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Buttercup Squash Soup

Hey guys,

So I’ve not posted here in a while but I have been busy. I was, sadly, laid off from my job a month ago, but have been using my time wisely. I’ve been heading to the gym a few days every week, working out at home, making lots of healthier meals, and possibly getting a contract that may allow me to start my own business.

I’ve done enough work with the gym and such that I’ve been able to lose 1 inch off my waist and 3/4 of an inch off my bust… it’s not much but it’s a step in the right direction.

I’ve been watching The Last 10 Pounds Bootcamp episodes too for inspiration and exercize ideas. This show is super inspirational to me and I really get the urge to exercize after watching it.

Today I was in the grocery store and I was trying to think of something to make for quick grab lunches, since I’m usually cleaning the house or gardening around lunchtime and don’t really want to stop and make anything big. I’m also very picky, I don’t really like sandwiches, and I need to be in the right mood for a salad.

Then I saw the Buttercup squash. I’ve had Butternut squash before, but not Buttercup, so I figured I’d pick it up and make a soup out of it. I found a simple recipe online and went from there. I added in some extra spices, and some red lentils, and goodness this is SO good!

It’s not vegan because of the cream cheese, but all things considered, I don’t think you’d necessarily need it. Next time I may just leave it out. I don’t have a picture yet, but I’ll add one tomorrow when I have my lunch.

Buttercup Squash Soup

-6 T onions chopped
-2 cloves garlic diced
-2 T olive oil
-6 Cups Buttercup Squash peeled and chopped
-1 1/2 Cups red lentils rinsed and sorted
-4 Cups vegetable broth
-1 tsp marjoram
-1/4 tsp seasoning salt
-1 tsp pepper
-1 T curry powder
-4 oz cream cheese

Saute onions and garlic with oil until softened. Add squash, lentils, broth and spices. Bring to boil and continue to cook 25 minutes, or until squash has softened, stirring occasionally. Place in blender, in batches, and puree with cream cheese until smooth. Place back in pot and heat through, do NOT boil.

Serves 10

I was able to figure out the nutritional info:

I need to figure out how to properly peel and cut up a squash because it took me about an hour just to do that… which could also be because I have pretty bad knives. The next time I make this I’ll probably leave out the cream cheese as stated before, and also use only 2 cups of broth and 2 cups of water to cut down on the sodium.

I ate a serving of this with a Tablespoon of sunflower seeds mixed in and it was heavenly.

I may have a new vice…

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Living with Allergies

“Oh it can’t be that bad.”

“It’s all in your head.”

“You won’t even notice it’s there.”

“You just don’t like it.”

All things that have been said to me by family, friends, and even restaurants when I’ve expressed that I have an allergy to Pork and Grapes.

I have very odd allergies, and to make matters worse, my husband is allergic to Mustard, and my roomie is allergic to Shellfish. This makes not only eating out difficult, but grocery shopping a chore.

We constantly have to check ingredients. We used to use Miracle Whip because it was the only Mayo we could get that was safe, with no mustard, but they recently changed their recipe, so now all we can get is Helmans, which we don’t like as much in some of our recipes.

While the Shellfish and Mustard allergies are pretty bad, they are pretty easily avoidable (as much as I love shrimp, I’m perfectly fine keeping it out of my house to ensure that Roomie lives to the next day). The big issue is my Grape allergy. Grapes are hidden in all sorts of foods, even in things you wouldn’t think Grapes would be.

Like Country Harvest Omega 3 bread. I love Country Harvest, it’s the kind my Grandma always got and it’s the kind I always ate, but now I have to check the ingredients on EVERY package because some of them use Raisin paste as a sweetener.

It’s amazing how many things have Grape in it or are made from Grapes. Here’s a small list:

Balsamic Vinagrette
Raspberry Vinagrette
A1 Sauce
Pretty much any juice blend
Raisins
Country harvest bread
Cream sauces for pasta
Wine/Champagne
Grapeseed Oil
Razors/lotions that use Grapeseed Oil

Yes, I even have to look at the ingredients on my RAZORS! I grabbed one package of high end razors a number of years ago (I actually can’t remember the brand) and used them once… I had a rash that looked like I was getting Measles due to the fact that their moisturizing strip used Grapeseed Oil.

When my allergy started when I was a child, it was minor. I ate a pack of raisins, or grapes and I would cry that they were hot or spicy in my mouth. Then I started getting hives from them. Then two weeks ago, I was at an Aloette party, and I tried a bit of lotion on my arm. Within 5 seconds of putting it on, my arm was red, swollen, and itchy. I washed it off immediately, but it was too late. about 5-10 minutes later, my chest and throat were getting tight. I took a Benadryl and rushed to the hospital. Luckily the Benadryl worked, but it was still very scary.

I rate restaurants on how well their service is in regards to my allergies. There have been a couple where they’ve shrugged off the issue, and I’ve noticed Pork in my dinner, or could smell the Wine in the sauce. Then there have been restaurants that were so wonderful that the waitstaff alerted the manager to my questions, he came out and went over the entire menu with me, then personally supervised my meal being made to ensure that I could enjoy it without fear.

There was a time in highschool that I thought people’s reactions to peanut butter was being taken too seriously (I mean, not being able to eat peanut butter for 3 days before a child goes to preschool seemed a little over the top), but as someone who has very severe reactions to foods, I can understand a little bit more now.

These allergies have necessitated me making my own food at home a lot, just to ensure that everyone in the house can eat safely. We don’t buy premade frozen Shepherd’s Pie or Lasagna, because there’s too much chance that Mustard could be used to spice something. We are very careful to check all ingredients now, even if it means our grocery shopping trips take twice as long, and this helps a bit with eating healthier, and meal planning.

When you take an hour and a half shopping just to make sure your food is safe to eat, you tend to plan meals so that you don’t go shopping as often.

Unfortunately for us, there isn’t much that can be done to “cure” allergies, it’s something we just have to live with. At least in this day and age it’s more acknowledged, and restaurants are more able to accomodate these requests.

I just ask, as a person who has lived with allergies for the bulk of her life, please, don’t ever try to tell a person that they just don’t like a food or it’s all in their head, and please, for the love of EVERYTHING, don’t hide what they’re allergic to in whatever you’re cooking for them, just to prove the allergy isn’t there. That’s a perfect way to having your friend/relative in the hospital, and VERY upset at you.

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More Pressure Needed

This weekend was my first anniversary. It got me thinking a lot. Last year at this time I was sitting in Hawaii, relieved because I didn’t need to worry about my weight any more. My dress fit (mostly) and I could stop restricting my diet in hopes of dropping those last few pounds.

To put it bluntly, I was an unhealthy dieter, as so many women are.

I decided that my best way to lose weight was to just eat subway subs, following the subway diet, I mean, it worked wonders for others, it would work for me. I watched Biggest Loser, I read diet books… but I didn’t use my head.

All things considered, I am not fat, I’m 160 lbs and 5’6″, I’m bigger than what “beautiful” is right now, but I’m comfortable in my skin, I’m proud of who I am, and I’m sick of feeling like I need to adhere to society’s ideal. Every woman is different and I’m trying to keep that in mind as I go through my day.

That being said, I have some issues that need to be dealt with.

My husband and I went away for the weekend. We pointed our car North and kept driving until we got to where we thought was good (it eneded up being 10 hours of driving each way). I have to say, the side view mirrors in cars are VERY unflattering. In any other mirror I don’t mind my face, but in those mirrors I have the double chin to end all double chins!

I took some stock of my life, where I am now compared to where I was a year ago. I haven’t gone up in weight, however I still have way too high of a body fat percentage.

I’m supposed to be at 20%, I’m sitting at around 35%, which is down from the 37.5% that I was at in November, which means I’m making some good steps forward, but I have to keep going.

Taking stock of my life I realize that I eat WAY too much fried foods, rich foods, snacky foods. I need to make better choices, and in order to do that I need to educate myself. I need to learn about good foods that I can snack on that don’t involve gallons of vegetable oil and pounds of salt.

I need to add more green, and maybe some orange and yellow to my diet. I was doing good at this last summer, but over the winter it dropped off. Now that the nice weather is back, I can start walking down to the grocery store and stocking my desk up with fruits and healthy snacks.

I’m also trying to work on my exercize. I used to think that in order to make my body look more the way I want to I needed to strength train. I’ve been educating myself here too, and I’ve realized that for the most part I’m pretty strong already (need to work on my upper body but it’ll come). What I really need to do is cardio, I need to work off this layer of fat that I’ve got and help it slim up.

I don’t want to become skinny though, I’m happy with the shape of my body, however I’m concerned with my health. My family history has a frighteningly long list of health issues, and a lot of them stem from weight. The majority of my family, including both parents, have weight issues, and I’m trying to break the mold with this.

I’m trying to go jogging, or for walks at least, on my lunch. I’m making a point of heading to the gym on Saturday mornings at least, with the reward of going knitting afterwards. I figure I’ll work on my cardio as I have time throughout the week, and I’ll work on my strength training, with some cardio, on Saturdays.

I’ve also started up my SparkPeople account again. I’m tracking my food and I’m going to be reading a bunch of the articles on there to learn about healthier options for foods. I know about dried fruits and things like that, but I want to delve deeper and start making a good life change.

For starters, I need to eat more than just Cheerios and Milk for breakfast, add some cheese… a banana and apple, it might be a good breakfast… I just need to balance out my meals.

Oh… and I definitely need to skip the snack machine.

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