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Archive for June, 2009

Saturday and Sunday made up a great weekend for me! Why? Well, unfortunately, Friday night and most of the day Saturday I had an upset tummy. I slept very little because of it. Feeling puny. (And feeling puny, for a short chunky woman? That’s not easy.) So how, you may ask, did I have a great weekend? I was still able to eat a few tasty meals! Honestly, waking up feeling blah, knowing it was a Saturday and I really did not have to work, experiencing my first day of the week that I could just goof off feeling badly, a true bummer. But as the day went on, it turned out to be another good one.

First, I decided to start the day with one of my frozen fruit smoothies. Sometimes when the tummy is not happy, it likes cool fruit. So I used frozen berries, frozen pineapple, low-fat plain yogurt, soy protein powder, a little bit of a banana, cranberry juice, and a tsp. of Splenda. AND!! As advised by my foodie bud, Kevin, I added fresh spinach. Yep! I did! Taking his advice, I didn’t use much this time, but I will increase the amount next time. And I will continue to increase the amount used until I know there is enough spinach in there to give me lots more nutrients. Greens are good. And oh my it was just perfect that morning! I was able to eat all of it. Even with the upset tummy, I guess taking it all in is not such a surprise, huh. Mmmmm….. oh my oh my Kevin!! It was absolutely scrumptious!

Several hours later I knew I needed to eat a little something else. I had been at the mall and found a wonderful dress at a super-low sale price. Truly – super low. (I’m sharing that news because I’m just so very sure that you care about that.) I walked around the farmer’s market but didn’t see anything I really wanted – but I’m sure that will change in a few weeks. I understand the heat and extra rain is growing some beautiful Kansas corn!. Anyway, all that walking made me hungry, but I still didn’t have much appetite. I ate a few crunchy pretzels and a tiny snack-size bag of microwave popcorn. And then took a very peaceful nap. Like I said, didn’t sleep much the night before, so that little snooze was wonderful! And I felt much better afterwards.

So for supper I prepared a few pancakes with a wonderful mix infused with a touch of vanilla. Again, mmmmm……….!! Yes, there was syrup, but I only gobbled down two small pancakes, so there wasn’t a need for too much syrup on my plate.

What else made my weekend so wonderful? A girlfriend I had not talked to in over a year called me on Saturday, and we conversed for a very long time. We have been friends since kindergarten, she lives in Richmond, VA now, and our paths just don’t cross much any more. For most of her life she has been involved with spiritual healing and movement, and in this conversation I learned more about the concept of continuum movement. I won’t go into it all here, but I did a little research into the subject over the weekend, and I tried it out a little, as best I could after only 30 minutes of study, in my own living room Sunday afternoon. I believe it will take more exploration on my part, but what is life without discovery? Anyway, we had a wonderful and enlightening conversation. Truly brightened my day.

Sunday another girlfriend called me that I don’t see very often. We, too, talked for a long time. Which, of course, interfered with all the tasks I had written on my list to accomplish by the end of the day! But it was so worth it! We used to have coffee together some mornings when we were younger moms, both Mary Kay consultants, and had a little more time. We didn’t go out for coffee; we’d have it at each others’ homes. So I poured my third cup of the day and we talked and talked and talked. Honestly, I probably talked so much because it was my third cup!!

I did accomplish all but one task on my list, so I would say Sunday was also a successful day. I made a pasta salad to take to work Monday for a shared lunch in our department. But for Sunday brunch I heated up the other half of the black bean burrito I purchased for a lunch out this past week. Zapped it in the microwave for a few seconds, then finished it in my little toaster oven, and oh my goodness it tasted so fresh! I couldn’t finish it, but I what I ate filled me up for sure!

For supper I prepared a huge bowl of fresh fruit, and prepared one chicken thigh, sautéed in a little vegetable oil, then simmered in a few teaspoons of broth. I then add onions, a little Dijon mustard, heavy whipping cream, and simmered for a little bit. But there was only one tablespoon of cream! Really! Oh wow was it delicious! The bowl of fruit was just way to big, so I ate some of the leftovers for Monday breakfast with a little cheese. And there is still some left over for a snack later this morning! I dunno – just saw the orange and nectarine in the fridge and went nuts, I guess.

Then Sunday night I joined two friends for a DVD movie night with popcorn and diet soda pop. Wonderful time! AND !! I didn’t get home until after 10:00pm! Yes, I can be a wild woman sometimes. When I least expect it, I’m a rebel. Move over, Peter Fonda. I’ve got my Harley and I will be the new Easy Rider of the second decade of this century. OK, maybe not. But it’s my world and my mind and I can pretend all I want. Right? So if you see me running down the street, making motor noises like a 4-year old sitting in a sandbox with a tiny metal truck, better get out of my way!

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Ah…..another Saturday morning sitting in bed with my kitty. You would think that in this large double bed she wouldn’t have to sleep right smack dab in the middle. You’d think, and you’d be wrong. And since I’m the boss and I buy the food and keep her fresh water to drink every day, you’d think I would tell her, “Move! You are in my way!” Again, you’d be wrong. I can be quite a weenie most days.

One of my goals in life is to acquire the confidence of this cat. No self-esteem issues with this one!

I’m afraid I spent money and ate restaurant foods several times this week after returning from Virginia. But mostly they were healthy meals. Sorta. My first night back, after coming in around supper time with the need to unpack, I ordered Chinese food. However, for the $15 I spent including tax and tip for the delivery fellow, I am getting four meals! That’s good, right? My meal consisted of two egg rolls and a huge portion of spicy chicken and many vegetables. And white rice, of course. I ate a little that night for supper, adding a few cashews to the chicken. Oh my goodness it was delicious! And I was so tired after getting up at 2:00am Kansas time to catch the plane in NC, that eating food someone else prepared was quite a wonderful treat. I ate this same meal the next day for lunch. And then I froze the rest into two nice-size servings for later meals.

Another night I left work really tired. It had just been a stressful day, not necessarily an overly work-intensive day. I know I know, you can’t believe working in a library would be stressful. What could be stressful? Did I lose a book? Did an encyclopedia fall on my head? Was the bibliography turned upside down? Did I misspell and author’s name when looking in the online catalog? No! It was just stressful. So bite me.

Oh my! Maybe I’m not such a weenie after all. Go girl!!

Now, where was I? Oh yes! Another meal…… I found my friend Tara C. after work and we walked to Aggieville for dinner. We stopped at So Long Saloon for the best fish tacos I’ve ever eaten! They make a fairly inexpensive meal, and we both love them. However, not only was I hungry, I was also tired and feeling queasy in the tummy area. Often when I get super tired I get the little tummy ache at the same time. I don’t know how we can be hungry and queasy at the same time, but somehow it works out that way at times.

So I started with plain tonic water. No gin, just tonic. Sometimes that helps the tummy. And because of the tummy, for the first time at So Long, I did not order the fish tacos! Instead, I ordered a cheese sandwich with fries. So many French fries! Tara and I shared them and we still left almost half of them uneaten! The grilled cheese was absolutely delicious, made with American, Swiss, and ricotta cheeses. Gooey. hot. crispy grilled bread. Mmmmm……… But I guess because of the upset tummy, I only ate half. And I just left the other half to be tossed. I could have made a whole ‘nother meal out of that half sandwich and all those fries, but I couldn’t figure out how I would re-heat the sandwich to taste as excellent as it did at that moment. Any suggestions out there?

Another meal consisted of a huge burrito. Huge. White rice (again), black beans, onions, sour cream, pico de gallo, corn salsa, shredded cheese, lettuce, and a very few jalapeños. I say very few because I like a bite of hot now and then, but sometimes too many jalapeños, I think, can take away the flavor. I was really, really hungry at this time, so before I even started the burrito I cut it in half and set aside the extra section. That way I would just eat on one half and not over indulge and then feel the need for a nap all afternoon! It was a good plan, because now I have a whole ‘nother meal waiting for me in my refrig! Mmmmmm……… maybe later today?

Speaking of white rice, you may remember in an earlier post I mentioned my desire for Chipotle Mexican Grille to offer brown rice as an alternative to their white. I emailed them, and they replied pretty quickly. I was told that they tried it once in the Denver area and it didn’t sell very well, so they discontinued the brown. But they would probably try it again sometime later. I surely hope so!!

Hmmm…….I guess I better be moving on if I want to check out the fantastic Farmer’s Market this morning!

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I wrote the following entry on June 21, but there was no Internet access at the time. Today, I post it! . . . . . .

Up early this morning, sitting in our home in rural Virginia. Just settled into a comfy chair with my first cup of coffee, leaving the hubby sleeping soundly in the other room. It is still very dark outside, and here there is no lamp on “my” side of the bed, so I come to the den so I don’t have to worry about disturbing him and he doesn’t have to worry about being nice if I do wake him up!

I’ve been here several days and eaten some really tasty dishes. There have not been too many super healthy ones, but tasty all the same. Two days I spent time with our most wonderful daughter-in-law, and played with our two little grandsons. Well, OK, I also helped her around the house a little, because Joel is less than a month old, and caring for two young sons has given her very little time for sleep, much less housework! And Brody is not yet 2 years old, so I spent my time cuddling with the baby and following the older one from room to room to room to room to porch to room to room……..well, you get the picture! I also got in a really nice walk with our son, and we pushed the boys for several blocks in their new stroller for two. And I prepared a little food.

The second morning I had a key and let myself in while his mama and daddy both slept. When Brody woke up, and he and I finished with the morning diaper routine, I prepared him a breakfast of a few raisins, half of an apple, slice of cheese, a few of those tiny Saltine crackers, and a cup of milk. Those crackers were a special snack I brought for him – “Brody-size” cookies. He called them cookies, and by golly – I’m the grammy! I’m suppose to sneak him cookies now and then when Mama and Daddy are not watching! But they can be sure that I will never sneak him totally unhealthy foods. I was so tickled to see him really like the apple and cheese I brought him (he says “babble and cheese”. so precious!). I peeled the Fuji and cut it into small pieces, and he really liked it.

One day for lunch I ate a simple meal of potatoes and green beans (freshly picked and snapped from the mother-in-law’s garden) that our son the chef prepared. Oh my were they absolutely delicious! Even though I heated them in the microwave the next day, I just devoured my plate of God’s bounty that noon hour. And that was the moment that we discovered how much Brody liked green beans. He’s a tiny little fellow and has been rather picky about what he will eat. So seeing him discover a new and healthy food that he enjoys is very exciting!

Saturday, the mother-in-law hosted a cookout for my neice, and Brent and I went to help her prepare, arriving before 9:00am that morning. Lucky for us, on the hottest day so far this year, there was plenty of shade and a breeze all day. whew! Coz it was hot!!

Anyway, this is a family that loves their pork. So there was one grill going cooking pork shoulders for supper, and another cooking pork ribs for lunch. I’m sorry to say, I ate two pieces of pork. Now granted, together it could not have possibly been more than a total of 4 ounces of cooked meat, but it was pork. High in sodium. Actually, probably 2 ounces of meat and 2 ounces of pure fat. I ate that for lunch, and needless to say, my stomach was saying “ugh” by 3:00pm and there was no more meat and not much of any food for me the rest of the day.

I went prepared of course, taking my own food! But as I watched Brent and his parents chewing on the pork, I gave in to temptation. I left the house that morning with my own breakfast of high-fiber crackers, cheddar, raisins, and one-half of a sliced apple. My intentions were good. I carried mid-day snacks/lunch to share of more apple, dried figs, olives, tomatoes, carrots, celery, and a little dip. There was also more high-fiber crackers and regular, buttery Ritz. And a very tasty cheese ball the hubby had made the might before. So I had all I needed with fruit, vegetables, high-fiber grains, and cheese. However, I also realize I would have probably eaten more of that fat-and-salt-laden meat had I not taken the other, so I won’t hit myself in the head too hard. Lunch was not a total disaster – just partly.

The crowd arrived for supper, and Brent and his cousin commenced on chopping the pork shoulders for everyone to either place into their plates or onto buns. More green beans (oh yum!) and Aunt Doris’s potato salad. Really. She makes the best. Ask anyone! There was yellow squash cooked with onions, one of my favorites, but it had been fried in lots and lots of oil, so I didn’t eat any of that. There was also a big pot of canned baked beans, but there was ground beef in that. I tried eating it, but my stomach just would not allow it. Yes, that little bit of pork really upset me. I should have known better!! Sigh…..but I was still able to eat a slice of homemade pecan pie. Go figure.

So true, to me, is the statement that “the closer food is to the earth, the better.” And that’s my quest as I make it day to day through this life. To get the most nutrition, to work toward the healthiest lifestyle, I need to stick to God’s gifts prepared gently and simply. When I stray from that mission, I pay the price with an upset tummy.

Oh yes! The bummed-out shoulders are improving a little every day. I still have quite some time of extra exercise to muddle through, but I’m up to that challenge! I’ve got a chart of my own exercise to do and am keeping up with those on my own time. I’ve got things to do! Life to live. Research ahead. Reference work for others. Walking and hiking. Exploring new cities. Grandbabies to hug. Writing. And let’s not forget being able to get that fork from plate to mouth. Yes, plenty of incentive to stay healthy and flexible. Ah….and now maybe a piece of jelly toast with coffee cup number two? The sun is coming up now, so I’ll go sit on the porch with that delicious pre-breakfast snack. And listen to the birdies. And maybe see a bunny rabbit. And gaze at the two young mimosa trees, blooming in the front yard. Yes, I’m such a wild woman.

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Sunday morning now, listening to the thunder outside. Isn’t that wonderful? Not lightening striking, not tornadoes or hurricanes, but just a good ol’ thunder storm? Ahhhh……. a wonderful sound of nature. My kitty and I are resting together on the bed, and I’m on my second cup of coffee. I’ve been awake for awhile now, so my stomach is starting to growl a bit. I just fixed me a little snack of nuts and raisins, measured to 1/8 Cup. Oh my how delicious! I buy raw nuts at People’s Grocery on a regular basis, so I can have my own mixture without added oils or salt. This morning I have a few pieces of walnuts, pecans, and almonds. Then I filled in the little gaps with a few raisins.

For storage of my favorite nuts and dried fruits, I use my variety of glass jars, and I store them right out in plain view on my kitchen counter. Some people decorate their kitchens with pretty tiles on the walls, or little “knick knacks”. Me? I just decorate with some of my favorite foods!

Last night our neighborhood had a wonderful picnic out on the island that sits in the middle of our street. [This is an island surrounded by a street, not a moat. Thought I’d explain just in case I have confused you.] Not many people showed up, but those of us that came enjoyed ourselves very much. It was hot, but we had plenty of shade (ah yes – trees. Another wonderful gift from God.) And there was even a light breeze. We talked and ate burgers or hotdogs, and then we each brought a dish or two to share.

A favorite dish one of my neighbors prepared was a large bowl of fresh fruit, made with strawberries, kiwi, blueberries, oranges, and pineapple. Oh my! The fruit was cut up into small pieces, so I could take my fork, stab my favorites, and make each bite a delectable combination! There was some of that left over, so I took a little home with me. Oh my goodness! I just realized I will be able to devour more of that later today! Maybe for the rest of my breakfast? After I finish this little bit of raisins and nuts? Mmmmmm…………

I made a Southern chess pie, with lots of sugar, butter, and eggs. I believe everyone enjoyed it as well, but before I went to the picnic, I cut it into tiny pieces. Obviously it is a very fattening, artery-clogging, glucose-raising, melt-on-the-tongue dessert. No one should eat too much. Anyway, I cut out this recipe from a newspaper back in the 70s, and it is one I prepare often for shared meals. People seem to like it, and it just sits in the oven, cooking on its own, while I prepare a second dish. I often like to take two dishes to pot-luck affairs, and that plan is easier to do if one is this pie from my deep, dark, secret recipe.

The other dish I made was a Greek pasta salad, something I made for another picnic several months back (in the fall? I think.) and wrote about earlier in this blog. I used whole-wheat pasta, thinly sliced green bell pepper and red onion, and tiny tomatoes. There was also a can of artichoke hearts, Mezzetta pitted Calamata olives and peperoncinis, yummy salty feta cheese, and my favorite homemade garlicky dressing. OK, homemade from a package. But it is a favorite, and the spices are absolutely just right! I made a huge batch of this scrumptious salad, which meant I can eat on it for several days. And I will! Maybe add a little shrimp? Or maybe a few anchovies? Oh my yes!! I hear an easy full meal coming on for lunch today! Can you see me doing my little happy dance? Coz I am. Right here in the bed. Well, it’s only a happy dance from the shoulders, and that is pretty hard considering right now I have two frozen shoulders. But hey! Good food is worth the pain any day. Absolutely. Good, tasty, healthy food.

And speaking of good, tasty, healthy food – in my last post I mentioned eating at Chipotle Mexican Grill. I believe because the ingredients are pretty fresh,it is a healthy place to eat. However, I’m bummed with the choice of only white rice and no offering of the much healthier high-fiber brown rice. So I emailed them via their website. If I hear back from Chipotle, I will let you know what I find out.

And now back to me. “It” is all about me, you know. I look forward to another week of wonderful, tasty little nibbles. Another week of working in the library. Conversing with friends. Walks to and from work. And also three appointments with a physical therapist as I work hard to avoid surgery and get these bilateral frozen shoulders un-frozen. Uh, magic wand, anyone? Yep. Coz I believe this physical therapy will truly entail that cliché of “no pain, no gain”. Ugh. Pretty difficult for a sissy like me. But I’m up to the challenge as long as I can reward myself after each session with a favorite food – which won’t be difficult since almost all food, for me, is a favorite.

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Sitting at home this morning, waiting for my neighbor to call so that he can tote me over to the hospital parking lot to pick up my car. Yes, as one gracefully gains wisdom and maturity in this life, your days every once-in-a-while include medical procedures. So this past week I spent a night in the hospital. I certainly was able to drive myself to the hospital, but yesterday I had to take a taxi to return home. Just had to wait 24 hours before driving (all those good meds you know!) Test results were all very good, and they told me I was a beautiful and fine specimen of a woman! Well, OK, they didn’t really say that second part, but I can always pretend. But then there was the young man from Respiratory Therapy, who came to my room, tall, strong, shoulders that filled the doorway, who took one look at me and said, “What a goddess! You remind me of my 22-year-old girl friend. I must have you!” Oh OK. That didn’t happen either. (Boy! That must have been some really good medicine!)

Yes, enough of that. Let me try to remember what I have eaten the past few days. Of course most recently there was hospital food. Many hospitals, including Mercy Regional Hospital here in Manhattan and Halifax Regional Hospital in South Boston, VA (where our son and his wife both work, and I worked off-and-on for 12 years), bring your meals as you order them. There is a menu, you pick what you want, no matter the time of day between 6:30am and 7:00pm, and in 45 minutes here comes your meal or a snack!

I stuck to healthy foods, and except for the fact there was no salt or real butter (don’t like the fake stuff), it was OK. Now, I realize that no one should eat too much salt or fat, but a little on the green beans would have been so tasty! Anyway, the green beans were not over-cooked and they were bright green and still a little crunchy, so I ate them with my fingers. Cooked carrots? Without seasoning they were still yummy because they were so sweet to begin with. And again, not too mushy. The tastiest thing I ate was 1/2 sweet ‘tater. Oh my oh my! Even without butter and salt those sugary, sweet, high-in-fiber root veges are one of my favorites! When I get to the grocery store later today I must purchase another.

The only food I tried to eat at the hospital that I really didn’t like was the grilled chicken breast. Very dry. Too “char” flavored. As I believe I have mentioned here before, smoky and/or char are two flavors that really, really make me go “yuk yuk yuk!” No, not like Curly of the Three Stooges, coz he actually used to exclaim “n’yuk n’yuk n’yuk”. But you know what I mean. Did I get off the subject? Did I lose my focus? Yeah, I do that a lot. Sorry. Where was I? Oh yes! Dry chicken. Good thing I had a cup of Diet coke! So for supper that night all I ate was a serving of carrots, steamed broccoli, and a small whole-wheat roll. Avoiding the fake butter. So by 10:30pm I was really hungry again! I almost always keep in my purse a Luna bar, so I ate about two bites of the Chocolate Pecan Pie variety. Doesn’t take much of a Luna Bar to fill me up! And I was good after that.

There was no breakfast for me that morning. dang. But for lunch, before returning home, I ate a meal of carrots (again!), green beans, and the sweet potato. I also ordered fruit with cottage cheese. I had eaten very little protein by that time, so I thought the cottage cheese would be a good addition. And the lettuce sitting under the fruit had been doused with the fruit juices, so I rolled up that little piece of lettuce and ate it like a green burrito! Plus, I was super hungry! Again. Sigh………

When I got home last night, I pulled from my freezer a serving of black beans and a serving of white rice flavored with saffron. I’ve eaten all my servings of brown rice I had in the freezer, so I will have to cook more this weekend. Anyway, I added a little tomato salsa and raw onion, tagged on a side of plain corn tortilla chips, and stuffed my smiling face! This morning I ate half an apple, one slice of lite bread, and an egg. Therefore, after the cottage cheese, egg, and black beans, I feel all proteined-up this morning!

Regina and I walked to Chipotle one day this week for lunch, and I ordered a humongous burrito! It’s not a special size of burrito they serve, humongous is the size of all their burritos. It was stuffed with beans and rice (white, I’m afraid), with a little added cheese, raw onion, lettuce, pico de gallo, and sour cream. Oh my oh my it was just delicious! The conversation was great, and we sat outside at a small table with an umbrella in the midst of a hearty Kansas breeze. That lunch and interesting conversation made for a great break in a work day! I cut the burrito in half before I even started to eat it, and the next night at home that second half proved to be a very tasty and filling supper.

Today is grocery store day, and I have in mind a whole array of wonderful foods to purchase as I plan the following week!

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