Monday, January 30, 2012

Mom's new habits...

Along with the resolution list I have been diligently trying to follow I made me a reminder card for my desk:
And I've been doing very well with it, if I do say so!  That large tumbler of water has become a habit now - I fill it up at the start of the day and sits out on my kitchen island, as a reminder.  Whenever I walk past it, I drink from it.  I have also remembered to take my vitamin and calcium tabs daily - something I haven't been able or willing, to do in years.  I haven't done these things since the holidays:
*Cook with butter
*Eat bacon
*Drink a soda
*Have creamer in my coffee
*Eaten fast food

I'm not chastising myself if I have something from the naughty list: candy, creamer, etc.  I find my cravings for those things are very weak now, anyway, so I can easily do without them.  I am still working on the walking effort.  It just is the last thing that appeals to me during the day.

This picture makes me cringe a little.  Wrinkled pants and muffin top is not my best look.  I have hung those jeans I want to fit into in a prominent spot and I could zip them last week.  Hooray!  I have lost 3.7 pounds and I feel so much better than I did a month ago, but I still feel I have so far to go... I know that my steps toward my goal are baby steps, and I'm OK with that.  
Slow and steady wins the race.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Tilapia Tikka Masala

Have you tried those pre-measured spice recipe packets from McCormick?  Our local grocery store was having a buy two get one free on them so I bought them, thinking it was nifty to have the recipe plus the pre-measured spices in one package.  Marketing genius!  I tried the Chicken Tikka Masala - a blend of garam masala, cumin, garlic, paprika, red pepper - on tilapia and Hubby rated it a 5.5 on a scale of 1-5.  Yes!
Four ingredients - couldn't be easier.  Six tilapia filets, one can petite diced tomatoes, 2 T. diced cilantro, and the McCormick Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe Inspirations.  I opened all the little packets of seasoning and mixed them all together.  Then, I salted the fish lightly and sprinkled on about 1 t. of the seasoning on the filets.  I melted a little butter (2T or so) and sauteed the fish til done; then removed to a warm dish.
In the pan drippings I added the tomatoes, about 2 t. more* of the seasoning, and the cilantro.  I let it come to a boil, then poured over the fish.  I served it with hot rice and a salad.
The sauce was  fresh tasting with just the right amount of spice.  So GOOD.  And it fit perfectly into the healthy eating plan Hubby and I are following.  Even my 16 yr old. loved it.    Tilapia is one of our favorite fishes - so mild and goes with so many things.  Excellent in fish tacos!  I'm pretty sure we'll be having this again - try it and let me know what you think!
*There is still a bit of the seasoning left...what shall I add it to next?

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Friday, January 27, 2012

A bright spot in the house

My laundry room is all spiffed up and ready to get to work!

Here is the before:
Everything crammed in and the builder beige still on the walls...
 And that's as far out from the wall as I could move the washer to paint down there...
I ended up practically standing on my head!
I pulled down the contact paper from the shelves.
Hard to tell the paint color from these photos - take my word for it the walls were blah and scuffed.  But now the floors are scrubbed and the walls have a fresh coat of paint.
Want to see the "afters"?

 The paint was left over from the front room project - called "Tobacco Leaf" by Martha Stewart in a satin interior latex enamel.  Perfect for this area.
I purged the shelves - storing things elsewhere or loading up my Goodwill pile.
And made a sweet little area on the shelf for pretty blue things...
This little dish holds all sorts of treasures I find in my washing machine...
These blue plates have been hanging in here since the first time I spiffed up this area a year ago.  My mother was perturbed that I hung them in here as she gave them to me and wanted them out where everyone can see them.  But I don't have a "blue" room in the house and I am in the laundry area six days out of seven.  Made sense to me to hang them in here where I can enjoy them.
 My art gallery of magnets the kids made in school...
Love this fabric that lines the baskets.
I added a tension rod to hold my ironing.
I got that idea from somewhere...can't remember where.  I think tension rods are great - you can use them anywhere and they don't damage the walls.  This one is fairly strong, too - it holds everything I need to iron or hang dry.
All of the Christmas stuff is now in the top of my master closet in 4 big clear boxes.  This big one in the laundry room holds miscellaneous decor - stuff I need to get to easily.  Seasonal things, mostly.  And next to it are the hard-to-store things.  And empty space!  So it's there if I need it.    I think it's prettier in here now.  it will take the drudge factor down a bit when I open up the door to do laundry.
Is is silly to love my laundry area?  Because now, I do!

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A plan to freshen the laundry room

You can't really call it a room, per se.  More like a closet.  
But I want to add some color to the walls and arrange the stuff on the shelves differently...
 Yikes.  And wash the ironing board cover!
Nothing fancy.  Just a sprucing up - moving the appliances and vacuuming thoroughly, storing some things mini-project for the rest of the week!  

Monday, January 23, 2012

My obsession with pine cones...

...continues, well after Christmas...
But I think they make perfect Winter decor!
I can't help it.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Orange Chicken with Green Beans and Brown Rice

The idea for this recipe is from an HEB store flyer.  But I read the instructions, improved them (in my opinion), and adjusted the cooking time.  Still, I appreciate the idea, HEB!

Orange Chicken with Green Beans and Brown rice
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 pound green beans, trimmed
1/2 medium sized onion, chopped
1 cup brown rice
1 Knorr chicken bouillon cube, crumbled into the rice
2 cup fresh squeezed OJ and water (half and half)
some grated orange rind
1/2 t. of crushed red pepper.
black pepper
olive oil
*Use a cast iron pan or similar, because it's part stove, part oven cooking.
Add the red pepper to the OJ and water mix and set aside.  
Pre-heat oven to 375.
Saute your chicken things in a little olive oil til browned; set aside.
In the pan drippings, saute the onion and the rice a few minutes.  I love using cast iron - it goes right to the oven from the stove!
Turn off the heat.  Add fresh green beans to the skillet on top of the rice and onion mixture.  Set the thighs on top of that, pepper it, pour on the OJ/water mix with some orange rind grated in for extra flavor, and cover.  Bake at 375 for about an hour.
I might have let mine sit in the oven a little longer while I watched Jacques Pepin on PBS. (:
With the lid on, it was perfectly fine.
Oh, my.  What a delicious dinner!
I don't normally cook brown rice, but I am trying to make each meal a little more healthier.  Brown rice is perfect in this.  Try it and let me know what you think!

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Friday, January 20, 2012

A simple birthday cake

That's what I wanted for Firstborn.  The holidays and all it's baking did a toll on me and I was looking for something simple.  Of course, The Chronicle delivered.  Chronicle recipes are awesome - submitted by some of the greatest cooks in Texas!  Mine came out super moist and coconutty.
It was so moist the powdered sugar flat out disappeared.  Made no difference at all served with Chocolate Swirl Malt Crunch ice cream.  I'm just sayin'.
It was pretty non-healthy, party kind of meal.  That's OK on people's birthdays, people.  
We had ribs from Rudy's, pizza, salad, and an olive relish tray.
Oh, and beer.
It's been a whole three weeks since we've ordered pizza...
But it's such an easy meal that boy-type people love. Well, he's really not a boy any more...
Still hard for me to wrap my head around him being 22 ...
And that cake, in all it's moist leftover glory, is still staring me in the face.
Gonna have to freeze it unless Firstborn gets to eating it up soon...


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