30 pounds gone

One of the nice things about dropping 30 pounds is that I’m more easily able to hop into the saddle for a morning trail ride. Well, not hop exactly, but the screaming is at least more muted when I  wrap my short legs around my 1,200-pound mare’s barrel.

Two of the not so great things about riding this early, almost-summer morning: After slathering myself with sunblock, every white hair I brush off her lands and sticks on me until I look like a Yeti. Also, the squished 2-foot copperhead at the end of my in-laws’ driveway is bound to have relatives in the area. Cranky relatives.

But I’m going to think about saddling the beautiful Belle with 30 fewer pounds in these tropical temperatures. And how, if it’s true what we read about every excess pound putting 3 pounds of pressure on each weight-bearing joint, then my joints should be feeling about 90 pounds lighter!

I’m going to remember this is not the end. In fact, there will be no end, much as I love ends, love checking things off my list, tying them in bows and putting them away in dark closets. I need to eat intelligently forever and ever, world without end. That’s why they say, don’t call it a diet but a lifestyle change.

At the weekend’s two parties that meant skipping the main dishes and filling my plates with salads, avoiding the potato salads entirely. No dessert at yesterday’s church picnic, one serving Saturday night of the evil concoction made by layering ice cream sandwiches with chocolate and caramel sauces, fake whipped cream and Butterfinger pieces.

I was able to distract my bottomless appetite at both places (remember: you can’t eat ice cream in the shower) by taking photos of the celebrants. Nice to have the pictures afterward and nice not to be pigging out during.

On the way home from the dentist’s today I started to de-rail myself with a plan to hit the Harmony Cafeteria for lunch. This is always good and never a good idea for stout persons such as myself. Instead, I rallied and called He Who Packs his Lunch for Work with Multiple Sweets and said I’d fix the spicy chicken quesadillas from Desperation Dinners (Beverly Mills & Alicia Ross, 1997, Workman Publishing Co.).

They’re not particularly low-calorie, but you can keep the fat content under control by using reduced-fat cheese and grating it yourself. Or make one of these quesadillas your splurge for the day and eat a 250-calorie frozen supper (if you can accommodate all that sodium in your day’s meal plan).

Cheesy chicken quesadillas

2 12.5-ounces cans chicken breast in water

1 tablespoon chile powder

2 teaspoons bottled garlic

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Mexican-blend cheese

8 8-inch or 12 6-inch whole-grain tortillas

Rinse and drain the canned chicken. (You can, of course, use a similar amount of leftover chicken.) Mix with chile powder, garlic and cheese. Heat some good olive oil in a non-stick skillet (the original directions call for cooking spray, but I like the crunch you get with a bit of hot oil). Assemble 4 or 6 quesadillas (depending on size of your tortillas) and begin browning them carefully in the skillet, flattening each with a spatula to speed up the melting cheese. If you cook in oil, drain on paper towels. Cut each quesadilla into 4 pieces. Serve with gloriously fresh pineapple,  some baby carrots and a glass of ice-cold skim milk. Reheat quesadillas in toaster oven to revive that delicious crunch.




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