What are Your Favorites for Thanksgiving?

Memories of Thanksgiving. . .

Thanksgiving brings all sorts of memories for everyone. I remember going to my Grandmother’s and all of the most wonderful food. When I was younger I did not eat everything like I do now, I was a little picky. Eating mostly vegetables and sweets, I was thankful for a family full of wonderful cooks. There was always a large table full of the most delicious cakes, pies and cookies.

Some of my favorites. . .

Aunt Mildred made the best coconut cake followed by: banana pudding, chocolate chip cookies, and my moms pecan pie/tassies. I always loved the veggie tray with dip and my grandmothers’ dressing. We did not do stuffing this was dressing in little squares like cornbread. Mom still makes it just like grandmother did, stale bread, cornbread,Pepridge Farm seasoning, onion, chicken stock, celery, and all kinds of spices.

A little out of sorts this Thanksgiving. . .

I am a little out of sorts this Thanksgiving, my boys will not be able to come home this year. Sprat is completing his student teaching and it is just not feasible for them to drive two days to spend one with us and drive back. We are very sad they will not be here but it is completely understandable and unavoidable.

I am Thankful this Thanksgiving. . .

I am thankful for a very kind family who is taking both boys in for the holiday. Sprats’ friend text me to ask for recipes for the foods that the boys had suggested??? I have to laugh about my kids they are so funny and have the best friends. I sent an email with recipes of their favorite foods that I make. We are blessed beyond measure by those that surround us.

A few little tidbits. . .

Fresh garlic butter: I use Brumel and Brown butter and press 3-4 cloves of garlic and cream together.

Homemade Mac & Cheese

1 box whole wheat elbow pasta cooked to package directions. 5 Tbsp butter melted with 2-3 Tbsp flour whisked to avoid lumps, pour 2 cups whole milk or heavy cream and whisk to avoid lumps. After mixture is blended add cheese aprox 2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar add a handful at a time and whisk till smooth. Once all cheese is added, drain pasta and put in large casserole dish and pour cheese mixture over pasta and serve. You can top with some extra cheese if you like.

Horsey Deviled eggs

1 dozen boiled eggs, I like to use the instapot, peeled and separated. Mix 1/2 cup mayo, 1/4 cup sour cream, 2 tsp creamy horseradish, 1/4 tsp salt, 2 tsp dill and cream together with your yolks. Stuff your whites and sprinkle with some paprika and serve chilled.

Conclusion. . .

There are a few more recipes I sent but I will not tell you everything at once, so stay tuned.

Do You Work a Shift other than Traditional 8-5?

Do you work a non-traditional shift?

Do you work a shift other than a traditional 8-5 day shift? I do, I work nights 2000 to 0800. My first job out of college was midnight to 0800 five nights a week in a lab. Not only did I work nights but I also was a hostess during the lunch rush at a local Mexican restaurant. In my twenties that was not a bad job to have, I had endless energy and I slept by the pool. I could eat whatever I wanted and never gained weight. Today I could walk past a plate of potato chips and gain ten pounds just like that.

When I was part- time at my job I have now I was able to manage a workout schedule and lost 20 lbs. I was so excited and so happy and felt pretty good too. My diet was much better and I ate on a schedule, it was not sporadic like it is now. When I went full-time everything went to pot, I did not feel like I had enough time to workout and do food prep.

Making a concerted effort to do better for myself. . .

Earlier this month I decided to make a concerted effort to do better for myself with regard to my diet and my workouts. I love Mediterranean spices and food and I have followed a Mediterranean diet very liberally for several years. My husband is very quick to respond with regard to the Mediterranean diet about how the Mediterranean people travel either by foot or bicycle. In other words, he is saying that it is not the food they eat that keeps them healthy it is all their daily exercise. I am trying to eat better/healthier and also exercise daily in some form or fashion.

You are what you eat. . .

You are what you eat, how many times have you heard this one? It is true though, you eat nothing but junk and you are going to feel like junk. I am not an extremist and do not endorse any extreme measures to lose weight. Realist, I am a realist. Smoothies are my addiction, I love my fruit smoothie I fix in the mornings for breakfast. Number one smoothie: pineapple, cherry, spinach, beet, ginger, coconut water and some protein powder and blend. This one is designed for reducing inflammation, increasing circulation, and it is very yummy. This one gets me my fruits and some of my vegetables for the day.

The hubbs and I joke all the time that we could live out of our garden except for the occasional animal protein. We both love veggies the hubbs likes his animal protein more than I. A typical dinner for us looks like this: avocado sliced with fresh lime juice sprinkled, a couple boiled eggs sliced, peppers and onions sauted with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I love asparagus and my dear hubby planted some for me, below is the first harvest with some sauted spinach.

When my schedule gets hectic, that is when my eating goes awry. I will be planning more for my meals on days I know I am going to be working. Planning my exercise may pose a more interesting problem. I prefer to walk in the mornings but my regular place to walk is doing some construction so my “flow” is messed up. Have been riding my exercise bike and lifting weights but it does not give me the same satisfaction as my walks. My walks are not only for my physical health but for my mental health too.

Conclusion. . .

This is an on going journey to a better me. Stay tuned for recipes, tips, tricks and updates on results. I would love to hear from my readers, any recipes or personal stories.

Updates and New Recipes. . .

Updates on the Boys. . .

The boys are back in Massachusetts in school. Sprat starts his student teaching this semester so look out Yanks you are about to get educated in History with a Southern accent. I hope his teachers and students will not be too hard on him about his Southern drawl. Big T has changed his major and seems to be enjoying his classes so far.

Sprat was going to have his birthday after we took them to school so we decided to celebrate before they went back. We had a nice dinner and we went to a baseball game.

Big T hates having his picture taken by me so he intentionally frowns and makes ugly faces. His Daddy used to do that too when he was younger and still does sometimes. Sprat of course was thrilled to be out having a nice steak.
Uncle C was nice enough to take us out to the ballgame and some hotdogs and hamburgers.

Updates on the Home Front. . .

We had a bumper crop of Figs this year and I could not eat them fast enough. Decided to try my hand and caning, it was not too daunting, and they turned out fabulous. Canned them in three different batches and I did small batches only three pint jars at a time but it worked out great. I used equal part figs and sugar and added one lemon sliced and cooked for two hours before putting them in jars. This recipe did not call for any pectin and I liked that. We also had a great crop of cantaloupe and they were delish.

These are my figs cooking for my preserves

Stay Tuned, Work is a Little Crazy. . ..

Stay tuned, I know it has been awhile since I last posted but work is a little crazy and sleep is about all I do. Trying to get back on track with my eating plan and my exercise plan. I am trying some new recipes that I will be sharing and some new exercises too. Funny thing happens when all you do is eat, sleep, and work; you gain weight. Yuck! Not only do you gain weight but you feel bad too.

If you have these problems stay tuned I am going to try and get a handle on it, maybe you would like to share your story.

I Have Learned so Much from My Kids. . .

My Children teach me something new daily.

My children taught me so much when they were little, they taught me: I could do great things with only two hours of sleep, I did not need a bath every day, and I could make a bed while they were in it and not wake them up. I also never knew I could love someone so much even before I knew who they were.

I went into pre term labor with Big T at 24 weeks and I was so scared. I had no idea what was going on. I never had true labor pains with Sprat. They induced me with him and had tremendous back labor but no true abdominal contractions. Big T was determined he was ready before we were, and he wanted OUT! Sprat had welded himself in and law, I would probably still be pregnant if they had not done the C section. They both showed me I was much stronger than I gave my self credit.

the hubbs, Sprat, and Frito reading a story before bed
Sprat and mommy at the Zoo, we made our picture at this same spot every time we went to the
zoo.


Big T celebrating a B day at pre school. Love those cheeks!
Big T feeding the baby calf
So we were supposed to be scared in this one but Sprat is obviously to cool for that.
Big T and I trying to stay warm at an early season Baseball game for Sprat
The boys reminded the Hubbs and I how to be kids again too. Big T Halloween Clown

As teenagers they taught me patience

Both boys tried my patience as teens, neither of them wanted to drive and I could not understand that. When I was learning to drive I looked for every opportunity to drive; going to the store for mom, and I even took up playing tennis just to be able to drive to the park. Prayer was my comfort during these years and I learned that they would drive when they were ready and that I should not push them. They were both about seventeen before they got their driver’s license.

Big T even got to get behind the wheel of my T Bird recently

Approaching their twenties and late teens. . .

Approaching their twenties and late teens I have enjoyed talking with the boys over different subjects. It seems life’s cruel joke is just when your kids get interesting and fun to hang out with and talk to they find their own lives and do not want to hang out with you. We try to stay connected to the boys as best we can, they are off doing their own thing and we are very proud of them.

Sprat did teach us some new stuff in the kitchen since he has been home from college. He had raved about the air fryer and the hubbs had points built up through his work and he got an air fryer. I was very apprehensive about it at first but I have to tell you it is very cool. Sprat is teaching us how to use it and new recipes to use in the air fryer. We have made: Brussel sprouts, broccoli, tater tots, chicken nuggets (homemade), falafel, and I made homemade mozzarella sticks. The mozzy sticks were the bomb! I love using the air fryer and things that would have really heated up my kitchen I can do in the air fryer really quickly and no over heating me.

Battered and headed to the freezer for an hour Mozzy sticks
Out of the air fryer and ready to eat Mozzy sticks

Stay tuned for more air fryer fun and recipes from King Arthur baking. . .

Have You Ever Wanted to Make Your Fur Baby Homemade Treats?

I made the B some treats. . .

I made my sweet Basil some homemade doggy treats. We picked up a mix at the King Arthur baking company when we were in Vermont last month. This is a doggy biscuit mix and it came with a cute little doggy bone cookie cutter. Check out King Arthur baking company for this mix you can order online. Kingarthurbaking

These are my biscuits I made for the B

The B loved her Biscuits

The B loved her biscuits, she even came in the kitchen to help out as sous chef. These are vegetarian biscuits and very easy to make. According to the package no artificial colors or flavors and non GMO. This package made so many cookies that I froze most of them and they did beautifully. When I am ready to set some out for the week I just pull them out of the freezer and set them on the counter and the are thawed in a few hours. Before anyone has a fit about the possibility that this sweet baby is over fed, she gets small bites of the cookies. She does not eat a whole cookie at one time, it usually takes about a week to eat a whole cookie.

Basil loves her cookies, this face does not lie.
Basil is very happy with her new treats

Have you ever heard the term GWL?

Have you ever heard the term GWL? GWL stands for gifted word learner. Yes, Basil is a GWL, she knows many words and phrases of the English language. Cookie is by far her favorite word of the English language along with chicken, daddy, and let’s go out. She also knows that if I shout an expletive in the kitchen food is on the floor and she better hurry or it will be cleaned up. Basil also recognizes when the music on TV gets intense and she looks to see what is happening, prepared to defend us from what might be coming.

Our little GWL Basil

Stay tuned for more King Arthur recipes. . .

How Does Our Garden Grow?

The hubby is getting our garden ready. . .

The hubbs has already started our garden and we have spinach and asparagus galore. I am loving the asparagus, he is of course being a little stingy with it so I do not cut it all. My favorite way to fix asparagus is to sautéed it in olive oil and a little balsamic vinegar with fresh garlic and onion.

This was my first offering of asparagus and I sautéed some spinach with it.
This is our spinach bed
Our sprigs of asparagus, this is our second year for them.

Spinach is very versatile. . .

Spinach is very versatile, I use it in salads, sautéed as a side, and I even add it to my smoothies in the morning. Yes, I add fresh and even some spinach that I froze to my smoothies in the morning. Spinach freezes beautifully and it is easy to add to smoothies this way. To freeze your fresh spinach; wash and spin it dry and then put it in a freezer safe baggie and pop in your freezer. My favorite spinach smoothie is: frozen or fresh pineapple, cherries, coconut water, fresh ginger, spinach, coconut flakes (unsweet), and protein powder. Blend well and enjoy.

Hubby Likes to Cook. . .

My hubby likes to cook as well as garden. Usually he sticks to the grill but sometimes he likes to get out the crockpot. He made an amazing roast the other day with dry ranch seasoning and dill pickles. I love pickles so this sounded great to me. We added some pickled jalapenos too for a little more zing. This cooked for about 6 hours on low and was delish. This roast is so tender it just falls off the fork.

Roast after we threw everything in the pot

Easter Break with the Boys in MA. . .

Spent Easter Break with the boys

Drove up to Massachusetts after working the night before, I slept most of the way. Stopped at the casino at the Mohegan Sun at the Poconos to spend the night. The hubbs and I have not been to a casino since before Big T was born, in fact, Big T came home with us from Vegas. Yep, found I was expecting again only a month after our visit to the City of Bright Lights. We had a blast and the hubbs is one luck devil, he won that night and the next morning at the slots of all things.

The hubbs eating breakfast after his big win

We Did steal the boys away for a quick visit

We saw two good lacrosse games while we were visiting and went to dinner and lunch the next day with the boys. I did have another lobster roll but nothing will ever compare to that first one. Enjoyed chocolate truffles from Chocolate Therapy, these were handmade chocolate truffles that were divine.

My boys at lunch

We headed out to Montpelier, VT. . .

We headed out to Montpelier, VT that afternoon to do a little sight seeing. Stayed at a very quaint little hotel in downtown Montpelier, we parked our car and walked everywhere. Montpelier is the capital of Vermont and is the smallest State capital of any of the US capitals. I loved this little town, I could most definitely live there if it were not so very cold in the winter.

The Capital building across from our hotel
Coming in to Montpelier, VT

We had a day to sight see before the next game.

We had a day to sight see before the next lacrosse game and we drove to Norwich, VT to visit the King Arthur Baking Company. If you like to cook and or bake this is the place to visit. I had the best time shopping and the hubbs did not mind to much. He has told everyone that the Governor of VT was standing outside when we left to shake my hand because I had boosted the local economy. Check out their website http://shop.kingarthurbaking.com there will be more about what I purchased later in another post so stay tuned.

Took a ride to the Morse family maple syrup farm and that was great too. Check out their website to learn more about maple syrup http://morsefarm.com. There is a difference between real maple syrup and some of those brands sold in the stores. Look for 100% maple syrup not maple flavored syrup. We learned that it takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup.

Maple Syrup
Morse Family Farm Norwich, VT
The inner workings of the maple syrup farm

Last but not least we watched some good Lacrosse

We watched two good games of lacrosse this visit. Sadly, we lost both of them but the team played well. They are a young team and are just getting in their groove together. I see great things for this team in the next few years.

the line up to start the game
Big T in red and white facing off first play of the game against the #1 team in the conference. He won 3 face offs and we scored off one of those wins.
Big T
This is one of my favorite pictures of Sprat whispering words of wisdom in his opponents ear.
One of my favorites of Big T

Stay tuned for updates on our travels and recipes from King Arthur Flour company.

Things I Learned in Boston. . .

Driving that fourteen hours is not easy

Driving fourteen hours in one day is not easy. It would most definitely be bad if you did not like the person you were trapped in the car with. Luckily I was trapped, I mean ridding with my hubby. He drives all the time for work so, he is a pretty good driver and does not tire of it quickly. I did pitch in for the last little bit of the drive home.

The Verve. . .

The Verve was the name of the hotel we stayed in this time. It was 80’s themed and it had some very cool 80’s memorabilia scattered throughout the hotel. There were old arcade games, an old phone booth, motorcycle, art, and 80’s music playing over the PA system in the hotel. There were a set of TV’s mounted to the wall playing 80’s commercials, these were hilarious. The Flintstones advertising Winston cigarettes, if you can believe that.

Pac Man, and yes it worked for .25 cent
My hubby playing Astroids in the lobby
this old telephone booth was in the lobby of the hotel too. It had the Terminator playing on the video screen.

Riding the T/ subway system in Boston is easy. . .

The hubbs and I rode the T into Boston one day while the boys were in class. Parking was easy but trying to buy that Charlie pass was a bear, especially if you do not know what your are doing. We were grateful to a very kind young man that helped us out. We were the country bumpkins come to the big city. Very proud of both the boys for mastering this mode of transportation, I am pretty sure I would not have been able to do it at their age. Once downtown Boston there was much to see. The architecture of the old buildings were beautiful. We walked down to the Aquarium and checked out the harbor.

My Devilishly handsome hubby
The infamous lobster roll, I have been waiting on this one since 2018

Now on to lacrosse. . .

We got to see two good games of lacrosse. They lost the first one but it was still a good game and they won the second game in high fashion. It was great watching this young team come together. I have high hopes that Big T will be off the injured list soon and hopefully get in the game. There are a few on the injured list and I hope they will be back and game ready soon also.

Sprat #55 pole white shirt
My motley crew
Sprat in #55 Burgundy. thankful for local parents to snap these pictures.
I think this one is my favorite of Sprat
Big T on the sidelines due to injury

Wrap up. . .

We had a wonderful time getting to meet the boys’ friends, teammates, and families. So thankful for the local parents taking care of the team. Heading back up for two more games and we hope to see Big T on that field. It would be fabulous to see brother D poles on that field.

Have You Ever Wanted to Make Your Own Meatballs?

Homemade Meatballs. .

Homemade meatballs, I am not talking about those tiny little ping pong balls you get in the freezer section of your grocery store. I am talking about lacrosse ball size meatballs. Homemade sauce with these great big beauties that I mix and roll by hand. To make your sandwich you have to cut these gorgeous things in half to put them on the bread.

How about some sauce for those meatballs. .

Only homemade tomato sauce will do for these beautiful gems. I love when our garden over produces tomatoes, because I can make sauce and freeze it for later. This past season we had an abundance of tomatoes and peppers and the hubbs decided to roast them and blend them for sauce. Great idea and very tasty. Saute some fresh garlic, very important to use fresh garlic, it has much more flavor than the powdered stuff. The essential oils are very beneficial too. I saute in olive oil and a little white wine, once your garlic is smelling your house up add your sauce. If you do not have homemade sauce add a couple cans of your favorite brand of sauce, it does not hurt to add some tomato paste too.

I like to season my sauce with: cumin, thyme, oregano, cilantro, onion powder, dry mustard, and a little rosemary. If you need a little liquid you can add: water, vegetable broth or beef broth. I used vegetable broth for my most recent batch and they were wonderful. Let this simmer for a bit while you mix up your seasoning for the meatballs.

The Balls. . .

I used 2 lbs ground beef, I like to use a more lean beef. 1 cup breadcrumbs, 1 egg beaten, splash of milk, 2 tbs parsley, 2 tsp garlic powder (yes I use powder in the meat), 2 tsp onion powder and mix well by hand. Form into Lacrosse/ tennis ball size meatballs.

The cook. . . Slowly on the Traegar. . .

Heat your Traegar up to 150 degrees once heated place your pan ( I use an aluminum foil pan) on your grill uncovered for an hour. I do baste a little bit of sauce so the balls do not dry out. By leaving them uncovered you allow the smoke flavor to really permeate the meat. After the initial hour of cooking I pour my sauce over the meat balls and cover my pan with foil. Turn up your heat on the grill to 225 and cook for 6-8 hours.

These beauties getting ready to go on the grill for six hours or so

How Do you Serve your Meatballs?

I like to serve my meatballs on french bread toasted. I put my oven on broil and toast my bread for a bit to dry it out. Once the bread is starting to get some color I pull it out of the oven and rub the bread with a piece of peeled garlic. This is better than garlic butter. Place a piece of your favorite cheese on your bread. The hubbs likes swiss and I like fresh mozzarella. Cut your meatball in half and place them on top of your cheese then pop your sandwich open faced back in the oven on broil for a bit longer. This last bit in the oven is to finish the browning of your bread and to melt your cheese.

This is an old picture but is what my meatball subs look like.

My Healthy Journey Continues. . .

Let’s talk about food. . .

What we put into our bodies has everything to do with our health. I have been on this good health journey for several years. Trying different foods and adding supplements here and there. I was telling my husband one day about the Mediterranean people and what they eat and how they are so much more healthy because of what they eat. This is how the Mediterranean diet came in to fashion, it is not a “diet” like weight watchers but is a healthy way of eating a lifestyle. His response was; “they also walk and ride bikes everywhere they go, they are more active than people in the US.” This is very true, you have to not only change your eating but increase your activity in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Let’s talk inflammation. . .

Inflammation is the body’s way of fighting off infection and healing injuries, this is good inflammation. There is inflammation that happens without infection and injury and that is not good. This is the kind of inflammation that contributes to heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and even Alzheimer’s. This inflammation is the one I am fighting every day through diet and exercise.

My Health Scare. . .

I had a little bit of a scare several years ago when my vision suddenly went “wonky” and I went to the doctor because they thought I was having a stroke or something. Very thankful and fortunate that was not the case but my blood work came back showing inflammation. I had noticed some joint swelling, tightness and soreness in the months prior to my little scare so I decided to do my research into how to eat and exercise my way out of this pickle.

I love to eat. . .

Let’s face it we all love to eat, I am no different. I also enjoy cooking and trying new recipes so I have been reading a lot on the Mediterranean and anti-inflammatory diets. My protein smoothie is my go to breakfast and in my research I found that pineapple and cherries are top anti-inflammatory fruits. This is where I began making my smoothie with frozen fruit instead of juice. The most fabulous protein smoothie recipe: frozen pineapple, cherries, blueberries, fresh ginger, coconut water, shredded coconut (unsweet), and my vegetarian protein powder and blend. When our garden is in season I add fresh beets to my smoothie. I can tell a difference in my joints when I do not have my pineapple smoothie. Since I have been following this diet and adding exercise I have not had another episode with my vision.

I had much rather eat good food and take vitamins than take medicine. Growing up we did not eat out hardly at all and we rarely ate fried food. Mom always had a garden and we ate what she grew. I firmly believe that is the key to health and longevity. All of the anti-inflammatory diet information I have read is basically eat like your grandparents. Fast food is the devil!

Recipe. . .

This is a new recipe I tried, Sweet Potato frittata, I found this in; The Complete Anti-Inflammatory Diet for Beginners by Dorothy Calimeris and Lullu Cook. I have changed the recipe around a little.

  • large sweet potato peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 1T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small red onion chopped
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 8 large eggs beaten

pre heat oven 375 and recipe says use cast iron skillet I used a stone baking dish and brushed with oil added sweet potatoes and onion and drizzled olive oil and baked. Recipe says bake 10-15 mins mine actually took about 40 mins in the oven before my potatoes were fork tender. Add your thyme and top with your beaten eggs and cook for about 15 minutes. Eggs should be firm with a slight jiggle. Let cool 5 mins then serve.

Sweet potato frittata

Stay tuned for more Mediterranean and anti-inflammatory recipes. . .