Monthly Archives: November 2012

Note To Self~

I’m a basically intelligent person.  I can see what’s going on around me and I can usually figure out a way to make most things work.

It seems however that lately, if I’m not paying close attention, I can really screw up!

This morning, Ralph was up when I didn’t expect he would be.  I had allowed him plenty of time to do his breakfast routine before I decided to have mine.  I knew what my breakfast would be.  I had diligently prepared my OOIAJ (overnight oats in a jar) last night.  I was looking forward to it since I got up at 5am.  I’m not really interested in breakfast at that time which I probably should change after today.

I like my OOIAJ warmed.  I know it’s not how it was intended to be eaten, but that’s how I like it.  I give it a minute and 30 seconds which is usually perfect.  I put it in the microwave.

Ralph and I were milling about the kitchen chatting about various things.  I suddenly realized there was an out of the ordinary sound coming from the microwave.  I leaned down to look inside and saw sparks!  Without mentioning it to Ralph, I quickly turned it off. 

Note to self:  Be sure to remove ALL of the metallic inner seal from the peanut butter jar Before you put it in the microwave.

Here is the proof-

Notice the little black crusty places around the edge?  The one on the right is actually plastic that burned away.  Thank goodness I realized this was happening.

The good news is…the OOIAJ tasted delicious!  It’s always very satisfying.  I think it’s the protein in the peanut butter that does that.  Perhaps I should add it to oatmeal when it’s not in the jar. 

At least I have enough sense NOT to use dishes in the microwave with any kind of metal on it!

Back to work on my sorting and packing!!

Happy Friday! Don’t set anything on fire!

 

A Good Day’s Work

I was lamenting on Tuesday about the state of my desk. I did get a lot done on my desk area as well as some of the other clutter in the house. 

But I was really inspired by what I had done on the desk and decided that since I spend an important part of my day (writing BCDC) at my desk, along with the part I don’t like so much (paying bills, organizing our life) I should make it a done deal and have a fighting chance to do so in an organized manner. These are my efforts from Tuesday after I did my post.

I’m really disappointed now that I didn’t take any before pictures except for the one I took of the left side of the desk.

Think of this look going on over the entire desk and you’ll have an idea how it was.  Awful!!

I now present the finished product…

Guess I should have worked on the bulletin board over top too, but I’ll get to that.  The work surface is what’s important and it’s very clean and very functional!  I’m Very Excited!

I even organized the under desk storage area.

The box below this is also part of my storage, but I did weed through everything in there and toss what was unneccessary.  It’s almost getting scary how organized this is! Please note in the photo all of the space for my mouse now!  Lots of room so it won’t give me a shock by running into the connector to the laptop!

Of course, this is just one step in my overall sorting and packing efforts.  They will continue.  I do feel energized and optimistic though regarding what has to be done.  I think I can do this!

That’s my big accomplishment so far this week.  I hope to have more to show you as time goes on. 

Thought I’d share a pretty photo from Wednesday morning.

I loved this one!  I love to start the day with a beautiful sky!

Happy Thursday!!

 

 

WIAW~In The Zone

It’s always so much fun to participate in What I Ate Wednesday!  Last week it was double the fun because we also go to play a second time with What I Ate Thanksgiving.  It was great.  So Glad that Jenn at Peas & Crayons decided to through in the extra party.  Every week could use two! Be sure to stop over at P & C to check out what all of the other fun bloggers are eating today…and of course, leave a comment!

Peas and Crayons

I’ve been working hard at making careful, good food choices to stay on track during the Holidays.  I think I’m doing pretty well with my efforts.

One of my very favorite lunches.  A Subway veggie.  My version is the wheat bun, pepper jack cheese, spinach, jalapeno, sweet peppers, onion, black olives and Southwest chipotle sauce.  So very satisfying!

Yummy oatmeal at our weekly post Weight Watchers breakfast.  This week they gave us the cinnamon on the side so I had extra!!

Also fairly traditional is our Sunday morning egg sandwiches.

I try to get creative with the sriracha sauce…sometimes it doesn’t work.

I cooked up a crock pot of lentils which was an experiment that worked!  It led to several meals.

First over quinoa with Locatelli cheese.

Monday nights ingredients.  Lentils, diced tomatoes and whole wheat pasta.

Topped with Locatelli cheese…Again!!  This was so good, easy and cheap!  I really need to start calculating cost on some of my dishes.  I think that’ll be a project for the New Year!

The last of the crock pot oatmeal I made at the end of last week.  It’s such a great idea to make it that way.  When it’s finished, I divide it into 5 servings and store it in the fridge until I’m ready to eat it. I love it.

I’m feeling comfortable that I can stay in control.  Each day, I do my best to stay on track.  I think I can be in charge for the coming Holiday challenges.  Each day, I do my best. 

Be sure to stop over at Peas & Crayons to check on what everyone else is eating!

Happy What I Ate Wednesday!  In the Zone!

 

One Of Those Days…

No…this time, in a good way!  A day that didn’t start out as much became very productive.

I think my new motto will be…Dig In And See What Happens!  I like it!

It started out after a not great night of sleep.  Ralph isn’t sleeping well due to still recovering from the cold and sometimes that makes for a bad night for me.  I realize that the same thing happens when it’s my turn to have a bad night.  Share and share alike.

I got up and tried to be quiet in hopes that Ralph would go to sleep.  Well, he didn’t until about 1:30 in the afternoon.  I ran a few errands in the morning, got my Monday Free iced coffe at Dunkin’ Donuts which always improves my outlook.  When I got home, I made Ralph’s lunch hoping that would make him sleepy.  It worked…finally.

I started working on my desk which had serious issues, so much so that there was barely room for me to use the mouse on the computer. I should have taken a before shot, but in truth, I didn’t expect to accomplish this much.

I’m pretty excited about this.  It may not look that impressive to you, but believe me, it’s an improvement!  Picture this with papers and “stuff” falling out all over.

To give you an idea, here’s what the left side of the desk looks like.

The good news is that none of the things piled there (I’m ready to shout “Timber!” any minute!) are things from the right side of the desk! It is its own mess!  But now that I’ve got the spirit, I hope to get that under control in the next day or so.  There’s also an under desk space that needs work.  That will be part of the purge as well.

I also got through some things stored in the living room helter skelter with the intention of going through them and packing.  Among those things were lots that will be contributed to the recycling man today.  Again, I didn’t plan it that way…I guess the stars were just aligned for me.  Trying to get things more orderly so I can put up the Christmas tree.  I’m hoping to have that accomplished by the first of next week (maybe by the weekend if the stars stay aligned… 😉  )

I was Very happy with my accomplishments yesterday.  I didn’t fancy up the house or do anything that almost anyone else will notice, but I feel good about it! 🙂

On another note; I’m a big Moon person.  My sister, Ele sent me this today on Facebook-

It’s tomorrow night so don’t miss it.   Maybe this is why I’m feeling that the stars are aligned…It’s that old Moon working her magic!

Happy Tuesday!!

Impromptu Success

Sometimes, I have no idea what to cook.  I’m actually very lazy when it comes to cooking, unless I’m in one of my cooking spurts but I like things that aren’t a lot of trouble.

I knew that I had left over quinoa in the fridge and needed something easy to go along with it.

You may recall way back in the early days of BCDC I did a post lamenting old beans.  Can’t find that particular post at the moment, but I’ll do a quick recap.  Going through my pantry cabinet (which I’m still doing over a year later!) I had found a plastic container with navy beans.  I didn’t know if there was a use by date related to dried beans so I just soaked them and plopped them in the crock pot.  Well, they cooked and cooked and cooked.  They never reached what I would consider a cooked consistency.  However, being the renowned cheapo that I am, I used them in various things.

Well this time, we’re talking lentils.  A similar plastic container (which are the same vintage as the aforementioned navy beans) were unearthed recently.  I had been thinking about cooking lentils in the crock pot and figured that Sunday was as good a day as any to give them a try. Besides, I had an hour to kill before Ele and I had to go out, I figured I’d throw them together.  I opened the container and they smelled fine.

I chopped a medium onion, added 2 Tbsp. of pre-chopped garlic, 1 and 1/2 cups of lentils and 3 and 3/4 cups of water.  I also added some of this…

It’s a Mrs. Dash-ish seasoning I got at Aldi.  It is Wonderful! It’s way less expensive than Mrs. Dash (I still love you, Mrs. D. but half the price is half the price!) and it’s a bit zippier.  I should probably read the label, but I think it must have something peppery in it.  Anyway, I shook it in liberally.

Before…

After…They cooked for about 6 hours all together.  I started them on high, but since I had to go out and I’d never tried this before (and the old crock was pretty full!) I turned it to low for about 3 hours hoping to avoid a disaster.  Probably would have been better to be on high the entire time. I’m so glad that this small crock pot has a temperature control.  Some don’t.  Pretty good for $5 at a thrift store!  I do think the lentils may have been a little old because they were not as tender as I would have liked but, Hey anything that’s been in the cupboard as long as these I sort of consider free!

I microwaved my left over quinoa and-

Topped with some Locatelli cheese and I was happy!  It was actually juicier than it looks and it was delicious! Some foods don’t photograph well and sad to say this is one, but it was delicious.  I have lentils for another few days and I already know what I’m making for dinner tonight.  It’ll be another quick dinner!

With a little thinking ahead and very little actual effort, I had a great dinner last night and the basis for several others.  Can’t wait to see what I come up with!

Before I leave you, a couple of pretty skies from over the weekend.

This is from Thanksgiving Day.

This is Saturday morning.  We’ve got to appreciate the blue skies when we have them!

Happy Monday!

Odds, Ends, Sunrises, Sunsets

Friday I had the pleasure of seeing the new film, Lincoln.  I have always thought that Daniel Day-Lewis is an incredible actor.  In this, he did not disappoint me.  At some point during the movie I realized that I had forgotten he was an actor and believed I was watching Lincoln on the screen.  That may sound hokey, but that was my reaction.  The atmosphere of the film was amazing; the sets and costumes made me feel I was there in 1865. 

I did not realize that the film focused on the debate in the House of Representatives to approve or disapprove the 13 amendment (abolition of slavery) which had already been passed by the Senate.  I did not know much about this part of American history and I was fascinated.  There were many incredible performances.  I think it’s the kind of movie I’ll need to see again to catch all of the nuances. I’m not sure how historically accurate it is, but now it will encourage me to find out for myself.  I recommend it highly.

Saturday found me getting a very nice surprise at Weight Watchers.  I was confident that I had done my best this week, kept my control on Thanksgiving and thought I would probably stay the same.  The scale said otherwise.  I lost three-quarters of a pound!  As you might expect, I was quote pleasantly surprised!  🙂  My strategy worked and I’m going to keep following it throughout the Holiday season!  I can handle this!! 😉

You all know by now that I love to take photos of sunrises and sunsets.  I love how different they can be day-to-day.

Sunset Friday night-

Sunrise Saturday morning-

Sunday morning-

Sunrises and sunsets fascinate me also in their ability to change from one moment to the next.  I’ll go outside, take a photo, then come in and sit down, then glance out the window and it’s different again in a few seconds.  I could take a million photos.  Some days, that’s what it feels like!  How can you have a bad day when you see beauty like this first thing in the morning?! 

Happy Sunday!!

Getting Back To Normal

It seems so easy to allow a Holiday like Thanksgiving to hang over for the next few days, sometimes the entire weekend.  For many years prior to joining Weight Watchers, I allowed that to happen.  Sometimes it continued into the next week or even several.

I don’t allow that to happen to me anymore.  Friday was a good day, under control and no sign of lingering excess flexibility.  That is part of what I talked about last Tuesday when I talked about enjoying on the Holiday but then getting right back on track.  I think I’ve done that at least so far.  Friday I went to the movies to see Lincoln.  It was incredible and I need to talk about it after I’ve digested it a bit. The key is that I ate Nothing at the movie.  The smell of popcorn as we walked into the theatre almost got the better of me, but I just talked to myself in my head and made my way through it and let nothing get in my way.

I’ll be curious to see what the scale holds for me when I get to Weight Watchers this morning.  I’m really not sure, but I do know that I’ll be right back on program after the meeting and doing what I should be doing.  I really do feel very much in control at the moment.  What a nice feeling!

Friday morning when the sun came up there was a fog which led to some interesting pictures.

Kind of spooky, but pretty.

Happy Saturday!!  Wish me luck!!

WIAT~What I Ate On Thanksgiving

Such a Clever Title!  So seriously the lovely Jenn At Peas & Crayons, who hosts What I Ate Wednesday every week decided that she would host for two days and we could also play a second time and share What I Ate on Thanksgiving…I say Why Not!  Here goes!

What I Ate on Thanksgiving

My story actually starts on Wednesday.  I had to create one of my usual contributions to Thanksgiving dinner…Cranberry Orange Mold.  Here’s the story on the mold.  When I was a Tupperware Lady…MANY years ago (I left it to become a Weight Watchers leader) I got this recipe to go with the jello mold that we sold.  Of course as is sort of like me, I never “officially” got the recipe…I got it by word of mouth.  I’ve never been sure I have the recipe right, but after all these years of no complaints, I guess the recipe is right.

The assemblage.  Please take note of the recipe.

This is the very same recipe that I wrote down on the fly all those years ago.  You can see that it’s old and as with so many of my recipes…stained.  I’m working on putting everything in plastic sleeves to avoid this in the future!  😉  Here’s the recipe.

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Cranberry Orange Mold

2 packages of a berry type Jello (I used raspberry this year, I used cherry last year and I didn’t like it as much.  There used to be a mixed berry variety that was very good.  One year Jello actually put out cranberry jello which was the best.  I think next year I’ll search for that on-line.)

2 cups boiling water (Don’t make the mistake of following the package directions…I did that one year…Doesn’t work 😦   )

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Dash of ground cloves

1 can whole cranberry sauce

2 cans mandarin oranges-drained

Dissolve the Jello in the boiling water.  I suggest that at this point you add the whole cranberry sauce by spoonfuls.  The heat of the water helps to dissolve it and it mixes in better.  The amounts of the spices are really just general and depend on your own taste preferences.  I add a lot more cinnamon and cloves, but that’s the way I like it.  For your first try, you might want to follow the directions. Recipe says “chill to thicken.”  I’ve never done that.  When the cranberry sauce has dissolved into the mixture, I pour it into the mold.  Less to pour makes it a little less messy…This is a learned action.  Once the mixture is in the mold, add in the oranges.  Stir carefully around the mold so that the whole cranberries and the oranges are evenly distributed throughout the mold. Chill overnight for best results.  Be sure to let it sit out at room temperature before you try to unmold it.  The process works better that way.  I usually take it out about 45 minutes prior.

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Ta-Da…Jello Mold!

Pretty colors!

Here it is…on the antique plate it has resided on every year since I started making it.  I had to grab the photo quick before it was devoured! 😉

The craziness as everyone starts to dig in before everyone is even seated!!

My heaping plate…Ele’s coleslaw and cranberry orange relish on my side plate.  The star attraction two Morningstar Farms Grillers California Turk’y Burgers, mashed potatoes, stuffing, succotash (my favorite!!) and cranberry orange mold. 

The gravy comes from this wonderful stuff…

Turkey Gravy.jpg

It’s vegetarian and I’ve been using it for years.  Quite a few years ago, we even stopped making “real” turkey gravy because no one knew the difference.  With this, it’s perfect every time!

The dessert spread!

Apple pie all the way from Washington, D.C. courtesy of our friend, Jim!  I must confess I also had a small piece cut from the square pan in the previous photo…pineapple cheese pie…a local favorite. Yum.

So that’s it for What I Ate On Thanksgiving.  It was fun to share my goodies this way.  Try the recipe…it’s delicious, if I do say so myself! 😉

Happy Friday after Thanksgiving!!  I refuse to use that other name for it!

With Thanks

I’ll start by wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!

I want to share with all of you some of the things for which I am thankful.  If I was better at planning ahead, I would have planned this post and had a better list put together.  But lets work with what we’ve got and see how it turns out.

That For Which I Am Thankful:

1.  Waking up every day, healthy and active.  Though I’m not as active as I should be or as I would like to be, I am fortunate to experience the good health that I do.

2.  A Roof Over My Head-Disaster though it may be at the moment, I’m warm when I need to be and cool when I need to be and with my continuing efforts, it Will get better!

3.  Food in the cupboard, in the fridge and on the table.   So many don’t have this simple necessity.  We are fortunate.

4.  The Gift of Books- This come directly from my Mom.  She taught us that reading was at least as important as anything else she had to do.  I thank her for this.

5.  The new and ever-changing world of blogging.  I’ve always wanted to write, now I get to do it every day and as it turns out, other people seem to enjoy reading what I write!  This leads me to thank all of my wonderful readers for their support and encouragement over almost two years.  Thanks to everyone!

6.  My wonderful family.  I’m so lucky to have a wonderful sister, Ele.  We are as close as we can be.  We try our best to help and support each other. I’m also lucky that when Ralph came into my life, I inherited three sisters and a brother plus lots of nieces and nephews.  I also inherited Ralph’s three children and their children.  I never thought I’d have grandchildren, but thanks to them I do!

7.  Ralph.  So much wrapped up in one word.  There is no way that I can adequately express how thankful I am that Ralph came into my life.  I’m so happy that we get to make our way through life together.

I may have used this photo before, but it’s one of my favorites.  It’s from Thanksgiving 1993.  I know this for a fact because we have a video from that year and in the video you see this photo taken! Amazing that after all these years, we still like each other!  😉

Thought I’d include one more thing that makes me thankful…Sunsets!

Everyone have a very Happy Thanksgiving!!

WIAW~Feeling Human

I’m so glad that it’s Wednesday…because that means it’s also What I Ate Wednesday!  This is of course the day of fun concocted by Jenn at Peas & Crayons.  The day when all the fun kids show off what they’ve been eating all week.  Be sure to stop over at Jenn’s place when you’re finished here to see many more wonderful, yummy things!

Peas and Crayons

We’re still trying to Fall into good food habits.  I’m just glad that I’m eating like a normal person again.  I am feeling So much better, the plague seems to be gone…just have to make sure I don’t let Ralph breath on me again! 😉

Let the food begin!

A yummy veggie combo of tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, onion, garlic, cabbage and spices.  All served on a bed of couscous and topped with Locatelli cheese.  I was just starting to feel better when I had this.  I think it helped me turn the corner.

Sunday’s breakfast egg sandwich on a sandwich thin.  Tried to turn the sriracha sauce into a sunburst but it looks like an escaping alien instead!  Sprinkled with Locatelli cheese…I don’t have good aim in the morning. 😉  It tasted good, regardless!

My favorite easy lunch…

Peanut butter on caramel corn rice cakes. The one on the left mutated, but tasted good just the same.  I feel that I’m finally getting my problem with peanut butter under control.  Not so scary anymore.  Even though my sister sent me this…

Too funny!  I’m trying Not to!

Sunday night found me having the LAZIEST meal Ever!

Realized I still had some of the veggie soup left from last week.  Directly in the container it was stored in, I added some additional spices, a little water, a half cup of dried couscous and microwaved! The couscous plumped, I added some Locatelli cheese on top and called it dinner…It was Very Good!

After saying I was going to do it for at least 3 weeks, finally remembered Sunday night to put steel-cut oats in the crock pot.  This was the result.  I was so excited.

Topped it with the very, very last  😦  of the blueberries that I froze in the summer of 2011…that was a Lot of blueberries.  I will miss them, but you can bet I’m sure to freeze them again in the summer of 2013!!  So good…

Monday night I had to go out for a short while, but I thought in advance and cooked up a batch of quinoa before I went out.

Next time I’m going to try either the crock pot or wonder of wonders…open up the rice cooker that I bought and haven’t used yet.  Then I don’t have to watch it so carefully!

When I got home, I chopped onion, garlic, zucchini, yellow squash and tomatoes.  I found that Aldi has their own version of the basic Mrs. Dash seasoning and I added it liberally.  So much less expensive and Very tasty, a little spicy, even.  Added a cup of cottage cheese for protein and…

Ladled it over the quinoa and called it supper…Yum!

I love having my oatmeal ready in the fridge only needing to be microwaved.  I forgot to mention earlier that I divided into 5 servings.  While I was rummaging in the fridge, I realized that the apples I had made in the crock pot about 2 (maybe 3?!?) weeks ago were still in there and more importantly still good!

Love the combo of the crock pot apples and the crock pot oatmeal!  I think this will have to be breakfast tomorrow too!

There you have WIAW for this week.  Much more food than I’ve shared in a Long time!  Be sure to check out all the fun waiting for you over at Peas & Crayons and be sure to leave a comment…we all love your comments!

Happy What I Ate Wednesday!  This is what being Human feels like!