Tuesday, January 31, 2012

BLOOD - Day 151

I donated blood Sunday for a family friend who is in desperate need of it.  Would I give, I was asked?  Absolutely! was my response!  What greater gift?  It's easy to go in, sit down,  relax and pump out some blood.  But imagine being on the receiving end.  Whether it be a long term necessity, like my friend.  Or it be an immediate life dependent need!!!  To be in a situation, that is already scary and knowing, it's something you need, it's something you can't provide for yourself (at the given emergent moment) and without it, your life is in real danger.  It's amazing something so nonchalant on one end can be the most important gift you can receive on the other end.  And by giving it you can save a life.  How often do you get to do that?!

After giving blood Sunday, I was tired and even ***gasp*** napped!!!  This is another bonus of giving blood.  They tell you don't lift anything heavy (groceries, vacuum cleaners, dishes, laundry, etc).  Then a sweet lady usually is waiting for you by the snack table.  Yes, they WANT and EXPECT you to drink juice or soda and eat cookies and snacks!  It's a free pass to eat sweets!!!!!  Plus you usually get a cool sticker with complete instructions on how to treat you!

Our church routinely has blood drives and gives me a coupon for a free pint of ice cream every time I donate a pint of blood!  I have type O blood~ the universal blood type.  Which means, no matter what your blood type is, you can take my blood!  So I'm a hot commodity!!!  Ha Ha Ha

I urge you to think about and go ahead and donate blood if you don't already!  Take one look at your spouse, significant other, children, your parents, other family and friends and ask yourself, What wouldn't you give if their life depended on a donar's, like yourself, blood.

Please click below or contact your local American Red Cross to sign up to save a life!

Monday, January 30, 2012

152 - Steel cut vs 1 minute quick Oats & Baked Oatmeal - REVISED

***I updated this with the nutritional info listed at the bottom***

I keep hearing how much better steel cut oats are for you than regular oats.  I had wanted to finish the quick-1 minutes oates I still had, but was intrigued by the healthier ones, so caved and bought them.

When I opened the lid my immediate reaction was, "What the heck?"  They don't even look like oats - they're like tiny pieces of....I don't know, something.  HA HA HA  The regular oats are on the left, the steel cut are on the right (below)

Close up of the steel cut - even though I used my "close up" cam (ha ha) it's still a bit blurry. 
But they're not soft and thin like the regular oats.

Regular oats close up cam...

Okay so I had a recipe for baked oatmeal.  I decided this would be the perfect way to start off with my steel oats. 

The night before I mixed 3 cups of steel oates, 3/4 brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon..

then mixed in , 3/4 stick melted butter, 1.5 cups low fat vanilla yogurt.
Stir together and cover with plastic wrap overnight. 
Leave on counter.  YES leave on the counter overnight.

In the morning in a separate bowl mix together 1 cup of milk (I used skim), 2 eggs beaten, 2 tsp baking powder, and 1 tsp salt...

Then add the liquid mixture into the oat mixture...

Then pour into greased GLASS baking dish. 

Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-30 minutes...

until the edges look a little browned and center about set.

Oooh it is so good!!!  perfect for a sunny Sunday morning!

I was a little shocked by the look of the oats, and then the texture taste of the oats threw me - like tapioca pudding balls, for lack of a better description.  But it is good!!!!!  

After adding this recipe to Myfitnesspal.com, I thought I'd share it here!  Gotta know what we're eating, right?

1/9th of the pan = 1 serving
Calories - 265
Carbs - 39g (wow!!!!)
Fat - 9g
Protein - 6g

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Why I Don't Make Mashed Potatoes Very Often

I love potatoes - we've discussed this haven't we? 
Many years ago I learned the trick to good mashed potatoes ~ butter.  Well, and of course, salt.

I try to use Yukon Gold potatoes when available, although any good potato will work.  I dice them up and boil them in salty water until tender.

 In goes the salt!  I can't believe I caught the flow of the salt in this shot! Look at the butter start to melt.

Get out the mixer and get to mashin!!!  Not smooth enough - *don't add milk* add more butter!!

The end result?  Beautiful rich smooth mashed potatoes.  I've never met a soul who hasn't loved them yet.

Why am I posting such a bad thing?  Cuz I don't make them very often!  I maybe make these potatoes 3-4 times a year, if that.  Usually for Thanksgiving or Easter and then once or twice just for the occasion.  Tonight my husband wanted a big steak, and what goes better with a big steak than potatoes?

I had a big spoonful, but then that was it!  I've learned a little restraint.  In the old days, I could have had a heaping helping of these! 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Oooh it's early!

I've off my usual schedule this week and my usual 3:30am's have turned into 4am's (clock is set fast to keep me from over sleeping).

My boss is a healthy eater and we share ideas, recipes, and exercises.  A couple of days ago she brought me a protein mix packet to try.  I decided to have it for breakfast!  Elite Whey Protein Isolate is what she brought me.  I mixed 1 cup of skim milk, 1 tsp of peanut butter, 1 cup of frozen raspberries and 1 tbsp of flaxseed.  It was DELICIOUS!!!!

I've lost 6 pounds so far this year and hope to keep it going going going!
I've hit the wall tonight, though, and am about to collapse into bed.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

159 - Tosca Retweeted Me!!!

Tosca Retweet

This made my day!! 
I finished,  "Just The Rules" over lunch and Tweeted that on Twitter and to Tosca.  To my surprise, she Retweeted my message.  Made me perk up after a long morning.

I'm funkish today.  All over the radio and internet and news they're saying this is the time that most people give or falter on their New Year's Resolutions.  I laughed, while working out, when I heard that last night. 
But today, I had my oatmeal again, but I was craving salt on the way to work - thinking hashbrowns, sausage, potato chips as I passed Burger King and Walgreens.  I had nothing salty in my lunch bag and I knew I'd cave.  So I saw, GASP, a White Castle but opted for something less bad for me.  An egg and cheese sandwich - small like the burger.  It was 160 calories.  More than I needed after my oatmeal, and it didn't really even taste that great.  What do I saw about craving salt?  It means you need hydration!  I have been incredibly thirsty, too! 

I hope I don't falter anymore.  I want to charge forward and feel great.  All those clothes I got at work, are a hair too tight.  I could wear them but I think I'll just wait a week or so when they feel much better on me.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Day 159 - flaxseed, oats, strawberries and cake

Oh my!  I feel like it's been a holiday (okay, my anniversary should be considered a holiday) the way this past week has gone!!!  Have had so much fun posting photos, videos/songs and telling about our anniversary this year.  Truly, it's been the best anniversary we've had!  Thanks for letting me share it with you all.
I can say, I'm going to wrap it up today with one of the best parts, a tradition we've shared since our wedding.  When we got married, we didn't tell anyone - and No, I wasn't pregnant.  We had just decided with such a large family on Cory's side and my family all over the country, we're not big long range planners and don't have the greatest patiece, so we went on our own to the Caribbean.  Our travel agent asked us if we'd like to give anyone information so they could send cards, flowers, gifts etc.  and we explained that we were keeping this event a secret.  Well when we came back to our room one night, we arrived to a platter of HUGE ripe strawberries dipped in white and dark chocolate and a bottle of champagne!!!  Our travel agent sent it.  How sweet was that?!!  So every year since, Cory and I have carried on this tradition and now our kids share in it by helping prepare and, of course, eat the strawberries!
 These 3 little cuties are all that is left of 2 trays that we made

And Spice Cake is a funny tradition started by my good friend Jane.
In an attempt to bring us a treat and happiness on our anniversary she baked us a spice cake - one of mine and Cory's favorite.  She had my daughter, then just a toddler, come over and help her to bake it.  Such a special treat.  But that night my husband worked late and then was tired.  We had gone to bed without eating it.  During the night I got up to get something to drink only to discover he decided to have some cake - - -  - WITHOUT ME.  Well the block of knives were next to the cake, so I chopped the cake to smitherines and put the cake lid back on.  No one eats my anniversary cake without me.  So it's kind of a joke now.  Although a little scary.  HA!
 Spice cake - nonsabbatoged

Now that the anniversary celebrations are over and the scale ever so slight rose, I decided to start back this morning on the ball and give my old enemy plain oats a try.  These were 1-minute quick cook oats in the cylinder not the ones filled with sugar in the packets.  I poured 1 cup of 2% milk into a pot to boil, stirred in 1/2 cup oats, 1 tbsp clover honey, and 1 tbsp ground flaxseed.  Then topped it off with a few of the fresh strawberries that I cut up last night and a few chunks of the fresh pineapple I had.  O-M-G-G it is sooooo good!  I'm not quite sure what I did last time that I couldn't even stomach 1/2  a bowl!!  Maybe it's the honey, cuz nothing else is different.  I loved it, it was a lot to eat and I am definitely full!!!!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

160 - You're My Angel

11 Years Ago..

I've always loved this shot - just captures the fun

More wedding music - You're My Angel, click to enjoy...

And a more formal professional shot...

And here we are today, 11 years later...

This year for our anniversary, we did something different.  The kiddos blew us away with THE NICEST most creative cards and homemade story book about our anniversary, so we decided to share it with them, and we all went out to dinner last night.  We went to Outback Steakhouse.  We hadn't been there in a long time - actually for Cory's 40th this past May!

I ate good all day and worked out before we left.  At first I was a little reserved about how I'd eat tonight, but then I remember reading that you try to be good on a daily basis so on special occasions you don't need to deny yourself, but don't over indulge.  It's a fine though....ha ha ha

I decided to go ahead and have a Gold Coast 'Rita.  
Outback has really good margaritas so it's a treat!  After this, I had water.

Although I'm not a major meat eater, I'm a furocious carnivore when it comes to perfectly made prime rib.  Outback has perfectly made prime rib!  I order it medium rare and let the au jous cook it a bit longer.  Tonight I had the grilled asparagus!  It was delicious.

I won't hide the fact that we started out sharing a Bloomin' Onion....especially when I found out they are actually low calorie!!!  82 calories, 5 g carb, 7 g fat and 1protein for 1/4 of the onion.  I couldn't believe it, sure it's still fried, but heck I consider it a good way to have a bad treat!

My biggest surprise was that the HOUSE SALAD with the pathetically small ramekin of honey mustard dressing was 351 calories, 30 carbs, 23 g of fat and 7 g protein!!!!  That is absolutely ridiculous for a house salad and Outback should be ashamed!  I'd rather have eaten more Bloomin Onion (okay, not really ha!)  Of note - I did NOT eat any of their delicious bread or butter!  ;)

So dinner was out of control, but since it was a special occasion, it was well worth it!  We had a great time!!!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

You're Making Me High - more wedding memorabelia

My husband saw this today and say, "What were we 17?!" 
Bwah haw haw

More of our wedding music for you - - -

Being that our annversary is on a Sunday, we've decided to go out tonight instead.  And for the first time, we're taking the kids with us.  They made us THE BEST, SWEETEST anniversary card and story book I couldn't even believe it!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

163 - 2nd post

Look what I came home to!!!!  The kids and Cory surprised me with a new RED smoothie maker for an early anniversary gift since I blew  mine up the other day!!!!  The kids made an AWESOME card and story book (my son the author) and hubby stopped after work to pick up the smoothie maker!

I'm so excited cuz I had oatmeal today, but tomorrow I would have really really missed my morning smoothie!!  And again, I love it cuz the top part twists off and is a to go cup!  I can smooth, twist, and go!!!

Also today I realized to what all the crazy drinks are in the grocery store like this:
To make other types of smoothies- even vegetable smoothies!  I'm on a smoothie making mission!!

Day 166 - I finally found someone...

...who likes to have fun, too!  Now I'm not sure today Cory would don this hat so willingly, but it was fun that day!  We had to be in Jamaica for 3 days before we could get married there.  So we relaxed and had some fun before the big day!  Palmleaf hats seems to do the trick!

Another song from our wedding for your listening pleasure...

Today was also great because the scale finally budged!!!  It was stuck for 6 days - maybe it needed a Jamaican get a way, too!  But I've lost 6 pounds so far since Jan 1 - which apparently was also about where I was when I started my 40 by 40.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Getting to be that time

11 years ago, my husband and I were secretly planning our getaway wedding.  I loved our wedding, I loved that we went to Jamaica, I love that we were so in love.  I love everything about our wedding - the tropical feel and smell, the time alone, and it being just use.  Come January I'm usually all excited, day dreaming about ocean waves and Red Stripe beer (ha ha ha), and playing all the songs from that week long paradise!  So the tribute begins because....it makes me happy!

And this is one of "our" songs...

Monday, January 16, 2012

166 - My First Quinoa Experience - Direct Recipe added below

 Back at the end of summer, I sought out some quinoa.  I've been wanting to make this for quite awhile and finally found what looked to be a good recipe in my Clean Eating magazine!

The first thing I had to figure out was, what exactly is quinoa? 
And where would one find it in the grocery store?
This is the organic quinoa that I purchased.  It seems to be most like rice - it is a grain.  Very tiny small beads that are near impossible to strain without losing a lot of them when you rinse!  Tip - FINE MESH SIEVE!  You can find quinoa in the rice/grain isle, some times the pasta isle.  If you have any trouble - ASK!

Here is a close up of what it looks like precooked. 

 While the quinoa was boiling with cumin, I used fresh lemon and cilantro with olive oil to whisk up the dressing.

Chop up one roma tomato and a little bit of red onion....

Here is the cooked quinoa

And a close up of the cooked quinoa

I added black beans and corn, tossed it all together, and Wha-lah - -
Southwestern Quinoa Salad
This was really really good!!  I'm glad I tried something new!


  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted, or 1 tsp ground cumin
  • High-heat cooking oil (such as sunflower, safflower, peanut or grape seed oil), as needed to lightly coat grill grate
  • 2 cobs fresh corn, husks and silk removed (or 1 1/4 cups frozen corn, thawed)
  • 1 cup cooked black beans, drained
  • 1 plum tomato, diced
  • 1 zucchini or yellow zucchini squash, diced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion


  1. In a small bowl, whisk lemon juice, olive oil, cilantro, salt and pepper; set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, bring 2 cups water to a boil; add quinoa and cumin. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until liquid is absorbed, about 12 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Uncover, fluff with a fork and let cool for at least 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat an outdoor grill to medium-high and lightly oil grate with cooking oil. Add corn, close lid and grill, turning once, until tender and lightly charred, 10 to 15 minutes. (Alternatively, boil cobs in a large pot of simmering water. Cover and cook until tender, 6 to 10 minutes.) Let corn cool, then cut kernels from cob. 
  4. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, corn kernels, beans, tomato, zucchini and onion. Pour lemon-cilantro dressing over top and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate salad for at least 1 hour to allow flavors to meld, or up to 2 days.

Nutrients per 1-cup serving: Calories: 221, Total Fat: 11 g, Sat. Fat: 1.5 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 g, Carbs: 26 g, Fiber: 4.5 g, Sugars: 2 g, Protein: 6 g, Sodium: 23 mg, Cholesterol: 0 mg

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Hum a little treat

This weekend I wanted to try my hand again at humus.  Remember this summer?  The cement looking black bean citrus humus that no one, including me, liked?  It's taken awhile to get over that. 
Today a friend brought store bought Sabras roasted red pepper humus to work and it was delicious.  I've always like this, but it's been awhile.  After enjoying it way too much,I thought - I'm gonna make my own from scratch! 
The hardest part was finding and then stirring the tahini!!  The people at Publix are always so friendly and willing to help me find the new and sometimes strange things I'm looking for (like the quiona that time - ha ha ha).

Okay, so here we go!  Chickpeas - check!  Garlic - check!
I just love how things look in my food processor. 

Then this very thick, separated and hard to work with tahini.  I'll be honest, I had no idea what tahini was.  I thought it'd be liquid - maybe like a martini (ha ha).  But no it comes in a Crisco like can.  I'm not sure if all tahini is like this or if I just had the one can that has sat on the shelf since this Publix opened, but it was very thick.  And tahini is a creamy puree of roasted sesame seeds.  So that's what McDonald's does with all the seeds that fall off the Big Mac's!!!

After processing the chick peas, lemon, tahini, and garlic until smooth, in goes the basil and roasted red peppers.  Looks like hearts!!!!  BLAH!

I spooned it into individual Pampered Chef glass dishes and chilled for about 30 minutes.  Then I grabbed some pita chips and dug in.  It was AWESOME!!!!

And today I weighed in for our Hold The Stuffing contest at work.  You had to be within 2 pounds of your pre-holiday weight and I was!!!  Yeay!  So they threw my name into the drawing for several $50 gift cards.  I also received my t-shirt for walking 350k+ steps in the Start! program!!!!
I may never get a 5K t-shirt, but I have my Vandy heart tshirt!!!