Saturday, August 1, 2015

Pecan crumble crusted Trout with roasted Broccoli

BJ and I have been experimenting with all sorts of recipes these past few months. We're finding ways to make foods we love healthier, and low carb by using natural sugar substitutes. We love fish, and we especially love trout. Today we made a pecan crumble trout that was completely healthy, low carb, and so very delicious.





We first took two heads of broccoli and cut off all the "trees", and separated them into smaller parts, and layered them on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet - drizzled with EVOO, pepper, salt, and garlic powder. 425 Degree oven - roasted for about 15 minutes.

While this cooked, I made the crumble for the trout by taking 6 ounces of pecans, and crushed them up a little with a roll pin. Melted 4 ounces of butter, and mixed in 2 TBSP Almond Meal, 2 TBSP Coconut flour, and 1 TBSP Truvia Brown Sugar. I mixed this well until little crumbles developed. Then I added the pecans. There is just something completely divine about pecans with brown sugar.

Once the broccoli was par cooked (you can smell the garlic, it is sooo delicious smelling) I laid the fillets on top of the broccoli - skin side down. With a spoon, I scooped some of the pecan mixture onto each fillet, then pressed it down into the fish with my finger tips. Back in the oven 425 degrees for 15 minutes.

Not only is this completely filling, but it's satisfyingly comforting in every way. You feel like you're having a cheat from the slight sweetness from the crumble. I only ended up using maybe half of the crumble mixture I made. The other half I put in the refrigerator.

I don't know why I get into modes where I think that eating healthy is "hard" or "inconvenient". Not being able to walk is hard and inconvenient. Finding alternatives is easy, especially with the help of the internet. You can turn virtually any recipes into whatever you need - whether it's counting calories, or eating strictly paleo, or gluten free - or in our case, low carb / high fat. I would say that BJ is more Low Carb / High Fat where I try to remain as Paleo as I can while going with him on this low carb journey.



I mean, we even get to have pizza still while eating low carb. It's all about finding a healthier way of having the things you enjoy - and in moderation.

Balance.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Finding belief in myself

I don't give up easily. I never have. I have a fight in me that is tremendous, and powerful. I beat the proverbial horse to death, just to make sure I've given it every go I can. But when something is dead and gone - it's gone. It's time to move on.

It's no big secret that my job makes me miserable. One thing I am terrible at is "letting go" of things - whether I have power over them or not. I take personal responsibility and personal investment in every single thing that happens - because I feel that if I don't do these things, I have somehow failed. It was a struggle, but I've finally learned how to let go - at least, at my job.

I turned in my notice. Unfortunately I made the decision to leave my job the exact same day another person in our office gave her two week notice. Our GM was beside himself with that blow - it (almost) derailed my decision to turn in mine. I waited five days, rethought my plan, and came up with a fair solution. I gave me notice - with enough time for the company to find someone to replace me. Someone I can train. My last "day" is October 2nd.

I was terrified - I may have cried (a lot) - but in the end I had to do what was best for me - for my health - for my marriage. This job was changing me into someone I didn't like. It was draining every ounce of kindness from me. I have been bitter, and jaded, frustrated, angry, and hostile. I didn't like who I was becoming. And I know that this is not "it" for me. I know my purpose on this planet is not to sell metal roofing the rest of my life. I have so much more to give.

The past few weeks after giving my notice have been freeing. I've let things go... I've stopped making everything my personal responsibility. I come in, I do my job, I leave. And that is how a non-management position should be. I stepped down as inside sales manager for a very specific reason. I like being a worker bee.

The change I've seen in myself since making this decision, and holding my ground is I am happier. I'm not as volatile. I am sleeping. I have energy and desire to do things. I'm going to the gym 4-5 nights a week. I've lost 25 lbs. I like the direction I am going, and I feel better about my future. I don't feel stuck, or in a rut - I just feel excited to start a new chapter in my life - with my husband.

I was told that there is a different affect to me, that I'm more approachable. I hope that is the case since the past 6 years I've been a pretty angry person. I don't like being angry all the time. Who does? It's exhausting. I've found an inner peace that I didn't know I had anymore. The more I accept the things I can not change - the happier I have become. I've let go of a lot of old resentment, and I'm learning to put the "not my problem" issues back on the people it belongs with.

I've lived most of my life thinking that there was something incredibly wrong with me. I believed I was stupid, worthless, ugly, and that I wouldn't amount to anything. I've believed that I was lazy, and incompetent, self absorbed, and ignorant. It's no wonder I've had such a hard time with good self talk when you have all these negatives running around your brain. I am none of these things. I'm no saint, and I'm no Einstein - but I'm certainly a good person with a great deal of knowledge. I have a lot to offer, now I'm just searching for the right opportunity to share my experiences and my knowledge base in the right setting. I'm meant to do more than sell metal roofing.

My husband and I have been really focused on our health since my leg scare a few months ago. Nothing has ever terrified me more than the prospect of losing my ability to walk. So I walk. I walk a lot. I lift weights. I'm building muscle in my body. I'm pushing myself to limits. I'm using hurtful words and situations from my past as fuel to fight for what I want in my life.

25 LBS down, I'm now benching 70 lbs and dead lifting 70 lbs. When I first started I could barely lift the bar without weight on it. Progress.

Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better.

I am strong. I am brave. I will succeed.





Saturday, June 6, 2015

Brighter Days

I think the therapy is helping. I've been going for counseling for over a month, and not only do I like my therapist - but through the work she has me doing I'm starting to see myself, and other people, in a different light. I didn't realize how much shit and baggage I really had. I thought my baggage stemmed from this one event that has seemingly surrounded and suffocated my entire being: Surviving sexual abuse. But, my scars and my conditioning is so much deeper than this one event.

In some ways I think I still have a 10 year old trapped inside of me, desperately wanting acceptance and love. Some days, it's a 15 year old who wants to be understood but refuses to let anyone in. All these things, all this bullshit baggage - these things have made me who and what I am. And I'm (slowly) beginning to believe for once in my life that, I am NOT a bad person. I'm a slightly broken person who is trying to make the best of bad situations, and live as happily and as healthily as possible.

I'm pushing myself to come out of this titanium bunker I've built around myself. I'm very introverted and shy - which most people don't believe because normally I'm pretty loud, opinionated, and snarky. But that's a facade for what is happening on the inside. I'm TERRIFIED of people. I'm terrified of being judged, so to create a distraction from that, I make jokes and sarcastic comments about myself or situations. Unfortunately, I've become really good at being "the bitch" of the party. If people only knew how so not true that is. I didn't excel at theater for no good reason. I've become a master at putting on masks to fit situations and people.

One of the things that is very hard for me to do still is good self talk. I think we all have those days where we get out of bed and think "Fuck this shit, I'm too (insert negative self image here) to go outside of the house today". I know I have those days often. I have days where I refuse to look in the mirror because I know I won't be happy with what I see. But, those thoughts are toxic. You don't realize how toxic until you are physically unable to look in the mirror and FORCE yourself to say something positive about you. I struggle with this. While I may be coming to the realization that I'm not a bad person, that I didn't deserve the things I lived through - I still have trouble acknowledging that while I may be over weight - I am by no means defined by a number on a scale. In my heart I know this to be true. But my mind... it goes to very dark places like: You're too fat to be married. You're too fat to find another job that makes you less miserable. You're fat because you're weak. You are ugly. You are worthless. You are nothing.

Spending nearly 20 years of my life repeating those thoughts to myself is a hard cycle to break. And the biggest fear I have, and perhaps any of us have, is failure. Failure to lose weight. Failure to make something of myself. Failure to be a good person, or good friend, or good daughter. I haven't failed at these things. Success isn't a straight line from the bottom up. It's zig zags, and stumbles, and making mistakes to learn from. I haven't failed. I've grown.

Exercise. Eating healthier. Laughing. Meditating. Gardening. Playing with my cats. Spending time with my husband. Making new friends. Letting go of old hurts and grudges. These are the things that get me through each day. The more I forgive, the less weighed down I feel. The more I accept as truth, the less the "I can't" thoughts appear.

It's a slow process. I don't think I will ever be a person who won't need help getting passed my past. But I do think I will become a stronger person by over coming these things that have so long been an anchor keeping me at bay.

So, my point is... don't be so hard on yourself, and realize that everyone has those "Fuck this shit" days. It's how we over come those moments that define us as people. We can either allow them to swallow us whole - or we can dust ourselves off, and keep going.

I know there is more to my story than these negative things. What will your story be?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Healing

The transition from Winter to Spring (or Sprinter here... we actually had snow a few days last week) has been a rough one. There was a lot of death, and a lot of sadness. People are healing, slowly - and I think as a whole people are coming out of this winter haze - finally feeling the warmth of sunlight on their faces - renewing their desire for life. I know, for me, it has.

I've started seeing a counselor. I think this is something I've needed for a long time, but because of past experiences, have stayed away from. I don't open up easily to people - especially strangers. But I feel that if I want to move on in my life, get healthy - I need to get my emotional and mental state healthy, not just my physical state. I can eat better and exercise all I want - but if the demons of my past are still there haunting me - it's just a continuation of the same old cycle. It has to stop. Not dealing with my past and coming to terms with it has held me back in so many ways. I have to find a way to forgive people from my past, but also forgive myself for the bad choices I've made in my life. What's done is done - I can't change that. But I have to change my attitude about my past in order to move forward. I've been stuck in 1998 for so long, I don't know that I've lived the past near 20 years of my life fully.

Meditation is helping some. I'm quick to anger, and it's become increasingly (and dangerously) worse over the past few years. I recognize that about myself - I'm certainly not in denial about my behavior. Or my language. I'm afraid if I don't break this cycle now, eventually I'm going to hurt someone. I definitely don't want that. No one wants to be around a person who is angry all the time. So, between seeking counseling, meditation, eating better, and exercise - I hope that I can improve my emotional self into a more relaxed and happy person.

One thing I'm most afraid of is being left in the dust as my husband also makes a personal journey of his own. For years we've "tried" (and I say that loosely) getting healthy. We've gone paleo, gluten free, low carb, calorie counting, even bought into the hip hop abs and other fitness bullshit you get roped into on late night television. We decided to keep media out of it. Just eat healthy. Just walk every day. Drink water. See what happens. He's lost 14 lbs in three weeks. I'm incredibly happy for him - but he has tremendously less weight to lose than I do. I'm afraid of being left behind. Or replaced. Or both.

I know it seems ridiculously silly, I know that he loves me and supports me - but there is still lingering fear - that "what if" in the back of your mind.

Reducing stress in our lives is a big part of this. We've been so engulfed in other peoples drama for so long, that it was starting to consume our lives. Not to mention work stress and drama.

Exercise. Eat healthy. Drink water. Reduce stress. Talk to someone. Meditate. Find quiet time. Breathe. Remember to focus on Just Today. These are things that need to be front and center in my life. Tomorrow is only as threatening as today I allow it to be.



Saturday, March 28, 2015

#JustToday

The winter has been harsh. It's been cold, and gray, and unpleasant for everyone. Spring is breaking, but... so are people. Did you know that April & May, statistically, are the highest suicide months of the year? Most people assume it's the middle of winter, the Holidays, things that remind them of being alone. But it's the spring, the end of winter, and birth of a new season that seems to bring a tragic end to so many lives. But, why? What is the rationale behind this?

Some studies claim that maximum peak sunlight during the spring season trigger a psychological effect causing people to lose their will to live. There's a theory, or at least hypothesis, that suicide is more likely during an intermediate phase as depression abates. When depression is "over" people generally feel an incentive to live. But when depression is at a maximum people also are not likely to commit suicide because of extreme lethargy, lack of ability to focus on a suicide plan, and so on. Obviously these factors depend on the individual kind and depth of depression. In any event, in the intermediate phase between these two times there is plenty of energy and ability to focus. And the person may not be optimistic or patient for continued recovery as they "should" be.

Hence the "counter-intuitive" pattern. And it would fit in well with seasonal change for those affected by it.><

"APRIL is the cruelest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain."

— T.S. Eliot, The Wasteland

There has been another loss. As my friend Cheryl is going through her grief, another family is mourning the loss of a loved one. A co-worker, but albeit, not a close co-worker, committed suicide this week. I've spoke with him on many occasions over the years, but never had the opportunity to meet him in person. There are 10 divisions where I work, and he was stationed in Florida. My first instinct is to question why, and what would drive a person to do this.

But, unfortunately I know that answer. Maybe, all too well.

At some time in a persons life, the thought of ending it all crosses our minds. For some, it's just a fleeting thought that is quickly brushed away, and is not thought of again. For others, especially those that by psychology standards are "damaged" - consider this notion quite frequently. It's methodical, and planned. Some just use the thought and the planning process as their means of deflating - then there are those that set the plan in motion. Below, this is something I have never shared publicly.

Somewhere between theatre class and finding out that the person who sexually abused me my entire childhood had died - a part of me died inside. I wasn't sad that this person had passed away. I was more angry that I never had justice, or even the support of people who were supposed to protect me before this persons death. I harbored a lot of anger, and resentment - and that resentment came out in very ugly, and destructive ways. For years before my "break down" I was what people call a self injurer. Self injury, for me, was not about killing myself. It was an unhealthy way for me to escape emotional trauma that I was not able to handle. Physical pain was easier to deal with than the war that was going on inside my head over what I had lived through, the consequences of speaking out about the abuse, and the aftermath of living with the belief that I single-handedly destroyed my family unit - creating a world where I was the bad guy, not the person who was actually responsible for years of terror and hell in my life.

I have also lived the last 20 years of my life believing I should not ever discuss this out loud with anyone because it would be shameful and throw a bad light on my family.

Not talking about this - Not bringing to light the events in my life that have so deeply scarred me in ways I can't begin to describe - is exactly what led to my decision to stop everything at 19.

Now, let me be clear about something. My family loves me to the moon and back. They never MEANT to hurt me, they never INTENTIONALLY tried to hurt me or make me feel like I was not a victim in this. It has, however, taken me years to come to peace with that. At 19, I wasn't ready to make nice. I wasn't ready for making peace. I was angry. I was volatile. I was destructive. And I was in pain. And I just wanted it all to STOP.

I don't remember what I did.

What I remember is making a choice. I remember that choice was: I am done with this life. I am ok with being done with this life. I love my family, but I need to do this for me, to be at peace.

Everything after that is a blur. I remember my parents getting me from college. I remember being admitted to Dartmouth Hitchcock medical center for a psychotic break. I remember being on suicide watch - and having my shoe laces, nail clippers, and every other item they deemed dangerous taken away from me. I remember having to check in every 15 minutes with the receptionist to ensure I was still alive. I remember a team of doctors coming in to my room with interns, and asking me if it was ok that the interns observe our "meeting". I remember writing in my journal - poetry mostly - about death, about life, about living in pain. In that time, I was misdiagnosed as having boarder line personality disorder, along with depression and anxiety issues. When I was 22, I was correctly diagnosed with D.I.D. (Dissociative Identity Disorder). I was placed on Risperdol, Clonapin, and Celexa. And in all honesty, they made me feel disconnected and zombie like.

After being released from the hospital, I went through group therapy. The people I met while there, were incredible. There was one girl in particular - that I connected with the most. She was one of the saddest people I've ever met, but one of the most beautiful people - inside and out. She didn't think so. She had a hard life. Then there were the people who were there because they were forced to be there. The people who chose to harden themselves.

When I was 19, I wanted to die.

I no longer feel that way about myself. I am grateful that I came through that period in my life. I don't know that I will ever be "over" what I lived through. I don't think someone really recovers from that. I still struggle with depression, which ranges from not dealing fully with my past, to weight & self image issues, as well as severe anxiety. But, it's manageable. And I feel that life is worth living every deliriously happy, and painfully sad moment.

Without great grief, there can not be great joy.

I chose to live every moment. And I don't regret a thing.

But I do feel that there needs to be more people lighting up the dark. There needs to be more support and awareness for suicide, and depression, and anxiety disorders. Sometimes the people who smile the brightest are in the darkest of places. Be a beacon for people. Be a person that someone can come to and say "I am in pain, and I need help".

I can't say enough good things about the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. I've used this in the past, and they are there to help, not judge. If you or someone you know needs help, please, give them the information for National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - it's safe, it's confidential, and it can save a life.

http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Friday, March 20, 2015

Coffee

Who doesn't love a good cup of coffee? I know that I certainly do, but rarely have the opportunity to make myself a good, strong, perfectly smooth cup of coffee. I drink the coffee that's made, where ever I may be. Admittedly, if I were to suddenly stop drinking coffee, I'm pretty sure I would feel as if I were growing a brain tumor from caffeine withdrawal.

Today, I hobbled into my kitchen and made myself a cup of strong, bold, beautiful, frothy, creamy cappuccino. I. Am. In. Heaven. It really isn't rocket science to make - it just takes time, and patience.

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I have one of those really fine mesh strainers for loose tea leaves that I use for this. I fill that with 3 or 4 heaping tablespoons of a good brand strong coffee into the strainer. Boil 1/2 cup of water, and pour into a coffee mug. Gently place the mesh strainer directly into the coffee mug, and allow to steep for 5-10 minutes (depending on how strong you like your coffee). In a small heavy bottom pot, steam 3/4 cup of milk. Once steamed, what I do is put it in one of my magic bullet cups with the whipping blade, a pinch of cinnamon, and I whip the crap of it until it makes foam. Remove the mesh strainer from the coffee cup, and pour in your steamed milk and foam on top. If you like sweet coffee, you can add a tablespoon of sugar before adding the steamed milk.

This is so so so good. And you don't need to spend $7.00 at a fancy schmancy coffee house to get a great cup of coffee.

Among making fabulous coffee, I also cleaned out our little 4' x 4' foyer entry area. OMG it was disgusting. Apparently we haven't ever moved anything in there in... years? Why am I admitting this on my blog... good grief. Well, after sweeping up 2 lbs of dirt, cob webs, and throwing away a bunch of useless crap - I found, I have another bag (at least) of useless crap to go through still. How does all this stuff fit into one tiny space?? I have too much stuff. But, I did find a bunch of really cute shoes that I completely forgot I had! Score! I also found some jackets that I never wore because the arms are too tight that I'm going to sell on line. I told BJ that ** we have to ** get this house decluttered and organized. I think part of our complacency is that we just let stuff build up and build up - and we sort of just deal with it. I'm tired of having so much stuff. I would rather have a nice clean house with fewer things than a house filled with things that I do absolutely nothing with that collect dust.

I miss how my living room USED to look. We have this huge, ugly, clunky faux leather horse shoe sectional now. It's uncomfortable, and too big for this house. But, my living room used to have this cute little brown soft sofa, and the doll house my Grandfather made me when I was little were perfect for this area.

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We'll see how far we get this weekend. I'd at least like to get the kitchen & Pantry cleared out. I would also like to get those rooms repainted early this spring. What are good kitchen colors? I'm deathly bored of white. I need to find a good cheerful color. I wish I had a magic wand that I could wave, and poof! It would all be done. I guess it doesn't work that way.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Crafty goodness

Well, since I'm temporarily immobile and have time on my hands, I figure I may as well do something with my time. Updating my blog seems like a good place to start. I went on Etsy today and asked in the forum if people still blog - or is it a dying art? There were many responses, which I'm grateful for. I found a nice group of new blogs I am following, that have inspired me to write a blog about my craft life.

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This is my work bench in my craft room. Admittedly, I seem to "craft" all over the house. We made this craft room with the good intention of keeping our hobbies in one designated area. I have come to the conclusion that the creative process doesn't like walls. It doesn't have boundaries, and it definitely can not be contained. Even in a room made entirely for the purpose of creativity.

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I've had that butterfly fabric for years, and I never knew what to do with it. I don't really sew much, but somehow have collected tons of fabric over the years. I needed something better to look at than a blank brown wall of a closet. We turned a closet into my work bench area - it seemed to serve the best purpose.

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While I primarily make jewelry - we do have a variety of other things we like to dabble in. Before making jewelry, I would do decorative painting with my Mom - hence all the paint. BJ painted ceramics before I met him - and it's something he enjoys doing, especially around the Holidays. The wooden bench in the corner we custom built in the craft room for BJ to have a space to paint, and to do his chainmaille. BJ doesn't have much wood working experience, however, my Father and my Grandfather both did wood working. I spent a lot of time in their work shops.

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So, this is (sometimes) where we create. But the reality is, you'll more likely find me with beads spread all over my bed while my husband plays XBox One, and my cats making a mess of things. All part of the creative process?

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And sometimes, just sometimes, we actually get things completed amid all the distractions.

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My creative process is pretty messy, actually. It normally consisted of beads everywhere. I never know what it is I'm going to make before I make it. I just start... putting things together. Sometimes they turn out. Sometimes they don't. Sometimes I get frustrated and don't bead for months on end. But then I have months where all I want to do is create - and can not focus on anything else.

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So, this is just a little insight into the on goings of what we do in our home to make the things we do - with a little assistance of the four legged babies.  photo 26f312d1-aa32-482d-9ed4-4f989c852d1b_zpsp3wqnqt7.jpg