Out of my comfort zone and into the pizza oven…

Somewhere along my journey, whilst waging war on my diabetes, I ended up facing things, fears maybe, branching into the unknown to me things, totally out of my comfort zone. See, I was comfortable in my invisibility cloak, sitting on the couch, watching the tube, going places safe, like the store, going around cracks, steering clear of things like camel crickets and spiders.

One day in 2011, Hot Stuff and I faced one of our super duper fears to end all fears, the fear of airplanes as we went to Cancun with his parents and our almost teenaged daughter. Maybe that’s when it started. My invisibility cloak had started to ravel, I’d lost a little weight, and the fear of flying just seemed awfully silly when we were in the air, flying through the clouds.

Since then, I’ve done silly things like not scream in the middle of the night when I crossed paths with a camel cricket or a spider, instead I, myself took care of business. Facing my fears for me has made me stronger, maybe a little wiser, and really truly, up for a challenge.

It was a challenge in December when SirHotsalot was sick. It was scary, and I was afraid. It was also a time of complete stress, brought on by folks who were not even there to help, yet they had all the time in the world to make matters worse. I was angry for a long time, but thinking about it now, on this beautiful sunny Sunday morning, I feel sorry that they did not learn from the experience, as we did, that life is precious and way too freaking short for drama. Life should be filled with learning, growing, loving, and yeah, well, stepping out of our comfort zones.

Last week I told you about how I didn’t get a turkey, but then again I did, thanks to my hot husband. I also told you about how Leon sent us home with lots of goodies. My week was filled with jerky making, lots and lots of jerky making, ten pounds to be exact, three different recipes that I will try to get time to share with you soon.

Today though, I want to tell you about how I finally used my beautiful brick pizza oven.


The pizza oven is to the right of me in this picture from last year.

A little background: My husband is an artist. His medium is brick and stone, he is a mason, but he specializes in beautiful things like patios, barbecues, walkways, walls, ponds, and waterfalls. I used to make grilled pizzas, so when he built a permanent home for our smoker, he built me the most beautiful pizza oven. The only problem was that upon completion, I was no longer consuming things like grains, so the pizza oven has been left un-used until last week.

Our middle granddaughter, Diamond, loves feathers. Often times she will walk through the back yard with one of us and pick up various feathers lying about. Since I am of the mind that I didn’t really want any of our turkey to go to waste, I hit up google to find out how to save the wings and tail so that she and her sisters may be able to enjoy them. In my googling, I came across this website, “How To Preserve A Turkey Fan“. There were no pics on that page, so I hope I did it correctly, there is no smell six days later, so there is still hope, here goes:


1 heavy duty stapler. Combine 1 cup of borax with 1 cup of pickling salt in a large bowl, and well, I thought a ladle would help, so I brought it outside also.


I didn’t have any 2x4s, so I rummaged through his workshop/garage and found some nice pieces of leftover wood. I had stopped at the store earlier for aluminum foil. Easy peasy, right? We’ll see…


After all “ingredients” were gathered, I stapled the foil to one of my boards. So far, so good!

Sunday night, after Hishotness dressed our turkey, I had locked the wings and the tail in the smoker. Doing this kept Biscuit (our dog) and all the other night animals from taking them. I wasn’t sure how they would hold up come Monday morning, but they held up well. It had been cold overnight, so there was no rot, or stinky smell, game on.


One of the beautiful wings, my thoughts were how excited Diamond would be so see all the pretty feathers.

Once I had my foil attached to the board, it was time to ladle a nice portion of salt/borax mix onto the foil.


I flattened the salt/borax a bit, placing it the length of the board, the length of the wing span.


I opened the wing and placed it on the borax/salt lined foil, stapled it down as flat as I could, then ladled the borax/salt over the bony wing part.


I folded up the foil over the wing and salt/borax, added some more heavy duty foil for good measure.


A view of the wing from the wood side.

Like all my “best laid plans”, I mostly fly by the seat of my pants. I hadn’t thought of a “cool dry place” to keep my hard work, and then it hit me, the pizza oven…


It fit perfectly in the pizza oven. Safe from the dog, the vultures, the opossum, or what ever animal or bug might want to eat my work.


After mixing some more salt and borax, I did the exact same thing, sans the pictures, with the second wing. Into the pizza oven it went.

It was time to do the tail. I’ve got to tell you that the tail was freaking amazing. I had read my entire journey about “fat cells this and fat cells that”, never ever having seen a fat cell in real life. I was hoping that one would show in my pictures, but with time being of the essence, I couldn’t just stop what I was doing to go inside to check my pics for “fat cells”, it was closing in on time for me to fill an obligation for my sister, so I kept working.


I wish you could see what I saw. The fat is not like a lump of “fat”, it is lots of lots of little sesame seed sized pods, all stuck together. It was amazing. The goal was to remove the fat and the meat, leaving the ends of the quills. The dog was happily cleaning my mess as I did the best I could at cleaning it up.

While the tail was more exciting due to the fat cells, it was basically done the same as the wings, only there are no “tail bones”. I attached my foil to my board, covered it in borax/salt, fanned out the tail, and stapled it over the borax salt, then added more borax/salt. To be on the safe side, I mixed another half cup of each and poured it on top.


When I wasn’t thinking of the super awesome fat cells, I was thinking of how fabulous Diamond would think this is.

The same as the wings, I folded it up like a packet, added some more foil for good measure and popped it in the pizza oven.


At this point, I was pretty proud of myself. I also had about 10 minutes to spare to wash up and get ready for my sister to pull up, so I washed up and fixed a cup of coffee to go!

My sister had a few rounds of outpatient surgery for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. It was in Nashville, and well, I really was planning to step out of my comfort zone. It’s hard enough driving there every other weekend, so three days in a row looked like a far cry from what I “deemed” comfortable. To get just a wee bit further from my comfort, I wasn’t going to be driving the Tahoe, I was going to be driving her “mini firebird” (lmao). (well, it’s a pontiac anyways)


It’s been 14 years since I had my Honda Prelude. Since that time, I’ve been higher off the ground in a minivan, Jeep, or the Tahoe. I was a little nervous, but like most times, stepping out or driving out of my comfort zone turns out to be lots of fun…

I don’t remember the last time I intentionally parked between two parked vehicles. Yep, my next car will be a car, low to the ground, maybe making growly noises, hopefully a Camaro. Yep, that’s it. See it and be it, right?


8 thoughts on “Out of my comfort zone and into the pizza oven…

  1. Funny use of the pizza kitchen! Hope your sister is well. What are you doing with the turkey feathers? Outside of the post, if you had to think about what got you over weight loss plateaus, could you share a couple of tips that seemed to work best for you? (Increasing cardio, trying to cut carbs more, taking out a food group, for example–or whatever you remember working for you?) Terri

    • I’m going to let the girls decide on the feathers. Maybe some type of headdress, or if they just want to hang them on the wall in their bedroom. I’d like to try making a quill pen at some point, but I think I should have loosed a feather prior as these will be pert near cemented in!!

      The main thing was knowing when I was actually “plateaued”. Lately folks believe that a week of no loss is a plateau, and well, it’s not, a month of no loss is more likely plateau or stall. The thing about weight loss when you’ve been heavy a long time is that fat cells are greedy, they fill with water to retain their mass, it shows as “stalling” on the scale. Time an patience usually does the trick.

      I know this will sound counter intuitive, but no way on the cardio. (you may enjoy this link, one of many articles Mark has done on chronic cardio http://www.marksdailyapple.com/the-evidence-continues-to-mount-against-chronic-cardio/ )

      When I started my journey, I was a firm believer in cardio, I did it daily, pushed when I didn’t feel like it, and didn’t lose any faster, and sputtered out a bit also. I changed it for lifting heavy things, sprints, and other body weight exercise (eventually leading to the weight bench, heavy things, not like Tracey Anderson) The thing is that as women, we are not physically able to become “hulk hogan” unless we take steroids. We are able to build up lean mass, and the more lean mass, the more our bodies burn our fat stores when we work out. At first, weight lifting will make the scale go up, because we are using muscles that are not used to being used, they tear and fill with water, break down and build up, that shows on the scale. Once we are used to it, we level out and start losing again.

      On the carb aspect, when actively losing, I consumed no more than 20-30 total carbs. There was a time in my journey when I also implemented Intermittent Fasting to my arsenal.

      As for the foods, just sugar, grains, and starches. (I did find at some point that half and half did not work for me, I use heavy whipping cream in my coffee instead).

      If your friend is feeling especially daring, have them read Dr. Jack Kruse’s Leptin Rx. It taught me the difference in hunger and habit, changed up my body composition and really gave me the extra UMPH that I needed (my main problem was not losing in the belly area and dawn phenom at that time). (It is basically primal/paleo only changing up the work out and eating times, it also helped me to learn the difference in hunger/habit (I no longer eat by the “clock”, and start getting better sleep which has stuck with me since)

      • Thank you so much for that most excellent personal insight!

        I know I have read this on Kruse’s site. I will reread it again and send it on to her. Kruse can be a bit complex, and I don’t want to scare her! Heck, he scares me! 🙂

        • This link has the bare bones: http://jackkruse.com/my-leptin-prescription/ Yes, he is complex, some posts go right over my head. I got lucky that the Leptin Rx worked for what I needed, I did end up dabbling in the CT, but there are a lot of things (the more complex things that I didn’t end up needing or just didn’t apply to me as I’m not a night owl, don’t stay on the computer late, things like that are in some of his latter posts.)

          If it’s easier, give her the bare bones with advice “Try to limit carb intake to 25 grams if you are overweight by more than 30 lbs.” (from the above link):

          “Never snack at all. This is meant initially and forever. Snacking completely stresses the liver’s metabolism and is just not recommended. Your liver needs to re-learn how to use gluconeogenesis normally again when you are asleep and awake. Snacking just destroys the timing and circadian clocks that work in unison with Leptin.
          Try to eat three meals a day initially; but as your hunger and cravings fade you can adapt to two a day.
          Try to eat breakfast as early as possible from rising.
          Do not work out before or after breakfast.
          Try to allow 4-5 hours between dinners and sleep time.
          If you decide to incorporate working out, do it after 5 PM.
          Within an hour of sunset try to make your surroundings as dark as possible.
          If you have trouble falling asleep I suggest 3-5 minutes of body weight exercises right before bed (pushups or air squats are fine, but avoid this if your evening cortisol is high).
          If you’re inclined to, try becoming mindful when you first lay down. I use transcendental meditation techniques to help me clear my mind and concentrate on improving my thinking. (Optional; but this is awesome if your eveningcortisol is high).”

          (and for me, an eye mask helped a lot. One of the reasons I’m such a firm believer in good sleep!!)

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