Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
Monday, November 8, 2010
- 3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
- 1 medium sweet onion (half diced, half thinly sliced), divided
- 8 ounces mushrooms, chopped
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour, divided
- 1 cup low-fat milk
- 3 tablespoons dry sherry, (see Ingredient Note)
- 1 pound frozen French-cut green beans, (about 4 cups)
- 1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
- 3 tablespoons buttermilk powder, (see Ingredient Note)
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a 2 1/2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add diced onion and cook, stirring often, until softened and slightly translucent, about 4 minutes. Stir in mushrooms, onion powder, 1 teaspoon salt, thyme and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the mushroom juices are almost evaporated, 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle 1/3 cup flour over the vegetables; stir to coat. Add milk and sherry and bring to a simmer, stirring often. Stir in green beans and return to a simmer. Cook, stirring, until heated through, about 1 minute. Stir in sour cream and buttermilk powder. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
- Whisk the remaining 1/3 cup flour, paprika, garlic powder and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a shallow dish. Add sliced onion; toss to coat. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion along with any remaining flour mixture and cook, turning once or twice, until golden and crispy, 4 to 5 minutes. Spread the onion topping over the casserole.
- Bake the casserole until bubbling, about 15 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Tips & Notes
- Ingredient notes:
- Don't use the high-sodium “cooking sherry” sold in many supermarkets. Instead, purchase dry sherry sold with other fortified wines.
- Look for buttermilk powder, such as Saco Buttermilk Blend, in the baking section or with the powdered milk in most supermarkets.
NutritionPer serving: 212 calories; 10 g fat (2 g sat, 5 g mono); 10 mg cholesterol; 23 g carbohydrates; 7 g protein; 3 g fiber; 533 mg sodium; 259 mg potassium.
- 2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces (about 8 cups)
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Arrange sweet potatoes in an even layer in a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. Combine maple syrup, butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper in small bowl. Pour the mixture over the sweet potatoes; toss to coat.
- Cover and bake the sweet potatoes for 15 minutes. Uncover, stir and cook, stirring every 15 minutes, until tender and starting to brown, 45 to 50 minutes more.
Tips & Notes
- Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Just before serving, reheat at 350°F until hot, about 15 minutes.
NutritionPer serving: 96 calories; 2 g fat (1 g sat, 0 g mono); 5 mg cholesterol; 19 g carbohydrates; 1 g protein; 2 g fiber; 118 mg sodium; 189 mg potassium.
- 1 10-12-pound turkey
- 1/4 cup fresh herbs, plus 20 whole sprigs, such as thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano and/or marjoram, divided
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- Aromatics, onion, apple, lemon and/or orange, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 3 cups water, plus more as needed
- Position a rack in the lower third of the oven; preheat to 475°F.
- Remove giblets and neck from turkey cavities and reserve for making gravy. Place the turkey, breast-side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan; pat dry with paper towels. Mix minced herbs, oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the herb mixture all over the turkey, under the skin and onto the breast meat. Place aromatics and 10 of the herb sprigs in the cavity. Tuck the wing tips under the turkey. Tie the legs together with kitchen string. Add 3 cups water and the remaining 10 herb sprigs to the pan.
- Roast the turkey until the skin is golden brown, 45 minutes. Remove the turkey from the oven. If using a remote digital thermometer, insert it into the deepest part of the thigh, close to the joint. Cover the breast with a double layer of foil, cutting as necessary to conform to the breast. Reduce oven temperature to 350° and continue roasting for 11/4 to 13/4 hours more. If the pan dries out, tilt the turkey to let juices run out of the cavity into the pan and add 1 cup water. The turkey is done when the thermometer (or an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh without touching bone) registers 165°F.
- Transfer the turkey to a serving platter and cover with foil. Let the turkey rest for 20 minutes. Remove string and carve.
Tips & Notes
- Make Ahead Tip: Equipment: Large roasting pan, roasting rack, kitchen string, thermometer
NutritionPer serving (without skin): 155 calories; 5 g fat (1 g sat, 2 g mono); 63 mg cholesterol; 0 g added sugars; 25 g protein; 0 g fiber; 175 mg sodium; 258 mg potassium.
Friday, November 5, 2010
Saturday, October 23, 2010
1 cup butter
Monday, October 18, 2010
2. Stir together grape cool-aid mix, orange cool-aid mix, sugar and water until solids are dissolved. Combine with chilled ginger ale just before serving. Dip the frozen hand briefly in warm water, then peel off the glove. Float the prepared hand in the punch bowl for a ghastly effect.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
Buy (on Saturday before the week begins):
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
The easiest soap for beginners to make is glycerin soap. You'll need to make a trip to your local craft store to get glycerin soap base, color drops, and fragrance drops. If you don't have any flexible molds at home--plastic & silicone are both fabulous, and even ice trays work--then you may want to check out molds while you're there. Once home, microwave the glycerin blocks in a glass container to melt--DO NOT BOIL THEM! Then stir with a wooden spoon, add color & fragrance drops a little bit at a time until you get your desired color & scent strength, and pour into the molds. Refrigerate to set. Once set, pop them out and wrap in plastic wrap to store or gift. You can also line a bread pan with plastic wrap and pour your soap in, then once set you cut slices of soap to make the bars. Same technique would work with a brownie pan. For kids, try putting a little plastic toy in the soap before it sets so they have to remember to wash up in order to eventually get the toy.
To make creamy lye soap in a blender, you need:
lye (RedDevil brand is excellent)
liquid cooking oil (olive, canola, palm, coconut)
essential oils (for fragrance)
any additives you'd like (try oatmeal with vanilla-scented essential oil)
1/2-gallon bowl (Rubber-maid type)
sturdy plastic stirring spoon
Pam cooking spray
kitchen food scale
plastic wrap (if desired to line molds)
For safety, you need rubber gloves, goggles, and long sleeves.
Grease your molds with Pam. Measure your water and lye. POUR THE LYE SLOWLY INTO THE WATER, NOT THE WATER INTO THE LYE. Stir until dissolved and let cool until clear (you started with cool water, but the chemical reaction will make it very hot very quickly). Measure oil and pour into blender. Slowly pour the lye solution into the oil. Lock blender into place and secure cover. Place towel over top for extra safety. Blend at lowest possible speed. Stop blender often to watch soap for when it just begins to thicken. For safety, each time you stop the blender, wait a few seconds before removing the cover to avoid "burps" as air rises to the surface. Once the soap has begun to thicken, check for "tracing" by stirring soap and taking a spoonful of soap to drizzle water across--if the water leaves a trace you're ready for the next step. Once the soap begins to thicken, add your essential oils and any other additives. Blend these in for a few seconds. Pour into the molds and cover with the blanket (or a towel) to avoid cooling too quickly. Let soap harden 1-2 days, then pop it out of the molds and let it age for 3 weeks before using it.
Try this recipe for Oatmeal Cinnamon Soap:
8 oz. palm oil
6 oz. coconut oil
2 oz. olive oil
1/3 cup regular oatmeal (well blended)
2.4 oz. lye
6.4 oz. water
1 tsp. cinnamon essential oil
(Mix lye into water--let cool. Mix oils in blender. Add lye mixture. Blend and check until begins to thicken. Add oatmeal and cinnamon essential oil. Blend a few seconds until thoroughly mixed. Pour into molds. Cover with blanket. Let set 2 days. Remove and let age 3 weeks.)
Monday, August 9, 2010
1 tsp plus 1 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 can no-sugar-added supersweet corn
1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast--any fat trimmed off
1 tbsp taco seasoning
2 cups uncooked instant brown rice
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups chunky salsa
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
Whole wheat tortillas
Add 1 tsp of the olive oil to a large skillet; heat over medium-high heat 1-3 minutes (until shimmery). Meanwhile, drain corn. Add corn to skillet in a single layer. Cook without stirring 5 minutes or until caramelized on one side (this adds color and texture). Remove corn from skillet and set aside.
While corn is cooking, cube chicken breast. Combine chicken and taco seasoning. When corn is out of the skillet, add chicken to the skillet. Cook until no longer pink (about 5-7 minutes), stirring occasionally. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.
Add remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet. Add rice and stir until coated with oil. Add broth and salsa, bring to a simmer. Cover skillet and reduce heat to low. Simmer 5 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed.
Spoon chicken over rice and sprinkle cheese and corn on top. Cover skillet. Turn off heat, and let stand 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
To serve, spoon into warm whole wheat tortillas and roll into burritos. Serve with your favorite veggie side (possibly a salad with low-fat Ranch dressing that has been mixed with additional taco seasoning). Enjoy!
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Go to a quiet place where you can sit, close your eyes, and concentrate on just your breathing. Slow it to a slow, calm rhythm. Envision a point of light in the darkness behind your eyelids. As you watch the point of light, let it grow, larger and larger, until you find yourself in your special place. For me, the special place is standing on a hillside opposite a mountain of pines. The wind through the pines brings a quiet whisper to me that all will be well. I listen to the breeze reassuring me, and give myself to the wind, leaning into it, and feeling it buoy me up. I stay in this place until I feel totally relaxed and calm, and then slowly retreat back into my conscious mind to "wake up."
When all the stress is pent-up and ready for release, find a good pillow, put it over your mouth, and let it ALL out. Scream and scream until you feel exhausted. It's a great outlet for the stress. This is named for the theory that our first extremely stressful experience was our birth, and babies come out screaming. It's a very natural response to stress, and is really very helpful when used.
I have two forms of exercise I love: spinning and Zumba. On the spin bike, I set the resistance to a comfortable level, pop in my earbuds, turn on my MP3 player, and start slow and then build up to as fast as I can go until I feel the endorphine rush and the ensuing release of pent-up stress. In Zumba, there are so many positive, happy people all dancing, laughing, and working out stress that you can't help but leave feeling much happier than you were when you arrived.
When there is someone else causing my stress, I cook something that I can beat (like punching bread dough or slapping my food chopper repeatedly). I feel better after pulverizing the food, and then my family and I get to enjoy the end result--yummy food!
This one has been awhile since I don't have access to a piano, but I used to choose a music selection that fit my mood (In the Hall of the Mountain King was a great one for stress) and pound it out on the piano, and then would move to either soothing or bouncy/happy tunes. I improved my piano skills and felt much better when done.
Selective Muscle Relaxation
Lay on your back in a comfortable, darkened place. Tighten your toes, then relax them. Focusing on keeping them relaxed, tighten your other foot muscles, then relax them. Keeping your entire feet relaxed, tighten your ankle muscles, then relax them. Move up to tightening your calves, while keeping your feet and ankles relaxed. Continue to move all the way up to your face and ears, while keeping relaxed the muscles you've already released the stress from. Once your entire body is relaxed, just lay there for awhile enjoying being completely relaxed.
Stimulates your happy center in your brain. Need I say more? ;)
Sunday, June 13, 2010
1. Arguments will happen. One or the other of us will occasionally be in a bad mood, and even in an antagonistic one. What we fight over will rarely matter. What will matter is how we conduct ourselves during and after the fight. It really does take two to fight. If the issue really doesn't much matter to me, I've learned to stand down. If the issue is actually important (which it rarely is) then I will stay and fight, but that is when I must be careful to fight in the right way--without put-downs or blame (and this can be hard at times).
2. Humor really is the spice of life, and it has become the life of our marriage. We still make each other laugh and enjoy silliness even after 10 years of sharing the same stories and jokes.
3. Tough times can cause a great amount of stress and even threaten a marriage in the short-term, but when it is seen through, it ultimately strengthens the bond. Great people aren't born out of the good times, but out of trial and tribulation.
4. Dreams of perfection are just that--dreams. It takes work to achieve anything near perfection, and even then, perfection is rarely perfect. Marriages aren't 50/50. I have learned that I have to give 100% all of the time.
Friday, May 28, 2010
Start with 1 pound of whole-wheat bread dough (instead of the white bread dough). Divide it into 4 portions. Turn each portion into a 4-inch-diameter circle.
Mix an 8-ounce package of low-fat (neufchatel) cream cheese (in place of regular cream cheese) with 1 cup low-fat shredded mozzarella cheese (in place of regular mozzarella cheese). Stir in Italian seasonings to taste. Divvy up into 4 portions and spread on dough rounds, leaving about 3/4" around the edges.
Top with low-fat ham, red bell peppers, and diced pineapple (in place of fattier meats like pepperoni or sausage).
Fold each round in half over the filling and seal the edges with a fork to make the calzone. Brush the top with extra-virgin olive oil (a healthy fat). Bake at 400 degrees for 5 minutes. Brush with more extra-virgin olive oil. Bake another 10 minutes or so until it is browned to your liking. Enjoy! (Makes 4 calzones)
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Hubby got a new job in mid-February! He started selling cars, and even sold one on his very first day! YAY!!! Here's the initiation he had celebrating his first sale:
Haleigh took dance lessons from mid-March to mid-May! There is something so cute and uplifting about watching a group of 3- and 4-year-olds doing their best impressions of dancing princesses!
Christopher started playing machine-pitch baseball in early May. This is his 4th year in some sort of baseball program! He really enjoys it, and to add to the experience, his daddy is his coach!
Erika started rolling, army-crawling, and sitting independently! At 10 months old, she now has 2 teeth and is a cute, babbling, raspberry-blowing little ball of energy!
Cameron lost his car-sales job on May 12. He loved selling cars, and is currently looking for a new job in the same industry.
I turned 30 on May 15th! Do I feel any different? No. In the words of a favorite movie of mine, I'm "thirty, flirty, and thriving!" (13 Going on 30)
I've discovered Zumba! This high-energy aerobic dancing done to a Latin beat is so much fun! I go to the gym for a 1-hour Zumba class at least once a week!
I'm hoping to update on a much more frequent basis again. Thanks for sticking with me through the ups and downs!
Monday, February 15, 2010
I met Cameron in July, 1999 while we were both working at Lagoon. We were both rides operators on the same end of the park, but did not meet until the foods department was shorthanded and recruited some rides operators to assist in catering a party. I was assigned to ensure the meat servers didn't run out of meat, and Cameron was assigned to serve meat. We and the other 2 meat servers had a lot of fun joking around and having a break from our usual work assignments, and after the party was finished being catered, we had some time before our evening rides shifts, so we went to the employee kitchen to get something to eat and to relax. Our friendship started there, and grew over the next month.
In August, Lagoon held an after-hours work party at Lagoon-A-Beach called the Beach Bash. I spent a week prior to the bash convincing my dead beat boyfriend that it was over, and I informed Cameron's girlfriend that I was stealing her boyfriend. (I don't think she believed me, but it happened.) We spent the night dancing and laughing, and became Lagoon's newest couple. For almost two months, everything went really well.
In early October, Cameron called me on my ride's phone to tell me he wasn't going to wait for me in the park at closing because he was going to walk a female friend out, but would see me at the rides office when I got there. When I did get there, I couldn't find him, so a friend told me where he was, and walked me to where Cameron and his friend were, just in time for me to see her kiss him. I was really upset, but I was Cameron's ride home, so on the way, I gave him a little glimpse of my thoughts by telling him she was a slut. That night he dumped me via email, saying it wasn't ok for me to say bad things about his friends.
After a couple of days, he wouldn't answer my phone calls or emails, and he called in to work, so I showed up at his house to talk to him about what had happened. We decided to remain friends and see where life took us.
After another couple of days, we were at my car after work when a friend in his mid-twenties told Cameron, "Man, if I had a girl who treated me the way she treats you, I wouldn't be dumping her; I'd be proposing to her." Cameron mulled this over for another couple of days.
In mid-October, we were watching Titanic at his house, when out of nowhere he asked me to marry him. I said, "Sure." After an engagement of nearly 8 months, we were married June 9, 2000 in my stake center.
This June marks our 10th anniversary. Our story has been rocky at times, dream-like at times, filled with challenges and achievements. We've been blessed with 3 beautiful children. And I really wouldn't want to edit our story at all. :)
Saturday, January 23, 2010
I found this on myephit.com, and just had to share!
'Twas the month after Christmas and all through the house
Nothing would fit me, not even a blouse.
The cookies I'd nibbled, the eggnog I'd tasted
At the holiday parties had gone to my waist.
When I got on the scales there arose such a number
When I walked to the store (less a walk than a lumber) -
I'd remember the marvelous meals I'd prepared;
The gravies and sauces and beef nicely rared.
The fudge and the fruit cake,
the bread and the cheese
And the way I'd never said, "No thank you please."
As I dressed myself in my husband's old shirt
And prepared once again to do battle with dirt-
I said to myself, as only I can, "You can't spend all winter disguised as a man!"
So away with the last of the sour cream dip,
Get rid of the fruit cake,
every cracker and chip,
Till all the additional ounces have vanished,
I won't have a cookie - not even a lick,
I'll want only to chew on a long celery stick.
I won't have hot biscuits, or corn bread, or pie;
I'll munch on a carrot and quietly cry.
I'm hungry, I'm lonesome, and life is a bore -
But isn't that what January is for?
Unable to giggle, no longer a riot
Happy New Year to all and to all a good diet!
Thursday, January 7, 2010
To remove a bathtub ring, let warm water sit in the tub with vinegar (approx. 1 cup) in it. Wipe away with a damp sponge.
Either a baking soda paste or rubbing alcohol will remove permanent marker and crayon marks on walls/floors. Test a spot first to make sure it works with your finish!
Vinegar water will counteract pet urine smells.
If you sprinkle your carpets with baking soda prior to vacuuming, it will draw out odors.
Sprinkle baking soda in kitty litter pans after filling with fresh litter to prevent your stinky kitty from stinking up the whole house when she's done.
WD40 prevents soap scum from sticking to your shower doors. Wipe a thin film over the doors after cleaning.