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Monthly Archives: June 2012

A photo-based update

It’s been a few days since I’ve updated, so I figured I would post a few pictures to explain what I’ve been up to.

A few weeks ago, my husband and I “rescued” a little kitten from our back porch and brought her in to try to tame her and find a nice family to adopt her. Anyone interested? Bueller? Bueller?

As you can see, she is freaking adorable. She’s friendly, playful, and curious. She likes to snuggle in bed at night or in the morning, and she gets along pretty well with the other cats.

  Here is a picture of her with Samedi, the youngest of our two adult cats. Since they’re both black it might be a little hard to see, but they’re snuggling together. Eli isn’t a big fan, but he’s kind of grouchy around the youngun’s, so we won’t blame the little kitten.

She’s been to the vet and had her first set of shots, and we will continue to take her in for more shots as she gets older.

She is perfectly healthy, and has had a dose of de-wormer (it is pretty typical for outside cats to have worms). She is also on a multi-type flea, tick, and heartworm medication. She isn’t fixed yet, because she’s not old enough.

As you can see, this sweet little girl needs a loving home. Is anyone interested? We are fostering her for now, but we cannot keep her forever. She deserves a family to live with forever.
What else have we been up to, you ask, other than rescuing kittens and being our normal fantastic selves?

Well, you know me. I’ve been cooking. This is a turkey hash I made with leftover turkey breast and potatoes. I added cheese and an over-easy egg to the top, and voila– a way to make leftovers look like something else! I’ve been studying to take the Colorado bar exam, so my cooking lately has been more along the lines of “make something easy while I’m playing bar review lectures” rather than creative and fun, so I don’t really have a lot to say on that front. For example, tonight we’re having hot dogs.

Tomorrow night we’re having tacos.

Thursday night we’re having leftover hot dogs and tacos.

Friday night we’re having hamburgers.

Getting the idea?

The Saturday after next (July 7) is our five year anniversary. Putting aside the fact that I cannot believe we have been married for five years, the thought of thinking of what to do was exhausting. I didn’t want to do anything, except maybe sleep. Part of the reason is that Saturday July 7 is the day I’m supposed to do a mock-bar exam for my bar review class. That’ll be 6 hours right there of multiple choice questions. I am not looking forward to it. So the thought of getting all dressed up and going out to eat after that is…exhausting.

I’d initially put my husband in charge of the plans, and after we started talking about how exhausted and overwhelmed I was, he came up with a lovely, perfect, brilliant solution: “Let’s go to Good Eats.” Good Eats is a deli, with delicious sandwiches and soups and plastic booths and it was once an Arby’s, I think. Not fancy fixin’s, folks. But that’s a-ok with me. Cheap, quick, minimal stress. That makes me happy.

Do you know what else makes me happy? Soap. For those of you new to my blog, or those of you who pretend to read it and don’t really but are now deciding to have a look, I made soap. Yesterday, I got a huge shipment in of new fragrances, colors, and molds to play with. Here are some of the results.

This soap is fragranced with Oatmeal, Milk, & Honey fragrance from Brambleberry.com. The white soap is a goat’s milk soap, and the clear amber soap is honey soap. There are no artificial colorants in it. I layered it with steel cut oats in a 9″ loaf mold from Brambleberry.

 

Isn’t it lovely? It turned out great, and I couldn’t be more excited. Last night I also made single bars of all of my new fragrances, so if you live near me, give me a shout and I can let you take a look at/smell everything I’ve got!

 

Review: Lean Cuisine Baked Chicken with Dressing and Mashed Potatoes

 

Today for lunch I tried this meal from lean cuisine. It featured baked chicken with gravy, dressing, and mashed red potatoes. I am typically really hesitant about trying frozen meals featuring chicken, because in the past I have been greatly disappointed. Are you picking up on the fact that I’m picky? Because I am.

This dish was different, though. Overall, I enjoyed it very much. It’s always a little strange when the chicken and dressing, and not the mashed potatoes, have dressing on them, but I figured that it has something to do with the freezing process. Maybe a separate gravy packet or something would go a long way.

Anyway, it was pretty good overall. The dressing was partially mushy and partially a little bit chewy, but if you don’t mind that you’re golden. As with all frozen meals, it was a little over salted and could have used a bit more herbs and spices.

Bottom line, though: I will definitely buy it again. and with only 6 points+ values, it’s a great option for lunch.

Review: Lean Cuisine Pita Snacks, Broccoli and Cheese Flavor

 

This weekend I sampled a lean Cuisine pita and dip snack that had broccoli and cheese dip. It is available in the frozen food section, and it comes in a two-serving pack. Each serving has 5 points+.

I was hesitant at first, because I remember trying some sort of snack-type thing from Lean Cuisine once that tasted just retched. Seriously, I had to throw it away. Garlic something, perhaps. I can’t recall. At any rate, I was hesitant. I was also concerned about the way that the frozen pita would heat up in the microwave. I followed the instructions for heating time and sat down with my snack.

I have to say, it was surprisingly good. The dip was tasty and thick, an the pita was just chewy enough. Overall, I enjoyed it very much.

Here’s the problem: It’s 5 points. That’s an awful lot of points to kill on a snack, especially if you (unlike me) are down near the minimum daily points values.

So my dilemma: it’s delicious, but quite costly when it comes to points/calories. My recommendation is that you use it like a light lunch and add in a salad with some vinaigrette dressing or fruit. That would help to minimize the points+ punch.

 

Overall score: A-

Bar None Soaps

Tomorrow I will be placing an order with Brambleberry for more soap supplies. Check out my soap store at Etsy.com to purchase soap, and be sure to stop by the Bar None Soaps website here for information on the latest fragrances!

What’s for dinner tonight?

Looks yummy, no? These are baked buffalo chicken rolls, recipe courtesy of the gal over at Can You Stay for Dinner? You can find the recipe here. Although I have to say that I’m fundamentally opposed to bleu cheese, so I will be replacing that with cheddar cheese in the actual rolls and ranch dressing as a dipper. Using my recipe, these delicious looking rolls are only 3 points apiece, not counting the dipping sauce (the recipe makes 12 rolls, and the total points+ count is 30). Thus, I could eat a half recipe for 15 points, which is, admittedly, a lot, but then again I get a lot of points per day. If you’re looking to cut down on the number of points, you could reduce the amount of cheese from 4 oz to 2 oz (2 points per roll, half batch for 12 points), or you could substitute 2% cheese (2 points per roll, half batch for 14 points), or eliminate the cheese altogether (1 point each, half batch for 9 points).

They are made with wonton wrappers and stuffed with hot-sauce soaked chicken breast, cheese, and broccoli slaw (for crunch.) I’m excited about getting to make them this evening, and I’ll let you know how they are.

Verde Chicken Enchilada Casserole

I wasn’t really sure what to call this dish, so I just put a bunch of words together and went with that.

No pictures on this one, because I was too wiped out from a 2-mile run (new personal record for speed, woo!) to take them.

Here’s what you’ll need:

About 10-12 oz chicken, boiled and shredded

1 can of stewed tomatoes, Mexican style

handful cilantro, chopped or torn into small pieces

6 corn tortillas

3 oz queso fresco or other Mexican cheese

1 can green enchilada sauce

Cook the stewed tomatoes in a saucepan until they are starting to break up; encourage this with a little fork mashing. Then, add the chicken and get it soaking in the tomato juice. During this time, dunk the tortillas in the excess liquid in the pan (careful, it’s hot!). Then, add to the saucepan 2 oz of the queso fresco, chopped fine, and the cilantro.

Then, you are ready to start building your enchiladas/casserole.

What I did is to fill 4 of the corn tortillas up with the mixture and place them, seam-side down, in a casserole dish that’s just big enough to hold the 4 tortillas. Then, I poured the extra chicken mixture over these tortillas. Third, I placed two more tortillas flat on top. Then, I poured the can of green enchilada sauce over the top and jiggled it a bit until it sort of permeated the layers. Finally, I placed the last ounce of queso fresco over the top.

I placed the casserole in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes, then turned the oven to broil for about 5-7 minutes.

This makes either 2 huge servings or 4 smaller servings, depending on your preferences. In terms of Weight Watchers Points Plus, 2 huge servings are 14 points+ each, and 4 smaller servings are 7 points+ each, using Mission Corn Tortillas. Other corn tortillas may be lower in points, so the values would be even better.

This is a really easy dish to dress up by adding more veggies or different spices.

The Last Acceptable Prejudice

“Many women with PCOS eat a healthy diet and exercise religiously, but still have a problem with weight. Obviously, this is not a simple issue of caloric intake and lack of adequate activity. There is something about the way that their bodies process the food and calories that they consume which makes it difficult for them to maintain a healthy weight. This is incredibly frustrating. Some researchers have theorized that this phenomenon is a result of insulin resistance, which is very common in women with PCOS.”

I had to emphasize this quote, because it embodies exactly how I feel on a day-to-day basis.

My doctor stated a year or two ago that I most likely have PCOS, which explained a lot of the symptoms I was having at the time, as well as my elevated fasting blood sugar, and, to a certain extent, my trouble reaching a healthy weight.

I have always felt that there was something wrong with the way my body reacted to calories. I have always felt like there was something fundamentally unfair about the fact that some women can cut out their daily soda and drop 30 pounds, where if I overeat a little bit, it translates into a huge gain.

I’m not trying to make excuses, but I am trying to make two crucial points:

First, if you’re overweight, it isn’t 100% your fault. There are lots of factors that could be working against you to make it hard to lose or maintain. Once you recognize that, you can start working to account for those factors and work with your body. Learn to love who you are, and realize that you are already who you want to be– you already have that capacity to be that lean, fit, toned person you’ve dreamed of your whole life. You are already that person. Keep working at it and realize that although progress may be slow, any progress is a success. Every single pound– every tenth of a pound, for that matter, is a huge success, especially if you’re a person whose body is working against them.

Second, when the average person (and I include myself here) sees an overweight person, they automatically think, “lazy, slob, eats too much, doesn’t care about him/herself, dirty, selfish…” the list goes on and on.  A lot of people have called obesity the “last acceptable prejudice.”

I don’t have a lot of arguments with that phrase. Harriet Brown discusses the stigma in a 2010 New York Times Articlehere.

Is it a problem? Absolutely. I honestly believe that I have been turned down for a job on more than one occasion because of my weight. I honestly believe this. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that I was turned down for every job I didn’t get because I was overweight, but I do have one or two particular examples in my mind.

I know I’ve been turned down in love because of it, too, which is a shame, but ultimately it doesn’t matter. Because now I have a husband now who loves me, who supports and encourages me, who runs and walks with me and eats healthy meals with me and NEVER EVER EVER calls me fat. Never. Not once. He tells me how great I look now that I’ve lost some weight. He tells me I’m beautiful. He’s always told me I was beautiful, even when I was at my biggest. And I know he honestly believes it.

So I am going to say this, very clearly, right now:  OVERWEIGHT PEOPLE ARE NOT LAZY SIMPLY BY VIRTUE OF BEING OVERWEIGHT. If you want to try to argue to my face that I’m lazy, I’ll point you to the orienteering competitions I’ve been in this past year. I’ll point you to my running schedule, my boot camp, I’ll point you to my registration for a half marathon in October. I’ll show you examples of the many healthy meals I’ve cooked. I’ll point you to my meticulous grocery lists and menus. I’ll out-lift you, out last you, and I’ll try all day long to outrun you. And then I’ll probably slap you. Because everyday is a struggle. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. is an exhausting fight to try to avoid temptation, to stop eating mindlessly, to eat deliberately and healthily and in moderation. Some days it’s a struggle to do the activity I know I should, but every day is a struggle to eat right.

If you are overweight and you’ve got this attitude, stop defeating yourself. Get rid of the attitude that you and other overweight people a’re lazy, useless, stupid, or bound to be unsuccessful. Realize that your weight is–honestly– only a part of who you are. If you want to change it, it is entirely within your power. It may be harder–or a lot harder– for you to do it than someone else. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. It doesn’t mean you’re alone. And it doesn’t mean that you’re worth less than someone else.

If you’re at a healthy weight and have never known the struggle that goes on every day in an overweight person’s mind, the self-hate, the loathing, the depression, anxiety, thoughts of suicide and self harm, the guilt, and the cravings that at time can seem overwhelming, GET OVER YOURSELF. You are not better than someone else simply by virtue of being a smaller size. You are not more ambitious, or more active, smarter, more savvy, or even– not necessarily– more healthy  than overweight people. Looking down your nose at them and treating them like something distasteful will only make the problem worse.

Is obesity the last “acceptable” prejudice? I don’t know. But in our society, it is clearly a prejudice, and it is clearly acceptable to most people– including many, many overweight people.

I’ll leave you with this thought. When you see someone whose hair has fallen out from Chemotherapy, who is weak and tired and struggling to fight every day to survive, you wouldn’t ask what they had done to make themselves get cancer. It isn’t done.

Why, then, when you see someone who is obese, who struggles every day to make good choices, to remain positive, to be active, in the face of a society that tells them they’re worth less than thin people, would you ever, ever look down at them? Why make it worse when you can be supportive?