OPTIMIST1948   27,277
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Dinner Decisions

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Its Open House night at school. I find it easier to stay late than go home and then come back. My decision is compounded by distance. In the past, the department would all get together for dinner together as a rare social occasion. This school doesnt have that .. so I'm on my own. Restaurants here are limited and I've narrowed to two choices:
1) a diner = where I can get standard diner food and will likely be able to choose a healthy choice
2) a bbq joint - which has real smokers and smells good when I drive past in the afternoons. This wouldnt be the healthy choice, but would be a rare treat.

Thoughts Sparkers?

PS. I brought my sneakers so I'm actually going to go for a run today. Another blog is forthcoming on how the "New Normal" is actually working.

PPS. No word yet on the "Cookie Job" I'll let y'all know.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KBSPARKY 9/28/2012 6:11PM

    well??? inquiring minds want to know the outcome!

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VIXSTERLU 9/27/2012 11:09PM

    Too little too late, but I'd vote for the BBQ. Half would have been put away before I dig in and that would be lunch for tomorrow. I am good at portion control, but horrible when it comes to sweets. I am sure what ever you decided you'll make the right choices afterwards to balance things out.

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KALANTHA 9/27/2012 9:04PM

    I vote for the diner, too. I love going to diners because they always have a nice variety on the menu and there are always healthy options that keep me in my calorie range.


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    Diner tonight.

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CINERICIA 9/27/2012 5:10PM

    Depends on your portion control. Are you able to go to the bbq joint and eat a reasonable amount? If so, dig in and enjoy a treat. If not, the diner is probably the better option. Either way, enjoy your dinner and your run.

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JJAQUES41 9/27/2012 10:42AM

    Go with the diner, easier to resist temptation if it's not on the menu! We have open house tonight at my husband's middle school. My youngest attends there too. We'll be doing leftovers for dinner.

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LESLIELENORE 9/27/2012 10:29AM

    If you think you can restrain yourself I would get BBQ, but if there is any doubt then go to the diner. Good for you for taking your running shoes!

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BIGPAWSUP 9/27/2012 10:08AM

    Personally, I'd go with the diner. Too easy to go overboard with BBQ.

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ELRIDDICK 9/27/2012 10:06AM

  Thanks for sharing

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How to Get Rid of Cookies

Thursday, September 20, 2012

When I was living solo, I always kept chocolate chips in the house. I never bought icecream, cookies or candy, because its easier to resist those things if you have to go out and get them. But sometimes you WANT. That's what the chips were for. If I wanted cookies, than By George, I could have cookies. I just had to bake them first. Oh, and you cant open the bag to eat the chips. That's cheating.

Never once did I make cookies. Never wanted them enough to go thru the trouble.

Now I keep cookies, icecream and candy in the house for Other People, and 90% of the time I'm good about staying away.

Still, over the last month or so I wanted cookies and so last week, I made some. A crispy oatmeal version with dried cranberries and banana chips. I brought these to a party at the beginning of the summer and they were WELL received. So I knew it was a good recipe (Yes, Its already on Spark).

So I made some. And then brought them to a job interview. Yes, I *really* did. Normally the policy is they ask you to bring your lunch and they have an extended interview over lunch. But I begged to come after work so I wouldnt have to take the day off, and they kindly agreed. So I brought the cookies as a 3pm sweet snack. And they were WELL received. "Its just a little bribery, since I really want this job." Hey, anything to get an edge in this economy!

Afterwards I went to my parents and gave half of the leftovers to them. There were enough left for 3-4 days of moderate snacking. Now they are gone. I'm sad, but happy. I had my cookies and ate them too.

Friends dont let friends eat crappy cookies. If you want them. Make them.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KBSPARKY 9/27/2012 6:21PM

    I like "I had my cookies and ate them too" :)

cookies happen to be my biggest temptation.

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HEALTHYOTTER 9/25/2012 1:35PM

    I'm of the opposite perspective on chocolate chips. If I have the bag open, and grab a tablespoon when I'm craving chocolate, it keeps me from buying junk. Funny to me that my daughter will also scoop out a tablespoon every once in a while. My boys will ignore the chocolate chips, then complain, "there's nothing sweet!"

I totally applaud your making a plan to disperse the cookies before you even start to bake them!

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RAINA413 9/23/2012 12:53PM

    I absolutely LOVE that you brought cookies to a job interview! I'd TOTALLY hire you!! Be sure to let me know how it all went.

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BEAUTY_WITHIN 9/21/2012 5:11PM

    Sounds good! Let us know how the interview went!

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LULUBELLE65 9/21/2012 6:31AM

    I am a huge "stress baker". When things are going poorly, I am usually in the kitchen up to my ears in flour and sugar. I have learned that baking is fine, but eating is not, so I bring the treats into work or take them to my bottomless-pit neighbor guy who works out every day and can afford to eat an entire cheese danish coffee cake.

A few years ago I had a really stressful job, and I took baked goods into work almost every week. Buying all that butter gets expensive; I am glad I am happy in my job now.

Your cookies sound fabulous. I might have to make them the next time I get in a mood.

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    HAHAHAHA!! This is awesome! And I love that you brought cookies to a job interview!!

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OPTIMIST1948 9/21/2012 5:48AM


FYI - I did bake cookies in my apartment, but they were for taking to someone's house. Not just for me because I'm having a sugar attack.

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JANTWO 9/21/2012 12:16AM

    LOVE homemade cookies!!!! Way to go on eating some and sharing!!!!

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MJ7DM33 9/20/2012 10:59PM


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LESLIELENORE 9/20/2012 10:14PM

    Genius! My only problem is batch size. I tend to make too big a batch. lol!!

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CINERICIA 9/20/2012 9:56PM

    Agreed. In part. Store bought cookies do not hold a candle to homemade cookies. But unfortunately, I love to bake. Little One loves to bake. And we are both quite good at it. So the need to bake cookies prior to eating them is not a deterrent in our household. We are currently working on smaller batches of baked goods as a compromise solution.

Hope the job interview went well. And I'm guessing the cookies didn't hurt.

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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 9/20/2012 9:54PM

    I admire your resourcefulness and your ability to keep yourself out of trouble. I still have problems handling having some foods in the house.

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JJAQUES41 9/20/2012 8:53PM

    Love how you manage to distribute the cookies and just leave a few for yourself-genius!

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BIGPAWSUP 9/20/2012 8:47PM

    I love it! Having to bake the cookie is an excellent idea. And you recipe sounds delicious. emoticon

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KALANTHA 9/20/2012 8:24PM

    Those cookies sound GREAT!

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DOGLADY13 9/20/2012 8:23PM

    What a great way to enjoy cookies.

Somehow about 5 years ago, I made a cookie basket for a silent auction item. 10 dozen homemade cookies, 4 different types. The basket went for $200! Go figure. I thought I'd do good if it brought in $50.

Then the word got out. Now there are three nonprofits that regularly ask me to donate one of my cookie baskets to their auction. I used to stipulate that if the basket went over $100, I'd bake 10 dozen for the high bidders, provided that they matched the highest bidder. No more. They all take me up on it. Two years ago, I had to bake 40 dozen cookies at Christmas time.

Here's the thing. I hate baking cookies. And even though I bake really delicious cookies, I don't especially want to eat them.

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FITFOODIE806 9/20/2012 8:12PM

    I love baking cookies. And I do fairly often with the kids. And yes, I eat too much cookie dough, but I'm ok with that. A friend brought over store bought cookies the other day and left them for the kids. I just ate one. Not worth it! And as soon as I read your blog titl, I hopped up and threw the rest away! So, thank you very much!!!

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What's on my iPod

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Music is motivating right? Keeps us going thru the hard workouts, the hills and when we're 80% done with the run or bike.

Unless you are me.

When headed out for a 5 miler (60 min) or another task that needs to be accomplished (house decluttering), I staple myself to it with a podcast.

This American Life
Girl on Guy with Aisha Tyler
Jillian Michaels Show
The Moth
Straight Dope
Back Story with the American History Guys
Hypothetical Help
TED Talks

FYI - A few months ago, Newsweek did a story on how to make yourself smarter and they recommended RadioLab & TED. One of the produces (Jay Abulmrod) wrote in that he was flattered to be in the same company as TED but he didnt think it was true. But you should listen anyway.

Yes there is music on my iPod and I listen to that sometimes. But the vast majority of my listening is spoken podcast-y words.

And I'm always looking for new ones. Feel free to share!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LESLIELENORE 9/15/2012 8:54PM

    I need music. I bet you learn a lot though listening to all that.

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    Great idea!

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DOGLADY13 9/15/2012 7:54PM

    I listen to many of those shows, but not on the runs. Either on the commute or when I'm on my way home from Yet Another Meeting. Sometimes I download a bunch for long car rides. Didn't think to do it this time.

I LOVE The Moth. It airs on my NPR station one night in the middle of the week. I sometimes catch it. Also like This American Life, Radiolab, Freakonomics and TED Talks. Jonathan Schwartz from WNYC NY does a great Saturday and Sunday show, but it looks like you need to download an app for you ipod to listen. It's a mix of talk and music. Jonathan Schwartz is a walking encyclopedia for American pop standards and you learn so much listening to him.

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ROXYZMOM 9/15/2012 11:05AM

    Very interesting - does your pace stay consistent?

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BIGPAWSUP 9/15/2012 8:59AM

    This is good to know. I love my music but I live audio books too. Might switch to them for longer "trips"


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KALANTHA 9/15/2012 8:27AM

    I've seen some ot the TED talks and I like them a lot!

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CINERICIA 9/15/2012 8:09AM

    I was thinking about switching to audiobooks for my long runs. Music gets me through about an hour; after that, I'm skipping everything that comes into the rotation in hopes of finding that one song that will give me a second wind.

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Zucchini is my Secret Weapon

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

En Guarde!

Well no, not really. But if you have a recipe that you would like to improve the health benefits, keep moisture, while being mostly invisible to all but the most dedicated vegetable hater -- try zucchini. I've subbed 50% for the ground beef in empanadas (small meaty turnovers) also replaced 50% of the turkey in a Enchilada Casserole. Tonight we had a "Stouffers Skillets for 2" -- well if you've ever seen the portion size on those suckers, you know you'll still be hungry after your half. Unless you chop or slice a zucchini into it while its cooking. There is plenty of sauce and now your plate overfloweth.

I might try it in Meatloaf next - but the meatloaf is my husband's, and his mother's, recipe. Messing with perfection might not go over well with the masses....(It really is *very* good...)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ILIKETOZUMBA 9/25/2012 9:19AM

    Fantastic idea! I've only ever used zucchini in baked goods...I'll have to try it in savory stuff like burgers and meatloafs (meatloaves?) and so forth. I already loooove dumping chopped frozen spinach into spaghetti sauce, but my husband doesn't care for it so much. I'll have to try sneaking in zucchini! :)

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DOGLADY13 9/14/2012 6:42PM

    You could make a mini-meatloaf with some zucchini while sticking with the original recipe for the masses.

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KWRIGHT26 9/14/2012 8:43AM

    I'd make zucchini pancakes to go with the meatloaf. No sense messing with a good thing.

I think that's a great way to eat on a budget. Meat (the weird processed stuff is not meat) is ALWAYS more expensive than produce, and adding veggies is great for stretching recipes.

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BUBBLEJ1 9/14/2012 4:17AM

    Whenever I have ground beef I always grate in heaps of zucchini. It is such an easy way to sneak in veggies (and keep the cost down, since they are so cheap when they are in season!)

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FUN2BAROUND 9/13/2012 10:51PM

    Sounds great - would never have thought to add it to meatloaf. I love to add it to spaghetti sauce, though - along with eggplant. It really bumps up the veggie content and the flavor.

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    Maybe you should leave the meatloaf as is! But everything else sounds awesome!

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ROXYZMOM 9/12/2012 10:39PM

    Thanks for the ideas. I grow them in my garden - one of the fresh vegetables I really miss in the winter. I like to sauté it in a little pepper picante EVOO with jalapeños, chicken, and tomatoes. YUM!!

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BIGPAWSUP 9/12/2012 8:55PM

    Sounds great! I don't eat meat and I'm always looking for new substitutions. I'll try zucchini and ground soy!

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RAINA413 9/12/2012 8:11PM

    Ooh!! What a fabulous idea! Please let me know how sneaking it into the meatloaf works. I usually add carrot to mine.

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CINERICIA 9/12/2012 7:47PM

    Yes! When we have a pasta based meal, I eat my 1/2 cup serving of pasta mixed with a TON of zucchini (or yellow squash) and whatever sauce we have going on. I full and satisfied and not deprived for not having a heaping helping of delicious pasta. Win. Yummy, yummy win.

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ZANNBEE 9/12/2012 7:43PM

    That's great. Will have to try it!

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IRONBLOSSOM 9/12/2012 7:22PM

    Good to know, I have enough zucchini to build a house with!

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LESLIELENORE 9/12/2012 6:56PM

    It is "zucchini abandonment" season in my family... that time of year that there are so many zucchini in the garden that we abandon them on porches all over town in drive by zucchini-ings. We pot it in EVERYTHING and still we have tons!

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ATHENAPOWER 9/12/2012 6:47PM

    Yum! I can't wait until I have a house and a garden overflowing with the ol' zuchadoodles....

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I get by with a little help from my SparkFriends

Sunday, September 09, 2012

One of the unfortunate realities of teaching is the number of germ toting kids you come in contact with. Since I've been out of the game a few years, I no longer have an immune system you can bounce quarter off of....and I got some kind of ick. Very localized in my head, but it dripped into my throat, down into my lungs and created bronchitis.

I'd been feeling guilty from missed workouts (first week, new normal, etc) so Friday, I came home Bound and Determined to get a run in.

Oh, the Heat! Oh the Humidity! I was hoping that a workout (only 20 min - 2 miles) would break up the ick and move it out, but instead it made it worse. I spent a fair chunk of Saturday feeling crummy and sorry for myself. I whined about it in a few places. I dont suffer gracefully.

Low and behold, I got lovely messages from both SparkFriends and SparkStrangers - all sending good and healthy wishes. I'm not 100% yet, but I did a 5 mile run this morning. I No PR, but I wasnt gasping for air and wiped out after a very brief while. There were a few more walk breaks than when I'm at my optimal, but when all is said and done, I was pretty satisfied with my performance.

Thank you to everyone, both for being my friend, supporting me and caring. This community really is a remarkable place.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

UNSWEETMAMA 9/22/2012 1:09AM

    This is really is a great community.

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    I'm glad you feel better! I can't run that fast for that long even without bronchitis, so I'm actually quite impressed by you!

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    I'm glad you feel better! I can't run that fast for that long even without bronchitis, so I'm actually quite impressed by you!

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RAINA413 9/12/2012 8:12PM

    So sorry to hear about the back to school yuckies. I hope that you were able to get passed it quickly and you are able to stay healthy for the rest of the school year!

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GODIVADSG 9/12/2012 8:26AM

    Hopefully by now you are starting to mend a little. The curve balls in life are difficult. Sometimes when I just have no energy to run I go to a dance DVD. Lately I have been using Bollywood DVD's. They have 15 minute workouts that are manageable when you feel so bad. I usually can do more after the first 15 minutes. They are not the cardio workout that running is but it still gets my heart rate up! Keep going.... one tissue at time! emoticon emoticon

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MISSIFISH 9/10/2012 10:06PM

    Oh, I soooo understand catching the ick when you get back to teaching! I do it at the beginning of almost every semester. It is no fun, especially when your students are just getting to know you, and you sound like a goopy man.

I send you the best wishes for a speedy recovery!

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CINERICIA 9/10/2012 11:32AM

    Kids could be used as biological warfare. Ugh.

I hope your sick is clearing up well and quickly. My enforced rest made my legs itch and had the guilt running into overtime, so you have my understanding and sympathy.

And as the household caregiver I know you are, you have every right to suffer as ungracefully as you so choose. Being vocal ensures you'll get the love and care you need. So feel free to lie on the couch under a heap of blankets and demand pillows and green tea. (Nicely, of course.)

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DOGLADY13 9/10/2012 6:50AM

    Now that's the difference. I get sick and think "Wow! I can take it easy." You get sick and think "Dang! Can't run like I want to."

Feel better soon, chickie.

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BEAUTY_WITHIN 9/9/2012 10:28PM

    Glad you're feeling better! Sorry you've been sick!

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KALANTHA 9/9/2012 5:25PM

    I have trouble jogging when I'm feeling good, so kudos to you!

I'm sorry you haven't been feeling well. I hope you're taking very good care of yourself and that you're up and around soon.

When you get back to school, make all those kiddies wash their hands! emoticon

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    Whine, it goes great with everything!
Who better to share those icky moments than with those who have all been there too?
Feel better soon. emoticon

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LESLIELENORE 9/9/2012 4:47PM

    emoticon I bet you build up an immunity pretty fast.

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    Do what you can, and keep moving towards being healthy and immune to kiddie germs!

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BIGPAWSUP 9/9/2012 12:11PM

    You are such an inspiration and motivation! I am so sorry you are sick but still amazed by what you accomplish. I hope the kiddie germs clear up soon.


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