Yummy Birthday Food

I turned 38 today, this is getting way too close to 40! It’s really weird thinking that I am that old. I don’t feel that old!

We celebrated my birthday last night. I made this really good bolognese, these pepperoni garlic knots, and my daughter made a delicious coconut cake. I don’t think I have ever had coconut cake before last night, but it is definitely a winner!! It was all so yummy.


Pepperoni garlic knots

Coconut cake

Coconut cake



And that is really all there is to say about that.

I am late on the budget post, but honestly we went way over. Embarrassingly so. I will post it anyway, and try to recover in the next month – it may take that long!!




I have been ‘wasting’ a lot of time on Pinterest and Food52 lately! It isn’t really wasting time, of course. I’ve been googling food blogs of all different kinds of cuisine, and have added quite a few yummy sounding and looking indian and colombian dishes on my Pinterest.

I also just re-discovered Food52. I had heard of it before but never really spent too much time on it. Yesterday I signed up and starting saving away recipes and articles. The Dinner vs. Child column is pretty funny to read, and this one on kid’s lunches is pretty interesting, although I’m pretty sure my kid would never give up her ham sandwiches and eat like that. It all inspires me to make our meals a little more interesting and to get more variety in, try new things. Even if the rest of the people in the house aren’t adventurous I will do it for me 😀

I’m excited to try these 4 hour baguettes!  And celery soup with almost a whole stick of butter :lol

Some more finds that I really want to make:

Colombian roasted chicken legs

Crispy beef

Swiss chard cobbler with cornmeal biscuits

Buffalo ranch popcorn

I even saved a recipe for Chicken Liver Pate. It was late 😉

If I end up making any of these I’ll be sure to share the results!



Chicken soup with a twist

This is something I made this week that turned out really good, so I thought I’d share. I was craving some soup and this really hit the spot. I used leeks because I had them, but you could just as easily use an onion instead.

Chicken, corn, chard, and potato soup

  • 1 large chicken breast, cut into small pieces
  • 2 leeks sliced thin or 1 yellow onion chopped
  • 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 bunch swiss chard, stems removed and roughly chopped
  • 4-5 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 -2 T olive oil or bacon grease (I use grease when I can)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Saute the chicken in 1 T oil until it is no longer pink and just beginning to brown, remove from pot. Add another T oil and the leeks or onion, cook on medium low heat for 10 minutes. Add the potatoes, corn, and garlic, cooking for a few minutes. Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer for 25 minutes. Add the chard and simmer for another 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the cream, and serve.

I had a bowl and a half for dinner with a buttered ciabatta roll for dipping and it was so satisfying!! This soup would be so pretty with red bell pepper added too 🙂

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/404/29380722/files/2015/01/img_0015.jpgWe were also playing a pretty good game of Killer Bunnies with dinner too 😆


Perfect Crock Pot Pinto Beans

I love beans 🙂  I didn’t used to care that much about them, but a past boyfriend turned me on to them years ago.  He was also the one who taught me how to cook.  We would make just a little pan of pinto beans, with plenty of butter, salt and pepper and let it boil all day, continuing to add water (it was just a little pan).  While they were cooking  we’d quickly walk to the store and pick up some hard rolls and sour cream.  The beans were always so perfect sandwiched in the roll with a good dose of sour cream.  Carb-loading at it’s best!

Nowadays I do them my own way, and they are still pretty darn perfect.  And a lot easier when you just put it all in the crock pot and leave it!  I don’t really use a recipe, so the seasonings will be to taste for you and your liking.  My amounts are ish-es 😉  We think they are great this way.  The trick is to make sure you put A LOT of flavor into them, otherwise they will be kind of boring.


  • 2 cups dry pinto beans
  • 1 chopped onion (I use yellow)
  • 1 T bacon grease or oil
  • 5-6 garlic cloves minced
  • about 4 cups total liquid – I usually do half and half chicken stock and water
  • 4 T butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander
  • 3 T good chili powder*
  • 1 tsp. epazote**
  • salt to taste***

SAM_0896 SAM_0895 SAM_0893 SAM_0892 SAM_0894 SAM_0897 SAM_0900 SAM_0901

Saute the onion on medium heat in oil for 7-8 minutes until soft.  Let them get a little brown in the pan.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds or so.  Add this to the beans in the crock pot.  Deglaze the pan with some of the liquid and add that to the pot.  Add all of the other ingredients.  The liquid should cover the beans by about 2 inches.  There are a couple of options for cooking.  You can do it on high the entire time, about 5 hours.  You can also cook on high for 2 hours, and then turn it to low for the remaining time, about 4-5 hours more.  I usually just do it all on high, but if you need them to cook longer for whatever reason you could do the latter.  I like mine a little on the soupy side so I try not to let the water get cooked out too much.   The ones pictured went a little too far!

* I grind my own chili powder from various dried chiles.  If you use store bought try to use some different kinds, like regular chili powder and ancho, or whatever you like.  Something like that 😆

** Epazote is for flavor but also to combat the gas effect of beans.  Although I’ve heard Alton Brown say that if you have that issue, you just need to eat beans more often and it will go away.

***Do NOT add salt in the beginning, only add it after the beans have cooked!!  Otherwise your beans will take a lot longer to get done.  I don’t know why, it just is.

Corn pudding and Different Lines

Well I have already completed two of my goals for January!  I started the Different Lines pattern on the New Year’s Day.  It would be a bit farther along if I hadn’t cast on with the wrong color at first.  Oops.  But now it is going smoothly and even though mine may be a little smaller since I’m getting 6 stitches per inch instead of 5, I think it will still turn out great.  I’m using Socks That Rock lightweight in colorways Backstabber and Spinel.  I wasn’t sure about the colors together at first, but they are growing on me.


I also made the Roasted Corn Pudding in Acorn Squash recipe.  It was pretty good!  I roasted some squash for soup while roasting the acorn squash, and when it was done I turned off the oven.  So when I put the acorn back in I could not figure out why the pudding wasn’t setting up.  I was about to give up when I noticed I hadn’t turned the oven back on!!  Duh.  Finally, 30 minutes later we had dinner.  My squash wasn’t big enough to put all of the pudding in so I just buttered a dish and cooked the rest on the side.  I liked it with extra, so I think this would be a great recipe for a squash that has a bigger cavity.


I have decided I want to try at least 1 new recipe per week this month.  So far I have already done 2!  This morning I saw a friend’s pin for baked oatmeal and it sounded really good.  It’s something I’ve been wanting to try since K will need a replacement for his instant oatmeal he’s been having at work.  I found this recipe for Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal and decided to try it out.  It worked great!  I had a little too much oatmeal mixture for my pan though, so I put the extra in another smaller dish.  I’m excited about trying other flavors out!

I will probably have another two new recipes made by the end of the week since I’m making whole wheat roti for dinner tonight, and then going to try some asian meatballs tomorrow.

Break on Through

To 145!

What’s new this week.  I:

  • Quit eating things with sugar in them, besides some blueberry muffins that M made all by herself!
  • Started eating more fruits, veggies, and protein.  Some with every meal almost.
  • Started drinking more water.
  • Stopped eating after dinner.  Completely!
  • Got to bed a little early each night.

As of yesterday I was down almost 4 pounds to 145, a low that I have not seen in a couple of years!  I’m pretty stoked about it 😀

I can’t say that I’m 100% sure that what I’ve been doing is why I’m down after being stuck all month, but I’m going to keep rolling with it.  In the past couple of days I’ve felt tons better.  Yesterday I had more energy than I’ve had all month.  I think the extra carbs and sugar were weighing me down.  And I think these are changes that are small enough that I can stick with it.  It has been easy, really!  The fruit is so great right now that I’ve been enjoying swapping it out for sweets and haven’t missed the sugar one bit.  Three cheers for fruit!  And good weigh-ins!

Feeling so much better

About things.  I have been IFing (Intermittent Fasting) for the last three days, which is for me just not eating until around 3 or 4:00.  It equals out to two meals, a late lunch and then dinner around 6:00.  I guess I’m doing a 5-6 hour eating window.  I’m still trying to eat pretty well, you can check out what I’m eating on MyFitnessPal.  Yes, I am eating very low calories.  Believe me though, with all that I have been eating in the past couple of weeks I can stand to eat less – a LOT less!  I am really surprised at how I’ve been able to do this so easily.  I get a little hungry here and there, but it goes away pretty quickly so I’m pretty sure I’m not truly hungry.  I am enjoying food so much more.  I love that I don’t have to worry about what to eat!!  I can just eat what I want to.  But I am still trying to get a lot of veggies in.

Today I had a big salad for lunch with olive oil avocado, turkey, and hard boiled eggs.  I followed it with some peach slices and raspberries topped with a little whipped cream and mascarpone.  Dinner was just a tamale and a heaping pile of sauteed/steamed kale.  It was awesome.  And now I am having a couple of glasses of wine.  It has been a long day.  I’m not worried about my nutrition as of now, and I do plan on having 2 higher calorie days this weekend so it will all even out I’m sure.  We will be camping and I’m not really going to stress about what I’m eating, not going to count or anything. I will fast again tomorrow and enjoy some drinks but I won’t be drinking on Saturday or Sunday.  Gotta do 9 miles on Sunday!!  And I want to feel good while I’m doing them 😆

No Nonsense Blender Juice

I have been experimenting with juice lately.  I even thought about getting an actual juicer.  I started watching some YouTube videos with people using masticating juicers, and it just seemed like there was so much waste!  We have had a centrifugal juicer and got rid of it because of the waste factor, plus it was annoying to clean.  So I bagged that idea and just turned to blender.  I have a Blendtec which is great, but you could do this with any blender.  It just might not get as blended, but that doesn’t matter since you are draining the pulp anyway.

Here is what I do.  I use my Blendtec, a quart measuring cup, and these oversized floursack towels, each cut into 4 smaller squares.  The floursack will get stained.  All I do is rinse it out and set it outside to dry in the sun, which might help the staining.  They get washed with all of the other kitchen towels.

Chop the veggies and fruit on the small side.

Off to the blender, with water added to the 20 ounce line, or more if you like.

Blend one time on the whole juice setting, or until it looks like this 😉

Floursack ready to strain.

Pour the juice in.

Gather it up and strain it out. You’ll have to squeeze and twist and it might get messy. Get as much juice out as you can.

This is how much I got out.

The pulp bag.

Maybe a cup? Not bad!

For this juice I used:

  • 3 carrots
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 apple
  • 1 cup jicama
  • 1 beet
It was pretty good!  I like to add greens too, spinach and kale or whatever you have.  The possibilities are endless.  I decided to do this one today since we are not big fans of jicama straight up, and ended up with one from our Bountiful Basket last weekend.  Much easier to take this way 😆

Workout of the Day

This one had me working hard!  I warmed up for a few minutes and then did this:

  • Jump rope (without a jump rope :lol:) 30 seconds
  • Front lunges
  • Butt kicks 30 seconds
  • Squats all the way down
  • Jump rope 30 seconds
  • Push ups – mostly incline and some ‘real’
  • Butt kicks 30 secons
  • Situps
  • Burpees
  • Leg lifts & russian twists with 15# kettlebell (switched halfway through)
  • Prone jackknife with a stability ball (5 every time)
  • Tricep dips on a bench
  • Bicep curls with 10# for the first half and 12# last half

I started each exercise with 10 reps, next round was 9, next 8…all the way down to 1.  I was a sweaty mess after this!  I figure it works for a cross training workout.

I originally started with burst of high knees and jumping jacks too, but my calf started to hurt so I just switched to the jump rope and butt kicks.  I hope my calf will be okay, icing it now!

I was hoping to go swimming today, but I think it might be too much to squeeze it in.  We are going to a museum and later I’m making pork chile verde – YUM.  Hopefully I can get in a bike ride or swimming, and then it is REST tomorrow!  I welcome it 😆

P.S. I do my official weekly weigh-ins on Sunday, and today I’m at 150.8.  I was at 152 yesterday so I’m happy about that.  So far this year I am down 13.8 pounds.  Not as much as I guess it could be, but progress is progress.

Enjoy your Sunday!

Weight Watchers Online Day 4

Down almost another pound today!!  I think it might be safe to say that I really have reached my 10 pound goal.  Normally I bounce around but being down even more today, if I bounce a little I still have a lot of wiggle room!  I think it is great that during the time when I am usually bloated, feeling disgusting, and up in weight automatically by 1-2 pounds, I am down instead.  Maybe it shouldn’t be that big a deal but I am measuring my losses and this is making me feel great 😀

Day 4 was kind of hard.  I wanted to eat more than I could and I was very tempted to just blow it and go for it, but I did not.  I am kind of proud of myself but at the same time annoyed that I have to restrict myself at all 😆  But I do have to, somewhat.  Just no getting around it!  I don’t have time to work out for hours each day, nor the stamina.  So if I would like to start losing a little faster I need to pay attention more to what I eat.  So anyway, I used 35 points again, though not all quality food I guess.  I could have eaten more veggies, and I made some treats (more than I had planned) so I did have some but didn’t have too much.  Here’s what I ate:

  • Breakfast was a smoothie with pumpkin, milk, coconut water, dates, chlorella, and protein powder.  It really needed a banana or something, wasn’t all that pleasant.  I also had a slice of toast with peanut butter and some jam.
  • Lunch was a salad with avocado, and tuna mixed with mayo on the side.  I also had a brownie and half a glass of milk.
  • Dinner was a grilled cheese sandwich and some green beans.

In between meals I tried half of a homemade cashew butter cup I made.  They pack a big point/calorie punch but are made with coconut oil and honey and maple syrup so I don’t think I can really feel guilty about it, not that I would!  I think one is like 5 points though, and they aren’t very big.  Oh well.

So, today I’m really on the side of not tracking points, but trying calories instead.  Although doing this WW thing has been eye-opening for me as far as needing to really focus more on the produce.  I thought I was doing good, but I really could do better.  I guess if I’m not totally committed to the WW ideals or guidelines than it doesn’t really make sense to use it?  I guess the only reason I thought of doing it is because in the past, calorie counting has made me kind of crazy.  It is a pain in the ass sometimes.  That was then, though, and I feel like I’m in a different mindset right now.  Maybe I could do calorie counting, or some kind of exchange plan.

Man, I am wishy-washy aren’t I?!

I guess this whole thing has been a wake-up call.  No I don’t have to deprive myself, but yes I do need to focus on more quality nutrition.  Like less sweets and treats.  Less sugar.  More vegetables and fruit.  Definitely sticking to really trying to eat when I need it, not when I am bored or emotional.  Sometimes I think if I don’t have to be deprived, then I should just have what I want.  Every day.  I don’t think that is how really fit and healthy people eat though.  There is nothing wrong with using some discipline to make better choices more of the time.  And folks, I think I am indeed addicted to sugar, so I need the discipline!  Anyway, I think I’m starting to ramble.  I’m still giving it the full week and will decide then – heard that before?!