Friday, May 22, 2015

Memorial Day

Memorial Day

A Federal Holiday were Americans take time to remember those who died while serving in the Armed Forces.  Over one million men and women gave their lives in service of their country.

As time marches on we seem to have forgotten the meaning of this holiday and turned it into a kick-off to the summer season and retail businesses have turned it into a sales event.

I hope as you enjoy this long weekend with your family and friends you take time to think about the sacrifices these brave soldiers made in order to make this country safe for you to enjoy this weekend.






Monday, March 16, 2015

Two Cookbook Reviews

Growing up I spent fall, winter and spring in California with my mom and summers with my dad were spent in the Midwest. While spending my summers in the midwest I remember Sunday Suppers being the huge meal of the week where the whole family sat down together to eat and talk about the week.  Two meats were served one being a poultry dish and the other beef or pork. There was always a salad, two vegetables and one of them had to be a green vegetable and mashed potatoes and gravy, this was not considered a vegetable but a stable. Even if rolls were served there was always a plate of sliced white bread on the table and a simple dessert.

In California I remember going to many pot-luck picnics with friends and family that moved from the midwest to California, the families would get together to reminisce about the old neighborhoods and talk about what was presently going on in their lives.

During my teens in the 1970's I had my fair share of Avocado and Sprout sandwiches, fruit smoothies and granola, California Hippie Food. One thing that never changed was the food from the midwest and how we ate.

I have always been drawn to Southern Cooking and it's not just the fried food. During the time I was growing up in California you didn't find collard greens, black-eyed peas and fried chicken in Southern California was KFC or Mrs. Knott's Fried Chicken Dinner.  Even Southern Food is getting an facelift and I love what I'm seeing.

This brings me to Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbook - Recipes and Stories to Celebrate the Bounty of the Moment - a 150 seasonal Southern Recipes by Nancy Vienneau.  You can find out more about Nancy on her blog Good Food Matters along with many other delicious recipes.



















The introduction is written beautifully and you can sense the love of fresh produce, cooking and friends in Nancy's writing. What really caught my eye is the cookbook is broken down by seasons/months. I wish all cookbooks were written this way. It makes it so easy to find dishes geared to what's in season and that CSA box you just received.

While I was reading  through Nancy's cookbook I kept saying to my husband Bill, oh this recipe sounds fantastic, he would ask what's in it and I would list off the ingredients to him and he would say, bookmark that one. I ended up with a bunch of of post-it's marking all the recipes that need to be made first. Here are some of my favorites that I'm looking forward to preparing first, no joke I didn't find one recipe that I didn't want to make. I love the section for gifts you can make and not all of them are edible like Jessi's Lavender-Oat Bath Soak.

Plumgood Roast Chicken
Teresa's Cucumber Salad with a Caribbean Twist
Warm German-Style Potato Salad with Benton's Bacon (this one reminds me of those pot-lucks I went to growing up)
Gigi's Pavlova
Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart with Olive Oil Crust
Honeycrust Fried Chicken Tenders
Bourbon Pecan Bars (I got Bill's attention with this recipe)
I'm just going to say it - The whole section on Figs - we love figs
Deep-Dish Lemon Tomato and Lemon Basil Pie
Diane Stopford's Autumnal Cocktail
Not Your '70s Green Bean Casserole
Cathy's Euphoric Raspberry Mojitos
Watermelon Margarita Wedges (you can not believe how happy I am that watermelon season is just around the corner)

Keeping with the Southern theme is The Southern Pantry Cookbook 105 Recipes Already Hiding in your Kitchen by Jennifer Chandler you can find out more about Jennifer and her other cookbooks on her website Cook With Jennifer.



















The first thing that grabs you with Jennifer's cookbook are the biscuits on the dust jacket. Jennifer's introduction Welcome to my Table is just that welcoming reading about her family and where her cooking roots comes from makes me feel like part of the family.

I love the section "A Well-Stocked Pantry" Southern Pantry Essentials. I found this thoughtfully written and a huge asset to the cookbook along with the section on Cooking Tools. This cookbook would be a perfect Shower or New Home gift.

Again there are so many recipes I'm itching to make out of The Southern Pantry, here are a few that caught my eye.

Cheddar-Pecan Shortbread (I have already made these, so much flavor)
Tex-Mex Corn Dip
Corn Salad (are you thinking corn season is just around the corner too)
Shrimp Remoulade Salad
Southern Chicken Salad
Creamy Vidalia Onion Soup
Braised Chicken With Mushrooms and Grits (OMG, I'm drooling over this dish)
Grilled Chicken with Peach Barbecue Sauce
Fried Pork Medallions with White Milk Gravy
Honey-Balsamic Flank Steak
Blackened Red Snapper
Snapper with Mustard-Pecan Crust (Bill can not make up his mind which Snapper recipe to make first)
Trout Amandine (I think the Trout is going to be first I have it in the freezer)
Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars (I have made these, they were gone by the next day)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Healthier Me - Update

I have really dropped the ball on posting about my path to a healthier me, the last time I posted was January 5th.

Let me tell you what has been going on:

1.  I made the big leap by registering to run a 1/2 marathon

2.  I'm having a hard time finding the right combination of eating to lose weight and fuel my body for running.

3.  I joined a gym

4.  Learning as I go along about the do's and don'ts of running

5.  Subscribed to 2 running magazines - Women's Running and Runner's World

I've never been a runner - to be frank I hated to run. When I started my walking regiment last year I decided to run a 5k, it was hard, I pushed myself and I can say I completed that run without stopping or walking.

When I was looking at another 5k to run this year I came across a 1/2 marathon. As a joke I sent the info to my daughter and said I'm considering this. Her message back to me....Let's do it, I will run it with you. My message back to her, okay. My next thought what the hell did I just commit to and then to make sure I didn't back out I registered the two of us for the run. The big day is September 12th.

I searched running apps to help me train for the 1/2 marathon. The app I found that is working the best for me is Run Coach 13.1, 3 days a week for 18 weeks it is slowing preparing me for the run. After the 18 weeks I will run every other day until the 1/2 marathon. I have also added another app RunKeeper to track my running.

I then joined a gym, Anytime Fitness. I'm doing strengthen training the days I'm not running. My other plan with the gym if we have bad weather I can always run on the treadmill or use the elliptical. The jokes on me right now...We just had a huge snow storm come in a drop a ton of snow on us. I can't even get down to the gym. LOL

I'm doing my training right, slow, baby steps I do not want any injuries. This next part isn't something that you enjoy talking about but it is important if you are thinking about running. Find a store that really knows about running to get your shoes. I bought my first pair of running shoes in my normal size, just tried them on they felt good and the guy at Dick's Sporting Goods didn't know jack about running shoes. I got what is called a Runner's Black Toe, it's from not having properly fit running shoes and the black toe is a blood blister that forms under the toenail. I found a running store that measured me, checked my gate walking and properly fitted me with new running shoes. I went up a 1/2 size and found out that my foot rolls in, my new shoes correct this problem. Running shoes are expensive but the most important part of your running regiment and you will need a new pair after 500 miles. If you find a pair of shoes that work well for you consider buying a few pairs that way when race day comes you are using a pair of shoes that you are use to.

One of the most important things I have learned hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. I found out the scary way to drink water before running and it's not what you think. I was so afraid of drinking water before running, because what if I'm out there running and I have to pee. Let me tell you you sweat that liquid out no need to worry about that. What happened to me from not drinking water before running I had blood in my urine. So now the night before running I drink a lot of water and before going running I have two to three glasses of water and since I have been doing this I have not had a problems with blood in my urine.

It's important to educate yourself when taking up serious running. A Facebook friend Christine Dutton suggested the book The Complete 26-week Training Program Marathon and Half Marathon The Beginner's Guide by Marnie Caron. It is a great book, I have pages tagged and highlighted. I also bought it for my daughter and sent it to her, she loves it too. Ask other runner's questions, check out running sites online, running magazines and running groups in your area.

I will work harder on updating my progress a couple times a month.



    

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Mexican Hot Chocolate Chip Cookies

I know it's been a while since I have written a post. A lot has been going on, which is a post for another day.

We have been having a really dry winter until this past weekend. Close to 4 feet of snow has dropped on us and we are currently snowed in. The snow is too high to even get out of the garage. I can't see dropping a few hundred dollars to be dug out when we can just wait until it melts down a bit.

From My Deck






















It's snowing right now hopefully the last of it and we will be back to blue skies. While waiting for the snow to pass and get to melting I thought I would bake some cookies. I decided to play with the original Nestle Toll House Cookie recipe, nothing new but what recipe is anymore. The warmth from the cinnamon and cayenne is perfect for this snowy day.
















Mexican Hot Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Nestle Toll House Cookie Recipe

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon prepared strong coffee, cooled
2 large eggs
1 12oz bag of Nestle Mini Semi-Sweet Chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

In a medium bowl add flour, baking sode, salt, cinnamon, espresso powder and cayenne powder; whisk together and set aside.

Beat butter, sugars, vanilla and coffee until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one.  Mix in flour a little at a time until completely incorporated into the sugar mixture. Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop a rounded tablespoon of cookie batter onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, bake for 9 to 11 minutes, allow to cool 2 to 3 minutes before moving them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Fiesta Corn

When you think of corn what's the first thing that comes to mind. For me it's hot summer days, serving corn on the cob at a family BBQ.  Then I realize I don't use corn in recipes very often. I will add corn to my cornbread and I have put it in soup.

This past weekend I made this corn dish using bell peppers and jalapeños that I had on hand. The fresh lime brightens the dish.  It's a warm corn salad.




















Fiesta Corn

2 tablespoons butter
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cajun seasonings
pinch of cayenne
1 16oz bag frozen corn, thawed
zest and juice from one lime
handful of cilantro, rough crop

Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat, add red and green bell peppers, onions, jalapeño, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and cajun seasonings, sauté for 5 minutes. Add corn and heat through completely. Add lime zest, lime juice and cilantro; stir and serve.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Hello Sunday

Hello Sunday....

I thought today would be a good catch up day.

I think the whole world knows that today is an important sports day....Super Bowl Sunday. Normally I would be very excited about the big game, however, not one team I'm crazy about is in the Super Bowl. I'm not cheering on either team, I just love football and the commercials so I will be watching and eating some great football food. Chili Dogs, spicy corn, chips and dips, chocolate peanut butter dessert and some Ruby Red Moscow Mules.

Reading: Slowly I'm still reading Still Life with Bread Crumbs, I'm only on page 77, I just haven't felt like reading and I'm already getting behind on my goal. I need to kick it up a notch.

TV: I watched the first season of Walking Dead when it came out and that was it. New Years Day was having a Walking Dead Marathon, I taped it and have been watching it on and off for the last month. 6 more episodes and I am caught up. After the Walking Dead I'll be watching Breaking Bad I taped their marathon too. I also have this season of BlackList and a bunch of other shows I've taped that I have not had a chance to watch yet.

The Home: I don't know if I'm wishing spring would get here or because we are having a really mild winter, but I have already been spring cleaning. I've started with the kitchen and laundry room. Doing a lot of re-arranging, organizing and throwing out anything expired if I can't use it right away. Next I will tackle the living room, I have a few piles or books and magazines stacking up around me.

Creative: My husband and I are going to sign up for a beginning drawing class that is being offered at the new art store in town. I missed signing up for the watercolor class, while there I will check to see when the next class is going to start. I want to start a new x-stitch project this month. I have 9 patterns that I bought on Etsy I just need to see which one I want to start first.

Weekly Quote:














This Weeks Goal: To complete 5 - 200 word writing exercises.

What I want out of 2015: To unlock my creative side or at least to shake it up.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Cookbook Review: In Her Kitchen by Gabriele Galimberti

This has been one of the most enjoyable cookbooks I have read and I have not even made one dish from it yet. In Her Kitchen Stories and Recipes from Grandmas Around the World by Gabriele Galimberti, take 53 women from all walks of life, from cramped kitchens, to dirt floors what do they all have in common....cooking for the families they love.

Gabriele Galimberti is a photographer who has traveled the world, his work has been featured in Newsweek, Le Monde and Vanity Fair just to name a few publications. In 2013 he completed a 18-month photography trip around the world.



















For each women he gives her name, her age, where she is located, a photo and a small blurb about their lives that is thoughtfully written. I found it very interesting that some of the women work in restaurants or other establishments and are not able to cook for their families everyday.

I already have a post-it list attached to the inside cover of the dishes I'm interested in making.

Swiss Chard and Ricotta Ravioli with Meat Sauce from Marisa Batini - Italy (this is a dish from the authors grandmother)
Bat Bot (bread) from Fatma Bahkach - Morocco
Khinkali (Pork and Beef Dumplings) from Natalie Bakradze - Georgia
Feijoada Light from Anna Lucia Souza Pascoal - Brazil
Queso Humacha (Vegetables and Fresh Cheese Stew) from Julia Enaigua - Boliva
Inkoko Nama Spices (Roasted Spiced Chicken) from Joyce Muape - Zambia
Hui Guo Ron (Twice-Cooked Pork with Vegetables) from Pan Guang Mei - China
Bison Under the Midnight Sun from Kathy O'Donovan - Canada
Abolu Pirags  (Sweet Pizza with Apples and Chocolate) from Natalija Kaze - Latvia
Tart with Walnuts and Mountain Honey from Giovanna Stoll Simona - Switzerland
Tiramisu alla Toscanna from Paola Agnelli - Italy

As much as I can appreciate their cultures I will be passing on Finkubala (Caterpillars in Tomato Sauce) and Honduran Iguanan with Rice and Beans, just are not my cup of tea and I'm not that adventurous.

There are many other dishes I would like to try other than the ones I listed above, some might have to be tweaked to meats and fish that are to my liking. I think I could work around the caterpillars because the rest of the dish sounds delicious.

I would like to thank Blogging for Books for giving me this book to review.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Bananas Foster Bread

I was watching Guy's Big Bite last week and he made a Bananas Foster Milkshake and it sure sounds good. Made a note that I must make the milkshake this summer. Days after I watched Guy's show that Bananas Foster was still on my mind. Since it is a cold raining day I decided to make the Bananas Foster into bread.

The aroma from the bread smells incredible. Bill was down in the basement and came up asking when the bread was going to be done that he came smell it down stairs.  If he doesn't devour the whole loaf in one sitting, I think I will make french toast with the remaining bread. 










Bananas Foster Bread

Bananas Foster:

5 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 ripe bananas, sliced
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup banana liqueur
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt

Bread:

1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups flour

Prepare Bananas Foster first to allow it to cool down some. With a medium non-stick skillet over medium heat add butter and sliced bananas; cook until the bananas are caramelized on both sides; about 5 minutes or so. Stir in the brown sugar and cinnamon. Remove pan from flame add the banana liqueur; stir to combine. Place pan back on flame and slowly tip pan to allow the flame to ignite the bananas; remove from flame and allow flame to go out. Add vanilla and salt; stir. Place the banana mixture into a bowl to cool.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl beat together sugar, butter and eggs. Sift baking powder, baking soda and flour together. Mix together with the sugar mixture; just until combined (it will be a bit stiff). Using a mashed break up the bananas to smaller pieces and add the Bananas Foster to the bread mixture; stir until incorporated. Pour into a greased loaf pan; bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

What I Had On Hand Chicken Cacciatore

I have been faithfully working out walking and I have now incorporated running into my regiment. Today I walked/ran 6 miles and I was ready for a hearty dinner.

I love when I can take things that I already have on hand and make a delicious dinner. This is my version of a Chicken Cacciatore from items I had in my refrigerator and pantry. This dish is enough for 4 people or meals for 2 nights for Bill and I.














What I Had On Hand Chicken Cacciatore

1 tablespoon plus extra virgin olive oil
3 links Hot Italian Sausages cut into bitesized pieces (I used Johnsonville)
4 chicken thighs with skin and bones
salt and pepper
1 onion chopped
3 large cloves garlic, sliced and chopped a couple of times
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 cup pitted whole kalamata olives
2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
1 cup red wine
1/2 of a 32oz box unsalted chicken stock
1 24oz jar of your favorite pasta sauce
1 pound thin spaghetti pasta cooked following boxed directions
parmesan cheese
Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large dutch oven heat olive oil over a medium heat. Add sausage cooking on all sides for 4 minutes total, remove from pot. Salt and pepper chicken on all sides. Place in stock pot skin side down for 5 minutes; turn over and cook for 5 minutes, remove from pot. If needed drizzle pot with a little more olive oil and add onions, red pepper flakes, rosemary, oregano and thyme, sauté for 4 minutes add garlic and mushrooms, sautéing for 3 minutes. Add wine; bring to a boil while deglazing the bottom of the pot. Add olives, chicken stock, chicken thighs and sausage back to the pot, top with pasta sauce, stir and adjust salt and pepper if needed; place lid on dutch oven. Place in oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Prepare pasta, spoon chicken dish over pasta, top with cheese and parsley.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Cookbook Review - Inside The Test Kitchen - Tyler Florence

My first cookbook review of 2015, I have had this cookbook since last year and I am late doing a review on it.

I'm sure there isn't a household that has not heard the name Tyler Florence, Food Network Star, numerous cookbooks under his belt, restaurant owner, wine maker and business owner.

Tyler's latest cookbook is Inside The Test Kitchen, 120 new recipes, perfected. Although it isn't my favorite Tyler Florence cookbook I did find some recipes that I want to make. My list includes Cheddar-Black Pepper Crackers, Extra-Light Cornbread, Pork Carnitas Tacos and Thai Chicken Salad. I also found the Five-In-One Mix for muffins, pancakes, waffles, cakes and cookies to be very helpful over buying the boxed stuff in the grocery store (nice to know what you are eating).

What I didn't care for was the text-book style of writing I found it distracting, the photos were blah and frankly some of the recipes are not new - take the No-Sweat Poached Eggs, I saw this on Pinterest over a year ago.

I do think this cookbook would be a nice gift for someone just stepping into the kitchen.


Monday, January 12, 2015

First Week - I need to make some changes

I started last week off with a bang. Monday I walked 14,812 steps,  Tuesday 16,870, Wednesday 16,463 and Thursday 18,789.  Friday was my rest day and I still walked 9,321 steps, Saturday and Sunday were not good days, both days I walked a little over 6,000 steps.  I have been so hungry, enough that I gained weight.

It wasn't like this, this past summer, what was different?  During the summer I was getting up early having breakfast and going walking before it got too hot. By the time I got home it was still early enough to have my coffee, enjoy my lunch and continue with my day.

Now I'm putting off walking until 10 or 11 until it warms up. I have a light breakfast, no coffee until I get back home which is around 2pm. (who wants to be out in the middle of nowhere and having to pee) I often skip lunch because dinner is getting close and I'm hungry and overeating.  Yes I am walking and that's a good thing but, I don't feel I am getting anything else done.

I think it will be trial and error until I find a schedule that works for me.  My first step is getting up earlier, planning my day out and sticking to it.

Current Weight: 196.8
Start Weight: 236.3
Goal Weight: 130

Monday, January 5, 2015

Back On The Path To A Healthier Me

Since I am closing my other blog "My Blog - My Journey" and incorporating into this blog I thought I would bring you up to date what has been going on. On June 10th I made the decision to start getting healthy, I had not been sleeping well and had the feeling of impending doom, that if I went to bed I wasn't going to wake up the next morning. This was a very overwhelming and scary feeling.

June 11th I weighed in at 236.3 pounds, I clipped my FitBit to my pants and started walking.  I walked my driveway half-way back and forth a few times a day. Now my driveway is not like most driveways. It is dirt, rocks, not flat and is a 1/4 mile one way.  Little by little I was taken more and more steps, my goal was 10,000 steps per day. I even figured out where on my driveway I needed to go to make one lap 1,000 steps so it was easier for me to figure out how many laps I needed to make 10,000.  I started going over the 10,000 steps and my best day I went over 30,000 steps.

I started walking down to the dirt road and back, which is around 5 miles round trip and the trip back is all up hill. When I go up the mountain it is about 18,000 steps round trip. I even started running and training to run a 5K. I signed up for a 5K in October, I ran slow and steady and completed the 5K and I wasn't in last place.  Another plus is I no longer have to take high blood pressure medication.

Along with all this walking I keep track of everything I eat on MyFitnessPal, there is a app for that for your phone. I keep my calories at 1,200 per day. I linked my FitBit and MyFitness Pal on the app when you hit 10,000 steps it starts adding activity calories onto MyFitnessPal, so if I went a little over my 1,200 calorie goal it was not big deal I have a cushion to fall back on.

In November I got a nasty cold, which then became a way too long break on FitBit and MyFitnessPal. Well it's time to get back on my Health and Fitness Path and today is that day. I have gained back some pounds, not a big deal, I lost weight once I can do it again.

Mondays will be my weigh in day and to reflect on the past week. I am putting everything out there, being honest, it is the way I keep myself accountable.

I  give myself goals and rewards. For every 10 pounds I lose I buy myself something.  I have bought myself blouses which is fantastic because I usually live in t-shirts and it's nice to have some real clothes. I haven't bought any pants yet since I have pants in smaller sizes I have had for years and have never worn, every time I can fit in a new pair it is a reward. I also splurged and bought myself a Kate Spade purse and matching wallet.

My goals have been to fit in the pants I have stashed away. I still have 10 pairs of pants I need to fit into before I need to buy pants again.  I did get a fantastic deal on a suit and I bought it in a size 12, my goal is to be able to fit in that suit before summer. I also bought a darling Boho top in a size medium and that's another goal.














































I am currently using the FitBit Zip as soon as FitBit comes out with the Charge HR I will be purchasing it. The Charge HR has a heart rate monitor which I need. The zip only counts my steps and when I am walking up and down a mountain I want it to take my heart rate into account since I'm burning more calories.

I have my husband take a photo of me every month, I measure once a month, so I can see the changes month to month. If you are on MyFitnessPal and/or FitBit look me up, befriend me and lets take this journey together - Pam Capone.



















Current Weight: 195.5
Start Weight: 236.3
Goal Weight: 130

Friday, January 2, 2015

The Reading Room

Happy New Year - I hope you had a beautiful first day of 2015. I had a great day of doing nothing. My day consisted of stalking the internet, watching HGTV, The Rose Parade, Living Big Sky or something like that, The HGTV Dream House, caught up on Hell on Wheels and picked up where I left off on The Walking Dead.

I stopped making New Years Resolutions, in my mind if you broke a resolution - you failed - end of story, stop trying. Instead I make Goals, if I slip up no big deal,  get right back on that horse and try again. You are going to see this a lot on my blog this year. I have different ideas on wording things to trick my brain.

One of my Goals for 2015 is to read at least 12 books. For a reader that is nothing but for someone like me it is a hard goal - I am dyslexic and ADHD.

WARNING - You will read some "R" rated words

I struggle with failing, I struggle with being labeled stupid. I had a grade school teacher tell me she didn't understand why I even bothered coming to school, I could not be taught, I was stupid. Let me tell you those words fucked me up my whole life. I was going to use the word messed up just to keep my blog G-Rated, but "messed up" doesn't measure up to how those words have effected with over the years. It wasn't until I was in my early fifties that I was tested and labeled with dyslexia and ADHD. It is a relief to know what is going on in my head and now I'm working very hard to try new things and trying not to be so hard on myself, when things take longer to learn or stick.  Enough on that....moving on.

The Reading Room

I started this book this summer (I won it on a blog) and I am ready to finish it.  Still Life With Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen.  Check it out at Amazon,  If you would like to join me in reading this book I am only on page 26. If you have already read it I would love to know what you thought about the book.



















Do you have any reading Goals for 2015 and what are you currently reading.  You can also follow me on GoodReads - Pam Capone.


Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year - New Path

Happy 2015

I hope you all had a fantastic Holiday Season. Our Christmas was nice and quiet. We were snowed in and did not leave the house for 4 days. We missed another year of spending Christmas with our daughter, we did have a really nice long conversation on the telephone.

With the New Year comes many new changes. I have been doing a lot of thinking about my blog and I'm ready to take a new path.

Since June I have been trying to post on two blogs.....well that isn't working both have suffered. Here are some of the changes you will find at Living Rancho Delux.

* I will be cutting back on my food blogging - There are so many great food bloggers out there, that are  much better cooks than I am, have the time to staged their creations and get fantastic photos. I'm a home cook, I take a photo, we eat and that is not going to change. When I come across a recipe I am really happy with I will post it. I will continue to post cookbook reviews.

* I am closing my other blog which was my getting healthy blog.  In June I started walking, which  led to running and participating in my first 5K and watching my food intake. By November I had lost 50 pounds. I got sick in November and all hell fell broke loose and I have gained 10 pounds back. I will be posting my journey here as I get back into walking and once the snow is gone running again.

* I have two Etsy Shops that I want to get running in 2015 and my husband will be working with me to make my dream come to life. Both shops will have handmade gifts - I needed two shops for different styles. You will find them here - Rancho Delux and Hot Pink Lemonade. I will post updates to my stores on my blog.

* I love arts and crafts and I will be posting more on what I'm my working on. I am going to be trying my luck at watercolors and drawing. I'm hoping to see some progress in my work over 2015. I have some cross-stitch projects, up-cycle projects and home decorating that I will be working on this year.

* I will have a segment on my blog - The Reading Room - more on that later.

I've been sitting on my ass way too much and need to stop dreaming about the things I want to do and just do them, I figure my blog will help hold me accountable for my goals.

I hope you will stick with me through the changes and maybe inspire you to join me in my 2015 Journey.




Monday, December 8, 2014

Made With Chobani

When t Chobani asked me to participate in the #MadeWithChobani project I jumped at the chance.  What the good people at Chobani didn't know is Chobani has been a big part of my Get Healthy journey.

In June I made the choice to start walking and eating healthy. I purchased a FitBit and everyday I started walking. Starting with 3,000 steps a day, then I was up to 5,000, then 10,000 and my average is around 15,000 steps a day (my best day is over 30,000).  I even started running and in October I ran my first ever 5k. I live on a mountain and I have been walking up and down that mountain, almost everyday. Since June I have lost 50 pounds and I am off my blood pressure medication and I'm working on losing more weight.

With all this hard work I changed how I ate. Chobani Greek Yogurts are a big part of my breakfast and lunch. I make a Chobani Yogurt Banana Chai Smoothie which is a meal in its self. (I will share the recipe this week)

When I make scrambled eggs I substitute Chobani Plain Yogurt for the milk and it makes my scrambled eggs creamy, add some asparagus and chopped tomatoes and serve with a english muffin and breakfast is served.

One of my favorite dishes I make with Chobani is my Roasted Shrimp Lettuce Wraps with Chobani Dip.

With Chobani eating healthy is a delicious start to my day.
















































Roasted Shrimp Lettuce Wraps with Chobani Dip

Chobani Dip

1 cup Chobani Plain Yogurt
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons grated ginger
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 crank freshly ground black pepper
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
pinch Chinese 5 spice
zest from 1 lime
juice from 1/2 lime
1 clove garlic, minced
2 greens onions, sliced thin including greens

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Vegetables

2 carrots, cut into thin matchsticks
2 large roma tomatoes, cut into thin matchsticks
1/4 orange bell pepper, cut into thin matchsticks
1/4 yellow bell pepper, cut into thin matchsticks
1/4 red bell pepper, cut into thin matchsticks
1/2 english cucumber, cut into thin matchsticks
3 large radishes, cut into thin matchsticks
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
zest of one lime
juice of one lime
1 tablespoon rosemary, minced and divided
1 tablespoon thyme, minced and divided
salt and pepper to taste

Place cut vegetables in a bowl; add olive oil, vinegar, lime zest and juice, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper. Toss and place to the side while you prepare and cook the shrimp.

Shrimp

1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
rosemary and thyme
1/2 lime juice

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Clean, peel and devein shrimp place on a foil lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, rosemary and thyme; toss to make sure all the shrimp are covered. Roast for 5 to 8 minutes; until shrimp are tender and done. Remove tails if left on and drizzle with lime juice.

Assemble

6 lettuce leaves
2 green onions, sliced including greens

Place vegetables on top of lettuce leaf, spoon Chobani Dip on top, add 2 to 3 shrimps depending on size, add a dollop more of the Chobani Dip and sprinkles with sliced green onions.

My Chobani Dip is also great served with a vegetable platter or substitute the dip for mayonnaise on your sandwich.

Here is a photo of the day I started my journey and the day of my 5k run.



Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Cookbook Review - Sunday Suppers by Karen Mordechai

I received a copy of Sunday Suppers Recipes + Gatherings by Karen Mordechai for review.



















Karen Mordechai has put together a lovely cookbook for small gatherings and meals to enjoy at home or taken on the road.  I was first taken with the front cover of the book, simple and inviting. There was something about the look of linen fabric with a gorgeous photograph of a simple peasant meal on the cover, I knew this would be the cookbook I would use to entertain my closest family and friends.

Karen's photographs in this cookbook are beautifully done and I enjoyed the introduction, it gave me an understanding of Karen's passion.

Each section of the cookbook starts with a menu and a description of the plot and wonderful quotes, I find this cookbook very romantic and thoughtful.

The very first is Morning and the Menu is Cream Biscuits with Jam Butters, Perfectly Scrambled Eggs, Greens, Blood Orange, halved, Green Juice and French Press Coffee. I looked forward to reading the next menu and start planning what I was going to make first from Sunday Suppers.

For this review I picked the Date Cake with Toffee Sauce. This is one of the best Date Cakes I have ever made. The cake is moist with a lot of flavor and the toffee sauce is perfection that I will use with other recipes.














Karen is the founder of Sunday Suppers, a Brooklyn based food community and blog. Karen also is a photographer and stylist who has won the 2013 Food and Wine Digital Award, top food blog Saveur and number six in Babble.com top 50 Design Blogs. You can find Karen's work in New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, New York magazine along with other publications.

Karen Mordechai Photography
Sunday-Suppers Food and Community

I would like to thank Blogging for Books for their generosity with supplying we with a copy of Sunday Suppers.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Trip to California

After a year of planning and postponing our vacation we finally made it to California to visit our daughter.  It was a good and bad trip. Five days before we were leaving I woke up with a sore throat, the next day it turned into a full blown cold. My husband thought it best that I stop my exercising and baby myself until we left. (we really didn't want to postpone our trip again) I sat around in my pjs wrapped in a blanket, drinking hot tea, not to mention a couple of shots of bourbon, it didn't help my sore throat but I was toasty.

The drive to CA was perfect, no traffic and smooth sailing, we arrived at our hotel at 3:30 in the afternoon. The hotel wasn't great but it was the only one close to our daughters apartment that allowed dogs. Olive was in carpet heaven being able to zip around the room and have traction, she even jumped up on the bed and back down, she has never done that at home. 

Anna and her boyfriend Cliff came by after she got off work. We were tired from our drive and thought it best just to pick up dinner and bring it back to the room and I was so happy that Chipolte was just around the corner from our hotel.

The next morning we had a full day planned.....Bill woke up with a sore throat and grumpy. He decided to stay at the hotel. With my purse stuffed with Kleenex and cough drops we were off to Fashion Island in Newport Beach.

Anna and I have a tradition of going to Mariposa Cafe in Neiman Marcus, we love their popovers and strawberry butter, I also had their cream of mushroom soup which was delicious. (note to self I need to order the cookbook) 

We walked around and checked out the stores, so much had changed since I was there 2 years ago. Another place we had our foodie hearts set on was Yard House to get the Grilled Artichoke appetizer, we also ordered the Hawaiian Poke Stack. We had a fantastic server Adam who helped me pick out a drink and now I'm all about the Moscow Mules, the one I had was a Ruby Red Moscow Mule. I have already ordered me a couple of the copper mugs.

















Wednesday we nixed all of our plans and just enjoyed each others company. Anna and Cliff also had colds, so we were just one big sick happy family. 

Thursday Anna, Cliff, my mom and I had Dim Sum, it was so good and I was in Chinese food heaven. We did a little shopping at Target I was on the hunt for a Christmas pillow that I spotted and didn't buy, I have it now.



















Friday Anna wanted me to go to Soul Cycle and experience her work-outs. Oh my gosh, if there was a Soul Cycle close to me I would be there. Now, because I was new and had no clue what I was doing I did the best I could, watching everyone else do the routine was making me want to get into this. The next day and a few days after the workout I was sore, but a good sore. 
















During the trip I was able to get my fill of my Asian craving with a Sushi lunch, my pampering getting a mani and pedi and a trip to BevMo. 



















My plan is to fly back to California in the spring to visit people I missed, shop and eat at all the places we had to cancel. I would have been happy just spending the week at the hotel with Anna having a giant slumber party.














Anna and Cliff (sorry about the sun in your eyes)
















The family





















Anna saying good-bye to Olive













Cliff and Olive sharing a moment













Bill











My loves

We are back in Utah and slowly our cold are going away.






Monday, October 27, 2014

Chicken Pot Pie Topped With Potatoes Anna

It has been very windy here and the last of the fall leaves have blown off our trees. Winter is creeping up on us but no snow not even a flurry has graced our path. I'm enjoying the crisp mornings makes my walks a little easier and I'm amazed how much further I go without the hot sun beating down on you.

This weather is making me crave chicken pot pies and I very rarely make chicken pot pies. My husband thinks a pastry crust only belongs on sweet pies not savory. I decided to top my chicken pot pie with Potatoes Anna. I knew it would be a hit with him, he went back for seconds.























Chicken Pot Pie Topped With Potatoes Anna

2 tablespoons olive oil
5 stalks of celery, sliced
5 carrots, sliced
1 large onion,  diced
8 medium size cremini mushrooms, quartered
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
3 tablespoons flour
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
pinch cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
3 to 4 cups shredded cooked chicken (I used store bought rotisserie chicken)
2 large russet potatoes, sliced really thin
1 cup heavy cream
salt
pepper
thyme, minced
hard cheese like parmesan, finely grated (I used Sartori Merlot BellaVitano Cheese)

In a large dutch oven heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add sliced celery, carrots and onions making sure they are all chopped around the same size, add salt, pepper and thyme. Sauté for 15 minutes. While the vegetables are sautéing, melt butter over medium low heat in a skillet and add mushrooms, lightly season with salt and pepper.

Add flour to the vegetables and stir for 3 minutes. Add 1 cup of chicken stock to incorporate the flour and vegetables; add remaining chicken stock, cream, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, bay leaves and mushrooms, lower heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.

Peel potatoes and cut very thin, I used a mandolin slicer at 1/8 inch. Place potato sliced in a bowl and cover with cream.

Remove bay leaves, add frozen peas and chicken to the vegetables. Make a single layer of the sliced potatoes on top of the chicken mixture.  Sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper, thyme and cheese. Repeat this two more times.

Place dutch oven into a pre-heated 400 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Soup and Sandwich

Bill and I went on a 9 mile hike up the mountain Saturday morning. While we were out there we starting talking about tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. (we always seem to start talking food when we are on a long hike) It sounded so good that I had to make it for dinner.

I didn't feel like the same old grilled cheese sandwich.  I had just bought some chipolte gouda and thought the orange marmalade would be a nice combo with the smokiness of the chipolte.  It was perfect and went so well with tomato soup.























Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

1 1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 28 oz can tomato puree
1 35 oz can Italian whole tomatoes
chicken broth (fill the 28 oz can with the chicken broth)
1 cup cream
1/2 cup fresh basil, chiffonade
2 tablespoons sugar (more if you like sweet soup)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
garlic croutons to garnish

Heat olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat, add onions and garlic, sauté for a minute or two. Add tomato puree, tomatoes (crushing them with your hands) and chicken both, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat, uncover for about 30 to 40 minutes to cool.

Fill the blender about half way with the tomato mixture. Hold down lid with a towel to avoid any accidents if the mixture is still very warm. Blend on puree for about a minutes and repeat until all the soup has been blended.  Pour back into the dutch oven and add cream, basil, sugar, oregano, salt and pepper. Bring soup to a low boil and reduce heat to simmer for 30 minutes. Garnish with croutons.






















Chipolte Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

loaf of Bread - Roasted Garlic (I used La Brea), sliced
Chipolte Gouda Cheese (I used Boar's Head)
fresh basil leaves
orange marmalade
butter

Heat skillet or griddle on medium heat. Butter outside of bread, spread orange marmalade on the inside of the bread slices, add thick slices of the chipolte gouda cheese, add basil leaves and assembly sandwiches. Lower heat to medium low and place sandwiches in skillet or griddle. Cook until golden brown on each side. I cover my pan to help the cheese melt.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Shop Small - Gift Ideas

I am a supporter of Small Business shopping. For the last 3 years I have shopped locally or Etsy Shops. For me I feel I am helping "Mom and Pop" type businesses and keeping money in the community, plus I am giving one of a kind unique gifts made in the USA.

Today I want to share some of my favorite Etsy Shops with you.

Midwest Alchemy takes raw, organic, rough gemstones and makes beautiful one of a kind pendants and rings at affordable prices. Here are two of my favorite pendants

















Kismet Collection Morse Code necklace, my daughter bought me this necklace and I love it so much















Leighton Point Linen Beautiful Ecofriendly Linen's. Aprons, Dish Towels, Napkins, Drawstring Bags plus more items for your household that any cook/baker would love.
















The Art of Steve Javiel Mixed Media Art, Urban Decay - I love Steve's artwork
















Succulent Wonderland beautiful succulents for that plant lover. When I first discovered Succulent Wonderland I was in awe of the plants in painted canning jars. Well they just to the succulents to the next level as you will see in the photos below.
















Sweet Marve Lace edible sugar lace. What a clever and unique idea.




















Lastly I'm sharing one of my favorite shops. I have purchased from Sunchowders Emporia many times. My favorite is the Raspberry Pepper Jam and I make a mean Whisky Sauce using this jam.


 
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