Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Biking, Cookbooks, Pepperoni Chips


Normally today would be Weigh In Wednesday but after my little weekend derailment I've decided to avoid the scale until next week. No sense in getting down about a number and I know I would. So next Wednesday I'll be reporting. No more derailment.

I mentioned feeling stressed in my last post and that a nice hike in the woods helps ease that stress. Monday I put the bike carrier on the car, aired the tires on the bikes, kind of fixed my rear brakes, and smashed my finger loading the bikes. Off to Brazos Bend State Park we went. Just me and the two kiddos.

The sun was out occasionally and the weather was warm and a nice breeze was blowing. Perfect!
 I didn't expect to see many alligators but they were everywhere lying in the sun enjoying the pretty day.
 I stopped to say hi to this guy but he just closed his eyes. Did you know alligators start to lose their appetite at around 85* and stop eating around 73*?
 Charlie is pretty close to this one but you can read their body language to tell if they are nervous or not. This guy had his legs stretched out. If he was upset he would stand up and/or hiss.
 We stopped at water fountain for water and a little break.
 The picnic and playground area of 40 Acre Lake is so pretty. Love the big oaks and Spanish moss.
 Love this! It was like the two gators posed for the sign.
 This one was just walking out of the water to lie in the sun.

 This pier used to have a gate on the end. One time while we were camping there were a bunch of people trapped on the pier because an alligator had crawled up onto the entrance of the pier which also happened to be the exit! Someone had a cell phone and called a park ranger and they got the gator to move. After that they had installed a gate so the gators would crawl up there.
 There are two in this picture.
 Oh no! My bike overdosed! I guess the wind had knocked it over and a pill bottle fell out of my bike bag. Charlie had taken a water sample to look at under the microscope.
 We had such a good time. :)
 A couple more small gators. They really were everywhere. I'm not even showing you all the pictures of alligators I took. After a while I stopped taking pictures altogether.
 The Spillway Trail between 40 Acre Lake and Elm Lake.
 We stopped to watch this great white egret choke back a crawfish.
 We only biked 6 miles but it was a much needed trip for all of us. The kids were laughing and having a great time and we all slept very good that night. I didn't even have any anxiety in the middle of the night! Maybe I should go on hikes or bike rides in the woods more often.
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Guess what!!! I got a new cookbook in!! Low Carbing Among Friends Volume 3!
 Guess what else! I have a couple of recipes in it! :) I'm pretty excited. I loved volume 1 so much so to be a part of volume 3 is a big honor.
 Chuck was already picking out recipes he wants me to make. The first one he wants is Kent Altena's Whoopie Pies.

If you would like a copy, you can order from Amazon or HERE.

Can't wait to try out some recipes. Would it be weird to autograph my own copy? Ha! I'm joking.


If you are looking for a grain free, dairy free paleo dessert book, I really do like Indulge by Carol at Ditch the Wheat blog. It's only on sale until January 31 so time is running out if you want it but also want to save a couple of dollars.  If you're looking for low carb recipes, I don't think it would be difficult at all to switch out sweeteners in most of the recipes. I'm going to try that anyway. But if you are more paleo, you're already set.
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How about some recipe ideas?

Recently I made enough pulled pork to feed a small army. So I'm trying to be creative in how I use it up. Yesterday for lunch I made Jalapeno Cheddar Pulled Pork Quesadillas.
I took low carb tortillas, spread one with some jalapeno cheddar dip, topped with pulled pork and Monterrey jack cheese, and another tortilla then cooked in a little butter like you would a grilled cheese. Sliced in quarters and topped with a little sour cream, jalapenos, and salsa. It was SO good!!! This is low carb but not paleo.

Pepperoni Chips (low carb)

These are so easy to make and very satisfying when you want a little something crunchy.

Put a paper towel on a plate and top with deli sized pepperoni slices. Top with another paper towel.
Microwave for about 1- 1 1/2 minutes. They will crisp as they cool. Tada! Pepperoni chips!
You can even use them with dips. They're a little fragile so they won't stand up to a heavy dip. This is with a little french onion dip.
 

Hope you're having a great week!! I'll see you Friday.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Doctors=stress=eating

Friday morning I was up bright and early to head to the other side of town to get the MRI results with Chuck. It was pretty much as we expected: bulging disc at C7, the lowest vertebra in the neck.

Chuck has already had two surgeries on his neck. The last one had them putting in a titanium plate between C4-C6. Now the disc below is collapsing and it's pressing on his nerve. He has been in so much pain that it hurts to turn his head and he can't sleep and even his fingers go numb.

The doctor we saw this time is for pain management. He would not do a discectomy but just try to help manage the pain until surgery is the only option. We were a little surprised when he asked if Chuck would like to do a steroid injection that day. Of course, we said yes.

We rush home, get ready, then are back at another place by 1pm. They get Chuck back there and he's done with anesthesia and procedure and recovering by 2:15. It was that fast. They sedated him and went in through the side of the neck to inject the steroid. And yes, I did ask for permission before I posted this picture. Haha!
 The anesthesia wore off pretty fast and Chuck said his neck was already feeling better. He took a nap and by that evening he was wanting to go out. The kids didn't want to go so it was just the two of us. This would be our splurge night!!

Start off with a couple of Mexican Hurricanes. Cheers.
 I ate half of my burger on sweet sourdough bun. It was so good. Crazy good.
 Totally worth the splurge. Yeah, my heart was pounding a bit but my tummy was happy.

The next morning we are up early again because Chuck has a shooting match. I didn't think it was a good idea to go shoot the morning after having the injection done but the nurse said he could resume normal activity. Somehow I don't think this counts as "normal."

Was a foggy morning and the sun rising through the fog was pretty and kind of surreal.

 We arrive at the range and Chuck has volunteered to be a Safety Officer and lead a squad through each stage. That means he will be busy the whole time taking each person in his squad through each stage. That also means that I will be sitting by myself and watching from 8am until 2pm. I enjoy watching him shoot but not-so-much the time between that.
 Here is one of the stages he shot. He used a gun that he doesn't usually shoot so he didn't do quite as good as he usually does. He was disappointed but he still placed third in his division.
 It was really a beautiful day and I enjoyed being outdoors. I got to see some red tail hawks and butterflies. Played on Pinterest. Found a recipe for a drink on Pinterest called Sex in the Driveway. What a name! On the way home we picked up the ingredients for it. Wow!!!! This stuff is awesome! Even Cluck Gable was amazed.
Sex in the Driveway
1 oz peach schnapps
1 oz blue curacao
2 oz vodka
Fill rest of the glass with Sprite. Enjoy.

Let me share something: I've been stressed to the max lately. I've been holding it together with food and stuff but this weekend I was terrible. I had like three splurge meals. And I didn't even care at the time. So I'm expecting a terrible weigh in.

I'm stressed because of graduation, parties coming up, money that isn't growing on trees, getting a windshield replaced, getting a truck repaired, tags, inspections, and the list goes on and on. I'm also not taking it well that Rachel will be graduating and getting a job. Will she still want to go on trips with us? Will she still want to go camping? The family unit is changing. I'm not thrilled with it all.

So there may have been some stress eating this weekend. But I've pulled myself together and just taking things as they come. Chuck has been good about talking me off the ledge. It all seems a bit much sometimes. That doesn't give me an excuse to neglect my health but it is an explanation. I feel like crap when I eat bad so it's back to my low carbish and sometimes paleo-ish way of living.

The stress will be gone soon but the pounds from bad choices could still be there. Not something I want.

That's my weekend in a nutshell.This week I hope to go on a hike with the kids and get some house cleaning done and get my mind on other things other than food or changes.

What do you do to relieve stress? I like to head to the woods for a hike.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Changes Abound

So many changes seem to be happening all at once. It's enough to make a girl's head spin when I think about it.

I've been doing well with the changes in the way I eat. That's a pretty big deal because it changes my menus and grocery list. Cooking the meals has been a little more work for me but it's been a lot better on the pocketbook. Sure it takes planning and I get angry at some of the food commercials, but I feel better eating at home.

I'm staying focused on losing weight. I know we're still early into 2013 but I really, really want to stick to this. I know I can do this because I want it badly.

I'm trying to save some money which means not doing some of the fun things we were doing at this time last year. I have some big expenses like getting the truck fixed so those will be taking priority.

I've started adding in some exercise into the mix now that I have the eats going in the right direction. Wednesday I biked 5 miles. That's not a lot of miles but my derriere is sore and getting used to the seat again. Ouch!

Thursday I was going to go for a bike ride but I got on and quickly found out the rear brakes weren't working. Hmmmm......somebody been messing with my brakes and trying to make it look like an accident? I put the bike up and went for a 3.18 mile walk instead.

Since my Garmin is dead (may he rest in peace) I downloaded an app called Endomondo. Easy. Free. Uses my cell phone gps.  Guess what. It lies! It said I was walking 11 minute miles and I was finished in faster time than I can run a 5k! And I'm pretty sure that wasn't 3 miles!

Sent Chuck a text about it when I got home. Our little conversation:
 Mr. Endomondo and I are not working out. I want my Garmin back. I miss him terribly.

The biggest change in my life is that my baby girl is graduating in 4 months. I just can't believe it. It snuck up on me. In case you didn't know, we have homeschooled her the entire time. There are some positives and some negatives but I wouldn't have changed that time we've had together for anything. I'm so proud of her. She has learned more than I did when I was in school and has made me so proud.

Thinking about my little girl growing up is kind of tough on me. I'm just not ready for this. But Rachel is an independent girl and I know she'll do just fine. She excels at everything she's done. But the thought of her graduating and moving away......I don't want to talk about it. She'll always be my little girl even though she's taller than me. :)

Thursday night we had a parent/senior graduation meeting. Even though she was homeschooled, we have been part of a support group and many of her friends are graduating too. There will be a ceremony, caps and gowns, diplomas, slide shows of pictures through the years and a little speech by the parents.  Going to be a tough yet proud moment for us.
On the way to the meeting I did get to see a beautiful sunset! And traffic.

Finally got home and had made some mayo for dinner. It's really easy to make! I use my blender and it's done in just a couple of minutes. No weird ingredients like the stuff in the jar.
 Dinner was my easy Dijon Chicken and veggies. Even though it only has 4 ingredients the whole family loves it.
Dijon Chicken (low carb)
4 chicken breasts
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup mayo
1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese

Place chicken breasts in greased 9x13 pan. Sprinkle with a little salt. Mix Dijon mustard and mayo. Spread on chicken. Top with cheese. Cover loosely with foil. Bake at 400* for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake 10 more minutes.

So lots of changes going on in life. Food, exercise, priorities, graduation. Oh, and she wants a job. More changes. I guess the best thing for me to do is just roll with it and take life as it comes. I'm not always good at that. Sometimes I fight it. But these changes are all for the best and part of life.

Today Chuck will be getting the results from his MRI for his neck. I'll report back Monday on that. Until then, wishing you a very happy weekend!! Smile and find your happy place. :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Weigh In Wednesday: #3

Weigh In: down 1.1 pounds for a total of 6.1 pounds this year

Not the best weigh in but it's still going in the right direction and I had two splurges instead of one. Not happy about that but it is what it is so we're just going to move forward and put that behind us.

I've started adding a little exercise in the mix. Monday I rode my bike 3.5 miles but then suddenly got a splitting headache and came back home. I took a couple of ibuprofen and a lot of water and it subsided after a while.

While riding I thought I saw Chuck pull into the neighborhood so I stop the bike and put my foot on a curb and wave and smile. Wasn't Chuck. I have no idea who it was but I did get a strange look. Ugh. I hate doing stupid stuff like that.

That evening I decided to head back out since the headache was gone. This time was walking. Chuck decided to join me and we walked a 5k. Perfect evening for a walk.  I got in 6.6 miles total that day and got to see a gorgeous sunset.
 Tuesday I had to go to the grocery store. It's January here, folks, but it was almost 70* outside. So I dropped the top on the car and cranked up the radio and enjoyed my ride. Love it!! Nothing like the sunshine and some good music to set the mood for the day.

I didn't really make any spectacular recipes to share so far. Just things like baked chicken and boiled eggs.

Now I have a little mini rant I need to get off my chest. I've noticed on Facebook and elsewhere that people are really getting uppity with their eating and exercise and just about everything.

For instance, one author has some wine and cheese and people get all up in his business telling him he's not paleo. Others criticizing when another isn't low carb enough. Still others feel they need to police blogs to make sure they really are Whole30 compliant on everything. And if you don't exercise like they think you should then you're wrong.

All of it is nonsense. Geez! Chill out and let people eat and exercise how they want. We don't need food police. Do what works for you. I just don't understand the need to tell others what to do.

So I am officially not paleo, low carb or any other label. I have paleo and low carb tendencies but do my own thing. Take that, food police. I'm Kelly.

That being said, I will say if recipes are low carb or paleo or whatever. I can't give Weight Watcher points because I really don't know how the points are figured.

Ok. Got that off my chest.

Wishing you a very happy Hump Day and don't listen to the haters. Do your thing if it works.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Food Porn

SO sorry about missing my blog post on Friday. I was busy from the time I woke up until dark. Was just one of those days. Maybe I'll look into becoming one of those organized bloggers who writes a post on the day before and schedules it to post the next day.

Started the day with breakfast at the donut shop where I get my breakfast burrito dumped in a bowl so at least it's low carb. This is not paleo or Whole30 approved for those following that. Just so you know.

 The kids had park day with their homeschool group so while they were playing with friends Chuck and I walked around a little near the woods and got to see all kinds of animals: a bunny, yellow bellied sapsucker, hawk, little birds, and leaf cutter ants. It was such a pretty day. I needed that little walk and a good dose of sunshine.

Lunch was at Carl's Jr. Evil burgers!
 I got their low carb burger. They are really good. Again, not paleo or Whole30, folks. Lunch on the run.
 Chuck had a contrast MRI scheduled so I went with him and got that done. Of course we were done right when rush hour traffic was at its worst. I don't know why they call it rush hour when all we do is sit there.

By the time we got home, we were tired so it was a quick dinner of eggs and bacon. Breakfast for dinner. Oh, with a dash of hot sauce.
 Saturday was pretty busy, as well. Running errands and then taking some new shooters to the range. This guy is from Lithuania.
 And Chuck's cousin. They had a great time.
 And me? Was such a pretty day that I kicked back in the grass....
 ....and watched the clouds in the sky.

I've mentioned how I'm experimenting to see if I can have a "splurge" meal once a week and still lose weight. It's kind of a "have your cake and eat it too" type of thing. I'm not saying it's the right way or wrong way to do this whole weight loss business. I'm just trying it out for myself.

Obviously this means I'm not exactly doing Whole30. Most days I stick to that way of eating because I do think it's healthy and a good way to live. But (there's always a but) I'm wanting to settle in to this long term which means I will allow myself the freedom to deviate and see how things go.

If you're looking for an all paleo, or all Whole30, or all low carb blog, this isn't it. But I will tell you when I give a recipe if it fits in one of those categories so you know.

Anyway, disclaimers aside, Charlie had a friend over for a sleepover so I asked the kids what was the one thing they would like me to cook. It was unanimous: my awesome tacos.

Chuck, Rachel and I got in the kitchen and had a great time. Chuck and I may have had a couple of margarita shots. We laughed a lot. Example of one thing that cracked Rachel and I up:
Chuck: What's the Mexican word for taco?
Rachel: (Rachel and I look at each other confused) Uh....taco, dad.
I'm pretty sure he was joking. Haha!

We cooked tacos with homemade shells, Mexican rice topped with a lime wedge, and refried beans with queso fresco. It was a big hit with Charlie's friend who went back three times for more!
 All recipes can be found in America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. I love their books because everything always turns out perfect.

Not only did we have a perfect dinner but Rachel made margarita cupcakes! I topped mine and Chuck's with a little shot of tequila with a time lime wedge. Omg, these are good!
The recipe can be found at Recipe Girl's blog.

I'm sure I don't need to tell you that all of this is high calorie and not low carb, paleo, etc etc. This is my once a week splurge and it was incredible. Plus we got to have fun in the kitchen together. Wish you could have been there. I share!

The next morning was back to watching what I eat. Chuck made a taco omelet for Rachel and I. Taco meat and cheese inside and salsa, sour cream, jalapenos and queso fresco on the outside. VERY good low carb breakfast.
 It kept us so filled that we skipped lunch altogether.

That afternoon the kids played paintball with around 20 of their friends. This was Charlie's first time and he got a couple of nasty bruises. Rachel has one across her knee. Ouch!
They had a "blast" and can't wait to do it again. I also sent the rest of the cupcakes home with another family so none of that temptation is around.

Now for confession. Someone mentioned pasta at the paintball place. It could have been me or Pinterest or someone else there. The point was "pasta" was mentioned and all of a sudden I wanted some. Chuck said it sounded good too. So, after the kids were cleaned up we went out to BJ's Brewhouse for their Tuscan Chicken Limone. It was very good and I only had about half of mine but it was definitely not on plan and was a second splurge meal.

I'm pretty ashamed of myself. It seems like a good idea at the time but it's rarely worth it. No telling what the weigh in will be Wednesday but I'm not expecting anything good. We'll see.

It's behind me now. It was a decision I made and I own it. Time to just pick back up and keep moving forward. Ugh, I hate reporting mistakes. But there you have it.

What a fun weekend that was! Busy too.
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Before I go, let me share a GREAT cookbook offer! Ditch the Wheat has an ebook cookbook called Indulge filled with gluten free, dairy free desserts. I'm talking about cakes, cookies, muffins, and more. All of the recipes fit within a paleo lifestyle. I think that most of these could easily be made low carb, as well, with a few substitutions in sweetener.

Desserts aren't an everyday thing but sometimes a girl wants a dessert! And if you need to avoid grains this has perfect recipes for that.

I got a copy and love it.  I didn't get a free copy to review; I just really like this book!

It's on sale until the end of January for $19.98 so it's a perfect time to get it. You can go to her blog and see a few pictures that are in the book.
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Hope you had a wonderful weekend! See ya on Weigh In Wednesday. Eek! :)