FOG

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!!!

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The Way It Is Around Here

Exactly how many pictures can one take of a sleeping pug, anyway?  Apparently there is no end to the sleeping-pug-photography.  Heaven knows there is unlimited opportunity for this kind of photo around here.

Have I mentioned lately how much I love the big guy?  Yesterday I made a stab at trying to clear my little courtyard of sticks and his old doggie bed.  This morning I peered out the window to find he had dragged  his new doggie bed out of the dog room to his favorite place to keep watch. The Dog Whisperer has been saying lately ‘You are not always given the dog that you want, but you ARE given the dog that you need.’  My dad used to say something to that effect to me about Noah during the ‘troublesome years’ (oh, were they only months?)

Today was another stellar ‘vacation’ day.  I took a walk with Noah this morning, and brought my camera to capture this field of yellow wildflowers.

Tried to snap a close-up but I had the wrong setting on my camera.  Still, can you see that some of the flowers are single and some are double.  Interesting to see such variety in wildflowers.

It was already warm when we headed out, so I was ready for something light and refreshing when we returned home.  Made this canteloupe smoothie with just some frozen canteloupe chunks and some of that yogurt whey from the other day.  Just a bit of cinnamon and splenda to round it out.  VERY refreshing.

I don’t know if its a fluke or not, but it seems we’ve entered a new era around here.  Noah is staying inside the house without a leash, and for the first time, he spent a good part of the day outside without his bark collar on!!!  And, for the second day in  a row, I went out and sat in my chair and enjoyed the warm breeze without all the dogs going nuts.  So peaceful.  I ran inside to get my camera to take a picture, and SOMEONE was keeping my seat warm for me.

I wanted to try to get a picture  of these coral bells contrasting with the pale Japanese maple leaves behind it.  Not quite what I was looking for, but here’s what I got.

ppp

That is the end of our picture show for the day.  But I still have stuff to talk about.  I have to admit to buying a box of Fiber One bars.  I LOVE those things, even though they cause certain gastrointestinal disturbances.  To say nothing of the fact that they are COMPLETE junk food.  I make myself look at the label each time I eat one.  So today I made a batch of Katie’s Raw Cookie Dough Balls (just walnuts and dates with a few chocolate chips thrown it.)  I think they are just as good, and definitely much more nutritious.

Continuing on my vegetarian way, I am going to have some sauteed veggies with marinara sauce for dinner tonight.  And if I’m energetic, I might sautee some brussel sprouts too.  I’m not sure why I’m so veggie oriented right now, but I’m gonna go with it.

I made the beginnings of Katie’s Voluminous Vanilla Ice Cream for dessert tonight.  Only 40 calories, can’t beat that.  I’ll probably have some strawberries on top.

I ran across this quote in Debra‘s blog on the first day I came home from my trip.  I love it.

People should live joyfully most of the time, eat healthfully most of the time, exercise most days, then treasure the body that happens, regardless of its BMI category.

As always, Debra’s articles are thought provoking.  One of her main points in this article is that it is extremely difficult and requires a lot of vigilance and just plain hard work to maintain a large weight loss.  All I can say to that is amen, sister.

And lastly, while chatting with my BIF Jill, I realized that two weeks from today would be my FIRST DAY OF RETIREMENT.  Can you believe it?  I can’t!  I don’t think I’ll really realize it for a few months.

Flower Show

As promised, here is a garden tour of Cambria Pines Lodge.  There are gardens surrounding the main lodge, and you have to walk through the gardens to get to the lodge from your room.  The gardens are separated into ‘rooms’ and each of them has its own theme.  Every day I took a different route to enjoy all of the gardens.  And I just realized that I still missed at least one of them–the rose garden.  Baaah.

This is one of the main garden areas.  I think the gazebo is there so they can have weddings in this garden.

This is a partial shot of the all white garden.

Almost every garden had a water feature, so you always heard running water as you walked along.  I think this is a shade garden.  I just like all the different textures in this picture.  The boulder has water bubbling out of the top.

I walked in this garden and thought, I think it must be a butterfly garden.  And sure enough, when I left, that is what the gate said!

They had quite a few of these birdhouses covered with flowers and plants.  Very fun to look at.

Just some gorgeous close-ups of the flowers.

Can you believe how long some of these foxgloves are?

 

I really love some of these smaller groupings of flowers.  Does any body know what the large mass of pink flowers are?

 

And one more crazy birdhouse.

Thanks for all the nice encouraging comments on my project blog yesterday.  Sometimes I think its weird that I share stuff like that.  But I kind of like having it for a personal record too.

Changing the subject rapidly, has anyone seen the movie Super 8?  Or Midnight in Paris?  Or how about Everything Must Go?  My vacation is coming to an end, and I have a yen to go to the movies.  Because when I retire, I will be on a strict entertainment budget LOL.

Well today I think my food intake was okay.  If I am adding correctly.  It seems like I ate a little too much.  I went to my favorite Costless Market and only went to the produce department.  I got four bags of groceries for $15.00!   I think vegetarian is the way to go in retirement.  I was reading a Mother Earth News magazine about living on less, and they mentioned that as a way to save money.

I think I’ll end early and work on my project!  Habanada!

The Project

Well, I promised you the garden pictures, but a couple of you asked about the project I worked on at camp, so I thought I’d stick this post in.  (I promise I’ll have some beautiful garden photos tomorrow, Lori!)

So, rug hooking camp, or workshops, are run differently than any other workshops I have been to.  It seems that they encourage individuality and creativity from newcomers just learning the craft.  Maybe its because the technique is basically simple (really, there’s just one stitch to master) so there is more time to concentrate on color and composition.  Anyway, each teacher has a specialty, but most of them are quite versatile and are fairly comfortable teaching the different styles of rugs  So before you come to camp, you are supposed to pick out a project and start planning it.  The teacher consults with you, and will provide patterns and/or dyed wool for your project if needed.

This year, for me, this was a very difficult proposition.  I really like designing my own rug.  And you all know that I love playing with colors.  But because of everything that was going on (my dad’s illness and death) my creativity was really blocked.  I finally gave up and told my teacher that I was just going to do a rug pattern that I had bought a few years ago.  This is the pattern.

It seemed really boring to me–white sheep, red apples, green leaves, and brown tree trunk.  Not exciting at all.  I have a lot of wool that I have bought over the past few years, but I had a hard time even looking in the box to see what colors I had that might work.  Just a few days before I left for camp, I finally looked in the box and picked out some really pretty pieces of wool that were not traditional colors, and thought, maybe i could use some of this pretty stuff.  So when I got to camp and my teacher said that I could use those colors, and add some more not-so-traditional colors, I was really happy.

First we worked on the leaves and the fruit.  My teacher said the fruit did not have to match.  Yahoo!

Then we worked on the crow.  Only I didn’t have to make it traditional crow colors!  Whee!!

Next I worked on the sheep’s wool.  This turned out to be really fun, because I had a nice collection of textured wools, including some felted angora and wool sweaters that I had bought at the thrift store just the week before!!

Next I worked on the ram’s face, and later on that night, I worked on his horn.  Then I realized that one horn was drawn backwards.  No problem, rug hookers just use a sharpie pen to re-draw their designs right on the canvas.

Then it was time for show and tell.  Believe it or not, this is all I had done by Thursday afternoon.

Later on that night and the next morning I worked on the tree trunk.  My teacher* told me AGAIN that it did not have to be traditional tree trunk colors!  Did you notice I extended the tree trunk with some ‘roots?’

So I’ve worked on it a bit since I got home (in fact, that close-up of the wool was part of what I did today–filling in around the swirls.)  But just like all handwork, it is not a speedy process.  I’ll show you the finished product in a couple of years…

Here’s a few of the finished rugs that were shown at the rug show mid-week.

(detail of the bird bath from the quilt above)

And hey!  Here’s a little rug that I actually finished.

Changing the subject rapidly, I had another good day of good food choices.  I am choosing to eat more veggies than usual.  Just because that’s what I want.  Even though they had good salads and nice veggies most nights, I guess it wasn’t as many vegetables as I have gotten used to having.

I made a new batch of yogurt, and it wasn’t as thick as I like it so I strained it.  I save the liquid whey for smoothies–it really makes a nice addition to a smoothie.  And I have to say again, that as much as I dislike Safeway, their Lucerne brand plain yogurt is the best yogurt starter I have found.  (That’s not what I used today.)

Today is the first day it was warm enough for me to wear shorts.  And I went for three walks, just because I wanted to.  It seemed like I was actually still on vacation, even though I made some business calls and did all my laundry.  It was a very good day.

*my teacher is a well known rug hooker and has a wonderful blog, in case you want to know more about rug hooking.  He has quite a few pictures from camp, including the glorious lemon ice cream with raspberry topping that we went out for one daya!

Vacation Recap

Well, here I am, back in the real world.  It was a wonderfully relaxing, creative, energizing, colorful week!   I’ve got a lot of pictures to share, so will try to keep my chatter to a minimum  (lol you know that’s not gonna happen..)  Here’s the beautiful room where I stayed.  Very comfortable.  I loved that they had a fireplace, but alas, it was not cold enough to have a fire in the evening.

 

Here’s the view from my window.  This is a real working kitchen garden.  They have a wonderful restaurant on the premises, and the food they served our group was quite delicious.  Although it was TOO MUCH FOOD.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  We’ll talk about the food later.

 

If you can believe it, this is the third year I have gone to rug hooking camp, but the very first time I actually went down to the ocean to take a walk!  These are some of the views of my early morning walk  (well, 7am was pretty early for me.)

It was a beautiful day, and the colors really were this vivid.

The best part was that they had this wonderful boardwalk built all along the cliff overlooking the ocean.  It felt wonderful to walk on, and I even ventured to run a bit!  I liked it so much that I managed to come back three times for nice long walks.

You’ll have to look close, but there was a really long line of pelicans flying by!

And elephant seals!!!  Last time I was here we drove 10 miles up the coast to a beach where they congregate, so I was really excited to see them so close by.

They really didn’t move much at all.

There were pretty wildflowers all along the boardwalk.

And the friendliest little squirrels.  This guy was about 3 inches from my foot!  I guess they’re pretty used to getting fed.

 

I thought this was a funny sight–don’t know what those seagulls are waiting for.

And as always, the never-ending quest to get the perfect shot of the waves crashing against the rocks.

Morning shot:

And evening shot:

I’ll try to post some pictures of the beautiful gardens tomorrow.  But now, as you know, there MUST  be a little food talk.  Like I said, the food they served was quite delicious.  There were good choices to be had at almost every meal.  There was just too much.  I skipped lunch a couple of days.  Still, I was eating quite a bit more food than I am used to.  Overall, I was pretty content with how I ate on this trip.  EXCEPT for the drive home.  Aaack.  It just wasn’t good.  Too. much. Junk.

Fortunately, one of my favorite farm stands was open, and I stopped and stocked up on fresh fruits and veggies.  By the time I got home I was still pretty  full from all the junk I had eaten, so I just had an artichoke and a bowl of cherries and called it a night.

And as usual, I surprised myself that I was able to go right back to making good choices of really healthy foods.  What a relief.  I have eaten  right on target the past two days.  Here’s a few of the things I cooked up.

Fresh stir fry of zucchini, corn and onion, all from the farmer’s market.  Combined with some pre-cooked brown rice from Trader Joe’s.  This rice was really tasty, and the combination was really delicious.  I just seasoned with salt and pepper, and cooked it in a little olive oil and sesame oil.

Vine ripened tomatoes!

Fresh blackberries along with some sugar free instant vanilla pudding.  I haven’t had this pudding for quite a long time, but it was quite yummy.

Here’s how I really ate it, alongside a cup of decaf coffee.

This morning I decided to try the breakfast clafouti with some of the blueberries I got at the farm stand.  Isn’t it beautiful?  Well, either it needed to cook a little bit more, or the juiciness of the berries made the dough too watery.  I ate it, but it wasn’t that nice custardy texture.  Next time I might make it plain, and just serve the berries on top.

And that’s all the news for now.  I have an appointment with the couch.  I’ll try to be back tomorrow with more of my adventures.

And She’s Off!!!

Just a quick note to say I’m on my way to rug hooking camp.  So excited to be getting away on this fun trip.  I have a date with Starbuck’s this morning and then a lunch date with a wonderful quilt shop in Fresno.  Final destination is Cambria, a beautiful little town right by the ocean.

Just want to say you all are the best.  I’ve had some wonderful encouraging comments and emails in the past few days.  I’ll see you in a week!

Dogs and Food

Seriously.  Should I re-title my blog?  Because that’s all it seems like I blog about these days.  Dogs and food.  Why yes, Dr. Berkeley, I am involved with my food.  Why, you might even say I am obsessed with food.  Oh, darn it.  I was going to leave that article alone.  But I just couldn’t.  I don’t agree with a lot of what she says.*  Our American abundance of food is typical of an affluent society.  The last twenty years in America is certainly not the first time in history that a society has had an excess of food and was obsessed with the enjoyment of decadent preparations of said food.  And we are not innocent victims who have been seduced.  Our society is consumer-driven.  Those evil industrialists are just giving us consumers exactly what we want.  But I’ve had this same argument with others in the blog world.  I’m just like a dog on a bone.  Speaking of which, and changing the topic rapidly to something much more pleasant, here’s the view from my chair this afternoon as I enjoyed a cup of coffee and tried to read a couple of new books that I got.

 

As soon as I got up, the two culprits claimed their ‘rightful’ place.

When I move to the sewing machine, Sophie is so pleased that I stash their doggie beds under the table where I sew.

 

The other  night I made up a big pan of carmelized onions a la Lori, and froze most of them, but added a few of the onions to some sauteed veggies that I topped a nice piece of pre-cooked chicken with.  Yummy.  Healthy.

Yesterday I hit up the thrift store for their end of the month half-price sale.  Man, I love that store.  I bought this tee shirt for a dollar just because I loved what it said.  That seems to be something I need to hear these days.  I decided to hang it up in my room instead of folding it and putting it away.

Today’s lunch was super-sensational.  I saw some cantaloupes at the store this morning.  I am very suspicious of fruits that come out earlier than usual.  But these looked like they just might actually be ripe.  Wowza!  Cantaloupe, cherries, cottage cheese, and walnuts.   Yummy.  And healthy.

I stayed on track all day today with my food choices, and after a really great salad for dinner, decided to treat myself with a healthy dessert.  I made that clafouti, dessert style, with a combination of fresh pineapple and pears.  Quite tasty.  Oh, and healthy.

Here’s how I really ate it.

Just so you know.  My eating is quite uneven these days.  A day like today is followed by a day that is not my norm.  Where I say, who cares?  What’s the difference?  And I eat whatever I feel like.  All quite tasty.  Not so healthy.  And like the shirt says, I am doing something.  Haven’t gone back to the gym, but I am pretty pleased that I have filled the gap with some intensive walks.  I only need 36,000 more points to win the Bronze Award on the President’s Fitness Challenge LOL.  And, today, for about the first time since my dad died, I did some serious de-cluttering.  And I was rewarded with finding my buttons!!  Did I tell you how crazed I was that I had lost my baggie of buttons?

Over and out.  I’m hoping for some sun tomorrow so Noah and I can get in a good long walk.

*Oh, I almost forgot.  I did want to say that I agree with a lot of what Dr. Berkeley says.  I do think that a key to successful weight loss maintenance is choosing to eat a diet of primarily healthy, whole foods.  In reasonable amounts.