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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Super Bowl 50!

Super Bowl Sunday! I love Super Bowl Sundays! And even though I don't have a dog in this race I can still be excited about it because of the commercials and the food! But don't get me wrong, even though I am a Dallas Cowboy fan I do have a puppy in this race...Peyton Manning! I think he's pretty great and I hope that he has a great game today and most importantly I hope he wins!

So the commercials? Those are always fun. I remember many, many years ago when the movie The Exorcist came out. The hype for that movie was just crazy! It was supposed to be the scariest movie ever! So I went into the theater with expectations beyond what any movie could deliver and I was disappointed. I kept waiting for my heart to stop with fear and it just didn't happen.

My All-Time Favorite - Budweiser Frogs!

I think the same thing has happened to the Super Bowl commercials. When they first started doing outrageous commercials it was AMAZING! Something to talk about with friends and family for days! "Did you see when..." or "My favorite one was..."! But it's hard to keep the momentum going year after year and to keep topping the previous year.

But I still always enjoy them and look forward to them and give props to the marketing and promotion people that have to keep coming up with them!

I hear tell that Lady Gaga will be singing the National Anthem. Good, I know she will do a good job but I'm glad she's not the half time show, I am not a fan of Lady Gaga!

But the food...the food is probably my favorite part of the Super Bowl! We did our shopping for snacks and yummies yesterday. I myself will stick to my low carb/high fat (WOE) Way of Eating.

My son requested Dorito Chicken Casserole from The Blog Chef. I don't make this often because I'm sure the sodium level is sky high, but it is a special day and a special request, so getting ready to make this in a few minutes. (It is super delicous!)

Photo Credit - The Blog Chef

Luckily my daughter requested something that is actually low carb/high fat which I can eat. She wanted Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs. She will eat hers with a hot dog bun, but of course I will just omit the bun and it will be perfect for my WOE. Not the prettiest picture I've ever taken though!

I'm also planning some Jalapeno Poppers.

Some Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries.

And something new that has been popping up on all the boards of the low carb groups I follow on Facebook....sugar free, zero carb gummies! I love gummy bears, worms, sweet gummies, sour gummies, all matter of gummies! I'm so happy to have found a recipe that works so I can have these little bits of deliciousness again!

I made these yesterday. The first batch I made I used an icecube tray that makes those mini little round cubes. They turned out great! And they taste so yummy! They are made with sugar-free Jell-o so they taste just like Jello!

After making these I decided I wanted to make some pretty ones in special molds for Super Bowl. I couldn't find any football molds at Michaels but I did find some seashell, flower and star molds.

Aren't they lovely? I can't wait to buy other flavors/colors of Sugar-Free Jell-o! They are so easy too!

1 - 3 ounce box of Sugar-Free Jell-0
1 Box Knox Gelatin - 4 pack
1/2 cup of cold water

Mix and mix and mix that all together, then I microwaved it for about 20 seconds and mixed and mixed some more then poured into molds and put in the fridge for about 20 minutes and they popped right out (after a little urging) of the molds!

Everyone in my low carb group on Facebook has been buying this Gummy Candy Maker, which is pretty cool and you can buy it on Amazon, but it is $28.66 plus shipping and just another gadget I have to find a place to store in my kitchen. So I think I will just continue making them the way I did it. - Gummy Candy Maker

So that's it. I'm off to finish getting snacks and food ready and watch pre-game stuff with the talking heads. Happy Super Bowl and here's to Peyton Manning winning Super Bowl 50!


Thursday, February 4, 2016

Good Deeds - Do you keep them to yourself or tell others?

I've always followed this bible verse when it comes to doing good deeds...

Pretty simple right? Don't sing your own praises. Don't look for your reward for your good deeds right now and here on earth, wait and your reward will come from your Father in Heaven.

But, the other day I saw a post on Facebook of a man, Bear Taliferro Jr., who was in a Wal-mart paying and he heard a woman in the next checkout line, telling her daughter that they couldn't afford to eat that night. More on that story and the photo posted HERE. He told the mother to grab what she wanted and he would pay for it.

He posted a picture of himself with the mother and child in the background. He earned much praise for being a good man even though he said he didn't post the picture to get "likes" on his post but to say, "GOD puts you where he needs you to be WHEN he needs you to be there."

Many people criticized him for various reasons such as posting a picture of the woman and child and including himself in the picture and some for what the bible verse above says, for singing his own praises for his good deed. Yet he did it to bring awareness to us all that we are where we are for a reason, try to find something good in being there.

I at times do good deeds, small things, things that just happen, times that I just happened to be at the right place at the right time. I always kept it to myself because of the bible verse above.

However, Bear's message has given me thought. Should good deeds be kept to yourself or shared with others to inspire others to also do good deeds? Or shared with others to bring attention to certain causes?

It's something that I will have to ponder and I'm interested in knowing what you think?


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Smart One vs. The Instigator

Ya'll know how I've been following my new Way of Eating (WOE) faithfully right?

I've been eating low carb/high fat since July 7, 2015 and I've lost 28 pounds and dropped three dress sizes...YAY me!

It's not been easy but I can be my own best Dominatrix when I want to be!

The reason it's not always easy is that there are two parts to me when it comes to food. The Smart One and The Instigator. Let me give you an example of how these two parts of me work.

I love Cashews! Love, love, love them! And while they are not the lowest carb of the various nuts out there, they are still not terribly high in carbs and they have very healthy fats, not to mention that they are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They are naturally cholesterol free and help to reduce blood pressure. They protect against cataracts and can help to prevent diabetes.

So the dominatrix in me allows me to have them once in a while. I usually buy those small 1.5 ounce bags and I know that buying them in bulk in larger cans would be cheaper, but I also know that if I have a can of cashews I will eat that whole can in one evening watching TV. You know the old Lay's Potato Chip commercial that said, "bet you can't eat just one"? Well I can't eat just one cashew, or even a handful...nope I have to devour the whole thing! And I know this about myself.

 The other day, I was stopped at a red light on a corner near my office and I spy a CVS Store across the street. CVS sells these cans of the jumbo cashews, like the ones in the picture above. They are so delicious! Meaty and crunchy and so buttery tasting...Yum!

So I think to myself, I'm going to stop and buy a can so I have something to snack on while I watch American Idol. That's when Smart One steps in and says, "Girl! You can't be buying a whole can of Cashews, you know you're going to eat them all in one sitting!"

Then the instigator comes in and says, "Don't listen to her, you can do it. Just stop, buy the can, eat 7 or 8 on the drive home and then when you're watching American Idol count out 8 more and put the can away and just do this until you finish the can."

Smart One pipes up again saying, "No, you know that you have the best intentions, but you can't do it. You can't just stop! Cashews are your kryptonite! Just drive on little lady, just drive on!"

Instigator chimes in, "But if you don't have any cashews, what are you going to snack on? You might be tempted to eat something you shouldn't just because you listened to Smart One and didn't stop to buy cashews!"

So Smart One again says, "Remember last time? Remember how you ate that whole can watching football? Remember how it upset your tummy and you swore that you would never buy a whole can of cashews again? Remember? Do you remember that?

And I remembered, and the light turned green and I headed home and didn't buy the cashews, because after all that is why the Smart One is the Smart One!


Monday, February 1, 2016

Conquering my Fears

This Saturday I conquered a fear that I have had for several years. It's a weird one, so brace fear of escalators!

You didn't know about my fear of escalators? Well it exists and actually it's more a fear of the down escalator...I can handle the up one. I even invented a whole beautiful story about Princess Sciatica and her Castle of Escalators, you can read that HERE, pretty cute story even if I do say so myself!

See, I am Princess Sciatica and several years ago I got Sciatica pretty bad! I have to say that it's the worse pain I have ever been in. Sciatica is a pain that affects the back, hip and outer side of the leg and is caused by a compression of a spinal nerve root in the lower back. Sciatica causes the affected leg (in me it's my left leg) to feel numb and weak. It was this weakness in my left leg that scared me when it came to taking the down escalator. I just felt that it would give way and I would tumble down the escalator to my death!

Well this Saturday I returned to the scene of the crime...the Macy's Story in the Mall. Once again we had to travel beyond the first floor. Using the up escalator was no problem and I knew that there was an elevator and a service elevator so I wouldn't be trapped. We shopped and tried on dresses and then it was time to head down and we started towards the elevators, passing right by the down escalator.

I don't know what hit me, but all of a sudden I knew that I could do it! I knew that I could kick the down escalators butt! So I told Lisa I would meet her and mom down stairs and then I just did it! Lisa stood there staring at me in amazement and I turned around and stuck my tongue out at a BOSS! I was so proud of myself!

I know that the reason I was able to do it is that I have been exercising and I can feel that I've strengthened my left leg (my right too but that one wasn't the problem). I've strengthened my core and my sense of balance as well and that all made it possible for me to go down the down escalator!

Today I was emailing back and forth with my sister when she mentioned how I had conquered my fear of the down escalator and it made me think of other fears I have. I don't like to have fears. I could only thing of three things:

1. The Down Escalator ...Conquered!

2. Eating Alone in a Restaurant

3. Driving on the Coronado Bridge in San Diego

I've always hated to eat alone, but I think with the love that we Americans have with our cell phones that no one would even notice if I were alone in a restaurant. In fact most of them would probably be alone themselves and on their phones! So that's an easy one conquer...but the Coronado Bridge?

Have you seen the Coronado Bridge?

Yeah, that is something that just scares me to death. I just know that the second I drive on to that bridge I am going to get vertigo and drive right off to my death! Just like I knew that Sciatica was going to make me fall all the way down the down escalator to my death!

But no matter how strong my core gets, or my legs or whatever...I know that I can't drive on that bridge and it kills me because like I said before, I hate to fear anything! I don't want to be a sissy-la-la that can't even drive on a little old bridge.

But maybe I'll try eating alone before I tackle the Coronado Bridge...don't you think?

What fears do you have? What fears have you overcome? What fears do you know are your "Coronado Bridge"?

Thursday, January 28, 2016

George Stella's 4 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

This George Stella recipe has been floating around Facebook for months now. My co-worker made them but I had never tried baking them myself, but today I was feeling motivated and really craving something sweet, which is weird for me because I'm not a big sweets person.

But these peanut buttery, crispy cookies hit the spot. They are so rich tasting that just one did the trick and they are only 2 carbs per cookie!

I'll definitely be making these often, so easy and so delicious!

The Recipe:

Flourless, Gluten Free, and Guilt Free 

Recipe from “The Complete Low-Carb Cookbook” 2014
By George Stella

Prep Time 10 min / Cook Time 12 min / Serves 8; 2 cookies each

1 cup all-natural smooth peanut butter 
1 cup sugar substitute 
1 large egg, slightly beaten 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350° and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. 

2. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl, mixing well to create the cookie dough. 

3. Use a tablespoon to drop the spoonfuls of the dough 2 inches apart on the lined pan. Then use a fork to press the dough down, creating a criss-cross pattern on each cookie. 

4. Bake for 10–12 minutes, or until cookies begin to brown. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. 

It is important to let cool completely before removing from the pan and also be careful not to overcook as these cookies are inherently "crumbly".

These are almost 100% peanut butter, and that’s a very good thing!

The recipe above says you can make 16 but I actually got 17 cookies out of the recipe and they are good size cookies with a nice thickness as you can see above. Loving the Low Carb/High Fat lifestyle!


Friday, January 15, 2016

Procrastination or Stress Management?

In my book, there are two kinds of people in the world, those that do things right away and those that procrastinate.

I am a self-proclaimed procrastinator.

My sister Lisa is one of those "other" people. The kind of people that does things right away. For instance bill-paying and handling mail. Lisa is one of those people that checks her mail daily, shreds what needs to be shredded, pays what needs to be paid and files away what needs to be filed. If a phone call needs to be made to a creditor and/or bank, she makes it and gets her answer.

I again am a self-proclaimed procrastinator. I believe this...

I get my mail and thumb through it and place it in a pile on my nightstand. I don't open any of it, unless it's a greeting card or looks like a check. So it all goes in a pile where it sits until the 15th of each month. On the 15th of each month I bring that pile of mail to the office and on my lunch hour I open it and make four piles. Pay, File, Shred, Question.

I pay what needs to be paid, attach the confirmation of payment to each bill and put that on the file pile. I shred what needs to be shredded and I call the creditor/bank on anything I have a question about and then I put that in the file pile. There...easy peasy! No stress, no mess!

Every once in a while I will open a letter that I should have taken care of right away, but those are few and far between. For instance I recently opened a letter from my homeowners insurance with big red letters stating CANCELLATION NOTICE, and just for a moment I panicked, then I noticed that I still had time to make the payment so I called my agent and found out that I had forgotten to call them with my new ATM card number and they had tried to take the money out of my account using the old card number. They quickly took my payment over the phone, set my auto pay back up using my checking account and that was that!

My sister stays up nights worrying about my bill paying method and meanwhile I am sleeping like a baby! She has told me many a time "You should just take care of each piece of mail that comes in right away so that then you don't have to worry about it". Ummm, hello? I don't worry. I was born without the worry gene, in fact dear sister, I think I gave that gene to you and you got a double batch!

I always tell her, "Why worry? You worry every day the minute you open that letter and now you have to pay it or call someone or look up something to see if it was paid or taken care of. If you had just set that aside and gone to read a book or watch TV or write a blog post you would be more like me and not spend every day stressing!" My method of bill paying is Stress Management, not Procrastination!

But the world would be a boring place if we were all the same, so I will let my sister continue to lose sleep over bills and mail and whether her sister is procrastinating and in the mean time I will enjoy posting and sleeping and reading a good book.

Which type of person are you? Maybe there's a third kind of person I don't now about. Let me know! Inquiring minds and all that you know! And yes, I procrastinated during my lunch hour to write this post and didn't pay my bills, but I'll do it after work, no one is standing over me "whip in hand".

Monday, January 11, 2016

Still Low Carb in 2016 and Loving It!

It’s a New Year and time for an update on my low carb/high fat (LCHF) way of eating (WOE). Yes...I'm still low carbing! Yay me!

I’m happy to say that I have been LCHF since July 7, 2015 and I am down 27 pounds!!! That’s just 3 pounds away from actually losing 30! I am so jazzed people! You just can’t comprehend how jazzed I am!

I was a bit worried about the holidays because there is so much yummy traditional food available and I not only am surrounded by it, but I also had to help cook much of it. But I made it without one bite of Tamales, Biscochos, Chocolate Covered Cherries, Christmas Cookies and Candies, Walnut Bread, and Ice Cream.

I have also learned to say “I don’t eat that” instead of “I can’t eat that”. I can eat it, I can eat all I want and I can put myself into an early grave…I am making a choice to NOT eat that.

When people want to know what diet I am doing I tell them it’s not a diet, I’ve changed my WOE and I explain to them what things I choose not to eat and they say, “I can’t live without bread!”, I can’t live without pasta!”, “I can’t live without ice cream!” Well you know what… you can. It’s not easy, but it can be done and thankfully there are a lot of yummy alternatives out there. This isn’t just about eating Eggs and Bacon people! That’s what everyone thinks of when they hear low carb. Nope, this is about making small changes and eating yummy things like this:

Low Carb Coconut Pancakes - Recipe from Low Carb Yum

Eggs in a Cloud - Recipe from The Cooking Jar

Random Treats from my sister Lisa, Deviled Eggs, Black Olive, Meat and Cheese Tray and Jalapeno Poppers. She had me over to help her decorate her house for the holidays and she prepared low carb foods we could snack on. Best deviled eggs ever!

One of my favorite meals - Pork Chops with Broccoli Slaw - Recipe for Broccoli Slaw

And how about this Low Carb Taco Pizza? It started out as a Low Carb Quesadilla, but the tortilla got too crunchy before I could finish adding the toppings, so I just let it continue to cook slowly on both sides until it was crisp then I added cheese, ground beef, lettuce, salsa, more cheese and black olives then sliced it with a pizza cutter. This was amazing!

I am trying to mix it up so that I am not always eating the same thing, even though I'm not that picky and I can eat the same thing day after day. But they say variety is the spice of life, so I'm trying to be creative.

Just as soon as I post this I am making a new recipe my sister sent me today for Paleo Tortillas. If they come out ok I'll share the pictures and recipe. Wish me luck!


Sunday, January 3, 2016

Books Read in 2015

I've been keeping track of books that I've read each year since 2009. From 2009 until 2012 I kept track on my own and on my blog, but in 2012 I signed up for Goodreads and they keep track for me. So here's my countdown: ( you can click on each year to go to that post and see my list of books if you so desire)

2009 - 24 books
2010 - 24 books
2011 - 29 books
2012 - 26 books - Goal was 30 books
2013 - 18 books - Goal was 30 books
2014 - 33 books - Goal was 20 books

and drum roll please ......

Of all those years that I have been keeping track I only met my goal one year, in 2014 and then I far exceeded it. I blame Facebook, television and my iPhone for distracting me from reading as much as I should and used to read!

But, instead of beating myself up I'm setting the same goal for 2016, 35 books and forging ahead to try to meet or beat this goal!

Goodreads has done this cute little page that not only keeps track of how many books, but also, how many books and how many pages...

It tells me which of my books was the shortest and the longest...

Which of my books read was the MOST popular with Goodreads and also which was the LEAST popular...

And which of those 19 books was the highest rated on Goodreads, (which I entirely agree with, it was an awesome book!)

Here's the books I read in 2015:

To help me meet or beat my goal, I will be starting with these three books that I was able to find yesterday after a successful Goodwill shopping trip with my mom:

Excellent books that I was so lucky to find! Schindler's List has 4.34 stars on Goodreads, The Red Tent has 4.14 and A Beautiful Mind has 4.09. Have you read any of them? Which would you recommend I start off with?

Happy reading in 2016 and let me know if you have any recommendations of books that I should add!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Celebration of my Mom's 79th Birthday

Yesterday evening we celebrated my mom's 79th birthday. I can't even imagine that...79! But I am so happy that we still have her with us and even though she and I clash at times that unconditional love of a mother is something that I can always count on from her. I wish I was a wonderful a mother as she is!

For the past several years we have made Biscochos on her birthday. Biscocho is a special cookie that was made famous by her sister Nicolasa. The fondest memory of my child is these cookies. Whenever we went to visit my maternal grandmother in Arizona we always came home with a coffee can full of them.

But this year mom said that she wanted to make her famous chili beans and everyone was in agreement that they would rather eat right away than have to spend all day baking! Mama didn't raise no fools, we would all much rather eat!

Well if you are expecting pictures of the Chili Beans, forget about it! I forgot to snap even one picture. But I got plenty of the family and actually that's probably more important. So get ready for a slew of family pictures and no food! Well there was cake. Two delicious cakes that my sister Lisa made with her precious grand-baby, Baby J, and a yummy lemon pudding cake.

Where it all started, my mom and her children. Mom is in the middle of course. On her right is my brother Fred, on her left my brother Jaime, that's me on the right standing up and my sister Lisa on the left. And look! Cake!

From those four children came all of these, my mom and her grandchildren. There were a few missing due to work obligations. She has eleven all total!

Here's yours truly and her mommy! I am the first born and therefore her favorite!!! Behind me you can see the Nativity that she made for me in a ceramics class that she took back in 1983! Something that I will treasure forever. Mom has always been a very crafty person. She would sew matching dresses for myself and my sister when we were little, not that I was grateful! See this post to read about why I make that comment.

Next up my sister Lisa and her husband Guero. They have two boys, Sean and Issac who were both unable to attend as they were working. My sister has the most photogenic family, aren't they just gorgeous?

I'll post this picture next because this is my sister and I with our mom with the added bonus of Baby J. Can you believe how big she is now? She had just woken up from a nap and was not her usual bubbly self. Baby J is my moms only great grandchild, so she is my moms favorite just like I am!

My brother Federico aka Fred came with his whole family, minus one, his daughter Beatriz. But her big sister Alicia was smart enough to figure out a way to include her by pulling up a picture of Beatriz on her cell phone so she could still be in the picture. Way to go Alicia! No wonder you are my namesake, you're just as brilliant and creative as I am :)

The baby in our family is my brother Jaime. His whole family was able to make it! Good job family, you're all gorgeous. Sarena, the oldest one on the left in the ponytail with the beautiful smile just graduated from Nursing School! So proud of her!

Next a few random pictures, just so I can have them on the blog where family members can access them. Mom with both her boys!

Mom with her boys and her favorite son-in-law.

Mom had such a great time and we all loved her chili beans. Happy Birthday mom, you are the greatest blessing in all our lives.