Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Weighty Issue...

For several weeks I have been so busy that I have not weighed myself. I just figured that since I have been so active since being laid off from work (which was a desk job) that the fact that I was eating whatever I wanted would be balanced out by the new activity in my life. Well, no. I finally weighed myself yesterday and found I had gained a few pounds. I am already way (or is it "weigh"?) over what I would like to weigh and to find that I am gaining? That just won't do. So, just a few short weeks before the biggest eating season of the year, I am back on the wagon of weight loss. I normally follow the Somersize plan which allows you to eat yummy meals without measuring, counting and weighing stuff. And I started yesterday, immediately after weighing myself! Wish me luck!

A favorite beverage that I drink without sugar or cream and sometimes iced is Yerba Mate' tea. I usually mix it with another tea that has mint or flavorings that I enjoy since the Mate' has a taste on it's own that I haven't quite grown accustomed to. Try it for the health benefits and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bzzzzz....

That's the sound I've been making lately. I've been a busy little bee trying to work on and complete the crafting projects I have in the works. A couple of them can be seen on the sidebar under my Etsy shop (the top two-afghan & pom-pom scarf). And with Thaqnksgiving and Chrismas coming up, we've had to stop & take some time to plan menus and gift giving.

It's finally chilly here...45 degrees! I love it!
This past weekend, Ari & I took a little trip to Galveston to visit my sister. Over a month after hurricane Ike ravaged the tiny island, it is still a mess in many places. As we drove into the island, we saw things like this (keep in mind many of these were taken by Ari while I was driving)...
On the side of the causeway


We could see straight through this house...







One place we had to check out was the apartment complex we lived in (on the water) when my daughter was born, looked like this (our apartment was the top right)...

One of the piers pushed up against land... Walking through the neighborhood to get to the apartment complex was eerie, like walking through a ghost town (we parked a few blocks away because of all the debris still on the roads). and very sad. I had lived in Galveston most of my life and had never seen it like this before. Ari
kept asking me if I was crying, no I think I was in shock but it was very sad. She kept saying she felt like she was in the movie I Am Legend.

Moving on, after our visit, we drove down the seawall a bit but it was beginning to get dark...

The Flagship Hotel...


The driveway to gain access to the hotel collapsed (I know it's hard to see) the connecting structure in the distance is a walkway that is still there...



Murdochs Bathhouse, a souvenir shop that Ari and I spent beautiful afternoons looking around, pretending we were tourists and rocking on the deck overlooking the ocean and enjoying the breeze...gone...











Part of Murdochs used to rest on these pilings above. Now completely gone.
A sad, sad day for us mixed with the joy of visiting family in their home that survived the storm.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Mama's Country Kitchen

Oatcakes & Bacon

I love weekends! I enjoy the opportunity they bring to be with my family and do the things that are routine and bring comfort to us. Our weekends are usually pretty much the same: Saturday mornings I usually make breakfast, do a little cleaning, and then Ari and I go shopping or to the movies. Saturday evening we call "date night" which is just a set time when we will for sure spend some time together, usually watching a favorite tv program. Sundays are reserved for church, breakfast out and, if we didn't get to a movie on Saturday, we may go on Sunday. (we don't go to a movie every weekend!) Sometimes we get together with other family members on Sunday for a meal or just a visit. Simple pleasures!

This past Saturday I made Oatcakes rather that my usual pancakes. Seems the family likes the Oatcakes better and happily for me, they are healthier! They will become a regular feature on the "Mama's Country Kitchen" (what we call it when I cook-lol!) menu. I don't remember where I got this recipe but it sure is good...

Oatcakes
2 c. rolled oats
2 c. milk
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
a few gratings of nutmeg
3 lg. eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla
6 Tbsp. butter
1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
The evening before: combine oats, milk, brown sugar, salt & spices. Cover & place in the fridge overnight.
The next morning: Beat eggs well & add vanilla. Melt the butter. Sift flour & baking powder. Add to oatmeal mixture along with melted butter & the beaten eggs. Mix well. Cook on griddle.




Friday, October 17, 2008

Quick Easy Supper Idea

A dinner I fall back on occasionally when I've had enough chicken, beef & fish is Pork Chops (or Pork Steak) with Creamy Salsa. It's fast, forgiving & super simple.

Take however many pork chops/pork steak you need or want. Season with salt & pepper (or Lawry's Seasoning salt or something that you think would work here-tonight I used a southwest type seasoning salt). Heat up some olive oil (or whatever oil you prefer) in a pan until a drop of water sizzles in it and then pan fry your seasoned pork until done. Remove the pork from the pan, pour off any excess fat/oil & then put some heavy cream (until it looks like it will make enough sauce for you-I dunno, maybe 1/2 cup or more???) in the hot pan (with the heat still on) & scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pan, mixing it up well into the cream (tonight I used sour cream & a little water to thin it because I was out of heavy cream and it worked just as well. Milk might work too but I haven't tried it). Then add some salsa (I use chunky Pace) to the cream & keep heating the sauce & stirring. It will be a pretty rosy creamy color. Again, I can't give exact measurements here...sorry :-(. When the sauce is heated through, put the pork back in to heat them up. Done.

I served with brown rice tonight (made a beautiful yellow color by adding turmeric to the cooking water) and used the sauce on the pork steaks and the rice. Add aveggie or salad & voila' dinner ready. I don't have any pictures because we ate dinner before I though of sharing...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ariana's Scarf

I recently completed this scarf for my baby girl:I love the jewel colors that she picked out! She's excited about it too...
I wanted her to model it but getting her, the scarf and the camera all in one place at one time has proven harder than I expected!


The past couple of weeks, DH has been experiencing major back pain. I went with him to the doctor today and he will be seeing a surgeon tomorrow to decide whether he needs surgery or not. We hope not. Please keep him in your prayers.

http://www.tjssweethome.etsy.com/

Friday, October 10, 2008

Peanut Butter Cookies


A couple of days ago, I made peanut butter cookies which are one of my favorite cookies. I've made this recipe many, many times and they always turn out yummy! It's from an old Southern Living cookbook that I've had forever.
Crisp Peanut Butter Cookies
1 c. margarine (I use butter)
1 c. peanut butter, creamy or chunky
1 c. sugar
1 c. (firmly packed) brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c. sifted flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp soda
1 tsp. salt
Mix the margarine, peanut butter and sugars in a bowl until blended, then beat in the eggs and vanilla. Sift flour, baking powder, soda and salt together and stir into sugar mixture until well blended. Chill, if needed. Shape into 1 inch balls. Place about 2 inches apart on a greased baking sheet and flatten with floured bottom of glass or with floured fork, making crosswise pattern (I use granulated sugar instead of flour and have used both the fork and the bottom of a glass). Bake in 350 degree oven for 12 - 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Place 2 cookies together, using additional peanut butter as filling, to make cookie sandwiches (I haven't tried that yet). Follow recipe for Crisp Peanut Butter Cookies to make jelly thumb print cookies, pressing small indentation into each ball of dough with thumb instead of flattening (I think I'll try that next time!). Remove from baking sheet while warm and press again with thumb. Cool and fill each indentation with jelly or jam. Makes 6 dozen single cookies.
I enjoyed with a glass of rice milk (trying to cut down on the dairy). Mmm-mmm



Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Scheduling My Day

Today was my third day at home. Monday I set up a tentative schedule for myself to follow so that I could be somewhat efficient and not drift through the days. I'm using my One Note that was already installed into my laptop to create a home journal. I just leave the day's agenda on the screen and check it whenever necessary, which at this point, is quite often! Here's a sample of my day:


7am
Wake; Make Breakfast; Start laundry; Kitchen clean up

8am
Quiet time, Plants (water, planting, etc)

8:30am
Office work (bills, phone calls, correspondence, etc)

9am
Exercise

9:30am
Dinner & food prep/"molehills"

10:30am
Craft Projects

12pm
Lunch (Eat, Check Blogs, Make-Up if you haven't)

12:30pm
Craft

2:30pm
Fabric store

4pm
Pick up Ari, run errands

5pm
Homework help/cleaning/ambiance/spritz plants/dinner-set table

5:30pm
Dinner/Family time

7pm
Read/crochet

8:30pm
Bath/prep for bed (vitamins, read, tomorrows list etc.)

10pm
Nighty-nite

I copied & pasted directly from my calendar. So far, it is working great! It keeps me moving, on task and busy. I use my timer throughout the day so I don't lose track of time. When the beeper sounds, I move on to the next thing. I do allow for a little wiggle room when needed. For instance, the last couple of days, I've had to shorten the time for some things because other more needed tasks took more time than planned. Oh well, this is life!

And so far, I'm not doing too well getting to bed at ten. I struggle with my night owl tendencies but those same habits sometimes make for a grouchy me in the morning. I am working toward the ten o'clock bedtime and hopefully THAT will be on schedule.

House work is done but not written into the schedule as of yet. It does get done! As I said this is new and many kinks still need to be worked out. So far I've been allowing ten minutes per hour to address household chores...short & sweet just like I like my housework!~ giggle

Todays menu:
Breakfast- oatmeal with cinnamon & stewed apples, toast
Lunch-leftover Shepherds Pie
Dinner out at a Chinese restaurant-egg rolls, Happy Family & Shrimp fried rice (we all kind of share)
Well, it's time for me to hit the hay and whataya know...it's only 10:49PM. Early by my standards ;-) Good nite...

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