Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Loaded Tuna Boats

Old El Paso Soft Flour Tortilla Bowl 8CtA few days ago I had a hankering for tuna fish, again. But, the usual old sandwich sounded a bit boring. So, I remembered seeing an ad for Old El Paso soft flour taco bowls and decided to try some. I stopped by our Maryville Hy-Vee store to pick up a package. I decided I would make tuna boats for lunch today. 

I had most of the other ingredients I needed from a previous shopping trip: red and green bell peppers, Claussen Hearty Garlic Deli Style pickles (in the cooler by the lunch meats), a red onion, Nature Sweet Cherub tomatoes, fresh cucumber, Miracle Whip, and some lemon pepper seasoning and garlic salt. 

Claussen Hearty Garlic Deli Style Sandwich Slices Pickles

I diced up about a tablespoon of each of the pickles, bell peppers, red onion, and the cucumber and added them to a bowl, except the tomatoes, which I halved. I added a 2.5 o.z. packet of tuna fish to the veggies and 2 tbsp of the Miracle whip, adding a dash or two of lemon pepper seasoning and some garlic salt.

Stir, stir, stir, and then divide in half and add to the soft flour taco boats. You could add other stuff, like shredded cheese, or put a leaf of lettuce under the tuna mixture, but I decided not to do so for this launch. You could also leave the tuna naked and just drizzle Kraft Cucumber Ranch dressing over everything, if you don't have the Miracle Whip. I've tried the tuna mix that way before and it tastes great.

After the tuna mix was in the taco boats, I topped each with three halved grape tomatoes, and sprinkled on a bit of black pepper. There you go. Tuna boats for the eating. With the added ingredients, there's enough for two.

Grab a fork, just in case. While you can pick these up and eat them with your hands, they get a little mushy. If you want to crisp the bowls up before you add the tuna mixture, you can pop them in a toaster oven or regular oven on 200 degrees for 3-5 minutes, depending on how crunchy you want them. Watch them carefully so they don't burn.

Norpro Nonstick Mini Tortilla Taco Salad Bowl Bakers New Set Of TwoIf you have a set of the tortilla bowl pans, like these, you can use the Old El Paso soft flour tortillas and make your own bowls, too. You can get a set of two through Walmart or get a set of four through Amazon. Either way, the tuna boats are going to be tasty.


 *Note: I am not an affiliate of any of the products linked on this page, nor of the retailers of the products. Just sharing the boat project.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Where Am I Going Wrong?

I've been trying very hard to stay with the fruit/veggie/protein balance thingy to keep blood sugars under control, but I'm going wrong somewhere. Maybe I should be eating all the forbidden stuff and leave the lettuce, bell peppers, diced onions, and the tomatoes to the rabbits, and leave the tuna in the sea. I'll stop grating frozen lemons into my water, and leave the frozen fruit for the morning smoothie in the freezer. Who needs them?

Armour Lunchmakers Ham Cracker Crunchers With Nestle Crunch BarI figured tonight, when I got home and checked the meter reading (the BS reading I call it) that it would tell me I shouldn't have indulged in that Armour Lunchmakers Ham Crackers Crunchers with the Nestle Crunch bar (Oaklie gave me permission!) for the afternoon snack (nor the Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pie that followed it - same permissive four-year-old was involved) because let's face it, according to the nutrition information they should have overextended my carb/sugar intake values for the day and caused a sugar spike.

Little Debbie Individually Wrapped Oatmeal Creme Pies 12CtThe numbers don't lie - well, the meter might, as I explained in a previous post. Even with those additions the numbers were down when I got home and checked it. I was even two hours late eating supper. Maybe it was the tuna fish and salad that kept the numbers down today. Perhaps it was the 10.1-mile cycling this morning. Perhaps it was the stress of shopping this afternoon. No, wait, stress is supposed to elevate it, kind of like it does your blood pressure.

Whether it was the Lunchmakers Cracker Crunchers or the Little Debbie that did it, I appreciate the lower numbers. It's the holidays. That's a good reason to indulge, right?

Original squirrel by @kyllik at Unsplash.com 

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Maybe I Should Have Skipped The Workout?

Should I have taken it as a sign to skip the workout this morning? I woke up an hour late. The batteries on the digital display for the workout bicycle decided to quit. And, I can't breathe well because my head and chest are congested.

I gave it the old "college try" anyway. After a few minutes of warm-up stretches, I grabbed the hand weights and climbed aboard the bike and started to pedal. Despite knowing the display didn't work, I found myself looking down to check it. Once I finished with the hand-weight part of this workout I tossed them over onto the bed and set the timer on the smartphone for fifty-five minutes, knowing I had already spent at least ten pedaling and using the weights.

I cycle to the same music and keep pace with it, so I am assuming my speed wasn't diminished any. But there's no way to know for sure how many calories I burned, whether or not I made the ten-mile minimum, or what my pulse reached. I've estimated them all on the high-side. Hey, there's no digital readout to prove me wrong, is there? Come to think of it, I should have added an extra fifty calories on for the weights, because it doesn't factor those in for me.

A couple of people have asked about home exercise cycles, so here's the one I use. It's an Exerpeutic Folding Recumbent Exercise Bicycle. It is manufactured by Paradigm Health & Wellness, Inc. You can get them through Walmart. Mine is a few years old, but it still works well. In fact, I haven't had to put new batteries in the display box for a while, which is probably why I forgot that it had batteries that would need replacement.

It's whisper-quiet, so if you're working out in an open area, even in front of the TV watching a movie, it won't be a noise nuisance. It pedals smoothly and the digital readout will keep you up-to-date on your numbers. I reset mine with every workout, that way I don't have to do math when I go to fill out the exercise log. It has a very comfortable height-adjustable seat, and it's very stable. The vinyl on the seat and backrest are easily wiped down with some spray Lysol and a paper towel after each workout.I really like the fact that it's easy to fold up and away, too, and doesn't take up much space when not in use.

Maybe I should have skipped the workout this morning and simply gone back to bed, but I'm glad I didn't. I actually look forward to using this little machine to help me get back in shape so I can get the road bike out this summer. (Don't tell the exercise bike, though. It may have a jealous streak.)

Note: I am not an affiliate for these product manufacturers or retailers. Just sharing what I like.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Rely on ReliOn?

I've been very diligent lately in my eating habits, getting at least an hour of exercise per day, and checking blood sugar levels multiple times per day. But now, I have to wonder if the readings I've been getting are even accurate.

ReliOn Prime Blood Glucose Monitoring System, BlueA few weeks ago, I had to ditch my old ReliOn meter because I found out that it may not have been working properly and may have, for the last three years, whether due to faulty technical design or faulty test strips, been giving me faulty readings. In fact, I found out that different lot #s of the strips had been recalled several times over several years prior to my purchasing it at Walmart.

So, before buying another one I researched the meters out there and decided to give the brand another chance. I purchased a ReliOn Prime, and 100 test strips to go with it. It was the most affordable option and the reviews I was seeing were encouraging.

It's a bit more of a challenge to use, getting those tiny strips inserted properly as there is a notch in the end of the meter and if it's not in correctly the meter won't activate. Getting the strip to take up the blood sample, too, seems more awkward than the Ultima, but I've mastered it. I am beginning to rethink my choice, however, especially after the two tests a moment ago.

I followed the required procedure, cleaning my fingers thoroughly with an alcohol prep pad and let them dry. After inserting the test strip, I used the lancet to make the stick. Everything seemed fine. But, wow, the reading was way too high. The only thing I could guess was that it was a false reading, or a faulty strip. So, I moved over to the other finger, which I also cleaned with alcohol and let dry before inserting a new strip. Another finger stick. Pow! It was down 196 points . . . in one minute's time. Two wildly different readings within a minute on two fingers of the same hand using two different blood drops. I must have the fastest blood sugar leveling in the world! No. That can't be it.

Maybe my blood is channeling the glucose differently to different fingers? I guess I just need to find the one that will give me the lowest reading and always use that one, right? I'm no scientist, but I know that's not occurring. That's not even logical. Maybe I should test on my toes? My upper arm? Maybe an eyebrow? The only thing I can think of is that the strips and/or the meter are not working properly, which makes every reading I've taken with it over the last few weeks (over 100 tests) suspect.

It will be a challenge (and costly) finding a new meter. I will likely send this ReliOn to the trash bin. No, I won't be recommending it to any of my friends. I value them too highly. Personally, I'm not comfortable using a meter that can't seem to make up its own mind, especially when my life depends on the accuracy of its results. I know there are folks out there that say that 80-85% accuracy and a 20% differential in multiple readings is completely acceptable, but I think they're foolish. If a car dealer was planning to sell me a car and told me that I could only expect it to be 80-85% reliable, I would be walking off the lot looking for a better option.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Deliciousness Straight Out Of The Sunday Oven

A few days ago, my mother made pulled pork for a special dinner in town. There was some left over from the half she took with her. The other half is chilling out in the freezer for later use. I decided to use up the last couple of ounces of the thawed pork for this dish.
Chobani Plain Non-Fat Greek YogurtI have been craving pizza. Missing the taste of my favorite cheese, since I gave it up over two weeks ago. Today I decided to indulge myself. So I prepared the homemade crust recipe I came across some time before (1 cup self-rising flour, to which I added some Italian seasoning and garlic salt), and mixed that with 1 cup of Chobani Greek  yogurt (it takes two of the 5.3 oz cups of this). I let it rise for the required 15-20 minutes, then rolled it out on a floured surface. You can also push it out with your hands onto a nonstick pizza pan. 

Kraft Shredded Mexican Style Taco CheeseWhile the dough was rising (it doesn't rise very much) I chopped up fresh garlic (2 small cloves), red and green bell pepper, and red onion (about 1/4 cup each), and one small ripe tomato. Then I brought out the jar of Ragu Homemade Style Pizza Sauce, and the bag of Kraft Expertly-Paired Mexican Style shredded cheese (about 1- 2 oz of it.) I bought both at our Maryville Hy-Vee store.

Ragu Homemade Style Pizza SauceWith the rolled dough on the pizza pan, I ladled on about 1/2 jar of the pizza sauce, spreading it all the way out to the edges, and then sprinkled on an ounce of the cheese. After that, I sprinkled minced garlic, then each of the diced veggies, and then added about 2-3 ounces of the cooked pulled pork. I topped this off with the rest of the cheese. Into a 375° oven for 25 minutes.

Can you smell that? That's deliciousness right from the oven.

The result was a medium-sized soft crust Italian-seasoned pizza, about 1/4" thick, sprinkled with some of my favorite things. A great way to handle Sunday lunch.  I'm thinking the next time, however, I'll just add the veggies and some of that Herdez Verde salsa and pulled pork to the crust, and maybe some different seasoning in the crust. I will mull that over while I polish off a slice of this.

I am certain, however, that I'm going to make a square pizza. They're easier. Might even taste better, but this one is pretty good. I think it could have used a little salt and pepper, but if you're watching your salt intake, you can skip it.

Note: I am not an affiliate of these product manufacturers nor of the stores where I buy the products. 
I am just sharing what I like. Hope you enjoy it too!

Saturday, December 8, 2018

My New Favorite Sandwich

Herdez Verde Salsa

I have a new favorite sandwich. I'm a little hesitant to share the recipe . . . but since you look really hungry, here's what you need.

Take a couple of ounces of pre-cooked pulled pork, sprinkle it with minced onion, and garlic salt, microwave for about a minute, add 1-2 tbsp of mild Herdez Salsa Verde (available at Hy-Vee or Walmart), and mix. Pile it on two slices of toasted  Country sourdough bread.

That's it.Just so I had some veggies, I added a small bowl with sliced cucumbers and Nature Sweet Cherub tomatoes with 2 tsp of Kraft Zesty Italian dressing on the side. Yum!

You will have to make your own. I already ate it all. 

Nature Sweet Cherubs
Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing

Thursday, December 6, 2018

What To Do While Cycling - Without Crashing

It's winter here now, and since I'm a fair-weather pedaler my daily cycling happens on a stationary bike, which, without some distraction can be somewhat boring. I nearly always listen to music that has various instrumental pieces mixed together that are a combination of upbeat and a few that are more relaxing, so that I'm sure to pedal faster at times and to give myself a rest at times. Sometimes I will listen to an audiobook on YouTube. The big problem is to prevent yourself from becoming bored because, let's face it, the scenery isn't going to change much. In addition to the music, I also use hand weights to make the workout a bit more challenging, but you can only lift those for so long before your arms get tired and encourage your legs to quit too.

To keep that 'quitter' attitude from taking root, I had to find different ways to distract myself. Sometimes I use the Kindle and catch up on my reading list, especially of books I wish to review. Other times I just close my eyes and listen to the music. Don't try that on a road bike or you will crash. Today, while whittling away at the morning miles I decided to design something.

I designed a bicycle trailer for long distance trips. In part, it was based on a couple of others I had seen made by Paul Elkins, except it had a lot of creature-comfort features those didn't. As I don't actually know how to build one, I am skeptical that it will ever be constructed, but in my imagination it took less than two miles to have it worked out. The results? It worked perfectly. There were no design or operational flaws when I mentally hooked it up to the road bike. The tires didn't go flat. The solar array perfected charged the mini battery inside for power later, and it rolled smoothly along. It's features deployed without incident, and it was the perfect balance of weight, while still being highly maneuverable. In that alternate reality, the results couldn't be better. In this reality, it might have had issues.

Nevertheless, the activity kept my mind off the miles I had to pedal and  before I knew it, it was time to pull to a stop and put the bike trailer away, mentally anyway. Lord willing, I'll design something new tomorrow, or perhaps I'll just pack the trailer and 'head' off on a journey, envisioning a nice, moderately challenging paved road, perhaps through Utah. As long as the virtual ground is not frozen and icy, it's doable. If it turns out the weather in the alternate reality isn't favorable, I'll outline a new novel or edit one of my works in progress.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Trying New Things

I'm not one for being really adventurous in a culinary sense. I know what I like. I know what I can't a have as far as food allergies, but a little deviation from the usual can turn those boring lunchtime sandwiches into something better.

StarKist Tuna Creations Lemon Pepper TunaIn an effort to bring my blood sugar under control, and add in some vitamins I may have been missing, I have had to get back to basics. I have been eating more fruits and veggies, making smoothies, and trying to do a better job of balancing proteins, and staying away from high-protein diets. Moderation is the keyword in thinking about menus.

Our local Hy-Vee had tuna on sale this last week, so I restocked on it. It's one of the 'fishes' I can have, and that I actually like. I like catfish too, but if I have to rely on my fishing skills to eat -- well, let's just say weight loss wouldn't be an issue. Aside from the regular tuna pouches I buy, they had StarKist's Tuna Creations on sale, so I tried one. Lemon Pepper.

Real Mayonnaise Pouch 8ozIt became part of my supper tonight, with sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, diced red bell pepper, and diced red onion, as well as some Duke's real mayonnaise, which I bought at a Price Cutter store when I was in a Springfield, Missouri a while back. They had them on sale and I decided to give them a try. In addition to the regular style mayo jar, I found it in these handy little squeezable pouches. I bought a couple and brought them home with me. It is delicious.

And, because the tuna and the mayo are both in pouches, I can throw them in a lunchbox with an ice pack or two, a couple slices of pretoasted Brownberry Country Sourdough, or a croissant, and some sliced tomatoes, cucumbers,, onions, and red bell pepper in a Ziploc bag without having to mix everything until I'm ready to eat. It keeps the 'breads' from going soggy.

Ziploc Quart Double Zipper Storage BagsI really like all of these products and will definitely be buying them again. I should say here, I'm not an affiliate marketer for these products. They're listed here because I've tried them and I like them. It's as simple as that. If you click on the links in this post, you'll be taken to the sites associated with where I purchased the products, but I get no compensation from these manufacturers. I share what I like, and sometimes what I don't like (and why), and I hope the information helps someone else who's looking to try a little something new to keep their home menu from getting boring.