Saturday, October 29, 2011

Inspired by Pinterest

Carter's 12 month photos:

Special thanks to our friend Sherilyn who took these photos.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

There's a WHAT in my drink??

So, Carter's birthday was this weekend (pictures coming soon), which means our house was packed full of family for a couple of days.. Which also means I wasn't going to sleep very well, being a light sleeper and all. I was up early every day, due to Carter's schedule.. definitely not by choice, preparing for his birthday party and guests.

So, I depend on my daily Diet Coke in the morning. Call me addicted, whatever. I don't care. It's delicious.

On Sunday morning, I decided to finish the Cherry Coke Zero I'd left on the coffee table from the night before. It'd be flat, but hey, it'd still taste good.

Later that morning, Graham, 2 of his brothers and I were playing pinochle before church. I was leisurely sipping my soda, enjoying our card game.. when I got to the end of my drink and something NOT liquid slipped into my mouth. I thought it might've been crumbs or something that accidentally made its way into my soda can. I spit it out and took a second look...

It was a freaking PINCHER BUG!!

I screamed for 10 seconds.. And Graham's family laughed for like 10 minutes. Can you believe the bug was still alive after chilling in my drink all night?! Ick.. even just typing this story makes me itchy.

So, ladies and gentlemen.. I now fully believe in karma. Let me explain why.

A few nights ago, I was cleaning up after dinner on the dining room table. Graham often leaves crumbs on the table after eating (we had corn muffins, so it was extra messy), so I was scooping them into my hand. Since Graham had left his soda on the table, I figured it was empty, so I dumped the crumbs and grated cheese into his soda can. When I picked the can up to throw it away, I realized it was practically full. A normal wife would probably dump out the soda and tell their husband about it.. An evil (ok, maybe mischevious) wife like me would do something different..

I left the can on the table and didn't tell Graham. When we were watching TV together later, I asked Graham is he was going to finish his soda. He went and grabbed the can and drank away. I somehow held my laughter in as he kept drinking. As he got near the end, all of a sudden he started gagging and ran to the sink and spit out the soggy crumbs/cheese. By then, I'm cracking up... literally tears were running down my face (see.. am I not totally evil?).

Graham was still gagging, trying not to throw up. You see, soggy bread is his ultimate enemy. He will not even finish the last bits of hamburgers if the bun gets soggy at the end. He was yelling, How the heck did this happen? What is in this can?

By now, I can hardly speak I'm still laughing so hard. I did confess that it was an accident.. but Graham vowed that somehow he would pay me back. As it turns out, he didn't have to. The pincher bug was payback for my joke. Tit for tit right?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My Dietary Guidelines

So, I've been doing lots of research for my 30-day challenge of consuming a whole-foods, plant-based diet.. And I've decided I want to make some modifications to a few of the recommendations. As a Registered Dietitian, I think I have that right..  :)

1) The doctors in Forks over Knives promote a practically vegan diet, including no added oils or fats, including nuts and avocado. I am not going to follow this recommendation. I, for one, do not feel it is necessary to avoid all fat and I'd like to avoid fatty acid deficiency, which I thought I had freshman year of college. (I didn't--it was just dry skin from the cold Utah weather.. I also thought I had scurvy the following year. Sigh.. I'm crazy. That's what nutrition classes do to you!) I will stick to my canola oil, olive oil, and butter (if necessary). I will consume nuts if they are present in a dish. Since Graham is allergic to tree nuts, I doubt I'll be eating them much.

2) No dairy products are allowed on this diet. I don't drink milk and I don't eat yogurt hardly ever, so that's not a big problem. The bigger issues are butter, cream cheese, and cheese. What I'm going to do is avoid the fatty cheeses like cheddar, and stick to small amounts of parmesan, if needed.

3) Nothing with a face or mother. I am going to avoid all meats and meat products. No eggs, bacon, chicken, nothin.. However, I do have chicken and beef stock that I may use, in the sake of not going broke buying vegetable stock.

4) Nothing artificial, like Diet Coke, Pam spray, etc. If you know me, you know that I must have my diet soda in the morning. Therefore, I am not giving it up.

5) Whole grains without added fat or sugar. This is where it may get tricky. As with #1, I may just have to ignore the "no added fat" recommendation. The no added sugar also rubs me the wrong way. I think I'll just ignore this for now, and just avoid added sugars when possible.

As you may or may not know, I get free food at the hospital I work at.. which means I will probably have to bring in some food to work. Seriously, the only fruits they have every day are apples, oranges, grapes, and bananas. Boy am I freaking sick of apples and I can't stand bananas.

I received a panicked call from my sister today about my "vegan" challenge. She was concerned about my plan for Thanksgiving. Don't worry.. I will consume some turkey that day in the name of tradition. I also clarified my dietary goals..

I'm going to follow the Word of Wisdom (WoW). Now, for you that aren't LDS (Mormon), we have guidelines on how to take care of your body, i.e. no alcohol, coffee or tea, drugs, tobacco, etc. There is also a recommendation to "eat meat sparingly". I'm going to go off on a little tangent right now. Not to knock some people (ok maybe I will..), but some LDS people are so strict about the WoW that they believe caffeine is of the devil because it is in coffee/tea. I cannot say for sure why we have been asked not to drink those items, but for me, it doesn't mean caffeine. But, these same people who avoid all sources of caffeine willingly eat meat every day, possibly even every meal. Is this "sparingly"? I doubt it. It's a bit ironic don't you think? Where are all of the Mormon vegetarian supporters huh??

So, that's my plan in a nutshell. We'll see how it goes!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Radical Change

I am considering a radical change in my lifestyle..

I am thinking of converting to.. VEGANISM.

Well, actually, more like a plant-based, whole foods diet.

I know what you're thinking. It's the same that I'm thinking... That's impossible.

Also, isn't a strange for a Registered Dietitian like me who preaches about "moderation in all things" to try an "extreme" diet?

But, I'll tell you what I've been thinking for the past few weeks. A Dietitian friend of mine recommended this documentary called "Forks over Knives", which promotes a plant-based, whole foods diet. It has pretty much changed the way I think.. It even has inspired Graham to exercise more, stop eating his Costco muffin every morning, and drink less soda. After watching the movie, we committed ourselves to more meatless meals every week, and made a goal of more physical activity.

But, remember when I got diagnosed with high cholesterol  (actually, re-diagnosed since I was previously diagnosed with hypercholesterolemia when I was 8 years old).. I haven't had it re-checked, since I was pregnant and everything, which makes your cholesterol go up anyways. I was pretty much resigned to the fact that I will have to go on a statin (a cholesterol-lowering medication) when I'm done having babies. I mean, a life without meat, without FAT, without treats.. it seemed like a life not worth living.

But, as I sat here (in my Spanx), feeling uncomfortable and fat, I realized it doesn't have to be this way. I don't have to have high cholesterol. I don't have to be overweight. I don't have to go on my way to a heart attack.. I've always felt that I could lower my cholesterol if I just followed a vegan diet, but I wasn't willing to go there..

But, I'm going to try it for a month, starting November 1st.. and I'm going to blog about it. More details coming later...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mommy Confession

So, I have a secret about something I've been doing for the past few weeks..

I got the idea from Christina Applegate's character on the show Up All Night, which, by the way, we love.

So, to give you an idea of what this is.. She offhand said something about her having to wear 2 pairs of Spanx and a girdle to look the way she does.

So I thought, hey I have a pair of (imitation) Spanx, why don't I try and see how I look in work clothes with tummy control hose improving my figure...?

Let me tell you ladies.. If you have a persistent saggy belly from pregnancy, this stuff will do wonders. I've worn them under jeans, work pants, etc. The panty hose developed a pretty big run in it, so I decided to cut them off to make my own shapewear. Now, that was not a great idea, as my cheap-o shapewear now has legs that roll up under my pants and drive me insane, but it works for now.. until I can afford real Spanx shapewear. I feel more confident now that I don't look like I'm still pregnant, and I have a more streamlined look.

Another bonus: I have a decreased appetite, because my stomach is squished and it can't fit a ton of food under such pressure!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

New Look + Cake Recipe

I changed the template to my blog. What do you all (all as in the handful of family and friends who read this) think? Are the leaves too distracting?

Anyways, I will have some pictures to post soon. Carter is turning ONE in a little over a week! How fast the time flies!

Like I said before, I am loving Pinterest right now, but I wanted to add one of my own pictures to the mix, so I am posting an amazing recipe for America's Test Kitchen/Cooks Illustrated for a delicious cake. I've made this a couple of time, and it has turned out awesome! The strawberries don't hold that well, so make sure the cake will be eaten within 1-2 days of putting it together (not like it'd be difficult to finish).
Strawberry Cream Cake

  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour (5 ounces) (essential here--don't use all-purpose)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 cup sugar (7 ounces)
  • 5 large eggs (2 whole and 3 separated), room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • Strawberry Filling

  • 2pounds fresh strawberries (medium or large, about 2 quarts), washed, dried, and stemmed
  • 4 - 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Kirsch (I didn't use)
  • pinch table salt

  • Whipped Cream

  • 8 ounces cream cheese , room temperature (I used reduced-fat and it turned out ok)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 cups heavy cream

  • Instructions
    1. FOR THE CAKE: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour round 9 by 2-inch cake pan or 9-inch springform pan and line with parchment paper. Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and all but 3 tablespoons sugar in mixing bowl. Whisk in 2 whole eggs and 3 yolks (reserving whites), butter, water, and vanilla; whisk until smooth.
    2. In clean bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat remaining 3 egg whites at medium-low speed until frothy, 1 to 2 minutes. With machine running, gradually add remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, increase speed to medium-high, and beat until soft peaks form, 60 to 90 seconds. Stir one-third of whites into batter to lighten; add remaining whites and gently fold into batter until no white streaks remain. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then invert cake onto greased wire rack; peel off and discard parchment. Invert cake again; cool completely, about 2 hours.
    3. FOR THE STRAWBERRY FILLING: Halve 24 of best-looking berries and reserve. Quarter remaining berries; toss with 4 to 6 tablespoons sugar (depending on sweetness of berries) in medium bowl and let sit 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Strain juices from berries and reserve (you should have about 1/2 cup). In workbowl of food processor fitted with metal blade, give macerated berries five 1-second pulses (you should have about 1 1/2 cups). In small saucepan over medium-high heat, simmer reserved juices and Kirsch until syrupy and reduced to about 3 tablespoons, 3 to 5 minutes. Pour reduced syrup over macerated berries, add pinch of salt, and toss to combine. Set aside until cake is cooled.
    4. FOR THE WHIPPED CREAM: When cake has cooled, place cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Whisk at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Reduce speed to low and add heavy cream in slow, steady stream; when almost fully combined, increase speed to medium-high and beat until mixture holds stiff peaks, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes more, scraping bowl as needed (you should have about 4 1/2 cups).
    5. TO ASSEMBLE THE CAKE: Using large serrated knife, slice cake into three even layers. Place bottom layer on cardboard round or cake plate and arrange ring of 20 strawberry halves, cut sides down and stem ends facing out, around perimeter of cake layer. Pour one half of pureed berry mixture (about 3/4 cup) in center, then spread to cover any exposed cake. Gently spread about one-third of whipped cream (about 1 1/2 cups) over berry layer, leaving 1/2-inch border from edge. Place middle cake layer on top and press down gently (whipped cream layer should become flush with cake edge). Repeat with 20 additional strawberry halves, remaining berry mixture, and half of remaining whipped cream; gently press last cake layer on top. Spread remaining whipped cream over top; decorate with remaining cut strawberries. Serve, or chill for up to 4 hours.

    Saturday, October 8, 2011

    Tuesday Morning (the store)

    Their motto is: "First Quality. Legendary Savings."

    I don't know how many of you have actually been in one of these stores, but I recently found one in my area. Now, I do want to first disclose my bias against these types of liquidated products from department stores and the like, such as Marshalls, TJ Max, etc. I cannot stand shopping in these stores. They stress me out. Like one stand-up comedian said, going into a Ross is like walking through downtown Beirut.. i.e., like a clothing bomb has gone off. These jeans the wrong size? Just throw them to another aisle!!

    So, I was looking for some stuff from Michael's the other day when I noticed a Tuesday Morning store a couple of stores down. I ventured in, wondering what the heck they have in there..

    I walked around in a stupor.. do they really have pajamas and bras on sale from before I was born? Are the kitchen appliances supposed to have dust on them? Are crocheted kitchen towels really still in style? Shouldn't the merchandise at least look new?

    I only lasted for about 5 minutes when I literally ran from the store, vowing to never go in there again.

    Seriously, Tuesday Morning stores are the stores that time forgot.

    Thursday, October 6, 2011

    My 1st experience with couponing

    So, I've never been one to clip coupons. I thought it wasn't worth my time, it was mostly processed junk food (and I still think a lot of it is), and it wouldn't benefit my family.

    However, I came across some couponing blogs from women in the Pacific Northwest (Frugal Living NW and Thrifty NW Mom), and I decided that I could spend a little time reading their blogs with deals and clip coupons occasionally. I found a deal to get the Seattle Times for 46 cents per issue (Sundays only), and I started clipping coupons last week.

    I found some free deals on the blog for toothbrushes, and some good deals for cereal with Albertson's doubler coupons.

    So, off I went to Albertson's for cheapo cereal. First mistake: I went right after work, when everybody and their grandma go to the grocery store! Second: I didn't double check the price on the computer. Third: when I noticed how much it cost, it was too busy and I was too scared to ask the cashier if the price was wrong. So, my shopping trip wasn't as productive as I'd hoped.

    Lesson learned: always ask the cashier if the price is different than you thought.

    I remembered this on my trip to Rite-Aid today when my free toothbrush was actually $2. The cashier responded nicely, and it was fixed quickly.

    So, my deals ended up totaling to $7.00 with the following as loot: 2 toothbrushes (including one battery-powered), 1 container of spreadable butter, and 2 boxes of Cheerios.

    Still a good deal even though I didn't get a steal on the Cheerios.

    Wednesday, October 5, 2011

    Heaven on a plate

    Obviously, this is not a food blog or anything close to it. I can't make up my own recipes, nor do I have a good enough camera to take a good food picture in the slightest.

    I do, however, like to try new recipes all the time. Graham likes to brag that we didn't have the same meal twice for the first year of our marriage. That probably isn't true, but it makes me smile.

    Anyways, I've made this slow cooker chicken with lettuce wraps a couple of times before, and it's always been good. This time, I added coconut rice and it put the meal over the top. It was AMAZING.

    Just thought I'd like to share:

    Sweet and Sour Chicken with Mango Lettucs Wraps from A Year of Slow Cooking.

    --We used ground turkey from Costco instead of the chicken, and used apricot-pineapple preserves instead of the mango jam.

    Sweet and Savory Coconut Rice from Our Best Bites.

    --No changes to the recipe. One hint: do NOT use a Le Creuset French Oven to cook rice. It doesn't cook right.

    Sunday, October 2, 2011

    Carter's Creed

    So, apparently Carter is learning to fend for himself at daycare. He got into a fight with an 18-month old baby for a toy, and Carter won. It was a toy vacuum. Was it worth fighting for? Probably not. Carter does have an unhealthy obsession with our vacuum though, but that's a different story.

    Anyways, I was talking to someone about this story at work, and she referred to me a poem called A Toddler's Creed:

    If I want it,
    IT'S MINE!

    If I give it to you and change my mind later,
    IT'S MINE!

    If I can take it away from you,
    IT'S MINE!

    If it's mine it will never belong to anybody else,
    No matter what.
    If we are building something together,
    All the pieces are mine!

    If it looks just like mine,
    IT'S MINE!

    If it breaks or needs putting away,

    Yes.. definitely looking forward to the next few years!

    Ch ch ch ch ch ch Changes

    One thing is for sure about this home building process.. There will be changes! Quick Update : drywall is nearly done. Our project manager...