Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Checking in from the wilds...

We were in North Battleford, in a hotel without internet access, and then on Sunday, travelled up north in Lac LaRonge. We are in Saskatoon now, in the comforting arms of Mr. Hilton. Guess I wouldn't have made a good pioneer, aye?

I must say, it was really beautiful in both spots. North Battleford is in a valley on the Saskatchewan River, and has rolling hills that make my heart sing. Our childhood home looked out over the prairies, and although I didn't know it at the time, the "blue haze" around town, was really hills in the distance. From our kitchen window, the view was unobstructed, and really gorgeous. I know why my mother did dishes three times a day now...it must have been such a pleasure to look out over the valley as she went about her daily chores. Our house was on the last street in town - we looked across the coulee to a farm. Of course, since then, it has shrunk to being a tiny house (I remember it as being so much bigger!) crowded in by houses in the lots around it. Gone is the big tree and the vacant lot next door where ants would consume a sugar cube in the time it took you to eat your lunch, if you put it by their hill....Poetic justice has prevailed though, as the houses that were built on the coulee are having problems with their foundations. Teach them to obstruct that little house's view! The lady that lives there now thought she was being stalked as my sister and I gawked at the house and talked about how it used to be. It was very tempting to walk up to the door, and just beg for look at the inside, to see if the hardwood floors still gleamed, and if the "new" bathroom was still as pristine! I loved the smell of our home...furniture polish, a little bleach and always something in the oven. Funny, I never cared much for homemade cookies, but I have always loved the smell in the house. I realize how spoiled I was, now that all of our baking comes from Costco!

So, moving on. The food situation has been interesting. My sister is a fabulous cook, so while we were there, we were treated to garden vegetables with our meat and potatoes for supper. One night we had a whole salmon, which was done to perfection. Then, the next night? Chicken smothered in mushrooms was a to live for! Just never thought of doing that before, but will in the future, that is certain! We also went to restaurants that offered great dishes...even a Thai restaurant. Well, there went the Flex points. But was it ever good! My sister can not have gluten, so she is very cautious about where and what she eats, and she has it down to an art form - knows exactly where the good stuff is! I tried to limit the intake, but it was very difficult when faced with a newly opened jar of homemade pickled veggies, not to eat half of it. Isn't a quart a two person serving? Very tart, very tasty. And after all, it was carrots, celery and peppers. How could that be bad? MMM! Soooo good! There is nothing more relaxing than having a diabetic cook for you, when you are a diabetic. I didn't have to question every mouthful, or wonder if there was something that would end up biting me back!

Now, looking forward. We have the weekend coming up at home, and then we are off to Thunder Bay for the week. I really have to figure out how to slow this man down. My role is that of luggage, basically. Well, demanding luggage that hollers "feed me" or "I am tired"! Where he, on the other hand, does all the driving, works all day, then does paper work at night while I read or snooze to the TV. The man has the constitution of an ox. But I really have to figure out how to slow him down a bit. He is at that delicate age, where he needs a smack with a 2x4 to get his attention. Any suggestions will be gratefully accepted as to how to get this man to slow down a little. Our idea of a rest is to fall into the recliners on Saturday night and fall asleep to a rented movie...maybe we can fit that in in a couple of weeks...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sugar free Twizzlers

are not to be consumed in multiples of six. Three points for six Twizzlers was just too tempting. And isn't there some sort of rule that says you have to eat the whole bag at once? Whatever they use to make these things as tasty as the originals will provide a lot of entertainment for your companion. It will also have you promising to provide pickled eggs and beer at a future date without complaint just to make ammends.

An aid to fine dining...

in a room with a microwave, is a lightweight plastic rice maker from Nordic Ware. I bought this little puppy yesterday, and I am absolutely thrilled with it!

This gadget consists of an inner basket, and an outer dish with a snap down vented top. Very simple, yet very effective. The vegetables go in the basket, a cup of water is added to the bottom of the casserole, and the lid snaps on. This is a strange microwave to judge the power on, so I can't tell you for sure how long it took, but I would think about six minutes on high, with an additional few minutes "resting". I made a concoction of small fingerling potatoes cut in quarters (blue, gold and red), baby carrots and a healthy serving of shredded cabbage. Just before serving, I added some shredded Swiss cheese and let it melt into gooey goodness! this was soooooo good served with cottage cheese! An onion would be a good addition, as would some celery. I can see this gizmo becoming indispensable.

On our menu for today:
Breakfast: egg, toast & Tim Horton's coffee, milk
Lunch: above mentioned recipe leftovers for lunch
Supper: Baked beans, rye bread toast; coleslaw made with apple & miracle whip (thinned with vinegar and milk) yogurt and Thinsations cookies
Snacks: apple, Rice Crispie bar or bran flakes with Splenda & milk

Monday, October 22, 2007

Monday morning...

Whew. Arrived here last night and found that Superstore was still open at eight o'clock on a Sunday night. So, we were able to pick up a few necessities for today's meals. We have a nice little suite here, with good cooking facilities, so our menu for the day is:

Egg, toast, skim milk, butter, Cheez Whiz

Chicken and Miracle Whip Sandwich on rye, raw cauliflower & dip, yogurt

Taco Soup (brought our leftovers from home), microwaved fingerling potatoes (multi-coloured), cauliflower & baby carrots with butter, cottage cheese.

Snacks: Antipasto & Crackers, apples, choice of 2 point 'snackage packages' to make up points for the day - cookies, crackers, rice crispie bars, chocolate bars all travel well together in a Ziploc bag!

Just a little travel tip...

No matter how tempted you are to eat liver in a small town cafe, don't do it.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

So

for the next ten days, I will be posting our "Travel Food" menus, and ideas.

It seems that I forget what we existed on during our travels, the minute we cross our own threshold. In our "food bag" we carry standard things. Tea, Tim Horton's coffee,coffee filters, sweeteners (packet and powder for cereal and fruit) packets of hot chocolate, small tins of fruit, soup, canned beans, and bran flakes in case we are can not get to a grocery store immediately, cutlery, can opener, toaster, electric fry pan, tea towel, dish cloth, soap, cutting board, flipper, paring knife, zip lock bags, garbage bags, paper toweling, bowls, plates, cups, disposable cutting boards. This all fits quite nicely into a 21" suitcase with room to spare. I am a Ziploc fanatic, and find that putting everything in these wonders of modern science keeps everything clean.

In a small cooler bag, we carry our "car food"- water, vegetable juice, individual packaged snacks, milk, vegetables and fruit that needs to be kept cool. Although it does seem like a lot of nuisance in this day of restaurants on every corner, I have to have small amounts of food exactly on schedule and often without warning, so there is often no room for even a fifteen minute delay. It is so much easier to snack on a V8 and a package of crackers than it is to find someplace that even offers such simple low point fare. Hubby is happy as long as there is food of any kind, and has adapted to this routine. He can make a pretty mean breakfast in a kitchenette, too!

There will be some new things to see this trip. One leg of the journey will be to LaRonge, Saskatchewan. It is supposed to be gorgeous up there. It is my belief that there is beauty in every place, and sometimes you just have to be a visitor to see it!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

So far behind, that I think I am ahead....

The house is cluttered with the 'shopping debris' from our little holiday! There is stuff everywhere, it seems, and what I seem to be doing, is wandering from room to room, holding up the swatch of material for my new sofa and chairs, stepping over boxes and bags in the process! It is a quirk, I know, that I have to do this. The colours have to "jive" or they scream at me.....no, I don't talk to little grey men in space suits, but I do need my colours to harmonize! So, I am content knowing that the lamp in the office coordinates with the sofa in the living room, and that the picture in my bathroom is the right green. Never know when you may want to shake things up and move them around! LOL The delivery date is set for November 18, and I am excited! It has been ages since we bought something new, and I am looking forward to sprucing up the joint! Wonder how many activity points you can get for decorating? This index finger of mine gets a real work out....

While we were away, I tried my best to stay on program, but you sure can't control the salt. I have "travel bloat"! Also, eating all those low fat chips with the tons of salt wasn't a good thing. So, I am sticking to my guns, and hoping that there will be a shift in my weight over the next few days to what it should be.....sigh. Here we go again.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Psssssst hey! You wanna hear something?

Lay's make a fat free chip, in the USA only, of course. Must be radioactive or something. Do I care? You couldn't tell them from the real thing. Sour Cream and Cheddar. Delish. I am in hog heaven spending one point for 15 chips. Who am I kidding. I had 30. Now apparently it blasts out your system, if you get my drift. I will be more than happy to give you too much information later! For now? I am basking in the afterglow!

My computer problems

will soon be solved by Dell...after the hard drive, keyboard and mouse were replaced just recently, the monitor just decided to quit! Thank goodness the warranty is not up until October 28. Now that is cutting it down to the wire! They have very good service, and they seem to need it by their track record so far! I should be good for another couple of years now. By the time we come back from our few days away, the monitor should be waiting for me. It is a hassle, although the timing seems to be perfect! I am seriously considering buying a laptop for the times we are away from home. But for now? Bigger fish to fry!

Speaking of food, I was an eating machine tonight. Big burger (yeah PC!), nice fluffy white bun with sesame seeds, sauteed onions...doesn't that sound healthier than fried? Either way, heated in a fry pan with a kiss of oil so it won't upset the system...and fries. Was doing okay until our friend brought Girl Guide Cookies. Now I know why I only lasted three weeks as a Brownie! Those little girls are the Devil's handmaidens. Chocolate covered chocolate wafers with icing? Who would have thought of something like that? An Oreo on steroids. OOOooooo and minty, too. Three of them jumped into my hand...after all, the serving size was for three....sigh. Well, may as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb, so off I went to the pantry for two bags of Doritos before my Sunday TV nap. Now, you have to realize that I wasn't even hungry. Just wanted to eat today. So, eat I did. I still have six points left for the remainder of the week. I will have to watch my step in the US. A little planning at the grocery store should do it. But I have decided to do the best I can for the three days, and not ruin my holiday by fussing. There are lots of alternatives in the US, and there are some real treats I love to have there. Cottage cheese for instance. Who would have thought it would taste so much better, but it does. With peaches or a baked potato it makes a great meal. Easily prepared in the microwave, too. Or purchase the potato from Wendy's. And I would like to try a selection of the WW food. Although I never like frozen meals - it does hurt to be so fussy! But a WW bagel intrigues me...I wish I were like my dear hubby whose only concern with this meal is the next one! Fruit is the original fast food, and a bag of apples or oranges and a bag of pretzels will keep me happy for a long time! Easy to transport, too! I was thinking that travelling would be much easier on core....but then? How can you live without bread and Doritos? So, best to keep FLEXing!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Suzy Domestic Strikes Again!


The house smells amazing! I found extra lean ground turkey at Costco, and after I realized what a good thing points wise it was, had to find a recipe for it! Voila! Turkey meatballs with honey chili sauce. These are not tiny meatballs, by any stretch of the imagination. Each one was made with a scoop that holds 1/6 of a cup. The recipe made 15 meatballs, but one mysteriously disappeared right after I took the picture... will be accounted for at supper time I assure you!
The entire recipe sauce and all came in at 30 points. So, each meatball complete with sauce for the rice, is two points. Three would make a good serving with Basmati rice. Four would make a better one! MMMM I can hardly wait for supper! It is winter and time for comfort food! Notice the casserole? When it cools down a little I can put the plastic lid on it, and store it in the refrigerator until time to heat up again for supper. Love it!
should you be inclined to try these!

The only difference


between a good hair cut and a bad one is two weeks....I am so hoping that is true! I have "helmet" hair...oh woe is me. Ah well. There are worse things in life! And better.
For supper tonight, I made a chicken breast with potato and asparagus all in the same ovenware dish. I am so impressed with these Temp-tation baking dishes! I have never had such nice results from a humble casserole! Who would have thought that one dish could be so different from any other? I should have paid closer attention to the sales pitch when these were featured on the shopping channel to see exactly why they do such a good job, because they are great. I just ordered them because I thought they looked like good serving pieces! Well, little did I know that pretty could work too!
I sprayed the dish with Pam, added the food, placed in a 375ยบ oven, and in about 30 minutes - voila! A complete meal! There is such a difference between using Corningware and these! The chicken was juicy, and the potatoes were perfectly golden, evenly cooked and delicious. I added a few spears of asparagus over the meat and potatoes, and it cooked to crisp tender in the last ten minutes. I just coated the spears with a little oil (put the oil on my hands and rolled them around until they were just nicely coated. Didn't take much oil at all to give a nice glisten...just a few drops...of course fresh ground pepper and a good hit of Kosher salt, over all!) I have been meaning to take a picture of some of the things I have cooked in these dishes, but the food is so irresistable when it comes out of the oven, I just want to eat it! But here is a picture of them empty! A good way to get a full meal on the table quickly when you just don't feel like fussing. Sure tastes like you did though!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Thursday

So, when the cat is away, the mice turn into rats...and what a blast this rat is having! I slept till noon, and the closest thing to work I have done all day, is to unload the dishwasher and put away a basket of towels! What I have been doing, is pouring over decorating sites, getting fresh decorating ideas. On Tuesday, we bought a new sofa and two chairs. I have been looking for well over five years for replacement pieces, and finally found a solid simple style that I can live with....I hope!

This time, no neutrals for me. I am finally expressing my rather colourful interior! They say that you can tell who a person is by the art that they hang on their walls, and the colours they choose to use in their home. I am sure there are deep psychological reasons why I have chosen not to do this for years, but all of a sudden? I am literally craving colour in my surroundings. Not pastels. Not tasteful neutrals. But bright spring grass green, lilac purple, buttery yellow and all the colours of fire. There are small touches of that in the house now...and a lot of white that I intend to keep.

I am a practical person, so when investing in long term things such as good towels and linens, I want white! There is very little you can do to damage white cotton...that a little bleach won't fix, that is! I want colour on the walls! Hubby is eager to do the painting this time...he finds it boring to hit the walls with the same neutral from room to room....he is looking forward to using vibrant paint colours, so I hope he feels that way in a year or so when I tire of the colours and want them changed!

It is time to express the 'internal' at long last.

In the meantime, back at the ranch....I am having a chicken breast and cauliflower for supper to fuel all this frantic planning. Both will be roasted in the oven and towards the end, I will toss some cheese on the cauliflower for an instant cheese "sauce". When I am on my own, I find it very difficult to get all my points in for the day. I get involved with doing something, and completely forget about mealtimes. So easy to fall into old habits when you are only accountable to yourself - translation, when there is no "whining for food" to pry you away from the computer screen!

I read the other day that salad greens were mainly "recreational" nutritionally - I tend to agree with that, because as the weather becomes cooler, I would rather have a good soup for starters. Failing that? Good old campbells vegetable soup does it for me! Hmmmm. Maybe I should heat up a cup of that and call it lunch? After all, it is four fourteen....it must be lunchtime somewhere!

Wednesday

Was pretty uneventful. One of those lovely slow days! Supper was the highlight of the day! Anyone out there remember "hot chicken sandwiches"? I made a low cal version, complete with gravy and it rang the bell good and loud for comfort food! Snackage was antipasto and crackers..again! I am on a roll with that stuff, but for two points? You just can't beat it. I ate well all day, and still was a point short for the day.

I have learned that weighing in every day gives me a sense of security...I wish I could travel with my scale, but even I know that would be a bit "OCD"! Besides, it will be waiting for me at the end of the kitchen island. I don't even bother shoving it under the Island anymore. The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is scoot into the kitchen to get on the scale, and then drink my ice cold first glass of water of the day. Sometimes the news is good, and sometimes it isn't. I have learned to take it all in stride. Eventually the low number that you hit, will be come the high number for the week...it is all a case of waiting it out, and working the program. Keeping a spreadsheet of my daily weigh ins really keeps me focussed, and makes for interesting charting, too.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Tuesday...shopping day!

It sure makes life easy when they give you the nutritional info! We enjoyed a double meat sub today, and all within points. MMM good. The reason we were out and about for two meals, was because it was finally decision time about buying living room furniture. We found a nice couch and two chairs at the LAZBOY store...very bright and modern. I don't often make snap decisions, and believe you me, that the way I operate? Two hours qualifies as "snap". After looking at every piece of material in the place more than once, mentally rearranging every piece of furniture in the house and envisioning numerous colour schemes, I opted for a happy "Meadow" green set with self covered pillows. I like the prospect of changing up the colours on a whim with accessories, so I thought it best to go with functional plain pillows, the same as the body of the furniture.

When you have been married for as long as we have, sometimes you need a fire to get you motivated to do something with your decor...every time I clean, it seems, I tell myself "ah it is still in such good shape! I really don't need to buy anything new because this is good enough!"

Well, don't we say that about the clothing we wear "until", or even about the bodies we have from the weight we put on and don't take off from eating the food that is "good enough"? Who says "good enough" is good enough? Where is it written that we have to settle? I didn't settle for a second rate man, so why do I cop out on these minor things? For a little cash, you can spruce up both your public image, and your surroundings! So, now the 'transformation mode' is spreading to the house. We are going to wait till the furniture is delivered to make the final call on the paint colours, and in the meantime, I am going bra shopping in the States next week! I am hoping that both experiences will deliver the uplift I have put off for too long, and so desperately need!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Monday

Today I tried on just about every garment in my closet. There were quite a few things that are just too big for me now, so there was a sizable "give away" pile. Shocking really, the difference a few pounds can make. Also a bit of a shame, because some outfits I had only worn two or three times last winter. The skirts are far too long now, though, and I felt like I was drowning in way too much fabric. At the largest point of my body the material should not drape six inches away! I don't want to keep anything that doesn't make me feel good, and when the shoulders hang and the skirt is too long? I sure don't feel great! I don't feel sorrow for the loss of these garments, but rather, I feel joy at seeing more hangers!

When I moved on to the front hall closet, I was relieved to see that my favourite winter coat was still "wearable" although very, very long. It will last one more year! I hope next year the styles will return to longer coats, so I can replace this one! So warm and toasty! All in all, it was a very busy day. I managed to stay within my daily points, a necessity since I had a "chip attack" earlier on in the week and burned up every Flex point for the week. Ah well. They will return on Wednesday!

We are planning a trip to the US next weekend, so I have a 'need to buy' list, that starts with two new bras, and ends with Ploughman's mustard. It is difficult to shop with a list, but hopefully I will be able to find enough garments to keep me going!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Subway

Sandwiches. What a great thing they are! When out and about, they can really save the day. Our favourite these days is a turkey breast and ham sub...5-6 points depending on what extras we put on. They toast their subs now, so that makes them extra good. Yesterday we found ourselves out shopping and starving. How friendly that sign seemed after staring down a long line of Arby's, MacDonald's, A&W and Burger King. Once in awhile you need food fast, so Subway it is for us! An interesting thing happened while my hubby was picking up the sub. He ordered a 12" sub for us to share, and it came to 6.76...a woman came in and ordered the same style of sub, but ordered two 6"subs - her bill was 1.80 extra. Did she get more sub for her money? More importantly, do I get to deduct a point?

Friday, October 5, 2007

Friday

....and the start of another weekend. Wasn't it just Monday??? We have lots of plans for the weekend, as usual,so I woke up this morning and hit the ground running to prepare for it all. First stop today is the laundry room, then onward and upward to the kitchen! And then out the door to pick up some goodies.

Last night I wore one of my favourite outfits for the last time. Since I bought it at the end of the season last year, I had only worn it a couple of times, but now, it is time for it to go. The shoulders were too big, and hung, and the skirt is far too long and wide...you know how you get those extra folds of cloth that make "saddle bags" at the hip. So, I guess I am seeing some changes. One of the tips I have read dozens of times, is to check measurements, but I really haven't done that yet. I can safely say though, that if I were to buy things, I would definitely buy down a size. I guess that deserves a little whoop? Whooooooop!

So, after my thrilling romp with Tide and Bounce, it will be time to move on to some serious kitchen organizing before I hit the grocery store. We are fortunate enough to have our son's company for the weekend, so I need to make sure that I have some special things in the house for my baby boy! I remember watching his face when he was a child, and wondering how on earth he would look as a man...now, I study the man, and see the face of the child I knew so very long ago. He is an interesting person that I enjoy being around.

Hmmmmm. Maybe a good feed of mussels....ah, now there is a plan! With a big Greek salad - although with all the friends and relatives he has to visit, I am wondering if he will even have more than a bowl of Cheerios at our table! So, I will leave the specifics of menu planning to the last minute. In the meantime? I have some serious activity points to earn!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Wenesday is here...

And, it is exactly three months since I started the WW program. I had a loss of 4.2 pounds in September, so it looks like things are slowing down a bit, but still, it does average out to a loss of over five pounds a month. I lost one point when I redid the quiz this morning. A nice little pep talk followed saying I was losing at a good rate, and to be happy! I can eat very well on what I am allotted, so I am definitely not complaining! The way I look at things, time will pass if I do this or not, so why not do it and lose the weight? It is a hassle when travelling, to be sure - I think that is likely why the slower rate this month....too much sitting and reading, and too many unavoidable unknowns with food.

I have noticed that the best way to stay on program effortlessly, is to favour simple "meat, potatoes and vegetable" meals. They turn out to be the lowest in points, filling and easy on the system. When I was young, I would visit relatives on the farm, and there was always a big meal for lunch. My aunt would bring out the leftovers from the night before - sometimes warmed up, sometimes not. A bit of meat with home made pickles, and fresh tomatoes from the garden? Heaven! To a city kid, used to having a peanut butter sandwich and an apple, it was impressive! I think she was really on to something because she certainly kept her figure, and her large family did too! The trick to this, is to have leftovers in the frig. Apparently that happens when you make an effort to make at least one meal a day! LOL

I just finished a four point lunch using that "formula" and Monday's supper leftovers and I am very full! And in another three hours? Time to do it all again. I have tossed all the rice cakes and other "diet" goodies I tried the first month and that have been gathering dust under the kitchen island. I just don't like them. For one point, I can have four REAL crackers, so why would I want a Styrofoam rice cake? Antipasto is the balm with plain old Premium Plus crackers - that reminds me almost time to hit Costco and buy a new jar! All that goodness for 25 calories for two tablespoons full? A bargain! I measure with a regular teaspoon and count one heaping teaspoon as two tablespoons to make sure I don't go overboard with the stuff.

I do wish the loss would go a little faster though. I don't think I will believe I have done anything until I have gone shopping for new clothing, and that won't happen until spring. I am just going to keep wearing what I have through the winter, and save up for a really good splurge before the cruise in March. Until then? I am planning a perfect wardrobe with very few pieces and a few romantic sun dresses for visiting the islands! Until then, I will rejoice in my small NSV's (non scale victories) like being able to bend in the middle a little easier!

Tuesday's gone....

in a blur of soap and water! It was laundry day, so I spent the day washing and ironing. I absolutely love having freshly ironed sheets on the bed. The smell is wonderful, and the cotton becomes so silky....There is one load of blacks left to dry and iron in the morning, and I will be free once more!

Today's lunch was canned peaches and Doritos. Hey, that's what was in the laundry room pantry, and I was too lazy to go up and make something more complicated! I still had three FLEX points left over this week, so I am totally okay with my choices. This week I will likely lose a point...depends on what the quiz tells me. I have no opinion, and no questions. I work the program like an automaton. Who knew that not thinking could reap such rewards?

Monday, October 1, 2007

I have no idea how it happened...

but yesterday, I totally fell into old habits, and found that at 11:46, I was "short" 12 points for the day. We had a good supper, too, but the points just weren't high. So, I hit the frig for some antipasto, and the cupboard gave up four little packages of saltines. MM MM good. I am still 5.5 points short of my daily total, but I am stuffed! (I always use midnight as the cutoff time for the "days" points, so I can't use up the 5.5 points now - they are gone for good)

Incidentally, antipasto is my new favourite snack. I could eat that stuff by the bucket! And eight tablespoons are only 2 points. Can't beat that for a flavour bombshell! I can't for the life of me remember why I didn't eat lunch. Just completely forgot about it. Better turn on the alarms on my tester again.