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Recipes...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

So, this begins week 5 of no frozen dinners. I believe there is still one in the freezer. Today, I'm doing a batch of black beans. From "scratch." Seems, without really thinking about it, I've also decided to reduce my reliance on canned goods when I can. There is something in the tin they use to can that isn't good for you (BPAs maybe?). So, with the exception of some veggies and some fruit, I'll do my best to not to get canned. I know I can do frozen veggies, but there are some cans that are very close to single serving and they are very reasonably priced.

Anyway, recipes. So, I noticed when you buy dry beans in bulk at Whole Foods, they have cooking directions there as well. Hard to remember, so today I went to their website and hit Beans 101. Nice little blog posting. Included the basics of cooking and some seasonings/uses for a variety of beans. While there I realized they also have recipes. Quite a few of them. Thus, I wound up perusing the ones that included black beans. I was pleasantly surprised. There is a variety and many of them have ingredients I like or are such that I can leave out what I don't like. They also have a Recipe Box you can save recipes to, a way to create shopping lists from the recipes, and allow users to rate them. And, they include nutritional information. I created my account and am looking forward to trying the recipes that appealed to me.

Why not use SP you ask. Honestly, Spark Recipes doesn't really work for me. Many of the recipes that are user created go overboard with the substitutions/Splenda usage, which can actually change a recipe and while I do consume some items with artificial sweeteners, I'm not sure I want to go sticking it in everything. I would also rather use a whole egg than an egg white and many substitute this way. I'm glad they've got Chef Meg on board because I like that she can modify some of them, but on the whole, Spark Recipes hasn't worked for me, though I do love and do use the Recipe calculator.

If you're looking for a new place to get recipes, I suggest checking out Whole Foods.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

XHASTEDMOMOF2 11/15/2010 10:15PM

    You have become quite the cook and I can see why. I also agree about the substitutions. Good for you!!!

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SASSISPRING 11/13/2010 11:47PM

    I will check that out. Thanks for the information.

Here is another site for you. I used to get the magazines. "Cooking For Two." It's a magazine focused on cooking small recipes.

http://www.tasteofhome.com/
Recipes/Publication/Cooking-For
-Two-Magazine

My favourite is this site, Company's Coming. I own over a dozen books. Her recipes are simple, basic and down to earth. She makes from small size recipes to large and her recipes are easy to double if you are batch cooking.

http://www.companyscoming.c
om/

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DRUSHKA26 11/13/2010 9:18PM

    You may also want to try http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes .
It is a link from Cooking Light magazines website and it lists the nutritional info on most (unfortunately not ALL) recipes. I have made some great soups from there lately (it's getting cold near chicago....brrr).

I also got a great cookbook for my birthday from my very supportive boss/friend. It is the Mayo Clinic Cookbook and it lists all the nutritional info too. The black bean burgers are awesome!

Thanks for the link. I've never thought to check out Whole Foods website. I can't wait to browse.
Drea

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GRAMME221 11/13/2010 6:27PM

    thanks for the tip.
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Making changes...

Sunday, November 07, 2010

I can't believe it's been a month since I blogged, but I've thought about it. Seems like something always took priority. Such is life.

Since the last entry I decided to make one really big change - I decided to reduce/eliminate frozen dinners. This isn't a whimsical change for me as being a single person, I find frozen dinners really handy. I also love how it easy it is to track the calories for those babies. However, I was having some problems, not the least of which is a lot of fatigue, and started wondering if maybe the preservatives in them (not to mention the sodium and it's possible contribution to bloating) could be a culprit.

This weekend marks week 4 of not buying frozen dinners. I still have one or two left in the freezer and will eat those spaced out with other meals. I also don't plan on eliminating the Morningstar Farms products that I like, but I will eat them maybe once a week.

So, what am I doing. I'm cooking! What a concept. I'm trying to learn how to make my own frozen dinners. So far, I've found that hamburger patties (I make mine like a meatloaf and make "mini" burgers) freeze well. I've discovered that nothing beats fresh potatoes. Yes, I'm frying them up at times, but I use oil sparingly and tonight added a bit of onion. The next time I'm at the store I'll get some fresh mushrooms to add and will consider adding some veggies, such as carrots, right as the potatoes are done. This will warm them, but shouldn't make them soggy. I'm kind of experimenting as I go along. Then, the hamburgers and potatoes actually make a great lunch. I'll also do chicken and freeze it to use in quesadillas or other dishes.

A Fresh Market opened here a few months ago and they do some pre-prepared meats that I've been trying. Basically, they do the prep work and then I cook it. Their panko breaded cod is awesome, plus I can buy stuffed shrimp individually. They also do varieties of chicken, including Chicken Parmesan, Chicken stuffed with mushrooms and mozzarella or spinach and feta, plus more. They're fairly large, so I get two servings out of them, which makes the cost reasonable. This is especially nice because as a single person, I can buy just what I need.

An added bonus is that it's looking like my grocery bill has gone down. And, I've discovered I'd rather cook some things (like the taters) than get them frozen. I do, however, need to work on side dishes and start adding in more veggies. One step at a time.

I'm learning a bit from this as well. It doesn't take that much to cook, esp if I cook enough to freeze or last a couple of days. So, I'm not cooking every night. Clean up really doesn't take that long. Non frozen does taste better. I kind of hate saying that as some of the dinners I do like, but what I've found is the more I cook it myself, the more I'd RATHER cook it myself. Which is kind of odd. I love to bake, but I've never really considered myself a cook.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LEAVNTHEW8BHIND 11/8/2010 12:27PM

    Congrats!

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SASSISPRING 11/8/2010 1:19AM

    Good for you. Sounds like you are doing well with it all. :)

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ELISADENK 11/7/2010 8:46PM

    Wonderful! Have you read some of my blogs on my SPpage? I learned to make frozen meals and Blogged about them.

You have more variety than I have. I'm still working on it.

Good for you! I love how easy they are to make and the ease in which to thaw them out and eat them. No mess; no stress.

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XHASTEDMOMOF2 11/7/2010 8:37PM

    Good for you!!! I cut out frozen dinners a while back for much the same reasons. Tho I do love my Morningstar veggie burgers and have no plans to get rid of them!! How awesome that you decided to figure out something that wasn't right and ended up making it a better health decision!!!

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Serenity....

Sunday, October 03, 2010

I had never really thought about this until last night. I've been helping a friend, who's had a lot going on, with her dog. She's been away over one night on the weekend fairly regularly. The way I help is I walk her dog at least once in the evening and then the following morning, I walk her, feed her, then usually, I'll hit the fitness room and then walk the dog again before heading back to my apartment.

Because it's getting dark earlier, I'm heading to her apartment for the evening walk after dark. I am extra careful, but it's still early enough that there is activity going on all around me. It's that night walk that made me think of serenity. I walk through the complex to get to her apartment which is on the opposite side from mine (yes, I consider the walking an added bonus). Last night's walk through the complex was just very serene. I could see buildings lit up, hear the sounds of music across the bay, here people cheering on the game as I walked by or just hear people talking on their patios. All around me were the sounds of life and it was just very peaceful.

I had never really given this much thought, but, to me, there was just something reassuring about all the signs of life all around me.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ELISADENK 10/8/2010 9:22PM

    Amen! For me, it is children's laughter.

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SASSISPRING 10/4/2010 12:40PM

    Sounds wonderful, including the night walk. Lovely that you have a dog that you can walk. I miss walking dogs. I hear you on the serenity. The other night I walked at twilight and went to the river. I stood there listening to the geese in the air above, the traffic behind me and a small plane getting ready to land at the local airport. It was so peaceful, almost like being in one's own world. :)

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XHASTEDMOMOF2 10/3/2010 10:51PM

    Sounds like a marvelous walk!!! And you are so kind to help out your friend! Just stay aware of your surroundings as you soak up the serenity and beauty of the world around you!!



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Photos = memories

Sunday, September 19, 2010

I recently had the joy of finding several photo cds which held pictures from a trip to a fitness resort in Utah and trip to Mexico, both about 10 years ago. I thought I'd lost these pictures and was delighted to find I had them on cd along with pictures of my first house in TX and of my cat when I first got her. It literally made my day.

I was much heavier at the time of the trips. I remember not too long ago a blog posting by one of the SP coaches on how to take a good picture. I could post several that back up the need for that. I'm head on in several of them and they are not flattering. I also remember reading several responses by those who didn't want their pictures taken for a variety of reasons and those who thought a blog post on taking good pictures wasn't necessary.

I was horrified by how heavy I was when I got the pictures back from the Mexico trip. It was the impetus that led to my second weight loss round. I did eventually lose 25 lbs and looked much better. I look at those pictures and those from the fitness resort and think, if I'd just turned sideways a bit, it would have been a better picture. Doesn't matter now, but for future photos, I'm ready.

However, now 10 years later and 10 years older/wiser, I look at these pictures and I'm so glad that I have them and that I'm in them, chunky or not, horrible pose be damned. They bring back such wonderful memories of those trips. So, those who hesitate for whatever reason to have their picture taken, pick a pose that works for you and say cheese!

And, on that note, I'm including a picture of me from the Mexico trip.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WITHSPIRIT 9/27/2010 8:23AM

    You've come a long way, baby!!! So glad you found your pictures, especially of your beloved (I am sure) cat! we treasure our baby kitty pictures of our fur child!!!

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XHASTEDMOMOF2 9/25/2010 6:56PM

    Cute picture!!! I love the background!!! Which coach posted that blog?? I think I could use a few tips!!! And congrats on getting rid of the weight!!

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SASSISPRING 9/22/2010 6:08PM

    Awesome that you found photos that you thought you lost. It's such a beautiful gift when that happens. I agree with your thoughts on this. I have only a couple photos of Drue and I as he hated his picture being taken. I made him suffer through it for me and even though he lives forever in my heart, I'm thankful that I have a couple photos of us. They aren't perfect and yet there is beauty in the imperfections. I remember seeing a picture of me holding my niece of the heart and at the time thought "ugh, you can see how bald I am". Later when niece of the heart passed away I was so thankful that I had the photo. I think back to the rigid postures of old when people sat for long periods for a photo and what they went through. We take it all for granted. I like the picture you posted and I bet it has a wonderful story attached to it also.

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CTTAGENT 9/20/2010 12:07AM

    That is nice to find something you thought you lost. Glad you enjoyed seeing them again because of the memories.

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SLUGGER17 9/19/2010 7:37PM

    I agree about the memories. In fact, you have just inspired my blog for the day. Thanks!

Has it ever occurred to others that those memories are important to their loved ones, not just to them? My husband's grandmother scratched her face out of every photo she came across. Now she's gone, and it is rare for a family member to find one with her face in it. So sad.

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WELLNESSME09 9/19/2010 7:24PM

    emoticonthanks for sharing...I agree it's always a good idea to have some pictures to have, even if it's just for memories!!! emoticon

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Anniversaries....

Monday, August 30, 2010

This month has two anniversaries for me -- three years on Spark and two years in Maryland. I'm happy to say that one of my fears hasn't come to pass. While I haven't met my weight loss goal, I've not gained any weight since the move. Well, I did, but with focus I lost it. I'm hovering at about three pounds from my goal. Actually, I'm beginning to wonder if this isn't the weight I'm supposed to be. I did exceed the goal about nine months ago, but then quickly gained it back and have basically been maintaining this weight or a couple of pounds less. Since I'm not gaining, I can't really get upset about it.

Two years in Maryland is actually an anniversary I hadn't initially planned on. Happily, I'm at peace. I wasn't when I moved here. I moved from Texas and it wasn't really my choice. A job I had been excited about, blew up in my face on day one. I managed to hang on for about a year and half, but it never got any better. Then, my house had problems. I shouldn't have bought the house, but I was so positive that I would be there for a good long while as I'd lived in TX before and it was close to family and I had friends. Plus, a good job. Why wouldn't I stay. One never knows. I joke to myself that if I had of rented instead of buying, I'd still be there!

So, I got the job here and I moved. I never thought I'd move this far from my family or that at my age I'd literally be starting over again. But, I did. The first few months, especially Christmas, were bad. Not mongo meltdown bad, but I had a hard time adjusting to not being able to get in the car and drive a few hours to my Mom's house. I guess since my dad passed away I felt like I should be able to do that. Well, my Mom is doing well and if the time comes, I'll move closer. I've lived all over the country and this isn't new, it's just been a long time since I couldn't just hop in the car.

I've learned a few things. You are the only person who can decide what is right for you. This job was, and is, right for me. I like the area where I live. Renting is right for me. Renting was a hard one. I hadn't lived in an apartment for 10 years. But, for now, it's right. My bills are fewer and sadly, should something go wrong, I can pick up and go. Sad that I think that, but really the job is fine. But, still you can't be all that mobile if you own a house. I learned that the hard way.

When I moved here, I felt almost like I had regressed, sort of, because I didn't own a house, like at a certain age that's what you do. I even just read an article that one of the markers for moving into adulthood is owning a home. I decided I disagreed with it. In today's society and economy that's simply not a good marker. Supporting yourself should be the marker and the article did discuss it, and I've done that for years.

So, Happy Anniversaries all around. Actually, this past June was another anniversary - my 10 year anniversary with Snickers (my cat). Seems like I just got her, but she has now gone from Texas to Arkansas to Texas to Maryland with me. Life is good.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

XHASTEDMOMOF2 9/6/2010 10:37PM

    Congrats on your 3 awesome anniversaries!!! You're doing fantastic with your weight, your move and being Snicker's adopted mom!!

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CTTAGENT 9/2/2010 1:16AM

    Congratulations on your anniversaries.Also congrats on seeming like you are at the weight that is good for you.

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STRONGERLEANER 9/2/2010 1:09AM

    Congratulations on your anniversaries!

It sounds like you've adjusted well to lots of changes.

I decided on a goal range instead of a specific number with my weight. With all of the fluctuations I have I thought it would be less stressful.

Congratulations on maintaining where you want to be. That's a success story to me.

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SASSISPRING 8/31/2010 4:05AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Congratulations on all your anniversaries! That is so cool especially the insight that you shared about the changes and where you are in your life now. I guess in some ways with the property piece I saw it different, as I know many even back when who never owned a home - they rented. Like aunts, cousins and such. Others did and while it was nice, it wasn't a necessity. It's good that you realized that renting isn't a step back, there are valid reasons to rent. Like you my main issue is cost. I don't have to repair things, it's not my responsibility to deal with taxes and I don't have to worry about depreciation costs if things aren't replaced, like my old stove in this apt. Very cool on Snickers making all those moves with you, always wonderful when a fur baby can travel on the journey too. It's also good that you can swing in visits with your mum even if it isn't just a hop and skip away. Last, awesome on the weight loss and maintenance. That is GREAT!!

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