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.

How Do You Sleep when You Work Non-Traditional Shifts?

How do you sleep when you work a non-traditional shift? I work 2000 to 0800 the next day, I usually try to get a quick bite of something before crawling into bed. Black-out curtains are my best friend along with some lavender linen spray for my bed. Some of my co-workers use melatonin and Benadryl to help them sleep.

I use melatonin sparingly because I do not want to build up a tolerance. I have never used Benadryl except when I thought I was having an allergic reaction to something I had eaten. The lavender spray is very relaxing paired with a little meditation before I lay down. Magnesium is also a good supplement to take right before bed, it helps your leg muscles relax so that you do not get the “jimmy legs.” There is also a magnesium spray that you can spray on your legs, do not spray right after shaving your legs. It will burn like the cuts of a thousand razor blades and you will definitely not sleep.

I make my lavender spray with Witch Hazel, Vodka and lavender essential oil. Vodka and Witch Hazel evaporate quickly so there is no concern for mold or mildew when spraying your linens. The Vodka and Witch Hazel have no aroma so when you mix these with lavender all you get is the wonderful lavender smell. Use a 2 oz bottle and fill 3/4 with Vodka the rest with Witch Hazel and 10 drops of lavender.

The lavender spray above I take with me when we go on trips. I spray the bed and pillows in the hotel before we get in the bed. The Vodka also acts as a disinfectant. You can also use it as a body spray, the Vodka gives it a cooling effect so it is great for Summer.

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.

Did You Fail Your Kids? I Have. . .

I failed my kids. . .

I love my boys more than anything, some days I love them so much it hurts. You want your kids to be successful in life and to be good humans. Recently I read a post about teachers humiliating students and it struck a cord with me. I posted about my son and his being humiliated by a high school football coach, someone that was supposed to be a leader and a role model. My son is in college now and upon graduation plans to teach history, he also wants to coach lacrosse. He will be a good coach, goodness knows he has had plenty of bad coaches to learn how not to coach. I am thankful for the few encouraging coaches he has experienced and no shock that they were all lacrosse coaches.

Saddened daily by the state of our education system. . .

Both of my boys were bullied and humiliated by coaches, teachers, and students they thought were their friends. It saddens me more that my kids did not share this with me until after the fact. They were good at putting on a good face. I prided myself on being open and approachable. Some things they did talk to me about but for things they knew I would go to the mat over they kept to themselves. I found out too late to do anything about the turmoil they went through so, I am sharing my humiliation as a parent that did not stand up for my kids.

The high school and middle school teachers, coaches and administrative staff have a responsibility to educate our children and not beat them up. Their responsibility is to act like adults and be mature in dealing with students. Teachers should not be demeaning students or shaming them for anything, they should be trying to bolster the students’ self esteem. Some children only get negative reinforcement at home and need that positive influence elsewhere. Some students are looking for someone to say; “good job,” or “I knew you could do that problem” or ” way to go on that test.” They do not need someone else saying ugly things to them and embarrassing them.

I had my fair share of humiliation. . .

I had my fair share of humiliation in high school from teachers. My best friend and I were taking an advanced math class and our teacher would put these very difficult problems on the board and then say that his daughter could do this one and she was only nine years old. How helpful is that to students? I remember distinctly one day going by after school to try and get extra help on an assignment and his response to us was: ” you two are dumb and I do not know how you will ever graduate college.” This is why I majored in biology and my friend majored in history. My friend and I walked away and we never said anything about him acting like that to the administration, I cannot remember if I told my mom and dad or not. Probably not. My friend and I still talk about that day and how bad we felt after being told we were dumb.

Conclusion. . .

My friend graduated college and so did I. She has just retired from teaching and I know she was an awesome history teacher. The students that she had always reach out to her to tell her how glad they were that they had her as a teacher and they share their successes with her. I pray daily for our teachers because I know it is no easy job. It scares me terribly to think of Sprat teaching but, I know God is moving him where he needs to be. It is never our plan but God’s plan for our lives and God does not make mistakes.

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.

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. . .