Monday, January 31, 2011

Jane Said This Might Happen

End of our third week of our new eating plan. Weigh in first thing this morning. Results? Papa Pea lost another three pounds for a total loss in three weeks of nine pounds.

Okay, let's change the subject now.

Oh, all right, I'll tell you. Jane (the former personal trainer) said not to be surprised if I hit a plateau and didn't show a weight loss one of these weeks. So did I lose anything this past week?


Did I gain any weight this past week?

No, thank heaven. Now that would have really been discouraging. And I would have been totally flummoxed as to what I did to cause that. (Oh, I know. It would have been because all of that snow shoveling and muscle gained. Yeah, right.) But I did not gain, so I'll be happy with that.

I'm not discouraged. I honestly do feel a little lighter. Don't know if "lighter" is the correct word; maybe less bulky? Why didn't it show up on the scale? Dunno. Maybe because I thought about food so much this past week. Psychologically you can screw yourself up, ya know.

Three weeks done, only one week to go. What will we decide to do at the end of the month trial? We aren't going to make any decisions until then.

So I've lost five pounds in three weeks. That's a good, steady, slow, sensible loss. Now I sure hope I can drop twenty pounds in this last week. :o)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Some Things You Might Not Know About Me

I am an introvert of the first order. As a child I was painfully shy. I've gotten a little better with age.

I wish I didn't require so much sleep. But I have since I was small and no matter how hard I try, I don't feel well if I skimp on the hours I get.

I lost my best friend from high school when we were twenty. She dated a guy who treated her like scum, I tried to tell her so, she told him what I said, he told her to choose between us. He won.

I can totally see myself having a career as a forensic sculptor.

In school, I loved algebra, hated geometry.

I sincerely believe I have some kind of a short circuit in my brain that makes it impossible for me to understand the workings of computers.

I always thought I would have many children.

I hate science fiction movies or books.

I love the looks, feel, styles, furniture, houses of the 1940s.

When I was about eight, a man tried to abduct me by talking me into getting into his car.

If I lived alone, I would have the worst nutritional diet. I'd live on potato chips and orange juice.

My favorite movie of all time is "Dirty Dancing." It's the only movie I've ever watched more than once.

If I could somehow evade all guilt, I would be the laziest person on the planet.

I can totally see myself having a career as a cook for a wealthy family.

If I were rich, I would be a very generous, kind, GOOD, rich person.

Although I've always been very athletic, have good balance, and control of my body when doing physical things, I cannot dance worth a lick. At all. Just cannot get my body to move with music. Period.

In my next life, I'm going to be an Olympic downhill skier.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Shoveling Snow Is Bad For Your Wrists - And Other Body Parts

We got about 8-9" of new snow overnight last night. Our temps have stayed fairly low so this snow was light and fluffy. Not so bad when it comes to shoveling the stuff.

Hubby and I both spent the morning clearing various paths and entries to out buildings. He had to do the roof again, of course. We keep the front deck shoveled off so Zoey and the granddogs have a dry place to stretch out on during the day and soak up some sunshine. It's getting hard to find places to throw the snow off the deck as the piles are now up even with the railing.

I don't know how much depth perception you can get of the snow in this picture of some our fruit trees, but the snow is now up about three feet on their trunks. We're not complaining though as it's good insulation for them and will keep the frost from going so deep.

We've done so much shoveling lately that hubby complains a little of a sore shoulder. The only place I'm feeling it is in both wrists. Must be something in the way I toss the shovelfuls of snow. But I'll keep at it and by the end of the winter I'll have very muscular wrists. (Is that good?)

Our daughter kindly left her plow truck here when she went on into town for work today so hubby spent a couple of hours plowing the driveway and all the other areas we have to keep free of snow. We're very grateful to both her and our good neighbor who says we can use his plow any time we want it.

This past week I've gotten the freezer restocked with three or four kinds of soups to have on hand for easy meals. I get three to five quarts of soup from each batch so that's many meals for us. I even got two containers of Chicken Noodle Soup made up. So when I hear of someone down with a really bad cold, it's nice to have some to take to them to help speed their recovery. Yes, I do think it really helps. Especially when made with homemade chicken broth. And maybe a little extra garlic thrown in to kill the bad germies.

We're going to be in our jammies and watching a movie tonight at 7 o'clock. At least that's the plan. What's the movie? Well, now don't be too shocked. It's a little racy. McLintock with John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara and Yvonne De Carlo. Made in 1963. Woo-hoo!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Because I Like To Torture Myself

Since we aren't eating any bread or buns or rolls on our month-long experimental eating plan (have you noticed I hate to say "diet?"), I haven't been baking bread nor have we had any in the house. (Well, except for hidden down in the deep, dark recesses of the freezer where I won't see it and it's difficult to get to.)

But because I was invited out to lunch today and wanted to take something for the hostess (and because I apparently felt a need to torture myself), I baked a couple of loaves of homemade bread last night.

I haven't made this particular bread in the longest time, and I don't know why because it is divine! A smidge on the sweet side, it makes the most heavenly toast. (Oh my gawd, how I miss my toast in the morning with eggs! [Picture me despondently banging my head on my desk as I write this.] Life shouldn't be this hard. Sigh.)


2 cups rye flour
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons grated orange peel
2 slightly rounded tablespoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup butter
2 cups warm (110-120 degrees) water
1-1/2 cups raisins (I always soak my raisins in boiling water before using)
4 to 4-1/2 cups unbleached white flour

In a large bowl, combine rye flour, salt, orange peel and yeast. Heat the molasses, butter and water in a small saucepan, then add to dry mixture.

With a mixer, blend at lowest speed until moistened. Then beat 3 minutes at medium speed.

By hand, stir in raisins and unbleached white flour to form a stiff dough.

Knead on well-floured surface until smooth, about 5 minutes.

Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in warm place . . .

. . . until doubled in size, about one hour.

Divide dough in half and shape into 2 loaves.

Place loaves in greased 9 x 5" bread pans. Cover and let rise in warm place until light and doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45-50 minutes.

Remove from pans and cool on wire racks.

Not only did making this bread cause me acute longing for a warm slice slathered with butter, but hubby who was upstairs in his office as it was baking said the aroma wafting up to him nearly drove him out of his mind. What is it about the smell and taste of homemade bread that is so very appealing? Whatever, this is a good, good bread and I hope you can find the time to give it a try.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Anybody Hungry?

I made Baked Sliced Potatoes last night for dinner. I actually made a double batch so we'd have some left over to have with eggs for a couple of breakfasts.

The recipe is pretty simple.

Scrub a potato for each serving. (Less if you're going easy on the size of servings as we still are.) Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Slice the potatoes lengthwise in about 1/4" slices. (I had kind of a fat potato here so you can't really tell that I sliced it lengthwise.)

On a cookie sheet with a lip, chunk up 1/4 stick of butter (4 tablespoons) and put the sheet in the oven until the butter is melted. (Truth to tell, you could get by with less butter. Possibly as little as 2 tablespoons, but maybe three would be better. You'll have to experiment. I went with the 4 tablespoons last night but there was plenty of butter left on the cookie sheet after all was said and done.)

Place slices of potatoes on melted butter in pan. Turn slices once so both sides are coated. Now sprinkle each slice with salt, pepper, paprika and grated Parmesan cheese. Flip all slices one more time and sprinkle remaining side of slices with seasonings.

Place baking sheet in oven on rack in lower third of oven. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. If you have two sheets full of potatoes and need to use a higher rack also, that's fine. The potato slices on the higher rack will be cooked but just not as browned and crispy.

Fresh (frozen) garden peas, fresh herring, and Baked Sliced Potatoes was our dinner last night. But I was bad. Hubby stopped at the one serving of everything, but I ate a second piece of fish. And was sorry for it afterwards. Guilt, of course, plus it was a bit too much for my (happily) shrunken stomach. Oooowie-owie, stuffed tummy. :o(

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Root Vegetables in January

Crikey, where did this day go? Okay, she says, pulling herself together and shaking her head to try to jiggle all the brain cells into place. One of the things I did accomplish today was to check out the root vegetables to see how they are storing and what quantities we have left.

The white potatoes seem to be storing a teensy bit better than the red ones.

I've found a few eyes starting to sprout on the reds so have been using those up first.

The above spuds pictured aren't all we have, but just the top layer of other boxes of them. Looks as though we'll have plenty of taters for a long while yet. (If I can talk the reds into holding off a little on that sprouting.)

Sorted through the box of bagged onions and found them to be in good shape. A couple here and there are trying to send out green shoots but for the most part, they are fine. And as you'll notice, I even found another little bag of red onions. Yippee! I thought I had used the last of them a week or so ago.

I didn't save many fresh beets. I either pickled them or blanched and froze them for quicker and easier use with meals. This is the last bag I didn't process and they are looking almost as good as when I bagged them up.

Oh my, do we have carrots! Who the heck planted so many this past year? I have them all stored in the back of the bottom shelf of my admittedly humongous commercial spare refrigerator and, as you can see by this one bag, once again this seems to be the best way for us to keep them. I've been concentrating on using them the last several weeks and find they've retained a beautiful color, crispness and seem to be growing sweeter in storage.

Between these stored root crops and all the veggies I have put by either canned, dried or frozen, we shouldn't be lacking for vegetables on our plates any time soon.

P.S. Just got up a post on my quilting blog if you're interested. Progress on my daughter's winter wall hanging . . .

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Caption/Calendar Winner!

I got a whole bunch of giggles, chuckles and wide smiles out of all your captions for the picture of little Chickie Mama and her dad taken about 37 years ago. Thanks much to all of you for taking the time to comment with a caption.

Chicken Mama and I thought any of your captions would have been good but we were in agreement that Jenyfer Matthews had the one that rose to the top.

"Sure I'll help you cut a switch . . . What's a switch?"

Congratulations, Jen. You'll have to let me know what's the best way to get the Chicken Mama Designs 2011 Calendar to you way over there in Cairo, Egypt!

The picture was taken the summer we moved up to our property here in Minnesota. We had arrived a day or two earlier on one of our numerous moving trips, and I was in the house trailer with the little one unloading boxes and trying to find places to put all the stuff.

When I tore my attention from the task at hand, I noticed our daughter taking off her pants. I asked why she was doing that and she said she had to go to the bathroom.

Our "bathroom" was a biffy (outhouse) we had constructed back in Illinois and hauled up here in sections after we first purchased the property seven years previously. When considering a location for the biffy, hubby insisted on nestling it (down what I considered a long path) in the woods hidden from the house. So our then two-year old had to have an escort on trips to the "bathroom."

I didn't want to stop what I was doing so I called to Papa Pea who was working outside, asking if he would take his daughter to the biffy. I truly don't remember what he was doing but it must have been trimming brush or making kindling or some such thing because of the hand ax he was carrying.

So this shot is of them, hand in hand, heading off toward the biffy.

The pup in the foreground of the picture is our first dog, Gussie, who made all the trips with us when we moved. She was ten then and lived to be twelve.

My mom liked this picture so much that she had it enlarged to a framed 5" x 7" and had it on an end table in their Illinois home for many years. And it now appears on the little square for Father's Day on Chicken Mama Designs 2011 Calender.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Two Weeks Down, Two Weeks To Go

Today was the end of the first two weeks, or the beginning of the last two weeks (depending on how you look at it), of our month long experimental changed eating plan.

The first week hubby lost three pounds, and I dropped two. (Rats. My competitive spirit took a blow.) I did a little better at weigh-in this morning. Hubby lost three again . . . and so did I! So he's down six pounds in two weeks and my tail is still draggin' behind (figuratively speaking, of course) at five pounds.

Hubby was very surprised at his loss because he says he hasn't been able to detect any change in his body yet at all. But I had a feeling I had lost a bit more this past week. The girth around my middle hasn't felt quite as . . . um, uh, . . . prominent.

This man of the six pound weight loss, this man who has NEVER been on any kind of a weight loss program in his LIFE, says losing weight is simple. It's easy. There's nothing to it according to him. (I may just have to smack him upside the head a couple of times before I can get on with things.)

P.S. Just got up a new post on my quilting blog if you're interested. I'm working on a winter wall hanging for my daughter's office and there are some pictures there.

How To Accessorize

Choppers: What the best-dressed woman (or man for that matter) in northern Minnesota wears in the winter time.

I mentioned choppers briefly in a previous post (or maybe it was just in the comment section) and some of you said you'd never heard of them.

Basically, they are large, leather (often deer hide) mittens. These of mine are relatively new, but as they age they become soft as buttah (!), formed to an individual's hands and are worn until they self-destruct . . . at which time you are forced into breaking in a new pair.

They are worn with an inner mitten or liner often made of felted wool.

They are large in size in comparison to other mittens for two reasons. You need that big, insulating wool mitten next to your hand and anything tight or restrictive would cause your hands to get cold really fast. The natural warmth from your hands creates a mini heated "room" inside that leather and wool covering.

Choppers are necessary for anyone doing any kind of work outside in the winter time up here where the temperature can hover around zero (and frequently quite a bit below) for many weeks at a time.

You do feel a bit fumble-fingered when wearing choppers because obviously you don't have the use of your fingers for any task. Sometimes even picking up pieces of firewood is a little clumsy with them on.

But the hand protection they afford is well worth any lack of dexterity. Back when we had our dairy goats with no auxiliary heat in the barn, there were times when I seriously considered trying to milk with my choppers on!

They really are a wardrobe necessity up here in the cold months, and I wouldn't want to have to go without them. Makes my hands hurt just to think about it.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Well, It Is Winter Time

This is a familiar refrain heard a lot around these here parts lately. Well, it IS winter time. Boy-howdy, is it ever.

We're in the midst of a very cold snap. With wind. Which always makes it seem much worse than even the temperature would indicate.

But the good thing is we're getting frequent snows now (even though I always thought zero degrees was NOT a good snowing temp) so we have plenty of insulation for the ground and plants and enough to bank up around the buildings. We've not had any really huge snowfalls right in our area but rather have had frequent accumulations of 4" or 3" or 8" or 6". You get the idea. Nothing overwhelming but it does keep piling up.

This is our bird bath in the yard doing a good imitation of a mushroom, don't you think?

The view out the window over my kitchen sink is not hard to take . . . if you're snow lovers as we are.

These are some pretty impressive icicles hanging from the roof of our someday-to-be greenhouse.

I sure do appreciate the beauty of winter time. It's nearly 5 p.m. now and we're getting another lovely snowfall as the day fades into dusk. About 1" of new stuff so far. Wonder how much we'll have by morning's light?

P.S. Don't forget to scroll down to yesterday's post if you haven't seen it already and enter the caption contest for one of Chicken Mama's 2011 photographic calendars.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Write A Caption, Win A Calendar!

A couple of days ago, Chicken Mama and Apple Pie Gal (currently known in some circles as Chicken Pot Pie Gal) had a conversation going in Chicken Mama's comments section. Apple Pie Gal, who has a copy of Chicken Mama Designs 2011 Calendar said she especially liked the little pictures on Mother's Day and Father's Day.

The Mother's Day picture is of me (taken about 38 years ago) holding an eager to stand up and get moving Chicken Mama in our kitchen in Illinois. The Father's Day picture was taken the summer we moved up here to Minnesota when Chicken Mama was two years old.

What a summer that was. We made nine round trips to move ourselves and all our household furnishings, farm equipment and animals up here. It was a 10-12 hour trip one way depending on our load. We had a trusty old truck and a flat bed and a high-sided trailer that we pulled depending on the load.

Our little two-year old Chicken Mama made every single trip with us strapped in her car seat. And she never, ever complained or got cranky. She ate a lot of yummy snacks. And played with toys and books. And slept a lot. (I suppose the vodka in her sippy cup helped, too.) Actually, she was very used to the trip by that summer because she made her first one up here when she was three weeks old. And many more after that before we finally secured a job and moved.

But back to the picture. Here it is.

I'd like to invite all of you witty readers to write a caption for the picture. Chicken Mama has graciously offered to send a copy of her 2011 beautiful calendar to the writer of the caption that she and I pick as the weener. After the grand prize is awarded I'll tell you the story of the circumstances surrounding the picture.

Okay, put on your thinking caps! You never know what will appeal to our combined quirky senses of humor. Deadline for receiving captions will be this coming Monday night at 8 p.m. Go for it. The calendar is gorgeous and worth trying for.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Challenge Taken

Erin over at Garden Now - Think Later did a post this morning on how she stores her garden seeds. Plus she included a lot more info on her garden related record keeping. She challenged her readers to do a post on how we store our garden seeds.

So here goes.

My seeds are kept in jars in a cardboard box. Nothing too scientific about that.

The bigger seeds such as peas and beans and sunflowers are stored in another cardboard box because I couldn't fit them all in the six other jars I use.

Where do these boxes of seeds live for most of the year?

Right on the floor of our outdoor clothes closet which is in the room we call our entry room. This closet was on an exposed north wall before we added on the garage, but now it is slightly tempered by the unheated portion of the garage. It stays cool in that closet even in the summer time. It must be a good spot to store my seeds because I seem to have really good luck getting very old seeds to germinate.

Like Erin I do have a 3-ring binder notebook that I keep all my gardening information in. I save the drawn out plans for each year of the field garden, raised beds and pumpkin patch. That way I can do a fairly good job of rotating the crops to a different area each year. Also kept are notations regarding the blueberry, raspberry and strawberry plants/beds.

I also keep track in this same book in a different section of all my canning, preserving and freezing for each year. This listing includes dates and quantities.

Notes are made usually at mid-season and end of the summer of a walk through all garden areas noting things I want to change, what did well, insect damage, etc.

As you can see, paper clipped to the cover of the binder are also random notes that I should do a better job of "filing away" in their proper spot.

My seed storage/garden record keeping system doesn't look nearly as good as Erin's. But I can't compete with that gal. If you want to learn something about organization, follow her blog. The woman is simply super-human when it comes to being organized. She also accomplishes more than a person ought to be able to do. You know my hat's off to you, Garden Now - Think Later Girl!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A New Project - Completed Even!

At the end of December, I did what I probably shouldn't have done. I started a new project. I should have been finishing up UFOs from the old year, but oh, phoo-poo! I just couldn't resist trying to make a crocheted rug using strips of fabric.

The booklet I had suggested using 2" wide strips of fabric folded in half lengthwise, but that proved to be way too cumbersome. So I started over using 1-1/2" wide strips and that worked much better.

But because the cotton fabric had no "give," trying to crochet with it wasn't the easiest thing I've ever done.

I though I wanted about a 24" x 36" size rug but when I got to 19" x 32", it looked about the right size for my needs. I even had (lots of) strips already cut that I didn't use. (Now I'll have to think of something to do with those blasted leftovers!)

The end product reminds me of a cross between a rag rug and a braided rug.

It's plenty thick enough to be substantial and should hold up to a lot of washings which is important in this house.

I'm going to be curious to see how soon it shows the dirt. I'll be taking it outside to shake it frequently. Probably wouldn't hurt to run the vac over it when I do the floors either.

If you've ever made anything in a circular or oval pattern, you know it's a smidge tricky getting the thing to lie flat. My rug looks good now but I'm wondering if drying it in the dryer will make it curl up. I think the best way would be to dry it on the metal deck table in the sunshine of a summer's day turning it over now and then while coaxing it into its flat shape.

Even though this method of making a rug required strong fingers and wrists, it went quickly and, yep, I'm already thinking of colors for the next one.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Zoey's Back in the Saddle Again

This past Monday afternoon when we started to get dressed to go pack the loop trail again after receiving another 7-8" of snow, Zoey the Wonder Dog displayed her usual excitement at the prospect of going for a run in the woods.

This made both hubby and I feel really good after she decided she couldn't/wouldn't make the hike with us over the weekend.

The woods were unbelievably beautiful becoming even more laden with snow. This was a shot off the trail into the woods.

On the uphill climb Zoey stayed behind us so she could walk on the newly packed trail. She walked very slowly and stopped many times but always started up again when we urged her on.

Once we got to the top of the ridge, she suddenly decided to lead the way. She went pell-mell around both of us and trotted along the ridge ahead of us. Obviously, she's just like me and thinks walking on relatively flat land is much easier than trudging uphill.

Then as we headed onto the downhill part of the loop, she even started going off the beaten path and checking out interesting spots in the deep snow.

The closer we got to home, the more energy she seemed to have. Then suddenly there was no dog in sight and hubby said, "Um, I think our dog has gone home."

Yup, sure enough, she high-tailed it home and beat us to the back door probably by about five minutes.

"Come on, guys. I was a good dog, went for a hike and got my exercise. Now LET ME IN so I can dry off and take a nap."

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Supper in a Skillet

Here's the new recipe that I tried a couple of days ago that hubby liked so much. I've given it a new name because I didn't follow the recipe exactly, and because it had a name that didn't fit it at all. Not that "Supper in a Skillet" is so sensational either, but it's all my frigid brain (b-r-r-r, it's cold out today) could come up with. The end product is good enough that it doesn't need a razzle-dazzle name. (Although it would have been nice if I could have come up with one.)


1 cup uncooked brown rice
2 cups water
1 pound ground beef
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup celery
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco Sauce
1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen peas
1/2 cup chopped green onions

Cook the rice in the 2 cups of water.

In a large skillet, cook ground beef, mushrooms and celery over medium heat until beef is thoroughly cooked. Stir frequently.

In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, sesame oil and Tabasco Sauce mixing well. Stir this mixture into the meat mixture. Add the peas, green onions and cooked rice. Cook until heated through. Serves approximately 6.

Okay, some notes. You could certainly use white rice if you have an aversion to brown rice. (Although brown rice is much, much healthier for you, dear people.)

I had some toasted sesame oil that has a delightful flavor and that is what I used.

I was very skeptical of using the 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco Sauce (thinking it might be a little hot) but the flavor barely comes through so don't be timid about using that much.

The original recipe called for pea pods instead of green peas. I did have some from the garden in the freezer but upon defrosting them, they looked so limp that I decided not to use them. But when I have fresh pea pods available, I will use them instead of the green peas.

No green onions in the house so I used chopped red onion. (My very last red one from the garden . . . sob.) I do think the green onions would have added a little nicer color boost to the appearance of the dish.

I served it with pickled beets which I thought went very well. The recipe made enough for six servings so I kept two serving out which I warmed in a skillet the next day for our lunch (it was yummy) and froze two servings for a dinner later.

You could certainly substitute other veggies for the peas or add others along with the peas. I'm sure I'll make this recipe quite a bit as it was such a hit with my hubby. Hope it works for you.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Tracking the Loop

Yesterday afternoon we realized we hadn't tracked our loop up into the woods since the last snowfall. And the latest forecast was for about 8" more snow starting last night and continuing through today. So we decided we needed to get out there with snowshoes and pack a good base before getting the new snow.

We started out with the three dogs, our Zoey and our granddogs, Tucker and Maisy.

We had barely started up the trail when, sadness and woe, our soon-to-be fourteen year old Zoey simply did not want to make the hike and no amount of coaxing on our part would get her to change her mind. Clearly, a Sunday afternoon snooze in the house on her bed sounded like a better idea. This is the first time she has ever, in any kind of weather, declined to go for a run in the woods.

Papa Pea had to turn around and take her back to the house before we could continue on.

Even with snowshoes, we probably broke through about 6". The going was particularly rough for Tucker, because his legs are only about 4" long!

And the snow kept balling up on the dogs' feet which must be irritating as all heck.

Also being that there were so many wonderful scents to investigate, Tucker had a face full of snow most of the time.

Stopping on top of the ridge.

Nice profile shot, Maisy.

We're finally getting enough of a snow build-up that everything is getting pretty well covered. (Note the huge rocks to the left of me in above picture.)

Every time when we get back from hiking the loop, I always feel so good for having gotten the exercise and experienced the gorgeous scenery. But, boy, am I (consistently) a pain in the patoot on the uphill first half of the trail. I don't know why my hubby doesn't automatically slap a strip of duct tape over my mouth and then take it off when we reach the top. I grump and groan constantly about how much the uphill climb h-u-r-t-s and how much I don't l-i-k-e climbing uphill. (Whine, whine, incessant whining.)

We used to have a friend who was a chunky, little guy and he would often say he was built for comfort, not speed. I feel as if I must be built for downhill, not uphill.

Uh-oh. Here it is 2 o'clock Monday afternoon and it's been snowing all day. Hubby just announced he wants to go snowshoe the loop again to pack down the new snow. Sure, I'll go along. But that first uphill part of the trail h-u-r-t-s SO much and . . .

Monday Mutterings

Today marks the one week point of our month long change in eating habits. (I so want to just say month long "diet," but that word has such bad connotations . . . even though technically it does simply refer to the food and drink of a person. Oh, well.) Papa Pea has lost three pounds and reports he doesn't feel any different. Okay. The scale shows me down two pounds, but that small a loss could simply be the fluctuation of water retention.

Regardless, I do feel less fullness or bloating (makes me want to "moo" when I put it that way) around my middle section. Truly-duly, I'm not as concerned with the number on the scale as I am with the way I feel. Having said that, I'm now going to start to cry and admit I did find it downright abhorrently shocking (I nearly fainted) when I weighed last week for the first time in over a year, maybe longer. I mean I knew my clothing was getting tighter but Holey Moley, Hannah! Those pounds sure do sneak up behind ya and grab on when you're not looking. I should have know the situation was worse than I assumed because even my winter chore coat is snug when I zip my well-padded frame into it.

We both agree that we haven't sacrificed that much in the past week. We're still eating good food. Just less of it. ('Course, there was that waffle fiasco. Damn waffles.) The biggest eye-opener for both of us has been just how often during the day we were popping something into our mouths when it was totally unnecessary to appease real hunger. Oh, how we do fall into baaad habits.

The above was shot a couple of minutes ago standing on the back stoop looking toward the wood sheds.

We're getting more snow this morning. Probably got about 4-5" overnight with more forecast before all is said and done. We're experiencing a bit of wind with the snow this morning so are getting drifting also. Looks like winter out there. Beautiful!

The decision as to which varieties of chickens to order for this spring was made over the weekend. We're going with Black Australorps, Delawares and the Light Sussex. Whew, glad that's done. Too many different chickies to choose from. ("I'll take four of these, two of those, six of the other ones . . . ")

I made a new main dish recipe this weekend that hubby went crazy over. His exact words were, "I could eat this three times a day for a long time." It's an economical ground beef/rice/veggie skillet dish and I'll post it soon. I love finding good stovetop meals because of so many days in the summer when we're hungry as bears from working outside all day, but it's too hot to fire up the oven. Yupper, this one is a keeper.

We packed our loop trail yesterday afternoon in preparation for the new dump of snow overnight/today so I'll post pictures of that trek later today after I get a few things done first.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Something Kind of Interesting . . .

I got a nice comment from Judy to yesterday's blog about the waffles. Within her comment she asked teasingly, "Do these waffles fit into our weight losing plan?"

Funny you should ask, Judy, 'cause I had a reaction after eating yesterday morning that I think was related directly to the meal.

Both hubby and I have been really good this past week about not eating in between meals, no desserts, no alcoholic beverages, sticking with smaller portions and watching the carbohydrates and sugars we've consumed. Up until yesterday's carbohydrate/sugar-filled breakfast.

I knew the waffles would classify as a carbohydrate and obviously the toppings we put on them were sugars. But I made them anyway as a treat and we each ate two of them.

Hubby had been out shoveling snow before breakfast and went back out again for over an hour right after he ate. He said he didn't feel any adverse effect from our (ahem) less than strictly healthiest-of-healthy breakfast. Because of his physical exercise, I think he burned the sugary load off.

But within a half hour of eating, I got a headache. My whole insides felt queasy and shakey. I was extremely lethargic. Could hardly drag myself through the house. Thought I was going to have to lie down. Talk about being bit in the butt!

Coincidence? Uh, I don't think so. Let's rethink this, Mama Pea (aka Dumb-Dumb). I ate the two waffles with maple syrup and strawberry jam along with a fruit cup made up of fresh apple, banana and orange. Do we see any carbohydrates or sugars here? Only the whole meal! After doing a good job for the past week of avoiding any (or certainly any substantial amount) of sugars and/or carbohydrates, I fell off the wagon yesterday morning right on my head. And paid for it.

So, Judy, the one meal of the waffles may not have negated any weight loss for the week (we'll see tomorrow morning), but it sure did a number on my body. Loud and clear it told me what ingesting large amounts of sugar (or carbohydrates that are immediately converted to sugar) on an empty stomach will do to me. I'll betcha I wouldn't have had the same unpleasant reaction if my previous week's food regime hadn't been extremely low on sugars, but because I had been effectively ridding my system of heavy carbohydrates and sugars, yesterday' onslaught affected me greatly. Oh, balderdash. Will I ever learn??

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Overnight Light & Delicious Waffles

I like waffles lots better than pancakes. Then why don't I make them but once in a blue moon?

Because I don't have any place to store my waffle iron in my small kitchen. It gets tuck on a shelf in a storage unit in our entry room and I have to unload the front part of the shelf to get to the waffle iron. Just not convenient at all. But just you wait until my new pantry and kitchen is finished and set up! It will be right inside the pantry door within two or three steps of the main work area of my kitchen. (If you only knew EVERYTHING I want to get on those couple of shelves of the pantry that will be within two or three steps of the main work area of my kitchen.)

As a special breakfast treat this morning I made Overnight Light & Delicious Waffles.

The batter needs to be started the night before which I did last night after I was all ready for bed.


1/2 warm water (115-120 degrees)
1 package dry yeast (1 tablespoon)
2 cups warmed milk
1/2 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups flour
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Using a good sized mixing bowl, put the water in the bowl and sprinkle in the yeast. Let this dissolve for 5 minutes.

Add the milk, butter, salt, sugar and flour to the yeast mixture and beat with a mixer until well blended. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand overnight at room temperature.

Above is the mixture last night before I covered it, said nighty-night and went to bed.

And this is what it looked like first thing this morning. Can you see that it's all burbbly and has risen a bit?

Just before cooking the waffles, beat in the eggs and baking soda. The batter will be very thin. Pour 1/2 to 3/4 cup batter into a very hot waffle iron and bake until the waffles are golden and to your liking.

My waffle iron makes only a 7-1/2" waffle so I can pour only a scant 1/2 cup batter into the waffle iron.

So good with maple syrup and butter.

'Course, if you happen to have any strawberry jam lying around, that's good, too.

The original recipe stated that you can keep the batter in the refrig for several days, but I've always made all of the batter up into waffles . . .

. . . and cooled them on a wire rack.

Then I stack them with wax paper in between each waffle (so I can remove individual ones), and put a paper plate on the bottom and top of the stack.

Next I put the whole batch of extras in a freezer bag and into the deep freeze they go. Then it's easy to take out a couple, pop them in the toaster another morning. They heat up almost as good as when they were fresh from the waffle iron. I usually bake the ones for the freezer (and subsequent toasting) a little less because they will brown some in the toaster.

My hubby likes these waffles particularly because they are light and not as dry or crunchy as some waffles can be.

The recipe makes eleven 7-1/2" waffles.