Forever and an Age

October 24th, 2013

It’s been quite some time since I posted to this blog.  Life has a way of just really going crazy.

We have been settling in to our new place in Gtown and loving it.  Our neighborhood has to be one of the most friendly and welcoming there is.  We have a discussion group email list that makes it possible for all the neighbors to stay in touch and communicate pertinent – and sometimes inane – things with each other.  I feel like that really helps the place feel like a community, not just a bunch of houses in relatively close proximity.  Everyone here looks out for their neighbor and they all actually know each others names, and truly care.  I wish more neighborhoods were like this one.

My son is working toward his degree in computer programming, and the CEO of my sister company has said he’d be more than welcome to intern with them when he gets to that point.  I’m thrilled about it – now to pitch it to my son so /he/ is thrilled about it. **laughs**

My oldest daughter-in-law is coming to visit the same weekend as my parents.  My folks are looking forward to meeting her.  Me…I’m hoping for the best and anticipating the worst.  My last encounter with the gal is not one I’d care to repeat at any point in my life. It has made me wary and uncomfortable when thinking of having her in my home.  But, I am hopeful that this time will be genial rather than hostile.  Hey, what can I say – I ever live in hope.

My job is kinda getting to me.  Not because of the work so much as because of some of the people there.  Don’t get me wrong.  They are awesome people.  I love laughing with them and all.  The issue comes in with a few of the ones who seem to just not understand that what they do (or don’t do) matters.  They can literally cause us to lose thousands in revenue a day just by ignoring something, avoiding something or just slacking off.  And, when you have a small company like ours – you can’t afford to lose that kind of revenue.  It’s an uphill battle that is wearing and exhausting.  On the other hand, my direct reports are awesome and I do enjoy the job itself.

All things being equal, though, the long hours are really starting to wear on me.  Something’s gotta give.  :(

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Not Your Ordinary Chocolate Pudding

August 26th, 2012

Mike's ServingI had a hankering for chocolate pudding, today. Unfortunately, given my negative disposition toward all things cow-milk oriented, it isn’t just a matter of running to the corner store and grabbing some.

So, I decided to give it a go, here at home – and, of course – I never leave well enough alone, so I gave it a spicey, coffinated, cinnamon-esque twist. Overall, I’m extremely pleased with the results, and even my “not really big on chocolate” husband is going to like it very much….the pecans in his are the bribe to ensure it ;-)

Ingredients

Directions

1. Beat the egg yolks and let them come up to room temperature.  While they are coming up to room temp, it is wise to pre-measure and prepare for this dish.  You do not want to stop whisking while it is cooking.

2. Place all the dry ingredients (except the corn starch and flour) in a large bowl.  Slowly mix in the milk, half the coffee and the egg yolks until you have a smooth consistency, making sure to avoid lumps.

3. Melt the Earth Balance in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat.  Add the flour and whisk until the flour is fully saturated by the EB.  Lower the heat and let the pan cool a bit. Let cook for just a moment to remove the ‘raw’ flavor of the flour.

4. It may be that the mixture needs some help setting up.  Since it is highly likely to be the case, mix the corn starch and remaining coffee together and have it sitting near the stove top within easy reach, but out of the range of the heat from the stove top.

5. Pour in the ingredients from the mixing bowl, raise the heat to medium-high and whisk constantly.  You do not want to let this stick to the pan in any way.  If you must stop stirring, remove the pan from the heat and stir until the mixture stops bubbling.

6. After about 15 minutes of constant whisking, your pudding should be thickening nicely. If it is not, slowly start to add the cornstarch to the mix.

7. Once the mixture thickens, remove from the stove top and continue to stir while the pudding settles (ie. stops bubbling and potentially cooking to the sides and bottom of the pan).

*Note: do not let it get too thick or you will have a very thick pudding when cooled.  Remember, it will continue to set up while it is chilling.

8.  Once it has settled, ladel into the cup/bowl of your choice.

9. At this point, I may do layers of pudding, and pecans and then more pudding.  Or strawberries, or – whatever strikes my fancy.

10. Place in the fridge and let chill.  Serve cold with whipped cream as a special treat.

Serves: 4
Prep Time: 10 Min
Cook Time: 65 Min

 

 

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Not Often Thought About

April 30th, 2012

You know, you rarely think about the fact that you burn calories with everything you do in life.  Even just sitting still requires X amount of calories to keep you going.  There are a lot of people who absolutely hate calorie counting to keep themselves inline when they are trying to lose weight.  But, I actually enjoy it.  It helps me not only ensure I’m staying where I need to be calorie-wise; but, it helps me to understand how healthy I am (or am not) eating and living.

Today’s example shows that I have eaten breakfast and lunch.

Breakfast was pretty substantial and really hit the spot.  I tend to eat breakfast about two hours after I’ve gotten up and rolling.  I just cannot bring myself to eat immediately upon waking.  It just does not sit right.

Lunch doesn’t look like much, with just the overview; but, when you break it down, it was actually enough to keep me going through the afternoon until I get home tonight to make dinner.

It was a Turkey on Rye…I don’t know how many of you have checked out the calories in various sandwich ingredients; but, Rye is amazingly low in calories.  Lower than the ‘low calorie’ wraps I’ve see out there.  Mustard – basic yellow – has next to no calories.  Turkey, lettuce and tomatoes – and, bingo.  You have a very flavorful sandwich that comes in under 120 calories.  Rye bread tends to be pretty good sized slices – so, you use ONE slice of bread to hold all the ingredients together.  Eat it slowly and enjoy it.  It’s full of good things for you – a healthy, low calorie meal that will tide you over for the next couple of hours…and, it’s not bland, boring or nasty tasting.

While that’s all well and good, I’ve still spent 478 calories, right?  That can be pretty rough when you’re on a restricted diet.  But, you’d be amazed at the amount of calories just driving to work and doing your desk job can burn.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not enough that you can go crazy with your caloric consumption; but, it’s enough that you can breathe a bit easier about what you do and do not choose to eat.

Surprisingly, just driving to work and doing my job burns 508 calories – that just a bit under one calorie an hour.  Not exactly going to burn it off in a blink of an eye; but, it does mean that there is more wiggle room in your day than you might imagine.  The walking “under 2mph” that’s there that shows 5 min?  I park on the far side of the parking lot.  It takes me about 2.5 minutes to get into work – crossing the lot and climbing a flight of stairs to get to my cube.  Who’d think to put that on their exercise list, right?  I mean, it’s only 7 calories…but, 7 calories here and there can add up.  Going to the bathroom – I use the women’s handicap stall and do a couple of minutes of side kicks and squats.  Only 13 calories…but, I do it every time I go to the bathroom – some days more than others; but, you know….at 13 calories a pop – that’s not too shabby.  Add to that, walking to the bathroom farthest away from my desk takes me about 2 minutes each way, so there are more calories burned.  Last night, I wound up 20 calories over my goal…but, I was still within my caloric goal for reaching 1.2 pounds lost per week.  I hate that it’s such a low amount per week. I’ve grown up in an “instant” society and I want it right now; but, this way is much healthier and much better at helping me to ensure not only that I eat enough; but, that I eat healthy.

Yes, eat enough.  I think one of the reasons so many have trouble with dieting is because they do not take into account all they are doing throughout their day.  They log every bite consumed; but, they fail to log every action taken (well, within reason).  So – someone may go on a 1200 calorie diet…and, essentially starve themselves because they also begin to work out and increase their caloric burn.  It’s one reason I find tools like MyFitnessPal or MyFoodDiary so invaluable. They help give you the real picture about what’s going on…and, the nutritional feedback is even nicer (though, I wish there was a bit more robust information, what they do provide is wonderful). For more information on how many calories are burned for every day activities like walking, shopping, sleeping, watching TV, cooking, putting up groceries, etc you can go to this link provided by Harvard.

 

The end of the day report really helps you see how well you’ve done at living healthy, while trying to lose weight.  This is actually my middle of the day report – I still have dinner to get through.  However, because of all the little things I’m doing throughout the day, I can have a fairly decent dinner and still be within my caloric range. Not to mention, I still have my rowing I’ll be doing tonight which will burn off a few more calories – that means I can gift myself a single glass of wine as an apertif.  Not too shabby :-)  

Don’t get me wrong.  It’s not easy.  Breaking the sugar habit is HARD.  Cutting back on caffine?  Really hard.  Trying to identify the cravings that you get so that you can provide healthy alternatives for what your body is demanding?  It takes a lot of fine tuning and really coming to understand your own body.  It’s not easy; but, I think, in the end it’s worth it.

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