Tuesday, October 23, 2007

book controversy

just a quick entry to answer Becky's comment.  Yes, I know about the controversy.  It's kinda crazy how people are so passionate about it.  To explain, it seems that there is another book out there called "The Sneaky Chef" by Missy Chase Lapine, that is basically the same premise.  Her book came out in the spring of this year.  So her fan club seems to think that this gives her the right to be considered the originator.  Although, sneaking vegetables is a concept as old as moms ever existed. 

I found out about both books via an email I got from Borders.  It had both books listed side by side.  (ironically I can't find either book at our local Borders)  I had every intention on buying the Sneaky Chef book - but I like to actually hold the book and flip through it before doing that - and I can't find one.  So I find the whole controversy hilarious.  I bet there are more Sneaky Chefs flying off the shelves now than before the DD book came out.

One last note, I just went to the SC website and she is going to be on the Today Show on the 25th.  LOL!  There's no such thing as bad publicity!

another recipe review

I did the mac and cheese recipe from the Deceptively Delicious book - using pureed cauliflower.  I don't usually make mac and cheese, and certainly not the hard way, making the sauce and all.  I thought a few times that I was going to scald or curdle the milk, but it turned out fine.  Actually, ultimately, the thing tasted sour.  And it finally dawned on me that it was the cream cheese in it.  Who puts cream cheese in mac and cheese?  (I hate cream cheese)  Yuck.  Jake, my eater, couldn't eat it - he said it was sour.  He really was trying, but was making awful faces and taking these bites and grimacing.  He's such a good boy, trying to eat it.  :-)  Ryan wouldn't even touch it.  He chose the broccoli over it!  Dont' get too excited.  He ate the smallest piece of broccoli.  I figure that was a victory - why make him eat sour food?

The verdict:  the cauliflower puree doesn't ruin mac and cheese.  It thickens it, so I would try it with a different recipe.  If you like cream cheese, if you like sour - then go for it.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

the Komen race - today

Team Pokie Moms!  (at least the race participants - I do have some mainland team members who couldn't join us)  From the left: Vivian, me (in pink of course!), Susan and Jenny.

After the race, notice the blatant Go Girl product placement.  Try not to notice the chunky lily white legs.  We were trying to show off our pink ribbon tatts on our arms.  It shows up brighter on me since I'm so fair.  Believe it or not, this is me tan...

We didn't win anything, but had a great time.  Everyone else ran the race, I just walked fast.  Faster than I normally walk, so I was worn out.  I did the 5K in 42 min 30 sec.  There were lots of freebies being handed out, so the Go Girl was free.  I bought some hot pink shoe laces for $1.

I'm kinda sleepy, so I might take a power nap before eveyone gets home from the camping trip.  I got up this morning at 4:30.  The boys have been camping all weekend and Gary was with them.  So I've had a little "me" time.  It went too fast.  Gary leaves tonight to go to Alaska until Friday. 

Friday, October 19, 2007

brag, brag, brag, brag

BOTH teachers had nothing but great things to say about the boys.  (my chest is welling with pride as I type)

Their progress reports are too long and complex to repeat here, but they've both fared very well.  They are both grasping math concepts quickly, they are complex thinkers, they get along well with the other students and are respectful with the teachers.  Ryan is reading on a 6th grade level and Jake on a 5th grade level (he is in her highest reading group).  Jake's teacher explained how she had the class divided up and what they do during the reading block and I was so totally impressed.  I LOVE these teachers.  (it helps that the boys are doing well).

Ryan's teacher said he is an ideal student and he has the ability to calm and focus himself when he takes tests - and this will serve him well in school.  She also recognizes that he is sensitive.  She told us about how she saw him reading a Junie B. Jones book and teasingly fussed at him that she didn't want to see him ever reading that again, because he can do better than that.  She said she could see his eyes welling up, so she apologized and sent him to the restroom.  Ryan takes school and authority figures very seriously.  So now she knows that she cannot have that sort of casual banter with him.  I also told her about his distress over some of the girls being impatient with him, and she totally knew what I was talking about and has already talked to them and will do so again. 

Jake's teacher totally recognizes what a sponge and avid learner he is.   He loves scientific things.  Got some cute stories out of her.

The not so good parts:  Ryan's handwriting.  It's inhibiting him.  This is why she is so surprised at his reading level- because he's not able to express it in a written way.  He just wants to rush it.  Plus, he's shy, and his speech is not very good - so that doesn't help either.  But he's got all points firing up in that brain.  We have typing software and we need to get him back into practicing that.

Jake is focusing better, but she suggested he have his hearing tested.  She thinks they can do that at the school, so we agreed to that.  Plus he still needs to work on his handwriting.  She cracked up when we talked about him laboring over his cursive writing. 

I feel good that they are getting a good education, in a pleasant, challenging, safe environment and the teachers are totally on the ball and very impressive.  Our school has been getting a bad rap this year, but these teachers are tops!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

THE brownies...

Okay, so I made the brownies today.  Ahem. 

First, how I adjusted the recipe.  It calls for 1/2 c. carrot puree and 1/2 cup spinach puree.  I used all the carrots, but I did 1/4 c. spinach and 1/4 c. blueberries.  Someone had said the blueberries was good.  Everything else I used as prescribed.  You could use either oat flour or all purpose.  I used a-p.

Everything else I followed to a T.  First, when I mixed the chocolate with the purees, I did a litle taste - not bad.  I never did encounter a spinach smell.

The review:  The brownies are strongly chocolate.  No hint of vegetables at all.  Not very sweet.  Dense and chewy, but not in the good decadent brownie way.  More in the "what happened to the levening?" way.  I guess it had the "healthy" feel to it.  Whatever, the science to the baking was messed with and not perfected.  I think it would be better to use a tried and true recipe.  I'm going to dig through my heart healthy cookbooks, use those recipes and add the purees to it.  I've also heard that the "no pudge" fudge brownies box mix is good.  Maybe it was the fact that I used the smart balance - that's what the recipe calls for - but I had the "light" on hand.  Too much water or air?  Maybe the oat flour would've worked better?  I'm gonna also try the Sneaky Chef recipe.

The family's take on it: Jake loves it.  He's just happy to have brownies - they don't have to be good!  Mom never makes dessert!  Ryan took a nibble and declared them bad.  Well, he said they were okay the first bite, then after it went down, it got a strong chocolate taste.  The child is not a big chocolate fan.  (so now you see what I'm dealing with, the child doesn't even eat chocolate or ice cream!)  Gary is not a fan.  But again, some dessert is better than no dessert.  He didn't detect any vegetables either.  Just that bad heavy texture.  He'd be happier if he had a big dollop of ice cream and fudge sauce.

I wish someone involved with the making of this cookbook would make the recipe as it is printed in the cookbook and tell me with a serious face that those are "death row brownies".  Surely they missed something in the printing.  That's all I have to say about that.


Tonight I tried another new recipe.  A weight watchers crockpot recipe.  Basque-style chicken stew.  It has chicken, turkey bacon (just a little), red and green peppers, onion, olives, tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, etc. etc.  It was soooooooo good!  It's a keeper.  Jake ate it up.  We had to make Ryan eat the chicken chunks and at least 6 pasta spirals. *sigh*

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

blue angel video, sneaking vegs, komen

Footage of the blue angels flying right over our house!  I'm standing in our driveway filming this.  So cool.  And so loud.  The little green house with the flag thing you see at the end of the video is our house.

I've bought that Jessica Seinfeld cookbook, Deceptively Delicious.  You wouldn't believe how many people get their panties in a wad over the idea of sneaking vegetables into a child's meal!  The horror!  As if we aren't daily banging our heads against a brick wall trying to get them to eat their veggies.  We're horrible if we don't force them.  Anyway, I'm sick of hearing the judgemental lectures, so please don't lecture me.  I have a spine, thank you very much.

I think it's fun, and Gary is horrified.  I made the chicken nuggets with broccoli.  Not so good - well, not bad, because I like broccoli, but it had a very strong broccoli taste.  Not fooling anyone there.  Gary was good about it.  He gave me the eyeballs, but managed to not make a face, and he ate his share without scraping off the breading.  I know he wanted to though.  Ryan didn't like the taste of it.  I fried 1/2 batch like the recipe says, and baked the other 1/2 and asked them to tell me their preference.  Jake preferred the baked batch, but didn't think it was all that great.  Ryan preferred the fried batch, but it was just the lesser of two evils.  I will not use broccoli again in that recipe.  I'll find a less obvious vegetable.  Tonight I made tacos, it was totally spur of the moment.  I never make tacos, but I had to think of something to do with ground beef using what I had in my pantry.  Then it hit me, sneak in a vegetable puree.  I've got a freezer full of them.  So I snuck in carrots.  I had also pureed a can of tomatoes (because they would pick the tomato chunks out, they do that with chili - including Gary).  Turned out really good.  No one suspected a thing.  I'm going to experiment on my bible study group.  I'm going to make the brownies that have the spinach and carrots.  She says to serve it cold, otherwise you taste the spinach.  So I'm making it tomorrow, bible study is Thursday.  I'm also going to make boxed brownies - as a safeguard.  I'm going to tell everyone that one batch is boxed and the other is homemade.  It will be obvious which is which, but I want to know if the homemade is edible.  LOL!  I'm terrible about trying out recipes on unsuspecting innocent people.

I picked up the Komen team packet today.  It has our race numbers and t-shirts.  I'm excited.  Our team has raised over $500!!  One of our team members has a sister who had breast cancer and she is one of 5 siblings - so they all pitched in.  The race is sunday - bright and early.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

I don't understand... (vent)

First, have you check your bosoms this month and have you been squished this year?  If you answered no to either, then get on it!!  (get your pap too)

There seems to be a lot of grumbling and disgruntled people concerning breast cancer awareness month.  I don't understand it, and I don't know if it's unique to this year or has been a growing trend.  I kinda understand it coming from gals who have/are dealing with breast cancer themselves.  They are sick of the subject and feel that it's a money making opportunity.  yeah, well what isn't?  But I can understand being sick of the subject - and do not doubt their desire that their friends and family understand the importance of early detection. 

But I still don't understand the backlash.  Particularly from those not affected by it.  Yeah, I see it some, but not as much as what people say.  Okay, so there are pink baseball bats and tennis rackets.  So what?  I like pink, and if someone sees a pink ribbon and it plays on their guilt for having skipped making that appointment, then a good thing was done.

I read a blog today that I should have not.  They were railing on and on about it for much longer than this entry will be (I hope).  Stating that breast cancer is a curable disease.  Um, tell that to some of my friends.  Thems fighting words.  The blogger is dealing with their own physical (and who's not to say mental) problems which are daily discussed and much fodder for anything food related - but since there isn't a month or color (oh, but there is a ribbon) for their disease, this person had to go on and on about it.  This person is very knowledgable about many things, but not everything.  Asking what about other cancers?  well, the ones they listed ARE related to BC.  Oh, the bowing and scraping, this person says they don't mean to put down BC, blah, blah, blah.  Yeah, say that about the disease they are dealing with and see what you get...

Of course, it got me all defensive, so I left a comment.  Short and to the point.  But this person is clever with the internet and will probably figure out who I am and then let all you know what loose upon me.  Of course, I do regret making a comment.  It's not my style to drop bombs, but it happened like an out of body experience.  Regretted it as soon as I clicked the mouse.

In lighter news, the blue angels have been here this week, practicing over our house.  I have video and some really bad pictures - I'll try to post tomorrow if we don't go to the show tomorrow.  Gary really wants to avoid the crowds and traffic, and so he's been saying that we've seen the show!  cop out!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

my friend

Our sunday school class is something else.  Today is another one of those days that hits the bullseye on what makes our class special.  Remember my friend Dottie, who has all those kids she homeschools and has been battling cancer for 9 years?  She came into our class today (she usually teaches a children's sunday school class - my boys' class) and shared her most recent health situation.  She was recently tested to see how her newest chemo is working.  It isn't.  The cancer is growing.  It has spread to her skull and she fears it going to her brain.  You know how it is, the more a person talks, the more stuff you learn about them?  She said that 8 years ago they gave her 6 months to live.  God has given her 8 years, so far.  But the doctor said that this time is probably it.  She is running out of chemo's to do.  She's been through at least 8 of them, she says.  Her kids think this is just another chemo change.  She has told them that they are running out of chemos.  She said that this week she is going to talk to each child individually.  She says she feels she has 8 years worth of stuff to teach them and has wasted the last 8 years.  I'm sure she hasn't - but a person feels what they feel.  And do you ever feel you are done with your kids?  She says that she has to decide what to do next - in the past she has been taking the hardest hitting chemos, but now they may take a different route, to suppress hormones.  I know what you are thinking, because I'm thinking it too - that should have been done right off the bat...but I don't know her situation - I'm sure the doctors know best.

Anyway, instead of doing our lesson, we cried and prayed with her.  And then sent her off to teach her class - while we discussed our meal ministry to her and another ministry we are doing.  Sometimes you just have to care for the family and set the lesson aside for the day.

And to think I was getting a little (just a little) grumbly that I was doing the meal thing so frequently...Now I think I"m not doing enough!!  I know I'm not...

And the irony of it all.  After she left, a lady came in to the class and gave me a rose plant.  See, between the early service and sunday school there is a break and tables are set up with snacks for fellowshipping.  The ladies had done pink snacks and pink decorations in honor of - you know it - breast cancer awareness month.  So, as being a survivor, I got a beautiful Victory Rose.

How can I feel victorious when one of our sisters is losing the battle?  :*(

So, I'm doing this Bible study on Daniel, and we recently did the Shadrach, Meshack and Abednego story - you know, thrown into the fiery furnace.  And we went over three scenarios of when people of God face a fiery trial: you can be delivered from the fire (as in, "it's not cancer") - your faith is built.  Or you can be delivered through the fire (as in, "it's cancer" but you beat it) - your faith is refined.  Or, case 3, you are delivered by the fire into his arms - your faith is perfected.  That's where Dottie is, or soon to be.

This has been a very important study for me, and the timing is incredible.  Because Dottie's situation has really made things real to me.  Too real.  Thinking and crying and facing reality is good.  Real good.  It makes life meaningful and focused.  Can you be focused and standing back and seeing the big picture at the same time?  Well, there you go. 

Thursday, October 4, 2007

James Gandolfini

I don't know if I spelled his name correctly.  We don't have HBO, so we don't watch the sopranos.  Gary said he saw J.G. at the Safeway when we were there doing popcorn sales.  (he didn't buy popcorn - but who can blame him? he was on vacation I'm sure!)  Gary said he saw somewhere that J.G. had been spotted in Hawaii at a restaurant, so it's likely that was him.

Just wanted to report that to the star watchers...  I'm a horrible name dropper, aren't I?

zoo trip and pictures

This is a picture of Gary and the boys in the stadium, waiting for the game to begin.  We are quite early, plus in the nosebleed seats.  Notice the shaka (hang loose) foam hands, instead of the foam #1 finger.  Very cute.  The "Bows" are having a great winning season - no losses so far.  Their quarterback, Colt Brennan, is a Heisman hopeful and was on the cover of the most recent ESPN magazine.  (the only reason I know that is because we just started getting it!  what a koinkydink)

The zoo was a zoo!  The shenanegans began with a loud noise.  So of course we had to investigate what animal was making the noise and why.  Here's a picture:

Yep, stacked tortoises.  That's my term for it.  They are LOUD.  And not fast.  It went on and on.  Oy, the embarrassment.  Ryan took this picture.  I couldn't even hardly look at them.

Later, the boys were playing on the zoo playground and a peacock walks by.  With nachos on it's back.  Yep, chips and cheese.  Weird.

Then the chimps!  They were a bunch of disgruntled, sullen, angry adolescents.  They slammed into the glass wall, threw rocks at each other, screamed and fought.  It was scarey. Word has it that they have already broken the glass, and someone has reported that they even have flung poo over the glass at the people.  Oy!

We spent 4 hours there and didn't even see everything, and it's a small zoo!!  Here are pictures of the zoo crew:

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

fall break

This is the week of fall break.  Sometimes super busy, sometimes totally unbooked.  Monday we went with friends on a hike to Makapu lighthouse - hike is a fancy word for walk up a paved path for 1.2 miles to a lookout near the actual lighthouse.  It would be a great place to go whale watching when they come in December. 

We've also had tennis lessons, the first flag football meeting/practice (wanna be coach?  we need a coach!) and tomorrow is the zoo.  I'm exhausted.  We've had a lot of late nights recently.  Gary's been overbooked too at work, since the boss is out of town.  He was pouting tonight because I wanted to put the boys to bed at a decent time.  He hasn't been here to realize how little sleep the boys have been getting.    The kids are incapable of sleeping past 6:15a.m.  Put them to bed at 8:30 or 10:00, it doesn't matter.

I'm pouty myself that we didn't make fish tacos, as promised, on our last night of cooking class.  I know it sounds gross, but I wanted to try them!  I don't want to make them or order them in a restaurant not knowing what to expect.  You know?  The teacher kept saying how wonderful they are and how famous they are from this restaurant in San Diego.  I don't see going to San Diego anytime soon, or in my lifetime.

My spiritual life has taken an interesting turn.  A spurt of growth.  Growth spurt!  It's great, wonderful.  I won't elaborate, because I couldn't do it justice.  Let's just say that knowing God, being a Christian, is not boring.  It's an adventure.  And if it is boring, then you must be sleeping because, woo, it's not boring.  And if you beg to differ, then just take a gander at creation.  It takes a creative, interesting God to come up with some of his creations.  I can't wait to see some of them at the zoo tomorrow.