Monday, May 31, 2010

Surf Girl

Bill Medcalf, 1950

Beren and I decided to explore a town about half an hour away from us, Flagler Beach. We'd heard that portions of it are dog-friendly, including a little surf shack restaurant right on the ocean. Perfect! I was really looking forward to showing Loki the beach, wondering how he would react. Well, as you can see, he loved it!

While I wasn't able to do any serious exercise, and I certainly do not surf, it was fun to frolic with my puppy..and my man. *wink* The restaurant is called High Tides at Snack Jacks, a true surf shack which served up a really nice variety of menu items including the veggie was offered with either hummus or smoked fish dip, perfect!

Of course we had to have a cocktail as well...

Overall, we had a wonderful holiday! Hope you did as well.

Have a Beauty-Full Day,

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Waiting for You

Waiting for You by Bill Medcalf

I have been enjoying my morning beach walks so much, just have to share with you! Beren and I get up before 7, have a cup of coffee and then head to the shore, about a 10 minute ride from the house. I don my i-pod, leave him contentedly reading his book and off I go! The sand here is obviously very hard since cars drive on it, I walk barefoot because I want to feel the waves occasionally lap my toes.

May 30 Surfside

While the view is gorgeous, I've got to occasionally look down to be sure I don't step on one of these! Ouch!

May 30 Jellyfish

No matter how briskly I walk, I doubt I'll ever break this speed limit!

May 30 Speed Limit

Oh, how I would love to live in this house! Swoon...maybe someday...

may 30 Beachhouse

I've decided to start collecting shells or some other bit of nature each time I walk. One seashell per walk, filling a special glass jar as I go, adding a bit of pretty motivation to my bedroom dresser! Three so far....? to go...

Have a Beauty-Full Day,

starfish 45 minute barefoot beach walk

Friday, May 28, 2010

A Thinking Post: Change

Daily Om
Begetting Change
Same Choices, Same Results

If our patterns of thought and behavior remain unchanged our lives will continue to unfold much as they have previously.

Repeated bouts of adversity are an unavoidable aspect of human existence. We battle against our inner struggles or outer world forces, and in many cases, we emerge on the opposite side of struggle stronger and better equipped to cope with the challenges yet to come. However, we can occasionally encounter trials that seem utterly hopeless. We strike at them with all of our creativity and perseverance, hoping desperately to bring about change, only to meet with the same results as always. Our first instinct in such situations is often to push harder against the seemingly immovable obstruction before us, assuming that this time we will be met with a different outcome. But staying power and stamina net us little when the same choices consistently garner the same results. A change in perspective, behavior, or response can do so much more to help us move past points where no amount of effort seems sufficient to overcome the difficulties before us.

Whether our intention is to change ourselves or some element of the world around us, we cannot simply wish for transformation or hope that our lives will be altered through circumstance. If our patterns of thought and behavior remain unchanged, our lives will continue to unfold much as they have previously. Patterns in which fruitless efforts prevail can be overcome with self examination and courage. It is our bravery that allows us to question the choices we have made thus far and to channel our effort into innovation. Asking questions and making small adjustments to your thought processes and behaviors will help you discover what works, so you can leave that which does not work behind you. To break free from those unconscious patterns that have long held sway over your actions and reactions, you will likely have to challenge your assumptions on a most basic level. You must accept once and for all that your beliefs with regard to cause and effect may no longer be in accordance with your needs.

Stagnation is often a sign that great changes are on the horizon. Courting the change you wish to see in yourself and in the world around you is a matter of acknowledging that only change begets change. The results you so ardently want to realize are well within the realm of possibility, and you need only step away from the well-worn circular path to explore the untried paths that lie beyond it.

Couldn't have said it better myself...

Have a Beauty-Full Day,

starfish 45 minute barefoot beach walk

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

One More Down!

Last night I joined Beren on another little business jaunt, this time to a destination that is a bit more....rural....

Yep, this glam gal ended up at a fish camp overnight, lol! Hey, while it's not exactly my style, it was clean, mostly free, provided me some alone time with my man, and there was a tiki bar!!

Since I had stayed OP yesterday and allowed myself some extra POINTS, we enjoyed a couple of cocktails and then headed out to dinner. Not wanting to eat the fried fiesta at the hotel restaurant, we took a little drive and discovered a nicer locale with slightly healthier choices.

I had a light beer, a piece of barbecued chicken, a baked potato, green beans and a small piece of cornbread, delicious but still within my POINTS range. Apparently I've been making some good choices this week because the scale revealed another 1 pound loss this morning! Yippee! If I continue this way, "only" dropping a pound a week, I will have lost 52 pounds in a year, taking me below my goal weight. Who could be disappointed with that?

I'm off to work now in a cute new spring dress, feeling pretty darn good!

Have a Beauty-Full Day,

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Why, Thank You!

ooh, I'm so excited! Kristin at Peace, Love and Muesli has honored me with the Honest Scrap Award! Thank you so much, Kristin!

I have also received a Versatile Blogger award from Maressa at The Body Logic! Thank you, Maressa!

I am honored to accept both awards and since they are similar, I hope you'll allow me to combine them just a bit, tweaking the requirements.

Here are seven fun facts about myself:

1. As I might have mentioned before, I saw Elvis Presley live when I was 6 years old. I was a huge Elvis fan even at that young age so my mom surprised me with tickets for my birthday. I still remember standing up on the seat, watching the King of Rock 'n Roll shimmy across the stage. swoon....

2. I am living with, and madly in love with, my long lost soul mate. We dated when I was in high school but outside circumstances led to our break-up and we were separated for over 20 years. When my marriage was ending, the stars aligned and I somehow met up with him again. We discovered that we still had feelings for each other and the rest, as they say, is history!

3. I am rather neurotic and suffer from a slight case of OCD. *grin* My closet is color-coded, my shoes are in labeled boxes and clutter makes me totally nuts. I can't relax in a room unless it's completely tidy, right down to the rug being perfectly aligned beneath my feet. Messes make me anxious & nervous so I try like heck to keep things in order. I often fail.

4. I have a psychic on call, have been "using" her at least once a year for six years now. To me, it's almost like therapy and worth every penny for the insight and peace of mind she provides. She has never been wrong in her predictions.

5. I am a Pagan which means that I follow an earth-based belief system. Though I don't discuss religion or politics whenever possible, I'm always happy to share my beliefs with open minded folks.

6. I love wine. I seriously can't remember the last day I didn't have a glass of chardonnay. I base my diet/eating plan on whether or not it allows this indulgence and often exercise just enough to burn off the 100 or so calories involved in the consumption.

7. My dream vacation is to Paris. I guess many people share that dream, don't they? This past year, realizing that I wasn't getting any younger and my bank account not growing any faster, I opened a vacation club and now deposit a set amount each month. My goal is to be in France on my 50th birthday, four and a half years from now. Wish me luck!

Now, here's where I break the rules a bit, sorry! Instead of selecting x-number of bloggers upon which to bestow these awards, I'm just going to gift it to all of you scrappy versatile lovelies! If you choose to receive it and post about it, please leave me a comment here so I don't miss all of your fun facts!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

On the Right Track


I've been making some small changes this weekend and really feel that I'm on the right track! For instance, I woke up really early (4 am), consumed by dark thoughts and nightmares. Not fun. Instead of lying there wallowing and working myself up into an anxious state, I got up, put my shoes on and grabbed Loki's leash. We went for a 15-minute walk around the block, cleared my head and got my heart moving a bit.

Later, Beren and I took his girls to the beach. It was a gorgeous day, picture-perfect as you can see. Instead of lounging in the chair reading or, god forbid, eating, I took a 30 minute walk along the ocean. It was heavenly! The sand is so hard up here that I feel like I got a really good work-out while communing with Mother Nature. Good for body, mind and Spirit!

Though I am avoiding "white stuff," I knew that Beren and I would be going out for cocktails later and in my experience it's wise to have some carbs before imbibing. They seem to soak up the alcohol, for dinner I made some pasta, had a bit of that with salad, then headed out for a night on the town!

A local blues club hosted a special performance of an awesome rockabilly band, The Torkays. We met up with some friends, shared some laughs, rocked out to great music and generally had a hell of a good time! Now, I did have three glasses of chardonnay but it was over the course of four hours and I had them served with ice. Not the "proper" way to serve wine but it made the drinks last longer and kept me a bit hydrated at the same time.

Torkay @ Bank & Blues


Note: In the spirit of honesty, I seriously considered not sharing the pics above...I had a long moment of self-disgust, seeing how absolutely huge I look in both...but it is what it is and I am not going to wallow in pity 'cause that is self-defeating and certainly won't get me any closer to my goal.

Because of my good choices yesterday, I wasn't afraid to step on the scale this morning. Though it's not my official weigh-in day, I was happy to see the number about a pound less already. Yay! See, small changes do make a big difference!

So, here it is Sunday and we'll be headed back "home" this afternoon. I'm not ready to go, that seems to be happening more & more lately. I feel so much healthier up here, there's just something about this town, this lifestyle. Even when I start to lose my way, it's so much easier to get back on track. I'm really hoping Beren can get a job transfer..soon. But that's another story for another day. For now I'm going to wake up my man and start planning our day!

Hope yours is Beauty-Full,

Friday, May 21, 2010

Worth Cultivating

Worth Cultivating

Worth Cultivating by Gil Elgren, 1952

Whoa! I came "home" to Ormond Thursday night to find my herb garden kicking butt! It's like a jungle out there! I am pleased as punch to find such gorgeous edible delicacies just waiting for me to pluck them!

Since the oregano is really out of control, I took advantage of it with the help of one of my favorite blogs, Kalyn's Kitchen. The only change I made was in using reduced fat feta cheese because that's what I had on hand.

Greek Salad with Marinated Onions and Oregano

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1 medium Vidalia onion
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil -- plus more for serving if needed
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar -- plus more for serving if needed
2 small cucumbers -- (2 to 3)
3 small tomatoes -- (3 to 4)
8 Kalamata olive -- (8 to 10), pitted
1 tablespoon fresh oregano -- or more if needed, chopped
1/4 cup reduced fat feta Cheese -- or more if needed, crumbled
fresh ground black pepper to taste

About 4-8 hours before serving the salad, peel onion and slice thinly. Separate onion into rings and put in small ziploc bag. Whisk together olive oil and balsamic vinegar and pour into bag. Let onions marinate in refrigerator until ready to assemble the salad

After onions have marinated for desired time, remove from refrigerator and drain the dressing into a small bowl. (I do this by opening one end of the ziploc bag and holding it over the bowl while tipping the bag.) Taste dressing and add more olive oil and balsamic vinegar if needed, whisking into dressing.

Wash cucumbers and cut into slices about 1/2 inch thick. (Larger cucumbers will need to be cut in half and if you don't have small cucumbers you may also need to peel them.) Cut tomatoes into halves, then cut each half into fourths to make eight pieces. Wash oregano and chop with chef's knife.

In large mixing bowl, toss together marinated onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, and olives. Toss with desired amount of dressing. Sprinkle with oregano and crumble Feta cheese over salad. Arrange on two plates, season with fresh-ground black pepper, and serve immediately.

Serves 2.
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Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 322 Calories; 23g Fat (60.4% calories from fat); 11g Protein; 23g Carbohydrate; 6g Dietary Fiber; 10mg Cholesterol; 669mg Sodium. 6 WW POINTS.

Oh, my! This was absolutely delicious, so glad I doubled the recipe so I can enjoy it again today. Marinating those onions really made the flavor pop! I served it alongside simple grilled chicken and a baked potato, making a dinner fairly high in POINTS but oh-so-worth it! Besides, I worked off a few calories during an early morning walk with Loki. I'm recovering with some java and my laptop but he has other things in mind!

We are off to the beach shortly, hope I can convince Beren to take a long walk with me but he's not quite as excited by that idea as my four-legged companion!

Have a Beauty-Full Day,

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In

Well, I'm down one pound this week. Doesn't sound like much until I look at that box of butter sitting in my refrigerator and make the comparison! Considering moontime and vacation recovery, I don't think that's bad at all.

Now, just to keep up the good work, right?

Tonight I'm making a light shrimp recipe from Weight Watchers, serving it over Shirataki noodles and Birds Eye Steamfresh Asian Medley veggies for a filling 4 POINT dinner.

Sauteed Shrimp

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1 spray olive oil cooking spray -- (s)
2 tsp olive oil
1 pound shrimp -- large, peeled and deveined
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp Spice Islands No Salt Lemon Herb Seasoning -- or other brand
1/4 tsp table salt -- or to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper -- freshly ground, or to taste
2 Tbsp parsley -- fresh, chopped

Coat a large skillet with cooking spray and set over medium heat; add oil and heat. Add shrimp; sauté 1 minute. Add lemon juice, lemon herb seasoning, salt and pepper; stir to coat shrimp. Sauté until shrimp are bright pink and cooked through, about 3 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in parsley.

Serves 4, Yields about 3 ounces of shrimp per serving.

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Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 143 Calories; 4g Fat (27.4% calories from fat); 23g Protein; 2g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 173mg Cholesterol; 315mg Sodium. 3 WW POINTS.

Have a Beauty-Full Day,

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Nice Place to Visit

Beren and I went on another little business trip yesterday...well, business for him, pleasure for me. We stayed at a swanky hotel about an hour north of us, in one of those areas of the Sunshine State that I could never afford to live in, nor would I want to and not only because Beren's ex lives in the neighborhood. *wink* Because of the high falutin' location, it was difficult for us to find an affordable dining establishment, especially since we were billing his portion to his expense account and his company would not appreciate being charged for lobster. The other option was a chain restaurant, blech, you know how I hate those! So, after a bit of research, we remembered a tiki bar/waterfront grill not far from us which serves excellent seafood with atmosphere. Perfect!

As you can see by the menu, there were lots of things to tempt me....

but I was good and chose the Sea Grill Salad..yummy! It was healthy, delicious and a generous enough portion that I was able to enjoy it again for lunch today.

Beren also enjoyed his stone crab...I tried not to drool as he dipped each little morsel in drawn butter.

Alas, back to reality today but I did enjoy my little "business" jaunt!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

To the Moon!

I was hoping for King Sunshine to show this face this morning so that I could have some pool time but, alas, His Solar Highness has decided to take the day off. Oh, he continues to tease me, occasionally peeking from behind the clouds but not enough to warrant me changing into a bathing suit and actually making my way outdoors. So I gave up on the Sun and turned my attention toward la Luna, curled up with Beren and watched Astronaut Farmer. What a great film, we thoroughly enjoyed it!

Now My Man is working in the garage and the girls are out & about, leaving the kitchen all to me! I actually love staying home on Sunday afternoons, puttering about and cooking something a bit more time-consuming than the basic weeknight fare. I have some zucchini and tomatoes languishing in my produce basket, am going to use them to appease my vegetarian children who have been bemoaning my lack of cooking lately.'s not that I am cooking less, dear hearts, it's that they are eating take-out instead of coming home for dinner! Hopefully today we can all gather 'round the table and enjoy some veggie-laden goodness.

Summer Vegetarian Chili

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2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
5 large cloves garlic -- minced
2 tablespoons chili powder -- or more to taste
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
15 ounces black beans, canned -- (15 ounce)
1 cup water -- or red wine
1 cup chopped green bell pepper -- or any color
1 cup chopped zucchini
1 cup corn kernels
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro -- packed
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper -- or more to
Salt and freshly ground black pepper -- to

Heat oil in medium pot. Add onion, garlic, chili powder and cumin. Saute over medium heat until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients (except garnishes) and stir. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer 20 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Add more liquid if needed.

Serve alone or over rice (preferably brown). Garnish if desired with any of the following: reduced-fat cheddar cheese, onion, fat-free sour cream, guacamole, fresh cilantro.

Serves 6

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Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 172 Calories; 6g Fat (30.2% calories from fat); 7g Protein; 25g Carbohydrate; 7g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 257mg Sodium. 3 WW POINTS, not including rice or garnishes.

Rapunzel's NOTES : Can also be cooked in a slowcooker which is how I do it

Have a Beauty-Full Day,

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Solely a Cure for the Blues

As I said, this has been a rough week. Along with the other trials & tribulations already mentioned, apparently it is also my "Flo time" and you know what that means. Yep, I've been raiding the refrigerator and pantry with reckless abandon, can't seem to get enough sugary, salty, starchy garbage into my already-bloated body. Yuck! Last night Beren and I met some friends for cocktails and I just had to have french fries with my light beer. Why? Why was this necessary? Because Flo said so, that's why! She is a nasty b**ch when you ignore her needs so I gave her what she wanted. Just to shut her up, of course.

This morning she woke me up demanding more white stuff. The fresh croissants on the counter will do quite nicely, or the biscuits my man was baking for his own breakfast. Or, hey, how about that pile of hash browns he's frying up? oooh, yeah, bring it on!

In an attempt to tune out her whines and complaints, I came to the computer, gazed out the window and did some pondering. Knowing that succumbing to the call for junk food wouldn't make me feel good in the long run, that it was just a temporary fix, immediate comfort that would be gone in seconds, leaving me guilt-ridden and craving more, I realized that I had to find a substitute for food. What else could cheer me up, make me smile and provide a longer lasting treat to myself? What do you think, girls?

Shoes! Oh, yes, lovely, lovely heels to adorn the one part of my body that doesn't change size! Aren't these the cutest things ever? Can't you just see them with a black sheath dress or (some day) pencil skirt? Swooon......I can't wait to stick my tootsies into these beauties!

Now, I'm not suggesting that every time we're tempted by something naughty that we should go shoe shopping...or, hey, why not?! *wink*

Have a Beauty-full Day,

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hot Dish: Country Pie

Dear friends, it's been a rough week so far. I'm having post-vacation blues, being seriously reminded of how much I dislike my job and if I had to do it full time I'd be sticking my head in the oven along with tonight's dinner. Oh, wait, I have a electric, not gas, so that wouldn't work. *sigh* We are also having some "family issues," nothing serious but just enough to create a bit of stress and strain around the castle. Then, last but certainly not least, a dear friend is losing his best four-legged friend, his precious canine companion for the past 12 years. My heart breaks for him as he goes through the process of saying I plan to go visit the two of them and try to provide comfort where I can. So, needless to say I'll be seeking some comfort food tonight!

This Country Pie recipe comes from a little gem of a cookbook I found at a thrift store, 4-H, FHA Favorite Food Shows Prize Winning Recipes published in 1962 by Suburban Propane Gas Corporation. Here's the original:

Country Pie

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1 cup rice -- cooked
2 1/2 cups tomato paste -- or sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter
1/8 teaspoon pepper

2 pounds ground beef
1 medium green pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon parsley
1/2 cup tomato paste -- or sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup grated cheese

For Crust:

Place rice in pan and cook until tender. While the rice is cooking, saute onions and pepper in butter. Cook until soft. Combine cooked rice, tomato paste, salt and pepper. Mix well. In a greased, medium-sized glass casserole, make a pie shell of the rice mixture.

Mix beef, tomato paste, salt, pepper, sauteed onions and green pepper. Pour this mixture into the crust already prepared and cover. Cook for 35 minutes in a 425° oven. Place cheese and parsley on top and bake uncovered for 15 minutes or until meat is cooked.

Serves 6
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Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 740 Calories; 45g Fat (54.2% calories from fat); 34g Protein; 52g Carbohydrate; 6g Dietary Fiber; 140mg Cholesterol; 1732mg Sodium.

and now my Redux:

Country Pie Redux

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1 cup brown rice -- cooked
2 1/2 cups tomato paste -- or sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon smart Balance Spread
1/8 teaspoon pepper

24 ounces Morningstar Meal Starters Grillers Recipe Crumbles
1 medium green pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon parsley
1/2 cup tomato paste -- or sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese

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Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 251 Calories; 3g Fat (10.7% calories from fat); 9g Protein; 51g Carbohydrate; 6g Dietary Fiber; 1mg Cholesterol; 1613mg Sodium.

Wowie Kazowie! Look at what happened with just a couple of substitutions! Seriously, this dish is still just as warm & comforting without all that fat & calories.

Now, off to work...groan...wish me luck as I try to get through this potentially-rotten day.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

(Wo)Man's Best Friend

I got back from vacation late Monday night, had a fabulous time! I remained (mostly) internet-free, spent the hours crafting, reading, walking, and, alas, eating. That last activity was quite evident which I reluctantly stepped on the scale yesterday morning to find the expected gain. Hey, no use whining about it. I earned it, fair & square.

So, yesterday morning I donned my workout gear and grabbed Loki's leash, decided that my dog and I would both benefit from some exercise. Being that he is just a puppy and easily distracted, my usual 30 minute jaunt had to be cut down to 20 but I swear it felt like much longer! This dog training business is hard work, especially in the already-sweltering Florida heat! Whew! Not to be defeated, I repeated the process last evening, and again this morning. Loki was better behaved each time and I found him to be a very nice walking companion indeed! I think this furry bundle of love just might be the motivation I needed to get my butt moving!

Now, if only he could do something about my frequent visits to the pantry...hmmm....

Have a Beauty-Full Day,