Saturday, March 31, 2012

Share and Relish - Spicy Fried Tofu with Peppers and Cashews

Another exciting installment from me for our Share and Relish theme!  So far, Georgia and I (and even one from my brother, Jim!) are submitting recipes that we like.  These are not recipes that you just found on line or in a magazine, but one you and your family actually eat and enjoy.

I came across this recipe originally when I was having my niece and her family over for dinner one night.  I went searching for vegan recipes and found this meal.  This is a spicy, tasty gem that Ron and I just love.  I have adjusted it to our tastes and I always say I'm going to try it with chicken but for some reason, every time I make it it's with the tofu.  Yummy yummy yummy!

I made this recipe as I have it written down and then tried to figure out the Weight Watchers PointsPlus value.  So, this is the recipe as I made it this night.  For as many pictures that I took, I missed taking pictures of one step.  Work with me, I'll talk you through it.


1 lb firm tofu
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1 packet sugar substitute (I used Splenda)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup cashews
2 Tbsp peanut oil
1 large red pepper, deseeded and julienned
1 large orange pepper, deseeded and julienned
1 large green pepper, deseeded and julienned (or any combo of peppers you like)
1 cup green onion (I forgot to buy them so I used a vidalia onion)

Open the package of tofu carefully and pour out the liquid then place the tofu on a cutting board.

I've cut the tofu a couple of different ways before, but this time I just took the tofu and cut it to make four blocks out of it.  Take a cookie sheet, place a couple of layers of clean paper towels on it and put the four blocks of tofu on top of the paper towels.

Cover the tofu with a few  more layers of clean paper towels, I put another cookie sheet on top and then put something heavy on top of the cookie sheets.  This is known as pressing the tofu and what you're doing is trying to get more moisture out of the tofu.

I leave the tofu pressed for about an hour.   They say it makes the texture much firmer, but all I can tell you is that I like the results when I do this.

In a small bowl, place the cumin, coriander, Splenda, salt, garlic powder, paprika and cayenne pepper.  Stir well to combine and set aside.

Cut the pressed tofu in to small cubes  and transfer them to a bowl.

Sprinkle the tofu with the reserved spice blend, toss well to evenly coat the tofu cubes and set aside.

In a dry wok or large non-stick skillet, place the cashews and cook for 3-4 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant.  Remove the cashews from the wok and set them aside to cool. This is the part I forgot to capture in pictures!  It happens fast though.  When you start smelling the cashews, get them out of the pan.  They will burn quickly.

In the same wok, heat the peanut oil, add the cubes of tofu and stir fry 5-7 minutes or until crispy and lightly browned on all sides.  Remove the tofu cubes from the wok with a slotted spoon and set them aside.

In the same wok, since I used a vidalia onion, I started frying them first for maybe 2 minutes then added all of the peppers.  Stir fry for 2-3 more minutes. 

Roughly chop the toasted cashews and add them and the cooked tofu to the wok and stir fry one more minute to reheat everything back up. 

Spoon into a large serving bowl and enjoy!

Try this out and treat your taste buds.  We love this dish and I know you will too!

I split this into 6 servings giving it a Weight Watchers PointsPlus value of 12 points per serving.  I need to work on that.  Maybe less cashews or less peanut oil.  Or, just save up and take the 12 points for dinner!  It's SOO worth it!

Friday, March 30, 2012

We Are at it AGAIN!

Yes, us crazy ladies are at it again!  We are taking on yet another month of photo challenges!  Call us nuts, call us crazy, just call us!

Come back often and see what all of us are up to.  The participants are listed to the right.  Feel free to follow the links to my cohorts in crime and see what fun they are having!

Thank you to Georgia for the graphics for this challenge.  Once again, great job, Georgia!

April Photo Challenge.  Feel free to join in! 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Happy Day, Penelope!

One year ago today, Penelope came into our home.  And my life has been changed for the better ever since!  And here is my baby girl.

I have a few Penelope stories to tell today on her happy day.

Most of my rules for the cats in the house have been pushed out the window.  For example, no cats in the bedroom.  Yeah, since I couldn't get a cat door in the door to the bedroom, we just sleep with the door open now so the cats can come and go as they please.

Penelope will start the night on the floor by the bed but during the night, she needs to sleep on ME.  I usually sleep on my back but sometimes on my side.  Penelope will crawl up on my side or hip if she HAS to, but she much prefers to head butt me in the nose to tell me to turn over.  Once I'm on my back, she likes to crawl up on my chest or my belly.  Now, if she just crawled up there and laid down to sleep, I'd be jiggy.  But noooooo!  She needs to walk around a bit to find her comfy spot.  And, the kneading with her front paws.  For real, it's a good thing I love her because my chest is black and blue from her!  She has tiny petite paws and her 14 pounds of weight pushing against them tiny paws hurts like heck!  But, I love her!

Here is Penelope on her favorite window perch. This is one spot that she will defend from Benny.

I had her to the vet recently for her yearly check up and booster shots.  She's still happy, healthy and up to 14 pounds.  You know the rule, when Mama is on a diet, everyone is on a diet!  The vet told me to "watch" her weight.  A year ago she was 11 lbs 6 oz (which is exactly what Benny is now up to!) and now she is 14 pounds.  "Watch" her weight.  I'm not sure if she's good at 14 or if she needs to lose weight.  I need to call the vet and verify.  After all, when we brought her in last year, she had been living outside for at least a year.  Was her weight down then and good now?  What is "watch"??  When you only weigh 14 pounds, ounces can make a big difference so to be safe, I'm cutting down on her wet food.

I give them wet food (canned food) in the morning and when I get home from work.  I have dishes of dry food out for them all of the time.  Treats, I just really tend to forget about them.  I have bags of treats, and they get three small treats at a time, maybe once or twice a week.  I don't think I'm over treating them.  So, I cut back a bit on their wet food.  They still get one teaspoon in the morning and they only get another teaspoon in the evening now every other day.  Hey, I have to start somewhere, as I want her to continue to be happy and healthy.

One thing we always remarked about Penelope is that she's not a purr-er.  I never heard her purr.  Sometimes when I was scratching under her chin, I could feel the vibration of a purr but I never heard it.  Recently, and I mean in the last couple of weeks, Penelope has now found her purr!!  It's freakin' awesome to hear, even if it's three in the morning and she's walking on my chest!  Penelope has finally found her purr!

Penelope and Benny still have their moments.  Benny still chases her and they still seem to fight at least once a day.  But, they are better than they were.  I think she still hates him or at least would rather do without him.  But then last night, they were both laying together on the seat of the recliner.  Aaah, peace in my house!  It's few and far between but I relish those moments.

Penelope has been with us a year.  It's been an eventful year and she has truly made my life better.  Every morning, she is curled up in my lap as I have my breakfast and every evening she is back in my lap while I'm putzing on the computer.  You can't buy that kind of love.

Thanks for walking in our door, Penelope.  I am SO glad you chose me!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Hello? It's Me!

I started off March with such high hopes of keeping up a blog a day string.  That went well for the first nine days and then poof!  Oh well.

There's really not a whole lot to blog about, just a few little things.  So, I'll get y'all up to date on what's been going on around here.

Let's start with Saturday.  We went to "A Night at the Races" with our friends, Lisa and Chuck.  This was a benefit for a sports program in the Lorain schools.  Hey, we're jiggy with any reason to party!  Plus it was St. Patrick's Day!

Your ticket got you an all you can eat buffet plus all the beer you could drink.  Lucky for me, they also had some soda and bottled water as I was the designated driver.  The food was decent and I even had a piece of chocolate cake.  And it was worth every point I took for it!

I had never been to "A Night at the Races" before so I really didn't know what to expect.  They have videos of 12 horse races.  From when or where I don't know.  You don't really get to know anything about the actual horses that are in the races.  Before the big night, people had  "purchased" the horses for a donation, and for that donation they were listed as the owners of the horse and they got to name their horse.  I believe the "owners" also go a monetary sum if their horse won their race.  Then, all of us got to bet on the horses, just like at the track.

The video starts with the horses being walked to the starting line.  You got to see the actual horses from an actual race.  I looked for who was looking excited to race versus who was walking slowly.  I put a lot of faith into that walk!  I looked for a horse who was prancing around looking ready to run!  I wish I could have seen which horse took a crap on the way to the start!  I always bet on that horse!  Hey, he's lighter than the rest and TRULY ready to go!  But, so much for my theory since I didn't win a damn thing.  That's ok though, since we had a ton of fun.

We bet on most of the races and just like at the track, it's $2 a bet.  Ron and I each had our theories on how to bet.  I told you mine.  His was pretty much whatever name he liked better.  Whatever.  Stupid theory.  Ok, he ended up winning money with his theory but whatever!  I'm not a sore loser!

We really did have a good time and we weren't the only ones.  You really need to check out Lisa's picture of one of the party go'ers.  Had I know we should have dressed up for St. Patrick's Day, I would have.  Not that I could have done better than this woman, but maybe I could have at least given her a run for her money!  I really hope you clicked that link because it is SO worth it!

Changing topics now:  Tuesday I was driving to work and I had to stop at the post office on the way.  So I went over to East River Road and headed south.  That's kind of a woodsy area on East River.  Suddenly, the car in front of me stopped, so I stopped.  He sat there for a minute and then all of a sudden, I saw 10 to 15 wild turkeys walking from in front of his car to the side of the road on my right.  Now with the Lorain 365 blog, I ALWAYS have my camera on the front seat next to me.  But I'm telling you, this happened so fast!  The turkeys walked to the side and then off into the woods.  By the time I got my camera up and ready, the car in front of me moved and there was now a line of cars behind me.  I couldn't tie up traffic and I saw no where to pull over to try to get a couple of shots.  This was a missed opportunity for sure!  That was an awesome sight and definitely not something I was expecting to see on a Tuesday morning!  It was a great way to start my day for sure.

Yesterday was March 21st.  I had to mow my lawn yesterday.  For REAL!  The new weeds, I mean grass, that the city planted after they had redone the street was up over 8" high.  I couldn't stand looking at it.  After work, Ron was in the garage working on his motorcycle, so I thought since I had to leave my car out of the garage while he was working, I might as well just start mowing the lawn.  Hey, that's just the way my mind works.  Ron offered to give me a hand and even gave me the choice if I wanted the push mower or the riding mower.  Call me an idiot but I took the push mower duties.  First, I needed the steps (I need to do at least 5,000 steps a day!) and the activity points for mowing the lawn.  Besides, that riding mower still scares me.  I can do it, but I don't like it.  With the two of us working it, we were done in just over a half an hour.  I don't think I've EVER had to cut the grass in March before.  This is just crazy ass weather we've been having.  I shudder to think what this summer is going to bring us.

Do you like how I threw those little diet tidbits in there?? 

Next topic, Phil.  When Phil goes downstairs in the morning, he puts water on to heat for his coffee.  While he's waiting for the water to boil, he usually sits at the dining room table and reads while he's waiting.  That seems to be his and Benny's bonding time!  Tell me, isn't Uncle Phil cute giving a little love to Benny?  That cracks me up!

That's about it for the updates from here.   For now, no news is good news.

Just one last thing . . . .

Happy Birthday, Mom.  I miss you.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Who's Wearing the Pants?

It's bad enough watching half the guys in my neighborhood with their pants around their knees.  Trust me, I do NOT want to see your underwear, or heaven forbid, what's poking out of it.  However, watching you try to walk with your legs spread apart while you try to hold your pants up with one hand without trying to look like you're holding your pants up IS comical to watch.  Yes, that is me driving by, looking at you, and smiling.  You look ridiculous.

That is not what this post is about.

There is a new trend out there that I understand even less than the pants around the knees thing.  When did it become fashion, or at least acceptable, to walk around in your pajama bottoms?

Driving to work in the morning, I see moms waiting for school buses with their kids.  Ok, those women in pajama bottoms, I can almost understand.  They are standing in front of their own houses trying to get their little snowflakes off to school in the morning.

Recently, I was getting my oil changed in my car at 4:30 in the afternoon.  A girl came in not only in pajama bottoms but fuzzy slippers as well.  Really?  A pair of sweat pants was too much for you to put on if you're too lazy to put pants on??  Pajama bottoms???  Slippers?

It's not just that day, I see them every day.  It's not just women either.  Men, women, girls, boys.  I'm not talking children, I'm talking teenagers.  I see them walking on the street, I see them in Walmart (ok, that one is probably a given!), they are in the grocery stores, at the park, everywhere.

I see cartoon clowns, Sponge Bob Square Pants, Homer Simpson, Spider Man, happy faces, Budweiser, moons and stars, you name it.  And yes, this is on the adults.  Definitely sleep wear.

When did this become acceptable?  When did it become ok to walk with your pants around your knees or not in pants at all?

When did I get so old and curmudgeonly?

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Weigh In Day

This blog is not going to turn into a weight loss blog or a commercial for Weight Watchers!  But, I did want to write about weigh in day!

Once a week I attend my Weight Watchers meeting.  Everyone lines up and nerves are high until you get the results of your weigh in.  No one sees the scale results but the Weight Watchers employee.  They print off your weight and it goes into your little progress book.

There has been advice from some of the people in WW that have been there longer than I have.  There are things you shouldn't do before a weigh in.  For example, you don't want a big bowl of soup the night before weigh in.  Too much salt, and you will retain water.  Water retention is NOT what you want on weigh in day!

Another thing that was suggested is that you do NOT use up all of your 49 extra weekly points all on the night before weigh in.  Yeah, that would be bad.  You also don't want to go eat a big dinner after work and THEN go weigh in.  That would be bad.

From my own observations, I know I watch even closer on weigh in day.  I will eat a lighter breakfast and lunch and use most of my points on dinner which comes after the weigh in.  Also, you want to make sure you have a bowel movement the day of weigh in.  C'mon now, this is a no-brainer!  I am not going on the scale with ANY extra weight!  In my family we are known for good bowels!  With weigh in looming, I have been having hysterical constipation every Thursday!  It's not fair!!

I will do anything to take another ounce off of the scale.  I shave my legs on Wednesday nights.  Hey, every little bit helps.  I make sure I pee before going in to the scales.  Like I said, every ounce counts!

After all is said and done, so far I am still amazed that this program works. Amazed.  I am eating a lot of food but it is better food.  I am not hungry and eating things like lasagna, ice cream and potato chips, I sure don't feel like I'm missing out on anything.

Enough about that.  I am just so excited about this whole thing right now I could just spit!  I lost another 1.4 pounds this week bringing my total to 11.8 pounds.  I have put a little counter over on the right for anyone that wants to follow my progress.  I still have a long way to go but it all went on one pound at a time so now I have to take it off one pound at a time.

Tonight I met a woman who has lost 140 pounds with Weight Watchers.  140 POUNDS.  That's as much as a full grown adult.  Seeing her gives me hope and inspires me.  I think I CAN do this.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Princess for a Day

Months ago my sister in law brought me a tiara to work.  She said I deserved the tiara because I was the Queen of the office!  I truly try to be my brother's right hand and some days I think I succeed.  I do know that some nights, his hours have been shortened because I have taken all of the crap daily paperwork off of his desk so he can do the more important work that he is supposed to be doing.

I know my sister in law appreciates the hard work I do because she gets to see her husband more when he is in town with me at work doing his paperwork!  So, the tiara was much appreciated.

I wore it that day and since, it's hung proudly from the corner of my monitor at work, just to remind me that I may not be a full blown Queen but I AM the Princess! Some days that is the pick me up that I need.

Well, yesterday was one of them days.  We all have them.  Nothing went right. Then people started yelling at ME!  What's up with that?  I hate being yelled at.  I was PMS-ing it, probably a little overly emotional and I wasn't having any of it!

I saw that tiara sitting there and I thought that's JUST the pick me up I needed.  So I put my tiara back on.  Ok, the guys I work with know I'm crazy.  I'm jiggy with that. After the first laughs were out there, I kinda forgot I had the tiara on.  Then the UPS guy shows up.  It's one thing when the people  you work with day in and day out KNOW you're a little nuts, but when strangers come into the building and figure out I'm nuts, well . . . . that's another thing.

UPS guy now knows I'm not right.  Then our uniform guy showed up.  The look on people's faces is too much!  To give credit to these guys, they see the tiara, they know something is up but they are trying to be gentlemen and not bring it up.  All the while staring at the tiara.  Gotta love them.  The locksmith we had in yesterday had NO problem talking about me and my tiara!  Ok, I had to laugh, every time someone came to the door.  Regardless, the tiara stayed on.

And, since I forgot to take it off before I left, I now know why the lady in the car next to me was looking at me funny at that light.  Whatever.

It made my day better.  Instantly.  Maybe we all need to be a princess once in a while.  Thanks to Mary Jane for the tiara!  If anyone needs to borrow it for a day, I'd consider it my moral duty to lend it to someone else who is having a bad day.  It really does work!

Unfortunately, this picture was taken with my phone so it's not the best. But, it's me . . . . WITH a tiara!!  Life is good.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Share and Relish - Cathie's Lasagna


First of all, this recipe is almost as old as I am.  My sister Cathie got this recipe from her home economics class way back when in high school.  It was a good recipe back then and after a few tweaks along the years, I think it's still a good recipe.

I have adjusted this recipe some because of Weight Watchers so I went for better choices to make a bad dish better for you.  This is exactly what I did but please, feel free to add or delete whatever you'd like to make this your own.  I used to make this with bulk sausage instead of ground beef.  Oooh baby that was good! But, I'm trying to make this a little better for me, so I substituted the meat. Lasagna is one of those dishes that you can go crazy with and make differently every time! So, here are the ingredients that I used.  I wanted extra, so I made enough for one 9"x13" pan and an additional 9"x9" pan.  Leftover lasagna is always a good idea!

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 large onion,  chopped
  • 56 oz canned tomatoes ( I used diced tomatoes)
  • 24 oz canned tomato paste
  • 1 packet Splenda sugar substitute
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp oregano leaves
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2/3 package lasagna noodles
  • 4 eggs
  • 30 oz low fat ricotta cheese
  • 20 oz part skim shredded mozzarella

I start by cooking the noodles according to the package directions.  I pour them into a colander and rinse them to stop the cooking. 

In a 5 quart dutch over high heat, brown the ground beef, ground turkey and onion until all pan juices have evaporated, stirring frequently.

Add tomatoes and their liquid, tomato paste, Splenda, salt, oregano leaves, thyme leaves, crushed red pepper, garlic salt and bay leaves.

Heat to boiling, stirring to break up the tomatoes.  Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for one hour, stirring occasionally.  Discard bay leaves.

As a side story here, my Mom always had trouble finding the bay leaves when the sauce was done.  So, the rule in OUR house was that if your piece had a bay leaf in it, YOU had to do dishes!  There is a family story that our cousin Billy actually ate that bay leaf just to avoid doing dishes.  I hear they taste pretty nasty, so I would suggest discarding them.  Just sayin'!

In a large bowl, combine the ricotta cheese and  the eggs.  Set aside.

Now to put the lasagna together.

I lightly sprayed the pans with a little oil to prevent the noodles from sticking.  Layer noodles in the bottom of the baking dish, slightly overlapping.

Spoon the ricotta/egg mixture over the noodles, then sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese.

Ladle the sauce mixture on top of this layer.  Somehow I forgot to take a picture of that layer!  But, I'm sure you can figure it out!

Repeat the noodles, ricotta/eggs, mozzarella and sauce mixture.

Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.  Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before cutting.  Here is the final product.

Best of all, I was able to put all of the ingredients into the recipe builder program on the Weight Watchers website and then figure out how big of a piece I wanted based on how many points would be in that piece.  This could have been a better dinner if I made a better choice to have a salad with it to fill me up instead of a big old piece of this lasagna.  But, like I blogged before, Weight Watchers is all about choices.  I made the choice to eat this, I ate the rest of the day to prepare for the high point value of this meal and I was still in my point allowance in spite of it!  Go me!

One big old piece for supper, 17 points.  And well worth every one!

This was a darn good dinner.  Not a lot of work, but a bit time consuming.  I hope y'all enjoy Cathie's lasagna.  We sure did!

Monday, March 05, 2012

Everything is Fuzzy

I had hoped to post my lasagna recipe tonight, but it's not going to happen today.

Tonight Ron and I had an exciting date night at the eye doctor!  No worries, nothing happened, it was just time for my exam.  Unfortunately, tonight I had my eyes dilated.  As a diabetic, that's very important.

The good news is that there has been no bleeding inside of my eyes, as that is a common problem with diabetics.  Yeah, that is the good news.  The bad news is that my left eye has some kind of "membrane" in it.  He said the name of this membrane but I'll be darned if I remember it now.

This "membrane" has been known to be caused by bleeds but there is no evidence of that in my eye.  Another thing is I could have been born with it.  Hmm, since no one has ever mentioned this "membrane" before, I'm going to say I wasn't born with it.

He said not to worry about it and we'll just keep an eye on (no pun intended) it.  That's just like telling someone that wall has wet paint.  You KNOW I'm going to touch it to make sure!  So, what, don't worry?  What the heck!  That's all I'm going to do!

Ugh, in the mean time, my eyes are still dilated and I can't see so well.  The recipe blog will have to wait until tomorrow.  And, if there are any spelling errors in this blog, that doesn't count tonight either!

Sunday, March 04, 2012

I Have a Secret . . .

It's no secret that I have a weight problem.  It's also no secret that because of it, I am now a diabetic.  I hate both of those things about me.

I tried to diet on my own and I did very well for awhile.  I went to a dietitian, had a couple of appointments and thought I had enough of a basic overview that I could do it on my own.  I picked the few things that were good for me that I could eat and I ate the crap out of them.  I ate two spinach salads a DAY for a YEAR.  I like raw spinach.  I used to like raw spinach.  Two spinach salads a DAY for a YEAR.  I took a lot of good food out of my diet and ate a small variety of food.  I lost 63 pounds and was very proud of myself.  Unfortunately, this was not a diet I could stay on for the rest of my life.  Buying two pounds of raw spinach a week at Sam's Club just got depressing.  Once I quit eating like this, I gained 30 pounds back.

I decided to go on  a real diet.  I wrote about the food binge before this diet!  I was scared to death, thinking again of the spinach salad fiasco and thought of all the food I'd never be able to eat again.  I have been on this new diet for four weeks now, since February 2nd.

Here's a sampling of what I've been eating in the last four weeks:
  • 1/2 of a frozen DiGiorno cheese pizza
  • Thai Food
  • Mutt & Jeff's
  • Pete's blueberry pancakes
  • turkey spaghetti
  • Klondike bars
  • baked potatoes
  • Thai chili stuffed peppers (stuffed with sausage)
  • kielbasa
  • lasagna
  • Barbecue potato chips
  • Dijon mustard pretzels
Ok, I am not trying to be a commercial.  In the last four weeks, I have had one spinach salad, and put some raw spinach on my turkey sandwiches.  That's only because I really DO like raw spinach, just in moderation.

By the way, on a diet that includes, but is not limited to, the food I've mentioned, I have also LOST 10.4 POUNDS in four weeks!  For real!  Eating stuff that is NOT two spinach salads a day. 

I was debating on how much I wanted to talk about this subject, and while I know it's only been four weeks, I am starting to believe in this process.  A process that I've said from the beginning will never work.

I have joined Weight Watchers.  I have always thought Weight Watchers was like a cult and never thought I had a cult like mentality.  This part is hard to explain, so let me try to start at the beginning.

Weight Watchers works on what they call their "Points Plus" system.  I have come to learn that life is about points in one way or another!  First the food.

Most foods have a point value in the Points Plus system.  The point value is based on some mathematical equation based on the quantity of fats, carbs, fiber and protein value of a food.  This took me awhile to get down pat and I'm not there yet.  I am still learning this.  There are etools on line to help you figure out a points plus value of an item plus a cutsie Weight Watchers calculator that will easily figure out the points plus value of a food based on the four criteria I've mentioned. 

Each individual is given a points plus allowance that they are supposed to hit every day.  Your points plus allowance is calculated for YOU based on your age, height, weight and gender.  This number will be anywhere between 26 and 70 points per week.  Again, somehow this number is mathematically calculated and it has been found that if you eat all of your points in a week, you will lose more weight than if you try to hold back and eat less.  I am truly eating so much freakin' food, it's ridiculous!  The secret is, I'm choosing better foods to eat most of the time.

In addition to your calculated daily points allowance, everyone is given an extra 49 points per WEEK to spend as you'd like.  These 49 points are the only optional points.  You can use them or lose them.  You can use some or all of them.  You can use them all on one night or you can spread them out over a couple or all of the seven nights.  These 49 points are totally up to your discretion.  One person I've met chooses to use all 49 points as their weekly alcohol consumption!  (5 points per 1-1/2 oz of alcohol, or 5 oz glass of wine or 12 oz regular beer.  Light beer is 4 points!)

In addition to points plus system for food, there are also activity points.   You earn activity points by getting off of your fat ass and moving.  Sounds simple, right?  Most people in Weight Watchers (me included now) wears a pedometer.  5,000 regular steps in a day is about 2 miles for my steps and 5,000 steps is 2 activity points.  Aside from these simple points just from my daily walking, I'm still working the treadmill a few days a week.

The good thing about activity points is that after you go through your daily allowance of points, if you don't eat more food that will cut into and eat up your activity points, you will lose weight.  Plain and simple.  Eat your daily allowance and up to 49 points more per week, put activity points into your day and you WILL lose weight. 

The final result is simple.  Healthy eating and exercise.  It's not a pill, it's not a spray, it's not a magic stone.  It's making smarter choices and getting off my ass and moving.  I'm hitting the treadmill, I'm parking farther away from where ever I'm going to up my step count in a day, if I'm in the store, I will walk up and down a couple of extra aisles again to up the step points.  Every little bit helps.

There are activity points in almost all you do.  Laundry?  Yep.  Cleaning?  Of course!  We start joking about it!  There is so much chewing involved in eating celery that there SHOULD be activity points included!

Speaking of celery, that is one of the easiest parts of this system.  Most fruits and veggies have ZERO points.  I don't do too much celery and peanut butter, mainly because I can't swallow the celery without the peanut butter and peanut butter is high in points.  However, I've been eating a lot of other zero points veggies that I really like, such as brussel sprouts, cauliflower, carrots, sugar snap peas, beans and asparagus.  That's a good healthy way to add more food to your diet without having to take any points for it.  My veggie steamer has been going full time, for sure.  Being a diabetic, I have still had to try to remember the diabetic principles along with the Weight Watchers principles.  So for me, I try to have more veggies than fruit in a day since fruit is high in carbs.  I have to do a few little tweaks like this in my day.

Now for the three hardest parts of this "diet".  Butter and cheese.  There are a lot of points in butter and cheese.  Man, both of these items have been their own food groups in my house.  Ok, I've cut back on the cheese and thank heavens my friend Robert told me about Butter Buds Sprinkles.  I couldn't find Butter Buds here but I did find Molly McButter.  Does it taste like real butter?  No.  But for zero points, it's good enough!  I have to have me some butter on my steamed veggies and on my baked potatoes.  I have to.

The last of the hard parts is the tracking.  You have to write down every morsel you put in your mouth.  You can't count the points in your head, you really do have to write this stuff down so you can see it in front of you and you know exactly where you are.

I  know this is a long post but I want to mention the meetings.  Again, I always thought this was a cult.  I still kind of feel that way but I also feel that this is so something I need.  First there is the accountability at the scale.  I can lie to myself and not track everything I eat but the scale won't lie.  I go stand on the scale once a week and learn how I did.  I am not getting on a scale during the week, just at my weigh in.  The weekly meetings are always informative and there is an open discussion with the people there.  You are in a room with 50 other people facing the same problem and challenge you are.  There is something comforting in that.  During the open discussion, people can get up and say what they're struggling with and there are 50 people to offer encouragement or suggestions on how they have overcome the same obstacles.  It is inspiring.  When people have had a bad week, people are there to help you get back on track.  Certain metrics are talked about in the open and people clap for you, praise you and you get an "atta girl".  I need that encouragement.

Before you think this is totally rainbows and sunshine, this good health comes at a price.  Weight Watchers is NOT cheap.  I got a little break joining through my insurance company but it's still expensive.  Just sayin'.

So there we go.  My name is Ree and I am in Weight Watchers.  And in four weeks, I've lost 10.4 pounds!!  I can eat whatever I want, as long as I stay within my daily point allowance and my plus 49 points.  This truly is the easiest diet I've been on.  Here's hoping the next four weeks net me what my first four weeks did.  You know I'm going to be blogging about it!

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Mornings Sometimes Suck!

I've told you that this week I've been having some extra trouble sleeping because of the scary movie issue.  It looks like less sleep than usual has taken its toll on me.

My normal morning routine is that I get up off of the couch, feed and water the cats, turn the house alarm off and then set the dish outside for Hemingway my outside cat.  Hemingway will be at my front door waiting on me by 6:00 a.m.

The other day I had most of my routine down pat.  I got up.  Check.  Fed and watered the inside cats.  Check.  Went to put the bowl out for Hemingway.  Check.  OOPS!  I forgot to turn the house alarm off.

It sounded like all hell broke loose around here.  We have sirens in the house as well as in the garage.  When they both go off, there is probably no one around in a four block radius that didn't know I f-ed up.  Ok, I'm sorry to the few neighbors who are left that were probably trying to sleep at 6:00 or so in the morning.  What I felt worse about was the fact that Ron and Phil were upstairs with at least one of them still asleep.  Oops.

With the alarms going off, I was afraid that I'd have two half naked men come running out of their rooms to come and see if I was ok.  I am yelling up the stairs that there is no need to be alarmed, it was me forgetting to shut the alarm off!  All was well!!  I ran upstairs, disarmed the alarm and tried to shove my own heart back in my chest!

Who needs coffee on a day like this?  My blood pressure was up and running and a few gray hairs have taken up residence on my head.

But I'm getting better.  The movie is losing its hold on me and I am almost back to sleeping like I was.  So, once again, to my neighbors, To Phil and Ron, I am sorry.  No one should be woken up like that!

Friday, March 02, 2012

Get Off of Me!

Yes, it's a cat story!  In case you forgot, this is my Penelope.

My Penelope is a good girl.  She is totally different from Benny though.  Benny wants to jump and climb on everything he can find.  If it's an inch off of the floor, he wants to be there.  Penelope on the other hand, is very happy to stay on the floor.  She will get on the one cupboard by the refrigerator but only to get away from Benny.

If she sleeps in the bedroom with us, she will sleep on the floor next to the bed on Ron's dirty clothes.  I had tried to put a pillow on the floor for her, but she didn't want anything to do with it.  She wants on the floor, or on Ron's clothes.

She has been on the bed but that is a rare occasion.

Two nights ago, I was sleeping pretty soundly for a change.  Then, out of nowhere, I am awake and I feel like I'm being choked!  What the hell is Ron up to?!!  But no, he was innocent.  I had Penelope up on my chest and her butt was on my neck!  Well, no wonder I felt like I was being choked!  She's about 15 pounds and that is heavy when it's your neck.  So, here's my cat who's never on the bed, laying on me who is laying on the bed.  Good girl!

I did give her a shove to which she meowed her displeasure at having to move, but she did move down me a bit and off of my neck.  Ok, I was jiggy with that.  When I woke for good in the morning, she was actually laying on the bed but at the foot of the bed.  Maybe she finally realized that the bed is more comfy (and probably smells better!) than Ron's dirty clothes.

Last night, I was awake, laying there.  This time instead of on my back I was laying on my side.  Here comes my Penelope but this time, she crawled up on my hip.  That was a perfect place for her!  I was comfy, she was comfy, life was good.  Again, when I got up later, she was laying on the foot of the bed.

There is nothing like the feeling of one of the cats wanting to spend time with ME.  It's an amazing feeling for me.   I love this little girl, whether she is laying on my neck or not.  But seriously, I kinda do love her a little more when she's on my hip versus my neck.  Just sayin'

Thursday, March 01, 2012

What's New Pussycat?

Well, our photo challenge is over for now so it's time to start writing.  I'd love to say I will continue the daily posts as I did in February with the photos, but I'm sure that won't happen!  But, I will do my best.

Let's start with telling y'all what has been going on here this past week.

Last Saturday, Ron and I actually did some manual labor, helping out my brother with a project.  We all know what kind of shape I'm in, so after we were done with that, I needed to just chill at home.  Ron and I curled up in the living room and decided to watch a movie.  HE picked a movie and I was jiggy with it. 

Let me give you a little background here first.  Years ago when I still lived at home, I loved watching horror movies.  The gorier, the scarier, the better.  I would drag my girlfriend to the movies to see every gross movie that came out.  I'd regret it while we were there, but I loved it!  Then, when I got my own apartment, suddenly, things changed.

No longer were Mom and Dad just 20 feet away.  Dad was no longer there to thwart the psychopathic hockey mask wearing killer.  Nothing in my dreams would hurt me with my brother right upstairs.  I KNEW that.  Then in my own apartment, I no longer could depend on that comfort of my support system right there.  On Friday nights, I would go to my parents' house for dinner then our big night of me washing my Mom's hair and setting it in rollers while we watched the X-Files.  Ok, that's a pretty calm show compared to some, but then I'd have to drive home ALONE and walk into a DARK apartment alone!  Anyway, that ended my love of horror movies.  Living alone does that for you.

Fast forward back to this week.  On Saturday we started watching The Fourth Kind with Milla Jovovich.  Reading about the movie, it didn't sound like it would be awful, so I thought what the heck.  Besides, it was late Saturday afternoon and it was daylight so of course I thought it would be fine.  You know horror movies lose some of their power over you if you watch them during daylight hours.  Truly!

We didn't even get through half of it when Ron got called in to work on Saturday.  So much for movie night.  I ended up taping the rest of the movie and I thought we'll just finish it another time.  He went to work and I went to do other things.

We finally finished up the movie the other night.  Please note I said NIGHT.  I made Ron sit right next to me on the couch and I tried not to break his fingers while I held his hand.  I was freakin' terrified!  The first part of the movie that we watched on Saturday was easy.  The last half of that movie was INTENSE.  So intense, that as soon as it was over, I made Ron go pee with me because I was too afraid to go downstairs by myself!  Ridiculous!

It's been a few days and I'm still on edge.  I never sleep the whole night through anyway, but I gotta tell you, when I do wake up the first thing I do is look at the time to make sure it's not 3:33 am.  Then, heaven help me the next time I see an owl!  OMG!  Ok, I don't think I've ever seen an owl in the wild but whatever.  It could happen.  I just hope now that it doesn't.

I go down to the couch some time in the middle of the night and now I'm laying there freaked out because I'm all alone down there in the dark!  I really am such a baby!  Yesterday I decided I couldn't take being afraid all alone downstairs, so I went up to the computer room, turned on all the lights and the TV and sat and played Pogo on the computer while I watched stupid TV.  Hey, it made for a long day but it got me through that night.

Yeah, there is a reason I don't watch scary movies.  I have enough trouble sleeping, I don't need to be my own worst enemy.  I am too old to be scaring myself so much!  Trust me, I have enough gray hairs in my head.