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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

So long Milk... It was nice knowing you!

I haven't cooked a whole lot lately and that is in large part due to softball season and the craziness that brings to the nightly schedule in our house, but it is also in part due to a new food sensitivity/allergy that I'm still coming to terms with.

There is some research that suggests that dairy sensitivity or allergy can contribute to joint pain. Apparently my body thinks it's 105 years old since my joints are pretty sensitive and can be made angry pretty easily. Sooooooo....I'm doing a 3 month trial of eating dairy free.

This. Is. Hard.

I love cheese and lots of things with butter and whipped cream. Oh I could go on for days on the ways in which I love dairy! Askanyone who has ever eaten Mexican food with me and there will be talk of chips and queso and cheese enchiladas or shrimp stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon! Don't worry, I'll still find a way to support my beloved Don Jose's Restaurant! This adventure is teaching me a lot about about what's in a lot of the convenience foods I eat, that's for sure.

On the flip side, I think it's forcing me to eat fewer processed foods and that's good for overall health and wellness.

I'm sharing this so that on the off chance a Vegan reads my blog they can give me some helpful hints. Like, how do I figure out pizza? Soy cheese is gross!!!! What about baking and butter substitutions? What about breads an rolls? These are the hills I'm traversing right now. After all a girl can't live on chicken breasts and broccoli alone!!!

Have any tips?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Another Whirlwind Week - Woohoo!

Some weeks just fly by faster than others...

Monday - I can't remember
Tuesday - Softball Game for the weeone's Crickets
Wednesday - Drove to San Antonio for a business meeting
Thursday - Left San Antonio to try to make the weeone's 6pm game - drove up just as it ended!
Friday - Swimming with friends after school
Saturday - Made a cake for a client, went to a 1 year old birthday party, went to a 9 year old birthday party, then drinks with the Gs
Sunday - church, lunch with the Gs, Astro's game with Nana and Pap....now what shall I make for dinner??????

Some weeks are just nutty. This coming week should be calmer and I'm looking forward to some normalcy....or what I think is normal!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Some Advice from the Weeone...

I'm sure she heard this from someone or somewhere, but while laying in bed with me this evening, the weeone gave some sage advice.

"You shouldn't sing when you're in the shower because it's dangerous," she proclaimed.

"Dangerous?" I asked. "How?"

"Well," she stated matter of factly, "singing leads to dancing and dancing leads to slipping!".

What did I tell you, sage advice from the weeone. =)

Sundays at the Park


Yesterday was the first of many Sunday afternoons that the weeone and I will spend with my parents at Minute Maid Park. I'm a HUGE baseball fan and love nothing more that going to a game in person. My father offered to buy 4 seats for the Sunday package that the Astros offer, so I took him up on it.



So we spent our afternoon yesterday watching the Astros get thoroughly beaten up by the Reds. I think after yesterday we should start calling the Astros the LOB team....left on base. Over 2 innings they left 3 runners on base when the third out was called. Sad....it just makes me sad. I will hold out hope for this little team from Houston, though. They often don't start to come alive until 1/3 or more way through the season. Let's just hope that this year it's not toooooo late!



Lunch of hotdogs, popcorn, helmet sundaes, hot pretzels, soft drinks and beer made it all the more palatable!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Woohoo...the weeone ate BROCCOLI!!!

The wonders of the universe never cease to amaze me. The Grand Canyon, Niagra Falls and the weeone eating broccoli! =)

We were rushed a bit to get dinner on the table the other night and I didn't really have a plan, but I had some quick items on hand that were easy enough to throw a meal together. Now, I didn't like broccoli as a little kid but came to love it over time thanks to my mom throwing cheese on it some nights. So, on hand I had 2 chicken breasts that were defrosted, a steamer bag of broccoli with Cheddar and bag of Knorr's parmesan noodles (yes, I know they're processed food, but they're tasty and in a pinch they'll do).

I pounded the chicken breasts out until they were of uniform thickness, dredged them in flour, milk and flour again then tossed them in a hot skillet with juuuuuust enough canola oil in it that I knew we'd get a crispy crust. The broccoli was a quick hit in the microwave and the Knorr pasta a boil, toss in, simmer and done - simple. In about 15 minutes, dinner was served.


And the weeone at broccoli! =)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Chocolate - it's what's for dinner!

Well, not really, but it's what the weeone has been eating ALL day!!! We woke early this morning to find that the Easter Bunny had hidden our decorated eggs and left the weeone a basket full of great treats!



We went to church this morning at Grace Bible Church where we sang our little hearts out in praise and thanks to God for such an amazing gift He gave us in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We should be more thankful for that gift every.single.day.

After church we headed to the home of Stephen and Sherri, family friends who were hosting their extended family for Easter Brunch. The guests included my lifelong friend, Ellen(who is Stephen's sister) and her husband and kids, Ellen and Stephen's parents and an uncle and friend. Once we arrived the kids spent some time hunting eggs and having a ball opening them to reveal all the sugary wonders that would later send each of them into a sugar coma. =) Gotta love those.





We had brunch and then spent time watching the Masters as well as the kids putting on shows. The laugh-o-meter was registering high levels of fun and a good time was had by all.

This evening...dinner at Ninfa's - a fantastic local mexican restaurant that is part of the way of life in Houston (and was the only thing the Gwinn family and our family could find open that sounded good).

Now, the weeone is drawing me pictures of flowers, I'm watching Sportscenter to catch up on MLB from the day and we're prepping for a really early bedtime. =)

I hope you had a Happy Easter as well. And I hope that if you are a believer you take the time to thank Him today for the gift that truly does keep on giving.

Hey Mr. Easter Bunny...

....you might get all the glory and praise, but I get to have all the fun!






Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Final Foot Post...I hope!

I hope this is the last time I talk about my left foot. It's out of the boot and it's healing (although still swelling and hurting a bit). But I thought as a final farewell to the saga of the foot I'd share what it looks like....on the inside. Here's what my foot looked like to my Ortho when I saw him on Thursday. Frankenfoot.



Saga over.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Some Days I'm Amazed

I know that I have a problem saying "no" to anyone. The result of this insanity of mine is that we have lives that are ridiculously busy. I don't know why I'm nuts, but I am. I could just blame my mother - that's what everyone does, right? And, truth be told, it's probably her fault. She can't say "no" either. But I kind of like my insanity. It's comforting in an odd and ridiculous way.

Today that insanity resulted in a completely nutty day. It started out with me in the ortho's office. Guess what? I don't have a boot on anymore. I have 2 feet. One foot that hurts quite a bit walking, but it's a foot nonetheless. I'm told the pain will fade. I have hope that the doctor knows what he's talking about and in a few days it will be less noticeable.

Next step? Lunch with the weeone. I knew that no one would be as excited as me about the boot being gone, but the weeone was a close second. I surprised her in the Oak Forest Elementary cafeteria with a kids meal from Whataburger and 2 feet. The reaction she gave me was priceless and fabulous and full of the joy that you only see from kids. It was awesome.

Tonight was a Cricket's softball game. They lost. It stunk, but hey - it's teeball and sometimes the kids just aren't in the mood to play. Tonight was one of those times. They all still got snow cones at the end of the game and smiles ear to ear. That makes the long day worth it. Know what I mean?

So, that's why it's 9:00pm and I'm just now eating dinner. It's leftovers of the Lemon Pepper Shrimp Scampi from the other night. It's good a couple of days later....really good. Or maybe I'm just crazy hungry and tired and don't care. Either way, I'm a happy diner right now.

Tomorrow will be another crazy, but fun, day. The weeone and I are both off and will spend some time updating the front flower beds with, well, flowers...and mulch. We're also having a "Hoppy Hour" tomorrow night complete with egg hunt. It should be fun.

So, I can't say "no". The result is sometimes exhaustion, but often it's just fun.

The Saga May Be Over...

My foot. My left foot. My nemesis. Today is a big day for this foot. In about 3 hours I will sort of walk into Dr. William Granberry's office to have my third post-operative appointment about my foot. And, there is hope....big hope....that he will close the door on this chapter of my life. This has been a LONG chapter....ten months. I could have had a baby by now. I think I'd rather have the broken foot though....hmmmmmm?!?!?! There is hope he will end the saga that is my left foot. Pray people....pray hard!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Life (and shrimp) happens. =)

The months of March, April and May in my house mean one thing - softball. This is the weeone's 3rd year as a Cricket and it's her last in this division. One final year of teeball...it makes me sad and it makes me happy all at the same time. Teeball is so much fun - they hit well by the second or third year, really start to understand the game, and really start playing ball instead of just playing with the chalk lines and grass. =) If you have a little one, you know what I mean! So, this year, the weeone's playing pitcher which sounds odd since no one actually pitches, but it's still a pivotal role on the field since most girls that age hit the ball straight to....you guessed it, the pitcher. This is her year to be the star!

So far she's playing well and having fun, although she doesn't understand why she has to bat 4th. She's downright angry about it despite it being a position that she should be proud of - she just doesn't "get" that yet. Nonetheless, she's cute in the uniform....don't you think?


The other thing that comes along with softball season is quick meals. There's not a lot of time for cooking big dinners with either practice or games 3 nights a week. Last night was a "travel day", so to speak. No practice. No game. Hallelujah.

There's been some talk on the Cooking Light food boards about a recipe from the March issue of the magazine - Lemon Pepper Shrimp Scampi. It's gotten good reviews and seemed like a pretty simple meal to put together, so last night that's what we had. The weeone and I are big shrimp fans so I figured this had a good chance of being a winner for both of us.

I altered the recipe a bit, in that I added some chopped zucchini to it to up the veggie factor and I used about 1/2 the amount of butter that it calls for in the recipe. They suggest sauteed asparagus as a side, but we opted for the broiled grape tomatoes topped with parmesan cheese that I've come to crave on a regular basis! This was a GREAT meal! This is a definite to-be-repeated in our house.

Here's the original recipe....

Lemon Pepper Shrimp Scampi
from March 2009 Cooking Light Magazine



4 servings (serving size: 1/2 cup orzo mixture and about 7 shrimp)

  • 1 cup uncooked orzo
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 7 teaspoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined jumbo shrimp
  • 2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1. Cook orzo according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain. Place orzo in a medium bowl. Stir in parsley and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cover and keep warm.

2. While orzo cooks, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle shrimp with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add half of shrimp to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until almost done. Transfer shrimp to a plate. Melt 1 teaspoon butter in pan. Add remaining shrimp to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until almost done. Transfer to plate.

3. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in pan. Add garlic to pan; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in shrimp, juice, and pepper; cook 1 minute or until shrimp are done.

Nutritional Information
Calories:403 Fat:10.4g (sat 4.8g,mono 2.2g,poly 1.4g) Protein:40.1g Carbohydrate:34.7g Fiber:1.7g Cholesterol:276mg Iron:4.3mg Sodium:549mg Calcium:97mg

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Oh - I forgot to tell you...

...about Spring Break!

The week of the weeone's Spring Break was also the week I returned to work. We didn't let that stop us from having a bit of fun though! I had just gotten my cast off, so with the help of Nana and Pap, we were able to take a little side trip to San Antonio! The plan was a quaint little drive through the bluebonnets with a pit stop at Buccee's (my total fave road trip pit stop) with an evening arrival in S.A.

We loaded down the car with road food (aka junk), drinks and people and we were off! The ride itself was pretty great. The bluebonnets were beautiful and the weeone, fresh off a unit on Texas at school, was full of information for us all on the state insect (the monarch butterfly), the state flower (the bluebonnet), etc, etc. Pap wasn't listening to me in the backseat, so we missed Buccee's and I didn't let him forget it the rest of the trip. =) We arrived in San Antonio shortly before dinner and I was able to prop my swollen foot up in the room while Nana and Pap headed to the pool to let the weeone have a quick swim. After a dip, some dinner and kisses goodnight, we all settled in for some sleep before a rowdy next day.

Friday we headed off to Sea World! I love Sea World. I love the animals, the shows, the fun of it all!!! We discovered that arriving early had benefits as they opened the front of the park an hour early, so we got to spend time with the Anheiser-Busch Clydesdales and feed the dolphins without too much of a crowd.


Once the park opened at 10am, we set out to see shows, play, laugh and eat as much junkfood as we possibly could. Mission: accomplished! One of my favorite things about Sea World is how "little kid" friendly it is. You can take any age child there and have fun. See? =)


But one of the highlights of this trip was that the weeone officially became a "big kid" by riding her first regular sized roller coaster, the Steel Eel!!! It was so fun. We had a great couple sitting in front of us who made a big deal out of her being the littlest one lined up to ride this big coaster and high-fiveing her at the end when she was aglow with happiness at how much fun the ride was. She's been bitten by the bug and I will now be riding every roller coaster in sight with her!!!


No trip to Sea World could be complete without spending a little quality time with everybody's favorite killer whale, Shamu! As always, Shamu did not disappoint. It was the last show we saw of the day and it was a great way to end a great day at Sea World.





Once we got back to the hotel we had happy hour in the hot tub and pool, ordered pizza and CRASHED!



Saturday morning we checked out of our hotel and headed to the Riverwalk area of San Antonio to spend some time at the San Antonio Children's Museum. They have a great museum and we had a great time.


The weeone and Pap spent some time building things as he imparted his engineering skills on her young mind.


She and I also got to sit in on a magic show! The magician made her float!!!

video

After the floating and all, we were hungry! So off to the Riverwalk for some good Mexican food. We ate at the Original - it's a great place right in the heart of the Riverwalk and has never let me down....and their margaritas are tasty! =)



Once our bellies were full and the car loaded down with people and stuff...we hopped up onto I-10 headed East. This time, the weeone nor I would let Pap forget Buccees!!! So we stopped and loaded down with snacks again for the ride home.

It was a fast, furious, and fun trip! We topped it off by having dinner with friends when we arrived to celebrate their oldest son's birthday....Happy Birthday R!


So, goodbye Spring Break - hope to see you next year!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Create Hope Challenge

It's not the easiest time economically in this country. And in case you forget that, the newspeople are doing their best to remind us constantly!!! I think it's time to change the tone. I think it's time to make happy things happen.

Do you know someone who needs a pick-me-up?

Read the Create Hope Challenge Blog and do something about it! And don't forget to pass it on. Let's blow out their goal of 2000 letters of hope covering 50 states!!!


So now go to the blog and read about how to encourage and, well, create hope!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Texas Traditions I'll Never Give Up...

There are a lot of things in Texas that can be considered traditions. High School football is almost a religion in Texas, huge mums at homecoming, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is a way of life in February, summers spent in Galveston lying on the beach and the annual event that can be seen on most Texas highways in the Spring - photos in the bluebonnets.

I've been taking the weeone's pictures in the bluebonnets since birth really. She is a March baby, so her first bluebonnet photos were of a completely asleep baby laying in flowers at 3 or 4 weeks old. Ever since, we've captured how much bigger she's gotten in comparison to those little blue beauties that grace us with their presence for just a few weeks each year.

Here are a few of my favorite shots from this year's Sunday in the bluebonnets....









Macaroni and Four Cheeses....yum!

I love macaroni and cheese. I really when it's baked in the oven and the tops and edges are crispy and toasted. The weeone, on the other hand, loves Kraft macaroni and cheese. Somewhere I went wrong with that kid! =) So, when I came across Ellie Krieger's Macaroni and Four Cheeses recipe I thought it would be a good mix of what we like. It's creamy on the inside and crunchy on the outside and is full of the nurtitional goodness that we like to get into our kids!

Ellie's recipe includes pureed winter squash. It's the squash that gives it the orange color that the weeone likes, but it's the combination of the cheeses and the breadcrumb topping that gives it the crunch I love so much. It's a quick and easy meal to put together and it makes a lot! I ended up splitting it into two pans and sending one pan home with my mom for her and my father to eat. I'm told they really liked it.

This was definitely not the weeone's favorite mac and cheese, but I think I'll probably make it again and decrease the amount of squash and increase the amount of cheese and try again.



Macaroni and Four Cheeses Ellie Krieger's The Food You Crave

  • cooking spray
  • 16 ounce(s) pasta, elbow macaroni, (1 box)
  • 20 ounce(s) squash, winter, frozen pureed (2 packages)
  • 2 cup(s) milk, lowfat (1%)
  • 1 1/3 cup(s) cheese, cheddar, grated, extra-sharp (4 oz.)
  • 2/3 cup(s) cheese, Monterey Jack, grated (2 oz.)
  • 1/2 cup(s) cheese, ricotta, low-fat
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon mustard, dry
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper, cayenne
  • 2 tablespoon bread crumbs, fine, dry
  • 2 tablespoon cheese, Parmesan, freshly grated
  • 1 teaspoon oil, olive

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Cook the macaroni according the package directions. Drain and transfer to the prepared baking dish.

Meanwhile, place the frozen squash and milk in a large saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally and breaking up the squash with a spoon until it is defrosted. Turn the heat up to medium and cook until the mixture is almost simmering, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cheddar, jack cheese, ricotta, salt, mustard, and cayenne. Pour this mixture over the macaroni and stir to combine.

Combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and oil in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the top of the macaroni and cheese. Bake until the cheeses are bubbling around the edges, about 20 minutes, then broil for 3 minutes so the top is crisp and nicely browned.

Serving size: 2 cups

Number of servings: 8
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 390
Total Fat: 11 g
Sat Fat: 6 g
Cholesterol: 35 mg
Sodium: 547 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 56 g
Fiber: 3.5 g
Protein: 18 g