Halloween Scene

October 29th, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , ,

It’s that time of year again – leaves falling, temperatures dipping and little goblins planning their trick or treating, ahhh Halloween.  I look forward to this day: a good excuse to wear orange; an acceptable reason to have extra treats in the house; a perfect time to connect with the kids and families in the neighbourhood. What’s not to love?

It’s fun to have a spirited day to dress up funny and shell out. Anyone who knows me, realizes it doesn’t have to be Halloween to do that. :-)

I have a special door bell with a Halloween setting, oh joy. When pressed you can hear a witch screach “AaaaaaAaaaa” (no that’s not me, it’s the other one…), a horn honk “beep beep”, a door slam “thump”, a ghost bellow “wooooOOooooOO”, a gong chime….. How fun! What I love the most is that every kid who comes to my door says “thank you”. I know I’m turning into an ole fogey, but I do appreciate good manners even when the little beggers trample my flower bed…

Once the shelling out is done it’s great when parents divide and conquer, sorting through the treats before the noshing begins with safety in mind. Make a few rules around these and keep ‘em for a few weeks then give them away. It’s fun days like this where we challenge our relationship with food. As I’ve said many times all foods fit and work it in. Up the ante on activity. With the last of the leaves falling, extra yard work is certainly in order.

I usually wait until the day before the big day to pick up my treats. You name it, I get it – chips, Cheetos, chocolate bars, candy, the full court press of offerings. It’s Halloween folks, kids don’t want “healthy treats” and neither do I as I sit at the door when the tykes drop by. Save the bridge games for the old folks home! What kind of trick is that? A very bad one! This is one of those occasions to take part in and have fun – nibble, nosh and be merry. When the sugar rush wears off, it’ll be time for school and work so enjoy!

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899 Posts on the Blog…

October 27th, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , ,

899 posts on the blog, 899 posts
Check some out, I’m ready to spout, there’re 899 posts on the blog!

What began as my writing callisthenics, has resulted in 899 posts
One by one, thought I’d be done, now there’s 899 posts on the blog

There’s a lot to say about life; food & nutrition, activity and more
Wasn’t too clear, if I’d still be here, writing my 899th post

Assembled an ebook from the content, of the 899 posts
Keeps my mind active, but really the fact is, it’s what I really love most

899 posts on the blog, 899 posts
Feeling inspired, not all that tired to add another 899 posts on the blog!

Thanks for following :-)

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Tall Tree

October 24th, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

Tall tree
Are thee
Beacon for
Many

Educate
And create
Opportunity
That’s great!

Raise the bar
Up so far
Mentor to
Many stars

Extra mile
Reconcile
Boundless with
Unique style

Volunteer
So sincere
Silent soldier
No fear

Deservedly
The Tall Tree
A new day is
Earned by thee…. congratulations!

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UNcoupling

October 22nd, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

When I think of some famous couples my mind gets drawn to Rudolph & Claireese, Ginger Rogers & Fred Astaire, my Nan & Pops and even Forest Gump and Jenny who go together like peas and carrots…

Then there are other things in life that find themselves unwittingly bound together that need to get a divorce already. If any of these ring a bell for you, time to call the lawyer and draw up some papers then split!

Eating & Emotions – We eat to fuel our bodies and experience emotions to enlighten our soul but sometimes, for many, food soothes various emotional states from happiness to sadness, to stress and anxiety even when we’re not hungry. Being in the habit of eating when emotional can result in overeating and weight gain. Taking time to untie those dastardly knots that binds these together can often require a lot of work. For many these relationships may be holding you back from ultimate success.

Eating & Guilt – Look, I’m a female, Italian, Catholic and I know guilt well. Adding more guilt because I enjoyed my Nan’s famous biscotti is NOT a line I’m willing to cross. My favourite food is pie and although I don’t eat it often, when I do I enjoy it to the MAX. You should too!

Weight Gain & Excuses – I have written many times on my blog and in my ebook that awareness is bliss. When you know better, you do better. If weight gain is a mystery for you, consider starting a food record explained in Chapter 4 of Skinny on Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books, then lose the excuses.

Boredom & Nibbling – A very insidious coupling is none other than eating when you’re bored. A wandering mind can really get you into all kinds of trouble, least of which is eating when you’re not even hungry. In this life featuring “the busy contest”, keep a running to-do list to keep you hopping. The best antidote for boredom is busy!

Unrealistic Goals & Diets – If I had a penny for every diet that claims to lose weight in a jiffy forever I’d be rich already. These sound like they go together, just like little white lies like any special face cream will make you look younger when you’re north of 50. Who are you kidding?? If something seems to good to be true, it is and don’t give it another thought.

So folks for some of these pairs breaking up might be hard to do, but it’s vital if you’re looking for long term weight loss success. It’ll be worth the effort once the old baggage is behind you.

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Weight loss fast or slow? Changing habits is the way to go!

October 20th, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I read the headline flurry about that study conducted deducing whether you lose weight at a fast or slow rate, people gain the weight back. Somehow I knew that UNsound sound bite would be retweeted by many, good grief.

I get my eyeballs frosted with studies AND reporting like this. Both groups of study subjects were put on diet regimens designed to lose weight quickly or slowly both groups using some degree of liquid meal replacements. The last time I checked I don’t believe Optifast was served at my Thanksgiving dinner last weekend, how about at yours? I describe in my ebook Skinny on Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books that before you try any diet make sure it passes the Thanksgiving Dinner Test. Hit the buzzer on these folks as they fail on all accounts.

If you talk to any Yo-Yo dieter I’m sure all will agree how easy it is to lose weight, as many admit “I’ve done it many times!” There’s a clue in that statement folks it’s the word “diet” because diets don’t work – period. If you do want to lose weight the secret is in your ability and commitment to change habits and your mindset for the better, for good. I discuss in my ebook details about the National Weight Control Registry of “Successful Weight Losers”, which is a perfect group to emulate if you want to do this.

I feel for people toying with the idea of changing their habits for the better who many now stop in their tracks and exclaim “forget about it!” after reading those headlines.

Let’s hope they find wisdom to embrace change one tiny step at a time so the pebbles of change turn into an avalanche of positive results in time. Don’t give up!

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Who’s winning the war on “healthy” at schools? Garbage cans perhaps

October 17th, 2014 2 Comments Tags: , , , , , ,

I have been mulling over study findings showing healthy food served in school food service departments has been feeding the garbage pales since the school’s cleansing of less healthy food. These findings and a healthy debate with colleagues got me thinking more deeply and blogging about what might be happening in this regard.

I used to work with a passionate paediatrician Dr. Bob Hilliard many years ago at Sick Kids Hospital who often asked our team “Are we winning?” I have often asked myself this question through my career to do a gut check: are we are taking the right measures and achieving the planned outcomes? Are we winning?

I’ll be honest, my heart sank when I heard this study’s findings presented about healthy food wastage in school cafeterias, good grief. When I think about these kids having unique energy and nutrient needs, many going through growth spurts, I wonder what on earth are they eating to make up for what they’re discarding to fill that hunger void?

I recall having one-on-one sessions with teens many years ago who would openly admit to me that when they have a limited amount of money on hand what they seek is food that’ll fill the hunger void economically. The word “healthy” was rarely used to my recollection, sadly. Unfortunately, what they can afford are fast food offerings. So many schools I pass are surrounded by these places. So are we winning?

Could we the experts be exacerbating even worse eating habits after this less healthy food cleansing we’ve done in schools? I have heard about positive experiences where some schools had kids involved in the decision making of food service options. I love Brian Wansink’s healthy and stealthy approach to setting up a healthier cafeteria, described in his new book Slim By Design check it out.

The bottom line for me is the importance of doing further research on this to ensure there are no unintended consequences. After all we don’t want another wave of an epidemic on top of those we already have and add psychological eating issues to the mix, which would be more difficult to fix. For kid’s sake, let’s make sure we ARE winning and make necessary changes as needed.

Something to knaw on, that’s for sure….

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Nan’s Veal a Limone Delight

October 15th, 2014 No Comments Tags: ,

I divulged my meeting with no other than Mama Master Chef - Nan (my Mom) recently. She had her coach whistle out shrouded in the patience of Jobe showing me the ropes in her food-lovin’ kitchen. Even with failing vision she doesn’t miss a trick ensuring whatever is served out of her kitchen tastes delectable. Give this a try. You can make this a few hours ahead then heat it up when you’re ready to serve it.

Ingredients

8-10 pieces of veal scallopini, pounded thin
flour (for dusting veal)
2 lemons, washed
3/4 -1 cup white wine
salt and pepper to taste
canola oil

Instructions
1) Prepare your veal by trimming off the fat and pounding until thin and cutting extra large pieces in half.
2) Add oil to the bottom of your frying pan and heat to high. Dust and season each piece of veal with flour, then salt and pepper to season. Flash fry each piece and remove cooked pieces to a separate plate. Set aside until serving. Will need to refrigerate if not used for a prolonged period of time.
3) Remove small sediment from the pan and add in a few tablespoons of flour and stir with a wire whisk until thick. Add in wine and continue whisking for a few minutes ensuring the sauce becomes thick (may need to add more flour).
4) Squeeze the juice of one lemon into your sauce and continue whisking. Remove any seeds from the sauce. Turn off element.
5) Before serving heat up meat and simmer the sauce. Add in each piece of veal ensuring each is coated with the sauce.

Commentary
Ummmm YUM! My Mom has been whipping up this simple dish for years, so I haven’t really needed to learn to make it – shame on me. I guess the ball is now in my court to take it up a notch! Serve with a few kinds of veggies and potatoes, perhaps a green salad &/or some pasta on the side. Of course my Mom makes “all of the above” and sends us all home with yummy leftovers!

Thanks Mom!

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Thanksgiving Musings

October 10th, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , ,

Time for (Canadian) Thanksgiving
Are you taking time?
To ponder your many blessings
Or following through blind

Is it just a day off?
Or do you take time to dwell?
On special people around you
And the stories they tell

Do you plough through the day
Like a freight train at high speed?
Or take a few quite moments
To just stop and take heed

A deep breath is a blessing
A warm abode is too
Does this fill you with appreciation?
Or do you just sit and stew?

Do you have legs to walk with?
And eyes that gleam bright?
A heart that beats loudly
And a strong will that ignites?

If you woke up this morning
On the green side of the grass
Make the best of Thanksgiving
Help your gratitude last

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Test 1-2, Test – Put Your Plan to the Thanksgiving Dinner Test

October 8th, 2014 1 Comment Tags: , , , , ,

Well folks, Canadian Thanksgiving is almost upon us. Who doesn’t love this festive weekend, especially the lavish family meals that go with it. That horn of plenty is bursting with all this harvest has to offer. Think about what is served at a typical Thanksgiving dinner: the turkey, the nutty dressing, those golden roasted potatoes, Brussels sprouts, mashed yams, cauliflower and cheese casserole, homemade pie with a dab of ice cream. Ahhh gotta love all of this with a repeat to cover both sides of the bella famiglia.

Some people, might like this time of year though to kick off a new diet plan along with the football season. If this is the case for you put whatever regimen you choose to my special test – the “Thanksgiving Dinner Test” explained in my ebook Skinny on Slim. If a diet doesn’t allow you to eat the food served at this celebratory dinner, then forget about it, don’t give it another thought!

I’m not a lover of diets. They’re like living in a straight jacket with so many don’ts they’re hard to keep track of and even harder to adhere to. Many do result in weight loss, for a little while, until your resolve caves making the food floodgates to fly open, then your weight rebounds. You end up feeling like you failed rather than the diet failed you. Think about it. Let this fall be pivotal for you and go on a plan you can adhere to for life, set in fundamental principles to help you lose weight, thrive, and soar for good to Slim Town.

Look yourself in the mirror and make a pact that from this day forward you will set yourself free from dieting forever. Be darn sure that the plan you choose passes my Thanksgiving dinner test.

Read about this with solutions to help you along your journey in Skinny On Slim, The little black dress of diet books.

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Cooking #SundaySupper with Nan

October 6th, 2014 2 Comments Tags: , , , , , ,

I had a special date with my Mom (aka “Nan”) in her magical kitchen recently. She wanted to instil some of her culinary wisdom unto me, how great is that? Very! When you walk into her welcoming home and open the door that wonderful aroma I know so well greets me in addition to the hugs and kisses from both Nan and Pops.

On that fine day she showed me the ropes on making “Danny’s favourite” Veal Limone. Always dressed nicely, no sweats in her wardrobe, wrapped in an apron she is armed for a whipping…. of a fine dish or two! I heard she did some mentoring with my grown nephews and nieces on the secrets of her sougo and meatballs extraordinaire last week. She is on a roll!

She’s a master blaster, that’s for sure. Even though her vision is fading, her will and abilities are soaring. I have been blessed with a lifetime worth of fond food memories thanks to my Mom. Whether it was making her own dough for pizza or a cauldron of soup; her famous veal stew or eggplant parmigiana, roast beef, fast and easy chicken, calimari or butterfly shrimp, even jumbolia, she makes everything with care, love and zest. Food for the soul that’s fast and easy… for her anyways.

I’m so lucky that family meals we deemed to be important in our busy bella famiglia growing up with 4 sisters – weeknights, especially Sunday. I find when I set my dining table what unfolds with the tablecloth are magical memories from eating together. Cooking doesn’t need to be complicated like an olympic sport. Sometimes all you need to do is pull up a chair over the simplest dish, clink your glasses and linger over good conversation while breaking bread with each other.

Thanks Nan, what’ll we whip up next?

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