Saturday, November 28, 2009

I'm No Turkey!

Forgive the delayed post but I forgot to post a progress report yesterday, was too busy avoiding Black Friday with listing e-bay items in an attempt to make some Christmas dollars.

Thanksgiving was challenging this year as we decided to forego the traditional turkey and instead order Chinese food. You see, it's the first year without my mom and none of us could stand the thought of sitting around the table without her. I'm sure that next year we'll return to "normal" but for now we threw the rules out the window.

I made pretty good choices, mixed veggies (no rice) and a little bit of Kung Pao shrimp, did indulge in a couple of spring rolls and of course I had to take a sliver of my daughter's famous Key Lime Pie! Even with those indiscretions, I stepped on the scale yesterday to find a 2 pound loss! Now, that's something to be thankful for!

Hope you all are enjoying a beauty-full holiday weekend,

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Rapunzel Wants a Cracker

We all have those trigger foods, right? You know, the things you think you'll only have a bite of and before you know it you've gorged to the point of a food coma. For some (many?) folks it's sweets...cookies, cake, chocolate anything. Eh, all of that is tasty and I certainly wouldn't turn down a nice chunk of dark chocolate but that's not what does me in. For me, it's the cheese/carb combination. Give me a slab of Brie and a hunk of French bread and I am in absolute heaven. Barring that, a wedge of cheddar with a sleeve of good crackers will do nicely. Add a glass or two of chardonnay and I'm a goner. Diet? What diet? Oh, this little snack won't hurt a thing! And, besides, I'll start again fresh tomorrow! No harm, right? Sigh..there's just no reasoning with a woman under the influence of a carb/alcohol buzz.

So, since I know this is a danger area for me you'd think I'd keep the little devils out of the house, right? Ummm..not so much. You see, I live with a Man who enjoys the crunchy stuff and since he doesn't have a weight issue (damn him) I find myself loading the grocery cart with Triscuits and cheddar on a regular basis. Taking a long hard look at the situation yesterday while I was preparing an afternoon snack for us both, I reminded myself that I do have options. I can have the chardonnay (in moderation, my dear) but not the bread. The cheese is allowed, but how about a triangle of Laughing Cow instead of the full fat stuff. And, wow, celery crunches nicely and provides a nice little vehicle to get aforementioned cheese into my mouth. Or, how about a bit of cheddar with a nice crispy apple? Not exactly the same as the crackers but we all have choices and at least these won't end up on my backside!

Monday, November 23, 2009

On the Right Track

Beren & I are on vacation this week, hanging out at the other house through Wednesday. As I've said before, it's a different atmosphere up here and I find that my eating is much more in control. Other than a couple of beers at a divey bar yesterday (awesome live music!), I've stayed on track with my program and it hasn't been much of an effort. First thing we did when we arrived is hit the local flea market to pick up some beautiful fresh veggies, we all know how much it helps to have the "right" foods on hand. Then I plan a menu for the week and run to the grocery store if necessary. So far Beren has barbecued a couple of chicken breasts and a lean steak which I've served alongside big salads and steamed green beans Beren declared the best he's ever eaten! I'm not sure what I did differently, maybe they were just so fresh and flavorful. Anyway, Kali and Kevin will be arriving late tonight and since they are mostly vegetarian (and Beren is definitely not) I'll have to be a bit more creative in the kitchen. Since they both eat shrimp, this delicious-looking dish will be perfect!

Lettuce Wrappers with Shrimp

* 1 tablespoon(s) peanut oil
* 1 pound(s) (large) shrimp, shelled, deveined, and coarsely chopped
* 2 medium (1/2 cup) celery stalks, finely chopped
* 1/4 cup(s) chopped water chestnuts
* 1 clove(s) garlic, minced
* 1 teaspoon(s) finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
* 1 tablespoon(s) hoisin sauce
* 1 tablespoon(s) reduced-sodium soy sauce
* 1 tablespoon(s) rice vinegar
* 8 large Boston lettuce leaves
* roasted peanuts, chopped


1. In nonstick 12-inch skillet or wok, heat oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Add shrimp and cook 2 minutes or just until opaque throughout, stirring constantly. With slotted spoon, transfer shrimp to medium bowl.
2. To same skillet, add celery, water chestnuts, garlic, and ginger, and cook 2 minutes, until celery is tender-crisp, stirring. Return shrimp to skillet; stir in hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and vinegar. Cook 1 minute or just until mixture is heated through. Remove skillet from heat.
3. Evenly divide shrimp mixture among lettuce leaves. Sprinkle with peanuts.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Crash & Burn

If you can't read the caption on the above photo, it reads: " The coupe was up on the sidewalk, lovingly embracing the telephone pole. 'It's not my fault that it got out of control,' said Peggy."

Not my fault, indeed! I guess I could follow Peggy's line of reasoning and claim it's not my fault that I allowed an emotional meeting with my estranged father to turn into a 3-chardonnay/half-a-loaf-of-Italian-bread & butter-lunch. Not my fault that I came home, vegged in front of the tv with a plate of sugar cookies. Not my fault that I ate 2 slices of pizza for dinner. Not my fault that I downed another glass of chardonnay before bed. Nope, none of it was my fault, was it?

On the contrary, there is no one to blame for that crash & burn but ME. I made the decisions, I could have chosen differently. I didn't have to use food as a balm for my wounded soul, it certainly didn't cure anything. I woke up this morning nauseated and more heartsick that yesterday, angry & frustrated with myself. I take responsibility for it, because it was indeed my fault. No excuses. So, after a healthy dose of self-reflection comes forgiveness and moving forward. Today's a new day, Scarlett.

Have a Beauty-Full One,

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Party Time!

There's a busy day ahead for this pin-up wanna-be as I am invited to not one but two birthday parties! First, my dear friend R is having her annual bash at our favorite biker bar, always a good time. Afterward we are heading to a fancier soiree where my friend N is celebrating her 30th birthday. Both parties include live music and everflowing liquor but not a whole lot of food. I learned my lesson long ago about having something in my tummy if I'm going to indulge in a couple of cocktails and greasy bar food is not the best choice!

So, I'll be using my crockpot once again today, preparing this tasty chicken dish alongside steamed veggies and potatoes for the other folks. Oh, and since my girls don't eat meat, they'll have a chicken substitute, have you all tried these Quorn products? They are surprisingly good! The consistency is very poultry-like, am quite impressed with them!

Before I don my party hat, however, I have a bit of work to do here at home so I'll leave you with this scrumptious recipe. Have a fabulous day!

Crockpot Roast Sticky Chicken

4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. white pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 large roasting chicken
(NOTE: I didn't have any white pepper so i used a total of 1 tsp. black pepper instead)

In a small bowl, thoroughly combine all the spices. Remove giblets from chicken, clean the cavity well and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the spice mixture into the chicken, both inside and out, making sure it is evenly distributed and down deep into the skin. Place in a resealable plastic bag, seal and refrigerate overnight. When ready to cook, put the bird into the crockpot and do not add any liquid. As the cooking process goes on it will produce it's own juices. Cook on low 8 - 10 hours and it will be falling off the bone tender.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Breakfast in Bed

Joe Bowler
Originally uploaded by ondiraiduveau
Well, not handsome man is indeed making me breakfast but it'll likely be served at the dining room table instead of my budoir. *wink* I like to reserve that area for other activities.

While he's shredding potatoes for hashbrowns that I'm certainly not going to eat, I'm going to don my apron and whip up a batch of Kalyn's Egg Muffins. These are soooo good! I try to keep a batch of them on hand at all times, especially convenient on those busy workday mornings when I don't have time to cook.

(makes 12)

10-12 eggs
2 T fat free half and half
1-2 tsp. Spike Seasoning
1 1/2- 2 cups diced meat: canadian bacon, ham, cooked turkey sausage or cooked veggie sausage
1 1/2- 2 cups grated low fat cheese (I like sharp cheddar or feta)
Optional, but highly recommended, 3 green onions diced small.

Preheat oven to 375. Use regular or silicone muffin pan, 12 muffin size. If using silicone pan, spray with nonstick spray. If using regular muffin pan, put two paper liners into each slot, then spray liner with nonstick spray.

In the bottom of the muffin cups layer diced meat, cheese and green onions. You want the muffin cups to be 3/4 full, with just enough room to pour a little egg around the other ingredients. Beat eggs well with the half and half (you could use milk). Pour egg into each muffin cup until it is full to the brim, nearly overflowing. Bake 25-30 minutes until muffins have risen above the rim of the muffin cups and are slightly browned and set.

These freezer well. For best results, thaw in refrigerator before microwaving. I like to wrap them in a paper towel when reheating in microwave to soak up some of the liquid that is sometimes released.

Have a Beauty-Full Day!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Falling into Place

Ooh, it's one of those rare chilly days here in South Florida! I have the windows flung wide open, a pot of chili simmering in the crockpot and am sipping a hot cup of Hazelnut coffee preparing for my day. It seems like everyone has more energy when the temps drop a bit, including the four-leggeds in my house! The dog is racing around the yard at record speed, kitties are leaping around the back patio greatly appreciating the cool breeze.

I hopped on the scale this morning and found that I'm back down to 163.8, right back where I started before Moontime. Sigh. I'm happy that the numbers have gone back down but really expected more of a loss at this point. Instead of moaning about it, though, I'm taking action!

Last night I sat down and planned the next week's menu, including possible lunches & snacks, headed to the grocery store and loaded my cart with healthy goodness. I now have a Positive Plan of Action and just know that I'm going to have a great week! The carb cravings have disappeared, my body is adjusting to the new Way of Eating, things are finally falling into place!

I'll be posting some more recipes over the weekend but in the meantime I'm going to finish this cuppa, put on my sneakers and burn some calories with a major houseblessing. Yeah, that's a nicer way of saying that I'm gonna kick some dustbunny butt around here!

Have a Beauty-Full Day!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Well, Blimey!

I'm feeling a bit down this morning, dear friends, having stepped on the scale this morning and not liking what I saw. Ok, last week I knew the extra couple of pounds were due to hormones & I accepted that, but why haven't they all fallen off yet? I'm at 164.4, still a pound up from my last weigh-in. I had really hoped that with all of my hard work and staying really OP I would've lost something.

I'm not giving up but that English muffin in the kitchen sure looks tempting....

No, not that one! But, hmmm...if I want Nigella's luscious curves perhaps I should whip up one of her dishes tonight? Something special to soothe my wounded spirit but still On Program..healthy yet comforting...Minestrone Soup seems like the perfect fix for this dreary day! All I've got to do is substitute Shirataki noodles for my portion, perfect! The morning is looking brighter already!

Nigella Lawson's Minestrone Soup

Serving Size : serves 4-6 as a main and 8-12 as a starter


1 Onion finely chopped
1 clove of Garlic crushed/finely chopped
2 sticks Celery, finely sliced
1 tbsp Olive Oil
1 14oz tin chopped Tomatoes
1 Bay Leaf
1/2 tsp dried Oregano
1 tsp dried Basil
1/4 tsp dried Rosemary
3oz Red Pepper, finely diced
3oz Green Pepper, finely diced
3oz Carrot, finely diced,
3oz Courgette, finely diced
1 1/2 pts Stock
2 tbsp Tomato Puree
1oz Spaghetti, snapped into 1cm lengths
1 tsp Salt
1 dessertspoon Soy Sauce
Black Pepper
Parsley to garnish


1. Gently fry the onion, garlic and celery in the olive oil in a large pan for 10mins until soft.
2. Add the tomatoes, herbs, vegetables, stock and tomato puree.
3. Bring to the boil and simmer, covered for 40mins.
4. Add the spaghetti, salt, soy sauce and pepper and simmer, uncovered for 15mins.
5. Sprinkle with parsley to serve.

This soup keeps for several days in the fridge (if there's any left!), it also freezes and travels well. Children absolutely love it!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Right on Target!

Waking up in a luxurious hotel room on the beach is sooo much nicer when you don't have any guilt feelings about what you did the night before, don't you agree? *wink*

You see, I'm tagging along with Beren on his monthly business meeting, includes lovely accommodations and and dinner on his expense account. Nice, huh? Well, since he is not an ad exec from the 1960's ala Mad Men (don't I wish!) we have to wine & dine within reason so the choices are limited. Outback. Chili's. Ale House. You get the drift. He leaves it up to me so I did my homework ahead of time. Despite my knowledge that Outback is not exactly low-cal and the menu is laden with temptation, I chose it anyway. They have 2-for-1 cocktails, what can I say?!

So, armed with my Sparkpeople food journal, already logged, I went down under and prayed for strength to resist the bloomin' onion and sweet bread. I'm pleased as punch to report that I was Perfectly On Program, darlings! Not a bite of badness passed my lips! I was quite content with my 2 glasses of vino, grilled salmon & steamed veggies & tons & tons of aqua. It was a lovely meal, especially rounded out by a before-bed snack at the hotel room - a handful of cocoa-dusted almonds took care of my sweet tooth and allowed me to drift into dreamland, guilt free.

I'm a happy girl this morning and though I don't have a scale here to confirm, I do think my tummy might be just a tiny bit flatter!

Have a Beauty-Full Day,

On My Soapbox: Self-Less

Watch this video and then read this so sick & tired of the "women's magazines" and how they continue to promote skinny-at-all-costs and the you're-just-not-good-enough mentality! Kelly is gorgeous as she is, no need for freakin' Photoshop! I know, this is an old issue but it still just burns me up! Along with several other bloggers out there, I'm banning Self magazine. I have better places to spend my hard-earned dollar.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Time for Me

As I've mentioned, I'm reading Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat? by Peter Walsh and it's proven to be quite enlightening so far! In the first chapter, Peter writes about excuses for being fat and the first one really hit home with me! I'm going to share it with you here, would love to hear your thoughts:

Excuse #:1 "I don't have time to do whatever it is you're about to tell me to do."

Life is an ongoing balancing act of time and priorities. Our lives are full, and that's a good thing. But I want you to take a moment to think about the time you already spend dealing with your weight:

*Do you spend time feeling guilty about what you've eaten?

*Do you spend time in front of the mirror changing clothes because you don't feel good in anything you own?

*Do you spend time shopping for clothes because it's hard to find clothes that fit well and hide whatever it is you're trying to hide?

*Do you spend hours at the gym trying to burn off the extra dessert you allowed yourself last night?

*Have you tried so many diet books and programs that they're all al blur of protein bars and chemical milkshakes?

*At the rate you're going, will you spend time a the doctor's dealing with the medical conditions your weight will eventually cause?

Think about all the time that your weight consumes. Consider the mental anguish it causes. Imagine being free of that. Imagine being able to throw on anything in your closet knowing it can't look too bad because you're happy with your body and weight. Now tell me you don't have time to invest in feeding your body the healthy food it deserves.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Super Sunday!

Having a really good day so far, feeling motivated and On Program, thanks in part to a couple of new Spark buddies! The morning started out with a healthy breakfast - spinach omelet & sliced tomatoes, tried not to notice the leftover pizza My Man was devouring. We then took a long walk through the local park, feel so fortunate that this beautiful place is within walking distance of the house!

Munching on celery & Laughing Cow cheese, planning last night's leftovers for lunch because this soup was sooo tasty! Even my carnivorous boyfriend slurped down a big bowl of the veggie-laden goodness.

Tuscan Vegetable Soup

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

1 15.5-ounce can cannellini or other
small white beans, preferably
low-sodium, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ large onion, diced (about 1 cup)
1 medium carrot, diced
(about ½ cup)
2 stalks celery, diced (about ½ cup)
1 small zucchini (about ½ pound)
diced (about 1½ cups)
1 garlic clove, minced (about
1 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
or 1 teaspoon dried
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
or ½ teaspoon dried
½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black
pepper, plus more to taste
4 cups low-sodium chicken or
vegetable broth
1 14.5-ounce can no-salt added
diced tomatoes, with their juices
2 ounces baby spinach leaves (2 cups
lightly packed), chopped
1⁄3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. In a small bowl, mash half the beans. Set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, zucchini, garlic, thyme, sage, salt and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the broth and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Add the mashed and whole beans and the spinach; cook until the spinach is wilted, about 3 minutes. Serve topped with the Parmesan.

Serves 6

Tonight I am promised a grilled steak, a rare indulgence but one I'm looking forward to. I will, of course, be foregoing the homemade french fries he's also making and will instead focus on a big salad and some roasted asparagus, yummy!

Hope you're all having a wonderful Sunday, have a Beauty-full day!

Inner Beauty

Well, isn't this a lovely horoscope today?

November 8, 2009
Beauty Divine
Leo Daily Horoscope

You may feel beautiful from within today. You might find yourself feeling good about your best features and experiencing a feeling of warm acceptance for those you’ve wanted to change in the past, understanding that they all come together to create your natural beauty. Because of this mood, you may feel inclined to dress up so that your outer appearance matches your inner glow. Another great way to express your beauty to others is by allowing your true personality to shine through the exterior. Reaching out to share your warmth, compassion, love, and humor with others is a sure way to keep your inner light glowing and attract other like-minded people to connect with today.

Our true beauty comes from the uniqueness that lies at the core of us. We often get caught up searching for beauty in external features, when it is our spiritual essence that shines forth and makes us beautiful. By choosing to express the deepest parts of who we are in every experience, we give form to our uniqueness as a person, both spiritual and physical. We are a divine expression of light and love, which is far more beautiful than even our best physical features. As we glow with happiness and enthusiasm for life, we free ourselves to focus less on any perceived flaws, and more on living a meaningful life of joy and fulfillment. By sharing yourself honestly with others today, you will allow them to glimpse the true divine beauty that lies within you.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Visions of Sugar Cookies Dancin' on my Hips

I was doing pretty well yesterday, consoling the hormonal cravings with a few cocoa-dusted almonds and some roasted edamame, watching Mad Men for inspiration and distraction. Then Beren called, suggested we take a friend out for chicken wings after work. I can do that, no problem. I'll have naked wings and a vodka cocktail, all set! Sitting there at Hooters feeling all smug and On Program, imagining myself finally able to fit into those teeny tiny orange shorts they wear(hey, allow me the fantasy, ok?) I never thought I'd return home to find a plate full of sugar cookies, fresh-baked and calling to me. *groan* I confess: I caved. I scarfed down 2 of those babies right before bed, washed them down with a big gulp of Beren's beer. Ewwwww! I know, it doesn't sound good to me either but at the moment it hit the spot. Off I went to dreamland, sugar cookies dancing in my head and no doubt plastering themselves onto my hips as I slept.

So, here I am this morning, afraid to hop on the scale 'cause you know it's not gonna be good, honey. What to do? Nothing else I can do but just get back on track...again.

Do I sound frustrated? Disappointed? Ashamed? Yep, all of the above. What the heck is wrong with me? Where is my motivation, my willpower? If I can't resist a couple of slice & bake cookies I am doomed this holiday season! Help!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Mad About Joan

Since discovering Mad Men (admittedly a bit late), I have been devouring the DVD's and immersing myself in the 1960's. Oh, how I love the fashion...swoon...and honey, don't we all wanna be Joan Holloway?! I'll take her curves any day! *wink*

Just Beachy

I confess, I did indulge in a small slice of the bread last was delicious and almost worth the stuffed feeling I have this morning! Back on track today, though, and am thinking I need to get a bit more serious, might have to keep better track of my carbs and/or calories because the scale is not budging. *sigh*

I'm working my way through the Good Carb, Better Carb Cookbook, finding a lot of great recipes to try! Tonight it's going to be a modified version of this yummy lentil dish, will substitute meat for veggie-friendly options.

Savory Lentil Casserole

1-1/4 cups dried brown or green lentils, sorted, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces fresh Shiitake or button mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
4 ounces Canadian bacon, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 to 3 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place lentils ina medium saucepan; cover with enough water to come 1 inch over lentils. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, 20 to 25 minutes untl lentils are barely tender; drain.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook and stir 3 minutes. Add mushrooms; cook and stir 10 minutes or until liquid is evaporated and mushrooms are tender. Sprinkle flour over mushroom mixture; stir well. Cook and stir 1 minute. Stir in the beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, Canadian bacon, salt and pepper. Cook and stir until mixture is thick and bubbly.

3. Grease 1-1/2-quart casserole. Stir lentils into mushroom mixture. Spread evenly in prepared casserole. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake 20 minutes.

4. Sprinkle tomatoes over casserole just before serving.


Monday, November 2, 2009

Day of the Dead

Today we are celebrating Dia de Los Muertos, Day of the Dead. You can read more about it on my other blog, but here I'll share with you my mother's super-simple vegetable-beef soup "recipe." It's not 100% low carb but it's close enough if I avoid the starchy vegetables.

Sam's Vegetable-Beef Soup

Brown one pound of beef cubes with an onion in a little oil of your choice. Toss in a crockpot with a can of tomatoes, beef bouillon cube, bag of Birds Eye frozen vegetable soup mix, and a can of white potatoes. Cook all day. When you come in the door from work you'll be greeted with an amazing scent and a hearty, delicious dinner! Serve some bread alongside if you indulge in such.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Hot Beans!

I am proud to report that, despite Moontime coinciding with Halloween (Mother Nature's cruel joke!) I did not give in to temptation and dive into the candy bowl! I left the Snickers (my favorite) to the trick-or-treaters and consoled myself with a handful of Emerald Cocoa Roast almonds instead. Whew..escaped disaster that time!

Today I'm seeking something easy & effortless, would prefer to curl up on the couch with Mad Men (Don Draper, swoon!) instead of slaving away in the kitchen so I'm going to pull out my crockpot and put it to good use. it's still so hot here in Florida, a/c is cranking, certainly doesn't seem like Autumn.

The inspiration for this recipe comes from a great little cookbook, Good Carb, Better Carb which is chock-full of tasty dishes!


Hot Three-Bean Casserole

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup coarsely chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (15 ounces) chick-peas, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup coarsely chopped tomato
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 to 2 jalapeno peppers, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons sugar (I'm leaving this out)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 1/2 cups (10 ounces) frozen cut green beans

1. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat until hot. Add onion, celery and garlic. Cook and stir 5 minutes or until onion is translucent.

2. Add remaining ingredients except green beans. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes. Add green beans. Simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes or until green beans are just tender.

Makes 12 servings.