Monday, April 25, 2016

A toothsome tale? I think not!

I'm not a tooth person. They creep me out.

I get the willies even wriggling one of my kids' loose teeth. I got the willies losing my own teeth way back when.

Clara and Sophie both had teeth pulled today. Clara, because the enamel on her back upper molars had a genetic defect that made her teeth nerves very sensitive, and the teeth susceptible to decay. The hope is that her wisdom teeth will now move forward into the empty spots.
Sophie had two baby teeth whose roots did not dissolve.

Joe took them in since I was at work. But they generously offered to describe their experiences for me when we all got home. BIG SHUDDERING UGH.

Sophie's were a little worse than Clara's, which seems strange to me, since Clara's were permanent. Both of Clara's were done before Sophie's first one was out.

First, the redhead pain-med-not-working thing kicked in. They couldn't get Sophie's mouth and face to numb. They had to keep trying more and different and stronger things.

Then one of the roots broke off and they had to dig it out. If it was permanent, they could have used the drill. But since it was a baby tooth, permanent teeth were above it.  So they had to dig it out bit by bit.

Then on the second tooth, they ripped a big piece of nerve out with it. She said they held it up and the bundle of nerve fibers was flopping off the end of the root.

Ok, so by this time in the story, I was totally grossed out. A, "plugging my ears and going lalalala," kind of grossed out. Willies all up and down my back. And a little bit of bilious feeling in my throat.

Later in the day, the girls were comparing how deep the holes in their gums felt and looked.

And then I made the mistake of reading about dry sockets.  There are some things it's just better not to know.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

30-minute Gluten Free Yeast Rolls





I adapted these for Gluten Free and as with many gluten free items, it takes a bit longer baking, so probably they're, .... oh, .... 35- or 40-minute rolls, but still pretty quick for a nice fluffy GF yeast roll.


30-minute Gluten Free Yeast Rolls

Heat oven to 400°F.
Grease a muffin pan. 

In your mixer bowl combine
1 c plus 2 Tbsp warm water
⅓ c coconut oil
2 Tbsp active dry yeast
¼ c raw honey
Let rest for 15 minutes.
Mix in the
1 tsp salt
½  tbs xanthan gum
2 eggs
3 – 3½ c *GF flour mix, or until mixture is a very thick batter.

Drop dough into a greased muffin tin.
Let rest for 10 minutes.
Bake at 400°F for 10 minutes, or until internal temp is 205-210º.
Remove from oven. 
Let cool for five minutes. Remove from pan and set on a cooling rack to to cool.  Or better yet, wrap them in a cloth napkin and basket, and serve them warm and steamy.




Adapted from a recipe at the Your Homebased Mom blog.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Blessing of Grandparents

One of the great blessings of our new home is that we live only half an hour away from Joe's folks.

Two days ago, with no set plans for it, I brought home some sample Gluten Free breading from Kay's. Yesterday John F. dropped off a gallon bag of Northern fillets and pieces.

FISH FRY!

Joe called his parents and asked if they wanted to come for supper.  When the kids got home from school I had them scurry around accomplishing some last minute household clean-up.  Sophie peeled and cut sweet potatoes into fries.

On the menu:
  • Fried fish in three varieties of coatings.  Joe did the Chili Nacho breading as is.  He put some GF beer in with the Parmasan breading to create and beer batter, and he ground up some less than satisfactory GF srirache crackers for the third selection.
  • sweet potato fries, par-fried in oil, then finished off in the oven.
  • garden corn from the freezer (originally from Ed and Kathy S.)
  • lemon chess custard for dessert
We had a fun and delicious supper, thanks to my Joe.  I am NOT a fryer.  I don't have the patience to learn how to do it well.  But I definitely have the fortitude to eat fried food in large amounts.

After supper we all sat around the living room visiting.  A few of the kids started playing Apples to Apples.  Soon Grandpa was playing, too.  Gradually the others kids trickled in and joined the fun, too.  I don't think Grandma ever officially joined in but she helped here and there, when littles needed help with the words or concepts.  




Someone didn't want me to post this picture, ... but every else looked so good.




It was ten o'clock before Grandma and Grandpa left!  What fun!  And what a great gift for my children to be able to enjoy periodic spontaneous evenings with their grandparents.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

A few thoughts on "The Government Dole" aka the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare

At risk of irritating anyone by posting a somewhat political post, .... in case anyone is curious about who's paying for national healthcare and in what amounts... I'm going to give a little object lesson. And the follow it with a short logic lesson.

Since July, we've seen doctors for the following: regular way past due check-ups for Joe and I, a sleep study for Joe and CPAP, an x-ray of my hip, and a handful of chiropractor appointments.

Our providers footed our bills to the tune of $2919.

The government pitched in $1085 of taxpayer dollars.

So, ... not only are the tax payers now paying for our medical bills, the providers are having to write off almost 2/3 of the cost of our medical care.

Take this one thought further. For every dollar written off, of real cost of providing health care, the providers have to compensate for that loss by that much by raising their prices still higher.

And stick with me please, just one more thought further. The higher the cost of the medical bills, the higher the cost of insurance. The higher the cost of insurance, the more people will choose the "free" option. The more people who choose the "free" option, the fewer "paying customers" there are. The fewer "paying customers" there, are the higher the prices have to go. And the circle continues.

Not only that. Stay with me. As the cost of care rises, the amount the government has to come up with rises, too. The more money the government has to come up with, ... guess what, folks, they have to raise taxes. Or the government could lower the percentage they have to contribute, forcing the providers to come up with an ever growing proportion of the bill.

Which then feeds the "provider having to raise prices" loop even faster.

I've nothing against helping those in need.

And my irritation with being on "the government dole" is not a matter of pride or discontent or ungratefulness.
I just can't stretch my sense of reality far enough to figure out how this is supposed to be sustainable.  And I don't like that our family is yet another stress on the already strained system.  

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Seven Day meal plan, Day 4

Thursday, January 28
Breakfast according to plan
Kay's Naturals Honey Almond Cereal with 6 oz fat-free yogurt, 1.5 tbs ground flax seeds, 1/2 c berries, and 12 oz calorie free beverage.

Breakfast according to theMom
I started the day with my Honey Almond cereal. I used about 3/4 c of whole milk skipped the yogurt, flax seeds and berries.

Snack: 1 package Sweet Barbecue Snack Mix

Lunch according to plan
Amy's Tamale Mexican Pie, Kay's Chili Nacho Chips, and 12 oz calorie free beverage.

Lunch according to theMom
Kay's Chili Nacho Chips and a small helping of some left over Mexican flavored stuff (same as yestserday).  I estimated it to be about 1/2 c, and it had kind of equal parts beef heart or tongue (they had been cooked together) and refried beans; it also had a little bit of chorizo and a few bits of potato. I skipped the cheese today, in the hopes of staying within my caloric intake goals.  I also had two apples, which, according to my fitness pal is big calories.  So, ... oh well, still a good healthy snack.

Snack: 1 package Cinnamon Almond Cookie Bites.  I was so hungry when I was done eating lunch I had to have my cookies right away.  Seems like each day I get hungrier sooner.

Dinner according to plan
Salad with lemon juice, Kay's Crispy Parmesan Chips., and 12 oz calorie free beverage.

Dinner according to theMom
I had a big plate full of salad and over it I poured about two tablespoons of olive oil.  I skipped the cheese and stuck to carrots and cucumbers.  I also had my parm chips with it.

After the kids were in bed, my sweet Joseph brought me a glass of Gnarly Head Old Vin Zin.  I didn't have the heart to say no.  Or maybe I just didn't want to.  Added an extra 220 calories.

My fitness pal again had dire news.
Totals1,73815956941,67053
Your Daily Goal1,20015040602,30045
Remaining-538-8-16-33630-8
CaloriesCarbsFatProteinSodiumSugar
Sigh.  And again today, I did not extra exercise.  

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Seven Day meal plan, Day 3

Wednesday, January 27
Breakfast according to plan
Kay's Naturals Honey Almond Cereal with 6 oz fat-free yogurt, 1.5 tbs ground flax seeds, 1/2 c berries, and 12 oz calorie free beverage.

Breakfast according to theMom
I started the day with my Honey Almond cereal. I did have John bring up the yogurt today.  It was vanilla rather than plain.  I used about 3/4 c of whole milk and an eighth cup or so of yogurt.  Forgot all about the flax seeds and berries.

Snack: 1 package Jalepeño Honey Mustard Pretzels

Lunch according to plan
Progresso Heart Healthy Chicken and Rice Soup, Kay's Chili Nacho Chips, and 12 oz calorie free beverage.

Lunch according to theMom
Kay's Chili Nacho Chips and a small helping of some left over Mexican flavored stuff.  I estimated it to be about 1/2 c, and it had kind of equal parts beef heart or tongue (they had been cooked together) and refried beans; it also had a little bit of chorizo and a few bits of potato.  Over this I sprinkled some home canned tomato sauce, a tablespoon or so of salsa, and about 1/8 c of grated mozzarella.

Snack: 1 package Honey Almond Cookie Bites.

Dinner according to plan
Salad with lemon juice, Kay's Lemon Herb Chips, and 12 oz calorie free beverage.

Dinner according to theMom
I had a big plate full of salad and over it I poured about two tablespoons of olive oil and 1/3 c grated cheddar.  I had my lemon herb chips with it.

And then later, since I had to serve treats for Bible Study, I sat down with the ladies and had a small piece of cake and one chocolate meringue cookie.  That kind of blew the calories way out the window.

My fitness pal had this dire news.

Totals1,908153821141,80468
Your Daily Goal1,30316343652,30049
Remaining-60510-38-49496-19
CaloriesCarbsFatProteinSodiumSugar
I'm thinking I ought not to have had the cake.  But I did do my whole pilates mat workout this morning for the first time in, ... well, ... maybe a year.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Seven Day meal plan, Day 2

Tuesday, January 26
Breakfast according to plan
Kay's Naturals French Vanilla Cereal with 6 oz fat-free yogurt, 1.5 tbs ground flax seeds, 1/2 c berries, and 12 oz calorie free beverage.

Breakfast according to theMom
I started the day with my French Vanilla cereal. Stil didn't get downstairs to get my yogurt.  I used about 3/4 c of whole milk instead. Forgot all about the flax seeds and berries.

Snack: 1 package White Cheddar Krunchees.

Lunch according to plan
Weight WAtchers Smart ones Lemon Herb Chicken Piccata, Kay's Lemon Herb Chips, and 12 oz calorie free beverage.

Lunch according to theMom
I cheated and had the Crispy Parmesan chips that were supposed to be for supper with my lunch.  With them I ate the left overs from a spinach egg thing I made the other day.  The original was spinach and onion roasted in my cast iron skillet, with eggs poured over and roasted until set.  Over this I set slices of muenster cheese.  So today, I had about two eggs and the spinach and cheesy goodness that was with it.

Snack: 1 package Cinnamon Almond Cookie Bites.

Dinner according to plan
Salad with lemon juice, Kay's Crispy Parmesan Chips, and 12 oz calorie free beverage.

Dinner according to theMom
I had a big plate full of salad and over it I poured about two tablespoons of olive oil, 1/3 c grated cheddar, 1/4 c black beans, and a small can of tuna in water.  And I had my lemon herb chips with it.  It really filled me up.  I was wishing I had prepped less.  But then I was hungry again within an hour.  

According to Myfitness pal, my day looked like this
Totals1,567113821121,91922
Your Daily Goal1,36417145682,30051
Remaining-20358-36-4438129
alkCaloriesCarbsFatProteinSodiumSugar
According to theMom, I think I did OK.  I did some floor exercises this morning and Joe and I walked to the bank later in the day.  Plus I walked to and from work, as usual.  

Seven Day meal plan, Day 1

Monday, January 25
Breakfast according to plan
Kay's Naturals Apple Cinnamon Cereal with 6 oz fat-free yogurt, 1.5 tbs ground flax seeds, 1/2 c berries, and 12 oz calorie free beverage.

Breakfast according to theMom
I started the day with my Apple Cinnamon cereal.  My yogurt was in the downstairs fridge, so I used about 3/4 c of whole milk instead.  Forgot all about the flax seeds and berries.

Snack: 1 package Cinnamon Toast Pretzels.

Lunch according to plan
Progresso Reduced Sodium Garden Vegetable Soup,  Kay's Chili Nacho Protein Chips, 12 oz calorie free beverage.

Lunch according to theMom
I got mixed up and thought salad was for lunch.  So on the way out the door to take Clara to the dentist, I grabbed the Chili Nacho Chips (they are quite tasty, I might add, I think one of my favorite Kay's snacks), a bunch of celery sticks, and an apple.

Snack: 1 package Honey Almond Cookie Bites.

Dinner according to plan
Salad with lemon juice, Kay's Lemon Herb Chips, 12 oz calorie free beverage.

Dinner according to theMom
I served the family Huevos Rancheros, so I figured eggs and tomatoes is pretty healthy.  Home canned tomato sauce, homemade taco seasoning mix, eggs.  I had two eggs and a spoonful of sauce over my Lemon Herb Chips.  I added about 1/3 c of grated cheddar cheese and a small spoonful of Salpica Habnero Lime salsa.

According to Myfitness pal, my day looked like this
Totals1,35111668891,56939
Your Daily Goal1,20015040602,30045
Remaining-15133-27-287305
CaloriesCarbsFatProteinSodiumSugar







Besides my regular walk to work and walking around the mall to a few stores, I didn't exercise, so I didn't count anything in that regard.

According to theMom, I think I did alright.  I was busy all day, so I didn't feel hungry.  But it was kind of hard to watch Clara eat that Pizza I got her at the mall after her dentist appointment.

Food and Nutrition, 2016 style

Ok,  yes, ... this makes me laugh.   Laugh at myself.  Because it's so, ... ludicrous.  Not ludicrous in general, for everyone.  But ludicrous for me.  Considering my whole homemade foods/slow foods/kind-of-sort-of-natural foods preferences.

I work at a place called Kay's Naturals.  They produce and market processed snack foods.  High protein, low glycemic, gluten free snack foods.  But still grab and go processed snack foods.  This kind of food is not generally in my scheme of cooking and providing food for my family.  And it's definitely not in my budget for providing food for my family. And I find word "natural" kind of ironic.

But I do realize that there is a market for such foods.  And if people want them, if they provide a marketable consumer good, hey, go for it.  And do it well.  Which I think Kay's does.

In that spirit, I tell people about our products.  I take samples home to share with those who might be interested.  (It's part of the marketing at Kay's to allow their employees to do this.  I'm not stealing.  Just saying.)  And I sample them myself, so I can make suggestions to those who ask.  I've been working there about six weeks and I've not yet sample all 19 of their products, so it's not like I'm pigging out on them or anything.

Besides making high protein, low glycemic snack foods, Kay's also makes and markets 3- and 7- day meal plans.  These meal plans include individual sized servings of Kay's snacks throughout the day plus suggested foods to complete the meal while keeping the lowcarb, high protein aspect.  I think they are also low fat.  My understanding is that since most people eat much junk food and high-carb, highly processed foods anyway, this plan gives a framework someone could use as a foundation to start to eat healthier, and maybe lose some weight.  These meal plans can also be a useful tool for those with blood sugar issues, since they have a low glycemic index, and snacks are included throughout the day.

A few people at work had been talking about (procrastinating over) doing a 7-day plan.  I decided to do it, too, and we decided that this is the week.  If it goes well, the sales staff can use our experience with it in their promotions.

This is Day 2.  I'm eating my Cinnamon Almond Cookie Bites as I type.

Getting back to my original sentence about this whole business making me kind of laugh to myself, here's the deal.

While on the seven day meal plan, we can eat as much fresh vegetables as we choose.  There are a variety of acceptable fruits that can be eaten at certain times of day.  The rest of the plan is as follows.

For breakfast each day we have a Kay's cereal and some lowfat yogurt.

1) Yes, I'm in a breakfast cereal rut.  And yes, an argument could be made that the high protein cereals from Kay's are better than the pencil shaving stuff we have been eating until theMom gets her act together (store brand Cheerios, Rice Krispies, Corn Flakes, Corn Chex, and an occasional bag of Golden Puffs).  Ideally, when I'm in the groove, I prepare a hot cereal, eggs, potatoes and meat, or a homemade low sugar baked good.  I would not consider cold cereal for a "jump start your healthy eating" plan.

2) Nonfat vs regular yogurt?  I'd much prefer to have those 8 grams of good dairy fat than the pectin to hold the yogurt together.  And their suggestion of low sugar?  When I'm in the groove I make my own plain old white unflavored yogurt.  But these days I've been splurging and buying the quarts of plain yogurt.  I am so used to it, forget that some people use the word yogurt to mean something flavored and sweetened.   When the kids have friends over and I serve yogurt, they sometimes wonder what it is.

Midmorning snack.  A Kay's individually packaged processed snack.  I rarely eat a midmorning snack.  So here I am on a "diet" (oh, I mean meal-plan), and I'm eating a midmorning snack.

The noon meals consist of some sort of processed convenience food plus the Kay's product, a high protein chip or puff or snack of some sort.  The suggested pre-packaged entrees are a variety of Progresso soups, a Weight Watchers or Amy's frozen selection.

I confess, I did buy a handful of store bought soups during the the first month or two after our recent move.  But besides that, I can't tell you when the last time was I bought canned soup.  And frozen entrees?  I do buy an occasional pack of frozen burritos when I know Joe's going to be gone.  Frozen pizzas during the first months following our move.  And for my first week of work.  Before our gluten-free days (when I only had five or six kids to cook for) I'd allow myself the indulgence or luxury of one meal of fish sticks, one meal of corn dogs, one meal of frozen ravioli, and one meal of frozen pizza each month.  That was our big "naughty" eating.

And here I have a healthy eating meal plan that wants me to use these foods.  I looked at the frozen foods section at Wal-mart, but I just couldn't get myself to spend our family's money on any of the suggested items.  I'll fill in with other high protein, low carb home cooked items.  But I can't promise they'll be lowfat.

Mid-afternoon snack.  A Kay's individually packaged Cookie Bites.  Oh I'm loving this diet!  Cookies every afternoon!

And for supper I'm supposed to eat a big salad with lemon juice for dressing, topped with the Kay's recommended chip for the meal.  I confess I'm still using my olive oil.  Another healthy fat. (There's a note in the pamphlet that warns, "1 tbs of olive oil is 120 calories."  Oops.)  I almost always use plain olive oil for salad dressing.  I'm so used to it I think nothing of it.  When my big kids come back home or especially when they bring friends, they have to dig around to see if there's any dressing around.  Sometimes we do have it, if some church member has given us some or if there is some left from a church function that they want to get out of the church fridge.  I'm going to make a mental note to make some more exciting homemade dressing when they come next.

100 calorie treat in the form of a healthy snack.

Oh yes, I almost forgot, we're encouraged to drink as much calorie free beverage as we want: diet soda, sparkling water, or bottled water.  I'd love to be able to justify drinking a few cans of sparkling water now and then.  Again, another one of those things that makes me think, "Wow, I get to have a LaCroix?"  But for the budget, I think I'll stick to plain old tap water with a few cups of plain black coffee thrown in.  I hope that's OK.

So that's the meal plan.  I don't doubt I'll lose weight.  But not because of eating healthier.  Rather it will be because I'm paying attention to portion size and carbs.

If I have time, I'll do a little write-up for each day, what I've done and what I've changed.  And I'll be sure to report any weight lost during the week.

And a final note because I've become so insecure these days about how I write things, I mean no disrespect toward those who eat and cook differently than I do.  I realize I have notions regarding food and health that might be strange or extreme to many.  I realize that cooking and budgeting for all of us mandates us to live more simply and to limit our discretionary food and beverage purchases.  And I also realize that even with my high standards for what and how I cook, I certainly do not do it perfectly.  I just lately feel like I'm kind of sort of getting back my brain and organization enough to cook well after all the chaos of our last year.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Update #1, to the previous post, "Stages," in which Mary gets a job

Joe and I had talked about me looking for part time work after we moved. I wanted to get settled a little bit more before taking on this new thing. Besides having a little bit of extra money, Joe felt strongly that if I had too much discretionary time might, it might prove to be fertile ground in which my depression could again take root.

I was not actively looking for work yet. But I was starting to get more serious about the idea. I imagined to myself that perhaps in February, after the Christmas rush and recovery, I'd try to find something. I had "poked around," a little bit on the internet to see what kinds of jobs might be available. I did not want to work full time. I did not want to work when my kids were home from school. I did not want to have to buy a whole new wardrobe. I did not want to work in some food service type job in which I'd bring home gluten dust to drop into Joe's life. And I definitely did not want to drive 20 miles into Willmar for an entry level part time job.

So the couple of eating establishments in town were out. The bank was out. I am sorry to say that I don't feel like there is enough compassion left in me to be a CNA at the nursing home. There are a handful of other small businesses in town that I imagined might be suitable, but whether or not they'd be hiring anyone part time when I wanted a job was questionable.

There are two manufacturing places in town that seemed like possibilities. Kay's and Impact Innovations. But when I had periodically looked at their websites to check on employment opportunities, when there were jobs listed, they were always full time jobs.

I said in my previous post,
I have this fall, for the first time in 22 years, no children at home. People have asked what I'll do with myself. "Will you be bored or lonely?" "Are you going to look for a job?"
I further said,
When the time is right, I know God will present me with just the right "outside the home" job.
Just after Thanksgiving I got a call from a woman named Kathy at a local business, Kay's Naturals. Kathy said something like, "I understand you're looking for part time work. I can't say for sure I have a job for you, but if you're interested, I can present the idea at this afternoon's meeting and get back to you." Wow! That just blew me away.

And so I have a job. Just like that.

There is a little big of background to the story. One of the men at our church, Adam, is a supervisor at Kay's. Adam and I were talking in perhaps mid-November about my casual search for a job that maybe would turn more active in a few months.

Adam was at the other end of things with his job. Kay's had lost some full time employees. And there had been some difficulties with finding full time employees with a good work ethic.

Hmmmm, thought, the two of us somewhat in unison, "Too bad the companies that need people would not consider hiring part time. It seems like a part time person who is a good worker would be better than an extended search for the right a full time person."

Adam mentioned that he might ask about that if the opportunity arose.

And I gave the conversation really no more thought at all. I did not imagine that this conversation would lead to a spontaneous offer of a job.

But it did. Out of the clear blue sky.

Within about two weeks or our conversation.

So I talked to Joe. And I said yes.

I work from 8:30-12:30, Monday through Friday. After the kids leave for school I have about 45 minutes before I have to get ready to get out the door. I work in the shipping department, so I am moving all the time, which is good for me, since I've always dreaded the idea of a sedentary job. I work mostly with Adam and Cheryl F. Both are wonderful coworkers and they have been great trainers.

Oh, and did I mention that I can see the plant from my front door. I usually go out  my back door, but from the time I head out the door and get into the building and into the break room where I have to clock in, it's a four minute walk. I walk down the road, over the bridge, through a small green space, across the railroad tracks and around the warehouse to the front door. It's about 1/4 mile.

I've lost six pounds since I started working there.

People ask how I like my new job and I can eagerly say that I like it alot.

I still don't like that I am no longer a full-time, stay-at-home mom. But that is a post for a different day.