The Year of Me

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2015 was a shit year all around for many people that I know, including myself. 2016 hasn’t started out so great, but I am optimistic. One of my best friends told me to make this year the “Year of Me”, and that is what I am doing. It hasn’t been easy by any means, and I keep encountering toxic people and situations that try to hold me down. I will prevail!

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This year I am doing things that I have always wanted to do, naysayers be damned. I am focusing on straight up ignoring the haters; they only hate because they hate themselves. I am living my life for myself and my children, and not doing it according to anyone else’s rules or ideals. I’ve had enough of feeling bad because of other people’s expectations. There’s the old saying that I cannot control other people, I can only control my reactions to them. Well, I know for a fact that toxic people thrive on reactions, and I’m not going to do it anymore!

I thought about making a sort of bucket list, but really I’ve already got a good sense of what I do and do not want to happen this year. So far I have eliminated two soul-sucking relationships from my life, cut ties with all but two people related to the mothers’ group, come to terms with my horrible marriage and the fact that it wasn’t my fault and he will fthisnever change, and stopped trying to cling to this guy who clearly only had one objective in his mind. I’ve taken charge of my life. I bought myself all new Batman t-shirts because mine didn’t fit anymore, and I finally threw away or donated all the clothes that don’t fit. I joined a hot sauces of the month club. I am doing pretty well sticking to my low-purine diet, which is basically a vegetarian diet. I plan on getting more into juicing, just because it seems interesting to me, and I really want to get back to creative cooking. I am focusing on making JI the best kid he can be, not despite but in conjunction with the autism. I am teaching Squeaks to sign and speak, and I want to learn ASL fluently. I’ve been updating my Instagram on a daily basis and getting lots of followers!

I can’t do this stuff with people barking their negativity at me.

You can speak your mind, but not on my time!

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Salt Lick and Other Stuff

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Man, this low sodium lifestyle is NOT easy. I have to admit, I’ve basically been failing – well, not basically, completely. I just never realized that SO MANY foods have so much sodium! For example, I made this Philly Steak wp-1449162812211.jpegChowder (recipe to come tomorrow!) and only added 1/4t of kosher salt. That’s over 400mg of sodium! A quarter of my daily recommended amount! Ridiculous. And don’t even get me started on the milk – fat free skim milk has 130mg sodium per cup. WTF.

I’m not terribly worried, because I have given up fast food, restaurant food, and processed foods – I’ve had less than five meals of each in the past four weeks – and I have given up all pop (over 100mg per can!). I’ve also stopped adding table salt (kosher only in my house, but there really isn’t a difference in sodium content) to foods after they’re cooked. I’ve cut way way back on my drinking (except this week, stupid stress, but I’m still drinking less) and I’ve also stopped smokingwp-1449162640545.jpeg (except when I’m drinking, which isn’t as often anymore… fucking vices…). The hardest thing for me to incorporate is exercise.

I have no choice but to either push a 35#+ stroller with Squeaks in it, in the dark, while trying to keep an eye on JI, in my neighborhood with no streetlights. If I want to go during the day, I have to pull 100#+ in a wagon, while trying to keep an eye on JI and the 7 yr old. That’s not too bad, but with this stupid hernia, it’s really really painful, and dangerous. My doctor already told me to not lift more than 5# (sorry guy, I have no choice) and I’m not to strain at all (moving, going to the bathroom, lifting/carrying, etc.), and if I feel sudden pain or nausea, I’m to go directly to the ER. Awesome! Cuz that’s gonna be SO easy if it happens while all the kids are here!

Speaking of which, I am shutting down my business for a little while starting at the 1st of the year. Money will be super tight, but I won’t have a choice after this surgery anyway. My bio mom is going to come down and help me, and my regular parents will help, and hopefully I can get a friend of mine to come over and help when my family can’t. Poke is supposed to be getting a job… we’ll see. Right now I don’t have any legal standing, but he had better get used to paying child support because if he doesn’t it will accrue, and once he does get income it will all go to me anyway. Plus, if he doesn’t pay for long enough, I believe he can lose his driver’s license and/or serve jail time. I’d rather have the money though because him being in jail or not able to drive really doesn’t help the situation!

Ugh… I can’t wait for this year to be over.

Low Sodium Challenge

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I went to the doctor on Tuesday because I thought I had an umbilical hernia – turns out, I was correct, and that means surgery. Not happy about that,
but I can deal with it, as I’ve had two successful C-Sections. The really really bad news was that my BP, which is normally incredibly low (we’re talking 110/55 here), has spiked to 142/96. Now, it’s true that I have been more stressed in the past five months since I was at the doctor than ever before. But it’s also true that I have been eating more fast food and processed food than ever before in my entire life. I used to be a 2-3x a week fast/processed food eater, and before this week I’d gotten up to every day, at least one if not two meals per day. Thinking about it, and actually writing it out, makes me feel so gross. I’ve also gained six pounds in the past five months, which is not good at all.

heartSo my doctor told me for the next month, until my appointment on December 28th, I am to follow the DASH Diet. I am tracking my food intake on My Fitness Pal, and I am posting daily photos of my meals to my Facebook in order to hold myself accountable.

Thus far it hasn’t been too bad, 2313mg yesterday on my first try. I’m aiming for 1500mg. I think that once I get all the regular/high sodium foods out of the house, combined with giving up fast foods, I won’t have a problem staying under 2000mg at least. Today is going to be a bad day because I finished up some deli ham and guacamole for breakfast! But as I said on my Facebook post, I’m not going to beat myself up because I feel that giving up fast/processed foods is the biggest key to lowering my BP.

Follow me on My Fitness Pal: Rock_Kowgurl

Follow me on Facebook: Tales of a Play-Date Dropout

Easy Peasy Lemon Pepper Chicken Salad

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I won’t lie, I hate chicken. But every once in awhile I get a craving for chicken salad, and I inevitably make too much. Then I give it away to my neighbors! This recipe is similar to the one I made when I was a chef at the local grocery chain. It’s quick, simple, and makes A LOT.

Lemon Pepper Chicken Salad

  • 3 whole chicken breasts, boneless
  • 1T cumin
  • 1T garlic powder
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  • 2c water
  • 1/2-1c sour cream
  • 1/2-1c mayo
  • 3T lemon pepper seasoning
  • Salt to taste

Cook the chicken + water, cumin, garlic, and cayenne on high in your slow cooker for 4 hours or until internal temp of meat reaches 165F at the fattest part of the breast. Remove from slow cooker, shred while still hot. Cool to 40F within two hours. Once cooled, combine sour cream, mayo, chicken, and lemon pepper seasoning. Start with 1/2 c each sour cream/mayo, add more as needed to desired consistency. I like my salad a little drier because I put it on toast or on a bed of lettuce. Some folks like to dip crackers in it or put it on a wrap, and creamier chicken salad is better for those meals. Plus the chicken will absorb some overnight, and it’s better to have dry chicken salad and add more mayo than to have chicken mayo soup! Salt to taste and enjoy!

Rockin’ Crock Ribs

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I LOVE ribs. I could eat them every day if it wasn’t so expensive! A full rack lasts 3-4 meals for me, but at $13/rack, it’s a lot. And, if JI and/or Squeaks ever decide they want to eat ribs, it’ll be even more. So instead, ribs are a once a month treat. Usually I only make them during the summer, so I can put them on the grill. I was so hungry for ribs the other day that I decided to try something new, and damn, it worked perfectly. I’m pretty proud of myself!

wpid-collage_20151023132541256_20151023132654153.jpgStep one: Put the ribs in the crock pot. I had to fold mine in half.

Step two: Season liberally with chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt, onion powder, cayenne, and red pepper flakes.

Step three: Pour in two cans of cranberry pop – I used Diet Cranberry Sierra Mist!

Step four: Cook on low for 6 hours.

Step five: Transfer to sheet pan, carefully. They *may* fall apart.

Step six: Baste with BBQ sauce of your choice – I used Sweet Baby Ray’s!

Step seven: Cook at 400F for one hour. Let rest for 10-15 minutes.

Step eight: ENJOY!

Halloween Happy Box

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I know that Halloween is all about Candy CANDY CANDY, but I like for the kids to get something else too, something that will enhance their minds rather than just rot their teeth. Something educationally healthy! I know, I’m a nerd. Either way, I gave Squeaks a bib and two Halloween outfits, and JI got a decorated box full of Halloween books.

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Deposit to the Karma Bank

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wpid-collage_20151018193431029.jpgWhen I am feeling poorly, emotionally and spiritually, I will generally head back to church. Unfortunately, Catholicism and small children, especially wild maniacs like JI, do not mix. So, because I have a teeny tiny bit of disposable income, I decided to make up these packs for the homeless/needy. I have been trying to help as many people as I can lately, and so far I have bought groceries for a neighbor, bought JI the special foods he wants (instead of constantly having to say “no”), and have donated a bunch of stuff to the food pantry and women’s shelter. I feel that every good deed I do is a deposit to the Karma Bank, and will help me feel better because I see other people feeling better.

To make a homeless pack is very easy; collect non perishable food, drinks, toiletries, and anything else you can think a person might need (tampons/pads for women, 1-2 diapers, a $5 gift card to fast food, etc.). I put in 2 napkins, a spoon, pop, cereal, a juice box, crackers, floss, shampoo/conditioner, a fruit cup, bottled water, and a drink mix packet. Everything went into a gallon sized zippered freezer bag (they are stronger than regular storage bags), and wrote a sentiment on the label – “You matter to someone. Have a good day! :)”

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I loaded all the bags, eight total, into a large tote to keep in the car so that whenever I see someone on the ramp or the road, I can hand them a bag. I made them over the weekend, and handed out my first pack today. The man said “God bless you” without even looking at it… but hopefully, when he did, he was pleasantly surprised.