Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Cooking, cooking and... more cooking!

I've been talking a lot recently about going gluten-free. No, I'm not following the crowd and trying it as a fad diet. In all actuality, 85% of women with PCOS have some degree of gluten intolerance. This is one of the newest things I have learned in my ongoing research to fully understand what is wreaking havoc with my body. I decided to try eating gluten free for just a few days to see how I felt. WOW. I have felt a little happier and my bathroom trips have been easier. That's a big deal, since all I did was modify what I ate. In light of this, I decided to try a GF diet for a longer period of time to experiment some more.

This past holiday weekend was the start of this experiment. My mom came over and helped me make a ton of food to stock the freezer. It's easier for me to eat GF if it's already prepared.

We made:
> Banana Bread
> White Bread
> Apricot Peach Hemp Seed Cobbler
> Very Berry Hemp Seed Cobbler
> Black Bean and Mango Salsa
> Blended Salsa
> Breakfast Burritos (Turkey Sausage and Turkey Bacon) - Not GF
> Chicken, Black Bean and Mushroom Burritos - Not GF
> Turkey and Pinto Bean Burritos - Not GF
> Mini Mushroom and Turkey Sausage Quiches

Yes, we had a very busy weekend. We were cooking Sunday from 8pm to 4am, then again on Monday from 5pm to 12am. My fridge and freezer cannot hold anything else. I'm a little frustrated that I didn't take pictures of everything before we portioned everything out into individual containers. The cobblers looked (and tasted) especially awesome. (Click on the pictures for the recipes/product websites)

The breads came from recipes off of Bob's Red Mill GF flour packages. The banana bread came from the All-Purpose Flour mix, and the white bread from the Homemade Wonderful GF Bread mix. They turned out a little odd because we kept messing with the recipe, but it still tasted great. I can only imagine how the original recipe would taste! I'll be trying that next weekend :)

  


The cobblers were a variation of a Raspberry, Oatmeal and Hemp Seed Cobbler recipe I found at CupcakeProject. I had a large amount of very ripe peaches and apricots I needed to use up, and I had just purchased strawberries, blueberries and blackberries at the Farmer's Market. For those of you unaware, hemp seeds are high in Omega-3s. Although these seeds do come from the cannabis plants, they do not contain and THC, and therefore are legal and available for purchase at health food stores and specialty supermarkets, such as Central Market. Oh, and you may have heard that oats have gluten. They don't. However, typically oats are processed in the same machinery that processes wheat, so gluten is transferred to the oats. Just look for oats with the GF label.
I altered this recipe by using GF all-purpose flour and GF oats.
Recipe: Raspberry, Oatmeal and Hemp Seed Cobbler

The salsas come from one of my favorite companies, Homemade Gourmet. The Black Bean and Mango Salsa is a variation of the Black Bean Salsa, and the Blended Salsa is Maria's Salsa. I say these are variations because the original recipes call for canned tomatoes. Why use canned when I have fresh?


  


Oh, the burritos... It was slightly disheartening to make these, because I can't eat them while following a GF diet. I have yet to find GF tortillas. I have plenty of recipes, but I have failed so many times that I didn't want to waste the GF flour to try again. I made most of them to feed my hubby, who can't use an oven if his life depended on it. These burritos make sure he gets a healthy, nukeable meal. I cook up meat, beans and veggies, then fill and vacuum seal. They freeze wonderfully!

The mini-quiches are my breakfast food :) They are super quick to prepare, take about 30 min to cook, and will feed you for the whole week. I actually ran out of the sausage and mushroom mixture, so I just chopped up some turkey bacon for the rest of the quiches. It's so easy to sub ingredients to make this perfect for you. This recipe came from EatingWell.


Friday, May 27, 2011

Saturdays.... Sleep? Nah... Not anymore!

Farmer's Markets. I talked about them a lot in this week's menu plan, What's For Dinner May 23-27, 2011. I've always loved farmer's markets, I just hated having to get up so early. Saturdays are my sleep-in days. Ok, ok, weekends are my sleep-in days. By the time I get up, the markets are already shutting down and packing up - except for Dallas. I really like the Dallas Farmer's Market, because it's HUGE. After visiting Barton Creek in Austin to see what a Top 10 Farmer's Market in the Country looks like, I'm certain the writers have never been to Dallas. You could fit the entire Barton Creek FM within one shed at DFM. It spans several city blocks in the heart of downtown Dallas. They are even open every single day (except X-Mas and New Years) from 8am to 6pm. No worry about sleeping late, right? Wrong. As much as I love DFM, I refuse to go. Why? It's in downtown Dallas. I hate the drive to get there. I hate driving in Dallas at all, let alone downtown. I can't ride the train, because I'd also have to ride a bus, and carrying bags full of food on a Dallas bus just doesn't seem like a safe idea to me.

Obviously I had to come up with an alternative. I love Central Market, but it's a grocery store and they are expensive. So what's a desperate girl to do? Google. Of course! So I googled farmer's markets in the area and was pleased to find one in Fort Worth. I figured there would be one, but I hadn't looked before. Cowtown Farmers Market, on the west side of Ft Worth, is my planned destination tomorrow. And yes, I will be getting up early to do it. But I've felt better this week from eating all the fresh produce than I have in a while. I really want to start doing this every weekend, and just buy meat and dairy at the store. (Until I get my farm in the country and can get my own meat and dairy.)

Could this story get any better? Why yes, actually, it can. The North Central Texas Farmers Market Association has a location even closer to me, with fantastic hours! I'm sure it is smaller, but that isn't always a bad thing. On Saturdays from 2pm - 6pm, there is a FM at Richland Hills Elementary School. Awesome. So if I do sleep in, I can still get my FM fix without having to go to Dallas.

So here's my shopping list for the trip:
> Apricots
> Lettuce
> Tomatoes
> Plums
> Strawberries
> Spinach
> Carrots
> Green Beans
> Farm Fresh Eggs
> And whatever else looks/sounds good!

I'll probably spend the rest of the day making my homemade burritos for the hubs :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

What's Your Song? Thursday Link Up!

Today's song selection might surprise some people. Why? Because I'm 23. You'd expect me to be one of those people who listened to and fantasized over boy bands. Ok, when I was a pre-teen, I did. But I grew up listening to classic rock with my dad, and disco with my mom. I have a very eclectic taste in music. I love rock of all sorts, but can't stand that emo/punk crap. I'd choose Polish reggae over pop any day. I like some rap, but most of it just seems dumb to me. I also find I am more focused on writing code (as I am a software developer) if I'm listening to Trip-Hop. Techno gets annoying after the first 1-2 minutes of each song. I could keep going, as I have opinions about every type of music. My whole point is that I'm not a mainstream/normal type of chick.

Now back to the song... To preface this - the first time I heard this song was at the end of one of my favorite movies, Space Cowboys. If you haven't seen it, you should! Tuesday evening we had horrible storms rip through our area. Our tornado sirens were going off, the sky was black, and I was huddled up with my birds and hamsters in the bathroom, without A/C because our apt complex just "hadn't gotten around to it yet." In Texas, life without A/C sucks. Anyways, you might have noticed I didn't mention my hubby. Well, that's because he decided to go outside and hang out with all the crazy people taking pictures of the storm instead of getting to a safe place. As a pessimist by nature, I was freaking out the whole time he was gone. To calm myself down, I started singing the song we played as our recessional song after the wedding ceremony. We got married under the stars at the UT-Arlington Planetarium. I'm happy to say that he came back inside with me, and there was no damage done in the storm. The song's been stuck in my head ever since.

Wtihout further ado, here's Ol' Blue Eyes with Fly Me to the Moon



If you want to join in on the fun, head on over to Goodnight Moon and link up!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What's For Dinner? Meal Plan May 23-27, 2011

Normally you wouldn't think that food poisoning would intice you to create a menu plan, but it has for me. I'm getting better, so I can finally start thinking about food I can eat!

We went to Austin for the weekend. We took the time to go to 2 different farmers' markets (Sunset Valley and Barton Creek), and a grocery store much like Sprouts called Sunflower Farmers Market. We also went to one of my favorite shops, Savory Spice Shop. I was even more excited when I found out that Karen, the owner, remembered us from the one time we went over 6 months ago! Although there are spice shops much closer to home, I much prefer the fantastic customer service and amazingly fresh spices Karen has to offer!

This week's menu is focused on eating the fresh veggies we got from the farmers' markets and the fabulous spices from Savory Spice Shop.

Monday: Italian Spaghetti Squash
I'm using fresh basil, spaghetti squash, yellow tomatoes, and roasted garlic olive oil from the farmers' markets in this dish (and removing the onions, of course). I also have some fresh brussels sprouts to throw in. I picked up a parmesan pesto sprinkle from Savory that I will add at the end to top it all off.
Link: Italian Spaghetti Squash
Recipe courtesy of AllRecipes.com.

Tuesday: Jamaican Jerk Chicken Salad
I picked up a Jamaican Jerk seasoning at Savory, and it smells so bright and fresh! I'm going to marinate chicken with some chicken broth and JJ seasoning overnight. Then I'll dice the chicken, saute it in a skillet, and add it to salad from the romaine lettuce, purple carrots, and pomegranate balsamic vinegarette dressing from the farmers' markets.

Wednesday: Beth's Portabella Mushroom Burgers
I picked up some lovely large portabella mushroom caps at the farmer's market. I just love using these as burgers! I've got romaine lettuce and gluten-free sourdough bread, too.

Link: Beth's Portabella Mushroom Burgers
Courtesy of AllRecipes.com

Thursday: Spaghetti (Squash) with Meat Sauce
There isn't really a recipe for this, either. I'll cook the spaghetti squash in the oven with the same method from Monday's dish. I'll also make my own meat sauce with ground turkey and lots of italian seasonings. The hubby loves it when I make spaghetti like this, and it's a pretty easy dish.

Friday: Pizza with White Bean Sauce and Tomatoes
By now I will have already eaten the tomatoes I bought this weekend, so I'll just have to go buy some more :) I'll be using basil and texas-grown EVOO from the farmers' markets, and the parmesan pesto sprinkle from Savory again.

Link: Pizza with White Bean Puree and Tomatoes
Courtesy of EatingWell.com

Thursday, May 19, 2011

What's Your Song Thursdays!

I missed this last week, and although I've only participated for a few weeks, I felt really bad that I didn't get to. Lately I've been trying to find songs that fit into my category of I'm strong, and I'm not going to give up. There are a lot out there, but finding ones that are a little more vague is a difficult task. I'm not dealing with a breakup, so the songs about being storng after breakups don't work. I need songs about having to fight a life-long battle, fighting for what you believe in, fighting for what you want. This one fits :) The enemy: PCOS and infertility. I will be invincible. I may lose a few battles, but damnit I'm going to win the war! Then everyone will have to go into hiding, because between me, the hubby and our friends, we will have evil little children. We already lovingly refer to them as our future demon spawn lol :)

Without further ado, here's Pat Benetar with Invincible



Don't forget to head over to Goodnight Moon and Link up if you want to join us!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wordy or Not So Wordy Wednesday Link Up

We went to the park about a month ago, after the baby ducks started hatching. We got some great pictures. We went again last week, but I haven't had a chance to upload the latest pictures, which really sucks. I have newer pictures of the same babies, and it's amazing to see how fast they grow! Here are some of the old ones to hold you over :)







If you want to join us on this link up, head over to Traci66's blog!

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OMG Giveaways!

A lot of blogs that have a larger following than I do have giveaways. On most, you can receive an entry just for blogging about their giveaway. I think it's about time I start blogging about them! I did this last week with just a couple of giveaways. This time I have 5! (For all giveaways - clicking the picture will take you to the giveaway post)
I'll start with my go-to review and giveaway site, Take It From Me


FyrFlyz
I was drawn to this giveaway solely for the title. I loved fireflies when I was a kid, so I was curious as to what may be marketed with the same name. These things look so cool! My husband is, dare I say it, just a big kid. If I took him to Toys-R-Us and gave him money, he'd be in heaven. I love that about him. I know he'll be great at helping out with the kids because he'll always want to play with their toys! When I saw these FyrFlyz, all I could think about was him. They glow in the dark, and you can swing them around and make light shapes. I can only imagine how fun these would be to watch after a couple of margaritas. Unfortunately, they are only available at Pheonix-area Toy's-R-Us stores. I don't know many people in Pheonix, so I guess I'm just going to hope that I win these! This giveaway is open until June 1, so enter while you can!




Mustache Flask - Olive Bites Blog and Whimsy & Ink
Although I'm not a big drinker, flasks have always been cool to me. It's not often that you see someone with a flask, but when you do, they are often wearing cowboy boots or have a very large moustache. (At least that's the way it is here in Texas :P) I've pictured my dad as the type of person to carry one around, and I'm sure there's a Harley Davidson one floating around his house somewhere. I just don't think that a Harley flask can top this one! Whoever wins this giveaway gets to have it personalized as well. Click on the picture below to visit Olive Bites and enter the giveaway. (Ends May 29)



Your Choice of Quilted Laptop Cover - Craftionary and Beeyourself Designs
If you're like me, your laptop is abused. It gets tossed around, knocked over, thrown in bags, etc. I used to have a laptop bag, but it was so bulky that I just gave up on it. Well those days could potentially be over :) Craftionary is giving away a quilted laptop cover of your choice, made by Beeyourself Designs. I fell in love with the Yoko design, below. Clicking on the picture will take you to Craftionary's giveaway post!


Darkly Romantic Jewelry - Miss Bohemia
When I'm surfing the giveaway listings, I'm not often thinking about myself. I look for things I'd like to give as gifts, whether they are needed or not. This is especially the case when it comes to jewelry. I love jewelry, but I can't stand wearing it. My husband is lucky that I wear my wedding ring most days. But I know one person in particular that would love this est, and she just so happens to be graduating from high school this year. This would make a great present :)



Cupcake Maker - Laughing Lindsay
I love cupcakes, but they make me fat. Ok, not the cupcakes themselves, but the carbs and sugars don't agree with my PCOS. This is probably because once I eat one, I eat the whole pan. I might have just solved that problem, though, with this nifty contraption. It makes 7 mini cupcakes at a time, instead of 18. I know that eating 7 still isn't good for me, but it's a whole lot better than 18! Even better - I don't have to turn the oven on. Lindsay, over at Laughing Lindsay, is giving away a Hearthsong Mini Cupcake Maker, so hurry over! This giveaway is only open until May 31!



And finally, you must head over to visit Rachel and Eat and Write. She's hosting a full week of awesome goodie giveaways!

Monday, May 16, 2011

I Feel So....

Useless - I slept until 7pm on Saturday. That's right, 7PM. I had wanted to go to the botanical garden that day, but that obviously didn't happen. Thankfully I was able to get to the grocery store on Sunday to get supplies so I could make a ton of burritos to freeze. I have a laundry list of things I'd like to do, projects I'd like to complete, and I sit here, night after night, doing nothing. This is the first time I've posted in a week! I was doing great for a while, posting a lot, and now... (Although the new office configuration at work might have a little to do with it as well)

Depressed - Well this one is pretty obvious. I'm depressed that we can't have kids without a lot of struggle, and my period being over a week late isn't helping either. At my psychiatrist's appt today, I brought up the depression. She just said I needed to wait for my bipolar meds to start working. I've been on these meds for 11 months... If they haven't started working yet, why would another month matter?

Barren - I see all the pregnant women or women with babies and all I can think is that I'll never get the chance to be pregnant. Will I ever see a little peanut on a sonogram, or hear a heartbeat, or feel a baby kick? Not anytime soon. And we've discussed adoption before. It's a possibility, but not anywhere in the near future, due to the crazy restrictions and long process. We've discussed private adoption - where a pregnant woman that wants to give her child up for adoption chooses us without the use of an agency - but we don't have the connections to get our name out there. We don't go to church, we have a very small group of friends, and those friends are likely not going to be interested in helping us by spreading the word. I'm sure it's uncomfortable for them to say to someone, "A friend of mine is looking to adopt a baby. If you know any pregnant girls that want to give their baby up for adoption, let me know." Here in Texas, it's illegal to advertise in print and online materials that you are looking to adopt, so we can't be a Penny Saver success story, like in Juno.

I hate this feeling that I'm not a good wife. I don't cook as often as I would like to anymore. The house is a mess, and although it's technically Hubs' responsibility since I'm working and he isn't, I still feel bad because I can't do it myself. I can't give my husband children. I hate seeing how upset he gets when anything baby-related comes up, knowing I can't do anything about it. I used to be normal. I know I can blame all of the on the PCOS, but when I'm doing a lot to try and turn my life around, it's hard to continue feeling this way. I have been working so hard for almost a year now, and although I've lost weight and sorta got my periods back on track, I don't feel any better. I just wish there was some magic pill to make everything all better. I'd pay a pretty penny for that pill, too.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I may not be Charlie Sheen, but I'm winning!

This past week has just been, well, my week. I've been on a nice winning streak lately, which has been especially nice considering all the crap we've been dealing with lately, medically and financially.

First, I won 3rd place in the Soul Cysters Weight Loss Challenge. I have lost 23+ pounds since the start of the challenge in December. That won me $20.00. Since the winnings are sent though PayPal, it's officially my eBay money :)




Then, during National Infertility Awareness Week, there were giveaways everywhere! I won a cd from Chance To Hope. I'm not sure if it's just one song or a collection, but either way, I'm excited to listen to it. "Invisible Loss" by Fertility Advisors' Owner, Deb Grisset.



It keeps going :) I also won a book, Taking Charge of your Fertility, and a basal body thermometer (BBT) from The Lucky 7. For those of you unaware, a BBT is a thermometer that is accurate to .1 degrees, whereas traditional thermometers are only accurate to .2 degrees. This higher degree of accuracy is necessary in tracking, because signs of ovulation can be as small as .5 degrees difference. In charting, a .4 can mean much different than .6. Hubs and I decided that we were going to attempt TTC with a private donor before we start looking into more expensive procedures, and tracking is very important in this process.



Update as of 10:00pm this evening, I have also won a beautiful tote and cell phone case from Juliana's PCOS Journey and Patchwork Place! You can find Juliana at her blog: Juliana's PCOS Journey Patchwork Place has a shop on etsy with some fabulous bags! PatchworkPlace.etsy.com
Here's pictures!



So those are the ones I have won - here are the ones still running!

WonderMill Grain Mill - Hosted by Take It From Me

As a self-proclaimed foodie, I can honestly say I think this would be one of the COOLEST items to have in my kitchen. I can grind my own wheat into flour whenever I want? Awesome. Quinoa? Yup. Beans? That too! (Although I'm still thinking of a reason to grind beans...)

Grain stores better and longer than flour, and in pretty much all cases is cheaper. The only that could make me happier about this giveaway is if it was for the Wonder Junior Deluxe Hand Mill, so I could make my own nut butters as well. If I could make my own organic nut butter, my bird would be in foodie heaven too!

Of course, I do have a reason for posting about this giveaway - it gets me more entries to win! But of course, it would be mean of me to talk about it without giving you the chance to enter as well, so hop on over to Take It From Me and check out all their fabulous giveaways! If you have babies, you should definitely make sure to check out this site. They are having a huge Baby Bash giveaway this month, and have all sorts of cool giveaways to enter!




Nexus Leather Recliner - Wholesale Furniture Brokers
A few years ago, a friend gave me a recliner that she no longer needed. I was spendind a lot of time taking care of my twin nieces at the time, and needed a comfy chair to sit in while feeding them. Little did I know that was going to become my favorite chair, especially after I started having major back problems. It's been attempting to break for about 6 months now, but has been a trooper and stayed together. This past weekend, though, it took a turn for the worst. It broke. It's still useable, but only if you feel like lying down. I almost cried when I realized I couldn't sit in it and use my laptop at the same time. Today I found a recliner giveaway. Coincidence? I think not. The cool thing about this giveaway is that it's not just for a recliner. For every 50 entries they recieve, they are giving away a gift certificate, increasing in $50 increments. Awesome, right? That's what I thought. To enter, all you have to do is choose one of their websites, write a 100-word review, and then send them the link. Here's my review of GoRecliners.com:


The recliner being given away ^^


As a website developer and former newspaper editor, I often get requests to review a website and offer my suggestions. I enjoy this process, because I get to dig deep and explore every aspect of a website. Today I'm reviewing GoRecliners.com. At first glance, it is a well-designed website. It is user-friendly, simple to navigate, and doesn't have attrocious colors like some sites out there. There is a large selection of leather recliners, and the prices are competitive. They are offering free shipping and no sales tax right now, which is great as well. I hate finding a great deal online only to realize I have to pay a ton in shipping - this is especially a problem with larger purchases. I am a bigger fan of fabric recliners because I hate the way my skin sticks to leather when it's warm. Unfortunately, they do not have a large selection of fabric recliners. I would recommend being careful when picking out the recliners you like, because they do include discontinuted items in their product listings. This annoys me sometimes, because inevitably I fall in love with something discontinued. My preference is to only show items that are actually available for purchase. I think the coolest thing about this website is the sports recliners. I know several people who would just love to have a Dallas Cowboys or Green Bay Packers recliner. I would prefer an Oakland Raiders recliner, but that one isn't available :(



Here's a link to the full website: GoRecliners.com

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thursday's What's Your Song Link Up!

This will be my third week participating, and I'm really enjoying it! This week's song is based on some issues I have been having with other women in my support group, on top of all the problems I have on my own. I don't know what's going on, but it seems that everyone wants to take offense to things that I have said with comments to me like "I work with mental patients all the time, but I don't know what I'm talking about..." or "I'm a nurse, but I don't know what I'm talking about." PCOS has not been studied enough. I don't really think any disease has. All I have done was comment about the link between PCOS and bipolar disorder, and I start getting comments like that. It's not like I'm pulling this info out my a**; I'm following it with links to legitimate research studies. It's frustrating to me that I want to share my knowledge so that others know what they are facing as well and I get griped at for it. It's like if someone had cancer, but wasn't told of the effects of chemo. If that were you, wouldn't you want to know everything you could about the disease you were dealing with? I thought so.

Even now, there are tons of doctors, including gynocologists, that don't have a clue about PCOS. So why is it so difficult to admit that you may not know everything there is to know about PCOS? I surely don't, but I'm trying to learn.

So with that said, here's my song for the week. You Haven't Seen the Last of Me by the always gorgeous Cher.



I'm contemplating making this one of my theme songs. When I first heard it while watching Burlesque, I couldn't help but feel it was being sung for me. Do you ever feel that way? If so, leave me a comment with your theme song! I'd love to hear your song!

If you want to join the Link Up, head over to Goodnight Moon's blog via her button below and link up!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Blog Hops

I decided that I wanted to jump on the blog hop bandwagon. I realized if I want my blog to help someone I don't know, then I better start showing it off to people I don't know!

If you become a new follower and have your own blog, please leave me a comment with your blog link so I can follow you too!

Here's where I'm hopping today!
Photobucket Blogging Hints Catch a Wave Wednesday

Photo Challenge Days 15-21

I feel like a failure lol... I haven't done this in a week. So here's a week's worth of pictures!

Day 15 - A picture of something you want to do before you die
As if it wasn't already obvious, the one thing I want to do before I die is become a mom. I don't care about being a millionaire, having fancy things, or travelling the world. I would give everything up just to be a mom.




Day 16 - A picture of someone who inspires you
My little sister. No matter what comes her way, she is determined to succeed on her own. (She's the skinny one on the right)




Day 17 - A picture of someone who has made a huge impact on your life recently
She might be surprised to hear this, but the person that has made a huge impact on my life lately doesn't actually know me in real life. We are friends via blog and Facebook. Christina, from Mrs. O's Life, has been an amazing inspiration to me. Because of joining her PCOS group, I have found the help I needed to kick start my weight loss and start managing my PCOS better. Thanks, Christina :)



Day 18 - A picture of your biggest insecurity
This definitely has to be my weight. I'm tired of being the size I am, having difficulty finding clothes, and missing out on summer fun like swimming because I refuse to be seen in a swimsuit right now.



Day 19 - A picture and a letter.
This one didn't make much sense, so... Here's a picture of a letter. Perhaps one of my favorite letters :)



Day 20 - A picture of somewhere you'd love to travel
I have a laundry list of places I want to travel. I didn't want to give you one of the usual answers, so I chose Antarctica. Hubs and I love penguins - and I'd love to see them in their natural habitat, not just the zoo.



Day 21 - A picture of something you wish you could forget
Well if I had pictures, I wouldn't be able to forget, would I? If I had pictures, it would be of my ex-step-son, Mikey. The one thing I regret from the divorce was having to leave him. He was 17 months old when I met him. He started calling me 'Mom' before his mother, and to this day, there's not a moment that goes by where I don't miss him. It took me two years to finally delete the pictures of him from my computer. The last time I saw him, he was three and a half years old. He turns 7 this year.

Menu Plan for May 4-6, 2011

I didn't get a chance to get my menu plan up yesterday or the day before. Work was keeping me busy busy busy, and then when I got home, I had some major back pain that kept me from doing anything remotely productive. If the pain had been a little futher forward towards my chest, I'd have sworn it was a mini heart attack. But I'm still alive, so that's a good thing :)

We are on an extremely tight budget for the next few weeks, thanks to the Tax Man. I spent the last $50 I could at the grocery store Monday so we had some fresh produce. Here's to hoping nothing bad happens in the next two weeks!

Wednesday: Asparagus Risotto
I am posting this recipe as is, but I am modifying it slightly. I am not using shallots (yuck!), and I am replacing the arborrio rice with brown rice. I'm also combining white and green asparagus, because I don't have enough of either to use just one. We'll see how it goes :)

Ingredients
1/2 tsp table salt, for cooking water
1 pound(s) asparagus, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
2 spray(s) cooking spray
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 small shallot(s), minced
1 cup(s) uncooked arborio rice
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
4 cup(s) canned chicken broth
1/3 cup(s) grated Parmesan cheese, such as Parmigianno-Reggiano
1/8 tsp table salt, or to taste
1/8 tsp black pepper, or to taste

Directions
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Add asparagus to pot; blanch for 2 minutes. Immediately remove asparagus from pot and place them into ice water (to stop them from cooking and help retain their bright green color); set aside.
Coat a medium pot with cooking spray and set over medium heat; melt butter. Add shallots; cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add rice and toss to coat; cook for 2 minutes. Add lemon juice; cook, until all lemon juice has been absorbed, stirring continuously so rice does not stick to sides of pot, about 1 minute.
Meanwhile, bring broth to a simmer; keep warm.
Add 1/2 cup of hot broth to pot at a time; stir until absorbed. Repeat with remaining broth, making sure each addition of broth is absorbed before adding more. This process takes about 20 minutes.
When rice turns creamy and just done (should be slightly chewy and not mushy), remove pot from heat; add cheese and stir well. Stir in asparagus; season with salt and pepper. Yields 1 scant cup per serving.
Makes 6 servings.
Courtesy of Weight Watchers

Thursday: Turkey Tacos!
Hubs just loves it when I make tacos, so yet again, it's on my meal plan. It's something I can modify every time based on what I have in the fridge. There was some great-looking bagged salad on clearance, so I'm going to make myself a taco salad. Hubs will likely just eat the meat with a ton of cheese, like he normally does :)
Link here: Taco Salad

Friday: Quinoa and Black Beans
I had this on my menu plan a couple of weeks ago, and never got to make it. This time I am more prepared, and have everything I need! I did try quinoa with corn and chicken broth last week and it was really good, so I think I'm going to like this as well. Bonus - Hubs was really excited when he saw me put black beans in the grocery cart :) As always, I am taking the onions out.

Ingredients
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup frozen corn kernels
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions
1.Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic, and saute until lightly browned.
2.Mix quinoa into the saucepan and cover with vegetable broth. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes,
3.Stir frozen corn into the saucepan, and continue to simmer about 5 minutes until heated through. Mix in the black beans and cilantro.

Courtesy of AllRecipes.com

Monday, May 2, 2011

Thanks for stopping by!

Good morning/afternoon/evening! I hope the weather didn't make it difficult for you to get here :) Here in Texas we went from 90 degrees on Saturday to a high of mid-50's yesterday, and the high today is only 50. And it's wet and raining :(

Thanks for dropping by my blog. I am excited to be the featured blogger on Mrs. O's Life: Monday Bloglight. I'm sure you have already read the intro on her page, so I'll spare you the boring details. I am primarily a PCOS/Infertility blogger, with a little of my own craziness blended in. I am also fighting depression and bipolar II disorder, making this journey especially difficult - because we are automatically disqualified from so many adoption agencies for that. If only they knew that these mental problems are linked to the reason we were trying to adopt in the first place.

Anywho, enough ranting. I post several times a week - depending on what I have to blog about. I try to get a meal plan out by the end of every Monday afternoon, so look for that later. Now that some major back problems I have been having have subsided, I've been able to start working out again. I'll share my workout routine, which is typically a mix of yoga and step aerobics. Then I'll post about random things as I feel the urge :)

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