Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Poolside Gourmet

My mom and I have decided to get together once a week and have dinner together. The caveat is that the meals must include new, healthy recipes. My dad is resistant to trying new things (especially "diet" food) and I enjoy cooking with someone else rather for everyone else once in a while, so we chose Thursdays as Dad has a standing social engagement and my family is relatively low need that evening as well.

Last week was the first time we managed to actually get together and it was quite fun. We selected a menu that required grilling so there were a couple of additional challenges. Nobody singed any eyebrows and the food was reasonably tasty, so the evening was considered a success

Portabella Mushroom Burgers: I love Portabella mushrooms and have had some fantastic ones at restaurants. Our version needs work. The garlic was WAY to strong. These will need to revisited with an adjusted recipe.

Creole Zucchini: Mom found this recipe in a bank newsletter. It originally called for 14 points worth of oil!! We eliminated the oil all together and it was fantastic--and only about 2 points per serving!! I ate the leftovers the next day for lunch. Next time, I would add a bit of olive oil though, just because I seldom get my healthy oils in. I would be willing to add point for that.

Grilled Peaches: Yummy, with a lot of potential. My dissatisfaction was more a result of my lack of experience grilling. I now know what I need to do differently. Our recipe called for a bit of honey and almonds which made it a very nice dessert.

The entire menu would have been 8 points.  Nice!  Not sure what this weeks menu includes yet--as hot as it is, it needs to be something very cooling!

If only....

At my WW meeting a couple of weeks ago, the  topic was "if only"   You know you could lose weight "if only...."  My group turned out to be  a decidedly practical group so the conversation was very useful and productive.  One conversation has stuck with me though.

I could lose weight "if only" I didn't have to cook for my family.  Seriously, trying to feed a family of five given budget, time and preference constraints is challenging enough.  Toss in nutrition and points and the task sometimes seems overwhelming.

Another member commented that I was wrong.  I should just cook for myself and tell my family to fix their own darn meals if they didn't like it.  Wow.  Talk about an attitude that did not resonate.  I truly believe that I need to get my entire family on board for so many reasons.

First, I need this to be a normal way of life.  I refuse to go on another diet, which is why I chose Weight Watchers program this time around.  It is the best program I have found that is nutritionally sound and designed to function int he real world.  Seriously, I can handle just about any situation with a little planning, creativity and self control.  I have not felt deprived since I started December 1.  Not to say I have been "perfect" every day, but  I am making conscious choices and am eating  nutritionally soundly for the first time ever!  Making separate meals would make this a diet.  I'm simply not going there.

Secondly, my husband needs to lose weight.  This is becoming a serious issue.  I am truly afraid he will drop dead someday sooner rather than later and I will be up a creek.  To add insult to injury, he is very high risk insurance wise so when he does keel over I will be in deep financially as well.  I love this man terrifically yet find myself distancing from him because I am afraid.  All this to say that he will benefit from healthier meals as well.

And of course my children--their gene pool does not include a high metabolism.  They  need to learn NOW how to eat properly and make appropriate food choices.  Cooking only for me, telling them to fix their own meals not only fails to  nurture and teach  on a practical level but  undermines the entire essence of family for me  

So, how to please everybody?  I don't.
  • I  ask for meal suggestions from the family and include them in the planning.  IF someone suggest spaghetti and garlic bread, we talk about how that is  a difficult choice for me and brainstorm ways to meet their desire and my needs (have it on a night I am out, include a large salad, have someone dish my plate for me).
  • We find solutions that fit everybody.  If they want to go out for ice cream and I want to come along, we might go for a walk first, then stop at the shore that sells frozen bananas in addition to ice cream.
  • We look up new recipes to try and take field trips to a local market and try new fruits and vegetable
  • We label foods--green foods on those that are "mine"; and I write the points value on most bags and boxes that enter the house.
  • I talk about my successes (they love to see my bravo stickers and other awards) and my frustrations. 
Apparently this conversation stuck with my fellow member also.  She has brought it up each time I have seen her.  I try to respond in a friendly, non-confrontational manner.  I figure even if she never hears me, someone sitting next to us might be able to use something I say.

One little thing I check the Weight Watchers recipe of the day and bookmark the ones that sound interesting.  I try to make at least one new recipe a week.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

One LIttle Thing

Gosh, I  am so embarrassed I have let my blogging slip by the wayside.  Seems like I frequently compose posts in my mind but now that I am sleeping (Yay to Mark's C-PAP!) I don't take the time to type them out.

So...... about 6 months ago I decided it was time to shed some physical weight as well as emotional baggage, and joined Weight Watcher's.  I am approaching a very significant goal and find myself obsessing and almost sabotaging my weight loss.  It is time to refocus on the little things that have brought me this far (Don't worry--you'll hear all about the  milestone soon)

One little thing I do is park my car on the far outreaches of the parking lot at work.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Seven days--seven books?

One of my goals this year is to keep track of the books I read.  I frequently am asked for suggestions or want to refer back to a particular novel only to find I can't quite remember what it was.  Hopefully, keeping a list here will not only help me, but give some of you  ideas on what to read--or not to read as the case may be!

I am a prolific reader--a couple of chapters every day no matter what!!  My retention is a bit sketchy, and I certainly read primarily for pleasure, so do not expect any in-depth reviews of great literary masterpieces.  I also don't hesitate to jettison a book I am not enjoying--with one exception that I will discuss later!

I've failed miserably at tracking January and February, but March has been  quite entertaining so far.  I started off finishing  Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind by Ann B. Ross--a delightful novel I picked up on a whim and thoroughly enjoyed.  Miss Julia is  a stereotypical aging Southern Belle who suddenly inherits  a large sum of money as well as something totally unexpected when her husband dies.  As a bonus, Miss Julia is apparently  a series--you can bet I will be reading more of her adventures!!

At my youngest's request I read Love, Ruby Lavender by Deborah Wiles and enjoyed it.  Of course, I would enjoy any book that led to a discussion with my third grade daughter, but this one was actually a nice read.  The story centers around a young girl and her grandmother--and what happens when they are separated and out of their comfort zones.  The format is fun for kids as much of the book is written as an exchange of letters between the two.

The Unit by  Ninni Holmqvist is a thought provoking yet easy read about a society that insures each member contributes.  I really enjoyed the ending to this one as it didn't go quite as I anticipated (actually, I had anticipated a couple of scenarios and was still surprised)  I also appreciated the fact that I could read it at a surface level or  contemplate the deeper issues and enjoy the book either way.  A similar book read earlier in the year is Never Let You Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Along the  controlled society theme, I finally read the Giver by Lois Lowry at the urging of my older daughter.  Very good book!  I confess I did not like the ending--mostly because I knew how it was going to end and  preferred the alternate ending  my daughter wrote as a class assignment.  I definitely look forward to reading the two companion books (Gathering Blue and The Messenger).  If you are looking for a relatively quick and easy yet thought provoking YA Novel that may appeal to males and females, the Giver is a good choice.  Lots of opportunity for discussion abut conformity.

Continuing my YA theme, I read Jack Blank and the Imagine Nation by  Matt Myklusch  Think Harry Potter as a Marvel Comic Book Hero.  Decent, but not one I felt the need to hand to my son immediately.  I will probably finish the trilogy out sometime, but no real hurry to find out what happens next.  Much better was Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson.  If you have ever wondered how Peter Pan and the Lost Boys ended up on that magical island with Captain Hook, this book is a must!   I expect it will be my family summer read aloud.  Naturally, I am following with the second book in the series Peter and the ShadowCreatures, also proving quite good.

So, technically, I guess that is only 6 books read so far this month.  But the title is much catchier as it stands, no?  Oh, and the book I have yet to jettison--The Life of PI by Yann Martel.  I am not liking it, but feel compelled to  learn how it ends.  I'll let you know if it is worth it.

Monday, March 7, 2011


My daughter had her heart broken this weekend.  Her coach made a decision at a crucial time in a game that  undermined my daughter's confidence. Whether or not the decision was appropriate  is actually irrelevant to this post.  What matters is the lesson I needed to learn.

My mantra since the incident has been "If at the end of the day you are certain you did what was right for each child, then consider yourself a success"  This has actually been somewhat catty of me, because I do not for a minute believe this coach meant any harm.  I truly think she was focused more on the game than the individual at that point.  To my chagrin, I realized that today I am not doing my best for MY child--I have been rude, disrespectful and yes, even hateful to my son (who is definitely pushing my buttons--but who is the adult here??)

So, I will trust that the coach can understand my  concerns and will consider the impact of her actions from a slightly different viewpoint next time--even if she makes the same decision, I know it will be handled a bit differently. She is a good coach and a good person.  And I, well, I am going to take a bath and think about the best, most loving way I can say what needs to be said to my son so that when he and I go to bed tonight, we will have no doubt that I did what was right for him..