Wednesday, December 23, 2009

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas


It snowed and snowed and snowed all day today.

So it only makes sense that I would find this on our front step…


That would be the 2010 Spring and Summer catalog.

Anyway, we are off first thing tomorrow morning. The ferry leaves at 9 am and we should be in Nova Scotia by noon, though we have another hour of driving to get to my parents house.

Currently running around, finishing up last minute packing and making sure everything is set up for the cats (and the cat sitter who will be checking in). Then off to bed, where I won’t sleep because I’ll be too busy worrying about everything I didn’t manage to get done and everything that I might forget tomorrow morning. Ah, the holidays…

Happy Christmas Eve Eve folks!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Vacation Mode


I always think that if I’ve got time off work blogging will be easier to fit in. The reality is that when I’ve got time off work and I’m not on my regular schedule, I can’t be bothered to sit down at the computer.

Friday & Saturday I did take photos of all my meals. But then Friday night Husband picked me up after work and we met friends to see Avatar which was fun. Saturday we just hung out around home. It seemed strange not to be rushing around trying to get the grocery shopping done and cleaning…But also kind of nice.

Yesterday and today we spent shopping, shopping shopping. Mostly to get Husband’s Christmas shopping done. He was off all last week and I thought he was going to get out and do some of it then, but apparently that never happened. So, out we went, yesterday & today.

At one point today Husband suggested that we could head home and go out again tomorrow. I think I almost became hysterical. So we stayed out and got it all done. I was soooo happy when Husband reminded me that we had leftovers in the fridge for supper. I am wiped out.

We’ve got the next two days at home to do cleaning and so on, then Thursday morning we are off to Nova Scotia until Sunday.

So for now, I leave you with tonight’s dinner – leftover pizza and a much needed rum & coke.


And if you’ve got cats? I picked up these treats at the pet store today and both of my cats gobbled them right up.



Happy Holidays everyone!


Thursday, December 17, 2009

‘Tis the season to stay indoors…

We are having our first streak of really cold weather with a high temperature today of –14 C and wind chill of –27. That’s what the current temperature on the Environment Canada weather page was reading around 2 pm when I was contemplating my usual afternoon break.

Hell to the no, I don’t wanna go….

Except I also don’t like staying chained to my desk all day with no break either. It makes for a very long day.

It was even colder this morning. I have been making Husband drive me to work this week, even though he is on vacation. He gave up our nice, easy access, heated garage parking a few months back in favour of a spot in the parking right next to his office. I didn’t want to switch, but it is cheaper and easier for him, so I said it was his decision. However, I really hate getting in and out of the spot. He said it wasn’t an issue because he’s the one who drives. Oh yeah Mister? Guess that means no more days off for you when I have to work [insert evil laugh here].

Okay, I say I am making him drive me. The man is twice my size, it’s not like I can really make him do anything. I expressed my wish and he went along with it.

This morning, I think he was about to try and wiggle out of that deal, then when he thought about how cold it was he decided I wouldn’t want to have to walk from the car to my office in the cold. Which was nice of him.

I was running kinda late anyway, due to a serious fling with the snooze button this morning, so it was nice to be dropped off right at the office door.

Breakfast was the quick and easy:


Super-Charge Me cookies and coffee. Like my mug? One of my sisters gave it to me. We like to shop.

The heat was fixed, so we were told, but it was still pretty darn chilly in the office. Better than yesterday, but not quite comfortable. I was quite happy to eat my nice warm lunch:


Sweet Potato & Black Bean Mole with Quinoa.

Cold as it was in the office, I wasn’t terribly sure I wanted to go outside but I went. It was definitely…ahhh…refreshing. Actually it kinda felt like my face was freezing.

I walked up to the mall, and once I walked around indoors with my coat on for a while I was fianlly warm. Made the walk back seem not so bad.

During the afternoon I had a Honeycrisp apple – forgot to take a photo.

During the afternoon I was also thinking about how much I did not want to exercise when I got home. Again.

So, instead of thinking about what I didn’t want to do, I decided to think of what I would want to do. Which led to the workout of the day:


An old favourite which I enjoyed revisiting. Guess it was time for a change, even if it was a change back to an old workout.

This workout combines strength and cardio, so the philosophy is similar to the circuit workout that I skipped.

Dinner was leftovers.


More Chili “stoup” and Focaccia bread.

And a cup of peppermint tea to cap off the evening.


For you nut butter lovers, my sister has a recipe for Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies posted on her blog. Stop by and check it out.

Oh yeah. Speaking of cookies…I should mention 2 Twice Baked Shortbread cookies that did not make it to a photograph.

One more day to vacation!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Don’t Wanna Exercise No Mo’!

Seriously. I am just not feeling the workout joy lately. Not sure what’s up. Winter I guess. But I am doing my best to stick with it at least to the end of the week. Next week I may have to change things up a bit or something.

That being said….I missed my workout today.

Backing up to this morning…

I got up and threw dinner in the Slow Cooker and made myself some Multi-Grain Cereal. I put it in a container that I could take to go in case I didn’t have time, but I did end up having time to eat at home.


Multi-Grain cereal made with Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze and a drizzle of Maple Syrup. And of course coffee.

When I got to work the office was freezing. I was piling on the layers and I was still cold. It wasn’t just me for a change – everyone was wearing their jackets at their desk. Turns out there was a problem with the heat in the building and it was going to take a while to get it fixed. So, I packed up my laptop and came home. I couldn’t handle sitting in an office with no heat all day.

I do like being able to make lunch in my own kitchen. I decided on an English Muffin with an egg, cheddar and dill pickle. I had some cucumber on the side.


For dessert I had a Super-Charge Me cookie.


A little later I decided to make some tea. I was thinking Genmaicha, but when I started rooting through the tea cupboard I remembered the Chai Green Tea I had bought but not tried yet and I decided to give that a try.

It smelled very much like the PC Darjeeling Chai that we buy all the time. Husband and I both like it a lot.


I added some Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze to my tea. It was quite good.


I may have had another cookie too.

The down side of working at home is that I seem to want to eat all day. Later in the afternoon I popped a Mini bag of microwave popcorn. That did the trick.


I went out to get the mail and look what I found!


A lovely, thick, gardening catalog for 2010. Never too early to start thinking about the next garden.

You’d think that being at home would make it easier to get in my workout for the day. However, 5:00 came and went and I was still at the computer. Finally Husband came out and wanted to eat supper.

Dinner was from the Slow Cooker. I had planned to make Tex-Mex Taco Soup, but I didn’t have a 14 oz can of diced tomatoes, I only had a 28 oz can. I was going to use half the can and save the rest, but then I figured I might as well use the whole can, skip the broth and make chili instead. So that’s what I did, and I added some extra spices. I had planned to add a can of tomato paste to thicken it up, but somehow that never happened. So we ended up with sort of a cross between Chili & Soup. Didn’t matter it still tasted good.

Husband had picked up another loaf of focaccia bread, so we had that along with it.


Wednesday down. Two more days to vacation.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Putting 2 and 2 together…

I was hit with a realization this week. I’ve been whining for a while now about how the scale has been going up. I used to try and try to lose weight and get nowhere, but at least I was maintaining where I was. Over the past couple of years, it seems like there have been random jumps where I put on a few pounds. These are not fluctuations where my weight goes up and comes back down; it goes up and stays up and becomes my new weight range. It sucks.

Anyway, this week it occurred to me that these jumps seem to correlate with periods where I’ve been restricting my calories, trying (but not succeeding) to lose a few pounds. When I stop restricting, bam! Some new pounds show up and take permanent residence.

And yes, I know. I’ve heard about how on-again, off-again dieting can mess up your metabolism and all that. I’ve just never experienced it. I’m not one of these people who has been dieting on and off since I was 12 years old. I started gaining weight in my late 20’s when I moved to a new province all by myself and started working my first full time job. I think I was 29 when I first seriously tried to lose weight. I managed to drop about 5 lb, and that’s about as far as I got.

After that I put on 10 pounds over the course of a couple of years – during which time I got married, moved and then bought a house and moved again.

Then I joined a gym and my on-again-off-again exercise habit became a regular exercise habit. I didn’t lose weight, but it stayed stable for a long time. During most of that time, I think I probably was counting calories (though I don’t remember for sure).

Anyway, it’s only been the past couple of years when it seems like I have suddenly started gaining again. I don’t know if it’s age. I don’t know if my eating habits have really gone that badly down the drain. It seems to me that we do keep more treats around the house that we used to. But honestly, I’m not even really sure of that.

Anyway, it just hit me that recently this is what has been happening. I will try to lose weight. I will get nowhere. I will go back to normal eating. I gain a few pounds right away and then it levels off again and I pretty much stay put.

So this makes me kind of depressed and also kind of scared to try losing weight again. Maybe I should learn to love being chubby, but I really don’t want to.

And I could be wrong about the whole thing…but it does seem to add up.

Anyway…On to today.

I started to take out my ear plugs and get out of bed this morning and Husband told me it was a work from home day because the radio was saying freezing rain and snow. So I put my ear plugs back in and snoozed for another half hour – I will always take the opportunity to sleep in a bit. But, eventually I had to get up.

It didn’t look that bad out…


But our road definitely looked snowy and messy and I was quite happy to have a day at home.

I had actual breakfast! I tried a new hot cereal.

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The directions said to mix with hot water or milk so I heated up some Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze and mixed that in to my packet of cereal. As soon as the hot Almond Milk hit the cereal I could smell the spices – smelled so good. I tasted it and it was kind of salty tasting (no sugar added) so I added a little bit of maple syrup and then it was just right.


I started out sitting in the living room with my laptop, but then I decided to move to the table because I wanted to be able to make notes. Zappa kept jumping up on the table and trying to walk on my laptop, so I put a towel on the table thinking he’d curl up and go to sleep.

This is what I got.


That would be my notepad he is sitting on. Sigh.

I may have had a couple of shortbread cookies this morning as well…they didn’t make it to the camera somehow…

For lunch I felt like having a few things to nibble on, so I had half of a huge Pomegranate (the other half went in the fridge for later), some Balderson Double Smoked Cheddar and some Triscuits. Hit the spot.


A little while later I did have a Super-Charge Me cookie. Just because they are so good.


Eventually Zappa did settle down on his towel. Then a short while later Frank came along wondering where his was. That was the end of that.


I don’t know if it was just being home, sitting in the kitchen, but I just wanted to nibble all day today.

There were these:


And also some dark chocolate covered almonds. For a while there I thought I was getting the sugar thing under control, but it seems like I’ve lost it again.

I worked away, with breaks for Fabulous Feline cuddles and chats with Husband. It got chilly in the afternoon, my feet were cold – had to dig out some big fuzzy slippers. By the time the end of the day rolled around I really didn’t want to exercise. Seems to happen a lot – I get cold, I don’t want to exercise. Makes no sense when you consider that exercise will warm you up.

I briefly considered skipping it, but knowing that workouts will be sparse towards the end of the month, I feel like I should be exercising while I can. So I just did it.

Some days you don’t really feel like exercising, but once you start you get into it and have a great workout. This was not one of those days. All I can really say about it is that I made myself push through and get it done.

Dinner was leftovers – Broccoli Slaw, Focaccia bread and Chicken & Lentils.




It was all good – especially the lovely soft focaccia bread dipped into the Chicken & Lentils sauce. Mmmm! I was full after, though not too full.

I did think about having a cookie, but decided I’d had enough already today.

And that’s Tuesday down. Three more days ‘til vacation!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Chicken and Lentils, Take 2

I have a confession to make. Last weekend when I made the Super-Charge Me Cookies, I sort of had in mind that I would eat them for breakfast. Then it turned out that I was enjoying them so much in the evening with a cup of tea that I was starting and ending my day with cookies and I wasn’t sure that was such a good idea – even if they are healthy cookies.

So, when I made another batch this weekend, I had every intention to save the cookies for dessert and eat real breakfast this week.

Then this morning we had to leave the house early because Husband was taking it in for maintenance and to have the winter tires put on. I was trying to get dinner in the slow cooker. I was rushing around. I didn’t even take the time to put on makeup. So breakfast?

I’m sure you can guess…


For lunch I had some cucumber and Bean Balls with Marinara Sauce. Also a couple of chocolates for dessert.

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I had a dentist appointment this afternoon, so I didn’t get around to having a snack and I was fine without one.

Husband picked me up around 5 pm and I came home to dinner in the slow cooker. I threw in a load of laundry, then hit the basement for a Circuit Workout. I have to tell you – I did not have a lot of energy to throw into it today; it was a bit half-hearted. I blame the dentist appointment; the stress just wears me right out.

Dinner was Chicken & Lentils again, but I changed it up a bit from last week.

I had chopped up an onion and a stalk of celery the night before. This morning I rinsed a cup of green lentils & put them in the slow cooker with the onion and celery. Instead of measuring out spices I went with 3 tablespoons of Madras Curry Paste:


I added 1 can of chicken broth + equal amount of water,  and a 14 oz can of diced tomatoes and stirred it all around. Two chicken breasts went in on top of everything else. On went the lid, the slow cooker was turned on to low, and off we went.

By the end of the day the chicken was ready to fall apart and was easily shredded and mixed in with everything else.

Husband had been to the store a picked up a fresh loaf of focaccia bread. A little broccoli slaw on the side and we had dinner.

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We both thought this was better than what we made last week. It had more flavor and the tomatoes gave it a hint of sweetness. It was very tasty and I look forward to the leftovers tomorrow night.

Dessert – Twice Baked Shortbread and Peppermint Tea.


And that’s Monday – 4 more days to vacation!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Countdown is On

One more week of work to get through, then I’m on vacation for two weeks. Husband is on vacation as of Friday which makes me a little cranky about having to go to work all this week.

My Christmas Cactus is ready…


The Coca-Cola Train is waiting…


But for now, I guess it’s weekend recap time.


Let’s see…Pancakes from a can…


I was not at all energetic yesterday. Not sure why, I had a good sleep, but it was hard to get moving. I puttered around a bit in the morning and then made my way out to pick up groceries. I meant to eat something before I went, but as usual I forgot.

So I came home and had a Bolthouse Perfectly Protein drink.


I think I have to stop buying these things. I love them, they taste so good, but it’s just too easy to not bother eating real food.

Did some more stuff that I can’t even remember now. Got in a quick Circuit workout. Then it was time to make dinner. I chopped all the veggies, and was waiting for Husband to come deal with the chicken. I was hungry, so I had a little snack.


Then Husband came out and poured us some Egg Nog with Rum.


Ahh! I feel better already.

This was Zappa watching Husband cut up chicken:


He was riveted. Frank was off sleeping somewhere, otherwise Husband would have had both cats captivated.

Since I had been feeling the exact opposite of energetic, and because there was cauliflower in the fridge needing to be used up, I went for the easy dinner again.


In the pan – chicken, cauliflower, red & yellow bell pepper, half a red onion (because it was in the fridge needing to be used up) and some extra spice.


And dinner!


Dinner entertainment:


I had forgotten that they had left out a bunch from the end of the book, and was a little disappointed all over again. But it was still a good show.

I had tea and cookie (I took two but ended up only eating one).


Which is just as well because there were quite a few handfuls of chocolate covered almonds and maybe a couple of other cookies that managed to escape the camera yesterday.


It was a beautiful sunny day today, and warmer than yesterday (Friday and yesterday were quite cold). I didn’t feel like breakfast right away, so had a Bolthouse drink.


I eventually had more pancakes from a can (think the can is almost empty now).


I have to say, even though they are nowhere near as good as homemade, I am getting to like how easy it is to grab the can and make myself some pancakes. I could eat pancakes every day, but Husband is not quite as big a fan as I am. These do not hold up to fruit very well though – the center of the plate was mush.

I spent most of the morning on the couch reading. I’ve been reading Middlemarch and I was so close to the end I wanted to finish it.

Eventually I got up and started puttering around doing some laundry and cleaning up the kitchen.

I baked two batches of cookies; one was a new recipe I tried out for Twice Baked Shortbread and I made another batch of Super-Charge Me cookies. The Twice Baked Shortbread took some time – I mixed up the dough and then it had to sit for at least 2 hours. Which gave me plenty of time for the Super-Charge Me cookies.


I had an audience.



Frank was actually kind of moping and complaining and I could tell he wanted me to take him for a walk. My first instinct was “No way! There’s snow out there!” But, it’s not like I can stay inside all winter and I figured the fresh air might be good for me so I did end up taking him out after I cleaned up from my cookie making.


Someone’s got their trailer parked in our little lane and Frank kept wanting to crawl under it.


I don’t think Frank much enjoyed walking in the snow – it was slippery in spots, and sometimes the crust would give way. But, it’s not like we could get away from it.


He still managed to find a rock to sit on.


We didn’t go too far because the ground is uneven up there and I knew I’d have to carry my 17 lb cat back through the snow and I was a little worried about slipping and falling.

Of course, once I brought Frank  in I had to take Zappa out.


I don’t think he was too impressed by walking through the snow though, so we didn’t stay out long.


It was actually quite nice out – relatively speaking – and once I got out I was in no hurry to go back inside. So I thought maybe I’d go for a walk. However, the sidewalks were quite icy and I was not really comfortable with walking on the road, so I didn’t get very far. Still, I was probably outside for a half hour which gave me some fresh air and a dose of sunshine.

I came back in and tried to pick away at a few more little tasks. Then I put my shortbread in the oven and went down to the basement for some intervals on the treadmill.

When I came upstairs, I puttered in the kitchen waiting for the oven timer to go off. I finished off the little bit of Chipotle Hummus that was left in my container and decided the try the new Edamame dip that I bought at the Superstore.


Then I ended up going back for a new container of Chipotle Hummus instead. Not that the Edamame dip is bad, I think it was just too different from the Hummus which I had already been eating. I will try it again, but for today I was in the Chipotle mood.


The shortbread came out of the oven and I sprinkled on some Turbinado sugar. While it was sitting for the required 10 minutes, I continued with peeling some potatoes. When the 10 minute was up, I cut the shortbread into rectangles and put it back in the oven for 15 minutes.

I continued on with some dinner prep until the shortbread came out of the oven.


Once the cookies were done, and I had most of my dinner prep done I went and had a shower. Then I came back and made easy dinner #2 – Fritatta and Hash browns.


This is before adding cheese and putting it in the oven to finish cooking. Husband came out as everything was finishing up and I was getting ready to serve, and he said it looked pretty.

Then we cut it up.


Served with hash browns and broccoli slaw.

My favourite thing on the plate was the hash browns. On their own, potatoes are not that exciting, but something magical happens when you fry them.

For dessert I had peppermint tea and Super-Charge Me cookies.


I thought I was done at that point, but then Husband brought me Egg Nog.


Which I sipped while knitting away at a scarf with Zappa on my lap.


It was good, but I think the Egg Nog put me over the edge. Time to cut back on the treats for the next few days.

Famous last words…