Monday, June 25, 2012

Week in Review: Sunday 6/25

I painted and decorated my dining room this week and I am so totally stoked. It looks awesome, the color is great, and I added a Pinterest idea. I just love Pinterest, don't you? I am hoping to post some photos of the living room, wash room, and dining room projects so stay tuned for the updates. Right now I am still putting up some pictures on the walls and I only have my camera phone to use for snapshots...pretty lousy. Hopefully I can get this blog thing going on!

As far as the menu goes I had good days and bad, mostly me screwing up and trying to recover. Monday I did make eggs for dinner, and as predicted I did not want to cook on Tuesday. I used my splurge points and we ordered from Snuzzles, a fantastic local steak and pizza shop. Sam and I shared a Snuzzle Stuffer (look it up, so dang good!) no doubt loaded with KNC's. Wednesday I was all prepared to get back on track when the heat wave kicked in for real, and when my Mother-In-Law (a diamond lady!) called to see if she could bring over fried chicken and jump in the pool after, I said HECK YEAH! I did limit myself to one piece of breaded, fried, chicken-breasty goodness...and a few chips. Thursday I was back in the game though!  I made the Beets n' Sweets recipe from, it was a major hit. My dad and my uncle, not big beet eaters, both really enjoyed it and my little gal munched her way through a pile also. Mom and I naturally both loved it as anticipated. I served the dish with a side of sausage...bratwurst for the guys and jalapeno chicken sausage for Mom and I.

Friday I made the WW recipe for meatless baked ziti, and I served it with salad and asiago spinach chicken sausage for Hubs. It was really yummy especially since I made my own fresh sauce as taught to me by my little sister Squench. Saturday night we ate some steak on the barbie, some grilled marinated zucchini and yellow squash, and maybe another salad. The Hominy recipe did not get made due to the aforementioned suprise Kickass Ninja Calorie attack from the fried chicken but we will have it on the menu next week. Saturday I brought leftover ziti to work and Sunday I ate a portobello burger out with my dad. It was so good! I didn't eat the roll though, too full.

So here is the plan for next week's menu. I am not going to stick to a day schedule simply because we will be travelling Thursday, at Dorney Park on Friday, and having a big shindig family reunion at my house on Saturday. Too many plans up in the air!  The boys are super excited about this though:

Dinosaurs Alive! A new exhibit at Dorney Park.
 Menu: we are going to try some more kid-friendly recipes so my boys will eat more of the healthy stuff and less of the junk. I will likely add veggies on the side in the form of a salad or maybe some steamed fresh veggies. We even sometimes have fruit as a side dish, which is always popular with the young'uns.

Chicken Ropa Vieja and Warm Corn Salad, recipes from

Bacon Lettuce Wraps and Oven-fried Pickle Chips from

And last but not least:
Hungry Girl's Fiber-ific Fried Cheese Sticks and grilled sausage from Sam's Club.

This is the wrong flavor though...going to cook up the apple flavored one!

I have this book and the recipes are so great. Oven-frying with Fiber One really jacks up the nutrition, trust me!!

I am happy to announce that my weight is down to 212.4 and I am feeling pretty decent about it. We were joking about dieting last weekend and I think everyone feels the same. "I have been dieting all morning and I am still not skinny!" Well what can you do! Just keep trucking along. I can feel my body underneath all this blubber and I do think it's possible to get back to my goal. Stay with me!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Kickass Ninja Calories are EVERYWHERE!

SCALE TODAY:  213.8.  Gah. All my comments leading in had been about how I wasn't feeling "regular" and that I would weigh myself after throwing down the deuce.  No such luck for this gal, because by that time I had eaten again and the number actually went UP instead of DOWN. Seriously? Okay it's a good reminder for me to get on top of my girth again. I am taking it as a lesson:  no more half-assed, half-hearted attempts and NO MORE VIENNA FINGERS (and more veggies, fruit and exercise of course)!

Holy shit, is this guy on skates? I am a dead woman!

So it's game on. The menu is set, I have a plan for the week, and it's full steam ahead. For a week. But let's allow some realism in to the party for a moment here, because that's what we are after anyway:  After this week the crazy summer schedule will kick into gear. A trip to visit family, a family reunion at our own house, then a wedding with my sister, and going to Lake George with the kids right after that, and goodness knows what other hijinks. All these diet and health websites always tell you to use caution at special occasions because there are hidden Kickass Ninja Calories (KNC's) everywhere waiting to kung-fu your butt and make you fat. And I get it, but isn't the joy of being together partly enjoying food?

I think this draws on our basic humanity, some deep-seated desire to share good times during periods of abundance...and why, at big gatherings, we have beautiful food and drink available.

Now in addition to finding other emotional releases besides food to comfort me, I will have to suppress my human instinct to gastronomically party it up all summer.  The KNC's aren't going to get me, I am going to fight them off. Hopefully it will not be a battle to the death, or one of you may have to drag me out feet-first from a vat of onion dip and potato chips!!!

Have I mentioned that I am suddenly feeling an urge to either take up running or bicycle riding?  And now that I live in the mountains I road has no shoulders, no sidewalks, and does have lots of groovy swervy turns and blind curves. Not a great environment for patrolling the neighborhood under foot or pedal power, especially with the tots in tow. It's probably some sort of reverse psychology self sabotage that I am feeling an urge to exercise now that I have no proper environment to do so. Guess I will have to do plan A--hit the videos down in the basement, but the weather has been so stunning and I maybe feel like I am missing out or not maximising my outdoor time by doing pool stuff. The kids are totally hooked on the pool though!!!

After discussing with my work wife RheaBaby we agreed that the WATCH list will be published approximately monthly...or every 4 weeks.  It doesn't make sense to post the measurements weekly and just flagellate myself about the lack of change, she said (I may be embellishing there)...I guess maybe it's a point. We are going to spread out the abuse and hopefully in between I will get the courage to face some KNC's and knock them out with serious fatbusting whole foods and exercise. And besides perhaps you will all be bored if I keep throwing my weight around metaphysically and digitally.

My friends, I am sorry to fail you so repeatedly...I fail myself as well.  Luckily it has been busy at work so I have no time to mope about it. At home the plan is to tackle the dining room paint project this week. Will keep you posted, keep reading along!  Drop me a comment. All you have to do is click on the word "comment" below and tell me what you think!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Thursday Menu...for Menu Monday!

I know I said Monday was going to be Menu day but it just isn't working out that way. Thank GOD we have had some business the last few Mondays at work and I have been too busy to get things together.  Right at the moment, I have a babysitter, so I am telling you all what will be on tap for next Monday. These menus are going to be for dinner only at this point because brekky and lunch are still pretty boring around here: waffles/cereal/oatmeal for brekky and sandwiches for lunch. Gonna get working on that soon but until goes Dinner.

We eat a lot of venison. It's all organic, lean, readily available, and I am married to a mighty hunter. Those complaints you may hear about "gaminess" in the flavor probably has to do with the cooking method. The burger is almost undetectable in most recipes, the filet is delicious grilled, and we really do not eat roasts so I can't comment there.

Monday:  Panera Vegetable Pesto soup, with the baguette, and probably a Greek Salad. I usually only use half of the dressing, real butter (1 pat) on the baguette, and the soup is so good. Actually it's a very hearty meal that really fills me up. This is my night shift dinner; for the family before work it will most likely be farm-fresh eggs and possibly some sausage if I can find any I like. A total of 8 points+ for the Panera foods, and the eggs are 2 points+ each, and the bread I use is 1 point+ per slice. Sausage varies by company.

Tuesday:  is usually the worst night of the whole week as far as my motivation to cook is concerned. I generally try to keep it kid-friendly if possible, so I am making something we lovingly call "burger ring".  It's basically cooked ground meat (venison in our case) mixed with ketchup and a dollop of mustard, some pickle relish, and some shredded cheese. I generally eyeball the amounts. Then I arrange some reduced fat crescent rolls in a sunburst pattern, pile the stuffing in the circle portion, and fold the tops over. For those of you familiar with Pampered Chef, I definitely modified this one from Doris' kitchen. I will also try to incorporate some sauteed vegetables in, like shredded mire poi (carrots, onion, celery) for flavor and vitamins. The kiddo's love this meal. I am trying to find a reasonable substitute for the crescent rolls but they are so good! This may be one of the processed foods that actually remains in my kitchen at the end of the whole overhaul. This meal is about 7 WW points+ for three segments.

Wednesday:  Beets N' Sweets. This is on recommendation from Queen Tutty's kitchen, hopefully the kids will not give me too many complaints. Beets are a new thing for our family so here goes nothing. She recommended serving with a savory sausage to balance flavor so I will try to find some turkey sausage this week.  I will be changing some things based on reviews I found:  going to use raw sugar, reduce olive oil to 1 tbsp, decrease the pepper. The Beets will be about 4 WW points+, the turkey sausage probably another 4 points+.

Thursday: This is usually our preferred eat-out meal. I have 39 flex points a week from Weight Watchers so I generally do not count points if we splurge on a take out dinner.

Friday:  BBQ Chicken Pizza from WW.   Going to try this one out on the kids. 6 points+ and will serve with a side salad, so figure 2 extra points+ for the salad with dressing and maybe a sprinkle of feta.

Saturday:   Baked Ziti from WW. 7 points+, easy to make before I start night shift, and I can probably whip up some venison meatballs or use venison sausage to round out the meal for the hubby and kids. I will not use the prepared sauce though, I have some already made with fresh ingredients (zero points as it is). I may even use my delish venison meat sauce.

Sunday: We usually have family dinner with my husband's parents. I am not sure if that is going to fly but I will be making some Tomatillo Hominy Chicken Stew from WW to take to work for the crew. It's so hearty, you get 1.75 cups per serving and you are full! One of our tried and true recipes.

On a completely happy note, right now I have potatoes, corn, tomatoes, peppers, string beans, brussel sprouts, watermelons, and carrots sprouting in the garden. If all goes well I am so excited to harvest the bounty come fall! Especially tomatoes fresh from the's like eating sunlight! Stay tuned for more updates and carryings-on. The SQUAT Team test kitchen is still trying to work on a suitable date to get together on that home-made all purpose baking mix (a.k.a. Bisquick).

If any one is interested, please follow me on Facebook or Pinterest. I am all over the place!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

First Week's Travels and Travails

It's been a complicated week. On the one hand, I have a fully planted garden complete with home-made trellis for the vines to creep on (thanks to the Hubs) and a newly painted Ladies Lounge.  On the other hand, the usual family life: who isn't talking to who, who's sick, how can we make life simpler, and will we actually let each other do that? Hard to say. In the midst of all the fun stuff I actually did manage to make some modest changes. So here is the Sunday confessional:

I am creating the WATCH list.  It's like this:  Waist, Arm, Thigh, Chest, Hips. On Sundays I am going to weigh myself, retake all my measurements, and write to you awesome folks about what happened and how I pulled anything off or failed to do so.  If any of my intrepid readership would like to participate, please comment along--we are here for eachother, after all!  On a side note, you do need a Wordpress, Google, AIM or Website account to make comments. Not sure if there is a workaround but it was pretty darn easy to set up a Google account (and they are not paying for my sponsorship).

Here is the WATCH list for today:

Waist:  36 inches (at the narrowest point)
Arm:  13 inches (at the mid-bicep)
Thigh: 25.5 inches (yep, right at the chunky rubby part)
Chest:  43.5 inches (across the bust)
Hips: 45.5 inches (at the widest point)

Here is my fat face in Week 1. There is a ghost of a double-chin starting to form, my cheekbones are well disguised, and my skin is spotty. These are things that really started to change with my previous weightloss.

And as of this moment, 213 pounds.  I only made some modest changes this week--no soda, added more veggies instead of more meat to our family meals, tried to eat less processed ingredients.  Although I have not started my WW food diary, or tracked any points, they did lower my daily allowance to 34 which seems reasonable.  I will let you know if I score any good info.  I have my target weight on WW set to 185 pounds, I was so excited to reach that milestone last time and I really hope to do it again.  Exercise was something that eluded me again this week but I did work up a sweat out in the garden, in the pool with the kids, and while painting the house. I am hoping to really get down to it own excuses are making me sick!

The kids are adapting pretty well to eating what's cooked...occasional negative feedback but so far we are pushing forward.  Hopefully this can carry through their lives to when they are the parents. As far as eating whole foods goes, I am thinking it will be a work in progress. I have no intention of turning my whole pantry inside out so as we use the products, they will not be backfilled. I am not going to just chuck my hard earned $$ in the trash. I believe that these small changes will have cumulative effects and that moderating our intake of processed foods will be a big help.

So a summary and disclaimer:  I am not being too critical of myself, I love myself and so I need to take care of me. The changes I notice in my face and body are merely clinical observations rather than a deep criticism. Every Sunday I hope to post a new photo of my face, a new set of measurements on the WATCH list, and my weight fluctuations.  Monday hopefully will be Menu Day as long as I can sit down, comb thru recipes, and shop accordingly. I don't have any plans for the other weekdays but you never know when my mental cup will overflow on to here. I am hoping to show you some of my home improvements and crafts some time as well!  Drop me a comment if you wanna see anything else!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Confessional #1

I promised a confession right?  So here goes nothing.  I am 217 pounds today.  That is what I left the hospital at after both Peter and Genevieve were born.  G was born 19 months ago so all those excuses I allowed myself about losing the baby weight are done--this is me, I am the baby, and I own the weight.  The feel of my skin alone is disgusting and when I sit down, my gut is in my lap.  How's that for a mental image?

I don't know what my measurements are, I will get them done this weekend and add them to this post as an edit. Here are the before-and-afters from last time:
This is in late January of 2009, this dress fits me right now just like in the photo.  : (  Size 18.

This is just a few months later in June, check out the lack of double chin and the size-12 shorts. Some of my clothes at that time were even 10's, and I was easily fitting medium scrubs at work.

So what I need to do is get on the plan.  Looking at myself is really tough right now, let alone feeling my skin walk around on me.  Just a few months...I can do that again right?  I don't want to be a yo-yo dieter, I want to change my life and myself forever. I want to be fit, have energy to swing my kid in the pool again, and enjoy not using food as emotional comfort.  I was so much happier, and actually I felt taller, if that makes any sense.  I had a lot of support. I needed a lot of support. Here's hoping that you all will be there for me again--I surely need more support than ever.

There are going to be highs and lows, and I plan to document it all for posterity. And for my posterior! Wish me luck.  The plan goes into implementation on Saturday, although tweaks have already kicked in.  Phase 1 of the Squat Team health plan, by the way, will likely be home-made "Bisquick" using some organic whole wheat flour.  Stay tuned.

Not every week will be like this.

  • I will most likely not be able to post every day.  I have so many projects in the works, like most of us mommas, and life gets in the way.  But I am so inspired by the feedback, I can't help myself.  I am hooked. 
  • At some point VERY soon I am actually going to start the plan (no really, I mean it!).  Today is the last day of school though, so we as a family are taking Hank out to lunch at Five Guys.  And yes, I will be eating a burger and fries, loving every bite, and probably feeling miserable afterwards.  I do have a vegetarian plan on tap for dinner though.
  • I started a few tabs--see top.  Where's The Beef? will focus on some occasional rants I need to make and get things off my chest.  Web sites and Resources: okay this is obvious!  These are links I have checked out and a few have been suggested by my fellow busy moms.  A mom reference is to be taken seriously, y'all, because somebody with too little time on her hands has taken some effort to test things out.
  • At some point I am hoping to get some comments out of you people.  Suggestions?  Questions?  Ideas?  I am wide open, what do you want to see?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

SQUAT team reborn?

OMIGOSH I am so excited!!

Most of you may not be aware that a phenomenon existed in the late 1980's and early 1990's in Sellersville, PA of two caped heroines cruising the streets on their 10-speeds and generally saving the world but it was REAL!  And now it looks like these two crazy gals just might be getting back together to provide some laughs, slapstick, and general world-saving opportunities again.

Here's the proposal from Queen Tutty, the alleged enforcer of the SQUAT team:  A recipe swap.  Use whole ingredients, use fresh food, make a giant healthy batch and freeze some.  Or even better, make together (sharing the good times) and divide for future enjoyment.  We can test recipes, take pictures, let the children run amok as they like to do, and maybe a sip of wine when things get too nuts.

I am loving this idea.  It will be like our own version of that long-ended cooking show, "Two Fat Ladies Cook" that used to air on PBS.  And it will all be documented here in this forum.  Anybody have any comments or want in on the action?  Drop me a note.  There is always room on the SQUAT team for one more goofball.

Disclaimer:  if you cannot be goofy, laugh at yourself and otherwise be a little nutty, this enterprise may be intimidating.  The Squat team formed around 1987 to cope with the hazards of having too many brothers around and the girls simply refuse to grow up!

My first fail! (in this venue, anyway).

It was my intention to have Monday be Menu day, in which I would share with you my plans for cooking in the next full week.  And I really meant to start that yesterday, however it all kind of fell apart.  There was some mild apathy, true, but actually there was work to do at work so I did not get time to really consider my meal planning.  I did get time to read an article or two, and one in particular is really resonating with me:

Basically Dr. Mark Hyman is discussing the need for us, as humans, to get back to meeting the needs of our own cellular biology by eating whole foods, using them as ingredients, and making meals without the benefit of a laboratory or chemical alteration.  The fact is, processed sugars create an opiate-like response in our brains and we are all hooked.  MSG is addictive as a substance--scientists use it in the lab all the time to make fat mice so they can play around with them and test out new drugs.  Goodness only knows what the other chemicals are for.

I am not trying to preach or pontificate on anybody, but really--some of this was actually a shocking revelation to me! So I come to grips with a couple of concerns while I am processing my feelings. I feel like I already have so many concerns, so many tasks, that how can I increase my workload just to put food on the table?  Because really, when you are starting with a whole celery or a whole eggplant, there will be some work involved to get it served.  That doesn't even count the meat or protein...or the inevitable cleanup.  Not to mention the frequent trips to the grocery store, because fresh food doesn't keep as long as processed.

And now, the sequelae have piled up:  follow me here, folks, it may be complicated!  I need to find a way to easily, readily secure fresh ingredients.  I need to process them (freeze or can).  I need to convince my family to eat the items I have selected.  Enjoying them would also be nice. And since I don't already know how to do those things, it's a learning curve...with our health at risk since if I screw up the canning process we could all die.  Dramatic, right?  AND I get to do it in addition to the already BAZILLION things I do.  Am I paranoid? Is it possible that all this concern is unwarranted?

Because right at this moment I feel very confronted by all the information out there that I am frantically gnawing on my butterscotch crumpets in a state of near panic (another fail for the week).  If this is true, and I feel in my soul (and my cells!) that it probably is, then I haven't fed my kids well since they were weaned.  Ack!  As I mentally comb over the pantry contents I realize that to live this out I will be:  baking our bread, creating desserts from scratch, planning each meal with fresh ingredients from the local area or my own garden, switching us from regular commercial milk and dairy to either goat milk or jersey milk (a2) and related dairy products...or really combing the labels.  Thankfully my chips, tortilla or potato, have just 3 or 4 ingredients!  Every bite of food we eat will have to nourish the body, and almost every bite will be made by me or someone I know since I know how to work the kitchen.

(Okay that was a partial jab at Husband. Sorry Dear!)

Have I mentioned that I work full time?  And have 3 kids to take care of in other areas of life? And I am happily married most of the time? And I have a house to keep clean? And decorate? And a pool?

Hey I just counted many of my blessings.  I am truly thankful but they are no small amount of work either. I guess we are back to the same old position:  Becky will do what Becky must do, just like always.  Next Monday we will have a menu.  I should have it pulled together by then!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Here Goes Something?

"The time has come," the Walrus said, "to talk of many things--
Of ships and shoes and sealing wax, and cabbages, and kings!" --Lewis Carroll

And so my friends, here is my confession: I feel fat.  All the time.  And although I have mentioned it to one and many, I feel a growing sense of urgency in the matter.  We are constantly bombarded, you will remind me (good people as you are), by media images of female perfection consisting of a skeleton barely fleshed out upon which to hang expensive couture.  I thank you for this reminder but it's not just that--I see myself now reflected in my kids and I don't want them to suffer like I do.

My three beautiful children have perfectly formed, healthy little bodies and I am so proud of having had a contribution to that. I thrive in watching them thrive, know what I mean?  And when they eat junk a part of me does wither up. So when I just don't have energy to run around outside with them and swim in the pool all day I feel bad (we don't even need to address how horrible I feel when everything jiggles during my attempts to play with them). Also I do not want to be "the fat mom" dropping them off at school functions or have them be embarassed by my happens. I remember. They will likely have many and more reasons to be ashamed of us since it seems to be something that kids just "do" nowadays.

There are just three major hurdles to this fat question and they are these: 
  1. I HATE TO EXERCISE.  I just do.  I feel like time working out doesn't have immediate gratification like scouring a floor or mowing the grass, and I get sweaty for what feels like no good reason. I know I am not rational about it but I also suspect I am not alone!
  2. I LOVE CARBS. Seriously. The more refined, probably the more I like them....although I do love a potato as well, in just about every format. I even like a bite of them raw from time to time...with a sprinkle of salt and pepper maybe?
  3. I WORK NIGHT SHIFT. Nuff said. I am tired in a real, physical kind of way. All the time.
So with that in mind you can see I have my work cut out for myself and I was thinking maybe if there was some kind of public forum where I could be held accountable it might provide some motivation to start tackling those hurdles. So here we are. I don't have time for MEETINGS, or GYM MEMBERSHIPS, and they are useless errands that just cost me $$$ in gas money. I live in the middle of nowhere for crying out loud...gotta keep it simple.

I am armed with a sense of purpose and while it may take a few minutes of time to post all my musings, occasional photos, perhaps even a video on here, I am hoping to get some support as well because that is, after all, the point.  We can link up, form a community, get healthy, and have fun together in this wonderful online forum right?  With that in mind I have a plan, people:

  • Weight Watchers online.  Has a mobile app, I can access from anywhere, sensible eating, etc.
  • Dance Videos.  Got a few on sale at Target, maybe the kids will either do it with me or leave me alone. We will see.
  • Play Time.  Part of the new discipline plan is to make the kids run when they misbehave.  I figure if I run with them they will get what they really want:  Mom's attention! but in a more positive way.
  • Eat what is cooked.  All of us, all of the time.  It would be OK for us to eat hotdogs if I made them as a meal for the family...but to make food for me and the hubs, then separate food for the kiddos, is getting totally old.  One meal, one family, table time together.
  • Plan ahead. Stop cooking on the fly--plan a shopping list, plan a weeks' worth of meals, and try my darndest to stick to it.  This one is going to be tough.
  • Do not feel obligated to join the clean plate club. No problem. Just have to enlist the hubs.
Might take a few weeks to get organized, since as usual I have myself spread thin on painting, crafting, working, cleaning, organizing, raising a family, gardening, etc. but I am planning to post pictures, measurements, possibly videos, outfits, etc. Stay tuned.  If any of you are even out there, that is!