Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Things for which I'm thankful

1.  I finally used my common sense and started getting outside and going for a walk in spite of knees that are worn out.  I walk slowly.  I walk less often.  Yes, my knees might be a little more achy the day after, but they get over it.  It's so wonderful to be able to get out there in nature again.  The lesson is this:  Don't sit around feeling sorry for yourself because you can't do things as often or in the same manner you once did; just do what you can, when you can.  You might surprise yourself.

2.  My knees.  Yes, they remind me often of their presence, but I have learned that when I'm having a "bad knee day", the best thing I can do is remember what good and faithful servants they have been to me for seventy-one years (I do take a Tylenol, of course).  I remember the fields and hills I wandered in Taylor County, Iowa, and Harrison County, Missouri, when I was a child and know these knees have served me well.  Not to mention the jobs I've worked where I was on my feet walking, day after day:  National Bellas Hess, Whitaker Cable, Beckner's Orchard, Kohl's Distribution Center.  I had sit-down jobs too, through the years, but I always preferred working on my feet, standing and walking!  
And then there was all the walking I did for exercise almost every day from 1980 right up to 2014.  I loved every minute of it. 

3.  The ease of obtaining wonderful books to read at no cost.  As a non-driver, I am especially thankful for the way I can check out library books while sitting at home in my easy chair.  Not only that, I have ways of finding out which books I will likely enjoy before I check them out.  I often check the New York Times Best Seller page online to see what others are reading, and this helps a lot.  I frequently look at the lists from previous years, since a good book is timeless. 
On the same topic, I'm thankful for devices that, when I'm reading, allow me to find the definition of a word simply by holding my finger on it; or to change the size of the print, when necessary, for my aging eyes.  
By the way, at present I'm reading an outstanding book, "The Invention of Wings" by Sue Monk Kidd.  

4.  All the wonders of the Internet.  There's no need to list the ways in which I'm thankful for the World Wide Web.  

5.  That the oldest grandson bought this property, releasing us from a lot of concerns and cares.
6.  For the little girl we've been babysitting for over two years.  It has been an ideal situation for a couple of old folks.  It's mostly four-day weeks, so we have three-day weekends free to make plans.  If we want to go off someplace for a week, Cora's mother is only too happy to take her to Iowa for a visit with Grandma and all the other relatives up there; if we want a vacation, we just have to say the word.  Not to mention what a ray of sunshine that little girl is, especially during the cold, gray, shut-in days of winter that used to drag on endlessly.  

OK, I know it isn't Thanksgiving.  But today I am feeling so grateful for all I have, I just couldn't hold it in a minute longer.  I could go on, but then everybody would get bored and stop reading.  

Keep on the sunny side, folks.  It makes life so much easier.

Monday, February 08, 2016

juggling calories

Most grocery stores planned their sales last week with the upcoming Super Bowl in mind.  We weren't doing anything big for the game, but I'm aware that some of the best buys on certain items are geared toward things people might be serving at their parties; sometimes there are even items I seldom buy because of price, and yet at times like these they are wonderfully affordable.

Here's the item that really caught my eye in Price Chopper's ad:
Wow, what a steal!  We do most of our shopping at Walmart, and I do realize they price-match.  Their produce, however, leaves something to be desired.  Since we happened to be in Blue Springs anyhow, I made a quick run into Price Chopper and picked up two heads of cauliflower and two bunches of broccoli... HUGE bunches and heads were there for the taking!  I figured if I didn't use them in our meal plans in a timely manner, I'd blanch them and freeze them for later.  

You local folks might want to hit Price Chopper today or tomorrow while that price is still good.  If I lived closer to Blue Springs, I would certainly be getting more, if only for the freezer.

We had some steamed broccoli yesterday with our beef tongue and baked potato.  I planned to have cauliflower with today's meal; our favorite way to eat cauliflower is with a cheese sauce, but oh, the calories.  I went to Sparkpeople.com and put the ingredients of my Better Homes and Gardens cheese sauce into the recipe calculator, so I'd have it there for future reference.  142 calories per serving, which sounds terrible, but when you realize you're putting it on cauliflower that has practically no calories at all (60 calories for two cups), it's not bad.  The problem with calorie-dense foods is that we can only afford one of those at a meal.  I decided on an old recipe I used to make years ago with from chicken breast, Rice-A-Roni, and cream of chicken soup.  But wait, that's two sort-of saucy items in one meal.  Maybe I'll just cook two chicken breasts... or better yet, one chicken breast and split it between us.

I juggle things like this constantly, trying to take care of certain cravings without stepping out of bounds on calories, and it can be time-consuming.  Anything that involves using the Sparkpeople recipe calculator ends up taking thirty minutes or more, simply because it's sometimes difficult to find the proper ingredient in the right amount on the website.  Often the process involves my going to the kitchen and weighing something on my recently purchased kitchen scale, which works SO much better than the old spring scale I used to have, and translates to either ounces or grams.

I'm just saying it takes up a lot of my early-morning hours.  But once the recipe is stored, it's there forever.  I may forget Sparkpeople.com for two years at a time, but it never forgets me.

I'm glad I have so many casseroles and one-dish meals at my fingertips.  It saves me a lot of trouble entering them on my daily tally of calories.  

One of the wonderful things we have discovered is that I can make a batch of my home-made spaghetti sauce, pour it on 10 ounces of cooked spaghetti, and we can eat spaghetti for two days in a row and when we weigh the next day, we our weight is less; sometimes only a fraction, but it's down every single time.  This is especially great for Cliff, since spaghetti is his favorite food.  Of course we can't have bread with it, but that's a concession he's willing to make.

Cliff is down fourteen pounds so far, I've lost eleven.  

It's working.