BOOM- Diet 24

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The Christmas markets are opening all over the world. Even the Royals are taking them in. They are filled with all sorts of tempting treats and festive foods.

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Back in the early sixties my Mom started preparing for Christmas months in advance.

She shopped a lot at the local Co-Op grocery store. It was a hybrid between an old fashioned store where you bought flour and sugar by the pound and a supermarket. What I remember most is getting stamps there. We’d put these in a little book and then Mom would redeem them for some much desired item. Once she got a roasting tin that she kept for the rest of her life.

At The Co as we called it you could put money aside in the Christmas Club. You handed it over to someone behind a desk with bars a bit like a bank. Don’t ask me why this was better than just saving it in your own purse. Maybe it took those few shillings out of the way of temptation to spend on something else. Anyway my Mom was a faithful follower of the Christmas Club that started almost as soon as the clock stuck twelve in New Years Day

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She would also buy a few things each week to put away for Christmas. This included dry fruit and sugar that eventually found its way into a Christmas cake.

The very British speciality known as Mince Meat was bought to make Mince pies and a Christmas pudding or two as well

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A very typical gift for family and friends at the time was a box of biscuits (cookies for you guys in USA). This selection was extensive and filled with a huge variety of diet busting business.

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The big box was a great treat and soon disappeared at least in our house. The chocolate ones always disappeared first then the jammy doggers and finally there would be the plain shortbreads left that were so run of the mill they were not seen as special at all.

All this stocking up was almost as fun as the big day itself. These days if you’re anything like me you just run out at the last minute and haul it all in. Maybe an old fashioned run up to the big day is something to think about. Might help get in a few more steps too.

Blessing #514 – Counting Down

BOOM- Diet 23

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The fluffball from Texas had his first taste of snow and loved it. What a bit of racing around he did both outside and when he came back in last night.

Those little frozen paws must have needed warming up because he apparently went stir crazy and Krishna couldn’t get him to calm down last night when it started. Aaron brought him in from his last walk around 10:00 and I was already out for the count so missed the drama.

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This morning was what you might dream of for Christmas. There was a full moon and a perfect blanket of crispy snow. It didn’t stay perfect for long when the young man got at it. He had such fun and so did I even though it was well before dawn.

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School has called at five thirty to let us know there would be a two hour delay because of the weather so of course no chance for me to go back to sleep. Scooby and I did the only sensible thing you could and got into the white stuff.

I absolutely LOVE snow. It makes me feel so bright and happy. Even if it’s frigid like it was today the light is amazing and makes everything so beautiful.

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It also makes diets and dinner easy because everyone wants soup. Except of course a fellow who just wants to eat his full of this very special H2O!

Blessing # 513 – Texas Snowman!

BOOM- Diet 22

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With snow in the forecast when Aaron got back from school today we went for our flu shots to CVS our local pharmacy. Dad had his already when he went for his check up at the docs.

The shots are covered by insurance but CVS gives everyone who gets one a five dollar token for future purchases over $25. They also gave us a 20% discount coupon. Good incentives but not of course the reason for our trip.

Krishna has had really bad flu in the past and Aaron too but I’ve  never had flu in my life. Doesn’t hurt to take precautions though.

This is yet another reminder that the winter and all the festivities are coming fast and furious. Everyone’s weight move downwards this week including the fluffball. Maybe we’ll still manage to fatten him up like the proverbial goose before Christmas.

Aaron loves to talk about food so we got to planning thanksgiving on our drive. Aaron doesn’t care for Turkey on the bone. In fact he’s a strange Chinese because he doesn’t like bones at all. He loves crispy skin though so we agreed we’d still get a small Turkey and a big ham.

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All the other fixings are everywhere in the stores. Stuffings of all sorts and enough pumpkin to sink an oil tanker. One of the most delicious dishes that goes along with thanksgiving is sweet potato casserole. My friend Laura makes a fabulous one. It is a mix of sweet potato, sugar, spices, butter and cream and it’s all topped with pecans and marshmallows. Sounds like a dessert doesn’t it? It’s not though it’s a side beside your Brussel sprouts and mashed potatoes and it’s amazing.

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Those pilgrims and their kind native America neighbors have something to answer for but since I’m only seven pounds away from my goal I’m going to make us some  fabulous fixings!

Blessing #512 – Vaccines and Vittles

BOOM – Diet 21

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Today at Church was the first day for people to sign up to bake for our  annual Cookie Walk.

My friend Kathy was at the desk today and usually I’m straight in there signing up to make ten dozen. This year I’m reflecting. Is it better to support the efforts by buying more rather than baking?

Kathy, like many of our Lily Circle who organise the event, are expert bakers. They turn out these creations that are truly works of art. Ice snowmen, Santa’s with hats and beards, Christmas Trees you name it they are beautiful.

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Each year I have disasters. Once I asked my cousin Yvonne to give me her easiest recipe for no bake treats called fifteens which she did. They are festive looking and well known in Irish homes around the holidays.

I then proceeded to make them using ingredients from the USA that were only a close approximation to those used in the UK and it was a complete disaster. My friend Patricia was over staying with us when this happened and she was doubled in two laughing at the mess.

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Patricia sent me Mary Berry’s Baking Bible for Christmas that year and so come cookie walk baking time the next year I was armed and ready to make Viennese Swills. Invariably at the start the confidence level is high. These are destined to be perfection! Soon reality sets in as hard as the dough! Bible or no these didn’t make it to Church!

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For the past few years I’ve stuck with making simple sugar cookies in the form of stars or angels but invariably I burn some because the speedy Gonzales’s in me makes me try to get them all done in a couple of hours.

Even the best of them look pathetic beside the other iced and spiced masterpieces. A good annual lesson in humility for the super confident I suppose!

So what to do? Apart from slow down and follow a recipe for once. Well maybe I’ll try Yvonne’s fifteens again and use the right ingredients this time or maybe make mini sugars that are so tiny and sweet they’ll be irresistible!

You can help by sharing your easiest most impressive cookie recipes. You might help some other soul in the same boat!

Whats all this to do with Diets? Well you can be sure that at least part of what’s not sellable is edible so we nosh them down rather than pack them up and pack on pounds!

Blessing # 511 – Seasonal ReStarts

BOOM – Diet 20

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After last nights feast and some good wine I slept like a baby.

Just as well because I had an early start. To get back to Central Ohio for a meeting at 9:00am I said Zaijian to Tjin at 4:45 am!

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All went well on route. It was me the country station and a convoy of semi trucks till I hit the Ohio border. I felt really like An American Girl

By this time it was close to 7:00 and some weekend commuters had, like the sun, begun to rise.

All continued to plan and I was on interstate 75 with sign posts telling me it was 670 miles to Atlanta and 1100 to Tampa! This never fails to excite me when I think that if I just stayed on one road for long enough I’d be in the tropics. The thought is particularly appealing when it’s freezing cold outside.

So perhaps distracted by day dreams or maybe because of road work I missed my exit and ended up having to take a country road instead.

I was livid because I wanted to make the meeting on time. Now it seemed I was going to arrive half and hour late.

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The road was so very different from the highway. Cute towns and villages and many Amish buggies out and about early. One had three men up front which is a tight squeeze in a buggy and all had long ginger beards. Thought for a minute I was back in leprechaun land.

They brought me luck though and I made it to my meeting with two minutes to spare and lots of thoughts of Amish pastries and where I could go to find them sometime soon fresh baked from the farm. With all the stress of the day I must have burned off at least half a cinnamon roll!

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My appetite was soon satisfied by a home made apple cake my friend Jo had baked for our meeting. Another day down weight I fear not!

Blessing # 510 – Kings of Different Roads

BOOM – Diet 19

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My friend Tjin and I have spent a lot of time in the past two days talking about food. This is something of a hobby for those of us who work in the industry.

We got to reminiscing about our favorite culinary experiences during our time in China and talked so much about Schezwan dishes that we decided we had to have some. Our absolute favorite is pock marked mother’s tofu (Mapotofu). Not the most appealing name but the most delicious of all dishes and a dieters disaster!

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So tonight we’re going to light up our taste buds with plenty of pepper of the chili and the Schezwan  variety. Might induce a little thermogenesis!

If you’ve never experience this type of pepper you’ve got to try it. Do so in very small quantities though at least to start with. It’s got this flora citrus like note and is wickedly spicy and it also has some magical component that numbs your mouth and makes you droll all at the same time!

Tjin and I have a particular fondness for it because we spent years working with it. We even put it into a beverage code names Cosmopolitan at one time way back in 2003!

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Tjin knows all the Chinese hot spots in Kalamazoo so we’re ordering from the best. It a Hunan rather than Schezwan so might be even hotter! To balance out the all that spice were also dumping the diet for dumplings and a little greenery in the form of fried pea shoots.

If you cave in best to go the whole hog so we might just get a little crispy fried pork too!

Blessing # 509 – Take Away from Far Away

BOOM – Diet 18

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Today I drove to Michigan to spend some time with my dear friend Tjin. We met when we worked together in China. Some years later we reunited to work together once more this time in France.

Tjin returned to China and then moved back to Europe before coming to the USA last year. Now we are just five hours apart.

The drive started out with fog and threatening snow but that was not as stressful as the rattle from yesterday that continued. After driving for about forty minutes I stopped and courageously poked around the AC vents. Nothing emerged and the rattle continued. Then it hit me like a mallet on the head! The passenger window! All it took was the tiniest push and the rattle snake noise was no more!

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The day continued to improve and as I crossed the Michigan border as if by magic the sun came out and lovely snow flurries started.

Tjin lives in a suburb of Kalamazoo a place I’d  heard of but never visited. It’s a beautiful area and with a name like that you gotta think it’s a place of character.

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Close by where she works is Battle Creek the home of Kelloggs. There’s Kelloggs colleges, Kellogg Airport and of course Kellogg Parks and Highways.

The whole business was built around DIETS! Thank you Kelloggs for helping me out today.

The two Kellogg brothers were great advocates for healthy eating. They were way ahead of their time. More than one hundred years ago they were advocating vegetarian diets for all sorts of conditions.

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The famous flake was developed as something of an accident but went on in years to come to be a staple in the homes of millions.

Can’t imagine the world without them. Just imagine Aaron might have to eat porridge if those good old grains of corn hadn’t been squished and toasted to give « The Original & The Best »

Blessing # 508 – Amazing Maize

BOOM – Diet 17

Today I had to take a lot of boxes of supplies back to the storage unit we have for our Kairos things. As I was approaching the town where the unit is located I started to hear a rattle. It scared me as I immediately thought of that snake skin I’d found in the Halloween decorations.

When I got to the unit my friend who was there help me empty the car and we could see nothing. In one of the boxes were some utensils that very well could have caused a rattling noise! Whew!

Supplies offload off I went to load up again this time at our company store which is in the same town. Killing two birds with one stone as you do I got a trunk load of things including dog food for fluff ball.

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During his entire life the dearly departed furball Dibley ate only one thing Beneful Puppy Food. When the fluffball came we still had a few bags of this and thought it would be ideal for him. The kennel had told us to feed him a grain free diet but of course we didn’t listen. We gave him the puppy food and he ate it with gusto the first night home but the next day had tummy problem.

This most likely had absolutely nothing to do with the food itself and was more likely due to stress and a sudden switch in diet. Still we put him on rice and chicken for a few days and then got a Beneful grain free diet for him.

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As you know he’s been doing great on this and gaining weight well so we’ve stuck with it. Lucky boy also got two big bags of raw hide.

Now we’re not usually the sort of people to go in for « free » types of diet as we know how well all food ingredients are screened and approved but given that Wheaten Terriers are know to have some issues with protein digestion this grain free (gluten free) may be a sound strategy for the lad.

What’s amusing though is the match of the dog on the pack with the dog and his diet. Seems like one was a perfect match for the furball and the other for fluffy.

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Just as I was approaching home guess what happened? The rattle returned. I searched the car all over and even asked my neighbor Mike to help me look too. Nothing to be found! The only hide to be seen in that car was raw but if it rattles one more time I just might need to look for snake food too!

Blessing # 507 – Bites and Bitefree

BOOM – Diet 16

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This morning after Zumba I went quickly to our Tuesday Morning Group before heading to the dentist for the biannual cleaning.

Having brushed the choppers more thoroughly than usual as you do when you’re going to the dentist I vowed not to eat any treats at TMG. These are always abundant and tempting but today the boat had been pushed far out as birthdays were celebrated.

The offering that proved irresistible was a huge pumpkin pie. They are not high on my list of favorite things but this one looked really appealing. It was delicious. Seems it was a Costco special and  millions are sold by the wholesaler this time of year. Seriously you couldn’t baked one as good!

I confessed to the hygienist that I’d had a piece of pie on route to see her. She asked why I didn’t bring her a piece too. Sweetheart I love her. What a job she has and does!

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So for lunch I redeemed myself with a bowl of spinach and cottage cheese only to be tempted again by Krishna baking buckets of brownies for a BBQ he and Aaron are going to tomorrow!

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Scooby and I then took a little siesta and had a read at People only to hit yet more pie promotion. This one being from Philadelphia. It is, at least they claim, the original 1621 cheesecake recipe.

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It looks so simple that I might have a go this Thanksgiving myself.

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Cheesecake always makes me think of my friend Lorraine as it was at her home I first tasted one. It was the mid seventies and cheesecakes were all the rage. Very different from the Victoria sponge or chocolate cake your mom made and in my young mind the height of sophistication.

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Lorraine is a great baker pity her talents never rubbed off on me. I’ve been known to make some horrendous things.  The one Aaron reminds me off regularly is a steamed pudding using a WWII recipe. It was truly like a piece of putty but has left a long lasting impression on my son! I’m sharing the recipe only so you know never to try it!

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Should you, like me, be in need of something idiot proof either get yourself to Costco or try this Pavlova. It works every time provided you don’t get any egg yolk in your egg whites for the meringue. Even the tiniest bit spells disaster so start again.

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Finally if you are at a loss to know what to do with the egg yolks try this crème brûlée.

Its not too hard at all. It delivers about your entire calorie requirement in one serving though so better not have it till you’re diets done!

Blessing # 506 – Sweet dreams

BOOM – Diet 15

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We knew for sure we were doomed to fail when we hit the weigh in this morning. It’s like Monopoly. We have gone back to GO! Fortunately not to jail!

The Sunday evening buffet at Saffron Grill made no profits. We ate all of them.

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Anything you can possibly imagine when it comes to Indian food is available a go go. This includes a Chaat bar where my dear husband could eat his favorites masala dosa, samosas and bhelpuri.

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For the meat eating China man there was lots of tandoori not to mention lamb and goat and fish too. We all tasted everything, ate plenty of veggies, good fresh made naans and sweets too and we all enjoyed. That’s the main thing!

One person who did have great success with his weight goals was the fluff ball. He is the only one targeting upward movement and gained 2.5 lbs. No doubt due in part to tucking into trouble.

He has discovered the deer cross our back yard at dawn and dusk and now has a place where he can watch them. Wonder what he’s thinking? Play pal or dinner dish!

Blessing # 505 – Poised and Progressing