Thursday, May 31, 2012

You can't go home again

I never fully understood that phrase.  Of course you can, you hop in the car and drive- boof you're there, right?  The problem is home is not what home was.

I went over to Windham yesterday.  I graduated from Windham-Ashland-Jewett High School in 1983.  I have been back, long enough for a friends funeral in 1984, my sister's burial in the early 90's and my mom's early this decade.  And I have driven through on countless occasions, but I never really looked.  I wanted to spend some time yesterday after going to the graves.  It was like an alternate reality.  A great deal of it looked the same but it was very different.  The school was still where the school always was, but huge now.  And Higgins house it still next to it, looking as old as the day left me feeling.  The Windham Journal was gone, the Fire House was different.  I am not sure Debbie Stead's house was there.  Her dad taught 5th or 6th grade when I was in High School.  I never had him; I was still in Brooklyn during those academic years.  Of course the flood last year did all sorts of untold damage and I'm sure changed things from what they between my years there and yesterday.

Zerga's Pizzeria is not in the Mini Mall anymore, in fact neither is the Mini Mall.  Zerga's is now in a building whose origin I cannot remember; but Steve is still there!  His parents owned it and he worked in it when it opened.  The Mini Mall from what I could see (closed Tuesday and Wednesday) was a Brew House restaurant.  There is a Day Spa now, apparently they are also closed on Wednesday as well.  The Windham Pharmacy is no longer in its original location, now it's a gift emporium.  My friend Sherri's house is now a Fabric Store...that blew me away.  Oh, and the creepy little deli/whatever store that my parents did want me in because of rumors of nefarious activity is now another Pizza Place.  Windham has a lot of those now.  There was a little eatery next to the pharmacy but that is now a Greek Diner serving breakfast all day.

But, best of the best, and the reason I brought along my insulated cold sack and freezer pack.....Todaro's Salumeria was still on the corner!  I bought some Mozzerella that they make on premises, Hot Italian Sausage, that they make on premises and there Italian bread with sesame seeds.  Oh, the bread, the memories with the bread.   Mom always had a loaf on the nights we had Spaghetti and Sauce.  So, I know, not a Monday-Saturday food normally, but really, I was not going to eat the best bread ever????????????  I got home, took out my new pan that my wonderful husband purchased for me last weekend, browned those sausages, threw some sliced onions in to pull up all flavor from the bottom of the pan, added peppers, and some smashed cloves of garlic.  Add waited...and waited...and added white wine...and waited...and waited.  Then finally, done!

I pulled out the sausage, let it rest a minute-barely- sliced it, ladled it into bowls with the onions, peppers, and broth and then...drum roll please...cut the bread.  The beautiful snap and crunch as the bread knife sliced through it and the sesame seeds dancing and popping off the top, the flesh of the bread a light yellow.  It be must semolina flour I think to get that color and maybe eggs...not sure, just know that it is the closest thing to Brooklyn Italian Bread that I have ever had outside of Brooklyn.  I still weighed and measured everything, and I paid dearly in points, but still came in under because my lunch idea had fallen through.  Apparently, Messina's is not open for lunch, at least not this time of the year.  So I ate the fruit that I never seem to leave home without these days.

It was a bittersweet day.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Staycating is fun

So the Avengers...really?  Of course not!  Not when a movie with Dame Judi Dench is on the big screen.  I love her on TV, I love her as M, I love seeing anything she is in.  If my hair would be that color I would never have to go to the salon.  I have to tell you, the aroma of popcorn when I opened the door to the Marquis Cinemas in New Hartford was overwhelming.  Serious will power is the only way to survive that.  I think it helped that yesterday morning I was able to slide on a pair of capris that I have not been able to wear in three years.  That was certainly motivation for not ordering popcorn and soda.  But if I had hit a plateau or gained any weight (which, by the way according to the scale this morning I am down four tenths of a pound), I cannot say that my frame of mind would have been the same.

Old habits are hard to break.  Using food as an escape or as a comfort or out of habit comes almost as easily as throwing my watch on my left wrist.  It's just something I do.  I will grant you that the cravings are much less this time out than they ever have been in the past; but, I think that has more to do with my mind set than any external factors.  I know now that this is my life, that eating this way is the rest of my life if I wish to see my children live to middle age (at least).  I know that my attitude, like that of many of my fellow overweighters, is what will make me succeed.  But having used food for so much other than nutrition for so many years really creates a whole different level of "fixing".  I know the smarts of food and nutrition and now I am learning the smarts of emotion and intellect.

I am heading over to Windham today.  I will stop at Mom's, Stephie's, and Grandpa's graves.  I will stop at Todaro's Salumeria over in Windham.  Of course they have no webpage.  What's up with this?  Nobody seems to have websites.  I will grant you, they have been in business since I was in high school, so clearly they are doing well, but with the possibility of a web audience who knows the limits?  There is a wonderful little Italian grocery in the North End of Boston that I love...they have a website, I can order from them, I can have it delivered,  I can be transported in a manner of days to a small slice of heaven.  I don't get it.  Anyway, between there and Napoli's and Canoli's in Utica (they do have webpages, more on that Friday) I can potentially do a Sundays Off with something I fell in love with in Atlanta...so good, so bad for you, and definitely a Sundays Off food event!

Have a healthy, happy, and safe day.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I know I shouldn't but...

I am weighing myself everyday this week.  I'm terrified.  I have worked so hard to lose this now almost 27lbs. that I cannot tolerate the thought of gaining a tenth of a pound back.  I know, how can I gain weight living on lean protein, vegetables, and fish?  Intellectually, I know you cannot, but as someone who has battled food and weight virtually their whole lives sometimes intellect does not play much of a role.  So, surprisingly enough (not) I still weigh the same as I did Sunday morning.  Down a total of 26.6lbs.  I really want to hit 30lbs down by the middle of June.

I never made it to Clinton yesterday.  Army went up to the woodlot in the morning to talk to turkeys (Spring Turkey season mornings only and thankfully only for the month) and I did a lot of nothing.  So when he came home I convinced him that really wanted he to do was take me to the zoo in Utica.  Yeah, not so much.  But off we went and once we arrived, it was fun.  Apparently they have changed the sight of the physical entrance, but GPS does not recognize it; nor did Army's GPS even recognize that Utica has a zoo.  So that was a bit of an adventure.  My husband does not like to drive in areas he is unfamiliar with, so it often gets a little tense.  Me, I don't much care, after driving in Atlanta (and always finding my way home) I figure I can pretty much drive anywhere.  I did not feel that way before living in Atlanta.  I was my mother, but younger.  I am glad that has changed; I don't like being afraid or feeling like I am not in control.

I had a huge salad last night with mustard greens, love them- they are peppery and spicy.  Tomatoes from Heller's Farm, no website or I would link it; an avocado, vidalia onion, and some boneless, skinless chicken breast that I grilled the other night after I broke down all the chicken.  I topped it with balsamic vinegar, no oil and salt and pepper.

I think I will still go to the movies later today...the weather does not sound great.  Tomorrow does, and off to Albany we go.  I have no idea what dinner will be tonight, but I know what it won't be- stressful.  I have all kinds of greens, fresh fruit, vegetables and maybe NY Strip.  Yum.

Have a healthy, happy, and safe day.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Take a minute to remember those who have fallen

I am sitting on the front porch this morning. Cannot even bring myself inside long enough to sit at my computer and blog- albeit it is easier than trying to do this on my iPad. No food coma this morning, but then no gluten yesterday. What a difference this makes. The brownie mix that I used as the middle layer in the tri-level brownies is unbelievably yummy. Take a look:


Really, how could that be bad?  A little Ben & Jerry's, a little fresh whipped cream with heavy cream sourced locally.  What could go wrong?

Dinner was pretty good to.  Surprisingly, to me, the Jerk Chicken was not as hot as the Rice and "Peas".  Both were great and actually the chicken could easily be a Mon-Sat because it is skin off chicken breast and marinated in peppers, onions, garlic, spices, and citrus.  No oil.  I may actually use brown rice next time more for flavor and texture than anything.  White rice is soooooooooooooooooo boring now that I never eat it anymore.  Here's a shot of dinner, grilled pineapple and pinot grigio included!


I already had a latte and two bananas.  I love bananas, they have 0 points.  I probably eat six a day.  I have blackberries, raspberries, papaya, watermelon, and pineapple.  I should be okay; although, I have no plan for the day.  That's not good.  Maybe I'll take a ride to Clinton.  It is one of the absolute cutest towns, and there are some cool stores and an Indian food restaurant.  If I stay away from things that have coconut milk or ghee I should be able to find some points friendly meals.  Tomorrow, I know big plans here, I am going to see the Avengers.  No popcorn!

Have a healthy, happy, and safe day and take a moment to remember those who have fallen to protect our right to live the way we do, enjoy the things we do, and say the things we do.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Jamaica

I cheated.  I had to start prepping yesterday.  Price Chopper, my favorite grocery store, http://www.pricechopper.com/Stores/Details/NY-grocery-stores/207 had split fryers on sale for $1/ lb.  I bought 7 pounds. I then spent 2 hours after we arrived home breaking down chicken halves and skinning them. It seemed just as easy to prepare the marinade and put the chicken breast pieces in their bath.  Since I had my clever out to break down the halves, I whacked the breasts halves in half again, quartering them so they would absorb even more of the marinade.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken.  After spending the week doing some research, I have found that there is no single recipe.  It is sort of like tomato sauce--Sunday gravy--if you will in the Italian culture.  Every grandma has her own recipe.  The one I choose is high in allspice, garlic, ginger, and citrus.  It tasted pretty yummy.  I am also making rice with peas, but since I do not have the "peas" they recommend, I am substituting what they do recommend, red kidney beans.  It is made with coconut milk- who does not love coconut milk?

I am using the Organically Hip http://organicallyhip.net/, please note: NET not COM, (that takes you someplace boring) gluten free brownie mix to make tri-level brownies for dessert.  The base of the brownie is oatmeal, butter, brown sugar, egg, and flour.  I am using a mix of brown rice flour and almond nut flour.  Then the brownie mix and just as it is coming out of the oven, spread with chocolate ganache for which I have dark chocolate and heavy cream to make.  This is topped off with some Ben and Jerry's and a little homemade whipped cream.  I am very excited to see how this turns out.

This is an incredibly rich and fat-calorie ridden event.  The balance of the meal is grilled pineapple and fresh strawberries from the Farmer's Market.  That will help cut the richness of the coconut milk in the rice and "peas" dish.  Dessert there is no hope for.  It should be rich and decadent with no apologies...it's DESSERT!  Pictures tomorrow.

Have a happy, healthy, safe day!



Saturday, May 26, 2012

First Day of Vacation!!!!!

Farmer's Market Day, kind of in a hurry, they have 200lbs (only) of fresh tomatoes.  They will move quickly.  They also have "local" wineries this time of the year, see what's available, although I already have a drink recipe for tomorrow-I need to check the rum supply. 

I'll be okay today and tomorrow, Saturdays and Sundays never change.  I am very worried about the week and the lack of structure I will be facing.  It is easy to stay on track when I am in such a rigid schedule.  I won't have one this week so prep work will be even more important.

My glueten free brownies and cookies arrived from Organically Hip, so I have changed dessert for tomorrow accordingly.  It will only have hints of Jamacian flavors; but it will be good!

If you have any helpful hints for staying on track next week, please comment; I can use the help!

Pictures tomorrow and weight update as well.  Have a healthy, happy, and safe day!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Vacation, vacation, I'm going on staycation

Staycation...the "I have no money" to travel form of vacation!  That and I have a plethora of things that still have not been done that I have been saying for months I would do.  So now I have no excuse. 

My car, a complete disaster, you would think I live in it.  My studded snow tires are in the trunk, have been since they came off the car in April.  That's helping gas mileage I'm sure.

I am planning on completing the Winter to Summer closet rotation as well as the "shopping in my own closet" process because my smaller clothes are all starting to fit and even the size I just shrunk back into is getting a little big.

And I am making a visit to the state museum in Albany to see the 9/11 exhibit.  I think for my generation, that day is to us what the assasination of either Kennedy was to our parents'.  I will never forget, especially spending my early years growing up around the men in Ladder 147 and Engine 281, in Brooklyn.  These men were heroes to three small young girls; they fixed our bikes, our roller skates, they jumped rope with us, sent us to get Italian ices, played handball.  These were the best men we knew.  My mom finally married one of them!  My stepdad, as many of you may know is a retired NYC Firefighter.

I have to admit this is the first vacation without a "food adventure" activity, be it literal or in my kitchen.  I plan to stick to my eating plan and Points Plus because I am still not at my goal and until I am, I cannot deviate from the process or I am afraid, given my history, I again will not complete the journey and begin the next journey of maintaining.  So Sunday this week will be my kitchen trip to Jamaica and next week...well I don't know, but I have a lot of time to figure it out.  My goal is to keep up my weight loss, wish me luck fellow companions on this journey.  I will continue to blog through the week; it helps me stay focused.

Be healthy, happy, and safe.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Note to self: be prepared!

Last night- tired as I am right now- and I have slept.  Those of you with MS or know somemone with MS know that the heat and  humidity sucks much of the life out of us.

I come home from work last night to a soggy Chunky Pup, the lure of the pond is overwhelming so when she can break for she does.  Normally not a problem.  Last night, while wet she rolled in I don't know what-must have smelled appropriate to her doggy nose.  So then I had soggy and gross smelling.  So much for actually cooking dinner; bathing her wwas much more important to the peacefulness of the night.

Thankfully, due to prep work over the weekend and my husband's forsight to boil a dozen eggs, I had the makings of a fabulous salad with hard boiled eggs and my favorite food- avocado.  The Farmer's Market is good for a whole lot more than just planning Sundays Off- it makes Weight Watchers Points Plus doable Monday through Sunday.

Have a healthy, happy, safe day.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Control

Using food as a coping mechanism is the easy way out.  Yea, yea, I know- who am I to say that?  Someone who has a history of being guilty of doing it.  I am learning other ways to cope with anger, fear, stress, rejection, disapproval, other people's crap, etc.  Historically speaking if I was dreading doing something in my personal life for instance, well maybe I should have a snack first.  Oh, I don't want to confront someone for having offended or upset me, well let's have a snack.  Using food is easy.  In the the moment. 

I do a lot of walking away now.  Or not saying anything.  Or clamping down hard on my jaw, so I don't say something until I have the time to think.  I used to work with young people as part of a youth work program that place at risk teens in the organization I was with.  I would encourage them to take the following as a mantra, a way of life:

"You cannot control what comes at you in life, only how you choose to respond to it"

I lived by that for a long time, and then I stopped and started using food to deal with life again.  How I respond is the core of my character and I am allowed to disagree, I am allowed to say you have hurt me, I am allowed to let you know I am unhappy, I am allowed to let you know I am angry, I am allowed to let you know that I think you are unethical...I am allowed to tell you what I feel and how what you are doing is affecting me.  I just have to do it repectfully and without emotion so that I am in control.

Like the young people I worked with, I am force to be reckoned with, I am intelligent, I am no better than you and I am no less than you.  I am your equal.  And I can be anybody in your life.  Your mother, your aunt, your sister, your best friend, you.  Each and every one of us who use food to deal with life must take back our control and choose how we respond to what we cannot control, because our response is all we can control.

Still at 25.5lbs down- no gain, no loss- Sunday will bring better things!  Have a healthy, happy, and safe day.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A pups life

I don't even know where yesterday went.  I was so busy.  It did make dinner easy...and very Points friendly.  Left over baby greens, cherry tomatoes, left over grilled pineapple and left over chicken-less the skin.  I took the ricotta (about 2oz of it) and added some fresh rosemary, lemon thyme, salt and pepper and mixed it all up and put dollops on the top of the salad, finished with a little of the left over dressing and called it good.

I want the life of one of my dogs.  Run around outside, jump in the pond, chase chipmunks, sleep when tired; which, like with human babies seems to be during the day, or why else would I be up all night?  Between them and the humidity, which sucks the life right out of me, I am tired.  My husband thinks this is funny, so he refers to me as Cranky Spanky, of course he thinks its funny...when the dogs are not bugging me, his snoring does.  I swear, I don't know how he has not sucked his face inside out yet.  I digress, the purpose of this was that the good Dr. Oz reiterated the other night on Piers Morgan, the importance of a sound nights sleep with the a solid diet to maintain good health and the importance of sleep when trying to loose weight.  I would probably be even more successful at the weight loss if I could actually get seven straight hours of sleep.

I started looking for Jamacian recipes last night.  I found a cool website, that has recipes and more.  Here is the link http://www.foodbycountry.com/Germany-to-Japan/Jamaica.html.  I think I will be cliche the first time out and do jerk chicken; who knew that allspice was to their food what pepper is to ours?  I think this will be fun...definitely unfamiliar.  The fruit drink sounds amazing as well and i may actually use it as the base of a cocktail...I don't know.  I will keep you updated as the week goes along.

Dinner tonight is another no-brainer...grilled NY Strips and (surprise!) salads.  Army will get some potatoes so he does not suffer withdrawal, he has not had any since Thursday.

Have a happy, healthy, safe day!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Down over 25...heading to 30!

There is a reason I don't weigh myself on Monday...argh.  Dessert was a killer last night!  I loved grilled pineapple and as I have mentioned now at least 500 times, I love my homemade ricotta.  It was wonderful with honey, orange zest, and a little vanilla...the real deal.  Never,  never, never use imitation vanilla.  It's gross.  This stuff is the real deal; my sister-in-law Marcella brought it back from a trip to Mexico.  It is full of flavor and the aroma when you just crack the top is unbelievable. 

I digress, I began the way I did because I realized that while I weighed myself yesterday like I am supposed to, I forgot to post it.  I lost the half I gained and another .8 to bring my total so far to 25.5 lbs. down.  But I don't weigh myself today.  I know, intellectually, that any weight gain over a day would not be an accurate assessment because your body can no more lose a substantial amount of weight overnight than gain it.  But even if it was water retention, which I do experience after drinking wine, (and I did) it does freak me out, I'm not gonna lie.  So today I start anew and I think I may even start planning my down 30lbs. gift to myself.

I may also begin planning next Sunday.  I'm thinking I may like to try something Jamacian, yet I know very little about Jamacian food.  I have never really explored that cuisine and it might be a fun new adventure.  I would put money on having to special order some items, so I better plan ahead!

Pictures, as promised:

The drink was passion fruit juice, splash of white wine, topped with plain seltzer for a little fizz.


The purple pansies are hard to see, both on the salad and chicken, but they are there and the vinegarette on the salad mirrored the flavors in the marinade and was stellar.  The chewiness of the farro against the crunch of the scallions and the pop or the tomatoes was texture heaven.  So good!


Have a happy, healthy, and safe day!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sunday, the best day

Wow, it is Sunday again.  Every week I tell myself I am going to plan the following Sunday on Monday so that I have time to get the ingredients I need.  I never do; hence yesterday's adventure looking for passion fruit pulp.  Thank God for the health food store, at least I was able to find juice, which I spent about half an hour this morning reducing by half for the marinade and the vinegarette.  Done!

While that was reducing and since I had so many oranges left from last weekend and the I needed 2 cups of fresh juice between the day's recipes I zested and then squeezed 13 oranges.  I have enough juice and zest left, I made orange scones.  I used to make scones all the time.  One very valuable lesson learned (the hard way, ok who knows me?  How else do I learn things?), never take something you love to do, and then turn it into work.  After parting with my share of the coffee house, my recipes and my scones parted with me and for years I hated baking them.  It's fun again.  My recipe, one very long in the experimental stages until I was happy with it, was actually for lemon scones.  I substituted orange for lemon and then half almond flour for half of the white flour.  I am sure, that much like my homemade ricotta would elicit a response from cheese purist, my scones would do so with a scone purist.  But, damn, were they good!  I took some of the homemade ricotta, which seems to finish with the consistency of marscapone, added some honey and orange zest and substituted that for the traditional clotted cream that the English use.

So the day began well.  I am having a latte right now, the dryer is cranking and I am counting down the hours until I can use my new kitchen gadget.  Tongs.  I hate tongs.  Once the spring has sprung, they are useless.  The Lemon Tree Shoppe in Cooperstown (if you are coming up Chestnut St into town from the lake side, make a right at the light onto Main Street if you are heading north, make a left) has the absolute coolest stuff and a lot of it is kitchen stuff.  I love kitchen stuff!  I bought a pair...wait for it...of gravity activated tongs.  Hold 'em open end up and they close, point them to the ground, squeeze them and they open!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Ahhhhhhhhhh, it was as though the heavens were singing.  This was the very place I purchased my espresso / coffee machine, a Krups unit that I love.  I love this store, it is as addictive for me as a shoe store or an accessory store.  Some people might call it drug-like.  I prefer to think of the store as the solution to the problem I have not yet, but will eventually, have.  They don't have a website, or I would have included a link.  Next time you are out this way, and with the Baseball Hall of Fame right here at some point you are bound to be, stop in.  And while you are visit the Fenimore Art Museum a cultural gem.  An exhibition of American Impressionism opens next weekend.  A Mary Cassett in Cooperstown, NY, who'da thought could ever happen?

I will post pictures tomorrow.  The salad with the pretty pansies will be worth seeing all by itself!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sooo late!

Wow, it's 5:30.  I wanted to wait to blog today until AFTER the Farmer's Market / Grocery store adventure.  And boy was it. 

So for tomorrow, the appetizer is FRESH-picked, locally grown Grilled Asparagus, drizzled with aged balsamic vinegar reduction.  Grilled Chicken Breast, bone-in because it retains more flavor and moisture.  The chicken process begins this evening with a Passion Fruit Marinade.  I do sometimes feel like I live in food hell because it is so hard to get things at the grocery stores in a geographic area this size.  I could not find passion fruit in any form and then I had an aha moment...Cooperstown Natural Foods.  Of course they had Passion Fruit Juice, why did I even go to the grocery store?  I know better. 

The juice I can reduce and concenterate the flavor to make the marinade, which has a million other yummy things in it--ginger, orange juice, orange zest just to name a few.  I am serving it on a bed of baby greens from the Farmer's Market with a Passion Fruit vinegarette, carrying the flavors over.  I am adding edible pansy flowers to the greens mix.  They are pretty to look at and yummy to eat!  I am contemplating a Farro salad.  I love farro, I think it is one of the tastiest grains and easy to cook and really absorbs flavors.  So I'm thinking I will cook it, cool it, dress it with a little Blood Orange Olive Oil and White Balsamic Vinegar, a few wild scallions, some split grape tomatoes and viola! a side dish.

Dessert is Grilled Pineapple on Grilled Sourdough with a little Sweet Ricotta spread on it.  Yes, I made homemade ricotta again today.  I cannot imagine buying it in the store pre-made ever again.  It easy to make and so good, why not?

I picked up a new gadget this week...more on that tomorrow morning before the cooking begins!

Friday, May 18, 2012

The last person you'll ever kiss

So I told my friend Jess yesterday that I have come to the realization that this is now my life.  I cannot go back to eating the way I did before February 5.  Fruits, vegtables, and lean protien six days a week with Sundays Off is my life. The big thud in the background was just the other shoe hitting the ground.  This realization was not a bad thing.  Yes, I will miss eating pan roasted potatoes, or rice pilaf browning the rice in butter to open the grain first, pasta dishes that have more fat and calories than a person needs in a day (unless you are a marathon, or boilermaker, runner), let alone in one meal.  BUT, and this is a huge, ginormously huge but (no pun intended)...I feel great.  I look better than I did, my skin and my hair are reaping great benefits, and I am only a little more than halfway there.  I cannot imagine what it will be like when the weight loss ends and maintaining begins.

I told her I think it is sort of like the moments before you get married.  This is the last new person you will ever kiss.  That's not a bad thing.  It's the warm fuzzy that comes right after that where you know that life will be wonderful and your thoughts, feelings, and dreams will kept safe for the rest of your life.

I don't miss the way I was, I am better now and I am more determined and tenacious than ever (I probably just set my boss's teeth on edge, I get the feeling he thinks I dig my heels in and hang on enough as it is) and ready to face the world with my committed life relationship with food.  Like all marriages, I am sure it will have it's ups and downs.  But like life with my husband, I will work through the rough patches and come out the other side in a stronger and more committed relationship.

Have a happy, healthy, safe day.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Iceberg lettuce or baby greens?

My husband loves to tease me about the the mixed baby greens I consume by the wheel barrow full.  He says they have no substance and dn't fill you up.  He consumes ice berg lettuce like it's the tastiest thing he has ever had.  He's a baby boomer and I am the first year of the X generation.

It's not that I don't like ice berg lettuce, but my memories of it are wedges with blue cheese dressing, chopped tomatoes, and bacon.  He doesn't tend to have jaded food memories.  Is it a guy vs. chick thing, or a boomer vs. x thing?  I know many people of the boomer generation and don't know many with the food issues my group grew up with.  Nor the obsession with body image, weight, and tag size that we seem to have only strayed further down a dark path with.  Obviously my sister would have technically been a boomer and she certainly had concerns and issues with food.  Somewhere between the beginning of the boom and the start of the x factor, food became less about nutrition and families became less about the nuturing.  My guess is that food picked up as comfort where family disfunction started.  More two parent working households, more single parents, less family time, more fast food, more processed food.  Is that where it all got screwed up?

My husband grew up on a farm.  Food had a purpose, and for him as a youngster he saw that from start to finish.  The farm initially was a cauliflower farms and from seed to truck he saw the process and the work that went into food.  I first remeber seeing cauliflower in the produce section of the grocery store, wrapped in plastic.  Maybe it's a country vs. city thing. 

The closest we were to growing food was putting bird seed on a  sponge, putting it in a (washed) styrofoam tray, and adding water.  Part of this whole journey is to try to identify the origin of the issue.  Hard to know where it ends if I am never able to determine where it began.  I don't think it was an active vs. inactive thing because even as city kids we were outside playing.  We rode our bikes, we had roller skates, we had the wall of the firehouse.  It was also our living room, but it extended well beyond the apartment.  That was how my mom met my stepdad...but that's another whole book, not even chapter!  We went to Prospect Park, we walked to school- winter, spring, fall did not matter.  We came up to the country in the summer and during February break and we played outside.  We were always on the move.  At Coney Island beach or upstate playing Blind Man's Bluff in the cemetary behind my grandfather's, or in the creek down behind Aunt Franny and Uncle Puffy's.  We were always moving.

It has to be a food thing...sort of like when you use the wrong glue and the end result isn't good---incorrect use of product.  That seems to have been the story of food in my life.  Incorrect use of product.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Half step back

I have today's mystery question...how does a body (literally) gain 1/2lb after two days of eating fruit and lean protein?   Okay, I get that maybe not losing, I'm okay with that.  But isn't fruit like 90% water, which remind later, is a whole other problem for women over a certain age who have had children? This is when I get frustrated, yes as I have pointed out previously, I do get frustrated with this whole thing just like anyone else.

I may have mentioned that I have a friend, who shall remain nameless because I am not sure how she feels about the general public knowing, who had lap band surgergy maybe a year or so ago.  She looks great, she is almost where she wants to be, but know she is dealing with extra skin that she hates and a very restricted diet.  I could live with a little extra skin and after years of being a yo-yo I actually do, but I could not live with a restricted diet.  Really, how would I take the dream trip to Italy (I kiddingly asked my boss yesterday if I could have a 1 year paid leave of absence) if I could not enjoy the food.  It is such a huge part of understanding any culture.  So I guess I will remain frustrated for another couple of days until Iget on the scale on Sunday...I know it's more than a couple, but saying a couple makes my brain feel better.

Oh the 90% water problem...between huge quantities of fruit that are largely water and all the water I actually have to factor that into my day, into my travel, into taking walks.  I certainly won't dehydrate anytime soon.

If my husband could stop tormenting Chunky Pup with the daily Samich Dance and answer my question, I could tell you if I was having sauteed wild ramps, arugula, and spinach with the fish tonight for dinner; but what fun would that be?  So that is the plan, but since the starter on the 4wheeler is a problem, we would actually have to take a hike together and for those of you who know my husband, unless the activity is a chore related one, he is not interested.  I'll see if I can convince him that we are "hunting" ramps; hunting is always a productive activity to him and since the turkeys are all still alive and well, maybe I can convince him it is ramp season.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Elastic waistbands-the demise of America

I understand how people get discouraged with the "process" of dieting.  If that was what I was doing once again, instead long-term lifestyle changes, probably I would have already given in.  Not because the weight isn't coming off- it certainly is- but the work that goes into this is extraordinary.  I was up at 5AM cutting up papaya, canteloupe, tomatoes, mint, and washing grapes---really?  And I did not get to bed until after 10PM.  If your eye is on the short-term prize, it is easy to just throw it away or do something that will set you up for failure again.

Seriously, if I read one more of these ridiculous Omni rocks posts on Facebook about individuals who lose 40lbs in 20 days or something equally nuts, I am unfriending the person posting them.  That kind of unsustainable crap is why there is an obesity crisis in this country.  Lose it, then gain it back and add another 10lbs.  Yo-yo-yo-yoooooooooooooooo dieting without lifestyle change is only a pipe dream.   We have strayed so far from the purpose of food in this country.  I have a dinner plate set from the 40's...the dinner plates are 10", like the size of bagels they just keep getting bigger and to what purpose?  Given the obesity issue I am going out on a limb and guessing its not because we are adding more fresh fruits and veggies.

Oh, and don't get me wrong there are some things in life that I love...like yoga wear.  Are there pants more comfortable?  NO.  But who was the genius who decided that they should be a fashion statement and worn out in public?  And it's not just yoga pants...anything with an elastic waist.  How many times have you heard at Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, family reunion,  blah blah pick the holiday (invented or otherwise) and you hear people claim they wore their elastic waist _____ fill in the blank so they could eat everything that wanted and still be comfortable?  What??????????????????????  Not that I have not been guilty of that; but that is what I am changing and I think if everyone took the more difficult route of learning to make better choices, you know Aunt Suzi's potato salad slathered in Hellman's (my husband would make that choice, but he is incredibly fit and hot) or perhaps something lighter like chilled baby new potatoes drizzled with tarragon-steeped olive oil and white balsamic vinegar?  What would I have to blog about?  Of course, there is a great deal of tax money driven by the sale of ridiculous diet products, and the country is in enough of an economic slump without losing more revenue.

My  point is, elastic waist bands are the symbol of the obesity problem in this nation...let's try a metal button that might dig in a little bit and make us little uncomfortable.  We could be healthier, smaller, and more active with less food and higher nutrients.  Elastic waist bands as the demise of American culture, hmmm.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The morning after

There is one problem with Sundays Off.  I feel like I have a hang over on Mondays.  I guess I do in a sense.  I over do foods that I do not normally eat, gluten products that for 6 days a week my body seems to be very happy to live without.  Although, to my credit, I find that I am even altering Sundays Off recipes using non-gluten flours.  Both the muffins and the cake only used half white flour.  The muffins I changed out the other half with a 1/4 brown rice flour and 1/4 of almond flour.  For the Olive Oil cake I used 1/2 white flour and half almond flour.  The only difference was a good one in that the recipe actually calls for bread flour which is even higher in gluten than regular flour and the cake historically is denser.  The use of the almond flour really lightened it up a bit and added great flavor.

Mother's Day was good, the cooking brought back many memories.  Both my sons called to wish me a good day and the furry kids gave me cute card; of course, Chunky Pup took advanage of an unsupervised moment and went out on a free pup.  We spent the better part of an hour roaming calling for her.  The neighbors dog brought her home.  It's the third time Panda's done that.  She hears us calling for Micro and she goes off and finds her and brings her home.  Micro just looks at you like "what, I went for a walk, what's the big deal?"  She does not come when she's called, she could be around the corner of the house, just out of the line of vision, but not sound and she will not respond.  Needless to say she slept soundly last night.

The attached picture is of the entree.  The white ragu over penne pasta and sauteed broccoli rabe-how bright is that green- the wine was a vermintino grape.  Not bad, but I am not a huge white wine fan- pinot grigio and white burgandy aside.  Back to points today, I am down 24.2 lbs all total so I only have 5.8 to my next small goal and 15.8 to the big, and possilby final goal.  I don't know with as "easy" as this is going I may try to hit another 10 after the big goal. 

I can almost type up to speed.  Yesterday I could type with both hands again, but much better with the left, the right could not keep pace.  I typed my post out in Microsoft Word first, so auto correct was actually my friend yesterday.  I'm backspacing a lot today to make corrections, but I am remarkably better.  Everyday I am happy that I have Remitting / Relapsing (happy?) MS; at least I remit.  It does seem that every time I lose a little more, but I always seem to recover most.

Have a healthy, happy, and safe day.



Sunday, May 13, 2012

All about moms, potential mom, and a wonderful woman!

Mother’s Day.  Chin, Chin ala salud to all, not an easy journey but certainly fulfilling and worthwhile.  It is much different for me now with my mom gone.  The early years, bad different, not kidding.  Now just different. 
Breakfast for Sundays Off this week is in honor of my stepmother.  I could not have been more than 7 or 8, because we were not at her apartment in Brooklyn, so it was after she and my dad were married.  I helped her make blueberry muffins and she asked to fold in the blueberries…I thought I knew how to fold.  Not so much.  For those of you who bake, you know that if the blueberries burst, and purple juice comes out, when you bake in the muffins it turns green.  That was one of just many more than patient moments she demonstrated.  She was really good with 6 x 9 and 9 x 6 too.   The multiplication table was not my friend either.  I still kind of suck at fractional math as well, so every now again the Weight Watchers scale throws me a little.
My sister Stephanie died before she had the opportunity to be a mom; but she was a wonderful aunt, so good to my Blake, that I think she would have been a wonderful mother, so a nod to her today too and one my favorite memories.  My mom and stepdad went to Mystic Connecticut for a weekend.  It was just me and Steph at the house.  I look back at that and wonder who thought that was a good idea?  We had lots raw materials to cook and bake with always.  And we both loved biscuits.  Mom had left plenty of food for us, I think even spaghetti sauce in the freezer and always stuff for goobly-gops (long story, another post) but we loved biscuits and tuna fish.  Steph made the best tuna.  Apples. Raisins. Walnuts. Yum, although even her standard with celery and onions was good.  For two days all we ate was biscuits, tuna and cookies because boy oh boy did she make great butter cookies!  I like to think that our palettes would have grown together and so for an appetizer later I am doing a Rick Bayless recipe- Tuna in JalapeƱo Escabeche on toasted bread rubbed with garlic.
Dinner is a nod to my Mom.  For whom my eyes well up and I still can’t breath for a minute when I think of her.  She made the world’s best spaghetti sauce, galaxies beyond mine, and mine’s good!  In case her sauce was not over the top enough, she made pork parmagina with pounded tenderloin chops.  It was probably, aside from her meatloaf which was my birthday dinner every year (and, no I can’t make it on my birthday because then all I would do is cry all day!) it was my favorite dinner.  There was one drawback, it gave me hellacious heartburn…for hours.  Not pretty.  So I have a pork and pasta dish I am doing, a white ragu with penne pasta.  Ground pork, sage, wine, chicken stock and cream.  I cannot imagine she would object to any of those ingredients.
And finally dessert.  She is not my mom, nor aunt, nor any type of relative.  Naomi Graham gave a me a love and passion for the Italian language and culture that previously had only been an interest.  When I returned to school for Art History, I knew I had to take a language and the Italian Renaissance was my favorite period.  Three semesters of Italian later and a few years and I still have a great passion and love that continues to grow and ultimately will lead me to the trip of a lifetime.  And so to her I owe much of my present and a big part of my future.  I make an olive oil cake that she loves.  Today, I am using Blood Orange Olive Oil and making rhubarb compote.  Thanks Naomi, I hope you read today.
Honor the women in your life, treasure each day you have with your mom while you have them.  The memories are wonderful, but the real thing was so much better.
Oh, and right, the reason for this whole Sundays Off thing…I think (remember fractionally impaired) I think I lost 2lbs since mid week.  I’m telling you this 6 days gluten free, leaves, lean protein, and good fats really seems to be working!


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Moms

I'm still the one-armed typer; however I am beginning to feel the constant ache that is in the top of my arm and I have some mobility but it is still reminiscent of dragging my arm through mud.  And I don't have the finger control to hold things-yet.  I can bend them, stiff though they are and swollen.  So today's plans for tomorrow are tentative at best!

The Cooperstown Farmer's Market should be in full swing this week.  I hope...I cannot imagine I've messed that up again.  Sundays Off this week I have decided will be in honor of the women in my life, here or not who have influeced me through their love, lessons, and cooking.  It may not be their actual recipes, but a nod to them and to memories.  Really all we ever have of any lasting value.

I am weighing myself tomorrow, I did not want to kick the scale around to set it in the same place I weigh myself every time.  It might make more sense to go to Sundays and Thursdays instead of Saturday and Wednesdays.  Technically Sunday is the first day of the week.  I think I'll do that, starting tomorrow.

I had a BIG leafy salad last night with goat chese and avocado.  M two favorie foods in the world, and while avocados are incredibly high in fat they are also incredibly high in good fat.  I could have hugged Dr. Oz when I heard he endorses the eating of them and he endorses Weight Watchers...the guy's brilliant.  http://www.doctoroz.com/

Friday, May 11, 2012

I am lucky.

I am veering slightly off track today.  Many of you who know me personally (and those of you who have followed my blog since the beginning) know that in addition to the weight issue, I also deal with MS  I spend no time feeling sorry for myself or expecting others to.  We all have a cross to bear.  I am typing with just my left hand today because my right takes too much effort to lift to the keyboard and my fingers would be pretty useless anyway...on the bright side, my leg is much better!

I am often asked what is the worst thing about having it.  Society's insensitivity.  Not just when people say "You don't look like you have MS."  That used to make me nuts (how does it look?)  Now I realize people are unsure of what to say, so I smile and gently explain that it can often be a silent and often invisible disease.  Invisible to the people who do not interact with us all the time.  My husband would argue invisible because he sees the shift in my gait  when I am trying to compensate.  Or the tired look in my eyes when I cannot keep going with shear determination when completely exhausted.  Or any of the other myriad issues I deal with.  And I am among the lucky.  My mobility is not severely affected, only annoyingly so, I am not using crutches and I am not in aheel chair.  I am lucky.

But take a minute and think about other people today.  When you open one of those spring loaded doors, hold it for the person behind you.  I cannot shift items from my left to mt right to grab the door behind you today.  If you see items in a walkway that you can easily navigate, don't take for granted that the person coming after you can.  Today I can yesterday would have been a challenge and tommorow, who knows?  Picking a paper clip up off the desktop may be simple for you, if you see someone struggling, offer to grab it.  It is the little things.  I know my mother, God rest her soul, always griped about how the buttons on women's blouses were never in the right spaces and had to add snaps.  Shortly after I was diagnosed years ago, my fine motor skills became quite compromised for a time.  I remember snapping at her once and telling her something about being lucky her button problem had a fix...the damn things are way too small!  Can fashion designers not find a way to make cool, bigger buttons a part of fashion?

I am lucky.  I have great support for both the MS and the weight loss.  I have wonderful immediate family, wonderful friends, and I work with people who understand and allow me to find ways to continue to be successful.  I am lucky.

If you know someone with MS are you are newly diagnosed, check out http://www.ms.org/.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Facebook & Friends

For any of you who read yesterday morning, clearly my day was not starting off well.  It did get better.  I have dealt with MS for 12 years now (in June, funny how those dates stick with you) and I have learned that the worse I feel the better I should look because at least then when I look in the mirror I know that what everyone else is seeing is the best me I can put out there.  So I did my best yesterday, then some things fell into place at work that I have been waiting on, reaffirming that the universe is not out to get me.  By the end of the day I started to see my unicorns and rainbows again.

None of it however altered my food frame of mind.  I still couldn't get Ben and Jerry's off my brain.  The problem with food issues, is that you have no choice but to learn to deal with them.  BUT...you don't have to buy the Ben and Jerry's.  That you can control.  So I did.

Army was off in search of a trailer for the truck so I was on my own...sometimes good sometimes bad.  I knew the food funk was going to continue to be a problem so I had some Sabras Red Pepper Hummus, which I love, measured, of course, and Stacey's Naked Pita chips (I know, not gluten free), also measured out and sat down on the couch.

When I was a SUCO student a few years ago, some of the freshman became ducklings (they imprinted...it was a joke) and once we all graduated, we kind of lost touch.  So I went on FB last night and found my friend Nina, who I had not spoken to in three years...we started texting and the great thing about that is texting is an ongoing conversation- her last response I can respond to today and it will be like we are in the same conversation.

Needless to say, my day ended much better than it began.  And I did not want Ben and Jerry's anymore.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I feel like the weather looks- sad and miserable!

It's Wednesday already.  Eek.  And its morning.  And I have not had a latte yet.  And I'm tired.  Yeah, and I don't really want to face the day...although a pint of Ben and Jerry's might make it better. Nooooooooooo.  I still think that way, WW Points Plus even with Sundays Off has not fixed that.  Probably never will.  I guess that is where sheer will power and determination kick in.  Food only makes us happy in the moment, it makes us miserable in the long term.  If I keep my eye on the prize, or in this case, the number on the tag, I will succeed.

This time it will be long term and it will be a whole lot healthier than ever before, and I will be yellow, because I think that is what happens when you eat 6 bannanas a day.  Of course I keep mixing in lots of red berries, so I guess I may turn out orange and looking like I have a really bad spray tan (oxymoron, who ever has a good one?)

Oh wait a sec, I forgot to weigh myself...I'll be right back.  Okay, not great, but down a half pound.  I'll tell you, if I did not have a WW digital scale that weighed me to the tenth of a pound today would be even more metally challenging.

I don't always have great days full of raibows and unicorns, like many of you some of mine just suck and it is hard not to turn to old friends- ice cream, cookies, comfort foods.  But I have to put on my big girl pants this morning and fight old habits with achievable goals and fight my way throught the day.

Be healthy, happy, and safe.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Inspiration in high fat meals

One of my goals with Sundays Off is not just to celebrate food on Sundays, but also to figure out how to make Monday through Saturday work as well.  I love food shows, Chuck's Day Off on the Food Channel is on off my favorites; but like all the shows you cannot eat that way every day, or you will weigh 600 lbs.  They should tell you that- like the warning on wine bottles about pregnancy, well the shows should have a warning shot before they begin.  There was a whole thing on kimchi on one of the recent airings.  Now I am nonplused when it comes to kimchi, but he rolled it up with some other stuff in spring roll wrappers and fried them.  I love spring rolls!  Lighter than egg rolls, pretty to look at, etc.  Only drawback, I like them fried-there is another drawback, more on that in a minute.

When I was at the natural food store Saturday, I found Vietnamese rice paper wrappers.  Score, grabbed them.  I picked up mushrooms, I don't really care for straw mushrooms, I don't think they bring anything to the party, so I grabbed porcini and sliced them thin.  I grabbed matchstick carrots and swiss chard.  I sauteed everything with thinly sliced onions with Olive Oil Pam spray threw in seasame seeds and let it cool.

I opend up the rice paper wrappers, and started the process.  These are hard, fragile round disks.  They have to be soaked for a minute to soften, do one at a time because they will also become water thickener if they sit too long in the water.  I rolled them like an egg roll and put them on a pizza pan sprayed with more Olive Oil Pam.  Then I sprayed the the top of them lightly.  Popped in a 400 degree oven and let them go.  I only turned them once.  Two side were nice and crispy, two sides were soft.  So the experiment was 50% successful.  Next time, I will turn then more often so that all sides crisp up.

They were yummy.  I also served brown rice pearls cooked in water that I steeped a small piece of lemon grass in and then I stir fried (did you get your wok yet?  BUY ONE) onions, mushrooms, spinach, and shrimp in peanut oil that I had steeped garlic cloves (paper on so the garlic does not burn).  I love shrimp for weeknight's- lots of food little points, its a great combination.

Tonight I am taking out the pressure cooker an doing something with the beef brisket I had in the freezer from a couple of Farmer's Markets ago.  I don't see a lot of visible fat on it, which is interesting, but this farm's beef is amazing.  Maybe Sunday will be all about Tauzel's beef...hmn, something to think about.  So today is all about 0 points, low fat protien, and extra activity.

Oh, the other drawback on the rice paper wrappers?  Super high in points, they are all starch- rice, tapioca, and corn- 3 of them have 28 points; I only had one!

Monday, May 7, 2012

I love Sundays Off!

I do love Indian Food.  I love the aroma of the seeds toasted, I love how that intensifies their flavors, I love the different textures, and I love the variety of cooking methods and techniques that complex dishes require.  I especially love the intensity of the heat.  Indian food is not for wimpy palettes!  If you find Asian food or true Mexican food (Taco Bell does not count as real food, sorry), I would advise staying far away from cooking and preparing Indian food until you have learned the kinds of heat and how to control it.  It is not even the chilies, for example the veggie dish also required 8 cloves of garlic and a 3 ½” piece of ginger.  These have heat factors that when combined with cayenne pepper only accentuates the number on the heat scale.  Great flavor, but be prepared.  Army’s mouth is still on fire.
And controlling the heat is not only factor to consider.  I served the intensely heat laden foods with the cooling cucumber yogurt and mint sauce, a jarred chutney, and naan.  Each of these essential components balances the meal.  Not a cuisine for people who like to keep everything separate on their plates.
I had planned to do fresh fruit for dessert, but was so full of veggies and kebab that the thought of more food was overwhelming.  So if this was all veggies and only a small amount of meat (approximately 5 oz, including the almond flour and chopped hot peppers and onions) why was it a Sundays Off meal and not a regular WW Points Plus weeknight meal?  Because the lovely Ruby Red sweet potatoes were boiled whole, cooled, sliced and then fried in a wok in about 3” of oil…eeks!   Oh, and then the cauliflower followed it.  Then it was added to the toasted mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and fennel seeds along with cayenne, coriander, turmeric, fire roasted tomatoes (Hunt’s makes a fabulous canned product), carrots and peas.  So not really a weeknight friendly meal. I had forgotten that the sweet potatoes were peeled, losing that beautiful color.   
It was a wonderful meal…but it’s Monday, back at for the week.   I definitely need to focus on more activity; I would like to lose my 2lbs this week!
Be healthy, happy, and safe today.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Going to India today

Yesterday I was tossing up where to go...definitely India.  Do you want to know what sealed the deal?  Remember the whole Farmer's Market 1st and 3rd Saturdays of the month?  That is until May and then it apparently it is closed until the Saturday before Mother's Day when it is then open for the season every Saturday.  Plan B.  Cooperstown Natural Foods first stop.  I would include their website link, but it is currently under construction.  Needless to say you can find all kinds of products, from fresh produce to wonderful treasures, like dried lemongrass...and since I have not been able to find that fresh, you know I am doing Thai or Asian sometime soon.  I may even do some brown rice pearls infused with lemon grass during the week...that would definitely be WW Points Plus friendly.  They also had Ruby Red Sweet Potatoes.  That did it, definitely Indian food.  Check out http://www.all-about-sweet-potatoes.com/sweet-potato-varieties.html for more about Ruby Reds.  I like to use them in Madhur Jaffrey's Mixed Vegetables in a Mustard Cumin Sauce instead of regular potatoes or even standard orange sweet potatoes.  Great flavor, I think more moisture, beautiful color- its a win win.

Another of my favorites is the Baked Lamb Shami Kebabs  also from the queen of Indian food herself.  I have some ground goat meat from the last Farmer's Market that I had in the freezer so I picked up some ground pork at Price Chopper and I have black poppy seeds, not white but it will still work.  I picked up fresh mint and Chobani Plain Greek Yogurt (who doesn't love that) http://www.chobani.com/, check out their recipes for yummy stuff as well.  Finally, at Price Chopper one of my favorite things in the world and about the only thing I miss about Atlanta other than my friend Brandy, Indian Naan bread.  Price Chopper carries Stonefire (http://www.stonefire.com/) and I love it because it is just as good after you freeze and heat it up on a flat griddle as it it is right out of the package heated up.

Finally, another nod to Jaffrey, I will round this menu out with a little Yoghurt with Cucumber and Mint (European cucumbers, less work-no seeds to speak of- and less fluid).  I'll take pics and post in the morning!

Be healthy, happy, and safe today!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Farmer's Market Day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yea!!!!!!!!!!!!

I think I mentioned that here in Central New York, Cooperstown's Farmer's Market is only open the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of the month...not every other week...I know that because March had 3 Saturdays, oops.

I have the entire mornng to wander around and decide what tomorrow will be all about.  After reading about my friend Alli's dinner the other night, I was thinking Thai, but I was unable to find lemon grass.  My three greatest loves are:  Italian (language, I speak it), Food (all kinds) and Italian Food.  I think I will probably end up there again, unless I pull out my Madhur Jaffery cookbook and see if I would like go to India this week.  I know I can get lamb at the market and I have most necessary dried spices.  I can stop at the store for any fresh stuff...hmm, the possibilities are endless.  I did weigh myself, dead even with last Saturday so somewhere between crashing off the health wagon last Sunday, the alien in my GI tract, and  the issue I mentioned yesterday, it all balanced out.  I don't mind being dead even.

Chunky Pup and I walked last night; well, I walked she stalked and hunted.  Apparently being overweight does not slow her down much.  She was on leash, we walking down by the creek, came up through the thicket, and she lunged.  I did not think she had anything, until we were back up on the road and I saw two little feet and tail coming out of her mouth.  I did what women are stereotypically (sorry) are accused of doing-shreiked.  I grabbed her and instead of dropping it, she swallowed it...I have no idea how many pup points are in a mouse, but I do know she had her protein for the day.  This is her third capture, but only her first fully eaten meal...and I have to figure out how to make it her last.  She'll eat anything!

Indian or Italian...look for pictures Monday and tomorrow, before I begin, I will let you know which way I went!

Have a healthy, happy, and safe day!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Up all night, and not having fun

Chunky pup suffers from great thunder and lightening anxiety...need I say more?  In Central NY at 2AM storms running rampant until about 4AM...who needs sleep its Friday.

I looked at Facebook before writing this today.  One of my best middle school and into high school friends has planted an amazing herb garden this year.  And it sounds like last night's dinner was herb filled!  Way to go Alli.  Just as an FYI, browned butter with fresh sage over fresh pasta is unbelievable.  She wants to try lemon balm and basil next.  One of my favorite things in the entire world is lemon grass, a good quantity, smashed and chopped diffused into peanut oil (then strained because lemon grass is inedible), in which I then saute opal basil, ginger, garlic, and thai chili peppers served over brown rice or lo mein noodles.

This is why I love food.  It is versatile, fun, creative, and everyone can share it, even after we grow up, grow older, and our lives grow seperate. 

Women who read this will appreciate the following:  I am not looking forward to stepping on the scale tomorrow.  Probably one Saturday a month until Menopause the scale will be off-putting.  I am preparing myself mentally because even though I know I will not see a loss, and maybe even a gain, it is temporary and annoying, but no reflection on who I am or what I am doing.

It's Friday, I have to start thinking about what I am making on Sunday.  Alli has given me some ideas.  I promise pictures this week.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Lattes in the mornings...should be a song!

It’s true, I am useless in the mornings without my latte.  I love Krups machine.  It is not top of the line, but it does make coffee for my husband and lattes for me.  I have a little stainless steel pitcher in which to put ice cold skim milk, so cold it creates condensation on the outside of the pitcher before I am even ready to steam the milk.  My favorite sound in the morning is the hissing of the pressure building up and the water forcing its way through the espresso in the little metal filter.  Two thirds of the way up the glass pitcher and it’s time- time to steam the milk, to rotate the dial from the cup icon to the frothy icon and let the magic of hot steam in cold milk begin.  It doesn’t matter the season; for me lattes are the nectar of the Gods.
I have two everyday; I am not a milk drinker and I am relatively sure that this helps meet my WW Points Plus dairy goal.  I am still feeling the effects of my free fall off the food cliff on Sunday.  I think I mentioned that I normally stay away from the obvious gluten foods and since I started that whenever I eat any, I feel lethargic and as though my lower abdomen is carrying an extra 10lbs.  Funny enough, I found my weight loss accelerated after I stopped eating the obviously gluten laden products.  I have returned to eating fruits, veggies, and lean protein but I think between the alien that was living inside me Tuesday and my behavior Sunday it is going to be days before I feel good again.  I stayed under points yesterday, not hard while living on leaves, etc.  I do however diligently try to meet the points goal because I am firm believer in not enough intake is as bad as too much and points makes that simple.  The good news is that since I try to be gluten free, most of my points come from lean proteins and good fats such as nuts and avocados.
Chunky pup and I are walking tonight, because that always makes me feel better, and let me tell you how excited she is about being dragged up and down the road!  She gives me those pathetic round eyes and droopy ears.  Hard to believe she comes from hunting stock on both sides of her pedigree, the beagle and blue tick.  If she escapes and goes on a “free pup” she heads straight for the pond and belly flops in.  I have no fear of her drowning with all fat keeping her buoyant!
Have a healthy, safe day!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I'll weigh myself after the alien moves out...in the meantime

I know I said I weigh myself on Wednesdays and Saturdays, but it would appear that I have acquired an alien who is currently living in my GI system so any weight loss would be a false reading anyway, why get my hopes up merely to be dashed to the ground later this week?  I think I will wait until food is staying down.  So, instead today’s topic, one of my favorite things in the world other than preparing and eating food.  Breakfast Service.
I am a big fan of English Breakfast – service as well as typical menu.  See still talking about food.  Continental Breakfast service skips some of the finer elements.  An English Breakfast service has more interesting elements like a fish knife and fork, a cruet set, and (my favorite) a dessert spoon and fork.
This is probably because the English serve a much more interesting Breakfast.  They don’t stop with juices; they serve stewed fruit as well.  Not only are sausages (bangers?) and bacon served but so can grilled herring salami and kidneys.  I’m relatively sure that bread for toast is a crime against the Queen; instead rolls, brioche, or croissants may appear.
Obviously, I read a great deal.  I have decided that when I finally get to Europe, if I stay in London on my way to Italy, I wish to stay at The Georgian House; rumor has it they serve a true English Breakfast, cooked to order that includes fresh eggs from their country farm and they serve the same sausages the Royal Family eats.
From there, to Harrods’s department store, Afternoon Tea (another favorite) and then the rest of King's Road…what more could a girl want!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Ate late, ate well, and stayed in points!

How come time off sails so much faster than time at work…and I love my job; pity the poor soul who doesn’t.  Needless to say that dinner did not happen until about 8PM last night.  I hate eating that late, but by the time I finished making the corn tortillas for the enchiladas it was later than I expected.  I cheated a little after that and instead of rolling enchiladas, I made a stacked casserole.  And I did use premade enchilada sauce.
You know what really makes me crazy (okay for those who know me well, this is just one of many, it’s true) when all over television you see advertisements for a product and then you make yourself crazy trying to find it in the grocery store.  I looked high and low for Queso Fresco, which is part of a new cheese line endorsed by Chef Aaron Sanchez(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ER7tiCd7ep8).  Do think I could find it anywhere?  Noooooooooooooo.  Of course not.  I stuck with (better loss choice, but not flavor or consistency choice) Weight Watchers Mexican blend.  I was in Price Chopper, Hannaford, and even checked Target when I was in there.  Has anyone out there seen it?  Comment or email me if you have.
Avocado Cream: (best stuff ever) 1 medium avocado peeled and halved, 1 cup sour cream (I used fat free last night) juice of one lime (fresh, please do not use the bottled junk), and maybe ¼ cup of cilantro.  Throw it all in a tall cup and mix it up with a burr stick (hand-blender, I have a Cuisinart (http://www.cuisinart.com/products/hand_blenders/csb-77.html), think I use it almost every day) and blend away.  I always wait to throw in the salt until after I have tasted I; it always varies depending on the tartness of the lime juice.  Not only is this good on Mexican food, but it is good for smoked turkey sandwiches made on thick sourdough bread.
Believe it or not, I actually stayed within my points allowance for the day.  And took three walks; two with Chunky Pup and one at The Farmers’ Museum at lunch to see the new baby cow.  I am attaching a picture of Chunky Pup so everyone can see the progress she makes over time as well!  Stay healthy.