Friday, July 30, 2010

No-Weigh Friday

It's Friday, yay! My goal of completing five workouts this week has been accomplished and I couldn't be happier. Because they're done, sure, but mainly because exercise is a mood elevator unlike anything else. If I can keep this feeling firmly in my mind, I will be able to keep the momentum going and get my strength and stamina back up to speed.

I just finished a lovely lunch of soft boiled eggs on toasted Ezekiel raisin bread. I know people poo-poo Ezekiel bread but that raisin bread is so satisfying and delicious. Mmmmm!

What are we eating at Shady Dame this weekend? Tonight will be a picky-nic of fresh figs from the farmer's market with goat cheese and prosciutto along with olive tapenade that Lisa has been raving about. I met the tapenade lady earlier this afternoon, her name is Anita and she's lovely. She gave me a little tub of her homemade boursin cheese to sample. I can't wait to try it. Some of my Italian favorites will make an appearance, sausage with peppers and mushrooms and pasta e fagioli which is pasta with a sauce of garlic, white beans and tomato. Sometimes you just have to have your soul food.

I'm going to catch up on my magazine reading (the pile has swallowed the coffee table) and start a new book this weekend, The House on Tradd Street by Karen White.

On Sunday evening I'm heading the monthly Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Brick and Mortar event at Harry's Whole Foods in Alpharetta, GA. It's such a fun event, think a fashion show party only with perfume. There will be great company, fantastic perfume to sample and purchase, courtesy of Black Phoenix and some fabulous snacks courtesy of Whole Foods. If you're local to the Atlanta area, come join us this Sunday from 5pm-8pm.

It's just gone 2pm, so like Young MC I have to bust a move. I want to finish the laundry so I can watch the premier of Project Runway I recorded last night. Have an amazing Friday and MAKE IT WORK!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Must Listen!

I've mentioned the Fat2Fit podcast before but the latest episode is definitely a must listen.

Fat2Fit #101, Losing Weight Too Quickly

I listened on my walk this morning and couldn't help but think at how fantastic the main topic is and how much I wanted to share it with my readers. Their core advice: "if you love the life of a fit, healthy person, you will become a fit, healthy person" never ceases to make me smile because it is so true. Also, the weekly recipe looks AMAZING!

Speaking of my walk, this is my fourth day of exercise in a row. I promised myself 5 days this week with an optional bonus walk or swim with Rob with weekend. I'm well on my way. I completed two weight training workouts, a walk up the mountain and this morning's walk around the neighborhood. Tomorrow I will lift weights again. I feel sore but energized and accomplished. This is what exercise does for me. I have to keep this first and foremost in my mind when I start to waffle about taking the day off.

Did you get your workout in today?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Product Review: Greek Yogurt Tasting

As I've learned, grass-fed dairy, preferably raw, offers the most health benefits and the best flavor. Higher in vitamins, essential fatty-acids, carotene, and naturally occurring probiotics. But I have not found any brands that use grass-fed milk in their yogurt. Now that I mastered homemade yogurt using the real farm milk, I will make it when time allows. But you know how busy life gets so it's nice to have some good tasting, high quality yogurt ready in the fridge for a breakfast or a quick snack.

Everyone seems to be getting on the Greek yogurt bandwagon, I recently spotted new versions by Dannon and Yoplait alongside Chobani, Oikos and my beloved Fage. I bought one carton of each of the plain, non-fat versions and tasted them plain from a spoon. I will be rating them on a scale of moos. 1 being worst and 5 being best.


I was surprised to see Yoplait had a Greek yogurt on the market because their other yogurt products aren't much more than junk food marketed as health food.

Yoplait Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt
Serving Size~6 ounces (170g)
Calories~ 100
Sodium~ 90 mg
Carbs~ 10 grams
Protein~ 14 grams
Ingredients~ Cultured pasteurized grade A nonfat milk, milk protein concentrate, kosher gelatin, vitamin A acetate and Vitamin D3.
Price~$1 on special offer (I think it's $1.19 regularly priced)

Thoughts~Thick but grainy, bland, not much tang here, salty finish. It's not organic. It has to be fortified because pasteurized milk is stripped of all it's nutrition. "Fortifying" their product gives it more nutritional appeal to the public. Nutritionally, this product isn't in the same league at the others in this tasting. It's about what I expect from a company like Yoplait and their parent company General Mills. The health of their wallets take priority over that of the public.

Rating~ 1 moo

Dannon, the maker of my favorite yogurt as a kid, blueberry fruit on the bottom.

Dannon Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt
Serving Size~5.3 ounces (150g)
Calories~ 80
Sodium~ 50 mg
Carbs~ 6 grams
Protein~ 15 grams
Ingredients~ Cultured grade A nonfat milk.
Price~ $1.29

Thoughts~Thick, thick, thick, super smooth and lusciously creamy. Mild tang with a clean finish. Dannon has always put forward a good product. It's not organic but it contains nothing but milk and cultures. It has more protein than the Yoplait without the addition of protein concentrate and is so thick without resorting to adding gelatin. I would buy this again, it's very nice.

Rating~ 4 moos

Chobani Non-Fat Plain Greek Yogurt
Serving Size~6 ounces (170g)
Calories~ 100
Sodium~ 80 mg
Carbs~ 7 grams
Protein~ 18 grams
Ingredients~ Cultured pasteurized nonfat milk, with 5 active cultures, no growth hormones.

Thoughts~Very thick and creamy but with a slightly grainy finish. Sour rather than tangy. It's not organic but I like that they don't use growth hormones. Not my favorite due to the sourness.

Rating~2.5 moos

Oikos from Stonyfield, the leader in "industrial organic" dairy.

Oikos Plain Nonfat Organic Greek Yogurt
Serving Size~5.3 ounces (150g)
Calories~ 80
Sodium~ 60 mg
Carbs~ 6 grams
Protein~ 15 grams
Ingredients~ Cultured pasteurized organic nonfat milk, with 5 active cultures.
Price~Suggested retail $1.99 but I can't remember what I paid for it.

Thoughts~ This is a solid product, but totally overpriced. Stonyfield likes to charge for their brand name. It's thick, tangy and creamy but nothing unforgettable here.

Rating~3 moos

Fage Total 0% (pronounced "fa-yeh") The gold standard!

Fage Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt
Serving Size~6 ounces (170g)
Calories~ 90
Sodium~ 65 mg
Carbs~ 7 grams
Protein~ 15 grams
Ingredients~ (copied and pasted from the Fage USA website) FAGE TOTAL Yogurt is 100% natural. It contains no added sweeteners, thickeners or preservatives. We do not use powder milk, powder cream or powder protein in FAGE, just raw milk, raw cream and live active cultures which come together for a naturally blissful taste experience. In line with our All Natural approach to yogurt making, our milk and cream supply comes from farmers who have pledged not to treat their cows with rBGH*.
Price~$1.79 but I buy it when it's on sale 3/$5

Thoughts~ Fage is the standard to which I hold all other yogurts, even my own. It's the thickest, tangiest, smoothest and most satisfying. This is the product that made me fall in love with Greek yogurt. Though they state they use raw milk, they pasteurize it before they culture it as stated on their website.

Rating~ 5 moos

What is your favorite yogurt, Greek or otherwise?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Living Up to the Blog Title

While I've been doing pretty well with eating, I've been sorely lacking in the exercise department. Saturday being my first workout in over a week, Rob and I walked up the mountain and I finally pulled my finger out and got myself to the gym this morning. It was my first weight training workout in about 6 weeks.

It's amazing at how fast you lose it when you don't use it. I did stage 1, workout A and it was tougher than the first time. The Chiropractor said to work up gradually to where I was, so I will do the first two workouts in each stage until I'm reach where I left off. I'm hoping to have this New Rules program finished up before we head to the beach for my birthday in September.

I haven't weighed myself but I know I'm up a little, I can just feel it, I measured my fat at the gym and it is up one-half percent. Undesirable but not unmanageable. That's the key if you backslide. Rein it in before it gets out of hand. And I've grabbed those reins and I'm holding on tight!

The weekend was good, but the weather was so hot that other than the walk, we hid out in the air conditioned coolness. I made yogurt with real milk from the farm using a Bulgarian yogurt culture. I strained it for an hour and it turned out beautifully, thick and tangy and creamy. I reserved the excess whey and used it for my pre-workout protein shake. Speaking of yogurt, I have a tasting of super market Greek yogurt coming up, so watch out for that.

I'm off to work later, so I need to get in the shower and make our morning vegetable juice. I hope your week is off to a wonderful start!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Book Review: Vampires Don't Sleep Alone

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I learned that my friend, Beth (the mastermind behind one of my major obsessions, the perfumes of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab) was publishing a book, I could not wait to get my hands on it. Writing alongside D.H. Altair AKA Del Howison, proprietor of Dark Delicacies, Beth takes us on a memorable journey into vampire lore, history and myth-busting.

With dark wit, a wink and tongue firmly in cheek, this conversational and instructional manual is the foremost source in how to find and (hopefully) ensnare the vampire of your dreams.

I laughed out loud in many places and frankly, couldn't put it down. I'm a fan of "The Twilight Saga", JR Ward's "Black Dagger Brotherhood" series and the television series "True Blood" so it's no wonder that I enjoyed "Vampires Don't Sleep Alone."

If you are a fan of vampire fiction, especially romance, this volume is the perfect companion. Definitely do not overlook it!

View all my reviews on Good Reads>>

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Food, Glorious Food!

The air-con repair has been made and I'm sitting in blissful coolness. Thankfully, it cost much less than I was fearing. I had visions of T-Bills flying out the window. But it was just the (flux, hee, hee!) capacitor and a freon top up. We had a great night's sleep in our bed so I've been feeling pretty perky today.

I've been food shopping this afternoon and prepared tonight's dinner. I have been dying to try Ina Garten's Roasted Shrimp Salad, so I decided to give it a try. Rob doesn't eat shrimp, so I bought just enough for me and used half the dressing on the remainder of last evening's rotisserie chicken that I shredded up for his plate. I used less mayo and more vinegar and orange juice (to make a thinner dressing) and chives instead of red onion. Omigod delicious! The capers, dill and orange combo is amazing and roasting the shrimp made for fantastic flavor and texture. No more boiling up rubber ball shrimp! Both salads are chilling in the fridge. I'm going to serve them on a bed of mixed baby greens with a mini herb focaccia that I bought at Whole Foods today.

I've got a back log of food pics that I want to share. Just various dinners that look good enough to eat.

This is the Chicken Florentine recipe from America's Test Kitchen Light and Healthy. It was easy, rich and delicious. So much so that I couldn't believe it was a lighter version. I would be perfect company food. I picked up my copy at Home Depot, of all places. If you find a copy, grab it. I can't wait to try some of the other recipes. They all look fabulous.

Since switching to stainless pans, I have had to work on my omelet skills and this beauty is an omelet built for two. It's filled with garden tomatoes and fresh basil and a sprinkling of light feta cheese crumbles. I used 6 farm fresh eggs and it was fabulous. I served it with a salad, see how the luscious filling just tumbled out...

This is jerk chicken with baked sweet potato and roasted asparagus. I love asparagus any old way, even in my juice, but something about roasting it with olive oil and a bit of salt and pepper makes is the most delicious thing ever.

I'm off to the Kennesaw farmer's market to get some fresh veggies for a grilled salad to pair with grass-fed flank steak this weekend. I'm also after a variety of fresh tomatoes for a tomato panzanella with ricotta. I found a tub of organic, grass-fed ricotta that I can't wait to try.

Have you noticed the Twitter updates I've been making? ~~~~~~~~>
I thought it would be fun to post what I'm cooking up and perhaps give you some ideas and inspiration. I hope you like it!

What are your weekend plans, food and otherwise? I'm really looking forward to tomorrow. Donna and I are going for lunch at Sweet Tomatoes and then we're going on a double date with Edward and Jacob!

Have a great evening!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

One of *Those* Days

Just when I thought I was catching up on my rest, I got home from work last night to find that the air conditioning was down. In Georgia, central air is not a luxury. It is a necessity! It was cooler downstairs so Rob and I attempted to sleep on the couches. But only after he ran around, half-asleep, trying to figure out the problem. This is what engineers do.

Needless to say we got very little sleep and I'm here waiting for the call to let me know when the service chap is going to arrive. I missed my walk up the mountain :( and I had to take a personal day from work because, as everyone knows, the "repair window" is never an exact science.

I'm surprisingly calm and not grumpy. I'm slap happy from being tired, so much so that I laughed out loud when I read that the real feel in my zip code right now is 101 degrees. Today is the day that our very shady property really pays off.

I'm going to stare at the phone now and will it to ring.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Eating in Secret vs. Eating Alone

I was driving home from work last night, it was after 11:30pm. Everything was closed as you expect late on a Sunday night. Except, of course, for the fast food drive-thrus. It gave me flashbacks to all the times I would leave work and head straight for the bright lights and the promise of large quantities of hot grease, salt and carbs for cheap money. All so I could scarf it down without anyone seeing or knowing.

Sure, sometimes we have to eat alone. I eat breakfast alone every day and eat most of my meals alone when Rob travels for work. But eating alone is entirely different from eating in secret.

What's so bad about secret eating? If you don't want anyone to see what you are eating, it's probably the worst crap you could be putting into your body. If you don't want anyone to see how much you are eating, you are probably eating too much. But it doesn't count when no one sees, right? Wrong! The shame and self-loathing associated with secret eating is far worse than any prying eyes could cause. Not to mention the abuse your body takes during a secret binge.

Eating in secret is unequivocally one of the worst things we can do for our health, physical and emotional. Shame, guilt and lying do hatchet job on self-esteem and large quantities of junk food eaten quickly is just horrible on the body (reflux, anyone?)

Breaking this habit is not easy but it can be done. No more drive-thrus, FULL STOP! If I was going to eat fast food like a Chik-Fil-A lunch or a Mc'D's breakfast for a treat it would be in the company of others. I also stopped eating in the car. Other than a healthy snack when I'm on the go, I don't eat in the car. I love that my car doesn't smell like french fries anymore. When I eat alone, I make sure that my portions and the quality of food that I'm eating are something that I would be proud to share in the company of others.

Friday, July 16, 2010

No-Weigh Friday

Sleep was a long time coming last night and didn't stick around nearly long enough so I'm feeling tired this morning. I'm planning a fairly low key day today, so it's all good.

I've already been to the farm to pick up my milk. I don't think I will ever tire of hearing those chickens cooing and clucking on a Friday morning. And I spent a few minutes watching the piglets frolic in their pen, that cuteness is off the chart. They were sold out of eggs so I will have to do with the four left in my fridge. That's the nature of buying the freshest food, it may not always be available on demand but always worth the wait.

I'm still waiting for you to come forward with the top 5 things you love about yourself! Even if you don't share your list publicly, I hope you take the time to jot them down. Keep the list handy for days when you're feeling down on yourself, have a look at it to remind yourself that you are worth love and good care.

First Steps kindly presented me with this lovely blogger award. 1. Thank the person giving the award. 2. Share 7 things about yourself. 3. Nominate 15 newly discovered blogs. 4. Let your nominees know about the award.

Thanks a million to first steps for sharing this award with me. I will have to work on 3 and 4 because I haven't picked up any new blogs in the longest time. But I love my readers and share this award with each of you, come post your seven facts, I want to learn more about you!

As for the seven things about me, here are some offbeat facts that you may not know.
  1. I have just one sibling, my sister, Alyssa. She is my best friend in the whole world. I hate that we are separated by many states and I miss her every day.
  2. I collect wine corks. I have the corks from just about every bottle of wine I've opened since 1994.
  3. My husband and I met on the Internet in 1999, remember ICQ? That's where we found each other.
  4. I hate making the bed. In fact, I never make the bed unless I'm changing the linens. Rob makes the bed when he comes home from work. LOVE HIM!
  5. As a child I hated pickles and would scrape the cheese off my pizza. Now there can never be enough cheese and I LOVELOVELOVE pickled anything. The pickle-y-er, the better!
  6. I think that caller ID is the greatest invention of all time but loathe call waiting.
  7. I love Crocs. I own many pairs, some even sport Disney Jibbitz. My hot pink Mary Janes with Mickey and Minnie Jibbitz are my faves.
I won't be around much this weekend as I'll be at work. I'm off to the chiropractor now. Have a fantastic Friday!

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Katrina got in nice and early. Congratulations Katrina, I'll be getting your book out to you shortly.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I Will Love Myself When I...

G'head, fill in the blank. If you're reading this blog the answer is most likely ...lose weight. But why not love yourself now? Never underestimate the power of positive self talk, the power of thinking kindly of oneself. You are the only you you have. Why reserve all that you have for others? You may find that you have so much more and even better love to give when you start giving some to yourself.

I want you to make a list of 5 things you love about yourself. If you can think of more than 5, by all means put it on the list. Don't worry, no one will think you are conceited. And who cares if they do? That's their problem. And no qualifiers, either! Bonus points for putting them in the comments to this post.

What I love about me, in no particular order...

I have a great sense of humor, I never fail to crack myself up.

My hands and feet are adorable and I am very proud of my pretty smile.

I am really smart.

I am a great cook!

I am a fantastic wife and nurse, taking care of people gives me joy (and I am so much better at both since I started caring for myself.)

Don't wait until that "someday" to start loving yourself. Treat yourself with love and respect starting right now, don't waste another second on self-loathing and stuffing down your feelings. Life is too short and you are worth it!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Post Fast Food Diary

I don't know what it is about a juice fast that makes the body get into such a deep, happy sleep but I do know it feels so good to wake up that rested. I wonder if it has to do with how untaxed the systems are when they don't have to deal with digesting and processing food.

I woke up hungry and thirsty, though. I chugged a huge glass of water and ate an Odwalla bar. They were on clearance at the market so I picked up two to try them. BLECH is the only way to describe it. Sickeningly sweet, may as well have had a bar of chocolate. I keep bars around for the occasional quick breakfast, I will stick with my tried and true Think Thin and Larabars.

I had planned on resuming my weight lifting this morning but thought better of heavy lifting on a day after a fast so I took a nice walk around the neighborhood. It was so mild and dewy out this morning, perfect for an outdoor walk. Came back and made the morning juice.

Off to the Chiropractor (I'll be going every day for the next few weeks) which is working wonders, my back, hips and legs feel great. Then I hit the Tuesday morning farmer's market in Kennesaw.

Raw local honey, patty pan squash, fat, juicy tomatoes, young sweet potatoes, sweet peppers and hot chili peppers. The sweet potatoes are the perfect portion size, cost me a buck for the pair.

When I got in I was ravenous like a hostage. It was only 11am, so I wanted something breakfasty.

Sliced banana, fresh blueberries, cinnamon and cottage cheese, yum! I then put together a gorgeous farmer's market chili using the tomatoes, squash, chili and sweet peppers I bought along with my banana peppers, garlic, green onions, carrots, celery, butter peas and one pound of grass fed ground beef.

Look at all those beautiful vegetables! It still has to simmer much longer, though. It will get darker and thicker as it cooks. We'll have that for supper tonight and eat off of it at the weekend. I have a lot of work shifts coming up, so it will be nice to have nutritious and delicious food at the ready.

By 1pm I was hungry again, made a sandwich of chicken, cheese, mustard, homemade pickles, a huge pile of arugula and baby spinach on a Flat-Out artisan wrap. It's a very generous and satisfying sandwich base for only 100 calories.

Felt a little snacky around 3pm. Had a big spoonful of chili to check the seasoning (added a bit more bbq sauce) and measured out 30 grams of rosemary pecans and craisins. It's a fantastic nut mix from Trader Joe's. A tad bit salty, tangy, nutty and a little sweet.

I'm satiated now and won't have any trouble waiting until supper before I eat again. I'm really looking forward to my chili, it smells so good just bubbling away.

What's for supper tonight?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Juice Fast Musings

Not eating food always makes me realize just how much time I spend thinking about food, reading food magazines and blogs, menu planning, watching Food Network and the Cooking Channel and how my DVR is full of food related programming. Not that this is good or bad, it just draws attention to where my head is much of the time.

Food and cooking are my great passions but the last thing you want to do while juice fasting is think about food, read about food or look at pictures of food. I've had to focus on other things today, which really is a nice break. I think everyone who has ever had a problem with food should do a juice fast for one day because it really forces you, FORCES you be in the moment and focus on things other than food.

Here's a diary of my day...

11am~ first juice of the day, green apple, lime, asparagus, yellow squash, celery, ginger.

11:30am~ hot tea...Celestial Seasonings Country Peach Passion herbal tea brewed with a bit of sencha green tea. I'm not a huge fan of fruity herbal tea but the peach one is really tasty.

11:45am~ dodged a bullet when Rob called and said he wouldn't be home for lunch.

noon~ started a new book, Holly's Inbox by Holly Denham. It's not a book as much as a story told via the e-mails that come in and out from Holly's inbox. Very funny and English. If you're a fan of Bridget Jones then you'll probably like Holly. It's a fluffy bit of chick lit, perfect for a day like today.

1pm~ made two servings of juice, one for now and one for later, beetroot, turnip greens, red apple, a few carrots, celery, cucumber, ginger, lemon, asparagus, zucchini. Ginger and beet taste so good together!

water, reading, more water.

4pm~ second helping of juice made earlier.

4:30pm~ my sister phoned, lovely chat for an hour, hearing the boys chattering and laughing in the background.

I did not watch any TV today, though at 5:30, I watched the episode of Oprah that recorded from earlier. It was the follow up to the first episode about the book Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everythingby Geneen Roth. I am interested in reading this book though the God bit makes me a bit twitchy. Have you read it yet?

6:15pm~ juiced veggies for Rob and juiced my whole pineapple. I use only small amounts of fruit in my juice, mostly for flavor so juicing a whole pineapple seems so decadent. I put it in a tall glass with crushed ice and it tasted of paradise! The only things missing were a paper umbrella and a cabana boy.

I just locked myself away while Rob fixed his dinner to post this, I really didn't feel hungry today but sitting with him while he ate cheesy beans on buttered toast would be torture. He's just called up to say he was done, so I'm going to spend a little time with my hubby. Have a wonderful evening!

Why Juice, Why Fast?

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that juicing fresh vegetables along with small amounts of fruit is the foundation of my healthy lifestyle. Why juice? The main reason is how it makes me feel~good, healthy. It helps me get all the recommended servings of vegetables in every day and some days it helps me exceed it. My husband loves having his fresh juice when he comes home for lunch. He will bristle at me if I skip a day! My Power Juicer is one my most used and loved kitchen gadgets.

There are lots of reasons that people juice fast, but for me it's *not* about quick weight loss. I don't recommend fasting as a tool for weight loss and I don't recommend more than two days of fasting. For me, this fast is about resetting my palate after a couple of weekends of eating a bit too much tasty food and wine. Raw veggies, salad and meatless suppers are gourmet fare after a juice fast.

A healthy lifestyle is all about consistency, the exact opposite of the on again/off again diet mentality. But when a bit too much snacking or weekend treats start creeping up on me, a juice fast is a nice way for me to recommit to my healthy lifestyle. Feeling healthy and maintaining my loss is important to me and a biennial juice fast is the perfect way to make sure I don't let myself down.

I'm off to the Chiropractor for an adjustment then I'll be chained to the juicer and the toilet for the rest of the day. I'll be back later to let you know how I'm holding up. Take care of yourselves today, YOU ARE WORTH IT!

For you new readers, click here if you want to read more about my juicing and twice annual juice fasts.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

BBQ Sunday

I know I've been promising a garden update and here is the sad little picture...

Rob and I vastly overestimated the amount of light the area would get when we were planning our garden. We didn't get any beets under the ground, but I have harvested some of the baby lettuces and the spinach has done quite well. Some ugly beetle things are chomping the heck out of my squash plants so I will have to get out there this evening with the soap spray. We're still four weeks away from seeing if there are potatoes and carrots forming and I'm starting to see some tiny cucumbers starting to peek out so I haven't lost all hope yet.

The deck garden, on the other hand, has been doing marvelously. The herbs are big and lush, the tomatoes have rebounded from the blight and the banana peppers are getting nice and fat.

And check out the color on the purple basil...GORGE!

Rob has been in and out of his office this weekend overseeing the new carpet installation but we managed to sneak away for a lovely BBQ lunch this afternoon. Rob could not wait to eat his pulled pork.

I was so excited to see macaroni and cheese on the menu, I had been wanting it but it's a trigger food for me so I don't make it at home. It was the perfect portion to satisfy the craving and omigod so good. The ribs were perfect, very meaty. This may have been lunch but I won't be needing any more food today, it was so filling. I do have some beautiful cherries in the fridge if I need something sweet later.

I'm settling in to watch the World Cup final. It's been such a fantastic tournament, I've watched just about every game and enjoyed all the fanfare so much. Netherlands V. Spain is about to start. I'm rooting for Spain because there are just two things I hate in this world, people who are intolerant of other people's cultures. And the Dutch.

Gotcha! I'm kidding, that's my favorite line from Goldmember (remember, the absolutely fabulous Michael Caine as Nigel Powers?) I will root for Spain in honor of my friend Ted who adores the Spain national football team. Viva Espana!

I'm girding my loins for the juice fast tomorrow. It comes at a perfect time, I don't think I'll be hungry for at least a couple of days after today's lunch.

I hope your weekend has been wonderful, enjoy the rest of the day!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Food for Thought

If you want your life to be a magnificent story, then begin by realizing that you are the author and everyday you have the opportunity to write a new page.

~~Mark Houlahan

Friday, July 9, 2010

No-Weigh Friday

I know I say this every Friday but why are these weeks going by so fast? Maybe because it's summer, so many books to read, so many farmer's markets to visit, so many grill recipes, so little time.

I'm just back from the morning errands: gasing up Tardis, picking up milk and eggs at the farm (along with some beautiful new potatoes and bright orange tomatoes) and food shopping. I also made a stop at The Joint for a Chiropractic adjustment. Have you ever been to a Chiropractor?

I've been going on and off since the early 90's and I'm a big believer in the power of a good adjustment. I had been feeling some pressure on my sciatic nerve that was causing some pain down my right leg and aggravating my right knee so I bought a month membership for unlimited adjustments and got my first one. It's been awhile since my last adjustment and I had forgotten how wonderful and open the body feels afterward. The dull ache is gone and my knee is already feeling better.

I'm out of pocket a bit but I can claim the cost back from our flexible spending account, but for me it is worth it. Isn't it interesting how people will spend more money on cable television and gadgets then they do on taking care of their health? Pay now or pay later, I'd rather make the investment now. The return of a healthy future is priceless.

I'm going to give the downstairs a quick spit-shine then get the produce washed and ready for juicing. I've got everything I need for a good juice fast, a whole pineapple, lots of dark leafy greens, beets and greens, multi-color squashes, apples, lemons, ginger, carrots and celery. Then I'll put my feet up with my book and drink lots of lemon water. It's always good to hydrate and alkalize after an adjustment.

I finished another book yesterday, Anita Shreve's Testimony and I'm about to begin The Fortune Cookie Chronicles which I fear will make me want to call for take out. I love summer reading, I'll knock out two to three books a week during this time a year. I don't know what it about summer but my craving for books increases with the temperature. What is on your summer reading list?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

July Goals and the New Winner

The Randomizer chose the number "5" and that comment belonged to Weight Watcher Wannabe! Please leave a comment here with your address as soon as possible, your address will not be published.

Despite being stricken with the worst period I've had a very long time, I dragged myself out of bed and walked the mountain with Lisa. Feel much better for it. I'm going to keep up with the weekly mountain walks through July because it such a fun and challenging walk. I'm also going to continue with once or twice weekly neighborhood walks. I will do a juice fast on Monday, just one day to reset my palate and give my system a rest. On Tuesday I resume my weight lifting. I'm starting to miss it now and want to bust out the rest of the New Rules program. Don't want to let all that hard work I put in go to waste.

That's all for now. I've got to shower, make lunch and get ready for work. I hope your week is going well.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Personal Best

I've come back from having walked the farthest on a daily walk~
9, 300 steps! I covered every nook and cranny of the neighborhood then walked all the way out to the stop sign at Kennesaw Due West Road. I was moving really fast, too, did it all in just under 90 minutes. Challenge yourself this week and come back and let me know how you did!

It was a very pleasant long weekend and weather was a perfect dream, mild with low humidity that I don't think I've experienced in July since we've been here, which is 9 years this month.

On Friday, I made a proper Italian Sunday Gravy, the kind we ate on Sunday when I was growing up. I had prime grass fed ground beef from the farm that made the most amazing meatballs. It came out really well, not as good as Mother's but very close and delicious!

Rob and I went to a lovely gathering at Bill and Lisa's on Saturday. Grilled corn and beer brats and a Caprese salad that I made with herbs and greens from the garden and tomatoes from the farmer's market.

Here's a pic of Rob and me before we set out to the party. I finally got the nerve to cut all my hair off, it's quite short, but it's fun and sassy.

Sunday we went for brunch then we strolled around the shopping plaza. Rob snapped this pic with his Blackberry when I found my magazine article on the newsstand at Barnes and Noble after brunch.

On Sunday afternoon, Rob gave me a real scare. He disturbed a yellow jacket nest while doing some yard work and was treated to a good handful of stings for his trouble. Thank goodness he's not allergic, so benedryl and hydrocortisone cream was all he required as far as treatment goes. Poor guy!

We picked the new pastured chickens on Saturday. I marinated him overnight in lemon, garlic, herbs, white wine and olive oil and we slow smoked him over hickory on Monday. The hickory smoke tastes so good. It was almost too pretty to eat. Almost.

The absolute best bit was early yesterday morning. I stepped out onto the deck first thing to greet the day, as I do every day and was treated to this gal staring back at me.I can't believe she didn't scamper off in the time it took me to slip into the house to grab my camera...

One last thing, the cheese book is still unclaimed. Tricia, please click here to give me your contact details so I can send you the book. If the book remains unclaimed by tomorrow (Wednesday) night, I will pick an alternate winner.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Stars and Stripes Forever

Happy Fourth of July. The weather is amazing here, an uncharacteristic dry and sunny 66 degrees. The heatwave broke just in time for the long weekend. Whoever made that wish, thank you!

We're going to brunch a little later but otherwise it's going to be a leisurely sort of day. It's been a great couple of days so far. We picked up the chickens yesterday and will be putting one on the spit tomorrow for dinner. I'm looking forward to watching Pops Goes the Fourth this evening, the music always makes me a little misty. My favorite is Stars and Stripes forever and The Boston Pops does the best version. What is your favorite patriotic song?

I'm going to take my coffee on the deck now and soak up all the unseasonable loveliness before the heat and the humidity come back. Have a safe and wonderful day!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Happy Anniversary Shady Dame

It was four years ago that Rob and I moved into Shady Dame, not that we had intended to name her, but I'll get to that in a bit. We had sold our first home so quickly (this was shortly before the "bubble" burst) that we felt pressured to find our dream home. Our Realtor, Heather, had patiently taken me to house after house after house. I think 30 was the number we had reached before she said that we were at the bottom of the barrel of homes in our desired area and price range. She had suggested that by increasing our price range by just just a small increment, we would get a whole new barrel.

It was Mother's Day 2006, an unofficial Realtor holiday. I was up insanely early as we had just returned from a trip to England to visit Rob's family and I was still trying to get back on Atlanta time. I received an e-mail from Heather with the first batch of new listings. I opened the e-mail and saw this picture...

I just knew that I was looking at our house. I patiently waited for Rob to wake up (making coffee and innocently banging and clanging in the kitchen until he did.) I showed him the picture and he said to call Heather. I begged for a showing even though it was Mother's Day. Heather made it happen and at 2pm we pulled into the neighborhood. Rob and I were walking down the breezeway and we just knew this was "The One." We hadn't even stepped inside yet!

After all the stress that comes with real estate negotiation, we got the house. We closed on June 30th and started the big move in the first days of a very hot July. As we were driving up to the house on one of those hot days Rob said, "Look at all those trees!" to which I replied, "Look at that Shady Dame." The name stuck. Happy anniversary, Shady Dame.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Monthly Weigh-In: July 1st and The Winner!

Let's get to the good stuff first. There were 16 comments for the cheese making book giveaway (one duplicate got through, which was disregarded.) The randomizer chose comment number 10, which was made by...


Reader TRICIA!!!

Congratulations Tricia! If you will put your address in a comment to this post, I will mail your book out just as soon as. I assure you, your address will *not* be published, it will remain for my and the post office's eyes only. Thanks to everyone who participated and as soon as I am able, I will arrange another giveaway. They are so much fun!

There has been a bit of up and down this month, as you know my hormones are giving me a bit of a run for my money most recently in the female bloat department. But I'm happy to report that I have broken through just a little and the scale says 176. One pound down from last month, a half-pound actual loss. I'm eating well and exercising, I feel good, life is good!

My mini-vacation starts today, though it won't officially start until Rob returns from L.A. this evening. He had to travel for work this week, which gave me the opportunity to finish off the last of my work shifts and get the house all cleaned for the long weekend. I'm off to do a few last minute errands and to get my hair done.

Have a wonderful day!