Monday, April 30, 2012

Happy Kissversary!

Happy May Day!!!  May 1 has a big significance in our house.  Hard as it is to believe, we know that on May 1, 1978, Silent Sam kissed me for the first time.  (My entire family is absolutely dying that I have written this)  We have been kissing for 34 years!  May 1 is our Kissversary - our kiss anniversary. 

It seems like yesterday in some ways.  When we met, I was living downtown Chicago with my parents.  The building had a gym and pool and I was working out regularly.

Would I change anything from the last 34 years?  I would - I would eat better and exercise regularly.  I know that sounds hard to believe but I think that keeping up is easier than starting and stopping.  We probably would have prevented Silent Sam from getting diabetes.  As far at the rest of the stuff, I think I would like to change my reactions to things but the events of our life are what brought us to where we are today. (Oh, I do wish that I bought Microsoft and Apple stock)

I had the strong desire to shelter my children from some life events.  To save them from hurt when they were young.  It seems that was not the way it was going to go. They had to experience surgery and learn about death much earlier than I would have wanted but I think that it helped to make us closer and appreciate each other. 

So now we fight diabetes as a group.  Yet another life event I would like to have passed up but here it is.  We will battle on, learn more, and see where it takes us. 

So go out and kiss the one you love and wish them a Happy Kissversary.  You are invited to share our day with us.  

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Shoes, She is Writing about Shoes???

Wow - time really got away from me last week!  Sorry- I see that I haven't posted since Tuesday. 

We are in the home stretch in getting ready for our 5K next Saturday.  I have been walking the distance 2-3 times a week for the last couple weeks.  I printed out a map of the course so that I could see where the major landmarks (1/2 way, 3/4 of the way....) will be so that I will know how we are doing.  I am so used to doing the same route that I think a different route will feel endless. 

I also got out my new walking shoes today.  I really need to break them in so that they are ready for Saturday.  In the past (kind of like the dark ages but not quite so far back), I learned that you really need to be careful and change your exercise shoes every 3-4 months.  I have not changed my in awhile and it really shows.  I think that my feet will feel much better (along with my legs and back). 

I have hesitated to change shoes because the style that I have been wearing for the last few years has been discontinued.  I hate that!  I really love the style - it has great support and comfort.  I suppose I should look at it differently.  I should think that the new model could be EVEN BETTER.  I know that they cost a lot more. 

Your exercise shoes can look just fine on the outside but they break down on the inside and need to be replaced so that they will offer the proper support.  

When you are diabetic, you really need to be careful about your feet.  When Silent Sam goes to the doctor, they check his feet every time.  SS changed to new shoes a few weeks ago so that his will really be broken in for the walk.  The slightest cut can take a long time to heal and can easily get infected.  Fortunately, SS has never really been one to go in his bare feet or even sandals. Still, if he stubs his toe, I just cringe.  Of course, at some level, I cringe when I think about anyone stubbing their toe - especially me.

I know that everyone has their own way of shopping but I will share our athletic shoe shopping method.  We go to the small store in town that sells athletic shoes.  They really know what they are doing and know the shoes.  They do a great job fitting the shoes and even will evaluate how they work for you while you are walking or running. (They actually have you run down the street in front of their store)   Of course, the shoes cost the list price.  We buy the shoes from them - the first time.  They deserve to be paid for their work and knowledge.  Then when we need to replace them, we do an internet search to find the best price on the model that we had carefully fitted.  We have found a site that seems to work pretty well -  Of course, I just checked and they don't have the new model of my shoes.  Great.....

How do you shop for your athletic shoes?

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

New Recipe from the Non-Cook

I have been trying new recipes but they haven't been good enough to share with you.  They need work and since we try not to eat the same thing too often, (okay, I would eat the same thing all the time and I try to overcome that for those who pay attention to what we eat) I don't work on re-making the recipes that fast.

Tonight for dinner we had a very simple tasty main dish.  Really, this could not be easier.

Lemon-Parsley Chicken
serves 4

4 skinless boneless chicken breasts (6 oz)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper (freshly ground)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
PAM spray

1.  Place the chicken between two pieces of waxed paper and pound to 1/4 inch thickness.

2.  Gently combine the parsley and lemon in a small bowl.  Then evenly coat one side of the chicken breasts with half the mixture.

3.  Heat a non-stick skillet.  Spray with Pam.  Add chicken with the lemon parsley side down and cook 4 to 5   minutes.  Then add the rest of the lemon parsley to the top of the chicken and turn it over to cook and additional 4 to 5 minutes or until cooked all the way through.

To be honest, I changed the recipe from the original.  The recipe that I read called for you to cook the chicken breasts in 2 tsp. of olive oil and 1 tsp of light stick butter.  As you may know from a previous post
Apparently My New Best Friend is Named Pam , I am using Pam all the time when I cook rather than olive oil or butter. 

Also, if you would like to add at little more zest, you can squeeze lemon juice over the chicken right before you serve it.   

I hope you enjoy it.  We had it with a salad, broccoli, and mashed potatoes. Let me know if you want me to post recipes or if my lack of cooking skills makes my recipes too easy...

Thanks for reading!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Top 5 Things That Have Made a Difference - Emotionally

I though it was time for a "all star" list of things that have made a difference since we started on this path.  In discussing this with Silent Sam, we decided that there are two sides to the list - the emotional support side and the actual change side. 

Today, I will give you our list of emotional support that is making the difference.

5.  Being open to new foods.- We are all willing to try food prepared in a different way and we are trying new foods.

4.  Working together to plan - We sit down and plan our meals together.  We do it in conjunction with making the grocery  list. While still not my favorite way to spend time Saturday morning, it is very helpful that it is a group effort. 

3.  Trying not to shoot for perfection - since we are trying new things all the time, there are times that the recipes just don't work.  It is okay - there is another meal the next day that will be great.  Or we can discuss what we think should be changed to improve the recipe.  We can't let any mistakes stop us. 

2.  Continue to make changes.  We are still finding things that we can do better.  It is simply a drag not being perfect but I am used to it by now...  We will do things - like order out and then afterwords it will hit me that we could have done something easier and better for us.  Although there are times that ordering out is just what the doctor ordered....(okay, I ordered)

1.  Knowing that this is a group effort - we are all getting healthier.  I think this is so important to our "new lifestyle".  There was never any question as to whether we would all change.  We are Team SS.   Silent Sam isn't being singled out and getting separate food nor are we ignoring his condition.  We are going with the three musketeer rule on this - one for all and all for one.

Thanks for reading!


Friday, April 20, 2012

What is Your Breakfast of Champions?

I woke up this morning with a headache.  This on the morning that it is raining and I have planned to take the day off walking.  I didn't even have to get up early!

There must be something wrong - I want to go for a walk.  Don't worry, I can talk myself out of it. 

So, I came downstairs and opened a Coke.  Are you gasping?  Are you wondering how I could do that?  No problemo.  I have been doing it for years.  I have tried to back it off until later in the day but sometimes it just doesn't work. 

There is nothing like Coke.

(If you are  thinking - "at least she could have Diet Coke" - I wish I could.  I get migraines and  one of my "triggers" is NutraSweet.  So no diet soda for me.) 

Here I sit.  I have made up a list of things that I want to work on and I start thinking about having something to eat.  Hmmm...  Popcorn comes to mind.  Yes, popcorn came into my mind at 6:30 a.m.  Then I thought that it just wasn't the thing.  Hmmmm..  Frozen yogurt?  Not right either. 

Suddenly, I thought, how about something healthy and -gasp- maybe even appropriate.  How about a yogurt?  With a certain level of sadness, I decided the yogurt was the way to go. 

You see, I am here alone.  No one knows what I am doing.  I could make cookies, eat them and no one would know it.

Why oh why am I thinking this way?  OHHHH it must be that emotional eating thing...  It has been a difficult work week. Which is sad because this is the week that I also had some success.  Yes, I did the 5K distance TWICE this week.  I am really happy about that. 

So what would it be like if I were actually diabetic?  As you know, the Coke would be out.  While I can finagle it into Weight Watchers (they would be so proud) no matter what, it would not work for a diabetic.  Silent Sam does not drink soda so, fortunately for him, he didn't have to give up my beloved Coke.  Also the cookies, popcorn, and frozen yogurt would really need to be thought through. 

Mostly, there is just a lot of thinking and planning that needs to happen around the subject of food.  It sounds easy but for me it isn't. When I think are doing okay, I suddenly see how we could be better - ALWAYS after the fact. 

Which brings up another thought of mine.  The more I learn about diabetes, the more I think that Type 1 diabetics are heroes.  The diabetes that we are experiencing in this house is really nothing to compare to what Type 1 diabetics have to experience. They have had to try and control their blood sugar through puberty, teenage rebellion, and hormone fluctuations.  They are truly to be admired.   It would not be easy.  So for all you Type 1 diabetics, you have my admiration and sideline support. 

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

5K on 5/5

The 5K that we have signed up for is coming fast.  It is 18 days away.

Are we ready for this?

Personally, I would like to scream "NO!".  I have been walking 5 days a week down by the lake.  I keep increasing my walks thinking that each increase has gotten me to 5K.

No such luck.

I sat down with  yesterday and figured out how far I need to go to complete the 5K.  So this morning I did it.  I walked the 5K in 65 minutes.  Not bad but I am not sure I will be able to move the rest of the day.  I am tired. Really, I feel like my day is finished at 7:30 a.m.

The worst part is that I think I am getting slower. I really would like to finish in less than one hour. It will be interesting to see how the other walkers in our group will do.  Silent Sam has been doing more than a 5K on the treadmill each night.  I think he is just showing off. 

The Runners vs. the Walkers

There are ten of us doing this 5K together. Some will be walking (5) and some running (5).  Silent Sam is going to walk this race but plans to run in a race in the fall. It will be interesting to see how everyone's different race prep works out.  I wonder if the treadmill trainers will find it easier than the those training outdoors.  Personally, since I have been in the outdoor group, I am pulling for the outdoor trainers....

We are planning to do the American Diabetes walk in the fall.  I have made the stipulation that we do walks in the spring and fall.  None of these summer (hot weather) walks for me!  I really don't like sweating.  Silent Sam plans to run the race in the fall.  Maybe by then I will be able to jog a step or two.  No promises.  I will be happy to speed up my walking.   Who am I kidding - I will be thrilled to finish!

Have you been walking?   

Looking on line, there are lots of different programs for beginning a walking program.   Here are three that you can check out -

Why don't you plan on joining us in the fall for the Diabetes walk?  It would be great to have you with us.  We could be a team!  We could be the Silent Sam Strollers or how about The  9 Inch Plate Patter? 

What do you think?  Are you in?

Thanks for reading!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Life Without Shots

You may find this hard to believe but Silent Sam is not having any problem adjusting to life without shots.  It is a great step.  He is still checking his levels twice a day and reporting them to the doctor.

But it is not as easy as just continuing what we have been doing. 

Everyone's body has it's own quirks.  We all react differently to different things.  In fact, our bodies can react differently to the same thing at a different times.

So now we adjust to blood glucose levels without insulin.  It is much harder to keep the levels in the range that Silent Sam likes for himself.  His levels are good but not as good as he wants them to be. It is sometimes easy to see why the level went up - perhaps the Oreo McFlurry caused that spike Saturday night.  But there are other times that it is baffling why the level isn't where he wants it to be. 

So we have to readjust.  We probably have to be a bit better than we have been.  It is worth the "prize" of being cut back on and then getting off the oral medication.  That is our goal. 

We will continue to find new ways to satisfy hunger with tastier food rather than more food.  We will continue to try new recipes each week.  I will share them as soon as we think they work.  We have tried some that need some adjustments and I will share as soon as they are better.

By the way, the Oreo McFlurry was good.  Everyone needs a treat occasionally.  We just need to remember the "occasional" part!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Great News from the Doctor

Today was Endocrinologist day for Silent Sam.  Great news - he has done so well that he is being taken off the shots!  Yep, no more injections for our intrepid diabetic.

I am so proud of him.  He has taken on his diabetes and really worked to make himself healthier.   While we both wish we had paid attention sooner, at least with the diagnosis, he really took it seriously. 

This is really a boost to his (our?) new lifestyle.  The Doctor was very happy with his progress.  He has been a great patient.

He told her about this blog. I was going to try and foist plenty of business cards on her but he "forgot" them....

So, please join me in a happy dance for Silent Sam. You can  leave congratulations for him in the comment section. He'll see them!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter Dinner Revamped

LOOK!  It stood up on its own!

Yes, the Easter lamb cake did not need support to stay upright this year.  The kids could not call it the coke head lamb cake. (there is usually a straw holding the head up)

How did we change our usual holiday company meal this year?  Just some small tweeks.


1.  Layered salad - I changed three ingredients.

Traditional                                             Revamped
2 bags lettuce                                        2 bags lettuce
bunch green onions  cut up                     bunch green onions cut up
1 box frozen peas thawed
6 slices bacon cooked crisp                   6 slices bacon cooked crisp
1 cup shredded cheddar                        1 cup shredded fat free cheddar
1 cup mayonaise                                    4 oz. fat free ranch dressing

Put ingredients in seal-able container the night before. Toss and serve at mealtime.
I would in the future, make the salad the morning of rather than the night before.With the change from mayo to fat free dressing, the lettuce gets a bit soggy over night. 

2.  Fresh asparagus grilled with olive oil rather than corn that most people did not eat.

3.  I made the lamb cake with sugar free cake mix.  No one noticed the change.  There are two things to note about this.  The first is that the cake does not come out of the oven very brown.  I had read this about baking with sugar substitutes.  Also, there was not that funny aftertaste that you sometimes find with sugar substitutes.  Now, it was pointed out that when you put frosting on a sugar free cake that you may lose the benefit of having sugar free cake.  I was surprised that sugar was the second ingredient in cake mix.  So, while I agree that frosting a sugar free cake takes away some benefit, I did save some sugar and calories. 

Also, the cake stood up for the first time ever.  I'm not sure if that was due to the sugar free cake mix.  I will not be testing this - just what I need - more cake around the house! 

Hope you had a wonderful family/friend weekend. 

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Changes Country Style

Do you ever listen to country music?  Okay, I do.  Don't roll your eyes at me.  I love stories and those songs tell stories.  Sometimes sad, sometimes funny, and sometimes just plain mushy. (And I would love to be the girl in the red sundress with the ice cold beer pressed to her lips)

Tim McGraw has a new CD out named Emotional Traffic.  One of the songs on it is "Better Than I Used To Be".  It is about a man who had done a lot of things he isn't proud of but he is trying to improve. (for a woman, of course!) 

I ain't no angel
I still got a few more dances with the devil

It reminds me of our diabetes path.  We are working on getting healthier and having a positive attitude but as I have talked about before, we seem to still have a few dances with the devil left in us.  It is hard to change a lifetime of habits and I refuse to feel guilty about our slip ups.(Okay, I try not to feel guilty)

But I'm cleaning up my act little by little
I'm getting there

While I was driving to the Lake this morning, I was thinking about habits and rewards.  I was thinking that if I were a normal adult, I would think that a reward would be stopping at Starbucks on my way home.  Unfortunately, I don't drink coffee.  I wish I did.  I also wish I drank beer.  Both beverages seem like they have such a place in Americana.  Instead, my reward for going to the Lake was a beautiful sunrise.  Which is a reminder that not all rewards are food.  I seem to need to be reminded of that.  

I ain't as good as I'm gonna get
But I'm better than I used to be

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

What are you having for dinner?

How about a recipe today?  I saw this recipe in Taste of Home Healthy Living magazine but have made a number of changes to it so I will call it my own now.  It is not the fastest recipe to prepare but it is pretty easy.  There is a lot of time between steps.

Beef Pot Pie

1.25 lbs of beef  (I have used chuck steak or a flat iron steak)
12 oz of cooking sherry (use enough to at least cover the sides of the beef -if not the whole piece)
1/2 large onion

10  baby carrots
6 small red potatoes
1/2 large onion
Pam spray
2 tbs. of fresh parsley

1/3 cup flour
2 1/4 cups reduced-sodium beef broth

1 refrigerated pie pastry
1 egg, beaten

Put the beef, cooking sherry, and onion in a pot or pan with a lid and boil it for one hour.  When the hour is up remove the beef and slice on the diagonal.

Cut up the carrots, red potatoes, and onion.  Spray pan with Pam and saute carrots, red potatoes, and onion until crisp tender.  Add in the sliced beef and parsley. 

While that is heating, mix together the flour and the broth until they are smooth.  (I add the flour slowly to the broth stirring the whole time.  It still forms some lumps that you can "press" out with the spoon)  Slowly add the broth/flour mixture to the pan with the other ingredients and bring to a boil.  Cook and stir for 2 - 3 minutes while liquid thickens. 

Transfer the hot mixture to a 9 inch deep-dish pie plate.  Place pastry over the top, pinch edges, and make slits in top of the pastry.  Brush the top of pastry with the beaten egg. 

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 -35 minutes. 

This makes 6 servings.  It reheats well for leftovers. 

I hope you like this recipe.  While not the lowest calorie main dish, it isn't bad and the serving size is pretty filling.  Serve it with a salad and even another vegetable and you will be full.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Music, Steam, and Quinoa...

Silent Sam is doing great.  He is continuing to lose and exercise.  What a guy.  After a little chat on Saturday, he is also going back to playing the guitar.  I am, you might say, a bit concerned about his stress level.  He works all the time and I don't think that is good for him.  So I am thrilled about the guitar. 

In my less lucid moments, I think about him serenading me with a love song.  I must be heavily medicated...  That will never happen but what will be great is if he starts playing and enjoys it.

(As a completely useless aside - when I was in high school, I went out with a guy who came to my house to play his violin for me.  Okay, I was a freshman in high school.  I had a giggle fit.  It is a wonder that the guy ever spoke to me again. I thought my Mother was going to kill me.) 

I have received so many wonderful tips from readers!  I am trying them out slowly.  My good neighbor suggested that I get an electric vegetable steamer and try it.  It involved shopping so I followed up.  I have used it for asparagus and broccoli.  AND LOVED IT!  It was perfect. 

I also steamed Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wa), which was another suggestion.  Really, when I get suggestions, I need to think a bit...  I thought -without really checking it - that you made and served it like rice.  HINT - you don't.  It really had no taste and if you add the low fat spread to it, it tastes terrible.

In case you are like me and have never heard of Quinoa, it is a grain product that is very high in protein.  It is organic, wheat free and gluten free and 100% whole grain.  It just needs to be served with something else - like mixed with a salad or various vegetables.  When I perfect (what a joke!) a recipe using it, I will pass it along. 

I did get some Quinoa pasta and used that in spaghetti last week.  I could not tell the difference and it is supposedly much healthier for you.  As a beginner, the pasta may be the way to go.  But for you, dear readers, I will continue to find a perfect (and easy!) recipe for Quinoa. 

So the upshot of that is

Electric Vegetable Steamer - YES!
Quinoa Pasta                     -  YES!
Quinoa                              -  In progress

So, if you have a recipe using Quinoa for me to try, please pass it along.  

Thanks for reading!