Cranberry Relish Grilled Cheese

I made some cranberry relish for Thanksgiving.  Yum!!  Since my mom and I were the only 2 to eat some, I had plenty leftover to enjoy.  I decided to make a grilled cheese sandwich with the cranberry relish in the middle.  It was delicious.

Cranberry Relish Grilled Cheese

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Stars of the recipe:

  • 2 slices of a sturdy bread (I used rye bread.)
  • 2 slices Swiss cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. cranberry relish
  • griddle and cooking spray

Steps:

  1. Heat the griddle pan to medium heat.  Spray the griddle pan with cooking spray.
  2. Place the first slice of bread on the griddle.  Lay the first slice of cheese on the bread.  Then the cranberry sauce.
  3. On top of the cranberry sauce, place the other slice of cheese.  Finally top with the other slice of bread.
  4. Cook on one side for 3 to 4 minutes or until the bread is browned.
  5. Flip over the sandwich over and cook until the other side is browned (2 to 3 minutes).
  6. Enjoy!!!!

Printable Recipe

Elf 4 Health – Days 4 & 5

Yesterday’s challenge was to call someone and let them know how you are grateful for them in your lives.  I called my aunt and talked to her 45 minutes.  On Wednesday, I texted one of my former students and told him how I was grateful for being one of his teachers.  He has an impact on my teaching.

Today’s challenge is to drink plenty of water.  I took one of my quart size Mason jars and drank out of it.  I ended up filling it up 3 times total for 72 ounces of water.  Guess where I spent most of the day?!?

I may drink a cup of hot tea without any sweetener and then another glass before bed today.

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Tomorrow’s challenge is to treat myself.  I’ve got to do some shopping and go to a baby shower.  During my time out, I will make sure I treat myself with something.

Foodie Pen Pal – November 2013

This month I was paired up with Anne from Pennsylvania.  She and I had similar likes in foods so that was a help when buying her goodies.

When I got her box, I was delighted.  There were a lot of yummy treats in the box.  One of the items I am extremely excited about is the Pennsylvania Dutch apple butter.  If I just hadn’t opened up a jar of pumpkin butter, I would have opened that jar up right away.  I was born in the Pennsylvania Dutch area so it is nice to have a treat from where I was born.

All the goodies were from her area which was nice because I like to try local foods when I’m visiting other places.

Thanks Anne for a great box.

Elf 4 Heath – Day #3

So as I said at the end of my post, yesterday’s challenge was to unsubscribe from catalogs or emails.  I chose to unsubscribe to multiple email lists.  I did it on my work email, gmail, and road runner email accounts.  I also cleaned up my road runner and work accounts.  This really helped me feel lighter not having all those emails to wade through.

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One great website to use is unroll.me.  Unfortunately it only supports certain email services.  I could only use it for my gmail account.  It really helped me unsubscribe from that account.

 

Today’s challenge is to try a new workout.  I don’t exercise unless you count my walking around the school building.  My classroom is isolated from everyone else so if I need anything I need to walk to get it.  🙂  That’s great for getting some cardio in.

Last night I put some fast paced music on youtube (Florida Georgia Line – Cruise) and did sprints across the living room to get some cardio in.  I continued for the entire song.  Then I put on Pink’s Just Like a Pill and did some circuits of 10 reps of waist twists, toe touches, knee lifts, and jumping jacks.  Towards the end of the song, I slowed my motions down to cool down.  It wasn’t much but for me it was a small step.

This morning, I did a barre3 standing core exercise.  I plan to do a yoga video later on during the day.  This is something new to me.  I really need to get my belly area in check.  I’m short waisted so all of my extra weight seems to land there.

Elf 4 Health – Day #2

I’m finally getting to recapping yesterdays’s challenge and discussing today’s challenge.

So yesterday was meatless Monday.  It wasn’t really that hard for me.  I started the morning with a green smoothie.  There was also some protein powder in the smoothie to help keep me full.  I needed chia seeds also because all I kept thinking while I was in the dentist’s chair was how hungry I was.  Of course I couldn’t eat while they were working on my mouth.

As soon as I left the dentist’s office, I ate a Larabar that I had gotten at the grocery store.  It was a seasonal flavor – Snickerdoodle.  It was pretty yummy!

The day before I had gone out to eat at a new to us restaurant – Roma.  I had gotten a Brucshetta pizza with the intention of saving some for this challenge.  I also had some left over garlic bread which was made with olive oil instead of butter.  Since my mouth was still numb, I didn’t bite on it using my front teeth.  I folded it up and chewed with my molars.  When my dentist called me later, I told him what I did and he told me I was pretty clever.  I love that my dentist will personally call his patients after they have work done on their teeth to make sure they are doing good.  He ends his call with “Call me if you need anything.”  and he means it.

Since my mouth was still numb, I ate a banana for a snack.  I am not a banana lover so Hubby was shocked when he saw I was eating some.

Dinner was quick and easy tomato soup.  I also cut up French bread that I toasted up with a little olive oil, garlic, cheddar cheese, and basil.  We used those croutons to put in the soup instead of dipping grilled cheese sandwiches in the soup.  The boys were not fans of the soup.  The Imaginative One though loved the croutons.

Dessert was a pumpkin whoopie pie from a local farmer’s market.  Yummy!  As an evening snack, I had a yogurt parfait with granola and fresh pineapple.  So happy my meatless Monday went well!

Today’s challenge is to unsubscribe.  I don’t know how many different emails I unsubscribed from.  I also cleaned up two of my in boxes while I was at it.  It’s amazing how much lighter you feel without all that extra mess in your life.

Elf 4 Health Challenge #1

I’m so excited about the challenges.  Maybe not the burpee one but the others yes.

Funny story about the burpee challenge.  I was telling my family about this week’s challenge and my mother-in-law didn’t know what a burpee was.  She thought it was Sheldon on “The Big Bang Theory” burping pi.  So Hubby and I demonstrated what a  burpee was.  The response from both my father-in-law and mother-in-law was that I was going to hurt myself.

Anyway today’s challenge is the Meatless Monday challenge.  We are challenged to eat not meat today.  So the question was “How do I feed my meat loving husband a meatless meal?”  The answer is simple.  We are having tomato soup for supper.  He won’t complain about that and then when he gets to work, he can eat all the meat he wants away from me.

Here are some dinner or breakfast for dinner recipes from my blog that could help you decide what to have on this meatless Monday:

Cranberry Orange Oatmeal (Made in the crockpot)

French Toast (Just don’t serve meat with it.)

Mason Jar Salad

Baked Spaghetti (Minus the meat or use a meat substitute instead) – Most popular post on my blog.

Pesto Orzo Pasta Salad

Healthier Mac and Cheese

I just noticed, I need to add more meatless meals.  🙂

My menu plan for today:

Green Smoothie for breakfast

Left over Bruschetta pizza for lunch

Tomato soup with cheesy croutons for supper

Tomorrow I’ll let you know how it went.

Tastes of Thanksgiving Green Smoothie

So last week, I had my blender cup washed after making a smoothie.  The Wee One and the Imaginative One put away the dishes after the dishwasher was finished.  Somehow my blades got put into silverware/ utensil drawer (double drawer) and the band that held the blade was missing.  I had been craving a smoothie but couldn’t make one because of the missing piece.  😦

Today the Wee One found the piece in our cereal/ plastic ware cabinet so I decided to make the smoothie I had been craving.  I had bought some fresh cranberries today so I decided to put them in the smoothie.  Yum!!!  Since I didn’t put any sugar in the smoothie, it turned out tart but that’s okay with me.  If you make this, you may want to put some type of sweetener in it if you don’t like tart flavors.

This smoothie is called tastes of Thanksgiving green smoothie because I love eating cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving and the flavors of this smoothie remind me of cranberry sauce.

 

Tastes of Thanksgiving Green Smoothie

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Stars of the recipe:

  • 1/4 c. fresh cranberries, washed
  • 1/4 c. frozen strawberries
  • 2 c. greens (I used power greens – kale, spinach, and Swiss chard.)
  • 1/2 c. orange juice
  • water if you need more liquids (add a little at a time)
  • optional:  1 Tbsp. your favorite sweetener (more or less depending on your taste buds.)

Steps:

  1. Add all the ingredients to your blender cup.
  2. Blend together on the smoothie setting until blended together.
  3. Pour into a cup.
  4. Enjoy!

 

Printable Recipe

 

 

My Challenge for the Holiday Season

Last year I joined a group called Elf for Health.  I was paired up with 3 different Elves who I helped motivate and who helped motivate me.  To be honest one of the elves fizzled out but Gretchen and Lyndi were great.  We would email each other on a daily basis trying to keep motivated.  When Gretchen’s and my third elves didn’t follow through, we were each other’s elves for the last 2 weeks.

This year, they’ve shortened the challenge from 6 weeks to 4 weeks so we’ll finish the challenge right before Christmas which is good.  People get so busy once Christmas rolls around that it’s hard to keep track of your elf.  

I’m a little nervous though because some of the challenges are physical in nature and I have to be extremely careful especially since August.  My pinched nerve started acting up at the end of our Super trip because of how much strain I put on it with all of my walking between the beach and Folly and then visiting Atlanta and Huntsville.  I was seriously out of alignment when we got back and could barely walk.  Yuck! 

Then in late September/early October, I had another relapse where my leg would almost give out.  This was happening at work and I have to walk to get from place to place.  (My room is isolated from everyone else.)  So I’ll participate with those but may have to modify how much I do.

As you can see I don’t do a lot of exercise because of that darn pinched nerve.  When I was 12 years old, I broke both bones in the bottom part of my left leg.  I was in casts from February to June of my 7th grade year.  Twenty years and five months later, the pinched nerve started acting up.  I could barely walk at times which is not good for my job because I’m a special education teacher and would have to walk from classroom to classroom for inclusion or pick up students for intervention.  There were times when  I would be in a second grade classroom sitting on the floor barely able to get up.  

It now acts up at times with irregularity.  I walked all around Chicago on a trip in 2012 and it did not act up.  I go on my super trip this past July/August and it acted up.  

When I was in college 20 years ago, I would walk everywhere.  Even though I ate a lot of fast food (worked at McDonalds and got free food), I was fit because of all of the walking.  I miss being able to do that without the possibility of the pinched nerve getting in the way.

Anyway I’m going to go into this challenge with gusto and modify some of the challenges to what I am capable of doing.

If you are interested in this challenge, check out the Lean Green Bean for more information.  You need to sign up for the first round by Friday , November 22.

Mom, What’s For Dinner? – Week of November 11

It’s been another week so it’s time to menu plan once again.  This week is not as crazy as last week.  I’ve still got dance lessons, Cub Scouts, chiropractor appointments, and parent teacher conferences.  Even with those events, it’s not as busy.

Monday – beef stroganoff over egg noodles and veggies

Tuesday – pot roast, veggies, and rolls

Wednesday – chicken and rice casserole

Thursday – pumpkin pancakes, bacon, hash browns

Friday – baked potato soup and rolls

Saturday – left overs

Ten Lessons from Grandpa

Today would have been my grandpa’s 89th birthday.  It has hit me really hard this year because on December 6, it will be 10 years since his death.  Here are some lessons I learned from him:

1. Sometimes you need to drive off the beaten path. He would drive through the neighborhoods instead of the main streets. I drive that way too. I know so many different ways to get to work that I could confuse someone.

2. Sometimes it’s better to listen then talk. I knew I was in real trouble when my grandpa started lecturing me about my behavior. When he spoke, you listened because whatever he was going to say was important.

3. Chocolate and sweets make the world go round. He loved pumpkin pie (Imaginative One’s favorite) and chocolate. They would sit next to his recliner on his end table.  Okay not the pumpkin pie but the chocolate did.  Don’t ask me how I know.

4. Nature is beautiful. He and grandma would sit and watch the hummingbirds outside their family room.

5. Family is important. When my mom, sister, and I moved in with him and grandma, he was ready to retire. He continued working for about 7 years so he could support us. He made the bunk bed my sister and I shared for 2 years.

6. Keep your gas tank half full especially in winter. You don’t want the gas to freeze.

7. The importance of vocabulary. He would read Reader’s Digest and have me look at the Word Power with him. I still read the Reader’s Digest and look at the Word Power. Those word power puzzles stump me at times.

8.  Coffee is yummy!  I didn’t start drinking coffee until after he was gone.  Now I love it.  Now I wish I could sit down with him and drink a cup of coffee with him.

9. Education is important.  He wanted me to graduate from college.  I was the first one in my family to earn a bachelor’s degree.

10.  Trust in God!  He was a tail gunner during World War II and saw unimaginable destruction.  His faith needed to be there in order to survive.

Thank you Grandpa for teaching all these lessons!

Our Autumn Beauty Maple Tree

We have only once deciduous tree in our yard.  It’s a autumn beauty maple (at least I think that’s the name of it).  It gets gorgeous during the fall.  It has not completely turned yet.  However since the lighting is great outside today (sun shining), I decided to take some pictures of it.

Enjoy the beauty:

Pumpkin No Bake Energy Balls

For a long time, I had wanted to try Larabars but was afraid because I didn’t know how they would like it because of the dates.  Once I finally tried one of the bars, I decided it was not as bad as I thought it would be.

This past weekend, I picked my first container of dates with the intention of making some energy balls to eat as a snack and for breakfast.  At first I was going to make regular no bake energy balls but then found a recipe for pumpkin no bake energy balls.  I decided to make them instead.  Oh my goodness, they are delicious!!!!!!!  :)’

The best things about this recipe is you don’t need to bake them.  I also like all the different textures and flavors within one little ball.

 

Pumpkin No Bake Energy Balls

adapted from Gimme Some Oven

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Stars of the recipe:

  • 1 packed cup pitted and chopped dates
  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 1/4 c. pumpkin puree (make sure it’s not pumpkin pie)
  • 1 Tbsp. chia seeds or ground flax seeds (I used chia seeds.)
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 c. old-fashioned oats (dry, not cooked) (I used quick oats.  Those worked great.)
  • 1 c. toasted coconut flakes
  • 1 c. pumpkin seeds

Steps:

  1. Combine the dates, honey, pumpkin puree, chia or flax seeds, and spices in a food processor. Pulse until it’s smooth and combined.
  2. Put the mixture into a large mixing bowl.  Stir in the remaining ingredients until evenly combined.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes.
  4. Once it’s cool, using a spoon or cookie scoop to shape into desired size of energy balls.
  5. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.  (When they are stored in the refrigerator, it helps the energy balls hold their shape.)
  6. Enjoy – Savor the textures and flavor as you are eating them.

Printable Recipe

Coffee

I love coffee so much when we go to Walt Disney in late March/early April, I’ve trying to find ways for me to have my morning cup.  It’s part of my breakfast routine.  Unfortunately they don’t have a coffee maker in the hotel rooms but we have come up with a solution which is buying a resort cup so I can have my coffee in the morning and the rest of the family can use it for other drinks.

Several years ago, I was wanting Keurig.  I thought it looked totally cool and economical because I am the only coffee drinker in the house.  A week for Christmas, I told my mom and Hubby.  They both wanted to get me the machine.  Finally it was my mom who got me the machine and Hubby got me the K-cups.

I love using the K-cups but it can get expensive.  I bought the reusable K-Cup but it was a pain because you had to take the insert out in order to put the filter in.  I still have it but use it rarely.  I got another reusable K-cup but it did not have a flat bottom.  So it was a pain to put the grounds in because the grounds could fall out and get all over the place.  At Easter time this year, I found Cafe’ Cup reusable K-cups.  There was four in a pack with a scoop for the coffee.  I love them because they are flat.  I use them all the time instead of K-cups.  The only problem is from time to time, the lid does not seal.

The best part of using reusable coffee filters is the economical benefit.  I can buy ground coffee for cheaper then K-cups.  One of y favorite brands is the Target’s Archer Farms Ground Coffee.  Some flavors I have liked are the Caramel Apple flavor, Autumn Roast, Pumpkin Spice, S’Mores (summer flavor), and Dark Chocolate truffle (summer flavor).  As you can see, I love flavored coffee.  I usually get it when it’s on sale.

Another coffee I like is from a local coffeehouse – Boston Stoker’s.  I usually 1/2 pounds of this coffee.  Two of my favorite blends are Snickerdoodle and Highlander Grogg.  Both are delicious!!!!

I also like another local coffeehouse – Winan’s Chocolates and Coffees.  I’ve discovered 2 favorites – Cashew Crunch (I believe that’s the name) and Buckeye (which is named after the delicious chocolate peanut butter candy).

Finally my favorite non flavored kind is from Tim Horton’s.

Another benefit from using a reusable coffee filters is not putting all that waste in the landfills.

What is your favorite coffee or even tea?

(No one has reimbursed me for my thoughts on these coffee flavors and reusable coffee filters.)

Mom, What’s For Dinner? ~ Week of November 4

Can you believe it’s November already?  I sure can’t.  Soon it will be Thanksgiving and then it will be the Christmas season.  We decided that this year we are going to go light with Christmas gifts for the boys.  Their big gift is coming in late March/early April when we go to Disney.  I or do you mean Santa will get them something small so they have something to open on Christmas morning.  

This week is my semi-annual parent teacher conferences (late October/early November and then February).  My principal makes sure we are all fed so I don’t have to pack two meals.  However, the boys at home still need to be fed.  

Monday – pork chops and gravy sandwiches, chips, and hopefully veggie or fruit (Parent teacher conferences for myself)

Tuesday – Chicken soup and either pretzel rolls or biscuits

Wednesday – bramble beans with either pretzel rolls or biscuits

Thursday – Teriyaki bbq chicken legs and baked rice

Friday – slow cooker meatballs and spaghetti sauce over spaghetti, salad

Saturday – ?????  Maybe breakfast for dinner or pizza

Buttermilk Biscuits Revisited

This weekend I was reading Mel’s Kitchen Cafe blog about uses of coconut oil.  I’ve had a jar of the stuff in my cabinet forever.  Maybe not that long but long enough.  I started to use it on my body as a moisturizer/lotion.  The Imaginative One loves it because he can also use it for around his lip area and it doesn’t matter if he gets it in his mouth (refined) and our dog loves to lick it off of my fingers.  He has really dry skin so maybe this will help him.

I also got a jar of it for my kitchen so I could cook with it.  I decided to make my buttermilk biscuits.  Instead of butter, I used the coconut oil.  My father-in-law is a diabetic and he can’t remember things at times.  Coconut oil is suppose to be good for those two things.  So he can have one of the biscuits (still has flour (carbs) in it.)

Can we say AMAZ-BALLS!  They were amazing (singing voice)!!!!!  I tried one of them and have to refrain myself from eating the other dozen of them.

Buttermilk Biscuits

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Stars of the recipe:

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 2 1/4 c self rising flour
  • 1 1/4 c buttermilk (or whole milk with a tablespoon of lemon juice added)
  • flour for dusting

Steps:

  1. Put coconut oil on top of flour.   Cut coconut oil into flour with a long tined fork or pastry knife until crumbly.
  2.  Cover and chill 10 minutes. Add buttermilk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.
  3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead 3 or 4 times, gradually adding additional flour as needed. With floured hands, press or pat dough into a 3/4-inch-thick rectangle (about 9 x 5 inches). Sprinkle top of dough with additional flour.
  4.  Fold dough over into itself, like you are folding a piece of paper into a letter, in three sections. Repeat entire process 2 more times, beginning with pressing into a 3/4-inch-thick dough rectangle (about 9 x 5 inches).
  5.  Press or pat dough to 1/2-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface; cut with a 2-inch round cutter, and place, side by side, on a parchment paper-lined or lightly greased  cookie sheet. Try to make sure they touch because this will help them rise higher.
  6. Bake at 450° for 13 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned.   (Mine take about 12 minutes.)

Printable Recipe