Wednesday, November 6, 2013


I've decided to reset my goals over at Sparkpeople, using October 31st as my new starting date.  There's just something appealing about a fresh new start, wiping the slate clean, starting over. (If only those do-overs were as easy in other aspects of life, right?) I am, however, keeping my starting weight the same since I think I should be given credit for those first five pounds lost in 2013, don't you agree?

Here's the thing: as noted in the countdown ticker at the bottom of my blog, it is 40 weeks until my 50th birthday. If I lose 1 pound per week, I will easily meet my goal. I would love to greet age 50 with an improved body, and perhaps a new wardrobe. *wink*  I'm determined, I'm capable, I can do this. I've done much, much harder things in my life than lose weight, there is simply no excuse.

So, here we are, weigh-in day, almost a week after vacation, how did I do?

I lost 2 pounds.

To say I'm happy is an understatement. I guess the healthy meals, even while away, lack of excessive snacking combined with lots of walking paid off!

In order to jumpstart my week, I purchased Happy Herbivore's weekly meal plan and intend to follow it as closely as possible for the next 7 days.  The structure will be good for me, but I also have the freedom to add/subtract from the menu to my own liking. I did all of the shopping yesterday, plan on prepping and cooking today, so be sure to visit me tomorrow for an update!

Have a beauty-full day,


Friday, November 1, 2013

Day of the Dead..and World Vegan Day!

"Sometimes a part of us must die before another part can come to life. Even though this is a natural and necessary part of our growth, it is often painful or, if we don’t realize what’s happening, confusing and disorienting. In fact, confusion and disorientation are often the messengers that tell us a shift is taking place within us. These shifts happen throughout the lives of all humans, as we move from infancy to childhood to adolescence and beyond. With each transition from one phase to another, we find ourselves saying good-bye to an old friend, the identity that we formed in order to move through that particular time....We can surrender to this process, letting go of our past self with great love and gratitude, and welcoming the new with an open mind and heart, ready for our next phase of life." ~ Daily Om

Today is Día de Muertos, Day of the Dead. I thought today's Daily Om was appropriate, especially since I've been doing some deep soul searching of my own the past couple of weeks.  Before leaving on vacation, I began reading a self-help book called The Emotional Eaters Repair Manual by Julie M. Simon. I haven't finished the book but let me tell you, just the first few chapters really stirred things up for me and made me think about exactly why I'm overweight.  Not just the surface reasons such as I eat too much and don't exercise enough, but the deeper issues, the emotional stuff that causes me to eat when I'm not hungry, to use food as a comfort and dare I say, a drug.  I talked to my friend Marion about this, not knowing how much to share on my blog, and I've decided to keep most of it private.  I'm just not comfortable baring my soul to the public, nor do I want to risk hurt feelings for anyone else "involved." I'm not even sure I'm going to stop with just the book and the exercises, have even thought about attending an OA meeting.  At this point I just know that I've got to fix the inside, heal the parts that need healing, and learn to deal with my emotions and not just shove them down with food.  I need to shed that old self, that past self, and hopefully along with her will come the excess weight I'm carrying around.

So, on to lighter things..Happy World Vegan Day!

I plan to spend the day cooking something healthy and taking a good long walk with Loki. How about you?

Have a beauty-full day,


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Well, here we are at the end of Week One. I've been following my program about 80% of the time, had a couple of PMS-related Oreo episodes and a glass too many of vino at a certain happy hour, but otherwise I've been doing pretty well.  I guess the scale agrees because I am down 1.8 pounds! Not bad, but I know I can do better. 

I've been thinking back to the last time I lost weight, when I was following Jenny, and pondering what it was about that program that worked so well for me.  Well, duh, it was a no-brainer: Go to meeting. Weigh-in. Buy food. Eat food. Repeat.  I had little to think about, I just heated up the meals, ate the food, and the weight came off.  Though I certainly don't want to go back to that way of eating, and honestly I missed my own cooking, I can't beat the convenience.  So, how to implement that into the way I live & eat now?

I started out by planning my weekly menu, as I've been doing, preparing my meals as usual.  Then, after dinner, I portion out the leftovers into individual containers and label them.  These become lunches for the next couple of days. If there's more left over than I can safely store in the fridge, or if I'm tired of a particular meal (that rarely happens, I don't mind repetition), I freeze those portions instead.  Same thing with breakfast, have a few containers of Tofu Scramble stacked in there.  I also have a big tub of Vegetable Soup to accompany meals or even as a mid-day snack.  Speaking of snacks, I took a cucumber & a head of broccoli,chopped & divided them up into little ziploc bags and labeled each one with the contents and weight so that logging into Sparkpeople would be a breeze.  These went into a handy-dandy Snaptight container (on sale this week at Publix, if you're in my neck of the woods), so easy to grab & go!

Snaptite Container of Veggies photo 20131009_071219_zps88fb59aa.jpg

Lastly, I mixed up a batch of hummus and divided it into tiny tubs.  Now, when the snack attack hits, I can open my fridge, grab a bag of veggies and a pot of hummus, I'm good to go! You can see there's also a big bin of crunchy apples there, and a fruit bowl of bananas sits on the counter, nearby, perfectly portable health food.  I also have some cooked chickpeas and pink beans in there, easy to toss onto a salad or into a soup for added protein.

Refrigerator photo 20131009_071135_zps96c850c8.jpg

Also this week, I baked several sweet potatoes in the oven, used two of them for the Sweet Potato Beginnings breakfasts..

Sweet Potato Beginnings photo 20131009_091541_zpsbb9437fd.jpg

the other I mixed in with my Spicy Vegetarian Chili. So delicious, filled with fiber and nutrients. Dr. McDougall would be proud.

Spicy Chili w/Sweet Potatoes photo 20131008_121207_zps3cdfcc80.jpg

So, that just about wraps up Week One.  I have a simple pasta dish on the menu for tonight, will share that tomorrow so hope to see you then!

Have a beauty-full day,


Monday, October 7, 2013

Retro Recipe Redux: "Hamburger" Casserole

Vintage Hotpoint Ad, 1946 photo e69514e2918824bc8d298fc8cfd0ed2c_zps30313ebe.jpg

We had a perfect Sunday. Quiet, relaxed, nowhere to go and nothing to do.  We puttered around the house, did a little laundry, took Loki for a nice long walk, and spent some time in the kitchen.  After Chip's crazy week, running down to Miami only to find out that his job was delayed, turning around driving back up here the next day, going in to work at 2 am..whew..well, let's just say the man deserved a good night's sleep and a lazy day in front of the TV! Oh, and a home-cooked dinner, which is where I come in.

I decided to redux another retro meal, a casserole that harkens back to (at least) the 1970's.  There are many versions floating around the internet, the one my Mom made consisted of hamburger & cream of mushroom soup all mixed together and  topped with french fried onions.  It was delicious but very high in fact and certainly not veg-friendly! A little searching led me to this recipe at PETA's site, I made a couple of changes and came up with my own twist. Goodness knows, this is not an especially "healthy" recipe, but the cleaned up version is much better than the original, and now and then I like to treat my hunny to a "traditional" meal. Now, admittedly, the only thing pretty about this picture is my vintage Pyrex, but I had hopes that it would taste better than it looks!

"Hamburger" Casserole photo 20131006_172110_zps6260726d.jpg

 "Hamburger" Casserole


  • 1 1/2 cups macaroni
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup green pepper, chopped
  • 12 oz. faux ground beef-style crumbles
  • 1/2 cup whole kernel corn
  • 1 can tomato soup
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups French-fried onions


  1. Cook the macaroni according to the directions on the package. Drain, pour into a large bowl, and set aside.
  2. In a skillet over medium heat, sauté the onion and green pepper in a bit of water or vegetable broth until tender.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  4. To the drained macaroni, add the onions and green pepper, burger crumbles, corn, soup, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Stir to combine. If the mixture is dry, add just enough water to make it moist. Pour into a large baking or casserole dish, top with the French-fried onions, and bake for 15 minutes or until the fried onions are lightly browned.
Makes 6 Servings

Nutrition Info:
  • Calories: 329.6
  • Fat: 4.9g
  • Carbohydrates: 58.9g
  • Protein: 14.7g


Because this dish has so few vegetables, I started the meal with a bowl of "Zero-Point" vegetable soup, a loaf of freshly-baked Caraway Rye bread alongside.

Caraway Rye Bread photo 20131006_171904_zps98082b55.jpg

The Verdict: Despite it's ugliness, both of us really enjoyed this meal! Chip, in fact, gobbled up two portions, very unusual for him. While the casserole isn't something I'd have on a regular basis, it was a nice switch from the beans/grains dishes I eat so often. 

Hope you had a beauty-full weekend!


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Pretty in Pink

Vintage Poster Art from an Old Mexican Calendar photo tumblr_lnxuogewme1qa944oo1_1280_zps6d1bd209.jpg

My daughter works for Tijuana Flats, so whenever there's a discount or promotion going on, I'm in the know.  Yesterday she shared some really exciting news: It turns out that for the seventh year in a row, the restaurant chain is raising money for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.  You can read more about it here, but basically for a $1.00 donation guests can have their favorite hard or soft taco in a fancy pink form.  How cool is that?! Since I am on Day One of my Plan, I chose not to participate, but Chip was happy to support the cause.

Tijuana Flats' Pink Tacos photo 20131001_161808_zpsa91c3639.jpg

Having researched the restaurant's online menu ahead of time, I knew that my best bet for a low-fat vegan entree was the Black Bean Salad, sans shell and dairy of course.  I took the nutritional info from the site, minused out the stuff I wasn't eating, and came out with a very respectable calorie/fat count for my meal.  Under 200 calories and 9 grams of fat for all of this, amazing!

Tijuana Flats' Black Bean Salad photo 20131001_162353_zpsffb831fd.jpg

I should mention that before dinner, Chip and I had a movie date, went to see The Butler.  What an amazing film, highly recommend it!  Now, we all know that a movie just isn't the same without a tub of popcorn, right? Out of curiosity, I looked up the nutritional info on a small (unbuttered) bag of theater popcorn.  Are you ready for this? 485 Calories, 32 grams of fat.  Holy smokes! There's no way I'm putting that into my body, so not worth it for a couple hours of, let's face it, mindless eating.  tInstead, I dragged out my air popper and made my own, bagged it up and stuck it into my purse.  My 4 cups of corn, tossed with 1 tablespoon of Nutritional Yeast: 150 calories and 1 tiny gram of fat.  For that kind of savings, I'll take the risk of being caught by the theater "police." (For the record, my daughter worked for Regal and says unless you're being obnoxious about it, they won't give you a hard time for bringing in your own snacks).

So, that was my first official day back On Program.  Overall, it went really well, thanks to a little bit of planning and a lot of willpower (I didn't have even one bite tortilla chips at TF!).

We're packing up and heading  back to South Florida tomorrow, so today will be a busy one.  I have a yummy slowcooker soup planned for dinner, will post the recipe tomorrow.

Have a beauty-full day,


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

I'm Back!

Vargas Vanities Witch 1953 photo 77086_Vargas_Jack_Witch_1000_122_439lo_122_439lo_zps142bcfb6.jpg
No joke, it's really me!  Though I am still posting on my other blog regularly, I found that I miss my pin-ups.  Also, though I certainly mention health & weight issues over there, the emphasis is really on vegan cooking and lifestyle, with a little bit of travel thrown in.  I tried to combine the various aspects of my life into one blog but am finding it a challenge.  Because that blog is more publicized, I find that I am censoring my posts a little bit, not sharing as easily as I once did.  So I'm going to try to maintain both, see how it goes. I will not be using the Rapunzel alias anymore because it no longer fits, and honestly I feel a little bit silly, a 49-year old woman posting pin-ups, but why not? Can't we women embrace our sexy, sassy selves at any age?  I certainly hope so. 

So, here's a little update.  After ups & downs, weight losses and gains, I find myself with about 40 pounds to lose.  *gulp* That is depressing as hell.  There are lots of reasons (aka excuses) to make for this but the bottom line is that I haven't stuck to my program and haven't done the work.  It's as simple as that. I need to get serious, because this halfway approcah is never going to help me reach my goals.

Samhain (Halloween) is right around the corner, and since it is considered the witches' new year, what better time to start? From today on, I recommit to my low-fat vegan diet, using Sparkpeople to log my food and exercise.  I hope to reconnect with my fellow fitness bloggers and hopefully meet some new ones.

Happy October 1st!