Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Oh, how we love him!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Sometimes I don't need to write of these two goofballs is enough...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

First, let me just say I LOVE mexican food, I could eat it 5 times a week.  But with trying to make healthier choices, Mexican food doesn't exactly carry a very nutritious pack unless you count lard, cheese, white flour and a sprinkling of veggies as good for you.
I did tweak a dish that has worked for me as a great lunch: huevos rancheros.  I've never actually eaten them from a restaurant, so have no idea what the real ones are. I just made my own version and it has veggies and proteins and a much lower calorie cheese.

Start with a corn tortilla warmed in egg pan, fry an egg in either some pam spray or a tablespoon of butter.  Top this off with plain pinto beans ( I make a huge batch and freeze in sandwich bags for smaller portions), then I combine canned or fresh diced tomatoes and green chiles, add some slices of fresh avacado and about a tablespoon of cojita cheese (you must try this cheese-it's salty and yummy).  It is really good and filling, and if served with orange slices, you've got a very balanced meal.

Now for the not so healthy part that I can't do often. But it was so good.
Our menu consisted of fresh corn tortillas, carne asada, pintos (not re-fried!), fresh avacadoes and for dessert-a donut cake-the perfect canvas for  summer fruits (we had blueberries and strawberries, but nectarines,peaches and plums would be delicious.)

I never thought I could do corn tortillas because I have no tortilla press, but my favorite cook over here, showed me how to do with just a pie plate and a ziplock bag. I did tweak her recipe with more water and a little salt, and i did have a cast iron pan to cook them on which is essential.  They were so good.  The carne was just cut up steak browned and seasoned with chili powder, chiles, cumin, garlic and onion powder and a little watered down tomato paste, simmered for a couple hours-a great recipe from my sister.  And the pintos were just cooked for a couple hours in salted water, doesn't get any easier than that.

Okay about the cake-don't be lazy like me and not go to the store for buttermilk (I used a bit of yogurt and milk)-it's adds the perfect amount of moistness.  Also, the recipe has cornmeal in it and I just didn't like it.
I love Catherine Newman's recipes and have tried a ton over at her website-I don't think we've had one we didn't like.   I love to cook and I love to research recipes-anybody else sift through recipes looking for the perfect one and then tweak?  Maybe that's just me.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The kids celebrated the start of summer with a nice cold. Hannah has a lovely cough, Taylor has a runny nose, and I got a sore throat.  It's a delightful combination.  The weather here has been yucky-it's like living in Seattle again.  Grey skies, wind blowing and the threat of rain every afternoon.  Yuck.
But not to fear, we are going to have some fun anyway!

I am thankful to live in a community that has some great  and affordable programs for my kids.  I signed them up for Boys and Girls Club (only $25 per kid all summer!!) and whether they like it or not, will be attending during the summer when I have a large workload. Last summer was not so great on my magazine deadline when I needed a good 7+ hours a day for a week or two to get the file to the printer with children running about.  Kids are just kids and need things several times during the day, and it's hard to crank out the work or keep a steady stream of focus when you are interrupted by food requests (all day!!), play date requests, and the normal, "I'm bored" line. 

So this summer I have learned my lesson and have them  in some things that take up their time (not on the TV!).  Our library has a great FREE reading program-they read a certain number of minutes and get prizes each week.  I love telling them to go read, but they usually do it on their own.  A local movie theater has free movies each week, so that is a great activity, especially when the weather is icky. 

I also made them a chore chart-am I the best mom or what?  I figure they are old enough to help out more and each day, they have an assigned chore to do.  I get help with the house and it occupies a little of their time.
I'm also learning that breakfast-snack-lunch-snack-dinner is the way to go and in between, KITCHEN CLOSED!  Or else they eat all day, and I feel like a short order cook throwing food about.

When I'm not working, I'm hoping to find some good hiking trails, bike rides and trips to the local pool we can all enjoy (and maybe some ice cream cones!).  We would also like to go camping once and take a trip to Nevada to see family. After all, that is what summer is about, right?  A nice blend of keeping Mom sane, having fun, and enjoying the luxury of leisure time.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

So after over a month of changing my lifestyle and eating habits, I am only down 5 lbs.  But I am not feeling so discouraged because I've made some big changes in my eating and I am getting in regular exercise (that is a big one for me). I have incorporated eating LESS snacks at night, desserts & fast food and lots MORE veggies, fruit, lean proteins, and whole grains in my daily diet. It is working because I feel better and I feel some muscles popping up that haven't been there for a long time. It is really a challenge to get in the recommended servings of fruit, veggies and water in a day. I have found eating salads at lunch really helps that and I've made a couple salad dressings that are so good and healthy.  I also eat breakfast and that really ups the metabolism.

Usually by now I would have given up and go back to my sugar hound days, but I am sticking with it-failures and everything.

I think I gained lots of muscles after our home project-lots of lifting, bending and hamstring workout-but it did throw me off my normal schedule for over a week. Back on track!

While I haven't lost as much as planned, I feel successful because I have changed some long standing habits. Now onto another 5 or 10 pounds!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

See, we are still smiling after a week of working together. This home remodeling project was much easier than last time when we had a baby and toddler in the house! We put them to work now that they are older!

We finished our project!! It was a lot of work, but Mike and I worked side by side and got it done (he worked a lot harder than me!), I even used some of the power tools. The flooring nail gun is a must have tool. It felt pretty good to finish it together and we LOVE the results-no more disgusting carpet. Our aching backs and creaking knees aside, we think another home project will be fine in another 6 years-this was hard work, but we did burn lots of calories!! It's a good thing we had 6 days to accomplish both the living and family room-about 600 square feet of flooring, plus painting/installing/filling/caulking trim. We have 5 boxes of flooring leftover...will the office be next?

Here are pictures:

Carpet on it's way out.

The room is ready for a new floor. The pet pee had soaked all the way to the subfloor so we had to use a special primer to seal it in (the big white spot). Gross. Naughty dog.

Taylor and Mike made a good team. One hammers in wood strips, one staples.
Repeat 838 times.

Progress on Monday!

Living room-all finished on Thursday!

Family room done on Friday! We even re-arranged the furniture.
See the black thing on the left on the couch? That is the offending dog that did all the pottying in the house, and the reason we did the hardwood.

Another view from family room to kitchen.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Well, most families BBQ, find a nice spot to go fishing or perhaps go out of town for Memorial Day weekend. The Case family really knows how to have fun-we started installing our wood flooring over the weekend. It is proving to be a long process, but after three days, we have the family room done! It is a lot of hard work but Taylor has been a huge help lining up the wood planks and knocking them in before Mike staples them. Mike has figured out all the hard cuts and angles and we have all worked together to re-cover our floors.

Our old carpeting was disgusting from potty training three dogs. No matter how much we had carpet cleaners come to clean it, the spots and odor was there. The smell was literally driving me crazy. Ever since having kids, I have the nose of a beagle-I can smell EVERYTHING. ( Even the subfloor was stained!! I had to use some Kilz primer to seal it out. ) So after much research and putting away some money, we found an awesome deal at lumber liquidators and in just a couple more days my living and family room will be beautiful butterscotch oak with NO smell, much easier clean-ups and just a better flooring for a family with three dogs, a cat and two kids.

For everyone building a corey barton home-UPGRADE YOUR CARPET!! It will be worth it. The builders grade sucks, quite frankly.

I will post pictures when it is done, and the molding is back up, and it looks all pretty.
Now off I go to wake Mike up and get back to work!! It's a good thing he has the week off if needed because this is taking awhile. I'd rather take my time then slam it together.