Monday, January 30, 2012

Nothing New to Report

Since there was no change weight-wise, I didn't update the WLJ. I think from now on I'll only update when there is a change. My weight has reached a plateau and my body is perfectly comfortable where it is. So, for the month of January, I just coasted along and did my best to maintain.

Starting today, I'm going to try the Eat to Live 6 week plan: unlimited veggies, beans, and fresh fruit; limited amounts of nuts, seeds, starchy vegetables or whole grains; no animal products, sugar, between-meal snacks, fruit juice, oils. The purpose of the ETL 6 week plan as I understand it, is to break any addiction to unhealthy, overprocessed, refined foods filled with fat, salt, sugar and you name it. I did have half & half in my coffee this morning, so I'm going to try and eliminate that over the next couple of weeks. I used to drink coffee with half & half and two sugars. I eliminated sugar almost a year ago and I haven't missed it. For me, sugar is easy to get rid of. Salt, however, is another story. I do like salt and I find myself gravitating toward those wonderful Ritz crackers and pretzels.

On this plan I need to remember the Eat to Live motto: The salad is the main dish. When I got the book in September, my goal was to incorporate as many fruits, veggies, and beans as possible into my diet, while eliminating most processed food. I didn't eliminate dairy or animal products, however. This time, I'm going to give the 6 week plan a try. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

BFD - January '12

So, I missed BFD last month because in all honesty, I forgot about it until right after Christmas. By then, I was done with cooking so I let the month pass by with no BFD. I'm making up for it this month, though, since it's the start of a brand new year and all. I wanted something fancy, or at least fancy-sounding. Cheesecake. Yes. Say "cheesecake" and I'm all over it. So this month we're having:

Spinach, Mushroom and Gruyere Cheesecake
Salad, and I use the term loosely

I found this recipe in my KitchenAid 75th Anniversary Recipe Book, and I've been wanting to try it for years - years, I tell you. Since I couldn't take a decent picture of the recipe from the book, I found an online recipe that looks to be the same. The book does say that you can substitute Swiss cheese for Gruyere cheese. (Isn't Gruyere a Swiss cheese? :-) Anyway, I decided to splurge and I bought real Philadelphia cream cheese and real Gruyere cheese. Holy Toledo! I am so glad I did.

As the kids say, this was awesomesauce! (Just kidding! I really don't know what the kids say these days.) I love cheesecake no matter what and 3 out of 4 of us loved this. A savory cheesecake is just as delicious as a dessert cheesecake. I guess this one is more for brunch. It was a bit time consuming but honestly, I should have done some things the night before like: slice the mushrooms, shred the cheese, make the bread crumbs, and thaw the frozen spinach. Oh well, I'll remember next time. I also had some trouble with my springform pan so I ended up using a 9x9 square pan to make cheesecake squares. There was quite a bit of cream cheese batter leftover, so next time I'll cut the recipe by 1/3, or I'll bake it in a 9x13 pan.

The salad? Nothing special. I had some romaine lettuce, baby spinach, mini sweet peppers, and Fuji apples. I sprinkled some shredded Gruyere on top and called it good. Honestly, folks, if you like cheesecake then give this one a try. And seriously, splurge and go for the Gruyere cheese. You really can eat cheesecake for dinner.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Off to a Great Start

I have to say that 2012 is starting off with a bang...literally and figuratively. The first full weekend of the new year was spent on the beautiful Mendocino coast. The second full weekend of the new year was spent cleaning up after a car accident from which, miraculously, everyone walked away.

It all started on Saturday night: we were on a late schedule as it was because we volunteered at the 4:15 service at our church and then attended the 6:00 service. By the time we got home, it was almost quarter to eight and I hurried to get dinner on the table because I hate eating dinner after 6:00pm. Bedtime for our youngest is around 8:30 but this was pushed back because of a late dinner. Although our oldest doesn't go to sleep at 9:00 he does have to go to his room at 9:00 so hubby and I can finally have some alone time and some peace and quiet. He took advantage of the late schedule and was dawdling. Finally, shortly after 9:10 we got the boys to their rooms. My husband had just put the dog in his crate and I was in our room getting ready to select Downton Abbey on Netflix when I heard BANG! I knew exactly what that was because I've heard it before: a car collision. What I wasn't expecting was a second BANG!!!! followed by the sound of shattering glass. I headed toward the front door with cell phone in hand getting ready to dial 911 when I realized I was walking on broken glass, barefoot, of course. Shit! Even then, it didn't register that my dining room window had been smashed.

I raced outside to view the accident and call 911, and instead of seeing two cars near each other, I saw one car in the intersection and this car, which had spun out of control and plowed through the sound wall next to my house:

Chunks of the sound wall went flying through the air demolishing our wood fence and breaking our dining room window. To say that I was dazed and confused is an understatement, but I had the presence of mind and the inspiration to run back inside and, what else? Post a message on Facebook with a call for help and prayers. I have mixed feelings about Facebook, but I'll tell you what, it's so much easier and more efficient to post one message that will be viewed by many people rather than make many phone calls delivering one message to many people. Here is what I posted:

Prayers, please! An accident outside our house, hit the sound wall and did some damage to our house. Nervous wreck over here!

I got responses immediately like within seconds. Props to my friends who sent their husbands over to my house late that night to help us board up our window and create a makeshift fence to prevent my youngest son and my dog from getting out. And props to all my friends who lifted up me and my family in prayer. I heart my village!

This was the view the following morning:

The truly miraculous thing was that the drivers and the passengers in both cars were able to walk away. Seriously.

Oh, and the glass cross with the broken base in the first picture? My friend's husband found that on the ground next to the car that went through the sound wall. Coincidence? I don't think so. God was there that night, folks. And that assurance tells me that 2012 is off to a great start. If you pray, I'm going to ask you to pray for the young driver and passenger of the car that went through the sound wall - maybe prayers for wisdom and a lesson learned. And pray that things go smoothly for us during the insurance claims and clean up process. Thanks in advance. Happy New Year!

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." Psalm 23:4

Monday, January 9, 2012

Daytripping: Point Arena Lighthouse and the Mendocino Coast

The phrase "to hell in a handbasket" really should be updated to "to hell in a Bug".

Yes, I know that a day trip is only a day, but we did take a day trip from our campground. I think this will be a memorable trip, not just because of the cramped, bumpy ride in my husband's 1973 VW Bug, but also because of the stunning scenery. Absolutely stunning. That's all I can say about the view from the Point Arena Lighthouse. We could not have asked for a more beautiful winter weekend. Truth be told, I was a little nervous about booking a "kamping" vacation in winter. I know it's California, but it can be rainy and windy on the north coast.

On Saturday, we made our way down to the lighthouse and it was a tad windy. Not too bad, or so I thought. We got to the museum and paid our fee to tour the lighthouse...and when I say "tour" I mean with the intention of climbing to the tippy top. I am so glad I've lost 50+ pounds. We stepped inside and started climbing. As an aside: it's not very ADA friendly, unfortunately. Sorry, there are no elevators. My wonderful husband carried our youngest son all the way to the top and back down. Our youngest son has mild cerebral palsy and he walks with a limp and drags his feet; it would have taken a looooooooooooong time for him to climb up the 145 stairs, I believe it is. I could have stayed behind with my son and taken the next tour alone, but that wouldn't have been very family-friendly. For what it was worth, we wanted him to experience all of the lighthouse, so my husband decided to carry him to the top (you can see them in the lighthouse photo). What a workout - I don't think he'll have to exercise for a week.

Anyway, when we got to the top, almost everything but the view was forgotten. The gorgeous Pacific Ocean stretched out before us as we watched the crashing waves and were nearly blown over by the wind. We didn't see any whales, but we saw the ocean in all it's glory and unparalleled beauty, in my opinion. Once again, my pictures do not do it justice.

Afterwards, we drove to the town of Point Arena and had lunch at The Pier Chowder House and Tap Room, followed by a stroll on the pier. Then, just for fun because we had time to kill, we drove up the coast to Mendocino for a coffee and afternoon treat at Moody's Organic Coffee Bar. I daresay they served up one of the best cups of coffee I've had in a long time. On our way back to the KOA Kampground, we stopped at one of the beaches and I was able to coax the boys into standing next to each other in order to get a picture (my FB friends will recognize it). They were and can be infuriating especially on vacation, but you'd never know it from this picture:

Thursday, January 5, 2012

First Post of the New Year

The boys have been home from school this week. They had a wacky winter vacation schedule as far as I'm concerned: out of school on 12/21 and back to school on 1/9. WTF?!? Anyway, I've been busy trying to keep the boys occupied before they drove me crazy. One of my brilliant ideas was to plan a "kamping" trip before they went back to school; you know, something they could look forward to. Actually, my younger son could care less. With my oldest son, however, the plan worked.

Our first trip of the year will be to the beautiful Mendocino coast that will include a visit to the Point Arena Lighthouse. It's only for the weekend, but I think it will be a great start to 2012. Part of the fun of this four-hour trip each way will include riding in my husband's 1973 VW Bug while stuffing as little of our "kamping krap" as possible into it. Livin' large, baby, livin' large. I promise a full update on Monday.


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