Tuesday Open Thread ~ The Incredible Shrinking Waistline


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“It's like one of those scenes from a feel-good Hollywood movie. Where everybody is happy and nobody's hair fizzes in the wind. Where it doesn't rain, your shoes stay comfortable all day, and everybody's jokes are funny.” ~ Randa Abdel-Fattah

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Good Morning!

Welcome to Tuesday's edition of the Incredible Shrinking Waistline. A place where we talk about better food choices and the journey towards awesomeness. On the menu today are some juicy Cornish Game Hens along with a savory side dish of brussels sprouts. But first, let's talk a little about motivation. Motivation? Yeah. That's right. The kind of motivation that keeps you on-track even when a part of your brain feels like sitting down and eating an entire cheesecake. And here's what I've discovered: Feeling good about yourself is the most powerful motivator of all. So much so that while everyone else at my store was enjoying their holiday treats, I sat in the break room next to a table filled with pastries, chocolates, and frosted cakes, munching quietly on a few apple slices and almond butter. People marveled at my willpower, but it really wasn't about the desserts anymore. It was about planning what I was going to wear to an upcoming holiday party and making an entrance into a room full of people I hadn't seen in over a year. If that sounds vain, I apologize, but after five years of neglecting that part of my life, I'm glad to find out that the confidence that comes from feeling good is still alive and well.

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Hear Me Roar

Hanging in my closet is a beautiful faux fur coat that I haven't been able to wear in years. Teddy bear brown with small leopard spots, it's the most glamorous thing I own. For New Year's Eve, I was finally able to fit into it. And boy, did I go all out that evening. Bought a brand new outfit and put on a pair of high heels. I even accented the occasion with a red satin ribbon that I tied around my neck. My hair done, make-up on, I walked through the door of the bar where I was meeting up with friends from work, and I could see from the looks on their faces they didn't quite recognize who I was until I walked right up to their table. Their surprise, followed by a collective "Wow", was the best New Years Eve experience I've had in a very long time, bringing me to a place where feeling good and looking good trumps (if you'll pardon the expression) the desire to eat all the sugary foods I used to be addicted to.

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This change in perspective comes at a good time for me. On January 5th, the captain of our store decided to hold another "Biggest Loser" contest. It seems the managers, along with fellow crew members, are looking to shed a few of those holiday pounds. But this time, the rules are a little different from last time. While we are still going to be measuring percentage of body weight lost, instead of a 4 week challenge, this will be a 6 week challenge. Instead of a first, second, and third place winner, this competition will be a winner takes all. That means whoever wins, pockets $500!! So, I thought to myself, fantastic, I still need to lose another dress size anyway, deal me in!

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Because I won the contest last time, my competitors really want to beat me this time. In the last two weeks, crew members who are not even in the contest keep coming up to me telling me how motivated this person is, or that person is, and that they might just win. Yeah, well, you know what I say? They seemed pretty motivated the last time and after going through the entire holiday season where I didn't eat any of the desserts everyone else ate, I'm pretty confident I've got my cravings under control. Let's see how they do with theirs.

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I Am

By Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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I know not whence I came,

I know not whither I go;

But the fact stands clear that I am here

In this world of pleasure and woe.

And out of the mist and murk

Another truth shines plain –

It is my power each day and hour

To add to its joy or its pain

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Let's Talk About Cornish Game Hens

After successfully roasting some beautiful cornish game hens for Christmas, I was eager to tweak the recipe a bit to accommodate a lower calorie version. I got my chance when I ran across some frozen cornish game hens at Aldi's. Perhaps not as flavorful as the ones I bought at Trader Joe's for Christmas, they were still quite delicious. I paired the hens with brussels sprouts that I sauteed in chicken stock and wine, with a touch of balsamic vinegar for a surprisingly delicious vegetable dish. I say surprising because I don't actually like brussels sprouts. But since I'm expanding my vegetable selections, I thought I'd give brussels sprouts another try. I'm glad I did because this combination is simply scrumptious.


The Hens

Ingredients

2 1-2 lb. Cornish game hens, defrosted
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup chicken broth
½ cup of white cooking wine
6 sprigs of rosemary
2 lemons, sliced in wedges
6 cloves of garlic, peeled
Salt & Pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. In a medium sized bowl, or a large pyrex measuring cup, mix chicken broth, cooking wine and 1 tablespoon of olive oil together
  3. Clean out the cavity of hens with a little water and pat hen dry
  4. Salt and pepper hens inside and out
  5. Stuff hens with rosemary sprigs, lemon wedges and garlic cloves
  6. Place hens in a roasting pan on top of a roasting rack and rub hens with oil
  7. Roast for 45 - 60 minutes, basting every 10 minutes with broth and wine mixture to keep moist
  8. Temperature for hens should reach 175 degrees when done
  9. Let rest for five minutes before carving

2-4 servings depending on portion size


The Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients
1 10oz bag of shaved brussels sprouts
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large sweet onion, diced
1 large granny smith apple, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
¼ cup chicken broth
¼ cup white cooking wine
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Saute onions and apples in olive oil over medium heat until onions are translucent
  2. Stir in minced garlic and saute for another minute
  3. Add in shaved brussels sprouts and saute until slightly browned
  4. Season with salt and pepper
  5. Pour in broth, wine and vinegar; cover and cook for 5 minutes until liquid is absorbed

Serves 4

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Well, that about wraps things up for this week's edition.
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What’s on your mind today?
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Comments

Raggedy Ann's picture

Good luck with the competition. I've stopped losing weight, myself. My body seems to have found it's "floor." I hit that floor in July - around nine months into my intermittent fasting lifestyle change. I now fluctuate in a five pound range, usually a 1-2 pound range.

I do know what you mean about resisting goodies. I am so much better at it. I was at a French pastry shop yesterday and everything looked so delicious. I ended up with a half sandwich and cup of soup. I cracked myself up!

I, too, have a fun party dress that I now fit into again. It is so fun to wear and shock my friends! Never knew I'd be having such fun at this age!

Back to reality. No more breaks for me for a while. Need to keep my head down and keep my eye on the prize.

Have a beautiful day, folks! Pleasantry

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13 users have voted.

"The secret of change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new." Socrates (469-399 BC)

Anja Geitz's picture

@Raggedy Ann

Never knew I'd be having such fun at this age!

More power to you! I'm having a lot of fun with the weight loss as well. Everyone keeps asking me how much weight I've lost so far but bc I don't have a scale and am not inclined to get one, I can only go by my current dress size. Which, frankly, is a lot more meaningful a metric. I'm hoping to get to my goal size by summer. The contest is another great motivator to that end, and the money wouldn't hurt either. Yowza!

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11 users have voted.

There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

gulfgal98's picture

@Anja Geitz numbers on a scale are less important than how the clothes you love fit. At my age, that means having my favorite pants or jeans fit me comfortably and look good. I have lost a little weight since the first of the year and my reward has been that my clothes fit and look better than they did two months ago.

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8 users have voted.

"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~ Dr. Cornel West

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." ~ President John F. Kennedy

Anja Geitz's picture

@gulfgal98

Who retain a lot of water weight that fluctuates week by week. Scales render an accurate pulse on weight loss problematic. The best metric is how your clothes look and feel. And, gosh, ain't it a great feeling when those jeans get loose? Congrats!

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

Lookout's picture

...but once you become metabolically flexible (meaning you can burn fats for fuel) you lose your cravings. I played a dance weekend recently. All the provided B'fast options were carbs - cereal, bagels, oatmeal. Luckily we had brought boiled eggs, avocados, and parsley salad from the garden...a much healthier and filling option. Not only that, but no hunger pains even by lunch time. When you eat carbs, you spike insulin which drives hunger. A vicious cycle.

Jason Fung - Interview (Breckenridge 2017)
Dr. Fung: Robert Lustig was probably more correct than incorrect and people get on him for being kind of sensationalistic when he said that sugar is a toxin. Really if you're talking about obesity and type 2 diabetes, it is a toxin. But the point of toxicology is that the dose makes a huge difference, the dose makes the poison. So oxygen into high-level is toxic, right? Drink too much water, you can die. You see that with people running marathons and so on. So anything into high dose is toxic. If it's a very low dose it's not toxic. So really the question is how much can you eat and...?
Dr. Eenfeldt: When does it become a toxin?
Dr. Fung: I think that it's a gradient of course, but if you're trying to lose weight you should try and eat as close to zero as possible. It's not going to be possible right?
Dr. Eenfeldt: Not absolute zero, but get close to zero.
Dr. Fung: Yeah, exactly.
Dr. Eenfeldt: Make it easier to lose weight.
Dr. Fung: Yeah but it's useful to understand that the fructose part of the carbs is really just so much worse for you than the carbohydrate, so you can't say, "Well I'm going to have just 50 g of carbohydrates, but I'm going to have, you know, Coca-Cola.
Dr. Eenfeldt: All my carbs are going to be sugar.
Dr. Fung: Exactly, if those carbs are sugar, it's not going to work. If you say, "I'm going to have 50 g of carbohydrates today", and you have a little bit of potato that's probably fine, as opposed to, "I'm going to have 50 g of sugar sweetened soda."

https://www.dietdoctor.com/is-sugar-a-toxin
more from Dr Lustig https://www.nature.com/articles/482027a

Someone this weekend asked me about our diet, and I've learned to emphasize the alternatives...eat easy to make coconut or almond flour breads, cauliflower rice (from which I make pizza crust), miracle (shirataki) noodles or spaghetti squash, and so on. You can go lo carb and still eat delicious foods.

I can't say enough about how much better I feel having lost 60 lb and 5" off my waist...and it wasn't that difficult...I started with fasting and then implemented a lo carb diet. Nina Teicholz is working with congress to establish a non corporate committee at the AAAS to revamp our dietary guidelines....and surprise surprise big ag and pharma are fighting her (and Dr Lustig) tooth and nail.

Well fortunately we don't need corporate approval to change our diet. Just do it!

Congrats on your journey Anja. I suspect the next contest round will be more difficult because you've already lost so much weight, but good luck!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Anja Geitz's picture

@Lookout

Smart of you to bring something along that you could eat. I've run into that situation as well, where nothing on the table had something that I could have. I've now also taken to bringing a salad.

The sugar cravings. Amazing to me that they've subsided. But the science behind it makes sense. Thanks for the additional information. I look forward to reading it.

Congrats on your weight loss as well. It really is quite an accomplishment. Feeling good, eh?

The contest. Last time I blew everyone out of the water I lost so much weight. This time I only need to lose enough to beat everyone else. Even by a pound. I'm still pretty confident I can do that, but your point is well taken. I won't lose as much as I did last time, especially considering that a lot of the initial weight loss that first month was water.

Here's hoping though Smile

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

@Lookout
suggesting that I instead skip lunch. I told her "Doctor, I don't get hungry until I start eating. If I eat at 8:00AM, I'm hungry at 10:00AM. If I don't eat in the morning, I'm not hungry until 11:00 or 11:30." She didn't believe me. Hey! Who has been living in this body for 60 plus years? (at that time). her or me?
Now, in retirement, I eat breakfast (hungry at 11:00 or 11:30) at noon.

The big problem is that my wife keeps the house cold. This makes me very hungry. If she would turn the thermostat up to 78, I wouldn't eat at all.

A trick I used when working was to bring two yellow potatoes to work, red in a pinch. Microwave for one minute. Then gnaw on them (one at lunch, the other at afternoon break) like a rat. (All men are rats, right?) No butter, no sour cream, no bacon bits. Potato. That's it. Oh, and coffee, milk no sugar.
It sure hurt to pass up our plant cook, Juan's, breakfast burritos. Huge and stuffed with Chorizo, Chihuahua cheese and salsa (hold the jalapenos PLEASE). They were incredibly delicious but must have been 5000 calories. It was hard to eat it all.

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We are so screwed.

enhydra lutris's picture

my next batch that I can't wait to try. Brussels sprouts( https://www.google.com/search?q=little+green+balls+of+death&sxsrf=ACYBGN... )

Good luck. I do know the feeling good feeling, though I do still find myself thinking of food too often and snacking too much. I have yet to ind the perfect snack, and may have to go back to popcorn even though it is waaaay light on protein.

have a good one.

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7 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Anja Geitz's picture

@enhydra lutris

Should I assume from the "little balls of death" sign you are not a fan of the brussel sprout? Smile

Working with those little hens is just so much fun. Especially if you're only cooking for one or two people. I mean, who doesn't want a little roaster all to themselves? I'll be interested to hear how your hen recipe goes. Please let us know!

Snacking. Here's a new topping from TJ's you could try on your popcorn.

image_97.jpeg

Of course, I would probably melt a little coconut oil first and add the seasoning directly into the oil before drizzling it on the popcorn. Otherwise the seasoning doesn't adhere too well to the popcorn.

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

enhydra lutris's picture

@Anja Geitz
I've been doing it straight up with no de nada. For 3 cups you get:

Calories: 93.
Fat: 1.1g.
Sodium: 1.9mg.
Carbohydrates: 18.6g.
Fiber: 3.6g.
Sugars: 0.2g.
Protein: 3g.

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2 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

in my mortal vessel is between my ears lately.
A diet of low sugar information is key.
All the carb(on) footprints seem like
dust in the wind, blowing thru the changes.
Have lost two hat sizes since getting faster.
Keeping ahead of the race to skinny bottoms.
Amazing Wink

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May we be united and strong -- laurel

Anja Geitz's picture

@QMS

As always, your inimitable style makes me smile Smile

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

I'm having a harder time with eliminating grain, myself. Have basically stalled since the holidays. On the other hand, I gained only one pound over the holidays, so at least I'm not reversing all the good work I did before.

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10 users have voted.

Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Anja Geitz's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

Congrats on maintaining your weight. No small thing, especially during the holidays!

Interesting fact. The average time frame for people who have diagnosed their digestive problems to gluten intolerance and finally taking it completely out of their diet is about 10 years. Yes, you read that right. 10 years of feeling like crap because giving up pasta and bread is too heartbreaking a life change. That's how potent the allure of it is. So, I wouldn't feel too bad if those of us who are not gluten intolerant find it difficult at first to eliminate grain from our diet. The desire for it is fierce. And its positively everywhere! But it is possible and as Lookout stated up thread, there are a lot of alternatives these days. Thankfully.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your journey. It's good to see ya!

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

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5 users have voted.

Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

snoopydawg's picture

Seriously I do when I'm putting sugar in my coffee. But I have cut down the amount. I've cut the number of cookies I have to break my fast from 6-3, but that's more because I used to share them with Abby. She had a cookie tooth her whole life with me and that was our morning ritual.

I've lost 9 lbs somehow. Might be cuz I'm walking farther and faster since I don't have to go Abby's pace. Lots of my aches have diminished too. I have a sheepskin coat that I bought with my first bonus 35 years ago and it looks brand new still. Just a tad too cozy but I'll get back in it. Some day.

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"I will be the best, the best, you know, you know the thing!”
- Joe Biden

Anja Geitz's picture

@snoopydawg

I think of you and Abby every time I see a funny dog video!

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Glad to hear that cutting down on the sugar has alleviated the aches. That was one of the first things I noticed right after the inflammation went away. Kudos on the weight loss and keep us updated on that sheepskin coat debut!

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

and the results are just so damn AWESOME!
There is just no way I can plan anything, such as fasting and eating at specific times. Every single day is a completely different schedule.
I actually look at a schedule book at the office to see what I am doing tomorrow, when I am doing it, and where I am doing it. And that schedule is subject to change in an instant. I have some, but not much, control over it.
I do have a great deal of control over what I eat, just not when I eat.
I can eat grains, just eat them rarely. I can eat sugar, do not crave it, also eat it rarely. I think the only time I eat anything fried is the twice a year French Fries that come with the restaurant burger, and even then, I eat 3 or 4, waste the rest, right along with the half burger I couldn't finish.
I love Brussel sprouts, but despise their odor when being cooked. I have to air out the damn house.
I know the feeling of getting back into your cool clothes and seeing that they fit well and flatter.
I found a sweater, extremely dressy, that I hadn't worn in years, had forgotten I even owned, but wore it to the lovely wedding I attended this past Saturday.
To go all Open Topic, truthout just sent me an article...somebody there believes the salvo on Bernie/the video series "Hillary" in March just might be the warning she will do what she must do at the convention to parachute in.

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Anja Geitz's picture

@on the cusp

When I quit smoking, all I had to focus on was not smoking. When you're trying to lose weight you still have to eat. Every day.

To go all Open Topic, truthout just sent me an article...somebody there believes the salvo on Bernie/the video series "Hillary" in March just might be the warning she will do what she must do at the convention to parachute in.

God, that just fills me such ambivalence.

OTOH, from the viewpoint of wanting to see Bernie pull this thing off, I wish this awful women would just go away. OTOH, from the viewpoint of a voyeur wanting to watch a train wreck, get out the popcorn! (ya hear that EL, that's gonna be a lot of popcorn!)

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

@Anja Geitz series will be viewed by the same amount of the population that showed up for the book tour and Bill and Hillary tour.
I would only watch it for free, and in a way my viewing would never be counted, and only if I was really drunk.
Before I lost weight, I had lost appetite. Maybe an age thing? This is my first time being old, so who knows?
I subscribe to the eat slow theory. It might take me 10 minutes to actually eat 3 bites of food. If I get distracted by anything, a phone call, an email or text, I may not eat anything more. That has been going on for almost 2 years.
I just give the food to my brother. It works for us!

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Anja Geitz's picture

@on the cusp

I am hoping against hope that the "Hillary"series will be viewed by the same amount of the population that showed up for the book tour and Bill and Hillary tour.

Someone should give those sad souls a teddy bear to hold.

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

Anja Geitz's picture

@on the cusp

Preach it Sister!

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4 users have voted.

There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

@on the cusp

If you like bacon this braise-and-glaze method from Mark Bittman is a tasty dish that leaves the house smelling pretty good:

1. dice up a couplefew slices of bacon (vegetarians: sub 3tbsp olive oil for the bacon, skip to step 2) and cook that in a fry pan over medium heat until the fat starts to render out and the pieces are cooked, remove & set aside

2. add about a pound of halved, quartered or shaved brussells sprouts to the fat in the pan along with just enough stock or white wine to coat the bottom of the pan, about 1/2 cup

3. cover and steam the sprouts for about 5-10 minutes, over medium-low, until they start to get soft. add more liquid if necessary. then remove the cover and go back up to medium, kinda toss them about only once or twice while they cook for another 5-7 minutes, until they are kinda brown & crispy on the edges and have the doneness you prefer

4. mix the bacon bits back in, adjust the seasoning with kosher salt & fresh cracked black pepper, and if you want to get fancy mix in some toasted pine nuts, top with a little shaved parmigiano-reggiano & serve

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Anja Geitz's picture

@Reverend Jane Ignatowski

When I've finished the competition, I was thinking of adding some really good pancetta to the brussel sprouts. Parmesan cheese is also a great addition but right now I'm not doing any dairy. Glad to see you, btw. Hope all is going well for you. My Sister finished her yearly follow up recently and came through it with flying colors. Here's wishing the same for you.

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2 users have voted.

There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

@Anja Geitz

Thanks, Anja, you're a doll. Wonderful news about your sister. A few days ago I made it halfway through the 12 month post-surgical followup tests and appointments and so far so good. Another round in February and then hopefully I can peel myself off the ceiling, heh.

I've never cooked with pancetta, but that does sound delicious -- if you try it let me know how it comes out. Good luck with your competition, there's bunches of people cheering you on from the sidelines.

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My brother and I talked on his 70th b'day Jan. 5th. He said he couldn't bend, walk, lift, and didn't associate his current body with what went through his head, which is the same shit that flew into it and out of it when he was 25. He, too, is sort of mystified by the age thing.
I climbed Machu Picchu just a few months ago. For the second time.
I am considering going back, for a tour that does what I have done twice, but adds on some cities in Bolivia, which I have not seen.
Getting old is really, really strange, and geared to the damage done to your body in your youth. He played football. I taught ballet.

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@humphrey

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smiley7's picture

Apparently i didn't save the comment i wrote Tuesday, anyways, thanks for the recipes and Japanese spice recommendation.

Always happy to receive your good tips about TJ products and cooking.

Sorry, i missed the party.

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Anja Geitz's picture

@smiley7

Just saw your message now. Good to see ya! Glad you enjoyed the recipes Smile

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier