If you're looking for Olson family updates, then visit our family blog, I Love You Same.

The rants and recipes found here are solely mine.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Grab and Go Breakfast

Getting out the door in the morning quickly is D's most difficult challenge. Getting a healthy breakfast into him is mine. If I only bought Golden Graham cereal from now until eternity, he would grab a bowl every morning and down it without thinking. Chase it with coffee in a commuter cup and he'd be good to go.
He's always enjoyed a good drive through breakfast sandwich. Out of all the offerings out there, McDonald's Egg McMuffin is a pretty good choice, coming in at about 7 Weight Watchers Points. Homemade is always better, though. It's healthier, I know just what has gone into it, it's cheaper, and best of all, they're only 4 WW Points a piece! Simply assemble, wrap, freeze, and zap in the microwave for a great grab and go breakfast.
I think I'm going to make them with WW bagels next time. The combination possibilities are endless. A protein packed breakfast keeps you fuller longer too.
Grab and Go Breakfast Sandwiches
4 Weight Watchers Points per Sandwich
One package Weight Watchers English Muffins (or Thomas Light)
1 1/2 cups egg substitute, any flavor
6 slices very lean Canadian Bacon
6 Weight Watchers cheese singles
Nonstick cooking spray
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 9x13 inch pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray or use large muffin tins for round egg patties (1/4 cup per tin), pour in egg substitute. Bake until set and very firm, about 15 minutes. Turn on broiler. Split English muffins and place on a baking sheet. Watching carefully, broil until lightly toasted. Let muffins and eggs cool until room temperature. Cut egg into 6 large squares. On squares of wax paper (I like to use the Press and Seal Wrap), place bottom of muffin, a square of egg, a slice of Canadian Bacon, and a slice or cheese. Top with muffin top, and wrap tightly. Place in a freezer zipper bag and freeze until ready to use.
You may pull out the night before and place in the refrigerator to thaw slightly. Or defrost for a bit in your microwave. We have just zapped them on high until hot in the center, but this can make the outsides tough. Just experiment with your microwave (everyone has a different wattage) and you'll soon figure out how to quickly heat them.
I always make at least a dozen of these in several flavors.
If you really miss the drive thru experience, you can always have your spouse hand it to you through your car window!

Friday, August 29, 2008

In a Pickle?

My favorite friend and fellow rabble rouser in nursing school struggled with her weight. Her mom always used to tell her if she needed something to snack on, to "grab a pickle." She's right. It's a good snack, the salty sourness is satisfying and they're extremely low in calories.

Wandering the Tuesday Farmer's Market, Young One spotted a bushel basket full of beautiful, tiny cucumbers. "Who would want all of those?" he asked. I explained to him that this time of year, people were canning and that pickles could actually be made at home. He thought that sounded like incredible fun and tried to convince me to purchase them right then and there. Knowing that canning takes time and quite a bit of work and that that enormous amount of cucumbers would take at least an afternoon to put up, I told him I needed to think about it. We're in the throes of getting ready for school and trying to squeeze in the last of summer before next Tuesday, I was doubtful we could squeeze this in. We made another lap of the market and put our purchases in the car and in a fit of insanity or maybe it was just his big brown eyes, we headed back to buy the cucumbers and a couple of bunches of fresh dill.

So, happily home with the cucumbers, dill, and armed with a recipe that had received raves, I started to explain to Young One how this whole process worked. And that's when I saw the first glimmer of dread in his eyes. I also realized that as much as he might want to help with some of it, the sterile technique required and gallons of hot bubbling brine and boiling water bath might just prove dangerous (burns for him and possible contamination of the precious pickles for all of us!). This is when I realized that I had just decided to add one huge task to my already overwhelming to do list and that I would have to do most of it alone. Oy.

I spent the next afternoon scrubbing cucumbers, peeling garlic, washing dill, sterilizing tops, packing cucumbers in jars, mixing and pouring boiling brine (and marveling at the unique turquoise color that only freshly hot packed pickles have!), and canning sixteen jars of dill pickles. I finished just in time for Meet Your Teacher Night at Young One's school.

Deep breath, and sigh.

Now we wait, for you can't just eat your pickles, they must sit for at least a month or two. In the meantime, Young One learned a lot about what it takes to put food by and I learned that there are still some limits as to what he can help with. But, boy was it enjoyable looking at those packed pickle jars cooling on the counter and it really is satisfying to see them on the shelves in the basement. It got me inspired to can more this year, something I haven't done since I first opened my business and something that my mother and grandmother taught me to do when I was about Young One's age.

I'm thinking maybe peaches. Or jam. Or both...

Once we taste the pickles, I'll post the recipe. I wouldn't want to post an imperfect pickle recipe!

Salmon Davis Junior

Great name, don't you think? I wish I had thought of it. It's just too great not to share it with you and if you don't have the book that it's in, Crazy Plates, you need to get yourself over to Amazon and quickly order it. Used, it's only about $5.00.

We love Salmon at our house. I have several favorite recipes, but this one is my go to when I've got lots of tomatoes in the garden to use up. I have made the sauce in advance and frozen it, which works out great. Just dumping all the sauce ingredients in a bag and then freezing would work too--simply place the frozen concoction in a pan and simmer until thickened and cooked through. I didn't get a decent picture of the finished product, but I thought this shot of the sauce ingredients just starting their simmer, before mixing, was kind of nice. Or maybe it's not. If not, just disregard!

It's a sweet and savory barbecuey sauce that takes a salmon fillet and elevates it to incredible goodness. Give it a try.

Salmon Davis Junior

1 tsp butter
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups diced fresh tomatoes
3 TB EACH ketchup and brown sugar
2 TB EACH lime juice and Dijon mustard
1 TB chili powder
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp paprika--I use Hungarian
1/4 tsp EACH ground cumin and cayenne pepper
1 whole salmon fillet or 6, 6 ounce salmon steaks

Over medium-high heat, melt butter in nonstick pan, add all ingredients except salmon, reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Transfer mixture to blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Let cool. I would bet that you could skip the puree part of the recipe and just let it cool, which would result in a more rustic sauce. I puree it mostly to hide what's in it for Young One who's onion-phobic. Place salmon in a large glass pan or in a large Ziploc bag and cover with marinade. Cover or close bag and refrigerate for at least an hour. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Spray a large sheet of heavy duty foil with nonstick cooking spray (or use nonstick, heavy duty foil). Place foil on preheated grill and top with salmon fillet. Cover grill and cook until salmon is opaque and flakes easily with a fork. You may also broil.

Healthy Munchies

I'm a muncher. I always have been. As a child, my mom always said I never changed my infant feeding schedule: six small meals every day. Weight Watchers has got me thinking more about really paying attention to meal times and what I'm eating during that meal. Really being present and in tuned to my body, especially at meal times, really works for me. Learning, listening if you will, to my body has stopped me from overeating many times.

But, I still like to munch. So, I've challenged myself to find munchies for inbetween meals that are zero to very low Points value. Edamame is one of those snacks. One cup of whole pods is only 1 Point (1/2 cup shelled beans is 2 Points). You don't eat the pods, but measuring out one cup of them looks like you're getting a huge serving, which I've found to be one of the secrets to feeling full. You sort of trick your mind that you're getting more than you are. This is a snack that involves a bit of work since you have to shell it, which also makes you slow down and not consume too much. (Although, I do remember some mindless edamame eating at a Japanese restaurant, but that's a whole other story!)

You can find edamame with the other frozen vegetables. Just boil for a couple of minutes, drain, and serve. I like them chilled or at room temperature, so just rinsing them with a little cool water gets them ready very quickly.

Happy Munching!

Another Loss!!!!!!!!!!

I try so hard not to get all of my weight loss feedback from the scale, but man, it's nice when that number is shrinking! Down another .6 lb this week. It feels so great.

This week, though, I got such a great compliment, "You are shrinking away! You look great!" That, to me and my increased energy and greater definition in my muscles are much better victories!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Back to School

Last night was meet your teacher night. And, once again, I fell in love with my son's school. Hard to believe that this is our last year there as next year, he heads to middle school. This is a crazy busy time for us. For the first time since kindergarten, Young One is thrilled to get back to school. He's ready to see his gang of friends every day again. Not that he hasn't this summer, he's been with friends almost every day, but he's ready for more time with the whole gang.

Somehow, in the silliness of being young boys of this particular age, they all have adapted meat nicknames. But, all are spelled uniquely, like Turky, Hamm, Bbeeff, Bakon, etc. Many parents only know Young One as Hamm. It's pretty funny. This young gang of overachieving, really smart, nice kids in a gang of carnivores. It's been a really fun chuckle to see what new friends will be added to the gang, although it already makes up most of the meat department of the market. I've suggested they branch out into poultry products.

This year already feels like a success. Young One hit the lottery with his teacher. She's actually a high school classmate of my husband and she's amazing. She's the teacher who stays late and is always trying new things. This year, she's one of a few teachers in the state with a Smart Board, which is basically an electronic chalkboard. It's so cool. Touch the screen and you can move text and pictures around, it links to her laptop, so she can add and control from her desk, you can write on it with electronic "markers"--it's like a Jetson's classroom. She's also the pioneer of having kids sit on Exerballs and has been doing that for years--was featured in national press for doing so. It helps them stay focused and gets the wiggles out (plus, I can imagine they're all going to have six packs by the end of their time in the district!). The Exerballs have spread through the school, so it's not Young One's first year with them, but nice to be with the teacher who's a trend setter, not just marking time until retirement!

We moved to this neighborhood just to attend these schools. This district tests consistently in the highest national rankings. I know , it sounds like I'm bragging, but we've sacrificed a lot so our son can get a great education. We love our neighborhood, but perhaps would have chosen somewhere a little less beige than the burb to live in. Maybe something with a little more of the cool factor built in--you know, great shopping and eating within walking distance, along with more mass transit. Anyway, I've had family members teach in this district and my mom's best high school friend was curriculum director for years. It has all day long high performance classes which are great for Young One, but also the support that those high performance kids need to thrive, which is rare.

I thank God every day for the schools we have, but mostly, I'm thankful for the teachers we have in this district. They truly are educators, which is rare. Imagine actually having English teachers that can write and spell! Math teachers that have Pi day and serve pie. Reading teachers that host book clubs OUTSIDE of school hours just for fun. Music teachers that pursue grants for African Drums and for Sowah Mensah (ethnomusicologist, composer and a "Master Drummer" from Ghana, West Africa) to teach it. A PTA that raises money for children's authors to come and teach. A supportive community of helping hands. The list is endless and we are so thankful.

I hope that if you have children in school you are just as lucky as we are. I go through this falling in love phase every year at this time. I realize that our district is not the only one in the country that provides such things and I realize that a child's education should be as unique as that child. We have it so very easy here just to be able to send our child to public school. I wish that it was that simple for everyone.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Fat Actress

It's not news that Kirstie Allie has regained most, if not all, of the weight that she lost on Jenny Craig and it's isn't surprising news to most people that the Jenny Craig diet didn't work. Remember when Kirstie appeared on Oprah in her bikini complete with the horrible line of her extra support pantyhose down the middle of her stomach? I think she was doomed from there.

Maybe she shouldn't have called herself The Fat Actress or maybe that tongue in cheek portrayal was really much healthier than Jenny Craig. We Fat Chicks know that it's easier if we take the first shot at ourselves. Humor is a great cover up. What really saddens me, though, is that Kirstie is hunted, mocked, and cruelly beaten down by tabloids and celebrity bloggers (yes, you Perez). They seem to celebrate in her mortification, in rubbing her own truth into her face. Can you imagine? It's my worst nightmare.

What have we become as a society when we don't reach out to those who are struggling with compassion and love? What are we teaching our children when we stand by and watch such bullying? This isn't a new problem, but it seems the Internet has quickened it's speed and it's nastiness. The anonymity of this new media has allowed people to hide behind their keyboards and I wonder just what will come of this. How much more vicious will we become? And worse yet, just how much more hate and violence will we become numb to?

I sympathize with you Kirstie. I really do. All of us chubby chicks have been there at one time or another. It's not easy. The sense of failure can be profound and more detrimental to our health than the actual weight gain. Our pain has been private, just know, that you're public pain is looked upon with sympathy more than with hatred. I know that this just has to be true.

On a more positive note, she is still one of the most beautiful women in the world. I still remember the first time I saw her in that TV mini-series, North and South (incidentally, Patrick Swayze was also in it). She was stunning and still is. Maybe from this public display, we'll get, not fat acceptance (I don't agree with that), but maybe just a smidgen of celebrating the beauty in what you are now. Which, for all of us, is to love that you are always a work in progress and to love the journey, wherever it takes you.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Hara Hachi Bu

We have interesting conversations in our family. My son, when asked what some of his favorite things to do with our immediate and extended family, rated discussions as his number one favorite. Recently, we discussed Hara hachi bu, although, in my sadly unfortunate memory, it came out as eat until you're only 20% hungry or something like that. I was pretty close.

Hara hachi bu, or “eat until you’re 80 percent full" is a Japanese phrase. This is the one of the secrets of longevity that the Okinawans (the longest lived group of people in the world.) Yes, I had to look this up. Basically, how does one do this and still feel satisfied? I think it's quite simple. Slow down. Eat slower, enjoy each bite, enjoy the company at the table and your surroundings. A good meal isn't necessarily about the food you're eating, but who you are eating it with and where. Think about it some of your really great meals. They haven't necessarily been at white covered tablecloths or lit with candles.

I can clearly remember one of my best meals was eating a scorched hot dog while getting campfire smoke in my eyes. We didn't have buns, ketchup, or any side dishes, but watching the sunset over the lake, with a cool breeze blowing, my family huddled around the fire. Well, it was just perfect.

Weekend Splurging

I recently read an article about how overeating on the weekend can totally sabotage your weight loss. Reading deeper into the article revealed that the woman in question totally threw her healthy lifestyle out the window once work ended on Friday evening. She couldn't figure out why she wasn't losing weight anymore. Well, DUH! (To quote Young One).

So, let me give you the skinny on the article (pun intended). Basically, this woman would have a free for all binge all weekend long. Eating and drinking to her hearts content, thinking after her Friday weigh-in that she deserved it and that she had plenty of time to "work off" her over indulgences. I can totally sympathize with her thinking. I mean, we do have to let loose every once in a while, but it has to be within reason.

I weigh-in on Fridays. Why? I do it then because it seems to me the best day for my weigh in (another, well duh, from Young One). I've been working out all week, Monday through Friday I'm much stricter with myself than I am on the weekends. I usually save my Splurge Points, aka Flex Points, for weekend treats. Friday just seems like the day of the week that I just might be at top form. And once I weigh in, I feel like I can relax a bit.

I do relax on the weekends, I don't do formal workouts, just try to get in more activity if I can. I also treat myself to a meal or two out, usually one fairly healthy and one that isn't so great. For example, this weekend, I had a chicken and veggie stir fry at a great Asian restaurant and indulged in a huge cheeseburger and fries. I barely dipped into my Flex Points and that's enough for me. Could I keep on eating through the weekend? Yes, probably, but I'd pay for it next Friday at weigh-in.

Frustratingly, I've figured out that I'm not one that can eat every possible Point (activity Points, Flex points) and still lose weight. Now, I know people that can and I'm slightly jealous, but not hugely so. Here's the deal, and maybe this is a little secret that people just starting the weight loss journey should know: as you start to eat smaller portions, you begin to be more satisfied with smaller portions. Am I explaining that clearly? I think your body just adapts and starts to feel fuller earlier or maybe it's that I've figured out how to eat more filling foods that have lower calorie counts. Personally, I like to think of it as my stomach shrinking, although as a nurse, I know this is really not possible.

I'm sort of rambling here, but what I guess I'm trying to say is that you can't take huge holidays from your healthy lifestyle and still expect to have good results. It's got to be every day for the rest of your life. I expect that when I'm in my eighties I'll still be mentally counting my points. It's something I'll have to do to live well.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Neutral Schmeutral

Down another .8 lb this week! That's two weeks in a row of losses of .8, which is making me feel really great. HOWEVER, Weight Watchers online always gives me this little blurb after logging under a pound of weight loss: "If you're feeling neutral about your weight loss this week..." Neutral? NEUTRAL? Hey, any time the scale goes down, I'm thrilled, ecstatic, overjoyed. Neutral has never been even on the horizon.

I don't quite understand how in one breath they tell you that safe weight loss if between .5 and 2 pounds a week and then in the next mention the word neutral when you have a loss right in that range.

I guess that's the price I pay for being able to do all this online and not have to endure meetings (But, hey, if meetings are your thing, great, who am I to judge? We all have to choose what works for us.)

Neutral. Sheesh.

On a side note I twisted somehow yesterday while working out and my knee decided not to follow, so I'm taking it easy today, maybe just do some upper body toning or something. My knee is killing me! It feels rather strange, very weak and like it needs to pop back into place. Best not to hobble away the pounds with Leslie Sansone today.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Waiting to Blend In

I’ve read a lot about what motivates other people to lose weight and be healthy. I have to admit that my reasons are many. Selfishly, I just want to be the best me I can be, physically, mentally, spiritually. You get the picture. But, there’s something else that I can’t wait to happen and when it does, will anyone else even notice? Probably not. That’s because this goal isn’t something that most other people will even catch at first glance.

I want to blend in. Do you know what I mean? I want to be just another “normal” size person in a crowd. I want to shop only in the regular sizes and not have to venture into the big girl’s section just because my boobs are stretching the limits of the fabric. I don’t want my first impression to be fat, big, chubby, overweight, obese. And with those first impressions come the second ones that we all know are inevitable: lazy, no self-control, overeater, pig, and worse, how could she get that big.

I want to blend in. There’s no number on the scale that will magically make this happen. There’s no measurement of inches lost, pounds lost, or new muscles chiseled. I just expect that it will happen at most likely a very surprising, exciting moment for me. And I will have to pause and revel in it, no matter where I am.

Watch out, I’m about to become just another face in the crowd.

Slow Cooked Mahogany Chicken

I'm ever so tired today. No, tired doesn't describe it well enough. I'm just exhausted. I didn't get much sleep last night and what sleep I did get was fitful. Don't you hate those nights? So, the Beer Butt Chicken that I had planned for the grill got revamped into something that needed much less of my attention. I'm not a huge fan of a whole roasted chicken in a crock pot, but it was either that or fish sticks for dinner and I just can't bear the thought of compressed fish.

My problem with a whole chicken in the crock pot? Well first, it never gets that great golden color that it gets on the grill or in the oven. And second, it sort of falls apart in a heap of greasy skin and bones. Not real appetizing, right? Needing a quick solution as the hours needed for a good slow roast were disappearing, I did some research on the Internet. And I found some great solutions.

In the past, I've perched my bird on a "rack" of carrots or celery or potatoes. The vegetables themselves are usually too greasy to be salvaged, but they keep the bird out of the grease. Then I found this delightful tip: make aluminum foil balls to hold the chicken up and drain the grease away. And guess what? It worked. The second issue, the color, was remedied by painting the bird a few times during roasting with a glaze I usually reserved for oven roasting. It's a hoisin based, soy, ginger, and honey glaze that's out of this world.

Slow Cooked Mahogany Chicken

Serves 6, 7 WW Points each servings

2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1 tablespoon grated ginger root or
Ginger Juice from the Ginger People
A big ginormous roasting hen or a big chicken

Spray your crock pot with nonstick cooking spray. Take a couple of big sheets of foil and crumple them into flattened balls. Wash your bird and place it on the foil balls, making sure that the bird still fits underneath the lid of your crock pot. Mix all glaze ingredients together. You might want to add a bit of fresh garlic, just as I'm typing this I'm realizing that I usually use a garlic ginger blend (in the Asian foods section of your store), but that today I only used ginger juice from the Ginger People. Oh well, we'll live without the garlic tonight, but if you're reading this, add it in, oh a teaspoon or so of fresh minced garlic. Brush about a third of the glaze on the bird and let it cook on high if you're crunched for time or low if you're not. If you're going to work--just dump about 3/4 of it over the chicken. Refrigerate the rest and paint the rest of it on about 20 minutes before serving. If you're home all day, every couple of hours or so, with a clean spoon, spoon more sauce on top of the bird. Chicken is done when the leg joints get nice and loose and the juices run clear. I would say 10-12 hours on low and 4-6 hours on high.

Remember, I'm so tired as I write this, so if I've left something out or made it completely unclear, just drop me a line and I'll help you out!

Weight Woes

From Self Magazine Sept 2008 issue

Feeling fat could be as bad for you as actually being overweight, note researchers from Columbia University in New York City. Stressing about your size may increase levels of brain chemicals linked to diabetes and high blood pressure--the same conditions obese people are more likely to face. To be healthy, focus on eating right rather than making weight loss the sole goal.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Craving without Caving

Got a craving? Don't cave in to it without finding a sensible way to indulge it.
When I first started Weight Watchers, I craved chocolate. No, it was bigger than that, it became an obsession. Surprisingly, chocolate didn't make up my daily diet BWW (before Weight Watchers). I was an occasional chocoholic, but it certainly wasn't that instrumental in me growing a big behind! Now, I'm proud to say I find a way to put a little chocolate into my life every day. It must have some secret compound, a yet undiscovered nutrient that is pivotal in the successful weight loss journey of some individuals. I just know that has to be it.
Some of my favorite bites:
  • Hostess 100 calorie chocolate cupcakes, frozen.
  • Chocolate pudding pops, either homemade or purchased
  • Tootsie Pops
  • Kashi Dark Cherry Chocolate Granola Bars
  • Fudgsicle
  • Chocolate Graham Crackers
  • Chocolate Overboard S'mores: Chocolate graham cracker, chocolate marshmallow (roasted), and a couple of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Hot chocolate
  • Chocolate Cool Whip sandwiched in graham crackers and frozen

The picture above is currently cooling on my stove top. No Pudge Original Brownies made in another favorite thing, my Bakers Edge Pan (for those of us who love the edges and not so much the inside pieces). As you can see, in my hurry to fill this chocolate craving, I splashed a ton of batter up on the sides of the pan! What a mess, but so worth it.

Simply mix with 2/3 of a cup of yogurt-- I've experimented with a ton of different flavors, coffee was fantastic, cherry made them like Black Forest Brownies, just use your imagination. Bake, cool. And I cut into individual servings and freeze for better portion control.

I take a couple out before dinner and top with ice cream or frozen yogurt, fat free Cool Whip, or drizzle with fat free caramel ice cream topping. Top with raspberries and drizzle with chocolate sauce. Or nibble on straight from the freezer.

Fills the craving sensibly and, most importantly, deliciously. If it doesn't taste fantastic, it's not worth eating!

I buy the mixes at my health food store or in the natural foods section of my big grocery store. The only thing I don't like about the mix is the bright colored pig on the front of the box. We chubby chicks don't need a pig riding around in our grocery cart with us and that bright colored box is really eye catching in the check out line.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Is it Chicken or is it Steak?

Newly married, I found myself in Southwest Oklahoma at an Army base and I felt like I had entered another world. Not only was I getting used to living with someone who rose at 5 am for to work out, but who spoke in almost another language when referring to his day. He used words like Hooooah! (and yes, the exclamation point is part of it's spelling) to describe anything from a good day, a good run, or a nice sofa. He spoke in acronyms: CALFX, PT, AAFES, BDUs, CHAMPUS. And he didn't have subtitles.

The people there spoke oddly too. "Fixin' to" almost drove me to commit forced grammatical interventions. And "Might could" as in, "Do you think we might could go to Sonic for a Cherry Limeade" almost drove me over the edge. The y'alls were easy to get used to, but the rest of it, well, it took me forever to get it and I never did completely fit in. They wore Ropers, which I thought were corrective shoes until I saw a whole store of them, the belt buckles were sometimes bigger than hubcaps, and they fried everything. Everything. EVERYTHING.

I loved it there. Perhaps it was because I was a newlywed, but Lawton was where I finished college, made our first home, purchased our first house, bought our first dogs, and had my first job as a registered nurse. And the people there had hearts as big as the horizon. In the military, there isn't that stiff separation that seems to keep us from getting to know our neighbors or casual acquaintances better. You are fast friends with deep relationships that develop almost instantly. It has to be something to do with knowing that your husband or neighbor might get deployed or give up his life in service to the country or that you might get moved to another post soon. It was easy to make friends and we were always busy.

I remember distinctly the first time I had authentic Oklahoma cuisine. When asking some of my native Oklahoman friends where I should go, they indicated a mom and pop restaurant that I think was called Calico Country or Calico Corner, maybe it was Calico Cowboy. I don't remember. We sat at a vinyl upholstered booth and perused the large menus. It was an amazing array of artery blocking cuisine. They even fried the corn on the cob, which of course we had to order just to see it. I noted that the menu touted the specialty of the house to be chicken fried steak. Having never heard of it, I asked the waitress for a description. She had just approached the table with, "Are you fixin' to order?" while pulling a pencil out of some amazingly huge hair (which was another regional feat, considering that the wind of the area could severely rearrange said hairstyles). Tapping her pencil on her order pad, she tried as best as she could to explain it to me. "Well, I guess since it's the house specialty, I'll take it," I said. And since it came with two sides, I tried the above mentioned corn on the cob and something called okrah which I hoped wasn't a misspelling of the famous talk show host.
My plate came and it was a sea of white, peppery gravy. "Made with real cream," our big haired waitress raved. I didn't see anything that remotely resembled meat, but I was assured it was there. Time to dig in to reveal the great mystery. So, was it chicken or steak? Looking back, it's almost comical that I couldn't figure this out just from it's title. Of course it was steak, battered like fried chicken and presumably fried just as hard and with very little mercy. Pretty much everything on the plate tasted of the rich, peppery gravy. Mercifully, they had included the fried okrah, which was like tasteless green mush in the same batter as the steak, and the fried corn on the cob, which tasted just like it sounds, on separate plates safe from the reaches of the gravy. I remember distinctly that when we left the restaurant that my heart and my stomach felt heavy. I mean, like, seriously heavy, in need of, perhaps a cardiac care unit or about two days on a treadmill. This was food one just couldn't jump into, you had to work your way up to it or be raised eating it, and I just didn't think I was going to be able to attempt that meal again. I'm certain that there were ranchers, truckers, and construction workers that could routinely polish off that meal. I also knew that I didn't come near to their size nor did I work off the number of calories that they did.

Sadly, from that point on, though, this was a meal that I craved. So much so, that we drove to a supposed church of the chicken fried up in Oklahoma City about once a month just to savor their version of it, which was amazing. They didn't fry their corn on the cob up there, but they're chicken fried steak beat the pants off any other version we tried.

We ate a lot of good stuff in Oklahoma and all of it was big. We took all of our out of state visitors to a place called the Meers Store for hamburgers as big as your head. Seriously, they were plate sized and cut into quarters so you could pick it up to eat. We ate at the Old Plantation where the steaks fell off the sides of the plates. The barbecue joint we went to never served less than a full pound of meat and I can't imagine the heart attack inducing sides were much healthier. When I look back on these years in OK, I see some bad habits starting--mostly over sized portions that since we were young and very active didn't creep up on us and eating out of boredom or for entertainment. Very dangerous activities for those of us genetically pre-programmed for fatness.

I don't know why I started craving chicken fried steak. I don't think I've ever attempted to make it before and I don't think I've had it since leaving Oklahoma (maybe I OD'd there). For some reason, though, I started thinking about it again and it took me a while to figure out how to make a version of it that would fit in with our healthy lifestyle. Here's my version. If you're looking for fried in lard and served with a side of cream, this isn't it, but it's a pretty good substitute. I served it with fresh garden beans, sliced tomatoes, rough smashed new potatoes, and corn on the cob (not fried). I hope you enjoy.
Chicken Fried Steak with Pan Gravy
6 WW Points
1 pound lean cube steak-- 4 four ounce pieces.
1 egg beaten with about 2 TB of water
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
3 TB water
2 TB whole wheat flour
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup skim milk

Beat egg and water together on a large plate. Combine garlic powder, salt, pepper, and flour on another plate, mix well to combine. Dredge in flour and shake off excess; dip in egg and again in flour. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Spray with nonstick cooking spray. Brown both sides of meat, turning only once. Reduce heat to low. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until juices run clear. Remove steak to a clean plate and place in a warm oven to keep hot. Add 3 TB water to skillet and simmer for a few minutes, whisking up brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add flour to drippings and whisk until light brown, stir in water and milk, whisking until thickened into a gravy. Add more water if gravy is too thick. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve steaks with a drizzle of gravy.

The Dreaded D Word

When I was a child, I frequently witnessed my mom and her friends grimacing as they sipped their Tab soda. It was diet after all. And diet didn't mean tastes good. Diet in the 1970s meant suffering, depriving yourself of what you really wanted, and just generally changing your eating habits drastically. It involved large quantities of iceberg lettuce, coffee, and for an occasional treat, cottage cheese. And it had a beginning and an end. "I'm dieting." "I'm off my diet." "I need to start my diet." These were all frequent phrases in their conversations.

I knew that diet equated to tastes bad (I had sipped my mom's Tab and made the same grimace that she and her friends did), so all she had to do was say something was diet and I steered clear. I remember, as clear as it was yesterday, when on a trip to the neighborhood corner store, mom grabbed a Heath candy bar and told me it was diet. Because of my past experiences, I was sixteen years old before I ever tried one--and that toffee goodness definitely wasn't "diet" food. We still laugh about how she had just wanted a treat all to herself and didn't think her comment would affect me for so long.

In a lot of ways, this word, diet, still gives the impression of suffering, deprivation, or all out starvation required to lose weight. And it's just not like that. It really doesn't have to be. Following Weight Watchers, as I have been since last October, I've relearned how to fuel my body. And, in the process, I haven't deprived myself of anything.

That said, I have learned how to plan for treats--workout more, save my weekly Flex Points, or eat less, or eat MORE zero Points foods to balance it out.

It makes me laugh to see people diet because that's not at all what I'm doing. I really have changed my lifestyle, but I don't feel deprived and I really don't feel like I'm missing out on anything. We all know the carb cutters, the glycemic index people, Jenny Craig followers, LA Slim or whatever it's called people. Most of them are back, "dieting again." I've never tried any of those diets. I know they don't work and my time spent on them will just be wasted.

Those of us with the chubby challenge need a whole new education on eating to be successful. It isn't even necessarily that we've eaten more than your average skinny chick, in fact, for many of us this is just not the case. It's that we were cursed with an efficient metabolism that requires fewer calories to run than the skinny chicks (so, we're better at something anyway!) It never has been that they're just smarter nutritionally or make better choices than we do. Never. Realizing that has been such a great source of peace for me.

So, when I speak with someone who's dieting, I just wonder why. The secret to weight loss really isn't a secret at all, but simply a truth that you have to live every day: eating sensibly and being physically active every day for the rest of your life. That's it in a nutshell. Anything else, any diet with a beginning and end, will not work.

Fat Rant

It occurred to me this morning that my son and most of my friends, all my neighbors, and everyone that I've met since moving back home have never known me any other way except fat. It bothers me the most to know that my son has only known me this way, not that it's affected him terribly, except for those times that I wasn't able to keep up with him physically (oh the shame of that!). Kids just want love and attention and as long as you provide that, they're fine-- and I have provided that and then some. But you know that it's true that kids will learn more from your example than anything you could ever say. So, have I started him down a terrible path towards obesity? Have I, by this example, doomed him to the same struggles with weight that I have? Or have I, by providing this new, healthier life, imprinted over that old example?

I wonder, also, if everyone basically thinks of me as that big girl. Or if they describe me to people, say as if they needed to separate me in a crowd at a party, they'd say, "she's the chubby one over there." I never really thought about it before, because my own thoughts have often been very negative in describing myself, I guess I didn't need to go any further. I more times than not think of myself as fat first and then whatever other adjective after. So, the fat, funny girl. The fat, smart chick. The fat, mom. The fat, friend. The fat, wife. The fat, writer. The fat... Is that the first adjective that others have used to describe me too?


Monday, August 18, 2008

Declaration of Independence

Officially, my job as a parent has an objective and that is to make sure my son is equipped with the ability to live on his own. I must make sure that he is constantly challenged with independence. And while that might sound like a huge challenge, it really isn't. I mean, kids come with this inner drive to be independent. Ask any mother of a two year old and she'll laugh when you talk about her little one saying, "I can do it myself." And she'll roll her eyes if you ask her how long it took her little sprite to get herself dressed that morning (and most likely, the conversation will lead to just how long her kiddo has been wearing her brother's Batman costume and rain boots.)

I guess what I'm trying to say, is that Young One is a pretty independent kid. Now, this does come with a price, as in, cleaning up the kitchen (with his help, of course) after he's successfully splattered Chicken Noodle-Os all over the stove, counter, and floor. But, he had to learn how to not make a mess and the best way to learn that lesson is to have to clean up one of your own in the first place!

At this point in his rearing (a strange word, if I do say so myself), I've realized that it would take MORE work to do for him than it does to have him do something himself. So, perhaps we've turned a bit of a corner. Our relationship now is more about guidance, friendship, and laundry. I guide, we hang out together, and he produces a lot of laundry. Actually, he helps with the laundry too, so that's not even that bad.

I know a lot of parents who won't let their kids grow independent and I wonder what price this smothering has on their children. Is it that they need to be needed, need to guarantee that they have this job called parenting. Is it that they can't stand the thought of the messes that might initially result from independent exploration in the kitchen or that their kid just might not get the bathtub as sparkling clean as they can? Or worse yet, that they might suffer some freak accident, getting soap in their eyes or cutting themselves on a butter knife? These things may all very well happen, but they may not, as my dear old dad used to say.

As parents, we give roots and wings to our kids. Sometimes the wings are harder to give. I'll admit, that only having one child, I don't have room for mistakes (not like you think of your kids as spares, but I have only one chance to do this job). So, I can be a little overprotective when it comes to independent voyages to the men's room or riding his bike alone to a friend's house. But, when it comes to independent life skills, I'm all over it. Fly, Young One, fly. I'd much rather stand back and watch him succeed after many failures than fail to let him succeed.

The Five


In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

I can't believe I've never read any of Capote's work, at least, not that I can remember. Maybe at some point in college, but those English classes were so easy compared to all my other coursework, I'm not surprised they didn't leave a lasting impression. I found this book riveting. Everyone I spoke with about the book claimed to be terrified while reading it. I suppose, maybe at the time it was written it was shocking, but it wasn't as terrifying as say, Law and Order or CSI. Alas, we've been desensitized! Anyway, this is the true story of the murder of an family in Kansas. Not just the story of the murder, but the story of the murderers too. I did find myself sympathizing with the murderers, Capote did a great job of that. What was so riveting was his descriptions, the suspenseful build of what you knew was the inevitable. Saying I loved the book seems trite, trivializing the subject matter. Love isn't a word that should be used when reviewing this book. I found it fascinating, riveting, and mesmerizing, the pages called to me and I had to stay up to read it's conclusion. I would definitely say it's a must read, but leave yourself time to really immerse yourself in it. It's not a book that should be stopped and started, but read through as much as you possibly can.


Life Death Love and Freedom John Mellencamp

Really quite brilliant. I've been a long time fan. This was worth waiting for.


Freshly brewed coffee in our new Breville Single-Serve Coffee Maker. So, our Cuisinart coffee pot died, not being that old, and I did a ton of research trying to figure out the best replacement for it. I knew I wasn't going to get another Cuisinart--I just wasn't happy with our past experiences. So, I really wanted an automatic espresso machine, but I couldn't justify the price. Maybe one day and maybe for a gift, but not today. I never thought I would want one of these single serve coffee makers. I found the pod versions to be intriguing, but not quite there. This one got me. The sealed K Cups keep coffee very fresh, right until the point of brewing. The filter pods were too open and allowed coffee to get stale, not to mention, they just didn't produce a great tasting cup of coffee. So, after reading countless reviews, we chose this one. And after getting to see it in action at Williams Sonoma (and on You Tube, you gotta love that!). We were sold. We waste much less coffee now and we both can choose what we want for blend or flavor. Plus, Young One can make his own hot chocolate with the touch of a button and he intends to do some experimenting with using the hot water to quickly make hot cereals for breakfast.

It's such a great gadget. Fill the reservoir with water, set the clock and timer for when you'd like the water hot (there's a start and end time so it shuts off when you don't need it anymore). If you do want to bypass this set time, you can always just turn it on. It takes less than 3 minutes to heat water. Then pop in a K Cup or fill your My K Cup (a little reusable filter cup), chose the size cup you want, and brew away.

You will need to play around with the strength, the type of coffee, etc to get the perfect cup. So far, I've really enjoyed some Italian Roast, both hot and iced. The Kona is a blend, so I'll stick with grinding my own beans when I want a taste of Hawaii! Environmentally, I don't like throwing away the K Cups, so I pull them apart and recycle the foil top and the cup. Clean up is simple and the really large reservoir makes a lot of cups, so you don't have to refill very often.

Definitely a great addition to our home.


Definitely coffee. Coffee. Coffee. Coffee.


Our new gadget. And tons of tomatoes from the garden. Yum!

We Couldn't Wait for Peach Season

I love my Grandma. Nope, it's deeper than that, everyone says they love their grandma. I adore her. She and I are really good friends. I think it started when Grandpa died. Grandma was completely lost. She didn't know what to do with herself. To sum it up, she died when he did and it took a while for her to learn how to be without him. She had been married since she was fifteen years old. She and Grandpa were the epitome of a long lasting love. It's just too bad that it didn't last as long as it should have.
Anyway, I don't want to get into the sadness of the story. I want to talk more about Grandma and my relationship. Because she was all alone, she was with our family all the time. We saw her several times a week, I stayed with her when my parents took much needed vacations, and best of all, she traveled with us. I clearly remember the first trip we took with Grandma. Grandpa had been gone just a short time and she was still fragile and shell shocked. Grandma was having trouble sleeping and nothing seemed to help. So, to assist her in trying to get some shut eye, my mom had purchased a six pack of wine coolers. There Grandma and I were, roommates in a Best Western, she sipping wine coolers while we watched Risky Business together. I suppose other grandchildren would have been mortified, but Grandma and I laughed through the whole movie. I don't know if it was the wine coolers, but she doesn't remember this evening. It's burned in my memory and makes me smile every time I think about it. And I can't look at Tom Cruise without laughing.
Throughout my time with her, Grandma has shared stories about growing up in the Depression. The last time we were chatting, I mentioned to her that I had a bowl of fresh peaches on the counter that I was going to grill for dessert. She thought that sounded intriguing, then she got quiet, and she said, "We couldn't wait for peach season." I was sure that she would then launch into a story about how they didn't have the wonderful produce availability that we're fortunate to have, that they would eat peaches while the juice ran down their chins, that Great-grandma would can peaches for the winter... I waited for a quaint little story that I could file away as another pleasant memory.
Nope, that's not what I got. Grandma sighed deeply and then she said, "We just loved to take those peach wrappers into the outhouse. By peach season, we had used up all of the non-shiny pages of the Sears catalogue." It was silent for another moment and then, we laughed so hard that I had to hang up, wipe my tears, take a breath and call her back.
I guess I can file that one under, just one more way that Grandma taught me to be thrifty. But, no, I'm not going there Grandma. Better yet, it's one more way that Grandma has taught me that I have it much better than she did back in the day. In her honor, I'd like to share this recipe with you.

Grilled Peaches
One peach per person
nonstick cooking spray
Two squares of Hershey's or Dove chocolate per person
A smidgen of light butter, maybe a 1/4 tsp per peach half-- you could use Butter Buds

I hope this makes sense. I'm highly caffeinated due to a new coffeemaker that I just love and my mind is racing faster than my fingers.
Preheat your grill over medium high heat. Make sure that your grill grates are very clean. Inside the house, prep your peaches. Wash, dry, cut in half, and remove pits. Place on a plate, cut side up, and spray lightly with nonstick spray. (Don't do this near the grill, the aerosol oil near an open flame is just an invitation for a disaster.) Place place peaches cut side down and grill for four minutes. Turn cut side up and grill another four minutes. Place a smidgen of butter and one square of chocolate in each peach half. Shut the grill cover and shut the grill off. Let stand for one minute. Serve as is, one whole peach per person, or with some low calorie vanilla bean ice cream or frozen yogurt.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Oh My Wordle!

I just love this find. http://www.wordle.net/ Of course a writer like me is gonna love to play with words. Here's my latest creation: Click on the picture to see it larger and to start playing yourself!

Friday, August 8, 2008

In Gratitude

~For an evening alone, just when I thought I couldn't handle one more description of Guitar Hero or Spiderman 2, the game.

~For the ability to listen to books online for free through our library system. Oh, I love modern technology.

~For my sleeping, elderly dog sitting next to me. I love ya, Pip, especially when you snore and chase squirrels in your sleep.

~For abundance. We have so much, I never want to forget that I am very very lucky.

~For a husband who agrees with me that we can't take it with us and that we'd better spend it on experiences and not things.

~For a son who loves Guitar Hero and Spiderman 2 so much that I get to hear about it (yes, I'm feeling guilty about the first item on this list)

~For Stephen King. You scare the crap out of me, but listening to your book right now, I'm loving every minute of it.

~For my garden, my copper swirly sprinkler providing background music to my evening as it waters.

~For Wint-O-Green Lifesavers. First of all, your name is simply brilliant, and second, a candy that actually sparks when you bite it is just cool (go into a dark room with a mirror and check it out--I remember crazily giggling while doing this with some of my sorority sisters--oh, another admission that has a long story behind it!)

~For my fellow bloggers. I feel a kindred spirit. I need to write more than I need to be read. Thank you, though, for reading.

Roasted Garden Goodness

An abundant tomato and zucchini harvest resulted in this recipe. Even my non-tomato eating husband found it delicious. I, as the harried cook that night, found it so easy that I intend to make it again and again. We ate it as a side dish and then I used the leftovers to stuff tortillas and to toss with some pasta.

Roasting the tomatoes lends them a sweetness you can get no other way. This recipe is definitely worth turning your oven on in hot, muggy weather! Or put the pan on your grill and roast away. You'll need to watch your grill a little closer than the oven.

Roasted Garden Goodness
I am not including the Points value here as it all depends on what you put in it.
Spray a large pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Layer sliced onions thickly on the bottom of the pan.

Top with cored and quartered tomatoes and/or cherry tomatoes and thickly sliced zucchini, yellow squash, or patty pan squash. Mushrooms would probably be delightful.
Sprinkle with as much fresh garlic as you can handle. And then add more.

Top with a little oregano or either your favorite spice or whatever is most handy. If you have fresh herbs--use them! I used oregano as I intended to top my roast with Feta cheese and this is a classic Greek flavor combination.

Season with salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste.
Roast in a 400 degree oven until vegetables are tender and slightly browned-- oh, about 40 minutes to an hour. The onions should be caramelized and very tender, if they're not, put it back in the oven! Remove from oven and top with your favorite cheese. I used Feta. You don't need a lot of cheese. Be sure to measure cheese as it can easily push this recipe over your intended Points value.
This would be a great topping for fish or chicken. Very versatile, I am positive that this would freeze very well, after cooking, in either Zip bags or Tupperware.

The Five


The Memory of Running: A Novel by Ron McLarty

I'm currently riding high on several great books. I loved this book. It's central character, Smithy Ide is a very overweight, chain smoking, factory worker, who loses his parents in a terrible car crash. While reeling from this situation, he receives a letter that informs him of his mentally ill sisters death in California. So, he hops on his bike and starts to ride to California. And in the process, he loses more and gains more. A great book. I devoured this book while on vacation and am looking forward to reading more of McLarty's work.
This book hit very close to home for me and the author got it dead on. It's not easy to have a mentally ill member of the family. Harder yet is dealing with your own issues when theirs are almost always much bigger. Well done.

Song Yet Sung by James McBride

I'm embarrassed to admit that I don't know much about the history of slavery in our country. It's something that I've wanted to learn more about and this book did just that. No, it doesn't detail specifics, but reaches straight into the souls of those people involved in such a horrific business. The traders, chasers, owners, and the slaves themselves are profiled in this amazing novel. I felt like I was right inside the minds of the characters and this book truly opened my eyes to the run away slave's experience. I can't imagine what it would have been like to live this way, denied freedom and treated less humanely than most animals of the time. Please read this book and share it. It's story will haunt you.

On a side note, I found it very interesting how the author incorporated the Dreamer's visions of the future. Thought provoking to say the least. Well done James. Like all good books, I held this one to my chest, sighed, and wished that it didn't have to end.


The Essential Billy Joel (2CD) by Billy Joel

Oh Billy, I hereby apologize for belting out your tunes and not getting the lyrics right, but I can't help myself. You are timeless. And, I must say, that if I can't hear you in concert, I've just got to get my fix somehow. This CD does it nicely for me.


Canned spaghetti. Can't school start soon? This is one of Young One's favorite treats and although I know as a mom venturing on a new, healthy lifestyle I should not allow such disgusting food articles in the house, this is one of his quick fix lunches. I'm lowering my standards slightly so that he can make his own lunch. Sometimes, I think, we as moms have to do this in order to boost their self confidence and self sufficiency, right? (A total rationalization of unhealthy behavior, I know. Please forgive me.) We have a delightful high fiber pasta tossed with chunky marinara hidden in the fridge behind the coffee creamer and the Greek olives, but somehow this sickly sweet canned concoction is what he craves. Sigh.


Definitely not the canned spaghetti, not that I would want it, but those cans are single servings, Young One informed me. Actually, I'm munching on cherry tomatoes from the garden which are sweet and delightfully Point free.


My new birdhouse, thanks mom. Purchased at a craft fair while on vacation, I got to pick the color. It's bright yellow and looks so great stuck in a flower bed near our red chairs and fire pit. A Debbie Downer informed me that painted birdhouses are toxic to the baby birds, so until I investigate further, I'm blocking the hole with a little netting. It's too late in the season for baby birds anyway, right?

Fat Rant of the Day

What if the skinny chicks secretly have some form of parasite that the medical scientists have yet to uncover and their skinniness has nothing to do with their eating or exercise habits, but is instead due to an alien being in their body scarfing up their excess calories?


These are the things that go through my mind while I'm working out. Today, not such a great workout. I tried a Denise Austin workout that I've had collecting dust for a few years. It's title, I'm ashamed to admit, is Bounce Back after Baby and judging from the clothing and hair, was probably made in the 1990s. Why would I dig out such an antiquated tape (yes, it is a tape, and yes, along with my DVD player in my laundry room I have a rusty old VCR that I use for such occasions)? Being that my Baby will turn eleven in the fall, it seems more than laughable that I still had this workout tape. Funnier still is the fact that I, in a fit of boredom and revolt against the Leslie Sansone DVDs that I've been using, decided to pop this one in and give it a whirl.

I knew I was doomed at the start when Denise started to speak. I had forgotten what a nitwit she was. The workout itself was relatively challenging (mostly because she didn't cue steps ahead of time), although I kept thinking that it wasn't too late to Walk Away the Pounds with Leslie, but it wasn't long enough. Her annoying monologue as she thrusted and knee lifted was enough to push me to that angry state of mind that only comes when one is working out. So, I guess in her own way, Denise was motivating to me.

Anyway, my mind started to wander and I started to think about skinny chicks and how, for most of them, it really isn't this hard. I have many skinny friends and they're quick to offer some advice, but most of them readily admit that they've always been able to eat what they want. This inequality isn't worth spending much time on, really. I mean, why beat yourself up for something that you can't change? As my doctor once said, "You might just be someone who can only eat 900 calories a day. That's the bottom line, so figure out how to do that or workout so you can eat more."

In the workout haze I find myself in after about 10 minutes, I like to think about things. And sometimes, like today, my mind starts to wander as to why I got fat and why some stay slim. Today, Denise's sing song voice lulled (or forced, depending on how you look at it) me into thinking about alien tapeworms that might somehow have found themselves into a particularly smug skinny chick who's diet consists of french fries, sour cream, and chocolate chips directly from the bag. Although this skinny chick never really commented on my weight, and I do thank her for that, she often spouted such medical misinformation that it made me snort my coffee across the room. That's a story for another day, one that, I'm sure many medical professionals could share a few chuckles over.

So, twenty minutes later, feeling like a bit of a fool that I didn't pull this tape out and start another workout, I was finished with Denise's aerobic section. Not my usual 47 (not 45, it's 47) minutes of aerobic walking that I'm used to, but I had had enough. Apparently, the workout continued on to some toning exercises, but I couldn't stomach her voice anymore. I cooled down, stretched out, and threw a guilty glance at my exercise band that I use for toning and headed upstairs to meet my day head on.

Vacation aftermath update. I gained a pound. Not great, but I'll take it. Knowing this I should have worked out longer, but this new life is less about the guilt and more about forgiveness. So, I logged it and am moving on. Baby steps.

Taking a little time to play with words, to play with food, and just to play!