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Welcome to The Pickled Ginger!

Eagerly anticipating my first hot sip of gourmet coffee, I bounce out of bed and throw on my cute little yoga pants and sports bra, determined to squeeze in a quick intense workout before whipping up a delicious homemade breakfast to nourish my husband and children before seeing them off to school and work.  Upon hopping in the shower to wash off the joyful morning chaos, I indulge myself with a moment to appreciate the fragrant lather of my luxury soaps and meditate on the day’s tasks ahead.  Awake and fresh, my hands finally warmed around a mug of my favorite dark aromatic brew, I fire up
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Fluffy Moist Lemon Cupcakes with Lavender Buttercream Icing

We’ve already established my love of cake and baking, right? Well, I’m coming at you with another great recipe. This one is a bit exotic though, and not for everyone. Are you ready? Here goes: Fluffy, moist, lemony cupcakes with delicate lavender-infused buttercream icing. Can you handle it? If so, read on!

This very simple recipe starts with a delicate white cake flavored with real lemon juice and lemon zest, then topped with a basic American buttercream infused with perfumy lavender. Now admittedly, I am not a huge fan of lavender in food, but my husband and daughter just can’t get enough. What we can agree on, however, is that the contrasts in flavors between the zesty cake and the sweet icing perfectly compliment each another.

Here are the ingredients:

For the cake:

Helpful Hint: For optimal results, please let all of your ingredients come to room temperature. This allows everything to mix well without separating, and really helps your cakes to get a good rise!

• 2 cups of cake flour (the low gluten content of cake flour makes this cake super fluffy, so for best results, cake flour is necessary)
• 1 ½ cups of sugar
• 2 ¼ teaspoons of baking powder
• ½ teaspoon of salt
• 2 large eggs
• ¼ cup whole milk
• ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
• ½ cup unsweetened coconut milk
• The juice and zest of one large lemon
• One tablespoon organic dried lavender (I got mine at Whole Foods Market) and/or good quality food-grade lavender essential oil (I get mine at Vitamin Shop or Whole Foods Market or my local co op)
I use a stand mixer, but you could certainly use a hand mixer if that is what you have.

After lining your muffin tins with muffin papers and preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, start by combining flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a large bowl.

Add in your butter and coconut milk and beat for a good 2 to 3 minutes in your stand mixer (or with your hand mixer). After 3 minutes, your mixture should be smooth and fluffy.


mixing bowl


In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and whole milk together, add in your grated lemon zest and lemon juice. Make sure your lemon is also room temperature to get the most juice. I also like to roll my lemon firmly on the counter a few times just to release the juices and oils to get the most from it.

Add your milk, egg and lemon mixture into the fluffy batter and mix just until well incorporated. The less you mess with eggs, the softer and fluffier your cupcakes will be. Just make sure they are well incorporated into your batter.

Use an ice cream scoop to fill your muffin tins ¾ of the way full. I’ve made the mistake of overfilling my muffin tins before and the mess is a pain to clean up.




Once filled, tap muffin tins gently on the counter to release air bubbles, then place in preheated oven and bake.

I managed to get 17 cupcakes from this batter and they took 12 minutes to bake, but I highly suggest relying on your eyes than a timer to tell you when these cakes are done. Their little domed tops should still be fairly white with barely a hint of color around the edges and the top should spring back when you gently press with your fingertip. This batch pictured was a little overcooked, resulting in an almost crunchy top, while the cake underneath was perfectly moist, tender and fluffy. I should have pulled them out at 11 minutes, maybe even 10. A mere minute can make a huge difference, so really keep an eye on your cupcakes.




After letting them cool completely on a rack, mix up your favorite buttercream frosting. I didn’t include a recipe in this post simply because I’ve experimented with several different icings, they all work, and everyone has a favorite. For the classic American buttercream icing, simply warm your whole milk or cream (whichever you use) gently with the dried lavender. Then pull off of the stove and let the lavender steep for 20 minutes. Strain the milk/cream through a fine sieve to get rid of the lavender bits and incorporate into your buttercream mixture. If you prefer a stronger lavender flavor, put a drop or two of the essential oil into the mixture. A little goes a long way, so always start out with less and incorporate more as you need.  I ended up using the lavender-infused cream and the essential oil.  I would have been fine with one or the other; my family loved the stronger flavor.

I also made a version with a Swiss meringue buttercream and just used the essential oil. Both versions were a hit with my friends and family.

If you desire, you can put a drop of lavender food coloring (or combine a drop each of red and blue) to give your buttercream color.




Top your cupcakes and enjoy!

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One-Pallet Wonder – Spice Rack

I think I could probably function optimally if I had the luxury of hibernating all year long, awaking only for the fall season. Is that so insane? Or better yet, if three seasons out of the year were autumn-like, breaking for one month for a glorious snowy winter. I know there are too many obstacles to the practicality of this scenario, such as the obvious need for the spring and summer seasons to bring forth the beautiful leaves that eventually don their gold and scarlet hues, but a girl can dream, right?

What I’m saying, in a very verbose way, is that I feel so much more productive right now than any other time of the year. I’m still keeping on track with my weight loss journey, but I feel less obsessive about documenting it right now because I’ve got much more interesting ideas and projects on my brain. I’m getting organized too, which is really helpful to me when it comes to weight loss.

One of the organizational projects I’ve been working on is my kitchen. We’re renting, which has been really great, as we’ve been fortunate enough to have the most awesome landlord anyone could ask for. But as any renter knows, renting customarily severely limits your options when it comes to remodeling. In our case, the pink-and-blue flowered 1980’s styled wallpaper and giant white porcelain cabinet knobs were too much to bear and our landlord wholeheartedly supported our efforts to strip and paint the kitchen walls, and to replace the cabinet hardware with something less dated, like simple brushed nickel.

I have a lot of cookware and kitchen appliances and limited space; and if I’m honest, I’ve let quite a few of our kitchen cabinets become overrun with junk in the past 8 years that we’ve lived here. A perfect example is my “spice” cupboard, which very quickly became a spice-medicine-vitamins-and-any-other-junk-I could-shove-in-there cabinet. Yeah, it got really bad. After months of poring over Pinterest pins, I became obsessed with the idea of an organized spice rack made from pallet wood.

After securing a nice rough pallet from a friend, I proceeded to spend 3 months arguing with my husband over how to proceed. I could not find plans for a spice rack that suited me. I do a lot of cooking and baking and possess a wide variety of exotic spices, and as my goal was to completely clean out that darned cabinet, it was imperative that my rack be large enough to house my collection. Additionally – and this is where the arguing with my DH came in – it was my goal that the rack be made solely of the material from the one pallet.

Well, my babe came through for me. After roughing out a 3D model of his plans, he set to work prying apart and rearranging boards. As the pallet was a bit rough (which I personally loved), I decided on a distressed whitewashed finish, which goes along nicely with the look of my kitchen. I didn’t think to get a before shot of the pallet, but here is a shot of the shelf whilst being whitewashed.


After being anchored to the wall, I transferred my spices to some tiny adorable glass canisters that I found on Amazon and labeled them with chalkboard stickers. I think the end result was really adorable (Actually, I think I’m going to touch up the paint in some areas yet). Also, I found some cute vintage fleur-de-lis hooks that I think I’m going to attach to the bottom to hang some measuring spoons and pot holders.

In addition to feeling better about my organized spices, I now have an entire cabinet that I can now dedicate to tea cups and coffee mugs for enjoying hot beverages on these cool fall evenings. It’s a win-win!!

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Fluffy chocolatey, hazelnutty heaven!

Fluffy Homemade Nutella-Vanilla-Striped Marshmallows

With all of the bonfires my family has been  attending this fall, it’s been a challenge coming up with something different to bring to each one, so as not to bore our friends.

As the bonfire we had gone to about a month ago had included mostly teenagers, it seemed only fitting to bring something that would cater to their incessant desire to be standing close to the blaze, sticks in hand and continually poking aimlessly into the  alluring flames. What better than roasting marshmallows to give them a sense of purpose whilst fulfilling their innate pyromania?

Now I’ve made marshmallows before (and let me confess, I’m really not a fan of the things), but these marshmallows were such a hit that well before the kindling had ever been lit, the packages of Hershey’s chocolate bars and boxes of graham crackers I had piled on top of the giant plastic container full of these fluffy chocolatey, hazelnut wonders were discarded early on, and children and adults alike were snacking on my marshmallows with their chips and dip.  Can you blame them? I mean who doesn’t like Nutella?

Admittedly, my intention initially had been to make these ‘mallows solid Nutella, but after the first batch were spread in the pan, I was disappointed by how thin and flat they were.  That’s when I got it into my head to make another batch of plain vanilla ‘mallow “batter” to see if spreading it on top of the Nutella batch was feasible.  I didn’t want to risk wasting any precious Nutella on a hypothetical. But as it turns out, adding a layer on top of another works splendidly, and so for the sake of aesthetics I simply made an additional batch of the Nutella batter, layered it over the vanilla, and Voila! My Nutella-vanilla-striped marshmallows were born!

I was not only surprised by how much everyone loved them, but also how nicely they toasted and melted, making the gooey s’mores the highlight of the evening. Best of all, they’re so easy to make!  Let’s get started!

Each recipe makes one layer of the marshmallow. I suggest doing each sequence three times if you are planning on layering as I did.

**For the second layer, the vanilla, Simply omit the Nutella.**

If you’re feeling really confident, I suppose you could simply triple your recipe and stir the Nutella by hand into 2/3 of your batter, but work quickly! The batter begins to dry pretty speedily and may get too rubbery to spread. I found that it was just easier to repeat the recipe for each layer.

You will need (for each layer):

3 packets of plain gelatin

1 cup cold water, divided in half

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

1 pinch of salt

1 teaspoon vanilla paste (or extract. I love the appearance of all the vanilla bean bits in the paste)

4 tablespoons nutella

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup corn starch

Place the gelatin in a clean bowl of your stand mixer and cover with half a cup of cold water. Let it sit.

Place the rest of the water, the granulated sugar, salt, and the corn syrup inside of a medium saucepan with a lid. Place over medium high heat, cover, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.

After 4 minutes, uncover the mixture, place your candy thermometer on the side, and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees.

Once mixture reaches 240 degrees, immediately take off of the heat.

Place your whisk attachment on your stand mixer and turn on low.
While mixer is going, slowly pour the sugar mix into the bowl.

Once all of the sugar syrup is added, turn the mixer to high, and let it continue to mix for about 12 minutes until thick and glossy.  While stand mixer is running, mix together the corn starch and powdered sugar.

Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray and dust it with some of the powdered mixture. Make sure all sides are covered. Place the leftover powdered mixture to the side to use for later.

Place the 4 tablespoons of Nutella in the microwave and heat for about 10 seconds to soften.

Pour in the vanilla and let mix for 1 minute, then add the Nutella and and let it swirl into the marshmallow mixture for about 1 minute.

Turn off mixer, and with an oiled rubber spatula, pour the marshmallow mix into the prepared pan. Put in refrigerator while next layer is being mixed.

Repeat the above steps for each layer, simply spreading on top of the previous. (For vanilla layer, simply omit Nutella).

Once the final layer is spread in the pan, lightly dust the top with your corn starch and powdered sugar mixture and place pan in fridge to set. Some recipes day to let set overnight, while my marshmallows took only an hour to set.

Alternatively, you could just triple the recipe, including the Nutella and just make them straight Nutella flavor. Nobody would complain!

After the marshmallows are set, turn them out onto a cutting surface and cut them into your preferred shapes and sizes, and store in an airtight container at room temperature. Be sure to put the remainder of your corn starch-powdered sugar mixture in with the marshmallows to prevent them from sticking to one another.

Bon Appetit!

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Cake and Squirrels

It’s a rainy, chilly fall day here in NC, and while I am fully aware that this will become old really quick, for now I am enjoying it. I’ve been missing the autumns I enjoyed when I lived in the North, but the trees lately in NC have been glorious!

On the weight loss progress front, I have not much to report, so I will hold off numbers and photo until next Tuesday. My no-sugar streak lasted 16 days. I had a party to attend on Saturday that included cake and alcohol and while I never had any cravings or intense desire for any sugar, I did modestly partake. I was handed a couple drinks containing vodka and juice and I drink them. Also, I had a little cake. I was surprised that I stopped myself at a little, because it is commonly known to my friends and family that I LOVE cake.

What was even more surprising to me, however, was the effect that the sugar had on me. I came home and had the most difficult time sleeping. My body was buzzing and my heart was racing until about 7:00 Sunday morning, when I finally managed to fall asleep. I woke up at about 11:00 a.m. Sunday with some crazy heartburn that lasted most of the day. I am happy to say that I am now back on track and off the sugar, ready to aim for a full 21 days at least.

Before I go, I want to share a picture of the little squirrel my husband put on one of the cakes for the party last minute. He modeled it (and the acorns) in minutes out of homemade modeling chocolate and it was a real hit!



Have a wonderful day!

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Transformation Tuesday 10/20

Good morning! It’s time again for an update on my weight loss progress. I’ve posted a photo wearing my traditional Transformation Tuesday uniform of my denim shorts and Guinness shirt (Oh my, what am I going to do when it gets really cold?).




Since my last weigh-in and since I’ve cut sugar and sweeteners from my diet completely (13 days ago), the scale has recorded a 4 pound loss. At first glance that can be disappointing, and quite honestly, the scale has been up and down the past two weeks. That means that my weight has been recorded between 316 and 320, a total of 14 pounds lost since the beginning of this journey (which has been side tracked quite a bit). I’m not doing any formal exercise (something I intend to remedy), but since eating like this, I’ve had a lot more energy and so I am on my feet and busy much more than I had been.

The telling aspect for me is how my clothes are fitting, in particular, my pants. I have one pair of jeans that I normally have to wiggle my way into and then lie on the bed, suck in my breath and push down my fat stomach in order to zip up. This week, however, it was just a matter of sucking in my stomach and pulling the zipper up (while standing!). The denim shorts I’m wearing in the photo above can now just be pulled up over my hips and belly without even undoing the button or zipper.

I’m not seeing much of a change in my liver roll, that fatty roll that started right beneath my boobs and is migrating downward. But the roll beneath that, my stomach roll, is definitely disappearing, and when I compare this photo to the last photo, it’s much less perceptible in the new one.

Over all, I feel better than I look, and so I will not discredit my progress. I have more energy, I’m sleeping better, I have no more regular sugar/carb cravings and I’m getting a lot more nutrients in my body with the raw greens and veggies and moderate protein and organic grass-fed dairy.

On occasion I make cakes for different events and I’ve got two coming up this weekend. I started this week on some aspects of the cakes, such as the modeling chocolate decorations, and I was surprised to find how easy it was to avoid consuming any of it. The desire is just gone and the smell of the sugary sweets is a little sickening to me.

I feel like any time now, things will start moving faster as I maintain consistency. As lame as it sounds, 13 days of anything is quite rare for me. They say it only takes 21 days to form a habit. I really want to see this out.

Thanks for checking in and I hope you have a wonderful week and achieve all your goals!

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The “Sweet” Taste of Success

I know I keep disappearing and popping up again out of the blue. It’s annoying, even to me, and I sincerely apologize for it. But I think things are going to be different from here on out. I’ve made a bit of a breakthrough.

As I alluded to in today’s earlier post, I’ve immersed myself recently in some education and research about nutrition and the effects of processed sugar on our health. I’m not, nor have I been (recently, anyway) ignorant about what it takes to be healthy and lose weight. However, like so many others I’ve had some seemingly inexplicable mental block that prevents me from accomplishing my goals.

When I first started this weight loss journey, I said I was going to limit my sugar intake and schedule myself “cheat days” where I could eat anything and everything I wanted. This is not an uncommon practice, and many have successfully achieved weight loss doing this. I received an email from a young woman who successfully accomplished her weight loss goals. She tactfully advised me that I was setting myself up for failure with this approach. Acknowledging that processed sugar is a huge stumbling block for me, she reminded me that my body and brain would need sufficient time to wean itself from sugar and acclimate to all of the good wholesome nutrients being put into it.

I weighed her advice, but in the end I chose to continue with my plan of action.

Guess what? She was absolutely right.

Almost 2 weeks ago at the urging of my husband, I finally made time to sit and watch a couple of documentaries on the effects of processed sugar on our health, “That Sugar Film” and “Fed Up.” It was obvious to me before I ever saw the films that sugar is toxic and addicting, but watching the films really drove the point home for me.

After taking a day or two to think about it, I decided to cut the sugar completely, as well as flour, rice, and pasta. It seemed extreme, especially when I realized I was eating a little every day (usually in a bit of wine, or a flour tortilla or a little chocolate here and there), hoping that my huge intake of greens and protein would balance out the effects. But for the first time, I was really strict with myself. Further, I severely limited my fruit intake. Natural sugars in fruits, eaten in their natural state (not juiced!) are fine for most people. The fiber in the fruit slows the absorption of the fructose into the system, keeping insulin stable. But I realized getting rid of the mental desire for something sweet was just as important for me as conquering the cravings my body was signaling. This meant that I would have to omit anything sweet to my palate, including artificial sweeteners (We don’t touch those anyway, right?) and lovely, juicy fruits.

It was hell the first couple days; I won’t deny it, but so worth it. I’m now on my ninth day of sugar free eating and I feel pretty great. I’m sleeping better at night, my energy is up and my clothes are getting looser, so there has been some definite weight loss, which I will happily share with you next Tuesday after I finally weigh myself and snap a picture. My skin is crazy soft. My cravings for sugar have completely gone! I went to an artisan street fair in nearby Greensboro with a couple friends last night and was not tempted one bit by the funnel cakes and other goods being dispensed from the many food trucks present. Better still, I’m craving greens daily. I look forward my daily consumption of salads, raw veggies, nuts, eggs, cheese, butter and the occasional fish or meat. This way of eating is completely sustainable, especially now that the cravings are gone, because I just do not want the bread, cookies, cake and chocolate, even when it’s right in front of me!

I know this is not the end of sugar in my life for eternity.  I still love to bake for others and I love drinking socially.  But I’m not dependent on it and right now, that is a huge accomplishment.

Needless to say, I’m excited and hopeful about the future!



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Educate Yourself

As a general rule, I don’t watch documentaries. I break that rule from time to time, but rarely. It’s not that I don’t like a good documentary, but there are certain topics I feel that I am pretty knowledgeable about, and when a documentary comes along that supports my conclusions on a given topic or exposes the selfish agenda of agencies or individuals who are supposed to be helping individuals, raging righteous indignation sets in, and I don’t often handle my feelings in the most appropriate way. I won’t go into detail, but let’s just say that I sometimes possess a kindred understanding of people who say and do bat-shit crazy things seemingly out of the blue to get a point across.

My husband, by contrast, is a documentary junkie. Working from home enables him to indulge in this obsession pretty much day and night. Of the two monitors set up on his desk in his home office, one is always, without fail, running a documentary of some sort. And also without fail, after each film, my husband will give me an account of what he’s just watched and try to persuade me to watch as well. I always tell him no thanks. Until last week, that is.

About a week ago, I gave in and sat down on the couch with my husband and watched a documentary called “That Sugar Film.” The documentary was made by an Australian man, Damon Gameau, who decided to embark on a 60‑day experiment wherein he would consume Australia’s national average of 40 teaspoons of sugar per day and record the changes to his otherwise healthy body and mind. This was remarkable for him, as he had been sugar-free (including no processed foods) for 3 years. The aim of this rather light-hearted documentary with a serious message is to educate about the real toxic effects of sugar on our bodies in the quantities that Western nations consume it. As far as health documentaries go, it was mild, as well as entertaining. I highly recommend taking some time to watch it.

A couple nights later, serious PMS and a nasty cold took me down, and as I could find nothing worthwhile on the television, and Gameau’s sugar documentary was still on my mind, I decided to Netflix Katie Couric’s documentary, “Fed Up”, another documentary my husband has been talking incessantly about and trying to get me to watch with him. It highlights the pervasiveness of sugars in our diet and our government’s long-time complicity with the food manufacturers in keeping the population in the dark about nutrition, while continually pushing the garbage products. The film features families with obese children who are struggling to lose weight, and dumbfounded that cutting calories, consuming goods labeled as “heart healthy” or “fat free” and incorporating exercise don’t seem to work as far as promoting healthy minds and bodies.

My takeaway from this documentary is 1.) Processed sugar is killing us – Literally. It’s toxic, it’s addictive and not one of its many forms is better than another. Learn the various names for processed sugar and read labels. Better yet, stop eating processed foods. Buy healthy wholesome ingredients and cook for yourself; and 2.) Take the time to educate yourself on nutrition. Don’t look to the government recommendations to lead you in the right direction. There are so many different approaches to health, some more insane than others, but be objective. Ask questions. Find out what’s in the food you’re eating and find out why and how foods affect your body in the way that they do. Better yet, stop eating processed foods! Buy healthy wholesome ingredients and cook for yourself!

Where have I heard that before?

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On the Road Again (to Health)

Happy Tuesday, everyone. How goes it?

So I returned later from my trip than I had anticipated. I miss my family. That is a strange thing for me to say, as when I did live in the same state as my extended family, we hardly saw each other. We’re all married, have our own responsibilities and struggles and finding time to get together has always been difficult. I’ve had to keep reminding myself this since I’ve returned to North Carolina. We were there for a wedding and while it was a great experience convening with my fam, it’s just not typical.

As expected, I did drink wine and eat cake. I had allowed myself that, but it was not nearly as much as I had assumed I would. Maybe it was the fact that I had gone entirely wine and sugar free the week prior, but the sweetness of the cake was overwhelming to an unpleasant degree and the wine just didn’t do it for me. So I mostly imbibed water. Lots of it.

Returning last week, I immediately spiraled into a bit of depression. As mentioned before, I was just missing the loud laughter and chaos of my family and coping with the cloudy gloom that had settled here in NC – quite a contrast from the gorgeous weather offered in Ohio for the weekend of the wedding and following days (again, not typical). I’m slowly coming out of it.

I’m not going to post a picture today, as I’m carrying an extra 5 pounds of water and so I’ve nothing to celebrate. Every time I take that 7 hour drive to Ohio from North Carolina, my body swells up. My legs take on a tree-trunk-like appearance and my feet feel like they’re going to burst out of my shoes. This was likely another reason why I didn’t indulge in the sugar and alcohol I had been looking forward to. It only lasted a couple days, but then there was the drive back home to contend with, and for some reason it seemed worse and has lasted longer than the drive up.

I do have an interesting anecdote from my trip. In one of my first blog posts I think I mentioned how my family views obesity. My mother mentioned to me the other day that had she helped Charles Manson himself dispose of his murder victims, her father (my grandfather) would forgive her if only she was trim and fit while doing it. It sounds silly, but in my family everyone has been ingrained that being overweight is the ultimate sin. Unfortunately for my mother, only myself and one of my sisters have the curse of being overweight.

I had not seen my grandfather in a little over a year. I was shocked at his appearance at the wedding. He is tiny and frail and his dementia has progressed to the point where he barely remembers anyone anymore. I approached him to say hello and give him a hug. His lip curled up in his signature sneer and he said to me, “You’ve gained a little weight haven’t you?” With my ears and face burning from the humiliation of about six of my cousins witnessing the encounter, I acknowledged that I had.

A couple days later I stopped by my grandparents’ home to visit. I literally fielded 2 ½ hours of questions from my grandfather about my weight. “Have you always been so heavy?” “Is your mother that heavy?” “Do you have plans to slim down?” and so on. In his earlier years before the dementia settled in, he never would have voiced his concerns. Not to me anyway. They would usually come by way of my grandmother, to my mother, to myself. But he can’t help it, I know. He’s just a shell of who he once was: The man who used to make me crisp waffles topped with vanilla ice cream and maple syrup; who always kept a stash of his favorite treat – maple cream sticks – to feed us grandchildren when we would visit; the same man who ran up to the store every time a grandchild visited, to pick up popsicles or soda. I often wonder how my cousins managed to maintain slim figures despite these terrible eating habits, but I digress.

I came home more determined to lose this damned weight, and now that the fog of the post-vacation blues is wearing off, I will get to it. I should mention that I’ve been eating clean since my return. The water weight is just a temporary issue that should resolve itself soon, I’m sure. I haven’t exercised since I’ve been back and I know once I jump back on that, I will get the scale moving again.

And with that, I leave you all until next week. Have a great one!

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Transformation Tuesday 8/18 and Photo: I’m Still Here!

It is with agonizing humility that I return here to pick up where I left off. I realize it’s almost 2 months since my last post, and every tortuous Tuesday that has passed by with my own radio silence has rung out as silent defeat to my ears. I’ve had on and off (mostly off) days/weeks. Sugar-fueled weekends turned into weeks, and the internal rally to get up and move! went largely ignored by my senses, dulled by idleness, wine, chocolate, and angst over the minutia of life.

But I’m nothing if not persistent. I’ve not given up. I’ve renewed my renouncement of my drug and have managed to conquer 3 whole days with no sugar, with Day 4 just hours away from being ass-whooped.

And so it was, with little enthusiasm but a hopeful heart, that this morning I donned my Guinness T-shirt and jean shorts, took a jaunt to the scale and then outside for my Transformation Tuesday photo.




Surprisingly, I’m 10 pounds lighter than when I first started this journey. I’m currently at 320. So that means that I must have managed to rid myself of 3 pounds during the past couple months.  My initial reaction to this photo was incredible disappointment, but then I took a moment to compare all of my progress photos thus far, and I observed something:  My fat rolls are definitely creeping south, drastically so.  So there is either less fat or less water retention buoying those puppies up.  It’s a snail’s pace but beyond my expectations, so I’ll take it!

I started my weight training regime again two days ago (a maneuver that instantaneously improved my sleep quality), and the intention is to continue building muscle whilst managing my eating.

Can I just tell you that I’m headed out of town for a beloved cousin’s wedding this weekend and I’m terrified? I know it’s going to be a wine-and-cake kind of weekend and I will let you know up front that I will be partaking. It’s how we celebrate everything and it’s been so long since I’ve seen my family. And I want to. That’s the bottom line, isn’t it?

Do I have a plan? Yes. Well, sort of. Just jump back on track Monday. I’ve already recruited my husband as my accountability partner, a task he seems to be all too eager to take on (I suppose I’ll forgive him), as well as committed to updating you the following day, Tuesday, August 25, 2015.

So until then, thank you for sticking with me and have an incredible week!

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Two Funerals and a Wedding

Nope, it’s not a hokey movie sequel. It’s been my life of late, and let me tell you right out of the gate that I am just not the kind of person who can maintain a healthy lifestyle during times of distress.

Two weeks ago my family lost a very dear friend after a year-long battle with cancer. It’s still such a challenge to wrap my head around the fact that he is no longer.

That same week, I attended a wedding wherein my husband was the Best Man and my daughter, a bridesmaid. The marrying couple and bridal party were also rather connected with the friend who had passed away just days earlier. In fact, one of the groomsmen was actually the deceased man’s son. As you can imagine, the weekend was just emotional all the way around.

Last week, another friend of ours was mowing his lawn when he was apparently stung by a wasp and went into anaphylactic shock and died a day later. So much turmoil in such a short span of time!

Finally, my husband’s spirits were sunken by the news that a founding member of his all‑favorite progressive rock band Yes, Chris Squire, passed away yesterday after a short bout with Leukemia. Of course he didn’t know the man personally, but when you’ve become so connected to one’s art for as long as my husband has been, the loss is still profoundly felt.

Despite having an incredible support network of the dearest friends imaginable, I still found myself reaching for my usual comforts: Sugar and alcohol. But after a tear-fueled beer, wine and cake fest, I’m again back on track. Have I ever told you that I’m an incredible optimist? I’ve always been. In the words of Chumbawumba, “I get knocked down, but I get up again. You’re never gonna keep me down.” I’m sorry. I had to go there.

So that’s the update as to where I’ve been and what I’ve been up to. I woke up this morning and started back on health eating plan, which, just to reiterate, is tailored to my body type of estrogen dominance and subsequent hypothyroidism. Heavy on the raw greens, moderate on the protein, moderate to high on the healthy fats, and void of sugar and processed carbohydrates. It sounds unpleasant, but I assure you that after two days, the sugar cravings are gone and I actually have started to crave the greens and vegetables. There has been no formal exercise to speak of, but I spent this past Saturday helping a friend move from one apartment to another, both on the second floor, and my already-massive calves seem to be in a permanently contracted state from running up and down stairs carrying furniture and heavy boxes for hours.

Anyhoodle my friends, I got this!

Look for an update post with a photo very soon. Until then, have an awesome week!

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