Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Reluctant Vegetarian - Thanksgiving menu

For the first time in many, many years, I am cooking Thanksgiving dinner.  Normally, we are invited to my mother-in-laws house and we yummy up all of her cooking.  Unfortunately for our bellies, she is not here.  Time for me to woman up and hit the kitchen.

Here is our menu for the day:

Appetizers: Deviled eggs, olive and cheese tray
Main:  Glazed lentil loaf, stuffing, cranberry sauce, potato salad, whipped sweet potatoes
Desert:  Pumpkin cheesecake, coffee and eggnog

If we were going to my mother in laws, believe me it would be different.  Everyone gets their own pie.  There would be turkey and mashed potatoes, and no doubt, some type of rolls.  I just don't have that ambition in me, and one day of diet killing is sufficient.'

One of the lessons that I have learned this year is nobody wants to come to a vegetarian's house for Thanksgiving dinner.  Ouch, but I understand.  Really thinking about spending the money for an organic turkey next year, but I hear they run about $100 a bird. Yikes!  Talk about gobbling up your checking account.  

The rest of our day will be family time.  Hubby has agreed to spend time with us today, but that is tough on him, he'd rather be working.  It's a bit ironic that as I type this, there are some definite snoring sounds coming from his recliner.  Maybe it's time to join him in a nap.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Lovin' Life and thankful everyday 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Highwaymen

Sometimes insomnia is sweet.  Like last night, when it was just such a push to get a resistant Stormy to bed.  Hubby went to bed early, I mean like 8:00 early and it seemed like a good idea for all of us to get some extra rest.  Finally, after extra stories, Stormy was in her own bed and I am wide awake.

Since the hubster was snoring soundly I didn't think he would mind if I surfed YouTube on my tablet.  I am so happy I did, because I found a concert that flooded me with childhood memories.   With every song sung, I found myself remembering truck rides with my dad, dinners at the lodge with the jukebox blasting, school dances and hanging out in the kitchen when we had company over listening to them pick at their guitar.  Listening to this concert was just like spending an evening with old friends.

I wish that I could have gone to The Highwaymen concert.  Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson together are the best.  I truly miss music like they sing.  It was music with heart in it.  It was music about things that mattered, life and love and freedoms and events.  It wasn't afraid to mention Jesus or honor our soldiers.  I know there was plenty of love gone wrong songs but even those seemed real.

I don't listen to popular music anymore.  It's agenda seems to be to promote sex and drugs, and the artists seem to be chosen, not for their talent, but other, er, abilities.  Miley Cyrus comes to mind as I type this out.  

So I applaud those men.  Thank you for sharing your music even though it meant baring your soul.

Lovin' Life with a tear in my eye.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Hated Elliptical

I woke up tired this morning and not motivated.  That must mean that it is time to make a list of things to accomplish and publish it to the world.  I mean, I'd hate to show off to everyone just how lazy I can be.

More than anything, I really need to work on getting my body better.  I am on a wonderful diet, which I will write more about after I have given it more time.  Let's just say, I could do better.

This weekend I will try, try try to...

1.  Drink more water - really just drink more liquids.  I'm feeling very dehydrated

2.  Only eat when hungry - I'm totally sabotaging my weight loss lately with snacking.

3.  Exercise - which means the hated elliptical.  When my treadmill gave up the ghost I thought it would be fun to change things up and buy an elliptical, I was very, very wrong.  I hate every minute of it but I only have room for one piece of equipment and this is it for now.  I may dust off some Paul Lam videos and get in some Tai chi.  If you haven't checked out Paul Lam, you should.

I am a fan of Tai Chi because it forces me to stretch and the video make sure that I do it for the right amount of time.  I know my limits...I will never become a warrior.

Ready, set, go!  Happy weekend to all.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Snickerdoodles - Now and Later

My weekend hours at home are very precious to me.  I love every minute of it, from giving myself permission to sleep in (which I very seldom do) and actually planning on snuggles and tickles with Stormy as well as "me" time to do personal research and hobbies.  It can be challenging because I have a large chore routine to get through.

Every weekend, I have the same chores to accomplish.  From baking bread, and cookies, to scrubbing the kitchen and bath, laundry, pre-school with Stormy, maintaining the on-line store, food storage and foraging.  I try to accomplish as much as I can on Saturdays because so much of Sunday is set aside for worship.

I wish that I could do some of these chores throughout the week but I come home tired from work.  I don't have a physically challenging job but it emotionally drains me.  I work for a dentist and I pretty much do whatever needs to be done in the office, from assisting chairside, to making appointments and sterilization.  My main job is as a financial coordinator, which is a nice way of saying that I'm the person that does all the collections from insurance companies and people.  

Everyday I deal with people who are in horrible pain and do not have any money.  We live in an depressed economical area where the majority live from paycheck to paycheck.  They literally have to choose between dental care or paying their electrical bill.  Seldom a day goes by where there is not someone in tears that sits at my desk. It stresses me out to the max to take a persons last dollar.

To help me out and save me time in the kitchen, I make my on convenience mixes.  This weekend, I really wanted to make Snickerdoodles and I did bake up a batch of them.  While I had all the ingredients out I also measured the ingredients into 3 more batches for the future.  Every time I bake, I do my best to make multiple batches for the future.  It is just as easy to make 4 batches as it is one.  On weekends, where I am really pressed for time, have unexpected company or need a quick gift, I can grab a jar.  Right now, in my pantry I have mixes for cakes, cookies, breads, cream of whatever soup, and other soups. 

I prefer  to use canning jars for my mixes, but when it doesn't fit in a jar I use our vacuum sealer.  Jars are easier to clean than the bags, and yes, I reuse my food saver bags, unless I use them for meat products.

Why not just buy the mixes or the pre-made baked goods?  Because I am very picky about my ingredients.  Packaged goods that you purchase are full of refined flours and sugars and GMO, non-organic crops.  Not what I want for my family.  There are times that we fail.   Hubby brought home poptarts the other days and the kids really enjoyed them.   I fussed at him a bit but every now and then they sneak in.

So there you are.  One of my kitchen secrets that I would love to share with you.  Almost all your recipes can be adapted and there are plenty of cookbooks and websites to get you going.  One of my go to websites is

Lovin' life eating a Snickerdoodle.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

(I'm Not Granola but) I Am A Reluctant Vegetarian

"You know, for being a vegetarian, you sure don't like to eat vegetables".  

If only I had a dollar for every time I heard that!  But I cannot deny it, I really do not like to eat my veggies, and most people would consider me a vegetarian.  So much so, that my mother in law gave me a box of Vegetarian Times magazines, that I finally had to burn because I'm not that type of vegetarian either.  I'm not an environmentalist and meat is delicious and I am not opposed to eating it.  So why have I've not had a big, fat juicy hamburger in years?

I simply refuse to eat anything that has been through a feed lot, slaughter house or chicken house.  The meat that is processed through such a facility is gross and disgusting, pumped full of hormones, antibiotics, and vaccinations.  Ehwwwww yuck.  

I also think that there are many health benefits from being a vegetarian.  Since I became one, I am very seldom ill.  The same is true with Stormy, in her young 31/2 years she has been sick only a few times.  My yearly blood test is always in a good range, no signs of heart disease or diabetes but I do have to supplement vitamin B.  

You also save a lot of money by not purchasing meat.  It easily shaves $100-$200 off our monthly food bill.  So what do we eat?  I've adapted almost all of my recipes to be meatless.  We love Mexican food and use beans in place of meat.  Lentils make a great "meatloaf" and there is a way to prepare tofu to make chicken nuggets that will fool you.  TVP (textured vegetable protein) is a good substitute for hamburger.  It gives the look and texture of hamburger and takes on the flavor of your spices so bring on the sloppy joes.  There is a brand of sausages out there that we love (but are expensive) that I use to make jambalaya and pizza.  Let' just say our pant sizes say we are not a deprived family.

There are plenty of drawbacks as well.  It is very hard to find restaurants to eat in. Alaskan restaurants are not known for their vegetarian options.  My usual order is a side salad with a side of fries - how boring.  If I can, I will search out a Mexican restaurant and get some cheese enchiladas.    Mmmmmm, cheese enchiladas....

I do occasionally eat wild game and wild fish, mostly salmon.  Neither my husband or I hunt or fish, so we are at the mercy of generous friends.  Luckily for us, we have plenty of friends.  

So at best, I am a reluctant vegetarian.  One day, we will have our own livestock that we will take care of and harvest quality, organic meat.  Until then, I'll keep the bean pot boiling.

Lovin' life 

Monday, November 4, 2013

I'm Not Granola but...

For the past year I have been making my own skin and hair products.  This weekend I made some shampoo, two different types of lotion and some bath soap.  


Making the products is simple and you get to be creative.  The bath soap in the wooden mold is a goat's milk base and I added some carob, mint and coconut to make a Chocolate Mint soap.  Mmmmm, sounds like a delicious combo to me.  I make my shampoo out of coconut milk and castile soap, depending on my mood I will add different essential oils.  The two different lotions include my everyday type and some bronzing bars I made.  It was interesting to make the bronzing bars.  To make it, you have to infuse coconut oil with coffee for hours.  After awhile, I got tired of babysitting it on the cook stove and moved it over to the wood stove and gave it a stir whenever I had to load up the stove.  I do sell some of my products on eBay in order to get the tax benefits but mostly we use them or I give them away as gifts.

Everybody wants to know why I bother with it all.  It would be easier and, in some cases, cheaper to buy them.  Believe me, I'm not the granola type or an earth muffin but I do believe in organic, toxic free products for a healthy body.  My research has proven to me that the less toxins our body has to eliminate, the more energy and time it has to repair and renew.  Since, I have the goal to live to be 100, this is important to me.  I'd encourage anyone who is currently battling an illness to do their own research about cleansing our bodies and homes from chemicals.  

Lovin' life squeaky clean.