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My Confession.

Friday, October 22, 2010

I have a confession to make.
When I left my banking job after 28+ years at the end of last year, I came home and started to cook.
I didn't cook for a day. I cooked everyday for many months.
The cooking wasn't the problem, it was all the eating I was doing.
And I ended up putting on 27 pounds. That's 27 pounds on an already overweight body.
I had definitely 25 pounds or so to lose before I started my cooking marathon.
So by June, 2010 I had well over 50 pounds to lose.
I have lost about half that amount. The half that I should never had put on, but for many reasons did.

I really think it's been a blessing in disguise.

Because it made me sit up and take notice.
Notice of what I was and wasn't doing in and for my life.
It was at that point that I found Spark People.
And I give Spark People alot of credit for helping me 'unearth' the real me.

For helping me to re-learn how to eat and how to move - in a very healthy way.

While I have gained and lost weight too many times in my life to count; I haven't lost weight and changed my habits like I am now.
While I have had support along the way before; I haven't had the type of consistent support that I have found here at Spark People.

Every step of my way, I have been blessed beyond measure.
The God that has given me life, my life - has walked and continues to walk with me everyday. He has brought such wonderful, new people - Spark People - into my life. And I am so grateful!

My Spark Friends encourage and motivate me in ways I never imagined possible.

I have a ways to go, yet. And I have to learn how to live a lifetime with these new habits...but each day I feel more confident...that I don't have to do this all alone...there's support in so many ways, and offered by so many people - along my way.

Spark Friends, I thank you and I appreciate you!

Have a wonderful weekend!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SNARDEESNIFF 10/23/2010 9:12PM

    What an awesome blog, Maria. I feel so much like you do, I believe. I am just so amazed that by using SP, I am able to DO this, and it isn't really all that hard. Yes, it is work, but very do-able work with all the motivation, support, and resources available on SP!

I want you to know that I also appreciate you for your support to me. Thanks, dear friend.


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CARRENK 10/23/2010 2:48PM

    Thank you for your inspirational thoughts. It is such a blessing to have you on Spark and on my team!

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ZACKSMOM7 10/23/2010 7:55AM

  Awesome blog and you can do it!! emoticon

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LILLYPILLY24 10/23/2010 3:41AM

    You're doing it! How great to realise where you've come from and be grateful for the wake-up call your extra (extra! lol) weight was. I think by our tickers that we're in about the same position - keep going, you've encouraged me today.

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ROSEWCI 10/22/2010 3:59PM

    Oh Maria, you are an AWESOME lady! I'm very moved by your honesty...& I'm so humbled that you're sharing a part of yourself with all of us! Oh, I KNEW you could cook! And if I was around someone who cooks like you do...well, I'd be in BIG time trouble!

...cause I like to eat! emoticon

Seriously though, I'm so glad you found SparkPeople too! I love when you share your recipes & thoughts about things you've read. You're always so joyful & giving...& such a delight!You're ALWAYS right there to give a compliment, to cheer us on, & so quick to console! You are a very special friend, indeed! I wish you an abundance of good health & wellness, my friend! You are most deserving!

emoticon Rose

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THINRONNA 10/22/2010 3:48PM

    I love this blog! You will do this Maria! You have the best attitude and such a healthy outlook. I don't know when I have ever met such a positive person. I love that you are getting healthy and losing weight but that you don't have to give up your love of cooking. We appreciate you too and all of your lovely blogs and words of encouragement. We will be here for you and look forward to your successes! emoticon

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"Just One" - My Inspirational Reading for Today...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I came across this poem today and decided to share it with my Spark Friends.

Just One
(Author Unknown)

One song can spark a moment,
One flower can wake the dream
One tree can start a forest,
One bird can herald spring.

One smile begins a friendship,
One handclasp lifts a soul.
One star can guide a ship at sea,
One word can frame the goal.

One vote can change a nation,
One sunbeam lights a room
One candle wipes out darkness,
One laugh will conquer gloom.

One step must start each journey.
One word must start each prayer.
One hope will raise our spirits,
One touch can show you care.

One voice can speak with wisdom,
One heart can know what's true,
One life can make a difference,
You see, it's up to you!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    I love this one Maria!

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ROSEWCI 10/21/2010 3:33PM

    One is a mighty powerful number, now isn't it my friend!

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QUILTINGQUE 10/21/2010 3:18PM

    Thank you for sharing. You made me smile

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Inspirational Weight Loss Quotes

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Inspirational Weight Loss Quotes

I went looking for inspiration today. Like if I could just find it, I could have it.
What I did find were some interesting, thought provoking quotes.
While just reading them won’t necessarily inspire me to change…they did get me thinking.

So I will share them here today with you.

Which one “speaks” to you today?

I tend to think like Mr. Iacocca – if I work at it and want it bad enough, I’ll get it.

Mr. Marston also made me think…My goals minus my doubts equal my reality? I have to work on getting rid of my doubts if I want the reality I am dreaming of.

Ellen Degeneres:
You have to stay in shape. My grandmother, she started walking five miles a day when she was 60. She's 97 today and we don't know where the hell she is.

Benjamin Franklin:
You may delay, but time will not.

David Viscott:
You must begin to think of yourself as becoming the person you want to be.

Eleanor Roosevelt:
You must do the thing you think you cannot do.

George Bernard Shaw:
You see things; and you say "Why?" But I dream things that never were; and I say "Why not?"

Ralph Marston:
Your goals, minus your doubts, equal your reality.

George S. Patton:
You're never beaten until you admit it.

Lee Iacocca:
You've got to say, I think that if I keep working at this and want it badly enough I can have it. It's called perseverance.

Unknown Author:
You don't drown by falling in the water. You drown by staying there.

Unknown Author:
You don't realize how strong a person really is until you see them at their weakest moment.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Love this blog maria! The drowning in water quote has to be my favorite, think I will be stealing that one! :)

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GRACENFAITH 10/21/2010 10:02AM

    Something that has stayed with me is...
Hope can be ignited by a spark of encouragement.
So be encouraged in your journey for weigh lose and everything else your heart desires. Have a Blessed day:)
emoticonWalking with God

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REEDSKI 10/20/2010 3:08PM

    I love Ellen's quote because it took me by surprise. I was expecting a serious, thought-provoking gem but was caught off guard picturing Ellen's grandma out there walking. I laughed out loud.

Eleanor Roosevelt's quote means a lot to me because I have to overcome my fear of certain things and just do them. It reminds me of the time I jumped off the high board at the pool just because I didn't think I could. It was just something I had to do. It wasn't a fancy dive or even a real jump. Just a timid step off the board and down. But I did it. I survived. And I was proud of myself. (I was in my 30s when I did that.)

And sometimes there are things we have to do that we don't really want to do. Like when I have to speak to a classroom full of parents on Parent Orientation Night. I always think,"Tomorrow at this time this will be over." I can make it through this!

I am taking a class called "Habits of the Mind" The first habit is is "Persisting". Deacon Joe's column in our church bulletin this week said that this week's readings encourage us to be persistant. Then I read Lee Iococca's quote on perseverance and I thought, "Wow! Everywhere I turn I see the words persist or persevere.!"

Thanks for sharing them. When I go to the Catholic team blogs I don't even know the blog is yours most of the time. I pick them because of the titles you give them. They exude motivation, positive thinking, and encouragement!

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THINRONNA 10/20/2010 2:49PM

    I like Ellen's quote but just because I like Ellen ( Degeneres) But I think that David Viscott's quote suits me best. Thank you for this!

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ROSEWCI 10/20/2010 2:26PM

    Love this blog Maria! These get me to thinking! I think I like Lee Iacocca's quote the best. It sounds like something I would say...& I'm a BIG proponent of getting the job done because I want it that badly!

Thanks for sharing!

emoticon Rose

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MYSHANON 10/20/2010 2:04PM

    Nice! :)

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***Now We're Cooking...Roasted Squash & Vegetables***

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

***Now We’re Cooking…Roasted Squash and Vegetables.***

I made a large pan of roasted winter squash and vegetables last evening for dinner.

It was truly a wonderfully flavorful way to eat more vegetables and to use some of the squash that we have (there’s a large wheelbarrow full!).
So, today I noticed that there’s a recipe and video on Spark People by Chef Meg for Roasted Vegetables.

Here’s my recipe:

Roasted Squash and Vegetables

1 small butternut (or any winter) squash, cubed
2 red bell peppers, seeded and diced
1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
3 Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed
1 red onion, quartered
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 475 degrees F (245 degrees C).
In a large bowl, combine the squash, red bell peppers, sweet potato, and Yukon Gold potatoes. Separate the red onion quarters into pieces, and add them to the mixture.
In a small bowl, stir together thyme, rosemary, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Toss with vegetables until they are coated. Spread evenly on a large roasting pan.
Roast for 35 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven, stirring every 10 minutes, or until vegetables are cooked through and browned.

12 Servings
123 Calories per Serving
4.7 g fat
45 mg sodium
20 g carbohydrates
3.1 g fiber
2 g protein

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ROSEWCI 10/20/2010 7:20AM

    Yummy! I have a squash that's just sitting here, by golly! Gonna make this today! Thanks for sharing the recipe! You're ALWAYS cooking up something good my friend!!!

emoticon Rose

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COOKWITHME65 10/20/2010 6:37AM

    Gee Maria you must have had a large garden. I have never tried to grow winter squash. Maybe next year. I love roasted vegetables. It brings out there sweetness. Yum. emoticon

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CARRENK 10/19/2010 5:12PM

    Sounds yummy!

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LADYIRISH317 10/19/2010 3:26PM

    Yummy! I'm going to have to try that. I love winter and root vegetables.

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THINRONNA 10/19/2010 1:58PM

    I have been roasting vegetables too lately. I know I'm always taking about what we don't have here but ...we don't get winter squash here as a rule...however I do think I will be getting to the ethnic market soon to try and find a pumpkin for Halloween and they might have some winter squash there. I'll have to bring Liam in the back pack and push the baby carriage to carry it all home!

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COOPIE1212 10/19/2010 1:48PM

  sounds delicious

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Cook This! Stuffed (Medjool) Dates

Monday, October 18, 2010

Cook This! Stuffed (Medjool) Dates

I found it! A recipe for stuffing my beloved Medjool Dates.

This recipe stuffs them with almonds & blue cheese and then wraps them in bacon.

How can this be okay to eat, you ask?

Well, first of all the recipe comes from the newly released “Cook This, Not That! Easy & Awesome 350-Calorie Meals.”

This recipe can be found in Chapter 3 – Appetizers & Small Bites.
A serving is 2 stuffed dates @ 220 calories.

It’s one of those foods I will make during the holidays (not every day!) and will limit myself to 2 (portion control).

I made a similar recipe last holiday season but I don’t even want to know the calorie and fat content of that recipe…plus, I sure didn’t think about portion size or control.

This takes me back to my philosophy that I can eat anything I want, if I really want it, occasionally and in moderation.

I did buy Medjools this past weekend at Trader’s Joes. I had 2 (serving size, 110 calories) with my lunch today.

Nice, sweet fruit serving that I will only eat in season. If you haven’t had a Medjool and you like dates, I urge you to try them.

See an earlier blog post where I talked about the nutritional value they posses. They are an awesome source of potassium.

Finally, here’s the recipe:

Stuffed Dates

8 Medjool Dates
8 almonds
¼ cup crumbled blue cheese
4 strips of bacon, cut in half
Black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Using a sharp paring knife, make a slit across the length of a date so that the pocket in the fruit is exposed. Remove the small pit inside the date and replace with an almond. Spoon about ½ tablespoon of blue cheese into the pocket, so that it’s tightly stuffed but not overflowing with cheese. Place the date at the bottom of the bacon strip half and roll up as tightly as possible. Secure with a toothpick. Repeat with the remaining 7 dates.

Place the dates on a nonstick baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes, until the bacon has rendered and is brown and crispy. Top each with a bit of black pepper and serve.

Makes 4 servings of 2 per serving.

220 Calories per serving.

Estimated cost per serving: $1.76.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

THINRONNA 10/19/2010 1:53PM

    I love the idea of date with blue cheese...I really had never thought of it before. Thank you for the recipe...we don't have the same kind of bacon here so I might omit it and just try it slightly warmed. I thought of you today when I was working with dates! I still plan to try your sticky pudding maybe next week. emoticon

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PETUNIAPIG 10/19/2010 9:48AM

    Recently my husband attended a cook-out and grilled up a recipe called "Devils on Horseback". He took a Medjool date and stuffed it with a slice of jalepeno, dark chocolate, marcona almond slice and then wrapped it in bacon. People raved about it.
Thanks for posting your blog and sharing your recipe!!

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HEALTHYASHLEY 10/19/2010 7:30AM

    My grandfather used to love dates stuffed with walnuts and peanut butter. We sell them as an appetizer at my work with gorgonzola and walnuts inside. They are always very popular. Thanks for sharing!

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REEDSKI 10/19/2010 7:16AM

    My father-in-law, who passed away last spring, used to cover the dates hanging on the trees in his yard in the Valley so the birds wouldn't get them while they ripened. They weren't medjools, per se, but they were good! One of my happy memories.

I recently was looking at a package of dates at Sprouts thinking about buying them. I have no idea if they were medjools. I'll go to Trader Joe's.
Thanks for the recipe!


I saw a guy wearing a t-shirt on a cooking show that read Bacon: Meat Candy

Comment edited on: 10/19/2010 7:22:41 AM

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COOKWITHME65 10/19/2010 7:06AM


Bob and I actually went to Trader Joes monday afternoon and saw these. I was thinking of you but didn't know how to prepare them. Then I log on this morning and you posted a recipe with them. How funny. I will have to get some for the holidays. It will make a nice appetizer.

Thankyou for the recipe.

- Kristan emoticon

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ROSEWCI 10/18/2010 8:45PM

    You do make them sound yummy! I'm going to get some & try 'em! Thanks for the recipe Maria! emoticon Rose

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MRSBENNETT2 10/18/2010 8:04PM

    I really love dates. I used to think my grandparents were weird when they'd eat dried fruit - candy was so much better, right? Now I have to really limit myself when theres' dried fruit around. I've never made stuffed dates, but I'd like to try 'em stuffed with cream cheese.

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