Chewy Cheese

50100,1394425665$SS172$Finally, we’re getting around to blogging about the May Chewy Blogger Outreach goodies that came to our door.  Fromm is a trusted source – as is Chewy – so we new it would be something the girls could safely enjoy.  I’m more concerned about the product meeting Sissy’s rather restrictive dietary needs, while all the furgirls care about is the enjoyment part.  Chewy and Fromm make both possible with their Cheese treats.

The furgirls don’t need low fat, but when I can find a treat with only four ingredients from a brand I trust, it’s a win.  And who doesn’t love Wisconsin Cheddar?  The Knight always brings some home for us when he travels to WI, and while HE has told the dogs it’s too good to share with them, the folks at Fromm disagree and put the good stuff in their treats.

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Worth waiting for

The DIVA feels the treats are tiny, not even bite-sized, but because we are a small and large dog household (yes, bassets are considered medium-large… don’t let the short legs fool you!), I’m happy to have wee treats that I don’t have to break into pieces to serve the wee one.   They’re great training treat size for Sis and other not-tiny dogs, and did I mention the girls love them?

Oh – and don’t let the title fool you.  I like alliteration, but the treats are crunchy, not chewy.

Thanks, Chewy!  We love your prompt service, your great selection and your commitment to quality.   Well…  *I* love those things; the girls just like the boxes that smell like doggy yum-yums are inside.

That’s all I’ve got right now.  There was a quick business trip to Sarasota last week (honest – I’m blessed to work for a company that sends me to such miserable destinations for training), but unless you want to see photos of the Bradenton plant, I have nothing for you, other than a piece of advice…  if you’re in the area, visit Siesta Key and grab a meal at Siesta Key Oyster Bar.   I had the fish tacos and they were the best I’ve ever had – seriously.

Have you encountered any best-evers recently?

 

 

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There’s a word for that

I’m all about making up words – SNOL, furgirls, PANK… but evidently, there’s already a word for “kinda’ vegetarian when it suits me.”

Flexitarian – According to About.com,  “Flexitarian” is a term recently coined to describe those who eat a mostly vegetarian diet, but occasionally eat meat. Many people who call themselves “flexitarian” or “semi-vegetarian” have given up red meat for health reasons while others, for environmental reasons, only eat free-range or organic animals and animal products.

Now… this girl isn’t giving up squat, but I was a pescatarian (didn’t eat land animal flesh) for a while many years ago, until I sincerely dreamed about a nice, rare filet mignon night after night and finally realized that I just couldn’t do it.  And I have followed a pescatarian when convenient diet ever since… right up until Marjie shattered my world with the announcement that shrimp is high in cholesterol.

Pescatarians on the hunt – not by choice… as long as you don’t count the prescription rabbit kibble era.

You have to understand…  I am the product of farmers.  My mother’s people, on both sides, farm and have farmed since the beginning of time, as near as I can tell.  My father’s grandfather was a gentleman farmer back when it wasn’t cool and trendy to play in compost on your days off, and while I lack that gene for spending hours on the tractor or nurturing little seeds into edible goodness, I got a double-dose of the pass me some fresh produce, straight from the chicken coop eggs, and by all means, I’m okay with looking my protein sources in the eyes.  (My apologies to those who aren’t…  Good for you.  My once-removed cousin with the chicken houses DID assure that I am incapable of enjoying chicken without worrying about growth hormones and free range, etc.)

Of course, I credit my farmer-relations with my ability to enjoy tofu too.  My uncle by choice (or by marriage… but as he put it years ago, marrying my mother’s sister made us kin, but we’d choose to claim each other even without that legal union) was farming soybeans long before I’d found Tofutti in my grocer’s freezer.

But don’t look for me to begin haughtily announcing I’m a flexitarian;  I still have enough trouble explaining that Episcopalian isn’t a medical condition.   No, I think that as much as I love silly words, I’ll stick with just dodging red meat most of the time, because I was also raised to feel it’s rude not to eat what’s put in front of me, or to ask non-life threatening questions about my food.  (I’m allergic to scallops, so there is a time and a place for said inquiries, and I can issue a “NO – LEAVE IT!” with such authority that even a food-driven basset draws back.)

I shared the mango-edamame salsa recipe a few posts back, but now, I’m in search of a … four-bean? salad?  Garbanzo, red, black and green, with some red onion, cilantro and …  I ate it all, so I have only my fond food memories to help me.  It seemed pretty similar to the traditional three-bean salad, but … better.  If anyone can help a gal trying to flex more and meat less, it would be awesome!

And in other almost healthy food news, did you know that gluten-free (homemade) chocolate chip cookies are basically ALWAYS chewy, not crispy?  My friend used Alton Brown’s Chewy Gluten Free recipe, and since dogs can’t have chocolate anyway, there’s no need to substitute around the corn starch for Sissy.  They aren’t close to low cholesterol, but as long as I don’t eat shrimp with them, I’m going to say it’s fine.

Don’t hate me, but with no other changes to my routine (well, add in extra stress, but evidently, only Sissy’s eye problems and my mother’s death are stressful enough to stop the eating), I’ve dropped nearly three pounds in two weeks.  I’m pretty sure I’d heard somewhere before that high fat diets aren’t healthy…  hem.

Saturday Scramble

Oh, the things we’ll do to avoid doing the taxes…

And yes, I realize I’ve put them off about as long as I dare.  Just as soon as I finish this post, I’ll go update the software, walk the dogs and then buckle down.  The taxes are just a symbol of how life is going right now.  If it isn’t on fire or otherwise an emergency, it isn’t getting my attention.

 The girls are peering up under the bridge across the little creek, and that’s a good image for how it goes in the woods of late.  I ran hurdles in high school track, and that’s how I’m managing things right now.  Eyes forward, leap while the brain is calculating when the next leap has to happen…

I do have a few things to report though, and for another photo of the girls in the water and an update on them, click here.

Firstly, coconut milk “creamer” doesn’t cut it.  I can do plain cream and an artificial sweetener or flavored syrup, but the vegan “creams” don’t come close.  I’d rather just do 2% milk and sweetener, to give you some idea?  I am drinking less coffee and more green tea though, so I figure my reduced consumption of “fake creamer” that way is perhaps win enough.

Relay Foods is my new friend.   There’s a pick-up location nearly every weekday that is close enough to on my way home that going to the grocery store is a thing of the past.  See above; I need time-savers and stress reducers, and I find the Knight’s turn down every aisle at strolling speed version of grocery shopping just about the most stressful thing EVER.

Do you Relay?  If so, please share your favorite finds.  Locally, they partner with Whole Foods, so I have a good idea of what’s available, but they also partner with local small businesses – like the tea source I didn’t have a clue about that I walk past regularly when I’m downtown.

1948054_10152302295495792_1403944811_nNext…  I’m pondering a return to nearly natural hair coloring.  I thought I wanted to go blonde instead of grey, but the most recent photos of me are too brassy, and I have a great colorist, use filtered water and quality hair products to wash…

Granted, I know I look awful in black and the lighting is horrible in this photo, but you get the idea.   Am I tilting at windmills?  Should I just use one of those cover the grey temporary colors that’s closer to my natural, medium-to-dark brown?

(And that cutie was Kids in the Kitchen vice chair.  She really is so petite that I am a few inches taller!  I’m looking forward to watching her develop as a JLC leader.  She’s smart, direct and a very hard worker… and always has that big smile on her face.)

Okay.  This isn’t taking care of the taxes or the dog walk.  How goes it in your part of the world?

 

 

Eating by Example

Happy Thorsday, little friday and thankful Thursday!  At least… it’s still Thursday when I’m writing.  When you’ll read is another story.

Thanks for all of your comments about my new(est) food focus.  Some of the obvious changes I’m making include:

  • I’m not eating out as much
  • I’m avoiding processed food
  • I’m seeking out leaner protein sources

Today’s post is supposed to be about our March delivery from Chewy, but while I was working on the REAL content, I realized that I feed the dogs the way I should be eating.  I stick to natural products as much as possible, and limited ingredient products are best… because Sissy is so allergic to so much.  They eat a fish kibble, lots of fruit and veggies…  Gee, if I follow a similar plan, I bet my cholesterol level will drop.

UntitledThis time, the furgirls got to try Old Mother Hubbard’s Gourmet Goodies in the carrot and pumpkin variety.   There are only 8 ingredients (which is amazing for a cookie of any sort), but the girls have assured me they aren’t short on flavor.

Who eats better in your house?  One of the Knight’s favorite stories is about the boy-dogs eating prime rib while we had hot dogs.  (True story!)  He always leaves out the part where the prime rib was really nothing more than leftover bits, and maybe I should be ashamed to admit it, but I love a good, kosher hot dog.

I’m giving up on suggesting that my former normal of daily, weekday posts will ever return again.  My life is just different now, and even as my time as League President winds down, there are only so many hours in a day and so many more things I want/need to do.  I’m very grateful that you still check in on me and wade through my ramblings!

Oh – and if you’re here for furgirl photos, you can click over to their blog for your fix… unless you’re sick of snow.

Lean, Not Mean

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The gene pool, 1970s version

That’s my new dietary motto.  I learned last week that my cholesterol is high.  Not drastically so, but (hem, hem) nearly double what it was last time I had a physical (more coughing… over 2 years ago).  Given that both parents likely died of heart attacks (father, definitely; mother, presumed), I need to take this seriously.

Ironically, an Arbonne friend invited me to join her on a detox that will start tomorrow.  I opted out, in part because I’m not good at extremes, I know my limits, and my brother inlaw sells Avocare and it seemed silly to pony up for a program when another company’s products are waiting for me to pay attention to them.   Just the same, I know I need to start paying close attention to what goes into my body.

Trying looking up “cholesterol-lowering foods” or something similar.  You won’t find any concise answers.  Of course, even if you did, you might want to visit Marjie’s post about a healthy heart diet by trusted sources.  The fact is, even the experts don’t agree.  I’m a huge advocate for personal management of one’s own healthcare anyway, but this is ridiculous.

Oh, my doctor-friend and I had a good laugh…  I hate chicken and neither of us cook fish in our homes because of the lingering odor.  I’m already on a high-protein, high-fiber diet, because of pre-existing health issues, so eliminating … fat? cholesterol? more stuff makes this quite the circle-jerk.

I was all set to simply say farewell to butter (except in my baking) and consider cheese a delicacy, and I already live on seafood, white pork, and the rare (pun intended) beef indulgence.  I thought I had a plan… until Marjie gently broke the news that shrimp is ridiculously high in cholesterol.  Now, see above… the experts can’t agree on that either, but I’ve decided that shrimp can no longer be my go-to “meat.”

I don’t know what’s ahead… other than due diligence and finding some healthier options.  Anyone do a plant-protein milk replacement in her coffee?  On her cereal?  I only eat cereal on the weekends, and to humor the pundits, we had oatmeal this morning.

What about tofu?  I don’t mind it in curries or some soups.  I certainly can’t dislike it much more than I do rubbery, dry chicken, but save the ground turkey advice.  Been there, done that and … no one got anything positive out of the experience, much less a tee shirt.

I did a no-animal-flesh version of vegan a few years ago and didn’t mind at all… until I began dreaming about the perfectly grilled, rare filet of beef.  I don’t eat pork too much either.  I love smoked bacon and good Carolina barbecue, but living on a pig farm that had a barn fire… well… let’s just say there’s a reason I kinda’ backed into not eating meat for a good while.

Eggs?  I won’t miss them much at all.  As with butter, I want them for baking, but I can wipe them off my personal consumption list with relative ease.  Sure, an egg sammie is awesome now and then, but I’ll be just fine with an egg substitute “mug” with some veggies tossed in.  Frankly, eggs without cheese have little meaning for me.

Photo courtesy of The Bit Block

Photo courtesy of The Bit Block

The post title?  I get mean (insert a female dog synonym) when I don’t get enough protein in my diet.  I thought doing high fiber AND high protein was a juggling act.  This is like the Wii Fit juggling game where you’re balancing on a ball while juggling…

Celebration!

Today marks a milestone for Sissy and her eye care.   She and Gretchen celebrated with some new treats I’ll review on Thursday, but you get to hear that Kathyb won the Cheesecake Queen contest!  I love Dreamcicle anything, and salted caramel anything too, so what’s not to love?!  Kath, email me and we’ll get that digital book in your … hands?

Kind_Bar_DrkChocoNutsSalt_SingleWhile we’re talking about salted caramel, you need to know about my new favorite bar.  I eat it for breakfast, for a snack… it’s perfect anytime you need a little protein, fiber and CHOCOLATE.

Am I the last person ever to find out how awesome KIND bars are?!  What’s your favorite flavor?  I have others to try, but honestly… this is so incredible I’m not open to trying new things, even if they might be wonderful too.

What’s your latest find?

Picnic Game 2013

Welcome to the Picnic Game 2013!  Hold on, wait a minute…

picnic.day.logo.2013

Before you spread out your blanket and start fixing your plate, let’s give credit where credit is due.  Many thanks to our event coordinator and hostess supreme, Louise of Months of Edible Celebrations.  Be sure to visit her, and all of the other food-fixin’ bloggers.

Now, let’s get started.

I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing…

Aloo Gobi courtesy of Mae

Aloo Gobi courtesy of Mae

… Aloo Gobi, made by Mae

and…

Blueberry-Cucumber Salsa!

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I was inspired by Budget Gourmet Mom’s Cucumber, Blueberry and Mint Salsa recipe, but since I had the letter “B” for the picnic game, I needed to rename it.  And since we don’t stock agave nectar, the substitutions began.

1/2 cup fresh blueberries

1/2 cup English cucumber, chopped (blueberry sized pieces?)

1/2 tablespoon local blueberry honey

1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice

3 roughly chopped mint leaves

Toss berries and cucumber.  Drizzle honey and lime juice on top, then gently fold in mint.  Serve with whatever you have in the pantry that suits you.

UntitledSissy and Gg had Pretzel Crisps.  (No corn)  I had regular Wheat Thins.  I liked the Wheat Thins better.  It would be great to tote to any picnic or poolside, or even on a hike, as nothing in the dish is particularly perishable.  As Louise was kind enough to invite the fur-girls, I wanted to bring something they could eat and their human friends might enjoy too.  The Knight wouldn’t try it, but he doesn’t like blueberries or honey very much, so…  he got a pass this time.

What’s your favorite picnic recipe?

Any picnic plans with the 4th of July right around the corner?