Wednesday, December 25, 2013

It's Christmas morning 2013. I am working this year, which I haven't done in a very long time.  I am pretty ambivalent about working today.  We didn't have any plans this year and I really miss my family.

Having split custody makes holidays challenging.  Unfortunately we have exchange day  for my step-son, the day after Christmas.  This has meant that last four years we have had to shorten or not take trips.  One year we were going to take him to Alaska to spend a week with my family and have a white Christmas, however his mother was not willing to be flexible and getting back the day after was just going to be too expensive.  Last year we drove home from my parents two hours away,  right after dinner.  It just hasn't been the same.

I miss gathering with my family and extended family.  I miss weeks of holiday parties leading up to Christmas.  I miss caroling with friends.  I miss watching cheesy movies together as a family.  I miss decorating together.  I miss baking together.  I miss watching football together.  I miss watching everyone open their gifts with glee.  I miss my mom making Puffs and Jam for breakfast.  I miss Christmas Eve pizza dinner and Christmas day feast.  I miss the enjoyment of the season and just being surrounded by those I love.  

I know life changes and people are busy.  I just always thought these activities and company is how my life would be.  I am bummed to not get to carry on traditions with my family.  I can't wait for the Christmas we get to spend together again as a family -Nena and Pa, all the boys, my hubsy and even the stinky dogs!    

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Practice.

I'm really excited to be moving to a new position in my company. This will allow me opportunity to utilize my days differently. One of these great opportunities is getting to cook more. So I'm practicing today. I've made a pot of homemade veggi chili with vegetables from my garden. Now I just can't wait to get home to try it!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Getting excited!

Tomorrow is the kiddo's first day of high school.  I still can't quite wrap my mind around the fact that he will be a freshman, and can only imagine how is Dad feels.  They came into my life the summer before 4th grade.  I know he is really nervous.  It's high school and a new school to top it off.

I have so many hopes for him.  I hope he thrives in high school.  I hope he finally makes friends that he can build life long friendships with.  I hope that he finds interests that will carry him into adulthood.  I hope that he laughs, struggles and is successful.  I hope he continues to build on his fragile self-esteem.  I hope he makes good and responsible decisions, and when he doesn't that we will be able to guide him back with love and respect.  I hope this year is the first of many successes for our sweet son.

Mmmmmmmm...

Homemade lasagna with tomatoes and kale fresh from the garden. It really doesn't get better than this...

Monday, July 1, 2013

Grumpy pants.

I am pretty sure it's this damn hot weather, and I am totally a grumpy pants.  I noticed it this morning.  I didn't sleep well last night, and was thrown off this morning when everyone on Team Mongoose was up and about.  I didn't have any of my normal time to my self and that is kind of a rough way for me to start the day. I just wanted to go to bed tonight, but my bedroom was 83 degrees.  I do better about 20 degrees cooler than that.  All of this has led me to be Princess Grumpy.  I am hoping that by sleeping with my new secured windows open, fan running, cool wash rag on my neck and ice packs on my feet that I will drift off into lala land and leave my princess status behind.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Hurry up, now wait.

Hurry up, now wait.

I feel like that is the story of my life.

I have always been in a hurry to get where I am going, even if I wasn't exactly sure where that was.  I graduated from high school a year early.  I finished my first bachelors degree in under four years.  In each case, I was in a rush to get to the next thing.  I felt that way in my most recent tenure in grad school.  I just wanted to get through, so I could start doing the work.  Then once I was doing the work, I just wanted to finish my hours so I could get licensed and move on to what ever was next.  

Getting laid off is compelling me to change my ways.  As challenging as it has been financially for me, it has forced me to slow down, take a breath and has blessed me with the opportunity to think more strategically about what I want my career to look like.  I am reminded that I am going to spend the next thirty years, at least, working - often more than I want to - so being a bit more methodical and less rushed is really the best gift I could give myself at this stage in my career.  What a challenging and good gift.  

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Adventures in cake baking...continued!

I have been trying to expand my food choices, develop a whole foods and plant based way of eating, and try to find new ways to enjoy food.  And I miss cake.  There I said it.  I have missed delicious sweet treats, that up until recently I would pour out of a box, plop in a couple of eggs and oil and call it good.  I am trying to get away from that.  I am trying to eat foods that I understand what is in it and how I feel after eating it.

With that in mind, I have been experimenting with baking.  I wanted to make a chocolate cake that my family (picky no veggie or healthy food lovin boys!) would enjoy and that I could share with my vegan friends.  So I started with my good old Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook and checked out the chocolate cake recipe.

The basic chocolate cake is as follows:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat flour, which made the cake a bit more dense.)
1 teaspoon baking power
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup Earth Balance Butter (vegan)
1 3/4 cups pure cane sugar
1/2 cup silken tofu (processed in the food processor)
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate (100% cacao baking chocolate), melted and cooled.
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/3 cups water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Mix dry ingredients and set to the side. In a large mixing bowl eat the butter on medium high for 30 seconds.  Add sugar, beat until combined.  Add tofu and continue beating.  Beat in chocolate and vanilla.   Add dry mixture and 1 1/3 cups water alternately to beaten mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just till combined.  Pour batter into pan(s) and bake.  I used a bundt pan and it took 50 minutes.  Use a wooden toothpick to test the cake starting at about 35 minutes and then go from there depending on what type of pan you use.

For the frosting - I jumped on Pinterest and explored vegan recipes.  I wanted something chocolaty and decadent. I was lead to a recipe on The Cupcake Project's  website.  They got the recipe from Vegetarian Times and made their own version, which I took and made my own version.

3/4 cup silken tofu
3 ounces of chocolate (I used unsweetened, but next time I am going to use sweetened)
1/4 cup pure cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Place tofu in a food processor or blender, pulse until smooth.  Add vanilla, pulse.  Melt the chocolate in a double broiler or microwave. Pour the chocolate into tofu, pulse until mixed together.  If you use unsweetened chocolate, you might will want to add the sugar here, pulse.

It makes a smooth easy to spread chocolaty frosting that completely covered the bunt cake.


It turned out great!  Very rich and chocolaty!!  Everyone asked for seconds, so it must of been a hit.  Now I just have to figure out how to get some veggies hidden in there....


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Morning Glorious!

I have been wanting try out some new juicing recipes for a while.  I have been doing smoothies a couple of times a week and have really enjoyed it.  We have a fancy juicer that we got as a wedding gift, and it was gently placed on the highest shelf in the house when we moved in here.  So this morning I asked the kiddo, who is now the tallest person in the house at 6 feet even, to reach it down for me.

Today I tried a recipe from Crazy Sexy Kitchen by Kris Carr, called the Morning Glorious.  The recipe is as follows:
1 larger cucumber
A fist full of kale
A fist full of romaine
2 or 3 stalks of celery (I used 2 as I think celery has a really strong taste in juice)
1 big broccoli stem
1 green apple, quartered (I used a pink crisp as it was all that I had on hand)
1/2 peeled lemon, quartered


I have to admit, I was a little skeptical about how it would taste.  I have experimented a bit with juicing in the past and have learned that one flavor can really take over a juice.  I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.  It has a very mild flavor, slight sweet with a bit of an almost salty after taste.  It's a beautiful green color and poured over a bit of ice, I found it to be completely refreshing.


Monday, January 28, 2013

Keys...

Thanksgiving weekend my car keys went missing.  We searched the house high and low.  We had done several house projects and been to Home Depot a dozen times, so we called there to check.  We were in my parents truck, and searched it multiple times. No matter how hard I tried, I could not remember where I had put them.  The hubs had driven my car on Thanksgiving morning to run to the store, but he swore up and  down that he had taken my extra set of keys that were still hanging on the key rack.  

A couple of times since moving into our house, I have come home from work, unlocked the door and forgot my keys in the lock.  The hubs usually came in behind me and would pull them out of the lock and bring them in the house while making fun of me for leaving them.  We have a screen door, so you wouldn't notice them from the outside, unless you walked up and opened the screen door.  So in the last few months I have had a few moments of panic, where I thought maybe I had left them in the door and someone had taken them.

From the very beginning of this ordeal, the hubs has sworn that he had never touched my keys.  I have continued to look everywhere and it was like they just disappeared from the earth.  Fast forward to this past Saturday.  We decided during a sun break that we were going to work in the yard.  Hubs goes to pull on his U of O hoodie that has been hanging on the coat rack forever.  Guess what he found in the pocket?  You got it...my keys. All's well, that ends well I suppose.  At least it wasn't me that lost them this time... :)