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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Crockpot Cinnamon Chocolate Almonds

Last winter I made Spicy Cocoa Roasted Pecans and I thought it would be fun to try a new recipe. I've also been firing up the crockpot a lot lately and decided it would be a great way to roast nuts! I love making anything in the slow cooker and how it makes the house smell.

I looked around and found a few recipes that I could adjust enough to work on a low sugar plan like the Belly Fat Cure or Paleo. Basically that means removing all sugars! I was SHOCKED at the amount of sugar the recipes all had. Cups of sugar, brown sugar and powders sugar! I skipped it all, but I'm pretty much over sweeteners at this point. *You could add a few packets stevia sweeteners or xylitol if you needed it sweeter. Paleo eaters could add a little Maple Syrup if wanted.

Crockpot Cinnamon Chocolate Almonds

  • 3 Cups Raw Almonds or other nuts (not roasted or salted)
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp Raw Cacao (regular cocoa will work too, but this is better)
  • Sweetener*
  • Big Pinch each of: Pumpkin Pie Spice, ground nutmeg (any other favorite spices)
  • 1 Tbsp Cinnamon
  • Sea Salt (regular salt will work too, but this is better)
Heat your crockpot on high for about 15 minutes, with only the butter. Once the butter has melted add the nuts, stirring until they are coated with butter. Add all other ingredients, stir well, and cook for another 15 minutes on high. Turn the crockpot to low and cook 2 more hours. I gave them a good stir every half hour or so.

Once it is all done and removed from the slow cooker, I sprinkled with sea salt to taste.These will make a great hostess gift or small friend gift for the holidays! One of the craft projects I've been obsessed with lately is reusing old tins. These old coffee tins, painted, glittered or stencil, will be great filled with Cinnamon Chocolate Almonds! Cute, right?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Birthdays and Racing

This have been a really busy week! My oldest son is turning 11 (seriously, WHERE did the time go?) and I ran my 4th Half Marathon (w00t!). But stupidly I did them all the same weekend, and I'm tired and sore.
Nice race shirt and finishers medal

My 4th Half Marathon was the Big Sur Half in Monterey Bay, just about 90 minutes from where I live. Luckily my good friend has family with a home there and we were able to stake out there for the for the night. I've been diligently training for this race, putting in the hard work each week, so that I can enjoy the race and not struggle through it. But my girlfriend was having a fabulous running day and we started out too fast for me. I was unable to keep up with her pace and we separated around mile 4.5. I was actually worried something was wrong with me, my heart was racing so fast. But once I was on my own, I found my pace and did fine. In the end I finished in 2:18:06, best time yet by just a few seconds. It is SO strange to me that I have finished all my Half Marathons within a 5 minute rage. No matter how bad or great the race was, I seem to do the same time. Weird.

My recovery afterward was the easiest so far. Just sore thighs and back. Ibuprofen solves everything! With this race done, I am going to concentrate on those dastardly 8-10lbs I've been carrying around for the last few months. 

Instead of a specific theme for my son's the birthday party, I did "Archer's Favorite Things". So we had a little dance party, went the Myth Busters Exhibit at the San Jose Tech Museum, played a little Minecraft and a few other of his favorite games and tucked in with a movie for a sleepover. Ugh! 10-11 year old boys are a handful. I had baby photos out of him and his baby photo album. I had several of his favorite treats too.
The Family
I also have the crafting bug. I have been obsessed with repurposing metal tins. Here are a couple of the Altoid tins I've redone. I'm obsessed! You use them as a little first aids kits, or earbud storage, whatever, in your purse or the kids backpacks. They are the perfect size for gift cards too. Obsessed.

I won Becky's giveaway, which is so sweet! At first I was going to ask her to draw again and pick another reader, but then I thought I'd LOVE to try this cool butters! I'm allergic to peanut butter so I'm really looking forward to it. If you don't already read her Becky's Belly Fat Cure Blog, please click on over and say howdy.

If you need some Thanksgiving ideas for staying true to the BFC, click HERE. You can do it! I will counting my S/C Values along with you.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pumpkins and Bras

Sorry I haven't blogged much lately, I don't have much to say diet-wise that I haven't already said. But I thought I'd do a little catching up. An old habit when I see a photo of myself is to instantly critique my appearance.  In this photo I go right to my hips. I'm curvy and I'm never going to be stick skinny. But I went and checked the tag on those pants and was unreasonably happy they were a (snug) size 6. Much better than the curvy size 14 I was wearing a few years ago. My weight is still up a little, I am not at my low weight. I am not thrilled with that, but I realize my weight is going to fluctuate.

My oldest son is only an inch away from being the same height as me! We have a lot of fun deciding on a theme and putting together Halloween costumes. We really like Halloween in my household. My boys are still obsessed with Minecraft and dressed up as a Creeper and Honeydew this year. We have a (another) Minecraft themed birthday party next week. It feels great not to be tempted by cake and party treats - in fact it feels very freeing. (This is what I do with the kids' excess Halloween candy)

Backyard chickens are all the rage here in Northern California. As long as they aren't roosters, which crow, they are allowed and provide fresh eggs each day. The same friend even dressed up her hen in a Halloween costume! How cute is that? My grandparents raised chickens, but they were mean and pecked you when you gathered the eggs. These backyard chickens are total pets and let the kids hold and pet them - along with providing breakfast. I'd love some backyard chickens, but the Husband has nixed that idea.

I also went bra shopping recently. I noticed with my yoga classes and girl's weekends that other women have  pretty bras. But my own are more Large Marge Workin' Hard type bras. I need a minimizer and everyone else seems to wear these padded, cute and colorful bras. The bras I buy come in three colors: beige, white and black. Period. Macy's had their buy 2, get 2 free sale on several different brands so I spent a sweaty hour trying on scratchy bras until I found four I liked, that also fit.  I settled on the Bali Passion for Comfort Underwire Minimizer and bought it all three colors it comes in, plus a strapless. Then I came home and threw away my old bras. Did you know that your cup size changes when change the band size changes? So if you are a 36C, but the band is too loose, you should try a 34D not the 34C like you'd think. HERE is a great site for figuring out your proper bra size.

On another note, I am turning off anonymous comments since Im getting spammed to death with them. Please use the Name/URL option if you don't have an account!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

1 Year, 100 Pounds: Month 10 Weigh In

Hey! It’s November! Such a very busy time of the year for everyone. A FULL-ON PRESS of holiday-after-holiday; so many ready-made excuses to eat out of control. So – it’s cooled off a bit in Oklahoma..a couple of days have dipped into the 30’s (it will reach 80 today!). This did mean COAT weather. So…COATS.. I hate coats. They don’t fit me; they make me too hot; they’re too bulky; I usually can only button the neck button...it’s just a big reminder of how being overweight SUCKS. Last week, the cold came and I mindlessly got out last winter’s coat and it was very odd. My upper arms didn’t get stuck as I slipped it on. It zipped; it snapped; it buttoned; it fit. In fact, it was too big! Oh yeah – I forgot to mention – I lost 3.2 pounds this month, for a total of 53 pounds since January 1st. YAY! <insert celebration dance here!>
I’ve mentioned before that my son is the top high school marching band in the nation, and we leave to defend our title in Indiana at the Bands of America Grand Nationals Championship on Wednesday. This is his senior year – and they won state again last weekend (11th consecutive year!) Can you tell I’m proud? Anyway, the contest is three FULL days at the NFL COLTS stadium, so NOTHING but concession food is available. What a carbfest that is! But with some planning, I think I’m good to go. I’ll have protein bars, string cheese, jerky and shakes stuck in my bag. I’ll refill my water bottle over and over again and eat smart at every turn.
Our 72 year old dad had a heart attack a few weeks ago. He’s doing great now; in fact going on the Indy trip with us. This event was life altering for him and really drove home the importance of making yourself a priority. Amber and I were talking this morning about this, about how we both are seeing the need to just treat ourselves perhaps like a diabetic would. Diabetics have to put their nutrition ahead of everything else. They have to be prepared and make sound decisions regarding their health and eating – it’s a matter of life and death. Why did it take me so long to see that I am virtually in the same predicament? I have a condition, that if it goes unchecked – I’ll be checking “out” too soon. And I don’t want to. I am loving my life; enjoying it so much more now.
And while I do have a much more to lose, I no longer see this as my weight loss plan. This is simply - how I eat now. January 1st is coming soon for the end of my “big year” weigh in. But I think it will just mark the beginning of the rest of my years, and mark my re-dedication to my life and my family. This is the body I’ve been given and the nurturing and caring of it is my first priority. After that, everything else …is a snap! ~ Misha

1 Year, 100 Hundred Pounds is a series written by my sister Misha (read her full story HERE). Her battles and journey are different than my own, but I thought my readers could relate to her story. We came up with the idea that should could break up her weight loss into monthly measurements and concentrate on the long term, instead of instant gratification. My role is to just support her, where she needs it. Not to nag, correct or scold. Just to be here for her. So proud she reached the 50lbs milestone!!!