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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Denim doesn’t lie!

 

Last  night as I was sorting through some clothes I found a pair of jeans I wore “back in the day”. I also found another pair that are too small for me right now that I wore more recently.  

I decided to see how they compared to jeans I wear today. I laid them out on the bed and took a picture. 

There you have it! The truth in denim.  

Jeans Through The YearsThe small jeans in front are from my college days. The middle pair is from several years back. The pair on the bottom is the size I wear right now. Looking at them  stacked up like that made me really sad. I wonder how I was ever thin enough to wear the  “skinny” jeans, and how on earth I let myself get so big.  

When you are over-weight you tell yourself different things to make you feel better about yourself. This might include statements like…I’m not that much bigger than I used to be…. I don’t look that bad….There are a lot of people heavier than me in the word. 

But let me tell you when I saw how small my old  clothes looked compared to what I fit today it was like a slap across the face. That might have been just the thing I needed to help me get back in the groove of making healthy choices.

I can’t wait until I fit those “skinny” jeans again!

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Do you rely on food more than God?

Today I got the 1st email for the 21 Day Challenge from Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst.

I copied the following paragraph from the text of her email…

“I had to get honest enough to admit it that I relied on food more than I relied on God. I craved food more than I craved God. Chocolate was my comfort and deliverer. Cookies were my reward. Salty chips were my joy. Food was what I turned to in times of stress, sadness, and even in times of happiness.”

I think I am really going to enjoy the rest of her emails if they are all like the first one.

She has expressed the exact thing I have felt about myself. I know that I have relied on food for comfort during stressful and emotional times that I should have been trusting in God to provide.

That is all going to change. It may take a while. It may take hard work and determination. (Ha Ha, I sound like Dolvett from Biggest Loser)  But I am going to change.

(You can sign up for the 21 day Challenge at: http://madetocrave.org/21-day-challenge/)

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Starting to break bad habits #1

I felt like I did pretty good yesterday as far as my goals were concerned. I had some problems, such as skipping lunch because I had errands to run and wasn’t prepared with something healthy to grab.My “lunch” was a fountain pop from the corner gas station. I know I said I was giving pop up but I failed that goal yesterday. 😦

I watched the Biggest Loser with my mom and grandparents. It has become a tradition for us to watch the show together. Normally grandpa brings out the ice cream about half way through the show and there we all sit eating ice cream and watching people working their butts off. There have even been times we will have pizza and ice cream. (terrible, I know)

I decided that I was not going to indulge in the ice cream habit this time. I popped up some popcorn and took it over to share. Now I know that popcorn might not be the best snack since it was popped in oil. The victory is in the fact that I only ate one cereal sized bowl of it not the entire large Tupperware “bread” bowl of it. I also said no to the Cherry Chocolate Cordial ice cream they were all enjoying, so I am happy about that.

During the show they had a contestant that was struggling with doing a crab crawl. (check out : http://www.ehow.com/video_2359506_do-crab-crawl-exercises.html) During the next commercial break I suggested we all try it. Keep in mind my grandma is 87 and grandpa is 85. I’d better not tell you my mom’s age she might get mad. But hey, I am turning 40 this year so you can figure it out from there. 🙂 Well my gpa got right down on the floor and proceeded to crab crawl, backwards across the living room floor. Well if he could do it so could I! So I got down there and crab crawled too. Mom even tried it , although she was wearing a long bathrobe and that made it difficult. Gma was the only one that wouldn’t try it. 

I started thinking that I should start using the time watching the show to exercise. Mom has an elliptical machine sitting right there that I could use. Next week I will join the contestants by working up a sweat while watching the show.

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21 Day Challenge

I have been searching online for something to motivate me and challenge me. My sister suggested I check out a blog: http://www.getbusyliving.org/ 

On her blog, Jess, mentions a few books that helped her in her Get Fit Journey. One of them was “Made to Crave” by Lysa TerKeurst. Of course I had to look it up on the web.

I found that the site offers a 21 day devotional using some of the author’s favorite truths from the book. It was free to sign up so I decided to give it a try. I  figure it is a good way to see what kind of information is in the book before I buy it. Money is a bit tight right now so free was just the ticket.

If you want to check it out for yourself, here is the link to the site: http://madetocrave.org/21-day-challenge/

I can’t wait for the first email to arrive.

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It is about more than just how much you weigh.

I have been sorting through paperwork today. I have a file where I keep all my medical records. In the front of the folder I found a paper where I have recorded some of the results from my blood tests, going back to 2006.

This paper just has the dates, my weight at the time and a column for my total cholesterol, LDL, HDL and Triglycerides.

Next to one row is a note that the doctor wanted to put me on a statin drug. I remember that conversation. I told her no. I didn’t want to be on medication. I had a patented supplement I was going to start taking and I was also motivated to get more active. I was sure I would be able to get my cholesterol under control without medication. That was in August of 2011.

In December of 2011 my husband and I got new life insurance and had to get blood work done. My results from that test were better than my August results. LDL was down some, HDL was up a little and TriGlycerides were down too. My weight was also down by about 10 pounds. I guess I was doing a good job at working to get healthier. I am not sure what happened exactly after that but I got out of focus.

I haven’t looked at this paper for a while, over a year in fact. I wish I had kept it posted on my refrigerator so I could be reminded that weight is just a number and it isn’t the most important thing. There are other ways I will benefit from getting healthy and eating better and exercising.

I am not going to beat myself up for having lost focus. I am going to post this paper on my refrigerator and I will see it every time I do weigh myself. (My scale is next to my refrigerator.)

It is the time of year when the health fair is held in our town. I will sign up again for blood work. I am a little worried about my results since I have been out of focus for so long. At least I know that a year from now my results will blow my doctor away. I will be so much lighter. My cholesterol will be in a healthy range and so will my blood sugar. (more on that later, maybe) I can’t wait to see the look on her face!

So remember: It really is about more than just looking better or being able to buy cute clothes.  It is about feeling better from the inside out and being healthier.

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Looking Back – Way Back

When I was in college I was probably the thinnest I have ever been. For some reason though, I think due to my height (6ft) I always felt like the BIG girl. One of my roomies was only 4′ 11″ tall. Standing next to her I felt like a giant for sure. I remember a friend wanting to give me a skirt of hers. It was a size 8. I told her it wouldn’t fit and she made me try it on. It did NOT fit. I was a size 14. She was shocked. She thought for sure I could wear it. I had another friend that asked me to be in her wedding. She was having the dresses made and wanted to know what size pattern to get for my dress. I remember telling her 14 and she had a hard time believing me. I guess I must not have looked heavy or over weight but my clothes were many sizes larger than everybody else and I always felt fat. What I wouldn’t do to be a size 14 again. Isn’t it funny how our perspective can change.

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