Wednesday, April 30, 2014

"i could do anything": meaningful work

It just occurred to me that I can't label my posts "exercise 1," "exercise 2," etc., because in each chapter the numbers start back a 1.  So, I'll write the name of the exercise.

This chapter is about trying to find out what's stopping me from figuring out what I want to do.  Being "stuck," in other words.  It talks about the difference between a "job" and "work."  Barbara Sher, the author, says a "job" just pays the rent, while "work" is something that feels worth doing.  It's meaningful in some way.  I'd say a better term for "work" would be "career."

The first exercise in the chapter tells me to write down what I think "meaningful work" is.  Then I'm supposed to write down the names of people whose lives seems especially significant and explain why.

Here we go.

Meaningful work:
  1. Makes me feel like I'm making a difference in the company
  2. Helping people understand and get the information they need
  3. Gets my blood flowing
  4. Makes me want to go to work
  5. Makes me feel like I'm invested in the company and that my work is helping to move the company forward
  6. Challenges me and stretches me
I don't get any of these from my current job, unfortunately.  This shows me, in black and white, that I'm in the wrong job.

Significant people:
  1. Former CEO of my old bank:  tried to make a difference in the community by providing something that was missing; serves as a deacon in his church
  2. My bariatric surgeon:  changing people's lives, restoring them to good health and raising their self esteem
  3. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, and Mother Theresa, for obvious reasons

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

sun-dried tomato and feta egg bites

I made these egg bites last night.  I didn't follow a recipe.  I just tossed some ingredients together.  They're good, but I think they need more feta cheese.  I didn't taste it really.  Needs more sun-dried tomatoes, too.  I guess that's what I get for just tossing it together all willy-nilly.

I used 5 eggs, tossed in about 3/4 cup of green onions, about 3/4 cup Mediterranean flavor feta cheese, about 1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil (drained), and some ground pepper.  I baked them for 20 minutes at 350.

Monday, April 28, 2014

homemade chicken fingers

Last night I made chicken fingers and, boy, were they good!  I just seasoned some flour with my new favorite seasoned salt, A.A. Borsari, and some pepper.  I dredged the tenders in the flour, dipped them in egg, then back into the flour.  Then I fried them in vegetable oil for a few minutes on each side.  I served them with Ken's Honey Mustard Dressing and Sweet Baby Ray's Barbecue Sauce, two of my favorites.  I was only able to eat 1 1/2 tenders; they were pretty big.

I just realized this looks like two eyes with eyebrows. LOL

I wish I were a cat

I wish I could be home doing this right now.  Max has the life!  Actually this is how I feel after having my lunch today.  My homemade chicken salad on some seeded crackers. Delicious!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

"i could do anything": exercise 1

As I mentioned earlier last week, I'm in a tough position:  I took the wrong job and I'm miserable.  What I thought I wanted, isn't what I want.  And I'm not sure how to figure out what I want.  But I know it's not what I'm doing now.

Last week I started reading a book, I Could Do Anything, if Only I Knew What it Was.  I'm reading it in order to help me figure out what I want to do next in terms of my career.  It has lots of exercises that are supposed to help me figure it all out, so I've decided I'm going to share my experience here on my blog.

Chapter 1 is all about the messages we receive from other people during childhood and how they shape us.  Those messages tell us who we're supposed to be and that's how people sometimes end up picking jobs or careers that make them unhappy.  Often those messages contradict each other.  For example, your mom might tell you that you shouldn't draw attention to yourself, but then goes on to always tell you how talented a dancer you are and you should perform in the Rockettes.

Exercise 1 says to write down a list of people that lived in my house during my childhood, my family, friends, and other important people in my life, such as a teacher or coach or spouse.  Anyone who had any impact on my life.  I then have to write down the message or messages I got from each person.  So here goes:
  • Parents:  I'm smart so I should be a brain surgeon; mom didn't like to argue and wouldn't, she was very patient; dad had a short temper, he was fun to be with so I always wanted to be with him, he knew mom was in charge; very supportive, never told me how to live my life
  • Siblings:  liked to tell me I was adopted because I got good grades and was smart; didn't seem to want to spend much time with me, probably because of the age gap
  • Former teacher:  don't worry about what people say about you, she liked to say, "consider the source."
  • Husband:  very supportive, never tells me I can't do something, man of few words, wants me to make more money so he can retire and be a house husband (actually, I wouldn't mind that!)
  • Friends:  always tell me I'm the normal one of the level-headed one.  I'm expected to always know what to do.  That's a lot of pressure.
  • Old boyfriend:  I have a pretty face, but need to work on the rest of me.
So, what did I get out of this?  Everyone always told me how smart I was (am) so I always wanted to prove them right.  I strove for not just good grades, but straight As, honor society, and Dean's List.  That carried over into my job.  I had to make sure I not only kept up, but got ahead, climbed the ladder fast, and got the praise and recognition.

a return to positive thinking

Something dawned on me this morning (HAHA get it??)...I've become a negative thinker over the last few months.

It didn't occur to me until this morning when I was contemplating getting out of bed.  Remember how I said we're looking to buy a house?  Bob and I have been talking about one particular house for weeks now.  We went to an open house last month and spent over an hour there, way more time than anyone else who came to see it.  We must have gone through the house at least four times.  We came away feeling kind of 50/50 on the house.  It's old.  Very old.  But over the last several weeks we just haven't been able to get it out of our minds.  So last night we made a list of the pros and cons.  Then this morning we both woke up and pretty much said, "This is the one."

So, anyway, when I was in bed this morning it suddenly occurred to me that I've become very negative lately, which I know is due to the fact that I took the wrong job and am miserable.  It's plaguing other areas of my life, like a disease.  Any time I think about hopefully getting the job I want or buying a new house, all I can think about is why I won't get that job or why we won't be able to buy the house (offer won't be accepted, house will have structural issues, can't sell ours, appraisal won't come out to enough to pay off the mortgage and we'll be stuck, no one will want to rent from us, etc.).  And that is very unlike me.  All my life I've been one to just make up my mind I'm going to do something and then I just go and do it.  Yes, I think about it and consider the pros and cons, but once my mind is made up it's all positive thoughts.  I'm always 100% convinced that X is going to happen and it does, pretty much without fail.  It never enters into my mind that I can't do something or I won't get the outcome I want.  It just won't happen.

I guess the point is, when I woke up this morning and decided I want that house, my positive thinking returned.  And my energy.  My body is positively humming with energy right now.  So much so that the amount of time it's taking me to type this is just agonizing, because I want to move onto the next thing.  I hate when things feel stagnant.  I want action and want things to move forward.  I've had enough of standing still, no matter what area of my life it is.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

today's breakfast

I've been looking for breakfast sausage that's different, lower in fat and calories, and higher in protein.  On my last trip to BJ's Wholesale, I found chicken sausage that seemed to fit the bill.  It's called Harvestland Maple and Apple Chicken Breakfast Sausage.  A serving is two links (57g).  Two very big links.  A serving has 100 calories, 5g fat, 3g carbs, and 11g protein.

I cooked them in the frying pan with some cooking spray, then I added a little water and put the lid on for a few minutes.  Then I took them out and used the same pan to fry my egg.

I was able to finish the meal, mainly because I fried the egg rather than scrambling it.  I find a runny yolk takes up less room in my stomach.

I wasn't thrilled with this sausage.  They cooked up well and had a good texture.  I like the size of the links and the nutritional stats, but the flavor was too fake-maple-y.  All I could taste was maple and not the chicken or the apple. This isn't something I would buy again.  Maybe if it was just chicken and apple flavor, I would.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

working on me

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I'm unhappy with my new job.  Mostly I'm unhappy because I took the wrong job.  I discovered only a week into it that I just don't want to do this kind of work anymore.  Actually, I knew on the first day when I pulled into the parking lot.  I had an overwhelming gut feeling that I was in the wrong place, and actually said it out loud before I even turned the engine off.  But I ignored it, figuring it was just nerves and told myself to give things a chance.  After all, I was in one place for 17 years.  After 2 1/2 weeks, though, I knew it wasn't just nerves.  I couldn't shake the feeling that I'd made a horrible mistake. So, I contacted the other company that I turned down twice for different jobs.  Unfortunately, I couldn't get in there.  There's still hope, and I won't know for sure for another month or so, but now I'm worried about what I'll do if I can't get that job.

At almost 40 years old, I'm struggling with what I want to be "when I grow up."  I never thought I'd be in this position at this stage of my life.  I thought I'd be at my old job forever.  Naive, I know.  I do know I don't want to do a lot of what I did at my last job.  I was a Jill-of-all-trades there, which meant I had tons to do and was involved in everything.  I always bitched and moaned that I couldn't "get anything done because of this or because of that," or "if only I didn't have to do X then I would be able to devote more time to Y," etc. I thought I wanted to be focused in one area and not have to deal with all the other garbage.  Turns out I love the garbage.  And the diversity and independence I had.  The things I thought were a royal pain in the ass at the time turned out to be the things that made the other half of the job, the half that required documentation and lots of attention to detail, tolerable.

I've been stressing out quite a bit, trying to figure out what kind of job I'll look for if I don't get into the company I want to get into.  In order to try and figure it out, I bought a self-help book I saw mentioned on a blog I read, I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was, by Barbara Sher.  I've started reading it and I like so far.  There are lots of exercises to do.  Then it dawned on me today:  I'll blog about the book and the exercises.  I figure it will help me get through the book (I've never yet finished a self-help book) and it will provide some entertainment to whoever is reading this blog.  I'll start posting about it this week.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

cannoli creme-filled strawberries

Happy Easter!

Today I'm headed to my sister's house for Easter dinner, then over to my sister-in-laws for another meal.  I asked my sister if I should bring something and she said to bring something I can eat for dessert.  Since I seem to have lost my sweet tooth, I decided I wouldn't bring anything at all.  But then I saw a recipe for strawberries filled with cannoli-flavored creme (here).  Since there's no added sugar, and I had a whole tub of ricotta in the fridge, I figured I'd make it to bring today.

I changed the recipe a little.  I find the Torani SF syrups to be a little too sweet sometimes, so I used 3/4 tsp of bourbon vanilla extract and 1.5 packets of Splenda instead.  Besides, why not use real vanilla?  I also doubled the ricotta,.because it looked like I had more the 12 strawberries in the package.  This is really something you can adjust to your own tastes.  I like a strong vanilla flavor, but if you don't just drop the vanilla down to 1/2 tsp.  And if it's too sweet, drop the Splenda down to 1 packet.

Cannoli Creme-filled Strawberries

24 large ripe strawberries, washed & cored
1 cup ricotta cheese
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 packets of Splenda
a few dashes of cinnamon

Toppings for dipping (optional):
unsweetened coconut
chocolate chips or grated chocolate
chopped nuts

Wash and core strawberries.  Set aside. If the strawberries are very juicy, put them upside down on a paper towel so they can drain a little.

Mix the ricotta, vanilla, Splenda, and cinnamon together.

Spoon mixture into a Ziploc bag and seal (or use a cake decorating bag fitted with a star tip, if you have that).

Cut end off the plastic bag and pipe the mixture into the strawberries. Dip into optional toppings.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

mid-afternoon sunbath

The kitties are loving this gorgeous weather this weekend.  It's 62 and sunny.  Most of them are on the porch, but Max and Louise are hanging out in the kitchen windows.  Bailey came by later, too.

sausage pancake bites

Normally on the weekends I have a fried egg and a veggie sausage patty for breakfast, but I decided to break out of the rut and make some sausage pancake bites.

Awhile back I bought some low carb baking mix (Bob's Red Mill brand), since I've seen lots of bariatric-friendly recipes I want to try.  One of those recipes is the sausage pancake bites, which I saw on this blog.  The recipe calls for pancake mix, but I figured the low carb baking mix would probably work.  For the sausage I used lite breakfast sausage, but I think any kind would work.

So I mixed them up, baked them for 15 minutes, and breakfast was served.  They were good, but were a little more dense than I thought they would be.  I think it's because I used the baking mix instead of pancake mix.  Next time I will buy some pancake mix, preferably low carb if it exists.

There are three on the plate, but I went in for a fourth.  Even though they were dense, I didn't feel as full as when I eat eggs and sausage.  I served sugar-free pancake syrup on the side.

Sausage Pancake Bites

Makes 24
1 bite contains:  32 calories; 1g fat; 3g carbs, and 3g protein

1 cup pancake mix, dry (I used low carb baking mix)
2/3 cup milk (I used skim, but any milk would work)
1/2 cup Torani Sugar Free Caramel Syrup
6 links cooked lite breakfast sausage, chopped (I used Banquet Lite Original)

Preheat the oven to 350.  Spray a 24 cup mini muffin tin with butter flavored cooking spray

Mix pancake mix, milk, and syrup together until completely combined. Spoon the batter into the mini muffin tin. Fill about 3/4 of the way up.

Sprinkle the breakfast sausage over each cup.  You can push it down a little so it bakes into the batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 14 minutes or until lightly browned.  Eat straight from the pan or cool on a rack if using later.

Here's the recipe I adapted, which makes 12:  Sausage Pancake Bites

Friday, April 18, 2014

tonight's dinner: weight watchers chicken santa fe

Tonight I'm dining solo so I decided to make something convenient:  a frozen dinner a.k.a. TV dinner.

I wasn't one for eating frozen dinners much prior to surgery, and this is only my second one since then  Most of them are loaded with salt, the portions are generally tiny (they seem so much bigger now), and they skimp on the meat big time.  And what little meat is in them is usually mushy and "chopped, formed, pressed..."
Not to mention the cost.  Some can cost more than $5.00, which is crazy.

Even though I don't really eat these meals much, I decided to buy a few awhile back.  I bought a couple Weight Watchers Smart Ones (less than $2.00 a piece on sale) that don't contain any pasta or potatoes, and some Atkins dinners.  I wanted something convenient and easy to bring to work, but since I've made so many damn egg bites in the last month, the dinners have been sitting in the deep freezer.  

I couldn't face yet another egg bite so I nuked a Weight Watchers dinner.  This one was Chicken Santa Fe. It had chicken breast chunks in a tomato-based sauce with peppers, onions, zucchini, and black beans.  It looked very soupy when I was heating it up, but it came together a little better once it was done heating and I let it sit for a couple minutes.  It was still a stew consistency, though.  

As you can see, it was small; the whole meal fit inside my small bowl (this isn't a cereal bowl).  I highly doubt someone dieting would get full from this meal.  Although, it was the perfect size for me, post-op. I was able to finish about 3/4 of it, including all of the chicken.

It was pretty good and I might buy it again, but it would have to be on sale.  I wouldn't pay full price for it.

clothes that fit!

Me, wearing a shirt I bought (on clearance!) over the weekend.  It's smaller and it fits.  And it's got sparkly things. :)

It's getting to the point where my old shirts just hang off me and I'm looking kind of dumpy.  When I'm sitting on the couch my old shirts hang off my shoulders.  Bob usually just looks at me and shakes his head.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

tonight's dinner: szechuan beefless strips

Awhile back I had bought some meatless entrees.  Among them was a bag of Gardein Sizzling Szechuan Beefless Strips.

I cooked it according to the instructions, which was to put the strips in the oven or toaster oven.  I can see why the oven is the recommended method; the strips were nice and crispy when they came out (there's some sort of breading on them.  I microwaved the sauce separately. The meal took about 20 minutes to prepare from start to finish.

At first I wasn't too thrilled with the sauce, but as I ate more the taste improved.  The strips were nice and crispy, but I wouldn't call them "strips;"  I'd call them "nuggets."  The overall flavor of the dish was good. But the serving size didn't really fill me.  I could have used maybe one or two more pieces of "beef."

When I bought this product, I didn't look at the carb content.  It's a little high for me right now (22g carbs for one serving of strips plus 1 TB sauce).  I don't think I'll buy this again until I move into weight maintenance.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

upcoming fundraisers for the Stratford Cat Project

The Stratford Cat Project is holding a "Dine for the Cause" at Chicago Uno's Grill in Milford on April 24.  If you bring a special coupon (below), a percentage of your bill will go to the Stratford Cat Project.  Also, it's time for our HUGE semi-annual tag sale, which will be held on May 10.  See below for details on both.

"Dear Friends and Supporters:   Spring is finally here and so is kitten season.  As you can imagine, we are getting inundated with pleas for help for so many situations, and our vet/food bills for our current kitties, as well as those we will be taking in, are rapidly mounting.    SCP  is excited to announce two upcoming fundraisers that will hopefully allow us to help as many of our fur friends as possible:

Please join us on April 24 from noon until closing at Chicago Uno's Grill, 1061 Boston Post Road, Milford, for a fundraiser to support Riley's Second Chance Fund, a special fund to support kitties with extraordinary medical needs.  Please have lunch, dinner, bar or takeout, and a portion of your check will be donated to SCP.  A coupon must be presented to your server. Coupons were mailed with the newsletter (hard copy and e-mail,) are posted on Facebook, and are attached here.  This year we are primarily raising funds for Linus, a beautiful kitty who was found as a stray in Bridgeport.  Sadly, Linus suffered some kind of trauma to his eye.  Poor Linus cannot close his eye due to the buildup of scar tissue and a missing portion of his eyelid.  Sweet Linus's condition is painful, and it can also cause chronic corneal irritation and ulceration. Linus's surgery is scheduled for 4/24, and even with discounted vet services, we estimate his vet bills to be around $1,500.   Please help us help Linus!!!  Spread the word and coupons!!!  We will also gratefully accept donations of canned Friskies or Fancy Feast food at this event. 

Our May fundraiser is our annual Spring Tag Sale, scheduled for May 10 at 1473 Nichols Avenue in Stratford (rain date 5/31.)  Time to clean out those closets!!!  We really need items to sell!     We will gratefully accept donations of new or nearly new items (household, kitchen, pocketbooks, accessories, garden, home decor, "gifty" items) for the sale.  Due to storage and other issues, we can only accept fiction books, smaller furniture items, brand new clothes, etc.  We will be setting up and having a preview sale on Friday, May 9, with the sale on Saturday, May 10 from 9-4. Donations may be dropped off after April 15 at 85 Champion Terrace or on the day before the sale (May 9)  at the tag sale site.    Please come out and see us and find your special treasure. 

As always, SCP thanks you from the bottom of our hearts.  We simply could not do what we do without you."

Monday, April 14, 2014

tonight's dinner: a real burger!

Tonight I made a real hamburger.  No frozen patties or veggie burgers.  Just ground beef.  I've been craving a real burger for awhile now, and I finally made one.

I formed a 4 oz patty and fried it with cooking spray until medium-rare.  I then added my leftover sauteed mushrooms from the steak dinner I had a few nights ago.  I topped off the burger with some sliced cheddar and served it bunless with mayo and ketchup on the side.

It was so yummy!  Although, next time I will put the mushrooms in a separate pan.  The oil and butter from them made the burger a little greasy.

The burger is about 3 oz. after being cooked.  I was able to finish about 90% of the burger and a few of the mushrooms.  There's not much room in the new tummy yet so I have to be discriminate about what I eat first, and that's always going to be the meat a.k.a. protein.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

tonight's dinner

Tonight I made Shepherd's Pie.  This isn't the ground beef, creamed corn, and mashed potato concoction of your youth, though.  This is so much better!I don't remember where I got the recipe, but I've had it for a few years.  (See recipe below.) I probably got it from

After trying this recipe, I will never go back to using creamed corn and plain ground beef.  It's a mixture of peas, carrots, onions and ground beef simmered with tomato paste, beef broth and Worcestershire sauce. Then  it's topped with cheesy mashed potatoes.  Although, I usually make regular mashed potatoes and add the cheese on top when I bake it.  If you don't feel like making a batch of mashed potatoes you can use the flavored instant potatoes.  They work well, too.

The finished product.

My portion.  I wasn't able to finish it.

Shepherd’s Pie

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced (I omitted this)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 pounds lean ground beef or lamb (I used beef)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup beef stock
1 1/2 cups peas
Cheesy Mashed Potatoes, recipe follows

Preheat oven at 400 degrees F.

Add butter and oil to a large skillet on medium heat. Saute onions, carrots, celery and garlic until tender for about 7 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Once the vegetables have softened and start to brown a little add the tomato paste and mix evenly. Add the ground beef and cook until beef is no longer pink about 10 minutes. Add the Worcestershire sauce and beef stock. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook and simmer for another 10 minutes. Mix in peas. Transfer mixture to an oven-proof baking dish and spread evenly. Place potato on top of ground beef mixture and spread out evenly, once the top surface has been covered, rake through with a fork so that there are peaks that will brown nicely. Place the dish into the preheated oven and cook until browned about 20 minutes. Spoon out the shepherd's pie and serve.

Mashed Potatoes
4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, quartered
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup heavy cream (I used 2% milk)
1 cup grated mature white Cheddar (I used shredded cheddar and didn't mix it in)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Fill a large saucepan with cold water and a tablespoon of salt. Add potatoes to the water and bring to a boil. Let potatoes cook until soft about 20 minutes. Once the potatoes are at a desired density, drain the potatoes and place them back into the saucepan for mashing. Add butter and cream and begin to mash potatoes into a semi smooth consistency. Once at desired texture add cheese and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

breakfast pizza today

On most weekdays I eat egg bites or Greek yogurt with granola and on the weekends I make one fried egg with a veggie sausage patty.  I decided to be different today so I made a breakfast pizza.

I toasted half of a Flatout Foldit flatbread and then put one scrambled egg on top, along with one chopped turkey breakfast sausage and a few chunks of herbed goat cheese.  Then I put it back in the toaster oven for a couple minutes to melt the cheese.


I was able to eat a little more than 3/4 of it.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

my first steak dinner!!

Tonight I decided to have my first piece of steak since my surgery.  I haven't had steak since the beginning of December and that's a real feat for me.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE steak!  I would choose steak over most foods, with the exception of maybe bagels.

Whenever I eat steak at home I make strip steaks.  (And, believe it or not, I get them at Aldi.  For some reason their strip steaks are so tender and flavorful.  Reasonably priced, too.)  When I eat out it's either a strip or prime rib.  Once in a great while I'll eat ribeye, but I find it to be a little too rich.  But my nutritionist said filet mignon is better for WLS patients, because it's much easier to chew thoroughly and goes down easier.  So, I splurged and bought some filet a couple weeks back.  I figured I would try that first and then work my way up.  I'm not a big fan of filet, though; it just doesn't have the "steak" flavor I like.  But tonight I went with the strip steak.  Given that I had both the strip and the filet in the freezer, I just couldn't resist the allure of the strip steak:  the thickness, the light marbling, and that nice ring of fat around the outside.  (My favorite part is when I burn the fatty edges on the grill.  YUM!  Yes, I'm my father's daughter.)

Normally I don't put anything on my steak except salt and pepper.  I believe good steak doesn't need any seasoning to make it taste better; however, I decided to use a meat rub (A.A. Borsari Seasoned Salt), which I bought at Whole Foods last month.  I'd heard it was really good so I figured I'd try it out.  It said to rub the meat with olive oil and then rub the seasoning in.  I then put it on the grill.  On the side I made sauteed mushrooms (for me; Bob is a mushroom-hater), baked potatoes, and buttered corn.

To sum up my first steak dinner since December in one word:  HEAVEN!  I was on cloud nine when I bit into that steak.  I can't even describe the utter joy I felt.  So juicy and tender.  I just sat there, savoring every chew.  And the steak rub made it even better.  It was delicious and I would definitely use it again.  The mushrooms were great.  I sauteed them in olive oil with some salt and pepper, and then added a little butter and Worcestershire sauce at the end.   The baked potato was good, too.  Just better, salt, and pepper. Normally I put french onion dip on my baked potatoes, but I didn't have any.  (Yes, that sounds weird, but it's great!  It's like having seasoned sour cream on your potato.)

So, here's my dinner:  2 oz. steak, a little over 1 oz of mushrooms, and 1/2 a baked potato (3.5 oz) with butter.  And I was able to eat 95% of it.  Obviously, the steak went first.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

tonight's dinner

Tonight I decided to have a Morningstar Farms Grillers Prime veggie burger.  Actually, half of a burger.

Rather than having it on a plate with no roll, this time I put it on half of a flatbread.  The store has these things called Flatout Foldit.  It's artisan flatbread that is basically two small, round flatbreads joined in the middle (looks like a figure 8).  You just fold one side over the other to make a sandwich.  I bought the 5 Grain Flax flavor.  Each Foldit has only 90 calories, 2.5g fat, 15g carbs, 7g fiber and 7g protein.

Since I was only having half a burger, I only used half of the Foldit, which I toasted.  I microwaved the burger, which made it more like a burger to me this time.  Last time I didn't care for the crispiness of the burger when I fried it in the pan.  I put a slice of American cheese on it along with a little mayo (Hellmann's, of course) and some ketchup.

It was tiny, but it did the job.  And I liked it much better this time and felt like I was eating something as opposed to feeling like I was eating diet food.  I think from now on I will microwave the veggie burgers; I like the texture better.

weekend wrap-up

This weekend I made a batch of Mexican egg bites, egg cups with a new flavor of goat cheese (yes, half-priced!), some egg cups for the hubby, and some sausage and cheddar egg bites.  I need to cut back on making them; I'm running out of room in the freezer.  Not to mention I have a lunch meat drawer that's almost exclusively cheese, because I keep snagging the half-priced goat cheese at Big Y.

Yesterday I talked about us wanting to sell the house and move.  We've been looking around at open houses to see what's out there and it's been keeping our weekends busy.  Sunday we went to an open house for a home that was built in 1735.  The house was big and it was very well-maintained.  There was some damage to a few of the ceilings from a leaky roof, but the roof was replaced late last year.  Some of the wall paper was peeling, also.  And the kitchen was tiny.  Minuscule.  But it was interesting to see the original flood boards, which were beautiful and still had the original nails.  The basement had a room that was used to hide from the Indians and we couldn't fully stand up because the ceiling was so low.  We could see that the house was supported by split logs.  Actual tree trunks!  The property was what really appealed to me:  a stream with a covered bridge (!!), a barn, a two-car garage, and about 1.4 level acres.  And it was quiet.  I could hear the stream babbling and the crickets chirping nearby.

Although we like the house and LOVED the property, we probably won't go for it.  It takes money to maintain a house that old in the way that it should be maintained.  I worry that any project we do will be a giant headache and cost tons of money.  We noticed at least three different kinds of electrical cable and three different kinds of piping.  And also the pipes in the basement were wrapped with asbestos.  Fine if you leave it alone, but if we ever had to replace the pipes we would need asbestos remediation, which is expensive.

After that we stopped for dinner and then went to the Chef's Equipment store in Orange so I could buy a mini doughnut pan for making protein doughnuts.

Monday, April 7, 2014

the stress is building

I am someone who adapts very well to change; however, I'm learning that I really hate uncertainty.  I need to have a clear idea in mind as to what I want and how I'm going to make it happen.  When I don't have a clear plan, or my plan depends on things that aren't under my control, it's very stressful and I generally feel like life is horrible.  I know; I'm being a drama queen.

Things have been a little stressful lately.  We're in the beginning stages of trying to sell our house; I dread going to work everyday and regret taking this job; and I'm now facing the reality that if the other job doesn't come through, I really don't know what I want to be when I grow up.

We've been wanting to move for at least five years.  The neighborhood is going downhill and we're surrounded by small businesses.  For the most part, the businesses don't bother us; however, one of the businesses is quite busy and frequently there are delivery trucks lined up outside the house.  They block the driveway, leave their engine idling, are usually noisy, and sometimes the driver actually just parks in the middle of the street and goes to hangout in the building.  Also, we want more space.  Even though we have a fair amount of space, it's just not a good layout so it feels smaller.

Unfortunately, we didn't decide we wanted to move until after the housing market plummeted, which means we're possibly upside down in our mortgage.  We're getting an appraisal soon and plan to approach the businesses on either side to see if they want to buy.  Both are interested in expanding so we have a good shot.  If we can't sell to them then we will have to put the house on the market.  That's fine, but it could take a long time given our location.  I really don't want to rent the house out because that lowers the amount we can spend on a new house.  Plus, I just don't want to be a landlord to strangers.

In terms of work, I dread everyday I have to get up and go.  I chose the wrong job.  During the time I was unemployed after my previous bank closed, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what I wanted to do next (I was previously a "Jill-of-all-trades").  I thought I had it figured out, and was 100% convinced I did, but about a week and a half after I started the new job it dawned on me that I chose the wrong job; I should have chosen the job that was offered to me by another bank the day before I accepted this offer.  Actually, my gut knew before I did.  The first day when I drove up in the parking lot, I got this overwhelming feeling that I was in the wrong place.  I dismissed it, though, thinking it was panic at starting a new job after 17 years in the same place.  It's not like me to not listen to my gut, or to weigh the options and think it through.  So now I'm stuck in a job I'm unhappy in.  So, I go to work, do my 8 hours, and come home.  And I'm miserable.  

I contacted the other bank, but there's a hold on hiring at the moment.  We may speak next month, though, so there's still hope.  However, if that falls through I am faced with having to figure out what kinds of jobs to apply for.  I haven't a clue.  I actually bought a book that should help me so I'm in the process of reading that.  I never thought I'd be asking myself, "What do I want to be when I grow up?"

So, that's my life lately.  In terms of eating, I'm handling the stress well.  I'm not overeating or grazing.  I'm not eating any junk.  Prior to surgery I would have stopped at McDonald's and ordered a Big Mac value meal and chicken mcnuggets.  Then a little while later I would probably have a pint of Ben & Jerry's. Someday I'll be brave enough to post a sample pre-surgery menu.  A "day in the life," if you will.  But I'm not there yet.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

breakfast experiment: refrigerator oats

I've been meaning to post this and kept forgetting.  During the Cooking Cure challenge I tried a recipe for refrigerator oats.  Basically you take steel-cut oats and put them in a jar or container with some milk and add your flavorings.  Then you seal the container and put in the fridge overnight.  In the morning you get a consistency of chewy GrapeNuts cereal.  Very, very chewy.

For my recipe I used 1/3 cup of steel-cut oats, 2/3 cup of skim milk, a few dashes of cinnamon, and some raisins.  I let it soak for about 24 hours or so.

I didn't care for this method of making oatmeal.  I found it to be way too chewy and all the chewing just diminished the flavor.  If I were to have oatmeal in the future, I would use the steel-cut oats, but would make them in the crockpot over night.

breakfast today

Today's breakfast was one fried egg and a Morningstar Farms veggie sausage patty.  I've started frying my eggs (in cooking spray, of course), because runny yolk doesn't take up any additional room in my stomach, which means I'm able to add a sausage patty.  If I were to scramble the egg I would only be able to eat the egg and nothing else, because the cooked yolk makes it more bulky.

Today I've added a pic of Bob's breakfast so you can see what I used to eat, versus what I eat now.  And I feel just as full.  He had three scrambled eggs with sausage and cheddar, cinnamon toast, and hash.  It was supposed to be an omelet, but it didn't hold together today for some reason.  His is a full-sized dinner plate and mine is a salad plate.  They look like they're the same size, because I zoomed in a little on mine.

Bob's breakfast.

My breakfast.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

another dinner that wasn't

I was so excited to get propane for the grill so I could start grilling again.  I had some turkey kielbasa in the fridge so I decided to throw that on the grill.  I prefer the kielbasa from the Polish meat market, but I bought the turkey kielbasa at the grocery store since it's lower in fat.  Plus, I don't usually make that trip to the meat market until Easter time.  So I grilled it and heated up some baked beans (Bob's idea, not mine).

I didn't care for the kielbasa at all.  I don't know.  It just didn't taste that great.  Maybe it was the brand.  If I buy kielbasa at the grocery store I usually buy Hillshire Farms turkey kielbasa or I get Hummel.  (Hummel is pretty close to the real thing.)  This time I bought Butterball.  And baked beans were never a favorite of mine anyway.

It could also be that my tastes have changed.  I don't generally eat anything greasy or overly salty anymore. And when I do have something like that, I feel crappy afterwards. Like I ate a greasy cheeseburger.  That's helped to keep me on track.  Last night I made homemade popcorn and it was too salty and greasy to me.  I dumped it and ate some almonds instead.  (By the way, Blue Diamond Bold Salt & Vinegar Almonds are delicious!!  Thanks to my good friend Erica, who introduced me to these! She created a monster.)

Another possible reason I didn't care for my dinner was maybe, maybe because I sampled a lot of freshly baked egg bites this afternoon. ;)

Here's my dinner, most of which still remains.   This is 1 1/4 oz. kielbasa and less than 1/4 cup of baked beans.  I ate half the beans and the two smaller pieces of kielbasa.

Maybe I should start a series called, "Sad Post-op Dinners" or "Dinners that sucked."

Thursday, April 3, 2014

the dinner that wasn't

This was supposed to be my dinner tonight:

They're bacon and cheese stuffed mushrooms that I bought at the grocery store last night.  I bought them because 2 caps have a total of 23g protein.  Plus, they're already prepared; I just had to bake them.  But they weren't very good so I ate the cheese and then I tossed them.  I had some leftover Crockpot Southwest Chicken instead.  I wasn't really feeling that either, but it filled the void.  Tonight was one of those nights where I just wasn't in the mood for anything in particular.  I should have just popped open a container of Greek yogurt and been done with it, but that was breakfast and I'm trying not to get into a rut.