Better Choices, Better Results

Archive for October, 2011

Dehydrating Apples!

Please forgive me for being away so long!  I’ve been crazy-busy, but I’m back.   There’s been a lot going on in my little world, and I’ll be sharing some of it with you over the next few posts.

For today, let’s talk about dehydrating apples. 

I’ve been on a dehydrating kick since I bought my new Excalibur earlier this year.  I’ve done quite a bit of dehydrating; fruits, veggies and meats, and I learn new ways to use dehydrated foods every time I look for new recipes!

I bought a big bag of apples recently.  There were far more in that bag than we would eat, so before they went bad, I put them on the Excalibur.

First, I peeled, cored and sliced them on my handy-dandy apple peeler/corer/slicer.  (This should not have been my first step and I’ll explain that mistake later.)

 

Then, I soaked the apples in some water with a bit of lemon juice added to prevent browning.  I could have used Fruit Fresh or even Sprite, but I like plain old lemon water.

 

After I got all of the apples peeled and soaked, I laid the slices out on the trays.

 

Here’s where you get to have fun with being frugal!  Don’t throw the peels away!  Dry those too!

 

My house smelled wonderful all night.  Who needs an apple-scented candle when you can have the real thing?  This morning I had perfectly dried apples.  I sealed them in quart jars with my vacuum sealer.    

They are a little brown, but nothing like what they would be like if I hadn’t soaked them first.

 

So, what about those peels?  I figured I could powder those and use them to flavor oatmeal and oat bran and muffins, so I pulled out my stick blender (you could use a coffee grinder, blender or food processor) and ground it up into fine powder.  All those peels ground down to about ¾ cup.

 

Then I couldn’t remember if I’d properly washed all the apples, so I decided to dispose of my lovely apple powder.  It really hurt to throw the apple powder away.  Lesson learned!!!

Note to self…make sure you properly was everything!

I decided that since the peeled apples did not come in contact with the peels I’d go ahead and use those.

My apples are going to make a great addition to yogurt, muffins, oatmeal and cereal.

Hmmm….I might even just snack on them right out of the jar!

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Each Step is 1 Step Closer, Right?

I was kind of bummed out this weekend and yesterday, because I didn’t have access to the treadmill.  I could have done other activities, but beside walking Daisy a couple of times, I really didn’t do a lot to stay physically active.  In fact, Sunday was a day where I was COMPLETELY lazy!

I was afraid that when I got on the treadmill today, I’d find it difficult to do what I did on Friday of last week, which was 4, 2:30 bouts of jogging during my 30 minute work out.

I just decided to go for it and started out with a 4-minute walk, then kicked up the speed… and my heels!  I made it for my 2:30 jog and went another 30 seconds!  Three minutes!  I could hardly believe it!

I walked for 4 minutes and jogged again…for another 3 minutes!

Again!

Again!

I jogged for a total of 12 minutes today.  My goal was to get up to 10 minutes this week, and I’ve surpassed it! 

I’m one step closer to my 5K goal. 

For the rest of this week, I want to continue my 3 minute bursts and this weekend, I’m going to add in some crunches, jumping jacks, lunges, etc.

Next week I want to increase my jog time to 3:30, 4 times.  I really do want to do well in my 5K.

My new motto:  Sweat is Fat Crying!

Joining the World of Heater Users!

I noticed throughout the summer that I wasn’t as miserable with the heat as I usually am.  I just attributed it to the fact that I’d lost some of my natural insulation.  That’s not surprising; I have 57 fewer pounds of fat than I used to!

However, what has surprised me over the past couple of weeks is how chilly I get at work.

I’m used to hearing the heaters going in some of my co-worker’s offices.  I work with several weight loss surgery patients, and being cold is a common side-effect of weight loss surgery.

I also work with a couple of naturaly thin people, so hearing heaters in their offices isn’t unheard of, either.

However – I never thought I’d be one of “those people”.  A heater in my office?  Especially when the weather is so pleasant outside?  There’s just something unnatural about that!

Yet, there it is, sitting about 4 feet away from me, kicking on every few minutes.

There it is. The heater in my office that I never thought I'd need. Hey - notice that pile of clothes in the background? Those were my work-out clothes that I used at lunch! Do I get extra-credit for today?

Hmph!

My coworker Tina says with her evil voice, “Come over to my side…”

 

Feeling Uncomfortable

With the dip into cooler weather, I’ve been chilly a lot.   I don’t have a lot of clothing right now because I’ve given all my larger clothes away.  I really need some warmer clothes so I stopped off at a clothing store yesterday to look around at the new fall line. 

Anyway, I got to the store (OK – it’s Dress Barn.  I love Dress Barn!) and walked in.  I’ve always liked Dress Barn because they’ve carried larger sizes as long as I can remember.  Coincidentally, I’ve worn larger sizes as long as I can remember! 

Out of habit, I walked towards the right of the store.  Those of you familiar with stores that carry both regular and plus sizes know that the plus sizes are usually on the right.  I looked around for a bit before I even realized that what fits me right now are the smallest of the plus sizes and the largest of the regular sizes.  I’m in-between right now.  It’s really odd to look around and realize that everything I’m looking at is too big! 

So, I went over to the left side of the store – the REGULAR sizes.  Oh my.  I didn’t know how to feel, or what to do.  I was so uncomfortable!  I really had trouble looking at those clothes because I just didn’t feel like I belonged there.  In fact, I didn’t even try anything on, because I was afraid that it wouldn’t fit, even though I know that some of them probably would have fit just fine.

I’m at an odd place right now, where my mind doesn’t really see the change in my body, despite everything the scale tells me. 

It’s just…uncomfortable.

Experimenting and Updates

I’ve been doing some experiments at home and I’ll be reporting the results soon.  If you were intrigued by my post about Salad in a Jar, you’ll find my experiement on keeping apples fresh very interesting.

I’m also in the process of testing several dehydration projects for my Cooking Demo on November 1st.

So far, I’ve been able to keep up my training schedule for my 5K.  My knees are holding out, so I’m hopeful that I’ll actually be able to complete my goal. 

Stay tuned.  I’ve got a lot of things on my plate right now, and I’ll be reporting on them as soon as possible!

5K Update

There are 52 days until the 5K.  Just a little over 7 weeks.

Is it enough time?

Can I do it?

Well, I don’t think I will be able to jog the whole thing, and that’s ok.  My goal is to complete it while jogging part of it.

I just got off the treadmill.  I did 30 minutes.  I walked for 5 and jogged for 2, then repeated 4 times.  I ran for 8 minutes total!  That is really quite good for me!  My plan is to increase my jogging time by 2 minutes per week.

I’ll keep you posted.

Wish me luck!

Off to a Great Start and a Lesson on Why I Can

I’m just so excited about having access to a treadmill!  After work yesterday, I hopped on for 30 minutes and jogged for 2 minutes twice during that time.  I kept up the pace and made sure I had produced a sweat!

Today I’m keeping busy with some end-of season canning.  I’m steam-juicing some peaches and using the juice to make peach syrup, sweetened with Splenda.  I’m using the pulp to make peach butter, yogurt-peach freezer pops and peach muffins or bread.  The last of my apple juice will be canned into single serving jars today, too.

I’m just about ready to put some sweet potatoes in the pressure canner, too.

With the canning season just about over, you may be wondering what I’ll do for entertainment during the fall, winter and spring months.  I still can!  I just switch my focus from canning fresh produce to canning things like dried beans, soups and meats like chicken and beef and even hamburger!  I’ll often make a huge stock pot of chili or beef stew so that I have enough to can and put on the shelf.

If you think about it, canning can be a huge time-saver.  It really takes no more time to make 3 gallons of chili than it takes to make 1 pot.  Once the remainder is pressure canned, I will have several meals that are ready to heat & eat over the next few months.

I can put several jars of pinto beans into the pressure canner and let them proces while I’m cooking another meal and once it’s done, I’ll have ready-made soup beans for those nights that I’m too tired to cook.  Plus, they are much less expensive than buying cans of beans at the grocery.

Do you have any time-saving hobbies?