Watch this journal for pictures that make me happy from my everyday life, proof of my commitment to a healthier and happier life, plus pictures and links to recipes that are food-allergy safe.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Special New Year's Eve Dinner

This was a great dinner, and it wasn't that hard. It WAS time-consuming, though. It was worth it just to have Mike lean back in his seat, let out a contented sigh, and ask if I could make it again for his birthday, and every other day between now and then.

The beef burgundy was made with rice flour instead of regular flour. I couldn't even tell the difference. I did notice that the rice flour didn't stick to the pan, and I had to add a little more when I was making the wine-sauce, but it was so good! The recipe called for pearl onions, which are hard to find around here, and also a pain in the butt, so I used regular onions.

If anyone wants the recipe, I would be so glad to share it. It met all my diet requirements!

The potatoes were awesome, too. Also very, very easy. Those were made in the oven and only took about 45 minutes to make.

Once again, I am very excited about eating leftovers!


If this is as good as it gets.

Since this is supposed to be my blog about the upside of life, I thought this was something I should share.

Sometimes, I get really stressed out. It's actually one of the reasons I decided to change the theme of this blog from "food diary" to "positive life changes". I get stressed out and sometimes have a very hard time seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. One of the recent examples was about a month ago, when I was rejected for a promotion I had applied and interviewed for. I became convinced that there was no way I could survive. It's true, with any dramatization on my part, that my monthly bills total more than my monthly income. Even making minimum payments on my credit cards, I still don't make enough to cover everything. But it's also true that I'm not in it alone, and Mike picks up all my loose strings - he always has.

So, where am I in life right now?

Well, I live in a crooked house. Propane is wickedly expensive. But we have a roof over our head, reasonable rent, kind landlords, and we can say that we have a real home. We have a home that is filled with love. We have a fridge with an ice-maker. So what if we have to carefully choose which walls we lean bookcases up against, so they don't crash down and give us (more) bloody noses? We can live with that. We have a roof over our heads. Not everyone can say they are so lucky.

I got stuck with a car payment that I really can't afford at a very inopportune time. I also have a boyfriend who was gracious enough to put the car in his name to save me 12% interest, which is an ultimate sign of trust. My car is also cherry apple red and freakin' sexy. Just a few years ago I had a car that was paid off, but my epilepsy was so bad that I couldn't drive it. I'll take this. It's another thing that I'm lucky enough to have, that can't be said for everyone.

I don't love my job. Well, who does? I haven't gotten a promotion yet and had been hoping I would, but at the same time, there are hundreds of other people in this county who will kill to work for Lowe's. They have an extremely fair system that I really can't find much to complain about with. Although I am used to making more money, it's still more than minimum wage. If I didn't have so much debt I would call it a livable salary. I could be unemployed. I could work for one of the many companies out there that are laying people off left and right. I could work someplace that doesn't offer insurance, or sick pay. I am confident that a promotion will come my way eventually, when I have truly earned it. I like most of my co-workers. I am lucky and probably don't deserve it, for all the complaining I do.

My family and most of my friends are very, very far away. But they are alive. And they love me. I'm not going to jinx that by talking about it any further.

My skin sags and makes dimples and ripples when I cross my legs. But six months ago, I was so fat that I couldn't cross my legs. I am the healthiest I have ever been. My boyfriend doesn't complain about my body and seems to love me/it more than ever. I also know that there are six billion other fat girls out there who hear about problems associated with weight loss and say "yeah cry me a river" (and other less-favorable things, I am sure.)

So all this begs the question... what if this is as good as it gets?

If this is as good as it gets, that is just fine with me.


For the last six months, I have been trying to make resolutions frequently - and keep them. Some of them I have done very well with. Others, not so much. Time for a new list of resolutions to ring in the new year with. I'm curious to hear what everyone else has on their list, as well.

#1 Be a better girlfriend. This means doing what I can to always be a positive force in his life. Being a good listener, yada yada yada. I want to know that his life is better for having me in it. I'd also like to, at the very least, be engaged by the time the year is up. Or the month. No pressure though, Mike, if you're reading this... (yeah, right. Don't worry, he doesn't really read any of my blogs!)
#2 Make the house a thing of beauty. Keep everything clean and organized. Put up flower beds! Plant grass seed! Make my hickville neighbors jealous and confused!
#3 Try at least one new recipe a week. Become a great cook. This is my favorite resolution, and one I have already put into practice. The first part, anyway!
#4 Continue updating my blog, and make an effort to actually comment on all the other blogs that I read on a regular basis!
#5 Waste not, want not. Donate, compost, and recycle. 'nuff said.
#6 Spend more quality time - more time reading and writing letters and soaking in the bathtub and less time watching television and picking my nose.

Your turn!

Sadly, no picture to accompany.

Last night for dinner I made the Buffalo Wing Soup from the Year of CrockPotting blog. (Have I mentioned how much I love this blog? Let me mention it again now. Love it, love it, love it.)

I didn't get to take a picture of the soup, because my BlackBerry was dead and I was too lazy to charge it. I thought I'd just take a picture of the leftovers today, but no such luck, as I will explain shortly!

The hardest part of this soup was baking the chicken ahead of time. Needless to say, that wasn't very hard. We used Texas Pete hot wing sauce, which was free of any scary ingredients. I did use an entire 8oz of Velveeta, because... well... do I really need to explain? We like cheese.

This was SO good. I found myself sneaking spoonfuls of it after it had only cooked for an hour. Finally at about two hours, I had a bowl. Okay, two bowls. The instructions said to cook on high for 3-4 hours, so I went to bed after it had cooked 2.5 hours, knowing Mike would be home in an hour, and left it on high.

When he came into bed I woke up and asked him how he liked dinner. He said that it was gross so he made a sandwich. I was angry at him, because I had been excited about making some that I just knew that he would like. But, alas, I woke up this morning and saw that it had burnt and left gross burnt parts floating around in it. So, if you make this (which I highly reccomend), watch it and stir it often. Also, it probably doesn't need to cook that long, or would be better made on low. I wouldn't make this and leave it in the crock pot all day.

No leftovers :( No worries, though, because I will be making it again!

Since tonight is New Year's Eve, I am making a special dinner. Beef burgundy with a roasted potatoe medley. I also picked up some lemon rum and raspberry vodka to make some mixed drinks with. I will post pictures of the dinner, since it is special and a lot of work. (I started the beef burgundy this morning.)

Anyway, another post will come later today. RESOLUTIONS!

Monday, December 29, 2008


I know a lot of bloggers guard their privacy fiercely.

No last names.
No employer names.
No hint of where they live,
where they're from,
what they look like...

not me.

Here, our new house on Google maps.

You can play around to look at us from different angles.

Goodbye, anonymity.

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Out of the closet...

I wrote recently about how excited I was to be getting my closet all fixed up. Last night Mike took that annoying extra rod out of my closet. Today I picked up some of those cheap plastic stick-on hooks at Lowe's (yay Lowe's!) and I stuck a bunch of them on the closet wall. They came out horribly crooked, but I am still happy. I may get even more of them. I like the way I can see so much just at a glance. Obviously I am not done yet, but I thought I would make a quick post about how happy I am with my big closet!

If anyone has any advice for how I could utilize the space in here better, I would LOVE some advice for reasonably priced options.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Morbid Obesity.

The internet just told me my BMI is 40.7. Morbidly obese, as expected. Two pounds away from just obese. Looks like I have found my next mini-goal!
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An ode to leftovers.

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Lately, I have fallen in love with cooking again. Cooking is fun. I love cooking for my boyfriend, too. I love knowing that in a small way, I am helping someone I love lead a healthier life. I enjoy cooking for company. I secretly beam inside when friends compliment my cooking. I squirrel away every compliment and comment (such as my father saying my mother should make her chili more like mine!) for a self-esteem rainy-day. But you know what I love the most? Leftovers. Anyone with serious food allergies can tell you how hard it can be to find simple things to eat for breakfast and lunch. The answer? LEFTOVERS! It makes me feel like such a happy little homemaker to open my fridge and and see all those pretty tupperware containers, begging me to choose them for my lunch! It also makes me feel smart and responsible to pack our (my and my boyfriends) lunch bags every morning with a balanced and healthy meal. Saves us countless pennies in the canteen. Saves him calories, because he'll go get lunch at McDonald's if I don't pack him something tasty. And it makes me happy when people sniff the air in the break room at work when I am eating my lunch, and tell me "oh! I am so jealous!" and then look at their frozen meal with disdain! Yes, I do love me some leftovers!

Clothes, clothes, everywhere...

In the new house, I have what can only be described as an absolutely humungous closet. I do believe I have posted pictures of it before, and therefore I will not subject you to them again.

I have a clothes rod at least eight feet long. Probably closer to ten. I have a huge shoe rack. I have plastic stacking shelves dedicated to pajamas, underpants, bras, bathing suits, socks, and other various items such as fashion scarves and belts that cannot be hung up. Would you believe me if I told you that all of my clothing does not fit in this closet? Well, it's true. I have filled that closet. I have piles of vacume-bagged clothes in one of the storage closets upstairs full of clothes that are too small and will probably skip right over to being too big, as the problem is length and I don't seem to be getting any shorter. (It doesn't seem likely that I can be a size 20 on bottom and a 30/32 top can still be too small. I don't think weight loss will ever make them long enough.) The 30 foot clothes rod in the laundry room is quickly filling up with my washed clothes, as there is nowhere in the closet to put them.

And yet, I seem to wear the same clothes over and over again. Most of these clothing items that take up space and never get worn are either unflattering, out of style, or don't match anything.

So, I am starting a new project. I have put a large box in my closet, and written "donate" on it. I am going to promise myself that from now on, I will wear something out of the closet everyday. I will not start re-filling the closet with washed clothes from the laundry room until I have actually run out of a certain type of clothes, such as work pants or jeans. If I put on a piece of clothing, such as a shirt, and decide that it isn't good enough to wear that day, then I will immediate drop it into the "donate" box. I will also promise myself to make an effort to try on the clothes that are marked "too small" on a very regular basis. Nothing is sadder than trying on a cute skirt, for example, that you have been saving for years to find that it is TOO BIG, and you missed your window of opportunity.

Also, maybe I can stop looking like a homeless person all the time, dressed in clothes that are hanging off of me in flappy and unfashionable ways!

More resolutions, New Year's and others, to come!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Brownies :)

This mix calls for 3 eggs. Instead I used one banana and a little extra oil. I also mixed up a container of cream cheese with a little sugar and organic raspberry jelly, and swirled it around. As you can see, I sampled one. Gooey but delicious. I will be freezing the rest in single-servings.
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Checkpoint: 65lbs.

Normally I would never, ever in a million years post a picture of myself in a bathing suit. Not for the entire world to see. It was bad enough to be wearing one in public to begin with. But I think it is somewhat important to post today.

This picture was taken in the second week of June, of this year. Just over six months ago. This was the fattest period of my life. In this picture I weighed 332lbs. I liked to pretend that if I acted like nothing was wrong, nobody would know.

This second picture was taken Christmas eve at aunt's house. I weighed 268lbs.

65lbs lost.

I am still fat. Still very fat, in fact. Still fat enough to be considered morbidly obese. I believe. If someone wants to look up my BMI, go for it. I'm 5 foot 8.

But I am getting there. I am pleased to say that my life is much healthier. In this picture, I was mixing up salad dressing in a bowl.

When I saw the picture, I actually said out loud, "wow I do look like I've lost weight".

I never take full-body pictures. I only see them when other people take them. I am usually too ashamed.

But maybe I don't have to be anymore.

My weight is going down everyday.

I am feeling better everyday.

Life is getting easier everyday.

For once, I am actually proud of myself.

** edit: I should also say that my good habits are rubbing off on Mike, too! He has lost 16lbs since that top picture was taken!

Chili and Chops

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This is the white bean apple chili from the "A Year Of CrockPotting" journal. I really enjoy this journal because most of the recipes are gluten-free.

I wish I had served it in a bowl instead of letting it ooze all over my plate :)

I also took this picture before I added in the sharp cheddar shredded cheese. Even after, it didn't come out looking as good as hers did on her blog, but I liked it. It was different, and it was very mild. Before the cheese I almost thought it was too bland, but the sharp cheddar contrasted with the sweet of the chili and I really enjoyed it. I will definitely be eating the leftovers at work.

The porkchops are from a recipe that I got at the grocery store back when I was visiting. They were amazingly delicious! They called for all ingredients that I can eat: pork chops, cumin, salt, pepper, garlic, orange juice, e.v.o.o.. If anybody wants the recipe, let me know... I would be happy to post it.

Mike ate the chili but said it wasn't a recipe he would want to repeat. He agreed that it was much better with the cheese. He loved the pork chops, though, and said he wished we had eaten it with rice so he could have poured the extra sauce onto it.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Who wants onions? I want onions!

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You can't see the side dish very well, but it is this recipe from the "A Year Of CrockPotting" journal:

I love onions so this is a recipe I was excited about trying. I was sad, though, when our hickville grocery store didn't have enough pearl onions for the entire recipe. I ended up cutting the entire recipe in half. Even with only a pound of onions, it still took me an hour to prep the onions for cooking. For this reason, I probably wouldn't make this recipe again unless it was a special occasion. They were absolutely delicious, though. Sadly, they did not reheat well. Fresh out of the crockpot they were so good that I had to restrain myself to keep from eating the entire batch. The next day the raisins were so rubbery that I just picked the onions out and threw the rest out. I was surprised by how well these ingredients went together, though, and I highly reccomend this as a holiday dish!

(The pork chops were just cooked with salt and rosemary. I was tired.)

We love our crooked little house!

We really do love our crooked little house.
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Driving home on 421.

How do you like those clouds? Gorgeous!!
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I know the focus of the journal is supposed to be my allergy diet and health, but I had made the decision at one point to also make it about living a positive and optimistic life.

I took the picture on my blackberry as I was driving home from Winston-Salem. The clouds moving across the sky and the sun shining through was so gorgeous it just took my breath away, and I was a happy, happy girl as a result, even if only for a few moments.


Gee, and I got this haircut to avoid bedhead!
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Sugar-free Hershey's Syrup!

From Janet :)
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I have tried other diabetic syrups and things like that, and Hershey's is by far the best. I also recently discovered that I can have the coffee flavored Breyer's all-natural ice-cream, and this is the perfect topper!

It is funny how simple things are so much better now that these allergies have given me a new appreciation.

BTW, if you are wondering, regular chocolate syrup usually has both soy lechetin (sp?) and high fructose corn syrup in it.

Thank you, Janet, for remembering how hard it is for me to find this in the boonies where we live!



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Dinner is cooking.
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Christmas day. No, I don"t smoke.
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Mike and his parents.
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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Dinner

I cooked christmas dinner all by myself!!! Are you proud?
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For Christmas dinner I made:

-my favorite bread in the breadmaker. No, it was not allergy-safe and although I enjoyed the smell of it cooking, I did not eat it. This is, quite possibly, the simplest and most delicious bread ever, so if you don't have allergies and own a breadmaker, let me know if you would like the recipe. Mike's father ended up taking the leftovers home with him, quite happily.

-green beans. I cooked fresh green beans in a pan with some butter, a little diced onion, garlic, and raw almonds. I thought they came out delicious. Mike even ate a little, and his mother acted like it was a Christmas miracle.

-corn. Plain old corn with just a little butter and salt. I can't eat corn, so I didn't bother with anything fancy.

-baked beans. I got the recipe from the "A Year Of CrockPotting" blog. Boy oh boy were those ever delicious. I highly reccomend making them. They were easy, and delicious. I put the link at the bottom of the page. I cooked them with bacon (I read the packages very carefully to make sure the bacon is cured in a way that I can eat it, and even then it sometimes gives me a belly ache). The bacon can stay in the pot because when you stir it up it falls apart, and it is edible. It does not have to be discarded if you don't want to, and yes, it was nice and moist!

-mashed potatoes. To please the masses these are just plain old mashed potatoes with salt, pepper, milk, and butter.

-ham. I could not eat the glaze that came with it so I glazed it with maple syrup, honey, vinegar, dry mustard, and brown sugar. It wasn't as attractive as it could have been but it tasted damn good!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Life is good again.
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Sunday, December 21, 2008


My backyard. It was 75 degrees out yesterdat, while it was blizzarding everywhere else!!
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Groceries are expensive!

That is $100 worth of groceries! Being healthy is expensive!
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We want what she's got!
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So not the haircut I was going for.
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It was good to see jess :)
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Double kisses!
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I thought FGAs were supposed to be flattering
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Strange type of family.
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I miss my little brother.
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:) I love my mommy.
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Pretty puppy fantasizing about her wedding day.
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True love.
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Grrr I'm gonna eatchooooo.
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How cute am I?
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Now that I am home I miss my mom and pup-a-lup.
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In love. Or lust.
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Friday, December 19, 2008


This is the table my landlord is loaning us while we live here :)
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Proof that my neighbor has a rotting bus in his yard.
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Friday, November 28, 2008


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Visitor when I got home.
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Glorious kitchen storage.
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Propane tank.
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