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Showing posts from 2013

Mom's Cranberry Mousse Pie

  Written for the River Current publication; December 19, 2013      Not my best pic.  I was cooking for a house full  of teenagers and didn't have much time to fuss! It was delish just the same!     In most of my writings I often include a little blurb or story about the happenings in my life.   Today I would be remiss if I did not share the recent passing of my dear sweet Mother.   On my drive to Marysville earlier this week, the thought came to me that it would be a beautiful thing if I wrote down some thoughts about my Mother to share at her funeral.   I began composing in my head and the words came easily as I was making the drive to Marysville.    When I got home later that evening; in the quiet hours of the night, the words flowed effortlessly onto my laptop.   Funny, it is easiest for me when writing from my heart…the words seem to flow quickly and easily through my fingers.   I had my youngest print them out for me the following morning

Putting Holiday Weight Gain in Perspective

  Cranberry Vinaigrette   Written for the River Current publication; December 12, 2013 Avoid holiday weight gain, and still enjoy the feast?   Gorging on your favorite holiday foods can widen your waistline, but they don't have to spell dietary disaster. In fact, some of your guiltiest pleasures may be good for you.   At this time of year, you can hardly escape hearing that Americans gain about 5 pounds during the holidays.     True, some people probably pack on that much, or more, with holiday foods. For the rest of us, the weight increase is actually a lot less, however.   That's the conclusion from a New England Journal of Medicine study, which found most people gained about a pound between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day.   But that's no reason to eat with wild abandon during the holidays.   Putting on a pound or so every year makes a big difference when you never get around to losing those extra pounds.   In a decade's time, the effect

What Are Trans-Fatty Acids Anyway?

Written for The River Current Publication     While spending some time with my niece last Saturday, I excitedly blurted out…”Hey, how cool is it that the FDA is proposing a ban on trans-fatty acids?”   To which she returned a blank stare and said, “Um, sure Aunt Con….whatever that means.”   Lol…isn’t it funny that when we have our attention focused on something, that we assume everyone else does as well? Some may ask, what in the heck is a trans-fatty acid anyway?      Trans-fats are vegetable oils that have been mixed with hydrogen to increase shelf life and mimic the flavor and feel of butter or lard.   Trans-fats can be found in many processed foods, including crackers, cookies, frozen pies, baked goods, microwave popcorn and other snacks, frozen pizza, coffee creamers, refrigerated dough products (like biscuits and cinnamon rolls), ready-to-use frostings, vegetable shortenings and stick margarine.   Trans-fats are often used to improve the texture, shelf life or flavo

Pumpkin Doughnut Pleasure

Written for The River Current Publication      I think I have said this before, but I just have to say it again…I love all things pumpkin!   If one doesn’t share my love of pumpkin around this time of year, I suppose it could be a difficult thing.    All that one could do I suppose, would be to sit back and wait for the pumpkin madness to subside!   As we have slipped into the magnificence of a Mid-Western fall season, you will find in my kitchen simmering pots of pumpkin chili, pumpkin breads, pumpkin pies, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin coffees…well, I think you get the pumpkin picture!     For the last couple of weeks I have been craving a good pumpkin doughnut.   I have always been a huge fan of doughnuts, but in my quest for eating healthier, doughnuts are now a ‘once in a blue moon’ kind of treat for me.         I decided to try my luck at baking my doughnuts, rather than the typical fried version…making them a much healthier option.   What can I say…p

Adjusting our Sails

          As a rule, I try to remain upbeat and positive.  Some days sadness and frustration just seem to seep in and attempt to crowd out my happy.  Perhaps I am wrong, but I do believe we all at times experience this roller coaster of emotions that life can throw our way.      In my NTP training we discussed the important role that emotional health plays in our overall health and well being.  For me it is therapeutic to dump my feelings here at my keyboard.  Thank you for 'listening'.        I excitedly can share that a week that started out sad and weepy has ended on a very high note.   The last couple of days I have had some surprising and positive things shower upon me.  It is amazing how inspiring a glimmer of hope and possibility will renew our strength and optimism of better things ahead?  We must be patient and adjust our sails.               

11.12.13 Random Anniversary Thoughts

Last week was a shit storm of unpleasantness for me.  For the last week it seems, I have fought back tears and sadness.  Silly things such as a looney ex-husband, rudeness, rejection and the death of a friend's husband; they all seemed to pile up on me like the autumn leaves in my back yard....or cow shit out in a pasture...they just kept piling up!   Perhaps also tucked in the back of my mind were the memories of the beautiful wedding weekend that Rick and I shared two years ago today.  I shared on my blog, Marital Status: W  last year, how I have always been fascinated with the unique sequencing of numbers on a calendar...weird, I know.  Special dates that will never occur again.  Rick and I had teased each other when trying to select such a numerical sequence for our wedding day.  Today the uniqueness of 11/12/13, for some silly reason even brought tears to my eyes.  What a cool date...Rick would have liked it, just as I do.   It is almost unimaginable that it has b

Aunt Nancy's Creamy Cauliflower Soup

Written for The River Current publication, November 7, 2013       It is interesting how the popularity of some foods will come and go.   Not so long ago, Brussels sprouts were all the rage…roasted, or thinly shaved into salads.   Prior to these new presentations, I admittedly was never a big fan of these small (sometimes stinky) orbs.     Well apparently, there is a newcomer to the world of re-invented foods…cauliflower.   Cauliflower just might be the new Brussels sprout.   Cauliflower perhaps is a bit more visibly appealing than a Brussels sprout; but besides the eye appeal, cauliflower also has some appealing nutritional benefits to be considered….it is low in fats and carbs and high in vitamin C.   It can be eaten raw, grated, steamed, roasted or mashed.     While at the grocery last week, I was tempted by a display of beautiful orange cauliflowers.   I couldn’t resist.   Orange cauliflower has higher than normal levels of beta carotene…25 times the

This Is Bentley

  I took this picture the other day.  I thought it was adorable and for some silly reason wanted to share it with you!  This is my stinky friend and companion, Bentley the basset.     Sharing Bentley with you doesn't actually have any thing to do with nutrition, health or wellness.  Actually, Bentley is least that's what everyone tells me.  Isn't it funny, that when we are constantly around something, that we just don't notice things that others instantly see on the occasional visit.  My oldest son just shakes his head at me when he sees our Bentley.    Bentley is a mild, loving sort who doesn't ask for much...just his favorite hammie snacks that I keep under the kitchen sink.  For some absurd reason, I have always wanted a basset.  I think it comes from those days long ago when we would all gather around the T.V. and watch the silly program...Hee Haw.  (Now that dates me!)  Anyway, on the show they always had a lazy basset hound laying

Ghoulish Goblin Meringues; A Guilt-Free Halloween Treat!

Written for The River Current Publication, October 31, 2013 My piping skills could use a little practice; but hey, they're cute anyway...right? With Halloween (and little goblins) upon our doorsteps, I thought it would be a good time to have a little discussion about sugar.   I know, I know…someone has to take the fun out of everything, right?   Relax. I have many fond memories of Halloween when I was a child and then later created awesome memories with my boys when they were growing up.     I actually used to make a rather large production out of Halloween when my boys were younger.   Somehow the event turned into an anticipated, yearly tradition that always began with a festive meal which included steamy French onion soup (to ward off any ghosts or goblins), bread sticks shaped like gnarly fingers, eyeball pasta, pumpkin pie, etc.    Family and friends eagerly joined us, gathering around our table to share in this amusing dinner presentation prior to passing

Spicy Sweet Potato and Black Bean Soup

Written for The River Current publication, October 24, 2013  I have recently started a new thing that I am fondly calling, Soup for Seniors .   The seniors in this case being my father and my mother’s sister, who recently relocated to the Marysville area.   Both of them live alone and are not exactly too frisky when it comes to getting around.   My thought is that if I take them a little care package offering a hearty soup, some sort of muffin or bread, and a fruit, that I will have ensured at least a couple of meals for them that they would not have to prepare for themselves. Another motivating factor is that I will be able to prepare some things for them that will be healthier than what they might be fixing for themselves from a can or a box….pretty clever, huh?   Making soup is typically an easy thing to do and as you know, one can never seem to make a small pot of soup!   This way, we all benefit from my efforts.   With the weather quickly cooling o