>Strawnana-Oat Smoothie

>Just had to share this new smoothie recipe I made up…this is big for me cause I’m usually a follow-the-recipe type of cook.

1 cup of fresh strawberries
1/2 banana
1/2 cup milk (I used 1%)
1/2 cup oats (cook kind)
1 container of yogurt (I used strawberry)

Blend a and enjoy! It is 7 points, but very filling – I could only eat 5 points worth for my lunch!

My next smoothie experiment will involve peanut or almond butter, bananas and oats, but I need to get some plain yogurt first…

>Thrifting: the weight watcher’s best kept secret!

>So many of you know about my obsession with thrift stores and the like. This fascination began in the fall and was really born out of necessity. Once you go down 4 sizes you just can’t make the same pants work any more and there are only so many times you can create another hole in your belt. I know, I know, what a tough problem to have! But, it really is…I mean who can afford to chuck all of their clothes and go out a purchase a whole new wardrobe, including work clothes?? Not I. So, after a suggestion from some Weight Watcher buddies to check out thrift stores and my son saying, “Mom, you should go sell your clothes at Plato’s Closet,” I decided to give it a go. After being turned away at the Plato’s Closet in the Chapel Hill area (I was told they only took youthful/teen clothing and there was a women’s clothing store called Clothes Mentor) I headed to Canton. What a great store! You can sell your stuff there and they write you a check right there! Of course both of my trips there ended up with me buying more than I sold, but such is life. Awesome deals on name brand clothing in great condition! I had gotten the taste now, but I didn’t want to keep going to Canton. I have since discovered the following other stores close by:
Village Thrift – on State Street (great selection on “betters”; some new items; half-off sales every day; no dressing rooms.
Goodwill – in Streetsboro (smaller place; have to really look through, but there are dressing rooms)
Classic Additions – down town Hudson, near the teddybear store. (more high-end stuff, but you can find some good deals; they have dressing rooms and the owner is hilarious; they also buy clothing)

Still not a believer? Here is the list of stuff I picked up yesterday at Village Thift:
2 pair jeans (one Levis and one ambercrombie)
2 pair casual pants (both ambercrombie)
2 t-shirts
1 skirt
2 long-sleeved shirts
1 sweater (Gap cardigan)
1 pair work-out shorts (Nike)
1 mock turtleneck (Kohls – brand new)
1 sweatshirt
Grand total – $36.74!!!

Now, you have to be the mood to take time and look, but thrifting can be a real cost savings and a lot of fun! See you in the stores!

>Blueberry Heaven

>I had a fun breakfast date with Zach this morning before rushing off to work for a long day. I dared to veer from my standard breakfast (double fiber english muffin with peanut butter) and was most satisfied with my selection. I thought I would share. I made one serving of old fashioned oatmeal – the kind you actually cook on the stove with water, oats and salt. Still not sure what the salt does, but why mess with a good thing. As my yummy concoction was simmering on the stove for 5 minutes I decided to add blueberries – good brainfood – to it. So, I put the berries in the bowl and then added the oatmeal on top after the timer beeped. Then, giving into my sweet tooth a bit I squirted a bit of honey on top and mixed it up. So good! Not only was the taste so good, but the blueberries were nice and warm – almost cooked – reminiscent of the cooked blueberries in a fresh, out of the oven blueberry muffin. Maybe I’m the only one who is surprised that if you pour a bubbling hot substance on cold berries their temperature will also rise. But, I was surprised and delighted nonetheless. Added bonus – it is a low in points b-fast – 2 for the oatmeal and 1 for the berries. And additional added bonus – it “sticks to your ribs”, as my mom always says so I wasn’t hungry for my typical mid-morning snack. Perhaps this blueberry delight could replace the english muffin as the new breakfast of choice. If only it could be portable. Hmmm…

>One Expensive Evening

>So it has been confirmed. Eating within a normal range of Weight Watcher points at Quicken Loans Arena is very difficult if not downright impossible. I think I knew this before making the trip, but alas, we decided to re-shelve the pork chops I had planned to make before the game in lieu of grabbing something there.

So once we found our seats we went back out to check out our dinner options. Sadly the new “B-Spot” restaurant I’ve heard all about was closed as were a lot of vendors since it was still early and not open to the public yet. You see we were there for the Cub Scout Night at the Q event, with a free ticket for Zach, compliments of his great popcorn selling gig! But I digress…

Zach knew what he wanted. He saw the personal size, red pizza boxes as we were coming in and he says to me, “hey, mom, I want one of those ‘Smart Ones’ pizzas!” First I was excited thinking, “Wow, the Q really has Weight Watchers products – yahoo!” I quickly realized that Zach mistakenly thought the red Dijorno’s pizza box that they were handing out looked like the healthier red box (Smart Ones) version we have in our freezer at home. One pizza imposter coming up! Meanwhile, Mike headed for the “Downtown Dog” – (read: a pricey hot dog), nachos, soda and peanuts,for me as a potential healthy snack later. I now have to decide between the hot dog and the pizza and my logic is that there is more protein in the pizza so I go for that. And it couldn’t be that bad in points right? Oh, how wrong I was. So, our tab so far is two pizzas (one pep and one cheese) and two sodas – $21.00; hot dog, nachos, drink and peanuts – $18.00 and then later the boys got two huge, hot pretzels – $12.00 got a grand total of $51.00. Our seats cost as $45.00!!

As I did my tracking when I got home that evening (like a good little Weight Watcher!) my mouth dropped when I found out that the personal cheese pizza I so enjoyed that evening was a whopping 16 points! Yikes! For those of you who do not speak pointeese I’ll put it in perspective for you…one day for me consists of 18 points!!!! Saved again by the 35 weekly floater points and the extra cash I found in my jeans. Ha!

>If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck…

>I had a pretty humorous running experience today that I just have to share. I chalk it up to being a Friday, I guess. All in all it was a great run, 3 miles/28:53. I set another personal best in the mile – 9:36 – more on this later…

The typical ironic things didn’t happen today – the things that sometimes go wrong for me on running days…forgotten towel, dead ipod, freakish man staring at me. No, this time it was all new stuff. First, my “friend” (read: professor who compliments me all the time, but is also creepy) was there and commented that I “still don’t look my age”. I think he was trying to say more things to me, but I couldn’t hear him over my music, luckily. Then, the walkers were there. Now I am a firm believer in just being active – no matter what fitness level you are at, but sometimes the walkers can irk the runners- especially if they get in the way. This happens at LifeCenter all the time. Some woman was on the phone there once, walking on the track! Seriously? Anyways, I digress. These particular walkers are great; they know all the etiquette to follow when someone is passing, etc. But today, I noticed that the man was carrying a man-bag of sorts that just looked out of place. I recently saw, “The Hangover” and all I could think of was “its not a man-bag, its a satchel” and I was cracking up. Turns out the walkers got the last laugh today, however. As I was passing them for what felt like the 85th time I stepped on a duck (you know what I mean). And I’m not talking about a cute little duckling. I’m talking about an all out, large, adult QUACK!!!! I could hear it through my ipod. I sped up and chuckled a bit to myself. Hey, it happens to everyone right. The walkers did not seem phased so maybe my duck remained my secret. We may never know.

So there is the story of my humorous run today. Oh, and by the way, who was the celebrity on my ipod who congratulated me on my personal best today? Tiger Woods. Go figure.

>Back in the saddle

>Well, after 4 days “off” I ran again today. Finally! In other words the last time I ran was Friday and today is Wednesday. I usually run every other day so this was definitely off my schedule. Why? Well, I had a heckofa cold or something at first, then wasn’t sleeping because of the coughing and did have the energy to run. Well, I’m back baby! I ran my regular workout of 3 miles and I actually got a personal best for my mile – 9:49! I was pretty surprised and happy about that. The run was kinda rough at first, but by the halfway point I was in the groove. I told myself at the beginning of the run that I might stop after 2 miles, but all of a sudden it was 2 1/2 so I pushed through and it felt great – especially after the little lady in my ipod informed me of my new personal best. Good day. See – it is true what they say at Weight Watchers – it is not about what you do when you fall off the wagon, but it is all about what you do next. So, saddle up your workout, partner, and get going!!!

>A dog with selective hearing??!!

>Tonight I made one of our faves – fish and chips. It is actually tilapia that I marinated in a hawaiian marinade by Lowery’s I think. To make the chips I sliced two Idaho potatoes very thin, lay them on a sprayed cookie sheet and sprinkle them with salt and some “essence”. I bake them in a 350-400 oven for like 20 minutes and then flip them. They get really crunchy and have a kick that we all like. We usually have green beans with this meal, but I decided to switch it up tonight with asparagus – yummy!

Did I mention that this meal is usually our fave in the summertime? – when we can grill it? Cooking fish in the winter has meant using the broiler which for our family has proven to be problematic. Somehow I always seem to set off the smoke alarm when I use the broiler. Now, I have to stop here and assure you that this is NOT because I have burned said meal. At least, not usually. For some reason the smoke detector is extremely sensitive to any type of smoke (go figure) and tonight, as per usual it went off intermittently for like 15 minutes. Here is the humor in the story. We have an older dog who is quite deaf – except when it comes to the dreaded smoke detector. As soon as that thing goes off and before I can even grab the nearest magazine to make it stop, he is panting like it is his job and looking for shelter. Tonight he jumped in Mike’s lap and was trembling. Give me a break. Finally, he headed downstairs to the basement for cover and has not reappeared since (dinner was an hour ago). So, spring can come quickly for the Ramsey homestead so we can bust out the grill again. Or maybe just get the dog (or me) a script for prozac.

>Pretty good for a “non-techy”!

>Wow! This is pretty easy! Welcome to my blog! I’m not a techy at all and I’m kinda impressed that I figured out how to do this myself – thought my husband would have to do it for me – ha, ha! Not sure where to begin – only that I hope this blog is a win-win. I hope it helps me stay on track for the next year and keep this weight off for good and I also hope it can help someone else. Perhaps there is a little “nugget” that I can share that can inspire you or give you a new idea to try or a little extra motivation to begin your own weight loss journey.

This blog will probably be a combination of cooking adventures with new recipes that actually work, are healthy and taste good, and my running experiences…stories about both…but we’ll just see how it goes. I’m to how the spirit moves me. Let’s get moving, shall we!!