Saturday, January 10, 2009

Charley Pride - one of the great country singers!

I love Charley Pride and grew up on his music. Just thought I'd let you know. :)

Does My Ring Hurt Your Finger

Kaw Liga

The Snakes Crawl at Night

Crystal Chandeliers

Flashback favourites: "This Is Your Song" by Don Goodwin

Here's one of the tracks from Music Power, an old K-tel LP I had as a kid.

If you're of a certain age, you likely haven't heard this in years...

Friday, January 09, 2009

Red means stop. Green means go.

This is kind of an ingenious barrier for stopping traffic from moving ahead at toll booths, etc. This must be from Europe. Never seen anything like it around here. Notice that the light was still red when the (second) driver decided to move forward... and notice the nice big oil spill afterwards.

You'd think an employee of Otis (the elevator people) would know the difference between stop and go, huh?

Low-carb snack idea: Pepperoni chips and sour cream dip

Work with me here, folks... I know it may sound a bit strange at first.

OK, so you take some sliced pepperoni (either pre-sliced or slice it yourself) and put it on a plate. Nuke it in the microwave for a minute or so, then turn over the slices and mix them up a bit. Nuke for another 30 seconds... more if they're not to your crispiness liking.

Basically, we're trying to make pepperoni "chips".

(Tip: I put the pepperoni on a paper towel for the initial 60-second zap in the microwave. Causes less mess and splattering.)

Once your "chips" are ready, take your favourite (plain) sour cream and use it as a dip! The cold sour cream works as a nice tangy companion to the spiciness of the hot pepperoni chips. There you go... low-carb chips and dip. Of course, you can also use salsa or a combination of salsa and sour cream for the dip.

As a variation, you could also cut a large pepperoni stick lengthwise into smaller "sticks" and microwave those if you'd prefer another shape to the pepperoni.

It's best to buy the pepperoni with the lowest carb count possible, of course! Check your labels!


Thursday, January 08, 2009

Elvis Presley would have been 74 today...

Here he is in a duet with his daughter Lisa Marie on In the Ghetto - thanks to the wonders of technology, that is.

Hallelujah! The old routine is back again...

Hump Day
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Editorial Page

I'm a real fan of the Christmas holidays, but it's time to return to our regular programming, as the television stations say when they're interrupted by a news bulletin or a football game that goes into extra innings. Or is that periods? I'm not a football fan, as you can see, which makes watching television difficult these days because that's all that's on, apparently.

I just watched my first non-rerun show of the year on Sunday and it was great! I don't think I've been watching anything but reruns and Christmas specials since mid-December. The lack of original programming during the holiday season is pretty obvious. Even the talk shows were in reruns until this week.

I start listening to Christmas music in September (well, maybe really August), so by the time January arrives, I'm about as sick of it as a person can be. I tried putting on a holiday CD a few days ago to once again try to delve into the holiday spirit, but was rolling my eyes after only one song and practically broke out in hives.

It appears that -- at least for the time being -- my halls have been hollied... my sugarplums have been fairied... my Santa Claus has come to town... my bells have been jingled... my grandmas have been run over by reindeer.

Now, like any guest who's overstayed their welcome, it's time for the holidays to take a hike and let life return to some sense of normalcy.

Of course, it will be impossible for retailers to allow this to happen, since they've already put up the Valentine's Day displays. A friend even saw an Easter candy display, too. Yeah, people buy their Easter candy in early January, right?

By the end of the month, all winter clothing will be on sale. By February, about the only things you'll be able to buy are a string bikini in the women's apparel section and a thong in the men's section. I don't look good in a thong. I'd better shop early. In April, we won't be able to buy anything but fall clothing. And by the time August rolls around, the only thing in the stores will be parkas and woolly mittens.

I welcome the return of routine. Whenever I'm on vacation, I have the horrible habit of "relaxing" on the sofa late at night, only to wake up between 1:55 and 2:05 a.m. (it's spooky). I drag myself groggily off the sofa, turn off lights and stumble to my room to yank my cat Cindy out of my bed (she's beneath the covers and sleeping by this point) and remove Casey from the laundry basket in my closet (dirty socks make him sleepy).

I crawl into bed and pass out again, only to be awakened at 5:55 a.m. by the radio alarm. Needless to say, the broken sleep cycle doesn't do wonders for me and I find myself back on the sofa for a power nap at 10 a.m.

Now that I'm back to work and into a more regular sleep pattern, I'll get back into the routine that works for me... going to bed at about 11:30 p.m. and waking up at 5:55 a.m. This may not seem like a lot of sleep to some people, but it works for me and has for many years. I'm one of those people who get tired if I get too much sleep.

It's good to have a routine. Just make sure it doesn't become a rut. Resolutions are a good antidote to ruts. With the arrival of a new year, I reject the notion that people shouldn't make resolutions. Of course we should! It's a great time to do so. Of course, a person can make a resolution at any other time of the year, but January seems to be a natural turning point. I know that, for me, January has been an excellent opportunity to turn over a new leaf and adopt some new habits and set some lofty goals.

If you want to set some resolutions for yourself, go ahead and do it! Dreaming is important and taking action to achieve those dreams is essential. If there are any naysayers surrounding you telling you that you can't do something that you want to achieve, then either buy some good earplugs or change the people you hang around with.

There's enough negativity in the world. Don't let yourself be influenced by people who want to keep you down just to make themselves feel good about their own inadequacies.

If you haven't already done so, rush out and read The Secret, or watch the movie. Buy some books on the subject of the law of attraction, start visualizing what you want to have and who you want to be. You've heard that basketball players visualize putting the ball in the net to increase their scoring, right? Well, the same can be done for your life. Visualize what you want. Believe it's yours. Take action. It will come to you.

Just don't sit in your chair thinking things will fall out of the sky. Since I've started reading up on the law of attraction (partial online definition from Wikipedia: "people's thoughts (both conscious and unconscious) dictate the reality of their lives"), I've lost weight, made more money, become more organized and have had more success than I ever had before. This stuff works.

To simply sit back like a helpless victim with the philosophy of "I have no control over what happens to me" and let "fate" take over is a sad way to live. Read some good self-help and personal development books. Believe that you're worth it. Believe that whatever you want is yours already. And if anyone tells you that this is all hogwash, tell them to take a hike and wallow in their own misery. You've turned a page.

This January, turn that page. And don't let anyone tell you that you can't.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Today's Hump Day column...

... is about the New Year and the possibilities that it brings. I'm a strong believer in the law of attraction. Everyone out there should do themselves a huge favour and read The Secret and anything and everything related to it.

In 2009, you can be everything you THINK you can be. Make sure you THINK and BELIEVE you can do great things.

Hump Day appears on the editorial page of today's Moncton Times & Transcript. It will be posted online on this blog tomorrow.

Low-carb "hot cereal": Birdseed porridge

This is a great alternative to wheat-based porridge. It's full of fibre and healthy goodness... and low in carbs, course! I got the basic recipe from the Internet, but for the life of me can't find it again, so I can't credit the original source. This is my own version, tweaked a bit:

- 1 tbsp raw sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp raw sunflower seeds
- 1 tbsp flax seeds (already ground or whole - doesn't matter)
- 1 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds
- 1 tbsp chia seeds (already ground or whole - doesn't matter)

Please note that the seeds noted above are raw and unsalted.

Grind the seeds in a coffee grinder or Magic Bullet. (I got a Magic Bullet for Christmas and LOVE IT... a smaller companion to my Vita-Mix, which I use for bigger jobs.) You can grind the seeds to whichever consistency you prefer - chunky, powdery, etc.

You can get all the above seeds at any health food store or bulk store. Everything is quite affordable, however the chia seeds can be pricey. They go a long way, though. And yes, the chia seeds are the same on the "chia pets". They're very good for you!

To the ground-up mixture, add:

- about 3/4 cup water
- cinnamon (1/2 tsp or more to taste)
- pinch of nutmeg (to taste)
- pinch of ginger or cloves (to taste)
- pinch of kosher or sea salt (optional, but a good idea to add some flavour)

Stir, place in microwave on high for about 75 seconds.

When done, stir and add:

- 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp roasted unsalted pumpkin seeds ("pepitas")
- 1 tbsp nut butter (I prefer almond or hazelnut)
- 1 tsp (or so) coconut oil or butter
- dash of pure almond extract (this really adds some flavour - any other sugar-free unsweetened extract would be good, too... vanilla, maple, etc.)
- OPTIONAL: sweetener (Splenda, stevia) - I am not using sweetener and prefer it sweet-free... not everything is meant to be sweet.

Stir in the seeds, nut butter, oil/butter and extract. The roasted/toasted seeds added in the second step add some nice crunch and texture. The nut butter adds some good fat and heartiness. The oil/butter adds some good fat and flavour.

This pretty much turns into a gelatinous lump of "dough", but it's delicious. I love it! (The chia seeds act as a thickening agent, which is the likely cause of the "gelling" affect.) Dive in with a spoon or fork!

Try it! Experiment with it! You'll love it, too, I'm sure. This is especially good with some boiled eggs. I bring this to the office often as my breakfast.

Sorry, I don't have nutritional information for this recipe. It would change every time depending on which nuts and fats you use.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Low-carb pizza crust made with cauliflower

If you're missing pizza in your low-carb way of life, this is a great substitute for the traditional high-carb wheat-based crust.

For the original source of this recipe, click here.

First of all, you need a batch of riced cauliflower. The easiest way to do it (for me, at least), was as follows:

- Throw a head of cauliflower into a food processor
- Process until the cauliflower is the size of grains of rice, like this:

Pretty simple, huh? Next step: take the riced cauliflower and place it in a covered microwave-safe dish and nuke it for a few minutes. For two cups, I nuked it for eight minutes. Two cups of raw riced cauliflower reduced to one cup (which is what you need for the recipe). Save the rest of the raw riced cauliflower for other batches. (Trust me... you'll be making this again!)

So, now that you have your one cup of cooked, riced cauliflower, you can proceed with the recipe:

- 1 cup cooked, riced cauliflower
- 1 egg
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 tsp fennel (I used fennel seed)
- 1 tsp oregano
- 2 tsp parsley (I used more than that, and used chopped, fresh parsley)

Preheat oven to 450F.

Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray. (You can also use a Silpat sheet, I suppose. I used the cookie sheet but will use a Silpat sheet next time. Parchment paper could also work, although the oven temperature is a bit high.)

In a medium bowl, combine cauliflower, egg and mozzarella. Press evenly on the pan. Sprinkle evenly with fennel, oregano and parsley.

Bake for 12-15 minutes (15-20 minutes if you double the recipe). (I baked it for 12 minutes but it could have stayed in a bit longer.)

Top with your favourite low-carb sauce and cooked pizza toppings, then place under the broiler for a few minutes and ta-dah! A pizza!

This recipe turned out great. The texture of the crust did take a bit of getting used to, however. It was a bit moist, but held together perfectly. It wasn't unpleasant by any means, but it was a bit bland. I would definitely add some cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes next time (to the crust) to make it a bit tastier. Using a Monterey Jack cheese with hot peppers instead of the mozarella would also turn up the heat a notch.

I processed an entire head of cauliflower in the food processor, so have lots and lots of riced cauliflower left to make more of these during the week. It's my new favourite thing... and you can definitely change the type of cheese you use and add various herbs and spices to your heart's content. It's very versatile.

This made a full meal for myself. I was definitely full afterwards!

Nutritional information for the crust: Calories - 434; Fat - 25 g; Carbs - 8 net (13 total); Fibre - 5 g; Protein - 41 g.


Have I told you lately that I love you?

This is too cute for words.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Today is Epiphany...

... which marks the visit of the three Magi to the Baby Jesus. It is considered the last day of the Christmas season. I thought this song would be appropriate for the occasion.

It's Sunday... and time for some cool music from Henry Mancini

Theme from the Pink Panther

Peter Gunn Theme

Moon River

Frosty windows

Here are some pics of frosty windows in my house that I took yesterday. Click on the photo for a high-res version.