Monday, December 31, 2012

A Little of This & A Little of That

We have been busy around here lately, go figure.  ;-)

Could this be one of Santa's Reindeer?

We had a good Christmas and the kids had a great day.  The excitement of the day was hex bugs getting loose in our cold air ducts.  The mission of the parents was to stop them BEFORE they reached the furnace.  Princess accidentally left the gate of her habitat open during Christmas Brunch and they made the great escape.  Since I have longer arms, I was in the one in the ducts.  With a yard stick and some creative thinking we rounded two loose hex bugs up and rescued them from the furnace.  We also rustled up A LOT of dust bunnies!  At one point my hair got caught on the floor boards and I yelled "Help!  I'm stuck!"  Well apparently Pumpkin's eyes got really huge and he started panicking thinking that I would never get out again.  I was able to untangle my hair and emerged victorious. The dust bunnies are the real winners though, since I am still having some allergy issues from the rescue.  Daddy may have to do some deep cleaning of the duct work soon.

Pumpkin's favorite present is a tie between the Hot Wheels wall track that daddy got him and a radio controlled monster truck that mom's husband got him.  He had been throughly enjoying both.  Princess's favorite present appears to be the small light-up snowman snow globe that Santa gave her and the three hex bugs that she has accumulated.  Daddy has been enjoying watching reading about castle construction in a book I found him for Christmas.  And I have been playing with my newest toy a kindle (which is a real treat for me).  

Tomorrow the Christmas tree will come down and be packed away for another year.  

Neighbor's pine tree on east side of the pond

We just got our first real round of snow today.  The kids have seemed to enjoy itI have lasagna in the oven for New Year's Eve supper and Hubby is playing Super Mario Brothers with the kids.  We have an original old-school Nintendo from when we were kids.  Hubby had me find the Legend of Zelda the week before Christmas.  He is now on the advanced level with help from the computer.

Well better get back to the family.  Good bye 2012 and Hello 2013!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

25 Days of Kindess- Week 4

Welcome back for the last week of 25 Days of Kindness.  I am running a bit behind today.  This time of the year always seems to go that way anyway.

Highlights from last week:  
~ I sent hubby and one of his friends out for a guys night out.  I think they had fun and hubby got to eat some food that I am allergic to.

~ The kids particpated in the church's March to the Manager on Sunday.  Pumpkin was a shepherd and Princess was an angel.

~The kids had a camp-out in the sunroom last night to celebrate Pumpkin getting five green lights in a row at school.  Yay!  He is seeming to be doing much better since we are offering daily incentives.  I put a sticky note in his daily folder and the teacher's aide reminds him about the fun thing he gets to do if he remembers to be kind, respectful, and listen.  In the last few weeks, we have played Candyland, ate ice cream after supper, had a movie night, looked at Christmas lights, made ornaments, built a gingerbread house, just to name a few. 

~ We said "I love you" a lot!

How did your week go?  Are you ready for some more ideas?

25 Days of Kindness, Day 22- Give someone a hug . . . .
        - Hugs are the most basic act of kindness 
        - Hugs can say "I love you."  They can say "I care about you."  They can say "You are important."
        - Give someone a hug today

25 Days of Kindness, Day 23- Be kind to the Earth. . . .
        - With the hustle and bustle, don't forget to recycle
        - Where we live, we can recycle our wrapping paper and tissue paper
        - Most larger stores will recycle your shopping bags for you, ask the clerk if your store participates
        - The easiest way to recycle is to re-use and re-purpose, turn an empty jar into a storage container

25 Days of Kindness, Day 24- Be kind to others. . . . 
        - Christmas Eve can be really stressful, remember to be kind to those around you
        - Be a kind on the roadways
        - Be kind in the stores
        - Be kind to your family  
        - Here is a page from Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood to help:
                       "If you are feeling mad and you want to roar!
                        Just take a deep breath and count to four!
                         One . . . . Two . . . . Three . . . . Four"

25 Days of Kindness, Day 25- Let someone go first. . . .
         - The spirit of Christmas is based on giving, so let someone go first
         - Let someone open a present first
         - Let someone fill their plate first
         - What would be another way to let someone go first?  

Congratulations for participating in 25 Days of Kindness . . . . 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Through the Eyes Of A Child

My little angel at church on Sunday

Tuesday morning Princess and I had a pretty deep conservation.  
It went something similar to this:

Princess: "Mommy, I want to play with my sisters!"
Me: "But you don't have any sisters."

Princess: "Yes, I do A & M.
Me: "A & M are your cousins, not your sisters."

Princess: "Oh."
Me: "Auntie and Mommy are sisters because we have the same mom.  You do not have the same mom as A & M, so they are your cousins."

Princess: "Where is Auntie's mommy?"
(long pause)
Me: "Well, Mommy and Auntie's mommy got really sick and died.  She is buried at the cemetery, but is in heaven with Jesus."

Princess: "I don't want to died."
Me: " You aren't going to died for a long time, but eventually we do die.  Our bodies cannot live forever, but when we get to heaven, we will live forever there with Jesus."

I cannot remember what we said next, but the conservation has replayed in my mind over the week.  It was a sad conversation, at least for me.  Unfortunately Princess does not remember my mom.  She was 19 months old when mom died.  

A picture of Princess the day of mom's funeral. 

I am sure we will have many more conservations, but the out of the blue ones are rough.  It is hard to know what to say to one so small and then the memories bring back emotions that you thought you had suppressed.  But trudge on we must and the love of a child is as precious as gold.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

25 Days of Kindess- Week 3

Welcome back for week three of 25 Days of Kindness. 

Sorry for the delay.  I just did not have the heart to post about 25 days of kindness yesterday, instead I chose to post about how life is fragile.  So I hope that everyone had a chance to make up their own kindness for the day like hug a child and tell them that you love them.

Highlights from last week:  
~ The smiling idea was pretty funny.  We did get quite a few smiles back and quite a few puzzling looks.  Even if it did not brighten the day of others, it always brightens the day of the person smiling. ;-)

~ Pumpkin and Princess helped me to make chocolate chip banana bread on Monday evening. We made paper ornaments on Tuesday evening and applesauce ornaments on Thursday evening.  Then we decorated a gingerbread house kit yesterday.  It is sort of fun looking with no roof (since both roof slabs were broken into three pieces each), but it is effective none the less.


~ We got our photographic Christmas cards printed earlier in the week and most of them made their way into the mail yesterday.

How did your week go?  Are you ready for some more ideas?

25 Days of Kindness, Day 15- Tell someone I love you . . . .
        - We often forget to say "I love you!"  Saying "I love you!" makes all the difference in the world.
        - Tell your family, a friend, or a child "I love you for who you are."

25 Days of Kindness, Day 16- Shop with kindness. . . .
        - Be polite when you shop
        - Be nice and say a compliment to your cashier
        - Help someone put their shopping cart away
        - Help someone reach an item that might be out of their reach

25 Days of Kindness, Day 17- Take turns . . . . 
        - At a four way stop, wave someone through first
        - If you reach the check out line at the same time someone else does, let them go first
        - Let a child turn the lights of the Christmas tree on

25 Days of Kindness, Day 18- Adopt a family for the day. . . .
         - Take a basket of goodies to a family in need
         -  Invite a family with children over and make goodies that everyone can take home
         -  What can you come up with?

25 Days of Kindness, Day 19- Be kind to your 
     significant other (aka spouse) . . . . 
        - Make your significant other's favorite dinner
        - Let you significant other have a girls or guys night out with some friends
        - Don't forget to tell your significant other "I love you!"

25 Days of Kindness, Day 20- Have a family adventure day . . . .
         - Visit a local museum or nature center
         - If there is snow outside, build a snowman or make snow angels
         - Invite some friends along on the adventure
         - Have a day long scavenger hunt with clues to the next activity

25 Days of Kindness, Day 21- Help a neighbor  . . . .
         - Help an elderly neighbor take their garbage to the curb
         - Keep an eye on the neighbor's house if they are away for a while
         - Take your neighbor some holiday treats.
Good luck with your 25 Days of Kindness Project . . . . 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Life Is Fragile

Life is so fragile and children are so precious.  

As a parent you feel shock and disbelief in the tragedy that occurred just yesterday.  I discovered the news when I opened the web browser at work.  It was the same disbelief that I felt as the events of 911 unfolded.  The "no this can't be right" feeling.  

Even though we live far away from the tragedy, as a parent you have that sudden urge to drop everything, run to your children, and hug them tightly.  I managed to make it through the haze of the work day.  When I got to daycare I gave Princess a huge hug and when we got to great grandma's I gave Pumpkin a huge hug.  

I had told Pumpkin that we would look at Christmas lights through town before he left for school yesterday.  Pumpkin is in kindergarten, just a year younger than most of the victims.  Even though I did not feel in the festive mood to look at lights, I felt compelled that we should go just the same to keep our promise to him (since so many no longer have that chance).

Children are a blessing that we so often take for granted.  Their innocence, their love for life, and their unconditional love just radiate from them.  We need to remember to give them more hugs and more kisses.

I cannot imagine the empty beds of last night.  I cannot imagine losing a child, so young and so innocent.  I do know that it is not fair for someone to go before their time.  The what ifs that dance in your mind.  What if I would of said this or what if I would of said that.  The I should ofs also appear.  I should of took time to do this or I should of done that.  And then the I wishes emerge too.  I wish this would not of happened and I wish I could of had more time. 

Life is not fair at times.  The lost of a child is always a tragedy, whether it is an accident, intentional, or through sickness.  The most heart wrenching of funerals is that of a child, of one that is gone way to soon.  In 2011, I attended a funeral of a child I knew.  I watched her grow up.  I met her when she was 5 and eight years later she was gone.  The funeral was actually harder on me that my mom's funeral twelve months before. 

My heart, thoughts, and prayers go out to all those that mourn on this day.  May God bless all those whom are affected and bring peace to all those whom mourn.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Sleep Time & Dress Time

December is the time to curl up and get warm.  
See what the kids have been up to.

 Sleepover in the sun room.

Snuggling with daddy on the couch.
Like our couch cover?  
It is a twin sheet to cover the thread barren cushions.

On Saturday Pumpkin decided to dress his sister and do her hair.  
Not too bad for his first attempt.

He picked the clothes out and hair barrettes, 
then helped her get dressed.

 Group hug!!!! :-)

Also on Saturday we switched Princess's crib/toddler bed out for a twin bed.  The crib/toddler bed had sat in the same place for almost six years.  So it was a bit bitter sweet, but definitely needed to be upgraded. 

Waiting for Pumpkin's arrival almost six years ago.
Then it became Princess's bed almost four years ago.

 Princess's twin bed replacement.
(We definitely need to get a dust ruffle.)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

25 Days of Kindness- Week 2

Welcome back for week two of 25 Days of Kindness!

How did the first week go?  I know it was hard for us to do one big thing a day.  It seemed more like a combination of several ideas each day.  We may not of accomplished everything on the list.  But we did practice kindness in one form or another each day, which is really the point.

Highlights from last week:  

~ Pumpkin and Princess attended a Christmas Workshop at a local church last Saturday and made seven presents for Christmas.  They had a lot of fun.  I on the other hand have continued working on crocheting a scarf for the teaching assistant in Pumpkin's class at school.

~ Pumpkin and I made puppy chow.  I remember mom would make it every Christmas season as we were growing up.  I think she would be happy to know that I am continuing that tradition with my children.  Pumpkin wasn't quite sure about it at first and decided that I ruined the Chex, but he warmed up after awhile.  Both kids enjoyed munching on the wonderful snack.

We had a lot of other adventures, but part of being kind is to not be boastful either. ;-)

How did your week go?  Are you ready for some more ideas?

25 Days of Kindness, Day 8- Don't forget to smile . . . .
        - A smile is oh so powerful and brightens the day of others
        - Smile at your family
        - Smile at a store clerk
        - Smile at a stranger

25 Days of Kindness, Day 9- Visit a local family owned business . . . .
        - With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, don't forget about the small businesses
        - Visit a family owned bakery or confectionery shop
        - Visit a hole in the wall boutique or special shop

25 Days of Kindness, Day 10- Mail a card . . . . 
        - Mail a hand written letter to a friend or relative
        - Mail a thank you or thinking of you card to someone that may live alone this holiday season
        - Mail a note to a child to brighten their day

25 Days of Kindness, Day 11- Surprise a friend. . . .
         - Make a dessert and drop it off at a friends house
         - Make a donation in a friends name
         - Kidnap a friend for a few hours to go window shopping or have a soda

25 Days of Kindness, Day 12- Have a family dinner night . . . . 
        - Sit down with the family around the table and have dinner
        - Play some games or have a sing-a-long
        - Take time to listen to your family
        - Decorate a family gingerbread house 

25 Days of Kindness, Day 13- Feed the wildlife . . . .
         - Toss some birds seed or stale cereal or bread out for the birds
         - Make a pinecone bird feeder to hang for your feathered friends
         - String a garland of popcorn and decorate a bush or tree for the animals
         - Make a donation to a local animal shelter

25 Days of Kindness, Day 14- Go out . . . .
         - Take your family or an elderly neighbor out to look at the holiday lights or a living nativity scene
         - Treat a friend or a child to a holiday movie
         - Take a child to your local library for a holiday story time or 
                  create your own holiday story time if one is not scheduled

Good luck with your 25 Days of Kindness Project . . . . 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

25 Days of Kindness- Week 1


Happy December!

So as I was getting ready for bed last night and inspiration hit me.  Maybe I was just overly tired, maybe the big guy upstairs was trying to tell me something, or maybe I am just plain crazy.

This time of the year there is a big hipe about the 25 Days of Christmas.  I thought it would be nice to have 25 Days of Kindness to get everyone into the real Christmas spirit.  So my challenge to you, if you chose to accept, would be to do one act of kindness each day for the next 25 days.  I will give a weeks worth of suggestions and they can be done in any order.  Then next Saturday, I'll post another weeks worth of suggestions and so on.  It should fun and it will be a bit generic so it should work with everyone.  

So what do you say?  Will you try?

25 Days of Kindness, Day 1- Make a homemade gift or card . . . .
        - Find some cardstock, ribbon, crayons, markers, glitter, glue and make a homemade card
                      for a child or adult
        - Make applesauce ornaments to give to friends and family.
        - Decorate a wooden box with paint and include a special treasure inside like an ornament
        - Sewing, crochet, knit, paste/glue, draw/create . . . the options are endless
25 Days of Kindness, Day 2- Help your elders . . . .
        - If someone does not have a car, volunteer to take them shopping for a few hours
        - If someone uses a walker or wheelchair, volunteer to help decorate for the holiday season
        - If someone has arthritis, volunteer to help wrap presents

25 Days of Kindness, Day 3- Give words of encouragement . . . . 
        - Tell someone thank you
        - Tell someone they did a good job
        - Use your words to uplift someone in need of encouragement

25 Days of Kindness, Day 4- Reach out to a friend. . . .
         - Call, write, or email a friend that you have not talk to in a while
         - Have a lunch date with a friend to catch up and de-stress
         - Volunteer to watch a friend's children so they can go Christmas shopping
         - Play Secret Santa and drop a small pick-me-up gift on a friends door step, then run

25 Days of Kindness, Day 5- Make a donation . . . . 
       - Donate your time for a good cause
       - Drop some change into a Salvation Army bucket
       - Find an Angel Tree and donate a gift to a child in need
       - Donate canned goods to a local shelter or food bank  

25 Days of Kindness, Day 6- Love your family . . . .
        - Have a family movie night with your favorite foods
        - Take the family out to see the holiday lights after dark
        - Have a family baking night and make holiday goodies
        - Play a game with the whole family

25 Days of Kindness, Day 7- Do some cooking . . . .
        - Take cookies to a neighbor or shut-in
        - Leave your mailman or mail-lady a candy cane
        - Drop goodies off to an place you like (for the staff)- like the doctor's office, 
                vet clinic, small family owned business, local bank, school office

Good luck with your 25 Days of Kindness Project . . . . 

Friday, November 30, 2012

To Good Health

A couple of weeks ago I switched to a new doctor's office.  I had been thinking about it for a few years and finally decided that it was past time.  My former physician was okay, but I did not go see him unless I REALLY needed to.  I just did not feel too confident having him as my doctor and sometimes I felt like he just was not listening to me.

So I am assigned to a physicians assistant now in another doctor's office.  I had an initial new patient visit with her two weeks ago.  We went over my family medical history and what my health concerns might include.  It took about an hour to talk through everything.  She is very nice and I am very pleased.

Now my mom hated doctors and going to the doctor for herself.  I do not want to be like that.  If I have a valid medical question, I want to have a doctor that I know and trust. With both parents developing cancer in their 50s, I just don't want to leave anything to chance.  I want to be more pro-active about my health.  I am not going to look for cancer around every corner, but I also want to have a doctor that will be able to catch it at an early stage if it does occur.  

We also have Type II diabetes on both sides of my family- my dad, my paternal grandma, and my maternal grandpa- which puts me at a higher risk.  I already have to watch what I eat to avoid the dreaded capsicum; to watch my sugars too, I am not sure that I would remain sane.  I do know that I should reduce my sugar and starch intake to reduce my chances of developing it sooner than later.  

A person's weight also goes hand and hand with Type II diabetes.  I have know this for a long time and I keep telling myself that I do need to work on reducing my weight.  According to the charts (which I do not quite believe) I am just on the border line of been obese.  Most people that look at me, would probably say no way to obese, maybe overweight, but not obese.  I think that those charts are based on the average person with a medium frame, and skewed on both ends of the height scale.  I am 6'1" and I have a large frame.  It is close to impossible to find a chart for my height and frame, but I think I just found one.  According to it my ideal weight would be 161-182 pounds.  Well I am definitely over that.  

Since I chatted with the physicians assistant, I have managed to drop five pounds in two weeks.  I discussed with her that I wanted to work on managing my weight to reduce my risk of developing diabetes.  Her suggestions were to reduce simple carbs, increase complex carbs, eat more vegetables, eat greek yogurt, eat lean meat, increase protein, drink skim milk and limit starchy foods and white grains.  

Now I haven't drastically changed my diet.  I have been trying to have an omelet in the morning seasoned with cracked black pepper (no I am not allergic to this), garlic powder and dill weed instead of cereal.  I have increased the number of times during the week that I eat a salad and have been trying to forgo the cheese.  Greek yogurt with fruit is actually pretty tasty and is high in protein. I just can't do skim milk, but we did switch over to 1%.  I have also tried to limit my soda intake to occasionally.  

Now typically women do not relieve their weight, so shhhhhhhhhh and be nice. As of yesterday I weighed two hundred twenty four pounds, but I would love to whittle that number away to one hundred ninety pounds over the next few years.  I have no illusions that it will occur quickly, because it did not come quickly but instead increased overtime.  So over time it must go, with tiny baby steps. Which is how it really came, through two pregnancies, the stress of parents battling illnesses, and the heartache of losing a parent.

So I think my baby steps will include trying to increase the healthy foods and decrease (but not eliminate) the not so healthy foods.  I am not really hip on exercising, but maybe this spring we can start up walking in the evenings with the kids around the neighborhood.  We use to do this more often, but the plantar fasciitis on both of my heels usually sidelines my efforts in favor of the non-painful couch where they can be iced instead.  But I am hoping that as I shed some pounds, the pain from the plantar faciitis decreases.  We are possibly looking into how much it might cost to join the Y, but we may not be able to afford it anyway.

Okay back to the appointment.  In the eight years that I had my other doctor, he never ran any blood tests on me to even check if I had diabetes.  I actually had the eye doctor ask me if I had developed it a few years ago because my nearsightedness improved, which apparently can be linked to your blood sugar levels.  So I also discussed this with the physicians assistant and she wrote up orders for me to have three blood tests.  

I went just this past Monday morning.  I wanted to wait until after the Thanksgiving bustle was all over and I had to fast.  They drew three tubes of blood and my results came in the mail today.  They did a comprehensive metabolic panel, complete blood count with differential, glycohemoglobin total, and lipid panel.  All of the results came back within normal limits.  Yay!  Now some might think that this is a waste of time and money, but the way I think of it is that I really know number wise how I am doing and I now have a baseline to refer to in the future.  My glucose level was 92 mg/dl and the glycohemoglobin A1c was 5.1%.  So that translates to the normal range for my blood sugar levels.  Yay!

Well I think I have spewed enough this evening.  I promise that the next posting will lighter in subject.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas!

On Friday we worked on our annual tradition of putting up the Christmas tree.  We try to do this every year the day after Thanksgiving.
The kids each decorated a 12 inch Christmas tree, then. . .

We got our "new" used 7-1/2 foot tree up with beautiful white lights, which are my favorite.  Beautiful white lights are what I prefer and they add a beautiful warm glow to the room by which I enjoy reading a book next to.  

The kids decorated the lower portion of the tree with non-breakable ornaments and I decorated the upper portion of the tree with breakable and special ornaments.  

Each year we make a few ornaments for the tree, so the kids put their older creations on the tree.  We still need to create a few new ones this year.  Oh and we need to make applesauce ornaments again.  

Special ornaments this year included:

Seahorse ornament that reminds me of a vacation to visit a childhood friend. 
We have been friends for over 25 years.

Wooden ornament created by a dear WWII veteran. 
He turns 85 tomorrow. 

 Ornament given to me by another WWII veteran, my Sunday School teacher.  
She past away while I was in college.

 Angel tree topper hand crocheted by my great-grandma.
It was the tree topper for our Christmas trees growing up.

Saturday we went downtown and visited Santa.  The kids were at awe that Santa knew their names.  Of course, "Santa" moonlights as the pastor at our church.  But the kids were apparently oblivious and were at awe of seeing Santa.


Today would of been mom's birthday, so we headed out to the cemetery and decorate her grave and grandpa grave for the holiday season.  Grandma had some beautiful poinsettia arrangements that we changed out in the vases.  The flowers will stand out and add beauty to the landscape once the snow falls.  Grandpa and mom both enjoyed gardening, so they would of appreciated the flowers.

Sometimes mom would come over and help us out with decorating for Christmas.  Her favorite winter item was snowmen.  So, needless to say I have quite a few snowman ornaments that she had given me over the years.  I think of mom when I see snowmen.   
More Christmas memories will be posted in the weeks to come.  Until then have a wonderful week! 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Our Thankful List

"I thankful for giving you a hug.  I thankful for my pink shoes.  I thankful for my mommy and my daddy.  I thankful for my Pumpkin. " 

"I'm thankful for corn.  I'm just thankful for a lot of stuffs.   I'm thankful for mommy, daddy, grandma, and my teacher.  I'm thankful for food.  I'm thankful for our house, but it's a secret that I never told you.  I said everything of the world I'm thankful for."

"I am thankful for my faith, family, and friends.  I am thankful for my amazing husband and my energetic kids.  I am thankful for a warm place to live and food on the table.  I am thankful for the beauty of nature.  I am thankful for God.  I am thankful for books and yummy recipes.   I am thankful for my camera.  I am thankful for our freedom and to those whom have served to defend our freedom. I am thankful for my children and my husband.  I am thankful for my health.  And I am thankful to be an American."

"I am thankful for me and my family's relative health. I am thankful that we have a nice home and food to eat. I am thankful that my wife is so beautiful.  I am thankful for all those whom have served and died so we have the freedom of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.   I am thankful for when I get to be outdoors in nature.  I am thankful for my wife's grandma who helps us so much with the kids.  I am thankful for the infinite number of other things that I should be thankful for but take for granted."

What are you thankful for today?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Capsicum-Free Chicken Stir Fry

I concocted a new recipe this evening and it is ALL GONE!  As a side note: Neither of my children would touch this, but they are not fond of trying new foods.  And my hubby and I probably should not of ate it all, but oh it was so good!

Anyway, I switched doctors and yesterday afternoon I was talking with the physicians assistant that I now see.  She mentioned stir fry while we were talking and the wheels started turning in my head.  Hmmmm. . . . stir fry sounds good, how can I make it without peppers and capsicum laced products?

I did some internet research and concocted the below recipe.  Enjoy!!!

Capsicum-Free Chicken Stir Fry

4 teaspoons cornstarch
2/3 cup water
3 tablespoons soy sauce ( I used San-J Tamari Soy Sauce, reduced sodium)
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
3 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 container fresh sliced mushrooms
1/2 floret broccoli, cut into small chunks
1/4 head cauliflower, cut into small chunks
8 baby carrots, cut into short slivers
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 cups hot cooked wild rice (I used Rice Select Royal Blend Rice)

Make stir-fry sauce by whisking together first six ingredients in a bowl and set aside.  Prepare the chicken and vegetables as instructed in ingredient list.  Start cooking in the rice according to packaging instructions (takes 20 minutes, but great flavor).  Now to the actually cooking . . . . Cook chicken in a large skillet with about 2 tablespoons canola oil on medium-high heat about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add vegetables and stir-fry sauce, cover until stir-fry sauce comes to a boil stirring occasionally.  After sauce comes to a boil remove lid and stir occasionally until the sauce is thicken and the vegetables are to preference (crunchy or a touch softened).  Serve the stir-fry over the warm wild rice.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Nothing Says Fall Like . . .

. . . Acorn squash.

So to celebrate fall we are having apple stuffed acorn squash, peas, and ham steak for supper tonight.  Oh, we can't forget the chocolate chip banana bread
(see recipe archive page above) for dessert.  Yummy!

Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash
1 large acorn squash
2 medium red apples, diced
1 handful pecans
2 large spoonfuls of brown sugar (sorry did not measure)
1/4 cup melted stick butter

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Clean the outside of the squash.  Carefully cut the squash in half length-wise.  Scoop out the seeds and strings, discard.  Place the two squash halves cut side up in a 9x13 baking dish with about 1/4 inch of water in the dish.  Bake for 30 minutes.  

While squash is cooking prepare apple stuffing in a bowl.  At the 30 minute mark pull the squash out of the oven and fill with the delicious stuffing.  Pop it back into the oven for another 30 minutes or until tender.  Pull it out of the oven and let it sit for about 5 minutes to cool.  Enjoy!!!! 

Additional Notes:
To hurry the acorn squash along in the cook process (before you bake in the oven).  You can cook both halves face down in a skillet with water over medium heat for about 15 minutes.  Keep a careful eye on the acorn squash and make sure that the skillet does not boil dry.  (Burnt acorn squash in skillet is NOT fun to clean out.  Hence, I do not alway use this step.)  If you use this method, you will have to play around with the cooking times mentioned above.