Saturday, January 30, 2010

Cooking with the Wounded

Back in September, Laughing Wolf spearheaded a wonderful event for our Wounded Warriors at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. Originally, it was going to be "Cooking with Laughing Wolf", but somewhere along the line, it became "Cooking with the Wounded". Because of this first event's success, the seed was planted to try doing it again. Cooking with the Wounded is now an official part of Soldiers' Angels.

For Phase II began at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in November: the ladies from The Yellow Bowl Bakery in Lafayette, Indiana and a number troop supporters in the Washington DC area, with help from the Warrior Legacy Foundation, served up Southern hospitality and tasty bakery items. Now, the focus is on raising awareness about the program, and the funds to send The Yellow Bowl Bakery ladies to cook for the wounded at Landstuhl. You can donate online or you can mail a check to:

Soldiers' Angels
Cooking with the Wounded
1792 E. Washington Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91104

Cooking with the Wounded has a Facebook page; please help spread the word, or just go to get the latest on the program. Or, if you know or have connections to a "top chef", see if they would be interested in working with Cooking with the Wounded. If you would like additional information, contact Blake Powers at

As noted in the press release on the current fundraising efforts:

This also marks the start of the 2010 fundraising campaign for Cooking with the Wounded. In addition to raising money for this first trip, three other trips are planned to Landstuhl in 2010. A number of chefs, including well-known chefs, have expressed interest in taking part. The money raised will help cover the three trips to Landstuhl, and support "practice" and other meals and events at locations here in the United States.

Comedienne and long-time troop supporter Phyllis Diller has generously donated photos of her entertaining with Bob Hope in Vietnam, autographed by her, to help raise funds for both Cooking with the Wounded and Project Valour-IT. One of these photographs will be given to the individual who makes the largest contribution in the first two weeks of the fundraiser; and, one will be sent to the company that makes the largest cash contribution. In addition, one significant donor will be chosen to receive a Christmas card sent by Ted Nugent to Cooking with the Wounded.

In addition, companies who sponsor Cooking with the Wounded will be able to receive additional benefits. In a first for Soldiers' Angels, companies that agree in 2010 to provide $100,000 in funding each year for five years will be listed as Founding Sponsors, and that list will remain on the Cooking with the Wounded site until at least the end of the calendar year 2020, with links. Individuals and companies that donate $5,000 - $10,000 will be named Bronze Level Sponsors; those that donate $10,001-$25,000 will be listed as Silver Level Sponsors; those that donate $25,001 to $50,000 will be listed as Gold Level Sponsors; and, those who donate $50,001 or more will be listed as Platinum Level Sponsors. These sponsorships will include listing in a special section of the site along with appropriate links. Other benefits may also apply. For more details please contact

Cooking with the Wounded began with one person wanting to cook a steak dinner for the wounded at Landstuhl. As other chefs asked if they could do a meal of their own, it has grown into a program that seeks to send a team of chefs to cook a special meal for the troops at Landstuhl and those that care for them. In addition to the meal, these guest chefs also take the time to talk about their experiences in getting started and share lessons learned. The ultimate goal for the program is to help those leaving military service, most especially the wounded, who are interested in a career in the food and beverage industry get the knowledge and training they need. It is also hoped that teams of chefs can be sent to Afghanistan, Iraq, and other locations to cook for the troops there.

I look forward to the time when Cooking with the Wounded is able to hold an event at Brooke Army Medical Center: I would very much like to lend a hand in person. Please do what you can to support this wonderful effort: spread the word to family and friends, or if you are able, contribute financially, however small. Every little bit helps.

Update via email received from Laughing Wolf:

Kicking off the 2010 fundraising campaign the day before the Haiti earthquake was not the best possible timing, but I want to thank one and all for donations that way, and particularly the support given to Team Rubicon.

Because of that, and the fact that some can't do but one thing a month, the contest to with the autographed photo donated by Phyllis Diller has been extended through next Tuesday [ed. - February 9th]. The individual (and company, if any) making the largest donation via will win the photo.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Book Club: Bendigo Shafter

Over at Grim's Hall, Grim proposed doing a kind of book club, beginning with Louis L'amour's Bendigo Shafter. I'd not really read any of L'amour, except for a copy of Last of the Breed my dad had many years ago. So, I decided I'd give it a go and ordered the book. So far, we're to have read through Chapter 3, with discussion to be found here. I received the book a week ago, and read those first chapters by Sunday. Since then, I've tried to read about a chapter a day. I read Chapter 9 last night before going to bed. I'm enjoying the book, and figure I'm on track to meet Grim's suggested pace of ten chapters a week. I've you've a mind to, why don't you look up a copy, catch up on the book and join us?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Resolution Update: 52 weeks

Yesterday was 52 weeks since my first weigh-in on Saturday, January 3rd, 2009. When I weighed in yesterday morning, my total weigh loss was 53.2 pounds. I have been very pleased with my progress this past year.

Things have changed over the past year. The biggest difference - besides the weight - is the greatly reduced calorie need. When I started a year ago, I was aiming to eat about 1737 calories a day (based on moderate activity). After my latest weigh-in, my target is 1378. If I had tried eating so few calories when I first started, I'm not sure I'd have been able to do it - I would have been hungry all the time. However, as my body gradually changed, and I gradually made adjustments accordingly, the gradual reduction in calorie intake wasn't really noticeable; for the most part, I continue to be satisfied with what I eat, though I do occasionally get REALLY hungry for no apparent reason.

I will say that my weight today is not the most I've lost this year. My greatest weight loss was 61.4 pounds, on Saturday, December 19th. I know exactly why I have gained 8.2 pounds over the last two weeks. I went five days without exercising, from the 19th through the 23rd. I didn't plan it that way. I was busy over that weekend, finishing up with my sewing for my sisters' Christmas gifts. I was fully prepared to get back to my exercise on Monday. Fate conspired against me. I had a medical emergency - I blacked out - at work and was taken by EMS to the ER, and when the first tests they ran came back normal, they decided they wanted to admit me, and I wasn't allowed to just walk around. I didn't leave the hospital until about 7:30 Tuesday night. I took it easy on Wednesday, though I didn't really have to. I did exercise Christmas Eve, but Christmas Eve presented other issues: the abundance of sweets. That Monday night, I was to have gone to the Legion's Christmas dinner, and I had baked a cake. Needless to say, the cake didn't make it to the dinner, since I didn't either. That cake found its way out to Grandma's for Christmas Eve dinner. Daddy had also baked some chocolate chip cookies. There was also hot chocolate and Lebkuchen while we opened our presents. Christmas Day, Daddy always bakes up those Pillsbury cinnamon and orange danish rolls. I had two or three. Then, back out to Grandma's for the turkey dinner, complete with mashed potatoes, cornbread dressing, and corn, and again, a variety of sweets. A week later, we had pizza New Year's Eve, and then lots of food New Year's Day when we again headed out to Grandma's: ham, barbecue chicken, barbecue sausage, potato salad, pork & beans and corn, and a few more cookies. Oh, and we can't leave out the large number of sodas I've been consuming over the holidays, either. I'm not really freaking out about the 8 pounds in two weeks. I'd already told myself I'd not be obsessing about the calorie counting over the holidays, so I could enjoy them, and I know why I put the weight back on. But, it's now time to get back into the swing of things. Two weeks of not closely minding the calorie intake is enough.

To work towards my ultimate goal - from the latest weigh-in, I've got in the ballpark of 40 more pounds to lose. For the next ten pounds or so, I can continue to aim for a 1000 calorie deficit each day. After that, I will have to make some adjustments. I will have to reduce my daily calorie deficit to 500 calories, so as to keep my body from thinking there is a shortage of food and as a result, slowing my metabolism. So, it may taken me the next year to lose these last 40 pounds. I've not ever really hit a "plateau" (those times when I've not lost, I know why - either not enough exercise or too many calories). I will continue to update here from time to time as I continue my weight loss journey.

My exercise routines are a little different than when I first started a year ago. Those days I go into the office, I still work out with my sisters. I am still walking on the treadmill (though my sisters do intervals on the other treadmill and also the elliptical, trading places), and still doing some free weights. When I'm not at the office, I have mostly been doing in-home walking. Over the summer months, it was just too hot to walk in the neighborhood during the day. Also, with the DVDs, it doesn't really matter what time I do it - right when I get home from school, later in the evening after I've eaten something for dinner, in the middle of the day on the weekends. The important thing is that I continue to get exercise. I asked for - and received - two more exercise DVDs for Christmas. Yesterday morning, I went with my sisters (in 30 degree weather, even!) for the "Shredder Walk" that a trainer at a local gym does. It is a roughly 4-mile walk from the gym to one of the parking garages on the UT campus. When the garage is reached, everyone goes up the stairs to the top level for some exercises (I was a little wobbly at that point) and then it's down the stairs and back to the gym. I'm not sure of the schedule, but I think I'll do it again. It just sucked getting up that early on a Saturday morning, and then having to get my dad up so he could drive me over to my sister's place, since I'm not allowed to drive for a while after my little blackout episode two weeks ago...

So, the plan is to renew the New Year's Resolution. I will keep up with the exercise. I will try to push myself: as I get closer to my goal, it is likely that I will have to do more to see the same results. Time will tell. I will continue to count my calories, and I know I will soon need to make some adjustments soon, when I get to those last thirty pounds. I will also work at making sure I get a decent night's sleep each night. Lack of sleep can contribute to weight problems, and getting enough sleep was also a part of the discussion when I was in the hospital. To that end, I'm off to bed. It's Sunday, and I don't have to get up for anything in particular once morning rolls around.