Recipes

Hips Don’t Lie

My work decided to start a weight loss challenge to begin 2019. Last year, they decided to have teams. This year the original intent was to have teams but some people were not going to participate if they were part of a team. So it’s now individuals instead.

We had to come up with a name for ourself which would be motivating. I decided hips don’t lie because that is where I carry most of my weight.

As you know, I’ve lost and gained weight which is not good because of yo-yo dieting is not great for your health. I know where my weaknesses are in regards to eating so I’m going to be focusing on that during these next 8 weeks. I was gluten free for 8 months and then discovered I could eat gluten. So what am I doing instead of eating healthy meals, I’m eating breads or pretzels. I need to nip that in the bud. I also wasn’t eating lunch so there was a reduction in my appetite. So many bad habits.

Last year I had a lot of weight because of my gallbladder issues. Now that those are gone I’ve gained back all of that weight. Yuck!

Join me on this journey. I need accountability because I get LAZY. That’s why I gained back the weight. I honestly love healthy food.

I also love to walk and explore which is my favorite way to exercise. As I said, I’ve become lazy. I need to incorporate more walking. I have a favorite exercise program that is walking based. I found it many years ago and will share it with you in another blog post.

Have a magical day,
Traci

menu plan monday, Menu planning

Mom, What’s For Dinner? – December 31, 2018

The weight fell off of me with no hard work. Everyone was telling me how much better I was looking. But I was feeling worn down with no appetite. Even though I was looking better, my health was failing so the weight gradually found its way back onto my body.

As the new year begins, it’s time to reevaluate my health and diet. Ever since my gallbladder started failing, it’s been difficult to eat regular meals. My appetite is not what it used to be. I’m hungry mostly in the middle of the night which is a bummer because I don’t want to get out of bed to tame the hunger beast.

I’ve got to manage my diet so that I’m the healthiest I can be instead of just eating to survive. I understand the tools necessary to be the healthiest but it is up to me to make sure I’m using those tools and am eating foods that will fuel me.

Just so you know, I’m a vegetarian and have been one since Valentine’s Day last year so all of my meals are going to be meatless. I still eat eggs and dairy so I’m not plant based.

So here is my menu for this week:

Breakfasts

Sugar Plum Danish (Mom got it for me.), apple with cashew butter
Maple Apple Steel Cut Oats
Green Smoothie with cheese or nuts for protein

Lunches

Monday – Leftover veggie burger
Tuesday – Fried Egg Sandwich – Open Faced, broccoli (steamed or roasted)
Wednesday – Friday – BBQ Black Bean Salad (On Wednesday, I’m back at work. They are supposed to feed us but I don’t know what they are going to have or if it will be vegetarian friendly.)
Saturday or Sunday – Eat lunch at Melt – Mom wants to eat there. Cabbage Soup for the other day

Dinners

Monday and Wednesday – Creamy Enchilada Pasta with broccoli (steamed or roasted)
Tuesday – Sauerkraut with “sausage,” black eyed peas, roasted potatoes
Thursday – English Muffin Pizza from the freezer, some sort of veggie
Friday – Mushroom risotto burger, roasted potatoes, veggie
Saturday or Sunday – Cabbage Soup

Snacks

Energy Balls
Yogurt
Veggies and Dip
Fruit

Dinners for My Meat Eaters

Ravioli
Pork with Sauerkraut, Roasted Potatoes (A couple of meals)
Sausage
Hamburgers

Have a magical day,
Traci

walt disney world

25 pounds of rice – Disney College Program Memories

When I arrived at Vista Way for my Disney College Program, I was randomly placed into an apartment with Internationals and one other American. The Internationals were on different time tables when they would arrive or leave from when my American roommate and I arrived and left the Disney College Program.

In December of my program, Lisa left for home. We soon got another roommate. Lisa was from the United Kingdom. Our new roommate was from China. Totally different cultures. Lisa was known from drinking her tea and biscuits – aka cookies. X ate more fresh veggies and rice.

I should do another blog post about how different the International program from China was to my program. It was interesting.

Anyway when X. showed up, we had 1 fridge for 6 people. We each had half of a shelf in the fridge. Mine was on the bottom. I don’t remember if it was on the left or right. Lisa’s had been on the other half of the bottom shelf so X. and I shared a shelf.

One day I came home and X. had basically taken over the fridge with all of her fresh produce.

However what amazed me was the 25 pound bag of rice she brought into the small kitchen. I had never seen anything like that before so I was in shock when I saw it. My program was done soon after she moved in so I don’t know where she stored the rice.

Don’t think I’m bashing X. It was just interesting seeing that 25 pound of rice sitting in my kitchen.

Have a magical day,
Traci

Holiday/Christmas, Recipes, Snacks

Christmas “Crack” Pretzels

I had bought some wreath shaped pretzels to use for my Rolo Turtles not realizing the Rolos would fall through the wreath. I used one bag of the wreath pretzels for my cinnamon sugar pretzels. Since I had another bag to use up, I found this recipe. Hubby had leftover popcorn oil from an event he hosted in November so this was a perfect way to use the pretzels.

Enjoy these at your Christmas get together or even on New Year’s Eve. Yum!

Oh and the best part of this is there is no baking involved. Sweet!

  • Servings: 16ish
  • Difficulty: extremely easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 15 to 16 oz. bag of pretzels
  • 6 oz. buttery popcorn oil, canola oil, or melted butter
  • 1.5 Tbsp. dry ranch salad mix (not the dip)
  • 0.5 tsp. garlic powder
  • 0.5 tsp. Cajun seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese (I used a garlic Parmesan cheese powder.)

Directions

  1. Pour the pretzels into a deep dish.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together the oil and seasonings.
  3. Pour over the pretzels. Stir until all of the pretzels are combined.
  4. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese. Stir once again until the pretzels are combined.
  5. Continue stirring every 15 minutes or so for 3 hours or until the oil is absorbed by the pretzels.
  6. Store in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Recipe source

Have a magical day,
Traci

dealing with grief, photograph, travel, walt disney world, Writing Workshop

If I Could Go Any Where for the Holidays

If I had all of the money in the world, I would love to go down to Walt Disney World for Christmas.

I would not want to visit on Christmas Day because it would be way too busy but I would love to visit at some point in December.

Why would I want to go to Disney during the busy holiday season?

Two years ago, I got to see the decorations at some of the different resorts throughout Walt Disney World.  I loved seeing them.  I also got to see some of the holiday decorations outside of each of the parks.  (We didn’t go into any of the parks.)  I would love to see the decorations inside each of the park.  And photograph them.

Also I haven’t been to any of the Christmas parties in Disney.  When we were there 2 years ago, I hoped they would have one but there was none scheduled.  Bummer!

The last time I celebrated Christmas was during my College Program in 1995.  I worked on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and maybe even New Year’s Day.  I had a visitor during Christmas week and even though we spent time in the park we could not get to Magic Kingdom because it was so busy.  The line for the monorail was all of the way to the entrance.  It would have taken an hour or so to even get on the monorail.

Those are some of the reasons I would love to spend time down in Disney.  The other reason is because honestly December is a hard month for me.  In the last fifteen years, I’ve lost close family members during December – my grandpa in 2003, my grandma in 2008, my father-in-law in 2013, and my father-in-law’s aunt in 2014.  (My grandma’s death was on Christmas Eve.)  

WDW is my happy place.  I’m like a child in a candy store while I’m there.  I put aside all of my worries while I am down there.  In fact, one of the reason I was down there in 2016 was because it was almost 3 months after my sister’s death.  We had planned for a trip to Universal Studios prior to her death.  A month after her death, I was seeing if there was a restaurant reservation available on Thanksgiving.  I luckily found one and a hotel stay for two nights on Thanksgiving and Black Friday.  While we were down there, she visited me on Thanksgiving.  (Butterfly)

I would love to just go down there and forget my worries.  

Last year, I shared our local holiday display of Clifton Mill.  They were featured on a national tv show and granted money towards continuing the 30 years of light displays.  

Have a magical day,
Traci

disney

The Broken Phone | Walt Disney College Program Memories

Back in 1995, you either used the apartment phone for local calls or the pay phone for long distant calls.  There was a pay phone directly outside my apartment.  

This story is not about the pay phone.  That might be another blog post.

My apartment had apartment dwellers in and out so no one knew where our phone originated, who bought it, or when it was originally bought.  So when it broke, Alessandra, my Italian roommate, decided we need to return it.

As a reader, you should know Alessandra and I were frenemies, leaning more towards the enemies side.  We really did not get long.  Again that could be another blog post.

I must have been bored that night because I volunteered to go with her while she tried to return it.  We first went to the local Wal-Mart.  That was a no go.  They would not take the phone back.

So we continued onto Target.  At that point in my life, I had never experience the wonderful place known as Tar-Get (think the French pronouncation).  I don’t know why they agreed to take the phone back.  I think they traded the phone in.

As I said, this is probably one of the few times Alessandra and I got along while I was in Walt Disney World.  

This is one  of the memories I carry around in my heart.  I almost wish I took more photographs during my time in Disney or had a vlog so that I can relive these moments.  It’s time I share these memories so I’ll continue to share these memories.

My First Thanksgiving Meal

Have a magical day,
Traci

columbus zoo, Hubby, photographs

Columbus Zoo – October 20, 2018 – Part 5

Part 4

After we finished at the educational building, we went to North America and then the Heart of Africa.  We were fortunate the Heart of Africa was open because they are only open in the fall, winter, and spring during better weather.

The brown bear was up and about pacing around his exhibit.  Since he was on the move, I was unable to get a clear photo of him/her.

We saw very little of North America since we headed to the Heart of Africa and then onto the shuttle back to the front of the zoo.

The decorations between the Polar area of North America and Heart of Africa.

There were so many animals out in Heart of Africa.  The lions, warthogs, cheetahs, and giraffes were all out and about which was cool.

Hubby offered to pay for me to feed the giraffes so I did that which was neat.

Here are some photos of the other animals in the Heart of Africa.

The beautiful foliage and one of the signs in the Heart of Africa.

After we got done with the Heart of Africa, we went to get the shuttle back to the front of the zoo.  Instead of the typical shuttle, they had a hay ride.  One of the men on the hay ride was loud and very talkative.  We were entertained during out ride back to the front.

I hope you enjoyed the photos from when we visited the Columbus Zoo in October.  The boys and I went back to the zoo on November 23rd to see the Wildlights.  I have that on my list to share with you.

Have a magical day,
Traci

columbus zoo, Hubby, photographs

Columbus Zoo – October 20, 2018 – Part 4

Part 3

After we finished with the Islands and Australia, we went to the aquarium.  Since it was Boo at the Zoo, they had skeleton divers which was neat to see.   It was very crowded in the aquarium since everyone wanted to see the diver.

After we left the aquarium, we hopped over to manatee bay.  

I love the reflection of me in the door of the aquarium.  Sometimes you have to be creative to get photos of yourself.  Hubby was playing Pokemon Go through out the zoo so that was what he was doing in the photo.

They are redoing the Sting Ray Bay area of the zoo.  Next summer they should have sea lions in that area.  So right now all of the sting rays are in quarantine in the back of the Manatee Coast exhibit.  The ones they have on exhibit are typically located there.  I love their smiling faces.

After we got done with the aquarium and manatees, we went back to the education center to look at the sloth.  This time they had a scarlet parrot and armadillo.  So cool.

We enjoyed seeing the sloth.

Join me next time for Africa and me feeding a giraffe.

Have a magical day,
Traci

columbus zoo, Hubby, photograph

Columbus Zoo – October 20, 2018 – Part 3

Part 2

Sorry I’ve been missing.  There is nothing like an elementary teacher tired in December.  I’ve been exhausted.

Anyway after we left the Congo area, we went over to Australia and the Islands.  The gibbons were active and outside when we got there.  We especially enjoyed watching the baby gibbon.  He would climb up so far and then fall down.  He kept trying and trying to get the top.  So cute!

Some of the decorations

Next up was going to see the komodo dragon.  Hubby refused to smell the komodo dragon’s breath.  If the boys were there, they would have done it.

The pelican is new to the Islands area of the zoo.  

The Asian otters were in rare form.  They were running around the exhibit and playing around which was awesome to see.  We don’t usually get to see them be as active as they were.

More of the gibbons.  

Most of the kangaroos were hiding in their behind the scenes area.  One kept looking out to the exhibit area and then opted not to come out.  It was in the 50’s so it could have been too cold for them.

The koala who wanted to hide from us

Join me next time for the aquarium and manatee bay.

Have a magical day,
Traci

Recipes

Columbus Zoo – October 20, 2018 – Part 2

Columbus Zoo – October 20, 2018 – Part 1

After we finished with watching the penguins, we first went to the food court by the Congo area of the zoo.  Since nothing was open yet, we decided to first visit the Congo area and then eat lunch.

The black and white colobuses.  I love them.

The cranes

The leopard – He was so active which was cool to see.  We don’t always get to see him be so active.

The gorillas – We got to talk to a volunteer who was watching the adult interactions.  

The river hogs

The bonobos

The mandrill playing with a pumpkin.

The fall foliage and one of the decorations in the area.

The okapi – We typically don’t get to see him/ her up close.

Have a magical day,
Traci