Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I can't wait....

The sun is out, the temp is rising, the grass is greener by the day, and I can't wait to......

fill this with flowers and trailing vines...

same thing here......

and here.....

and here (once Carl repairs it and paints it)....

and I can't wait to see the cherry bell blossoms on this trellis.

Until then I can enjoy this little blooming flower...

a daffodil blooming.....

a Lenten rose blooming.....

and at the end of the day Prince Charming and I can sit down at this table and "survey our creation" (my dad said he wanted to do this when he was released from the hospital to come home for the last time- sorry, in a "dad" mood right now).

~  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I also have a recipe to share with everyone.  I made it over the weekend and the boys kind of like it, Carl and I really like it.  I think you could mix pretty much any veggie and dressing with this stuff and it would taste good. 

Wheatberry Salad
A recipe from Healthy Appetite by Ellie Krieger

1 1/2 cups hard wheatberries
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup tart dried cherries, chopped
1 scallion, white and green parts, chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley leaves
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
salt and pepper

*Cover the wheatberries in water and soak overnight or for at least several hours - this will make cooking them easier*
In a large pot combine the wheatberries and enough water to come 2 inches over the berries.  Bring to a boil and cook uncovered for 1 hour, or until tender.  Drain and let cool.  Toast the walnuts in a medium dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant, 2 - 3 minutes (I didn't do this.  I just chopped mine and put them in the salad).

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and season with salt and pepper.

Per 3/4 cup serving (6 servings total):
360 calories, 17 g fat; 9 g protein, 46 g carb; 8 g fiber, 0 mg cholesterol; 15 mg sodium.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Well, I hope everyone has a very bright, warm, sunny week full of laughter and good memories.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

My Dad

Hi everyone, I'm writing this post mostly for me and my family, but I would like to share some memories about my dad with all of you.

Henry C. Keizer
March 28, 1937
November 12, 2009

My dad as a young boy in Chicago.

The ultimate Marine.  The Marines were a HUGE part of his life even until his death.

He was a very active in the Illinois Jaycees, held several offices, and won numerous awards.

My parents Christmas 2001

My dad always had a big garden. (I don't have a picture of his garden, so I had to find one on the web) 

He enjoyed listening to Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Marty Robbins - I specifically remember this album from my dad's collection.

I remember watching Hee Haw and All in the Family with my dad.  He would lay on the living room floor and we would pile around him and usually end up falling asleep and when asked if we were awake, we would use the excuse that we were "resting our eyes". 

He also liked to lift weights and stay in shape.  He enjoyed reading, pickled hearing, licorice, cutting wood (maybe not, but he was always outside getting wood ready to heat our house for the coming winter), and two of his best friends, Peanut and Little Bit.  Click here to see a picture of my dad with the "step-sisters".

One thing that my family can agree on is that my dad loved garlic, and I mean he loved it. 
Whenever we were sick, he would say "take some garlic" and usually would put garlic cloves in socks and make us wear them overnight.  Now when one of us is sick we (jokingly) tell each other to "take some garlic".

So, in honor of my dad, I would like to share some garlic facts and a recipe with you:

* Not only is it antibiotic, it is also directly effective against viruses. It is also anti-fungal and anti-parasitic as well among many other things. It's important for colds AND flus. 

* It helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol counts.

* While elephant garlic has larger cloves, it is more closely related to the leek and therefore does not offer the full health benefits of regular garlic.

* Did you know that National Garlic Day is April 19, 2010? 

* If your rose garden is being attacked by aphids, an excellent home remedy to get rid of them is to spritz the leaves and blooms with a mixture of crushed garlic and water (I don't think my dad knew about this tip).

Did you know that you could buy garlic in a container this large?  Three pounds of garlic!  I had to include this picture in my post because I know my dad would have it in his home if he knew it existed. This was actually purchased from Sam's Club by a friend.

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic
40 cloves of garlic (3 to 4 heads), unpeeled
1 whole chicken ( 3.5 to 4 pounds), rinsed and patted dry
2 tblsp butter
salt and pepper
6 sprigs of thyme
Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Place garlic in a medium bowl; cover with another same-size bowl, creating a dome. Hold bowls together tightly, and shake vigorously until skins are loosened, about 30 seconds. Remove and discard skins; set garlic aside.
Place chicken in a large ovenproof skillet or roasting pan. Rub all over with 1 tablespoon butter; season with salt and pepper. Add thyme, garlic, and remaining tablespoon butter to skillet.
Roast, basting occasionally with juices and stirring garlic, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of a thigh (avoiding bone) registers 165 degrees, 45 to 60 minutes. Transfer to a platter, and let rest 10 minutes. Carve chicken, and serve with garlic and pan juices.
Well, these are just some of the many memories that we have of my dad.  I hope you enjoyed this post even if you didn't know my dad.  Take time to enjoy moments spent with loved ones and keep those memories close to your heart.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Hearty Minestrone Soup Mix

Well, I'm finally getting around to posting the soup recipe that I talked about earlier.  My family really liked it and I will definitely make it again.  Talking about recipes makes me think of food, food makes me think of veggies, and veggies make me think of having a garden.  Speaking of gardens, I recently was at a luncheon at work and the owner of Tranquil Ridge Farms spoke about his farm and other places to buy locally grown fruits, veggies, and meats.  Another place that has great meat is Moody Meats in Ladoga.  Please check out both of those links if you have time.  So while I'm waiting for the bountiful harvest of goodies from my garden, I'll be checking out these places among others and also some farmers markets close to home. 

Are you planning on planting a garden or going to a farmers market?  Do you have a favorite place to buy good quality meats and cheeses?  Sure the prices are a bit higher than what you would pay at a grocery store, but sometimes the taste and quality are well worth the extra money spent.

Hearty Minestrone Soup Mix
A Pampered Chef Recipe

1/4 c. beef bouillon granules
1/4 c. dehydrated minced onions
1/4 c. dried parsley flakes
1 tblsp dried basil leaves
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano leaves
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves
3/4 c. dried red kidney beans
3/4 c. dried Great Northern beans
12 c. water
1 can (14.5 oz) stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 medium zucchini, sliced
2 carrots, chopped
1 1/2 c. (6 oz) dried tri-color cheese tortellini
Parmesan cheese

In large stockpot, combine first 11 ingredients; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover.  Simmer 1 1/2 hours or until beans are tender.  Add 1 can stewed tomatoes, undrained, garlic, tortellini, carrots, and zucchini to soup. Bring mixture to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer 20 minutes or until pasta is tender.  Sprinkle with grated fresh Parmesan cheese, if desired. 

Yield:  12 servings.  

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring is finally here

Spring is finally here - well, if you don't live where the most recent snowfall was.  During the last week we have cleaned out flower beds, rode our bicycles, rode dirt bikes, vacuumed up even more lady bugs, threw some balls for the dogs,  had a small bonfire, grilled a couple of dinners, and saw a partridge in a pear tree.  Ok, maybe not the last one, but it sounded good.  You know it's been a long, cold winter when I am look forward to sun, heat, and warmth.  I even told Carl that I was going to try really, really hard not to complain about the humidity this summer. 

Today Ryan had his first dirtbike race of the season and he finished in 8th place.  The boy has been begging to ride for a couple of weeks now and he had a day or two of practice before today.  Here's a picture that Carl took today - Ryan said he saw the Carl taking the picture and he was trying to get out of it. 

Play practice was tonight.  If you never been in a play, let me tell you that it's not as easy as you would think.  Luckily I have a small part - lucky for me and the people watching the play.  I'm supposed to be a strict exercise instructor - task master, irritated that the lady I'm working with keeps talking and not taking the lesson too seriously.  Well, the lady I'm working with is so good at her part, that I started laughing during practice.  Not good!  I'll have to recruit a few friends plus my husband to help me practice this week.

I do have a recipe to share - made it last week and it received rave reviews from the family, but I'll have to wait until tomorrow to post.  It's a Pampered Chef recipe - Hearty Minestrone Soup - delicious. 

We're watching Amazing Race - I have a few thoughts about some of these people that I better just keep to myself.  But the good news is that Dancing With The Stars starts tomorrow night!!  Can't wait for this season.  Well, time to call it a night. one more day of rain and then good weather. 

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Ladybug, ladybug fly away home

Can I just say that I'm tired of ladybugs.  Tired of seeing them flying, crawling or laying dead on my windows and floors.  Tired of vacuuming them up every night.  Tired of finding them in some of the teeniest, tiniest places - or waking up and finding them in my bed.   And really, I don't know if they are lady bugs or asian beetles but guess what - I don't care.  I just want them to fly away to some other place and get out of my house.   From the bit of research that I've done, it seems that these pesky little boogers like forested areas or settings adjacent to wooded areas.  Guess what folks - I live in a very wooded area.  Well, too bad for me.  If I keep vacuuming they may be gone in a few weeks. 

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

It was wonderful!

It was wonderful, fantastic, just awesome!  Feeling the warmth of the sun.  The wind blowing through my hair.  Hearing the birds sing.  The frogs croaking and all of the other little critters making noise signaling the start of Spring.  It's time that I spend with God.  I felt free and alive.

And it all happened on an 8 mile bike ride.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The beauty of a woman

I found this poem on a blog although I can't remember which one, but I really liked it and wanted to share with everyone.

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.

For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.

For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.

For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day.

For poise, walk with the knowledge you'll never walk alone.

People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed:  Never throw out anybody.

Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you'll find one at the end of your arm.

As you grown older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.

The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair.  The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.

The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul.  It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows, and beauty of a woman with passing years only grows!

- Sam Levenson -

Friday, March 5, 2010

Spring, Exercise, Recipes, and More

Well, I think spring has sprung. The sun was beautiful yesterday and it definitely brightened my mood.  I was even more excited when I saw these daffodil bulbs sprouting. 

Tomorrow Ryan and I are going to the Shrine Circus in Indianapolis.  The entire fourth grade in our county go on this field trip every year and I'm sure it will be a fun day with George.  We're going to take George (Ryan) and some of his friends bowling after the circus so he can celebrate with them.  I don't know how the boy did it, but he's had 3 birthday parties this year.  It must be nice to turn 10!

As part of Fit Friday, I have a recipe to share, a supplement to tell you about, and exciting news (well, for me it is).

 I want to share this recipe with you - it was on 30 Minute Meals with Rachel Ray and it looks so delicious!  It's called Charred Chili Relleno with Green Rice.  The picture doesn't look as appetizing as it did on the show, so please don't let that distract you from making this dish.

Charred Chili Relleno with Green Rice

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock, divided
1 bay leaf
2 cups white rice
4 large poblano peppers
6 ears corn on the cob or 3 cups frozen corn kernels
3 tablespoons corn, peanut or vegetable oil, divided
1 red onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (15-ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained well
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1/2 palm full
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, eyeball it in your palm
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 pound spinach leaves, deveined and coarsely chopped
4 scallions, coarsely chopped
2 limes, zested, juiced
1 cup shredded Chihuahua cheese, Asadero or Monterey Jack

Preheat broiler or grill pan to high.
Heat about 3 1/2 cups stock in a sauce pot with a bay leaf to boiling. Add rice, cover pot reduce heat to low and simmer 18 minutes until tender.

Place poblanos under broiler or on hot grill and char evenly all over, 15 minutes.
While peppers and rice are working, scrape the corn off the cobs or defrost frozen corn and dry by spreading out on clean kitchen towel. Heat 2 tablespoons light oil in a skillet over high heat. When the oil smokes or ripples add corn, onion, jalapenos and toss until the vegetables char at edges and onions are tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-high and add in garlic, fire roasted tomatoes and season with cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook another minute or 2 then turn pan off.

Place the cilantro, spinach, scallions, lime zest, half a cup of stock and a tablespoon of oil in food processor and process into coarse green paste. Stir into your rice pot in the last 3 to 4 minutes of its cooking time.

Sprinkle the lime juice over the corn mixture.

Split the charred peppers open but not in half with small sharp knife then scoop out the seeds with a small spoon. Place peppers in a shallow baking dish and stuff each split pepper with lots of the corn mix, top each pepper with 1/4 cup cheese and place back under broiler to melt and char the cheese.

Serve peppers on beds of green rice. Yum-o!

Please take a moment to check out Colleen's blog and see what everyone has shared on her Weekly Recipe Swap.  I always find a good recipe or two to try when I visit.

 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The next thing I would like to share is a supplement that I purchased at GNC called Tonalin CLA.  I was told that this supplement would help reduce belly fat.  Supposedly it is a fatty acid known for promoting good health. After looking at decades of research scientists have found that CLA may help the body to deposit less fat, build more muscle and may even help prevent fat cells from refilling.  If you would like to read more about CLA or Tonalin CLA, please click here and here and here.  Now I know that there is no "magic pill", but a little extra help can't hurt.  I'm going to track my progress and promise to report back weekly.

 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

For my last bit of news to share - on Monday, I tried out for a part in a play at the theater (The Vanity Theater) in town.  It's called "The Women" and I am going to be the exercise instructress.  It's a small part which is good - I've never been in a play before and don't have a huge amount of time to devote, but I do want to do something other than "work".  To see a review of the 2008 movie, click here, or to see a review of the 1939 movie, click here.  I think this will be a good thing and maybe my boys will eventually want to try out for some plays.

Have a wonderful, sunny, warm weekend everyone! Spring is on it's way!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Happy Birthday to . . . .

Spud    My youngest son   My baby   Spaz   SuPEr spA
Rhino-Dino   Ry-Ry  Ryan Gecko  Little Man   George    Little Sac

also known as . . . .


My sweet little boy that can turn on the charm when he thinks he's in trouble or wants me to buy him something. 

A boy of very few words.  And I mean very few.

A little brother that loves his big brother.

A son that adores his father.

A boy with a tender heart.

A lover of Legos.

Today he is 10 years old and we can't believe how fast the years have gone by.

Happy Birthday Ryan!

Love, Mom, Dad, Kyle, Harley and Snickers

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Wrong Choice

Ok, I admit it.  I've been sucked in by The Bachelor.  Does anyone else watch that show?  Did you watch the final show last night?  What did you think?  I wonder how much editing is done and what has been taped that we don't see because I think he picked the wrong person.  Things must be different than what we were shown.  I only hope St. Lucia hasn't been altered - it was beautiful!
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