Mindful Eating World Summit 2015

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Dear friends,

I cannot recommend this enough! Last year, I subscribed out of casual curiosity. Dr Kellee at the time was a new friend and business partner with my very good friend Renee. The title at first wasn’t a big draw since I wasn’t looking to lose weight. I already had that under control with a healthier diet and all the running I was doing right? Well, guess what?!

First of all, I learned that I could still eat in an even more healthy – MINDFUL way that has brought me to a place now, at 50, when I am seriously more vibrant and healthy than at any other time in my life! My doctor looked at my blood test results last month (all perfect!) and said “WHAT are you DOING?!”

(For old time readers, you might recall that five years ago I had high cholesterol and *really* high triglycerides.)

I take no medications at all. I just eat really, really well and run a little bit 😉

That extra leap was inspired by the Mindful Eating Summit last year. BUT….this is NOT just about eating and diet and weight loss. Dr. Kellee rounds up some of the most diverse coaches, doctors, healers. There is something there for everyone. What makes it so useful though is how well she conducts her interviews. They aren’t interviews really – she has conversations with everyone. Her questions start it off, but then it just rolls along like friends having a deep talk over an afternoon tea or coffee.

Many of the experts offer some really awesome free gifts too. Many of these folks will touch something in you. You’ll be inspired, your curiosity piqued, and you will learn about possibilities you didn’t know were out there.

It’s free – which will boggle your mind just 2-3 interviews in, I promise you!

http://mindfuleatingworldsummit.com/

My son ate a pound of cow!

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I know – that’s a sensational title, but I couldn’t resist. Thought I’d post a little burger review after gulping down a few of them this week!

Since The Boy is off to Sweden this weekend for the holidays, I took him out on our last full night together for a makeshift Christmas dinner. I knew he had been wanting to go to a new place in town called The Counter. He had been once and liked it and I wanted to check it out even though a couple of trusted friends had already told me it overpriced. And, they were right, but let’s get that Pound of Cow tale eh?

The Counter is a very trendy, upscale burger lounge. Full bar, very modern, heavy on the white & glass clean bright decor. They have Happy Hour drinks and sliders. They have a pre-set menu, but you can build your own burger too. And the first thing you start with is the size of the burger. I went for a 1/3 pounder, but Alex had his eye on the full pound slab. Mind you – this is AFTER cooking! When he ordered it the waiter launched into his standard warning on the size and Alex just said “Bring it on!” Of course I reminded him that he could always take it home and he even said it might end up being the “4 hour burger” if he ate half in the restaurant and then the other 1/2 later. He tried out adding some grilled pineapple since he loves that on his pizza and he declared that a huge hit.

1 lb burger upon arrival

We should have put something next to this as a frame of reference, but let me assure you this thing was HUGE. I did not think there was any way he would eat it all no matter how long he stretched it out.

He’s 2/3 done here and starting to slow down. Taking deep breaths between bites. Somewhere in the process he got it in his head to finish it all in one sitting & he refused to back down from that decision.

I told him I wished he was as single minded & determined about finishing his homework as he was at eating a burger!

Mind you, I’ve seen him wolf down a 4×4 (four burger patties) at In N Out so I knew he could potentially eat all this. Of course, the 4×4 was polished off after our 5k race so he had made room! He was not as prepared for this challenge. In fact, he’d had a Jamba Juice AND a large can of chicken noodle soup just a couple of hours before.

However, he did finish it all! Now, it took him 30 mins. Lots of slow chewing at the end. Plenty of drinking his sprite and burping a fwe times to push things down 🙂 I didn’t get an empty plate pic (fail!) because we ran into some friends right at the end and forgot.

Now, here’s the gist of it though – I’m not impressed. don’t get me wrong, our burgers were *good* – BUT – not $37 good (after tip). Also? They brought their rather overly generous plate of shoestring potatoes to the table well before the burgers – like an appetizer. So, in order to enjoy them HOT, you had to eat them right away. Which ruins your appetite for the burger and I personally love to alternate bites of burger with potatoes and by then, they fries were cold. Disappointing.

The worst thing is that with every bite all I could think was “not as good as a Double Double!”

By comparison, we went today at lunch to Smashburger – another recent entry in the burger house trend. This one is less upscale though. You still walk up to order, like The Counter they have build your own and a pre-set menu. They branch out into chicken and also offer fried veggies which are excellent. A server brings you your literally hot off the grill sandwich WITH the fries you order. To me, it tastes much better and it was only $41 for FOUR of us. I ate every last bite and was NOT dreaming about another burger while I ate ;->

Though, yeah, I still think In N Out is better overall – at least Smashburger has a) very very good burgers & fries & nice menu variety and b) beer. Plus, they are closer than any In N Out right now. Of course, back in the Old Days when I used to have to drive 30 miles to get to the nearest Double Double source – I did it! Sometimes, that is just all I crave.

That reminds me that one time Alex and I challenged each other NOT to say “mmmmmmmmm” while eating a Nothing Bundt Cake. We couldn’t do it. Similarly when we eat Double Double’s there is at LEAST one bite when we both say “Mmmmmmm….ahhhhh…so damn good” Gotta admit – I wasn’t inspired to do that even at Smash!

And my next blog post will have to be about running to counter balance all this food 🙂

 

Late Friday beauty – is there anything better than cats with kids?

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A rare moment when someone ELSE has a cat problem

I had to capture this moment last night – Amber actually sat in someone elses lap while mine was available on the same sofa! And? They are BOTH smiling! Doesn’t get better than that does it?

After 10 days of winter break, the first work week of 2011 has been survived – barely!

Each day did get easier, but MAN it was hard to focus on work all day long.  On Monday my eyes were literally hurting from looking at the computer after just 3 hours at the desk. It doesn’t help that we go full speed ahead into a month end close being in the accounting department. Which means no gradual adjusting – Just Do It!

The weekend wont get better. There’s the 1st freshmen winter baseball game tomorrow morning – 40 minutes away of course.  Then an August dad comes in town for business so we will hang out with him for dinner.

Sunday I drive up to LAX to pick up my long absent Sweet Prince who has been in China on business. Yes, he missed NYE & my birthday. He has some making up catching up to do!

If I get back down to San Diego in time, SB & I will go for our third workout of the week. Which is good since it seems like all I’ve blogged about up until now this year was FOOD 😉

Speaking of which, tonight I tried the slow cooker roasted chicken that I posted about a couple of weeks ago but with a twist. Bacon. Lots and LOTS of bacon. Shoved in the middle. Shoved under the skin. And then draped over the entire carcass. A whole pack of bacon.

And? My house smells divine and it tasted even more divine. Yeah, I think I better make sure I make it to that third workout!

And yes, I am a huge sports fan normally and YES, I would normally be grumbling about being away from the TV for the 1st weekend of NFL playoffs. But much like the baseball playoffs when the Padres were eliminated the last day of the regular season, my Chargers fell on their helmets this year and are done. And I am bitter. And this weekend anyway, I am FINE being too busy to watch. The rest of you who have teams still in it? Bite me!

And I mean that in the *nicest* possible way of course 🙂

Pasta Fagioli (or why my crock pot WAS too small!)

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A couple of weeks ago one of the Dream Dinners that I made required some fajita beef to be slow cooked in a marianade (it was awesome). That reminded that,  hey – I have a crock pot! The December menu at DD didn’t turn me on and life is actually not so crazy at least until little league kicks in around March so I do actually have time to think about cooking dinner. So last week I ascended the mountain of wisdom and asked The Guru for help finding some crock pot recipes. (Translation: I asked the August Moms*) I was directed to a site called A Year of Crock Potting and I lifted this recipe for Pasta Fagioli. It fit my requirement of being kid palate friendly and fairly easy on the prep. However, there WAS a warning that I did not heed:

Use a 6 quart or larger crockpot, or cut the recipe in half. This makes a lot.

I have a 4qt crock pot (apparently, I really had no clue it is so old!) Here is how high the liquid went BEFORE I added the pasta:

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Yep, just about spilling over that final rim. I transferred the soup to a larger stovetop pot and added the noodles to reach the final product:

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OK, so the verdict as agreed upon by both SportsBoy and me – the tomato flavor was too overpowering. My recommendation would be to NOT add the juices with the two cans of stewed tomatoes. If more liquid is needed, I think water would be fine.  Also, yeah, you need a 6 qt pot!! Another thing I would do is not add the ground beef until closer to the end. Having it in there that long made it pretty rubbery. IOW – it was good enough that we both ate all of our large bowls, and I would make it again, but only with those changes. It’s a good basic recipe that needs some help.

*The August Moms, purveyors of knowledge on all topics. Can answer all questions regarding the mysteries of life – particularly when pertaining to parenting and cooking. Everyone should have an August Mom group in their life.*

Seattle food photos

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I’ve loaded all of the Seattle pictures onto my Flickr page for August Moms Gatherings. Seattle starts at the photo I posted here from the Phoenix airport. A few featured highlights:

Pumpkins and peppers from the farmers market. In keeping with the fall theme 🙂 I toyed with putting that up in my blog banner but then realized that I better not mess with the football team’s mojo since they are on an undefeated roll again.

Hungry yet? Look at that seafood! The size of those lobsters can only be compared with the ones I saw in Portland Maine. But really, there is no way to walk through the Pike Place Market without getting hungry. And when you do, there are so many fabulous places to eat! I must say that the food on this trip was probably the best overall that we’ve had at one of our gatherings. A better blogger (you know, one who actually does some research ahead) would link to all of the fabulous eateries we visited. Perhaps one of the other blogging moms will be a Better Blogger 🙂 I am a lazy one composing this at work so…just trust me that we ate well! UPDATE: I knew someone else would do the research. Oh, well, here is an obvious place I had to visit:

Best pumpkin spice latte I ever had. Well, perhaps that is an exaggeration, but it was pretty awesome to order at the birthplace of coffee heaven in my world.

Dim sum tarts. Aren’t they pretty? Oh that dim sum on Saturday was GOOD. We had the perfect table and the carts came fast and furious and we snatched up plates and ate and ate. Every bite was delicious.

My final bite in Seattle though was perhaps the most unusual and also very very tasty. Squib2 and I made our way back to the Pike Place Market so that I could go to Starbucks and so that she could revisit this:

A place called Piroshky Piroshky where I had a beef and onion pastry and she had a smoked salmon and then a white chocolate raspberry one. She declared them the best piroshky’s she’s had outside of Russia. of course, I had no such comparison to make, but I really enjoyed them!! It was also a lot of fun to stand at that window and watch them roll out those delicious buns. Mmmmmm.

More later..for some reason, I’m hungry now and need to find a snack!

Product endoresements

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First, a food source (Hey, I haven’t done TOO badly on the food theme for the month!): Eat Well Guide.

During the audience question and answer session with Al Gore in Austin, FoodGal was lucky enough to ask a question about beef. Specifically whether he was aware that the beef industry is actually the biggest contributor to green house gases thanks to feeding all our cattle corn products which causes them to procude methane in large quantities. In laymans terms – corn makes cows fart. A LOT. It’s not a natural food for their stomachs to process. They are supposed to eat grain. Her point of course, is that it is time to publicize that. Stop selling the idea that corn fed beef is a premium product because it is not. What I love about FoodGal is that she is not a militant vegetarian. She’s made her own choices, but she is also always looking out for ways that everyone else can eat healthier, locally, and supporting sustainable products. Of course, her question got the laugh line answer of the day since Gore answered quite honestly that he was aware of it and that he clearly wasn’t doing much to work on that issue since he eats beef 😉 She then wrote a follow up editorial to him about how her point was not that he should stop eating it, just that he should focus on eating beef that is grain fed and from sustainable farms. She and I discussed this quite a bit on the plane ride home and then I asked her how I could find places that seel grain fed meat. Ta da! She directed me to The Eat Well Website. Put in your zip code and search on all sorts of food sources. Grocery stores, farmers markets, restaurants etc. I found out that Henry’s markets are on there. So is Jimbos which is just around the corner, but I don’t have an employee discount card for them! So my goal this month with SportsBoy back is to track my grocery budget with a combination of the Dream Dinners (not necessarily from organic/sustainable suppliers 😦 ) and Henry’s only.

On the subject off environmentally (green) products, here is another one. Nail polish with a consience. I went to Longs and bought some and then donated my other personal polish bottles to the gal who does my nails because I want to stick with this brand only.

Just as a background for those who have only been reading my site in the past year – my roots in environmental issues were set early on. My interest in bird watching sparked my awareness of preserving natural resources and a college paper that I wrote on Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring really cemented that desire to support preservation efforts. As FoodGal and I discussed, environmental issues go hand in hand with the food industry and it is our hope that the “mainstreaming” of organic food products will bring issues like grain fed vs corn fed beef to light. Anytime I run into a debate about Global Warming, rather than stubbornly argue the issue of whether humans are to blame or not, I stress that the point is that finding alternative energy sources, encouraging the reduction of waste or using less products that create waste (grocery bags for instance), buying organic foods, cutting back on electricty and water use are all GOOD things no matter WHY you do them.

Tomorrow! Tomorrow! 6:00pm tomorrow! It’s only a daaaay. Aaaaawaaaaay! (apologies for the earworm, but you knew I had to do it)

Dream Dinner #3

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Southwest steaks. What I prepared there was the spice mixture that I rubbed on the steaks before cooking them. The long grain rice package was part of a promotional give away from one of their food suppliers that was given to me as I left. So all I had to add was the salad with dried cranberries (my new favorite salad ingredient). I’m rating this as only ‘ok’ though partly for my own issue of leaving the steaks in the broiler too long. I like them medium rare, but they came out more medium well. Still, the effort on my part tonight was just to rub the steaks with the pre-mixed seasoning rub. The rice took 25 mins to cook while I was fixing the steaks. Overall then, a nice dinner for the short time and effort tonight, though perhaps not one I will choose again since I was not thrilled with the flavor of the rub. Of course, I cannot remember what went into it!! I think next time I am going to write down the main ingredients on my labels!Up next: Summertime Pasta tomorrow night.

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Sports Boy is clearly getting a touch home sick or perhaps bored with his routine. It’s been two weeks as of today that he’s been gone and he not only popped up for chats yesterday and again this morning, not only emailed me back in response to my updates from the ballgame last night, he even called again today! Two days in a row! He said he wants to ‘call as much as possible’ before he travels to see his grandmother and will lose the easy telephone and email access. Luckily the timing for that switch to a location when he cannot communicate so much is good. He’ll be with her when I am in Austin.

Apparently his dad had forwarded him a message from Coach (when you see that, I mean his football coach since he will forever be known as Coach to SB) who wanted the boys to keep up a fitness regimen. Well, sharp little SB noticed Coaches email address and promptly sent him a message. Since Coach is literally one of the really really Good Guys, he replied and the two of them exchanged several messages today about staying in shape and (ulp) girls! I emailed Coach to thank him for his patience, but to stop being a bad influence (jokingly of course) – bad enough that he allowed his team to have cheerleaders this year I said. I was hoping to stall the girl crazy stage a little while longer. His reply? “Too late!” Oh joy!

Yes, with the all star teams all losing last night, we are now officially on the countdown to football here! I am sure all of you readers are getting pumped up for it too. Right? All together now: GO FALCONS! 🙂