My Gratitude List 2020

It’s the time of year to count our blessings. There is no need for me to go on about all of the trauma and tragedy of this year, and I am not even going to get started on the political aspect of it all. None of us need to be reminded. What I do feel that we need to remind ourselves of are the things we do have, and the things we have gained appreciation for through this whole experience. Here is my short list:

  1. I wake up every morning, and I can breathe, I can see, I can smell, I can taste, I can hear, I can move; my overall good health.
  2. My husband, and my home, which includes my darling, loving cats.
  3. My family and my family of friends. I love you.
  4. My job, and the fact that I was able to come back from not earning, and being in debt, to now earning a good living, and am working my way out of debt.
  5. The pride I have come to have in myself. I have said this more than once this year: I am a late bloomer who has bloomed. I have truly come into my own. I have finally learned how to love myself, and appreciate all that I have and all that I give in this world. And for this gift I have given myself, I am eternally grateful. What is on your list?

Of course Thanksgiving itself looks much different this year. For us, instead of going to my cousin’s home, we are staying put, just the 2 of us, as it is every other night of the year. We went through a list of some of the fun things we can make instead of turkey, which spanned from prime rib to linguini with clams. We ended up deciding on Cornish Game Hens, which we will do in the air fryer. Our side dishes will be mashed potatoes, and green beans with bacon. Slightly traditional and a slight splurge at the same time. I found a perfect WW inspired desert idea, which I will be making, a crustless pumpkin pie.

I plan to substitute the Splenda with brown sugar Splenda. Just a personal preference. Regarding the pumpkin pie spice – that is very hard to find right now. Here is a quick homemade version: https://www.livewellbakeoften.com/homemade-pumpkin-pie-spice/

With a short workweek ahead, I am not cooking either. I did my weekly Trader Joe’s trip this morning and picked up a few things to have in the house, and to take to work for lunch this week.

The Trader Joe’s pre-made soups are always good, and both of these are 3 points for a 1 cup serving. A couple of good proteins to have with them are smoked salmon, and veggie burgers. The thing I like about the Dr. Praeger’s is that they are not a highly processed plant based meat. They are a clean combination of ;vegetables and grains formed into a convenient , tasty burger. I like them on a light English muffin with mustard and sauerkraut.

Last week I was super busy, therefore no blog, but I did make sure to throw together one of my favorite 1 pot recipes from a couple of months ago: https://www.thekitchn.com/one-pot-spinach-artichoke-chicken-pasta-recipe-23073220.

This time I used low sodium chicken broth instead of water. It came out creamier, and I think, tastier. I used Trader Joe’s Sweet Italian Sausage again as the protein. I love this recipe. Easy, and delicious.

Well, I am off to enjoy the rest of my Sunday. Next up for today – a swim with my crew. I hope you prioritize things that make you happy too.

WISHING YOU ALL A VERY HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

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As Time Rushes By

Reminder to Take a Deep Breath.

It’s Thanksgiving week. How did the year fly by so fast? I just want to take a moment to remind myself, and you, dear readers of the real things that matter in life. Not tangible things, not material things, but things that matter in our daily lives – having a positive attitude, kindness, gratitude, being good to yourself, just to name a few. Take a few minutes to ponder what is meaningful to you this season, and give yourself a hug.

Since this is a short work week, I made a delicious, healthy, hearty Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Soup. It will work for desk lunches, and will just be good to have in the house all week. Oh yes, and my house smells amazing. The recipe is called Keto Cabbage Soup. I don’t know anything about Keto or Paleo and all that. As you know, I am a Lifetime WW member, and follow the low fat, low carb, low calorie/ points meal plan that works for me. I picked this recipe because the ingredients are mostly plant based, and fit in with the flavor profile I wanted for myself. Here is the original recipe: https://www.savorytooth.com/cabbage-soup/.

I actually did follow the recipe pretty much to the letter. I cut the quantities of the liquids in half and only used 10 oz of shredded cabbage instead of 16 oz. I did use a hole pound of ground chicken in place of the beef. I wanted it hearty, as I said. I used chicken broth in place of beef broth. I slightly cut down on the amount of seasonings as well. I can always re season the soup and add more, but I wouldn’t be able to take it out.

Unstuffed Cabbage Soup Baby Boomer Mermaid style

Thank you for stopping by . I want to wish you all a meaningful and Happy Thanksgiving.

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A Moment of Clarity

Just want to share this awesome moment in time that happened yesterday. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to go for a rare mid week swim. As happy as I was to be at the pool, my head was cluttered with “to dos” and the general weight of my current situation. As I was getting ready to get in, I noticed the gentleman in the water that I had seen from time to time since I’ve been swimming, over the last 12 years or so. This man had had a stroke. When I first saw him all those years ago, he could barely move. He needed help getting in and out of the water, and was in a wheel chair. He was definitely using the pool as physical therapy at that time. Over the years, I have seen him slowly improve to the point where he now walks with a cane. He also now swims just like any of us. So I sat down to swim in the lane beside him yesterday. He looked up at me with the biggest smile you have ever seen and said, “Hello beautiful person”! All of my cares dropped away at that moment and I was filled with pure joy. Oh what a feeling! And how grateful I felt to be healthy and free to live my life, financial and job problems aside. This is the true meaning of life, I thought, as I went on to swim my laps.

Today, starting a new day, I am carrying that joy with me, feeling grateful for everyone and everything. I am healthy, I am happy, I am loved, and I feel love. What else is there?

The beautiful Santa Monica Swim Center
My “Magic Place”

Happy 4th of July, y’all!

Counting My Blessings

Gratitude

Jenny’s Jasmine in Bloom circa 5/18/19
Jenny was my dear friend, neighbor, swim mentor, and overall inspiration in life.
We lost her way too soon to breast cancer back in April 2015.
Honoring Jenny today with immense gratitude

From http://www.happify.com:

“The benefits of practicing gratitude are nearly endless. People who regularly practice gratitude by taking time to notice and reflect upon the things they’re thankful for experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems.” I aspire to this.

Because my work life has been particularly stressful lately, as mentioned in last week’s blog, and will continue that way for a while still, I chose to write a gratitude list today, and vow to start each day with a grateful heart. In preparation I went back and read the journal I started at the suggestion of my WW leader (now coach), the great Amy B. back on September 5, 2015. I was in the middle of my WW journey. She had asked us to write down words in our weight books that were meaningful to us. I wrote Perseverance and Gratitude. I did not realize then how truly relevant those words would continue to be for me throughout this phase of my life. I am still persevering at work, with my weight, and with my orthopedic health, which is what I wrote about then. I am also still reminding myself daily to feel gratitude despite the struggle.

My Gratitude List (the short list)

  1. My overall health, positive attitude, energy, as well as my physical and emotional strength.
  2. My husband, Michael. I am grateful for his love, his support, his complete understanding, and his patience. Some would say we don’t have a conventional marriage. We don’t go out a lot, and he does not accompany me to any family events or very few social events. But what we do works for us, and that is what matters.
  3. My family, and my family of friends. I am grateful for the unconditional love I have from you all. I want to especially shout out to my WW tribe who have listened to me, and been there for me, unwavering. And my to cousin Ilene, who is as close to a big sister as it gets. I want to include my co-workers here too. We have been going through this together, and really have become a different sort of family.

I am also grateful for the knowledge I have gained through my journey with WW, and the teachings of aforementioned Amy B. I started this blog just this year, but I have been practicing #mealprepsunday from the beginning. Keeping this routine going is one of the keys to my weight loss success and continued maintenance. Following is today’s meal prep for my work breakfasts and lunches this week:

Breakfast fritatta

For breakfast this week, I made an egg white fritatta with asparagus, ham, roasted red peppers and red onion. Everything was already in the house. We had opened a can of asparagus from a dinner salad earlier this week. The ham was left over from Friday’s dinner, which was a salad version of a club sandwich (that was good), I keep a jar of roasted red peppers in my refrigerator at all times, as I do with pre-chopped red onions. I weighed out just under 3 oz. of the ham for the entire recipe, which is about 120 calories or 2 points. Everything else is 0 points, and minimal calories. I can have this on a light English muffin or roll it into an Ole Whole Wheat Tortilla. Actually, while writing that I realized that would be really good with a little mustard added…. See how this works? Brainstorming :). If I want to switch it up during the week, I have jars of my cinnamon overnight oats in my refrigerator ready to go.

For lunch I made up a dish inspired by a bag of marinated frozen Italian vegetables I found in the Trader Joe’s freezer, last week, actually. I am pairing that with red lentil pasta that I tossed with zucchini spirals, and sweet red pepper chicken sausage. This was really almost too easy. All I did was boil the pasta. I tossed the cooled pasta with the zucchini spirals. In the morning, I’ll mix that in with some of the defrosted marinated vegetables, a sliced up sausage, and a little fresh basil. I’ll heat it in the microwave at work, and voila – a healthy 6 point lunch. 3 for the veggies (90 calories), and 3 for the sausage (110 calories).

Lunch

Thank you for joining the conversation. I always welcome any comments, questions, or critiques.

Make next week a meaningful one, and to start each day with a grateful heart.

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