Not Quite an Ordinary Monday

Today started out as an ordinary, blah Monday. Doctor’s appointments, errands, work… you know. Monday. Wasn’t looking forward to it. But then, after work, we decided to hit the new Red Robin in our neighborhood. There’s something about that place that just drips with happy. So, what follows is my pictorial evidence that Monday doesn’t always have to be drab.

After our amazing, impromptu dinner, we had to make a quick run to the grocery store. When we got there we saw a classic car show in the parking lot across the street. So of course we had to take advantage of what was left of daylight and we walked around a bit. Of course the owners were more than happy to talk about their “babies” and rev the engines a time or two for my DH.

And I’m constantly reminding him why it’s a good thing that I always have my camera.

After all, Mondays like this don’t happen every week.

Here’s hoping you found something good about this Monday, too. If so, drop me a line and tell me about it. Let’s share the Monday joy together.

Addicted

caramel popcorn and Twinkies

caramel popcorn and Twinkies

So here’s the ugly truth. I am addicted to sugar. And no, I am not saying this lightly; it is completely and utterly true. And ok, the facts are that I am overweight and middle aged, with a family history of diabetes. The proverbial icing on the cake, if I may borrow that sickeningly sweet pun, is that I was an insulin-dependent diabetic when I was pregnant with my second child. Now, I know that when I eat sugary snacks, my blood sugar responds in such a way that should indicate to any smart person that I shouldn’t be eating sugary snacks. One big improvement that I have managed to make is that I have all but given up on sugared sodas, so that is a plus. But I can’t seem to shake the senseless consumption of ridiculous, sugary things that should not even be sold with the label of “food.”

I’m a smart woman; I really am. I know what I should put in my body and what I should not. I actually like vegetables and fresh fruits, and relish the summer months when these things are so readily available. One of my favorite things is to go to a farmer’s market and load up on veggies. And I can do alright for a number of days or weeks without my sugar consumption being out of control. But when the stress hits? I turn into a sugar-craving monster and go out of control. It can be work stress, or home stress, or exhaustion or even extreme elation. And once I get on a bad streak, it’s really hard to come down.

Why?

Why, when I know what this dangerous drug, sugar, can do to me, do I continue to abuse it? On the logical side it just doesn’t make sense at all. So I know there must be some deep-rooted emotional reason why I routinely engage in self sabotage. It’s not just a Twinkie, or a Reese’s cup, or the dreaded Caramel Macchiato. Those are the things which are one by one, shortening my life by hours and days… and years. I know this to be true, but so far, I have not been motivated to change my eating habits. I need to find out what my “currency” is, as Dr. Phil would say, and use that. I know.

I have been lacking motivation to change. I know that the sugar itself can be affecting my motivation. So, it’s a vicious cycle. And help! I want to get out of it. Have any of you beat the sugar monster? If so, how did you do it? How do you keep your resolve?

I look forward to hearing your stories.

The Joys of Summer

It was a dark and stormy night.

And a hot and sticky day. But hey, it’s August, in the DC area. Hot and sticky with air quality somewhere in the wheezy crud zone is to be expected around here. The thermometer hit 99 and I had to chew my air upon inhaling. I would have stayed home in my air conditioning but I’d be afraid my office would think I’m allergic to Mondays. So I toughed it out.

But, even on the crappiest summer days, there’s always something about summer to appreciate. For instance, this:

Summer garden salad

Summer garden salad

My dinner. Isn’t it lovely? One of the things I love about summer is the vegetables. They’re fresh and flavorful. And pretty to look at! There was not one bite of my salad left, and it made me feel so much better about the crappy weather and the otherwise mundane leftover slice of cheese pizza I was eating.

And you know what else? I’ve decided to start a new project. I am bored, bored, bored with the scarf. It’ll still be my takealong project, but for at-home knitting, I’ve decided to take on a challenge.

Tam book with yarn surrounding it

Tam book with yarn surrounding it

It’s a knitted tam. I’m using the book, Knitted Tams, by Mary Rowe, as my guide. It’s more of a guide book, than a pattern book. Normally, this would excite me. But this time, I’m feeling a little intimidated. I don’t really understand all of the steps, but I’m hoping it will all become more clear as I go. We’ll see! I don’t know if what I see in my head is what is actually going to happen. I guess I’ll find out! Wish me luck!

For now, I’ve gotten this far:

First few stitches

First few stitches

That’s the cast-on edge. The waste yarn cast on edge. Yes, I’m setting up for my first tubular cast on, too. Thank goodness for Lucy Neatby’s video on the subject! I watched it a couple of times, and decided to just dive in. Wish me luck!

I leave you with this tad bit of wishful thinking, on a night when it is 85 degrees at 11:00 p.m.:

Wind up toy snow man

Wind up toy snow man

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Is It Soup Yet?

Easy Vegetable Pot Roast Stew

Easy Vegetable Pot Roast Stew

I’ve never done this before, but tonight I’m taking a page from sheriatheloopyewe and posting a recipe. Spring is here, but it’s still nippy, and I’ve been craving soup. Plus my mom gave me a fabulous new crock pot for Christmas and I’ve been wanting to use it more often.

So yesterday morning I got up and put on a pot of soup. It was knit group day anyway so I wanted to have dinner well underway before I left. So, without further ado, this is what I came up with:

Easy Vegetable Pot Roast Soup

2 lbs. cubed beef stew meat
3 cans condensed beef broth
3-4 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium onion, not too finely chopped
1/2 large bag baby carrots
1 3/4 lbs. diced tomatoes, canned
1 3/4 lbs. tomato puree, canned
1 can corn
1 can green beans
about 2 tsps dried chopped rosemary
salt and pepper to taste

Brown the cubed beef in a skillet until it starts to caramelize, but do not over-brown. Place in large crock pot. Pour one can of beef broth into skillet and use liquid to scrape beef drippings from pan. Pour broth with drippings into crock pot. Add the other two cans of broth. Add chopped celery, onions and baby carrots. Add canned ingredients; do not drain before adding. Add rosemary, salt and pepper. Cook on high for an hour or two, then switch to low for the remainder of the afternoon. Serve when you’re ready to eat dinner. I let mine cook for about a total of 7 hours, but you could probably do more or less and be fine. The trick is to cook until the meat falls apart easily with a fork or the edge of a soup spoon.

Serve with yummy bread; we ate ours with Challah from the bakery. Home-cooked heaven! Enjoy.

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