October 30, 2012

There's no room at the Library

     Can you believe it?  I couldn't find a parking spot today at the Library!  I felt a bit like a stalker driving around until I saw someone walking to their car then snagging the spot.  As if that wasn't enough when I walked up to the doors I saw there was actually a line going around the building?  A sense of pride washed over me as I realized these people were standing in line on a chilly Tuesday afternoon so they could vote early!!
     With the election just one week away I am not going to jump on the political bandwagons out there.  There are enough people spewing sharing their views one way or another and my voice, as glorious as it is, isn't needed.  All I want to do is encourage you to vote.
       I remember when parents headed to the local school all hours of election day; which is probably why we had off that day, to vote.  I first heard of absentee ballots while I was in college.  The reality was in the 80's there wasn't a real push to engage college aged voters and getting absentee ballots weren't all that easy so I missed the 1984 presidential election. Since 1988 I'm proud to say I've never missed a presidential election and very rarely have I missed any opportunity to vote.
    This will be the first presidential election that my two oldest children will be able to vote in.  I love how engaged they both are seeking out answers to their questions and discovering which candidate is best for them.One will be voting by mail from Alabama and the other wants to wait until election day to vote.
     Here in Florida I can't imagine the Supervisor of Elections making the process any easier (note me swiftly side-stepping all the voter id issues). We have 7 days, including a Sunday, to vote early.  You can vote anywhere in your county, at which site is most convenient for you.  Don't think you can make it to the poll? You can request an absentee ballot up until 5pm on October 31st~ no questions asked.  As far as I am concerned nobody has an excuse for not voting in the Sunshine State.
     What does amaze me is that not every state offers early voting.  According to the National Conference of State Legislators (check out their cool map) 32 states and the District of Columbia offer early voting.  Two states, Washington and Oregon do all of their voting my mail (learned something new today). As far as absentee voting goes 27 states and DC will mail a registered voter one no questions asked while the remaining 21 require a qualified excuse.  Finally 7 states offer permanent absentee voting for their residents who meet qualifications.
   So whether you consider yourself Conservative, Liberal, Republican, Democrat or simply confused like me please be sure to cast your vote in this presidential election.  'Cause like my Dad used to say:
 If you don't vote you can't gripe

October 29, 2012

What more do you need?

I really do not understand drivers today.  Not too long ago I shared my bewilderment over the clueless folks I see on a weekly basis getting pulled over in school zones.  Today I have to add that well simply put some people are just plain STUPID.  
Honestly that has to be the reason because what more do you need than the sign above to make you obey the speed limit?   I can't even cut any slack because 3.5 miles later there's another sign warning you:

I have yet to pass though Waldo without seeing some idiot receiving a ticket!  The city of Waldo (it is so tiny calling it a city seems much) ranks as Florida's Worst Speed Trap according to National Motorists Association.  Personally when driving through this town I go 5 mph below the speed limit, I do not change lanes unless I have to and if I do my signal is on before crossing lanes.  
This got me thinking though ~shouldn't we be driving this vigilantly all the time?  I'm not saying we should drive in fear of getting pulled over for the slightest infraction.  However shouldn't we be as cautious as possible at all times?  In no way shape or form can I say that I always obey the speed limit.  I'm a stay in the flow of traffic kind of gal.  I'll admit to having received a speeding ticket while driving through Emporia, Virginia years ago which I deserved but not at the rate the officer wrote, the worst part is I knew that was a speed trap area but it was late at night and well getting to NY for an emergency was heavy on my mind.  
I strongly believe that texting and driving should be illegal.  Not so sure where I stand on the cell phone issue if using a hands-free set.  Currently neither is illegal in the state of Florida despite multiple attempts to pass a bill. For some reason these bills continue to die after being read in the Transportation and Safety Subcommittee but then all are referred to the Economics Committee (gotta love politics)

So readers please please please I beg of you.  Should you have to travel on FL301 through the town of Waldo please heed their speed limit signs. You really don't want their favorite souvenir.

October 27, 2012

Losing Fat Loving Food Fridays 10/26

     Think I have finally settled on a name for this weekly post that I like ~ hope you do too!

    I am very excited to share that I have crossed a threshold on my weight loss journey.  As of yesterday's weigh in I am down:

To try and give you an idea of what thirty pounds is ~
Cocoa a cow from Stonyfields Organic Farm weigh 30lbs when she was born.

I didn't discover any new glorious food to share with you this week. However last I did try a new breakfast recipe that was a huge hit.  I, of course, tweaked it a bit and think you'll really enjoy it:
Original version 5 PP+ Updated 7PP+

2 tsp olive oil canola oil
1 large green pepper sliced
1 large red pepper sliced 
1 tsp minced garlic
4 6 large eggs
3 6 egg whites (fed puppies extra yolks)
salt and pepper to taste
1 TBSP Italian seasoning
4 low calorie hamburger buns
6 ciabatta rolls

  • Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and pepper; saute until tender and light golden, about 7 to 9 minutes. Add garlic; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Set vegetables aside.
  • In a medium bowl, beat together eggs, egg whites, salt and pepper. Scramble in same skillet over medium heat until almost cooked, about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Add vegetables back to skillet and gently mix; continue scrambling until eggs are set but not dry, about 30 seconds to 1 minute more.
  • Divide filling onto 6 buns. Yields 1 sandwich per serving.

October 22, 2012

Don't Let The Skinny Girl Cook

    I don't know about you but when I plan on going away for a girls weekend the last thing on my mind is making sure everything I eat will make any nutritionist jump for joy.  Not that I am saying every meal should be a feast reminiscent of Thanksgiving however people I want some food I can grab onto.  Especially if I am spending the day pretending to be an outdoorsy type person.
     OK yes I am currently on weight watchers ~ and doing quite well I may add.  No where in my plan did I expect to come back from a 4 day retreat in the mountains with 9 other husband-less/childless for the weekend women having lost weight.  Heck if I came home having gained less than 2 pounds my plans were successful.  In fact when I told my WW leader where I was headed she admitted that every time she spends time in the Helen, GA area SHE gains weight enjoying local fare.
   You should have seen the food that we brought this weekend in addition to the supplies for dinner.  A pack of hungry teenagers would have been impressed with the amount of snack foods we amassed.  We had all major food groups covered: Chips, Chocolates and Cookies. I actually felt guilty that all I had brought was a  bag of butterfingers.  In addition to the 3 C's there were even healthy snack choices with a variety of fruits, granolas and such to choose from as well.
***At this time it is important for me to just come right out and say that I was the heaviest person on this trip.  Most of the remaining 9 women are incredibly healthy and active.  I admit that chances are my views on the food are maybe not coming from the healthiest standpoint***
    The plans were to spend the days out enjoying all that fall in North Georgia had to offer.  The first day my group hiked Tallulah Falls, which was incredible ~ more on that adventure another time.  We then hit a farmer's stand, enjoyed lunch in town and walked around the annual Oktoberfest.  The other group had spent the day zip-lining and hiking.  We were to all meet back for a dinner of Brunswick Stew and cornbread.  The crock-pot that was brought along should have been my first clue that things were going to be interesting.
     Before I go any further I have to acknowledge how incredibly generous it was of Skinny Minnie to offer to not only do all of the basic food shopping for our trip but to cook all 3 dinners and our picnic lunch.  Skinny Minnie's family lives an incredibly healthy lifestyle and her shopping/cooking reflects that.  I am quite confident that I will never see her grace the inside of a weight watchers meeting.
     When we returned Friday evening none of us were incredibly hungry which wound up being a very good thing. The group of 5 that had arrived earlier nearly ate all of that evening's stew.  I'm guessing that when Skinny Minnie was planning to feed 10 women she was thinking about the portions she serves and eats at home.  No one was minding portions this weekend.  It didn't take long for the grazing of the snacks to commence.
     Saturday while packing up for the picnic lunch it was evident that healthy snacking on fruits and veggies had taken a back seat to their unhealthy counter-parts.  The plan that day was to have a picnic at Unicoi State Park park followed by an intense hike.  After submitting my body to a hike on Friday and wanting to be able to drive home Sunday without the aid of life-support I opted out of the hike and volunteered to use up the untouched healthy snacks to make salads to accompany the night's dinner of Chili.
     Chili is one of those foods that is truly reflective of its' cook's style.  Depending on where you live your chili may or may not have beans in it.  Fresh tomatoes verses canned verses none at all.  Some cooks' chili require a personal fire extinguisher others seem a step above ketchup.  One thing I think most people will agree upon is that chili should be something that is thick, hearty and warms your soul. I'll be honest I've never really thought about making a lighter version of chili, Skinny Minnie did.  I have the same crock-pot that she does.  When I make Chili in it I'm lucky to serve my family of 5 (OK I have a teenage boy which counts as two I guess) 6, and have enough for hubby to take for lunch twice.  I make a rich meat and bean chili, while I use fresh vegetables you really can't find them once everything gets going.
     I stopped on my way back to get supplies for homemade bread so the chili had been cooking for a few hours when I got back and did smell wonderful when I returned but not what I expected.  Skinny Minnie's version of Chili and mine definitely were not lining up.  The crock-pot, not even full,  was bubbling with what I would consider a rich soup.  Bits of veggies were floating on top of a flavorful broth.  When I stir my chili my forearms are getting a work-out, not so much Saturday night.  I thought maybe if I put it into a pot and cook it down some it would get thicker, however I quickly discovered that if I did that there wouldn't be enough to feed 6 people not 10 hungry hikers so I left things alone.
    Do you know how hard it is to respect someone else's cooking?  I'll admit I had never thought about it before.  Years back while working during a church camp I was so lucky to be assisting a woman whose kitchen talent was incredible.  She taught me short-cuts, recipes and tricks that I rely on to this day.  I'd like to think that she even learned one or two things from me but I'm hard pressed to think what they could have been.  Working with her and following her recipe was easy b/c she was right there if I had a question or suggestion.  So when I found myself wanting to doctor Minnie's chili Saturday I really struggled with those thoughts.  In the end I decided not to change anything because in the long run it was her Chili we were serving that night, even if I did think it was more of a soup LOL.
         Did anyone complain about the food? What are you nuts of course not!! It was good and nutritious and most importantly someone else did the cooking. Next time I hope we had let the fat girl do the cooking ~ oops that would be me!!