MERILYNN1's SparkPeople Blog MERILYNN1's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Happy Spring, Happy Easter Having one of those nights - got up after an hour of no sleep which is what I was told to do - waiting to be tired so I can go back to bed - just finished Diana Galbaldon's Outlander Book 8 and I'm so spoiled. Her writing is amazing and it will be a while before I can enjoy a new read. Any suggestions? - police procedurals, crime drama, espionage? Health is stable - trying to use the walker and get around more - reading and collecting recipes - why? - it's fun, interesting and living alone... Fri, 30 Mar 2018 03:07:21 EST Answering a question Was asked where I was from - answered by where I've been <BR> <BR> lived and taught 27 years in Holyoke, MA. Lived in Miami, went to school there and taught Rome, NY, Stonington, CT, Ft Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Ft Pierce, Pensacola Florida. Now retired in Amherst MA. <BR> Sun, 7 Jan 2018 12:59:52 EST GOING TO THE DOCTOR Had my 1st dr appt in a YEAR - doing ok I would say - putting me on some PT and trying to get me moving more - lately I just want to sleep = ok again until last night - appt had me anxious and I was awake every hour - bp very good - weight steady - heart rhythm steady then flipped into a-fib - normal for me - soooo - After a whole year, not bad. Guess you can tell I have been conscious of taking reasonable care of me - I really like my doctor and the folks in his office - BUT - hate "going ... Wed, 27 Dec 2017 13:11:49 EST Winter is here Looking forward to a new and more productive year. . .physically better and while sometimes I have to search to remember words doing pretty well. All kinds of things I want to share - how about a VERY ripe banana, mashed with a raw egg, spiced however you wish, whipped and blended completely, then spooned on a hot griddle in a little pancake shape. As the edges brown flip the little pancake over to cook quickly the other side. Serve with syrup, or jam, or bacon or whatever you like to serve... Wed, 21 Dec 2016 21:26:16 EST Just to share <BR> A New Day <BR> <BR><BR>s Wed, 20 Jan 2016 12:59:01 EST Did I say "change"? Remember how quickly the holidays came or how fast it was August when it seemed the summer had just started? That's how quickly life has changed around here. My health continues to hold steady - well. sorta' - the warfarin suddenly was too strong and all the warning flags went up - I missed a NYEve party because as a result of the mismedication I had two very bloodshot eyes . I didn't want to go to meet some new neighbors looking like Happy Halloween! <BR> The move to a smaller place turne... Mon, 4 Jan 2016 09:38:57 EST THERE ARE ALWAYS CHANGES - the latest from here HAPPY THANKSGIVING <BR> Thank you, LIVINGLOVENLIFE – for your remembrance of me . Thought I could write here of the latest and you dear Sparkes who are interested could learn the latest without individual posts. <BR> I am setting up a new blog post that will have interest I hope to those of you reading “specialize” posts up to now. I want to stay in touch, hope you will respond even it isn’t about food or eating – just about YOU and your thoughts. I will post that new blog address as soon ... Thu, 26 Nov 2015 06:01:02 EST A Happy "Good Morning" <BR> Without opening my eyes I knew it was light, although grey, outside. I heard a very loud purr and a comfortable warmth against my knee. I waited a bit, just enjoying the moment, and then opened my eyes to see my little Stacey, a calico cat adopted a few years ago from the local shelter. I had let her make her own connections with me and was delighted at her new move. <BR> Two days ago she had initiated a new game from the top of my bedside table and when I opened my eyes, I found h... Sat, 11 Jul 2015 18:48:08 EST SOY SAUCE SUBSTITUTE I have always loved Chinese foods but since my low salt diet, they have been really forbidden – soy sauce too, too much sodium for me. So excited the other day when I found a substitute for the culprit – that delicious soy sauce. Honestly when I used this recipe in a favorite Chinese dish, I couldn’t tell that there was no soy sauce in it. The substitute has only 21.0 mg sodium per tablespoon. <BR> Try it - <BR> Ingredients <BR> 2 Tbsp Sodium Free Beef Bouillon <BR> 2 tsp Red Wine Vineg... Thu, 9 Jul 2015 17:14:05 EST Low Sodium Soy Sauce Substitute I have always loved Chinese foods but since my low salt diet, they have been really forbidden – soy sauce too, too much sodium for me. So excited the other day when I found a substitute for the culprit – that delicious soy sauce. Honestly when I used this recipe in a favorite Chinese dish, I couldn’t tell that there was no soy sauce in it. The substitute has only 21.0 mg per tablespoon. <BR> Try it - <BR> Ingredients <BR> 2 Tbsp Sodium Free Beef Bouillon <BR> 2 tsp Red Wine Vinegar <BR... Thu, 9 Jul 2015 17:11:26 EST An "Educated" Palate <BR> <BR> An “Educated” Palate <BR> I heard a TV chef today on line say that his daughter already has a great palate. In growing up in Miami, Stonington, CT, and Holyoke MA, I never heard that term and even now – and I am 80 – it is a new and exciting idea. I’m hearing words – brightness, snap, bite, depth, layers of flavor – and now that I am retired and mostly housebound , I have time to explore all these new and exciting ideas. <BR> At home and during my years in the convent food was ... Sat, 27 Jun 2015 21:11:21 EST Low Sodium Resource <BR> I really like this web site - refer to it often <BR> <BR> The Daily Dish <BR> <BR> Low Sodium Recipes & MORE. Thu, 11 Jun 2015 20:24:05 EST IN MY NEXT LIFE - <BR> If I have any say (: ) in my next life, I know what I want to be. I’ve done a lot of things in my 80 years. I graduated high school in 1952 and there were just so many (so few?) professions open to young women. I have been an office worker, a long distance telephone operator, a medical receptionist, a securities researcher and reporter in a major insurance company, a secretary to a college administrator. I trained – or actually, they trained me, two Morgan horses, showed one and wa... Sat, 30 May 2015 14:11:39 EST SODIUM IN CHEESE Was wanting to make a simple dish that included cheese and realized the cheese was pushing up the sodium content of the dish. Searched on line rather than take the time to check out a book and I found, almost immediately, <BR> <BR><BR>tion/food/cheese/sodium <BR> <BR> If you have any sodium concerns - check it out. I was pleased! Sat, 30 May 2015 14:06:12 EST "YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE" A memory flash - <BR> <BR> On a recent TV commercial an old gentleman sings a few bars of “You Are My Sunshine”, a popular song , first recorded in 1939 and declared one of the state songs of Louisiana. <BR> <BR> I first heard that song years ago. I was 6 years old – and in love. Gene Autry sang it in 1941 and once I heard him sing it and saw him on his beautiful horse I determined he would just have to wait for me – to get old enough to marry him! <BR> Many nights if there was ... Thu, 28 May 2015 11:13:16 EST Tired of cereal, smoothies et al? Found this just now and I'm headed to the kitchen to try it: <BR> <BR> Avocado and Salmon Low-Carb Breakfast <BR> Serves: 1 <BR> Ingredients <BR> • 1 ripe organic avocado (about 100 grams or 2.5 oz) <BR> • 2 oz of wild caught smoked salmon <BR> • (1 oz of fresh, soft goat cheese <BR> • 2 tablespoons of organic extra virgin olive oil <BR> • the juice of 1 lemon <BR> • a pinch of sea salt <BR> Instructions <BR> 1. Cut the avocado in two and remove the seed <BR> 2. In a small ... Sun, 3 May 2015 09:49:44 EST Learning new stuff <BR> Several weeks ago I bought the NuWave Mini Oven. It is just the right size for me cooking only for myself. It took me a little time to go play with it – I am one who wants to read all the accompanying instructions for a new appliance and the cookbook before I jump right in. Well, I “jumped in” last night. I wanted a hard- boiled egg and “experimented”. I took a raw egg , opened the mini oven and put the egg onto the rack. In 14 minutes, on the #9 heat button the oven buzz sounded... Fri, 24 Apr 2015 20:46:30 EST Another source for you If you like to explore new recipe/food sites do look at : <BR> Weekly Digest Bulletin <BR> <BR> <BR> I found the food tips helpful and the recipe section full of quick, easy and nutritious dishes. <BR> I searched for the low sodium section and found many helpful recipes there that are simple and reasonable with short lists of ingredients (I skip recipes that have long lists of requirements!). The nutrition lists with the recipes a... Mon, 20 Apr 2015 17:27:49 EST Chrispys My favorite dish for my evening meal (“supper” here) is a creamy soup, a light green salad and chips and a dip. I was tired of low sodium crackers and trying to cut back the sodium even more - and trim the grocery costs too. Got a great idea one night when I was watching a cooking show on TV. The recipe called for corn tortillas (they are no sodium) cut unto quarters (I do eighths). Then I put them all in a big bowl, sprinkled them with olive oil and then dusted them with Mrs.Dash’s no s... Thu, 9 Apr 2015 16:09:32 EST MEMORY FLASH <BR> <BR> <BR> Not long ago on TV’s “ CHOPPED” one item in the basket for the competing chefs to cook was a cow’s tongue. Not very appetizing-looking but no one was groaning. Except the host who commented that he didn’t like “the bumps”. <BR> <BR> <BR> Memory exploded and I was about 12, sitting with my family at the dinner table. We were in the Miami kitchen with a corner bench and table that was one of my favorite places in our new home. Mom had served all except her “surprise” –... Wed, 8 Apr 2015 19:19:24 EST I Just Can't Help Myself ! <BR> Today I found a wealth of low sodium recipes (after I typed low sodium into the search box) and all sorts of other interesting recipes on a web site - really - INSANITY IS NOT AN OPTION ! I have enjoyed it so much, marked things I want to try that I just have to share it. Have fun !! Fri, 13 Feb 2015 17:21:56 EST Another reference Another quick one – on find “ Genius salt-slashing tips and recipes.” Fun and profitable reading. I’ve pretty much stopped reading all recipes that appeal and then have to modify them to lower the salt content. Years ago, that was the only way but today – low sodium easy to find. Just – be sure to check the nutritional ingredients. I have found that “low sodium” often doesn’t meet my idea of low sodium. Thu, 12 Feb 2015 13:27:26 EST A Happy Discovery This is just a short one to tell you about Trader Joe's Just surfing on line and put in the search box "Trader Joe's Low Sodium". A pages long list of low sodium products in his stores popped up! Those of you who are stuck with low sodium as I am and LOVE Trader Joe's as I do - go check it out - have fun! <BR> . Wed, 11 Feb 2015 17:30:47 EST Report to Update Friends Christmas Eve <BR> Can¡'t believe Christmas is here so SOON! I have never been so behind¨ before but life got in the way. The cumaden and my INR got out of balance and I made the mistake of blowing my nose one evening. When after a couple of hours and a glorious mess I couldn't get it to stop I had to call 911. Had a nosebleed 15 years ago almost as bad (that from med I was given too) so it was a little scary. To make a long story short, since last Thursday I have had 4 ambulance rides ,... Wed, 24 Dec 2014 17:43:12 EST HOLIDAY IMPOSSIBLE <BR> I just finished watching Robert Irvine on the Food Network. He usually hosts the show the show Restaurant Impossible, but today he spent his time and the money provided to him to help the wonderful camp in the Adirondack Mountains of New York, the Double H Ranch for children who are severely handicapped in so many life threatening ways. Watching the children, their joy, their enthusiasm. the way they join in the many activities is inspiring. The volunteers who work at the Ranch an... Mon, 8 Dec 2014 23:17:46 EST CORN CAKES - AREPAS A while ago I came across the word “arepa”. “Arepa” ?? I went on a search and have been delighted at what I found. Arepas, a staple food in both Venezuela and Columbia are made from a special precooked corn flour (Masarepa – I ordered mine from Amazon as I don’t get out to shop). They can be simply made without salt. I used Mrs. Dash salt free French Onion Soup powder (about ½ the little package) in place of the salt. These crispy goodies provide me with “crackers” without the salt and a... Sun, 7 Dec 2014 08:21:15 EST A QUICK ONE Life and age have been getting in my way lately but I am beginning to get back to activities I enjoy - and this blog is one of them. Just got a newsletter from one of my favorite low sodium authors whom I highly recommend to you who are on this low sodium journey with me. Web address is If this doesn't work it's because I got it wrong. You have my permission to shout insults and I will try again!!Hope your Thanksgiving was a happy one (did you know that calories are free o... Mon, 1 Dec 2014 17:26:06 EST BACKYARD - A REVIEW <BR> BACKYARD by Norman Draper <BR> Flower Gardeners, this book is for you! Those of you who have not only nodding acquaintance but probably speaking acquaintance as well with all the individual flower "characters" present in these pages will be delighted. There is a plot revolving around a gardening contest and the neighborhood psychopath who is determined to maintain her esteemed position at all costs. The rather weak plot is vastly overshadowed by the beauty of the author's word pictures... Thu, 6 Nov 2014 17:55:17 EST KEEP IT or TOSS IT? <BR> When I was forced to actually cook, to give up prepared foods, to pay attention to numbers other than those for calories, I had a problem. I never had learned how to deal with foods in their natural forms! Who needs it, I thought – there are some wonderful prepared meals in the frozen foods aisle or in my favorite restaurants. In the way it always happens, life changes. In my new circumstances, going low sodium, I had to learn to prepare food for myself and discovered that - it was... Tue, 14 Oct 2014 08:47:07 EST SHARING WHAT I CAN ABOUT LOW SODIUM LIVING SHARING WHAT I CAN ABOUT LOW SODIUM LIVING <BR> Hi and welcome, I was restricted to 1400mg of sodium more than a year ago and know how hard it is to get started eating the way your doctor prescribes. Lists of low sodium foods were hard to find and consisted mostly of generalities –but - they are a good start. Just enter “ low sodium food list” into your search engine and you will find lots of information <BR> I like to cook so went almost exclusively for low sodium recipes and there are s... Sun, 12 Oct 2014 14:48:24 EST Sheer Torture I was in the fifth grade, I think, in the years when kids my age went out with their parents for evening walks. We lived on NE 77th Street – just a short way from a small area in Miami known as Little River. I remember two things about a walk we took one evening. First, I will always remember that the night lights drew roach-like bugs to the sidewalks in front of the stores – and they crunched underfoot. Yuck! <BR> The second memory is so much more outstanding, so wonderful. It is of... Thu, 9 Oct 2014 22:48:07 EST FINALLY A DECISION <BR> I made a visit to A Senior Retirement community this week and felt quite comfortable there. I have been researching what is available and what I can afford for some time. Decided it was time to do some “tours”. My thought was I should have a place to go should my health fail and I be unable to make plans or to live on my own. I don’t expect to be getting better after all. I have memory, concentration problems now and it is hard to get around because of arthritis pain and a heart fa... Fri, 18 Jul 2014 22:23:28 EST A Book Review I just submitted my review of "Accidents of Marriage" by Randy Susan Meyers. It will be released in early September and I thought I would share it with you. It is a novel I liked for its real characters but was disturbed by the out of control anger and tension that was tearing the family apart. That said, I wrote : “ Ben, Maddy and their children, their own parents, in-laws and siblings are like the family next door, folks I have known for years. Although I knew the love they sh... Sun, 29 Jun 2014 22:18:54 EST Acceptance I think we all have seen a small child denied some activity or a longed for food. Depending on the nature and age of the child a tantrum could follow. The little one hasn’t learned yet that what is, in some instances, is what is. <BR> One would think that first slap on the bottom of a newborn would at least begin to set the stage, but it is not the case. Speaking for myself, not even the struggle to accept my situations has taught me – I am giving in and accepting WHAT IS a little better t... Tue, 17 Jun 2014 10:21:55 EST I Asked "What next?" <BR> I got the answer to my question in a most delightful way. As "turn about is fair play" I have to tell you about a commercial to love. Friskies put out an ad that within two days was so popular I'm told that it had 6 to 8 million hits. I must admit I go back and watch it and love it more every time. If you haven't seen it, if you love small critters, <BR> put the words DEAR KITTEN in your Search bar and enjoy. Tue, 17 Jun 2014 10:18:05 EST TV COMMERCIALS – WHAT NEXT? <BR> Have you found that when an interesting food product is advertised a web address is often given that provides more ideas about using the product? I really like some of the commercials that have taken over our TV screens. For example, one that has nothing to do with foods but really cute - the new Laer Realty ad – that wonderful lion lying protectively across the front porch – the commercial ends with a darling kitten imitating the lion’s roar! <BR> But there are others that don’t re... Sat, 24 May 2014 13:59:35 EST Review of THE FORTUNE HUNTER I recently had the pleasure as a BookBrowse member to read and review an advanced copy of THE FORTUNE HUNTER by Daisy Goodwi, St.Martin’s Press. It was hard to put down and I was sorry when dawn came and the story ended. My review for BookBrowse follows. <BR> " THE FORTUNE HUNTER <BR> By Daisy Goodwin <BR> Daisy Goodwin serves up a slice of history presented by characters so alive they can neither be overlooked nor forgotten. The mind-set of the 19th century, its customs and levels o... Sun, 6 Apr 2014 14:20:15 EST Review - In Praise of Hatred As a member of BookBrowse I am often able to read and review advance reading copies. I just finished In Praise of Hatred by Khaled Khalifa - St Martin's Press. <BR> <BR> My review for your general interest - <BR> The best way for me to be informed is to read fiction based on real lives, real events. This is what I gained from IN PRAISE OF HATRED. I felt no connection to the characters portrayed but the novel clarified the violence in the Middle East, let me see the hatred of th... Tue, 4 Mar 2014 13:47:37 EST My Miraculous? TV <BR> <BR> Yes. I was beginning to think either my TV was miraculous or I (?) was. It happened almost every time I was watching TV. It got much worse when I started watching the food channel. My weight seemed to be increasing too. What do I mean “starting” to be increasing – it really was. <BR> The problem (or miracle) was that whenever some tasty food, like steak or bacon or pizza (my weakness!) appeared on the screen I could SMELL it! The better and longer the tempting fra... Fri, 31 Jan 2014 22:00:34 EST Just to Share Came across this today and thought perhaps I wasn't the only person who would like to see it. <BR> <BR> <BR> Today I Will Trust <BR> <BR> "Today, I will stop straining to know what I don't know. <BR> To see what I can't see. <BR> To understand what I don't yet understand. <BR> I will trust that being is sufficient, <BR> And I will let go of my need to figure things out." <BR> <BR> <BR> You are reading from the book: <BR> The Language of Letting Go by Melody... Sat, 14 Dec 2013 20:02:59 EST Remembering and Now Understanding Funny how the joys of the young are sometimes repeated in the attitudes of the elderly, and I guess that’s me now. Watching the snow blow across my window today I remembered very clearly the snowy day my brother and I stood outside of our garage at home. We each held the ropes of our sleds and with open mouths attempted to catch the heavy flakes. I wasn’t outside today and wasn’t laughing happily but I was enjoying the falling and drifting snow. <BR> <BR> When I was older and boarding my h... Sat, 14 Dec 2013 19:39:22 EST FINALLY BACK FINALLY BACK <BR> Hi Spark friends !! Yes, finally my computer, my desktop, (old but I love it,) and I (not old but maybe a little) seem to be back in better health. Missed you all at Spark and many thanks to you who didn’t give up on me! <BR> In the intervening months I’ve been learning a bunch of new stuff, for example use of a walker, how to cook and appreciate low/no salt cooking and thanks to Mrs. Dash, not as hard as I feared. Have to admit though, I really long sometimes for a lo... Fri, 8 Nov 2013 20:13:53 EST Happy Chapters HAPPY CHAPTERS <BR> <BR> Did you ever read a book that had chapters you skipped? (I often skip chapters in the mysteries of Patricia Cromwell – too graphic!) It occurred to me that our lives are like a book we are writing. We can actually break the book we are writing, our lives, into chapters. When I lost my horse I was so miserable, I avoided doing the horse photography that I loved so much. I didn’t visit friends’ stables, didn’t want to smell the fragrance of new hay. I cut myself of... Fri, 15 Feb 2013 10:33:55 EST A Great Audience I was in a classroom, sitting in a front desk. Except for the desk behind me (a boy I didn’t know) and the one beside me – where the teacher had been sitting, the room was pretty empty. Most students were at an assembly – we were getting our new assignments. The boy ahead of me read his work aloud and it was not nice about President Obama. After a paragraph or two, the teacher stopped him with a brief thank you and handed me my assignment – to read a poem I liked. It wasn’t in my book no... Mon, 8 Oct 2012 18:10:57 EST Just WHEN did this happen? <BR> <BR> <BR> WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN? <BR> <BR> <BR> It all seemed to happen overnight. Those top shelves in the kitchen got higher – didn’t they? Now I have trouble changing my bed and reading paperbacks whose print gets smaller and smaller every year. They have made bottle and jar caps smaller and tighter I’m sure as well as making the contents just a tad less than they used to – but, hey, the price, for a smaller amount has gone UP! <BR> <BR> Then there are the more important – I ... Mon, 17 Sep 2012 07:39:32 EST A Bad Habit I'm sure we all have had this experience - going on a diet, seeing the weight come down - and then not following through and seeing the weight come back - a lot more quickly than it was lost! If only the $$$ in my wallet worked that way!) <BR> I wonder why I drop something that has made me happy - don't have time to plan the meals I tell myself. . .excuses, excuses, excuses or to sit down and visit with good people. More excuses ! <BR> It's not the diet thing that is bothering me the most. ... Sun, 25 Mar 2012 11:32:23 EST An interesting, but disturbing, book I recently reviewed Brilliantly Written <BR> I didn’t know much about North Korea and I’m not sure I want to know any more now. The Orphan Master’s Son is so brilliantly written, I found myself immediately involved in the lives of the of the characters. I’m glad I read it but wish I hadn’t felt so personally involved – no objectivity here. The writing captured me completely and I could read just so much at a time. I am conflicted. I have to say it is a wonderful/awful book and I’ll never in the future hear the w... Mon, 7 Nov 2011 16:48:24 EST TIME WELL SPENT <BR> <BR> I’m sure you know how household tasks pile up when you have been, not exactly sick, but certainly unwell for a time. Things become “untidy”. (What a great word!) An old southern gentleman I knew once looked around such a room and said “ Watch out in here. You’re apt to get snake bit’”. As I looked around here today, I could hear him saying it. I think those we love never really leave us as long as their memory is held lovingly in our hearts so it seemed I could hear his voice... Tue, 20 Sep 2011 15:48:47 EST "Pride Goeth. . ." “Pride Goeth. . . “ <BR> <BR> <BR> I have always been early to appointments –ok, I have prided myself on being early. I had one of those subsequent falls (Pride goeth before the fall…) last week – But it was only because I wasn’t paying attention. I was late for a doctor’s appointment – well, not LATE, LATE, but exactly on time and for me, that’s late. <BR> <BR> Driving over to her office, I had been mentally searching the freezer to plan the dinner menu, when I realized I didn’t know wh... Tue, 6 Sep 2011 18:01:07 EST Just Thinking ***** <BR> <BR> When you do all the talking you only learn what you already know. <BR> <BR> ***** <BR> <BR> Fear is the darkroom where negatives are developed. <BR> <BR> ***** <BR> <BR> If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn't lead anywhere. <BR> <BR> ***** <BR> <BR> Worth thinking about? Take care - Meri <BR> <BR> from Hazelden publication Mon, 20 Jun 2011 09:16:00 EST