Thursday, April 13, 2017

Clutter, Clutter Everywhere

No, my kitchen usually does not look like this

We are doing some work in our house. As a result, the place is an absolute mess. The kitchen is full of the dining room stuff, my sewing stuff and who knows what else at this point. My office has the guest room furniture. And there is dust and dirt everywhere!

When this sort of disruption happens, I have no interest in cooking. It just seems to be enough stress just to make it through the day. The house is a bit of a maze between the drop cloths and the various pieces of equipment. Come the end of the day, I am ready to drop. It is just stressful to have everything in the wrong place or not have a place. As a result, last Saturday night we gave in and ordered a pizza. I think this is probably a violation to the “no bread” rule but we were just kind of done in from the mess. At least we stopped and thought about it before we ordered it. Before we started trying to behave again, I would have ordered the large pizza with the thought that we would have left overs. This time we ordered the small pizza and each had two pieces. Yes, that was still probably more than we should have had but it was an improvement. I will say that we hurried to put the leftovers in the refrigerator so that we would not be tempted by them.

With all this mess around us right now, I started thinking about how clutter affects our eating habits. Think about it. If your house is a mess, it adds stress to your life. As many of us can attest, stress eating is a real thing. Also, when there is stuff everywhere, you don’t feel like preparing a meal.

Of course, there is a study about this…

The name of the study is “Clutter, Chaos, and Over consumption” and it was published in 2016. The purpose of the study was to see how cluttered, chaotic environments – such as messy kitchens- influence snacking behavior. In case you don’t want to read the study, the results suggest that a chaotic environment can have an impact on food intake, particularly for sweet food. Amazingly, they didn’t find that a chaotic environment increased the consumption or carrots or crackers.

There is also a study that indicated that people in an orderly office would be more inclined to choose healthy snacks. You can read an article about both these studies.

                                     The first episode of Clean Sweep

Have you ever heard of Peter Walsh? He is the guru organizer. I saw him first on a TLC show named “Clean Sweep”. He has a book out entitled Does this Clutter Make my Butt Look Fat? The book talks about the relationship between lifestyle and eating. In the book,

 “Peter helps you address how the clutter in your kitchen, your pantry, and your home is directly related to the clutter n your body and negatively affects your ability to lead a full and healthy life.” 

Wow, that is a lot for a book to do…

While I have just mentioned a few references here, there are many that can be found. Does this sound like it could made a difference for you? I just wanted to give you something to think about. Do you think that by cleaning or straightening out your kitchen, desk or home, you might feel more empowered to take better control of your eating?

I’ll let you know next week if things are better around here.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Roasted Tomato and Basil Chicken


We have now completed four weeks of our no potatoes, no rice, no pasta, and no bread regime. I would like to tell you that it is getting easier but I am not sure that is the case. I do think that Mr. Carb (Silent Sam) is having a harder time than I am. To be honest, I just hate having to find new recipes. We are moving along and the scale is starting to budge so we can’t complain.

I am probably having the hardest time with the exercise. It doesn’t help that right now we had some work done in the room where the exercise bike is located and I can’t get to it. (No, I didn’t plan the work that way.)  I will get back on the bike in another day or so.

The thing about all these changes is how much head space they use. I am thinking about this much more than I ever did when I was eating everything in sight. Now I am thinking about what I can eat and drink. I have not yet ended my love affair with Coke but I can see it is coming soon. It just is not good for me, it uses a lot of Weight Watcher’s points, and there is the matter of my teeth. Did I tell you I went to the dentist? YIKES! We went to an absolutely lovely dentist in our former town. We went to the same dentist for 31 years. In that time, his equipment didn’t change. Okay, I just never thought about it. Well, our new dentist uses much more modern equipment and there is a lot of work to be done in my mouth. So perhaps chugging down that Coke every morning is not a great idea. If only hot tea was ready as fast as grabbing a Coke out of the fridge. Silent Sam is now scared to go to the dentist. He is worried about how much will need to be done in his mouth. Okay, I am not so worried about him – he has never had ANYTHING done. Not even a cavity. I suppose it might be more scary for him because he doesn’t know what it is like to have work done in your mouth.

This week, I do have a new recipe for you. I have made this one twice and it has been a hit. I hope you enjoy it.

Roasted Tomato and Basil Chicken            Serves 4


1 Tbs. olive oil
Cooking spray
½ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp ground black pepper
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
5 plum tomatoes, quartered
3 garlic cloves minced
¼ cup fresh basil chopped

1.      Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2.      Add olive oil to a large oven safe skillet coated with cooking spray. Season the chicken with garlic powder and ground black pepper. Add chicken to pan and sear on high heat for 3 minutes on each side.
3.      Add tomatoes and garlic to pan on top of chicken breasts and toss. Place skillet in oven and bake for 25 minutes.
4.      Remove from oven and top with basil.

Calories 185, Total Fat 6g, Saturated fat 1.3 g, Cholesterol 65 mg, Sodium 65 mg, Total Carbohydrate 6 g, Dietary Fiber 2 g, Sugars 4 g, Protein 25g.

This recipe is from my old favorite diabetic cookbook.  You can buy a copy from the American Diabetes Association.  This cookbook has been great for us.  You might want to check your local library and look it over before you buy it but it has been worth the money for us.  

I do not usually add salt and pepper to recipes, I did add the pepper to this one.

I did not use the olive oil. I am sure it adds some taste but I didn’t see that I needed that.

I thought that the toss with the chicken breasts, tomatoes, and garlic was a little odd but I did it.

I thought this recipe was easy and we liked it. I might experiment by adding some spinach to get a little more vegetable involved but otherwise I would not change anything. And I am not completely sold that spinach would work but I think I will try it.

In case you are new or forgot – I am NOT a good cook. My cooking is generally very simple and I don’t often know enough to adjust recipes. Oh, that might not be really true. I do adjust but others might call it mistakes. When they work, I let you know so you will think I am brilliant.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, March 27, 2017

No Promises and a recipe

I know. I have been gone for a long time. I have even debated about just shutting down this blog and giving up.


I just could not do it. I guess I had faith that I would be back and that Silent Sam (SS) would be back and we would start all over again. This must be the 1000th time starting again. Sorry, it has been a very different year for us.

As I probably told you, we moved. Not in the same town but to a new state and a new job (for SS) and a new house. Soon after we moved, I got a new knee! That was a whole lot of new. While we love our changes, they have not always been easy. I had a business that did not transfer with me and while recovering from surgery, I closed the business I ran for 20 years. It took a few months but is now gone – apart from the IRS who seems to have lost a payment I made… SS and I had started a new company before he stared his new job so I have that company still to run. (Just in case you thought I was sitting here not doing anything.)  It is still just in the infancy stages (that translates to not making any money) so I seem to find plenty to do.

We are starting to change. SS and I set our goals for the year to find doctors and dentists. No, we had not done anything about that since we moved. I know. But probably like many of you, we didn’t really want to go to the doctor. SS took the first step and made a dental appointment. In a rare show of competitiveness, as soon as he told me he had done that, I called and made an appointment. Then I called a doctor’s office that my daughter in law suggested. I could not get in very soon to see the doctor that she recommended but I could get into one of the other partners fairly quickly.

SS and I had a conversation the weekend before my doctor’s appointment and we agreed it was time for a change. We both needed to go back to watching our foot intake and getting more exercise. While my knee is not painful anymore, I had not been exercising the way I should have been. SS had been walking the dog but that did not seem to be enough.

Sometimes, the time is just right. You have reached the point where you are ready to admit that you need to make a change and especially when both of you are doing working together, it is better. So when I went to the doctor and she told me that I needed to lose weight, I was ready. I was not ready for one part of her suggestion though.

The doctor told me to stop eating


Well, that is hard. Mostly because when we changed our cooking habits when SS was diagnosed, we seem to have lots of recipes with pasta in them. We had also taken up using the bread maker weekly to go with our Sunday night soups. All that was out the window.

The doctor told me I would be surprised by how much weight I would lose making that change. I decided that while she might be right, it was also time to go back to Weight Watchers since that had worked for me before. In case you have not been on Weight Watchers lately, it has changed and now you are given a weekly activity goal that you need to reach. Not a bad addition to the program but it is enough to keep you pushing to make the activity goal.

On Wednesday, it will be three weeks on the new program. It is going fine. I seem to have more problems with the exercise bicycle than I should but I think that is a brain problem more than anything else. I have also been in search of new recipes. I have had some duds so far. (I really hate it when I make a dinner that just doesn’t work!)

Okay, I have one exceedingly easy one for you that tastes great. I was surprised.

Chicken with Peach Salsa

1 lb. of boneless skinless chicken breasts
½ - ¾ jar of peach salsa

Spray the bottom of a cooking dish with Pam or a Pam type product. (there is an olive oil Pam spray now or Trader Joe’s has one) Put chicken breasts in the pan. Cover them with the salsa. Bake at 375 degrees.

Okay now, the baking part will need some judgement on your part. If you are using those big frozen chicken breasts, they will take longer to bake. Check with your meat thermometer to make sure they are fully cooked. I used large breasts the first time and it took about an hour and a half to bake them fully. The second time, I used those 4 oz. breasts from Schwans and they took about an hour. And yes, I took them right from the freezer and put them in the oven.

Also, the second time I made this, I put a lot of salsa in the pan. You don’t need a whole jar. Too much doesn’t hurt the recipe but it just means that you will throw it away. We don’t have rice or pasta under the chicken to mix with the excess salsa so it is just a waste.

I also think you can use other types of salsa with this. I like the touch of sweetness from the peaches but there are so many choices out there – have fun with it.

(for 2 servings - Calories (kcal)     286.2, Fat (g) 3 .5, Saturated Fat (g) 1.0, Trans Fat (g) 0, Cholesterol (mg) 140.7,  Sodium (mg) 633.2, Potassium (mg) 917.8, Carbohydrate (g) 5.3, Fiber (g),1.4, Sugar (g) 2.6, Protein (g) 55.6 per )

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Whole Wheat Bread

Last week I received a request. The person who wrote to me told me that she had had a bread machine on her counter for years but never used it. She had tried the mixes in the past but it just didn’t do anything for her. 

True confession time – I had never used anything but bread machine mixes in the past also. I have a friend who does not have a lot of confidence in her cooking/baking. I told her that I was thinking of using my bread machine but didn’t know if they still sold the mixes.  She told me that she had never used a mix but had used the recipes in the instruction book.  HUH???? There were recipes in the instruction book? Amazingly, my husband still had the instruction book filed with other appliance instruction books and I looked at it. Those have been the recipes I have been making along with some recipes from Pinterest.

The reader who wrote to me asked for high fiber/low sugar recipes. Today, I am going to share a whole wheat bread recipe that I made on Sunday. I really liked it and while I am sure it could be higher in fiber it is a good starting point. 

BEFORE YOU START – MAKE SURE YOU CAN MAKE A 1 LB. LOAF OF BREAD IN YOUR BREAD MAKER. The bread machine that I have can make a 1 lb. or a 1 1/2 lb. loaf.  I make the smaller loaf all the time because there are only two of us and the bread does not have any preservatives. (It gets stale fast. )

Whole Wheat Bread  (small loaf – 1 pound)

  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon margarine or butter, softened
  • 2 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp of regular dry yeast          OR        1 1/4 tsp of bread machine or quick acting yeast

  • Place the ingredients in the machine bread pan IN THE ORDER LISTED.

    Now, the next part depends on your bread maker. You need to look and see which is the correct setting for whole wheat bread. By the way, if you have lost the instruction book for your bread maker, you can look on line and probably download it. While Silent Sam found the book before our move, it has not been found in our new house. I downloaded the book from the manufacturer’s web site. 

    notes for the side of a recipe

    I have to tell you what happened when I made this recipe. I had not made a whole wheat recipe before. I put the ingredients in the machine, plugged it in and made my selection for type of bread and hit start. NOTHING HAPPENED. I could see that the time for baking showed on the screen but nothing else.  I was upset and thought that my bread machine was not working.  Then I noticed that the time seemed to be going down but there wasn’t any noise from the machine.  I don’t know why (maybe laziness) I decided to just let it go and see what happened. I walked away.  Every once in a while, I would hear something from the machine.  I then checked it after an hour or so.  The machine was cold and but the  dough  had risen. I then had the brilliant idea to check and see what the timing description for the whole wheat cycle looked like. OH! It seems that whole wheat recipes start with a 1/2 hour rest cycle. There is another 1/2 hour rest cycle during the process. Well, isn’t that special.  You might want to check before you think your machine has broken. (I was so upset – I had just started using it and then it broke?  NO!!!) 

    Despite the glitches in the prep, the loaf was very good. I would also say that I think that it lasted better than other loaves we have made. I made it Sunday evening and we had it with dinner on Monday and Tuesday and it was fine. 

    I went to Calorie Count to get the nutrition facts.  This is based on the loaf having 6 servings.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving Size 95 g
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 208
    Calories from Fat 22
    % Daily Value*
    Total Fat 2.4g  4%
    Cholesterol 0mg  0%
    Sodium 413mg     17%
    Potassium 77mg  2%
    Total Carbohydrates 40.4g    13%
    Dietary Fiber  1.5g      6%
    Sugars    3.0g
    Protein  5.4g
    Vitamin A 2%                    •   Vitamin C 0%
    Calcium 1%                        •      Iron 14%
    Nutrition Grade A-
    * Based on a 2000 calorie diet

    Good points

    I hope this recipe inspires you to use your bread machine.  It is so easy and the bread is so tasty.  The best part for us is that I make a small quantity that has a short shelf life.

    Thanks for reading.

    Friday, August 5, 2016

    I’m Baaack!

    via GIPHY

    Okay, thank you for still reading this after I have been gone for so long.  Wow!  What  a time we have had. 

    I’m sorry that it seemed like I abandoned this spot.  I haven’t; it is just sometimes life becomes complicated.  So, what has been happening?  Well,  Silent Sam worked for a company for 35 years and that suddenly closed one night.  Yep, we found out at 2 a.m. that he was out of a job.  As you can imagine, this was not good news and it led to a lot of transitions. His new full time job was looking for a job.  After eight months, he found a position in a different city.  We decided that we would take it slow.  He got an apartment by his new office and  came home on weekends.  I stayed in our home and started cleaning up and cleaning out.  We had been in the house for 31 years and there was a lot to clear out. 

    (Which is a great thing to do, by the way.  I am a huge fan of cleaning out.  It is freeing.  The worst part is that you have to find somewhere to get rid of everything.. Anyway, we conquered that and got rid of lots of stuff.)

    After six months, Silent Sam loved his new job and we put the house up for sale.  It sold right away and there we were without a new house.  So we put everything into storage and lived for a month or so in Silent Sam’s apartment.  We did finally find a new house and then moved (again!) to our new home.  Two weeks later, I went back to our previous town and had my knee replaced.  Between the hospital and rehab, I was gone about 3 weeks. 

    And if that sounds like we had a lot going on, there was one other INCREDIBLE  thing that happened.  The day before my knee surgery, our daughter gave birth to our first grandchild.  Yes, our perfect grandson was born.  He is a day older than my knee. 


    So many highs and lows in a small of time! 

    So, recovery has been going well and I am working to get back to you.  I have started cooking again so I hope to be sharing new recipes with you soon.  I know I have talked about this before but I am back using my bread machine.  Be honest, how many of you just thought, “I have one of those somewhere.” Yes, I think there was a time when everyone had to have a bread machine.  When I was cleaning out, I found mine.  Actually, had you asked me, I would have said that I got rid of it years ago.  Wrong again!  There it was and I started using it.  The machine that I have makes a small loaf that is great for the two of us.  (Which is a good thing because if you have ever made bread this way, you know that it doesn’t last long.) 

    It feels great to be back!  Thanks for your support!

    I also thought that this new start should have a new look.  What do you think?

    Monday, May 9, 2016

    Cookbook Special

    I know, I haven't been here for a long time.  Life has been full of changes and that has influenced my blogging.

    I will be back soon.

    BUT -

    I received notice of a cookbook special today and I wanted to share it with you.

    This cookbook is available today through Amazon in the ebook (Kindle) format for $0.99.  Yes, you read that right, 99 cents. (a hard copy is $17.09)   

    If you are interested, here is a link to the book.   

    If you don't have an e Reader, you can download a Kindle app and put it on your computer.  The app is free and you can then have the cookbook on your computer to look up recipes.  

    Have a great day!

    Friday, February 12, 2016

    Life Changes

    Our house is up for sale.  We have been in our house for 31 years and now we are moving to a new city and will have to re-establish our lives.

    It is exciting and daunting.

    Right now I feel like I am living in a museum.  Some of the furniture has been removed and other pieces re-arranged to make the house look as large as possible.  My comfortable chair is not where it has been so I cannot sit in it and watch the television.  I find myself just getting into bed earlier than usual and watching television or reading just so I have a comfortable place to be.

    Nothing feels quite right and it is stressful.  Trying to clean out all those years of stuff and thinking of moving what is left to a new place is, at times, overwhelming.  We have more stuff to throw away than will fit in our garbage cans every week.  Amvets has started stopping every Monday whether we call them or not.  Our first showing was last night and the dog threw up 10 minutes before the people came to the house.

    All of this reminds me of when we first started our journey with diabetes.  That first diagnosis throws your world off kilter.  You wonder if life will ever be the same and you worry that it will be worse than before and much more difficult.

    Well, it will be more difficult but it will be the same or sometimes better.  I think we forget that often times big change brings some wonderful new things into our lives.  There is no doubt that the disease is hard to deal with but maybe you will find new things in changing your lifestyle that make it better than before.  You may find that by going for that walk that you dread as exercise actually becomes a beautiful daily walk that clears your head and gives you a nodding acquaintance with some new people.

    I find that instead of thinking of what I am losing, I need to concentrate the wonder of all the changes and the great things the future will bring. That is what needs to happen with diabetes too.  While you may feel that you are losing, you need to concentrate on all the wonderful things that life brings.

    Thanks for reading!