Excitement at Our House. . .

Excitement at our house. . .

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. . .

Sprat and Sweet G
Engagement picture

Conclusion. . .

Stay tuned for more on the nuptials, no dates at this time. Lots of celebrating to do this year.

What are Your no Brainer Meals. . .

What are your go to meals. . .

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?

What are your most valuable kitchen gadgets. . .

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:

  • Instant Pot
  • Opal counter top pellet Ice maker (makes the “good” ice)
  • French Press
  • Air Fryer
  • 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?

You are what you eat. . .

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?

Do you have a morning routine. . .

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
  • fresh ginger
  • 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! Now What?

Happy New Year!

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.

Getting Ready for Christmas. . .

Getting ready for Christmas

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. . .

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.