Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Z is for Zucchini

We made it!  The final A-Z Challenge post of 2014 !!  

MmMmMm I love me some zucchini!

This good stuff can be used in sweet or savory dishes - yay!  In bread or on the grill, or like I made it - simply sauteed in a splash of olive oil and some garlic powder. 

These are low in calories and offer potassium, manganese, vitamins C and B6 and folate. 

What's not to love?

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Y is for Yams

I really don't know the difference between yams and sweet potatoes, so I was tweaked to find this!  
It says it's a yam!

My Weight Watcher leader said you can roast yams until they caramelize themselves, but I chose not to wait that long.  

I cut my yam into thin-ish slices.
 I sprayed them with oil (from my silver WW oil sprayer ), sprinkled with salt & pepper (the Coke cans) and garlic powder, then I sprinkled brown sugar on them. 

Since I was also making spaghetti that night, my oven was pre-hreated at 425 for the garlic bread, so I just put these in at the same time.  

After 15 minutes, I flipped them over - salted, peppered, garlicked & sugared them - then baked for another 7 minutes or so. 

Mr. Picky Randy had a couple after I encouraged him to try, and said he liked them.  Little Miss Picky Angela had half of one, after I gave her "the Look" and said they weren't bad. 

So I count this one as a success.  I hope this works just as well with sweet potatoes!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Friend Makin' Monday - Life Skills

Happy Monday!

Right after I got to work today I got a call from the principal of Miss Angela's school - seems the tensions that have been brewing on her bus finally came to a head this morning and she (among others) have been banned from the bus for 2 weeks.  I can't wait to hear about the driver, too - since I heard she was incompetent b*tch and shouldn't be around people in general, let alone kids! I love listening to teenager's opinions!  Since I heard the story as it developed, she won't be punished horribly on my end - I'm sure she just had enough and expletives flew.

I hope that's the extent of my excitement today!

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section over at Miss Sarah's so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

Life Skills

1. Do you know how to drive a stick shift?  Yes.  And while I was temporarily assigned to Bahrain (back in 1995) we were given a column-shift mini van as our duty vehicle and no one else could drive it, so I got to shuttle all 3 shifts back & forth every day.  It's sort of fun to drive in a foreign county!

2. Do you know how to jump stat a car?  Yes.

3. Do you know how to perform CPR?  Yes.  My card is expired, but I was all up to date when I was a Girl Scout leader.

4. Do you know how to hang a picture?  Yes.  One of my living room walls is called "the Angela wall" since it has her most recent school picture and all of her recent dance pictures.  I get a professional 5x7 of her in each costume.  I'll have to shuffle them around this year since she's in 9 dances - the most ever!

5. Do you know how to ski?  Nope.  Never wanted to learn.

6. Can you draw a basic map of the world?  Probably.  I'm sure it wouldn't be pretty.

7. Can you do a decent dive into a swimming pool?  Yes.  I've never really tried a diving board, but off the side - yes.
8. Can you open a champagne bottle?  Can't say that I've ever tried.

9. Do you know what to do if you spill red wine on the carpet?  Gasp!  Alcohol abuse!  I'd go check Google!

10. Do you know the proper way to fold a fitted sheet?  People fold sheets????  That's crazy talk.  Psht.  I can fold it good enough.

Now it is your turn!!

X is for Xigua


I bet you've never heard of this one before!  You have, but you probably haven't.  What the heck am I talking about?

Xigua is the Mandarin Chinese word for watermelon!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

W is for Watermelon

MmMmMm watermelon...... brings to mind summer cook-outs and warm weather, etc, etc, etc.

It's also good for you!  Very low calorie and full of water (really!  I'd never guessed that)  It's also high in Vitamins A & C.  Watermelon can also help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.   It's also a good source of lycopene. 

 Most importantly - it tastes good!

Friday, April 25, 2014

V is for Vitamins

Pretty general, huh?  There are at least eleventy-gazillion kinds of vitamins out there on the market.  I personally have never noticed feeling or seeing results when I took certain vitamins (hair, skin & nails - I'm looking at you!)

But one day - I was tired of feeling blah.  I don't know if I was just tired of the long winter or what, since I'm generally a happy, easy going person.  I was feeling anxious & overwhelmed and like the weight of the world was all on me.  So I stopped in CVS looking for some vitamin D, thinking that would help. 

Instead I found St. John's Wort and thought I'd give it a try.  

This is the only thing I've ever taken that I have noticed a difference.  The main thing is that I don't have the crazy, hateful PMS days that I'd get every month.  I would have a day or two in the week before that time of the month when I was quite frankly a huge bitch and I knew it - yet I couldn't seem to do anything about it!  The best I could do was just stay by myself as much as I could and try to keep my mouth shut.   In the 3 months or so that I've been taking this - no bitch days!  I felt it trying to creep up on me earlier this week - so I took an extra tablet & was good to go!  

I'm not a doctor or what-have-you.  Use common sense when taking stuff!!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

U is for Ugli Fruit

Ugli Fruit.   

This was another adventure in grocery shopping. This was one of those things I'd only heard about but had never dreamed to find & consume myself!

I had no idea how to tell of one was good or rotten, so I assumed they were like oranges, since that is what the skin feels like.  According to you believe they have a website????) this fruit is thought to be a hybrid of a Seville orange, a grapefruit & a tangerine.  

The Chapstick is for size comparison.  They're pretty big.

 I was surprised at how easy they peeled.

The sections are huge!!!

They have a very light, but kind of tart, orange flavor - the site calls them tangelos, so I guess that's it.   They're very tasty.  

This recipe was on the website - I'm going to have to try this!  
I'm intrigued!

Ugli Salad with Avocado & Shrimp

One bag of salad mix
12 oz shrimp, cooked, peeled & chilled
2 Ugli fruits, peeled
1 avocado
Poppy seed dressing. 

Separate salad mix into six servings, arrange on salad plates. Divide shrimp among the six plates, placing on top of lettuce. Divide Ugli fruit into sections, and divide evenly between plates, arranging artfully. Peel and slice avocado, and divide among the salad plates. Drizzle with poppy seed dressing. Serve immediately. Six Servings.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

T is for Tea

There are all sorts of varieties of teas out there. I'm not a huge coffee fan (unless it is unrecognizable with all the flavoring / cream / sweetener I add), but I do like some tea!

This is the selection I dug out of my kitchen cabinets for this post.  

Tea has many health benefits, too. 

1. The antioxidants in green tea increases the body's ability to burn fat.

2. Drinking tea might reduce the risk of heart attack.

3. The antioxidants in tea might also help protect against a bunch of different cancers.

4. Tea helps fight free radicals.

5. Tea helps keep you hydrated, even with the caffeine.

6. Drinking tea can lower the risk of Parkinson’s disease.

7. Tea may provide some protection from ultraviolet rays.

8. Tea could keep waist circumference in check. Guess I need to drink some more!!

9. Regular tea drinking might also counteract some of the negative effects of smoking.

10. Tea could be beneficial to people with Type II diabetes.

11. Tea can help the body recover from radiation.

12. Green tea has been found to improve bone mineral density and strength.

13. Tea might be an effective agent in the prevention and treatment of neurological diseases.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

S is for Sweets!

I originally was going to write about something actually good for you - salmon.  But I didn't make it to the grocery store to get any, due to all the craziness with Mom being in the hospital with her hip replacement & Easter & all that jazz.   So what I do have is SWEETS!

Yummy, yet disgustingly bad for you, sweets. 

The Easter bunny sort of went overboard this year.  Oops. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

R is for Relief / Friend Makin' Monday

Stepping away from my theme for a day - but totally relevant to my life right now. 


My Mom went in Friday to have a hip replacement.  It amazed me yesterday to already see her getting out of bed by herself and using the bathroom without any help.  The physical therapist came in while I was there and it was the greatest thing to see her standing upright and walking normally (still shuffling for now, but better than that pained gait she had before).  The PT'ist laughed when I commented about how tall Mom looked! 

I thought it interesting that at her age (she'll be 80 in July, but you didn't hear that from me!), her hip wasn't worn out - she was pained because of many bone spurs in the hip joint.  So the pain she feels now is from the incision and she'll be off & running as soon as that heals.  Today she will leave the hospital and stay at a rehab place for a week or two.  The doc says she's good & healthy so her stay shouldn't be terribly long. 



This segment here is my usual Monday link-up.  I haven't done it for the last few weeks because of life happening.  I've missed it!

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section on the lovely Miss Sarah's page so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts.

Daily Routines

1.Do you eat breakfast each day? If so what?  Yes, I'd be a raging bear if I didn't eat!  During the week, I take oatmeal to work.  Weekends we either go out or just eat whatever we find in the house.

2. How do you commute to work/school and how long does it take?  I first drive my daughter to her bus stop and wait til the bus picks her up to cart her off to school, then I drive in to work.  It's about a 15 minute drive.  I usually get there 20 minutes early, but that's OK.  It gives me a chance to do FMM before work!

3. What is the first website you go to each day?  I check the weather as soon as I sit up on the National Weather Service site.  Sunny & 74 today?  Don't wanna be at work!

4. Do you check email/facebook/twitter before you get out of bed?  No.  It's not going anywhere.

5. Do you take lunch to works/school from home?  I pack my lunch, just so I have control over what I eat.  A lot of people there order out everyday.  Dispatchers clearly get paid more than office peeps!

6. What time do you normally finish work/get home?  I work 7:30am -3:30pm so I'm home by 4.  Traffic is heavier in the afternoon and it takes a little longer to get home.

7. Do you tend to plan your evening meals in advance or do you grab something on your way home?  I try to plan ahead, before grocery shopping trips that I hate going on.  I even have a whiteboard on my fridge to write my plans on.

8. What do you typically do in the evening to relax?  Ugh.  That doesn't happen much anymore!  Miss Angela now is at the dance studio 5 nights a week so I'm always on the go.  Tues & Fri she only has one class, so I'll stay there with her, so I guess I get to relax there.  I'll take a book or my cross-stitch project to work on.  The other nights, she's there for 3+ hours so I'll drop her off and run errands or do whatever.  I don't watch much TV so when I go get a few minutes, I either watch my one show (RuPaul's Drage Race) or I'll play hidden object games on the computer.

9. Do you fit exercise into your daily routine, if so how?  I fight to get to the gym 3 days a week.  Tonight I'll go right after work, since the studio shuttle doesn't need to happen til later.  Wednesday I'll go after the dance shuttle happens.  And I love my Saturday morning Zumba class.

10. If you had an extra hour in your day what would you do with it?  Oh man.  Clean my house?  It looks like a disaster area right now.  My hope this week is to force myself to use the little blocks of time that I am actually there to get a some picked here & there.

Now it is your turn to go answer them on your blog and don’t forget to go over there and link up in the comments and go and share the FMM love with other readers.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Q is for Quinoa

Quinoa (keeeeen-wah)

I thought I was going to freak the family out - all sorts of new foods to try today (and Miss Angela also had homemade perogis while over at her boyfriend's house who is 100% Polish, but I digress)

I'd found a recipe for orange chicken and had gone to the grocery story to get the multitude of ingredients and found this stuff instead.....

The equivalent to about 5 fewer ingredients that I won't use again?
Take my Money!

And instead of rice, I wanted to try Quinoa for the first time.  This had been in my cabinet for probably 3 months and I finally had an excuse to make it.  

 Hmm.  Reminds me of bird seed. 

 It had sort of a nutty scent while it was simmering. 
When I make rice, I usually use broth for some extra umpf- 
I wanted to make this the first time with just water so the true flavor (such as it is) would come thru.
There's not a whole lot of flavor to it alone, so you can mix it with anything!

 You can see the translucence here. 
The hubby said they look like lizard eyeballs.  Nice!

If the quinoa looks like lizard eyes, the chicken looks like alien fetuses!

My dad always said if it weren't for low class, I wouldn't have any class at all.  
And I married a guy just as bad!  LOL!

So basically, I followed the recipe on the bottle of sauce.  I cut up the chicken & sauteed it with some garlic, I mixed in some steamed broccoli & the orange / ginger sauce and let it all heat up so the sauce could thicken some.  Right before serving, I mixed in a can of drained mandarin oranges.  

So overall, I got the approval to make both the orange chicken & quinoa again. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

P is for Pumpkin

Besides jack-o-lanterns and pie, you can make other things with pumpkin...

How's about.......

Pumpkin Brownies

1 box Brownie Mix - this one was 18.4 oz
1 can pure pumpkin (not pie filling) - 15 oz.

Mix together brownie mix & pumpkin, pop in oven.  Cook like the directions on the box say!  
Can you get any easier?????

 Ignore the huge can - it was all I had.  I used about half of this. 

 I tossed in some chocolate chips, too. 

Looks like normal brownies!

So the pumpkin takes the place of oil & eggs, which makes them somewhat healthier.

I did not tell the girl how they were made, other than pointing out the chocolate chips on top.  
Heehee, she didn't know the difference!!!
They are seriously good.  Denser & more fudgy than regular brownies.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

O is for Oatmeal

Do you know the difference between the 3 main types of oatmeal?

*Steel cut is the least processed and takes longest to cook.  It never really gets soft, so it stays chewy.  I haven't tried it actually cooked - I like to mix mine with water and leave in the fridge overnight, then mix in Greek yogurt and protein powder the next morning and it's tasty!

*Old fashioned are smoother and creamy and only take as long as water takes to boil. 

*Quick oats are just rolled thinner than old fashioned so they cook quicker.

I like to eat mine cold.  I'll make it the night before - I'll mix some GNC protein powder and some plain Greek yogurt with my oatmeal, mix water in it til it's soupy, then cover & pop in the fridge.  Once I get to work in the morning, it's thickened up nicely & ready to eat!  Sometimes I mixed PB2 (powdered peanut butter) in, sometimes frozen but thawed fruit.  The flavor options are unlimited!  And because of the protein powder & yogurt, it keeps me going until lunch.

Random weird food that fits the letter of the day....

Opo Squash
The sign at the store said it has a zucchini/cucumber taste, a source of manganese and delicious when steamed.

And we can't forget.....The Oatmeal.   I give that site a PG13 rating - it's hysterical but not really appropriate for little ones or the easily offended.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

N is for Nuts


There are approximately eleventy-gazillion types of nuts out there.  Most are pretty healthy, in moderation.  They have unsaturated fats, help lower cholesterol and are a good source of protein. 

You can get some wonderful things from nuts.  
(Google images)

and of course....

MmMmMmMm !

Note - I got the idea of my A-Z theme from this site, but I hardly used any of their info & cited what I did use - like here!  It's a pretty neat site. 

M is the Milk!

MmMmMmMm milk !

Ugh, so I really want to get into all the different types of milk?
Everyone has their favorite.

Or to go in a completely different direction....
Milk, the drag queen!
info / source

Yeah, I wasn't feeling the M post today.  Sorry! 

Random weird food that fits with the letter of the day...

 Mo Qua
The sign at the store said it has a zucchini-like texture, contains 0% fat and is perfect in tofu stir fry.