Thirsty Thursday
H2Oh! Why You Should Adopt the Water Habit

Water, water, water.  What's the deal with water?  Why is water so often cited as the one healthy habit to adopt?

Well, I could give you one reason, but how about more?

How about SEVEN great reasons to get your water habit on? Because, in addition to keeping the hunger pangs at bay, hydration keeps the entire human machine functioning optimally.  Below, Rachael Moeller Gorman, from Eating Well magazine, on the connection between water and health. (Find this article in it's entirety at the title link.)

Why Drink Water? How Water and Health Are Connected

By Rachael Moeller Gorman, "Liquid Assets,"July/August 2011

Water accounts for 60 percent of our body—or about 11 gallons or 92 pounds inside a 155-pound person—and is essential to every cell. We use water to cool our body with sweat, to circulate oxygen and fuel to our organs and take away waste products via blood. But how does it impact your breath, muscles, skin—and brain function? 

Staying hydrated keeps your memory sharp, your mood stable and your motivation intact. When you’re well-hydrated, you can also think through a problem more easily. Researchers hypothesize that not having enough water could reduce oxygen flow to the brain or temporarily shrink neurons—or being thirsty could simply distract you.

Water keeps your throat and lips moist and prevents your mouth from feeling dry. Dry mouth can cause bad breath and/or an unpleasant taste—and can even promote cavities.

Dehydration lowers your blood volume, so your heart must work harder to pump the reduced amount of blood and get enough oxygen to your cells, which makes everyday activities like walking up stairs—as well as exercise—more difficult.

Your body releases heat by expanding blood vessels close to the skin’s surface (this is why your face gets red during exercise), resulting in more blood flow and more heat dissipated into the air. When you’re dehydrated, however, it takes a higher environmental temperature to trigger blood vessels to widen, so you stay hotter.

When you’re well hydrated, the water inside and outside the cells of contracting muscles provides adequate nutrients and removes waste efficiently so you perform better. Water is also important for lubricating joints. Contrary to popular belief, muscle cramps do not appear to be related to dehydration, but, instead, to muscle fatigue, according to Sam Cheuvront, Ph.D., an exercise physiologist for the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine.

When a person is severely dehydrated, skin is less elastic. This is different than dry skin, which is usually the result of soap, hot water and exposure to dry air. And, no, unfortunately, drinking lots of water won’t prevent wrinkles.

Your kidneys need water to filter waste from the blood and excrete it in urine. Keeping hydrated may also help prevent urinary tract infections and kidney stones. If you are severely dehydrated, your kidneys may stop working, causing toxins to build up in your body.

Our favorite ways to get our water habit on?
Well, we have a few tricks.  This water thing doesn't come effortlessly to us either, and we employ some helpers to assist.
  1. First thing in the morning, we drink our first glass while the coffee brews.  Remember that coffee and alcohol are diuretics, and for each consumed beverage, make certain to drink the same amount, or more, of water.
  2. We set alarms. Alarms on our phones. I hate those alarms.  Alarms are, well, alarming.  But they do shake me out of dehydrated torpor long enough to remind-- DRINK YOUR WATER.
  3. We drink an entire glass of water before each meal.  Heck, sometimes we're no longer hungry for food, once we're sufficiently hydrated.
  4. We're never completely dressed without a......... bottle of water.
  5. We 'decorate' our water. (See above)  Infusing water, the night before, with herbs, fruits, and vegetables of our choosing really helps to make water taste, and seem like, the treat our bodies consider it to be.  We have several pitchers waiting for us, all day long. Some favorite combinations include strawberry and lavender, mixed citrus and mint, and cucumber with ANYthing.
  6. And almost as important as when we drink water, when we don't drink water--  We avoid drinking water after 8p.m.  We DO need our sleep after all.  But that's another topic entirely.......
Now all this water's going to come in handy tomorrow, when we'll be talking about the benefits of hot peppers, and sharing links to our favorite bloggers' hot pepper-prominent recipes on Superfoods: Hot Peppers!, Notes From Maggie's Farm.

armenian cucumber salad
meatless monday

Some days you just need something quick and easy.

Oh, it needs to be flavorful, and healthy, and seasonal, and all that, but some days, like MONdays, and many other days as well, you just want to dispense with the chit-chat and get on with things.

Today. Is. One. Of. Those. Days.

There are about a million things going on in this world of mine, and I know I'm only one of many that can say the same thing.

You may be in the same boat.  And there's nothing more dangerous to a healthy lifestyle than hurry up and hungry.

That's when the drive-thru seems like such a great idea.  An  utterly disastrous nutritional choice that's cheap and fast.  It's a trap, y'all!

Unless you're prepared.

Little dishes like this multi-cultural Thai Sesame Ginger-Dressed Armenian Cucumber Salad, prepared at the beginning of the week, and just waiting for hurried and hungry, like I find myself on most of these Mondays, save my nutritional day.  Bright, flavor-packed, easy-- I make sure I'm prepared for days like this, with dishes like these.

That's my Monday way.

Tell me about yours. What is your Monday way?  How do you handle the temptations that lurk about with the sole intention of messing with your health and happiness, and your pocketbook, too?

Thai Sesame Ginger-Dressed Armenian Cucumber Salad

1/2 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
2-3T sesame oil, to taste
1/2-1tsp nam pla, or fish sauce, to taste
1 habanero chili, or more, to taste, seeded and minced (or substitute serrano chiles, which are a bit milder, but not much!)
1 'thumb'-sized knob of fresh ginger, grated fine
salt, and brown sugar, to taste

1 Armenian cucumber, sliced thinly
3T sliced scallions
1/4 bunch cilantro, chopped, with stems (about 3T, packed firmly)

About Armenian Cucumbers:
The Armenian cucumber is thin, elongated, curved and often irregularly curled with a dark green to creamy pistachio colored skin that is textured with smooth longitudinal furrows. Actually a melon in classification, its flesh is crisp, succulent and mildly flavored, similar to a common cucumber. Ideally-sized Armenian cucumbers will range in length from 10-15 inches. Longer cucumbers will tend to be not just over-sized, but also overly mature with less moisture content. The Armenian cucumber is entirely edible. Available in local farmers markets (thank you to Johnson's Backyard Garden for my little beauty) and produce sections, now.

Combine dressing ingredients in a medium bowl, whisking well to blend, and adjusting seasonings to taste.  (Watch out for those peppers!  Wash hands after handling and be aware that they will 'bloom' as time goes by-- making this salad more fiery by the day.  Which is great for your metabolism, incidentally!)

Add remaining salad ingredients to dressing, toss, and allow to chill for one hour before serving. Keep covered and refrigerated for as long as a week, though best eaten within the first few days of preparing.

Take THAT, drive-thru!

If healthy, wealthy, and wise are your thing, be sure to stop by this week for seasonal, economical, nutritious, and superfood-packed recipes, (including the hipster-fabulous and favorite shishito peppers!) tips, and more.  

We're eating well this week on Notes From Maggie's Farm.

(almost) wordless wednesday
change is in the air

Change is in the air. This change reminds us that we are made and beautifully sculpted by the same power that orchestrates the change of season. Let this be the season you embrace and align yourself with this change.  

Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

There are big changes afoot on Notes From Maggie's Farm.  We look forward to sharing some transitions planned for the coming months.  Stay tuned for the details as they emerge!

tips for tuesday
in the garden: june

June, creekside

There through the long, long summer hours, the golden light should lie, and thick young herbs and groups of flowers, stand in their beauty by. 

--William Cullen Bryant, June
All of the promise of May is answered by June's days.  The blooms are a-flower, the sun, a-shining, the birds, a-singing, the bees, a-buzzing.  It's getting hot out there, so farmers don hats, get to work at sunrise, cool off with an afternoon spent inside, then out again for an early evening wrap-up.  

What is one to say about June, the time of perfect young summer, the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier months, and with as yet no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will ever fade.

-  Gertrude Jekyll, On Gardening

Be certain to stay safe--sunscreen, plenty of water, gloves, sleeves, and pant legs to protect against all manner of creatures that might show more than a comfortable interest in you.  Enjoy the warmth of the sun on your slightly achy back, the hum and whir of cicadas, and, if you're lucky, a few fireflies at dusk.  Summer has arrived.

June's Requirement

Fertilize annuals with 1 cup of balanced fertilizer per 100 sq.ft. Rich compost, manure tea and fish emulsion are some organic options. Yellowing leaves near the tip of plant shoots indicate a lack of iron. Check soil pH and treat with an iron supplement, if needed. Feed roses and young fruit trees with a nitrogen fertilizer. Feed established annuals and perennials with a high nitrogen/low phosphorus fertilizer such as 15-5-10.

Water all planted areas deeply but infrequently during dry periods. Water outdoor potted plants daily.

In June, as many as a dozen species may burst their buds on a single day.  No man can heed all of these anniversaries; no man can ignore all of them. 

-  Aldo Leopold

Lawn Care: 
Mow every 5-7 days, leaving the clippings on the lawn. Raise mower setting to reduce stress to turf in summer. Water during the cool of early morning. Avoid weed killers now that temperatures are above 85°.

Diseases/Pests To Look For:
Watch for chinch bugs in the sunny areas of your lawn, especially near streets and driveways. Call the Extension Service for recommended treatment. Webworms and other caterpillars can be treated with Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). For scale insects, mealy bugs and spidermites use summer oil or horticultural oil.

In these divine pleasures permitted to me of walks in the June night under moon and stars, I can put my life as a fact before me and stand aloof from its honor and shame.

-  Ralph Waldo Emerson, Journals  
Remove spent flowers from daisies, daylilies, cannas and other summer flowers. Remove fruiting canes from blackberries after harvest. Tip prune new canes at 4’ to promote branching. Prune dead and damaged wood from trees and shrubs as needed. Cut geraniums back and place in light shade. Do not prune oak trees at this time since the beetle that carries oak wilt is active now and may be attracted to any cuts you make.

June, on the balconies of New Orleans

Things To Plant In June:

Flower Plants:
ajuga, balsam, wax begonia, blue daze, boltonia, chocolate plant, chrysanthemum, cockscomb, copper plant, cosmos sulphureus, gomphrena, hibiscus, periwinkle, portulaca, purslane, gloriosa daisy, salvia, sedum, stokes' aster, wishbone flower, zinnia.

No price is set on the lavish summer; June may be had by the poorest comer.

-  James Russell Lowell, The Vision of Sir Launfal

Flower Seeds:
balsam, blue lace flower, castor bean, celosia, cleome, cockscomb, coleus, cosmos, cypress vine, dahlia, feverfew, four o'clock, gaillardia, impatiens, marigold, moonflower, morning glory, periwinkle, portulaca, sunflower, tithonia, torenia, vinca, zinnia.

amaryllis, canna, crinum, ginger, daylily, liriope, monkey grass, rain lily.

June lends its bounty to adorn the chicken yard.

Malabar Spinach, Okra, Southern Pea, Sweet Potato, Peanut, Pumpkin.
Start transplants indoors for fall tomatoes, peppers and eggplants.

I used to visit and revisit it a dozen times a day, and stand in deep contemplation over  my vegetable progeny with a love that nobody could share or conceive of who had never taken part in the process of creation.  It was one of the most bewitching sights in the world to observe a hill of beans thrusting aside the soil, or a rose of early peas just peeping forth sufficiently to trace a line of delicate green.

-  Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mosses from an Old Manse

Other Things To Do:
Prepare fall garden beds. Remove old winter vegetables and strawberry plants from beds. Replenish mulch.

June, on the doorsteps of Breaux Bridge, Louisiana

Also read:
Dealing with Mosquitoes-- how-tos for keeping mosquitoes at bay in the landscape with water features.
Organic Pest Control: What Works and What Doesn't from Mother Earth News.
from maggie's farm Pinterest board: Garden Decor: Upcycled

From Central Texas Gardener, courtesy of the Garden Guide for Austin & Vicinity, published by the Travis County Master Gardener Association, copyright 2000-2002.

meatless monday
summertime, and the living is easy

I had the opportunity to garden-sit for my friends Janet and Tom.
I was rewarded mightily!

Y'all.  It's Summer.

Did anyone else notice?

Until last week, it had been uncharacteristically temperate in Central Texas.  That is to say,  there were no reports of heat stroke.  The ground had yet to crack.  We had rain. (!!!)  Humidity was manageable. Most days were decent hair days.

Until last week.

Last week it was steamy, and sweltering, and hovering close to 100 degrees each day.  Last week, I moved from perspiring to flat out sweating like swine.

And my hair?  So sad.  So very, very sad.

On days like these who feels like a heavy meal and a hot kitchen?  What we need is fast, light, healthy, and low effort.

And the markets, farms, and gardens are ready to accommodate!  Our recent weekend trip to a local farmers market netted a gorgeous, healthy haul, and inspired us, even if the weather that morning most assuredly did not.

So take a gander at some of our favorites, here, and follow the links below each image for all the skinny on our summertime go-to's.

With the time and energy saved, why not find a hammock, a good book, and a tall glass of iced tea?  Because it's........

Summertime, and the living is easy.

Drop back by tomorrow, and see what's going on In The Garden: June.  We'd love to see you!

And, hey, stay cool, y'all!

saturdays at the market

This morning's haul from the farmers market is bright and beautiful and I can't wait to play with some of the new harvest.  Do you shop at a local farmers market?  If so, where?  And if you don't, what stops you?  Is it the seven dollars per dozen free range chicken eggs I saw?  The heat?  The hours?  Perhaps you take advantage of CSA's?  CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, is an easy way to assure you have fresh food, often delivered to your door, every, or every other week.  We'll talk about CSA's in an upcoming post.

If you happen to live in the Austin area, and surrounds, you'll find this link to Edible Austin's Farmers Market locator to be helpful in finding a farmers market on almost any day of the week, and as close by as you desire. 

I promise, I'm not picking on you!  I would like to hear from you, readers that I trust (I mean you've already shown you're a cut above since you found yourself here ; )......) about why, or why not, you shop at farm stands and farmers markets, and any and everywhere else one might source food. 

From where are your weekly groceries coming?  How are you feeding your family?  If you're solo, do you take the time to market shop, and prepare your own meals? 

How do you eat??  Do tell!

about town: austin
hoover's texa-mexi-cue

I have to admit I have a bias here.

Hoover Alexander, of Hoover's Cooking fame, is one of the nicest guys in town.

He's hospitable, he's warm, he's engaged, he's involved in his community.  He loves what he does.

His enthusiasm for life, and food, and people, and community is infectious.  We need more Hoovers in this world.

Last night, a few of us lucky bloggers came together at the request of Hoover to be (s)wined and dined at his charming new project, Hoover's Texa-Mexi-Cue food trailer, at 2021 Manor, in the ultra-hip and trendy East Austin, across the street from Hoover's dine-in establishment that has been pleasing tummies for 13 plus years.

I'm happy to report his barbecue pleased these masses, and as we ate, a considerable crowd of repeat customers had gathered, too.

The seven of us gathered around covered picnic tables to hear about the food, the stories, the three-pronged approach to serving barbecue that is hinted at by the little sunny yellow trailer's name. Hoover offers brisket, sausage, pork loin, and turkey, sold be volume, or by sandwich/wrap/meal, served in your choice of three unique ways:

  • Texas Style-- served with white bread, pickles, onions, and BBQ sauce (a sweet and tangy elixir whose secret was revealed to be whole stewed lemons!)
  • Tex-Mex-- served with tortillas and your choice of salsa (verde, fuego, and chimichurri, all fantastic.  we licked the containers clean.  No, we really did.)
  • Tex-Czech-- served with (the slightly sweet, light, heavenly) kolache slider buns and mustard.
We had a little bit of everything, and there was not one detail we would complain about, but I must say, for me, that the surprising standout is the sausage!  Hoover offers a chicken sausage with a perfect snap, coarse grind, lean, but not dry, moist, but not greasy, with bites of black pepper that don't get lost.  I'm not one for sausage, really.  I usually go straight for the brisket (and this brisket had the prettiest bark calling me....), but I can absolutely see me making a pilgrimage whenever I need a quality sausage for gumbo, or just a bowl of homemade coarse mustard.  It's incredible.

Now some BBQ purists go strictly for the meat, but this girl loves the variety of sides offered, and Hoover did not disappoint. In-house potato salad with potato chunks still in their jackets, a not-too-sweet Mardi Gras Cole Slaw that we all loved, and the piece de resistance of sides:  the beans.  Oh the BEANS!  Served simply as Pintos, these are the beans which cornbread was invented, and Cowboy Beans, kind of a Texas-bold riff on traditional pork and beans with all the usual suspects (brown sugar, molasses, etc...) along with nice bites of smoked brisket and more.  I would drive across the city for either of these beans, alone.  I'm sure I will, now.

Rounding out the meal, banana pudding (!!) and peach cobbler. Very traditional preparations, neither cloyingly sweet, and each freshly prepared.  The lemonade is freshly-squeezed, and perfectly-brewed iced tea comes sweetened, or unsweetened.  The service, even beyond the affable Alexander, is warm, efficient and friendly.  The neighborhood in which this food trailer parks looks like most neighborhoods did, oh say, about 60 years ago, people and pets, foot traffic, community gardens, outdoor patios, a smattering of guys in skinny ties and accompanying girlfriend/sister/mother/brother, charming in their cotton thrift-store shirtwaist dress, but also midlifers, and empty-nesters, and, yes, a few baby boomers.  Culturally and economically diverse, Manor Road is one of my favorite hot spots of Austin.  Hoover's Texa-Mexi-Cue brightens the landscape.

And, HEY!  There is PARKING around there!

(almost) wordless wednesday
graduation: dreams, by langston hughes

  by Langston Hughes

Hold fast to dreams 
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

Tips for Tuesday
Superfood: Kale!

Before I could stomach collard greens, turnip greens, spinach, swiss chard, and all those other healthy green things, kale was my first love.

You might call it my gateway green.

The word is out, now, and kale is everywhere!  Kale chips, especially, seem to be the snack of the moment. The last few moments, in fact.  Kale has been finding its way into soups and stews for a while. Doctors love it, eat it, cook it, give it the hard sell.
Kale is among the most nutrient-dense commonly eaten vegetables. One cup provides 1,327 percent of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin K, 192 percent of DV for vitamin A, and 88 percent for vitamin C.-- Dr. Andrew Weil
And in hot, dry Texas, gardeners love it, too!  It has been ironclad in my garden. Behaving much like it's cousin, the collard green, kale is at its best during the cooler season, but, in my gardens, grows all year long, never going to seed. I've grown several varieties, and love them all.  Even my notoriously picky family requests kale, fresh from my garden.  

Commonly, you will find me sauteing kale in a little oil, with garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. Sometimes I toss in some grated parmesan cheese.  It's a traditional Italian preparation of the green. I may toss it with some seasoned homemade bread crumbs--I've taken to stuffing all manners of vegetables with it, too. 

Kale, the firmest of the greens, stands up well to heat, however is often a little too stiff to eat raw. If you show it a little attention, it will soften up a little, just like we all do.  

So give kale a massage.  You heard me right.  Massage your kale.  Maybe it's had a rough day.

A quick massage, of the leafy, destemmed green will soften, and sweeten kale, making it perfectly delightful in raw salads.  For this dish, I've destemmed what would be the equivalent of two market-sized bunches, and sliced, crosswise, in 1/4 to 1/2" ribbons.  In a large bowl, I tossed and massaged the greens with about 2-4T olive oil and 1/2t kosher salt.  Letting the greens 'marinate' in the olive oil for a while will yield the same effect.  The massage, or marination, breaks down kale's cellulose structure, thus 'wilting' the green.

While kale marinates (massage for a few minutes, then let sit for about 5, before proceeding), Destem and slice 2 cups of red table grapes.  Pan fry or bake 1/2# bacon.  (Okay, you don't need that much.  But bacon..c''s so good. And you know you're going to steal a slice from that batch.  Do it.  Live a little!).  Drain bacon on paper toweling, cool, and crumble. Crumble, and set aside, about 4-6 oz firm goat cheese.

In a small  bowl, whisk together the remainder of the 4T of olive oil, above, that didn't go into the massage session, 4T good quality balsamic vinegar, 2tsp brown sugar, and 2t dijon mustard.  Season, to taste, with kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper.  Stir in goat cheese and bacon.

Toss halved grapes and prepared vinaigrette with kale. You may choose to add the kale stems, sliced thinly, for a little added texture.  Correct seasonings. 

This salad will keep, refrigerated, for several days, thanks to our firm, green friend; Kale.

Learn more about the health benefits of kale from WebMd, The Truth About Kale.

And try a few more of my favorite ways to prepare and eat kale:

Roasted Stuffed Tomatoes with Kale and Queso Blanco
Lemony Garlic Roasted Kale
Rustic Red Chile Pork Pozole with Kale

Then, because you just can't get enough kale, check out the plethora of delicious kale recipes curated from my fellow Austin Food Blogger Alliance members, below.  We love our kale!

Kale Chips
Hilah Cooking
Kristin Schell

Kale Pesto
Red, White, and Blueberries

Kale Smoothies
Kristin Schell
Bake Me Away

Kale Entrees
Stetted--Tuna Salad Wraps
Gourmet Veggie Mama--Quinoa and Kale with Crispy Tofu
Full and Content--Homemade Pork, Kale, and Sweet Pepper Sausage
Midnite Chef--Kale with Penne
Oh Hey--Kale, Beans, and Tomatoes
Local Savour--Kale-y Joes
Local Savour--Seared Scallops with Kale Pecan Pesto Risotto

Kale Sides
Lazy Smurf--Nice A** Greens
Gourmet Veggie Mama--Quinoa-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Kale

Kale Salads
Gourmet Veggie Mama--Kale Salad with Ricotta Salata, Pine Nuts, and Quinoa
Food Fetish--Crispy Kale and Chickpea Salad
Oh Hey--Lemon Kale Salad
The Fresh Find--Greens' Sweet and Spicy Kale Salad
Hilah Cooking--Kale Salad with Bacon

Kale Soups and Stews
Madbetty--Turkey, Kale, and Brown Rice Soup
Coseppi Kitchen--Pureed Kale Soup
and then make soup--Greek Wedding Soup
CSA for Three--Slow Cooker White Bean and Kale Soup with Shrimp

meatless monday
springing into fitness: week eleven results

A few ups, a few downs....all in eleven week's work.

Yes!  Eleven weeks it has been.  Except for that time when I'm sweating in the sweltering Texas sun, it's gone by rapidly. And the weight loss, though never as rapid as anyone likes, has steadily held.  A little over a pound a week, on average.

That average might be a little higher if Austin and its surrounds wasn't full to the brim with exciting restaurant openings, and festivals, and entertainment districts.  For instance, I celebrated a 5 pound weight loss week while attending the Austin Food and Wine Festival.  And gaining 4 pounds back.  All in a day's work.

If you've just joined this conversation, get an idea what all this Springing Into Fitness stuff is all about, here.  In a nutshell, I'm planning to lose fifty pounds by my fiftieth birthday, and I'm begging your help. 'Cause, like I said, 

It's gonna take a village, y'all.

So, first, an update. Results from last week, and new goals for this week. And afterwards, a few new tools for you, and me, for education and motivation.

Week Eleven: Springing Into Fitness


I did get moving!
I hiked and hiked and hiked for many weeks.  Some days, rain or life got in the way of my daily 30, and I just tacked that time onto the weekend hike, my catch-up day(s).  I continued gradually, along, but just last week, my ankles and lower back hit the wall.  So I'll rest the back a few days, unearth those ankle braces, lace up my boots a bit more snugly, and get back on the trail. I'm incorporating gym time into my routine this week, too-- three days to add some variety for this ADD-exerciser to keep the boredom from derailing me.  I'll be joining the early morning joggers for 'city hiking' two days a week, and finding the 'off the beaten path' spots on the weekend. Incidentally, the days are becoming warmer which means early rising for me (ugh.) and lots of sunblock.  Be safe out there, y'all!

I did work on a habit!
To heck with that food diary.  I've failed miserably.  Instead of another week of failing that goal, going to skip it.  Oh, I know I'll be back to it, especially as the weight loss stalls and I'll be hungering for a nudge of the needle on the scale.  
So this week?  WATER.  I'm adding the water discipline to my diet.  Sixty-four ounces of liquid.  Can't count coffee.  That's a diuretic.  But other beverages may be added to the day's tally.  How much water are you drinking? 

I did fuel the machine!
I am a rabbit.  I eat what rabbits eat.
A lot of it.
And still working to not deny myself the foods I love, but have them in moderation.  Sometimes, a well-enjoyed bite is just about all I need to satisfy the urges.  That, and a big glass of water.

And the scales proved it a good plan--

Slowly, oh so slowly, I'm down 17 pounds since this spring clean began, and a total of 32 pounds since my last birthday, in December, which means I'm a little over halfway HOME to my goal.  Fifty by Fifty is beginning to look achievable.  I added a little widget to the side bar on the right of the page that tracks my progress.  It displays my weight loss from my last birthday.  (And I still can't believe I was bold enough to tell everyone how old I am!)

And now is the hard part.  Keeping it up, and keeping it off.  Six months, plus a few days, to assure victory. And as I lose, the more slowly the pounds come off.  That's just the way this thing is.  I'll need all the help I can to get, and keep moving.  And don't be surprised at all when that food log comes back out.  I better get smarter with these tools.

I'm pretty okay with these results so far.  I have to remind myself that it didn't creep on overnight, and it's not going away overnight either.  The widget on the side bar to the right tracks my progress, and keeps me accountable to ...YOU GUYS, and it's helpful in keeping me motivated.  It displays my weight loss from my last birthday.  (If you have a blog, and would like to use a similar tool, you can find the one I'm using, here.  I'm a bit of a Luddite where these things are concerned, and I found this to have a very user-friendly interface. I said interface.  teeheehee.  I'm learning.)

This week, I'll start each day with a small bite of protein prior to, and a vegetable smoothie after, the morning workout.  I'll continue to eat a diet high in fiber, based on plants, primarily, around 1200 calories a day.  Unless I'm watching the NBA championship.  There might be beer involved.  And I'll save a few calories for nervous munchies!  

And now, new tools for the second half of this project--

And stop back by tomorrow, on Tips for Tuesday, where we'll being our series on Superfoods for Fitness with the nutritional powerhouse, Kale, share a recipe for Kale And Grape Salad, which we'll be munching on all week,  and offer scads of links to fellow blogger kale goodness.

Kale.  It does a body good.  (yep.  I stole that.)

What were the high, and maybe the low, points of your week, fitness-speaking?  

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