(Afternoon On The Hill, allposters.com)
Further Up and Further In
I had a rare fifteen minutes free this morning before loading the children in the van to go to church. The dishes in the sink beckoned me, the floor was littered here and there with toys that could have been (probably should have been!) picked up and put away, or I could have folded the laundry that is sitting in my dryer.
Instead, we pulled out our Narnia book (the great big hardback collection of all seven books) to read a chapter of The Last Battle. How delightful to read the descriptions of “the real Narnia”, of course a peek into Lewis’s idea of heaven. The same mountains, trees, flowers and streams, but more colorful and “deeper” somehow. Running fast without getting hot or tired. Going “further up and further in.”
We then threw our coats on and stepped out the front door. Though stepping carefully through muddy, slushy, melting ice, we saw beams of sunlight peeking through gauzy white clouds. A breeze tinged with warmth tickled our faces. “Mommy, it smells like spring!” my daughter cried out. Indeed it did!
By this afternoon I could see a patch of deep blue sky and the sun is shining brightly. Hope that winter is drawing to a close, whatever the next several weeks may bring. Hope that the delights of spring are imminent…green grass, delicate and fragrant flowers, the merry trill of a bird, warm sunshine, leafy trees.
My “New” Favorite Foods
I have many favorite recipes that I’d like to one day post, but very few of them are low-calorie (though all are made with wholesome ingredients!). Instead, I will share some of my current favorites from these several weeks of restricted calories.
I have been especially enjoying a hot bowl of oatmeal in the mornings, with half of a banana, sliced, and brown sugar, pecans, and milk. I only sprinkle a few pecans on there, about 8 halves. Total calories: 400.
My other breakfast mainstay has been Banana Berry Smoothies. In a blender, combine 6 ounces of orange juice, 4 ounces of plain nonfat yogurt, one half of a ripe banana, five or six frozen strawberries, and some frozen blueberries (about 1/4 cup). Fills a 16 oz. glass. Total calories: 275.
My new favorite is a crackers and cheese plate with fruit. I have about 12 Wheat Thins Toasted Chips with 1 1/2 ounces of Cabot 50% cheese and two cups of fruit, anything from grapes and strawberries to apples and pears. Watch out for grapes and bananas, they have a high glycemic index and the calories from the natural sugar add up fast. Cantaloupe, strawberries, and bing cherries are lower in calories and loaded with fiber and vitamins. I also add about 15 baby carrots with a teaspoon or two of veggie dip. Total calories: 350.
I use a lighter version of my “famous” salad for another lunch option. I put on more tomatoes, more green onion, perhaps some sliced mushrooms, and I go very easy on the cheese, pecans, and dried cranberries. Use all the dark, leafy green lettuce you like, and top off with a light salad dressing (I select those made with light olive oil that don’t contain a laundry list of chemicals). My favorite is Newman’s Own Salad Mist. Total calories: 325.
I have had to get really creative with our dinner options. My family loves to eat healthy foods, but not necessarily a meal under 500 calories. I have found a few “tricks” that leave everyone well satisfied.
We can’t use tomato sauce in our house due to some dietary restrictions, so when I make a pasta dish I generally have to top it with a homemade alfredo sauce. As you can imagine, this does not help to lower my caloric intake. So what I have done instead is to boil up the pasta, make the sauce as I usually do in all of it’s butter-and-heavy-cream-and-parmesan-cheese glory, and reserve a small portion of plain pasta with about three tablespoons of sauce. The rest of the pasta is tossed together with the sauce and served to my family. I take my bowl and add about a half of a package of frozen broccoli florets that I quickly sautee, along with some chopped tomato. The “juice” from the tomato helps to water the sauce down and enables me to mix it evenly with the pasta and broccoli. This is a delicious dinner and I can do it all for about 450 calories.
Another meal that I’ve changed up a bit is Roast Beef and Mashed Potatoes. Gone are the days when I could load my plate with two thick slabs of beef and a huge pile of mashed potatoes (I simply love potatoes!). Instead, I prepare the roast, potatoes, and a vegetable, including the butter and sour cream for the mashed potatoes, and serve everyone as I normally would. For myself, I take a thin slice of beef, 1/2 cup of mashed potatoes (put about five cloves of garlic in the water as the potatoes boil, then mash with butter, sour cream, milk, salt and pepper…yum!!), and whatever vegetable we are having. However, I also sautee a package of baby bella mushrooms with 1 tsp. of butter, and take most of them for myself. Mushrooms have next to no calories and I find them a delicious addition to just about any meal, but they are an especially lovely compliment to a beef roast! Total calories: 375
Dove Promises Chocolate Pieces. The dark and the 63% are my husband’s, the milk and the caramel are mine. Just one and I’m happy! 42 calories each.
4 oz. containers of yogurt, 100 calories each.
With a diet of 1500 calories per day, 8 glasses of water, and 45-60 minutes of aerobic excercise six days a week, I’ve been able to drop 12 pounds in 6 weeks. Most people could probably drop more, it’s just extremely difficult for me to lose weight.
Walk At Home
I’ve been asked which walking videos I use…I was told by a friend a few years ago to check out Leslie Sansone’s Walk At Home products, but it sounded boring to me. This past December I saw one at our library and brought it home…I was hooked after the first workout! Although I couldn’t even do two miles, it was fun and gentle but still challenging. And I can do it at home, even with the kids running around my feet! (Although I confess to stepping on them once in awhile…). Yesterday morning, I did five miles!! At my height and weight, this burns nearly 450 calories. My favorites are the Five Day Slim Down, Walk Slim Fast and Firm 4 Really Big Miles, and the Walk Strong Super Challenge.
I apologize for not responding to the comments way back when, asking me how to purchase Charlie’s Soap…instead of yet again rambling on and on about my infatuation with a laundry detergent, I will simply provide you with the link to the website, which offers descriptions of products and an easy ordering process. I get the 5 gallon bucket of laundry powder.
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