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Vegetable Stew

Saturday, December 11, 2010

My usual Saturday morning soup-making venture -- checking to see what needs to be used from the vegetable crisper before I go grocery shopping -- resulted today in an amazing rainbow production too robust to be characterized as a mere soup. This is hearty!

Purple cabbage; two cans diced tomatoes (low sodium); five ribs of celery; about twenty baby carrots; a little brown rice, a little barley, a can of black beans rinsed carefully (all from the pantry, of course); a small yellow pepper, a small orange pepper, a small red pepper, a large green pepper; and a cup of fresh green beans. Plus a big whack of oregano, some red pepper flakes, freshly ground black pepper, and a small amount of salt.

All simmering away and ready when I got back from getting my hair trimmed (so that it looks just the same way it always does . . . exciting, no, but that's the goal).

Now, suitably warmed up, (having enjoyed two cups of chocolate almond coffee as well) I can head out and buy a few Christmas presents!

I like to think that I'm a reasonably modest person about most things -- I have a lot to be modest about, actually.

But: my soups are so good. I cannot deny that I am a veritable star at soup making!! And there's supper probably for most of next week (depending upon how greedy I get) -- ready to reheat in the microwave when I walk in the door.

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WALKINGANNIE 12/13/2010 5:04PM

    Mmmm. Comfort food of the best kind. Sounds perfect for the cold, snowy weather that we've got just now.

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EPIPHANYANGEL 12/12/2010 5:43AM

    sounds lovely. emoticon

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TRYINGHARD1948 12/11/2010 7:16PM

    Ellen, your soups are so good I can smell them here. So tasty, so tantalising with such a wonderful variety of smell sensations, it almost makes me wish it was cold here just so that I could have some soup. Hugs.

PS. You are a supremo in the soup kitchen. emoticon

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PHEBESS 12/11/2010 5:57PM

    Sounds like a wonderful stoup!!!!!

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FRACTALMYTH 12/11/2010 4:11PM

    MMmmmm my mouth is watering! Nobody here likes soups much so they never get made :( I never used to be a soup fan myself, but I think my tastes have changed, because they keep sounding SO yummy!

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DREMARGRL 12/11/2010 12:59PM

    I could only wish I were invited for lunch!! Sounds great and I love a good homemade soup. Thanks for sharing. Hope you have fun doing your Christmas shopping.
Wishing you and yours a glorious holiday season,
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LINDAW64 12/11/2010 12:36PM

    That soup sounds good emoticon

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FYRCOP 12/11/2010 12:27PM

    I love stew. I'll give your recipe a try. Last night I made a killer chili!

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Slouching towards Bethlehem

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Christmas is coming . There is lots and lots and LOTS of snow here -- and although the work is piled as high on my windowsills as that snow, still I see Christmas in the not-so-distant future, and a bit of a breather at the end of the month.

So: I'm not really slouching towards Bethlehem to be born. More like staggering towards Christmas when I plan to spend several days curled up in my armchair in front of the fireplace, toasting my toes and reading something that is not remotely related to any case or file or work-related topic.

Yessssss. Skiing downhill towards Bethlehem!! Whoooosh!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TEENY_BIKINI 12/11/2010 8:28AM

    Wow. You are too cool for school.

I actually read that twice :) It is short but so well - expressed.

Sitting in front of a fireplace sounds great right now.


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TRYINGHARD1948 12/10/2010 4:14AM

    Smiling broadly, what a way you have with words Ellen, love it.

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FRACTALMYTH 12/10/2010 2:36AM

    Yay for snow! I wish we could swap for a few hours every now and then lol... why has no one invented a teleport machine yet??? I could visit and build a snowman... and you could come here for... well... we did have a lovely sunny afternoon! I'm also slightly jealous of your workload LOL... but I have an appointment with a careers assessment officer on Monday where I get to put my case for working part time and then I get referred to a specialist employment agency, so things may start happening soon :D

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Multivitamin and Weight Loss

Monday, November 29, 2010

An article in today's Toronto Star says that taking a multivitamin helps with weight loss. Here's the link if you want to read the whole article:


In a nutshell, women who took a standard multi for 6 months lost 8 pounds more than women who took placebos. The theory is that taking the multi fills in nutritional "gaps" and revs the metabolism by some 6% while increasing satiety and reducing binge eating. The multi also reduces risk of heart attack some 41% by discouraging plaque buildup in the blood vessels, reducing inflammation and increasing arterial flexibility.

The key is to choose a multi which provides 100% of recommended daily nutrients, and then to supplement that with some additional Vitamin D3 because most multis don't provide the recently adjusted recommended amounts.

With my depodge programme, I have been eating at the low end of my calorie range. I do eat very carefully: lots of vegetables, fruits, lean protein, low or no fat dairy, whole grains: but 1200 calories makes it difficult to get the optimal nutrition in all categories every day. (In addition to calories/fat/protein/carbs I also track sodium, calcium, Vitamins A, C, D, E, folate, magnesium, etc.). So because I was noticing deficits, I had recently started taking a multi, additional calcium plus additional D3. (Recent research indicates D3 may help prevent cancer recurrence, particularly for persons living in northern climates where we tend to be sunshine deprived in winter).

The depodge is going well - I'm eying that black leather pencil skirt size 6 and thinking that any day now . . . . -- so maybe it's been the attention to micronutrients represented by the multi ++ which has been assisting as much as the low range calorie intake.

And that PGX supplement for fibre/satiety/blood sugar constancy continues to be of great assistance: this is product I really swear by when things feel like they're getting a little out of hand. It's a mulberry-derived University of Toronto "invention", so maybe not widely available outside Canada? I've mentioned it here a couple of times and would be interested to hear about others' experience with it if there's anyone else out there who has also tried it.

With my two rounds of flu, I haven't been getting in regular gym workouts -- but much as I love the gym for toning/mood control/strengthening, I know that the key to weight loss for me is nutrition tracking. And I also know that I always get right back to the gym when I'm well, so I don't worry too much about temporary interruptions.

A daily multivitamin: this is a pretty easy and low cost thing to do, especially if it helps with weight loss and weight loss maintenance. The Star article says it will: and from my own recent experience, I think maybe for me it does.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FRACTALMYTH 12/3/2010 1:01PM

    I couldn't do without my vitamins - they are a vital part of my day lol!

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PENNYAN45 12/2/2010 8:37PM

    I always feel better when I take my vitamins too. Thanks for the info.

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WALKINGANNIE 12/1/2010 3:24PM

    Thanks for the link - interesting.

Glad the depodge is going well and look forward to a photo of the leather skirt in action - or a report about it at the very least. emoticon

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PHEBESS 12/1/2010 10:41AM

    I'm a big fan of vitamins - not massive doses, just the basics. Makes a big difference, especially given the quality of produce at this time of year!

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BILBY4 11/30/2010 9:04PM

    I'm suspicious of writers who refer to 'research' and then don't state explicitly, even with a footnote, what the research was. Sorry, that's sloppy and unconvincing. Even if we don't think they made the whole thing up, why confidence should we have that they have drawn accurate conclusions from the studies?
"Thatís one reason we still recommend a multi." And the other might be the income from GoogleAds in the side panel? Just wondering.
Vitamins can only be of benefit if the diet is deficient. To my mind it's a more positive approach to consider improving the fundamentals of the diet rather than chucking a multi on top.
Hope the flu is behind you soon!
Wishing you well with your program,

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STLRZGRRL 11/30/2010 7:52PM

    Oh, I take HANDFULS of vitamins and stuff... but I have no PGX... now I must find some...

You know I am a great believer in better living through chemistry, El!!

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TRYINGHARD1948 11/30/2010 5:51PM

    that's really interesting. I do take a variety of vitamins and minerals but had not heard of the D3 - must look into it. Thanks Ellen for sharing.

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TBANMAN 11/29/2010 10:58PM

    Now I have reason to be more vigilant about taking my multi/omega 3/vit D combo. Thanks. :)

I have tried PGX without much success. Glad it works for you tho.

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DBCLARINET 11/29/2010 9:25PM

    Oooh, black leather pencil skirt... you're my hero!

Interesting article you mention. I just read something that seems to say the same thing, but from a different angle. Essentially, your body is hungry for nutrients, and if you consume a meal that doesn't provide your body the nutrients it needs, you will get "hungry" as your body attempts to make you consume the nutrients it needs. I have to imagine vitamin and mineral supplements would then also make it easier to avoid overeating.

I've been tracking a whole host of vitamins and minerals, too, and finding that I don't get the full amount in my diet, either. But I don't take a multi, I just supplement some vitamins and take a multi-mineral. Not sure if that's better, though.

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KALIGIRL 11/29/2010 9:16PM

    I don't know about helping with weight loss, but I feel much better when I take my vitamins. Extra D is a must!

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IPA-RAY 11/29/2010 9:14PM

    I never take vitamins but I can now see a New year's resolution in my future to start taking a multivitamin.

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JOPAPGH 11/29/2010 9:08PM

    Sounds like you are back making good progress. I have been traveling too much on business and the nutrition tracking has suffered. I need to get things back in line...

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Flu Two: Achoooo!!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

OK, don't wanna be whiny here but: Thursday just as I was starting to feel human again a client came in and sneezed all over me for about two and a half hours.

I did NOT shake hands: short of cowering under my desk, I did my best to avoid the fallout: I offered him Kleenex (as a pointed hint that he should cover his nose and mouth, please); I washed my own hands as soon as he left: and, today I'm sneezing. Runny-eyed. Achey. Beginning to wheeze. Sore throat. Coughing. Pretty much right back where I was last weekend.

Presumably I'm already innoculated so this will be a lighter round.

But: please explain to me why people appear in public when they are so germy as to be contagious to everyone around them? Without their own Kleenex? Without a clue that they should at least attempt to contain the spray? And not even ringing a little bell to give fair warning??

Grump grump grump grump grump. Really, I'm not usually like this. But still. Grump grump grump grump grump.

Next time (if there is a next time) I'm simply going to call a halt to the proceedings. Say buh-bye. Request that the client rebook an appointment when feeling better.

There: thanks for letting me rant a bit! And yes, it does make me feel better!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STLRZGRRL 11/30/2010 7:54PM

    Ok, ok, ok... but how much WEIGHT did you lose!?!

You KNOW there's ALWAYS an upside!!

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PHEBESS 11/29/2010 7:35PM

    The man needs a mom. To tell him to stay home and have a phone appointment when he's contagious.

What a dunderhead!

And yes, you have earned the right to grump!!!!

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WALKINGANNIE 11/29/2010 3:48PM

    Sorry to hear about this Ellen and hope you are recovering now. I don't know why some people are so reckless about spreading their germs.

Take care of yourself and get well soon.

emoticon(germ free) emoticon

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FRACTALMYTH 11/28/2010 4:22PM

    :( hope you feel better real quick! I am loving taking the boys around to swimming lessons and playgroup but I must say, there are times when I wonder if socialisation is worth it... they seem to get sicker so much more often... I had a terribly unhealthy childhood (my family nickname was 'Typhoid Michelle' lol) and it was only when I moved to the countryside and started doing uni over the internet that I FINALLY got healthy! Guess colds and flus are another thing to look forward to when I do get a job.

Thanks for yout note - I would LOVE an administrative law / govt job. Really - that's what I've been applying for mainly... just finding one that will take me and doesn't require moving the family to our political capital is the problem. Still looking though :D

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TKADEEPBREATH 11/28/2010 8:50AM

    Oh . . . poor Ms. Ellen . . . wish I could bring you over some peppermint tea and brothy chicken soup. That always makes me feel better when I'm achy. Dang, second time around. That just doesn't seem fair. I got a flu shot a couple weeks ago to avoid catching a "bug". A couple days later, it seemed like I started to feel achy and began to cough a little ( and I hardly ever cough), but it didn't hold on thank goodness. Hope you get over this quickly. Get some good rest today . . . thinking of you.

Jan emoticon

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KALIGIRL 11/28/2010 8:02AM

    I can totally relate - only wish they'd stay off the airlines...
Hope you feel better soon.

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DBCLARINET 11/27/2010 10:12PM

    Boo, I hate it when people blow their sickness all over the place. I hope you get over this new round sooner!

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TRYINGHARD1948 11/27/2010 9:22PM

    You are having a bad trot. Hope you feel better soon and yes, tell them to come back when they are better. Don't they know they are just spreading their germs? Some people!!!

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The Week Flu By

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Despite having faithfully bared my arm for a flu shot at the very first opportunity, last Saturday's long-awaited visit with my sister was accompanied by sniffles and sneezes for both of us. Which developed over the past week into aches, sore throats, barking coughs, nausea, chills -- the full panoply of flu symptoms. I made it into work every day (but not for full days): and kept my self as isolated as possible from staff/clients while stamping out urgent fires only.

Sleep, fluids, more sleep, more fluids. I'm seeing some light at the end of the tunnel -- my sister reports the same by email this morning.

Hmmm. Sometimes the only way we permit ourselves to slow down a little is to get a little sick. Although we're successful in concealing it from the world in general, my sister and I do share the same triple type A personality.

I'm impatient with all the time that has fluwn by. There's so much stuff I need to get at. My mission is to be back in full fighting form by Monday!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TEENY_BIKINI 11/24/2010 9:55PM

    Feel better soon.


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PHEBESS 11/21/2010 11:17AM

    I hope you're feeling better by now - and remember that REST is an important component of fighting off illness and healing. It really is okay to take a day of sick leave!

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PUDLECRAZY 11/21/2010 10:22AM

    Darn! I think that is what happened to me a few weeks ago. Perhaps this particular bug wasn't covered in this year's shot. I hope you feel better soon!

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DBCLARINET 11/21/2010 12:41AM

    Wow, sounds like your body really wanted a vacation, if you could call it that! I hope you feel 100% soon.

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TRYINGHARD1948 11/20/2010 5:38PM

    Take care my friend and love yourself. Hugs.

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MSSNOWY 11/20/2010 5:13PM

    Take care of yourself. Obviously your body knows how to slow down, even if you don't. Though I think I would prefer a less drastic means of doing so. Hope you get much better quickly.

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KALIGIRL 11/20/2010 5:09PM

    Sorry you and your sis were down with the grunge.
Glad you are feeling better and hope you'll be 100% by Monday!

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WALKINGANNIE 11/20/2010 4:50PM

    So sorry to hear you've been ill.

Sending best wishes for a speedy recovery and hope you're soon fully fit.

Take care.

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HAPPYNSMILING 11/20/2010 4:28PM

    Sorry to hear you are sick!!!
Hope you get to feeling better very soon!!

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JHADZHIA 11/20/2010 2:19PM

    Geez, a whole week of that, so sorry :(( Feel better soon! Hope you have a good weekend and can enjoy it at least!
I got the flu shot too.

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VENISEW1 11/20/2010 2:06PM

    Hope you & your sister feel better soon. I hate getting sick too. No one has time for it emoticon

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FLOWINGWATER 11/20/2010 1:08PM

    Ugg! Sorry to hear that you've not been well! Take Care, get plenty of rest, and get well soon!

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REILLYGIRRRL 11/20/2010 11:19AM

  Hope you feel better soon.

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