Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

This sure was an eventful Christmas Eve day in the kitchen. I am just sitting down relaxing since 0700 this morning, 20 hours ago.

I am rather tired, but I do want to elaborate on a few things possibly tomorrow. I am just hoping the girls don't wake up too early in the morning. I have been burning the candle on both ends and am now coming down with bronchitis.

Hope you enjoy your Christmas Day. 

Good night to all and to all a good night.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Vegan Sugar?

Did you know there was vegan sugar? I just discovered that today. I am not a vegan, but it was cheaper than the organic pure cane sugar I've been buying. Who would have thought this since cane and beets are plants?

There was an associate at Whole Foods that I asked why this was vegan. I was really surprised by the answer. When sugar is made, bone char is used. According to Whole Foods' website, "Not all sugar is created equal. Our vegan cane sugar is made without the process of bone char making it 100% suitable for vegetarians and vegans."

I am glad I know now that sure is processed with cow bones. After doing a little research, it seems that there is a charcoal filtering process making sugar and this is where the cow bones come in. The bone char (charred cow bones) is then used as the charcoal filter.

I guess this won't really make a difference, but it is a surprising discovery. 

Cooking Marathon

Let the cooking marathon begin! I am officially on the wire for getting all my cooking deadlines completed. I got up at 06:00 this morning and got my kitchen all sparkly clean. Then the cooking began.

Is is now 09:53 and I only have a champagne vinaigrettewhole wheat honey pound cake and chocolate chip cookies (I used maple syrup instead of sugar) completed. This isn't very good. My internet connection was out for a few hours and I had no access to my recipes. We are so dependent on technology. One little foul-up like an internet connection out and we are disabled.

Finally the internet is now working. I have the carrot souffle in progress and will tackle another dish soon. I thought the girls would be excited about helping, but hey have no interest. They are officially on winter break and in TV mode (they watch little to no television during the school week, therefore this is all they want to do).

Well, off to cooking! Happy day to you and yours.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Wind Blown

Happy Winter! Today sure is a blustery cold winter day. I am not complaining, it is just that we are not used to cold winter days like this. Even though it is only 43℉, that cool north wind blowing feels like it is about 30℉.

Yesterday the weather wreaked havoc in our area from the wind. There was an 18-wheeler carrying part of a mobile home that literally got wind swept right off the truck bed causing the shut down of I-10 in Slidell. In addition, there were many other incidences wind related like electricity outages, trees down, fences down, and other miscellaneous events.

My favorite movie-like event happened to me. I went shopping around 2:30 when the wind was in full force. As I was walking from one shop to the next, the wind literally picked me up. I was trying to hold on to a nearby car, but the wind got me. It was a true feat just to walk from point A to point B. It was CRAZY!

Stay warm!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Feeling a Little Green

I was about to get to bed and I hear crying. When I get in there CG is covered in vomit.  If there is one thing I can't stand, it is vomit. It was the most vile thing.

Despite my thought of the bodily fluid in question, I got my little sweet pea cleaned up, hair washed, teeth brushed, and changed. Then she decided she wants her hair blow dried. At this point it is 12:30 and I was getting her bed ready. I hear crying again and all over my sofa this time.

Oh goodness! I just don't understand what's going on with her. No one else in the house is sick. She's been feeling fine except those few moments when she was upchucking. Well, I got the air mattress ready for her in my room.

One o'clock and she's going at it again. I feel so sad for my little one. We are going for clean up number three now.

The night is getting longer and longer and the morning is getting closer and closer.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Eve Menu

Here's my menu for Christmas Eve dinner. I feel like I need to add a few more veggies or sides, but for the most part this is it. Do you think this is enough for 40-50 people? Today will be my shopping day and am feeling overwhelmed. I have done this before and not sure why I'm feeling so anxious. I wonder if it's because I am going the whole food organic route this time.

Assorted Nuts/Fruit/Cheese Tray
Pesto Cream Cheese Bake
Holiday Shrimp
Nutty Date Ball

Red and White Salad with a Champagne Vinaigrette
Artichoke Oregano Antipasto

Carrot Souffle
Hot Buttered Cauliflower Puree
Wild Rice Casserole

Main Course
Roasted Turkey Breast
Slow Cooked Pork Loin
Baked Chicken or Roasted Beef

Pecan Pie
Apple or Pear Tarts
Lemon Basil Sorbet

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Shout Out

Is there anybody out there? Just wondering if anyone reads my blog. Just curious, you know.

Do me a favor. In the comments section, let me know if anyone is there. Leave a comment...anything, say hello, where you are reading from, if my blog really sucks. I just want to know if anyone is there on the other end. Feel free to leave a comment anonymous, just leave something.

Send me a shout out!

Monday, December 17, 2012


Can you say overwhelmed! That is how I am feeling right now. I have six days to plan and prepare a meal for about 50 people on Christmas Eve, prepare one dish for Christmas Day, get everything ready for Christmas, decorate and sanitize our house, and pack for a ski trip. Oh and work throughout the week, too.

I planned on going grocery shopping on Sunday, but it never happened. I mostly know what I'm cooking, but I don't have my list together. I just have to do it and get it done. I thought to let everyone bring something, but I want to be able to eat, too. I have been getting stomach aches and nausea when eating out regardless where it is. So, I thought I would save myself a few tummy aches and add a bit more stress to my life.

I just need to remember to think good happy thoughts when I am getting stressed out preparing everything from scratch and unprocessed.

I may not be around much in the next few weeks because of all the holiday excitement. Have yourself a great holiday and stay safe!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Power of Food

Food is a powerful source of fuel. This fuel can be good or bad. I have been, for the most part, processed-free since October 1, 2012. I have been able to see a clear difference in my overall wellbeing, mood, less fatigued, and just out right feel better.

Now this is the part where I show you how profound the effect food has on our bodies.  The past two weeks I've been in situations of fasting or eating what everyone else is eating. My mother cooked a "special" dinner for us to celebrate our 10 year anniversary. Then a few days later we went out to dinner at a restaurant. Therefore, I ate what was available. Actually we dined out 3 times in 2 weeks + my mom's dinner.

The outcome is very moody and irritable. Since I went processed-free, my mood has been even keel without any outbursts. That's not the case right now. Since last Saturday I have been so irritable and moody. At first I thought maybe it was hormonal, but this has not been an issue over the last 3 months. I am really convinced it is the food. My kids are bearing the brunt of the situation because they are setting me off for the most random and tedious things. I truly need to apologize to them for my voice raising. They noticed something is just not right with me, too.

Some of the foods I ate which I normally wouldn't are white processed flour, white processed sugar, processed cornmeal, bread, and several other items which I know are GMO. Don't think I am nuts. I know these foods are affecting me in such a way.

My big challenge is the role of hostess for my in-laws on Christmas Eve. They want to bring junk food and I would prefer to cook everything for 50 people. I'll keep you posted on how that goes.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Merry Early Christmas to Me

Today was the day I finally got around to addressing envelopes for my Christmas cards. It was going great. It even gave me a chance to update my hardcover address book. I felt shameful at one point because I didn't even have my parents' address updated. They've been at their current address for at least  seven years.

In addition, it was a bit sad because there were so many names there that were no longer with us. I still couldn't allow myself to erase those gone from my book.

As I was about to stuff the first envelope, I showed the card to my friend. She looked at it and said, "Doesn't your last name have an 'i' in it?" Well, yes it does. Why was she asking me that? She brought the card close to me and said, "Look!" I misspelled my last name. What the heck! I could not believe I did that.

I ordered the cards from Shutterfly. They looked awesome except for my mistake. In a state of panic, I called Shutterfly. I gave the customer service rep my order number and she noticed it. I told her I misspelled my last name. She immediately said, "Oh, I see you left out the 'i.'" She rambled a few things, but my brain was still in panic mode.

I was expecting to hear her say I would get a discount if I wanted to reprint them, but no.  She offered me a credit for the same amount of cards plus free two day shipping. How awesome is that? She graciously offered me free card reprints and free shipping for a mistake I made.

Shutterfly, you are awesome! I have been using you for many years and will continue.  Your customer service team members rock. I only wish I could remember the young lady that helped me today around 1:55 PM CST. I have many praises for her.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Baby, It's Cold Outside

This morning we had a blast of winter. The temperature was down to 41℉. It was a big change from our 70 degree weather. My girls thought it would snow. They really want snow badly. Matter of fact, it was four years ago today that it snowed last.

Here's a picture from our snowfall on December 11, 2008. Yes, can you believe that? Snow in Louisiana.

I doubt we will get snow this week, but it sure is nice to get a taste of winter, finally. Stay warm and bundled up!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Headache Help

Do you have any headache remedies? Since my Complex Migraine episode on November 27 post, I've been getting migraines and bad headaches almost daily. I've been given Fioricet, but I don't really like taking it. Lucky for me I am not getting the neurological or stroke like symptoms or even the aura with these migraines, but I am still getting rather intense head and eye pain. It was so bad last night I went to bed at 8:00 PM.

I am not too pleased to have to take a barbiturate daily, but I don't really know of any other means to rid this. I've been going to see my chiropractor, but kind of feel it is making things worse. Since I started seeing him, if I turn my neck a certain way I hear and feel a click and that's when this intense pain appears. Maybe I'm just over analyzing this.

I stopped in Whole Foods and was recommended Butterbur. I purchased it, but haven't taken it yet. I was waiting to hear more about it. I am just doing a bit of research on it now. If you know anything about Butterbur or any other migraine treatment, please let me know. These damn things can be disabling.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Passionate about Heart Health

Have I ever told you how much I love my job and love what I do? Yes, I really do. When I was a little girl I wanted to be a teacher. When I finally got to college I realized how much teachers made and looked into other career options. That's when I decided to look into nursing.

For the first eleven or so years, I mainly worked in cardiac type units such as telemetry, CCU, ICU, and heart transplant. Within the last 8 years or so I decided I needed to scale back my working hours and not be in such high stress areas. Therefore I moved into the echo/stress lab running cardiac stress tests, helping out in the cardiology offices and my newest job as cardiac rehab nurse clinician.This is where my job comes full circle because I am clearly doing what I initially set out to do and love....educate.

Even though I am a nurse, I am the educator I always wanted to be. I spend my working days educating people about taking care of their health and hearts. We discuss diet, exercise, risk factors for heart disease, and what they can do in order to have a healthy lifestyle change.

Monday when I went to work, I had 15 patients that had heart attacks. This number is too high. I might see that many of heart attacks in a week, but in one day....I am slightly in shock by our culture. I try really hard to educate this population as to what one can do to try and reverse or change risk factors for heart disease.  The patients keep getting younger and younger.

Personally, I feel the food we eat is killing us. It is not uncommon to see a patient with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, overweight, diabetic, and a smoker. To have one or even two of these I can accept, but to have all of these is unacceptable.

People, we need to wake up and listen to our bodies! Take a better look at your food. Read the labels. What are you actually eating? How much are you eating? Are you eating to live or living to eat?

I think one of the reasons I am so passionate about writing this topic today is because I lost one of my work colleagues last night. She was in her forties and had a massive heart attack. I am just crushed that I saw her one day walking and talking and the next day she is dead. She has children and grandchildren.

My job proves to me over and over again that if you eat well, exercise, take time for yourself and minimize stress you can avoid the risk factors for heart disease and end up a statistic.

I would like to challenge everyone I know and who reads this to eat well and healthily, exercise daily if possible, do not smoke or chew tobacco, take time for yourself everyday to meditate or just have quiet time, go to the doctor to have your blood work checked, and get a baseline EKG and possibly an echocardiogram.

My personal journey with food has been a great adventure and has taught me many great lessons. I have eliminated about 98% of all processed foods. I no longer use cows milk. I have increased the amount of fruits and vegetables daily. My total cholesterol in September was 179 and the result from last week was 136. I think eliminating the processed junk is a major contributor. In addition, I have minimized the acidic producing foods and try to go with the more alkaline producing foods to eliminate inflammation.

I don't like to preach, but I tend to see a lot of repeat offenders. Stop eating the crap, eat smaller portions, quit smoking, drink water with lemon, exercise, and take your probiotics daily. Remember we have to eat to live, not live to eat.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Greek Yogurt Pancakes

My girls wanted pancakes today, but only yummy pancakes. I've been searching hi and low looking for the perfect recipe and I finally came up with one. Actually it is a variation of several recipes.

Here's my take on Greek Yogurt Pancakes:

3/4 cup Greek yogurt (plain or any flavor) = ~6 ounces
1 egg
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon almond milk (or any liquid; omit if using all purpose white flour)

Mix yogurt and egg until smooth and creamy. Add flour and baking soda and mix well. Add almond milk and stir. Pour onto hot griddle. Flip when bubbling. Remove from griddle when cooked.

This makes approximately 12 slightly larger silver dollar size pancakes or 8 moderate size pancakes.

Today we used strawberry Greek yogurt which gave it a sweet taste drizzled with pure maple syrup. To add your own twist, you could use vanilla in the batter or a sprinkling of pure cane sugar or honey. Personally, I like mine plain without syrup.

These were certainly a hit with my family. I made two batches and they were just about gone before I was finished making them. I had to scoop pancakes off their plates in order to get this picture. They were perfectly moist without being floury or cake-like.  It is always a great feeling of accomplishment when there is nothing left!

I believe this will be our new go-to pancake recipe. Next time I will certainly double it instead of having to make two batches. The great thing is that they are full of protein.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

10 Year Wedding Anniversary

November 30 we celebrated ten years of marriage. That is a decade! Part of me thinks the time has gone so quickly and part of me thinks it passed appropriately. 
We have three beautiful girls to show for the past 10 years. Reflecting back, we sure have experienced a lot of life together. We have had many firsts, wonderful travels, sadly several family losses, hurricane evacuations and renovations, many highs and a few lows, and all in all a great life. 

I planned on posting pictures from our wedding with both of us, but I don't have any. So, it is just me posing. I want to give credit to the photographer, but can't think of the name. If I do, I will certainly put their name up.