Quinoa is some seriously good stuff!

Quinoa (play /ˈknwɑː/ or /kɨˈn.ə/Spanishquinua, from Quechuakinwa), a species of goosefoot (Chenopodium), is a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. It is a pseudocereal rather than a truecereal, or grain, as it is not a member of the grass family. As a chenopod, quinoa is closely related to species such as beetsspinach, and tumbleweeds. (courtesy of Wikipedia)

Don’t laugh now, but I started reading about Quinoa in my research for healthy things that the birds can eat that don’t involve seed diets from a bag. I watched a video for making “Chop”  made by Patricia Sund and thought that the stuff actually looked like it might taste pretty good 😉 Off to Native Harvest I went and there on the shelf it was, just waiting for me to take it home. Okay that’s a little dramatic, but it’s kinda what I felt like when I saw it.

Cooking it is super simple, 1 part Quinoa to 2 parts liquid. I cooked ours tonight with chicken broth and it didn’t need anything else. I’ve also seen recipes where you make it like fried rice too, going to have to try that soon. After I brought the liquid to a boil, I put the lid on and simmered it for 15 minutes while I heated up the stir fry to go with it.

I can safely say that there will be very little white rice cooked in this house again, because the nutritional value for the Quinoa far surpasses that of white rice and the taste is subtle and a bit on the nutty side. Trust me, if Momma will eat it, you’ll like it.  So, my friends head out to Native Harvest here in town and grab some. I’m guessing that you can probably get it at Martin’s too, I would look in the pasta/rice aisle.

Happy Cooking 😀


Asparagus Wraps :D

Dinner tonight was super easy and incredibly tasty! I managed to remember to take a picture after it came out of the oven but completely blanked on the actual prep part 😦

Asparagus wrapped in boneless skinless chicken breasts

3 – 6oz boneless skinless chicken breasts

3 tbsp Parmesan cheese

1/2 lb tender asparagus spears

1 tbsp olive oil

Seasoning to taste: oregano, basil, sun-dried tomato, salt, pepper, garlic powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place each chicken breast into a zip-lock bag (or between two layers of wax paper, whatever works for you) pound out thin. Cut chicken in have width wise. Coat bottom of baking sheet with olive oil or use a non-stick cooking spray. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on chicken breast. Place 1/6th of asparagus into the chicken breast and wrap with chicken. Place on baking dish seam side down. If it will not stay together, place toothpicks in it to hold it together and of course remove before serving. After all wraps are made, sprinkle tops with seasoning. I did not use salt on them and found that they tasted just fine. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and juices run clear.

As you can see I had a few extra spears of asparagus so I just rolled them in the olive oil that was already on the pan and sprinkled with a little seasoning. They came out really well, almost like asparagus bread sticks for lack of a better description.

We served this up with a simple salad and fat free (and taste free, I won’t be sharing that recipe) ranch dressing.

Happy cooking 😀

Tomato and Parmesan Baked Tilapia – oh so good!

I have to share this recipe because it was absolutely phenomenal and so dang easy to make 🙂

Tomato and Parmesan Baked Tilapia

4 tilapia fillets (4oz each)

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

1 med tomato, thinly sliced


½ cup bread crumps

¼ cup grated parmesan

1 tsp oregano/sun dried tomato and basil seasoning

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 ½ tsp olive oil

  • In small bowl mix topping ingredients, set aside.
  • Spray baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Place Tilapia on sheet, top with tomato slices (about 2-3 depending on the size) to cover. Spoon topping mixture over tomatoes. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Weight Watchers PointsPlus value: 5

Yield: 4 servings

Christa let me borrow a wonderful Taste of Home diet cookbook that takes things we love and makes them friendlier. I modified their Tomato Walnut Tilapia recipe to include what I had available. Seriously, the best fish I think I’ve ever made 😀

Happy cooking!

A new journey…

Everyone has heard the old adage “A journey begins with one step.” My new journey begins with something different, it begins with “I will succeed.”

I’m inspired by my friend Christa Bauserman and the way she has changed her life for the better. I, too, want to be healthier and happier. Thus my journey…

I’ve decided to follow the Weight Watcher’s PointsPlus program to help with loosing weight, feeling better overall and making a lifestyle change rather than just following a diet. The word diet and I are not friends, we never have been and it’s really looking like we’re never going to be.

A lifestyle change, now that I know I can make happen. Five years ago in April, I found out the hard way that I was diabetic. In my heart, I knew it all along but I wouldn’t accept it because quite honestly I was afraid of taking insulin shots. WOW, that was a moronic fear on my part. Those very insulin shots are a part of what keeps me alive today, so bring on the needle! I HAD to modify what I was eating of I was quite simply going to die and at 32 years old I was no where near ready for that.

So, here I sit today having gained back all of the weight I’d lost before my diagnosis. That weight gain is my fault because I didn’t take the initiative to learn all I could about insulin usage and what the side effects of it could be. In short, I was eating to the insulin and not using the insulin to the food because I’m on a long lasting version that I take once a day along with several pills.

I decided a month or so I guess that it was time to get really serious about this again because I didn’t feel good anymore, I had no energy and none of my clothes fit right. Enter the pool at the Wellness Center. I rejoined and started walking in the water again as well as doing a number of different water exercises. The first few days my “everything” hurt, I couldn’t sleep at night because my legs were absolutely killing me. I stuck with it though, praying for the day that at least part of my “everything” didn’t hurt anymore. I’ve reached that point thankfully.

Back to Christa, I’ve watched as she worked out at the Wellness Center with friends, watched as she stuck to the Weight Watchers plan and now she’s reached her goal. She has always been beautiful, both inside and out… but now she positively beams without even knowing it. I’m ready to beam again, I beamed when I had lost all the weight from being sick and had just come out of the hospital with a new outlook on life. Somewhere in there, my light dimmed and I turned right back to my best friends… bread, pasta and potatoes. Not a good thing. I let stress in my life control me, I let the comfort of food lull me in and now it’s time to back away from that. Cold turkey? Um No… I don’t want you guys visiting in me the psych ward or anything ;).

My Weight Watchers kit arrived today with everything I need to get started counting points. I’ve spent many nights over the last week or so reading everything I can find about how the system works and why it works. Christa has offered to be my go to person for questions, for that I am forever grateful.

I didn’t do anything differently today than I normally would, in so much as I didn’t deprive myself of anything. I ate what I normally would, at the times I normally do and found at the end of this day that I still have 9 points left if I feel like a snack in a bit. If that snack comes and it turns out to be fresh veggies, which are chopped and ready in the fridge by the way, then I’ve still got those 9 points. I felt like I could breath a sigh of relief after I recorded everything I’d eaten today (and yes I was brutally honest about it) and I still had something left over. I like the fact that even if I get to the end of the day and I’m over by a few points that it’s okay because I have a weekly bank that I can draw from and I get additional points from working out in the pool based on what I do and how long I do it.

Sounds a little complicated when you read it all like that, at least I think so anyway. It’s really not, it’s so completely straightforward that I know I will succeed!


Party on the Porch – Take One!

Last night, we had the BEST time around here that we’ve had in a long time!  Now don’t get me wrong, we have a good time laughing on the porch pretty much every single day that we can sit out there and not freeze to death.  

On a whim last weekend, I asked Patti and Jr to come over for dinner. DJ, Alli, Nikki and Bradley came along too :D. After a week of feeling like I’d been hit by a truck, then backed over by the same truck a healthy dose of the Johnson was exactly what the Dr ordered.

We had ourselves a little bbq complete with rain shower just before time to cook out. As the burgers and dogs were cooking, I was being steamed like a crab who wasn’t bright enough to run the other way when he saw that chicken neck on a string coming. That’s okay, it was for a good cause! I bought some “Super Dogs” at Aldi especially for my girl Patti, if you know who Morgan is on Criminal Minds and you believe in stereotypes then I need not describe these dogs any further *evil grin*. Chips, pasta salad and a kickin fruit salad completed dinner. I don’t slice up grapes and scoop the seeds out for just anyone you know… you’re welcome ;).

After dinner we all retired to our spots on the porch and began the laugh fest. You have NO IDEA how thankful I am that I waited until today to take the new fluid pill, just no idea!  I would have had to send poor Uncle Steve, as we call him, out to Walmart to get me some Depends. At our next “Party on the Porch” I will be passing out Depends at the door. It’s for everyone’s own good.

Jr and I decided that as the summer progresses and it gets hotter that we’re gonna get those little kiddie pools from Walmart. We may end up having to segregate them for beer drinkers and none beer drinkers and deal out chlorine pellets accordingly.  I’m bringing a little bottle of blue food coloring with me *hehe* Can’t wait for folks to start jumping in lol!

I should have taken notes on all the things we laughed about because quite frankly this blog is seriously lacking in humor compared to last night. Next time guys, just ignore the fact that I’m sitting out there with a giant crayon and a steno pad. I’ve just voted myself Secretary of the Party on the Porch Committee. Now we need a President and a Senior Regent ;). Maybe I’ll make up an application, I know we can have all kinds of fun filling those things out. LMAO

And finally before I forget, dang it Patti those Sea Salt and Cracked Pepper Potato chips are just so freakin good! I needed another craving like I need another pet lol. Love ya girl!


Adventures in caramel pie making…

Recently we were sitting on the porch talking with someone, I’m sorry I can’t remember who and the subject of pie came up. I have no idea what made me think about it this morning, but something did so I thought what better to do on a cool (read cold) cloudy Monday than start typing up the recipes we used to use. *Side note, do you know how many tries it took me to spell recipes right? Sad very sad ;-)*  

I remember being in my early 20s and deciding to make Nanny’s Caramel Pies. I pulled out the old cookbook and checked to see what ingredients I needed. When I read the recipe, I thought it said 4 CUPS of jelly, not 4 tbsp.  You can see where this is headed can’t you? Off to the store I go to buy 2 jars of grape jelly.  I go about my business mixing everything up, still oblivious to the fact that I am not doing this right. Time to pour everything into the pie shells, do you think I figured it out then. Nope! I remember pouring it in and thinking that this sure was soupy, I hoped it would set up. I also remember looking at it and thinking that I didn’t remember Nanny’s pies being purple. 25 minutes later, I check the pies and still have soup. I can’t remember how long I let them stay in the over, but you can bet they NEVER set up. After those things cooled they went right into the ole trash can.

So here we have the actual recipe, yes I triple checked this time ;). If you’re in the mood for some old fashioned decadence, give it a try.

Caramel Pie

2 cups sugar

6 eggs beaten

4 tbsp of grape, damson or plum jelly

1 stick of butter – softened

2 tsp vanilla

2 tbsp flour

2 unbaked pie shells


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream butter and sugar together, add in other ingredients. Pour into unbaked pie shell and bake 25 minutes.

Happy baking 😀

The simple act of giving…it’s easier than you think.

Have you ever had one of those days where you wish that you could do something to help another being but looked at your checkbook and thought that you might actually need the help at the moment more than the other being?  Yeah, been there too.  

I make a lot of my purchases online, because quite frankly I don’t like to shop and I don’t like to deal with people. The internet was invented for me 😉 We won’t even go into discounts, lord knows I love me a discount!  

Anyway, the point here is that I would like each of you to consider going to igive.com and looking up your favorite charitable organization.  Don’t have one?  Let me suggest Central Virginia Horse Rescue 

Each time you shop, if the site you’re purchasing from participates, a small donation is made on your behalf.  In the last 4 months, I’ve managed to get $35 to them; not counting my purchase through amazon.com because amazon.com doesn’t breakdown the purchases by purchaser the way other sites do.  So, take a moment out of your day and sign up at igive.com and help another soul out while you’re doing your day to day shopping. It really can’t get much easier than this 😀  

Okay, we will go into discounts really quickly 😉 Retail Me Not is your friend!  Igive.com also shows you discounts as well. So, we’re getting the best of both worlds here folks! Saving and giving all in the same transaction. 

Now, go forth and purchase!  Seriously, go on now… download that simple little igive button and help save another soul! 

Go in peace Daisy 1999-2012

Daisy – May 1999 to January 26, 2012

I had to say goodbye to Daisy tonight.  Over the last few days she had gotten to the point where she could no longer walk and today she began to loose control of her bodily functions.  I am oddly numb at the moment, relieved almost that she’s now crossed over to the other side and that she can be a cat again without any limitations.

She’s been with us since the month after we were married in 1999.  I remember all the trouble she got into as a kitten. She was infatuated with water, so much so that she would play in the tub when we weren’t home. I came home one day to find that she had managed to turn on the faucet and knock a wash cloth down into the tub thus stopping it up.  Thank heavens I came home when I did or she would have flooded our apartment and the one downstairs. She was thrilled with herself just sitting on the potty watching the water.  In that same apartment, I painted a mural of flowers under the bar and it had this little wisp of green at the bottom where she had gotten her tiny little tail in green paint and flicked it every where.  That same fall she decided she was going to run outside when Steven opened the apartment door, if memory serves me correctly he had to chase her down the apartment stairs and out into the parking lot in his tightie whities. He’ll probably never forgive me for telling that one on him.

After that apartment we moved out into Spotsy, she had one of those windowsill beds in the kitchen that she lived in. The day I brought Jappy home, she was not amused. She would hold him down and sit on him to bathe him. The first night she chased him through the house, he managed to slip under our bedroom door and climb with those razor claws up the bed to my pillow.  She barely tolerated him, she was very much an only cat. I think later in life she finally gave into the idea that he wasn’t going anywhere. This past November they were curled up together on the pillows on my bed, a rarity for those two.

After Spotsy we moved back to Culpeper into an apartment that was on the ground floor over at Woodscape. She loved it there.  She could sit in the windowsill in the living room and see everything that was happening. They had one of those huge cat condo/tree things that they sleep on all day in the sun. She loved popcorn, sometimes at night she would sit up there or on the entertainment center and catch it as I tossed it to her.  Doritos were another favorite, she learned that she could sit on the back and then take her claw and puncture the bag. It would pop and she could help herself.  After Woodscape we moved into the house we’re in now, there used to be a wall between the kitchen and the dining room. Over the doorway was a shelf that held nothing but Daisy when she was feeling cantankerous.  She would jump up on the counter, then the fridge and then the shelf. She would wait for Uncle D to walk by and take her paw and inch a cereal box off the top of the fridge just because she could.

In her later years when we lived on Macoy and in Centreville she decided to take up residence in the cupboards.  On Macoy she figured out that there was a whole going from a closet to the cabinet under the kitchen sink.  Yes, it was pretty well ghetto rigged up but it was home for a while until we were able to get back on our feet.  She would go from the closet to the cupboard at her leisure, it made her happy so I never really bothered her. In Centreville she liked the bathroom cabinet, there was plenty of room either under there or hiding on the top shelf of the walk in closet.

It wasn’t until we moved back to this house that she was really happy again. She didn’t hide like she had been, instead she spent almost every night on my pillow. Jappy would lay on my side and Dex would be wrapped around my feet.  Now Jappy and Dex and I have to move on. I can’t help but wonder if they know. Night before last, Jappy laid on the bed with her all night. He absolutely refused to leave her.  I knew then that the end was near, I think she knew too.  She had taken to hiding again behind a curtain.

I will be forever grateful for Dr. Andrea Kellum, she is the epitome of caring and honest. She has helped Eek so much and now tonight she graciously ended Daisy’s suffering.  She is more than just a vet, I consider her to be a dear friend. She is someone who is in the veterinary business because she truly loves animals and cares about giving them the best life possible. I would not have trusted another soul to help Daisy cross over.

Go in peace my dear Daisy. You will always be with me in my heart….


Procrastination and Uncle Steve:

  1. Six weeks is a reasonable time to put air in a tire every single day to keep it from being flat, before you replace the tire. Then you only do it after your wife threatens to have the truck towed to Walmart to have the tire replaced.
  2. Six weeks is a reasonable amount of time to wait between the day that your wife reminds you that your inspection sticker is dead and you get the truck inspected. You will only then remember because you’re pulled over and given a ticket for it. What could have cost $16 for just the inspection now costs $66 for the inspection and the ticket.
  3. More than six weeks is a reasonable amount of time to wait between the day that you purchase the bulb to replace in the tail light on your truck and when you actually replace it.  Still waiting on it to be replaced, I think we’re up to about 3 months now.

And he wonders why I’m always mad?



We all have them; all set out with the very best of intentions of fulfilling them only to inevitably fail at them generally sooner rather than later.

This year I resolve to do my very best not to be an enabler. I resolve to think before I act, rather than let my heart-strings be tugged at and then question why on Earth I “did it again” a few minutes, days or weeks down the road.

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