I Have a Food Template?

Recently I’ve noticed that it doesn’t matter much whether I write down what I’m eating for the day ahead of time, or as the day goes on, or even if I rebel and don’t track what I’m eating, but only write it into LoseIt at the end of the day because I’m curious. It almost always comes out to the same amount of calories. Now, this could be because I know how to “game the system” and am fudging on the calorie count of the food I eat. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I have a certain way of eating. A certain size meal, fitting into a certain amount of calories, and usually consisting of a certain amount of protein, veggies, and fruit, with the occasional grain thrown in for good measure.

Me having a food template–I don’t know why this surprised me. I guess because I eat a wide variety of foods, and I don’t really restrict any food groups in particular, I didn’t think of myself as having a food template. But after many years of choosing to eat a certain way, I guess some of those good habits have finally taken root. Whew. Some things are going right. Later I’ll write about some of the things that aren’t going so right.

In the Garden

I’m pretty excited about the latest garden project! And before I start I have to give major props to MLG for being willing to do this kind of work in my yard. I don’t believe there is one square inch of level ground in my yard, and honestly, one inch below the surface is where the rocks start! Mark Twain (who lived in this area for a while) even said something about how terrible the ground was up here.

Anyway, MLG works hard to make paths level, and also to slant things in such a way that the water will run away from the house. NOT things that would come to mind if I was doing this myself.

So here is the patchwork path. I saw the idea in a magazine. My path is not the same as the one in the magazine, and in fact, MLG suggested the red brick in the center of the ground cover spaces. I agreed, since we are having a drought, and that would make it less plants to water for now. Also, I do believe I will be less likely to trip by having a more solid path :)

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Best new toy of 2015! Lori recommended this tool, a Cape Cod weeder, and after researching and bugging Lori a bit, I finally ordered this one. When it came I was very distressed at how small it was, so I took this picture to check with Lori if this was the right tool. She reassured me that it was, so I took it out to the garden and gave it a try. Holy moly! I never had so much fun weeding in my life! It works just like Lori said. I love it!

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The Bee Balm came back to life and bloomed this year! I had it in the wrong place, and it just about died. So in the fall I moved it to its current location. It seems very happy there. My favorite shade of pink, and such a pretty flower shape.

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This plant is blooming again. Has a lovely scent!

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Just another look at the Teddy Bear sunflowers. I love seeing the little bits of color from the petunia and pansy peeking out below it.

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Here is a view of the front garden from outside the deer fence. You can see the pink honeysuckle is still doing well, and the fringe daisies are there, with the sunflowers and free petunias mingled in. Oh, and you can see the wheelbarrow that I always leave out, and that is the storage shed behind it.

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I found this picture in my queue and was puzzled by it. Ohhhh, a water feature. I saw it in a nursery and snapped a quick picture of it. I don’t have a water feature in my garden. Perhaps a project for next year?

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Good Clean Fun

I don’t seem to have much to post these days, but I thought I’d share life in general, and a few fun things (food :) ) that I have enjoyed in the past few weeks.

Those 9 pounds I gained on vacation? Six pounds came off quickly. I’m still working on the last three.

I didn’t mention it, but the steroid shot I got for my knee only lasted a month. It was a very sad day when it stopped working. For a while it seemed like things were worse than ever, but that seems to have leveled out. The brace still helps on short walks and especially when I am working in the yard, so I am grateful for that. Next doctor’s appointment is in less than a month. We’ll see what they say.

No more three mile walks for me. Right now I’m not even walking Noah every day. Its hot, so he doesn’t seem to mind. He spends 95% of his day lounging. The other 5% he is racing around like a mad man to bark at the “marauding neighbors.” He’s still getting his allotment of aerobic exercise :)

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For me, I have embraced the gym! I really enjoy going down for my (at least) 20 minutes on the bike and (at least) 20 minutes jogging in the pool. I swim occasionally, but I am enjoying the jogging so much, and I do not like getting water in my face, so swimming has taken a back seat for now.

Yesterday I went to the lawyer’s to finalize the trust on my estate. I was very reluctant to do this. The wording on my dad’s trust was very misleading, and it seemed like if I made a trust, nothing would belong to me anymore. I know that’s not true. It just seemed like that to me. But in general it makes life much easier for the folks that are left after you die, so I do recommend it to anyone who is thinking about that. The lawyer I went to specializes in estate planning, and I was surprised that she could make a personalized trust so easily with just a little bit of information from me (where I wanted stuff to go.) Now on to the burial plot!! LOL.

Its been hot hot hot here. It still cools down in the early morning, so I get up (early) and open all the windows for a couple of hours. I try to get out in the morning to water the plants, and sometimes do a bit of watering or weeding in the evening. Tomorrow MLG comes to put in the patchwork path, so I need to get out there and decide how/where I want the stones to go. I foresee some sweat in my near future :(

Here’s a couple of fun food items. I found the 85% chocolate in the bins again. I made a mix of: 4 oz melted chocolate, 2 oz dried cherries, 2 oz dried apricots, 2 oz raisins, and 4 oz walnuts. That came out to about 2000 calories, so I divided it into 20 clumps and made my own healthier chocolate candy treats. The 85% chocolate makes it so I am not tempted to eat more than one of these at a time.

Not a great picture, but I wanted to show it in my hand for size comparison.

Not a great picture, but I wanted to show it in my hand for size comparison.

I made myself some protein pancakes the other day, and used my smashed strawberries and some laughing cow lite as a topping. Yummy.

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And last but not least, I found these little lovelies at Trader Joe’s. The tin actually says there is one calorie per piece. I usually only grab 3 or 4 pieces at a time–they have an intense chocolate flavor and a little crunch to them. The other day I wanted to have some chocolate with my cherries for dessert, so I counted out 50 of them. VERY satisfying.

Put my finger in there for size comparison.

Put my finger in there for size comparison.

Every day when I go into the studio, the little girls fight over this square of sunlight coming in through the front door.

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And that’s about it for news around here. Hope your week is going well, and you are staying cool (or warm, depending on how the weather is near you!)

In The Garden

It seems like there is a lull in the garden. Nothing looks quite as bright and shiny as it did in the first flush of spring. And then I read on a garden blog that June is often like this for gardeners–a down time between the beautiful spring flowers and the bright show of summer flowers. I hope so. Because I’m doing a lot of watering just to keep the plants happy.

So here are the happenings worth reporting in the past week or so.

MLG was here working on yet another building project. I am pretty excited about this one. I saw a picture of a “patchwork path” in a garden magazine and wanted to make that. This was one of the few flat areas in the garden. But in order to make it work, we needed to make a raised bed to the left of the path, so that is Phase One. There were a few of the stones left over, so MLG put them on the other side of the path. I am always so pleased when he comes up with these little extras.

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The pots won’t stay there. We just put them there so it wouldn’t look so bare. And to try to keep me from buying more plants to water :)DSCN3026

I went to Home Depot to get some of the stones for the patchwork path. They mucked up my online order, so I ended up loading about 100 stones weighing over 400 pounds onto a cart, and then lugging that to the checkout counter. Where I asked that they call someone to help me load them into the car. No one ever showed up, so I loaded all of these into the car by myself. I took this picture and texted it to MLG, with the caption “I now officially hate Home Depot!”

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Of course, once I got home, I had to unload all those stones one more time. Since I was already too hot and too sweaty, I decided to finally add the coat of stain to the wood surrounding the Japanese maples. I really was glad to get that done.

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This purple-blue flower is a type of wild geranium. I have had it for years, but have never had it in the right location. Looks like I finally got it right this time. I was so happy to see it blooming.

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Here’s a better look at the yellow flowers behind them. It is a gaillardia. They are perennials, and quite cheerful.

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And yet another plant that I do not know the name of. It is a very interesting plant. I thought the spikes were supposed to be red, and I thought that it bloomed in late summer…

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Another “morphing” plant. Last year this daylily had a white bloom on it. I moved it, and it is doing better in this location, but the flower has changed color!

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The hydrangea is getting into full bloom. It wilts every afternoon, but it looks pretty in the morning and evening.

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An early morning photo–the Teddy Bear sunflowers look like they’re in a parade! All facing the same direction–towards the east, where the sun rises. Do all sunflowers do this?

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The double daisies have started blooming. You can see where I keep trying to get a blue and white thing going here. I had some delphiniums here, but they did not make it. So I planted some little lobelia this spring. And then I just got another salvia to put in here, since they have done very well for me in the sun garden. I thought I’d try them over here.

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Sophie caught in the act of flower munching.

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She likes to walk along the top of the stones. Cracks me up–it reminds me of how kids like to walk on ledges or curbs.
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We have hit a real hot streak out here. I spend a bit of time most mornings and evenings, just trying to make sure each plant gets enough water. Stay cool, wherever you are, and enjoy your weekend!

 

A Recipe Recommendation and a New Food!

I save hundreds of recipes from the internet. I rarely try any of them. The other day I was scrolling through all my old bookmarks and came across this recipe for Banana Split Bars. And it wasn’t even in my recipes folder! I checked it out, and the stats sounded good to me. I liked the list of ingredients–no wheat or sugar–and even better was that I had all the ingredients in the house. I can’t remember if I ever made these before. But they are most certainly worthy! I followed the recipe exactly, and baked them for 30 minutes. They were soft-set, which I like.  I cut them into 12 bars (because, you know, I am a volume eater.) This made them about 190 calories each. They are delicious as a breakfast treat, or for a nice dessert.

The new (to me) food is Edamame spaghetti. I saw the box on my way out of Costco, checked the stats, and was astounded. Ingredients list: organic edamame and water.  Same calories as a regular serving of pasta (200 cal) but 24 GRAMS OF PROTEIN and 11 grams of fiber per serving!! I really like edamame, so I decided to try this. So far I’ve only tried them with a bit of garlic and olive oil, but they were very good. I liked the texture (much better than whole wheat pasta.) As far as taste…they were pretty neutral, just like I think normal pasta is. There was definitely no “weird” taste. I have all the ingredients for my Darn Good Spaghetti Sauce, and I am going to make that for dinner tomorrow. 

In The Garden

I returned from my trip to the seaside (high’s of 70 degrees,) to a heat wave here in the foothills (100 degrees when I arrived home.) The garden looks a little sad about the heat, but it mostly fared well, thanks to my “babysitter” being willing to water the plants while I was gone.

First, here is where I was (I went to Cambria Pines for rug hooking camp again.) I managed to get away to visit the sea three times. I even took a few walks along the boardwalk that they have there.

Day 1:

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Day 2:

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Day 3:

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This is a houseplant that I bought at the nursery in Cambria. It is so beautiful. Does anybody know what it is? (they told me, but I can’t remember.)

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I found a few new blooms to share. The fairy impatiens have taken over!

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Another of the grocery store roses has bloomed!

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The volunteer Teddy Bear sunflowers have started to bloom!

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The hydrangea is full of buds. This is the first to bloom. It is a lace cap hydrangea. Unfortunately, I think hydrangeas like it a bit cooler. I wish they had bloomed earlier.

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This is very weird. This was a plain old hydrangea. It has been weaker than the other hydrangea ever since we planted them in the ground two years ago. Last year it didn’t even bloom. And this year, there are two blooms like this on it. Its like it has morphed into a completely different plant! I think it is very pretty.

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And just a view of the sunny bed.

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We are having a drought here in Sunny California. Some of you might have heard about that :) I am on a well, so my watering is not really restricted. But I do try to be responsible in my water usage, and of course, I worry occasionally about my well going dry. My main concession is that I am not adding any new plants right now. The best way for me to do that is to just not visit the nursery :(

Not Perfect

I just returned from a week long trip to the Bay Area and Cambria. And as usual, when I travel, my food and exercise regime is severely interrupted. I eat different food than I eat at home. I eat more food. I eat sugar and wheat freely (two things I minimize in my normal daily diet.) I drink less water and more coffee. I give a half-hearted nod to exercise. And since many times my travel involves quilt or rug hooking workshops, I spend way more time sitting for extended periods of time.

All that to say that when I was driving home, I said to my friend “I gained ten pounds this week!” And I truly felt like that.

Long time readers will know that I don’t believe in weighing yourself after any travel time. I do believe that just the actual physical traveling can make you retain water and/or pounds and can affect your weight. So I usually won’t weigh myself for a full week after I return from a trip. But this time, I wanted to see if my estimate was right. Sure enough, my weight was up 9 pounds from when I weighed myself the day before I left on this trip. Four pounds are already gone in 2 days. Interesting.

Sometimes this travel bit is distressing to me. Why do I think its free season on food consumption when I travel? Why can’t I get it under control? Why do I gain so much weight when I travel, when I’m really not eating any more than the “regular people?”

Well, coming home, and comfortably slipping back into my regular routine, with no longings for wheat or sugar, and extra doses of fruits and veggies, is always reassuring to me.

And yesterday, when I was thinking about this, it occurred to me that I am not yet perfect. It just made me laugh at myself. I really only share this stuff in case it is helpful to someone working on (imperfectly) maintaining weight loss. I hope it might be encouraging.