Cupid’s Calling All Chocoholics

Each year, as Valentines Day creeps closer, that urge to have chocolate increases. It’s not like we haven’t indulged during the holidays, but it pulls at our minds and tummies even more when it is associated with love and passion. I find myself saying it’s okay because it’s Valentines. I have been able to cut down on chocolates while on my mission to find better health. However….it will be Valentines Day soon! Here is my post from a few years ago for all Chocoholics.

FOR THE BEGINNING OF FEBRUARY 2021, I found a great post about the big event so I thought I would repost it on the first of February to whet our appetite.

Calling all Chocoholics (Chocolate Lovers who might need intervention)! Valentines Day is coming soon so excuses are not needed as it is the reason for the season but WHY? Let us consider the pros and cons of downing the chocolate, milk, white, dark, or mixed with nuts, fillings, or whatever form we can get it. Is there a link to Love? Is it a feel good reason we have to have it. Today, we enter the river of flowing chocolate and get our mouths drooling. Here is an enlightening article I found giving us the psychological reasons and we already know the real reason is “we can’t live without it.”

Why Do We Crave Chocolate So Much?

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Why Do We Crave Chocolate So Much?

The psychology behind why we love chocolate

Posted Feb 11, 2014

Source:Why do we crave chocolate so much? I consulted a professor of psychology and neuroscience, Dr. Amy Jo Stavnezer, to help us understand why we desire chocolate so much (just in time for Valentine’s Day!).

Dr. Albers: On a biological level, why do we crave chocolate?

Professor Stavnezer: We crave chocolate because it is good! It tastes good. It smells good. It feels good when it melts on our tongue. And all of those ‘feelings’ are the result of our brain releasing chemicals in response to each chocolate experience. The experience of eating chocolate results in feel good neurotransmitters (mainly dopamine) being released in particular brain regions (frontal lobe, hippocampus and hypothalamus—definitions a bit later).

Dopamine is released when you experience anything that you enjoy—sexlaughing, or watching your favorite Olympian claim the gold. This reward circuit is partially hard-wired by genetics, but it learns, changes and responds to your specific preferences based on your life experiences. This malleability of the brain is what makes each of us unique. In fact, there are supposedly people in the world who do not like chocolate.

By simply using one neurotransmitter system to associate rewards with actions, an efficient and powerful brain network evolved so that a positive outcome would be repeated. The dopamine signal sent through the reward circuit brings about positive feelings and assessments of the situation in the frontal lobe (just behind your eyes), creates a memory of the experience including where, who, what and why and links that to the positive experiences via the hippocampus (about an inch inside of each ear), and when food is involved, the hypothalamus (a few inches above the roof of your mouth) gathers information about the caloric and nutrient content for future hunger and satiety signals.

It was originally thought that chocolate contained compounds that could activate this dopamine system directly (like cigarettes and cocaine do). Chocolate does contain theobromine that can increase heart rate and bring about feelings of arousal, caffeine which can make us feel awake and increase our ability to work and focus, and fat and sugar which are preferred food sources for humans because they are calorie dense. However, elegant experiments in which the components of chocolate were separated out indicated that just ingesting the chemicals in chocolate without the mouth-feel and taste does not decrease craving.

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Photo courtesy of goodhousekeeping.com



Maybe this is why we eat chocolate?

I found an excerpt from an article on the history of how chocolate became the ruler of Valentines Day. It is from National Geographic and is titled Why We Want Chocolate for Valentines Day

THE PLATE

Why We Want Chocolate for Valentine’s Day

3 MINUTE READBY APRIL FULTON

So how did chocolate become the ultimate Valentine’s Day treat?

The origins of the historic combination are far from clear. Chocolate has been considered an aphrodisiac since the time of the Aztecs, and was once only available to the wealthy. Spanish conquistadors brought it back to Europe, and according to The Oxford Companion to Food, Italian chefs were shaving blocks over their risottos in the late 17th century. The French made pastilles in the 18th century, a favorite of the marquis de Sade. But it wasn’t until the cocoa butter extracted from the beans was processed into the rough form of a candy bar in England in 1847, according to Cadbury, and later rounded out with milk, that its appeal began to grow. Once candy became cheaper to produce, more people got to taste it. And once they tasted it, well, you know the rest.

Meanwhile, the origins of Valentine’s Day are even more complex. They can be traced to Roman times and Lupercalia, a Pagan festival that involved fertility and feasting in mid-February. The Romans “were drunk. They were naked,” Noel Lenski, a historian at the University of Colorado at Boulder, told NPR in 2011. Young women lined up for the men to hit them, Lenski says. They thought would make them fertile.

Not too romantic, was it? It gets crazier. The early Catholic Church martyred a rebel priest named Valentine and tried to take the nakedness out of the Lupercalia festival by declaring Feb. 14 as St. Valentine’s Day. Chaucer combined the essence of the pagan rituals with courtly ideas of love in one famous Valentine’s poem about bird sex: “And, Lord, the blisse and joye that they make! For ech of hem gan other in wynges take.” And then Shakespeare took the notion of romantic love even further in the sonnets.

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Hopefully, this will get your Valentine craving for chocolate flowing and from this Sipping Cup of Inspiration blogger, Happy Valentines Day and now it is official, you have a natural reason for loving chocolate. My deeper thought is to LIVE LIFE, LOVE LIFE, AND LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST by digesting all that life has to offer as long as you add to other’s lives and not make their lives unhappy. Eat chocolate or don’t, but love always.

(C) Copyright 2012-2022 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration and Reinvention Queen with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material, if known, is sourced to original location for credit reference

FRIENDS SHOULD BE LISTED AS AN ASSET IN OUR PORTFOLIOS

As a mother, a wife, a sister, a nana, an aunt, a cousin, a friend, and then comes the other titles in life….writer, blogger, project manager, cook, baker, decorator, former finance manager, business owner, and whatever comes along in my surroundings. I value my family and I always have thought the closeness developed my people skills and my learning curiosity gave credence to the writing. My love of food but also creativity plays a large part in my culinary abilities. Today, I was reminded how important our friendships are in cultivating healthy relationships. I have friends that I truly admire for so many reasons as their talents, sweet spirits, leadership skills, communication abilities, charitable/service oriented minds, and for a lot of my friends who possess high degrees of spirituality. Let’s examine why we treasure friendships:

The 13 Essential Friendship Traits

How much do you agree with each statement?

  1. I am trustworthy.
  2. I am honest with others.
  3. I am generally very dependable.
  4. I am loyal to the people I care about.
  5. I am easily able to trust others.
  6. I experience and express empathy for others.
  7. I am able to be non-judgmental.
  8. I am a good listener.
  9. I am supportive of others in their good times.
  10. I am supportive of others in their bad times.
  11. I am self-confident.
  12. I am usually able to see the humor in life.
  13. I am fun to be around.

These traits fall into three general categories, each representing an essential aspect of relational behavior. If you find that you disagree with many of the statements, you may struggle to develop meaningful, lasting friendships.

KEY POINTS

  • Essential friendship traits fall into three general categories, each representing a critical aspect of relational behavior.
  • Everyone brings a different level of the 13 essential traits to their relationships.
  • Trustworthiness is often the “make or break” element in any interpersonal relationship.

For the complete article, click on Essential above and it will take you to the original article.

Image from Google Search for Characteristics of a good friend.

My Personal Thought on What It Means To Be a Good Friend:

First, be one! My thoughts go to something I love. Old vintage jewelry which I have several pieces. I wear them on special occasions and I take pride when someone notices them. I take good care of them, I appreciate them for their unique qualities and individualism. I don’t callously lay them aside but place them where they will be protected and safe. If I treat my friends the same way as I take care of my vintage jewelry, it will be a lifetime of great memories of good times and love. (Arline Miller, blogger and friend)

Senior Garden photo of my classmates and it is amazing how many I are still close friends.
My husband and my daughter are my dearest friends proving family members should be our closest friends.

(C) Copyright 2012-2022 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration and Reinvention Queen with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced, if known, to original location/author for credit references.

GIVING UP, GIVING IN, AND GIVING TO FOOD REVISITED

As we begin a new year, have we learned how to eat healthier without feeling a need to place a chain on the refrigerator? I am posting this popular blog message from several years ago and I am happy to report I have come over to the healthier side, sometimes kicking and screaming in the beginning, but making headway. My regular readers will remember I am a good ole Southern cook and baker. We have it in our genes to indulge food not only for ourselves but spoil our family, friends, and any guests we have. I am living proof we can adapt and change. Do I still cook and bake? You betcha but I find us sharing more with others, sealing meals and freezing them for later time instead of eating it all up. My daughter and I discuss healthier ways to cook and if you read the blog, you have seen my switching over to the air fryer as a means to eliminate some of the frying I love to do. Let’s see what I had to say about this topic:

HAPPY NEW YEAR OR IS IT? Here we are again, the beginning of a new year and with it comes the ongoing, well meaning, resolutions one more time. This year is going to be different but is it? I am reposting a message that is a reality check for us. Watch for the hint/tip at the end. This has helped me avoid so many snacks and desserts….not all of them but some! Remember this quote from A L Williams, promoter of term insurance…All you can do is all you can do but all you can do is enough!

GIVING UP, GIVING IN, AND GIVING TO FOOD. We are in a new year with new goals and new intentions. Let’s make resolutions and promises but let’s get real…..Are you really going to Never Eat a Donut the rest of your life? On this blog, I want to recognize our human side of our thinking on the subject of eating. The answer to my question is probably not, even though on this first few days of the New Year; you may have answered Yes! Let us look at a few reasons why this normally doesn’t work.One of the reasons we eat is Emotional or Comfort Eating and I am referencing to an article on WebMD on this subject. (Link is included for entire article)Emotional Eating: What Helps By Joy Manning, Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on July 28, 2014 on webmd.com      Does stress, anger, or sadness drive you to eat? Do you turn to food for comfort, or when you’re bored? Many people do. If you often eat for emotional reasons instead of because you’re physically hungry, that can be a problem.       Obeying the urge to eat more than you need is a sure-fire way to gain weight. It’s an even bigger problem if you already have health conditions like diabetes, obesity, or high blood pressure. You can get back in control of your emotional eating. The surprising part is, it’s not really about food at all. You might not even realize you’re doing it. One of the biggest clues: “Eating until you are uncomfortable and stuffed is a sure sign something is going on,” psychologist Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD, says. Another clue: You’re gaining weight and you don’t know why. Don’t assume that it’s just that you’re getting older or slacking on the treadmill. Consider how you’re doing emotionally, and whether that might be affecting your eating.   Another reason for eating is Habitual or I Can’t Stop Eating.Even though this is a form of emotional eating, it should have its own category. We form habits as eating a certain food during a specific time during the day. Some people want something sweet at night or at least a bowl of cereal, a few cookies and milk, a sandwich, chips, etc. Think about it; is there a certain time of the day only a certain food will satisfy you? If you find yourself eating at this certain time, my tip for today is change what you do at that particular time. Even a big glass of lemon water or a cup of hot tea, or hummus on a celery stick, can alter what can happen. Taking a shower or a little activity can break this chain of habitual eating. If eating at 10 pm is the witching hour, try to schedule other activity instead of sneaking into the kitchen. If cereal or cookies are the demonic foods (which I say can tempt anyone) get them out of the house. You might be surprised how the urge will leave you if they are not handy. Keep other healthy items easily accessible. You most likely will not eat them at this time, but you are breaking a habit. Another tip is remember it takes up to 30 days to break a habit.

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This is me, Arline Miller age 69 with diabetes type II and managed with diet and small amount of meds.
Now at 72 happy years old, I have lowered my A1C and have lost a total of almost 50 pounds. My husband is now losing and has lost over 20 pounds, and you can see one of our most inspiring sources, my daughter Missy who maintains a fantastic weight and looks wonderful.

Ask yourself this question: Can I make it 30 days without my usual habit food? At least give it a shot. Even if you make it two weeks, pat yourself on the back. If you give in; start the countdown again.

HEALTHY BITES has been created to include a good variety of healthy foods to eat and I suggest you check it out for recipe ideas. If you follow me on Pinterest, one of my boards Healthy Bites, is also directed to some of the recipes I have found not only healthy but tasty. There are so many great sources to eat healthy and know how to develop good habits and a healthy life.

2022 Note from Blogger: Not only have I lost and maintained a lot of unwanted pounds, my husband has now gotten on the eating healthier and has lost in a short while over 20 pounds and is excited about his future. It is not impossible to gain control and when you do, your self confidence and sense of accomplishment increases. I find we smile more, we find humor in the smallest things, and we encourage each other in a positive light.

2019 Note from Blogger: I pulled up this post message from 2016 for a reason. Most of us eat emotionally. Only a few actually eat only when we are hungry and not dehydrated. If we would make one change, it would help dramatically. Drink water first! Even if you feel you are going to eat that donut, chip, cookie, whatever, do yourself a big favor…..Drink a big glass of water. Place the goodie by the water glass and only eat when the glass is empty. This one change will slow the brain’s urge to splurge and can make a huge difference in the amount of junk you will consume. You may find that this small hedge will diminish the urge and actually prevent a snack accident!

(C) Copyright 2012-2022 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration and Reinvention Queen with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material including photos are credited to original source if known for credit references.

POWER XL MAKES EATING FUN

The last few blog posts have reviewed a lot of tasty foods made quickly and efficiently with a small learning curve. I have toasted bagels, fried mushrooms, grilled pork chops, baked a pie, made baked beans, grilled hot dogs, and now I will show how great fresh french fries, grill burgers, and air fry/grill crab cakes as well as stuffed mushrooms. In all my tests, I have had good experiences in time/effort and especially tastes.

French fries, fresh, seasoned, and delicious made without grease and EVOO spray.
Seasoning made from Garlic Salt, Onion Powder, Spicy Smoked Paprika, and Jane’s Krazy Salt.
I love the two crisper trays for the ability to make enough fries in one air fry.
400 degrees for 20 minutes on air fry and then I turned it to toast to get a crispy crust. It took about 10 more minutes.
Total success and I am including the French Fry Sauce Recipe in the link below.

French Fry Sauce!RECIPE HERE! –> https://buff.ly/3mQKwQfHomemade french fry sauce is made with mayo, ketchup, and pickle juice then spiced with paprika, onion powder, and seasoned salt. It’s slightly creamy with just a touch of tang from the pickle juice.

Click on link to learn more about this product: https://powerxlairgrill.com/

STUFFED MUSHROOMS AND CRAB CAKES IN POWER XL AIR FRYER GRILL OVEN

If you don’t have a power air fryer oven, you are missing some easy cooking. Baby Bella stuffed mushrooms filled with ingredients listed in pics. I didn’t go by a recipe but when I post to blog I will try to list out approximately what I used. As I was cooking the mushrooms I grabbed some frozen crab cakes and cooked them in the power oven too. The last few minutes I seared them in a hot buttered pan to get the quickest crust. Dinner easy decadent and yummy. Cooking doesn’t have to be hard. I can tell you I love this Power XL 7-n-1 air fryer grill oven.

CRAB CAKES ON TOP RACK WITH STUFFED MUSHROOMS IN AIR FRY/BAKE PAN.
Close up of some ingredients, Cream Cheese, Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Le Gruyere and Parmesan Cheese.
Shallots, chopped garlic, Umami Seasoning, Onion Powder and Garlic Salt, Worcestershire Sauce, chopped chives are added to cheese mixture before stuffing mushrooms
Stuffing mixture for baby bella mushrooms (the stems are pulsed and added to mixture.

The next time I do crab cakes, I will grill them in the grill pan for proper searing. I took the crab cakes and seared them in a saute pan with butter at the end of the time. They were delicious but it cost me having to do another unnecessary step I could have avoided by using the grill pan.

GRILLED BURGERS IN POWER XL AIR FRYER/GRILL OVEN

MY POWER XL WITH BAGELS TOASTING IN MY NEW TOY
My first test burger and it was a tasty burger with grill marks. Success on first try.
I used the grill pan but found out I should place the grill pan on the bottom rack. They turned out great, but better on the bottom rack.

Lettuce, cheese, condiments, olives, and of course dill pickles made easy in my Power XL grill.

I am not a paid sponsor of Power XL Air Fryer Grill Oven but I love trying new ways of easy breezy ways to prepare, prep, and make our meals with hardly no mess in the kitchen. As I test further, I will post. I plan on baking a pineapple cake this weekend or maybe a pie. I will see what comes my way.

(C) Copyright 2012-2022 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration and Reinvention Queen with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced if known to original location/author for credit references.

Let’s Keep the Power Up with Power XL

I have to say getting the Power XL Air Fryer Grill Oven for Christmas is better than a lot of gifts I have received and they were all wonderful. Most of you know how much I love to cook. Yes, I said it. I love to cook. I find a challenge learning how to make something even more delicious and most importantly, even more easy and time friendly. I thought I would continue to share my testing series. Here are some of my other goodies:

BAKED BEANS AND GRILLED HOT DOGS VIA POWER XL

Look at the caramelization which came from baking beans and pre-cooked bacon in the Power XL Oven


The Grill Pan is awesome and places great grill marks on the hot dogs. It doesn’t matter if it rains outside, we can grill inside.

Yummy and Quick with the flavors of traditional cooking/grilling in the Power XL
This is how a chili slaw dog should look without having to deal with a grill.

I made my baked beans with the traditional recipe you can find anywhere on Pinterest but I used pre-cooked bacon since the oven does the caramelization quicker. Bake selected and it took 25 minutes. I sprayed my casserole dish and so no scrubbing afterwards. The hot dogs were done on Grill in the oven’s grill pan for 7 minutes and then I flipped for an additional 5 minutes. Perfect dogs!

FRIED MUSHROOMS IN THE AIR FRYER

The Crisper Tray works like a charm and our oven came with two. Mushrooms are terrific in the air fryer.
I made a sauce horseradish blue cheese dressing and wow, it hit the spot.
If you wonder about the crunch, don’t worry. Look at the crust.

I dredged the mushrooms in an egg buttermilk soak, then in seasoned flour, and back into the egg mixture then into panko crumbs. Easy and tasty. Garlic salt, onion powder, paprika, and seasoned salt and pepper.

I have several more to test and report on but I am happy to say that it is going very tasty in my kitchen. I love the ease of clean up which has been incredibly easy so far. I made french fries last night so watch for more exciting blog messages. I will demo stuffed mushrooms, burgers, french fries, and will make a cake.

Click on this link to learn more (Image just for display)

https://powerxlairgrill.com/https://powerxlairgrill.com/

Please feel free to make comments on your experience if you have a Power XL Air Fryer Grill Oven and maybe I can get some ideas from my readers….Until we Cook and Air Fry Again……..Arline Miller, Reinvention Queen and Blogger

(C) Copyright 2012-2022 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced, if known, to original location/author for credit references.

POWER UP WITH POWER XL AIR FRYER/GRILL/TOASTER OVEN

As many of you know that I have been a fan of the Power Air Fryer Oven and I have posted many times great results from my usage of my mean red machine. This past Christmas, my husband and I gifted my daughter the Power XL 8-n-1 air fryer grill broil bake toaster oven. While we were reviewing the product, our daughter suggested she chip in some Christmas Green and we decided to get a new one that does so much more. No, we are not getting rid of the “Mean Red” as we call it and have decided that we can easily take it with us on trips instead of having to use a microwave for cooking as it is not the same.

As a dedicated cook and baker, I take a new appliance seriously and I like to test out recipes and find my own favorites. I have been applying my testing to foods we like to eat and I thought I would like to share my adventures so far with my readers. My first test was a favorite meat, pork chops:

Four beautiful chops with the seasonings I used prior to grilling .
I placed the seasoned chops in the grill pan and set the controls to 425 degrees, grill setting, and since this was my first time, the timer was set but I was physically close to watch the process. Only 7 minutes and flipped for 7 more minutes with beautiful grill marks.

You can check out the Power XL Air Fryer Grill Oven by clicking on this link: https://powerxlairgrill.com/?c=AFG349MJ3&utm_source=google&utm_medium=shopping&gclid=CjwKCAiAlfqOBhAeEiwAYi43F_jaN5RXzUzFpYA7NXG_sIrbuDfpDtFfEnKby06t3Zf5BGiIgj7-ehoCoIAQAvD_BwE

Don’t they look great? Successful test for grilling
Yes, grill works great! Power XL came through.

Next, I tested a pie, yes an apple pie made the easy way with the Power XL oven using a large can of apple pie filling and two pre-made frozen pie crusts (deep dish but next time I would use the regular and I will explain why. I thawed the pie crusts, preheated the air fryer oven, and filled one of the fork pricked crusts with the filling, and placed the other crust on top and vented the top as seen in the photos.I added an egg wash to the top crust. I set the oven to Bake, Temperature to 375 degrees and set the timer for 35 minutes. You can see how it turned out with the grandson’s and my husband’s approval. So doggone easy and a solution if you keep some crusts in the freezer and a selection of pie filling cans in your pantry. See for yourself:

Apple Pie Made Easy in the Power XL 8-n-1 Air Fryer Grill Oven

The finished apple pie in 35 minutes in the Power XL Air Fryer Grill Oven
Now for the reason I would use regular crusts next time. The deep dish is slightly too large to place for the top crust and gave it a little too much pastry. Still delicious!

A tip for those who don’t like cleanups….We cover our drip pan with a thin sheet of tin foil. So easy to remove and replace instead of cleaning.

I have tested more dishes and in the coming days, I will review stuffed mushrooms, crab cakes, fried mushrooms, baked beans, and hot dogs. Maybe even more as I test away. Certainly I am going to roast veggies, grill chicken thighs, and I have to try a pizza soon. I think I have already posted how it perfects toasting bagels. Have fun in your kitchen, until we cook, grill, bake, roast, and sear in the new toy we have!

(C) Copyright 2012-2022 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration and Reinvention Queen with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced to original location/author for credit references.

It’s Not What You Cook, It’s What You Eat

Several years back I posted how I decided that I didn’t do well on a restricted diet that required me to only eat a certain type of food and not to ever have a sweet or carb. It just didn’t work for my independent personality. I don’t like to be restricted as my free spirit will rebel and eventually will return to pre-restriction eating. I found that the smaller portions and distributing the amounts to more healthy choices but allow a small portion of the taboo foods works well. How well you may ask? I have lost a total of 48 pounds (and no, I am not giving you my former weight and current weight) LOL. Trust me, this is the true amount of weight loss. I will post some pictures, ugh of before and now. Am I through losing weight, am I perfect, and am I happy? Those will be the questions I will answer in this update. Do I say this way of eating is the only way? Not hardly, what I say is it is the right way for me. I will go over my thoughts on how it works for me as I have decided, it is a mental decision to enable me to keep on keeping on. I think all of us need to do a mental check on why we eat, why we feel we have to be imprisoned by a diet plan for it to work, and why can’t we control the amounts we put in our mouths?

This was a picture which shows me at a weight I was not proud of with my beautiful daughter.
This gives you a look at me recently with my husband who has lost about 20 pounds since this was taken. He has been practicing how you can eat bread, just a piece instead of several. We are so proud of him and of course me too.
Here is Greg kidding about only eating one piece of Christmas candy. After learning how to control quantities, he can begin to see the humor of it all. He lost weight during the hardest time of the year. He didn’t do without; he did with less.
Here I am at my heaviest with my sister. I am not showing these to “shame” me as I am proud of me taking control of my body and mind. I have recent pics and I look a lot different now. My health is so much better and I can hang with the best of them.

My best observation is my daughter who has mastered the art of quantity and balance of eating to live not to live to eat. We kid her that she grazes and doesn’t really eat. She eats a variety of foods with the exception of no beef, poultry, or pork. She does eat seafood including fish. Beyond this exclusion, she does eat a variety of foods, but she could eat off a saucer and usually does eat off a salad plate. I watched her over the years with her maintaining a healthy weight and slender figure. She never concentrates on junk food and/or sweets. That said, she will taste something she likes but doesn’t indulge. There it is…the key to success…..No indulging or overeating. I watched and learned and then started to practice it myself. I didn’t stop eating meats, but I did stop eating a lot of meats. I didn’t stop eating carbs, but I did dramatically cut them to a very small amount. I would take out a tablespoon of mac and cheese so I could feel I had some. Believe it or not, this works for this rebellious gal. I would put more of the healthier foods but add a spoonful or two of the foods I loved and yes, still love.

Was I always a big gal? Not hardly, I have been at times in my life where my rib and hip bones stuck out. I starved myself during these times to look good but I was doing my metabolism life long damage. It was harder to lose weight as time went on even doing the restricted diets. I had wracked my normal food digestion and how my body processed foods. I had taught my body that I was in starvation mode and it stored fat and more fat, and on and on.

Late 70’s and no problems with weight but I ate more salads than bunnies ate lettuce.
These were the days when I controlled what I ate or better described as what I didn’t eat.

I post these pictures for one reason, looking fit if depriving the body of all foods in moderation is a false bravado. I have learned in my later years, eat smart and don’t deprive yourself any of the food groups. Eat lightly, eat proportionally, and your body will thank you. I hear people who never allow themselves bread, sweets, and carbs. Yes, these need to be consumed on a small scale and they should never take control of you, or you will lose control. One thought and I am not saying you should eat all you want of those food groups. Learn to control your body and most importantly, your mind. Here’s my thought and I speak from prior experience, have you ever been able to stick to a restricted diet for long periods or do you lose some pounds, start feeling good but deprived and find yourself cheating? Then, once the cheating begins, you give into those temptations more and more, and then the fall of the wagon happens and the pounds come back. I speak as an average person, with average likes and dislikes but this does work for me. I have no experience of food or nutritional education and only as a life long fighter of the fats.

In conclusion, I cook the same way I have always cooked, and some of my friends wonder how I have lost weight. It is in the quantities and my attitude. I give away sweets if I bake, I eat small portions of food, and we have learned to seal foods for future meals instead of trying to eat all of it. So, it is NOT WHAT I COOK, BUT WHAT I EAT.

(C) Copyright 2012-2022 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced, if known, to the original location/author for credit references.

REINVENTION QUEEN REINVENTS NEW POTATOES

2022 Kickoff for Reinvention Queen “New Potatoes are reinvented into Clam Chowder”. I posted this idea in 2021 and the other day, I used this idea to make some fantastic chowder. Before I throw any food out, as long as it is still safe to eat, I figure out what new dish I can make from the leftovers. During this year, I will walk you, my readers, through the creative approach I use. Let’s revisit one of the many posts I did. If you are looking for some ideas, search in the search box by typing Reinvention Queen and you will see several selections. Here is the original post:

Yesterday, we were the recipients of one of my husband’s long time friend, David Fletcher who is an avid gardener, first bounty freshly dug new potatoes and awesome fresh garden grown onions. I was over the moon with the sight of the vegetables and I washed them off and thought of my childhood. Before I share both of my dishes, I thought I would reminisce a little.

When we were little, times were not easy but they were good. I don’t have a memory of a horrible childhood but rather a time much simpler than all the craziness in the world. We had neighborhood playmates and if we could be called a gang, it was an innocent one, and we now call ourselves the Willow Street Gang. One of those neighbors is smiling if he is reading this, as Duane Tucker and I jokingly refer to our days on that little street in my hometown of Douglas GA. Now, for the background story of the new potatoes or potatoes in general. To say our Mother could stretch a dollar for a mile, would be to insult that crafty lady. How she could make a meal out of almost no cost is still a mystery but one I remembered after I became an adult.

We may not have had a bounty of food but she always had just enough to feed us all. There were four children and two adults and one can of salmon would feed us and we left full. A mess of potatoes and we had the creamiest, tastiest, and filling meal. She would make bread to go along with it and sometimes if a neighbor had surplus and we got vegetables, oh yeah, we ate well. As I stated, she could make enough for us growing children to leave the table satisfied. When I made the fresh new potatoes, I was smiling while cooking them. Now, let’s move on to how I made two meals from this yumminess.

A large pot of stewed new potatoes with so much flavor.

Arline’s Stewed Potatoes:

  • Approximately 2-3 lbs of potatoes (new for me but regular russet potatoes can be used)
  • 1 large onion preferably sweet Vidalia or similar sweet garden variety chopped
  • 1 large box chicken or vegetable broth (chicken used)
  • 1 stick of salted butter
  • Mixture of garden herbs with more dill than others
  • 3 Tablespoons of Flour (either type, SR or AP)
  • 3/4 cup – 1 cup Heavy Cream or Half and Half Cream
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 T Onion Powder

Scrub potatoes and cube into large bite size pieces. Place them into large pot with the broth. You can use some water in addition to broth if you need to fill to above potatoes. Add butter cut into cubes with crushed or finely chopped herbs as stated above. Cook until potatoes become fork tender on medium heat.

In a small cup, place some of the broth and flour and whisk until flour is dissolved. Add to pot and mix together. Add cream to potato broth with salt and pepper and onion powder and turn on low heat. Cook until they are very tender. Turn heat off and let the potatoes soak up some of the thickened liquid. (Tip: If liquid is not thickened enough, you can add a small amount of corn starch or mix small amount of flour to thicken to a sauce of richness.

These were so delicious that I almost didn’t make the next dish from the leftovers but I couldn’t resist the reinvention from them to the easiest clam chowder I have made. I made my simple but you can go wild with carrots, celery, whole kernel corn and use canned clams. The possibilities are endless but this one was put together in a couple of minutes with the biggest task of opening cans.

Reinvention Step of Enhancing Stewed Potatoes into Clam Chowder in Five Minutes.

To the pot of new potatoes, I opened three cans of Bar Harbor New England Clam Chowder but may I say, there are numerous brands of canned great chowders on grocery shelves so I used what was in my pantry. I added some celery seeds, garlic salt, mushroom seasonings, oyster sauce, and some Old Bay Seasoning to pump up the chowder flavorings. This I leave to all of you fine cooks, use your creativity. You can make it spicy and/or hot, but I go the middle of the road.

In a few minutes, I have a new meal so that it doesn’t reflect leftovers. This morning, I will return the chowder to the stove top and cook it very low and slow for all of the flavors to blend and when it is lunchtime, it will be Chowder Time at Millerville. All of this done with very little effort.

Here is the clam chowder complete with grated white cheddar cheese.
I seared some scallops marinated in buttermilk and herbs galore and seared them in a hot skillet with butter, grape-seed oil, soy sauce and oyster sauce. I made a roulade sauce. Definitely a delicious accompaniment to the chowder!

Until We Cook Again……Happy Meals……Arline Miller, Reinvention Queen.

(C) Copyright 2012-2022 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material if used and original location and author are known, it will be sourced for credit reference.

How to Manage Your Home When Moving Into Assisted Living…Guest Blogger

This year 2022, I am encouraging informative articles for applicable issues/concerns for all of us. Please allow me to welcome Andrea for our first guest blogger on Sipping Cups of Inspiration.

Andrea Needham is the creator and editor at Elders Day. A lifelong writer, she created her website to share information and resources with other seniors who love living it up as they age. Andrea believes our golden years don’t have to be a time to slow down, and she looks forward to sharing the many health-boosting, fulfilling activities and experiences that are perfect for aging adults.

Please welcome Andrea to my blog as our first guest blogger of 2022.

Image from Unsplash

How to Manage Your Home When Moving Into Assisted Living

Are you an older adult making the move to assisted living? Congratulations! Assisted living is a great way to get the care you need and deserve. However, there is a big question to deal with – what do you do with your house? There are several factors to consider, and finances may be resting heavily on your mind. Here, Sipping Cups of Inspiration shares the main options available to you and the financial considerations that come with each.

Ask For Help

If you’re unsure how long you’ll be away from home or just want a safety net to fall back on, you could ask loved ones to help take care of your property. While you’re in assisted living, ask a close friend or family member to come check on your property every once in a while and keep it functioning. This option is ideal for those who want to retain their home for future generations or other usages. However, you will still need to pay for the associated homeownership expenses, which can be significant.

Sell Your Home

The logic of selling your home is truly compelling. It is an easy way to get a lump sum for your property, which can help fund the costs associated with assisted living. Not to mention, you’re not going to have to spend time, effort, and money managing the property and getting it maintained. According to Edgewood Health, many seniors also find themselves in need of major decluttering, so selling your home outright is a great way to get started on your organizing efforts. Before you sell your home, be sure to do your due diligence on the latest home prices and trends in your area. You can also use this sales proceeds calculator to get an overall estimate. This will ensure you get the best price for your property!

Rent Your Home

According to the U.S. Census, American landlords make over $97,000 a year in rent. Thus, getting into the renting business can be a significant money minter. Choosing to rent is a great way to gain consistent monthly income, which can help offset the costs of homeownership and your living expenses. However, renting your home does require sustained effort. You’ll need to advertise your listing, screen potential tenants, perform rent collection and manage your property. That’s a lot to do, especially if you have mobility concerns. Hiring a property management company can help reduce some of the work, so that is a route to consider as well.

Leave It Be

If none of the options above work out for you, leaving your home empty may be your best bet. Leaving it unoccupied in the state it is in may make the most sense for your situation; however, it is typically the least desirable option. Why? Well, you’ll have steady bills coming in that you’ll need to pay. Moreover, an unoccupied home runs the risk of vandalism or theft more than occupied homes. Lastly, you’re not making any financial profit by following this course of action! Thus, if you find yourself seriously considering this option, gather insight and advice from a realtor or trusted family members for the best course of action ahead.

Moving homes is stressful enough, but moving into assisted living can be a significant life change to boot. The last thing you want is trouble with your home during an already challenging time. The good news is, you have lots of options available to you when it comes to your home. So take your time, consider your decision carefully, and your big to-do will be checked off in no time.

If you enjoyed this article, be sure to stay awhile and browse the Sipping Cups of Inspiration blog for more informative content!

A Walk in The Past…Arline Miller with my Mother in the ’70s when I didn’t think too much about her becoming a Senior with a home to consider what to do.

Andrea Needham, Thanks for this vital and informative article and for all of my followers and readers, please comment if you found this blog interesting and let’s show support for Elders Day. I want to invite other bloggers to message me with your ideas for a blog you would like to be a guest blogger. I encourage positive blogs with no profanity and Sipping Cups of Inspiration allows only quality content from verified sources…..Arline L Miller, blogger and author.

(C) Copyright 2012-2022 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced to original location/author, if known, for credit references.

Today Is An End But A New Beginning Is Beginning

As this year closes out tonight, it is the beginning of a new year. As we get ready to watch the ball drop, and for us DAWG fans we hope there is not any ball dropping but a WIN. Many people will celebrate with parties but hopefully they take precautions to avoid the variant virus. What is your mind going to do tonight? This is the focus of my last blog post for 2021.

Let’s do a review of this past year:

  • What is your biggest accomplishment?
  • What was the biggest failure?
  • Did you make your goals or did you not set any goals?
  • Did you save money or go farther in debt?
  • Have you thought about your health’s status?
  • Did you further and develop your career?
  • How many times did you reach out to help others?
  • Are you happier or sadder at the end of this year?

I ask these questions to begin my topic Is This An End or Is It A New Beginning ? In my life, I have found out that yesterday’s failures can lead to tomorrow’s successes if I use the lessons learned to overcome any future obstacles. I am sure that most of the successful people are students of learning from mistakes.

Photo courtesy of Good Housekeeping

Now let’s look at tomorrow’s possibilities:

  • Plan on what you want to accomplish this year by setting a goal for finances, education, health, relationships, careers, and/or retirement.
  • Evaluate any failures and why they happened, take responsibility for any action which could have the cause, and calculate smart decisive moves to avoid failure, and forgive yourself and move forward.
  • If you cannot make goals, research and learn how to set realistic and dream goals. Sometimes it requires dream goals to push us to make realistic goals come to full rendition. If for whatever reason, you surpass the realistic goals, you might see the dream goal become closer and even realistic.
  • Saving money, making sound investments, will reduce stress and make your financial goals more realistic. Eliminate debt by setting goals and sitting down and figure out how to stop unnecessary spending and place that money to paying more than the minimum. Example: I decided No More Credit Card debt several years ago and I started with the card with the lowest balance and doubled up the payments. Once that card was paid off, I took the same amount of money in addition to the regular payment to the next lowest balance card. I used this system and I can say we only use our cards if we can pay the full balance off in three months time; if we cannot budget that; we don’t use the cards. You can do this; we did and we are not wealthy people but we are now credit card balance free. The three month paid in full is a great way to use credit as most purchases have a no interest time frame such as 6 months.
  • New beginnings are technically endings of previous actions. Your health is the biggest asset you have in existence. It provides you with the ability to earn money working. It is essential this is vital to your plans of any kind. Careers, hobbies, relationships, and other endeavors depend on you having the energy and health to achieve success in all of life’s tasks. Over indulging in eating incorrectly, substances, and inactivity will defeat your health status. Learn to take care of your health as once it disappears, so does your productivity level.
  • In whatever career you are in or want to pursue, be specific in your goals but take the time to realize what will be the outcome of your decision. Are there retirement benefits? This is crucial but if the field you choose doesn’t come with long term benefits but offer immediate income revenue, set up your own retirement plan.
  • If whatever you do, or however small amount you can give to others, by all means pay it forward. The reward of giving is far more important than sitting around and feeling sorry for someone and not discounting prayer but do what you can for that person if possible and still pray.
  • Decide your mental state now. Are you happy or sad? If you are happy, that is great and build on that happiness. Never take happiness or loved ones for granted. If you are sad, sit down and think about what is making your sad. Is it finances, relationship, work, lack of faith, health, or addictions of any kind including food or substance? If you don’t know what is making you sad, you can’t fix it. Denial is not a solution and the sooner you know, the sooner you can move to the solution. We all deserve to be happy but we can self sabotage our happiness. Feeling sorry is not a solution for any condition. Everyone has a story, everyone is dealing with something, and everyone can overcome or get help to overcome anything if you are willing. If you are willing, by the end of next year, you can say I am happy.
Dreamstime.com (photo courtesy)

Google search provided this Happy New Year Image

I leave all of you with this message of love. I cannot solve anyone’s problems. I can however work on myself to become the best I can be with all of my flaws and failures along with all of my successes. I choose to be happy, positive, full of hope and dreams. I feel confident you can be, and pray that you are happy already. LIVE LIFE, LOVE LIFE, AND LIVE AND LOVE LIVE TO THE FULLEST by filling your life with strong goals and a positive attitude. Happy New Year to All.

(C) Copyright 2012-2021 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced, if known, to original location/author for credit reference.

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