November 14, 2017

UPDATED KITCHEN SWAP OUT!

Last summer I started swapping out kitchen ware and kitchen gadgets that challenge me when I cook.  In my September 5th blog entry, FIRST KITCHEN SWAP OUT!  I explained how I focus on items that will not pose a challenge for me in the kitchen as well as being non-adaptive products.  Within the past two months I’ve made a few additions to my new arsenal of kitchen tools that are functional and easy to use, even on the toughest days!

AVOCADO HUGGERS

These reasonably priced avocado huggers used to store left over avocados are terrific.  I purchased them in an attempt to limit my sparing exercises with plastic wrap, the huggers are light weight and easy to use.  Any uneaten half, I squirt on some lemon and  store in the fridge, for use within two days.  They come in two sizes, accommodating small or larger avocados.  They are made of 100% FDA Silicone and are BPA and Phthalate Free, and best of all dishwasher safe.

SEA STONE SPONGE HOLDER

This is a granite and stone sponge stand.  I really purchased this because it was attractive and it would dry out the sponges in between usage.  I was never real comfortable with sponges, I would find them laying in the sink out of the holder and worry about growing bacteria.  Well, this holder seems to stimulate good sponge hygiene,  and it looks great on my counter, practical and esthetically pleasing, a keeper!

MASON JAR MEASURING CUPS

It is a joy to use my dishwasher safe, stacked liquid and solid measuring cups in a self-contained design.  This  jiffy storage concept is a space saver and eliminates the time spent looking for individual measuring cups floating around the gadget abyss.  

GW POTTERY HANDMADE STONEWARE BERRY BOWL

This is my beloved stoneware berry bowl!  It was expensive, but has proved its worth.  I replaced my berry bowl… due to the small capacity.  Since I rinse and dry pints of berries to freeze and use in the winter, it was a necessity to purchase a larger vessel.  It was worth the price, which lead to the reduced time to rinse/clean berries! 

These are the latest additions in my kitchen swap outs, I will continue to keep my eyes open as well as find solutions to obstacles in the kitchen.  Have a great week, and be well!

January 24, 2017

Staycation

a vacation spent at home or nearby-noun

According to Merriam-Webster, the first known use of staycation was 1944.  I find it odd that Merriam-Webster has entered this word into online dictionary, yet my spell check doesn’t recognize this word, and suggests maybe I am trying to spell starvation or stagnation correctly. Taking a staycation is written about all over the internet, local chamber of commerce advertisements, and magazines write about the stay-at-home vacations!

So, never one to not jump onto a bandwagon, I made a unilateral decision that on January 20th at sundown to January 23rd at sunrise, we would be on staycation.  It seemed right up my ally, no housework, food shopping, cooking, laundry, only  take out, fun stuff,  and restaurants.  So that Tuesday night, after seriously reading about the different types of staycations,  I devised a plan.  Our staycation would be based from our home, not a local hotels/motels, there would be no cooking, cleaning, shopping, and limited electronic activity.  The only concession allowed, that Jeff would watch the Patriots game on Sunday night. 

The prep that was involved getting ready for this staycation began in earnest on Wednesday night, after returning home from work.  I made out a shopping list and went food shopping while the laundry that usually was done on the weekend was in the washer.  I made sure anything that would not be appropriate during staycation; bill paying, ironing, dry cleaner pick, for example was done before sundown Friday.  I was really gung ho, looking forward to this staycation until I bottomed out Friday night, totally exhausted. 

Saturday morning we both awoke to; “What are we going to do”?  I was looking around the house thinking that all I wanted to do was lay on the couch with my coffee and watch TV, but I didn’t.  I went for a walk with Sean Patrick and returned to find Jeff, washing my car, clearly in violation of the staycation itinerary.  He convinced me it was not work, he was just playing with water.  At this point, I knew this staycation was in trouble.  We ate and talked for the rest of the day, I finally went over to Jackie’s to knit and watch TV while Jeff read a magazine. 

We awoke Sunday with the best of intentions to do something cultural this day.  On the way to the RISD Museum in Providence, we came upon Hemenway’s Restaurant.    Mighty hungry and only having coffee for breakfast, since it was a staycation, we would do lunch and then attend a birthday party.  

We couldn’t deny how hungry we were, and had to stop for lunch!                                                                                                        

We immediately felt at home and ordered drinks! My kind of staycation!                                                                                                                    

Creamy New England Clam Chowder, perfectly cooked and succulent Shrimp Cocktail with cocktail sauce and horseradish. I was in heaven! But what most impressed me was our meals!

Jeff enjoyed a grilled rib chop with cranberry-apple chutney, potatoes au gratin, and broccoli rabi.                                                               

My Surf & Turf, a grilled petite filet, seared scallops, sweet potato gnocchi, spinach, pork belly, gorgonzola, with demi glace was much loved and enjoyed.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

After our leisurely lunch, it definitely felt as if we were staycationing, I was ready for a nap! Next was a stop back in the neighborhood to wish Val a “Happy Birthday”, We then came home to compare notes on what we did do and what I expected to happen for the rest of this weekend.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  If you need to call living a balanced life boring, and if you are in need of a staycation, think again.  I thoroughly enjoyed preparing for this weekend until the exhaustion hit.  But I realize my life is pretty gosh darn good, so good I don’t need to pretend it is anything more than what it is!  So for that reason I am grateful enough that I shouldn’t make more work for myself by going on a staycation.  The next time I exert this much prep for any type of “cation”, my passport better be with me!  Have a great week!

a vacation spent at home or nearby

December 6, 2016

Meandering The Streets Of Boston!

A couple of weeks ago I spent a few days in Boston.  My husband Jeff, needed surgery, and I decided instead of spending time in a petri-dish of a waiting room, I’d hunt down the healthiest juices and matcha lattes Boston had to offer.  My first stop was “cocobeet” an organic, plant-based business serving food and drink, with no indoor seating. The juice, smoothie, and cleanse menu was extensive.  Knowing it was going to be a long day, I purchased two juices, the Forbidden Juice and the Green Gold. I left the store 20+ dollars lighter, and walked through City Hall Plaza  sipping my beverage, gagging and so confused! The Forbidden Juice contained grapefruit, pineapple, ginger, lemon, cayenne and turmeric.  I thought this would be a great start of the day for me. I’d get my vitamin C from the grapefruit and lemon, flat belly from the pineapple, turmeric and ginger would address inflammation.  This wasn’t the case.  I can’t think of any good reason I would dislike this juice since I like all of the ingredients it contained, other than I am not accustomed to eating/drinking unprocessed, organic , GMO free, made on site products.  I’m more of a smoothie type of gal, or I’m more accustomed to high pressure processed products. In other words, I haven’t arrived in the world of raw!

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Encountering an overcast, raw, and drizzly day in Boston, I was in need of a warm beverage, so I soldiered onto Ogawa Coffee, on Milk Street.  This would be the first time I had ever ordered a hot matcha latte.  

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I agree with Ogawa Coffee that my Matcha Latte Hot looked like a piece of “precision art”. I tasted this sweet, grainy beverage and questioned my newly acquired fascination with matcha drinks.  I have in numerous locations, drank iced matcha lattes and loved them, this drink resembled none in taste nor texture.  I was determined to acquire a taste for this latte, so I sat on their stadium seating and contemplated why I disliked the taste until a young man sat above me, and parked his size 13 shoe next to my beverage.  Immediately I reseated myself to a communal table with  two young men vying for jobs, spewing qualifications and work experiences rapidly, and me thinking, is this a job center or cafe?

I gave up and startedfinal-4-1-3 my journey back to MGH, and along the way came upon  sweetgreen. Weary from my futile efforts to cultivate a healthier diet, I refused to go in and hand over money so easily as I had done earlier.  I goggled this restaurant. I learned it is chain and they have a “Food Ethos”.  I have a food ethos, do the best I can to eat healthy, and lose weight.  I just couldn’t find the motivation to enter. I felt I was educated enough for one day, and disappointed that I wasted my cash on these products.  Suddenly, I noticed it was after one o’clock and I hadn’t eaten or even had a decent cup of coffee yet!  So, I retreated to Eat Street  at MGH, and had the most delicous cup of cream of cauliflower soup.  It was less than $2.00 and tasted like a million bucks after my meandering morning in the cold drizzle.  

Jeff  is still recuperating  at home.  I will adhere to my food ethos – never give up trying to eat healthier and lose weight.  I learned raw may be the new trend, but the trend is not always my friend!

MY WEEK IN PICTURES!

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maryann-4-town-farm-1-1

Willie Senich

Willie Senich

XO - 1

November 22, 2016

An Exercise in Self Control & A Lifelong Journey!

In my October 10th post I shared that I had just finished a 21 day stint following the Microbiome Diet, by Raphael Kellman MD.  There are three stages to the diet and I am constantly working on staying the course of stage 3, since my last update.  My results are not outstanding, I am losing weight, yet I am not consistently following the diet.  I struggle with consistency!    My slow progress/success  is the result of following an abbreviated version of the diet.  I can’t figure out why healthy eating is such a challenge, but it is one challenge I’m not going to give up on!  Today, I want to share some of the delicious diners I eat when I am following the diet that satisfies any cravings!

Sirloin steak with purple mashed potatoes, brococoli, anc carrots.

Sirloin steak with purple mashed potatoes, broccoli, and carrots.  Maybe a little to much of the potatoes, but the whole meal was delish and satisfying.  

Stirfry beef and broccoli, with carrots, mushrooms, and scalions. I like this better than beef and broccoli from restaurants.

Stir fry beef and broccoli, with carrots, mushrooms, and scallions.  I like this better than beef and broccoli from any restaurant.  This is so delicious I don’t miss noodles or rice.

Chicken Ceasar Salad, a simple and satisfying dinner!

Chicken Caesar Salad, a simple and satisfying dinner! 

Pork Picatta with roasted butternut squash and carrots!

Pork Piccata with roasted butternut squash and carrots!  A picture says a thousand words, I love it!  Very easy to over indulge in!

Knitting was an addition to my weight-loss journey, aiding my healthier lifestyle!  I believe we have all read that keeping your hands busy by knitting may help in losing weight.  I’m not going into the reasoning behind this, but with the help of my friend Jackie, I gave it a whirl!  It is extremely frustrating sometimes, but I noticed I see Jackie more often to help correct my mistakes.  So maybe the knitting isn’t really helping the weight loss, the lack of skill that requires her help is!  Here’s what a months worth of knitting looks like!  Can you find the mistake that I am not fixing?  

I thought it was going to be a breeze knitting this throw! I'm enjoying the process but, I think it is going to be a long process!

I thought it was going to be a breeze knitting this throw! I’m enjoying the process but, I think it is going to be a long process!                                                                                                                                                                                 MY WEEK IN PICTURES!

Val and her crew as the supermoon rises!

Val and her crew as the supermoon rises!

Castle Hill Lighthouse, Newport, RI

Castle Hill Lighthouse, Newport, RI

I searched high and low for years, Grapples! Only had them once, but loved them! As good as candy!

I searched high and low for years, Grapples! As good as CANDY!                           

A worthy treat!

A worthy treat!

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November 15, 2016

The Lawn at Castle Hill

 

You will be blown away at The Lawn at Castle Hill, Newport, RI!  

Magnificent views, delicious food, with my wonderful husband, we spent the afternoon here!

 

You are welcomed with a sign looking out to the East Passage, Narragansett Bay!

You are welcomed with a sign looking out to the East Passage, Narragansett Bay!

 

I don't know what happens, but you feel really something special when your here!

I don’t know what happens, but you feel really something special when your here!

 

You are seated at a table...

You are seated at a table…

 

with breathtaking views!

with breathtaking views!

The restaurant is warn and inviting.

The restaurant is warm and inviting.

The starters...

The starters…

were as delicious as they looked. New England clam chowder, hot and creamy, full of clams. The simple mixed green salad, pickled beets and goat cheese, delish!

were as delicious as they looked. New England clam chowder, hot and creamy, full of clams. The simple mixed green salad, pickled beets and goat cheese, delish!

 

Lunch was a halibut wrap with two types of relishes and Jeff's grilled angus cheddar burger, both served with fries. The meals were as good as they looked!

Lunch was a halibut wrap with two types of relishes, and Jeff's grilled angus cheddar burger, both served with fries. The meals were as good as they look!

Lunch was a halibut wrap with two types of relishes, and Jeff’s grilled angus cheddar burger, both served with fries. The meals were as good as they look!

 

Lo and behold, as full as I was I ate my desert, spiced sweet potato bread Poached pear, oatmeal lace cookie, sweet cream.

Lo and behold, as full as I was I ate my desert, spiced sweet potato bread,
poached pear, oatmeal lace cookie, and sweet cream.

I also helped Jeff with his chocolate parfait, with salted caramel. and roasted peanuts. Devine!

I also helped Jeff with his chocolate parfait, salted caramel, and roasted peanuts. Devine!     

It was a delicious lunch, with great views, and a totally relaxed vibe!

It was a delicious lunch, with great views, and a totally relaxed vibe!

Sometimes a very simple meal and beautiful surroundings will help erase the effects of a challenging three day work week!  I needed this!

 

My New Friend! (he lives in my tree)

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XO - 1

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