Friday, August 31, 2012

There's No Work Like Rework

At this moment, my in-laws are on their way and I should be doing something to my house.  Anything would probably be nice.  But I'm not.  I've got a ton of things to do, as always, but here I sit.  Writing to you.

I feel like it's time to give myself a pat on the back because today, I'm pretty proud of myself.

Tomorrow is September 1, nine months since I started this journey.  And it's been a journey, for sure.  It has had its ups and downs.  Fo' sure.

Over the summer, I had been making an extremely minimal effort to eat the right way and do the things I knew I should be doing.  Minimal effort was the maximum effort.  As the summer went on, I saw my weight creeping up and creeping and creeping up.  It was coming back.  Clothes that were on their way out were beginning to fit tightly again...clothes I had rescued from the other side of the closet were betraying me. I felt like a failure and so very shamed.  I wrote about it here back in June.  Except I still wasn't making great progress.

In August, I hit bottom.  Since my post in June, I had gained another five pounds.  In fact, I had gained back half the weight I had lost.  About 12 pounds.  Inches had been put back on.


Hitting bottom meant that between Thursday and Saturday, in one weekend, I ate:

  • Pizza from Pizza Hut
  • Whopper from Burger King (complete with fries and Dr Pepper)
  • Chick-fil-A 
  • Chili's
  • ate until bursting at the local Chinese buffet
  • Hammond's BBQ...the BBQ I love. 
  • Cake for a birthday
  • Pecan pie and ice cream
In that weekend, I think we ate out every meal.  And not well.

Maybe I don't need to say it, but I was sick as a dog.  My stomach hurt so bad.  I had a terrible headache.  My guts were in a terrible uproar.  For some reason, I kept shoveling it in.  Until I was so sick and bloated and miserable that I wanted to cry.  I wanted all that crap out of my system.  

That Sunday, I passed up my favorite donut.  I couldn't eat anything.  Ugh.  I spent that Sunday on a fast because I was so miserable.  I came to the conclusion that what I was doing was literally making me sick. It was more than just the idea that it was bad for me.  It was making things painful for me.  I decided that I could not eat like that anymore.  So I stopped.

Then I started walking with the kids in the morning.    


The good news today is this:  I'm back down 25 pounds.  I had gained back 12 pounds and now I'm back down to my best weight.

Now.  Now I have room to work.  I'm not going to look back and chastise myself and shame myself and feel bad.  I'm going to look forward and continue to be successful.  So when you see my numbers on the side wall there, those are accurate.  I'm still fighting this battle.  I'm not out yet.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Hide Yo' Recipes, I'm Stealin' Everything Up in Here!


Okay, new recipes! I refer to them as stolen, because I have just not had the time to be a domestic goddess this summer. I DO have that potential, though. If someone would just pay me to stay home and cook, I know I’d be just darling at it. I am including a couple of paleo/primal dessert recipes. I feel the need to post a warning with these, though. Just because they’re grain and sugar free doesn’t mean they’re the best food choice you can make. They are healthier, but still meant as an occasional treat. Moderation is your friend. Got it? Okay then, enjoy!


Pizza Frittata

Ingredients:
12 eggs
Tomato sauce-I make my own (so easy), but if you can find some made without sugar or additives, go for it
Italian seasoning
Fresh mozzarella- buy it whole and shred it yourself. They coat that preshredded stuff with cellulose. I don’t know what that is, but it sounds nasty.
Toppings of your choice- peppers, onions, olives, sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, whatever.

Directions:
Frittatas are fantastic, easy meals that feed a bunch with very little work. They’re also pretty cheap, so yay for that. I’ve got six people in my house that demand weird things like meals everyday. The nerve! Anyway, you need a nonstick pan that can also go in the oven for these. Actually, you need one for a lot of recipes, so just go invest in one. You won’t be sorry.
First, heat the pan on the stove on medium heat and preheat the oven to 375F. You can add a little oil or butter if you want, but if your pan is nonstick, you don’t really need it. If you're using sausage or meat, browning it in the pan first and removing it gives you some tasty oil to use! Scramble up the eggs until frothy, and then pour into the pan. Let it sit and cook for about 4-5 minutes. If you don’t let it set up, the toppings will sink to the bottom. When it looks almost cooked through (like an omelet), turn off the stove, sprinkle the frittata with Italian seasoning, and spread the tomato sauce over the top. Add toppings and cheese, and then move it into the oven. Bake just long enough to melt the cheese and heat the toppings (about 5 minutes). Cut into wedges and enjoy. This is even good reheated, and can be frozen. You can top a frittata with just about anything, so try it with chicken and red onion with smoked cheddar. I think smoked salmon and dill with goat cheese might be fabooboo, too. If you’re dairy free, leave off the cheese. Just experiment!
I took this picture. My pan is made by Berndes, and I've had it for AGES. I think it was an incentive from work when I worked in a gourmet kitchen shop twenty years ago. Holy crap, I'm old.

Pizza Crusts

Speaking of pizza, I have two different crusts I’ve used. One is primal, and is made of cheese. It’s unbelievably good. The other is paleo, and dairy free. It’s good, too. It just depends on your personal preferences as to which you’ll like better. Both require parchment paper, and I’ve found it comes in handy for other recipes, too. So, like the pan I mentioned above, it’s worth having some in the house.

Cheese crust ingredients:
2 c shredded mozzarella
1c shredded Cheddar
3 eggs
1tsp garlic powder
1tsp Basil

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 450F. Mix ingredients together in a large bowl. Spread thinly on a 16 in. pizza pan or small rectangular cookie sheet lined with greased parchment paper. Bake for 15-20 min. Check after 10 min. If the edges start to get too dark, turn it back to 400. It needs to be golden brown and crispy. Take it out, top it, and broil for a few minutes. Done. Yummy!  I also make several individual pizza crusts with this recipe and store them until the kids want pizza for lunch. They freeze well. I get about 6 small crusts per recipe. These are really close to a thin crust pizza. It’s crunchy and sturdy enough to be held in your hand instead of having to use a fork.

Coconut Flour crust ingredients:
3 eggs
1 c water or coconut milk
½ c coconut flour
Italian seasoning
garlic powder

Directions:
Preheat oven to 385F. Mix the eggs and water or milk together. Slowly pour it into the flour and mix well. Add the spices to your taste. This should form a batter a bit like pancake batter. If it's thick and sticky, add more liquid. Pour over parchment paper (A MUST!) in metal pan of your choice. Bake for 25 minutes at 385F, check. It should be getting brown, maybe even a bit scorched on edges. You may have to bake longer, depends on your oven. Remove when golden brown. Add sauce, toppings, and spices to taste. I use Italian seasoning mix, covering the top of the crust after adding about 4 oz. of tomato sauce. Then add the toppings and cheese, if you use it, baking at 375F until cheese melts or toppings are heated through. This recipe is from my friend Brian, who has been primal WAY longer than I have. He’s gotten this thing down to an art form. When he sends a recipe and says, “Try this!” I know it’s going to be good. This crust can also be topped with ham or turkey and veggies and eaten like an open-faced sandwich. A little paleo mayo and you’re gold. You’re welcome.
 This is the cheese crust. I think I need to go make some. Now. Don't you love my fine china?

Spicy Chicken Legs

Ingredients:
6 chicken drumsticks-free range, if you can.
2 tsp Chili powder
3 Tbsp olive oil
1- 1 ½ tsp sea salt
¾ tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground cinnamon

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 450F. In a medium bowl, combine 1 Tbsp of the oil with the spices, salt, and pepper. Mix them to make a paste. Add the drumsticks and rub the spice paste over them, making sure to coat them thoroughly. Set them aside. On the stove, put a large ovenproof pan over medium heat. Allow the pan to heat up for 45 seconds or so before adding the other 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Heating the pan first before adding oil helps prevent sticking. Heat the oil for about 30 seconds before adding the drumsticks. Brown both sides of the chicken for about 3-4 minutes per side. Once you are done browning the drumsticks, put a lid on the pan and put them in the oven. Bake for 25 minutes.

These aren’t super hot, but they’ve got a great kick to them. I got some shredded cabbage, tossed it with a little diced pineapple, olive oil, and green onion, and served the chicken with that. My girls loved this, which means it is a “make again” meal.
 Originally found on jogogym.com. Just look at the spices on that. My mouth is watering. 

Lettuce Wraps

This is my new favorite lunch idea. Go get a package of those huge romaine lettuce leaves. Our HEB carries them already cleaned and stacked up, ready to go. Fill these with whatever your little heart desires. At the moment, I am obsessed with roast turkey, pear, walnuts, blue cheese, and dried cranberries. I’ve also used leftover pulled pork and broccoli slaw. Avocado with turkey and tomato is the bomb. Dice up chicken breast, add some matchstick carrots and sprouts, throw on some gluten free soy sauce, and add some chilies. Thai! Really, the variety is endless. It’s also a great way to use leftovers. Those chicken legs I posted above? Tear the meat off the bones and throw them in a wrap the next day with some of the pineapple cabbage salad I mentioned. Lunch in minutes, just like a sandwich but without the gut-killing grains and sugar. Woo hoo!
 Seriously, doesn't this look refreshing? It's hot outside at my house right now, y'all. If I can make something this fabooboo without turning on the stove, I'm going for it.

Paleo Brownies

Ingredients:
1 cup Dark Chocolate Chips (65% or more) or Enjoy Life Chips
1/2 cup canned full fat coconut milk
1 1/4 cups almond flour
1/2 cup shredded coconut
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt chocolate and coconut milk in a small saucepan over low heat. Once the chocolate is completely melted, remove from the heat. Add the chocolate and coconut milk to a mixing bowl, add in the eggs and mix well.  Now add in the almond flour, baking powder, and sea salt. Next, add in the shredded coconut and continue to mix. Grease an 8×8 baking dish with coconut oil. Pour batter into the baking dish then sprinkle with 1/2 cup of sliced almond over the top. Get a small handful of shredded coconut and sprinkle over the top, as well. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.  Slice them into squares, and you have brownies. You can also find a paleo frosting recipe (they are out there, and delicious) and simply ice the thing and serve it as a cake.
           
We’ve made these for parties and things, and nobody ever guesses they’re paleo brownies. They are ridiculously rich. Like I said, this is a fantastic occasional treat. If you’re celebrating a birthday and want to avoid the awful sugar headache that will now accompany the craptastic, sugar and grain-based cakes traditionally served, go with this instead. If you’re really craving sweets and it’s come down to these or hitting up the local bakery for a dozen cream puffs, make these. Just don’t have them for breakfast every day.
Originally found on paleomg.com. You don't have to top it with the coconut, but don't leave it out of the batter. It helps hold it together. These are so rich, I really can only eat just one. At a time. :)

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups sifted blanched almond flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted (melted, not softened)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 whole egg
1/2 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips, or dark chocolate (at least 73%) chips.

Directions:

In a bowl, mix your almond flour, baking soda, and sea salt. In a separate bowl mix together your melted coconut oil, vanilla extract, room temperature maple syrup, and room temperature egg (It makes a difference, I swear). Incorporate your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients, and then add your chocolate chips.
After everything is mixed, preheat your oven to 350F and refrigerate your batter for 30 minutes.
Once the 30 minutes are up and your oven is heated, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (see, I said you needed some!) and roll your dough into even balls-to whichever size you desire. I made mine pretty small, about silver dollar size.
Put them in the oven for about 5-7 minutes, then take them out and slightly flatten them with the back of a spatula. Put them back in the oven for about 5 more minutes, or until they look done. Take them out RIGHT when you see just a hint of golden brown. If you do that, they won’t look done, but they are-and they’ll be soft and chewy. Even after they’ve cooled off!  Remove from the oven and set on the counter to cool.
These taste almost exactly like regular chocolate chip cookies. They have a slightly nutty texture, and would be great with chopped pecans in them. This recipe makes about a dozen cookies, depending on the size you make them. The best thing is they DO NOT trigger cravings, and you can stop with one or two without devouring the entire batch. Same with the brownies. It truly is the flour and sugar in those things that gets you, and not the chocolate. That’s the best news ever. 
Originally found on fastpaleo.com. A glass of unsweetened vanilla almond milk goes with these PERFECTLY. The occasional splurge doesn't have to poison you. I keep telling myself this. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Mad Ramblings of an Addict


There are many places this post could start, but I feel it’s always best to “start at the beginning. And when you get to the end, stop.” There’s a little Tweedle Dum logic for you. I actually feel a certain kinship with Tweedle Dum. Poor dude’s a little whacked out, living in a crazy place, having to deal with the pressure of the Red Queen. Life’s stressful.  I feel ya, brother.

ANYWAY, I’d love to say I’m over halfway to my goal and getting fitter and stronger with each passing week. I’d love to say it, but it’s not true. I’m hanging in there. I’m battling the same six pounds I’ve been working on since May. Summer has not been my friend. At first, I couldn’t understand it. I was workin’ it! Primal eating had become second nature! Exercise wasn’t just something I watched them do on The Biggest Loser while I ate my ice cream! So what happened? Addiction. Addiction raised its big iron fist and slapped me down hard. I’m still trying to get my feet back under me.

Before you get all hopped up about drug dependency and how different it is from this, let me clarify the situation. Drugs can kill you. So can food. It’s just a slower way to go. Instead of riding the meth rocket and burning out like Lindsay Lohan, you take the Slowpoke Rodriguez route. Either way, you still die. With my way, you get to die with all your teeth. That’s about it.

The downhill slide began in June. The school year ended, and being the glutton for punishment that I am, I enrolled in graduate school. I haven’t been in school for thirteen years. I can write fiction stories all day, but organizing an analytical paper? Studying? Doing research? Um. Yeah. Not in the repertoire of mad skillz I possess. At least not at the moment. Each morning I’d log in to my online courses, get overwhelmed with the amount of work I didn’t even know how to begin, and log out. Eventually, I was wound tighter than Beyonce’s weave. This did not bode well for me. If I could be a super hero, I would be Anxiety Girl. Even every day stresses tend to set me off, but something like this felt like a truck on my chest. I had no time for food prep. I dropped exercise because I was too ‘busy’ with school. I was beginning to find it hard to breathe. I needed relief. Without even thinking about it, I turned to my old coping mechanism. I pulled into the fast food drive through, ordered, and dug into greasy, sugar and carb-loaded junk food. I felt the tension slip away as I numbed myself to the stress weighing on my shoulders. I’d gotten my fix.

The fact that I was using a substance to manipulate my emotions didn’t occur to me until later this summer. I’d feel guilty for ‘falling off the wagon’, promise myself to go strictly primal, and try to pull myself together. It would work for a little while, or at least until the next six-page paper assignment, complete with citations and footnotes, arrived in the email.  Then I’d be driving around looking for something to ease my nerves. My dealers aren’t hard to find. Most addicts have to search out a dude with saggy pants and a mouth full of gold.  I roll up looking for Sonic or Burger King. I can find them on every corner, and my fix is fast and cheap. Unfortunately, once sugar and grains are back in your system, they trigger those cravings. Before I knew it, I was well and truly hooked once again. I still didn’t understand what was going on.

Here’s where the guilt began to add to the stress I felt. I shouldn’t be eating this junk. Hadn’t I posted about the dangers of eating that crap on my blog and FaceBook page? I know what it does to my body! So why didn’t I have enough willpower to stop and get myself back on track? Feeling depressed and discouraged, I embarked on a fabulous downward spiral of blame and self-loathing. That’s definitely not a ride they offer in Disney. I don’t recommend it or the tilt-o-whirl of disappointment. I kept thinking, I should be stronger than this. I was wasting all my hard work. What kind of example was I setting for my girls, or even the people watching me as I followed this journey toward health? I just didn’t understand what was happening.

It finally clicked for me one afternoon. I had five assignments due that week, on top of the fifteen articles and three chapters I had to read. Anxiety gripped me in its jaws and shook me like a dog’s chew toy. Chest tight, blood pounding in my ears, I got in the car. Five minutes later, I sat in the front seat shoving French fries in my face, slurping on a shake, and sighing as the familiar feeling of numbness washed over me again.  I could breathe again. Then it hit me. I used food like a drug. Not good, healthy, primal food, but the addictive poisoning kind of crap nobody should be putting into her body. Thinking about it, I can see the pattern of abuse since I was sixteen years old. If I have an emotion I don’t want to feel, I bury it under a cheeseburger and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. Food had become more than just nourishment for my body. It had morphed into this twisted method of stuffing my emotions down until I couldn’t feel them anymore. 

Now that I understand what I’m doing, it’s a little easier to try to control the impulse to binge on bad foods. But like any addict, I’m going to have relapses. This last week, my neighbor’s tree fell on my house. While it didn’t cause major damage, I still have to work with insurance adjusters, contractors, and tree people. The weekend contained fried chicken strips, fries, and two trips to get ice cream. Damn. But as of today, my refrigerator is stocked with primal goodness, I’ve gotten a planner to keep myself organized for school, and I’m back at CrossFit. Maybe Satan can help me work out some of this anxiety! At least that's a healthier coping mechanism. Standing still has gotten me nowhere, so I’m moving forward. Because if I keep doing what I’ve been doing, I’m not going to get better. As Tweedle Dum would say, “That’s logic.”


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Fickle as a Fritter and Scale Superstitions

I got an email from Blogger that said if we didn't write something soon, we would be off the air.

Not really.

Our family is the beginning the process of building a new house and as such, we've been exposed to much talk about what is "standard" and what is an "upgrade".  Usually, as an excuse, the "I've been very busy" would come standard.  The "I'm humiliated and ashamed because Shanon is doing better than me because she's working harder than me and I still like cake and brownies and buns" would be the upgrade.

But on this blog, the upgrade is included!  We don't charge more for shame and humiliation!  That's the Two Primal Chicks difference!

It's not as bad as it could be.  I'm up 7.5 pounds from my lowest weight.  But I have a plan.  I'm going to actually update my weight tracker to reflect where I am.  And I'm not in competition with Shanon and she is not in competition with me.  I fully support my sister-in-weight as she is toughing it out.  Personally, I am experiencing a funk.  People who know me well know this is a common place for me.  The "leave me alone, I don't want to go anywhere or see anyone or do anything" funk.  And if you know the funk, you know the funk affects everything.    

But, thank da Lord, I haven't had The Fog.

Last time, I wanted accountability, but I wasn't in a funk.  See the difference?  That's the Whiny Baby Funk difference.

Now.  How do you feel about your scale?  What if you were endeavoring to try and lose a lot of weight?  Would you get a new scale in the middle of the process?

I asked this question on Facebook and I'm wondering if I'm the only Scale Type A in the bunch.  Dance with the one who brung ya, I say.  What if the new scale is 5 pounds off?  Seriously?  Five pounds is a lot!  It's not like going to the doctor where you know their scale is going to be off 5# and so you just deal with it because it's not the "real" weight that counts.  (Nobody counts the weight at the doctor's office.)  But the scale where you weigh every morning, step 3 of your weighing-in routine, must be accurate!  This is a no-brainer!

Which is why it surprised me when my husband insisted we needed a new scale.  When I had already lost 20-something pounds!  A new scale was just going to mess me all up!  But he may have said some things that were true, but felt like a guilt trip so I bought a new scale.  Except now we have 2 scales.

We live in a teeny tiny townhouse.  Twelve hundred square feet for 6 people.  (Which is why we are getting a new house.)  All but 2 feet in front of the sink is taken up with our scales.  Brian is good.  He only weighs on his scale.  He is happy with the scale I purchased for him.  That scale is for people like him.

But me?  I weigh on both.  That's right.  One weight is the real one. (My scale.)   The other is for comparison.  I'm a dork, I know.

It comes standard.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Memories and Today's Victory

Y'all won't believe this, but the Easters of my childhood have involved food.  Overcooked ham with brown sugar and mustard glaze, my mom's oven baked macaroni and cheese (always perfect), green beans and corn (straight from the can), rolls and the piece de resistance, lemon meringue ice box pie.  Oh my, how I loved that pie.  It seemed to take so long until it was time for lunch and there was nothing to do at my grandmother's house except stay out of the kitchen and watch King of Kings.

This was all served on my grandmother's green plastic plates, while we sat, scrunched, at the dining room table on chairs covered in plastic, smirking at each other because the overcooked ham was nothing, if not predictable.

And let's not forget the Easter baskets.  Filled full of the candy I loved.  Mom almost always got that right.

It would be safe to say that as an adult, I have tried to incorporate the traditions of my childhood into our holiday celebrations.  Minus the King of Kings.  And hopefully, the overcooked ham.  Except this year, I've been so busy taking care of my recuperating daughter and getting back on track, primally, that I didn't really think about the "special" meal Easter demanded until Saturday night about 10pm when I called my dad to see what he was doing.

And of course, he had a plan.  It was a great plan.  In fact, the best part was that he was willing to bring his plan to my house and leave me with a minimal amount of work to eat said plan.  Except for one problem.  He wanted to me to make a cake.

Oh, yes.  A cake.

After my tongue lashing from Stacey this week, I have been on the straight and narrow.  Because I am worth it.  I thought I could make this cake, a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, without any problems.  I had the box mix in the pantry.  The cake diversion purchased while planning Brian's surprise party.  Making a cake was the least I could do to contribute to a meal that I had nearly zero part preparing.

But I got a text this morning as I was getting ready for church:  Just wanted to encourage you to stick with it - especially on a chocolate covered holiday like today!  I promise you will feel so much control and pride by skipping that cookie today!

Oh.  My.  Word.

I made a decision right then and there.  There would be NO CHOCOLATE CAKE IN THIS HOUSE TODAY.  PERIOD.  I was certainly in control what I was going to eat and serve in my own house.  I would put together a dessert, but it wouldn't be that.  Talk about feeling empowered.  I wanted to feel in control at the end of this day.  Proud.

And then after church, when Brian suggested that we pick up something to eat at Whataburger on the way home before our Easter supper, I said, "Absolutely not.  I am not having a hamburger, fries and a Dr Pepper for lunch."  You gotta know, I love Whataburger.  It's my favorite fast place to get a burger.  But there was no way in the world I was going to eat something from there today.  I was working a Goal for the Day.

So we ended up at Chili's where I know exactly what I can eat.  Which is fine because it's a salad, I love salads, and it's a good one.  When we got home, I prepared my dessert which was NOT chocolate cake.  I made Cinnamon Swirl Muffins and Paleo Banana Bread and they were good, all things considered.  (They were collapsing like crazy.  I think they were still too hot for transporting.  But no matter, they were still good.)    

So another Easter in the books, but this time, I had a major victory over my life.  I am worth it.

And I can do it.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Open Letter to Some Folks Who Mean Well

Dear Weight Watchers, Lane Bryant and the like,

Thanks for everything.  

When I got too big for my britches, for real, you were there.  Either to provide bigger britches or to help me fit into the old ones again.  I haven't always been grateful for your services, but accepted them for what they were.

But the time has come for us to part ways.  I understand, Weight Watchers, that your data and years of having a successful enterprise of aiding people lose weight supports this idea that I am still fat as a fritter and your propaganda is welcome here.  But it ain't.  I've had more success doing this "caveman diet" than I ever did eating your suggested no-fat plastic cheese and analyzing every tiny bite of something that accidentally found its way to my mouth.  You guys would not believe the hunks of meat that I eat now.  And bacon, from a real pig, not a bird.  As much as I want.  So while I appreciate what you did for me in the old days, it's best that I move on now.

Please don't send any more mailers with Jennifer Hudson on them, looking fabooboo.  With the money and resources of celebrities, there should be no reason in the world for them to struggle like I do. She could pay someone named Tiny to punch her in the face every time she ate something off her program.  Most of those people have no idea what's it like to raise a family with 4 kids, have to take those kids to dance and soccer practice, manage homework, and prepare a great, healthy dinner sometime before 9pm.  And that is just the tip of my iceberg.  But I will admit, I know nothing of the pressures of being a celebrity.  All that to say, Jennifer Hudson does not inspire me.  You guys can just consider me "data scatter" and take me off your list.  I'm a Success Story in the Making just not on your program.  

And to my friends at Lane Bryant:

You have a hard job, I'm the first to admit.  It can't possibly be easy to make big people look small.  But we can't go around naked, either, can we?  And that is where you come in.  But I don't think you're doing a good job here.  First of all, your clothes are ridiculously overpriced.  And I would almost say that there are many items that no big person should attempt to wear.  Except there they are, on display, as New Arrivals!  What in the world are you doing to us?  It's hard enough dressing yourself in something "cute" when options are so limited, but then to have the options limited even more by the inappropriateness of the selection?  Save the printing and mailing costs and remove me from your mailing list.  I'm not going to be shopping with you again.  It's not just the price or the style.  There's a bigger reason I'm leaving.  Well, actually, it's a tad bit smaller and shrinking every day.  It's me.  I'm just not gonna need you anymore.  But seriously, you've really got to do something about your offerings.  You are making women everywhere look ridiculous.  

All that said, I do want to thank you.  Both of you.  Sometimes we just don't realize how bad things are until we realize how good they could be.  

Sincerely,
Georgia

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Results

Stacey didn't disappoint me yesterday!  She wrote a scathing-ish post on her blog, directed at me.  It definitely found its mark.  Read her advice to me here.  I could barely breathe when I got done reading that.  No one really talks to me like that.  But it's exactly what I needed (and deep down, wanted) to hear.  And I knew she would bring it.  No more pats on the head.

Stop.  Making.  Excuses.

Ummm, ok.

Between yesterday and today, I have lost 1.5 pounds.  I love seeing scale movement!  But today, I did something that I hadn't done since February 1:  I measured.

I figured I had to start somewhere.  Get those numbers back on paper and start the next step of repairing whatever damage I've done (or undone) in the last 2 months.  This is about moving forward, no matter how many steps I take backward.  Always forward.

I was surprised what the tape measure revealed.  

Although I have fallen off the wagon, gotten off track, fill-the-blank with your failure description of choice, there were still results to be seen.  From February 1 to today, I have lost 5 pounds.  It's not great, but it's something.  It's not an overall gain, and I'll take it.  But the most surprising part is that I lost some inches everywhere except one spot in that same time period.  Overall, from February 1 until today, I have lost a total of 4 inches.

Grand total results to date:
Pounds lost:  22
Inches lost:  14.25

I think Stella is getting her groove back.  And it wouldn't be possible without the support and encouragement of all y'all.  Usually, I'll lose a little weight, and then remain permanently in the ditch.   But if Shanon can do it, and is she ever, then by God, I can do it, too!

Shanon, your commitment to this is inspiring me to Press On.

I might even cook something.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Where's the Tough Love?

Good lawdy!  Shanon is rocking the casbah.  For real.  She is down 30 big ones and is under 200.  That is a huge, huge accomplishment.  Those numbers on the scale are so significant.  She deserves every zero point tenths of a pound that is gone.  She is working hard and when she screws it up, she is learning from it and doing her dead level best to move forward.  She is doing this thing.

Ummm, me?  

Well, not so much.  I haven't gained it all back.  I'm sort of maintaining at a 20 pound loss, but I'm definitely struggling.

I keep thinking I'm going to get back on track.  Then something happens.  Insert Chick-Fil-A sandwich and a large Dr Pepper here.  At Wal-Mart, I was like an alcoholic. I could not even look at the bags of Lays Kettle Chips for fear my eyes would rest on the Salt and Vinegar variety.  Then who knows what I'd do...

I've been very silent on our Facebook page and here on the blog, and it's caused me to wonder:  where's my tough love?  Where are the people who should be asking me just what the samhill I'm doing?  I've actually had nothing to report, of course, except I think that Whataburger has better Dr Pepper than most any other place.  

I need some tough love, y'all!  This is hard!  I had a disagreement with Brian.  I stood in front of the refrigerator, trying to solve that problem.  I didn't plan well for meals while he was gone and gone and gone for what seemed like forever.  Actually I didn't plan at all.  Chick-Fil-A, et. al., solved that problem.  I threw a surprise party for Brian's 40th birthday.  Potato salad and a big, beautiful cake was on that menu.  None of that cake went to waste.  (Although I do have the name of a great cake person in this area...)  I went to a conference and had alone-access to one of my favorite restaurants.  "I'll start again on Sunday,"  I told myself.  Every week.  For the last 2 months.

I have found every excuse possible.  And my whole life is a slippery slope!  Brian and I have to be working in complete conjunction because one person stepping off the mark takes the whole train with them.  For real.  We are the worst food enablers.  I clearly need some tough love.  I am frustrated with myself because I could be where Shanon is instead of where I am now.  

Hold me accountable! When I don't post weight updates, ask for them! Someone, anyone, order me to GET. BACK. ON. TRACK.  To stop wallowing in it.  I  need to report to someone.  Stacey Garnett, I think this is a job for you.  I want to do this and I know it can be done.  But I'm working with the same old me and she's been doing things this way for a while now.  Just need a gruff cheerleader.  No more free passes or sympathetic looks.  

Anyone willing to be tough on me?           

I did something today that I never allow myself to do:  I went into a "regular" store.  Like The Limited and Jones New York.  Just to see how it felt.  It kind of reminded me when I was in high school and I was sooooo flat-chested.  And I would try on the padded bras and feel sad about how good I would look if I had some boobs.  

Except this time, it didn't feel sad and pathetic.  It felt doable.    

But I think I'm gonna need to answer to someone first.  

    

      

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Quick Update on the Incredible Shrinking Woman

So I'm down almost 30 pounds. I KNOW, right? When I hit the big 30, I'm planning to reward myself. Possibly with a full body massage. And an iTunes gift card. I've told my students that their teacher is actually shrinking this year! They haven't noticed, and my feelings would be hurt, but they're 8. They don't notice much that's not on a video game or television screen. One did say that she could get her arms around me when she hugged me now. I'll take it.

But here are some pics that got me motivated. My phone camera sucks, and I'm too lazy to get the good camera out at this point. When I hit the next goal, I swear I'm totally going to do that. Really.

Before pic, taken in San Francisco with my fabulous writer friends. I felt huge. And I was.



27.4 lbs down from where I started. 2 sizes down. No looking back, no stopping me now!






Sunday, March 25, 2012

Zombie Apocalypse Preparedness Update


It's time to do a run down on the checklist of Zombie Apocalypse Preparedness. I mean, this whole thing isn't just about losing weight here, right?

First, I had my yearly "female" doctor's visit this last week. Fun stuff. I usually dread the appointment, not because it's THAT kind of physical, but because he makes me stand on his scale and then writes down the Number of Shame that appears. Not this time. His chart showed me down 30 lbs. from my last physical. Less ass for zombies to munch? Check!

Then he took my blood pressure. This number has been astronomical since I had my first child. It shot up during pregnancy, and then that kid has just kept pushing my buttons ever since. Add her sisters into the mix, and the blood pressure cuff weeps with exhaustion when the nurse finally releases me from its grip. This time, it was normal. I mean, not borderline-we'll-ignore-how-close-it-is-to-heart-attack normal, but honest to God normal. For the first time in thirteen years. The doctor had the nurse check it again. I just grinned like the Cheshire Cat. At this point, my doctor leans over and asks, "What the HELL have you been doing?" Y'all have got to know my doctor. We attend the same church and have sung in the choir together. When I first started going to him, he told me to be sure to keep my pants on when I ran into him in the pews on Sunday mornings. ANYWAY, his eyebrows shot above his hairline when he checked my vitals and lab tests. This fat, unhealthy chick is starting to get her groove back. Not collapsing into a heap when the zombies attack? Check!

I am now able to run. I kinda look like Forrest Gump doing it, but I do it. Don't get me wrong, I'm not signing up for the next marathon in my vicinity, but when Satan says, "Run 400 meters for warm up" I don't have to walk while the rest of the class blows past this sad, round, girl. I still finish huffing and puffing like ol' Big Bad, but I finish. Being able to get this butt moving when they crash through the door looking for brains? Check!

And how are we doing on the Looking Good Naked part? Well....I'm not stripping down for the neighbors any time soon (Which is good, since they're old and have round-the-clock assistance. I'd hate to be responsible for the heart failure that would ensue.), but I did wear shorts for the first time in 8 years. In PUBLIC. Real shorts, not 'walking shorts' or capris. My girls couldn't get over it, and kept commenting on how cute mama looked all afternoon. The two youngest are the best for boosting the ego. I keep them around for this purpose. They also loved the fact that we went to a friend's house to swim, and I actually got into my bathing suit and joined them. Without a t-shirt to cover up with. I enjoyed the sun and the water without fearing someone would see me and think Shamu needed to be rolled back into the pool.

So, three months in and I'm about 1/3 of the way to my goal. I still have days when I want to throw my hands up and say, "I give up! Give me a large Butterfinger Blizzard and a large steak finger basket with fries!" But even if I do, I will climb back up on this horse, because I'm riding this bad boy all the way to the end. I will not be the first one eaten in the event that we're attacked by the walking dead. WIN.

Run, Shanon! Run!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Recipes I've Been Meaning to Post

Okay, it's been a while since I've had the time, energy, or motivation to do some primal chick cooking. However, Spring Break has SPRUNG up in here, yo. I've done a little (read-very little) cleaning, some studying, a tiny bit of writing, and I took a whole afternoon to cook some new things! My tummy is full of primal deliciousness, and I'm a happy girl. Now I'm going to go curl up with a good book somewhere and pretend school doesn't start up again on Monday.

CINNAMON SWIRL MUFFINS
Ingredients:

2 1/2 c almond flour
1 tbsp. coconut flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 c plus 1 tbsp coconut milk
1/2 c honey
Topping Ingredients:
2 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp. melted coconut oil

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 325F. Mix together all the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients and mix well with a whisk. Divide evenly into 12 muffin cups. You can use muffin liners or wipe your silicone muffin pan with melted coconut oil and use that. They pop right out. Mix the topping ingredients together in a separate bowl and drizzle over the tops of the muffins. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Okay, these smell like heaven when they're cooking. They are moist and chewy, and my girls all loved them. Definitely a win.


Original link here


PALEO MAYONNAISE from Everyday Paleo
Ingredients
2 eggs
1 tsp yellow mustard
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp sea salt
1/3 tsp cayenne pepper
2 c olive oil (not extra virgin, just plain olive oil)

Directions
Use your food processor or blender for this one, and put on your big girl panties and grow some patience. It's easy, but you have to go sloooooowly.
Mix eggs, mustard, and vinegar in the blender until well mixed. Then, leave the blender or processor running and begin adding oil drop by drop or in a slow drizzle. This takes time, but it will begin to come together. I think all told, it took about 15 minutes or so. When all the oil is added and the mayo has the desired consistency, add in the salt and cayenne.

This made enough to fill two small mason jars and still have enough to make my egg salad recipe. They say it keeps up to a week or so in the fridge. It tasted SO much better than any store bought mayonnaise I've ever had, and there is no soybean oil in it. You can also get creative and add all kinds of things to make sauces or dips.

Originally from Sarah Fragoso's Everyday Paleo. This link will show you a demo of her making the mayo. Visuals are good.


PRIMAL BLUEPRINT TUNA SALAD W/CRANBERRIES
Ingredients
12 oz. tuna packed in water
2 stalks celery, diced
1/4 c. diced red onion
1/4. c homemade mayo
1/2 c. dried cranberries (no sugar added)
salt/pepper to taste

Directions
Mix it up. That's it. It's not neurosurgery up in here or anything here, people.

Originally from The Primal Blueprint cookbook


PRIMAL BLUEPRINT JALAPENO EGG SALAD
Ingredients
6 eggs, boiled, peeled, and chopped
1/2 c homemade mayo
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt/pepper to taste

Directions
To make the perfect boiled eggs, put raw eggs in a pot and cover them with cold water. Set them on the stove, and turn the heat on medium high. Bring them to a boil, then cover them and turn off the heat. Wait 15 minutes, pour out the hot water and add ice and water to shock them. They peel so easily after this. Seriously. Would I lie?
Again, mix all the ingredients. Voila!

This egg salad isn't overly spicy. It's got a little kick to it, but not mouth-burning. The lemon and jalapeno are a great flavor mix in this. I imagine adding some crumbled bacon into this mixture might be a taste of heaven.

Originally from The Primal Blueprint Cookbook


And if you're wondering what you're going to eat these fabooboo salads on, here's a recipe for a crepe-like wrap that can be used like a tortilla.


SWEET OR SAVORY WRAP
Ingredients
12 eggs (yes, a whole dozen. NO. LIE.)
4 tbsp coconut flour
1/8 tsp sea salt
coconut oil for frying

Directions
In a blender, mix eggs, flour, and salt. The blender takes out all lumps that coconut flour tends to have, especially since you store it in the fridge. Let it sit for a few minutes so the flour will soak up all the egg it will hold. It will look thin.
Heat a tsp of oil on medium-low heat in a nonstick skillet. I have an 8 in. crepe/omelet pan I got for about $15 and it is the BOMB for making these. Add 1/4 c of the batter to the pan and swirl it to coat the bottom of the pan. Let cook for about 2 minutes until batter sets. Carefully flip and cook for about 2 more minutes. Slide into a plate lined with wax paper, cover with another piece, and you can stack them this way as you go.
Flipping these little buggers takes practice. I broke the first 2, but then got the hang of it. A couple of thin spatulas does the trick.

These taste slightly eggy, and I've found a couple of other paleo/primal crepe recipes that use just egg whites or more coconut/almond flour that I may try. These were pretty yummy, though. You can wrap meat and salad greens, tuna salad, or almond butter with strawberries. It's just like a sandwich. NEW lunch ideas! YAY!

Originally from Keeper of the Home website

UPDATE:
I tried a different wrap/crepe recipe and loved it even more. The above recipe is very good, but it is very eggy tasting. This next one is more of a bread/tortilla texture. We had wraps with egg salad last night, and I used them for breakfast burritos this morning. For lunch, girl #3 put leftover pork loin, salad greens, and cheese with some homemade mayo. Fabulous!

Ingredients:
8 egg whites (I used the kind from Egg Beaters, but you could scramble the yolks with some butter and use them as a filling.)
2 tbsp melted butter
4 tbsp coconut flour
1/2 c coconut milk
butter or coconut oil for cooking

Directions:
These directions looked a lot more complicated, but I just threw the egg whites in the blender and got them frothy before adding all the rest of the ingredients. Heat skillet to medium and put in a little bit of oil or butter. Again, this depends on your pan. I have a nonstick that needs very little. Pour about 1/4 cup of the batter into the pan and swirl it to coat the bottom. Cook until the edges start to curl and it bubbles a bit. Using a wide spatula (or two), flip it and cook about a minute longer. These were tougher and easier to turn than the others. They also didn't break when wrapped around a lot of fillings. You could add vanilla and honey to this and make them sweet, but it isn't necessary. We filled some with almond butter, strawberries, and honey for dessert. Worked just fine for us!

The batter looks very thin and white at first.

Beautiful, aren't they? Recipe came from The Primal Blueprint Cookbook.



Thursday, March 8, 2012

There's No Work Like Rework!

...or, how I sabotage myself.

When I wrote last month, I was On Top of the World.  I was a Double Quarter Pounder away from a 20 pound loss.  And I lost it.  Yay 20 pound loss!  And then the cart sort of went off into the ditch.  But this is not new for me.  It's pretty much my shtick, which means I've done this sort of thing before.

Ummm, yeah.  It's a pattern.

I'd like to blame Valentine's Day, but that wouldn't be accepting responsibility for my poor decisions.  It would be like blaming the Shiner Bock brewery or the Idaho potato farmers who harvested the potatoes that Five Guys uses for their fries.  Not exactly their fault.

It's so much more fun and exciting to write when I'm being successful.  As I have been "off the course" for the last 3 weeks, I've thought to myself, very tongue-in-cheek, it's a good thing I don't have a "real addiction" to anything.  If I were a true addict?  I could see myself being in a very bad position.  Wanna know what I mean?

Last week, Brian was out of town, and I needed to go to the store.  I saw the big bag of the Salt and Vinegar Chips I love.  But I didn't get them.  Unfortunately, they now carry the "snack size" of them at the register and got 2 of those.  (I knew I was doomed if that ever happened.)  I started eating them as I walked out of the store, holding the bag in one hand, as I pushed the basket, refusing to give even one to the kids.  Then I became afraid that Joshua was going to reach his hand into the bag and get one.  As I was pushing the basket, trying to keep my son out of the chips and yet devour them myself, I realized something about myself.  I realized that if I dropped one of my chips on the Wal-Mart sidewalk, I was going to pick it up and eat it.

Yeah.  I know.

So I shoved the open bag in my purse until I could get to the truck, where I waited patiently until I had all the groceries and kids loaded in and ate the rest of that bag before we ever left the parking lot.  (At least I'm not so far gone that humiliation of self has eluded me.)

I've also been drinking Dr Pepper by the gallon.  In fact, I could go for some right now.  My dad hasn't been bringing any cakes by, and it's a good thing.  In my condition, that may well have been the end of me.  And I can't have that.

All I can say is that being successful made me lazy and complacent.  Let down my guard.  "I've lost 20 pounds.  It'll be okay to have this hamburger/piece of cake/Chick-Fil-A goodness/Shiner Bock/Dr Pepper."  And in doing so, I gained 4.5 pounds back.


But I've made progress.  I threw a brownie away the other day.  :)

Maybe you're wondering how you can help me.  Well, when you see me getting close to a milestone, remind me to stay the course.  I'll be looking for a way to reward myself or just an excuse to do what I want.  As I've reported before and Shanon has, too, it's never worth it.  Thankfully, as of this morning, I'm out of the ditch.  I'm down 20.5 pounds.  Now to move forward and press on.    

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Akrasia (There's CRAZY in it!)


I was going to post a long blog about wanting to do one thing, but finding myself doing the complete opposite. I was going to get wordy and weighty on the topic of willpower and my lack thereof. Then I went to The Site and read an article by The Dude that pretty much summed up the science behind why we do the things we know aren't good for us. There's even a term. Akrasia. I know it applies to me, because the word 'crazy' is in there. Here's the link. Go read it. Go on! I'll wait right here for you.


You back? Good. Now then. What do you think about that? There are physical reasons behind the cravings and desires to jump headfirst off the wagon into a vat of ice cream or a truckload of pizza. Our bodies do these things for a reason. And now that we know the physical causes, we can address them in ways that satisfy our needs without ending up looking like the Pillsbury Dough Boy. Of course, as Mark says in his article, this doesn't take the psychological reasons for our cravings into consideration. That's a whole different kind of crazy right there. I'm Queen of that kind of Crazy. But that's a topic for another day, and another blog. I think I'll go eat some bacon. I've been wanting sweets lately.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Choose Your Hard

Hi. How are you? It's been a while, I know. Do we really need to talk about it? Yeah? Ah, crap. Okay then, here it is.

When life gets crazy, this lifestyle changing thing gets hard. I'm not a fan of hard, unless we're talking about Ryan Reynolds' abs. The other kind, the sort that makes you tired and worn down, is not on my list of FAVE things. Take the last two weeks, for example. It's like a study in What Makes Shanon Lose Her Mind. Losing weight got hard.

It's hard when you get sick. Feeling like you've been backed over by a large truck is not helpful in getting to the gym or preparing meals in the kitchen. That stomach virus laid me smooth out. I didn't feel like moving, much less doing the prep work for a week's worth of breakfast meals. Then when I recovered, I felt so hollow I thought I'd never get full. And there were no groceries in the house. Hello, Sonic.

It's hard when your children get sick. For a few days, I couldn't even plan to leave the room for a few minutes, much less make a menu for the week. Going to the grocery store became the impossible dream.

It's hard when you have kids going in all different directions. After recovering from the Creeping Death, we had to get back into the school, dance, drill team, softball routine. I have four kids going to the far corners of the world every afternoon. Last week, a few went to the ends of the earth for tournaments and competitions. I spend my life in the car, I swear. Swinging through the drive-thru seemed to be the only answer to feed these little people who wail that dreaded cry from the back seats, "I'm hungry!". I couldn't send them off to dance or play on empty stomachs, and once again--no groceries. Sense a pattern here?

It's hard when work gets stressful and you just want to come home and sit without SOMEONE needing SOMETHING from you for five minutes. By the time I walk in the door, it's time to get dinner going if we're going to eat before 8 o'clock at night. The strength to drag out the pans and get a healthy meal on the table began to elude me. The restaurants beckoned, with promises of quick, hot meals made by someone who is not me. While it is possible to eat primal at a lot of restaurants, you must be careful. I was not. This mama was tired. I don't always make the best choices when I'm exhausted.

It's hard when the weight isn't coming off as quickly as it was in the beginning. The scale no longer flashes those 3-5 lb. weight losses each week, and the novelty of the new lifestyle began to wear off. Knowing something is good for you doesn't make it easy. After working out and eating that salad while the people around you gnosh on pizza and burgers, you expect to see some numbers going down on that scale. When they don't, you begin to doubt the plan. Yourself. The purpose in skipping that double chocolate shake.

So you can see, life got hard and I got soft. I 'didn't have time' to eat healthy. I just 'couldn't' get to the gym because of the kids' events. I gained three pounds. I felt guilty. I was discouraged and depressed. I started to let it slip more and more, letting the nagging little voices in my head win. And then, I found this on Pinterest.

The truth of this smacked me right between the eyes. Yes, trying to change my lifestyle got hard. Planning and preparing seemed too difficult when I was tired. But what about being overweight?

It's hard when you know you can't even climb the stairs without sucking wind like a Hoover vacuum. Playing with your kids is not an option unless you're sitting your big butt in a chair and observing from a distance. Fun stuff.

It's hard having to pass by all the cute clothes in the fun stores on your way to the fat girl shops. Being in my thirties and having to dress like my grandma doesn't make me feel sexy.

It's hard to be a social person but dread being the fattest woman in the room so much you stay home to avoid the feelings of inadequacy. Seeing all the other women looking so put together and stylish, while I have two pairs of jeans that still button, kind of pokes a hole in my self-confidence. I isolate myself in self-defense.

It's hard to wonder if you'll fit into things like amusement park rides, airplane seats, and theater chairs. The embarrassment of having to step out of line or buy two tickets to accommodate your girth is enough to keep anyone behind the safety of their own door. Fortunately, I never reached this point, but it was on the horizon.

It's hard to feel so ugly and unlovable when you compare yourself to the pictures in magazines and women in movies. To hate what you've become and see the disappointment in your husband's eyes. How demoralizing to think he's with you because he loves you, and he's committed to you, but he's not attracted to you.

So you see, there is a choice here. I can jump back into the fray and fight like hell for the life I want or I can sit back and live in hell in the life I have. Neither is an easy way out. There's not a quick fix or an escape from the hard things. After several weeks of feeling ill and out of sorts, I made a choice. If it's going to be hard, I may as well go with the hard that pays off in the long run. I'm going with the hard that gets me somewhere better.

I'm back. I'm down 21 pounds, and I'm ready to keep going. Bring it.




Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Happy Pancake Day!

Did you know today was Pancake Day in the UK? They have an actual holiday for these delicious treats. I could really get behind a country like that. Pancakes for everyone!!! However, if you're a primal chick, pancakes of the usual type are not on the menu. Full of flour and sugar, these are forbidden fruit for us. Or are they?

We are huge fans of breakfast for dinner around here. Bacon, eggs, and pancakes made the menu more than once a month, due to them being fabooboo (C'mon, admit it. That word is growing on you.), as well as quick and easy for this tired mama to make. The thought of no more pancake nights really made me so very sad, and so I began to do some searching through all of the online paleo/primal recipes. Thankfully, there are a million different pancake versions out there. The following two are the ones we've tried that have been delicious and made everyone happy.

Coconut Flour Pancakes
Found here on the nourishing days website

Ingredients
4 eggs, room temperature
1 c coconut milk
2 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp honey
1/2 c coconut flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
coconut oil or butter for frying

Directions
1. Preheat the griddle to medium low heat. Beat eggs until frothy, about two minutes. Add milk, vanilla, and honey.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Then slowly add wet mixture until all the flour is incorporated.
3. Grease pan with coconut oil or butter. Ladle out batter into small pancakes, flattening them out with the back of the spoon. The key here is to keep the pancakes small, no larger than 3 inches in diameter, and fairly thick. Cook for about 3 minutes until the sides and top start to look a little dry, and flip. Cook an additional 2-3 minutes to finish.
4. Slather in butter, coconut oil, honey, or fruit.

These were so good. The coconut flour really does not carry much of a coconut flavor, so if that's not your favorite you'll still enjoy these. Flipping these takes a little practice, because they are a thicker batter. Keeping them small is very helpful. They tasted pretty much like a regular pancake, and the kids really enjoyed them. I could see adding shredded coconut and walnuts to them, and topping with banana. That would be delish. The last time, I threw some fresh blueberries into a pot with a tablespoon of honey and reduced them until they made their own sauce. This was heaven on a plate.

coconut flour pancakes

Almond Meal Pancakes
These are more like IHOP's harvest grain and nut pancakes. They're a little denser, with a chewier, nutty texture. Still an excellent pancake, but not my girls' favorite. It was a huge hit with That Man, who adores the harvest pancakes at the aforementioned breakfast place. That makes sense, seeing as I found it on a website called Real Men Drive Minivans.

Ingredients
1 1/2 c almond meal/flour
1/2 c coconut milk
4 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla OR almond extract
Blueberries or your favorite fresh fruit (optional)

Directions
Combine all ingredients, portion out onto a medium heat griddle greased with coconut oil or butter, cook until golden brown on each side. Again, this is about 2-3 minutes per side.

I put blueberries in them, and just topped it with butter. You could also mash up a ripe banana and add some chopped nuts to this batter. Banana bread pancakes! Really, there's a lot you can do with these.


almond meal blueberry pancakes

NOTE-Both of these recipes are low carb and delicious. However, if this is one of those slippery slope kinds of foods for you, be careful. You may find you've eaten six of them without coming up for air. Everything in moderation, even the healthy foods. That's the key.

So, there you are. If you were unaware of the fabulous holiday that is Pancake Day, you can celebrate it tomorrow. Or this weekend. Or whenever the mood strikes you. Do you really need a holiday to have pancakes?



Sunday, February 12, 2012

Weekly Recipes 4

I admit, I didn't do a lot of cooking this week. At least, not any earth-shattering, experimental cooking that had everybody gasping at my culinary expertise. Therefore, there aren't a lot of new recipes to post. I did make something for dinner tonight, though, that turned out really well. This is actually a twist on the fried chicken strips I made two weeks ago. Instead of almond meal, I used all the coconut products and then threw in the 5 spice on a whim.

Coconut Chicken Strips
Ingredients
2 c coconut flour
2 c unsweetened shredded coconut
3 eggs, beaten
Chinese 5 spice
coconut oil
3 lb. chicken tenderloins

Directions
Put chicken in a ziploc and add Chinese 5 spice. I think I added about 2 Tbsp. I know I said in my last post that I'm a bit OCD, but apparently it doesn't apply to cooking. I eyeball a lot of things like spices.
Mix the coconut flour and the shredded coconut together in a plate. Roll each strip in the mixture, dip in egg, and then roll in the coconut mixture again. Lay on wax paper to set for about ten minutes.
Heat about (again with the inexact measurements!) 3 Tbsp coconut oil in a nonstick pan at medium heat. When it's hot enough to fry, add strips to the pan. Cook 3-4 minutes per side and remove to a plate lined with paper towels.
During the cooking process, I had to add more coconut oil as the chicken soaked it up. Also, if your oil starts to get too dark, pour it out and wipe the pan. Add clean oil and begin again.
These had a great, coconutty flavor, and the Chinese 5 spice was fantastic. LOVE. Now, I have a burning desire to do this with shrimp.



I served the chicken strips with a sauce I created. I thought about coconut shrimp and the dips they serve them with in restaurants. That's all full of sugar, of course, but I began to put my mind to it. This is what I came up with.

Hot and Sweet Pineapple Sauce
Ingredients
2 c diced pineapple
1/2 green bell pepper
red pepper flakes
habanero Tabasco sauce
honey
salt and pepper to taste
Directions
I put the pineapple,bell pepper, salt, and pepper in the food processor and pureed it. I put in about a Tbsp of red pepper flakes, 1/4 c honey, and a tsp of habanero sauce. I mixed it and tasted it, and adjusted the heat and sweetness to taste. I honestly didn't measure, again, but kept working at it until it had a sweet taste with a good kick in the aftertaste. Paired with the coconut chicken, it really worked. The little kids wouldn't eat it, of course, but the rest of us loved it. I have plenty left over, and I think it'll be great with pork.


Other than that, I didn't do a lot of cooking. I have been adding different things to the famous egg muffins. Today I made some with sausage, mushroom, green peppers, and sharp cheddar. Then I made another batch with proscuitto, mushroom, spinach, and fresh mozzarella. Before you get amazed at the mad kitchen skillz, I have to tell you that egg muffins are about the easiest thing ever to make. Throw the meat in a pan, add some veggies, divide in the muffin pan with cheese, and put the beaten eggs on top. Bake 2o min. at 350F. Done. My oldest two have been helping me make them. It took about 30 minutes just to do 2 batches. By the way, I am in LOVE with my new silicone muffin pans. The muffins pop right out, and they're so pretty. I do like pretty food.




Week 6, In The Books

Brian and I had a meeting yesterday.  He thinks it does miracles to my attitude and self-esteem to fix my hair and put my makeup on.  Even if I am not leaving the house!  (Which seems like a waste to me.)  That I feel better about life in general and subsequently, I'm much more tolerable when I'm feeling better.  He's not actually saying he prefers it for himself because I'm an ugly pill, but he prefers it because it obviously affects my daily living, and makes me a happier individual.  Very interesting point.  I gave it its due consideration.  

In response to that, I can say that I felt like I was on top of the world on Wednesday, thinking I looked good, and knowing that the weight was coming off.  I was making Progress.    

Friday, I got my hair trimmed and got my contacts, which I have not worn since before I had Lily, 8 years ago.  I had somewhere to go on Friday afternoon, and I came home, since I didn't have any makeup on, and put it on.  Even eye makeup, which I never wear.  Because it's too much trouble and I didn't think the effort was worth it since the artistry (ha!) would be hidden behind my glasses.  But with no glasses, there were no excuses.  Dang.  Did y'all know I have big brown eyes?  

This week, my weight loss total is 20 pounds.  I feel great!  About myself, that is.  I'm nowhere near where I want to be, but I'm on my way.  At 20 pounds gone, I'm one-fifth the way there.  Wow.  That was uncomfortable to write.  But it's true.  Five more pounds gone, that's a quarter.  And to me, it calls for celebration.  Although on the advice of my very good friend, I'm going to wait to buy shoes.  I do want my feet to shrink to a 10M, but it doesn't have to be right away and I find some fabooboo shoes, I want them to be around for the long haul.  So I'm gonna wait a bit.  I'm not worried.  When you love shoes like I do, there's nothing to worry about.  There will be another cute pair around the corner in no time.

One of my friends commented recently that she feels like a "bi-polar Christian."  Some weeks she's real up and feeling great and some weeks she's down and can't seem to recover.  I can certainly relate.  I can relate in that area, and I can relate in this area, especially.  This week, I'm in my manic phase.  Even with having a hamburger (with the bun) and fries at Five Guys and some fried jalapenos (with ranch) with my steak and baked sweet potato at the Hofbrau.  I'm still feeling great.  I feel like I can live with the "lifestyle" and that it's not a diet.  I am making this work.  And I'm seeing the results.

So yay for me.  



  


Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Zen Art (and Insanity) of Weighing In

Georgia and I have been discussing this...ritual we go through with the scale each day. Equal parts science and crazy, we go through steps to make sure that scale remembers its job. Of course, if you remember Georgia's post, you know the only job of the scale is to Go Down. Sometimes it forgets this, resulting in meltdowns of epic proportions, especially when we have actually skipped the toasted sourdough bun on the burger and had salad instead of fries. Each of us go about the Weighing of the Bod in different ways, but both include lots of prayer and crossed fingers.

Georgia mentioned to me several weeks ago that when she wakes up, she's a bit swollen from being wrapped up in a cocoon of electric blankets and husband-created heat. Instead of jumping up and heading for the scale first thing, she waits until she's cold. I noticed that, since I share a bed with a human space heater as well, I was a bit puffy when I rolled out in the mornings. I also figured out that moving around a bit got my heart pumping and the blood flowing. Ah ha! New steps to add to the crazy ritual! Now it isn't unusual to see me doing squats or dancing around in front of the mirror while brushing my teeth.

I don't know about Georgia, but I don't want to know how much my clothes weigh. When I was a member of Weight Watchers, I had a "weigh in outfit". It consisted of the thinnest pair of yoga pants I could fit on my wide ass, a light weight t-shirt, and no shoes. Or jewelry. If it had been socially acceptable, I'd have gone without the bra, too. I'd step on the scale and exhale, as if the air in my lungs might add an extra ounce or two. While I am not measuring out food and counting points anymore, some habits die hard. And in the privacy of my own bathroom, I can step on that scale stripped down to nothing. Add that to the steps!

Finally, I want to make sure I'm only weighing me. I have to be as empty as possible. No eating or drinking before stepping on the scale. Restroom handled, breakfast postponed, I take my cold and active self to stand butt-naked on the scale. Lately, that piece of machinery has done what's expected, and Gone Down. This makes me very happy.

Now, before you decide to get all into the psychology of the crazy ritual, I should tell you that I KNOW it's insane. That all these little steps I take aren't really going to make me any thinner than I was when I woke up. I also know that the scale is not the true measurement of my success. These are the things I know in my head. My emotions, on the other hand, tell me otherwise. The difference in 0.2 and 0.6 pounds is huge to my stupid little mind. I want that scale to shoot fireworks and play music and drag out the parade for that extra two tenths of a pound. I'm always slightly offended when it doesn't.

So, each morning I wake up, take a shower, step out into the cold air and jump around a bit, dry my hair (wet hair weighs more), and step on the scale. It's nuts. But I do know a tiny bit about science. If you're conducting an experiment, you need to have a control situation. If I do everything the same exact way every day, the only thing that changes are those numbers on the scale. And my waistline. Which is the whole point.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Open Letter to My Feet

Hey guys!

I'm not sure you know it or not, but I'm sort of doing this weight loss thing up here, and to be honest, I'm really hoping it affects you.  In fact, specifically, I'd like it to affect you to about a 10M, if that's not too much trouble.  I'm completely willing to do my part.  I've already lost about 2 sizes on my body (out of the 7 I'm working toward) and while my, ahem, boobs aren't themselves getting smaller, my "around" is.  So I don't think that you folks doing your part is too much to ask, do you?  We're only talking about 1 size, and some width.      

You guys know the kind of relationship we've had over the years.  Kind of love-hate, if you know what I mean.  As you guys grew and grew, I kind of topped out on the shoe realm.  I was relegated to ugly black orthopedic shoes with Velcro and poorly made imitations of cute shoes that made large feet supporting beautiful, tall frames look even more Sasquatch-ish.  Which seemed kind of sadly ironic, given my specific interest in shoes.  Y'all know.  You guys know what it takes to support all this lusciousness.

I want to apologize for the Vanity Boots back in 1997.  You remember those great hiking boots from Beall's that summer?  I know they didn't exactly fit, but they were so cute I had to have them.  Even though they were a bit...snug.  I think we can let bygones be bygones, right?  Forgive and forget?

It's really imperative that you catch my meaning in all this.  You're gonna have to come along here.  I know there is  a price to pay, footwise, for gaining a lot of weight, and bringing all of these Little People into the world.  I understand.  But my Littlest Person is nearly 3 and I'm working a plan that is working.  And I'm really not the sort to threaten or issue ultimatums, although imagine my raised eyebrow as I explain this next part.

I'm 5.5 pounds from a major milestone, guys.  Call it my first identified goal.  And when I reach that milestone in 2-3 weeks, I'm going to reward myself with a pair of shoes.  Cute shoes.

Very Fabulous 25 Pound Reward Shoes

And I expect them to fit.  Y'all hear me?  Because shoes are kind of the carrot here, so to speak, for this whole endeavor.  I want to be able to wear heels without dying.  (Although in full disclosure, wearing sassy, fine shoes isn't exactly primal.  Call it my 20%.)

But I'm ordering them today.  So I'll have them.  And also because they're on sale, which makes these shoes dyn-o-mite.  I'm hoping we understand each other.  You know I love you guys and I have always loved you guys!  Years and years of monthly pedicures should demonstrate that.  Oh, and my desire to shod you in something respectable.

Let me know if you have any questions.  I expect after some consideration, you'll begin to see things my way.

Thanks for your time!

G!