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

Do you work a non-traditional shift?

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

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

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

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

You are what you eat. . .

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

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

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

Conclusion. . .

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

Updates and New Recipes. . .

Updates on the Boys. . .

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

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

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

Updates on the Home Front. . .

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

These are my figs cooking for my preserves

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

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

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

How Does Our Garden Grow?

The hubby is getting our garden ready. . .

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

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

Spinach is very versatile. . .

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

Hubby Likes to Cook. . .

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

Roast after we threw everything in the pot

Have You Ever Wanted to Make Your Own Meatballs?

Homemade Meatballs. .

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

How about some sauce for those meatballs. .

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

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

The Balls. . .

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

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

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

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

How Do you Serve your Meatballs?

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

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

Do You Take Time to Pamper Yourself?

Do you take time for your self?

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.

This is my devilishly handsome hubby and myself at the Red Sox game a few years ago









New Found Time on My Hands, Time to Focus on Me!

Time to focus on my health. . .

New found time to focus on me, with the boys temporarily out of the house. The work schedule is still a little crazy but I am able to fit in some exercise and eating better. This empty nesting is kinda nice but, do not tell Sprat and Big T. Would not want to hurt their feelings. Do not get me wrong, I do miss those two goofballs every day. We text or talk by phone a couple times a week so I can stay up to date on things College.

Loving my exercise routine. . .

Loving my new exercise routine. On days I do not work I start out at the park at 0600 walking 3 miles. I started this before the pandemic but, decided to get serious about it after the lock down. Work became mentally exhausting and my early morning walks were my saving grace. I looked forward to the brisk mornings all by myself and the beautiful park. After my walk I do some Yoga to stretch and keep everything flexible, recently I have added some weight lifting. We have the equipment so why not put it to good use for me. Days that the sunrise is just breath taking, I take pictures to remember.

Beautiful Sunrise on one of my early morning walks
Foggy Sunrise one morning

Working on my diet too. . .

I am working on my diet while the boys are out of the house too. Sprat inspired this change, he has really been watching his diet over the last year and I decided I would too. After my walks I fix a fabulous smoothie; pineapple, cherries, coconut water, coconut flakes (unsweetened), fresh ginger, beets if I have any from the garden, and Vega protein powder. This is the best smoothie ever, no added sugar and all natural. I use fresh pineapple when I can find a good one and I add blue berries some days. The smoothie is breakfast, I eat small meals when I get hungry which is usually every three hours or so, I try not to eat after six in the evening. Cutting out sugary soda was a big effort and I am very proud to say I did it! Along with sugary soda went the daily caffeine, I do drink diet ginger ale and I will have a Dr Pepper every now and then but not like I was drinking them before the pandemic/lock down. The only other time I have gone without sodas (sugary caffeinated) was when I was pregnant with the boys. Something about being pregnant changed my taste buds and I could not drink soda at all.

A few recipes. . .

The hubbs has really out done himself with the garden this year. He managed to grow beets which I use in my smoothies, edamame that I eat by the handfuls, and a number of other tasty treats. He and I could eat out of the garden and only go to the grocery store for things like cheese and yogurt. We had zucchini coming out of our ears so I froze a good bit of it to use later and I froze multiple loaves of zucchini bread and casseroles too. One of my favorite salads is couscous, black bean, fresh mozzarella, chick peas, onion and balsamic vinegar. Made an edamame salad the other day that was really good. 1 1/2 cups edamame cooked, 1 can corn rinsed, 1 can black beans rinsed, small onion chopped, 1 cup cooked quinoa, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp chipolte, 1 tsp ancho chili, juice of 1 lime and toss. Served this cold as meal for me could use as a side dish.

Fresh Edamame out of the garden and in the pot to cook.
Edamame salad

Quarantine and Garden Beds

Quarantine update first. . .

The oldest has been in quarantine two times since he went back to school in MA. The first time he had contact with someone that tested positive and this second time he had tested positive to COVID 19. It was killing this mama being more than fourteen hours away from my baby and him sick with this nasty virus. The only saving grace was his symptoms were very, very mild. I am even skeptical if he actually had the virus. He never ran a fever and his only symptom was a stuffy nose and a little head congestion and he did mention he could not taste his chocolate milk they gave him. A lack of taste is the only symptom that differs from North Carolina allergy symptoms and that lack of taste lasted only a day or two.

Garden Beds and dirt. . .

The hubby decided to build raised beds for our garden this year. He loved what he did with my cutting bed last year and how it turned out. The garden beds look similar but are a little deeper. Quarantine has really made my poor hubby nuts, he has not been able to actually go out and work, they have been working remote since March last year. To pass the time he has been building these beds and researching how to garden in raised beds. I should be happy, he could be surfing porn sites, instead he is surfing garden and planting sites. Oh, and he is not just surfing garden sites, he is an avid fisherman so he has been honing those skills too via the internet.

This is one of the long beds and there are 4 square beds and another long narrow bed.
These are asparagus roots that are going in one of the square beds
This is what the beds looked like before dirt.

What is he planting. . .

Asparagus are a tricky veggie to plant. You plant those ugly roots and you have to let them grow for two years before you can harvest them. That two years may be difficult, I really like asparagus but I promised I would not cut any until the right time. We have onions, sweet peas, cabbage, and broccoli already in the ground. I have planted some dill, spinach, and some chives by seed on our back porch. The hubby is trying his hand at starting celery by using old celery and he has started some tomatillo’s by seed in the window sill.

The Cut Flower Bed. . .

The cut bed wintered over very well. We planted some bulbs that are already breaking ground. I cannot wait to see and smell my beautiful and fragrant flowers. Just need to keep the bunnies out of it. I have spread dryer lint and hair from my hair brush around the bed to deter those voracious little guys. Keeping my fingers crossed because the bulbs are breaking ground and prove very promising.

These are some of my little sprouts from the cutting bed.

Stay Tuned. . .

Stay tuned for more garden updates and Mom advice. . .

Stay Focused, Stay Positive

Trying to stay positive. . .

Trying to stay positive in all the drama. We planted the cut flower bed a few weeks ago and now it is so hot and dry that my flowers just look pitiful. My hope is that later everything will be established and be able to weather the Sahara of Arcadia. It could be pouring rain all over the County and in our neighborhood it will dry as the desert. Hence my comment on the Sahara.

The Mandevilla bed…
The hubbs beautiful tomato plants
Zucchini plants are all a bloom.
The celery was really good

Updates on everything. . .

Updates on everything: the hubbs and I are still working from home, the garden is feeding us very well, and the boys are doing their thing too. I am so proud of myself, I have made and frozen three pots of cabbage enchilada soup and two loaves of chocolate chip zucchini bread and a pot of potato soup and I do not want to forget the mountain stew. Last night I made a lemon zucchini pasta that was to die for. I will share that recipe later in the post. If it were just the hubbs and I we could live out of our garden, sadly the boys want meat and I cannot grow that in our garden. I am not a vegetarian or a vegan or anything like that I just do not have to eat meat. In fact, I prefer not to eat meat just because I do not like the texture.

I am dazzled. . .

I am dazzled by my hubby’s green thumb. Our garden is going like gangbusters this year and I know it is because we are blessed. Our peas did not do as well as we expected but I did enjoy those fresh little pearls of sweetness. I have high hopes for cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon this season. Our cucumbers and zucchini are just starting to mature. My goal, is a full freezer by Winter.

Recipe for lemon Zucchini pasta:

  • 2 medium Zucchini thinly sliced
  • 1 onion thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic pressed
  • 2 peppers sliced (jalapeno, banana, green, red what ever you like)
  • fresh basil leaves
  • fresh oregano leaves
  • fresh lemon thyme
  • olive oil
  • white wine
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • Parmesan cheese
  • whole wheat pasta

Saute onion, peppers and garlic in olive oil then add Zucchini and a splash of white wine. While that is cooking, cook your pasta. I like the whole wheat angel hair pasta personally. After your Zucchini is soft add your fresh herb leaves and your lemon juice and cover and let simmer, if it seems dry add a little more white wine. Once your pasta is done top with your Zucchini mixture and a little fresh Parmesan.

Stay tuned I will share my enchilada cabbage soup recipe next time.

Enchilada Soup

Random Thoughts. . .

Uncertainty . . .

Some many things are uncertain right now, this pandemic has reeked havoc on everything. We do not know one day to the next what new limits will be imposed on us. We have imposed some limits on ourselves. The hubbs and I have weekly calls with our managers and co-workers to stay up to date on this ever changing environment. The boys have meetings with their teachers and coaches weekly too. We still do not know if schools will be back on campus in August. This is the end of Big T’s junior year of high school and we normally would be planning college visits. Not sure how all of this is going to play out but we will attack it as a family.

Thankful Tuesday. . .

I am very thankful for my husband, there is not anyone any better than him to have to endure this “thing” with. He is my rock, my love, and my best friend. The other day I was working and we had been very busy so I had not had a break for food. My very sweet husband had fixed dinner for the boys and brought me a plate downstairs to the office so I could eat. When I am working the boys will come down and visit with me, if I am not on the phone. Big T has entertained me with his Ukulele on numerous occasions. Did I mention that he is teaching himself how to play the Ukulele?

Awww the Ukulele. . .

The Ukulele is an interesting little instrument, it is small and has a twang to it’s sound. I am not sure where Big T got the idea to learn to play the Ukulele but he is actually pretty good at it. He has been teaching himself via YouTube and other online tutorials. He is also learning to play the electric guitar. My hubby played the guitar many moons ago and so we still have ALL of the equipment. I love listening to Big T play his Ukulele he is quite talented, he gets that from the hubbs. I could not carry a tune if you strapped it to my back.

Big T and the Ukulele

The Garden Grows. . .

The garden is growing and we are so thankful the frost we got in this early May did not kill anything. Our peas did not come up as well as we had hopped, luckily though I still have some in the freezer. We had some volunteer Tomatillos come up and those will be a blessing since the ones we bought have not done well.

We Have Timbers. . .

The hubbs found cedar timbers. . .

The hubbs found the cedar timbers for the flower bed. Big T and the hubbs built my new cut flower bed. I am so excited, we have to wait for my peony to bloom before we can move forward with the dirt, this is going to be very cool. I have said many times how much I love fresh cut flowers and now I am going to have my very own bed to cut from.

What a very talented hubby I have. He did such a good job on this bed.
this is the celery that the hubbs planted. the brown paper bag is wrapped around it to protect the stalks from sunlight so that they do not get “woody” and tough.

Now to figure out what to plant in the bed. . .

Both peony plants will be in there and I was thinking maybe some tulips too. I have never tired to grow tulips in a bed, we planted some in the edge of our woods one year but the soil was so bad they did not grow. Some Gladiolus, Dahlias, Queen of Sweden English Rose, Clemantis, Zinnias, Dutch Iris, and some Ranunculus. That sounds like a lot right?

One day last year our neighbors were moving and they had put on the curb some things they were getting rid of, they had a wooden head board out there. My hubby comes home and tells me he is going to get the head board to put in my cut flower bed when he builds it. I told you I have wanted a cut flower bed for a long time. Funny thing about that head board, I had seen it too on my way home from work and thought the same thing. He went down and picked it up and brought it home. We are going to stain it and it will go at the top of the flower bed, I figure some Clemantis or even some type of rose would run well on that.

Stay tuned. . .

Stay tuned for more interesting things happening in the yard. The hubbs has a bug now about building and fixing things. He may put another bed around our Crepe Myrtle tree in the back yard. Tell me what you would put in your cut flower bed if you had one or if you already have one what is your favorite flower.