Christmas Dinner

I had never made a boneless New York Strip roast before, and I broke my cardinal rule of party planning (never make a dish for the first time the day of the party.)

Fortunately, as you can see above, all went well. That was a six pound roast, rubbed with my garlic-olive oil paste, onion and fresh cracked black pepper. I placed the roast in an foil baking pan, because I wanted to roast this, not grill it I preheated the grill on high for about ten minutes. My grill has four burners so when I put the pan on the grill, I turned off the two burners directly under the roast, and adjusted the remaining two so that my grill thermometer read 300F (This would be the same if you did this in your oven. If you do this in your oven, start with your oven at 500F for 10 minutes, then turn is down to 300F.)

I used a meat thermometer, the type that stays in the meat while it is cooking, and is connected to a meter outside the grill or oven. If you do any amount of roasting, either grill or oven, I really recommend that you use a thermometer like this. You can set it to ring at your desired finished temperature and you will never overcook your food again.

The roast was the main part of the meal, and the part I was most stressed about. Everything else went smoothly. Tammy would pop into the kitchen from time to time, just to make sure everything was progressing. I made a loaf of bread which finished at the perfect time for me to start roasting the carrots. They take about 25 minutes under 450F and then another 10 minutes after adding the peas to the pan.

The bowl mixed greens and chopped pears was ready to be topped with the maple-mustard vinaigrette (with bleu cheese and walnuts on the side for those who want the full salad.)

The roast had just reached it’s finished temperature (143F) and I had pulled it off the grill. The carrots were about 10 minutes away from needing the peas to be added when Tammy pops in to ask “How are the carrots and potatoes going?”


Oh, no!!!!!

I dumped two pounds of fingerling potatoes onto a shallow jelly roll pan, drizzled olive oil, tosses with some salt and pepper and put it on the bottom rack of the hot oven. When I added the peas to the carrots, the potatoes were sizzling, and when the carrots were ready, so were the potatoes! Whew!

Everything works out!

I hope everyone enjoys your new year! I will still be here!

(P.S.: Next time, I will take the roast off the grill at 140F for a little closer to medium-rare.)

Just a Quickie Today–Do You Like Good Cocktails?

Sorry, I know you are waiting for that epic multi-thousand word post from me (or not!) but today is a busy day, prepping for Christmas #2. I just have a quick note here today.

If you, or someone you love, appreciates high-quality cocktails and you need to find something new, check out Bittercube bitters.

A six pack variety box, each is a one ounce bottle with a dropper for dispensing. Each bottle will make up to 30 cocktails. A recipe card comes with it (try the “Of the Older Fashioned”) as well as a link to more recipes on their website.

This is a small Wisconsin-based company who hand-crafts these wonderful products. Since I appreciate small-batch and hand-crafted items (beer, cheese, sausage, whiskey) this sort of company fits my personality.

So. If you like good cocktails, stick with Angostura. (It is a very good bitters.) But if you want incredible and unique cocktails, flavors that none of your neighbors can match, check out Bittercube.


My podcast, Make Your Someday Today is a twice-weekly show, where we talk to successful people in all walks of life and around the world on Monday, and then on Thursday, I take a specific message from the previous guest and give my “Trevitorial”, where I help you apply that message to your life. The entire purpose of the show is to help all of us overcome our challenges and fears and become the person we want to be, the person we deserve to be. I hope you give it a listen! 

Caramel Cashew Chex

Caramel Cashew Chex Mix

Make a lot! Assuming 1 ounce by weight, this will make about 50 portions
12-14 ounce box of Chex, Crispix or similar breakfast cereal
12 ounces cashews
2 sticks butter (unsalted is best)
2 cups brown sugar
½ cup corn syrup
½ teaspoon baking soda
Large paper grocery bag
1.    Pour cereal into grocery bag. Add cashews.
2.    In a saucepan, melt the butter.
3.    Add brown sugar and corn syrup.
4.    Bring to a boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
5.    Add baking soda, stir to mix. This will make the syrup foamy.
6.    Pour over nuts and cereal.
7.    Scrunch the bag down so it will fit into your microwave, and microwave on high for 2 minutes.
8.    Carefully stir everything, and scrunch the bag down, microwaving on high for 2 more minutes.
9.    Carefully pour mix onto buttered cookie sheets. (Wax paper does NOT work, even if buttered. Peeling shreds of paper off the candy is less fun than it sounds.) Spread into an even layer, let cool and harden.
10.  Break into small pieces and store in an airtight container, preferably not where I can get at it.
Nutritional data:
Calories:        151
Fat:                7.8g
Sat fat:           3.2g
Chol:           9.8mg
Sodium:     52.6mg
Carbs:          19.3g
Fiber:             0.5g
Protein:          2.6g

My First Ever Interview!

Yes, I know, you are surprised to find out that I have not had many interviews. You probably think that someone as awesome as myself is probably in high demand for interviews and speaking engagements. After this interview hits the Internet, Dr. Phil and Oprah are probably having their assistants find my contact information so that they can talk to me!

(Psst! If you work for Dr. Phil or Oprah, you can contact be by email from my profile page.)

However, lasts Saturday a LoseIt friend interviewed me for her blog. It was fun and considering that I am not real good at spur-of-the-moment questions (Dr. Phil, have your assistant send me your questions in advance, okay?) I think it went very well.

Here is a link to her blog post.

If you don’t know my history, this is a good snapshot of where I was, and how I got where I am.

Next up from me: recipe for Caramel Cashew Chex mix. (Watch for it soon!)

New Year’s Resolutions!

Pop quiz: This year, my New Year’s resolution is: ___________
How many of you already have an answer for that question? I’m willing to guess that many of you answered that question by saying one or more of the following:
·         More Exercise
·         Better Calorie Control
·         Eat Healthier Foods
·         More Water
·         Quit Smoking
You may even have resolutions to:
·         Start That Blog
·         Write Your Book
·         Start a Business
·         Start Your Own Cold Shower Therapy Challenge (Okay, probably not that.)
Those are very good goals. I wish power and success for you to help you reach your goals in that you will start in 2014.
Wait. What?
As I write this, it is Tuesday, December 17.  The New Year is 15 days away. Why are you waiting until January 1 to start working on your resolutions, which is really only another word for “goals”?
Are you going to magically have more strength, willpower and decision-making skills in 2014 that you don’t already have? Will it be any easier to buy healthy foods in 15 days than it is now? Is 2014 the “Year of Guaranteed Success” but only for journeys that are started in that year?
Pretty ridiculous ideas, aren’t they?
No, the real reason is that right now, for the next two weeks, you will be bombarded with feasts, parties, events, meals and gifts of foods. The temptation of food will be omnipresent. You will be focused on all those activities for the next 2 weeks. Those temptations will steal time from you and you will be unable to go out and walk in the morning, or up a flight of stairs at work. You won’t have the opportunity to say “No, thank you” to that second (or third, or fourth) cocktail at the office party. You won’t have the budget to drink water instead of your daily  Caramel-Mocha-Mint-Latteccino (venti size, of course.)
Pretty ridiculous excuses, aren’t they?
You will have the same time, energy, budget in 2014 that you have right now. However, in you will be missing one thing that you currently have: 15 more days to work towards your goal, if you start right now! That is two weeks toward reaching your goal, two weeks toward creating a new habit, two weeks closer to success.
Additionally, in 2014, you probably will have an additional 1-3 pounds around your midsection from all the eating that you will do. (Great–more weight to lose!)
But here is what will happen to most people. You are going to wait to start your resolutions. And then, on New Year’s Day, you are going to wake up, and say, “Well, today is a holiday, and all the college bowl games are on, so I’ll start my resolution tomorrow.” The next day is a Thursday, and you all know that the best day to start anything is a Monday, so let’s just wait until…2015?
I am optimistic by nature, but a realist by experience. Most people quit on their goals. Many never even start. And that is too bad, because I believe that anything is achievable, as long as you start and never quit.
By the way, for any goals/resolutions such as weight loss, increased activity, smoking cessation, do you know the absolute best to start working toward that goal? No? The best time was any time before right now, so that you wouldn’t have as far to go before reaching success.
But since I don’t have a time machine, I can’t send you back into the past to let you restart, so the next best day is today. Right now.
If not now, when? If not you, who?

But even I have a resolution, effective today. I will avoid eating the delicious Caramel Cashew Chex Mix that I made last Sunday in preparation for upcoming holiday parties, and now stored in a 2.5 gallon Ziploc bags out in our freezing garage. And, like many people working toward goals, I am going to remind myself of that resolution/goal every day. (Because this morning I was unsuccessful in holding myself to this resolution.)
What is YOUR goal (not a “resolution”)? When are you starting?

Green Beans and Butternut Squash

Green Beans and Butternut Squash
Serves Variable

This is a wonderful cool weather meal. It is very well-suited to pork dishes, but hearty fish (salmon), lamb or venison would be equally good.

On my podcast, Make Your Someday Today, many guests talk about need to make adaptations to changing conditions. When you make a side dish like that, you have automatic flexibility. You can prepare whichever meat you have in your freezer or is on sale at your local market. And this dish simply looks good!

Fresh green beans
Medium butternut squash
1 tablespoon olive oil

I didn’t weigh the ingredients, so I don’t know how much to tell you to use. I used about 4 cups of beans and 2 cups of squash and got 4 large portions from it.

  1. Put a large pot of water on the stove, and turn to high
  2. Peel the squash. 
  3. Cut into approximately 1/2 inch (10mm) slices. Then cut them into cubes.
  4. Trim the ends off the beans, and wash under cold water.
  5. Heat a large non-stick pan over med-high heat. Spray with cooking spray.
  6. Place squash in pan. Let them saute a bit until the first side begins to brown, then start to toss every minute or so to evenly brown them.
  7. When the water comes to a boil, place all the beans in. Prepare a colander in the sink.
  8. After one minute, pour the pot of beans into colander. (You just “blanched” those beans.)
  9. Let them drip dry for a minute, then add them to the large skillet. Continue to toss until the beans are heated through. 
  10. When done, the squash will retain its shape, but be easy to piece with a fork, and the beans will be hot, yet still have crispness. (If you want the beans softer, keep them in the water for an additional 2-3 minutes.) 
Nutritional data:
Calories:           96
Fat:               3.8mg
Sat fat:             0.6g
Chol:                0mg
Sodium:         9.4mg
Carbs:             15.8g
Fiber:                4.4g
Protein:             2.7g

This is excellent with grilled pork chops, by the way!

My podcast, Make Your Someday Today is a twice-weekly show, where we talk to successful people in all walks of life and around the world on Monday, and then on Thursday, I take a specific message from the previous guest and give my “Trevitorial”, where I help you apply that message to your life. The entire purpose of the show is to help all of us overcome our challenges and fears and become the person we want to be, the person we deserve to be. I hope you give it a listen! 

Cold Showers: Why DO I Take Them?

Today was Cold Shower, Day 52, and the water temp is down to an even 48F/9C.
At a neighborhood party last Friday, a few neighbors wanted an explanation of my practice, and I tried to give them one. A few were polite and made comments of semi-understanding, but one guy was blunt and said, “No offense, Trev, but that is just stupid.” We all laughed. I wasn’t offended at all. I realize that my cold shower habit is “non-standard”. That’s okay, I can live with that.
But do you know what else is “non-standard”?
Losing 87 pounds and keeping it off for 22+ months in definitely “non-standard.” Statistics (I don’t have the reference in front of me) show that only 5% of people who achieve a weight loss goal maintain their goal weight for more than 12 months. That means those people are truly “non-standard.” Losing weight and then maintaining that loss requires a different mentality. It requires a different type of focus. It needs drive, determination, and the internal motivation to defer short-term immediate pleasure for long term success.
Am I saying that you can’t lose weight and maintain if you don’t take cold showers? Hell no! (THAT would be a stupid statement!) But I am saying that continued success needs a constant and definite focus, and for everyone that will take different forms. One of the LoseIt moderators, Eve, is a marathon runner (she ran in the most recent Boston Marathon.) The ability to run 26.2 miles also requires drive, determination, the willingness to accept discomfort, and internal motivation. (She has also been maintaining a successful weight loss for 11 years.) Diana Nyad swam from Cuba to Florida in 2013. Philippe Croizon swam the English Channel in 2012 as a quadruple amputee. Erik Weihenmayer climbed Mt Everest in 2001. He is blind. Those people and many more, live the “non-standard” life. All chose a task that was truly challenging and something that most people would probably not encourage anyone else to do, let alone try themselves.
I am not comparing my success to climbing Mt Everest, nor saying cold showers are the same as the English Channel. But I am saying that to achieve goals, sometimes one must be willing to accept discomfort, difficulty and the willingness to stand up and say “I am non-standard, because I will accept nothing less than success!” My cold showers, in a small way, are my daily reminder that a little discomfort is a fair price to enjoy for ongoing success.
So, find your own personal “non-standard.” Everyone can succeed. We can change that statistic to a number more than 5%. But you need to go outside the norms to achieve a goal that it not the within the norm. Embrace it. Color outside the lines—in fact, to hell with lines, draw your own picture! Use it to fuel your motivation, to keep your eyes on the goal and to never, ever quit!

What is YOUR “non-standard”? How is it helping you reach your goals? Please share your thoughts here so that others may learn from you.

Here is another article that talks about the benefits of a cold shower.

The Only Way To Stay On Track

That is how I planned for our Thanksgiving feast. Yes, it is old-school paper and pencil, but it worked. The right column is the menu, how each food item is prepared, the time it will take and the temperature needed. The left column is the critical “timing” plan.

Was it perfect?

Nope. You will notice that nowhere does it list “trigger smoke detector–not once, but twice”. It doesn’t tell me to use “bread dough that won’t rise” or “under cook the pecan pie.”

But it all turned out! The smoke alarms were noisy and annoying, but didn’t do any damage, because in both cases they happened when I not as busy as at other times. The bread didn’t rise because (as I discovered later) I mis-measured my water by about 10% which is just enough to prevent good yeast activity. And the pecan pie? That truly was unfortunate, because it is a really good pie. However, I still had a perfect pumpkin pie so all was not lost!

That’s how I plan for a party. 

And that’s just for something as fleeting as a party. What about life after the party?

Do you plan your life? 

Do you know what are you going to do this week? This month? This year?

Are you making progress toward your goals every day?

Is your plan written down? Is it detailed, showing you all the necessary steps? 

Do you set a timetable?

If you tend to “wing it” through life, are you as successful as you want?

But back to festivities! Next up for parties: we host the neighborhood holiday bash on December 20th, followed by the Christmas Eve brunch for the family. More planning! More excitement! Fewer smoke alarms!

Overnight No-Cook Oatmeal (Blueberry Variation)

This is the same basic recipe as yesterday except instead of bananas and almond butter, I used frozen blueberries and whipped topping.

Again, I used 1/2 cup each of oatmeal, yogurt and skim milk, and 1/4 teaspoon allspice (I omitted the cinnamon) and then after mixing those together, I stirred in 1/2 cup frozen blueberries. If I had fresh, I would have used that, instead, but sometimes you need to adapt to the current situation.

After resting in the fridge overnight.
Stirred and warmed lightly in the microwave. 
I tried both versions cold and warm, and I prefer them warmed.
With all honesty, this variation was not as good as yesterday’s. I think the berries were much more tart than I had expected. When I make this again, I think I will probably use a blueberry yogurt in the first step instead of a plain yogurt and then add blueberries if needed. I will also taste it and add sugar/sweetener as needed.
However, this recipe is a great start to the day. It is a hearty breakfast, and one which is very easy to make. It is also very inexpensive, important for anyone who lives with both calorie and monetary budgets.

Overnight No-Cook Oatmeal

Overnight No-Cook Oatmeal
Serves 1

Basic recipe is equal amounts of:
Dry oatmeal (not instant)

I used 1/2 cup of each of oatmeal, skim milk and Fage 2% Greek yogurt, and a half teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon allspice.

Mix together in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
The next morning, add your fruit of choice, and (if desired) a source of healthy fats.

I used a small banana and 1 ounce (32g) almond butter.
Mix together. You can serve this cold, but I preferred it warm.
The texture is incredibly smooth. It looks like “normal” oatmeal, but it is silkier and softer from the overnight soak.
Nutritional data (for just the basic recipe, not adding the banana or nut butter):
Calories:         305
Fat:               5.6g
Sat fat:          2.7g
Chol:          9.6mg
Sodium:  100.4mg
Carbs:         40.3g
Fiber:            4.8g
Protein:       23.8g
You can certainly reduce those numbers by using only 1/3 cup of each ingredient and using fat free yogurt. I just used what had on hand.
The variations are limitless. You can use different yogurts, fruits, butters (optional) and spices. 
Note: Thanks for this recipe go out to a follower, Andrew Carpenter, for giving me this suggestion. This was an excellent and seriously simple breakfast. I will make and post variations as I try them.