Healthy body, healthy spirit, healthy mothering. This is the journey I have set out on with my two amazing children.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

1 a day

I found this one-a-day meme that runs for 30 days. I thought I'd see if I can keep up.  I figure I have a chance now that school is almost done for the summer. 

Day 1-Introduce, recent picture, 15 interesting facts 
Day 2-Meaning behind your blog name 
Day 3-Your first love 
Day 4-Your parents 
Day 5-Your siblings 
Day 6-A picture of something that makes you happy 
Day 7-Favorite movies 
Day 8-A place you’ve traveled to 
Day 9-A picture of your friends 
Day 10-Something you’re afraid of 
Day 11-Favorite TV shows 
Day 12-What you believe 
Day 13-Goals 
Day 14-A picture you love 
Day 15-Bible verse 
Day 16-Dream house 
Day 17-Something you’re looking forward to 
Day 18-Something you regret 
Day 19-Something you miss 
Day 20-Nicknames 
Day 21-Picture of yourself 
Day 22-Favorite city 
Day 23-Favorite vacation 
Day 24-Something you’ve learned 
Day 25-Favorite memory 
Day 26-Picture of your family 
Day 27-Pets 
Day 28-Something that stresses you out 
Day 29-3 Wishes 
Day 30-a picture 




So today is Day 1.  


This is me.


I like this picture because I look like I'm about to make a smartass comment which is something I do.  A Lot.  

15 Random Facts
  1. I go by Tia when online but that is not my name.
  2. I am too lazy to shave.  If I am not dating anybody I generally don't bother.  
  3. I love purple.  I even painted a wall in my house purple because I love it so much.
  4. I LOVE spaghetio's.  I eat them straight from the can.
  5. I was a horrible mother when my kids were very little.  Mothering does not come naturally to me.  I'd like to think I am getting a little bit better every day.  That's my goal anyway.
  6. I have 6 tattoos.  My favorites are my kids signatures.
  7. I love to cook.  Trying new recipes is one of the most relaxing things in the world to me.
  8. I will read almost anything I get my hands on.  The exception, anything with violence against women.  That makes me ill.
  9. I am too lazy to dye my hair.  Someday soon this may change as the grays are beginning to take over.
  10. I love the fact that my kids still like to sneak into my bed at night.  I figure someday all too soon they won't want to anymore.
  11. I am VERY competitive.  I don't think I have ever let my kids beat me at a game.  Not even when they were itty bitty playing Chutes 'n Ladders.  It just isn't my style to pretend.
  12. I answer any question my kids ask me.  This has led to many initially awkward pauses while I try to figure out the appropriate level of truth for each kid and subject.  So far we have covered marriage, divorce, masturbation, birth control, domestic violence, drugs, physics, family arguments, religion (ours & others), how hamburgers are made, what jello is really made of, every organ system in the body and so many more.
  13. I hate to clean.  Hate.  It.  I'd rather curl up into a good book and pretend I don't see the mess.
  14. I believe we should never stop learning.  This is why I'm 36 years old and still trying to earn a bachelor's degree.  
  15. I bought a fixer-upper about 3 years ago.  I still haven't really fixed much.  



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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

WIAW Easter edition




It's the last week of school.  I took my 1st final about an hour ago and I am heading into 3 more finals during the next week.  I took extra pictures of Easter dinner in preparation for what I knew was going to be an insanely busy week.  I didn't want to miss out on WIAW but I am not really cooking this week.  :)


I prepped and/or cooked almost everything the night before.  Eggs were boiled and cooled, potatoes & carrots made completely, cauliflower casserole put together, cake made & decorated.  Come Easter Sunday I put the ham in the crock-pot, made the whipped cream for pink stuff & made the deviled eggs.  I dropped the kids off at their Great-Aunts for family time & I headed up to physics tutoring.  The kids and I didn't actually get to sit down to eat until after 7pm.  :)  It was worth the wait though.






 Mashed potatoes & carrots.  :)



 Cauliflower Casserole.


This is usually a broccoli casserole but I had like 3 pieces of broccoli left and an entire bag of cauliflower. :)



 Ham with a plum-glaze.  Yummy!



 Pink Stuff.  A sickeningly sweet family tradition.



 From the store rolls.  No time to bake.  :(



 Tooter acting like a vacuum cleaner.



 Bunny Cake



Neva guarding the pink stuff.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Meal Planning Sunday

I sense a theme.  This is posted on Monday although I do the actual "work" on Sunday.


Hmmm.

Does that mean it is actually Meal-Planning Monday?

Either way this week is the easiest meal-planning EVER.


Seriously.



EVER!




Why?  Because with Easter so late this year and this being the last week of classes before finals we will be having...


Are you ready?









Leftovers.

  • Ham Sandwiches
  • Shepherds pie (I deliberately made extra mashed taters for this)
  • Hambone soup (from the crockpot)
  • Full-on Easter dinner (ham, taters, cauliflower casserole)
My first final is in two days (anatomy cadaver lab) then I have a paper due Friday.  Two more finals Saturday, 2 days of rest then another final Tuesday May 3 followed by 3 days of rest and the final final on the 7th.


Wish me luck.  :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Meal-planning Sunday (the late version)

I totally did my usual weekly meal-planning on Sunday but I completely didn't want forgot to post it.  ;)

My excuses err reasons?

  • Sick, sick, sick I have a headcold/allergies/sinus thingymabob that is KICKING my butt!
  • So very tired
  • Kids were whiny (or was that Momma?)
  • We rented Aliens in the Attic and chose to watch that instead
The kids and I wanted to figure out what we were going to make for Easter dinner so I spent more than an hour going through old Cooking Club magazines, cookbooks etc...We settled on
  • Ham: Either a molasses glazed or a plum glazed
  • Broccoli Cheese Casserole
  • Pull-apart garlic infused bread (Neva picked this one)
  • Basic salad
  • Pink Stuff
  • Easter Bunny cake 
  • Honey Mustard Deviled Eggs

As far as what we plan on eating throughout this week?  
  • Beans--I did another big pot of pinto beans.
            --I plan on using these to make some sort of loaf or patties and as a side.
  • Italian Vegetable Soup I saw the recipe on a blog somewhere...I have to find it again.
  • Smashed Potatoes--this is what my kids have always called baked potatoes because they get to smash them and put whatever toppings they choose on them.  :)  I like to top mine with beans, salsa and cheese.  YUM!
  • Some sort of Mexi-quinoa-bean dinner.  I do love me some quinoa.  
How about you?  Do you have any particular meals planned for this week?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Quinoa: It's whats for dinner.




It's WIAW time again, thanks to the lovely Jen from Peas and Crayons.

This past week was all about the quinoa.  I had never made it before, I'm not even sure if I'd ever had it before but the blogosphere seemed to be filled with recipes so I decided to jump on the bandwagon.  I headed to my not-so-favorite "healthy" store (a mass-marketed shop filled with more non-organic than organics) because my Natural Grocers was out of this ingredient that day.  :(


B: As usual breakfast tends to be either a chai or a coffee plus whatever fruit I can grab as I am racing out the door.  I eat/drink it in the car while racing to campus.  I NEVER go to my cadaver class on an empty stomach as it seems to make the smell so much worse.

Morning Snack: Raw almonds, some dried apricots and lots of oh-so-good for me filtered water.  :)  I ate these bad boys while hiding in my favorite library cubicle and studying something.  Or maybe I was just reading my favorite blogs.




L: The best quinoa casserole.  Lightly sauteed veggies (red peppers, onions, corn, spinach) add some cilantro and black beans to the quinoa.  Toss and eat.  I topped mine with some yummy fresh made organic salsa.


 Saute-ing the veggies.



Yum!  Eaten while studying cranial nerves.


D: Spicy Black Bean Cakes

I got this recipe from my little sis MonkeMama.   Basic Recipe came from Debbi Does Dinner which my sis forwarded to me.   As usual I had to mess with the recipe and make it my own.  

Bean Cakes:
1 onion, minced I used 3/4 onion 
6 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 jalapeno peppers, diced I used 1 can of green chiles
1/2 red pepper I upped this to 3/4 of a red pepper
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes We like spice so I upped this too
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed I used fresh made black beans (so much better!)
Salt and pepper
1/2 tsp. Epazote (or cumin or adobo spice or whatever) I made the beans with epazote so I added a TON of comino instead
1 cup sweet potato, grated (packed in the cup, don't skimp)
1 egg
2 pieces of 40 calorie bread, toasted and crumbled I used a mixture of cornmeal & packaged bread crumbs I needed to use up






Lime Sour Cream:
1/2 cup sour cream, light I used kefir instead
2 tsp. lime juice I had no limes so I juiced some clementines :)
1 small jalapeno, minced Again, canned green chiles
2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
Salt

Saute veggies & spices then add black beans and mush, mush, mush.  I stopped with the fork and just used my hands.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix then form cakes.  I fried these in olive oil and they came out fine.  :)    I topped them with the kefir sauce and the kids and I inhaled these babies.  I had lots of leftovers for school lunches (lasted all week).


Crappy phone picture.  sorry :(


These were SO FREAKING DELICIOUS!!!  

What have you been eating this week?

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Pardon me. I think I lost my machete.

I've gotten so far off track lately that I feel like I'm trying to wiggle my way through some sort of invisible Amazonian jungle and I have no map and no freaking machete.

I am struggling to even pass my physics class this semester.  I hate it.  Usually I try to reserve the word hate for the biggies; wife beaters, child abusers, rapists, Hitler...see where I'm going with this list?  But my frustration, disgust with myself for my ineptitude and overall anger at all things physics lead me to think that I really do HATE it.  I've got a tutor which an amazing friend keeps paying for (although I WILL pay her back), go to an extra class which means Wednesdays I see my kids for about 5 minutes at 6:55am before I race out the door and I am studying and trying but I just don't get it.  I feel like such a failure.  Perhaps I should buy a dunce cap and try to make that my new style?  On the other hand at least I am not alone in this.  I literally just heard a girl sigh, "Oh, Fuck you Physics" from the next cubicle over, here in the campus library.  Am I a bad person for laughing out loud at that?

I didn't stick to my financial budget for about 2 months and that has come back to bite me in the ass.  Kel needs braces (like that was a surprise) and I don't have the cash to get them for him.  I hate hate hate borrowing money and the "affordable" care credit plan has a 14.9%APR.  Give me a freaking break.  So he waits at least another year because his momma got lazy and didn't stay focused.  I'm sorry baby boy for not providing the best for you yet again.

The car is about to die and my pitiful $1000 emergency fund isn't going to cover it.  The washer doesn't want to agitate which agitates me.  So I start a load of laundry and I sit and wait for the now familiar screechy whine of the motor as it futilely attempts to spin.  I race to the machine, reach in and give it a hand.

I sit and I wait for pathology results.  Nerve wracking is what that is.  My screwed up choices from the past are coming back with a vengeance.  I know the results will most likely be just fine.  I trust my doctor but that doesn't stop the worries from racing around my brain.  I can block them out during the day (and I do because I have to try to focus) but my sleep is suffering for it.  I dream of leaving my children alone.  Who will take care of them?  How do I choose a person to raise them for me?  I dream of hospital beds and tubes and machinery and I am alone.  I dream of dark, damp spaces that I can't escape.  What's the answer?  Focus on God?  Why?  Is He going to come down and help me?  Uhhhh, nope, not in my experience.  Be still and listen?  To what?  I want to feel that peace that I read about.  The inner calm that comes from knowing, without a doubt that you are not alone, as Christians like to say, that you are in the world but not of it.  I don't have that peace.  I'm not sure that I believe it really exists.  At least not without a serious pharmaceutical boost.

I think that the universe is telling me to stop this attempt at finishing college and start working full-time again.  We need the money.  I don't make much in my crappy retail job but at least that way I could be saving to save my kids teeth, right?  On the other hand, I know that this frustration is temporary.  I know that.  I want to be the me that just finds a way to make do.  Things suck? Stop dwelling on it and trudge forward.  Hack my way through the jungle of my life.  Normally I can do that, I really can, but lately?  Like I said.  I lost my machete.


Where the hell is my freaking machete?

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

This was the YUMMIEST week EVER!





Oh my Goodness!

I had the best time cooking this week.

Yum!

Yum!

Yum!

So for this weeks WIAW I am posting, not what I ate on one specific day but some of my fave foods of this past week.  :)

Dessert/Afternoon Snack: Baked Cinnamon Apples

 Before


Chop some organic apples, sprinkle with turbinado sugar & nutmeg, add about 1/4 C water and throw in a cinnamon stick.  This was in the crockpot on low for about 3 hours.  So go-o-o-o-od!



Ready to eat!



Dinner 1: Salmon with Roasted Dill Potatoes

Ready to add the salmon



Don't they look delicious?


Just cut the potatoes and toss with a bit of salt, pepper, dill and olive oil.  Bake at 400 for about 20 minutes.  Then place some delicious salmon in the pan and bake for another 15ish minutes.



Wild Salmon marinated in Annie's Tuscan Italian Dressing.


Dinner 2: Fideos aka Mexican Noodle Soup

I love this soup.  Usually its made with ground beef (at least in my family) but I did a mostly veggie version.  First you brown the fideos or thin spaghetti in oil.  Watch it cuz it burns quickly!  Pull noodles out and pat them off to cut the grease.  Then in the same pot  saute 1/2 diced, small onion, 2-3 cloves of garlic chopped and some sliced baby bella mushrooms in your pot.


Browned thin spaghetti



Put the noodles back in and add 1 can diced tomatoes.  Salt & pepper a couple dashes of crushed red pepper flakes and enough water to completely cover the noodles.   I personally like mine more soupy so I add extra water, thats a personal preference though.  :)   Here's where it went non-veggie, I threw in a little chicken base for extra flavor.  Bring to a boil then simmer for about 20 minutes.




Almost done


I had some extra epazote because I was also cooking a bit pot of black beans.  I crush it in my mocajete.



Epazote


I use my small strainer to keep the epazote from entering my soup.  I just want the flavor although it is completely edible.


This is how I keep the epazote out of my pot.


I cut some corn tortillas into strips and baked them in the oven for some texture.  Plus, the kids really like it when we make our own chips.  :D


Baked corn tortilla chips.








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Monday, April 04, 2011

What is this planning you speak of?

Well its time for another challenge from Toni over at ABFOL.  It's already week #10 and we are working on our menu planning.  I saw this challenge on the perfect day.  Sunday.  That is when I do most of my meal planning anyway.  :)  Those organized ladies have binders with printed menus and their favorite recipes all typed up and organized.


That is so not my style.  I have cookbooks but only if something is an absolute FAVORITE as in the kids will ask me to make it again and again do I bother re-writing it into my recipe file.  Let me clarify.  I have a itty bitty binder that holds 3x5 notebook cards; I have had this system for about 10 years now and it works great for me.  Here's the categories.

  • Desserts
  • Casseroles
  • Potato dishes
  • Poultry
  • Pork
  • Beef
  • Salads
  • Soups


We all know that I am not an organized person.  I am trying but well, it's definitely a struggle.  My meal planning consists of checking the sales to see if there are any great deals.  I also get weekly emails from both Coupon Mom and Coupons.com; these are both wonderful helpers for my food budget.  I generally know what I have on hand and between sale shopping and in stock foods I start poring through my cookbooks to figure out what we will be eating.  If I know I have a crazy week I lean towards crockpot cooking.  This week I have an exam Tuesday night (which means I don't get to eat with the kids) and Wednesdays are always my eat out at school nights.  I love to cook and trying new recipes is one of my favorite things to do.  So, outside of spaghetti, holiday staples and beef stroganoff (my fave food EVER) I just don't do a lot of repeat meals.

One time saver for me is the fact that I don't have to plan breakfasts.  I usually make a smoothie in the morning and the kids drink what's left before heading to school where they eat a full meal 5 days a week.  Weekends we do fruit, smoothies or if we wake up some sort of eggs.  :)  Lunches are at school for the kids and I take leftovers from dinner.  So really, I only need to plan our dinners.  Isn't that nice?

This week blogland has been filled with recipes I wanted to try so I made sure we had ingredients for those.  All I needed from the store was some quinoa, 1 bell pepper, sweet potatoes (I was out), fresh cilantro (herbs aren't planted yet), mangoes and clementines (which were on sale).

I began by making a big ol' pot of black beans, lots of brown rice and another big ol' pot of fideos aka Mexican Noodle Soup.


 Rice already made for the week




I can always heat the rice as a side, turn it into a casserole or even make it into yummy mexi-rice-muffins which my mom made for me as a kid and now I make for my babies.  


I pulled the leaves of cilantro off of the stalks.  I will be using cilantro in at least 3 recipes this week so none of this will go to waste.  I tossed a few stalks into my black beans and froze the rest to be thrown into soups, stock etc...I needed some cilantro leaves for my fideos and froze the rest to be used later.



 Cilantro stems



 Fresh cilantro


Every week I like to make enough beans to last us the week.  I'll eat them plain usually but this week I am making black bean cakes and a mexican quinoa skillet that they'll be tossed in.



 Black beans bubbling away.



Fideos


I was craving Fideos so I did what I always do and headed over to La Estrellita, the only restaurant nearby that makes this even close to the way Grandma makes it.  My heart broke a little bit when I realized they had closed their doors.  

Where was I going to get my soup!?

After a lot of googling and a fairly long phone call to my Tía I came up with my own version of this soup and it was go-o-o-o-o-d!  We had it for Sunday dinner and I have enough left for lunch 1 or 2 days this week.

I know this isn't true meal planning the way those organized ladies do it but it works for us.  It keeps me away from last minute fast food runs and helps us to eat healthy meals at the end of a very long day.