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Monday, April 21, 2014

Lambie, Lambie, Lambie

When our Yorkie Gretchen was alive, her daily joy was playing with 'Lambie'. Lambie was a stuffed animal that was, well, a lamb, and Gretchen carried Lambie in her mouth, chased her when she was thrown across the room and um, rolled all over it and 'humped' it after dinner every single day. Yah, I know, gross. Whatever. Gretchen was a very dominant female Yorkie and I can't apologize for her animal behavior! We had 'Lambie' cremated with Gretchen so they would be together forever.
Anyhow, that's where the title of my post originated:)
After 7 weeks on a fat free vegan diet (I started a week before Lent) I lost 13 lbs. and feel in much better shape! I am planning to keep up with the healthy habits- daily exercise with very limited fat and meat- but for Easter Sunday, I gave in and made a delicious, boneless leg of lamb on the BBQ.
I remembered how much I LOVE meat.
Now, I know that most animals butchered for human consumption will feel pain, suffering and fear and it is an ugly process. Not all of it is done humanely or even antiseptically. There are many examples of when animal butchering is done in unsanitary conditions that result in food poisoning or worse for people who eat the products. If you watched, Forks Over Knives or read, Eating Animals or watched/read anything  from PETA you might not ever eat meat again...I get that part and believe me, it is powerful proof.
However, I do try to purchase meat products that are humanely butchered...or as many of you know, I raised my own chickens for eggs! Those chickens were treated better than most children in the USA! Just read some of my previous blogs...anyhow, I do think that those who humanely treat and butcher their animals deserve my business. So, I bought the smallest boned leg of lamb from a reputable farm that I could find and marinated it for 24 hours.
I used Ina Garten's recipe (slightly altered) for BBQ leg of lamb- which I have used several times in the past, since it is FANTASTIC!
I was not disappointed.
Here is her recipe...Ina Garten's BBQ Leg of Lamb
and the way that I adjusted it was to reduce the amount to HALF...since I had about a 2lb. piece of boneless leg of lamb...
and I didn't use any olive oil. I also used less rosemary and added some dried oregano to the yogurt.  I also used fat free greek yogurt for the marinade.
Holy Smokes, it was FANTASTIC!
Here's the lamb with the marinade scraped off...

Here's the lamb on the BBQ...

a little char, a little medium rare...
and here it is on the plate for EASTER dinner!
Steamed asparagus, corn on the cob and ...Lambie, Lambie, Lambie...

It was incredibly delicious!
Yes, I finished off the lamb at breakfast and dinner on Monday...I'll be back on the vegan bandwagon on Tuesday...with some limits. I'm thinking the whole 'nutritarian' and 'flexitarian' diet might be more my speed..but I hate to say that I have lost my taste for dairy.
Oh well. I do love veggies!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

This has been a busy week for me...but in a good way!
During the past few years, Holy Week (the week leading up to Easter) for me, has been CRAZY busy and stressful...not exactly what you envision when you work for the Church.
I know that the Church has always stressed that Holy Week is a time for contemplation, meditation and prayer based on the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ...but in reality, if you work for the Church, it's a very busy time of preparation, rehearsal and worry. At least, it has been for me! I wanted to make sure everything would be perfect for the people of God attending all the services this week- I wanted it to be beautiful, meaningful and seamless.
My Mom and step-dad came to visit me and Kevin a couple of times during Easter in Klamath Falls...until I finally told them that it was such a busy time for me that I couldn't really spend any time with them.  I WANTED everything to be ready in advance and to really experience Holy Week and Easter as a joyful and wonderful time. It just never happened that way. Something always came up at the last minute that needed attention and Holy Week was busy and stressful. By the end of Easter Vigil, I was exhausted, exhilarated and usually had a migraine in the making for Easter morning.  Easter Sunday meant a day in bed, recuperating, and Kevin making dinner that I didn't feel like eating. It was worth it, though, because I served the Lord and the people of God! And I loved every minute of it...
Now, I have to say that this year has been...wierd.
I attended the Triduum (tri-three, duum -day from Latin) services at Corpus Christi in Carson City this week. I didn't have to do anything except show up and participate as one of the 'butts in the pew'. Those of you who know me will understand my expression!
It made me cry every single day because in all truth, I MISSED being involved in the life and mission of the Church as a minister. On the other hand, it was wonderful because I could just go and pray and immerse myself in the mystery of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus as a participant and not as a leader.
I didn't miss the responsibility and authority, but I missed being actively involved...I found myself questioning why Corpus Christi did it that way, or why so few people were involved...I guess I miss being a part of the mystery of faith.
What I loved was allowing the readings and rituals and liturgy to once again wash over me, embrace me, and immerse me after so many years being 'in charge' -and to enjoy and breathe in the depth of the Catholic Church and her liturgies through the centuries-old traditions. I loved being able to wipe away tears of sorrow and joy at the readings and not worry if I had to be 'on' for the service at hand. I loved being able to sit in silence and worship at the time of adoration of the Eucharist when it was carried to the Altar of Repose after the Mass of the Lord's Supper; I love being able to walk away in complete silence after reverently walking up to the Cross and kissing the places where the nails were driven into the hands of Christ through the wood of the Cross. I loved watching the wonder and awe on the faces of those who were about to be received into the Church and listening to the readings of Sacred Scripture that focused on the story of Salvation History.  I loved every single minute of it...but I missed, so ardently, being a part of the process.
It has made me realize that I need to go have a chat with the Pastor and find a place where I can volunteer.
I don't need the responsibility or authority- but I need to be a part of this, again.
I am so very proud of my friends who were received into the Church this year- as well as all of those throughout the world who made the decision to join the Church!
Being a Christian is not an easy path- but it is worth it!
He is Risen! Alleluia! He is Risen, Indeed! Alleluia! (Paschal Greeting during the season of Easter)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

My Reasons for Doing Fat Free Vegan For Lent

I don't think that I told you all why I decided on this difficult Lenten discipline of fat-free Vegan eating...
When I left Sacred Heart Church as the Pastoral Associate, I had extremely high blood pressure, I was 50 lbs. overweight and I felt sick and tired ALL THE TIME. I know I wrote a post early in the ski season about how horrible I felt and how out of shape I knew I was when I tried to just walk a few hundred feet to the ski lift...anyhow, I decided that I needed to take better care of myself.
So, I read a couple of books that made me really think.

Thinner This Year  was REALLY good....
Younger Next Year  was better...
How To Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease was life-changing...
Eat To Live: The End Of Diabetes made me decide that I had to do this for at least six weeks.

I am not diabetic, and it does not run in my family...but it does run in the family of my husband. I needed to get myself in shape, and inspire my husband so that we can ski when we are 80 for FREE!! That's my goal!

I also wanted to feel a lot better, lose some weight and get off ALL medication...which these books all make possible if I follow a nutritarian diet.

So I decided that the 6 weeks of Lent would be a good time to try this discipline. If I hated it, and couldn't do it, I would at least suck it up for 40 days....and if my bloodwork is amazing after these 40 days, well, then, I will stick with it!

So far, I have lost 11 lbs. and I can walk from the furthest part of the Heavenly Resort parking lot, uphill, without stopping and no heavy breathing. I am exercising every day and I walk at least 5 miles every day( according to my fitbit zip)
I am tracking my calories,  and eating vegan; which means no dairy, no meat of any kind, no food at all with a face or a mother, no added salt or sugar, and no oil except a little spray oil for foods that I am making for both me and Kevin; the only processed foods I am eating are canned beans, canned tomatoes (mostly the tomatoes I canned in the fall from the tomatoes I grew in KFalls)  or canned tomato paste, or a vegan burger or vegetable pot stickers. I've also had meals in a couple of restaurants and have asked for NO oil vegan meals- most places have been very helpful and cooperative!
Today, I had a delicious meal at a restaurant that features a vegan menu.
Here are some photos of some recent meals...

Vegan bean tacos with avocado and lettuce, steamed corn with red bell pepper, brown rice and homemade pinto beans...

Yellow and Zucchini Squash casserole with baked sweet potato...

Baked Panko Asparagus with a Cannelini Bean and Oats Burger topped with lettuce, tomato and avocado...

Roasted Broccoli with a baked sweet potato and onion mushroom sauce on a lentil loaf slice...

and Vegan Lasagna with Butternut Squash Puree, sauteed mushrooms and Sunflower seed/Panko crust with vegan bechamel and marinara sauce...

The food has been varied, delicious and easy to make!
I am not missing the fat, or dairy or meat. I am hoping my bloodwork will convince the doc to lower or eliminate my BP meds...and maybe, just maybe, this will work for my husband.
We will see!