Category: cooking


     I want to share a thought I had with you good folks… maybe it is worth your time… maybe it is garbage, but I was having a conversation about depression with someone. I won’t get into the details of that… but in that conversation it led me to an analogy. One of those things that just popped into my head out of nowhere, after which I thought was so brilliant I even surprised myself… so then I thought how can I apply that to my life. And poof another thought… all those thoughts and it did not hurt or anything 😉

 

     So maybe at another time I can touch on the depression issue in the same way I was able to with this other person… but for now and for my journey I will only write about how I will use it to in turn help myself.  I have heard many times that by helping others we in turn really help ourselves… and this here proves just that! And if by writing this out and someone reads it and they too can use it, well so much the better 🙂 the more “light” we have in the world the less dark it will be, and that will make more sense later lol

 

      So for my fellow weight loss enthusiasts… say you have a bad breakfast… or a bad lunch… then something bad happened at work and you get home later than you want… or for those that stay at home already, your kids come home or spouse comes home in a bad mood and everything in the air is just foul that day. Those are the days I dread… the days I just want to say forget it… no tracking points, no worries about nutritional info… I just want to throw some food together and eat and not think about anything else. Today is crap and I just want tomorrow to come so I can start over. I mean that sounds like a good plan right?  It will make you feel better right? Well until tomorrow… when you remember what you ate as you start tracking again… what if you have a whole week like that? And then before you know it is a month, then a season… and now we are looking at just waiting until after the holidays. I know all of this from experience. I have done it time and time again… and each time if I could track it back, I would track it back to one day… where it started off bad and I just said forget it.

 

     So here is my analogy… what would you do if you walked into a dimly lit room that only had a few candles burning… that room represents your day… you’re walking around and you can see the stuff around you, you know what is there, but it is so dim it’s getting hard to make things out. That is how I feel when I mess up… like I wonder why I am even doing this. What is the point, will anyone else even care. In the dim room that is my day goals seem blurred and hard to make out, it matters less and less the more I think about it.

 

     So you’re in this dimly lit room… what do you do? Common sense says turn on a light… light another candle, throw back the curtains if it is daylight… so then why do we walk into that room and blow out more candles… we have a bad lunch… we then go home and have a bad dinner because the day is ruined is like walking into the room  to see it is dim kinda in a funk and we make it darker. And the worse it gets the darker we make it… then in turn the worse we feel yet again.

 

     Light a candle… don’t blow it out… every time you have a bad day with food you can’t spiral into that black hole and let it swallow you… you can’t walk into that dim room and think it will get better by making it pitch black… oh and guess what… no matter how dark it is… no matter how black a room gets, the smallest candle will shine.

 

      So no more walking into dimly lit rooms and making them worse… make it better!!! Light only makes you feel better, and the more you do it the easier it gets.

 

      Last week I hit 25 lbs in my weight loss journey… I have not done it alone. I have an awesome support group in Weight Watchers, I have amazing friends that not only keep me up with my activity but also give me tons of support with everything else. And I have a family cheering me on from the sideline… I am blessed and I know it. Not everyone has that and I understand it is not easy… but find whatever you can to keep your room from getting dark. Keep those candles burning and do not get frustrated and blow them out! Once they are all out, it is tough to find your matches to light them again!

 

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   Smile… it can be the light that brightens someone’s otherwise dark day!

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Drive…

Drive: an innate, biologically determined urge to attain a goal or satisfy a need.

          So I have been told several times in my life that people wish they had half the “Drive” that I do… I have also been complimented using these words: passion, willpower, self-control, self-discipline…. well anyway I think you get the idea.

          See my thoughts on all of that is I just don’t buy into that, at least for myself. I mean people with drive love what they do… people with drive push everything away to get what they need for that goal. Normally when someone is talking about these things to me it is either in regards to my weight loss or my cycling. But I struggle, boy do I struggle every day with what I eat and trying to control how much. Where is the drive in that? it’s not a matter of just wanting to and doing it… I have to fight to tell myself over and over and over not to eat this or eat that. Not to go to places where I do not already know the menu and have a good meal planned. But even then at times I have to pick up lunch for friends or family at places I should not be eating and it is a struggle to not get that French fry to snack on in the truck, or to eat that burger because they taste so good. Where is the drive then? To help curb those thoughts and feelings… I always pictured people with drive as people with tunnel vision or blinders on… the only thing they see is the goal and nothing else bothers them. My blinders are broken… they sometimes magnify the things I should not have and then push the goal farther away or at least make it look farther away or harder than it is… sometimes I fall for it… but mainly I just try to close my eyes and focus. I guess that is where willpower and self-control come in so I can kind of get those two. But it is such a hard fight… a constant struggle every day when it comes to just eating whatever I want because everything sounds soo good. I was cursed with the ability to cook and cook well… and there are few foods I do not like so my taste is as broad as my imagination.

         That brings me to cycling… where to start… I do not love it… for many that will sound odd, but it is what I have chosen as the vehicle to do charity work and get fit. I am limited by my health (knees) so there are few things I can do. I am by nature a pack animal, I love people. All shapes, ages, sizes… cycling feeds into that as well. Actually riding the bike? some days I truly love it… other days I would like to chuck that stupid bike off a bridge. It’s an activity that makes me feel great about myself and then inferior all in the same ride… pushing pushing pushing… It does help work out some aggression in my life with work and home, a place to leave it out on the road… as well as a place to get in great activity that is great for my heart and the rest of my body. So I have been told that someone wished they had the passion for something like I seem to have for cycling… but I think the passion is for the people I have met through cycling… the people I ride for both living and those that have passed. The passion is for the final outcome that I hope and pray becomes a reality.

         I guess I will end this here… my lingering thought is this… I wonder if the people who seem to have drive and passion for those things we see them doing… truly feel that way. Or if maybe they just picked what they could do and stuck with it trying to be the best they could. I wonder if there is even a difference or if that truly is what drive and passion really are. Much like love, not all flowers and rainbows but multifaceted and deeper than it appears. Including the muck and the grime and even the hate for something… just another natural progression…

Smile… even if your passion is not as deep as it seems… maybe it will encourage someone else nonetheless, just be thankful people look close enough to even notice.

We are all searching for answers… I do not care who you are or where you are from, how much money you have or how content with your life you think you are, we are all searching for answers. Sometimes I feel like it is in us pre-programmed by God, or by pond slime, maybe even our monkey DNA still looking for that perfect banana. But whatever your belief or disbelief is we are all still looking…

 

  In our search we listen to music and watch TV or movies, we drink, smoke, eat, practice, push, fight, love, hate, kill, destroy, build, fix, and create new problems in our search for the answers to the questions. Searching for the answer… but if we stop and ask ourselves what exactly are the questions half of the time we won’t even know. Sometimes there are specific things we think we want until we get them then we find they are not as cool as they were when we romanticized them in our head. We think if we could change that one thing… that all the other pieces will fall into place and we will be content… I’m sorry to say there is nothing in this world outside of ourselves that will make us content. We want to change the things around us and say if I could just stop this, or have this job, make this much more money, get that new car, find that one girl, get that cute guy, make that good grade… we are too short sighted for our own good… what we fail to see is that the new job has new and different, maybe even more responsibilities… more money always brings more tax, and we always spend it and wonder where it went so shortly we are again wishing to make more… the new car as shiny as it is now comes with debt, and higher insurance, and is not so new after a time and becomes neglected just like the rest until soon when it is not so new anymore you are left trying to figure out how to make the payment, wishing you had more money, and again wanting a new car… so there is a “girl” you want, that perfect girl, who has her own life and does not revolve around you and expects things from you and needs your time and oh wait, you mean it was not like in your head when she only came out of the “closet” to do your bidding and the disappeared until you needed her again? You mean she thinks and acts for herself and has needs that might not be just like yours… and then there is that cute guy, brilliant white toothed smile makes you weak in the knees. You do not notice the mark left by his wedding band that was removed when he left the house, you do not notice he marks on his knuckles from his temper, and you do not see the pain that follows behind him, you were blinded by a smile, now it is to late… you pray at night looking at your school books wishing for that good grade, why do you even need to know how many atoms are in a cheeseburger, why do I need to know why slavery is wrong, why do I care about what happened and 1782, who the hell knows why a + b = y, what you miss is the lesson of learning and growing, thinking outside of the realm of normal thought and learning new things, what your missing is the lesson of dedication and persistence, and how learning all this stuff will in some time maybe help you get the job, make more money, get that new car and snag that cute guy or girl… or maybe it will just let you find yourself. Maybe it will show you a variety of things you would have never learned on your own, a variety of subjects and disciplines and you find that one thing you’re really good at that you never would have touched because who cares what happened in the past…

 

  We are all looking in all the wrong places for all the wrong things… says the man who still looks outside of himself to make himself happy… I have no answers, or maybe I do, maybe we all have every answer it is that we are searching for… maybe we are just to chicken shit to look inside ourselves and find it… or maybe we know it and we are too scared to say it out loud because to do so would bring about a change we are scared of.

 

  Here is a girl who has looked inside herself and found a bunch of answers… I am sure this will lean more toward the female crowd but guys if your honest with yourselves there is a lot for you to learn here to… not only is what she says powerful but the way she gets it across is also amazing. I have become a fan… I hope you enjoyed my muddled thoughts above and the video of an amazing woman below…

 

  Smile… Life is giving you the answers to your questions everyday… you just have to accept them.

  Here is a link to her own youtube channel…  http://www.youtube.com/user/holliemcnish?feature=watch

 Well Football starts in about 40 min and my heart is not into it… my team was a train wreck this year and not only that but it seems the front office all the way up to the owner really are imploding. But fear not this is not a sports blog, I would never do that to you… ok I might at some point but right not is not that “some point”.  I have just finished watching a movie and had some time to kill and thought I would write a blog. It has been a while… so first let me do a quick update:

  1. I am still breathing
  2. I am still employed
  3. weight loss is going fairly well, down 10 lbs in 2.5 weeks and it is slowing now as it should… please before I get all the “2 lbs a week” comments about being un healthy, know that I just started back on watching my food again and being much, much more strict on what I eat. So as you know the weight seems to fall off the first week or so and then levels off to a normal amount of loss per the amount you need to lose.
  4. training? well ya see here is the thing… ok really I have gotten on my bike once, it was hard, and eye opening… and yes I will be doing a lot more.  Also I have an elliptical that I will be using 3 times or so a week, when I do not ride my bike. I try to get on it first thing in the morning… kinda to jump start my metabolism… and I will be checking with the gym (YMCA) i belong to and check their classes to see what they have available. I hear yoga is really good…  Just a thought… all the exercise in the world will not have you lose weight… it is only to make you fit to make you want to move more, I am not saying it will not help but if you do not control what you put in your mouth then it will not help. Sleep is important too… but anyway…

 

  so yes this blog is about nothing and everything… maybe I will purge a little… a bit about my thoughts and feelings from things I have seen and done over the past week… well like my weigh in at Weight Watchers, it went well. Not as good as I wished but I still lost about 2.8 lbs and I am ok with that. I am still kicking myself for letting go when I was so close last time. I like the meeting because they feel like a family, I mean people are happy to see you when you come they all ask about your week and really wish for your success. They share their ideas and triumphs and are there to help you and the other with their failures.  We give each other great ideas to help with our success and not just that but we are able to support each other in a way unlike any other family unit because we all understand. When we talk about points we get it… trying to explain to other what has take us so long to learn ourselves is not easy task… and then the “other” people always seem to have a story about a cousin or uncle or even themselves… “well (insert name here) lost 45 lbs. on the fatback and Cheetos diet in 2 months….” or  ” ya know I just read on the internet there is a new elixir made from the saliva of rare cave crawling wombat… man they say doctors unlocked that you can stuff your face all you want with just a few drops of this a day. You just cannot eat (insert food here) because you might poop yourself…” hahaha yeah no thanks… I will stick with what is healthy and what works.  I mean Weight Watchers is a diet only in name… because the definition of diet is:

 a :  food and drink regularly provided or consumed

b :  habitual nourishment

c :  the kind and amount of food prescribed for a person or animal for a special reason

d :  a regimen of eating and drinking sparingly so as to reduce one’s weight

 (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diet)

so yes Weight Watchers teaches you in a unique way how to eat properly by assigning each food or combination of food a numeric value… which can change depending on what it is paired with and how it is cooked. But yeah enough about all of that… it is working again and now that I have my food on a good path it is time for me to get back on my bike and or back into the gym.

 I made into the Freewheelers group so I am able to get signed up for the Mt. Mitchell event before the end of the month. I have talked to a lot of people about this and about my equipment and how hard it is, but really what this is going to boil down to is me… just me. And well to be honest, I will finish this no matter what. I will hate it, I will wonder why I am there, I will doubt myself and get angry… but… once I am angry then I will finish.

 

 Other things I want to work on is finishing the story I started for the NaNo Wrimo project, that book really has some good potential and I really like it. I met some pretty interesting people while doing my research for new characters and it seems even made a few new friends. I am a firm believer you can never have enough friends and supporters. That is one aspect of my life I feel truly blessed. The friend base I have, between the writers, and cyclists, and other people who just like how contagious my excitement is, I am just blessed with as much support as anyone could ask for. It also seems like the good people that read my blog also are growing in number which is a surprise to me with the limited amount I actually blog. But you guys are all amazing for taking your time to read my random thoughts… Thank you all for your time and remember to love each other.

 

 

  Smile… if today was the worst day of your life… just think… tomorrow will be better. 

2014 The year of no promises…

I will not promise to be a better person…

I will not promise to lose weight…

I will not promise to change how I interact with my family…

I will not promise to save money…

I will not promise to manage vacation time…

I will not promise…

This year I refuse to make any promises in regards to changing myself… this is not a resolution… this is just a statement. By definition as promise is a statement telling someone that you will definitely do something or that something will definitely happen in the future.

So let me explain… I am not a wizard, nor am I omnipotent, psychic, a fortune-teller, or a god in any form. I know there are a lot of things in this life that I would “like” to happen and honestly as much as I believe we are the masters of our own fate. I know that little in this life we truly have complete control of other than how we re-act to situations around us. Our feelings and emotions though influenced by others and out surroundings… are still ours and ours alone to control.

I would love to promise to get published, ride seven thousand miles, finish all my cycling goals, lose all the weight and have a 6 pack, get father of the year award, have my personal life work out all of its kinks, give more to those who need, and learn to cook something new. But what if in this blog I promise you all of those things… and tomorrow I get hit by a truck. I know a bit drastic… but a promise is really not good for much.

What I am going to do is quietly work to do all of those things I listed above. I will not make big big goals and put a ton of pressure on myself, I will not twist people’s arms and guilt them into helping me do this or that because it is what “I” want them to do or because “I” need their help. I will share my success with my friends, family and loved ones… and I will not have any defeats… because I will constantly be trying to improve. Minor setbacks maybe… but I have made no promises so I have nothing to apologize for… if I attempt a ride that I am unable to finish, well I have learned from it, a limitation that I can use as a tool to know what I need to work on… it is not a failure in any way. But a chance to learn and grow… if I have a week or two that I gain weight instead of lose I have not promised anyone that I will, because honestly my weight has nothing to do with anyone in this world but me. It’s my weight… my food… my activity… and if I have a bad week or two… then I will know again my limitations. I will not get mad or angry, I will simply move on.

2014 is going to be my year to better myself with less stress… a promise adds stress, it forces you to perform when you just might not want to. In the past I have used it as a tool to “force” myself to do things. And honestly it has worked many many times for me. But in the end when I meet the goal I promised, I slack off and whatever I worked hard to do is quickly undone because after my promised goal I just drift… this time it will be different.

So here is to 2014 and my year of less stress and less promises… I will be healthier and happier… I will accomplish amazing things… and I will uncomplicated the things in my life that make it more complicated. There is nothing and no one in this world you must have to live… no one person or thing you cannot live without… so the people and things you have in your life need to be there for your benefit and theirs. If they are crippling you and not making you better, lose it… if something is costing you more money than you see a benefit… lose it… If a club or organization is no longer fun and you no longer enjoy it quit. You have but one life to live, and I believe we have no set paths… you chose where you go, and there is an unlimited amount of choices. So do what you love and love what you do 😉 (I read that on a coffee cup but it fits).

This is my first blog of 2014… my blog of nothing… and of no promises 🙂

Smile… it relieves stress and makes you feel better… do you really need any other reasons?

The Wagon

 

The Wagon

 

I am not sure who owns this thing or who built it, I’m not even sure who is on it. But I can tell you that when you fall off of it the guy holding the reins speeds up and goes just fast enough that it almost seems impossible to catch up. Sometimes you can hear people yelling your name to help motivate you. Telling you not to stop, to keep chasing the wagon.

 

But other times it feels like there are people throwing things off the wagon to trip you up. Sometimes people that have fallen off of other wagons are there too, trying to get you to stop, telling you it’s OK just to be, it’s OK to be like them, it’s OK to sit in the mud and do nothing.

 

Early this year I think I had a firm seat in my wagon, I was comfortably watching as things went by without much of a desire to get off. I was dropping weight and meeting goals with ease. Then poof hit a big goal I got off the wagon to celebrate and guess what… the guy driving the wagon took off like the devil was chasing him. Now here I am on my bike desperately trying to find a way to get back on before the holidays slow me down and I give up for the year.

 

So regardless of what wagon your trying to get on in your life at the moment, remember the guy driving does not care if your life needs to be put on hold for a moment. He has but on job and that is to keep moving so that he can pick up different people at different points in their lives. He knows that the world does not stop for just you so he is ushered on at the speed of sound, each time he hears someones resolve is ready and to the point they are able to get back on, he finds them.

 

So look my friends if your ever chasing that wagon and you just want to give up, look for me. I will either be on the back of it with my hand out desperately trying to help you reach it, or I will be right beside you running with all I have to catch it once again to get things in order. I will cheer you on each and every stride, so that maybe just maybe we can reach it together. If not I would be happy to see any of you make it back on your wagon.

 

We all have wagons in our lives, weight loss, staying fit, food, smoking, drinking, gambling…. I mean the wagon is anything… it a state of mind a place to feel comfortable where you are. So get back on the wagon and take the ride to a place where the you that you will meet is more fit, healthier, and over all in better spirits. 

Smile… No one wants to pull someone who looks grumpy into their wagon to share this journey we call life. 

 A little over a year ago i started my beard/weight loss project and well it has come full circle… never would I have thought it would have taken this long to complete. But like many of you know when it comes to weight loss, life just gets in the way.

 

 But my plan was to grow out my beard until I hit a milestone of losing 45 lbs. and well as of my last official weigh in i am down 46.4 lbs. So that past weekend I was able to shave the beard and really see the results in my face… not I have seen it in my clothes and the way I feel, but my beard has hidden my face and that was basically the point… soooo here it is… my shaving off the pounds youtube video… enjoy 🙂

 

http://youtu.be/JRaMHl6Q_FM

 and here is a link to the music from that video… he was kind enough to let me use his musical genius so please visit his page tell him what you think 🙂

  Flint Zeigler

 

  thank you for reading!!!

  First recipe…

 

I have to start off by saying holy crap!!! I was skimming through this cook book and I am in way over my head here… I am cooking with stuff I have never heard of or even know how to get. The thing I chose tonight was something that has the simplest ingredients eventhough there were a few I had never heard of and had no idea how to find…

 

OK for starters at some point I am going to end up making something called…

Tandoori Poussins with mango relish… ummm OK half of you can pretend all you want that you knew exactly what a Poussin was… but I had no idea and I was scared. Lol so I called the local butcher (and I am in a small city) and he was clueless… so I am not sure what I am going to do lol evidently it is the chickens equivalent to veil, it’s a teenage chicken… won’t that be fun?

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But onto tonight’s great adventure… Fish cakes with anchovy dressing… now take into consideration anchovies were something my uncle teased me with as a child to gross us kids out… I never really liked them much and hated them even more when I worked in a pizza place and they stunk the joint up… but the recipe was simple enough… or at least so I thought…

 

ingredients:

  • 14oz waxy potatoes
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • finely grated rind of 1 large lemon
  • 2-3 tbsp lemon juice
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • few thyme sprigs
  • ½ lemon, sliced
  • 10oz salmon fillet
  • 10oz smoked haddock fillet
  • handful of Italian parsley chopped
  • handful of chervil, chopped
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

 

Anchovy dressing:

  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 2 shallots
  • Italian parsley
  • 4 marinated anchovies
  • 4 tbsp olive oil

 

 

OK first… I did not know what a “waxy” potato was… I had never heard of chervil or how to find it… and I had heard “capers” before but only on cooking shows and had no idea what they really were.

 

I get to the store and all they have is the salmon and no haddock so I just doubled the salmon. After spending an hour in the store… because I am a guy… looking for stuff and not asking anyone what or where some things might be, it was almost like a scavenger hunt. My wife is on her phone looking up the things we had never heard of… while I was choosing the fish and trying to get the other stuff.

 

After some time passes in the store we finally find everything… except the chervil was dry and not fresh but at this point I did not care I was ready to be out of there and get home to cook. Well let me tell you another rookie mistake I made… I did not read the recipe all the way through before I started and I will get to why that was a problem in a bit.

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So peel the potatoes and get them on the stove that was easy enough even for a guy like me…

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while that was going I take care of the lemon and get it ready and put it in dishes to be used once the potatoes are finished… that was when the evil person in me decides to find out if our puppy likes lemon lol… and sure enough he loved it hahaha that was a great thing to watch for a little while…

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next it was time to poach the fish with the thyme and a little olive oil and salt…

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with that finished and the potatoes done I mash them… add the lemon and the parsley as directed…

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then it was cool enough to separate the skin from the salmon and chunk it up a bit… the recipe calls for you to remove the bones but I did not see any…

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mixing up the potato and the fish and the rest of the spices… you form them into patties… this is where I did not read ahead. At this point you should put them in the fridge for a couple hours to get them to hold their shape while you dip them in egg and put them in the panko bread crumbs, I did not do that so they were falling apart in my hands… but through several curse words and such I got it done…

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time for the “dressing” I think I did something wrong here because the picture shows a “sauce” but mine was pretty dry even after trying to thin it out some… maybe I should have used wine instead of drinking it… it had just been one of those days I am sure you understand… with the shallots cut I move on to the rest…

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I bounce back and forth from the “dressing the the browning of the cakes… with the cakes browned I put them on a sheet to go into the oven where I finish the rest…

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Parsley… capers… oil… anchovies… simmer

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finished product…. served with peas… yeah of they are the steam able microwave kind… sue me… paired with the wine it was actually really good everyone in the house who ate it loved it… I may do it again sometime.

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So this was my first adventure into the Gordon Ramsay’s Healthy Appetite cookbook… I hope you enjoyed reading my adventure… the next ones will be really interesting I mean I have to clean a squid…. not sure sure I will like that… or that anyone else in my family will even attempt to try it haha…

 

Smile… cooking is a new adventure every time you try something new!