Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Terrifying Tuesday and our hold baggage packout

So a quick rundown on TT. I forgot to take pictures, I really wanted to.

Today's recipe was a raw vegan recipe from the Ani Phyo website: Pecan Pie Cookies You really need to go to the Washington Post website, because for some reason, she lopped off the amounts.

Super easy recipe. Only 4 ingredients that you can find in any grocery store. Pulse them in your food processor and mash into balls and flatten. Viola'. Of course, "cookies" is a loose use of the word. Cookie shaped sweet thing. Oh, but you can eat the "dough" without getting sick. Bonus!

Thumbs up for me and Gary. Thumbs down for Jake - but in a surprising turn of events, and half thumb from Ryan. I think Ryan didn't realize it had nuts in it. Because he's been poo-poo'ing nuts. See, he's very proud of not liking chocolate to the point that I think he's more proud of the fact than actually being a chocolate hater. And I see that he's becoming that way with nuts.

I gave them a thumbs up, but these are not craveable. Not yet at least. Maybe after eating a few more they will be. Plus, it's one of those "one is enough" situations. But they keep in the freezer - so it's easy enough to just pull out one for a sweet snack. It would be great with some hot tea.

Anyway, as you know, I've been reading vegan/vegetarian blogs for ages now, so I'm glad I finally took the plunge and tried a recipe. I really wanted to make the donuts, but I've not been able to find the dried pineapple with no added sugar.
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So, on to moving stuff. Our "hold baggage" went out today. We get to send a 1000 pounds of stuff out early that will hopefully get there early enough to be useful until our household goods arrive. We didn't even approach 1000 pounds. But I think we did good in selecting things. Gary took today off and worked like a demon. He has such a good work ethic. We did a lot to get ready for the move. All the junk in the garage was cleaned off and sorted. He took two loads to the dump. He washed and waxed the car that we've been borrowing. We'll return the car Thursday.

The ladies who are going to clean the house after we are packed out did a walk-through. So that's another thing checked off the list.

Ryan started begging for a cell phone so he can call his friends. I told him he can use the computer and skype his friends. It's free plus you can see them. Ryan hasn't cried for the last few days. They are both still acting like pills... I'm trying to make an effort to stop and pay attention to them and spend some one on one time with them. I'm re-reading the book about the 5 Love Languages. This one is about discovering your children's love language. I'm hoping to figure it out so I can really keep their love tanks full because I think they're gonna need it. It's gonna be really hard moving from here.

On the housing front, I'm still looking for rentals online - I'm getting burnt out, but yet I persist. It's in God's hands. He's always put us in the right situation - maybe not the most stylish or beautiful home, but just right for us. I think we've always had the BEST neighbors. So, I may not get the pool I want so badly, but we'll land where we need to land.

Gary's job is to find a new car. He's really been researching what he wants. I'm pushing for a hybrid - or at least not a gas guzzler. He's always been attracted to big cars or trucks. i.e. gas guzzlers. We're definitely getting used. We have a budget. So I think it's good for him to have a boundary -even if it is a loose boundary. He's going to do some test driving while he's in Charlottesville next week.

so that's where we are so far.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Terrifying Tuesdays: Wednesday edition

(again, I'm late posting this. sorry!) We postponed TT for one day because Ryan had a stomach ache and I had a huge headache.

I chose Asian-Style Greens with Sesame Seeds from my cookbook "The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen" page 136. (By "my" cookbook, I mean the one I own) I had already bought tons of baby bok choy for the dish, so I HAD to make it - despite all the whining. I don't know if Ryan had the stomach ache due to stress from the upcoming move, or was just trying to get out of TT. Or both.

The stress of the move has really been coming out in Ryan - poor guy. The moving has really not affected the boys before, but this time it's bad. He's had nightmares about the plane crashing (thanks to Discovery channel detailing the crash of the hudson river flight), and he's worried about his stuff making it. We haven't hit upon the loss of friends yet. I so dread dealing with that.

So, anyway, on to the dish. None of us have had bok choy before. Not bad. The dish called for adding rice vinegar "to taste" at the end, but I didn't do it to taste. I just added what the recipe called for. I wish I hadn't. I had tasted it before adding the vinegar and liked it better that way. The vinegar adds just a tad of sour taste. So next time I'll leave it out.

We pretty much liked it. Ryan, being the pickiest, gave it a half thumb. And Jake gave it a half thumb. I think that's pretty hopeful for kids! Actually, I've made collards similar to this before, it's just that this recipe has you add toasted sesame seeds and ginger. I was excited to get to use my sesame seed toaster thingy. It's like a little pan with a hinged screen for the top, since sesame seeds pop when you toast them. I got it at the Marukai. I'll definitely make it again with less oil and I'll experiment with different greens. It would probably be good doing green beans like this. I remember one chinese buffet that served long green beans that tasted like this. Yum! Now I'm getting hungry thinking about that!

One tip, you can't find those chinese buffets here like you can on the Mainland. You can find chinese food, but just not that big ole "stuff yourself silly and top it off with soft serve ice cream and fortune cookie" place.

Friday, May 22, 2009

my pineapple today...



I wanted to post a picture of my pineapple baby as it is today. I fed it some miracle grow yesterday in hopes of helping it along. Fertilizing a plant, what a concept. That may be why I have such a black thumb, I don't really feed or water my plants! Okay, so I do water them on occasion.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Terrifying Tuesday: Biggest Loser Edition

In honor of the finale of The Biggest Loser, last week I made a recipe that caught my attention on the last Biggest Loser - you know, the one with Heba and Ed? They showed Ed making a Thai Turkey wrap. Well, I found a recipe for it online. This is one of the many places online you can find it: http://www.dietsinreview.com/recipes/eds-thai-turkey-wraps/

I made it pretty true to the recipe. Except I used my exceptional (bwa-ha-ha-ha) Thai flavor balancing skills when I added the lime juice. 4 juiced limes is a LOT of juice. I started out with 3 juiced limes and it was too limey. I ended up added some fish sauce to help balance it out. (the recipe does not call for fish sauce, and I happen to have some on hand!)

My grocery didn't have Boston lettuce, so I used green leaf lettuce. I would like to find another lettuce that would cup better. The filling was falling all over the place. The spine was most uncooperative!

Oh, another thing I added was some somen. I had a 3rd of a package left in the pantry, so I cooked it up and had it on the side to add to the individual wraps.

The results were surprisingly good. I was very skeptical, because this family is not big on vegetables, and I didn't think the lettuce as a wrap would go over well. But Jake gave it a big thumbs up and went for 2nds. Gary ended up eating his with a fork (and maybe just a little lettuce and extra peanuts). Ryan just took a nibble and ended up eating the leftover 1/2 sandwich from lunch.

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Okay, so I'm a week late on this report! I've spent most of my pc time looking at houses online. Yes, I see the same houses every time hoping that the perfect one will pop up. I did see a couple of houses that I'm crazy about, but Gary thinks the location may be a bit too far away.

I saw my derm. for the last time, just a follow up. He said it looks good, and he wrote down the name of two derms. in Atlanta that do the MOH's procedure. He says they are very good, and they have an empire down there, so if I need them, then I should be able to find a nearby office.

The Honolulu Marathon is having their early sign up. I got two emails about it. It makes me sad. So I went online to find Atlanta's ING marathon and they have started early registration, but it's $70!! I have to register by the end of Aug. The Honolulu Marathon is only $30 (early registration).

Today I'm working on one of the junk rooms. It houses my scrapbook stuff. I haven't scrapbooked much since I got here - so it's all junky and dusty. I'm trying to let go of my packrat ways and I'm throwing away a whole boatload of scrapbook magazines. I mean really? Why am I hanging on to magazines? They just stress me out when I read them. And it's clutter. Clutter creates stress too. Of course, while I"m going through this stuff, I look at all the pictures and pretty papers and makes me want to stop and do some pages. Must - resist - temptation!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

more steps to the move...

I've spent the last week glued to this dumb laptop trying to find the perfect hotel to stay in during our house hunting week. There is no perfect hotel, btw. And Atlanta has a LOT of choices - too many! So I had to make a list of priorities - free high speed internet access became the number one priority. Followed closely by fridge/microwave, exercise room, breakfast and free parking (who knew you'd have to pay for parking at some places?). So I finally narrowed it down and the winner was the one with the best deal. AAA had great rates and our military status gave us great rates. But you've got to check them all! So, that's one task down.

Tomorrow I can start calling about getting a cabin on K-bay for our last few days here.

We are also going to box up 2 air mattresses to send to my parents since they are keeping the boys during our house hunting trip.

Gary is working on getting the car sold. A co-worker expressed interest in it, test drove it, and even took it to a mechanic. The mechanic scared the poo out of them saying the timing belt needs to be changed because "it's time". Not that it looked bad or anything. He told them horror stories and said that would cost $1000. Great. We have the car marked at rock bottom prices already. So they have to "think about it". We are willing to drop the price even further just to get rid of it! Otherwise we have to get it detailed and put it on the lemon lot and entertain calls and test drives. Blah. I'm beginning to think we should ship it.

Today is my birthday. Gary just got back home (he took today off) so we are going to head out to Moe's for lunch! We have a babysitter for tonight to go to Buzz's and watch the sun set.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Terrifying Tuesday: Carrot Cake

Yay! Dessert!

Yesterday was boy's day, so I decided to do a fun recipe. I had chosen this recipe for Gary, since he likes carrot cake and I had initially wanted to do this for his birthday - but I may not be doing TT during the move. We'll see how that works.

I got the recipe from the emails I get from Dr. Andrew Wiel. I also found the recipe on his website, free to the public, so I feel free to post it here.

Carrot Cake

Description
Carrot cake is a perennial favorite, but it is often loaded with vegetable oil and laden with a cream cheese frosting. Our version is healthier, using a small amount of olive oil, a full cup of honey for moistness and flavor, and a combination of whole wheat pastry and unbleached flours. The crunchy walnuts even add a bit of omega-3 fats to this sweet treat. With a cup of hot green tea, this cake will make you forget about cream cheese frosting. Enjoy!

Ingredients
2 cups firmly packed finely grated carrots
Juice of 1 large orange
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup light olive oil
1 cup honey, liquefied in microwave (30 seconds)
1/2 cup crushed or chopped pineapple, drained
1 cup unbleached white flour
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. In a mixing bowl, stir together the carrots, orange juice, vanilla, olive oil, honey, and pineapple until well blended.
3. In another bowl, stir together the flours, baking soda, and spices. Mix in the walnuts.
4. Blend the dry ingredients into the carrot mixture, stirring until just mixed.
5. Pour the batter into a nonstick 8-inch-square baking pan and bake for 45-60 minutes until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven, let cool slightly, and remove from pan.

My notes:
I made this exactly as described, except I used a different size pan. There was a lot of batter. I don't have a 9X9 pan, but I do have a 7X11, so that's what I used.

My pan is glass, not non-stick, so I also used some Pam on it.

I cooked it for 45 minutes and it was plenty done - it actually had a slightly burnt taste although it didn't look burned.

I got to use my food processor to shred the carrots. Yipee! I love my fp. It's fun and quiet. I don't like washing the parts and I don't have the counter space - but I will soon!

It got thumbs up all around except for Ryan. I was really surprised Ryan didn't like it. Maybe because it had nuts. I think he's wanting to decide he doesn't like nuts. I'm fighting it with all my heart!

I would make this again, but I need to adjust the time on it.

Another note about this recipe - while it is made with healthy oils and whole wheat flour and no eggs, all that good stuff - it is high in calories. But so is regular carrot cake with cream cheese frosting! Plus he calculated serving size based on 9 servings. I got at least 12-15 (I can't remember how many squares I cut).

This time I was smart and just left out a few pieces and froze the rest. Otherwise I'd eat them all!
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for boy's day I got my guys each a disposable camera, a camelback waterbottle, a candy lei and a 6 month subscription to Club Penguin. I find that last one hilarious. Here are two boys, almost 10 years old. They played on Club Penguin last year and had totally dropped it. But now they're all back into it and the free membership is just not enough. Hey, if it will keep them young and innocent for a little bit longer - I'm all for it! Those teenage years are just around the corner. Yikes!