Sunday, August 27, 2023

My Favorite Recipes and Meals

 In my previous blog, I told my story of How I Lost 100 Pounds. I mentioned some of my go-to MEALS.

This post will provide my go-to Recipes. Some are links to recipes I've saved on PINTEREST. Some are recipes I've developed.  I don't like to cook or spend hours planning meals so these are simple and taste good. Enjoy!


My Oatmeal Breakfast includes one cup skim milk for my coffee

Most mornings this is my breakfast. I made the FULL size portion until I got under 200 pounds and found the MEDIUM portion was sufficient


                               FULL                    MEDIUM

Whole Oats                                      1/2 cup                1/3 cup

Water                                                 1 cup                  1/2 cup

Frozen Fruit                                       1 cup                   3/4 cup

Muscle Milk Protein Powder         1 scoop              1 scoop

Two Good Greek Yogurt             1/2  container         1/2 container


Put oats/water in large bowl. I put a saucer under in case it overflows

Microwave 2 minutes at Full Power

Add Frozen Fruit, stir, microwave 2 more minutes

Add Protein Powder

Add 1/2 container Greek Yogurt for sweetness and more protein

My preferred ingredients for my oatmeal

 2. EGGS 

Two large eggs, 1 Tblspn Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Scramble or fry, add veggies/cheese if you like. 

Enjoy with Thomas' Multi-Grain English Muffin, butter and preserves

UPDATE: I made this 5 Minute Egg Breakfast Tortilla this morning and it was very good. Can’t find it on Pinterest or on a website but if you use Instagram  here it is:



My go-to lunch or can be hotel/quick breakfast if there are no eggs. My preferred Peanut Butter is Jif Reduced Fat PB but it has added sugar. Natural PB is best but usually needs to be refrigerated and is hard to stir when cold. 1 Banana, 1 big Scoop PB--about 2 Tablespoons which is one serving.

4. SALAD WITH ADDED PROTEIN    In the Summer, this is a fast dinner too:

Salads are made with Romaine, Spring Mix, Spinach--dark, leafy greens. Additions are what's on hand: black olives, peppers, cucumber, cherry Tomatoes, Salad Toppings like Cranberry/Pecan--just 1 Tblspn for extra enjoyment. Protein add-ins can be: Rotisserie chicken, canned Salmon, Hard Boiled Eggs, Canned Kipper Snacks, Canned Smoked Oysters, leftover Salmon filet from a previous dinner

Salad with leftover rotisserie chicken


Tara's Balsamic Vinaigrette--I double this and store in a jar. Add more or less mustard/garlic as you prefer:

2 Tblspn Dijon Mustard, 1 Tblspn Honey, 1/3 cup Balsamic Vinegar, 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 3-6 cloves garlic, minced, Pinch oregano/salt/pepper.  Whisk well, store in a jar in the refrigerator. 

6. COTTAGE CHEESE "FLUFF"  I think I got this from Weight Watchers 35 years ago

In a large bowl, mix 24 oz Cottage Cheese with 4 serving size box of sugar-free gelatin, any flavor. Add 1/4 can no sugar added Fruit Cocktail. Mix well, put most of the mixture back into the Cottage Cheese container. The remainder fits in a small dish with lid--that's about a half serving. Chill for several hours.
 I store the remaining Fruit Cocktail in 3 of those small dishes and keep them in the freezer until the next time I am making a batch of this. 
I love that it is sweet, loaded with protein, and so easy to have on hand. It makes a great breakfast too. Cottage Cheese tends to have lots of sodium so watch that as you are reading labels.


7. CRACK CHICKEN IN THE CROCKPOT  We LOVE this! Just made it the other day and am having it again tonight.

In the crockpot before serving

My plate--served over a large serving of steamed Broccoli

You can make as is or use only 8 oz of Cream Cheese and less Bacon to reduce fat and calories. I used 4 strips of bacon and 1 packet of Ranch dressing mix. I didn't have any cheddar cheese so I used mozzarella. You can serve this on a bun as a sandwich, over rice or noodles. Mine is always served on Broccoli. It freezes well so the six servings becomes 3 dinners, two now and one sometime later when I don't want to cook. I start with frozen chicken breasts and cook on LOW 8-10 hours. So yummy!


I came up with this pretty simple recipe after seeing similar on Pinterest--they had more steps. 

These tortillas are favorites. High in Fiber, 13 g, and Protein, 9 g, low carb. 

In a medium mixing bowl combine 1 can Black Beans, drained--I buy no salt added beans, 1 cup frozen corn--you could use canned, 1/2 cup salsa. Place a quarter of this mixture into 1 tortilla, roll and place seam side down in a baking dish. Do the same with the remaining 3 tortillas. 

Spread one can of Enchilada Sauce on top. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, until heated through. Remove from oven, add 1 cup shredded cheese, more or less as you like, return to oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese.  I serve this with a salad and add a dollop of Sour Cream on top of my Enchilada--makes 4 servings. Very filling and I get two dinners for the week--a win for me!

9. CHARRO BEANS  A new Favorite--love this!

Charro Beans

My husband read an article about how good Beans are for you. Which I knew. They are an especially good source of Protein, and not overly expensive as Proteins go. So I started searching Pinterest for Bean Recipes that appealed to me. This was a hit from the beginning:

Charro Beans  I used half the Bacon and no Ham, it was still great. Improvise as  you like. I served it with a dollop of Sour Cream and sprinkle of Cilantro. And a Corn Muffin with butter. In the Winter this will be a weekly meal and I'll add a salad to round out the meal. During the Summer I eat lots of Salads so don't feel the need to always have salad at dinner. Next Winter I'll experiment making this with dry Pinto Beans in the Slow Cooker or Instant Pot. 

10. BAKED SALMON  Salmon is particularly good for me and I love it so we eat it at least two to three times a month. And I often order it at restaurants. Leftovers make a great lunch for me. Here is a very easy way to bake Salmon filets. 

4 Salmon filets, defrosted.  I take them out of the freezer and remove the wrappings in the morning. They defrost in the refrigerator during the day. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 400. Pat salmon dry. Use Mayonnaise or Yum Yum sauce, spread a Tablespoon or so on each filet. Put a couple Tablespoons of Panko Bread crumbs on each filet. I sprinkle Old Bay Seasoning on each. Bake 15-20 minutes, until desired doneness. 

Here is a similar recipe with Tilapia, Butter and Parmesan cheese. This would work with Salmon too:

Photo from linked website

Parmesan Crusted Tilapia

11. TORTILLA PIZZA    Another go-to here, at least twice a month, Friday is "Pizza Night"

1 Extreme Wellness Tortilla--see photo above. Spread with jarred sauce: Pizza, Marinara, Spaghetti, whatever you like. I read labels and select those lowest in Sodium. Top with cheese--Mozzarella is my favorite. I add raw peppers, onions, and a Protein. Husband gets Pepperoni. I will use leftover Rotisserie chicken if I have it, or Sausage or Pepperoni.  Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes. These are very filling thanks to the low carb, high fiber Tortilla, one is plenty. Along with a salad. Occasionally we get Dominoes Thin Crust Pizza but this is good most Pizza Nights.

12. CHICKEN BURRITO BOWL   My version is similar to recipes I found on Pinterest, just easier.

Photo from linked website, mine is similar

For ONE serving: Start with a bed of greens in a bowl, I use Romaine. On a small plate put: 1/4 cup Black Beans, drained--I buy no salt added beans. 1/4 cup frozen corn, 2 oz rotisserie chicken, 1/4 cup brown rice if it's cold. If I am making it fresh the rice will be hot from cooking. Warm these ingredients in the Microwave, it doesn't take long. Place the warmed items and rice on top of the Romaine. Add Pico De Gallo or Cherry Tomatoes and 1/2 Avocado. Add a dollop of Sour Cream. Use Salsa for a "dressing". Easy to assemble and you can tweak it with what you have on hand and like. 

Similar Chicken Burrito Bowl recipe from Pinterest

13. GUACAMOLE, recipe from a great Texas friend  Find detailed recipe here: GUACAMOLE ATX

3 ripe avocados

1 jalapeno – cored and diced

½ cup diced red onion

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

Optional – 1 roma tomato, cored and chopped



I try not to get ravenously hungry so often have a snack in the afternoon. Go-Tos include Unsalted Cashews 1/4 cup, Whole Almonds, 11-22, an Apple goes well with the almonds--especially good for traveling.

Muscle Milk Protein Drink--I like Strawberry 25 g Protein or Muscle Milk Pro Knockout Chocolate 32 g Protein. On a day when I have Banana and Peanut Butter for Lunch I almost always have one of these Milkshakes--so good. They are also non-dairy so I take them when I travel--chilled overnight they are yummy. 

For travel I also like Think Thin Protein Bars and/or individual packets of nuts--easy to keep handy on the plane:

That's enough RECIPES for now. I have saved MANY recipes to my PINTEREST account. My Pinterest account is bbquiltmaker. Use the FOLLOW ME ON PINTEREST link over there on the right sidebar to take you there.

I got smart and created different files for Recipes: SIDES, SAVORY MAIN DISHES, SEAFOOD, BREADS/BREAKFAST, SALADS, BEANS, SLOW COOKER, SWEETS--you get the idea.

And just so you know I splurge from time to time, when eating out I enjoy one glass of sweet wine, usually Moscato or Blackberry Sangria. 

1/3-1/2 Dessert if it's really good like Key Lime Pie, Tiramisu, or Carrot Cake. 

A really good Cheeseburger, like 5 Guys Little Cheeseburger (600 calories before toppings)  or Steak Out Cheeseburger (755 calories before toppings).  5 Guys small Fries split with someone are worth the calories in my opinion (530 for the small size so 265 split), once in a while.

And when in TEXAS: BRISKET!

There is a world of good food out there. Find a few things you really like and enjoy your meals.

This took 5 hours to write and now I'm hungry so it's time for a snack.

Next week it's back to QUILTING. 


Sunday, August 20, 2023

How I Lost 100 Pounds

 First, I must start with the declaration that I am not a Doctor so don't take medical advice from me. Always speak to your trusted physician about what diet and exercise plan is right for you.

WARNING: this is long and has NOTHING to do with quilting. If you aren't interested, come back in two weeks for quilt-talk.

Officially down 100 pounds, 15 months, give or take. Photo taken August 17, 2023:

March 2023:

March 2022: 

Before and After--April 2011 with my husband vs. June 2023:

Since my early teenage years I have struggled with weight. Always overweight, always fighting the urge to overeat. There are many reasons for this, and most have nothing to do with food. Let's just say food has always been my drug of choice, in dealing with the slings and arrows of life. 

Several times before I have lost substantial weight, then gained it back plus some. This time I wanted to lose it and keep it lost forever. A little more than a year ago I started again...

I had reached my highest weight, 256, and size 22s were tight. If not now, when would I fix this? 

This is my story, for inspiration and to answer the many questions I have received since people started to notice.

Everyone wants to know the SECRET. Surgery? Gummies? Nope. Diet and Exercise. The same thing we've always been told. Eat less, move more. So I knew what to do. I just had to START. 

For years, when trying to lose weight, I have used a great app, MY FITNESS PAL. I use the free version to track everything I eat and my daily exercise. 

I use it to plan meals at restaurants, BEFORE I go, so I make better choices. I can eat whatever I want but everything I eat counts. Will it get me closer to or farther away from my goal of being healthy? I love this app and would be lost without it. I especially love the button at the bottom of each day's Diary--COMPLETE DIARY. It says "If every day were like today, in 5 weeks you'd weigh XXX". It is such a simple way to see that having a calorie deficit takes me in the direction I want to go. So I check, even on BAD DAYS--that helps me get back on track tomorrow.

Then I stumbled on a great book about diet and exercise for those of us over 50:

I first read about this in the AARP magazine. The book is easy to understand. It explains why we need more Protein as we age, not less, and how to get the right amount every day. It is not a DIET--it is a plan for eating healthy foods most often, and getting enough Fiber, something else most Americans don't get enough of. It explains the need to build muscle now as we age and how to do that. If you want a plan, I highly recommend you read this, cover to cover. Very educational and a great resource. 


Here are my MACROS, the guide I have set for myself:

Calories    1220-- most days I get closer to 1400 and when we go out to dinner it's 1700
Carbs     45%     137 g
Protein   35%     107 g
Fat          20%      27 g 
Sodium  1500 mg
Fiber 21 g 
Sugar 46 g 

These have changed over the years but, with all the diet books/websites I've read, this is best for me at this point.

The Whole Body Reset says women over 50 should aim for 25 g of lean Protein and 5 g of Fiber at all 3 meals. And a little more from 1-2 snacks a day. Men should get 30 g Pro and 7 g Fiber at all 3 meals. 

I don't like to cook nor spend lots of time shopping/planning meals. It has always worked best for me to have a few go-to meals, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Once I figure those out, I save then in My Fitness Pal, making it so easy to add them to the daily Diary. 

I will do a separate blog next week with my RECIPES. But so you know what I eat most days, here are my go-to meals.


1. Whole oats, frozen berries, Muscle Milk Protein Powder Vanilla Creme flavor, Two Good Greek Yogurt vanilla flavor--one half container to add sweetening and more protein. Oatmeal alone is not a good meal as protein is low.

2. In a hurry, I grab a banana and a big spoonful of peanut butter. My favorite is Jif Reduced Fat PB, but it has more sugar. Natural peanut butter is best but I don't want to deal with stirring cold PB so I use the one I like best. Life is all about choices and compromise. 

3. Eggs---two hardboiled, scrambled or fried in extra virgin olive oil, Thomas' Multi-Grain English Muffin--100 calories and lots of fiber. Since it resembles cardboard, I add butter and some kind of preserves to it. Just not a huge amount of either--I have to be mindful of sugar. 

Oatmeal at home and 1 cup skim milk in coffee


1. Cottage Cheese Jello "Fluff": cottage cheese, sugar-free Jello and 1/4 cup no sugar added Fruit Cocktail. Stir, let set, this makes at least 4 servings. Cottage cheese is high in Sodium so I watch sodium for the rest of the day

2. Banana and Peanut Butter--see above

3. Lean protein and a handful of cherry tomatoes and/or sliced peppers or cucumber. Rotisserie chicken is great to have on hand, as is canned salmon and tuna. 


1. Salad, lots of veggies, add olives, and a lean protein. 

2. Rotisserie chicken, frozen veggies nuked, brown rice

3. Baked Salmon, salad or frozen veggies nuked 

Half salad, half chicken salad sandwich McAllisters deli on the road

Salad with boiled shrimp, at a restaurant but easy to prepare at home

I refuse to be hungry so I snack when I am and the next meal is still a few hours away. 

Unsalted CASHEWS -- 1/4 cup, my Favorite

An apple and cheese

Muscle Milk Protein Shake--Knockout Chocolate when daily Protein needs a boost (32 g), Strawberry when less Protein is needed (25 g). Zero sugar, plenty of fiber. These travel great as they are non-dairy so I often bring them on trips--chilled overnight they are yummy. Available at grocery stores in the Pharmacy area or on Amazon:

I drink one large cup of coffee with breakfast, using 1 cup of skim milk to make it palatable, just for the caffeine. The rest of the day I drink plain water, at least 100 ounces a day. I sweat buckets during my two hours of exercise so need to replenish that and stay hydrated. If out for a nice dinner, a couple times a month I enjoy one glass of Moscato wine. Otherwise, it’s just plain water for me.


The other part of the equation is exercise. I eat every day so I move my body every day. For me, the easiest thing to do is walking. All I need are good shoes. I just have to walk out my door. If I have to drive to the gym, it won't happen.  I just walk.

When I started again last year, I went around the block. Once. Done. The next day I did it again. And the next day, again. The beauty of using MY FITNESS PAL is I can see that I can eat MORE if I exercise more. 

A month in, I was walking at a 3.0 mph pace for 30-40 minutes. Then one day I was "walking and talking" to a friend and I JUST KEPT GOING. I walked for an hour and felt great. That's progress. I kept it up, the weight was coming off and I was seeing results. 

Today I walk at  a 4.0 mph pace for almost 2 hours, most days. As I move into maintaining more than trying to lose much more, I will walk less. An hour a day maximum is my goal.

Now I am really working on building muscle with free weights and lots of squats, lunges, etc. There are unlimited free videos on Instagram and YouTube to help.

Both my knees were replaced years ago, 2007 and 2012. They work just fine now that I have taken off 100 pounds. I can really tell the difference. 

Exercise, love it or hate it, you need it. Find something you can learn to like and JUST START.


Daily Blood Pressure pill, my BP is perfect.

Weekly Trulicity injection--I am still borderline pre-diabetic from the many years I abused my body with food. I hope that can be ended at the next doctor's visit in December. If A1C is normal, that should happen. 

A Multivitamin, B12, and D3--just to keep my bloodwork as the doctor wants it. 

Let's show some pictures:

2018 on the set of The Quilt Show


2021 the perfect BEFORE shot

December 2021 with Sam

July 2022 with Stella

And now from my Journey: 

February 2023

Birthday June 2022

Birthday June 2023

March 2023 onboard cruise ship at Veteran’s Salute

May 2023 on the road in Durango CO

May 2023 on the Road in Huntsville TX

May 2023

June 2023

July 2023

July 2023

July 2023, size 10 shorts, size SMALL shirt

August 11, 2023 so close...


All my life I have had goals. Here they are:

1. Weigh less than my husband--CHECK
2. Be able to shop for clothes in Regular Misses sizes--CHECK
3. No longer be OBESE--for me, that means under 175--CHECK
4. Weigh less than it says on my Driver's License--a month ago I burst out laughing at the bank when I saw my DL--175--and I was really 171--CHECK
5. Be able to wear the Special/Favorite clothes I saved from 26 years ago--CHECK
6. Lose 100 lbs--CHECK

Only one more goal, the MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL, maintain this healthy, happy size with daily exercise of one hour or so. No more yo-yo-ing up and down. So far, so good.

I check my weight every Monday and Friday. If it is up, even one pound, I check every day until it is down again. 

You should know, the BMI chart still says I am OVERWEIGHT; at 5'4", I need to be 145 or less to be "normal". I am not sure that will happen and today, it's not a goal. My doctor is thrilled with where I am and so am I. 

In my younger days:
August 15, 1975, the day I was commissioned a 2LT in the United States Marine Corps--one of the BEST days of my life

March 29 1979 1st Lt United States Marine Corps, serving with VMAT 202--my GLORY DAYS

July 1981 the first time I got to goal on WW

I never expect to be this small again, and that's OK. I am so much smarter now than I was as this young woman. I am loved by some wonderful people, and love them in return. I have had several successful careers and think I have been helpful to many people over the course of my life. All in all, I am happy and now, healthy. There are great things ahead for me yet, and I look forward to that. I have a dream, a goal and a plan.


1. If I can do it, you can do it.
2. Just start, wherever you are. Make small improvements every day.
3. See results monthly, not daily.
4. When you fall off the wagon, get back on the next day.
5. Next year I will be one year older. If I am to be better, it starts with what I do TODAY.
6. Nothing tastes as good as being HEALTHY feels. Although, Key Lime Pie is right up there...

Next week, I will share a variety of the simple recipes I like to make and eat. UPDATE: FIND THAT POST HERE

After that, let's quilt!

PS. PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE THIS if you like. With the small buttons at the bottom of each post, you can EMAIL, BLOG, share to TWITTER, share to FACEBOOK or share to PINTEREST:

Thank you!


Sunday, August 13, 2023


 I have a friend who is selling off most of her antique quilt collection. A few years ago I told her she had one I wanted so if she was ever ready to sell it, to let me know.

Now it's mine: 

76" square

It is well-loved and very worn in spots. But I still love it so. The hand quilting is inspiring, 10 stitches/inch, so tiny and even. The soft colors appeal to me, as do all the various shirting fabrics used as backgrounds.

 I like that sometimes there are several fabrics in the same position. Maybe this block was one of the last to be made and the original quiltmaker was determined to use up the pieces she had already cut. I do that with scrap quilts: 

Sometimes all the fabrics in each position are the same or very close. The pink/white stripe is used quite a lot and it adds movement.:

Red/cheddar with indigo blue: 

Pink and green, with a red center: 

The hand quilting is wonderfully small and even. There are lots of straight lines, and a beautiful feathered wreath in the large blocks. The outer borders have a lovely feather vine too. I LOVE FEATHERS! I will do my best to replicate the hand quilting when my reproduction quilt is finished:

The back because the shirtings on the front make it hard to see the quilting

You might be able to see the Feathered Wreath in this large block

There are quite a few yellows too, and a few plaids, always good for movement in a quilt. Here you can clearly see the damage on the outer pink border: 

As I often do, it is my plan to reproduce this quilt to honor the original maker, sadly "anonymous" to us. The seller tells me it came from Indiana, that is all we know about it. PLEASE label your quilts with the who, what, why, when and where!!

The block is called Goose Tracks or Cross and Crown. They are 7.5" finished. First, I pulled fabrics from my substantial stash that resemble the original fabrics. I did the math for a 9" block, cut a few blocks out, and got to work. Here are the first two:

Expecting to use this as a new class sample, once I made these two blocks I thought long and hard about that plan. The points are 45 degree diamonds, and the background squares and triangles are "set-in" with Y seams. Most people don't want to fiddle with a pattern they consider "difficult". 

I often say about a pattern like this: "It's not hard, it's just not fast". And that is very true. It doesn't bother me to make such a block if just to prove that I can. But not everyone feels that way.

So I selected another, "easier" block that feels like Goose Tracks. It has several names: Duck and Ducklings, Hen and Chickens, Wild Goose Chase, Fox and Geese, Corn and Beans. 

I did the math for a 7.5" finished block--the cutting measurements are very easy at that size and it replicates the feel of the original quilt. 

They sew up quickly--especially because I use a really fast technique taught by Debbie Caffery in her book SCRAPS TO YOU, TOO.   It makes two Bird in the Air blocks at once and four are needed for each block. Cut two sets and you have them ready to go. They are sometimes referred to as "Mary's Triangles" though I don't know who Mary was. 

Here are the first four: 

So, now, apparently, I am making BOTH of these quilts. One to replicate the antique and one to teach. 

UPDATE: A brilliant friend reminded me of the Carolina Lily block that has a similar feel to Goose Tracks but is much easier to make. Amazing! How did I forget about that?! I love making Flying Geese, four at a time (see Tutorial for my method above in TUTORIALS) and this method uses 8 Flying Geese per block. Thanks, Ellen!

Now I can make 7.5" blocks as a tribute to the original quilt: 

I have already made 4 blocks 9" using the set-in seams Diamonds method--they will become a small wallhanging. The reproduction quilt will be made from these "Goose Tracks Variation" blocks, 7.5":

Two Flying Geese and a Half Square Triangle and Viola! The look is the same and from any distance will look exactly like the original: 

Here is the current "Fabric Pull" I am working with. If I get bored, I'll open the closet and add some more. What is the point of having all this fabric if I don't use it?

What do you think? Is the original block too hard or fiddily for you? Which do you prefer? Do you ever reproduce a beloved quilt just to save it? 

The value of an antique quilt is based on several factors but condition is very important. I did not pay a lot for this quilt but it is precious to me. In pristine condition it would have been out of my price range. Now I get to love and care for it until it goes to live with someone else someday.

Let's quilt.