on why there might not be so many pictures of him on the blog.  I tell you the truth, these were taken over a 24 hour period, and all of them are of completely separate events.  I took over 70 pictures to document this day–aren’t you glad that I thinned them down to the most important events?

Let’s see.  The day started at about 3pm yesterday afternoon.  I was probably looking at the computer or reading, so Monk was in the bed under the desk getting a good chew in.

Chewing is actually hard work, so after a short while he takes a little break.

He spends almost every evening in “his” chair.

And every night I pick him up and carry him upside down to bed (this was a hard picture to take, because The Monk probably weighs 20 pounds and I usually carry him with both arms–had to balance him in one arm and try to snap the pic with the other!)

Bright and early the next morning its time for breakfast.  Of course, her Majesty has been tapping back and forth between the chair where I am reading, her crate, and the kitchen for at least an hour, TRYING to communicate to me that IT IS TIME TO EAT ITISTIMETOEAT EAT EAT EAT WE MUST HAVE FOOD STARVING DOGS HERE HAVEN’T EATEN FOR DAYS WEEKS MONTHS FEEDUSFEEDUSFEEEEEEEDUS!!!  As you can see, when I finally get up to fix their food, Monk waits patiently like the gentleman he is.

After breakfast we all head outside to “take care of business.”  Monk stands by the front door insisting he doesn’t have to “go potty.”

Finally, he ambles over to the yard.  He is a man of action once he gets going!

Back inside for the morning chew while mom checks her email.

When I move to my quilting table, Monk likes to position himself under that table.  He discovered this place, and I gladly provided beds for them under there.

Lunchtime (at the computer) and he shares his bed with Sophie.

BACK outside for another potty break.

And a nice little siesta in the sunshine.  No need to overdo.

When I call the dogs in, the other two come racing.  Not Monk.  He carefully makes his way into the house, often walking the same pathway, just like the original Mr. Monk trying not to “step on the crack.”

And, tonight’s chew, after dinner.

And this last picture is just one of the reasons I love this little man so much.  He very willingly gives up the place of honor to Her Majesty 95% of the time.  But every evening when I am laying on the sofa, after a while he gets off his easy chair and comes over and politely ASKS if he can get in my lap for a little while.

So there you have it.  A special sneak peek into the life and times of a very special dog.  (and BTW, I realize I have given you more of a sneak peek into the reality of my humble abode than I normally would have.  All in the name of good journalism I suppose.)

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The Fog Blog.  That’s what I’m gonna remame this blog.  Because its all about food and dogs these days…

I’ve really been enjoying my food this week.  Being careful not to eat too much (still counting calories,) but choosing each snack and/or meal to be something I truly want to eat.  Experimenting with new recipes and new (to me) foods.  Here’s just a few of the pics of the goings on in the past two days.

Some delicious sauteed brussell sprouts with dried cranberries and walnuts.  Love this combo.  They are just as good leftover, too.

Had them alongside this bowl of sauteed veggies–onions, mushrooms, carrots, and zucchini.

I actually had the veggies (not the brussel sprouts) topped with some marinara sauce and a bit of shredded parmesan.

Here’s that Voluminous Vanilla Ice Cream from Katie.  I don’t know how she made it into actual scoops for her picture.  I suppose I could have if I really worked at it.  Anyway, this is a case of “you get what you pay for.”  At 40 calories for a big bowl, why did I think it would taste like real vanilla ice cream.  Nevertheless, it was a fun and refreshing treat, especially on a hot night.

And here’s how I really ate it–I took one of those Raw Cookie Dough Balls and cut it into bite sized chunks and topped the ice cream with it.  Now this WAS a treat.  And no sugar in the whole thing.  The calories did increase significantly to 160 for the whole bowl.  Oh.  And I guess there is a little sugar in the chocolate chips.

Last night Mr. Monk was REALLY happy!  I tried to document the momentous occasion:

Really, I think Monk is one of the prettiest pugs I have seen.  I got a book full of pug pictures and they just looked plain weird.  But look at that face.  I think I need to contact People Magazine.

Another refreshing smoothie experiment–awesome!  Just some frozen pineapple chunks, a little homemade yogurt,  and some coconut water–AWESOME taste, and only about 150 calories.

 

Yesterday was sewing day, and guess what?  I only ate what I brought with me.  Which was a wonderful bowl of cherries, strawberries, and blueberries, topped with cottage cheese and walnuts.  And because I am eating vegetarian this week, my calories came in pretty low for the day, so I treated myself to the Single Lady Cupcake.  Decadence.  And no leftovers to keep calling my name.

I’ve tried a couple of other experiments.  Yesterday morning I wanted to make some of my famous blueberry scones.  I didn’t have any spelt flour in the cupboard, so thought I’d experiment with the coconut flour and chickpea flour.  Only thing was, it was VERY early in the morning, and I’m not really sure how much flour I put it.  Oops.  The one I ate right after I baked them was so light and delicious that I would try the recipe again to see what I had done.  But when I re-heated one this morning, after having frozen them the night before, the texture was kind of icky.  I’ve never experienced this with my frozen baked goods before.  Anyone else have this experience with using and then freezing coconut flour?

I have an idea to make some frozen yogurt using only dates and bananas for sweetener.  I’ll let you know how it turns out!

Retirement countdown:  4 SHIFTS LEFT!!!

Alive and Well on Planet Cake

Seriously.  I live on a planet where cake is plentiful.  It has always been around.  It will always be around.  And the truth is, I don’t really want to live on a planet where there is NEVER any cake around.  I don’t want to be held hostage by it.  I for sure don’t want to feel like a helpless victim of it.  I don’t want to eat it all the time.  The truth is, I hardly ever want to eat it.  But I do want it there once in a while.  Cake is the perfect mixture of sweet and fat, with a little salt mixed in.  Yes, Dr. Kessler, it is a problem for me.  Or, to quote the King of Siam, “IS a Puzzlement!”

So what’s the solution?   Sooorry, I don’t have a solution.  As I told BIF Jill, if I had the answer to that, I would probably be a multi-billionaire, and worshipped by millions of fat Americans all across the country.  But I do know a few things that work for me, and a few that don’t, so I thought I’d share them here.

  • Don’t keep it in the house.  I pretty much follow this rule all the time now.  Because in the old Weight Watcher’s days, I would make various types of cakes (cake mix and a bottle of diet soda anyone?) and portion it out, and freeze the pieces.  Cake does freeze well, in case anyone is interested.  But that’s basically too much cake to keep around for one person.  And if its there, it WILL be eaten.
  • Try alternative recipes.  There are some really good recipes out there that either have minimal sugar in them, or completely eliminate sugar and use ripe bananas or dates as a natural sweetener.  Some of these recipes are VERY healthy, but can still be pretty high in calories, so you have to be aware of that.  Two of my favorite dessert recipe sites:  Katie and Georgie.
  • Develop your own recipes.  For me, that if a recipe has 1/2 cup or less of sugar, it doesn’t cause me as many problems.  ‘Problems’ being that I can’t stop eating them.  Case in point:  I made Katie’s delicious snickerdoodle blondie recipe.  Yes, it was a relatively healthy recipe.  I think Calorie Count gave it an A- (I love it that they grade their recipes.)  But it had 3/4 cup of sugar in the recipe.  And yep.  I couldn’t stop eating them.
  • Avoid the breakroom?  I did this for at least a year and a half, when I was actively losing weight.  Now I wonder how I did it.
  • Eat it last.  Seriously, this solution actually works very well for me .   If I am being disciplined at a potluck, and I do want a dessert, I will take it and put it away, and save it for the end of the day.  Because if I eat it early in the day, I WILL continue to eat sweets that are sitting out.  I don’t seem to have any problem going back to disciplined eating the next morning.

I don’t claim to be an expert on weight loss or weight maintenance.  (See above comment about being a multi-billionaire.)  Heck, truth is I’m struggling mightily right now.  I was completely in control the whole stressful week after my dad died.  But then the world went wackie, and it seemed, EVERY OTHER DAY I didn’t care.  And then, can I tell you that the very first day I went back to work, they had the potluck to end all potlucks?  Yes, me + stress of being back at work + celebrating a co-worker’s retirement + unlimited goodies = ...what does it equal?  A LOT of calories consumed.  Followed by a day at home completely in control of myself and my food.  Like, I said, I’m no expert.  But I do have a few tried and true tools in my belt.  And I do have fun developing new healthified recipes.  I got such a kick out of thinking up that clafouti recipe.  Here’s another new one I dreamed up on my way home from church today. I had some delicious strawberries from the farmer’s market on my back seat.  And I thought, I suppose I’ll just eat them with cottage cheese.  Nothin’ wrong with that. Not too exciting though.  Then I thought, ooh, I’d really like them with some sugar-free vanilla pudding.  THEN I thought, hey, how about combining the pudding with the cottage cheese?  Yumm.  Now that’s really starting to appeal to me.  Then I got home and I had no more sugar free vanilla pudding in the cupboard.  Because yeah, I’m trying to healthify the foods I keep in the house.  Oh, but there was a package of Knox gelatin in the place where I usually keep the pudding.  Hmmm.  Read one of the recipes on the gelatin box, and came up with this combination:

What shall I call it?  Cottage pudding?  Pretty healthy, and pretty good stats for a light dessert.  4g carbs, 13.5 g protein, 125 calories.  (not counting the fruit topping.) Okay, I just took a break from blogging so I could taste-test it.  Very tasty.  Not sure its recipe-worthy yet.  Might adjust the amounts a little–more ‘pudding,’ less cottage cheese.

Changing the topic rapidly, here’s what I cooked up for lunch.  When I was little, the only way my mom could get any of us kids to eat eggs was to make ‘eggie reggies.’  That’s scrambled eggs with little bits of fried potatoes mixed in.  This is my grown-up version of eggie reggies.  Very similar to my Skillet Scramble recipe.  Only I had fresh eggs from the farmer’s market, and even a home-grown potato from the farmer’s market!  Mmmm mmmm!

While I was typing, Mr. Monk was going to town on his favorite bone.  For an old guy with bad teeth, he sure does enjoy chewing.  Cracks me up.

 

 

Over and out.  Back to work tomorrow–time and a half for the holiday!  Seven shifts left!!!  And a week from today I will be in Cambria for rug hooking camp!!!!!