Monday, January 26, 2015

skipping the cake

Kevin and I have both put on quite a few pounds this past year. I guess the stress, lack of sleep, and spending every spare minute working on the house, shopping for the house, or worrying about the house have taken their toll.
Last spring his school had a weight loss contest so he spent this past holiday season bulking up with the intention of showing the largest loss and winning the big prize in the 2015 contest.
He lost a bunch of weight relatively easy once before by doing P90X and eating ham and peas for a few months. I stocked up on the peas thinking it would be the same this go around.
Well it's been 26 days and not much has changed about his eating habits. The week before last he spent his lunch break on teacher training day at the local Quaker Steak and Lube lunch buffet. He got meatloaf, mashed potatoes, gravy, and wings but he "skipped the cake."

He is down 7 pounds.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

a pear by any other name...

FOLLOW UP: our tree is no dud. We pick pears after Halloween. They were juicy and yummy and filled the bed of the glass blocker's truck because I had no time to deal with them. He got cash and pears. Not a bad deal for a window. 

Original Post from September 2014
So we have a ginormous pear tree in our backyard. It is full of green pears. Squirrels are enjoying the crunchy pears. Us, not so much. I've done a lot of googling on how to ripen pears. I've asked everyone I know who might know how to ripen pears.

I've heard a lot of things:
  • Pick them all on Labor Day.
  • Set them on cardboard in the basement to ripen.
  • Don't pick too soon.
  • Don't pick too late.
  • They must be chilled before the ripening process will start.
  • Put them by ripe bananas.

My head is spinning from all the pear ripening information and I still am lacking one ripe pear.
Maybe our tree is a dud.

why, it's the natural choice, that's why.

I'm painting my house once. I hate painting. So after consulting famous web based designers lists of recommended whites, everything is SW 7011. Forever.

freezer meal exchange group followup

Original post here:

This is the follow up. These are reviewed in the order of how we ate them. Despite what my family may have to say I still think this experiment was worth it and I am grateful to the ladies who participated.

What we got:
  1. Chicken Paprika: Kids were expecting my high fat version made with skin on dark meat and real sour cream so this just pissed them off,
  2. Chicken Taco Chili: Given to a friend recovering from surgery.
  3. Breakfast Burritos: A very good idea I will steal and put less spice into, kids dipped in ketchup to take the kick out of them, these are great for a quick breakfast as they are running out the door.
  4. Ground Turkey Chili: Pretty good but no one eats chili except me.
  5. Cilantro Lime Chicken: A little heavy(for my taste) on corn and black beans which turned mushy in the slow cooker turning chicken black. I fished out most of the chicken and a little of the corn and black beans and stuffed inside flour tortilla Chipotle style.
  6. Beef and Vegetable Soup: This was more like a stew and had the perfect ratio of vegetables to beef, a little bit of a sweet flavor, delicious.
  7. Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole: I really liked this one but it was made with brown rice and no cream sauce so again, pissed off my teenage boys.
  8. Beef Stroganoff: Sigh. Family much prefers my version.
  9. Pasta e'Fagioli: An Olive Garden rip off. This was SUPER! I cooked it a night I had to run off to a training and it was quick and delicious. The next day the day care kids gobbled up the leftovers.
  10. Chicken Cacciatore with Tortellini: The tortellinis were cooked to perfection and Caroline had 3 bowls! I called my sister over and she ate it up. She is very picky so that says a lot. By this point, when I say "it's a freezer meal" they boys are not interested so I don't have any feedback from them.
  11. Stuffed Peppers:
  12. Skinny Sour Cream Enchiladas: I was unsure what to expect after seeing lots of moisture in the bag but WOW these came out great. They were very creamy and chickeney but light on the spice. Day care kids ate them up as did my son-in-law. Two thumbs up.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

mark the mason

Mark Weaver of Mark's Masonry in Grafton did a great job on bricking in the upstairs door frame and the complete removal of the chimney. It was a very reassuring to us that the mason Dennis referred us to already knew about our leaning chimney from the grade A contractor we recieved a quote from on the entire roof job. Said contractor had already contacted Mark to see about subcontracting the job. While we could in no way afford the contractor, we were happy to hire Mark.
He is an older gentleman who comes in a huge shiny black dually with a huge golden retriever in the passenger seat. Mark used the bricks from the chimney for the door frame and did such a great job you can barely tell the door was there. He even left a stack of bricks neatly on the side of the house and told me to call him when I was ready to have the milk box bricked up. I love the milk box, but if I ever change my mind I will call him.
First picture taken immediately after chimney removal but before new roof.

After new roof. My fears of the thousand pound chimney collapsing are long forgotten.

Monday, August 18, 2014

my "old" man

(This post is in honor if my sweet father. The best compliment my mother gives me is when she laments, "You're exactly like your father!" I am so blessed to still have him here even if he is usually all the way down in The Villages, FL, that den of iniquity. He planned to assist us all summer long on our rehab but it didn't quite work out as planned when my mother dislocated her hip.)

My old man can wear a dust mask and frighten his granddaughter.
My old man can pick out wood that is straight with few knots.
My old man knows how to drill out a lock set with stripped heads.
My old man can parallel park a 12ft trailer.
My old man asks when he needs advice regarding tacking baseboards to structural terracotta.
My old man is particular about baseboards being plumb.
My old man can cart his youngest grandson to his baseball games and keep meticulous score.
My old man can fund a roof project.

My old man CAN NOT lift an 800 pound furnace and load it into a trailer.
My old man will not sand lead paint.

My old man will drop everything when his partner of 45 plus years needs him by her side.

I love you Dad.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

freezer meal exchange group experiment, or if I ever see another stuffed shell it will be too soon.

My darling husband nominated me for a freezer meal group starting up among his fellow school teachers. I'm not sure this makes much sense as he and a couple of our children are super picky and don't eat any vegetables. Most freezer meals are casserole or slow cooker type with everything put in the container already. But I'll try almost anything once.
So this time I am doing Thanksgiving Shells.

Recipe to follow. Makes approximately 40 shells. So I had to do this THREE times.
15 lb turkey or 2 rotisserie chickens (deboned/deskinned/cooked)
2 boxes of corresponding stuffing prepared as directed
4 roast potatoes
1 cup chicken broth
1 box cooked jumbo shells prepared as directed

To make: mix chopped meat, stuffing, diced roast potatoes, and broth in LARGE pan (I used large roasting pan.) Stuff shells to overflowing. Place shells on cookie sheet so they are not touching and cover with wax paper. Freeze then place 8 each into 5 Ziploc bags.

To serve: place shells in an 8x8 ovenproof dish. Spoon store bought gravy on top of shells. Seal tightly with foil. Bake at 350 degrees until hot. Serve with a side of green beans or corn and a big green salad.