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SF Pumpkin Pie

Mr. Southern Fiber and I were invited to lunch at our cousin’s home this past Sunday.  Her kitchen has recently been completely remodeled, and she wanted us to come see it.  I walked in the door and the first thing I saw was a brand new stainless steel stove with matching microwave above, and a stainless steel kettle on the stove!  It looks like something out of a Kenmore catalogue.  So chic.  I loved it!

We had salad and lasagna for lunch, and with Scott being the cook, we didn’t want to show up empty handed.  We brought the dessert.  What did we bring?  Pumpkin pie!  Of course, I wanted to enjoy the dessert, too, especially since I love pumpkin pie, like, to death.  We searched and found a recipe that fit the bill for our now persnickety bellies.  Here’s the recipe:

  • 2 9-inch unbaked pie shells
  • 2 cans pumpkin
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 cup brown sugar (remember, this makes two pies, so it’s only 1/2 cup per pie)
  • 4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Beat eggs with a whisk, adding other ingredients and continue to beat until smooth.  Pour mixture into two pie shells.  Bake for 15 minutes at 425 and then reduce temperature to 350.  Allow to bake for another 45-60 minutes.  Test to see if it’s done after the first 45 minutes, and every 5 minutes after until toothpick (or skewer, as we used) comes out clean.

    Now, the funny part about all of this is Scott forgot to make the pies.  He laid down for bed and I asked him when he was going to cook the pies… this was 11:45 pm.  So, at midnight, Scott is putting the pies into the oven, and me being the good wife I am stayed up to keep him company.  We watched an episode of Earth 2 while the pies cooked, although I don’t remember much of the episode.  I was zonked.  When the pies were done, he took them out to cool and we went to bed.  Here’s what I saw Sunday morning:

    Mouth watering goodness!!!!  I really wanted to have a slice right there before church, but I resisted knowing I could have some at lunch.  I had fiber cereal instead:

    Not a valid substitute, but it was necessary.  It didn’t taste bad at all, but it wasn’t pumpkin pie.  I did get to enjoy a slice later:

    This tastes sooo good, and I am even more glad we still have some left in the fridge!  And with low sugar and skim milk, this is a good healthy alternative to the usual I-don’t-care-about-my-waistline usual pumpkin pie.  Also, it has about 4g of fiber per serving.  Yay me!

    I encourage you to try out this recipe this holiday season.  I think it’ll be a hit.

    About a month and a half ago my entire family jumped onto the healthy living train, and we haven’t looked back since. It’s not an easy decision to make, but it’s a decision that’s well worth the time and extra effort.

    How has eating and living healthy affected our lives since then? This is a loaded question in some ways.

    Scott has had to change the way he cooks. For those of you who don’t know, Scott is the cook in our house. I cook some, but nothing more than helping out, and certainly not big, creative meals like Scott has cooked in the past. He has whined a little bit about how he’s not used to cooking with all this “new stuff” and that he’s used to frying everything, but he also makes sure we know he realizes that we all need to eat healthy from now on.

    Restaurants are interesting. People now ask us “do they have stuff you can eat?” I have replied that I’ll figure something out if it’s not a particularly healthy joint. The good thing is most places offer salads or grilled options, so I haven’t had to resort to not eating in a restaurant yet.

    I waaant grains, veggies, and fruits! Also, since I’m eating a lot of these, my family is able to introduce these foods to others. The other week we had my mom-in-law and sis-in-law over for dinner. We had whole grain rigatoni with spaghetti sauce and lean beef. They loved it! I think the unknown turns people off to healthy foods, because they think they have to sacrifice flavor.

    This brings me to my next point – flavor. Have you had a nice big bowl of steamed veggies lately? When is the last time you had broccoli all by itself, with no cheese or sauce? Americans seem to have an unhealthy dependency on flavor enhancers. These may come in the form of high fructose corn syrup, MSG, or other flavor additives. These additives wreak havoc on a person’s body, and it’s really hard to get used to eating foods without these additives. People think healthy foods and raw veggies are gross or don’t taste right, and I believe this is due to the lack of flavor additives. Foreign countries don’t use nearly as many additives, if at all. Maybe this is why a Big Mac tastes different in France? Oh, but if you ween yourself off these additives, you learn to appreciate real foods for how they really taste.

    Case in point: Noah has grown to love natural fiber bars, salmon, organic peanut butter, and whole grain bread. he begs us for fiber bars, and he makes sure I use the new peanut butter on his pb&j. Yesterday, he had pizza from a popular fast pizza chain. This resulted in a very bad stomach reaction to the grease, processed cheese, and sauce in the pizza. For over forty days Noah has been eating clean foods. Yesterday, when he ate junk, his body couldn’t take it. I looked up the sauce recipe and found, you guessed it, “accent”, which is a brand name for MSG. He also complained of a bad headache that went away after all that was out of his system. Hmmmm, I’m seeing a connection here!

    We have grown to love natural, clean foods. Without all the extra stuff people dump on their food to “make it taste better”, we enjoy food for the way it is supposed to naturally taste. Whole grains are delicious, as are corn and green beans. We have learned to love real food.

    As you can see, yes, eating and living healthy takes some adjusting, but it’s well worth it in the end. We will save big time in healthcare costs in the future, and we have learned to live without foods that are harmful to us.

    Stay tuned for updates on exactly what I’ve been eating lately! I feel safer doing text only updates from my Blackberry since it has issues uploading images.

    Thank you to all my readers – you are an inspiration to me as well!

    Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

    Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes!

    I have done quite a bit of changing in the past several weeks, and every adjustment is adding up to a healthier me.  Here are some changes I have made in place of ordinary, everyday indulgences that many people make today.  Granted, many of these changes are indulgences in themselves, but a year ago, I would not have seen them as such.

    Okay, so this one is a really recent change.  The previous two Grocery Store Relays (before the one this past Saturday), I brought home two boxes.  This week I only brought home one, but I think I packed enough in there to really fit two boxes.  I brought home several (and I mean a *lot*) of healthy snack bars, four boxes of whole wheat rigatoni pasta, three containers of pine nuts, a jug of 100% pure maple syrup, a bag of whole wheat flour, kashi cereal, another jar of the organic peanut butter that Noah has grown to love, and three tubes of toothpaste.  I did quite well, and we pigged out on healthy pasta last night!

    Movie snacks.  I’m used to eating popcorn with extra butter… well, no more.  I take a Bora Bora Bar or this Kashi granola instead.  Keeps me full afterward, it’s healthy, and I don’t have to miss out on eating while everyone else is eating around me in the theatre.

    Ice cream!!!  Again, what I am used to is a pint of Ben and Jerry’s that I would eat in one sitting (this makes me want to die of embarrassment now).  Scott wanted ice cream the other night so we stopped at the drugstore.  They had pints of ice cream that made me want to cringe, and then they had this little beauty.  This is a container of Skinny Cow ice cream.  150 calories per container, and it’s one serving of ice cream!  A serving of ice cream is much smaller than you think.  I enjoyed my ice cream while enjoying the fact that I was eating healthy even more.

    I changed what I eat in restaurants.  At this particular place, I would have had fried chicken or something with a bunch of sauce or mayo.  This Sunday, I opted for grilled chicken, pinto beans, and mixed fruit.  This was served with broccoli cornbread that really should be a dessert.  It is very good!

    I also changed my hair!  Not only that, I changed how I get it cut!  I cut my hair!  This is the before shot from last night, right before I went out onto our porch to cut my hair!  Here are the results:

    I LOVE the results, and it took me all of five minutes!  Since I started wearing my hair curly, I have waaanted a circa 1920’s bob.  You know, the flapper vamp look with longer layers in the front than in the back.  Like Mary Pickford.  Unfortunately, trying to tell this to stylists is like trying to explain logarithmic functions in Japanese.  They are lost.  I’ve even taken pictures!   Then, finally, last night, by my own hand, I have the exact style I have been wanting for years!  I’m so happy I could cry.  Here are some shots of Mary Pickford, along with one of my new hairstyle, to give you a frame of reference.

    So, as you can see, there’s been a whole lot of changing going on, but it’s all for the better.  My family is eating healthier, and we not only are saving money on food now, we are also saving money on my salon bill (by cutting it out entirely).  See, change can actually be a really, really good thing.

    What are some good changes you have made recently?

    Weekend Challenge

    Standing here at yet another Grocery Store Relay (Noah is eating us out of our health bars), I am reminded of those out there who think they can eat absolutely anything they want and lose weight.

    I was one of those people for years. I thought portion control was everything. I could eat a hamburger meal with fries from a fast food joint because the meal is meant to be consumed by one person. I would have a reasonable amount of fried chicken, or even a reasonable amount of ramen noodles. If I ate per serving size, I would be just fine no matter what’s in the food, right?

    Wrong. Common sense should have told me that no matter what the portion size, if there’s things in the food that are not beneficial to yout health, it’s still unhealthy. A person’s body may try to tell them it’s unhealthy by causing an upset stomach, an unusually sluggish feeling, heartburn, or a fitful night’s sleep. What does the average person do? Eat that food anyway and take a Tums, or eat it anyway and say “but it just tastes so gooood!” And don’t think of the potential damage they’re inflicting on their body.

    Someone I know is trying to get into the business of selling a coffee that burns more fat than exercise. This raises some serious red flags for me! No coffee can let you eat whatever you want, not exercise, and still lose weight. This is a sad nation we live in if there are those out there who had rather not take responsibility for their own health.
    A person cannot simply eat what they want, whenever they want. There is a reason there are healthy foods with plenty of nutrients for you. There’s a reason doctors will tell a heart attack patient to grill his chicken from now on. Human bodies, no matter what supplements you take, cannot handle the abuse that the average American consumes.

    Our bodies need fiber, vitamins, potassium, calcium, and water daily in order to function properly. Our bodies were not meant to consume the high fat greasy creations of modern man. Would you put Crisco down your car’s gasoline valve? Of course not! You would put in the gasoline that’s recommended for your car, and our bodies are no different.

    And don’t go fooling yourself that you can take supplements and get away with eating whatever you want. Remember, you’re still putting unhealthy foods in your body. I have foud that if you make a consious decision to eat healthy foods that you do need, you’ll cut out the foods you don’t.

    I’m challenging my readers to choose to eat healthy instead of unhealthy. Try it for a few days and see how good you feel. I’m willing to bet you will.

    Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

    Southern Fiber

    I wore white after Labor Day!!! Yes, I did.  White pants, and capris at that.  They’re a size 12, and with my weight loss, I’m afraid they won’t fit after Easter next year, so I decided to wear them yesterday.  Granted, it’s just a week after Labor Day, but it’s still “after.”  They felt great, and I’m kind of sad because they have served me well and I really like them.  I’ll have to get a new pair next year – yay for shopping!

    On a side note, Noah tried the organic crunchy peanut butter and loves it.  He also has been eating my fiber and nutrition bars!  I will need to continue getting large stashes at the grocery store relay so that Noah and I will have a continual good supply of nutrition bars.  I’m glad he’s taking initiative and making his own decisions about the healthy things he wants to eat.  As far as the nutrition bars go, he likes them so much that Scott and I have to remind him not to eat two or he won’t eat any dinner.  This has actually made him sad.  I don’t think I ever thought that we would get to a point where we would have to limit his eating of healthy foods, or that he would get sad about having to watch how much of it he eats!  Noah is making great progress!!!

    Thinking about my blog’s namesake, I would like to share with you some great high fiber meals I have had recently.  Enjoy!

    Yes, this is what it looks like.  This is Chick Fil A.  I had a chargrilled chicken sandwich, which comes on a whole grain bun with lettuce and tomato.  I had it with no butter or pickles, and I added light canola mayo.  As a side, I had the yogurt parfait with harvest granola.  According their nutrition information, this meal is 590 calories with 5g of fiber.  Not bad for fast food, and having worked there for two years, I know none of it is processed.

    This is (du-du-DUUUH) The Beacon!!!  About as southern and heart-attack-on-a-plate as you can get, but I fared okay with this meal.  I sang in the choir at Overbrook Baptist Church on Sunday in celebration of its 60th anniversary.  Lunch was catered by the Beacon.  I had a plate of pulled pork, which I don’t eat often, one squeeze of barbecue sauce, and a mountain of baked beans and coleslaw, both of which have fiber.  With the number of beans I ate, and how much coleslaw I had, too, this dinner ran me to about 15 grams of fiber, and they held the grease, thank you.  Sunday night we had a picnic with our own church (I didn’t take my phone) and I had grilled chicken with a lot of raw veggies, so my calorie count for lunch didn’t make me feel guilty since I consumed so few calories the rest of the day.  I still hit about 1800, I’m guessing.

    I made chicken salad from leftovers, again.  We had chicken left over from the picnic, so I chopped that up and mixed it with a whole apple that I diced, light canola mayo, and salt and pepper.  Then, I got fiber happy, and got to thinking about bulgur wheat I had in the pantry, and added 1/4 cup of bulgur wheat.  Not cooked, just dry.  I wanted crunch.  It gave the chicken salad a nice crunch, and a very nice nutty flavor.

    I put this on Arnolds sandwich thins, and had it alongside 1/2 cup black beans and a heaping spoonfull of 0% Chobani plain yogurt.  Dinnertime fiber = 29 grams.  It was very tasty, indeed!

    On the menu tonight is spaghetti with whole grain pasta.  Grains, grains, grains, and beans, beans, beans.  Both are excellent sources of fiber (beans = soluble fiber!) and you can get very creative with both of them.  I’m still going strong with my high fiber diet, and I’m so glad.  I feel wonderful.  Thank you all for your support and encouragement!

    What are your favorite ways to eat beans or grains?

    I’ve been approached by several friends and family members who all mentioned that I need to put a before and after post on my blog.  I am excited to do so, especially since I have already lost ten pounds!  I am still getting into serious exercising – old habits die hard, and my body, after years of being sedentary, is slowly getting used to exercise.  I still have a long way to go, but I am happy to report that I have already come a long way since my visit to the doctor and my switch to healthy living.

    Here I am in 2007.  You can’t tell my weight here, but that is because I have discreetly hidden my belly and legs from view by cunningly “showing off” my cute pocketbook.  I was not happy with my size here.

    Honestly, I wasn’t happy with my size here, either.  This picture was taken in April this year on a trip to Vegas with my wonderful husband.  I added inches and pounds after we got married and chalked it up to “happy marriage weight”, which I’m pretty sure is true.  I am still extremely happy, and now that I am in a happy and solid marriage relationship, my self image isn’t nearly as bad as it used to be.  That doesn’t mean I liked having a belly.  Can you see me still trying to hide it?

    Mother’s Day 2010.  I was sooo happy on this day that i honestly didn’t think about hiding my belly, or any other part of me that showed I am overweight, which at least means I was beginning to accept me for me, however I look.  You can notice my belly in this shot, though.  I have had people come up and ask me when I’m due, which, as any woman knows, is embarrassing and hurtful.  Please, don’t ever ask a woman when they’re due unless you’ve heard it from them that they are pregnant.

    Here I am today!!!!!!!  I’ve already accepted that my face is probably always going to be pudgy, since I have the face build of my Daddy’s side of the family.  But – my arms, and my belly!!  I am so proud!!!  The ten pounds I have lost so far have obviously been lost from my belly, and I am not complaining.  Now people everywhere are asking if I have lost weight (still not the best thing to say, but better than “when are you due”) or mentioning how good I look.  It’s invigorating!!!  I’m glad it’s not just me that notices – that helps make all of this more real.

    A close up shot of my belly today.  Sigh, happiness…. I am so very proud of me!  I am staying strong on my high fiber, low fat diet.  Today, for lunch, I had a bean burrito in a flour tortilla, grapes, and Chobani greek yogurt.  MMMMy!

    1/2 cup of black beans, which equals 22g of fiber.  I’m still full.

    Thanks again for all of your love and support.  And remember – I love to hear from you! I enjoy hearing how my progress is helping others have the courage to switch to healthy living as well.  It’s also great to have the support and guidance of others who have made the switch.  You can also sign up for the RSS feed  from my blog, or subscribe by email, on the right hand side of this page.

    When were you finally honest with yourself that you weren’t living healthy?

    First, please allow me to apologoze.  I have been a busy bee this holiday weekend and I haven’t posted since Thursday!  Second, I don’t know how long it will take me to write this post since I am in the middle of eating my lunch:

    Leftover day, with leftover Thai veggie fried brown rice and leftover lime chicken with peppers that I made into a salad and put on sandwich thins.  My belly is doing a happy dance right now.

    So, having finished the rice, I am now between bites of the sandwich, updating my blog.  I have had a great weekend so far!  Scott took Friday off, so Noah and I spent the afternoon with him before we dropped Noah off at his mom’s.  Fun game night with friends Friday night!  They even popped kettle corn for me so that I wouldn’t be left out of the snacks.  We left around ten thirty so that Natasha and I could get ready for the grocery store relay!

    Da da-da daaaa!!!! The whole point of this post.  I had a blast yet again, and even more friends joined in this time.  The gang from my first Saturday was there, minus one due to a migraine, plus two other lovely ladies from church and a great friend of mine from growing up.  Word is getting out about this thing, and if there ends up being too many people at the relay, I’m afraid they will all blame me.  Never fear – I will continue to tell you of my great finds at the grocery store relay!

    I rode with Natasha and we got there a little before eight.  I cased the joint with her sister to find the box I wanted to grab.  They had a box full of organic preserves, several boxes of almond and rice milk, box after box of cereal, and then I saw it:

    The row on the right, third box up from the bottom… a box full of protein and fiber heaven.  All this box had in it was healthy snack bars!  I love these for snacks, meals on the go (if they have enough fiber), and Scott has gotten into the habit of eating them, too.  I didn’t want to be stingy with them, though, so when I grabbed this box, I went back to my group and told everyone to take some bars for them, too, and I would take the rest home with me.

    I still had almost an entire box left over.  This should last us for months.  I also found three more (3!!) jars of Maranatha nut butters!  Two organic peanut butter, and one of the crunchy and roasted almond butter like I found before.  My mom asked me, “how much peanut butter are you eating?!”.  I assured her that we’re stockpiling since the sell by dates on them are a long way off from now.  We have a good stock of nut butter now, and that’s a good thing, since there’s now two of us that are eating them regularly.

    There were several organic salad dressings to choose from as well, and I got some Caesar, some honey mustard vinaigrette, and some sweet and sour dressing.  I got a box of bulgar wheat, some more oat bran, granola, whole wheat pastry flour, and black beans.  This is some mondo pantry building on the cheap.  Seriously cheap.  Here is my kitchen table with all of my finds:

    The two boxes in the back are free salad dressing cases they were giving out.  These aren’t fat free, so we plan on donating them to our local soup kitchen.  Saturday afternoon, I went to lunch and a movie with my mom and sister!  Lunch, for me, included seasoned broiled tilapia with cauliflower and snow peas.  It was yummy!  After, we went to see Eat Pray Love.  It was a wonderful afternoon with my two favorite women of all time before my sister leaves for Spain!

    Speaking of my sister and Spain, Scott and I are going to dinner at my parent’s house tonight for her going away party/engagement party/everyone’s labor day party.  I am eating high fiber today (I had about 15g at breakfast, and more for a snack) so that I may enjoy dinner with my family tonight without feeling guilty about how much fiber is in the meal.  I informed them that no menu changes needed to take place tonight just for me.  There will be eighteen there, and I am one, so I will enjoy myself.

    And drink extra water.

    Happy Labor Day, everyone!