I survived the short work week, although jam-packed for meetings.  Guests arrived on Wednesday, dinner with my parent’s and Dan’s on Wednesday night (I started pre-Thanksgiving soup night several years ago).  I made pasta fagoli with gluten free pasta.

Thanksgiving went fine.  My parents went back this afternoon.  Dan’s parents are here through the weekend.

Black Friday?  I did the annual trip to the Round Rock outlets on Thanksgiving night.  It was too crowded and I wimped out on all stores but Ann Taylor.  Got some shirts, but nothing exciting.  Pretty much just long sleeve tees that I will layer when it’s cold out, they do always fit great.  Got home just after midnight.

Slept until 4:30 am.  Then I drove into Austin, waited in line at Sheplers for 30 minutes.  Was one of the last people to get a gift card for free, 2 pairs of jeans, but no boots.  Then off to Kohl’s for a few items and then to the office for 3 hours. No we weren’t open, but I had to get in the office and get some things taken care of while it was quiet.  There was 1 other person, other than security.  It was NICE.

Looks like a low key evening, I had hoped to get to Georgetown for the lighting of the town square, but Dan and his dad are up to their necks in a project trying to suspend his jeep’s hardtop from the ceiling.  I pray this go-round with his dad’s assistance goes much better than the last attempt he tried solo.  Hoping they get done at a reasonable hour, so we can do something fun tonight.

Weekend plans?  Run, Aunt and uncle’s Golden Wedding anniversary, and probably more work.  And hopefully work on my Thanksgiving day recap!


Running out of gas

I had big plans for Monday night.  Nothing really went as planned, but it ended well.

We were supposed to be having a contractor come out and give an estimate on a deck addition.  He didn’t show.  Neither did the last guy.  I think we’ve tried interviewing/estimates with like 11 different deck companies now.  Irrigators, that’s been worse.  I think we’ve delt with 16 of them.  I am incredibly picky about the irrigation since I know the rules like the back of my hand and I have really high standards since i’d part of what I deal with at work.  At the rate we are going, our irrigation system will never get adjusted and our deck won’t get built.  *sigh*

Dan told me our new propane gauge said the gas may be a little low.   I thought maybe I could limp it along to at least cook dinner.  WRONG!  I got through all of maybe 10 minutes of cooking, before I had to transfer the meat and veggies to the oven…which was already occupied by fruit crisps.  Had to reorganize.  Took those out, reset temp, put dinner in.  Then when dinner was done, put chicken in, and then the crisps.

Eventually I got the fish, veggies, chicken for Tuesday night, and the crisps all cooked.

Great new salmon recipe, easy and very tasty.  Served with roasted onions and zucchini (well they were half roasted, half grilled).  I also cooked some butternut squash and some sweet thai chicken from HEB (for Tuesday night’s dinner).  There were also grilled and stuffed jalapenos.

Recipe for the salmon (from Everyday Paleo):

Spice It Up Salmon

2 wild caught salmon fillets

2 T of garlic, minced

2 pinches of sea salt

ground black pepper to taste

1 tbsp fresh thyme

1/4 tsp ginger

2 pinches of cayenne pepper

2 pinches of cumin

olive oil – enough to make a paste

Heat your grill – we set our gas grill on medium. In a small bowl crush the garlic cloves, add the remaining spices, and add enough olive oil to make a paste – a couple tablespoons typically. Place the salmon fillets skin down on a large sheet of tin foil. Fold the sides up on the tin foil to make a tin foil “tray.” Rub the spice mixture on top of the salmon fillets and place the tin foil tray on the bottom rack of your grill.  OR bake 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

*Next time i’ll probably do more cayenne.  We both liked it, although Dan is not a huge fan of fish.  He said he’d eat it on occasion.

Mixed Berry Crumble (adapted from The Kitchn)

Gluten–Free Peach Crisps makes 6-8 individual crisps, or one larger crisp
For the Filling:
6 cups peach slices
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
(extra butter for greasing the ramekins/pie plate)

For the Crusty Topping:
3/4 cup gluten–free oats
1/4 cup gluten free oat flour (you can put a rounded 1/4 cup of oats into a food processor and pulse until a flour is achieved)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup pecans/walnuts (whichever you prefer, or use both as I did)

Preheat oven to 375. Grease 6-8 ramekins (or a large pie pan, if using). In a large bowl, toss the peach filling ingredients together until evenly combined.

For the crusty topping, place all ingredients, except the nuts, into a food processor. Pulse 10-15 times (holding down about 5 seconds/pulse), until a loose mixture created. Don’t worry if it’s not totally uniform, rustic is the look. Add nuts to mixture.

Evenly divide sugared peaches into greased ramekins. Sprinkle about two tablespoons of oat/butter mixture onto each of the crisps.

*I used a mix of blueberries and strawberries instead of peaches.  Coconut oil instead of butter.  3/4 cup oats total.  Almonds instead of other nuts.  I skipped the sweetener all together and added a little cinnamon to the fruit mixture.  The way I made it (6 servings), 3P+ per serving 🙂   The photo doesn’t do them justice at all.  They were very pretty and patriotic looking, would be perfect for July 4th!  Maybe in a couple of weeks, i’ll make the peach version.

Propane tank being added to the grocery list 🙂

Sugar Free Challenge: The finale


My usual Day of Rest.  Thought about running long this morning, but I simply had too much to do before work and couldn’t go in late.

Not sure what i’ll end up doing tomorrow morning for a workout.  Will be at BFF’s house.  I’ve run long there before around the city streets.  Not too bad I guess.  I don’t plan on going too far, but I’d like to do something.  If not, there is a Gold’s down the street.


Long busy day at work.  Headed North to get sister, then Dan, then turned around and headed south for BFF’s house.  Because of traffic, didn’t get into town until 8:30 pm!

River all day tomorrow with our friends and the Austin Auburn Club, Micky and the Motorcars at Gruene Hall on Saturday night.

Hopefully get back early on Sunday.  Dan is on a work trip most of next week and I have a VERY full work and after-work calendar next week.


Breakfast #1: last serving of vegetarian migas

Breakfast #2: cottage cheese with banana and sunflower seeds

Lunch: Avocado Cobb from Schlotzsky’s

Snack:   apple and string cheese

Snack: some of Dan’s pretzels

Dinner:  Rudy’s BBQ, one of my favorites.  Smoked turkey plate with extra pickles and onions.

Sugar Free Challenge: Day 8


Ran before work.  Possibly the worst run ever though, just going to leave it at that.


I’m not going to lie, I have cried a lot in the last month to Dan.  I cried this morning before leaving for work when he asked about my run. 

I am SO tired of feeling this way and not knowing what’s wrong.  Is it IBS?  Is it a food intolerance?  Is it gluten intolerance?  Is it something else?

I’m sitting here with a giant lump in my right side, as I type.  Doesn’t happen everyday, but it’s annoying.  Whatever happens on a daily basis is never the same, but it’s always annoying. 

Dr.’s office called again today (guess they are calling as the panels come in?).  No celiac, which I expected.  But I also know that this method is inaccurate at least 80 percent of the time (from medical journal research).  My money isn’t on it being this, i’m just saying I figured it would come back negative.  And that doesn’t rule out intolerance, which is different.  Once again nurse said, ” he wants to talk to you about this on the 20th”.


Breakfast #1:  leftover vegetarian migas, almonds, hot tea

Breakfast #2:  egg on Ezekiel toast

Lunch:  last Sunny Mediterranean wrap, string cheese, carrots, apple

Snack:  Chia Peach Cobbler without any nut-butter (wasn’t sure it was necessary, may try again soon with it).  Dan is still scarred for life that I called it that in the grocery store on Sunday, he said people looked at me weird.  He even polled his co-workers and they agreed that “nut butter” is dirty.  Ok, I will use the name of the nut from now on….gutter-brain boys!

Dinner:  Pesto Chicken (from HEB grocery near the fajitas), salad, oven fried okra.  I miss iced tea the most.  I simply cannot drink cold tea with nothing in it.  So i’ve been drinking water, which is better anyhow.  I still miss it though.

I liked the chicken, it was really good.  I had wanted to grill it, but with our patio being full sun in the evening and it being over 100 degrees?  No thank you.  Next time I will grill, because I think it would bring out the flavors even more.

Okra was good, but next time I am using more spices.  I put cayenne, garlic powder, pepper, and salt in with the okra. 

Snack:  strawberries and cottage cheese

Sugar Free Challenge: Day 7


Dr.’s office called.  Said to keep my June 20 follow-up to discuss.  The only thing she mentioned is that my cholesterol is on the high side of normal, she said we’d talk about all of the rest later.  This ruined my day.  Maybe it’s silly, but I was the only one in my family that didn’t have that problem.  I know it’s genetic and sometimes you can’t get away from it.  I’m still mad. 

And now I want to kick my Dr. for making the comment, “i’d be really shocked if your cholesterol isn’t in line”, especially with your diet and exercise.  I reminded him that my parents and my sister all have the problem.  Guess we’ll discuss when I go in.  The nurse said he’s not concerned about it though.


2-a-day Tuesday.  Just don’t like my cardio and full body weights together.  I ‘m glad I am doing the 2-a-days again on Tue and Thur, like I used to.

Weights before work today.   Surprisingly good considering I haven’t been sleeping lately and I was fighting to stay awake on the drive to Austin.  I did have to skip those burpees, the pain in my lower right side is just too much when I do them.  Don’t feel it at rest though.

After work, I went to AK’s (who BQ’d again in San Diego), to check on her house and kitty.  Left the car there and ran at Brushy Creek (she lives very close).  Running while you are pissed off in weather that is too hot isn’t the smartest idea.  Nothing happened, it just isn’t smart.


Pre-workout:  rice cake with almond butter

Post-workout:  Green Vegetarian’s migas (recipe from the restaurant in SA).  They were good, but not filling, I think I should have bulked it more with vegetables or added a side of refried beans like suggested.  I will have to post this one, it’s a keeper.

Breakfast:  overnight chia yogurt with pineapple, hot tea

Snack:  apple

Lunch:  Sunny mediterranean wrap, vegetable soup

Snack:   string cheese, carrots

Dinner:  Leftover cheeseburger meatloaf, salad, crash hot potatoes (crashed the boiled from the night before).  Dan told me he likes boiled better (probably because I used rosemary on the crashed, which he doesn’t like).  HUMPF!  Hot crash potatoes >regular new potatoes for sure.  The only reason I didn’t make them that way the first night, was because it would have taken an extra 25 minutes I didn’t have.

Snack:  Cottage cheese with strawberries (cup of each)

Sugar Free Challenge Monday: Day 6


Cardio cross after work. I guess it had been a while since I spent time on the stairmill on a Monday. Good old drowning in sweat workout.


Day 6 of the challenge.  Although I had all of my meals planned out today, the first bite of food I had today was a piece of chocolate.  I had all of my blood work done today (5 vials, OUCH!)  I was fine until I went to leave (about 10 minutes after they were done) then I got hot and dizzy.  Ate the piece of chocolate and sat down for a while in front of the hospital until I felt fine to drive.  I knew what I needed to do, i’ve passed out twice before after needles.  I didn’t even look, guess my blood pressure went nuts anyhow.

Breakfast #1- Latte with skim milk from Starbucks.  No soy, theirs is vanilla and has added sugar.  Just skim milk latte, no flavoring.  Note:  I do not like plain unsweetened lattes, as I discovered today.  I drank it anyhow, I needed something in my system.

Breakfast #2- Overnight chia yogurt with pineapple.  I love my “built for fun” Texas Rangers cup!

Lunch-  Sunny Mediterranean Wrap, bowl vegetable soup.  As you can see, the insides of the wrap aren’t pretty, but gosh, after the onion, oil, cucumber, spices and sun-dried tomatoes marinated overnight, it was even better as a leftover!

Snack– apple and string cheese

Snack- baby carrots

Dinner- Mini Cheeseburger meatloaves (made my own sauce to ensure it was SF), new potatoes tossed in EVOO, salad

Snack:  strawberries and sunflower seeds inside a lavash (random, I know)


So the blood work is done.  Follow-up appointment with the new PCP in 2 weeks.  How I feel seems to change on a day-by-day basis.  I have a weird soreness now in my side, hurts to do burpees or anything else that engages my core, so that has been cut out.  Not the same soreness I get 1 or 2 times a week, where my stomach is sore from being distended so much. 

Moving forward.  Hopefully blood work gives an indication of which way to go.

Sugar Free Challenge Sunday: Day 5


For the 2nd Sunday in a row, I did a “Body by Melissa” workout by a pool.  That is what I decided to call my “I don’t have a place to lift weights today, so this is the next best thing” workout.

I used the table, chairs, pool deck, gym towel, and my own body weight.  Dips, lunges, triple-lunge series, chair push ups, split lunges, squat jacks, burpees, mountain climbers, grapevines, high knees, and some stuff I can’t remember. 

Last weekend I didn’t have a gym, this weekend I had a sorry excuse for a gym at the hotel (bike and treadmill).  I warmed up for 5 minutes on the bike before I hit the pavement by the pool. 

Better than nothing I guess 😉


Day 5 of the Sugar Free 10 day challenge hosted by Run to the Finish

I actually had 2 boo-boos yesterday, my buddy June pointed out I forgot about the BBQ sauce.  I was concentrating so hard on avoiding it in the salad dressing and they didn’t have EVOO, so I opted for bbq sauce instead.  DOH!

Breakfast:  I love Holiday Inn Express Breakfast, because there are so many things to chose from and you can mix and match galore.  I usually have fruit, oats, yogurt, maybe eggs.  No yogurt, it had added sugar or artificial sweetener.

I actually swiped the peanut butter for my emergency stash at work (post-challenge) and the banana to eat as a snack on the road. I don’t usually eat packaged PB, but it’s good to have in the emergency stash.

Breakfast today was probably closer to looking like “pig-slop” than Saturday’s dinner.  I decided I wanted savory oatmeal.  So I had plain oats with 3 egg whites and picante sauce.  Sounds and looks gross, tastes great and has great staying power because of the protein-carb mix.

It’s a good thing Dan was still in bed when I ate my breakfast, he would have made some horrid comments.  In fact, I was shopping for dishes at Target next door when he woke up.  He didn’t sleep as late as usual, but i’d already worked out, showered, got a few things from Walmart, and was in Target. 

Snack:  banana I swiped from the breakfast bar, grapes

Lunch:   Sunny mediterranean wrap (recipe below), cucumbers, carrots.  Lots of strawberries.  I saw the recipe for the wrap in the “HEB showtime” magazine and decided I wanted to try it, plus I had everything at home, except the meat and wraps, which I was getting anyhow.  Found wraps with no added sugar or artifical sugar, although it took a while.

Snack:  apple, string cheese

Dinner:  Wasn’t feeling so great, maybe I shouldn’t have eaten all those strawberries (oops).  Made chalupas for dinner for Dan.  I thawed some homemade tortilla soup from the freezer for myself, added chips and cheese.

Snack: plain yogurt, pineapple, almonds, coconut extract

Sunny Mediterranean Wraps (Serves 4)

1/2 bag fresh Angel Hair Cole Slaw
1/3 c. thinly sliced Sun-dried Tomatoes
1/2 c. chopped kalamata olives
1/2 c. thinly sliced cucumber
1/2 c. chopped red onion
1 Tbsp. Italian dressing or extra virgin olive oil
• salt and pepper
4 lg. sun-dried tomato wraps
4 Tbsp. basil pesto
12 oz. cooked chicken or pork, thinly sliced (about 2 c.)
1/2 c. feta cheese crumbles

Place coleslaw in a mixing bowl with tomatoes, olives, cucumber and onion. Toss with dressing or oil; add salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.
Heat wraps in a large skillet. Spread 1 Tablespoon of pesto over top of each wrap. Layer meat and coleslaw mixture down center of each wrap; top each with 2 Tablespoon feta cheese. Fold ends toward centers and roll up tightly to make a wrap. Cut wraps diagonally in the centers and serve at room temperature.

*I skipped olives, I don’t really care for them.  Opted for the EVOO instead of italian dressing. I  used 2 oz of  turkey on my wrap, and flavored hummus instead of pesto.

All combined together, it was very tasty.  I made enough filling for all 4 servings, had 1 for lunch, the other 3 will be work lunches for Monday-Wednesday.  6 WW P+ with the ingredients I used and some GHGs to boot!  I used regular feta, but you could use RF or FF if you wanted.

Sugar Free Challenge Friday: Day 3


Day of rest for me, like most Fridays.


When I say rest, I mean from working out, lol.  I was going to work from home on Friday because my new fabulous Energy Star dishwasher was being delivered.  YAY!  (this is a big deal, i’ve wanted a new dishwasher since we’ve moved in 2.5 years ago).  I run the dishwasher  just about everyday.  No, i’m not lazy, I like the clean a dishwasher gives you and I cook almost everyday or have dishes from my workday food.  And I HATE stuff on my countertop, I have a folding dish rack under the counter, which I only use a few times a year.

So the delivery of the dishwasher evolved into this…

I asked for the day off instead.  I had the dishwasher, irrigation system tech, and a cleaning service all come out.  I want to have someone help me with the house SO bad, but good grief, it’s really expensive.  I’m not lazy, I’m just a morning person.  I really only clean before work or working out or on weekend mornings on the rare occasion we are actually at home.  It’s hard keeping a big house clean by myself.  Makes me feel a little guilty that I want help, but I can’t stand getting behind on that.  I think i’m going to shop around before I make a decision.

And afterall, I do pay the irrigation tech to help with the sprinklers, although I am fully capable of doing that myself.  I’ve had the professional training, I just don’t think I could do it as well and therefore pay a professional to do it. 

There are just some things that are worth spending money on to have them save you time and have them done correctly.


Not only is Amanda hosting the SF challenge, but she’s having a giveaway here

Breakfast: I decided no oatmeal today, I should change things up since I had time.  Made a greek scramble with eggs, feta, spinach, broccoli, EVOO, and mushrooms.  Fresh tomatoes on the side. (4 WW P+)

Snack:  I don’t usually eat an AM snack, but then again, I usually eat 2 breakfasts.  Today was an apple with almond butter (love that grinding machine at the store!)  (2P+)

Although someone I know has been putting almond butter on his waffles every morning, so we are running out.  I want to send him for more, but that is a dangerous chore, because he’ll come back with $50 worth of stuff that neither one of us needs.

Drinking more water, I just don’t like iced tea by itself.

Lunch:   Same salad as yesterday, but with grilled chicken, EVOO, and egg.  And baby red onions from my dad’s garden.

Snack:  last serving of the veggie soup (0 P+), almonds (2 P+)

Dinner:   We were actually at home, so I wanted to do watch Friday Night Lights when it came on (instead of a week later on DVR) and have “high school football” food.  Chili cheese dogs!  (I am VERY picky about lunch meat and hot dogs).   I keep Whitewheat burger and dog buns in the freezer for Dan, so I had everything on hand.

I ate two (the first one didn’t even make it on the plate, oops!), plus some slaw I threw together (cabbage, carrots, green onions, Dijon mustard, and yogurt). Slaw was 1P+.  Chili dogs were 6P+ each.  I didn’t use whole servings of chili or cheese.  Onions from dad’s garden and mustard to dress them up.

Made vegetarian chili to go on them, new recipe, super easy.  Will freeze leftovers, maybe use somehow for next week’s lunches.  It made about 6 one cup servings.

Three Bean Chili

• 2 Tablespoons olive oil
• 2 medium onions, chopped
• 1 medium red pepper, chopped
• 1 medium green pepper, chopped
• 1 large jalapeno pepper (seeded, de-veined and chopped)
• 6 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 cup beer/broth
• 2 16 oz. cans diced tomatoes
• 1 14 oz. can black beans
• 1 16 oz. can dark red kidney beans
• 1 tablespoon ground cumin
• 2 tablespoons chili powder
• 1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 can vegetarian refried beans with chiles

In a large pot, add olive oil and warm over medium heat.  Add onion, peppers, and garlic.  Saute for 5 minutes or until softened.  Add beer and stir well.  Add tomatoes, black beans and kidney beans, stirring well to combine.  Add cumin, chili powder, hot sauce and salt.  Stir in refried beans to thicken chili.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.

Dessert:  Yogurt with almonds and chia.  (6P+)  Added a pureed banana for sweetness, which was pretty good 🙂

Sugar Free Challenge-Day 2


2-a-day Thursday:

Weights before work this morning.  Pretty good session, i’ve been doing better with my energy for strength, even though my stomach is still bothering me.

Adaptive Motion 3 mile “run” at high resistance after work, before dinner with sister.  I wanted to run outdoors, but knew I had to go to the gym to talk to them about my annual renewal.  6 years! 


Pre-workout snack:  Almond Butter (that I ground myself at Whole Foods) on a rice cake

Post Workout/Breakfast #1: Another egg-wich with hot tea.  I’m weird, I actually prefer most hot teas with no sweetener.

Lunch:  veggie soup and a salad with kidney beans, chickpeas and some quinoa tossed in with some balsamic vinaigrette.  Yes, there is an oil sheen on my soup, I added my 1tsp of EVOO to it to get some good healthy oils in!

Snack:  Cottage cheese with strawberries and chia seeds, no cocoa this time. I don’t really mind this so much without the sweetener.

Dinner:  Sister date at Spicy Pickle.  They have a new menu now, about 60% of the old stuff stayed on the menu.  Tried one of their limited edition salads (the Santa Fe).  I didn’t take a photo, but I should have.  It was grilled chicken, cheddar cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, romaine, grilled balsamic onion, with spicy chili vinegrettte.  WINNER! 

No photo and not one I could borrow from their site either 😦  I was originally going to get the new Santa Fe sandwich (my sister did), but I wasn’t feeling fabulous, so I opted for the salad option.  They no longer have my veggie soup, which is heart-breaking.  I LOVED that darn soup.  I got it as a side with my Bastille Panini every single time. (or the occasional El Rancho salad).

Snack:  Ok, for the first time I REALLY missed sweetener.  Dan finished off the strawberries and peaches.  He doesn’t really eat fruit, so I wasn’t the least bit upset, I want him to eat produce!  I put my yogurt in a bowl with some nuts and ate it.  Not really a fan.  I at least need fruit to help plain yogurt.  I even tried to add a T of almond butter, which didn’t help things.

Thursday is my Friday.  YAY!

Sugar Free Challenge-Day 1


Ran before work.  Hot but not as humid 🙂  Good times.


Day #1 of the Sugar Free Challenge.  No sugar or artificial sweetener!


Breakfast #1.  Egg sandwich on Ezekiel toast with spicy mustard.  Don’t think I’ve ever had/made an egg sandwich, for some reason I needed one.  Dan bought eggs that had freakishly yellow yolks.  They taste fine, but they look nuclear.

Breakfast #2 was oatmeal with peaches.  No photos. I had to hurry to eat it on my way to the worst business meeting ever.  SO glad it wasn’t my meeting, but it pained me to even sit through it.

Tried a new Weight Watchers Meeting at the Lamar Center with a co-worker during lunch.  It was alright, I don’t think it’s the right one for me though.  I’m going to keep looking.

Lunch was turkey-spicy guacamole and swiss wrap with veggie soup.  I decided cabbage sounded good on the wrap instead of lettuce.  I bought those wraps for the Memorial Day weekend and was trying to use them up, they were AWFUL.  Won’t be buying them again.  I don’t remember the brand, but it was some company from Dallas that they sell at the deli at HEB.  Luckily, the wrap tasted a little better with the goodness inside of it.  Apple for dessert.

After lunch I usually reach into my drawer for my Adora calcium and then later for a piece of SF gum.  This drawer is going to stay closed for a while…

Snack-time was chocolate cottage cheese with strawberries.  This was weird, because I am used to putting some Torani SF syrup in there with the cocoa powder and spices.  It was still good, but different.

Dinner was something new.  Crunchy chicken tenders with cheesy broccoli and cauliflower.

Yes, we are still eating on paper plates.  I’ve been so busy, I haven’t even had time to look at dinnerware.  Fail.  I’m a bad girl 😉