Tuesday, January 21, 2020

WW Friendly Banana Nut Oatmeal Bread




When I started this weight-loss journey, I was determined to find a way to continue to eat the foods I loved. However, I wasn’t opposed to making those foods friendlier to my new lifestyle.

I now order pizza with thin crust and lots of veggies—and I only eat two pieces! At fast-food restaurants, I’ll get grilled chicken sandwiches instead of burgers. (Though I still eat a burger once in a while!) I only eat 1/4 to 1/2 of the fries, usually sharing them with someone else. And sometimes I skip half the bun by using the lettuce as the top half instead.

I’ve also started tinkering with some of my favorite recipes to lighten them up a bit. This banana bread is one of them. I posted the original recipe here in the early years of this blog.

For this version, I cut the sugar from 1 cup to 1/4 cup, and I cut the butter in half and used Land O’ Lakes light butter. I also added some Greek yogurt and unsweetened applesauce, which makes this bread super moist. If you want a sweeter bread, you could up the sugar to 1/2 cup, but I like this less-sweet recipe instead.

I’m on the My WW Blue plan, so the points for this bread are 6 per slice if you cut it into 8 servings, which is a pretty large slice! Those of you on other plans can load it into the recipe builder to see what you’re tally will be.

I like to toast my piece in the toaster oven and then smear a little light butter on top. Yum!

This is my Kansas City Chiefs side-by-side photo, in honor of them making it to the Super Bowl! The left photo was from October 2018, and the right is from December 2019. A -70 pound difference between the two!






Banana Nut Oatmeal Bread

Makes 1 loaf
Serves 8 to 16

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light butter (I use Land O’ Lakes)
1/4 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 large eggs
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, sift together the flours, soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the yogurt, applesauce, and eggs, and whisk until blended. Then whisk in the bananas.

Next, stir in the flour mixture until just blended. Fold in the oatmeal and walnuts. Pour the batter into a loaf pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. 

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from the pan and cool on a rack.



Thursday, January 16, 2020

The Year I Lost 70 Pounds and Gained a Life


Hello everyone! Sorry I've been out of touch for so long.

Let me explain:
2019 was a year of change.






It began after my trip to Memphis in February, which was followed by a visit to New Orleans and a Carnival Cruise. I enjoyed every moment, but physically I was a mess.






At 295 pounds, my hips and knees hurt when I walked.

I had to rest every few minutes.

I was short of breath.

I couldn’t do a lot of the things I longed to do.

I felt uncomfortable in my own skin.

I snored!

I didn’t like myself much.

A week after I returned home, I took a leap of faith and joined WW (formerly Weight Watchers.) Honestly, it was spur-of-the-moment when I saw an ad on Facebook. Oprah said I could enjoy the foods I liked and still lose weight. I thought, “Okay, Oprah, let’s put this to the test.”





That impulse moment changed my life. Big change! I’m still having trouble wrapping my mind around it all!



From March 7, 2019, to today, I’ve lost 70 pounds.

70 POUNDS!!!!

I haven’t been this weight since 1995. So far, I’ve gone from a size 26 to an 18, which is now getting too big depending on the style.

But it’s the changes inside of me that are truly amazing. I’m believing in myself again! My dreams seem less like dreams and more like goals I can achieve! And I’m learning that taking care of myself and putting myself first in my life is not being selfish. It’s how we are all supposed to live. I am enough, which makes me able to give of myself to others in ways I’ve never done before.




In November, I went on a trip to Hawaii.

I was able to walk 10,000 to 20,000 steps each day without trouble!

I wore shorts!

I went to the beach in a swimsuit!

I even climbed to the top of Diamond Head, including going up 99 steps to get there!

I still have 60 more pounds to drop before I get to my goal. I’m an online-only WW member, which means I don’t go to meetings (known as workshops) each week. However, I’m thinking about giving the workshops a try. I’ll keep you posted!

Want to follow along on my journey? I plan to start posting about it on here, including recipes! You can also find me on Instagram (@linda_ditch) and Facebook (@ASunflowerLifeinKansas). If you’re on WW Connect, I’m @LindainKS.


If you want to check out WW, this link will get us both one month of membership free if you sign-up!

But feel free to follow along on my journey without joining WW. I’m just happy to have you along for the adventure.

If you have any questions, post them in the comments!

Let’s go do this!!!!


Monday, June 24, 2019

Twenty-four Hours in Memphis part 2—Graceland


When I was around 11-years-old, my dad came home from a business trip with presents that changed my life—2 Elvis Presley albums. Now, I don’t remember if I was a fan of his yet, but I do know I fell in love with him listening to his songs. I spent hours cranking up the volume on “A Little Less Conversation,” “Suspicious Minds,” “Return to Sender,” and “Don’t Be Cruel,” all the while pretending to be one of his backup singers. To this day I can still sing those harmonies should one of his songs stream on my phone.

So, of course, during my 24-hour Memphis stay, I had to visit Graceland. In fact, they were gracious in giving me a free pass to all the exhibits, and it was a surprise how huge the entire complex is to tour!

My first stop was Elvis’s house, which you get to via a small bus from the ticket office. It is an iPad tour narrated by John Stamos! The house is on the smallish side for a celebrity mansion but was probably considered pretty large for Memphis back in the 1950s and 60s.






I loved the living room…















And the TV room. You’re not allowed to go upstairs since that area is considered private and still used by his family.













In an exhibit area, I was thrilled to learn Elvis loved to read!
















The meditation garden was lovely, with people leaving mementos at his grave.










Other exhibits at Graceland include one building dedicated to Elvis’s cars, including this cool pink Cadillac!












Another had his stage costumes and gold records.












I also took a tour of the Guest House at Graceland. Don’t be fooled by the name—this is a 400+ room hotel with restaurants, a huge theater, and numerous amenities.  You don’t have to visit Graceland to stay here. In fact, many companies hold business conventions at the property.










My favorite amenity was the peanut butter and jelly bar they offer each night between 10 and 11 p.m. Guest can go make their own PB&J with a wide selection of toppings! Since I love peanut butter sandwiches, I’d be there every night!










Before leaving, I had a BBQ lunch at Vernon’s Smokehouse on the property. This was the BBQ Sampler with brisket, sausage, chicken, ribs, and pulled pork. Yum!







My Graceland visit was amazing! Even though I’ve marked it off my travel bucket list, I plan to return when I have more time to explore even further!

Next stop…New Orleans!  





Disclaimer: While Graceland hosted me for this visit, the opinions in this blog post are entirely my own. They did not pay me to make this post.