Then Today Happened – 12.05.21

A few days ago the weather got cooler and thoughts of chili, soups, and stews started swirling in my head. Then today happened.

I mowed the back yard AND raked up leaves.

The Boss just got back from Sunday errands.

“Beer? It’s not even 5:00 0’clock!”

It’s also not supposed to be 75 degrees F here in December.

More Carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) please

Experiments in mice found that CMC, and some other emulsifiers, altered gut bacteria resulting in more severe disease in a range of chronic inflammatory conditions, including colitis, metabolic syndrome and colon cancer. However, the extent to which such results are applicable to humans had not been previously investigated. The team performed a randomized controlled-feeding study in healthy volunteers. Participants, housed at the study site, consumed an additive-free diet or an identical diet supplemented with carboxymethylcellulose (CMC). Because the diseases CMC promotes in mice take years to arise in humans, the researchers focused here on intestinal bacteria and metabolites. They found that CMC consumption changed the make-up of bacteria populating the colon, reducing select species. Furthermore, fecal samples from CMC-treated participants displayed a stark depletion of beneficial metabolites that are thought to normally maintain a healthy colon.

Georgia State University. “Ubiquitous food additive alters human microbiota and intestinal environment.” ScienceDaily. (accessed December 5, 2021).

For additional research start here


The Tale of Two Turkeys – 2021

T-Day this year was at our house and it was just the second time in nearly 20 years we hosted. For many years we traveled to Texas and one year we ended up in Owasso OK. But this year The Texans came north. We had a small gathering of five humans and one Aussie. Shopping for a small dinner crowd like this should have been simple. But as the Great Pandemic continues to affect aspects of our lives we all have not experienced I had to go to multiple stores to find what I needed. The sandwich meat and cheese purchase was left for the last day of shopping the day before T-Day. And as I circled the store searching for bargains I stumbled upon a refrigerated display of fresh turkeys.

Yup. Dried pasta is 50% more expensive per pound. A tub of strawberries was over $6.00 at the same store. Ground beef was seven times the price per pound. So I could not resist. I bought the little fellow.

nOn Sunday I roasted Turkey Two. I decided to cook the bird and freeze portions for future meals. My mind has been wandering to the many ways of making leftover turkey palatable. But it’s not been easy since we are tired of turkey right now. So in no particular order here’s what I learned this year shopping for the feast.

Take Home Lessons

  • During The Great Pandemic in the midst of shortages you will find items overbought and undersold in the stores. Take advantage of these situations if and when you find them. I’ve come across similar price reductions in different stores usually in the refrigerated departments. As an example, BOGO imported Danish Havarti with the sell by date out in March 2022. I guess none of my neighbors like Harvarti.
  • Be flexible. If you have to have strawberries you’ll pay up for them. But it might be time to eat other fruits that are more reasonably priced. Like bananas, apples, or those tiny oranges. Dried fruits work well too.
  • Eat lower on the food chain. I picked up a pound of dried black eyed peas for $1.50 because you have to have black eyed peas for New Years in my part of the world. Eat more beans because they are good for you and good for your checking account balance. Learn to like beans.
  • Add more meat-free meals to your diet. Yesterday for lunch I had Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew. Dinner tonight will be a massive mutant baked sweet potato and a side salad. You don’t need meat at every meal. Over the holiday weekend I happened to mention making Butternut Squash Enchilada Casserole. The reaction from our guest was priceless. I guess some people don’t like squash.
  • A six pound turkey doesn’t have a lot of turkey in it. This little fellow was kind of like a huge chicken only bonier. Still, I think I have enough cooked bird in the freezer for three more entrees.

Yup. Looks large but not a lot of meat.

Happy Thanksgiving 2021

Links to recipes for dishes from past Thanksgivings.


Squash Casserole

Texas Corn Bread

Your Grandmother’s Dressing (this is the real deal)

20 Sweet Potato Recipes – The First Mess

Guacamole – Asian Inspired

Zucchini, Corn & Red Pepper

Whole Wheat Banana Muffins (updated)

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes

White Chicken Chili (for the leftover turkey)

One Rotisserire Chicken, 50 Meals – #3 Sour Cream Chicken Enchillada Casserole (another recipe for leftover turkey)

The original Pecan Pie recipe because the source is Mom (Grandma Bev).

Yes, the pumpkin pie recipe is on the back of a can of pumpkin.

Random Thoughts Before Thanksgiving 2021

Sat 11/13

Random Thoughts

The digital display this morning was 172. Not surprising since I fasted a full day while having only a gallon of Gatorade mixed with 238 grams of Miralax two days ago. Thanksgiving is in less than two weeks. I might have discovered a fool proof method for losing a few pounds quickly. No solid food, no alcohol, flush out your GI tract.

A week ago we were in Lake Conroe TX for a wedding and since I had a ton of PTO saved up I took a week off from my Day Job. Over the years I’ve been guilty of preaching one thing and doing the exact opposite. I cannot recall the last time I took a full work week off. This year I took time off to take care of myself. It was a perfect week for a day of fasting. My vision exam was also an eye opener.


I learned a lot about myself this past week (not all good). The Future Best Seller? One day I sat my butt in my chair to work on my book and I wrote one paragraph. It took me an hour. Blog writing is easy. Book writing is difficult. Journal writing is easy. Writing a book is HARD WORK. Maybe a change in writing strategy is needed. I’ll book write as if I’m writing in my journal, tag the entry for later, and use that as the basis of an essay/chapter with a ton of rewriting and editing. Still might take an hour per paragraph…

I’m headed into the 2021 Holiday Season in a good frame of mind and seven pounds lighter than the day after Thanksgiving a year ago. (see Random Thoughts the Day After Thanksgiving 2020). The extended family has grown to the point where it’s nearly impossible to have everyone together at the same place and same time. For only the second time since moving north of the Red River we are hosting a Thanksgiving dinner. Four Texans are coming over and I’m almost ready with the majority of items needed already purchased. I even have dog treats for the new furry family member.

Moderate Alcohol Consumption is Associated with Reduced Risk of Heart Disease and Death From All Causes

The participants were followed for an average of 4.7 years and the study found that there was a reduced risk of CVD events for individuals consuming alcohol of 51-100, 101-150, and >150 g/week, compared to never consuming alcohol, regardless of gender. Consumption of 51-100 g/week was also associated with a reduced risk of all-cause mortality. Lead author, Dr Neumann, says the findings need to be interpreted with caution, as study participants were all initially healthy without prior CVD or other severe diseases, and may have been more physically and socially active than the wider ageing population.

Monash University. “Study of 18000+ US and Australian older people reveals moderate drinking protective against heart disease, more than for tea totalers: Moderate drinking of alcohol associated with reduced risk of heart disease and death from all causes, landmark study of older people reveals.” ScienceDaily. (accessed November 9, 2021).

I bet I’m not the only one calculating ounces to grams after reading the article.

Random Thoughts at Halloween 2021

October 31

The town we live in moved Halloween to October 30. Weather was perfect and last night felt almost like a pre-Pandemic Halloween full of tricks or treats. The majority of the kids were masked despite the fact it was an outdoors activity. We ran out of candy except for a few M&M’s and one Snickers bar. It felt…eeirly normal.

Many times in life I find myself ignorant of my own advice. There’s beer AND ice cream in the house. Excess candy would have made the situation worse. We all know the addictiveness of sugar and chocolate. I’ve been managing my addiction by eating chocolate covered granola bars but that’s another story.

When my weight was 200 my rationalizations were endless. It’s a whole lot better than 370. Everyone puts on weight as they age. My 38 inch jeans still fit. YOLO so have another beer… At 200 I felt my ideal weight was 175. This year I gained seven pounds to get to my ideal weight. YIKES.

With the goblins gone the annual Holiday Season for Gaining Weight has begun. Time to get super serious again and make better food choices. Portion control. Less snacking. More bourbon and scotch, less beer. Less granola, more oatmeal. The food swaps are endless. Pick what works for you (as long as they’re not chocolate covered granola bars).

I can fit into my 36 inch jeans but they are somewhat snug. The battle continues. Maybe I need to eat more Heart Healthy Small Bites.

Pumpkin Tree 2021

Heart Healthy Small Bites

Beyond the novelty, insects can offer heart-healthy nutrition, too. A January 2021 study in Critical Reviews in Food Science Nutrition said edible insects may have “high superior health benefits” due to high levels of vitamin B12, iron, zinc, fiber, essential amino acids, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and antioxidants. Rao pointed to crickets as a source of protein through their muscle-bound hind legs used for jumping.

Eating the right insects can provide nutrition … and might be good for the planet —

The American Heart Association states not all views expressed in American Heart Association News stories reflect the official position of the American Heart Association. But they published this story and it sure looks like an endorsement.

Cricket pancakes anyone?

Cricket pancakes? HAHAHA.