Author Archives: LeAnn

Big Girl You Are Beautiful – week 3 check in

I’ve got a gob of weight to lose.  A gob.  Today was my 3 week weigh in and I lost 5.8lbs.  Last week, I had gained 0.4lbs, so I was ecstatic about this weeks loss.  I’m following Weight Watchers and counting points, etc.  One thing I’m doing differently this time is strategizing..

There are some keys for me to be successful:

  1. Have my meals not only planned but prepared. CHECK.  (more about what I’m eating this week in another post)
  2. Schedule in exercise with specificity.  CHECK.
  3. Plan for the knowns.  This week I have a business dinner and I will not have control over which restaurant we go to.  I have a plan.  CHECK
  4. Check in with my Accountability Team. CHECK

I love big, bodacious goals… always have.. I’m not a writer, so I’ll leave it to Robert Browning to express my feelings about goals:

Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?

So, this week’s STRETCH goals:

  1. Begin weight training.
  2. Meet 10k steps four two of seven days.
  3. Put myself in that “uncomfortable” range during exercise for 20 minutes this week.
  4. Take a before picture and do measurements (no matter how badly I don’t want to do this)

**I ended up editing this later because my stretch goals began to hover over my head.. I began to feel pressure… and I remembered I’m supposed to be going slow (hence and enjoying the journey… and savoring the moments.. and doing things differently this time… so I adjusted my goals.. I get to do that! HA!… Two goals is plenty of a stretch, especially when one involves a picture and measurements!

Believe it now!


Crisp Fall Morning… and a perfect Breakfast

The Ingredients

I’ve been looking forward to this morning since Wednesday when Emily Bites posted her recipe for Pumpkin French Toast.  The weatherman was forecasting a cold front coming into Oklahoma that would put us in the 40’s (and after a summer of 100+ heat that 40 degrees sounded heavenly).  That’s a perfect morning for Pumpkin French Toast.  So, I made up a batch but instead of using regular bread I used rustic crusty whole wheat french bread (weighed out a 100 calorie portion which ended up being five 1/2 inch medallions).  I topped with some Mrs. ButterWorth’s Sugar Free Syrup and 1/8 tsp powdered sugar sprinkled on top.  Seriously scrumptious!

Now, I’m off to buy dirt to plant my new 1/2 price rose bushes and pansies!!  I love fall… love it!

As always,

Seriously Scrumptious Pumpkin French Toast

Wandering Into a New Dessert

This cool weather has me dreaming about camping… and craving something sweet.. so, I made a new recipe for “healthy S’mores” from Clean Eating Magazine… Man, this was good.. 4 points plus.. makes 2 servings… and takes about 5 minutes to make..

  • Preheat broiler on HI
  • 4 full sheet graham crackers…
  • 1/8 cup low fat philadelphia cream cheese (I used whipped but you can use lowfat too)..
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder..
  • 1/2 tbsp raw honey (you can use splenda or some other sweetener)..
  • mix above ingredients together and top each cracker..
  • then top with 1/8 cup cacao nibs..
  • put under a broiler on HI for 2 minutes.. while you’re waiting make a cup of Lady Gray tea (or coffee)…
  • take out of oven, place on pretty plate (one serving is two full crackers) and enjoy your 4 PP treat. YUMMO.. if you’ve never had cacao nibs, you gotta try em.. they’re kind of like nutty dark chocolate chips.. (crunchy yumminess).. you can read about cacao nibs here (and this happens to be my favorite brand too)

Now, I’m looking forward to tomorrow night when I can finish off the leftovers.. and I still have 12 points remaining… this has been a good, good day.

As Always,

Nutrients per serving (2 full sheet crackers and 5 tsp filling): Calories: 130, Total Fat: 5.5 g, Sat. Fat: 2.5 g, Carbs: 18 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugars: 6 g, Protein: 3.5 g, Sodium: 85 mg, Cholesterol: 8 mg WW PP 4

Healthy S’mores

One More Time with Feeling… or It’s All in the Execution

I’m two weeks into yet another attempt to lose weight.  This time I’m doing things a bit differently by setting myself up for success.  After seeing the success a good friend of mine has had on Weight Watchers, I’ve joined and am becoming a point counting fool.  I’m of the belief that whatever works for you to expend more calories than you take in – WILL WORK.  So, in regards to burning calories, I’ve replaced the desk in my office with a Treadmill Desk (I know, I know, COOL!) and  I’ve cleaned and organized the garage so I could actually get to the Elliptical machine. I’ve also lined up some accountability:  1) Weight Watchers weekly weigh ins and meetings 2) I got folks at work to participate in a “biggest loser” competition (cuts down on the crazy work foods) 3) I’m networking via Facebook with two close friends who are both doing weight watchers and 4) this blog.  Since preparation is half the battle, I’ve planned my meals for the upcoming week and my meals are already made, packaged and sitting in the fridge.

Here’s what I’ve made for this week:

  • Chicken Pot Pie (six servings, 6 points plus)
  • Sante Fe Turkey Stuffed Peppers (six servings, 4 points plus)
  • Mushroom Soup (four servings, 3 points plus)

I may end up freezing some and make something else if I get sick of what I’ve made.  I make the same thing every morning – a homemade Egg McMuffin which is 6-8 points depending on whether I use bacon (my fave) or canadian bacon.

Here’s the recipe for the Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie – 6 PP

1 cup Bisquick reduced-fat baking mix
½ cup skim milk
¼ cup egg substitute
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
2 cups cooked chicken breasts, chopped
2 (10 ¾ ounce) reduced-fat reduced-sodium condensed cream of mushroom soup

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Spray 8×8 casserole dish with cooking spray.
  3. Mix together veggies, chicken and soup. Pour into casserole dish.
  4. In another bowl, mix bisquick, milk, and egg. Pour over top of chicken mixture.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes, or until crust is golden.

I completely left out the egg whites because I had none… and I had no eggs (that’s a whole ‘nother story)… but it turned out fantastic!

So, that’s it.  That’s what’s going on.. I have no idea how to blog… seriously… but hope that this outlet of “putting it out there” will help me stick to my plan for getting healthy.  But as always…




One week from today I leave for Washington and Oregon – 48th and 49th state to visit.  My nephew and his girlfriend are coming along and I’m happy to have the company.  We’ll be backpacking in Olympic National Park – The Enchanted Valley trail and the Columbia River Gorge – The Eagle Creek Trail.  Nervous?  You bet. Have I mentioned the longest I’ve hiked in the past… ohhhhhh 20 years.. is about two miles???  Yep.  Of course, that doesn’t count the craft fair that comes to the Oklahoma City Fair Grounds every fall and spring.  It fills about seven of the buildings and I walk every single building, every single aisle!  Ends up being about five miles carrying armfuls of purchases!  LOL Does that count?  I’m just sayin…  But I digress.. I have wanted to go on this type of backpacking trip for years and years but never can find anyone to go with me and as a beginner backpacker I’m figuring going alone is not such a good idea.

I’ve been doing a lot of preparation… uhmmm not physical preparation mind you.. research.. the good stuff.. researching which trails to choose… what to bring… I’ve even been reading some fun books like A Walk in The Woods by Bill Bryson.  Hysterical and interesting recounting of the author’s trip on the AT (that’s how we backpackers refer to the Appalachian Trial).  I’ve also downloaded an Audible Book Lost: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trial (what we Backpackers would refer to as the PCT).  It’s not beyond my notice that most of my preparations involve sitting on my hiney.  That may be a problem.  But I’ll worry about that tomorrow (ala Scarlett).

All the prepping started, as usual, with a list.  I like using the spreadsheet function of Google Documents to keep my lists.  Especially if I plan on sharing the list with others because it’s simple to do via Google Docs.  If I don’t plan on sharing a list and want to easily sync between my Mac, my iPad and my iPhone then  an App I like to use is Wunderlist.   Once I completed THE list, I began making spin off lists… lists of stuff I already had.. lists of what I needed.. divided by the stores I needed to get them from… ahhhhh lists, glorious, lists.

So, here’s all my gear laid out on the table so I can check it against my master list prior to packing.  Click here to go to a picture where you can rollover each item and find out what it is and where to get it.  The picture doesn’t include my food or clothes.  Also missing from the picture are my “bear rope” to tie food and anything else that smells in the trees so the bears can’t get it, my Big Agnes Camp Chair, trashbags, whistles and all my techie stuff (iPad, camera, iPhone – the essentials!).

This is going to be an adventure!!!

2012 More or Less

My 12 for 12, more or less..

  1. More walking/biking and less driving
  2. More fruits/veggies and less processed food
  3. More projects and less TV
  4. More recycling, less waste
  5. More saving, less spending
  6. More celebrating, less worrying
  7. More laughter, less crying
  8. More faith, less disbelief
  9. More giving, less taking
  10. More participation, less watching
  11. More love, less dislike
  12. More quiet, less babble

A Serendipitous Obsession.. and Trail Report

If you have not tried, you are missing out!  I sooooo wish I’d had this app this past summer for my trip to Scotland.  Oh well.  Download the app for  your iPhone (and probably the Android too, you’ll have to look) and go ahead and pay the $3.99 for the “pro”.  Don’t be a cheapskate.  It plots your path (cycling, hiking, walking, travel by plane, train or automobile!) and if you use a geotag enabled phone or camera (like the iPhone or this 14.1mp Casio point and shoot) it plots your photos along the trail – and it’s easy.  Yes, yes, I know that the site has been doing it for years but absolutely not as user friendly as this app.  I stumbled across it while I was looking for some day hikes to do next summer either in Italy or Scotland (again).  You can even write/read extensive “guides” to some exciting places to visit.  Love your hometown?  You too can write a guide to entice others to visit.  The site is pretty intuitive in navigation and has some help pages for reference.  Try it out.  You won’t be sorry.

TRAIL REPORT:  I went to a conference in Arkansas this week and talked my colleague/friend into stopping for a short interpretative walk on the Serendipity Trail in Oden, Arkansas which is near Hot Springs.  It was a beautiful crisp fall day and a perfect place to experiment with my new obsession.  The Serendipity Trail is an interpretive nature walk.  The trail has two parts, A and B, that are shaped like the number 8.  Part A is the bottom half of the 8 and Part B is the top half.  You can just do Part A and it’s about a mile walk.  If you add Part B, the entire walk is about 1.8 miles.  The trail is graveled with several benches along the way.  Part B will take you to a scenic overlook and Part A takes you by a small pond.  Plenty of information about the flora and fauna is posted along the trail.  It’s an easy trail with Part B having a small bit of elevation.  Without further adieu I bring you the Serendipity Trail!  Click Here.

I’m still working out a couple of bugs with my new obsession.  For example, I want to embed the code so the trip shows on the blog but am having a bit of problem due to WordPress restrictions.  Hopefully, I’ll get some good help from the EveryTrail forum and all will be well.

This is the view we woke up to that morning… fog on the lake… the moon in the sky… magical!

View over the lake...

After our walk, we drove the Talimena Highway and we saw some color but were clearly pass the peak of the color.  My friend has a convertible and, although the temperature was about 55 degrees, we put the top down and enjoyed the sun.  It was a great day.

Talimena Scenic Drive

View from the Talimena Scenic Byway

Beautiful Day for a Drive

Beautiful Day for a Drive

Intentional October..

For the month of October I’m gonna limit sugar and processed foods.. which means I am going to eat more slowly.. yeah, I know it’s October.. Halloween… Halloween candy.. I know and that’s why I’m doing it.. my way..

No refined sugars or packaged things that contain sugar.. I will eat fruit and use natural foods to sweeten things (like bananas in my oatmeal or dates)… maybe some raw honey in my tea.. and yes, I know that a sugar molecule is a sugar molecule.. but I also know that being this intentional about avoiding refined sugar will bring about good things..

As for processed foods.. I mean.. I don’t eat it if I the ingredient would be more likely to be found in a chemists lab rather than my kitchen.. I’m “limiting” because I will not turn down opportunities to socialize with my friends where it will be more difficult to find non-processed foods… it’s not about the never it’s about getting healthy.. and reminding myself what real food tastes like..

So here’s to a great wholesome October!



Etch E Double Toothpicks

  • My grass is brown.
  • My two big dogs are now living inside the house 24/7… can you say dirt?
  • My electric bill is off the charts.
  • There is no one outside and it’s a bit eery.  No one on the streets, in their yards, in the parks… no one.
  • I need a pot holder to open the car door.

And this is the coming week’s forecast

Etch E Double Toothpicks

When will it end???

No Planet B – Tip #1

There is no Planet B… so we’ve got to take care of what we have now… and the little things add up so here’s tip #1:  Eliminate or decrease Vampire (or ghost) power usage.  Vampire energy is the energy that’s used when appliances are in “standby” or are not being used at all but still pulling enery, i.e. the Microwave (remember the little clock?), the little red light on your TV that tells you it’s off (cuz we’re too dumb to see there’s no picture, huh?) or continuing to leave items being charged plugged in even after they’re charged.

I noticed in Scotland that the outlets had a switch that turned that outlet on and off.  The purpose?  To save energy – especially the vampire kind that suck energy even when not in use!  See the switch in the middle?

It wasn’t just in one or two places… they were everywhere… so when I returned I tried to find them here in America.  No luck.  There are power cords of course.. but they’re so unsightly (don’t you agree?).

So here’s what I got:

1.  This device cost $9.99 on… it’s called a Belkin Conserve Outlet.  The cool thing?  It’s got a built in timer for 1/2 hour, 3 hours or six hours.  I set it for 3 hours, push the button on top and use it to charge my phone.  After 3 hours, it automatically switches off and I save about six hours of energy and who knows how much vampire energy.  WIN!

2.  This next device is called the Smart Strip Autoswitch and you can buy it on for $24.18.  Yes, it’s a surge protector but it also saves energy by allowing your to completely switch off your equipment (no vampire energy hog!).  For example, I use it for my TV, cable, surround sound set up.  I use the TV in the primary switch (blue slot) that when it is turned off it automatically turns off anything that’s not plugged into the red plugs (like my surround sound receiver and subwoofer)… Not only does it turn them off no energy will get to them thus decreasing the slow leak of energy by vampires).  I keep the cable box plugged into the red plug which never goes off (because it takes 10 minutes to reboot).  Cool, eh?  I think so.

3.  I’m a nerd and this will not necessarily save you money but it will amaze your fellow nerdy friends!  It’s called a Kill-a-watt.  You plug whatever you’d like to measure into the device and then plug the device into the wall.  It will tell you how many watts or joules the appliance uses.  Love love love this…

So what about you?  What can you do to decrease your Vampire Energy use (and save some money along the way)?