Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Week 17 Wednesday (4/30/14)

Recipe Review              

Today’s Recipe and Location:  Granola Bars
         Found in: The Pioneer Woman blog

I figured out that there are 321 calories per serving, if 24 servings are made. (Please note that the calorie counts vary depending on the specific brands of ingredients that you choose to use.)

Pre-chocolate granola

Heavenly Post-chocolate granola!  Yummy!

         I am so glad that I made these bars. They were easier than I thought they would be to create. I took them to school and had rave reviews. The outsides were a little crunchy but the insides were chewy. This was really the best of both worlds. Ree said to use a cookie sheet, which made them thin, but the mix did not quite cover the pan so they had small holes in them. This made then very fragile. Next time, I will make them in a 9 x 13 pan so they are thicker (like the store bought versions) and hold together better.  I liked the chocolate on one side. This is another item I have never made but now feel confident enough to create in the future.
Gabbin’ About Gratitude

         Today I realized how grateful I am for my relationship with my Aunt Ada. She is my Dad’s sister and one of my GodMothers. Aunt Ada is what I would call a tall, thin, classy woman. She has always carried herself with poise and grace. She has been in a wheel chair for some time but she still is classy.
         She has been instrumental in assisting me with our family history. Of course, she is the only living sibling of my father. She has outlived all of her immediate family and sometimes wonders why. She once asked me, “Why am I the only one left?” The question touched me deeply, as I noticed the deep sadness she was experiencing. To change the tone I answered, “You are here because I need you!  Aunt Ada, you know it’s all about me.” To that she laughed and said, “Well then, I’m glad to be with you.” 
         I love Aunt Ada deeply and am glad she is here in her 90’s. I pray she is with us for a long time.

Memory Musings

         The Sound of Music holds a special place in my heart. My mother loved the movie and I saw it many times in my childhood. My sisters and I used to sing together and we learned all of the songs from this special musical. We all loved the movie and singing so they songs fit the bill. The most important song of all is called Edelweiss. This was our Dad’s favorite and we sang it often. This has become a family favorite over the years. My four nieces and four nephews all grew up to love this musical, too. They even went so far as to learn the lines in the movie. They performed the songs for us when they were younger and brought great joy to their parents and grandparents.
         The best part is that the kids continue to love it. My great-nephew Nick now enjoys the new version of the musical. I love that this special story has survived three generations of our family.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Week 17 Tuesday (4/29/14)

Recipe Review              

Today’s Recipe and Location:  Pancake Mini Muffins
         Found in: The Pioneer Woman blog

I figured out that there are 59 calories per serving, if 58 servings are made. (Please note that the calorie counts vary depending on the specific brands of ingredients that you choose to use.)  Add additional calories for the syrup.

If you didn't know it, you might think they were blueberries
instead of chocolate chips

         These are fun little muffins. I made them with chocolate chips, as I am allergic to blueberries. They don’t really taste like pancakes but I could taste the chocolate and that made them great. The syrup on them really cinched the deal. The recipe said it served 8 portions, which would mean about 7 muffins per serving. I was really happy about the low calorie count as I could have quite a few. These are going to be my breakfast or snack for the next couple of days – yum yum!!!

Why Weight?

         One of the things I have done for the past 20 months is to keep a record of how many times I exercise each month. Near the beginning of the blog I told you of a neighbor (Paul Mansour) whose goal was to exercise 200 times in a year. I thought this sounded doable so I have kept track myself. I have a long way to go to reach my 200 mark but I am dedicated to Curves. In fact, I can’t wait to return. I have not been there for two and a half weeks due to the Willow issue and I hyper-extended my left knee and it hurts. So I have taken a few more days off to allow it to heal. I really miss my wonderful Curves friends and need to catch up on their lives.  Here’s to exercising!

My Gorgeous Girls      
Willow looks a little thin because she lost about 3 pounds
since we began our journey, but she gained a little back last week.

I took this one because I didn't want Sage to feel left
out - okay, I really just wanted a new picture.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Week 17 Monday (4/28/14)

Recipe Review                   

Today’s Recipe and Location:  Quick Candy Cookies
         Found in: The Pioneer Woman blog

I figured out that there are 124 calories per serving, if 24 servings are made. (Please note that the calorie counts vary depending on the specific brands of ingredients that you choose to use.)

Here's the prebaked cookies

The final product.  They were a hit at school and in the neighborhood

         This is a fantastic recipe if you are in a hurry or if you need something marvelous for kids. The word quick doesn’t even begin to say it. I used the peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough roll from the store. By the time the small pieces had melted, I had unwrapped all of the candy and was ready to insert them into the dough. The entire process took 7 minutes.  Whaaaaaat????? 
         The cookies were moist and so wonderful that I had to have two of them to reassure myself of their goodness.  Okay maybe it was because they were so amazing that I just needed two of them. This is a recipe I will keep close at hand for last minute parties or when I need to take something sinfully wonderful!

Craft Corner          

         One of the things that makes creating your own cards faster and easier is to create an entire box of blank cards. My friend, Donna, and I went to a scrapbooking session at a hotel in Aurora. It is a marathon scrapping event that is for the entire weekend. We just went for one day, which was enough for our aching backs. My goal for that session was to make as many blank cards as possible.

         The next step is to look through the card files and make a list of needs. I love the sessions where all you do is create wonderful sayings and front decorations. This is great because it is the artistic part of card-making.

Random Reflections

Becky’s Bucket List #6
Take a camera class
Watch every Best Picture nominee and
winner for the Academy Awards
Remodel my kitchen
Take piano lessons
Write 2 books for my great-nephews
Travel to Wales
Travel to Scotland
Alaskan cruise

Wants and Wishes

         What I would really like, is to have a normal week with reduced stressed. In the past couple of weeks, we wrapped up the Willow dilemma, dealt with the death of three people, and finished up my work evaluation. So if I could have a wish for the next few weeks, it would be to have a regular week with little or no stress. I understand that life just goes on, but I am ready for an uneventful week or preferably a calm month. We are nearing the end of school and I am truly looking forward to summer.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Week 16 Sunday (4/27/14)

Recipe Review       

Today’s Recipe and Location:  Lazy Chiles Rellenos
         Found in: The Pioneer Woman blog

I figured out that there are 166 calories per serving, if 8 servings are made. (Please note that the calorie counts vary depending on the specific brands of ingredients that you choose to use.)

         I really enjoyed this recipe but I might have screwed it up a bit. You have to bake this in a water bath and a little of the water got into the dish. This made the cooking time doubled. Even after that thought, they were a little watery. The flavor was amazing, however. Since the calorie count was low, I doubled them up to make a larger serving for myself. I like them a lot but I think my sister, Susan’s, chili cheese bites beat them out.

Here is Susan’s recipe (seen in the blog earlier):

Susan Kunzelman’s Chili Cheese Bites

8 Tablespoons butter, melted
10 eggs, beaten
½ cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
dash of salt
2 (4 oz.) cans chopped green chilies
2 cups small curd cottage cheese
4 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheddar cheese
Frito scoops to serve

Directions:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
         Add ingredients in order and combine as you go.   When all ingredients are blended, bake in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. Then, reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 30 minutes.
         Serve with scoop Fritos.  Yum! Yum!

Trivial Triffles

         Two weeks ago I discovered a problem with my six foot fence. One of the panels had broken away from the post. The bottom stayed intact, but the top was apart. One of my greatest fears is of my dogs getting out of the backyard. They do not understand cars and would be killed.

         I notified Classic Fence and made arrangements for them to repair the fence a.s.a.p. I am happy to report they fixed it in two days. I also paid them to inspect the entire fence and repair anything that would be a problem this year. 
         I believe in being proactive and not reactive. They pounded in a few nails and declared it fit for the season. I think I got off easy since I have seen many fences in total disrepair after this rough winter.
         I feel so relieved that this problem was discovered and taken care of quickly. The wind would have played havoc with it if I didn’t react immediately, and then the bill would have been much larger.

Memory Musings

         My final year at WIU was a great deal of work. The last year is primarily 400 level classes, which are more intense. My cumulative project for my SS methods class was to create a teaching unit on Friendship/Citizenship using the Peanuts theme. I wrote all of the lessons and prepared the bulletin boards and learning games, but I needed something dramatic to pull it all together.
         My brother-in-law, Greg, came to my rescue. I talked to him and asked if he would create a doghouse that would hold worksheets. Greg is quite brilliant and the doghouse was so cool. The worksheets were held vertically, which I know was a tremendous amount of work. I talked to my Dad who had it mailed UPS to me at the University.
         I then painted it a shiny red and black. I received an A on the entire unit, and I owe a large part of my grade to Greg and my Dad.  I couldn’t have done it without them.
         I am so blessed to have Greg in my life. He has always been so supportive of me. I love him very much and can’t imagine my family without him.  I love ya, Man!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Week 16 Saturday (4/26/14)

Recipe Review                   

Today’s Recipe and Location:  Quick and Easy (and Yummy) Apple Tart
         Found in: The Pioneer Woman blog

I figured out that there are 560 calories per serving, if 4 servings are made. (Please note that the calorie counts vary depending on the specific brands of ingredients that you choose to use.)

         This one did not live up to my expectations in the least little bit. The puffed pastry was great as were the sugared apples prior to cooking but afterward the apples were rubbery and not done. I followed the recipe but maybe should have baked it longer. This is one recipe I will not repeat. Sorry, Ree.
Random Reflections

         White birch trees are the most wonderful trees. We had one at my childhood home right next to the driveway. It was a beautiful tree but eventually it split and died. White birch trees are not as strong and hearty as the River Birch. I grew to love these trees when my class visited two camps called Teckawitha and tuenduwe (I know I have butchered the spelling but I could not find either camp on line).  At one of the two camps they had a grove of birch trees set in the woods. It was one of the most beautiful sites. I will never forget the beauty I saw that day.

Helpful Home Hints

         Have you had your vents professionally cleaned in the past ten years? I never really thought about having this done until I lived in the house for 13 years.  After having it done, I was thrilled that I did this cleaning. Since I had this house built, I never realized the debris that goes down the vents as they build a house.
         It is also very important to do this if you have pets. I have always had two long-haired dogs since I lived in this home. Hair can really clog up a vent.  I also have allergies and I noticed a significant difference in the air quality after having the vents cleaned.
         This is one of those things that we put off because we can’t actually see the problem.  If you have been remiss about this like I was, consider having it done asap.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Week 16 Friday (4/25/14)

Recipe Review

Today’s Recipe and Location:  Chicken Mozzarella Pasta
         Found in: The Pioneer Woman blog

I figured out that there are 289 calories per serving, if 7 servings are made. (Please note that the calorie counts vary depending on the specific brands of ingredients that you choose to use.)

         Another great pasta from Ree!  The sauce was really good and flavorful. I would have liked to double the amount of chicken because it would have made it heartier and meatier. The fresh spices and seasonings really make this dish. I made a lot of this and it was a great lunch yesterday.  This is another keeper.

Why Weight?

         Recently I found my pedometer. I have no idea where I got it but I remember at the time that I was excited about wearing it. I am supposed to walk 10,000 steps in a day according to some expert.
         Since I am trying to up my game and get back to being serious about exercise and calorie counting, I think this may be part of the solution. As I said earlier, I think walking around the neighborhood could be an energy booster.
         Here’s to walking and counting steps.

Fabulous “Family and Friends” Food

Blueberry Coffeecake
This was typed on an old typewriter with no
name or date – yikes it an oldie

I am writing it how it was on the card (unlike the organized me)

Cream together: ¾ cup of sugar and 1/3 cup of butter

Add: 2 large eggs

Sift together: 2 cups of flour, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, and ½ teaspoon of salt.

Add flour mixture alternately with 1/ cup of milk to creamed mixture. Blend well.

Stir in 2 cups of blueberries.

Spread in a greased and floured tube or bundt pan.

Blend and sprinkle on top of the batter: ½ cup of sugar, 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour, ½ teaspoon of cinnamon, and ¼ cup of softened butter.

Bake at 375 degrees for 25 – 30 minutes.  The coffeecake is done when a toothpick comes out clean.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Week 16 Thursday (4/24/14)

Recipe Review            

Today’s Recipe and Location:  Quick and Easy Roasted Red Peppers Pasta
         Found in: The Pioneer Woman blog

I figured out that there are 337 calories per serving, if 7 servings are made. (Please note that the calorie counts vary depending on the specific brands of ingredients that you choose to use.)

         This pasta is easy to make and would make a great side dish. The roasted red peppers, onions and garlic and pureed to make the sauce absolutely good.  I have never made anything like this and I am glad I have a new side dish to complete any dinner.

The Glorious Garden              

March and April Clean-Up
         I have about 15 large 6 – 12 foot grasses in my yard as well as many smaller ones around my pond. Grasses grow best if you leave them up during the winter and then cut them back in March or April. This is extremely important for new plantings for the first few years. Tall grasses also add interest to your yard during the winter.
         I know many gardeners use this method and schedule for cutting grasses, and I saw another example when I was at the hospital in March. The grasses had just been cut down with a hedge clipper.  This is the tool I use to insure a clean cut that doesn’t pull on the roots. The reason for cutting them at the end of March or beginning of April is because that is when the first new grass appears at the base of the old grass.


Irksome Ideas and Images

         When I was driving to get my hair colored last week, I had to drive over two speed humps.  There was a sign posted that warned that I was approaching a hump not a bump. I always thought they were called speed bumps?  Is there a difference between a speed bump and speed hump?  Why can’t we just call them one name.  I hate when they change names after everyone knows the name. Are they effective?         Do they even make a difference?
         If they do make a difference, then it is worth slowing down for each one, but if they don’t, then they are just a pain in the butt.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Week 16 Wednesday (4/23/14)

Recipe Review       

Today’s Recipe and Location:  Corn Dog Muffins
         Found in: The Pioneer Woman blog

I figured out that there are 177 calories per serving, if 12 servings are made. (Please note that the calorie counts vary depending on the specific brands of ingredients that you choose to use.)

Here they are before I baked them

Afterwards, a few hot dogs are peering out

         These muffins were interesting. I shared them with Nicole. I am not a big fan of this cornbread but I love hot dogs. Nicole and I agree that these are not our favorite by any means. Nicole had a great suggestion. She thought we should cut up the hot dog into smaller pieces and put it throughout the muffin. That would definitely be better because you would get a piece of hot dog in every bite. I am not partial to any of Ree’s cornbread recipe.

Gabbin’ About Gratitude
         When I moved to Florida in 1975, I had a high school diploma, and had worked at Dairy Queen, Grimm’s Pharmacy, and McDonalds.
         When I went to work for Anderson Sightseeing I had some basic skills but nothing very deep. I knew how to handle money, and was extremely loyal and anxious to work.
         I owe Pam Anderson a great deal of thanks for all of the skills she taught me when I worked for the family. I learned how to be a good waitress.  I was already a people person, which was a huge advantage.
         When I went to work in the office, Pam taught me how to balance a checkbook, complete a payroll, and help with any tasks Pam needed done in the office. Pam was a wonderful boss with a great deal of patience. She was one heck of a boss!
Thanks PA and KA.  You really gave me business skills that have helped me in my life.

Memory Musings

         After attending three junior colleges, I went to WIU for my last two and a half years of undergrad. I met many fabulous friends at college. The one I was closest to was Sudena Carriger. Whom I called Sudley Do-Right. She was so full of energy and fun. We lived next to each other on the 16th floor of Higgins Hall for two years and spent most of the time together.
         Our other dear friends on our floor were Lora, Laura, Kendra (whom I called Kendra Bob), and Laurie.  Through Kendra, I made friends with Tom Roth, Tom Roegner, and Dwayne. They lived on the 8th floor of Higgins, which was our brother floor.
         I have so many wonderful memories of WIU. I loved my classes, and I adored my friends. I hope all of my great nephews get to attend a four-year university and leave with an advanced degree and friendships that truly enrich their lives.