Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Resolutions vs. Goals

When I started to think about this post, I thought I wanted to state my goals instead of making resolutions. Then I looked the words resolution and goals up in the dictionary and realized I can't have one without the other.

Resolution: 1) a resolving or determining;deciding 2) the thing determined upon; decision as to future action; resolve

Goal: 1)an object or end that one strives to attain; aim

So I am resolving to take charge of my life in the coming year. I have decided that I want to be healthy in all areas of my life, not just in weight loss. I am more than a number on the scale.

That being said, while I was waiting to see my doctor today, I was thinking about what I want out of my life and saw clearly the goals I need to have to get there.

1. I want to lose enough weight to get off all my medications. Right now I take a cholesterol pill and a pill for acid reflex. I want to be rid of those pills by Dec. 28, 2009.

2. I want to lose 71 lbs by Dec. 28, 2009.

3. To achieve that goal I need to lose approximately 6 lbs per month. That is a reachable goal.

4. I will reach my goal by journaling what I am eating and by getting at least 30 minutes of exercise 4 times a week.

5. I will reach my goal by enjoying my life through other means besides eating, like square dancing with my husband once a week, walking my dogs every day and breathing easier as my weight goes down.

6. I will reach my goals by attending my Weight Watcher meetings and by using the Weight Watcher web site and the Spark People web site to find like-minded individuals that will support me and seek my support.

I have decided and I will aim for the prize.

Monday, December 29, 2008

It's working!

I've been on my Weight Watcher program for two days now. That may not seem like much, but I have to do this one day at a time. I've stayed within my daily points total and I've been trying to remember to get at least 5 servings of fruits and veggies and to drink all my water. I even went out and walked the dogs for a mile today.

Last night I made a weight watcher recipe that I got at my meeting. Baked Spaghetti Carbonara. I love Carbonara from my local Olive Garden, but it's so high in calories and points that it has to be off limits right now. This weight watcher recipe was great. Our leader said that she had made it for her husband and he liked it but thought the spaghetti was a little bland. I think I fixed that problem by adding red bell pepper, onion, and some red pepper flakes. Nothing I added changed the calories or points for this recipe.

Here's the recipe my way.

Baked Spaghetti Carbonara

1/2 lb whole wheat spaghetti
4 slices turkey bacon, diced
2 med. leeks, white part only, chopped
1/2 small onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 pinch red pepper flakes, optional
1 cup fat free egg substitute
1 1/4 cups 1% milk
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 9" deep dish pie plate with non-stick cooking spray. Cook spaghetti in salted boiling water until al dente. Meanwhile, cook bacon in skillet over med-high heat until browned-about 3 minutes.
Add leeks, onion, red bell pepper, minced garlic, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and italian seasoning. Cook until all veggies are softened, about 2-5 minutes. Drain spaghetti and add to mixture in skillet. Toss together and put in pie plate. Combine egg substitute and milk. Pour over spaghetti mixture. Sprinkle with cheese. Place on a baking sheet and bake until center is set and golden brown, 25-35 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Cut into 6 wedges.
4 pts per serving
226 calories, 4 grams fat, 1 gram sat. fat, 0 trans fat, 12 mg. chol, 166 mg calcium, 488 sodium, 36 carbs, 5 grams fiber, 15 grams of protein

Hope you try this recipe and like it as much as I do. Let me know okay. I will try to post more recipes that I try on my weight loss journey.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

How to Kick Myself...

into high gear when it comes to my weight loss efforts.

1. Be faithful in tracking what I eat.

2. Be honest with myself about what I'm putting in my mouth.

3. Get to Weight Watchers at least once a week to weigh in and stay for the meeting.

4. Get all the junk out of the kitchen from the holidays. It's really hard to cook healthy when you have candy and cookies staring you in the face.

5. Let my darling hubby bring the treadmill into the living room. I can put on a movie and walk forever. It's too darn cold in the garage.

6. Drink plenty of fluids and get enough rest.

That should do it!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Day after Christmas Blahs

Here it is almost 12 o'clock and I'm still in my pajamas. I feel like I have a hangover except that I didn't have any alcohol yesterday at all. I was trying to stay on program within reason. I drank water and only had a few appetizers and when we sat down to eat I took small portions and no seconds. I know I didn't eat that much but I just don't feel well today. Maybe it's an accumulation of sugar over the last couple of weeks.

What I really need to do is go get dressed and take my lazy self and my lazy dogs out for a long walk. I think it would make me feel so much better. I'll let you know how that works out.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Lucky ...


may be getting a lump of coal in his stocking. He has chewed up 7 ornaments. Actually, I guess I deserve the coal because after all he is an animal and just doing what comes naturally. So tomorrow it's in the crate he goes along with his brother Frankie. When I got home tonight, it was a little disconcerting because I opened the door and both dogs were locked in their crates. When I left I hadn't crated them and Frankie's' crate was in the garage. Just for a split second I thought maybe we had an intruder but it was just DD #3 that came over to get her laundry soap and saw the pieces of the latest deconstructed ornament. She cleaned it up and put the dogs in their crates but didn't leave me a note. GRRR!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Santa Paws

I had a really busy day today. My two youngest daughters came over and we took my boxers, Lucky and Frankie, to Petsmart to weigh them and buy backpacks for them. I'm giving them a job using the backpacks to carry water and their own pickup bags. It's supposed to help them settle down while we're walking them. I hope it works. Lucky weighed in at 73.4 lbs and Frankie is a hefty 79.8 lbs. You can see how I can't walk them by myself when they won't behave.

After I picked up the backpacks and a Christmas stocking full of toys for the two of them, we went over to Western Ranch to get their picture done with Santa Paws. Here they are and I think they came out really cute.



Here's one with two of my darling daughters:



Santa Paws is put on every year and is a fund raiser for our local dog park. It really is a worthy cause and Santa was most gracious and kind to all the animals being photographed. Thanks Santa!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Christmas in Vacaville

Tuesday night was our annual Christmas Tree lighting in downtown Vacaville. There was probably between 14,000 and 17,000 people downtown for this event. It's such a great time when families come together, carols are sung, and all the businesses are open with cookies and hot cocoa. There are horse drawn wagon rides and the Vacaville Museumn gives out their famous onion soup. Of course, Santa always makes his grand entrance dangling over the Christmas tree in the bucket of a crane and fake snow falling everywhere. Here's a few pictures.

Darling Hubby and Darling Daughter number 4:



Before the tree was lit:



The moment the tree was lit:



Desending Santa:



The Live Nativity put on by Crossroads Christian Church:

{TWD}

I've made an important decision. I can no longer participate in TWD. I've had a wonderful time participating and everyone on this site is spectacular, but if I don't want to be looking at a diagnosis of diabetes, I have to quit baking and get this weight off. I've been gaining weight each week until two weeks ago when I started Weight Watchers again and even then I've only managed to take off 1.6 lbs in two weeks. I have to make healthier choices for myself and I just can't get pleasure from baking and giving it away. I want to eat it. I will keep reading the blog and maybe once in a while I will make something with you all and blog about it, but I don't expect to be kept on the list or to choose anything for everybody to make. Have a great time and I will comment on your blogs if that's okay.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

{TWD} Twofer Pie

Yesterday we did much of our cooking and baking for Thanksgiving dinner today. This pie was very easy to make and delicious. I have to admit that my pumpkin layer is the standard pumpkin pie recipe because we were making a regular pumpkin pie and had too much filling left. But I did add the pecan layer just as written in the recipe. My picture may not be to good because it was very hard to get out of the pie pan without wrecking it. I will make this again and try it just as written.



Thanksgiving

Sometimes I think we skip Thanksgiving and go straight to Christmas. We are doing that to a certain extent because our family will be here today but not on Christmas. I've been very busy this week decorating for Christmas and getting the tree up and my house all straightened up. I want to take some time to just reflect on what Thanksgiving means to me.

I'm thankful first for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. For without Him I am nothing. Next, I'm thankful for my wonderful family. My husband that supports me in all I do and loves me just second to Jesus. My four darling daughters and two wonderful sons-in-law, and my four precious grandchildren. We don't get to see them as often as we want, but they are always in our hearts and prayers.

In these tough economic times, I'm thankful that I have a job and a roof over my head, a soft bed to sleep in and food on the table. I know that there are many people going without and we need to share what we have with others. God has richly blessed me and my family and I thank Him for it.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

{TWD} To Comment or not to Comment

I was talking to my darling daughter number one and bemoaning the fact that no one comments on my blog. Today I went to my blog settings and found out I had 15 comments to moderate. In one of my senior moments, I accidentally saved the setting to moderate all comments and then promptly forgot that I did it. I guess this is part of being a woman of a certain age. I humbly apologize to all that commented on my TWD posts and I didn't get back to any of you. I promise to do better and thank you for all your kind comments.

By the way, I have gained six pounds since baking all of Dorie's yummy recipes, so Saturday I am off to join Weight Watchers once again. I've decided to just bake twice a month, have a taste and give the rest away. I didn't make the Kugelhopf because it looked too hard and my brain couldn't take it. (See above paragraph.)I also will not be making the Arborio Rice Pudding because not even chocolate could make me eat rice pudding! Have fun and I will return with the Twofer Pie.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

{TWD} Rugelach

Thank you Piggy of Piggy's Cooking Journal for picking this recipe. This was so simple to make and so delicious. I will probably make several batches for Christmas. I followed the recipe to the letter because it was the first time I had tried these. Next time I will probably try something different, but there is nothing wrong with the original recipe. I'd give it a ten. Following are a few pictures of my process.

The food processor made this recipe really quick and easy.





My dough ready to go in the refrigerator.



The dough all rolled out and dressed up.



Ready to go in the fridge again. I refrigerated them overnight and baked them this morning.



The finished product. I think they look spectacular.



Tuesday, October 28, 2008

{TWD} Chocolate Chocolate Cupcakes

I'm sorry everyone. I'm going to skip this week. Just too many work obligations and I'm tired. I'll post next week with the Rugelach.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Family time

I just wanted to share some pictures of my two youngest darling daughters and my boxer boys. We went out to Lagoon Valley yesterday to walk and play with the dogs. It was really beautiful out there. We were going to take the dogs to the dog park, but there were too many dogs already there and Frankie isn't to sure he likes little dogs.





I was also able to get a shot of the boys as they waited patiently for their breakfast this morning and sitting on Megan's lap.





Flourchild's Pumpkin Bread

I have to thank Flourchild for her pumpkin bread recipe. It is a real keeper. My family loved it. Here's a couple of pictures.



Tuesday, October 21, 2008

{TWD} Pumpkin Muffins

This recipe was brought to you by Kelly of Sounding My Barbaric Gulp.

I didn't think this recipe would go over very well at my house either. Darling Hubby hates anything pumpkin but he did try one when I requested that he take a bite. He ate half a muffin. I gave about half of them to my youngest two daughters, who will eat anything now that they are out on their own and starving! I found out that I really liked these. I added the mini chocolate chips and walnuts. I was going to add golden raisins but when I made my grocery list I didn't buy any because I had a box in my cupboard. When I got them out to use, I was astonished that the golden raisins had turned black. I'm embarrassed to admit that the last time I used golden raisins was 2005. Yuck...they went in the trash.

I also turned the heat down on these to 350 and used my silicone muffin pans for the first time. I baked them about 25 minutes and they came out of those pans without any trouble. No grease needed.
Here they are:



Sunday, October 19, 2008

Tickled Pink

This past Friday night, after the visit to Kaiser, I went to Tickled Pink. It was an overnight at the Hampton Inn to make a quilt to raise money for the Relay for Life. It was sponsored by our local quilt shop, A Quilted Heart, and the Sunrise Rotary Club. We had 45 women in their pajamas with sewing machines all making a quilt square for the quilt to be auctioned off. Outback catered our dinner and we had stuff to eat all night long provided by various people. We played bingo at midnight and I won a round. I won a quilt book with some great patterns for different quilts made for Quilt Pink. It was a great night and I actually made it until 4:15 am before I went and took a nap for an hour.

Thanks to the Quilted Heart and the Sunrise Rotary Club for providing such a great time to come together and do something for Cancer Research.
By the way, if you haven't had your mammogram, what are you waiting for!

Bad Medicine

This past week has been challenging to say the least. When I went to my doctor last week, it was to complain about my feet going numb. It started with my toes and the front part of my foot a while ago but about 4 weeks ago it started feeling like I have a tight sock around my right ankle and I can feel the numbness creeping up my right leg. My doctor decided to try me on Gabapenten which is the generic for Nerontin. He told me that it's a seizure med that doesn't work for seizures but can work for neropathy. Before anyone asks, no I don't have diabetes. He's carefully checked me for that every time I visit him. Anyway, I had a reaction to the Gabapenten. I only took one pill but I woke up in the middle of the night with my face swollen and I looked like I had the mumps. Luckily it wasn't painful and it didn't cause my throat to swell, I just looked awful. That was a week ago last Wednesday and it seems to have set off a chain reaction of allergies. I ended back up at the minor injury clinic Friday night because I broke out in hives all over my body and my hands and feet were itching unbearably. I've been taking the generic for Claritin and Benadryl since that visit. That doctor seems to think that this is still a reaction from that one pill so I guess this is a cautionary tale about be careful what you ingest as medicine because it might be worse than the condition you're treating.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

{TWD} Lenox Biscotti

This recipe was picked by Gretchen of Canela and Comina. Just like everyone else, I had to bake this longer than the recipe called for. Mine also spread a lot. I think if I had refrigerated them for an hour or two it would have come out better. I'm going to try that next time. I added about 4 ozs. of Ghreiridelli's bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped. My darling hubby loved these and when I got home from work they were all gone.



Thursday, October 09, 2008

What I did on my fall vacation!

Monday: I got sick and went to the doctor.

Tuesday: I went and had blood work done.

Wednesday: I was recovering from a reaction to a new medication.

Thursday: I took my darling daughter to have her wisdom teeth removed. Luckily we found out she only had three to remove. Here's a picture:



I have a dentist appointment this afternoon.

Hopefully, the rest of the week will be spent doing enjoyable things like sewing, cooking and cleaning. (Cleaning not so much.)

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

{TWD} Chocolate Peanut Caramel Cake 2

I felt better this afternoon so I went ahead and made the cake. Here's what it looks like.







I waited until it was completely cool before I put on the caramel and nuts and then waited until it was completely cool before cutting it, so I didn't get that pool of caramel. It was really good. How does everyone continue to bake each week and not gain lots of weight? I may have to quit because I don't know if I can keep doing this and not gain a ton of weight.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

{TWD} Chocolate Peanut Caramel Cake

Sorry folks. I'm sick!I didn't make this because I either have a really bad cold or the flu. I'm aching all over and I just couldn't make myself get on the floor to haul my spring form pan out of the bottom cupboard. Now who put that down there?

If I feel better tomorrow I'll get with it and make it. Right now I can't even think about eating it. The nastiest thing about this is I'm on a week's vacation from my job and all the things I had planned to do aren't getting done. Grrrr!!!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Fettuccine Bolognese and Apple-Pie Cake

Today was the perfect day to cook the Italian way. Slow.... I decided to make a Bolognese sauce that I had made before and I knew it would take most of the day. This recipe is from the Williams Sonoma Italian Essentials and I bought it when we came back from Italy last year. It's written by an Italian and the recipes are very authentic to what we experienced in Italy.

To start this recipe you make a soffrito. It's a combination of onion, celery, and carrot or as the Italians call it, the Trinity. You chop the vegetables and melt some unsalted butter in a heavy skillet and cook until they get a nice shade of brown. It also has pancetta in it. It's the base for the sauce. Here's what it looks like at the start.








Here's what the soffrito looks like after about 45 minutes of cooking.






Then I added ground pork, ground chuck, tomato paste, San Marino tomatoes, and beef broth. It had to cook down another three hours.



The finished product with a little salad.



I also made the Apple-Pie Cake from Dorie Greenspan's book.





The family loved the Fettuccine Bolognese but we all found the cake a little dry. It still was a great way to spend the day and I was smart enough to double the recipe for the Bolognese sauce. I can freeze it or make a Lasagna at the end of the week.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Fall Memories and Tributes

It's been trying to rain here all day. The sky has been filled with those ominous black clouds and then suddenly sunshine. We finally had the breeze and it cooled down to around 68 degrees. When I was a little girl growing up in Michigan, fall was my favorite season. Raking leaves in the front yard into a big pile, jumping in them and then having to rake them again. We burned the leaves back in the day, and I can still recall that pungent scent. Isn't it funny how a scent, or a song on the radio, or even a word can take you back in time with your memories.

The kids on my bus were discussing favorite teachers today. We all agreed that the most memorable teachers are the good ones. I still remember Miss Phister. She was my 3rd grade teacher and she was a little old lady with white hair. She loved her students and we loved her. I got in trouble in her class one day when she called on me to answer a question. I couldn't answer her because I had a copy of Laura Ingalls Wilder's' book, "Farmer Boy" in my desk and was reading instead of paying attention. The boy sitting next to me, ratted me out and she made me bring the book up to her desk. I was mortified. At recess she called me to her and told me how much she liked the fact that I loved to read but I really had to pay attention in class. I didn't feel so bad after that.

Another teacher I remember is my sixth grade math teacher, Mr. Tremper. I remember him coming into class late one day, with tears in his eyes and he announced that school would be over for the day because President John F. Kennedy had just been assassinated. What a horrible day.

I remember Mr. Lynch that taught my high school biology class and made me want to study science. I remember a very dramatic, funny man named Mr. Plourd, that taught my 12th grade English class and made me love Shakespeare. I had a lot of great teachers and I'm glad we have a lot of caring, loving teachers in this country that seek to inspire and create a wonderful learning environment for their students.

We lost a great teacher and coach this past week. Mr. Zunino or Coach Z as he was so lovingly known passed away last Friday. His funeral is tomorrow. He will be missed and remembered by this community with love and respect.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

{TWD} Creme Brulee



This recipe was brought to you by Mari of Mevrouw Cupcake.

I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised at how easy this recipe was to complete. I've wanted to make Creme Brulee for a long time and I had even gone so far as to get the Creme Brulee kit from Bed Bath and Beyond, but I was afraid to make it. I don't know why.

Dori's directions were so clear that it made it really simple. My family loved it. It was so creamy and the sugar crust was perfect. I used regular sugar on Mike's but I had some flavored sugar to use on the rest of them. I had a Praline flavored sugar and my daughter had Cappacino. It was delicious. This is really a five star recipe.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

{TWD} Dimply Plum Cake

This weeks recipe was chosen by Michelle of Bake-En.
This was a very easy recipe to make and bake. I'm not sure I really liked it. It had a mild flavor and compared to the Chocolate Chunkers of last week, it wasn't very sweet. The purple plums I used didn't seem to have a lot of flavor. But here are the pictures.





I think I'm more of a chocolate kind of girl.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

{TWD} Chocolate Chunkers

This is my first post and my first attempt at baking with the group. Chocolate Chunkers are brought to you by Claudia of "Fool for Food."

I decided to do this project today while I had a day off from work. I'm glad I did because it seemed like a time consuming recipe. First I assembled my ingredients.



I mixed my dry ingredients and chopped my unsweetened chocolate.



Then I started melting my bittersweet chocolate, unsweetened chocolate, and butter.





Next I mixed my eggs, sugar and vanilla.





Then I added the rest of my ingredients. I thought that we might not like the raisins so I used dried cherries. Yummy!





Voila! The finished cookie. They aren't very attractive but they are very tasty and addictive. I'm taking what's left to work tomorrow, cause I could easily gain a lot of weight baking every week.



I really had a lot of fun doing these cookies and I learned some things about baking that I didn't know.