Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Oh Dear!

Lovely to look at and thankfully they stay on that side of the lake! When I saw this momma and her baby, I grabbed my camera and ever so quietly tip-toed across the icey dewed grass with barefeet as to not alarm them. My camera made a whisper of a click and then momma looked right at me, click went the camera for the second photo above and then they took off. Run Bambi, run!!! Superman just completed the state required class for his hunting license!!

Enjoy the day and the view from wherever you are -Wonderwoman

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fred Flintstones' Self Cleaning Fridge

Remember how good Wilma Flintstone had it? All her appliances were self cleaning or did the job themselves, animals running everything. I remember being a kid and thinking how cool that was...you know, the whole house on 'auto pilot'! Who knew that I'd have a Flintstone Refrigerator in 2010?!

The little one wanted to help. Helping = video time at our house, so don't think our child just begs to help do chores! Bribery works! Anyway, I told her she could clean the fridge from top to bottom. She did. With her helper. It really is not our policy to allow cats in the fridge, really. However, sometimes a Type A mom just needs to laugh and let it go. Here are some shots of our self cleaning fridge in action.

Piper Ann hard at work. She's a selfless cat, always willing to work hard.

Enjoy the day -Wonderwoman

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Who Gets Credit For This Test?

This might explain why the test scores are better and the papers have been a little neater this school year! When I walked in the room, Piper the kitten had both paws wrapped around the pencil and Little T. was just writing away like it was normal. Piper looks a little annoyed that I caught them, doesn't she? That cat is a smart cookie and will certainly make it into a good college.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Homebrew

How exciting to cross off another entry on my Life's Little To-Do List! I love to do things from scratch....to know how to REALLY do things and brewing beer has been on my mind for a couple of years. It seemed a little intimidating and I'm sure I could have dragged my feet for a couple more years before starting, but then we met a new family at church. Our new friend Derek and his wife Renee agreed to have us come to their home so Derek could show us the homebrew process.

Now, I will not go on to tell you the How-To of beer brewing because it will take many, many more batches for me to be confident in the process (did you hear the determination and commitment to beer in that?). But I will say that I am reading
this book right now and things are seeming simpler.

The best part is that my husband and I finally have something besides yard work that we can do together. He ALWAYS joins me on all of my crazy ventures, but his heart is actually in this one. So much in fact, that he did most everything last time we brewed with Derek.
Oh, I did hear about that!

As I write this our first batch of homebrew sits happily bubbling on the kitchen table.


Here are some photos to share of our experience so far.


What's next on Life's Little To-Do List? Bee keeping, wine making, a french angora rabbitry and quilting.....not necessarily in that order.

Life is short. Make a list and get to it!
Enjoy the day -Wonderwoman

Is Summer Over Already?

Can you believe that summer is nearly over?! It seems like it just started. Where did the time go - what did I do all summer? That question can best be answered by telling a little story about the two girls my mother raised. This is a photo of my sister and I at White Flower Farm.

Lovely, isn't it? I'm not sure if you can tell,
but she's just about to lick my face in the photo. Mother was so proud as she took the picture.

And here she is lying on the sidewalk..........and here she is breaking into a show tune song while shopping at White Flower Farm.

She is a walking party and the funniest person I know. She's a 'live for today because tomorrow's not coming' kind of girl.
And then there's me....

Right at home in the kitchen; cleaning, cooking, and always planning ahead because tomorrow IS coming and I have to plan the menu! Clearly one of us was found under a rock. Clearly one of us is the grasshopper and the other the ant. Oh little ant, winter is coming!

This summer has been an adventure doing the things I love to do. Little T. is now at an age that she is finally near equal to me in her ability to help. SHE thinks the things I do are fun, which then qualifies me as fun, right? Gardening, cheese making, visiting farms and farmers market, beer making, canning, canning and more canning!


What a double edged sword that canning season happens to be the hottest months of the year! The produce has been plentiful and so has the heat. We don't have air conditioning in our house, so when the kettles and pressure canner start to bubble it gets REALLY hot in our little house. Tie on an apron over a bathing suit and get to work, that's what I say! Nearly all the jars are full and tucked on their shelves in the basement, school is just about ready to begin and the nights are starting to get cool. Canning and preserving food are hard work, but well worth the effort to have our basement filled with food that came from the work of our own hands.

Ecclesiastes 9:10 - Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do with all thy might

Enjoy the day -Wonderwoman

Saturday, February 27, 2010

"That Cat is Pregnant Again"


My Dearest Sunshine,
I have tried to keep your secret for some time now. Both of us know that we cannot hide this anymore. Your father has suspected that perhaps we've been less than honest with him. You know I don't like to keep secrets from him. We knew this time would come. Honestly, I think he knows already. Maybe it's because of that night you stayed out and didn't come home until noon the next day. Or the fact that you brought 'him' home with you. You know he's not welcome here. He's never even acknowledged the babies that clearly belong to him. It's time to come clean and break the news to your father. You can't hide it from him anymore. You waddle past him several times a day making a spectacle of yourself. I'll break the news to him.
Love,
Momma

"That cat is pregnant again", is what husband has said several times in the last month. "No dear, she's just fluffy", I'd say. Ok. She is. Again. BUT this is the last time!

When Sunshine came to us on Mother's Day 2009, that probably should have been a sign! Poor thing was starving and beat up. We could tell she had never had a home before. We took care of her and nursed her to health. In just a few days, she looked and acted healthy and seemed like she was going to stay. Oh, those precious - innocent - happy - short weeks.


I counted the days after I caught her in the act. 63 days.


The first set of 'children' have been fun. Little T. enjoys them. Only one of them has been fixed as of yet. I think it's time to make an appointment and get the other two done. Yikes....how many cats does it take to earn the label Crazy Cat Lady?

Enjoy the day -Wonderwoman
P.S. Anyone want a kitten?



Saturday, February 13, 2010

Valentine Coconut Sugar Cookies

This was a last minute Valentine's Day project. The little one and I were inspired by a Martha Stewart show we watched on-line on Friday. We had our aprons tied on before the show was even over! But of course, first we had to convert the recipe to bring the glycemic index down. This pretty much proves that you can make over any recipe as long as you have patience. This by no means makes these a 'healthy' cookie, but as I've said before - save the special foods for special days. Valentine's Day certainly does qualify as a special day! Each of our sweethearts got one giant cookie with their initial on it.

This recipe still needs a little work, but I'll share the recipe now and work on it a little in time for giant Easter cookies! (By the way, the original recipe is a Sugar Cookie recipe from Martha Stewarts Baking Handbook)

Combine 2 sticks of butter with 2 cups of coconut palm sugar using the paddle attachment of a stand up mixer. Add one egg, 3/4 tsp salt and 1 tsp vanilla until well combined. Slowly add 2 1/2 cups of white spelt flour until dough comes together.


Divide the dough in half and shape into disks. Wrap in wax paper and chill for 1 or more hours.


After the dough has chilled, roll out on a floured surface to about 1/4" thickness. You'll have to work quickly before the dough has a chance to warm up.


We used giant heart cookie cutters for the main cookies.



A set of plastic letter cookie cutters we've had for some time came in handy for the initial cookies to top the heart cookies. All the cookie pieces went back in the fridge to chill for another hour. After the chilling period, the big heart cookies baked in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes. The letters took about 8 minutes to cook. We let the cookies cool completely before we frosted them. We used a Royal Icing recipe but substituted Powdered Whey Low for confectionery sugar (1lb Whey Low, 5 T meringue powder and just under 1/2 c water). The colored dye is from a company that used beet juice for the red color.



The hearts were outlined with a small frosting tip (#2) and filled in with a larger one (#5).


An offset spatula dipped in water smoothed them out nicely. White Royal Frosting in a shell design finished off the edges.



They came out looking and tasting great without the 'sugar high'. The only down side was that the frosting didn't get really hard like normal Royal Icing but it was by no means wet. They were a big hit with all of our sweethearts.

Hope your day was sweet without the sugar -Wonderwoman


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Little Whine With Your Feta Cheese?


Sometimes standing firm in your beliefs will leave you standing all alone. When it comes to eating healthy and putting only foods in my body that produce good results - I stand firm...sometimes too firm.

I've found that less arguments break out over talking about religion or politics (firmly planted am I on the correct side of both), rather than healthy eating. Thankfully as I've matured, I've learned to keep my beliefs on this subject to myself unless someone else starts it first. Then all bets are off.

Now, I don't want you to think that I'm one of those "you're not really gonna eat that, are you?" people. And I certainly don't start the conversation by saying "let me tell you the errors of your ways". No. When invited to give my opinion, I focus on talking about good healthy foods and how they benefit our bodies. The conversation quickly turns to, "well, what about....(it's usually some sugared convenience food, disguised as healthful)". This is the point when I've either made a friend or I haven't. Seriously, people get offended when they're told that junk food builds junk bodies (I've never really said it like that)! Why do you think people are so offended when they are told that the foods they eat aren't good for them? My policy on my passion of talking about good healthy foods is: speak to when spoken to or at least when invited to do so. But sometimes, I just can't help myself. Here is a true story of a trip to Whole Foods over the weekend:



The family had scattered in different directions in Whole Foods, leaving me to browse the cheese section by myself - oh yum. I noticed an older man standing in front of the feta cheese section, reading one label after another. His body language had an element of sadness to it.

A little voice in my head said, say something to him.
Ok, like what?
All I could come up with was, "feta cheese is yummy isn't it?"
He looked up and said "no, I hate it".
Oh my, where does one go from here?

Me: "Why are you buying it then?"


Him: "My doctor just told me I have to lose 30 pounds and I've got Type 2."

Me: "I'm so sorry."


Him: "That's why I'm shopping at this fancy store and not my regular grocery store."


Me: "Maybe you could think of this as an adventure."


Him: "I don't want an adventure. I don't want to change. I like the food that I like."


Me: "Maybe you'll learn to like new foods." Big smile AND turn.

Quickly I escape because I seriously have nothing left to say. This got me thinking. Food is deeper than I like what I like. What we eat sort of defines each of us a little bit. If you're told that the foods you like are no good, it's personal - almost insulting. What we like to eat is part of who we are.

Most people get multiple warnings to eat healthier from their doctors long before they have no choice but to change their diets completely. And when forced to change, one can be resentful. Forced changes do not equal lasting changes.

What we eat directly affects our health and our ability to enjoy life to its fullest. The time to make positive changes in eating habits is when you haven't been backed into a corner and have no choice but to do it and now - ordered by your doctor.

Life is an adventure. Be healthy and enjoy it.

Enjoy the day -Wonderwoman

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Warm Up with Cream of Mushroom Soup

Raindrops on rose and whiskers on kittens - yes, a few of my favorite things but in the chilly days and night of winter Cream of Mushroom Soup (which is totally un-photogenic) is at the top of my 'favorite things' list. I can hear a few of you out there whining "but I don't like Cream of Mushroom Soup", and I will tell you the same thing I tell my 4 year old nephew - but maybe you do. You see, this tastes nothing like the canned variety of mush that comes from the grocery stores. Here's the criteria for liking it:

do you like mushrooms?
do you like butter?
do you like chicken broth?
do you like cream?

If you answered yes to those things - you will love this soup.


Mushrooms are good for you too! Check out this article about the health benefits of mushrooms.

What? Still whining, but now you don't have time to make Cream of Mushroom Soup from scratch? This happens to be one of the quickest meals you can prepare - you'll be surprised at how quick (actual hands on time) a dinner this can be. Plus, it's very filling and satisfying so you eat a serving size and you're satisfied.

Ingredients:

4 10oz packages of sliced baby bella mushrooms
4 cloves minced garlic
2 chopped onions
4 cups of chicken stock
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 c dry sherry (gives a nice flavor, but you can do without)
1/4 c white spelt flour

Here we go:
Saute onions and garlic in the butter until tender. Add the mushrooms and cook just for a few minutes - say 5. Now sprinkle the spelt flour over the mushrooms and stir to coat them completely.

Cook for about a minute and then add the chicken stock, thyme, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes. Slowly pour in the cream (action shot)

and simmer 10 minutes more. Add the sherry just before serving. Makes about 5-6 bowls of soup. Garnish with scallions and enjoy!

Members can pick up your hard copy of this recipe (this evening) at
www.resetyourways.com under Recipe of the Week/1-3-10.

Enjoy the day -Wonderwoman

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Time to Get Back on Track!

It's been so long since I've posted. It's funny because that fact has kept me from picking up and blogging at all! How do you begin after you stop doing something for a while? There are so many things in life like that....like healthy eating and exercise. How do pick up where you left off once you've stopped (like during the holidays) for a while? The answer is - you don't! You can't pick up where you left off. That's the perfectionist in all of us stopping us from just doing what is YOUR BEST. You can't pick up where you left off, but you can just start where you are! That's the topic this evening for our Health and Weight Loss Class is tonight. The holidays can get anyone off track for a while, but now it's time to Start Where You Are!




So here we are, blogging from where I am. Cooking dinner with an audience. Sometimes I fantasize about being a cook on one of those food tv shows, you know, being watched in awe while I cook. Well, now I get watched on a regular basis - always with awe. These are my precious little kittens that were born on July 26th, 2009. Peanut, Penelope and Priscilla. They are my number one fans and the great thing is that it doesn't even matter what I'm cooking!

Enjoy the day -Wonderwoman