Thursday, May 31, 2012

Eathing Healthy Again!

Somewhere along the way (probably vacation) we fell off the eating healthy train, we are now back on with a vengeance.  I had not gone grocery shopping for quite while (which might explain the not eating healthy thing) and instead were doing with whatever was still in the house.  I don't think I ever realize how much food we really have here until we eat for over a month without really doing any shopping.  We had picked up some milk, bread and eggs but basically that was it.

We have are now trying to eliminate high fructose corn syrup and let me tell you, it is in so very much food from the dairy free creamer to the peanut butter we enjoyed.  It's probably in the ketchup and goodness only knows how many other things we still have in the house.  One thing I have discovered is that this is not going to be an inexpensive endeavor.  The powdered creamer is gone now replaced with brand name reduced fat half and half (2.99 a container) and thepeanut butter most of us have enjoyed from childhood has been replaced with a much healthier and far tastier one although substantially more expensive.

On a savings note though I signed up today for Earth Fare's website where you can get recipes and the like, I was pleasantly surprised to get a coupon for a free chicken and pint of blueberries!  They required a $10 purchase which I was doing anyway since that is the only place I could find something Michael was looking for.  So I bought the things we needed and got almost $14.00 worth of free food, not a bad deal in my book.  I don't normally shop there as it is pricey but may take a look at the coupons they are going to send every Wednesday for free stuff.  You never know!

Is there anything you are working on eliminating from your diet?  Any tips and hints?

Friday, May 25, 2012

A Tomato Plant Update

Breaking news....
The tomato plants are now taller than I am!

They are almost as tall as my non smiling husband and he is 6' 1" tall.  He re-staked them for me on Monday as you can see, the cages just were not enough to hold them up!

The cherry tomato plant is full!

Up close and personal with the cherry tomatoes and slightly out of focus.

One of the slicing tomatoes, they still have a long way to go though.

Michael's Gardenia's, the wind kept blowing as I was trying to get a picture.  If only there was an aroma capability for the blog!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Well we have been home for a few days now, it's funny how going to work make vacation seem so long ago.  We spent a wonderful weekend in North Wildwood, New Jersey at my husbands family reunion.  This was not like anything I had ever been to before in my life, it was the reunion of the descendants of a brother and his two sisters.  Michael's grandmother was one of the sisters and all told there were over 200 family members there, some we knew some we know now.

The drive up was long....the drive home was even longerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr......We got home around 10:30 Sunday night.  So for your enjoyment here are some pictures of my wonderful husbands (and mine now) family getting together and getting to know one another!

Michael working the room and charming all the ladies!

The red chair on the left belongs to me!

Some of the wonderful and beautiful ladies!

Michael's Aunt Peggy who is a wonder and a fantastic woman!

Jeffery and Michael.  Jeff is 2 days younger than Michael and a few inches taller.  You can't tell from the picture but Michael is 6'1", I'm not sure how tall Jeff is....

The North Wildwood Board Walk.  Yes, we had pizza and a sub!

The hotel we stayed in.  I call it the Big Banana but the real name is The Montego Bay Resort.  Karen at the desk is fantastic!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Final Countdown!

Well, I am officially on vacation for 4 wonderful fun filled days!  Bear is at the boarding kennel also known as  If you live in the Charleston area and need to board your pet I highly recommend them!

Moonshadow Kennels before Bear arrived today.....

When last I saw my furry child he was looking around wondering what the heck was going on!  I suspect as soon as playtime starts he will have forgotten about me.  I had cleaned the car on Monday afternoon in an attempt to eradicate all the dog fur, that was undone as he was carrying on and trying to shake his harness off all the way to John's Island (a whole 15 minutes).  He does the same thing no matter where he is going, he puts his two feet on the center console (he is buckled in the back for the safety of both of us and my sanity) checking out the scenery and then back to the window to see whats going on and going past and if there is someone who wants to talk to him or perhaps pet him.  The house is oddly quiet, I may have to squeak the squeaky bone just for noise.  No one is demanding they be petted nor dropping toys by me on the chair so that just in case I might want to play I can.

So the previously dog fur somewhat free car is full of gas, we are both pretty much packed, reservations made for the hotel and the ferry (from Lewes, Delaware to Cape May, New Jersey), Map quest directions and gas mileage is printed out.  I need to pack the cooler and must remember to pack shoes, my camera(for pictures of Jersey girls) and a few odds and ends.

Artie was just outside and no he did not come on the first (or 15th) time his owner called  I think he needs lessons on how to get the dog to recall (I know how to do it, I just can't get my dog to).

Roasted Vegetables and Quinoa Salad

We are on vacation final count down!  Tomorrow morning we leave for the Jersey shore, should I bring lots of eye shadow and learn how to tease my hair?

Last night was the church chicks and this time I actually planned ahead!  There were a bunch of fresh veggies in the fridge that needed to get used before we go away so I made a Roast Vegetables and Quinoa Salad with lemon vinaigrette.  Sounds fancy and hard but other than the chopping was fairly easy.

Roasted Vegetables and Quinoa Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

1 cup cooked Quinoa
1 largish sweet potato peeled and cut into decent size hunks
1 large onion chopped into larger pieces
1/2 pound brussel sprouts, ends cut off and cut in half
1 largish yellow summer squash cut up
A couple of sprigs of Thyme
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Lemon Vinaigrette

1/3 cup lemon juice
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon (or so) Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh chives
1 tablespoon dill
salt and pepper

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Put all the vegetables onto the baking dish, put some olive oil, salt and pepper on them than mix it all up so everybody has some on them, get them into a single layer (I use a cookie sheet with foil on it) put the thyme on top.  Bake for about a 1/2 hour stirring every 10 minutes or so.  When the veggies are cooked and browned slightly, remove from the oven and allow to cook.

Put the Quinoa into a bowl and add the cooked veggies.  Place all the vinaigrette ingredients in a bowl and with a whisk, mix until it is emulsified (you will know what that looks like when you see it).  Pour over the salad, mix and serve!

I did not bring any of the salad home last night (YEAH!!!) but did get a large piece of Red Velvet cake from Saffrons for Michael!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


There is an adorable black lab mix puppy a few doors down.  You may ask how I know or why this is interesting...let me tell you.

Artie's father says Artie's name at least 100 times a day.  Artie come, Artie stay, Artie get the picture.

Sunday Artie decided to take himself for a stroll into the marsh....first his Mom came and called him in the Mom pleasant voice, come here Artie...for obvious reasons that did not work.  She was out there for a while calling Artie who did not pay a lick of attention to her.

A while later she called out the reinforcements and Artie's Dad came out to call him.  Artie was having a wonderful time in the marsh, you see here in Charleston we have what is called pluff mud which is basically decomposed marsh plants.  It is thick, black, smelly and doesn't wash off.  Artie had discovered the great joy of pluff mud.  When Artie finally had enough of his Dad calling him (during which time we heard Artie's name a lot) he returned to the yard, covered in pluff mud looking quite pleased with himself.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Saturday Stuff

Please let me out so I can come back in and go back out and come back in.....

Vacation starts in 4 days 9 hours and 46 minutes, at least that's how long it is until we hop in the car and start on our happy way to southern New Jersey!  Bear will be on vacation at the Moonshadow Boarding Kennel, he's been there before and seems to have a great time.  I am feeling guilty about leaving him there, I don't know why, guess I'm afraid he will think we have abandoned him.  Truth is after Michael drops him off and he gets with some of the other dogs he will not even think about us!

The company I work for got bought this week by another retailer, that was exciting! 

Not my picture, think it was taken by someone by the name of Christine Mack. 

Last night we went to a fairly new restaurant on the Market called Tabulli.  Check out what the people you are going with are interested in eating before you try someplace new, nothing worse than going some where that has great but different food only to have one member of your party order a hamburger.  The restaurant was my choice and I felt bad that it wasn't really what interested them completely.  The food was awesome by the way with tons of vegetarian options on the menu and not the crazy downtown prices we were afraid of.

Saw the movie Poe also last night (the 9:50 show so you know how awake I was).  If you are into blood and guts this is the film for you.  I couldn't watch the man being cut in half by the pendulum and was tempted a few time to just get up and go sit in the lobby.

This coming Tuesday night is the Church Chicks so I am trying to plan what to bring.  I have to use up what is in the house so goodness only knows what I will wind up creating!

Picked and ate our first cherry tomatoes!  You are right JuJu, there is nothing as good as right off the vine!

One of Michaels listings in Downtown Charleston.  This can be yours for only $40,000.  I think it's pretty cool looking with all the vines growing all over it! 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Bear and the Vet

Well, we have just returned from the vet's and Bears yearly checkup.  I am owned by the worlds worst behaved dog....Living with Bear is like living with a young boy, if it pops into his head he does it!  I think his motto is "If it seems like a good idea it must be!".  He jumped on absolutely everyone and at one point I think he started to get the zooms...those of you with dogs know exactly what the zooms are.  That need to run around as fast as possible, in circles somehow missing fences, trees and who ever happens to be brave enough to be there near him.  He is as is expected as healthy as a horse other than one pesky ear.

 I think they were very happy to see his wagging tail depart the office.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

I Cannot Fall Asleep

Yes it is around 2 in the morning.  I cannot sleep, started to but then the fox started making all kind of noise outside and Bear went on full alert.  So here I sit having checked out what is on TV (we don't have cable and there are some really boring shows on PBS this time of the night), checked out the news on line, read Face book, saw some bad pictures of myself at last weekends Cinco De Mayo party and viola here I am.

I am not being recommended for the job, no surprises there! 

There are over 40 cherry tomatoes on the plant!

We have free tickets to see Magnolia Plantation later today (thank you Better Homes and Gardens magazine).

Most importantly and very late, I am so very proud of President Obama!  It takes a heck of a lot of nerve to come out in support of such a controversial issue as Gay Marriage in an election year.  I don't care how long it took, he said it and that's the important thing.  I hope someday that all people can share in the joys of marriage.  It was not too long ago in this country (and probably even a shorter time in this state) that Michael and I could not have been married.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Monday Update

We'll we survived our busy weekend and only 10 days until we head up to New Jersey for Michael's family reunion.  We had a great time at all the events and ate alotttttttttt of food!  Today is the husbands birthday and I think we are going out to dinner, it's his birthday so it's his choice.  He said he wants big plump scallops so it sounds like we will be heading downtown.  More news on that when we get it!

Yesterday was our foyer group brunch and I had absolutely the best Frogmore Stew I have ever eaten in my life (this is only the second time I've had it).  Our host and hostess were gracious and the views from the back porch of their house were gorgeous, we got to see the tide working its way back in on the marsh.

I have a meeting with the District Manager tomorrow morning at 9 so he can give me feedback on my interview.  I'm thinking just call me and give me the bad news, maybe like a singing telegram! 

That's it from here, hope you are having a great Monday!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Thoughts for a Friday

It's Friday morning.  I woke up to a house still smelling like the Shrimp Wonton's (perhaps I should just make a batch for myself).  It has been a week since the IFH (the interview from hell) and I haven't heard anything.

The busy weekend started last night with a birthday party for a friend downtown in one of the gardens carefully hidden behind the houses.  These beautiful oasis are usually hidden behind tall walls and wrought iron fences.  The jasmine is blooming and the scent on the breeze was wonderful.  Good food, good friends and a bit of wine made the time very enjoyable! 

I love high heels, used to wear them to work everyday back in my department store days.  For my 30th birthday I treated myself to a pair of brown crocodile pumps.  They were stunningly expensive (at least for me in those days) and Rusty the dog fell in love with them.  Well, she fell in love with one so much she ate the toe out of it.  I held onto those shoes for years until one day out they went.  I tried to wear a pair of wedged sandals last night,  spent most of the evening barefoot.

Going to the Costco today to pick up a few things needed for all the rest of the weekend, how many snacks can I consume?

We need tomatoes so a trip to the Vegetable Bin is called for this morning!  Yes I do drive 20 minutes just to get tomatoes!

Monday is Michael's birthday!  I must get a card tomorrow, should it be funny or a lovey serious card?  Perhaps one of each!


Speaking of Michael, he put Miracle Gro on the plants last weekend and now the tomato plants are almost as tall as I am and the grape tomato plant must have 50 flowers on it.  I spied a ripening piece of fruit on the bush, we will have to share it!  Must learn how to focus the camera!

Will never ever ever buy seeds or plants at the Dollar Tree again, the flower seeds didn't grow and we are not sure that this is even basil.  It has looked the same for almost a month nw.

Bear woke up in his usually excited mood!  How do we learn this?  Everyday is gift and we need to be excited and happy to start each and every one!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Busy Week!

It's funny how sometimes life is very quiet and there is not much going on and than BAM everything happens at once.  It looks like May is going to be one of those BAM months and most of what is going on somehow involves food!

As you might have read Michael has a closing this afternoon for a nice young couple from church.  We decided to bring food over to their home after the closing for themselves and their merry band of friends and family who are helping with all the moving.  Right now there is a batch of snicker doodles in the oven which is an experiment.  You see I have no cream of tartar for the cookies so off to the Internet I went looking for a suitable substitution.  I had two choices it appeared, either baking powder (with so much math involved it made my head hurt) or lemon juice.  I of course chose the easier of the two,  adding additional sugar as the directions called for.  No where did it say what to do about the extra moisture from the juice.  You are supposed to be able to roll the cookie dough into a ball and then dip it into the sugar, this did not work as I was forced to lick all the dough off my hands (I know what a tragedy!).  I turned them into drop cookies and than sprinkled the cinnamon sugar over the top, setting the timer for 9 minutes (not the 10 the recipe called for).  I apparently have an oven that runs a tad hot so the next batch is in for 8 minutes.  The recipe is from "America Cooks" a cookbook that I received as a bridal shower gift back in 1977.

You can tell I turned the temperature down and shortened the cooking time

I am trying to resist the call to make rolls or pita's for the sandwiches....Michael asked me not to make any of them until after we know we have closed.  No use bringing any bad luck our way!

Thursday night we are invited to a birthday party and will need to bring a snack.  We have been to many different events with this group and I need something easy and that I have not made for them before.  Off to the Internet I go! 

Friday night is the French Quarter Art Walk downtown, if you live in the Charleston area and have never been it is great fun!  You stroll the many (and I mean many) galleries drink free wine and eat free snacks!  We are meeting a group of friends to walk with...

Part of the world famous Bowen's Island restaurant!

Saturday night is a Cinco De Mayo party!  Once again...a snack needs to be made!  Michael asked for the Black Bean and Corn Salsa which is easy to make and can be done the day before!  We round out the weekend with our Foyer group brunch on Sunday.  We are going out to beautiful Bowen's Island for the afternoon and the hosts are fixing Frogmore Stew (no it doesn't have frogs in it).  This low country specialty is sausage, shrimp, potatoes and corn on the cob slowly simmered in a very large pot!  It is very tasty!  I am pretty sure we are going to bring stuffed mushrooms (a trip to the Costco for their lobster dip is called for) and artichoke dip with pita bread.

We are not sure what he did but Bear put himself in time out.