Thursday, March 31, 2011

On this Final Day of March......

I'm thinking of African Daisies.
I love African daisies.
There are people in my neighborhood who actually plan ahead, wayyy ahead.
And toss out the African daisy seeds in their yards in the fall,
So that in springtime the whole world can enjoy their blossoms.
And these daisies are clever.
Because they will grow again next year, reseeding themselves!

I'm just not clever enough in October.
To think about African Daisies in March.

The appearance of African daisies in my neighborhood is always bittersweet.
Because it means that springtime is here.
The smell of citrus blossoms perfuming the air.
The days are a little longer.
And the soft smell of fresh air blows through the house.

And hellish days of summer are coming reallll soon.
When we have the smell of recycled air conditioning wafting through the house.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Another Birthday

Okay, so I know I'm going to get in serious trouble because I've not wished EVERY person in my family Happy Birthday on their special day on my blog.

Because some days I'm brain dead or I don't think ahead, or I think my name is Fred, or....(just trying to keep it rhyming here.....)
Double awwww.
Gotta insert the photos from the geeky phase.
Okay, here's a nice studly photo.....
With his favorite missionary comp.
And now his favorite eternal comp.....

Happy Birthday Steve!

(I can hear him saying, you did it mom cuz I'm your favorite kid.)
(No, you're not my favorite kid, just my favorite second son, fifth kid.)
(You had too much colic as a baby to be my favorite kid)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

How to Get off Sugar

Eat more veggies!!

Believe me, I do know how hard it is to get off sugar and stay off sugar. I've fallen off the wagon many a time in the last few months. The trick is to climb right back on the wagon.  As time goes on, and you wean yourself off the sugar, the taste buds do change and sugary stuff becomes less appealing. The artificial stuff, I mean. I think we all have an in-born affinity for sweet things and often times it can be satisfied eating a piece of fruit. I have eaten food sweetened with white sugar recently, and probably will again, but it doesn't taste as good to me and actually I don't feel so hot when I do eat it. (like the chocolate covered acai berries that were hidden away and untouched since Christmas)

So how do you slog it out until you get to that point? Eat more vegetables, especially the green stuff. Here's a few ideas I've done to "eat yer greens."

Make green smoothies. They are nature's fast food. I can whip up a green smoothie in less than 2-3 minutes. As you begin to eat them, start with more fruit and less greens. Spinach is the mildest. As time goes on, you can add more veggies and less fruit. My favorite smoothie now consists of celery, cucumber, spinach, 1/2 apple, lemon, lime, ginger, chia seeds and some protein powder. Sometimes I add a truvia packet, but lots of times I forget. Yum, I actually crave this (crazy huh) Google green smoothies and you can find tons of recipes and ideas.

Make veggie omelets for breakfast. A little more time consuming, but very satisfying. Have a large salad for lunch. I love a salad with a Mexican flair with greens, veggies like green pepper and avocado, added with cilantro and some beans.  I even crunch up some tortilla chips for a topping.  Make stir frys for dinner. My family still at home is not as converted, so I still make a regular meal but add in a big salad or stir fried or steamed veggies, also roasting veggies is a delish way to add them to a meal. I also often make a BIG pot of vegetable soup. I use chicken broth as a base (I didn't say I was vegan or vegetarian) and throw in whatever veggies I have in the fridg. The base is always a mixture of celery, carrots and onions. I wouldn't recommend broccoli, but I have used cabbage, mushrooms, potatoes and whatever else strikes my fancy. Sometimes I will throw in a 1/4 cup of barley or brown rice to the mix. You can eat off that for days.

Grow a garden! My grandkids are picking and eating the raw peas that are coming off right now. (I do not like raw peas-but hey-if they love it-I encourage it) You have never tasted anything better than a salad with romaine lettuce, freshly picked. Or the cilantro! Amazing flavor. And don't even get me started on a tomato, still warm from the garden. I love going out and pulling an onion that is going into our dinner in just a few minutes.

So I hope this helps anyone who is interested eating healthier.  Keep the veggies available in the fridg. Eat them often so they don't end up as wilted messes in the bottom of the crisper. Try new ones when they go on sale! Eat them as snacks, with hummus or some kind of dip (less dip, more veggies) Keep them handy and available.

Anyone else out there with more yummy ways to eat veggies?

Go green!

Monday, March 28, 2011

How to Dissect A Brain

A few weeks ago, we had the pleasure of hosting Amy & Bret in our home for a few days. They had been temporarily displaced from their bedroom and we enjoyed their company here! It was great having time to relax and visit without pressures of hurrying home. Bret is knee-deep (waist-high) in dental school right now and it was so fun to hear his enthusiasm about his studies, especially the anatomy & dissection part. Since I have studied and been involved in human anatomy for years through my medical transcription business, I was fascinated as he described the body parts and how he was learning where they are and how they function. To illustrate his point, one morning we were privileged to witness a lecture which I will entitle:
"How to Dissect the Brain
Using a Grapefruit as an Example"

Notice the happy face on the "person" grapefruit. I don't think if that was my brain, I would have that happy face. He's using the "scalpel" to carefully "carve" the scalp.
Now he's removed the scalp.
Now he's preparing to remove the "brain."

Okay, that's probably TMI and hopefully no one has lost their breakfast/lunch/dinner at this point, but it was fun (and hysterically funny) to hear his play-by-play explanation and see his enthusiasm for his work and studies.

Don't worry, he is not going to be a brain surgeon any time in the near future, just drilling holes in unsuspecting teeth........

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Last Week's Recap

Got the new faucet installed, trying to get used to the new one.
Picking (and eating) lots of peas these days.

The tomatoes look happy. They are starting to produce flowers!

This poor little guy bashed his face a few more times this week.

We finally christened our new firepit. (a Christmas gift).. What is it about fire that is so mesmerizing?
Our March birthday kids.
(We added a new one last year!)
Jen launched her new web site!

Love me some zumba!!! We started a zumba class in the branch this week. Super fun-but my body is protesting!
I'm learning more about essential oils. Wow I'm so amazed that Heavenly Father gave us all we need to be healthy and prosper on this earth!
Finished (finally!) this soft, sweet, cuddly blue yummyness for our newest grandbaby, arriving in about six weeks or so!

So what was the highlight of your week????

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Journey to Health

As I sit here, slurping my morning green smoothie, I thought I would share some thoughts about the way I've been eating the last several months. Everyone I know seems to be interested in the topic, and since it seems to occupy a good chunk of my mental space, I need to spill my guts, so to speak.

I've posted from time to time about green smoothies, healthy eating, etc. but haven't disclosed a lot about my thoughts and the journey I'm on.

I did share that a few months ago, after a visit with my doctor, that I was going on a "crazy" diet. I eliminated dairy, wheat, and all sugars, including most fruits. I can truthfully say that for the most of that six week period,  I stuck with the program nearly 100%. I didn't even slip in some agave nectar or honey, which is supposed to be healthy......

It wasn't easy. In fact, on a follow-up visit, I begged the doctor to let me go off the diet. She just smiled and said, "No, I think you need to stay on it longer."  She later told me at another follow-up visit (a month later) that my yeast was talking, not me.  Through a series of tests, she felt that I had a major overgrowth of yeast in my system and since yeast lives off sugar, those yeasties in my body were super mad that they weren't getting fed all that delicious sugar and they were dying off.

What a difference another month made! That's when she told me that my yeast had been talking at the last visit. I was even angry about it. Crazy stuff, huh? After another month, I started feeling better. I told her that I really didn't have a desire any more to go off the diet. I had cheated now and then, but I really didn't want to.

What has happened?  I feel SO much better. The difference is amazing. I feel better, physically, emotionally and spiritually.  I have more energy. I have more calmness in the center of the hurricane of my life. I just plain flat out feel better.  In fact, since then I have "cheated" a little, maybe a piece of a delicious orange roll (mmm Jessica made them...) or a tiny piece of brownie, but I don't feel good. My tummy may hurt or I feel sort of cranky and out of sorts. 

My female hormones have really stabilized. I don't have hot flashes every morning any more. I've lost some weight (yay), although that wasn't the focus of the program. I feel more peace.

What have I learned about all this?  A ton. First off, it's a mental thing. The only way to make changes is to make up your mind first. And when the cravings hit, it's the mental part that keeps you on track. Second, it is about sacrificing. Sacrifice is pretty much a law of heaven. You don't get anything good without a little sacrifice, sometimes a lot of sacrifice. But when the blessings come, like feeling good, it is worth the sacrifice. Is it easy? Nope. Do I "fall off the wagon?"  Of course! But as time goes on, it gets easier because I feel better.

So if anyone is interested, I'll keep up the ramblings now and then about a healthier lifestyle and how it's working for me. But it is a journey, and one I plan to keep pursuing for the rest of my life.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Sacred Cow

I am about to rattle the cage of the sacred cow of food storage. (Is that a mixed metaphor?)

First off, let me state that I am a firm believer in having food storage. I have studied it, practiced it, use it, and store it. I have a label on my blog for "food storage obsession."

But my question is:
Who came up with the amounts of food necessary to store per person?
400 pounds of grain per year per person?
We have faithfully and diligently followed that recommendation for years.
We have wheat and rice and oats stuffed into every corner of our houses.

But, case in point........
I was discussing this very question with Jessica while looking at her beautifully organized pantry shelves, complete with inventory sheets......(I'll let her blog about that-it's amazing!)

She told me that when she and her husband were first married, we had given them a 50 lb bag of rice for a Christmas gift (which they loved!)  So if the calculation holds true, that 50 pound bag should have lasted them about a month.......

She still has probably a little less than half of it left, almost six years later.

Of course they eat other things besides rice every day.

Another case in point.....

We bought a couple hundred pounds of white rice when one of my sons was a baby. We ate a LOT of rice, two or three times a week. We appreciated that rice when times were tough. I had a big family full of kids to feed.

That baby is going to turn 23 years old next week.  I still have over half of it left.

I know that we should have these things set aside in case of emergency. I believe in storing what you eat, and eating what you store. But the amount of space it takes to store this much food for a large family is a lot, and I'm wondering if the quantities are a true reflection of what we should be eating. Should the amounts be scaled down a bit so we don't have dusty basements full of decomposing food that has been wasted instead of eaten????  


Monday, March 21, 2011

I Ain't no Pioneer

So what's the worst thing that can happen on a Saturday night?
You get a water leak under your sink.
At 9:30 pm.
Tomorrow is Sunday.
We are gone all day Sunday.
We don't know any cheap plumbers that work on Sunday.

So TL jerry-rigged the faucet so I wouldn't absentmindedly turn on the faucet and create a flood.
(oh I wouldn't do that would I?)
Then later Sunday night he realized he could have turned off the water underneath the sink.
(I think our minds work exactly the same way)

So the pitcher to my right is my water source, which I have to collect on a very regular basis out of the bathtub.
And I sit and wait all day for the plumber to arrive, to fix the broken pipe and install the new faucet.
(at least I got a new faucet out of this-the old one was on its last legs)
I don't like hauling water.
It's a pain.
I am spoiled rotten.
I think of the African ladies who walk for miles with gallons of water on their heads.
And be grateful for my sink in the middle of my kitchen.

But I will repeat, I ain't no pioneer......

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Birthday Wishes

Happy Birthday to my first born.
She grew up to be an amazing woman and mother.
Despite my lack of parent skilz.
Her being the guinea pig.
And my complete and utter failure in the photography department.
I ♥ you!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Put on Yer food storage Hat

Okay, we had the most delish soup last night! So run, don't walk and go get your pencil and paper so you can write the recipe down. It's so easy, it's ridiculous. Go ahead, I'll wait.......

So first off, I'll give you the recipe. The original that I typed was for an insanely huge amount. I cut it in half. I can't remember where I got this recipe, so if anyone reading this knows who it came from, please give them the credit.  First, the recipe, then I'll tell you how I tweaked it and I think made it better, and also the boo-boos that I made......

Pinto Bean Soup

3 cups dried pinto beans
6 cups chicken stock
2 cans diced tomatoes with the liquid
1 can diced green chilis with liquid
1 can tomato soup
1 large onion
1 t. garlic powder
1 T balsalmic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste.

Put all the ingredients into a stock pot. Bring to boil, then turn down heat to simmer. Cover and cook for four hours or until beans are tender. Garnish with cilantro, avocado and serve with chips.

#1 boo-boo.  I only read to the part where it said cook for four hours. So in working backwards in my mind, so dinner would be ready at six-ish, I think, "self, why don't you soak the beans all morning and then they will cook faster."  Uh-yea.  So I did soak the beans, but 4 hours was not long enough to tenderize the beans. My beans may be older, but they were not tender after four hours. I chose not to cook this in the pressure cooker because I wanted the slow, simmer flavor of the stove top cooked beans.  Even after the branch president and Relief Society president ran to the hospital to check on a member, the beans were still a tiny tad tough.  But trust me, the flavor was fab!

This is how I also tweaked it.  I cut the onion up and sauted it in a little olive oil before I added the rest of the ingredients. To me that is a sacred cow of cooking, you must always saute your onion.

Second, you MUST try Muir Glen Fire Roasted organic tomatoes. MUST. I am running low and I plan to buy a couple of cases for my food storage. They have an incredible flavor and will change your mind forever about plain ol' diced tomatoes. (P.S. for the local yokels, Sprouts will give you a 10% discount on cases!)
So I added two of the 15 ounce-ish size cans to my stock pot. Finally I only added 1/2 can of tomato soup to the mix.

Boo-boo #2. I didn't have an avocado to put on top. 
We added fresh cilantro, a little guac that I had in the fridge and shredded cheese.  Yummmmmm.

Boo-boo #3:  I am breaking the cardinal rule of a recipe on a blog. No photo of the final product. No photos of the process.

But, you gotta try this! Reasons this is awesome:

It's vegetarian if you are that.
It's food storage if you are that.
It's super easy.
And it's delish!

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Official Unveiling of the Legs......

In honor of the first 90 degree temperatures the last few days.....
The first day of wearing shorts......actually last week......
Take 1
Take 2
Take 3
Take 4.....
Aww fuggedaboutit.....

The post should be entitled, "How to take an unsuccessful photo of little children milling about."

Suffice to say, it's very warm here.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Growing Green!

This post contains photos that definitely do not represent a good hair day.
We are in the midst of soil preparations for the spring/summer garden! I've neglected my garden dreadfully this past winter due to not feeling well and being dang busy with other obligations. It's time to plant tomatoes!

It's a carrot!!! Somehow nature just plugs away, even though I ignore it occasionally. This bed doesn't get much sun in the winter and so things grow slowly, or not at all. So I was so surprised and delighted to see the results.
Better than roses???

TL and I went to a local organic gardening class on Sat. afternoon and learned about how soil is a living thing and in order to get better veggies, we need to nourish the soil (we knew all this before, just a good reinforcement-and it always helps when hubby is on board-right girls?)

If we feed the soil, we get better veggies, better veggies contain more vitamins, they are stronger, withstand the stresses they are sometimes placed under (weather, weeds, bugs) and in turn they nourish us and we feel better!

I'm so grateful to a loving Heavenly Father who planned this all out. It is an absolutely amazing process, how everything works together to produce nourishment for our bodies. Our earth has all the "stuff" we need to prosper physically and spiritually.

"Verily I say, that inasmuch as ye do this, the fulness of the earth is yours, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which climbeth upon the trees and walketh upon the earth;

Yea, and the herb, and the good things which come of the earth, whether for food or for raiment, or for houses, or for barns, or for orchards, or for gardens, or for vineyards;
Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart;

Yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul.

And it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to aexcess, neither by extortion."        D&C 59:16-20

Grow something green and be grateful!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

In Which I have one Good Hair Day and Before my Eyeball turned Red

Jessica sent me some photos she had taken and to my surprise, there was one of me I actually liked! Untouched, un-Photoshopped and having a good hair day...This was taken on Valentine's Day while I was out giving treats and kisses to my grandkids.

I realized that it has been two weeks since I blogged and while I have had many post ideas percolating in my fevered brain, it hasn't translated into getting them written down.

Just busy living life.

And to explain the eyeball part, I woke up Sunday morning with broken blood vessel in my right eye. It's enough to scare away anyone, including grandkids! As of today, it is slowly going away. I went to the keeper of all information, Google, and found out that mostly this happens for unknown reasons and I promise I'll go to the eye doctor if it doesn't go away.

No, I'm not posting a photo. Besides the fact that it is technically difficult to take a picture of oneself, especially a closeup of your own eyeball, it is quite creepy-looking and I wouldn't want to scare my mother.

Although my best line was last Sunday when one of the brothers in the branch asked me what was wrong with my eye.  To which I replied, "demasiado frijoles."  (too many beans)  By the look on his face, I think he went home and told his wife, no more beans!   (I did tell him I was kidding)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Scenes from the Frozen North Part Deux.....O Tres?......O whatever...

I've tried to cull out the most ridiculous and left only the most sublime......
You can add your own captions.
Words fail me.
Can't wait to read the responses.