Wednesday, January 12, 2011
While I blogged Dec 30 that, “I successfully posted my first recipe today” – and – “That was a fun!” . . . I suspect that 2011 will have to go down as my “Year of Documenting Healthy Cooking.”
I've always loved putting my recipes and a photo in my personal paper cookbook. I’m the only crazy one who will go to a church potluck, progressive dinner, or dinner party and post the recipe near the dish so people know what they are or are not eating. This is as much a courtesy as it is a warning, as I am becoming known for cooking up relatively spicy dishes most typical Americans find too spicy or too hot. If I cut the red chili pepper in half, even my Indian and Nepali friends can enjoy.
Cooking for others seems to have become more challenging when you hear messages like, “I don’t eat high-fat . . . eggs . . . seeds . . . dairy . . . fried foods . . . grapefruit . . . pineapple . . . or messages like, “I'm a vegetarian, . . . gluten, lactose, or artificial sweetener intolerant . . . etc, etc, etc.” A friend of mine once said that “If I hear one more person say that can't eat this or that . . . I'm going to quit cooking!” I guess I can't blame her as we somehow have more food allergies than ever today. Eating has never been more easy today: Just about everything seems to be available.
I have only one caution -- that I pray will come across as constructive -- that triggers in me when I read some negative responses to recipes made: While most of the people who respond to making SparkPeople recipes in “kind” or with “constructive (helpful) criticism,” there are a few people who seem to get their dander up and express themselves a little too much (if only they had waited to post their response or listened to what they wrote as if it were a recipe they might have submitted themselves). Thank goodness these instances are relatively rare . . . either that, or I’ve learned how to ignore them more. SparkPeople is a place that allows us to that positive “spark” for each other. Do you really have to tell the creator of a recipe that it’s not something you would ever make? . . . then just leave the recipe and move on. If you’ve spent a good amount of time in the kitchen, you likely already know what spices tickle your “fancy” bone: if you don't like heat and see a full teaspoon of cayenne pepper, I would hope this would be a clue to consider starting a little lighter on this spice, taste, and adjust accordingly if you still desire this style of food until it meets your personal or cultural taste test.
While I am a bit too bashful yet – and yes, my husband says I lied on the Myers Briggs Test (hee, hee) -- to share my recipes on the World Wide Web (I've only shared one that I posted after following a beautiful friend from India), I now have four recipes in my Recipe Box: Kamla’s Dal, and my own Buttercup Squash, Fried Rice, and Chicken Vegetable Soup. I have an eggplant curry just waiting to be deciphered into SparkPeople format. I have lots of stock pots, slow cookers, and Dutch oven pans because I love cooking in bulk and fresh freezing for my very own style of “fast” food. (smile, smile)
Entering your own recipes, whether you “share” them or not, is a great way to add a whole new level of convenience to your nutrition tracker. This ultimately represents a whole lot less clutter in my nutrition tracker than “grouping” ingredients. I find food ”grouping” great when I make something often but have one or two changes that I make regularly. AND you get three SparkPoints for making the recipe, or another set of SparkPoints if you edit the recipe and remake . . . points that you can turn in for SparkGoodies to encourage yourself and others.
Nehemiah said, "Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." (Nehemiah 8:10)
Have you, or will you plan to key in one of your favorite recipes?
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Monday was pretty much my best ever “me” day. My Nepali friends prepared a special dinner in my honor. Having travelled just west of Nepal in northern India last summer, I wore one of my new chudidhar suits for this special occasion.
I’m learning a whole new concept about “me” time. I used to think it was just that special time doing those things I most enjoy without having to be at responsible for anything or anyone but the moment I’m in. I like to think that my reading, watching television, hiking, checking out the internet, and walking are all me-time activities. The Teddy Bear’s have implemented a few exceptions, in that our “me” time cannot be anything related to the computer/internet/exercise or chores.
While Anu steamed the Momo, we connected over a simple card game of 31 and Anu managed to do something I’ve never seen done in this game: She SKUNKED us all. Where three of us lost four hands each, Anu didn’t lose a single hand. Go girl!
Now we were ready to enjoy the featured food of the day: Nepali Momo with a very spicy hot dipping sauce. So yummy! Many cultures have their own version of Momo with variations, whether it be something like dim sum, potstickers, or Chinese dumplings. The spices, both in the Momo and sauce, seem to be what set each culture's Momo apart.
Now on to my ultimate “me” time . . . quality time spent at the same waterfalls that I have in my current profile photo. I invited my Nepali friends to join me. I’m hoping when they see the cool pictures, they’ll say “yes” the next time I invite them.
A special SparkPeople “Thank you” goes out to the organizers of the 5% Winter Community Challenge and Teddy Bear Team for their support in helping give me a new meaning this week to “me” time.
Whatever you do in your “me” time, take an opportunity to mix things up a bit – try something new – so you don’t get bored doing the same-ol’, same-ol’.
What type of “me” activities energize you?
Sunday, January 09, 2011
Joining challenges is a relatively new concept for me. Studies show that the more you take an active role in building better health habits, the more successful you will be. WooHoo!
The first challenge I joined was the Official Better Sleep Challenge. I knew I needed to hit the reboot button on my sleep patterns, when I found that there were a few too many nights when I was only getting 3-5 hours of sleep. The reboot worked and was just what I needed. After four weeks of active participation, I learned a lot about creating better sleep habits, made great improvement, and earned a nice trophy from SparkPeople. Now I get 7-9 hours of sleep most every night. Yippee! Thank you, SparkPeople, for the Better Sleep Challenge!
Go to: www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/challenge.asp. Here's a screen capture of the 2011 challenges currently being run:
Have you browsed, reviewed, or completed any of the official challenges that our SparkPeople experts have created?
Saturday, January 08, 2011
One great benefit of all these SparkPeople challenges is that fitness is both encouraged and rewarded. Who doesn't like a nice reward? Exercise is something I still have to nudge myself to do. My brain knows the importance of movement, but the body isn’t very enthused. Nevertheless, I try to work them through them as best I can. Perhaps some day I’ll be able to differentiate the difference in energy levels on those days when I don’t get a reasonable workout.
The shortened days still make walking outside a little difficult for those on a work schedule. And for those of us who do not have home gyms or a gym membership, it’s great that there are so many great DVD’s on the market that allow us to exercise at home in very little space. After reading BobbieNorthern’s blog, I began utilizing Leslie Sansone’s “Walk Away the Pounds Evening Mile plus Legs” and have been enjoying Qigong (Tai Chi) with Francesco and Daisy Lee-Garripoli. I feel a little as if I’m “cheating” when I plug in the Tai Chi as the pace is primarily gentle, yet prolonged stretching.
When I’m ready to try something new, I have a few more DVD’s in reserve: one of four other Leslie Sansone programs or some workouts that include Latin, Hula or Bollywood Dancing. I’ve been using SparkPeople’s recommended strength training (and occasionally make modifications). For nearly a year, I walked four miles each morning with friends at the local mall: Their doors open at 7 am while most of the stores don’t open until about 9 or 10 am. The local library also has workouts available for checking out with my library card. Whether I walk in place during ten-minute stretches or make heavy cleaning a workout, the options are nearly unlimited.
In the meantime, on nice days, I hope to be able to enjoy a few lake walks. And if the snow is too deep, I just may try renting some snow shoes from my alma mater. These activities are what make our four seasons in the northland so very precious!
How do you get a good workout when the weather is frightful?
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