Monday, September 19, 2011

My Diet Survived the Cruise!

It's been a while since I posted. We actually got back from our cruise a couple of weeks ago. The weather when we got home was up in the high 80s/low 90s, very unusual for the PNW. Our first real summer weather.

I gained about 6 pounds on the cruise. I started out trying to eat healthy, sticking with salads and no dessert for the first few days. But the salads, to be honest, weren't that great, not anywhere near as good as the ones I make at home or can get at local restaurants. So I ended up feeling rather unsatisfied. I decided to splurge, and on about the third day I discovered the lunchtime dessert bar/buffet. I was on vacation, so I ate me some sweets. On looking back, I'm not convinced they were really worth it. But they did add to the enjoyment of the cruise. I've lost the 6 pounds, and today went for my first walk since I got back.

We ate out one night at the fancy on-board restaurant, and had chocolate souffle for dessert that night. THAT was most definitely worth it!

A week or so after we returned home, I came down with a cold, which was miserable. I had no energy, but also no appetite. So I didn't immediately get back into exercising/walking, but at least I wasn't over-eating. Basically, I was surviving on chicken soup and cough drops.

Anyway, want to see pictures of my cruise? They have very little to do with my diet or the chicken challenge. But the vacation sure did contribute to my mental health.

Me on the verandah of our cabin

A view of our cabin

Sailing into the sunset

The view from our cabin on the first day -- Canada's Inside Passage

The atrium of the ship, the Disney Wonder

Sailing along Tracy Arm Fjord, a waterfall streaming straight down the sheer cliff


The landscape was so primordial.

The color of the water is the result of glacial silt, it looks tropical, but it isn't!

The Sawyer Glacier at the end of the fjord

That horizontal line where the vegetation stops marks where the glacier used to be only a few years ago.

The ship stopped in Skagway, Alaska, and we took an excursion to the Yukon Territory, where prospectors used to search for gold.

We stopped in a town called Carcross, and visited a Husky trainer/breeder, where you could get a ride on a wagon pulled by dogs.

Although it was quite cool for us, for the dogs it was hot work, so she was spraying them off with water and filling their water dishes after every run to cool them down.

I got to feed the puppies treats!

Aren't they adorable?

Our next stop was Juneau, where we hiked about 3/4 mile to see the Mendenhall Glacier.

A waterfall beside the glacier

Some intrepid kayakers

At our next stop, Ketchikan, we took a floatplane to a salmon hatchery, where we got to watch black bears catching and eating salmon.

We got a good view of the ship from the plane.

View from the window of the plane

Can you see the bear in the center of the picture, fishing in the stream?

I had to crank up the zoom on my point-and-shoot camera. As we stood there, several bears came out of the woods on the opposite side of the stream.

A blue heron was hanging around, hoping to get a few morsels of fish.

As we stood there, another bear came out of the woods behind us and passed about 20 feet away, heading for the water.

When he was done, he headed back into the woods.

Well, I hope you enjoyed coming along on my Alaskan adventure. We had a great time, and I didn't let it derail my diet! I am back on track and losing again.

Monday, August 22, 2011

What I've Been Ordering in Restaurants

First of all, I have lost more weight. As of this morning, I am down a total of 12.5 pounds! Yay me!

Second, we like to eat out, I'd say at least twice a week. (Sometimes 3). How can I stay on a diet and still eat out? Well, it helps to eat at restaurants that I know have a good salad. But even at ones I'm not familiar with, there is almost always a salad of some kind on the menu. So that's what I order. A salad with lots of greens, and some kind of protein.

Three that seem to be on a lot of different menus are Oriental Chicken Salad, BBQ Chicken Salad, and some kind of salad with a beef topper, whether it's called Steak Salad, Carne Asada salad or Steak Fajita Salad.

Here are two different versions of an Oriental Chicken Salad, from two different restaurants.

Yep, I ate the grilled flatbread. It's really good. I've been served bread at a couple of other restaurants, and if it's not remarkable, I ignore it.

Here's a BBQ chicken salad. I've had a version of this salad at another restaurant. (Didn't get a picture of that one, though). I also make my own version of this salad too, which I posted a picture of in this post.

And here are two versions of the steak salad.

This one came from a high-end Seattle restaurant called Peso's. Thinly sliced Carne Asada, greens with creamy dressing, and blue cheese. Also artfully sprinkled chives.

And here is one that I got this past weekend from a little Mexican hole in the wall in Olympia called El Nopal. This one had greens, raw green pepper and tomato, and cooked onions. It was all very fresh, and had guacamole and sour cream underneath the steak, and no dressing. It didn't need it, the yummy juices from the steak and onions and the guac and sour cream all combined to make it delicioso!

It smelled like a cheese steak sub, and it was delicious! I was happy with both versions (but the check for the second was a lot smaller!)

I may have time for another post this week, but for the most part, I am preparing to go away on an Alaskan cruise with my husband, a week from today. I'm trying to clean the house and get ready to go, so if you don't hear from me for a few weeks, that's why. We are celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary. It's silly to go on a cruise and not indulge. The food is usually fabulous, so I don't plan to deprive myself.

BUT... I also don't plan to pig out and throw caution to the winds. Moderation.

Friday, August 12, 2011


Vietnamese Banh Mi without the bun, as a lettuce wrap

You can find the recipe here. This made the kitchen smell amaaaaazing! I used prosciutto ham, and basil from my garden.

Grilled Chicken with Creamy Harissa Dressing (Oops! I ate half the chicken before I remembered the camera)

The recipe is here. Next time I will marinate the chicken in the yogurt dressing.

And last but not least, cause this meal was so yummmmmyyy, I made it twice this week!

Chipotle Grilled Flatiron Steak with Salad and Avocado

This was a recipe from the Pioneer Woman website. I've had good results with just about all her recipes. Her food photography is excellent, and her writing always makes me laugh. You could make this with a skirt steak or flank steak, like she recommends too, but flatiron is much, much tenderererer. I did make a couple of changes to this. I didn't dress the salad with the mayo combined with the can of chipotles. I just used bottled Ranch dressing that I doctored with some Chipotle Tabasco. And I left off the red onions (yuck!)

You can find the recipe here.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Pictures From a Three-Mile Walk

This chicken was in one of the raised beds in our community garden, which I pass on my walk.

I've again bumped my distance up this week. Actually, I started off doing 3 miles late last week, and this week went up almost to 4 miles! So the pictures I have to show today are from both walks. It was cloudy one day, and sunny another. Pretty typical PNW weather.

Last Saturday my husband Nigel came with me on my 3-mile walk, and once we were home, he suggested the walk might be even more interesting if next time we walked it in the opposite direction. I suspect that this had something to do with the fact that if we do that, we will end up at the local Dairy Queen at the end of the walk, instead of the beginning. But I thought it was a good idea.

This walk takes me around the small lake (more like a pond) that my town is named after, and then into the center of town (A word of warning: it's very small.) There's a lot to look at, but I hope no one finds it dreadfully tedious.

On my way to the lake I pass this large stand of ferns. They are a native fern, I forget the name. They grow everywhere in wild spaces, and unlike our native sword fern, they grow very tall. Over my head, in fact!

I have a few of these trying to grow in my garden, but I've been trying to eliminate them. They are very aggressive spreaders!

The first few times I passed these flowers at the roadside I thought they were foxgloves. But then I got a closer look the day I brought my camera.

Were they maybe some kind of monkey-flower, I thought.

But then I got a good look at one from the side. Not monkey-flowers.

They were in a couple of different shades of pink and lavender.

I'm thinking they are some kind of wild or naturalized impatiens, like jewelweed/touch-me-not. I used to have a large stand of the native wildflower Impatiens capensis in my back yard in Massachusetts, and that's what the flowers remind me of. So a little research has led me to conclude this is probably Impatiens glandulifera -- very pretty, but a Class B noxious weed in Washington.

Just a little further on, I pass this large open field, with its wonderful vegetable garden.

And in another open field on the other side of the house:

I really had to zoom to get this picture. Often they are right out by the road. An absence of udders leads me to think they are both bulls, but I'm not a farmer, so I could be wrong.

We've reached the road that rings Bonney Lake. It's a one-way, with room for only one car. And lots of up and down.

And curves.

I like that it also has a delineated walking path on the left-hand side for pedestrians and joggers.

It has plenty of mysterious gravel driveways.

This one has a welcoming party.

I detour briefly off the road to check out the lake's public access area.

There was an old fella with a fishing pole who greeted me and then tolerated my creeping around with my camera.

Some ducks were resting on a piece of driftwood.

This one came closer to check me out. Did I have food?

No? Ah well, there's probably something to eat on the bottom of the pond.

A little further along is a playground, with a plaque and a little history lesson.

A house up ahead has a pretty rose right by the road.

And I really like this tree, with its drooping silvery branches.

Around a curve I pass this Stellar Jay, who eyes me curiously.

Then he goes back to trying to crack open this nut.

I'm nearly all the way around the lake now, so I head off down a side street toward the center of town.

I pass a garden with this pretty companion planting -- Crocosmia and Lavender.

A butterfly bush nearly engulfs a set of mailboxes.

I turn a few corners and there at the bottom of the hill is the town center. On a clear day, there is a good view of Mt. Rainier.

This hill is so much easier going down!

At the bottom of the hill is our favorite sandwich shop -- CJ's Deli.

It's nearly lunchtime, and I'm tempted, but a salad is waiting for me at home.

A little further on is the Bonney Lake Community Garden.

A yellow Crocosmia near the entrance.

The garden has row after row of lush, well-tended raised beds full of vegetables.

Around the corner from the community garden is our local library, which I frequent.

Well, it's just about time to head back home. On the way we pass the town's combination fire and police headquarters.

Outside on the firehouse side of the building is an ornamental pond, built to commemorate lost firefighters.

And in front of the building is another plaque with a little history, as well as a look at the town's first town hall.

Our post office is right next door.

Only a few more corners, less than half a mile, and I'm home. Thanks for coming with me. I hope you enjoyed the trip!

It won't be long before I am walking 4 miles regularly, to and from Lake Tapps, the big lake in our town where all the recreation happens -- swimming and boating. If you come along with me on that walk, you will see the town's current town hall.