Monday, June 11, 2012

New isn't always better

We all know that.  I'm speaking technology wise.  I may be just prematurely sceptical because I am experiencing the hell and havoc of a new computer system at work and the dust hasn't settled down to a calm normalcy yet.  It may never.

Waiting for all of the bugs to clear themselves out. Still waiting.

I've been away from here, this blog for far too long.  Too many late nights working, too many long hours stressing, putting out fires, studying, updating, questioning, you name goes on.  My jazzercise has suffered as well as my time doing what is most important.  Being with my family, enjoying each day doing what fills me with joy, writing and sharing my recipes experiences and being able to live....for me.  Not for work. 

I've experienced what stress can do to the body and mind, and still trying to remember what it was like to float on water verses trying not to drown, to be consumed by it. 
During all of this, I found a possible connection on my path to change from the corporate world. I'm currently researching the idea of becoming a health coach.  I'm currently researching the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and also getting an ECornell Certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from Cornell University online.

I'm looking into the tuition for the Integrative Nutrition program which takes 12 months. 

I'm not against working by any means.  Just want to enjoy my work, feel fulfilled by it and know it serves a purpose for me and to maybe help others in the process.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Five reasons why I love The Smoky Mountains

In April I flew up to Tennessee (I had a free flight) to surprise Chris's sister and to spend some time with the family up there.  It was an added bonus that I was flying up the weekend they were planning on spending time near the mountains.

We stayed in a cute cabin, right in Gatlinburg.  I had a great time visiting with them, loved visiting with my nieces and spending time with family. I also loved being near my mountains again.  They bring me back to life, refill me with peace and joy.  It had been far too long since I had experienced them. I love the Smokies.

Here are five reasons why I love the Smoky Mountains:

I can't wait to see them again soon and delighted to say soon is very close.

So very proud.

What a year!  Bella has grown a lot this year.  She's getting ready to spend some time with her cousins and enjoy her summer.  Her final report card was amazing and her reading level is phenomenal.  She won recognition for the amount of words she read this year.  Somewhere over 450,000 according to the books she read from the library and class assignments.  This doesn't include the books she reads for fun at home. 

I'll have to scan it, but she also won an art award.  There was a "I love my library" bookmark contest.  She won for the county!  So any library in our county, you will find Bella's bookmark available to take home! 

She is so ready to spend some time with her cousins in Tennessee.  She'll be there for maybe two weeks before we head up to join her and then spend some time in the Smokys.  She says she's excited about it and I think this will be a good learning experience for her.  She's growing up so fast.  She's so awesome.  We are so proud of her.  I love you Bella!

I must have been thinking corn

I didn't plan for dinner to be themed around corn, but it ended up that way.  Chris and I had been wanting to get a tortilla press for the longest time and it wasn't until my recent Bon Appetite magazine came in and we read their special section on fresh made tacos that got us rolling.  We paid about twenty bucks for a good press and found a bag of masa and that's all we needed!
To make corn tortillas all you need is masa, salt and water.  We used two cups of masa to make about 18 tortillas.
Chris mixed the ingredients until it had the consistency of playdoh.  We used a sandwich bag that we cut to keep the dough from sticking to the press.  He made sure each rolled out portion was the about the size of a walnut.

After being pressed.
About 1 to 2 mins on one side and about 20 seconds on the the other.  We used a cast iron skillet on medium to high heat and no oil.
Yummy!  Not bad for the first time!  Chris had fun and we really enjoyed making them.

I had also made some polenta earlier in the day. One batch will last all week when I make it.  I like to pour it in a dish until it cools and hardened.  Once I do that I can cut out pieces to sear until crispy.
Seared polenta squares.  I do have to add some Pam to the pan for these.  To keep my polenta vegan, I use Smart Balance instead of butter and nutritional yeast instead of Parmesan cheese.  They totally rock!
Made some chili (again).  A pot of chili really lasts for us.  This version had corn (hmm), black beans, cannellini beans, edamame, Field Roast Italian sausage, black olives, tomatoes, onions and peppers.
Feast complete.  Served chili over brown rice, had our corn tortillas, polenta squares and some sauteed collard greens. 
Kris's thoughts on collard greens.