Sunday, August 24, 2014

Just Don't Give Up!

I seem to have munched on quite a few treats this week.... lets see... egg rolls, donuts, jello, pie, mike & ike candies, kitkat chocolate, icecream sandwich.


Oh sure I'm not complaining because I actually enjoyed these treats. But in looking at it from the perspective of my weightloss and health improvement plans.... I failed.  But I'm not down for the count.  For every time I fail at keeping a healthy habit, I get back up and try again rather than throw in the towel and give up.  And I'm happy with that.  I don't care that I failed this week so long as next week I keep it in mind and try harder.   I did exercise every day (except Friday).  I also went for a jog on Thursday morning!  So if I really was in a rut, I'd have chucked the exercise routine out the window and stayed on the couch instead of pounding the pavement. 

Here's the deal:  I wanted to see if I was really out of shape from not jogging the entire summer.  I love jogging in the spring and fall but not really in the hot summer but would certainly give it a try in winter but I really do need the proper attire for that.  Anyway, I ran the usual "circle" of streets in my neighbourhood and I figured I'd be out of breath and coughing up a lung two blocks later but no!  I ran half way without stopping!  I know eh!  I can't believe it either!!   I then walked for a short bit but not enough to make my heart rate slow, then jogged the rest of the way home.  Twenty minutes of jogging as per usual and I felt great, no shin splints, no cramps in the side, nothing!  I was just sweaty.  yuck.   I then continued to do the daily exercise of jumping jacks, push-ups, etc.  So even though I messed up in the food department, I didn't stop exercising.  Then again that hypnosis app is telling me I love to exercise so perhaps I need to find one that tells me I love to eat broccoli, carrots, apples and bananas instead of icecream, chocolate, donuts and the like.

I haven't weighed myself in a bit so I'm guessing I need to step on the scale to see where I stand.  But ignoring the number on the traitorous scale is alright too because I can see my love handles and hips diminishing slowly with these daily exercises and the getting off the bus two stops earlier and walking the rest of the way to work.  Little changes do make a difference.  I suspect the need for junk food is because I completely gave up sugar AND artificial sweeteners.  The previous times I ditches sugar, I used the artificial sweeteners and then found myself back on sugar when the sweeteners ran out and I forgot to buy more.  So now I use honey in my coffee, just one teaspoon for a small mug, or one tablespoon for a large jumbo mug.  It's an acquired taste but I seem to have adjusted nicely to the taste in my coffee however, I do need to stock up on fresh fruit and healthy "sweets" and totally say goodbye to the junk food.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

In The Kitchen With Betty

Apparently Betty Crocker has a whole slew of cookie mixes  that nobody told me about.  Friday morning on my way home from work I purchased the Peanut Butter Cookie mix along with the Double Chocolate Chunk mix just out of curiosity. 

While in the grocery store on Friday morning the Betty Crocker logo jumped out at me and I was curious to know if these cookie mixes taste good.  Usually I prefer my cookies home baked from scratch.  I use the recipe for peanut butter cookies that's found on the Kraft Peanut Butter jar (or click here for the web site recipe).  I have no issue with Betty Crocker cake mixes or their icing for that matter.  I've also tried their muffin mixes that turn out nice and tasty also.  But the cookie mix... hmm... that made me pause.  I recall making oatmeal cookies from a cookie mix that didn't turn out all too well but can't remember what brand they were.

Betty's peanut butter cookies only required two teaspoons of water, one egg and three tablespoons of vegetable oil.  Mix everything together with the whole bag of cookie mix, roll into 3 dozen balls onto cookie sheets, flatten with a fork so they look like the photo on the cover of the package and bake at 350*F for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned.  I baked them for 10 minutes then let them cool on the new Betty Crocker cookie cooling rack I bought recently

First taste... it's not so much as to what was missing from the taste as much as what was the predominant taste.  They tasted nice, soft, but not "wow these are so full of awesomeness" good.  I found I tasted oil more than the peanut butter.  They had a faint smell of peanut butter but nothing that seduces your senses.  They were soft, looked nice and were easy to make BUT .... they tasted nothing like peanut butter cookies made from scratch using the Kraft recipe.  Cookies made with the Kraft recipe melt in your mouth leaving the taste of peanut butter lingering on your tongue.  The scent of peanut butter fills the kitchen while they bake in the oven... *heavy breathing*......

.....but I got none of that from the Betty Crocker package.  Tomorrow I'll make the Double Chocolate Chunk cookies and see how they come out.  I suspect they will taste much better than the peanut butter ones did.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Betty Crocker & Me

My relationship with Betty Crocker at this point evolved to an obsessive one, but nothing close to the love/hate thing like I have for Kitchenaide.  I'll explain the Kitchenaide thing in another blog later, as for Betty Crocker... I'm not sure if it's the cute red wooden spoon logo or what but I'm crazy for Betty right now!

This past Christmas I received a set of measuring cups, a whisk and a strainer all containing the Betty Crocker logo!  Much to my joy!  The Dollarama carries plenty of Betty's merchandise and I've been stocking up.  I'm guessing it's because all the old stock is red and they appear to be moving to more neutral/kitchen friendly colours like white and black.

Do I care for the red?  Hey, my kitchen is ghetto chic, in other words, nothing really matches.  As long as the appliance or gadget works, it serves its purpose.

I recently got the set of three colanders, the carrot peeler, the heavy duty can opener, two cookie sheets, two 9" round cake pans, and a mesh cookie cooling rack.  ALL AT THE DOLLAR STORE for under $3 each.  Not bad eh!  So ya, I'm obsessed!

I still need to pick up the mixing bowl, storage containers, some baking spatulas and that pizza cutter just because it'll be sharper than the dull one currently in my kitchen drawer. 

And you know the awesome thing is.... my kettle is Betty Crocker and I didn't even know it!  Probably because it's white and not red!  HA!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Wearing It In Public

I saw this picture on Pinterest and you know, it is so true! This past week I had another case of massive cravings. That's twice in one month.... sigh.

The scale reflected it.  Deep sigh.

I wasn't able to exercise at all last week but I was more than able to junk it up.  And the scale reflected it too. When I weighed myself Sunday morning I gained two point two pounds.  Usually right about now I'd be saying I can't believe it... But I can.  

I should be eating better, more fruits, more veggies, more yogurt, more jello, .... You know, healthy snacks and skip junk stuff like crispy crunch chocolate,  peanut butter cups, tootsie rolls, icecream sandwiches, happy meals and Tim bits.  Ya, I ate all that junk in one week and now I'm wearing it on my hips, thighs and butt. 

I chatted on line with someone this evening and took on a short challenge alongside her.  We both logged our weight on the weight app, now for this one full week... Seven whole days, we will correct our eating habits to exclude junk AND we will include one hour of exercise at least five days.  Any five days that fits our individual schedule.  Wish me luck, I'll need it!  I think this is as good a time as any to get back to jogging.  But I must admit, the daily workouts I've done up to last week worked wonders on my belly and love handles... I'll keep them added into my hour long workout.  

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Getting Crafty

So for the next two months I have mentally programmed myself to stitch at least 30 minutes to an hour a day, every day.  I've got tons to get done for the December distribution of ornaments...

  • annual family plastic canvas ornament will be mailed the last week of November!  
  • cross stitch ornaments for church kids will be distributed the first Sunday in December!
  • cross stitch ornaments for family kids will be mailed the same week as the family plastic canvas ornament.
  • the decoration swap will need to be sent out by September.
  • the stitching for the youth Pastors' wife will need to be completed by October because that's when she's due to give birth!!  
  • ornaments for church ladies will be distributed the first Sunday in December
  • I'd really like to get that Nativity finished (feeling hopeful).
So you see, I'm quite the busy bee. I've already completed 9 of the cross stitch ornaments for the kids and still have about 30 more to go.  I've already completed 7 ornaments for the church ladies and have about 7 more to make.  I've already drawn, and cut the plastic for the annual family ornament AND already started to stitch them!  So you see I've got a bit of a head start.  Now it's going to take some doing to get the larger stitching completed by October but it can be done if I stitch 30 minutes a day and more on weekends.  I usually stitch on weekends anyway so no biggie.  

I'll post a follow up each month to log my progress.  Wish me luck!! 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Decoration Swap 2014

I've joined a Christmas Ornament Swap this year!  

It's been a long while since I engaged in hand made ornament swaps over the internets.  I used to be a big fan way back in the day when Yahoo Groups used to organize them.  I remember I opted out when I failed to receive an ornament and was kind of ticked off.  I don't put hand made ornaments on my tree any more, just poinsettias but they're nice to have to hang around the house or glue magnets on the back and stick them to the fridge during the holidays, you know.  So here are the deets in case any one else wants to take part.

 Paper and Sting is hosting the Hand Stitched Christmas Decoration Swap 2014 and the details can be found by clicking HERE and be magically transported to her web page.  Basically, you make a handmade decoration, attach an information label to it,  mail it along with a self addressed label to Paper and String co. and they will use your mailing label to send you back a hand made decoration and forward yours to someone else!  So she's the middle man in all this more or less.  I think it's a great way to get crafters united.  Maybe even include your blog on the  label that will remain attached to your forwarded decoration so the recipient will be curious to find out more about you and connect.  Hey, for the love of crafts why not!!

Monday, August 4, 2014

In The Kitchen

Once again I'm testing out some delicious recipes in the slow cooker.  Mine is a Crock Pot brand and it's bright red!  It was a Christmas gift from my eldest sister in 2012.  

I'm not new to making beef with broccoli.  I usually make it on the stove and use the powder beef & broccoli sauce mix by Kikkoman found in the Oriental section of the supermarket.  I was interested in making this in the crock pot just because I'm currently on a crock pot high or something.  The recipe was found on Pinterest, which linked to Chef in Training, click the link and be magically transported to the recipe on their page.  Now maybe it's just me but I was not fond of the final turn out of this recipe for two reasons.  

#1 the taste
#2 the way the beef looked

Lets get to the recipe:  I've never used sesame oil before and followed this recipe and added the requested one tablespoon of it.  Yes, I purchased it especially for this recipe can I get my money back?.  I followed the recipe instructions exactly but cooking the beef for 6-8 hours on low?  Uh.. .. ok I know it depends on the model of crock pot you're using, and like I said, I've got the Crock Pot brand so there you go.  This beef should only have been cooked 5-6 hours on low and even that's cutting it close.  The recipe later calls for a cornstarch mix to be added to thicken the gravy sauce but get this.... when I carefully mixed in the cornstarch concoction, all my beef fell apart and crumbled!  I was left with beef soup in thick broth and not beef strips!  

The taste was alright, it did have a nice oriental taste but I guess I'm just biased to the beef & broccoli mix I usually use on the stove top.  I won't make this recipe in the crock pot again, I'll just continue to make it the way I usually do with the Kikkoman mix but it was worth a try and it was edible too.  The husband said it was alright except for the beef being clumpy to look at.  Still, not a bad recipe and worth the try at least once.