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Archive for January, 2009

weights

Where have I been??

Well, I had intended for my next post to be about bread, specifically Sweet Potato Knots with Maple Butter and my own versatile recipe for Whole Wheat Bread.

However, I also intended to post a picture of the rolls, and that would require me to make the rolls. And if I made the rolls, I would eat them. All of them.

I’ve not been eating much bread as of late. Instead, I’m doing nearly an hour of aerobic exercise every morning except for Sunday, and restricting my daily calorie intake to 1500 or less. You see how that doesn’t leave a lot of room for flaky, soft, steamy rolls. With maple butter.

I started doing a fun set of in-home walking videos before Christmas, which really helped to avoid that extra holiday weight. Then a few days into January, Amy at Amy’s Humble Musings posted a 12-week Challenge with a rather sizeable prize to be won for most percentage of body weight lost. I am very competitive, and had already gotten into the habit of regular exercise, so I decided to participate. I think Amy’s prize is quite safe, I haven’t made any startling progress as of yet, but I am seeing some good results in addition to the few pounds I have lost.

I feel more energetic, am able to keep up with my kids a little more, no longer have the need for that afternoon nap, am sleeping better at night, and am less prone to mood swings.

I’m also enjoying a wide range of healthy, vitamin-dense, low-calorie foods, with a few doses of healthy fats thrown in here and there. My George Foreman Grill with removable plates has become my best friend! The omelette plates are great, I can whip up one egg plus one egg white, divide the mixture between two of the wells, and load it all up with broccoli, onion, tomato, and chopped red pepper. A little salt and pepper, and a sparse sprinkling of cheese on top (after removing the omelettes!) and I have a healthy and delicious meal, perfect any time of day!

Tell you what….here’s a link to the rolls from one of the Gooseberry Patch cookbooks…imagine a beautiful pile of them heaped into a pretty basket, lined with a colorful linen napkin, with a lovely dish of the maple butter sitting beside it, in one of my glistening vintage glass condiment bowls.

Wish me well on my journey…I do feel that such measures will pay off in the long run, helping me to be a more focused and engergetic mother, wife, and child of God. I see this as a means to an end…I tread carefully in this area, as goals of health and fitness could quickly be magnified out of proportion in my life. Yet good health and a fit body could also be invaluable as I strive to serve the Lord in my home, church, and community. And habits that necessitate discipline are to be sought out and encouraged.

And so, on with the day!

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FD/market25

Ah…a fresh, new year. Slowing down a little from the maddening pace of the holidays. Time to forge ahead with the posts on entertaining…let’s get cooking!

I am supposedly famous for my salad. I find this very humorous, since it’s so very easy to throw together, and I really think the credit goes more to Paul Newman than to myself <grin>. However, when I bring a salad to a function and casually slip it onto the table unnoticed, I will almost always be approached later on and asked “Is that your salad??… I thought so!”

Now you too can make a “famous” salad!! Grab a cutting board, a lettuce spinner, and a good sharp knife for chopping.

First, the ingredients:

One package (qty. 3) romaine hearts, I prefer organic because there is less likelihood of the lettuce having a bitter taste.

One small package grape tomatoes, rinsed (the ones that look like football-shaped cherry tomatoes)

Crumbled gorgonzola cheese

Pecans (whole, pieces, candied, whatever you like!)

Sweetened dried cranberries

Chopped green onion (sometimes I leave this off if I know my company doesn’t care for onions)

Newman’s Own Original Olive Oil and Vinegar Salad Dressing

I take each romaine heart and cut a couple inches off from the top, where the leaves are a bit wilted and sometimes dirty. Discard. Then I chop all of the lettuce up, not too coarse and not too fine…roughly little 1″ squares. Place lettuce in a salad spinner, wash and spin dry.

Place washed, dry lettuce in a large serving bowl, preferably one that is wide and shallow. You could also use a platter with deep sides. Place desired number of tomatoes on top, spreading out evenly. Then sprinkle on cheese, pecans, cranberries, and green onion. The color combination is absolutely lovely, and the flavors are delicious!

If I am serving this at home, I carefully drizzle the salad with dressing, being careful not to use too much. I have never had a single complaint about the taste of the dressing, and I really do think it’s the Newman’s Own that makes this salad so tasty. If I am bringing the salad to an event or delivering a meal, I bring a small size bottle with me and leave it by the bowl.

Variations that I have used:

Substitute baby spinach for romaine, blue cheese for gorgonzola, and fresh sliced strawberries for the cranberries.

Substitute organic spring mix for the romaine, crumbled goat cheese for the gorgonzola, and sliced fresh pear for the cranberries (slice pear right before serving, it tends to brown easily!)

and a personal favorite…

Make croutons in your toaster oven out of cornbread. Just cut up cubes of sweet cornbread, line tray with foil sprayed with cooking spray, place bread on tray, coat lightly with cooking spray, and toast until edges are golden brown.

Use salad recipe as a base but replace gorgonzola with some shredded cheddar that you shred yourself off of a good quality block of cheese, like Cabot. Add crumbled bacon, cranberries are optional here (but I leave them on!) and top with the cornbread croutons. This pairs especially well with a meal of barbequed chicken and baked sweet potatoes.

Happy chopping! My next post will be all about bread to serve with that beautiful salad!

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Kids Unlimited

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(allposters.com “Mother pushes her two babies on a swing”)

A new sign on a familiar stretch of road caught my eye as I was driving yesterday. A local daycare had changed it’s name and it’s sign, and the words “Kids Unlimited” all fresh and clean and new caused me to do a double take…I then began to ponder the name itself. Kids Unlimited?

Limits are important for all of us, but especially for children. Do we really want our kids to be “unlimited”? Rules, boundaries, and restrictions are necessary for training young hearts and minds.

“Bedtime is at 8:00”

“You may not eat too much candy”

“No running in the house”

“You musn’t say that, it isn’t polite”

…there are of course certain areas of our parenting that should indeed be free from restrictions…we should love our children as unconditionally and abundantly as we possibly can. Our children should have unrestricted access to our hearts…to our wisdom, our affection, and our prayers.

I did a search for “boundary” on an online Bible site…scores of verses about lands and “ends here” and “to this valley” with names of places and people came up…God is a God of boundaries. A God of order and structure and discipline. Psalm 16:6 says “The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.”

Yet God by nature is boundless and infinite. Because God is good we can trust him to be “unlimited”. Give your children the gift of limits, lovingly set boundaries for them, and each day point them to the One who is limitless, rich in mercy, abounding in lovingkindness, vast, immeasurable…”God Unlimited”.

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