Tuesday, December 30, 2014

I love frosty winter mornings

This morning, for the first time in forever, I went for a solo walk just for pleasure - no shopping, chores, post offices, nothing but walking to walk. It was lovely! I walked to, and then around, a local park. It's not particularly special as parks go, especially in the winter, but it was just so nice to feel light without a rucksack and to be able to just pick a path to follow at random without having a destination in mind or a set time you fit it into. I need to do more of that!
In the afternoon we watched Miranda Hart's stand up show,  which was hilarious, and then I did a very little shopping. In total I walked about 6 miles.

Food today:
Breakfast: eggs scrambled with bacon, mushrooms and leek
Lunch: homemade chunky turkey and veg soup
Dinner: massive bowl of salad with gammon, egg and a tiny bit of cheese
Snacks: dates and Greek yogurt

Monday, December 29, 2014

Hi, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year etc

I didn't do Christmas, just time off at home. Just to be clear that I wasn't doing Christmas I cooked a 'Chinese takeaway' on the big day even though I had a turkey in the freezer :-)

I've mostly eaten really well,  but have drunk more alcohol than I intended - it was medicinal due to hurting my back the other day boo hoo it's still hurting like hell . However we've spent the time on housework & decluttering and the bad back has enforced plenty of breaks so silver linings..  Also I've walked at least 2 miles - often 6 or 7 - every day in the delightfully fresh air.

On the 27th I was supposed to be going up to Lincolnshire to visit my Dad but very reluctantly cancelled when the ridiculously named weather bomb hit - not a good time to drive most of the way through England particularly remembering the untreated dodgy roads (and ditches!)  up that way.  As a result I've been making up my menu as I go because I expected to be away,  and I weakened /went insane on the 27th and was driven by starvation +lack of inspiration into order takeaway pizza :-0

Ah well,  enough rambling,  I'm not going to bother with a meal by meal / walk by walk breakdown of half the week. I'm not depressed despite the back,  my eye was pain free till today but much better even today,  and 2014 - which was not a great year for me - is nearly over.
So pass the beer!!!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Protective Style Lookbook || Flat Twist Updo with Twist Out Bangs

By popular demand, this is a series showcasing various protective hair styles.  Protective styling does not have to be boring. :o)


Model: Glamazini

Difficulty level: 2/5

Description: Flat twists pinned up with twist-out bangs.

Product Review || OGX (Formerly Organix) Brazilian Keratin Therapy Conditioner

NOTE:  This product was purchased at Target.

Purpose: "... strengthen and soften the hair, ... smooth the cuticle for straight, strong tresses, adding a brilliant glow and luminescent shine ..."

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Behentrimonium Chloride, Cetyl Alcohol, Glycol Stearate, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceteareth-20, Parfum, Hydrolyzed Keratin (Protein), Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa Butter) Extract, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Leaf) Extract, Panthenol, Tetrasodium EDTA, DMDM Hydantoin, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Blue 1, Red 40, Yellow 5.

Number of trials: numerous over the course of months

How I used it:
Applied to freshly washed hair.
Waited for 3-5 minutes (as instructed).
Then rinsed.

_____________
THE REVIEW:

Organix products are usually a miss for me, but this one has actually been a hit.  To me, it is comparable to Aphogee 2-Minute Keratin Reconstructor in effectiveness.  It leaves my hair just as moisturized and strengthened.  The smell is also very pleasant, like a toned down cocoa butter scent.  I really like to use this product prior to flat ironing because the end result is well-conditioned,  super smooth, shiny hair.  This conditioner has the potential to become a regular one in my stash, though Aphogee 2-Minute is still my numero uno.

___________________
PROS: a little goes a long way; pleasant cocoa butter smell; thick, rich consistency; leaves hair moisturized, strengthened, and smooth
CONS: none

RATING: Overall, I give the OGX (Formerly Organix) Brazilian Keratin Therapy Conditioner 5 out of 5 stars.  

This product is ideal for those who:
- experience a little (but not severe) breakage and splits
- heat straighten their hair

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

No more work this year

I finished work at 10pm am today - and worked from home before that. Now off till the 5th of January. I celebrated with beer. I also walked just under 7 miles, so I earned the beer :-)

Food today:
Breakfast : 2 poached eggs served on a couple of slices of gammon
Lunch: cream of celeriac soup
Dinner : homemade beef & mustard burgers served in lettuce wraps with oven chips - potato & sweet potato.
Snacks : 2 chocolates & a few Sesame peanuts. Soooo  good....

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The other 20%

I was hungrier today and needed a second snack. Got to be adaptable I guess. 
However. 
Today my mother & father in law sent us a Christmas hamper so I ate some carbs (quite a few actually).  Chocolate cake,  Sesame peanuts, fudge,  flapjack & crisps.  To be fair to me,  only small bits of everything except the chocolate cake. I feel a little regret because I expect the gluten in the cake (they can't get their heads around the gluten thing) to have some consequences tomorrow. But, while I somewhat wish they didn't feel the need to show their love through calories it was all yummy (especially the peanuts OMG OMG OMG) and I didn't go overboard,  so.. Eh. 

Food today :
Breakfast: eggs scrambled with bacon, mushrooms and tomatoes 
Lunch: Salad with cold chicken thighs 
Dinner: fresh roasted haddock with roasted Brussels sprouts and cake and good tasting things 
Snacks: Greek yogurt, Pork scratchings 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Subtle messages...

My eye is trying to tell me something:

Stop working in IT.
Easier said than done, but that's definitely the message. I worked yesterday morning (in my own home,  by natural light) and my eye ached. It didn't on Saturday. So there it is. Must retire asap and become a kept woman. All I have to do is persuade M he wants to work more so I can stop. I can see some problems in that...
On Saturday I walked about 6 miles and ate really well. I also drank some whisky and discovered it's way more effective at stopping my eye aching than otc painkillers. So I did that again on Sunday. On Saturday I was so tired that I fell asleep watching Elysium. Don't really feel I missed much. Yesterday I watched Godzilla without falling asleep at all. Also yesterday we had a takeaway Kebab for dinner.  I meant to make a salad to go with it but then spent the time on the phone to my Dad so I ate chips instead. I felt stuffed & a bit bloated and didn't want much breakfast this morning. I think overall I'm getting better at the moment at judging how hungry I am and how much food I need most of the time, but maybe the carbs bypass that a bit as I haven't felt like that after a meal for a little while. I considered eating a proper breakfast this morning before leaving the house (I'm paranoid about cooking/eating eggs at work because of the smell so that was the only opportunity)  but decided against it given that I really didn't want it and I'm glad that I did.
At lunchtime I managed to fit in a walk and after work I had to collect a repeat prescription from the clinic before they close at Christmas, so in total I walked about 5 miles today - not bad for a work day. I'm still frustrated by only walking so I'll probably try the climber again soon. Possibly while I'm off work since I'm struggling with early mornings at the moment.

Food today :
Breakfast: cashews
Lunch: Salad with cold meat
Dinner: chicken thighs with roasted Brussels sprouts
Snacks: Greek yogurt,  cold meat

Friday, December 19, 2014

My eye is good. Despite the aching like a bastard

Well, I'm pleased to announce my eye is not about to explode any time soon. The retina is still flat, the tear is still sealed, the white is very white, the buckle is still being a buckle, the pressure in the eye is fine. 
Of course that means they just can't tell me why, after months of no pain at all its suddenly started aching all day every day. Well, nearly all day most days anyway,  and THAT in turn means no concrete advice or treatment.  He basically advised me to try hot compresses and artificial tears eyebrows you hopefully alleviate the symptoms. I guess the good thing is he couldn't see anything wrong,  as opposed I can stop panicking and just get on with taking pain killers when it aches. 
You may have picked up on the fact that when I go to the hospital I get stressed, and therefore it's become an excuse to over eat /binge. Well,  not today!  Because I knew I'd be walking my 4 miles of hospital walking this morning I had a larger lunch than usual,  and a latte at the station while waiting for the train. Then nothing else to eat or drink in Reading.  Nothing!!!  Else!!!  
I wasn't hungry but I also wasn't craving distraction or comfort or relief-because-my-eye-isn't-exploding food. In fact I was home by ten thirty and didn't eat anything else till lunchtime,  and even ate a smaller lunch than usual. 
Work was annoyingly busy,  which definitely helped with the not eating extra food, because we're supposed to be re-deploying last weekend's failed deployment on Sunday. So what was supposed to be a light say of time of in lieu in the morning and relaxed afternoon working turned into a mad rush that went on till an hour and a quarter later than my usual finishing time.  WTF ?? I'm knackered now,  despite my overexcited punctuation, and in need of an early night. 
Oh yes,  and on top of all that excitement,  we just handed in our notice at the current rental and agreed to take a smaller place a few miles away - so we'll be moving house in February. Now I have to sell more of our stuff... 

Food today :
Breakfast: saut�ed pork mince, onion & peppers topped with fried egg 
Lunch: homemade cream of mushroom soup. 
Dinner: lamb's heart in Sweet and Sour Sauce with sweet potato noodles 
Snacks: a tiny amount of peanut butter 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

People with nerf guns should be shot

Today at work was pretty rubbish.  I went in to the office because my eye was feeling better and also because I needed to grab a disk to test. Unfortunately today was Christmas lunch day (I wasn't going) and Secret Santa day (wasn't taking part in that either.  Just call me the Grinch / Scrooge - I can take it) It was also a really busy day for me as in addition to testing the disk already mentioned I was supposed to be testing a fix for last weekend's deployment so we could go again this Sunday.  So I struggled all morning to set up the necessary data and failed miserably. Then all the developers on the project took a 2.5 hour lunch when I kind of needed them.  Then 20 minutes after they got back the secret santa happened - and almost everybody got given nerf guns or crossbows so I spent 40 minutes trying to achieve something while sitting in a very annoying battle.  Honestly I might have found it funny had I not had do much to do. I did test the disks but the rest just didn't happen.  Not my fault - I did everything I could think of - but now we have just tomorrow to complete testing, and I'm not working in the morning because I have to go to the hospital for my check up. Given all the aching that I've had of late I'm not missing it, no matter what. 
Can you tell I'm stressed? 

Food wise I was absolutely angelic. Exercise just didn't happen - I went to the post office at lunchtime and then cut my lunch break short to battle on. Also no booze even though the whisky was calling my name when I got home. 

I've never been so glad to get out of any office in my life as I was today - never. Note to self - in the unlikely event I'm working there at any future Christmas, book a day off when they announce the Christmas lunch date. And stick to it. 

Food today :
Breakfast: saut�ed pork mince, onion & peppers 
Lunch: homemade cream of mushroom soup. 
Dinner: Cottage pie made with lamb mince and topped with sliced sweet potato 
Snacks: Greek yogurt & a few tiny crumbs of pork scratchings 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

So close

I worked from home again today and still, even after 2 days, my eye ached. I'm almost starting to wish there is something wrong so it could be fixed instead of hoping it's nothing. Grrr
Work was less good today due to frustrating time wasted trying (and failing) to reproduce an error so I could then prove it had been fixed. Yawn. 
No walking today. No exercise of any kind. 
We viewed a possible rental after work so once again another move may be on the horizon. Again. AGAIN. 
Also I nearly ate a protein cookie this afternoon. I walked into the room with the cookies,  sorted through the available selection,  picked one and headed out of the room... Then I stopped, threw the cookie back and walked out without it when I realised I wasn't hungry. And didn't want to eat that crap even if I was. I think the problem was that I had a gf sandwich for lunch and it made me want more carbs even though it was gf. But why am I still mindlessly heading for food when I'm not hungry? Obviously I'm glad for once I didn't follow through, but it would be nice not to have to remind myself that I'm not hungry to stop myself eating,  surely that's not normal? 
Food today :
Breakfast: eggs scrambled with pork mince,  onion & apple. 
Lunch: bought gf egg & watercress roll. 
Dinner: grilled chicken thighs with veg 
Snacks: Greek yogurt & cashews 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

That could have been worse

I worked from home today since I was so uncomfortable in the office yesterday. I was quite busy all day so not too bored or lonely,  and had the TV on to fill the silence up. During my lunch break I had to go to the post office - but my local post office is a little further away than the one near work, so I still got a couple of miles walking in as well. 
Mostly today was good and I'm impressed that it was given that this morning I accidentally weighed myself. It was not a pleasant experience and I'm happy that I didn't dive into comfort eating to forget about it. Yay me!

Food today :
Breakfast: eggs scrambled with pork mince,  leek,  cauliflower and savoy cabbage 
Lunch: thrown together stir fry of pork mince, mushrooms,  red & green pepper and slightly limp lettuce with well fed's gf Paleo whole 30 'hoisin sauce'
Dinner: homemade burgers with sweet potato oven fries & salad 
Snacks: Greek yogurt 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Third Annual Squash Hunger Event!


The Greenhouse is collaborating with the Healthy World Cafe and the York County Food Alliance for the third annual Squash Hunger event. Squash Hunger is an event in which people come together to recover, preserve and share food in the community. Farmers from around Pennsylvania are setting aside their excess produce to be transformed into a delicious and nutritious soup for those in need. Please join us in sorting, preparing and freezing a bounty of squash soup. The soup will be donated to a host of groups working to end hunger in the York area.

The Greenhouse is a community organization dedicated to saving and sharing healthy food. We do this by recovering food that would have otherwise been wasted, preserving it in healthy and creative ways and then distributing it to the community.

You can help � We need volunteers and donations. Sign-Up at our "Volunteer Spot" link on this website.

Donations of containers, sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, carrots, cayenne, nutmeg, thyme, salt and pepper welcome.

Squash Hunger will take place on the weekend of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.

More specifically, the event is scheduled for:
Friday January 16th 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Saturday January 17th from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Sunday January 18th from 8 am to 12 noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Monday January 19th from 8 am to 12 noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Stay tuned for more details. This event is currently scheduled to take place at the Healthy World Cafe, 24 S. George Street, York, PA.

Ho hum

What a dreary day today was,  weatherwise - not that dreary isn't better than horrible. 
My weekend was not that exciting.  Saturday I shopped,  we drove by some possible rental houses and house purchases, then we watched a movie - Divergent.  Yesterday I worked for 3.5 hours on a deployment that had to be rolled back this morning, then went shopping before watching Captain America Winter Soldier (3D). I'm not certain but I don't think my eye is fond of 3D at present since it was fine on Saturday, not bad yesterday, and ached like a bastard most of today even though my only exercise was walking - 2 miles each on Saturday & Sunday and a massive 0.3 miles today. I had to resort to painkillers after rubbing it and sitting with one eye closed failed to help in the slightest. Of course it also could have been due to the world's slowest developing cold, which has progressed to the point of sometimes sneezing,  sometimes sore throat, and definitely congested. I do think I had a touch of sinusitis today in the former of apparent toothache that didn't get worse when I clenched my teeth or chewed,  which is an infallible sign of sinusitis for me. 
Work - apart from the rolled back deployment debacle - was quite entertaining today as the office Christmas party was on Friday and today was the first opportunity they had to wind each other up about the embarrassing stuff they did (or didn't do) while under the influence. 
During the morning I was so busy trying to investigate the bugs in the newly deployed software (thankfully really obscure and not my fault) while listening to the gossip that I wasn't hungry until lunchtime. Morning snacks are becoming less important to me gradually and I'm quite happy about that. 
Food wise I stayed low carb apart from my weekly Chinese meal on Saturday,  when I cooked kung pao chicken and chicken livers with oyster sauce and served them with rice.  Drinkwise I did less well,  having several beers and one bottle of cider . I think I now need to address the drinking - I don't drink that excessively despite probably sounding like a raging alcoholic on here, but it's not helping me to improve my health or weight, so it needs to stop for a while. Is it me or is there always something else to think about / change  / give up...? 

Food today :
Breakfast: eggs scrambled with bacon,  leftover sweet potato,  cauliflower and savoy cabbage 
Lunch: homemade cream of mushroom soup
Dinner: big bowl of salad 
Snacks: natural yogurt and pork scratchings 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Still ouchy

Eye still aching off and on today so definitely not the right time to start doing pushups. I freely admit it was dumb of me to do it right after my scare last week - I feel it should be healed enough by now and maybe it was till then, but something obviously changed again. I just felt so inspired for the first time in ages and I guess I didn't want to let it get away.  You've absolutely right through Diane, my eye is more important than the little bit of upper body strength lost. 
I'm feeling a bit down again today,  not sure if it's the small set back with the eye / exercise, the frankly revolting weather, (apologies if you're reading this in a blizzard, I am just talking about a bit of wind and rain), or maybe carb detox after 3 well-behaved days. Now 4! It was a weird day in terms of eating today. I have breakfast before work most of the time because eggs aren't very sociable things to cook or eat,  which means 6 hours between breakfast and my usual lunchtime at 12:00. Today I was feeling quite hungry around 10 am,  and thinking about eating my planned live natural yogurt snack when I had to go into a meeting. Whereupon I forgot to eat it until 11, at which point I again decided to just eat my lunch early and save the yogurt for after - which is exactly what I did. Considering that on some days I need to snack twice in a morning I think that's quite an improvement. Although being hungry this afternoon was less positive. I had literally no access to further snacks - even the rubbish vending machine was empty - so I just had to soldier on... Which led to snacking on cashews before dinner :-( ah well still clear of junk food and I had to walk 2 miles to get the nuts so that probably burned off at least 3 or 4 nuts.... 

Food today :
Breakfast: eggs scrambled with bacon, mushrooms and leek 
Lunch: homemade soup
Dinner: Cod in Parma ham with sweet potatoes 
Snacks: natural yogurt and cashews 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Hmmm

I held back on the pushups today and still  had some eye aching during the day. I'm not sure if that suggests it wasn't caused by doing them yesterday or if it was and the eye is more bothered by them than I hoped. I'll try again tomorrow if the eye feels better  and re-evaluate the situation. I don't have a Swiss ball to use but I suppose I could do them with my hands  up on a step or take the compromise of doing them on my knees if necessary - though that's always seemed pointless to me.  I walked 2 miles at lunchtime - 2 very cold miles thanks to a rather chilly wind. I enjoyed it though, walking with a colleague and talking all the way meant it flew by. 
Still doing better with the food side of things today. I avoided junk food and starchy carbs all day (although I did eat a little fruit). I also had some peanut butter, as comfort for the aching eye thing, but it was 100% peanut, no added sugar or salt so I'm not particularly bothered about it. I'm back to being much less interested in food preparation again - as my dinner demonstrated... 

Food today :
Breakfast: eggs scrambled with bacon, mushrooms and leek 
Lunch: homemade soup and natural yogurt 
Dinner: tuna mayo with slices of yellow pepper & cucumber to scoop with. 
Snacks: pork scratchings 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

I can do this...

Well,  staying low carb today was HARD.  I forgot to take my planned snack of Greek yogurt to work with me, and I was left with no access to suitable snacks at all. As always every option available in the office is sweet or potatoey-deep-fried crap. And I was hungry from about 10 am. However I stayed strong (OK there was some mental whimpering but it stayed internal) and did not buy anything evil. Actually I didn't even want anything from the vending machine despite feeling like my stomach was eating itself - I guess that proves it was habit /boredom more than being genuinely hungry, although if I'd planned to skip the snack I would have had a bigger breakfast. I just told myself if necessary I'd eat the lunchtime soup as a snack and then go out for something to replace it, and then didn't do so. I just ate a slightly earlier lunch - and bought some gf pork scratchings at lunchtime in case of more hunger. 
25 pushups today, leading to protesting shoulders. My eye ached a little bit, so I'm going to have to monitor that if I want to keep doing pushups, which I do if possible. Not because I like them, just because they're about the only form of resistance training I'm semi-comfortable with doing. And if strength and health are my priorities I know I should do something in that line, but I know resistance /weights can be problematic after a retinal detachment due to increased pressure inside the eye (and believe me, with this body pushups absolutely qualify as weights...) 
After work I walked a little - not far because it's less fun in the cold and dark, probably just under 2 miles. Still feeling better (even when hungry) 

Food today :
Breakfast: egg and bacon salad with homemade mayo and slice of roast butternut squash 
Lunch: homemade soup 
Dinner: Gammon with roasted savoy cabbage and broccoli (wheee exciting) 
Snacks: pork scratchings 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Really?

I have a cold sore at the moment. It's not a big deal except when I want to kiss someone, but it's also the third time in the past 4 months or so, where usually I get them once or twice a year - usually the onset of winter when my lips get chapped by the cold weather,  and occasionally if I spend too long in the summer sun. I was thinking, though,  when I spotted it,  that my immune system has gone to crap since going low carb /Paleo - I've had infected lymph nodes (twice although I only whinged on about it once), ear infections,  cold sores,  and I'm still feeling like I have a cold although it still hasn't developed beyond feeling constantly congested. And then I thought maybe I should just go back to eating the way I used to while losing weight, screw gluten free and low carb - laxatives are cheaper than antibiotics. But then I thought again. Immune system struggling - yes, definitely.  I've never been so unhealthy so much in my life. But blaming it on low carb? The truth is I've not been genuinely low carb since my eye operation in MAY, when I started comfort eating Krispy Kreme doughnuts while being self pitying and stuck in enforced idleness for 3 weeks. Which means I have been telling myself I'm eating low carb while being more or less high-refined-carb FOR NEARLY 6 MONTHS. And not very gluten free either. How did that happen? And if you're thinking "well, duh"... why didn't you tell me? Only joking, it's no-one's fault except mine. But damn. 
So no, I am not switching back to calorie counting while eating whatever I can squeeze into my allowance. Or trying to be a gf Paleo vegetarian (which I was also thinking about this morning). But gf and low carb - yes, that I will do,  because I felt so much better doing it before. I expect it will be hard going since I'll need to detox again. How stupid am I? Sigh. Obviously I wasn't kidding myself that I was doing well at the moment,  but I really hadn't realised how long it's been going on for. 
Well, anyway. 
Yesterday was a low carb day. 
Today was a low carb day. And I did push ups today (20 only,  but still - that's 20 more than I've done in - maybe a year?) and walked 2 miles at lunchtime. Feels good.

Food today :
Breakfast: egg and bacon salad with homemade mayo, romaine lettuce and tomatoes 
Lunch: homemade soup 
Dinner: Bolognese sauce on savoy cabbage noodles 
Snacks : Greek yogurt and a banana (I know banana isn't low carb but it was eaten as a whole fruit in hopes it would help sort out my constipation. And it did) 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Ups and downs

This weekend was yet another carb fest.  Maybe it's the cold weather,  maybe it's a vitamin D deficiency as I'm out of supplements at the moment,  or maybe I'm just completely hooked on the sweet stuff again - only not just sweetness, I also had a sausage roll and some artisan bread... Whatever the cause I know I have to do something about it.  I'm feeling bloated and I'm constipated... And I'm feeling resolved to act at last.  I know I've said similar things a million times and have no reason to feel that this time will be different, but I do feel like it's coming from a slightly different, slightly healthier place this time - not a knee jerk 'I'm disgusting and pathetic and need to be punished by never eating anything good again,' more an 'I don't feel healthy, strong or well and I do deserve to feel those things' place.  Who knows how long it will last? Not me - but if I don't make a start it definitely won't happen. 
I'm not prioritising weight loss for the moment,  just health and control. I've done it before and I can do it again. I can...

On a more cheerful note I have been trying to rediscover the love of cooking the last few weekends and haven't told you about it because I don't post on weekends... The last three weekends I've been cooking from my favourite cookbook, a book called 1000 Classic Chinese Recipes.  I've been following one familiar recipe and one totally new recipe to give a sort of Chinese takeaway eaten family style feel, and really have enjoyed it. So I'm continuing that as a weekly treat meal. So far I've cooked Asian Peanut Butter Pork (from crockpot365.blogspot. com not my cookbook) and red-cooked chicken; served leftover peanut butter Pork alongside chicken livers with bamboo shoots & water chestnuts; and on Saturday I did maple barbecued spare ribs (except I used belly pork strips instead of ribs) and hot chilli-chicken. 
Over the weekend I walked about 6 miles on Saturday and 4 on Sunday,  enjoying the absolutely perfect winter sunshine (while doing my weekly shop on foot instead of car).  I also worked for a bit yesterday, and then we watched The Desolation of Smaug - and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Food today :
Breakfast: Chicken leg with tomatoes 
Lunch: homemade soup & natural yogurt 
Dinner: lamb's heart in Sweet and Sour Sauce. With zoodles. 
Snacks : cashews, 2 roast chicken wings 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Twist Series: Conditioning and Re-Twisting


1. Do you treat the twists as you would your normal detangled hair when washing/co-washing? i.e wash -> deep condition -> LOC method. 

My answer: Yes, I do.  (Backtrack: "Twist Series: Washing & Matting".)  After washing, I apply conditioner to my twists down to my ends.  I let the conditioner sit for however long (15-45 minutes) and then rinse.  When rinsing, it helps to squeeze my twists in order to squeeze out most of the conditioner.  I then plop my hair to help it air dry and moisturize + seal.
If my hair is not that dirty and/or I want to preserve the "neatness" of my twists a little longer, I sometimes use this washing method instead.  For this latter washing method, it is very important that I use thoroughly diluted shampoo rather than shampoo alone.

2. How do you re-do the twists you mentioned? Do you unravel, detangle, re-twist and then wash all of them or do you wash first then unravel and re-twist? 

My answer: I wash them first, allow them to air dry to about 60-80%, then unravel and re-twist them. When un-raveling them, I also make sure to remove any shed hair.

"Soul" Food Sunday || That Breath ...


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Goodish news

Apparently my eye is probably not about to fall out / explode,  that's good isn't it?
It seems that the achy / pressure sensation I was having was down to the vitreous fluid pulling the retina,  which it is not supposed to do,  and the new floaters were caused by this pulling actually pulling off some of the pigment cells.  Bit revolting,  but not in itself dangerous.  There is a slight chance that it could result in another detachment so I have a follow-up appointment in a couple of weeks to check it isn't progressing,  plus another reminder to come straight back if the symptoms get worse,  but it's not currently worrying.  The consultant seemed very very thorough,  studying it for what seemed like ages with 2 different lenses,  so I'm sure she would have spotted any hint of a detachment or tear.  So I can relax now. Although relaxed is not how I felt during the regulation 2 hours hanging around the casualty waiting room roasting to death and wondering if I'd been forgotten.  Ah well,  over now - at least for a fortnight.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

AGAIN???

I spent this morning in the eye casualty department at the Royal Berkshire.  It was just as much fun as the last time I spent hours sitting on an uncomfortable chair with dilated pupils and my kindle font size so big it could only display 8 words per page.
Turns out I have a bleed in my eye of unknown origin and will be going back on Thursday for a consult with the surgical retina specialist (today it was a medical retina specialist - and no,  I don't know what the difference is.

As always when I have this kind of issue my food wasn't  stellar but I didn't binge exactly...  Comfort eating yes,  but bingeing no.
And I got my hospital visit 4 miles walk in too. Although the weather was rubbish.  Which was a good thing on the way home with my scarily dilated demon eyes sucking in every bit of ambient light.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Panicking a little bit

I had a lovely day on Saturday visiting my Mum & her other half, with some walking and a lot of talking, plenty of motherly hugs and relaxation. My brother came over as well so we had a good chat. I went on the train again and this time they ran on time with no cancellations so it was all good and much less tiring than last time. 
Yesterday I had trouble getting up after a restless night - eventually dragging myself out of bed at about 6am and jumping head first into a massive mug of coffee. I didn't really wake up till I went for a walk mid-morning, but six miles later I finally felt fairly alert (and with a couple of blisters to help me stay awake). In the afternoon we watched the ridiculous movie Riddick and then a ton of TV,  after which I went to bed with a headache and a million painkillers. I slept really well after that though! 
Over the weekend I ate some naughty things and definitely overate, but didn't actually binge at any point and consider that a minor success. 
Less positively I've been having some concerns about my eye for the last week or so. First it started aching again, feeling a bit like it did later in the post op healing stages,  but as I was feeling congested and sinusy I didn't worry too much.  Yesterday I noticed new floaters and today my vision in that eye seems a bit foggy.  I'm famous for hypochondria and I'm sure any longer term readers recall that I was paranoid about complications at the time, so I hope I'm just worrying about nothing but given the high incidence of cataracts following surgery, as well the possibility of further detachments, I don't want to risk it. Not to mention that getting the all clear would just make me feel better straight away. So I have an appointment at the Royal Berkshire tomorrow morning to get it checked out. 

Food today :
Breakfast: Gammon, mushroom & leek scrambled eggs 
Lunch: homemade soup 
Dinner: big salad with tuna mayo 
Snacks: homemade pork rinds & cashews 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Me, myself and I

Really tired and drained today for no reason other than the generally run down cold-y thing,  so I took it easy all day. I also indulged myself with a large,  calorific & glutenific lunch - a roll with lamb in minted yogurt,  packet of crisps and individual treacle tart :-0. I love treacle tart and the fact that it doesn't love me back breaks my heart, so I couldn't resist. And it was all yummy,  although I ate it too fast to realise how full I was and was stuffed all afternoon :-) 
I'm visiting my mum tomorrow and want to be awake enough to enjoy it! So an early night is called for. And a cooking marathon (not much of one - just dinner tonight plus soup for next week's lunches and a roast gammon joint - but that really cooked itself - and some pork rinds) 
M was in Birmingham today so I was on my own all evening and spent most of the time in the kitchen (Cooking not eating) or on the sofa until my early night began. So relaxing (so long as it's occasional only) to have only myself to take into account. My TV. My dinner. My bedtime...

Food today :
Breakfast: bacon, egg & mayo salad. And a small pot of natural yogurt. 
Lunch: see above... 
Dinner: Thai monkfish curry with rice 
Snacks: gf flapjack. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Silver linings

I guess it helped getting things out of my system yesterday (and getting lovely supportive messages from Joy & Diane -  thank you both! ) because I'm feeling more positive today. I still didn't train - my cold isn't developing into the usual extroverted sneezes and sniffles but my nose is still bunged up,  my sinuses feel a bit inflamed and I have intermittent headache and eye ache.  It's annoying because the coughs and sneezes would give me an excuse to work from home whereas I look perfectly normal (for a depressive pig obviously) 
I didn't binge today.  I didn't stick to any healthy plan really as I did eat a bag of crisps this afternoon - but rather than doing it to hurt myself I was genuinely hungry and picked the only unsweet item in the vending machine. I stayed away from the shops to avoid seeing any binge triggers. 
I did have some good news today - my contract was extended a couple of months.  I know my whingeing about work probably makes that sound like a bad thing, but I prefer it by far to job hunting - especially as I do like the people there. So yay!

Food today :
Breakfast: eggs scrambled with bacon, mushrooms and red pepper 
Lunch: Butternut Squash Soup followed by a yogurt 
Dinner: chilli with rice 
Snacks: pork scratchings and crisps. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


I'm now blogging over at my new website rfhb.com.au

This blog will remain here (in case you're looking for a past recipe)...but head on over to rfhb.com.au for new recipes, tips and some exciting new things!

Fairy tale...

Once upon a time there was a girl called Chrissie. She was overweight (OK,  obese according to the charts) and not yet a blogger (or a binge eater) and she was living in a hotel room during the week with no kitchen or gym. And she had will power,  and worked hard, and lost lots of weight. So much so that the lady on reception in the hotel once very carefully asked her if she was ill,  because the weight was going even though takeaways kept arriving (for M while she ingested slimfast shakes and did tae bo dvds.) 
I miss her. Or maybe I resent her for using up a lifetime's supply of self control and being younger. Possibly both, because I can multi-task. I'm not sure where she went, but it's possible I ate her. Along with all the junk food in the world. Or else she binge ate until she EXPLODED 

I NEED HELP

I didn't try to train this morning as I woke up repeatedly all night feeling bunged up and miserable. 'Tis the season to contract a head cold apparently - headache, prickly eyes (especially the one I had surgery on),  intermittent sore throat, bunged up nose... Blech. And bleurgh.

Food today :
Breakfast: leftover meatloaf & sweet potato 
Lunch: Butternut Squash Soup followed by a yogurt 
Dinner: poached salmon and salad 
Snacks:  gf flapjack + lots of crap 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Damn it

I got up and climbed onto the climber this morning -  bit tired after a less than wonderful nights sleep. Got off again 20 minutes later - but at least I did that much, I was tempted not to even bother. It's much harder work now that I've adjusted my style (which is of course a good thing when training) so I figured I'd better listen to my legs screaming stop, stop, stop it right now...
Sadly later I found myself eating crap. I don't know what's wrong with me these days...

Food today :
Breakfast: leftover meatloaf & broccoli 
Lunch: turkey salad followed by a yogurt Dinner: turkey Meatzza with sweet potato fries & sauerkraut 
Snacks:  crisps & chocolate 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Weekend 2, Monday 1

I had a brilliant day on Saturday - my brother visited and we went into London as usual. According to my smartphone pedometer we walked 12 miles (admittedly a daft thing to do given how little I'd done for a week and a half before that) without any pain apart from a cramp-like pain in one foot right at the end of the day which may have been the result of walking carefully to avoid pain all day; either way, it wore off quite quickly. We spent most of the day on the other side of the Thames from usual,  in Lambeth/Elephant & Castle to visit the Imperial War Museum. I will admit we made a slight mistake at the museum when we decided shortly after arrival to nip back out for an early lunch as we were both hungry - the only place open was a KFC knock off so I ate a very large lunch of gluten-fried chicken (very tasty mind you,  and excellent value for money) before we went back to the museum.  There we decided to start at the top and work down.  At the top was a Holocaust exhibition.  We went in, but didn't last through the whole exhibition.  It was a combination of the emotional effect of the subject matter and displays,  combined with a bit of physical effect due to it being very warm in there and the massive lunch we'd both eaten. We made it through about three quarters of the exhibition and both simultaneously decided we couldn't take any more - definitely not a criticism of the exhibition, it was very comprehensive and we'll done, and I've never seen so many people so quiet in a museum before. 
In an attempt to cheer up we went down to the Thames Path and walked along to the Globe Theatre,  then crossed the river and walked back on the other bank. As we did so we passed 2 food Christmas markets,  which made us both regret the chicken as some of it looked and smelled much more interesting,  and walked through a more varied market with crafts and jewellery as well as food at the South Bank Centre.  This did cheer us up,  and by the time we reached the train station to go home we were feeling quite a lot better.  Then we had to travel as far as Twickenham on an overcrowded train full of rugby fans - that was nice :-( It got a lot better once they went,  but the journey still seemed a lot longer than it did in the morning. 
I was bloated all evening from the lunch and never got around to eating again that evening. 
Yesterday was quieter; I did some work in the morning and walked into town later. We also watched the Wolverine movie in the afternoon. Didn't walk anywhere near the distance of Saturday, still no pain - so this morning I trained!!! 
I put the changes in regarding my form on the climber and blimey did it make a difference in terms of how hard it felt. I was dripping with sweat and my legs felt rubbery when I finished, all of which was great, and so far no pain. Hopefully it will last and I'll be able to improve my fitness. 
After work I walked a mile or so - still feeling good!!!

Food today :
Breakfast: eggs scrambled with bacon and mushrooms 
Lunch: ham salad followed by a yogurt 
Dinner: beef salad 
Snacks: Pork scratchings, galaxy whoops 

Healthy Hair on the Web: Omolade (Texlaxed/Relaxed)


Today's healthy head of hair belongs to Omolade.  Isn't just beautiful!  If you are texlaxed/relaxed and want proof that type 4 hair can grow long and thick, here it is!  Omolade relaxes her tresses about twice a year and lives in protective styles (mostly updos, buns, and wigs).  You can read more about her routine on her blog: http://www.rehairducation.com.



Protective Style Lookbook || Twist Updo with Side Swoop

By popular demand, this is a series showcasing various protective hair styles.  Protective styling does not have to be boring. :o)

Model: Naturally Michy

Difficulty level: 2/5

Description: Twists are rolled and pinned into an updo with a side swoop.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Hmmmm

I have an idea of how I can finally break my weight loss dilemma. It's a little radical,  and requires some external help plus a dungeon cell containing exercise machines with a slot in the door for my meals, but I'm fairly hopeful it will work.  Anyone got a suitable stone cell with no kitchen, fridge, vending machine or restaurant? There can be a TV but it has to be battery operated - with the battery hooked up to the exercise machine. And maybe a treadmill desk allowing me to WFH so I don't lose my job.  
Failing that I guess I'll just keep spinning my wheels... 
You might have gathered that I'm in a bit of a funk. Something terrible has happened to me, I'm not sure why or what to do about it, but...  I seem to be losing interest in cooking & food. Not in a healthy 'eat to live' kind of way, more in an apathetic 'can't be bothered to think about it' kind of way which leads to no food planning and no prepping of healthy snacks followed by grabbing a bag of crisps from the vending machine in the office when I feel hungry. You can tell by the menu below - everything I ate today was cooked previously and only the soup was even reheated.  In the past 48 hours I've actually had 2 portions of the same soup (it's all gone now) and 3 servings of the same chicken drumsticks (also now all gone). Who am I??? It's not even because they're so good I couldn't stop eating them - the soup was nice, and improved every day with reheating, but the drumsticks were nothing special. I miss enjoying cooking... 

Food today :
Breakfast: Carolina style chicken drumsticks with cucumber & tomatoes 
Lunch: carrot & sweet potato soup   
Dinner: Carolina style chicken drumsticks with caesar Kale salad 
Snacks: bag of crisps (Walkers Ready Salted if it matters),  protein cookie 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Aaarrgghhhh

 I twisted my back this morning and spent the morning feeling like something had ripped.  I don't think it has, and once I took some painkillers it improved immensely,  but it made me very grouchy all morning. VERY GROUCHY.
Some people might question how different that is from every other morning, but they're wrong and cheeky to boot. 
My morning was extremely frustrating as I struggled to get one of the company's applications to work - then after lunch I realised I'd been making a small but fundamental mistake and like magic it worked (for a specific given value of 'worked' - if it actually worked I wouldn't have been trying to get it ready for testing a bug fix all morning). So annoying that it took so long though - and that it turned out to be my own fault I suppose. At least I got to feel some belated sense of achievement today... 
I didn't train (see above) or walk properly today,  but I did have to go out for an errand at lunchtime so there was no opportunity to hide behind apathy and avoid the shops.  I bought a somewhat too large bag of cashews and ate them all - but didn't buy anything else so it didn't turn into a binge,  which makes me reasonably happy given my foul mood all morning.  And no booze either, not even medicinal. Although I was tempted. I might not be able to follow all my rules at once right now,  but some of them some of the time is a starting point anyway. Right? 

Food today :
Breakfast: bacon, mayo & hardboiled egg salad 
Lunch: carrot & sweet potato soup   
Dinner: carolina style chicken drumsticks with caesar salad 
Snacks: cashews, fruit 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Can apathy be a tool...???

I've felt horribly unmotivated all day today - to do anything whatsoever. I didn't train as I'm not yet completely pain free (I generally feel good in the morning after a night in a comfy bed then the pain returns during the day - but it is arriving later and less intensely every day) I didn't feel like going out at lunchtime and for once had no errands to run,  so I didn't set foot outside the building.  
The silver lining,  if it can be described that way, is that I also felt no drive to binge, so I didn't. I also avoided sweet tasting food/drinks and all booze today - whether it's down to resolution or apathy I guess that's all good! You'll notice that my snack today wasn't the healthiest of choices,  but for some reason I forgot completely to pack a snack today and that was the only non-sweet option in the office vending machine - so it was the healthiest of all available evils.

Food today :
Breakfast: bacon, broccoli & leek scrambled eggs 
Lunch: carrot & sweet potato soup   
Dinner: grilled pork chop and broccoli 
Snacks: bag of crisps

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Recovering...?

Much more myself today - no binge,  although I did replace the healthy homemade soup I planned to have for lunch with something less healthy (and a slightly weird combination).  But I'm pleased I replaced it rather than eating both.
I woke up this morning quite tired despite sleeping reasonably well but very relaxed and completely pain free! The pain free thing sadly didn't last once I got up,  but was still many orders of magnitude better than it has been; the tired thing lasted all day despite heroic quantities of coffee and even half a litre of Pepsi max.
Still,  no resorting to hot baths today,  although I might have if I hadn't had a crap drive home that took twice as long as it should have. Tomorrow it's my plan to get the food and drink part of my plan back into action - if I'm really lucky the training too,  though it seems unlikely at the moment. Wish me luck...

Food today :
Breakfast: bacon, mushroom & leek scrambled eggs
Lunch: a homemade beef chorizo burger & bag of crisps and a small pot of natural yogurt
Dinner: steamed salmon and broccoli
Snacks: fruit

Monday, November 17, 2014

I suck

So, I have finally dropped my impression of a turtle,  stuck my head back out of my shell - and I'm back!  
The last few days sucked massively - I forgot all my good intentions, I binged Thursday & Friday,  over-ate and drank Saturday & Sunday, and have a strange, completely inexplicable headache today. It must be something I ate. 
On the plus side after not training and literally not leaving the house all weekend, including Friday, I am almost pain-free most of the time and will be back to try out my new training strategy very soon I hope. The self-pitying depression is wearing off and so is the desire to binge on crap (wearing off, not worn off) , and I'm feeling almost human again. Despite the truly awful weather I had to drive through to the office this morning. And walk in to the post office at lunchtime. It more or less stopped by the time I drove home,  but by then a day in the office had taken its toll and all I was good for was my 708709th bath in the last few days...

So, while I've been living on the sofa / in the bath for a few days what's been happening in the real world?

Food today :
Breakfast: bacon, mushrooms & leek scrambled eggs 
Lunch: carrot & sweet potato soup
Dinner: cold beef brisket with a big kale salad 
Snacks: cashews...  And chocolate 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Hair Diary || Braids and 6-Month Protective Style Challenge


So I found a protective style (a second old faithful from the past).  It is not twists, but it does meet my needs in an interesting way.  The protective style is braid extensions, which I self installed ten days ago.  In the mean time, I can give my hair a serious break from manipulation and get it back to the length I had.  (My hair is now BSB.  My goal is to get it back to WSL.) I hope to keep this set of braids for 3-4 months.  Until next time, here are more hair pics (from the past few months):

Old braid out.

Twists (only wore them for a few days).

Fresh wash-n-go.

Old wash-n-go.



Mixology || Cocoa Butter Deep Conditioner

Ingredients:
1/4 cup pure cocoa butter (melted)
1 tbs safflower oil
1 tbs sweet almond oil
1/4 cup conditioner of your choice

Instructions:
Melt the cocoa butter on the stove at low heat. In a bowl or cup, stir the melted cocoa butter, conditioner, and oils together. Apply to hair and allow to set for 20-30 minutes. Rinse and style as usual.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Pain stopped play

Can we just agree to pretend today never happened? OK? 
Why do I ever post that I'm on a roll / doing well/making progress? Every time I do, every single time I do, something instantly goes wrong. So, I had some pain yesterday which led to my taking the very relaxing bath after work; I felt better after that but this morning the effect had worn off so I replaced training with another bath. I was whingeing to M when I got out and he suggested I change my 'form' on the climber - my stance and the length of my stride - to see if it helps.  Seems like a good idea, so I'll be trying that when I start up again. It is a very repetitive movement so if it causes any repeated strain or friction that will build up. It would explain why activity that should be improving my strength & fitness keeps having seemingly the opposite effect... 
So, I'm grumpy about missing training /having pain but I suppose slightly cheered by having something to work on when I get back into it (and the changes I'll be making will make me work harder,  at least in the beginning, which is good...) 
Especially after the cr@pfest that was today. 

I binged.  Because nothing about a day of enforced idleness and discomfort can't be fixed with thousands of extra calories.  Oh, wait... 

Food today :
Breakfast: bacon, mushrooms & leek scrambled eggs 
Lunch: Roast chicken and salad 
Dinner: Takeaway lamb sagwala with boiled rice
Snacks: Don't ask. Won't tell. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

I train, therefore I am

Yes,  I trained this morning and now it does feel like that's just what I do. 
That is, of course, a lie. Or more politely,  what is often known as fake it till you make it.  I'm still at the fake it stage. 
I woke up early,  not sure how early as I was wearing an eye mask and refusing to look at the clock, and spent an unknown eternity praying that it was not yet 4am so I had plenty of time to stay lying there.  Then the alarm went off and I may have used a bad word. But I did get up and train so does it matter if I didn't want to? 
More grotty weather today so I didn't go for a walk, it just wasn't appealing. Instead I took a hot bath when I got home after work - so so relaxing. 

Food today :
Breakfast: bacon, mushrooms & leek scrambled eggs 
Lunch: Roast chicken and salad 
Dinner: chicken thighs with braised savoy cabbage from the Memorie di Angelina blog
Snacks: cashews and a small pot of natural yogurt 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Ding dong

Less of an unqualified success this weekend - but for a reason, not just due to losing the will. I did reduce my exercise as I planned in order to rest my back - stayed off the climber altogether and only walked a couple of miles each day.  On Saturday I also stuck to all my new rules,  but on Sunday I admit I did drink two tiny little pints of beer and fall face first into a mountain of cashew nuts as a result.  You see, M sold his motorbike yesterday and as I may have mentioned one or a million times, the minute he brought it home I started waiting for it to kill him - so seeing it leave while he remained alive called for a celebration!  And a little happy dance in the kitchen,  accompanied by a totally tuneless rendition of an improvised song entitled 'the bike is gone' and loosely set to the music for 'ding dong the witch is dead' from the Wizard of Oz.

I was pleased.

This morning it was right back to normal with the crawling bleary eyed from bed at 4:30 and the staggering semi-conscious on to the climber.  By the time I fully woke up I'd completed my 40 minutes and made a cup of coffee. 
After work I managed a couple of miles walking as well, so that felt really good!
I did OK with the food, stayed clear of the booze, avoided the fizzy drinks...  All good!  (I'd like to be in a place where all of that sounds just normal rather than cause for bragging... maybe some day...) 

Food today :
Breakfast: bacon, mushrooms & leek scrambled eggs 
Lunch: homemade carrot & coriander soup 
Dinner: a kind-of Bolognese influenced meat sauce made with pork mince over steamed sweetheart cabbage 'spaghetti'.  Cabbagetti? Spagagge? Snacks: cashews (now buying smaller snack packs - excepting celebrations I'm happy with WHAT I'm eating but need to work on how much of it I'm eating... ) and pork scratchings 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Nut-Free Cheezy Southwestern Dressing


Something kind of exciting is happening at my office tomorrow and we're having a little party to celebrate. The first woman to ever leave my company to have a baby is coming back to work! Well, at least I hope she is. 

She says she is.

I just haven't known that many women who actually went back to work after having a baby. Most of the women I know think that they will return, but once they have that baby, they change their mind.

So in honor of this momentous first at Luscious Verde, we're having a little pot luck and office fun. Our plant manager informed me that New Mom has communicated to him that she's interested in healthier eating (after having been a friend of the fast food chains for a good long time) and I was more than happy to commit to bringing a huge salad.

But which salad would I pick?


Well, let me tell you about this incredible salad that my cousin makes (actually, my husband's cousin's wife). She does catering on a small scale. Lots of salads. It's got romaine lettuce, tomatoes, corn, scallions (I think), avocado (you can leave that out of course), black beans, and tortilla chips (I recommend the baked ones, or bake them yourself). I never knew what was in her delicious Southwestern dressing, but you could tell that salsa was probably one of the ingredients.

One day, Cousin dropped a bomb on me. She told me that there was Earth Balance in her dressing. I about fell off my chair (if I was sitting, I can't remember--maybe I just passed out). 

I was like, "Why on earth would you put Earth Balance in a salad dressing?" I recommended replacing it with cannellini beans and left it at that, but feared the salad after that day. Which is such a bummer, because it is THAT good.

So tonight, I set about to right this ship. It happened pretty easily. I created a super easy to make, nut free, Vegan Southwestern salad dressing that I believe can replace Cousin's Earth Balance and salsa salad dressing, and I think it tastes just as good.

Let's just hope that New Mom actually does return to work tomorrow, and loves the salad as much as I think she will!

Edited to note: There it is! There's the salad (including my finger in the photo)! 
And it tastes exactly like the original dressing. Whoo hoo!

Cheezy Southwestern Dressing
Vegan. Oil-free. Possibly salt-free.


1 16 ounce jar of your favorite salsa (as spicy as you like it, salt free if you can get it)
2 cups alternative milk (if you want a totally nut free dressing, choose soy, rice or oat milk)
1/2-3/4 cup nutritional yeast (depending on how cheezy you like it)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (if your salsa is not hot to begin with)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
2 tsp dried onion 

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Milestone

I have now trained on 5 consecutive days  - a full working week! Unfortunately my back has been complaining a bit today so I will probably give it a rest over the weekend and hope for another good week next week (active rest of course - weather permitting I'll still be walking) 
I had a short day in the office today - thanks to the late night deployment I did on Wednesday I had the afternoon off as time off in lieu of overtime pay. I had to go into the office for a meeting or I would have been tempted to WFH again in the morning. I was worried about the meeting as it was about some less than successful software releases I've been involved in, but happily it wasn't run as a finger pointing blame game, but more as a "what can we change to tighten up the process" meeting from which some useful suggestions did come up. 
I left work at 12 and it was really nice to have the afternoon ahead of me although I can't say I spent it all that productively (but then sometimes resting IS productive,  right?) I took a hot bath with muscle relaxing bath salts and then lounged on the sofa feeling more relaxed than I have for days. Later on I went for a walk - not a long one,  somewhere between 1.5 and 2 miles but it was a nice fairly gentle way to increase my activity levels for today. 
Food today: extremely good I think 
Exercise : good 
Booze: good and no soft drinks 

Food today :
Breakfast: homemade sausage sliced & saut�ed with mushrooms & leek and scrambled eggs 
Lunch: cold meat & salad 
Dinner: curry made with the Anglo-Indian sausage patties from last weekend, on cauliflower rice 
Snacks: Mixed nuts; one homemade sausage 

Anytime Oatmeal Cookies



I have a confession to make.

The first time I tried these cookies, I thought they were gross. And so did my kids. I was encouraged to make them by my good friend and Health Coach Sharon McRae whose family was loving all over them. I was really bummed that they didn't work out for me and my family, and I didn't make them again for a very, very long time.

Until I hosted a HUGE women's only, 40th birthday, pot luck at my house (and not a plant based one). The theme of the meal was salads (I can only stray so far people!). Someone, I don't even know who, brought this big plate of cookies and they were being devoured. My nine year old was loving them. I was loving them.

I took one look at them and I knew--they were THOSE cookies. The ones with just two ingredients: bananas and oats.

Read more �

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Super Fast Fajita Hash Browns

I used to spend a lot of time preparing elaborate plant based meals for my family. I would wake up very early in the morning, bright eyed and bushy tailed, and head straight for the kitchen. I was so excited by this new way of eating that nothing could stop me from experimenting and it was all so very, very intoxicating.

Then I would get home from work and get right back into my Vegan cooking. It seemed I was tireless, and this went on for many years.

People used to ask me two things:

(1) How do you do it all?

and

(2) Can you tell me some ideas for oil-free Vegan meals that are easy and fast?
Read more �

Another morning after...

Still tired after my very short night last night.  Happily it looks like last night's deployment went well so it shouldn't need redoing any time soon. 
I crawled out of bed this morning with so little energy that even with the extra time that comes from not having to drive to work there was no way I was doing anything more energetic than making & drinking several cups of coffee.  I made the mistake of telling myself that I would train either at lunchtime or after work, and by 10 am I was well into the reasons not to bother.  It's just as well that in my last post I mentioned feeling I was on a roll - when I remembered that at lunchtime it pushed me into training to avoid the embarrassment of once again bragging right before failing big time. So I trained during my lunch break, and though I wasn't really feeling it, I am glad I put in the effort. 
Food wise I did alright today although I did have not one but TWO cans of diet soda.  I'm all out of herbal tea at home and was so sick of water...  Ah well,  if that were the worst that I ever did I'd still be slim...  I still didn't drink any booze though,  and resisted all temptations sweet in flavour. So I'm counting this as a successful day too...  Moderately at least. 
Now I'm about to fall asleep mid post so I'll love you and leave you...

Breakfast: lamb & cumin burger acting as a base for poached egg
Lunch: cold meat & salad 
Dinner: 'mixed grill'  - liver,  kidney,  rump steak & homemade sausage with green beans,  caramelized red onion & cauliflower
Snacks: minted pea soup

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

As days go, Wednesday dragged...

700 years after I arrived at work I looked at the clock and it was 10:46. I nearly embarrassed myself by screaming my head off and running around in circles like a headless chicken... This was only made worse by the knowledge that I was due to work overtime again at 10pm...
Enough moaning anyway.  I did train in the morning,  but didn't manage a proper walk.  I feel like I'm on the verge of claiming to be on a roll with the training and given the sudden deterioration in the weather I'm very happy not to be relying on walking as my sole form of exercise or I'd be really frustrated.
I finally fell into bed knackered at 11:30 last night, which is why I didn't get around to posting yesterday, only to wake up at 5 this morning...  So still knackered. I'm working from home today thankfully and two strong coffees have not yet been enough.  Time for another one...

Happy to say that even with the frustration and the knackeredness and the exhaustion I didn�t fall off any wagons� Food was good, exercise was good, and no booze.

Breakfast:scrambled eggs with defrosted leftover cod wrapped in pancetta (chopped up and added to the beaten eggs so they reheated as the eggs cooked)
Lunch: minted pea soup
Dinner: grilled chicken thighs with grilled vegetables
Snacks: almonds & brazil nuts

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Today was definitely up and down...

This morning I did train again, and then spent the early part of the day feeling fairly cheerful, despite the cold wet weather and having to drive to work through patchy fog that was quite heavy in places. At lunchtime I had to go to the post office and of course it was raining quite persistently by then,  making it no fun at all, preventing me from having a proper walk, and boom! I was instantly miserable.  Later again and I was cheerful and productive (in the kitchen,  not the office obviously).  I guess that's what I get for saying yesterday that my mood was calmer...  
Still, no sweet foods (except fresh fruit)  or drinks,  no booze,  and a training session that left my legs feeling quite rubbery by the end :-)...  I call that a successful day 7!

Breakfast: homemade Pork, pear, sage & fennel sausage with leftover saut�ed veg from last night and one fried egg
Lunch: Cauliflower-pumpkin soup 
Dinner: massive salad with gammon & poached chicken 
Snacks: cashews & fruit (not dried) 

Speaking of Pie, Here's The World's Healthiest (and Tastiest) Apple Pie Recipe


I hope you enjoyed my last blog post about my plans for our 2014 Thanksgiving menu.

Thank you SO VERY MUCH to everyone who left comments with feedback about a few of the recipes that I haven't tried for myself yet. I will totally shift gears where I need to based on your input to make sure that I am not wasting my time, energy and money on the few new recipes that I had linked to that weren't a hit with your Thanksgiving crowd. If you haven't put in your two cents yet, and you've got experience with a WFPB Thanksgiving, please do!

I can tell you that if you are looking for a stellar Apple Pie recipe for Thanksgiving, that you can stop looking right now. I have make this recipe by Chef AJ countless times and it is phenomenal. I have served it at a number of pot lucks and it was very well received.

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