Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The one where I bitch about stay at home moms....

Normally there is no one I admire more than a (good) stay at home parent.   They work 24/7/365 taking care of their children.  My mother was amazing, she was constantly working around the house, mowing our yard, cleaning, gardening, and taking care of me.  I have always wanted to be a SAHM or even a WAHM but know that until I pay off my student loan debt (and you know have kids) that isn't an option.  
But today a couple of people have really annoyed me.  
I am a member of the A Bowl Full of Lemons Home Organization Group on FaceBook.  I have been a member of the group for a couple of years and have followed her blog since we lived in Georgia.  I really like her home organization challenge and how well put together it is, I usually have to modify it slightly because the spaces don't always match up 1:1 with our house (no kids stuff!) and I am a busy person but I have done it 3 or 4 times in the past 6 or 7 years and plan on participating in the 2017 New Years one.
Three different times today people posted on the Facebook page things like
"how does everyone find time to keep their house clean etc., I have no time between working ____ (less than 20 hours), kids stuff, and feeding my family"
But the one that really struck a nerve for me was one that said (copying actual text b/c I don't want to misquote...) 
"Did you ladies have trouble keeping up with the last organizational challenge while maintaining everything else? Bills, kids activities, laundry, grocery shopping and cooking?? I also work 4 to 8 hours a week and volunteer a couple hours a week at my daughters elementary school."
Herein lies my issues:
1-Not everyone in the group is a lady (tho those who participate mostly are
2-She works 1 day a week and volunteers "a couple", which means 3 days...which means she has 2 free days per week that people who work full time don't have.
I totally understand kids add a level of complexity to your life.   I understand that everyone has different abilities and needs and income levels and such...
I get that the more time you are at home the more time you can make a mess...however if you are at home you also can do the things that you need to at home in order to keep your house clean/organized etc.   
Because there are some things that are equally necessary wether you are at home or not
-Bills still need paid
-Laundry still needs washed
-Floors still need swept/mopped
-Shelves still need dusted
-Food still needs cooked
-Dishes still need washed
So, Since January 1-March 1 are super busy for me at work I am going to track the amount of time I spend at home and what I do with that time.   
ALL WHILE COMPLETING the Home Organization Challenge.

And I am going to document it on my blog....

Then I am going to put together a home cleaning checklist that is reasonable for people who live busy lives and aren't physically home enough to devote the 1 hour + per night to "quick daily cleanups" that are recommended all over the internet to keep homes clean.

Pro tip- Here is the first secret...Married couples should be teams and split up the damn work according to their relative free time.   For us Jan-March this year is going to rough, Hubby is going to be studying for his first class exam while I am working on year end closing of financial statements and preparation of federal reports.  Plus we are both going to be going hard core towards starting 2017 on a healthy foot and kicking our Advocare results up to the next level.

I'll post later this week with my New Years Resolutions updates for 2016 and my resolutions for 2017.  

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Books books wonderful books

My new hero is Novella Carpenter.  She wrote a book called “FARM CITY; The Education of an Urban Farmer” about her adventures building a garden and raising chickens, rabbits, pigs, and honey bees in a run-down ghetto in California.  She also has a blog (www.ghosttownfarm.wordpress.com) I just finished her book and enjoyed it immensely and have started following her blog.  I’m hoping to learn from her experience tips and tricks that will help with my little back yard garden (especially once I convince hubby to let me get bees, and maybe rabbits, and maybe chickens…) if you are even a little interested in having a garden in an urban (or even not urban) environment.


Friday, June 17, 2016

Do you even workout bro?

Two workouts, two days!! (I started last night instead of waiting until today just to get a head start in case I miss a day) 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The endless cycle

Today I had a doctors appointment with my reproductive endocrinologist to prepare for an IUI.  So far this month I have taken a pill to stimulate follicle growth (Femera) then when I stopped taking the Femera started another pill to stimulate growth of my uterine lining (Estrodril) these two medications work against one another so they can't be taken at the same time.  Apparently the Femera didn't do its job quickly enough so now tomorrow I get to go off the Estrodril and restart the Femera....all these synthetic hormones being put into my body are starting to really jack with me and I'm starting to really understand the weight gain that comes with these treatments.  So far I have been able to stave off the worst of it, I've gained a couple of pounds during treatment but been able to lose them before starting the next cycle ... But with each progressive cycle it's getting harder to loose the weight and I'm convinced I'm going to have to start making a more concentrated effort if I want to avoid regaining the weight I lost last year before we started the treatments.  

So since my 31 birthday is a little over a month away I'm going to steal an idea from a friend of mine and commit to 31 workouts before my birthday.  I'm hoping that adding a more regular workout schedule will help me keep off unnecessary weight and keep me on this healthy path. 

I'm also going to have to fight off my sugar cravings a little better ... But that is a whole different battle.  

Wish me luck!!! 


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

5 Year Plan

So I mentioned last week while we were traveling that hubby and I had come up with some ideas that would alter our current 5 year plan.  While I think that it is important to share specific goals with others in order to help yourself achieve them I don’t think it would be appropriate for me to share these specific ideas with the entire blog-o-sphere at this particular moment.   However I did want to take a brief minute to talk about how to build a good plan for your personal life and what we will be doing over the next month or so to put our 5 year plan into writing.

  1. Set SMART goals.  (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely)

  2. Set intervals at which to measure each individual goal (6 months, 1 year, 2 years, 3 years, etc)

  3. Outline how you intend to reach your goal/what action steps you are going to take

  4. Determine what you really want to achieve by accomplishing your goal (i.e. if your goal is to pay off all debt why do you want to do this? To be financially free? To save up for a down payment for a house? Etc.) 

  5. Reevaluate your plan and goals regularly to determine if they are still relevant

    If you write out your goals and follow this outline for setting up your personal 5 year plan you will be well on your way to accomplishing them.

     

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Answered Prayers

While we were in Louisville we put the finishing touches on the house so that it could be put on the market for sale.  On Friday afternoon it was officially listed, and we had a showing scheduled less than 2 hours later and a couple additional showings over the weekend.   On Sunday we received an offer, Monday Morning they accepted our counter offer and the inspection is already scheduled for tomorrow!

One of the finishing touches I put on the house was to bury a St Joseph statue in front of the house so that he could go to work for us helping us sell the house quickly, I believe our prayers have been answered and he certainly wasted no time going to work for us.   

I would appreciate prayers from everyone that the sale goes smoothly and that the inspection doesn't show any unexpected expensive issues that need fixed!


Monday, June 6, 2016

Back to normal

Our trip home included a vacation from watching what I eat and I managed to gain 8 pounds…that’s almost half of what I lost last year and managed to keep off over Thanksgiving and Christmas.   The majority of it is already gone because I know I wasn’t drinking as much water as I should and probably ate too much salt but all the same it has pointed out to me the attention I need to pay to getting rid of the last 20 (or 40) pounds I want to lose.  So I’m starting back at tracking everything I eat and maintaining my Advocare regimen that helped me maintain the 16 pound loss so far.   It’s a good time of year for it though, with farmers markets starting up and vegetables sprouting in the garden I look forward to a great summer full of fresh vegetables.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Motorcycle

While we were in Kentucky Hubby & I went to the Circuit Clerk and took the test for our motorcycle permits.   (I scored higher than he did!!!) So now we can legally drive motorcycles…I have no clue how to drive a motorcycle so I think it’s kind of scary how quickly and easily they set you free on the road with a permit.  The next step (because I have no clue what I am doing, and because hubby has so little clue what he is doing) is to take a practical riding course that actually puts us on motorcycles to learn what we are doing.  Once we complete the course we can send proof to the Circuit Clerk and voila we can have our motorcycle licenses.   My hope is to be able to get hubby a motorcycle for Christmas so I have officially started saving my pennies!!!! 

So my dear readers (all 8 of you!) do you or anyone in your household have/ride motorcycles? What tips and tricks do you have to offer?  

Monday, May 30, 2016

Roadtrip!!!

Hubby and I went home to Kentucky for the week and are currently getting ready to leave the hotel we stopped at last night on our way back to Virginia...It's amazing the conversations that happen when you are trapped in a car with someone you love for 7 straight hours.   We talked about future plans, career trajectories, and more and I think we've got a better idea about what we want our 5 year plan to look like.  We both miss home and our friends and family a ton so it was great getting to see them and refill our cups to get us through until we see them again at christmas time.


Friday, May 6, 2016

The written word

Sometimes writing a letter is more effective at expressing emotion than speaking with someone.  It gives you a clear way to articulate feelings that are messy and hard to sort out in a more organized and coherent manner.  
I just wrote my husband a 6 page letter about some of my personal emit hints surrounding our infertility process.  It's not pretty.  Parts are barely even legible.  But I really think when he reads it tomorrow we will be able to talk through it much better than if I just started w conversation. Especially since I'm hard to understand when I ugly cry ... 


So tomorrow might be an interesting day in this modern traditions household. 

Wish me luck.  

Friday, April 29, 2016

Big Fat Negative

Today is hubbys birthday.   Today is also the day I got to take a pregnancy test after an IUI we had two weeks ago.  Needless to say it was negative.

 

I'm so upset about this, for some reason even though over the past 4 years I have become a pro at negative pregnancy tests this one hit me extra hard.  I really thought I was pregnant and for some reason I thought that since it was hubbys birthday it would be so fun to see the positive test firs thing this morning.

Instead I woke up super early, took a test and received an error message…Of course with all of the various things going on and all of the tests I’ve had to take in preparation of my surgery etc this was my last test on hand, and it was an expensive digital one that I was keeping for last because I hadn’t wanted to waste it on the times I knew it would be negative but had to verify before starting medication etc..

So at 5:45 this morning, still expecting a positive result I threw on decent clothes and ran to CVS to buy another pregnancy test, just to get a BFN.  At first I was fine.  I told hubby, I got ready for work I was good to go…Then as I was getting on the interstate to go to work traffic was backed up.  The roads this morning were a little slick because there is misty rain going on and it was very foggy.  Of course the idiot behind me is flying up the on ramp not paying attention and almost rear-ended me…and I lot it.

I started ugly crying, on the on ramp to the interstate after almost getting rear ended for no discernable reason…dear lord help me if I’m going to be crazy emotional through this I have done a good job over the past 4 years of having moments then getting on with what has to get done but this was different, bordering on unhealthy.   

1-I do not have the time or energy to stop my life to be crazy every month

2-it’s not healthy to do so

I think we are going to have a lot of thinking to do about this.  Granted it is the first time since I actually was pregnant that I have had a negative when expecting a positive (I’ve been nauseous the last few days and really tired, of course there is also a bug going around so that is probably the actual cause…God I don’t have time to get sick either!)  but intellectually I know I can’t let this run my life or control my emotions.   I have to be able live my life.  I just really don’t know what direction we need to go at this point.  I’m not ready to give up, it has been my dream since I was just a baby to be a mom, and to feel a child growing inside of me is something special that I really want to experience but I’m starting to wonder if my dreams conflict with God’s plans…

Thursday, April 28, 2016

So confusing

So I started doing some research last night trying to figure out the best place to start putting together a household binder.  I thought I would be able to find some cute fun printables that I would like that I could use but as many of the bloggers who had printables available for download stated...One size does not fit all...So instead I'm going to work on creating my own in the coming weeks I am by no means a design artist so I'm sure they won't be the cutest things in the world but for now I'm going for functionality over fun so wish me luck.

What are some things you think I should include in my binder?

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Motivation

I have lots of grand ideas and things I want to do but somehow 24 hours just aren’t enough in my day.   I think a lot of that probably has to do with lack of motivation to do some of the things I HAVE to do before I start on my wants that leads to procrastination and loss of free time.  For example, I have been at work for almost 3 hours, I have a ton I should be doing but have accomplished exactly 1 thing, which should probably have taken about an hour and am now writing a blog post to email myself that I will upload from my phone about how I’m not doing what I should be doing…funny how that works huh?   

SOOOoooo I am going to make a concentrated effort to work on my time management skills and start plotting out rewards throughout the day for keeping on task.  I have started doing this at home and have been doing a pretty good job at accomplishing household tasks, now just to convert that to the office. 
What are some ways you motivate yourself to stay on task?  What are your favorite self rewards?

Monday, April 25, 2016

My New Love


I love bubbly drinks, I love diet coke, I love sprite, I really love ginger ale…but for the most part I have stopped drinking Cokes since discovering the deliciousness that is Advocare Spark (https://www.advocare.com/15044147/mobile/store/itemdetail.aspx?itemcode=a7093) …However sometimes you just want bubbles…

I’ve bought sparkling water in the past, I know that I like it so I’m surprised with myself for not thinking of keeping it on hand to satisfy my bubble craving sooner,  but alas I have failed at life…
Then someone on  Facebook Group I am a member of mentioned mixing their spark with carbonated water…O-M-G it is amazing.  
And the Kroger here had Perrier & Deer Park  bottled water on sale this week (and La Croix cans) so I may have gone a little crazy on my lunch break today and spent $25 on bottled sparkling water…I cleared the shelf of 1-liter Perrier Lime and Deer Park Sparkling water and bought 3 12 packs of the La Croix flavored sparkling waters…
Yummy!!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Sriracha Fish and Sautéed Asparagus with Tomatoes

This is one of Hubby's favorite quick dinners.

Ingredients:
1 white fish filet for each person dining.  (note this doesn't keep well so only make enough for one meal!)
5-10 stalks fresh asperagus per person (or more, this is good reheated or cold)
5-10 cherry tomatos per person (also good reheated or cold)
Minced Garlic (to taste)
Butter or olive oil
red pepper flakes (to taste)
Sriracha (to taste)

If using frozen fish, thaw before cooking.  Swai fish works great, Tilapia and Cod are also good.

Melt 1 Tbsp of butter (or use 1 Tbsp olive oil but butter taste better!) in bottom of sauce pan.  When pan is very hot place fish in pan.

Rub a small amount of sriracha onto top of fish filet, I use rough 1 tsp, hubby uses significantly more.  After fish is about 1/2way cooked flip, making sure there is still oil in the pan, if not add more before setting fish back in pan.

Allow fish to finish cooking then serve when cooked through.

While fish is cooking--
Sauté asparagus & tomatoes in saute pan with olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes until crisp but tender.

Serve with rice, couscous, or pearled barley (my favorite!)

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Quick and delicious greek salad

This is a great dinner, or easy to pack for lunch at work, cook the chicken in advance and pack the chicken and dressing separately from other salad ingredients.


Ingredients:
Chicken Breast
Cucumber (diced)
Cherry Tomatoes (halved)
Kalmalata Olives (sliced)
Feta Cheese (crumbled)
Red Onion (diced)
Romain Lettuce (chopped)

Dressing:
1/4c Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Fresh or dried oregano
1 Tbsp Fresh or dried basil
1 tsp Salt 
1 tsp Pepper
1/2 Tbsp Garlic powder
1/4c White vinegar
2 Tbsp Lemon juice
1/4 C crumbled feta cheese (the smaller the crumbles the better) (optional)

Cube chicken and toss in oregano and basil, cook on hot pan with oil until cooked through.

Assemble Salad (per serving):
1 C lettuce
1/4 C cucumber
5 cherry tomatoes
1 Tbsp Olives
1/2 Tbsp red Onion
2 Tbps Feta Cheese
2 Tbsp dressing
1/4 C Chicken

For added yumminess serve with whole wheat naann bread, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic salt then toast/grill on hot pan for added deliciousness.  

Friday, April 1, 2016

Surgery Update

The surgery was a success.  The polyp has been removed and I'm healing well.  I had my followup with my doctor and he was very impressed, he said has never done a more straightforward polypectomy, it was easy to access and remove the pathology was all clear and no reason to be concerned.

Since then I can tell my body is getting back to itself, I can tell that things are starting to level out, weight is starting to fall back off.  I started a new Advocare 24 day challenge last week, today was the last day of the cleanse phase, and it is going great.  I'm feeling like myself again.  I had a couple of draggy days but I grabbed a steak (the one I wrote about on Tuesday night) and was feeling better on Wednesday so I'm sure I just needed some iron or protein.

Once I finish the challenge we will be well on our way back to family planning and hopefully soon there will be a pregnancy announcement on the blog :)

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

More recipes coming soon

My freezer meals seem to have attracted a lot of attention to this blog so starting in April I'm going to do my best to post 1 quick and easy healthy meal every Wednesday in much the same fashion...Think healthy Rachel Ray 30-minute meals only in blog form, and 99% clean & healthy.

A few notes before I post...
My definition of a healthy meal:
Proper serving size of Lean Protein
1-2 servings of Veggies
1 serving whole grain/minimally processed carbohydrates (optional)
Minimal sweeteners
Minimal additives and chemicals

I try to choose meats that are raised without hormones/unnecessary antibiotics and avoid chemicals that I cannot pronounce/don't know the origin of.  

Not everything I cook fits into these stipulations 100% (case in point the steak I ate yesterday)

I will post pictures when I can but as we've already established, I am not a food stylist by any stretch of the imagination and I forget to take pictures of food when I finish cooking before I start eating :)

I hope you all enjoy the recipes!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Draggy Draggy Day(s)

My iron must be super low...the last two days I have been nothing but super draggy...today on my way home I stopped at the grocery store and bought the smallest steak they had to cook for dinner...I just scarfed 1/2 a pound of beef...Which is probably more red meat than I have had all year combined...I hope it doesn't make me sick!!!

Does anyone else have random binge sessions on food they don't normally eat?  Does it correspond with a nutrient deficiency? I honestly don't know what spurred my steak craving but it was delicious and totally what I needed!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

March Madness

March Madness is well underway which means the only thing allowed on our TV is College Basketball.  
So far hubby is winning our group bracket challenge but has the least possible points remaining, I'm doing ok but I picked IU to win it all so who knows how it will turn out.  
How about you? Who do you have picked to win? 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Fried Rice

The only type of food we like as much as Mexican is Asian.   This fried rice recipe is way healthier than what we buy at the take out place down the street, way healthier, and just as yummy :)   


Ingredients
  • 3.5 Cups uncooked rice
  • Sesame Oil
  • 8-10 Eggs
  • 1 cup Leftover Roast Chicken (or ham or any other kind of meat really) chopped
  • Package of frozen mixed vegetables (or use your food processor and finely chop any kinds of veggies you have lyin around...example broccoli, cabbage, carrots, celery, onion, etc.)
  • ⅓ cup Chicken Soup Base (or 1-2 packages Fried Rice seasoning mix)
    Instructions

  1. Cook your Rice according to package instructions. If you are making dinner ahead of time you can chill the rice, or if making it last minute like I do, just let the rice steam an additional 15 minutes after it is done after the heat is off.
  2. Next, Mix your eggs, add a dash of salt n pepper. Then go ahead and scramble-cook them. I normally just add a little butter to the pan. Then continually scrape pan and cook till done. Set eggs aside in a bowl.
  3. Using the same pan, add ¼ cup sesame oil. Toss in chopped roasted chicken or other meat. Cook for a few minutes.
  4. Then add your vegetables and chicken soup base/seasoning packets to the chicken and cook until vegetables are done.
  5. Then just add your mix to the cooked rice.
  6. Mix it all up and serve. Yum!
    For Freezer Meal cooking you can add your cooked Fried Rice to gallon freezer safe bags or in a pan covered with foil. I found some great cheap-O aluminum carry-out pans (you know the ones with the silver cardboard lid) at dollar tree 3/$1 that were perfect.  Each pan held about 1/2 the recipe so I was able to pull it straight from the freezer, cover in foil (since cardboard isn't exactly oven safe) and put it in the oven for about 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees to heat through.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Chicken Pot pie

This is another not exactly 100% clean but really delicious and mostly healthy comfort meal.   I made smaller pot pies with the crust wrapped around them verses traditional style ones covered with a second crust so that we could get 1 or 2 meals out of each pie instead of 3-4 that we would if I had made these the traditional way.   I used the cheap-O metal carry out containers I found at dollar tree for these instead of a pie tin also since the carry out containers had lids and were so cheap.   
Next time I will probably use 1/2 as much of the has browns and add an extra 8 oz of frozen vegetables...It was kind of heavy with all of the potatoes with the crust given how few carbs we eat in this house.   

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked shredded chicken 
  • Homemade Gravy made from homemade chicken stock preferred or use (2) Campbells chicken/turkey gravy in jar
  • (2) Top & Bottom piece Pie Crust
  • Frozen Hashbrowns (diced) 16 oz. bag
  • Frozen Peas & Carrots combination 12 oz. bag (or any frozen vegetables you like)
  • Onion, ¼ cup diced small (optional )
  • salt & pepper to taste
    Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Take pie crusts out of package. If you have purchased the ones in the tins take one tin out and thaw on counter. Turn the second tin upside down as it thaws.
  3. While that it thawing mix together in a large bowl the shredded chicken, hashbrowns, peas & carrots, onion (opt) and gravy.
  4. Add salt & pepper to taste.
  5. When pie crust has thawed (15 minutes usually) add pot pie ingredients into pie tin with crust.
  6. Then take the upside down crust and gently place it on top of the pie carefully. Spread it out and pinch the two pie crusts together on the seams.
  7. Poke a few holes with a knife or fork on top of pie.
  8. Cover and FREEZE if you want this as a freezer meal, or place in oven at 350 degrees and cook for 35-45 minutes until top is golden brown and you can hear the inside is bubbling.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Freezer Meal Carnitas!!!!

Have I mentioned how much I love Mexican food?   I also really love Pulled Pork so when I saw this recipe I had to try it.   We had the pork on a salad earlier this week and it was absolutely amazing! One stupid thing I did was not fully read the instructions before cooking so I put the rub on the entire pork roast verses dicing the roast first...Next time I'll know though and now you know...Dice the pork, then coat in the rub for the most flavor!



To make traditional carnitas, Michoacán style, skip the spice mix and just boil the pork in water with an onion, a bay leaf, cumin, salt and hot pepper.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 pounds pork roast, leg or shoulder
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 head butter lettuce, washed and dried
  • 2 carrots, spiralized (or grated)
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges
  • water almost to cover
    Spice Mix:

  • 1 tablespoons un-sweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ⅛ teaspoon coriander
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
    INSTRUCTIONS

  1. The day before cooking the meat, make the spice mix by combining all of the ingredients listed, cut the roast into manageable pieces and rub them with the onion and spices. Then wrap the meat back into the butcher's paper and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Brown the roast on all sides, in pre-heated pressure cooker, the add enough water to almost cover (2-3 cups).
  3. Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker.
  4. For electric pressure cookers: Cook for 50-60 minutes at high pressure.
    For stove top pressure cookers: Turn the heat up to high and when the cooker indicates it has reached high pressure, lower to the heat to maintain it and begin counting 45 minutes pressure cooking time.
  5. Open with the Natural release method - move the pressure cooker to a cool burner and wait for the pressure to come down on it's own (about 10 minutes). For electric pressure cooker, disengage the “keep warm” mode or unplug the cooker and open when the pressure indicator has gone down (20-30 minutes).
  6. Pull out the meat and place on a platter, and then begin pulling the flesh into strips using two forks. In the meantime, reduce the cooking liquid in the cooker to half strain and de-fat using your favorite method (I leave it in the fridge overnight).
  7. At this point, you can also refrigerate the cooked, now shredded, pork for several days or continue with the recipe.
  8. In a pre-heated large wide saute' pan add vegetable oil, or lard, and fry the shredded pork until it becomes lightly brown. For extra spice, drizzle the cooking liquid on the pulled pork before serving.
  9. To make lettuce wraps, simply prepare the lettuce cups with carrots on a serving platter. Fill with just-fried pork. Finish with a squirt of fresh lime.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Surgery update

Thank you everyone for your prayers on Friday.  I made it through the surgery fine and feel pretty good. I got a ton of sleep over the weekend and am back at work today.  Currently I have some discomfort/pain but I think I'll make it through the day without having to go home early to take the good drugs.  
I have a chiropractor appointment tonight which I'm really looking forward to, I woke up from surgery with a stiff neck I'm guessing the way they had me positioned for surgery must not have agreed with my spinal alignment but in sure Dr Carley will be able to fix it.  

Happy leap day! 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai

This is not a freezer meal
I repeat this is not a freezer meal
Spaghetti squash doesn't exactly freeze well, and if you are going to make this then add it to the squash later...what's the point, it doesn't take that long to cook after you roast the spaghetti squash so....

Hubby loves Thai food...he was really excited when I decided to try my hand at this Spaghetti squash Pad Thai recipe.   It was really yummy, I was probably a little too heavy handed with the red pepper flakes for my taste but it was perfect for hubby.  Next time I'll probably stick with the 1 tsp the recipe calls for and let him add heat via siracha or chili oil to his.  


Ingredients

  1. 1 medium-sized spaghetti squash
  2. 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  3. 1/2 red onion, chopped
  4. 1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
  5. 1/2 cup carrots, chopped
  6. 1/2 cup sprouts
  7. 1/2 cup scallions, chopped
  8. 10-20 large shrimps
  9. 2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  10. 2-3 organic eggs
    Sauce

  1. Optional: 2 tbsp oyster sauce or Coconut Aminos Teriyaki Sauce
  2. 1 tsp red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
  3. Instructions

  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. 2. Roast spaghetti squash and set aside
  3. 3. In a bowl mix together sauce ingredients and set aside
  4. 4. In a large pan, sauté 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil with 2 garlic cloves crushed, half of a red onion chopped, chopped mushrooms, carrots, sprouts, and scallions (and any other veggies you like)
  5. 5. Once cooked down, add shrimp and chicken (uncooked or slow cooker chicken) and cook for 5-8 minutes, until protein is cooked
  6. 6. Add in spaghetti squash (approx. 3 cups) and sauce mixture, mix well to combine
  7. 7. Make a space in the center of your pan and add in 2 (or 3) eggs
  8. 8. Let cook and mix well throughout the mixture.
  9. 9. Taste and adjust spices to desired liking*
  10. Optional: Top with extra scallions and finely chopped peanuts on top*
    Notes

  1. You'll need to add as you taste!
  2. If you like more of a saucy Pad Thai, taste and add more sauce as desired. I mix in sriracha in mine*

Monday, February 22, 2016

Jesus loves the little children

What a whirlwind weekend.   On Friday night my friend Kim and I facilitated a retreat for the teenagers going through confirmation this year at her church.   I am always amazed when I work with teens by how intuitive and smart they really are once you get past all of the bull crap they throw at you and the walls and masks the put up around them.  I think the kids did a lot of growing up, had a lot of questions answered and  I hope will go into confirmation with their eyes open to what an important decision they are making.   I was truly honored to be trusted with these kids future and I think the positives far out weigh the negatives of taking time away from hubby and getting no where near enough sleep.  
I'm still slightly exhausted, it's true what they say you can't catch up on sleep, but am hoping that with the help of caffeine today will be a productive day.   Wish me luck!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Baby-Making Update

This infertility thing really sucks....no really, it just plain sucks.   I had an ultra sound done in December to take a closer look at my uterus and they "thought" they saw something, so a couple of weeks ago I went back for a more detailed ultrasound (called a Saline Infused Sonogram for those of you who know the terminology) and determined that I have a uterine polyp.   This isn't my first rodeo, about 4 years ago (yes while hubby was deployed) I was having some issues and they discovered a polyp that was causing them, so I'm not at all surprised that this time around we are taking the same treatment route--surgical removal.  
Say an extra special prayer for me on Feb 26, one week from today.  I am really not a fan of anesthesia or painkillers but given my family history of uterine cancer (not a high risk at my age but present all the same) I would be going through the surgery even if we weren't wanting to have a mini-me soon.  Hopefully this polyp is the cause of our problems and after the surgery we will be able to move forward with having a baby to spoil. :)

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Chicken Cabbage Soup

I can't remember where I found this recipe, however the sliced cabbage noodles are really fun and it is a delicious chicken soup.  Perfect for cold weather like what we are having currently (it's 20 degrees here today).  It really does warm the soul.

Ingredients

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced or sliced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced (leaves included)
  • 8 cups water, vegetable or chicken stock (I used homemade chicken stock)
  • 2 cups diced chicken meat, cooked (I used meat from the bird I cooked to make my chicken stock, you can omit the meat for a vegetarian version.)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/8 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/4 head cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, rinsed and drained (or
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas)
  • generous grating of black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat a large, non-stick pot. Add the onions, carrots, and celery and cook until onions soften. Add the water or stock and all remaining ingredients except nutritional yeast and parsley. 
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until vegetables are tender and broth is flavorful (at least 30 minutes).
  3. Stir in the nutritional yeast and parsley.  Add salt to taste and serve.

Number of servings (yield): 6

Monday, February 15, 2016

More Recipe Craziness

So I've noticed that my blogstats claim a lot of people are reading my recipe posts...so while I am by no means a gourmet chef/cook I am going to do my best to post one recipe per week on Wednesdays. I usually try not to schedule posts out too far in advance (I will occasionally go on a blogging binge and schedule a few posts out at a time to keep from posting 5 or 6 times in a day) but in order to do my best to keep the recipe posts going I am going to schedule them out as I write them for the next available Wednesday.    I will also do my best to make sure that as many of them as possible are Advocare 24-day challenge Friendly for those of you out there who need ideas.  

Bon Appetite!  

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentines Day

I'm so proud of my nerdiness...















Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Power of a Praying Wife

For my first focus of the Lenten season I am reading The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian.  My intention is to read one chapter per day, so today I will be reading chapter 4.   I am very impressed by Stormie's straightforward approach and the way she speaks straight to the reader, be they the wife of a devout Christian or of an Atheist.   I find myself relating to a lot of the points she makes (who hasn't prayed for their husband to change and start putting his socks in the laundry basket on his own, or spoken to him out of anger instead of love?) and am going to make a concentrated effort to pray for him in the right way and let God bless our marriage in the way he intends for it to be blessed.   I'm really excited to finish the book and may even read ahead.

Here is an image of the book cover/link to it on Amazon if you are interested:


There is also an edition specifically for military wives, be they the wives of AD service members or service members themselves which is available for free through many military chaplains.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Back to Recipes - Clean Taco Meat

I know today is a Friday in Lent so may people won't be eating turkey tacos today (including me) however this is a yummy recipe for taco meat without the crazy sodium in the packaged seasoning...and I had all the ingredients in our spice cabinet!

I made a couple of batches of this taco meat and froze it so we can easily make taco salads or lettuce wraps whenever we have a Mexican craving (Have I mentioned how much we love Mexican food in our house??)

Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1½ teaspoon  ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  •  1 teaspoon black pepper

    Instructions
    Combine the following dry ingredients into into a bowl to create your taco seasoning: chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, crushed red pepper flakes, dried oregano, paprika, ground cumin, sea salt, and black pepper
    Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat
    Add turkey and cook, breaking up meat with the side of a spoon, until meat is cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes.
    Stir in taco seasoning and cook 1 minute.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Blessed are they who mourn



A lot of loss has happened around me lately and I know lots of families currently mourning their loved ones.  For them and everyone who mourns this is my prayer.  


Let them cry
Let them be sad
Let grief overcome their broken hearts
and when there are no more tears
Grant them joy
Grant them peace
Grant them the wholeness that only comes from you



Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Happy (?) Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent on the Christian Liturgical calendar.   It is 40 days before Easter Sunday (excluding Sundays) and is a time of personal reflection, repentance and fasting in may denominations.  

The Lenten season is affiliated with Jesus' 40 days in the dessert before entering public ministry and Moses' 40 days on the mountain.

Roman Catholics have strict regulations that surround the Lenten fast whereas many protestant denominations take various approaches ranging from simply recognizing that lent is a thing through the same traditions followed by the Catholic church.  

Personally I tend to fall somewhere in the middle.  I appreciate the self-denial and focus on repentance that fasting can bring and as a result of my Catholic exposure tend to avoid meat on Fridays and Sundays.  However rather than taking the "give something up" approach to Lent I focus more on taking advantage of the chance to do things to draw me closer to God.  I have not yet decided how I am going to do that this year but and considering trying to read the entire New Testament during Lent this year.  

I will be attending Ash Wednesday services at lunch today at a Lutheran church near my office.  It's been a few years since I've attended a Lutheran church however my dad was Lutheran and in Georgia Hubby and were regular attendees at a Lutheran church.   I got out my old trust Lutheran Book of Worship Monday night and started flipping through to make sure I have the right words to the creeds etc.  

I hope that everyone who reads this who believes in Jesus has a blessed Lenten season and when we sing alleluia Easter morning that you remember the joyous reason being celebrated.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Theological Musings

I've recently been faced with some turmoil in my religious life.  There have been some changes made recently within the church hubby and I attend here and I have mixed feelings about them.  It isn't anything ground breaking, especially considering we attend a military church so having a regular transition in chaplains and chapel staff is the norm.  I'm just uncomfortable with a few things that have happened with the newest chaplain responsible for the services seems like he gives a lot of lip service.  On more than one occasion already he has said "we all have to compromise since we are dealing with a variety of faith traditions" then turn around and do things his way, this would be fine except some of his "compromises" feel to me more like he is forcing his beliefs on others and doing things that are blatantly against other traditions.
He hasn't done or said anything blasphemous or offensive, he is simply making me a little uncomfortable with some of his decisions.   This has called into question some of my own beliefs and I honestly believe his presence is being used by God to force me out of my comfort zone and to really do some deep soul searching.  
I apologize in advance if there are a lot of religious musings on this blog over the coming days/weeks/months.  I will probably be thinking "out loud" through this blog as is dive into what I really believe and what traditions I think are truly important to my faith.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Hard Ginger Ale

Jersey pup is helping me write this blog post so I apologize in advance for any typos.  

No really...I know it's dark but she is is sitting on my arms, I took this from my laptop camera...

Hubby and I are watching Harry Potter and cuddling with the dogs tonight, it's an old person's dream night :) 
I decided to try the Henry's Hard Ginger Ale this week and it is really yummy...that is really all I wanted to say.  Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend!


Friday, February 5, 2016

Colcannon Puffs

I love fried potato pancakes and latkes.  This recipe combines the delicious comfort food of my youth with an equally comforting Irish Colcannon recipe for fun bite-size puffs that would make a great (healthy!) appetizer for a party or carb/side for a family meal.   Hubby and I had them with veggie loaded meatballs and a salad for dinner last week and they were delicious!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds potatoes (I used red potato's and left the peels on them)
  • 6 ounces kale
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons milk(ish) (I used almond milk this time)
  • 2 tablespoons potato starch or corn starch

Instructions

  1. Cut the potatoes into small cubes (about 1/2-inch), put them in a large pot, and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are tender.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, remove the center stalk from the kale and slice the leaves into strips. When the potatoes are done, lift them out with a slotted spoon and place in a large mixing bowl. Put the kale into the potato water and cook for 6 minutes or until kale is tender. Remove kale with a slotted spoon to a food processor. Add 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid and pulse to chop fine.
  3. Preheat oven to 425 F. Mash the potatoes and add the kale and all remaining ingredients. Stir well. Using a well-rounded tablespoon, form into balls about 1 inch across. Place them on an oiled baking sheet or, preferably, a baking sheet covered with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Bake for 20 minutes. Carefully turn over and bake fore 20 minutes more, until lightly browned.
Number of servings (yield): 6

If Freezing you can freeze the puffs after step 2 then thaw them before baking (my preferred method) or pre-bake them before freezing and then reheat in the oven after thawing.  Personally since the potato's are already cooked I figure waiting to bake them until I am ready to eat is the most energy efficient method since reheating them in the microwave might make them soggy.