Monthly Archives: January 2012

A Few Florida Reflections

I’m enjoying settling back in to real life in New Jersey.  I enjoyed my time in Florida so much and I do miss my friends.  I’ve been getting nearly daily updates on how everyone is doing.  The Weight Watchers train is still chugging along down there and they’re definitely doing better than me in the exercise arena.  Going to the gym every other day and long walks on the beach.  I’m faithfully doing my stationary bike every day, but I need to do more.  I’ll work it out.

Before I left Florida, Gail’s brother, Ray insisted that I come to his house to pick a lemon to bring home.  I’ve seen these lemons before and they’re pretty spectacular.  I was grateful for the offer, but the thought in the back of my mind was, where would I pack it, knowing how full my bag was.

The ceremonial picking of The Lemon!

I’m pretty sure this qualifies for Bigger Than My Head!  I did find space in my suitcase (just barely!)  I was sure TSA would ask to check my bag, but fortunately they did not.  I’m not quite sure what to do with it now.  Someone suggested squeezing the juice and freezing in ice-cube trays.  I may do that.  I’d better figure it out soon!

Now for a few Zoo pictures. I have a friend named Stephanie with a blog called Clay Baboons.  She likes to make things out of clay and yes, sometimes they are baboons.  At the Zoo, I really had to work hard to get these photos for her.  Hope she appreciates them! 😉

First the sign posted in front of the enclosure…

The sign says it’s a Mandrill…but, hey, Steph is the expert so for our purposes today…it is a Baboon.

They are not cooperative creatures and I had to stand there  a long time to get them to hold still.

The Big Ba-Da-Boom…oops…no…The Big Baboon!  They were moving around a lot, but finally this guy settled himself in one spot so that I could get his picture.  I think it turned out pretty well!

One of my favorites…the Meercats!

The Giraffe says, “Goodbye from Florida!”

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday In Slo Mo

Sunday seemed like a very long day to me and not in a bad way.  In a way it was slow and easy and very enjoyable.  It just seemed to go on forever.  I tried to make the most of it.

Our only real plan was dinner at my sister Ele’s house with her wonderful in-laws Bill and Judy.  We’ve known them for so long that they are part of our family.  We don’t get together often enough, but we’re trying to rectify that situation.  Ralph and Bill always have such a good time talking about history and Civil War matters.  It’s fun to watch them together.

But first, of course as always I had to make my salad, which necessitated a trip to the produce market for more romaine lettuce.  I also made a stop at Walmart for a few items, since it was on the way.  I realized I had no dried beans and they are an integral part of staying on track.  I picked up black beans and garbanzo beans.  I WILL be making hummus this week!  There I’ve committed to all of you so I have to do it!  😉

Dinner was quesadillas which of course is OK by me!  Ele makes them in her Panini maker and they worked out great.  I finally broke the news to Ralph that I have a quesadilla maker (Gotten at Goodwill for $5 of course!) and there are more quesadillas in his future.  He was not unhappy!

Mine had black beans, corn, cheese, onions and pickled jalepenos…so tasty!  Salsa and sour cream completed the plate.  I was proud of myself…Ele offered to make me another but I said No Thank You.

I didn’t say No Thank You to seconds on the salad, in fact this is my second dish.  I ate a whole bowl of it before I started on the quesadilla.  That helped to fill me and make one quesadilla just right.

Maybe I should have said No Thank You to this…

Homemade cake and tea.  Very tasty, but that was all even though there were also brownies available.  I was very proud of myself.

We talked and talked until I was half asleep. 

Ele, Judy, Ralph and Bill seated in the front.

Ralph Out…Me In!

We had a great time and we’ve already set the date for our next get together.  Soon!

Happy Monday!

Weight Watchers Saturday

Saturday started as always with my weekly visit to Weight Watchers.  Little did I know at that time that it would turn into a day spent with my friends from Weight Watchers.  My usual crew being in Florida, I guess I looked left out and lonely.  More on that in a minute.  The good news was that when I got on the scale I had lost 2 and 1/2 pounds!  Take “That” vacation!  I really feel we did a good job staying on track while I was there and I’m proud of myself for keeping up the momentum after coming home. On to a new week.

After our meeting, some of my good buddies from WW had decided we would go to breakfast.  We chose The Blue Plate in Mullica Hill.  Now that I feel firmly on track, I wanted to stay there.

I picked oatmeal and a scrambled egg for some extra protein.  The oatmeal was delicious.  They looked and tasted like steel-cut oats.  So Good!

Our group…Eleni, Debbie in front, Pat, Me and Kristen.  We had a lot of fun, talked about life and Weight Watchers and how we handle food.  Interestingly, there was a woman at a table behind us who appeared to be hanging on our every word.  Yes we are that fascinating! 😉

During breakfast, Debbie brought up the subject of possibly going to the movies in the afternoon.  At that point no one was sure if we could work it out, so we parted unsure but everyone was going to see if we could adjust plans.

The plans worked and we decided to see The Artist.

What an amazing movie!  It’s a silent picture and is so well done, you really don’t miss dialogue at all.  It’s probably not for everybody, and I think of our group I was the one who liked it best, but I thought it was wonderful!

The group again, after the film.

It was a fun day.

Now that I’m home, I’m back on sunrises again.  Here’s Saturday’s!

Hello, Gnarly Tree!

So that was Saturday for me.  Stayed on track with food later in the day with veggie burgers, but nothing exciting enough to photograph.  I fell asleep Really early with no more reading accomplished.  We’ll see what Sunday brings!

Happy Sunday!



Eye On The Prize

I have to say that I’m proud of myself.  While I was still in Florida we, meaning Gail, Alice, Margot and I had been working very hard to stay on track, doing everything we could to do well on Weight Watchers.  We measured, we wrote things down and even stayed home to cook rather than go out to eat as much as we had done in the past.

I was worried that when I got home, I’d be so glad to be home or so frustrated about trying to get things done around the house, that I would fall off of the WW wagon.  I’m happy to say that has not happened!

Thursday morning I got up and I had one thing in mind…Oatmeal.  I was so excited to have a big bowl made just the way I like it with cinnamon and frozen blueberries mixed in as it cooked.  That’s what I got, with a twist.

I forgot to put the blueberries in while cooking, so I had frozen berries on top of the oatmeal.  They warmed up right away and actually tasted really good that way!

I had the chance to go to the produce market to stock up and was able to have one of my favorite salads for lunch.

Romaine lettuce with cottage cheese and sweet pickle relish and lots of black pepper.  So good…it really is one of my favorites!  I used to take this to work all the time.  A friend of mine started to refer to it as a Fran Salad!

Dinner was another bigger salad, although not as big as usual.

The beginning…

The beatiful finished product!  Topped eventually with lite balsamic vinaigrette.

Along with it, one of my favorites.  A MorningStar Farms Garden Veggie Pattie on a sandwich round that I find at Walmart.

I toasted the round and microwaved the burger with a little shredded cheese on top.  Added Dijon mustard to spice it up.  The whole meal was very tasty.  I was proud of myself for a good food day!

While out on my errands, I had to stop at Goodwill.  I can’t just cold turkey from the thrift stores after being in Florida for 2 weeks! 😉

I found books of course.

These look Very interesting.   They’re both food related memoirs.  I love memoirs and I love food, so they should be perfect for me!

I also found this…

My first experience with A Tree Grows In Brooklyn was as an audio book a few years ago when I was commuting.  I loved the book!  The funny thing is that a friend of mine is currently reading it and I told her I’d like to find an inexpensive copy so that I could read it.  Thank you, Goodwill!  The books were 49 cents each!!!  I couldn’t believe it!  I was so excited.  This is a wonderful book and I look forward to reading it again!

By the time you’re reading this, I’ll be on my way to my Weight Watchers meeting.  We’ll both find out if my eye stayed on the prize.  I hope I see a positive result.  I’m feeling positive.  Check back tomorrow! Or follow me on Twitter @BCDCFran.  I can never keep the info secret for very long.

Happy Saturday!


I try to keep things happy and light on Broken Cookies Don’t Count.  I had planned to tell you about a lemon that I brought home from Florida that’s bigger than my head. I had planned to tell you how proud I am for getting right back on track with Weight Watchers after 2 weeks in Florida.

Instead I have to talk about something sad.  Something that makes me feel old today and makes me want to reminisce about when I was so very much younger.

The news came by text at 6:30 this morning.  What a modern age we live in.  The text was from my sister, Ele, telling me that she had heard on the news that Robert Hegyes had died.  You might ask, why I should write a post about the passing of a TV actor?

I was lucky enough to know Bob.  We attended Glassboro State College together back in the 1970’s.  Yes…I’m That old.  Of course, it’s Rowan University now and from what I hear, it might soon be part of Rutgers University.  A step up?  I don’t know, but I don’t have all of the facts.

Back when Glassboro State College was a crazy, exciting, wonderful place to be, I was part of the Speech and Theatre Department.  The theatre department was a very insular, close-knit entity.  We were like a family with all of the characters, intrigues and secrets that are a part of many families.  We were all so much a part of each other’s lives back then.

Bob was part of this.  Thanks to the wonders of the internet, I can share a photo of Bob as I remember him in college.


That’s how I remember him…always smiling and full of fun. 

So many memories are coming back to me today.

I remember people referring to us as “Benson and Hegyes,” like the cigarettes. (My maiden name was Benson.)

I remember being locked in a booth with him for most of a day doing a radio production of “No Exit.” 

I remember helping him with costumes for a number of production, most memorably his “fat suit” for a production of “The Birthday Party.”  If I remember correctly, that thing had to be burned when the production was over.

Most of all I remember a kind and gentle man, as crazy as the rest of us were back then.  

He made us proud on “Welcome Back, Kotter.

And “Cagney and Lacey.”

The last time I saw him was at a theatre production at Rowan University, probably 10 or 15 years ago now.  But he was friendly and warm and I was happy to receive that great big bear hug I remembered so well.  Sending one, last hug to you today, Bob.

Rest In Peace, Old Friend.

Where Do I Start?

The Girls got me to the Tampa Airport nice and early on Wednesday morning.  I had plenty of time to get through security and get settled at the gate to wait for my 12:20pm flight.  I’d rather be there early and wait at the gate and not be nervous that I might not make a flight.  I’d also rather that the Girls be able to get off to start their day rather than worrying about getting me there.  It worked great.

I was flying Southwest which is my preferred carrier lately.  They just overall do a great job and their staff is always pleasant.  I was a bit concerned about seating.  I much prefer an aisle seat and with most travelers doing carry on luggage, I’m always concerned about a spot for my bag.  You can only arrange your seat 24 hours prior and then you only have a spot in line.  I like to get in the “A” group, the first group of passengers to board.  Because we had been out all day and my personal travel arranger, Alice wasn’t able to do my request until later in the day, I was only able to get “B-29” as my spot in line.  Thanks, Alice for your help with that!

I waited patiently, but nervously.  As I was boarding the plane, I was trying to look ahead to see what might be available.  Big as life there was an open aisle seat AND a big spot right over it with an open spot for my bag.  I was seated next to an elderly couple.  I asked if the seat was taken and they said “No.”  I said “Oh, you were saving it for me.”  They both smiled and chuckled.  I love it when someone gets my sense of humor! It was only a few minutes later I looked up and realized I was in row 9.  I couldn’t believe that I got exactly what I needed so far forward in the plane.  

I chatted a bit with the couple during the flight but mostly I read and relaxed.  It was a wonderfully uneventful flight.  Again, my kind of flight.  We even got in about 15 minutes early which caused us to have to sit on the runway while another plane left the gate where we were assigned.  I called Ralph as soon as phone use was allowed again and by the time I was walking to the doors to leave the terminal, he was calling me to say he was out front.  Great timing all around! 🙂

I was very hungry and Ralph suggested we stop for something to eat.  I didn’t want to sit around anywhere other than at home with him.  We stopped at our favorite, Picasso’s  for my favorite sandwich…

A pepper and egg sandwich!  Nothing could have tasted better at that point.

Now to get myself back to real life and getting things done around the house and in my life in general.  The one thing from my list of things to do this year that I have actually accomplished is reading. I read 3 books while I was away.  I’m proud of myself for that.  I’m going to try to keep it up.  My plan…Turn off the TV and Read!  We’ll see how I do.

I need to focus on everything we need to do with packing and getting ready for our move.  Even though we don’t have a set date, I feel that the sooner I have things in order, the sooner that can be accomplished.  We’ll see how I do!

For today, however, there arevisits to the grocery store and produce market in my future.  I feel that Gail, Alice, Margot and I got off to a great start with Weight Watchers during the 2 weeks I was in Florida.  We all were encouraging each other and that is a big help.  I feel I’ve had a good week and I look forward to getting back to my regular meeting on Saturday.  I have to keep up the momentum.  I want to get back to my personal goal, which I had reached in the summer.  The holidays got the better of me a bit but I’m feeling strong and back on track.

I saw this sign at the Florida Botanical Gardens earlier in the week.  I love it.  I’m off to make my plate look like a box of crayons!!

Happy Thursday!


WIAW-Farewell Florida

Those of you that have read BCDC for a while know that every Wednesday you’re going to hear about a special celebration…Yes, that’s What I Ate Wednesday.  WIAW is the fun created and perpetuated by the lovely Jenn over at Peas & Crayons.  So without further fanfare…WIAW!!

Peas and Crayons

Also, if you’ve read BCDC for a while, you’ll know I’ve been in Florida for 2 weeks.  As you read this, I’ll be on a flight back to New Jersey.  I’ll miss my friends, but they’ll be back at the end of April and I’ll be looking forward to their return.

But before I get on the plane, here’s some food and fun from my last few days. 

For my last dinner out, we all decided to go to The Whistle Stop in Safety Harbor.

We usually like it and have been there a number of times.

I had a veggie burger with provolone cheese and a side of black-eyed pea salad.  It was very tasty.  All of us were happy with our meals but it took a terribly long time to get our food.  After ordering, we waited over 30 minutes.  With so few customers, there was no reason why it should take it so long.  We didn’t even get an apology which made it worse.

Tuesday of course took us to Tijuana Flats for Taco Tuesdaze and there were no disappointments there.

Are we happy to be here?!  Yes, we are!

Two tacos, refillable drink and chips for $4.99!  What a deal.  Of course I didn’t eat the tacos, the girls took care of that for me!  They are just delicious and I will miss going there. 

Tuesday afternoon took us to Honeymoon Island for one last visit.

Our final dinner was at home and simple but good.

A veggie Italian sausage in a wrap, salad and broccoli.

Finished off with peach Jello, strawberries and vanilla fat-free yogurt.

I have to say goodbye to Florida but you don’t have to say goodbye to What I Ate Wednesday…In fact it’s practically required that you go over to Peas & Crayons, read some blogs, leave some comments and get some great ideas.

Happy What I Ate Wednesday…Farewell Florida!

Flora And Fauna

Our plan for Monday was a trip to the Florida Botanical Gardens.  Our visit there last week was rained out.



Staghorn ferns.

Water lilies.


Here comes the Sun!

The Big Giant Head!

Almost everywhere we went there were tiny lizards…

It was such a beautiful place!  I took so many photos that I will have to spread these out as I will be doing with my Zoo photos.  It’ll be nice to have some warm weather photos to show when I get back to New Jersey!

Lots of Mosaics!

It was a beautiful visit on a beautiful day.  After being rained out last week, I’m glad we had the chance to go back.

Happy Tuesday!


A Day At The Park

Our plan for Sunday was a trip to Fort DeSoto State Park for a picnic!

Started the day with what has become my typical breakfast since I’ve been in Florida…

Fiber One, frozen blueberries and milk.  Definitely a good start to the day!

Fort DeSoto was in service during the Spanish-American War.

The Big Guns.  Ralph’s grandfather served in the Spanish-American War and I took lots of photos for him. He’ll be excited to see them.

Pretty Trees!

A walk on the beach.

A black bean veggie burger cooked perfectly on the grill and salad, of course!

A feathered friend.

Feeding more feathered friends!

Shells on the Beach.

A Beautiful day…A Beautiful sky…

A Day At The Park!

Happy Monday!!


Relaxed Saturday

If it’s Saturday morning, it must be Weight Watchers!  We were up and out early to our WW meeting.  I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I had stayed the same!  Even though Gail, Alice and I have been working hard at staying on track and journaling our foods, when you’re out of your own environment, it can be hard.  I was pleased with my result.  Our other friend Margot re-joined with us and I was answering a lot of her questions.  I told her that if she had questions she should call me after I go home.  I told her I’d be her personal WW info line.   I love helping someone to understand the program.  I’ve had so much success with  it over the years, I like to share that.

After WW, there’s always breakfast.  There’s a wonderful little place called Brenda’s On The Causeway that we like to visit.  It’s on the way to Honeymoon Island and we were planning to on a stop there. 

It’s a fun little place with a real hometown feel.

The Girls!  This is a cute little photo that sits in the back room where we always sit at Brenda’s.

Our yummy breakfast!

We took a trip to Honeymoon Island and just enjoyed the beautiful morning. 

Our plan for the day was a trip to several thrift stops, especially one of our favorites, Last Chance for which we had a 50% off coupon.  I was disappointed though.  I had hidden a couple of books that I wanted but didn’t want to pay full price.  I wanted to save them and use the coupon.  Sadly, I couldn’t find them.  I looked all over the store.  I guess I wasn’t as smart as I thought I was!

I didn’t buy anything at any of the thrift stores, so no treasures to show you.  😦

When we got home, we realized we hadn’t eaten all day and we were very hungry!  Fortunately, a delicious dinner was in process.

Alice made baked ziti and sautéed broccoli and it was wonderful!  We had a tasty salad and some cottage cheese too.  Very good!

Jello, strawberries and fat-free vanilla yogurt…a lovely little parfait!

 I’ll leave you with a pretty fern photo from the zoo…

We’re off on a picnic today!

Happy Sunday!!