Food and Weight: An Ongoing Journey

Archive for the ‘Endorsements’ Category

I finally bought a multi-purpose cooker.


I’ve wanted to get rid of a couple of my slow cookers, so when I read on The about the Instant Pot, I thought I would get one and give it a try.

Found it through quickly enough and, when it came, I offered my two largest slow cookers to two different friends, each of whom gave one a good home.

My first attempt was one of the recipes that came in the booklet that accompanied the pot – turkey wings braised in stock with cranberries and walnuts. There is a learning curve with this thing. The dashboard isn’t quite as complicated as the space shuttle, but there are things I need to remember to do each time I set it up. However, in my opinion, it’s going to be worth learning. The turkey came out moist and tasty (although I would have spiced it differently). My next project will be either stew or soup – not sure which yet. Not in much of a rush either, being summer.

In other health news, I’ve been dropped by Medicaid. They claim my income is too high because of the disability award. I think they counted the retroactive payment, but try to prove that…. In any event, the Medicare kicks in on 1 August, so I am learning the ropes of yet another bureaucracy. I have chosen a supplement plan that almost fits my budget (it covers a number of medical possibilities that I need to – as a cardiac patient – keep in mind). The problem is the prescription plan. The one AARP is offering requires that I use a by-mail service to fill prescriptions, although I can – in an emergency – use any of a list of specific chain pharmacies. I have had bad experiences with by-mail prescription services in the past, and I have no reason to believe they have improved over the years. I also don’t want to use a chain pharmacy. I have a perfectly good local pharmacist, within walking distance of my house and my doctor’s office. I have been using this drugstore for a decade, and I want to continue using them. So unless I can find a Part D plan that will allow me to use my regular pharmacy, I am looking at having to pay for my meds out of pocket. Fortunately, my most expensive med is $38/month, the next most expensive is $24/month, and the others are $15/month. I have discussed these things with the roommate, and she agrees that the cost of the meds is not excessive. However, I am told that I have until the end of October to choose a prescription plan, so I will keep looking.

I got some serious – for me, anyway – walking done at the Northeast Floating Filk Convention in June. Almost five days of close to or over 1000 steps. I need to keep it up, so I don’t lose the ability, but it’s hard to get myself moving.

I’ve also done a bit of decluttering lately. Spent much of Thursday shredding old papers I no longer need. On Wednesday, the housekeeper helped me tackle the last big pile of stuff in my bedroom. Laundry has been taken in, and when it comes back, I will do some more culling. I am trying to follow Marie Kondo’s dictum that if it doesn’t spark joy it goes out. I also got my sock drawer organized so I can find socks and open the drawer without problems. The next big purchase I make will be either a chest or dresser. The one I inherited from Marc’s mom is slowly falling apart. The bottom drawer is totally unusable. If I can fit it into my room, I’d love an eight- or nine-drawer dresser, with a mirror. If not, I would be okay with a five- or six-drawer chest that fits into the space my old chest uses.

So, that’s what’s been going on in my life lately — in between dealing with various friends being in hospitals. Hopefully, this month will provide a bit of breathing room.

NOTE: Image courtesy of Instant Pot


Got home Friday, but was really too tired to think to write.

The thing is, neither my primary care guy, nor I, wanted me home until the cellulitis was thoroughly licked. However, the infectious diseases guy decided to switch me from intravenous to oral meds. Once that happens, there is no need for a hospital bed. As my physician, my primary care guy wanted to keep me in; as a hospital administrator, he’s kind of bound to follow the hospital’s policies, rather than fighting them. So, I’m home, on two antibiotics, and in my own bed again. OTOH, the food at home is a hell of a lot better. Follow up appointment is in place already; so I just have to reschedule the dentist, and talk to him about his timetable for the needed dental work, so I can then schedule the open heart surgery.

Of course, given that things often don’t run smoothly for me, I was not surprised when I woke up this morning with all the symptoms of a cold. given the two antibiotics, I wasn’t sure if I could use my standard cold remedy (Coricidin HBP Cold & Flu) safely, but it being Sunday, I knew no one is at my doctor’s office. However, I had downloaded Doctor on Demand, the new mobile “connect with a doctor” service started by Dr. Phil McGraw and his son. While the normal co-pay for the service is $40 for a 15 minute visit, until the end of February, all calls to the service are free (you do have to give them your credit information, though). I called, was assigned to a doctor within about 20 seconds, and the doctor not only answered the questions I had about using the cold meds with all the other meds I’m taking, he was able to give me a little reassurance about where and with whom I am having the open heart surgery done. Again, I don’t expect to be using them often, because I do have excellent Real Life physicians, but I can see where this is a very useful backup for when those physicians are not available. It can be downloaded for both iPhone and Android devices, and – whether you like or hate Dr. Phil – is a useful thing.

Other than that, not much is happening this weekend. I am being kind to myself by trying not to overdo things.


Okay. I’m starting this one before weigh-in because I have something to tell you about.

I recently received a sample of Big Train’s Low Carb Hot Chocolate. I don’t remember how or why I received it, but I tried it the other day…it was darned cold in here, what with the Landlord rationing heat until the problems that prevented oil trucks from getting down our street were fixed. Anyway, I ran the stats through the Points Plus Calculator, and came up with 2 Points Plus per packet. And it tasted like proper hot chocolate should (and I’m spoiled on hot chocolate ever since a friend introduced me to the “you can almost chew it” brew that Jacques Torres makes). Anyway, I emailed the company, and their Nicky Hopkins responded and told me that it can be ordered online from, along with a number of their other products. Their actual website, Big Train, has a 2 lb can of the low carb hot cocoa for sale, as well as coffees, chais, and other beverage mixes. Please note that I have not received any recompense for this — I just tried the product and liked it enough to want to share it with all of you.

My walking has been pretty bad this week — between not being able to get off the block right after the hurricane, and being indoors most of this week because of the nor’easter and a cold, I got very little done.

  • 11/2: 0 steps
  • 11/3: 0 steps
  • 11/4: 0 steps
  • 11/5: 0 steps
  • 11/6: 1931 steps
  • 11/7: 0 steps
  • 11/8: 0 steps

Gonna have to start working on that again, so I don’t lose the ground I’ve worked so hard to gain.

Oh, in other news, in order to heat the house while our power was down last night, I tried a basic artisan bread recipe. I think that either my flour or yeast was too old, so the loaf didn’t rise as much as it should have, but it was tasty, and the crust came out just right. I am cautiously pleased. This is the first time I used a pizza stone to bake on, and the first time I have tried bread that was not in a loaf pan or a bread machine. Since I don’t have the formula tweaked yet, I am not providing a Points Plus value for the recipe.

Went to weigh-in this morning, and the result was pretty much what I expected, although I did n0t gain nearly as much as I had feared. Up 2.6 lbs., today’s weight is 248. However, I am totally back on track now, and feeling good about the future.

Today at meeting, we were discussing power foods, and also remembering why we joined Weight Watchers in the first place. (I joined this time because I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.) The discussion of power foods was really interesting because none of us knew as much about power foods as we thought we did. My next post will be about power foods, I think.

So, today’s questions are Why did you decide to do something about your weight? and If you are on Weight Watchers, how much do you know about power foods?

Anyway, peace out, and I’ll see everyone Monday! Have a great weekend!

Freelancers Union

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