Favorite "Meditation of My Heart"

Call unto me,

and I will answer thee,

and shew thee great and mighty things,

which thou knowest not. --Jeremiah 33:3 KJV

Monday, October 28, 2013

We need more pumpkins...to eat!

As I travel along this weight loss journey, I am constantly trying new foods or old foods in new ways.  So for the past few days, I've been experimenting with pumpkin since it is in season and on sale for $2 a pumpkin.  Plus when I found out that a cup of pumpkin is only about 50 calories, I knew I had to find some good recipes for it!  AND it is a great source of vitamin A and a good source of potassium.


So far I have made boiled and mashed pumpkin two ways.  One was with some sweetner, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice.  It was a sound dish, but a bit bland.  The other version had chicken broth, butter buds and a bit of Ms. Dash.  It resulted in a nice variation on starchy potatoes as a side dish for the roasted turkey tenderloin with which I served it. 

We were shocked how good
Roasted Pumpkin tastes!

This is a new favorite in our house!  However, it takes a lot of hand strength and time to cube it.  In order to make roasted pumpkin, a fresh pumpkin must be cut up into 1" or so pieces and the peel must be cut off.  Then spray the cookie sheet with cooking spray and place the pieces on the cookie sheet.  Finally season with the seasonings of your choice, but so far our favorite is a bit of salt and Ms. Dash.  Finally, spray the top of the pumpkin lightly with cooking spray and put it in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for 20-30 minutes.  The pieces should be turned over after about 12-15 minutes as the bottom starts to brown.  It has a very mild pumpkin flavor and it is yummy.


This has been my least favorite so far, but it was the easiest.  We cut off the top and cleaned out the inside.  Then we salted it lightly and turned it upside down in a baking dish with about 2" of water to bake.  I baked it at 325 degrees for about 30 minutes and the let it cool and cut it apart.  This resulted in a taste similar to a spaghetti squash, and I think it would be a good soup stir-in as it stays firm.


These were toasted a longer time by request so your seeds
don't have to be this brown to be yummy.
This year I tried a new roasted pumpkin seed recipe and it has the kids fighting over the seeds.  We start by boiling the seeds in salt water until they start to look gray.  Then drain the water and pat the dry on a paper towel.  Finally, place in a baggie with a little oil (and I do mean a little...like 1/2 a tsp per cup of seeds...it goes a long ways!) and some seasonings like just salt or Cajun or whatever you love on popcorn.  Place the seasoned seeds on a cookie sheet in a single layer and then bake at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes (depending on how toasted you like them).  It is best to stir them every 8-10 minutes while it cooks so the seeds cook evenly.   

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Fall Rally

Well, it has been a few weeks since I mentioned weight loss and some of you may be wondering if I am still losing weight.  Indeed I am, but it is coming off more slowly as I get closer to my goal.  Unfortunately, I still have a LOT to lose before I reach goal.  I have now completed losing 58% of the weight that I need to lose.  So when I consider how much more there still is to lose, it can get depressing, even with my past success.  I find that I need the accountability of weekly weigh-ins at TOPS even more than ever to keep me on track.
Yes, I am showing off my pin....
but I did take it off before I went shopping.

Today was a special TOPS day because it was my first TOPS rally.  This morning around 9am, people from all over southwest Missouri met in Joplin to get encouraged and to encourage each other in their desire to be a healthy weight.  I would never have guessed in January when I went to that first TOPS meeting that I would be 115 pounds lighter by October, but if I had known, I would have been a lot more satisfied while dealing with hunger, cravings, old habits and new foods!  I certainly never would have guessed that I would even have lost a 100 this whole year so it was really special to receive my 100 pin today.

The rally was a great opportunity to hear how others were staying on track, reaching and keeping their goal weights for years.  It was a good reminder that even though "goal weight" is a long ways away, the ultimate goal of maintaining a healthy weight is never going to end and I am always going to need the support of people who will help me be accountable for my weight....I am so glad that I found a group as great as TOPS for that gentle, and sometimes crazy, but always consistent accountability. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Exploring Kansas

It has been a long time since I posted, but we have been busy!  We have left the farm, and we have been back for a weekend visit because we miss it.  We purchased two homes in Kansas which we were preparing to be our new home, but now we have learned that the ideal school that we thought our kids would attend is likely closing so we are a bit hesitant to invest much more in the houses since we do not know if they will hold their value after the school closes.  We still have our home in Neosho and we are just starting the transition towards being Kansans. 

This Saturday was our first Saturday in Kansas, and we spent it exploring Hickory Creek Farm, which is just outside McCune.  Daddy had a debate tournament so it was just the kids, our helper, her younger brother and I.  This was my first time driving the bus, but we took mostly dirt roads from McCune.  I was relieved that we did not even meet another car on the way there.  By the time we were headed home, I was much more comfortable with the bus.  I might even drive it again.

The kids loved Hickory Creek Farm and due to the flatness of Kansas it was much easier for me with my wheelchair than our Missouri favorite at Right Choices Corn Maze.  Hickory Creek does not have accessible hay rides, but Grace carried Vanessa onto the wagon.  Jon has never cared for hayrides so he and I sat that out with him.  The playground area was awesome.  It has great activities, and it is mostly fenced which made watching Nate easier. 

Now I must say that I had always thought Ava, MO was very rural with country fun.  However, Kansas has reset the bar on rural fun.  While we were at Hickory Creek, we saw and even participated in events and activities like duck races, pig races, chicken races, rope making, and hay bale moving contests.  BTW-The duck race was my favorite!  Those ducks really move!

If you get a chance to come checkout Hickory Creek Farm, then please let Ruth know that we sent you and let us know so we can meet you at our new houses and give you a tour!