Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Broccoli, Leeks and Spaghetti Squash

Last weekend was perfect for spending time in the kitchen.  Snow on the ground, hubby at work - and no commitments (lots to do around the house, but I would rather cook).. I had some produce items from the last couple baskets that I needed to use  - broccoli, leeks and spaghetti squash - so tried some new recipes.

Broccoli Cheese Soup
 The last two produce baskets from the Co-Op had broccoli and I just never know what to do with it except eat it raw with dip or in a salad with mayo, sugar, cranberries and sunflower seeds - and those get old soon.
I have the pound of Velveeta and found this recipe online - Cheesy Broccoli Soup
I think the only change I made was to omit the carrots and double the broccoli.   Everyone loved it and I had to put some aside with my name on it so I could take it to work for lunch one day this week.

Chicken with leeks and peppers
 We also got leeks in hte produce basket last week.  Never know what to do with them.  Found a recipe for Chicken with Leeks and Peppers and modified it a little (of course).   That was supper on Saturday - and we have lots of leftovers so won't have to cook at least one night this week :-)

Spaghetti Squash Veggie Toss

Another item I never know what to do with is spaghetti squash.  We are not big squash eaters, although Zucchini Fritters and Squash Puff have been some good dishes.  I tried a recipe (modified it of course :-) and came up with Spaghetti Squash Bake.

It was all very delicious. And pretty healthy too - since I am doing Wellness Wins at work.  I have lost 9 pounds in the past 5 weeks and have at least 8 more to lose over the next 11 weeks.  I have been using My Fitness Pal to track my calories eaten.  Lots of Sweatin to the Oldies and yoga to burn those calories and tone the muscles. And some snow shoveling this week :-)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Baby Shower #1

Our grand-daughter is arriving soon so it is time to shower her and mommy with lots of love and gifts.  The first shower was at our home with our extended families and friends.

It was a 'onesies' theme in yellow and gray (the nursery colors).  I cut out onesies using a pattern I had and Aunt Bekah helped cut the letters using the Big Shot to spell out "Welcome Adelyn Kaylee".

I modified my pattern slightly so that I used the 1 1/2 circle punch for the neckline and the small oval (retired) for the leg openings.   That way it was very easy to add the scallops by using the scalloped circle and scalloped oval punches.  Went so much faster this way.    The colors are So Saffron and Basic Gray.  I had the 1 inch clothespins from another project but found more at Joann's online to use for a fun part of the shower.    The clothesline is the Basic Gray stitched 1/4 inch ribbon.

And yes - the anchors for the clothesline are 1 lb boxes of Velveeta.  One of Adelyn's aunts decided they needed a cute name for the baby in utero before they knew the sex, so she suggested Velveeta - and it caught on.   I stamped the word 'little' in a 1 inch circle and put it on the 1 1/4 inch scallop to add a little to the box.  So 'little Velveeta' was a part of the shower. 

The party favors were also 'onesies' - the Baby Tees stampin wheel was perfect to make the sour cream container favors.  If you would like to see how to make them, check out my tutorial

I did not find any yellow or gray candies that I liked so they were filled with Dove hearts and Hershey's kisses and hugs.  (The left over favors are being recycled into Thank You cards)

The refreshments included cake, of course.  Hubby is hoping there is a lot left over. My daughter prefers whipped frosting but since she has gestational diabetes, she won't be eating much of it so it is buttercream for the new grandpa.

We also included a lot of fresh veggies and fruit.

And I got these cute little cheese crackers through a local co-op.  Taste just like goldfish crackers but the little duckies are so cute for a baby.  They were the perfect 'salty' accompaniment for the dark chocolate M&M's.

A friend of my daughter's is starting a floral business and I asked her to make a centerpiece for the coffee table that could be used in the nursery. Didn't she do a great job!

And of course, there were gifts - plenty of goodies to help the new parents care for their darling daughter. This is a baby afghan crocheted by my younger daughter.  She did a really good job.

And one of my favorites - a Green Bay Packers bib and hair bow :-) 

The guests played a game by decorating a onesie for Baby Adelyn and we hung them on the ribbon clothesline.  Everyone was a good sport and came up with some creative designs.

Mommy and Daddy chose the 3 they liked the most and those guests received a prize. These were the winners.

A last minute addition to the decoration - thinking I needed something on the door - I grabbed an extra onesie I had and added a bow - everyone thought it was cute.

It was so much fun decorating with the onesie theme.  When my daughter was a baby, my mom would pick up a pack of onesies everytime she went to Walmart.  I always think of her when I see a pack of onesies :-)  And now they come in so many cute designs. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Gift Cards and Rewards

We get rewards on a lot of things - but the ones I like best are the rewards we get from our Mastercard (usually redeemed for gift cards for restaurants) and our AMC Stubs rewards.  Today we planned a 'date' around our rewards and gift cards.

First - a movie -

since we went in the middle of the day on a weekday the tickets were only $5 each and we had $10 in AMC Stubs rewards that would expire in a couple week.  So a free movie - and we didn't pig out at the concession stand either.

Second - some Christmas gift cards for Books-a-million -
3 books for me and one for our granddaughter who is not even born yet. Couldn't pass up the bargain table.  Tom also got a book.  Now, I just need to get finished with Les Mis so I can read something else.  :-)

And lastly - but maybe the best part - an Applebee's gift card from our Mastercard rewards points.

The roasted sirloin under 550 calories meal - it was delicious. The steak and sauteed onions were perfect. The potatoes were buttery but not overly so and the portabello mushroom capped stuffed with spinach was wonderful.  I saved half of my steak for later since we ate at 3:30 p.m. (no lunch because of the movie) and I know I will get hungry in a couple hours or so. 

So - it was a very nice 'date' and pretty inexpensive as well. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Granddaughter pictures

Today we got to see our granddaughter's face with a 4D ultrasound. It was amazing! She was not the most cooperative subject but the technician got some pretty nice shots. Baby girl had her feet and hands over her face a lot.
One of the shots shows her foot on top of her head. How does she do that?!?!?
Can't wait to hold her in April!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Wellness Wins - off to a good start!

Wellness Wins started last week at work and I have signed up again this year.  Last year, I had all the points except my cholesterol which was 206 (top limit was 200) and I was not being treated for it since my physician was happy with that number.  If she would have signed a paper saying I was being treated, I would have received the whole payout.

This year I was determined to get my cholesterol down - so googled for natural ways to lower your cholesterol (about a week before I needed it to be under 200).   Exercise was one thing but I was pretty sure that would take more than a week.  Another thing I found was Cheerios - then I remembered a friend who had done a Cheerios diet, eating dry Cheerios when she needed a snack.  She ate a LOT of them - didn't lose any weight but brought her cholesterol down a lot.  Since I already like Cheerios and had Honey Nut ones in the house - that was my plan.  So Cheerios almost every morning for breakfast and if I wanted something crunchy to snack on in the evening I would just grab dry Cheerios.   I found a new flavor (at least for me)

Cinnamon Burst - they are good and not overly sweet or cinnamony.  Won't remind you a Cinnabon.   The cheerios took care of my 'crunch' cravings and when Wellness Wins started my cholesterol was 188. Woo-hoo!  My goals to get the total payout after the 16 weeks are to exercise 3 times a week and lose 16 pounds (I really want to lose at least 20 - but 16 would get the money).

Then, a week later I needed some blood work for my annual physical and my cholesterol was 163!!!!!!!!  I won't say the Cheerios did it all but I'm sure it helped.  I am watching what I eat and exercising but to drop 25 points on the cholesterol in a week is amazing!

I started out riding the stationary bike for my exercise but I don't push myself on that and jsut go through the motions so thought I better step it up a little to get some cardio too.  So got out the Sweatin to the Oldies and have been doing it.   My knees are not bothering me as much as they were (two alleve every night and it works - I tried to cut back to 1 and my left knee was killing me two days later - so two it is!)  I also found the moving more - not being so sedentary in the evenings helps.  I'm thankful for that because it was getting to the point where I could not get down on the floor and back up without a lot of pain and effort - and you know when that grand-daughter arrives I am going to want to play on the floor with her!

I also am trying to make meals more interesting. Typically I have a large salad for lunch - mostly veggies - once in a while I add a hard boiled egg or some bacon bits.   Breakfast is either cheerios, milk and banana or yogurt and some fruit.   So on the weekend I like to actually 'cook' breakfast.  This morning I saw a recipe for a Caprese poached egg (English muffin half, mozzarella cheese, tomato slice, poached egg and basil pesto on top).   Well, the only things I had in the house for that was the egg and cheese - so I created my own Dressed Up Poached Egg  (click for the recipe)

Dressed Up Poached Egg
Wheat toast, mozzarella cheese, egg and green onion - served with a broiled grapefruit half.  It was delicious and a nice break from the routine.   And with the exercise I am getting I have 12 activity points to splurge a little today. 

I lost 4 pounds so far - well not officialy until Monday since that is my 'weigh-in' day- and I have to be good tomorrow with the Super Bowl.  (veggies, fruit and dip and some Schwan's LiveSmart spinach pizza).  So off to a good start at least!  I can do this!