Posted in affordable foods, Diet

Finance & Eating Right

I have to confess that I made a financial miscalculation in 2014 when I chose to buy a new car. Truthfully, I don’t know what I was thinking, except, that I needed a car. Well, it has my finances stretched pretty thin. It has been pretty difficult to pay all of my monthly bills and eat and do other things I need to get done.

If you don’t know, being able to afford the kinds of foods you need to eat right is a big deal. Some would argue that it cost less to eat right that it does to eat fast foods or junk food. Personally, I disagree. There are a lot of “convenient” “quick foods” you can buy in the grocery store that can be stretched a long way. You know the foods. They come in containers and boxes, and the ingredients lists are filled with things you can’t even pronounce. Pop them in the microwave or add hot water and you’re good to go. These foods are found in the inner aisles of the grocery store.

Being able to shop the outer aisles in the grocery store is a big deal. As you know the outer aisles usually are filled with the whole foods which are better for your health. They are the produce and meat and dairy sections. In other words fresh or fresh-ish food sections. These foods have not been processed or have ingredients you can’t pronounce added to them. Of course, there may be some poisons depending on whether or not we’re talking about non-organic or organically grown.

I figured out years ago that simply staying out of the inner aisles and away from “instant” or “processed” foods is enough to improve your health to some degree, even if you’re not shopping organic foods. Unfortunately, the inner aisles cost a lot less, not to mention quicker at home when it comes to preparing meals for your family. So to eat healthier cost just a little more.

Of course, you should, as much as you can, shop those outer aisles. Because I bought a new car in 2014 it has been increasingly difficult to shop those outer aisles. I purchased the car while I was in school as a retired veteran so I had a little extra income. So when I stopped going that income also stopped. I don’t need that much to ease things a little, but I do need something.

Well, I guess I said all of that to get to this point. Today, I begin training to drive a school bus for Berkeley County school district. Commercial driving is another skill I picked up when I got out of the Navy. Actually, I learned to drive large vehicles while in the Navy. I didn’t get a commercial license until I got out.

I have had driving jobs before. I like driving. I have had a spotless driving record since 2001. I am pretty good at it. Driving the school bus will give me enough extra income to get by with more ease and I will be able to continue to shop those outer aisles in the grocery store.

I have been doing the best that I can to eat right this year and it has been difficult. And sometimes I have had to eat those “convenient” foods. It will be much easier to support my chosen eating habit with a job.

So, wish me luck. I will keep you informed.

 

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Posted in Diet, family stuff

I Love To Eat!

That is part of the problem. I love to eat. When I get bored, eat. When I watch TV, eat. Go to the mall, eat. And then there is the whole breakfast, lunch, and dinner thing!

I think growing up in a family that loved to get together on Sundays to visit and eat dinner together was one of the greatest experiences on earth. And sometimes I think on a subconscious level that I am trying to recapture that feeling. I think we all do, especially if you had that kind of family.

Eating was always part of a good time. But families aren’t as tight as they used to be. In many ways they still are, but, somehow different. I am part of a family here where I live. I have my kids, friends, people at church, and it is great. They are all my family. But still, it is somehow different.

I can’t put my finger on what it is. Well, maybe I can. One thing that has changed in my life was the departure of my mother in 2013. Many of those nostalgic memories are times spent with her. I’m sure any of my siblings would say the same.

I think eating can be a way to try and recapture the past. And I guess I let it get out of control a lot. I have plenty of opportunities to eat and fellowship with my friends and family, and we have a great time together. But I can’t ever shake that feeling that I’m missing out, and I tend to use food to overcome.

That makes eating right a little harder. But for the past couple of weeks, I have remained faithful to my desired eating habit. Still, it is hard. Boredom still comes and I’m tempted to eat. I try to channel that into time with my saxophone practice and other things, like cleaning my house (I am seriously lacking in that area) and walking.

I love to eat! It just can’t be my number one thing. I’m sure the struggle will continue but I will not give up. The struggle is probably what keeps us alive. So, I’m living the life.

 

Posted in Health

Wow It Really Is Winter

It’s about 10:15 at night on January 3. I am just now feeling like this cold is letting go. My headache is finally gone. My nose has stopped running, and I don’t feel so miserable anymore. What a way to start the year.

Today the weather seemed relentless. The temperatures were consistently lower than 27º. Then it began to sleet. I was surprised. I didn’t think it would last long but it lasted most of the day. Before I knew it my little neighborhood looked very wintery.

 

IMG_0361I opened the door for the cat to go out. She ran out as usual onto the porch then took a giant leap to the ground trying to escape the white stuff. When she landed on the ground she froze for about 20 seconds. Then she slowly makes her way back into the house. I believe she thinks I’m responsible for the ice on the ground.

Of course, this isn’t even close to what’s happening in New York or Cannada. But for us here in the south, it’s a little bit of a big deal. Things tend to shut down around here when there is snow on the ground. We’re just not prepared for such weather. It looks pretty, but it’s got to go.

Anyway, this post is to say I am feeling better for the first time in days. Though, I am concerned what my electric bill will be, as I have had to run the heat quite a bit in the last few days. I have some cleaning to do. While not feeling well I have failed to straighten the place up. I believe our external existence reflects our inner existence.

Posted in Diet

Into The New Year

IMG_0298I am beginning the year with a very bad cold. It started with a very sore throat 3 days ago. Then last night, it just exploded into snot, phlegm, and stuffiness. I feel awful. Forgive the picture. I had trouble stopping the flow of yuck.

Last year, as far as eating healthy and sticking to an eating plan, I failed. That is not my plan this year. The plan is a simple one. It is the same as before; low carbs, high fat, and moderate protein.

It is the Ketogenic diet. It works well. It is easy. High carb foods are hard to resist though, almost like an addiction. Two years ago I managed to go a long time without cheating. I lost nearly 40 pounds. But I get bored sometimes. And when I get bored I start looking for a treat, a sweet treat. Not good if you are a baker.

I guess it will require a little discipline. Sometimes its like I don’t know the concept. Anyway, it has been a rough start. I’ll be glad when I get over this cold.

A new year and new challenges and hopes of new successes abound in 2018. I will keep you posted.

Posted in Favorite Recipes

Simple Holiday Turkey

Where would the holidays be without the turkey? I don’t know, but, I like a turkey during the holidays. Until a couple of years ago though, I had never oven roasted a turkey. I had deep fried a few, smoked a couple, but never oven roasted. So, here is a very simple, but delicious oven roasted turkey from FoodWishes.com with Chef John. I have used this one a couple of times and it is very easy and the turkey comes out perfect every time.

Ingredients:

12-24 pound turkey
seasoning salt: salt, black pepper, and cayenne
3 tbsp butter
4 sprigs of rosemary
1/2 bunch sage leaves
1 onion, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
1 celery rib, sliced

Watch video for directions

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Posted in Diet

End Of The Year Munchies

It is the last month of the year and I have not been able to stay the course. I have been off my diet since Thanksgiving, 2016. I laugh when I think about it. I started out kind of discouraged, but then I decided, I just don’t care anymore.

I went to the doctor yesterday to submit blood for my semi-annual testing. I suspect that the results won’t be favorable. So I’m not looking forward to seeing my doctor in a month.

Of course, like many people, I plan to renew my commitment to healthier living in the new year. It is really hard to remain faithful to healthy living during the holidays, at least it is for me. I’d rather enjoy myself and pick it up later.

I haven’t been to the gym at all this year either. So, at the beginning of the year, the gym, and diet, hard as it may be to get started, is going to happen. As I sit here thinking about it, the task seems daunting. The task being, to actually get started. Once I get started it’s not hard to keep going.

It is not as bad as it sounds though (to me). I like the challenge of being better, doing better, of succeeding. For now, besides playing the saxophone, the challenge of improving my health gives me something to do. I haven’t worked since 2010. That was the year I had back surgery. My life has not been the same since. It’s a discouraging thought, so I try not to think about it.

I’m not sure why I was not able to get hired initially in the years immediately following 2010, but, in 2017 I am quite sure that I can’t do anything that requires me standing for a full day. I have a commercial drivers license so I could drive for a living if I wanted to spend a crapload of hours on the freeway. Or, I could drive a bus, airport shuttle, school bus or something. I haven’t tried though. I’ve gotten used to it working.

I started playing the saxoph0ne again because it is not so physically taxing that I can’t do it. Whether I get to play it professionally again or not, I don’t know. But it is something I would like to do to make some extra money.

So I’m looking forward to a new year, and facing the challenges of life, good health, and simply living. As for this year, I’m done. During the holidays I will try not to overdo it too much. However, I intend to enjoy my self.

Until next year…

Posted in Favorite Recipes, food

Ginger Snap Pumpkin Cheesecake

We had a great Thanksgiving this year and lots of great food. The menu included two fried turkeys, a honey spiral ham, macaroni & cheese, sausage stuffing, corn, green bean casserole, and of course, desserts, which included this Ginger-Snap Pumpkin Cheesecake. I am told it was quite delicious. Of course, I tasted it my self, but, it is always good to hear feedback on a dessert you made yourself. My daughter contributed an Apple Pie, and Michele, another of our clan made the traditional Pumpkin Pie.

We had a great celebration. It’s always great to be with family on the holidays. I hope you enjoy this recipe. It’s sure to be a big hit at your next special occasion.

Ginger Snap Pumpkin Cheesecake

Ingredients:
12 ounces gingersnaps
1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
6 tablespoons salted butter, melted
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
Dash of kosher salt
Three 8-ounce packages cream cheese softened
One 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Salted Caramel Sauce:
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) salted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Whipped cream, for serving (I used canned whipped cream)
Chopped pecans, for serving

Directions:

For the pumpkin gingersnap cheesecake: In a food processor or blender, grind the gingersnaps until fine. Pour into a bowl and stir in the pecans, melted butter, brown sugar, and salt. Press into the bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

To make the filling, beat the cream cheese in a stand mixer until soft, scraping the sides once. Mix in the pumpkin, scraping the sides once or twice. Add the eggs 1 at a time, allowing them to mix in, then add the sour cream and mix. With the mixer on low, add the granulated sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg. Thoroughly scrape the bowl and mix to ensure everything is smooth and mixed in.

Pour the filling into the pan, smoothing the top. Set the pan on a baking sheet and bake until the filling is no longer soupy but still slightly jiggly, about 50 minutes. Turn off the oven, open the door just a hair and let the cheesecake sit in the oven for 15 more minutes. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool for 30 minutes, then cover it with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.

For the salted caramel sauce: Mix the brown sugar, heavy cream, butter, vanilla and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-low to medium heat. Cook, while whisking gently, until thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. Let cool, then refrigerate until needed. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Slice the cheesecake and top with the salted caramel sauce, whipped cream, and chopped pecans.

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Posted in Diet, goals, Health

Still Hanging On

belly barrow

It is and has been a slow process to try to get back on track with my diet. I know it will probably be even more difficult with the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays coming up, but I am determined. By the new year, I really want to be back on track with my diet & exercise, and feeling better.

Today when I got out of bed I did some stretching because I have been having more back pain than usual. I thought it might be because I had been gaining weight. However, on the scale, I had only gained a pound since the last time I weighed in. So, I suppose it is because I have not been exercising. During the winter months before summer, I had been walking every other day. So the exercise had been helping with the pain.

I need to be in shape anyway. Next summer I plan to audition for a gig onboard a cruise ship as a musician. They have a health standard just like the Navy, but not near as hard to meet. Not that the Navy’s standard was that difficult, but it did involve being able to meet some physical activity requirements. The cruise ship just wants to make sure I don’t fall over dead before my contract is finished.

I have, of course, been practicing the saxophone for about a year and a half. I think I will be ready by summer. I have also promised to play at my church at some point. I will keep my promise. And if possible, I would like to play with some of the musicians in the Charleston area; at least a jam session or something, or, maybe a solo gig in a restaurant or coffee shop.

Anyway, the bottom line is I will not give up. I have a plethora of reasons to keep at it, number one being my health. I’m only 54. I’m too young to quit. I will keep you all informed about the ship thing. For more about playing music, you can follow my music blog tonelovette.wordpress.com.

 

Posted in Diet

Blueberry Scones?

The other day I made blueberry scones. Now, I’m not supposed to be eating blueberry scones or any other kind of scones. This is my problem; I know how to bake. I can’t even blame this on my son. He’s already back at school. I told him about them and now he wants me to make some the next time he’s home.

Sometimes I just want to give up on this health thing. I haven’t lost or gained any weight. It is extremely frustrating. Frustrating because I have not lost any more weight. Frustrating because I am glad I haven’t gained. That’s not an accomplishment. I’ve just been lucky.

I keep saying I need to get serious about this thing yet, I keep breaking my diet. Even as I write this I am thinking if going into the kitchen and making more scones! I don’t know what to do. Obviously, it takes some amount of discipline to stay the course, but, I don’t seem to have it.

God, I’m not in the mood for this…