The “Ps” of Long Term Success, the Final Piece of the Puzzle AND my FIRST EVER GIVEAWAY!

You’ve got PASSION, are PLANNED and PREPARED. You’ve PROCEEDED towards your goal with PERSISTENCE and you PAY ATTENTION with PATIENCE.

You have a PASSION for your goal, and have a well-defined PLAN and are PREPARED. You PROCEEDED on your path, with PERSISTENCE and are PAY ATTENTION with deep PATIENCE.

What’s left?


This time of year is a challenge. Thanksgiving feasts. Neighborhood parties. Holiday parties at the office. Christmas and New Years. The food is never ending. And it is all soooo good!

And in parts of the country and world, the weather begins to turn nasty. It gets cold. Blustery. Snowy. Night comes earlier than we want, and our commitment to before- and after-work activity diminishes. We start to get more enthusiastic about sitting in our recliner than taking that extra walk.

And you know what happens then.

The scale creeps upward. And that is so frustrating. You get angry at yourself for “losing willpower.” You feel as though you “failed.”

Pardon yourself. Forgive yourself for your slips. We are all human. No one is perfect and can show daily losses on the scale. We are not machines. So go easy on yourself. Remind yourself that every day is another day and each time you eat, you have another chance to make a good decision. Eating to excess on one day should not trigger a bad choice the next day.

If you are using LoseIt, or Weight Watchers, you are given a set budget, either calories or points. Maybe during this time of year, you might be better off to temporarily stop your quest for losses and increase your budget to your maintenance level so that you don’t lose, but also don’t  gain. That may give you enough of a budget so that you can avoid the self-recriminations for overeating during the holiday season. But don’t stop logging what you eat. And don’t stop getting on the scale. Logging provides accountability and the scale gives one form of feedback.

Taking a break is not quitting. If you follow NASCAR, you know that at some point every driver pulls out of the race and goes into the pit. Sometimes it is for gas, sometimes for tires.  But whatever the reason, it is all to help the driver succeed. Even though he/she takes a brief break and falls behind some of the other drivers, he/she knows that without that pause, the risk of catastrophic failure is greater. Pulling into pit row is not quitting. It is part of the plan, and prevent future problems. What would happen to the driver of a car who decides to push it, “just one more lap” on bad tires? A blown tire would end his/her race.

If you are excessively challenged, and everyday find yourself exceeding your budget by a little, maybe you need to drive into your pit row. Give yourself permission to take a short break. Make the conscious choice to stop and recharge yourself. Losing weight is hard work, physically, mentally and emotionally. A brief respite now might give you more energy after the new year to make a hard drive to the checkered flag.

(No. I really don’t follow racing. I just know some of the terms.)

Now, for the GIVEAWAY!

One of my favorite periodicals is Eating Well. It has great recipes that are healthy and delicious, as well as easy to make. My subscription is up for renewal and I have the opportunity to give a free one year subscription. I will give it to one of my readers.

To enter:
1.  Respond to this blog post, and tell me which of my recipes that you have made at home is your favorite. (If you haven’t made one yet, which will be the first you want to try.)
2.  If you are on Twitter, make a Tweet about this contest, such as: “Eating Well has great recipes, and you can win a subscription here” and then tell me here that you tweeted the link.
3.  If you have your own blog, mention the contest on a post with this address and add your blog address here for everyone else to see.

Each of those actions will be another entry.

I will announce the winner on Monday, December 3, 2012

You can start the New Year (or whenever they start the subscription) with a great magazine, full of new ideas for healthy and delicious food.

Welcome to All My New Followers!

Just a quick post right now. I want to welcome my new followers and thank all the others who have been following me for months. I hope that you find this blog has useful information for you. I try to right the same way I think: slightly humorous (in my mind), honest and to the point, and hopefully with interesting subject matter.

My recipes tend toward the relatively simple variety, that are also delicious and generally healthy. Not all my recipes will be strictly “diet” recipes, but my belief is that anything can be eaten, in the correct portion size (food allergies excepted, of course.)

I have used that approach to bring me to my goal weight, and stay there for more than 11 months now. It works.

Come back soon and often. Check out all the recipes (there are 100+ as of now, and I try to add 2 or 3 a week.) Also, on Friday I will announce my first ever giveaway! (It will cost nothing to enter!) Check back tomorrow for details!

Have you tried the soups yet? If you don’t have any leftover turkey, go to your local grocery store or deli and get a rotisserie chicken. That will work just as well. With the dumpling soup, don’t be stingy with the seasonings. The broth and dumplings seem to absorb the flavors of the soup. Add them during the cooking and taste often, adding more as needed.

Talk to you all tomorrow!

Turkey Dumpling Soup

Turkey Dumpling Soup
Serves 4

1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 onion, minced
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, sliced thinly
1 garlic clove, smashed and minced
16 ounces (2 cups) reduced sodium chicken stock
12 (1.5 cups) ounces water
4 ounces (0.5 cup) white wine
8 ounces shredded, cooked turkey (or chicken)
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup cottage cheese
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon seasoning (I used Penzey’s Sunny Paris. Alternative combinations could be tarragon and thyme, onion and garlic powder, or sage and celery seed)

  1. In a medium to large sauce pan (3-4 quart), heat the olive oil over med-high heat. Add onion, carrots and celery. Saute until the onion begins to turn translucent.
  2. Add garlic. Saute another minute.
  3. Add stock, wine, cooked turkey and sage. Bring to a boil, reduce heat (medium-low, but not to a low simmer) to a low boil for 15 minutes.
  4. While you wait for the soup to boil, mix together dumpling ingredients.
  5. After 15 minutes, increase the heat to medium-high.
  6. Using a soup spoon or tablespoon, drop dumpling batter into the soup by the spoonfuls. Cover, reduce heat to simmer, and let the dumplings cook for 15 minutes. They are done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Nutritional data (approximately 1.5 cups soup and 2-3 dumplings)
Calories:    192
Fat:             3.9g
Sat fat:        1.2g
Chol:            97mg
Sodium:     190mg
Carbs:        19.1g
Fiber:           1.9g
Protein:     17.9g

Creamy Turkey, Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup

Creamy Turkey, Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup
Serve 4

1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, smashed and minced
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup shredded carrot
Seasoning (your preference–I used Penzey’s Sunny Paris.)
1 cup reduced sodium chicken stock (I used homemade, no salt added chicken stock)
1/2 cup white wine
8 ounces shredded cooked turkey (or chicken)
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 cup milk
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Heat a 10″ non-stick skillet over med-high heat. Add olive oil.
  2. Sautee onions until beginning to soften and turn translucent.
  3. Add mushrooms. Let them cook, undisturbed for 2 minutes, then stir together.
  4. Add garlic and carrot.
  5. While the mushrooms are cooking, melted the butter in a small saucepan. Add flour to form a roux.
  6. Add milk, and stir over medium heat until it begins to bubble. Remove from heat.
  7. Add shredded turkey to mushrooms.
  8. Add stock and wine. Bring to a boil.
  9. Stir in the roux. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. As it cooks it will thicken.

Nutritional data:
Calories:       222
Fat:                7.7g
Sat fat:           4.3g
Chol:              46mg
Sodium:         54mg
Carbs:         16.5g
Fiber:            1.5g
Protein:      16.4g

Ginger Broccoli Pork Stir Fry

Ginger Broccoli Pork Stir Fry
Serves 6
3 cups fresh (or frozen) broccoli
24 ounces pork, sliced into 1″ x 1/2″ strips
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
10 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated or finely minced

8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix together in a small bowl:
4 tablespoons orange marmalade
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 tablespoon water

  1. Heat a non-stick skillet (10″) over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  2. When the oil is hot, carefully add pork slices. Brown on all sides. When browned, remove from skillet, cover and keep warm
  3. Add remaining teaspoon olive oil to the pan.
  4. Add onions. Saute until the just begin to turn translucent.
  5. Turn heat to medium. Add mushrooms, and let them cook, undisturbed for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Stir onions and mushrooms together. Add garlic and ginger.  Mix together.
  7. Meanwhile, heat broccoli in a microwave until hot and still crisp.
  8. Add broccoli and pork to skillet.
  9. Pour sauce into skillet. Stir to coat. Serve when combined and hot.

Nutritional data:
Calories:      330
Fat:              14.1g
Sat fat:           4.3g
Chol:          96.3mg
Sodium:      112mg
Carbs:        16.4g
Fiber:              2g
Protein:     36.2g

I Will Return…


I ate well yesterday, and currently I am still in a borderline post-feast coma. When I fully recover, I will post the pictures of the feast and will post the LAST “P” of long term success!

And this “P” is probably going to be needed by some (most?) of the readers.

Bourbon Pecan Pie

Bourbon Pecan Pie
Serves 12 (small pieces of a rich pie)

1 pie crust (this recipe assumes a store bought crust)
1 cup pecan halves
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoon melted unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon molasses
1.5 ounces bourbon

  1. Preheat oven to 425. Line a glass 9″ pie plate with the pie crust dough. Fold and pinch overhang to form a nice decorative crust.
  2. Line pie shell with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Fill with dried beans or rice, and bake 15 minutes
  3. Remove foil and beans, bake another 5-10 minutes, until golden brown.
  4. Cool on a wire rack.
  5. Coarsely chop 3/4 cup pecans.
  6. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, syrup, sugar, butter, vanilla, eggs and bourbon until blended. Stir in all pecans (chopped and halves.)
  7. Pour filling into crust.
  8. Bake 45-50 minutes, until the edges are set, but the center is still a little jiggly. Using an aluminum shield (or aluminum foil) will prevent excess browning of the crust.)
  9. Cool on a wire rack completely.
  10. Serve with whipped cream

Nutritional data:
Calories:     279
Fat:           16.3g
Sat fat:           5g
Chol:        66.4mg
Sodium:  125.2mg
Carbs:      31.5g
Fiber:         0.9g
Protein:      2.8g

Turkey Gravy

Turkey Gravy
Serves:12 (1/4 cup portions)

2 cup pan drippings, with as much floating grease removed as possible
1 cup hot water
Salt and pepper as needed to taste

  1. Combine equal parts flour and melted butter together (roux). Start with 1/4 cup butter and flour. It’s easy to make more if needed.
  2. Bring the pan drippings and water to a boil.
  3. When boiling whisk in small amounts of roux until you get the consistency that you desire. The gravy will continue to thicken as it cools on the table.
  4. Using a roux and whisking while adding the roux to the boiling liquids will reduce or eliminate lumps.
  5. You can add finely minced cooked turkey liver for more flavor. Alternatively, you can also replace some water with beer or wine.

Nutritional data (approximate, will vary with the consistency of the pan drippings):
Calories:      82
Fat:            8.2g
Sat fat:       4.1g
Chol:       14.2mg
Sodium:    5.6mg
Carbs:      1.9g
Fiber:       0.3g
Protein:     0.5g

Basic Poultry Stuffing/Dressing

Basic Poultry Stuffing
Serves: 12

18 slices bread, toasted and cubed (Healthy Life brand, Whole Wheat)
2 tablespoon olive oil
Seasoning as desired
2 large onions, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
2 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
8 strips of bacon
Chicken stock

  1. Either purchase bread cubes or make your own. I laid out 18 slices of bread, brushed one surface with olive oil, and seasoned the bread with sage, onion powder, garlic powder and ground celery seed.
  2. Preheat oven to 400F. Lay prepared bread on baking sheets (or directly on the grates.)
  3. Bake until beginning to brown (8-10 minutes.)
  4. Dice into 1/4 inch cubes.
  5. Fry bacon until crumbly. Crumble and set aside.
  6. Measure out 2 tablespoons bacon grease. Saute onion and celery over medium heat until the onions caramelize and the celery softens (10-15 minutes.)
  7. Add garlic, sage and pepper in the last minute of cooking the onion and celery.
  8. In three quart oven-safe dish, add half the onions-celery and bread cubes. Stir to mix, and add chicken stock to moisten, but not soak.
  9. Add remaining bread cubes and onions and half the crumbled bacon. Add more stock. Again, you want the mixture moist, but not soupy. The amount of stock will depend on how dry the bread is.
  10. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes uncovered (or until hot enough for you.) This only needs to be heated, there is nothing to cook.
  11. Five minutes before it is finished, sprinkle remaining bacon over the top.  Add additional chicken stock if it seems too dry.

You can substitute wine or beer for half of the chicken stock, if preferred, for a slightly different flavor.

Nutritional data:
Calories:     133
Fat:             7.2g
Sat fat:           2g
Chol:             7mg
Sodium:     257mg
Carbs:      15.2g
Fiber:         3.7g
Protein:      4.9g

Turkey Brine and Roasting Recipe

2 quarts apple cider
2 cups dark brown sugar, packed
2 cups kosher salt
1/4 cup black peppercorns
1 tablespoon juniper berries
4 bay leaves
1 cinnamon sticks (3-inch)
1 teaspoon whole cloves
4 quarts dark beer (I am using my own German Rye)

Other needed ingredients:
1 stick butter
1 cup chicken stock
Your preferred seasoning, or a mix of sage, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper and ground celery seed.

  1. Dissolve brine ingredients together. Pour into a large bucket or cooler. Add a thawed turkey and submerge in the brine. (Weight it with a brick if needed to keep it submerged.)
  2. Keep it cool for 24 hours. When ready to roast, pat dry and place in roaster.
  3. Melt the butter. Basted the turkey with half the butter. Season it well. Roast at 400F for 30 minutes.
  4. Baste with remaining butter. Reseason. Turn the oven down to 300F and roast for 30 minutes.
  5. Baste with 1/2 cup chicken stock. Reseason. Baste once more, about half-way through this roasting period. 

Total roasting time is 15-17 minutes per pound (unstuffed turkey). Roast to an internal temp of 155F in the thickest part of the breast, but not touching bone. When you withdraw the thermometer, the juices should run clear. I know the serving temp for turkey is at least 165F. But when you are done roasting, you need to let the turkey rest before carving, 20-30 minutes. During that time, the bird will continue to cook (all that mass hold heat very well.)  When you are ready to carve, the temp will be at least 165. (That’s why so many birds are overdone and dry, because by the time the bird is carved the internal temp is 180 or more.)