Thursday, July 31, 2008

Mama's In The Kitchen

French Pasta Salad
Adapted from Moosewood Daily Special
Serves: 10

My notes: Moosewood is notorious for big serving so I increased the serving size (original cal/serving was 509) You still get a good size serving. Note that I used the high fiber pasta. The original recipe called for toasted hazelnuts which I omitted after deciding that it didn’t need it. The red peppers are roasted in the original recipe but I like the crunch of the fresh. I also added the tomatoes and mushrooms. This would be a great “toss in the entire garden” recipe. Great reviews from family and my running trainer. Wonderful main dish for those nights it is too hot to cook too much. Serve this with Chilled Peach Soup. Leftovers pack well for lunch.

14 ounces Ronzoni Smart Taste Penne Rigate (1 box)
3 Cups green beans, stemmed and cut crosswise
2 teaspoons minced fresh tarragon
1 Tablespoon minced fresh basil
1 large shallot, minced
1/4 Cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 Cup red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1 large red pepper, julienned
1/4 Cup italian parsley, chopped
8 ounces button mushroom, quartered
1 Cup cherry tomato, halved
1 Tablespoon capers, drained
1/2 Cup chevre cheese

Cook pasta according to directions. Add green beans during the last 3 minutes of cooking. Drain and rinse in cold water to cool immediately. Drain again.

Whisk together oil, vinegar, tarragon, basil, shallot, Dijon, salt and pepper.

Toss pasta and beans with dijon vinaigrette and the rest of the veggies. Serve at room temp or slightly chilled.

Cal: 216; Fat: 8g; Fiber: 6g; Protein: 7g; Sodium: 270 mg; Calcium: 231 mg; Carb: 36 g

Chilled Peach Soup
Adapted from Moosewood Daily Special
Servings: 4

I strongly suggest slightly freezing your peaches if you use fresh. The almost slushy quality of the soup is very refreshing. This would also work well as a drink.

3 Cups sliced fresh or frozen peaches
2 Tablespoons honey
2 Tablespoons plain nonfat yogurt
1 Cup water
1 Cup orange juice
dash of cinnamon

Puree all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Serve at once

Per 6 ounces serving: Cal: 69; Fat: 0.2g; Fiber: 1.8g

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Deja Vu

The smell of Anytown USA college book store.

The frustrating hunt to find the texts I need.

The disappointment in not seeing any used books.

The sticker shock of brand new textbooks.
The worry that one of the textbooks I need is completely sold out.

The ache in my shoulder as I lug four classes worth of textbooks out the door.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Happy Birthday To The Love Magnet

Six great things about The Love Magnet:

1. Unconditional love and forgiveness. What the rest of us strive to do (and as soon as we become perfect at it we'll be translated) The Love Magnet does on a daily basis. If she is hurt, she will come to you for a hug and tell you "You're sorry", and that will be that. The Love Magnet does not hold grudges. Not even a blood draw will turn her against the phlebotomist - she will hug them, too.

2. The Love Magnet finds joy in EVERYTHING. Whether it is bugs, flowers, school, neighbors, Primary, or family, she will find the best and make sure you share it with her. This girl has turned consuming mashed potatoes into something to write about when you make your Sunday Gratitude list. She will even find joy in loading the dishwasher.

3. No one is beneath her concern when she prays. She prays for her Primary teachers and school teachers, her doctors and nurses at the hospital, GamaPapa Africa/Utah, Auntie C and all of the cousins (sometimes by name which takes a loooong time). She prays for our prophet "Pwes-i-dint Monson" and the Apostles. She prays for our bishop and his family. She has prayed for "Hannah Montana Banana" and Junior (the little asparagus on VeggieTales). She prays for her friends at school and her friends at the swimming pool. She mentions The Divine Miss O by name and her Cousin E (who is our cousin in spirit). If you tell her your name at the grocery store, she will remember you in her prayers that night.

4. The Love Magnet is smart. She knows how to operate the TV and DVD player. She loves to write her name and letters of the alphabet (she will tell you the sound each letter makes, too). She almost has my cell phone # memorized. She loves to learn and can't wait for school to start again.

5. The Love Magnet has a radar for suffering and she combats all suffering with her ultimate weapon: the hug. If you are sad she will settle down in your lap and hug and kiss you as long as it takes until she is satisfied that you are feeling better. (It is hard to keep her down during Testimony meeting when she sees people cry as they share their testimony. She wants to head up to the stand to hug them.)

6. The Love Magnet is a teacher wise beyond her years. I'm slow to learn. Good thing she is so patient with me.
Running update:

1st mile – somewhere in the 11's. (We were talking to much to pay attention to the watch. Let me rephrase that - they were talking too much. I was breathing.)
2 mile – 24:09 (12:04 average)
3 mile – 36:16 (12:05 average)
3.1 mile – 37:23 (12:04 average)

K emailed this: By the way, we pushed it the last .1 and you got down to a 9:02 average. Way to go! You thought you were tired but pushed to a 9:02 – that is totally amazing! We missed our PR by 7 seconds. Jul. 25’s run was 37:16, but so awesome. I’ve never trained anyone that PR’s almost every time!

We ran 5 minutes the first time and then 7 minutes every time with 1 minute walk breaks in between. Not my best times. I felt slow. I have to admit that I felt wimpy. The other two women who have started training with me are faster (and younger and cuter.....) . now I need to work on catching up with them (and maybe someday blowing past them) as a goal to improve my times.

Gotta get busy. We're planning on running 10 minutes at a time by this weekend.

Monday, July 28, 2008


I took Thirdborn to the library today for some one-on-one bonding time. The front doors to our local library are huge smoked glass sliding affairs that reflect like a fun house mirror - and they make me look really fat.

Today as I walked up to the doors I notice that something was missing.

Some of me was missing.

I'm sure I made a great visual to those on the other side of the doors. I am willing to bet that all the librarians were signaling to each other to get behind the desk and "check out that weird woman".

I stopped dead in front of the door with my load of books on my hip. Backed up. Walk forward. Walk back. Now forward. (and now we're doing the cha-cha......) Checked sideways.


I might not be losing very much poundage wise, but I can see a difference in the body image. And I like it. I'm not anywhere near ready for the cover of any magazine (nor will I ever be), but looking at my reflection, and liking it? That is such a strange concept to me. Usually I would avoid looking at all costs and speed up just to get through the darn doors and away from the visual of too much me.

I can't wait to go running tonight.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sunday Gratitudes

The Love Magnet's birthday party was yesterday. It was her first "friend" birthday party (the last two years we were involved in moves) and she had a great time playing with her friends. The rest of the day was spent having a lazy summer day. The whole experience made me realize how grateful I am for summer so here is my list of just some of those simple things:

1. Swimming with my kids and watching their excitement at mastering new techniques like floating or blowing bubbles underwater.

2. Family walks.

3. Being chosen by The Love Magnet as "the safest lap" when we're watching fireworks.

4. Getting new books at the library. Going home and dropping all housework responsibilities so we can start reading. Listening to my older boys reading to the younger two and using all the voices just like their mom.

5. Kiwi snow cones at the Sno Shack. (You have GOT to try these!) Actually their deliciousness ties with Kiwi and Lime swirled frozen yogurt at our fave fro-yo place. Topped with kiwi, blueberry and mango. Mmmmm!

6. Running on those days when it feels good to be out. Seeing the birds. Hearing the crickets. Not getting bit by mosquitoes(.....wait, that part hasn't happened yet.)

7. Summer vacays where we have Mr. Wonderful all to ourselves. The kind where he can turn off his cell phone. Sometimes the kids try to hide his cell phone. (Shhhhh, don't tell him.)

8. Exploring our still new to us state. I doubt we've even done 1/4 of what is available in our local area yet. Considering that we know none of its history, it has been great to get to know this place.

9. Getting excited over every new blooming flower in our yard and every new growing plant in our garden. The love Magnet loves to show me what she finds.

10. Visits from our cousins and friends. We love having you.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Orientation Day

Today was orientation at the university. I dropped the younger kids off at the neighbors and headed out.

After parking (the university provided staff to help us with the parking payment machine. I thought the whole apparatus was self explanatory) I headed out to the campus. Parking was on the opposite side of campus from where we were supposed to sign in. Assuming that I didn't know how to read a campus map, the student government lined the walk with helium balloons in the appropriate university colors and colored the sidewalk with arrows every few yards along with encouraging "You're almost there!" and "You can do it!" Obviously, they didn't know I am training for a 5K and walking across campus is a piece of cake compared to running with K.

I finally made it to the right building, signed in and received my packet, and headed into the hall where the opening remarks would be held. A quick glance told me that I was the oldest person there. Everyone else looked too young to be nontraditional transfer students. I made my way to the front and sat down. Opening remarks were fairly predictable. We were told to program the campus police phone number in our cell phones (which we dutifully did) and were introduced to those who would make our transition easy.

Next there was a Resource Fair outside with food. I didn't want the muffins and pastries (my WW mentor would be so proud of me!) and was only interested in the parking information. No interest in the ROTC, clubs, some feminist movement whose table was handing out buttons and talking about how their club was a safe place for women to study. I sure hope I misunderstood what they were talking about as I walked by. I just don't get the whole us-them mentality that they seemed to promote. There was also study abroad (not feasible in my situation), health services, and library services.

Another session about transfer credits (helpful) and then it was time to meet with our advisors. There were only 7 students in the Health Sciences when I walked in and I was the only Pre-SLP. As my major is a combination of two universities, I have to send my transcripts to the other university so they can advise me on which core classes they will accept. I was given a short list of core classes I could take this semester with the admonition that I plan next semester based on what the other university tells me. It was also suggested that I start this semester with thirteen credits rather than the 18-20 I was planning on taking. My advisor said it would "ease me back into the university schedule". Works for me. I can use the extra time to brush up on my ancient math skills before testing to see what math classes to take. There is a stats class in my future that makes me wish Cousin Anna were here to tutor me. At least Mr. Wonderful is an excellent math tutor. I won't be in the stats class for a while yet. Considering how long it has been since I have taken a math class, I have a lot of reviewing to do.

I had forgotten what a headache it is to register for classes, let alone when most of them are full since I am registering so late in the game. I did manage to put a schedule together that fits into my kids schedule. I will be here to take them to school and pick them up when they are done. i will be home all nights but one and we can make sure that Mr. Wonderful will be here during that time. Now all that is left is to pay the bill and pick up the books.

School starts in a month from today.
Running update:

Mile 1 - 12:02
Mile 2 - 12:24 (12:13 two mile average)
Mile 3 - 11:54 (12:06 three mile average)
Total: 3.1 Miles (5K) in 37:16. A 12:02 total average. That's another 16 seconds per mile PR.

Today was not as hard as yesterday. Still hard breathing but I think some of that is due to the icky air quality out here (all the smoke form the fires and nothing to clear it out). It felt good to be done. I can't believe we ran a 5K and only walked 3 minutes of that time.

I am exhausted as I had a lousy sleep last night - up a few times every hour. I'm going to bed early tonight and hope it means for a better rest in prep for tomorrow.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Cinderelly, Cinderelly. Night and Day it's Cinderelly

Lately, the Love Magnet has been enamored with everything Cinderella, thanks to multiple viewings of her new favorite movies Cinderella III and Enchanted. She has entire dialogues memorized and the choreography to every song down pat. While she watches her favorite shows, she stands up to perform the cast pieces. Every nuance and gesture of every speech is mimicked with precision.

For some reason, my daughter has started running around the house, stopping and posing (the same every time), and yelling "CINDERELLA!" It is a routine she has memorized.

Now, I know you are all wondering: what does Cinderella wear when she has a texture aversion to all things satiny, slippery, lacy, scratchy....basically everything a princess would find uncomfortable in every ball gown she tries on?

Completely green, good-for-the-environment cotton knit. My little Cinderella is very much into the green movement. Granola-rella.
Now if I could just figure out where she saw that pose, or is it completely of her own making? (Knowing my mom, she is thinking right now that obviously The Love Magnet inherited her drama talents from her mama.)
Running Update:

1st mile average 11:03 - (My goal is to hit the 10s.)
2 mile average – 12:08 (Best yet by 2 seconds)
Total distance ran - 2.66 miles – 12:18 average
Total 32:45

Run times: 4 minutes – 7 minutes – 4:40 minutes – 5 minutes – 7 minutes, with 1 minute walks in between. K emailed this: "Think of it this way – you only walked 5 minutes and 5 seconds out of the whole entire run. That is awesome improvement!" Yeah, she is my own personal cheerleader.

This run was hard. I don't think I was feeling the greatest that day but I was really looking forward to getting out and running. We were joined by three others in my group. They were so cute and fit and ran ahead of me most of the time. The looked great while I looked like I was about to die. Then, to add insult to injury, they would walk back to me during the breaks only to start running again and get waaaay ahead of me. It forced me to push when I felt like I was going to drop. My breathing was difficult - almost like my first two weeks all over again.

K used the last 1/2 mile of the run to teach me about the mental game. She told me to "Run to the tree" and when I was there she would remind me that I still felt okay (i.e. I didn't die) and encourage me to run to the next tree. I made it. I spent the next few hours gulping water and reading. It was hard to get to sleep last night.

Funny...Although my legs still feel a little tired this morning, I want to get out and run. Doggie Girl has been begging me to get her leash. I think I will head out for just a small run/walk tonight.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

To my loyal lurker in Japan:

Just wanted you to know that I haven't seen you around lately. I usually check my map to see if you visited that day.

Please come back. And leave a comment. Introduce yourself.

To the rest of my loyal lurkers: leave a comment, too. I'm curious as to who reads this.

Many thanks.

Remember when vacations were carefree?

Why is it so stressful to be the adult when on vacation with your kids?

I remember Lagoon days as something to look forward to when I was a child. Nonstop fun. Then I became an adult and had to plan the food, worry about where the kids were at all times, and endure the rides that, once so much fun, now induce vomiting nearly as fast smelling the meat counter at the grocery store during the first three months of my pregnancy.

I remember Disney World as something to look forward to when I was a child. It was so exotic, mainly because it was so far away from Utah and so close to my Georgia grandparents. Then I became an adult and had to plan the itinerary, worry about where my kids were at all times, and endure the heat and humidity. I have to admit there were fun times but I really felt like I needed a vacation when we got home.

The Ward Campout every year was so much fun. I remember making Smores for my mom (I didn't like chocolate back then so I wouldn't eat them myself. I know, weird.) Now, the idea of camping gives me stress like no other, mainly because I fear The Love Magnet's wandering tendencies and have nightmares of losing her in the mountains. Its exhausting following her around everywhere.

When on earth did I become a grumpy adult?

Now I am try to plan a short vacay that keeps failing due to the fact that I didn't think to book things LAST YEAR in prep for our plans this year. If things don't improve, we're going to have to do the Staycation. I finally have a beach house booked. At least I hope I do. I used a website that family and friends have recommended called Vacation Rentals By Owner. They have tested it for me and found it legit. I hope my booking isn't the exception.

The beach house looks great. My kids are bemoaning the fact THAT IT HAS NO TV. Helloooo? Isn't that the point of a family vacation? We're supposed to spend time as a family. There are so many cool things to do. I am even packing puzzles and games in case it rains. Hopefully my kids can learn how to de-plug. Unplug? In any case, I am telling them to leave the Gameboys and Playstation at home.

And my reward for all of this. A vacation to recover from vacation with the kids.

Truly, that sounded evil of me and I will repent. I love my children. This vacation will be great. Secondborn has agreed to be my running buddy. The kids have shown enthusiasm over the websites I've shown them on what to do in the area. Mr. Wonderful just needs a vacation where there are no demands placed on him. It will be wonderful just to be away.

I plan on waking early before the kids and enjoying the view from the deck with a cup of Steven's Gourmet Hazelnut Cocoa and any book by Jane Austen.

Oh, and before I forget....Mom and Daddy, thanks so much for taking us on family vacations every year. I never fully appreciated it until I grew up. That was true love, driving your family in the big yellow van cross-country for three days to reach Georgia....without DVD players in the car.....with occasionally vomiting/fighting/bored/whiny children. The only break you had was when we were asleep.

You were very, very brave.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Running Update:

1st mile - 11:29
2 mile average - 12:38
Total miles run: 2.75 (mile average - 12:32)
runs were broken up into 4 min., 6:29 min., 4 min., 4 min., , 6:09 min., and 4 min. with a 1 min walk break in between
Total run 34:26.

Last night K had me try something completely foreign. She taught me how to be competitive. I had to pick a person in front of me and catch up to them. Other runners. People walking. Teens standing in the middle of the road flirting (I guess they didn't count since they weren't moving?) It was a new concept.

My last 1/4 mile was the closest I had ever come to a sprint. We sped up so my total mile average would be a new record time for me. I made it to the corner turning into my neighborhood. My lungs were burning! I felt fast....until I saw K out of the corner of my eye. She was loping. According to Merriam-Websters:

Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English loup, lope leap,
probably from Old Norse hlaup; akin to Old English hlēapan to leap

1 : an easy natural gait of a horse resembling
a canter 2 : an easy usually bounding gait capable of being sustained for a
long time

I guess I wasn't as fast as I hoped. At least I am faster than I was 5 weeks ago.

8 weeks left and counting....

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunday Gratitudes

Did you all watch the YouTube vid from my parent's mission? That vid has started me thinking of many things I might have taken for granted before:

Medical care. Not just being able to afford a doctor (and also have insurance), but the fact that my doctor's office has all the modern supplies they need to take care of me and my family. That goes for dentists, too. Firstborn had his braces taken off this past week. His teeth are even. Something so routine as dental work now has become precious to me. Then there is The Love Magnet's heart surgery. She had the best care and technology in the nation.

Good health. I can run.

Clean water. I can turn on the tap any time I want. Before my parent's mission I never thought about how precious water is. I don't have to walk miles to get it. I am not limited by how much I can carry. I don't have to worry about it making my family sick. We don't have to shower with our eyes and mouths shut or worry about treating our water before we drink it.

Good schools. Not only do my kids have a good education, but my daughter is accepted in the same schools. We have the resources we need for them all: school supplies in abundance, clothing to wear, textbooks, and even computers in every classroom. I just wish our kids could see how precious that is. My kids have had their attitudes changed when they read their grandparent's blog about the schools that don't have textbooks. First and Secondborn were most shocked when they read about the children who couldn't afford to go to school. I hope they don't take their education for granted now.

Safe streets. Some people might argue with me on this. At least we don't have to carry AK-47s to church. We haven't had civil unrest strike in our own country. My kids know that police and fire departments are here to protect them.

Places to play. We have gorgeous parks. My kids have soccer balls, a football, hockey sticks, tennis rackets, and basketballs. We can afford to put them on soccer teams. My kids can still play in our neighborhood.

A husband who supports our family. I read an article today that really disturbed me. It's titled Africa's Women Last And Least In Food Crisis. To read it click here. In the article it stated how the mothers are suffering the worst in famine. The retired husband of the story receives a pension but the family sees none of it. The wives are sent out to work. What does the husband do all day besides sleep? While the rest of the family shares a few bowls of food (three wives and over 20 children), the husband gets a bowl to himself. I know that I am only seeing this story through the eyes of the reporter, so it is hard to know exactly what is the whole story. This article made me think about Mr. Wonderful and how hard he works to support our family. It was important to him and me that I stay home and take care of the kids. Now it is important to him that I go back to school. I am so grateful for his dedication and unfailing generosity. In 17 years of marriage I have been treated always as an equal partner; never subservient to him. He has constantly recognized my work in this family and has put his family before himself.

A church family who looks out for my family. I know I have expressed this before, but my ward ROCKS! These people are so caring. My family stress-time is now over. My ward family has already gathered around others who need them now. Today it was announced in Relief Society of another family who would need our help for the next 6 weeks. By the time the meal signup sheet passed me it was already full. I will have to contact the Compassionate Service Leader and find out how I can help. (Now I have to say here that the ward my parents attend in the DRC rocks, too. Check out their blogs about their bishop.)

Plentiful and safe food. Yes there have been E-coli scare but that is an exception to the norm. My parents have to treat their produce in chlorine baths before they can prepare it. They have to buy their goods at reputable grocers (usually where the canned goods are imported from Belgium). And,even though food prices are rising here, they are much better than prices in the Congo.

Electricity that stays on. Utilities that are reliable. Roads that are paved (who thought I'd be grateful for summertime road construction?) Libraries.

Generous people who donate time, talents, and/or money to help those less fortunate.

We live in a great country. We've been blessed.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Running update:

Weigh in this morning and I am down 2 lbs. (woo-hoo!)

Our run this morning was harder because we ran two hours later and it felt hot! Again we ran 4:1 with a 3:1 thrown in the middle.

Total distance: 2.5 miles

First mile time: 11:52 (how on earth did I do that?!)

Two miles average: 12:10/mile.

Mentally: I agreed with K that we would keep running our last lap till we got to our destination, thinking that I would be running just a little over 4 minutes. I ran over 6 minutes that final lap! I can't believe that I ran 6 minutes without stopping, let alone ran that long at the end of our run when I was tired out. K said it was just part of the mental game of setting visual goals rather than relying on the clock.

My times today are better than yesterday. I went into this run thinking it would be harder after pushing yesterday. I'm surprised at the results. No pain in my calves and my ankles and feet weren't as tired as they have been. I have been sure to get in my water requirements and have been taking supplements (Bio 35 and Pro-Cal, and Triple Flex. I am not sure they they are making any difference but I like to think so.)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Running update:

2.6 miles running 4:1 (with one 3:1 thrown in when it was hard). Our best time yet, 2 mile averaged at 12:46/mile.

No calf cramps today (I was praying hard) but it felt harder with all 4:1. I feel great right now. I'll add some yoga in today to stretch those calf muscles. I also checked Runner's to find exercises to strengthen feet and ankles. I'll look for more today. I also need to head to the store for potassium-rich foods.

We were joined by another newbie today. It has been fun to watch this grow.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Mama's In The Kitchen

Cheese Ravioli with Bacon and Zucchini
Source: Adapted from Food and Wine April, 2003
Servings: 4
Posted by DebMj1 8/7/07

Deb's Notes: I used Hatfield bacon, a local brand that is lower in fat and calories.

My Notes: This works well with adding extra summer veggies from your garden. A good way to use up crookneck along with the zucchini. I doubled the veggies and the kids ate it all. Instead of using cheese ravioli, look for spinach and cheese ravioli. Fresh or frozen ravioli work well.

1/4 pound bacon, cut in 1" strips
1 medium zucchini, cut in matchsticks
1 1/2x1/4 inch salt and pepper
1 pound cheese-filled ravioli
1 medium tomato, cut in 1/2" dice
1/4 cup fresh basil, shredded
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Heat large deep skillet. Add the bacon and cook over moderate heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 1/2 Tbsp. of the bacon fat. Add the zucchini; season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until barely softened, about 2 minutes. Return the bacon to the skillet and remove from the heat.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving 2 Tbsps. of the pasta cooking water.

Add the pasta, reserved cooking water and tomato to the skillet. Season with salt and pepper. Toss gently over moderate heat until heated through. Transfer the pasta to a large shallow bowl and toss with the basil and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan. Serve at once, passing additional Parmesan at the table.
Nutritional Information: 246 calories, 10 g fat and 2 g fiber (according to MasterCook)
Running update:

Last night we had two more women join so our group numbered 5. K ran with me so we could do the extra mileage. I'm up to 2.5 miles running4:1 half the time and 3:1 (its all mixed together.)

For some reason this run was hard! I started a bit too fast and finished my first mile in a little over 12 minutes. My 2nd mile was much slower and the two miles averaged out to just over 13 minutes each. My feet felt heavy (probably due to my shoes being tied too tight) and my calves built up huge knots due to lactic acid. Surprisingly, it felt better to run than walk the last 1/4 mile because the knots worsened when I walked. My breathing was fine.

I don't know if I did anything wrong or if it was just a harder night or even an off night. I know this journey is not going to be cakewalk but it would be good to know if I need to do something differently.

Mr. Wonderful massaged the knots out of my calves for me. It hurt. The poor man had to listen to my "OW!" and groaning. Good thing he loves me.

Any suggestions appreciated. I plan on Googling some info. I post it if I find anything of significance.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Mama's In The Kitchen

Spaghetti Squash & Pork Stir-Fry

adapted from Eating Well Magazine Sept/Oct 2007
Makes 4 servings, about 1 1/2 cups each

My notes: This is different. Be brave, go ahead and make it. You'll be surprised how good it tastes. I leave the red chile sauce out and stir it into my own serving so the kids don't get spicy overload. Serve it over rice, or (better yet) rice noodles. This is a quick weeknight meal. Leftovers are great for lunch.

1 3-pound spaghetti squash
1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
5 medium scallions, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced (I use at least 3 cloves)
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger (I double this)
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon Asian red chile sauce, such as sriracha, or chile oil

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Cut squash in half. Scoop out and discard seeds. Place each half, cut-side down, on a baking sheet. Bake until the squash is tender, about 1 hour. Let cool for 10 minutes then shred the flesh with a fork into a bowl. Discard the shell. (I microwave my spaghetti squash halves in a 9x13 glass pan with 1" of water poured into the bottom. Takes 8 minutes. Much faster!)

3. Slice pork into thin rounds; cut each round into matchsticks.

4. Heat a large wok over medium-high heat. Swirl in oil, then add scallions, garlic, ginger and salt; cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add the pork; cook, stirring constantly, until just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the squash threads and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add soy sauce, rice vinegar and chile sauce (or chile oil); cook, stirring constantly, until aromatic, about 30 seconds.

Per serving: 248 calories; 7 g fat (2 g sat, 3 g mono); 74 mg cholesterol; 22 g carbohydrate; 27 g protein; 5 g fiber; 670 mg sodium; 839 mg potassium. Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (25% daily value), Potassium (24% dv), Iron (17% dv).1 Carbohydrate Serving Exchanges: 1/2 other carbohydrates, 3 lean meat

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The following post is a youtube video from my parent's mission in the DR Congo. A selected group of Congolese are receiving wheelchairs. You can not possibly watch this without your heart being touched.
Running update

We upped the miles to just over 2.5 (still at 4:2 and 3:1. I can't remember the times on our miles). There are also two additions that actually make us into a group. It has been fun to get to know these women. I'm looking forward to Wednesday's run. In the meantime, I am going to research a bit on exercises that will help. I'm still a little worried that I won't be ready to run the full 5K. Its probably those nasty little voices in my head again, trying to psyche me out. K still insists I will be ready.

Strange thing, I developed bad heartburn for the first time last night. I am not sure if it is due to eating brats for dinner (two hours before the run). Still feeling it today. I guess I should research that, too.

5 people have agreed to sign up on my team for the 5K. Just need 4 more. Any takers? Those family and friends coming from out of town will be hosted at my fabulous "B&B". (The guest bedroom is taken but I can always move the boys to sleeping bags and give you their beds.)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sunday Gratitudes

Yesterday was spent driving from my In-Loves to the Lehi house (still for sale, 15 months now, and the open house started 45 minutes late) and back. Then off to Deseret Book for scriptures, journal, and Preach My Gospel that Firstborn forgot to pack. Next to Target with 4 onery and hot children for the underwear that Firstborn forgot to pack, along with treats for him and treats for us.

Finally on the road to drop Firstborn off at my Sister-in-Loves house (who was going to take him to EFY on Monday). Finally the remaining three kids and I were on the road for our 5 1/2 hour trip home. Non eventful trips are good, even preferable, but they sure are boring.

We pulled into home to the huge welcome of Mr. Wonderful and Doggie girl. It was so good to be back. It was also date night, a bit late to go anywhere, and nothing planned. I expected to get the kids in bed and watch a movie. I really needed to go on my run and asked Mr. Wonderful if he would mind waiting. He didn't want to wait, he wanted to come with me. Mr. Wonderful is 6'4". His legs are waaaaaay longer than mine. I asked him if he would mind going at my pace (not a problem) as we laced up our shoes and put the youngest kids to bed.

Last night was one of those soft summer evenings. It was one of those clear nights that was perfect for stargazing - if we didn't live in Suburbia with its requisite street lamps. We took off on the usual route that K runs with me.

I've discovered some things that are great about date night runs:

1. They are cheap.

2. They are fat free (no movie popcorn, no pasta entrees, no counting calories/fat/fiber.)

3. We get to talk. What a novel concept! We broke date night rules and talked about the kids. We talked about the Utah house (the major cause of stress in our lives right now). My upcoming University studies. Happenings at Mr. Wonderful's office. Vacation plans. It was so much more enjoyable to me than our usual movies and dinner.

Mr. Wonderful tried to talk me into sprinting the last bit home. I declined, still having visions of third grade misery in my head. Maybe someday.

I've decided to take Mr. Wonderful to the running store to have Mike fit him for better shoes (he'll need them if he wants to train for triathlons). We'll plan more running date nights. Not all of them. We'll still have picnics, temple night, movie and dinner, and explore our areas date night attractions. But we now have a very budget friendly option.

So my gratitudes today are for Firstborn at EFY, noneventful trips, K getting me through my first four weeks of training (woo-hoo!), and Mr. Wonderful for being willing to run with me.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Remember the goals?

Its official as of today. I have been accepted to the local university and start classes this fall. One step closer to another goal. Stay tuned.....

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Running Update:

Tonight I averaged 13:01 minutes a mile which beats my best time I think by 15 seconds. My next two runs Friday and Saturday will be on my own which will be interesting to see if I can keep up the expectations I've set for myself without K to cheer me on.

Tonight we were joined by another sister in our ward. I hope she keeps coming. It was fun to get to know her.
We had a family activity planned to learn how to golf. Firstborn and Secondborn didn't take seriously the mandate that their chores had to be finished before we left. Since they weren't done, they stayed home to finish (with much wailing and gnashing of teeth, not to mention surly looks) while Mr. Wonderful took the rest of us to a local golf course.
Thirdborn had his instruction first...

And then spent time practicing while Mr. Wonderful demonstrated the golf swing to me. (There are no pictures of me as it would be inappropriate to show my frustration at trying to lock my elbow, hold my posture in a way that The Creator never intended for us to stand, and get that teeny ball to connect with my club, let alone get it to go in the direction I was aiming.)

Thirdborn then took it upon himself to teach (with all of his grand 3 minutes of experience) The Love Magnet how to golf. He had to help her balance the ball on the tee....

The Love Magnet then attempted to golf (with pretty much the same results as I achieved, but without the frustration. She thought it was fun.)

I have to agree it was fun. I hope Mr. Wonderful takes us again soon. (I hope I didn't embarrass him with my lousy swing. I hit more grass than I did golf balls.)

Monday, July 07, 2008

Running update:

Tonight's run was divided between 3:1 (three min. run to 1 min. walk) and 4:2. I completed my first mile in a better time than my mile race just over a week ago. Feeling great about that.

I bought some running clothes this morning. Amazing what official running clothes in my favorite color does to my attitude. I was determined not to be wimpy tonight. When K would tell me the run time was up, I went a little farther a few times. No complaining tonight.

I told K I was a little worried that I wouldn't be ready in time for my 5K in September. She has much more faith in me than I do right now.
Sunday Gratitudes (on a Monday)

Rather than making a list today, I want to share my gratitude to my twin sis, my sis-in-love, and my Uncle K for all the efforts they put out to help take care of Grandma. These three have done so much and deserve major blessing from heaven.

While I love living here and am grateful for the opportunities given to my family, situations like these make me wish I lived closer to my Grandma so I could help more.

I'm sending out my love to you three and praying for you constantly for wisdom and strength.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Mama's In The Kitchen

Indian Butter Chicken
Main Dish – Chicken
Adapted from Food Network Sara's Secrets Episode: Rotisserie Chickens To The Rescue
Servings: 4-6
Posted by Scarehair
July 6, 2008

My notes: This recipe was given to me by Killie. I’ve modified it from there. I've been craving Indian food and this was so tasty. You can sub spinach or peas for the kale, just be sure to add at the end and heat through (instead of simmering for 10 minutes) before adding the fat free half-n-half. Original recipe used rotisserie chicken, heavy cream, full fat butter, peas, and did not include mushrooms. Serve over jasmine rice. Find Garam Masala in the spice section of your grocery store.

3 Tablespoons light butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 Tablespoon garam masala
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
15 ounces tomato sauce (1 can)
14 1/2 ounces diced tomatoes (1 can undrained)
2 boneless skinless chicken breast, diced 1"
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
3 Cups kale, chopped
1/3 Cup fat free half-and-half

1. Saute chicken in dutch oven sprayed with cooking spray over medium high heat until chicken is golden. Remove chicken to bowl and set aside.

2. Reduce heat to medium. Melt butter in dutch oven. Add onion and mushrooms and saute until onions are translucent. Stir in tomato paste, garlic, and spices. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes in juice and stir well. Add chicken and chopped kale. Stir to blend. Cover and simmer until kale is tender, about 10 minutes (check to see if its ready before then).

3. Turn off heat. Add fat free half-n-half to dutch oven and stir to combine. Serve over jasmine rice.

At 4 Servings - Cal: 293, % from fat: 21, Total fat: 7g, Fiber 5g
At 6 servings – Cal: 195, Total Fat: 5g, Fiber: 4g
Running update:
Running update

Today's run was 3 minutes running/2 min. walking with the last 1/2 mile at 3 min. run/1 min. walk. Mile time 14:20. My 2nd best time. Next week we will change to 3 min. run/1 min. walk for the entire 2.2 miles. After that week we will start upping distance.

My ankles are tired but not sore. My shins and outer calves do not hurt. I can really tell the difference with these new shoes. (I think Mr. Wonderful is envious and wants a pair. In case you were wondering: my shoes are Saucony Progrid Hurricane 10. I think with all the silver on them they look like Buck Rogers shoes. Does that date me? does anyone else remember Buck Rogers?) My breathing is much better. If my legs would cooperate I think I could go further than 3 minutes as my lungs don't burn any more. But my legs get tired. My upper thighs are sore in front. Don't get me wrong, today was hard. But it is nice to see improvement. Its nice to know that I can do something hard and like it.

At weigh in today I was up 4 oz and really disappointed. My mentor thinks its water weight from the heat - she said that I wouldn't notice a weight loss from this new training until 5 weeks. I have committed to journaling every bite and measuring every portion and she will look at my journal next week. Mr. Wonderful and K think it is muscle. I came home frustrated with all those nasty voices in my head going at it with negative thinking. Mr. Wonderful, in all his wisdom, told me to go on my run, that it would clear my head and break the bad attitude. He was right. I feel great. I look forward to running with K. Beyond the girl talk, it has been great to get to know her.

On the mental side, today was the first time I wore running shorts and the tank from my running store goodie bag. Yesterday on my run my yoga pants fell off (proof that I am losing inches at least) so I had to find something that fit for today. I felt like an athlete.

This is so cool! (Yes, I am gushing. Let me have my moment....)

Friday, July 04, 2008

Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack -

Tonight we had tickets to watch our local 1A baseball team. The stadium is small. The team wore replica 1908 Cubs uniforms which made them look straight out of the movie The Natural (I know, wrong era and wrong team, but I love the movie and that is how I associated the experience.) We were given replica 1908 Cubs t-shirts for souvenirs.


The seats were box seats right in front of third base. The sun was behind us and the heat had calmed down to 82 degrees. I kept thinking that my daddy and my twin sis' husband would appreciate this much more than I did (they actually like baseball). It was a nice night to be out.

The Love Magnet watched movies (thanks to K for loaning us their portable DVD player). Thirdborn and The Love Magnet kept asking for food (they had just eaten at a neighbor's BBQ so how could they be hungry?) Firstborn and Secondborn were happy to treat them with the first money from their summer jobs. Peanuts and popcorn, pizza and root beer. It ended up being a great lesson on why its not smart to waste your money on stadium food when they realized just how much they spent by the end of the evening. Thirdborn was disappointed that no one threw him a t-shirt, ball cap, or baseball.


There was a fireworks show after the game. The Love Magnet doesn't like fireworks. "Mom, they are too loud for me!" She buried her head in my shoulder. The fireworks were so close that we could feel the heat from some of them. My daughter bounced from Mr. Wonderful to me to Firstborn every time a particularly loud cannon shot firework exploded. She could not make up her mind whose arms would be safer. I could tell that Firstborn was honored to be included in the "Safe Arms Zone" this year.

I have decided that I like this smaller town atmosphere very much. The celebrations, the community pancake breakfasts, the parades, the sports. This place feels like home.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

They keep going, and going, and going...

As I was typing the last blog about my new shoes, I realized that the house was quiet. Too quiet. I called out for The Love Magnet who is supposed to answer "Right here!" No answer. I ran down stairs to find the front door unlocked. My first thought was that The Love Magnet took off to find greener pastures or at least more friends to play with. As I rounded the corner to call the older boys to help with the search, I looked over by the TV and saw this:

The Love Magnet was apparently missing her daddy, because she put on his golf shirt before crashing.

Directly across on the couch was this:

I guess fireworks last night plus the swimming party this morning and the running around at lunch with friends finally got to them. Whaddya know, they really do run out of energy!

Check out my New Shoes!

Today I went into another running store, this one recommended to me by K. I met the owner, who was very sweet. I warned Mike that I was clueless, a former couch potato training for a 5K, and that K was my trainer who recommended his store. Mike knows K and he did take care of me. He made me stand up, sit down, stand on some machine that measured my feet/arches/pressurepoints? and then walk across that same machine. Then I started trying shoes on. Mike would put a different shoe on each of my feet, slap my ankle, and tell me to go play. I dutifully ran up and down the strip mall in 101 degree heat. He would then change one of the shoes and I would "go play" again. After a few times of running up and down he sent me home with these:

Can I hear a collective "Ooooooh, Aaaaah!"?
It turns out that I over pronate (new term for me and I am not sure yet what it means, but apparently it explains the shin and calf pain I've had) and these babies will help fix that. The shoes were spendy, more than I was planning on. But the people I have talked to said that the owner would never scam me for an easy sell. The research I've done online all show that this shoe sells for the same (even on Amazon) and I am paying for the over pronation of my feet?/running?/still do not understand the term completely.
One thing that surprised me is the sound. Mike asked me if My feet made slapping noises when I ran. Yes, they did. It turns out that is not me running flat-footed like I thought. It was the shoes. My new shoes are quiet. I do not sound like a herd of elephants while running in these shoes.
I was also sent home with a goodie bag with a cool running jacket. I feel like I belong to a club now because I have seen the serious runners in my ward wearing this. The goodie bag also included a tank, t-shirt, decal for my car, and running socks ("because cotton is of the devil!" according to Mike, the store owner. He says it causes blisters). There is also a bag for my stuff.
I realized after I left the store that I did not once try to suck in my stomach in order to fit in. The atmosphere was so much more relaxed. When I joked with Mike that I was not an athlete, he smiled and said "yes, you are." It felt good to be labeled an athlete.
I am excited to see how my run is affected tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Share your favorite hymn

Nana at Musings By Me has blogged about enjoying singing hymns from hymn books. So I wanted to share my favorite hymn. You can listen to it here.

I Know That My Redeemer Lives

I know that My Redeemer Lives.
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, He lives who once was dead.
He lives, my ever living head.
He lives to bless me with His love.
He lives to plead for me above.
He lives my hungry soul to feed.
He lives to bless in time of need.

He lives to grant me rich supply.
He lives to guide me with His eye.
He lives to comfort me when faint.
He lives to hear my soul's complaint.
He lives to silence all my fears.
He lives to wipe away my tears.
He lives to calm my troubled heart.
He lives all blessing to impart.

He lives, my kind, wise heavenly Friend.
He lives and loves me to the end.
He lives, and while He lives, I'll sing.
He lives, my Prophet, Priest, and King.
He lives and grants me daily breath.
He lives, and I shall conquer death.
He lives, my mansion to prepare.
He lives to bring me safely there.

He lives! All glory to His name!
He lives, my Savior still the same.
Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:
"I know that my Redeemer lives!"
He lives! All glory to His name!
He lives, my Savior still the same.
Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:
"I know that my Redeemer lives!"

This song perfectly expresses my testimony of my Savior. I sing it as lullaby to my children, as a song to comfort me when I'm down, and as a song to strengthen my testimony of Jesus Christ.

Please share with me your favorite hymn, and which hymnbook it is in. I started a collection of hymnbooks years ago and I love adding new ones.
Today I ran two miles in 28 minutes (2:30 run/2:00 walk). Not as good as my race time but better than any of my regular run times. Slowly improving...