Here's why we bought five quarts of plain yogurt yesterday at Meijers

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I started this episode of my weight loss journey tipping the scales at the high 220s and yesterday I showed I was down to 187.  One of my enemies is snacking, particularly after supper.  As I inch towards my goal of 175, I've become more dependent on plain yogurt and frozen fruit pieces to satiate my desire for food.  And this includes pomegranate seeds sprinkled on top.  We also have it at meals.

When you think of plain yogurt, your first reaction might be "yuck."  At first, it seems tasteless but after awhile, you can taste its nuances and layers, especially with the fruit.

After I reach my goal, I know I need to keep it off because of my carotid artery disease.  One is blocked 100 percent and the other less than 20.  I know that if I'm not at peak health for a 72 years old, I would be a prime candidate for a stroke.  That's motivating.

Now, I need to get the exercise in line.


Breakfast this morning--two poached eggs--was brought to me today by my wife and Amazon


Do you like poached eggs?  I do.  However, very seldom do I vary my breakfast from my usual oatmeal with fruit on the top.  Our old egg poacher was showing its age and we needed a new one.  We went to where America shops--Amazon and we found this one.  My poached eggs this morning were superb along with two pieces of dry, light toast.

We had pomegranate on our salad last night and I loved it


Pomegranate seeds
These red pomegranate seed taste incredible



When my wife and I shop at Meijers in the little town of Mason, we always see pomegranates in the produce section and I've pretty much ignored them.  They were never part of my experiential base when it came to eating.

I had them once when our son Justin prepared Thanksgiving dinner at his apartment in Washington, D.C. I didn't remember their great taste.

Then last night my wife put them on our salads for supper.  Wow.  They added a pop and a sweetness to the greens that made it fun to eat.  Then I had them with the Bran Buds that I had for breakfast.  The blandness of the cereal was muted with these tasty morsels.

I need to go to Pinterest to find out how others use them.  

Zaytoon in Holt, Michigan is my new favorite restaurant

Zaytoon in Holt is our favorite restaurant.
Zaytoon on Aurelius Road in Holt is our new favorite restaurant

Our first real taste of Mediterranean cooking was a couple of years ago when we had a family reunion on the Island of Viz in the Adriatic Sea, not too far from Greece and Italy.  Our son-in-law Adam Jones treated us to a big dinner created in a big pot called a sac.  It was incredibly delicious and pretty memorable.

When we moved to Holt, a bedroom community south of Lansing, we found a restaurant about a mile south of us, Zaytoon which promoted itself as offering Mediterranean food.  We tried it.  

We went in with minimal knowledge, but quickly learned the basics like what shawarma is.  Everything seems to be served with hummus.  

During meal times, it seems to be crowded, including takeout customers.

Lunch box at Zaytoon.
This is the lunch special that I usually get.


Drinking Siberian Night stout from Thirsty Dog Brewing Company on a Friday night

Siberian Night from my son.
This Siberian Night Imperial Stout was a gift from my son for my birthday.


What do you get your 71-year-old dad who has at least one of everything for his birthday.  My son Justin Thorp got me a generous gift certificate from Horrocks here in Lansing.  And I got a six-pack that included this Imperial Stout.

It's dark and thick and has plenty of taste with its 9.5 ABV.  I'd drink it again.  But I'd need to be relaxed on the couch with no need to drive.

I see the potential of me becoming a beer snob.  Wait till I show you my birthday gift from my daughter and her husband.  Same theme.

Have you ever known Mrs. Butterworth's first name?




As Michigan continues its flow of homegrown blueberries, plenty of breakfast tables will be filled with pancakes.  What kind of syrup do you put on yours?  From the time I was a kid, I remember Mrs. Butterworth on the table.  Until this morning, when we had our first blueberry pancakes of the year, I never wondered if she had a first name.  She does.  It's "Joy."  Now you know.

What do you put on your pancakes?  Syrup?  What kind?  


One of my favorite breakfasts is Michigan blueberries on top of oatmeal


Michigan blueberries in all their glory.
Michigan blueberries from Country Mill Orchard in Charlotte



Look in our basement freezer and you'll see plastic bags filled with Michigan blueberries.  This winter they will be little nuggets of tasteful joy on our oatmeal and various desserts and even in salads.  That's why we went yesterday to Country Mill Orchard just outside of Charlotte and bought 10 pounds of berries that they had picked.  It's three dollars a pound if they pick  and two if you pick.

Just so you know, Michigan is the number one blueberry producing state in the country, according to the Michigan Department of Agriculture.  Other blueberry facts:

  • Michigan leads the nation in growing blueberries and produces more than 30 different varieties
  • Michigan blueberries are grown, harvested and processed by 600 family farms
  • Michigan blueberry production value was reported at $122.7 million in 2013
  • Allegan, Berrien, Muskegon, Ottawa and Van Buren counties comprise the state’s primary blueberry growing region
  • In 2013, 47 million pounds of Michigan blueberries were produced for fresh use while 67 million pounds were produced for processing
  • Michigan has almost 21,000 acres devoted entirely to blueberries
  • Half of the blueberry acreage in Michigan is more than 40 years old, some plantings dating back to the 1930s!
  • Michigan yields an average of 5,000 pounds of blueberries per acre



Blueberries drying.
My wife lets the blueberries dry before putting them in plastic bags.



Pictures of our Instant Pot pressure cooker chicken that lasted five days


Our Instant Pot chicken
This is our five dollar whole chicken when we took it out of the Instant Pot



Several readers of this blog asked for pictures of our whole chicken that was cooked in our new Instant Pot.  Cooking time was a little less than a half hour in this twenty-first century pressure cooker.  Taste was incredible.  We spread eating the chicken over five days.  What a great deal for food that cost less than six dollars and had a marvelous, inviting taste.  We got it from Amazon and found a store house of recipes and tips on Pinterest.


The Instant Pot in action.
The Instant Pot has a small footprint in our condo kitchen.



INSTANT POT MEAT LOAF AND VEGGIES: Easy to make and we loved it


One of my favorite meals is meat loaf and boiled vegetables.  Love it.  Just love it.  That's why I was excited when the first meal we made with our Instant Pot was just that.
For Mother's Day, I ordered the Instant Pot from Amazon for $79.  I have fond memories of my mom's old pressure cooker and the meals she made.  I remember the noise when the pressure was released.
How about a 21st century version of an kitchen tool that's been around for a long time?
Our first meal was the meat loaf with small potatoes and carrots.
We went to Pinterest for a recipe.  It is filled with all kinds of food that can be made and tips on how to use it.
Here are some pictures from our first experience.
Instant Pot meat loaf
The final product from our new Instant Pot.
We used high end ground beef for our meat loaf.
We got a little more than a pound of ground beef for our Instant Pot meatloaf.


We mixed this into the ground beef.
Three eggs, dry onion soup, bread crumbs were mixed into the ground beef.


These are the raw veggies to go with the meat loaf.
The veggies were in the bottom of the Instant Pot


The timer on the Instant Pot is easy to use.
We set the timer for 35 minutes.


A really good tasting pressure cooker meatloaf.
Here's the finished meat loaf.


Our Instant Pot veggies after 35 minutes.
"Yummy" doesn't begin to describe the veggies after 35 minutes in the Instant Pot.



Maybe I need to change my attitude about eating black olives


Look at all those black olives
This is my salad from Zaytoons on Aurelius in Holt



We recently moved to Holt, Michigan where we are close to a Zaytoons, a Mediterranean  Restaurant.  On our third visit, we ordered a side salad that came with a mess of black olives.  Until now, I've always given them to my wife who loves them.  I decided to try them and found that they are really tasty.  I'm wondering, do black olives have any positive health properties?

Do you remember your first cup of coffee?


My coffee cup yesterday.
Do you remember your first cup of coffee? I remember mine.

During lunch yesterday, my wife and I talked about our first cup of coffee.  Do you remember yours?  I remember mine.  I was studying late one night with my roommate while a student at Michigan State University.  He was a coffee drinker and I was not.  As I yawned, he encouraged me to try it.  The rest is history.

I remember introducing my son to caffeine during a time when he was in grade school and when he and I would shop for groceries on Saturday.  We were at the local Meijers where they had a stand for this drink called cappuccino.  We split one.  That was it.  He's 30 and he's a coffee drinker.  I wonder if his 18-month-old son will develop a taste for the beverage.

I often wonder whether I could stop my coffee habit cold turkey.  I drink a couple of cups a day.  It's almost ritual that a coffee mug is the second thing I say hello to in the morning.  

Do I want to?  Right now, I have no reason to stop.

Norma at the Lake Lansing Road Meijers fed my son a lot of food twenty years ago


Meet Norma.
I couldn't believe that Norma was still greeting people at the Meijers on Lake Lansing Road in East Lansing.


Since we moved to a different part of town more than 15 years ago, we shop at a different Meijers here in the Lansing-area.  Going to this grocery store which sells everything has become a ritual in our family.

Twenty years ago my son Justin and I did the grocery shopping there.  It became a ritual for the two of us after complaining to my wife that she forgot to buy certain items.  When she offered to let us do it, we jumped at the chance.  It became a father-son bonding experience that made an impression on both of us.

One of the persons we got to know every Saturday was Norma, a sample person who offered free tastes of all kinds of food.  She loved his enthusiasm for trying most everything that was offered and occasionally would give him a double portion.  She always took time to talk to us.  We almost always bought whatever she was selling.  

Over the years, she became a door greeter.  We don't get to that Meijers often, but when we do and when we see her, we smile.  She adds greatly to our Meijers experience.  She's aware of everything in the stores, loves people and makes grocery shopping way more personalized.

It was great to see her yesterday.  I'm still smiling inside.  She brings back great memories from these Saturday excursions with my son where we both grew together and as individuals.  

I hope the people at corporate headquarters read this.  Norma is special.  She is an example of how to treat customers who come into the store.

Can I gain motivation to eat right and exercise by watching this Casey Neistat vlog post?

I don't want to be corpulent when I turn 70 on the last day of August next year.  I want to be fully in shape to test the contention that 70 is the new 50.  Can I do it?

For most of my adult life, I have been on an up and down cycle of gaining and losing weight.  I admit it.  I have a whole lot of reasons, but they are all pretty garden variety.

In the past year, I've gotten into the habit of watching the daily vlog posts on YouTube from a filmmaker,  Casey Neistat, in New York City.  He telling a daily story about his life and the people in it.  Along with several hundred thousand--mostly half my age--from around the world I feel like I know him, what drives him, his passion for what he does and his passion for his family.

He's also into running which he shares with an insatiable desire for candy and other sweet things.  In this video, he talks about how he realizes that he needs more energy.  He zooms in on his diet.  He reeks of motivation in everything he does.

Can I feed on his energy and his focus to do this?  Let me be clear, he's not overweight and he's in shape for the most part.  He lives every minute of a long day and burns the candle from both ends.

I think I need to take my cue from this guy who's half my age.  This is worth viewing.

Is pumpkin for pies being hoarded because of an anticipated shortage?

Are people hoarding pumpkin for pies?
This is the pumpkin shelf this morning at Meijers on West Saginaw.

Is the news starting to get around about an anticipated shortage of pumpkin for pies and similar delights this winter?

A news story this morning from told about how pumpkin production around the country has been slashed by half because of bad weather during the growing season.  Hence, the shortage.

During a shopping trip to Meijers on Lansing's westside, this shelf of pumpkin was getting  pretty thin.  Are people starting to hoard the fruit?

How about your local grocery store?  Got enough pumpkin?

Are you prepared for the national canned pumpkin shortage?


Do you like pumpkin pie?
Are you prepared for a national canned pumpkin shortage?


Is pumpkin a food group for you during the late fall and winter?  Pumpkin pies, pumpkin bread, pumpkin lattes?

If you are, you might want to read this story from Michigan's about the national pumpkin shortage and how its canned version will disappear from grocery store shelves after Thanksgiving.  

Weather is key pumpkin producing states is the culprit and has cut production down by half, according to the story.

Check for canned pumpkin and wince at the prices being asked for by those who sense some easy profits.

Are you going to stockpile a few extra cans for the winter?

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Body piercing, Greek stir fry, gas for $3.99 per gallon, my grandkids play with Uncle Wes' doll house



This is the sign at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Lansing, Michigan exactly seven years ago today.  This tiny church changes its signs often with some pithy statement that matches the season or an emphasis in the ministry.  Have you seen any church signs in your area that got your attention?


Stir fry at the Athena Restaurant in Lansing.
One year ago today, my wife and I ate at the Athena Restaurant on the southside of Lansing, Michigan. Stir fry here was great.

My wife and I were out a year ago today and decided to have lunch at the Athena Restaurant in Lansing, the site of the old John's Restaurant where diners ordered by using phones at each booth.  When our kids were young, it was a novelty for them to use the phone.  The meal that we had a year ago was great.

Check the price for gas at this Lansing gas station.
Three years ago today this is what we were paying for gas in Lansing. This is on South Waverly and a station we go to frequently. The price was $3.99 per gallon.

There were months where I felt like I should be an investor in this Shell gas station.  We drive a small car, but filling a tank during this period could get us way too close to $40.

My grandkids play with a doll house made by my Uncle Wes.
Two of my grandkids play with a doll house made by my Uncle Wes Moll, a toymaker. This happened on a Thursday this past September.

My Uncle Wes who I was named after worked most of his life as a gas station operator.  When he retired he became a successful maker of wooden toys.  He made cars, trucks, planes, trains and doll houses.  At Christmas time this past year, two of my grandchildren played with one of his doll houses that he made before he passed away.

I will have at least one six pack of Founders Dirty Bastard Ale when my son comes this weekend


Scotch ale
The words Dirty Bastard take on a new meaning with this beer from Founders

When I became of age, fancy beer-drinking was having a Shlitz in a frosted mug.  Then there was the Miller's beer that came in a clear bottle.

My thirty-year-old son introduced me to craft beer this summer in St. Louis when his son was born and we stayed there a week.  He took me to the Urban Chestnut beer hall where they served me their Schnickelfrtz and visited Schafly's not too far away.  Later we made a return visit with my son-in-law.  I really picked up on the difference in tastes.

My son and his family are coming this weekend and I'm stocking up with some Michigan craft beer.  First choice is Founders Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale.  

I'm not good as describing tastes, but it's has a personality and a flavor that speaks to me.  He and I drank it when he and the fan visited over Thanksgiving.  

What other Michigan craft beers should I stock up with before they come on Friday?

Mangoes in our house grow in the freezer and not on trees


Here's what we eat for an after supper snack, mangoes.

What do you eat after supper while you're streaming something from Netflix or Hulu Plus?

We found that these times can be a real trap nutritionally.  Ice cream can be a real trap.  Lately, we've been trying frozen fruit, like mangoes and strawberries with a little Cool Whip on top.  It's healthy, sweet and satisfying.  We buy the fruit from Sam's Club.

What do you eat for an after supper snack?

Friday nights will not be the same without Schwan's Hawaiian personal pizzas

My wife and I have our own empty-nest meal routines.  One has been our Friday night pizza in front of the television.  We usually have our own Schwan's Hawaiian personal pizza and quite often we will split a beer.  And I can't forget the cut-up vegetables.

We picked this pizza from Schwan's because it was not loaded down with many of the health challenging items that other pizza has.  It satisfied our need for pizza and it tasted good.  And then the news came.

Schwan's discontinued this pizza.  Go to their website and you don't find any worthy substitutions. We are disappointed.  Any ideas out there about appropriate replacements?  We ate the last one a week ago.  You will be missed.


Are you a Schwan's customer? Have you ever tried these personal pizzas?