And Speaking of Blips…

A nice new reader kindly informed me that she would like to read my archives, but she was wondering how to get the pictures to show up.

Gulp.

I made a big goof. I’m so sad about it. My “media storage” was getting full (well, I do put a lot of pictures on my blog.) About a year ago the same thing happened, and I simply deleted some of the first photos from my media storage. I thought that at the time I had checked, and the pictures still remained on the blog, they just weren’t in my media library. But that is not what happened. And this time I was quite gung-ho, and I deleted all the photos in my media library between February and November 2014. And sure enough, ALL of those pictures are gone from my blog posts! So I am very sorry if any of you are reading older posts and the pictures are missing. I hope to be able to re-build those posts, but that will take a lot of time. In the meantime, I figured out how to buy more storage for not much money, so I won’t have that problem again for a long time.

And so now I’ll share some more pictures from the week with you!

I found a small, but very sturdy round table at a local antique shop for my dining room! Its just the size I wanted. And, there was a set of 6 chairs to go with it! The table is really only big enough for four chairs, but it is nice to have extra chairs now, instead of scrambling when my sewing ladies come over.

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The chairs are so delicate. I love their cane seats.
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I really like the wood grain of the table. DSCN2470

And I like the foot of it too. Its sturdy, but more delicate than most of the tables I’ve seen like this.DSCN2472

Here is an idea I had last summer. I chose several of my best close-up photos of my flowers and had them enlarged to 8X10’s via Snapfish. One of my friends bought this neat frame for me for my birthday–we found it at Home Goods. I love how it looks.

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Regarding my previous blip, I have gone back to the gym. One day I got in a good bicycling session and worked out on the weights, and today I did the bike and got in the pool! And sure enough, it did make me feel better about myself.  I’m back to logging my food and making good choices. I made some of Shelley’s granola, so I can have it with my greek yogurt, and yesterday I made my low-cal version of my favorite beef stew. Did you know you could “healthily” almost any recipe just by adding more vegetables to it, using lean cuts of meat, and decreasing the amount of fat you use? Well, don’t bother correcting me. I know that that is my version of healthifying something–decreasing the fat and calories in a dish. You can do it however you want. I just like to have a bigger volume of food to eat. Maybe someday I will change. Fat chance. Haha. I crack myself up.

I’ll leave you with a picture of Bess completely enjoying herself. She is giving Pixie a run for her money as the queen of relaxation. The little guys love that I’ve moved their doggie beds over next to the wood stove.

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A Tale of Two Salads

There’s a little cafe in town where my friend and I enjoy having lunch. But honestly, I’m not sure I’ve tried more than one thing on the menu. I love this one particular salad so much that I order it every time we go there. One day it occurred to me that I could probably make this salad at home.

So as usual, I wrote down what was in it, and ran it through the recipe analyzer. Even using conservative amounts of the ingredients, it is about 400 calories per serving. Its so delicious that it is worth it for a special treat once in a while. And honestly, my at home version is probably half the calories of the restaurant version. The key ingredients are: chopped dates, apples, bacon crumbles, pecans, and blue cheese on baby greens with poppyseed dressing.

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I actually made this salad for Christmas dinner!

The day after Christmas I made plans to get back on the straight and narrow. This included making some of my favorite very low calorie foods to have on hand. So I took my leftover turkey pieces out of the freezer, and I made another batch of my low cal apple cranberry sauce. For my New Year’s dinner, I made one of my favorite salads. Its actually the basic ingredients of a turkey sandwich, just without the bread and served on a bed of lettuce–2 ounces of turkey, 1/4 cup apple cranberry sauce, 1 wedge of laughing cow lite cheese, and 1/4 avocado. There’s no need for salad dressing, as the cranberry sauce serves that purpose. This salad comes in at about 225 calories, and it is a completely satisfying dinner for me.

DSCN2437The great thing about salads is that you can dress them up or dress them down, depending on how hungry you are or how many calories you have left for the day. If you need more protein, throw some precooked chopped chicken or salad shrimp into them. If you just need something hot and comforting on a winter night, throw a potato in the oven. I like to put a little spray butter and some cottage cheese on my baked potato.

Do you eat salads in winter, or do you prefer to wait until spring to get your salad action going?

 

Thinking about Food

A few posts back I mentioned that I was slightly disturbed by HOW MUCH I think about food. Some of the commenters said that they also thought about food a lot, and recently, a couple of other bloggers have mentioned the same thing. One blogger’s therapist called it an eating disorder. That bothered me, so I started thinking about that.

And here’s what I came up with.

First, back to Dr. Sharma’s talks. When Dr. Sharma talked about obesity being a chronic disease, he pointed out that treating it (maintaining weight loss) requires abnormal behavior, just like a diabetic who sticks themselves to check their blood sugar each day–that is abnormal behavior. To maintain a large weight loss, most people have to track their food, make careful food choices, etc. That is abnormal behavior. But it is what is required to control this chronic disease. So right there, you can see how that would lead you to think more about food.

The second thing that came up was this. Several people that are about my age and height have said that 1400 calories seems to be the amount they can eat to maintain their weight loss. I know that’s true for me. That’s not normal either. I input a 60 year old, 5 foot 1 inch, 155 pound active woman into the USDA’s calculator. They said I could eat 2200 calories a day to maintain that weight. IN MY DREAMS. So us weight loss maintainers get to eat about two-thirds of what the “normal folk” eat on a regular basis. That said, if you make good choices, you can eat very well, and be very satisfied at 1400 calories. BUT IT REQUIRES YOU TO THINK ABOUT FOOD A LOT.

So that’s what I’m thinking about this morning.

P.S. If you are waiting for the code so you can watch my episode of The Quilt Show, I am too! The Quilt Show is having some technical difficulties. I will get the code to you as soon as I hear from them!

The Relentlessness of Food

Lately I’ve grown a little weary of the endless counting/journaling/calculating/decision-making nature of the way I choose to eat and control my daily meals. Food–its just relentless! Its always there. You can’t live without it.

Even when you decided almost 10 years ago that a certain food item is not healthy and you don’t need to have three a week and in fact you very very seldom ever eat one (hamburgers,) ten years later they’re still there, and you find yourself still wanting one too often. Even the “good stuff”–whole, healthy non-processed foods–if there is too much in the house at one time, its easy to eat too much of that stuff too.

I know its a temporary feeling. I’m not on any type of slippery slope. I just wanted to put that out there–its relentless. It never ends. Its wearying.

The Garden…and Other Things I Haven’t Written About

This morning I spent about 3 hours working in the garden. And I thought about taking pictures, but it just seemed like the garden is in that in-between stage when there’s nothing particularly interesting to show. Hopefully, in a few weeks, my work will be rewarded with lots of pretty flowers to share with you.

But while I worked, I thought about all the things I HAVEN’T written about lately. And how, just like the garden, even though I haven’t written about those things, it doesn’t mean the work is not being done.

Just because I haven’t written much about weight loss/maintenance DOESN’T MEAN I AM FAT. GIVE ME A BREAK. Maybe I have already said everything I could possibly think to say about the subject. Maybe I am busy living my life, and going to the computer to repeat my thoughts about what is necessary to lose and maintain weight has been usurped by much more interesting creative impulses.

Every day of my life I work on maintaining my weight loss. Some days it seems absolutely effortless. And some days it seems like a full time job. When I mention to people that I used to weigh a lot more, and we’re discussing keeping the weight off, I almost always say the same thing–“Its hard work.”

Just because I am not writing about food or recipes or low-cal cooking DOESN’T mean I have gone off the rails. FAR FROM IT. I’ve tried some really excellent new recipes lately. They were other people’s recipes, and they were tasty and healthy and low calorie. I didn’t even have to adjust them. They’re all out there on the web. I just didn’t feel the need to share them. And sometimes food tastes better than it looks. That’s the case with my latest try.

Just because I haven’t mentioned the gym lately, doesn’t mean I sit for hours in my Lazy Boy in front of the boob tube. How many times and in how many different ways can I say “I went to the gym. I did my weights workouts. The same exercises at the same weights. I got on the exercise bike, and I rode for the same distance in the same amount of minutes.” And on the other days, “I took Noah for a walk, and I came home and did my PT exercises.” And in case anybody’s wondering–yes, I am in an exercise rut. Its a rut I like very much. Which means that I will keep exercising consistently. Which is one of the most important factors in weight loss maintenance.

Oh, and one more thing. Just because I do not post pictures of myself that often, it does not mean I have gained a ton of weight and am embarrassed by my appearance. I live alone. My arms are short. You do the math.

Maybe, just maybe, if I am ever really healed of the chronic condition of WEIGHT, there will be no more need to write ad nauseam about the daily vagaries of my LIFE WITH FOOD.

I love you guys and I love blogging. I love the comments and “conversations” we have on this blog and some of my other friends’ blogs.

But sometimes the drama and the judgmental attitudes expressed by other bloggers just gets to me. Their opinions are arrogant and mean-spirited, and they are saying those things about people they don’t even really know. If you want to write about your own shortcomings, that’s fine. But don’t drag all the rest of us in with your irresponsible blanket statements.

 

 

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!

A Peachy Keen Summer

After grousing about the poor harvest of peaches last summer, it seems I have been rewarded with a banner crop of peaches this year! I have gotten peaches from three different places, and all of them have been wonderful. My latest purchase was from Costco! They traditionally have had great peaches for sale each summer. But really, what is a single person to do with a DOZEN peaches? Time to get creative!!

While I was at Costco, they were promoting their organic products. The lady in the quinoa booth caught my attention, and we had a brief conversation about how we used our quinoa. I still have a lot of quinoa because I bought a SEVEN POUND BAG at Costco. Ahem…moving on. Anyway, she mentioned that she uses it with peaches to thicken them. Ooh, that sounds yummy.

One of the troubles of quinoa is that it is kind of dry. It seems like it needs something to make it stick together. So I came up with this idea. Its more an idea than a recipe, although I guess I’ll write the idea down on my recipe site, if only for myself. I cooked one serving of quinoa–1/4 cup of quinoa in 1 cup of water. While that was cooking, I peeled and chopped 2 peaches. I put them in a separate pan with just a bit of water to keep them from sticking. After they cooked for a bit, I added a slurry (don’t you love these fancy new cooking terms I pick up from my cooking shows) of 1 1/2 tsp corn starch, 1 tsp cinnamon, and 1/4 cup water. And I continued to cook for about 3 minutes. By this time the quinoa was cooked and I added the quinoa to the peaches–Voila! Peachy Quinoa Compote. Remove from heat and add sweetener of choice. This made 3 servings at 95 calories per serving.

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Now, here is another recipe I tried at the same time, because I thought they would taste good together, kinda like peaches and cream. Well, its peaches and cream for the weirdly healthy food addict LOL.

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It is Chia Pudding. Couldn’t be simpler. I got the original idea here. All you do is put 2 cups of unsweetened almond milk and 4 Tbsp chia seeds, along with sweetener of choice into a container with a lid. Give it a shake. 15 minutes later give it another shake and then put it in the refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight. I really enjoyed this. Only 50 calories for 1/2 cup.

I think there are a lot of ways you could eat the Peachy Quinoa Compote. Warm, with some granola on top, for a dessert. Maybe as a topping for french toast or protein pancakes?

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(French toast made with whole grain bread, about 230 calories for this plate.)

And I plan to have the rest of the Chia Pudding with some blueberries tomorrow morning. The Fun with Food never stops!

Oh, as long as I mentioned fun with food, I have to share a picture I took of my dinner the other night. I really eat like this.

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( 4 oz. turkey burger with tomatoes and lettuce.)