Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Eating Stress-Free & Healthy Winners

Congrats to these Too Blessed to be Stressed winners in the first leg of my Weight Loss Challenge! (And YES, even if you missed out the first time, you'll have a second chance to join the challenge ... read on!)

Of all the brave souls accepting the challenge to lose 3 pounds in 3 weeks during January, these five were drawn to win autographed copies of my new Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook. 

And the winners are:

Bonnie Ewing
Michele Doyle
Joy Herlocker
Susan Scott
Barbara Lamb

Now, girlfriends, you'll be able to keep eating stress-free and healthy while enjoying the delicious low-fat, fiber-rich, and low-cal recipes from my Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook. So you just might just be up for ANOTHER challenge, right?

Yep, we're doing a second challenge in Feb, BBFF's! Same rules apply as the first challenge, but it will run from Feb 3-Feb 24. (See details on the Eating Stress-Free & Healthy in 2016 Contest page on my website www.DeboraCoty.com,)

Whether you've already taken a first step toward a healthier you, or you're just gathering steam to begin, the Weight Loss Challenge is your opportunity to join hands with me and do it together.

Oh, mustn't forget to give well deserved applause to the challengers who met their goal of losing 3 or more pounds in January:
Joy (lost 4 lbs and 8 inches), Bethany (lost 5 lbs), and Susan (lost 4.6 lbs).

As for me? Can you hear the weeping and gnashing of teeth issuing from your screen? It's me. Sigh. I'm sad to say I fell just short of my goal ...  I shed 2.7 lbs. But I fully intend to hang in there for the next challenge and trim off 6 total lbs by Feb 24.

How about you? Are you with me?

I need to hear from you by FB or e-mail (you can reach me through my website contact page) that you're all in to take the Feb 3 lbs in 3 weeks challenge. WE CAN DO IT!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Gettin' Antsy

I'm happy to introduce guest blogger Phyllis McKinley to you today. I loved her response to my weight loss challenge (scroll back to the previous few posts if you're in the dark about my Eating Stress-Free & Healthy in 2016 Contest).

I hope you'll join Phyllis and me today! Hey, we'll even pro-rate losing 3-lbs in 3-weeks to losing 2-lbs in 2-weeks so the first set of  winners will still be drawn on Feb 2.

Okay, take it away, Phyllis ...

Gettin' Antsy

I was unwilling to release my social security number and bra cup size to join an online weight loss site. I did not want any more cartons of portion-controlled meals arriving at my door. The packaging (breaded and deep-fried with a scoop of marinara on top) tasted better than the food.

I had abandoned green shakes that substituted fresh grass clipping for smelly spirulina. I reasoned: cows eat grass. I eat cheese. Must be okay.

I knew I would never lose twenty pounds in two months unless I had my lips stapled.

Then I read Debora Coty's challenge: lose three pounds in three weeks. Perfect!

I'd attempted to lose three pounds twenty-two times before, but I knew this time I would succeed. Why? Because it was a challenge! I grew up in a family where "encouragement" was deemed useful as lawn ornaments in winter. My siblings and I became successful just to prove to my skeptical parents that we could do it.

Debora's challenge had another benefit: It was a simple first step. I've learned that breaking things down into baby steps - even tiny ant-sized steps - inches me toward reaching a goal.

"Go to the ant, you sluggard. Consider her ways and be wise ..." (Proverbs 6:6 NKJV)

Considering the ant enlightened me about which goals to focus on. I discovered ants cannot chew solid food. Instead they squeeze juice from bits of food, then throw away the leftover dry parts. Suddenly I knew I was ready to shed the husks of my life and focus on the sweetest parts.

To do this "winnowing," I know I will need to take persistent little steps and have the support of my "colony."

So I'm all in. I accept the challenge. How about you?

Phyllis McKinley, award-winning poet and author of five books, is a former Canadian. Her prose has been published in several Florida Writers Collections and Chicken Soup for the Soul books.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Baby Steps Toward a Healthier You

DIET: Did I Eat THAT???
New year, new rear.

Ha! Ya gotta love the 2016 Weight Watchers slogan. Short. Concise. Chock-full of hope.

Exactly what we all want to feel at the start of a brand new year - hope, right?

And that's what I'm hearing from my BBFF's (Blessed Blog Friends Forever) who have accepted the 3 pounds in 3 weeks weight loss challenge in my Eating Stress-Free & Healthy in 2016 contest.

If this is news to you, scroll back to my previous post and catch up. Then keep reading; you're getting another chance to win-win.

Hearty 4-Bean Salad

Yep - by entering, not only are you taking the first baby step toward a healthier you, you're also sweetening your chances of winning an autographed copy of my new, award-winning Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook. 

Therein you'll find LOTS of easy, tasty, healthy recipes that take less than 20 minutes hands-on prep time so you can continue eating stress-free and healthy in the months to come. I'll post a few that have helped me lose 2 1/2 pounds in 2 weeks already.
Delicious Fish Fillets

And you know what? After you lose that first 3 pounds, 3 more won't seems so hard. Then who knows? You absolutely could have a new rear in the new year!

So if you snoozed through the first round of the challenge, not to worry. I've decided to EXPAND your chance to SHRINK. We'll run a second leg of the 3 pounds in 3 weeks weight loss challenge from Feb 3 - Feb 25.

(More info will be in my e-newsletter coming out next week; if you haven't signed up for it, do so now at my website www.DeboraCoty.com)

Just committing to the challenge will get your name in the pot once; actually losing the 3 pounds will get you in there twice. More chances to win!
Sweet Potato Home Fries

The drawing for 3 additional copies of the Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook will be announced right here on Feb 25.

So don't be stubborn like that furry dude in the picture above. I hear he's on a light diet: starts eating when the sun comes up.

Hey, he may be stuck with his hind quarters but you're not! Won't you join me in taking that first step toward a healthier new year?

*A shout-out to my blogging buddy Elizabeth Hoagland for the great weight loss funnies.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

New Contest for the New Year!

Giving away 5 of these!
I'm super excited about the success of my new Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook (over 100 recipes that each require less than 20 minutes hands-on prep time!) and I want you to be excited too.

So I'm giving more copies away!

Since the beginning of a new year is such a good time to begin eating heathier, this contest will be called:

Eating Stress-Free and Healthy in 2016

To enter the drawing to win one of FIVE copies of the Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook, here's all you have to do:

1. Take your baseline weight today (okay, don't freak; there's a reason for this and nobody will see it but you).
California Cuisine

2. Commit to trying to lose 3 or more pounds during the next three weeks and get registered in the drawing by sending me your name and pledge that we're in this together. Yep, I'm doing it too and will post my progress (or heaven forbid, lack thereof) on my blog, Twitter and Facebook (friend and follow me!). I want to hear about your progress too - anybody up for a healthy race to see who gets there first?

3.Reduce your caloric intake by 25% each day for the rest of the month.

Best Bean Soup Ever
4. Make good food choices, like many of the terrific recipes in the "Low Fat," "Fiber Rich," "Vegetarian" and "Shades of Green" sections of the TBTBS Cookbook (I'll be posting some photo examples on my blog for the next few weeks - hey, be sure to subscribe to my blog if you haven't already).

5. Recheck your weight on the same scale on Feb 1; if you lost 3 pounds or more, e-mail me your glorious news and you'll get an ADDITIONAL name in the drawing which will take place on Feb 2.

That means you'll have twice as many chances to win!

And that's all there is to it. Enter once to commit to a healthier start in 2016 and you'll be entered twice if you do!

I hope you'll join me in trimming off a few pounds and adding some heart-happy, healthy recipes to a brand new year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Wanna Try a Crazy Recipe?

My own Cheese-Broccoli Chowder
It's been a blast hearing from the fine folks who've tried the stress-free recipes in my Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook since its release in November.

Thanks so much for your terrific feedback and kind words - I read each and every comment and am very, very thankful that you take the time out of your busy day to write.

One dear elderly lady named Garnet Edmondson even sent me some interesting and quite unique recipes she had painstakingly copied by hand on index cards. I want to share a few with you today.

Hey, let's make this fun!

I hereby challenge you daring BBFF's (Blessed Blog Friends Forever) to try one of these recipes and send me a photo and the feedback of your fam (provided they live through it). The first ten I receive will be placed in a drawing and the winner will receive an autographed copy of the Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook PLUS your photo and comments be posted here on my blog for all the world to see.

*Disclaimer: I can't vouch for the quality of these dishes (I haven't tried them yet personally), nor can I claim they're quick and easy like my cookbook recipes; in fact, I'm pretty sure they're the opposite. So enter at your own risk and bon appetite!

This first one is 65 years old and involves a combination  of flavors I would have never imagined:

Tomato Soup Cake

3/4 c. Crisco                                      1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 c. sugar                                     1 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs                                                1 tsp cloves
1 can tomato soup (11 oz)                 1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda                               3 c. all purpose flour                                            
3/4 c. water                                        1 c. raisins + 1/2 c. chopped nuts

Combine first five ingredients in a large bowl; sift together dry ingredients and mix with first five, blending well. Stir in raisins and nuts. Pour into greased 9x13 baking pan and bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

This next one was copied from a 1952 cookbook and doesn't include oven temp or baking time so you'll just have to boldly fly by the seat of your pants:

White Bean Pie

1 1/4 c. cooked white beans forced through a strainer ( Yikes! I don't even own a strainer!)
1/4 c. sugar                                         1/8 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon                                1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ginger                                      1 slightly beaten egg
7/8 c. part milk, part cream (Deb's note: This would be called half-n-half today and good luck measuring 7/8 of a cup!)   

Mix all together in order given. Bake in a pie tin lined with pie dough. Tastes a lot like pumpkin pie.

And lastly but not leastly, this amazing recipe incorporates ingredients right out of the pages of your Bible. It's at least 70 years old (likely even older) and again, since many older recipes didn't state oven temp or actual baking instructions, you'll have to take your best guess and test with a toothpick. Only attempt if you're fearless and love a creative challenge (might even be fun to try with your kids)!

Scripture Cake (also called Old Testament Fruit Cake)

Amount                    Book                         Chapter                      Verse
4 1/2 c.                  1 Kings                            4                                22
1 c.                        Judges                              5                                25
2 c.                        Jeremiah                          6                                20
2 c.                        1 Samuel                        30                               12
2 c.                        Nahum                             3                               12
2 c.                        Numbers                        17                                 8
2 tsp                      1 Samuel                        14                               25
1 tsp                      Leviticus                          2                               13
6 tsp                      Jeremiah                         17                              11
1/2 c.                     Judges                              4                               19
2 tsp                      Amos                                4                                5
2 tsp                      2 Chronicles                     9                                9

Mix all together and bake slowly in moderate oven (Deb: I would guess this means 350 degrees). 


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

No Substitutes

Last Christmas as I prepared to host a dinner party, I was in a quandary about what to serve for dessert.

I settled on a low-calorie pie recipe that looked super scrumptious in the magazine photo. All the regular cheesecake ingredients had been replaced with fat-free, sugar-free substitutes, topped with fat-free whipped topping and drizzled with zero-calorie faux fudge sauce.

Hmm. Faux fudge. Shoulda been a red flag.

It turned out gorgeous! I was so proud to be serving my guests such a masterpiece that wouldn't add more wattle to their waddles.

At the first bite, I saw the faces all around the table fall. It tasted like soggy cardboard. Magazine-cover beautiful it might have been, but there's no substitute for the real thing.

Faith can be like that. Many religions look tempting on the outside, but once you get past the fluffy frosting, you find the ingredients have no real substance. They're inferior. Flat. Fake.

Jesus made it very clear that true faith is found only through Him. He, Himself is truth.

And the only way to a living, breathing, dynamic relationship with Papa God is through Jesus. Everything else is just a poor substitute for the real thing.

As worthless in the end as faux fudge.

Wishing you a joy-filled celebration of our Savior's birth this Christmas!

*Adapted from the Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook

Friday, December 18, 2015

Holiday Stress-Saving Tips from YOU

Many thanks to all who entered my recent Cookbook contest; today I'd like to share with you some of the terrific cooking decom-stressing tips submitted by the fine folks who entered the drawing.

If yours isn't included, please forgive me. Wish I could include them all, but I didn't have enough pages.

Once again, congrats to the winners of the Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook drawing:

Grand prize package: Pamela Black

Autographed cookbooks: Carolyn Law, Sueann Walter, and Cheryl Greene.
(All of you need to get me your mailing addresses ASAP in order to receive your prizes by Christmas!!)

Stress-Saving Tips for the Holidays

  • From Kay: Make anything that freezes well ahead of time. Then you only have to thaw and reheat, or just serve. 
  • From Jen: Use a crock pot or even a few crock pots! Just throw everything in and you don't have a worry for hours. 
  • From Marie: I use lavender essential oil while I'm cooking. It adds to the aroma.
  • From Steph: (this one cracks me up; sounds just me, the sticky note queen!): My fave stress-reducing tip is writing everything down so I don't forget. I hope I didn't miss the giveaway. (Deb's comment: Oops! Forget to write it down, Steph?)
  • From Francie: I make several gluten-free pie crusts a month ahead and freeze them. They're easy to thaw, roll, and fill for my gluten-free grands.
  • From Cathy: I learned this the hard way. Now I make as many dishes as possible 1-3 days ahead of time (and freeze or refrigerate); it it's pies, HIDE THEM! Never will I save everything to make all at once again!
  • From Sandra: I enjoy the holiday with a group of friends - we are all seniors with no local families; each brings a different dish. After eating while talking up a storm, we play games and have a ball. 
  • From Pamela: My favorite way to de-stress for the holy-days is to eat the chocolate I'm baking with. (Deb's comment: Ah, you're a gal after my own heart, Pam!)
  • Also from Pamela: I say a morning prayer each day for the Lord to be with me in all situations that will arise. Keeps my stress level down knowing that I'm too blessed to be stressed in the first place. (Deb's comment: Hey, somebody should write a book with that title!)
  • From Alita: I make big pots of chili or soup in my slow cooker so we always have something to eat on hand without spending a lot of time cooking.
  • Adriana: My family and I make tamales every year, which can be prepared ahead of time. I also shop early in the morning and have everything ready to cook so there's no rushing or stress later. 
  • From Carole: Clean each bowl, utensil, and pan as you go. Then during the meal, you can relax knowing that only what is on the table will need clearing and cleaning. I'm all for enjoying time with family after the meal.   
  • Caroline: My recipe for quick and easy holiday meatloaf: Preheat oven to 350; 2-lbs ground beef, 2 eggs, 1 can onion soup, 1 sleeve salting crackers. Mix all together; I use my hands. Put into a loaf pan and bake about an hour, checking for doneness for the last fifteen minutes (cooking time varies with different ovens). 
Love these, don't you? Anyone have other ideas they'd like to contribute?

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Contest Winners Announced!

I'm happy, happy, happy
to announce that the winner of 
the Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook
including some of my 
favorite kitchen stress-reducers, 
an autographed copy of the Cookbook,
a $25 VISA gift card
is ...

Pamela Black! 

Congrats, Pamela!!!

And the three winners of 
autographed copies of the
Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook

Carolyn Law
Sueann Walter and
Cheryl Greene

To receive your prizes
in time for Christmas, 
just email me your mailing address

Many thanks to all who entered!

Stay tuned for my next post,
which will feature 
terrific decom-stressors
sent in by you, those who
registered for the contest. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Stress-Busting Your Holy-days Tip #6

Hey there, BBFF! I'm assuming you made it to this sixth and final tip in my Decom-stress Your Christmas series by reading the previous five posts (if not, there's no time like the present!).

I hope you've enjoyed them, and maybe, just maybe, you've found something helpful. If so, I'd love to hear from you! (Even if not, I'd still love to hear from you!)

So without further ado ...

Stress Buster #6: Family Feud? Change Channels.

Dodge friendly fire. Avoid triggers like politics, religion, and who will inherit Granny's prize pig. Especially if Granny is rockin' out in the heirloom Bentwood. Even if she's not, the birthday celebration of our Savior is not the time or place for a discussion about inheritance issues. If a spat erupts, divert attention elsewhere and turn up the Christmas carols. Music really does calm the savage beast.

Get away from the fray and play. Provide a physical outlet to relieve tension, i.e. a family football game, Frisbee, or horseshoes. Various options in different locations may be a good idea even if your name isn't Hatfield or McCoy.

Plug in a ceasefire. Have on hand funny or beloved Christmas movies to amuse and placate the masses if incompatibility persists. Laughter diffuses tension and puts the jolly back in "Tis the season to be ..."

Thanks again for scarfing this 6-spoonful serial (a little play on words for my word geek buds).

Oh, yeah - be sure to get your name in the hat for the Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook Christmas prize package drawing ... only ONE DAY LEFT to register! Just hop over to my website DeboraCoty.com and find details for entering on the contest page.

Winners will be announced right here on Thursday. I hope one of them is you!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Stress-Busting Your Holy-days Tip #5

So glad you're here! This is the fifth of six tips to help decom-stress your Christmas season. I'd love to hear from you if you've had a chance to implement some of the other suggestions (scroll back to see the first four).

Stress Buster #5: Make it a Holy-day, not just a holiday.
Marinate in peace. Tape Philippians 4:6-7 to your bathroom mirror, fridge, and other hot spots where you'll see it frequently: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made know to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Ask Papa God for HIS peace. Not the veneer kind the world gives that's dependent on blue skies and tweeting birdies ... the deeper kind that transcends all understanding. Peace in the midst of chaos - how can it be? Yet it truly can. But hey, don't sit around waiting like a lump of linguine for the holiness pot to magically boil and plump you up. Actively practice this acronym:
P: Placing
E: Each
A: Aggravation at
C: Christ's feet,
E: Expectantly. Yes, expect Him to do what He promised in the Philippians 4 passage above ... "And the peace of God ... will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." If you do your part (the first part of the verse: tell Him your needs and pray with heartfelt thanksgiving), He'll do His ... you can count on it.

Take a daily prayer walk. Immerse your senses in Papa's creation and focus on gratitude for everything you see, smell, touch, hear, and feel. Sincerely thank your Heavenly Father for each blessing He's given you, especially the incredible gift of His son.

Grab the popcorn. As a family, watch a quality biblical account of the Christmas story, like "The Nativity Story" (my personal fave). Just watched it last night, in fact, and it set a sweet, sweet holy-day tone that was much needed after being inundated by all the Rudoph's and Frosty's in my face.

Be intentional. Set aside time to pray every day. Make it a priority to communicate with you Savior and draw from His strength. You'll need it when Aunt Bertha arrives.

Celebrate Jesus' birthday. What do you do on your spouse or your precious child's birthday to show he/she is special to you? So why don't you do the same for Jesus? Buy or make a small cake and decorate it as a birthday cake for the babe in the manger (I like to bring the manger scene baby Jesus right to the table, and sometimes I even top the cake with him surrounded by candles). Sing Happy Birthday to Jesus and let any children present blow out the candles. Before opening your gifts on Christmas morning, give Baby Jesus a present; have each person write on a piece of paper something in their life they want to give Jesus the following year (such as my pride, temper, talent for yodeling ... wherever your heart leads) and place it in a box with a bow. Present it to the holy child in the stable along with the Wise Men's gifts.

Okay, peeps - one final tip will be coming in a few days. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and respond; I've enjoyed hearing all the innovative personal stress-saving techniques from those of you entering the Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook drawing (register on the contest page of my website, DeboraCoty.com). In fact, I'll be posting many of your great ideas - along with your names - in a post next week, so be sure to tune in!

Oh, yes - for those of you in the Tampa area, I'd love to see you at my Brandon LifeWay book signing this Saturday (12/12/15). Drop by between 10 am - noon to nibble some of the delicious delectables from my award-winning Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook, and take advantage of the great sale (30% off the day of the signing only) to pick up some terrific Christmas gifts for the stressed ladies on your list.