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14 Feb

Happy Valentine’s Day!

It’s no coincidence that I’m blogging today, the day of live. I’ve missed you all terribly, and living vicariously through Google Reader just ain’t cutting it, so here I am.

Even though Generalized Anxiety Disorder is kicking my butt right now, there is good news to report! In the last 3 months, I’ve been able to focus on school, finishing my first semester with a 4.0, which I’ve never been able to accomplish before. Also, even though I definitely have been no saint, I’ve been able to lose more weight, bringing me to a 68 pound loss so far. I still have quite the weight to lose, so why am I so excited?

I am no longer MORBIDLY obese.

Go me!

In honour of VDay, I wanted to mention 10 of the many reasons why my heart belongs to this guy (isn’t he a stunner?)

1. E is the funniest person I’ve ever met, whether he means to be or not. Most of the time, he def means it!

2. No matter what’s going on, he always puts me first. Even when it’s fully his turn to be selfish, he never is.

3. He’s a snazzy dresser – gotta love a man with style!

4. Even though the thought of my beloved almond butter makes his tummy turn, he still lets me throw it in our cart.

5. The way we fit together perfectly when we’re snuggling on the couch.

6. E’s passion for old houses, especially ours; he’s truly making it a home. Case in point – our newly finished bedroom:

7. His affinity for zoos, aquariums and museums that, coincedentally, is perfectly matched to my own.

8. E seems to love my cooking. All of it. Even when it’s the complete opposite of good.

9. He tells me that I’m beautiful every day, and seems to know when I need to hear it the most

10. After 47 days, he wanted to marry me. After 3 1/2 years, he did. I love that he loved me enough, even then, to risk it all and take that leap.

Since love isn’t just about the one who makes your heart go pitter-patter, here are 5 things I love about this gal:

1. I am a good friend, and am so grateful to have such amazing people to call my friends.

2. I’m funny, especially when I’m trying not to be.

3. I don’t beat myself up nearly as much as I used to.

4. I’m a work in progress, and I love learning new things about myself every day.

5. I’m honest. Sometimes a little too much so, but I always speak the truth.

What do you love about yourself?

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


weekend – sunday

12 May

Since it was Mother’s Day, we headed down to E’s hometown to visit the family. We wanted to surprise E’s mom with hanging baskets, so we tried to leave ASAP (well, after watering the patio garden and the lawn, that is). We didn’t really have time for breakfast, so I grabbed a Cliff bar on my way out It was good, but I’m so used to Larabars that this just didn’t do it for me. The texture was too stiff and crunchy, and it was just way too sweet. I ate what I could stomach, and gave the last quarter to E, who really liked it. On the way out of town, we stopped at Mickey D’s for some of the worst coffee I’ve ever had, and E picked up a meatless Egg McMuffin for his breakie. I had a bite, bringing my breakfast total to 257 calories.

Lunch was really good, and full of my favourites – grilled corn, bbq grilled chicken breasts, fluffy yeast rolls, Toodle’s Noodles, and boiled potatoes and green beans, with homemade pecan pie for dessert. I ate everything here, other than 1/3 of the corn, plus another piece of chicken and another serving of green beans and potatoes. With 2 bites of pecan pie, this came out to a whopping 731 calories! I definitely didn’t need the extra servings, and I probably only really wanted 1/2 the roll.

I was totally grazing, and had a snack of two bites’ worth of pecan pie, a tablespoon of crumbled feta, and a serving of roasted turkey deli meat, which came out all together to 189 calories.

We ended up being around when the church’s youth group came over for dinner. They ordered pizzas from one of our favourite places, and I just had to have some. I had about 1 1/2 slices’ worth of squares for 398 calories.

The day’s eats were not the best, but it wasn’t the worst, either. I think this is where the learning curve of wellness comes into play. Sure, I could’ve not had the second helpings at lunch, or pizza for dinner or pie at all, but I can’t help it. I have never been one of those people who could pass up food and just not think about it. I actually was treated for an ED when I was younger, and I will do practically anything to avoid a binge, even giving in to my ‘cravings’. At the end of the day, I’m calling this a draw. Totalling up to 1574 calories, the eats were mid-range caloriewise, high in protein, low in carbs and mid in the fats department. It could’ve been better, but it definitely could’ve been much, much worse. I want to lose weight, but I also want to eat like a normal person, without being so fixated on food all the freakin‘ time, and worrying about eating too much or too little. Hopefully, this way will get me there!

Wordless Wednesdays

31 Dec

WB Goodie Exchange, Part 2

28 Dec

Now onto what I sent to Julie!

I decided to send her an assortment of goodies that were each quite different from the others. Since her only request was No Fruitcake, I figured she and her husband were quite easy to please. I decided I’d send three of our family favourites that get gobbled up really quickly: Spice Cake Truffles, Banana Bread Biscotti and Walnut Wafers. Simple and easy to prepare (although a little time consuming), they all keep really well and would hold up in shipping. I also included some of our favourite Hickory Farms’ Melt-Away-Mints and a winter themed stationary set, which I hope she enjoys.

I got these goodie containers from Oriental Trading
they also come with covers for Halloween for dual usage.

spice cake truffles and Hickory Farms’ Melt-Away-Mints –
I love how festive they look together!

Spice Cake Truffles
adapted from a Bakerella recipe
makes between 35 and 50, depending on size of truffles rolled

  • 1 box of spice cake mix, prepared and baked as directed in a 9×13 pan and completely cooled
  • 1 can of cream cheese frosting (I use between 1/2 and 3/4 of the can)
  • 2 packages of white chocolate bark (about 12 oz. worth)
  • wax or parchment paper
  1. Crumble cake in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Mix thoroughly with frosting, starting with 1/2 the can and adding more as necessary – you want the mixture to easily form into a ball, but not be overly moist, mushy or sticky.
  3. Roll into quarter-sized balls and lay on a cookie sheet (I like to line mine with parchment paper). Chill for several hours in the fridge, or for 30 minutes in the freezer.
  4. When cake balls are thoroughly chilled, remove from fridge/freezer, and melt bark as per package directions.
  5. Rolls balls in chocolate (use a spoon to dip and roll, tapping off the excess), and place on another sheet of parchment paper until firm (I firm mine up in the fridge).

left: banana bread biscotti
right: walnut wafers

Walnut Wafers
adapted from What Did You Eat?

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, shelled and chopped
  1. Line one regular loaf pan or 2 mini loaf pans with plastic wrap (a regular loaf pan will give you quite large and fewer cookies, whereas a mini will give you more and small cookies).
  2. Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Beat the sugar and butter together with a mixer for about 4 minutes.
  3. Reduce speed, and add in the eggs and beat until creamy. Add in the flour in 3 additions.
  4. Press dough into the pan(s), and wrap well with plastic wrap. Freeze for at least 2 hours, or as long as a month.
  5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove dough from the pan, and allow to soften slightly. Cut as many 1/8 inch slices as you can fit in your pan (about 8). Cover the remaining dough, and put back in the freezer until you’re ready to slice and bake more cookies.
  6. Place slices on a non-stick baking sheet, about 1 1/2 inches apart. Sprinkle each slice with walnuts, and bake until dark brown (about 8-10 minutes). Once finished, allow to fully cool on a wire rack.

Banana Bread Biscotti
adapted from Picky Palate

makes about 25 biscotti

  • 3/4 cup mashed overripe banana (about 2)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar Splenda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons Splenda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place bananas, egg, brown Splenda and vanilla in a large bowl; mix until combined.
  3. Place flour, white Splenda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and cinnamon chips into a large bowl; mix to combine.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until combined.
  5. Divide dough into two even parts and place onto a lined baking sheet, 4 inches apart. Dust your hands with flour, and form each into 7 inch logs, about 2 inches wide.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes, and remove from the oven. Reduce heat to 250 and let cool for 10 minutes. Using a serrated knife, slice biscotti into 1/2 inch slices on the diagonal.
  7. Bake slices for an additional 25-35 minutes, or until crisped .

And just for fun…

the other half batch of the Spice Cake Truffles, ready to hit my stepmother-in-law’s birthday party – don’t you just love the sprinkles?

I’m sending the biscotti and wafers over to Joelen for this month’s Tasty Tools: Baking Sheet Pans!

WB Goodie Exchange, Part 1

27 Dec

Even though I’ve been married for almost 5 months now, I still ‘hang out’ on the wedding forum I signed onto when we first got engaged almost 4 years ago. It’s amazing how many brides stay on once they become wives, and I’m no different – it’s like we really know each other. This year, I decided to sign up for the annual goodie exchange and I’m glad I did! The rules were simple; bake a dozen each of three different items, and send them to your buddy before Christmas, along with anything else you wish to send. Thankfully, since it’s a Canadian site, another American signed up, so it seemed evident that we’d be matched up together.

I received Julie’s package from Wisconsin not long after the names were assigned, and E and I were both very excited to open it up. When we opened my package, we were greeted by this:

Inside, we found a very festive card,

A cute fingertip towel and a pretty snowflake ornament for our very first tree,

And in a snowflake container, under the wrapping, we found:

Saltine cookies, Peanut Butter balls and White Bark balls!

So, the final verdict?

Julie was nice enough to send me the recipes, and allow me to share them with you (with her permission, of course!) Tomorrow, I’ll be posting what I sent!

Saltine Toffee Cookies

  • 1 16 0z. box saltine crackers (you won’t need the whole box)
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 cup pecans, finely chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line a cookie sheet with foil.
  2. Arrange crackers snugly in a single layer, filling the sheet completely (about 40 crackers).
  3. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Once melted, add in the brown sugar and mix well.
  4. Pour the butter mixture over the crackers, spreading as necessary.
  5. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the butter mixture is bubbly.
  6. Remove the sheet from the oven and sprinkle the crackers with chocolate chips. When the chips have softened, spread them over the crackers with a knife, decorating with sprinkles of coloured sugar if desired.
  7. Let the cookies cool 5-10 minutes before cutting between the individual cookies with a spatula.
  8. Remove them to a plate, keeping them in a single layer.

Note: If you do not remove them while they are still warm, they will stick to the foil and be difficult to remove once cooled.

Peanut Butter Balls
makes about 43

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 cup dates, chopped
  • 1 cup nuts, chopped
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  1. Mix together the sugar, butters, dates and nuts and form into walnut-sized balls. Refrigerate until firm.
  2. Melt the chips together in a saucepan or a double boiler (adding a bit of oil if necessary to reach desired consistency).
  3. Coat balls, removing with tongs, and place on wax paper. Refrigerate until coating has hardened.

White Bark Balls

  • 2 cups crunchy peanut butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 cups Rice Krispies cereal
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 1/2 lbs. white chocolate bark
  1. Mix the butters, sugar and cereal together in a large bowl. Form into walnut-sized balls and chill until firm.
  2. Melt the bark in the microwave or in a double boiler, as per package instructions. Dip the chilled balls in the melted bark and remove with a pair of tongs.
  3. Place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper, and allow to rest until set.