I have the choice of how I will react, and this time I picked the right one.

I am fighting the strong desire to be in a sad, depressed mood. What started out as a good day didn’t really end that way. I had a good day at work followed by a stop at the grocery store. I picked up some healthy food for a snack while we watch the Biggest Loser. I go down to my mom’s to watch it every week with her and my grandparents.

We were just getting ready to start the show when my grandpa shows me a picture. He loves to go through old pictures. It is one of his winter hobbies. You never know what he will find. So, he shows me a picture of him, my sister-in-law and myself that was taken when I was probably 17 or 18 years old. I didn’t really try to figure out the year, but it was during the time that I was at my thinnest.

He was holding a wild turkey in the picture and I thought that is why he was showing it to me. He asked me if it was me in the picture. I said it was. The fact that he asked me that wasn’t a red flag. My sister and I did look a lot like each other. There are some pictures that I can’t tell if it is me or her at first glance. So I handed the photo back to him. Then he asked me if I noticed anything, about myself. That was followed by something along the lines of, “Never mind I guess I shouldn’t say anything”. So, I figured he was thinking something negative. I quickly said, “What? I am fat. Is that what you are getting at?.” His reply was that yes, I looked much different.

You should know this about my gpa, I love him very much and I treasure the time I am able to spend with him. It is for that reason, and that reason alone, that I did not yell at him in anger or break out into tears.

He went on to tell me that he is probably within 10 pounds of what he was back then.  At that point my mom said a few things to try to help the situation and then my grandmother was telling him to just quit while he was ahead or behind or whatever. He tried to justify himself by saying that he was trying to encourage me or something to that effect. I told him that nobody would be calling him to be a motivational speaker anytime soon so he better keep his day job.

I know I look much different from when I was 17. I have small wrinkles and fine lines in my face, my hair would be grey if I didn’t color it, I have an ugly, brown, age spot on my left cheek that I can’t seem to cover with any kind of make-up, try as I might, and I am probably 70-80 pounds heavier.

It hurts to have people point out your faults. I know that I can’t hide all the weight under my clothes. It is obvious to everybody that sees me that I am over-weight. But it really did hurt that he kept out a picture that he came across just so he could make a point to let me know I have gained a lot of weight. It was just plain mean!

But you know what? I am making the choice to not over-react to the situation. He is after all,  just saying something that most of my family has probably been thinking about me for years.

Now, I will admit that I did shed a few tears on the way home , but I am not going have an emotional melt down just because my feelings got hurt. I won’t allow it to cause me to use food as a way to cope with my emotions. I am going to put a stop to that vicious cycle. That is after all the reason I am over-weight.

I will count tonight as one of my small victories. Something else I will try to do is to focus on the good in other people. I will try to use my words to encourage others and not tear them down. Tonight was a good lesson on how hurtful words can be.

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Turn a cake mix into a low fat treat.

Devils Food Pumpkin CupcakeI saw this “recipe” on Pinterest and thought I would try it.


         1 – Box of Cake Mix ( I used Devil’s Food)
         1 -15 oz can of canned pumpkin (100% Pumpkin)

Mix the two items together. Do not add any of the ingredients listed on the box of cake mix. Just use the dry mix.

I decided to make cupcakes. I filled 12 muffin cups and I had a some left over, so I put the extra in a small glass dish to bake.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 16-18 minutes.

Cupcakes made with Pumpking and Cake Mix

My Review:

I couldn’t even taste the pumpkin. It just tasted like chocolate to me. The texture was very moist and not any different from what I would expect from a cupcake. I am sure I could feed one of these cupcakes to my husband and he would never know the difference.  I plan on trying it the next time he is home. 🙂 Shhhh Our Secret!!

I ate one right when it came out of the oven. Yum! No need for frosting I like them plain.

                                             Nutritional Value: (based on the info from the packages I used)

                                   Made as shown above      vs         If you followed directions on cake mix. Calories                                       134                                                                 280

Fat                                               1.3 g                                                              14 g

Carbs                                           29                                                                   35

It would be hard for me to proclaim this “recipe” as healthy.  But when you want something sweet or need something for a special occasion why not try to make it as healthy as possible? I think these cupcakes would be great to take to a carry-in dinner or for a birthday party. Next time I am taking cupcakes to a function you can bet I am making them like this.

It would be interesting to see if you could do the same type of substitution with a cake made from scratch. Anybody want to try that and let me know how it worked for you?


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I did it! I didn’t give in!

As I walked out of church this morning and headed for my car, my thoughts were on lunch. I had some yummy egg casserole waiting for me at home. The problem was that I didn’t want that. I wanted fast food. I wanted a greasy hamburger & fries or a taco salad in a fried tortilla bowl. I sat in the car contemplating what to do. I even looked in my purse to see what cash I had on hand.

I knew what was causing the cravings. I am an emotional eater, remember. When I have to go to church by myself I get lonely. The worship part of the service just isn’t the same without the sound of my husband’s booming voice as he sings along. He loves to sing and I love listening to him.  Later, sitting in the pew  and trying to focus on the sermon my thoughts once again turn to my hubby. I wish he was there to put his arm around me or hold my hand.

I was lonely and it was making me want to give in and eat anything and everything that is bad for me. It was an epic battle for sure. I have been there before, several times in fact. Sometimes I won and other times I suffered miserable defeat.

I started to remind myself that I need to make small changes in my daily life in order to see results. I thought about the fact that I was able to resist the craving I had for sweets yesterday. I could resist today too.

I started up the car and headed straight home. I warmed up a big slice of Yummy Egg Casserole and put a few slices of homemade, wheat bread in the toaster. I had won the battle. I did not make a trip through the drive-thru.

After eating my lunch I started to crave something sweet. I fought it for a while and then decided that I needed to get up and start moving or I would cave in. I grabbed the shovel and took out some frustration on the snow in my driveway. It worked. I feel much better.

These may sound like small victories but I know that all these small victories will add up.

I am so proud of myself.

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Winter Cardio Workout

Friday we got a bunch of snow, and strong wind. When I got up Saturday morning there was a rather large snow drift across the sidewalk in front of my house. As much as I wished for someone to come by with their 4 wheeler and plow I decided to get out there myself. So, I bundled up with all my winter gear, put on my warm boots and headed out with my shovel.

It took me an hour to clear off the sidewalks. There were a few times that I had to pause and rest on my shovel handle to catch my breath, but I didn’t stop for long.  It felt pretty good to work up a sweat and accomplish something.

I think I will venture out this afternoon and shovel out the end of the driveway. Thanks to the plows clearing of the street I have a nice pile at the end of the drive. I can get through it with my SUV but the exercise will be nice. It will also be nice to be out in the sunshine, even if it is only 11 degrees.

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Whole Wheat Bread Recipe

I love to bake bread. I love the whole process from proofing the yeast to kneading the dough. I love the way it makes my house smell. I love being able to eat something that is fresh and homemade, where I know exactly what is in it.

I grew up with my mom making bread and cinnamon rolls using a recipe passed down from my great-grandmother. Let me tell you there is nothing better than fresh, hot bread right out of the oven, and let’s not even talk about the cinnamon rolls! YUM! 

As much as I love our family recipe and how it makes me feel connected to the women who have passed it down through the generations, I have been looking for a wheat recipe that would make just a loaf.

I recently found a recipe on one of my favorite recipe sites: allrecipes.com. It was called Good 100% Whole Wheat Bread. I read through some of the reviews and then altered the recipe a bit.

Here is my recipe: (*Update* Next time I will add more salt and maybe a bit more honey. I liked it overall but it needed a little more flavor.)

Whole Wheat Bread
3/4 Cup Water
3/4 Cup Milk
1 1/2 Teaspoons Salt (Try increasing to 2 tsp)
1 1/2 Tablespoons Honey (Try increasing to 2 tbsp)
1 1/2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 1/2 Teaspoons Active Dry Yeast
3 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
(Extra flour to dust counter for kneading bread)

Mix the water, milk, salt, honey and oil in a large microwave safe bowl and heat it until warm. Do not boil. I don’t use a thermometer to determine the right temperature. I use my mom’s method. You put the tip of your pinky finger in the liquid.It should be very warm to the touch but not so hot that  it burns your finger. If you do get it too hot let it cool off a bit before adding the yeast.

Stir the liquid to make sure the honey is mixed in and then sprinkle the yeast to the top of the liquid and walk away for a few minutes. You have to give the yeast time to start working. Now you can stir up the liquid and add the 3 cups of flour. Stir it until it starts to come together and then dump it out onto a floured surface to knead.  Knead it about 10-15 times or until it is no longer sticky.

Put the dough ball into a bowl and cover.

(I sprayed cooking spray on the top of my Using electric heating pad to keep the dough warm while it raises. dough and then loosely put a piece of plastic wrap over it. I took a large Tupperware container and lined it with my electric heating pad. I turned the pad on and placed my smaller bowl with the bread dough in it on top of the heating pad. Then I covered the top with another large bowl to keep the heat in.  It is cold here today and I know it would take forever for the bread to How I covered up by dough to keep in heat from electric heating padraise if it didn’t have some extra heat. This is the first time I have tried this method and I think it worked great. If you have a warm sunny place to let your bread raise you can skip this method. You just want to make sure it will be warm so the yeast can do it’s job.)

After the dough has doubled in size you want to knead it again about 10 -12 times.  Put it back in the bowl to raise one more time. When it has doubled again take it out of the bowl and shape it into a loaf and put into a greased loaf pan. Let it raise one more time. When it has raised nicely in the pan to about double the original size bake it in an oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. 

Dough Doubled in Size Shape dough and put in pan.     Raised and ready to bake. Hot out of the oven. 

Baking bread from scratch is very rewarding. Once you have made a few batches you will get to know what the dough should look like and how it should feel when you are working with it. 

Have fun baking your own bread and don’t forget to enjoy a slice hot out of the oven.

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Yummy Egg Casserole


0111131215aMy mom made this dish for me once and I loved it. Below is her recipe. I don’t know where she got it from. When I made it I made a few changes but I will tell you about that later on.

Cooking oil spray
2 T butter
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped

1 cup sliced mushrooms
6 eggs, beaten
1/2 c light cream
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

1/2 lb ham, diced into small cubes
8 oz shredded low-fat cheddar cheese
1 large fresh tomato, seeded and diced
10 oz frozen chopped spinach, completely thawed, with excess liquid squeezed out.

Pre-heat oven to 350. Lightly coat a 10 inch pie plate with cooking spray and set aside.

In skillet, melt the butter and oil. Add the onion, bell pepper and mushrooms, and saute until the onion turns glossy and is tender, set this aside.

In the same skillet, stir together the eggs, cream, salt, and pepper and heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

In the bottom of the pie plate, distribute the diced, ham, shredded Cheddar cheese, chopped tomato, and spinach. Top with the sautéed vegetable mixture.

Pour the egg mixture over the veggie, ham and cheese base.

Bake for approximately 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for at least 5 minutes.

                                             Changes I made:0111131215

I doubled the recipe so it made 2 pie pans. (Unless noted here I doubled the ingredients listed above) I only used 2T butter to saute the onion and pepper. I used a 15 oz can of diced tomatoes instead of the fresh tomato. (I drained off some of the liquid so it wasn’t so wet.) I used one 15 oz can of mushrooms , drained, instead of fresh. I used about half as much cheese as the recipe called for. I used milk instead of cream with the eggs. I used a 16 oz bag of frozen spinach, so it was a little less than double. I bought a 16 oz package of chopped ham and didn’t use the whole thing.  The results: YUMMY! But I did  have to add some more salt after I tasted it.

When I added the eggs to the top of all the vegis I wasn’t sure there were enough eggs. My dishes were full though and if I tried to put anymore in they would have been overflowing.

While it was good right out of the oven, it is also really good heated up in the microwave.

I will definitely make this again. It is really pretty to look at with all the colors.
Try it and tell me what you think.

I substituted canned food for some of the fresh ingredients for a few reasons.

  • Fresh mushrooms are really pricey and I am on a budget.
  • Lately, our local store has trouble keeping fresh mushrooms available.
  • I like canned mushrooms.
  • If I can make it with canned foods then I can stock my pantry to have those items on hand.
  • Whenever I try to use a bunch of fresh things I either don’t use them in time and they spoil or they freeze in my refrigerator.
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My biggest battle is in my mind.

I haven’t quite gotten everything in order to really get started on my road to health. I am finding that I am a rebel. I hate being told what to do, even when I am the one doing the telling. If I tell myself I can’t have pop, I want pop even more than before. It is like I am afraid to give up the comfort foods and bad things. Why do I want things that are not good for me?  The minute I decide I don’t want something I start craving it all the more. For me this weight loss journey will be a lot about winning the battle that is in my mind.

In the past when I have been eating right and feeling good I can step on the scale and if  I see that it is the same or has gone up, all of a sudden I am a big, fat loser. The negative thoughts completely ruin my mood and I give up. I think, “Why bother trying to be good when the scale doesn’t show any progress?”. This will normally drive me to eat something unhealthy and to completely get off track.

I know I need to stop worrying so much about what the scale says from day-to-day and focus more on making small changes that will have lasting results for years ahead.  In fact, I think I will put the scale away and stay off it. Maybe then I can focus less on what it might tell me. 

My actions steps:  

  • stop the negative self-talk
  • focus on the positive
  • put the scale away
  • start making small changes each day


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