Friday, April 28, 2017

Crochet Frame of Mind

Got caught up on a project I've wanted to do for 2 years.  BABY GROOT!  It's a free pattern over at Twinkie Chan's blog.  It turned out SO cute.  I'm in love with it.  It's in my living room pretending to be a real plant.

Next project was an April Fools Joke I played on my daughter.  Yes, inappropriate, but aren't those the best jokes.  My daughter particularly hates an item sometimes seen hanging off the back of pickup trucks... truck nuts.  hahahaha.  Yep she says when she see some they are so disgusting she just wants to get out of her car and go kick them.  Again, hahahahaha.  I saw a pattern on Ravelry and I just couldn't resist.  They resemble truck nuts, but in an adorably cute way.  Its Julie King's pattern called Nut Sacks.  The picture made me giggle and I knew a joke was on the horizon.  They were super easy to crochet up.  Yes, I made the bag what the hell.  They turned out so cute I almost didn't want to play the trick.  To complete the look I chained  a string to hold them together.

I waited until my daughter's car was unattended and hooked them to the trailer hitch.  As my daughter walked to her car I knew she'd see them.  Nope too focused on her phone.  All the better for ME!  She got in her car and drove off with the cute little acorns swing back and forth behind her car.  It was all worth it at just that moment.  I thought I'd choke I laughed so hard.  Around midnight she came home and I was heading off to bed.  I hear, "MOM!!"  She begins to pretend pummeling with little punches to the gut.  I asked how she knew it was me?  She said, "She wondered what was on her car.  As she got close she saw truck nuts!  Then she got real close and noticed they were knitted and yelled, "MOM!"  She had to explain to her friend what truck nuts were.  I laughed some more.  Next morning I'm awoken to my daughter leaping on me rolling back and forth on me throwing a couple more pretend punches.  I laughed some more.  Best joke ever!

Now though I have to check my car every time I go out for truck nuts attached to my car.  LOL!

Last but not least is my CBN (crochet by numbers) project.  I started this about 2 years ago.  I did about 8 rows and could see the my pallet was not what I wanted it to be.  I finally got the bug to finish it this year.  With the help of fellow crocheters I was able to find a lot of grey yarns.  I made a couple swatches and that made a world of difference.  I could see the colors together and in day light and night light.  I could see the hues and how they looked together.  Got a pallet that will make my project hopefully as beautiful as I think it will.  I'll probably work on this all summer.

Monday, January 2, 2017

The Loss of a Pet

It's a strange limbo land to be in...mourning the death of pet.  A great sadness descends over you that will not lift until it's run it's course.  You know there are more important things going on in the world; perhaps, more important deaths to mourn.  Right now this is my personal journey. I'm finding my husband and I are more sad at different times.  I'm super sad in the morning.  I woke up every day with this little ball of sunshine.  I started my day with a fuzzy nose demanding attention.  She and I knew what this love and attention was about, but she gave it to me.  It was the wake up and prepare me breakfast dance.  It started with a quick snuggle in the bed.  Then moved to a charge down the hallway.  Now the peek back around the corner to make sure I was actually coming down the hallway.  As I turned the corner saying, "I'm coming, I'm coming," she would do a jump and full length body twirl right in front of the kitchen door.  As if she were saying, "The kitchen is right here and I'm so cute how can you resist me."  Well, I couldn't.  She got what we called the full treatment for breakfast.  It consisted of 1/3 cup of dry dog food, a sprinkle of canned green beans, a pinch of chicken or tuna and a squirt of fish oil.  She loved this meal.  Why so intricate?  Well, she nearly died 5 years ago when her liver almost quit working.  After 6 months of life saving Veterinarian measures this was the meal she liked and kept her alive.  Why change it.

Now my mornings are very quiet and not cute.  On a plus side I'm suddenly arriving at all morning appointments on time and even a little early.  Often my poodle would say as I was trying to get out the door... "I know I've been out twice, but I need one more before you leave."  How does one say no to an emergency potty break?  I never could.

Often during my morning meetings I'd keep track of the time.  I needed to be home by lunch or close to it.  Yes, I fed my pup lunch.  Again, when she got sick 5 years ago she needed food in her stomach to take her life saving medications.  We began giving her lunch and when she got better she decided she liked having lunch.  When someone you love nearly dies and they are alive and well and they want lunch well you give it to them. My schedule could accommodate it.  She was spoiled.

I did have my detours being a woman of a certain age. I now needed to go to the bathroom first.  The "good morning" pee as I named it when I was potty training my 2nd child, who didn't want to use the bathroom first thing.  Give it a fun happy name and then they want to do it.  I had trained my poodle to "take me to the potty."  We'd get out of bed and then if I'd forget and start to head down the hall she'd funnel me to the bathroom.  I'd thank her immensely and that was her reward.  She always loved a "potty pet."  That's when she'd slowly walk past my seated legs and I'd pet her coming in and she'd slowly turn and get another good back scratch going out.  Now that I had my "good morning pee" I could feed my poodle with out the danger of wetting myself.

I wrote the above shortly after my pet passed.  I couldn't spell check it or even reread it without crying.  Now I can get through it.  It's been 6 months.  6 long months.  We had decided not to get a new dog till after the holidays and after our fence was repaired.  It's January 2nd and we have fence estimates.  With the anticipation of new fuzzy love in my house our hearts are healing.  Never forgetting.  Its time to move on and enjoy life the way we like it... with a dog in the house.

Pilates Experiment

I started Pilates in September after a massage therapist upon hearing about all my physical aches and pains suggested it.  He asked, "Why are you beating yourself up with bootcamp?  Why aren't you doing pilates?"  Well, I didn't really know what pilates was.  Wasn't even on my radar.  My gym has a pilates class, which they do on a mat.  I knew very little about pilates, but I did know it was done on a contraption I later found out is called the reformer.

I came home did research on where pilates studies were in my area.  I have 5.  Picked the closest one and signed up for a personal one on one.  I do this because I have NO idea what to do.  I want a pro to instruct me.  This helps me with my shy, don't like to make mistakes, frighten of new things part of my personality.  I pay for this block of time from a pro to receive instruction, ask questions, make mistakes usually in a very friendly environment.

I've been so lucky in my fitness journey.  First I found Michelle, who got me started and helped me learn the ropes at the gym.  She gently steered me toward clean eating and building muscle. Now I have Jenn a knowledgeable Pilates instructor.  One week for her and my chronic painful shoulders felt so much better.  2 years of babying them at the gym was cured with one week of pilates.  Proper positioning and no weight lifting.  I was all in.

This though created a lot of stress in that when doing pilates I feel like I'm doing nothing.  Literally nothing.  I didn't want to be insulting, because my shoulders were happy, but my legs and arms were starving for strenuous activity.  I decided to just relax into it.  Nothing will be done that I couldn't undo with returning to the gym.

I wanted to come to pilates and have the instructors give me the "Pilates way of life."  This is how we eat.  This is how we work out.  This is how we live.  Got none of that.  Despite my questioning and sharing of my feelings.  I continue to get great workouts that focus on proper body mechanics.  My shoulders say we are where we need to be.

My ever increasing butt size though says I need more.  I put on 15 pounds in 2016.  Nobodies fault but my own.  I've changed my whole way of exercising, but I didn't change the way I ate.  Pilates burns easily half the calories I did at the gym AND its not aerobic.  I'm not getting that zone 2 45 minute burn I need to burn more calories while at rest for 24 hours.

Surprisingly, I still fit in my clothes, but they are tight.  I refuse to buy more clothes.  This is the vow I made to myself as I got fitter and cleaned out my closet over the years.  No more fat clothes.  No more gain 50 pounds or more and THEN do something about it.  Honestly, I've let myself go further than I wanted this time, BUT I'm in transition.  I deserve some grace and understanding.  I also deserve some structure and portion control.

MFP can be my friend.  It really helped me years ago to pinpoint bad habits and create good ones.  Hydration has been a real problem last few months.  I don't start my day with a quart of water that I drink at the gym.  I always feel a quart low and I never feel like drinking water.  New habit drink water.  Make it a habit not a necessity.  Don't wait till I have 2 tsps of water in my system to drink.  I have a app that sends me reminders.  I need to drink 12 cups minimum.  Alarms set accordingly.  I need more movement in my week.  I talked to a trainer, who specializes in active old ladies. HA!  Not even kidding.  She said low impact aerobics perfect pairing with pilates, walking, biking, swimming etc.  I want to walk more, but my plantar fasciitis really gets me.  I found the past few months when I do walking in my street shoes that have good arch support my feet feel better than when I do walking in my walking shoes with arch supports.  SO going to experiment with stiffer arch supports in my walking shoes.

Plans plans plans need to be executed not just talked about it.  My health and well being and size 10 butt that I enjoy so much depend on it.  I'm a gadget girl.  Fitbit on.  Apps ready.  Great attitude loaded.


Monday, August 1, 2016

Yes But You Love to Cook

That's what people say to me in reference to my "health kick."  My 5 year long health kick is my life style.  I eat healthy and I exercise.  It's not a kick, a fad, a gimmick it's the way I live.  As for loving to cook I don't mind it.  If I had the choice of having someone cook for me I'd love it.  I cook, because I love to eat what I want to eat.  No package and few restaurants provide me with the fresh healthy food I want to put into my body.  So I cook.

This weekend I made Ratatouille with veggies from my garden.  Not only does it taste fabulous, but its full of all the things I want my body to have.  I like to cook a lot of food, so it can be eaten for lunches and maybe even another dinner.  Sometimes if I'm not feeling like eating it again right away I'll freeze it for future eating.  I love those evenings when all I have to do is warm up some healthy food.

Am I considered a food snob?  Maybe, but don't I get to choose what I want to eat?  I use to tell the hubs I can't eat that.  Now I say I won't eat that.  He loves to eat out and he does.  Am I preparing nuts and twigs at home.  Absolutely not.  I make things that even a restaurant loving hubby thinks it's good.  Only thing he does sometimes is warm up a piece or two of his frozen naan.  I also keep tortillas stocked so if he wants to make a burrito he can. I'll also start the rice cooker or boil him some pasta.  I would love for him to eat healthier and he does for the most part.  Like me though he gets to choose what he likes to eat.  I think we do a great job of combining our eating styles and each of us being happy with what we're eating.

So do I love to cook? Not really.  It's a means to getting what I want.  Do I love getting what I want?  Absolutely!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

I Am Whole30!

That's what the t-shirt says and that's what I have been doing.  My trainer brought Whole30 back to the front of my thinking last fall.  I had seen it in the past and thought "No way am I ready for that."  She had bought the Whole30 book and started experimenting with the recipes.  I decided to get the book myself and saw there were two books.  I bought them both.  I read "It Starts With Food" first and thought I might be ready to give this a try now.

Exercise doesn't stop not even for the Whole30.
Why?  I had 4 years of eating healthy and exercising under my belt.  I had lost and kept off 86 pounds.  I had been slowly making changes to my way of thinking about food and how it effects my body for 4 solid years.  I never could have done this program at the beginning of my "health kick."  My psyche was too damaged from years of not eating properly.  From years of giving into my every food whim.  I refer to that way of thinking as my inner toddler.  She still raises her head every now and then.  As a good parent I put her in timeout.  What are we up to now... a 55 minute time out?!  That's according to the rules of timeouts.

Whole30 recipes
I had been slowly over the course of those 4 years working with Tosca Reno's plan of Clean Eating.  That plan was perfect for me when I started.  It really brought me back to my roots so to speak.  Made me eat real food again.  Not just part of the time, but all of the time.

I like to make my own ghee.
I finally felt like I could do a restrictive plan, because I was almost there. I especially wanted to do it since the Whole30 said it could provide me with so many incredible health benefits.  Here's where the  practical side of me came in.  I really didn't think anything incredible was going to happen to me as a lot of what was offered by the Whole30 had already happened to me.  I did want to see what else could be accomplished.  If it was just a few more pounds lost that was fine, but what if?  What if something I was eating was causing me problems and I didn't know.  So, in October I began my first Whole30.
Grocery list looking just right for the Whole30.
The one problem I have that controls me day in and day out is my digestion issues.  I'm never sure what it is exactly.  Doctor hasn't really said much more than "take this."  I often refer to it as "old lady stomach."  I don't seem to digest certain foods well.  Lots of acid splashing around.  Acid reflux occasionally at night.  It really is something that I didn't know was such a problem and really controlling my life until I did the Whole30.  It was so controlling that I wasn't sure I could do the Whole30 properly.  I lived on Tums and papaya enzymes daily.  Both of which have sugar, so not Whole30 approved.  I was a bit panicky when I thought I'd need to go a whole month without them.  I quite frankly didn't think I could, but I was going to try.

About 3 days into my Whole30 my stomach was doing better than it had in years.  I had gotten some Kombucha to drink every day in hopes that it could also help replace my Tums.  On went the Whole30 and then I was in the reintroduction phase.  I did well with the first few add ins and then I hit dairy.  I was doing the 3 day reintroduction and when I hit dairy I never really recovered when I began gluten.  Plus a lot of my gluten items have dairy in them.  My stomach was back to exactly the way it was before the Whole30.  It was now Thanksgiving and Christmas and the food started flying at me faster than Santa on Christmas Eve.  I was miserable with stomach issues again.   I knew as soon as January hit I was going right back on Whole30.  I wanted to calm my stomach down and redo the introduction of dairy and gluten.

What I got out of my first Whole30 was better digestion.  Going a month without a stomach ache of some kind was huge in my world.  I also had dramatically lower craving for sweets.  I kicked artifical sweeteners out of my life 4 years ago and it lower my sugar craving.  Who knew kicking actual sugar out of my life would also lower those cravings.  Again a huge life change not pacing around the kitchen, because I need something sweet.  I also lost 6 pounds, which is also nice.
nomnompaleos Braised Mexican beef
My goal at the end of this Whole30 is to reintroduce gluten with a careful eye to anything that ALSO contains dairy.  I need to avoid dairy to get a true reading on whether gluten is a problem for me.  Then I may back my way into dairy.  My first thought is do I really need to reintroduce it a 2nd time and test myself?  Then I think about a life without cheese and ice cream and the answer is yes.  If dairy is truly a problem I'll commit to a life with no cheese and almond milk ice cream on occasion.  My stomach will thank me.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Biscotti, A Christmas Tradition

My dad loved my Hazelnut Biscotti.  I've hit on a recipe with a couple tweaks that makes a delightful biscotti.  Why hazelnut?  My dad loves hazelnuts.  As a young girl I decided I would crack open a bag of hazelnuts for my dad to eat every Christmas.  You couldn't buy them shelled back then.  I thought a fresh bag of shelled hazelnuts would be a nice treat for him.  45 years later I still do it, well, I can buy them shelled now.  We also encountered a problem about 15 years ago.  My dad ate the whole bag of shelled hazelnuts and got a stomachache from the beyond world.  A 3 day stomachache.  I had that same stomachache when I ate too many homemade macaroons.  3 to be exact.  So coconutty that they sand papered my stomach lining for 3 days and I've never been so miserable.  I didn't want my dad to ever have another stomachache at my expense.

I had nearly a year to decide what to do.  Keep the tradition the same.  He's a big boy and hopefully learned his lesson.  Or try something different, but keep it along the same lines.  I decided I'd make Hazelnut biscotti.  I spread his hazelnuts out over a gallon sized bag of biscotti.  If he ate all the biscotti in one sitting then there's just no help for that gluttony.

I've tried several recipes over the years.  All good, but all not quite right till I found this one.  It takes me about 2 hours to make a double batch.  Fills 2 gallon sized ziploc bags.  I put one bag in his freezer and wrap the other for Christmas day.  Its never put under the tree as we all have dogs and you can guess what would happen.  So, it sits up high on the mantel teasing my dad.  He's a patient man.

When Christmas comes everyone wants a cup of coffee and a biscotti.  My dad is pretty generous, but he keeps control of the bag and doles out one piece per person.  My daughter joked today that he'd use the ole "toddler trick" if any one asked for 2.  You are offered one biscotti and when you ask for two he'll turn his back snap it in two and turn around and give you "2."

This year we decided no gifts as my parents are pushing 80 and I really don't want them out shopping during cold and flu season.  They really don't want to be out doing that either.  I did however still make biscotti.  My dad did say, "Hey, I thought no gifts?"  I replied it's not a gift it's a Christmas tradition.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Tosca Reno's Sugar Strike

I tried to do Tosca Reno's StrikeSugar program last year and the timing just wasn't right with my surgery.  I didn't want to ask my family to help me cook all this new food.  Although I have a wonderful family and they would have done it.  It's an ebook for sale on Tosca Reno's website.

Ironically, I had to have a scar revision from last years surgery and it hit right around when this years StrikeSugar challenge began.  I was in the regaining my energy to exercise phase when it began.  I was afraid I couldn't get my cardio up where it needed to be, but thought there is never a perfect time in my life to StrikeSugar.  I love it too much.  Don't get me wrong I've gotten a lot of sugar out of my life, but as you can see from my previous 3 posts it's not out completely not even close.

So, I joined the StrikeSugar challenge on FB.  Still have my lesson plan all printed out and ready to go from last year.  The first week was not too difficult since I already really watch my sugar and simple carb intake.  Cutting it even lower didn't cause me headaches, or mood swings, but for a few in the group they were having such a hard time.  They were cutting cold turkey.  Brave brave women!  I had to gradually get my diet worked around to Eating Clean then try the Strike Sugar program.  It's been a 3 year learning lesson for me.  The other gals a 4 week learning lesson.  Now the Strike Sugar program didn't come up until last year.  I could have done it at the 2 year mark if I'd have been healthy enough to do it.  I am now.


Buckwheat porridge with mixed berries.  I froze a couple servings of this.  It was very good cooked with spices that really added a lot of flavor to the porridge.  It is a bit gummy, so I eat it with a dollop of Greek yogurt.  Perfection.

Protein pancakes with a quick blueberry reduction syrup.  Again very good and again I froze some for future breakfasts.  The protein comes from Almond meal.  That I like.

I've eaten more eggs during the Strike Sugar Challenge than I probably all of last year.  Not my favorite until I turn it into a frittata.  That I love.



The recipe for the Roasted Tomato and Chickpea Soup is something I'll probably make forever.  My hubs even loved it.  The seed crackers were very good and for that reason I may never make them again.  High in calories and good fats and something I want to pick at and eat all day long.  When you know you can't control yourself why set yourself up for failure.

This is the Vegetable Chili con Carne (not!) and the flavors in this chili make one not miss meat.  It called for a lot of fresh basil and I thought it would overwhelm the flavors, but it didn't.  Again I froze some of this for feature lunches and dinners.  I almost didn't have enough to freeze as my family was scarfing it down.


This was a strange one.  Cauliflower pizza crust.  My husband already love cauliflower mashed potatoes, so we were willing to try this.  Do to several people saying their crust was very soggy I precooked my cauliflower and rolled it in a towel.  No sogginess for me.  No sure I'd go to this much trouble again I don't have a huge craving for pizza.  It was good.  I had enough for dinner that night and lunch the next day.  Everyone ate it and liked it.

I think what's been fun about this Strike Sugar Program is seeing all of the creative ways to get simple sugars out of ones life.  I've lost 8 pounds to boot.