Tuesday, December 18, 2012

One Year

From the tiny peanut we affectionately called Trout Grover...

To the adorable cuddly newborn we fell in love with...

To the playful and happy baby that made us all smile...

To the one year old little boy who has stolen the hearts of my entire family...

Happy birthday, Zachary!!! Hugs and kisses to you, sweet boy.

Aunt Stephanie

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Radio Alumni Day

I don't know how many people who read this blog know this about me, but when I was in high school, I worked on the school's radio station, 88.5 FM WKPX for 3 years. I was a DJ and had my own show called "From the Vault" where I played mostly old rock - Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, Phish, etc. - and it was a total blast. I spent two class periods every day in radio class - broadcasting, programming, reviewing music for air play, and making recordings of public service announcements.

I was invited to come back to the station for an alumni appearance last Friday. My dear friend Jen was also a DJ on the station so I asked her to come with me. We had an amazing time on the air and I can't wait to do it again! We even had our own paparazzi - Scott came along and brought his camera so we have some great pictures from the day too.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Recipe: Deviled Egg Salad

I've been on a bit of a sugar/carb detox after gaining a few pounds over Thanksgiving and my wedding vow renewal. This may give you an idea why:

So anyway...I'm eating very little sugar/carbs for a couple of weeks until my pants feel good again. This is a recipe I came up with for lunch, and woowee...it's slap-yer-mama good.

I don't normally like egg salad (except when my sister makes it with yogurt...hers is kinda delicious) but I LOVE deviled eggs. Go figure. It's a texture thing. But deviled eggs are kind of a pain in the butt to make in bulk, and transport for lunch and snacking. So I saw a recipe for deviled egg salad and I changed it a bit to suit my tastes. (Measurements are approximate - everything is "to taste" - I ended up using more hot sauce but didn't exactly measure...I love the stuff.) Yesterday for lunch, I made a salad with a bed of romaine, celery, a couple of ounces of grilled chicken, a scoop of egg salad, and a sprinkle of bleu cheese. Delicious!

Deviled Egg Salad

8 hard boiled eggs, whites and yolks separated, whites roughly chopped
1/4 cup mayo
1/4 cup yellow mustard
1 Tbsp. cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. hot sauce (I used Texas Pete's in this recipe)
Salt & pepper - to taste
3 scallions, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped

Mash egg yolks with mayo, mustard, vinegar, hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Toss yolk mixture and veggies with egg whites. Chill. Eat.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Vow Renewal

Scott and I renewed our vows on Friday since that was our ten year anniversary. It was an amazing day! I wanted to share a few of the pictures with you...I am way happier with how I look now than I did at the original wedding in 2002...

This was my favorite picture from before the ceremony.

Posing with my mama.

My Uncle Mark flew in from California to surprise us...that was AMAZING!

With my ladies...some of my best girlfriends...
from left to right - Vicky, Donna, me, Mom, Dawn, and Jen

I put on my original wedding dress to take some pictures...it's about 8 sizes too big so my friend Dawn cinched it up with hair ties and barrettes so it would stay on...very "Project Runway" :-)

 I DEFINITELY prefer the way it looks on me now vs. 10 years ago.

Newlyweds...again. :-)

 We got a mini replica of our original wedding cake - white chocolate and fresh raspberries.

...which Scott proceeded to smoosh all over my face with the 
excuse that he didn't do it the first time around.

For reference...here are some pictures of the first wedding...

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Baked Oatmeal

Michelle asked how I make my baked oatmeal. This is the basic recipe as written, but I make some changes (see below)...


• 1 egg, lightly beaten
• 1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1/2 cup milk
• 1/4 cup vegetable oil
• 1/4 cup chopped nuts
• 1/4 cup raisins
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


• Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Pour into a greased 8-in. square baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes. Cut into squares.

My changes...

I use regular long cooking oats (NOT steel cut) because I prefer the texture. I reduce the sugar to 1/3 cup and the oil to 3 Tbsp. I then add 1/2 cup of some sort of fruit puree (my favorite is pumpkin, but unsweetened applesauce or mashed banana works too). I increase the cinnamon to 1 to 1.5 Tbsp. because I love it - or I'll use pumpkin pie spice if I'm using pumpkin puree for the fruit. I don't like raisins so I omit them, but sometimes will use dried cranberries instead. I've made it with or without nuts. I also find that it needs a little longer to bake - 35 minutes or so. I like the top to be a little crunchy.

I made one batch with frozen raspberries and blueberries - it wasn't as good. They were a bit mushy. I'm going to try fresh chopped apples and dried cranberries and see how that is.

There you have it! Easy as can be.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Scott and I voted today. Did you? :-)

I haven't posted a full body shot in awhile but this is me at work. I think I look just sort of...normal. I like that. 

I was talking to one of the doctors at work about my band (I was having a really tight day and was sitting in the break room with my lunch in front of me and not eating...I made some remark about how I know it's a tight day when I can't even eat a whole pudding cup) and I showed her the "before" picture below...she gasped and said she couldn't believe I was the same person. I forget sometimes that the people I work with now didn't know me at 292 pounds.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Note To Self...

1. Never tell anyone that you "never" have a problem with a particular food. You will have the second worst PB of your life on said food that very evening. (Chicken thighs...I'm looking at you.)

2. It was finally cool enough here to go for a walk outside instead of in the stinky old gym. Cool breezes and sunshine and good tunes are better for my mood than I imagine a pile of Prozac would be.

3. THIS is my new favorite breakfast - homemade baked oatmeal with Greek yogurt. Tons of fiber and protein, not too sweet, and it keeps me going for HOURS. This batch has raspberries, cranberries, and blueberries in it. I'm going to make some today with pumpkin and lots of pumpkin pie spice. Mmmm.

4. My friend Maria sent me this pic of us from the end of the 5K a couple of weeks ago and I wanted to share.

5. And just for fun, I LOVE this pic of Zachary and ALL of his aunties in the same place at the same time. On the left is Laura, my brother-in-law's sister who (shameless plug) has a Kickstarter to raise money for her farm if you want to check it out. She's the one with whom I planted garlic at her farm last year. The woman makes some gorgeous veggies. Kate, my brother-in-law's twin brother's wife, is on the right. I really enjoy hanging out with her. I love having such great "co-aunts" for my beautiful nephew!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Ten Things Thursday

1. My request for time off for the entire Thanksgiving weekend was approved. Thank goodness! My 10th wedding anniversary is the Friday after Thanksgiving and that would have really sucked if I had to work.

2. I picked up over 8 hours of overtime last weekend. I really like my job and I am SO grateful for the extra money, but man...I'm tired. I'm glad I had yesterday and today off to recover.

3. My husband has had a bunch of dental work lately and is on a soft diet until his permanent crown is done in a few weeks. I'm putting my mushy cooking skills to work and I made shepherd's pie for dinner. I made one batch as usual, with ground beef, full-fat cheese and mashed potatoes for Scott, and another for myself where I used a little bit of ground beef along with red beans, carrots, onions, cauliflower, spinach, and corn for the base, a sprinkle of 2% milk cheese, and a very thin layer of mashed potatoes on top. It was tasty!

4. One of my favorite authors, Jennifer Weiner, wrote this article about the day her daughter used "the 'F' word" (FAT) for the first time. Very interesting read.

5. Today I was contacted by the Rachael Ray Show to fly to New York to be on the show and have a makeover...for free! I was so excited until I found out what the catch is...they're looking for couples who are having a "milestone anniversary" this year where BOTH people have a makeover. My husband really doesn't want to be on TV. Boooooo. I understand completely, but am still disappointed, of course. If you know of anyone having a "milestone anniversary" let me know and I'll pass it along to the producer I was speaking with.

6. I am obsessed...obsessed with The Hunger Games. I'm "reading" (via audiobook) the first in the series and it's totally not the kind of book I usually read, but it's fantastic. My "niece" Keara recommended it and I can't stop listening. I've already reserved book 2 and 3 from the library.

7. This new fill is treating me nicely. I lost 6 pounds the week after the fill. I feel great. Eating very little but not hungry.

8. I'm glad everyone had such a nice time in Chicago! I've really enjoyed seeing the pictures.

9. Scott is amazing. Truly. We needed to have some repairs done on our old house because our insurance policy needed to be renewed. Scott (along with our very helpful neighbor for a little assistance) did all of the work himself and completed a job that was quoted at over $2000 for under $500. Incredible. He seriously busted ass and we passed our inspection with flying colors. He researched how to do it and got it all done. I'm really impressed with him.

10. I have to work a 12 hour shift tomorrow, so I have to go wind down for bed. Goodnight!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Heart Walk 5K

Yesterday morning I did the Heart Walk 5K with some women who have been very important to my band journey.

Maria is on the left. She works at the front desk at my bariatric surgeon's office. She is also banded, and she has also become a good friend. We meet up often for lunch or to go for a walk, and she's been an amazing support when I am struggling. She's fantastic.

On my other side is Gwen, the band nurse. She is learning how to do fills and I told her she can practice on me if she'll do it for free. :-)

Jody is on the right. She's the registered dietician. She ran the 5K in about 30 minutes. Awesome. She's such an inspiration.

Our team was called "The Shrinking Population".  :-)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Still Purple

Thank you for all of the awesome comments on my purple belly post. For everyone who suggested sending it to my doctor, thank you. I did just that by posting it on his Facebook page. He said that it's nothing to worry about and it will go away. I feel fine, so I'm not worrying about it. It's definitely getting better. I do tend to bruise easily, so he probably just hit a blood vessel on the way in.

I don't know if this fill is doing anything for my weight (I'll jump on the scale at support group tonight) but it's definitely decreased my appetite. I ate a Lean Cuisine for lunch yesterday and the day before, and it kept me full for HOURS. I'm definitely not as hungry and eating way less.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Violet, you're turning violet, Violet

Bonus points if you caught the movie reference.

I had my fill 4 days ago and this is what my belly looks like...

I have never bruised like this after a fill! What the heck? Has anyone ever seen anything like this? It's crazy. It doesn't hurt or anything (just a little sore like the port site always is after a fill).

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

5K Today

My pace was pathetic (about an hour) but I managed a full 5k on the treadmill today for the first time in months...

And I even managed to keep smiling afterwards, red-faced, sweaty and all...

Monday, September 17, 2012

All Filled Up

I had my fill today - a little over one more cc added, making about 7 cc's total in my band. I am up about 14 pounds from my lowest weight (gulp) and the doc said he wasn't surprised...I didn't realize it had been this long but I hadn't had a fill in A YEAR AND FOUR MONTHS. He said he's not the least bit surprised that I have gained a bit and is surprised I haven't gained more.

The fill was uneventful as always - a quick needle in the belly, added 2 cc's, water wouldn't go down at all, removed 0.5 cc, water still in my throat, another 0.25 cc out and the water started trickling down nicely. No pain. Easy peasy. Doc and I had a nice talk too. I really like him.

I've been sipping my clear liquids all afternoon with no problem - I may try some strained homemade broccoli soup for dinner in a little while.

I hope this will get me back on the losing track!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Tomorrow is Fill Day

Tomorrow I'm finally getting the fill I've needed for a long time. I hope it will make a difference! I found out that an un-fill within 7 days is free for a self-pay patient, so I'm going to ask the doc to do a big-girl fill and really crank it up tight (as long as I can get fluids down) and if I'm too tight after a few days I'll back it off a little. I just can't afford to be spending $150 for tiny 0.25 cc tweaks all the time!

I'm going to spend today getting ready for a few days of liquids/mushies. I'm making a batch of cream of broccoli soup and chicken enchilada soup. I have a couple of 4-packs of Atkins shakes and a box of sugar free Carnation Instant Breakfast. Just need to get some yogurt and stuff to make smoothies and I should be good for a few days.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Advice Please!

I'm scheduled for a fill on September 6. I have needed it for a long time. I have been able to eat with no problem...

  • Hot dogs and hamburgers with the bun
  • Breakfast burritos
  • Pizza (half of a homemade grilled pizza, after having salad and shrimp cocktail)
  • Tacos (plural)
  • Steaks
  • Pork chops
  • Chicken and a big salad.
  • Pasta
When I was visiting my sister, I had a few moments of stuck-ish (had to slow down a bit but never really stuck) which is normal for me when I travel. But I was back to normal right when I got back. (I had a sandwich on a pita the night I got back for dinner.)

Yesterday morning I had a very normal breakfast for me - mini breakfast burrito - it had egg, sausage and cheese on it. I ended up PB'ing at work afterwards, only my 4th PB ever.

Had some soup for lunch to give my stomach a break and I'm fine now. I was very, very hungry for dinner and it went down fine.

I'm hungry a LOT. Like, regular person hungry a couple of hours after a regular person sized meal.

So the question is, do I still get the fill? I think yes but I'm not 100% sure. Does one PB make you rethink a fill?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Ben & Jerry's Frozen GREEK Yogurt

Ben & Jerry's Strawberry Shortcake Greek (YES Greek!) frozen yogurt is VERY tasty. They have other flavors too (Blueberry Vanilla and Banana Peanut Butter, I think) but the Strawberry Shortcake is the one that called to me.

Nutritionals aren't awful for a treat: 180 calories and 6 grams of protein in 1/2 cup. (Compare that to 280 calories/4 grams protein in 1/2 cup of Phish Food.)


Friday, August 24, 2012

The Bad and the Good...

The bad...I was supposed to be getting to Alaska right about now. I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't a little sad about that.

The good...last year my friend Jen and I were headed off to a cruise when there was a hurricane headed towards south Florida. I can't even tell you how stressed I was wondering about how everything would work out. I'd probably be freaking the eff out if I had to consider getting on a plane and leaving my house and parrots with unknown disaster lurking. The last few days would have sucked.

Alaska will be there next year.

The best? Getting to snuggle these two last week...

(That's my sister and my nephew, if you didn't know. We were out to lunch. Zachary and I shared the spinach and goat cheese dip, and a chicken quesadilla. Quite a sophisticated palate on that little one.)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Ten Things Thursday

It is Thursday, isn't it? It's hard to keep track of the days when there's no real weekend.

1. Today is the 17th anniversary of Jerry Garcia's death. I remember that day like it was yesterday. I had just gotten off of summer tour. My last Dead show was only a month before, on 7/2/1995. I nearly lost my mind when I got the news. The Grateful Dead was my religion. I felt a sense of peace, joy, and community when I was at Dead shows like nothing else I ever experienced. I can't believe it's been 17 years that Jerry has been gone.

2. I'm going to Boston next week and I can't wait to squeeze my nephew!

3. My mom offered to pay for a fill (I really, really need one) and that made me very happy. As soon as the September work schedule comes out and I know which clinic day I am open, I'm going to make an appointment.

4. Scott hasn't found a job quite yet. I'm not really willing to relocate anywhere other than the Boston area or North Carolina. Or Oregon. Or maybe San Francisco. And there aren't really may jobs in his field in South Florida. So nothing promising has come up yet. Hopefully soon.

5. I've been hooked on the show Parenthood. Why didn't anyone tell me how amazing it is? I've watched all of the first season and I'm on to the second season.

6. We've been CRAZY busy at the urgent care the last week with all of the back to school physicals. We normally see about 60 patients per day. Yesterday we saw 95!

7. I'm bummed that I'm not going to make it to BOOBS 3 next month but I wish all the ladies who are going a wonderful time! And please have a Chicago dog for me.

8. I'm looking forward to summer being over. This heat is annoying.

9. Hormonal parrots suck. Liberty bit the hell out of my finger the other day. She NEVER bites me. All she does anymore is look for a place to nest. I want my sweet girl back. I can't wait for mating season to be done.

10. Time to go to the gym. See you later!

Thursday, August 2, 2012


Has anyone ever taken Lunesta? I had the craziest experience with it. I've been on Ambien for years and it works amazingly well, but recently my doctor gave me some samples of Lunesta because, well, it was free and I didn't have insurance for a little while as I waited for my insurance to kick in at my job. Last night I decided to try the Lunesta to see how it worked for me.

Within 20 minutes I had a horribly bitter taste in my mouth. It was as if I had bitten into an unripe, rotten orange, rind, pith, and all. I got up to drink some water (didn't help) and brush my teeth again (didn't help). I ate a few crackers and then brushed my teeth again (didn't help). I tried to ignore it and went back to bed to read and wait to feel sleepy.

After that, the stomach cramps started. I was back in the bathroom over and over again. Then I started to feel sleepy but I was nauseated and still had the awful taste in my mouth.

I finally fell asleep and had CRAZY dreams. Nightmares, really. I kept waking up. Even while I was sleeping, I KNEW that I was sleeping badly. It was like I was having a sleep anxiety attack.

I woke up at about 5:30 from another nightmare with my heart pounding. I couldn't get back to sleep, I was so anxious. I STILL have the bad taste in my mouth (not as bad but it's still there) and oddly I'm SUPER hungry and craving sugar like crazy. I don't have sweets in the house so I haven't given in, but wow...it's the weirdest thing.

I'm never taking that crap again.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


  • My job situation, if you've been following the madness, has changed again. I decided to stay at the urgent care - and thankfully, management decided that they wanted to keep me too when I asked for my job back. Reasoning: (1) I can work three 12-14 hour shifts per week and still have enough time for a part time job. This is important while my husband isn't working. (2) My medical insurance for urgent care kicks in on August 1 - I'd have to wait 90 MORE days for insurance at the doctor's office. (3) The doctor's office offers 2 weeks vacation per year...after you have been there for a year. In other words, zero vacation time for a whole year. I have a new baby nephew that I would be very unhappy to miss out on visiting for a whole year. Eff that.
  • I worked 56 hours last week. 40 at urgent care and 16 at the doctor's office. I'm tired.
  • I'm going to visit my sister, brother-in-law and baby nephew next month and I am SO EXCITED. My beautiful sister and mom bought me a plane ticket so I can come up, and I am so very grateful. It made my week.
  • I habe a cold in my node. Sniffle.
  • I took some expired Nyquil last night and had 12 hours of sleep like I'd been hit in the head, along with some really bizarre dreams.
  • I haven't lost weight in a really long time and I'm not freaking out about it. Maybe I should, but as long as I'm not gaining, I can't get myself to care much. A co-worker is gaining weight like mad (darned drug reps bringing in tasty treats all the time) and she asked me and a couple of others if we would do a month of Atkins with her to help her get on track. I said I would, but I'm not really feeling all that passionate about it.
  • My husband rocks. That's all.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

I recently wrote on Facebook, "It's funny how the universe opens doors when you're not even looking for them."

Well, yesterday yet another door slammed shut on our fingers. My husband was laid off from his job of 9 years.

I took the career leap I did based on the fact that his job was stable and we had NO indication this was coming. We're pretty scared.

This means no Alaska trip (I have to cancel 60 days in advance to get 75% the deposit back OR send a check for the additional $2000, which ain't happening...and the trip is in 64 days so that decision had to be made quickly). I'm more sad for Scott than for myself with this one...it was his dream vacation and I am so bummed that we had to make that decision.

The good thing is that my husband is brilliant. I'm not saying that to be nice...the man is literally a genius. So I am hopeful that he will find something soon, but until then, belts are tightened, we're canceling satellite TV service, and I'm going to work every minute that I have available to me in the next 2 weeks before I leave the old/new job for good.

To leave this positive, I started my new job yesterday and it is awesome! I love it. The people are fantastic. It's very fast paced and it's going to be tough at first until I get the hang of things, but there's NO micromanaging. I can really kick ass at this job.

I'm off to work...urgent care center today. 2 weeks from today is my last day there. See ya later.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

New Job...Yes, Again

If we're Facebook friends, you've probably already seen this but here is the crazy that is my life...

I accidentally had a job interview on Tuesday.

I was at my primary care doctor that morning (not for anything bad...just rechecking my vitamin D and B12 levels) and I was talking to the PA, Lisa, about some issues I had with the front office staff. I mentioned that I recently started working in an urgent care office and seriously, the number one rule (in my opinion) is to NEVER, EVER make promises that you can't keep to a patient. Lisa proceeded to tell me that she knows, and they're desperately trying to hire someone smart to work in the office. I made a smartass comment like, pfffft, hire me...I'll whip this place into shape. She immediately asked for my resume. I laughed. She said she was serious and they could really use someone like me.

She asked me to wait a minute and went and got the doctor who owns the practice, Dr. H. He said that seriously, I should bring my resume by and they're looking to hire someone really soon as they currently have a temp working at checkout.

So....I went home, printed my resume and went to drop it off.

Dr. H saw me walk in (without a stitch of makeup, in jeans and a t-shirt, hair not done) and pulled me aside and said he wanted to do a quick interview right there.

Long story short...he wanted me to start ASAP. A little more money than I'm making - not much, but a little. Steady schedule...9:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Monday to Friday, paid holidays and vacation. He understands that I have very little medical office experience but was impressed by all of my computer and customer service experience and said he knows I can learn the rest in no time.

So...I'm not usually a job hopper. I've only been at the urgent care place for 2.5 months. But this really seems like the universe telling me something important.

I start part time tomorrow (part time because I gave 2 weeks notice at the urgent care) and go full time on July 9.

Monday, June 18, 2012

It's That Time Again

Scene: Italian restaurant. Saturday night. Scott and I were having dinner. I was having a bowl of lentil and sausage soup.

Scott: What's wrong?

Me: I'm a little stuck. My stomach is pretty tight today. No big deal. Stupid time of the month.

Scott: If those two systems are connected, the doctor really screwed something up.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Random Broccoli

There was a random hunk of broccoli and half a lemon on the break room table yesterday. I asked one of the ladies I work with about this, and apparently one of the doctors does this every time she works - puts a whole head of broccoli or lettuce or cauliflower on the table in the morning and goes in to the break room between patients and hacks a piece off for a snack. Interesting, no?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Did You Miss Me?

My little sister commented that I hadn't posted a new blog in awhile. She is a very busy new mom and a pediatrician and for HER to notice, it must be bad.

What can I say? I've been busy. The new job is mostly good. Being a medical receptionist is a whole new world. I've had to learn a bazillion new acronyms. I had no idea what a PIP was, or an MRO, or a COC. I have had to learn how to get through a 12-14 hour shift with only one real break to sit down and eat a meal. I've had to learn that sometimes that being tired wins over being hungry and chips and salsa is an option for dinner so that I can get to bed faster. I've learned to embrace the protein shake because on tight days, that's sometimes the only way I am getting enough protein in to function. I'm still working both jobs but I have cut down significantly on the tech support job because I was about to have a mental and physical meltdown. (Poor Lap Band Gal...she sent me a text asking how things were going and I was having a rough day and I totally vented all over her.) I called in sick to the tech support job the following day...I had been trying to not miss a day of work even though I had a sinus infection and it finally got to me...and after spending a day resting, eating well, and getting a nice long (but gentle) workout in, I felt way better mentally.

Physically...I have had this sinus headache/ear pain thing that hasn't wanted to go away. The whole right side of my face and throat hurts a lot of the time. A course of antibiotics didn't help. I have an appointment with an Ear/Nose/Throat doctor this afternoon to see what's going on. I suspect it's related to allergies, but we'll see.

And now on to happier stuff! Scott and I went to visit my sister and BIL and our gorgeous nephew this weekend. We didn't really DO a whole lot in the Boston area other than go out to eat and go for a few walks when the weather wasn't crappy, but it was so wonderful to see everyone and especially to spend time snuggling with that sweet baby. My favorite times were making him giggle (is there anything more awesome than baby giggles?) and watching Scott read him the book that he picked out for the baby when he was still in Dana's tummy.

And I don't care who you are...baby farts are hilarious.

Zachary tried applesauce for the first time...

My mom, Zachary's grandma, sent him this cool teething toy. It vibrates when he bites on it and he LOVED it!

Other than that, nothing particularly interesting has been going on. I'd say I'll be better about blogging, but that would be a lie since I have a couple of intense workweeks ahead. But I'll do my best!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Recipe: Crockpot Salsa Chicken

I am a member of a cooking group on Facebook and when I saw this recipe I was skeptical. (Cream of chicken soup and salsa? Really?) But everyone was raving about it so I tried it. It is VERY band friendly (I have been having issues lately with being tight...and this is after I was SURE I needed a fill a couple of weeks ago), tasty, and perfect for lunch.

Next time I make it (and there will be a next time), I will use half the chicken and add a can of black beans and a can of corn to add some fiber. Otherwise...perfect.

Crockpot Salsa Chicken:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup salsa
1 package taco seasoning
1 can reduced fat cream of mushroom soup (condensed) or cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream

Add chicken to slow cooker. Sprinkle taco seasoning over chicken. Mix salsa and soup; pour over chicken. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours OR high for 3 to 4 hours. Shred chicken with a fork. Stir in sour cream until heated, then serve over rice or tortillas. (Or just in a bowl or with a few tortilla chips if you're a bandster.)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


I'm exhausted. What dumbass thought it would be a good idea for me to work 40 hours at one job and 16 at the other one, all in one week?

(Oh yeah. That would be me. Ahem.)

New job is good. I no longer feel like a TOTAL idiot. Just a semi-idiot.

I'm still figuring out food. Breakfast has been a tiny serving of homemade ham and cheese quiche at 7:30. (I don't really love the way it came out. I need to keep working on it.) Atkins protein shake around 10:30. Lunch around 1:00, with half of my lunch saved for a snack before the afternoon rush around 5:00.  Today I made a pasta and tuna salad made with Barilla Plus pasta over lettuce and spinach. Wasn't bad. Tomorrow I'm bringing chicken salad and Triscuits. I have to learn to eat faster - no food allowed at the front desk and that's where I am all week.

Oh, thanks for the awesome ideas. I'm going to try some of them out next week. I liked the other Stephanie's idea about the avocado & chicken...that sounds fab. I don't like egg salad or meat roll ups but I have some good ideas now.

I have run out of thinking. G'night.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

New Job and Need Lunch Ideas

The new job is great, mostly. I hate sitting in a classroom for hours on end but when I got out on the floor and started talking to patients, I loved it. Next week I have on the job training for 3 days at my home location where I'll be working the majority of the time (6 miles from my house), and then the following week I'm back in the corporate office for more classroom time. One more week of on the job training the following week, and then I start for real. 4 week training to be basically a receptionist - crazy, but there is SO much to learn. Insurance regulations, what to do with a person having chest pains, workers comp, etc. Everyone is super nice and everyone seems to love their jobs, and not in a Disney, "Oh god I'd better smile because I'm going to get fired if I don't," but in a real, honest, friendly way. People were making plans together for the weekend and bringing each other lunch and teasing each other in a fun way. I don't know if my home office will be the same way, but I sure hope so and I'll find out Monday.

It is SO FREAKIN' WEIRD to work with almost ALL women. Most of the receptionists and medical assistants and billing people are women, including management, and about half the doctors too...very strange for me since I've been in tech for so long that is more evenly divided, but mostly men.

I need some advice on lunch ideas. The break schedule is a 30 minute lunch break, with shorter breaks throughout the day. My usual (leftovers from dinner or Amy's Organic frozen meals) aren't working great for me. There's usually a line for the microwave and by the time I get my food heated up and sit down, I might only have 15 minutes to eat. I can eat pretty much anything if I take my time, but I feel rushed and was getting stuck most days. The food needs to sustain me for hours so I'm thinking soup won't work because it doesn't stick with me. So I'm looking for ideas of things that are either easy to eat without being sliders OR things that don't need to be heated up so I can start my lunch break right away without waiting for the microwave. So far I've come up with...

Chicken or tuna salad with Triscuits and a piece of fruit or a small yogurt.
Ground turkey & white bean chili with a few baked chips (needs to be heated but easy enough to eat and will keep me satisfied for awhile).
Tossed salad topped with protein and a small yogurt.

Any other ideas?

Oh...I don't like to use protein shakes or bars for my meals, so those are out. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Not Telling

I started my new job yesterday. It went pretty well. There are a whole lot of new things for me to learn. It's a big leap going from working in technology for the last 16 years in to medical, which works totally differently. I'm cool with that. I'm a fast learner and I'm sure I'll be figuring out the various forms and med-speak and how to verify insurance in no time. I was so booooooored with tech and I'm excited that I'll actually be doing something other than telling people when to press buttons. I think this is a job I can excel at and this company has a lot of room for growth. The people are super nice and the company is committed to keeping employees happy. The schedule is very flexible. Yes, they're open 7 days a week so I WILL be working some weekends and holidays, but I'll be on three 12 hour shifts per week so I can easily work around doctor appointments, errands, and I could even work 3 solid days and then go see my sister for 4 days without having to take time off. I'm going to keep working at the old company 1-2 days per week too, at least until they hire someone full time to take over for me.

The other thing they do for their employees to keep them happy is that they buy lunch every Monday. Yesterday was my first day and was also Monday. They brought in pizza. Not the lovely thin crust kind that I normally eat, but the big, thick, gloppy chain kind. I don't usually eat that.

I'm trying an experiment. I'm not telling anyone there about my band. I've told EVERYONE about my band for the last couple of years and this time, I'm keeping it to myself. I'm not saying the name of the company here and not talking about my blog when I'm there. When I needed to hand my driver's license with the old picture to the coordinator when she was taking my badge picture, she said it looked like I lost some weight. I just said...yup, I did.

But I thought I was busted when I saw that thick pizza and no other choices. I was very hungry and I am pretty sure I need a fill anyway.

I s-l-o-w-l-y made my way through a slice and a half, avoiding part of the crust and chewing very carefully. No problem. Now I know I need a fill. That thick, doughy stuff usually doesn't work great for me. I like regular hand tossed or extra thin pizza.

I'm sick of this silly plateau and between the thick pizza and the hot dog I ate the other day with the bun, and the fact that I'm basically always hungry, I'm sure I need a fill.

I talked to Gwen the band nurse (we went to dinner after support group last night) and she said she would get me in for a fill as soon as I am ready (in other words...have a day off). So...today or tomorrow I'll have my schedule for the next month and schedule away.

Day 2 of the new job today. I have prepared my own lunch today (Italian turkey sausage, broccollini, garlic, hot pepper, and a little whole wheat tortellini). Yummy.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

BYOC...It's Been Awhile

BYOC - Bring Your Own Crazy!

I haven't done one of these in ages, but...why not? I have nothing else to talk about.

It’s Friday (ok so I'm a day late) – so it’s time for BYOC – Bring Your Own Crazy! We answer 5 questions to get to know each other better and to give our blogging brains a break! Copy to your own blog and enjoy!

1. Do you have any siblings? What is your relationship with them? Good, bad, ugly?

I have one little sister. She is amazing and makes me so proud and I admire the heck out of her. She's a pediatrician, and an amazing mom, and just a very good person. Not to mention that she's awfully cute. We've pretty much always gotten along really well.

2. Let’s talk pizza. Do you prefer homemade or restaurant? What toppings are your fave?

I love pizza, but it's a very slidery food for me so I need to be careful about it. I can eat too much of it. I like interesting (weird) vegetarian pizzas - recently I had one called the "Green Goat" which was goat cheese, pesto, and tomatoes. Delish! 

3. When is the last time you cried – in sadness and in joy?

Last time I really, really cried was the night my little nephew was born. I was so overwhelmingly happy that he had arrived but sad that I wasn't there to meet him right away.

4. Do you own a gun – one that is specifically yours? Do you know how to use it?

Yep. When Scott and I first moved in together, I knew that guns would be in my home. (He's ex-army, and a hunter.) I wanted to know that if there was ever a need, I could safely pick one up and make sure it was unloaded and move it without hurting myself or others, so I took a gun safety class. Long story short, I LOVED shooting! It was so much fun. So I got into competitive shooting and had a really good time with it. The guns that are ALL mine are a .40 caliber Walther P99, a .40 caliber Glock and two 9 mm Glocks (one large frame and one small frame - these are my competition guns that I used for the Glock Sports Shooters competitions), a Walther .22 caliber just for fun because it's super cheap to shoot (.22 bullets are very inexpensive), and an AR-15 rifle. I have NEVER shot at a living thing and don't intend to, but I know that if the zombies come, I'm covered. ;-)

5. Repeat question. Summarize your week!

It's been a crazy week. Yesterday was my last day as a full time employee at my old job and Monday is my first day at my new job, I'm going to be working 3 days a week (12 hour shifts) at the urgent care place and 1-2 days at the old job, so I'm going to be very, very busy.

Monday, April 9, 2012

All Better!

Thanks to everyone for all the kind words on my post about the new job and my tummy issues. My stomach is 100% better! No pain, no gas, no bloating. I ate my breakfast (egg whites and cheese on 1/2 an English muffin), lunch (burrito bowl), and dinner (chicken thighs stir fried with broccoli slaw) with no pain at all. I think it was just the oat bran and/or stress. Thank goodness!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Big News

You know how when you have something on your mind and it's pretty much all you can think about so you don't really have anything else to say because the one thing takes over all your thoughts? Well, that's why I haven't been blogging much.

I have some big news that I can FINALLY share...I got a new job! I didn't want to say anything before it was finalized and I had told my current boss, but now it's official. I'll be working as an office person/front desk at a local urgent care facility. I have been interested in the medical field for a long time but have been working in technology for so long that I had no idea how to even get in the door in another industry. So I made a decision...I would apply for an entry level position just to get in the door and go from there.

I'll be working three 12 hour shifts per week so I asked my current boss if I can move to part time (1-2 days per week) and he said he would look into it. If so, that will be great. If not, my last day there will be on 4/20. I am nervous about making a huge career shift but hey...nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

So...I'm desperate for some office-type clothes. I got nothin'. I've worn jeans and t-shirts to work for years. I hate shopping but I'm afraid it's going to have to happen. (If anyone has anything in 16 or large that they want to get rid of, let me know!)

In other news...I have been having some stomach pain for the last few days and I'm worried that there might be something wrong. I'm hoping not, but eating is uncomfortable. I have a couple of theories...

1. Gas pain. I've been eating a lot of raw oat bran for cholesterol and maybe I'm not reacting well to it. I cut it out today so I'll see how I feel in the next few days and add it back in s-l-o-w-l-y.

2. Stress. Career shift and all. It's good stress, but still stress. I know that can mess with my stomach.

3. Gall bladder. The pain is always after I eat and then eases up.

Or...something is really wrong. I don't want to think about that right now. I'm going to do liquids/mushies for a couple of days and see how I feel. If I'm not WAY better in a couple of days, I'll call my doctor.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Here I Am

I'm still alive. Everything is pretty much fine, I just don't really have much to say that I can share right now.

I can't seem to lose a pound even when I drop my calories below 1000. Bleh. My body likes it here, I guess. I tried a week of just about perfect eating. Dropped 3 pounds and did one weightlifting workout and then gained 3 pounds back overnight. And they stuck around. My body seems quite fond of 191 pounds. I have no idea why. I've tried raising my calories to around 1400-1500 - stayed at 191 pounds. Lowering to 800-900 - yeah, still the same. The only way I can "lose weight" is when I don't lift weights...and that just seems stupid. I'd rather be 191 pounds and strong than 140 pounds and weak. I'd call this a true plateau.

The only thing I can think to do differently is eat more calories during the day and fewer at night...but as far as I know that is old thinking and it doesn't matter what time you eat...a calorie is a calorie.

Here's another crazy thing...I've lost like 100 pounds, eat healthier than I ever have in my life, eat 90% whole foods (mostly plants), work out regularly...and I have high-ish cholesterol (205) for the first time ever. WTF?


As of today, I added in oat bran and apples...two foods that are supposed to help reduce cholesterol. I'm also going to start taking fish oil.

Perhaps I should go back to Atkins. My cholesterol was picture perfect when I was eating a pound of bacon and 3 sticks of butter per week.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Perfect Eating Week - Day 2

Perfect eating week, day 2...

After my morning coffee (which is how I start every day), I started my day with a 2 mile walk. I was pretty hungry when I got home and looking forward to breakfast...

Here are the ingredients, all measured, cut up, and ready to be mixed in to my nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt (1/2 cup fresh strawberries, 1/4 cup pineapple chunks in juice, 1 Tbsp. unsweetened coconut, 2 Tbsp. lowfat granola):

And all mixed together and ready to munch...

I have 6+ hours between breakfast and lunch so I need a morning snack. My snack included a hard boiled egg sprinkled with salt and pepper (because every meal and snack needs to include protein)...

And one of my faaaaaaaavorite new treats...seriously, you must try this. Cut a grapefruit in half, cut between the membranes with a sharp knife to separate the fruit, drizzle with a tiny bit (about 1/2 teaspoon) of honey, and broil until the top of the grapefruit starts to bubble. Oh...my...god...it tastes like candy. I'm not kidding.

I was not too hungry when lunchtime rolled around, but I had plans to go to a great local healthy restaurant called Juice & Java. My stomach had been feeling a little tight earlier and I didn't really want bread, so rather than the tuna wrap I'd planned on, I got the same thing in salad form instead. It's greens, sprouts, cabbage, avocado, plain tuna (no mayo), balsamic vinegar, and herbs...so tasty!

Dinner doesn't look all that appetizing, and I almost burned the house down making it (all I'm saying is that spaghetti squash explodes in the microwave when cooked for too long, even if you poke holes in it) but it was really delicious. It's a spicy Italian turkey sausage link (boiled and then browned) cut up with spaghetti squash, 1/4 cup of lowfat cottage cheese (the store was out of lowfat ricotta), a clove of garlic, a bit of Brummel & Brown spread, and salt and pepper. Very yummy! I have the leftovers packed for lunch tomorrow.

I plan to have a 100 calorie, no sugar added ice cream sandwich before bed.

My day will end at 1161 calories and 85 grams of protein. Not bad!