Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Revenant


This movie is different. For one thing, you really don’t see too many Westerns anymore. Secondly, it was a very satisfying, suspenseful tale of unfulfilled revenge and honor. There was plenty of action, blood, and history  to keep you on the edge of your seat.

What does revenant mean? I had never heard this word before. A revenant is a person who has returned from the dead for revenge.

The Revenant movie was inspired by the adventures of Hugh Glass. Hugh Glass was a fur trapper/mountain man from the 1820s. It seems to be true that he was attacked by a bear, left for dead, and recovered enough to return to civilization to serve revenge to the men who had both deserted him and killed his son.

The Revenant is set in 1823 in Montana and South Dakota during the Louisiana Purchase. Hugh Glass  guides an expedition of fur trappers to the frontier to gather  beaver pelts to sell to the French. They are in direct competition with the native Americans who hate all white men but like the guns and horses they can get from trading with the French. The natives attack the trappers to steal the pelts. A small group of the trappers escape on a boat down the Missouri River. They decide to abandon the boat to avoid capture.  While camping, one of the men, Hugh Glass, is brutally attacked by a bear. The rest of the group rescues him and tries to heal him while transporting him on a travois back to the fort.  Glass seems to be on the verge of death and is slowing the hunting party down so they leave him behind with 2 men and his son with the idea that they will bury him if he dies or bring him back if he recovers. One of the men, John Fitzgerald,  wants to leave him, and tries to strangle him but is interrupted by Glass’ son. He stabs the son as Glass watches and is too helpless to intervene. Glass is thrown into a grave and partially buried. Fitzgerald convinces the third man, Jim Bridger, that Glass is dead and the son wants to stay with him and that they should leave before the indians return. The next day, Hugh Glass crawls out of his grave and painstakingly begins his journey for revenge.

It was a long movie – 2 hours and 36 minutes and I liked it. Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy were dirty and disheveled and very manly. It was suspenseful and interesting to watch DiCaprio overcome incredible obstacles just to survive while maintaining his code of ethics. Revenge is a powerful motivator. The best part of the movie was the scenery which was just beautiful. The stark, lonely, snowy mountains and forest and freezing rivers were breathtaking. It was the old west where men survived by their wits, strengths, and convictions.

 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Breakfast of Champions

This is what I had for breakfast today:

 
One scrambled egg made with 1 egg, 1 egg white, a chopped ham slice, and a splash of milk – cooked in a non-stick skillet sprayed with pam. (approximately 153 calories).
 
Ten fresh spinach leaves and 8 grape tomatoes. (approximately 31 calories)
 
Coffee with 3 packets of Equal sweetener and a splash of low fat milk.(approximately 30 calories)

This is a hearty and filling breakfast for about 214 calories. If I am really, really hungry, I will add an extra egg white which only raises the calorie count to 231 calories.

I like to eat this particular breakfast on Monday through Friday. Weekdays are the days when I work the hardest or am on the run and need some super fuel to keep me going. I like oatmeal on Saturdays and pancakes or French toast on Sundays. Eating the same thing for breakfast everyday gets too boring and can make you want a donut.

It is hard for me to cook and eat eggs first thing in the morning. I am not a morning person and do not feel like eating until noonish. I cook and eat them anyway and I feel better afterwards. I like getting in a few vegetables first thing in the morning too. 

You can easy add more vegetables without changing the calorie count and you can make an omelet with the same amount of eggs for variety. Substituting  Canadian bacon for ham doesn’t change the calorie count too much and tastes a little different. Other variations will usually cause the calorie count to increase: adding cheese, bacon, or sausage.

I discovered this breakfast when I was doing  the DASH diet. I highly recommend the Dash Diet. I lost 10 pounds  last year but I gained them back plus a few more. I am not the type of person who can do a restricted diet. I do stick to the bare bones of the diet and am healthy because of it. I’m trying to find some kind of compromise that I can live with, not feel deprived, and still lose weight. Am I dreaming? Maybe. Just not ready for that gastric bypass.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Easy Black Bean and Sausage Soup

 This is a delicious and easy soup to prepare. It is very filling and satisfying to eat, especially on a cold day. It a very healthy soup. You can make it even healthier:  1. substituting turkey sausage and draining the fat,  2. rinsing the beans in water to remove the salt,  3. using reduced salt broth, and  4. adding shredded vegetables such as  spinach, carrots, peppers, corn, or onion. It can be simmered all day on the stovetop as long as you have enough water and stir it occasionally.


Ingredients:

1 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 lbs. hot ground sausage
3 - 15 oz. cans black beans, drained and/or rinsed
2-3 medium potatoes, pared and cubed
1 1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 1/2 garlic powder
4 beef bouillon cubes
4 cups water
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 cup cold water.

Spread vegetable oil in a heavy dutch oven. Brown sausage over medium heat, crumbling meat into fine pieces as it cooks. Drain grease and rinse meat in a colander if desired and place back in the pan. Add beans, potatoes, onion powder, garlic powder, and broth and simmer for at least 2 hours. Maintain a level of water of about an inch above the meat and vegetables. Just before serving,  mix 1 tbsp. cornstarch in 1/2 cup cold water. Bring soup to a boil and slowly add in the cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly until soup thickens. Serve or reduce heat to warm or low setting to hold.

This soup tastes even better the next day and freezes beautifully.

Monday, January 11, 2016

January Blues


I'm on my fourth cup of coffee this morning and I just can’t get moving. I hate mornings.Winter mornings are the worst. It is cold, cloudy, and snowy outside. Very depressing. 

There is nothing to look forward to today. I have to diet, exercise, clean the house, and put away the rest of the Christmas decorations today. I have been avoiding these things for over a week now and I really need to get to work. All the dust in the house is hurting my head and making me sneeze and if I don’t get in better shape soon, I will not enjoy my vacation to Arizona in March.

I am still upset about the spat I had with my husband yesterday. Weekends have become difficult for us lately. We are always getting in each other’s way. He is cheerful and wants to converse as soon as he jumps out of bed. I need a couple of cups of coffee before I can talk. He has been learning to cook breakfast on Sunday morning because I cannot function enough to cook first thing in the morning  and we are tired of going out. He is really proficient in making waffles, pancakes, and bacon but cooking eggs has been frustrating him. He was very disappointed with the way his breakfast turned out. His fried eggs were a total failure but I thought everything else was delicious. Then I saw the kitchen! It was a disaster! There was pancake batter everywhere and the skillets were ruined! His finger prints were all over the place. I foolishly complained about what a slob he was and he got very angry. It put him in a bad mood for the rest of the day. 

Marriage is a difficult balance. Should you be honest or should you tell little white lies to keep things running smooth? It is a judgement call and sometimes you make the wrong decision. 

Let’s look for the good things:

I will feel really good if I can start living healthier. I just need to make better choices and think about what I am doing. I need to find foods and activities that I can enjoy and that are good for me. That will be a bit of a challenge.

I have the freedom to sit on the couch all day or I can clean the house when I feel like it. I will see how I feel after I have exercised today. Maybe I will be energized. Maybe I will take a lot of little breaks. 

Maybe the old ball and chain will be in a better mood today. He is usually a cheerful person but it is Monday so I don’t know how his day will go.

I’m going to keep telling myself: “Life is good.”  It could be much, much worse.