I Bought a Mixer! A Hot Pink Kitchenaid!

Oh geez, so excited.  I think it’s from watching Pioneer Woman all through the holidays with my family.  She has a super snazzy hand painted version that costs $1350 smackers (does that include tax and shipping?) but I can work the fabulous hot pink with a glass bowl!  Does it match my kitchen?  Nope.  Any of my stuff?  Nope Nope Nope.  But it’s PIIIIIIIIINK and I love it.  Excellent price from our friends at Amazon, too.  I’ve been stalking it for a while and when the price dropped to an agreeable level, I pulled the trigger.

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She’s so pretty.  I’ll have to check to see if Anthropologie makes an owl cookie jar with some pink, just to tie it all together.  Three owl cookies jars isn’t enough, right?  Sigh.  That glass bowl.  The shine of the paint.  Love!  One of the guys I work with is a fierce baker in his free time, and he essentially said his Kitchenaid would have to be pried from his cold, dead hands.  He advised that I get one of the beaters with built in spatulas, and after my experiments this weekend, I agree! Not having to scrape the sides during the mix will be very helpful.

First up – pancakes.  PANCAKES!  My mom was a gem and made up little individual baggies of the dry ingredients to make gluten free pancakes.  And can I give you a pro tip here?  If you happen to run out of regular coconut or almond milk, and all you have is the tasty, tasty chocolate?  Oh, it’s delicious.  You will have gorgeous chocolate pancakes.  If you want to mix them with God’s Great Glory of Chocolate ‘Mega Chunk’ Chips (made by Enjoy Life Foods, available at my Target in the ‘hood as well as the regular grocery store in Springfield, MO) then you’ve got something SO GOOD. I might have added the part about God’s glory.

Not good for what it is, mind you.  Just good.  I’m pretty sure I didn’t add syrup.  I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture of them.  What’s wrong with me?  I guess that’s how fast they went into my belly.  I just fell into a rabbit hole, didn’t I?  SQUIRREL!   And now I’m thinking about the equally delicious gluten and dairy free chocolate chip cookies mom made.  Again, just good.  Not good for what they are, just good.  It’s those damn chocolate chips.  They’re out of this world.

Anyhoot, here’s what my first batch of pancakes looked like on Saturday morning, right next to my much improved second batch:

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Julia Childs always reminded us to Not. Crowd. The. Mushrooms!  What a mess, right?  Clearly a disaster.  Well, I learned the hard way to not crowd your pancakes.  Also, use medium-high heat.  You’ll all be relieved to know that they were delicious once I figured it out.  I risked a gluten attack and used a tablespoon of my super amazing Woodinville Whiskey Company Maple Syrup.  It’s pricey, like all maple syrup that happens to be put into casks formerly used for making bourbon and rye and bundled into beautiful bottles would be, but it’s a worthy purchase.  Thanks Jason and Ben for introducing it to me!

Pancakes, check.  What’s next?  The three overripe bananas on my counter commanded me to find a recipe for Banana Nut Bread.  I made muffins because I figured that would be easier to portion out, and less risk of a burnt crust and raw inside.  They’re so good!  Here’s the recipe, thanks to the Civilized Caveman.

I had to leave out the cinnamon, which was kind of a miss, but the coconut oil was a great sub for butter and some organic peanut butter I had lying around from my experiment with gluten free bread (disgusting) worked too.  I might try to make my own gluten free bread, but it looks insanely complicated and I’m just not there yet.  Maybe another six months of watching cooking shows will inspire me.

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The crumbled up friend on the right is what you get when you try to dump out the muffin pan too early.  I only have one and wanted to get the next batch going.  I guess I didn’t sufficiently re-grease the pan and got a little aggressive when slapping the back of it. Oops.  I ate it anyway, and it made for a funny pic.

These little guys have been paired up with eggs and Applegate chicken sausage links for breakfast the past few days and it’s as good as can be!  Much more decent on the calorie content than I thought – 174 calories and 13 carbs.  Don’t ask me about the fat content, but you can take a wild guess based on the coconut oil and peanut butter.  At least they’re satisfying?  Plus they’re made and served with egg whites, which helps.  Kind of.

One more cooking discovery this week – Thai food!  Well, I need to explore it in a broader scope, but Target has some Archer Farm dinner kits that didn’t have any of my allergens.  The panang curry was seriously delicious, and God bless coconut milk.  I have dinner plans with a girlfriend on Thursday, so I’m going to check into a few local restaurants and see if I can make that magic happen out and about too.  I LOVE curry.  Both Thai and Indian food use a lot of coconut milk, so maybe if I avoid the paneer I can make it work.

Cheers!

Meal Planning & Going Out

The story goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”  That is so true when it comes to me and the kitchen, and it’s always been that way.  I will freely admit I’m not the best at planning my week, and I’ve thrown away my fair share of rotten veggies…big old sad face if they came from Whole Foods and/or were organic.  I don’t mind paying extra, but you gotta use what you buy.

When I lived in Seattle with Jason and Ben, I got a great lesson on meal planning.  Every week, Jason would sit down with his pad of paper and plan our lunches and dinners for the week, and then derive the grocery list from there.  When we were all in town and work wasn’t crazy (never often enough!), we had an excellent system down.  Monday was grocery night, and we almost always had tacos – super quick for a tight week day schedule.  Jason would cook while I would sit at the breakfast counter with wine (and whine.)  Ben and I had clean-up duty, which usually meant Ben was scrubbing and I was packing lunches.  We all got to do the things we liked best, or at least tolerated the most.

BTW, Ben – I’m sorry.  I leave dishes in my sink, sometimes overnight.  I didn’t do it while we lived together, but I’ve gone back to my bad ways  Bad single girl behaviour is real.  I’m ashamed and will look to find ways to improve this terrible, lazy habit of mine.

At any rate, I’ve adopted Jason’s method for meal planning for myself. Lunches on the left, dinners on the right.  Lunch is usually leftovers from the night before, but if it’s something too messy or random to pack for work, I’ll just keep it for dinners.  I even tossed Chipotle on here – I knew I would be running errands all day yesterday. Their allergen menu is fantastic!

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The key to success for me is prep work. By the time I get home, I’m just fried and don’t feel like cooking.  If I’ve already done the work, great!  Prep for lunches this week was easy – chicken sausage with veggies.  The sausage is pre-cooked, so all I have to do is make the veggies, dump it into a container and call it a day.  I keep single serve hummus on hand, so I bundle that up with carrots and celery, bag up some hard-boiled eggs for snacks, divvy out fresh fruit for fruit salad, and all week it’s grab and go.

BTW, why do sausages look so dirty?  I had to laugh when I took this pic.  I know, I know.  I have the mentality of a fifteen year old boy and I’ll admit to it.

Aidells Chicken & Apple sausage paired with sweet potatoes and a kale/quinoa mix:

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No big deal to eat this for three days.  Tonight I’m making tacos (ground beef, Trader Joe’s taco seasoning, a can of rotel) and I’ll rotate between tacos and taco salad the rest of the week.  I’m already planning dinner out on Thursday night, and I know I’ll screw up one night and be off my schedule.  I stock soup for those nights, or I’ll have a Daiya frozen pizza.  I’ve mapped out my other activities as well, so I’ll have an idea of what’s going on when I’m grocery shopping.

The party planned for Saturday is a bit trickier, because I adore the couple hosting and a little one’s birthday party could likely turn into an all day event.  It’s a Saturday, we’ll have great company, cocktails may be poured.  Just saying.  I’ve shown up to Susie and Charlie’s with my own cooler of beer to watch football, but this time it’ll likely be a mix of booze and healthy snacks to help keep my face out of the birthday cake.

Eating outside of my house isn’t necessarily hard, but it requires the same amount of planning on my part.  House parties are the trickiest, though usually I can dig up some fruit and veggies and I almost always have almonds or beef jerky with me in a pinch.  And let’s be honest – I’m not going to starve.  I’ve got some reserves, kind of like a hibernating bear.

Local friends – I promise I can still go out!  I like going out!  I like going to dinner and I love going to brunch!  If you want to go out, let’s go out.  I can always find something, I promise.  PROMISE.  I’ll do the research ahead of time and I’ve gotten the hang of ordering.  Big ups to Anna and Colleen in particular for vetting restaurants and being patient with me in the beginning when I had a hard time figuring it out.  Tito’s Vodka is everywhere and if all else fails, there’s salad 🙂

I am super thankful to have friends and family that are way supportive of my admittedly somewhat restrictive diet, but I know some of y’all worry.  Thank you!  The best comparison I can make is that if you think of me as being on Paleo, or low carb, or whatever whole food diet is out there – it’ll cover 90% of the stuff I can’t eat.  No biggie.

XO

Adventures in Cooking

As my fellow singletons know, cooking is dubious business when you’re cooking for one.  Sure, there’s a hoard of recipes out there to cook for one person, but where do you get 1/4 of an onion?  Last time I checked, they are sold whole.  I know I can cook pre-diced frozen ones and use just a bit, but it’s much easier for me to justify my half-assed cooking attempts by saying it’s too hard to cook from scratch.  Fortunately, I’m not a super picky eater and don’t usually mind eating the same thing for a few days.  I also survive on Aidell’s chicken sausage sold in bulk at Costco and whatever random veggies I’ve picked up.  This is probably why I’m losing weight.

In an effort to find a substitute for that disgusting macaroni and cheese problem I’ve been having, I made spaghetti.  Spaghetti sauce is something I’ve always done well, and I make a kickass lasagna.  Since lasagna is now my nightmare food, full of delicious cheese, mushrooms, garlic and gluten, guess I’ll have to suffer through modified spaghetti. I browned up some organic, grass fed hamburger (thanks, Costco!) and added some roasted red and yellow peppers, two cans of artichokes and two glass jars of spaghetti sauce.  One is from Kroger, one is from Target, and they are both organic, relatively garlic free deliciousness.  One is actually pretty spicy, which was nice!  Plus I got to use my Le Creuset pot, which is gorgeous and always makes me smile.  Thanks, Mom!

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So, call me Sandra of the Semi-Homemade Cooking show fame, but whatever.  At least I didn’t jump warm it in the microwave and call it a day.  I got four lunches out of the leftovers, two servings for dinner because I have no salad stuff here and I’m feeling like a big fatty today, plus six cups for the freezer.  BOOM.  At least I’m still within my calorie threshold for the day and I got a lot of iron from the beef.  Take that, Anemia!  I will kick you in the pants.  Sure, it’s barely 6 pm and I can’t eat anything else today, but I’ll survive.  That’s why God blessed us with fizzy flavored water.

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I used the Ronzoni Gluten Free Penne Rigate.  It tastes pretty normal to me and I like the chunkier noodle with my chunky sauce.  Regular spaghetti noodles seem like they’ll make a mess.  OH!  That reminds me that I bought myself a spiralizer that should be here tomorrow, so along with my salad stuff I’m going to pick up a zucchini and see how that works.  I really like spaghetti squash with my pasta sauce, so hopefully I’ll like the zucchini just as much.  Less mess and chances for microwave explosions (coughMaryAnnecough.)  I’ll post pics of that this week, and I promise it’ll look like a Pinterest fail.

Speaking of Pinterest, my girlfriend Erin asked where I was finding recipes these days.  God bless her, she’s allergic to shellfish just like my Uncle Ray, who I hear willingly almost put himself in the hospital to bulldoze through a famous buffet in NYC back when I was a baby.  Crazy man.  Anyhoot – Paleo has been pretty popular for a few years now, and thank goodness, because anything Paleo normally has none of my allergens, aside from garlic, blueberries, spinach, and the other randomly good for everyone else that walks the planet foods that I can’t eat.  And some of the stuff I’ve been eating for years thanks to Weight Watchers is allergen free too, like my shredded chicken!

That, btw, is just a can of Rotel for every pound of chicken, taco seasoning and heat on low in your crock pot for about six hours, until the chicken shreds.  I normally eat it with black beans and avocado, but it makes great tacos too 🙂

All that said, I think I’m still allergic to tomatoes.  They apparently don’t screw up my blood and exacerbate my inflammatory issues, but I’m typing this blog with a tightened throat and my face feels like it is sunburnt.  Hmm.  Did this with Suzy’s awesome allergen free taco soup the other night too, so I think tomatoes will continue to be in my diet but VERY. SPARINGLY.  Tonight is good since I don’t have any big plans.  Hopefully I won’t wake up with hives tomorrow.  PLEASEPLEASEPLEASEPLEASE.  Hives are the worst.  It could be the spices, though, especially since black pepper in on my naughty list.  Who the hell knows?  Again, just put me in a bubble.  I guess I need to live on protein shakes and oatmeal 🙂  Or just have permanently sunburnt cheeks and perpetually chapped lips.

Anyone got a great lip balm they love?  I’ve tried the Eos (no longer work for me and make my lips worse) and I’m concerned that my honey intolerance makes beeswax an issue, so that rules out Burt’s Bees.  Carmex doesn’t seem to make things worse, but it does burn when I first put it on.  Maybe I’ll save this question for my dermatologist post that I’ve been pondering for a few days now.

Cheers!

Dairy Free Macaroni and Cheese is the Worst.

Seriously.  I can’t even.  CAN’T EVEN.  Not to be a basic bitch about things, but I give up.  Sure, I miss Pumpkin Spice Lattes because Starbucks only has soy as their crappy non-dairy alternative.  Boozy brunches just aren’t the same without an egg bennie because carbs don’t count on Sundays, okay?  The gluten thing is mostly fine, whatever.  It’s so common that it’s common and I didn’t need a damn bread basket at dinner anyway.

Dairy substitutes, though?  UGH.  So much fail.  I’ve mentioned Daiya cheese probably in every post I’ve made, and it does have its place.  It’s good on the Daiya pizza, because it gives the right texture (sort of) and it stretches.  You’re so distracted by the amazing pizza sauce that you don’t notice the cheese is all wrong.  At least that’s what I’m going to keep telling myself.  Daiya even has an only to be found one time across eight grocery stores jalapeño jack block that even my (admittedly drunk) friends liked.  It’s disappeared.  Such a bummer.

I’ve tried three different kinds of dairy free macaroni and cheese now, and they are all disgusting.  And way more fattening than the real thing!  And by real thing, I mean something nasty and dirty like Velveeta shells and cheese, which I personally prefer to be made with Rotel or salsa and it’s so yummy.  You’d think all that processed yellow goodness wouldn’t actually be cheese, but it is.  I’ve checked.  Twice.  Just to be sure.

Tonight I tried the Gluten Free Say Cheez by Namaste Foods.  It has a super tragic rating of -4.7 on the MyNetDiary app.  -5 is the worst score they give.  For something that isn’t insanely delicious, so not worth it.  But I’m committed, and this is a very, very occasional treat.  Well, boo.  I so appreciate that these companies make the effort, I truly am, but I just need to find some sort of delicious pasta with sauce that isn’t mac and cheese for my grumpy Saturday comfort food.  Like the spaghetti I originally intended to have today, except I forgot to thaw out my hamburger.  Whoops.  Plus tomatoes still jack up my face.  They don’t give me inflammatory issues according to my 4000 blood tests, but there’s really no disputing the red rash I get all around my mouth and on my cheeks anytime I eat chili, spaghetti, or my friend Suzy’s amazing taco soup that she doctored so I could eat it.  (I have some of the best friends ever, insanely tolerant and way willing to deal with my bullshit.)  And I’m excited to eat the leftovers she gave me anyway, that’s how good it was.

So anyway, to this four serving package of dairy free yuckiness you have to add three tablespoons of oil, butter or margarine.  I’ve actually been pretty happy with all three of the Earth Balance buttery spreads I’ve tried (also a -4.5 rating), but let’s be honest.  It’s oil, hence the fat factor.  Because it ended up being kind of bland, I added some Daiya shreds to try to help it out, and then I gave up and dumped in a bunch of salsa.

Here’s the damage:

1530 calories

83 grams of fat (18 g is saturated)

168 carbs

Pretty bad for something that isn’t delicious.  There are probably a million things I could have for that same amount of calories.  Thanks to my super over-informative app, I’ve noticed my fat intake has been pretty high compared to the suggested fat/protein/carb ratio, and it’s all these substitutes that are doing it.  I love whole foods, I love just about any kind of veggie (tho some are better with bacon) and I love fruit.  No reason to put these chemicals and crap into my body when they don’t even taste good.  And bacon is technically a whole food anyway.

Ugh.  Time for some cereal.  Coconut milk is amazing and I’ve found some killer gluten free cereals, which btw?  I totally didn’t eat before this all happened.  I never wanted to waste the Points.  These days, though, sometimes it’s the only thing that will do.

Good Lord I’m grumpy today.  Must be because I’m taking down all the Christmas stuff.

Cheers!  At least I learned how to add a link, just in case someone needs a giggle about Ugg wearing, Pumpkin Spice Latte guzzling basic bitches that can’t even.

Surviving New Year’s – Boozy Treats, College Football, and Cooking

Happy New Year, everyone!

This might be the first year I haven’t made any resolutions – I made all the bad behavior changes I cared to make in October.  For 2015, I resolve to give up beer!  Lasagna!  Bubbles and cheese plates!  Oh wait…already did all of that.  I will keep working towards my goal of getting healthy and feeling better, though, and I definitely need to bank more time at the gym.  I’ll probably find myself at the complex gym by the end of the day, because it is way too nasty to venture outside.  I purposely dressed in gym clothes today, all the way down to my kicks and sports bra, so no excuse to not go.  And hey…no hangover!

It’s been ages since I went “out” for NYE.  I’ve spent the last few years hiding out from drunks and crazies with Jason and Ben or hanging out with friends at their annual house party.  The party skipped a year, thanks to an out of town wedding, but luckily for me, Jason and Ben extended their Dallas visit and were in town!  Yay!  And with the doggies too, which is such a treat!!!  Love them.  Anyhoot, if I’m remembering last year correctly, Jason made homemade alfredo sauce, oodles of pasta and ridiculously good rosemary bread, and we no doubt drank many bottles of wine and other boozy treats.  None of that for me this year, but fortunately the boys were totally on board with my plan for steak, brussels sprouts with bacon and potatoes.

I rarely cook meat unless it’s in a slow cooker or warming up pre-cooked chicken sausage  (Aidells!  I’m addicted. Thank you for selling in bulk at Costco.)   Maybe I’m just paranoid because of my overly sensitive stomach, but I’m always afraid I’ll poison myself.  Cooking classes definitely need to be added to my developing list of hobbies.  My knife skills are atrocious.  Ask anyone who has spent thirty seconds in the kitchen with me.  I’ve been playing around with a new cast iron skillet, though, and thanks to my growing adoration of The Pioneer Woman, I made perfectly done steaks!  SO GOOD!

Cooking shows, what?  I know, I know…why torture myself with food porn?  It’s a fun new game where I try to redo every single recipe with foods I can actually eat.  The jury is permanently out on macaroni and cheese.  I’ve found excellent gluten free pasta, and the Daiya cheese is okay for certain things, but it’s just not the same, will never be the same, and I remind myself that I always felt like hell after eating it anyway.  So there.

You know what doesn’t make me feel like hell?  Bacon grease, at least in moderation.  Have I mentioned that the foods I can eat aren’t necessarily healthy?  And I swear I’ve consumed more salt in the past two months than I did all year.  That’s why I’m using the food tracker too – I love that I can see every detail and track what I’m really taking in for the sneaky things like sodium, iron, calcium, cholesterol, etc.  Frying bacon was an excellent way to continue seasoning my skillet, and it made for even more delicious brussels sprouts.  Sure, I should have roasted them, and I normally would (thanks for teaching me how, J!!) but what a nice treat!  Set those aside, sear the steaks for 90 seconds on each side and toss that skillet in the oven to finish.  Thanks again, Pioneer Woman!  I can’t just read a recipe, apparently, I have to watch it happen too.

So that was my NYE meal, and I’ve had excellent leftovers for football watching today, but where do the boozy treats come in?  College football without beer?  Toasting the new year without champagne?  Madness!  As for as liquor goes, distilling supposedly removes all gluten.  The Celiac foundation doesn’t agree, though, and I just don’t want to risk it.  Reading other blogs about gluten intolerances over the past couple of months has made me very leery.  Surrendering my beautiful bottle of Grey Goose L’Orange was painful, but it’s good in the long run.  Besides, I’m sure I can stock up on potato vodka next time I’m in Idaho, and I can even support (sort of) local business and drink Tito’s Vodka and Deep Eddy Vodka.  Win!

I’ve been a fan of Deep Eddy Grapefruit for ages now, and though I had to quit Deep Eddy Cranberry thanks to my sensitivity issue, finding substitutes has been no problem.  I was even fortunate enough to find two 99% corn distilled bourbons when I went to Nickel and Rye last month.  Such a good treat!  That said…alcohol is a well known inflammatory aggravator.  It’s a stomach and intestine irritant and increases gastric acid.  I already have enough issues with bad belly, nausea and throwing up, so I have to be very cautious about my consumption level.  Club soda is a good friend, though, and alternating a vodka/soda with a soda/soda keeps it pretty level.

Beer wasn’t a major loss, though I will miss going to breweries and trying craft. Oh, that chocolate stout at Icicle Brewery in Leavenworth! And a Guinness beef stew! For every day boozing, though, I’ve always preferred hard cider – generally gluten free.  Yay!  It’s packed full of sugar and will murder some calories, though.  Woo.  Other than the occasional Summer Shandy or Blue Moon, though, I haven’t had much beer in ages.  All of the Seattle sports teams sold cider in their stadiums and most bars have at least one on tap.  Easy breezy.

Speaking of sports…tough day for my Baylor Bear friends and a beautiful day for my Michigan State fans, but what an exciting game of college football!   I love a good come back against all odds, except when Baylor did it to TCU.  Bah.  At any rate, I’ll admit that quilting and drinking water at home isn’t quite as fun as watching at Buffalo Wild Wings with friends, but I certainly feel pretty good.  (And by the way, at BWW, have the naked tenders with mild or medium sauce with fries.  Not a “healthy” choice but gluten, soy and dairy free!)

Signing off for now – over the next week I’ll check in on cooking shows and substitution games, madness at the gym, dating adventures and of course, any more progress towards getting into my grad school clothes.  They’re in my closet in a plastic tote, just waiting for me to fetch them!

(p.s. – made another lucky stars quilt square today!  Showed Jason how to paper piece last night and I can’t wait to get to Urban Spools and use the gift card they bought me for Christmas on a new project.  I was so spoiled for Christmas!!!)

Cheers!

Weight Watchers, Food Journals and Weight Issues

Good morning!  First, just have to say thank you for everyone that read my blog yesterday!  I think I had 125 views, and it even found some people that weren’t already my friends.  So cool!  Y’all know I love some statistical data and WordPress has all kinds of charts for me.

So, food journals. I’ve been on Weight Watchers on and off since I was 16, and heaven knows how many thousands of dollars I’ve spent.  That said, I think it was a good use of money.  Any time I’ve kept weight off for any period of time, it’s because I was doing WW. Having weekly accountability for my weight and food journaling really makes a huge difference, and I know I’ve learned a lot about nutrition through them.  (And a bunch of dietician, nutritionists, my BFF Colleen and countless other sources.)

I like the way the new PointsPlus is measured – it’s from fat, fiber, protein and carbohydrates.  What I didn’t get, though, is that there wasn’t any kind of data.  You bank all this interesting info, and then you can’t see the results.  Surely there’s an app for that, right?  And there is – MyNetDiary.

I tried the free app and cancelled my WW subscription within a couple of days.  This thing is awesome.  All the data this nerd could want, and then some more!  DATA!  YESSSSSSSSS!

All the normal stuff like meal tracking, workout tracking, measurements, weights, vitamin intake and a handy dandy analysis graph to let you know where you are totally f’ing it up. For me, it’s in sodium.  It’s never been a big issue for me, but water retention is a hateful snatch and it’s something I’m starting to keep my eyes on.

The best part, though?  You get a total nutrient count for the day, and you can select the things that mean the most to you.  Since I’m severely anemic (this is why I’m always covered in bruises and take a nasty iron supplement) it’s a way for me to check my food-based iron intake.  In this example, I totally screwed the pooch.  And wow, so much fat!  It was healthy fats from avocado, but I also managed to get 24 g from the chicken sausage I had for lunch. I just left the default for calorie ratios, but I imagine I could tinker with it if I were so inclined.  You’re not nearly as worried about carb intake when the majority of your carbs come from fruits and veggies, though.

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Coolest thing ever.  EVER!  There’s more data if you want it, but I just wanted to give a snapshot.

If you’re looking closely, you can add 40 pounds to my current weight and see that I had gotten to a very scary place.  My highest weight came after ten days of NYC market, where my biggest fears were breaking tiny plastic chairs and wondering where the hell I could get a salad.  Salt bloat is a killer when you eat out three times a day!  Well, or twice a day.  Lunch was usually a coffee and a handful of almonds.  #FashionProblems. When I was trying out for The Biggest Loser, some of my friends were baffled and didn’t think I was big enough to qualify.  That’s one of the beautiful things about being six feet tall, but at my heaviest weight, I would have been one of the largest women ever cast on the show.  EVER.  Seriously.

I think that’s a big part of why I didn’t get on there – for one, I don’t have a lot of the self-esteem issues most of the contestants have.  When you’re told you have such a pretty face enough times, you believe it 😉  I was 25 pounds away from a potential contract with Ford Model’s plus size division when I was in high school.  I have a lot of issues, but thinking I’m ugly isn’t one, at least not since I was a teenager.  I’m just extremely overweight, and fortunately lucky enough to have a “thin” face and not all crazy like Honey Boo Boo’s mom.

The second thing is that I’ve been over 200 pounds and near 300 for most of my life. I was a 174 pound sixth grader, and I’ll remember that weight always thanks to the nurse announcing it to the entire room.  Awful.  But I digress…the most successful stories on TBL are from people who were at a normal weight most of their lives, but gained the weight later.  I was at my thinnest adult weight when I started grad school in 2009, but I would still qualify for TBL then too.  I felt amazing, though, and I’m so excited to get another 45 pounds off and get back into my jeans from the Gap!  Shopping goes into another post, though 🙂

So again – this isn’t a weight loss blog.  I’ve been dieting my entire life, and there probably isn’t much new I can offer in that area.  My metabolism is shot, but my bigger issues are truly health related.  And not the normal overweight person health problems – diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol.  I’ve never had any issues there, likely because I’ve always been so active and I’m already a pretty healthy eater.  I don’t want to be anemic anymore, and I don’t want this inflammation issue taking over and hurting me down the line.  And I’ll be honest, diabetes and high blood pressure will probably catch me too.  I’m not that far from 40, and getting older sucks!

Cheers and Happy New Year, everyone!

Adventures in Quilting

It occurred to me that I didn’t really have any hobbies.  Sure, I love to read and will read anything put in front of me (including fanfic.  That’s my dirty secret.  Surprise!) I love to travel, try new restaurants, try craft beer, local distilleries and I miss Washington wine like crazy.  I wish I could say that my hobby was working out, but it’s not.  That said, going to my friend Anna’s gym Equinox almost changed my mind there.

But I digress.  I needed a hobby.  I have a degree in fashion merchandising, a mom who is a wizard at home decor and sewing anything, and a fabulous new sewing machine.  Let’s get serious about quilting.  I haven’t done much in the last two years, but after watching Jason whip through some seriously amazing quilts this spring and summer, I found myself a class.

Urban Spools is a fantastic quilting shop just east of White Rock Lake on Buckner Blvd.  I took a refresher class for sewing and then tackled a paper piecing block of the month class.  I was a little intimidated, but I figured I was a confident beginner and I would be just fine.  I’ve taken to it like a duck to water!  I love it!  I’ve signed up for two more block of the month clubs and taking a speed quilting class as well.

I started with Moda’s 25th & Pine fabrics for my first star, then sought out all kinds of fabric from there.  I’ve set aside my first three stars and decided to go all in on Creative Tuesday’s precious holiday print.  Love those reindeer!

Star 1:

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Figuring out fabrics:

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All in with Creative Tuesday with a big assist from my Mom!  Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks for the win!

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My hands are busy and I’m actually making something! This quilt has 12 stars, but I’m probably going to add more so I can make it a larger size.  It’s also a great opportunity to re-do some of the stars I did early on that ended up being a little muddy.  So excited!!