Jeans Done

I finally finished a pair of jeans that I think fit mostly well.  They are a tad snugger than I would have liked, but hopefully I’ll continue on my slow weight loss and then they won’t be anymore.

This past summer I took a Craftsy class taught by Angela Wolf called Sewing Designer Jeans.  I chose to use McCalls 6610 as my pattern.  I chose this pattern mainly because of the reviews about it — lots of folks were whining about its being too high waisted.  Tha6610t sold me on it.  It’s still below the belly button, as you can see on the left two models, but as least I feel as though the garment covers most of me.

So last summer during the class, I bought several yard of inexpensive denim (thanks and I made several pairs of Bermuda shorts to work on the fit and the process of sewing a pair of jeans.  The shorts fit with varying amounts of success.

Today, I finished my first successful pair of jeans.  I used a 6.5 oz black Kaufman denim that I found at  At only $7 a yard and needing only 2 1/2 yards for the jeans, they ended up costing less than $20 if my math is correct.

So without further ado…. this is what this pattern looks like when modeled by someone a tad larger than the models on the pattern cover.


At this point, I hadn’t hemmed them yet.


Tomato and Asparagus “Carbonara”


Tomato and Asparagus “Carbonara” was definitely a winner from Cooking Light.

It wasn’t really a carbonara since it really only used one egg to make the sauce so I guess that’s why the carbonara is in quotation marks.  Regardless, it was very tasty!

You saute the asparagus, garlic and tomatoes in a skillet.DSC_0207

In a separate bowl you mix together pecorino romano cheese, a large egg, and salt & pepper.  When the pasta is done cooking you mix it all together and POOF! you have a delicious meal that doesn’t taste diet but it’s only 335 calories per serving (9 Weight Watchers Points Plus).

Bad bad blogger

I’ve been a bad blogger.  I’ve made some pretty fine suppers but I’ve not been taking pictures.

For instance, I made Yakisoba for supper tonight and it was delicious.  I used a recipe that I found on the Just One Cookbook blog (you can find it here).  If you love Japanese food but aren’t sure where to start, Nami Chen, who grew up in Japan, has shared many of her family’s recipes.  I wish I’d taken a picture of our meal.  It looked wonderful and tasted even better.

Lots of little bits of news to share, though:

  • I have an update on my foot.  I’m still in the boot/air cast until May 11th and there are several small fractures, but no Lysfranc fracture so no need for surgery.
  • This past week, Jody and I had dinner with my “brother”, Bubba, when he came into town for a short work visit.  Years ago I met him online and he was pretty shy about sharing his real name, so I just started calling him Bubba.  We met on a (a game site) and before long were we convincing people we were brother and sister.  Somewhere along the line we convinced each other and now over a decade later, I still call him my brother and he calls me Sis.   I still call him Bubba even though I know his real name now.  It’s payback for initially thinking I was an axe murderer.
  • Jody and I will be starting a summer bowling league in June.  It’s been about 20 years since we’ve bowled regularly and, easily, more than a decade since the last time I actually bowled at all.  I’m really looking forward to that.
  • Got the garden planted.  We’ll be trying to grow tomatoes, bell peppers, spinach, potatoes, carrots, green onions and herbs.  DSC_0188
  • I’ve been sewing a bit and I’m looking forward to summer actually arriving and STAYING.

And that’s about all the news that’s fit to print.

Mongolian Meat and Caraway Packets

Mongolian Meat and Caraway Packets from Andrea Nguyen’s book Asian Dumplings:  Mastering Gyoza, Spring Rolls, Samosas and More

This was a really good meal.  It was a bit labor intensive since I made everything from scratch but it was well worth it.

First up was making the dumpling dough.  DSC_0108It was an easy to whip up dough of just flour and water.


Then I used my tortilla press to make 4 inch rounds out of the dough.  Some were more attractive than others.  And some you wouldn’t have wanted to take home to meet your mother.

DSC_0111They say that as you get more practice your dumplings will look better.  I can only hope. They were far from attractive this time around.


But who can resist falling in love with something that is deep fried? It was the first time I’ve ever deep fried in my wok.  The high sides kept things from splattering all over the place.

DSC_0115I’m a lousy food blogger, though.  I completely forgot to take any pictures of the finished dumplings as they were plated.  Luckily, I had this one last one left over.  Imagine if you will, twelve of these golden brown dumplings waiting patiently to be divided into servings.

I served the dumplings with a side of rice and a spicy tomato dipping sauce.

The meal got a thumbs up from both me and the husband.

A Bit of a Setback

Last Saturday night, I proved how much of a clutz I can be.  I was almost down a flight of stairs and I fell down the last three steps.  Ended up bruising my foot pretty badly and it swelled up about the size of a cantaloupe.  The following day, Sunday, Jody insisted I go to the doctor.  He wasn’t buying my “I’m sure it’s just a sprain” spiel.

The doc took xrays, declared it was broken, gave me good drugs, put it in a splint, and referred me to New England Orthopedic Surgeons.  They are specialists in this sort of thing so he referred me there for further care, not necessarily surgery.

I left NEOS with pretty new footwear.


It makes me mobile so that’s good.  I can move around with one crutch instead of having to work really hard just to go from Point A to Point B.  I also have a Cat Scan on Monday to rule out a Lysfranc fracture.  The Lysfranc fracture isn’t likely at all and it would be the only case which would require surgery.

Of course, since last Saturday, I’ve been unable to do any real exercises and for a couple of days I wasn’t even able to hobble around enough to cook so we ate out a lot more than we should have.  I don’t even want to get back on the scale to see what damage I’ve done.

Today, though, I purchased a hula hoop.  It’s not one of the fancy weighted ones because the store was out of them but it’s a “normal” hula hoop.  It was only about $7 so I will be able to figure out if it’s something I can do (my lack of coordination is astounding as may be evident by the above picture of my footwear).  If I am able to do it, I will consider purchasing a weighted hula hoop for fitness.  We had cause for celebration when I was able to twirl it 3 times before it crashed to the ground.

Chag Sameach!

I’m not saying I’m lazy, but….

I’ve been a little more motivated this time to lose weight.  I’ve been a member of SparkPeople for quite a few years now but I’ve never really been all that motivated to make a change.  This time, I’ve been working on it for about a month or so.  I know that if I had to change my eating habits too drastically I’d never stick with it, so I’ve changed enough so that I lose 1-2 lbs a week.  Closer to the 1 lb than the 2.  It’s slow going this way but I’m making healthy changes in a way that I can continue.

Before I go any farther, SparkPeople is a weight loss site that is FREE.  There you can find support groups, diet and exercise help, and the online tools you need to track it all.  Did I mention FREE?   There are extras that they do sell — cookbooks, exercise videos, etc. — but it’s all extra.  You don’t need any of it to feel like a part of the community.

Anyway, since I’ve been logging into SparkPeople every day and diligently entering all the food I eat and my exercise, I decided to take this one step further.  I purchased the Spark Activity Tracker.  It’s a pedometer type device that automatically uploads the information to SparkPeople.

In the past on the days I didn’t actually feel like doing exercise, if I had a good number of steps recorded on my pedometer app on my phone over the course of the day, I would count them as my workout.  That’s really cheating since 30 minutes of walking 2.7 mph is way different when you do it in one chunk or if you do it over the course of 8 hours.  *sheepish grin*

Now with the Spark Activity Tracker (SAT) I’m screwed.  It keeps track of my steps so that they get automatically uploaded to SparkPeople via wifi BUT it also knows that I didn’t do my steps in a work out of 10 minutes or more.  So now I actually have to do a workout to be able to count activity as a workout.  *sigh*  It’ll keep me honest but it undermines my inner sloth.

I received my SAT yesterday.  So today was my first full day with it.  I reached my goal of 6000 steps but I wanted all the lights on the SAT to light up so I knew I had to do at least 10 minutes of the Death Machine or Recumbent Bike.  So I did.  I was rewarded with this:  150322Spark

WOOHOO.  As crazy as it sounds, I’m motivated to work out so I can see all the lights lit.  That can’t be a bad thing.

Cooking Light Diet Continues

I’ve had pretty good luck with the Cooking Light Diet.  For the most part, the recipes are easy to make and actually quite tasty.  Tonight was no exception.  I made Weeknight Lemon Chicken Skillet Supper.  What could be easier than an almost one skillet meal?  I say almost because you do have to boil some red potatoes prior to putting them in the skillet.  Other than that it’s only the one skillet.  Reading the reviews on the website, most of the reviews were about the sauce being thin, which it was, and the sauce being a bit bland.  I can’t really argue with either one of those points but both are very easy to rectify.

One thing I did differently from the very start was that I chose to use broccoli instead of green beans.  As many of you know, I hate green beans with such a passion that I swear they are Satan’s second favorite vegetable — the first being Brussels sprouts.

Here is my mise en place:


While the potatoes boiled, I browned the chicken on the stove top and then moved to the skillet to the oven to continue cooking.  (As you may be able to tell I used chicken breasts instead of the boneless skinless chicken thighs the recipe called for.  As a result, the chicken did over cook a bit and next time I would definitely use the chicken thighs.)


Next up I sautéed the mushrooms and potatoes together to get a nice browning on both.


Finally, it was time to marry everything in the skillet on the stove top.  Lemons, potatoes, mushrooms, chicken, chicken broth, and a slurry of milk and flour simmered for about 10 minutes and then it was time to eat.


If you don’t like a lot of lemon, you may want to cut back on the amount of lemon they tell you to put in the sauce.  We actually like a good tart lemon flavor.  Similarly if you prefer a spicy sauce, I bet this recipe would take well to an addition of red pepper flakes.  I will probably do that next time since we do tend to like our foods spicy.

All in all, it was a very good start.  I do think I would prefer a thicker sauce and I would probably add the red pepper flakes.

I definitely would rate this recipe as Good and with a couple of tweaks I think it could get a rating of Excellent.