Fluffy, Not Fat . . .

I’m excited because Joe and I are off to New York City at the end of this month — it’s been a long time since we’ve been there, and I love New York!   All those tall buildings and sparkly lights, Madison Avenue, Soho, going back in time with the history of the city, clip-clopping horses and carriages, cozy restaurants, long coats, taxi cabs and valet parking and room service!  Beautiful Central Park!  So, of course, my first question was “what shall I wear?”  And then came the sad and unfortunate answer, I will have to go naked because I am too cookie-fat to fit into any of my cute New York clothes.  I have become my Grandmother’s bread stuffing.  And I know who to blame:

My fat and I have become BFF.

We’re celebrating our 25th Anniversary in New York!  (Not me and my fat, Joe and I!)  We’re going to the New York Gift Show too, and it would be nice if I could fit into my clothes!  I’m trying to inspire myself to get off the cake, cut the butter, stop the daily ration of toast and peanut butter, and not think, Oh it’s tea time, I deserve a cookie! (Even though I do!) I want to lose a few pounds and I want to do it a healthy, delicious way.  So, in case you’re also in this after-holiday boat (alone, since there’s actually no room for anyone else to get in), and want to take off a few pounds; or if you’re starting to think, in your secret heart, despite the cold, that summer is coming, maybe you’ll join me and we can inspire each other!  And even if you’re one of those amazing people who manages to keep a handle on your weight year ’round, I think you’ll like this too! 

 My number one secret weapon when it comes to weight loss is a recipe I’ve put into almost every cookbook I’ve ever written; it’s my “signature” recipe for Chicken Stock (I call it that because I’ve made it so often that I can do it by heart); deep, dark, and delicious, full of vitamins and rich in flavor, the basis for my favorite healthy, fat free, heavenly winter soup.  The stock takes two days to make, which is why you may not have tried it — but it’s SO worth it; most of the time it’s just bubbling cozily on top of the stove making the house smell wonderful.  The good thing is, you end up with lots of stock; enough to make a soup that will last for days, enough to do that and to freeze some if you want —  I use it to make our favorite chicken soup that’s as good for breakfast as it is for dinner.  (Soup for breakfast is delicious on cold winter days!  Corn Chowder or Butternut Squash, yummmy!)  So here’s how to make the stock:

(Guess what?  Dawn is just breaking; it’s just light enough for me to see outside . . . we’ve been dusted with snow!!!)

OK, so first you get a large whole chicken, and you need one that includes the giblets — lately I’m finding that sometimes they are being left out of the whole chickens, so be sure the one you choose has the giblets. They’re the secret to making a really wonderful, dark, rich chicken stock, they give it color and depth of flavor.  Discard the liver (or do with it what you will); wash the chicken inside and out and set aside.

Wash the giblets (the heart, neck, and gizzard), dry them, and chop them into 1 inch pieces.

Drop the chopped giblets into a pot sizzling with about a tablespoon of olive oil.

Brown them well over high heat. When they’re dark brown, deglaze the pan by pouring about a cup of water into the pot; immediately begin to scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to get up all the little bits and pieces clinging there.

Add chopped carrots, chopped onion, and chopped celery; put in whole black peppercorns, a handful of parsley, and a couple of bay leaves. (You should never salt stock — how much salt to add will depend on what you do with it later.)

Put your washed chicken on top of the vegetables.  (I had a couple of extra thighs in the fridge so I added them too.)

Pour in a container or two of organic chicken stock; then add cold water until the chicken is submerged.

Bring the pot to a boil, reduce heat to simmer; set the lid off to the side, and cook for about an hour until the chicken is done.

When it’s just done and beginning to fall apart, use a couple of big wooden spoons to remove the chicken from the stock onto a plate; the stock can continue simmering while the chicken cools to the touch.

When the chicken is cool, remove the meat to a bowl; put the bones, the carcass, and the skin back into the stock; refrigerate the cooked chicken.  Partially cover the stock pot again, and let it simmer for at least six hours, but as long as ten is fine.

All this time your house is being inundated with home cooking smells . . . when your friends drop in for tea, coming in from the cold to your warm and cozy kitchen, there you are, adorable in your wonderful house, being a perfect homemaker with no trouble at all.

The stock requires almost no attention while it bubbles away the day, stir it once in a while and add more water if you need to.  You can even take a nap while this is happening, and still feel like you’re accomplishing something!

Once the stock is done, it will need to be strained — depending on your kitchen set-up, you can figure out how to do this, but here’s what I worked out.

I put another very large pot in the bottom of my sink, hang my basket strainer over it, and pour the stock through it — I let it drip through until all the goodness is in the pan.

I shake the strainer a bit, leave it for about twenty minutes until the dripping stops.  Then I toss all those bones and things into the trash.

And put the stock in the fridge for at least twelve hours (do not cover, stock will sometimes sour if it’s covered before it’s cool) . . . until it looks like this:

The fat has all risen to the top.  It’s very easy to scoop it off and throw it away!  And underneath you have essence of organic vitality.  The cure for the common cold.

Use it in any recipe that calls for chicken stock (and notice the difference!), you can boil it down to thicken it a bit and freeze it in ice cube trays so you always have a little instant gravy; you can make a huge pot of soup and freeze it in serving-size containers; you can make my delicious ginger chicken and vegetables.  Next time I’ll give you our favorite Chicken Soup recipe.

My other healthy-diet-secret-weapon is those Tofu Noodles I wrote about a while back. I still can’t get over how good they are and only twenty calories per serving (although their idea of “a serving” and mine are totally different; but you can have five servings and it’s only a hundred calories!!!) I could eat them everyday —  love the wide noodles in my soup; they’re delicious with lycopene-rich tomato sauce as the perfect winter-diet-comfort-food.  When I’m not trying to fit into clothes, I throw a couple of pieces of garlic bread in with everything.  Yum!

Now it’s your turn; feel free not to talk about it if you don’t want to . . .  but these days you’re a huge source of inspiration for me . . . do you have a healthy, weight-loss diet tip or food item?  I’ve been on my bike every day now for three whole days, with my book perched in front of me; this has to be two-pronged, diet plus exercise; a full-frontal attack!  But if anyone asks, I remind you, we are fluffy not fat.

C H I C K E N   S T O C K  

(from my Autumn Book page 56)

  • 1 large whole chicken w/giblets (it doesn’t matter what the weight is)
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 large unpeeled brown onions, quartered
  • 3 or 4 carrots, cut in two-inch chunks
  • 3 or 4 celery ribs, roughly chopped
  • a handful of fresh parsley
  • About 20 whole peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 or 2 containers of store-bought organic chicken broth or stock

Wash chicken and set aside. Discard the liver; wash, dry and roughly chop the rest of the giblets and neck.  Add to hot oil in deep soup pot.  Over high heat, cook, stirring occasionally.  When giblets are very brown, add 1c. water; stir and scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.  Roughly chop the vegetables and add them along with the rest of the ingredients, including the whole chicken.  Pour in one or two containers of store-bought chicken broth; add water just until chicken is submerged.  Bring to boil, set lid askew, and reduce heat to simmer.  Chicken will be done in about an hour.  Remove it from pot; cool to touch.  Remove meat to fridge, put bones and skin back into stock pot.  Continue simmering for 5 or 6 hours more; add more water if needed.  Turn off heat and let cool a bit before straining it into a large pot or bowl; put the stock into the fridge, uncovered, overnight.  The fat will rise to the top; you’ll find it easy to lift off and discard.  You can stretch the stock by adding more broth or water, or reduce it to make it stronger.  Keep covered (after cooling) in fridge, or freeze.

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477 Responses to Fluffy, Not Fat . . .

  1. Gloria Howard says:

    Hi Susan,
    Just made your chicken stock last night….looking forward to soup this evening.
    I’m right there with you, having withdrawal from eating nut rolls and pepperoni rolls and now all those rolls have become a part of me. Ugh.
    Last January I did a cleanse program with Whole Living magazine. They have another one this year, it’s a 21 day cleanse. You do eat food with this cleanse, so its very doable and made me feel terrific so I’m going to do it again. Perfect timing for your trip to NYC at the end of the month. http://www.wholeliving.com

  2. Nnacy Jo says:

    Hi Susan,
    That all sounds really good. Must try that. To keep the fluffy under control–sp.k–total–cheerios. On the side-pepsi.choc and potato chips. Even’s out all that cereal.
    Nancy Jo

  3. Marva Weir says:

    Like you, I am also trying to lose weight. Mine is from more than just the holidays, but I am trying to eat healthier and move more this year. I’m not much for walking on the treadmill, so when it is cold I like to walk to Leslie Sansone’s walking videos. My daughter’s wedding is in September so I am hoping to lose a few dress sizes so that I can get a really pretty dress to wear in a single digit size. I really like the chicken stock recipe and will definitely have to try it. Let’s keep encouraging each other to stay healthy this year.

  4. jeannine leonard says:

    My girlfriend and I were just having this conversation today. Alot of water and walking is what we are planning. Fruits and veggies plus some protein. This recipe is perfect. I am going to make this Sunday. I really believe it is so much easier when you know others are in the same boat as you, and that we can all work together to accomplish the same goals we set for ourselves.

  5. Sharon says:

    Hi Susan, I hope it’s not too tough on you trying to lose some weight , but it sounds like you’re doing good so far by riding that bike of yours. And – don’t forget muscle weighs more than fat, so even though you may not see a difference on your scales, your clothes will start to fit better because you’re trimming down – does that make sense? I work at home and sit all day at a computer and I REALLY have to be good because the food is always there, not like being at an office where it isn’t as convenient. At Christmas it’s extra hard because I make goodies for everyone and everyone gives me goodies, too. I try not to deny myself though. So instead of having a whole brownie say, I only have half or part of one. At least that way I get a taste of it at least! ** Thank you so much for the chicken stock recipe. This is a great time of year to make something like that. ** Good luck Susan and just keep thinking how beautiful you’ll look when you and Joe go to New York! FOSBXX

  6. Dinahsoar says:

    Here’s my tip: To lose pounds means eating less–easier to do if you are not hungry. What helped me to finally easily lose, stay the course AND maintain my loss, was to eat often…3 small means interspersed with 3 small snacks AND making sure each meal and snack included protein and fat–no snacking on pretzels…carbs make me hungry, so eating protein and fat with my carbs is key. Fat is NOT my enemy. It satiates and good fat is good for me. So no fat free yogurt, etc., though I do use reduced fat for the calorie savings.

    For my short stature I ate a 200 calorie breakfast, 300 calorie lunch and a 400 calorie supper with 3 snacks of 150 calories each all totaling 1350 approx calories per day ( I do not obsess over hitting it at exactly 1350, and going over a bit is better than going under because the goal it to keep from being hungry).

    Over the years I tried many diets and would lose and always regain–because I avoided fat like the plague and at way too many carbs proportionally.

    Thats my loooong tip. The broth looks wonderful and as always, I do love your blog Susan Branch! You are one awesome lady. And your trip to NYC–one of my favorite places–I am so looking forward to hearing about it afterwards!

    • sbranch says:

      I love your tips — my mom is the kind of person, if she gains 2 lbs she stops that moment and gets rid of it! I wish I could do that! I hope to send photos from NY!

    • Margot says:

      Excellent!!! I lose weight when I do that too. And a walk, hike through the woods, or a jog.

  7. Kerry S. says:

    Oh yum! I have chicken wild rice veggie soup in the fridge right now that I made for New Years! The weather here has been TOO warm for soup so one bread sandwiches with carrot stix for me! Cooling off so planning on soup all weekend! Getting back to body sculpt classes at the Y was harder than I thought it would be after only 2 weeks off! Plus walking every day up and down the hills in our neighborhood. It is true isn’t it – after a certain age our bodies just love to save the fat and won’t let go!! Wouldn’t we love to say goodbye to our fat like the Dr. Who episode Waving at Fat episode! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qpty_64oLOc
    We’re all in this together! Cheers!

  8. dottie says:

    Have concluded my weight has basically stayed the same on average over the past nearly forty years — but don’t get too happy there — it’s gone up and it’s gone down over that time as well. — what I want to do is take it down to what it was forty-five years ago — that’s 45BC (before children). So chicken soup of all variations has become my refrain for several years now — will try the stock recipe soon. Any and all soups to my way of thinking are healthy options — chicken and rice or noodles and veggies — beef and veggies or simply veggies in good stock of any kind. I often think I could live on soups and I think they help control weight and still be a healthy meal. I’m going to look long-range — this summer is fifty year hhigh school reunion time — so that’s the goal! More fruit, more juice, too — skip the sodas of all sorts even the diet etc ones are not good for us.

    • sbranch says:

      No soda. Love it, must leave it. I drink sparkling water with just a touch of lemonade when I want something bubbly, it’s deeelicious!

  9. Debbi says:

    Consider me by your side!!! Isn’t it amazing how we can be so busy yet be so sedentary. Gardening is my best weight-loss tool. Unfortunately, it is January in Michigan (even if it is 46 degrees out) so that option doesn’t work right now.
    (I just watched the Dr. Who videos referenced in Kerry’s comment. What a hoot!!)

    • sbranch says:

      🙂 funny!

    • Karen P says:

      So true what you said, Debbie….”so busy, yet so sedentary!” I find that many time the computer controls my day so I have to get that under control and get up off my butt! However, I have these 3 adorable Susan Branch chairpads that I bought and enjoy them so much in my antique barrel tavern chair at my computer desk!

  10. pat addison says:

    good morning Susan, good morning everyone. oh boy i love chicken soup and with the colds and flu around here, the perfect cure. thanks for recipe. i do try walking alot, when i’m not running after chickens to get them back into their yard, they love to jump or fly over their fence and end up in the back area of the property or over at the neighbor’s garden or out front in our gardens. thats my main source of exercise, and it works, a terrific workout but i would not suggest that to anyone. but i do try to walk alot when the weather cooperates, which lately it has. once you get moving your metabolism kicks in and gets to burning those calories, problem is those cookies are so yummy and hard to resist. ….. ;P and i think for the next few days i may have to stick close to the phone as a friend’s husband is in the hospital and we may lose him, he suffered a major stroke and has been ill the past month. good luck everyone on the weight battle, i wsih you all the best. hugs….. 🙂

  11. Country Gal says:

    I walk our Miggy everyday for 35 min up and down the hills of our village and play with her out in the back yard Miggy has energizer bunny energy and keeps me on the go lol my weight isnt from holiday eating it is genetics and the good old change of life that has crept up on me and I am a shorty so all is compact, I was wayy thinner 5 years ago thats just before the change and the discovery of IBS which enables me to eat a lot of the foods we ladies tend to love ! I always try to keep on the move, some days its tuff but heck no one is perfect. We are all beautiful no matter what size we are ! Hope you reach your goal and have a wonderful time in New York, cant wait to see photos from your trip !

    • sbranch says:

      We are all beautiful and the only thing that matters is taking care of our health! And zipping up the jeans is a good thing too! I’ll take good photos in New York, hope the sun shines for us!

    • Karen P. says:

      What a sweet image you paint to be walking your dog up and down the hills of your village, Country Gal! I’d love to be there with you!

  12. Rosanne says:

    Kindred spirits! This week I got out my Jane Brody Good Food cookbook and one by Andrew Weil to inspire me to better eating, and for soup recipes. Soup and salad (without fat dressing) are our friends.;) I usually am lazy and use the Pacific organic broth, but resolve to finally make your broth recipe. How can I not when you went to all the trouble of giving us gorgeous instructions? You will be beautiful in NYC (since you are always beautiful).

  13. debbie says:

    My chub is definitely my BFF!!! A desk job combined with menopause, and quitting smoking 2 1/2 years ago has added more chub than I know what to do with. I am also going to give up soda (oh how I love you sprite!!!) and start using my Walk Away the Pounds DVD’s. Eat Less, Move More is my new mantra!!!! We are all in this together!!!! 🙂 Go Us!!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Go US!!! 🙂

      • Laura says:

        Good girl to quit smoking…..that is THE best thing you could have done for yourself and your family!!! I agree with you…for me it is the eat less and move more that works. One of my major problems is I LOVE to cook…Susan’s recipes, the Barefoot Contessa, Nigella…all taste tested by you know who! So, I need to find recipes that are still fun to cook and that my family will all eat that aren’t so fattening and that look and taste delicious…..oh, that and my vow to stop with the grilled cheese addiction. :/

  14. Aggie says:

    I read this as I was woofing down an Italian sub, following a 30 minute walk…guilty as can be and will admit that I would also like a Rolling Rock from your fridge too 🙂 For fitness, I walk and go to a women’s gym 3x/week. Food wise – oatmeal/oatbran, Fayeh yogurt w/honey, sparkling water with a squirt of lemon or lime – all help to fill me up. I am looking foward to making your stock – looks so delicious.
    Love NYC – awesome place to spend your anniversary!

  15. Connie Michael says:

    Ms. Sue, that is the chubbiest chicken I have seen in a long time! Wow! Looks delicious. I shall have to try your recipe for stock – good idea there to freeze it in cubes to use for later! My daughter swears by Zumba for exercising. Says its the most fun she has ever had “working out”. Enjoy your anniversary in NYC!

  16. Anne says:

    Oh boy – January is a fluffy month isn’t it? I tried to put on a pair of jeans the other day that fit me in October but are giving me the perfect muffin top now – that is if I breathe! I’m making a Lentil vegetable soup that’s my go to when I’m feeling the pudge. Smoothies for lunch are another fave. It’s cold here now so what I really want is meat loaf, mashed potatoes and red wine. I’m trying, like you are Susan, to be good – but it’s hard! Thanks for the stock recipe – I must try 🙂

  17. Lael Michele says:

    I just made a great investment that has made a HUGE difference in my eating habits: a JUICER!! They can be pricey, but I figure the amount of $ I spent on mine from Amazon is the same amount I would spend on a month of Yoga, and the Juicer will last longer than a month! I juice Romaine, Kale, Ginger, an Apple and a Lemon with 1/4 tsp. of cayenne. I do this in the morning, after a workout, and heres where the trick comes in: when you are putting all those good vitamins, minerals and other GOOD stuff in your body, feeling the difference immediately, you dont WANT to put bad stuff in your body for the rest of the day. My body craves clean, healthy, good for me stuff; lean protein, fruits and veggies, (haven’t stopped wine cravings yet 🙂 ) Probably going to your local Jamba Juice and getting a wheat grass shot or even bottled green juice would have similar effects, but an at home juicer gives you more juice and it is completely pure. Anyway, thought I’d share, b/c I’ve been in a ‘diet’ slump for a while, and this has definitely kick started my way to a healthy new year! Have a WONDERFUL time in NYC!!!

  18. Pat Mofjeld says:

    Oh how timely! Got told recently that my A1C (blood sugar) is creeping up andthat I should cut calories and carbs, lose weight, get more exercise. I knew I needed to lose some “fluff” before that news, anyway, but now feel more motivated. Tried to be “good” during Christmas-time but now am buckling down to the task at hand so it was very encouraging to read your posting today. Not only for the ideas you shared but for feeling I’m not the only one in the boat trying to lose weight right now. We’ve had temps in the 40’s all week so the roads are not icy–my only excuse for not walking this week is a persistent earache/fluid in my inner ear. So exercise this week has been seriously lacking. But the idea of making soup is great as there sure aren’t many calories OR carbs in your soup. But I have two questions: Never heard that about not covering soup before it is cooled or it would sour. Wonder why that would be? Also, I am careful to not put hot soup in the refrigerator as it seems it would lower the temperature and things like eggs and meat would not like the higher-than-40 degree temperature in the refrigerator until it cooled down. (?) So it might be better to do a “cool down” somewhat before refrigerating the soup? Also, don’t laugh at this, but are you SURE we have to use any of those gross-looking things that come inside the paper inside the whole chicken to make a good-tasting soup? 🙂 Well, I’m going to give your recipe a try. Guess what will be on our menu for next week? 🙂 Thanks!

    • sbranch says:

      I promise, you won’t know they’re there!

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        You didn’t laugh at my first comment so will see if this does it: Ugh, euwww–won’t I know the tail went in the pot? My mother taught me to remove that little piece that went over the fence last…am I the ONLY person that does that??? 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          You probably are! 🙂

          • Pat Mofjeld says:

            Well, my husband said that was the part that each of his brothers tried to pass off onto one of the other brothers….

          • sbranch says:

            That’s when it becomes a family joke and really funny . . . find it under the pillow etc!

        • EsSuzy says:

          Pat & Susan, Have you noticed a lot of chickens now do not have the tail. My dad told me that’s what they’re making all those chicken nuggets from!! haha Susan why don’t you use the liver? Saving it to make pate?Frying it for supper? making a liver sandwich later? Just wondered. xo

          • sbranch says:

            Something in my mind about it being the toxin remover for the body . . . probably it’s just fine. I’ve made wonderful pate with it — but I don’t do that often, and I’m still not wild about it. I save my liver calories for something like lobster or an artichoke with mayonnaise 🙂

  19. Georgie says:

    Susan, While you bicycle, I will walk 🙂 CONGRATULATIONS on your 25th Anniversary! We just celebrated 15. I waited a long time for my Joe and he is worth it! ENJOY NYC!!! When we went into the city to see Mary Poppins on Broadway (which was a super treat in a beautifully restored theater!), I found an out of the way sandwich shop . It’s called Wichcraft and is located at rockefeller center 1 rockefeller plaza @ 49th street (concourse level). Not fancy, but mmmm yummy and different. I tried the chopped chickpea sandwich with roasted peppers, olives, lemons and organic arugula. Now, I am not a Health Food Junkie, but was beginning to try to lose my FLUFF and thought I’d venture out of my comfort zone. It tasted great! I’ve just started eating regular portions with no seconds, increased my veggies and started walking 1/2 hour a day. Desserts? Yep! But it may just be one brownie, or 1-2 cookies.

    I Love your reference to FLUFF! I just had a funny thought, instead of Pigging Out… Let’s all FLUFF Out!!! LOL! Step by Step, or Cycle by Cycle, we will make it! Georgie

    • sbranch says:

      Good idea! I’m a little worried that I will gain all my fluff back as soon as I get to NY! They have such wonderful restaurants!

  20. gail says:

    I can’t breathe – tooooo many cut-out cookies!!! I’m on salad, fruit, fish and soup for the month…trying to have less wine, red meat and no sugar…I will be making your stock, great base for all kinds of soups. Thanks so much and enjoy NYC. Looking forward to Willard!!

  21. Diana says:

    I am WAY more fluffy than stuffy it seems and am ready to start an “improved me” campaign… I don’t start on the 1st because, well, that is when EVERYONE else does and I like to be different! Ha!… My mother is the same as yours… she just decides and then does it and then the fluff is gone… of course she is tall and skinny and always has been.. I, however, took after my Dad’s side of the family, not so tall and not so thin!..We need to embrace what we were given and use to the best of our abilities. I have no doubt you will win the battle of the fluff!… and even if you don’t reach it by the time you go to NYC.. what better place to shop for something new and special!!! HAPPY ANNIVERSAY to you and Joe! Many many more happy, healthy years together!

  22. Ann Y. says:

    Hi Susan…I am with you – way too much cookie pounds! I am back at school after Christmas vacation and in “cookie withdrawl” ! But like you, I am getting back on track. No secrets or tips except that we eat as much whole wheat ( not white) flour stuff and WALK. Everyday if we can – inside, outside….just walk. Congratulations to you and Joe on your anniversary….isn’t being married to your best buddy the absolute best ? And I laughed when I saw your post because we are going to NYC to celebrate our 35th …tomorrow! And we are staying at a place called the Library Hotel, where every floor is dedicated to a different category of the Dewey Decimal System. For a librarian, this is a dream ! Each room has artwork and books about the Dewey number it is assigned. Oh, I can’t wait…and have requested the Fairy Tales room because I feel I am living happily ever after ! Have some tickets for Broadway shows, looking forward to walking those wonderful streets and eating great food…..and before that I have to get out to the store and get something that fits and flatters – wish me luck ! So enjoy your weekend with Chicken Stock, keep on biking, and HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to you and Joe….wishing you both many more years of happily ever after !

    • Ann Y. says:

      Ooh, and the best part is my lovely niece and her new husband are going to house sit for us, so it’s a perfect combination – and the dogs don’t have to go to the kennel ! Everybody wins !

  23. Holly says:

    I’m a bit fluffy too. Soup is also my go-to diet food. Another favorite dish I make is VeggieBurger Lasagna. I start with a good, low fat bottled tomato based pasta sauce, and the pizza flavor Veggie Burger (I don’t remember the brand). I use the Burger like pasta, and layer sauce, burger, cheese (lowfat version or mix of cottage cheese, parsley, shredded Italian blend), then top with more sauce and a bit of shredded cheese. Sometimes I slice up yellow or green squash and add that as a layer. I usually make this in a 9″ square pyrex dish, which holds 4 VeggieBurger patties perfectly. This is also good with sliced green or red peppers with the squash. But, sadly, I’ve developed a pepper allergy.
    Another thing I do when I’m trying to be good, is to have a bit of very good dark chocolate. It has to be the “healthy kind” (really dark). I have one piece every afternoon with my coffee at “tea-time”. It really helps curb the craving for something like a cookie.
    One last thing I do is make a pot of brown rice. It’s nice to have in the fridge, and easy to add a bit to soup or a single serving with stir fried veggies.

  24. Holly says:

    Chicken stock – yay! So happy you wrote about it on your blog! It’s so good for us, especially in the winter. Here’s a tip for making the most nutritious chicken stock. Add about 1/2 cup of raw apple cider vinegar to the pot while it’s cooking. The acid in the vinegar pulls all the minerals, gelatin and nutrients out of the chicken (and its bones) and puts it into the stock. And the best part is, you will NEVER know that it was in there!

    Enjoy New York! My craziest dream is to be able to live there for one full year and experience it all! 🙂

  25. Elizabeth says:

    Me too — losing some of the lbs from the last three months of 2011. Add some strength-training about 3x/week Susan. You don’t need heavy weights, in fact you can use cans of whatever from your pantry. At our age, as wonderful as it is, the strength training will give you a boost along with the cardio. There are alot of really good exercises on-line, DVDs, etc. And happy upcoming anniversary. I’d be buying some NEW clothes for that!! Blessings for a wonderful trip.

  26. Jacqui G says:

    I’m with you Girlfriend! I started my diet on Monday, and so far- so good! I’ve planning to cook healthy all weekend, and now I will start with your chicken stock as the foundation of good eating. Soup is the perfect diet food…as long as that nasty cream doesn’t jump in by accident 🙂 Thank you!!!!!!

  27. Naomi says:

    HAPPY NEW YEAR, Susan!!

    Your upcoming trip sounds lovely.
    I too need to get back on track with healthy eating. One thing I struggle with is daily water intake………..which is so very important. I find that if I serve my water in wine glasses with pretty glass charms (add to that a slice of lemon or lime) it just looks pretty and goes down a lot better.
    Good Luck and HAPPY ANNIVERSARY.

  28. Lynn McMahon says:

    Good Afternoon~
    First, I LOVE the line with ” perfect homemaker!” . Aren’t we all?!
    I too have eaten too much (fudge in my case!) so now I get into my discipline mode..funny how the quote I used in the last post..balance…everything in moderation comes back to haunt me! I think I forgot the moderation part and gave into the everything or at least the fudge.
    What I must do now is say no to the “white stuff” salt, white flour, sugar  and yes to the “right stuff” whole grain pasta,  brown rice, agave and ~LOTS OF GREEN TEA~ my secret weapon! I will not give up butter! I live in Wisconsin for goodness sake!
    Have a great weekend~ it’s 52 here let’s break out the bikinis! 

    • sbranch says:

      Home of the fabulous Butter Burger!!!

      • Margot says:

        Now you girls did it! I am hungry now. How about some of that great CUSTARD too!!!

      • Lynn McMahon says:

        Yep! And kringle and brats and beer and…guess that’s why we live here! Not just for the weather! lol!

      • Karen P says:

        I was appalled when I looked at Culver’s nutrition (yeah, right, “nutrition”!) counter this fall to see how much fat and calories were in the single butterburger and the pumpkin spice malt I was eating! Oh my! Practically a week’s worth of calories, but it’s oh so good! It’s a sin! No more Culver’s except for a special treat!!!

        • sbranch says:

          I was only there once, we don’t have them here — I avoided the nutrition information — with a name like butter burger, we knew it couldn’t be good news!

    • Margot says:

      Frozen custard. mmm

      • sbranch says:

        This is going to a bad place . . . must stop, oh lovely carrots, howst goodst thou art. Waxing poetic.

        • Lynn McMahon says:

          So I should not mention cheese….cheese curds~ fresh or fried~ I like fresh~ grilled cheese~cheese & crackers~ baked French onion soup with lots of gooey cheese~…….

          • Lynn McMahon says:

            Oh my gosh! I forgot cheesecake!

          • sbranch says:

            You are dangerous!

          • Karen P says:

            Lynn! You’re just plain naughty, girl!!!! Time for dinner. I think I’ll have carrots! Steamed, no butter!

          • Margot says:

            We love cheese curds in this house. My son was stationed in AZ and now goes to college out there. He found a cheese factory near his home in Mesa, where he gets his fresh cheese curds!!! I asked him if the cows out there eat cacti. LOL

            When a Miss America was asked what she liked about WI, she stated that she sure liked the cheese cruds. LOL True story.

          • sbranch says:

            We drove through there last September and what I liked was the barns!!!

        • Pat Mofjeld says:

          Ummm–carrots cooked with orange marmalade or glazed with brown sugar and butter! (Definitely this is going to not-a-good-place!) 🙂

  29. Martha Ellen says:

    Susan I can certainly relate to the “I’m not fat, I’m fluffy” statement. I have struggled with my weight my whole life. UGH I try to eat healthy and most of the time do well, but let the holiday baking etc come along and I’m all there with the goodies. My husband and I walk every day and that helps a lot. I know you do also. I make lots of soups and make your stock almost every other week. It is wonderful–but I must say I have never put bought broth in it! I will give it a try. We have so many wonderful foods available to us year round , it is easy to make wonderful salads and eat great fruit. My problem is, if a little bit is good, a lot is better! Working on that one. It’s challenging to drink water in the winter but I do try and try is all any of us can do! Cheering us all on for better health in the new year! ♥

  30. Debbie P says:

    Hi, Susan and sisters~
    I, too, am getting fluffier as I age. About 10 years ago, I was very successful in losing the fluff by following the WeightWatchers’ program. I have gradually put it all back on, now, I have to admit. I’m still far from obese but could stand to lose about 20 lbs. Along with the added fluff, though, age has also given me more wisdom, more tolerance and more “eyesight” to see the big picture. I’m not as hard on myself and have a much healthier image of my fluffy self. Of course, I get frustrated when my clothes don’t fit but for the past year, I’ve been making small changes~ baby steps ~ and have lost weight consistently. I told my doctor “I’m on the slooooowwww diet”. She told me that most women my age will naturally put on at least 10 lbs. following menopause so I must be doing something right to be losing.
    I know, Sue, that at the moment, you’re more interested in a quick-fix for your upcoming trip, though, so my tip: Every day, drink 1 qt. of water (4 8oz. glasses) between 8 and 9 am and then 1 qt. of water (4 more 8oz. glasses) between 12 and 1 pm. One of my WW buddies gave me this tip years ago…there is some science behind it…something about overloading your kidneys so the excess is processed by your liver….or some other medical reasoning??…but, bottom line is~ when I did that, I could feel the lbs. melting off of me! Of course, you’ll have to pee quite often so it’s best to be within close proximity to a bathroom and don’t try drinking that much any later in the day….you’ll have to get up during the night, if you do. It really worked for me and sped up the weight loss.
    Good luck! ….and Happy, Happy Anniversary! A good marriage is such a blessing, isn’t it?!
    Love to you..

    • sbranch says:

      A blessing! So lucky. I bet if you drink all that water you just aren’t hungry!

    • Diana says:

      I;’m writing that tip down on my Susan Branch desk blotter calendar right now! I drink water .. a lot.. but will try this strategy and see if it works! Thanks!

  31. Rosemary (Sissy) says:

    Thanks so much for the inspiration to “be good” and start the New Year out with the goal to focus on our own personal health, both mental and physical. Doesn’t hurt to have a super good goal in mind either. I’m a good to starter but have a hard time keeping the enthusiasm up for a long period of time. But with all of the “friends” we have here, we’ll be sure to keep each of us accountable an inspired to continue watching the calorie and cookie intake and to keep up with the exercise. And of course, use that good chicken stock to our benefit!

  32. Tasha says:

    Hi Susan! I loved this post! I am a dietitian and I lost 20 lbs 4 years ago and have maintained it for that time. When I stepped on the scale the other day, I was 2 lbs heavier than my normal weight and so I started back at the healthier eating choices.
    My biggest tip is to write everything down (good, bad and ugly) and then you can see how much you are consuming, this will help you see what needs to be the start of your efforts 🙂
    I also like to keep measuring spoons and cups on the table so that I can put my food into those before my plate. That helps keep myself in check!
    Hope that helps! Love reading all that you do 🙂

  33. Laura B Jenkins says:

    Wasn’t January of 1987 grand? Steve and I also celebrate 25 yrs this month…your New York adventure sounds lovely…no way to add fluff while you are there…you will be walking and shopping and sight-seeing…I say pack looser fitting clothes and enjoy yourselves…your memory bank should be filled with the joy of being together, celebrating 25 yrs. of wedded bliss, dining at fab restaurants, whiling away the hours chatting at a cafe….forget the tight clothes for now, sista!! xoxoxox

  34. Ginnie says:

    I’m with you on this, Susan! My biggest downfall over the last six months or so is eating at night after my husband is in bed, which adds probably another meal’s worth of calories plus a late bedtime so not enough sleep. Not a good combo! I just read a tip in the Chicago Trib about forming better habits: the writer said she also ate at night after the kids were in bed because it felt like an indulgence and ‘me’ time. Then she realized she also felt like she was having ‘me’ time when she took a shower, so she switched her showers to after the kids were in bed, and then didn’t feel the need to indulge in food. So – I’m going to try that. Day One starts today!

  35. Joann says:

    Dearest Susan,
    I have made your stock recipe numerous times; it’s so wonderful and YES, the smells throughout the house are enough to bring the neighbors over!!! IT’s amazing and it’s a good reminder to go make some; it’s going to be a rather cold weekend here, so a big fat (I mean fluffy) chicken is on my list today……

    Have a wonderful weekend dear friend….and drink lemon water in the morning first thing!!! It’s a great cleanse and fills you up, too!!


  36. Gala says:

    I love the Beethoven quote: I cook for a fraternity and the “boys” always tell me that I make the best soup! So, whenever I have a less than charitable thought about someone, I’ll remind myself that I’m pure at heart and try to do better! As for the fluffy part…I’ll try to do better on that, too. My husband goes away later this year and I want to surprise him when he gets home.

    • sbranch says:

      So much easier when the guys are a way, mine wants MEAT. and everything else.

      • Gala says:

        And how I love a blog that quotes not only Ludwig, but Pooh Bear as well.

        • sbranch says:

          And Einstein, John Lennon and Helen Keller, Mark Twain, we take the best of the world’s brains and osmosis their brilliance into our lives. 🙂

  37. Sue says:

    I know this will sound too easy, but this is what I have learned to do, mostly just to feel better, but the wonderful; side effect has been keeping my weight right where it needs to be. The deep dark secret is: food combining…no protein with carbs and no fruit with anything…I can eat what ever I want (not pigging out) but I just don’t eat protein with carbs…carbs I eat with lots of veggies….proteins with lots of veggies…(cookies and cakes, hmmmm with a cup of tea) see I even do that. The best part, is my mid morning snack…organic peanut butter with celery and or an english muffin.
    And of course I do my yoga….but really really, seriously seriously, it works and you will feel fabulous, lots of energy (which you will need for your trip to NY)
    Also I will be making the chicken soup….
    Good Luck, Happy Anniversary, and most of all have a great time.

  38. Joann says:

    oh yes, one more quote to add:

    “We all get heavier as we get older because there’s a lot more information in our heads” ~ Vlade Divac

  39. Mrs.T says:

    So glad I’m not alone. “Fluffy” is actually the perfect description of the way I feel and have been feeling for the past couple of months. Soft. Billowy. Fluffy. I actually told my husband a couple of weeks ago that I felt fluffy. Alas, I have not started on any regimen yet. My birthday is next week and I know it’s useless to try and get completely serious about any changes until after that. However, I am trying to eat more healthfully, more low-fat, etc. We actually eat low-fat most of the time, but it has not been that way over the holidays! Too many cookies around, too much yummy food at potlucks, etc. I lost a lot of weight maybe five years ago and have maintained the loss pretty well over that time, but I don’t like this fluffy feeling. I know most of it is due to not exercising enough and, thank you, Naomi, not drinking enough water. (I think I’ll go and pour myself a glass right now.) And Susan, thanks for the tip on the tofu noodles. I am going to look for them!

  40. Sheryle Towle says:

    Susan, I have been on my bike for a couple days….I HAVE to lose weight. Going to Florida’s beaches next month! UGH!!!!!!! Soup sounds delicious. I just bought lots of apples & other fruits. The fudge has gone!!! and it was good. Sunflower seeds are suppose to be good for losing weight; keep us posted, Susan! It use to be so easy to drop pounds when I was 30!!!!!!!!!! xoxoxoxoxo

  41. Jane Santini says:

    As I’m reading your blog, the comments, and checking my e-mail, I grabbed the bag of those baby carrots & started munching on a few. Thanks for the push. I needed that. Happy New Year everyone.

  42. Hello there Miss Susan, congrats on your anniversary and how very exciting to go to New York. Love it there. I like being called fluffy much better than fat 🙂 Tips….well I can give them, I just need to do them myself. I’ve lost weight when I either count my carbs or just cut my portions in half. Unfortunately the best way for me to lose weight is exercise and I do so hate exercising. I try to walk or do pilates and that really helps me to get into my skinny jeans and right now my skinny jeans are on the shelf so I need to make that chicken stock recipe and talk a walk. Happy new year Susan!

  43. Victoria Miller says:

    Here sits I in my cozy little apartment, looking at my lovely 4 foot table top Christmas tree which looks so ‘live’ even though it isn’t and thinking “do I really have to dismantle this and put it away” because it is so pretty. Especially at night with the lights on. And all those lovely little ornaments. Santa having tea with Raggedy Ann. Chicadees on a branch. Snoopy on a sled. I’m retired. I can do what I want. I may leave it up for another week. And have another mini-gingerbread cookie. This is the first year I didn’t bake sugar cookies. The kind you decorate. Just a mini this and a mini that, and a lot of salad. Now I will go out and walk a lot, because, really, it’s California. New York sounds lovely. I was there once, for a weekened, many, many years ago and my first guitar was stolen and I’ve never returned. However, it sounds lovely and a very Happy Anniversary and I have every confidence you will shed the excess fluff and be New York and Anniversary ready. Happy 2012 to all, with joy, good health, much love and a healthy dose of prosperity!

  44. Julie says:

    Happy New Year & congratulations on your upcoming anniversay. I live about 45 minutes from NY & always enjoy what it has to offer.

    Like you I’m a soup-ie. Any kind, all kinds (always homemade) – hubby & I have soup everyday for lunch. I too, do soup in two days. Found it maddening to try to get the fat off the top unless it was rock solid. Have a trick that works for me when the fat is looser, (most times this works). I lay a paper towel on top of the fat & gently rub the top of it with my fingers, all the way to the edges of the pot. Slowly lift the paper towel & up comes the fat attached to the paper towel!!!

    Looking forward to your blog on your NY adventure.

    • sbranch says:

      I think it’ll get rock hard if you leave it in the fridge long enough…that’s a great idea with the paper towel! Thank you Julie!

  45. Charlene Hisayasu says:

    When I saw the title of this posting, I thought, “How did Susan know?!?” 🙂 I am also “cutting back”. Thank you for the luscious photographs of your Chicken Broth. It is now on my To-Do List for this weekend.
    Here is another idea that I’ve been using…inspired by your past blogs. … … I love your dishes. So…when I traveled to meet you @ the Remnants of the Past show in October, my girlfriends and I antiqued our way up the California coast. I purchased some lovely pink transferware in Arroyo Grande. I use these much smaller dishes to eat much smaller portions! I also use smaller size flatware that grabs smaller bites! I feel like I’m “treating” myself, using these treasured items, while eating. I don’t care for diet denial. 😛
    Thank you, Susan, for this timely post! Happy Anniversary to you and Joe! I know that NYC will be very, very special for the two of you… ♥ charlene

  46. laurie says:

    I use your soup recipe all the time, your onion soup is my favorite, I have gained wieght and my yoga pants are my best friend at the moment, have a wonderful time in New York, fluffy or fit enjoy, soup really is theonly tip I can say, exercise, eat less, sad, boring but true.
    I’m sad I gained this fluff but in all honesty it as FUN!!!

  47. Debbei says:

    Dear Susan, I find it’s easier to eat healthy if I’m not hungry. I don’t count calories or fat grams. My doctor said to try for 100 grams of protein and 100 grams of carbs daily. That’s really not a lot of carbs. He also told me when i do eat to eat my protein first, my veggies second and the fruit last. I also try to eat whole foods instead of processed. I have lost 89 pounds so far but some days it’s really hard. I also try to walk daily. The walking renews my spirit as much as it helps my waistline.
    Hope this info is helpful to you. My mama always said you can do anything you set your mind to. I know she was right!
    By the way your stock recipe is awesome. Can’t wait to see the soup recipe.

  48. Mary S. says:

    Another LOL blog!!! “… I will have to go naked because I am too cookie-fat to fit into any of my cute New York clothes.” 😀
    I have never been to New York but have always wanted to go!! Have a great time!!! I really look forward to seeing your pics!
    Thank you for the great stock recipe! I have never made my own. But…. is it possible to save the yummie carrots, celery and onion that have been simmering in it?

    • sbranch says:

      :-)! The vegetables aren’t as yummie after they simmer for hours, all the yummie comes out into the stock!

      • Debbie P says:

        Mary S: I know! I LOL, too! You know….there’s “the naked cowboy” guy NYC….hangs around on the street, playing his guitar with only his cowboy hat, boots and his undies! My girlfriend had her picture taken with him a few years ago. I can just hear the news flash now…Susan Branch joins the Naked Cowboy for a winter serenade!…hahahahahaha
        You’re very funny, Susan!

      • Mary S. says:

        Oh, ok!!! glad to know that!! 😀

  49. Carol C says:

    Okay, just dumped the last of the fudge. There is still some fruitcake and it’s (so good with a cup of tea in the afternoon). I confess to needing to lose 17 lbs.!!! Will not buy new fat clothes so am sure others are as sick as I am of the few things I can wear. Big problem is that the doctors don’t want me to lose weight while on chemo and I don’t have the energy to get back to the walking routine. My plan is eating smaller portions and drinking lots of water. So glad you started this weight loss thing. It’s so motivating! ps We went to NYC for our 25th 15 years ago!! Our anniversary is Dec. 27 and we stayed for New Years in Times Square. Love NYC!! Congratulations on your 25th and have a great time!!

  50. Tamar Weaver says:

    Okay – I think the soloution to my wanting to be thin is to decide to love being FLUFFY. Wish I could DO that! One day me and my church friends (we are early 40’s) were talking about marraige and who we wanted to pass away first…us or our husbands, and what would happen to us if they passed first. As soon as I began to process this thought, my feelings blazed across my mind and without thinking further, I blurted out my answer: ” well, If John dies first, I know EXACTLY what I am going to do. I am going to eat WHATEVER THE HELL I want and NEVER worry about my figure again.” Ever wish for a rewind button on your mouth? But that is exactly what I will do if he passed first. Speaking of death, I am reminded of another conversation with one of my friends discussing bereavement days at work. She ACTUALLY said ” well, you need 3 days off, because you gotta eat all that food that everyone carried over”. HaHa! She ment that too. Love the South.

  51. Karen Saunders says:

    Oh boy….the fat thing. Several years ago I lost 110 lbs. (not too good when you’re only 5’1.) It wasn’t exactly the right way… because I didn’t eat a lot. When I was hungry I ate fat free tortias w/fat free refried beans and a little hot sauce. (zapped in the micro.) No cheese. I like water with a little lemon in it. And drink LOTS of water. I also started walking 3 miles right away.
    Food is such a social part of our lives. It’s our comfort isn’t it.
    But I want to eat to live, not live to eat. More vegetables, fruit, less protein….no sugar and only good fat. The thing (for me) with sugar, I can’t have just a little. I know most people can but not me.
    You can do it Susan….you sound determined and that’s what it takes.
    New York…your anniversary. How great is that.

  52. I have joined a secret society called the Biscuit Busters (as in cookies) so I now live in a biscuit free zone . . of course, my real problem is not biscuits but cheese . . I am coming back in my next life as a mouse . . Congratulations on your 25th Anniversary! Look out New York . . Susan is a comin’ to town . .
    btw, we woke up to *No Wind* this morning in (not) wild wet and windy wonderful west Wales so we have finally been able to get our slates fixed after 5 weeks! We were treated to the most magnificent vibrant pink and blue sunrise; how I wish I could share it here with you, such a beautiful sight after all the storms and rain of the past weeks . . .

  53. Marisa leigh says:

    I have found any easy way to loose weight is to replace either breakfast or lunch with a green smoothie. They sound pretty awful but taste downright awesome!! You’d never in a million years guess you were drinking ground up spinach or other greens. And I feel so healthy when I do this – and my skin starts to glow! Seriously – these things are the real deal! Just google green smoothie and you can find tons of recipes.

    I supplement this by simply eating sensibly at my other meals. I don’t even change the style of food or cut way back on things like carbs or fats. I just eat a reasonable portion of whatever I want and NO seconds! Works really well and quite easy.

  54. Tricia B. says:

    OMG Susan!! When I read your blog today I started laughing so hard!! Thank you!! I love to laugh hard because it is soooo good for you!! I especially loved the part where you had to clarify the fact that it was you and Joe celebrating your 25th not you and your fat!!!! I hear you sister!! LOL!! 🙂 My tip is water, water, water and getting enough good sleep!! I also take vitamins too!! I am on the extra fluffy side so I will be right there with you…I am struggling because I love to eat, it is a hobby of mine!! I am really good at it too (To quote Meryl Strep as Julia Child!!) 🙂 Thanks for sharing your blog with us. I enjoy every post so much!! Good Luck with eating better and exercising!! New York? Oh how fun for you and Joe!!!! I have never been and hope to go one day soon (along with visiting your beautiful island!!!) Thanks again for always brightening my day!! God Bless!! Love and Hugs, Tricia B.

  55. Peggy M. says:

    I finally lost weight after cutting carbs with my husband when he was diagnosed pre-diabetic. We switched to double fiber whole wheat bread, and Dreamfields Pasta (this stuff is amazing, and you must try if you haven’t already), and more salads. I whittled down the amount of meat we were eating, and we switched to open faced sandwiches – that one extra slice of bread can make a huge difference. If you make the big changes, the little indulgences won’t matter, and you can have your darling wardrobe AND whatever you want to eat (in moderation) in NYC! Oatmeal to begin most mornings, instead of toast (sigh) because any bread I eat still goes directly to my hips, and lots and lots of black tea. Thanks for all you give to us Susan! Good Luck with the changes.

    • sbranch says:

      The last 10 years of my life I am going on the full-toast diet.

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        I’m laughing at this, Susan–I LOVE toast! A not-so-funny comment, though: A friend of mine lost a LOT of weight on Weight Watchers, walked every day, exercised at the gym, etc. She looks like a different person. That is the good news. The bad news is that she was diagnosed recently with cancer of the uterine wall and it has spread. So we shouldn’t be too down on ourselves, there are worse things than being fluffy. (now you know why I need to lose weight! 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          I bet she’s better prepared to fight this nasty diagnosis because of her healthy habits? I hope!

  56. Margot says:

    I was making beef stock two days ago! LOL Great minds try to stay warm alike. Soup, Baking, etc.
    Congratulations on your 25th Wedding Anniversary!!!
    Love is lovelier the second time around…and wear something SILVER.


  57. Mona says:

    Thanks for this! Last March my husband Greg woke up feeling some pain in his chest. It scared him because he was worried about what would happen to me if anything should happen to him (just love him, more worried about me than himself!). Within a few days he was set up with a PS3 player and a workout disc with a personal trainer. It was so hard for him; he was at 359 lbs. He has bad knees and a bad back, but he stuck to it five days a week. He changed his diet also by cutting out soda and changing his breakfast and lunch to healthy proteins and fruit (even bananas which he doesn’t like). He also started counting his calories; this way he is not deprived of certain foods, but he can control how much he eats. He started walking at lunch at work and increasing the distance every week or so. The women at his office go with him. I tease him about them taking him for a walk, but he got them out and walking. In the summer he added swimming to his routine and walking evenings in the park. In the fall he completed his first 5k run/walk and has since done two more. Now that it’s colder he goes to a gym that has a swimming pool. And he plans on completing a sprint marathon in July. By the end of December he had lost 70 lbs!!! I am so proud! He is a different person, but the same sweet husband. And it was all DIET and EXERCISE! (My favorite book title: Don’t You Hate It When Diet And Exercise Are The Answer?) There is no magic formula. Just work and determination!

    And thank you, Susan, for inspiring and encouraging us to follow our dreams. I feel like this might be the year – don’t know for what but it’s going to be good! Happy Anniversary to your and your sweetheart and have a wonderful time in New York! =^..^=

  58. judyCinNC says:

    For me, breakfast is my culprit because I so love it- soooo when I feel fluffy, I always switch to just Greek yogurt (with at lease 14 grams protein) for breakfast with approximately 1/4 cup of Special K Low Fat Granola. Keeps me satisfied until lunch without the “sugar plunge meltdown” mid morning. I actually do not feel hungry during the day if I eat Greek yogurt in the am.

    Your chicken stock is like the one I do, without the giblets and I am even willing to include them next time (I always thought it was something you should throw away, LoL), and I use any and all vegetables I have on hand with the chicken bones and stuff and cook it all night in the crock pot. Talk about waking up in the morning with good smells all around – ready to be cooled, refrigerated, fat separated and frozen in containers. So easy and so much better than cans of broth. Thanks Susan – I need to make some this weekend. I have loved reading everyone’s suggestions. – good topic. Judy C in NC

  59. Jan says:

    Had to laugh when I started reading your post because it sounds just like me. Just last night I was drinking my cup of Earl Grey tea and I had to have a shortbread cookie with it. Wouldn’t want them to go to waste! Plus I had burned off a lot of calories during the day running errands. Being a nurse, you think I could do better. Oh well! I like to make cabbage soup – lean ground beef, tomatoes, onions, carrots, celery, and cabbage. Gets me started on the right track,and its pretty low in calories.
    They say – more fruits and vegetables ,less fats and carbs., more fiber, more water, whole grains, etc. Plus of course, exercise. Also, not eating close to bed time. Eat your last morsels at least three hours before bed. Now, if I could just do all of that!
    My oldest sister lives in New York. Sounds like fun for you! A nice way to celebrate.
    Good luck with decreasing the fluff!

  60. Barbara says:

    You’re not alone. Not at all. I had the dumb idea to have my cholesterol checked on the THIRD of January!!!! Now, who does that? After the holidays? Me, obviously. Anyway, my total count is 220 (not good) and my triglycerides are 300 (not good). I’ve got to start eating right (fish and veggies) to take off the 25 pounds needed. Oh what joy. And exercise, exercise, exercise. Yuk. Enjoy New York and Happy Anniversary!

    • sbranch says:

      Thanks Barbara, LOL, but you’re a good girl to do it — don’t forget oatmeal, the rumor is that it directly reduces cholesterol.

      • Mia Sophia says:

        And Niacin is a natural way to help reduce triglycerides as well. Start slowly and build up the dosage. Check with your health food store. Between walking my 6 lb. dog 5 days a week for 30 min, losing 10% of my bodyweight and doing the niacin flush, my cholestrol dropped from 226 to 141 and my triglycerides dropped from 223 to 86!!! Yes…I said 86!

  61. Sharon says:

    Perfect timing! I have been trying this week to get back into healthier eating and exercise but it has been hard. I had been doing really good until we went on a cruise and then it was Christmas. You can see where this is going.

    I have a few things that have helped me:
    1. Drink lots and lots of water.
    2. Keep crisp vegetables ready to snack on. When the craving for chips and anything with unhealthy crunch comes along – I grab a carrot instead.
    3. Set goals for exercise. I enjoy the Leslie Sansone Walk DVDs. I have tried to increase my exercise time (even by a little bit) each month.
    4. When my Dad was diagnosed with diabetes a few years back he was instructed to follow the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time eat really really good. The other 20% of the time you can eat not as healthy but still within moderation. So–on weekdays I eat healthy then on the Saturday/Sunday if I have a pancake or two I don’t feel guilty.

    Looking forward to making the Chicken stock. It looks so good.
    Happy Anniversary. Enjoy New York City.

  62. Do I have weight loss advice for you!!! If you are judging your weight based on the fit of your clothing, this is a huge mistake. Everyone knows that the cold of winter causes clothing, especially natural fibers, to contract. Therefore, it’s not you, it’s the clothes. If you are going by your bathroom scale, no matter how high quality it might be, the winter cold has a similar effect, making the mechanism within malfunction. Therefore, you must subtract between 5 and 10 pounds from its reading. I am not even going to touch on the problems with judging weight based on the scales at the doctor’s office… Now THERE’S a scam waiting to be discovered… We’ll talk about spring and summer weight readings in a few months… I’ll need that long to come up with a similarly effective excuse!

    • sbranch says:

      Jake, You are a danger to yourself and others 🙂 I like the way you think!

      • Debbie P says:

        Hahahahahaha….too funny! That reminds me of some good advice I got from a friend a while back….when you bake a pan of brownies, only eat the edges. There are no calories in the edges.

  63. Laura Ann says:

    What a coincidence! I’m going to NYC at the end of the month, too. If I see you walking down the street, I’ll give you a wave. (You won’t be able to give me a wave because you don’t know what I look like, but I’ll be wearing my cute fake fur coat from the 60’s that I bought at the thrift store for $3. It’s the only “hip” thing I own!)

  64. Diane says:

    As usual, it seems, I about died laughing when I read your blog this time….and especially when I saw the pic of the oreo with a bikini! LOL. This blog is right on target for all of us gals who are trying to fight the bulge. I personally love New Year’s Resolutions for starting over…..every year I get to lose some weight and so I always know there is hope….lol. It is just so difficult to not get into all that food over the holidays when what you love the most in life is breaking bread with family and friends! I look forward to all of the sharing and that includes the food! However, it has caught up with me and I am “fluffy” right now because of it, so it is very comforting to know that I am not alone! My secret weapons are stevia to sweeten everything ….0 calories and harmful side effects….and I also buy sodas that are only sweetened with stevia….and the brand name is “Zevia”. I also drink hot beverages more often, and I use lettuce to wrap up my turkey or sandwich fillings. I also discovered the most wonderful chips…they are popped potato chips! There are several different flavors….green onion and BBQ and salt and vinager…and they taste so much better than baked chips if you HAVE to satisfy that crunchy craving, and they are low cal! I also love the Skinny Cow brand of ice creams…they are so low cal and low fat and delicious, and they make them sugar free too. I cant starve when I am losing weight, so I try to balance it all out and it takes a bit longer, but it comes off and stays off until the next major holiday! lol. I am happy for you that you get to go and celebrate in New York! How thrilling! I hope you have a super romantic time and live it up! There evidently is food on every corner, but that could be a great thing for controlling weight since you have to walk everywhere, and you can eat so frequently…and there are so many healthy choices…..you wont have any problems chiseling off a few extra pounds if you want to. Thank you for all of your encouragement and for letting us know that we are truly all part of a sisterhood out there and not alone in the fight for weight and health!

  65. Nancy Narma says:

    First of all…Best Wishes on your 25th..and sending Blessings for many more healthy and happy years together. I can’t believe you threw out the chicken liver! I bet Girl Kitty and Jack had tears in their eyes when that hit the G-can. If you wash it thoroughly and boil it a bit..what feline treats that would have made–especially figuring the size of that chicken!! Sorry be-whiskered friends, no “kitty pate” for you! I don’t agree with throwing out the carrots, onions and celery after making the stock like I have seen some TV cooks do..(drives me crazy and makes my poor Scottish Heart ache)..we use every morsel..whether in chicken pot pie, thrown in with Ramen noodles and broth or packaged and frozen for another lunch/dinner..They’re all used. My Husband Heiti and I do the fat-skimming trick like you do on all meat and poultry..even ground beef that is going to be used for chili or spaghetti sauce..takes an extra while but it is worth doing. We don’t need the extra fats in our diets..and they’re not the good kind! (If there truly is such a thing.) One idea that has worked for me..drinking a good-sized glass of water or non-caloric drink prior to your meal…(even a plain glass of tea with a lemon slice is good) You’ll be surprised how it knocks down your appetite and, in turn, your portions. Cranberry juice is a wonderful change of pace and good for our systems all the time!! I agree with many of the comments above–Don’t be too hard on yourself..We all love you for who you are…and the difference you have made in our lives..Feel that warmth around your hand??? That’s all of us girlfriends..helping you through this rough patch. <3<3 🙂

  66. Anita says:

    I love this exchange! My husband and I have been on a weight-loss kick for awhile due to his health, but I have to admit that we’ve fallen off the wagon during the holidays. Colonel Sander’s chicken is NOT diet food!(LOL) My strongest weapon against fluff is roasted vegetables. They make the house smell delicious, and they are just as delicious to eat (and satisfying). I just put all the veggies on a cookie sheet with a little olive oil, sprinkle with some garlic-pepper, bake at 425 degrees for about 25 minutes–Yummmmm!

  67. Haileyk says:

    Susan! you must go to greensmoothiegirl.com and read what Robyn has to say she also has put together a book called 12 steps to whole food that is amazing and has been a life saver for me! I have converted my entire family! Anyhoo people who simply have a quart of green smoothie a day for 30 days lost and average of 18 lbs just by changing that one thing! you are getting the equivelant of 15 servings of vegetables in one smoothie! I have a ‘hot pink breakfast smoothie’ every morning with frozen beets a carrot some cashews, dates, strawberries and coconut water (soooooo yummy!!!!) Then a green smoothie at lunch and make sure that my main course is a salad with other yummy stuff and it is amazing what your body does when you give it what it needs to thrive! Robyn has great recipes for dessert stuff too. Let me know what you think!

    • sbranch says:

      OK, will check it out! I love the sound of the hot pink smoothie! How could you not feel healthy drinking that!

      • Haileyk says:

        It is sooo yummy! here is the recipe:
        11-12 oz coconut water
        1/4 of medium size beet peeled and frozen
        1 carrot
        1/4 c cashews
        1/4 c chopped dates
        12 strawberries

        ***if you don’t have a turbo blender then I wouldn’t freeze the beet and maybe add ice to make it cold*** I have one every morning and it keeps me full until way past noon and well into the afternoon. If I need a snack I will have some almond butter and an apple. Then for lunch I have a green smoothie! I would HIGHLY recommened a turbo blender it makes eating healthy so darn simple I don’t know how I would go without it now! I have a Vitamix-love it! my sister and my dad both have blendtecs and they love theirs too. Either way you are getting a GREAT blender! Anyhoo…let me know what you think of the hot pink breakfast smoothie (or get a turbo blender and freeze your beets first)

  68. When I’m serious about losing the extra pounds and am having a hard time not eating so much supper because it’s SO GOOD, I’ll eat only half of the meal and save the rest for lunch the next day.

  69. Nellie says:

    Great motivation to take control of what you eat! A New York City trip would definitely do it for me!:-)

    As a Lifetime Weight Watcher, I found that I, too, needed to get back to the “straight and narrow.” It’s such a thrill to see the scale move downward rather than the other direction.

    There is nothing more wholesome than homemade chicken stock! Makes my mouth water!

    Sending along skinny vibes for you!

  70. FC says:

    Hi Susan, I lost a lot of weight in 2011. There’s no secret really, just good eating and exercise and lots of water. With exercise, one has to be huffing and puffing from the effort (get the heart rate up)– if I took the time to go for a walk for half an hour, I used that hour to get as much out of it as possible so I would walk as quickly as possible or shuffle.

    With eating, I watch portion sizes and I (try not to!) eat after dinner. I don’t eat much processed stuff and ‘white’ products like bread, pasta, rice are kept to a minimum.

    I also calorie counted to begin with. calorie counting gets a bad rap I feel. To me, it’s an excellent way of seeing the energy content of your choices because it helps you make better choices next time.

    Now I should mention that although I do eat well most of the time, there’s no way I’m missing out on the good stuff in life and that includes your gingerbread cake with lemon sauce (always a hit with family!), cranberry apple crisp, Annie Hall cookies and the coconut macaroons. I made the macaroons for Christmas gifts and everyone loved them! So easy to make and I kept more than a few for myself!

  71. I just finished about a week ago a book called “Eat to Live.” In the book, it talks about eating salads and vegetables as the main course. To only put things of nutritional value in your mouth. So I have tried it for 1 week and have lost 4 lbs. I tend to eat a lot of sugar over the holidays, so much of this is probably water, but it felt good to lose it. I am usually skeptical of books like this, being a nurse, but this book makes a lot of sense.

    BTW, I have made your chicken stock and it is WONDERFUL!!!

    Have fun in NYC. We were just there before the holidays and it is just so full of energy! Love that.

    • sbranch says:

      For me, just being aware is a huge part of getting there . . . mindlessly stuffing my face is a problem — so this conversation, books, any acts of consciousness about it are a big help. I woke up thinking about it this morning!

  72. JuLee says:

    Sounds yummy and this weekend is the perfect time to make that chicken stock.
    Also, this is a good time to remind everyone that chicken bones can be unsafe if fed to pets. Some say cooked bones are bad but raw wont splinter and may be ok. Some say not at all ever. So – to be safe for my cats and dogs – I just say no. Thanks for another great recipe that is good for us – body and soul. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, and after the chicken has cooked for hours, some of those bones can be very tiny . . . not good for animals. Thank you JuLee!

  73. Angela says:

    Hi Susan,
    Love your post, I now feel like I’m not alone in the battle! I have taken the focus off of losing the “fluffy” and put the focus on lowering my blood pressure. I lost my Dad seven months ago, a few days after he had open heart surgery. The grief/stress/frustration put my blood pressure to a level that concerned my doctor and me. So, in August I walked my son to his school bus stop, saw him off to school and started walking around our development. I walk no matter what the weather and not only has my blood pressure come back down to normal but my clothing is looser. So it’s almost as if I got two good things for the price of one. Walking has also helped me to continue to work through my grief. For the first time in my life (I’m 40) I realize how important a good diet and exercise really is. Reading your blog and the comments from others has been such an encouragement for me. Thank you!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you, you’re inspiring me too . . . so sorry about the loss of your dad. You’re doing wonderfully.

  74. Linda says:

    Heredity—–big factor! Metabolism——huge factor! I am 68 , five foot 1″ and weigh 104 lbs and wear a size 4 juniors. I eat anything I want all day long especially snack on dark chocolate and cheetos. My friends hate that I can do this but I take no credit other than (like your Mom) if a few lbs come on they immediately go off by just not consuming as much at meals. I do eat a breakfast with fruit–raspberries and blueberries in Total cereal EVERY day and drink nothing but milk-no tea, coffee, soda or bottled water. I think you look wonderful just the way you are and obviously your Joe does too as he is still around. Each person needs to adjust their weight and diet to what is best for their particular metabolism. I have beaucoup energy and do everything fast-walk, talk—not a sitter so that is my one big piece of advice (maybe less movies?) !! Good luck and have fun in NYC!

  75. Jean G says:

    Hello Susan,

    I don’t make stock too often but just happen to have some simmering away on the stove as I read your blog – how timely! And it does smell nice in this house. I like the tip about not covering the stock – didn’t know that! Will put the cover away.

    I made stock today because I got a brand-new Le Creuset dutch oven as a Christmas gift, and it’s been sitting on my stove ever since so I can look at it often. It cries out for soup making, and stew, and pot roast and beef bourguignon! (sp?) So I answered the call and made chicken stock today.

    Thanks for your honesty as always.

    Jean G.

    • sbranch says:

      I don’t know if I said it, but once it’s chilled, it’s OK to cover it. I have one of those dutch ovens, LOVE it — it does inspire cooking!

  76. Robbie Hall Raker says:

    Wow, step away from your blog for a couple of days, come back only to read about something that has been weighing on me (pun very much intended) for quite a while now. Becoming less fluffy. (I think I probably expended a few calories scrolling to the end of all the great comments. Wow!) Just seeing how many comments the subject of overfluffyness garners, makes me realize that so many of us want ‘smooth down’ a bit – (in my case, smooth down quite a bit!) I always tend to shy away from talking about weight loss, my own and anybody else’s. If friends or family start to talk about wanting to shed a few, I stay out of the conversation, leave the room, veer the conversation toward some other topic. I realize it’s because the whole weight loss thing scares me – if one talks (complains) about it – then one must DO something about it. (In my mind.) I’ve seen several FB friends post that they have resolved to loose the pounds, eat better, work out more. I think, ‘how positively BRAVE they are.’ And then here you go, putting’ it on your blog. To so publicly state your goal – on your blog- read, apparently by hundreds? thousands? – okay, now I think that’s just ….. absolutely, positively brave and wonderful. And shows how much you must believe in yourself. I think one of the reasons I never want to talk about ‘fluffiness’, or more accurately, wanting to LOOSE fluffiness, is because I’m afraid I will fail at trying to loose it And ‘everyone’ will know that I’ve failed.

    But, now after reading your post and all the great comments people have shared of their own struggles and desires to loose weight…. I’m going to jump into the fray… and simply say: It is my goal to loose 30 pounds by Christmas this year. There, I’ve said it. My heart is actually beating a little faster…fingers quivering a bit as they hover above the keyboard…but I’ve said it….out loud. I want to loose weight.

    I’m wishing best of luck to all who want to be healthier, feel better and happier with themselves by de-fluffy-fying- either a little or a lot. (I’m wishing the same for myself!)

    Thanks, Susan for having just the thing I needed to read today. Funny how that happens sometimes – how we stumble on something that just speaks to us and says what we need to hear.

    Here I go…

    • sbranch says:

      Good girl, you are very brave, just saying it, I can tell. It’s one day at a time! We will stand by with the applause!!

  77. Mel says:

    Susan, I can’t wait to try your stock. It looks delicious! Both my mother and I are trying to loose weight this New Year. Sure, 10% is vanity, but the other 90% is for our health, preventative medicine as I like to call it. I’m 44 with high blood pressure & MS. While not FAT, I certainly could stand to loose more than a few pounds. My mom is 62 and just finished up radiation for breast cancer (caught very early thank God) and could use to loose a few as well. We both know that weight plays a major factor into many health issues such as HBP & cancers, and we want to fight those factors as best we can. I think a winter full of savory soups here in chilly New England (MA) is just what the MD ordered!
    Thank you and may you & yours have a happy & healthy New Year! HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

  78. Terry says:

    Hi, Susan!

    You have quoted a line from my favorite chapter in Winnie the Pooh.

    My daughters and I have also chose to eat healthy and lose a few pounds. After all, Valentine’s Day isn’t far away and we have to be ready to enjoy chocolates. Yes, I do have a recipe to share with you. I got it from my sister-in-law, who got it from someone at her Weight Watchers meeting several years ago. It satisfies a sweet tooth and holds your tummy over for a while. Here it is:

    1 box of brownie mix (We use the “No Pudge” brand.)
    1 cup of apple juice
    1 1/2 cups of Kashi cereal
    1 cup of All Bran

    Mix it all together. Spray muffin tins. Fill. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes.

    We usually top ours with fat free whip cream, and eat them around 4:00 in the afternoon with our tea. They hold us over until dinner time.


  79. Noelle says:

    Hi Susan,

    That chicken stock sounds wonderful! I will have to try it (it should work okay as long as I don’t let my husband see all the bones in it- ha ha!) When throwing out the leavings from the stock, I would make sure all the bones are out and leave the giblets and veggies out for the neighborhood kitties as a reward for keeping our place free from pests. (They do love veggies cooked in meat juice!)

    I have been trying not to eat so many sweets, as they are the reason I am so fluffy. But it’s sure rough going when Mom invites me to lunch at a cake place and I get the lunch special that includes a slice of cake, and when Mom brings me a boxful of divinity and fudge and other yummy things made by my wonderful cousins, and when my husband wants a cherry pie, and when my son’s snack cupboard is full of M&Ms. But I really have been doing pretty well the last few days! Still need to work on the exercise, though.

    Have a wonderful time on your anniversary trip!

  80. Sarah Maldonado says:

    Oh, my. I’ve become so fluffy that I’m going to need a Border Collie to herd me in to sensible eating! I keep hearing that the lemonade and soda water helps get one past that soda craving so I’m going to try that, plus put in some of my movement videos, walk on nice days, eat oatmeal at breakfast and split dinner with my hubby instead of each of us eating a whole meal! We both are trying to get back on track. Congrats on the special anniversary and enjoy NYC! We’ll all keep one another ‘in line’ on our way to smaller fluff. 🙂

  81. Nancy says:

    Love your beautiful recipe and pictures. May I give you some advice? Soup needs to be cooled within 2 hours to 70 degrees before putting it into the fridge. Then you have two more hours in the fridge to let it get to 41 degrees or below. Otherwise you risk bacteria growing. Putting it directly into the fridge with the lid off will warm the rest of the contents of your fridge to an unhealthy temp. To cool your soup, you can place your open stock put in an ice bath in the sink and stir until it reaches 70 (take temp with an instant read thermometer)…or transfer the soup to long shallow baking dishes and it will cool by increasing the surface area. Hope you don’t mind 🙂 I am Servsafe certified…which is where you learn all this.

    • sbranch says:

      I usually cool it down before I put it in the fridge, even before I strain it — don’t want to put all that hot stuff into the trash, don’t want to over work the fridge. Thank you for that — much more of an “expert” opinion — always appreciated!

  82. Jeanette says:

    I lost 37 pounds this past summer on the Dukan diet (I thought if it was good enough for a future queen it was good enough for me). I was hesitant about going on another diet, as I have tried several, but this sounded like it offered a plan for life that was doable for me. I just didn’t realize how difficult the holidays would be and with some added stress but on 7 pounds in a month. I am determined to get it off and have started walking the corridor in my husband’s office early in the morning when no one is there and plan a 3-day detox to get me headed back in the right direction, pairing this with 3 days of non-stop quilting (sewing) that always takes my mind off food! (Now that I finally have my Christmas things away). I noticed a container of MM “Lite” lemonade in your frig–I love that too! Having a goal like your trip to NY will also give you the incentive. Can’t wait to see your pics–have only been there once on a school=sponsored trip so definitely need to go back! The chicken stock is similar to what I do with my leftover T’giving turkey, but the giblet part is new to me so will try it! Happy New Year!

  83. Jack says:

    It helps to get the picture and keep it in front of you –remind you to get out the small plates , to plan smart meals and to take Joes hand and run/ jog a short distance on your morning walk — the reminder is a GRAPH , posted on the fridge ….with your existing weight ….
    shown and with a time line across the bottom , with your new goal weight at the end of the line .
    This is YOU and it is your constant reminder of that fact! Ergo a huge incentive not to be
    a fluffy drop out — it’s the same old credo — you can do it if you want to – ! And you have an picture of that in front of your face ….! We are what we eat …be happy! Dad

  84. Jack says:

    Your chicken has love handles !

  85. georgie says:

    Portion control, avoiding processed foods as much as possible, trying to have only healthy snacks. Sweets and desserts are not allowed. If something is baked for guests, the leftover portions go home with them. Breads and pastas are very hard to resist,

  86. Patty Opaczewski says:

    Hi Susan! Wow, it seems like whatever you post I just love reading! I just regret not having the time to read all the comments. I hope I don’t have to wait for retirement for that!!! lol. Anyway, great time to post a chicken stock recipe. I have a bit of a throat infection as we speak! Lucky me! I am going to try your recipe. I usually make what I call Chicken Feet Soup, which is pretty self-explanatory! ha ha!! It has that rich dark look also and a nutty flavor. Please tell me it isn’t chicken toe jam! Anyway, I have fibromyalgia and the ligaments in the feet are suppose to have a lot of immunosupressant qualities. Regardless, it is very rich and very delish. I will try yours if you try mine! Double dare you! I get my “feet” for just $2.00 a bag at our local Farmer’s Market here in South Bend. Stay warm!

    • sbranch says:

      I haven’t seen feet around here! That would be an iffy one for me! 🙂 I get the double dare part!

  87. pat addison says:

    to Lynn McMahon: thank you for the prayers, they are needed. and who had to go and mention cheesecake, i would die for a slice of cheesecake right now!!!!

    • pat addison says:

      update on my friend: her husband we thought had suffered a major stroke so we thought that was what landed him in ICU, turns out it was not a stroke but his lungs filling up with fluid, one lung had already collapsed and the other was filling up, very much like drowning in his own fluids. the update is the doctor has removed the breathing tube and he is now breathing on his own, still in ICU but doing alot better now. thanks to everyone for the prayers and good thoughts, and please keep them up. thank you.

    • Lynn McMahon says:

      You’re welcome~ wonder who said cheesecake????

  88. Karen P says:

    Thanks for the reminder and the visual for making your chicken stock. I take the cheater way and don’t take the extra steps so I’m going to try it! Yum!

    I have a reunion, of sorts, this weekend. Not looking forward to it because it’s been at least 11 years and for some of the people 20 or so years since I’ve seen them all. My fluffiness has gotten out of control and I feel horrible about myself. Hopefully they’ll look past that to the person I was/still am! Ha! (And a new outfit might help…we’ll see!)

    Happy upcoming 25th Anniversary! In this day and age, that’s a blessing and quite an accomplishment. Will look forward to hearing about your New York adventure! Happy Weekend to you and all the girls! xoxo….kp (Love the Pooh quote too!)

  89. Gigi says:

    I like your ideas soooooo much better than the stupid (I’m sorry) diet I started Monday. It’s that one named after a place by the ocean in a certain place on the globe (not north). Anyway, all that heavy cheese and eggs and stuff is making me feel rather poorly, and I’m certain it’s because my chubby little self just needs a few more nice friendly carbs. At least let me have my nice oatie breakfast for Pete’s sake, and will 1 teaspoon of maple syrup really make you fall back into uncontrollable sugar addiction h___ ? I don’t think so, do you? Okay then, it’s decided. No eggs for me tomorrow and hello oatmeal (love it soaked overnight in milk by the way – thank you!). And more chicken broth ;)!

    • sbranch says:

      I went on that diet, but the protein was too fatty for me, so I changed it, quit all the cheese and bacon, and exchanged it for chicken and fish and it was much better! Oh, so glad you like the overnight oatmeal — surprisingly delicious!

  90. Rosinda says:

    Oh, Susan, how exciting to travel to New York to celebrate your 25th Anniversary!! I’ve never been to NY, but it has been on my list for some time. Thanks for sharing your chicken stock recipe with us…it looks so delicious!! Sending love and good wishes for a fabulous getaway with your sweetie! xoxo

  91. I’m one of those who’s probably lost and gained more than my total body weight over the years – and at the moment have almost half that body weight to lose again. When I’ve lost large amounts of weight, soup is a staple, as is lots of ice water with lemon, smoothies for breakfast (frozen berries, almond milk, nonfat yogurt, juice, honey, vanilla and cinnamon) and snacking on carrots and spicy hummus. If I want something sweet (which happens daily, haha), I have one of those 100 calorie cookie packs.

    All this said, the combination of middle age, yo-yo dieting, an ankle injury (I wear a permanent brace) and a sedentary job has wrecked havoc with my metabolism. But still I try…

    I will say I sooooooo wish I’d have gotten a handle on it when I was as slim as you are, and only had a few pounds to lose. (And may I add that in every photo I’ve ever seen of you, you look fabulous). 🙂

    Wishing you both a Happy Anniversary, and a magical time in the city!!
    ♥ Carolee

  92. Ann says:

    Congratulations on your 25th anniversary! We celebrated ours in Hawaii, but I love NYC too. I know what you mean about “city clothes”. As I started reading the post I was thinking soup and you were thinking the same thing! I have read your recipe a few times, but got a little thrown off by the length of time needed to make the soup. But I am determined to set a day aside and make it. The only way I have lost weight successfully is by keeping a food journal and writing everything down. I tried to keep to 1500 calories a day and it comes off slowly, but does come off eventually. Long walks with the dogs every day is necessary, too. Holiday eating is over, I’m afraid (sigh).

    • sbranch says:

      I really like this idea of writing it down! It only takes a few minutes to make the soup, it cooks, mostly by itself, all day, so you are essentially free for most of that time!

  93. Patty Opaczewski says:

    Oh, and Congratulations on your 25th. Have an absolutely wonderful time!!!

  94. Thanks for the chicken stock recipe, haven’t made any in years! I try to make soup every week, love homemade soup, nothing better except campbells tomato soup, have that when Husband is gone, he doesn’t like tomato soup. I love it! as for tip, I just try to drink water and try to walk, but we take care of our Grands so I think we get alot of exersize doing that!
    Happy Anniversary, have fun in NYC! Would love to go back some day, been twice and would you believe only saw the same corner of Central Park both times? Still not seen the whole park, would love to see the Alice in Wonderland area! I am with the other Sister who said just enjoy being in NYC and eachother, and bring loose fitting tops! Eat and enjoy! xoxoxo

  95. Gert says:

    Oh Susan..what a great post! Most of ‘us’ have a little (or a lot) of fluff! smile… And can use a little help & support to maintain and or loose a little weight! I have been trying to walk a little each day and I think it helps…

  96. Marie (from Virginia) says:

    Susan~Happy 25th to you and Joe! My husband and I are from New York. We became engaged in Manhattan when I turned 21. It’s magical in all 4 seasons. I hope you and Joe find time for the theatre one evening. Please-please, go to Serendipity 3 for their frozen hot chocolate. And of course, you MUST get a warm salted pretzel from a street-corner vendor.

    Changing gears here. Thanks, girlfriends, for all your better eating tips. Don’t like that “D” word. My only tip to offer is: Eat breakfast like a king, eat lunch like a prince, and eat dinner like a pauper. Yeah, I know, it doesn’t always work.
    Balance may be the operative word here.

    Susan, love your stock! It’s one of the first things I made from “Autumn,” years ago. Love the post pic’s!

    Pat A, more prayers for your friend.

    Marie xo

  97. Hi Susan,
    Oh I love when you update your blog 🙂 I’m at the exact place you and, as I see, many other FOSB ladies are at.
    It’s back to the old bag of tricks again:
    * drink more water, we all know that, but oh it’s hard!
    * fry in water, instead of butter, margarine or oil, including in the oven
    * skim milk … yes, I even got used to drinking that
    * whole wheat whenever you can… and it’s yummy!
    * taking Holy Basil/Thulsi… it’s a wonder herb and helps me with energy too
    * If I have to go up stairs.. I run down, then back up
    * run to get clothes in washer and dryer, then while putting away instead of walking
    * Last night I needed something and had an apple and it worked! yay! so added fruit
    * less potatoes and less servings
    * one piece of toast instead of two

    those are just some… and lots of STEW :d esp on these cold, wintry days 😛

    Happy Anniversary, Susan! Have a blast, you’ll be beautiful!
    Take a picture of that rink that was in Serendipity for me, pretty please! Oh i love that movie! 😀
    Denise of Ingleside, PEI

  98. Cindy Maulin says:

    dear “fluffy”……augh!!!” the battle of the bulge”…”muffin-tops”….”love handles”…all dirty words!!! hahaha…i have one word for you….PORTIONS!!! i bounce around with weight like a lot of people, but have found if you eat small portions, count calories and do some walking…it works wonders…a little discipline, clean out the refrig and pantry..( my neighbors like this part ), stock up on fruit, veggies, and popcorn ( for those munchy moments )…that helps….take what you want to eat..put half back and eat half of what’s left….after a few days, you’ll get used to the smaller portions…(sort of!!)….then…..celebrate NYC..how wonderful and what a great place to be for a milestone in your life!!! i have a feeling that you and joe will take that town by storm and enjoy every minute of it…regardless of the wardrobe size… : ) reminds me of this…mother used to say it ALWAYS..”Pretty is as pretty does”……you are a beautiful person with a gleeful heart and we are all the better that you have the ability and desire to share it with us…lucky us!!! good luck with the diet…i am right there with ya…(usually sneaking that one Necco wafer…((no fat)).. ha!)…
    “spare tire”

  99. Jacquelyn Wirthlin says:

    Made a huge pot of chicken stock Wednesday! While it was bubbling away I cruised through the house removing all the leftover treats, etc. The freezer is now stocked and ready for my annual “Remove the muffin tops after the holidays” ritual … lol My only secret is food combining, as was mentioned before. It really works for me and my hubby. Because tomorrow is my birthday-65- ( suddenly my high school graduation year and my age are the same…yikes…), I will be celebrating all day and am willing to begin the diet on Sunday … :-).

    Have enjoyed all the wonderful hints and tips from the Girlfriends and from you, Sue. Thank you all. Have the most wonderful time in NYC with Joe!

  100. Karen P. says:

    Oh, should have shared something positive and encouraging! What I am planning to do is drink lots of water (it really DOES make me feel more energetic. ) Then, I want to walk outside if it’s nice or walk on the treadmill for at least 2 miles every day. I tend to get bored on the treadmill so I’ve been dvr-ing old movies from TCM to watch. That should help me with tv snacking which I need to give up. (I crave the salty, crunchy snacky stuff.) And it’s a good way to make it thru that wonderful list of movies you gave us.

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