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I love when I discover something new!

Friday, October 17, 2014

I've got these little plastic microwave pasta cooker things that frankly did not impress me after I got them. Pasta is not that big a deal to cook on the stove top and it's not like it's a time saver. So these things have been stored on a top shelf in the kitchen cabinet above the sink and I had been thinking of packing them up in the Goodwill bag that we keep going until full when we take it into town.

But today, as I was thinking about lunch I decided to make myself some kale and emoticon how easy is that for the par boil step? I finally found a good use for this cooker, it did a super job and when the five minute nuke was complete I could lift the inner strainer and voila! my kale was ready to add to a little skillet. Happy dance!

Hmmm.....wonder what that lovely green water tastes like? Full of vitamins I'm sure so I pour it into a nice glass mug and sip....tastes slightly reminiscent of broccoli ( a flavor I love) so I don't waste a thing as I drink my kale tea. LOL

Ok, this is all probably sounding pretty dorky but those who know me aren't surprised. LOL

Sometimes, I'm pretty easy to please.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CATANTIGO 10/18/2014 8:27AM

    That sounds like such a smart idea. But I never doubted you would think of it.

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JANET552 10/18/2014 7:38AM

    Waste not, want not. I'm glad you enjoyed your tea!!

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DEBBIECK 10/17/2014 11:23PM

    I love the kale tea idea! Points for you for creativity:)

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GINIEMIE 10/17/2014 5:48PM

    I'm with you. Pasta is not a big deal to cook. I bought those cylindrical things to cook them in years ago, now I use one of them with water in it to keep my celery crisp.
I would have used the broth to add to a soup or a stew, but to each her own. Glad you found it a tasty tea type beverage.
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JCLJR4547 10/17/2014 4:39PM


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JANEMAR2 10/17/2014 4:04PM

    More power to you drinking "kale tea". I have tried and tried to like kale and haven't gotten there yet. emoticon

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Raiden Sweety, I'm doing this for you

Friday, October 10, 2014

There is so much of this health journey that is about motivation.

5 years ago, I saw an add in the back of a magazine. Sparkpeople, a free web community to help you meet your goals. I had regained a lot of the weight I had lost on weight watchers. I had been trying to lose it again without going back to WW but it wasn't working. I was motivated, but not enough to do it alone.

Here, I found tools to help me and more importantly I found the support and connection with others who guided me through more than just the diet and exercise. This became a journey of self discovery and unloading of emotional baggage. Those last two things are necessary before change can be complete, at least for me.

I've been mostly on maintenance now for a long time but last winter took a toll. I met spring and summer holding the higher limit of my maintenance window. You know the drill, go back to basics, plan, commit, track and make sure there's accountability.

A lot of my friends here already know that I didn't really accomplish much this summer to improve the situation and as October rolled around, I realized like my friend NINJALINDA, I needed to go back to square one. Ok....gonna do this!

Enter that key ingredient. MOTIVATION I know, I am motivated but I needed to be motivated enough.

Now, last Saturday, we got a call from my nephew's wife. My nephew's 3 year old grandson was admitted to the children's hospital Thursday last and is diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma. I shared this devastating news with one small team and had little intention of saying anything about it in a blog because......after all, there are so many of us who have devastating family concerns, loss etc. and I didn't want to appear to think that my worries were any bigger than anyone elses.

I had forgotten the value of sharing like this though. The friend I had told have been so very supportive and understanding and I am ever so grateful.

So I am sharing the story.

First, I should explain, that having no children of our own, my oldest sister's boys are the closest to having my own children as could ever be. We have had and still have a parent/child relationship with these guys. We were lucky enough when the oldest had children of his own to be given the opportunity to have our "grandchildren" for vacations etc. The father of our sick little Raiden spent weeks with us when he was the same age. So you see, hearing that Raiden is so sick has broken our hearts. The Drs. are giving a 70% chance of a five year cancer free survival. That's an improvement over a few years ago when it would have been 30% at best so we're grateful, hopeful and yes still very fearful.

If any of my sparkfriends reading this are moved to do so, I would ask you to check out the facebook page my grand niece set up. Raidens Battle. Many of you who are my facebook friends have already done this. If you check it out please "like" the page. It's a little thing but my grand nephew told me on the phone they are so stunned by all the page "likes" and the expressions of concern, prayers, well wishes from family and friends of course but also from people they don't know. It's showing them that this world of ours is one big caring community.

Sometimes, just knowing someone cares, helps.

Back to motivation.

I have been dedicating my runs and strength training to Raidens battle. Yesterday, I didn't feel like going out in the cold to run but I thought about him getting his first chemo and thought I had no right to "choose" to not do something when he has to go through this.

I ran and every time my shoes hit the pavement, I imagined stomping out a cancer cell. That was over 8500 cancer cells I killed and since he was getting his treatment at about the same time, we did double duty.

I hate ST, and have always had trouble motivating myself to to what I know I need to but today, knowing I was building strength to knock the crap out of cancer, I did it.

I'm going to continue to dedicate my fitness to Raiden.

Raiden, sweety, Aunt Donna's doing this for you! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JANET552 10/12/2014 1:32PM

    My thoughts and prayers continue to go out to this little guy and all the family, you included. It is a sad, sad thing that kids have to deal with this. This year I have a friend whose granddaughter has been dealing with a neuroblastoma on her spinal cord. That little girl has defied the odds (she's back in school this Fall, at least a little) and I hope the same for Raiden. He's at a great hospital (my friend's granddaughter was at University Hospital in Madison) but cancer in kids sure does change the family. Does the family live close to Milwaukee?

We aren't FB friends and I don't get to the SP Teams as often, but know that I add my voice (and steps) to others who are pulling for this kiddo!

Comment edited on: 10/12/2014 1:33:02 PM

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TUFFYBIRD 10/11/2014 10:59AM

    I'm so sorry to hear this, Donna. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.


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CATANTIGO 10/11/2014 10:56AM

    I am going to do something every day to 'stomp out those cells'. Raiden has become very close to my heart. You and your family will never be alone in this battle.

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GINIEMIE 10/10/2014 10:06PM

    Oh Donna, what a heart breaking event. I'm so sorry your little Raiden is having this battle, but I know that if you can use this as encouragement to get on track I know that he'll probably enjoy the visuals of you stamping on cancer cells.
I am adding him to my prayers and the book of prayers at my church.
I'm not one of your FB friends so I'm telling you here, we love you and by extension your family know that many of us will be adding Raiden to their prayers.
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These are a few of my favorite things..........

Thursday, September 11, 2014

I am out of my usual environment right now. Unable to walk into the other room and grab a piece of fruit or raid the fridge. This is not all bad of course, that raiding the fridge or pantry can be a dangerous thing. emoticon

But..............it can also be enlightening. emoticon

I love vegetables. I always have, but in the last few years, this love of vegetables has become keener.

Restaurants of the world.........listen up......vegetables are pretty (when they aren't overcooked to gray mush), they provide colorful contrast on a plate, they FILL the plate with relatively inexpensive fare.

Picture, if you will two contrasting plates recently served to me.

1- A senior portion turkey dinner. (I love senior portions since it is less likely to be more than I could or should eat and I can't take it home for the next day when on the road)

White plate. Mashed potatoes (no gravy-my choice) More white. Two scoops of their so-called signature celery dressing. Kind of a greenish brownish non color. On top of the dressing were placed a few small slices of roast turkey. About 2 oz. which is great, but again, we all know what color turkey is....hmm pretty bland. Now, give them credit, there is a small container of cranberry sauce. yay color! Unfortunately, though I like cranberry juice and the flavor of the actual berry, I am not a fan of jellied cranberry goo so it is removed from my plate right away. Sorry, that's just me.

2- My indulgence meal. ( Every once in a while we need to indulge)

White plate. Arranged on this plate are another dish with 5 or 6 beautiful scallops (I forgot to count before I dug in) these were sauted with a touch of Grand marnier they were presented with a slice of orange and slivers of scallions that were cut on the diagonal. There was a small portion of white rice (would have been nicer if it were a rice blend but the seasoned white rice was merely a garnish item for me and I took those scallions and mixed them into the rice I ate. The rest of the plate was filled with lovely steamed vegetables. Carrots sliced on the diagonal. Cauliflower and broccoli.

To be fair. The first meal I describe was my choice and I could have/should have read the menu more closely and tried to sub a vegetable or salad for at least one of those starches. But, I didn't and frankly, on their menu, vegetable options were extremely sparse. My husbands meal came with a serving of dismally overcooked green beans which would not have exactly thrilled me either.

My point is that to me, the colorful plate was much more appealing even before I tasted a single bite. I know as a cook, that the only pricier element of my plate waas the scallops. And...........that second entree came with a fantastic salad which was mixed greens, shredded carrot, sliced cucumber, tomato wedges, and strips of red and yellow peppers.

Ok, I did food service when we worked on the railcar. In that setting sometimes fresh produce was problematic since our food storage was limited and the shopping had to be done for a week long trip before rolling with no options to re-supply on the go. But, I happen to know it CAN be done. And more than that it's not so much a problem with a brick and mortar restaurant. It does require prep work. Honestly, you don't have to be a gourmet chef to slice and steam vegetables. If I can do it anyone can.

All right. I'm done complaining about this. Just needed to vent. LOL

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GINIEMIE 9/11/2014 10:50AM

    Oh jeez, I typed up this lengthy response and my computer froze up AGAIN!
I like a colourful plate too. I wish they would serve crisp tender veggies not drowned in butter. Of course the other day I said not butter on the broccoli, and sent it back and got practically raw veggies. I was irritated but it was better than mushy.
I like my home made cranberry sauce with cranberries, apples, oranges, walnuts and spices-I no longer eat the canned stuff.
I can't believe that some places have no healthy options-ie a half of a baked sweet potato instead of sweet potato fries. Gives me my orange emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
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BJHARRIS549 9/11/2014 9:47AM

    Like your blog...it began stirring my thoughts...I have often wondered if some food was really food ..it looked so processed I wasn't able to eat it. I want some color, also and especially want food to look like food! Thanks again! emoticon emoticon

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CATANTIGO 9/11/2014 8:46AM

    Sometimes there just isn't any really great choices. But I hope you're enjoying your vacation.

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NUTRON3 9/11/2014 7:50AM


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PASTORDAN_ATDCC 9/11/2014 7:27AM

    Love the colours and textures of fresh veggies filling a plate

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JANET552 9/11/2014 7:24AM

    We are so spoiled by our rainbow, aren't we?! We definitely deserve it, of course.

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EVIE4NOW 9/11/2014 7:22AM

  Some of the restaurant menu's do leave a lot to be desired.

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GOLFGMA 9/11/2014 7:21AM

    We know eating out can be challenging. Have been on vacation this week and I have to give a shout out to the chain restaurants we ate at for always having small salads we could add to broiled meat selections. emoticon

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Saturday, September 06, 2014

In the kitchen, that is!

Last week when we were together, my husband's sister said he was a picky eater. My mother used to say that too. But, to be totally fair to my DH, his "pickyness" as related to my mom's cooking, had more to do with some of her cooking methods which I also found unpalatable.

Mom would quarter a whole onion and/or green pepper....that was what would suffice for dice in her kitchen. UGH....I always hated the feeling of big pieces of green pepper or of other vegetables she treated this way. The flavor of the "trinity" in cooking was great, but not those big slimy hunks of things.

My husband's mother on the other hand, was a very bland cook. Salt & pepper were just about the sum total of the spices and herbs in her kitchen.

I grew up in a town that had a very strong Sicilian influence. Since we met during the summer and our dating at the end of summer consisted of weekend visits when he drove a couple hours to spend the weekend at my parent's home, he was introduced to a whole new world of flavors. He loved what he tasted, just not all of my mother's versions. LOL

On the other hand, when I would make the trip to spend a weekend at his parents, I was astounded at the lack of flavor and the lack of variety. The first cue should have been when she served "I-talian spaghetti" The pasta was broken into one inch pieces, the meat sauce was hamburger, tomato and salt and pepper. I'm not sure if she even had any onion saute'd into the sauce but I know there was no garlic, oregano or basil. She served a salad which was iceberg lettuce and salad dressing in what my family would have thought were dessert dishes. Um....I've always been a lover of veggies. 1/2 cup of iceberg lettuce is a garnish. LOL

Amazingly, our long distance dating moved eventually toward our engagement and marriage and during that time we melded our tastes in foods. That's not to say that once married, we didn't have some tense meals together since I was constantly making things that he would look at strangely with a "what's this?" dissection of his plate. In all of this, I would definitely not say he was picky since he soon was asking me for these exotic meals. LOL

Of course, I have learned that there are certain things he will not try.

I have learned to play hide and seek with certain ingredients. For instance, recently I made a minestrone type soup which included fennel and eggplant in the ingredient list. Neither of these things would he eat if he saw them but the flavor of the finished soup was very good and because I dice and mince, the identity of the ingredients disappear in the finished product. LOL Look, I'm not being deceitful, just smart!

Now, today, I started the day with a seek. I have all kinds of things that need to be used before we leave home on a vacation trip.

The beauty of the internet is that it allows me to pick the brains of my fellow cook sparkfriends and also to peruse so many recipes!

I'm a person who loves to read cookbooks. And I do mean....read! LOL I have shelves of beloved cookbooks in my office but I love being able to type a word or two into a search and find hundreds, no maybe thousands of recipes which are the basis of ideas for me.

And then......................

I get to play!

Do you play? Life is so much richer when you approach it in a playful way.

Spark On!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WASCALLYWONE 9/8/2014 10:33PM

    And the cook will prevail!

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CATANTIGO 9/7/2014 9:14AM

    I love hearing about the delicious dishes you make. You always make me hungry, and wanting to try something new.

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IFDEEVARUNS2 9/6/2014 6:04PM

My mother's family was Irish, and she didn't even eat garlic until she met and dated my father.
Sometimes sneaking in ingredients is the only way to deal with food prejudices.

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COOLRAIN 9/6/2014 3:47PM

    So funny! I shared this with my DH and we both had a laugh. He didn't eat veggies when we first started dating. Much better now, but he just won't eat meatloaf. Now I know some meatloaves are bland or worse. Mine is primarily meat. I have a sneaky suspicion that if I made my meatloaf in the shape of meatballs and put it on pasta with sauce, he'd love it. Aren't we all funny about what we like and think we don't like? I enjoyed your blog. Reminds me to make ball shaped meatloaf sometime soon. LOL.

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PICKIE98 9/6/2014 2:38PM

    This is so funny! talk about polar opposites of cooking. My mom never made ANYTHING new.. Never varied in any dish.. I love to try new things.. With the exception of seafood and squash and sweet potatoes, I will try anything new..

i am French/German and hate both types of those foods..
I should have been born an I-talian (LOL) Chinese person. I panicked one time when I ran out of fennel and oregano and garlic!! At the same time! I actually went to the store in my slippers to get them!!
My ex hubby is Mexican, so i learned real Mexican cooking and baking from his aunt and sister straight from Mexico. Fresh, warm tortillas and enchiladas are probably what started me on the fat journey.

Your hubby's taste buds probably did not know what to do when they tasted YOUR cooking! I, too, sneak foods into dishes since Dd hates most of what I put in them.. What she doesn't know will make her healthier in the long run!! Keep it up!!!

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Sometimes you feel like a nut................

Thursday, August 28, 2014

"Don't make me run. I'm full of chocolate!" —Uter"

That's a quote from the Simpsons show.....it tickled my funny bone but I don't think it's entirely accurate for me. I'm more the " Oooo Chocolate! I'll run for that!" kind of girl. LOL

This was today's Garfield comic strip. I swear Jon Arbuckle knows me! LOL

Guess that says it all!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CATANTIGO 8/29/2014 9:00AM

    We love you, normal or not! LOL

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BJHARRIS549 8/28/2014 10:24PM

    emoticon Love it! I also am kookoo for chocolate! Your blog made me smile!

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TERI-RIFIC 8/28/2014 2:01PM

    I'd like to be Nermal.

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JANET552 8/28/2014 11:06AM

    You sometimes don't feel like a nut? LOL

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LOSE4LIFE47 8/28/2014 10:53AM


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