Saturday, December 10, 2011

Fresh Start

I have decided to give my blog a new look and a fresh start. Please excuse the confusion on the sidebar while I make these changes.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Family Dinner Table

I realize that it has been a long time since my last post. I have had some crazy stuff going on. 

Last week my family went camping. I cannot remember the last time that we have had so much fun camping. We were all relaxed, laughing with each other and just enjoyed each others company. One thing that I am taking away from camping was eating as a family. We do eat together, just not at the table. I fell in love with have dinner at the picnic table while camping. I loved the conversations that we had. There was really no telling where they would leave us. The children told jokes and stories. They made up games for us to play. There was no other distraction. When dinner was over there were only a few dishes to clean. After dinner, we would go look at the stars or play a board game in the rec center. We would then sit around the campfire. We would all be wiped out by 9pm! While the kids were going to sleep I would read to them from one of the books on our Kindle.  The current favorite is The Book of Nature Myths. It is a free download. They have many others to choose from.

Starting tonight we will cook together and then eat together at the family table. Squirrel & I are going to make some new placemats and napkins to use. After dinner we are going to do things together. It might be watching a movie, playing a game or reading. The main thing is that we are going to doing it together.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Slow Cooked Sticky Chicken & Orzo Salad

Slow Cook Sticky Chicken

Tonight I decided that I really wanted to cook, but I also had some things to do around the house. The crockpot. I stumbled upon a great blog, Full Bellies, Happy Kids and found Slow Cooked Sticky Chicken. I have heard about this recipe for years, but had never tried it. I decided that tonight was the night. The recipe couldn't have been easier. It was a HUGE hit. Everyone decided that it was a keeper. Next time I will not cook my chicken quite as long, mine was a little bit dry.

The other big hit tonight was the orzo salad that I created. It really was not a salad, but that is what my daughter called it. I thought that it was delicious. I do not measure anything. I go by site, I know I need to fix that. I will try and explain what I did.

Orzo Salad

cooked orzo
1 roasted red pepper, diced
2 big handfuls of spinach, chopped
7 cremini mushrooms, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 Tbsp butter
Parmesan Cheese


First, melt butter in skillet, add garlic. Once the garlic is soften add the mushrooms. Cook the mushrooms until the are soft. Add the chopped spinach and cook for 5 minutes. Season the spinach & mushroom mixture. I personally use a salt free spice mix.

In a bowl combine the orzo, butter, spinach mixture, chopped red pepper and mix until combined. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.

My children loved this. I will have to make it again.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

It is Done!!

After almost 3 years, my kitchen cabinets are finally back together. They are no longer stored under my baking table. I cannot tell you the joy that I had putting my kitchen back together. We are going to put up a couple of shelves to better organize some cookbooks. Once this is done, I will be sharing more pictures with you.

I am looking forward to cooking in my new to me kitchen.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I'm Still Here...

I have fallen off of the healthy eating wagon. I enjoyed a full week in the mountains with Fire Rat. I enjoyed the local food and the peace of hiking in the woods. I am having the hardest time getting back into the swing of things. When we got home, I threw myself into cleaning my house. That took priority. I cannot tell you how uplifting it was throwing away bags and bags of junk. We donated what we could. But to be honest, it was all junk. Fire Rat spent time going through his 'honey do' list.

Now it is time for me to turn the attention back to out eating habits. I am excited because our Farmer's Market just reopened. I always love going to the different booths. I enjoy looking at the fresh produce. We will be getting 90% of our vegetables from there. I cannot wait. I love this time of the year.

I am trying to find a way to incorporate more exercise into our routine. I keep telling myself that I should be better, but I know that I can just be the best that I can be. I know that I tend to put too much pressure on myself. This is something that I struggle with. IF I cannot do it perfectly, I don't want to start. I know that everything starts with one small step...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Change is Hard

We are having an extremely hard time making the switch in our diet. I am not sure what the hold up is. It was not this difficult the first time we changed our diet. We were pescatarians before. Due to a recently diagnosed shellfish allergy, I no longer eat fish. I have to be extremely careful or else, I might just take a ride in an ambulance. I do not plan on doing that anytime soon.

Since we are having a little bit of trouble, we will be making this a gradual change. I think that we tried to do too much too quickly.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Decision Has Been Made

Fire Chef & I have made the decision to start the Engine 2 Diet. It is a strict vegan diet. You do not use oils or butter(help me). I am nervous and excited. I am nervous because it is going to be hard work. I am going to have to get better organized. I am nervous because I am not sure how I am going to cook without evoo or butter. I am not sure how I am going to give up my biweekly tea.

I am excited because it will be a challenge. I am excited because I know that this is a decision that will pay off in the long run.

We will not be starting the diet right away. This is due to the fact that we want to eat what is in the house. However, we have made the decision not to buy anything new. We will not be able to go through all the oil that we have, but that is ok. The main thing to use up is the chicken and eggs that are in the house.

I cannot wait...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Healthy Popcorn Balls

This Friday, our homeschool co-op is having a Valentine's Day Party. Everyone was asked to bring a healthy goodie. The kids and I thought that popcorn balls would be a great idea. I knew that I would want to make something without processed sugar and corn syrup. This morning I googled "Healthy Popcorn Balls". There were a lot of choices. Squirrel & I picked 2 different recipes to try.

The first was Agave Popcorn Balls. We made this recipe twice, once with chocolate chips and once without. Tracker & Dragon were eager taste testers. The boys both liked the chocolate version. Squirrel preferred the kind without chocolate chips. I tasted a bit and they tasted just like Cracker Jacks, only healthier.

The next recipe we tried was Cinnamon Popcorn. The first time we made it, we did not think that there was enough liquid. We decided to double the syrup recipe and that turned out to have too much butter and sugar. The next time I made the recipe, we used the original recipe, but doubled the cinnamon & vanilla. It turned out a little bit better. Dragon told me that there was too much cinnamon. He also suggested that I add nuts to the recipe. I added chopped pecans & almonds(leftover from the Agave Popcorn Balls) and added more popcorn. They decided that they liked this version. They thought that it would be a great snack food, but not appropriate for popcorn balls. I had to agree. We decided that we had a great afternoon snack.We decided to make both variations of the Agave Popcorn Balls to take to the party Friday. Squirrel had the great idea to use our ice cream scoop to form the balls.
We are going to serve them in heart cupcake liners.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Today was a crazy day. We had to travel out of town for a doctors appointment. We had to stop at a fast food place for dinner. There was no other option. We packed our lunch trying to not only save money, but avoid the bad food on the road. As I sat there and ate my crappy and tasteless sandwich, I asked myself what I was doing? What the hell was I thinking stopping there? What kind of example am I? I feel like I should of found something better for dinner. I want my children to have a healthy relationship with food. I do not want them to worry about every little thing they put in their mouths.

I need to get my head on straight. I need to get back into the swing of things. I need to make sure that there are healthy food choices in the house. I need to start making things from scratch again. I know what I need to do, I need to believe that I can do it. I need to remember why I am doing this.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Start of the day

I have learned that starting off the day right is very important. This is what I normally have..

Egg white omelet with spinach, mushrooms, and a tiny bit of cheese
Handful of nuts
2 pieces of whole wheat toast

Here are some of our other family favorites:
whole wheat pancakes
veggie sausage biscuits
apple cinnamon baked oatmeal
hard boiled eggs & coffee cake
cereal and muffins
breakfast burritos

I would love some more breakfast ideas.


"All things are difficult before they were easy." ~Thomas Fuller

My willpower has been next to zip. I am having a hard time refusing temptation. I have determined that changing my diet is going to be a lot harder than I thought. I now have a food journal. I am going to keep track of what I am eating.

I am also putting myself first when it comes to my workouts. I need to do this for myself and my family. I am going to be working out a schedule this week.

I know that I can do this. In the words of Fire Chef...we will get there, together.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Thinking of Spring

I am anxiously awaiting the day that I can start my seedlings. Before I can start them, I need to decide what to plant. My ideal garden would have cucumbers, tomatoes, beans, watermelon, eggplant, herbs, sweet peppers, hot peppers, zucchini, corn, crookneck squash and patty pan squash. I would also love to have strawberries.

I wish that I took the time to create a garden journal last spring. If I had I would not have to try and remember what I planted last year. Last year I did square foot gardening, but it failed due to the fact that I had major surgery in June. The garden was neglected while I recovered. This year I am going to ask a friend that had a wonderful garden last year for advice.

I do know that one big part of my garden this year will be an herb garden. I am just not sure if I am going to put them in the garden or a container.

Seed companies here I come....

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Veggie Wraps

I took these....
And some of these....
and made some of the best grilled veggie wraps...

Friday, January 21, 2011

Spinach, Black Bean & Mushroom Quesadillas

This was our lunch the other day. We love spinach in my house. I personally cannot get enough of it. In order to make this go with my diet I did the following:

~used whole wheat tortillas
~added spinach
~used a small amount of cheese & sour cream
~added salsa

Monday, January 17, 2011


We are here. I have been busy trying to get my diet under control. I am being fairly strict on what I can and cannot eat. I have dropped most of the sugar and salt in my diet. What I have not eliminated I have cut back drastically. I no longer add salt to anything other than baking. I have cut back my sweet tea consumption to next to nothing. Fire Chef has started to make my tea. He is making it with half black tea & half green tea. He has me down to only 1/2-3/4 cup of sugar per gallon. For me that is good. I have also started to exercise more. While my kids are at PE I have started to workout at the gym. I am enjoying the time to myself. I have found it difficult to eat out. This is due to all of my dietary restrictions. I am slowly getting into the habit of making everything at home. Right now my goals are to increase my water intake and get at least 8 hrs of sleep.

The good news is that I am down almost 10 pounds in 2.5 weeks. This week I will be stepping up my workouts more. Right now I am just gradually increasing the frequency. I did not want to go too hard and then burn out.

We have been cooking at home, but I have not been very good on taking pictures and making notes. I do have some pictures that I plan on posting tonight along with recipe review.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Repost from 2/13/09 Just a Beach Bum at Heart

I am reposting this in honor of one great lady. I love you Bam!

I have been trying for a little bit to create a post about our day. I can't do it. Instead I want to take you down memory lane.

Growing up I was one of 13 grandkids. Twice a summer we would all get together for a family pool party at my grandmother's house. My mom and dad would go get 2 bushels of blue crabs fresh off the boats. They would pick up shrimp and corn on the cob too. All the kids would play in the pool while the grown ups cooked our meal. My grandmother, Bam, would be in charge of the crabs. She would purposely, I mean accidently, drop a few live ones on the ground to chase the kids. My dad and his brother would be 'manning' the grill. They would cook the corn, hot dogs, and whatever else we had. We would then all sit down at huge tables to eat our meals. We always had fun. There were games of all kinds. We would play football, soccer or baseball up on the fields next to my dad's childhood home. We would play games in the pool as well.

Bam's house was the one that we gathered at for the holidays. I can picture the men on the couches while watching the football games on Thanksgiving. I can see the kids all playing with the knick knacks that Bam collected as she traveled all over the world. I can see the tree in the sun room. I can picture all the food in the dining room. I can picture my grandmother so clearly and so full of life.

When I had to do a 6th grade project on a country in Africa, Bam helped me. She had just gotten back from a trip to Egypt. She gave me all of her artifacts that she collected. I got an A that day.

Many of you that read my blog know that I love the islands. I love the sand, the water and the sun. I feel like I am at home when my feet are in the sand. All of my worries go away at the smell and sight of the ocean. It is as if my worries get washed away with the tide. The reason that I am at home at the beach, Bam. She taught me to love the islands. She showed me that there was peace in the sand. Bam & I have been to few different beaches. We have been to Jamaica where we climbed a waterfall, the Bahamas where she lived part time, and we have been to the Eastern Shore of Md. The music that I love the most reminds me of the water. They are Beach Songs.

Last May, she was taken to the hospital because she fell. They didn't know if she would make it to my cousin's wedding on June. She made it. She had another goal, make it until I came for a visit in August. She made that goal too. She was well enough to make a trip to her house in the Bahamas over the holidays.

Unfortunately, Bam died this morning. I am so glad that I got the chance to see her in August. I am thankful that my kids have a great memory of eating sushi with their great-grandmother. I am thankful that she got to see them one more time. Mostly, I am just grateful that she was my grandmother.

I will miss you forever Bama. I'll see you at the beach. Photobucket

photo courtesy of Virtual Tourist

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More

Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes | JCpenney Printable Coupons