A New Attitude Towards Food


Let’s be honest, most of us overindulged around the holidays.  Who can resist those home-baked chocolate chip cookies with melty chocolate? Gingerbread men  that you slowly torture by  dunking first this foot, then that one into your morning coffee. What?  You don’t  create the psychodrama of torturing the little man of goodness?

Maybe it’s a writer thing. Anyway, new year new eating habits.  For the most part it’s a reestablishment of nutritious eating guidelines. My personal approach involves simple changes that I can adapt for long-term lifestyle changes that I can live with because I have more than twenty pounds to lose.

If I make a statement like –  I will not eat chocolate in 2016,  it’s a lie.  I might make it to the afternoon of day 1 before I am scrounging in my secret stash.  It’s not just me,  you do it too.  If we  lay down the law and state that object A is forbidden,  then there is some compulsion within us that screams for it, demands it, wears on our willpower to the point that we give in. A more realistic goal will be that I allow myself 3 small pieces of chocolate throughout the week.   I can live with that!

My new eating plan began on January 4th. Yeah, I’m late in posting this.  I don’t have a big long list of goals to share – sorry to disappoint those of you that are used to my ‘Mega-blowout-I-am-going-to-totally-kick-ass-this-year’ list.  I’m streamlining and simplifying.  Two simple goals: Eat balanced meals and practice portion control.  In reality there are 4 goals because part of eating balanced meals is not skipping meals.  Something that I am terrible about.

I plan my weekly menu before I do my grocery shopping, to avoid impulse purchases and thwart those unhealthy items that tend to jump into my cart like chips or snack crackers and also to save some money on our groceries.

As I plan my menus,  I scour food sites, pinterest, and my cookbooks for healthy nutritious meals.  A typical days menu is between 1500 and 2000 calories. Throughout the week it averages 1800 calories. I plan a couple of desserts into the meal plan sticking mostly to  lowfat, low sugar but still appeases the sweet tooth.

One of the changes I have been making in meal planning is using Superfoods.  The following list is items that I have incorporated into our meals:

Greek Yogurt – plain, unsweetened.  The ingredients on the side of the container  – cultured milk –  that’s it.  The only ingredient.  100%  milk. NO sweetener, no sugar, no additives, no chemicals.

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Quinoa – I’ve made some really interesting meals with this versatile grain. Talk about filling!

Kale –  chopped up kale can work like parsley in some dishes, like on top of my potato soup.  It can be the main part of a salad –  like my favorite citrus kale salad. I don’t care for the tough and woody stems,  but the leaves are amazing.

Blueberries – Who doesn’t like blueberries? From blueberry muffins to fresh blueberries in my cottage cheese or greek yogurt, it’s like nature’s candy!

Oatmeal -This rib sticking old-fashioned breakfast is  a godsend.  I am not a morning person and tend to be on autopilot until after the second cuppa. Whether you make zingy lemon lifter, or blueberry blast, or my  new favorite – peach and almond, it’s a versatile mainstay of our kitchen.

Salmon – We have salmon once a week. Whether  as salmon croquettes, or  grilled, or baked salmon is a good protein choice loaded with omega 3.

Lentils – Cheap nutrition.  Lentils and rice were a mainstay of our diet when we were newlyweds on starter wages. Sometimes we added some meat to it, sometimes we didn’t. Lentils can be added to salads just as you would garbonzo beans.  They can be tossed in soups and stews for added protein. Lentils are high in iron, something I need battling anemia.

There are numerous superfoods, these are just a few that I have worked into a regular rotation in our diets. Would you like some recipes with these superfoods or some others?  Let me know in the comments. Trust me,  I have loads of recipes. I may have to think about what my pinch translates into in a measured amount,  but I am recipe rich!!  If you are interested in meal plans, contact me!

Write on my friends, and eat well!

Snippet Sunday – Revising Valkyrie’s Curse: The Awakening


Courtesy of VL Locey

Courtesy of VL Locey

Working through my first draft of Valkyrie’s Curse I am finding  lines and scenes that I really like as well as some that I wonder . . . what in the wide, wide world of literary abandon were you thinking? There is a great deal of pantsing during NANO even though I  always work with an outline.

I know many authors who  feel adamant that outlining is restrictive but I disagree.  My outline is simple a framework.  The skeleton  that supports the  fleshed out matters.

One of the courses I took in college was Osteology –  the study of human skeletal remains.  There is much that can be learned from skeletal remains even if you don’t have a complete skeleton.  For instance,  you can determine age, sex,  race,  how athletic they were, their weight, and  sometimes the cause of death. The finer details however, are a mystery such as hair color, personality,  intelligence, or their eye color.

My mother was wrong when she said that I’d never use that information. It’s almost as if my college career was custom tailored for a writing career even though the degree is in science. Think about that, you’ll get it.

I started this a couple of times in 2015 and agreed with a few writing friends to carry it through as a regular feature for 2016.  Keep in mind that this is during revision and prepublication. I shared a snippet from chapter 1 HERE.

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Discovering our true destiny is revealed

by our deepest passions.

My second snippet gives you a feel for the main character, Helena Eskildson.

The rune stones and markers of the ancient village aligned themselves perfectly with the equinox according to research from Dr. Lundquist. She had gathered as much pertinent information about the region that she could find, anything relating to the site, the history, geography, culture, and mythology. If it was available, she had researched it.

This had been her obsession since that trip. There was something here that called to her; she just had to find it. Failure was not an option. She had to know the truth and the reasons behind her crazy dreams.

According to the research from Dr. Sune Lundquist combined with the corresponding findings of Dr. Osmund Bell, this small village held a key. Dr. Lundquist determined that it was a key to buried Viking treasure, while Dr. Bell hypothesized that it was a key to unlock the portal to Asgard. She had spent her high school years researching everything she could get her hands on and the first three years of college piecing together this puzzle. Now, she finally had her chance to explore and she hoped to God, to find something remarkable.

She sealed the first storage bin and put her labels on it.

“Have a great summer Helena. Take lots of pictures to share with us.” It was Dr. Sempkins, the department dean.

“You too Dr. Sem. I hear you’re going back to Macchu Piccu?” She continued to work.

“Yes. I will be glad to get back there. It has been ten years you know. Going to investigate the viaduct system this time.”

“Sounds very interesting.” He was a nice enough man, aside from being dull and self-absorbed. It seemed a common trait amongst professors. He left just as quickly as he had poked his head in.

“Hey!” She turned, realizing it was not Dr. Sempkins. This time it was Leroy, their tech guru.

“Hey there Leroy, you got my drives?” He moved to the table she had her stuff laid out on.

“Yup, got them right here. Both identical. Got your laptop and tablet cleaned and ready for you as well.” He set the items down onto the table. “Everything is loaded into your laptop and hard drives. I suggest you do an incremental backup daily and a complete backup every Thursday on this hard drive. He set out another that looked very similar to the others except it had a metallic Decepticon sticker on it. It wasn’t much bigger than her phone.

She laughed. “I see you’ve made it easy for me.”

He grinned. “Yeah, well I know you and you get excited and don’t pay attention. This way you’ll remember and use the right one.”

“True enough.” She continued packing the equipment into the padded aluminum cases.

“Send me your updates on Thursdays.” He continued rattling off specific instructions but she didn’t her them. The photo of her dad holding her on his knee in front of the Roskilde stone caught her eye. There was no way she was not going to take it with her. It was her inspiration. She tucked it into her purse after wrapping it with a sheet of bubble wrap.

“And since you tuned me out about five minutes ago, here are your written procedures and schedule for backups.”

She blushed, Leroy knew her too well.

“Right, well that’s everything then.”

She leaned over and hugged him. “Thank you Leroy. I would be lost without you.”

He stood perfectly still for a few seconds, eyes wide before he made a move to hug her back. It was stiff and awkward at best. “Right so. I guess this is goodbye then,” He quickly adjusted his glasses and hurried from the room. He was always nervous around any girl that he thought was attractive.

Helena shook her head wondering about why he acted so nervous around her. She had always been nice to him.

Are you curious yet?  How does a Viking warrior and a modern-day college student have anything to do with Valkyries?  Stay tuned and you’ll find out the answer to that question!

YOu can skate on over to VL Locey’s sinful pleasures  with hot hockey players on and off the ice at VLLOCEY and then skip on over to Cathy’s Romance, where you can find your next book boyfriend.

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

Success in Life


positive-thinking-quotes

Do you want to know a secret?

Well do you?

Why is it that some people succeed yet others do not?  Is it that they have better opportunities? They haven’t  had crisis’ in their lives?

First off, what is the definition of success?

 suc·cess

noun
  •  the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.
  • the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame

    the correct or desired result of an attempt

    someone or something that is successful : a person or thing that succeeds

    For my purposes,  I’m going to use the first definition, the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.  This means that you don’t have to be Bill Gates rich to be considered a success.  If you have set your goal as losing twenty pounds and acheived  that goal, then you are a success.  If your goal was to establish your own business and build into a profitable venture and you have reached the level of being in the black instead of the red and have made a profit – then you are a success.

    SO . . . . What is the secret to being a successful person?

There is one element that every successful person has.  Without it, the chances of becoming successful are nearly impossible.  With it,   the odds of succeeding have increased exponentially.

Any guesses?

  • They get better opportunities than others?
  • They get better education?
  • They were born into the right family?
  • They were born under a lucky star?

NO – none of these things. Every single day each  of us are faced with a minimum of twenty opportunities that will lead to a better tomorrow.

That’s a bunch of  bologna,  I don’t have any opportunities! 

OH but you do!  Every day we have to make decisions.  Every single decision leads in one direction or another. For instance, you choose to brush your teeth or not,  comb your hair or not.  You can choose not to. The consequences of not brushing your teeth will lead to bad breath and eventually tooth decay.  It will lead to a repulsion from other individuals, lack of physical intimacy because no one wants to get near that.  The consequences will be isolation.  However, if you choose to brush, you feel better about yourself,  thus carrying yourself with an air of confidence you can go about your day unafraid that the person in the grocery store or at work will recoil with horror – at least not from your breath. Bad oral hygiene  is a choice that will lead you away from success.  Good oral hygiene is an opportunity for success.

It’s that simple!  Every single day we make decisions for good, for our benefit for our well-being, for the possibility of success.

Well,  a lot of people got a better education than I did.  I didn’t get to go to college. 

Having a college degree does not guarantee your success.  There are many people with a degree that are unsuccessful.  Honestly, between the GI bill and Pell grants there is no reason why a person who wants to go to college shouldn’t be able to.  I know many people that went part-time while they worked.  I know several who served in the military to take advantage of the GI bill.  I also know several people who opted not to attend college. My point is,  although I firmly believe in education it is not required in order to achieve success.

But I wasn’t born into a good family. 

Really?  Many success stories are about people who rose out of the worst situations that you could imagine. As to families , I think If you look up dysfunctional in the dictionary there is a picture of my family.

I don’t even believe in the lucky star thing.

The one,

most important element  that a person must have to achieve success is . . .

* momentary pause for dramatic effect* 

good thinking.

Attitude

The level of your thinking

determines the level of your living!

You have to have a positive outlook. You have to be able to look past the current circumstances and see the brighter future on the horizon.  A good attitude with positive thinking is the cornerstone to build your foundation for success.

positivethinking

Isn’t it time you start dreaming and planning your success?

Stop making excuses! Stop blaming your now on your past.

Every single one of us has history.

Learn from it. Grow from it!  Build on it!

Build a better tomorrow today!

 Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

Cooking Up Something Special


Every Year for my birthday or for Christmas, since the two are close together, I get at least one cookbook as a gift. This year my mother in law gave me The Pioneer Woman Cooks book.

There are a couple of recipes in there that I am going to try.  As most of you know,  each year one of my goals is to try new recipes. I tend to try at least 4  per month. Some are good,  some are terrible, some are – bury that mess in the backyard and gargle with lysol. Every once in awhile,  I find a really great recipe. I’m sharing today a couple of recipes that are not from any cookbook,  but sraight from the master chef themselves.

My daughter has this good freind that she went to high school with that they stay in touch. Her parents run the  best Chinese restaurant in the area. Anny came over to our home to visit and catch up with my daughter, and brought us nommies from their restaurant!  I love this girl!   She indulged in a slice of my birthday cake, while I indulged in the best crab rangoon ever!

Crab Rangoon 1_CrabRangoon2_0410

  • 1 package of cream cheese, softened
  • I Tablespoon pineapple juice
  • 1 Tablespoon of honey
  • 6 ounces imitation crabmeat, chopped into small bits
  •  wonton wrappers

Combine all ingredients  thoroughly. Place 1 Tablespoon of filling onto wonton wrapper, pinch into lotus flower shape and set on baking sheet until all are formed.

Heat oil in deep fryer.  Drop 2 at a time into hot oil. Cook until wrappers are golden brown. Remove from fryer, placing on paper towel lined baking sheet.

Makes 8 servings.

Egg Foo Yong

This is a great way to use up leftovers, or those little bits of this and that. These are basically Chinese omelets. I made mine without any additional meat,  but if you want more protien in yours feel free to add it in.

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My skillet was a little too hot so the edges are darker than I would have liked, but it still tasted amazing!

Ingredients:

  • 6eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1cup fresh bean sprout
  • 14cup minced scallion
  • 14cup minced bamboo shoots
  • or14 cup celery or 14 cup shredded Chinese cabbage
  • 4water chestnuts, minced
  • (1312cup slivered cooked ham or1312 cup chicken or 1312 cuppork or 1312 cup mincedshrimp)
  • 1teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 -3tablespoons peanut oil (or other cooking oil)

    Foo Yung Sauce

    • 1cup chicken broth
    • 1tablespoon soy sauce
    • 2teaspoons sugar
    • 2teaspoons vinegar
    • 1tablespoon cornstarch
    • 2tablespoons water
    Directions:
    1. Mix eggs, vegetables, meat and soy.
    2. Heat 2 tsp oil in a 4-6 inch skillet over moderate heat for 30 seconds.
    3. Add 1/3 cup egg mixture and fry as you would a pancake until lightly browned on the bottom, turn over and brown flip side.
    4. Keep warm (but do not stack), while you fry remaining pancakes, adding more oil if needed and stirring egg mixture before adding to pan.
    5. Foo Yung Sauce: In a pan, heat broth, soy, sugar and vinegar.
    6. In a bowl, blend cornstarch and water.
    7. Add to sauce and cook, stirring, until sauce bubbles and thickens.
    8. Serve with hot Egg Foo Yung over steamed rice.

    Bon Appetit! We have to eat, why not make it  something tasty and nutritions?  OK, well the egg foo yung is nutritious.

    Write on my freinds, write on! And eat well!

    Ellie

     

 

January Challenges Begin -A to Z


One of my goals for 2016 is to blog more, specifally 100 posts in 2016.  In 2014,  I sort of fell off the face of the earth with personal issues.  Not that anyone noticed or that I shared much detail about it.  I am outgoing and gregarious, but also rather private.  Plus, it was depressing.  I would rather share upbeat, interesting, encouraging things  about life, about writing, about whatever is on my mind instead of tedious details about personal issues.

In 2015,  I had similar goals for blogging but was derailed for other reasons.  I had good intentions guys –  I really did.  Getting my first book  Red Wine & Roses published was one of the top highlights of the year!!  OK,  of my life!

3’s a charm though, and this year  is going to be

freaking awesome!

To start things off on the right foot as opposed to the left,  the first installment of The A to Z challenge.

A to Z Dream Vacations:          hawaii-beach-wallpaper

  • Aberdeen, Scotland
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Cairo, Egypt
  • Dublin, Ireland
  • Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Freeport, Bahamas – (Been there but I want to go back!)
  • Grand Turk Island
  • Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Invercargill, New Zealand
  • Jerusalem, Isreal
  • Kyoto, Japanvenice-italy
  • London, England
  • Montego Bay, Jamaica
  • Niagara Falls, New York
  • Oslo, Norway
  • Paris, France
  • Quebec, Canada
  • Reykjavik, Iceland
  • Lucia
  • Trinidad
  • Ubon, Thailand  gty_niagara_falls_dm_130225_wmain
  • Venice, Italy
  • Wotje, Marshall Islands
  • Xiangfan, China
  • Yuma, Arizona
  • Zurich, Switzerland

In between the writing and domestic goddess duty,  I dream of travel. Especially during the cold winter days,  I dream of those tropical locales. One day, I will have marked every one of those off my list. We all have our motivators, what are yours?

What places wold you like to visit? What travel destinations motivate you to save money to afford?

I’m not going to tag anyone for this challenge,  but if you are reading this and you are a blogger –  Take up the challenge.  It’s fun.

Write on my friends, write on!

~~~~~

Ellie