Sunshine and Weight Gain

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It was such a beautiful day here in Kitchener today!  Me and Tanuki got some much needed sunshine today and it was so warm and beautiful!  I am not sure how much my puppy likes these gorgeous warm days.  Every time we get a nice one (around 20) she has to stop and rest in the shade for a little bit.  I am going to have to start bringing a bottle of water with me again.  My little, high maintenance angel doesn’t do plastic bottles and I have to carry a glass one which is super awkward and heavy.  Thanks buddy.

I have done a loose representation of the Starch Diet from what I read on the website.  I have put a hold on the book at my local library and looking forward to reading it (but I am very skeptical of it working).  I have put on two pounds, but have cheated and since I haven’t read the book I can’t say I gave it a fair shot.  I have also pigged out on it too (I can be a binge eater sometimes).  I’m going to reign in my portion sizes and once I get the book, if it works I will buy a copy.  I want to go for another jog again tomorrow night and I still attend my exercise classes twice a week.  I want to add a weight lifting session in at home on my own time as well.  I think working out four times a week would be acceptable.  It would be more than what I was doing now.  Anyway, I am super sleepy and it’s late so I will wish you all sweet dreams.

Night night

Amber

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Red Crocuses and Another Fad Diet

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Last Saturday was a beautiful, sunny day and the dog and I went to one of my favourite tea shops “All Things Tea” in Belmont Village.  On the way I saw these gorgeous flowers growing on someone’s lawn.  I think they are crocuses, but I have never seen red ones before.  I snapped a picture and we carried on our way to the tea shop.

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I picked up a black vanilla chai tea, I don’t think I have tried yet and a couple rooibos teas to mail out to my mom.  I prefer black or green tea over a rooibos myself.   My favourite one there is called something like Persian Spica Bazaar.  It’s amazing and smells heavenly.  I have also gotten back into kombucha again and almost finished drinking the first batch.  I added fresh juiced clementine into the mix and it was amazing.

So I’m slightly embarrassed to say I’ve started yet another of many fad diets.  I keep swearing it’s the last one, but then another one comes along that peaks my interest.  If this one doesn’t work out, I don’t think there are anymore that I haven’t tried.  It just might be the last for real this time.  It is called The Starch Solution and I can’t really say I’m doing it, as I just kind of loosely based it off the 10 day free meal plan online they have (https://www.drmcdougall.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/McDougall-Mealplan-Recipes.pdf).  I have half assed stuck to it for about 10ish days, but I have gone out to eat with friends a couple times in those days and that definitely didn’t follow the diet.  The benefit so far is my grocery bills are insanely cheap (not from starving or anything, just because the main foods are grains and potatoes).  I haven’t really gained or lost anything yet and so far I feel okay (usually I feel tired and weak doing a fad diet).  I even managed to get out jogging for the first time in a few months (I just looked it up, it was January 2nd).  I did my usual route and I am embarrassed to say I ended up dry heaving for about five minutes after it was over.  I guess you can’t take 3 1/2 months off and expect it to be wonderful.  No more slacking off.  I want to wear a bathing suit that doesn’t look like a tent dress.  I think even my grandmother would have found this one modest.  Yep, that it not a dress, it’s an actual swim suit.

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I managed to make it through another exercise class despite screaming calves.  Maybe this will be the year I get into a bikini!  Maybe!  Wish me luck!  If you have tried The Starch Solution let me know how your experience with it was.  I love love love love not counting calories.  I can tell you Weight Watchers works amazing, but I just can’t bring myself to count those points.  It got tedious and I had gained the weight back.  Maybe with bathing suit season looming in the near future I will finally get my act together!

Stay well!

Amber

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Meet Cthulu

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Happy Easter!

I hope everyone had a great Easter!  I managed to get a project I had been putting off forever done.  That was to clean my kayak from the horrors of pigeons.  Last season those narsty narsty birds built a nest in it and by the time I noticed, they had already laid their eggs in there and I had to wait.  By the time they left I was so grossed out I couldn’t bring myself to touch it.  I sealed the opening shut and ignored it.  This weekend I took a bucket of Pinesol to it and cleaned it out.  It is now ready to use.  The fact that a brand new layer of snow is now covering the ground again, makes me think it might be awhile before this season’s maiden voyage!

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I am giving homemade sauerkraut a try.  I want to start eating more fermented foods.  I used to make kombucha, but it was kind of a pain in the ass sometimes.  I did notice my skin was clearer when I drank it all the time, which was awesome, but my scoby went bad and I didn’t feel like starting another batch or going out in search of another scoby. Hmm.. maybe I should start making it again…  I am unsure of that one.

For the sauerkraut, I put half a head of cabbage through the grater on my food processor (you can see the smaller pieces at the bottom of the jar) and just sliced the other half.  I used about 1-2 tablespoons of salt per head of cabbage and massaged the sliced cabbage and salt together.  The liquid started coming out of the cabbage and I massaged it for about 20-30 minutes.   Then I stuffed the cabbage into a jar and used a cabbage leaf to hold the pieces under the liquid.  You have to weight it down or it will just float up and that will cause it to mold.  Cover the opening of your jar with cloth (let it breathe, don’t seal it shut), let it sit out on the counter and then wait for about a week.  After a week is up, put a proper sealing lid on the jar and put it into the fridge.  You can get sauerkraut here in Kitchener at the health food store that has the live cultures in it, but it costs $7.49 a jar.  I hope this homemade stuff works out!

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Ever Heard Of The Gabriel Method?

It’s going to be a quick one tonight as it’s getting late and I am sleepy.   Has anyone ever heard of the Gabriel Method?  It’s along the lines of think yourself thin sort of deal, I think.  Do you think it’s possible?  The thought of not dieting sounds like such a relief.  I am horrible for yo-yoing with my weight and I am really sick of dieting, but I’m still horrible for snacking on terrible things like my beloved chocolate and I break down and have junk food binges.  Is that from dieting?  I’ve never been good at everything in moderation.  It might be worth exploring.  The only diet that was successful for me was Weight Watchers, and it really did work.  I just can’t seem to bring myself to do it again.  It was really tedious counting points for everything and I just got sick of doing it.  It would be sweet relief to never count calories, or carbs, or pay attention to what you eat, ever again.  But, I can also see that back firing and me having to buy new pants in a larger size!!   Anyway, it’s something I might try exploring.  If I start gaining weight I will nip that in the bud fast.  I’ll keep you posted.  Here is the link that got me interested:  http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-12098/the-7-things-i-did-to-lose-220-pounds-without-dieting.html

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I Work Out… And It’s Cheap

Iworkin outAhhh, finally some proof I actually follow some sort of an exercise plan.  This was taken after my bi-weekly exercise class at one of Kitchener’s community centers.  If you’ve never looked at what your centre has to offer, you are really missing out.   There are so many great programs and the prices are amazing.  The class I go to is a combination of cardio and strength training.  I have yet to leave that class not covered in sweat and sore the next day.  It’s great for me because I don’t think I would be willing to do some of the things I have to do in that class (like push ups and the plank, *shudder*).  I have yet to be able to do a “man” push up.  I am hoping by Summer… Wait let me check…  Nope, not yet.  It’s a little embarrassing because the rest of the class can and I’m one of the younger ones.  But hey, we all have to start somewhere right.

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Sealing Envelopes, New Wine, A Present For Mamma Bear and Injera

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I am an avid letter writer and I love exchanging letters with my pen pals.  I admit to having a ridiculous addiction to stationery.  I love using decorated writing paper, making my own envelopes and using wax seals.  I found out you have to use actual sealing wax and not candle wax or else your seal is gong to come off in the mail and everyone will think you spilled something greasy all over your mail lol!!

DSC01238Sealing wax comes in tons of different colours and you can get sticks that go in a glue gun or the kind with wicks on the end.  Unfortunately, my latest sealing wax sticks I ordered are too thick to go in the glue gun, but no worries as I just melt it over a candle in a metal measuring spoon and carefully dump it onto the envelope and then stamp it.  The sealing stamp I have is my initial.  I want to design my own one day, but still I haven’t thought of the perfect one.  Any suggestions?  I have sent out lot of letters with seals and every one of them has arrived with the seal intact.

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I started a new wine today.  This one is a non-grape wine made from ginger, sugar, citrus and spices.  My home smelled amazing while it simmered.  I am not going to be able to try it for about 7 months.  Ah wine, it’s so hard to wait!  I went to a new beer supply store in Brampton on the weekend and picked up a ton of things.  One of them is the grain bag you see in the above photo.  I probably should have looked for one with a draw string or one that had some type of way to close it, but this one seems long enough that tying a knot in the top shouldn’t ever be a problem.  I also picked up a new wine kit, beer and root beer kit.  Plus a few general home brewing supplies. If you are into home brewing check them out.  It’s one of the best brewing supply stores I have ever been in.  I only meant to buy a few things, but I ended up with a huge haul and needed help carrying all my purchases out to the truck.  Here is a link to their store:  http://homebrewsupplies.ca/.

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After getting back from the home brewing store we ended up at Hobby and Toy just outside of Kitchener.  My mom loves, loves, loves jigsaw puzzles and I picked her up a new puzzle.  I bought it because I loved the box it came in lol.  I am going to surprise her with it in the mail.  I grabbed the board game Parcheesi while there as well.  I remember I used to play that game all the time when I was younger.

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I am not sure how I ended up wanting to try Injera, I think I must have been googling teff recipes?  But I don’t think that was it either… Anywhoo, I ended up finding a traditional Ethiopian food online called injera, which is a teff flour based flat bread/crepe like thing that you serve with wot (stew) on top of it and you eat with your hands!  You use the bread as the utensil.  I bought the bread at Muya in Kitchener, but made my own Atkilt wot (cabbage stew?).  Here is where I got the recipe: http://www.buzzfeed.com/miriamberger/ethiopian-food#.ehjm2Dmxp.  I am going to make a lentil wot to add to the Atkilt as well.  It was pretty good.  The bread is soury fermenty like and it was fun to skip the utensils!  It was pretty good.

I hope you are all well and happy and had a great weeked!

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A Very Happy Birthday To Me!

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So guess who turned old as fuck this past weekend…  Me! Lol just kidding, I don’t feel old at all and I had an amazing birthday weekend!  I spent it with my closest and mostest.  Saturday I spent the afternoon, into the evening skiing at Schneider’s Bush just outside of Waterloo.

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This place is AMAZING, but also a little too advanced for my over cautious, scared of falling, or moving at fast speeds, cross country ski style.  Somebody wiped out BAD there.  At the bottom of a hill we saw a large blood splatter and then further up the hill a churned up pile of snow where someone obviously wiped out and even more blood splatter.  I hope they were okay!  I’m thinking fractured nose or as there was the ice crust on the surface, a lacerated face.  I Googled it, but didn’t find anything mentioned about it online.

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Myself, as per my usual, fell several times, hence, the lack of confidence going down hills.  I usually fall the most going up the hills, oddly enough.  I went off the track going down a hill and ended up planted all the way up my legs, face first with arms crossed under me.  I wasn’t exactly sure how to get out of that situation and it took a bit of maneuvering.   I had a blast and we didn’t get out of there until around 7:00pm and it was dark by the time we made it out of the woods.

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Later that night we went to a place on Krug street in Kitchener for a rousing game of $5 Saturday night bingo.  It was actually pretty fun and I would do it again.  I want to win at bingo!!!  None of us won, but heh, it was $5 and fun.

Sunday my sibling and folks came up for a visit and pizza party.  I only see my family a few times a year and I think a more serious effort needs to be made to change that.  We don’t spend anywhere near enough time together.

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My folks left around dinner time and my besty came back with a home made birthday cake and a tye dye kit!

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You can see part of the fur child lurking in the corner wondering where her piece was.

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Tye dying things is fun!!!  We did pillow cases, shirts and tank tops.  I would definitely do it again.  I wonder how white satin sheets would take to tye dying.  I must try this…

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My favourite project turned out to be this T-shirt.  I hope it looks as good after it’s been through the wash!

It was a great weekend and I am hoping to get out skiing a few more times before we lose too much of the snow.

Talk to you later!

Amber

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Fun Times With A Food Dehydrator And Ginger

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Back in December I was baking cookies with a friend of mine, his were some sort of ginger cookie (pfeffernusse I think) and mine peanut butter.  I warned him my spices were getting pretty old and he brought his own ginger.  As soon as he opened the container I could immediately smell it, realizing my spices were probably more ancient than old.

Ginger is always readily available and not very expensive at the grocery stores, it was time to make my own.  I wish I had taken a photo of the big hunk of ginger I had before I chopped it up, but I didn’t.  In the above photo you can see it after it was chopped up.  I cut it in about 1/3cm thick slices and didn’t bother to peel it.

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You can see the huge difference in size after it was finished dehydrating!  I dried t at 110 degrees for about 48 to 60 hours.  I don’t remember exactly, but I made sure it was completely dry.

Temperature control on a dehydrator is one of the most important features to me.  I love my L’Equip dehydrator, but if I was going to get another one I wouldn’t get one that had the fan going up the middle.  I want to be able to make raw wraps and having the fan at the back like the Excalibur has is what I would need to do that (unless I want to make really tiny ones).

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Here is the ginger, fully dried and waiting to get processed into powder.  I did that by putting into a coffee grinder.

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Now I have wonderfully aromatic, ground ginger that I made myself from fresh.  I just need a delicious recipe now!  Any ideas?

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Breaking The Fast

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I broke my fast this morning with a salad (dandelion greens, spinach, celery, beet, carrot, avocado and almonds dressed with 1/2 a lemon and lime with a half pinch of sea salt and some thyme and cilantro).  I could only eat half the salad.  I still feel hungry but my body just didn’t want anymore.  It’s the weirdest feeling, but I am going to listen to it and I put the salad back in the fridge.  Dandelion greens are so bitter!  I’m going to cut up an apple and toss it in when I go to finish the salad.  I started the day out with a glass of hot lemon water like on the fast and I think I’m going to keep that up.  I feel pretty thirsty and I’ve made myself a huge mug of herbal tea.  So far the salad is sitting in my stomach without any problems.  I’m going to make myself a smoothie for the afternoon and drink two more juices.  I did the salad on cronometer and my iron level is already 312%.  I thawed out a beet juice for one of my afternoon drinks.  I can’t even imagine how many nutrients had been flooded into my body over the fast, but I still just didn’t feel amazing, only worn out.  I do plan on staying with a healthier diet and hope to see the weight loss continue.   I lost exactly 7.9lbs on the 5 day fast, but I would say 3 of those lbs were because I started the fast on my period.  All in all pretty good and I’m going to try super hard to keep it off and drop a few more.

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