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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Try a Little Something New

I’m all about a new adventure, be it food, travel, you name it.  I’m not sceered!  Well, usually not, but even if I am, I usually go for it rather than take a chance on missing out on something wonderful.

Yesterday’s lunch was something wonderful.

A group of ladies in my department go to lunch once a month, drawing from suggestions we have all submitted.  Yesterday we went to a great Japanese restaurant that just hired a new Korean chef. I thought that was odd interesting, but after going, I now see the best of two great worlds colliding.

I have ventured a little into Korean food, but not a lot. Maybe a spicy pork something here, a little squid or octopus there, but not much.

Yesterday I ordered (per the suggestion of my colleague, who is Korean) the Bulgogi (beef) Bibimbap ( think Hanson – mmmbop, similar pronunciation I think). No, I didn’t ask for it, I pointed at it, as my friend gave some specific instructions to our waitress in a string of about 70 words a minute, with gusts up to 90.

Here is the lovely, scrumptious bowl of goodness.

Bibimbap (stoned)

Now, I’m not even going to pretend that I know every ingredient that was in there, but can tell you it was amazing.  It did have thinly sliced spicy beef, rice, thinly sliced carrots, cucumbers, mushrooms  and other vegetables and a bit of squid. Topped with that perfectly cooked egg, it was served in a piping hot stone bowl.  The bowl is so hot that anything that touches it sizzles for a minute.  There is a golden brown, crispy layer of rice in the bottom of the bowl.  Everything is mixed together before eating, and of course I added a little sriracha-like sauce to heat mine up a bit more.

There is a little side dish there with anchovies and squid to add if you like.

All this to say, if you step out of your comfort zone a little on the food-front,  you can be pleasantly surprised.  Try a little something new, try a little something different.

Be adventurous!

I’m now in search of another culinary adventure.  Suggestions?

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Friday Food Stuff

I’ve always liked trying new and different foods, and although I’m one of those people that CAN eat the same thing every day forever, I like to mix it up and explore new things.

My newest find, and again, I’m lagging behind most of my friends in discovering this, is quinoa.

If you aren’t familiar with quinoa, it is like a little wonder grain.  You can find a lot about it here.

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=142

It can be prepared a lot of different ways, but all I’ve done so far is have it for breakfast.

I found a recipe on a blog that I love, Debby’s Weigh.  You can see her recipe here (scroll to the bottom, past some of her other WONDERFUL looking things):

What I love about this is you can modify it so many ways. For instance, I used dried cherries instead of raisins, left out the cinnamon and allspice (although I think that would be great for wintertime) and used honey rather than maple syrup. It was delicious. But quinoa can also be made as a salad, adding cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, green onions and lemon juice. Or as a tropical side dish, with coconut, mango, pineapple, etc. Or add some curry, and have a totally different side dish. So I’ll be experimenting with different recipes, as well as different types of quinoa (oh yeah…there’s red, white, black, etc.)

So that’s my Friday food find. Have you tried anything new and different lately?

Have a great weekend. Here in the South we’re looking at a wonderful, hot summer weekend, and a little Peanut time.

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Wednesday Weigh-In

One of the challenges I find myself facing as I try to lose weight and get in shape is always having healthy food choices on hand. I try to take my lunch to work when I can, because that is the only way to know exactly what I’m eating and allows me to control portion sizes. Unfortunately it’s just not always possible.

That said, I’ve been searching out good fast food choices. One thing I’ve found is that at least some fast food chains are providing pretty healthy choices these days. Granted, I’m sure there are ingredients in these things that I might not choose if I were making the meals myself, but I’ve found a few good options.

My favorite new find is Wendy’s Berry Almond Chicken Salad. I don’t use the dressing because it really isn’t needed with the fruit. Another good thing about this one is that you can get a half size or a full size, depending on how hungry you are. Delicious.

Another option I’ve found that’s pretty decent is a chicken soft taco from our local Mexican restaurant. Grilled chicken wrapped in a soft tortilla, and you can request only what you want added. I typically ask for lettuce and tomato. I can eat this with an apple or pear and it’s a perfect lunch for me.

Exciting news on the exercise front – my bike has been in the shop for its annual maintenance, and I get it out tomorrow. My first ride in a very long time is tomorrow after work with a couple of friends. I cannot WAIT to get back on that saddle, although I am dreading the tushy toughening that has to take place for the first few weeks. But it will be worth it. I am now up to 20 minutes on the elliptical, and plan to go to 30 next week. The plan is to stick to 3 days a week since I’ll be biking a couple of days.

My goal for June 15 is to be down 4 lbs from June 1. I’m feeling pretty confident.  One day at a time.

Happy Wednesday.

No post is complete without a Peanut pic.

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Friday Food Stuff

There’s a song I remember from when my kids were small, from some tv show. I’m thinking it might have been Sesame Street, not sure. Anyway, there was a line in it that went something like ‘try a little something new, try a little something different’. That line gets stuck in my head frequently and I have no idea why.

When it comes to food, I do like the idea of trying new and different things, and I’m doing more of that lately.

This week my new thing is the Chia seed. I finally broke down and decided to see what all the rage is about.  I might be the last person I know to try Chia seeds.

Most of my friends have been touting the wonders of this little seed for quite some time, but I only just last week made my first purchase of these little so-called wonders.

Chia seeds are supposedly an amazing source of Omega 3, proteins and fiber. They do this funny thing when hydrated…a gel forms around them, increasing their size and weight. This gel is calorie free, and the seeds mixed with other foods help fill you up. They don’t really taste like anything so you can add them to anything, they just kind of enhance the taste of whatever you put them in.

Some suggestions I’ve read for using them are to add them to puddings, dressings, dips, salsas, sauces, etc. The only thing I’ve done with them so far is add them to our morning breakfast smoothies. This smoothie consists of frozen strawberries, a banana, protein powder, a little soy milk, a dash of vanilla and chia seeds. On occasion I throw in a handful of spinach, but hubby isn’t crazy about the funny brown color the smoothie turns, so I don’t do it often :-).

I’ve been adding flax seeds to foods for quite sometime, and have wondered how chia seeds compare. I did find this one article, Chia Seeds Vs. Flaxseeds. It seems like the chia might have a little edge. And you can do that potted plant hair thing with them, bet you can’t do that with a flax seed.

If you have any other suggestions on other uses for Chia seeds, please pass them along.

There’s another thing that is quite popular lately that I’ve been wanting to try. I’ll be experimenting next week, check in next Friday for an update.

Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to the weekend with some rest time and of course a little Peanut time. I cannot get enough of this kid!

Have a wonderful weekend…TGIF!

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I’m definitely out of my groove when it comes to keeping this blog up. I remember when I first started blogging a few years ago, I couldn’t wait to get on here and write. We had just bought our land and were getting it ready to build our house. That was basically what the blog was about, so it was really pretty easy to sit down and write about what was going on almost daily, or at least a few times a week.

Lately I feel like there just isn’t anything going on in my life, but there really is, I’m actually very busy. I think that when it was just the housebuilding it was easier, because I knew exactly what I was going to blog about, and now my mind is off in a hundred different directions.

I really just blog for myself, as a journal of sorts, and I do like to go back and read things from the past few years. There are many good memories there that make me smile. I do have a few friends that still come here looking to keep up, and have asked to me keep it up.

SO, that said, I’m trying to come up with a plan, you few friends.

I posted recently that I’m really focusing on weight loss and getting fit, so I think I may dedicate Wednesdays to that. And of course if you know me, ironically one of my favorite hobbies is cooking/eating/planning food. OK so the hobby is food. Which is why I’m focusing on weight loss. I do get it. Anyway, I think I’m going to dedicate a post each week to food. And of course little Peanut and family get a day, probably a weekend recap.

So I’m going to see if I can get it all sorted out in my mind and start this week.

So look for Foodie Friday, coming up this week. And this little guy is what makes me smile these days.

The Peanut

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I love Spring! I’m loving seeing all the new growth and brown turning to green, even though that means a major mowing season is about to begin. We did a little outdoor sprucing up this weekend. I have a little backdoor herb garden that is convenient for running out and snipping something to throw in a pot quickly. I usually have rosemary, thyme, oregano, a couple of varieties of basil, curly and flat-leaf parsley, and chives. Rosemary is so hearty it usually survives our winters unless they are crazy cold, but rarely does anything else make it over the winter. Well this past winter was so mild, the oregano, thyme, rosemary, chives and curly parsley survived from last year.  I’ll plant a few varieties of basil and flat-leaf parsley and be good to go.

The vegetable garden will be planted soon, and I think I’m going to reserve an area for planting a lot of basil for canning pesto this year, as well as a flower garden for planting flowers for cutting.

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We’ve lived here three years and still haven’t finished landscaping and hardscaping. Meaning no driveway, no walkways, etc. So this week we had a landscaper come out and discuss a plan for beginning several projects. The first will be a walkway from our front steps to the driveway. We came up with a beautiful plan, now we’re waiting for an estimate and hopefully we’ll be good to go.

We have no fencing, so we are getting an estimate on that also. We’re thinking farm fencing (hogwire) around part of the property from the back of our house to our tree-line (which is about the middle of our property). From the house to the sides of the property, we’ll have split rail fencing. We have a partial estimate on that, waiting for the last bit of info.

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When I was growing up I went hunting with my father, but it was never a serious hobby for me. When he passed away, he left me some hunting firearms, and a nice traditional recurve bow. I’m currently working on my archery skills with help from my little brother…and it’s HARD. But it’s fun, and me and my little deer are spending quite a bit of time together in the back yard.

My little buddy

Brotherly instruction

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One of my favorite-I could eat them all the time-foods is sweet potatoes. We usually buy 25 plus pounds every Fall, and I could eat them several times a week. They are actually very healthy, a great source of vitamins and fiber. I like to slice them and bake them in the oven with a little spray butter, garlic salt and pepper. If you like sweet potatoes, you must try this, and don’t let the garlic salt throw you, it’s delicious!

Just slice them, throw them on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, spray with your favorite spray (or brush on olive oil or real butter), add garlic salt and pepper to taste. Bake at 375 for about 25 minutes, or until they are your desired tenderness. We tend to like them a little firm.

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I’ll be going on an adventure on Saturday…I’ll have updates this week. I’m totally excited.

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And what better to round out and end Sunday Stuff than the Peanut…awake for a change!

The Peanut

Have a great week!

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What a gorgeous weekend we had here in the deep South!  Temperatures in the 80s, but not humid, little breezes, you can’t ask for more. I sort of worry that Spring decided not to appear this year, and we jumped right into Summer, but it sure has been nice the past week or so. We got cars and dogs washed, a few outside chores done, and lots of visiting with friends and family.

We visited some friends Saturday afternoon for a cookout. Since we last got together, the mom and 2 little boys have discovered that they have food allergies.  It turns out that between the three of them they are allergic to wheat, corn, diary and soy.  WOW.  It was very interesting discussing how she feeds her family.  She really has it down to a science, but it does take some planning.  The meal was delicious…they buy part of a locally raised cow each year, so they grilled steaks and roasted some diced potatoes.  We took a fruit tray, and I made fresh green beans with fresh basil and cherry tomatoes.  For dessert, she served a delicious ‘fudgy-brownie like’ cake.  A delicious meal, with no wheat, dairy, corn or soy.

We have no food allergies at our house that we know of, but just healthy eating also takes planning and effort.  I do end up shopping at a couple of different markets.  One for fresh organic produce, one for bulk staples, one for general items.  It also takes some time each week to plan meals so that we don’t end up running through a drive thru, or picking up other fast food on the way home.  I’ve heard people say it just takes too much time and energy to do it, but I am at the point that I don’t think I have a choice.  Also, like with anything else, it becomes a habit when you do it enough, and you don’t think of it as inconvenient or time-consuming.

My daughter and little Peanut visited on Sunday, and after taking a nice drive in the country, we spent a lot of time hanging out on the back porch enjoying the beautiful weather.  All that fresh air and sunshine does make nap-time come easy.


Sleeping Peanut and worn out Grandmommy

When dinnertime rolled around, I spent about 15 minutes preparing a very tasty spaghetti…using roasted garlic tomato sauce, to which I added a bunch of fresh spinach and fresh small portabello mushrooms. I love adding vegetables to tomato sauce when I have spaghetti, it’s a great way to get the veggies in without having to make another side dish. I made whole wheat spaghetti, and it was a delicious, perfectly healthy meal. In 15 minutes.

So another perfect weekend.  We are both planning on introducing a little more physical activity into our days this week, and we’re looking forward to more nice summer-like weather.

Hope you have a wonderful week wherever you are.

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The journey to making changes is beginning.  

I started this day off well, by bringing a hard boiled egg and a banana to work to have for breakfast, rather than stopping at Burger King and ordering a bacon/egg/cheese biscuit.  This is major, people!  I also brought a turkey sandwich on whole wheat flatbread for lunch, rather than my usual going out and eating too much ‘not so healthy’ food.  I hope to do this several times a week, with going out for lunch being the exception, not the rule.

This week is the beginning of something big for me that I hope will end up being life changing.  I am beginning The Couch-to-5K ® Running Plan with a few friends.  I am very excited, although I am under no illusions that this will be an easy endeavor.  I was much younger and weighed a lot less when I ran in the past.  I know it will be an effort, but I also know that it can be life changing.

If you have a plan, you need to have a goal.  My immediate, short term goal is to run the David McKannan ALS Run for Research in May.  My friend Ellen lost her sister to ALS last summer, so this is near and dear to her.  She is one of the friends that will be training with me, and I am honored to be doing this with her in memory of her sister. I know this is a bit aggressive, but I’m going to give it my best shot, and if I have to walk the 5K, I’ll do so and be happy with that.

I have another goal that I think will be instrumental in my success.  Selective memory loss.  This will be even harder.  I really believe that remembering ourselves at 25, 30, 35 years old and working to be that again is detrimental.  At least to me it is, does anyone else feel this way?  Picturing myself as I was, striving for that, just isn’t realistic, and if I strive for the 35 or even 40 year old me, I’m going to be disappointed.  I’ll never be that again.  I have gray hair.  I have wrinkles.  I’m shaped differently.  I need to look ahead…who knows, maybe I can be a better me!  But I won’t be the same, and I have finally realized that.

Now, all that said, my daughter’s birthday is tomorrow and will prove to be my first test on this journey.  I’ll be taking her out to dinner to celebrate, and plan to be responsible in my choices.

Wish me luck.

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On My Mind Today

On my mind today is how to get fit, which translates in part to how to get this extra weight off that has crept on.  There are common sense things, like I don’t have to eat two or three helpings of dad’s home made chicken and dumplings just because he brought them. And if I do, I should at least get some exercise to try to counteract that.  But more importantly, I need to get on a regular exercise schedule.  I used to be so good at this.  And now I’m so bad at it.  I know it’s a matter of making up my mind and committing…I’m just struggling at the moment.

I am making some steps toward my goal.  In an attempt get on track, I’m doing the following:

  • Currently reading ‘Women Food and God’ by Geneen Roth.  I’ve read other books by this author in the past, and this one was recommended.  I’ll let you know what I think.
  • Following blogs of others who have been very successful in their weight loss and fitness goals.  I have a few favorites, which include Doing a 180, Roni’s Weigh, My Journey To Fit: A Forty-Something’s Weight Loss Journey, and Lynn’s Weigh.  These ladies are all very inspirational, and I’m learning a lot. 
  • Trying to recognize when and how I can make subtle changes in cooking/eating to be more health oriented.  For example, I typically replace mayo and sour cream with fat-free Greek Yogurt, in many cases.  I LOVE it.  We also buy practically no processed food.  It’s taken awhile to get here, but we’ve done it.  We are eating a lot of fresh vegetables and whole grains, some chicken and fish and only very, very occasional beef. 

I at least do think I recognize most of my problem.  It’s quantity, not quality.  As I said, we do, for the most part, eat very well.  We just eat too much.  I really do LOVE food, so that’s where I need to work the most…less food, more exercise.

My goal for this week:  Walk after work for 30 minutes each day, and if I don’t (we are expecting some rain this week) do it on the elliptical at home.

Do you deal with this weight/fitness issue?  If so, how do you stay motivated?

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Monday’s Market Report

Decent shopping trip this week…spent $92.18.  That is above my planned $75, but we did have to spend $28 on dogfood this time, and several other non-food items such as toiletries.  I also bought things for the picnic we went on over the weekend, that I normally wouldn’t have bought.  Those things could fit in the entertainment budget as easily as the grocery budget.   The Costco trip that I like to keep under $100 was $97.01.

Maybe we’ll level out next week.

I’m not going to bore everyone with my meal plan this week, but I did shop with it in mind.

Even when we’re trying to budget and save on the grocery bill, there are some things that I will spend money on.  Indulgences, if you will.  One for me is Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.  It’s a bit expensive.  I bought a small chunk this week and it was about $11 of my total bill.  It’s totally delicious.  And I do use it very frugally.

What are your grocery store indulgences?

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