Monthly Archives: December 2011

Looking Back At 2011

There are so many wonderful things that have happened in 2011.  I’m not even sure where to start.  Most of them seem to relate back to this wonderful crazy world that I’ve created with all of your help here at Broken Cookies Don’t Count. 

Just the fact that I write every day is totally unbelievable to me.  I have wanted to write all my life and I’ve found a way to do it.  Am I supporting myself this way?  Of course not!  Do I care?  Not really!  I’m doing what I’ve always wanted to do and that’s pretty terrific.

Prior to 2011, I barely knew what a blog was.  I had an idea, but never thought I’d have the opportunity to have my own.  Again, I have to thank my wonderful friend, Kristen for getting me started.  She helped me figure out what I wanted to do here and she is still my coach on blog things.

I participated in NaBloPoMo-National Blog Posting Month in July.  You commit to blogging every day.  I usually do that anyway, but I wanted to have the experience.  It was great fun.

In November, I got talked into participating in NaNoWriMo-National Novel Writing Month which was even crazier.  Your challenge is to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November.  It doesn’t have to be good, it just has to be finished.  I found how much I loved it!  I started out with no clear idea where I wanted to go, my head filled with characters from my past.  About a third of the way into it, I came up with a character that I fell in love with.  My plan is to probably ditch the first part and focus on this character.  I will continue working on it in January.

I spent a lot of time away from New Jersey.  I made two trips to Clearwater, Florida with my friends Gail and Alice and I’ll be heading there again soon.  I was able to spend two weeks in Silver City, New Mexico which will soon (fingers crossed) be our home.  We have the home, we just have to get there.  You’ll hear more about that tomorrow when I talk about my goals for the coming year.  It is something that I WILL accomplish.

I want to thank my sister Ele for all of her love and support this year as well as my friends Gail and Alice.  They are the best.  Of course, I have to thank Ralph as well for being the wonderful supportive man that he is.

Lastly, I must thank all of you.  As my readers, I could not find a more supportive group.  I am overwhelmed by the number of you who come back day after day to comment, suggest and bolster me when I need it.  It’s amazing how I feel that I know all of you as if we have the chance to go out for coffee every few weeks.  You have all become a very big part of my life.  Thank you all and we wish you a wonderful Healthy and Happy New Year!!

This is where I hope to be next year for New Year’s Eve.  Wish me Luck!!

Happy New Year!

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Can You Take A Day Off If You Don’t Work?

Well, Can you?  That’s what I did yesterday.  I stayed in all day and the only time I went out was to put the trash can to the curb.  It wasn’t pre-planned, it just happened that way.  It was so cold out, I didn’t know of anything that would have tempted me to go out!

In the continuing saga of my torn coat, I went to L.L. Bean’s website and had a virtual chat with a nice lady named Nancy.  Unfortunately, they don’t do repairs. ;-(  Also, she informed me that many people misinterpret their guarantee.  They would not replace something that old.  SO…with my Christmas money from Ralph I will be purchasing this.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t have the removable lining like mine, but it will be great anyway.  The Really good news is that my sister Ele thinks she can repair my old one.  I hate to give it up because it’s fine except for the tear on the sleeve, so I’m am generally quite happy! 🙂

Before I talk about food, I need to give 2 disclaimers.  I have not been the conscientious Weight Watcher member that I would lead you to believe this past week.  The week has been peppered with cheesecake.  However, last night I got myself under control and NO cheesecake passed my lips.  I think I’m back in control. I did eat light yesterday.  Fruit for breakfast and fruit with peanut butter for lunch.  No photos.

But, now to disclaimer number 2, which does include photos.  I have started to use Ralph’s camera in an effort to see if it will improve my food photos.  It was a gift from a friend and unfortunately did not come with instructions (at least, no instructions we can find at the moment.)  So I’m poking around at this with a stick.  I already see some mistakes I made last night which I hope to correct.  I’ll be going back and forth, using my camera when we’re out and Ralph’s at home.  We’ll see how it goes.  I’ve also increased the size of the photos on BCDC which I think I like.

So…food…

Spinach, yellow squash, cabbage, garlic, cottage cheese, black beans.

I ended up using a second yellow squash.  I am officially out of veggies except for spinach.

A bit blurry…getting used to the camera.

D’oh!!  Forgot to turn on the flash…what a dud!  Sprinkled with parmesan cheese and sriracha sauce, this was really good and kept me full enough to stay away from anything snack-y other than a Tootsie Pop and a few pretzels that shouldn’t have been in the house… 😦

But something that did turn out well…sunrise photos…with Ralph’s camera…

Gnarly Tree is back for a guest appearance.  I almost missed this one because I wasn’t paying attention.  Sunrises make me happy.

So…tomorrow is New Year’s Eve!  This year has certainly moved quickly.  Guess I have to think about some kind of wrap up for tomorrow.  Weight Watchers might wrap me up and mail me to a place with no cheese cake.  I wish they would!  Whatever the result, I know I can get back on track and I plan to do it Very Quickly.

New Year’s Eve plans are still up in the air.  Not sure what we’re doing. It’s been a great year, no matter what.

Happy Friday!!

Three Meals A Day?

It’s funny, but I can’t remember when I actually ate three meals in one day.  Life has either been hectic or I’ve been in a slump or something has happened.  Well, Wednesday, I did it!  I should probably save this for next week’s What I Ate Wednesday, but what the heck…Here goes!

The last few times I’ve made oatmeal, it has been extremely good.  I don’t know why, perhaps I’ve just figured the right combo.  Yesterday’s was equally delicious.

1/2 cup oatmeal, 1 cup water, cinnamon and a handful of frozen blueberries. Microwaved on high for 2 minutes.  Perfect! You need a deep bowl though or it could be a science experiment! Add three Splenda and a half cup of almond milk, and it couldn’t be better.  Think I’ll have it again today!

Gail and Alice and I were out running errands.  I got one treasure.  At Thanksgiving, I was bemoaning the fact that I couldn’t find my jello mold to make my traditional cranberry orange mold.  Well…

I found one at Goodwill!  It was labeled $2.99 but it was a green tag and green was 50% off so I got it for $1.50!!  I was so excited.  I might even make a cranberry orange mold this weekend…just because I can!

We didn’t know what we wanted to eat at first but then decided on the Golden Corral.  Gail and I like it because they have a wonderful salad bar for the two veggies and Alice can get anything she likes.  I had a big salad plate…

Romaine, spinach, cottage cheese, tomatoes, black and green olives, a little cheese, sunflower seeds and a very tasty fat-free Italian dressing  I really enjoyed it.  Followed by…

Honeydew, pears and grapes.  The melon was surprisingly tasty for this time of year and with the price of grapes lately…I filled up!  I might have gone back for either more salad or fruit, but I was satisfied and decided I would stay on track.

Dinner was one of my big ole salads.  Romaine, tomato, bell pepper, homemade black beans shredded cheese and homemade dressing.  I’m really enjoying the homemade dressing.  I did realize I was using too much oil…misjudged the Points value.  I’ve adjusted it to 3 tsps of olive oil, 2 tsp of balsamic vinegar and 2 tsp of honey. I had a little garlic powder, a little sriracha sauce and the about 2 Tbsp of water to spread it out a bit.  Exactly the right amount for my Big Purple Bowl and it’s delicious!

A very sad thing has happened.  At least 15 years ago, maybe longer, Ralph bought me an L. L. Bean barn coat.

It’s wonderful…it’s warm, it has a removable lining, it’s washable…I’ve worn it and worn it…I love it…It had an accident.  Well, I think it just got used…I was pulling my sleeve down over my sweater and…

After all of the wear, I think it just gave out.  I’m so sad…:-(  I love this coat, it’s the perfect weight for most of the weather we get here.  I don’t know if it can be repaired.  I’ve heard that Bean has a guarantee on their products, but I don’t know if it covers this many years, especially since I don’t know when I bought it.  I’m going to e-mail them to see if anything can be done.  This coat is like an old friend.  I’ve worn it that way the last couple of days but I’ve felt like sort of a ragamuffin.  We’ll see what happens.

Lots to do today.  I need to start getting ready for my trip to Florida.  It’s hard to think about packing Capri pants and tee shirts when it’s 27 degrees outside!!  Well it could be worse.  I could be Wearing Capri pants and tee shirts, packing to go to 27 degree weather!  I’m looking forward to it.  I wish Ralph was coming with us.

Happy Thursday!!

 

WIAW~~The Merry Christmas Edition!

Christmas is for gifts, but those of us in the foodie blog world get a gift every week.  What gift is that?  Why it’s What I Ate Wednesday…the gift that keeps on giving.  It is the gift to us all from the lovely and talented Jenn over at Peas & Crayons.  It is such a fun thing and we all get to participate.  Those of us who do participate, hope that all of you will go check out the links at Jenn’s blog and read up, leave some comments, drool at all the shared goodies. 

Peas and Crayons

After the Christmas Eve free for all, I was trying to be somewhat under control on Christmas day itself.  We slept in a bit and said no to breakfast out with sister, Ele and our friend Jim.   I whipped up bacon and eggs for Ralph and made myself a yummy egg sandwich.

I’m not a fan of white bread, but that was all we had.  The addition of buffalo pepper cheese certainly amped up the taste.  Very Good.

For the last few Christmases, since there are fewer of us than there used to be, we’re down to 4, we have been spending Christmas recreating the Chinese restaurant scene from “A Christmas Story.”  There is a wonderful restaurant called Sakana Oriental not far from where we live. We like it for a lot of reasons.  It’s usually quiet there on Christmas and we get all of the attention!

I started with hot and sour soup.

This is one of the reason why I like this restaurant so much.  Their hot and sour soup is vegetarian and it is delicious.

My main course is something that I requested and fortunately, they complied.  I love their tofu family style which is tofu with lots of veggies.  I also love their Chinese eggplant in garlic sauce.  I asked if the tofu could be combined with the eggplant.  Thankfully the answer was Yes!

It was absolutely delicious!  It will be my go to choice from now on when we visit there!

There were lots of dessert choices at Ele’s house so we declined dessert at the restaurant.

Apple pie, home-made by our friend Jim. It is SO good!

Almost finished.  You can believe that not a bit of this was left on the plate!

A fun gift that Ele got for Christmas was this glass teapot accompanied by the tea flower balls which bloom when you add the hot water.

It was a very mild flavor and I usually like a stronger tea.  But it surely was pretty!

We had a wonderful Christmas Day in all possible ways including the food.  I’m proud of myself that I was as in control as I was.  I do feel like I’m still trying to get back into control.  A few days this week in control and then 2 more days of Holiday challenges next weekend.  But I feel I’m up for the challenge.

So that, dear Friends is What I Ate Wednesday-The Merry Christmas Edition.  Please be sure to do yourself a favor~take some time to stroll around Peas & Crayons and enjoy all of the wonderful food that is sure to be found there.  It’s pretty intense on a regular Wednesday.  I’m sure I’m not the only one sharing my Christmas fun, so I’m sure there’s plenty to enjoy.  It’ll be my gift to You!

Happy What I Ate Wednesday!

 

Lunch With A View

We had two things foremost on our agenda for Monday.  Number one was just relaxing and coming down from the Holiday Hub Bub.  Actually in retrospect, when our holiday weekend happened, it was low-keyed, peaceful, not really hectic (although I thought it would be) and very enjoyable.  Two fun days filled with people we love.

Number two on our agenda was a special lunch to celebrated Gail’s retirement.  It was decided (by Alice because she didn’t want to hear us all saying..”Where shall we go?”) that we would go to the Riverwinds Restaurant.  The restaurant is beautiful and much more elegant than we’re used to.  Check their website and you’ll know what I mean.

We asked to sit in the back room because it is bright with huge windows forming two of the walls in the room.  We had this view for lunch…

The restaurant is located along the Delaware River giving us a beautiful view of Philadelphia.  That’s why we like this room so much.

Alice, Gail-the guest of honor and Margot.

Gail’s brother, Ray and Ralph.  Ralph is wearing his “oh, you’re taking my picture again” look on his face.  I just Love that!  Ralph was trying to teach Ray how to use a compass he got for Christmas.  The tutorial continued later on back at Gail’s house.

My lunch…4 cheese ravioli with a blush sauce.  It was from their lunch specials menu and it was delicious.  I had one roll with it so I thought I was doing very well with staying on track.

The whole group, photo taken by a passing waiter who offered.  The brightness of the room made photos a little washed out.  It’s either too much light or not enough.  Hard to win with this photography thing!

It was a lovely lunch and after that we went back to Gail’s where we enjoyed some time sitting around chatting about our upcoming trip to Florida while Ralph and Ray talked compasses in the kitchen. I believe there might have been a piece of cake eaten during that time. 

I am very focused on getting back on track between the holidays.  I know that next weekend will be a challenge again, but in the meantime…

Black beans which I soaked last night are now crocking away in the crock pot.  I find it so much easier to stay on track when I have them ready and waiting to become dinner!

Ralph had his leftover lunch waiting for his dinner so I decided something easy was in order.

Whole wheat pasta, canned cannelini beans and Ro Tell diced tomatoes with green chilies. What could be simpler.  While the pasta cooked, I combined the tomatoes with the beans and warmed them in the microwave in the container the beans had been stored in.  Didn’t want to dirty another pot.  Worked well.

Topped with parmesan cheese.  Very tasty, but I should have added a few more spices.  I probably also shouldn’t have had pasta twice in one day.  Then of course there was the cheese cake that was a gift from Bill and the Boys that I ate later.  Yikes.  Did someone say she was getting back on track.  Tuesday…yes…Tuesday I’m getting back on track…

The holidays are tricky when it comes to food, there’s no denying that.  At least I’m being mindful of what I’m eating, even if it may be more than I should be eating.  I am back on track.  No more extra goodies until after weigh in on Saturday.  Then New Year’s eve and New Year’s day and I’ll be all set to be a model Weight Watchers member.  I need to do that for myself.  Weight Watchers has given Lifetime Members a wonderful new tool to make that happen.  I’ll tell you about that this week.

So I’m off and I think the gym might even be in my future today…Scary isn’t it?! 😉

Happy Tuesday!!

Christmas And The Things That Count

Over the past few years, my view of Christmas has changed.  You’ve heard me in the last 2 weeks bemoaning the fact that  could not get into the spirit, I could not get anything done.  In a way I was paralyzed.  There are various reasons for my reaction. They’re not reasons that I need to discuss here.  I hope that as the years progress, my reaction to Christmas will be less troubling and more Joyful.  That’s all that I can hope for.

At the finish line, I was able to get back to the Joy of Christmas.  Surprising as it was to me and to Ralph, we were ale to get everything accomplished and ready for our Marathon on Christmas Eve. The dust had settled, I looked at the pile of gift bags and presents and…everything was finished.  When the pressure was removed, I was suddenly struck with the Joy I had been looking for.  I felt Christmas with me.

I wish I had documented Christmas Eve better.  We were with the people that we love all throughout the day.  Sharing food each time.  Funny how food always enters into it.  I saw my best friend Gail’s sister in law, Jackie yesterday.  During our trip to Maine, I had forwarded to her the link for BCDC so that she could follow our trip.  She was confused about the food photos.  She didn’t quite grasp the concept.  Finally after Gail explained it, she got it! 

But BCDC is not just a food blog.  It’s about life.  Funny though how even if I wasn’t trying to focus on food, it would still enter into the story.  It would still be in the photo, even if only in the back ground or on the table in front of the people we love.  So many times, it is food that brings us together and keeps us together.

Christmas can be viewed in different ways.  I tried to get creative on Christmas Eve, attempting a photo through a pair of 3-D glasses that turn the lights into snow flakes…

Was it totally successful? No, but it’s a cool photo.  Sometimes I think we try to view Christmas through the lense of our memory and as we grow older, the day doesn’t always measure up to what we remember. What we need to remember is the true gift of Christmas is the people that we love.

Santa will get here if we’re patient and he’ll bring with him the Joy of the season.

We just need to stick together until he gets here.

Happy Monday!  Happy Boxing Day!

Santa And His Elves

Christmas Eve was a Saturday more hectic than usual.  Busy doesn’t describe it.  It was crazy, but fun!

We started at Weight Watchers. I gained a quarter pound, but I know it was because I had my fancy black jeans on rather than my weigh-in jeans.  It didn’t faze me.  I often talk about the wonderful loving support we all get at our WW meeting.  I haven’t told you about one special man.  His name is John and he’s one of Santa’s helpers.  We all just call him Santa and we’re all proud of him for his accomplishment of losing 83 pounds so far on the program.  He tells us this is the first time in his role as Santa’s helper that he’s had to pad his costume.

The meeting started as usual, but then we heard bells…

Santa with our Leader, Mary Lou.

Santa with Barb who has lost over 120 pounds.

With my good friend Darlene who is one of the receptionists.  We used to work together when I was still a leader.

With my friend, Pat who has lost over 80 pounds.

It was a great addition to our meeting.  When it was over, we headed for breakfast!  As expected, the diner was very busy.  It seems that after the WW meeting, I stopped taking pictures of people and was focused on the food!  I really was concerned about it and I think I was in rather good control.

The players at breakfast were Gail, Alice, Ralph, Gail’s brother Ray and Me.  I’m sad because we have a tradition of taking a photo of the three of us for Christmas but we didn’t do that.

Breakfast was my new usual, two scrambled eggs and cottage cheese.  I’m enjoying this combo.  I know that it starts me off with a good punch of protein and that’s what I’m looking for.  Service was slow, but it gave us all time to chat which we enjoyed.

Lunch with Bill, Alex and Patrick turned into lunch with them plus Ralph’s daughter Alice, her husband Chris and children River and Reid.  Bill had planned the surprise which Ralph appreciated because he doesn’t get to see Alice and her family very often.

Appetizers came in the form of mozzarella sticks.

All I ate was the half that’s missing in this photo.  Tasty, but my focus was control.

I started with a small Caesar salad.  Dressing on the side and I just dip the fork in the dressing, then pick up the salad.  Very good trick for not using much dressing when you don’t have the info to calculate.

My lunch was something called a Crazy California Wrap.

This was really delicious.  It said grilled eggplant and I was disappointed when it came breaded, but that was ok.  It also included avocado, mushrooms, spinach and a spicy chipotle sauce.  It was really good.  If I ever order it again, I’ll ask them to grill the eggplant without the breading.  The cole slaw and French fries stayed right where they were.  I was on a mission of control.

Our next stop was at my sister Ele’s house for the traditional Christmas Eve festivities.  The choice of goodies included cheese ball, cheese and crackers and carrots with dip.

Cookies, apple pie and Ele’s homemade cheesecake.

I did have some cheese and crackers (possibly a little more than my share…), some wassail-very yummy, cooking in the crock pot in the first photo (see…another use for the crock pot!!) and a piece of the cheese cake.  It was delicious!! 

And now for the Elf…our favorite Guest Star-Little Michael!

With his quilt that Aunt Carrie (that’s her smiling on the left) made for him.  Carrie is a real quilting machine.  Wait till you see what she made for Me!  That’s Ele on the right.

This is Michael in his Winter Classic hockey had that Ele got him.  He’s a big hockey fan and plays too.  Apparently the winter classic is one game a year that is played outside the way hockey used to be played.  He was Very happy with it…he looks so cute.

Ralph and I came home pretty darned tired after the long day.  We had just enough time to watch  part of 24 hours of  “A Christmas Story” on TBS.  I may put that on in a few minutes to watch some more. Late today we’ll be recreating the Chinese restaurant scene from the movie.  We had a Great Day and we have another one ahead of us.

Merry Christmas to you all!!!