Knitting Rose

Just Knitting around


Thursday, June 30, 2011

Episode 93 Free Yourself!

What has been going on? 
Eating at home 
dyeing yarn
reading books

What have I been Knitting? 
Going to work on UFO and UBO (Unfinished objects and Unbegun Objects)
favorite current projects

Recommended podcasts

What Have I been Thinking?
Dropping the Sweater KAL
Picking back up the Master Knitter Program

Trips Coming up

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Favorite Snack

My new favorite snack is dehydrated zucchini and summer squash.


I also dehydrated some bananas this weekend - they are really good as well.  But I could eat the squash chips all day (till I made myself sick).

I think I am going to try dehydrating strawberries next.

why not?

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Big Texan's Dressing

I made some salad dressing for the Big Texan.  He doesn't like most salad dressing - but this one he said is a keeper.

BT Dressing

3 Tbl Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 C Olive Oil
2 cloves pressed garlic
5 shots of tabasco or other pepper sauce
1/4 C grated Parmesan (real stuff)
salt (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)

I am guessing on the proportions, but this is all of the ingredients.

and for dessert - from TEXASPURLGURL

Salted Peanut Caramel Bark
3 lbs. Chocolate Almond Bark 
1 jar dry roasted salted peanuts
1 1/2 cup Caramel Bits
Sea Salt

Get 2 cookie sheets and cover each with wax paper. Put the chocolate bricks in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on HIGH for 90 seconds, stir, 90 more seconds, stir, then 15 second intervals until melted. Remove from microwave and pour jar of peanuts in chocolate and stir. Let cool for a few minutes and then add the Caramel Bits. Stir until all ingredients combined. 
Pour 1/2 of mixture on 1 cookie sheet and 1/2 of the mixture on the other cookie sheet. Sprinkle sea salt on top. 
 Put in refrigerator and let harden and break apart or put in freezer and let harden and break apart.

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Tough day done!

Today was a tough day.  The Big Texan and I were out most of the day.  I really wanted to eat out because I was hungry and tired - but did NOT do it.  We had a lot of errands and today would have been so easy to just grab a quick bite or sit and chill for a bit.  Instead after we came home I made a loaf of bread, dehydrated some vegetables and made some yogurt.

Yeah - I beat the craving.

Yesterday was such a pretty day that I wanted to sit on a patio and have some wine.  Instead of going to our favorite bistro we turned our back patio into a festive space.  We had steak, new potatoes, salad and white sangria.  We even had chocolate molten lava cake for dessert.  It was a relaxing, fun and AT HOME afternoon.

White sangria

2 bottles of white wine (doesn't have to be your favorite)
1 lemon
3 oranges
1/4 cup triple sec
3/4 cup cointreau (orange liqueur)
1 cup sugar

Slice the lemon into thin slices.  Juice two of the oranges (about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of juice), thinly slice the third orange.  Mix all ingredients (adding more or less sugar and ice to taste).

This is a great way to use up your not so favorite white wine.  You can add grapes or other berries to your taste as well.  You can also use 1 or 2 cups of ginger ale instead of the cointreau and triple sec.

Tomorrow we are going to hang out by the pool and probably make something else festive.

I am really loving the challenge of eating at home every day.  It hasn't gotten tedious yet (I am sure it will though).

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Getting into the Groove

Tonight I had a friend call me and ask me to go out with her for drinks and a snack.  I TOLD HER NO!!!  I actually told her that I wasn't eating in restaurants for a year and I couldn't go out - but if she would like that she could come over and have some wine and snacks at my house.


I didn't cave!!

The really funny thing was - she didn't bat an eye.  She said... "OK, so I will be there at 8:30 and we can visit."  Then when she got here she asked what sparked this new thing....

My friends really know that I am ODD!!   AND IT IS OK!!

They 'get' me.  She was curious about what started the whole "not eating in restaurants for a year" thing - but didn't object or give me crap about it.  We had a great visit too!

I am so thankful for my friends.



Tuesday, June 21, 2011

One more time...

Today the Big Texan took some of the leftover spaghetti sauce to work and a vegetarian friend of his tried the sauce and gave it a big thumbs up!  So I am pleased.

and I had it again tonight for dinner.

I made the Big Texan and Papa G some broiled pork chops - with a little mashed potatoes and salad - for dinner.

I also made some bread today.   I noticed that we only had one slice of bread left and thought that Betty Boop would want her usual sandwich at lunch - soooooo, instead of going to the store and buying some bread, I went ahead and made a loaf.  The Big Texan had a slice of bread with homemade jam on it for dessert.  Not the most healthy thing to eat, but certainly one of the most fun things to eat.

I have been keeping a couple of gallons of Sun Tea around as well.  I just put the tea bags and sugar in the jar in the morning (I have a 3 gallon jar) and stick it in the sun.  By Noon time I can bring it in and let it cool.  Then we have Sun Tea for a couple of days.  For a change of flavor, I will juice a lemon and pour that in the tea jar as well.

Tomorrow is going to be a little tougher because I need to eat at work - I will have to make some more chicken salad (that is so YUM!)  I already put together breakfast by getting some steel cut oats started going in the fridge.  What you do is take 4 cups of water and bring it to a boil.  Then you put in a cup of steel cut oats.  Boil for 1 minute.  Then I put a few dehydrated blueberries and stick it in the fridge.  In the morning you take it out of the fridge and heat/cook for about 8 minutes.  With the blueberries in there I won't need any sugar.  I should have breakfast for a couple of days this way (unless the kids find it).

We are thinking about going down to visit my brother in central Texas - if we do - I am going to be cooking for them as well.  My brother loves it when I come and visit if I am in a cooking mood.  He will actually take pictures of the food.  Isn't that hilarious?  It is his birthday weekend and I think it would be nice to see him.  I won't be making him a cake though.

Or will I?

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Vegetarian Spaghetti Sauce

I am still going strong!  Tonight was Vegetarian Spaghetti Sauce - and it was delish!  Hubby thought there was meat involved - but NOPE - Not a bit.

2 fresh Zucchini - julienned
2 fresh Eggplant - julienned
1 onion - sliced thin
3 fresh tomatoes - peeled and cubed
6 cloves garlic - minced
2 tsp olive oil
2 Tbl butter
8 oz tomato paste
1/2 C red wine
1/2 C water
salt to taste
pepper to taste

Saute onions in oil until soft, add garlic, squash & eggplant heat through.  Add rest of ingredients and let simmer for 20 minutes (at least).  Add water to get consistency that you want.  Serve over pasta or chicken.

I added the salt before adding water - because it makes the veges give off water.  It was yummy and flavorful.

Next time I will add more tomatoes and probably leave out the paste.  I will also add some italian seasoning and oregano for more punch.  But this really didn't need any of the extras - the veges gave it enough flavor and fullness anyway.

And I will probably try this same mixture with ground turkey (and less water) at some point to make Sloppy Joe's.

I dehydrated some zucchini and yellow squash to make chips the other night - They were extra salty and crunchy yummy.  I can eat a whole handful and not worry ONE BIT!

I am getting into cooking again.  Woot!!!!

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Another day done!

I am doing so well on the eating at home thing!  I cannot believe it!  Tonight was a wonderful example!  the whole family ate SQUASH!  AND IT WASN'T FRIED!

I am so happy right now.
I can't wait to do it again tomorrow.

but I kinda want a box of macaroni & cheese too....

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Clear OUT the House!

Ok - I have to clear the freezer of processed foods.  Today I can eat regular food, vegetables and grains.  Well, I noticed some little pizza rolls in the freezer and I thought "Oh, just ONE won't hurt." I made some and ate a couple and realized that I WAS BREAKING MY COMMITMENT!  So I spit it out!  I cannot believe that I did that!  After all this time of working towards my goal and revving up - I did that!  So after I get home from work today I am going to empty the freezer of all processed foods.  I am obviously not strong enough or AWARE enough to resist them.  I am going to do it after work so that the kids will be here and they know what is going on.  There is also an ice cream sandwich in the freezer.  I LOVE ice cream sandwiches.  I will NOT eat it though.  I WON'T!
So - I messed up.  But I am not going to let that stop me.  At least I haven't gone into any restaurants or fast food places.  But it makes me realize that I am going to have be STRONGER.

I hopped on the bicycle this morning and rode for 30 minutes.  At least I did that.  That is a positive, right?

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Day 1 Breaking the Fast

Today was the first day of breaking the fast.  It isn't easy to do this.  I want to say - "Forget it.  I will take my chances, I want something crunchy!"  But I know better and am being careful.  I haven't had ANY adverse side effects while I was on this fast and I don't want to start now.  NOW I am planning the meals I will be making.

It is getting easier to ignore the restaurants and fast food places.  I just have to keep thinking that I am working toward a GREAT goal.  AND I only have to take ONE day at a time.  Since the Big Texan and I have two nights of classes - it is more difficult, but I made him dinner before class (healthy and quick) and we were just fine.  With proper planning - you CAN do it.  At 4pm - I thought - Oh man, I don't want to cook.  Normally that would mean thinking about someplace to pick up something quick - but that cannot happen - sooooooo.  I thought "OK, either you cook or he doesn't eat.  Even if it is just a peanut butter sandwich, you need to think of something."  I realized that I can make a quick meal in less than 30 minutes.  So I went and got ready for class, came back downstairs and started dinner.  I was done in 27 minutes.  The Big Texan was able to eat when he came home and we headed off to class.  We didn't even have to rush and we got to class 20 minutes early!  Amazing.

I have been having some trouble with my 30 year class reunion.  I have wanted to go - but didn't want to eat out and it is a five hour trip from our house.  The Big Texan was awesome and found a B&B with a FULL kitchen!  The lady who runs the B&B is a vegetarian and she completely understood when the Big Texan told her that I wanted to cook our meals.  So - THAT was my first BIG hurdle on keeping to the plan.  And we jumped it!

I am so excited and thrilled!  I can do this!  I know I can!  I just have to plan and strategize.

I am going to have to research some more healthy quick meals - but I know I can do that.  The Big Texan has decided to join me on this whole experience - so we had to add some more rules.

Added Rule:
If it is for business - you are exempt from the restaurant rule (we don't need to jeopardize our living) but you still need to eat healthy and try to find the simplest healthy item possible.

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Sunday swimming

We had company over on Sunday and went swimming!  It was too much fun.  We weren't going to have dinner together (since I am still fasting), but I am doing fine with seeing food and not being hungry.  I am still taking in plenty of calories (don't worry - over 1200/day), so there is not a lot of hunger here.  I made everyone roasted chicken, corn on the cob and salad.  They all loved it and I was happy to cook again!

This morning I opened the front door and there was a turtle on our front walk - coming up to the door!  I saw him and hollered for the Big Texan.  He came and got him and put him in the back yard.   So all day today we have had a LARGE red eared slider in our pool!  We have a salt water pool - so he is fine.  Every time we take him out  - he turns around and goes right back in.  We had another (similar) turtle a few years ago who lived in our pool for over two years.  We never could figure out how he got in and out of the pool - except that maybe he used the rocks that come down to the water.  I know turtles are supposed to be good luck - so I am tickled by this.  Especially with the symbolism of him walking up to the front door like that!

I will be off the fast on the 16th - it depends on how the doctor wants me to go off whether I do the 3-day transition before the 16th or beginning on the 16th.  Either way - I will be able to eat regular food by the weekend.

I can't believe I am doing this and succeeding!

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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Almost there!

We ALMOST have our house back!  The Big Texan and I spent a better part of the day putting another room to rights.  We only have the dining area left to go!  I cannot believe it!  I am so excited!  I feel like we are coming back to life!  YEAH!  And I really want a peanut butter sandwich!  That is a LOT better than wanting to go to a Mexican food restaurant (which is what I wanted earlier).


Friday, June 10, 2011

Keep on working it

I have discovered that I am fine when I am alone. I can easily bypass restaurants and fast food places. But when I am with someone and they want to grab a bite, it is much more difficult. I have been ok so far and I haven't broken my pledge. I am glad I am on the fast - because it makes it much easier to say 'no'.

I have reiterated to the kiddos that there will be no TV dinners in the house after the 16th. And they can eat out - but any food they bring home in doggie bags will be tossed after ONE day in the fridge. They are starting to get it (I think). They are hoping that I will quit in a month or so - but I am really going to try to make it ONE YEAR!

I realize that half of the reason I go to restaurants is for the social aspect. I have gotten to know so many of the servers at the restaurants that I like - that I feel like I am missing friends. THAT shows how much we have eaten out! I don't really know how to counteract that - or what to replace it with. I need the socialization - and not just from my knitting friends. I will have to think on that. Maybe I can replace it by going to the gym and working out more often. I could make more friends up there.

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Wednesday, June 08, 2011

A couple of days in...

You would think this would be easy - but surprisingly - it isn't! I thought that since I was doing a fast at the beginning - I wouldn't have to worry about wanting to go into restaurants and grab a quick bite. Well..... I have a family. And THEY like to do that too. Yesterday the Big Texan and Papa G both wanted to go and grab a quick bite before our class. I had to tell them that I couldn't do it. I knew that I would want to get a soda or something and I just didn't think I had the willpower. They were disappointed, but understood. They fixed themselves bites to eat before we left the house. YEAH!
I am not only going to have to break my bad habits - but also help my family. I am used to them being able to cook for themselves (at least some of the times) and they have also gotten out of that habit.
Tonight I am working late - so they are on their own anyway. Since my family didn't really 'get it' I am going to cut them a break for the next 10 days. We still have some TV dinners in the freezer and I am going to let them fix themselves TV dinners until the 16th or until they are gone (whichever comes first). I have told everyone the rules - but I don't think they had psyched themselves up for the whole ordeal. They are now aware that all TV dinners left here on the 16th will be tossed and no more will be brought into the house.
Having adult kids makes it a little bit harder - because they do provide for themselves sometimes. I can't (and won't) stop them if they want to eat out - but I am not going to be part of it and there will be a meal cooked here at home.
I have noticed that they don't eat at home much and I have been cooking about 3 times a week. When I do that - sometimes they want to eat and sometimes they don't. Since I am not going to be trying to figure out if folks are eating here or not - we are going to have to have a chat. I have been cooking enough for 4 people (that's how many are in the house). If I know they are coming to eat - I usually cook enough for 6 people. That gives the Big Texan leftovers for lunches (that has always been our agreement). Since I cannot think of an easy solution - we are going to have to sit down and talk as a family. I hate to cook for only 4 people and then have no leftovers for the Big Texan because everyone decided to stay home and eat. But I don't want to cook for 6 people and have the Big Texan have 4 days of leftovers! And I need to be able to plan the meals... hmmm....

I did not realize how bad we had become - I am so glad that we are doing this.


Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Let's Eat at Home for a Year

Ok - so I am going to make a commitment to not eat out at restaurants for a year.

What has happened to prompt this?
We had our house remodeled and they basically shut down my kitchen for over 3 months. I really got out of the habit of cooking. BAD. We ate out for every meal for 3 MONTHS! It got terribly expensive. and we got fat. and by 'we' I mean 'me'. I gained all the weight back that I lost. I am soooo ticked off by this.

So - rather than whine and moan about it. I am going to do something about it. I am going to become more active in the creation of my food. That means that I have to set some rules for myself.
1) No eating out at restaurants (this includes fast food).
2)No TV dinners
3)No 'instant' food

1)No eating out at restaurants (including fast food)
This seems to be pretty self explanatory. I will not be going out to eat at all. I will not be bringing anything home to eat from a restaurant. I won't order out pizza. I won't go through a drive through. I won't be eating at a ballpark, amusement park, theater, or any place that I have to pay for the food and they hand it to me prepared.

2)No TV dinners
This one is pretty simple as well. I cannot eat TV dinners. Not a problem. The problem comes when the definition of what constitutes a TV dinner. I am going to say it is any complete prepared meal that has only to be heated before it can be eaten.
My DIL asked me if I was going to include boxed meals in this definition. That makes things more interesting. I don't usually use boxed meals. But I do use boxed macaroni and cheese sometimes. I often use dried pasta. Can I use the pasta that is in the refrigerated section? Do I have to make my own pasta? What about bread? Do I have to make my own bread or can I buy it? This is going to be a little tougher for me. If the item in question is considered a meal on it's own once it has been only heated - then I cannot use it. If it has to have other things added to it to be considered a meal, then it will be acceptable. Again - I may have to adjust this rule as I go along. I will be trying to get further down to the roots of meals as the days go on... So, for the first three months I can use the prepared components for meals to create a meal. I will adjust this rule later.

3) No 'instant' or 'junk' food
This is where things got a little dicey. What constitutes instant food? I needed to expand it to include 'junk' food. I am going to define it as anything that can be eaten without any other preparation. I do not have to wash it, heat it, freeze it or take any other step before I consume it. Therefore - no candy bars, ice cream bars, chips, dips, or any other 'junk' food.
Fruit is an instant food in many cases - but it is not 'junk' food. Nuts are instant food, but I do not consider them 'junk'. If it is coming to me in it's natural state and people have not had to alter it for me to consume it, then it is not 'junk' and I can eat it. Sadly, this also means I will not be getting to eat Snow Cones this summer. Or any iced drink. When the Big Texan and I go on trips - I will have to get my water and drinks from the grocery store and then take them with us. Basically I cannot get food from a convenience store. I may as well stay out of convenience stores.

I am not going to be militant about this - I am going to adjust this to a livable lifestyle choice for me - but I am going to take this seriously. We are going on a trip in October and I am going to Sock Summit - so I have to make special arrangements for when I am not in the same state as my kitchen.

*Added Rule*
If it is for business - you are exempt from the restaurant rule (we don't need to jeopardize our living) but you still need to eat healthy and try to find the simplest healthy item possible.

I have already started. I am currently doing a fast (with Dr supervision) for the next 10 days. So I don't have to worry about anything until June 16. But the countdown has begun and I have sworn off restaurants for the next year beginning June 6.

Here we go!

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Episode 92 Summertime