Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Creative Cooking...Mozzarella Sticks

Every once in a while I have a taste for a snack, rarely does that taste run towards anything cheese.  Just like Guy Fieri doesn't eat eggs, I don't eat most types of cheese.  I only eat mozzarella, Parmesan and American cheese.  No other will I try.  If it smells, get that away from me.  I remember when McDonald's started having the fancy salads and I didn't know it wasn't the usual cheddar cheese you can easily remove.  Oh no, they had to use feta.  OMG!  I couldn't even eat the damn thing because it smelled so badly to me.  I would say what it smells like but, I don't want to ruin your appetite.  Me know likey cheese.  But I do like mozzarella sticks, so I decided to try a quick and easy baked version.


Mozzarella string cheese 50% less fat
Italian breadcrumbs
Parmesan grated cheese
Marinara (I used the jarred variety that I spiced up)
1 egg
1/2 cup of flour

Basically, you combine your breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese.  I cut my string cheese in half making the portion only 25 calories.  Then in separate bowls have your breadcrumb mixture, flour and beaten egg. FYI - you can use just the white to eliminate a few more calories.  I didn't. 

First you dip the cheese stick in your flour coating evenly.  Then you place it in the egg coating all over, then you roll it in your breadcrumb mixture until fully coated.  Then place on a greased sheet pan.  Repeat until all your sticks are done.  Spray the tops of the cheese stick with your cooking spray. Then you must freeze your sticks for an hour.  I did mine overnight.  Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and pop in the oven.  Watch them carefully, because they will melt on you and lose their shape.  Let cool enough to eat and enjoy.

Verdict:  Yummy.  And you can freeze them and cook as you need them, which is what I did.  Easy, quick and will not bust your weight loss program.

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Me - 1 and Lizard - 0… After Thanksgiving Randoms

My roasted brined turkey.  It is moist and seasoned all the way through.

Does anyone find the Mayhem commercials from All.State hilarious? I laugh out loud. The raccoon one is a mess and the GPS one is equally as funny.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I did. I actually made some of the best yeast and cinnamon rolls of my baking career. Family was fun. Food was okay. Thankfulness in abundance.

However, why in all that is beautiful and glorious would you come to someone’s house and immediately pack food and you didn’t bring not nary a damn dish, paper towel or something to contribute to the meal? Bad enough you ate elsewhere, and were here only for dessert, but we see dessert also means the food you didn’t get to sample. How do you deal with that damn uncouthness in your family? Since it wasn’t at my house…but if it was, somebody’s feelings would be hurt.

Oh, baby Carson was so much fun. I taught him how to be vain and Rick Ross songs and everything. Now he did get a little fussy, but we had about 30 minutes of baby giggles, spit bubbles and the most precious of smiles imaginable. I also told him to look in the mirror everyday and say he is fabulous, gorgeous, and wonderful.  His grandma said if he starts doing that he is gonna have to live with me.  There is nothing wrong with being vain. 
He even had the nerve to grab my hair and not let go. Ouch! LOL!
Mr. G with little Carson
Me and Little Carson before the vanity lesson and rap song lesson!
My cousin JT tweeted about our dinner and the fun we had afterwards. He said he didn’t know half of the folks there, me either. No really, I didn’t know several of the folks there. But I tried to be cordial and stay with my cousins so as not to appear anti-social. Not sure that it worked.

My niece made the rolls and cinnamon rolls in VA. They looked good, but my sister says they weren’t too bad. The student needs more practice. LOL!

My brother made a nice Thanksgiving spread for a friend and her family. No questions please. Because I have no answers. Thatisall!

My sister’s sweet potato soufflé came out pretty good. So she can do more than pull up to a drive thru menu?

My friend, who had been praying on Black Friday shopping with me, got the right answer. Yes, she went with me and had the best time. Although she says I make her spend money she didn’t plan to, but then I reminded her it really was Tiffany’s fault. However, um, home girl was not ready when I arrived at her house at 2:53 a.m. She was still sleep. But baby she was dressed and ready to roll in 10 minutes. She was also amazed that I knew exactly what open at what time and how meticulous my list was.

Black Friday was even easier this year than last, because folks were out on Thanksgiving night and at midnight. So I wasn’t fighting folks for items I wanted. I didn’t have any big ticket items on my list this year. And at Target, the cashier came and got us to check out. So very different from last year. Here is a little thing to notice, not all the big ticket items on sale are gone by 6 am. There were a few of those items still available. Lucky for me I got the last copy of Bridesmaids.
Our Black Friday Haul and there was stuff on the back seat.

At 9:40 am I was back in my pjs and in bed for my rest. However, I woke at 2 pm and it was a wrap on the sleeping.

Saturday, was put up the tree time, so I planned to go out to the storage room at noon and get my Christmas tree and decorations. Well, my fear of lizards had me working up my nerve to go out there and I finally went out there by 3 pm. Ya’ll, I shook each box and looked tentatively to insure there were no nasty lizards amongst my things. Mind you I had purchased some mothballs and put them out there hours before I went to retrieve the boxes. I even let the items sit on the car port for a minute in hopes if there was a lizard in my things it would mosey its azz right on out of there. So about 6 or 7 I heard a rustling by the boxes I had still in the den. (I was still spooked and said I would put the tree up Sunday.) I immediately started yelling, “No, no, no. I made sure there were no lizards in anything.” Then tears formed in my eyes and I went to look by the boxes and didn’t see anything and figured it was maybe a water bug or something. So Sunday I have put my tree up and was in the process of setting the dining room table and was taking a break with my Dsi in the den, because the guy was on his way over for dinner. As I looked out of the corner of my eye, what the hell did my lying eyes witness? A damn lizard. I jumped on top of the couch and started screaming and shaking to death. I couldn’t believe it. I was just done. I thought I could wait on the guy to get there or try to get the nasty creature out of the house. So I ran in the kitchen to get the broom and I opened the back door. By now the damn thing went under the lazy boy chair, but I moved that sucker and was like, “Go, lizard, lizard, go,” and I tried to sweep it towards the door and the thing almost went behind my television stand but I was able to redirect the thing out the door and I slammed that door. Me - 1 Lizard – 0. I still haven’t finished decorating. My nerves are tore the hell up. The guy was like he was glad I got it out of there, but he promised to get me some snake away stuff. He also has to get my wrapping paper out of the storage shed, if it hadn’t been raining on Sunday that would have been thoroughly checked. Note to self: time to buy the plastic containers that can be sealed.
My finished tree, 2012!

Did anyone watch Sisterwives? Robin is gangster. She delivered that baby like a champ. She wasn’t screaming or carrying on and she had that baby without any medical intervention aka epidural. LOL! And the thoughtfulness in her question to Meri about being her surrogate, made me cry. I may not agree what their lifestyle, but I can’t deny they really are invested in making their lifestyle work for them.

I watched the Soul Train Awards. Dry. Why does Lalah Hathaway’s voice always makes me sleepy, like really as soon as she starts singing I start yawning and tears start rolling down my face? My sister kept asking why does everything Cee-lo Green wear look like a costume? Because he is little and rotund. Why didn’t they just let Joe, Robin Thicke and Eric Benet do all the Earth, Wind and Fire songs? All those other folks were horrid.

The Original 7 aka The Time, were cute and when my sister said they were on tour I was like with 5 songs, really? No, really?

Nice tribute to Heavy D.

I made the cheesecake, my folks approved. The guy was like wow, with just looking at the picture. Recipe coming soon.
My finished Cheesecake!
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. My Thanksgiving was really peaceful and full of joy. Spending time with family and being grateful for all that has been giving is always great!

And for vanity sakes...A Thanksgiving hair picture!  What?!

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Randoms…

My fedora from New Orleans

Can you believe it is already time for Thanksgiving and it will soon be 2012? Crazy because this year has zoomed past and I keep asking where did the time go.

Besides cleaning and getting rid of lizards for the holidays, I have some random thoughts running through my mind.

What is the best way to broach the subject of cooking a better turkey to a host? I mean, is there a right time or place to say to someone that they may want to try a new way of roasting their turkey? My boss on my second job said their family Thanksgiving dinner, which they had this past Saturday, the ham was dry and the turkey was even drier, but he enjoyed the sides and the company. I could feel his pain because there is nothing like a dry ass bird and a ham dry, just forget about it.

How do you explain etiquette to grown people? Shouldn’t it be a given if you are invited to dinner, that you bring something even if the hosts says not to? I am just asking.

The radio is playing Christmas music right now. Really?

Why must my sister torture me with questions about cooking things? I googled the recipes, why can’t she? She is not going to follow the recipe anyway, so why worry me. Geez!

My brother will begin culinary school on January 9, 2012. Progress.

My turkey breast is brining at home right now. Yummy! I have to always have something to eat at my house because I rarely take home leftovers from the hosts.

Carson, the baby, is here! I can’t wait to get to his cheeks.
Lil' Carson

Last night on my 2nd job, I really wanted to get rid of all the workers. No seriously. They had plucked my last working nerve. Thank goodness I know when to take a few days away from folk’s children. I have never seen a bunch of lazy, unconcerned and spoiled children all together in my life.

My eyes have been itching all day. My allergies are out of control. I guess I should take my medicine tonight, early.

My brother is as vain as I am. It’s hereditary. Maybe, because my sister doesn’t get why we are so vain. I really believe my mama found her in the bushes. I told her this most of her childhood. What? I was the oldest child and she was the middle child, who felt tortured.
Just because I am so vain...3 hair pictures...

My cousin plans to ignite some shyte tomorrow by saying my cousin and I should have cookie cook off, the cousin and her brother-in-law a texting challenge and whatever mess he can instigate. I have not told my cousin I bake cookies, because I haven’t wanted to hurt her feelings. I just think cookies should spread out and not be lumps. You have seen the cookies I have baked. Just saying…

I guess I will be doing Black Friday by myself. My friend is still praying on it. Really?

Let me ask you, do you have family or friends who will tell you when someone you don’t know has passed away? I don’t know how to respond to that because I am not absorbing that information.

My niece aka Damon’s seed, says it just doesn’t seem right to not be here for Thanksgiving. I hate it too, but I am sure she will have a lot to be thankful for nonetheless. Her partner in crime, her cousin, says now he want have anyone to talk to. These two are probably going to be looking like lost orphans. Next year… There is always next year if God’s willing.

Of course Turkey Day Classic activities are underway, I won't be participating in them but I know my folks will have a ball.

I am thankful for a lot of things this year, mostly the ability to have peace all around me. I am thankful for family as we transition without my aunt. I am thankful for all He has seen to make happen for me. Finding peace and happiness is so what living is worth and this year, I have lived. And, um, I am really thankful for being off from both jobs for 4 days! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

That is all I got for now. I am sure some tomfoolery will take place when the family gets together to give thanks tomorrow, which will make for another addition of randoms. Until then…Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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Creative Cooking...Chicken Parmesan - Baked

I got this recipe from, and I changed a few things up, but for the most part stuck to the directions.

• 4 thinly sliced chicken breasts

• ½ cup of Italian seasoned breadcrumbs

• ¼ cup of Panko breadcrumbs

• ¼ cup of grated Parmesan Cheese

• 2 tbsp of butter

• Mozzarella cheese

• Jarred Marinara sauce

• Cooking spray

My changes were I added Panko breadcrumbs to my Italian seasoned breadcrumbs and used my favorite Marinara sauce that I jazzed up with some Kalamata olives and some diced tomatoes. I also only sauced and cheesed up the individual breasts when I heated them for dinner throughout the week.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Sprayed my pan with cooking oil.

Combined my breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese in a container.
Combined Panko breadcrumbs, Italian Seasoned breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese

Melted my butter. I then brushed each of the fillets with the butter and dipped and covered them with the breadcrumbs in my separate pan and placed them on my cooking pan. Did this for all the breasts. Then I sprayed the top of the breast with some more cooking spray.
Coated and ready for baking.

I baked for about 10 minutes on one side and then turned them over and baked an additional 6 minutes on the other side. Depending on the size and thickness of your chicken breast will determine how long to cook, but do not overcook them. Then for each fillet I used my heated marinara sauce and then added my Mozzarella cheese with a few sliced onions and heated in the microwave to melt the cheese.
Brown and still juicy.

Verdict: Very good. The seasoned breadcrumbs give it the right amount of seasoning and the marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese give you that authentic Chicken Parmesan taste. So although it is baked instead of fried and then baked, you don’t lose much flavor just a few extra calories.


Monday, November 21, 2011

My Uninvited, Early Thanksgiving Guest...

My incessant fear of lizards is legendary in these parts. Everyone in my family understands my fear of lizards is no joke. I have explained previously when my uncle was alive, he was the one to remove the lizards from the house for me and to open the door for me at night when they would cover the door and there was no way in hell I was going to even attempt to get near the door until the nasty, filthy creatures were out of the way. And when the way was clear, I would haul butt into the house breathing erractically and shaking uncontrollably. This no joke.

I even threaten to leave my ill aunt in the house alone because of a lizard, and I would do anything for that woman before she died. But even she knew me and lizards didn’t go well together. Not at all. Lizards will make me cry, hard.

So Sunday morning I began cleaning bathrooms and finishing some of my hard cleaning. The back bathroom in the master bedroom is rarely used, but I give it a good cleaning once a month. And since the holidays are upon us, I headed to the back to get it tidied up. Mind you I was in there the night before blow drying my hair so I knew it wasn’t too bad. So when I was almost done, I decided to grab the trash can, which only had a few pieces of paper in it to take it outside. When I looked down and preceded to move the can over, I saw a medium size lizard. My breath caught, and I screamed, loudly. And I ran like the devil was on my back to the front of the house. Out of breathe and hyperventilating I went outside on the front porch. I know you are probably asking why, but hell I went to see if there was a crack head walking around so I could get him to get the lizard out. Not only were there no neighbors home, not one and I mean not one crack head was walking around. I stood on the porch looking left to right, still shaking and scared to death.

I went back inside and went back to the bathroom and that damn lizard was still sitting on the trash can like his life was truly worth living now. I mean seriously, he was about to have a whole bathroom to himself. I closed the bathroom door and wedge a blanket at the bottom of that door. I really couldn’t have that nasty thing roaming all over the house.

I calmed enough to text my cousins, here is what I said, “Um, I know ya’ll in church, but I need someone to come get this lizard out of aunt marie bathroom. Ya’ll know I can’t breathe. No crack head walking around either.”

Then I text my sister and she decided to have a great laugh at my expense.

Me: There is a lizard in aunt marie’s bathroom. Scared the shit out of me. Send hunny bunny down here. You know I closed the door and put a blanket at the bottom of the door. I text gail, kay and pete that someone need to get it outta there.

Sister: ROFLMAO!

Me: Hell now I can’t stop shaking. I even looked outside to see if a crack head was walking around. Nope.

Sister: OMG…Stop!

Me: No you stop laughing. How did the thing get in her bathroom? Filthy creature! If bruce wasn’t preaching, I would call him.

Sister: Lord. Well I hope it don’t escape n suck the blood out of u. LOL.

Me: Um, that blanket is wedged so tight nothing, not even a fart could squeeze through. And you ain’t funny. When hunny bunny getting here?

My cousin Kay, called me laughing. Really? My whole world has tipped on its axis and everyone has become a comedian at my expense. Geez. She comes by and goes to the alleged dealer’s house, and a man and a teenager came to the house and in 1 minute they have the lizard in the garbage bag and took him away from our house. Talking about setting his ass free. Just get it away from my house. My cousin Pete came by as well, he reminded me he don’t mess with lizards. I already know that, but I knew he would figure out a way to get that thang out there.

Now all is right in my world, but seriously that lizard almost had a whole damn bathroom of its own.

***I was going to put a picture of a lizard on this post, but I went to breathing hard and I just couldn’t.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Creative Cooking...Samoa Bars

This is the recipe for those who crave Samoa cookies around Girl Scout time and want to make them yourself.  I saw several recipes and one had me making my own caramel.  Um, that was going to be doing the most and frankly, I ain't that damn ambitious.  So I found one on  This one uses Kraft caramels that you melt in the microwave.  Yeah, that is more my speed. 

Samoa Cookie Bars as adapted from

Cookie base:

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup butter, softened

1 large egg

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups all purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

According to, you need to make the crust first. First, in your mixer combine your sugar and butter and mix until fluffy. Then add your egg and vanilla. Then slowly add your flour and salt mixture on the lowest setting for your mixture. Your dough according to, your dough should be crumbly. Mine was not. It was smooth, which made it difficult to place it in my 9 x 13 parchment lined pan. But I did it even as my OCD was getting the best of me. I don’t like stuff on my hands. Don’t ask. In your preheated oven, bake on 350 degrees until edges are brown the middle is set. Let cool.


3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)

12-oz good-quality chewy caramels

1/4 tsp salt

3 tbsp milk

10 oz. dark or semisweet chocolate chips are ok

On a parchment lined cookie sheet, place your coconut on it and place in a 300 degree oven and brown until golden and set aside.

In your microwave, unwrap your caramels with your milk and salt melt, stirring occasionally. Only took about 3 minutes in my microwave.

Mix your caramel and coconut and spread on your cooled cookie and let it cool. Once cooled cut into squares approximately 30, um I did less I have the patience of a gnat.

I melted my chocolate over a double boiler, although recommends the microwave, I rarely have a good occurrence from this method. With the cookie squares, dip the bottoms into the chocolate, now if you had the problem I had with the cookie actually crumbling a bit, I just used a spatula and smeared the bottoms and places them on wax paper to cool and set. Using the baggy method, I drizzled chocolate over the tops. I actually placed the bars in the refrigerator to set a bit faster.

Blurry just shows how impatient I got. 

VERDICT: Flavor was right on for the Samoas. However, I didn’t like the consistency of the cookie because it was so crumbly. I mean you have to eat it with a napkin or crumbs are everywhere. Maybe if my dough had been more crumbly this would not be the case. Not sure I will make these again. Although they were tasty and my kids on my second job enjoyed them, we all agreed the cookie part needed some adjustment maybe some baking powder or soda? Hey, you try and tell me how they work out. recipe is simple and easy to make.

A little closer view of the caramel, coconut and chocolate...

Just so you know I have two more recipes I have to test one is a coconut, pineapple cupcake and just for the guy a plain, in the springform pan cheesecake.  Lawd, help me.  No really, I need prayer on that one because I do not eat cheesecake. No siree!  But for him, I will use my guinea pigs at the 2nd job to test.  So pray.  Pray hard!

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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Creative Cooking...Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Raisin Nut Cookies

My grandmother was known for her temper and her oatmeal cookies. For as long as I can remember, my cousin has raved about how wonderful my grandmother’s cookies were. I don’t remember eating them myself, but my cousin has been trying to replicate them forever. Her version tastes okay, but I have always thought cookies should not look like mounds, but round edible goodness. If I put here what her cookies look like you may not want to try this recipe.

I saw this recipe a year ago and I even tried to do it, but if you don’t have enough oats and are lacking in raisins, um, that just want work. I don’t know what those cookies were, but they did taste good. I added the chips to the recipe and changed the nuts to pecans, because I like pecans better than walnuts in cookies and I added the chips because one of my favorite bloggers, Ladylee of the House of Ladylee makes oatmeal cookies in differing variations and adds chocolate to them. Don’t think I didn’t try to see if she had her recipe on her blog, because baby her cookies always look wonderful and I know why folks hoard them when she gives them away. I stayed closely to the recipe as seen on but added those two variations.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Raisin Nut Cookies as adapted from


2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar, packed

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 large eggs, well beaten

1 Tbsp vanilla

3 cups rolled oats {Do not use instant oats.)
1 1/2 cups raisins

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter until creamy. Add sugars; beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs. Add vanilla.

Mix flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in medium bowl. Stir dry ingredients into butter-sugar mixture. Stir in raisins, chips and nuts. Stir in oats.

Using my cookie scoop I placed dollops onto a prepared parchment lined cookie sheet, leaving at least 2 inches between each cookie.

Bake until cookie edges turn golden brown, 10-12 minutes. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets. Then carefully remove them, using a metal spatula, to a wire rack. Cool completely.
Up close can you see the raisins, nuts and chocolate chips?

Verdict: Amazing! Absolutely wonderful. These cookies were crispy around the edges and moist and chewy in the middle and the combination of the raisins, chocolate and pecans just made them extra rich and tasty. This took me about 15 minutes to do so it is simple and easy. Try them and you will not go wrong. Sorry cousin, these are better than yours!

P. S. The reason I didn't have a picture of the cookies on the cookie sheet, is because I froze all but four so I could take the picture.  I told ya'll I like cooking, but I can't eat all that I bake.

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Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Lifestyle Change
January 2007  - Before Picture

One of the most asked questions I get is how do I stay motivated to work out on a consistent basis? In fact I was ask this again today as I trudged along to do my 30 minutes of exercise on the elliptical. And I thought what a good blog post.

First of all, I do not love working out. There are days when the thought of working out irritates me so much I think of excuses on why I shouldn’t workout today. Most of the time, I just say forget about it and change into my workout gear and go workout. I am pretty lucky my agency has a workout room with treadmills, an elliptical machine, weights and bikes. It also has a television and fans to keep you cooled down. Most places do not have this set up. So I am thankful for having a dedicated workout room.

When I began working out in December of 2009, it was because I needed to lose weight because my body was acting a fool, and my doctor didn’t like my numbers. So I began his weight loss program and for a year I went to the doctor once a month to monitor my weight loss and make sure I was working the program well. I lost the most pounds of his female patients who were in the program of 70 pounds. Remarkable, but actually a lot of hard work because it is when the pounds started to melt off did I realize how important exercise was to my regime.

I began by using the Wii games such as sports and sports active. With sports active, you do a 30 day challenge where you work out two days, and one day off and do this for a month. I began on the easy setting, which initially was kicking my butt. I was sweating like an animal, but I loved the way I felt once I finished. I began the program when my aunt was in rehab, so there were no interruptions and you would find me working out in the morning or night depending on what my responsibilities required. Each time I completed a 30 day challenge, the feeling of accomplishment was exhilarating. By April of 2010, I decided I would utilize our agency workout room. So onto the treadmill I went. I started by walking a mile and built up to 3 miles in 40 minutes with intervals of jogging. And then I would go home and do my Wii challenge. So I was working out about an hour and half most days. I always looked forward to rest days. So on average I working out 5 to 6 days a week. Every week. Plus, with my caretaking duties I was really putting in a lot of exercise whether it was purposeful or just part of my responsibilities as a caretaker. I did a lot of lifting, and I learn to do it properly so as not to injure myself and a lot of walking in the house. So my pounds melting off wasn’t effortless, it just seemed that way to those looking from the outside.

After a year of the weight loss program, I was pretty much on my own. After my aunt passed, it took me a moment to realize I could sit my ass down when I got off work and it was okay. Of course I found other hobbies to keep me busy, but I continued to workout at work and at home. I finally decreased my home workouts because frankly the Wii got boring and started to irritate me to no end. No seriously, the damn remote on your leg not registering will send a sane person to the edge of no return. I would do my Michael Jackson Experience once week and that was fine. I continued to work out but only 4 to 5 times a week. And in the spring, I incorporated walking at my community center, where I could walk and jog for 40 minutes in the early morning. I honestly liked doing that because it was peaceful to be outside and I was able to challenge myself fully. I also liked that it gave me an extra boost to get chores and errands done on Saturday morning while most folks were sleeping. I also realized I gain weight in the summer, because I really do not like to exercise in the heat. 15 pounds, and so far in the last two weeks I have lost 6 pounds. Go me.

How? Exercising and cutting back my calories a whole lot. So what motivates me to exercise? I just don’t want to gain all the weight I lost back. I worked too damn hard to lose it to gain it back because I am being lazy. I see the benefits of working out. My numbers are fantastic. I have strong muscles in my legs. I feel great after a good and strenuous workout. Although, to be at my ideal weight I need to lose another 30 pounds, it is the challenge of trying to reach that goal that keeps me motivated. I made a promise that when I returned to the doctor in November, I would have lost 7 pounds and I will have come that day. Then my next goal is 15 pounds by Christmas. And with motivation and determination 15 more pounds by May 1, 2012.

I do not work out because I love to, but because I have to. When I say I am going to do something I do. I believe in follow through. I am all about commitment. To not follow through stresses me out. Exercising isn’t always fun, but I try to make it so by challenging myself. When I started working out at work, I and the secretary would go, and there were about 4 or 5 other people going on a regular. Now, only I work out regularly. At 11:30 am, I head straight for the workout room. I workout 30 minutes or more, alone with my music and I don’t worry about others not doing it, because my challenge is my own. I always like to finish what I start. So exercising consistently is the lifestyle change that I will not eliminate from life. My life is too important to do that.

October 31, 2011 - After Picture

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Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Creative Cooking...Stuffed Mushrooms

I love stuffed mushrooms and it is getting to be the season where you can find stuffer mushrooms. These are the mushrooms that are bigger than your average button mushrooms. Alas, I had to use some large button mushrooms until I can drag my azz into the Sam’s by November where they have the fresh stuffer mushrooms on sale.

This is one of the dishes I serve at my December book club meeting I host every year. I actually brought some to a potluck meeting prior to adding it to my menu so I could test my member’s reactions. Um, they loved them. This is a variation of the kinds I make for the meeting. One is a meat variety and one is a veggie one.

Stuffed mushrooms (You know I don’t measure right?)

¼ of a package of hot pork sausage

Some chopped onions

1 cup of frozen spinach

1 small tomato

2 chopped green onions

Some real bacon bits

Italian bread crumbs

Olive oil

Mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sautee your onions and sausage in a pan and then drain them. Set aside to cool. In a small boil mix in your cooled sausage and onion mixture, bacon, tomato and frozen spinach. Add in your cheese and bread crumbs. You want the mixture to be dry but moist, hence the olive oil. Luckily, I didn’t have to add any more oil to my mixture.
I added a little extra Mozzarella cheese to the tops.

Clean your mushrooms after removing the steams. Please, and I am talking to my sister, do not wash your damn mushrooms. A nice damp cloth or paper towel will do the trick. Mushrooms have a lot of water in them and you will cause them to break down too much with the extra water.

Place mushrooms on a greased cookie sheet and bake for about 20 minutes or until they are brown.

My vegetarian version came from watching an episode of Giada’s Italian cooking show on the Food Network. It consists of canned dice tomatoes (drained), chopped black olives, green onions, mozzarella cheese, Italian bread crumbs and olive oil to moisten the mixture. These taste like mini pizzas.

So when I start seeing stuffer mushrooms I get excited because you can eat them as a meal or a small snack and not feel too guilty about eating them. I would give you a verdict, but hell I loved these because the recipe works for me and it is a variation on several I found but these works for me. Enjoy!

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