I am thankful for…

It’s been a pretty rough year. Between family health issues, horribly weird weather, and major work stress, it’s been hard to find things to be thankful for this year.  I have decided to take some time out of my day off to ponder what I am thankful for and share them with you. Here they are, in no particular order.

  1. I am thankful for my wonderful husband Mike.  In October we celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary and I fall in love with him all over again every day. He is stood by me through illnesses, a car accident, major surgery, triumphs, and tragedies. He has taught me to enjoy the little things in life.
  2. I am thankful for the technology that allows me to “visit” with my family up North. Skype and Facetime has made it so I can actuall SEE that my Dad is doing well after his hip surgery. They let me see how fast my neices and nephews are growing up. While it is not the same as seeing them in person, it helps to take away some of the sting of being so far away from my loved ones.
  3. I am thankful for having a job. It isn’t a horrible job, a fantastic job, or my ideal job, but it is a job. At the library I see so many people who are hurting because they can’t find a job. When I am having a bad day at work I try to remember these people and how lucky I am.
  4. I am thankful for my family. It is so hard to be so far away – especially when Dad got so sick. I really appreciate my brothers and their wives who were able to step in where I was unable.
  5. I am thankful for my parents neighbors. During Dads illness the Hersteins, Mrs. Dickson, and the Stackpole family have done wonderful things to help my Mom and Dad. I’ll never forget that and I pray for them every day.
  6. My little dog Buddy. He is always there for me. His unconditional love has helped pull me out of the deep depression of living so far from my family and everything I’ve ever known and living in the horrible place we live. He is my little buddy.
To be continued…

Once a month cooking…is it for me??

I have been toying with the idea of trying a monthly cooking day where I prepare a months worth of meals in one day.  I’ve been having a hard time sticking to eating healthy due to Mike’s and my own work schedules.  My schedule is going to get even tougher with my job moving to a different library farther away from home with later hours. So, do I want to try to use up one of my days off and cook an entire months worth of meals in one day and freeze them?  I’m not sure.

I have found a really cool website that provides a monthly menu utilizing foods that are on sale that month.  You get a shopping list, chopping instructions, recipe cards, and printable food labels showing reheating instructions…all for free.  The website is http://onceamonthmom.com/. There are several menus to choose from: Traditional, Whole Foods, Gluten/Dairy Free, Diet, Baby Food, and Vegetarian.  Each menu has a downloadable recipe card that lets you change the number of people you are preparing for and adjust the shopping list and instructions for that many people.  On each of the recipe cards, they show the number and type of container you will need to put the meal in.  I have been exploring this website for about a month and I’ve been impressed with the recipes. They just started a “mini” menu which consists of 10 days worth of meals.  I may start with that one to see if I like it and want to do a whole months worth. If I decide to do this, I will post a full blog with photos.

Cheers…you just drank all your calories for the day!

Like any all-American girl, I like a nice adult beverage.  From beer to wine to frou-frou fruity girl drinks, I love them all.  As a person who is trying to enjoy food and drink AND watch her weight, those drinks can use up a lot of my daily calories. What’s a girl to do?

We all know about “light” beers. Most of them have about as much flavor as a cardboard box in a blender.  The only two I’ve been able to tolerate are Bud Light Lime and Michelob Ultra.  I rarely indulge in these two treats.  If it is extremely hot, like it has been lately, I do enjoy them after they have spent some time in the freezer.  Ahhhh….refreshing.

I haven’t found any other good light bottled adult beverages. I do love the Smirnoff Blueberry Lemonade, but I often think twice about drinking them.  There are several companies working on some lower calorie drink mixes, as well as some chefs sharing their lower calorie recipes.

I just tasted the Crystal Light Appletini mix.  Granted, I tasted it without alcohol, but I wanted to see how the mix itself tasted without the bad influence of the alcohol.  At 5 calories a serving compared to 160 calories for an alcoholic appletini, it is a great calorie deal.  The flavor is not quite as good as a real appletini, but it’s not horrible.  Unfortunately, they are limited time only. There are two other flavors – Mojito and Margarita. I’ve heard they are both good, but have not had a chance to try them.

Crystal Light Appletini Mocktail

There is another company that has zero calorie drink mixes.  Slim Stix has a margarita, a mojito, and a cosmo mix that have no calories.  The only calories you would take in are from the alcohol you add to them.  A while ago I signed up to get a free sample and have yet to recieve them. They are only available in stores on the West Coast. You can, however, order them from Amazon or the Slim Stix website.

Lisa Lillien, know to her fans as Hungry Girl, has a whole cookbook with guilt free cocktail recipes.  It is called Hungry Girl Happy Hour.  The recipes are really easy and use everyday items that you already have if you are watching your calorie intake. You can check out some of her cocktail recipes on her website, Hungry-Girl.

So, next time you want to indulge in an adult beverage but don’t want to ruin your diet, look into these ideas, and “Cheers!”