Monday, October 29, 2012

Oh Sandy!

The rain is starting to come down really hard.

Lots of leaves still on the trees which will make them more prone to breaking. Good
thing we got the pool close last week/
Hello everyone. All of us on the east coast are bracing for Hurricane Sandy. We are in Pennsylvania, but have a summer home in New Jersey.  Both areas are going to get hit hard. There has been mandatory evacuations since yesterday at the shore. Schools are closed until Wednesday everywhere in the area, and the governors of the states of New Jersey, Delaware and PA have declared states of emergency. We are a block from the beach in NJ, but after what is the largest store ever recorded in the Atlantic, we may be beachfront after all of this!!

We've already lost our power here in PA this morning, but it is back on now. It's really raining hard. This  storm is 2000 miles wide and extends from Florida to Canada. It could be devastating to all of us. Here's hoping Sandy leaves before she does too much damage.

I was on a cooking streak yesterday, and made a few  things I want to tell you about. I saw this recipe on the TV show "The Chew" for Sweet-n-Spicy Slow Cooking BBQ Chicken.  I made it yesterday and  it was very good.

 I substituted natures hollow sugar free ketchup for the regular ketchup, but did use the brown sugar. It was a 1/2 cup for a large amount of sauce, and you only use 3/4 cup of the sauce in the recipe. I froze the rest for another time. I did make my husband go out and buy some bourbon, as that is what the recipe called for.

The sauce had a great taste to it. Also when you serve the chicken, if you use a slotted spoon,  you are only getting  very little sauce on the chicken. The sauce becomes watery in the crock pot and unless you want a soggy roll, use a slotted spoon.

It's alittle hard to figure out the S/C/ count for this sauce. I added it up on my fitness pal and included the Italian Dressing. It made 3 cups of sauce and you only use 3/4 cup for the recipe which serves 8. Follow my math here. If the sauce recipe makes 3 cups and you use 3/4 cup for 8, then a whole batch of sauce would serve 32. Am I right? Math was never my strength!!

If so then a one serving portion of the sauce would come out to and S/C count of 4/1
49 calories 4 sugar 6 carbs

You could also try Dawn's smokey BBQ sauce with this recipe too. I'm sure it would work well. The sauce in my recipe however was alittle difffent than a regular BBQ sauce, and had a bit of a sweet and sour tang to it. Maybe it was the bourbon!

I had never cooked with chicken thighs before. This recipe calls for both boneless,skinless breasts, and boneless, skinless thighs. They cook in the crock pot for several hours and then you easily shred them with a fork. They just fell apart.

Serve it on a whole wheat or almond flour roll. I  still have the occasional whole wheat sandwich thin and I know some of you do as well. It works well on those too.  I put a piece of provolone cheese on the bread, top it with the chicken and some of the broccoli slaw right on top. Delish!

Emily Ozga's Sweet-n-Spicy Slow Cookin' BBQ Chicken  8 servings

2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
3 Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
3/4 cup Bourbon BBQ Sauce (recipe to follow)
1/3 cup Italian Dressing
1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper ( * I left this out as there is cayenne in the sauce and I was afraid some in my family would think it was too spicy)
Salt and Pepper to taste      

 Grease slow cooker with butter or non-stick spray. Turn on low and add barbecue sauce, Italian Dressing, cayenne, oregano, salt and pepper. Lay the chicken pieces in the slow cooker, coating both sides with sauce. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours, or on low for 8 hours.
30 minutes before serving, remove chicken pieces from slow cooker. Allow to cool slightly, shred meat, and return to slow cooker. If you need more liquid after shredding, add a bit more BBQ sauce and a dash of Italian dressing.

 Bourbon BBQ Sauce

2 tablespoons Butter
1/2 Onion (finely chopped)
3/4 cup Bourbon (or whiskey of choice)
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Salt
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
2 cups Ketchup ***( I used Natures Hollow SF Ketchup)
1/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 cup Tomato Paste
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/3 cup Apple Cider Vinegar

 Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add minced onions and cook until softened. Add spices and stir. Add bourbon, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, brown sugar and vinegar. Continue stirring until sauce begins to bubble. Reduce heat to low and cook until slightly thickened. Adjust with extra cayenne or sugar, if desired. The sauce can be refrigerated in a sealed container for future use.
Broccoli Slaw      Serves 4
12 ounces Shredded Broccoli Slaw (or raw broccoli stalks shredded in food processor)
3 tablespoons Mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Balsamic or Cider Vinegar ( I USED THE CIDER VINEGAR)
2 teaspoons Sugar **  ( I USED SWERVE)
1 teaspoon Dried Dill
Salt and Pepper to taste
Combine ingredients in a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
If using Swerve, the S/C count is  1/0
Calories 74       Carbs   4    Sugars 1


I  really appreciate all the nice responses to my Italy photos. For those of you who wonder how these street performers do this, this is what we came up with. We think there must be a metal rod that runs up their leg and is attached to a small round seat that can fold flat against the butt, but open up and they sit back on it. Kind of like a small table. It's so weird to see, and they hold these posed for so long.

This one is even weirder. My theory doesn't seem to work with this because the man is literally holding her up. There is nothing underneath her. My husband says it's all done with heavy metal rods. It is really fun to see the variety of talents all over Italy.

Lastly, some of you make comments and I can't respond personally because the email is not shown. Not sure of your  name, but some sweet person ( Our Family Blog) left a post and said you are frustrated because you lost some weight and then gained. Just keep doing the program. Keep going forward...forward...forward. If you believe that  a low sugar/low carb way of life is the best way for you, then don't stop. Even when you fail or have something you shouldn't, you can always come right back to it. We'll all be here!! I'm not at my goal, but plenty of my fellow bloggers are, so you know it works!

Sending you all love and big hugs!  XO

Thought for the day:
We cannot solve our problems
with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

 ~ Albert Einstein


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Back to life.....back to reality!

Buon giorno everyone! Well the vacation is over and I'm back to reality. No one to make my bed each morning or turn it down at night, and clean my bathroom each day. No breakfast buffet put out each morning, and definitely no coffee served in beautiful little silver pots. No leisurely days of sight seeing, culminating with wonderful dinners and a bottle of wine...or two! Yes, the vacation is over, but it was wonderful while it lasted. Beautiful memories were made.

The breakfast room of our Venice hotel.

But there were some downfalls. In fact quite a few. I succombed to pasta and gelato....more than once. Those wonderful breakfast buffets, that come included with most Italian hotels, were heavy on breads, muffins, croissants and fruit. Most had some sort of eggs ( hardboiled, or scrambled) so that was a good choice. But by mid week, I found myself having a mini croissant with those eggs, and topping the evening off with a gelato as we strolled back to the hotel after dinner. I am not an ice cream person. It has never been a weakness of mine. But gelato, well that's a different story.

Italian gelato
Gelato is everywhere in Italy. And it's nothing like ice cream. The flavors are amazing, and thankfully you can get very tiny cups of it, so it's easy to have alittle without overdoing it.
Here's a nice explanation of the differences I found on a google search, and hopefully it informs you, and doesn't tempt you.

Gelato is Italy’s version of ice cream, with three major differences.
First, gelato has significantly less butterfat than ice cream’s typical 18 and 26 percent.
However, less fat does not mean less taste. With the lower butterfat content, gelato is less solidly frozen than ice cream and melts in the mouth faster.Therefore, the customer will taste gelato’s full flavor immediately.

Second, gelato has a much higher density than ice cream. Ice cream is produced by mixing cream, milk and sugar, then adding air. Manufacturers add air to ice cream because it nearly doubles the quantity of their product. But, it cuts their quality in half. No air is added to gelato. The result is a higher quality dessert with a richer, creamier taste.

Third, gelato is served slightly warmer than ice cream. While both gelato and ice cream are served well below the freezing temperature of 32 degrees Fahrenheit, gelato is served 10 to 15 degrees warmer than ice cream. Because it is less solidly frozen, gelato’s taste is further enhanced as it melts in the mouth

Okay, I see where this post could be a problem. DON'T run out and get gelato or ice cream. They are not what we should be eating. And if you do eat the stuff you shouldn't, it will be an adjustment to get those tastes and cravings out of your head and your body. I only had it a few times, and I'm glad there are no gelato shops on every corner here in the USA! It could become a habit real fast.

The good news is, you CAN always get right back to eating healthy if you go astray. It will be hard if you slip up, but having a plan and an eating program to follow is important.

Many of us don't follow the program faithfully like we should. And when I say program, it is whatever program of eating that you have decided it right for you. I still try to stay true to the original Belly Fat Cure guidelines. I try to keep my sugars under 15 gms a day and my whole grain carbs to 6 servings ( remember 0-20 gms of carbs in a food is counted as 1 carb serving).

 Lately I have been dabbling in avoiding wheat. I know it's not for everyone, but I do find that wheat, even whole grain wheat, causes me to want more wheat. I do believe that for some people wheat can cause more wheat cravings and has some addictive properties. I can clearly see that the pasta I indulged in while travelling, has set me up for some pretty intense bread and carb cravings. It's very hard to follow any healthy way of eating when you are battling food cravings.

I knew as soon as I ate that first bite of pasta, and had my first gelato, that I signed a deal with the devil. I knew it would lead to more "white" stuff and that it would most likely cause me to gain weight ( it did!) and have cravings that would start off a vicious cycle. So why did I do it? I'm not sure, but that doesn't matter now. It only matters  that I work to undo my wrong doings.

So I am going to leave you with some photos of our trip, and also with these thoughts. Not all of us are going to be perfect and eat the way we should all the time. Some of my blogger friends  have their mind set in the right direction all the time, and they do the right thing most all of the time. I am jealous. I feel like the big screw up many times because I lose site of my goals and don't keep my mind in the game. But guess what? It only means, it will take me longer to get where I'm going. It doesn't mean that I'll never get there. As long as we don't give up, we keep trying and we always come back to what we know works, we will reach our goals.

 Please keep that in mind if you stumble and fall. Even if you go AWOL for a long time, you can always come back to what works and get support, advice and people who care on these blogs.

Thought for the day: Take a deep breath, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again. Frank Sinatra

Ciao!! XO

Our hotel in Verona.
Hotel Belvedere, Bellagio
The view from our hotel room in Bellagio.
The quaint little streets of Bellagio
Varenna is gorgeous!
Lucky Ducks at Lake Como
Our hotel room in Bellagio
The pool at Villa del Quar, Verona
Lake Como

The dining room of our hotel in Bellagio

Breakfast! Note the little silver coffee pots!

Italy has wonderful street performers. This "baby" was so funny!
The gondolas went by underneath our hotel room. Magical!
The canals of Venice. No where like it on earth! No cars, only boats.

A wonderful dinner at Salice Blu. Scallops, shrimp and lobster prepared by Chef Luigi!
Another street performer. Took us awhile to figure out how he did it,
Prosecco in St Marks Square, Venice


Thursday, October 4, 2012


The Grand Canal in Venice
Buongiorno everyone! I am off for a vacation with my husband and his sister and her husband. We are going to Italy for a litle over a week. I am very excited. I have been to Italy twice before, but with the exception of Venice, we will be seeing lots of new places. Italy is quite large to travel and our first trip we saw Rome, Naples, Capri, Positano, Florence and Venice.

The second time we visited Italy, which was with a large family group, we did Rome again, then went up to Santa Margherita ( where we saw Rod Stewart. He was getting married there!) and then stayed in Tuscany, and finished up the trip in Venice.

This time we will fly non stop into Venice, and travel to Verona for a few days, then onto Bellagio which is on Lake Como, and then come back to Venice for a few days before we leave.

Rod Stewart in Santa Margherita, Italy
Don't forget me while I'm gone. I will check in when I get back. Wish me luck with sticking to my eating plan. Forget the two glasses of wine each day. We all know that isn't going to happen!

Sending you all love and hugs!


Our first stop, Hotel Villa del Quar, in Verona.
Yes those are vineyards. Looking forward to some great wines!

Hotel Belvedere Bellagio
We will be spending three nights at the Hotel Belvedere in the town of Bellagio on Lake Como.
George Clooney has a house here. Maybe we'll stop by for a drink on the patio!

I love Venice!!
We stayed at the Hotel Colombina on our last trip to Venice, and we will finish up our trip here again. You have to arrive by boat. The main lobby entrance is between the blue and white poles. There really are no streets in Venice, and everything, trash, police, taxis use boat transportation.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Are you in a battle?

I'll be here in Lake Como, Italy, this time next week!!

Hello All:

A while back I bought Geneen Roths book, "Women Food and God". As with most books I read about, or see talked about on a TV show, I buy them and never fully read them cover to cover. So anxious am I to get to the "meat' of the book, that I skim through, trying to get to the good parts fast. I need his information now...right now. I need to sit and gradually read these books ( Wheat Belly, Secrets To A Healthy Metabolism, and Make It Paleo come to mind), and really grasp what they have to say. I'll get to it eventually right?

Then there are the endless blog sites that I subscribe to, recipes sites, and self help sites. Usually, I peruse them quickly, but this morning, this one from Geneen Roth really caught my eye. Read it below and let me know if any of you see yourselves in her story. I did.

 This was from Geneen Roth's newsletter that was in my email inbox this morning. Very good stuff!

Ending the War

with Food


Imagine this: You are walking in a meadow on a fresh autumn day. The leaves are turning a burnished gold and red. You come upon a long table covered in a white linen cloth with vases of flowers at perfect intervals. Then you notice the food.

The food!

It is as if someone knew you were arriving, because the  table is laden with every food that you have ever loved -- even the foods you won't let yourself eat because they're too expensive or too fattening. A platter of poached salmon, fried sweet potatoes, three different kinds of dessert, including Chocolate Decadence Cake, cheesecake, and the exact flavor of ice cream you love. Homemade bread and every cheese imaginable. And food from your childhood is here: Hostess Sno Balls, roasted marshmallows, mashed potatoes, butterscotch pudding. It is a feast and it is just for you. Only you.

If all those foods were equal -- if you could eat bread with the same recklessness that you could eat broccoli -- what would you choose?

Take your time. There is no rush to decide. The food will be here.

Now, ask yourself: Would you take small bites of everything? Would you settle on one thing, eat as much of it as you want, then go on to the next? Or, given free rein,would you feel so overwhelmed that you'd just start with a fork in both hands and wild abandon in your heart? Are you like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day when he realizes that he can eat all the pie he wants and not gain weight?

"I'd eat everything!" you say.

Or "I'd dive into the triple-cream Brie and never come up for air."

"At last," you say, "I get to ignore my diabetes and scrape all the icing from the carrot cake and eat it with a spoon."

And some of you say, "Gimme a break. Cholesterol is real and so is my heart condition. And, by the way, what's the point of this fantasy?"

Before I get to the point, I want to tell you one of my favorite stories about eating what you think you want.

Years ago, a woman named Oona attended one of my 

workshops with her 11-year-old daughter, Miranda. At the time we met, Miranda was what my own mother used to call me -- pudgy. Round cheeks, round knees, round hands. A body that looked like it was made of circles. Miranda was not exactly fat, but her mother was very worried. She watched over Miranda's meals, commented on what she ate, took desserts away. Oona had been a fat child, had struggled with weight most of her life, and didn't want to see her daughter suffer the same way.

All in all, it was your basic mother-daughter war. Miranda hid food from Oona; Oona was enraged that, despite her hyper-vigilance, her child was gaining weight.

My solution floored both of them. I spoke bluntly to Oona: Fill up a pillowcase with Miranda's favorite food -- M&M's -- and give it to her, and whenever it gets even a quarter empty, fill it back up again. Stop commenting on her body. End the war now. Come back to me in a month and tell me how it's going.

Miranda thought she had died and gone to candy-coated heaven. Oona just wanted to strangle me.

A month later, Oona was convinced that miracles did happen.

During the first week, Miranda took the pillowcase everywhere; she even slept with it. For the first time, she could eat what she wanted without feeling rejected by her mother.

During the second week, she stopped taking the pillowcase to school. She ate fewer M&M's.

In week three, she hardly touched them. By week four, she never wanted to see another M&M again.

But more important than the M&M's was that the war had stopped. Miranda no longer needed to eat to pay her mother back for her constant disapproval. She no longer needed the comfort of M&M's to make up for the hurt of her mother's rejection.

Although this story actually happened, I'd like you to take it as a metaphor rather than as an example of something you should try with yourself or your daughter, because the point of both stories is not the food but your attitude about it. The point is stopping the war you have with yourself and your body. The point is that we can be free from the endless cycle of depriving and restricting ourselves if we cultivate tenderness and kindness toward ourselves.

Most of us want to get thin because we believe that then and only then we will be entitled to like ourselves and treat ourselves well. We want to get thin because we believe that then we will be happy. As if you are only allowed to take up space here on Earth if and when you are thin. And although what you eat really does matter in terms of how you feel in your body and the kind of energy you have to sustain the life you want, the size of your thighs at this very moment should not determine the size of your life.

What would happen if, right now, you gave yourself permission to like, respect -- even adore! -- yourself without first having to earn it by losing 10 or 20 pounds?

Consider how your food choices would change if they were based on self-respect and on what made you feel well, alive, and radiant. If you liked yourself immensely, you'd be unlikely to seek comfort in the all-ice-cream, all-the-time diet. You'd know that eating ice cream for dinner would probably make you feel happy for a second and then a little spacey and then tired. Soon you'd be cranky, yelling at your kids, picking on your spouse.

This new self-respecting you wouldn't need to seek comfort in food because you would no longer be rejecting yourself
every minute of the day. No one can handle that kind of perpetual criticism without seeking solace somewhere, and the mint chocolate chip does nicely.

Most people say they gain weight when they eat what they want. But the truth is that people gain weight when they eat what they DON'T want -- and then eat copious amounts of what they believe they do want because they're afraid they'll be deprived again. They gain weight because they argue with themselves constantly and then, bruised from the argument, eat ice cream to comfort themselves. Most of the time, and I know this is hard to believe but it is the truth, what we eat has nothing to do with the food itself; it has to do with the internal dialogue of warring with yourself. When you end the war with yourself, your food choices radically change. Every single time.

True kindness has no calories. True kindness is deciding right now that you deserve to respect and honor yourself -- here, today, no matter what.  When you make your food choices with that sort of kindness, your whole life becomes a feast.


Thought for the day:  “Treat yourself as if you already are enough. Walk as if you are enough. Eat as if you are enough. See, look, listen as if you are enough. Because it's true.”
Geneen Roth