GardenWatch: 70 degrees in June

HonFest, Baltimore Pride, Walters Art Walk…. So much to do today! So I decided on none of it. It’s a beautiful day, and I’m going to enjoy it in my own backyard. Because things are a’happenin’!










#FedUpChallenge Day 10: Tada – done!


Yeehaw – made 10 day of (almost) no added sugar! Yippee!

Today was a mishmosh – pancakes with strawberries, lamb chops & sweet potato with spinach, take-away Chinese food.

But the #1 thing I’ve taken away? The ability to really enjoy food with no added sugar.

Will I ever truly quit Nutella, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, or froyo? Of course not; I’m me. Now though, I don’t “need” that stuff, I simply enjoy it in measure.

And at this moment, I’m gonna count that as a win.

#FedUpChallenge Day 9: soda?


Honestly though, I drink diet when I drink soda. Because that way all the calories I suck down come from food. As is just and right. Y’know, besides beer….

Today I started to get a bit of the guilts. You see, before I found out about this challenge? I’d stocked up with a bunch of my usual suspects: vanilla soymilk, honey nut cheerios, peanut butter, and Mac and cheese. But I had to schlep out to get no sugar added stuff, and now? I’m worried about wasting food. Which brings me to….

9 am: banana peanut butter smoothie. Strawberries. Hello vanilla soymilk!

10 am: taking a break from the gym today. Aaaaaaand now the Internet is down. Le sigh. Hello cell phone!

12:30 pm: chicken quesadilla with guac & strawberries. This is quickly becoming a favorite. Hello rat-proofing!

2 pm: yardwork! Installing the disposal became building me a raised garden shelf! Hello last of the deck wood!

6 pm: pre-screening naughty; wings and a beer. Hello sugar!

7 pm:… But I don’t feel like any movie snax, other than a big water. Hello healthier!

WRAPUP: Not much to see here today, but it feels like I’m fitting into a slightly healthier groove. I’d like to keep the “at least one no added sugar meal a day” thing going past tomorrow’s final challenge day. It feels good to know I’m not sneaking in sugar when I don’t want to be.

#FedUpChallenge Day 8: sugar free Mondays?

Gotta say I did eat healthier when I lived with my parents....

“Monday is when people tend to be most open to making healthy changes, so challenge yourself and your friends to go sugar-free every Monday.”

Hmm. I know about Meatless Mondays. But Sugar Free Mondays? Interesting.

Wrapup: wow. Totally dropped the ball on this day. So here’s a quick and dirty –

* banana for breakfast on the way to the gym

* sweet potato chips and strawberries from Aldi – mmm, strawberries.

* add drumstick to above? Lunch!

* dinner at Duclaw; mezze platter. One of my favorites, and no added sugar! (That probably came from the two beers….)


* dried apple chips for my in-screening snack.

#FedUpChallenge Day 7: Farmers Market

I heart farmers markets. So today, let’s get this party started!

7 am: garden buddy calls – would I like to have my disposal installed Tuesday? Assuming this is not an innuendo. It’s not! Yay DIY! Picking him up a flat leaf parsley as a thank you.

8 am: my mission at the Farmers Market? Parsnips. Mmmmm, parsnips. And a flat leaf parsley plant.

8:30 am: parsnips look less than happy. So do I. I quit this bitch. After the parsley. But a Zeke’s decaf first….

9 am: parsley acquired! Loved that the kid selling parsley said “see you next week”, as if I was already a regular. I’ve shopped here a few other times, but this is probably what he says to everyone. Still a Farmers Market regular? I’m liking the idea.

10 am: Bad Girl Breakfast – decaf coffee with 3 Splenda, Pecan Bun. But it’s homemade! The bun, not the Splenda. Haven’t had a sugary carb binge for days. Seeing it for what it really is: a rare treat.

1:11 pm: lunch? I’m hungry. Chicken and cheese quesadilla, with no sugar added wrap/tortilla. Plain yoghurt w/smoked paprika, and guac for dipping. Apple slices. Easy and perfect.

4 pm: Honey Nut Cheerios. Hello, box in the pantry! Whoa. 9 grams of sugar per serving? Eek. This is one of go-to sneaks for the movies. Um.

7:30 pm: chicken, sweet potato, onion, jalapeño & cheese. Covered with plain yoghurt & smoked paprika. Zero added sugar! It looks like slop, but it’s tasty!


9 pm: fat free vanilla ice cream, cool whip & 4 chopped mini Reeses peanut butter cups. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoyed every bite. But I’d have been just as happy with a mango cut & cubed. What did we learn tonight kiddies? Processed sugar doesn’t equal a treat. ANYTHING that I enjoy equals a treat. Mmmmm, mango.

Wrapup: lunch and dinner = no added sugar. The farmers market had tons of things to nosh without added sugar. Plus, I liked the guy that said “see you next week”, like he’d remembered me from my visits and appreciated my business. That, in itself, was a treat. No sugar added.

#FedUpChallenge Day 6: exhaustion


Yawn. Staying up till 3 am yapping and watching the PBS Sixties special? Doesn’t make for coherent me today.

9:30 am: You’re getting buckwheat pancake mix? Okay. See ya – bring me strawberries. (At least maple syrup is less of a preservative nightmare than Mrs. Butterworth.)

11 am: Hiking, to burn off breakfast. I think I like buckwheat pancakes better than the usual. Nutty. And, strangely, lower in added sugar! (He checked. Good boy.)

1:30 pm: grilled chicken and veg with mango salsa. Side of romaine, tomato and feta salad. Best. Leftovers. Ever. And I get some to take home! I love helping friends with gardening. Especially if there’s grilled stuff involved later.


3 pm: Very Scary ride home – I found myself unable to stop nodding off while I was driving! Milliseconds of closed eyes and abject terror. Nothing I did could stop it. Gaaah!

3:15 pm: home again, jiggity jog. Popped dried fruit and two Reeses mini-cups in my mouth, simply for the sugar jump. Yeah, I could just crash, but I’m still really freaked and needed a comforting jolt. NOW it’s time for a nap.

5:15 pm: Still exhausted, but making brownies with almonds, cashews and no added sugar (applesauce pinch-hitting). They should be… Memorable.

Hello, @cookingforbae!

6:30 pm:

* hello, leftovers from last night! (Don’cha love it when friends pack you a goodie bag?) Grilled chicken, guacamole with grilled onions and chips.

* okay, the brownies are kinda eggy, but have a cool Really Dark Chocolate vibe. The not-too-sweet vibe is growing on me. That said, they’d be really good with Nutella…. Next time? Adding a mashed banana in.

8:50 pm: Intellectually stimulating, flat-out fun debate til 3 am? That’s what friends are for. Crashing at 9 pm the following evening? That’s what being the master of your own home is for.

Wrapup: dunno if it’s the lessening of sugar, the staying up waaaaaay too late last night or a combo platter. But I’m wiped. Keeping the kitties out of my room tonight to make sure I get a good solid chunk of heavy rest. For tomorrow? Parsnips at the Farmers Market!

#FedUpChallenge Day 5: scary cereal


So, children’s cereals have a boatload of added sugar. Nobody’s surprised by this, right? I mean really; anything that has little, rock-hard marshmallows (probably so hard because of all the sugar and preservation, ew) ain’t health food. But this tidbit from today’s Fed Up Challenge email really put it in perspective:

One cup of any of the 44 children’s cereals – including Honey Nut Cheerios, Apple Jacks, and Cap’n Crunch –contains more sugar than three Chips Ahoy! cookies.

Oh. My. God. Becky.

I may be reducing rather than eliminating now – at least until I can get over this scary back doctor stuff – but there’s one thing I’ll be doing. Yep, reducing the amounts of sugar in the cereals I eat. Which is fine, because after a few days of no/low added sugar? A piece of Cinnamon Toast Crunch tastes like candy.

I’m guessing that’s the point. From the manufacturers, and from the Fed Up gang.

Okay, diary time!

7:40 am: The doctor’s appointment wait is KILLING ME. Ten am, y’all. Physically, I want breakfast. Mentally, I want to throw up. A friend calls; can I come by today and help him plant his deck garden? All hinges on the results of my MRI. Another to-do, besides the limiting sugar thing? Get. Another. Neurosurgeon. Hello, Hopkins!

9 am: peanut butter and apples! Mmmm, I love this stuff.

11:40 am:

* The back pain verdict? A couple of “very small” protrusions in the L4-5 & L5-S1, and a “disc fragment impinging upon the S1 nerve root.” So, basically, the nerve pressing seems to be the cause of my current sciatica. Still, I’d like to hear more about how to be healthy beyond “don’t worry so much”. Time for lunch.

Noon: sweet potato, shredded chicken, plain yoghurt and a Tbs of BBQ sauce. And honestly? I tend to be a BBQ sauce whore, but today? I could have been just as happy with smoked paprika stirred into the yoghurt. Next time.

1:30 pm: adding stuff to next week’s shopping list. Clementines, apples grapes…But what’s for dinner? I need to start planning out my meals again. Bet’cha I cut down on processed & overly sugared if I did that. *nods to self*

6 pm: hit one of my favorite garden centers with my gardening buddy. Chickens!


7 pm: grilled Mahi Mahi (from buddy’s dad’s fishing trip), lemon change chicken. And tomato/feta salad, mango salsa, and romaine blueberry salad. Side of grilled jalapeños. Urp! Homemade goodness.

Salad. Salad. Salsa!

Wrapup: Okay, so it’s crazy easy to go no-added-sugar when the person you’re visiting always does it. How can a human being eschew bread and snackies? Yes, savory is devine, but….

And he still has energy to talk/debate til 3 am. Uncle!