Ligo-Haibun Challenge: Mud-luscious & puddle-wonderful


The PROMPT:- The world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful  – E.E. Cummings

I’m not sure when it happened. Somewhere, somehow, I forgot I had the gift. Early on, I was certain I was a gourmet chef when my father allowed me to graduate from heating hot tamales in a can for dinner to making scrambled eggs for the first time. At 7, these became my specialty, oozing with cheese.

So gone were the days of lesser dishes now, such as the reheating of frozen sausage and biscuits for breakfast, or the stirring of my father’s favorite delicacy – crunched saltine crackers in ice-cold milk, a side of salty sardines with the lid already peeled back.

One day, in a lightening’s flash, it all came back to me though. I walked outside, beckoned by bass drummers playing my song. My skin felt tingly to the invitation to join in, to dance and sing, to play to this tune. Within minutes, my feet stomped and splashed and squished to the rhythm, laughter erupting as my best friend joined me there.

In that moment, my memory was fully restored. My hands dug into soft dough, confidently mixing selected ingredients around. Within mere seconds, my masterpiece was completed for the offering.

taste buds never lie /
I present you my earth pie /
chocolate, I’d say

***

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For Trifextra: Three Guesses on this Trio (& the 1st two don’t count!)

Once dashing and handsome and debonair –

Smashing and fearless,

Shocking locks of waving hair.

I would think this trio lives eternally in despair,

Great legends reduced to no greater than a candy bar.

***

 

Had fun with this one (as usual) – allowing the ending to be nonsensical as the message! Have a sweet day! -j

This weekend we’re asking for 33 of your own words about a famous trio. The trio could be from literature, from history or from pop culture. Just make it yours and have fun with it. Good luck!

This week’s challenge is community judged.

  • For the 14 hours following the close of the challenge, voting will be enabled on links.
  • In order to vote, return to this post where stars will appear next to each link. To vote, simply click the star that corresponds with your favorite post.
  • You can vote for your top three favorite posts.
  • Voting is open to everyone.
  • You have 14 hours to vote. It’s not much time, so be diligent! We’ll send out reminders on Twitter and Facebook.
  • The winners will be announced in the comments of Friday’s post and will be posted in our typical fashion in the post on the following Monday.

– See more at: http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/#sthash.wXI5SmNU.dpuf

Taking the Edge Off of Plateauing Pounds

Our 5-woman campus fitness & weight loss team, the Rampaging Regionals, has finished our third week of logging our progress, registering in with:

1,950 minutes (32.63 hrs) this week   /or/   99.48 hours for the past 3 weeks

AND

5.4 pounds weight loss this week    /or/    43 pounds lost for the past 3 weeks

We’re on the cutting edge of magnificence towards staying on track with our goals. But…

If you compare this week with the two prior ones, you might note that Week 3 doesn’t appear to be nearly as rewarding in weight loss, at least based upon the weight loss numbers. Some of us are dealing with stepping onto the scales of a plateau. Some us may even be feeling more like we’re stepping beyond that – onto a bleeding edge – covered in blood, sweat & tears from our efforts, while not cutting our anticipated weight. Somewhere along the way…

Plateaus generally come with rough edges.

You see, our bodies have been going through an adjustment period, with reduced caloric intake and increased or modified exercise. Our glycogen stores have now been released; our water weight retention has been diminished. Those things had to happen – and, boy, did they look good on the scales while they were taking place! Except now that we can’t count on a continuation of that same progressive rate, we’ve got to either be satisfied with slighter reductions in weight loss (or the dreaded plateauing), or we have to begin reworking our strategies (such as adding 15-30 minutes of exercise daily, even if we’ve maxed the “credit” we get as a team; or changing up our exercise routine to surprise our bodies).

Continuing forward can feel like a double-edged sword.

As we work through our 4th week at this point, our support systems may start getting a little shaky. Family members and friends are tired of us giving so much thought to food preparation (or maybe they’re tired of feeling guilty because they won’t play along). There aren’t as many big (numerical) victories to celebrate at our lunchroom table. Punching meals into my phone to calculate calories every day seems more like a monotonous hassle than it did the 3 weeks before. Yet…

Our team has to be determined to Stay on Track rather than Getting on Edge.

That’s a normal response. It’s what happens after a few weeks of reduced caloric intake, especially when it appears there’s not as much progress. Edginess creeps in, whispering in your ear where you can get a quick pick-me-up snack, throwing tummy tantrums as you try not to succumb to prior bad eating habits, screaming at your brain to either allow you to gnaw off a couple of your fingers or to bite someone else’s head off.

Stay calm. Step away from the edge.

Determine NOT to Edge out of Your Diet

The time you’ve determined to get back to fighting weight isn’t the time to throw in the towel from  the edge of your ring. Let me tell you a pet peeve that I don’t want to negatively impact you (or me!) – – I get a little irritated when looking for healthy diet ideas online, only to come across articles that advise me (and you) to “Stop Dieting!” That’s ridiculous advice! Why? Because the truth is – we’re ALL on some sort of diet. It’s just that some of our diets consist of some not-so-healthy food choices. People who read that tripe are tempted to throw their healthy dietary plan over the edge because some well-meaning “ex-pert” wanted to make what was perceived as a clever point using hyperbole. (That person obviously wasn’t standing on a plateau thinking of jumping over the edge!) If you’ve been working on a healthy diet plan, “ex” out that lame advice. Stick to your plan. Or check to see what revised tweaks may need to be made.

Are you skimping too much on calories to the point where you’re placing yourself in starvation mode? Then adjust with some healthy additional calories.

Are you eating larger meals, when spreading smaller snack-size portions throughout the day would better answer your body’s needs?

Have you had a health check-up with lab work lately to assure that your body is functioning at its maximum health capacity and metabolic rate?

Just remember – regardless of whether you toss out your current eating plan, you’re going to be left on a diet of some kind. Try to make those healthy diet calories maximally count towards enhanced edge-of-your-seat performance towards your well-being!

Supplement Your Edgy Cravings

Dieting is not meant to push you over the edge. First, take a look at your intake & assure it’s adequate. It’s not just about calories. It’s more about the types of food that you are placing into your body for nutritional use. Don’t allow yourself empty, sugary, junk food calories (even if you can stay within your daily caloric intake goal). Replace them with nature’s alternatives – lots of filling fruits & veggies. And be sure to get a protein with every meal, so you can continue to maintain muscle mass, rather than allowing nutrients to be stolen from your muscles. (Flabby may weigh less, but it doesn’t look nearly as attractive.)

Too many empty calories means you’ll be edging up a long, steep road without any fuel to back you – so you’ll soon be running out of gas (before your day’s journey ends)! Need an additional fuel boost?

Add Supplements to your diet – especially natural multi-vitamins & minerals. Take these with each of your meals to get an extra nutritional boost for body sustenance. This should help smooth those frayed edges.

Give Yourself a Financially Inexpensive but Emotionally Fulfilling Reward

Take the edge off by recycling your closet!  During those times when you’d like to be snacking, go to your closet & begin to prune the edges. (You heard what I did there, right?!)  Cull out your closet of all the clothes that no longer fit well because of the weight you’ve lost. If you haven’t worn them in awhile anyway, consider them outdated (for you) & send them to the Goodwill or some other charity for someone else to enjoy. Then celebrate with the fun part! Bring back to “front & center” the clothes that you haven’t been able to fit into for awhile. Find new ways to mix & match them with updated clothing items & accessories you’ve acquired since you last wore them. It’ll be like getting a new (or at least refreshed) wardrobe! (And trying on and sorting these clothes will keep your hands & mind busy – possibly for a couple of hours – as an added bonus, so you don’t feel like you have time to go get a snack.)

Make an Inexpensive Caloric Purchase when you’re feeling like a Spendthrift

Get off that slippery slope and go for an icy edge instead. (Please tell me you caught that one too.) Make yourself a low-calorie, but fulfilling, sweet treat.

skinny shakeI call this my Holy Skinny Cow! Shake (because there’s really no cow’s milk in it). It’s a much skinnier adaptation of a Wendy’s Frosty-type recipe that has been going around on Pinterest.

In a blender, combine:

1 cup unsweetened Almond Milk (I like to use the almond/coconut milk blend)
1/2 Tbs unsweetened Cocoa powder
1 tsp (or a little more) vanilla extract
2 tsp Stevia-in-the-raw
8-15 ice cubes, depending on how much you want to thin the chocolate)

See how you can gain some ground by taking the edge off?!

Calories = 50 or less!

(You could add some yogurt, a banana or protein to thicken & smoothen this, but you’ll also be adding calories, of course. How far you live on the edge is totally your call! No matter – it doesn’t really taste like a Wendy’s Frosty, but it can satisfy the sweet-tooth, chocolate craving, if that beast has been on your back.)

Smooth out those Spiritual Rough Edges

Fly off your Edge – not off the Deep End! Center yourself on spiritual issues, rather than physical demands. Take time for filling yourself with nourishment that comes from other places than food – e.g., meditation, devotion & prayer. You can learn to step out in faith & soar with the eagles, leaving your physical cravings behind. For me, this means spending interactive, meaningful time in God’s Word; talking earnestly with God in prayer; asking God to help me focus on kingdom issues, rather than the things I desire in this world (and don’t need, such as that Reese’s candy bar my son left as a temptation in my cupboard).

Remember, all plateaus have edges –

I’m hoping I can help make all of ours smoother.

At some point, we’ll be jumping off the edge of our scales (in celebration!) when these eventually break (the, um, plateaus – not the scales).  😉

Hoping I haven’t lost my edge,

-jody

Weekly Photo Challenge: From Lions – I mean, Lines – to Patterns

Today’s pic is in response to the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: From Lines to Patterns.

In response, I couldn’t help but post a photo I snapped with my iPhone this weekend, where my son went to a school dance in which he and his friends were very well-patterned.

The theme for the dance was “Two by Two,” so you see the teen animals here, lined up & ready to board that ark! 🙂
My son is far left (sans giraffe mask) with his date and their friends. I want to brag on his lovely date’s talent with lines & patterns, as she actually hand-painted their giraffe shirts just for the occasion. Great work on her patterning skills, huh?

lines&patterns

To learn more about the patterns of real giraffes, check out de Wets Wild.

And it’s apparently Giraffe Day among my blogging friends! Look at what Traveling Marla has to say about what giraffes have to say.

Time Travel: The 3-minute Segue to Replay

Three minutes ago…

Our eyes locked.

Our faces drew near.

Our lips conjoined.

Three minutes ago again…

Our eyes locked.

I dropped my head.

Our guilt convened.

Three minutes ago…

Our eyes locked…

***

Written, tongue in cheek, for this weekend’s Trifextra challenge, in which we were asked to write on time travel in exactly 33 words. We were supposed to then entitle it with the Year/Date, but I figure any old time would do for this lost-in-the-loop moment (well, 3 moments).

Awesomeness! (It’s All in Your Presentation)

Week 2 of our Campus Fitness & Weight Loss initiative (okay, friendly competition) has come to an end.

What if I told you that one of our team members lost 1 pound & logged 329 minutes of exercise?
You’d probably politely say, “Cool. Keep up the good work.”

But what if I then told you that our 5-member team, the Regional Rampagers, lost a total of 12.5 pounds this past week and logged 2,009 minutes (or 33.5 hrs.) of exercise?
Now THAT should strike you as somewhat impressive.

Then what if I added in my presentation to you that, in the past 2 weeks, this same team has lost a total of 37.5 pounds & logged 66.85 hours of exercise?!
I hope you’d say “That’s AWESOME!”
Well, I think it’s AWESOME, anyway!

That’s the most awesome thing about looking at the What-Ifs & the Do-It-Togethers of life. Sometimes, difficult things seem less challenging & become more “do-able.”  I’m sure that’s why the challenge was PRESENTED to the entire campus for support teams to be formed – and why so many people accepted!

It’s All in the Presentation.

That’s something I’ve come to recognize in my dietary choices too. I eat much healthier and my food seems much tastier when I take time to consider the presentation. (Well, yeah, the calories too!)

Let’s start with this simple example. I have 70 calories to “spend” on a snack.  Looking around my house, let’s see what I can find to compare for my caloric “purchase”:

quick snacks

Hmmm. Here are 3 readily available choices.
First, there are 2 mini candy bars that I can pop into my mouth and swallow before I’ve even savored much flavor (without much nutritional value – please don’t tempt me by trying to fake me off with that dark chocolate health benefit thingy). I know me. I’ll just go back for 2 more after that. 🙂

Next, there’s this package of fat-free cottage cheese (not a terrible choice for 70 cals) & I also run across a serving size of packaged peaches (not a horrible choice either, but they are processed). Either would be gone fairly quickly, though, because I’ll eat them straight out of their packages. Not too satisfying like that, I’d say…

As I continue to browse my virtual-about-to-be-sentient-in-my-mouth shopping area, it dawns on me that I may have an altogether better option (at least I think so). I can put together a

Zesty Frozen Blueberry Yogurt Parfait.
Can you say from Hmmm to Yummm?!

I grab out 1/2 cup of frozen blueberries (35 calories) and add 1/4 cup non-fat Greek yogurt (35 calories), sprinkle in a little Valencia orange peel (1/2-1 tsp) for some “wang” (I’m out of lemon today for lemon zest), add 1 tsp of Stevia to make it a sweet treat (0 calories), & stir it around to make it like a frozen “ice cream-type” treat. By now, my mouth is watering & I’m ready to enjoy this treat, but…why stop there? I’ve already told you…

It’s All in the Presentation.

Knowing this, I go get a stemmed, fluted glass, spoon my yummy frozen concoction into it, and Viola! I feel like I’m getting a fancy dessert that’s been prepared especially for me with great care!

blueberry yogurt

Here’s the bonus: I have to take additional care while eating, so my spoon can fit down into it as I carefully scrape the sides, – causing me to slow down and ENJOY its special goodness. I truly do get to Savor the Flavor!

Why stop there? It dawns on me that I can make my next lunch meal especially beautiful (and low calorie too) to encourage me to savor it, as well.

The next day, I grab up that small container of no-fat cottage cheese, along with 1/2 of a REAL peach (instead of the processed package, because 1/2 peach is also worth 1/2 the calories of the peaches-in-a-pack & is just as filling). I add a couple of pieces of Romaine lettuce together with it on a simple, white cafeteria plate from work. For 140 calories, I could’ve grabbed up the cottage cheese container & the processed peaches container & have been done with lunch in 2 minutes or less. But look what happens when I use my Yummy Presentation Method:

cottage cheese & peaches

A mere 124 calories of beautiful bliss that I’ll spend more time digesting with my eyes than my tummy because it’s so colorfully luscious! (And I’ll hate tearing it apart after I’ve built it.)

From there, I figure…why wouldn’t I want to share this amazing new presentation talent of mine with my entire team?

So…one of our team members scheduled a Lunch & Learn session this week, where we each brought something healthy to share while receiving a learning presentation. After all…

It’s All in the Presentation, Right?

I decided to bring my EZ LO-CAL SWEET ‘N SPICY CHICKEN FAJITAS (my recipe will follow). However, as tasty as I think they are, I really wanted them to LOOK especially appetizing for my guest partakers. For this, I brought a couple of dishes (made in Spain) to accent our fiesta!

fiesta platter

You tell me…did this make for a great presentation (enhancing the bright colors of the peppers), or what?!

This is even an AWESOME dish to share with non-dieting family members. They can add sour cream, guacamole, lettuce, tomatoes, tortillas (I suggest whole grain), black beans & rice, if they’d like – while you can feel satisfied with your entire serving being filling at only 237 calories!

Here’s my recipe, if you want to give it a try. I’ve added it here because I want you to be sure that its tastiness (and life) is definitely enhanced when you seek to assure that it’s

All in YOUR Presentation!

 JODY’S EZ LO-CAL SWEET ‘N SPICY CHICKEN FAJITAS

fajitas cooking

 Ingredients

(1)         16 oz. pkg. chicken breast strips for fajitas

10 oz. (~1-1/2 cups) sliced mixed bell peppers (Green, Red, Yellow.    Orange Pepper? Sure. Go for it!)
 Hint: I get these pre-sliced in produce when I want to save time

½ Onion, chopped or sliced
1 tomato (optional)
 Another hint: consider buying pico de gallo, instead, already prepared in produce
½ tsp garlic powder (or use minced garlic to your taste) chopped or sliced
½ tsp coriander
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp ground red pepper
½ tsp Mrs. Dash Southwestern chipotle

Directions

  1. In a large non-stick pan, add all of the above ingredients! (Pretty simple, huh?)
  2. Add a few Tablespoons of water to the bottom of the pan & cover.
  3. Heat stovetop to a medium-high setting and allow items to steam for about 10 minutes, stirring around once at 5-6 minutes.
  4. Remove cover & stir fry for about 5 minutes.
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until water has dissipated and you approve of the consistency. You’ve seen my version. 🙂

Yields 3 servings

 ~237 calories per serving

(Left-overs can be placed in freezer bags & saved for the near future!)

Hope you’re enjoying your own awesome life presentation!

-jody

moonshine

http://yeahwrite.me/moonshine-127/

Related Article:

Rampaging Regionals: Hoo-ah!!