Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mindful Eating News Story

Happy Thursday! My sister has returned safely home and I'll post some pics and stories soon. I've got to get back to real life and real life means tidying, cooking healthy food and work.

I had been meaning to post this link for months now. It's valuable information to those of us wanting to live a healthy lifestyle and break away from the all or nothing diet mentality. It comes out of Juneau Alaska, the Empire newspaper, a two part series called "Mindful Eating Offers a Non-Dieting Approach to Good Health."

Read the two parts and let me know what you think. Have a fab day!

Click here for Part One
Click here for Part Two

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Repost: Accountability/Responsibility

One last repost for you. This one was originally posted on Wednesday May 13, 2009.

I was at the gym this morning and CNN was on one of the televisions. There was a story out of California where an office had to be evacuated and seven people were sent to the hospital because of a filthy fridge. I was completely disgusted by it. How did a group of seemingly intelligent beings allow this to happen? No other reason than not taking responsibility for a shared space in an office. Can you imagine letting your own fridge get so filthy that you had to call a haz-mat crew to deal with it? Of course not.

What is it about our society that makes it acceptable to not take responsibility for one's own actions? There is no one answer and I will likely make myself crazy by dwelling on it too long, but it is something that each of us needs to look at if we're going to make something wonderful of our lives.

For a long time I didn't want to be accountable for my health, be responsible for my fitness. I wish I knew why, I'm sure the social climate and my upbring has something to do with it, though in the end it falls to me. I started to realize that I had an obligation to my body, to my life, to the vows I made my husband. I didn't want "in sickness and in health" to be "in sickness" because of something that I could have prevented.

Take some time to think about what it means to be accountable. For me, it means that I am the one in charge of my health and well being. That I can most likely prevent a future full of depression and disease by taking care of myself now. That I can most likely avoid trips to the doctor or hospital, avoid being a victim of Big Pharmacy by treating my body with respect and love and nourishing it with healthful things, plenty of water and giving it lots of rest. My body is a gift that I was entrusted with. I'm not going to treat it like some filthy fridge in San Jose, California.

We're only given one body, one set of organs, one chance to make this life as happy and healthy as possible. We don't get a second chance if we let it slip away by avoiding responsibility.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Repost: Putting Yourself First

Since I'm off laughing hysterically at something my sister said, here is a respost of an oldie but goodie. This was originally posted on Thursday May 21, 2009.

What does "putting yourself first" mean to you? Does it mean you are selfish, putting your needs before others? Does it mean that you are so into yourself that you can't see past your own circumstances? Or does it mean to take good care of yourself so you can take better care of others, be a better friend, live a better life?

Many years of putting my health and fitness at the bottom of the list (ha, they weren't even on the list) and not putting myself first had taken its toll. I became obese, depressed, sluggish, hard to get along with and just plain unhappy. I think women in general have a hard time saying no and putting themselves first. I also think we put pressure on ourselves to be perfect. No wonder we don't get enough sleep, don't eat right, get constipated, get stressed out and overeat.

The moment I decided to make my health and fitness the top priority in my life, the moment that I learned to say no to things that weren't absolutely essential and would take time away from what needed to be done, was the moment things started to change for the better. I started to become a better person, a better wife, a better nurse. I started to see that happiness was within reach, that I had the power to make it happen.

It's okay to put yourself first, it's okay to say no! Take charge of your health, put yourself on the list. No one will do it for you. You have the power to make it happen, to make a healthier you, to give you (and your spouse/family) a happier existence!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Repost: Eff the Wagon

Since I'm probably at the mall with my sister, I thought I would repost a few of my oldies but goodies. This one was originally posted on Thursday April 30, 2009.

First it was Oprah falling off the wagon, now it's Kirstie Alley talking to Oprah about falling off the wagon. I have to admit, 10 minutes into the show and my back is up. The day the Jenny Craig person stopped coming to her house for weigh-ins, Ms. Alley fell off the wagon. This neither shocks nor surprises me. I'm going to go out on a limb and say, no shout, THERE IS NO BLOODY WAGON, THERE IS ONLY YOUR LIFE!

I wholly believe that the inability to lose weight (or lose weight and keep it off) has nothing at all to do with food and everything to do with wrong thinking. In order to get to the place I am right now I had to adjust a lifetime of thinking wrong thoughts about weight, about food, about me. Thinking that being "on a diet" was a solution, that cutting out entire food groups was a good idea, that the minute the diet is over that I could go back to eating whatever the heck I wanted, scale be damned. Thinking that once I "blew my diet" I'd pig out just because I deserved it. Thinking that food was love and comfort. Thinking that I wasn't really harming my health by eating crap. Thinking that being thin was the answer to all my problems, hopes and prayers. Thinking that it had to be all or nothing. Thinking that if I fell off the wagon I could get back on tomorrow. I wasted too many tomorrows thinking like that. I'm sure Oprah and Kirstie Ally have as well.

If you're struggling with weight issues, take an honest look at your thinking before you tackle the pantry. Small, manageable changes one day at a time and you will get your life back. There is no wagon, only life.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Self Goal Challenge: Recap

It's been just about 4 weeks and the five pounds I gained on vacation are gone! I stayed true to plan for 3 of the 4 weeks. This last week I have been fighting a cold, which meant lots of rest, loads of alkaline water, hot tea, whole fruit and more rest. I was a bit rough for awhile but I'm feeling better today, thank goodness!

Specific thoughts on the plan~ The recipes were a hot mess for the most part. Though the idea of putting spinach in tomato soup is something that I have used often since trying it that first day. I like my New Rules inspired weight lifting routines better than the strength cards, they got old real fast. I liked the elliptical workout as well as the running sprint workout and have utilized that several times. And the plan inspired me to get out there and try Zumba, and for that I'll always be grateful.

It was refreshing to see a fitness magazine plan that is balanced on calories, exercise and treats. The calories were strategically split up into three meals and two snacks which just didn't leave you time to get hungry. Especially when I read recently in another magazine that to lose weight women should only eat 1200 calories. REALLY?!? I'd be gnawing at my limbs and small children on that puny amount. You can't see me, but I'm giving 1200 calories "the hand."

Note to Self~ Fire your menu planner and get a copy of New Rules for your trainer but keep the other stuff, you're almost there.

In other news, my dear sister arrives tomorrow for a short visit without kids. We have lots of girlie things to pack into three days so I will be away from keyboard until later next week. I've been a teetotaler since returning from vacation in preparation her visit, which we have dubbed "No cocktail or cupcake left behind!" I'll have food and bevvie porn as well as close up pics of us showing our horse teeth to share with you when I'm back. Until then, be good to yourself and be safe. CHEERS!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Just a Thing

It took me a long time to realize it, but food didn't make me fat. Think about it. Food is just an inanimate object, a thing. It has no feelings, no thoughts, no power, it just is.

Take my all time favorite binge food, the two pound bag of peanut M&M's and let's break it down to the most basic parts. They are nothing more than a mixture of Milk Chocolate (Sugar, Chocolate, Cocoa Butter, Skim Milk, Lactose, Milkfat, Peanuts, Soy Lecithin, Salt, Artificial Flavors, Sugar, Peanuts, Cornstarch, Less than 1% - Corn Syrup, Gum Acacia, Coloring (includes Blue 1 Lake, Yellow 6, Red 40 Lake, Yellow 5, Red 40, Blue 1, Blue 2 Lake, Yellow 6 Lake, Yellow 5 Lake, and Dextrin all mixed in a colorful plastic bag.

Despite what the commercials will have you believe, M&M's don't have feet and can't walk themselves into your kitchen. And they don't talk. Those M&M's never got into my buggy at the market by themselves, they didn't get into the couch cushions by themselves and they didn't go into my mouth, pound after pound, by themselves.

Taking nutritional stock in your food is important, I'm not discounting that whatsoever but was it my decisions, my actions with food that made me fat (as it was my actions with food that helped me get healthy and take some weight off.) I'm not giving junk food marketers a free pass here, that's a discussion for another post. They can spend all the money in the world tempting me with their wares, but at the end of the day it's my responsibility what I choose to put into my body.

So remember, the next time you hear your favorite junk food "calling" to you, it's just your own voice in your head.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Something's Brewing

Other than my tea. :( I started feeling sniffly at work last night and woke up this morning with a hot throat and feeling very tired. Not happy about missing Zumba but I need to lay low because I have to work again tonight.

I made myself an interesting hot breakfast this morning. I baked up a small sweet potato, mashed into some cooked barley and heated it all up with some spices and a splash of apple cider to bring it all together, then I whisked in two eggs, custard style. I don't usually add any sweetener to my breakfast, but I drizzled on some raw honey for the anti-viral properties. It was delicious, the barley made for a nice change to my usual old fashioned oats.

There is just something so comforting about fall flavors. I made this beauty for Sunday dinner a couple of weeks back. Medallions of pork tenderloin, sauteed in a bit of olive oil with parsnips and grapes in a light pan sauce served with dill baby carrots. All in one pan, fast, easy and wonderful. The sweetness of the red grapes intensified in the hot pan and they contrasted so nicely with the earthy parsnips.

And finally, before I got to take a nap before work, here is my fabulous new find...

I found these mugs at TJ Maxx last week and I just couldn't resist. They were a steal, too.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Fall Fun

It's been a glorious fall weekend here. Yesterday we ventured up to the North Georgia mountains (we and everyone else in Cobb County along with their mothers, cousins and brother-uncles)...

to pick some apples...

visit the farm shops and hit the pumpkin patch...

Speckled Swan Neck Gourds

Gotta love Mother Nature's sense of humor!

It was lots of fun. The orchard we visited had Rome Beauty, Golden Delicious and Stayman-Winesap, which I had never tried before, which is one awesome apple. Crisp, tart/sweet, juicy and full of flavor. I picked half a peck of those with a Rome and a Golden tossed in. We bought some freshly pressed cider for mulling, picked up half a bushel of small apples to store in the basement along with a huge bag of perfectly portioned sweet potatoes, also to store away for winter...


This morning we spent some time prettying up the deck and got all the apples and sweet potatoes wrapped in newspaper and stored away in the basement.

Some of the Stayman-Winesap apples will be featured in this evening's dinner: Chicken, Apple, Carrot and Parsnip Stew. I'm really looking forward to it. I might even make up a tiny, enlightened apple crumble for Rob and me to share for dessert this evening.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

What I've Learned

Two years ago today I posted my weight of 277 pounds on this blog. I don't know if anyone would see it, but that wasn't really the point. What mattered was that I had made the first step toward taking responsibility for the mess I had made of my health by stuffing down my emotions with huge amounts of sugary treats, comfort and fast food, toward breaking out of the fat prison I had created for myself.

I made many changes that first year, breaking habits that had become a crutch and step by step created a whole new way of life and a revealed a me that I had been hoping to be for so many years. This is what I wrote at the end of that first year...
What a difference a year makes. I feel amazing and have a whole new outlook on life. I lost 87 pounds by not being on a diet. By not having to give up my favorite treats and my beloved Chardonnay. By not having to workout 3 hours a day. After a lifetime of struggling with emotional overeating and yo-yo dieting, this is the longest I've ever sustained a healthy, balanced lifestyle. But why is this time different? Because I've changed my thinking, eradicated the diet mentality. No more "good food behavior" vs. "bad food behavior." I learned what my body needed and I provided it: Nutritious and delicious foods in sensible portions, treats and wine in moderation, enough rest and a balanced fitness plan.
Well, another years has passed and though I've gone on to lose a few more pounds, I have managed to maintain my original 87 pound weight loss for a full year. This is astonishing after battling myself over food since I was 13 years old. This year, I'm not marking the anniversary with a before and after photo or even a weigh-in. Instead I'd like to share some things that I've learned in the past year of cooking, eating, exercising and living my (healthy) life to the fullest...
  • That my stomach is not a clown car. Seriously, how much food do we really need to eat in one sitting, anyway? The human stomach, though stretchy, is only meant to hold 1 liter of food/beverage volume at a time. Eating appropriate portion sizes is not punishment. It will energize your body, rather than slow it down and your digestion will thank you for it.
  • That it takes much less effort to smile and just get it done then bitching and moaning and putting it off.
  • That I am worthy of treating my body with love and respect, and as much as I enjoy my indulgences, no foodstuff or material possession is worth more than the rewards I have reaped in creating this happy, healthy life for myself. Believe that you are worthy and you will create the life you want to live and the body you want to live it in!
  • That the number on the scale is a gauge of progress but not of success.
  • Eating slowly and savoring every bite, though a hard habit adapt, is worth practicing at every meal.
  • That what I put in my mouth has a direct effect on my health. Just like putting bleach in your car's oil tank will destroy the engine, filling your body with processed crap will take its toll. Sooner or later it will catch up with you.
  • That shopping is so much more fun when you feel comfortable in your own skin. Donna and I were shopping yesterday and in the midst of a rollicking good time pillaging Ross, Donna said, "I remember when you'd call me and say 'I need new pants, come to Lane Bryant with me' and it would be like going to a doctor's appointment, no joy at all." True that, but not anymore. Not ever again!
  • That you can succeed the moment you decide you want a goal instead of an excuse. Refuse to make yourself a victim. Victims don't have to take action. Take action! Make a goal and go for it. You will find that most times you will not only succeed but exceed.
  • That exercise, like portion control, is not punishment. It is the single best gift we can give our bodies each day. A good workout will lower your resting heart rate, lower your weight and lower your cholesterol all the while, it will lift your confidence, lift your mood and lift your butt. What is better than that?
  • That happiness is a choice.
  • That I don't need a can of cream of mushroom soup, gobs of butter and cream and bags of white flour and sugar to make food that is absolutely delicious and deeply satisfying.
  • That my body has a true voice and it's not the inner rebel child who wants to be pacified with treats all the time. Tune in to your true voice and it will tell you when it needs nourishment, when it has had enough to eat, when it needs rest, when it needs fun, when it needs quiet, when it needs to go outside to run and play, when it needs a hug and when it needs chocolate.
I want to thank my husband, Rob, for another year of love and support. His health has benefited from the changes and that is icing on the cupcake. I also want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to spend time with me here. I look forward to spending another year sharing Monday motivation, Try Something New, workout goals, product reviews, travel photos, food porn, recipes and more things that I've learned about making life nutritious and delicious.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Monday Motivation

At Friday's nurse's meeting our Director of Nursing gave us a power point presentation on "attitude." When you work a stressful job that is rooted in customer service, it's easy to burn out and take on a negative attitude. So many of the points resonated with me. Each of those points can be applied to living a healthy lifestyle, specifically making changes from self-abusive food behaviors and inactivity, working toward a healthy relationship with food and exercise.
  • Why is your rear-view mirror smaller than your windshield? Because the past is only a point of reference. Don't live life looking in the rear-view mirror.
  • Change begins in the mind, bettering yourself begins here and now. Understand that success is an inside-out job.
  • When you believe you can do something, you have the courage to move forward despite being afraid. Armed with a great attitude, decide to become a participant in life and to explore your potential.
  • Attitude is a deliberate choice. Almost always, you have a choice as to what attitude to adopt. There is nothing in any normal situation that dictates you must react one way or another. If you feel angry about something that happens, that is how you choose to feel. Nothing in the event itself makes it absolutely necessary for you to feel that way. It is your choice. And since you do have a choice, most of the time you'll be better off if you choose to react in a positive rather than negative way.
  • Everything can be taken away from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms-to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.~Victor Frankl
  • Success is a choice, we can only climb as high as the ladder we select.
  • All behaviors begin with thought. Don't try to change the behavior but the thought behind it. Transform thought=transform behavior
  • Don't Make Excuses~Whenever you think of an excuse, ask yourself if there has ever been someone else who has been in the same situation and who has succeeded despite it. When move beyond the whining and justifying, you'll find that the answer is always "yes." Someone, somewhere has had it worse than you and still succeeded. You can succeed too, the moment you decide you want a goal instead of an excuse. Refuse to make yourself a victim. Victims don't have to take action. They are too busy dwelling on injustice and being bitter. Remember you will always be able to make up an eloquent excuse but there are no excuses that last.
It is in your power to live the life you want (happy, healthy, energetic) you only need to choose to do so.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Self Goal Challenge: Week 2 Wrap-Up

Hey, it's 10/10/10. I'd heard on the news that today is a big day for weddings because of the numbers. Best wishes to all the 10/10/10 newlyweds!

Self Goal Challenge week 2 recap...

I have no food porn or recipe reviews this week as I just didn't have time. I ate leftovers at work most of the nights and stayed with my tried and true breakfast, dinners and snacks for convenience. I stayed within my calories all week again and was never hungry. Which is awesome! I feel great if a little frazzled from a very long week.

I got in all my workouts, doing the elliptical and strength workouts from the Self challenge. I got in a walk up the mountain and especially enjoyed Zumba. Can't wait until Tuesday to try it again.

Rob put together a crock pot meal this morning for Sunday dinner. How super great is that, coming home from work and dinner is served. Pork roast, acorn squash and raisins with orange zest, allspice, orange juice and bit of brown sugar to make the sauce. My husband rocks and I can't wait to try it!

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday and I will see you in the new week.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Connection

Phew, it's been a busy week and there is no end in sight until Monday. I've booked way too many shifts, have a nurse's meeting this afternoon as well as working this weekend. I've also been nursing a sick husband, Rob has had a cold all week but he seems to be on the mend.

So I'm busy, big deal. Aren't we all? My point is, I would not have had the energy to get through a week like this when I was filling my face with garbage. Since I've been eating clean I have so much more energy. It was a turning point moment for me a couple of years ago when I finally made that connection. The connection that what I feed my body directly impacts how I feel. How much energy I have, decreased pain and headaches, no more agita (heartburn) and just a feeling of well being when I ditched the processed crap and fast food in favor or whole foods. My daily life has improved beyond belief and I just know that my future health has been impacted, too.

I want to hear from you. Have you made that connection? If so, when?

If you haven't, please think about it. About how what you eat impacts the way your body feels.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

New Goodie: Kashi TLC Cookies

One of the nice things about the Self plan is the inclusion of a daily treat, or a planned indulgence, as it were. ;) I try to limit processed foods that I bring into the house so when I do I like to know that they have the best ingredients possible and Kashi always fits the bill. When I saw that Kashi TLC cookies were on the list, I picked up a box at Publix. They come in three varieties, Oatmeal Dark Chocolate, Happy Trail Mix and Oatmeal Raisin Flax. I chose the chocolate chip (duh!) because...

I'm not a fan of soft baked cookies from a package. They always have a funny, off putting taste with terrible texture, but Kashi pulled no punches and made a delicious, satisfying cookie. With 130 calories, 5 grams of fat, 2 grams of protein and quality ingredients, you get so much more bang for your calorie buck with TLC than say a 100 calorie pack of Chips Ahoy. And just look at this thing...

Now that's a cookie!

The softness reminds me of a chocolate chip blondie but with a nice nuttiness and bit of crunch from the whole grains and nuts. They aren't stingy with the dark chocolate either. One of these big, honking cookies with a hot cup of decaf chai with milk in the evening is the perfect end to a day of nutritious and delicious eating.

If you've tried the other varieties, please let me know what you think.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


I'm just back from my very first Zumba class and people, if you haven't tried it, RUN, don't walk to your nearest class and DO IT!

I've been wanting to try Zumba for awhile now after hearing how much fun and how great of a workout it is. Since my gym doesn't have classes, I went to the Zumba website to search for a class in my area. I found one just 3 1/2 miles from here, so I couldn't resist.

"That was not a workout, that was a dance party!" These were my words to Lisa on our way back to our cars after class, despite the fact that I was sweaty, out of breath and felt that my heart along with every other muscle in my body had been well and truly worked out.

A combination of hip-hop, Latin and African tribal rhythms, the Zumba moves are basically funked-up versions of those neon spandex 1980's aerobics classes only fun and easy and set to great music. You don't need to know how to dance, you just follow along, laugh and have a great time.

It's part of the Self Goal challenge, too, so that's a bonus.

Dance Your A-- Off!

Make time fly and flab fade away with a fun exercise class.

Skip the cardio machines and shake things up (along with your booty) by taking a Zumba, hip-hop or other dance class at your gym. Dancing scorches 7 calories per minute and is such a blast that the minutes speed by.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Self Goal Challenge: Week 1 Wrap-Up

Happy Sunday! It has been a good week, I feel good and the bloat is gone. It's tough coming off vacation and getting back to the real world and this plan has been just the thing to get me focused back on healthy eating and daily exercise. Other than the breakfast fail the other morning, after which I was pretty much hungry all day, I haven't been hungry at all, in fact, very satisfied.

I got in 5 cardio and 2 strength workouts as laid out in the plan, including a great walk with Rob yesterday that included a bunch of uphill running intervals. I don't know that I'll ever be a runner but intervals are definitely an endorphin inducer.

Here are a few of the Self plan recipe reviews with photos~

Friday's snack...

Apple and Brie
Cut 1 apple into wedges and serve with 1 oz Brie.
150 calories, 8 g fat (5 g saturated), 14.8 g carbs, 2.5 g fiber, 6.2 g protein

In reality it was 180 calories (I weighed that wedge of cheese to make sure it was just 1 ounce) and I shared 1/3 of the apple with Rob. But it was a very tasty and satisfying snack that held me until a fairly late supper. That's a honeycrisp apple, by the way. They are back in season and they are spectacular.

Saturday breakfast...

Broiled Grapefruit and Almond-Honey Toast
Sprinkle 1 tbsp brown sugar over 2 grapefruit halves. Heat under broiler until sugar starts to bubble, about 5 minutes. Serve with 1 slice whole-grain bread, toasted and spread with 4 1/2 tsp natural almond butter and 2 tsp honey.
398 calories, 15.4 g fat (1.6 g saturated), 62.4 g carbs, 5.6 g fiber, 8.9 g protein

Brown sugar *and* honey? Really, Self? Really?!? /Tina Fey/ If you're weaning yourself off of Lucky Charms for breakfast, this might be acceptable but that much added sugar in the morning is completely unnecessary.

My version was a whole wheat English muffin toasted with the full 2 tablespoons serving of crunchy, unsalted almond butter and the segments of juice of a big, fat pink grapefruit with a sprinking of cinnamon on everything for 415 calories. More food and less sugar for 17 extra calories. I win!

I transformed this clunker into an amazing dinner soup for Wednesday night...

Egg, Beans and Greens
Sauté 4 cups kale in 1 tsp olive oil with 1 clove chopped garlic until soft, 4 minutes. Stir in 1 cup cannellini beans (rinsed and drained). Top with 1 sliced, hard-boiled egg, 1 tbsp grated Parmesan. Serve with 1 slice whole-wheat bread.
476 calories, 12.9 g fat (3.5 g saturated), 61.1 g carbs, 15.6 g fiber, 32.4 g protein

Unless they are poached or whisked into a gorgeous omelet I don't want eggs for supper and Rob is pretty much against eggs anytime after 12 noon. So, I replaced the eggs with two four ounce chicken breasts, seasoned and roasted them until done. I diced them up and put one into each bowl. I turned the greens and beans into a beautiful soup with sauteed onions and carrots and 4 cups of low sodium chicken stock. A sprinkle of cheese and it was a satisfying and homey supper that filled us up, we didn't even need the bread.

And finally a bit of food porn, this is the Grilled Steak with Mango Salsa and Grilled Flatbread from Cooking Light. KEEPER!

I'll be back in the week with some "New Goodie" product reviews and more from the Self Goal plan. The comment area has been quiet, so if there is anything that you'd like to see on the blog or would like me to cover, shoot me a comment and I'll see what I can do.

That's all for this lovely fall Sunday. I hope your week has been delicious and nutritious and your weekend, sublime.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

This Post is Brought to You by the Color Orange

Orange foods that is. Orange colored produce is some of the most delicious and nutritious things available for us to eat. I was thinking about this yesterday when I was buying up pumpkins and gourds. There is something so appealing about brightly colored orange fruit and vegetables.

Beta-carotene (which gives that wonderful orange hue) is converted to vitamin A, which is vital to the health of the linings of our essential organ tracts and eyes. These anti-oxidant carotenoids can reduce the risk of certain cancers, reduce the risk of heart disease, boost the immune system, help keep the skin, eyes and bones healthy and can reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease. More than being health power houses, orange foods are beautiful, versatile and taste amazing. Here is a list of my favorites and why I love them...
  • Cantaloupe~Summer 2010 offered up the very best cantaloupe I've had in my life. Fragrant, juicy, sweet and a little salty from naturally occurring sodium. I love it paired with savory ham, in salads, for break fast with yogurt and even eaten with a melon baller straight out of the shell.
  • Nectarines and peaches~Sweet, juicy and succulent, a ripe, fragrant Georgia peach is one of life's greatest pleasures. If you've never tried a Saturn or Donut peach, make it your mission to find one next summer.
  • Sweet potatoes/yams~my mother makes this recipe of sweet potatoes and bananas baked with brown sugar and spices that is divine. It's sweet and sticky, like candied yams and marshmallows but more sophisticated. It's a wonderful holiday dish, I must get the recipe from her. But sweet potatoes have so many more applications than just pie and sweet casseroles. I like them baked, or cut in wedges for oven fries and diced into soup. It's even good tossed in the old juicer.
  • Oranges, tangerines and clementines~Nature's candy! I keep a bowl of clementines and/or tangerines on the counter for Rob and myself to grab whenever we want a sweet treat. I keep oranges in the fridge all winter for zest in salad dressing, juice in marinades or segments eaten out of hand.
  • Rutabaga~The white flesh of this root veggie turns a lovely orange blush when cooked. Roasted in the oven, diced in soup or mashed with butter salt and pepper.
  • Orange tomatoes~My tomato crop did poorly this season, but the farmer's market was chock full with the most amazing orange and golden tomatoes. They were even better than the red ones for some reason. Juicy and tangy, so good just sliced and drizzled with a bit of good olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  • Golden beets~So pretty and sweeter and milder in flavor than red beets. They are so good roasted, peeled and sliced in salads. Also great for the juicer, very purifying for the liver.
  • fresh turmeric~I haven't cooked with it yet, but it makes my fresh juice an electric orange color. It's sweet and spicy and has so many health benefits. It's anti-inflammatory (great for the knees) and studies have shown that it can help ward off dementia/Alzheimer's disease.
  • orange bell peppers~I loathe green peppers, I like red and yellow ones but the orange ones are my favorite. They are so pretty and so juicy, crisp and mild, orange bells are my go-to when bell peppers are called for in a recipe.
  • Winter squash and pumpkin~ so many varieties, delicata, acorn, confetti, turban, butternut...the farmer's and supermarkets are starting to stock up with these beauties. Pureed for/diced into soup, roasted in the oven, mashed with butter and warm spices, baked into pie (sweet and savory, try mashed squash as a topper for Shepard's Pie.) So versatile and so tasty. My favorite is acorn cut in half and baked until soft and tender and served with a mixture of sauteed spicy turkey Italian sausage and chopped greens like kale or turnip greens piled into the cavity and served. *drool*

Ahh, Autumn, the perfect time to paint a colorful and delicious dinner plate palette with orange as your centerpiece.

What are your favorite orange fruit/veg and your favorite way to devour them?

Friday, October 1, 2010


I can't believe September is over, it went by so quickly but it was a fantastic month all around. And now I can officially get in the fall spirit. I picked up a few harvest goodies to spread around the house like the Cinderella pumpkin above and these gourds for the dining room...

I love autumn! We'll visit a pumpkin patch for more goodies and I'll pick up a cinnamon broom at the supermarket on the next trip.

Yesterday I walked up the mountain with Lisa, the first time in a few weeks. It was tough, as the first one always is but I rarely enjoy a workout more than that one. When I got home I was so hungry for breakfast, from the Self plan...
Chocolaty Oatmeal
Mix 5 chopped dates, 3/4 cup old-fashioned oats, 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, a pinch of salt in a bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups water; nuke 2 minutes; stir. Cook 2 minutes more. Top with 1/2 cup blueberries.
385 calories, 5.1 g fat (1.1 g saturated), 81.6 g carbs, 12.5 g fiber, 10.5 g protein

I followed the "recipe" but I cooked it on the stove. I don't know who at the brain trust that is Self magazine is responsible but they deserve a paddlin' for this hot mess. Low protein, very high in carbs and totally unappetizing. Plus, you know that there are people out there who added 5 whole dates chopped (I used one whole date diced up) thereby adding an extra 250 calories. I weighed everything and it came to out to 319 calories with only 9 grams of protein. Not satisfying and it didn't really taste very nice either. I would have been gnawing my own arm off had I eaten this one after a strength training workout.

This evening I'm making Grilled Steak with Fresh Mango Salsa from September's Cooking Light, Click here for the recipe. The Turkey Lamb Pita Burgers recipe from the other night's supper was amazing. I doubled the meat (as to have lots of leftovers) and added lots of fresh chopped mint to the mixture and cooked it as a meatloaf instead of burgers. It was so good, we just had slices of the meat loaf tucked inside half a whole wheat pita stuffed with lots of crisp, fresh greens. So yummy!

That's all for now, I hope your week has been low stress and that your weekend ahead is fabulous!