Archive for September 2011

Betty Crocker Molasses Cookie Giveaway Winner!

Hey guys. This is a super quick post, announcing the winner of my most recent giveaway for the Betty Crocker Molasses Cookie Giveaway.

Using random.org, our winning entry out of 23 entries is #17!

This comment belonged to Julie L! Congratulations Julie! Please email me at jeremy@stellarpath.net your name and mailing address and I’ll get these sent out to you asap!

Please stay tuned! I plan to host more giveaways!

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Things I Love… the first of many…

I too often get trapped in the “what I can’t have” mindset of dieting. That is stupid for two reasons.

One – it does me no good. Dwelling over what I can’t do is not productive in any way, shape, or form.

And two – nothing is off limits. I can literally eat whatever I want. In fact, I can even binge if I want. I know that I shouldn’t, but to say “I can’t” is defeating and pointless. If I want to take three days off from the diet, I can. I’m a grown up, my body is my own, my health is my own, and the consequences are my own.

Can you tell I had a bit of a pity party and took a few days off? Not sure why, really. I just did. But the fact remains… I did, and it’s over, so let’s move on. (Note – I actually do know why; it’s just not something I’m going to share publicly, but know that it ultimately has ZERO bearing on any aspect of my life, so it’s REALLY not worth going into.)

Rather than stay in a funk, I choose to focus on things that make me happy. These are things that I love. It’s a long list (not entirely represented in this post, which consists of only three things), and I plan to update it regularly. These are presented in no certain order. Well, after the first two, they are presented in no certain order.

My Faith

I was raised in a small country church, and for that, I am very grateful. I feel that religion is a very important thing. Of the various beliefs and attitudes I have had over the years that have changed, my faith is one that has not. I accepted Christ in the summer before my 5th grade in an old-time country revival, and my life has been the better for it ever since.

I have friends that are of many faiths, and I consider myself extremely open minded. I am always happy to hear that someone I love is deeply devoted to their faith.

I don’t claim to understand how all of the different religious beliefs interact and fit together. I don’t. I’ve tried, and I’ve ultimately given up as it is beyond my mere mortal comprehension. However, I will say this. Having a personal relationship with God gets me through.

I’ve recently discovered that I’m quick to turn to God for help, but I very seldom praise Him for the many, many, many, countless blessings He has heaped upon me. Part of this is that I want to publicly acknowledge this. God gets me through. Period. I hope you, too, have a personal relationship with God in whatever religious denomination, belief, or spiritual path you choose.

My Wife

I swear I am not looking at her boobs... probably...

I swear I am not looking at her boobs... probably...

When I look over the laundry list of women I have dated in my life (and it’s not a ton, by the way), Tina stands out for a lot of reasons. I’ve wondered what my life would be like if I had married any of the other women I’ve dated before, and I can only admit that I would, at best, be miserable, and at worst, be miserable, divorced, and half my stuff gone.

Not to be cliché, but she makes me be a better person. I’m not going to say she completes me, but she most definitely completes my life. I know I could make it through this world without her, but I sure wouldn’t want to try.

We complement each other perfectly. We rant about the same things that aren’t important. We laugh at the same jokes. We (mostly) watch the same television shows. In fact, we have a date tonight to watch the 3rd season premiere of Glee, and I am very grateful that she doesn’t make fun of me for having a 12 year old girl’s taste in music.

I can’t wait to start a family with her. I can’t wait to grow old with her. I can’t wait to go to Vegas with her. I can’t wait to see the world with her. I can’t wait to get off work so I can spend time with her.

I love her. She makes me happy just because she chose me.

It’s also pretty sweet that she’s so smokin’ hot.

Living in the Country

I grew up in the country. I grew up in a tiny, tiny, tiny place that… well, the nearest town was called Cub Run, population 150. I now live in the suburbs of Bowling Green, a ton of roughly 50,000 people. People tell me my city is a small town.

I hate it. I want to live in the country!

I want to live near a city like Bowling Green, within say ten minutes or so, but I want to live out away from people. Tina and I want to purchase several acres and have our own little mini-farm, away from everything. The thing that makes me saddest about living near the city is probably the light pollution. You can barely see stars, let alone the Milky Way. On my parents’ farm near Cub Run, it is so dark, you can see the Milky Way stretch from one side of the sky to the other. It’s amazing, and I miss it.

Tons more to come. I’ll try to share a few things I love periodically. What do you love?

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Stellar Cooks: Buttery Pancakes

I pretty frequently like to cook out of cook books, but it never occurred to me that I have the skills required to create my own recipes.

I learned to cook as a little bitty boy. My mom and mamaw both were accomplished Southern cooks, and I spent a lot of my childhood by their side in the kitchen. I feel like I can definitely handle myself in the kitchen. There are a few Southern things that I don’t claim to cook, primarily because they are unhealthy enough that I have just never bothered to learn AND because I know I’ll never be as good as my mother. (Such as fried chicken and biscuits.)

But my point – I know my way around the kitchen, and I’ve decided to start creating my own recipes. I’ll share my successes only here. Know that there will be failures that just weren’t worth sharing. Who knows? Eventually I may have enough recipes to create my very own Stellar Cooks Cookbook, but for now, I’ll share my best with you.

On Saturday morning, I had a craving for pancakes, and I decided to hit the kitchen and see if I could create a semi-healthy pancake. I know it’s virtually impossible to make a pancake that is 100% health food, because I need a little bit of syrup on my pancake. I’ve tried honey and agave, and while they are good, it just doesn’t say PANCAKE to me. So I don’t eat pancakes often, but when I do, I make sure I have the points to actually eat about a quarter cup of actual syrup on them. Yes, it adds 200 calories, so this is an occasional indulgence, but for me… well worth it.

Before I share the recipe with you, let me just say… this was a home run! I was amazed at how well these pancakes turned out. I’m a little more inclined to accept healthy food as tasty, so when Tina gave them her seal of approval, I knew I had stumbled across a keeper recipe. And best yet? I made this myself!

Buttery Pancakes

Ingredient Needed:

Dry Ingredients:
¾ cup All Purpose White Flour
¾ cup Whole Wheat Flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt

Wet Ingredients:
1 ½ cup skim milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon walnut oil
2 Tablespoons agave nectar

I decided to do a mixture of white and wheat flour. I do think it made these pancakes a little tastier, because in my experience, whole wheat flour can make for a tougher baked good. That being said, be willing to experiment! Definitely try them ALL whole wheat!

Combine the dry ingredients and stir together. Create a well in the center, and add in your wet ingredients. I’ll also point out – I had walnut oil on hand, so I used it. Olive oil, vegetable oil… literally any oil would work. If I had not had walnut oil on hand, I would have definitely used olive oil.

Once you have added your wet ingredients, stir together. This pancake batter will be considerably thicker than most – that’s okay. It should look like that. (I’ll be honest – when I first made them, I fully expected this to be a dismal failure.)

I used a griddle to cook them, but you could just as easily used a hot skillet. This is where the buttery part comes in. I took the stick of butter, and as soon as my griddle was extremely hot, I very quickly “painted” it with the stick of butter. This uses a VERY small amount of butter. I would estimate that I used MAYBE a teaspoon of butter cooking the entire batch of pancakes. (This recipe makes twelve 5 inch pancakes.)

While the griddle is still hot, ladle out your batter. You can’t use your standard pancake trick of waiting for the bubbles to appear, because this batter is quite thick. I just let them cook for a bit and I kind of poked them with my spatula. If it slid easily, I knew it was ready to flip. If it didn’t, I let it cook for a bit longer. Of course, after you flip them, let them cook for a bit more on the other side and then serve.

You’ll find that using butter to keep them from sticking does give them a buttery flavor without adding nearly as many calories as putting butter directly in the batter would give you. I do like my pancakes buttery, though, so I put a small pat of butter on top of my stack before I drizzled some syrup on them.

Eat while warm, although these actually do freeze pretty well. Wrap them in paper towels, store in a freezer bag, and toss in the freezer. Warm them up later with the microwave – they won’t be quite as good, but they’re still better than your typical frozen pancakes.

Each pancake ends up being 2 points on Weight Watchers Points Plus. And because of the whole wheat flour, these four pancakes had me STUFFED. Two or three pancakes would be more than enough for next time.

If you try this recipe out, please let me know how it turned out for you!

And if there is anything else you would like to see me try and whip up a recipe for, let me know! I’m hoping this will become a weekly feature.

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A Return to Vlogging Weigh-In

Short post today, folks. I recorded a vlog.

I haven’t done them in a while, probably because I felt like I didn’t have anything worth sharing. Well… I’m doing okay, so I think I do.

September 16, 2011
Weight: 371.8
Change from Last Week: -2.2 pounds
Change from Highest: -31.0 pounds
Weight: 53”
Change of 1” since 9-2-11

I’m going to stop measuring my waist weekly, but I am thrilled to see it dropped another half inch!

I say more in the video, but basically, Weight Watchers is working, exercise is going great… life is just generally awesome right now, and the weight loss is icing.

Don’t forget about my Betty Crocker giveaway that ends next Wednesday!

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Stellar Review: Betty Crocker Molasses Cookies & Giveaway

In the interest of full disclosure, “The product, information, and prize pack has been provided by Betty Crocker through MyBlogSpark.”

I was recently contacted by MyBlogSpark about trying out the new Betty Crocker Molasses. In the past, my experience with MyBlogSpark has always been positive, because in addition to trying out some new food, I usually get some type of new kitchen gadget or gizmo, too. This time, in addition to the cookie mix, I received a mixing spoon/paddle, a cookie sheet, and an apron. Woo hoo!

I didn’t think I had ever tried Molasses Cookies before, but I was certainly intrigued. When I was given the chance to try this product out, I jumped at it. After all, who doesn’t like a good cookie?

Yes, this is a healthy living and weight loss blog, but I am a firm believer that anything is allowed in moderation. These cookies contained only 90 calories (for two, if you use the same size as called for in the directions) each. For those of you following Weight Watchers Points Plus (like me), they come out to 4 points for two cookies. I consider that an affordable indulgence.

In the interest of further disclosure, I must admit… I didn’t make these cookies. My lovely wife Tina did.

She said they were remarkably easy to make. Now we didn’t follow the directions exactly. Rather than make 36 cookies, we made 18 larger cookies. You’ll notice 15 fit on the cookie sheet. The other three were made in a different batch.

Tina placed them on the cookie sheet, stamped them with a fork, and baked them. How did they turn out?

Oh my gosh. I could not BELIEVE how amazingly soft these cookies were. Melt in your mouth good. They were soft, chewy, and they have a wonderful spice cookie flavor that makes them one of my very favorite cookies now. (White chocolate chip macadamia nut is still my absolute favorite, though.) They seriously taste like autumn.

I had one fresh out of the oven and figured they wouldn’t be nearly as good the next day.

Wrong. Just as good, still as soft. This is definitely a mix that we will be buying again.

In addition, anyone who would like a 75 cent off coupon for these cookies can go here (http://bit.ly/cookiescoupon)!

And… one lucky reader will win the same prize pack I won! You’ll get the cookie mix, a mixing spoon, a cool apron, and the baking sheet! (Winner must live in the U.S. Sorry non-US readers!)

You have several ways to enter below! For each entry, please leave a separate comment. (If you do everything but post it in one comment, I’m afraid that counts as only one entry.)

1. Leave me a comment here, answering the question, “What is your favorite occasion to bake spice cookies for?”
2. Like the Betty Crocker page on Facebook here (http://on.fb.me/molassesbcfb)
3. Like Stellar Path on Facebook.
4. Follow me on twitter!
5. Tweet this… uhm, tweet. “@stellarpath is giving away a @bettycrocker prize pack #myblogspark #giveaway http://bit.ly/q2a4ih”

This giveaway will run until September 21, 2011 at midnight, so hurry and get your entries in! The winner will be selected via random number generator at random.org and announced next Thursday, September 22nd.

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Weigh-Ins
12-31-13 - 412.0
1-3-14 - 407.0 (-5.0 pounds total)