Thank You, and Goodnight

December Snow

Christmas 2017 is now in the books and after two days of visiting with family from near and far, I’m now sitting back, putting my feet up, and sipping on a nice cup of mint tea. Or, I would be. That’s a good fantasy, isn’t it? But, sadly, it isn’t true. I have committed to a few things that are getting done today (note the gritted teeth and determination in that assertion!!), and the first thing on my list is this post in which I send you a huge THANK YOU!   Thank you for reading my posts. Thank you for your occasional comments and for letting me know you’ve been reading. Thank you for keeping in touch. As we move in to 2018, I’m undecided about the future of this site. It’s never been about the numbers for me. I don’t really care how much traffic the site draws … Continue reading…

Happiness for the Holidays

Wreath

This December, I’m really working on two things: mindfulness and stress reduction. This follows on the heels of a Whole30 we did in October, which increases awareness of how everything you eat makes you feel physically, and a recent flare-up in my chest that has impacted my breathing and at times hasn’t been all that fun. So, for me, mindfulness and stress reduction has meant the following: Mindfulness: Paying attention and maintaining awareness of how everything I ingest — food, media, conversations, emotions — makes me feel and adjusting my mindset and/or actions accordingly. Stress reduction: Taking steps to slow down, breathe more deeply, and take more time to digest everything without feeling rushed, pressured, anxious, or otherwise overwhelmed. So it was a great pleasure to watch the latest Powerfullyou video posted on Facebook a week or so ago. Patrice, as usual, has an uncanny way of hitting the mark … Continue reading…

Mocha

Mocha enjoying playtime in the snow.

There is something about going from having one pet to having two, something hard, something that makes you question your sanity and your decision-making skills. Since Moose passed in May, Luna’s life had become pretty quiet. Despite regular walks and outdoor adventures, she spent most of her time sleeping or curling up in her chair, gazing longingly out the window. Interpreting Luna’s malaise and apparent boredom as a cry for canine companionship, we reached out to the local shelter. There, we were introduced to a young Australian shepherd/lab/something-else mix named Mocha. We knew Mocha had been at the shelter for three months. The shelter indicated that Mocha was not house-trained and had been living freely on a reservation for most of his life (read: wild and unsocialized), chasing cars and anything else – not exactly drawing in the potential adopters. However, it was immediately apparent that Mocha did have some … Continue reading…

Ingredients for the Cake of Life

She hated when she walked into her kitchen looking for dinner and all she found there were ingredients.  How boring, she thought as she stood in front of the open refrigerator door, bathed in the glow from the GE bulb within. But, isn’t that what Life is? Life, she mused, was just a string of ingredients, components that made up a whole. Hopefully, she thought, the whole is something nice like a cake, not nasty and slimy like rotting okra. Speaking of, she reached into the fridge and pulled out a jar of pickled okra that had been there since – mmmm, I’ll check the date, just for fun, she thought – 1999. She tossed it into the trash, too afraid of the smell that would assault her if she opened the lid to eject the contents into the organic waste bin. Yeah, definitely don’t want a life resembling rotting … Continue reading…

Two Weeks in Photos

Oak tree in colour

A couple of weeks ago, I committed to a “Whole 30” with my friend, Patrice. Two weeks have passed and, while I cannot say I’m enamored with the somewhat arbitrary program rules, I can say that there’s definitely something going on here. Something good for my health. I feel more energetic, I wake up feeling rested, I have zero cravings for sugar or, well, anything, and I am losing weight (yes, I broke the rule about not weighing…and I’m not sorry!). Because a picture is worth a thousand words, I thought I’d share my journey to date in pictures. So, we’re halfway done and the benefits are apparent.  I’m already looking forward to next month and continuing the journey, albeit not on the Whole 30 plan, which is not intended for the long-term (and not intended for non-meat eaters). I have learned in just two weeks that I feel better … Continue reading…

Extreme Measures, or Why in the World Would You Not Eat Bread?

Avocado egg salad

Bread, as everyone knows, is the “staff of life.” Honestly, if we’re talking homemade, fresh from the oven bread, piping hot cinnamon rolls, or even – OMG – still sizzling Indian fry bread (!), I’m going to agree that there’s nothing quite like it. It’s like carbohydrate Ambrosia. It is so delicious. So why would I give it up, even for a month? People have asked me, “Why in the world would you not eat bread?” Well, here’s a little history of how I got to the point where I committed to an elimination diet that excludes grains, dairy, sugar, beans/legumes, alcohol and, sigh… even Mama Sherry’s homemade dinner rolls. When I moved back to Idaho in early 2008, I was a wreck. I was overweight, unemployed, and feeling rejected at every level. People, cities, even entire countries seemed to say, “Meh, we don’t really care about you.” I know … Continue reading…

Italian Sloppy ‘Shrooms

Italian Sloppy 'Shrooms Step 4

It seems that food mashups are all the rage these days. I mean, with the invention of bacon-flavored ice cream (an actual thing!), all rules go out the window as far as what you foods you can combine. So, as I’m currently on a strict regimen of no dairy, grains, beans, sugar, booze, or other processed crap, I’m on the lookout for new flavor combinations to keep things interesting. I love stuffed mushrooms and peppers. Yum. Yum. Usually I make them with a light cream cheese concoction that throws a little party in your mouth. However, with dietary restrictions galore this month, I wanted to think outside the dairy case. Because I also like spaghetti sauce with lots of olives, onions, and sometimes turkey, I thought, why not combine those two grand things and – Eureka!- throw a little Sloppy Joe action in there?! Heck, yes, I say! Behold! Italian … Continue reading…

The Magic of Canada

Bronwen's sign

If I had to write a book on the things I love or hate about Canada, the former would be a multi-volume set while the latter could be written on a very, very small Post-It Note. All of my previous trips to Canada – and I do mean all – have been wonderful. I first fell in love with Vancouver and surrounding areas when I lived in Seattle. The city is vibrant, the people are friendly, and the drive from Vancouver up to Shannon Falls is breathtaking.  I then fell in love with the other side of BC when Mike and I did a Nelson-Revelstoke-Banff/Canmore loop last year. This month, I had the honor to visit Ontario, where I went to meet my writing group – Bernice, Bronwen, and Patrice – in person for the first time! Squeeeee!!! First, I was first greeted at the Toronto airport by Bronwen and … Continue reading…

Almond-Fried Cauliflower

Almond Fried Cauliflower Done

Nobody can ever accuse you of being TOO healthy when you serve this. Unlike my momma’s awesome fried zucchini, this is “Whole 30-compliant.” However, I’m not saying you should eat this every day. It is, after all, fried in oil. However, with winter just around the corner, the days are getting shorter, the nights are getting cooler, and dinners are getting more substantial. So bring on the goods, baby. A word about my cooking style, as you’ll note below. For a simple recipe like this, I don’t prescribe measurements; I give guidelines. I know nobody makes recipes exactly as written anyway – we all gotta tweak ’em just a little, right?! – so I’m just going to let you do your thing and be adventurous. I don’t typically measure this stuff myself, so it would just be weird and fake for me to make up measurements for you to follow. … Continue reading…

From “What Have I Done?” to “Delicious Perspective” – Committing to Better Health in October

Fast Food in Canada

Be-bopping down the Queensway in Ottawa last week, chit-chatting with my friend Patrice about food and how it makes us feel, she cheerfully asked, “So, would you like to do a Whole 30 in October?” Now, Patrice has a way of making anything sound like a good idea. She exudes optimism and inspiration, so if she had said, “Hey, would you like to go kiss poisonous snakes at the zoo?” I might have agreed, because she’d somehow make it sound FUN. And that’s how I ended up committing to a Whole 30 in October. For those new to Whole 30, it’s 30 days without grains, sugar, dairy, beans/legumes, or alcohol. It’s meant to be an elimination diet of sorts, to get common food allergens out of your system and highlight any sensitivities when you reintroduce them to your diet after the 30 days. The purpose of this blog is not … Continue reading…