Sunday, July 29, 2007

Nice weather=walking

I was up until about 3AM this morning; ended up doing a Hex marathon yesterday because I had about 10 episodes stacked up. Hex is kind of like a grittier, less campy BBC version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Yesterday and today it has been so nice out I have taken a break from riding the exercise bike. Saturday I walked for an hour around the neighborhood; trouble with this approach is with the areas that do not have sidewalks; to reach an hour of walking time I ended up looping around a few places and its hard to track the mileage.

Today I did this walk in an hour for a 3.6 mile walk. The map below shows the satellite imagery. If you just look at the plain map the walk does not look in the least bit impressive. Since I live in one of the areas that Google maps has hi-res images for, you can see some good detail if you zoom in to the max.

Click here for map in a new window

I must build myself up; in less than four weeks I will be out in New Jersey where my loving sister in law will subject me to "The Walk Of Death!"........and.....since I was able to do it three years ago when I was out in New Jersey, I WILL do it this year too....even if it kills me......

After my walk I headed over to Supercuts for a haircut, I'm going to through in some laundry and then head out to Meijer and Costco.

There's just not been much to blog about lately, just working and such, not much to report other than last weeks weight loss; four more pounds for a total of 57 in 18 weeks. 3 more to go and I will have shaved off the 60 pounds I gained after the divorce. Now I am just fat, not morbidly so.......

In retrospect, I must say what a fool I was to let myself go so badly while pining over the X wife. I am a good and loving person, all I can say at this point is its her loss, though, I still do love her so and wish her the best. At least I have things in perspective now though!

Saturday, July 21, 2007


There I was minding my business last night around 10PM playing Resident Evil in the dark on the entertainment PC, enjoying the spooky aspect on the 50" plasma, when there came a tapping, someone not quite gently rapping, pounding on my chamber door!

It's just the wind, said I and nothing more........

Well, actually it was my son and a friend who had picked him up down at Kettering and drove him home for the weekend.. We sat and chatted and watched assorted TV and were up until around 2AM. I headed off to bed and hear the friend's car depart around 4AM.

It was most awesome having this unexpected visit and time with my son yesterday!

Welcome global friends to the show that never ends....

After looking over my traffic statistics last night I must say "Greetings to our International visitors!" The past few days we have had visits from The Republic of Moldova, Canada, Spain, United Kingdom, Italy, Switzerland, China, Taiwan , Bosnia, and Herzegovina to name a few; seems as though my recipes are what bringing people here the most outside the US.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The week is against me!

I woke us this AM with vision so blurry I could barely drive to work, yet my blood sugar was only a few points higher than usual (it's always high in the morning) but nothing majorly high. Diabetes can be such fun some days, though realistically I must be positive because incidents like this care becoming fewer as I lose weight. It is still most disorienting when it happens though.

This week is just getting better and better, at least now several hours after getting up, my vision is beginning to clear. Were it not for work this would have been a great week to stay in bed!

At least I have Scott and Danielle for dinner this evening, I did not see them at all yesterday so it will be good to have them for a few hours tonight.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Sigh! I am having a very, very, BLUE period these past two days. Maybe work, missing my son, etc. is catching up with me.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Triple Play Fajitas

The grill was talking to me yesterday; I could swear I heard it whispering "Fajitas!". Of course, I was mistaken! When I got closer, I could hear it was saying "Triple Play Fajitas"! So, even though this meal takes a bit of time and effort to prepare, I went shopping, acquired the ingredients, and began! Four people ate and loved these yesterday, if you try them I am sure you will NOT be disappointed!

1.5 pounds flank steak
3 large chicken breasts
1 pound large shrimp (cleaned with tails removed)
3 large Onions cut in large wedges
2 red, 1 yellow, and 1 Green large Bell Peppers sliced6 cloves garlic, crushed
6 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1.5 teaspoons ground cumin
1.5 teaspoons smoked paprika
1.5 tablespoons Samball Oelek
3 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon Red Monkey Cajun Spice Rub
1 teaspoon Red Monkey Mango Habanero Rub
1 teaspoon Red Monkey BBQ Spice Rub
2 limes cut in half

On the side:
Fat Free Sour Cream
Shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
Shredded Lettuce
LA Tortilla Factory Tortillas

Wooden skewers
Non-stick cooking spray
3 large Ziploc freezer storage bags

Roll out flank steak flat and with a tenderizer mallet pound both sides of steak across entire surface. In one of the freezer bags add 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon Red Monkey BBQ Spice Rub, 1/2 tablespoon Samball Oelek, 2 cloves crushed garlic, 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground back pepper, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and the juice from 1/2 a lime. Mix well and add steak removing excess air from bag before sealing and then insuring steak is well covered in marinate. Place in fridge.

In one of the freezer bags add 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon Red Monkey Cajun Spice Rub, 1/2 tablespoon Samball Oelek, 2 cloves crushed garlic, 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground back pepper, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and the juice from 1/2 a lime. Mix well and add chicken breasts removing excess air from bag before sealing and then insuring chicken is well covered in marinate. Place in fridge.

Now the really fun part; take the shrimp and place on skewers. I make sure each shrimp is pierced by the large neck area and about half an inch from where the tail was (thus getting a skewer of shrimpy letter C's - this insures the shrimp do not move around while grilling or fall off of the skewer) As each skewer is completed break off or cut off the sharp end of the skewer to avoid puncturing the marinate bag. Once all the shrimp has been skewered, in the remaining freezer bag add 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon Red Monkey Mango Habanero Rub Rub, 1/2 tablespoon Samball Oelek, 2 cloves crushed garlic, 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground back pepper, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and the juice from 1/2 a lime. Mix well and add skewered shrimp removing excess air from bag before sealing and then insuring shrimp is well covered in marinate. Place in fridge.

For best results marinate at least several hours, turning the bags over every hour.

Spray a large frying pan liberally with non-stick cooking spray and place on medium heat. Add sliced peppers, cover and cook three minutes. Stir well, and spray surface of peppers with non-stick spray. Cook covered another three minutes. Remove cover spraying surface of peppers with non-stick spray and stir, and sprinkle 1/8th teaspoon freshly ground back pepper on top. Continue cooking until peppers are at your preference for fajitas; some like a bite to them, some like them soft so this can vary from a couple of minutes to another 6 minutes or so. Remove peppers to large disk and cover with plastic wrap. Do NOT clean frying pan, the remnants of the peppers cooking will give the onions an excellent flavor.

At this point your grill should be lit and allow to pre-heat to a temperature of 550 degrees. I used a gas grill. The meat will take about 8 to 9 minutes to cook, so time it with the onions preparation below.

Spray frying pan liberally with non-stick spray and and place on medium heat and add onions, sprinkling a half teaspoon of salt over the surface. Cover and cook three minutes. Stir well, and spray surface of onions with non-stick spray. Cook covered another three minutes. Remove cover spraying surface of onions with non-stick spray and stir, and sprinkle 1/8th teaspoon freshly ground back pepper on top. Continue cooking until onions are at your preference for fajitas; some like a bite to them, some like them soft so this can vary from a couple of minutes to another 6 minutes or so.

On the grill place the chicken breasts and cook three minutes. Add the flank steak and shrimp skewers and cook an additional three minutes. Squeeze juice from the remaining half lime over the meats and shrimp before turning and then squeeze the remainder over the top. Cook an additional 2-3 minutes until at done. Remove to cutting board and slice chicken and steak. Serve shrimp skewered on each plate.

That's it! Ready to eat! I like mine with all three types of meat, peppers, onions, fat free sour cream, cheese, lettuce, and either some hot taco sauce or additional Samball Oelek! This recipe serves four to six people depending on how hungry they all are. Other than various pasta dishes, this is my favorite non-pasta food.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Hark to the tale of the Park in the Dark

So far this weekend I have done an hour and thirty-five minutes on the exercise bike, 22 of that in a row at the higher level 6 resistance and 46 total for each workout covering 16 miles each day. These days I start with 2 minutes at level four, then 29 at level five, then 22 at level 6 and so on, finishing up with a minute or two at level five as a cool down.

Yesterday I also walked two miles and will probably do the same later as it is a nice sunny day that should not be warmer than the mid to upper 70's. However, last night on the way home from the X's house, trouble was indeed waiting for me in the unlighted gloomy depths of the park that sits between her development and my neighborhood. As I was leaving her house since it was late she has teased me offering a ride home so I would not be mugged in the park after dark, but, little did she know that there was indeed hidden danger lurking there!

As I had departed her house at 10PM there was still some faint light in the night sky and in her development there are cozy little street lights that cast some lighting making it easy enough to see the sidewalks under your feet. But, as I approached the park I felt a bit of unease as something was clearly different here, the swing sets and benches closest to the street spreading dark and malevolent looking shadows across the grass. The dark trees looking skeletal, evil, and, even dare I think it at the time, alive!

And for whatever reason in its design the park is unlit, It is also shaded by many trees and thus very dark without even a streetlight where it faces the street. As I began cutting through I suddenly heard an ominous hissing, clicking sound which grew louder as I walked faster trying to distance myself from whatever it was, and then SLAM! WHAM! BAM! they hit me full in the face, the back, my legs, almost driving me to the ground!

Ice cold water from several angles as the parks sprinklers activated (I knew that "No use of the park after dark" sign was there for a good reason! As it was very windy and 68 degrees I was quite chilled for the remainder of the walk home forcing me to change into comfortable dry scrubs and leaving my sodden clothing to dry. I settled my nerves with some shilled shrimp dipped in a mixture of Samball Oelek and Chili sauce (very zesty and carb/calories free unlike cocktail sauce!).

I am getting ready to go to the store now and pickup ingredients for one of my favorite all time dinners Triple Play Fajitas! It should be a wonderful meal that will be almost as much fun to prepare as it will be to eat!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Christopher goes off to College

My son departed for school today, boy I miss him already! Heck, I missed him as he pulled out of the driveway!

I went into work late so I could see him off and I made him and his Mom some Taylor Ham and cheese roll ups for the ride down to Kettering University. Christopher loves Taylor Ham! I headed into work, and was just not able to get excited about anything (even finding a parking space close to the building at this late arrival time.

It is Quality Awareness week at work and they are doing all sorts of things to promote quality. They have had contests, free food, a car and motorcycle show. Tuesday we had a Blackhawk chopper visit and today an Apache attach chopper. While I was very excited Tuesday when we heard the approach of the Apache I could barely drum up enough excitement to go see it land.

I came home and almost did not ride the exercise bike, but, I did. The X called at this point to tell me that Chris has his room and there were two people on his floor that he knew, and she had deposited the funds we sent for books and such into a new account she opened for him down there.

Danielle and I headed over to their Mom's to pickup Scott and we went to Costco for a couple of items, Wendy's for their lunch, and Meijer for a few more groceries. I also got my usual large fountain caffeine free diet coke, and as usual we parked at the end of the parking lot and enjoyed the long walk into the store. Every step helps!

Sigh! So hard to feel excited today! I wish my son well as he embarks on this new chapter of life as an adult. I hope he does himself proud; he is so smart and has great potential to excel in this world!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A Visit to the Doctor

I went for my labs results this AM. My usual doctor was running late, so, the lady Doctor who has seen me before (right after I was diagnosed with diabetes, but not in about 3 months) was the attending. So, after my weigh-in and blood pressure, she met me in the examining room. She looked at me, then looked at the data on the screen. She looked at me....and then looked at the data on the screen......she looked at me....and then looked at the data on the screen.....finally I could no longer contain myself and loudly said "What??!!?"

She asked me how much weight I had lost and I told her 51 pounds in 15 weeks and she asked how I did it and I said "uh, remember that 1600 calorie a day diet you put me know the one, low carbs, low salt, low fat, low fun, that one?"

And she said she remembered and I told her about all the exercising and stuff like that there, and how the nutritionist had told me during diabetic education classes that every four days I should bump that up to 2000 calories and the Doctor agreed and she was impressed and we sat there on the bench talking about lancet stabbing blood testing A1C stuff.

We went over the results in detail, my A1C was down .5 from 6.7 to 6.2 - the wonders of dieting and exercise! Fasting BS still a bit high at 115, but the A1C reduction is impressive for no medication being taken, just as a result of the diet and exercise.

For those curious about the A1C test and how it relates to diabetes you can check out this link.

Kidney function numbers slightly better which was good considering the diabetes and the meds I am on which stress the need for these tests.

Cholesterol up a tiny bit which was surprising considering my low fat, low fun diet I am on, but she explained that when you have lost/are losing a significant amount of weight as I have, it is not uncommon for the readings to show higher, she did double the dose of my cholesterol medication.

Heart and lungs sounding fine

I mentioned how really crappy I feel in the mornings and the higher blood sugar I have then and she said to give things time you don't go from being so badly out of shape and sick to normal over night. I go back in 6 weeks for MORE fasting labs and then a week after to go over them.

I celebrated with a 90 minute exercise bike ride when I got home from work today. In fact, while I was riding the exercise bike the Doctor's office called to tell me they were ordering the specialized eye test I need to have and the hospital would call back with an appointment. This needs to be repeated every year.

So, overall I am doing better. I do not let the wight loss go to my head because I still have a long way to go...I am still not back to the weight I was when I moved out of the X's house almost three years ago, though, that is within my grasp at just 9 more pounds to lose. I am determined to succeed and lose the other 49 pounds. It does get harder as time goes on, but, I will not fail!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Sunday.....or Attack of the Hot Wings Part Deux

Sunday started off early with the sounds of my 18 year Chris old banging around the house, the common practice he has of moving about nosily when people are in bed or resting. As I was getting up and getting dressed (as I was too awake to go back to sleep) I heard him knocking at my door; I already knew what he wanted; he was supposed to pickup one of the X's workers and drive him to her house where he was planning on working on the business accounting files all day. Chris had stayed out way too late (or early!) with his friends and did not feel comfortable driving. With little admonishing, other than the "When you have a responsibility, you have to take care of it" speech, short version, I said nothing as I understand how he is trying to spend as much time with his friends as he can before he goes off to college this Thursday. I have a feeling he was hoping I would just let him go to bed, but, he was not to get off that easy!

So, I took him to the pickup in his car. We came back home, Chris for a nap, me for the exercise bike.
Around noon I took Scott and Danielle to McDonald's for lunch (I love watching them eat fast food!) and then we went to Meijer for a few items, stopping at GameStop per Scott's request.

Chris had wanted our famous hot wings today so I started their preparation around 4PM which started off making the Chris Squared hot sauce. First step here was the pealing and crushing of 14 large cloves of garlic and proceeding with the addition of the rest of the ingredients.

Once I lit the oven I knew I was in trouble..... I could almost hear Han Solo saying “I've got a bad feeling about this!"

As an afterthought I figure I must have BEEN OUT OF MY FREAKING MIND making oven-baked wings on a day when it was almost 100 degrees outside and having the oven on 500 degrees for 2 hours. To make a fun situation even better, the wings having to be turned and the pans moved around from top to bottom racks every 10 minutes of those two hours and at one point, since I had to use frozen wings, I had to spoon out the excess water from all five pans.

I was literally soaked in sweat by the time the wings came out of the oven and cooled enough to be tossed in the Chris Squared sauce. My AC can barely handle the house alone when it is this hot, so, with the oven lit I had turned the AC off and opened the windows.....

However, since Chris is leaving Thursday for college and he enjoyed the wings, it was worth it. My least favorite part was the cleaning of the 5 Pyrex baking dishes, even after soaking in the sink for a couple of hours they were a chore to clean.

This was the biggest batch yet of wings, about 10 pounds of wings and we took them over to the X's so her business associate could eat with us. Chris and Scott left early as they had to stop at the local Chinese place to get Scott some Chicken Lo Mein because he does not like spicy wings....whose kid is this anyway???

Daniele was proud she ate more hot wings then he did and could take the heat of the sauce better. I was SO proud of her!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Press One For English

This music video is well done and I could not agree more. Is it to much to expect people who immigrate to the USA for the purpose of living here permanently to learn English? The last I checked, that was the official language of the USA.

While I would not expect someone visiting or moving here to work a few years to do this, I do feel that if you are going to become a citizen of a country you should be able to speak, read, and write its language.

Anyway, click the play button below to see the video.

Chicken, Broccoli, and Pasta with Italian Style Lemon Herb Sauce

This is a rare case where dried herbs are called for to provide the unique flavor, plus the fresh lemon juice and garlic combine to make an excellent sauce.

1/2 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, sliced or cubed
4-8 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/4 cup + 2 tbs olive oil (Thanks again Steve, I used the oil you sent me)
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
14 ounce bag frozen broccoli thawed and drained
Juice from one large lemon
8 Ounces Dreamfileds Rotini Pasta
Freshly grated Romano cheese

Put water for pasta to boil and add pasta when boiling; pasta should cook for about 9 minutes and should be added to water when broccoli is introduced below.

In a large shallow sauce pan or frying pan add 1/4 cup olive oil, garlic, oregano, and basil. Heat on medium until garlic begins to sizzle, reduce heat to low, and let cook covered for two minutes and then add the chicken, stirring well to coat with olive oil and spices.

Cover and simmer for three minutes. Stir again and add broccoli tossing to coat with olive oil mixture. Cover and simmer an additional three minutes. Add juice from lemon, stir well to coat chicken and broccoli, and cook covered an additional three minutes, stir/toss again and add black pepper and let cook covered until pasta is ready to be drained (about three minutes).

Drain pasta, return to pot and toss with remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1/8 teaspoon of salt. Add pasta to chicken, broccoli and sauce, toss, and let stand covered for five minutes stirring once after two and a half minutes. (This will allow the pasta to absorb some of the sauce and thicken it a bit) If sauce is still too thin after this you can return to a low heat for an additional three to five minutes, stirring every minute.

Serve topped with freshly grated Romono cheese. Serves 2 to 4 people depending on how hungry they are. Another healthy low fat dish that is delicious.

Keep on Truckin'

My previous record on the exercise bike was one hour and fifty minutes, and I believe 30 minutes of that at the higher tension level.

Today I beat that with a two hour workout and 46 minutes of that was at the higher tension level. WHAT was I thinking???

What was I thinking? After that, we all headed to the mall. I had told Chris I would get him an additional little going away present. He headed off for EB Games while Scott, Danielle, and I had lunch at the food court, the two of them both getting Chinese noodles and meat, and I had a 6" subway club on wheat with veggies and mustard; no oil or may for me!

We walked over to EB Games where Chris was still looking, after he made his selection we headed off the Walden Books where I picked up the next novel in the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series, a Simpson's comic Book for Chris, and some anime book for Danielle. Note the Anita Blake link preceding this describes the fictional character; for information on the Vampire Hunter novels, you can click here.

We stopped at Forest Hills Foods on the way back to my house so I could pick up the items for dinner this evening (if it is a success watch for a new recipe here!). The kids waited in the car reading various materials while I headed into the store. After I had procured my groceries we headed back home only for Chris to discover that he was missing two of the three CD's of the game he bought!

So far, there has been more than sufficient exercise today, though, I am going to try and get the two younger kids to go to the pool a bit later as it is in the low 90's today.

Afterthought added later in the evening, Scott, Danielle, and I did go to the pool for an hour and had a great time!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Canjun Style Turkey Bacon Rollups with Zesty Sauce

Yet another fine recipe from the Chris Falco kitchens! This one is fairly simple, yet very delicious, and utilizes two of the Red Monkey Spice Rubs that I enjoy so much!

8 slices Oscar Meyer/Louis Rich Turkey Bacon
2 tsp Red Monkey Cajun Spice Rub
1/2 tsp Red Monkey Mango Habanero Rub
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 tbs fat free sour cream
2 slices Kraft fat free Cheddar cheese
2 Flatout lite original wraps
1 cup shredded lettuce
1 vine-ripened tomato cut into six slices
Cooking spray like PAM

Spray the bottom and sides of a non-stick saucepan with cooking spray and add turkey bacon and Red Monkey Cajun Spice Rub. Toss well to evenly distribute spice. Cover, and cook over a very low flame for 10 minutes, tossing turkey bacon slices every three minutes.

While bacon is cooking, layout the wraps and cover each with 1/2 cup of shredded lettuce.

Remove bacon from pan letting any drippings drain back into the pan. If you cooked this over low heat as described above you should have a couple of tablespoons of drippings.

Place four slices of Turkey bacon atop the shredded lettuce on the wraps and then place three slices of tomato on top of the bacon.

With the heat off, add to sauce pan the fat free sour cream and Red Monkey Mango Habanero Rub. Using either a plastic whisk or rubber spatula mix together into an even color and apply low heat. Add the two slices of fat free cheddar cheese and when melted add the freshly ground back pepper. stir and then pour half the sauce over each of the wraps.

ENJOY! Serves two for lunch or one for dinner! Rough calories for each wrap is about 300 with very little fat and much fiber.

Weigh to go Chris!

As of this morning's weigh-in I have finally reached (and passed, Whoo Hoo!) the halfway point on my diet. With this weeks 3 pound loss I have lost 51 pounds in 15 weeks.

I have stopped doing two workouts on the exercise bike (Actually stopped two weeks ago when I had that week where I was feeling so bad) and have replaced it with one longer workout after work; for example yesterday I did an hour and 30 minutes on the exercise bike. I did the same on the Fourth of July and I walked to and from the X's house where we were gathering for a cook out. That's a mile each way.

I had blood taken this week and I go back to the Doctor Tuesday for the results. Maybe this will explain why I am still feeling so poorly most mornings. They should be able to tell me more about my diabetes overall, as they needed two A1C tests done at least three months apart to see how my weight loss and exercise is affecting things.

Time to celebrate! I think Kentucky Fried Chicken dipped in Coldstone for dinner is in order!

To be realistic, I'll probably just make myself some wraps or something for dinner this evening after getting the kids whatever they want (probably Wendy's) for dinner.