#66: 2 week sugar detox

Finished!  And I’m still alive!

I’ve done a detox before, back in 2008, to break a sugar addiction so I knew I could do it again.  It’s difficult to do.  The first few days are uncomfortable, and I always find myself having at least one panic moment where I almost grab something and omnomnom it.

Now that I’m finished with the detox, I’m supposed to add fruit, milk, and whole wheat grains back slowly.   I’m looking forward to eating an orange tomorrow.  After two weeks of meatsandveggiesandcheeseandmeatsandveggiesandcheese I’m sure an orange will taste like heaven to me.

In case you wondered, my detox followed the guidelines of Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet.    It does make the scale drop but most of it is just bloat/water weight and it comes right back once you add carbs back to your diet.  So, I will consider anything I lose from this point ON real weight loss.  Hopefully I will be able to shed a few lbs and not get back to my 2 cupcake a day diet plan.

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#58: Learn to cook 5 dishes

Number 3 out of 5

This one was a little more complicated than my other two, but it still turned out well.  I’ve been craving Italian food during this sugar detox, and since I can’t have any kind of pasta (even wheat) my choices are limited.  I found an interesting recipe on Recipezaar for a South Beach Phase 1 friendly noodleless lasagna.   Here was the process:

Browned 2 lbs extra lean ground beef

Added 1 small onion , 1/2 green pepper (both chopped) and 4 cloves garlic (I used pre-minced)

When onion became transparent, added 8oz can tomato sauce, 6oz can tomato paste, 1/4c parsley and some oregano, rosemary, and basil.

Mixed well, covered and let simmer for 20 min.

Mixed 16oz part-skim ricotta cheese, 2 eggs and pepper in  a bowl.

Sprayed 9×13 dish and put 1/2 meat mixture on bottom.

Topped with a layer of sliced zucchini (2 medium zucchini).

Spread ricotta mixture on top of zucchini.

Topped ricotta with sliced mushrooms and 1lb steamed spinach.

Covered with 1c shredded low-fat mozzarella and 1/4c shredded low-fat Parmesan

Layered other 1/2 of meat mixture

Finished with another layer of cheese mixture.

Cooked 45 min on 325 until cheese was slightly golden.

Finished product:

#58: Learn to cook 5 dishes

Since I’m currently doing a two-week sugar detox, I’ve been checking out Kalyn’s Kitchen blog for ideas on how to stop eating the same exact thing over and over.  Her blog specializes in South Beach Diet cooking, and although I don’t plan to follow the entire diet I am using the Phase I guidelines for this detox.

I followed the South Beach Diet before for 4 months with great success, though I gained the weight back immediately when I veered off the path.  I don’t think it’s something I’m interested in doing again, though I hope this detox will break my strong sugar addiction and I will be able to use more moderation when it comes to junk food.

Kalyn’s Kitchen has instructions for making a breakfast casserole, which I followed loosely to make my own version.  If you know me, you know that I’m a terrible cook with very little cooking instinct so I usually avoid it.  (Luckily, I’m married to an amazing cook.)

Here is what I did, loosely:

Non-stick spray on a glass casserole dish.  Diced green peppers, red onions and mushrooms.  Put vegetables in dish:

Mixed 9 eggs, ground pepper and some shredded cheese in a bowl:

Dumped egg mixture over vegetables, poked the veggies around a bit to make sure they were spread evenly.

Baked for about 25 minutes at 375 degrees.  About 3 minutes before baking ended, I put more shredded cheese on top.  I think I put a bit too much, so I’ll try less next time.  The dish seemed to be cooked all the way through with a slight crust on top.

Hope it’s good!

#68: $5 to savings per check-off

Just dropped a crapload of $$ into savings with our tax return, but bumped an extra $10 for my 2 February check-offs.

Hoping to work on the health category in March (I know, I know, I keep saying that).  I’ve been slowly trying to build up my jogging time to at least 20 minutes per day (walking for at least 30) but to be honest it’s hard to jog when you’re a fat ass.  I’ve had to take it sloooooow.

I need to go grab some supplies for my sugar detox.  I’ve done this before, and it’s SO hard.  Sugar is obviously like crack to me.   The South Beach Diet’s Phase I will be my guideline since it worked well before.  Wish me luck.  I think I’ll start Monday, March 8.

#79: 10 Reasons I Love My Husband

We don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day.

I may be Oscar the Grouch, but I’m not a fan of any holidays other than Christmas and Halloween.   Halloween only because I like dark and spooky things, and Christmas because it’s the only time of year my entire family can get together.

For no reason at all, my husband decided to swing by the store on the way home from work and grab some chocolates and a card for me.  It was a sweet (though unnecessary) gesture, and a complete surprise.   I’m glad he didn’t opt for flowers, since that definitely would have been overkill for a holiday we don’t really celebrate.

I’m not anti-Vday cranky or anything.  We don’t really celebrate our birthdays either.

So, since he decided to give me a little Vday present, I thought it would be an opportune time to roll out the “10 Reasons I Love My Baby,”  a handwritten note on ruled paper, mocking the love notes of my youth.   I’m not going to rehash my 10 reasons here, suffice to say one of them involved his long chicken legs and big head.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

#15: Mat 20 photos & give to friends as presents

Ta-da!

I think everyone has received their presents, so I guess I’ll explain my last post now.

I’m a chronic picture-taker.  It didn’t start until I purchased my first digital camera.  Film cameras, with their guessing-game shots and expensive developing, never appealed to me as anything other that functional tools used to take pictures of events and friends.  Digital cameras appealed to my need to take shot after shot after shot, discarding those that don’t work for me.  I’m not a natural photographer, other than the fact that I can take pictures for people without cutting off heads or being out of focus.  I’ve always had an above-average artist’s eye, but not something that is so special as to give me any kind of bragging rights.

Over the years, I’ve taken many pictures, none outstanding but ranging from decent to pretty good by my own standards.  These pictures have been condemned to a grave either on my hard drive or on online accounts such as Snapfish of Shutterfly.   Out of the hundreds of pictures, I have few shots I would consider framing and to be honest I have never made the effort to do so.   This is where #15 comes in.  It forced me to pick pictures I thought my friends might like and mat them for easy framing in case they wanted to use them.  Most importantly, I wanted to send them as surprises, not for Christmas or birthdays.

The response has been positive, and I hope they really liked the pictures they received, and if not, forwarded the picture along to someone who might be interested.

Now that I have my first started DSLR camera (the Nikon D40) I have really started to become interested in the art aspect of photography.  Through Project 365, I hope to better my skills, although I’m certain that 99% of my pictures will continue to be of the hilarious faces of my precious pups.

#50: Leave a 50% tip

I frequent very few restaurants, and out of those restaurants there are very few repeat servers.  There is, however, one server in one downtown restaurant who I can count as my favorite.  The food is good, the service is fast, and she has all of her repeat customers memorized by heart.  So naturally I singled her out as the recipient of my 50% tip.  My plan was to give her a bit of a bigger tip around Christmastime, but as it turned out I didn’t go to the restaurant any time near Christmas at all.

Today, my husband had my car since unfortuantely his vehicle was in the shop getting expensive repairs.  Therefore, I was stranded at work during lunchtime and decided it was a good day to head over to my old favorite lunchtime haunt.  As usual, great service and food, even though I was still grumbling about the monotony of my job and the surprise expense of car repairs.  Usually I don’t bother to check my bad attitude when I’m on a streak, but when the bill came I remembered my intention to give a 50% tip and it gave me a bit of a cheesy reality check…at least I have a good, stable job, a vehicle to repair and money to go out to eat lunch if I so choose.   With that, I paid my bill, added 100% tip instead, and headed back to work.

Extra: 101 Year One, in review (part 2: books, books, books)

And now on to a recap of the books I read in 2009, in the order read.  Click on the title to read each book’s Goodreads synopsis and reviews:

The Time Traveler's Wife (Paperback) by Audrey Niffenegger The Time Traveler’s Wife Niffenegger, Audrey*
Outlander (Outlander, #1) by Diana Gabaldon Outlander (Outlander, #1) Gabaldon, Diana
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter, #1) Rowling, J.K.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time  (Paperback) by Mark Haddon The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time Haddon, Mark
A Certain Slant of Light (Paperback) by Laura Whitcomb A Certain Slant of Light Whitcomb, Laura
The Tales of Beedle the Bard (Hardcover) by J.K. Rowling The Tales of Beedle the Bard Rowling, J.K.
The House on Fortune Street: A Novel (Hardcover) by Margot Livesey The House on Fortune Street: A Novel Livesey, Margot
Revolutionary Road (Paperback) by Richard Yates Revolutionary Road Yates, Richard
Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse, #1) by Charlaine Harris Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse, #1) Harris, Charlaine
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2) Rowling, J.K.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4) Rowling, J.K.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5) Rowling, J.K.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter, #6) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter, #6) Rowling, J.K.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7) Rowling, J.K.
Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander, #2) by Diana Gabaldon Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander, #2) Gabaldon, Diana
The Thirteenth Tale (Hardcover) by Diane Setterfield The Thirteenth Tale Setterfield, Diane
The Art of Racing in the Rain (Hardcover) by Garth Stein The Art of Racing in the Rain Stein, Garth*
This Lullaby (Paperback) by Sarah Dessen This Lullaby Dessen, Sarah*
Water for Elephants (Paperback) by Sara Gruen Water for Elephants Gruen, Sara
Voyager (Outlander, #3) by Diana Gabaldon Voyager (Outlander, #3) Gabaldon, Diana
Drums of Autumn (Outlander, #4) by Diana Gabaldon Drums of Autumn (Outlander, #4) Gabaldon, Diana
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3) Rowling, J.K.
The Road (Hardcover) by Cormac McCarthy The Road McCarthy, Cormac
Moloka'i (Paperback) by Alan Brennert Moloka’i Brennert, Alan
Remember Me (Paperback) by Christopher Pike Remember Me Pike, Christopher
The Gunslinger (Dark Tower, #1) by Stephen King The Gunslinger (Dark Tower, #1) King, Stephen
Heath Ledger: Hollywood's Dark Star (Paperback) by Brian J. Robb Heath Ledger: Hollywood’s Dark Star Robb, Brian J.
On Writing (Mass Market Paperback) by Stephen King On Writing King, Stephen
1984 (Paperback) by George Orwell 1984 Orwell, George
Angels & Demons (Robert Langdon, #1) by Dan Brown Angels & Demons (Robert Langdon, #1) Brown, Dan
Sloppy Firsts (Paperback) by Megan McCafferty Sloppy Firsts McCafferty, Megan
Second Helpings (Paperback) by Megan McCafferty Second Helpings McCafferty, Megan
Charmed Thirds (Paperback) by Megan McCafferty Charmed Thirds McCafferty, Megan
Fourth Comings (Hardcover) by Megan McCafferty Fourth Comings McCafferty, Megan
Perfect Fifths: A Novel (Hardcover) by Megan McCafferty Perfect Fifths: A Novel McCafferty, Megan
The Book Thief (Hardcover) by Markus Zusak The Book Thief Zusak, Markus
The Reader (Hardcover) by Bernhard Schlink The Reader Schlink, Bernhard
Q & A (Paperback) by Vikas Swarup Q & A Swarup, Vikas
The Catcher in the Rye (Mass Market Paperback) by J.D. Salinger The Catcher in the Rye Salinger, J.D.
The Lovely Bones (Paperback) by Alice Sebold The Lovely Bones Sebold, Alice
The Truth About Forever (Paperback) by Sarah Dessen The Truth About Forever Dessen, Sarah*
I Am the Messenger (Paperback) by Markus Zusak I Am the Messenger Zusak, Markus
The Great Gatsby (Paperback) by F. Scott Fitzgerald The Great Gatsby Fitzgerald, F. Scott
Then We Came to the End (Paperback) by Joshua Ferris Then We Came to the End Ferris, Joshua
The Hobbit (Paperback) by J.R.R. Tolkien The Hobbit Tolkien, J.R.R.
The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1) by J.R.R. Tolkien The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1) Tolkien, J.R.R.
The Bean Trees (Paperback) by Barbara Kingsolver The Bean Trees Kingsolver, Barbara
The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane (Hardcover) by Katherine Howe The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane Howe, Katherine
The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1) by Rick Riordan The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1) Riordan, Rick
The Hunger Games (Hunger Games, #1) by Suzanne Collins The Hunger Games (Hunger Games, #1) Collins, Suzanne
Getting the Girl (Paperback) by Markus Zusak Getting the Girl Zusak, Markus
The Color Purple (Paperback) by Alice Walker The Color Purple Walker, Alice
Pride and Prejudice (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) by Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) Austen, Jane
Shutter Island (Mass Market Paperback) by Dennis Lehane Shutter Island Lehane, Dennis
To Kill A Mockingbird (Mass Market Paperback) by Harper Lee To Kill A Mockingbird Lee, Harper
Thirteen Reasons Why (Hardcover) by Jay Asher Thirteen Reasons Why Asher, Jay
Catching Fire (Hunger Games, #2) by Suzanne Collins Catching Fire (Hunger Games, #2) Collins, Suzanne
Needful Things (Paperback) by Stephen King Needful Things King, Stephen
The Lost Symbol (Robert Langdon, #3) by Dan Brown The Lost Symbol (Robert Langdon, #3) Brown, Dan
Under the Dome (Hardcover) by Stephen King Under the Dome

King, Stephen

Most were first time reads, but a few (the Harry Potter series, for example) were my second time through.  As a child, teen, and even early 20’s I was an avid reader, but like all of my other hobbies reading took a back seat in recent years. I guess you could say I was in a reading slump.  When I did read, it was always the same books over and over (mostly Stephen King novels, but The Poisonwood Bible and Brave New World were also on standby at any time).

My online book club lists personal challenges for its members, so I chose to commit to 50 books in one year.  As you already know, faithful few readers of this blog, I met my goal and was able to exceed it by 10.   Most of the books I read on recommendation from the book club, but I picked up a few based on reviews from Barnes and Noble or Amazon.

Book club hyped books that actually lived up to the hype:

The Time Traveler’s WifeOutlander (the series, though I ran out of steam after book 4), The Thirteenth Tale, The Art of Racing in the Rain, The Book Thief, Water for Elephants, Moloka’i, Jessica Darling Series (starting with Sloppy Firsts), The Hunger Games/Catching Fire, Shutter Island, and of course, Harry Potter.

Book club (or generally) hyped books that didn’t do it for me:

Thirteen Reasons Why, This Lullaby, The Lost Symbol, The Lightning Thief, Sookie Stackhouse series (to be fair, I only read book 1), Revolutionary Road, The Hobbit (I know, I know)

If forced to list 5 must-reads out of my list for the year, I would have to pick:

1) The Time Traveler’s Wife

2) The Book Thief

3) Shutter Island

4) Water for Elephants

5) The Road

I didn’t set a book goal for 2010.  I think I might focus on finishing, then re-writing, my NaNo and I would love to conjure up another screenplay for Script Frenzy in April.  I’m going to read as many books as I can now that I’m back in the habit, and I’ll continue to review them here as extras.  Thanks to the book club, I already have a long list of to-reads for 2010.