Simple, Spiritual, Outdated Living in a Vintage New England Home on the Southern Coast of Maine

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Oven Pot Roast, Mashed Potatoes & Carrots Recipe

Here's one of my favorites: Oven Pot Roast!

What I love about pot roast, besides the way it tastes, falls apart at the touch of a fork and fills my kitchen with its wonderful aroma is that it's made with an inexpensive cut of meat. I buy organic beef which is more expensive than factory food, so it feels like win-win when I can purchase a lower, less costly grade of beef like a blade steak or chuck roast and turn it something moist and tender.

I take about 2 1/2 pounds of blade or chuck beef and trim off any visible fat around the edges, rinse it off well and place it in my vintage Pyrex casserole dish (click here to see why glass pans made today aren't your grandmother's Pyrex). I do not add any liquids because as the meat cooks it will release and simmer in its own juices as they rise up and around it.

I then add a half cup of frozen chopped onions, salt, pepper and few shakes of garlic powder and place it covered in a 300° oven for three hours. About halfway through I turn the meat over so that it cooks in the juices evenly.

For the mashed potatoes I halve and then quarter two pounds of rinsed red potatoes and leave on the skins. I boil them on low until tender,  then place them in a mixing bowl with 1/2 cup of non-fat (not Greek) organic yogurt, salt, pepper, dried chives and garlic powder to taste. With a hand masher I smash and combine them all before mixing them with a spoon.

About two cups of baby carrots are boiled briefly so that they are tender. After cooked I sprinkle them with parsley flakes.

Shown are four ounces of oven roast, 344 calories, one cup of baby carrots, 45 calories, and eight ounces of mashed potatoes, 195 calories.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Good Morning from Maine!

This was the view outside my window this morning and I wanted to share it with you! To combat the January blahs I am going to have lunch out today, someplace new, where, I don't know yet! While I do make healthy choices when I eat out, I DO eat french fries from time to time as long as they aren't the fast food type.

A few years ago I would be breaking my resolution to diet right about now, oblivious to the lovely things around me, even in the Maine winter, and using junk food to get me through. I love that I now enjoy eating simple, wholesome foods that nourish me and actually cheer me up instead of giving me a temporary high followed by a mood crash. I don't miss that at all.

I hope that my blog is helping you find joy in being good to yourself!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Size Zero Tolerance for Vanity Sizing

Many websites have attributed this quote to Marilyn Monroe:

“To all the girls that think you’re fat because you’re not a size zero, you’re the beautiful one, its society who’s ugly.”

Marilyn Monroe passed away in 1962. Since size "zero" is a modern invention of vanity sizing, it's highly unlikely that she ever stated that.

Because a current-day size "zero" is a 1950s 10-12, and each manufacturer has their own sizing gimmicks, we can't use their measurements to determine a healthy weight. Why not strive to be among healthy beautiful ones and use scientific metrics?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Kellog's Special K Cereal Ads: 1959 vs 2013

The Special K ad from 1959 on the left is quite cheerful, isn't it? A happy father, smiling moms, a cute baby and healthy benefits are being promoted without any mention of it being a tool for weight loss. Wholesome stuff.

I find the ad on the right from the 2013 Ladies Home Journal to be rather...gross. I understand the concept that their marketing department wants to get across without making an outright claim: Special K will kill your desire to eat a jelly doughnut and sweets in general. But "the protein effect" next to what appears to be a bloody, and not jelly, donut makes me wonder. Are they trying to subliminally imply that monthly cravings will be conquered?? Even if they are, I now associate their cereal with an unpleasant image. I find the 1950s ad to be far more effective at making Special K seem appetizing!

What's your take on these ads?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Woman's Day Magazine Diet Smackdown: Does 1956 or 2013 Give Better Dieting Advice?

Diet Advice in Woman's Day Magazine: February 2013 vs February 1956

As a long-time collector and reader of vintage women's magazines, I can honestly say that I find them to be far more entertaining and practical than any present day periodical. I thought it would be fun and hopefully enlightening to compare diet advice between two February issues of Woman's Day, one from 1956 and the other from 2013.

You'll notice that the 1956 copy has a photo of a puppy, but it's not a famous pup. Vintage Woman's Day magazines usually had photos of cute pets, kids or pretty scenes instead of a celebrity. Not only did they have no relation to any of the articles inside, but it was also rare to find one promoting a reducing diet on the cover, or anything at all:

What a contrast to today! Also, I have compared some of the basic categories in the magazine's  contents. First is from 1956, the second from 2013:

Price: .07 / $1.99
Pages: 134 / 158
Categories: Articles and Fiction, Home Workshop and Decorating, Needlework, Fashion, Food, The How-To Section, Monthly Features / Embrace the Day, At Home, Your Style, Cookbook, Money, In Every Issue, Heart and Health Handbook
Ads for Prescription Meds*: 0 / 11, many of which are at least two full pages each
Ads for Diet Pills/Shakes/Weight Reducing Products*: 1 / 9 (One is for cats)
*Approximate as I may have missed some ads.

So what are Paula's 6 new rules of eating to lose weight and stay slim?
  1. Moderation, Not Deprivation
  2. Portion Control
  3. No Diet Food
  4. Eat Slowly and Enjoy It
  5. Rethink Your Plate
  6. Don't Eat Carbs Alone
Ms. Dean claims to control her sweet cravings by sucking on a preferably butterscotch "See's Lollypop" after dinner. I went to See's website and couldn't find an ingredient list for their products; only an allergen list and explanation that they use corn syrup but not high fructose corn syrup. According to this Candy blog, See's lollipops are 70 calories each, and this listing states they are made with "heavy cream, butter, and rich butterscotch." I fail to see how this is a good "substitute" for a sweet craving. It IS a sweet with added fat!
    Ms. Dean also states that "rethinking her plate" means that when she eats out she orders coleslaw instead of fries. According to, one cup of coleslaw has 195 calories and 14.6 grams of fat, whereas one cup of french fries has 152 calories and 7.8 grams of fat. Not only would fries be the less fattening of the two, but an even leaner choice would be a baked potato or salad without dressing.

    One last comment on her advice is that she suggests you try "new" vegetables like Brussels sprouts: "They're selling them in those microwave steam bags, so I steam them, then put them in a frying pan with a little butter and olive oil until some of the outer leaves start getting a little brown." Why add unnecessary fat? They taste wonderful lightly steamed!

    Ms. Dean makes no mention of counting calories or measuring portions scientifically other than by sight (a "fistful" of meat.) She suggests that you focus on "fun activities" like painting because you can just "sit down" and forget about everything else. While losing oneself in creative pursuits seems like a healthy outlet and a way to avoid overeating, sitting more generally isn't a good way to lose weight or stay in shape.

    Did you enjoy this blog post? I'll be writing more "then" vs "now" entries!

    Woman's Day magazine excerpts © Hearst Communications.