About Dana

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I'm a dichotomy of blue jeans, pretty jewelry, frugalista, and Southern girl living the simple rural life. I want to live my life holistically, thoughtfully, economically, and most of all gratefully, and encourage other women to do the same.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

One Resolution at a Time

When I was young and naive (ha ha), I made a list of 5 to 10 new resolutions at the beginning of each year. Now that I'm older and wiser (har de har), I know that's a really futile activity on which to spend my time. But I do spend some time each December reassessing my goals and what I most want to accomplish. Then I try to write JUST ONE resolution for the New Year.

In 2009, my resolution was simply to spend the year decluttering my house, and ultimately I hoped, my everyday life. I did accomplish some of this, but I will admit the decluttering continues throughout 2010 and will ramp up in 2011. I don't see it as a failure, however, because isn't that what a real resolution is all about?  A lifestyle change and not just one check box in the course of your life?

In 2010, my one resolution was to get healthy and get myself off the reflux medication I have been taking for years. I wanted to get educated about what was best for my body so that I could keep kickin' it into high gear even when I am 95! I am optimistic about traveling when I'm old and gray!!

I will admit I floundered for the first few months of the year, but then I started getting some great reading recommendations from my healthy friends and trainer at the gym where I work out. The books I read are about using food to heal your body. Then I met a wonderful alternative physician who worked with me to determine what was going on with my body. With his help, I stopped eating just a few foods that did not agree digestion-wise with my body and gained energy I was missing. With the addition of drinking juice from 1 1/2 lemons per day (to aid in digestion), I was off the medication! That was seven months ago, and I haven't needed anything since.

Although I did not set out to lose weight, I happily dropped nine pounds and two pant sizes and got back to pre-pregnancy weight! All without dieting, but just eating whole foods that were right for my body. Now don't be mistaken, I splurge with my sweet tooth and country cooking all the time, but with overall healthier practices, my body handles it all much better. Resolution achieved!

So what about 2011? This will be my year of forgiveness. TMI would not be appropriate, but there are a couple of people I have been struggling to forgive for things I feel they have wrongly done to me. So I am giving myself a year of forgiving, to heal myself and move on. I call it decluttering the mind and soul. Vive decluttering!

Hope you have a resolution in mind that will leave you happier and healthier at the end of 2011. Go easy on yourself. I've learned it takes a lot more time than what I was giving myself to accomplish the things I really want to achieve.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Flax Attack

Looking back over the year, 2010 was defined by my quest to be healthier and more energetic. And although there are lots of products being marketed out there, I've found that food and food supplements are the best ways to increase my energy level, good overall health, and (bonus!) even weight loss.

One of my new and easy-to-use friends is milled or ground flax seeds. I buy them in packets and pour them into my recycled spice shaker. You don't even have to have a nearby health food store for flax seeds; I find them in my local grocery store.
Flax seeds need to be ground for maximum benefit. I often buy mine already milled, but you can grind them in a coffee grinder.

It is easy to sprinkle on my morning cereal or my lunch salad. Honestly, I can't taste it so I don't have to worry about it altering the taste of my meal. That means I can sprinkle it all over my son's food, too, and he doesn't even know it!

But oh, the goodness it adds. An extra dose of Omega 3's and more fiber to my diet. And what woman doesn't need that for good health on the inside of our bodies and better skin on the outside!

Plus, flax seeds help reduce inflammation in the body. And inflammation is linked to all kinds of chronic illnesses and the negative toll cholesterol wreaks on your body. I'm thinking it will help me be as active as I am in my 40s as when I'm in my 80s. Hallelujah!

Sometimes, when I'm feeling bold, I'll just drink a tablespoon of flax seed oil instead. I may not get the fiber, but I get all the other goodness and probably more of it.

My goal has been and continues to be to add one healthy change at a time. For me, that's the way I can accomplish increasingly good things without becoming overwhelmed by too much change at once. Try it for yourself!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Lovin' Old Dogs

In human years, our dear Molly is 105 years old! That's why she looks like this all day.

 And we let her.
Until we disturb her with the camera flash.

Who? What? Where I am?

It only takes 20 seconds to fall back asleep again.

We love all of our animals. But I warned everyone last year that Molly may be on the way out.

Boy, did she prove me wrong. She has no reason to leave. If her arthritis is acting up, we bring the food and water to her (that's an "egg crate" mattress she's laying on under her bedding).

We love and pet her everyday. And the kitty, Miss Pitty Pat, gives her kisses. So why on earth would she leave us?


Monday, December 13, 2010

Southern Cornbread

Just made a pot of bean and sausage soup. And there's only one other thing that's needed. Cornbread, I say.

Here's my super duper fast and easy recipe for this Southern delicacy.

I use a cast iron skillet in the oven. It makes a delicious crispy crust while the inside is moist. A large cast iron skillet is on my Christmas list, but for now I just use two smaller ones.

I am into nutrition and fitness; however, cornbread is the one recipe where I totally stray and use bacon grease. Yes, I said it. I put about a teaspoon of bacon grease (from my trusty jar in the refrigerator) into each skillet. Double if you're lucky enough to have a large skillet. Heat the skillet and grease in a 450 degree oven for 10 minutes while you prepare the batter.

First, whisk together 2 cups of buttermilk (I use lowfat) and one large egg.

Next, add 1 3/4 cups of self-rising cornmeal and stir well.

That's it, baby! Now take the hot skillet(s) out of the oven and pour in the batter. See how it's cooking already?

Put back in the oven for 15-20 minutes. It totally depends on the temperature of your oven. Just take it out when it is nice and golden brown on the top.

Like this.

Invert onto cutting board and cut into slices.

Gotta go eat,

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

He's Back to his Old Tricks

He's baaaaaaack.
Don't let him fool you. Tinsel looks happy. But Tinsel is MISCHIEVOUS.
He just came back two days ago, fresh in from helping Santa make toys. He came to check up on my son.

Overnight, he seems to have had a little fun with "Brother."

Brother just smiled through it all. We found him the next morning.
Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Feliz Navidad Supper

Are you like me and getting a little tired of turkey and ham this time of the year? In the South, it's very important to have a bird (or a side of pig) on the holiday menu.

I have another idea this time of year. My "feliz navidad" dish - taco salad!

Why ever would I call it Feliz Navidad? Look at the beautiful Christmas colors in this dish! And the happiest part for me is that it is a cinch to make and feeds a crowd for a last-minute dinner party idea. I have even made two of these to feed a VERY hungry group.

Start with a base of blue corn tortilla chips (organic is great, if you can find them) on a large platter.

Layer on a deep green vegetable over the chips, such as fresh spinach. Then cook 1/2 to 1 pound ground venison or beef with taco seasoning, draining the fat as necessary. I like to use deer meat when possible because it is much leaner and has less artery-clogging fat. But sometimes I run out (it's not deer season all year long!), and I will use ground round.

Next, open and rinse a can of black beans and a can of dark red kidney beans. I sprinkle on about 3/4 of each can, for an extra protein boost to fill up the boys all night long!

Next, chop and add a tomato to the top. Dress it with dollops of light sour cream and salsa. In a pinch, I usually use jarred salsa, but I'll give my homemade recipe in a later post. Top with a sprinkling of grated Monterrey Jack cheese, and wa-la! You are done.

I'm a big proponent of using what you have, so you can substitute colby or cheddar cheese, or even mozzarella. Since I live out a little piece in the country, it's not very easy for me to run to the grocery store if I'm out of something.

Hope you will enjoy at one of your gatherings this season!