Tuesday, May 31, 2011
These may not be low in carbs overall, but they are certainly made up of much better carbs than the pancakes one can make from a mix, and they're free of the preservatives and lard you also find in those mixes. Our dinner tonight consisted of these, low fat vanilla yogurt, and a serving of poached eggs for each of us. I meant to add oranges to the spread, but forgot. No one minded, as these pancakes are pretty satisfying on their own.
I topped my pancake with my yogurt and a drizzling of honey. The kids finished off the last of the store bought syrup, and we won't be buying more. (The cheap person in me overrode the anti-HFCS activist, so we didn't just throw out the rest.) From now on, I'll be making my own syrup for the family. This is super simple to do. Just combine a cup of brown sugar and a cup of white sugar and dissolve them in a cup of water in a saucepan on the stove. Add 1/2 teaspoon of maple extract or imitation maple flavoring. Heat the mixture to a low boil and boil and stir for 3 minutes. Let it cool a bit before you serve it. Store it in your cupboards like you would any other syrup.
The recipe for the Multigrain and Flax Seed Pancakes is one I adapted from The Joy of Cooking cookbook's "Four-Grain Flapjacks" recipe. Mine works better for me, as I've replaced the cornmeal with cracked wheat and the eggs with flax seed. This reduces the overall fat and cholesterol content of the pancakes and gives them the healthy omegas found in flax seed. I've also omitted the sugar in the recipe, allowing the honey to do the work of sweetening the pancakes.
As an aside, milled flax seed can be used as an egg substitute in just about any baked dish. One tablespoon of flax and three tablespoons of water are equivalent to one egg. With our new commitment to buying better ( and therefore more expensive) eggs, I'll be using the flax substitute in all my baking and reserving eggs for main courses.
On to the recipe!
Combine the following dry ingredients in a large bowl (Spice amounts are approximate. I probably use much more because I'm a big fan of this trio.)
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup white flour
1/3 cup cracked wheat
1/4 cup rolled oats
3 tbsp milled flax seed
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
Combine wet ingredients in a smaller bowl
1 3/4 cups milk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1/4 cup honey
9 tbsp water
Add the wet ingredients to the dry mixture and cook on a griddle. Serve on a plate, then snarf responsibly. :)
Labels: Look at My Dinner
Monday, May 30, 2011
Sunday, May 29, 2011
I've been a Mormon all my life. I've been a vegetarian for a month. I had my last bite of meat the morning of April 28th. I had leftover chicken for breakfast because I was in a hurry or I didn't feel like making oatmeal or I just wanted to taste the yummy chicken I had made the night before.
After eating, I went downstairs to do my treadmill workout and tuned my computer to a lovely site full of documentaries that was recommended to me by a friend. I jumped on my treadmill and powered it up, settled my headphones down around my ears, and spent an hour and 35 minutes listening to Joaquin Phoenix narrate the truth about factory farms, slaughterhouses, and corruption in the meat industry.
The documentary is called "Earthlings," and is not for the faint of heart. If you don't want to see scenes like pigs beings boiled alive because they didn't bleed out and die before the conveyor raced them to the vat of boiling water, you probably shouldn't watch it. Ditto if you can't stomach the corruption of the factory farm industry that has grown like the bacteria colonizing the guts of their cows. I spent the better part of my workout that day alternating between tears and anger. I stepped away from it a vegetarian.
Now, the veggie lifestyle isn't new for me. I was a vegetarian in high school for 3 whole days. Unfortunately for high school students everywhere, parents are the people who usually buy the food in the house. This is not to say that my parents weren't supportive. They discussed the issue openly with me and listened to my concerns about meat eating. We read through scripture so I could better understand where my religion stood on the issue. They were willing to see me through the decision. In the end, it just seemed too hard, and I went reluctantly back to the typical American diet.
Nearly 20 years later, the typical American diet has lost me a gall bladder and gained me 100 extra pounds, Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome, and a fatty liver. Heart disease? Oh, you can bet it's already started. Diabetes? It's a when, not an if for me.
Well, it was.
So, here I am, Sarah Clark, the vegetarian, and I have to say...it's not nearly as difficult as the 15 year old me thought it would be. Does it help that I buy the food in the house? Sure. Does it help that I've already spent the last six months eating healthy meals? Absolutely. Is it still a little hard? Sometimes.
Vegetarianism takes a lot of planning. Trying to eat a PCOS diet, with its need for good proteins to pair with good carbs, and a vegetarian diet takes even more planning. The good news for me is that I'm the type of person who likes to plan. I already shop with a list and a menu. I already plan my meals before I eat them. Planning, I can do.
Planning means looking online for good recipes and then taking the plunge and preparing them. Planning means understanding that cooking real food, good food, whole food means I sometimes have to start the night before. Planning means looking ahead at restaurant menus and bringing my own patties made of eggplant for a family member's barbecue. It takes some thinking and a little bit of time, but it works.
Just like my first attempt at this, I checked out relevant scriptures to make sure what I was doing was in line with what I believe God wants for me. See, we Mormons are a little picky about what we ingest. We live by a scriptural code of health we call the Word of Wisdom. It's why we don't drink coffee or tea, we don't use alcohol or tobacco, and it's why we eat very little meat to begin with.
The Mormons in my readership may be shifting uncomfortably in their chairs. Truth be told, we're not so good about the meat, at least, that has been my experience. The Word of Wisdom specifically states that meat is ordained by God for the use of man to be used with thanksgiving, but to be used sparingly. Most people in my church stop there and find their own interpretation of what a sparing amount of meat consumption is. I'd wager for many, if not most, it's the same as the average American, which is not sparing at all by my own definition.
However, the very next verse in the scripture states that it is pleasing to God that it not be eaten, except in times of winter or cold or famine. That same sentiment is expressed again a few verses later, reminding the reader that meat should only be eaten when there is a famine or excess of hunger. As far as I'm concerned, what those scriptures are telling me is that when things get so bad that I would consider eating my cats, that's when it's okay to eat meat. For every other day of my lifetime, when I can hop down to the local grocery store and fill my cart with vegetables, whole grains, and lean dairy products, there's just not a need.
When I mention these feelings to my fellow Mormons, they usually send me to another chapter and verse that says it's not okay to command men not to eat meat. How telling them what the Word of Wisdom actually says amounts to my commanding them not to eat meat is something I don't quite understand, but I nod and agree with them and say that I know my lifestyle is not for everyone, and we all have to pray for our own answers to questions such as these, and far be it from me to command anyone into a love affair with Boca Burgers. (Suggest? Sure. Command? Not so much.)
On the meat eating thing, I'm willing to agree to disagree with many members of my church. Their interpretation of scripture is different from mine, and that's okay with me.
Now, because I really do believe I should not command anyone to become a vegetarian like me (but really...don't you want to? You know you want to. What are you...soy chicken substitute?), I am not requiring my children to go completely meat free. About 2 dinners a week in our house contain meat for the kids while Richard and I substitute a different protein. The other five days, the kids have been getting to know the wonders of legumes and other good sources of proteins, and so far, we haven't had many complaints. Falafel? New favorite of everyone. Tofu? Loved by Cate, anyway.
While I am willing to prepare meat for my kids, I am still strongly opposed to the practices employed by factory farms, so I'm studying to find the kinds of meat I can feel good about preparing. It won't be easy, and it will likely be expensive. Ask me what I'm paying for cage free eggs when you get a minute. But if I'm going to feel good about the life I'm living, I have to consider free range, grass fed, humanely grown meat worth the price.
This post was probably not what you were expecting from a Mother Load post, and I hope that's okay. A month into this new life, I feel light, open, connected, and truly good. While I can't command someone else to feel this way, I can't help but share that I do.
The fact that my stomach doesn't hurt anymore and my skin is clearing up and my total weight loss is up to 26 pounds? Well, that's just a bonus.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
I mentioned in my "Look at My Dinner!" post earlier today that I have no love for the TV ad the Corn Refiners Association is putting out. We're in the process of cutting HFCS out of our diet, and according to some reports, simply telling you that in this blog may cause the big, bag corn refiners to put me on "notice." I say bring it on.
I've seen a lot of parodies of the HFCS ads, but I think this one is my favorite because the facts it uses are cited right there in the video. The Corn Refiners Association has studies too...some sponsored by...the Corn Refiners Association. Oh wait...there was that one...sponsored by Pepsico. Silly me.
This is amateur stuff, which just makes me love it more. I especially love how the popsicle keeps changing color. ;)
Like most American families, pizza is a favorite in our house. But with my need to eat a diet lower in carbs in order to control my PCOS, it's not really the best option. What's a pizza loving girl to do? See above...and below.
This low carb pizza alternative is the new favorite of ours. The crust of the pizza is the most important difference. We use low carb wraps instead of making a thicker crust ourselves. This also makes the pizza super easy and fast to cook, and that, readers, is pretty cool.
Any variety of low carb, high fiber wrap will do for this recipe. We use the Flatout Light Italian Herb Wraps we find in the bakery section of our local Wal Mart. (Yes, I know I said Wal Mart. I hated them, and then they decided to make a commitment to stocking healthier food, so we have a truce for now.)
Each person in the family gets a wrap on which to create their perfect pizza. Because pre-made spaghetti and pizza sauces have high fructose corn syrup in them, and because I don't believe for a second what the condescending new ads about this stuff say, I choose to make my own sauce for the pizzas. I keep it simple. For a family my size, I use one 8 ounce can of tomato sauce and one 6 ounce can of tomato paste. I add garlic, oregano, basil, rosemary, and marjoram and heat it up in a skillet until it's bubbly and tastes just right.
The pizza you see above has turkey pepperoni, Canadian bacon, fresh tomatoes, fresh onions, and fresh spinach for toppings. The cheese is part skim mozzarella, and you can see I've used a lot less than my local pizza place would. I like to sprinkle a little oregano and basil on before I bake mine. It gives it a little extra kick.
We bake these at 400°F for 10 minutes. Since there are a few of us here, this takes two pans, so I make sure to open the oven at the five minute mark and switch the pans, so neither of them has to spend the entire time close to the heat. The pizzas come out crispy and delicious every time, and we get to indulge without the worry of unhealthy eating.
Labels: Look at My Dinner
Monday, May 23, 2011
Oh, Harold. Harold, Harold, Harold. You said we'd all be gone in 1994, and you were wrong. You said you'd be raptured on Saturday, and you were wrong. Is it possible that you just don't know what you're talking about? Can you wrap your mind around the fact that you don't really understand the Bible the way you think you do?
The answer is, of course, no. Mr. Camping is nothing if not persistent in his delusions. Now that the promised judgment has not occurred, the doomsday seer is changing his story. The judgment happened...it just didn't happen the way he thought it would. According to his new teachings, we were all judged on Saturday, but it was "invisible."
God works in a mysterious way...
Despite being completely wrong about the Rapture (twice), Mr. Camping is still (STILL!) 100% certain the world will be consumed in a giant fireball on October 21st. And since the judgment has already happened, he has no reason to warn anyone because we're already damned anyway.
I vote we still keep being nice, even though we all know we're going to Hell in the fall. I also vote that we bump the celebrations of Halloween, Veteran's Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas to September and October so we don't miss them this year. I'd also like to see someone make the world's largest marshmallow, so we can roast it on the big day.
Readers, it's been nice knowing you. I'll keep writing until the end. I will also keep writing after the end, at which point Camping will again be flabbergasted that God didn't do what a mortal said he should. He'll probably tell us that the world did end, and this IS Hell. That's okay.
At least Hell will have the world's largest marshmallow.
If you've been missing Mother Unload posts, rest assured that it's not because I've given up the fight. I'm just busy! And I've discovered Hulu! This is very bad. The good news is that Celebrity Apprentice ended last night. (Shhhhh...don't tell. I'm watching the episode as I write this!)
I'm up to 24 pounds in my total weight loss efforts, and I think I'm finally willing to say how much I actually weighed when all of this began. I threw around the 230 number because that's the weight I've generally settled at for the last 7 or 8 years, but the truth is that when I began working on my weight, I was actually 245. That is, of course, and all time high for me. Today, I'm at 221. My goal is 140, so I'm still 81 pounds away from that, but I'm feeling really good with my progress.
Wanna see what 24 pounds of weight loss looks like? Check out these pictures taken December 2010.
And now look at this picture from earlier this month:
So, the feature...
"Look at My Dinner" refers to my efforts to drive my online friends crazy with obnoxious pictures of my healthy dinners. In order to keep them as friends, I've decided YOU GUYS get to partake of my obnoxiousness! Aren't you happy? (Don't answer that.)
I love cooking. I love sharing my cooking. I love that that cooking is now leading to a smaller, thinner, healthier me. Some of you are also trying to lose some weight, and I realize you might be on the lookout for tasty and healthy dishes you can make for your families.
The "Look at My Dinner!" posts will feature a picture of my dinner (the better for you to look at it) along with information on how to make it yourself. Sometimes, that will be a link to the page where I found the recipe. Sometimes, that will be a "recipe" of my own design. I put that word in quotes because I like to improvise in the kitchen and rarely measure spices and other ingredients. I'll be giving you the foundation, but it's up to you to make it yours.
Ready to be driven crazy? Let's do this!
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Continuing this week's End of the World theme, I have found for you a Stupid Product related to the impending Rapture. Saturday, when all your righteous friends disappear before your very eyes, you might wonder what the heck just happened. Is it War of the Worlds in real life? Are you on Candid Camera? Did that sneeze pack more of a punch than you intended?
This is where RaptureLetters.com comes into play. If your friends really care about you and think you're not a completely lost cause, they will already have thought of this, and you will receive a "Rapture Letter" in your email inbox detailing what happened, what's coming next, and what you can do to avoid an eternity in Hell.
The site says that the program overseeing this automatic Rapture email disbursement works on a "dead man switch." As long as someone is there to reset it every Friday, the letters don't get sent. Once the Rapture occurs, the righteous person who's been pushing the button won't be there, so everyone in the database will then get an email.
I see several flaws in this plan.
1. If "Lost" is any indication, there will probably be someone there to keep resetting the program even after millions have disappeared. People like to push buttons. They like to keep things going. They like things that confirm their beliefs, even in the face of contradictory evidence. If the button pusher happens to be someone who thought he was righteous but spent a little too much time at the casino for his trip to the clouds, human nature says he will attribute all the missing people to a mass production of invisibility cloaks, and he'll keep pushing the button and waiting for the "real" judgment day.
2. Technology changes. What happens when the rapture occurs and no one's using email anymore? Do all the site's users have to remake their letters every time Steve Jobs or Bill Gates have the next bright idea? Already, the site's design is obsolete. Any self respecting Christian concerned for their families, friends, and former middle school crushes would surely send his message of warning and advice via tweet or Facebook status update.
3. Email addresses are fickle things. People change them all the time. They get hacked, they get bored, they decide "email@example.com" is not conducive to a good relationship with the in-laws. They send the requisite "New Email Address!" email out, people forget to update their address books, and BAM! It's like this person no longer exists. Unless the saved are going to constantly be updating the addresses of the unsaved, there are going to be a lot of missed messages.
4. If millions of people are going to disappear, does it not stand to reason that a portion of them will be the people who are in charge of keeping the internet working? How about power grids? Cell phone service? Seriously, people. Millions disappear, tribulations begin, and you think broadband and wi-fi aren't going to take a hit? Really?
If you're awaiting the Rapture and you're concerned about your loved ones, the time to clue them in about their impending doom is now. Don't worry about being a downer at the family dinner or the "crazy guy" at the faculty meeting. You can't count on technology to do this for you. You have to get the word out the old fashioned way. I recommend standing on your roof and screaming at your neighbors.
It will probably give you a head start when everyone starts to float toward the sky.
Labels: Stupid Products
Mom, today I learned that if you know the weight of one object and you know the right math, you can find out the weight of another object. This does not induce me to learn more math. It does, however, induce me to keep my math-loving father in law around so he can do whatever math I need. He would argue that everyone should know this stuff. I would argue that, "Holy cow! That was cool! Do it again!" and leave it at that.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
It's End of the World Week here at The Mother Load! Since May 21st has been declared judgment day, I feel the need to devote my larger posts to this topic, so you'll all be ready for the second coming. I'm just trying to raise awareness here. I'm like a modern day Noah...without the animals or the boat or the beard. (Thanks, Nair Face Cream!)
Because many of you might be wondering when it would be best to panic or repent (whichever you are more personally likely to do), I've found this Onion News Network story on ominous music that you might find helpful. If this report is any indication, we can all have a good time Saturday UNTIL we hear the suspenseful music play. At that point, it will be clear to everyone that judgment is NOW.
So, be aware. Dark undertones...occasional screeching violins...minor piano melodies...these are the signs that the apocalypse has begun. If we get to discordant choir voices singing high pitched cadences of monosyllabic sounds, we're officially toast.
Good luck to you all.
Monday, May 16, 2011
Mom, today I learned that Utah's Hogle Zoo has some new, much more frightening residents.
I mean seriously...heebie jeebies!
I learned that no matter how many kitties I have living with me, I will always want to take this one home.
This one, too.
I learned that Natalie Portman is looking lovely these days.
And that my chances of ever visiting South America just went waaaaaaaay down.
I learned that giraffes like to play just like the rest of us.
And that my weight loss efforts could benefit from a sign like this one.
And finally, I learned that someone is organizing posses to threaten the earth!
I consider myself more a rabble-rouser, but leader of a posse is okay too.
I must be pretty darned unrighteous, because I hadn't realized until today that the judgment day is nigh. By nigh, I mean May 21st, and by May 21st, I mean Saturday, and by Saturday, I mean the end of this week. By judgment day, I guess they mean the "Rapture," at which point the righteous will disappear and the rest of us will be left to face the destruction of the world (while borrowing their cars and toothbrushes and electric razors).
Now, I'm no expert on the Rapture. I had many a Baptist friend in my years growing up in the Bible Belt, but I'm a Mormon, so we all just agreed to disagree on stuff like this. We shared a belief in Christianity and a love of 80s hair bands, and I guess that was enough for us. I have no beef with people who believe in the Rapture. If they're right and I'm wrong, I'll know it the same time everyone else does, I guess.
However, I think it's safe to say that even my most devout of Baptist friends are not jumping on the judgment day world tour bandwagon and believing all of this stuff is going down on Saturday. That's because they've read enough of the Bible to know that predicting a date for the end of the world is kind of a contradiction of what Jesus taught his disciples. According to Matthew 24:36, HE doesn't even know. I guess he'll be really surprised when he hears they threw him a party and didn't bother to tell him the date and time.
According to the linked story above, Mr. Harold Camping, the man behind the May 21st prediction has already inaccurately predicted the end of the world would happen in 1994. This time, though, he KNOWS he's right because it's later and there are gay people everywhere. There were gay people in 1994, but apparently, they're now more gay and that makes him right.
This Saturday, I plan to do some projects around my current home and finish fixing a fence at the new house where we'll be moving in August because I believe I'll still be around in August. In the evening, I'll be heading out for a symphony concert. If everyone in the symphony is still there by the end of the last movement, I think we can all be assured that Mr. Camping was wrong again.
I do hope he'll still let me borrow his car, toothbrush, and razor. I mean...it's the principle of the thing...
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
So, Richard has been telling me for ages that I must watch episodes of "A Bit of Fry and Laurie" with him, and I've been telling him for ages that I'll be happy to do that as soon as I have some time. This exchange has always ended with him walking away dejectedly because he's knows as well as anyone that when God was handing out time, I got tripped and ended up in the workahol line instead. (Mmmmm...workahol...tasty!)
So, ages went by, and my longsuffering spouse decided to take matters into his own British-comedy-loving hands. He picked up a DVD of the Fry and Laurie show at the library, presented it to me, and then gave me one of these faces:
Fortunately for him, when God was giving out nerves of steel and hearts of stone, I was again tripped and ended up in the melty hearts line. We found enough time to watch one whole episode before the library had to have their DVD back, but that episode contained the following bit by Mr. Hugh Laurie.
Maybe all of you knew that Dr. House could sing and play the piano and do funny things in front of a camera. I was not aware of this. My upbringing, circa 1988, was apparently sorely lacking. When the world runs out of workahol, I'll be heading to the library to view a bit more of a Bit of Fry and Laurie. Of course, by then, DVDs will have been replaced by holograms and libraries will be overrun by zombies. All the more reason to have a little fun, wouldn't you say?
Monday, May 9, 2011
How well I remember the day my husband proposed to me. It didn't involve a lot of planning, a fancy dinner, or a ring. He didn't get down on one knee. It was just a nervous question asked in the middle of an embrace. And it was perfect.
The fact that he didn't deface someone's property to do it? Well, that's just a bonus.
Unfortunately for brides-to-be everywhere, a felony free proposal of marriage is not always an option. Such was the case last week, when a New York couple learned someone had spray painted the garage door of their vacation home to propose to his girlfriend, "Allison."
Ah, love. It knows no bounds. Who needs chivalry when you have spray paint?
Apparently, this was all done in the presence of Allison, as her answer was painted on the door next to the proposal. The good news for the hooligan is that, rather than be horrified at the thought of marrying a thug with no respect for property and not an ounce of responsibility, let alone romance, Allison painted a "Yes" next to his proposal. The bad news for both of them is that they have each other.
The two sealed the engagement in the customary way: by running into the defaced garage door with their car. The owners had to pay $1100 to get it replaced. Police say they're trying to locate suspects in the crime. Perhaps they'll keep an eye on the marriage licenses issued in the coming months. I don't know how effective that will be, though.
He'll probably break off the engagement on the side of dumpster in a few weeks anyway.