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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Soup soup soup

While eating mostly plants for health reasons, I cannot let the remains of the feast go to waste. So I am making split pea soup using stock made from the ham bone, and tomorrow I will make turkey stock to freeze and have on hand for lentil soup. The way my house works is that the most delicious smells from the kitchen waft their way back to the bedrooms, and it's always a surprise to walk back there and ... mmmmm, nose up and breathe deep.

We went out to visit our SIL who was working his 2nd job BBQing tri tip at a bar that was featuring a blues band. I hadn't sat in a bar drinking beer in years and it felt good, the music moving through me, working with the beer to thaw my heart for a while. Arriving home to an evening turned chilly and entering the house to the smell of pea soup was divine. I really need to use the crock pot more often this winter. Having a few small containers of soup in the freezer is always conducive to helping make a healthy choice on some future unplanned for difficult evening. We'll eat this plain for a couple of nights, then when my SO leaves on business I'll add in some greens that I've pre-cooked and frozen in 1-1/2C packets both to pump up the nutrient density and change up the flavour.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Surviving a holiday

Having my sister for the holiday was wonderful. We have become closer in the last few years, visiting and keeping in touch, and I am so glad she was here. The day was filled with cooking, and everything was delish! Especially the new sweet potato recipe, I will definitely do that again. Unfortunately my SO was expecting sugary sweet potatoes so he was a little disappointed. I promised I would make a traditional casserole for him at Christmas. My sis was on dish detail yesterday, bless her heart, and it was a relief to not end the day utterly exhausted for a change. Today when the kids were here most of us took a walk after the leftover ritual of making all-in-one sandwiches. It was a great few days, and unlike last year we were even able to mention Joey out loud. Partly because we see a bit of him in the new granddaughter. Looking at my kid's old pics, there is an age between about one and three where it's hard to tell them apart. Very fun, and so it's not surprising to see him there in the new arrival.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I can't help but be sad today. I keep thinking of Joey, and how he was the one who made time to help me around the house. It was the haphazard help so typical of young adolescents, but I was careful to ask when I knew he would have the time, and he never begrudged my asking. He cut the wood that's in the wood pile outside, and I need to burn some this winter - this shouldn't be so hard. Saving wood he touch is just ridiculous, but there you have it; proof he was here. The good part is that he was here, that I can think of him as I lay the fire, ready to light on Thanksgiving. He was here, and I can remember him ladling gravy over his plate and shoveling mashed potatoes into his face; how he loved holiday food. He was here, and it was such a precious gift to love him and take care of him the best I could until it was time for him to leave. I keep hearing that I need to be grateful for the pain that comes into my life, to learn from it, and grow. Some days that just isn't possible.
Maybe Saturday....

Monday, November 24, 2008


Busy days, and with bread in the house I will keep my Balance Spray out on the counter to remind me I need not succumb to temptation! I did allow myself an open face sandwich today; the topping is 1/4C smashed garbanzo beans, two leaves of kale finely diced, 1T vegenaise & two greek olives. This is so good on the 9 grain sourdough toast - I just love love love it! Breakfast was a small decaf soy latte while shopping, and I snacked on lots of sweet little red grapes while putting groceries away. It feels good to be able to love the process of getting read for a holiday this year. I still hurt at moments, but I know it will pass and I will be glad again.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Savory twice baked Sweet Potatoes

I have been totally engrossed by Fall cleaning, getting the house ready for company, and planning the Thanksgiving meal. While eating mostly plants has given me a new perspective on the menu, I am still looking forward to turkey gravy and mashed potatoes. The dish to challenge me has been the sweet potatoes. I don't want a sweet dish, I am making a vegan pumpkin pie for dessert and it seems silly to have two sweet squash dishes. So I did some searching around and came up with an idea based on two different dishes incorporated with my love of twice baked potatoes. I think I will roast the sweet potatoes the day before, and scoop out the flesh. This I will smash up with a mix of roasted veggies (fennel, red onion & carrot) and a maple, jalapeno sour cream mixture, and then stuff the mixture back into the potato skins. (I envision the tofutti sour cream blended with fresh jalapeño and real maple syrup in my magic bullet.) I can have these made and in a baking dish, covered in the fridge, and ready to put in the oven just before the turkey comes out on T-Day, and they should be sizzling and ready just in time for dinner. So a brand new recipe, never tried, but it feels right enough that it's debut will be on Thanksgiving. I can hardly wait! Now to update the ever-growing shopping list.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Quick Bean Dip Lunch

I don't always want to take the time to chop a whole salad, and days like now when it's chilly I want something warm. Tossing a couple of corn tortillas in the microwave to crisp and heating up some canned refried beans is quick and easy. Chopping a tomato, green onion & some poblano pepper to throw on top a quick way to appease my guilt at not making a full salad. Spicy and filling, this really hit the spot & satisfied my urge to crunch.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Ten months later....

I ran across an entry from this past January today while searching for something else online. It caught me by surprise, how weird to have something I wrote pop up on a google query! But I am feeling a little bit proud of myself right now; in January I was having problems moving, and today I walked the dog for half an hour then took a 3.5 mile bike ride. I also made three healthy meals, washed the dog, did some mending on the sewing machine and....I have improved! While it's a little early to be looking back on the year, I'm glad I did, and happy that I took action when I did and made myself get up off the couch. I think this journaling thing might really be helping!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Day 12? I'm making soup.

Busy with sewing and visiting the new granddaughter. Happy days. Mostly eating well too, using my spray to slow me down and think before ordering while out at restaurants has really helped. I stuck to side salads and soups; how many times have I wished I had eaten just the bread and salad and skipped the main course - I'm full by then anyhow so I figure why not order accordingly? Anyway, I'm happy with my choices but glad to be back to a normal schedule.

Sometimes my good intentions when shopping are overwhelmed by my time or energy as they were this past week with the baby coming. When this happens and I am left with greens that need to be used up quickly I make a green soup base from them. This one has Swiss Chard, Bok Choy and Kale in it. I started with sauteeing two small onions, one yellow and one sweet, with half of a yellow bell pepper and a small handful of sun dried tomatoes - everything diced. Once those were going I rough chopped the greens and threw them in. They are now cooking away on low with the cover on to steam and in an hour or so I'll throw them in the blender and freeze in small containers that are about 3/4C each. When I make soup all I have to do is throw in a container of pre-cooked greens to pump up the nutrient value, as well as adding a nice richness to whatever soup I am making. The house smells ever so delicious. Of course I also have tonight's soup going, contributing to the aroma.

I've thrown one sweet potato chopped, half each of a yellow bell pepper and an Anaheim (Pasillo, Pablano, whatever) pepper plus half a cup of No-Chicken Stock (which is way better than Chicken Stock) and a shallot into my new soup pan. I just love the pan, it's perfect to make a big, rather than huge, pot of soup. I covered the pan and this is simmering away on the stove too. I'm guessing it will be 3 servings when done. Once I have blended the greens from the first pan I will add some into the soup and probably some more stock to get a nice thick stoup consistency.

I did run to the store this morning for dishwasher soap and fruit, some more lettuce and a few things for the upcoming holiday (potatoes, canned pumpkin & olives were all on sale - yay!) Leaving the store I thought briefly of grabbing something to eat on the way home, but instead grabbed my Orenda Balance Spray, did my 3 squirts, and came home to make a salad. I didn't even have to rush. I put away all the groceries and made a big wonderful salad full of cilantro, romaine, cabbage plus walnuts and some Roquefort dressing I had thinned down with rice vinegar. While I normally don't eat cheese, this was calling to me so strongly I knew I should just get it and enjoy it in moderation, which I am happy to say I have been able to do so far. Once lunch was out of the way I threw the soup stuff together and now I can work for a couple of hours while it simmers away. Come dinner time it will be a snap to finish making the soup and toss a quick salad together. In the meantime...sniff, sniff.....mmmmmm.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Day 7 (my granddaughter was born Day 5)

Busy Days! I have a Granddaughter, and all my energy has gone there. 20.5 hours of labour (my daughter) and isn't she a beauty.
7lbs 12.3oz and 20" long. She was born Friday and they are going home from the hospital today. So I have been sewing all afternoon to get the cushion covers finished for the glider in their nursery. I figured new babies are usually late, but she came the day after she was due, the little stinker!

Anyway, didn't want to spend much time cooking tonight, but after two days of eating out I wanted dinner to to be healthy. So it was the perfect time to pull out the Trader Joe's White Beans mix
that I had picked up for such an occasion. No chemicals, and 21% of fat from sunflower oil. Sodium 590 so typical of processed beans, but nothing else today was processed so I'm good.

I steamed some Brussels Sprouts and together they were very good; I did add some Smoked Paprika and ground pepper.

So busy days ahead, and won't have time to post each meal, but I will check in regularly and make a point to share anything wonderful I come across or make. Speaking of which, I added in some shallot and date to my orange\walnut dressing at lunch and it was an excellent combination. Blend until smooth: 1 orange, 1/2oz walnuts, 2T vinegar, 2 chopped dates, 1 sm. shallot chopped. I ate the whole thing, so two servings of fruit and half my healthy fat for the day. I'll probably make some coleslaw in a bit and throw in some pepitas for my 2nd fat. Now...Back to sewing!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Orenda Balance Spray, Day 4

I don't often eat cereal for breakfast, but my SO keeps it in the house so I indulge sometimes. When I do, I want to make sure I don't over do it, so I use the scale to measure; it's easy and more accurate than measuring a cup. Kashi is the cereal I can count on for not using HFCS, or having a list of chemical names I don't recognize. They are usually high in fiber and use whole grains, so a better choice than most cereals out there. I have found some good ones in the organic section, but as soon as I see organic I usually see a higher price so I tend to stay away from there.

The scale again, this time to measure nuts into my salad dressing. Today is 1tsp. each of LS soy sauce, white Miso, and Tahini, a couple shakes of ground ginger, 2tsp. water and 3tsp. rice vinegar and 1/2oz walnuts. This makes an easy yummy dressing. It's two servings of healthy fat though, so for tonight's salad dressing I will either use flax meal or make a fruit vinaigrette. Always in mind of time management, I waited to chop the veggies until the dressing was blending. Lots of cilantro in the salad today, it goes well with the dressing.

Then after I've poured in the dressing, I rinse the bullet cup with a little water and dump that in too. 12 years in the restaurant business taught me 'Waste Not Want Not!" Plus it makes it easier to toss the dressing in.

I also added 1/2C brown rice to the salad today, I try to switch between rice and beans so I don't get tired of eating the same thing. Plus, now I have rice to freeze into portions. I will use some with the left over steamed veggies from our Chinese food last night, and use some in the soup I will make this weekend.

Tonight I'll make the Brussels Sprouts I intended to cook last night before we took the kids to dinner. My daughter is super pregnant and thought some spicy food might speed things along. If she is still pregnant next Thursday they will make an appt. to induce. Just thinking about it sends me to my balance spray ... I will not stress!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Orenda Balance Spray, Day 3

On mornings I wake up and need to get going, I take my AIO-F formula and an Immune with a shot of Oki. Then I'll drink my breakfast on the way to work in a bit. (Magic Bullet: 1 whole orange, 1T flax meal, 1/2C lite soy milk, dash of molasses, dash of vanilla.)

The Immune capsule is for extra support during my SO's travel season; he comes into contact with all sorts of bugs in airports & at conventions etc. I like not getting sick. It's been four years since I had a cold, and the two years before that also. One small cold in six years is pretty good. Plus this is the time of year some sort of upper respiratory infection would set in - I don't miss that yearly merry-go-round of doctors, meds & tissues either. It was pointed out to me I could spend my money now and be healthy, or spend my money later when I am sick. I chose the preventative route, and ever so grateful that I did.

I'm off to work at the office this morning. This has often been a challenge, I drive past so many fast food stops on the way to work through town. No matter which route I take there is evil lurking. Mostly it's just the french fries at Popeyes that tempt me these days, but I am going prepared. I will have an apple and a crunch green pepper to munch on driving home; I've found that if my mouth is already full it's easier to drive past without turning in. Having to post what I eat at PEERtrainer has been a big help too. More about that later. Gotta run.

Here is my snack, left over soup, and water that I took in the car. I love crisp, cold peppers - they are so sweet and yummy.

I Made it home without stopping anywhere I shouldn't have, and have lots to do to keep busy this afternoon. Proofing, sewing, maybe another dog walk. I squeezed in 30 minutes with my Kaylee ( I call he my little bit) this morning; she is so cute and gets so happy when she figures out a walk might be on her horizon. As soon as she sees the socks going on she gets hopeful, and when I pick up the shoes shes on me like glue. Makes me realize how seldom I get dressed to go out, my bad!

We went out to a Chinese food restaurant for dinner tonight. It was wonderful. I watched my portions and feel good about my choices except for the one Princess Shrimp I had. It's not that big a deal, but I know the breading and sauce were devoid of nutrition. But a treat is a treat, and I won't stress about one shrimp. ...or the fortune cookie :)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Orenda Balance Spray, Day 2


Breakfast: Spinach, walnut, pear smoothie. As with this morning's drink, sometimes my smoothie components are based on what fruit is ripe and needs to be used up, or what nuts\seeds are left in the fridge. I try to always use flax or walnuts in the AM, to be sure to get my omega 3's in early. The latest research I heard shows we can only absorb so many omegas, and if we load up on 6's or 9's first, there goes the chance for the 3's we need. Not eating very much bread and limiting my whole grains limits the possibilities for that happening, but I do so much better getting the 3's in , why chance it. But back to the fruit choice, when I am using something like pear that has a lower MANDI score, I add in a shot of my Orenda Oki to pump up the nutrients. Based on Aronia berry powder that is re hydrated with Aloe Vera, I think this is the best superfood drink available.

Lunch plans: typical salad - this is pretty much a standard. Today I left out the romaine and used more arugula, then mixed in more cabbage. Lots of cauliflower, half an orange bell pepper, a huge green onion, 1/2C garbanzo beans, 1/2oz pepitas, and a serving of Sesame Miso dressing. When I use bottled dressings I have a couple of rules; 1. No HFCS and 2. Low fat, as in less than 10% of calories from fat. There are exceptions, if the fat is a healthy fat from nuts, seeds or avocado the ratio could be more, but you don't see that too often. A lack of healthy dressings used to be a big problem for me - trying to eat a large salad with 2T of unhealthy dressing just didn't work. When I started making my own dressings it was a big change for the better. Right now I'm trying to clear out the fridge and using up all the bottled dressings is a part of that. A good trick with bottled dressings is to cut them with vinegar; I use rice vinegar for that usually since it is so mild. Anyway, it cuts calories so I can use a larger serving. While I applaud those who can enjoy their salads naked, that's not usually me :)

I need to remember for my evening salad that I've already used up my ounce of healthy fat for the day and pass on any nuts or seeds. Also, I need to use my T of flaxmeal later - probably in my dessert shake as a thickening agent. I have my Balance Spray on the kitchen counter, a reminder to self that I can curb any errant thoughts of eating that might crop up. I am proofing a catalog today, and that type of work has triggered munching in the past so it's best to be prepared.

Dinner: left over curried cauliflower stoup and a lentil tostada. I love being able to toss a tortilla into the microwave and 90 seconds later have a fat free crisp corn tostada base. I also grabbed some lentils out of the freezer to heat up and added them to some fresh green pepper and tomato. Mixed with some hot sauce and piled on the tortilla this is a crunchy, spicy and filling addition to my dinner. I'm also having a small salad, but don't want to keep posting the same type of picture. I tend to use the same ingredients over and over from week to week - it's easier for me to keep it fresh that way and not end up with soggy icky things in the corner of my fridge to throw away later. Of note in this picture is the plate, I inherited the Franciscan set from my grandmother, and the bowls and salad plates are smaller than today's contemporaries making it easier to visualize healthier portions.
Dessert: Well, I planned on a fruit smoothie, but I heard the call of the fries, and baked some off. Cut thin, sprayed lightly with canola oil, and baked at 400 for 15 minutes (counting warm up period) these come out very crispy, and low in fat. And yes, there is a puddle of organic ketchup in the bottom of the bowl. Ketchup is one of those things that I splurge on organic, because it's the only one without the high fructose corn syrup in it. So a yummy treat to snack on while watching the election results come in; I am very pleased and have high hopes for our president elect.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Orenda Balance Spray, Day 1

Starting Weight: 202
... I rounded up :)

I already use other Orenda products with great results, so adding in the Balance Spray to use in my weight loss journey should be effective. This morning I used my Magic Bullet to make a green smoothie for breakfast. Lots of spinach, carrot juice, flax meal, frozen blueberries and a touch of molasses...mmmm.

Normally this keeps me full till lunch, so I'm not worried about snacking. The difference today is that when I start feeling hungry around noon I'll use the Balance Spray to help with my appetite and metabolism. Waiting a half hour before eating will be easy, I'll spend the time making a healthy lunch and updating the blog. I'm so excited to be starting!

Here is my chopped salad for lunch.
Romain, arugula, cilantro tossed together with cauliflower, orange pepper & green onion. Oh, and there is a radish in there too. I use a digital scale to make sure I am only getting 1/2 oz of the nuts or seeds I add (today=pepitas) and also that I only use a serving of dressing on the days I use one I haven't made from scratch. Today's Sesame Miso is wonderful.

4pm: A little early for dinner. I used the Balance Spray to delay dinner an hour. Eating dinner too early can be a problem sometimes because thenI get hungry at bedtime, so I want to try and wait to eat until between 5 & 6 each day.

And here is dinner, left over stoup.
I made this based on a Curried Cauliflower Soup recipe from the McDougalls, and then added root vegetables and swiss chard. This may not be very pretty, but it's wonderful and filling. I know I should have a salad with this, but I don't feel like it. I'll make one later if I get hungry again. This is a common dilemma for me during the colder weather; eating salads. But this year I am more aware of the importance of getting in enough raw veggies so I will make sure to eat them.

My dinner salad. It's really nice how changing just a few details can change the character of a salad. I used the same Sesame Miso dressing, but switching the pepitas for walnuts, and the arugula for cabbage made a salad that was completely different. I try to make my salads fun and yummy; the latest addition has been cilantro. It's 'kicks it up a notch' as Emeril might say, and is just the best addition I've found in a while. Gone are the days that cilantro is only for salsa. It's great in hummus, salads and even soups.

And...I am sad, that is my last California Plum. I had picked up a large container at Costco thinking I would be making jam when I couldn't eat them fast enough. But I've been eating one everyday, they are sweet, crisp and juicy and unusually large too so they make a great dessert. I'll eat that later this evening about 7:30, I try to make that my cut off time for food.

So a good first day, nothing really different except I forgot to eat a fruit at lunch, and I used 1/4 instead 1/2 cup of garbanzo beans in my salads and I was still plenty full. I know I won't always take the time to upload pictures, but on days I am home alone it's a nice diversion and keeps me focused. I had my Tablespoon of flaxmeal, an ounce of healthy fat, cooked and raw veggies, and three servings of fruit. Perfect.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Orenda, here I come!

The wind blew in a nice little storm last night; I felt I lay awake listening to the rain for hours, thinking about my life, and how to jump back in. This morning the world was beautifully clean outside, and Kaylee and I took an early morning walk. Thanks to Daylight Savings ending it was a really early walk, for us anyway. I still catch myself in my PJ's at noon some days, but I am getting better - those days are the exception now. My little doxi Kaylee came home soaked from the walk, low rider that she is, and I came home with my thoughts back to where they were last night, thinking about working and becoming more integrated. I haven't been actively working since Joey died. But it's time to get back to work, and as Kaylee and I had walked, I found myself thinking about her leg, and how quickly she had healed, and I knew the work I needed to get back to was Orenda.

She broke her leg a while back, and I gave her the O-Tropin spray and Immune as well as her usual Canine All In One Formula. The Vet's were impressed with her speedy recovery; they see a lot of little dogs with broken legs so had lots of history to compare her to; apparently this is very common. It still feels good that I had been able to help in her recovery with the wellness products.

Then I thought about me, and the part Orenda played in my recovery. I don't know what I would have done without my Balance Spray and Immune while fending my way through grief. Grief apparently lowers your immune system, and often being sick a lot is considered to be part of the grieving process, but I remained healthy, without a cold or flu. And on hard emotional days I would count on their Balance Spray to calm me down quickly as it helped lower my stress hormones, so I could act rationally instead of falling apart. This was especially helpful during the trial. But that is over now, and I need to move on.

During the last six plus years I have taken my AIO-Female, the O-Tropin Spray, and Immune just about every day. It's rare that I miss a day, they are a small but important constant in my everyday routine. I count on them to keep me healthy, and now as I focus on health and eating foods high in nutrients, I'm thinking it's once again time to turn to Orenda to help me out.

I really wanted to spend time learning about food, and addressing the mental issues I had with it, and eating the healthiest diet I could. And this took a long time, because like most of us I had been brainwashed by big industry to eat rather badly. Well, no more. Now I eat for nutrition instead of counting calories, and while I do have treats, I aim for 90% of what I eat to be of benefit, not harmful. So I feel I have come a long way towards even better health, and I feel that I'm now ready to lose some significant weight. But as I said, I need some help, and that is where Orenda will come in again.

The Balance Spray works with any healthy eating plan as a great support tool to help with appetite and metabolism (follow link above to ingredients.) While I have mostly solved most eating challenges by switching to a diet of mostly plants, I have moments of weakness usually brought on by self pity, and I know that by controlling those lapses I will lose faster, and using the spray will be perfect.

I'm ready to lose weight, to look as good as I feel, and to start sharing the Orenda products again. I recently started a friend on product, and she's getting great results, so that is a wonderful motivator for me. I miss seeing customers go from desperate to excited, I miss knowing I am helping, I miss that feeling of worth. So here I am, throwing my heart over the fence, trusting that the rest of me will follow. I don't know who coined that phrase, but it works for me ♥

I'm going to try and dedicate this blog over the next couple of months to my weight loss experience, and I think that combined with my new way of eating healthy it's going to be all downhill :) This is the perfect way to get through the holidays without sabotaging the progress I've made in the last five months. Halloween taught me I need help, so here I am, counting on Orenda to get me through.