Thursday, December 18, 2014

i haven't written in so long that i can't even think of a title

We were at a party this weekend when my friend mentioned how much she liked my blog. I got to thinking that I haven't written for so long because I had kind of lost the focus of writing. I first started this blog to help me stay accountable in getting in shape for our son's wedding - because everyone is looking a the mother of the groom, right?! When that goal was (relatively) accomplished, I lost the concentration of this blog. And then one of my friends (who I don't think reads this - at least I hope not!) was talking about how everyone was posting pictures of their food and who wants to see that? Oops. Guilty here. I don't know. Maybe this will just be a journal with a fitness basis. Who wants to read rambling? If you're still here, then I guess you do. (And thanks).

I thought that when I retired from Evereve I would have all this time to, you know, blog and stuff, but somehow that just isn't happening. Within the first few weeks of my being unemployed, we made car trips to Michigan (10 hours one way), North Dakota (9 hours), and Minneapolis (a mere 6 hours). Good thing I get along with my traveling companion. And then I got called back to work an occasional day here and there since I offered to stay on-call as the back-up IS. That kind of bit me in the butt these past few weeks as I was needed to fill in as the IS was recovering from surgery. That's what everyone needs this time of year, right? Just throw something unexpected into the mix during an already stressful time. Good thing most of my shopping was done.

I just reread my previous post and it was all about the low-FODMAP diet. I had just started reintroducing foods and figuring out what bothers me. Well, I think I have a pretty good handle on it, but I guess time will tell. I no longer buy gluten-free bread, I just eat way less of it gluten-containing products than before. Toast at breakfast is just fine, but I won't have a sandwich at lunch on those days. One apple a day is fine, as are a few cocktails (whew)! I think I just have to monitor myself; at least I know how to "reset" things if issues flare up again.

I started a fitness program when it started getting cold outside here and I started getting whiney about having to bundle up. I have been following Sean Flanagan for over a year now, mainly because he is a voice of reason who doesn't advocate miracle weight loss or strength gains. He is all about eating moderately, not eliminating food groups unless medically necessarily, lifting progressively heavier weights, and some cardio to round it all out. Nothing revolutionary there.

I purchased (for $7) his 4-week at-home program, which is actually a 12-week plan since there are four weeks of three different levels. I started at the lowest level even though I consider myself relatively fit, and am I ever glad I did! My quads were on fire that first day, but I can tell it's working since - be prepared to be impressed - I'm up to 25-pound dumbbells (in the middle of week 3) for some of the moves. I read an interview by Anna Quindlen (I think) whom I love, and she said she started weight lifting so she could comfortably carry the case of wine from the delivery man to the kitchen. My kind of woman!

So that's pretty much it, except to wish everyone a Merry Chrismukkah!!

post signature

Sunday, October 12, 2014

FODMAP much?

Apparently I did, too much. And what, might you ask, is a FODMAP? Well, it stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides Disaccharides Monosaccharides And Polyols. You know the old rhyme "Beans, beans, the musical fruit, the more you eat the more you toot"? Well, it's not always just beans and it's not always just toots. I have been feeling pretty crappy (pun intended) for quite awhile - like, a year, and mentioned it when I went for my yearly check-up. My gyno promptly sent me to a gastroenterologist, and based on my symptoms, and while awaiting the date for my colonoscopy, he put me on a low-FODMAP diet.

I told the kids about it, and Emily couldn't call me fast enough to say, "And you thought Whole30 was restrictive!!!" I may have made that comment when she was doing her Whole30...  Basically, this eating protocol was developed in Australia to help people with IBS symptoms. To show you how awful I felt, I jumped into it without a second thought, restrictive or not.

What it means for me is no lactose (milk, ice cream, yogurt, cottage cheese unless they are lactose-free), no gluten (wheat, rye, barley), no artificial sweeteners, eliminating certain fruits (among them apples, pears, watermelon), certain veggies (cauliflower - although strangely enough, broccoli is okay, corn, garlic, onions). There are a whole bunch of other restrictions, but these are the ones that will make you ask:

Which is exactly what I asked when I sat down to make a shopping list that first week. It really is not so bad, and it really, really, really makes me feel better, so it's worth it. Eating out is the biggest challenge, but we did find out that our favorite pizza place in town, Zio's, has fabulous gluten-free pizza. And one alcoholic beverage a day is allowed, so it's totally doable. Erin's 26th birthday was at a microbrewery on day 2 of this little eating adventure, so I had my one glass of delicious beer and filled up on water.

I was about a week into this protocol when we went to Michigan to visit the kids, and Aly, bless her heart, the Queen of the Internet, had done some research and had wonderful low-FODMAP meals and snacks (mmm, popcorn...) all ready for us. It required some tweaking, such as not lightly dredging my chicken in flour, but in parmesan (strangely enough, while milk is a no-no, hard cheeses are just fine). And luckily, gluten-free crackers are delicious!

My favorite breakfast of peanut butter toast or bagel thin required a change:

It's pretty good toasted, but not fabulous by itself. And thank God peanut butter is allowed! As far as berries, another part of my breakfast, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are okay (up to 1/2 cup), but no blackberries. Bananas? Yes if ripe, no if slightly green. (The way I like them, of course).

I found some other goodies:

corn is out, but polenta, cornmeal, and grits are okay

no milk chocolate, but hello dark chocolate!

pretty good

haven't tried 'em yet, but since maple syrup up to 1.5 T is allowed, they are on the menu!

I've been doing the elimination phase of this diet for several weeks now, so am playing around with reintroducing certain foods to see how my body tolerates them, the premise being to allow you to eat the most varied (and therefore healthiest) diet as possible. So far, I think I can have about half a cup of milk with no adverse effects, although I really do like coconut-almond milk on my oatmeal, so eliminating cow milk is not a big deal. I've tried apples, but they might be a little iffy. That is too bad, since I eat (used to eat?) an apple a day. After trying a day or two of eating just one of the groups to see what I can tolerate, I need to go back to the elimination diet to get back to a baseline. It sounds so scientific, which just makes so much sense to me.

I had my colonoscopy this week, and if you follow me on Instagram (cathyboll), you saw that I posted this. It just cracks me up!

Everything is okay in that area, but this is what half an hour of Propofol, an hour in recovery, and several naps during the day looked like:

sloth. i'm surprised i didn't have moss growing on me

Here's to more activity!

post signature

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

what i'm loving - the food

I thought I'd share a few treasures I've found or rediscovered lately:

Emily brought us this from her vacation to Daytona Beach and the Ocean Deck restaurant. She has brought us Rasta Sauce before, and I loved it so much that a few years ago I ordered some. I thought it was in a warehouse or plant or something but I talked to someone at the restaurant and they just shipped  it out.

This is thick, almost with a gravy-like consistency. It is delicious on pretty much anything. I particularly like it on scrambled eggs, but we use it any time we need a bit of heat. It's not hot like Sriracha or runny like salsa. It's spicy, but not searing. Alex described it as more "peppery".

just look at those ingredients - yummy!

Let's jump from the savory to the sweet! I found these at Costco, and I particularly like them because you can break them into whatever size you need. If you want just a bite of chocolate, you can have it. If you want an entire sheet, well, that's yours as well. And they come in Costo quantity!

So I guess this next item technically isn't food, but maybe nectar of the gods. I'm a little late to this particular party, but I discovered Moscow Mules this summer, and our friends brought us four copper mugs as a hostess gift when they came to visit. I know you don't really need the mugs, but they sure make them take taste better. Vodka, lime, and ginger beer - why wouldn't you love it?! As I posted on my Instagram account, #youknowyouwantone.

Two spice blends at Penzey's I'm loving are Adobo and Sunny Paris. Adobo is, as the catalog describes, a "traditional and popular Mexican spice mix. Not hot, but spicy and rich in flavor, and salt-free". You can add it to taco meat, rub it on meat before grilling, use it in guac - I'm sure there is much more you can do with it; just haven't discovered it yet.  The Sunny Paris's main ingredient is freeze-dried shallots, but also chives, green peppercorns, dill weed, basil, tarragon, chervil, and bay leaf. You can almost imagine how wonderful it tastes just by reading the ingredient list. If you have a Penzey's in your town, but all means visit it, but you can order everything from I have been ordering from them for decades, long before Omaha had a shop. The labels used to be typed, not printed. One time I ordered a particular kind of cinnamon and they needed to substitute another, and instead of crediting my card, they just sent me the difference in actual change with a nice handwritten note. I love personal attention like that!

I wanted some dessert the other night, but cannot be trusted around a container of ice cream. What I really was hungry for was a Drumstick, but rethought that craving when I saw they were 300 calories apiece. Then these caught my attention, and I can tell they will be a permanent fixture in our freezer. Well, not these, because they will be gone shortly, but you know what I'm saying...

these just might be the best 160 calories I have ever tasted

Has anyone else found anything fun lately?
post signature

Sunday, September 7, 2014

what i'm loving - the stuff

I've seen several blogs about favorites, so I thought I'd jump on that bandwagon with some real randomness.

Ever since we've had a baby in the family, I have had Dreft in our laundry room for when the kids visit and need to do laundry. Scent for me is such an evocative sense, so much so that I'll do a random load of OUR laundry in Dreft. The last time they visited, they left a container of Brody's soap:

this smells like love, and makes me so happy

I haven't been putting in the long runs this summer as I've done the past two years because I'm not training for a half-marathon, but I made it out to Zorinsky recently. I do love that place; the woods, the lake, the wetlands, the animals, and the vegetation. I was going pretty slow so thought I'd take some pictures. Next time, I'm bring the good camera. But these are okay for an iPhone...

leaves are starting to turn. winter is coming

I just had my annual mammogram (AOK results) recently and almost turned down the free koozie because we have so many already. But then I looked at it more closely:

it has boobs!

We had a few rain-free hours last weekend, and I was doing some weeding out front, as was the entire neighborhood. I was on my hands and knees, totally engrossed in my own thoughts, when Amy from next door hollered over, "Is your yard growing penises too?". I didn't have my hearing aids in and thought I had misheard, but she certainly had my attention! It turns out that their mulch is growing some fungus that looks just like penises:

These were small ones - I guess they had some Boogie Nights-sized ones. I'm not sure how to ask for the special mulch next year...

One of the women at work asked me if I was doing my makeup differently because I "look so pretty". I seriously had to laugh because I know how it was meant, but I couldn't help thinking how I must usually look like shit.

So that's it for now. What are some of your recent favorites?

Monday, September 1, 2014


I've been a cooking machine this past week and a half, except for the three nights in a row (!) we went out for dinner. Those three times deserve their own blog post, but I won't bore you, except to say that all three were with different groups of friends. Okay, I'll bore you a little bit.The first night we were supposed to golf in a twilight, but they luckily canceled it at the last minute due to the torrential rains we have had this past week. We seriously need to work on our ark. That dinner was at Maru, the next night was at J Coco, and the third started at Pitch with appetizers and half-price bottles of wine and ended at Lalibela for some Ethiopian food. The company each night was stellar, and the food was fabulous at two of the three restaurants. We chose J Coco because it had been one of our favorites, but after the lackluster food and poor service the other night (not to mention that they charged for blue cheese olives in our martinis!), we will not be in any hurry to return.

But things have been cooking here at Chez Cathy. These are all new recipes, and I'll give you the honest reviews. Four are from Cooking Light magazine and one is from the web. Hang on to your seats, as Mighty Mouse used to say (and we all grabbed our butts when we were little kids), because here we go. (Click on the name of the recipe to be taken to the recipe itself). All of these recipes serve four, so we had some lunch leftovers.

First up is Damn Fine Chicken from Nom Nom Paleo. I love her titles, and I love how her recipes are written. Her cookbook is wonderful as well. The damn fine chicken was, well, okay. She uses chicken thighs and chicken legs in many of her recipes, and after decades of eating boneless, skinless breasts, I just can't with the dark meat. I made the recipe with the chicken legs that were called for, but if I make it again, I'll be boring and go back to the breasts. The recipe said that ten legs served four people, but these legs were so big that two were plenty. I'm not sure how to divide ten by four equally anyway...

sided with a baked potato, carrot and kohlrabi sticks, and my sister-in-law's incredibly delicious pickled green beans

The next four recipes are from Cooking Light, my favorite magazine. I read it each month and dog-ear the pages I'd like to make, but usually just end up ripping them out and filing them. I know everything is available on-line, but I love reading the magazine. And I love that while the recipes are low-fat, they are not non-fat. And they use real food, nothing fake to lower the calorie count. 

Okay, how does Caprese Mac and Cheese sound? Maybe as delicious as it tasted! The basil growing in our garden really came in handy. This took about an hour from start-to-finish, and then about five minutes to eat, as do most of our meals. Most of the time with this came from making and thickening the sauce. We loved this - pretty much the definition of comfort food. The only difference I would make is to use a heavier hand with the red pepper flakes at the end. I thought it needed a teensy bit more bite. And I can't help but think that some pancetta would be delicious in this...

I made the salad that was recommended to go with the mac & cheese, minus the radicchio

The next recipe was a salad I made to go with Iowa Girl Eats' chili lime chicken burgers (which I've written about several times, as it is one of Dwight's favorite meals). It's Greek Style Edamame Salad, and I will be making this again - soon. I didn't have any feta as the recipe calls for; I can only imagine how much better (if that is possible) it would taste. This came together in minutes.

Next we have Crab Cake Sliders with Yogurt Dill Sauce. I apologize for the picture - they tasted much better than they look here. I have never made pickled onions before, but it was so easy:  microwave vinegar and sugar, add the onions, and let sit for 15 minutes. They were sweet and delicious, and complemented the crab cakes and yogurt sauce. And the corn from the farmer's market? YUM!!!

And that leads us to tonight's dinner: Ginger Steak with Sesame Brown Rice. I made the Chili-Basil Slaw that is sided with the meal in the magazine, and holy hell is that ever good. Seriously - make this entire meal. Right now.

Happy cooking!

post signature

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


No, not that kind. But if you live in the Midwest, you undoubtedly pronounce it the same as the real title of this post, "Catch Up". I have taken a few of those Facebook "What part of the country does your speech say you're from" quizzes and I always get a solid "Upper Midwest". Hmm.

Okay, so this summer has been beyond busy. I thought the past two summers when we have had a wedding each year would have won, but this year beat them both. We traveled a bit: Chicago for a funeral, Michigan for the 4th, Chicago again for Emmy's and Aly's Rock'n'Roll Half Marathon, a fun weekend getaway to Iowa City (yes, really, Iowa City - who knew?!), and then Dwight had a weekend in North Dakota for his annual poker trip.

Dwight and Brody were each running their first race on July 4th in the G-Rap
if only that little boy could get a little more love...
at the Bean. we spent all day walking around downtown, when Emmy and Aly had a half-marathon to run the next day. they now know better for next time!

One of our long weekends was hosting friends for our annual member-guest tournament at Oak Hills for the 20th year in a row. And the guys won their flight - check out those trophies. Wine may or may not have been drunk out of them... And the green jackets are from when they won the whole tourney back in 2000. As they say every year, no matter how they finish, at least they have the green jackets.

they never have to plan their outfits

We had family come home! All the kids, plus Dwight's mom and sister made for a full house. It was crowded, busy, noisy, cluttered, and utterly wonderful. Seeing great-grandma meet Brody was pretty special.

With all the travel and all the company, plus work - more on that later - this past weekend was the first time in eight weekends that we didn't have one thing on the calendar. It was absolutely wonderful. We went to the farmer's market downtown, had lunch out, afternoon cocktails - just major relaxing. But as full as our schedule has been, the old fitness routine has fallen by the wayside. It really helps me to have a race to be training for, I guess, since this is the email I got from Jawbone this week:

seriously, it's a gift

After running pretty hard to catch that wagon I fell off of some weeks ago (actually, I don't think I've caught it yet, but it is definitely in my sights), here are today's meals:

sargento light string cheese wrapped in deli ham, cukes, grape tomatoes
afternoon snack

damn fine chicken from Nom Nom Paleo (really, that's the name!), baked potato, carrot and kohlrabi sticks, and my sister-in-laws's incredible pickled green beans

So about that job... I love what I do, but I had an epiphany when I wanted to go to Chicago for the girls' marathon. Most of the kids (except Tim), my grandbaby, and my sisters were going to be there, and there was a possibility I might not get to go because of work. It ended up being no problem, and to be honest, I have never NOT gotten time off that I needed, but there have been plenty of times that I just haven't asked. I haven't golfed hardly at all the past two summers, and while I do miss the golf, I really miss my girlfriends. My bike is collecting cobwebs, I could go on and on. I realize I am in a nice position in that we don't need my salary, so to be fair to Evereve (formerly Hot Mama), I turned in my resignation a few weeks ago, effective September 25. I wanted to give them enough time to find someone good, and enough time for me to train that person. So if you're in Omaha and want to be an inventory specialist, or know someone who does, I can hook you up!

New beginnings...
post signature

Saturday, June 28, 2014

portable hoarding

I saw a quote that purses are just pretty bags that allow us to be portable hoarders, and thought, "not me". After all, I was the woman who, several years ago after a bike accident that wrecked my shoulder, was unable to carry a large purse so pared it down to the essentials: I got a cute small bag that fit a really small aluminum wallet (driver's license, credit cards, some cash), my keys, phone, and a lipstick. 

Over the years that little bag grew into a bigger one, and while I really like my usual one, I decided to change purses last night. This of course meant changing over my stuff, and that's when I discovered that I could be on Let's Make a Deal. I have turned into a portable hoarder:

omg. i had to stand pretty far back to get all this in the shot

granola bars X 3 - all different kinds. Srsly.

the altoids tin holds a bunch of floss picks

emery boards X 3
lipsticks X 8 (HUH???)
hand lotion
nail clippers

moist towelettes
Shout wipes 
lint roller sheets
notebook (for inspiration!)
pens X 3

Ventolin inhaler
bag-o-drugs:  aspirin, Aleve, Advil (pretty much have the pain relief covered), Imodium, pepto bismol, Tums - 3 partially used rolls (digestive upsets anyone?), Dramamine, bandaids, throat lozenges

fan left over from Erin's and Tim's outdoor August wedding 
hearing aid case with extra batteries

ESSENTIALS (although I might argue that ALL of the above are essential)
phone (that I used to take the picture)

I'd like to say that I went back to my little Coach bag with the bare essentials, but I'd be lying. I did organize things - the purse I changed to has more pockets! And I did whittle the essential lipsticks down to two plus a lip gloss. I figured I really didn't need the lint roller sheets or the moist towelettes, and I put the granola bars back in the pantry, but sure as shit - I'm going to be needing that stuff.

post signature

home sweet home

I am a firm believer in shopping in my hometown. If I'm on vacation, I will avoid chain stores if we have them in Omaha, preferring that my tax dollars support the local economy. Unless, of course, it (that top, those jeans, those shoes, etc.) is just so cute and I just have to have it right now. Which happens. Pretty often, actually, but you get the idea.

A friend at work and I were talking about running, and she told me about this little store in Omaha, Red Dirt Running, which has been open for about two years. She has a friend who runs a ton of races, and totally swears by this store. The last time Erin was home, she showed me her raggedy old running shoes and I took her to this shop. Poor Erin had been getting stability shoes (as recommended by the shoe guy at Scheels), and was really hoping to get something cuter. We walked in, and the first thing they had Erin do was stand on some pad that showed which parts of her feet were in contact with the ground, and also the pressure distribution. Then they put her in some shoes and had her run on a treadmill for about 15 seconds, never looking at her running form the entire time. She got off the treadmill, and they played the video of her from about the knees down (from the back), showing her stride, which part of her foot hit first (mid foot), etc. Apparently she has a very efficient stride. Then they made their recommendation, which was basically a neutral shoe - so she had her choice of cute ones! She tried on several pairs and bought the ones that felt the best, which just so happened to be on sale. (I never have that luck). After we left, she compared the price she paid with the same shoes on-line, and it was pretty much the same or even less than what she found. And the best part? In her words, the staff at the store was "non-judgey". They talked about the fact that she had just done Lincoln, was training for Des Moines - runner stuff.

I felt the same when I bought my new running shoes at the same store last week. Erin had such a good experience that I thought I'd give them a try as well. Maybe because I'm such a non-runner, but I kinda feel like an impostor around real athletes, despite having completed three half-marathons. No one has ever said, surely you're not a runner, but really, you don't look at me and think "endurance athlete". I've mentioned this before, but you think "Bet she likes dessert".

the napkin at Amy's and Dennis' the other week - seems appropriate here

I was treated like a runner at that store. I did the standing-on-the-pad test, which reminded me of the time I bought a new saddle for my bike. The cute 19-year-old kid at the bike shop asked me if I'd ever been fitted for a bike seat, and I said no, but it sounds awkward. (I basically had to sit on this memory foam pad for a few minutes, then he measured the distance between my sit bones to fit me properly. Not at all gynecological.) Wow, talk about off-topic. Anyway, then I did the treadmill, looked at my stride, and found out my heel strikes first. Dammit. I thought I had fixed that. And I also found out I pronate on my right foot, which I knew. I had been wearing inserts which I thought helped the pronation. Apparently I was wrong. Inserts help raise the arch, not prevent the rolling. So while Erin had been buying the stability shoes, I was the one who had needed them all along. Visions of my grandma's ground-grippers flashed through my head, but this is what I ended up with:

pretty cute! and bright!

So I had been wearing the wrong type of shoe, the wrong size, and didn't need those inserts. It really does pay to go to a dedicated running store instead of the shoe section at a sporting goods store. And because I'm wearing the proper shoes now, my right knee doesn't hurt nearly as bad and my toes don't hurt at all, despite going down a half size. Granted, that might be the difference between Asics and Adidas, but I'm hoping that the black toenails that I always thought were a badge of honor might be a thing of the past.

And just to make it a family affair, Dwight also got some new running shoes, so we have three testimonials. If you are in need of running shoes, please try this store!

I tried another new-to-me store after hearing about it from some friends. What really got me to Natural Grocers was Mary Lu telling me that kombucha was a dollar less than Whole Foods. Srsly. 

Kombucha (or as I saw it referred to as "someone jizzed in my tea") is an expensive habit at $3.65 a bottle, so if I can save a buck a time, sign me up. I had been seeing ads for Natural Grocers in the paper, in a circular by the comics on Sunday. To be honest, the ad made it look a little like a second-hand shop, kinda like the cut-out bin at a the record store. (I know, dating myself). I was so pleasantly surprised when I walked in and found a real little grocery store with all organic produce, grass-fed beef, and name-brand products - and for less than Whole Paycheck. I know it's not a local store, but it is just so less corporate than WF. And a whole lot less crowded. (I just checked locations, and it looks like Missouri is as far east as the chain is located. If you live in the western half of the US, though, you may be in luck!)

And while I'm on the Buy Local topic, our favorite little Ethiopian restaurant in town likes us back:

This was the note from our waitress the last time we were at Lalibela (4422 Cass). Chelsie always chats with us, and the cook/owner makes sure our dinner is okay. They think it's cool because we drive "all the way" from west Omaha - like it's a deal. Well, it is about a 25-minute drive, but the food is so worth it. She made a point to tell us last time that they have people come from Lincoln because they love the food! (And check out that total! They don't have a liquor license any more, otherwise there would be beer on that tab, trust me.) Mmmm... now I'm hungry for Ethiopian food....

post signature