Friday, August 26, 2011

Thirsty for something to eat

After a week of eating soft soups, stews, lentils and pasta I wanted something crisp, light and refreshing for dinner last night. I was thirsty for some mouth watering cucumbers and crisp red onions. There's something about cucumbers that seem to quench my thirst.

When I think of a cleansing and refreshing combo, I think of cucumbers, onions and tomatoes. Kind of like in the fruit world, how watermelon and pineapple cool off your senses.

I made a "salsa" out of cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, feta cheese, black olives, salt, pepper and lime juice.
Isn't it pretty? I didn't want any carbohydrates just protein and fresh veg. Here I tossed together a quick salad with my lime dressing. I have been making this dressing for most of our salads lately. It's so light and tasty.

Nessa's Lime Dressing:

  • Juice of about 5 limes

  • vegetable oil - about 1/2 a cup

  • salt & pepper

  • agave nectar - about 2 to 3 tablespoons depending on your palate

  • I use my immersion blender to emulsify this into a nice creamy dressing. You can use a whisk as well. Pour over any salad!

    I had a couple of Murray's all natural chicken breasts in the frig that I just salt and peppered and seared until done. Topped with my salsa and served with the salad.

    I can't wait to have that again! I'm sure that salsa would work with just about anything. Even by itself in a wrap, with some tofu and make lettuce wraps, over scrambled eggs or even over some cooled cooked rice.

    Monday, August 22, 2011

    Update on an old post

    I stumbled upon an old post of mine from March of 2009. After reading, I decided to maybe answer some of my own questions a couple years later. What have I learned?

    From my March post: My answers and comments will be in blue.

    This year is travelling by very fast it seems. It's March already! I decided to revisit my six resolutions from January to see how I am doing so far and it's looking like I have only touched the surface on the list.

    I have not yet officially gotten off my duff to maintain a regular exercise routine. I did manage to improve my diet though. I'm off the duff and exercising! Diet may not have been improved enough back then as I was still overweight. Much better now!

    I have gotten better at not spending money during the week but still failed to lower the grocery costs the way I want. I am doing my best, but still not making it work. Frustrating! We are making a point to put aside money when we can, so that has improved. All still the same here. Trying still to lower costs and trying still to figure out how to save money. Savings? What is that exactly?

    I have had two mishaps here. Seem to fall victim when I am out, hungry with no healthy option in sight. Lack of self discipline along with living in a town with nothing but greasy spoons and fast food doesn't help either. Lack of self discipline was right. I have no problem avoiding such nastiness now.

    I have started about half of my garden. I have three tomatoes, three peppers, and herbs. I still need to sow my squash, rocket, peas, more basil (use a ton of it) and lettuce. This summer was a bad one for produce, great for herbs though.

    I am still working on the "get time for myself" thing. Not easy right now and I know I will have more time when Kristjan gets bigger. I made myself some time. It may not always be convenient for me or maybe even my family, but I had to make this time and I am using it by exercising or staying up to read.

    I am still pondering what to do when I grow up. I am going to back to school in the summer. I have ideas in my head of what I wish I could do and am gathering and writing ideas. I am thankful to have a job but can't wait until the day I can finally enjoy what I do. Ugh, no progress here unfortunately. This subject is still a problem for me.

    I wonder how many resolution lists I have on here. It's interesting to look back at them and see if any progress was made.

    Is moderation enough?

    Bella wanted some pizza for dinner. I let the dough age an extra day and it made all the difference. It was nice and light. I'm not much in to a lot of cheese, but I still snuck a tiny piece in for quality assurance. The dough was my favorite part. Next time (for me), I'll just make focaccia topped with olives, rosemary and such. Much better than greasy cheese.

    Moderation is the key right? I don't make cheese pizza a regular visitor at home, but every once in a while I make a pie or two. Problem for most Americans is that moderation means often and always.

    After seeing that commercial with the cheese like substance that clogs the arteries...I don't need to be eating a whole lot of cheese. No one should be eating a whole lot of cheese.

    You know...there are not many vegetarians out there with heart disease and for vegans it's rare to never a problem. I see the logic there. Abuse of animal products = poor health.

    Question is...can I do this every Sunday?

    The already time crunched weekdays are about to get even more crunched with the school year approaching. Bella will be needing to get homework done, study, read and have us available to help. That's also mixed in with bath time, cooking time and eating time. Then they have me coming home around 7pm most week days because of exercise. I know that doesn't help the family unit, but I must exercise and I have to fit it in and make sure the family is taken care of at the same time.

    Everything must be planned and attacked timely in order to get any relax, reading or play time in before bed time.

    I needed to make another effort to help Chris and I for the daily flow so I thought of making Sunday morning the week food prep time. My first Sunday was a complete success. I cooked from about 10am to 2pm making some meals to help for the work week. That way I am not hanging in front of the stove all night when I could be helping with homework or tending to other needs.

    The key is to be able to make healthy meals ahead of time. Not every healthy meal can be made ahead as freshness is key. For salads though, I can at least chop up the veg or make the dressings ahead.A batch of roasted vegetable puree. All Chris or I need to do is heat up the puree, boil up some wheat pasta and toast some walnuts. This is a family favorite and could not be easier to make.

    In a large baking dish I throw in a basket of cherry tomatoes whole, 1 red onion cut in large wedges, 2 red bell peppers cut in large wedges and 6 whole cloves of garlic. Toss them with some olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at about 475 until you see charred marks and the tomatoes are soft. I put the roasted veg in my food processor, add some crushed red pepper and a squeeze of agave or honey and puree until perfecto. Toss with boiled wheat pasta and top with toasted pine nuts or walnuts.
    I made a batch of dahl made with French lentils. This yummy batch is ready to go once heated back up. All we need to do here is boil up some rice or eat as is.

    I made a large batch of chicken noodle soup. Heat and serve.
    I also made my favorite soup, Martha's Red Lentil & Squash Curry Soup. The curry recipe that accompanies this soup is amazing. I just love this soup. I nabbed a small bowl of it to take for lunch at work. This will be ready to serve once heated.

    I can easily make a couple of soups each Sunday. I can fill them with yummy vegetables, barley, beans or lentils and know I am having a healthy meal.

    Another school year and a little bit of a mess

    It was the weekend before school and all through the house....I had a couple of wild children, no sign of a mouse. Would be too chaotic for a mouse with any sense.

    I will take all of the laughter and insanity I can. That means they are healthy and happy with a bit of crazy mixed in. Completely normal. Good stuff. Sunday I spent the day cooking, cleaning and prepping. The afternoon was then dedicated to pool time.

    Weeman after his swim.
    Bella is always last to get out of the pool. I remember being like that.
    Kristjan went into Bella's room in search of a particular movie to watch. This is the mayhem he left behind. Bella was not too pleased.

    I wonder if he found what he was looking for...
    Another attack by the Weeman! Here is the end result of another search through a toy bin.
    As I was "helping" him clean up his mess I noticed his guitar had a few guests living inside. No wonder it's way out of tune.
    Bella's school bags ready to roll. Poor thing was really weighed down. I had to remove some items so that she could take them in batches. I can't imagine they will need everything on the first day. I have no clue how they expect these little kids to carry all of the items on their lists of supplies they need each year.

    I went online and print out the standard list and I did have Chris bring a bag of supplies at registration but then she received a new list of more supplies specific to her grade or class. This new list is aggravating because I have to run to Target or the like and fight with the rest of the panicked parents over the slim leftover pickings days before school. It gets ugly folks.

    Holy cow...

    Chris and I saw this commercial last night. We both looked at each other in complete horror. I am so glad I quit and now feel the urgency even more to spend each day working on the best diet and exercise I can muster for my body and for my family. With high cholesterol, I am sure my arteries could look like this even without smoking. I want my highway of blood flow to be as clean and clear as possible.

    Friday, August 5, 2011

    Kids keeping in touch

    Ninnie and Emily came to visit us this week and also to celebrate the birthday of Mama Ruby who turned 104 this year. Mama Ruby is the children's great-great grandmother and Chris's great grandmother.

    It was especially nice for the girls. Emily and Bella have a wonderful and close relationship. Even with the small age gap, they still seem to find no problem playing and enjoying each other.

    These visits are always short and fleeting though. When they left last night, Bella was a mess. She cried for some time and then spent the rest of the evening sullen and quiet with her eyes all puffy and red. I felt so bad for her, but also reminded her that she would see Emily again soon at Thanksgiving when we travel up to visit. She will be counting the days.

    Bella, Emily and little Kris

    When the girls have to part ways, and I see Bella so distraught I feel troubled by their separation. I understand that this is, what it is right now with us living states apart, but to watch my daughter; who loves her cousin dearly, tear apart at every departure, I just hate it.

    I'm scared that we may never get to fix this problem. The problem of living so far away. I want these children to live near each other, to grow up together and create memories...together. Not just at Thanksgiving, maybe Christmas, a birthday or a planned vacation.

    With the slow economy and execrable housing market it may take longer than anticipated to make any move. Sometimes it seems almost impossible. Right now, it is. If we want to do it the right way, it is.

    Until that time can come, we must treasure those moments when we are together and use all that technology has to offer to keep in touch. By car, plane, phone and Internet.

    These times of togetherness are also perfect for the girls to practice their beauty and fashion skills. Kris seemed like the perfect model for all of their projects and he didn't mind a bit.