Thanksgiving Food Prep

Three days from now and around this time (8:27 p.m.), most people will be rubbing their bellies trying to digest dinner. Maybe even contemplating second or third helpings, or another trip to the desert table.

I was not feelin the kitchen after work this evening, but I’ve been on a roll cooking my share of Thanksgiving dinner, so just like I push myself to go to the gym some days, I pushed myself to cook another dish.

This year’s Thanksgiving eve, I just want to chill and don’t want to be slaving in the kitchen. Everything, except the salmon will be cooked in advance.

Here is six pounds of a blend of collard greens and kale. I wanted to cook the greens vegan style, but my peeps wouldn’t have that. But I think for Christmas dinner, I am just going to cook them without the smoked meat.  That stuff is bad for you! :0(

greens

I cooked them using smoked turkey legs. However, I just couldn’t contribute too much to the clogged arteries, high blood pressure, and added fat. I’m serious! I parboiled the four (4) smoked turkey legs in a handful of fresh garlic cloves and crushed red pepper.

The legs boiled until the skin begin to fall off. I then remove them from the pot and take off the skin, fat, and bones. It’s still unhealthy, but slightly better than with the excess fat.

I layered the greens in the pot with a little of the broth from turkey legs, sweet onions, and this seasoning.

seasoning

The outcome is amazing! I compromise this way because I understand that 20+ folks coming for dinner have not interested in eating clean. A small section of the kitchen counter will be dedicated to clean eating.

I am just about done my cooking.

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The garage freezer!

On Saturday, I cooked six pounds of mac and cheese and  B’Dazzle helped me with 15 pounds of yams by peeling them for me. I’m so lucky! He’s an awesome kid and did a super-duper job. :0)

tailor peeling

On my way home today, I was deeply saddened when I saw a long line at the local food bank. The parking lot was full, an attendant directed traffic, and a long line of cars sat along side a busy roadway waiting for their turn to pick up donated food. I haven’t seen it like this before. A recent and sudden surge of casino closings in Atlantic City has many families struggling… struggling to find work… struggling to provide food for the family… struggling to pay rent/mortgage… heat… electricity… etc…

Regardless of where you live, if you are blessed to enjoy the festivities of a holiday dinner or a daily meal, heat, or a warm and safe place to sleep, I urge you to help someone in need. Invite them to dinner or give food, clothing, or whatever it is you can offer. Every bit of help can make a difference to someone in need.

Don’t judge, be kind, and be generous.

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Sweet dreams!

Genetics Or Lifestyle

I think folks’ perception of what post 40 should look and feel like is wrong.

If I earned a dollar for every time someone asserts my physique to genetics (and they don’t even know my parents), I might not have to get my tail up at 4:15 every morning.

While I cannot deny that me and my brother’s bodies are carbon copies of our father’s 5′ 10″ thinly framed body (veiny arms, legs and feet included), but daddy’s DNA is only going to take us but so far. At some point the age factor kicks in.

Many times I have shared that since the age of 14, I’ve worked out in some way, shape, or fashion. I have kept it movin all my life.

Ahem… (Clearing my throat)  Likewise, even when I did not know better and ate two big macs, two large fries, and sucked down a large orange soda, I still worked out and ate my share of fruits, veggies, and drank water.

Though I ate this ish, I was running like 35-50+ miles per week.

Back then (I sound old right!?), you couldn’t pay me to move the scale past 128 pounds. I gained a measly 20 somthin pounds with my daughter’s pregnancy.  Weight gain just wasn’t on the radar for me.

Fast forward some 30+ years, and that just ain’t the case anymore.  As some point, estrogen levels decrease,  the metabolism slows, and menopause kicks in.  Add an unhealthy diet and no exercise, medication and other health factors, and bam!  That’s a recipe for disaster.

Speaking of recipes, this is a typical lunch for me. The chicken, kale and brown rice is satisfiying and nourishing.  Best of all, I don’t feel sluggish and tired after eating processed foods like hoagies, french fries, and cheese steaks.

lunch

As we age, our bodies change and function differently. It’s no different from a car, a house, or a kitchen appliance.  We have to care for it well or it’s going to fail us terribly.  Heck sometimes, even when we do all the right things, the body still fails us.  So what am I saying? What’s the point? The point is to increase the chance of a long and healthier life by taking better care of yourself.

By the way, I can gain weight.  I repeat… I am very capable of weight gain. However, knowledge, discipline, and lifestyle changes keep me tight, trim, and slim.  Lol!!

About five years ago, I had surgery. Recovery time was eight weeks.  During the eight weeks, I was sedative (Doctor’s orders) but ate very well. Guess what?  Sista still gained weight!  I was devastated that I ballooned to a size 12.  Now hold on!  12 is not large by any means, but for me, that’s huge. I was literally busting out of my pants and skirts!

The facts are that you can eat well but don’t exercise and you are not going to get the results you want.  Finding a realistic balance between the two is key.

Age ain’t nothing but a number.  When I was a kid, I thought 50 was old as dirt!  But when I turned 40, I realized that my age didn’t mean squat!  Age is a mindset.

If you want to be old… Go ahead and be old.  Where old ass clothes, fill your head with outdated and unfounded old behind myths about how you’re supposed to act, eat any darn thing you want, sit instead of dancing, stay home, and live your life based on BS philosophies about how others say you “should” live after your 40th birthday.

My point here, is that I look and feel fantastic for a number of reasons:

  1. God has blessed me. Every day I thank him.
  2. As I learn better, I do better (in all that I do).
  3. I eat well (avoiding processed, unhealthy, and sugar laced food & beverages)
  4. I drink alcohol in moderation. Yes, I drink.
  5. I minimize stress by eliminating whatever or whomever causes me stress (people, environments, etc…)
  6. I help others (try to improve their life) and I don’t look for or want anything in return.
  7. I purposefully compliment and encourage other women (no reason to hate on one another, especially sistas).
  8. I say what I mean and mean what I say.
  9. I live within my means.
  10. I live a simple life, by  avoiding keeping up with the Jones’s & don’t indulge in trying to impress people.
  11. I do more of what makes me happy (work out, read, dance, travel, cook, spend time with the best of my friends and family).
  12. I don’t worry, care, or give two sense about those who don’t “get me” or like my style. I LOVE being different. J
  13. I laugh AND smile…. A LOT! Lol!!!  I really do. J

The bottom line is that we are adults and have choices. I choose to stay on my grind of cherishing my mind, body, and spirit.

By continuing to educate myself, I improve my diet and overall lifestyle.  Whatever I learn, I apply to my life, and whenever possible, my family’s life.   If I learn that a certain food is bad, I give it up and find an alternative.  Likewise, when I discover new food, I try it.  Sometimes I like it, sometimes I don’t.

Genetics may contribute to my physique, however at 49 years old, a lot more has to do with my habits and lifestyle.

Keep it movin!!

50fit

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How Is Your Activation Energy?

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Happy Monday!

How many times in a day do you say that you’re “fine” when you really are not?  Hmm… something to consider right? Are you in control of your “Activation Energy?”

Take a few minutes to listen to Mel Robbins today. I hope you enjoy her talk as much as I did.

Have a fabulous day!  :)

On Kindness

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“Decorate your life

with random acts of kindness.”

-Paul Williams on SuperSoulSunday

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Image courtesy of GeniusQuotes.net

Happy Sunday!  :)

Roaring With Pleasure!

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 Like my zodiac twin, Leo the lion, I am roaring with pleasure!

Black rice is the newest cuisine that I added to my weekly palate.

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blackrice1

On Sunday, I blogged about my first time cooking it.

IMG_3467 I give it two thumbs up!

The texture and flavor are like that of brown rice and you cook it pretty much the same. I enjoyed the rice with kale and chicken breast; it was delicious.

If you enjoy the soft fluffy texture of white rice and you want the same texture, the rice needs to cook longer and with more water.

My family enjoys brown rice with the added flavor low sodium chicken broth, instead of water.

Because this was my first time cooking and eating black rice, I did not want to alter the original flavor, so I followed the package instructions and cooked it in water.  The package did not call for oil or butter, but it made sense to add oil to the rice, so I added one tablespoon to two cups of rice.  I should have added two.

Tonight (four days later), I had enough leftover black rice from the week, so you know I was dying to cook?

black rice and shrimpBlack rice, sautéed garlic shrimp, and a baby kale medley!

Seriously this perked me up. After a long day on the road, missing several meals, not drinking enough water, I was terribly off kilter.  The meal, a toasty fireplace and a forbidden glass of Cabernet has me feeling more like myself. :)

friday fire

Enjoy the weekend!

Wake Up Committed

Good morning!

“I woke up like this…”

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“Commitment is pushing yourself when no one else is around.”

The gym was empty at 6 O’clock this morning. Yay!! Today was my first day back doing arms in over a month. I pushed hard and I am exhausted. Feeling drained and depleted of energy confirms my efforts.

Being away from the gym really sucked, but I am happy to return and need to remind myself to ease back into it. I’m not sure that I know how to ease into it. But I will listen to my body, it will tell me when to stop and when to rest.

After breakfast with hubby, I plan to do just that- rest.

Y’all keep it movin’ and have a wonderful day! :)