comedian, Comedy, fitness, healthly living, healthy eating, humor, Miss Shannan

TINY TALES OF AUTISM – HOW THE COOKIE CRUMBLES

It is 11:00 pm and I’m baking cookies right now. Not fancy cookies. They do have chocolate chips in them, but that doesn’t count as fancy in these days of “foodie” ingredients like “truffle infused rose hips,” or “artisan crumbles featuring dribbles of lavender oil” or “pomegranate compote with a semi-sweet seaweed foam glaze.”

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The chips are plain chocolate. Milk chocolate, according the package. I didn’t make the chips, which already makes me a terrible person, but nobody is perfect.

I have 8 – 10 minutes to explain why I bake cookies. Cyclone Kid is sleeping upstairs. I wanted snacks, pie in particular, but we don’t have anything like that in our house.

The last time I went on a diet, years ago, I resolved that food was supposed to be work and that work takes time. The fact that our busy lives have made it so that we no longer have time to eat anything that is not instantaneous, was making me fat and impatient. So the first step I took was that I stopped buying pre-made and pre-package desserts.

We all know that food isn’t supposed to just “happen” all the time. Science is awesome and has given us some amazing products that just pop into existence like you’re strolling through “Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.” But, we come from hunters and gathers and cavemen. None of them had microwave, gas station burritos.

I’m not some anarchist who thinks all food should be raw, or stuff should be made only with the recipes they used back in Biblical times. But, I did promise myself that if I wanted a darn cookie, I had to want it enough to:

Preheat the oven,
Walk over to the freezer,
Get out the package of cookie dough,
Open up the package,
Grab a cookie sheet,
Put the lovely balls of dough on the sheet,
Arrange them 2″ apart
Slide the dough balls into the now pre-heated oven…

And then, most importantly, wait...

Wait for just a little while. Long enough to clean a few dishes. To sing an old song that just popped into my head. Sometimes I end up waiting so long that I decide that I don’t want cookies at all and that I should take them to work the next day, instead.

At times, I wait long enough to stand there, breathing, while I stare at the the wall. For 8 -10 minutes.

There goes the timer. It flies by. The waiting worked out fine. Now it’s time to let things cool off.

###

healthly living, healthy eating, mamavation, Miss Shannan, weight loss

MAMAVATION MONDAY – I GOT CAUGHT BY THE "DID NOTS"

I gained two pounds in the last two weeks. Two pounds doesn’t sound like much. In fact lots of things weigh more that 2 pounds. Dumbbells, bags of flour, my winter boot. But after losing over 50 pounds and keeping it off for over a year, I’m not trying to go back.

It’s my fault. I did just about everything wrong last week. I ate out too many times and did not plan my meals ahead. I did not log my food like I usually do. I did not keep away from the alcohol. I did not work out. I did not drink enough water each day. I din not get enough sleep. And the end result of all those “did nots” – TWO GIANT POUNDS. Somebody smack me.
Now I’ve got to get back on track. Thanksgiving is next week and now more than ever I’m determined to keep things in check during one of the biggest overindulgent holidays of the year. I also don’t want to ruin it for the family, so I’m continuing my quest for recipes makeovers that my whole family can enjoy.
We’re loading up on the veggies and greens this year. Including the slimmed downed version of our family favorite Collard Greens. They can be really great for you and have. ton of vitamins and antioxidants. But it’s easy to ruin the benefits by seasoning them with greasy Ham Hocks or fatty bacon. This year, I’m using the steamer and turkey bacon instead to get rid of the unnecessary calories and fat.
I’ve also included an updated Sweet Potato Pie recipe. I’m not crazy enough to think I an get away without having pie, but I can shave some undesirable fat and calories off the darn thing. This version that I found in Fitness Magazine cuts out the butter, sugar, and whole milk and focus on the Sweet Potato, which is actually good for you.

This week, I plan to pile up the “dids” and leave the “did not” for someone else. Enjoy.

Sweet Potato Pie

Makes 12 servings


Ingredients
Low-Fat Crust

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons chilled oil (canola or olive oil)
1 extra-large egg white; lightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar, either white wine or apple cider
Ice water as needed

Sweet Potato Filling
16 ounces sweet potatoes, baked till soft, with skins removed
4 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar or Splenda
1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
12-ounce can evaporated skim milk

Directions
To make crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix flour and salt in a medium bowl. Carve a small well in the middle of the flour and add chilled oil to it. Mix with fork until dough is crumbly. Mix in beaten egg white and white wine vinegar. Using your hands, form dough into ball, adding ice water to the dough if it is still a bit crumbly. Dough should hold together well. Refrigerate until very cold (1/2 hour). Roll dough on a floured surface until 1 inch thick. Drape over 9-inch pie pan, being careful not to tear the dough. Trim off the excess pieces and discard. Bake for 7-10 minutes or until golden brown.

To make filling: In a medium-size mixing bowl, mix all ingredients. Pour into the prepared crust and bake at 350 degrees F. for approximately 30 to 45 minutes, until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Nutrition info: 221 calories, 6g protein, 34g carbohydrate, 7g fat (1g saturated fat), 2g fiber, 125mg sodium
healthly living, healthy eating, kids, mamavation, Minneapolis, Miss Shannan

MAMAVATION MONDAY – LEARNING MY LIMITATIONS

I’m getting back on the Mamavation bandwagon. Over the past two months, I’ve had a lot of things happening all at once.

(Deep Breath)
• We bought a new house, but it’s a foreclosure and needs A LOT of work.
• I booked a bunch of comedy shows between now and the end of the year.
• We put our 2 ½ year old Toddler Tornado into speech therapy hoping that his adorable gibberish will miraculously develop into English.
The hubs and I are so cute.
All while still having my day job and an ever mounting pile of laundry that looms in our bedroom like a giant evil monster. It never slows down. At first I was miserable even thinking about all the things I wanted to do – should do – couldn’t do. Everything. Then I got it together and just let some crap go.
The best thing I’ve learned over this really busy time is that I have limitations. I want to do everything: but I can’t. So I admitted that I should take a break from the Mamavation Sistahood. (Thanks Lori @gutimon for your patience.) I deferred my Half Marathon registration to next year’s event. I kept my expectations on our moving date in check. I let the laundry pile up and now our Todder can use it as a slide. Huzzah.

I’m more at peace now. I’ve managed to stay healthy mentally and physically.  I’ve realized that some things just take a while. They have to develop in their own time.To enjoy life you have to let things run their course and that course can be long and full of twists and turns.

Last November, I posted healthy versions of my favorite Thanksgiving. I really enjoyed it, so here we go again. We’ll start with a new Herb Stuffing recipe I’ve found. Yummm, I can’t wait for my house to smell like the herbs and spices in this awesome recipe. Please let me know what you think.
Have a great week Mamavation ladies. And I hope have some time to breath this week.

Herb Stuffing

Makes 12 1-cup servings


Ingredients
1 1-pound loaf whole wheat bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
8 ounces spicy or regular bulk turkey sausage (or purchase links and remove casing)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 large stalks celery, very thinly sliced
1 large (10-ounce) red onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
12 large fresh sage leaves, finely chopped (about 3 tablespoons)
3 cups natural, fat-free chicken broth

1/3 cup dried, sweetened cranberries

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste

Directions
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange bread cubes evenly on two large baking pans. Brown in oven for about 25 minutes.

In a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, cook sausage for 5 minutes, breaking into small pieces as it browns; place in a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add celery, onion, garlic, and sage. Lightly brown, stirring often, about 12 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, simmer broth, cranberries, and butter for about 10 minutes.

Add celery mixture, bread cubes, and cranberry broth to sausage. Stir until broth is absorbed. Season with salt to taste.

Evenly spread stuffing in pan; cover with foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 minutes.
Nutrition Facts
Nutrition facts per serving:
Servings Per Recipe 12 1-cup servings
Calories199

Total Fat (g)9
Saturated Fat (g)3
Carbohydrate (g)25
Fiber (g)3
Protein (g)8
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

exercise, fitness, healthly living, mamavation, Minnesota, Miss Shannan

MAMAVATION – FEELING ANXIOUS? EXERCISE MIGHT BE YOUR ANSWER!

I’ve been super busy lately. Comedy shows, big projects at the radio station, a pushy 2 year-old that is going through a non-sleeping phase. Lions, and Tigers, and Bear’s oh my… It was definitely a struggle to get to the gym and stay motivated. With all the crap going on, my stress level is through the roof. It sucks: laying awake at night worrying about crap that I can’t do anything about at 3:00 am any way. What the heck???

Of course at busy times it’s easy to default to sitting on the sofa, eating tasty snacks and staring at the TV. But I’ve got a good reason for you to get up and get moving instead.

In the March/April issue of the American Council on Exercise’s magazine, Fitness Matters, they talk about a study conducted by the researchers at Princeton University. Of course the study was on rats and basically they studied two groups: one that they stressed out for three to six weeks and another group that still was stressed out, but also had the chancee to run everyday.

During the study those industrious little Princeton researchers found that the group of rats that ran for six weeks showed less stress-induced anxiety than the non-running rats. And they say that moderate exercise appears to have the same effect on humans. The researchers aren’t sure if we humans need more or less exercise than our rodent-like brethren, but they do say “don’t quit.” We may not feel the “magical reduction of stress” right away, but they are sure they will come.

So next week is guaranteed to be just as busy for me at work as ever, but I’ve already built in some time to workout, including chatting up my boss so I can come in a little later on a couple of days. That way I have time to get my run in before work. Only nine more weeks till race time, so I need to stay on my game.

And I’m going to keep researching some healthy but tasty recipes. I tried to the Minnesotan custom of making dessert “bars” this weekend with no recipe and the experiment failed miserably. ABSOLUTE DISASTER. So here is the “re-do” and recipe so you guys can do better than I did.


Raspberry Bars Recipe – ACE Healthy Recipes – American Council on Exercise

Also make sure you keep up on the Mamavation Sistahood. Our “Queen” is picking two new Mamavation Moms who are willing to share their weightloss journeys with us. The finalists have been picked and you can vote for you favorite here. The Mamavation Moms selected get some great gifts for our sponsors like EA Sports Active and Earth Footwear.

Hope you have a Anxiety Free week everyone. Keep it moving folks. If a rat can do it, you know you can do it too.

ACE, fitness, healthly living, mamavation, MissShannan, mom, mommy, weightloss

Mamavation Monday – Saying NO to OCB!!! Plus Healthy Recipe

After church on Sunday at the request of my Hubby. He has a nostalgic soft spot for OCB, it’s that thing that you know is bad for you, but you still love mostly because it brings back great childhood memories when you eat it. I totally understand since I have a similar weekness for Totino’s pizza.

But after we got there I remembered why we stopped going to places like that. It’s so hard to find anything that’s not covered in sauce or stuffed full of salt. I felt bad letting our toddler eat most of the stuff on the menu. If you’re like my husband, who already has problems with portion control, you might as well just pack the pounds on the minute you walk in the door. I’m constantly telling him that he eats to fast, so his body doesn’t have time to register that he’s full before he’s stuffed himself to capacity like a Thanksgiving turkey.

Before we started eating, Hubby was so excited, because he said it was his “Cheat Day.” Then the cheating began.
After brunch we got back in the car, and hubby said, “You’re gonna make fun of me.
I said, “Why.”
He says, “I’m stuffed.”
He was right; I made fun of him the whole ride home.

When we got home, he passed out on the couch, I’m sure all the teasing I gave him in the car wore him out. But the Toddler and I got some play time in and he even helped me do my Kettleworx Workout. (I call him hanging on my leg “helping”.)

To help make up for the junk food cheat day, I found a new recipe that I’ll be making this week. It’s Black Bean and Mushroon Chilli. It’s healthy and because you can put in the Crock Pot, it’s really easy and convenient. If you try it, please let me know.

Slow-Cooker Black Bean-Mushroom Chili Recipe – ACE Healthy Recipes – American Council on Exercise

Plus, if you haven’t signed up for my Kettleworx Starter Workout Kit, you still have time this week.  Just sign up via my last week’s post.

Along with watching my diet I plan to log at least 10 miles on the treadmill as I start to get ready for the Half Marathon I’m running in June. One trip to OCB isn’t going to kill us, but I’m glad we don’t do this everyday. My waistline and marriage couldn’t handle it.

fitness, healthly living, mamvation, mom, workout

Mamavation Monday Post –Frustrated by the Flu:To Workout or Not to Workout

Okay, I don’t think I actually have the flu this time. It’s just the random germy crud that has been working its way from husband to toddler and now on to me. I thought that as “Super Mom” I could elude this viral villain, but alas, he now has me in his congested clutches. So today’s challenge: should I try to suck it up and workout anyway or just give my body a rest?

I brought all by gym stuff with me anyway, hoping that I’d feel better, but as time is passing, I still feel like crap. I’ve gone back and forth all morning about this. First I tell myself, I’ll feel better once I workout and and that I’m just being lazy. Then I think maybe my body is trying to tell me something and I should slow down a bit. Maybe I’m being stubborn. Maybe I’m being silly. Either way, it’s incredibly frustrating.

For now, I’ve decided to let the crud win and to skip today’s workout.  It’s extra dissapointing for me since I wanted to start the New Year with a bang and a good workout schedule.
How do you decide when you should workout versus when you should skip the workout and rest? Curious to see if I’m just being a wuss or doing the right thing.