Many updates since my last post. Sprat is now a college graduate and is on the job hunt. He will be a history teacher and hopes to coach lacrosse. We all attended graduation against the will of Big T. Not sure why my kids do not want to bask in all of the celebration that goes along with graduation.
Graduation. . .
The hubbs and I drove up for all of the celebrations. We attended Catholic Baccalaureate Mass it was a very moving service. We are not Catholic, so it was all new to us. I loved that we got to see the hooding ceremony during the Mass. The next day was graduation, we stood in line for an hour to get in to the venue. We sat for another hour before the graduation started. Despite Sprat’s reluctance in participating in all of the hoopla he had the biggest grin on his face the whole time. I was thrilled to see him so happy.
Big T and Sprat after Mass
Sprat and Sweet G
After Graduation, see that smile. . .
Senior Night at Lacrosse
Sprat and I after Mass
My boys are home. . .
My boys are home, we moved them home after graduation, only to be home for a short while. They are working on getting jobs for the Summer and playing lacrosse. Big T is taking two classes this Summer to lighten his load in the Fall and Spring. Sprat is moving back to Massachusetts for the Summer to work.
Conclusion. . .
Our Summer is packed with Wedding plans and celebrations, stay tuned to see what is next in my corner.
Sprat is in college in Massachusetts, Sprat is about as southern of a boy as there ever was. We are not rednecks but, our hayseeds do show on occasion. The Southern drawl is strong with my oldest, and funny thing, the farther North he went the harsher his accent became.
Sprat’s first college. . .
Sprat’s first college he attended closed due to financial difficulties, it was a small private college. He will graduate from the college that he transferred to when that first one folded. The professors at the first college took great pride in ridiculing my son for his accent and what they believed his upbringing to be. They believed all Southerner’s were dumb and drove around in pick up trucks with deer strapped to the hood. My very sweet and proud Southern boy did not cower or waiver in his studies or his passion, he persevered like all fine Southern gentlemen.
Not everyone ridiculed the Southern gentleman.
Not everyone ridiculed my Southern gentleman, the girls found him very interesting. The little Southern boy from North Carolina had all the young ladies in Massachusetts a little confused. They did not know what to do with him or how to react to him. He was not what they were accustomed therefore, they were intrigued. As you are already aware, my Southern gentleman has found his forever person in the North. The North has infiltrated our clan and Sweet G will officially join our family in 2024. We could not be happier for these two crazy kids.
Sweet G . . .
Sweet G and Sprat became friends through mutual friends at school. This very sweet young lady has taken care of my Southern gentleman when he was sick and took care of both the boys at Thanksgiving this past year. Her petite stature holds a huge heart.
There is a language barrier. . .
There is a language barrier between the North and South, Southerners have little phrases and words Northerners have never heard. If you told a Northerner to “go up yonder and get yur clothes changed.” They may not know where you wanted them to go. “I’m fixin to get supper on the table.” That means you are about to eat. What about a “lightnin bug,” do you know what that is? That is a firefly. Did your mama ever tell you, you were “gonna get a switchin?” If she did that means you are a Southerner and you got your butt “whopped” from time to time. If your daddy ever came home from work and said, “I feel like I have been rode hard and put up wet,” then your daddy had a pretty hard day. I will never forget my mom telling me about a small bathroom at the hospital, she said, “you couldn’t cuss a cat in here without gettin hair in your mouth.”
Sprat’s Southern observations. . .
I will never forget Sprat calling home one day from college to tell us how things were going, this was before Big T was attending. Sprat was telling about lacrosse practice and then stopped and he said, “mama these people do not know what rain smells like.” Laughing out loud, I asked him what he was talking about. He said after practice he and several guys walked out of the locker-room and he took a deep breath and said he could smell rain coming. After he had voiced this observation to his friends they all looked at him like he had three heads. Apparently that is not something they noticed or had ever heard before but, in the South you know rain is coming because the air smells different right before a rain shower.
Sprat called another day after practice just to talk and let us know how things were going. He said, “Mama, the coach was playing a good song on the radio during practice and I asked him to cut it up.” According to Sprat, coach did not know what he was talking about. Coach said, what do you want cut up and Sprat replied the radio so we can hear the song. This is another one of those old Southern sayings. Cut it up, referring to the volume on the radio.
When it comes to chicken or tuna which do you prefer? At our house we eat mostly chicken, the hubbs and I like tuna every now and then. We add tuna to shake things up, it is also a good go to for a quick meal. I know I have shared the old tuna BBQ sauce recipe but I have another one that is really good with crackers.
Chicken? What all can you do with chicken?
I like a little saucy chicken, crock pot and enchilada sauce with some extra garlic powder, cumin, and some V8 juice. This cooks for eight or so hours on low and then shred it and it is great for tacos, burritos, or on a salad. That recipe is on the light side if you wanted something a little more decadent, if chicken can be decadent, add a block of cream cheese at the last thirty or so minutes of the cook. You can do this same recipe with BBQ sauce, even the cream cheese. The Greek cook is really good and lite also, chicken broth, lemon juice, whole garlic cloves smashed, rosemary, and oregano. This you can shred and add to chicken and rice soup or just serve it over rice.
Since I have been eating clean these last several months I decided I would try to clean up my tuna recipe. The usual recipe: can tuna drained and flaked, mayo, mustard, boiled egg, garlic powder, dill weed, and vinegar or pickle juice and fork it all together. This is a very good tuna recipe. I shook things up this week with my tuna using plain Greek yogurt instead of mayo, used everything else and It was good. This tuna is good with crackers or over a bed of greens and with either the yogurt or the may you do not need extra dressing.
Some other yummy things I have found. . .
The smoothie recipe got kicked up a notch with unsweet coconut milk, which is surprisingly very tasty. Recipe: 1 cup coconut milk, 1 scoop protein and greens, 1/2 cup ice, 1/2 cup frozen pineapple chunks, and some coconut water and blend. This was a really good smoothie add a little rum and you would swear you were some where tropical.
Stay tuned, I am changing things up in the kitchen these next months. . .
Yes, it is official, I am old. I am no longer a mother of teenagers but, a mother to two young adults. Wow!! That was hard to even type much less imagine. Very proud of both my young men and I look forward to see where they will go in life.
Celebrating. . .
Celebrating Big T and his birthday this month. He is no longer a teen but a young adult. So proud of him and all that he has accomplished. Big T was the one that scared me the most; pre term labor at 26 weeks, flu at 2 months with a temp of 106, and then the swine flu at age 7. This one really tested this mothers nerves like no other. He gets so aggravated with me about celebrating everything but what he does not realize is how close I was to losing him before he even took his first breath. So yes, I celebrate EVERYTHING! I am the Mother!
This one did test my limits and my strength as a mother but, I would not change a thing. I am old, I have gray hair, and wrinkles much to my dismay. I gave up coloring my hair but, I am still fighting the wrinkles. Stay tuned as the journey continues into good food, real food, and updates on the nuptials.
Are you trying to eat clean this year? Finding recipes should be easy, there is Pintrest and Facebook, but sometimes it can be challenging. I have also been looking at anti-inflammatory recipes along with Mediterranean recipes. You have heard me say a million times how much I love Mediterranean food and their spices.
Anti-inflammatory recipes. . .
I like the anti-inflammatory recipes for two reasons; I am prone to inflammatory response and I love the flavors and options. Eating for an anti-inflammatory diet is really easy. Cut out processed food, meat, and eat more veggies. That is a plan I can get behind for sure. I read a lot about different eating plans and I have found several books that I love discussing the anti-inflammatory way of eating. I hate using the word “diet,” I prefer to use “eating plan.”
My plan: Clean, Mediterranean, Real, and Anti-Inflammatory. . .
My goal this year for my eating plan is to eat real food and not processed food. I will be using my “100 Days of Real Food” book and my “The Complete Anti-Inflammatory Diet for Beginners” book. Sweet Potato Frittata was on the table tonight, this is a yummy recipe with sweet potatoes, onion, eggs, and some of my fresh herbs. We have some sweet potatoes left over from the hubbs harvest last year and they are so good. I have also been making sweet potato fries in the air fryer, these are a wonderful healthy snack.
Sweet potato frittata. . .
2 medium sweet potatoes peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 small onion chopped into 1 inch pieces
8 eggs beaten
herbs of your choice: thyme, sage, rosemary, chives. . .
2 T olive oil
pre heat oven 375, place sweet potatoes, onion, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste toss and sprinkle your herbs over potatoes and onion. Place in skillet or stone in the oven for about 30 mins till potatoes are fork tender. Times will vary. After fork tender pour beaten eggs over potatoes and onion and return to the oven for 15 more minutes. This will keep in the fridge for a week.
Conclusion. . .
Stay tuned for more Clean recipes and fun alternatives for you meal plans. The hubbs is cleaning out the garden and plotting his design and yummy veggies he will be planting this season. Already on the window seal: spinach, broccoli, and pepper plants. Plans for carrots, beets, and lettuce of all varieties.
Sprat’s friend came down to visit after Christmas, he wanted to show her around our little town. She is from Massachusetts and graduated last year, she is a very sweet young lady. I will call her sweet G, sweet G will be joining our family in the near future, no dates are set at this time. We are very excited to welcome her to our clan.
Not sure how to act. . .
Not sure how to act, I have never had a daughter before nor have I been a mother-in-law. This is going to open up a whole new territory for me. Going to be a roller coaster of emotions this year as Sprat graduates and will be planning his new life with his bride to be. We are very excited and cannot wait to see where they land.
The very happy couple. . .
Conclusion. . .
Stay tuned for more on the nuptials, no dates at this time. Lots of celebrating to do this year.
What are your go to meals, those meals that you do not have to think about to fix? You may have several that you could make in your sleep and you always have those ingredients on hand. These are your quick, easy and maybe even a favorite recipe.
My favorites to fix. . .
One of my favorites to fix in a pinch is homemade alfredo sauce with angel hair protein pasta. This is a favorite for my family and I have to say it is really good. Eggs are also a go to for me in a bind, I can throw together an egg scramble with my eyes closed. We always have eggs in the fridge and with the Instant Pot you can fix boiled eggs in 7 minutes. Tuna is also a go to option for me, a little tuna and some crackers or celery is always a good option.
Alfredo. . .
4 T butter
3 T flour
3 cloves garlic pressed
splash of white wine
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 cups parmesan cheese
1 box angel hair pasta cooked to package directions
Melt butter over med low heat, add pressed garlic and saute till it smells yummy. Add flour and whisk to get rid of the lumps. Add your splash of white wine. Whisk and add your heavy cream. Slowly add your parmesan cheese and whisk to combine. Continue stirring, this will bubble up and become thick and delicious. I do not mix my pasta and sauce all together, I like to serve it kinda like spaghetti, this way your pasta will not get mushy.
My Infamous Tuna. . .
There are several ways to fix tuna; there is traditional with mayo as a salad but I found that sauteing with BBQ sauce is good too. My kids do not know this but when they were little I used to fix the BBQ tuna and tell them it was BBQ. I know, bad mommy for telling fibs. When the boys were little we really did not eat out that much and it was real work fixing things they would eat. My goal as a mother was to make sure my kids ate healthy and did not fall into the trap of quick and easy fast food garbage.
Tuna salad. . .
1 can tuna
1 large spoonful mayo
2 T mustard
splash vinegar or pickle juice (your choice)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Drain your tuna and flake it with a fork and add the above and refrigerate for 2 hours. Serve with crackers, cheese, celery or on toast.
What are your most valuable kitchen gadgets? There are many kitchen gadgets that I love and could not do without but, my most valuable are:
Opal counter top pellet Ice maker (makes the “good” ice)
Good knives/cutting boards
The Instant Pot. . .
The Instant pot is a wonderful time saver and was recommended to me by my manager. She told me about this great little gadget that can make perfect potato salad in seven minutes, eggs and all. I make soups, stews, potatoes, eggs, and beans in my Instant pot. My husband says it is worth it’s weight in gold just because of the way it cooks eggs. Beautiful boiled eggs that peel like a breeze in just seven minutes.
Opal counter top ice maker. . .
The Opal counter top ice maker makes the wonderful soft pellet ice that you can find in some restaurants. I use this ice for my coffee smoothies and my water just tastes better poured over it. This little gem was a life saver during the Pandemic, we were not going anywhere so I could not get my “good” ice for my water or smoothies for work.
The Air Fryer. . .
Sprat turned us on to the Air Fryer, he loves it because he can do tater tots and chicken nuggets in no time. The hubs fell in love with it because it makes the best roasted broccoli and cabbage. I use it to make: sweet potato fries, grilled cheese sandwiches, and it fries bacon like a dream. Imagine making bacon without getting grease all over your kitchen. This is a much healthier alternative to traditional oil frying.
Instant Pot Recipe. . .
This is a recipe I made last week and it was really good. The hubbs and I like pintos but I wanted something a little different and without the fatback.
1lb-1/2 lbs of pintos soaked for about 3 hours
1 can coconut milk unsweetened
1 tsp ancho chili powder
1 tsp regular chili powder
1 tsp thyme
3 cloves garlic mashed
1 bay leaf
4 cups water
Drain you pintos and combine all ingredients and seal your pot. Set to manual and cook on high for 25 minutes and allow natural release. This is a combination of two other recipes I found on the internet.
Stay tuned for more kitchen fun and recipes for good food and good health.
You are what you eat, so what are you eating? I have heard that statement on more than one occasion relating to what I have been eating. Trying to think more about what I eat these days and keeping this statement in the forefront of my mind. There are folks that are vegan, vegetarian, and Keto each of these restrict the diet in some form or fashion. I do not want to restrict my diet.
Are you taking vitamins?
Are you taking vitamins, my mom and dad have always taken vitamins and supplements and they are 91 and 90 respectively. I am a firm believer in taking vitamins just based on my parents, they have slowed down in the last 10 years but are still pretty healthy. They do not require medication for blood pressure, cholesterol, or diabetes. Growing up mom always had a garden and some years we had three gardens that she tended. We ate what she grew and we rarely ate out, if we did eat out it was a special occasion and a treat.
Goals this year. . .
One of my goals this year is to eat healthy and to eat real food. Not going on a restrictive diet but I will choose real/ good food. Never really cared for meat much, though I did eat more meat when the boys were at home. I think I may steer myself away from meat and focus on the veggies, I like them best anyway. My focus is going to be; eat food that is good for me and adds value to my body. The other goal I have for myself is to stay away from medications, I hope that eating well will keep me away from the pharmacy. Hippocrates considered nutrition one of the main tools a doctor could use. “Let food by thy medicine. . . ” (author unk, thought to be Hippocrates).
Conclusion. . .
Check out some good reading: 100 Days of Real Food on a Budget by Lisa Leake
Do you have a morning routine other than rolling out of the bed and crashing to the floor? I was reading something the other day about having a morning routine and how it made you more productive throughout the rest of the day. When the boys were little we had a strict morning routine and yes, I was very productive throughout the day.
My morning routine of the past. . .
My morning routine when the boys were little was to get up before anyone else in the house. By getting up before anyone else I had time to myself to do my devotions, read my Bible, and pray. This time was very important to me because it was my only time to myself and it did set the tone for the rest of the day. Not sure if that gave me a boost to be more productive or not. Goodness knows with the boys I did not stop till I lay my head down for sleep.
My current morning routine. . .
Since we are almost empty nesters and I am working a lot right now, I am not getting up as early but still reading my Bible, doing my devotions, and praying. I am trying to walk again first thing in the morning because that does make me more productive and relaxed for the rest of the day. My morning routine would not be complete without my infamous smoothie for breakfast. How you start your day does affect how the rest of your day goes.
Breakfast Smoothie: Blend the following in the blender till smooth.
frozen pineapple cubes
frozen cherries pitted
8oz coconut water
beets chopped (I use my frozen cubes)
1 scoop of protein powder
Conclusion. . .
I encourage you to start a morning routine, just do it for two weeks and see how it goes. Leave a comment and let me know how it goes, even if it is negative I would be glad to read your comments. Life is about trial and error and if you do not try you are not going anywhere. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is courage to continue that counts” Winston Churchill. Have courage and stay tuned. . .
Happy New Year! Here’s to a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year. I have never been one to make resolutions, I do resolve to be better this year than I was last. When you make grandiose resolutions, I feel like you are setting yourself up for failure. Nobody wants that!
Goals of the New Year. . .
I do have goals for the new year, I would not call them resolutions, merely goals for what I would like to accomplish or change this year. My schedule at work has gotten a little hectic again so I would like to get that under control. Trying to find a work/life balance is a big goal this year as well as getting into more of a routine with working out and work. There are several new recipes I hope to try out also. Looking forward to lacrosse season and traveling to see the boys play. The hubbs and I have some work we would like to do around the house this year, a few upgrades here and there. The house could use a good de- cluttering too, not sure if I am up for that or not.
Updates. . .
Sprat will be graduating in the Spring, he will finish out his last season of lacrosse and then off to educate our youth in history. Big T is completing his sophomore year and second season of lacrosse and has changed his major. Both of these kids have changed their majors at least twice and I believe Sprat did three times. That is what college is for though, to find your passion and figure out what your interests really are.
Conclusion. . .
It is my hope that the boys will go back to school and have a wonderful last semester and a great lacrosse season. I am very excited and anxious for Sprat as he completes his senior year of college preparing to go out into the world. He is going to be a great teacher, I know that deep in my soul. It is hard to believe that my baby is graduating college. Very proud of both of these boys for all they have accomplished, they each faced their own difficulties and soared above each of them.
The tree is up and decorated and I have tried to clean up all the needles left by our tree. Having the day off and getting to decorate the house for Christmas was very nice. I decided I would decorate the whole house, I brought out my Christmas china and decorated the bathrooms too. As I was putting ornaments on the tree I thought about each one and where they came from.
Christmas ornament memories. . .
Each of our ornaments has some significance, I pick up ornaments when we travel and the boys get an ornament every year from me and their grandmothers. Last year as I was putting away the Christmas ornaments I fixed a box for Sprat and Big T so I could keep their ornaments separated. When they leave our home to make their way in the world they have a nice neat box of their ornaments.
I remember when the hubbs and I got our first tree, we were just dating but we put a tree up in his apartment. We did not have any ornaments so we went to this little store in town and bought some ornaments and lights so the tree would not be naked. When the boys are ready for their first apartment they will have ornaments for their tree. Their tree will not look as shaby as ours did, it was rather pitiful.
While decorating our tree this year I noticed I had two ornaments that were similar, one was mine and one was the hubbs. Mine was a little girl silhouette in brass playing an instrument at the bottom it had my name engraved, this was given to me by my parents when I was little. The hubbs was a little boy silhouette in brass playing an accordion, it had his name and a year engraved on his. We have been married almost thirty years and I just noticed these two ornaments or maybe I noticed them earlier and never really thought about it.
Our animals have ornaments too. Every year I put their ornaments on our tree and think about each of those that have crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Sweet Basil gets a new ornament each year too. Yes, we are crazy about our fur babies, they have stockings too for Santa.
Unique Ornaments. . .
Every year we put a pickle ornament on our tree. This is a German tradition, the pickle is the last ornament placed on the tree Christmas Eve after the children have gone to bed. On Christmas morning the first child to find the ornament gets a special extra gift. The purpose of the search for the pickle is so that the children look at the ornaments on the tree and appreciate them before rushing to open presents. The boys have always loved this tradition and oddly enough they never get mad at each other that one gets an extra gift.
We have a birds nest ornament that we put in our tree every year. This was given to me by my mother – in- law and she says that having the birds nest in your Christmas tree brings you luck in the new year.
The hubbs has a cardinal ornament that he insists must be on our tree every year. This is his tradition, his cardinal had seen better days so I found a newer one and replaced it so we could continue. There is also a weird green and gold ball that must be hung on our tree every year. One Christmas my husbands grandmother took him shopping and he wanted these hideous green and gold satin balls and she bought them for him. His mother was not very happy with the selection, it did not go with any of her other ornaments but she put them on the tree. Every year one or two of them went missing until she had only three left and she would hide them in the back of the tree. When my hubby and I were married I was gifted those three hideous green and gold balls, the hubbs is quite insistent that they are on our tree every year. The boys will be gifted two of these balls when they leave our home to make their way in the world, they also each have a pickle ornament in their box too.
Conclusion. . .
I hope you have enjoyed reading about our quirky Christmas traditions. I would love to hear about your Christmas traditions quirky or not. Stay tuned recipes of Christmas to come. . .
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 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 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.
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.
Have you ever thought you were in love before? Maybe you thought the funny feeling in your belly meant you were in love. Did someone send you flowers or chocolate on a special occasion? That is very nice and my hubby did that for me when we were first dating and in our early married years. As the years go by that seems wasteful and cliche. Do not get me wrong, I am not bashing those wonderful tokens of love. I enjoyed every one I ever got.
This is what true love looks like. . .
This is what true love looks like after thirty years and two kids together. True love is when your spouse lets you sleep in on a morning that they have to get up early and you do not. True love is when your hubby does your grocery shopping so that you do not have to go out during a pandemic. My hubby has gone out to get me chocolate when I have had a particularly terrible day, he has gone out to get me the “good” ice for my soda when I have been working from home. Bless my husband, because he is the best. He has, on more than one occasion, made me an egg sandwich for lunch when I have been working and could not take a break to fix myself something to eat.
True love is not always showy, it is not always glamorous and flashy sometimes it is very quiet and simple. It is a man that plants brussels sprouts and beets for you and he does not even like them. It is the man that will put a ginger ale in the fridge so that you will have a cold one when you get up after working night shift. So ladies do not discount the man that does not like the showy holidays like Valentines. It does not mean he does not have love in his heart or that he is incapable of love it just means he has a more unique way of showing that love.
If your hubby or significant other has showered you with love in a unique way leave me a comment. Let’s hear it
Have you ever had a gut feeling about something? Maybe it was to go a different route to work and there was no clear reason why you went that different way but once you arrive at work you find out that there was a terrible wreck on your normal route. Whew! catastrophe averted. That is what I mean by a gut feeling. I think mothers get those feelings more often than most.
My gut is never wrong. . .
One day we had a really big snow, the boys were little and the hubbs and I decided to take them sledding one night. I love those snowy nights when the air is crisp but not too cold and you can hear every little sound. When it is cold the hubbs hands shrink and so his wedding band becomes very lose in the winter. That ring flew around our house for several weeks every time he would make a gesture with his hands you could hear ping, ting, and then a gasp from both of us.
I asked the hubbs to take off his ring and leave it at home while we were going sledding. He insisted that he would not lose it, he was wearing gloves after all. You guessed it he lost his ring at an old Church near our house in the snow that night. There was no hope of finding that little gold band in all of that snow. In thirteen years of marriage that ring had not been off of his finger and now here he was with a naked ring finger on that left hand.
He went to work the next day and every female he came in contact with asked where his ring was and if we were separated. I guess nobody could imagine him just losing it or misplacing it, it had to be some catastrophic end to our marriage. My hubby is quite handsome and he is quite the catch if I do say so myself. Luckily we have relatives in the jewelry business and I set out to get him a new band ASAP!
We celebrated twenty-nine wonderful years together this year and the one thing that keeps us together is a good sense of humor. The hubbs went almost two weeks without a wedding band and I decided this band needed an inscription. I had his cousin put “I told you so” on the inside of his band. This is because I told him to leave his ring at home so he would not lose it in the snow.
Another shinning example of that gut feeling. . .
The gut really bothers me when it is in regard to my boys. It will sure enough get all tied up when there is something not right with them. One day when Sprat was about eight years old he had ridden his bike down the street to the neighbors to play. I was out working in the yard or playing with Big T in the yard when my gut got a little twangy. I looked down toward the neighbors where Sprat was playing and there were all the boys in the neighborhood lining up to do some dare devil stuff on their bikes. Off I went down the street right before Sprat was going to jump the driveway on his bike with a make shift ramp and everything.
Do not distress I did not embarrass him I told him I was going to take he and Big T for milkshakes or ice cream or something to that effect. He never knew the real reason I came to get him. Right after we left the neighborhood the next kid went to do the jump and crashed and broke his collar bone. Thank goodness for my gut.
I know boys will be boys but, if I have a gut feeling mine will not be doing those sorts of things. Not to say mine have not had their injuries over silly stuff they should not have been doing but when the gut rears it’s ugly head I react very quickly.
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.
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.
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.
How did you meet your love/forever person? I have talked with the boys many times about how I met their dad, the love of my life. Do not remember how the subject came up the first time but since the boys have been in college we have talked about it more. Our story is not all that exciting but it is somewhat unique. In fact I was telling Big T about our second first date on the way back from dropping Sprat off at the airport the other day. It is always good that your kids know how much mom and dad love each other.
How we met. . .
Que the pomp and circumstance music as I had just graduated college and secured my first official job with my college degree. I would be working nights in a lab doing bench tests for doctor’s offices and hospitals. One of my good friends from college was working in this same lab so I felt pretty good about the whole thing. In fact we would be roommates until the hubbs and I were married. The night manager introduced me to my lab partner ( Hallmark sappy music ). Yes, it was my future husband and he was a strapping young man in his white lab coat. When I was introduced to him I reached out to shake his hand and yes, my heart dropped to the floor when our hands touched. (I am not making this up)
The Courtship. . .
Our Courtship was quite unique since we worked together, you really get to know the real person when you work with them ten hours a day. You cannot hide your true self in that situation. Our very first argument was over whether what I considered our first date was indeed our first date. According to my hubby it was not. I ask you, if the boy picks the girl up and takes her to a concert and boy pays for everything, is that not a date? The hubby does not believe this to be true and proceeded to announce it in front of everyone at work one night.
First fight, first date?
The hubby picked me up and we went to a concert and hubby did not believe this to be a date. To this day his idea of a date is a mystery to me. I was mortified in front of everyone when he announced that was not a date. It would be three months before there would be mention of a date again. The hubbs did ask me out for dinner and a movie, this was apparently his idea of a date. I was very excited because my heart did still skip a beat every time we were together even though he had made me furious earlier.
The Date. . .
He picked me up and we went to a local restaurant that offered horse and buggy rides out front. I had to stop and visit the horses for a bit before we went in for dinner. The restaurant was very crowded so we had a few drinks in the bar while we waited on our table. We enjoyed a wonderful meal and great conversation and he asked if I would like to go on a horse and buggy ride. I could have turned cartwheels I was so excited. No one had ever done anything so romantic for me. Our bill came and my dear hubby did not have enough money to pay the bill. Being the lady that I was raised to be I offered to help pay. I looked at him quite sadly and asked; does this mean I do not get my horse and buggy ride? He simply replied, No, we will have our horse and buggy ride.
The Horse and buggy
We drove to an ATM, this was before true debit cards and the hubby did not have a credit card, to get cash for the horse and buggy. It was quite chilly that night for a buggy ride but I would not have missed that for the world. We were the last ride before the precious horses were put to bed. They took us around town and had a blanket to wrap up in since is was quite cool. This is what my husband calls our first date and I guess I will go along with it. He is a true romantic after all.
Stay tuned you might hear more about our true romance. . .
Do you embarrass your children, apparently I do. According to my youngest my blog embarrasses him. So, I guess I will not mention him as much as I have in the past on my blog. The reason I blog is not to embarrass my kids but to remind them how much they were and are loved. I want them to be reminded of all the fun things we used to do when they were little. Like the water gun fights at the end of the school year, the many trips to the beach and to grandma’s house. The pictures I add so that they will always have those as well. In this digital age my paper photographs may get tossed out with the trash after I am gone.
I talk and write about my children all the time. . .
I talk and write about my children all the time. I love them and am so very proud of them, I guess I want everyone to know what great kids I have. My blog is sort of a diary/journal about motherhood, my struggles as a mom and my struggle raising two wild and crazy boys. The boy mom struggle is real, especially since I did not have younger siblings (nobody to practice on).
Apparently being a cheerleader is embarrassing too. . .
Apparently being a cheerleader for your kids is embarrassing also. Big T told the hubbs and I, at the first game we went to see them play, we could not yell and cheer for them. LOL!! The kid has no clue who his mama really is. I held my tongue and did not yell or holler for the boys during that first game and I looked around and all the other parents were yelling and cheering for their kids. I think I may have to pull the old, but all the other parents were doing it. Big T was really afraid I was going to embarrass him in front of his teammates and friends. Sprat did not care I guess with age he has realized us yelling/cheering is our sign that we love and care for them.
Mama is a cheerleader. . .
This mama is a cheerleader, I have cheered these two goofballs through all sorts of things. I cheered when they rolled over in the crib the first time, when they crawled, first steps, first teeth, eating solid food, first school day, last school day, report cards, and of course all sporting events. I am a Mom and that is what I do, I cheer on my kids. My cheering has nothing to do with embarrassing my kids, I do not really want to embarrass them but I guess sometimes I get over zealous. I have only been a cheerleader since I was old enough to walk, that is a hard habit to break.
My blog is essentially my way of telling stories. . .
My blog is my way of telling my boys stories of when they were younger and all the cool stuff we did with them. I want them to know how hard their daddy and I tried to make things cool and interesting while giving them a little education along the way. I want them to know all the funny things they said and did and how much they were and are loved.
Stay tuned as this crazy mommy journey continues with parenting adult children, the hubbs and the B. Oh and I am still a Cheerleader!
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.
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.
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.
Stay tuned for more air fryer fun and recipes from King Arthur baking. . .
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
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.
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.
Have been rummaging through old photos of the kids and I. Decided I would share some oldies but goodies from back in the day. Feeling a little nostalgic after looking through everything. I realized that I love taking pictures of my kids and our pets. May have to share some of those later. I will leave you with one last winner, I did not take this one but it is my very sweet boy and me riding in the State Fair. Love and miss him so much he lived to the ripe old age of 40 + years and never had a bad day. He went home to the Lord on Easter Sunday 2010.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Stay tuned for updates on our travels and recipes from King Arthur Flour company.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Stay tuned for more Mediterranean and anti-inflammatory recipes. . .
Do you take time to take care of you? Are you getting enough sleep and eating a well balanced diet? I know that sounds like some kind of health guru or Public Service announcement. Those are big questions that need to be answered when thinking about your health. Moms all around the world just answered those questions with; I do not have time to take care of myself I am taking care of everyone else. Said those very words myself too many times to count. You must take care of yourself or there will not be a “you” to take care of everyone else.
Suggestions for taking time for you. . .
Start walking, get up a little earlier and go for a walk before the rest of your house gets up and moving. I started this way and it really did help me both mentally and physically. Now, I am no Jillian Michaels or Denise Austin but I do know what I did to help myself. It is very hard some days to find that motivation to get up early when you know you have not slept or that you will get no rest during the day. Always remember how good you felt the last time you walked or exercised and remember those benefits when trying to find that motivation. Some days you may just need to take a long relaxing bath, I highly recommend this one. Try a milk bath, it makes the best bubbles and is all natural no chemical additives. Use 1/2 cup powdered whole milk, 1/4 cup corn starch, 1/4 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup Epsom salt and add your favorite essential oils (lavender, rosemary, patchouli. . .) and soak for thirty minutes. This will make your skin so very soft and it is very relaxing.
Please remember that taking care of your self is not being selfish, self care is very important for those around you too. Mom’s take on the weight of the world whether it is in your family life or even your work life. The instinct of nurturing and helping is very strong and we want to help everyone. We must remember that we cannot help everyone and that we should not try to help at the detriment of ourselves. That is a hard one to swallow and definitely out of character of most.
My reason for changing and being selfish
One of my best friends through high school and college died suddenly of massive cardiac arrest. It has been a year this month that she went on to live with our heavenly father, I am still in disbelief that she is gone. I wish I had made that extra trip to see her and my other best friend from high school one last time instead of putting it off. Do not put off taking care of yourself, you should be your top priority. Last year I took stock of myself and decided, I am going to take better care of me. I want to see my boys graduate college and maybe get married one day and have children. In order for me to be there to see those great things I have to be in better health. My hubby will be retiring sometime in the next few years and I want to travel with him and see the world.
Stay tuned as I make changes to meet my goals, I will share recipes that are yummy and good for you. I do not eat anything that does not taste good, I am just trying to find the balance in taste and good for me. There will be updates on the boys too. Those 0600 practices have started and they are looking forward to a full lacrosse season.
After selling Pampered Chef for many years I have a lot of kitchen gadgets but the ones that are getting the most use lately are not PC products. A little back story for ya. When I was growing up I had a real hard time choking down breakfast. I came from a family that truly believed breakfast was the most important meal of the day. My mom, besides being an awesome stay at home mom, sold vitamins on the side. This particular company had a protein shake mix that I loved and I started using that for breakfast. That all started when I was in the seventh grade, before that I did all I could to eat breakfast without puking. I have been using the protein shake/meal replacements ever since for breakfast.
Let’s talk kitchen gadgets. . .
The first item that is most loved and used at my house is the Nutri Bullet. (no, I am not being paid for any part of this post). Both my oldest son and myself use this little gem daily. I like a good fruit/protein smoothie and he likes a coffee/protein smoothie. I am on my second one of these because I sent the first one to college with Sprat. Recipes will be at the end of the post. Using some frozen fruit in my smoothie I really needed something that would pulverize the fruit to make a very smooth smoothie. Sprat makes his coffee smoothie with ice and instant coffee and protein powder. He needed something that would pulverize the ice. Having used many different traditional blenders or even those blender ball cups over the years I feel I am a pretty good judge of the Nuri Bullet and it wins hands down.
Who loves the soft pellet ice? ? ?
Is there anyone that does not love that soft pellet ice? I go to certain fast food places just for a drink because of that ice. You know what I am talking about. Since I have been working from home since the pandemic I have had my husband or the boys go and get me that “good” ice for my cup at home. Evidently they got tired of trecking out to find my “good” ice and they got me my very own, you guessed it, counter top soft pellet ice maker. We have had this little gem for about a year now and it is well used and loved. Sprat uses this ice for his coffee smoothie and let me tell you it is the best dog gone smoothie out there with no added sugar. Recipe to follow I promise.
How do you boil your eggs?
We got an Instant Pot almost three years ago. My boss raved over hers and how easy it was to use I decided I would try one out. Awesome appliance, you can do boiled eggs for deviled eggs in 6 minutes. Yes, I said 6 minutes. These eggs peel so easy, normally my eggs look like my dog peeled them. You can do corn on the cob in 2 minutes. You can do potato salad in your Instant Pot in 6 minutes by doing your potatoes and eggs at the same time. This is the recipe that sent me to WOW ! Almost anything you can do in a crock pot you can do in the Instant pot quicker.
Smoothie Recipes. . .
My fruit smoothie: pineapple (frozen or fresh), cherries frozen, 6 oz coconut water, thumb size piece of ginger, and 1/2 of a beet, and 1 scoop of protein powder. We use Vega protein powder (myvega.com), it is protein from plants. I blend all of this in my Nutri Bullet cup till smooth. Sprats Coffee smoothie, this is a recipe I adapted to my own from Pinterest. Dissolve 3 tsp instant coffee granules in 3/4 cup water, fill Nutri Bullet cup 1/2 way with the “good” ice, pour coffee mixture over the ice, 1/4 tsp vanilla, 2 tbs Hershey chocolate syrup, 1/2 cup milk (latte smoothie), 1-2 scoops of protein powder and blend. To make the coffee smoothie a little more decadent you could use heavy cream or half and half instead of milk.
Drink Recipes. . .
Since I have been cutting back on calories and not using caffeine I have become quite creative in my drink choices. The most recent combination I have been using is 2 oz grape juice and 6 oz diet ginger ale and a splash of lime juice. I have cut my Dr Pepper out almost completely. I still like the bubbles so I use the diet ginger ale. You can substitute cranberry juice for the grape juice if you like, I use both it just depends on what I have in the fridge. Of course this is poured over the “good” ice. When our cucumbers come in I add them to my water along with lemon and or lime slices and mint leaves from my herb bed. Nothing beats ice cold water with cucumber, lime/lemon, and mint.
Conclusion. . .
Please post in the comments your favorite kitchen appliance. Post any drink or smoothie recipes too. Always willing to try something new.
Feeling a little old this week, not because of a birthday or anything, just because my youngest is graduating high school. I am now the mother of two college students and that makes me feel old. When the boys were both in school and i was no longer the mother of preschoolers (MOPS) I was sad. Today I am thrilled!! Big T will be joining his brother in Massachusetts this Fall.
Very Excited for Big T
Big T received an academic scholarship and will be going to Massachusetts to complete his Bachelor of Science in business management and minor in music and playing lacrosse with his brother. I am so excited for Big T, I must toot his horn just a bit. He will be receiving his high school diploma in a few weeks as well as an Associates degree in business management from the community college. He was also inducted into Phi Theta Kappa honor society at the community college. This boy has it going on!!
Travel Mama. . .
I can not begin to explain how very happy I am that I will get to see my boys playing lacrosse together again. The hubby and I have plans to go see them play in person this next year if we can get around this whole COVID mess. We had a major weekend planned right when this all hit in April of last year. The plan was to go to Massachusetts to see Sprat play at his home field and then drive to Maine to watch him play. I was so excited, I have never been to Maine before and I was looking forward to watching my son play college lacrosse. Knew I would enjoy the scenery on the drive from Boston to Maine and I could not wait to try the food, the food, can I say that again the food! Have yet to try a lobster roll and I want one! My fingers are crossed that we will be able to make the trip next year for a couple of games.
Lots of work ahead of Big T. . .
Big T has his work cut out for him. He wants to major in business and minor in music. I have shared how he taught himself how to play the Ukulele during the shut down. He has also taught himself how to play the bass and the piano. I know I am the mama but he really is quite good to be self taught. He does love his heavy metal but he has learned at least one hymn on the piano that is beautiful.
Graduation Ahead. . .
The hubby and I were just talking about all the things we have to get for Big T for his dorm room this year. I posted after Sprat’s second year all the stuff we bought and did not need so I feel like I have a good grasp on what we have to pick up but it is still a lot. The school has provided him with a lap top the last four years so that is something he will have to purchase. I learned from Sprat that we will not be purchasing a printer since the college gives the kids access to printers all over campus. We will have to purchase another fridge for Big T’s dorm. He will also need a new book bag, sheets, pillows, laundry bag, shower caddy, towels, and anything else I can think of.
The hubbs and I love Chili on a cool winter day. I believe my chili is one of the many reasons he married me. Do not laugh, chili means a lot to these football playing and watching men. One cool winter day the hubbs invited his buddies over to watch football and being the best girlfriend in the world I cooked a BIG pot of my infamous chili.
When the hubbs and I were first married I traveled a bit with my job. One of my trips took me to Cincinnati where I was introduced to Cincinnati Chili. The Montgomery Inn severed a fabulous Cincinnati Chili that they are very well known for. I had never had chili served over spaghetti before but it was very interesting. They would not share their recipe but I did find a magnet at the airport with the recipe.
Cincinnati chili magnet recipe. . .
1 1/2 lb lean ground beef
29 oz can tomato sauce
14 oz peeled whole tomatoes
small onion chopped
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 1/2 T chili powder
1 T white vinegar
1 clove garlic
3 bay leaves
Saute onions and garlic pressed, add meat and brown. Add to crock pot along with the other ingredients and cook 6-8 hrs on low. Once cooked remove bay leaves and serve over spaghetti with cheese, onions and sour cream. Enjoy. . .
Crater’s infamous chili. . .
1 1/2 lb lean ground beef
2 cloves garlic
1 T chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 tsp cilantro
3 T tomato paste
1 can tomato sauce
2 cups water
2 tsp ancho chili powder
1 tsp dry mustard powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2-3 whole jalapeno peppers
2 cans dark red kidney beans
1 can cannellini beans
Saute onion and garlic in a little olive oil once translucent add tomato sauce and paste then add all seasonings. In another pan brown ground beef add a splash of white wine. Once meat is browned add to crock pot then add your sauce and stir. Drain and rinse your beans and add to the crock pot. Place your whole jalapenos in your pot and cover to Cook 6-8 hrs on low. I put the jalapenos in whole so I can take them out when ready to eat. I like to serve my chili with: tortilla chips, shredded cheese, onion and sour cream.
Conclusion. . .
If you fix either of these recipes please post back and let me know what you think. Stay tuned for more of my infamous recipes and how I found them. Finding the recipes is part of the fun.