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…

Little Wins & Blessings

Moose and Misty

Raise your hand if you’ve ever gotten a new computer and seriously – I mean seriously – questioned even bothering to reload 99% of the programs you had on your old computer. The headache promised with such an endeavor clearly gives me pause. Do I really need Microsoft Office?  OK, as a writer, I probably do (grumble). Scrivener, do I need to keep my novel in progress?! Do I REALLY?! How about all that financial info on Quicken? Who needs it, right?!  OK, the organized, ducks-in-a-row side of me swings a heavy bat so, yeah, I guess I’ll put that on, too. How about Fitbit? Would it kill me not to track my every waking breath and movement??  A-ha! Finally! One I can live without but, heck, I’ve come this far loading Office, Scrivener, and Quicken, I might as well load the Fitbit app, too. Dang it. So, after I’ve mentally sorted out what programs … Continue reading…

Irritated August and a Season for Everything

Bear in area sign.

I’ve been a little irritated lately. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been trying (and mostly succeeding with) a cutback on sugar and flours and therefore all joy in life is gone, leaving only irritation and annoyance for a hopefully brief but albeit excruciating period of withdrawal, or if it’s because I well and truly am just irritated and annoyed. But things are good! So why am I so irritated? Let us ponder… 1. I can see!! Always a good thing! However, as I put my cheater glasses on to write this, I am somewhat irked that my eyesight has tanked so markedly in the past year. When I first had Lasik done, my eyesight was remarkable. I could count the branches in the trees on the neighboring ridge. Now, wearing cheaters is more the rule than the exception and, without them, I can tell you only that “there … Continue reading…