Monday, November 22, 2010

It's been 14 years! Our special tradition.

Just thought I would share something personal today.  Fourteen years ago, on November 22, 1996, my hubby and I got married and began our journey together.  Along the way we have had four beautiful children we adore.

We believe in eternal families and since our family began the day we got married, we like to celebrate our special day with our kids.  Every year they get excited for our anniversary, it's like a birthday for them since we always do something special together.

A tradition for the past few years has been going out to a fun restaurant where they cook dinner in front of us.  Flying utensils and shrimp tails always get the kids giggling.  My favorite part is when flames shoot out of a volcano of onion rings.  I love to watch as they are motionless in their chairs, wide eyed with their mouths hung open.  Afterwards, we always end the evening with ice cream at Baskin Robbins or Cold Stone.

Unfortunately this year, we all have the sniffles.  We are doing something different while keeping with the spirit of doing something fun and special.  For lunch, we all ordered our favorite dishes and doing take out from the best Thai place in existence.  Following we are going to cuddle up and watch the movie, A Christmas Carol, that came out last year. (We haven't seen it yet)

The children are going to be surprised when we make homemade Oreo cookies. We saw this recipe awhile back and I wanted to wait for a special day to make them because will power only goes so far when you see these.  For dinner we are having various appetizers, per the kid's request.

This has become a fun tradition for our family that will carry on for years.  I'm interested in seeing how this tradition will play out as they grow older.  Until then, I look forward each year to share it with them.

(This isn't a good photo, I took it with my iPhone from the original.  We need to scan the original and make it digital. It's on my "to do" list.)  

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pumpkin & Squash...OH MY!

This summer we grew a boatload of squash.  Seriously.  The amount we grew could have easily filled a small boat like this:

You think I'm kidding? I should have taken a photo.

Nevertheless, we have A LOT of squash to eat.  Luckily, we love it so it will be a great to eat from our harvest over the winter.

I've often wondered if you could truly substitute squash for pumpkin.  I've always assumed you could, but never got around to confirming my thoughts.  Recently, my mom beat me to it.  She substituted in a recipe and brought some over for us to try. It was very similar, but she also messed with sugar substitutions, so that might be why I'm a little reluctant in saying it was an easy swap--there was more than one variable.

I saw a recipe on Twitter today that I want to try HERE.  I have all the ingredients minus the pumpkin and I'm craving something sweet.  If I have enough time, I think I'm going to do a little subbing of my own.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Polenta Cornbread

Nothing tastes as good as homemade, nothing.  I've always made cornbread from scratch.  A few years back, we discovered a new way of making it by accident.

One evening for dinner, I went to the fridge to grab the corn meal.  I didn't have enough for the recipe so I announced that we wouldn't be having it.  My oldest daughter asked if we could use polenta instead since it was dried corn. At first I thought that was a crazy idea.  They are two totally different ingredients, right? Nope.  Both are corn meal, poleta is just ground less, it's courser.  If you want to see what I mean, compare the two meals.

Due to the courser corn meal, the bread has a little chew to it.  I'll never go back to regular corn meal for our bread.

San Francisco Polenta Bread 

1 Cup Flour
1 Cup Polenta
3 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Milk
1/4 Cup Oil
1 Egg, Beaten

Preheat oven to 425' F.  Place all ingredients in mixing bowl and blend.  Pour into 8in square pan and bake 20-25 minutes or until brown.  May also be baked in muffin tins.  Serves 6.

(From the side of the Golden Pheasant Brand Polenta bag)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Guest Post on the blog: Life As I See It.

Hello!! I'm a guest blogger on Life As I See It today.  Be sure to go check it out as I answer the question, "What inspired you to start writing?"

Friday, November 12, 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Little Vlog About Me


I think I might vlog tonight. I have a few ideas and it might be fun -- or I might horribly embarrass myself.  Either way, someone will get a good laugh.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Holiday Game Plan

I know I have a case of undiagnosed OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).  Those who know me personally will not argue with this statement either.  When I first recognized some of the signs, I have to admit, I was a bit concerned.  But then I made the decision to work with it, embrace it and to make good use of it.

Photo Credit 
How do I make OCD work for me? OCD comes in very handy when cleaning something.  I am particular when cleaning and not a nook or cranny is left unclean.  When I set out to do a project, I don't stop until it's done, completely done. It's especially fantastic when it comes time to set goals.  Last year, I worked out all 365 days of 2009 not necessarily because it felt good, but because I made a goal.

So in the spirit of setting goals and making progress, I've decided to workout every day during the holiday season.  Today is day four of November and it's my fourth workout.  I forgot how much working out at night helps me with my cravings, it's amazing.

The holidays are rapidly approaching and I know this goal will keep those sneaky holiday pounds from catching me off guard.  A simple workout done on a daily basis makes a huge difference.  When I started to write my book, I stopped working out so I would have more time to do so. (Not the best of ideas) The result of this decision was that I put on 10 pounds over the summer. TEN POUNDS!! Not because I ate more, but because I moved less.  Fifteen minutes on the elliptical a night works wonders and I highly recommend it.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Day After Halloween

Photo Credit
This happens every year to me.  No matter what my thinking is, it's never good enough.  I know that Halloween is coming and I prepare for the day by telling myself that I can enjoy the day.  If I only indulged on holidays, I wouldn't have a weight issue.

But then the next day comes.  I was resolved to not touch anything from last night.  My kids have been trained well.  They each dumped their candy into a big gallon zip lock and disappeared with them.  This is good, out of sight, out of mind. But what stayed behind? A nice full plate of my aunt's delicious cookies and brownies.  I looked at them first thing this morning.  How are you supposed to eat your normal, boring breakfast when you have a plate of goodies staring at you?  I should have just thrown them out, but that would be wasteful.

I haven't been looking forward to today since we the reality hit that our vacation was over.  I knew it would be hard, and getting up to face the day was.  My house is thrashed from all the unpacking and laundry mixed with Halloween decor. Thank heaven my husband was kind enough to straighten up a bunch last night. Halloween decor is so annoying to see on November 1st.  Also, NaNoWriMo officially started at midnight last night and all I really want to do is write, not teach or clean.

In efforts to keep my priorities straight, I turned a blind eye to the house, started school and grabbed an oatmeal cookie for breakfast. It was certainly a compromise wouldn't you say? But what's come back to bite me is my kids.  Somehow they have actually learned the good quality of sharing and they are doing just that.  How am I to turn down shared candy from my kids? I can't.

So this is my plan.  I will NOT allow myself to sneak their candy.  (This is where I have found myself in trouble in the past) If they offer, I will make the decision at that time and hopefully it will give me a moment to choose the right.

I lost about 5 pounds while gone this week and I would like to keep it that way.  I think I might also commit myself to a nightly workout starting tonight.  If I can tap into my perfectionist tendencies and do the elliptical everyday for the next few months, maybe I will not only get through the holidays with my current jeans but also in a daily habit again for 2010.  Hello holiday season!