Day 6 – Chili

September 17, 2012 at 8:47 pm (Food) (, )

It’s a work night for me, so Hubs and the spawn will be having some veggie soup for dinner. Nothing exciting and no recipe for that one, but I was in the mood for something heartier for lunch and came up with a new chili recipe.

1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water
1/2 onion, finely diced
6 oz Boca meatless crumbles
1tsp cumin
1tsp chili powder
2 tsp minced garlic
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup black beans (either canned and rinsed, or dry beans simmered until soft)
6 oz can of tomato sauce

In one pot, combine quinoa and water. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer 15 minutes until water is absorbed.
While quinoa is cooking, sauté onion, Boca, garlic, cumin and chili powder in just a hint of oil. When onions begin to soften, add tomatoes, corn, beans, quinoa and tomato sauce. Simmer 15 minutes and enjoy!

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Dollar store organization

September 17, 2012 at 5:48 pm (Uncategorized) ()

After cleaning out my cupboards of all the junk that’s accumulated over the last 4 years, and stocking up on stuff from the grocery store’s bulk section, my cupboards looked as messy as they did before. I entertained the idea of pretty glass containers for everything. Then I remembered my budget and the fact that glass breaks. Scratch that. I’m to cheap frugal for that. Dollar store time!

I found packages of 3 3 cup containers and packages of 4 1.5 cup bowls. Score. I also got a cute little set of mini rectangular pail things. The containers are perfect for all the goodies I buy in bulk now like almond meal, bran, beans, lentils, etc. The little pails are great for storing the bags of things I buy in tiny amounts or don’t use much.

Please excuse the ipadography, but here’s some photographic evidence of the organization.

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I highly recommend checking out your nearest dollar store for your next organizing project. I was really pleasantly surprised at all the containers, boxes and thingsmabobs I found there. The quality was better than I expected too.

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Days 4 and 5

September 17, 2012 at 4:34 am (Food) ()

I’m not counting Friday as one of our diet days. It didn’t count. Not even a little bit. I took the boys to the fair with a friend. We had a blast and ate a bunch of really horrendous food. And it was so good. Forgive me diet gods.

We’ll call Saturday day 4. It was one of those crazy days that would have been so much easier to order take out. I didn’t. Although it was rather tempting. I didn’t get home from work until 4:30 and needed to leave at 6:30 for a bachelorette dinner party. In two hours, I needed to cook dinner for Hubs and the kiddos, make a dish to bring to dinner with friends, shower and leave the house looking somewhat put together. Take out was really sounding good, but I didn’t cave. I made Hubs and the boys grilled salmon, brown rice and salad. I brought an awesome salmon and quinoa salad for the dinner party. People asked for the recipe. Win.

Tonight, we had a family dinner at my brother’s house. We decided to have barbecue pizzas for dinner. I made whole wheat dough, and topped it with ground tomatoes, Boca meatless crumbles, and about half the cheese I normally would have used. It was pretty yummy, but didn’t beat out the quinoa salad.

Without further ado, here’s the recipe for Salmon Quinoa Salad.

1 cup quinoa
2 cups vegetable stock
4oz salmon, cooked, cooled and flaked
1/2 cup thinly sliced leeks
1/2 bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely diced celery
2Tbsp olive oil
2Tbsp red wine vinegar
1tsp thyme
Dash of salt and pepper

1. Combine quinoa and stock in a small pot, bring to a boil, cover and simmer 15-20 minutes until all stock is absorbed. Put it in the fridge to cool.
2. Lightly sauté leeks in a tiny bit of oil. Combine the cooked leeks with the cooked quinoa.
3. Mix in the celery and bell pepper with quinoa.
4. To make dressing, whisk together oil, vinegar, thyme, salt and pepper. When quinoa is cool, toss dressing with salad.

Done!

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Go Deuce!

September 14, 2012 at 5:30 am (Deuce) ()

Deuce is 19 months old now. For real. Already. Just like his big brother, he’s not a talker. When Junior was the same age he said a couple of words, but he’s making up the the lack of talking now! Deuce points a few things out like cars, balls, crackers, etc., but tonight he did something new. We were finishing dinner and he walked over to me. I asked if he was done, he looked me right in the eye and signed “all done”. I was so proud. Seems silly to be so proud of a 19 month old making a simple hand gesture, but this is the first time he’s really communicated a thought with me. Crap, I’m getting sappy now. My baby is growing up!

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Day 3

September 14, 2012 at 5:09 am (Food) (, , )

I was so excited for tonight’s dinner, we got distracted. My sister in law called and invited the kids and I over for dinner and blackberry picking. Hubs works very early in the morning, so he stayed home since we’re always late getting back after playing there. Typical for me, I took over in the kitchen while she played outside in the September evening sun. I rummaged through her cabinets and whipped up some spaghetti sauce. It was a quick combo of onions, carrots, zucchini, corn, and lean ground pork. Not quite as healthy as I was shooting for, but it sure was tasty. I tried to eat more sauce than pasta and I ate a side of broccoli too. I keep reminding myself that it’s not a diet, it’s about making better choices. I think I did ok with what was in front of me.

I was planning to make some black bean quinoa burgers for dinner at home. Now I probably won’t get to them until Saturday. Tomorrow is a huge cheat day. I probably shouldn’t even admit this, but tomorrow is the day my best friend and I have called “the day of gluttony” for years. We go the the fair together every year and gorge ourselves on everything that we won’t touch again for another year. I’m giving myself a free pass for tomorrow. I hope you’ll understand!

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The verdict on Coconut Lentil Soup

September 13, 2012 at 3:27 pm (Food)

I wasn’t sure how Hubs would respond to the vegan lentil soup I made yesterday. Much to my surprise, I came home to a half empty crockpot. Hubs said it was OK. For a guy that likes big, hearty meals and claims to not like any member of the bean/legume family (well, besides peanuts), “OK” is a win in my book. The boys also ate good size servings. Junior said he liked it. He’s a fairly picky kid and says he’d eat it again. Deuce is perfectly content to eat just about any food in front of his face (except mac and cheese. What kid doesn’t like mac and cheeses?), so I’m not sure his vote counts. I thought it was pretty darn good. I would have liked to have seasoned it more (some curry powder would have been great), but keeping Hubs’ preferences in mind I kept it more lightly seasoned. I might sneak in a little curry next time. Wish me luck! 😉

Overall rating: 3.5 out of 5. Decent; everyone ate it, and I’ll make it again, but probably not anyone’s favorite meal.

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Coconut lentil soup

September 12, 2012 at 7:35 pm (Food)

Its day 2 of Project: Get Healthy. I have to work later tonight, so it’s a crockpot dinner night. Tonight, the guys are having Coconut Lentil soup. It might be a bit of a stretch for Hubs’ taste buds, but this is a challenge for all of us.

Please keep in mind, I tend to make big batches of most recipes. We use the leftovers for lunches or dinner later.

Veggies, dice them up – 1 onion, 2 large carrots, 3 ribs celery, 1/2 green bell pepper.
Seasonings – 1tsp salt, 2tsp cumin
Dry lentils, rinsed – 1.5 cups
Coconut milk – 1 can (12oz, I think)
Vegetable stock – 2 quarts

Sauté your veggies and seasonings in just a bit of oil. When veggies are a bit softened, deglaze the pan with about a cup of the veggie stock. Now just toss everything in the crockpot. Set it on low and let it go. Once the lentils are softened, it’s ready to eat. Plan on cooking your soup about 4 hours. I like leaving it longer and letting the lentils break down more, but it’s up to you.

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Times they are changin’

September 12, 2012 at 1:44 am (Uncategorized) (, , )

Hubs and I are both fat. There. I said it. We need to lose some serious weight. Between the two of us, there’s easily 80 to shed. Hubs now has high blood pressure, high cholesterol, a fatty liver and high liver enzymes. We have to get this on track. It’s not just about losing weight at this point, it’s about getting healthier.

Today, I cleaned out the fridge and cupboards. The remains of old chip bags are gone. There’s no half eaten ice cream tubs. It was also a great excuse to organize the cupboards while I was in there. I’m not calling it a diet; its a whole new lifestyle. We’re not subscribing to fad diet, we’re not counting calories, we’re making better choices. I organized a menu plan for the next two weeks and went shopping. Tonight was dinner #1 of our new menu.

Tonight was a peanut noodle dish with tofu. I didn’t measure much, but here’s the run down.

-Noodles (I used Korean starch noodles called vermicelli. Rice noodles would probably be ever better). Cook and set aside.
-Veggies (we had broccoli, carrots and bell pepper)
-Sesame oil
-Vegetable stock
-Coconut milk
-Peanut butter (fresh ground)
-Seasonings/spices (red peeper flakes, cumin, etc)
-Corn starch
-Tofu, diced

Sauté the veggies in a bit of sesame oil. Add about half a cup of veggie stock, a couple of tablespoons each peanut butter and coconut milk, and your spices. Bring it to a simmer. Mix a little starch with cold water and stir into the sauce. Bring back to s simmer. Fold in tofu and noodles. If you want, garnish with green onion and sesame seeds.

The results? Success! Even Hubs who doesn’t like peanut sauces. Both kids finished theirs too.

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Box pleat skirt tutorial

August 25, 2012 at 4:28 am (Uncategorized)

This morning I was inspired by my hoards of scrap fabric to make something new. I made a totally adorable little box pleat skirt. It was so simple, I’m sure anyone can do it. Bear with me, I’m not a photographer by any means and I’m a home taught seamstress, so I’m no expert, but with basic sewing skills, you can do it.

First, we need to draft your pattern. Start by taking measurements around your kiddos waist and hips. We’re going to refer to these measurements from here on out as W and H. I would add an inch to each of these for comfort, but it’s up to you. Now, starting at the waist, measure down to the level where you measured the hips (I call this WTH as in waist to hips), and measure the total length you want the skirt to be (this will be L).

How many pleats do you want? It’s totally up to you. If you’re making more of a cheer skirt, you’ll want more pleats. I did 6 since this was a fairly small skirt. 8 is pretty good for older kids.

Now, let’s get into that pattern. Starting with the pleated area, which we’ll call the panels and inserts. Take your hip measurement and divide it by the number of pleats you want. For the panels, just add seam allowance; for the inserts, times that number by two then add seam allowances. These will be the widths of those pieces. The lengths of them will be L minus HTW plus one seam allowance and the hem. Cut as many panels and inserts as you planned for to these measurements.

For the upper part of the skirt we’re going to get into some old school geometry. Remember all that circumference stuff? We’re actually going to use it. We need to create a piece that’s going to look like 1/4 of a donut. The first formula will be (W+SAs)*2/3.14. Did you get all that? Take your waist measurement and add seam allowances, multiply that by two, then divide by 3.14. This will be the radius of the curve we’re going to make. Now you need your WTH measurement plus one seam allowance. Cut a square of fabric that measures radius plus WTH on all sides. This is what you’ll cut your 1/4 of a donut from. If you want to use interfacing for this part, cut a piece to the same measurements.

You’ll also need a strip of fabric to finish the top edge. I did 3 inches wide by my waist measurement. For a larger size, I’d probably make that 4 inches wide. You could use bias tape too if you’d prefer.

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Let’s get sewing!

Start by alternately sewing together the panels and inserts side by side into a long strip. Once all pieces are sewn together, connect them into a circle. Press and hem one edge. This part is a little tough to explain, so bear with me and see the attached pictures. To start the pleating, bring the edges of two panels together, folding the insert underneath. Press and pin to keep everything in place. If you want the pleats to be more permanent, you can stitch along these folds. Continue pressing all the way around. Then set this section aside for a moment.

Grab that long strip. Press it in half the long way, then open that up and flip the edges in. Press again. Stitch this to the shorter radius of that 1/4 donut piece. Fold that donut piece in half, right sides together and baste along the short edge. This is where your zipper will end up. Now it’s time to pin the pleated circle to the piece you just basted and sew them together. Take your time. If they aren’t lining up perfectly, ease them together as you go.

Now, all you need to do is put in your zipper in that section you basted. For this step, I’ll leave you to YouTube. I’m definitely not a zipper pro and don’t have any pics of the zipper installation.

That’s is, you’re done. Congrats!

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Someday I will…

January 3, 2012 at 9:52 pm (Family, Random rantings)

Someday I will…
– have a perfectly clean home (even the closets).
– have the yard the neighbors envy.
– start that exercise regimen I’ve been putting off for years.
– do the 3 Day Walk for Breast Cancer again.
– have a beautiful, bountiful vegetable garden.
– spend my winters making amazing soups from vegetables canned and dried straight from my garden.
– decorate my house tastefully and creatively for every season and holiday.
– throw my kids the best birthday parties on record (not necessarily biggest, just awesome and memorable).
– go on a honeymoon with my husband, even if it ends up being 20 years late!
– have the home where my kids and their friends want to spend time.
– be happy with my body, even if it still looks the same.

Someday.

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