Thursday, September 28, 2017

What You Do With Now

I recently started a new weight loss program.  Well, not really.  It is a lifestyle change.  Small, little changes that add up.  Focus more on whole foods.  Using natural sweeteners. 

Anyway - I stumbled across a post from 2012 on this website and I wanted to remember the words, so I figured I'd share it here so I always had access to it.

What You Do With Now

It is not your fault. But it is your responsibility.

The choices you have made have brought you to where you are now. And so have other factors that are completely beyond your control.

There's nothing to be gained by blaming yourself for the way your life has unfolded. There's everything to be gained by actively taking full responsibility for the way your life proceeds.

The route you traveled to this point no longer matters, for nothing can be done to change it. What truly matters is what you do with now.

Life is always unpredictable, yet there's something you can count on. The more sincerely and diligently you give yourself to the living of it, the more life will go your way.

In this moment is every possibility. Take responsibility for it all, and bring the best of those possibilities to life.

Copyright c2008 Ralph S. Marston, Jr. All rights reserved for greatday. com

This is something I need to share with my oldest daughter.   She is stuck in the past.  Most of what she dwells on is not her fault, nothing she could have changed.  She is amazing.  She graduate young, and is going to finish college with 2 degrees within 3 1/2 years.  Have I mentioned she is amazing.  She is just one reason I am going on this journey.  

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Back to School = Back on Schedule

While I LOVE summer, I do miss having a schedule and knowing where we'll be each day and what we'll be doing, and more importantly .... what's for dinner !!

I use Plan To Eat to plan my meals as well as get my grocery list together.  

Then I post it so the kids don't ask a gazillion times "What's for dinner tonight?"

Some of these are new recipes, others are recipes I've adapted.   If something strikes me as outstandingly good this year, I'm going to try and make sure I have it either linked here, or I post the recipe.  

This week I just signed up for AMAZON Fresh .... they will be delivering my groceries Monday morning (holiday weekend or I probably could have gotten sooner).   I saved $50 off my $150 order by using FRESH50 in the Promo Box.   I've heard some great things about the delivery service - so I'll give it a shot.  Prices of meat I thought were high, so I may have to hit the grocery store for anything I don't have in the freezer, but I can easily see myself doing a weekly shopping trip on Amazon and then just hitting the butcher, or Shoprite for meats.  

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Sweet and Spicy Shrimps

My family loves shrimp.  Usually I prepare it with scampi, or something equally unhealthy.  This time I tried something new, and it was a hit.  I will certainly make this over again, it was good enough to serve when we have guests.

I used 4 pounds of large shrimp, peeled and cleaned.  I buy the ones that are frozen and cleaned, but still have the tail on.  They are way cheaper than the ones that are totally cleaned, and it took me about 5 minutes to squeeze the tails off all 4 pounds once they were thawed.  I served this over plain white rice, it was a hit.

Take your 4 pounds of cleaned shrimp and marinate in about 1/4 cup of lemon juice, 1/4 cup of flour and 1/4 cup of corn starch.  I put mine in the lemon juice first and gave it a good mix so all the shrimps were in contact with lemon juice, then sprinkled the flour and cornstarch on top and mixed again.  I mixed a few more times while it sat for 15 minutes or so -- while I prepped all the rest of the ingredients.  The originally recipe called for 4 egg whites and salt, not sure why, perhaps because the original recipe was for chicken, not shrimp ?  I skipped both.

After I had all the other ingrediants ready, I pan fried the shrimp (you can do in batches if you don't have a super large pan.  Do not dump the leftover marinade into the pot !! Scoop out the shrimp and discard whatever is left in the bowl.  After the shrimp are nice and pink (Don't over cook!) take them out to a clean bowl, and fry up your onions, garlic and ginger.  I used 1 whole large onion chopped up (kids said I could have cut them smaller, but I was in a hurry), an entire head of garlic crushed, and maybe 2 TBSP of shredded garlic.   Just cook until softened, and then add in some spices.  The original recipe called for Chili powder, I'm not a big fan.  I use roasted red chili paste and sweet chili sauce   My local grocery store carries both.  Amazon has good prices, but only if you purchase 4-6 bottles at a time.   If you check them out though, check out the Spicy Thai Mango sauce .... my grocery store doesn't carry that one, but I love, love, love Mango, so I'll break down and order this one from Amazon, so stay tuned for a new recipe !!

Anyway, I used maybe 2-3 TBS of the paste, and a good 1/4 cup + of the chili sauce, stirred that around until all the onions were good and coated, add a splash of vinegar, let it cook for just a minute, then added tomato sauce (I used a 20 ounce can and a 8 ounce can, because that's what I had)  Then squeeze in some honey.  I used maybe 1/4 cup of honey, tasted it, added a bit more chili paste, and then a bit more honey.  Don't forget the salt.  Once you have it where you like it, add back in the shrimp just until they get reheated - don't cook them.  Serve over rice or noodles.

Next time I make it I'll edit this post and add photos.  The kids were starving - so no photos, and no leftovers :(    Recipe is below - the red ingredients are for the marinade.

Recipe    Serves 6-8

4 lbs shrimp
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup of corn starch
1-2 large onions chopped
1 head garlic
2 TBS of shredded fresh ginger
2 TBS Red Chili Paste
1/4 cup Sweet Chili Sauce
Splash of vinegar
1/4 cup of Honey - Adjust to your liking
Salt if necessary
Oil for pan frying

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

My New Jeep

I've been watching a used 2015 Jeep for about a month or two now.  Finally I decided to take the drive up to test drive.  I received an e-mail early yesterday morning that it was still there.  But it wasn't.  Usually I would have gotten pissed off that I was basically "tricked" into driving an hour away, but after the deal I got on a brand new Jeep, (it had less than 1 mile on it when I first took it for a test drive) I couldn't pass it up.  This will most likely be my forever car.  They are installing running boards on it, so that when I do get old, I'll still be able to get into my Jeep.  The best part .... it's stick shift - and no one else in my house can drive stick !  Now to think of a name for her.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Flying Like the Wind

Anyone that knows me, knows we are a swimming family.  Maybe because I am a Pisces I love the water so much, but I love everything about water, pools, baths, the ocean, the lakes, give me a body of water and I'm jumping in.

My kids all swim too.  At one time or another, they've all competed on a swim team.  Two of them still practice year round, 5-7 times a week.  For 3 hours each practice.  So yes, our life pretty much revolved around swimming.  Until now.

Adam decided out of the blue he was going out for the track and field team at his middle school.  Since I threw both shot and discus in high school, I'm sure we've talked about it, but never did I think I'd have a kid follow in my footsteps.  So a month ago, he went out for the team.  It was right before Spring Break, so I figured I'd buy him a discus so he could practice, seeing as the other kids have already been doing this for 2 years.  I showed him a few pointers, and he went from 40' right before Spring Break to 68' by the time Spring break was over.

This past Tuesday was his first track meet.  I can't tell you how proud I am of him, his first meet, and he won.  He practices after school every day, then most days goes on to swim practice.  Here is his first winning through of 88'1"

Early Garden

There is really nothing I like better than working barefoot in my garden.  It's still pretty cool here at the Jersey shore, especially for May.   Right now Alexa tells me it's only 57*, with a high of 61* and a low of 48*.   Great weather to work outside, but not warm enough for things to really grow.

I do have some things going - my planter that I got from Sam's --- love this, makes having lettuce and herbs right outside my door both accessible and attractive.
As I pull the lettuce or kale out, I can simply replace with smaller plants or seeds.  I keep it really close to the house, so although it does get morning sun, it's in shade for the hottest parts of the day, and that helped all the herbs not to bolt last year.  The only downside is that it doesn't hold much water, so watering every 3rd day or so is necessary.

Also loving the look of my step flowers this year.  
They are quickly growing right up the flower trellises I purchases.  I bought good metal ones that I can use over and over.  I think I need a new bright welcome mat though !  You can also see my little lemon tree up on a stool and there are a few extra tomato plants in containers that didn't fit in the garden.

I have raised beds for a garden here.  Not enough space for a full on fenced garden, but it's enough to keep me happy, and provide some fresh veggies for the family.  
By the time Sham gets home from Columbia, the lettuce will be ready to be picked.  The pepper plants behind them look sad ... so cool out, they'll grow when it gets warmer.  There are 2 more rows of lettuce that should sprout soon, succession planting keeps us in fresh lettuce for about a month.  My garlic is doing wonderful.  I planted a lot of that this year - I'll take more photos later... but if you've never tried fresh garlic - I highly recommend it, you'll hate going back to grocery store garlic after using fresh !

Travels to Columbia

Most know that my husband loves to travel.  He usually travels alone, since the kids are still in school and not old enough to be left alone for 6 weeks at a shot !

Anyway, for the past 4 weeks he's been in Columbia, exactly 2,222 miles away from me (I can still track his iPhone... how cool is that!)   He has another 2 weeks before he travels home.  I have to say that I am ready for him to be home.  We are self employed, so that means when he travels, I get to do my job, his job, and be mom and dad to the kids.

He spent the first few weeks in Bogota with friends, and now is traveling through Bucaramanga.  He went to Columbia last November for 6 weeks, so he knows his way around the country pretty well.  While it might be somewhere I'd consider retiring to, he knows if it's not really close (like walking distance close) to the water, I'm not moving !   

Monday, March 20, 2017

Peggy's Quilt

Peggy's Quilt - Peggy is the BFF of my "sister" Gige.  Peggy has had some shit thrown at her for sure, but she still is smiling every single time I see her.  She often comes with Gige when they come take one of my kids out for their birthday.  She does that, no matter how tired she is, so that Gige never has to drive alone.  Peggy's husband committed suicide - that would be hard enough to live through, but then her son, Scott, also committed suicide.  I can't imagine.  He was only 30 years old.  His entire life ahead of him. There is so much to learn about mental health and so much more we could do to prevent the pain of loosing a loved one ..... I personally know the pain of depression, and the angst that depression can cause on loved ones.

Anyway - Gige asked me if I would take Scott's clothing and make a quilt out of them.  Peggy still had them all in a tote.  They dropped off the tote during one of their birthday visits.  It was hard for me to go through them, and I didn't even know him.  But I do know Peggy - and her favorite color is purple.  She LOVES purple.  Funny thing is that Gige hates purple.  Peggy also celebrates her Irishness.  With her flaming red hair, who wouldn't ?   So I tried to incorporate both traits in her quilt top.

Now - off to the quilter, once I lint-roll it for threads and cat hair.  I had no pattern for this quilt - I pieced it together as I went.  I didn't even know what size it was until I went to put on that last border - it ended up being 100" by 102"  Big enough for a king size quilt.  I will update this post when I get it back from the quilter.

I linked this post to the Design Wall Monday @ Patchwork Times.  Go check out what everyone else is working on !

Adding a photo of the finished product -- now that the receiver has gotten it and loves it. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

IP - Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

 These were pretty good.  I'm not a big fan of cabbage, but I ate 2 of these.   I don't know if I would have went through the trouble if I had to make rice as well - but seeing as we had leftover rice from the night before - it wasn't too much work - and clean up will be a breeze.  There is plenty of sauce on the side too - so I served it with the rest of the leftover rice - easy and healthy meal

  • 1 cup brown or long grain white rice
  • 1 large head cabbage
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced then "pasted"
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 lb. lean ground beef
  • 3/4 lb. ground pork*
  • *You can substitute all ground beef for the pork if you prefer
  • Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced, then "pasted"
  • 2 (14 1/2 oz. each) cans diced tomatoes with their juice
  • 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon low sodium instant beef bouillon
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire black pepper or freshly ground black pepper
  • 3-4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoon cold water
  • Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
  1. Cook the rice according to the package directions. Fluff with a fork and set the pan aside.
  2. Fill a large deep pot half full of water. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  3. Remove the core from the cabbage and place it, core side down, in the boiling water. Cover and let the head of cabbage boil for 7-8 minutes. Remove the softened outer leaves and place them on a plate to cool. Cover the pan and cook the cabbage for 6-8 minutes, checking and removing the outer leaves as they soften, placing them on the plate to cool. When you get down to the center of the cabbage and the leaves are too small for rolls, cover the pan and cook the cabbage until crisp-tender. When done, remove the cabbage from the heat, coarsely chop it and set it aside.
  4. For the sauce, melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions start to turn light golden brown. Add the garlic and cook and stir for 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato sauce, vinegar, bouillon, garlic powder, onion powder, Worcestershire (or black) pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Mix well, taste and adjust the seasoning. Remove from the heat. Stir in some of the chopped cooked cabbage. Set the sauce aside.
  5. For the filling, in a large bowl, beat the egg, then stir in the onion, garlic, salt, pepper and cooked rice. Add the ground beef and pork and mix with a wooden spoon or your hands until all the ingredients are well combined.
  6. Lay one of the cabbage leaves flat on a work surface with the stem end in front of you. Take 2 generous tablespoonfuls of the filling and place it at the bottom of the cabbage leaf. Fold the 2 sides in and roll away from you, making sure filling stays in the center and away from the top edge, until you reach the top of the leaf. You can secure the roll with a toothpick if you like-I don't find it necessary. They stay together quite well once rolled, and if they do start to unroll, they can be easily tucked back together.
  7. Repeat this with the remaining filling and cabbage leaves. I usually get 15 rolls out of the batch of filling.
  8. Place the rack in the bottom of the pressure cooker. Pour in 1 cup water. Place 7-8 cabbage rolls on the rack. Cover the rolls with about 1/3 of the sauce. Add a second layer of rolls to the pressure cooker, alternating the direction of the second layer. Pour the remaining sauce over the top of the rolls. After adding the last bit of sauce, take a plastic spatula and gently go around the outer edge of the rolls to allow some of the sauce to drip down around the rolls. Make sure not to overfill the pressure cooker. It's easy enough to cook these in 2 batches, if necessary.
  9. Lock the lid in place, choose High pressure and set 18 minutes cooking time. When the beep sounds, turn off the pressure cooker, unplug it, wait for 15 minutes, then use Quick Pressure to release any remaining steam.
  10. Gently remove the cabbage rolls from the pressure cooker to a platter.
  11. Select "Sauté" and bring the sauce to a boil.
  12. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and cold water until smooth and the cornstarch is dissolved. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the sauce and cook until thickened, stirring constantly.
  13. Serve the sauce over the cabbage rolls. Makes about 15 rolls.
Pressure Cooker Stuffed Cabbage Rolls adapted from Mr. Food magazine May/June 2000. Sauce adapted from Miss Vickie's Big of Pressure Cooker Recipes.

Recipe From -

Monday, January 9, 2017

Egyptian Rabbit, Rice and Molikia

The day we picked to get married was also the same day that God decided it would be funny to drop over 3 feet of snow as a wedding present to a guy who had never before seen snow before.... who said God didn't have a sense of humor.  Anyway - as a surprise for our anniversary dinner this year, I had planned to make Egyptian rabbit, rice and molikia for my husband.  God again decided to throw a little snow into my plans (only 6" this time) so dinner was postponed until last night - but after all was said and done -- dinner was amazing, the kids and Sham both said it tasted just like his mom used to make ... which made me happy !  I used 2 Instant Pot to make dinner quickly ... and it was extremely easy.  

For the Rabbit - I took 2 frozen rabbits, threw them in the pressure cooker with some water, onions and 3 bay leaves.  Pressure cooked for 20 minutes (next time I'll only do 15, but they were still good)  Took them out, strained the broth, used 4 cups of broth and 4 cups on rice in another pressure cooker (One that I save for just yogurt and rice and other non-spicy foods).  Hit the rice button and then used the rest of the broth to make the molikia.  Just brought the broth to a boil on the stove top, added 2 packages of frozen molikia and allowed it to thaw/cook until it was all bubbling.  Browned the rabbit a bit on the saute function in Instant Pot # 1 and dinner was ready.  So quick, so easy, so good, I'll certainly be making this more often !

Sunday, January 1, 2017

IP Hawaiian BBQ Chicken

Made this last night for dinner - got thumbs up from EVERYONE, which rarely happens.

  • 3 lbs Chicken (I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs)
  • 1 C BBQ Sauce
  • 1/2 can of diced Pineapple (or dump the entire can, but use juice only NOT heavy syrup!)
  • 1 cup Coconut Milk
  • Chili Flakes to taste

Pretty simple really - I dumped the pineapple in first, mixed the other ingredients in a separate bowl, dumped the chicken in that bowl, gave it a stir, and then dumped the entire thing on top of the pineapple in the IP (HINT - take the insert out of the IP whenever you are making something ... that way no chance of making a mess!)

Pushed poultry and lowered the time from the standard 15 minutes to 10 minutes.  I let mine release NP for about 5 minutes, then couldn't wait any longer so I did the fast release, and wow, did the steam coming off smell good.  I took out the chicken once I got the lid off (I had washed the bowl I had used earlier so just used that) and then put the IP on Saute' with just the sauce in it and boiled it down until it got thick (I added a little cornstarch mixed with a tad bit more coconut milk to make it go faster)  I also used my potato masher to squish the larger chunks of pineapple while it was boiling down.  

Served it all over steamed rice .... and there wasn't any left to take a photo of :(   I guess I'll have to make this again !

Happy New Year !!

Bringing the Blog back to life in 2017.

This will be the year I :

MAKE me time every day !
Get my house in order, declutter, and clean on a schedule.
Use Plan To Eat regularly
Loose the Weight
Get to the gym

On the first of every month I will refer back to this post and report in on how I'm doing !