Garden Diary – It’s Hard Not to be Discouraged

Well my garden is a mess, and I’m feeling discouraged, which makes me not want to plant anymore.

There is a critter eating all my greens. I think it’s a chipmunk(s)

  • My peas are almost stumps, I think in a day or two they will probably be gone.
  • I had such hopes for the Asian greens this year. My husband and I build a little covering with coat hangers, scrap metal, and a roll of fiberglass screen to keep out the white moths (which bring the green worms) but they are clearly being nibbled by the critter.
  • And even my beet greens, which I thought were doing well, now seem to be disappearing to nubs.

Looking at the positive, the snap peas planted in a large recycling bin are doing quite well, so that should make me happy right?

I’m not. I’m in a garden funk.

My mother-in-law gave us a few of her excess plants, and all I’ve planted were 3 eggplants. I have a couple tomatoes and red peppers to plant, but I just feel sad. I’m not sure what’s wrong exactly, maybe the weather? I’m just feeling discouraged.

January 1st! New Year New Outlook

Isn’t it funny how we always think that crossing over to January 1st is going to magically change our lives? LOL.

I don’t normally encourage New Years Resolutions, but this year, I’m a believer!

During the last couple of months, my food/health habits have declined, and my weight has creeped up to 141ish. Take out dinners have taken precedence over home-cooked meals, and that has to STOP! I haven’t been as active as usual, and my back “went out” a few days ago. I feel flabby and gross; I’m addicted to fatty junk foods and sugar again.

BUT I’m not considering this to be a failure!

I’m moving into 2013 with a fresh attitude. I have great support from my sweet husband and much-needed inspiration from my buddies over at

oranges are healthy

I can do this! :)

Humbled By a Spider

This morning, after a marathon weeding and grass-clipping along the fence near our vegetable garden, I snipped off two branches of grape leaves, so I could perhaps try a new recipe. I left them for a few minutes inside in the workroom, and when I came back later to get them, I picked them up, and noticed a huge H-U-G-E spider moving on the leaf. I immediately screamed and dropped the branches on the floor!

Then I got up my nerve, picked up the branches, praying that I could get them outside without the spider dropping off in the workroom. I tossed the branch on the pile of weeds/grass in the wheel barrow and ran inside to grab my camera. No one would believe how icky and gross this spider was, I needed photos! I mean this spider was like 2-3 inches!

I took lots of photos, at every angle. (Note: If you have a fear of spiders, don’t read any further, as I’m including detailed photos that might be troubling to someone with arachnophobia.)

Continue reading “Humbled By a Spider”

Project Food Budget / My Healthy Budget: February Month 4 / Week 3

Project: Food Budget Weekly total: $132.55

My healthy budget goal is to eat seasonal, home-cooked meals while sticking to a $400 monthly budget for all food including groceries, dining out, entertaining, vitamins/supplements, and spices/herbs.

There’s two of us eating 3 (mostly) meals per day. My husband occasionally eats take-out lunch at work, & that $ comes out of his personal cash stash.

February – Month Four, Week One

This week, I’ve spent $132.55, with a monthly total so far of $324.94, leaving $75.06 for the last week of February.

Thanks to a lil re-enforcement last week from my budget buddies, I’ve decided, NOT to automatically include the total CSA meat delivery every month. Instead I’ll be applying the meat as it is consumed, which should be easy to track, since I receive a printed invoice from the farm.

This will be a good opportunity to use some of the meat that’s accumulated in my freezer from prior deliveries, and catch up on much-needed pantry purchases. Plus I feel like I’ve been skimping on veggies and fruit.

Spending Details

Dining Out: $37.00
Groceries: $95.55

Whole Foods Market (Fri, 2/17) $76.44: (3) organic whole chickens, Pacific Oat Beverage, Pacific Almond Beverage, (2lb) Lundberg basmati brown rice, (1lb) 365 Pinto beans, (1lb) 365 Quinoa, sheep’s milk Pecorino cheese, large tub Brown Cow whole yogurt, (2) 365 canned organic tomatoes, bulk barley, (3) Newman’s Own dark chocolate, bananas, 4lb bag o’ navel oranges, organic pears, celery root (local), beet bulbs (local), turnip (local), organic mustard greens, organic celery, organic cabbage, organic fennel, organic parsnips (local), organic bok choy.

I used several coupons: Newmans Own chocolate, 365 beans, Lundberg rice, Brown Cow yogurt, Pacific beverages.

Market Basket (Monday, 2/20) $19.11: 2 bags of shell-on pistachios, 12ct bag of oranges, baby portabella mushrooms, bananas

All in all, I felt good this week, and I am fully confident that I will be able to stick to my budget. I wish I could say that I’d even be under budget, but my pantry still needs some replenishing, so for next few weeks, I’ll probably spend every available penny! :)

Week of Meals

  • Thursday: Dinner out (Chinese)
  • Friday: Leftover frozen boneless pork ribs w/ wheat Bulgar and cabbage, carrot, fennel, celery slaw
  • Saturday: Slow oven-braised pork butt shoulder w/ side of white rice & lentils and roasted beets & carrots.
  • Sunday: Chicken soup with homemade broth and winter vegetables over white rice & lentils
  • Monday: Pasta topped with tomato sauce
  • Tuesday: Wheat berries mixed with ricotta, feta and emmenthaler cheeses, over sautéed mustard greens & green beans, topped with salsa
  • Wednesday: Bread baked with salsa, roasted red peppers, mustard greens, & pecorino rolled inside

I had a big cook weekend to replenish the freezer. Friday, I threw one of my organic chickens into the crockpot, and it was fall-off-the-bone scrumptious. Saturday – I had a beef chuck roast in the electric slow cooker and a pork butt roast in the oven. I froze 5 small packs of meat for future meals. Sunday, I made my free veggie/chicken stock using the bones from the crockpot chicken and my saved freezer veg scrapes. I then made a huge batch of chicken soup, enough to freeze 3 quart containers, plus extra for dinner and lunches.

Want to Join the Project Food Budget?

It still amazes me how much I’ve learned (and continue to learn) in just a few months by participating in the Project Food Budget! It’s never too late to join us!

project food budget

If you’d like to participate, get the details and let Emily know you’re on board!

Here’s who else is budgeting this week:

October Unprocessed 2011 – UPDATE Day #8

october unprocessed 2011

Day #8 for the October Unprocessed 2011 challenge over at the Eating Rules blog.

It’s been going very well, maybe a tiny flub or two at the beginning, but for the most part, I’m going strong! I was already a fairly “clean” eater but participating in this challenge has forced me to look even deeper at ALL food products, and I’m finding a lot are not as unprocessed as I’d like.

Today was a big challenge. I went with my DH to his work for a few but I didn’t realize he was going to be there so long. Had I known, I would have brought a snack.

Well needless to say, I was hungry in no time and I didn’t think there was much to eat at the office. I was so tempted to sneak a bite-sized butterfinger candy from the snack bowl. But I stayed strong!

Yes, it would have been so easy to grab a highly processed piece of candy or snack, I mean there was no one looking over my shoulder waiting to arrest me for eating proceeded food. But I thought about it and realized that if I cheated on the challenge now, what would stop me from cheating again and again? And then what would be the point of continuing on with the challenge if I wasn’t taking it seriously?

So we were on the way out and passed the kitchen and DH asked if I wanted some of his peanut butter? Duh. I totally forgot he keeps a few healthy items at work for breakfast or lunch. He had a jar of whole foods 365 organic peanut butter in the fridge and an opened box of Barbara’s brand shredded wheat cereal. I took a big spoonful of pb along with a shredded wheat biscuit. it held me over until we got home.

I stayed strong even when DH ordered a subway sub at walmart while I returned something and bought new batteries for my bathroom scale.

I felt sooooo good about sticking to the challenge even in the face of desperate hunger! Yay!

Whoo HOOO! 138.6

I weighed in again this AM. I was a bit nervous actually. I thought perhaps yesterday was a fluke and maybe I was back up. Funny my body “felt” thinner when I was heavier at 141.8 and this morning, I “felt” heavier. But yay, the scale showed 138.6. I’m definitely feeling back to normal.

I am pretty sure it’s really not possible to gain and lose 3 pounds of actual fat in such a small amount of time, so I assume my slight weight gain and loss was due to some sort of water retention.

Hmm, possibly from the rise in activity too. I’ve been working with DH moving and stacking firewood, and we’ve been walking and biking more too. I think I heard somewhere that you can have a temporary weight gain when you’re working your muscles. Don’t they hold in water or something? I’ll have to do some research.

Anyway, I really think I’m back on track. I’m back to eating “clean” and it feels wonderful! But the slightly lower calorie restriction has been a little bit difficult. I’ve definitely been keeping under my lower 1650 calories, but it’s been a challenge. I’m thinking I’ll wait one more day or two, weigh in, and then incrementally raise it back up to 1800 during the following week or so.

Life is good!

Getting Back On Track! 140!

Yes! I think I’m getting back on track. I weighed in this morning at 140! Yay! I still have a little tiny bit more to go, but I’m happy. I feel “lighter” physically and emotionally!

I was a little discouraged, but determined yesterday! After I made my public confession both on MyFitnessPal and here on the blog, I felt relieved!

This has been such a learning experience, and it’s still a long journey!

Weight loss was only the first part of the voyage, maintenance is going to be a life long struggle.

I will always be a compulsive eater. It will never go away. There will be many relapses and that’s okay. It’s normal. I just have to be aware of when it’s happening so I can bring myself back! I can’t be embarrassed or ashamed of myself.

But I’m back on track now. My calories are still set lower at 1650, and we’ll see what happens during the next couple of days/weeks.

Besides learning more about my compulsiveness, I also learned that more than ever, I still need to keep counting calories, and remain active in some sort of weight loss community. I am so grateful that I have such an easy way to do that, with MyFitnessPal – besides their web site, the iPhone app is a God-send. I know emphatically that I would not be as successful if I didn’t have the community and the tools from this site.

Thank you myfitnesspal and to all my friends there!

Confessions of a Compulsive Eater – 141.8

Okay, confession time.

This summer was brutal. While on our vacations, I ate a lot lot lot of sugary foods, & it seems like it made my “compulsive” eating issues come alive a little bit. It was getting harder and harder to say “no” to foods that I shouldn’t be eating.

This weekend, I didn’t think twice about grabbing a couple of processed store-bought cookies & a small bag of buttered/salted popcorn that was offered at a local hardware store’s grand re-opening. ugh.

I never had trouble refusing gross processed cookies in the past, so I know there’s a problem.

I mean, I always felt that if I was going to treat myself, it would have to be something special and really delicious. Not some store bought oreos, chips ahoy, or fig newtons! sigh.

Bottom line, I have been slowly gaining back a little weight. Not a lot, but I’m up to 141.8! I think the gain is a combination of my eating habits and my messed up peri-menopausal system, but either way, I’ve got to do better with my food choices.

I’ve officially adjusted my profile weight up to 141.8 at MyFitnessPal.

I adjusted my daily calories from 1800 to 1650, and posted my confession on my MyFitnessPal newsfeed! What a marvelous wonderful group of supportive friends I have on MFP.

Yes yes yes, I know I can do it!

  • I don’t want to ignore this problem, that’s how I ended up at 200 pounds in the first place!
  • I’m trying to be accountable
  • I’m admitting that I’m doing something wrong and I want to change!

I should add that 140 is actually a “normal” weight for someone at my height of 5’8″ but I feel “normal” at around 138ish.

No, NO NOO. I Am NOT Gaining!

So, I’ve been weighing myself regularly (once or twice weekly +) and this AM I was shocked to see 141.6 on the scale! I haven’t been that much over 140 since April!

I was 139.6 last week. I admit a couple of days, I went over by 100-200 calories, but there were days I was under. I suppose I also should admit that I have been “nibbling” and not “counting” a little bit while cooking.

BUT I’ve also been active, walking/biking and running around the kitchen cooking. I know I didn’t actually gain 2 pounds of fat, but I think I am retaining some water.

Last night, my ankles looked very puffy. I know I’m not drinking enough water. And I’ve got to stop the mindless nibble while cooking. I do not want this to be a permanent thing, and I am pretty sure it’s not, but it gave me a little push to watch myself closer.

And I’m trying to be accountable! I’ve been a little lax and maybe even a little cocky about my calories. There’s nothing to be ashamed of, I just need to stop now, and re-focus.

Autumn is a time to revel in the crisp clean air and ponder life. Yes, I’m happy, I have a wonderful husband, great family, lovely home. I’m lucky. I’m healthy. I’m looking forward to hitting 50 next year! Life is good!

Dastardly Donut

Ugh, the dastardly donut got me today at lunch. I was visiting DH and we ate lunch together in his work lunchroom, and there was a box of Dunkin Donuts that another co-worker brought in that morning. Of course, DH had to open it, and there were just a few left, all jelly filled. I couldn’t resist. Darn! I think this is the first day, in a long time, that I really felt guilty about something I ate!

Darn Dastardly Donut!

And then when I looked up the calories in one of those suckas, yikes! 290 calories! That’s criminal! I won’t be doing that again, so I suppose it’s a good thing then. Anytime you learn a lesson, it’s good. And yes, I learned!

#1, look up foods like donuts BEFORE you eat them, that way you can judge if the cost of calories is worth the “cheat treat”

#2, It was a good donut, but really not worth 300 calories!