Yellow Squash and Onions

This spring I asked Russ to pick up some plants for our vegetable garden from the farmer’s market.  I wanted 4 zucchini plants, 4 yellow squash and 4 cucumbers.  When he brought them home I said the cucumber did not look like ones I had planted for the last 16 years.   He said the lady who sold them to him told him they were bush cucumbers.  HA, they were zucchini.  So we are having an over abundance of squash already.  Top it off the yellow squash are zephyr, those half green half yellow ones that  technically  is a yellow squash, just not what I thought it would be.

So I will try and not overwhelm you with squash recipes, but this one is a favorite from my Grandmother.  It is very easy and once you have it you will want it again.

6 cups of yellow squashed sliced into ½ inch rounds

2 medium sweet onions chopped

2 t. butter

1 T. Cremora or Coffee mate (Coffee Creamer)

Salt and lots of black pepper

In a stockpot put the onions and the squash and just enough water to come half way up the side.  Sprinkle a little salt in now.  Bring the pot up to a boil and reduce to a slow boil, cover. Stir every five minutes.  After 10 minutes of cooking remove the lid so the steam can release and cook until the onions and squash are tender, about another 15 mins.  Make sure you still have liquid in the pot.  The squash will start to fall apart, which is good.  After it is done add the butter and the powdered creamer. I know powdered coffee creamer sound crazy, but you will be surprised how good it is and not that bad for you. Add Salt and lots of Black Pepper.

Champions for Kids

For all you followers who live in the Triangle I want to invite you to the Streets at Southpoint this Saturday for the Food Bank of CENC’s Champions for Kids day.

Summer is a particularly hard time for kids who are at risk for hunger.  51% of all kids in public schools in our 34 county service area get free or reduced price lunches at school.  That is over 300,000 kids.

In order to help feed them during the summer the Food Bank works with agencies to set up summer feeding programs and helps make more food available to families.

If you come out to the mall think about bringing food to donate that you can spare, of course money is always welcome.   There is a Kids Feeding Kids walk in the Mall from 8:30- 10:00.  A Food Bank truck will be parked on the road that passes between Magiannos and Firebirds between 10:00 AM and 6:00 PM so you can just drive by and pass your donations out the window.

If you are up at 9:00 watching Saturday morning cartoons on ABC-11 I will be live on TV.  So if you can’t come to the mall you can see me on TV.

I know that so many of you have made generous pledges to the Food Bank through the Less Dana, More Good Campaign, and thank you for that.  It takes many events and messages to educate the public on the problem of hunger and help get the support we need to help our neighbors.

What’s Not Motivating


Motivation is a very personal thing.  What motivates me is not necessarily what motives you.  I know this to be true because more people have said to me that they would rather pay me to lose weight than discuss their weight publicly.


One thing I know is not motivating to me is to be bullied into doing something.  Case –in-point is my 5th grade gym teacher.  Even though I can’t remember his name I can picture him in my mind perfectly.


He was a little fireplug of a man, who wore those ever popular among coaches in the ‘70’s sans-a-belt pants.  They were made out of stretchy material that was not yet the perfection of today’s spandex so after a few weeks of putting his hands in and out of the slash-front- pockets the front flaps began to hang down so it looked like he had two pouches.


This Gym teacher, let’s call him Mr. Bully, announced to my fifth grade class that one requirement of our school system was that each of us had to climb the rope hanging from the gym ceiling.  Not only did we have to climb the rope the twenty feet, at the very least, but when we reached the top we had to take one hand off the rope and touch the ceiling and then make our way back down the rope.  Falling off the rope at the top did not count as a successful completion.


Every week one or two students would attempt the rope climb, cheered on by the rest of the class.  There were those stellar students who were clearly descended from chimps who could jump up and grab the rope way above their heads, coil the dangling end around their feet, shimmy up to the top, remove one hand and without fear touch the ceiling and slide back down without the slightest tinge of a rope burn.


I was not one of these agile youths.  I attempted the climb.  Having never been instructed in any proper climbing technique, I would grab the rope and try and pull my body off the ground.  I would lift my legs and after what seemed like an eternity my hands would get sweaty and I would slide the three feet down the rope, having never actually made any upward progress.


This torture went on for weeks with no actual progress.  Mr. Bully would pull me off the sidelines of dodge ball having already been hit by at least three balls in the first ten seconds.


“Dana,” he would yell.  “Climb the rope!”  It was clear I was never going to be able to climb the rope.  But he continued to insist that I do it.


“You will not be allowed to pass out of fifth grade until you pass the rope test,” he would scream at me and the other rope climbing failures.  At least I was not alone in my humiliation.

Not only was I poor in the upper body and coordination department I was deathly afraid of heights.  That fear was well developed from having to climb up the steep roof of our house to fix the TV antenna on cold Sunday afternoons when the football game reception was ruining my parents’ day.


So I really tried hard not to learn to climb because if by some miracle I was able to pull my body up the rope I certainly was not going to be able to take one hand off just to touch the gym ceiling.  I would have been more willing to kiss the gym ceiling than remove 50% of what was holding me on that rope.


Week after week, Mr. Bully never let up on me.  But as the group of non-climbers would huddle together I noticed one similarity… We all were mostly straight A students.  Now I’m not saying that all the straight A students could not climb the rope, certainly there were many of those gifted in both mind and body, but the threat of not passing out of fifth grade came into question, in my mind at least.


So one beautiful spring day, around April, when Mr. Bully had everyone come in from kickball early so they could watch the rope climbing losers fail one more time, I spoke up.


“Mr. Bully, is it really a rule that we can’t go on to 6th grade if we don’t pass the rope test?”  I asked.


“Dana Carter, just get to the rope and climb.”


“But is it a rule?”


“Yes, stop asking questions.”


“You mean that the town of Wilton is willing to pay for straight A students to repeat fifth grade just because they can’t climb the rope?”  I knew I was on to something because they passed Curtis Zelbisher out of fourth grade and he could not read.


“It’s a rule,” Mr. Bully screamed at me.


I got a little nervous then, having never really questioned authority like that before.  I grabbed the rope and lifted my legs up, still only three feet off the ground.


The next week when called to the rope I tried another tactic.


“Mr. Bully, I am afraid of heights.  I think my parents might sue the school system if I were to climb the rope and get to the top and fall to my death when I removed a hand.”  I could see steam coming from his hairy ears.  I tried again… you know the outcome.


I had never heard the phrase, “speak truth to power,” but I certainly was feeling it.  As I would question this idiotic rule he would threaten me more and more.  His mistake.


One day I was playing at friend Wendy Maclay’s house.  She happened to live across the street from the Verrilli’s.  Jamie Verrilli was our friend, but more importantly his mother, Rosemarie was the first Selectwoman of our town, which is kind of like being the mayor.  Wendy and I went over looking for Jamie and when we saw his Mom I took it as an opportunity to question the big “rope-climbing rule.”


Mrs. Verrilli, being a brilliant and calm woman with a big hairdo, listened intently to my story, with Wendy and her own agile son Jamie backing me up on the “facts.”


After I finished my too long description of Mr. Bully and my embarrassing treatment in gym I just waited.  Mrs. Verrilli did not tell me I was right nor did she tell me I had to climb the rope.  She just said, “I’m not sure, but I will look in to it.”


The last few weeks of school went on with me in the same non-rope-climbing predicament, but I persisted in my vocal protest.


School ended.  I got my report card.  Straight A’s and no mention of repeating fifth grade.  When the fall rolled around I found I was assigned to be in Dale Stoelting’s 6th grade class.  She was the best teacher ever.  Not only did not climbing the rope hold me back, but I was rewarded with the best teacher.


The first day we had to go to gym class I cringed, walking down the hall to the high ceilinged gymnasium.  As went entered the room I was surprised to see that Mr. Bully was not there.  Rumor had it that he had been relieved of his position.


I have no information if Mrs. Verrilli had anything to do with it, but I do know she was a very smart woman, proof of that is one of her other son’s Donald is currently the solicitor General of the United States.


Roast Green Beans

If you have never roasted vegetable you are missing one yummy way to enjoy them.  Even small non-green-eating children like these and they can’t be easier.

Green Beans



Preheat convection oven to 425º.  If you don’t have convection set oven at 450º.

Cut the stem end off the green beans.  Cover cookie sheet with foil spray with Pam.  Spread the green beans out in a single layer if you can, but a little overlapping won’t ruin it.  Put in the oven and check on them after 15 mins.  The amount of time it takes to cook them depends on their thickness and water content.  It could take up to 25 minutes for them to finish.  You want them to start to brown.  Sprinkle salt on them once they are out of the oven.

Always make at least double the amount you think you will need.  First roasting shrinks them down and second you won’t be able to stop snacking on them.  This recipe is great for even the most marginal of green beans, like really old ones or out of season.

Here I Am, Lord

While at church today we sang one of my favorite Hymns, Here I Am, Lord.    Part of the last stanza goes like this:


I will tend the poor and lame.  I will set a feast for them.  My hand will save. Finest bread I will provide till their hearts be satisfied.  I will give My life to them.  Whom shall I send?  Here I am Lord.


While singing this my eyes welled up with tears, and it was not because I could hear the pitiful sound of my own singing voice, but because I was overwhelmed by the thought of all of you generous friends who have made pledges of support.


You are the people tending the poor and lame, which while not a politically correct description, it is accurate of many hungry people who depend on the Food Bank.

Feeding someone is one of the most loving acts humans can do.  And I appreciate your selfishness in doing it.


You are not just giving to me, you are giving to the world through this campaign.  Here You are!

For the Love of Tea

I was walking by a closed bookstore and a title caught my eye:  The Ultimate TEA Diet; Boost your Metabolism, shrink your appetite and kick-start remarkable weight loss.  This seemed like a dream come true to me.  You see Tea, and when I say Tea, I mean Iced Tea, said with the most reverence possible, is my vice of choice.


I have a complete love affair with tea.  Russ brings it to me in bed every morning because he is a really smart man, if you know what I mean.


I make a two-quart pitcher of my own special recipe almost everyday.  I run the hot water tap until it gets as hot as it ever does into my blue plastic pitcher and put in eleven regular Lipton tea bags, the small ones, never the big giant ones nor the Iced Tea blend.


I let those bags steep for 20 minutes, but sometimes I forget about the pitcher and it sits on the counter for three hours.  It does not seem to matter how long I let it steep.  It is always perfect.  When I ask friends who are visiting if they would like something to drink, they often say, “I’d love some of your Tea.”  See, it is my tea.  Somehow it is better than regular Tea.  Why is that?


It could be that the temperature of my hot from the tap, never boiled water is just right to elicit those delicate flavors out of cheep-ass-bought-at-Costco-tea bags.  Maybe it is the eleven-bags ratio to two quarts of water.  Who knows, but it is the stuff I crave.  Well, the Tea with fresh lime juice and Sweet’n Low.


My Sweet’n Low addiction in Tea is serious.  I know there have been a lot of newcomers to the artificial sweetener world.  Those claiming to taste more like sugar, or be less carcinogenic, but I grew up in the 70’s, era of great chemical tastes, like Tang and Tab.  I crave that artificial-pink-packet flavor in my Tea.  I even carry it in my purse because so many new-age hip eateries do not espouse those non-organic sweeteners in favor of natural stuff like Stevia.  No match, in my Tea world.


So understanding how much I love Tea and how serious my addiction is, you would think that a book called the TEA Diet would be perfect for me… Hold your horses.  If drinking tea really did do all the things that this book titled promised how the hell did I get so fat to begin with?


Without actually reading the book this is what I think about it.  Eating less is about the only way to lose weight.  Eating less sugar, white flour and fat helps you lose it faster.  Exercise helps, it helps a lot, but Tea is not the answer.


Tea, being my last surviving addiction (as long as I stay off sugar) may not actually be bad for me, but I still consider it an addiction.  I’m just glad that I don’t need to go to Tea drinkers anonymous.


I made my good-for-you gazpacho for Mah Jongg today and everybody asked if it was on the blog.  I said, “No, its just gazpacho.”  But they all wanted the recipe so I’m putting it up for the Mah Jongg girls and anyone else who wants it.  It is a great starter for lunch or dinner so you get full before you eat anything less healthy.

One trick about this Gazpacho I learned from my friend Roz Howell, was to use canned diced tomatoes.  She convinced me that they were always better than fresh since they were perfectly ripe.  In the weird juxtaposition of the world, Roz was the one who taught me how to play American Mah Jongg.

1 15 oz.can diced tomatoes

46 oz. bottle of Hot and Spice V-8 –low sodium

2 medium sweet onions chopped finely

1 English cucumber –  seeded and diced

½ red bell pepper diced

½ green bell pepper diced

1 jalapeño pepper minced

1 cloves of garlic grated

5 T. red wine vinegar

10 basil leaves – cut in tiny strips

Mix everything together and chill.  This one was garnished with a slice of avocado.  Feta cheese is also a great garnish.

Roast Cauliflower

Sometimes you just want something to snack on and this recipe makes a great cold snack or hot as a side dish




Sea salt



Preheat oven to 450 – convection is you have it.


Cover cookie sheet with foil and spray with Pam.

Divide the cauliflower into florets and spread out evenly in one layer on cookie sheet.   Sprinkle cumin over cauliflower.  The amount depends on how much you like cumin.  You don’t want to cover it in cumin, just a pinch per floret.  Sprinkle sea salt lightly.


Place in oven and cook for a15-20 until the cauliflower starts to brown slightly.



Campaign By the Numbers

I love numbers.  I love statistics and data.  It might have stemmed from the math exercises my Dad used to make me and my sisters do while picking up rotten apples in our Connecticut orchard when I was a kid.


A word problem drawn from my Dad’s real life went something like this…”How many boxcars of beer, that’s train box cars, have I drunk in my life, if I started drinking when I was 16 and drank an average of five beers a day?”


Forget the issue of my father telling us he started drinking before he was legally able or that 5 being an average meant some days it was more than 5.  What he taught us was what questions to ask and what data did we need to figure out the answer.  How old was he at that moment?  Did he start right on his actual birthday?  How many beers does a boxcar hold?  (The answer to that was it’s own math problem, there are 24 beers in a case, a pallet holds 144 cases, the boxcar can hold… You get the idea.)


All this is the lead up to a report on the pledge numbers so far.  To date 117 of you have made pledges.  Thanks to each and every one of you.  The largest single pledge is for $20.00 for each pound I lose and the smallest is for .50¢.  The oddest number is one for $11.73. When asked for the significance I was told, “Everyone else just gives round numbers.”


The total pledged for each pound lost is $352.73, so far.


Now I like round numbers.  And I really like big numbers.  So to satisfy those two things I am trying to find enough people who are willing to join my team to pledge so I can get $1,000 per pound.


That is a really big number.  Now multiply that number by each pound I lose.  So if I can lose 50 pounds I can turn each .50¢ pledge, added to the $3 pledges and the $20 pledges and turn it into $50,000 for the Food Bank.


Feeding America say that when you give a dollar to the Food Bank of CENC, they can turn it into $10 worth of food.  So now that $50,000 can be turned into $500,000 worth of food.  That is a big number.  A number my Dad would like almost as much as beer.


So here’s the call to action.  I need you, and your sister Doris and your neighbor Hank.  I need you all to pledge so I can make this math equation work.  Please let them and any other really nice people know about this project.  Your generosity inspires me, but more importantly it helps someone who really needs a meal.  Won’t you pledge and pass it on today?


Bacon and Egg Salad

Bunch of arugula

Roast green beans

Grilled Portobello mushrooms

Roasted plum tomato

Wedge of goat cheese

Slice of bacon – cooked and crumbled

Poached egg

Balsamic vinegar

For the last two weeks I have eaten a salad for lunch and sometimes dinner most everyday.  You might wonder how I gain weight since I do really like salad.

I thought you might like to see some of the combinations of things I put together.

Not many people think of Bacon and eggs on salad, unless it is the mayo laden egg salad.  I like to make a bed of greens with balsamic vinegar and no oil.  The yolk of a poached egg is the perfect replacement for oil.  It gives you the mouth feel of fat, but is still not too unhealthy.

To make roast tomato –  cover cookie sheet with foil.  Spray with Pam.  Cut tomatoes in half and place cut side down on foil.  Place in 300 degree oven for 2 hours.  Salt afterwards.

Minted Pea Soup

Last night we served dinner at the Jones’ house to the winners of the Durham Academy auction.  One of the items I cooked is this Minted Pea soup.  It is pictured here with lardons and fried leeks as garnish.  Those little items add the calories, but if you do without them you have an incredibly healthy soup.

1 large onion chopped

1 leak- chopped up to light green section

2 cloves of garlic minced

1 20 oz bag of Frozen peas

3 cups of stock (chicken or vegetable)

½ t. white pepper

35 mint leaves chopped

¼ cup plain yoghurt


In a stock pot put the onions, leaks and garlic and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes until translucent. Add the stock and peas and bring to a boil.  Off the heat add the white pepper, mint and salt and pepper.  Transfer to a blender in batches and puree.  Adjust seasoning.


Can be served hot or chilled.  Serve with a dollop of yoghurt.

A Crazy Idea

Tomorrow my Blog and Weight Loss Challenge will officially be one week old.  I want to thank all of you who have made a generous commitment to the Food Bank and me by pledging.

As of today there are 81 families who have pledged to the tune of, wait for it…$188 for every pound I lose.  That is heart warming.  I wish heart warming was more like fat melting and could help me drop the pounds, but I diverge.

I love reading the notes of which “Go Dana,”  is leading the pack as the most common comment; it starts to make me wonder where you all want me to go?  As I read I started to hatch this crazy idea.  What if I could get pledges totaling, now you really have to wait for it,  $1,000 per pound lost?  I know that is a ridiculous amount of money and I promise not to cut off a major limb, and all my limbs are major, just to get more money, but I think it is possible.

What does getting pledges of $1,00 mean?  IF you are reading this you have to pledge!  It means everyone I ever met has to pledge.  It means that even people I have never met need to pledge.  It means maybe Ellen DeGeneres would do something for the Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC, and she is way more generous than even Oprah.  Maybe we could get Ellen and Oprah to compete on giving to the Food Bank and then we could take bets on who would win.  Then maybe the FBI would get involved because I was running some kind of illegal betting scheme.  Then I might end up in the Federal Pen at Butner with Bernie Madoff.

Ok, I’m backing up to the $1,000 part.  Hey, don’t you want to be part of this Crazy Idea?  Its easy, just click on the Pledge Tab, right there at the top of this page.

Quinoa Salad

I love Quinoa!  It is a great grain that makes a nice cold salad mixed with fresh vegetables.


1-cup pre-washed Quinoa grain (If yours does not say pre-washed on the bag, rinse it before cooking it)

2 cups chicken stock (Or vegetable stock to make this a vegan dish)


Put the stock and quinoa in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce to simmer for about 15 mins.  You will know it cooked because each grain will have expanded and white threads are coming from the grain.  Set the quinoa aside to cool.


2 seeded and chopped tomatoes

1 English cucumber – seeded and chopped

1 red pepper – seeded and chopped

¾ cup diced sweet onion  (red or white)

Juice of one lemon

2 T. white wine vinegar

1 T. olive oil

25 mint leaves chopped

Handful of cilantro – chopped

Salt and pepper


Mix everything together and chill.  Could not be easier!


You can add others vegetable such as green beans, sugar snap peas, zucchini, asparagus… the list goes one.  You can also change the herbs and add basil or tarragon.  Be creative, or just use up what you have in your fridge.

Chili Lime Glazed Salmon

This is a recipe I made up for a Garden Club Christmas Auction five years ago.  I still get requests for it so I thought you might enjoy it too!

1big side of salmon (skinned)

1 c brown sugar

1/3  c. soy sauce

1/3 c. lime juice

3 T. chili powder

2 T. red pepper flakes

Mix everything together except the salmon.  Pour 1/3 of the mixture in a sauce pan and set aside.

Lay plastic wrap out on baking sheet.  Pour a little sauce on the middle of the plastic wrap and lay salmon on top of sauce. Pour the rest over the top of salmon and wrap it up and marinate for 1 hour.  Grill on med heat for about 6 mins on first side  and flip and grill 3 mins on the other side.

While grilling place sauce pan of remaining sauce on med. High heat and bring to a boil and reduce by 1/2.  After salmon is cooked pour sauce over and serve.

Could you feed your family on $140 a week?

I got a message today from my friend Pokey telling me about a challenge that was on ABC’s TV show The Chew.  The challenge was trying to feed a family of four on $140 a week.


Why $140, you ask?  That happens to be the highest amount that someone receiving Federal SNAP Aid, better known as Food Stamps, receives.  Now I don’t care what your politics are, but this recession has put many more hard working people at risk for hunger than you can imagine.


A really horrible statistic that the Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC has discovered is that 51% of all children in our 34 county service area are on free or reduced price lunches.  Most of them are on free and many more qualify but are too proud to ask for it, so they are just hungry kids.  How can you learn anything if you are hungry?  I have a hard time concentrating right before lunch and I had breakfast.


Pokey said she was going to try and feed her family one-week on that amount.  I need to reminder her not to use what is already in her freezer, or pantry.  If a person is at risk for hunger they usually don’t have much in those places.


The Food Bank is the safety net that fills in where food stamps leave off.   I promise to not preach in this blog, but every so often I will try and educate you on the realities of hunger in our community.


So please consider pledging something to my campaign.  Although losing weight is for me, the money raised will go to help people you may never meet who are grateful for your generosity.

Caramelized Onions – master recipe

Caramelized onions are one of the truly great low calorie foods.  I make big pans of them and then divide them up into smaller portions and freeze them.

They can be used to top a turkey burger that is just a little bland, or put in a sandwich to add some depth of flavor.  Added to tomato soup, even canned, they will make your mouth so happy.

They are easy to make, but still take a little time.  Always cut more onions than you think you will need they cook down to less than ¼ their original volume.

Sweet onions




Slice onions.  Spray Pam in a large frying pan and put onions in it.  Place on medium low heat on stove.  Cook low and slow, stirring every so often. After about 20 minutes the onions should start to get golden brown.  Don’t try and get there faster by making the heat higher.  The low and slow develops the onions natural sugar.  When they get to the color in the picture sprinkle a tiny amount of sugar on top and stir.  Continue cooking about 5 more minutes until they get brown.  Putting the sugar on too soon will make them burn.  Salt to taste when done.

Use them on everything.  I love them in salads, mixed in eggs or in a grilled cheese, but that’s not very figure friendly.

Caramelized Onions

Writing a Blog — Easy, Understanding How Blog Technology Works — Not So Much

As I often say to my husband, “If anything ever happens to you I will be fine, but not my computer.”  Not so romantic, but when you are married to a Masters of electrical engineering with an MBA why would you learn how to protect your computer from a virus?   I think it is very romantic when he comes to bed and says, “I just backed up your system.”  Yeah, you are the best husband, because although I know it should be done, how to do it is just something I never really bothered to learn.


That brings me to the Blog issues.  There are lots of words around setting up this Blog that I have never heard of and therefore don’t understand, like Meebo, Meta or Gravatar.  Even my spell check does not like them.  Ha, I’m not the only old one here, and by old I mean someone who grew up with a dial, pre-touch tone, phone, who if you were lucky had a cord that could enable you to pull the phone in your bedroom for private discussions about who was cuter, Donny Osmond or Bobby Sherman.


So that finally brings me to the issue of the day, forgiveness.  Please forgive me as I learn how to best utilize this tool known as a blog.  Forgive the web-site if you are unable to log in to PLEDGE, as happened to my mother, and let’s not talk about what old means to her.  Please try again to pledge.  I am fairly certain it will work someday!!


I also am going to keep my promise with recipes.  You know how May is busier than December if you have a child in school.  I’ll get one up by tonight!!

Help Me, Help the Food Bank and Maybe even help you!

I love group brilliance.  Not only are the pledges coming in, but the creative ideas are too!

A giant thank you to the 40 people who have already pledged a total of $111 for every pound I lose!  The notes of support are inspiring, but even better are the ideas on how people are taking this challenge on for themselves.

A couple of people who also want to lose weight have made pledges as well as setting goals to lose weight for themselves.  To add skin to the game they have said they will double their pledge if they don’t reach their goal.  Another friend has made a pledge, but will add to it for every pound she loses by November 1.  You know I am going to be asking her to come walk with me!

If you want to add a bogey to your pledge just let me know by sending me a new pledge on the pledge  page.  I promise I won’t double count your pledge.

Creating a supportive community is what I need.  What about you?

Less dana live

Fava Beans and Sugar Snap Peas

1 pound fava beans in shell (They are big bean pods, that in the end don’t result in that many edible beans, but they are good)

1 pint sugar snap peas

1 shallot minced

1 clove of minced garlic

2 handfuls of pea shoots (could substitute arugula or baby spinach)

1 t. olive oil

Salt and Pepper

Shell the fava beans from the big pods.  Blanch for 2 minutes in boiling water and run under cold water.  You then need to slip off the outer skin of the fava bean.

In a skillet on medium high heat add olive oil and when it is warmed up add the shallot and garlic.  Cook for one minute stirring.  Add sugar snap peas and fava beans and 3 T. of water.  cook for 3 minutes.  Add the pea shoots cook another minute until wilted.  salt and pepper to taste.

The weight loss challenge

This fat lady plans to eat less so many hungry people can eat more.

Welcome to my new campaign!!  I need to lose weight, again! Seven years ago I created a weight loss challenge for myself which worked better than anything else I had ever done.  I lost 130 pounds and raised $47,000 for the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina by asking friends and family to pledge money for every pound I lost.

Unfortunately I am really bad at maintaining weight loss. I am not motivated to do this just for me.   So here I am, having gained 75 pounds back.  And no, I did not gain it back just to have another campaign for the Food Bank.  I have tried to lose weight in every traditional way but have failed.   I need the push of loosing weight for the greater good, for people I will never even meet.  That and knowing that other people are supporting me.

There are over 500,000 hungry people in central and Eastern North Carolina who need food!!  You are the key to helping all 500,000 and 1 of us.

So, if you are still reading and are interested in helping me and hungry people please go to the Pledge page of this website and make a pledge.  No credit card, cash or checks are needed today!  You are just going to promise that at the end of this campaign you will donate a certain amount to the Food Bank of CENC for every pound I can lose before November 1.  The motivation for me is great.  Imagine that there is $500 riding on each pound I loose.  I wouldn’t dare eat a piece of coconut cake for that.

What do you get out of this besides the great feeling of helping so many?  I am going to post not just my weight loss progress, but also my recipes with photos of what I am eating, if it is any good.  If you are interested in eating a more heathy diet or just want some inspiration about what to cook for dinner tonight you can visit this blog to see what I am cooking.

Thanks for going on this journey with me.  Feel free to share it with your friends.