Friday, December 18, 2009

I'm still here!

I'm just so rebellious about posting these stinkin' TT's! I've had some interesting ones! This past week I dubbed "the most terrifying tuesday so far".

Anyway, I'll will try to recap, at the very least after the new year when school is back in session. The boys are out of school now and I am still nowhere near done Christmas shopping. Plus I need to learn how to skype so we can talk to my brother and his kids on Christmas day. I have skype, but he uses a different software, so I don't think it'll work. AND I'm training for that ING marathon. It takes a lot of energy to talk myself into stepping outside the door every time I do it. The cold is very draining. Not to mention that I have my cholesterol looming over my head like a vulture. I go back at the end of January to get it retested. have I been working to improve it? No. But I do think about it a lot. Too bad that doesn't count.

On to what this blog is supposed to be about. Gary had a telephone interview this past week. Whether or not he gets the job is in God's hands, but in the meantime, he's getting valuable job seeking experience. We have until 2014 when the Army will get tired of him and give him the old heave ho.

The boys are doing well in school and have made a few really nice friends. We are finally getting established with doctors and dentists. And we seem to have settled on a church. So things are going well. Not perfect, but nice.

We still haven't completely unpacked. Which is a bit shocking. We have opened all the boxes. I guess we have a lot of junk that has no good place to go (except maybe Goodwill!).

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Terrifying Tuesdays: thanksgiving and cauliflower and bonus!

I'm two weeks behind. So a quick round up and some bonus recipe reviews!

Last week I made Vegan Dad's Mini Pot Pies. Of course I served it with turkey, being an omnivore family and all... It was delicious!! But, the recipe goes totally against the rules of TT - in that there's no way it could have been low fat. The only thing I deviated on was that I used store bought puff pastry. And I really enjoyed buying little ramekins... it's always fun to shop for new things. Okay, so the boys weren't wild about it - because it was loaded with vegetables. Gary and I thought it was better once we put some chopped up turkey pieces in it. I think, if you were to stick with the veg. theme, it'd be better with some faux meat. I guess I just need that meaty "chew" factor.

This week I chose a roasted cauliflower recipe from "The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen" cookbook by Peter Berley. I'll post the recipe since I've seen it online with some modifications.

Spicy Roasted Cauliflower with Sweet Peppers and Cumin

3 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. coarse sea salt
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp hot red pepper flakes
1 cauliflower, cored and separated into florets
1 lg. red bell pepper, halved, seeded and sliced into 1" strips
1 lg. yellow bell pepper, halved, seeded and sliced into 1" strips
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

1. Preheat the oven to 450* F. 2. In a large bowl, combine the lemon juice, oil, salt, ground cumin and red pepper flakes. Whisk to combine. 3. Add the cauliflower and bell peppers and toss well. 4. Spread the vegetables in a baking dish and roast for 45 minutes. Stir every 15 minutes for even browning. 5. Transfer the vegetables to a serving dish, garnish with fresh cilantro leaves, and serve.

It's vegetables, so the boys didn't like it. I loved it and finished it off for lunch today - yum!! The peppers really took the sourness of the lemon juice, so that was the only thing I wasn't wild about. I was so paranoid roasting the peppers and cauliflower together, since they are different densities. But if you stir it every so often, it turns out fine. I will definitely be making this again, either with or without the peppers, and even if it's only for me. Gary liked the peppers but not the cauliflower. It seemed like a lot to have cumin AND cumin seeds, but it turned out fine.

Next is a picture of a bread I made last week. I'll be making it again and again until the dough is used. I had read in the newspaper about a new cookbook that has come out. It's Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Don't be mislead by the name. It takes longer than 5 minutes. What it is, you make a gigantic batch of dough that lasts 2 weeks in the fridge. You take out a hunk of dough and bake it when you want, but the catch is it has to rest for 90 minutes before baking. Still, it's easier than making fresh dough every time. It's no knead too! And healthy. Bonus!

It's pretty good, but it cries out for something to be spread on it. Makes a good sandwich bread. (note the leftover yucky halloween candy and the lovely gecko trivet my friend Jenny made for me)

I've already told y'all about my obsession with the BBCA tv show You Are What You Eat. So I finally made one of her recipes. The one for salmon with spinach and leeks. First off, I had to do some conversions from metric to regular. What on earth is gas mark 6?! I poked around on some conversion charts and poked around for other recipes and found one that said 400degrees F. One recipe said cook for 25 minutes, another said cook for 10 minutes! It took at LEAST 30 minutes for it to get done to my preference (um, that would be cooked throughout). It was easy to assemble and smelled lovely, but I just don't care for baked fish. I think it's a mental block rather than anything else. It's fine, but I'd rather eat my fish grilled and my spinach fresh or boiled (without the fish drippings). oh, another conversion was with the spinach. It called for 500gr. What? It turns out the bags of baby spinach you get at the grocery store are only 170 gr. (IIRC). That was more than plenty. No need to be wasteful.
I have 2 leftover leeks I need to do something with. I have no clue.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

TT catchup

I'm behind 3. Really, we've been doing Terrifying Tuesdays at home, but I just can't motivate myself to write about it. So here we go in one fell swoop. (I'm not sure I can even remember what we've had!)

I've made Sweet Potato and apple soup when my mother in law was here visiting. She and I liked it (I loved it), but the rest didn't fancy it.

Then I made Vegan Dad's Baked Chimichangas. We've never had chimichangas before, for better or worse. I believe it helped to not have something to compare to. Thumbs up, but there was a bit of a bitter taste. I do believe it was from the refried beans, because we've eaten canned refried beans (either veg. or fat free) and I remember thinking it needed something like cheese or salsa to cut it. The kids didn't like it so much, and I think it's due to the refried beans. So, we need to tweak it. Now, I've got to say, the "meat"mixture (which uses TVP) is good, but again, Vegan Dad likes to put in unusual spices - I halved the cinnamon and left out the anise - could have done altogether without the cinnamon. If you make these, set aside a good bit of time for the assembling of the chimis. It takes a little while. This recipe makes a LOT. I had leftover stuff, so I just threw the leftover "meat", rice, beans, salsa, etc. in a bowl, heated up and it made great leftovers with corn chips.

Last week I made Cajun Tempah over Brown Rice from Tal Ronnin's new cookbook, The Conscious Cook. I won't post the recipe since the book is new. This took a bit of time to cook, and I had to search for ingredients, but it was really good. Frankly, the tempah itself was to die for! This was my first attempt at tempah that was really good. I hate that it's fried, but that crispy exterior is really nice. I may have to see if it can be oven fried to lessen amount of oil that's absorbed.

While I'm on this cookbook, I'll tell you about what I made yesterday. His Whole Wheat Penne with San Marzano Tomatoes. Yumm! It had fennel and swiss chard. I'd never had fennel before, and it smelled awful - so much like black licorice. It also had white wine and green olives in the recipe. I told my husband that this is probably one of those things where you throw together a bunch of horrible things and it turns out brilliantly - and it did. The fennel lost it's licorice.

Let's see, I've also made a Dean Ornish (Art Smith) soup, but I think I posted that already. It's to die for. I'm doing another soup tomorrow and a vegan dad recipe on Tuesday.

Gotta run to get supper!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

my next marathon...

Yep. That's my announcement. I just sent in the application for the next marathon I'm gonna do. The Atlanta ING marathon. It's in March. I'm very nervous about it because this marathon has a time limit, not like the Honolulu Marathon which has no time limit. In theory, I should be able to finish in plenty of time, but it's hilly here! That slows me down quite a bit. However, I'll be training on the hills, so hopefully I'll get faster on them. Also the cold has be worried. I dont' know what the weather will be like in March, and I don't know how to dress in this weather, and I don't know how I'll be able to consistantly train in the winter and during the holidays. Living here near family, we are obligated to visit for extended periods. So I'll have to carve in the time to walk, plus I'll have to figure out walking routes.

On my other two marathons, I've not had a doubt I could do them. Now I have doubts. i'm even unsure about my shoes. I've not been happy with my usual shoes, not cushy enough. So I just bought a new pair and I'm not sure about them. And you shouldn't be fooling around with that during training. I need to get properly fitted.

This will really bring me to my knees in prayer! It's good to challenge oneself.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

nothing current obsessions...

I know, I know, I'm late in posting anything. TT has been happening, but I just haven't felt like posting about it. However, I WILL, later. I've been doing a lot of interesting cooking lately. I even bought another cookbook. Can you believe it?! Just call me a sheep. I heard about Oprah's latest Best show, and saw that she had the Best Vegan Chef - so of course I had to read all about it. I went to Target and saw his (Tal Ronnen) cookbook - and against my own best judgement, I bought it. I KNOW I shouldn't have, because gourmet cooking is not my thing. I don't like to eat it or do it. But I saw 2 recipes that caught my eye and HAD to have it. I HATE that he's got recipes with alcohol in them without a substitution suggestion (curse gourmet cooks!). But now I want a Vitamix blender. gulp. I can't afford that for a blender! Although my Oster is in abysmal shape. I've been reading about Vitamix's for a couple of years now. It's on the top of my kitchen gadget want list. Anyway, he's got some interesting soup recipes that call for cashew cream. Remember my attempts at almond milk? It looks like the same thing. Very watery. But I have high hopes that the cashew will come out with some substance. (LOL! I really fool myself)

In the middle of my online surfing, I discovered that 7th day adventists are typically vegetarian or vegan. So I was trying to poke around for their cookbooks or recipes. I figure these are regular folks with families they have to cook for. Not the usual teenage to young adult crowd that only has to fend for themselves that you find online.

No, I don't know what my obsession is, but it's gotten stronger lately. I really don't think I could actually commit, but it fascinates me. Actually, cutting out a whole food group goes against the grain for me. It doesn't seem right. But I kinda think it might be best for my body.

Anyway - I can really see myself actually becoming a vegetarian - at least by the time I'm 60 I'll be ready to take the plunge. And maybe switch over to veganism by the time I'm 80. If I care about my cholesterol at that age. Maybe by the time I'm 80 I'll start drinking and smoking and frying all my food! All bacon, all the time! Woo-hoo!

I need to go to bed now, but I do have an announcement that my probably only remaining reader already knows. And I'll get those TT's in before another Tuesday rolls by.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Terrifying Tuesday - 2 week edition...

First, I have to say I'm so bummed that Guiding Light has gone off the air. That was one of my favorite "stories".

Last week was not a thrilling TT. We tried pomegranate. I did a little demo on how to get to the seeds, a hands on demo. Gary helped. The boys are too old, they were underwhelmed. Anyway, we all deem it pretty good, but the seed - do you spit or swallow? (I'm sorry that's raunchy) I eventually decided to just swallow the things because it became too tedious to pick the seeds out of my mouth.

This week we tried Brussels Sprouts! I cannot remember where the recipe came from, I'm pretty sure it's either from someone's blog, or a cookbook of mine. I just didn't document it.

Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Roasted Red Peppers

2 tablespoons Grapeseed oil (use this as it is wonderful at a high heat!)
2 cups shredded Brussels Sprouts (chop or use a grater)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped purple onions
1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup coarsely chopped roasted red peppers (homemade or from the jar)
1 tablespoon white Balsamic vinegar
Garnish: Chopped walnuts

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add Brussels sprouts, onions, and walnuts. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are tender and sprouts are bright green, about 5 minutes. Stir in peppers and vinegar. Continue cooking until heated through, about 2 minutes. Place on serving platter and garnish with chopped walnuts if desired.
Yield: 4 servings
I didn't use grapeseed oil, but I did splurge and buy the white balsamic. Um, using a grater is just ridiculous. I coarsely chopped the sprouts.
This recipe was pretty good. It got a thumbs down from Jake, but a half thumb for both Gary and Ryan. I thought it was so-so at first, but the more I ate it, the more I liked it. It's pretty too. I wasn't wild about the red pepper or vinegar part. But anything with nuts is always a winner! I had a few sprouts leftover so I'm going to steal Kath's recipe of roasting them with maple syrup tonight. Or maybe something different since I'm making bbq chicken and I think that's too many sweet things on a plate...
This was the first time I've ever had brussels sprouts and I'm glad I tried them. They are supposed to be very high in lots of nutritious stuff and be good cancer fighters.
Speaking of cancer... I had my yearly mammogram and it went very well. Yay! Another year down!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Terrifying Tuesdays - we got a good one! Red Lentil Soup

I finally hit upon a recipe that I like. The boys, not so much, but they are barbarians. It has been raining cats and dogs for a whole week straight (you may have heard of the flooding in downtown Atlanta) and it's been wet and cool - perfect soup weather. Wouldn't you know, yesterday the sun came out and it was decidedly NOT soup weather any more!

Okay, first on to the lentils. Our Krogers has revamped it's store and put all the organic/health foods in it's own section. Plus they've added bulk bins. (I wish the bins had grains, but that's probably wishing for too much) So I bought a few scoops of the most interesting thing I saw - red lentils. Have you seen these things?? Here's a picture:

Aren't they beautiful? I've only made lentils one other time and wasn't wild about the bay leaf in it. I'm not a bay leaf kind of person. This recipe does not call for any bay leaves! Hooray!

I got the recipe online, I can't find the exact blog that convinced me to make it, but everyone (it seems) who does the Red Lentil Soup with Lemon online refers to the same new york times recipe that I also used. Notice that the lentils turn yellowish. The little orange specks are carrots. It said to blend half the soup, but I just stuck my immersion blender in the pot and didn't have any chunks left after that! (I would have liked chunks, but it's good this way too) I did not put any olive oil on top - there was enough oil in the soup. I did not sprinkle on more chili powder. I did stir in the cilantro (although I think the original recipe calls for mint?) The cilantro has a strong presence. (I love cilantro) I think it could have benefitted with a little more lemon. Maybe my lemon was too small or dry. But I think the soup was lovely.

I couldn't remember if you were supposed to rinse the lentils beforehand, so I did quickly, and when I went to dump them in the soup, they all stuck together! I think they were afraid! But they broke up quickly as I stirred them. Another recipe note, I opted for chicken stock. So I'm not sure how it would taste with vegetable stock.

The next picture is an experiment. I saw a bag of TVP in the same health food section of Kroger and wanted to try it. So I went to my favorite vegan blog Vegan Dad and found a hot dog chili recipe using TVP. In the picture above you can see I grilled hotdogs and asked Gary to try at least a little bit on his dog. (I went out last night so I didn't eat any hotdogs) He asked if there was any orange in it. No, no orange. But he must be thinking that because some of the spices in this stuff are the same that go into Russian Tea. Allspice, cloves, cinnamon. Yeah. Weird. Below is a picture of the end result. The texture didn't bother Gary at all. So I think if I can get a recipe that is actually similar to a chili dog sauce, then it'd be worth trying again. I'm definitely going to try other TVP recipes!


I'm just now posting pictures for last week's TT. I already have photos ready for this weeks and will post that next (actually, you'll see those first...)

The french fried rutabegas, before baking:

my cute new chicken timer and my spongebob bandaid on my cut finger:

the baked rutabegas after we've eaten a few (not too impressive):

The cookies and cream ice we made in the Donvier. I later made a peanut butter ice cream that I like so much better:

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Terrifying Tuesdays: Rutabega

These TT's are taking a decidedly old-fashioned turn. I chose rutabega's thanks to my mom. You know my parents visited this weekend - my dad went to the Atlanta Falcon vs Miami Dolphins game with the men=folk. Mom sung the rutabega's praises, so I had to try it.

She said that she loves them oven -roasted. She said she used to put oil and salt on them, but likes them plain. They are a sweet vegetable. So that's what I tried. I purused the internet to get guidance on how long to cook them.

Most people on the net cubed them when they roasted them. I found one that cut them into "fries" and baked them for 15 minutes on 425 degrees. So that's what I tried. Let me give a little warning: rutabegas are a little bit firmer than potatoes, so use a little caution when cutting them. My knife slipped on the rounded surface and caught my ring finger fingernail. Just a tiny bit of blood - could have been much worse. It's going to be the dickens when that nail grows out. It's going to catch on everything before it grows out enough to cut. Ugh.

So there's the warning for you. I think it's too firm a veg to use the mandolin on. (another finger slicing machine!)

I did manage to get them roasted. I arranged them on parchment paper on a cookie sheet. No oil, no Pam, no salt, nothing. They weren't bad. They just weren't as cravable and good as potatoes. They have a slightly sweetish flavor. Nothing reallly offensive. Mild. I also tried them raw, didn't taste a whole lot different when cooked. Not bad.

Anyway, the people weren't wild about it.

At least we tried it!

I also made homemade ice cream last night. I used my Donvier. Finally! Now that I've got my big freezer, I can store the cannister and made icecream when I want. The recipe is just too sweet though. It was half and half, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, and you take that basic recipe and add stuff to it. I added crushed Newman's Own oreo type cookie.

We are sick here. I'm suspecting swine flu, but just because that makes it seem more dramatic.
  • Jake has been sick for a few days with cough and sniffles and then suddenly came down with a high fever last night.
  • Yesterday I woke up with that first feeling of a cold, full sinus on one side and my nose dripping like a faucet. So I went to CVS, bought some zycam with echinacea, cough drops with echinacea and a neti pot. Let me tell you, that neti pot experience is weird. It doesn't work so hot when your nose is stopped up. If it's blocked, it can't pour. I cleared my sinuses right before bed and was able to sleep for about an hour before my nose got completely clogged again. I went downstairs and slept in the recliner. THE recliner. (no, we haven't thrown it out yet) It's good sleeping though. Jake still had his fever, so he's here home with me. I took a nap (it's not even noon yet!) and feel like I might get a fever, but my temp is still normal.
  • Gary has a cough, he's at the end of his cold. I'm calling him ground zero - the typhoid mary.
  • Ryan is fine.

We've been here almost 3 months. This is my 2nd cold. Georgia is going to kill me.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Terrifying Tuesdays: Okra!

This was one of those that really terrified me. I've not had a good experience with okra, and only very limited experiences too. Plus I've been frightened by all the reports of sliminess of okra. This is the one thing my dad refuses to eat. But I've been inspired by Kath at Kath Eats Real Food - who touts that oven roasted okra is da bomb. I had checked a cookbook out of the library called "Grub" that has a grilled okra recipe, so that's what I used. I halved the marinade since I wasn't bold enough to use the full amount of okra that I bought. The marinade contains evoo, fresh squeezed lemon juice, sea salt, cayenne pepper, and black pepper. The recipe calls for you to kabob the okra, but I had peppers and onions to grill too, so I slapped it all on the vegetable rack I have.

I found it pretty decent. Not slimy at all. And the cayenne added a nice little bit of heat. Just a little to add interest. So I gave it a surprising thumbs up. Gary gave it a half thumb. He's not an okra fan, so he was surprised that he didn't gag (his own words). Jake gave it a thumbs down, but he only gave it a half tooth bite. Ryan gave it a half thumb. He said it was not bad, but then said it didn't have a good aftertaste. I'm not sure what he was tasting. He might not have liked the pepper since he's not fond of heat.

So, I may not make it again, but I may. If reports come out that okra has amazing health properties, then I'll gladly chow down.
My parents are coming this weekend. Gary had bought Atlanta Falcon tickets for this weekend and I thought it'd be a good idea to give my dad my ticket. I think he would enjoy it more than me, plus I'd go out shopping with mom and we could bond a little. (not that we need more bonding!) I just think it's time I do a little inviting and not just be the invitee.

So I'm busy cleaning and getting the house in order. You know how it is when moms visit. Plus I need to get up the dust and pet hair. We don't have pets, but the people before us did. Every time I sweep, there is cat hair in the dust pan. I don't get it. Anyway, I've got to dehair as best I can because my folks are allergic.

Our dining room has been serving as a storage room, and I just can't see us finding other space for our junk. This house has a lot of wasted space. It should have room for all our stuff, but it doesn't. The upstairs has a very wide hall (wasted space) plus it's missing a big chunk because they opted for the soaring entryway. Not only is that wasted space, the light and sound from downstairs wafts upstairs, and vice versa. At least I know that this is not a feature I want in my forever house.

Anyway, the reason I bring up the dining room is because the topic of Thanksgiving has been brought up. I just don't see us hosting family get togethers, not without a dining room. We dont' have a dining room table anyway. *sigh* I think Gary has something totally different in mind for turkey day. Gonna have to break it to the folks. Well, they get us for christmas...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Birthday and Terrifying Tuesdays

Today is my boys' 10th birthdays. *sniff* I cannot believe they are 10 already. Double digits. Approaching puberty and teenagerhood and adulthood. Yikes! No way! Don't grow any more!! At least not once you finally figure out how to tie your shoes (you know who you are...)

Notice that there are two cakes. And very different cakes at that. Jake wanted a really decadent chocolate cake. He had seen one that was entitled "Death by Chocolate" that he wanted, but the store didn't have one, so I got the "1001 chocolate chip cake". Ryan requested a plain yellow or white type cake with yellow icing. I saw this fun sun one and thought it was perfect for him - but forgot that red icing is always bitter (why do they even bother with red icing??). We ate cake, now we're all feeling sick. (from overindulging) So I'm going to put half of each in the big freezer and save it until the following weekend when my parents come for a visit. I'm not sure that's a good idea since my dad was recently diagnosed with diabetes and he loves sweets.
On to Terrifying Tuesdays. Very late. My facebook friends know what we had. FISH TACOS!!
I got the whole process/recipes from You Tube. Supposedly the original fish taco from Rubio's. Here's the link: Fish Taco You have to also view a couple other short videos to get the marinade and sauce recipes.
Recipe notes: I did what he said to do to the tortillas. It didn't work out so well for us. The top two and bottom two tortillas stuck hopelessly to each other (Gary liked it though) and the rest stuck together too but were able to be peeled apart - they were quite steamy and wet and super hot. There is probably a better way to heat the tortillas.
It was really surprisingly good. It didn't come off as a big hit though, and I think that's because the fish was fishy. I used a frozen mahi-mahi, and when I opened the thawed package, it smelled fishy. It's not supposed to smell like anything. Mahi is not a fishy tasting fish, it's really good and meaty, so this was not a good batch. Note that this is my second bad package of frozen fish. I guess you have to be really picky about what brand you use, or stick to fresh.
I want to try it again, as long as the natives don't rebel. I don't understand how they could like those nasty catfish sloppy joes, yet not like these tacos. Seriously, it's just grilled fish in a tortilla with a really good sauce.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Terrifying Tuesday: recipes!

I tried a few new recipes yesterday, so I thought I'd share them.

Kath Eats Real Food is a blog I like to visit and I have it in my favorites. It always comes up on the page that has her BBQ tofu. I've been wanting to make this for about a year now. So I finally made it yesterday for lunch. I made it exactly as she described. It's a little bit sweet. Little bit, lotta bit. I still have 1/2 slab of tofu, so later this week I'll try it with the leftover KC Masterpiece BBQ sauce that I have in the fridge. Oops. I'm making BBQ chicken tonight - so I'll figure out a different way to make the tofu. No biggie.

For supper I made a new recipe that is family/kid friendly. I get these Betty Crocker Dinner Made Easy emails and they sent this recipe - Healthified Mexican Pasta Skillet. It's kinda like a hamburger helper (blech) deal. Ground beef (or ground turkey), salsa, tomato sauce, water, macaroni noodles. Super easy. Really. And tastey. I used whole grain macaroni, 93% ground beef and everything else they say, just not the specific name brands.

Good stuff. I need stovetop recipes for when grill season comes to an end. This will work.

Now, for Terrifying Tuesday. I made Artichoke Toasts. The recipe came from a cookbook I got from the library. It's called Sneaky Veggies by Chris Fisk. This book came out right before the Desperately Delicious and The Sneaky Chef books came out (but not as widely publicized). This cookbook isn't full of purees. It has some interesting recipes in it that I'm looking forward to trying. The artichoke toast recipe could not be any easier.

2 slices whole grain bread, toasted
1 4oz jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained
2 Tbsp grated parmesan

I used my hand blender to puree the hearts. Divide evenly and spread on the toasts. Sprinkle with the parm and broil for a minute or so.

It did not get met with the best reception. An acquired taste. I think the marinade was a bit too sour for our palates. I guess the marinade is supposed to be like an italian dressing or something. Maybe a different brand would taste better, or different. It's worth experimenting, I think. I will not give up on artichokes. This was our first foray into this vegetable. It's high in fiber. It deserves another shot or two.

I've got a bunch of recipes flagged in this book. I'm gonna try a few before it's due back in the library. I'll keep you posted on what does/doesn't work!
As you know, vegetarian/vegan blogs are a favorite of mine. Also, weight loss television is a favorite too. I discovered a show on BBC America called "You are what you eat". Fascinating - but she does talk about poo, so you may not want to eat while you watch it, depending on how sensitive you are. I really perked up at some of the foods she gets them to eat. She mentioned some smoothies concoctions and something called "haricot bean loaf". What is a haricot bean? Turns out it's navy beans. The guy tasted it and said it was tastey. This was before he started her regimin - so it must actually be good. So I started cruising the handy dandy internet and found several websites that feature her and her books/recipes. Her name is Gillian McKeith. I was getting all excited until I started reading book reviews and looked at her recipes. She puts them on a basically vegan/macrobiotic diet. Really strict. It amazes me that the people can go from one extreme to the other and really stick to it. But it seems they do! I don't think I have that will power. One of her smoothies called for 6 pieces of whole fruit - 1 to 2 servings! I'm not talking about berries, I'm talking pears and mango and such. Big fruit. Sounds pricey. Plus some recipes were for quinioa (plain, just made with bullion) for breakfast. Blech. Anyway, it was hugely interesting and the show is great.

I'm gonna try that haricot bean loaf. LOL! Really. We may have to follow up with a trip to McDonald's (gasp). :-)

One last bit of food talk. I've been keen on trying some new fish recipes. I cannot stand baked fish or stews or soups. I like it grilled or fried. Not fishy. So I'm gunning for a fish taco recipe. I found an interesting one on you tube. By a chef in a restaurant. It looks simple and tastey. I hope it works. I don't know how else fish can be fixed, so I feel a bit desperate. I really want to try to get to that two servings of fish a week. I'm open to ideas!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Terrifying Tuesdays: Ranch Dressing

You may be thinking, what's so terrifying about Ranch Dressing? Not much. But this is homemade, and is supposed to be vegan if you follow the recipe. I got the recipe from the book "Skinny **itch in the Kitch" and since I made a few alterations, I'll put the recipe here.
Makes about 2 cups
1 cup vegan sour cream (I used low fat sour cream)
1/2 cup soy milk
1/4 cup safflower oil (I used canola)
1 Tbsp agave nectar (for real? I used honey)
1 Tbsp granulated garlic powder
2 tsp chopped dill
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp cider vinegar
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp tamari or soy sauce (I used low sodium shoyu)

In a blender or a food processor, combine all ingredients and process until smooth. Set aside in the refrigerator overnight to allow the flavors to bloom. Store refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Gary said it was mild, but he gave it a thumbs up, as did I. The boys did not. It has a bit of a bite to it if you get a good dose of it. I think it must be the dijon. But it's good.

Rats. I forgot what I was going to post. I'm sure it was good. LOL!

Oh, I guess I'll talk about making friends and this new move. You know, I've lived with myself all my life (duh) so I know me. But how much and when do you reveal stuff to new people? In Hawaii, bc happened to me there. It just kinda was made known. You go in for multiple surgeries and organize a Komen walking group, people figure it out. (the one flat side was a huge givaway! LOL) But it's different now. I went in to the doctor last week for my cough and began answering the nurse's questions (basic medical history). She asked me to list the surgeries I've had as an adult. I look at her like "brace yourself" and started rattling them off (the gist of them really). When I finish I'm like "that's basically it" and she says "that's a lot". Which surprised me a bit because she's a nurse and I figure nurses hear it all. Really, it sounded ridiculous to me too as I was listing them.

I dunno. I'm sure it's all moot. As the topics come up, things will come out naturally.

When I first got diagnosed with bc, I wanted to wear the pink ribbon type shirts. But I don't any more. But the other day I ordered a SPI belt that was a Komen edition. It's black with two pink ribbons embroidered on it. Is it weird that I want it out there, but in a subtle way? Not as a badge of honor or anything. Because I know that I got off so easy. But I don't want to talk about boob jobs and I don't want anyone to be taken by surprise if I get a recurrence. (I'm still waiting for that other shoe to drop)

I'm finding it hard to concentrate with the tv on right now, so I'll leave off right here. Weird blog I know.

UPDATE! I went to Walmart today and guess what I stumbled upon? Agave Nectar! It's expensive, but I bought a little squeeze bottle of the stuff. Who would've thunk?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

feeling better

I've not been in the best of health lately, but I'm taking a turn for the better. I think it's my lungs needing to adjust to the Atlanta air. Hawaii air is so pure and clean, my lungs have been on a 3 year vacation! Now it's back to work. Actually, I feel pretty good today. I've walked for an hour, did the Wii Active, vacuumed, mopped, scrubbed toilets, cleaned windows - yeah, I'd say I'm doing pretty good - a little tuckered, but good! And I still have an hour before the boys come home.

Let's see, on the school front - busy, busy. The homework is not very stressful so far. It's still early though. But they keep coming home with papers and they want to join EVERYTHING! They have the opportunity to join band and the boys want to. There is also an after-school art club that Jake wants to join. See, if they do band, then they will miss art classes during school. Plus, there is a reading invitational, and the boys are so good at reading that I think they should try. wow. And this doesn't even include cubscouts or anything else. They really want to do a sport. So I have to figure that in somewhere.

We still haven't settled on a church. I had a good online chat with a friend and she helped on that front. I think we need to just pick one and give it a good shot.

This is fantasy football draft weekend. Gary is heading out to Williamsburg tomorrow and spending the weekend there picking players for his team. Then he comes home and Sunday night he's in a phone conference picking players for his other team.

I miss Hawaii. Even our little ghetto house. I'm trying hard to settle in here - but I can't help but miss certain things and people. I can tell I'm trying to recreate the same life here, but it's just not the right fit. I need to find a new way of being. One that fits here. I don't want to, but I think that's how it's gonna have to be. Isn't it always? You'd think I'd be used to this...

Sunday, August 9, 2009

school starts tomorrow!

I finallly finished filling out all the papers, signing all the forms, writing all the checks - basically selling my soul to the school and the PTO. My boys backpacks are stuffed with shiney new school supplies. All that's left is making lunches and picking out tomorrow's outfits.

The bus picks them up at the bus stop at 7 am. Ack! That's early. We are early risers, but that's early to get it all together. The good news is that gets me out and about early.

PLUS! School lets out later. So mama's got a little extra time every day.

I wonder if I'll still get that lonely feeling that comes with the first day of school? Hmmm. I doubt it, because I have plans to SHOP! It'll be the first time in a LONG time. Mama needs some clothes!

Off to find the camera...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Terrifying Tuesdays/marathon and moving musings

Yesterday's TT was dedicated to my mom. Technically, it doesn't fall under the guidelines of TT in that my mom fixed this dish for me and the boys - but Gary hadn't had it and frankly, I haven't unearthed my TT recipes at that point. It's a very simple stir-fry of cabbage. You simply shred cabbage, heat up a large fry pan and put some oil in it, about a tablespoon, you can probably use less. And throw in the cabbage, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper. It's yummy! If you can get a little brown on the cabbage, then that's even yummier! It's just better than boiled cabbage.

Of course, no one else liked it. But who cares? All the more for me!! :0)
I am considering signing up for the Nashville Country Music marathon. It's supposed to be walker friendly, not too far away, and it's not until April, so I have time to get back in shape. I can't wait for next week to come so I can get back into the walking groove!
Yesterday I finally got the boys registered for school. We had their school screening at the health department in the morning and then ran right to the center to get them registered. There was a line out the door! I was so surprised! The line got even longer after we got there. It took a good hour and a half - mostly waiting. Then we stopped by the school and dropped off paperwork and they will assign the boys teachers. This is the first school to give us the option of whether or not to put them in the same class. I asked for different teachers, but the same team (so their homework would be the same). I think they would just behave better and pay attention better without each as a distraction to the other.

Tomorrow we "meet the teachers" and get all signed up for stuff and find out the bus schedule and lunch money business. The fun stuff.

These boys need school to start. *I* need school to start. They are fighting a lot, getting sassy with me, and they miss their old buds. While we were waiting in line yesterday, I just started reviewing the times tables with them - I reallly wasn't going to do but one, just for grins, but when Jake couldn't give me the answer, I started firing more at him and then spelling words. Boy, they've really lost a lot over the summer. I really , reallly need to work with them on their handwriting. It's just awful. I had bought one of those summer bridge workbooks, but just never got started beyond 2 worksheets.

*sigh* bad mama
We have not got the house put together yet. It's come a long way, but we're not there. Gary's philosophy is "get it out of the box". If you do that, then you can declare yourself unpacked. So he opens up box after box and pulls stuff out and just sets the stuff down within reach. MY philosophy is "it's neater in boxes than laying out everywhere". I like to unpack and put away as I unpack - one box at a time. The visual clutter of what the unpacking has created is so chaotic to me. I get so overwhelmed. Needless to say, while I'm doing my thing, Gary did his thing. He got all the boxes open on the second day. (we had over 300) I can't work in this mess! I don't know where to begin. But, to his credit, Gary has a very good work ethic and is a hard worker. he can get more done in one day than I can do in a week. So we should be able to get this knocked out in a few more weekends.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Terrifying Tuesdays is back! Black bean burgers

I got today's recipe from a Taste of Home Magazine that had been in storage. I had recieved the magazine for several years and collected them - I just hate to throw away things like that. And they were waiting for me in storage. Here I am without cookbooks and not much to do for entertainment - so I scoured the magazines for their healthy recipes and found this gem.

I must say it fell in the catagory of easy to make. I have very limited resources at the moment. So I was able to make them with what I've got. I gotta say, it's not fun cooking with camping gear - I've not got proper lids! I've got a gas stove, so I'm terrified that I'm going to catch my potholder on fire when I grab the plate off of the pot.

Anyway, it tasted fine. I think it would be tastier if I had my arsenol of spices available. The cheese got lost in the bun - could not taste it at all. To me, if you can't taste the cheese then you might as well not have it - wasted calories. I like to taste my cheese. I think some sort of different bun or no bun would have been better.

The boys gave it an immediate thumbs down, but as they ate more (we made them eat more) it went from thumbs down to middle thumbs. And it grew on Gary too.

I had read the opinions online and most of them warned how messy the mix was and to add breadcrumbs for binding. So I had a mini chopper and made breadcrumbs from an end piece of wheat bread and added it to the mix. I added powdered garlic also. I also baked the patties at 350 for 35 minutes as suggested by one reviewer. I hate frying, so it worked for me. As a warning, the mix is pretty wet and sloppy, so you scoop it up in a 1/2 cup measuring cup and mound it on the cookie sheet and flatten it out. I flipped the burgers halfway through cooking.

The recipe calls for an egg and calls for the burger to be topped with cheese and a sour cream/salsa mixture - so ymmv as far as your vegetarian/vegan needs.

a couple of weeks ago I perused a health food store and found a bag of dried figs and that's what we did for TT. Those dark wrinkly things terrified me, but they taste like fig newtons! Duh! So it wasn't too bad. Days later I went after the bag to eat some as a snack, but I had not refrigerated them and they had a fermented smell and were fuzzy. Oh, well.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

the pool

Yesterday I took the boys to the neighborhood swimming pool. There were only a few people there. I overheard a lady telling someone she was doing therapy with kids, and then later, someone commented to her about the little toddler she was working with. He was just a-bawlin'. She said he had sensory overload. And that brought it all back to me. I sat there in the shade and reminisced about Ryan at that age and how far he has come. His first swimming lesson he couldn't even do because he refused to even sit beside the pool, much less put his feet in the water. They gladly refunded me - it was just shy of us being kicked out really. So his first lesson he didn't even get a toe wet. The second lesson (2 years later) he did put his feet in, but he screamed in terror the entire time. He practically got private lessons. That poor instructor. He would carry Ryan around in the water while Ry screamed in his ear. The guy persevered and even offered private lessons!

I have not taken them to swim lessons since then. They did get a lot of swim time at hotel pools and friends' houses and the ocean. No, they can't swim pretty, but they can get by in the water. In fact, Jake and Ryan will race each other. Jake does a rough crawl complete with lots of splashing and not going very far. Ryan does a doggie paddle and goes quite fast! I really need to get them lessons so Jake can refine his style and get somewhere and learn to breathe and Ryan can do a real stroke.

Anyway, I was watching this little boy, shrieking in terror. The therapist was very gentle and calm and I could see her patiently distracting the little boy into calmness. She was fabulous. Some people are just born for their jobs. And then I was looking at Ryan doing cannon balls and trying to dive. wow, he's come a long way.

ps. There's a deer in our back yard!

Monday, June 29, 2009

we have a house!

Just a quick report to say we have a house. It's 4 br 2.5 bath, big yard. We didn't get the pool we wanted, but it's in a community with a pool and tennis courts and a lake we can fish at. Looks like good sidewalks/bike paths so we can step out of the house and run/walk. The schools are reportedly good. Today we get a refrigerator delivered. We had to buy one. But that's okay, we can take it with us when we move and our next move may be for retirement. It's one of those fridges that are french door on top and freezer drawer on bottom.

Also today we make the phone calls for gas, electric, water, etc. We are also going to try to schedule getting our storage goods delivered. If they can do it by Wednesday, then that's what we'll do. Otherwise we'll get it delivered next week. We have this hotel room until Wednesday and then we go pick up the boys and drive to NC to visit the other grandma. If they can't deliver this week, then we leave here early. I miss my boys!

My mom kept my boys and the other 3 grandkids all last week and it nearly killed her. The other grandkids are 3, 5 and 8. The little ones ran her ragged and drove her crazy not eating at meals but wanting snacks all day long and constantly changing their minds. Me and Gary tried to model for her how to be firm and not cave, but she was so worried that they'd starve and she would take it personally. Plus the older girl had a sassy mouth. That did not go over well. She would argue with mom, and mom is not one to back down from an argument. Not a screaming kind of argument, but a disagreement "I'm always right" kind of argument. Personally, I was more concerned about the tone my niece took rather than what she was saying. But mom gets drawn in by the words and the tone of voice puts her on the defensive. I don't think she could see that. Now, how to convey that to mom without getting the lecture. Well, I'll probably get the lecture which I'll have to grin and bear, just so I can get my observation in there. Mom has got to learn to deal with this better or she's not going to have a good relationship with these kids. My mom usually loves to hug and kiss and giggle with her grandkids, but apparantly she does better on a one on one basis. And I can relate to that. I think it was just overwhelming - plus she doesn't do good delegating. She likes to be in charge, so she put all that responsibility on her shoulders and it stressed her too much. She said she lost 7 pounds!

Right now Gary is on the horn getting the utilities set up. Then we make a call to the landlord. The downstairs airconditioning wasn't working, plus two plugs in the kitchen weren't working and we can't find the key to the gas fireplace. So, as you can see, it's just some details that have to be worked out.

The other thing we will eventually have to work out is the room situation. The boys say they want separate bedrooms, but I want to be convinced before we put in furniture and paint. Yes, paint. We've been given the okay to paint! Yahoo! This house is already painted with good colors, but one room is white. Jake wants orange, and Ryan wants yellow. Hah! I'm thinking I can put Jake in the green room and paint the white room yellow for Ryan. I'm not keen on painting any room orange. He can get orange bedding. I'm so glad for colors. I really hate renters white/off white/yellowy.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

last time at the north shore

Matsumoto's shave ice in Haleiwa. The people behind us are waiting in line. Yes, it's that popular and worth the wait. We stood in the rain to get ours.

Me and Ryan at sunset beach

Supper at Kua aina Burger.

Friday, June 19, 2009

the house is empty

It was the fastest move in the history of military moves - okay, not including single soldiers who can fit all their wordly goods in the back seat of a Mini Cooper. Two days, and not even those long, well into the night days. They packed EVERYTHING. So I'm imagining a few claims in our future. That 1/4 full bottle of Clorox bleach will not remain in the bottle, I'm sure. And while that Karo syrup will be broken and covered with ants, the ants will be dead because the tiny bottle of ant poison would have done them in. (not to mention soaked into the salt waiting to kill us sprinkle by sprinkle...)

Well, we'll see what really happens in 6 weeks. It'll be a big surprise when we open up the crates. Until then, there's no need to fret about it. We are having a good giggle and getting all kinds of moving horror stories told to us.

Hello? Did you hear about the airline pilot who died yesterday? Not the kind of news that we need to hear right about now!

You know all those hours I spent looking at all those houses online? Most of them are GONE! I can find only ONE house left with a pool - I'm sure it'll be gone tomorrow. But God has always provided us with a place to live - so I won't fret about it. (she says...)

We are staying at the Lodge on the Marine Corps base. It's pretty decent. We've got a refrigerator, sink, microwave, two queen sized beds, internet connection and breakfast in the a.m.

Gary is currently finishing up the last of his out-processing, then he'll drop the van off for shipping and we go pick him up in our tricked out rental SUV. It's so embarrassing - the tires are huge and have these shiney wheel covers. Then we are heading to the hospital to visit a friend who had emergency surgery yesterday. Then off to the north shore - the main goal there is to see the sun set - but hopefully we'll get a dinner and maybe some "last time" shave ice.

I let in the guy today to clean our carpets. We'll have to check the mail at least until we leave to make sure they have stopped delivering it. I was so sad last night when I went to pick up the mail. What I need is a good cry. I started to cry, but then got distracted - nothing like having a good cry interrupted! I need some alone time!

The boys have a party to go to tomorrow - well, the kid we are visiting today in the hospital is the brother of the birthday boy, so technically, the party was cancelled. But another mom has a pool and she's inviting a bunch of kids over for a "not Ricky's official birthday party" party. So we'll give him our presents then.

Nothing much else planned except for some clothes washing and suitcase packing. We fly out on Sunday and will get there by sunrise on Monday. Let's give a big cheer for jet lag! Hoorah!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Packing day!

The packers are here, so this note is going to be brief. Pack out today, tomorrow and movers load up wednesday - however this move has started out strangely. They sent out three guys today (usually it's an old man and two girls) and they are dismanteling furniture first and loading them into crates. So it seems to be backwards. Anyway, I"ll not have time to post or read. If I get online it'll be to just check emails and look for houses.

I've got the boys in a "daycare" program for the next 3 days. So at least they'll get social interaction with other kids, exercise and not be underfoot. There is a fieldtrip on Wednesday to the zoo - so that'll be fun for them. Me, I'm hanging out back on our lanai. I've already painted my toenails and have been reading Harry Potter. Gary has paid bills and called up places to close accounts, like electric., water, etc.

We have got our suitcases packed - overstuffed is more like it. I think we'll have to box up some things and mail it. No one is willing to compromise and leave some things for the packers. Oh well. We had checked Delta's luggage policy, and it says that if you are military and moving then you can bring 10 suitcases, no charge! We won't have that many because we'd have to haul that stuff around and our rental car won't be big enough. But it's good to know.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Pineapple: the Final Chapter

We have harvested and digested the pineapple. It was wonderful. In honor of little Pineappley, I will pay homage to it with a photo recap of it's short life.

January - first appearance

February - covered in flowers

April - getting bigger! looks like a real pineapple

May - emerald green, beautiful

June 8 - starting to get a suntan! almost time to harvest!

Comparing with a store bought pineapple - my guy is little

The next day - all gold, yet the presence of ants made me decide it was time to harvest. Isn't it beautiful?

June 12 - stored it in fridge until we were ready to eat it. (had to finish off the big one first) Looks just like a real pineapple inside! (in miniature)

I cut it using the fancy cut they taught me at the Dole Plantation. (it's the only way I cut pineapple - nothing is too fancy for my family)

We had homemade pizza along with our (organic, pesticide-free, free range) pineapple boat.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Terrifying Tuesday and moving full panic mode

I've moved out of the denial stage and am fullly into panic mode. I had a little freak out tonight. The packers come in a few days and we have to be ready. We have to be done! If we aren't ready, then it will be triple-wrapped and stuffed in a box before I even realize it. I can't think straight. I made Gary sit down with me and give me specific tasks so I can have things to focus on - instead of the nebulous "get the house ready".

I was pretty busy today - spent hours picking up medical records. I know the parking at Tripler can be a bear at certain times of the day, so we waited until 10:30 and by the time we got there, there were spots to be had. Picked up the boys' records, my records and my films. They put mri films on cd, which take a little time to do, so we ate at the cafeteria. Not what I had planned for lunch, but it was $6 for the 3 of us - not bad. Then we drove downtown to get records from my dermatologist, then went home.

I was so tired I immediately laid down for a nap. I've not been able to make myself go to bed before 11 lately, at waking up at 5:45 - it's just not enough sleep. So I've taken "power naps" every day for at least 2 weeks now.

I remembered that I forgot about my eye doctor, so I'll call her tomorrow and hope that she'll mail the records to me. I really don't want to have to drive downtown again.

Then I did some more random move readiness stuff - magazine subscriptions and such. and some cooking. Which leads us to todays Terrifying Tuesday.

I had a package of raw almonds just waiting to be used. So I decided to whip up some almond milk. I soaked a cup of almonds overnight, rinsed, drained and set out to dry off a bit. Stuck them in the fridge until I was ready to make it. You can find this recipe all over the internet. Blend 1 cup of soaked raw almonds and 3 cups of water. Blend, blend, blend. It gets all frothy. Then you strain it. I had to throw out the almond pulp because this just isn't the time to be trying to figure out how to use it. Then you put the liquid back in the blender, add 2 or 3 dates (I added 3, tasted then added a 4th). I added vanilla and regret it. I don't have a vanilla bean or alcohol free vanilla. I could really taste the alcohol and didn't like it. And that's it.

I gave everyone a small taste. We all gave it a thumbs down. However, I did save the rest so I could make a smoothie in the morning with it. I've got lots of frozen fruit in the freezer to use. I hate to waste. Plus I want to give it a second chance.

Okay, so here's my take on it. The videos I'd been watching on youtube make you think that it's so rich and creamy. And it looks all pretty and frothy. Well, it's watery. It has an almond flavor which is nice, but it's not rich. At all. It's very lacking. I guess if you were adjusted to eating a vegan diet, then you would be used to that. It just made me sad. I don't think it should be called almond milk or mylk. It doesn't even compare to milk - even skim milk. It's almond water.

Oh, my pineapple! It's all pretty and golden. I'll have to post pictures, but I'll wait until we cut into it. I decided to harvest it tonight. I saw ants crawling all over it and that freaked me out. (tonight's theme: freaking out) I have the store bought one that we have to finish eating first. (it's really a beautiful pineapple - just a perfect flavor) Which is a lot of pressure for my little guy to compete against. I just hope the ants didn't ruin it. I will take pictures of what it looks like inside and report on the taste. It'll be fine sitting on my counter for a while.

final thought for the day: I don't have to vacuum anymore if I don't want to! In fact, Gary told me to not bother with it.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

discoveries amongst the rubble...

The rubble that is the junk my children bring home from school. Monday is the last day of school and the kids have already brought home most of their junk.

I always sort through it and toss the junk and box up the treasures in a bankers box. One for each year, but not one for each kid - they have to share. (this puts a defined cap on my pack ratty ways)

I'm doing it right now. One of the best things about this chore is reading their writing notebooks. Ryan hasn't brought his home yet, but I found a couple of gems in Jake's. One page he wrote about his favorite meal - pizza. "I like cheese the best, and my mom's homemade pizza is good. It beats mass produced pizza any day!"

His last entry was about May Day. (may day is a big deal in Hawaii and the schools put on these big productions) He did a good job describing it and his feelings of nervousness before his performance. At the very end he wrote "I loved it! Too bad I have to move."

He also wrote a sweet letter to his dad about why he admired him, and he wrote a wonderful paragraph about his best friend, Ricky.

I'm so glad the teachers make them do this stuff, otherwise I'd never know.

dressing room mirrors are awful! - rant

(disclaimer: the following probably has TMI and is not a sweet fun read)

Way too truthful.

So I went bra shopping today. I've gained a few pounds making my current bras a bit uncomfortable. Bra shopping is horrible anyway, and even worse when you're fat. You just can't hide from yourself in those mirrors! What a shocker. It wasn't even a three way mirror, just the one mirror. But my stomach was shocking! And then there's the miss-matched girls issue. I was just horrified. Remember, I've got the magic mirror in our bathroom. I look pretty good in it - and my hair doesn't even look nearly as gray! But this mirror showed the real me. My foob is changing - and not for the good. I caught a view of it from a different angle. The mx scar looks like it's tightening or adhering - I'm getting indented in that area. Plus, I've been doing pushups - it's been a goal of mine to regain some strength there and get over that uncomfortable feeling. It looks like my pec muscle is developing a little bit - not a lot, I'm still a weakling - but I'm a little fuller on the topside, which exacerbates the odd shape I'm developing. Plus, in the mirror it looked like that side was barely an A cup and my natural side (esp. with weight gain) is marching towards a C cup. So you can imagine that this shopping expedition was depressing, demoralizing, unfruitful and really made me angry at my plastic surgeons! How can they not see the freakish nature of this show? And I'm stuck with it!

On top of it all, my good side has been driving me crazy. I don't know if I'm drinking too much caffeine or have gained too much weight - but it hurts so bad when I try to run. I have to hold it down! (remember, I'm not big busted) I can't wear a tighter sports bra because that bothers my other side too much. My lumps are still there and they are starting to bother me when I run - I can FEEL one of them rattling around when I run. Yeah, stop running. I know what you are thinking - but this lump has been biopsied, mammogramed, ultrasounded and mri'd. So I'm fine - as far modern science can tell me. But I'm contemplating mx'ing it. No, not just because it's tender. I've been thinking about this a long long time. It may be time. (in the near future) I'm going to start saving the coins that are laying around the house so I can get a tummy tuck too. (a girl can dream)

I'm just fed up with it all.

I think I'll just have to buy one of the extender things to gain comfort in the bras that I currently own . Rats, I had a package in my hand but laid it down and forgot about it.
Am I alone in wanting to take some scissors to Kate's hair? I have no interest in the gossip and rumors of affairs - but I can't help but see John and Kate every 5 seconds on t.v. and those long heavy one-sided bangs drive me crazy. Let's just get a few wispy layers in there to balance it out and make it look feminine, shall we?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

going crazy and Terrifying Tuesday

Wow! It's still tuesday and I'm posting about TT! Imagine that!

Gary is out of town, so I decided to go really easy on the boys. We picked out nectarines at the grocery store and that was our TT item tonight. They were soooooo good! I've eaten nectarines before, so this didn't fall into the rules of TT, but the boys had not had them, so that was good enough for me. Right now, I've got a bunch of yummy, different fruits in my fridge. I've got fresh pineapple, mango, cherries, nectarines and the usual orange, apple, grapes and banana.

Thumbs up all around.

Going crazy, well I was going to write about how I'm driving myself crazy with the house looking on the internet - it's true, I am. I think it's more a curse than a blessing to have this sort of access!! Or maybe it's just that my personality might be a little obsessive? I had a nice house picked out that had a beautiful pool and fell in our price range and within our distance parameters - but now it's gone! Of course it is. Houses that nice get snatched up asap. Really, I know it will all work out - God has something in store for us - it may not have a pool, but it will be just right for us. I need to refocus myself on getting this house ready!

It doesn't help that it's so doggone hot. It's 9:30pm and it's 85 degrees in the house. It's 90 during the heat of the day. Plus they are working on the stinking sewer and it stinks to high heaven at the school and just down the street. Luckily, we are up wind from that mess so I don't smell it at our house. However, one of my really good friends just bought a house right in front of where they are working! Poor thing. She has to wear noise blocking earphones just to function in her house.

blah, blah, blah, blather blather blather. I just wiped out what I had written. I went off on these bravo tv shows and I can't post it. I just can't. I hate talking mean about people. Lets just hope the housewives shows straighten out and the ny prep show goes off the air immediately. That's all I'm gonna say. If you've seen the shows, you know what I'm talking about!

Wednesday, May 27, 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.
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.

Saturday, May 23, 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:

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.

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

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!

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

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!
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!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Terrifying Tuesday: Yemiser Wat

First I need to conduct a little business here. I'm going to take a blog link off the side. I'm not sure why, but whenever I exit Megan's Munchies and try to get into another blog, I get thrown into this weird Internet Explorer loop. I don't even use Explorer! I use the AOL software! So I'm gonna take down her link. I'm a little scared to visit her site, and that's sad because it's a neat blog. But I need to figure it out before my laptop explodes.

Okay, so last night we went international. I got this recipe through a regular on Weight Watcher's. Who got this recipe from another regular, who got this recipe from a vegan website who got this recipe from a vegan cookbook. LOL!

This is the link to the recipe. As you can see, it's Ethiopian. Which sounds so exotic!

This is the link to the lady who created the recipe: I will post more about that after I review the recipe.

recipe notes:
First, don't be intimidated by the list of ingredients. They are mostly spices. I practically had to pull out all the spices out of my cabinet - or at least a whole lot of them! Second, the recipe called for you to saute the onions in a non-stick pan. The pan I used was not non-stick, so I opted to add some canola oil. And thirdly, the recipe has a flaw - it doesn't tell you what to do with the lentils after you boil them! So I drained them, and then added them when I added the tomatoes and broth.

One thumbs up (me), two thumbs down (the kids), and a 1/2 thumb which turned into a 3/4 thumb from the hubby. It actually is pretty tastey, oddly sweet (but I think that's due to the spices like nutmeg and ginger). Gary gave it a better rating after he tasted it with the brown rice (like the recipe calls for). I think the kids didn't like it because they are kids. It makes a huge amount. It was fairly easy to make and not hot at all. (I only used a 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes) Actually, the more I ate it, the more I like it. But I didn't have the leftovers for lunch today because I had other leftovers to eat. We'll see tomorrow...

I don't know how filling it would be as a meal itself. Because I fixed it with pork chops. Is that wrong? To fix a vegan recipe with grilled pork chops? Shhhhhh. Don't tell anyone!

I am so very fascinated with the vegan/vegetarian thing. I love the look of some of the recipes, but often wonder if they would fill me. Sometimes I fix stuff with the fake meat, or with beans or tofu (which I love), but it just does not satisfy. If you add a little meat, then wah-lah, satisfaction. Yeah, I've been reading about umami - the "fifth taste". I dunno.

Anyway, I spend too much time on the internet reading vegan/vegetarian blogs - wondering what it would be like to eat like that all the time. I get stuck on the practicality aspect. It just doesn't seem to translate into MY life. And causes me stress just thinking about it. Plus I don't have the convictions against eating meat. BUT, if I get one more cancer - I swear something has to change. Drastically. (I do not think meat causes cancer, but I do need to eat more nutritious foods)

Meanwhile, I continue to experiment with meatless recipes. I also eat meatless breakfasts and lunches (for the most part).

One side benefit that I did not anticipate - Gary's reactions to the foods. He's pretty picky. There aren't a whole lot of fruits and vegetables that he eats. He's a meat and rice man. NOT potatoes! Before Terrifying Tuesdays, he MIGHT taste something that I made that was not normal. And then pick out the offending bits. But now, he WILL taste the recipe. He realizes that the boys really emulate him, so he doesn't complain or make faces or segregate bits out of his food. And he takes an honest taste test. And I believe he's loosening up a little. The man has the pallette of a child, but maybe we'll grown him up a little. :-) I don't know if I can wait for his taste buds to dull with age.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

walking again

Boy am I out of shape! For my "sport". My exercise of choice. Walking.

I have been wanting to do one of my routes for the longest time, but Saturdays have been too busy - so I chose to do it today. I wasn't really sure of the distance (didn't check it) but I knew I'd need to carry water. I'm glad I did because Mr. Sun decided to pay a visit and it turned out to be a two hour walk. It was 8.2 miles. So I guess my time wasn't all that bad considering I haven't done much walking in the last 4+ months. After about an hour my legs told me they were going to take a nap. Yeah, it's wierd how my legs talk to me. At 1 hour 40 minutes they woke up briefly. I really felt my stride - then lost it again when I was in sight of my house.

Yeah, go figure you can get out of shape for walking. I've reallly not given myself enough credit for what good shape I was in. But now I know. Plus, I was a lot thinner than I thought I was. Because when I put on the water belt - yikes it was tight!

But I'm back in the saddle. I have that want and drive to get back in shape. It's very self-esteem boosting to feel strong and fit. I will not let my stomach pooch get in my way. I cannot allow myself to think about it. You have to work out regardless of how you look (or SMELL!).

I came home starving and tired. I had planned to drink a chocolate milk (recovery food of champions!) - but I saw the tiramisu in the fridge and ate some of that instead. Yikes!

Took a shower and had to lay down before I could dry my hair. I was tired and crampy. Finally worked up the energy to dry my hair and tried to move to the kitchen to fix lunch but I was still satisfied from the tiramisu and took a nap. I just couldn't keep my eyes open. Then I made a salad and had a little leftover white chicken chili.

I really need to be reviewing the recipe for tonights terrifying dish. And I really need another haircut.

BTW, my scar is almost invisible. It's just a little raised, but not red at all. It's really quite amazing. Especially considering my history with keloids. You can see that the rash is all gone. I'm still numb above the scar line and tender at the scar.

There's the bad hair cut to deal with. My new hairdresser only works 2 days a week - so I need to get on the ball and call her. But it's time to go pick the boys up at school. I'll try later...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

my new present and the end of the movie

This is my beautiful new (and early) mother's day/birthday/anniversary present! Yippee! I talked Gary into buying it for me tonight. I knew he was going to get me one (I've been wanting one for years) and have been torn between the KitchenAid and Cuisinart. I'm sure they are both equally stellar products, but the KitchenAid comes in colors and we found this one in RED tonight. Had to snatch it up. Why wait? I'll just get to enjoy it now rather than later. My first attempt I think will be hummus. Hummus is reallly hard to make in a blender. Frankly, everything is hard to make in a blender that is not liquidy.
Today I took my kids to a birthday party and saw a movie by myself. Gary was planted in front of the tv because of "The Sporting Event of the Year". The NFL draft. *yawn* The kids went on the Atlantis, which is a "submarine" ride where you can view the wonders of the ocean right off the shores of Waikiki. Very cool, they saw a shark.
Anyway, to the movie part. I went to the Nicholas Cage movie "Knowing". I made the mistake of getting a large Diet Coke. I HAD to leave the movie at the very end. I just could NOT hold it in any longer. I missed the last 5 minutes. If ANYONE saw the movie and is willing to share the ending, PLEASE DO!!!! I left after the kids "departed" and Cage was driving through the city through the chaos. No major event had happened. Did anything happen??? I NEEEEEED to know.