Thursday, March 31, 2011

New Things On The Way

First of all, I would like you all to meet Melanie. She is a cyber friend of mine that I am so glad has come into my life.

She is such an inspiration.

If you would like to read more about her and her successes, go here. She has some great advice.

I hope you don't mind that I share your story and picture on my blog Melanie, but I just can't help myself. You are such a gorgeous person, and everyone should see this.

If you notice, Melanie does not look like the same person. She has transformed into a beautiful successful woman.

I have followed Melanie from almost her beginning point, and watching her change has really put a spark in my attitude.

There are going to be some changes made to my blog postings (just wanted you to know). I am going to be posting what I am eating to get these 50 extra pounds off my body.
Oh, I am still going to bake and have goodies for you, but as far as me eating them, I AM NOT!
I will give them away, or let my family enjoy.

My first move on this new change is going to be purchasing a recumbent bike. Since I am a full time student, the bike will allow me exercise while I read. I am also going to encourage walking instead of driving.

My biggest challenge is going to be changing my eating. With Melanie at my finger (cyber) tips I know I can get through this.

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you Melanie....

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Still Celebrating Spring: The Original Carrot Salad

I am still celebrating spring, and what a better way to celebrate, with carrot salad....

The orange color just says SPRING.

Don't you think?

This salad is one of the easiest salads to make, and it is very refreshing too.

The pineapple and golden raisins go very good together (there's those complements again).

Just dump the ingredients together and stir.

The dressing for this salad is just mayonnaise and sugar. Who would have guessed it would be so simple?

I used fresh pineapple instead of the canned. Fresh carrots, fresh pineapple....Oh my!!

I'm heading to the frig for more.

Original Carrot Salad

1 pound carrots, shredded
1/2 of a fresh pineapple, chunked
3/4 c. golden raisins
3/4 c. mayonnaise
1 1/2 TBS granulated sugar

Shred carrots and chunk the pineapple. Place carrots, pineapple, and raisins in a bowl. Add mayonnaise mixture to carrots, raisins, and pineapple and stir.

Good Luck~Happy Eating~Enjoy

"And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." Romans 8:28

Monday, March 28, 2011

Greece Is On My Bucket List: Greek/Mexico Salad

Green has been on my mind since spring arrived. Greece has been on my mind since I created my bucket list. A salad MY WAY has been created today.

I WILL make it to Greece before I die.....

Kind of like my cat, Ravioli....She has to have things her way too. She took over a gift bag and tissue paper in my office. To keep her happy, I had to allow her to have her own way. I had to allow her to remain happy.

To keep myself happy, I had to create a salad my own way.

Do you want to hear the story of how Ravioli got her name?

Sure you do....

Ravioli is a survivor, we rescued her from a traumatic situation, she was on the verge of ending her 5th life, and she is now happy and content.
Ravioli was found in our yard with a ravioli can stuck on her head. What do cats do when they have their eyes covered? Yup, they walk backwards. But in Ravioli's situation she was RUNNING backwards in circles trying to get out of that can. The can was on her head so tight that we had to use an un-screwing motion to get it off. We brought her in the house, made a vet visit, and she has been ruling the roost ever since.
As you can see, making a home in a gift bag and tearing up tissue paper.....


I love foods from the Mediterranean. Kalamata Olives, Feta Cheese, and Romain Lettuce. Absolutely cannot go wrong with these ingredients.

Crisp Romain lettuce...

But what I did without realizing it is, I created a salad of two different nationalities.

A little bit of Greece, and a little bit of Mexico.

A Greek salad is topped with tomatoes, cucumber, green bell pepper, red onion, feta cheese, and kalamata olives, and usually seasoned with salt, pepper, dried oregano, and olive oil.
A Caesar salad comes from Mexico and is topped with bacon, Parmesan cheese, croutons, and topped with Caesar dressing.

My creation of the mixture goes like this: Romain lettuce, Kalamata olives, feta cheese, sweet onion, croutons, and topped with Caesar dressing. OOPS!!

And who says you can't have the best of both worlds?

I enjoyed that salad down to the last bite.

"Assuredly, I say to you, I will no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God." Mark 14:25

Friday, March 25, 2011

I Am A Sucker For The Mediterranean: Omelet

Where I live there is a little restaurant called Frankie's. It is the only place that I know of that serves very good Mediterranean food (without having to drive for miles). They serve a Mediterranean omelet that is to die for.

Of course, I had to experiment at home and try and make my own.

In my Macroeconomics class we have been talking about complement products.

Complements like, hamburgers and hamburger buns, ME AND SEAN, hot dogs and hot dog buns, etc... But the complements Greek Kalamata Olives and Feta Cheese were never mentioned. These two complements can never, never, never be eaten without each other.

The flavors that end in your mouth are just amazing....

But anyway, I created my own Mediterranean Omelet at home. I had to use what I had on hand to create it.

Mediterranean Omelet

3 eggs, beaten
salt and pepper to taste
Kalamata Olives
mozzarella cheese (Frankie's uses three different kinds of cheese)
feta cheese
corn and black bean salsa (should have been fresh diced tomatoes)

Just make it like you would a normal omelet placing olives and cheeses inside, and top with mozzarella cheese, feta cheese, and tomatoes or salsa.

Good Luck~Happy Eating~Enjoy

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." Matthew 6:34

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Creamiest, Dreamiest: Corn Chowder

My inspiration for this soup was: left-over broth from my corned beef brisket. I headed to the kitchen with every intention of making potato rival soup.

But when someone that loves to cook and experiment enters a kitchen....(excuse my French) all hell breaks loose.

I started adding things to the pot, finding more things in the frig, the canned goods cupboard, and freezer, and WA-LA!!....I ended with creamy corn chowder.

And CREAMY is true.

I started with peeling and dicing 4 large potatoes, and diced a few carrots. I grabbed an onion, my last clove of garlic, and found some Monterey Jack cheese and evaporated milk.

I browned the onion, garlic, and the diced smoked sausage I found in my freezer with 1 stick of butter. I then added a mounded 1/4 c. of flour, stirred everything together to form a thick paste. Then I added two bags of steam fresh corn, the evaporated milk, cayenne pepper, parsley flakes, and salt and pepper to taste.
While I am making my pasty mixture, my potatoes and carrots are boiling in the 4 cups of corned beef broth. I boiled them until they were solid/tender and then added them by ladle-fulls into the pasty mixture, stirring as I went. When I got close to the end of the potatoes and carrots I just grabbed the pot and poured.

I then added 1 c. of Monterey Pepper-Jack cheese (that looks like a cup, right?) and a little more milk to add to the creaminess (about 1 - 2 cups).

Every experiment has to be taste tested, right? Well, my first taste test was such a pleasing experience, I had to grab every clean soup spoon I own because I just knew that one taste test would not be enough. It looks like I am going to have to taste test it about twenty more times. But that's okay, I have to make sure that it is perfectly tasty for my family (right?).

One thing that I am struggling with is: The amount of food I make. When a person goes from cooking for 5, down to 2 1/2, it is quite a dramatic change.

When Sean got home and seen the huge pot of soup, his first reaction was; "Why do you make so much?"

For real, I own an imaginary restaurant and I have to make sure that my customers have enough to eat.

No, I'm not that crazy (only sometimes).


We ate this for a couple days and then the rest went in the freezer. We will have creamy corn chowder at our fingertips when the mood strikes. See, simple solution to the over-cooking.

Creamy Corn Chowder

1/2 c. butter
1/2 large onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pkg smoked sausage, diced
1 mounded 1/4 c. flour
2 bags steam fresh corn
1 (12 oz.) evaporated milk
4 c. corned beef broth, or broth of your choice
4 large potatoes, diced
1 1/2 c. diced carrots
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 1/2 TBS dried parsley
1 cup shredded Monterey Pepper-Jack cheese
1 - 2 c. milk

Melt butter slowly. Add onion, garlic, and sausage and saute 3 - 5 minutes. Add flour, salt and pepper, cayenne pepper, parsley, and corn, and mix thoroughly. Add evaporated milk and potatoes, carrots, and broth. Cook until thick. Add the 1 - 2 c. more milk and grated cheese. Let simmer on low for at least an hour.

"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded." James 4:8

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

April 1st Is Fast Approaching: Reuben Sandwich

April 1st is fast approaching, and that means jokes, pranks, and riddles.

One whole day of them.

Well, I have an early riddle for you. See if you can figure this one out.

What do you get when you have these ingredients to work with?

A George Forman grill....

Rye bread buttered on one side, a slice of swiss cheese, and sliced corned beef brisket....

(I heated my sauerkraut and corned beef before assembling)

Sauerkraut....

Thousand Island dressing....

Another slice of swiss cheese....

Another slice of buttered Rye bread, and laid within the George Forman....

Have you figured it out?

Yes, you get a Reuben sandwich.

Add a couple dill pickle spears, and a few potato chips, and you have lunch.

Here is another riddle: What do you get when the Reuben sandwich has been eaten?

GONE!!

"They that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing." Psalm 34:10

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Time, Management, and Orgainization

There has been a lot of buzz (blogs) about the subject of stay-at-home moms.

I do not despise the idea, and if a mother has the opportunity to stay at home with her children, I say, "Go for it."

But I am dealing with struggles because I did not start there.

I started out a single mom who had to work to support her child. I then married and had two more children. I continued working to support my family (children) and contribute to the household.

Then there was a divorce and I found myself single again supporting three children.

Before I knew it, 22 years slipped by, and then my job was sent over seas. I am now forced into the stay-at-home role (unwillingly).

While I was working 50 to 60 hours a week I was battling the test of time. I had a household to maintain and a job to maintain. I spent a lot of days with very little sleep because I prioritized my time. Children, household duties, and job. That is the correct order, right? Well, that's the way I did it....

Now that I am in the stay-at-home role, I am having a hard time managing my time. I feel lost, confused, and unworthy. Maybe I feel like I don't have the need to accomplish things because I am not running against the clock anymore.

As I was working the long hours, I often wished for a stay-at-home position. Now I curse myself for ever thinking that way.
The lack of sleep was well worth the time with my children. They have all grown up into fine, dependable, and hard-working adults.

Would I choose a stay-at-home position over a job? No, I wouldn't. I can manage myself better knowing that I am worth something, and I can beat that nasty thing they call "time".

Take a look at this:

1 year and 5 months unemployed has lead me to this:

Do you see any organization there?

A year and five months ago my desk would not have looked like that.

A year and 5 months ago you would not have found a single dirty dish in my kitchen sink.

A year and five months ago you would not have seen one single piece of laundry cluttering the top of my washer and dryer.

A year and five months ago you would not have a seen a speck of dust in my house.

Do you see that?
Dust build-up on flower wall hangings.
A year and five months ago you would not have seen that.

What is my problem?

What is my major malfunction?

Why can't I get it together?

Why do I have to be pressed for time to get anything accomplished?

Why do I feel like I am not worthy?

To feel complete, I have to battle the test of time.....Why?

"He went a little farther. Then he fell with his face to the ground. He prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, take this cup of suffering away from me. But let what you want be done, not what I want."" Matthew 26:39

Monday, March 21, 2011

I Love St. Patrick's Day! Corned Beef and Cabbage

How was your St. Patrick's Day?

I love St. Patrick's Day. I love everything about March. I love the color green. I love corned beef and cabbage. I love the shamrock TY Beanie Baby. I love that March is the breath of spring. I love the fresh new smells that March brings.

Are you getting the picture? Or should I go on, because I'm sure there are a lot more things I can love about March.

This is what I did with my corned beef brisket:

I placed it in a pan with water coving it, put in the spice packet that comes with it, and baked it slow on 300 degrees for about 5 hours. I then added my cabbage, yup, just cabbage, and baked it for another hour to an hour and a half.

Some people like to add potatoes and carrots with their corned beef meal, but I wanted just cabbage.

Ta-Da.....there's my St. Patrick's Day meal.

Was it good?

DELICIOUS!!

"Her ways are pleasant ways. All her paths lead to peace. She is a tree of life to those that hold her close. Those who hold on to her will be blessed." Proverbs 3: 17-18

Friday, March 18, 2011

Integrity: One Of The Most Important Actions In Life

I was doing my normal "favorite" blog visits, and I stumbled across this: Blog With Integrity

Thank you so much "A Season For All Things" for sharing this important information.

My opinion; every single blogger should sign this badge, display it, and hold true to its advice.

One thing that I have learned through my college excursion is: A person does their own honest work, there is no room for plagiarism, being bias is just uncalled for, and a person's own work will be recognized before something that is copied.

I too blog with integrity:

Although there may be some bloggers with their own personal technique, I imply no bias (but sometimes it is very hard for me to keep my words (mouth) shut), I blog with respect for others, I believe in credibility, citing sources, and providing links. I always present my blog with honest opinions to the best of my knowledge, and I own my words, ideas, and insights.


A friend of mine gave me this picture. She had this special made just for me, and I love it (and her). Marsha at The Better Baker supplied me with this cute, cute, signature picture.

One thing that keeps me on track is this:
My Blogging Prayer

This blog does not belong to me, but to You, Lord.
Alter me with every post as You will, judge me as You will.
Place me at assistance, or place me to misery.
Allow me to post for others, or please push me aside.
Lift me high, only for You, Lord.
Create me as You will, because You alone have created me, and know me best.
Let me not seek attention, lime light, or attraction, but let me give it.
Let me not emulate, but go forward with my heart.
Let me not wish for page hits, comments, or popularity, but let me wish for You and Your advice.
Let me be a good hearted soul, without the selfish demand of followers.
Let my blog be complete with only You, and let it be empty of my, rudeness and selfishness.
Let me desire all things of You, let me not desire for competition, greatness, and show.
Let my words be tithes for my only audience; You, Lord.
For, You are all I need, want, and desire.
I flat-out refuse to write for customers....I only write for Your approval.
Let my daily assertion be in the security of my salvation, not in the size of my gallery.
My identity will be in the incalculable alters of Jesus Christ, never the amount of comments my blog receives.
The only words that matter in my life will not be the ones I write on this computer screen, but the ones that live and breathe within my heart.
I create from my heart, every sentence, every title, every blog post, every comment to my fellow bloggers, all to do Jesus' perfect will.
My only gift to give is Your blessing.
My only audience is Your eyes that will find a heart secured to You.
Please make all these requests so, oh Lord.
You are my Lord, not Yahoo, Firefox, Google, or Blogspot.
You alone are my Savior. My stats, comments, and page views are not.
You Lord are my comfort. My received comments, or my computer are not.
So with every post to come, I faithfully pray this prayer over my keyboard and coffee.
Please let my prayer be heard in Heaven.
Amen.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

New Product: MiO Liquid

I know today is Saint Patrick's Day, and my corned beef brisket is in the oven. I will share that with you on Monday.

But I have found one of the world's best products.....

Check this out!!

I ran across this during my last excursion to the grocery store. I have to take the time to share this with you, because this is the best water flavorer ever.

This stuff puts the Crystal Lite powder pouches to shame.

MiO is a liquid, and you can get 24 servings out of one tiny bottle (and there are 24 bottles of water in a case).

Under the nutrition facts: EVERYTHING IS ZERO, NADA, NOTHING, and this little bottle of liquid has so much flavor.

I am truly in love with this product. In my household we are huge water drinkers, and now being able to add flavor to our water....what a joy!!

The sweet tea tastes just like sweet tea that you would get in a restaurant. The peach tea tastes just like peach tea. There is also fruit punch, berry pomegranate, and strawberry watermelon.
I can't wait to try the ones that I chose to not buy.

This is going to be perfect for this summer. Add a half teaspoon of the liquid to a bottle of water, and you are good to go.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day to everyone. Hope you are wearing green today....

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

March Is All About The Irish: Irish Stew

When March rolls around every year, I can't help but think about the Irish.

March is all about the Irish.

With me being born in March, and my red hair color.....Yes, I do consider myself somewhat Irish. I can pretend anyway....

I love the month of March!

Normally a true Irish stew is made with lamb or mutton. Since I am not a huge lamb fan, I decided to go with beef roast.

I cubed a 2.14 lb. beef roast and browned it with 3 cloves chopped garlic. In olive oil, of course.

And you can't forget to add what the Irish are known best for.....beer!!

Irish Stew

olive oil
2.14 lb. beef roast, cut in cubes
3 cloves chopped garlic
1 1/2 tsp. sage
10 potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 carrots, diced (I used sliced carrots prepackaged)
1 small to medium onion, chopped
1 tsp. celery salt
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
ground black pepper
2 TBS beef soup base
salt to taste
1 bottle beer
water to cover
1 TBS cornstarch, or as needed
1/4 c. soup broth

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef and garlic to the oil. Brown and season with sage; cook the beef until browned.
Place beef mixture, potatoes, carrots, onion, celery seed, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, soup base, and beer in a crock pot, season with salt. Pour enough water over the mixture to cover. Set crock pot on high and cover. Cook for 4 to 5 hours, stirring occasionally.
When the stew is done to your liking, whisk together the cornstarch and broth from soup in a small cup or bowl until smooth; stir through the stew. Allow the stew to cook until thickened, 15 to 20 minutes.

"May flowers always line your path and sunshine light your day. May songbirds serenade you every step along the way. May a rainbow run beside you in a sky that's always blue. And may happiness fill your heart each day your whole life through."
~Irish Quotes~

Monday, March 14, 2011

OMG!! Plates and Jewelry

Me and Sean, summer of 2010.
(The love of my life)


Have you ever read an article or watched a video on relationships, marriage, or someone else's perspective about how to approach your significant other when it comes to your wants and needs?

And then after you read it or watch it you are instantly angry?

I watched a video about how women should let their significant other know about their needs without being a constant nag or drip, drip, drip....

This person said that there are two different kinds of women, the quiet ones that keep everything inside and never tell their significant other what they need or want, and the out-spoken ones that constantly nag or drip.

The longer I watched this video the madder I got.

A relationship is not based around only women.....DUH LADY!!

A good strong relationship has to work both ways.

Sean and I's relationship is based on communication and listening from the heart, not the ears.

In the video, the lady gave an example of how she had to get her needs across to her husband about not being late for dinner.

"Dear husband, you absolutely cannot be late for dinner, and you have to be home at the exact same time every day. I am watching the clock."

FOR REAL?!?!?

Obviously this lady has never worked a day in her life. She has no understanding of the relationship between hours of the day and work. How can you demand someone to be home at exactly the same time every day? Now that is what I call a nag.....

I know Sean listens with the heart, because I have received some of the best (little things) "just because I love you" (observations) gifts.

Sean doesn't have to shower me with gifts to keep me quiet, or keep me happy, but the little things he does for me shows me that he has been listening with his heart. I do the same thing with him. I listen to his likes, needs, and wants with my heart.... I absorb them and keep them tucked away for safe keeping. Only to use them as a surprise in the future.

The necklace in the above picture.... I am not a jewelry person, but when I walked by the jewelry display case and seen this necklace, It said, "Hello, I love you!". It made me say "WOW!".
When I got home, I was still touched by the beauty of the necklace. When I am touched by something I go into extreme detail describing it. I use passion and OOOOO's and AHHHH's.

Sean heard me. One week later, I am the owner of that beautiful necklace.

The deviled egg plate.... I fell in love with the plate at a local antique store. I carried it around with me the whole time I was there with every intention of buying it. Being unemployed, I have a hard time spending my money on my WANTS. The money that I do have should be placed toward the family. I described the plate to Sean with love, interest, and passion.

Sean heard me. Three days later Sean is placing that plate in my hands.

Sean and I have a great relationship because we listen with our hearts. I can never come close to what Sean does for me, but I do listen, even if it is providing Sean with his favorite foods or candy. The simple things in a relationship matter. The simple things let your significant other know that you care, you listen, and you hear with your heart.

Go and find a simple thing for your wife, husband, significant other, or love of your life and let them know that you listen with your heart, not your ears..... "I have been thinking about you today."

"Give, and it will be given to you. A good amount will be poured into your lap. It will be pressed down, shaken together, and running over. The same amount you give will be measured out to you." Luke 6: 38

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Special Day: Lettuce Salad

Today is my BIRTHDAY!!


Isn't it amazing how friends and family KNOW the simple things? The little things that make you say OOOOO.....AHHHHH......WOWWWW....and I LOVE THAT!!

Today I would like to focus on the message I received from my precious daughter. That is Randi in the above picture. She is my youngest of three, my baby, my joy, my love, and the one I will have a hard time letting go of. Don't get me wrong, I love all of my children equal, but Randi has always been a lover, hugger, and a clinger.

I approached my Facebook this morning with caution (every person on the face of the earth knows how Facebook works) knowing that I would have tons of birthday wishes today.
But the one message that stood out above all the others was this:

Dear mommmy!
Happpy Birthdayy. And also you should know, that i appreciate everything you've ever done for me. And for always being there like a mom should. For never giving up on Cassie, Logan, and I and always pulling through the rough times. I can fully say that when i start a family i wanna be a mom just like you, cause you were a wonderful, caring, and loving motherr.
I love youuu! ♥


All the gifts from friends and family.

What do you think happened when I read that message? Yup, I cried.....but not tears of sadness, tears of joy. A feeling of success, fulfillment, and "I have created that girl" came over me.

Being the age I am....4_?.....I have decided that I really need to focus on what I'm putting in my body.

I remember in my 20's....eating a whole bucket of KFC was nothing. Just a drop in the bucket (literally). And I would not gain a pound. My metabolism was strong enough to fight off the calories.

Even in my 30's I could woof-down a whole large pizza and have no regrets.

But since I am getting older and my metabolism is slowing down, I am suppose to eat less, and the calories are now attacking me....I have to remain focused on my choice of foods. DARN IT!!

This is Artisan lettuce. Where can it be found? Aldies of course. When a person thinks of Aldies, they automatically think of cheap food, no taste, and no variety. Well folks, that assumption can be thrown right out the window, because this Artisan lettuce is the bomb. And it is only $1.99 per container.

There are two little heads of green leaf lettuce and two little heads of purple leaf lettuce. And it is crisp and full of flavor.

It has to be washed though before eating. I found sand in the bottom of the container when I pulled out the little heads.

This does not taste anything like the prepackaged lettuce (Dole). It doesn't have that funny preservative taste. You know what I mean?


Last night for dinner we had salads with sliced marinated chicken breast, onion, cheese, bacon, carrot slices, and croutons.

"Don't forget to welcome strangers. By doing that, some people have welcomed angels without knowing it." Hebrews 13:2

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