Friday, November 4, 2011

Phase 3 HCG Adventures

Today we started into Phase 3 of our HCG diet.  Still no starches or sugars, but we get to add fat. So yesterday we started out with delicious coffee...we like Millstone Black Onyx.  Sounds like an illegal drug doesn't it?  " wanna buy some Mayan Black Onyx?"   To that dark roasted delicious brew we added...wait for it....HEAVY WHIPPING CREAM!   This is my vice. I love heavy whipping cream. I love it in coffee, over fruit, in soup, and anywhere else I can think of to add it to. Add to that avacados, rib eye steak and artichokes and you have our first day of real food.

I would like to say that Bill is at a 26 pound loss and I lost 23 in 5 weeks. I am really proud of my hubby. This diet is not easy to do. So very strict and cheating is really a no no. If you cheat you gain, and you can gain a lot very quickly. We only have 23 to 40 days to do this, so it pays to be POP (Perfect on Protocol). He did it right along with me, but this past week and a half he was pining for real food. Bill is looking really good. His belly has gone down lots and lots. That is what I was so worried about. I have told him for years that I don't want to be a widow, and finally he has lost a bunch. Still a ways to go, but after Christmas is soon enough for more deprivation.
Here we are 2 years ago. Chubby and  happy!

 Wow...hard to believe. We have had fun all along traveling the world.  Even though I walk with a cane because I need a knee replacement. Losing 54 pounds in a year has made a difference. I think that all the world travels will be even more fun when we are skinnier since we won't be tired and weighed down.

5 weeks on on HCG and we are new people. There is a whole lot less of us. Hooray for that!  Here is the new us.....

Like I said...a lot less of us. I would say we still have about 20-30 pounds to lose each. We are on the road to better health with eating better foods. I stay away from processed stuff...boxed or canned foods. Bill loves Nalley's chili (blech!!!). I have to make a chili that he likes better. He loves sweets and I have to find low carb sweets I can make that can tempt him. It will be a challenge. Yesterday I made my own mayonnaise for the first time ever. All mayonnaise has sugar...even the organic stuff. Evaporated cane juice is still sugar. We are in the part of hcg that you can't have sugar so I tried making my own. It came out really good. I am feeling very impressed with myself!
Here's the recipe:

1 lg egg yolk
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp sea salt
3/4 c olive oil or vegetable oil....explanation of oil to follow the recipe
2 tsp white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar...also explanation to follow
2 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp white pepper

Whisk together yolk, mustard and salt until combined well. Add 1/4 c oil drop by drop whisking constantly  until mixture starts to thicken. Whisk in vinegar and lemon juice, then add remaining oil in a very slow stream until well blended. If oil isn't incorporating, stop adding and whisk until it is, then keep going. Add in s and pp to taste. It will keep 3-5 days.


Oil...I poured 3/4 c olive oil and started the process. The olive oil was too strong a smell so I only added 1/4 c olive and then did the rest in MCT oil. MCT is an oil that doesn't metabolize as fat in the body. It is expensive and I prefer to only use it on the protocol, but I had it on hand. That brought the smell into a better balance. Whatever oil you use, make sure it is expeller pressed. That means they don't process it with high heat to extract the oil. High heat processing changes the chemical composition to make it really bad for you. Canola oil is supposed to be good for you, but they use VERY high heat to process it, and they also use Hexane gas in the process of extracting the oil. How does that sound as something you want to put in your body...NO THANK YOU!

Vinegar.... I use organic unflitered apple cider vinegar. There are so many health benefits of ACV I suggest you google it. I can't even name them all. Some people drink it straight because it is so good for you. That is too much for me, but I use it almost exclusively in the kitchen now.

The recipe called for less lemon and vinegar. a tsp less of each. I added the extra tsp because it still needed more tang. You can adjust it according to what you like. I first thought it wasn't working as I was adding the oil but I pressed bravely on. It finally started to thicken until it looked like regular store bought mayo. I used my hand mixer with the whisk attachment.

In conclusion...I am learning to do things I have never done before. I gained weight because I was too lazy to cook healthy. Being a carb addict on top of that, means that when you do things the lazy way, you eat processed foods. Processed foods are full of starch and sugar. That causes you to crave more carbs. Then you are chowing down on chips, crackers, cookies etc etc etc. The list is endless.  It's much easier to buy a box of something that you just have to add water to and put in the microwave, than cook something you have to think about. I used to cook when the kids were little. I don't think it was really healthy food. Canned veggies, meat or chicken, pasta or the old staple macaroni and cheese were staples back then.  This new way of cooking is an adventure and I am praying that God keeps me honest and I don't get lazy again. Mayonnaise is just the beginning.  Life is a great adventure and we must keep learning and growing or we will shrivel up and die...or get fat and die which shriveling up inside. I choose to learn and grow! How about you?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Adventures in Weight Loss

Fall is definitely here in the Pacific Northwest. Nights are cold, almost down to freezing and days have been uncharacteristically sunny and nice. It's such a treat to have these last nice days before winter bears down on us with sub zero temps and snow.  Bill is home from Afghanistan now, having a well deserved rest. He spent the last year and a half working 3 months without a day off, so he was one tired puppy when he got here. We are enjoying puttering around in the yard, the house and the kitchen together after such a long time apart.

Speaking of the kitchen...we are just starting week 4 of a 40 day HCG protocol.  I am so proud of my hubby who is entering into the whole thing with great good humor. I kept telling him that we need to get his weight off so he will live a long time, because I do not want to be a widow ever!  After 3 weeks, I have lost 16.2 and he has lost 19.2. This is my 3rd round, and his first, so the concepts are new to him. He keeps asking me things like, "Can we have pasta?"  I have to keep the mantra going of NO STARCH, NO FAT, and NO SUGAR. He has done great sticking to the protocol. We have 2 1/2 weeks to go, so I am believing for those to be good weeks of weight falling off.

I am doing a lot of looking at blogs these days:  Low Carb, South Beach, Paleo, and Gluten Free. There are tons of great recipe sites out there in cyber space. I am thinking about the long term, and eating totally different than we have been used to. Bill does like sweets now and then and I have been looking at alternatives to white flour and white sugar. I am very excited to try some of the recipes I've found made with coconut flour and almond flour. I even found a crusty french bread recipe made with no wheat flour. They use brown rice flour, sorghum flour, and some other ones. Amazing! Bill was just telling me that he was wishing he could have some good french bread with his soup, and now he can. At least he can when we are through the stabilization phase. Yes it is carbs, which are not my best friend, but healthier ones to have occasionally.

I've said it before...I AM A RAVING CARB ADDICT!!  White flour and white sugar are like heroin or crack. If I have 1 pack of 100 calorie Cheezits, I will eat the entire box. After eating that, I will tear the house apart looking for those delicious carby snacks and spend the rest of the day stuffing my face. I gained 14 pounds back after going on vacation and taking all the vacation snacky foods with me. Pretzels, chips, cookies, all typical vacation food. That week started me on a downward spiral until I almost undid my last HCG round.  The Bible says that it's the little foxes that spoil the vineyard, and I let all those little carbalicious foxes back into my diet until I gained that 14 pounds back. By the way...this isn't me really, but it could be. That's a horrifying thought!

My conclusion is that low carb, healthy carbs only and only occasionally are the way I have to live my life. No, and I mean absolutely NO white flour or sugar. (Well, maybe Creme Brulee on my birthday!) Protein, veggies and only sprouted grain bread like Ezekiel bread are my life forever. I have to find good sugar substitutes that are healthy which means no Splenda, no Nutrasweet or Aspertame and no Equal.  All these blogs I am reading have been teaching me how it is possible to get your sweet fix without breaking that rule. Almond flour, coconut flour, Truvia, xylitol, erythritol and agave are all names I am getting very familiar with. Cooking with spices that I have never used before is an adventure. The challenge is to keep it interesting so my hubby will come along with me and be happy. I have confidence that we will both stick with it, and will be healthier and happier in the years to come. The adventure continues..............

Friday, September 23, 2011

Ready or Not

Here we are...ready or not! A new chapter is starting and we are just walking it out. Bill is resting and doing some "honey-do" projects. He is talking about what kind of work he is going to look for. The one thing he is sure of is that it won't be anywhere I can't go and stay with him. We are waiting on God for the next step.

What we are doing is getting ready to start the HCG diet next week. Waiting for the drops to come in the mail and then it's full steam ahead. And the good news is that Bill and I are doing it together. He will lose his weight a lot faster than I will and hopefully will learn about eating healthy in the process. I want my husband to live a long time, so getting his weight off is critical.

I want to share some of the websites I LOVE LOVE LOVE in this journey of learning to eat healthy.  There are some spectacular recipe blogs out there, and some sites for HCG that are very helpful. HCG has been a totally life changing thing for me. I have become a maniac label reader. I have learned a lot about my body, which is carb addicted, and what foods it does well with and what foods it doesn't. I am going to have to eat low carb for the rest of my life and be very careful with white flour, white sugar and those crunchy foods I love. The blogs that I have found have been lifesavers for me in this process.


is the place where I am getting my HCG drops, and a fantastic source of information. The 3 people who started this site have all lost weight and kept it off. They have a Facebook support page as well that I am part of. Love these people. If you are ready to get that extra weight off, check out this site.

My favorite blogs which you can find on the right side of this are amazing places to find low carb, and or gluten free recipes.  That is a key for me. Being a carb addict means that I have to get creative.  Kalyn's Kitchen is a Southbeach Diet friendly blog. Healthy carbs, and lots of amazingly delicious recipes.  Elana's Pantry is a gluten free blog and I bought her 2 cookbooks on cooking with almond flour on Amazon.

When I told my friend that we could eat was like she won the lottery. Almond flour pancakes...who would have thought it? I am trying to use almond flour almost exclusively. I buy it online in 5 pounds at a time, because it's a lot cheaper than at the health food store!  I buy a lot of stuff on Amazon because the prices are better. Miracle Noodles is a prime example. It costs about half on Amazon and I joined Prime which is free shipping on most things. It did cost me $79 a year, but with free priority shipping I think it will work out to be a better deal.       

I am trying to figure out how to add a contact me button on here...when I do, I will add it. If anyone wants information on HCG...check out the miracle skinny drops site. And when I add my button, you can email me I hope.  Jump on my bandwagon and let's all get healthy together so we can "Live long and prosper"!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Walking the Talk

Whenever you write about a lesson God is teaching you...look out!  You are for sure going to get a chance to walk it out. Yesterday I wrote about my husband's trials at work and all that was going on there, and this morning he called and told me they fired him. They accused him of condoning the unethical behavior going on.  Nothing like being falsely accused and having your integrity maligned. My husband has always said that he works for the Lord first and then his employer. That means he would never do anything dishonest, or cheat in any way. In fact he has always been a hard a** about the rules. So that hurts, that he was accused when he has always tried to walk in honesty and integrity. I guess we are in good company...Jesus was falsely accused as well.  He said he has peace, and knows God will provide another job. I believe that.

Here's the time where the rubber meets the road. When the rug is pulled out from under you,  it's time to walk the talk. What were the lessons?  Oh yeah...even when you are doing everything right, bad things can happen. I should have seen that one coming. So we need to see what God is doing in the midst of this. What is he working on in our lives and character. Maybe trust, that He is in control, and He will not let us fall. Maybe faith, that He is a good God, always and forever Good, Good, Good.  Maybe one lesson is the walking on water lesson...the storm is raging...and we need to get out of the boat and go for a walk. He won't let us fall.

Another lesson...God will work this for good as long as we keep our focus on Him, and don't start whining and complaining. The glass is half full, not half empty. Bill needs a rest...working 3 months without a day off takes a toll on him, and he is not a young buck anymore. He can come home and start putting feelers out, but a rest is a good thing.  Oh, I can put him on hcg with me, since I am getting ready to start another round.  That's a good thing.  He needs to lose a few pounds too even though he will kick and scream over the diet. We can spend some good quality time together. There hasn't been enough of that, and we can go to church together which I have missed.  So I see blessings in this even though we are wondering about income, and the next job.

Another would be easy to be angry, and curse the woman who did this. She went on a witch hunt, and even before Bill knew about the situation, she had planned his replacement. The kingdom of God is an upside down kingdom. He tells us to bless and not curse, and to pray for those who do us wrong.  That is what we will do. We will bless her with all that God wants to do in her life. God is a whole lot better at the justice thing that we are. If we don't leave it in His hands, then He leaves the whole mess in our hands. If we leave it to Him, then He is free to work in our behalf. I like having the Creator of the universe working for us.

In conclusion...when you are in process of learning something, or teaching it to others, you will be tested. It's the way of things. So we will do our best to walk the talk and be an example of what we are speaking. We will let God continue to form His character in us. That is the good thing, and a blessing!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Trials and Tests

Today I spoke to my husband in Afghanistan. He was feeling very discouraged about his job, and personnel issues. When he was home, some guys tried to stage a coup, went over the heads of everyone on his base and made a bunch of accusations. They accused people of falsifying time cards and sleeping when they should have been working. Serious stuff. It turns out that his foreman who was left in charge while Bill was on vacation was guilty. He did falsify the records. So he and a bunch of other guys got fired, and here is my husband with a huge mess in his department. Bill is a man of integrity, trying to walk in obedience to God, trying to do things God's way. There are lessons here...and they apply to us all.

#1. Even when you do everything right, the way you are supposed to, things can happen.  Even when you are following God in obedience, you will have trials. Precious metals are forged in fire and so are we. Fire brings out the true character of gold, and it reveals our character as well.  The Message bible says it like this in James 1:2 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. Fiery trials produce character. We are who we are today, because of the things we have experienced in our lives, both good and bad.

#2. Every test and trial has something good that can come out of it if you will choose to be better instead of bitter.  Romans 8:28 in the NKJV says it this way...And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Trust that God is going to bring something good out of everything that happens in your life. If you are in a trial, ask God to show you what His purposes are for you. Ask Him to show you what the place of blessing is. When Corrie ten Boom was in the concentration camp in WWII, they were infested with terrible fleas. She told the girls in her barracks to thank God for the fleas. It kept the guards out of the building and they are able to have a secret bible study. If you haven't read the book, The Hiding Place, I recommend it. Choose to be better. Choose to thank God in the midst of whatever you are going through. You will be surprised at the blessings that come.

#3. If we can bless those who are persecuting us, and pray for those who spitefully use us, then we are opening ourselves up to a blessing. We are opening the door for God to move in our behalf. Not my words, but the words of Jesus in Luke 6:28. When we have people who are doing their best to do us damage, our first reaction is to get really mad, and start to talk and say bad things. That is human nature. If we can practice speaking forgiveness and blessing over those people, it opens the doors of heaven and starts a chain reaction of God's working in our behalf.

The normal reaction of people in trials is to complain, get angry, and say,"Why me?"  If we can learn to cultivate and attitude of gratitude in the midst of difficulty, and learn to speak blessings over others, we will find things changing. We will have the help we need to overcome obstacles and find our way through. If we can learn these lessons, we will be amazed at the things that can happen in the midst of the fire. We will turn to gold, and become people of great character.

Friday, September 9, 2011


I am dreaming right now...dreaming about our next trip, a new camera and telephoto lens, a trip to the coast for a worship night, and oh so many things. 

Dreaming is oh so much more than "a wish your heart makes when you are fast asleep", to quote Cinderella.  Dreams are how God speaks to us, dreams are the way we create, grow and look for new vistas. Dreams can lead us to new realities, new vision for ministry, new friends, new places. 

Martin Luther King had a dream...
"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."
His dream has, through many twists and turns, brought about a new reality in our nation. We may not have arrived, but without his dream, and his courage to speak it out, we might not have even come this far.

Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, the framers of our constitution...they all had dreams. And look what those dreams have brought to life. 
My dreams drive me to prayer and then to Google. Hahaha...sounds so much more mundane doesn't it.

 When I start dreaming about a trip, I start researching. I start looking at weather, places to stay, other traveler's reviews, plane tickets, and much more. For over 2 years, I have been dreaming of the Philippines.  I think that will be our new trip this winter. We have found an excellent place to stay off the beaten path, with snorkeling and scuba diving, and lots of other exciting things to do it we want to.  More on that later. 

I have been dreaming and wishing for a new camera and lenses for about a year. Our last trip to Ocean Shores was the the last straw! The grainy and blurry photos that I took because of not having a telephoto lens started me dreaming a fresh dream, and to Google!  I found a fantastic camera forum, a great review site for camera equipment, and lots of people to give me advice. I am hoping to have a new camera and lenses before we go on that next trip. I've been inspired to get the camera book out again  for my little Canon G10 point and shoot and see if I can't get more out of it. Excited again to learn and grow in my photography.

Our issues, economic difficulties, stress, fast pace of life, all lead to a dream deficit. We get so bogged down and discouraged that we lose our dreams. What are your dreams? What dreams did you have 20 years ago that you have lost? God wants to revive your dreams and give you a new perspective. The past years are not a total loss. You grow in trials, and in difficulties, becoming a better more rounded and stable person, if you let God work in your life through them. How much more equipped are you today to see that dream come to life and to fruition than you were 5, 10, 20 or even 40 years ago. I am 56....not too old to dream big. I think even at 70, 80 or even older you can still dream. What is God putting on your heart? What dream have you let die thinking it was lost?  Pull it out of the closet again and look at it. Ask God if it's time to bring new life to that lost dream. Why not comment on this blog and tell me what your dream is? I would like to know! Let's open ourselves once again to infinite possibilities and start dreaming again.

"God gives us dreams a size too big so that we can grow in them."  ~Author Unknown

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Plan B

Well, my friend and I surely know how to make memories when we go places. We drove the 7 hours to get out to Ocean Shores and had a fun time. We listened to worship music, drank espresso, laughed, talked, and finally arrived. The weather was amazing....sunny, breezy, beautiful and we couldn't have asked for more. We got to our condo around 4 in the afternoon. We were laughing because it looked like an old KOA from the 50s, but the inside of our place had all been updated. It looked very nice but smelled musty and kind of bad, but we opened all the doors  and got settled in. We got up early and walked to the beach...about a 5 minute walk through the dunes. It was deserted and beautiful.

We enjoyed Ocean Shores: shopping in all the little tourist shops, eating a fresh Dungeness crab sandwich, walking on the beaches and visiting the interpretive center. They had displays of all the wildlife and sea life of the Pacific coast. And yes...they even had a Sasquach display. There was the infamous footprint, and even photos of a nest someone found. The Olympic Penninsula is famous for Bigfoot sightings and most people we talked to were believers. We went out to the beach early in the morning by the jetty and saw about a thousand birds: Pelicans, Cormorants, Seagulls and a host of others. It made me keenly aware how much I want a better camera with a telephoto lens. By the time I got close enough to focus, the birds flew away.

By Friday, my friend told me she was having trouble breathing and was getting a little panicked. She had had trouble each night since we arrived, but tried to tough it out, but by Friday afternoon it was getting really bad.  We high tailed it to the fire department and they checked her out and gave her a breathing treatment. We decided to go to the emergency room where we spent the next 6 hours. It was Friday, a full moon and there were about 15 critical code blue patients that came in. Of course when she got the bill the other day, they charged her as a critical patient, which was funny since no one even came and looked at her for 5 hours. We finally figured out there was mold in the walls of our condo, because it smelled musty and kind of funny when we got there. You couldn't see it, but you could smell it. So we got back about midnight, went to sleep and got up the next morning. We went off to town, and walked around and created another great memory. I got out of the car, ran my toe into a cement parking strip and WOWOWOWOW did it hurt. I said some bad words...REALLY bad words. I was hopping up and down on 1 foot and totally losing my testimony. I got in the car, looked down and my baby toe was facing totally the wrong direction. So back to the fire station we went, where the fireman told us he was not permitted to set any bones. So he told Shannon how to do it and as I bit on my purse strap, she popped my dislocated toe back into place.

At that point we decided to leave and went to the condo manager and got a refund because of the mold. We decided to go off to Seattle for our remaining 2 days. Got the last room in Tacoma and spent the night, then off the next morning to Belevue where we found a really nice reasonable room at La Quinta Inn. I highly recommend it. The beds were very comfy and it was in a great place to get back and forth to Seattle. We went off to Woodland Park Zoo after checking in. Had a great time. It's a wonderful zoo...all natural exhibits. Then the next day, we went to Pike Place Market and had a great day kicking around downtown Seattle. Early dinner at Georgia's Greek Cafe on 85th street. It was one of the places on Diners Drive Inns and Dives on the food network, and Bill and I visited it before. Fantastic authentic Greek food. The best octopus I have ever eaten in my life!

The thing to remember when going on vacation is that stuff happens. It is always good to have a plan B. Or be open to creating a plan B if something goes wrong. A trip to the emergency room and a dislocated toe are no reason to give up a vacation. When Bill and I went to Portugal and discovered that it would cost us $4000 to rent a car for 2 weeks, we decided to go to plan B. We took a bus up the coast, and the taxis we paid for to get around were a lot cheaper than that rental car.   Just change things up a bit and you can have a great time in spite of those things. Flexibility is the key to really being able to roll with the punches and to make lemonade when life gives you lemons.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Planning is Everything

In 2 weeks my good friend Shannon and I are taking a short vacation to the Washington coast. It was spur of the moment, and July is not the best time to plan a trip to a big tourist destination. We lucked out and found a condo available in Copalis Beach. I had forgotten that I had gone to Copalis for a week many years ago when my now 23 year old daughter was in a playpen. It was a great place to stay then and I am looking forward to going back. It is a 7 1/2 hour drive from where we live, so we need to have snacks, drinks and the ipod loaded up with good music to listen to.

My friend is from Louisana and has never seen the north Pacific coast. It is totally different from Florida or any southern beach. The weather is likely to be brisk, rainy, sunny, chilly, warm, or any combination of these. The water is cold and in August is about 53 degrees. People do swim in it, but wading is more the ticket for us. Realizing that the weather is not what she is used to is part of the planning. We need to take clothes for every weather. Bathing suits are a must for the pool, sauna and hot tub...not for the beach. Oh that reminds me...we should each bring a beach towel. The towels that are provided are never adequate.  Fleece jackets, waterproof windbreakers, sweatshirts and long pants are important because at the beach in August it can be cold. We are thinking about a day trip to the rain forest and there is average of 12 feet of rain a year on the coastal side of the Olympic mountains. It could be nice so some tee shirts, tank tops and shorts are in order...keeping my fingers crossed for that.

We have been looking at all the things to do up and down the coast. Ocean Shores is close to where we are staying and we have been looking up restaurants, art galleries, wine shops, scooter rentals and all kinds of things. My favorite source for information is Trip Advisor.
I use this site for every trip we take. You can read reviews from actual travelers on hotels, restaurants and things to do for places all over the world. I never make a reservation anywhere without checking out the reviews. We found out the #1 restaurant in Ocean Shores is Chinese/Vietnamese. We found out there is an Irish Pub that serves authentic Irish food and has traditional music on Friday and Saturday nights. We have researched every art gallery, wine shop, and museum on that part of the coast. Clam digging is huge there and razor clams on the menu would be the freshest and most native thing to eat.  You can drive on the beach, but it's not recommended because if you get stuck, you will pay through the nose to get pulled out. I bet the locals make a pretty penny pulling out over enthusiastic tourists.

My preference in traveling is renting a house, apartment or condo. Being in a cramped hotel room gets old after a short while. Being able to stretch out and cook your own meals makes it much nicer, and cooking for yourself saves big bucks. Having a washer and dryer means that you can dry wet towels, and rain drenched clothes.   Also Shannon and I are HCG girls for life and cooking our own food means we can stay faithful to our way of eating. We will eat a meal or 2 out, but for the most part we will eat low carb.

To summarize...Plan, Plan, Plan!!!  You will know what things cost, where things to do are, best places to eat,  what the weather will be like, and all kinds of other things. Good planning will enable you to get the most out of your vacation dollars and time.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Yummy New Discoveries

I decided to write about some things I am discovering in my hcg diet world. I am now on maintenance until Sept. so I get to eat lots more things than I did when on the protocol. The hcg protocol is a Very strict diet and only certain foods are allowed. I've lost 45 pounds so far in 2 rounds of the diet and have kept it off so far. It changed my life and my outlook in so many ways. I am set free from sugar, and white flour. I eat more organic foods and read labels like I am ocd about it. I love the diet and I love being on maintenance.

Today I ate french toast for breakfast. I used Ezekiel Raisin Bread which is available in the freezer section of many stores, or health food stores. It's made with sprouted grains so doesn't count as a starch. Don't understand how that works, but who's yummy.

I used butter and Simply Fruit no sugar added jam on it. Yummo!!!! Imagine getting to eat french toast legally on a low carb diet.

More low carb discoveries....have you all tried almond flour?  You can make stuff with PANCAKES!!!!   Flourless carbless pancakes. I think I am in heaven. I bought a pound at the local health food store but it was $10 for 1 pound. So I found another source

I bought the 5 pounds because I intend to try making cupcakes with Truvia and almond flour. You can also cook with coconut flour which I haven't tried. I found a pancake recipe on google and made it with Truvia for the sweetener. Used Simply Fruit on the pancakes.

I am not a fan of Splenda, or Nutrasweet (aspertame). They are excito-toxins and the operative word here is toxin. I know, I know....Splenda has gained popularity and nutrasweet has declined. Did you know that they use clorine bleach to make splenda? Did you know that it was discovered when the scientists were looking for an ant poison?  Stevia is the most natural sweetener, but it tastes bad. I love Truvia which is 97% stevia and 3% erythritol which is an alcohol sugar. That little bit or erythritol which adds no calories, makes it taste totally good and sweet...with NO aftertaste. Sugar free pancake syrup has either nutrasweet or Splenda. I think you could make your own maple syrup with agave maybe and maple flavoring, but I like jam.

The final thought is that it is possible to have things you love without the white flour or even wheat flour and sugar added. With all the gluten free hubub going on now, there are more and more recipes that use almond or coconut flour. You can live a low carb lifestyle, and still enjoy eating well. I am loving my new life.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cooking Adventure

I want to see if I can keep writing even without travel. So I welcome any comments you have...the good, the bad, and the ugly. Here goes.........

Coming home from a fabulous island vacation, trying to get back in the swing of eating the healthy way. It is a challenge. Vacations are an orgy of eating and drinking all kinds of things that you wouldn't have at home. We ate healthy lots of the time, but some days....oh my!!!

Tonight I made something delicious for dinner.  I bought a boneless chicken breast and pounded it into oblivion. Well not quite oblivion, but pretty flat. I made it cry "Uncle!"   I seasoned it with my favorite seasoning...the Mediterranean seasoning from Just Simply Good stuff. They are a local company here in North Idaho and their spices are awesome. I buy the ones I like in the giant size and use it on everything.

I spread a mixture of sundried tomatoes and Mediterranean Feta cheese and rolled it up and secured with toothpicks. Baked about a half hour at 350 degrees.

I've made this before and also added minced garlic to the feta mixture and fresh spinach. That tastes even better, but I used what I had. That would be fresh zuchinni that I roasted with the chicken.  It looks good and tastes even better. A great mixture of flavors that explode in your mouth.It's an easy dish to do, and will impress your friends if you have company. Looks like a food network dish.'s fun to try something give this dish a try. You will love it.

And in the words of Julia Childs...  "Bon Appetite"

Friday, June 10, 2011

Home Again!

Home again to regular life. Vacation almost seems like a dream now. I'm glad I have so many good pictures to remind me of the great time we had.

Happy to report that I made it back from vacation with no significant weight gain. I only packed on about 2.5 pounds. I love HCG. I eat healthy now most of the time and like doing it. My last night in Miami I totally blew the diet. I ate a seafood medley with noodles and a white wine cream sauce, drank a mojito, a glass of wine, and had creme brulee for dessert. I felt like a stuffed sausage all night. Flying the next day with airplane food, salted pretzels and I was still only 2.5 up. Enjoyed having tropical drinks and wine and even some beer on vacation and it didn't affect me.  I know hcg is a difficult diet. It takes discipline and tons of it. I learned that I can be disciplined for 35 to 40 days at a time. And imagine coming back from vacation without 10-15 pounds of unwanted weight to make me depressed.  I don't cheat on hcg. I set my face like flint to the prize ahead. And the prize is worth the effort.  I have gotten off sugar and eat way less salt now, which is very healthy. I prefer foods without those things heaped on, and when I go out to eat, it's amazing how I can taste the extra addition of them. It takes 21 days to create a new habit. I have done 2- 40 day rounds of hcg and the new habits are now part of me. I am very very happy with my new life.

I got home to new landscaping, and am trying to get veggies in the ground, even though I think the season will be too short. I think I will cover the tomatoes with clear plastic to help them along.

Since I am not traveling now, I will just be writing about whatever takes my fancy,  and hoping it's not boring.

Glad to be home,  but still dreaming of paradise.  Life is good!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Spanish Wells Reflections

Tomorrow we leave paradise. Sigh and sigh again! It is beautiful here and the attitude that is prevalent is totally laid back. One man told me that they say if God decided to destroy the earth, they would have to give the Bahamian government 6 months extra to get the paperwork in order. This has been the most wonderful time, and even though we have traveled the world and seen many countries, I think this is one of my favorites.

The weather has been perfect with trade winds blowing, clouds coming and going and sun shining. We rarely had rain, which I guess is bad because they do need it here. Everyone said they wished they could get some of what was coming down in the US and causing all the flooding. When the sun comes out, it is really hot, but the clouds and the breeze made it perfect. Tanning ahead of time was a good idea for me, and I never burned, and never used sunscreen. Oh I did use it on scuba day and my eyes burned for several hours. The water was the perfect temperature, the sand like pink sugar, the beach in front of our house was deserted most of the time.

Spanish Wells is the perfect place to come if you want to relax and rest. Don't come if you want nightlife and night clubs. That kind of thing is not for us, but the 2 nights in Harbor Island were fun and we did go and have some drinks and a nice dinner. Shopping was also better there with more choices and cheaper things. Internet was spotty for the whole 2 weeks with the whole island being without for the first 2 days. Food choices are limited and food is expensive. A container ship comes in on Weds night with groceries.  Hordes of Spanish Wellians descend on the food store Thursday morning and by afternoon the shelves and the produce is pretty well picked over. Actually hordes is misleading. The island only has 1700 residents total. The hordes are mostly a parking lot full of golf carts. That has been a kick for us, putting around in our golf cart. In the US we are very spoiled. We can go to the store and find fruits and veggies and every little thing we want. Not so in much of the world. We thought the trade off was worth it. We can do without the extras for 2 weeks in a paradise with a deserted beach, palm trees, and the bluest water I have ever seen. I can see why people come back time after time and then some stay permanently.

The people here in Spanish Wells have been very friendly, and strike up a conversation at the drop of a hat. Everyone gives a wave when driving by in the opposite direction in their golf carts. Our rental agent brought us fresh mangos and bananas that they picked off their trees. It really seems that there are not any race issues here. Blacks and whites are friendly and the laid back attitude seems to prevail in that too. It is refreshing to see people getting along without that silly stuff getting in the way. As a tourist I may not be seeing what is underneath, but it was so nice to have so many open, friendly people of every color. The people here are Christian, attend church faithfully in their Sunday best in their golf carts, and God comes up in conversation often. That is refreshing to say the least!  Spanish Wellians have a funny accent that I can't place. It is not like anywhere else. Even the people in Harbor Island made a little fun of it. It's English, but what did it descend from? What would you give to stay in a place where no one locks their door when they leave, leaves keys in cars and there is only 1 policeman with nothing to do? That is Spanish Wells!

In conclusion...I discovered this place by accident when looking for a rental house. I knew nothing about the Bahamas, and it was the house that hooked me. I don't believe in coincidences...I think there are only God-cidences. I know that God helped me find this place which is about a perfect as it can get. I think we will be back....sooner or later! For right now, I am sad to leave and imagine living in a place like this. Tomorrow it is back to the land of watches, deadlines, stress, and hurry. I need to keep a slice of island time in my heart and mind permanently!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

No More Disappointment

I had blogged about how disappointed I was that we couldn't go scuba diving or snorkeling. Well, I was wrong. We took the ferry over to Harbor Island and went to Valentine's Dive Center. They have a big dive boat with a big ladder, not the little wussy ones that are here on Spanish Wells. We were able to take the Explore Scuba class that starts you out in the pool and then you are certified to dive in a shallow dive with a master instructor. Sean was our instructor and he was absolutely amazing.
He sat us by the side of the resort pool and taught us all the hand signals until we had them down pat. Then it was on with the vest, the flippers, masks, and tank and into the pool. Oh and don't forget the weight belt. It's so wierd. The tank is heavy, but you still need a weight belt. The vest is inflatable so air can be added or taken out so you are perfectly bouyant. Or you should be. I tend to float...the Unsinkable Molly Brown...that's me. Getting everything regulated so I could swim along the bottom was challenging. We got into the pool and he taught us to clear our regulator if it got water in it, and how to clear our masks of water. I made the mistake of putting sunscreen around my eyes before getting wet. Word of advice...don't do that. My eyes were burning for a long time. I tried to clear my mask and started coughing. I'm so glad I was in the pool because I started to panic and wanted to go to the surface. Sean very calmly signalled me to cough in the mouthpiece. After a bit of panic in 3 feet of water, I managed to cough properly and all was A-OK. Glad it happened in the pool! When Sean thought we were ready, it was off to the boat for our trip to the reef.

It was a 20 minute boat ride out to the Devil's Backbone reef. It is a reef that is not continuous, and has many little coral islands. At low tide much of the reef is exposed. It's very treacherous and runs 300 miles along these islands. There have been many wrecks on it, including the original settlers of Spanish Wells who came fleeing persecution in the 1600s and wrecked their vessel on the reef.  Our crew helped us on with our equipment, the snorkelers got into the water and off they went. Then Sean got into the water first and we went face first from a sitting position on the platform into the water. It was really wierd and a bit of a rush. Down we went. We dived on a ferry wreck from the 1800s. A passenger ferry hit the reef, but no loss of life. It is totally broken up and all that is left is a big smokestack and some big metal pieces. All being used by industrious sea creatures who have made it a home. We got down about 25 feet I think. Sean was great. He kept checking with us, and a few times he saw I was having trouble making headway and took my hand and swam with me. I found it very hard work swimming against the current, and staying down. By the end of the dive we were exhausted. The snorkelers were fine and they did a brief trip to another island and went in the water while we waited on the boat. When we got back to the resort, we decided to stay one more night and go again. I'm so glad we did because the 2nd time was easier, and more fun.

The 2nd time it was just Bill, me and Sean. Our own personal dive. What a blessing.  He took us to another place on the reef where there were several little coral areas. None of them were very big, and there were a few caves. Bill was very brave to swim into the caves, but I was too scared. I was afraid I would float up and get stuck. He saw a bunch of really big fish in those caves. One was a tunnel that went through the coral to the other side. I was able to swim around and enjoy the beautiful fish and the coral. It was beautiful and we stayed down about 35 minutes. Imagine...a couple of middle aged people, trying something like this for the first time. I have had a fear of the ocean since I saw Jaws, and got stung by a jelly fish in Thailand.  So this for me was a huge thing, and I overcame my fear of the ocean and totally had a great time. YAY me!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

New Tastes

The internet has been off as often as it has been on. So I am writing down my thoughts in Word so I can post them when the net comes back up.

New tastes….many new tastes to tickle my taste buds this vacation. Mangos…I have never liked them when trying the ones we get in the store in Idaho. They have an aftertaste like paint thinner or .something like that. But the mangos here are sweet, sweet, sweet and not a bit of aftertaste.  They have a faint taste like Papaya, but not exactly. So much better than the mangos taken green off a tree from who knows where and shipped up north.   Fresh bananas off the tree from a neighbor,  is another taste I never would have expected.

Another new taste is Conch, pronounced conk. You know those beautiful shells that the Hawaiians blow as a horn when lighting torches in tourist ceremonies. They are so common here that people use them and just throw them around their gardens. The Bahamians have used them as a staple food for hundreds of years. Cracked conch, conch fritters, conch burgers, conch chowder and finally conch salad are the main dishes they make. The first three involve deep frying, and yes I have thrown my diet to the wind to try the first one and the burger. Being deep friend they have not been my favorites, because I just don’t eat deep friend anything.   Conch chowder has no appeal when it is so hot outside that you feel sweaty after just stepping out of the shower. Chowder is a dish to have when the snow is flying, the fire is lit and you are snuggled up with some fresh sourdough, a glass of wine, and a steaming bowl of fresh clam chowder. I just went to Norma’s Take Away and got a small cup of conch salad. Not much to look at I must say, but the first taste blew my taste buds out of the water. Lime, sour orange, garlic, onions, peppers, tomatoes,  and fresh conch all cut up in tiny pieces. My mouth was amazed by the explosion of flavors. I guess it is a bit like ceviche which is fish that is put raw into lemon or lime juice and the acidity of the citrus cooks the fish.  When I think of any fish salad, like crab or tuna, I think of the main ingredient smothered in mayo, with green onions, seasoning, celery and maybe a few other ingredients. This was so unexpected that I was really shocked. I am in love with conch salad. It is like an amazing gazpacho, or something like that but different. We go off to Harbor Island tomorrow to try scuba diving and we were told to visit the Conch Queen restaurant and try their conch salad. I will see how different people make it differently. Can’t wait!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Today I figured out that there will be no snorkeling for me. Probably that means diving too. The boats have little platforms on the back and you have to pull yourself up on them and then flip over on your behind to sit. One boat had a small ladder but the hand rail is on my bum side. There is no way that I could get up out of the water. I am very disappointed but there are other things to do.

Bill, however, made arrangements to go fishing with Capt. Ron tomorrow morning. I can't fish either, so I will stay here at the house, take a walk on the beach, read a book, go to the shell shop, look at touristy stuff. He'll be gone a half day, and I hope he has fun and catches dinner.  He deserves to have fun on his R&R!  I can drive the golf cart which is driven on the wrong side of the road. The funny thing is that the steering wheel is on the left instead of on the right in other countries that are "wrong" side driving. The speed limit is 25, but there is no way we can go over that.

The sun is out today with scattered clouds. The temperature is balmy and not too hot. What a beautiful place. The people are all very friendly, and everyone waves when you pass. We went out in the little boat last night and went around the whole island. We'll do it again this afternoon and I will take some pictures from the water. The water is very shallow in places. It could be tricky for big boats if they aren't careful.The reef that is about 1/2 mile out is called the Devil's Backbone  There have been many wrecks including the original settlers of Spanish Wells in the 17th century, so they tell you not to go out there.
More to come later!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Internet Finally

So many thoughts and no internet to write them down. Flew out of Seattle Friday night at 10:35 and was able to sleep fairly well. First class is amazing and one could definitely get used to it.  Bill met me at the airport, we had breakfast and boarded our plane for Eleuthera (pronounced El oo' te ra) island. As we flew we could see the colors of the water change. How many words for blue are there? Turquoise, azure and aqua come to mind. We could see many different greens and blues, even something that looked like neon green and electric turquoise. We wondered what the big dark patches in the water were. The white fluffy clouds made dark patches on the beautiful water. We landed at a tiny little airport and taxi #146 driven by David Albury was waiting for us. He drove us to the ferry dock, loaded our luggage on the boat, and gave us a minute to stock up on wine and beer at the liquor store. Spanish Wells is a dry island. The ride was uneventful, the weather is hot and humid, but the breeze flows over your skin in welcome relief.

My first view of the island was of pretty houses, painted in white, pink, and yellow with darker trim in the same colors. As we pulled up to the concrete pier and stairs which was the dock, our rental agent Lorraine was waiting for us. We drove along the streets, a whole 2 miles to our beautiful place on the north end of the island. As we drove, golf carts passed us almost every minute.  We are staying in Conch Shell Villa which has conch shells everywhere. They are cemented into the walls, on all the paths, ringing the trees, and just thrown into the underbrush. Our golf cart was waiting in our driveway. Spanish Wells is only 2 miles long and 1 mile wide and everyone drives golf carts to get around. People also own cars and there were cars on the road, but golf carts are prefered. Some are really tricked out with flames painted on and big bass stereos. There are teens on this island, but that bass noise seems very out of place. Our house is totally quiet. Only the sound of birds, crickets, and 2 kitties meowing. Evidently they were born here, the agent had them fixed, and the renters feed them. We are off to buy kitty food today.

We swam yesterday in water that is so blue, and warm that it feels like bathwater. Saw tons of tiny little fish swimming in the shallow waters in schools and wondered what kind they are. The big dark patches we saw from the plane are sea grass. There are all kinds of wonderful sea creatures inhabiting the grass from baby lobsters, to conch, fish, starfish and who knows what else. The internet is back on...for how long I don't know so I am going to get this posted. We will find out about scuba and snorkeling in a day or 2. I am hoping that I can do either or both with a bum arm.  I hope the internet will be still be on for another post later.

Be an explorer. The universe is filled with wonder and magical things.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Murphy's at it again!

Murphy has been hard at work here in the Northwest the past 2 days. I, however refuse to give in to his law," If something can go wrong it will."  I believe in a better law, "God works all things together for good."  As I sit here at my house, yes, at my house and not in Seattle, I am reflecting on this idea. Let me recap for you!

Yesterday, I took the dog out to potty in the morning. The yard is still under construction and so I had him on a leash. He zigged instead of zagging and tripped me with the leash, leading to a serious confrontation with the concrete. This led to a visit to urgent care and xrays. A few hours later, the radiologist said that my arm isn't broken, just strained, and pulled ligaments. Take that Murphy!  I can still go to the Bahamas and swim. I am wearing a splint and a sling and believing for a quick healing.

This morning I got up at 3 am, took a 1 handed shower, got dressed and ran out the door at 3:30. Got 25 miles down the road, and realized I had forgotten my passport. Drove back home, grabbed it, and back to the airport. Muscled my 2 suicases and 1 backpack up to the check in with 1 hand, no small feat, called for assistance, got through security with the help of a very nice man named Jay, got to the gate to find that the flight was cancelled due to mechanical difficulties. Now with the help of Jay, all of us disgruntled passengers ran back out of security, to the check in to try and fix out problem. The flight was supposed to leave at 6 and it's now 7.  I got up to the desk and told the lady that I don't care about anything but getting to Miami in time for our flight tomorrow.  She booked me on the red eye out of Seattle leaving at 10:30, and my flight from Spokane leaves at 6:30. I asked if there was any chance of an upgrade and she said,"Yes!"  She bumped me to first class and didn't charge me.  Yes...Murphy is defeated once again! Hooray!
Things do work out if you keep a good attitude, and look for the blessing in everything.

"Most travel is best of all in the anticipation or the remembering; the reality has more to do with losing your luggage."  ~Regina Nadelson

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Adventures Around the World

      Well,  2 days till lift off. I've got everything I need...extra batteries, snacks for the plane, (all low carb), clothes, clothes for Bill, extra glasses, sunglasses, camera memory cards...and the list goes on.  Our front and back yard have been under construction for 2 weeks, and that has made the time go faster. We have had the yard in our neighborhood with trees and dirt, (and weeds), for 6 years.  I am elated to finally be able to look outside and see something else. I don't know if they will finish in 2 days. Today the cement curbing is going in, front and back. HOORAY for cement curbing!
       Bill calls me every day, and he is excited about this trip. We have traveled all over the world.  So many beautiful places and amazing people that we have been privileged to meet. This trip is the first we've taken in our own hemisphere.  The Bahamas are just a hop skip and a jump from Florida.  We meet Friday night in Miami, spend the night, and then catch a plane in the morning to paradise.
       We are going to Eleuthera Island, actually a small island off the tip or Eleuthera, called Spanish Wells. It was settled hundreds of years ago by Europeans fleeing persecution. Spanish Wells is a tiny island, with nothing touristy on it. We are renting a house on the beach, that comes with a small outboard boat, a kayak, a golf cart for getting around the island, and hooray for modern technology...internet. There are fun and interesting things to do, a water taxi ride away, and we will be doing those. All in all a time for relaxation!
      Tonight I am going with my friend Shannon to see the Broadway musical Wicked. Tomorrow is packing, and Friday at 4:30 in the morning I leave for the airport. I am going to post my way through this trip. Hope I can think of interesting things to say!

 “When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money”. – Unknown

Saturday, May 14, 2011


This blogging is a little complicated. I am trying to add my testimony under Adventures with Jesus and I've had to erase it twice.  Too long, and other things. I will keep working on it. Jesus and I have had a pretty interesting time together over the past 30 years. I am hoping I have some good and profitable things to say that will minister to some friends.  I leave next Friday for quality time with my wonderful hubby. We are going to the Bahamas for 2 weeks. I will be working on writing some interesting travel things as we go. I hope Sunday is wonderful for everyone.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Blogging Newbie

Well here I sit, with my great friend Shelley from Mermaids of the Lake. We are creating this crazy blog adventure. I am hovering between excitment about writing, and the thought that no one will want to read anything I have to say. Oh well...I will just jump off the cliff and yell..."Geronimo"!!!!