Cranberry Pumpkin Bread

Now that fall is here it’s time to do some baking. In January my husband was advised to go gluten-free. As a result, I’m eating semi-gluten free. I still have wheat based breads from time to time, but I wanted to find a way to make my fall favorite (Pumpkin Bread) so both of us could enjoy it.

I found a recipe on the web site and made a few adjustments. The original recipe called for orange juice and orange zest. I choose to leave out the zest and substitute Pumpkin Spiced Cider for the orange juice. I also used pine nuts instead of walnuts, increased the amount of butter from 4 tablespoons to 6, and I increased the amount of pumpkin from 1 cup to 15 ounces. Here’s the link to the original recipe:

Below is my adaptation:


  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Use coconut oil to lightly grease a 9-x-5 loaf pan. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the mix and the spices. Whisk and set aside.
  3. In another bowl, beat the brown sugar with the butter until fluffy. Add eggs, cider, and pumpkin and beat to combine.
  4. Add the dry ingredients. Beat to combine.
  5. Fold in cranberries and nuts.
  6. Spoon into prepared pan and bake 50 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes away with just a few moist crumbs. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Turn onto cooling rack and cool completely or serve slightly warm.

Why exercise in water? It’s easy on your body, it works and it’s fun.

What makes water exercise easy on the body?

Buoyancy: the upward pressure exerted by fluid – in other words, the opposite of gravity. It makes us feel lighter in the water and decreases the compressive forces experienced by the joints, including those in the spine. This makes aquatic exercise a low-impact activity.

The amount of benefit provided by buoyancy for exercise depends on the depth of the water. When you stand in water that reached your belly button you reduce the impact on your joints by 50%. Since the shallowest part of our indoor pool at Legacy YMCA is over 3 feet we are always experiencing at least a 50% reduction in the impact of our joints. When you move into water that reached your arm pits, you reduce the impact by 75%. Those hearty souls that work out in water that reaches their collar bone experience a 90% reduction in impact! Moving into the deep end to perform suspended exercises removes all impact from the joints but requires a suspension belt or noodle and a high level of self-confidence. In the water the body often tilts away from the upright position. Your feet and legs may attempt to float and tip you on to your face or back. You need confidence in your ability to maintain an upright position, or recover to one.

When working out in the pool, choose a depth of water that you feel confident in.

Why is it harder for me to jog in the water than it is on land?

Water molecules stick to each other causing the resistance we call “drag”. To push through these sticky molecules, your body must exert muscular force that is 12 to 15 times greater than the force needed when moving through air. Drag helps you develop muscular fitness. It also stabilizes the body and helps it remain upright, which makes the water a safe place to exercise for people with conditions that affect balance, because if you lose your balance in the pool, you will not fall and break a bone. (But you could wind up with your head under water.)

Are there any other properties of water that effect people when they exercise?

Hydro-static Pressure: Hydro-static pressure is the pressure exerted by a fluid to an object. The hydro-static pressure of water molecules creates equal pressure on all parts of the body, and this pressure increases with the depth of the water. This characteristic of water provides great benefits for persons with swelling due to injury, edema from pregnancy, or cardiac concerns. Specifically, any edema or swelling of a joint is decreased when the joint is under water because the fluid in the joint is forced into the capillaries by the pressure of the water against the body, so the fluid returns to the bloodstream. This benefit is more noticeable in the lower limbs because they are deeper in the water where the pressure is greater. As a result, for example, pregnant women see a noticeable decrease in ankle swelling.

The hydro-static pressure of water also aids in the efficiency of the cardiovascular system, thus making the pool a popular environment for persons recovering from a cardiac incident. Because hydro-static pressure causes constriction of blood vessels, the heart is pumping blood through a smaller area; as a result, it does not have to pump as often, and the heart rate decreases. Therefore, if you monitor your heart rate while exercising in the water, you may find fewer heartbeats even if you feel you are working more intensely.

Another week another pound

Will I make goal by Christmas? Twelve weeks to go 145-12 = 133 Crap, at this rate I’ll still have a couple pounds to go.

 What to do? Add more exercise of course. But what will I add?

 I visited a friend last week. She suggested I try out her Wii fitness program. She and her kids have been using it and really enjoy it. Nothing like having others watch you exercise to keep you honest on track. I figured, why not. I played the Wii bowling game last winter and really enjoyed it, and I was very curious how one would do yoga on that fitness platform. My first impression, wii hates me. I know, it’s an inanimate object, it has no feelings, it can’t possibly hate me, BUT IT DOES.

I did what it asked. I stood still and let it scan me. It told me my BMI was high, which I expected (I don’t remember the actual result), it told me my optimal weight would be 124 (six pounds lower than my goal), but then it went on to tell me my Wii fit age = 75, I nearly fainted. I went through the body test, hula hoop, ski jump, soccer heading and the tree (yoga pose). We all laughed at my inexperience, my poor eye hand coordination, my lack of balance. In a word, I had fun. I admit, it was a little strange holding on to the controller while doing yoga, but I think I could get use to it. I left that night promising to return and try again.

 Today I went on line to look up some information about Wii fit for this posting, and to my surprise . . . . Coming October 4, 2009 Wii Fit™ Plus

 Wii Fit™ Plus builds upon the original Wii Fit™ software, works directly with your Wii™ console to bring you a fun and exciting way to experience fitness. Get fit with over 60 activities and exercises, including over 20 new strength training, aerobics, and yoga activities.

Oh Yeah, I want this, unfortunately I can’t rush out and get it. You see, Karen reminded me, it’s October. My family has a rule that we can not buy any “fun” stuff for ourselves after the first of October because someone may have already purchased said item as a Christmas gift, and if we buy it for ourselves we will spoil their surprise. Of course today I think this rule really sucks. If I got a Wii fit now, I could ask for the “Plus” upgrade for Christmas. That way I could increase my activity level and make my goal by Christmas. Sounds rational right? But I won’t break the gift rule because, 1) I’m still unemployed and 2) my daughter would yell at me. I hate it when she yells at me, so to avoid that I will not make this purchase, instead I’ll bug my family regularly with hints of what I want for Christmas. I think I’ll start by e-mailing them this entry.

If you have not experienced Wii Fit for yourself, you can check out videos that give you an idea what to expect at youtube and/or

Celebrate the little victories

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I feel Good! My favorite around the house denim shorts fit again! It’s been a couple months since I could snap them. Being able to get into them makes me so happy. Now I’m sure the scale isn’t lying.

The past week has been interesting. I had my birthday. As a result I had to change my information in my body fat analysis scale. I received a bunch of birthday wishes from friends on Facebook, my AARP card, and lovely gifts from my daughter. She took me out for wine and pizza. We had a lovely time and I only ate 500 calories more than I exercised that day.

 I scheduled surgery to remove a basal cell carcinoma growth from my face. On my surgeon’s web site I found information indicating I am to abstain from taking aspirin for a week before the surgery, and I am not to drink alcohol for 24 hours before surgery, but I’m going to discontinue alcohol now. That way I should not need any aspirin for a while. Besides, eliminating beer and wine from my diet will left me eat more.

I have to go now; it’s almost time for the season premier of “Dancing with the Stars!” I want to see who will be dancing this season, and pick the couples I will be voting for!

Another week – little up – little down: all the same at the end

This past week was so unusual for me. I was out of the house every day. It all started the Wednesday before (August 28) when I visited my family doctor for my yearly check-up. She noticed there was no mammography report in my chart and asked when I had my last mammogram, and I sheepishly replied 3 years ago (before I moved here and became her patient). She wrote up a mammography request. I pointed out a growth (mole?) on my face that I was a bit concerned about. She agreed, it needed a biopsy, but since it is on my face she suggested I have a dermatologist (specialist) take the sample. Lastly, I asked when we should check my cholesterol level again and turns out I needed that done too. So my week went like this:

  • Monday– Cholesterol lab drawn – Sushi and Kirin Lite with friends for dinner – I ate more then I exercised
  • Tuesday – Dermatology Clinic, I had the nurse practitioner check me over. She found 2 spots that needed biopsy.
  • Wednesday– Mammography – I found the Habitate for Humanity resale store in the same strip mall as the imaging center, so I did a little browsing after having my “pictures” taken.
  • Thursday – No more health stuff, thank goodness. Instead I accompanied a friend while she made a mystery shopper visit to Cartier in the Scottsdale Fashion mall. My first trip to Scottsdale. The mall is huge. By the time we were done our feet were sore (we wore heels and “nice” clothes so we would look like we belonged there), so a quick stop for refreshment before returning to the HOT car.
  • Friday – Lunch with Elaine and Karen at Euro Cafe. It was heavenly. I went way over my calorie limit, and I did feel a little guilty, but what a way to over indulge. Needless to say – I ate more then I exercised
  • Saturday – Stayed home, worked on my writing project, spent an hour exercising in the pool.

End result: my weight this morning (September 6) is the same as Wednesday’s low 148.2. Amazingly things are slowly headed the right way.

I only have one outings scheduled for this coming week; A quick trip to the library. The hurricane pushed through here this weekend and gave us a little rain, humidity and lower temps. I’m hoping the lower temps will stick around so I can increase my out door activity; maybe even bike to the library. I have not done that since May. I have a number of writing projects for this week, so I will have my hands busy on the keyboard and not feeding my face.

Here’s the numbers:

Statistics through Sept 5

Statistics through Sept 5