Monthly Archives: October 2012

WIAW~Happy Halloween!!

Last year, for Halloween, I posted this photo of myself…

It’s blurry, but that’s me at about 2 years old…I think.  I also mentioned last year that I still had the costume.  It was handmade probably by my Mom or Gram or a combination of the two! I couldn’t find it last year, but…

It’s not the best photo in the world and it shows you all what a messy desk I have, but that’s my costume!!  I’m very excited that I found it and I’ve been waiting all year to show it to you.  It might have been nice if I’d bothered to prepare and take a better photo, but you get what you get around here!

But of course, it’s not just Halloween…It’s What I Ate Wednesday!! Don’t forget to stop over to see what’s happening at Peas & Crayons…Jenn always throws the best Wednesday parties!! I don’t have a lot of food to share with you, but hey, there was a hurricane and I was doing the best I could! 

Spooky Snacks and Healthy Halloween Treats

Breakfast was simple and one of my usuals…

Fat-free peach yogurt with Fiber One.  Always one of my favorites and it does the job.

In an effort to stay healthy, I made up this concoction that I found on Facebook.  Lemon and ginger in honey.  You let it sit overnight before using it.  It does require a bit of stirring…the lemon and ginger is sort of wet on top and you need to mix it into the honey before using.  I made a cup of tea and then added about a teaspoon of the honey along with a few pieces each of lemon and ginger.  It was very tasty.  In fact I had two cups of it during the storm! Love my Fall mug that my sister, Ele gave me last year!

I had made some hard-boiled eggs in preparation for the storm.  I mashed up one egg and mixed in a quarter cup of low-fat cottage cheese.

I had peeled all of the eggs and put them in individual containers.  So much easier to peel them when they’re freshly made and still warm…too hard after they get cold.  I used to do this to take eggs with me to work for lunch.  Boy, my quarter cup measure is getting a lot of face time in this post! 😉

On a toasted sandwich thin with lots of black pepper and jalapenos…Delicious!  I’ll be doing this again!

On Sunday, I had put together a crock pot batch of the Weight Watchers vegetable soup.  I combined onions, garlic, carrots, celery, cabbage, broth, spices(cumin, cayenne and a new Mrs. Dash I found-Tomato Basil Garlic) and a cup and a half of the red beans I made in the crock pot earlier in the week.

Topped with the last of my Locatelli cheese… 😦  Glad the storm has passed, I need more!  This was delicious.  I need to make it more often!

This sounds like it’s becoming a post about my crock pot, but that’s not my intention…this time! 😉  I had to have something sweet, so…

Some of my crock pot apples and pears topped with plain fat-free yogurt and some pumpkin pie spice.  This is one of my favorite sweet treats and on Weight Watchers, I only have to count the yogurt which is only 1 Point.  Very filling for 1 Point!

That’s What I Ate Wednesday for this week.  Hopefully, you all came through Hurricane Sandy unscathed.  Be sure to hop on over to Peas & Crayons to see what other scary food you can find and be sure to leave some treats (comments) for the fun bloggers over there!

Happy What I Ate Wednesday! Happy Halloween!!

The Day After Sandy

In recent months, I’ve had a rule that I don’t watch the news.  This is a big step for me because I’ve always been a Big news junkie.  Currently, I don’t want to hear about politics or the election. I especially dislike watching just to find out what the weather will be.  On Monday, I already knew what the weather would be but I broke my rule.

I got sucked into watching.  I did want to know what was happening with Hurricane Sandy.  I wanted to know not in a voyeuristic way…I wasn’t looking for buildings being demolished by a storm surge or anything like that. I just wanted to know.

I decided to watch one of the 24-hour news channels so when they weren’t talking about Sandy, they were talking about those other two guys who I won’t talk about.  I may have muted the TV during those reports… 😉

I spent my day trying to remain calm.  I couldn’t do anything about the storm (or the Other storm for that matter!) and I decided that calm was the best course of action.

Actually, Sandy did me a favor.  She got me back into meditation.  During the muted period on the TV, I got out my mala beads and meditated.  You remember the mala beads I made last year…

Well, they’re still in one piece and they still work.  I just need to work them.  I’m going to try to meditate daily again.  I’m always searching for focus and this will hopefully help.  So maybe something good came out of the storm.

We were very lucky.  We lost power at about 7:15pm.  We even heard the big pop of the transformer.  We had lots of camping lights, oil lamps and flashlights.  I strapped on my flashlight that goes around my neck and I read…of course!  The lights came back on at 9pm exactly! 

There was a lot of rain, yes, but I’ve experienced worse rain storms.  There was wind, but again I’ve seen worse.  I haven’t checked my basement yet to see if any water got in.  It’s an old basement and it leaks sometimes, but it’s not as though it’s a finished basement and everything that’s down there is on pallets so it should be Ok either way.

All in all, I’d say that Hurricane Sandy was much kinder to us than we thought she’d be.  I know a lot of people at the New Jersey shore had a lot of water damage…I saw some of the news footage.  I hope everyone can get their lives back to normal quickly. 

Was the storm over hyped?  In some ways perhaps, but it did look very dangerous and I think all of the governors and mayors who declared states of emergency were wise to do it.  Better safe than sorry.

Hopefully, we can all dry out and see some sunshine today.

Happy Tuesday!!  Goodbye, Sandy!


Memories of Storms Past

Ok, Everyone is talking and chattering about Hurricane Sandy.  I know it appears that she will be one nasty tart, but I feel confident that we will get through this.

Sunday I spent time with a wonderful group of people from the New Jersey Spirituality group.  We sent our energy to Hurricane Sandy, cooling her and the waters that surround her in order to “nudge” her out to sea.  It was a unique and fulfilling experience as are so many of my experiences with that group.  If you are from the southern New Jersey area, click on the link to the website and learn more about the group.  Do I believe that this could help to influence a storm of this size?  Yes I do.

I remember the scariest storm I’ve ever experienced.  I had to look it up to be sure what year it was.  It was 1954 and I was 4 years old.  I don’t really think I’m giving my age away here.  It was Hurricane Hazel.

Being such a small child at the time, I’m sure that much of my memory is fuzzy.  I remember having no electricity and no heat.  Now that I read the details, it happened around my birthday, so that couldn’t have been any fun! 

My most vivid memory was this.  Since we didn’t have heat (I’m not sure why we didn’t have it) we spent most of our time in the kitchen.  We but a curtain across the door, turned on the oven and left the door open, certainly not the safest thing to do, but that’s what we did!  It warmed us and, again in my 4-year-old memory, it was like a camp out.  In reading the details of what I found on-line, Hazel was a nasty tart, too.  I suppose I’m glad I was too young to really understand what was going on.

I know what’s going on this time.  As I sit here, it’s raining like crazy.  I’m hoping for a bit of a break.  If not, as soon as it gets light I go out in the rain to gather up the trash cans so they don’t crash into anything.  Should have done it last night but I was misinformed that the rain wouldn’t start until later in the morning.  Ok, so I get wet.  I’ve been wet before and I’ll dry out!

If you have time today, send some of your energy to Sandy.  Help to nudge her in an easterly direction.  Tell her to go away.  It may sound a little far-fetched, but the storm is energy, the whole earth is energy.  We are energy, too.  Use it today. 

Sunday morning I took some sunrise photos.  Kind of gives proof to the old saying, “Red sky at morning, Sailor take warning.”

Beautiful and Scary at the same time!

To all my family, friends and readers in the Eastern United States.  Stay safe!

Happy Monday!!

Waiting…and Wondering

Perhaps I should have saved my use of “maelstrom” until today.  I used it on Wednesday and was talking about the disorganization in my home and my life.  Now there is the hurricane called Sandy that’s supposed to be heading our way. I suppose I should be glad that I can now use this word with authority having actually looked it up!

This is what the storm is supposed to look like…

[Image of probabilities of tropical storm force winds]


To me it looks a little like an oyster…or a great big ear!  Yes…that’s little New Jersey right there in the middle, looks like we’re Sandy’s favorite.  She’s coming to visit.

I’m not trying to make fun of the storm.  They…the people who know much more about weather than I…are telling us it will be bad.  Frakenstorm they’re saying….Storm of the Century.  As I say, I’m not really trying to make light of it, but it’s a little difficult to take it seriously when EVERY storm, be it hurricane, or thunderstorm or snow storm seems to be touted as the Storm of the Century. 

Last storm, I dutifully filled my tub with water…only raised the water bill!  I stocked up on bread and milk, etc.  Had all of that left over. 

Perhaps it’s because the weather smarties need to feel needed.  There is an entire cable network devoted to weather…I guess they have to fill their time somehow. 

I haven’t done much in consideration of the impending onslaught.  I got gas in the car.  I needed to do that anyway.  I’m going to the produce market today, but again, only because I need to it regardless of the storm.  Actually, just Going to the produce market on the weekend is like taking your life in your hands, so I guess I’m being brave. 

We’ll be going out to dinner tonight to celebrate our grandson’s 18th birthday.  That’s much more fun to think about than any storm.  I don’t even know when Sandy’s supposed to come to town, so I’m not sure if I should be worried about going out.  Anyway, it’s the old “what does a vegetarian eat at a steak house” scenario, so I’ll be thinking about that! 😉

I don’t need one more thing to worry about, one more thing to tax my nerves.  My plan is to make soup, drink tea and read!  That’ll keep me busy.

As for the Weather Channel smarties…When it’s all over and I’ve survived the storm, I’ll get to ask them the question that one of their commercials used to ask a few years back…”Who Looks Ridiculous, Now?!”

Happy Sunday!  Stay out of the Maelstrom!

Waffling and Wobbling

No…not THAT kind of waffles!!  Last year, I participated in National Novel Writing Month.  It’s a crazy thing where (crazy!) people attempt (and many times succeed) in writing a 50,000 word novel during the month of November.  I jumped in without thinking too hard about it, by signing up on October 31.  Had no idea what I was doing or going to do but I completed the challenge in 3 weeks!  I was fairly impressed with myself.

This year, I had decided mid-summer that I was going to participate.  I even have an idea and was planning to start writing a short outline this week in order to be ready.  But now…

I can’t decide if I still want to do it.  I need to focus and devote time to working on my sorting and packing and getting this show on the road!  I’ve been pretty successful so far with getting things accomplished and I want that to continue.

I will have to adjust things somewhere if I plan to fit in NaNoWriMo.  When I think about it, I haven’t been sleeping anyway so I could fit it in during the wee hours when it’s just me and the Moon up.  I could trim some other activities, less time spent on Facebook (I’ve been trying for that anyway!)  Time spent reading other blogs…I could adjust that for the time of NaNoWriMo.  Reading in general…No…not willing to give that up!

I have less than a week to make the decision.  I wish I only had 1 day like I did last year…it made the decision easier!  This gives me Way to much time to change my mind…then change my mind…then change my mind again.  That’s the problem with being a Libra….wishy-washy…  (My favorite joke about Libras has always been…We’re not wishy-washy…Are we??)

Haven’t talked much about Weight Watchers and my food choices this week.  I think I’m on track, but I’m really not sure what will happen when I step on that scale this morning…as long as I don’t hear…”Boing!”  I guess I’ll be ok.

A busy day awaits me including a birthday gathering this evening…No, not for me…  😦   but since my Birthday Month is almost over and I haven’t celebrated lately…I think I’m going to consider it a co-birthday party!  What do ya think?!?  😉

Thought I’d share some sunrise pictures I forgot to share earlier in the week.

Let’s see what the day has to offer!

Happy Saturday!!

Thank Goodness!

After my morning of cooking up two different batches of soup, I was anxious to see what Ralph thought of his and also to taste my own.

Of course, that was the day Ralph decided to sleep most of the day to get rid of his cold.   😦  So I had to wait and wait.  The good thing is that when he tasted it he pronounced it “delicious!”  Since I don’t taste his, I’m never sure how I’ve done with seasoning.  I put a bit of salt in it and didn’t want to go over board, but he said it was seasoned perfectly.  I was excited!! 🙂

Now when it comes to my soup…

It’s been a Long time since I’ve had chicken soup.  To the best of my memory, this tasted exactly like chicken soup…and a very good version of chicken soup.  I was really happy with it and it was certainly easy.  As it sat a bit, the rice plumped up and was a great addition to the soup.  I will definitely make this again.  Oh, and I’ll make Ralph’s again, too because he was happy!  He’s feeling better today, and I like to think it’s because of the soup! 😉

I spent Thursday morning doing what??

Working on the FREE apples and pears that Gail gave me.  Looks like I’m about to perform surgery!

Look at the size of these pears!!  Good grief, they were Huge!  With all of the fruit, my standard Crock Pot was filled!  Hope no one is tired of hearing about crock pot apples.  They are delicious and they will certainly be a plus in the budget this week since as I said, they were FREE!  I’m always conscious of my food dollars at work, but I never actually figure anything out.  Think I’m going to start doing that so I can figure just how successful I am.  Any free fruit you want to send my way feel…FREE!! 😉

I finally got out to get a few shots of the Fall leaves.

This is across the street from our house.

This is one of my favorites!  It’s always amazing to me that certain trees are always the prettiest.  This is the house next to mine. I love it when I get to drive by.

So that’s it…I’m off to do some more sorting and packing.  I promised myself that I would and I’m serious!!

Happy Friday!!


A Tale of Two Soup Pots

Has a nice literary ring to it, doesn’t it?! 😉  One Chicken, One Chickesque.  I think I’ve just created a new word…I like it!

Poor Ralph has been sick with a cold.  Fortunately, he had an already scheduled visit with the family doctor on Monday which helped him to know what to take.  However, I thought I’d go back to an old basic.  Something I’m not sure I’ve ever made…chicken soup.  I’ve made turkey soup lots of time, but can’t remember making chicken before.  First time for everything.  But of course, I need to eat to, so….Double the Pots, Double the fun.

My soup on the left, Ralph’s on the right.  Both started with a generous spray of olive oil spray.  Onions and garlic for me, onions and a mostly still frozen chicken breast for Ralph.

Things continued with carrots and celery for both pots.  Several times over the last few months, I’ve cooked a chicken breast for Ralph in my small crock pot. Both times, I saved and froze the stock that came from cooking the chicken.  I scraped off the chicken fat and added the juices to his pot.  I also used 4 low sodium chicken bullion cubes put in water and then the microwave.  Added that to Ralph’s pot.

Mine got this addition…

This is a wonderful soup/seasoning mix that I actually found at the Christmas Tree Shoppe!  They have the most unique food items there.  It’s been in the cupboard for quite a while but I hadn’t opened it.  I used it the other night in one of my veggie combos.  It worked great for this soup!  By the way, the measuring cup is dirty because I used it to mix the broth.  Trying to be creative with my photos…

My chickenesque portion of the soup came from Morningstar Farms chick’n strips.  Wish they still made the beef version… 😦

I added brown rice to my soup to cook for a bit before adding in the chickenesque.  I shredded up the chicken in Ralph’s soup. I cooked noodles separately to add to his soup.  Oh yes, I also added corn to his…well because he likes corn!

The finished products…

You can’t really see the rice in mine but you can certainly see Ralph’s noodles!  I tasted mine and I think it’s going to make a great dinner!  Ralph has been sleeping to try to get rid of his cold (he didn’t have a good night’s sleep) so he doesn’t even know what he has to look forward to!!  I hope he likes it.  Even with doing both soups, it really wasn’t all that time-consuming. I was proud of myself for getting them to finish at just about the same time AND getting all of the photos without dropping the camera in one of the pots!! 😉

Oh, yes…while I was making the soups…

I had red beans cooking in the crock pot!  I’ve got a few ideas of some ways to use these.  Can’t wait to try them!

Hopefully, Ralph’s chicken soup does the trick and he’s feeling better soon.  It would make Mom and Grandmom proud!!!

Happy Thursday!!

WIAW~Living In The Maelstrom

I looked it up…


/ˈmeɪlstrəm/ Show Spelled[meyl-struhm] Show IPA



a large, powerful, or violent whirlpool.

a restless, disordered, or tumultuous state of affairs: the maelstrom of early morning traffic.

( initial capital letter ) a famous hazardous whirlpool off the NW coast of Norway.
Well…I’m no where near Norway, but the first two definitions are fairly appropriate to the state of affairs in my house.  I’ve been working hard all week to crack this nut and although I am by no means completed, I am feeling hopeful.  I will get it done!
But that doesn’t mean that I can’t participate in What I Ate Wednesday…that fabulous food maelstrom that happens weekly over at Peas & Crayons, led by the lovely Jenn!
Spooky Snacks and Healthy Halloween Treats
Though I haven’t really gotten into snack and treats all that much, the most obvious reason being that if I have them around, I’ll eat them…here’s WIAW from the Maelstrom (just love using that big word…which I looked UP!  So excited that it actually meant what I thought it meant!! 😉   )  My food is sort of a combo of various days but I guess that’s what I usually do!
Sunday breakfast always seems to be an egg sandwich on a sandwich thin.  Enlivened up here by some sriracha and a Smiley!!  Topped with just a touch of Locatelli cheese…that’ll liven up anything!
You’ve heard of oats in a jar…this is cottage cheese in the container…
Why dirty a bowl when there’s just about a 1 cup serving left in the container?!  Topped with LOTS of ground black pepper and sweet pickle relish…if you think this doesn’t look good, then…Sorry, but you’re Wrong!  It’s delicious!
Crock pot apples topped with plain fat-free yogurt and a bit of cinnamon.  So delicious.  I’ve got to get to work on the bag full of apples I got earlier in the week.  I’m so excited!!  These are just delicious!
A yummy early lunch from Monday.  When Ralph goes for his bi-annual (I looked it up and bi-annual is right!) doctor’s appointment we always stop at a particular diner that serves me this plate of deliciousness.  It’s called an Athenia burger plate and is meant to have Greek salad and a regular burger.  They’re happy to swap in a veggie burger which is so good, I’ve asked them for either the recipe or where they get them.  They will give me neither…  😦  Wish I could find the answer to that question!  This is just the right amount…very satisfying.
Monday night’s dinner was another of my odd combos.  In the spirit of cleaning up and cleaning out…I’m doing the same thing with my freezer.  I found some Morningstar Farms chicken-ish strips.  They were in great shape, but the broccoli I found was in less than stellar condition, hence it doesn’t look very green.
Made a quick batch of couscous.  While that was plumping, I sautéed onion, garlic and red bell pepper, my last, I really need to get to the produce market!  When that had cooked a bit, I added the chicken-ish strips and the broccoli which was really a freezer burned lump, but it added volume!  Added some veggie broth (which I need to tell you all about soon) and just before it was finished I added a half cup of cottage cheese for some extra protein and cheesiness.  Topped it all with some Locatelli cheese.  This was so good and very filling.  I love these bizarre combos that I come up with!
That’s What I Ate Wednesday for me today!  Be sure to check out all of the fun over at Peas & Crayons and remember to leave a comment…well…because we Love them!  I continue with my grand project and I must say I’m feeling good about it.  Keep tuning in and I’ll keep updating you!  Go eat something Delicious!
Happy What I Ate Wednesday!!

Unseen Accomplishments

Monday morning found us up and out fairly early for Ralph’s bi-annual (that’s twice a year, right?!) check up with our family doctor.  She’s a great person and I love the fact that rather than “giving” you something to help with a situation i.e. Ralph’s on coming cold and a few other things, she suggests things to do to help with the situation.  She’s tremendous.

Since I was up early as usual, I had some time to use (I’m not going to use the term “kill” anymore when it comes to time…I like the concept of “use it or lose it” better) I started to re-organize a cupboard in the kitchen that was in great need.  It’s the cupboard where I keep my bulgur and quinoa and things like that.  There wasn’t any tossing involved…I just needed to get it more orderly so I can find things a little better.  I even found some things I forgot I had, like some nut butter single serve packets that I can make good use of.  Finished it in about 20 minutes so I was happy and proud of myself.

The frustrating thing about doing something like that…no one will see it, or appreciate it but me.  So many of the things I’ve been working on in the last week are also things that I really can’t show.  The house is in such turmoil, I don’t like to show it.  I did show some of my “work” on my porch over the last few days because it’s only a small disaster area, not a full-fledged disaster.

I am happy with my progress though.  I packed up another box and found some things that actually belong to other people and need to be returned…Glad to do it!  I also found a wonderful box of photos that we had gotten from Ralph’s sister, Kathy.  Such a review of his life!  Tiny baby pictures, grade school, high school…the scary thing is how much in those photos he looks like his grandson, Patrick.  I’ve always said Patrick looks like Ralph.  Now that he is about to turn 18, I see some of Ralph’s teenage pictures and it’s astounding.  The only real difference is the hair cut.  Even the way they stand is the same!

There were some Army photos of Ralph and even a few of him in his dress blues!  Unfortunately, they are from his first wedding and it would be hard to cut out his companion.  Maybe this is a reason to learn how to use Photo Shop!!

I’m quite happy with how things are going with my mission to get things packed in hopes that it will encourage others to do the same! 😉  We live in hope!  Guess I’ll get to work on more separating the wheat from the chaff!  Step by Step!!

Happy Tuesday!! Dig in there and Do It!!

Sunday In And Out

I believe I could actually say that I slept in on Sunday.  Didn’t wake up until 5:45 and didn’t get up until 6:15!  That’s pretty good considering the past week!

I was working on the computer and cleaning up a few things on the blog.  I need to do more and hope to in the next week or to.  Need to put that on my list.  Yes, since getting my new 18 month planner that has a page for lists…I’m actually doing it!  Amazing how you remember to do things when you’ve written them down! 😉

I haven’t talked much about exercise lately, but I have been working on my exercise bike, yesterday doing 60 minutes!  I get to read so it’s actually like a treat.  Since the weather is promising to be good this week, I’m going to try to get out for walks in the morning.  It won’t happen on Monday because Ralph has an appointment this morning so we’ll be heading out to that fairly early.

As planned and promised, some sorting/packing has happened every day.  Sunday’s efforts resulted in this…

Two boxes packed, with newspapers on top to pack some more!  Please pay no attention to the fact that the floor needs to be vacuumed.  That’s on the list too!

So excited…

I was presented with and happily accepted a Big bag of apples and pears from my friend Gail’s brother’s tree.  He picked them for me so I didn’t have to! What a guy!  As I said before, they don’t look pretty but they taste just fine!  Since I just did a crock pot full on Saturday night, I’m going to cook these up (hope they all fit in the crock pot…otherwise I may have to open the new bigger one that I have!) and freeze them.  I’ve never tried to do that before, but what the heck.  They’re mushy when they come out of the crock pot, so freezing shouldn’t change them very much.  I can’t pass up…or Waste…free apples!  That’s my project when we get back from Ralph’s appointment today.

The Fall is finally starting to show up.  I haven’t really taken many photos yet, but thought I’d share the few I have taken.

My neighbor’s trees actually taken from a block away at Ele’s house.  Thank you zoom…of course it will be better when I get a better camera. I promise to stop talking about that now!

My favorite tree…

It’s in my back yard and unfortunately, over the years some of the branches have died and don’t have leaves any more, but it’s still my favorite.   I’m going to concentrate on getting some more photos…well…because I like taking Autumn photos!  Ok?!

Monday is shaping up to be busy so I’d better get to it. I’ve got boxes to pack and lists to make…oh, yeah…photos to take!

Happy Monday!!