Month: October 2015

Den Rescue Needed!

Den Rescue Needed!

My dark den really needs your help. I’ve been looking at it for ten years, and almost nothing has changed.

  We moved into our present home ten years ago. I love it. Our previous house was so small, but this one has room for guests to have their room, for us to have small group meetings for our church, and to have larger gatherings spread out through the den, kitchen, dining room, and living room. The walls are white with a lavender undertone throughout the house. We put wood or tile laminate in the kitchen, den, hallways and bathrooms. The living room, dining room, and the three bedrooms all have light beige carpet.

The den is the usual gathering place for my husband and me, and our nearby family and friends.  We definitely want everything to be comfortable. But we would like it to be more attractive. However, hubby says no new seating, no really fancy pillows because we have two young granddaughters who often have messy hands, and he wants to wait until next May to get nice drapes. I bought a gorgeous peacock pillow from, but it sat one day in the den before he moved it to the living room so it wouldn’t get dirty!

The fireplace is a true architectural feature. It has a nice rounded hearth, a lovely mantle of light colored oak, then runs all the way to the ceiling.  We have a drawing of the scriptures that tell of the crucifiction of Jesus and the words form a picture of Jesus on the cross. This was done by our son Kevin, and it’s not going anywhere.  Right now I have a set of Chinese vases and urns given to me by my sister Sue on the mantel. I will probably have a big ceramic nativity scene there for Christmas.

So my situation is this: I can’t change much in my husband’s favorite room, but I really want something to class up the joint. I hope you laughed, because I did. I promised not to spent more than $40. I really would like your input.  (And I am a novice blogger, and inserting photos still has me flummoxed.) Please feel free to be creative, but be gentle in your criticism.

Silk flowers? Silk ficus trees?  Cat tails or peacock feathers?  More or graphic pillows? A new husband?

Dark blue-gray upholstery; mixed wood stains on floor and furniture; reddish mixed-brick fireplace from hearth to 14' ceiling.
Dark blue-gray upholstery; mixed wood stains on floor and furniture; reddish mixed-brick fireplace from hearth to 14′ ceiling.
We are thrilled with our fireplace, from hearth to ceiling.
We are thrilled with our fireplace, from hearth to ceiling.

Lose Ten Pounds in Three Weeks–That’s What He Said

Veggie soup, no potatoes, avocado scooped from shell, pit removed; Cherub tomatoes and cantaloupe.
Veggie soup, no potatoes, avocado scooped from shell, pit removed; Cherub tomatoes and cantaloupe.

I’m having a Heart Cath in a few weeks. My cardiologist said that losing even ten pounds in the next few weeks can make a difference in any potential blockages. I lost 75 pounds a few years ago, but I have gained thirty of it back due to some of my meds, basic inability to walk except very short distances, and my love of croissants. I’ve been eating healthily most meals, but losing TEN POUNDS in three weeks is a pretty big challenge.  I thought you might like to see a few of my meals.

My restrictions and requirements are simple: 1. Eat all the vegetables I can, but corn and potatoes are not vegetables.  2. Eat all the fresh fruits I can, without whipped topping.  3. Eat mostly chicken, but no more than 4-6 ounces a day, or substitute very lean proteins like eggs or 2 oz. of beef.  4. Eat very little bread, pasta, or other white flour-based carbs. Very little means 1-2 slices of bread OR an ounce of pasta, OR one medium bagel with no spreads, per DAY.  5. Drink lots of water and citrus juices (because of my kidney condition.)

So what have I been eating? Am I starving? Did I deaden my taste buds so I don’t know that I’m eating sawdust and spit? NO! I love vegetables in almost any form. I like color and variety on my plate. As much as I love a great steak and other meats, I have cut down greatly on all meats, including chicken, and any gravy, dressing or stuffing, or potatoes and corn I would usually be eating. I was raised on cornbread and biscuits, if I use these as my bread, I eat the top off of one bisquit, or one small cornbread muffin. My only problem with fresh fruit is keeping it in the house, since my husband does almost all the grocery shopping, and buying bananas is his usually his complete fruit list.

Brunchy Lunch.  One of my favorite meals this week has been what I called a Brunchy Lunch.  I had two sunny-side–up eggs, steamed broccoli, tasty seasoned tiny string beans, rough chopped cantaloupe slice, and a few raspberries.  The broccoli and string beans were leftover from a meal at Red Lobster. I have to limit all green vegetables (kidneys again), and the rest of the leftover greens were in another meal. I put Mrs. Dash Original on the eggs–no salt, and I fried them in a squirt of Pam. I rough chopped the cantaloupe slice because I was angry that I chose not to have meat. Raspberries are a rare treat, because I really prefer blueberries or blackberries, but the raspberries were on a great sale.

Fruity Tuitty Lunch.  I was helping clean out the fridge and fixing my lunch plate at the same time one day, and this is the delightfully delicious lunch that emerged.  I sliced a banana, and cut up a slice of cantaloupe.  Adding a few raspberries set off the color wheel.  The last avocado added green. Avocado is often used as a savory vegetable, but it has a pit and grows on a tree! I had a few Cherub “salad tomatoes”, as they are labelled now, but it’s convenient to be able to call them a fruit when I want to. Two ounces of pecans added crunch. One half of a medium raisin bagel, toasted, added a half serving of bread and a minuscule serving of fruit. I’ll count them where I can find them. I had never mixed tomatoes and avocado with other fruitsbefore, so I was a little leery of how the favors would mix. So I lightly drizzled a half teaspoon of guava light over everything to help blend the tastes. Guava light is a guava syrup that has not been boiled down and concentrated, so it is lower in calories than some sweeteners, but not by much. Fruit plate experiment results: KNOCKOUT GOOD.

Dolly Parton–Mine Are Better than Yours.  My veggies in my diet soup, that is.  I’m old enough to remember the Dolly Parton Diet.  Today, I’ve seen the same recipe called Hollywood Soup.  It contains a ton of cabbage and other good veggies, and fills you up so no other food is wanted for a while, but it causes a lot of, ahem, gas. In the last crockpot full I made just for this time, I didn’t put in cabbage or potatoes.  This batch, actually, has no fresh veggies in it at all.  I pulled out a bunch of cans, added the veggies to the crock pot, added one can of fat-free, salt-free beef broth, and turned the crock pot on.  By supper time, I had aromatic delicious diet soup.  I have a serving almost every day. The veggies used: one can each of crushed tomatoes with garlic and basil; okra and tomatoes; cream corn; sliced yellow squash; green beans; green beans and tomatoes and basil; and all their juices. You could add more or different vegetables, and more broth or water. I filled eight pint jars with soup and put them in the fridge since I know I’ll eat it all before surgery.

Maybe these dishes will inspire you to cook something better, or to lose a little weight, or to go get a tray of croissants and four kinds of cream cheese.  I hope this post gets you to cheer my progress or say a prayer for me.  I look forward to reading your replies.