As you can see above, my second little pavlova was wearing “Very Strawberry Couture” with accessories by “Fat Free Cool Whip” to dinner last night. I think she looked awesome in red, although I’ve come up with an idea for her “outfit” for tonight’s dinner that takes a bit of a different approach. I can’t wait to share it with you tomorrow!
I decided to take a little walk to the store yesterday for some berries to go on my pavlova, even though I was still not feeling 100% better. I can only stand to be cooped up for so long! I picked up a box of Yogi Cold Season Tea too, and I’ve been sipping it non-stop just because it is pleasant and somewhat soothing. I stayed home from work yesterday rather than share my germs with my colleagues, but I went in to the office today. I think it was a bad choice. The looks I got from my boss and colleagues confirmed it. I’m planning to work from home tomorrow, and I’m so thankful that I will not have to wake up in the morning and play the “do-I-go-in-or-do-I-stay-home?” game. This tea is a good one if you are feeling under the weather, so I thought I’d mention it. I hope, however, that you are feeling right as rain!
Now, that you’ve seen what pavlova is wearing, it is time for the interview! I’ve been pondering my answers to the great interview questions I received from Brandi at Branappetit. Thanks for the interview, Brandi! I’ve never been interviewed via blog before, so I’m excited! If you think you would like to be interviewed, please read the directions at the bottom of this post. It is my duty to pass the torch, and I might just pass it to you!
Here are Brandi’s questions and my answers:
1. What is your favorite thing about blogging?
If I have to pick just one thing, I think my favorite thing has to be the sharing of information and ideas that goes on within the community. While cooking, writing and photography are all fun things to do, they aren’t nearly as much fun if I don’t share my recipes, thoughts and photos with others. I love presenting my ideas and thoughts and then seeing how people respond. There are so many awesome commenters and bloggers out there, and for every idea I share, I seem to receive twenty great new ideas and a well of endless creative inspiration for myself.
Speaking of new ideas, I read about oat bran on several different sites recently (including Heather’s) , and decided to pick up a container of it yesterday while I was on my little shopping excursion. I had no idea what I was missing all this time! The nutritional profile is amazing, and the flavor and texture are so filling and comforting! A serving of the kind I bought is only 1 ww point (you get an insane amount of yummy goodness for 1 point!!!!), and it had plenty of protein and fiber to really get me through from breakfast until lunch. Oat bran has probably been laughing at me as I’ve reached for the oatmeal at Whole Foods for the past 5 years. Now– I know! I mixed up a bowl with Better ‘n Peanut Butter and jelly last night, and I had a bowl “molasses cookie style” for breakfast this morning. I’m hooked!
Ok, now back to the questions…. sorry about the oat bran distraction…
2. When / how / why did you start your blog?
I just started blogging in January of this year, although I’ve tried it a couple of times before. This time, the experience has been completely different, and I’ve determined that I just wasn’t ready to share my story with the world up until now. I’ve lost 180 pounds in the last ten years, and I’ve certainly learned some things about food, exercise and my relationship with both of those things along the way. Over the past couple of years, I’ve started getting earnest questions from friends, family and co-workers about what I eat, how I’ve lost weight, how much I exercise and that sort of thing. I realized that people could benefit from what I’ve learned from my own challenges and struggles, and if I can use that knowledge to help other people, there might be some silver lining to what I went through when I was carrying around so many extra pounds.
The funny thing to me is that I didn’t expect my blog to really be a “food blog,” but it has quickly and naturally evolved in that direction. I have to say that it makes perfect sense. I really am passionate about food! I started cooking when I was 8 or 9, and I’ve always loved it. As I have overhauled my eating habits, I’ve overhauled my cooking habits as well. Blogging has shown me that I really want to spend my time writing about all of the delicious foods that I enjoy rather than coming up with tips about things that you should avoid eating at all costs. As I strive for moderation, I know that there is room for everything. Hopefully, the positive feelings I have about the way that I eat come shining through. Food = good = yum!
3. What is your favorite food?
My answer could probably change minute to minute, but the overall trend would be leaning in the direction of….
…CHEESE! I love it. This was the cheese course at my birthday dinner at The Inn at Little Washington, and it was one of my very favorite parts of the meal! Runny, crumbly, spicy, mild, blue, goat’s milk, sheep’s milk, cow’s milk…. I love me some cheese. I will admit, that there are a few types that are a bit too smelly for my nose to tolerate without concluding that something has gone awry (gotta love our natural defense mechanisms…), but I’m always willing to at least give the stinky ones a shot. I love a course like this with jam, nuts and dried fruit on the side. It is so elegant, simple and delightful!
4. What is your favorite thing to cook?
Great question! I love baking– muffins, cookies, breads, pies, tarts, cakes… you name it! There is something so magical to me about taking a lot of random ingredients, mixing them together and then finding that they have melded into one. They become transformed after spending a little time in the oven, and that magic never ever ceases to amaze me. I love the finished product, of course, but I truly love the process as well.
There is also something so cozy and inviting about a rack of freshly baked muffins or cookies or other baked yummies cooling on the counter. These are the kinds of things you enjoy while having coffee or tea with a friend. Growing up in a small town in the south, there were plenty of church potlucks, births, deaths and events that usually called for the sharing of food with friends and neighbors. I firmly believe that baked goods scream “we love y’all” louder than anything else.
Here are some muffins I made recently. If you find some blueberries hanging out at your place, you should give this recipe a try. It is one of my favorites!
5. What are 3 tips you can give to others that are losing weight or maintaining a weight loss?
This is such a great question. Here are three things that I’ve learned that have kept me going, and that I believe will continue to help me on road to losing and maintaining.
1. Pick a strategy that you enjoy and can live with… forever!
I’ve seen some pretty weird diets over the years, and I don’t know how anyone can expect to do well over the long run on a diet where you are only allowed to eat grapefruit… or foods that start with the letter X or… [insert strange restriction here.] That’s just not normal or practical! The world is full of tasty food, and I want to be able to enjoy it! A balanced approach that allows me to have some flexibility, eat healthfully, and munch on an endless variety of foods is the only kind of approach that works for me, and, I’m convinced, it is the best type of approach for most people.
I know that I can’t expect to reach some magical goal weight and then ditch the eating habits that got me to that number without expecting to see the scale go back in the heavier direction. I like the foods I eat. I like them A LOT! I’m not sad in the morning that I am going to eat healthy food all day. If I really want a donut, I can have one. I adjust elsewhere. The point is, as cheesy as it sounds, my journey started as a diet and ended as a lifestyle change. The fact that I am happy with the way that I eat gives me confidence that I can maintain my current loss and lose a bit more if I choose to do so.
2. Actively fight boredom!
I hate boredom when it comes to my food and my workouts! I think the easiest way for me to start to feel deprived is if I’m uninterested in the healthy foods I’m eating. By constantly seeking new things to try and new recipes for old favorites, I keep things interesting and stay content with my healthy fare. I’m convinced that this helps me to stay on track.
By the same token, if I had to go and spend an hour on one machine in the gym every day, I’m sure that I would go crazy. My exercise schedule has sort of evolved in this way: I started out walking, then I added the elliptical. Soon after, I started running and doing a couple of strength training sessions each week. Following that, I bought a jump rope and a bicycle. My pink boxing gloves were soon to follow.
My living room looks a bit like a sporting goods store and my kitchen is usually full to overflowing– thank goodness! I couldn’t be happier with all of the variety. I also just think it is good to try new things and move out of the good old comfort zone from time to time!
3. Set smaller achievable goals on the way to your ultimate goal and reward yourself for your successes.
One of the best ways I know to stay motivated while working hard to reach a long term goal is to set smaller goals along the way. By giving yourself attainable goals on the road to your ultimate achievement, you set yourself up for success. I find that success leads to motivation which leads to more success which leads to motivation… and… you get the point.
I celebrated many small victories (both on and off of the scale) while losing the 180 pounds I’ve lost. One of my first goals was to lose 15% of my body weight– a fairly large amount of weight. I decided that I would buy myself the little silver bead bracelet from Tiffany’s that I had wanted for some time when I reached that goal. Now, when I wear my shiny bracelet and feel it sliding around on my wrist, I’m reminded of how far I’ve come. I wear it every day. I’ve also rewarded myself for reaching small goals with a variety of other things and experiences including new jeans, a heart rate monitor, workout clothes, pedicures, horseback riding, and, most recently, a new chrome trash can for my kitchen! I think it really makes a difference to have a prize in mind, even though I wouldn’t take any of those things over the joy I have with my new healthier body!
The other thing I wanted to mention is that this doesn’t have to be a reward tied to the scale. If you are struggling to get to the gym, set a goal you can reasonably achieve like: I’ll go to the gym three times this week. Decide on a reward for yourself if you reach your goal like… downloading three new workout songs from iTunes. I think if you find something to celebrate every day, you will inspire yourself to great things!
Well, I guess that’s about it for me. Brandi, that was a lot of fun. Thanks so much for sending me such awesome questions!!
If you are interested in being interviewed by me:
1. Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.” If a few people want
interviews, I will randomly pick 2.
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. (I get to pick the
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview others
in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them
I’m excited! If you want to be interviewed, you know what to do!
One more thing, and then I’m going to make dinner (tacos… yum!):
BSI!!!!! Don’t forget that I’m hosting this week’s BSI: Black Beans. You have until midnight on Sunday the first to submit your original recipes to me!! I do hope you will participate. I’m excited to see everyone’s dishes!