Success is …

We all want success. We want to look good when we go to the beach, or the wedding, or just look good in general. We want to hit our weight loss goal (as fast as possible, of course) or maybe our body fat percentage goal. Maybe we want to run a mile just a little faster.

And, many of us will say, “Tomorrow I will … ” (Eat healthier? Start walking? Ride a bike? Start taking my own meals to work? Buy an exercise DVD?)

But what is everyone waiting for? Why did I need to wait until I was 45 to take my first steps along this journey, when I had been big for the previous 3+ decades, too.  Are we waiting for someone to become our cheerleader? Someone to encourage us, inspire us,  and hold our hands?  Someone to tell us “it’s okay” when we get weak and eat that Cadbury egg staring at us in the store?
Inspiration is nice. We all need it. But inspiration can only take us so far. With apologies to Thomas Edison, who was giving his definition of “genius”, I have altered his quote to read:

“Success is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.”

In other words, get off your butt and get going! Don’t talk about getting started … just get started.  Don’t talk about eating healthier–just eat healthier. Get rid of those foods that are your major weakness. If you have recently loss weight and no longer fit into your old size, donate the clothes, right now! Don’t let that security blanket sit in your closet (“just in case”) because if you think like that, you WILL be wearing that size again (and probably soon.)

And when you have the moment (or day) of weakness, don’t throw your hands in the air, wail, and shout “I failed!” Start again. No one has every lost weight in a steady and unbroken line. And no one ever will. We are humans and our bodies and minds play nasty and evil tricks on us. Make sure you know your goal and keep working toward it.

If my words are inspiration to you, I am happy. That is most of the reason I put my thoughts out here. But if my words do not get you to accept your responsibility and log all your foods, to get off your butt and walk a little further, to not game the system (by taking credit for routine activities and counting that as exercise so you can eat that Cadbury egg) then that inspiration is wasted.

Nike refined Mr. Edison further. “Just do it.”

YOU are in control of your body. You can do it. Or not. Your choice.

The Many Lives of Beer Can Chicken

I try to be efficient with my time. Why only cook one meal when you can easily prepare for two meals simultaneously?

Beer Can Chicken (aka Beer Butt Chicken)
Serves 2? 4? 8? 16? Depends on how hungry everyone is!

Get your grill going to about 350F.

Take a whole chicken. Rub the outside with some olive oil. Sprinkle your favorite seasoning on it. I used Penzey’s Bouquet Garni.

Find an empty beer can. If you don’t have an empty one, buy some beer and pour half the can into a glass. Insert the can into the open end of the chicken. It will stand upright on its two legs and the half-full can of beer.

While working, drink the beer in your glass. Repeat as needed. Grilling is hot work!

If you prefer to not use beer, use any empty soda can and your choice of liquids. I have used orange juice, cola, ice tea, wine and margarita mix. The options are endless.

When the grill is hot, place the bird on the grate as in the picture. Use indirect heat if possible, and place the bird on a pie tin to catch the drippings and prevent a flair up. It will be done when the breast meat has an internal temp of 165F (or when the internal juices run clear.)  This will be approximately 90 minutes.

Nutritional Data (per 6 ounces of meat, skinless and boneless):
Calories:       180
Fat:                 4.5g
Sat fat:            1.5g
Chol:             128mg
Sodium:          75mg
Carbs:              0g
Fiber:               0g
Protein:          36g

The meal as I served it to the family.  Beer Can Chicken, Sweet-Sour Cucumbers, Corn on the Cob, and my Zucchini-Potato Pancakes.

Sweet-Sour Cucumbers
Serve 8 (Approximately 3/4 portions)

5 cucumbers, peeled and sliced
1 small onion, slice very thin
Kosher salt

In layers, slice one cucumber, add a slice of onion, and top with a sprinkling of salt. Repeat until the cucumbers are all sliced. Place a plate on the cucumbers and top with a heavy weight (a gallon of water is ideal.)  Let sit on the counter at room temperature. Occasionally drain off the liquid. The idea here is to dehydrate the cucumbers so that they absorb the dressing when you add it.

1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons table sugar
2 tablespoons Splenda

Dissolve together. You will probably need to microwave this to get the sugar fully dissolved.

After the cucumbers have been sitting for 3-4 hours, and all liquid is drained off, quickly rinse with cold water, and then press with the plate to remove the water. Pour the dressing in the bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Nutritional Data (per 6 ounces of meat, skinless and boneless):
Calories:          31
Fat:                0.2g
Sat fat:           0.0g
Chol:             0.0mg
Sodium:           3mg
Carbs:            6.5g
Fiber:             0.9g
Protein:          0.8g

After the meal, strip all the meat from the carcass of the bird. Add to a large kettle, with a medium onion chopped in large pieces, 2 large carrots chopped, 2 ribs of celery, a bay leaf, 2-3 cloves garlic crushed, and 1 tsp whole peppercorns.  Add 6 cups water, bring to a boil, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Let simmer for 2 hours and pour through a colander. Chill overnight and remove the thickened chicken fat.  You should have about 1 quart of low-sodium chicken stock. (I doubled everything for my batch as pictured above.)

Then, the last step …

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
Serve 4 (1 3/4 cups per portion)

1/4 cup wild rice
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 ounces raw mushrooms, sliced
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed and minced
1/4 cup diced carrots
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup white wine
1 quart chicken stock
1 tsp sage (or other preferred spices)
1/4 tsp table salt
8 ounces cooked chicken, chopped
1/2 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt

1.  Prepare wild rice according to directions. You will need about 1/4 cup dry rice. This will take about an hour.
2.  While the rice is cooking, prepare the mushrooms, carrots, onions and garlic.
3.  Heat the olive oil in a large soup kettle. Add mushrooms, onions and carrots. Cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic.
4.  Add flour.  Cook another 2 minutes, stirring.
5.  Add wine.  Mix, then add 1 quart chicken stock. Bring to a boil.  Add chicken, and reduce to a simmer. Add spices and salt.
6.  When the rice is done, add to the soup. Stir in Greek yogurt.
7.  Taste and adjust spices and salt as needed.

Nutritional Data (per 6 ounces of meat, skinless and boneless):
Calories:       257
Fat:                7.5g
Sat fat:           2.2g
Chol:              48mg
Sodium:         240mg
Carbs:              30g
Fiber:              1.9g
Protein:         20.8g

We just got done feeding this soup and a bowl of salad to four teenage boys and a teen age girl. They all agreed that the soup was a good meal.

Lobster Tails, Shrimp Cocktail and Rye Bread

Lobster (Four 4 ounce tails, with the shell on, serves 2)
Add 1/2 cup white wine to a kettle.  Heat to boiling, lay lobsters in the wine. Cover, reduce heat to simmer, and wait 7-8 minutes. Serve with melted butter.

Nutritional data (6 ounces of lobster meat from two tails):
Calories:      167
Fat:                  1g
Sat fat:          0.2g
Chol:           123mg
Sodium:       647mg
Carbs:          2.2g
Fiber:              0g
Protein:      34.9g

Shrimp Cocktail
Serves 4

1 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 pound shrimp (any size)  Buying them peeled and deveined makes the work easier.

1.  If the shrimp are frozen, thaw them. If fully cooked, move to step three.
2.  If raw, bring a kettle water to a boil. When boiling add the shrimp. Shrimp are done in 1-3 minutes, depending on how big your kettle is (bigger kettles with more water will cook faster.)  Shrimp will be bright white and orange when done. Do not over cook.  Drain into a colander and let them drip.
3.  Mix remaining ingredients.
4.  Serve.  Enjoy.

Nutritional data (6 ounces of lobster meat):
Calories:      100
Fat:                  1g
Sat fat:             0g
Chol:           140mg
Sodium:       135mg
Carbs:             0g
Fiber:              0g
Protein:         19g

Homemade Rye Bread
Make four 1 pound loaves, 10 slices per loaf

3 cups lukewarm water
2 packets of bread yeast
1/2 tablespoon kisher salt
5 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup rye flour

1.  In a 4-5 quart container (with a lid that you can loosely cover–I like to use a 5 quart ice cream pail) add the water, yeast and salt. Mix together to help the salt dissolve and the yeast rehydrate.
2.  Scoop and scrape all the flour (both types) and add into the water.
3.  With a wooden spoon, or a dough hook on a mixer or your bare hands, mix the flour into the water until everything is evenly wet. This will take 3-5 minutes, and will get stiff rapidly. When the dough is evenly wet, stop.  DO NOT KNEAD THE DOUGH.
4.  Loosely cover and place somewhere (room temperature) for at least 2 hours. (As long as 4 hours won’t hurt.)
5.  At the end of this time, the dough will have risen. DO NOT PUNCH DOWN OR OTHERWISE HANDLE THE DOUGH.  Place the container in the refigerator overnight. (The dough can be immediately made into loaves right now, but it is easier to handle when cold.)
6.  The next day, sprinkle flour on the surface of the dough and cut out 1/4. Liberally dust with flour, and shape into a ball.  Lay on a surface covered with corn meal and let it rest at room temp for 40 minutes.
7.  Place a baking stone in the oven, and a metal pan half filled with water in the over and pre-heat to 450.
8.  After 40 minutes of rest, slide the bread onto the baking stone (a pizze peel works best for this.)  If you remember, make some superficial cuts into the top of the dough for a nice pattern.  I rarely remember.
9.  Bake for 35 minutes. Remove, let cool and devour.

Nutritional data (1 slice, approximately 1.5 ounces):
Calories:      74
Fat:              0.3g
Sat fat:            0g
Chol:              0mg
Sodium:      117mg
Carbs:        15.2g
Fiber:             1g
Protein:       2.2g’

Note: the raw dough will keep in the fridge, covered, for up to 7-10 days. The longer it sits, the better then flavor as it will begin to pick up a sourdough quality. In other words, the last loaf of the batch will probably be the best loaf. And if you really want to make things easy, when you use the last of the dough, do not wash the bucket. Simply add all the ingredients for a new batch, stirring in any bits of old dough. In this manner, the sourdough character will develop faster.

Hoisin Pork and Grilled Bok Choy

Hoisin Pork and Grilled Bok Choy (Pak-choi)
Serves 4

1 pound pork tenderloin
Pepper to taste (Chinese 5 Spice powder is a nice addition)
2 medium bok choy
4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon Hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Pepper to taste (Chinese 5 Spice powder is a nice addition)
Sesame seeds (optional)

1.  Slice pork down the middle (the long way) but not completely through the meat. Open it up, place it in a freezer strength Ziplock baggie and pound it flat to 1/4 – 1/3 inch. Remove and sprinkle with pepper and a bit of the 5 spice powder (optional.)
2.  Slice the bok choy down the middle (the long way), but this time, completely through. Rinse the leaves of any dirt. While still wet, place on a microwave-safe platter, and microwave on high for 3-4 minutes, or until the stalks are hot but still firm. Set aside.
3.  While the bok choy is in the microwave, mix together the Hoisin sauce, vinegar, and honey. Set aside.
4.  In a non-stick skillet, spray with cooking spray and cook the pork 3-4 minutes per side. Remove from the heat when done and cover with a piece of aluminum foil.
5.  In the same skillet, add the sauce mixture. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly.  When boiling, reduce heat to low, return meat to sauce and let everything get hot.
6.  In a large non-stick skillet (or a griddle is best) spray with cooking spray and heat over med-high heat.
7.  Sprinkle the bok choy with the sesame oil, and lay them cut-side down on the griddle.  Cook until it starts to brown (3-4 minutes), then flip and repeat.
8.  Garnish the bok choy with sesame seeds (optional.)

Nutritional data (4 ounces of pork and 1/4 of the sauce):
Calories:      170
Fat:                4.8g
Sat fat:           1.2g
Chol:              60mg
Sodium:        256mg
Carbs:         11.8g
Fiber:               0g
Protein:       23.2g

(I also served mine with steamed acorn squash.)

Plan Your Day … But Have a Back-up Plan, Too.

The weekend was a nice one. On Saturday, I finally got my wife’s bike adjusted. I raised the seat for her and that really made her pedalling more efficient. I also inflated her tires (they were about 25 psi under-inflated.) I checked mine, and found that they were also under-pressured by the same amount. I filled them and found that–surprise!–it rides better. I also noticed that my front tire is a lot more worn than my rear tire. I told her that I would need a new tire soon. (If you can, try to imagine the theme music to “Jaws”.)

On Sunday, my wife and I took out eldest son back to college and did some browsing at bookstores before going home. I also picked up some bike riding gloves and was anxious to see how it changes my grip on the handle bars. So we planned to go for a nice ride before coming home and making our lobster dinner.

But those plans came to a screeching halt. I got my bike helmet and new gloves on, and walked to the bike only to find that my front tire was absolutely flat. The rubber on the sidewalls was shredding. Argh! No riding last night. (But, on a more positive note, can you imagine if the tire had catastrophically failed while I was rolling down the road?)

So our backup plan was activated. We took Ozzy for a two mile walk. Another enjoyable activity and Ozzy had fun sniffing at every tree, light pole and clump of grass. And by the time we got home, the oven was preheated for the loaf of homemade rye bread that we served with dinner.

Primary plans and back-up plans are needed when trying to change your weight, too. If you are using LoseIt, you are given a specific number of calories for your daily budget. If you are use Weight Watchers, you have your daily points. It all amounts to the same thing: your daily plan for success. But what happens when you have a flat tire in your plan? Maybe you unexpected gain some weight? Or maybe you develop joint pain that prevents you from running? Or maybe it is just that dreaded office “pig-out” that is happening today?

Successful people always have options, and they never quit. Unexpected weight gain? (Drink more water, make sure the scale doesn’t need a new battery, walk a little extra.) Joint pain? (Start riding a bike, go swimming, lift weights.) Office pig-out? (Bring something that you know you can safely eat, eat a bigger breakfast so that maybe you won’t be as hungry, grab the smallest plate you can find and only put one layer of food on it.)

My contribution to today’s office pig-out: Caramelized Onion Hummus and Pita Chips

Choices, Responsibilities and Anticipation

Wow! I am nine weeks into my  “target weight range” phase of my life. My eating practices are becoming well-entrenched habits. I am eating up to (or close to, or even slightly over) my budgeted calories everyday. And I am incorporating new exercises into my routine (walking, biking, and light weight lifting is my routine.)

When I read the posts that others make on, many people stop logging when they enter their maintenance phase. So I wonder, should I stop logging my food? Do I really need to keeping going to every day and check my friends’ progress? Do I need to keep posting on the threads, providing helpful answers (well, I hope they are helpful) to others? I spend time everyday doing that. Is it time well-spent?

In my mind, yes, that time is very well-spent. I’ve been fat (a less politically correct statement–but more direct–than “I’ve had excess stores of fat in my body”) since I was a child. I never had the ability to control how much I ate. I was good at sneaking food. As a teenager, I would walk to the local grocery store (well, at least I walked the one mile round trip) and come back with a pint of sour cream, a large bag of potato chips, and a one pound bag of mini-Tootsie Rolls. Then I would go into my room, turn the TV on, and eat all of that as an evening snack. When I have no accountability, that means I can do what I want.

Life is about choices. I chose to eat those Tootsie Rolls. No one was forcing me to buy the sour cream and chips. But if I choose to stop logging my food and stop interacting with my friends and supporters, I fear that my success will be short-lived. Based on the many attempts at weight management in the past (including Nutri-System in the 80’s, “medically controlled” at a Phen-Fen clinic in 1997, hypnosis in 1995 and again in 2001, as well as several diet plans in the 2000’s) I never was able to reach my target goal, let alone stay at that goal. But now that I am at goal, I realize that I need to take responsibility for my continued success. I need to keep doing the actions that brought success.

Others may have lasting success without logging their food, and to them I say “Congratulations, you have reached your goal and changed your life!” But I believe that I will be logging my food for decades to come, if only because for the past five decades I never really took responsibility for the food I ate. And as many people say in the forums “The weight didn’t go on in a month, and it won’t leave in a month.” I think that LoseIt will be my activity for the remainder of my life, and that is okay with me. It is my continued acknowledgment that my actions have consequences, and a reminder that success is not guaranteed without effort and focus.

But I also have learned the joy of anticipating future events. Tonight, my wife and I will enjoy a meal at home, alone except for Ozzy.  Our eldest son will return to college by noon today and our youngest son is traveling with his high school band on a spring break trip to Tennessee. We will have a dinner featuring four ounce lobster tails, some drawn butter, wine and side dishes yet to be decided. And that meal, while serving as a celebration of some rare alone time, also acts as an appetizer for our upcoming summer vacation.

We (just the two of us–no kids, no dog) are driving to Boston, Maine, Niagara Falls and the wine country along Lake Erie this summer. And especially while in Maine, we will enjoy seafood. Real lobsters, fresh of the boats, drowned in butter and served with locally brewed ales. Steamed clams, fried clams, and lobster rolls will also be enjoyed. (And more beer.) It has been 12 years since my wife and I have taken a vacation without the children (and that was a short four-day cruise) and more than 20 years since the two of us have taken a vacation of more than a week’s duration. And I can’t wait! We chose these stops for historical, visual and cultural experiences. And for the food.

The trip is three months away. While on vacation, I will post pictures of the meals we enjoy, as well as any exceptional sights along the way. And I will log my food into LoseIt every day. We might be “free eating” but I will still take responsibility for my actions and log everything.

Life is about making a series of choices. Accepting responsibility for your actions. And anticipating life each day upon awakening.


I just wanted to show a picture of our “new” bikes. (New to us, that is.) It has been a long time since either my wife or I have ridden bikes and we did not want to spend a lot of money on something that might simply gather dust (or in the case of our first treadmill, turn into an auxiliary clothes rack.)

We picked them up at a local resale shop, paying $20 or less for each. They won’t win races, but that isn’t the point. They will get us out riding, and exercises our muscles in a different manner. That will help prevent a muscle routine from setting in and slowing our progress.

So far this week, I went for a 5.5 mile ride and 6.5 mile ride. And I have learned three things. The first is that riding a bike uses muscles differently than walking. Second, my butt gets sore after a ride!

But third, it feels great to ride around on it. I forgot how much fun I had as a kid, riding my old beat-up Schwinn. When I was growing up, we lived in a small rural-ish community. Only the main roads were paved. There was a lot of open space, trees everywhere and we all had bikes. We spent hours riding around the neighborhood. (Of course, when I got home, I ate like food was so going to be taken away. Far more than I really needed to health, which eventually got me to where I am …er, was!)

So, these bikes take me back. And I enjoy the places that they take me, literally and figuratively.

What activity could you add to your day, to help return some of the peaceful joy that so often is stripped away by daily living? Maybe it’s walking. Swimming. Go kayaking. (Sleeping would be peaceful, but that won’t help burn calories.) Take your dog out for another walk. Dig and plant a garden, the weed it weekly. Learn yoga or tai chi. Learn to dance!

If you can find an activity that helps bring essential peace and relaxation (even if it is strenuous work), you are more likely to continue that activity. And activities helps burn calories! (See? I finally brought this blog post directly back to weight loss.)

“Why Isn’t It Working?”

I read the forum on and a common title for new threads is “I’m stuck!” or “I’m doing the same, but now I’m gaining!” Rather than comment to each of those threads, I thought I’d throw out my thoughts and ideas here. As with all my ideas, feel free to take them or leave them. I won’t be offended either way. Pour yourself a mug of water, grab an apple or ounce of almonds, and relax. (This won’t be too painful.)

I’ve said all along (as have numerous other people, far more educated than I am), the basis of weight loss is consume fewer calories than you burn (or burn more calories than you consume, it works both ways.) If you want to lose one pound per week, you need to burn 3500 calories more than you consume.  That’s it. Right?

Well, yeah. Sort of.  But there is more. There is always more.

So let’s say that you are eating at a moderate weight-loss level, yet above your BMR/RMR (Basal Metabolic Rate/Resting Metabolic Rate) and you are well-hydrated. You are also more active than you have been in the past. And the freakin’ scale stays the same, or worse, starts moving the wrong way!

What else can affect your weight?

  • Medications. For example, I am using naproxen for my knee, and it caused a 3.5 pound gain in two days.
  • Hormonal changes.
  • General illness.
  • Lack of sleep. I can’t remember where I read it, but people who sleep less than seven hours a night those weight at a slower rate than those who sleep more than seven hours.
  • Routine. If you always exercise in the same pattern, your body will develop more efficient movements to match, which in turn will burn fewer calories.

And stress. Stress can throw your entire body out of whack. And before you think I have lost my gourd, let’s look at what stress/negative emotions can do to our bodies. Stress can cause flair-ups of irritable bowel syndrome (as attested to by some of my students!)  GERD (heartburn) can be attributed to stress, as can  nausea. Insomnia. Lethargy. Hair loss. (See? I’m just under stress, not getting old!) Acne. It can cause chest pain that mimics a heart attack (and could precipitate an actual attack if the person.) Personally, when I have increased stress, my eczema break out on my hands and in major stress I can have an asthma attack.thargy

Our minds are our most powerful machine and that machine has the levers to control every function in our body. Why should we think it can’t limit our ability to change our weight?

So, what to do about it? If possible, reduce the stress in your life. (Yes, I know. Easier said than done.) But try to reduce the stressors that are under your control. And stepping on the scale is one of those. Stop weighing yourself for a few days. Keep eating and drinking the correct amount. Don’t stop that, because that is what will get you to your goal. But stop looking at the scale. A watched pot never boils, is how the old saying goes (although, my variation is a watched oven never bakes … until you remember to turn it on!) Ignore the scale, especially if you have been weighing yourself daily.  Stop for a week or two. If you eat properly, your body will continue to live with the calorie deficit which will drive your weight loss.

Just eliminate one piece of stress from your emotional load, and that may be just enough to bounce you back on track.

Where Have I Been?

Okay, I’ll admit it. I’ve been slacking here lately.

Oh, I am still working my plan, using to track my calories eaten and using my FitBit to track calories burned. But I haven’t made a good post here lately.  I’m not sure why, but I think it is part of the edd and flow of life. When I started this blog, I was getting close to my goal. It was exciting, and a little scary to realize that I was close to succeeding.  I used the blog to celebrate my goal. When I experienced an emotional downturn (the depression at reaching my goal and losing my all-encompassing goal) I was able to talk here, and use everyone to help me through it. And now that I have enjoyed a stable weight for just over 8 weeks, it is starting to feel normal.

However, I do not want to get complacent. I guess I just need to get back to writing here. I enjoy putting my thoughts down here. It helps me stay organized and focused. So what I’m saying is that you need to prepare for me to babble a bit.

When I started running, I posted my running stats. But since I hurt my knee, the running is on hold. (I tried to run after taking naproxen. The first run went well. But during the second run, my left knee–the problem knee–started locking up intermittently in mid-stride. Not good!) It hurts. I guess I should have listened to others (and to my common sense) when it was mentioned that an anti-inflammatory only helps resolve the pain cause by inflammation, but does not necessarily heal the cause of the inflammation. My recent run (yesterday morning) seems to have been a serious mistake. It’s a good thing I still have that appointment with the orthopedic surgeon!

On the other hand, yesterday evening I pulled my bicycle out of the garage and took it for a spin. That sounds so mundane, but I haven’t ridden a bike since 1996 (and stopped when someone stole it.) I found a simple Huffy at a resale shop and it rides great! Last night I did a nice 5.5 mile ride and found out that I can still do it! And it didn’t bother my knee at all (although I will admit, after getting off it, my legs were a bit like Jell-O for a few minutes.) My wife also got a bike from the same resale shop, and after we tweak hers a bit, we will be able to go for rides together. When I get home, I will post some pics of our inexpensive new wheels.

Remember, if you are trying to control your weight or to reach a specific goal, you need to control how much you eat and you need to increase how many calories you burn. That is the core belief behind the idea of “Calories In, Calories Out.” Eat the correct amount and move more.

So, what are you doing for exercise? It’s good to change it up occasionally. It’s spring, and perfect walking weather. I still walk a lot (I love my Fitbit!) but walking is getting pretty routine. The only way to bump up the challenge is to increase the distance and that requires more time. However, I have found a couple local hiking trails (rails to trails) that are short to moderate to long in length. The short one is Devil’s River State Trail, a 14 miles long former railroad line that is covered in crushed rock. At 25 miles, the Fox River Trail is a combination of paved and crushed gravel surface that starts parallel to the Fox River and then meanders through the countryside. The longest of the nearby trails is the Mountain-Bay trail, another “rail to trail” that is surfaced with crushed gravel, and is 88 miles from Green Bay to Wausau. Time is not always in great supply, but I would like to explore those paths, just to see different scenery. Ultimately, I’d love to hike Wisconsin’s Ice Age Trail, but at approximately 1100 miles, that will need to wait until a) I retire, or b) I win the lottery (or ideally BOTH!) 

Riding the bike is a new activity for us, and really exercises the thigh muscles. I used to try to ride a stationary bike, but that just is not the same. (The same goes for walking on a treadmill as opposed to walking outdoors.) It’s nice to feel the wind on your face, knowing that the wind it created by my work. I never plan to enter any races, but it is relaxing to ride. And given that it doesn’t seem to bother my knee, it may become my primary outdoor exercise.

Here is something new! I would like some input from all of you. You know I like to prepare meals. I love cooking! But sometimes I need new ideas. If there is something you’d like me to make, and then post here, leave comment. It doesn’t need to be a full recipe suggestion. Maybe you just want an idea of how to prepare turkey on the grill or a tasty vegetarian dish. (Don’t suggest exotic meats, because I don’t have access to ostrich, kangaroo or alligator meat.) I can’t promise to make everything suggested, but I will do what I can.

Blueberry Protein Pancakes

Blueberry Protein Pancakes

Makes 2 servings of 4 pancakes. 
Mix together:
4 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup blueberries, pureed in a food processor or blender
¼ c water
½ cup dry oatmeal
½ tsp baking powder
2 T milled flaxseed
1 scoop (4T) whey powder
Pour scant ¼ c onto a non-stick skillet sprayed with cooking spray.  Turn when the batter starts to set (1-2 minutes over medium heat.)  This is thick batter, and bubbles will usually not form on the surface.
Serve with whipped cream, sautéed bananas, peanut butter or Greek Yogurt.
Nutritional data (for four pancakes):
Cal:  338
Fat:  6.7g 
Sat Fat: 1.2g 
Chol:  20 
Sodium:  248mg 
Carb:  44.9g 
Fiber 10.3g 
Protein:  25.8g 
(The nutritional data is without any toppings.)