Induction Cooktop

induction cooktop

Well I did it again. I bought something that isn’t compatible with what we have lol.

We have a normal stove top, but it shorted out 9 years ago, so we’ve been using a portable cooktop. It only has 1500 watts, and the left side uses 1000 watts and the right side uses 500 watts. Naturally the knob broke off the one with the higher watts. Normally it would be fine, but a strange key like wire came out with it. I didn’t know how to get that wire back in, so I had no choice but to buy a new cooktop.

We were going to go to Sears to buy a new cooktop, but I wanted to research prices before doing so, because I would hate to buy something for $100 and then find out we could have gotten the same thing cheaper somewhere else. I found that things are much cheaper on Amazon. I found an induction cooktop and of course did a little research into that by watching YouTube videos. The videos showed that it only takes like a minute for the water to boil, which I found to be very cool and it seemed to me that this type of cooktop would be better than what we had. Our old cooktop took 45 minutes to boil 6 eggs, this thing only took 12 minutes. Here are the eggs boiling after 1 minute. I couldn’t believe how fast it was to start boiling water. I also couldn’t believe that it only took 12 minutes.

boiling eggs

The only problem that I have with this cooktop is that it requires a very specific type of pot/pan; they have to be magnetic. The requirements said that if you can stick a magnet to the pot/pan then it will work, but it also said in the requirements that the pot/pan can be stainless steel. Well, it turns out all of our new pots/pans are stainless steel, but they wouldn’t work on this new cooktop, unfortunately. The pan I used to hard boil eggs just so happened to work. It’s an old pan that we’ve had for at least 20 years, I don’t know if they were mine or my partners when we met, I just know we’ve had it throughout our entire relationship. We also have a matching stock pot.

imageSo I have the choice of 1 pot and 1 stock pot, but that’s it. I don’t want to have to toss our other good pots/pans, so all I can think to do is to buy an adapter. It’s on sale right now on Amazon for $15 and with shipping it came to $22.34, which is a great price considering they are normally $75 and up, and if I were forced to buy all new induction pots/pans, well that would end up getting into the hundreds, and I just can’t do that. I don’t know how long it will take for that to arrive, but I can wait.

We went to Dollar General tonight to buy some dog food and cat food and I wanted some salad stuff, and while my partner was loading the cart with the pet food, I went over to the cookware and I noticed they have one of those electric portable stoves for $25 lol. This induction cooktop was $50. Oh well, I’d rather have this one that cooks fast than something that might take 45 minutes just to hard boil some eggs. I’m happy with what I have.

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Spiced Pumpkin Bread

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Have you ever had Spiced Pumpkin Bread? No, I’m not talking about that cake stuff that you buy, or that grandma bakes for dessert, I’m talking about actual bread that you can make sandwiches or toast with. Yeah, actual bread. No? Well, you are in for a real treat my friend because this is the best bread that I have ever had and it is too awesome not to share.

Okay so disclaimer it is high in calories. I’m not going to lie. You know that diet that you’ve been struggling to stay on? Well, you can go off your diet just this once. I swear off bread when I am dieting, but from October to December I throw caution to the wind because screw it, your weight can wait until January 1st when you make your New Years resolution to lose weight.

Now back to the bread. This bread is so fantastic. You can literally make a ham or turkey, or ham and turkey, go wild. My favorite is Peanut butter and Jam. It really brings out the taste of the pumpkin more for some reason. You can also make toast or garlic bread. Whatever you want, just freakin’ do it!

This is what you do. If you have a bread machine then wonderful, if you have a mixer that works too. If you have neither and you are low on funds, just head on over to the thrift stores. I bought my bread machine at a thrift store for $6. I shit you not. If you can’t find one then well, get your hands ready to start kneading dough. Trust me, it is so worth it.

spiced pumpkin breadThe ingredients are very simple. You start with the top and work your way down to the bottom. This is the recipe that comes in the recipe book for my bread machine, but I have a couple alterations for you because this recipe doesn’t make the best loaf of bread.

The recipe I use is in the middle for the 1 1/2 pound loaf. I don’t actually let it bake in the bread machine, I just use the machine to knead the dough for me. So just use the normal dough setting.

Start with 1 egg. Crack it directly into your cup. It says 1 egg with enough water to equal 1/4 cup. Well, I make it 1/2 cup. 3 tablespoons of oil. It doesn’t really matter what type of oil you use, so use whatever you want. I used canola for this recipe. 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. You can use a real lemon, or just buy one of those little plastic lemons with lemon juice. Just go down the list and add everything else verbatim.

Once you’ve added all of your ingredients, turn on the machine (or if you are actually doing this by hand, and if you are I applaud the hell out of you) and let it start kneading the dough. Don’t walk away from it, stand there and watch it. Does it just spin dry as if it were a baseball stuck to the bottom? If so, it is way too dry so add some more water, I would say about 1 tablespoon at a time. I would also suggest adding 1 or 2 tablespoons of more pumpkin. More pumpkin doesn’t hurt. What you want to see is your dough flapping against the side of the pan or bowl. Don’t make it too wet, but if you do, just simply add another tablespoon of the flour. Just keep watching it to make sure that it’s not too dry and it’s not too wet.

The bread machine should go for about half an hour or so. Once it finishes its kneading cycle, it will rise in the machine, just allow it to rise until it beeps and turns off. When it does that, what you want to do is turn the machine on again so it starts spinning the dough again. Let it work long enough until it’s back to a ball of dough. When that happens, take out your bread loaf pan and grease the sides to keep it from sticking, then dump the dough inside the pan.

I use a toaster oven since my oven doesn’t work, but that is the perfect place for me because I don’t have to wait for it to preheat, and I will tell you why. You want to put it in the toaster oven on warm, not bake, 45 minutes on 150F to rise. When 45 minutes is up, you should notice that it has risen again, and if it has, you want to turn the temperature up to 375F and switch it from warm to bake and let it bake for 45 minutes. When the 45 minutes is up, turn the temperature back down to 150F and switch it over to the warm setting again and let it warm for 20 minutes.

Oh and if you are using a toaster oven, you don’t need the rack because the bread will rise so high that it will touch those 2 coils at the top. You do not want that to happen. Just take the rack out and put it on the counter to use later. If you have 2 coils at the bottom, if they are wide enough that your bread pan sits in between them then you are golden, if not then you may have to sit it on top of them. I hate to give the advice to do that because it could break them, and we don’t want that. So if that is the case then it’s probably a better idea to use your oven.

Most people would say to take the bread out of the bread pan and put it on a rack to cool, but I found that it falls when you do that, so just leave it in the pan on the counter for a 10 minutes. When it is sort of cool to the touch, flip it over into your hand and lift the pan off. If the bottom is kind of wet, just take 2 paper towels and place it over the pan and drop the bread back in. I know this sounds odd, but it is wet because it is no longer in the oven, so it gets wet. Give it about 10 minutes and take it out and put it on the rack. It should be nice and cool by then, and the paper towel will soak up the moisture from the bottom of the bread. Let the bread sit on the rack until it cools down and the bottom will dry out.

I bought a bread slicer, it’s more of a guide that allows you to cut even slices and trust me, it really helps. You want to give it a couple of hours to really cool down before you start slicing it. Some say to wait a full 24 hours, but screw that, you want some bread now! Just let it cool down and then cut the bread to your hearts content. I use a plastic grocery bag to store it in.

Your bread should be light and fluffy and really soft. If it is too dense, you didn’t add enough water when mixing the dough. If it is too fluffy, you either sliced it too soon, or you added too much water. If you did it right, it will be so delicious that you will never want to buy regular bread ever again.

I normally don’t eat bread because I get so addicted to it that I can’t stop lol. Most people are addicted to chocolate, I get addicted to bread. I mean, not just regular bread, if it’s really good bread, then yes, but like regular bread, not so much. Give me a bag of bagels and get the rest while you can. Forget about English Muffins, those are ALL MINE! LOL. You see, I didn’t get fat because I couldn’t stop eating junk food, it’s from all that damn bread.

Weight loss progress

noom weight graph

I started using Noom in January 2013 and I successfully lost 70lbs in the first 7 months, but then I hit a plateau, as you can see in my weight graph.  I tried to maintain my weight, which was 194lbs, but I had a hard time.  The holidays came and I had gained about 20lbs.  I have been saying 15lbs because I seem to get to 208 to 210lbs and stay there, but occasionally it will go up to 213 or 214.

My New Year’s Resolution again was to get down to 150 which is my ultimate goal weight.  I said 57lbs, that was because when I made the new goal, I was 207lbs.  People are always telling me that 150 is too thin, but they don’t realize is that when I was 150lbs before I gained all this weight, I could still pinch an inch or so, so 150lbs wasn’t that thin for me.  I could probably get down to 140, but I won’t go that far.  If I get down to 160 and I’m happy, then I will stay there, but I would really love to get down to 150.

I don’t have the same willpower that I had a year ago, but I am working on that.  I just can’t seem to recall what I did exactly.  I mean, I remember that I cut out bread, which I have decided to do again, I cut out sweets, which I have had a difficult time with because it is shoved in my face at every turn.  I am trying to control my willpower.  I cut out soda and other high calorie drinks.  I don’t really drink soda too often and when I do it’s usually diet coke, but I even cut that out of my diet.  Let’s see, I cut out all high calorie snacks last year, but I don’t seem to be following, but I’m trying.  Okay, enough is enough!  No more crap food!  No See’s candy, no pudding snack packs, no cheese nips or pretzels!

I have gone down a few pounds though.  I weighed myself today at 205lbs so I know I am going to succeed if I try.  I’ve been eating a bowl of mixed cereals (rice chex, honey nut Cheerios and bran flakes) with a sliced banana and vanilla flavored light almond milk for breakfast.  I bought some Progreso light soup which is 70, 80 and 100 calories per serving, and that seems to be filling.  For dinner I’m eating the Weight Watchers Smart Ones frozen dinners.  I tend to be more hungry at night than I do in the morning for some odd reason, but I’m trying to keep my snacking down.  I will eat some fruit or veggies if I do snack.  We bought a bag of red apples at Dollar General for $1.95.  You can’t beat that price.

Anyway, I am trying at least.  The Noom app will ask me to weigh myself every few days, so I’ve been doing that and my weight has pretty much stayed the same, 208, but now it’s 205 so I look forward to what I will be the next time it asks.  Last year I only weighed myself on Fridays, but this year I will weigh in when it asks me to.

I’m rambling lol.  I just wanted an excuse to blog because I haven’t been blogging lately.  Anyway, tootles!

Day 5 After Parotidectomy Surgery

surgery scar 5 days

My surgery was on November 20th so it has been 5 days and I thought I would take a picture to show my progress.  It appears that my ear is swelling up and my face is a lot redder than it was.  I had just gotten out of the bath tub when I took the picture on the right, but it has been more than an hour since then and it is still just as red.  All of the red area is completely numb.

The way the doctor cut my face and stitched it up was perfect.  He followed my ear all the way down and went behind my ear lobe before going down following the line of my beard.  Genius!  In my opinion, he did an excellent job.  I saw pictures of other people who had the same surgery and their incisions didn’t look this good, so I feel very blessed that I had such an artist.

My face has a golf ball sized hole in front of my ear where my gland used to be swollen.  I figured it would have filled in by now, but it is still dented.  I’m sure it will fill in, I’m not worried about that.  It is still numb too.

The only thing that isn’t numb is where the tube is sticking out.  I don’t really care too much for having a tube sticking out of my neck.  It would be awesome if I didn’t have to have it in me for 2 whole weeks.  It was supposed to be removed after 7 days, and they even wrote a note on the paperwork that said “Follow-up KMC ENT Clinic next Friday.”  Well, that is the day after Thanksgiving and they are closed that day.  The reason they said Friday and not Wednesday is because that surgeon is only in the surgery clinic on Friday.  I guess he is the only one who can take the tube out so I will have to wait until December 6th.

I have been catching up on my sleep.  Today I woke up to the sound of my alarm on my phone to tell me to take my pills at 8am.  I had other pills to take at 10am and it had to wake me up again for those.  Then my partner woke me up at 12:30pm and I decided I wanted to get out of bed.  I don’t like sleeping the day away lol.

Another good thing about this is that I am losing weight again.  That’s not always a good thing because the reason I am losing weight is because of the medication, but I am using that to my advantage.  I am normally always hungry, so since I don’t feel too hungry all the time, I am eating the same amount of food I ate when I lost 70lbs.  I have been eating a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerio’s for breakfast with a banana and Silk Vanilla Light Almond Milk.  I ate a Yoplait light Strawberry yogurt at 10am which is my usual snack time and I ate a Weight Watchers Smart Ones meal with Fettuccine Alfredo and Chicken.  It is my 3pm snack time now so I will have a banana, then at dinner I will have another Weight Watchers Smart Ones meal.

When I stopped losing weight in July, I was still eating this same diet, although I was eating a little bit more food and I wasn’t getting a lot of sleep which seems to be the key.  I am getting more sleep now and eating the right foods, so I am losing weight again.  When I stopped losing weight I was 192lbs, but then I went back up to 202lbs and fluctuated between 202 and 210.  Last week when I had my surgery I was 208.  Today I am 199.8.  So I will just keep doing what I am doing to help get me back down to 192.  Whatever it takes, right?  This was the boost I needed and hopefully I will continue to lose weight.

Well, back to bed I go.

Recovering from Surgery

I am still recovering from surgery.  Been laying in bed reading the 12th Xanth book “Man From Mundania”.  The meds make me very sleepy though, so it’s hard to concentrate, but I do my best.  My face around my ear and my ear are still numb and it feels very odd to be numb and itchy at the same time.  I’ve never had surgery so naturally I had no idea what this would be like.

There is a tube sticking out of my neck to drain the fluids that I was only supposed to have for 1 week, but since the doctor is only there on Fridays and they are closed the day after Thanksgiving, I have to have the tube for 2 weeks.  It doesn’t bother me, but I was hoping to not have it any more than I have to because it hurts sometimes when I accidentally pull on it.  It’s also very disgusting lol.  We usually go to Golden Corral on Thanksgiving because it’s easier to have them do all the work, but with the stitches and the tube, I just can’t see me walking around a restaurant filling my plate without feeling like I’m being stared at and judged.  I already had someone blatantly staring at my stitches while talking to me and seeing the disgusted look on his face which made me never want to leave the house again.

I honestly don’t mind the cooking and cleaning, but since it is just the two of us and we really don’t need to cook that much food, it doesn’t make much sense buying and cooking so many different dishes.  I think if we can just get some chicken for the crock pot, a couple of potatoes and a couple of yams and a pumpkin pie we should be fine.  That’s really all I care to eat anyway.

I haven’t been eating as much as I normally have been.  I don’t know if it’s the medicine, but I’m just not hungry which means I am losing weight.  Yes, I have literally lost 6lbs since Wednesday.  I love knowing that I am losing weight, but not because the medicine is making me sick, but because I’m eating right and trying to lose weight.  I don’t know if that makes sense.

Well, I really just wanted to do a status update, but I was up to 3 paragraphs and I figured it was big enough for a blog post so I switched over to blogging lol.  I’m finished so back to bed for me.

Bread Slicer

bread slicer with pumpkin bread

I know, this is a very strange thing to blog about, but I’m excited because the bread slicer that I bought on eBay actually works.  I tried using it when I first got it, but it didn’t really work out because I sliced the bread too soon, so it wasn’t slicing right because it was too soft.  The trick is letting the bread harden a little before slicing it which usually takes a day.  I was also pushing down on the top when I was slicing it the first time because it was wobbling too much in the slicer.  That gave me uneven bread.  If I don’t touch the top, it gives me perfect slices every time.

The bread in the image above is spiced pumpkin bread.  I normally only make 100% whole wheat bread to use for sandwiches or toast, but the spiced pumpkin bread is awesome to eat during the holidays.  In case you want the recipe, here it is.

spiced pumpkin bread

I substituted the oil with butter, and I don’t use the lemon juice and it comes out just fine.  I don’t use the lemon juice because I found a recipe for cinnamon raisin bread from Betty Crocker that uses butter instead of oil and it doesn’t use lemon juice.  The recipe for cinnamon raisin bread that came in the recipe book that this recipe came in used oil and lemon juice, so I simply just cut out the oil and lemon juice and replace them with butter in all of my bread recipes and they still come out good, amazing in fact.

I use the 1lb recipe for my bread machine and the bread usually goes over the top, if I use the 1 1/2lb recipe, it goes way over the top and touches the vent and the glass on the door of the machine.  That’s way too much bread, so the 1lb recipe is perfect.  The Betty Crocker recipe must be the 1 1/2lb recipe because it always goes over the top.

So I just wanted to show the slicer and how thick the slices come out.  I was hoping for thinner slices, but this is fine.  At least they aren’t too thin on one side and too thick on the other which is what usually happens when I don’t use the slicer.  It’s a good guide to use.  Oh and this bread slicer was only $7.99 on eBay.  I give this bread slicer a thumbs up.

Here is this same bread slicer on Amazon and here it is on eBay for $6.99.  Naturally they lowered the price by $1 the day AFTER I bought it lol.

Oh and just in case someone asks, because I was thinking about it too, you can buy an electric knife if you want to, but a regular bread knife works just fine.  Although an electric knife will probably give you a more even cut on each slice, a regular one works just as well.  The bread in the image above isn’t 100% perfect, it’s uneven, but it’s not too uneven so it doesn’t make too much of a difference to me, but I’m sure you will get the same or near the same results with an electric knife.  So if you already have a regular knife like I do, save your money and just use that.  If you don’t have either then buy whichever one you want, but a regular bread knife will work just fine.

Weight Gain

WeightGain

We went to the doctor’s office today so I could get my clearance note for surgery to remove my parotid gland.  They had me step on the scale and I was shocked to see that I was 205lbs.  So yeah, I’m a bit verklempt lol.

One of my issues with exercising is that when I walk or ride my bike or do anything that burns calories, the Noom app tells me that I can eat more calories, so I end up eating those extra calories, but then I might even go over those extra calories because I think to myself that I did such a good job that it’s okay.  Well, that’s not how it works.  I should still stick with 1400 calories, 1500 at the most.  Even if it says I can eat 1700, I should draw the line in the sand at 1500.

I’ve been using the Noom app for my cardio, but I decided to download the Noom Cardio Trainer.  I’m sure that it will still show the extra calories in the Noom app, but I just want to see how it goes with the Noom Cardio Trainer.

I’ve been eating those Quinoa and Tofu burgers every day with hamburger buns which is not a good idea; I should be eating them without any bread.  Here is my typical day:

Every morning I will either have a bowl of Malt-O-Meal or a banana for breakfast, which by the way the Malt-O-Meal is a green food (which means healthy) and the banana is obviously a green food.  For my morning snack (second breakfast?) I usually have a banana.  For lunch I normally eat a Weight Watchers Smart Ones frozen dinner, although I’ve been eating the Quinoa and Tofu burgers, both by the way are green, except for the bun of course.  Afternoon snack (linner?) is typically a banana or crackers or sometimes I will have a bowl of broccoli.  That has been consistent.  Dinner is typically a Weight Watchers Smart Ones, but I’ve been eating the Quinoa and Tofu Burgers.  For evening snack I’ve been eating a lot of crackers.  I need to stop doing that, but I get so hungry that it feels like I’m famished.

I’m assuming that my issue here is the bread and the crackers.  I also have to admit that I’ve been eating candy corn, but not daily.  I’m guessing that the amount that I’ve eaten so far is finally catching up to me, so I will stop eating them for the rest of the season.  If I am having this much difficulty from the candy corn, just imagine how it’s going to be when Eggnog is available in stores.  I’m going to go crazy because I just LOVE eggnog lol.

So getting back to the Noom cardio trainer, I have set up 5 days a week to go riding on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.  I’m going to go out 5 days a week to do at least 11 miles per day, if I can do more, then great, but I’m not going to push myself that hard.  The app suggests 5 days a week, so I’m giving myself 2 days off, but not 2 consecutive days which is why I chose Sundays and Wednesdays as my days off.

balance ballI am also going to buy that Gaiam Total Body Balance Ball Kit which is sold on Amazon for $20.  It has an exercise DVD with it which I can watch while doing the exercises in my bedroom.  The doctor at Physical Therapy told me I should buy one so I can do exercises for my back since I only have 3 more sessions left.  My insurance only pays for so many sessions, then I’m on my own.  My back isn’t in as much pain as it was, but anyone who has, or anyone who knows anyone with scoliosis knows that the pain is really bad.  The only thing that really helps my pain is the exercises.  Pain meds don’t do anything for my back pain, they help my parotid gland pain, but not my back pain.  $20 is a small price to pay for pain relief.  I wanted to buy one at Target, but they were the same price, but without the DVD.

I really hope I can get back down to my comfortable weight of 192lbs and possibly get back on track with my weight loss so I can get down to my ultimate goal of 170lbs.  Considering I lost 70lbs this year, 35lbs shouldn’t be that difficult to lose, although it’s harder than I thought.

So to recap, my goal is to stay away from Halloween Candy and any other holiday sweets, bread and to exercise more and to try not to eat more than 1500 calories per day, even when the app says I can eat more.

Ready… set…  GO!