Essentials to a Good Pantry

Everyone has certain items they keep in their pantry/refrigerator to prepare meals for their families.  I am no exception.

These are the items you consider necessary to prepare any and all meals, to make those meals special.

Here’s my list:

Fresh Vegetables:

1. Potatoes – a versatile vegetable used in many recipes and as a side dish. Can be prepared numerous ways.

2.  Carrots – another versatile vegetable

3.  Celery – again, versatile in its uses

4.  Onion – used in almost everything I prepare

5.  Parsley (fresh) – 1/4 cup  curly leafed parsley (leaves only)  can make a dish pop with flavor

Canned items:

1.  Diced tomatoes – great in stews, soups, chili, marinara sauce

2.  Tomato paste/sauce – a must have for Italian and Mexican dishes

3.  Salsa – not just for Mexican dishes

4.  Creamed soups – cream of celery, chicken, mushroom, etc., make delectable gravies

5.  and of course, all canned veggies

Packaged items:

1. Rice

2. Quinoa

3.  beans/peas

4. pastas

Spices (used most frequently:

1.  Garlic powder

2. Chili powder

3. Cayenne powder

4. Onion powder

5. Paprika

6. Salt and Pepper

7. Hamburger seasoning (recipe can be found on

8.  Bay leaves

These are just some of the items I make sure I have stocked well in order to create enticing dishes for my family.

What are some of your must have pantry items?








We have all heard the word, but what does it actually mean?

Here are a few definitions:

1. Punishment…something we are all familiar with. Either, we experienced it first hand as children or we used it on our own children. In this instance, discipline can take many forms from timeout to a whack on the butt for bad behaviour. I know with mine, as small children a well placed whack on the butt usually served to correct the problem. When they became teens, I had to come up with ingenious ways to correct the problem. For example, when they were young teens we went to a department store looking for a wedding gift. We were in the china department and they decided it would be fun to punch each other in the arm. All I could think of was that they were going to break something expensive that I would have to pay for. So I leaned over and whispered that if they didn’t stop, I would pick my nose in front of God and everyone else and wipe it on their shirts. The look of utter horror on their faces was absolutely priceless. It worked!

2. A system of rules governing conduct or activity. We’ve all seen this in the form of signs in and around our community. For example, speed limit signs, or no shirt, no shoes, no service in restaurants, age restrictions in bars or clubs or movie theaters, no solicitors, no food or drink allowed in store, etc.

3. Self control. This one is the HARDEST one to enforce. There will be no one to tell you that you haven’t done what you were supposed to do or not do. Only you can do that. And this is the one we need the most when we are striving to become a more healthy individual.

We need self control when faced with a vast array of food choices that could undermine our healthy lifestyle. And we need self control to maintain our exercise program or even push it beyond our comfort zone.

Self control comes from practice and time. We must practice, daily, our good, healthy food choices. And we must force ourselves to embark on our daily exercise program to achieve our goals. With time the discipline becomes easier because it has become a habit. And everyone knows habits are hard to break.

Keep practicing your self control and you will see a new you.

See you on the good side of healthy.


So My Son Says…..

…”Mom, you should start a jogging program. You could do the Couch to 5K.”

I look at him and think, “There, there, child. You’re just having a senior moment.”

Hell, I’m 62 y/o. MOVEMENT is my goal! I don’t want to be pushed around in a wheelchair. I don’t want to fear stairs and have to do that one foot shuffle thing just to get up or down them. I don’t want younger folks to think, “OMG, there’s an old person, shuffling along this walkway. Quick, let’s get around her.” I don’t want to be that old lady at the beach wearing a bikini and have people nearly break their necks doing a double take. I don’t want to be a contestant on The Biggest Loser.

This is what I want.

I want to be able to control my high cholesterol with diet alone and get off the medication.
I want to be able to walk up or down stairs without fear of tripping and falling.
I want to be able to walk around a museum or zoo or garden without becoming winded and having to rest every few feet.
I want to be healthy and stay out of a hospital.
I want strong bones.
I want a healthy heart.
I want muscles strong enough to pick up a few bags of groceries or a heavy skillet without fear of dropping it on my foot.
I want to be able to walk without shuffling my feet like so many folks do in a nursing home.
I want to be able to sit in a chair at a restaurant without my a$$ hanging over the sides.
I want my internal organs to function as normally as possible.
I want to be able to take a trip and not have to sleep for 2 days just to recouperate.
I want to enjoy my retirement.
I want to be the healthy person younger folks look up to.

These are just a few of the things I want. Healthy is my goal, not running some 5k thing. And I am working on my goal.

I am walking my dog about 2 miles a day. I am drinking more water. I am counting calories and monitoring the kinds of foods I eat. Yes, I do splurge on occasion but that’s ok.

So I will continue with my goals to become that healthy person. The rest will all fall into place in time.

See you on the good side of healthy.

Squash 017 A

Some Days You Just Don’t Want to…..

…exercise! And that’s OK!

I had one of those days yesterday. Of course, the rain did a lot to reinforce that idea. I just didn’t feel like going for a walk or doing much of anything else other than knitting.

However, I can’t and won’t make that a habit. It’s OK to take a break from exercise. Some days you just need to do something else or nothing at all. I spent most of the day working on a new sock pattern (my design, BTW). I did stop long enough to help hubby rearrange all the DVDs and do the dishes (no dishwasher, except me). So I did get some movement in, not cardio movement, but at least movement. I did monitor my food and water intake and didn’t exceed my limit. So that was good.

Today, however, I did take my dog on her 2 mile walk. Got my cardio in early. Later this coming week we plan to visit the Parade of Homes in our area. So I will have some extra walking in.

Sometimes you just have to change your routine to keep from being bored out of your mind.

See you on the good side of healthy.


No Food is Taboo!

I can’t count the number of special “diets” I have been on trying to lose weight. I think I have tried them all at one time or another in an attempt to lose weight. And all of them have restricted or totally eliminated certain foods.

Yes, you should monitor the types of foods you eat. Yes, you should monitor the number of calories you eat. And, yes, you should exercise daily. This is not difficult. There are many websites out there in internet land that can help you. I use “MyFitnessPal”. It’s easy for me to plug in the foods I eat and the exercise I do on a daily basis.

Some folks do well and lose weight just counting calories. Some folks do not, me among those. You have to use what works for you.

I prefer a low carb, high protein diet. BUT, I have high cholesterol and am on medication to keep it under control. So how do I do that?

First of all, I am a label reader. Before I buy any kind of processed food, I check the label. Then I ask myself, “Is there another food that is better?” For example: White bread, high in carbs, low in protein. So I substitute with an all grain, high fiber bread which is healthier for me. But that doesn’t mean I can eat bread all day long. It’s still high in carbs. So should I eliminate it altogether? No. It has its place in the scheme of things.

Second, I monitor the types of protein and carbs I eat. We all know that meat is loaded with protein, but is all protein the same? No. Chicken and fish are high in protein, but lower in calories (and cholesterol) than pork and beef. I love eggs, but hate the egg substitute. So I don’t eat eggs everyday. I limit them, but I don’t exclude them from my diet.

Same goes for the carbs. I stick with the lower carb veggies (green veggies) and lower carb fruits. Does that mean I can’t have the higher carb veggies and fruits? No. I can have them, but only in moderation.

The key to any diet then, is to monitor what and how much you eat. Some foods are “free” foods (you can eat as much as you want). Some can only be eaten in moderation. BUT NO FOOD IS TABOO!

Just monitor what you eat. Keep track of it. And don’t forget to exercise!

See you on the good side of healthy.
Squash 017 A

I Need to Get in Shape!

Definitely! Why? To wear the latest bikini to the beach? HELL NO! I’m too damn old to be running around in a bikini, not even a one piece swimsuit.

I’m retired and mostly sedentary. I want to get in shape so that I can take a walk around a beautiful garden without being short of breath. I want to walk around a museum without being exhausted and having to sleep the next two days just to recover. I want to visit zoos without having to sit down every 10 feet before continuing on. I want strong bones and pain free joints.

In essence I want to enjoy my retirement without having to carry an oxygen tank or be pushed around in a wheelchair. And when I reach the ripe old age of 80, I still want to be able to do these things.

So how do I accomplish this? I guess I’m lucky. My youngest, a health and fitness nut, suggested I visit the website, myfitnesspal. I can track my calories, carbs, fats, sugars, proteins and exercise. It’s a free website and it really helps. They have a database of over 2 million foods.

The hard part was plugging in my weight. That meant I had to get on the scale. It was definitely an eye opener. I was not happy. But I was determined to do something about it.

Next was figuring out how much I wanted to lose per week. I decided slow and easy was the way to go, so only 1 pound a week.

Then deciding on an exercise program came next. I checked what was listed. Hmmm…walking….walking the dog. How hard can it be? After walking the dog (small 20 pound dog) for 20 minutes, I collapsed in my chair. Another eye opener! I was/am definitely out of shape!

Then the foods….I had to plug in each and every food I ate/eat or maybe even take a gander at. I was shocked at how many calories I consumed in a 24 hour period. Definitely another eye opener. It makes me pay attention to what I am putting in my mouth. Oh, and let’s not forget the water. I can even track my water intake.

Have I lost any weight yet? No, but I’ve only been doing this for a week. Hopefully this time next year I will be a different person, inside and out.

fruit n veggies

UPDATE: I’ve lost 4 pounds in 1 week. I didn’t expect that, just maybe a pound or 2. I guess cutting back on the calories (from 1600 – 2000 per day down to 1300) and walking the dog is making a difference. I sure hope I can get down to a size 8 again. That would be nice! A whole lot less weight to move around.

Demanding Cats and Their Servants

Here I was, sound asleep and snugly warm in bed, dreaming pleasant dreams. In the distance I hear “Meow, meow, meow”. It was so insistent, but I ignored it. It got louder and louder, so I covered my head. Still no relief from the constant “Meow, meow, meow”.

Finally, I opened one eye only to see one of my cats on the nightstand not 12 inches from my face.

“What do you want?” says I. More “meowing” answered my question. So I get up and follow him to the kitchen where he runs to the food bowl. It was empty and evidently he was hungry. So I filled it and he began eating and purring.

Wish I had his kind of servants.