MNNICE's SparkPeople Blog MNNICE's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community 17th New Thing The end of the 17th week of 2013 drawing near, and I've continued my quest to do/try something I've never done before each week of the year. Sometimes I have to think hard to come up with something, and sometimes it just happens. Our local Kiwanis Club has a Prayer Breakfast every year where invite the public to join them for an hour before work for some prayer, song and a speaker. I have never attended the breakfast. This year, however, I was asked to represent my church by playing piano a... Sat, 4 May 2013 21:24:08 EST Kefir We've now completed 16 weeks of 2013 and I continue my quest to try or do something new every week throughout the year. Week 16 found me buying a carton of Nancy's Lowfat Raspberry Kefir. I liked the tartness of it. I think it would make a nice ingredient to add to a smoothie. I've been drinking just half a serving of it as a snack. Basically it tastes better than I had expected, and I definitely liked it. I would describe it as "a yogurt smoothie". I think yogurt is a little more fil... Tue, 23 Apr 2013 23:18:49 EST DUH! (a lightbulb moment) I've often been frustrated by the SP tracker when Iwould log something and the nutrition content wouldshow different numbers than those on my package of the exact same product did. Finally this morning it dawned on me -- Take a look at, for instance, a piece of string cheese that has traditionally always been 1 oz. My package now says .833 oz. Hence, the nutrition information entered earlier in time is going to have more calories, etc. than the newer packages where the producers are tryin... Sun, 14 Apr 2013 11:45:12 EST Something New - Week 15 Yesterday I did something I don't believe I've ever done before -- something I neither enjoyed nor planned on doing. I shoveled a foot of snow off my sidewalk in April. And I don't want to do it again! Fri, 12 Apr 2013 22:20:50 EST Week 14 Easter was approaching and my hubby was feeling terrible with an awful cold and coughing so hard it would hurt his sides and leave him short of breath. I did NOT want to catch it and get sick, especially with the holiday coming up. I decided to take a chance on something I'd never done before -- I got some Airborne, which is supposed to help minimize symptoms and duration of a cold. In addition to taking the tablets, I got rest and of course washed my hands every time I turned around! And ... Tue, 9 Apr 2013 22:20:58 EST Week 13 - Coconut Water Last week I was listening to SparkPeople Radio, and Karen and Lily were taste-testing coconut water. One of them was trying it for the first time, and I decided that would be my next "new thing" of 2013. I went to our local small-town food co-op and they were out of coconut water, but one of the volunteers said she liked it and liked her husband to drink it since he was always low on potassium, so she'd order some. The truck came in on Thursday and I stopped in and bought 3 cans of Amy & B... Wed, 3 Apr 2013 20:57:49 EST Week 12 Something New While watching one of Chef Meg's videos, she introduced a product which I'd never seen before -- a tube of sun dried tomato paste -- and suggested it is useful when you need to thicken up a sauce a bit. I happened to see this in our local food co-op and decided I'd buy some and give it a try. On Sunday I threw together a dish using whole wheat penne pasta, grilled chicken, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms and a little bit of chicken stock. I then added some of the tomato paste to thicken an... Mon, 25 Mar 2013 21:02:04 EST #11 I'm sorry to say I could not come up with a single "new thing" for the 11th week of 2013. I did do several new things during week 10 so I'll cheat a bit and use one of them. During my trip to AZ, I was able to play outdoor pickleball for the first time. I've been playing it inside in the gym at school since about November, but had never played on an actual outdoor court. The complex where my sister lives had brand new courts. The fences made it easy to retrieve balls and the different c... Fri, 22 Mar 2013 12:23:36 EST Week 10 New Thing Something I've been wanting to try for a while now but never had the opportunity is sushi. While in Arizona visiting my sister and brother-in-law, somehow the subject of sushi came up and I said that I'd never had it but wanted to try it. Later that day we went to a grocery store and there was a man with a little sushi bar in there and so my brother-in-law asked him to recommend something that a "first timer" might like. He gave us a couple samples, and my brother-in-law bought a package o... Wed, 13 Mar 2013 20:58:36 EST 9th New Thing In the 9th week of 2013 my husband and I took a winter vacation for the first time in our lives. We'd not flown together since about 1976 and I have only flown one other time, being last summer with a sister to attend the wedding of another sister. We went to Surprise, AZ and stayed with my sister and brother-in-law who have a home in Sun City Grand. This sister is 10 years older than me, but we had a hard time keeping up with those "old people". There's SO much to do there. We went to a ... Sun, 10 Mar 2013 22:04:50 EST #8 - Celtic Fire In Week 8 of 2013 I was again able to experience something new. Last night I attended a concert called "Celtic Fire". The band named "FEAST" from Colorado, consisted of 2 percussionists, a pianist, bassist (both electric bass & string bass), a cello, viola and violin. They play celtic style music, and I enjoyed the unique musical talent of each of them. Adding to the energetic spark were two irish dancers ala "Riverdance", a male and a female. Yet another enjoyable "first" to enrich my ... Wed, 20 Feb 2013 21:53:24 EST #7 - Chia Seeds On this 7th week of 2013 I ate chia seeds. I'd been reading about some of the health benefits and decided I'd give them a try. So far I've sprinkled them in my omelet, added them to a tuna sandwich and just tonight tried them partially dissolved in a glass of lemon water. I've not noticed much of a flavor other than a mild, slightly sweet nutty taste. Due to the protein, omega3's and fiber benefits, I think it's worth a try to continue experimenting with these tiny seeds. All the article... Sun, 17 Feb 2013 22:15:43 EST #6 New thing of 2013 Last week some young gals from a skating club in a town about 40 miles away came to put on a show. I've never been to a live ice skating show, and our skating rink is just down the street from me, so I thought it would be fun to go. Two of the girls are from my town that skate with the club. I called a friend and she said she'd like to go, too, and would pick me up. But when the sun went down around 5:00 it got even colder, and the wind came up. I began to think maybe I didn't want to go... Sat, 9 Feb 2013 22:08:02 EST #5 - Immersion Blender and New Recipe In Week 5 of 2013 I tried 2 new things. I've never owned or used an immersion blender before. I received on free as a premium from Office Depot for ordering supplies at the office. Since I love cream of broccoli soup but had never made it before, and also since hubby had never eaten it but was willing to give it a try, I chose that as the new recipe to try out my new kitchen utensil on. When hubby walked in the door, he said "If that tastes half as good as it smells, it will be a success!... Thu, 31 Jan 2013 23:37:33 EST #4 - New software As week 4 of 2013 comes to an end, I'm blogging to report on my 4th new thing of the year. This week's "something" I've never done before was a new software at work. The software I'd been using to prepare and file bankruptcy cases had undergone a radical makeover and not only did my computer have issues with installing it, but once installed I found many "glitches". After researching and trying demos for several other brands, I recommended to my bosses that we ditch the old one and try an... Sat, 26 Jan 2013 16:21:33 EST #3 of 52 New Things in 2013 My intention for this week was to try a healthy food I'd never eaten before, and I had decided it would be kefir. However, when I went to the food co-op I found that they didn't have any. So I browsed around for a while to see if I could find something else that looked interesting. Near the front of the store I saw a table containing snacks (and I do love my snacks!) and picked up a package of Annie Chun's Roasted Seaweed Snacks (sesame flavored). Now, here for SURE was something I'd neve... Thu, 17 Jan 2013 22:57:02 EST #2 of 52 New Things in 2013 Today I finished the 2nd week of 2013 by trying a new recipe found on SP called Crockpot Chicken Tortilla soup. It was easy to throw together, and the aroma filled the house as it simmered in the crockpot all day. It was the perfect thing to make on a very cold Minnesota winter day, and it the spicy heat warmed out chilled bodies and satisfied our tummies and our souls. We're both looking forward to the leftovers, which will cover 2 more meals. Sat, 12 Jan 2013 22:03:11 EST New Tricks for an Old Dog! I joined the Spark team "New Year New Things - 52 in 2013" with a goal to try something new each week of the year, and I'm going to try to blog about each new trick this old dog learns! The first has just been completed. I bundled up and went snowshoeing. Now I am not a fan of winte0r AT ALL, but during this little adventure I tried to concentrate on the beauty of the sun shining on thepure white snow, making millions of tiny sparkles. There was a little bite in the wind, but other than th... Sat, 5 Jan 2013 15:14:31 EST Oh, my, apple pie! There's an elderly lady we know who loves fish, so when hubby has extras, he takes them to her. In return, during apple season she bakes him homemade (yes. even the crust!) apple pies. This morning her daughter dropped off a pie. So there it sits on my kitchen counter. I'm hoping he'll eat it all before I give in to the temptation! Sat, 8 Sep 2012 20:44:30 EST You say tomato, I say tomahto However you say it, isn't it wonderful to be able to get your fill of the wonderful, red, juicy, fresh garden tomatoes instead of the orange-ish, hard, tasteless ones found in the grocery stores? They're so delicious, and I thank all those gardeners out there who share the fruits of their gardening labors with those of us who don't have green thumbs! Mon, 27 Aug 2012 16:37:45 EST Bumper Snickers I saw two bumper stickers yesterday that had me snickering and chuckling: <BR> <BR> "Live your live in a way that the minister won't have to lie at your funeral!" <BR> <BR> and <BR> <BR> "Did you ever stop to think... and then forget to start again?" Sat, 21 Jul 2012 13:08:24 EST Smoothie Flavor Booster This morning I was making a smoothie for breakfast using my usual "recipe" of 8 oz water, 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder, a cup of frozen strawberries and a splash of vanilla. I happened to see an opened packet of Strawberry Crystal Light on the counter and decided to sprinkle a bit of it into the smoothie. Wow, it really added flavor and "zing"! Sun, 15 Jul 2012 21:23:16 EST Two things on my "wish list" I'd really like to try "hooping" and need to check out the hula hoops next time I get out of town shopping. Secondly, I'm really interested in the Fitbit. Have been reading up on it and sounds like something I'd really make use of. Tue, 19 Jun 2012 14:43:00 EST Breakfast report The quinoa, coconut Greek yogurt and pineapple breakfast was .. well, not delicious, but it was good, something I could eat again and try in different ways. The next thing on my list to try that I've never had before is kefir. Thu, 29 Mar 2012 20:05:28 EST Quin-what???? Quinoa (keen-wah). I've read about it in SP several times and today found it in our local food co-op. I cooked up a batch tonight and will be trying in for the first time in the morning for breakfast. My friend just returned from Hawaii and brought me a fresh pineapple from Maui. I'm planning on mixing 1/2 d. cooked quinoa with 4 oz container of coconut flavored Greek yogurt and 1/2 c. of the pineapple - maybe a few slices of banana. Seems it has great health benefits, so I'm hoping I li... Wed, 28 Mar 2012 23:06:53 EST Very Enjoyable Walk! What a beautiful evening for a walk! The temperature is 32 - brisk but not cold, with sweatpants, underarmor shirt, sweatshirt and hooded sweatshirt; a light dusting of snow in the air, but not enough to make it slippery; the honking of geese overhead as they head back north (perhaps prematurely!); and the smell of wood smoke in the air. I haven't enjoyed a walk so much in a long time! Thu, 23 Feb 2012 19:36:20 EST I Fed The Sugar Monster I had a terrible weekend of eating massive doses of candy and sugar. The effects today must be similar to that of binging on alcohol. My face and eyes are puffy, I am so tired I could fall asleep at my desk, have no energy, headache, feel depressed, and just generally feel terrible. Not sure why I did this, knowing that I was literally eating myself sick. I really haven't had this bad of a binge for a long time. But I know what I need to do starting fight NOW, and am determined to do it! Mon, 20 Feb 2012 11:08:23 EST Kiwi for Dummies I love kiwi fruit but didn't eat it often because it is such a pain in the butt to peel them. A co-worker told me her daughter just cuts them in half and scoops out the fruit with a spoon. DUH!!!! Now why didn't I think of that??!! Hint: Use a grapefruit spoon and it makes it even easier! Wed, 18 Jan 2012 11:28:55 EST blah... I think one of the many bugs that have been running rampant may finally be getting to me. I've fought it off up until now, but today my scratchy throat kept getting continually worse. By the time I got home from work I just wanted to get into my warm jammies and robe and cuddle with my Kindle. I'm feeling guilty for not getting my cardio in today, but just think I need to let it go so my body can fight. Hoping with Zicam, Alka-Seltzer plus sinus, salt-water gargle and a good night's sleep... Tue, 17 Jan 2012 18:46:56 EST do not do do nuts A client brought in a bag of home-made donuts. The bag sat there too long -- so I gave in and had one, no two, then three, was it four, five? Don't know for sure. I think they were definitely made with real lard - my hands very greasy just from touching them. Oh yuck my tummy is not feeling so well tonight.... Note to self: In the future, do not do donuts! Tue, 10 Jan 2012 21:37:47 EST January Jumpstart I'm glad I decided to join the Jumpstart challenge, even though I started a couple days late. I have to get up a few minutes earlier in the mornings to get the videos done, but I'm enjoying them -- I felt like I was in a rut on my s/t, and these short videos are easy to fit in, yet challenging enough that I definitely have a bit of DOMS the next day! Also, the holiday weight gain is coming off faster than I expected. Whether that's due to the challenge or not, I can't be sure. What I AM s... Fri, 6 Jan 2012 14:41:24 EST I won! I won! Okay, so it wasn't the lottery, but yesterday I was puzzled to see a box left at my door when I got home from work. I thought it must be a Christmas gift I'd ordered late and forgotten about. Then I saw that the address on the return label said "SparkPeople." As I carried the box into the house I tried to remember if I had ordered anything from SP -- couldn't think of a thing. Upon opening the box, I found a box of Weight Watchers Double Chocolate Muffins and a box of Weight Watcher Blueb... Wed, 28 Dec 2011 20:53:31 EST One Good Decision There are so many temptations this time of year, which makes it easy to overeat and/or binge. I LOVE chocolate! For the past two days I've resisted the candy dish in the office, and I thought I was going to make it through today, as well. But about closing time, I let the stress of the day get to me and stuck my hand in the dish and pulled out a handful of Hershey's Dark Chocolate Kisses and Candy Cane Kisses. That's the bad news. The good news is that I made the decision to eat a sensibl... Fri, 2 Dec 2011 18:39:05 EST Are insurance companies finally figuring it out?? My husband's company and their insurance company have finally figured out that it saves money to pay for preventive care! Last year they had a wellness program whereby if the employee participated in a Wellness Assessment, they would reimburse them $100 on the employee's share of the insurance premium. This past year, they extended that offer to another $100 reimbursement if their covered spouse participated in the Wellness Assessment. They have just announced the incentive plan for 2012, w... Sat, 5 Nov 2011 13:22:44 EST Sometimes bad luck is good luck! Today when I was in the midst of a cleaning frenzy I was going to take a lunch break and, when I opened my crisper drawer to get some veggies, I noticed there was liquid in the bottom of the fridge -- pinkish colored. Upon further investigation I discovered that a bowl of watermelon had gotten tilted, and the juice had run all over the back of the bottom shelf and down into the bottom under the crispers. I really didn't plan to do THAT job today -- remove everything from the bottom shelf an... Sat, 15 Oct 2011 15:05:12 EST Licorice and other temptations... Today my boss gave me a bag of gourmet sour cherry licorice because I fed his cat while he was gone for the weekend. I took two pieces out and then took the rest of the bag to the back break room and put it in a cupboard, as far away from my desk as I could. In the afternoon, I again allowed myself 2 pieces. I was able to tempt myself without it leading to binge eating the entire bag. I've not had one of those "feeding frenzy" type urges for a while now -- though there have been times I'v... Mon, 3 Oct 2011 21:09:49 EST Hammertoe Woes Nothing major wrong with my foot - the pain is from stressed tendons and small muscles caused by large callouses on the balls on my feet, in turn causing hammertoes, which make me walk in such a way as to stress those tendons and muscles. For now, he gave me some free sample shoe inserts, but suggested if my insurance company will pay for them that some custom orthotics would work better. Surgery is an option, but not one he is recommending at this time. But he put no restrictions on my wa... Tue, 20 Sep 2011 21:42:21 EST The Agony of De-Feet! I may not have the world's ugliest feet, but I'm pretty sure I'm in the Top 10! I was born with a bent and crooked right foot, which caused a very high arch, and some tight muscles. I have some childhood memories of having a cast on that foot (probably just remembering from photos, because I was just a baby), and of seeing a specialist when I was about 4 and having to do some exercises to work the muscles. The exercise I remember is picking up marbles with my toes and putting them into a ... Mon, 19 Sep 2011 22:52:41 EST Kale -- It Does a Body Good! One thing I’ve enjoyed since joining SparkPeople is trying new, healthy foods. A few months ago a friend of mine gave me a container of some homemade soup she’d made. There was one ingredient I couldn’t identify -- something dark green with ruffle-y edges. Someone told me they thought it might be kale. Now, I’d vaguely heard of kale, but really didn’t know what it was. Since it seemed to add some nice flavor, texture and color to the soup, I was curious and gave it a “Google.” I was sur... Wed, 7 Sep 2011 20:47:54 EST August Goals Extra pounds had been sneaking on, and I kept saying I needed to get them back off and get back within my maintenance range. But I never did set a SPECIFIC goal, nor did I re-set my trackers for weight loss, rather than maintenance. I did not lose those extra pounds, so this is something I need to do for September. As for my fitness goal, it was to walk 50 miles during the month. I exceeded that goal by walking a total of 75.45 miles during August. I need to keep reminding myself to rewa... Fri, 2 Sep 2011 10:58:16 EST Old hippies.... As part of our 40th Class Reunion, after the potluck on Friday night we tie-dyed tee shirts. On Saturday we decorated a float for the town celebration parade on Sunday afternoon. One of my friends brought items from her daughter's vintage clothing collection and shared them with anyone who wanted to wear them in the parade. I had one classmate who actually wore the bell-bottom jeans and fringed leather vest that she had worn in high school (don't ya just hate her!) The DJ son of another c... Tue, 23 Aug 2011 21:30:34 EST Class Reunion So tonight is my 40-year class reunion. (Where does the time go??) It's going to be very casual -- just an outdoor potluck at the lake home of a classmate. The food is going to be a temptation to me, but I've decided I'm not going to drink anything (rather save my calories for the GOOD stuff -- food!), and am going to really try hard to choose the healthy options from the buffet and/or use moderation if I decide to taste the not-so-healthy options. I'm excited and looking forward to having... Fri, 19 Aug 2011 14:14:48 EST Potassium I recently read a blog about the importance of balancing sodium and potassium. I had never tracked my potassium, figuring my multivitamin probably gave me what I needed. But out of curiosity, I decided to add it to my nutrition tracker. I was surprised to find that on most days I get only about half of what is recommended. I was even more surprised to learn that my multivitamin supplies only 2% of the recommended daily amount. For a long time I have had a problem with being constantly ti... Tue, 2 Aug 2011 22:27:48 EST Worst Invention?? While paging through a flyer for a home improvement store I came across an ad for a CAMOUFLAGE toilet seat. You've got to be kidding! Don't men already have a hard enough time seeing it????? Obviously not invented by a woman! <em>334</em> Mon, 18 Jul 2011 20:44:13 EST Walking Test Today I read a SP article which outlined a fitness test for walking. The test was to walk one mile, flat surface, as fast as you could. A chart showed the ratings, based on age. <BR> <BR> I was curious how I would measure up, so off I went to our school track with my stopwatch. Of course, being the competitor that I am, I wanted to be in the "Excellent Range", but I was just 15 seconds too slow (or else 2 years too young!) I finished at 14:57, in the "Good" Range. (To rate Excellent I ... Wed, 13 Jul 2011 19:41:23 EST Cabin Week Plan A week at the lake is going to be tough -- Lots of relaxing and the temptations of snacking (S'mores!), having some cool beverages, not to mention a huge neighborhood potluck picnic on the 4th of July!. I doubt I will be able to follow a strict nutrition/calorie plan. I'm going to make it my goal to just not stress too much, do the best I can to use moderation if I decide to eat things that aren't normally in my "menu", and try to get in extra exercise, since my days will be pretty much uns... Fri, 1 Jul 2011 16:57:03 EST Excited About New Menu Options in Town!! Today something neat happened in my small community (population approx. 2,000) . In conjunction with our county public health office, five of the area restaurants each developed several new healthy menu choices. All of the recipes were reviewed by a registered dietician and confirmed to be 550 calories or less and within the 2010 dietary guidelines. Between 11:00 and 1:00 today, you could go to the restaurants and get free samples of each of their potential new healthy menu options, then ... Wed, 18 May 2011 17:33:54 EST Small pleasure I'm sitting here soaking my feet in warm water with some Dr. Teal's Therapeutic Epsom Salts - Eucalyptus Spearmint scented. It is SOOOO soothing and relaxing. It's the first time I've opened the package since buying it a week or two ago. I can't wait to get the bathroom remodel finished so I can sit in a tub of it. Sometimes it's amazing how little it takes to make me happy <em>334</em> Mon, 4 Apr 2011 22:35:26 EST What an incredible feat! Here is a link to an article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune about a man who has reached an incredible goal -- one step at a time!! I'm not sure how long it will remain posted on their website, so hopefully you get a chance to read it before they take it down. Very motivating! He is my hero! <BR> <BR><BR>63.html Sun, 13 Mar 2011 13:09:45 EST Poor ol' Suzy We've all heard it said -- maybe even said it ourselves: "Isn't that too bad about Suzy Schmoozy?? You know, she lost ALL that weight last year and now she's gained it all back and then some!" Well, I don't EVER want anyone to say that about me. Just one thing that keeps me motivated to continue maintaining!! Sat, 12 Mar 2011 21:31:07 EST