Sunday, February 28, 2010
You know, way better than say, a weekend of sunny but cold weather which you can't really enjoy anyway because you have to grade papers in which 14 year-olds talk about their visits to the six teen chapel (translation: Sistine Chapel), or long dissertations on the bow canny scene in Romeo and Juliet (translation: balcony scene).
And, to make matters worse, I've had to give up Food Network because, well let's just be honest, as lovely and wonderful as Paula Deen and The Neelys are, they aren't exactly Weight Watchers approved. So, I've sort of lost my inspiration and motivation for cooking.
Until today, when I made Ree's cinnamon rolls in an effort to sabotage the weight loss challenge the coaches have entered into. They love when I bake, and somehow, Coach has put up some sort of food forcefield, and his willpower is nothing short of inspirational.
So, I thought I should help my man by sweetly offering the others 6 trays of cinnamon rolls, because here at the Momsense home, we don't lose well. Hey, my mama didn't raise no dummy. The key to winning is knowing that every opponent is beatable, especially when you know their weaknesses - all's fair in love and dieting.
So Coach - if ever you doubt my love for you, remember I spent the better part of a Sunday baking the one thing that will surely break down the willpower of every single one of them.
IT. IS. ON.
It's a war we're in; but I've got your back. We're loyal that way.
Anyway, I had planned on making crab cakes today, so I'll leave you the recipe, but instead we went to my parents' house for dinner to celebrate my dad's birthday and my parents' 40th anniversary.
Here you go. They are delightful.
Crab Cakes That Love You
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper chopped (you can use red or green or both)
3 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you like them- feel free to add more if you dare)
1 lemon, halved
1 pound fresh lump crabmeat, drained
1 1/2 cups Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs, divided
1/4 cup of olive oil (or butter - it's totally up to you. I've done it both ways, and both are wonderful)
Combine the first six ingredients; stir in the juice of one-half lemon, crabmeat, and 1 cup breadcrumbs. Shape into 8-10 patties; dredge patties in remaining breadcrumbs.
Fry 4 patties in 2 tablespoons of olive oil/butter in a large skillet over medium heat 3 minutes on each side or until golden; drain. Repeat.
Cut remaining lemon into wedges (cut a few more if you'd like) and serve with tartar sauce or cocktail sauce.
If you're a Weight Watchers person- they are 4 points per patty if you use olive oil.
And, if you're wondering what we eat with these babies, they are great with the Baby Blue Salad.
Baby Blue Salad
3/4 pound mixed salad greens (like the ones I grew in my garden, thank you very much.)
Parmesan Cheese, shaved
2 oranges, peeled, sectioned, and quartered
1 pint fresh strawberries, quartered
Sweet & Spicy Pecans
Toss greens with desired amount of Balsamic Vinaigrette. Toss in cheese and remaining ingredients. Serve immediately.
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
3 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 Tablespoons honey
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 small shallots, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3/4 to 1 cup olive oil ( I try to use closer to 3/4 cup)
Put all ingredients except the oil in a food processor or blender and process. Gradually add in oil.
Sweet & Spicy Pecans
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup warm water
1 cup pecan halves
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
Stir together 1/4 cup sugar and 1 cup warm water until sugar dissolves. Add pecans. Soak 10 minutes. Drain, and discard syrup. Combine 2 tablespoons sugar, chili powder, and red pepper. Add pecans, tossing to coat. Place pecans on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes, stirring once.
Lego MiniFig Maker
Thanks to Sally for the link; we all had fun making ourselves into Lego minifigs. The boys created Sapphire's . . . can you tell we've been playing a lot of Star Wars lately? :-)
Quotes of the week:
Onyx: "I'm going to take a toilet break."
Quartz: "Knock-knock." "Who's there?" "Snow." "Snow who?" "'Snobody but me!"
Sapphire: "Nah, nah" (knock, knock)
Wes: "I need a picture of a yawning hippo, not a chomping one." (from the PS3 game Afrika)
Andrea: "You can't fight evil with dirty hands. Time to wash up!"
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
So tonight we talked about managing the kitchen and John, our fearless leader, told us the best way to manage our kitchens was to Recognize, Remove, and Replace.
Which is not bad advice all the way around.
I've been "off" for a bit now, and the last three weeks have had me involved in the middle of a drama that would rival Days of Our Lives on its best day.
And I don't like drama.
I like to face the problem; quickly come up with a solution; and HANDLE THE THING.
I also don't like being told what to do or how things "will be." Especially when I know I'm right, which incidentally, is all of the time. Don't believe me? Ask Coach, he'll tell you, I'm never wrong.
It's what makes me so endearing and easy to be around.
Anyway, let's just say this. There was drama. Lots of it. I cried...at work...in front of a man...and let me remind you, I'm not a cryer. I only cry when I get really, really mad.
And I was mad, and so was said man, and honestly, I think we both left that meeting with a little more respect for each other, or maybe he just left totally freaked out that I cried. Who really knows?
So, you'll have to excuse me, I've been involved in my own personal hissy fit for the last few days.
And I'm Recognizing that now. I have Removed all the nonsense from my life.
And now I'm Replacing it with some silly anecdotes from the last few days.
Because, in Weight Watcher John's words- "it's time to manage the kitchen."
So here you go- maybe it will get you out of your own personal hissy fit as well.
1. AC has to memorize the Oath of Office of the President. She recited it to me. It took 15 seconds and is literally 2 lines long. I said, "Wow, that's it? It's short."
And AC replied "I know. The Girl Scout Pledge is way harder than that."
Me: "You're right. You'd think the leader of the free world would have to memorize a little more than that."
AC: "Yeah, being a Girl Scout is way WAY harder than being President."
Me: "You think?"
AC: "Duh. The President doesn't have to sell Girl Scout Cookies and do research on India."
Explains a lot, don't you think?
2. In class today, a senior asked me if Endometriosis would be considered an anatomical disease.
I replied, "Yes, it is a serious condition that causes terrible cramping, heavy bleeding during the menstrual cycle, and it causes a build up of scar tissue that can cause fertility issues."
To which a boy in the class replied, "Dang Mrs. K, why don't you just be blunt. What would you do if I asked you if Jock Itch was an anatomical disease?"
So I said, "I would tell you yes, it is also a disease of sorts. It is a fungus that one tends to get when skin is left moist and warm for extended periods of time which provides the optimal conditions for a fungus to grow. It can cause uncomfortable itching and has to be treated with an anti-fungal spray or cream."
To which he said, "Now you're just being gross like my mom. Why do moms just say crap like that with no warning or anything? You just say it like you're asking me what I want for lunch."
To which I said, "Except if I were your mom I wouldn't ask you what you wanted for lunch. You'd get what you get and you wouldn't throw a fit."
And finally, he said, "Geez, what would happen if we asked you about STD's or reproduction?"
And all I had to say was, "Do you really want me to answer that question?"
And he said, "No ma'am."
Which is sort of funny because when we went to WW tonight, there was a woman who was accusing her absent husband of sabotaging her diet by bringing home chocolate scones and peanut butter bars.
John suggested she talk to him about it, and tell him how she feels.
She replied that she had done that many times, but her husband was mad because along with her weight, she also lost her boobs.
And I have to say, I was uncomfortable and struck temporarily mute.
But I'm over it now.
Potty training Onyx has not been as bad as I feared. He still has accidents, but I think he really likes being a big boy in this way (his behavior has improved in other areas, too). The hardest thing was staying home all day for two days in a row, and not leaving Onyx alone for too long (that leads to accidents). We played a lot of Star Wars ("You are Yoda, mom. Use your Yoda voice.") and the kids took a lot of baths. Whew.
Sapphire is growing more steady on her legs, trying to run and keep up with the boys. She loves to climb, and climbed up the ladders on our play set for the first time this past weekend (which is kind of a shame because now I have to keep a really close eye on her in our backyard).
Onyx: "I love that so much, my tummy feels like laughing."
Quartz: "I want to say "Sure!" when mom asks me to do something and hold two Nerf guns and be a pro just like Uncle Joshua."
Andrea: "Grandma teaches our kids the best things."
Sapphire: "Uh, uh. Pwee?" ("Up, up, please")
Wes: "Coroutines, Continuations, and Closures are three things my programming language has to have."
Sunday, February 21, 2010
And it was cooooooooooooold…
And yesterday, it looked like this…
And it was warm enough for the kiddos to wear shorts…
And for the dogs to go for a swim. And for the record, yes we have two dogs. Mack is the baby.
He’s also a little bit of a poser. Many of you have asked about why there are no pictures of Ivy. Don’t we love her too? Why do we so obviously favor the baby?
Well….This is why. Meet Ivy. She doesn’t like her picture to be taken, so she buries her face in a hole. (Actually, that’s not entirely true. In an effort to prove to me that hunting is indeed an activity worthy of the title “sport” and not simply “hobby”, she spent the better part of her day catching moles. And let me say this, she catches them to the Glory of God, Amen.)
So, this is the best I could do, and the only reason she bothered to look up was because I screamed like I was being attacked. Which is why she looks so concerned…
Anyway, we played outside most of the weekend.
I had to find something that would be satisfying and relatively quick for supper tonight. And I did. And it’s good. It’s really really good.
Beef Fillets with Stilton-Portobello Sauce
4-6 6oz. beef fillets
4 tablespoons butter, divided
8 oz. sliced portobello mushroom caps
1/3 cup dry red wine (you can use beef broth if you’d like)
1/2 cup sour cream (we used fat-free, because, you know, Weight Watchers and all)
3 oz. of Stilton or blue cheese, crumbled and divided
Season the fillets with salt and pepper. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook fillets 4-5 minutes on each side (or desired doneness – 4 minutes is rare) Remove fillets from skillet, and keep warm.
Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in skillet. Add mushrooms, and saute 3-4 minutes or until tender. Add wine and cook for a couple of minutes. Be sure to loosen the brown bits in the skillet. Stir in sour cream. Sprinkle 1/4 – 1/2 of the cheese into the sauce. Stir until it’s melted.
Arrange the fillets on a serving platter, and drizzle them with the sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
Easy Beefy Oven Rice
1 10.5 ounce undiluted French Onion Soup
1/4 cup butter
1 large jar of sliced mushrooms
1 8 oz can water chestnuts
1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
Combine soup and melted butter and stir. Drain mushrooms and water chestnuts RESERVING THE LIQUID from both. Add enough water to the reserved liquids to equal 1 1/3 cup.
Add mushrooms, water chestnuts, reserved liquid, and rice to soup mixture. Stir well. Pour into a lightly greased baking dish. Cover and bake at 450 for about 45 minutes to an hour (when liquid is absorbed and rice is tender)
Marinated Roasted Vegetables
Large package of mushrooms – remove stems
2 small red onions quartered
1 Bell pepper cut into slices
2 medium zucchini
2 medium yellow squash
Place vegetables in a large mixing bowl. Pour olive oil over vegetables. Add balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and 2 cloves of minced garlic if you prefer. Pour into a baking dish and cook at 450 for about 25-30 minutes. Feel free to add different vegetables based on what your family likes. I think broccoli or asparagus or even brussel sprouts would be good if your little people will eat them.
And carrots… or moles, or you know, whatever you have around the house.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
NM Phone Museum - a museum about phones? Sounds cool. Does it actually exist? I've never heard of it, but saw a blurb about it in the Alibi.
Coronado State Monument - this is not too far (Bernalillo), and we've never been there! Plus, the website says you can try on conquistador armor -- sweet. Watch out; closed on Tuesdays.
Museum of Archaeology and Biblical History - anyone been here? No idea what's here, but it's a MUSEUM! It must be cool!
National Hispanic Culture Center - it's probably cool, but I just haven't gotten excited about it.
My mom is here this week and it's so much fun! We went to the Aquarium and Gardens with wonderful weather yesterday -- so nice. Also, potty-training Onyx seems to be going well; after a few days of accidents and staying at home he now seems to be able to manage alright.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Now, I know I'm about to upset some people, and for that I'm truly sorry, yet I will proceed.
Figure Skating? Not a sport
Cheerleading? Not a sport
Boxing? Sort of a sport- only if someone gets knocked out though- if you win by "points" it's not a sport.
Wrestling? Only if you win with a pin...otherwise, not a sport.
Hunting? Not a sport.
I know, I know Texas- I just sent you into a hissy fit, and I am sorry, but come on- a man with thumbs and a loaded weapon versus a docile animal with no thumbs, no weapon, and no knowledge of your presence?
Not a sport.
Deer aren't exactly elusive creatures, nor are ducks. Matter of fact, at any given time you can find plenty of both in our yard.
If you want to make hunting a sport, either arm the deer or have men hunt each other, you know like "The Most Dangerous Game" - now that's sport.
Paintball? Totally a sport. See above.
NASCAR? A sport.
Gymnastics? Not a sport.
Now, I'm not saying that the aforementioned activities don't require physical skill and athleticism, I will totally agree with you there.
As a matter of fact, I can distinctly remember a day back in 2003 when I was trying to impress both Coach and a gaggle of 12 year old girls with my gymnastic skills by launching myself into a running round-off.
Who knew that momentum and gravity were going to, at that moment, join together in a tryst that God himself would not put asunder and send me straight into my first back handspring since 1986.
Well, I'll say this - athleticism, though much needed, failed me, and what resulted was a middle aged woman being sprawled across a football field with what I was certain were two dislocated wrists, a rear-end hanging out of her shorts, and some deeply bruised pride.
Oh, and a standing ovation.
It was a proud moment.
But sport? Sport implies there is a worthy opponent. A worthy opponent that you simultaneously compete against, not just gravity. And at the end of the competition there is a visual victor with measurable results.
For instance, I ran faster than you, therefore I am the winner. See? Sport.
I knock you out cold, I am still conscious, again, I win. See? That's sport.
But, if you and I fight, and neither of us is knocked out, but we're both bloody, sweaty, and tired? Well, sweetheart, that's The Bachelor...and not a sport.
Which is why I say that boxing and wrestling only qualify if there is a knock-out or pin, otherwise there is some subjective scoring method that deals with "points" that only a qualified judge can award.
And once you start making that the only criteria for sport we'll have to start considering beauty pageants (or scholarship programs) sport.
Which will mean that women everywhere will start buying beer and attending Toddlers and Tiaras rallies at rodeos all over the country...
And then my friend, well then you've got a bad moon rising.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Believe me, I've been both scorned and starved. Starved is much worse.
You can't smack starved.
Oh, did I mention it was Weight Watchers weigh-in day again?
I lost a respectable 1.6 pounds this week, and in other news, Mr. Rock Star didn't fare as well as he'd hoped, so he's moping a little bit.
And by not faring so well, I mean he lost 3 pounds in a week as opposed to his previous 7.
Anyway, I'm a little grumpy.
When I get grumpy I wonder about things.
I wonder about things like this:
1. Why is it that Coach chose to end my spiritual pilgrimage to see Diana's wedding dress with these words - "Charles was a moron."?
Duh. Of course he was.
And, have some respect for the tiaras man.
2. And for that matter, why was Coach so willing to drive 4 hours to take me to see the Diana exhibit?
(I know the answer to that. Now every time I say complain or say anything remotely negative he says, "Babe, come on, I went to the Princess Diana thing, what more can you want?")
And I pity him really, because the answer to that question is this: TO BE A PRINCESS WITH A TIARA.
Did you ever see the Lord of the Rings movies? Remember how weird everyone got about the ring? And how Gollum called it his Precious, and caressed it and loved it? Yeah, that pretty much sums up my feelings on the tiara.
3. Why do my children think that running bath water in my bathroom is an invitation to begin discussions regarding achieving world peace and who will pick them up from Brownies tomorrow?
4. Why can a guy eat twice as much food and lose three times as much weight?
5. What is so exciting about watching men drive around in circles for 500 miles?
6. Who thought up the rules for the biathlon? Cross country skiing and shooting a gun? I don't see the connection.
7. Has God grown tired of the sun? It seems that way, and with all due respect, I would like to go on the record as saying that while He may have grown tired of it, I have not; I kind of like warmth and light and photosynthesis.
8. Didn't mankind come to a consensus on acid washed jeans being a big fashion no-no? Because it seems as though Forever 21, Charlotte Russe, and Express missed the meeting.
9. Is nose hair really necessary? And if so, is it necessary for it to grow outside the nostril? And if so, is it necessary for the aesthetician to point it out and pluck it?
10. Is it weird that I am enthusiastically and solely enthralled with superfluous body hair and tiaras right now?
And ice cream.
Body hair, tiaras, and ice cream?
Because that's all I've got.
Monday, February 15, 2010
Okay, so you may or may not know this. I love Princess Diana. Like Captain loved Tenille, like Sonny loved Cher, like the Cookie Monster loved cookies…
Aaaaah. Cookies. Did I also mention I’m doing Weight Watchers? Not so much love there. Necessary though.
Anyway, not much in the way of creative or inspiring cooking has taken place. But if you need a lesson on broccoli steaming, well then, I’m your girl.
And there was no cooking on Sunday because Coach took me to Atlanta to see an exhibit from Althorp. Yes, that is the ancestral home of Lady Diana. Did I tell you how much I love her?
And can I please tell you that the only thing that separated me and this tiara was a 1/2 inch piece of bullet proof glass. It was the centerpiece of the first room of the exhibit. The only other thing in the room was a 6 foot by 8 foot print of the above picture. I couldn’t move.
After the tiara room was a room of Diana’s childhood toys, photo albums with photos of her as a child, her high school friends, silly notes to friends, letters to her dad on Valentine’s Day and birthdays, and report cards.
One thing that I thought was so interesting was that her teachers continually commented on Diana’s lively interest in a subject simply titled “Scriptures.” There were albums, typewriters, dolls, etc.
All I could think was that we would have totally been BFF’s. I can see us now, both singing into our hairbrushes to my Xanadu album and braiding each other’s hair. Oh, what a pair we would have been.
And after her teenage relics, we turned a corner into another room and there it was…
The Wedding Dress.
The very wedding dress that Diana wore when she married old Long Tooth himself. I got up in the middle of the night unbeknownst to my parents to see her marry in what I thought was the most perfect wedding in the world.
And again, I literally was close enough to touch it had it not been for the darned glass. And say what you will about the style of the dress, if you could see the handiwork, the beads, the sequins, the lace…
Well, I’ll tell you I cried. Because on the wall behind the dress was a jumbo television replaying her wedding. And there was a regular old photo album full of pictures that her daddy took of all the storefronts in London and their window dressings in honor of the wedding.
And around the corner was a room with her funeral memorabilia- the original score of Elton John’s “Goodbye English Rose,” the funeral program, a map of the funeral motorcade, pictures, and of course, video.
More crying and another turn…
And finally, there was a room full of some of her more famous dresses and suits (that had not been auctioned off). My favorite red dress was there, and I stood in respectful silence for the dress for a long, long time. After all the crying and silence, Coach was becoming concerned…
So we left, and took a tour of the home place of my second love…
The World of Coke.
So, I didn’t cook. Not once.
But I will…someday.
Unless I get a tiara.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
After 7 days of wrestling squirrels for twigs and berries, parking at the back of parking lots and walking in the frigid temperatures, after passing on chocolate birthday cake, queso dip, cheesecake, and anything in the "creamy and decadent" food group, and finally giving up my chik-fil-a chicken mini breakfast habit, we went to our first official weigh in.
I arrived before Coach and got us checked in, met our new leader, Mr. John, and we had a nice long talk about what to do when I'm feeling hungry. He told me I should incorporate more filling foods. I told him I was way past filling foods, and had on more than one occasion, seriously considered gnawing off the dog's leg.
Then he went "there" - he timidly and with great respect insinuated that perhaps my hunger was emotional, and then he ran for cover lest another emotionally hungry woman unleash her emotional arsenal on him. Obviously, it had happened before.
Then Coach arrived. He talked about how he enjoyed the eating plan. He never felt hungry. "As a matter of fact", he said with a look of sheer satisfaction, "I had to force myself to eat 9 points one night, and it was hard, really really hard. I wasn't even hungry, but I knew I had to eat, so I forced myself to eat."
Poor thing. I feel so bad for him.
Then we started the meeting with some awards. I received a yellow star for my weight loss which I loved, because, helloooooo yellow is my favorite color, and I lost weight, so all was well.
Until Coach won the "Rock Star" award for losing 7 pounds. And he received a yellow star for losing weight, and he received a blue star for losing his first 5 pounds.
Yeah, he totally rocked it this week. Coach lost 7 pounds. 7 pounds. It's still sinking in. 7 pounds. 7 pounds in 7 days. I'm no math whiz, but I do believe that is a pound a day.
And I'm not at all bitter that it eclipsed my 2 pound loss. Seriously, not even a little bit.
Although, the emotional shrapnel that covered Leader John might tell a different story.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
If you weren’t around in 1977 this may be lost on you…sorry. But I’m torn between two teams today. One has my beloved, the other- well the other team is the underdog, and southern. So, I’m sorry Peyton, but I’m praying that the South does it again…
"Torn Between Two Lovers"
There are times when a woman has to say what's on her mind
Even though she knows how much it's gonna hurt
Before I say another word let me tell you, I love you
There's been another man that I've needed and I've loved
Torn between two lovers, feelin' like a fool
You mustn't think you've failed me
I couldn't really blame you if you turned and walked away
Torn between two lovers
Monday, February 1, 2010
Coach gets to eat twice as much food as I do, so tonight, AFTER DINNER, he had to try to eat 9 more points worth of food just to meet his caloric requirement for the day.
9 points is half of my caloric requirement for the entire day.
I'm saying ugly words in my mind.
Anyway, as I was meticulously planning my meals for tomorrow, he was in the kitchen on a feeding frenzy - an apple, peanut butter, wheat thins, almonds, and on and on and on. And he kept asking me to look up the point values for him.
Sensitive guy isn't he?
Afterwards, I went outside and wrestled a squirrel for a pinecone and some berries. Nutritious snack; lots of fiber.
He thrives on this stuff- math, boundaries, rules, structure, you know- a program.
Me? Not so much. I have a little bit of an obedience problem. I don't like to be told what to do. HATE IT.
I wasn't always that way- I was the obedient child, the rule follower, the rule lover. I just got over it.
Way over it.
Anyway, we're doing it for better or worse. And so far, it's been worse. Coach has already sabotaged me by throwing my point-friendly lunch away- the perfectly good pork tenderloin and green beans that I made earlier this week. He has this OCD thing where he looks to fill up a trash bag so he can take it out- and he meticulously goes through the refrigerator and throws out leftovers.
Then he claims he doesn't know what happened to it. I cannot tell you how much perfeclty good food has vanished into thin air, but I can tell you this- I've started to call the fridge Houdini.
Coach really doesn't appreciate it so much.
But I'll tell you this, if we go to the meeting next week and he drops 17 pounds after eating like a king all week and I lose .2 pounds on twigs and berries, well, someone else might get Houdini-ed right on out of here.
spinach-basil pesto sans parmesan (similar to this one)
pasta (sometimes half whole-grain)
mini chicken-apple sausages
Tamale pie (see Joy of Cooking)
bread and butter for picky eaters
pan-fried oat-coated fish (coat fish in flour, then egg, then rolled oats and fry in oil)
oven fries (spray sliced potatoes with cooking spray, sprinkle with cajun seasoning, bake @ 375 for about 40 minutes, turning once)
canned sweet potatoes with marshmallows
out or leftovers
Wes grills something awesome like Lemongrass Chicken
grilled vegetables, like sugar peas or green beans
I pull some leftovers out of the freezer, like Wes' smoked pulled pork or split pea soup or something easy.
AND your reward for reading through all that is a cute picture of Sapphire: