#1 NYT bestselling author Linda Lael Miller

I’m Calling This Monday

Yes, yes, I know the rest of the world is calling today ‘Thursday’, but that’s a mere detail.  For me, it’s Monday, the day I announce this week’s winners: 

Lisa Murray and Cassandra.  Congratulations to both of you.  A new contest is underway (well underway, actually), with the usual rules.  If you’ve commented this week, you’re entered.  Two winners will be chosen at random, notified by Super Jen, and announced on the blog this coming Monday.  (Or whichever day I decide to call Monday.)  Our winners will receive an autographed copy of my latest book.

I can barely believe it’s almost Christmas.  It will be a quiet one here on the Triple L, but that’s okay; I’ve never been all that into hectic holidays anyway.  :)  Wendy and Jeremy are traveling toward San Diego, and having a wonderful road trip in their rented RV.  The dogs, Margie and Lily, are loving every minute–playing in the tide, visiting restaurants where doggie meals are served on souvenir frisbees (I kid you not), and just generally rollin’ on down the road.  I advised the kids to take their time and enjoy the journey (literally), because it might be a long time before they can ramble in quite the same way again.  I plan to visit my mom and will have Christmas dinner with Mary Ann and Larry (aka the Canadian Wrangler)–and get right back to work on NORTH OF EDEN.  I’m SO into this book.

We’ve got snow here in the Spokane area, and it’s been very cold.  The furnace that heats the main floor was out for more than a week, and that was okay at first, since I sleep and work upstairs, anyway.  After a while, though, it started to get to me, so I was very happy when the men from Lowe’s appeared bright and early Monday morning and put in a brand new unit.  Now, it’s toasty–and believe me, I’m grateful.  

I have a big pot of chicken soup simmering on the stove as I write this–seems like just the right weather for it, and I’ve been keeping a cold at bay for a while now.  As I’ve mentioned, I’m a freestyle cook–I got out my biggest stockpot, browned celery and onions in a little butter (gotta love this Paleo lifestyle), then added 2 whole chickens, a bunch of herbs, alderwood smoked salt, pepper corns, LOTS of garlic, and a few other items just for good measure.  I like to add Lipton’s Onion Soup mix to every savory dish I make, along with garlic–if I were forced to list measurements, etc., though, I’d be in big trouble.  I’ve been making gluten-free bread, too–I guess you could say I’m one of those modified Paleo people.  I use coconut sugar in coffee, along with a creamer called Nutpods–it’s a mixture of almond and coconut milk and it’s really good.  Giving up my Splenda was a challenge, but I’m committed; artificial sweeteners are wrong on so many levels; and, as Jenni quipped, it does start with the word ‘artificial’.  :)  Yesterday, before Weight Watchers, I took a gulp of diet cola and just about gagged, so I guess I’m over the hard part, where Splenda and its ilk are concerned.  I like to say I do an 80-20 Paleo thing–and I’d lost 3.6 pounds when I weighed in at WW, so I guess I’m doing something right.  

After an earlier blog, one of you mentioned that Paleo is hard to stay with, and I guess that would be true, if I were going for the whole 100% instead of 80-20, but, as promised, the cravings disappeared after a few days.  I rarely eat more than two meals in a day, and I often find that one is enough, if I have a snack or two.  I think the reason Paleo, Whole 30 and Clean Eating work for so many people is simply that these plans focus on Real Food, not ‘frankenfoods’, as many members of the community refer to processed products.  Paleo folks believe, and I agree, that the low-fat, high-carb movement was a disaster; it’s about taking the time to buy and prepare actual food–what a concept.  Back in the day, my mom–and every other woman I knew–would have been horrified at the idea of serving her family a meal-in-a-box, or a bag, or frozen in little compartments.  No way.  We ate vegetables either straight from the garden or preserved from last year’s garden.  We had venison, chicken, beef–mostly hamburger–and ham or turkey at major holidays.   

Before anyone raises their virtual hand and says women had more time back then, because so many of them didn’t work outside the home, let me clarify a thing or two.  My mother did work, as did the mothers of my friends and cousins; we had a motel, so every day there were rooms to clean, besides all the cooking, cleaning, laundry, sewing, helping with homework, etc.  A number of women had outside jobs–I had an aunt who pulled green-chain in a sawmill, and another who built a successful career selling cosmetics.  Others worked in the office at school,  or at the post office.  In other words, they worked VERY hard–and they still cooked.  And guess what?  Obesity was very, very rare in those days–I only recall a couple of significantly overweight people in our town of 500, and they had other physical problems that exacerbated the problem.

And have you seen the serving sizes in most restaurants today?  I swear, my mother served the main course to three kids and a husband who worked sixteen hours a day and was hungry when he sat down to eat on a platter about the same size as one person’s meal in a Mexican place or a pancake house today.  It breaks my heart to think of so much waste, when so many people are going hungry in the world.  How much is enough??  

I truly believe many of our modern health problems come from eating processed foods, additives, and preservatives.  Trust me, I know what it is to be busy, and I’m not trying to criticize anybody.  What I discovered, though, was that cooking is fun, even relaxing, and it certainly gives one a sense of accomplishment.  With all the recipes available online and in fine cookbooks, meals don’t have to take hours and hours to prepare, and there’s a lot to be said for preparing things in bulk on a day off, and freezing good, nourishing food to be enjoyed on a busier day.      

I guess I’d better step down off my soapbox, shut down this computer, and head downstairs.  I have soup to eat–and freeze.  :)

52 comments to “I’m Calling This Monday”

  1. Colleen
      · December 22nd, 2016 at 8:56 pm · Link

    Wishing you and the critters a Merry Christmas. Keep warm.

  2. Gayle Larson
      · December 22nd, 2016 at 11:51 pm · Link

    Sounds like a great way to spend a day. Making a pot of great soup, eating that great soup and writing a best seller.

    What more could you want. Sounds like a blessed day to me.

    Gayle Larson
    Murphy, North Carolina

  3. Gloria Herring
      · December 23rd, 2016 at 12:00 am · Link

    It sounds as if you’re on the road to very good health. I don’t mind the cooking, even though I don’t really know how, it is the cleaning up afterwards that I don’t like. :)

    I pray you and yours have a very Christ filled Christmas, Linda.

    • Gloria Herring
        · December 23rd, 2016 at 7:56 am · Link

      Once again, I forgot to congratulate the winners, but I blame you, Linda!!!! :) By the time I finished reading your interesting Blog, I’d forgotten everything else.

      So…CONGRATULATIONS to Lisa Murray and Cassandra!

      I pray everyone has a great Christ filled Christmas and a Blessed New Year!!

  4. Terri Shortell
      · December 23rd, 2016 at 12:09 am · Link

    I agree with you regarding processed food and serving sizes. I’ve been trying to eat healthier and using natural ingredients. I have been feeling better since starting this. My daughter has friends who live overseas. The first time they came to our country, they were shocked when they received their orders at a restaurant. They made the comment that Americans need to learn the definition of moderation. I have to agree with them. When I go out, I always ask for a to go box. I have enough for a other meal. Sometimes I have enough for my kid and I to share the leftovers.

  5. Suzann Schonberger
      · December 23rd, 2016 at 12:10 am · Link

    Merry Christmas.
    ( I hope you’re able to keep the cold at bay.)

  6. Carole T. Beers
      · December 23rd, 2016 at 12:28 am · Link

    Love this blog, about the furnace breakdown the chicken soup, the Paleo diet, obesity, working women then and now — you nailed it all. To the wall!

  7. Caryn Horn
      · December 23rd, 2016 at 12:36 am · Link

    I too an down to about one meal a day but it’s not always a “good” meal. I always try to have home baked goodies on a platter for my kids families and this year decided to try a from-scratch approach. Of the five things, one bombed, one had to be redone because of nut allergies and I had used almond extract (changed it to orange extract in the second batch but both were good) and one didn’t have the flavor I had hoped so will add more of the booze next time. So two items, Frosted Banana Bars and Toll House Cookies came out great! How could the old favorite Toll House not? It was so strange having the time to do all of this. Last year this time my mom was in the hospital, sadly, her last visit. She passed in January. It’s strange how one person’s passing can change the life of the caregiver. Happy Holidays to you and yours. Have a wonderful Christmas!!

  8. Lorraine Pitts
      · December 23rd, 2016 at 1:58 am · Link

    Wishing you and yours a vey Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!! God Bless and keep you!!!

  9. shirley farley
      · December 23rd, 2016 at 5:31 am · Link

    I certainly agree about the hugh portions that are being served in some resturants. I try to order smaller portions, sometimes even a childs portion when it is allowed, still often get far too much. Looking forward to your new book.

  10. Deborah Nelson
      · December 23rd, 2016 at 5:46 am · Link

    Congrats to the winners.

    Love your ramblings about homemade soup on a winter day. Sounds oh so healthy and homey.

    Happy Holidays to you and yours.

  11. Jane
      · December 23rd, 2016 at 6:08 am · Link

    I try to cook from scratch as much as possible. Thank goodness for crock pots, pressure cookers and dutch ovens! Make it so much more convenient. And what an adventure! Hope you have a Merry Christmas!

  12. Denise Ayotte
      · December 23rd, 2016 at 7:13 am · Link

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!! ❄️

  13. Linda
      · December 23rd, 2016 at 7:15 am · Link

    Great write. My system could never handle artificial sweetners. Back in 1964, at a party at a friends house, somebody handed me a glass of ice cold diet Dr. Pepper. Within minutes I went outside (in counry, big yard) and threw up. I have tried several of the newer kinds since, always with the same results. Grew up on home grown food as well. Eating clean is not that much work, unless you make it be that way.
    Going to make huge pot of home made chicken noodle soup on Saturday. All my kids will be here on the farm on Monday.
    Have a wonderful Christmas!

  14. Ruby Norwood
      · December 23rd, 2016 at 7:25 am · Link

    Congrats to Lisa Murray and Cassandra!! I love to cook also Linda, sometimes it’s hard cooking things without salt. My husband has heart trouble and they have took him off of all salt. I’m still looking for the spice that will make it all taste good. I’m still trying different things, any suggestion’s from anyone would be appreciated. Have a Merry Christmas everyone!!

    • pat Dennis
        · December 23rd, 2016 at 9:03 am · Link

      To the poster looking for a good seasoning with no salt, try Lawrys
      salt – free 17 Seasoning. After my husband had stents, dietary recommended this

  15. Susan Lee
      · December 23rd, 2016 at 8:19 am · Link

    I’m trying the real foods concept as well. It really is a good way to eat but it is very hard to limit carbs.At Christmas time with all the chocolates and cookies around it is a real challenge but for me it is life or death since I am pre diabetic.

  16. Dawn Roberts
      · December 23rd, 2016 at 8:30 am · Link

    I agree my mom worked full time and took three kids to activities all the time, she made good food daily. We did have a delay start on the oven which helped and then when I got older I helped get stuff ready when home form school. When my kids were home I made a balanced dinner every night, My husband traveled M-F so I cooked portion size accordingly, my kids took lunch to school so I knew what they were eating and snacks were healthy. Their big treat was Wed. night after Hebrew school we stopped at a salad bar place and they loved it and for the most part they picked good things. Now that we are empty nesters and my husband it working nights I’m home in the evening so on my days off I make soups, stews and such to eat through out the week. I am a huge soup person and have several favorite recipes.

  17. DONNA
      · December 23rd, 2016 at 8:37 am · Link

    Happy Holidays!!!

  18. Brenda ireland
      · December 23rd, 2016 at 8:39 am · Link

    Good morning Linda…just a short note to wish you and yours very Merry Christmas and all the best for a great New Year.

  19. Debra Wright
      · December 23rd, 2016 at 8:55 am · Link

    Sweet Linda! You and I have like minds! I am going to try your 80/20 plan. I ache and hurt so much, i can’t help but think its all the chemicals and crap we put in our mouths! At 57, I’m beginning to worry how much longer my life will be, going like I am.
    God Bless, Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year to you! Wish me luck!

  20. pat Dennis
      · December 23rd, 2016 at 8:58 am · Link

    We flew home from Florida to cold Indiana to spend Christmas with the grandkids. so far, I have made two different kinds of soups. It makes me feel warm inside.
    Have a Blessed Christmas and keep writing – LOL.

  21. Virginia Horton
      · December 23rd, 2016 at 9:07 am · Link

    I agree with you on cooking foods and what they serve in restaurants. I do cook here but not always the best type of foods. My husband wants everything fried and that is not good at all. Yesterday I coughed and threw my back out so not getting around to good now, it will take a while to get it back. Must be were I haven’t been walking as much lately. So much to do.

  22. Jan Mauldin
      · December 23rd, 2016 at 9:40 am · Link


  23. carole fiore
      · December 23rd, 2016 at 10:05 am · Link

    Congrats to the 2 winners! Merry Christmas! Your so right on portions on a meals, its so wrong is so many ways, they want us to watch what we eat and healthy and they give us large portions, my daughter and I share a meal and we are on also on weight watchers, and have been for years and keeping our weight off and its a lifestyle not a diet so that word diet isn’t used in our house. I wish someone in my house would do the same but can’t be his caretaker he needs to want to lose the weight. Anyways, have a wonderful Christmas and New Year!

  24. Pat
      · December 23rd, 2016 at 10:09 am · Link

    We are on the same page. Totally agree on the “frankenfood” in the supermarkets. Since I started avoiding GMO foods I have lost nearly 20 pounds this year. I try to eat organic when I can. To me, organics are foods grown naturally like what our grandparents would have grown. Honestly, cooking from scratch does not really take that much time. May take a little planning but doesn’t take much longer plus we usually have leftovers for a quick lunch. It saves money, too, when you think about the size of prepared food portions in relationship to what they cost. I’ve started using more herbs and spices to my diet. I use cinnamon as a substitute for sugar in my coffee. I put it on oatmeal and on sweet potatoes. I eat more nuts, berries and flaxseed. I’m trying to focus more on foods from plants. It has made a difference how I feel. It’s been like a fog has been lifted.

  25. Judy
      · December 23rd, 2016 at 10:21 am · Link

    Your growing up sounds like mine. I lived on a dairy farm and the meals were made from scratch. We had a huge garden and mom did a lot of canning. There was a place where we would go to can in cans. I remember doing a huge vat of chili. I don’t think we could afford to buy packaged food. Have a Merry Christmas!

  26. Clarita Goodspeed
      · December 23rd, 2016 at 10:23 am · Link

    Chicken Soup sure sounds terrific as in this household we are all down with Flu symptoms. Used to like winter, but this year can’t wait for it to be over with! Hope You and your family have a Very Merry Christmas and a real Healthy New Year!

  27. Trudy Wilson
      · December 23rd, 2016 at 10:32 am · Link

    Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! Keep the stories coming.

  28. Kathleen O
      · December 23rd, 2016 at 10:38 am · Link

    Wishing you a very Merry Christmas.. And A Happy New Year.

  29. Ann Bartholomew
      · December 23rd, 2016 at 10:57 am · Link

    What a soapbox! I agree on the additives. My grandparents had a dairy. They drank whole milk, put butter on their biscuits, had cream on their oatmeal, and lived until in their 90s. No additives. They worked hard and had home cooked meals every day.
    Have a merry Christmas.

  30. Eriko
      · December 23rd, 2016 at 11:26 am · Link

    Merry Christmas Eve, eve! I am totally with you on how to eat. Making food from scratach as much a possible is the healthier way to eat and live. Nourishing Traditional preparing and cooking! Your chicken soup sounds so delicious, I can almost smell it!

  31. Margaret Witt
      · December 23rd, 2016 at 1:15 pm · Link

    Merry Christmas Linda and to your family, including horses, cats, dogs and all. Have a wonderful holiday.

  32. Rita Crofoot
      · December 23rd, 2016 at 1:19 pm · Link

    Loved the blog today,and I agree on so many levels, hard to mess up when you use whole and natural ingredients.

  33. Patricia Pelkey
      · December 23rd, 2016 at 2:33 pm · Link

    Congrats to the two winners. I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and all the best in the New Year!

  34. Marilyn Fish
      · December 23rd, 2016 at 2:53 pm · Link

    I wish I could sit down and have a bowl of your chicken soup with you. I would enjoy the company and conversation. Merry Christmas!

  35. Nikki Hiatt
      · December 23rd, 2016 at 3:20 pm · Link

    Oh Linda – you can’t imagine how much I look forward to reading you epistles! Just makes my whole week. Feels like letters from a dear friend. Love you, love your books, and just a plain old Thank You from me to you.
    May you have a Merry Christmas and may God always be with you.

  36. Juanita Rice
      · December 23rd, 2016 at 3:35 pm · Link

    Couldn’t agree with you more, Linda. Real food is the best.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours. :)


  37. Diana E.
      · December 23rd, 2016 at 3:38 pm · Link

    Enjoyed your blog today Linda. Congrats to the winners this week.
    Sending many wishes for a happy and blessed Christmas. Hope your mom is doing well.

  38. Tammy Carter
      · December 23rd, 2016 at 3:54 pm · Link

    I am reading Santa Inwrapped today, and loving every chapter of it!!
    Merry Christmas to you.

  39. Leanna
      · December 23rd, 2016 at 5:17 pm · Link

    Baking is what I do when I am stressed it relaxes me. I can cook dinner etc but I prefer to bake.

  40. Sandy
      · December 23rd, 2016 at 6:47 pm · Link

    Interesting blog. Lots to think about.

    Merry Christmas

  41. Linda Beaudoin
      · December 23rd, 2016 at 7:03 pm · Link

    I agree that meals in restaurants are way too big now. I always have leftovers to take home. I always have either one or two meals from the leftovers.

  42. Diane Sallans
      · December 23rd, 2016 at 10:51 pm · Link

    I often bring half of restaurant meals home because they are too big & then I get another meal out of it. :-x

  43. Mary Jane
      · December 24th, 2016 at 6:27 am · Link

    Thank you for this. I use to be very good about what I ate and how much I ate. Some major life changes have occurred and I started back down to poor habits again. This was the reminder I needed to focus once again on good habits and achieve what is best for me to stay healthy once again.

  44. Ida C.
      · December 24th, 2016 at 8:09 am · Link

    Congratulations on the weight loss Linda. That’s a good amount for a week. I may have to try Your method come the New Year. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone. :wink:

  45. Melaine
      · December 24th, 2016 at 10:37 am · Link

    Always enjoy reading your comments on various subjects, Linda. Wishing you and all your family a very Merry Christmas!

  46. Elaine Key
      · December 24th, 2016 at 11:42 am · Link

    Merry Christmas, Linda. Since our son and his wife moved to Ohio from Tennessee, we will be having a quiet Christmas also.

    I agree with you about the processed foods. Why do we have so many children today on ADDH medication? Have you noticed how 9 and 10 year old girls look like 16 year olds today? It’s all about the processed foods and the chemicals we feed chickens and cows so they will grow faster to be butchered faster to sell. Then we eat them and ultimately eat the same chemicals. Real food is better along with free range chickens and cows. But have you also noticed it costs more to buy organic. I guess it must cost the producers more money to not put those chemicals in. Well, that’s my soapbox.

  47. Lois Rotella
      · December 24th, 2016 at 12:51 pm · Link

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and the family as well as everyone and the critters on the Triple L. No White christmas here. We will are having rain today but sunny tomorrow. Congratulations to the winners.

  48. April Mc Vey
      · December 24th, 2016 at 4:42 pm · Link

    Have to agree on your mention of portions!i lost 40 lbs over a 3 years by changing my meal plate size from dinner plates to salad plate size. Working on last 15 lbs by increasing activities, at over 60 that is my big challenge! Love your updates thank you!

  49. Gloria Herring
      · December 25th, 2016 at 7:21 pm · Link

    MERRY CHRISTMAS, Linda, on the eve of Christmas Day!!!

  50. Judith Cooper
      · December 27th, 2016 at 2:15 am · Link

    Hoping your Christmas with your Mother was special and your New Year will be as well. I look forward to your posts. Keep on writing please!! lol.

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