Thursday, July 31, 2008

Dunkin Donuts getting smart? Awesome!

For a list of items from their
DD Smart menu click here.

Mom loved China.....

My Mom had a really good friend who was a missionary to China, Mary Sampson....she taught us to love China . Wouldn't my mom just be thrilled to see this little one and to know she had joined our family?!!
This is a picture of Leah and I right after getting home from China, over two years ago.
Life is full of circles and this is a circle of love!

I remember Momma

I've gotten some comments about food presentation, in fun. Truth is, I can't help it, it's a natural thing, I learned it from Mom.

Mom's life work was working at church, since my dad was a preacher and taking care of our family. Meals were always carefully planned to include meat, vegetables, starches and (unfortunately for our waistlines), dessert.

In the 60's when I was about 13 or so, we were living on a fairly busy street in a large town. My two sisters, mom and I were at home when a knock came at the door. Mom answered the door, it was a homeless man asking for something to eat. Mom told him to have a seat on the swing on the front porch and excitedly went to the kitchen to get him something to eat. My sisters and I watched in amazement. The guy had not been particularly pleasant about asking, and he looked terrible and smelled worse.

As she busied herself in the kitchen warming up pot roast and vegetables (we didn't have microwaves back then), we looked out the living room window to keep tabs on this strange man.

Finally, mom had her carefully made plate of delicious food ready (which I'm sure contained pot roast, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls and for sure a jello salad) and took it out to him. To which he replied, "Lady, I just wanted a sandwich."

My sisters and I were aghast! What!! Turn away a perfectly good plate of food! How dare he!!

Mom who was not a bit taken back, said to the guy, "okay, wait a minute, I'll be right back," and turned around heading right back to the kitchen. There she put everything inside two pieces of bread, packed it all in a bag and handed the bag to him. The homeless guy didn't say thanks, bye, kiss my grits....nothing, just turned left eating the sandwich as he walked away down the street toward the park.

Well, none of this sat well with me and my sisters. How dare he!! Mom, why would you go to all that trouble for that stinking man!! She looked at us, her eyes filling with tears, "oh girls, don't you know, he could have been an angel unawares or Jesus!"

I learned a valuable lesson that day, one I'll never forget. Oh, I remember momma, precious momma.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Oh my goodness!!

Could this be true?????

I've been fluffy so roll!!!!!!!!!!

I bought 2 pairs of

size 12 pants!!! (they fit too!!)

I'm one happy girl!!!!

Dinner for Two...

Dick and I really enjoy putting meals together. We have found comfort eating at home instead of depending on a restaurant to cook for us.

Counting calories has really pushed us to think more about what we eat and how we prepare it.

I get these crab cakes from Sam's Club, they are 120 calories each including the sauce. The green beans are called French Haricot Vert, I just steamed them. Served with a salad the total meal was 420 calories. Oh, we like to use limes in our tea, yummy!
These crab cakes are so good! They have 70% crab meat and come with an aioli sauce.

I keep them in the freezer for a night when we just want to chill.


We all loved this home, lots of wonderful memories here....

We called this "the girls room" or the music room. Both a piano and cello resided there. No TV, so it was a perfect place to curl up with a book.

If you have been in Melissa's dining room...I copied her wallpaper...we went through wallpaper book after book, just came back to this one, it was perfect here. She was very gracious to let me use it.

The kitchen...oh did we have some great fun in here....Bridal showers, Baby showers, Garden Club parties, birthdays, holidays and just good old family times, maybe a little dancing.....

I loved that chandelier. The paint in this room was Benjamin Moore's,"Grasslands", I absolutely loved the neutral color of green.

Our cozy family room...loved the logs ablaze in there. That ceiling fan was the first of four we bought, I have two in our present home..guess you could say I like it...I'm coo coo for lighting.

We had a small porch off the family room leading to the screened-in porch and yard.
You can see a portion of our garden here
Next I'll show how all this furniture was moved into an 83 year old house and did just fine!

To be continued.....

Blue Kool-Aid

Okay, it's not on the healthy list of things we should drink, but when Gramma Re says...hey, I've got some blue Kool-Aid in the fridge, and those big brown eyes light up....who cares! ;-)

This is our little princess Leah having some angel food cake, whipped cream and a bottle of blue Kool-Aid at my house.

Melissa, Leah and I ran errands together yesterday and ate lunch out at a yummy Italian restaurant. (grilled chicken, light salad)

Leah loves to come over and "play" with me so we let mommy finish up errands without us so we could hang out.

The first thing Leah does when she comes to my house is to change into her favorite ballet dress, princess shoes, a tiara (today she chose Snow White) and jewelry of some sort and then we play and do whatever she wants to do.

It's always magic when she visits, something really neat continually happens. Today, as we sat at the table eating our angel food cake, she looks at me while she's drinking and says..."lets drink at the same time!" with a giggle. It all takes me back to when I was a kid....and that's not a bad thing!!

Thanks baby doll for such a delightful afternoon! Love you dearly!

Sam in action

Pop pop says Sam is "too cool for school" in this picture....I have one word, precious.

Our son Brad says that this pillow is a very important part of things Sam needs to go to sleep with, along with his Doggie and Blanket. Sam has these friends in bed with him too.......... Puppy, Froggy, Tommy the Triceratops, Big Bunny, Little Bunny, Shifu (from Kung-Fu Panda), the song bear, the black bear, and a random black & tan dog.
Ah...the fun of being three!! Love you sweetie! Night, night! shhh......

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sissy's chicken for dinner!

We have been fixing chicken on the grill like this for several months now. It is delicious!! Very simple and if you haven't tried it...please do!

First we pat Olive Oil to lightly cover the chicken. Then sprinkle both sides lightly with Kosher Salt, and as much pepper as you would like on both sides. That's it!
Then we grill it, 6-7 minutes each side over a hot fire....yummy.

This is my doll baby Dick slaving away at the stove...he loves it! It's best if I stay out of this part of the cooking process...he can be a bit temperamental if bothered...chef at work stuff and all that. Looking good sweetie!!

While he takes care of the chicken I keep busy in the
house taking care of the side dishes.

I use a large saute pan with about an inch of water in it to cook the asparagus. Let the water come to a boil, add prepared asparagus and let boil in water about 3 minutes. Drain, add a teaspoon of butter to pan and swirl to coat asparagus.

Since starting the The Daily we weigh and measure everything, we never eyeball.

This scale is awesome and takes the guess work out. We weigh the chicken on the plate we will eat it on by resetting the scale to zero.

You can read more about this scale here

Viola! Our finished healthy meal.

We also had baked sweet potato mixed with Brummel & Brown and a little Splenda Brown Sugar Blend.

Squeezed lime juice and a little Zesty Italian over tomatoes and avocado....real spike of favor there!

Just around 430 calories if you have 4oz of chicken.

Happy Birthday Cheri!!

Cheri is one of the most awesome people you will ever meet. I mean this very sincerely from the bottom of my heart! She is our son Brad's dear wife and our daughter-in-law.

Just before this picture was taken she had gotten off the plane all the way from Russia with our grandson Sam. In order to bring him home, she was in Moscow three weeks, two of the last weeks all by herself...she is my hero! Someday Sam will know all about his brave mommy and be very proud of her like we are!

Happy Birthday Cheri!! We love you very much!

Thoughts on my weight loss journey so far...

Twice Melissa has given me some of her clothes that have become to big for her and she'll say, "Just see if you can get a leg in them, that way you can see your progress." I always look wide eyed at her and imagine, is there a chance of me getting into 10's or 12's." Then I believe, there is a chance. Why not!!! Go for it!!

I was wearing mostly "16" and "extra large". My old reasoning was just to get into a 14....that would have been heaven to me!! Well, last night I got two legs into a pair of Sissy's pants. Oh my goodness!!!! She was right, I will get into 10's and 12's, wow!!

For the most part I have really enjoyed eating right and exercising. I just needed a plan and to make goals and stick to them. I've survived two weddings, several birthdays, lots of restaurant trips. I can do this for the rest of my life and really enjoy it, really!!

I've hit several plateaus, times when you are eating right, exercising and the scales stay the same, don't move even an ounce. The first one was 20 pounds into it. I panicked and fretted, didn't turn back to food, but got advice from two friends I had made at the who had both lost 80 pounds each. They both said, "no big deal, adjust something your doing, keep at it. It happens.

One time I hit a plateau I had not been eating enough. I upped my calories 200 a day and the weight loss started again. The next time we added another mile to our walk, another I adjusted sodium and fiber. Right now I'm losing about 2lbs a week,

Everyone is different, you have to find what is right for you, but plateaus go away just as easy as they come on. Our bodies are really amazing. If we stop eating enough, our bodies slow the metabolism down to adjust, to save our lives! Sometimes we need to chill out and back off ......let the body do it's thing.

Soon I will be posting a picture of my progress, Dick's too. It's a glorious journey and we are having so much fun on it!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

When you gotta have a snack....

These Pepperidge Farm Baked Naturals are really good! You can eat 17 of the regular flavor or 16 of the Zesty Tomato Herb for 140 calories, 270 mg of sodium. They are made with whole wheat.

Teamed with a wedge or two of Laughing Cow Light Original Swiss cheese wedges. 35 calories each, 260mg sodium.

Nutritionist say a snack should have at least 175 calories to help you feel full and satisfied.

I would think grapes and a glass of water would be really good with this too.

You gotta check the labels...

It's upsetting all the foods out there that taste so good and are so bad for us. We have to watch out for "hydrogenated" or "partially hydrogenated" oil, which tells us there is trans fat, the worst type of fat for your heart in it. We need to look for products with zero grams of trans fat on the Nutrition Facts panel.

Like Jif peanut butter. Look at the label and there it is....'Fully hydrogenated Vegetable Oils'...IN MY JIF!!...the words vegetable seem to make it all better, but it doesn't.

We switched to Kroger Natural, it's ingredients say peanuts, salt. You do have to stir it up the first time you open the jar, then store in the refrigerator.

It's not a creamy as Jif, I stir it a bit. It tastes like.....peanuts. ;-)

So many food products sold today are full of additives that can contribute to poor nutrition. Refined sugar is packed into many "healthy" foods, like cereals and flavored yogurts, just empty calories with no nutritional benefits. We have to watch out for it on the ingredients list, where ingredients are listed in order of quantity, from most to least. I avoid products that add sugar (also called high-fructose corn syrup, dextrose, glucose, cane sugar, and corn syrup) as one of the first ingredients.

I found a great chicken salad recipe from a gourmet magazine that calls for "Major Grey Chutney" which is loaded with calories from high-fructose corn syrup. Darn it!! I'm not going to be undone by it...I found a recipe for Major Grey Chutney low sugar I'm going to make. Then I'll make the chicken salad...I'll let you know how it turns out.

It seems to me, the less ingredients in a food item, the better. Nevertheless..we need to check those labels!!

Our Dundee Garden

I love to plant roses and clematis together.
This is clematis "Jackmanii" and "Social Climber" climbing rose.

Redbuds and Dogwoods.

This is our last house before moving to our condo, I'd always wanted to live in a house with dormers....they were perfect...window seats...angles....really beautiful house inside and out.

The room on the side had been a brick side porch. Louie, the previous owner, built this to be his office, he thankfully saved all the bricks behind the garage.

At the closing, Louie gave us the detailed plans of the garden they had professionals draw up and design, lots of boxwood's, viburnums and flowering trees, the work was done in 2001. After that, I don't think the yard had been touched other than regular grass cutting. It was overgrown in places and needed TLC. We rolled up our sleeves and dove in.

The first summer I was covered in poison ivy rashes from pulling up overgrown perennials and weeds. It was worth it....

We had to have a patio, we had the "Shirk Brothers" (Money Pit, they showed up in a huge Cadillac ) dig the base, add the rock base and sand, but Dick really wanted to lay the brick. We ordered two loads of old brick and picked threw them to get the good ones out...I'd say 75% of the bricks were usable. We also used the bricks the original owner had saved from the dismantled side porch.

Isn't Dick cute?? Love his spirit to get in there and get the job done!

We never waste time getting things done. After finishing the brick, we piled up the dirt (from digging the area up) along the sides and built a berm to the far left to add interest to a flat rectangle yard.

I'm a boxwood them! I believe they add so much beauty to a garden....they shine like diamonds and scream Williamsburg and English gardens.

We used blue slate for the walk to add interest, it lay flat and was beautiful.

If you don't have a Limelight Hydrangea..get one! They are lovely and add a bright green to your garden

We had two ponds at the Turnberry Garden but decided here just to have a large bowl of gold fish. Leah loved watching them swim...she also loved all the flowers.

This is what it's all about...making spaces for our family to enjoy....good times, memories. They will be in our hearts and minds forever. We were blessed to live in this awesome house in the neighborhood we grew up in. You can go home again, we did.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Broiled Tilapia Parmesan

This recipe is for my dear friend Charlotte, you might like it too!
177 calories per serving saves room for dessert!!
This recipe takes about 15 minutes to prepare.

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon and 1-1/2 teaspoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon onion powder

Preheat your oven's broiler. Grease a broiling pan or line pan with aluminum foil. In a small bowl, mix together the Parmesan cheese, butter, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Season with dried basil, pepper, onion powder and celery salt. Mix well and set aside. Arrange fillets in a single layer on the prepared pan. Broil a few inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the fillets over and broil for a couple more minutes. Remove the fillets from the oven and cover them with the Parmesan cheese mixture on the top side. Broil for 2 more minutes or until the topping is browned and fish flakes easily with a fork. Be careful not to over cook the fish.

Makes 4 servings

Nutritional Info
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 177.2
Total Fat: 10.3 g
Cholesterol: 63.7 mg
Sodium: 226.0 mg
Total Carbs: 1.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.0 g
Protein: 18.7 g

A year ago I walked up these stairs....

And I didn't come back down them for 3 or 4 days...I couldn't. I could barely walk to the bathroom and back.

This is the only picture of the stairs I could find, it's the picture we took before we bought the house and then renovated.

A retired Presbyterian Pastor and his wife had lived in this house for 38 years before we bought it. During their last years in the house they had installed chair lifts for her to use on these stairs and the ones to the basement also. They wanted to stay here that badly...we understood why after we moved in.

I loved the stairs, the beautiful wood and curve of the banister...just lovely. See the little phone nook...never did find a phone to fit that nook!

Getting back to my trip up the stairs....we had just come back from a 5 mile walk, I had drug myself up the last hill and barely made it to our driveway...I was in serious trouble. I'd always had one bad knee, one good knee. During the course of last summer, my other knee while laying over 100 bags of mulch in the back yard went out. So then I had a bad knee and a worse knee.

This is a bit of the yard that we had used all the mulch on. We bought this house with a level yard which we thought would be better on my knee.......we were it was knees.

Somehow I got up the stairs and landed in bed...I was in so much pain, if I died right then and there it would be okay with me! Seriously! I'd already been in pain 24/7 anyway for a long time. How could it get worse!!!!

I borrowed some pain pills from Shawn.....big mistake....but when it's Friday and you can't get to the doctor until the next week, you do what you have to do! Had a reaction to the pain pills and got sicker. Real trouble, real pain, lots of it.

Finally got to the doctor and he wanted to start the process of knee replacement surgery. Oh dear! Oh dear! Oh!

An 83 year old lady in the Tai Chi class we were in at our gym had already told me about magnets. I'd purchased knee braces with magnets in them and they had helped. I didn't want the surgery. So I just kept going. Could barely go 2.0 on the treadmill, but slowly and I mean slowly, I worked my way up to 3.0 and stayed there.

We finally made the decision the two sets of stairs were not working out for me. We knew then that all the hard work we had done in the last two years renovating this house....the beautiful garden...our work was done there. We had knocked out walls and made doors, put in built-in cabinets, painted every wall, ceiling and trim, redid floors, bought new high end stainless steel appliances, brick patio, thousands of dollars on the yard....sigh...We loved this house!!! Really, really loved it!!

Our son Rich talked to me through my tears, saying, "mom, don't love something that can't love you back."

In just two short years we had built so many memories in that house already!! Pain, pain, pain in my heart and in Dick's. We did the right thing, we sold the house, in a tight market.... in 7 days...I was hoping it would take months...7 days!

We moved into the patio home and my knees did feel a little better, still pain 24/7, but better. Several months later enter after losing 20 pounds something started to happen....way less knee pain. Now 35 pounds lighter, the knee pain is gone. I'm walking up hills, down hills and this morning Dick and I walked 5.88 miles pretty quickly....I feel like I could walk 5 more....oh my goodness!! Oh my goodness!!

Sometimes you have to give up something you love, let it go, and something 10 times better comes your way. Oh my! The future looks really bright! What great things will tomorrow bring! Can't wait to find out! God Bless!