Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Weight Loss Lesson from Guy Fieri

I am secretly in love with Guy Fieri of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.  In the past few days, he's taught me a personal, private, and invaluable lesson on Weight Loss.

It's pretty simple, really, and I don't know why I didn't think of it before...

Stop Eating Out and You Will Loose Weight.

That's it.

Now.  Here is why I know this is absolute fact.

For ten days, I have been immobilized with a severe flare-up of arthritis.  My immune system has been so busy eating up all of my connective tissue that all I've had the energy to do is sleep and eat.  No exercise - unless you can call taking a shower exercise.  I haven't  cut back on eating (you have to have some pleasure in the middle of all that agony) but at the end of ten motionless days, I have lost three pounds.  I was puzzled about this until I sat down last night to watch the Triple D show for the Thousandth Episode.

See, Guy Fieri goes into the kitchens of favorite diners and takes his cameras and film crew with him to record how they make all that delicious food.  And THAT'S where the
mystery is solved.

I know this image from the restaurant Pine State Biscuits via Noble Pig is a little over the top but the point is, there is an amazing amount of fat and salt in restaurant food.  Just watch any episode of Triple D and you will see the ingredients going into the restaurant pot.  Lots of salt, always.  Lots of butter/lard/oil, always.  Doesn't matter what they are cooking,  those two ingredients are always there...Because They Taste Good!

When you eat at home for 10 days, and steam or lightly sautee everything you cook, there are no extra calories, no extra salt.  No restaurant sneaky yummy tricks to fatten you up.  

So there is a new trick on your weight loss plan - simply eat at home more often.  Isn't that easy?  You will save money and loose weight at the same time!

Sigh...that gravy sure does look good....

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Night Shift Designs A Handbag...

A few days ago, at 4:20 A.M., my sub-conscious Night Shift designed a new handbag.

I was asleep, but aware that there was a lot of work going on.  Do you ever do that?

Softly but busily, my central processing unit ran through how to make these handles, how to pleat and attach the top trim, how to sew the difficult inside corners at the bottom.  The only time it bothered me was when I tried to enter the debate on the need for an outside pocket...then I realized "I" wasn't needed and went back to sleep.

When I woke up, I was trained and ready to go.  After a quick breakfast and shower, I sat down and just sewed it up.  No thinking, no fiddling.  Just cut and sew.  You gotta love a brain that will do that for you.

Two roomy pockets inside.  Love the piping on this bag pocket - it gives the bag stability, besides looking so finished when you open the bag to look for something.

Thanks, Night Shift.  You made that part easy.  The hard part is figuring out how to get them in front of customers without schlepping them down to Market.   Any ideas?

And, does anyone know where I can get more of that Houles Paris trim?

I simply adore those opposing diagonals!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Loosing Weight and Your Body PH Levels

If you have Arthritis or Gout, we need to have a little chat, Right Now.  One of the things I love most about the Calories In, Calories Out way of eating is that you can load up on fresh fruits and vegetables.   And drop those extra pounds.  

However.   For certain people, too much of this:

And these:

And ESPECIALLY too much of this:
(Remember my recipe for Salsa Verde?)

is going to raise the acidity levels in your body sky high.  And if you have Arthritis or Gout, you are opening the door to having to spend some days dealing with pain management, fatigue, and loss of your quality of life.

Who knew tomatillos were so high in acid??  Good grief.

I was just about to post my new favorite recipe for Zanahorias Escabeche, a really, really good pickle made with fresh carrots, onion, garlic, jalapeno, vinegar and Mexican Oregano, but I will leave that until I get my PH under control.  And Arthur(itis) gets his dagumm treble hooks out of my aching body.  

Photo from  Mine has onions and garlic and jalapenos added and is, well, fabulous!

Now that I understand what I have done, here is how I will fix it.

First, I will take care not to eat any acid for a week.
Second, I will drink lots of water.
Third, I will avoid protein - beans, chicken, eggs, and tofu.
And twice a day, I will put 1/2 teaspoon of Baking Soda in a glass of water and drink it.
The only good part is that I get to lay around and read Trash Novels for a week.

And I'll continue to eat lots of this:

Recipe Link

And stuff like this:

I'll be creeping out there tomorrow to pick up a tray of this sashimi, and if I'm not all better by Wednesday, I may have to resort to this:

I'm off to read my Trash Novel now - Back To Business (I hope) Tomorrow!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Salute to My Dad

Today is Father's Day, and although my Dad is no longer his Frisky Self here on earth, I am sure he is keeping things lively up in Heaven.  He'll be bustling around, making sure everyone is well fed and entertained with his endless store of anecdotes and jokes. 

I attended elementary school at the same place he did, and about a year before he died, he and I went and took a tour of the school.  I cherish this photo of us with the old school bell - we had such a good time that day!  As usual.

He was a great cook, and one of his specialties was Catfish, fried crispy Southern Style - outdoors if possible, in a deep kettle, and on the bone - no wimpy filets for him!  

No one could cook catfish like my Dad, and the aroma floating in the air is something I can still remember...makes my mouth water, even now!

His other great love was gardening.  Every year, he had at least one garden, and helped others out with theirs.  He never got over the wonder that you could plant a tiny seed in the ground and within a couple of months, have a robust plant that would produce delicious food!  Every nuance of the plant from the time it emerged from the ground until the frost took it in the Fall, was a source of wonder to him.  He was always happiest in his garden, inspecting and touching the leaves, smelling the "green-ness" of it all, and babying his plants along.

Here he is in the garden he planted for his nephew, David - another Garden Lover.  You can see that one of his other great loves is that Blue Plaid Shirt...same shirt as the year before.  He once worried that he wore it too much, but I reassured him that it was one of the ones he looked best in.  Happily, he shrugged into it, again.

David was in a battle for his life (which he won!) in 2008, so Dad planted his garden for him and took care of it.  He and David walked slowly around the extensive garden almost every day in mutual bliss to check on every inch of every plant.  This photo was taken barely two months before Dad died of AML - a fairly rare and very, very aggressive form of leukemia - and you can see the thrall they are in over these tomato plants.  Dad never tired of this ritual in all the years of his life.  To him, it was a tangible miracle.

This is about half of the garden that Dad planted for David that year...and as if that weren't enough, he would come home and work on his own garden that he had scratched out of the road right-of-way...there is an equal amount of garden on the other side of that fence!

No tribute to Dad would be complete without "The Wagon Photo", a picture taken when Dad was a baby...he is the cutie with the black hair sitting inside the wagon:

And this is him as a very young man, not too long before he went off to Europe to serve in WWII.  

His life had ups and downs, pains and happiness - like most everyone else.  But the special thing about my Dad was that he didn't dwell on the things he couldn't change.  He just took care of it in the best way he could, looked for the happy moments, and cherished them.  He didn't spend a lot of time looking backward, he was one of those people who got up in the morning and was excited to have a new day.  Every day.

What a guy.  What a great Father.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Olay versus Origins - Skin Care Contest

When I was a teenager, my Mom spent the family budget on skin care.  We ate beans, meatloaf with too much filler, and Poke Salad that we picked out of the woods...but Mom had her skin care.  Period.  And it was Bonne Belle 10-O-Six and a myriad of other products that kept her skin dewey and flexible until the day she passed to heaven.
Every night, she would quietly bring her Bonne Belle, cotton puffs, and moisterizers from the tiny bathroom that served the whole house, and place them on the coffee table.  Sitting on the sofa, she would begin her regimen in front of the TV.  I can still remember the fragrance of that cleansing lotion, and see her serene face as she moved through one of her favorite routines of the day.  After she was finished, she would offer her sweetly cleaned and moisterized face up for a good night kiss, and the feel of her skin when I leaned in to her was like rose petals. 

When she died, she still had one of the most beautiful facial skins I have ever seen...small pores, moist, and peachy.  Somehow, I didn't copy that regimen, and my facial skin has suffered sorely from too much sun, too little cleansing, and general lack of care.  Until I turned 50 and got a new driver's license photo - and started with Olay products.

Then I discovered Origins on a Christmas shopping trip for my staff, and instantly and forever was hooked on their Ginger Souffle for a body moisterizer:
 This, Girl Friends, is about all you will ever need to feel pampered, even if you can't afford anything else.  The delicate fragrance transports you to Tahiti, and makes you think you are in a sarong with a flower lei wrapped around your long flowing tresses...

In a place that looks like this:
Images from Link

Once I was introduced to Origins, I began my foray into more expensive skin care.  I didn't take the total plunge into one specific brand until last Winter - it was the perfect time, since Origins had a great intro program in place that included free facials, a foot massage, and a make-over for free.  I came out of there with glowing skin, happy feet and over $350.00 of products.

They sent me home with a hand-written regimen, and this:

I know.  You are thinking, What Is All This Stuff??

I was assured by my Origins advisor that I did, indeed, need all of them, because they were designed to work together.  I did leave one behind, over her strenuous objections.  Over the months, the Make A Difference Toner has become one of my favorite routines of the day...maybe nostalgia for Mom?

But the rest of the products?

After 5 months, I saw no difference in puffiness, age spots, eye wrinkles, or overall improvements in my skin.  If anything, it felt a little irritated, too greasy,  and more fractious than usual.  I simply had too much product.

I'm sorry, Origins.  Because I do love your Ginger Souffle.
As their products were depleted, I turned back to my old standard: Olay.

Love these cleansing cloths for when I'm in a hurry.

But this is my fave cleanser: Their Age Defying Classic Cleanser just makes my skin feel good and clean, without drying it out - I feel smooth and refreshed after rinsing.  I follow this with Origins Make A Difference Toner, which zings my skin and sets the stage for moisturizer:

I use both of these, one for night and the other for day.  Doesn't matter which way.  I worried that I wasn't getting all the product out with the pump, but when I actually took the Total Effects jar apart when I hit bottom, I have to say I was truly at the bottom.  Not enough left for even one more slather.

Bottom line, Olay is MUCH less expensive and I don't have to fend off the hard sell that always comes when I walk into an Origins store.  Not as special to purchase my skin products in a grocery store, but less combative.  And my skin is happy.  Fine lines are reduced, but age spots aren't - but  then Origins didn't reduce those, either. 

Just goes to show, Don't Put Your Unshielded Face In The Sun.  If you are over 50, here is the proof:  raise your arm over your head and look at the skin on the underside, just before the arm pit.  Smooth and silky, right?  And no brown spots.  That's because it hasn't been in the sun.  That could have been your facial skin...  I'm off to shower and do my sit ups!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Loosing Weight With My New Gravy

I have to admit to a particular love for gravy and sauces.  Which helped pack an extra 25 pounds onto my small frame.  But I am here to announce my New Favorite Gravy, that is Good on Everything, and has only 35 calories in a half cup.

Mexican Salsa Verde!  Even Husband likes it, and slathers it on chicken or fish with abandon.

Here's how you make it:

Take 6 Tomatillos

Husk them and rinse in cool water - their skin is a little sticky.  Cut them in half and drop them in a saucepan.  Add 3 Garlic Cloves that you've smashed and peeled, 2 or 3 jalapenos that you have sliced open and removed the seeds and ribs from.

Some recipes call for Serrano Peppers, but I love the zip from jalapenos...

Just crush and peel the garlic

No need to chop anything, you are going to put all this in a blender in a few minutes.

Rough chop and toss in half of a big Vidalia Onion

Add water to cover and put on stove - bring to a boil, then turn it down and simmer for about 12 minutes, or until Tomatillos are tender.  Drain the mixture and set aside to cool down a little.

Chop the stems off a bunch of Cilantro, cut the bunch in half, and get your blender or food processor out.  Put the slightly cooled mixture in the blender along with the Cilantro and a good pinch or two of sea salt.  Blend until chunky-smooth, and pour it out into a bowl.  That's it!  Let it sit for an hour (overnight is even better) to allow flavors to develop, and then go to it.

I promise you, your mouth will be pleasantly surprised - it is a little tart, is piquant from the jalapenos,  and has a subtle garlic back-flavor that complements everything we've put it on. Even on the forbidden (but once a month treat) of grilled red meat!

Enjoy with a vengeance, because even if you ate a whole cup, it is only 70 calories!

I'm going to make another batch while I wait for FedEx to arrive with my new/new/new Spoonflower Color Map.  Third time HAS to be the charm...

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Weight Loss Without Diets and Gyms

I have learned so much in the past 8 weeks about weight loss with no stress, no hunger.  What I am carving in stone is this:  As Long As You eat Fresh Veggies, Fresh Fruits, Fish, Chicken, drink Water, and Get Tons of Outdoor will lose weight.  Period.  Simple, so simple.  No diet plans, no gym.  Just common sense.

Walking up Kennesaw Mountain - photo Atlanta Outdoor Club.

After spending a couple of weeks on the road, I realized how hard it is to maintain a sensible eating plan at fast food joints.  But I figured out, early on, to just order the burger or whatever sandwich in the drive through - with NO MAYO -  and before digging in you just ditch the buns.  That means you are left with meat, lettuce, tomato, pickles and cheese.  Washed down with a crisp unsweetened tea or water
 and small fries, you are happy to pull away and back onto the Interstate.  You have had french fries, for goodness sakes!

If you get the munchies, have a bag of crisp celery sticks or baby carrots at hand, and gobble them down.  They're crunchy, good for you, and almost calorie-free.

And you know that when you get to your destination, you will be presented with, or cook something like this:

Seared Salmon on a bed of spinach - photo courtesy Whole Foods

and this:

courtesy Honey and Spice

And This:
Photo: Grgich Hills.

With all this yummy goodness to be had, guilt-free, why would you eat any other way?

Here are (again) the Secret Instructions to avoid having to wear a Faja:

Drink a lot of  good clean water.

Avoid highly processed foods.  That means no Lean Cuisine, for instance.  Pack your refrigerator and Counter Top Baskets with Fresh Vegetables and Fruits.

Eat Fish or Chicken, and very little red meat.  A boiled egg three times a week.

Keep dried fruit and pungent cheese on hand to punch up your salads or for a snack. 

Never Drink Sodas or Artificially Flavored Drinks of Any Kind.

Get outside and get active.  Challenge yourself physically. 

Be aware of what you are putting in your mouth - you know what I mean.

Get yourself some digital scales -$10.00 at CVS- and weigh yourself every morning.

You will LOVE how your new body feels, and since you have been so sensible about it all, go buy yourself some new shoes and paint your toenails...

My new favorite shoes...

                               Yellow Box Shoes

got 'em On Sale at Belk's...$21.00!  And yes,     you know I got more than one pair...

Happy Weekend!


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