Friday, February 27, 2015

Food Scented Products - Love 'Em or Leave 'Em?

I rarely eat out at lunch, so most mornings I am rummaging through the fridge to find something to take to work for lunch. Of course, I tell myself one day I will plan everything and prepare it ahead of time, but that day hasn't arrived yet. Not to mention, I hate to waste leftovers.

Yesterday, it was leftover salsa verde chicken from the tostadas we had had for dinner.. I grabbed a couple corn tortillas to wrap the chicken.  I was on my way out the door when I remembered I had an avocado. I am a huge fan of avocados and took that to add to the "tacos". My lunch ended up basically being avocado tacos with some shredded chicken thrown on top.

When I used tortillas I always heat them up over the burner on my gas stove. I like them warm with just a little really brings out the flavor. However, at work we have an electric stove. I thought it would work pretty much the same way....not so much. They started smoking and burning immediately. Then they were sticking to the burner. While I was trying to peel them off the burners the office smoke alarm started blaring. It was a moment I was thankful I had the whole building to myself.

So after clearing the smoke and calming down the smoke detector, I set about assembling my lunch. My tacos were tasty, but truth be told they need something. Maybe crunch, spice, acidity - a slice of tomato, maybe. They were good, but just a little blah. I ended up eating the whole avocado, so the calories were a bit higher than I have been trying to do for lunch, but definitely less than fast food. Additionally, I saved money and feel much healthier about what I ate. Despite the drama I am putting this lunch in the win column.
I had to make a stop at Walmart on my way home. I was standing in the checkout line when I noticed these Chap Sticks - Cake Batter, Pomegranate Gumdrop...YUM! I had picked up one of each and put them on the conveyor belt with the rest of my purchases. When suddenly I realized I don't need Chap lips are fine and I already have something if they get chapped. I reluctantly put them back.
This incident got me to thinking about all the food scented products available. My first thought was candles. Some of my favorites are food scented - especially vanilla and cinnamon scents. Question is are these food scented items a good thing or a bad thing for those who are actively trying to lose weight?  Do the scents satisfy or intensify the desire to eat?  Do they make me legitimately hungry?

Clearly there is a huge market for the food scented items. A quick look around the house revealed several products. I love the scent of my dish soap, but I am pretty sure it doesn't make me hungry. Maybe it is because I am doing the dishes after just having eaten. Or perhaps citrus scents are in a whole different category of appealing.
This cinnamon sugar room spray is one of my all time favorites (sadly, I can't get it anymore) I try to make do with other air fresheners like this Febreze. (and I just noticed shouldn't Febreze be spelled Febreeze?) 
By using these food scented products do I ever fear that instead of people just thinking I smell good that they might actually try and eat me??

What are your thoughts on food scented products?

What a difference a day makes! This was the view on our street yesterday before I left for work. I know it was a lot of snow, but sometimes that just makes me more nervous. I think people tend to be a little more reckless when they drive thinking the roads are okay,

Today - clear roads and sunshine :) Granted it is -1 degrees this morning, but with sunshine I can work with the cold.

And those are the random thoughts in my world this chilly Friday. Apparently, we are expecting some more yucky weather this weekend. Maybe we will just hunker down and catch up on some of our favorite shows. I will definitely be considering becoming a Netflix subscriber - House of Cards was released today! We watched the first two seasons on DVD and I might not want to wait that long to see what ol' Frank Underwood is up to next.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


I have a confession...and it is bad. Monday I was not a good "no sweet February" person. I did manage to make it until the afternoon before I had a piece of candy at work. One innocent snack size (tiny) Milky Way Dark turned into a Butterfinger, a Baby Ruth and a Kit Kat.  All the tiny size. So about the total calories of a single candy bar. I could live with that, but...

On the way home I decided I really wanted a bakery treat. I took the long way home from work, but the   sweet shop was closed. I was stuck between relief and being totally annoyed. But then I remembered a new one was opening...

I am super lazy when it comes to getting off the beaten path. I have often thought about the fact that there are no fast food restaurants on my direct route to and from work. Sometimes, that fact is super aggravating to me and other times I am extremely grateful. Of course, there are tons of places close to my path, but when I am driving somewhere or am on my way home I just don't want detours.

So, bad news, the second bakery is about 2-3 blocks from my house and directly on the way to pretty much everywhere I go. I pass by there ALL the time. It was about 4:40 p.m. I was partially hoping the shop would already be closed and partially (desperately) hoping it would be open. As I pulled up, my eyes immediately found the OPEN sign. As soon as I stepped inside I knew I was in trouble. They had a case full of yumminess before me. What I loved about this place is their variety. I am not a huge fan of the cupcake craze. I love cookies, bars, muffins, etc. There were easily 10 items I wanted to try. I finally settled on a lemon bar and a cake pop. I am not huge on cake pops but I was intrigued by the flavor - chocolate PB&J. Turns out the cake pop was just chocolate...PB&J was a different cake pop entirely that they were out of. For the record, I would not have gotten the cake pop if I had not misunderstood the sign.

So on to the lemon bar. It was delicious. But also a greater source of shame. I "couldn't" take it home to eat because my husband was already home. So I drove around the neighborhood eating my lemon bar before I got home. I felt rather pathetic.

To be clear, I see absolutely nothing wrong with having occasional treats and enjoying them. I also see nothing wrong with not eating them in front of your spouse who is avoiding temptation. The problem I see is eating several pieces of candy, then going on a hunt for more treats, then "hiding" in the car to eat them - hiding because you don't want anyone to know because you are embarrassed. That is NO way to enjoy an occasional treat.

Okay, I know I am not the only one who has ever done that, but that doesn't make it me feel better about it. Neither did my husband's hysterical laughter when I confessed that I had driven around in order to hide my lemon bar shame.My shame is even more obvious by the fact that this photo crazed blogger didn't even take a picture of the lovely lemon evidence!

While I was at the shop I chatted with the owners of the shop and found out they had a Facebook page where they announce specials...great! I love, love, love specials - I am always looking to try something new. If I owned a bakery or restaurant I would have a few basic items and lots of specials.

I was "inexplicably" grumpy when I got home. I ended up parking in front of the tv watching stupid shows all night. It was definitely not a "wife of the year" evening. I didn't even make dinner - and I even had something simple to make planned and ready to go. My sweet husband offered to get us Subway for dinner and I accepted.

By the way, I didn't make my confession (my partial confession) until bedtime. I didn't confess the driving around eating the lemon bar until the next morning.  I asked my husband to lay down the law and forbid me from going to the bakery yesterday. And also to forbid me from eating the candy at work. I know that since I have promised him I will make sure it doesn't happen.

So, I packed my healthy snacks - cutie, grapes, apple with peanut butter - and set off for work. The bakery was open on my way by, but I kept driving. I was non-stop at work until lunch around 1:30 p.m.. I didn't even think about my snacks or the candy at work. I didn't have the healthiest lunch - buffalo chicken dip nachoes. They tasted okay when I ate them, but my stomach hurt all afternoon. By dinner time I was feeling better and made the dinner I had originally planned for Monday night. It was yummy!  The pork chops were rubbed with brown sugar, rosemary, salt and pepper. It was a nice flavor combination. I will definitely make it again. I served it with steamed cauliflower and corn.

In other exciting news...I am thinking garden thoughts. This weekend I planted some seeds. I haven't always had the best luck with seeds. My seedlings don't seem to get as big and robust as I would like before it is time to put them outside. Once outside they tend to perk up - so I have hope. It gives me something to think about while the snow still covers the garden beds.

I was excited about this mix of different color cherry tomatoes. Then I started to worry that I would end up planting all of one color. To my surprise the seeds were color coded so I was able to plant a variety. I marked the colors on the sticks so hopefully I will know which are which in the garden. I don't want to be waiting all summer for a green tomato that will never turn red.

Ready for the window sill. Hope the all grow healthy and strong :) I planted a second tray as well - mostly herbs - cilantro, dill, sweet basil, lime basil and more tomatoes.

This time of year I can't wait to get working on the garden. I am hoping in about a month to be planting the cold weather crops outside - spinach, radishes, carrots, lettuce...yum! By mid-summer I am hating the heat, weeds and mosquitoes!  

Do you have any garden plans?

P.S. I have put the "lemon bar incident" behind me. I am not beating myself up for it, I am just sharing my experience. I am hopeful that sharing may help someone handle a similar situation a little bit differently and if not, to help them move past it too. Just because you stumble doesn't mean you stop walking :)

Weigh In Wednesday

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Making the Best of the Snow

Sunday afternoon I decided to take Millie out to the farm and burn off a few calories - mine and hers :)  Tramping through the snow was hard work. The snow had harden on top, but not enough to keep me on top of it. We ended up not walking too far because my mother-in-law's old Lab was having trouble walking in the snow and started limping more than usual.
Clearly Millie did a better job than I getting her exercise in. She absolutely loves playing with Arry - they are similar in age and craziness. There is nothing better than a game of keep away! The action is so fast that I am taking pictures as fast as I can to keep up. It is always a fun surprise to see the silly expressions you catch in photos that you never saw during the live action. 

Arry is obsessed with grabbing Millie's back leg to slow her down.

I know Millie got a good workout because she was more than willing to sit with the snowman for a quick photo op :)

I know I am probably wearing you all out with all my Millie in the snow pictures.  So moving on, to some adorable chilly cows.  I actually took these the day we were sledding. How could I have not shared their sweet faces sooner??
 And this is why you never let someone take a picture of you head on...angle those bodies, ladies :)
 I couldn't get enough of this little guy. He was kept peeking at me from behind the other cows.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a confession... I would confess today, but I am still working on how to spin it so you all won't think I have completely lost it :)

Stay warm!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Millie's Yearly Check Up

Millie had her yearly shots and check up today. She was pretty calm in the waiting room even though she wanted to play with everyone. This little pup was ridiculous. He "hid" under the chair and barked at the "big bad Rottweiler." Poor Millie was crying - she just wanted to play with someone!
With no other dogs in the waiting room she was forced to eavesdrop on the conversations behind the counter...
 But they soon bored her...
While we were waiting to be called back I found these on the bulletin board.  Maybe I should have moved the picture of the Weimaraners on the right, but how cute are they?  Anyway, the "before" picture is definitely referring to the guy on the left.

And here are his after pictures. Doesn't even look like the same dog! Less than half his size!  Looks like it took him awhile to lose it, but good things happen when you stick with it :)
Millie would be all over this booth. She loves eating sticks of every size and flavor!
Finally we made it back to the exam room. And there were all kinds of interesting smells and a trash can to check out. A buffet of odors :)
She hears them coming...
 She did very well.  Everyone thought she was a cutie and very sweet.
 They even took a moment to give her a quick belly rub...
Oops!  I guess we forgot to tell her about the blood draw and a couple shots. She did great! I couldn't believe how easy the vet made drawing blood look. It is always a much bigger challenge for me to get blood drawn and I don't even have fur covering my veins!!
So, a little irony for this Losing My Puppy weight loss blog of mine. Millie weighed in at 85 pounds today. The vet recommended that she lose about 8 pounds. What??!? We are pretty good about not feeding her extras. There was a little phase when we used peanut butter to keep her busy and distract her from eating shoes. But she ate the shoes anyway, so we had stopped the peanut butter. On a related note, before we left for the vet I had a bowl of cereal and had dropped one of my blueberries. Of course, Millie was there to grab it. She carried it around the house for awhile trying to figure out if it was edible. She spit it out, rolled it around, picked it back up. The dachshund took a turn. Finally, my husband took it away from her. So much for healthy eating!

I guess she is suffering from a bit of winter weight like the rest of us. Come on spring! One of her siblings (male) weighs 119 pounds and his vet said he needs to lose 9 pounds. Guess Millie can claim genetics for her chubbies :)

Maybe I will have to get her a Pinterest account so she can start a weight loss motivation board. The before/after pictures above would be a great pin! Do sticks count as healthy snacks?

Friday, February 20, 2015

5 on Friday - Favorite Recipes Edition

This week for my 5 on Friday I am sharing five of our go-to recipes. They are tried and true staples in our house. So tried and true, in fact, I get stuck in a rut making them over and over. I am sharing with you in hopes of bringing something new to your table. Additionally, to help me find some new favorites, please share one of your tried and true healthy recipes in the comment section.

In no particular order:

1. Chicken Cassoulet - Eating Well (approximately 400 calories for a generous serving)

To me this dish is pure comfort food. It is hearty and great for fall/winter. I almost always have the ingredients on hand to make it - quick and easy. The recipe calls for some toasted bread cubes on tub, but most of the time I am too lazy to do that and who needs the extra calories? I like to serve it with a side of spinach, which I usually mix in a little to the cassoulet as I eat it.
picture from
To see why I used the cookbook's picture check out the picture I posted here


2. Edamame Lo Mein - Eating Well (approximately 420 calories for a 2-cup serving - add additional calories for extra veggies)

I mostly follow Eating Well's recipe. However, my husband didn't love the edamame. I figured out the calories for the edamame and replaced it with the same number of calories worth of chicken breast. To bulk up the recipe a little I add more veggies - broccoli isn't part of the original recipe, but we love it. You can pretty much use the veggies you have on hand. In the picture below we used mostly veggies from our garden. You can read more about it in a previous post here.


3. Salsa Verde Chicken Tostadas - (approximately 400 calories for 2 tostadas)

This recipe has become one of our favorites. I know this will sound vain, but it is the type of recipe that doesn't scream "I am trying to lose weight or I am on a diet." In fact, I have put it on tortilla chips and served it to the guys watching football. They now request it. It sounds a bit odd, but I highly recommend trying the simple cabbage slaw with it. I always make extra slaw. The acidity of the lime works really well with the chicken and cheese.
Picture from
Again you can see why I used the picture from As delicious as it is, I can't seem to photograph it well - see here on a previous post.

4. Turkey Burgers with Zucchini - 160 calories for the burger + cheese filling and bun)

I modified the recipe and now they are known as Pizza Burgers or as my husband says "best burgers ever." I make the Skinnytaste recipe with the addition of a handful of chopped cilantro.  Then I wrap the meat around a couple tablespoons of Provel cheese and chopped jalapenos. Be sure to get the meat wrapped around well to keep the cheese in the middle of the burger. You can see the cheese has melted and oozed out a bit on this burger.

5. Carne Picada aka Car Wash Tacos - Won't Read Directions (approximately I don't know how many calories - we just love it)

One day I  bought a package of Carne Picada at Walmart with no idea what to do with it. I had never heard of it before. A quick Google search lead me to this recipe that has been a favorite ever since. The blogger at Won't Read Directions describes a car wash in El Paso, TX that has a little restaurant counter in the back. This is hands down one of my husband's favorite dishes. I can brighten any bad day by saying "car wash tacos for dinner." I use corn tortillas which I warm and blister a little directly on the gas burner. Sometimes, we put a little sour cream on. Sometimes, I add a slice of avocado. Sometimes my husband eats it directly out of the pan!

So that is what is on our table. Sorry to my regular readers who are seeing recycled pictures. See, I am really am in a bit of a rut with what we eat. As much as we love these recipes, we need help! Please leave me your favorite healthy recipe in the comment section.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Snow Workout

This weekend we had a perfectly timed snowfall. It started snowing Sunday night and continued into Monday morning. We ended up with between 5-7 inches. The best part was that my husband and I were both off work for President's Day. I was super excited because we hadn't been sledding for a couple of years. The snow always seemed to arrive on a work day or made the roads too dangerous to drive out to my in-laws farm. This time it all worked out.

My nephew and niece were out of school too. With a group of their friends we headed out to the farm for some serious (and not so-serious) fun in the snow.
 Millie loved running through the snow spray and the chasing the sleds down the hill.
I, however, did not love the snow spray. For the record, there is a legit reason not to sit in the front of the sled. I was happy to get my sister on the sled with me - even though I got stuck in the front.
At least we made it safely to the end of the ride :)
 Out of this squealing mess....
 ...emerged this group of snow covered goofballs.
I think my niece was the only one who liked (maybe loved) being in the front of the sled. I think she has dreams of becoming the next Abominable Snow Monster.
My husband was the designated pusher. I didn't realize until I was looking at the pictures how many wipeouts he took at the top of the hill.

Naturally, my husband had to take sledding to the next level with a little "snowboarding."  No broken bones to report :)
We took a turn down the hill together. It looks like he is just giving me a push, but he is actually crouching behind me on the sled. I am supposed to be steering..ha!
The hill was not super steep, but we got going pretty fast after the first few runs. And the sled would travel farther and farther.  Read: A long trek back up the hill.
 Our landing spot on one of the longest rides of the day..
 Me and my honey.  Why can't winter wear be a little more slimming???
It sounds like play, but sledding is a serious workout! Between sledding and taking pictures who knows how many times I trekked up and down that hill. Not to mention the 1/2 mile walk to and from the sledding hill. Six inches of snow makes it all the better to work those leg muscles. I do love when a workout is disguised as play. Full disclosure: I ended the day with aching bones. It took a warm bath and a hot shower to soothe the aches enough to get a good night's sleep.

Our silly Millie pup loved her day in the snow. She definitely got in touch with her inner maniac.

 She even took a ride on the sled.
We ended our adventure back in our in-laws farmhouse kitchen devouring chili and grilled cheese sandwiches - and by devouring I mean I had a small bowl and one sandwich (and some chips - I lost count). Sledding works up an appetite!!  I am happy to report, even after my "ice cream break" on Sunday, I did not have any of the chocolate cake or orange sherbet...both looked yummy.

I am extra glad I didn't have cake and ice cream after sledding. So I didn't feel guilty about having a two bite piece of King Cake yesterday. A co-worker brought it to work and since I had never had it before I decided on a little taste. My big Fat Tuesday indulgence.
This is exactly the reason I want to limit random sweets - so when a unique opportunity arises I don't feel guilty. The cake was not quite what I expected after hearing Desiree and Mary's description of the ooey gooey deliciousness of authentic Louisiana King Cake. This one was apparently a Midwest version that was more like a slightly sweet bread with a glob of super sweet icing on top. I could seriously not get the sweet taste out of my mouth the rest of the morning. Good news it is a temptation I will not face again...unless I get a chance to try it in Louisiana some day.

Time to finish strong for "no sweet February". Weigh in tomorrow...I am feeling hopeful.

And now that I have had my fun in the snow, I think I am ready for spring.
Weigh In Wednesday