Archive for February, 2011

Home Jeeves

February 28th, 2011 No Comments Tags: , , , , , ,

A lot has been written about “home”. It’s been said that “home is where the heart is”. Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz apply stated “there’s no place like home”. Even ET wanted to phone home as he pointed to his planet with his finger glowing. One thing I know for sure is that it’s all true in spades.

I recently returned home, flying solo on a long trek from Jakarta, Indonesia. As wonderful as it is to travel to exotic destinations, 4 plane rides later from the other side of the globe, there’s nothing like the feeling of having your plane land on home turf and nothing even better than walking into your own front door. Ahhh, what is it about all of this that gets those sentimental juices flowing?

First of all when you get in the thick of a new culture – you connect with kind, gentle people, experience new food, warm hospitality, different ways of life, hungry mosquitos, funny money, unique styles, gridlocked traffic even more bunged up than your own city, fewer rules. It’s all very wonderful and unique for a time. I found myself saying “we’re not in Kansas anymore” a couple of times……

But getting home is even more special after all of that – connecting with my bella familia, being greeted with a “welcome home” note on the pile of mail from Mother Dearest, dawning my flannel pyjamas and climbing into my cozy bed, using my own facilities, the sound of birds chirping when I fetched the newspaper, my espresso machine spewing and the kettle whistling using tap water of all things, plus the transition from breakfast buffets to morning porridge. Welcome home!!

I hit the ground running as I took on month end at work with gusto. I focused on staying in the moment to remind myself that the 12 hour time difference adjustment will be quick and painless if I try to ignore my energy fizzle while I pop a few extra vitamin C and D tablets. I enjoyed my apples and pears in place of the guava and mango, and my walking route with fresh air in my neighbourhood that has sidewalks and little traffic truly filled up my senses.

Ahhhh home, for me there’s no better place to be. Yes Dorothy “there IS no place like home”, that’s for sure!!

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Business Travel Bupkiss – Excuses Excuses

February 27th, 2011 No Comments

I found myself in travel mode yet again. As I kept myself preoccupied in the lounge in the Huston Airport a lady one sitting arrangement over felt the need to chat up with amigos on the teley for everyone to hear. Ya, you know this person – Barbara Bellows, babbling on and on about her multitude of travel, unable to keep her eating and weight in check – bla bla bla excuses excuses.

It got me thinking, hmmmmmmm. It sounded to me like Bella Barbie was taking herself off the hook of any responsibility. She was giving herself the proverbial green light to throw caution to the wind and eat and drink and be marry without many limits. Look it folks, from one grown up to another, when you adopt the “let it slide” sort of attitude you’re going to need to face the music of reality sooner or later. It’ll be a few pounds here and a few pounds there. Then it’ll be a larger size here and a larger size there. This will surely continue until you put your foot on the brake and take charge.

If regular business travel is part of your life, then being flexible with your routine’s ebbs and flows needs to be part of it too. If not it’ll spell disaster sooner or later from your weight and health’s perspective. It’s really that simple.

I had a fellow sitting behind me on one of my flights who was so large he wasn’t able to fit in the airplane toilet. Talk about getting a big a dose of embarrassment and humiliation as he did a 180 and returned to his seat – ug. I’m sure this fellow’s day is full of these circumstances that simply brings your spirits down in time.

What helps when you travel or in life in general is to stay awake and aware of what’s going on. While I sat in that lounge in Huston for 5 hours my stomach did it’s share of grumbling from time to time. When I took stock of what I ate comparing it to all of my sitting, I faced those tummy rumbles by putting a lid on it. BAM! I thought “How on earth can you be hungry with what you ate compared to all the sitting you’ve done all day??” Then that was that. I refocused, got busy and tuned that Barbara Bellows out. I couldn’t help feel a bit of pity for that fellow who sat behind me on the plane. And if you don’t take charge it won’t take that long for that to happen to you.

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MYOB

February 25th, 2011 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

I did some reading about how little of our brain and potential we mere mortals actually use. And the author also talked about how much time and attention we spend paying attention to everyone else’s problems but our own. I got to thinking, hmmmmmmm I think in fact minding everybody else’s business has turned into an Olympic sport, don’t ya think??

Have a quiet moment and ponder about the many fleeting thoughts that pass through your mind. Think about what you pay attention to and make issue of from day to day. Now take stock of your own goals and dreams and what you’re doing right now to achieve them. Are you surprised how they might be sitting idle on a shelf somewhere catching dust, while you spend much too much time in the thick of other people’s business?? Ya, I’m talking to you….

Think about how much energy and attention you’re using in this. If you grumble about falling off the wagon of success. Think about focusing your energy inward instead of outward and you may just find a simple key to your own success.

I really do hope that I’m wrong here. I do; however, think this is a good exercise to take stock in from time to time nonetheless. If we all just did a 180 degree turn and MYOB rather than everyone else’s we’d all be much better off and I think we might just find peace on this earth.

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Spud-nik Love

February 23rd, 2011 1 Comment Tags: ,

One potato, two potato, three potato, four, five potato, six potato, seven potato more. Oh for the love of spuds. What a versatile vegetable. They’re a perfect side kick with so many dishes. They’re oh so economical and virtually idiot proof to prepare. And, loved by all young and old and everyone in between.

I’m a master roaster of this terrific tuber. Low heat and slow ~325-350 degrees F for a few hours. I don’t alway peel them and usually always add in sliced onion for an extra boost of flavour and roast with canola oil. Lately I’ve been adding a few chopped garlic cloves for even more flavour. A nifty idea I picked up from trying the fab potatoes at The Publican in Chicago. Mix them up with a sweet potato for some natural sweetness and you’ll be given the standing “o”…..”Ooooooh ya you’re the best”!!

Truly though, when I’m running late I cut them into smaller pieces and cook for 20 minutes at 325 degrees F then crank up the heat every 20 minutes to 350 then 375 and sometimes 400 to get them browned just like I prefer and in less time. Easy peasy.

I usually make a double batch and slip some into a container in the freezer for a later date when I know I’ll be stuck for time. Once defrosted simply pop in a roasting pan in the oven and they heat up swimmingly at 325 degrees F in a flash.

Hmmmm a vegetable that tastes like a treat. How sweet it is!!

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Posted in Food Revolution Recipes, Foodie Fundamentals | 1 Comment »

Fat Stats – Consider New Cultural Connections

February 22nd, 2011 No Comments Tags: , , ,

I read last week that the obesity statistics have gotten worse, if that’s even conceivably possible. This trend isn’t localized to one place, to one group, to one gender but the entire globe. This got me thinking not about whose to blame, but perhaps how we may consider approaching this elephant in our room differently.

I was treated out for dinner to a Mediterranean style restaurant last week. Last evening I was treated to a fabulous authentic Cambodian dinner. As my lovely dinner digested I got to think more about this complex problem, hmmmmm. There are so many cultural, culinary treasures available with so many fabulous food options. I think if we got back to cultural basics that’d be a great start to eating better. These days you can even treat yourself to many other foods from far off lands and add variety to your routine. Also, as we enjoy food from various cultures it would be super if we adopted the habit of moving more while we’re at it, like the old days as well to help burn off more.

So many more foods have been added to the grocery store offerings that we have driven off course, it would seem to the packaged goods mecca. Not to mention the fast food frenzy available. I say make a turn for the better!! Here are some ideas:

Japanese
Oh the Tapiniaki possibilities of main dishes served with a plethora of veggies and rice.

Indian
Go in a hurry and try some currie.I never met one I didn’t love. Mmmm dahling, try the dahl as well.

Greek
Mmmm the grilled meats and veggies are divine along with the hummus and pita possibilities.

Italian
Madona me, try some pasta with arrabiatta sauce to bring your taste-buds to life and accompany it with a tomato salad starter (posted on June 22, 2010).

Spanish
Ola – paella is to truly die for.

Portuguese
“Go Fish” with the possibilities of their seafood options.

Mexican
Say ole to the various fajita offerings. So full of flavour.

Thai
Oh the freshness and taste of these offerings. You can turn the heat meter up if you’re longing for speecy-spicy.

German
Put some ump-pa-pa in your step with their roasted meat dishes, red cabbage and roasted potatoes.

Vietnamese
Fee fi PHO fum – try some Pho soup and you’ll feel satisfied and light as a feather once you’re have.

Hungarian
Try some goulash with hearty crusty bread. It will surely satisfy.

Get back to your roots or somebody else’s and try something new. It’s so enriching in life to learn about other cultures and doing it through food is a great way to start. Trying various culinary delights is a way to add interest to your diet while still eating well. You’ll find that through “food wonderful food”, we can eat healthily plus we’re not all that different after all!!

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“Earn It” to “Burn It” Mentality

February 21st, 2011 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I was off at a conference recently. The activity of the day can be summed up by sitting, walking to another meeting room and sitting some more, walking to another meeting room and sitting some more….This goes on for the entire day for the duration of the conference. Oh and the sitting is usually interspersed with eating and drinking temptations galore. Sound familiar??

As I have written about in the many “Business Travel Bupkiss” blog posts (on dates September 14, October 18 and November 3, 2010) if you’re trying to stay on track in a maintenance pattern, paying special attention to what you’re eating and how much you’re burning certainly is key.

Like I’ve always said, all foods fit. It is; however, a fine balancing act of calories in and calories out. I love to partake in the cultural cuisine and offerings, but in my mind, I need to earn them first.

I have a general modus operandi on this is Just for Today posted on June 14, 2010. I can have special treats but I generally don’t partake if:

  • I haven’t had an opportunity to do some sort of work out
  • It’s lunchtime
  • During the weeknights, generally
  • If my whole eating pattern’s turned on its head I aim to leave out the extras so my jeans’ll fit on the flight home
  • Overall, I feel I need to earn special treats in terms of energy balance

This conference center had a small gym that I visited each day. Let me tell you, I enjoyed getting that circulation moving. One of the days I snuck in once in the am and once in the pm for shorter bursts just to clear my head. The other few days I did about 45 minutes to an hour. I enjoyed trying a different workout machine. My machines at home are about 20 years old so it was nice to try out some of the new features as I plodded along.

So remember, all foods fit, but when you want to reach for those extra special treats any old time think first if you have earned it in terms of energy balance. If you haven’t, wait until you have.

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Environmental Scan

February 20th, 2011 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Every once in a while it’s a good idea to do an environmental scan of all of the places you eat and drink. This isn’t confined to the kitchen anymore as our lives have sped out of control and many of us eat and drink unconsciously any old time or place. Scan your kitchen, every place in your house where you store food, your purses, your den, your car, your work area. You name it, you check it.

Are you surprised at what you’ve found?? Is there still a dish of Christmas goodies hanging around? How about Halloween stuff?? Has your purse turned into a hibernation ground? Instead of acorns you have a multitude of goodies “for the kids”?? Who’s actually doing the eating though, you kidder you? How about the car? Is this your new kitchen on wheels where the main appliance in it is the power window to be used at the drive thru?? How about your desk drawer? Anything enticing in there? Do you need any of these places to be fumigated from the drips, dribbles and the crumbs from what might be lurking…..

It’s important to get our conscious selves to take stock of all of these places occasionally and make a few decisions about any changes needed, don’t you think??

Urge to Purge - Now ladies, get down and dirty and be ruthless with what you pitch. Go through every cupboard, storage area, fridge and freezer and decide what healthy stuff should stay and what demons need to go.

Got ‘em Need ‘em – Make a List - Write down a whole bunch of healthy stuff you need at home or work and every place in between. Stick to your list.

You’re Surrounded - Replace the junky stuff with the healthy alternatives. You’re not doing your kids any favours either by giving them junk regularly. Take that excuse out of the equation, pronto already.

Behaviour Boycott - Decide what bad behaviours need changing and work on them. If eating and drinking on the run is high on that list, that’s a good place to start. Replace the bad with the good and you’ll be well on your way.

New Leaf of Change - As I wrote December 28 on propelling to change all year, you can turn over a new leaf any old time. They don’t need to be on the trees. Out with the bad habits and in with the good.

You’ll be feeling as good as new by taking these steps and surrounding yourself with goodness.

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What’s the Story Morning Glory?

February 17th, 2011 No Comments Tags: , , , , , ,

How wondrous dawn is as the sky opens to purples, blues and pinks spotted with candy floss clouds. Anything seems possible as our spirits rise with the morning sun. The crisp, fresh air awakens as the sound of foraging birds hits the airwaves. Ahhhhh mornings.

That glint in the morning sky is appearing earlier day by day as we just passed mid February. As much as I LOVE my sleep, especially when I’m awake all hot for half the night, I still love what mornings represent – hope for a new day, new possibilities and the notion that anything is possible as we take on the day.

Over the last while I’ve been searching for a solution for something at work. Thinking and mulling, mulling and thinking. The cycle going round and round. Then like a flash of lightning I had a brainwave – BAM!! That idea swept over me in my mindset of what’s possible. And I thank my homage to mornings.

Our mind is a powerful tool. I love how Eckhart Tolle describes the concept of flow in A New Earth. I know I must sound like a broken record about this gem of a book; however, there’s so much wisdom to it. Check in on those voices in your head and try to silence them. It’s impossible to solve any problem in your mind’s eye when those voices go babbling on and on. Set your heart and mind to the “open” and positive position and the answers will come. Trust me!!

Ahh mornings. You might wake me out of a restful sleep to take on the day. But you offer a plethora of possibilities to what can be. Start it off with an Ahhhhhh rather than and Uggggg and you’ll see what I mean. So what’s the story morning glory?

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Who done it??

February 16th, 2011 No Comments Tags: , , ,

Well my trusty T & T followers. I’m taking a tiny detour on the babbling blog today. The most asked question from commenters seeks permission to copy what I write on their blogs. This inquiry causes me to groan realizing people want to plagiarize my material – nay nay I say. And the second most asked question has to do with “Who done it? or who developed your blog?

I thought I’d devote this post to give credit where credit is due. The Pixel Shop at www.thepixelshop.ca gets all of the glory for designing my logo, blog, Twitter homepage and yes, my ageless cartoon!! Look Ma, no wrinkles… Both Vince and Tim got my pixels flying in formation on T & T and answered reams of questions galore from then until now. And to tell you the truth I’ve worked with them both in my parallel universe from my day job.

Just like successful weight losers like to dress their best to stay on track (posted on March 29, 2010 and August 16, 2010). This principle applies to business in spades. Put your best, fresh face forward because first impressions last my friend (written about on June 21, 2010).

My Mamma always told me to give credit where credit is due and today the spotlight shines on The Pixel Shop for their fine work. Best of luck Vince and Tim on your journey and don’t get too busy that you’re not able to answer my calls!!

Upward & onward,
T & T

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Food Revolution Rock Cornish Hens

February 15th, 2011 No Comments Tags: , ,

Last week I wrote about how easy it is to make the simple and delish roast chicken on February 10. I thought I’d devote this week to the even simpler rock cornish hen. Because this is sold at a higher price point I don’t make these any old day. I’ll prepare these for a more special dinner for us at home and when we have company over and I don’t have a lot of time. Because they’re smaller the cooking time is much shorter, based on weight. When they’re done it’s hard to believe something so yummy is so fast and easy to prepare.

You just need to pay special attention to a few important details, but truly, this is so easy to do.

Instructions

Fully defrost the uniformly sized hens before preparing them to roast. I will make 1 per guest. Some smaller eaters may only want half, but that’s ok. Who doesn’t love leftovers!! Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Wash out your sink and counter surface rinsing all suds away before rinsing and cleaning the raw birds with warm water. Remove and discard any inards/gizzards from the cavities. Place the birds in your roasting pan, as the photo indicates.

Fill your sink again with hot soapy water and clean any surface or utensil and your hands that the hens came in contact with. Raw meat can cross contaminate with salmonella remember. Use super clean diligence in your kitchen no matter what you’re making.

Ensure you know the weight of the birds you’re about to roast. Sprinkle them with salt, pepper and paprika. Gingerly pour canola oil over them. Below is general roasting time by weight (in pounds). Pay attention to details and it’ll be tender and roasted in no time.

Weight (in pounds) Cooking Time (in hours)

2-2.5                                              1.5

2.5-3                                               2

3-4                                                 2.5

Ok pop your pan into the preheated oven and allow to roast. Every 20 minutes or so remove the pan from oven and baste them with the oil drippings from the bottom of the pan using a spoon. If your oven doesn’t have uniform heating rotate your roasting plan to ensure even cooking.

Make sure they cook through. You don’t ; however, want them overdone and dry. Use the time, your eyes and sense to realize they’re properly cooked but not overdone. Use the same testing for doneness like you did for chicken.

Commentary

There isn’t a lot of wiggle room in terms of waiting for them to be cooked. Precision is key here. I use the same sized birds so they generally cook uniformly. The last time I made these, everyone enjoyed feasting on their own. Some of the leftovers made terrific lunches.

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