Happy One Year Anniversary

“God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it’s me.”

One year ago today on July 20th 2009, my friend Mae posted those words of wisdom to her Facebook profile and it changed my life! From that moment, it clicked and I made the decision to live a healthier lifestyle.

So here I am! One year later! 50+ pounds lighter, I’m eating clean, exercising, and feeling the best I’ve felt in years! Maybe the best I’ve felt my whole life!

I am forever grateful to Mae, and also to MyFitnessPal.com for giving me the tools to succeed. If I can do it, anyone can!!!

yellow rose

Hood Calorie Countdown Dairy Beverage

Ha! They can’t even call this product “milk” – it’s a “dairy beverage” – that should tell you right there that there’s a problem. Sort of like American Cheese is not really a cheese, but a “cheese product”.

So, I hadn’t even heard of this product, but I just read a post on a forum about it, so of course I had to google.

First, let’s look at the ingredients of Hood real non-fat milk:

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Bar Keepers Friend Review

bar keepers friend cleanser

I have been using Bar Keepers Friend for years, ever since I read about it on a cooking forum somewhere online (I think the Cooks Illustrated forum)

It has the “look” and consistency of bleach powder cleanser (like Comet) but it’s not that harsh! Although it does have a mild abrasive, it’s a very mild cleaner. I use it regularly on my enameled cast iron, stainless pots and bakeware for stubborn stains. I wash normally, then shake a little bit over the still-wet pan and lightly scrub with my dish cloth and voila! with very little effort, any stains and cooked on gunk is gone.

I recently found that I inadvertently marked/scratched my Le Creuset baking pan by scraping with a metal spoon. I made a little paste with water and Bar Keepers Friend and rubbed a little bit; the scratches magically disappeared! I was so happy!

I used to be able to purchase Bar Keepers Friend at any grocery store, but for some reason, I haven’t been able to find it at Market Basket, Shaws, Stop & Shop or Hannaford. It looks like Target and Walmart is on their list of local stores, so I will try there. I still have a lot left in the large tin, but I will need some soon. That is one more great thing about Bar Keepers Friend. The container lasts me a good long time! I think I’ve had this container for years!

Their web site states it’s environmentally safe (and biodegradability) but I don’t know actually how safe it is since it’s still a chemical. It’s obviously best to keep it out of reach of children and pets as it could be poisonous if ingested.

I love Bar Keepers Friend! Highly recommended for all home cooks!

148.6 Phew Post-Vacation!

Phew. We were on a week’s RV camping vacation last week, and I ate some horrible foods! I didn’t know what to expect. Well, okay, yes, I DID expect to come home and weigh myself this AM and be on the heavier side. I was relieved to find out that I’m okay. Phew.

I kept track of all I ate, and yes, I did go over on a few days. But I worked out like a fiend, walking, jogging, biking, kayaking as much as I could. I think that definitely helped!

I don’t want this to alter my psychological outlook, thinking that I’m going to pull through even while making a lot of bad food choices. It’s NOT alright to keep eating whoopie pies, chips, fried clams, lobster rolls, and tollhouse pies because eventually I won’t be able to stop and yes, the weight will definitely start to creep back!

It’s a fact that toward the end of the week, when my food choices were dipping deeper into the dark side, it was a lot more difficult to keep strong and refuse temptation. I felt like eating even when I wasn’t hungry. It’s a true compulsive addiction! I succumbed to nutritionally void foods high in sugars and bad fats, and I craved them more.

So, now I just need to move forward and get back my positive perspective. Good food and fitness choices make my life good. Poor choices will keep feeding a chain of more bad choices! I need to keep remembering that!

But in reality, I know vacations have a “cheat mentality” built into them, so I will be going through the same thing a couple more times this summer. But it’s okay, as long as I go back to the “good side” after vacation is over!

Finally! Jeans That FIT!

I finally found a pair of jeans that fit me comfortably, after months of searching! I’ve been trying both men’s and women’s sizes and either the waist is way too bulky, or the pants just looked too tight on me.

I finally found LL Bean’s Classic style jeans at their Freeport Maine store, while on vacation. Yay! They fit nicely and were a decent price. $30 on sale for 20% off. Final price $24. Good deal!

And I’m a size 12! I also found a cute t-shirt and I’m a medium! Wow, when was the last time I’ve worn a medium shirt? LOL

100% Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread (with Dark Chocolate, Nuts & Sunflower Seeds)

whole zucchini

I got two larger zucchini squash this week in my CSA share and I decided to try baking a zucchini bread. To add a little extra flavor & nutrition, I tossed in wheat germ, dark chocolate, walnuts and sunflower seeds too. Yum! DH is not a fan of zucchini, and he even thought it tasted good.

yummy slices of zucchini bread

I found inspiration from the Zucchini Bread recipe on All Recipes, but similar to my banana bread, I wanted to reduce the sugar. I think I’ve done that for this particular recipe.

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Wagner Cast Iron

I have been contemplating a new cast iron pan for awhile. Yes, I have many pieces of enameled cast iron and I love using them, but I wanted a real old fashioned cast iron skillet! I was so intimidated though. Would I be able to keep it from rusting? Would it be too much trouble?

While away for the 4th of July holiday this weekend we were browsing at a yard sale; We came upon a stack of cast iron skillets. Some cheap, thin ones from Taiwan and a couple of nice old pieces from Wagner. I am not an expert, but I know that Wagner is a good name to look for when looking for older cast iron. (Griswold being another brand.)

I found a 9 inch Wagner skillet, and as expected, it was rusted, but I figured now is as good a time as any to finally dig in and experience true cast iron.

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