(Chocolate covered, custard-filled paczki.   Photo © 2009 by Robin)

Yesterday was Paczki Day, also known as Fat Tuesday.  If you celebrated by eating a paczki, you know one of the reasons why it’s called Fat Tuesday.

M and I look forward to this one day of the year when we can pig out on paczki.  Paczki are a lot like donuts only better (and, no doubt, unhealthier due to all the fat).  I’ve noticed (and I could be wrong about this) that paczki show up in our local grocery stores sometime around the Thursday before Ash Wednesday.

(Raspberry filled paczki.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

For those that don’t know, paczki are Polish donuts.  The traditional reason behind making paczki was to use up all the lard, sugar, eggs, and fruit in the house before Lent.

I’m not a religious person, but I’m going to steal the idea of giving something up for Lent this year.  I’ve decided to give up potato chips.  For some reason I can’t figure out, I’ve been on a potato chip kick.  Normally I do not eat potato chips all that often.  Lately they’ve become almost a standard part of my diet.  It’ll do me good to give them up for a while, especially since I’m working so hard to make some big lifestyle changes.

Twenty-five days ago I signed up at MapMyFitness for two 30-day challenges:

  • Go 100 miles in 30 Days
  • Quit Drinking Alcohol for 30 Days

Since beginning these challenges, I have walked 80.12 miles and burned 8,930 calories.  I’m also sleeping and feeling better without the alcohol.

With all the studies that have come out regarding alcohol, it’s hard to know which way to go.  Today’s big news story is that even moderate alcohol consumption has been linked to cancers in women.  It wasn’t all that long ago that red wine was being touted as heart healthy.  So, what’s a girl to do?

I don’t know.  I do know that I’ve been working hard to improve my health, and one thing I can do to help is to take a vacation from alcohol.  I don’t need the extra calories, that’s for sure, especially if I want to indulge in things like paczki every now and then.

(For those who want more info on alcohol and heart health, the American Heart Association has some guidelines here.  But even they aren’t sure so I guess it’s a matter of balancing things out to fit your lifestyle, your health, and your history.)

We’re having warm and sunny weather here in the Bogs today.   By warm I mean the high today is going to be around 46°F.  I’m going out for a walk in a little while.  The snow is melting quickly this morning.  It’s going to be a muddy walk.

Pickled Peppers

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked. If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?

Go ahead. Say it. Three times, fast. You know you want to.

As to where the pickled peppers are, they’re here:

But Peter Piper didn’t pick them and they don’t grow already pickled. I had to pickle them myself.

Two days of peppers! Egads. I’m sick to death of them.

I also canned 7 quarts of tomatoes for good measure.

I’m sick to death of them, too.

I’m all canned out. Or, as my English Nutter friend might prefer, I’m all bottled out.

Today I have to chop and freeze a peck of bell peppers. Once that’s done, I’m finished with the veggies for now. I don’t have plans to buy and preserve more, but who knows what I’ll find when we go to the market on Saturday?

We’re also going to visit a couple of local orchards. It’s apple season. That means it’s time to start making applesauce and other good things with apples. That’s why I’m going to try to restrain myself when it comes to buying veggies at the market. I won’t have time to prep and process tons of apples and tons of veggies.

I gotta tell ya, I’m looking forward to the end of the harvest season. I’m pooped. Food preservation is a lot of work!! Doing it in the second (basement) kitchen makes it even more work because I don’t have two sets of utensils, pots, colanders, and whatever else it takes to prep and process food for canning and freezing. I run up and down the basement stairs, fetching things from the upstairs kitchen or bringing things back up, the equivalent of taking about 40 stories of stairs every day.

Then there’s the running of the food waste out to the compost pile (up the stairs, out through the garage, down the hill, up the next hill, then reverse the process). I have the same fun when I’m hanging out laundry (which I’ve been doing as often as possible).

I’m ready for a long vacation.