Thursday, September 22, 2016

Yummy Food

It doesn't feel like the food that I've been making lately really deserve their own posts, so here is a mashup of the foods I've been making lately!

Might as well start with breakfast!   I've been reading and seeing a lot online about avocado on toast.  I am not a HUGE fan of avocado, but I do like it!  So....I tried a little experiment.  I LOVE runny eggs, however I'm not that great at frying them and not overcooking them.  I also suck at poaching them (I don't seem to be patient enough to cook them).   I somehow came across soft boiled eggs online - it was a revelation!!!  I tried making some and ended up figuring out how long to boil them in order to get runny yoke and cooked white (I do NOT like slimy egg whites!!)!   I let the eggs sit out on the counter overnight and then boil them between 5min and 5min15sec. 

So...I toast my bread (Dave's Killer Bread 21 Seed), mash up 1/4 of an avocado and mix it with some salsa.  When the eggs are done, peel and slice them into 4 pieces and put them on the toast.  I then slice the toast in half so it's easier to pick up and eat.  OH it GOOD!!!!!  I absolutely LOVE it!!!!    You are not crazy...this pic does not match the description I just gave...this was one of the first times I made it.  I have since perfected it!

A simple, yet yummy snack!  I love apple pie (who doesn't?!?!), but am too lazy to make them, lol.  Plus, they have way more calories than I really want to eat most of the time.  My compromise is what I call 'apple pie apples'....basically apple pie filling, lol.  I peeled and cut up an apple, mixed it with cinnamon and microwaved it a minute at a time until it was the softness that I wanted.  Yum!!!

Despite the look of these, these were NOT for breakfast - they were for dinner!  I LOVE breakfast food for dinner!   These are apple cinnamon pancakes - and they were simple to make!  I like Bisquick Heart Smart and use it for my pancakes and waffles.  I simple added two grated apples and a bunch of cinnamon to the pancake recipe on the Bisquick box.  They were phenomenal!!!!  They were also quite filling - I only had 3 for dinner!

These may not look like much, but they were my birthday cakes!   I may be a cake decorator, but don't usually feel like decorating my own birthday cakes (though I LOVE baking them)!  This year I wanted cake and brownies and couldn't decide on one.  Soooooooooooo I made both!!   I mixed up half a recipe of King Arthur's chocolate cake and half a recipe of one of King Arthur's brownie recipes.  It turns out that I let them bake a little too long in the oven....5 or 10 minutes less would have been much better.  Once they cooled, I heated up some leftover ganache, and caramel sauce, and then mixed those together!!  Oh my....that sauce was GOOD!!!!!!!!!   I let the sauce cool and set up a little and then drizzled the sauce over my cakes!!

If someone had ever told me I would like coffee of any kind, I would have told them they were crazy!!!!   I found over the summer that I like iced coffee...if it is heavily all honesty it was more like sweet milk than coffee, lol.  It was a lot of calories and too many WW SmartPoints and I stopped drinking it.  Well....I happened to read about Premier Protein shakes (2 SP for the whole 11oz container), and learned that they come in caramel flavor!   I managed to find them in the store and read the ingredients list....not so bad as far as I am concerned.  So, I tried mixing have a caramel shake with iced was pretty good!  I could taste the coffee more than I used to, but it actually tasted kind of good!  The shakes are about $2 ea (sold in a pack of 4).....that would get expensive pretty quick.  So, I tried the iced coffee with skim milk (rather than whole milk which is yummy but lots of calories/SmartPoints).  I mixed 1/2-3/4 cup of skim milk with iced coffee and it wasn't too bad!  Here are both of them!

~Chelle *o*

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Blueberry Pancake Bake

This is a genius idea that I thought up two years ago ('s really been that long?) when taking Muffin's kids (Clydesdale and Sticky Mickey) and Wolf camping and trying to figure out how to feed all of us pancakes at the same time.  Here is the original post on that: Baked Pancakes

The original version is with bacon and chocolate chips, but I came up with another version that is equally as good (even though it doesn't have bacon lol) in it's own way.... Blueberry!!!!

Since I was in my kitchen, and not camping, I did not use my dutch oven to cook it.  I mixed up the pancake batter (added some extra oil to compensate for no bacon grease) and let it sit while the oven heated up to 375 or so.  I also heated a straight-sided frying pan and heated some canola oil in it (so the pancake wouldn't stick to the pan).  Once the oil was hot, I poured in the pancake batter.  Then sprinkled a pint of fresh blueberries on top and put it in the oven.  It normally takes about 10-15min, but since I didn't wait for the oven to heat up completely it ended up being closer to 20-25 minutes.

Doesn't it look good?!?!?!?!

 I normally eat this with some syrup or just plain.  HOWEVER, a minor miracle (or cosmic disruption?) happened today.....  I managed to FORGET to eat lunch.  Yeah.  I know.  This doesn't happen to me.  EVER.  My only excuse is I must have really been into my work today.  Or I ate way more than I thought yesterday and this is my body's way of dealing with it.  I was hungry for breakfast however, so.... who knows!

By the time I got home I was starving (but surprisingly not yelling at drivers on the road)!   I decided I was having syrup and Reddi Whip on my pancake bake tonight, lol.

~Chelle *o*

Chicken Fried Rice

I love chinese/japanese/thai food a lot.  I love getting takeout, but end up feeling icky afterwards most of the time (msg?  or I just ate way to much, lol).

Anyway....I've been trying to make some recipes at home lately and been moderately successful with them.  I made a kick-a$$ beef and broccoli a while ago (might have to make it again soon), that was BETTER than takeout!!!  Last night I made a Chicken Fried Rice recipe that I found on Pinterest.

I made it to portion out for my lunches for today and part of next week (possibly all of next week, lol).  I divided the resulting recipe into 6 servings of approximately 1 cup each.  I added a few additional vegetables (shredded carrots) and some leftover canned pineapple that I had in the fridge that was going to go bad.

I tried it a small bite before portioning it out to make sure I like it.....IT WAS AWESOME!!!!

Here is the recipe I mostly followed:    Easy Chicken Fried Rice
  • I used 4 cups of brown rice (I cooked a bunch of it in my rice cooker the night before)
  • I used only red peppers
  • I didn't have ginger root, so sprinkled dried ginger spice on the chicken and veg as they were cooking
  • I cut my chicken at an angle rather than in strips
  • I didn't have sesame oil so I omitted it

Here's the best lunches all portioned out!!!

14 Piece Kids' Value Chilled Container Set

If you're wondering what the containers are, they are kids containers from Fit & Fresh.  I found them years ago as a set in a grocery store and loved all the cool colors!  I bought the kit (shown below) and then bought more sets online, hah!  I love them!  There are 1/2cup, 1 cup and 2 cup sized containers and lot of fun colors!!!

I also have this bento-type container that I found at Stop & Shop when I was bringing small bites of a variety of foods for lunch, also from Fit & Fresh

~Chelle *o*

Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Personal NSV

You're probably wondering what an NSV is... it stands for Non Scale Victory.  It is a common phrase heard among Weight Watcher members.  It's a personal victory or goal that has nothing to do with the number on the scale.

I achieved a HUGE NSV for me this week, and am very proud of myself. 

One of the fundamental parts of Weight Watchers is tracking the food that you eat so that you know how many SmartPoints (SP) you've eaten and how many you have left for the day.  Without tracking your food, you're not really following the plan.

I have a 'big' problem continuing to track my I haven't managed to do it consistently in over a year 'big'.  As you can imagine, this hasn't made for much success in losing weight.  Amazingly in the last 10 months that I have been attending an At Work meeting, I have only gained a few pounds.  There is no doubt in my mind that it would have been A LOT more had I not been going!  I wasn't tracking food, but was being some-what mindful of what I was eating.

Well, my At Work meeting ended a few weeks ago and I started attending a regular meeting last week (same leader).  Something in my head clicked during last week's meeting and I set a goal of tracking everything I ate for the week: Good, Bad and Ugly.  I wasn't concerned with keeping within my SP just yet...the bigger hurdle in front of me was tracking consistently for the week. 

I am excited and proud to say......I DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!   

Once I started doing it, it was fairly easy to keep doing it (why haven't I realized this before?!?!?!).  It was somewhat eye-opening how many SP the foods added up to each day.  Some of it was excessive and out of the ordinary, but I was still surprised.   I found it was easier when I pre-tracked my day the night before so I knew where there is wiggle room to add a snack and such.

I am going to put more effort into staying within my SP for the day/week, however, continuing to track is my main goal again this week.

~Chelle *o*

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A Renewed Commitment

Some readers may remember that I have faithfully following Weight Watchers, on and off, for yours.  I have been slacking at it the last few, though I have been attending meetings for almost the last year.  My employer has an At Work meeting that meets once a week, and I discovered in October that the leader I really like was doing the meeting!  I quickly found out how to sign up for the next session of meetings (12 week sessions).   She was surprised to see me and I was happy to see her!

Thought I know in my head that it shouldn't matter, having her as a leader really is important to me, and I care more about the Plan when attending her meetings.  Since I started attending again back in October I have gained some, but not nearly the amount I would have had I not been attending.  In all honesty, I wasn't even really trying all that much but was still going to meetings.

Well, our most recent At Work session ended a few weeks ago (before the camping trip) and isn't being renewed due to lack of interest.  She told us where and did meetings at the WW Centers, and there is one that is on Thursday evenings (5:30pm) and is about 20min away from work (it's 20min further away from home, but oh well!).  So, once I returned from my camping trip I signed up for meetings and went the day after returning.  I gained a little which I expected.  It had been two weeks since getting weighed, I wasn't eating the best food while camping, and I changed from a Noon weigh-in to after work.

Something got in to my head during that meeting that hadn't managed to in the past 10 months and I made a commitment to myself to track EVERYTHING I ate for the next week (Fri-Thurs) - the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.  This is my downfall....I hate to track and I lose interest in tracking after a while.  My reasoning is that I can't see myself tracking for the rest of my life so I shouldn't have to do it to lose weight (we can all see how well THAT has worked!).

Some miraculous things happened so far.....  First, I have actually tracked everything I've eaten!!   Second, I've actually started caring and trying to keep my food within my daily and weekly SmartPoints (SP) targets.   NOW....that isn't to say I've made good choices...but I've tracked them!   I am allotted 30SP per day and 35 discretionary for the week.  In the six days that I've been tracking I am 51SP in the hole so far this week.  Tomorrow is the last day of my tracking week.  Friday-Sunday was a complete disaster....Mon-Wed have gone much better!  I prepped lunch foods on Monday night and it makes it a lot easier!

I have been having soft-boiled eggs for breakfast when I get up early enough to make breakfast as home (I need to do this more!!!).  I also decided to start eating healthier as well and bought whole grain bread (21 grains!). I love bread with lots of things in it.  I ended up with Killer Dave's 21 Grain (no soy - yay!).  I also purchased an avocado to try the avocado, egg, and toast for breakfast.

I have made it twice this week so far and have to say that I think I stay fuller longer with two soft-boiled eggs, 1/4 of an avocado and one slice of bread for breakfast than I was with three soft-boiled eggs and nothing else.  I do sometimes have a banana for a snack in the morning.  Here's what this morning's looked like!

This week I made pineapple bbq chicken filling for lettuce wraps.  I like bread, but as sandwiches.  I like sandwich fillings (for lack of a better word) but not actual sandwiches.  For a long time I never liked bread - then I discovered I liked hearty bread with 'things' in it (nuts, seeds, etc....).   I like tortillas and such, however I haven't been successful in finding a brand that does not use soy flour or soy oil (avoiding soy is a personal, not dietary, choice).  So, I thought I would try lettuce wraps this week and see how it goes.

Here is the filling on the romaine leaf:

Rolled up....attempting to eat it, lol!!

It was pretty good.  It has 8oz raw chicken, 1/4c bbq sauce, 1/4c water, some chunk pineapple, and carrot sticks.  Might try heating the filling up a little and see if it's better.

~Chelle *o*

The Best of Intentions................

I've mentioned Muffin's two oldest boys quite a bit on this blog because I take them out and we go do stuff together quite a bit.  Many of you may not realize that Muffin has three sons.....15, 17 and 19 as of this year.  Clydesdale and Sticky Mickey are the 19 and 17yo.  I don't take the 15yo (Care Bear) out on my own because he is autistic and when he was younger (and possibly still now) he liked to take off running, and it would cause Muffin way too much stress to worry about us out without her.  He is pretty high-functioning (in my somewhat uneducated opinion), and was diagnosed when he was 2.  Since then, he has been on a gluten and dairy free diet and the transformation has been remarkable!

Since I take his brothers out for outings and such, Auntie Guilt started setting in (100% fabricated in my head - Muffin and Fam had NOTHING to do with this) a little while ago.  It just so happened around the same time that Build A Bear came out with Care Bears.  Care Bear LOVES Care Bears (hence the nickname)!!  He used to sleep with 30 on his bed!!  I texted Muffin and Care Bear saw the text and got soooo excited!  Soooo... in my Auntie Brilliance, I suggested Muffin and I take him to Build a Bear to get a Care Bear.

We set a date for last night.  We all had dinner at their house and then the three of us headed to the closest Build a Bear near us (about 30min away).  We didn't tell him where we were going or what we were doing.  Muffin only told him that I was taking him out for a surprise Tuesday night....she was probably telling him this for 4 or 5 days or so.  He was so excited when I got there last night!

We finally arrived at the mall and went to where Build A Bear was.  It just so happened that it was at the top of one of the escalators, so we saw it as we came up the escalator.  Except.....what we saw was the temporary walls they put up when they are remodeling a store. Yeah.  Then Muffin noticed that there was a sign that they were still open, just around the corner.  Yay!!  In the hallway of the mall.  With about 1/3 of their normal selection of bears and accessories. And... NO Care Bears.  Anywhere.  We even asked the workers...nope.

If you have spent any time around an autistic person you probably have an idea of what's coming next...... needless to say he was not happy.  Plans changed and he wasn't ok with it.  At all.  We explained to him that they were renovating and we would come back when they had Care Bears.  Neither one of us thought to call ahead to make sure they had them (isn't hindsight wonderful?!).  As a somewhat consolation, we got him a Coolatta at Dunkin Donuts (he loves them).

I considered going to another Build A Bear, but the nearest one that I knew about was over an hour away at that point (further away from home) and it was too late to go last night.  Never thought to ask the worker's nor did they mention if there was one nearby, so we assumed there wasn't.

We also had to stop at the grocery store and he was crying and talking about it the whole way home.  While at the grocery store I thought to check the locations of Build a Bear....there was one 15min away from where the mall we were this point we had perishable food and were 10min from home.  As Muffin was loading the groceries into the car, I secretively called the other Build a Bear location to confirm that they had Care Bears - they did!  Yay!

So, Aunty thought on the way home, and we made plans to go tonight after I got out of work.  We didn't tell Care Bear - we told him we had to go run errands tonight and he had to go with us because his dad would be working and he couldn't stay home without mom.  By the time I left to go home, he was asking if there would be a surprise when we ran errands.....   We told him maybe, lol.   He is a smart kid!!!!

You would think this would be over....but oh no!  There's always more!  You can't make this stuff up.  I got a text from Muffin this afternoon "can we stop at a pet store tonight also?  Care Bears favorite goldfish died this afternoon"  Yeah.   It was his first goldfish (he's had it a year or so I think) and he was inconsolable for most of the afternoon.  Of course I said yes, who wouldn't have!!!

So......... to try to avoid another fiasco tonight, I had the forethought to CALL the other Build a Bear location this morning and have them put one of each Care Bear on hold for us.  I was about to explain why and they didn't even ask!  We had dinner at Muffin's house and then headed off to the other mall to Build A Bear.

He picked two that he wanted (Cheer Bear and Tenderheart Bear), put the stuffing in them, gave them hearts and heart beats, and then picked out an outfit and accessories for Cheer Bear (she's a girl - she needs to be beautiful).  He didn't want to pick out clothes for Tenderheart because he has a lot of Build a Bear clothes at home already, but no girl clothes.  He thinks all women and girls in dresses are beautiful, so Cheer Bear got a sparkly gown, high heeled shoes, underwear and a bow headband.

We stopped and "resurrected" his gold fish (ie: bought a new one) and he was his happy self again!

Here he is, at home, with Cheer Bear and Tenderheart Bear (who managed to acquire clothes once they got home)!  I love this kid so much and it killed me he was so dissappointed last night.  I'm glad we were able to "fix" everything tonight for him!!!

The first picture was taken by me in Build A Bear.... the second was taken by Muffin once they got home!!!

~Chelle *o*

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

2016 Camping Trip to Vermont

I've mentioned here before that I take Muffin's two oldest kids camping each summer as their birthday/Christmas gifts each year (this is their choice).  Since Wolf has been around, he has been coming with us.

This year the kids (hah - they are 17 and 19!!) chose to go to Vermont to go camping (last year was New Hampshire - maybe a post about that at a later date).  Since I bought the new car (yay!) there is not enough room for all of us in the car along with all the camping schtuff (there wouldn't have been room with the old one either, lol).  So, I've rented a Uhaul trailer the last two years for our camping trips.  It seems to work out well....last year I got the open trailer and the car was stuffed with clothes, sleeping bags, etc....  This year I got the enclosed trailer and we had much more breathing room in the car!

We had an awesome time this year.  We went to Silver Lake State Park in Barnard VT. was fairly close to King Arthur, hah!!

Here are some pics from our trip:

Welcome sign and Ranger Station:

Here is the car and the trailer all hooked up.  Thanks to my brother for figuring out how to get the trailer AND the bike carrier in my double hitch!! 

Inside the trailer...before Wolf's things were added!   Coolers were the only thing in the car besides us.

Ben & Jerry's Factory in Waterbury VT!!

We have a some-what obsession with Alpaca's ever since we went to the Alpaca farm on Martha's Vineyard a few years ago.  We love seeing them wherever we go, especially if they are unexpected!! We found them in two different places on this trip!  A Farmer's Market that we stopped at for corn on the cob, and in a shopping center in Quechee.

Here are some cool panoramic pics of the campsite....from opposite sides of the site!

We are sometimes goofy......we bought mustache straws and used them our first morning in camp!!
Wolf, Me, Clydesdale and Sticky Mickey

Big Bear in one of the stores.  They weren't thrilled I took their picture, lol!

One of our outings was to the Polar Caves Park in Rumney NH.  I was expecting cave tours like my family did on vacation when growing was way different!  Lots of fun though!

Clydesdale in a LARGE chair they had : Wolf and I as a Polar Bear and Moose

There was a Kissing Bridge at the Polar Caves Park, so of course Wolf and I had to have our picture taken!!!

Quite possibly the BEST outing of the entire trip (I may be the only one with this opinion, lol).....KING ARTHUR FLOUR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We also did normal camping things....swimming, biking, etc.... but apparently I was having too much fun to remember to take pics, hah!! could I forget CAMPFIRES!!!!!!!!!!!!  Quite possibly the BEST part of camping!!!

~Chelle *o*

My new car!!!

I can't believe it's been so long...but a little over a year ago I bought a new car!!!!!   It's no coincidence that this happened the same time I was hired permanently at the temp job I was at!   I literally bought the car the SAME day I signed the offer letter!!

I did a lot of research before hand and new what I wanted.  I loved (and still do) my Element...but it was getting as expensive to repair as a new car payment would be.  I am sad the Element is gone, however, a gentleman down the street from me ended up buying it, so I can 'visit' it when I drive by his house, lol!!

So what did I end up getting??????

A2015 Honda Pilot!!!!    Blue, of course!!!!!

I absolutely love it!!!!!   I've had it just over a year.


Saturday, August 20, 2016

Trying this again.....

Hello All!

Yes, I know I's been over 2 years since I posted here.  Life has been going on, and life has been crazy at times.  There's no way I could even begin to summarize everything that's gone on in the last two years.   Here are a couple of highlights:

  • I, rather quickly, found another job after the I and my co-workers were laid off from where I was working two years ago.  I love my job (most days)!
  • Wolf is still here - YAY!!!!!
  • Been doing some camping in the summers
  • Still doing cake decorating - mostly for family, friends and friend's kids
  • Still bike riding, though not as much as I was (need to get back in to it)
  • Bought a new car last year!  LOVE it!!!!

That's about all I can think of right now.   I'm going to try posting here every few days and such, we'll see how it goes!