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.

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healthy eating, mamavation, Miss Shannan, toddler

MAMAVATION MONDAY – DONE IN BY THE DISHWARE

I like it when life accidentally helps with your diet options. For instance, last week I bought my toddler some new bowls. In my eyes they are awesome. Perfect size, Perfect shape. Just macho enough for my little man.

In his eyes they are awful. Who knows why, but he despises them. He clearly thinks the new bowls blow. I put his food in one. He dumped it on the table. But then he ate it, without having his eating experience tainted by the mom’s new offending bowls.

But I’m putting the Toddler Un-approved bowls to good use as part of my 2011 Portion Control Party. Our “Regular” bowls are much bigger than a regular portion should be. After measuring the new little bowls, it turns out that they are much closer to what I should be consuming anyway. Imagine that! Even my old dishware was out to get me.

So far, I haven’t made any headway on trying to drop those elusive 10 pounds, but I have managed to hold my weight steady over the holiday season, when snacks abound and workout times give way to holiday parties.

So it’s a win for everyone. My tot gets to stick with his old familiar albeit beat up bowls. And I get to feel dainty when I eat, instead of feeling like I have on a feedbag. Happy Holidays.

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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