Tuesday, October 30, 2012

As usual....

My menu plan has been corrupted!  I made soup for lunch on Monday, and stir fry veggies and shrimp for supper.  Tonight? I am dealing with a couple of pretty plump chicken breasts. One will do for our supper with a spinach, raspberry, apple pecan tossed salad and one will languish in the refrigerator to be used later on for lunch meat.  

It is quite obvious that I think the whole point of a menu plan is to know generally what you want to eat for the week, then deal with each day as the mood or degrading produce dictates.  I try to follow the plan, but often, the will just isn't there when hunger strikes!  For instance?  We are having a run on raspberries here, and it definitely is not a hardship to shift things around a bit to use them up! I am fond of sweet salads with chicken, and already I am drooling!  

I bought some Almond Breeze to try, and for drinking? Do not care for it. But, since it was in the refrigerator, I made the muffins yesterday, rather than Wednesday.  I even went to the bother of topping them with a little glaze, to make them just a little special. I ended up adding coconut to the basic mix, and  a vanilla icing drizzle seemed to round them out nicely.   Yesterday, I made a small bowl of orange gelatin for supper tonight, so we are living pretty high on the hog indeed!

One by one, the freezer Tupperware containers are being emptied. I am not refilling them, as that will be a task best handled when we return from vacation. Right now, I am thinking of Tequila, copious amounts of guacamole and nice hot beach!

Tomorrow will be busy. The housekeepers arrive at eight thirty, and the roofers will begin work as well. I picked a colour called driftwood, but now, I am a bit aprehensive. Will it be brown? Grey? Whatever. We need to change the lighting fixtures anyway, so it will all work out in the end. It should be done by the end of the week, which will be good for the house but really bad for my checking account!  By the way. Did anyone else notice that cheques are now checks? What a shame. Anyway, we will have to write a doozy when they are done!


Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Night On The Town

Last night we went to the Forks and had dinner at the Beachcomber Restaurant.  A zillion calories later, I am here to tell the tale.

Being the fussy, hard to please, gluten intolerant person that I am, I found everything to be tasty, and as of this morning? Safe! The bacon wrapped scallops  were a bit disappointing because the bacon was not crispy, but there were two others at the table to help munch through them so they didn't go to waste.

For starters, I had a 'California Dreaming' salad that was amazing. It was loaded with fruit, creamy goat cheese and topped a fabulous dressing.  It was a good thing I wasn't counting calories, because the salad was a meal in itself!  For my main,  I had a baseball steak. Now, for a "little" meat eater, this was quite the feat. I ate the WHOLE THING!  It was served with pomme frites that just rocked! Crispy, crispy, crispy, with the tender beef? Perfect combo. A nice amount of steamed vegetables filled out the plate nicely. When the dessert menu came, since I was about to blow up from sheer fullness, I left the choice to dear husband, and asked for a spoon to "taste" his choice of rice pudding. The waiter actually brought a nice long handled  iced tea spoon to make it easier to steal  his dessert! Now that was impressive. All in all, we were out to the wee hours, arriving home at nine o'clock - barely enough time to put on our PJ's and share a cup of peppermint tea!  Such wild people we are, eh?  It was a lovely night with good friends, and I was very pleased with my dinner!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Menu Plan

Well, I went out and bought groceries...more of  a "fill in" actually. Celery, cucumber, you know, the stuff that needs replacing!  The Fridge Smart containers are doing a wonderful job...everything that I put into them last grocery day is still fresh as a daisy, yet some things I purchased at the same time and did not put in the containers? Mouldy mush! I am well pleased, as already my life became just a little simpler!  

I found a new use for the pickle container.  It holds cruditès perfectly in icy water...makes them crisp and crunchy for easy nibbling.  My dear friend has restarted Weight Watchers on the new plan that allows vegetables and fruit to go uncounted...what a deal that is!  I am tempted to join again, once they have a sale, just to see how the points work out for all the other things. Seems they are a bit higher, but then, the veg and fruits are all such "bargains".  I think it still boils down to calories in, calories out though. I try to keep mine to about 1600 a day and sometimes 1800-1900 on a restaurant day! That sort of corresponds to the "bonus" points you get with Weight Watchers. 

So, the menu for this week is pretty simple.

Tonight? Leftovers for hubby, spinach salad for us both, and snackage for me....lots of crispy veg and ranch dip.  I had ribs yesterday, so I am really not interested in a repeat so soon! They are very good, but quite heavy on the stomach two nights in a row! I now have four of five ribs, since I found a calorie count for lean meat only. I was overcharging myself so much!  All is better now though. A little meat goes a long way with me. I like it, just not a whole bunch of it. I find getting in 3 oz a day to be a real challenge.  Sweets appeal to me once in a blue moon, and even then, I would rather have a simple milk pudding that sugary cakes and cookies.  I do miss a good bran muffin though...no gluten free alternative for that at all!  I used to make a killer muffin, with dates, and raisins, and all things good from the pantry. Now those were muffins! You made a gigantic batch, then baked them up as you needed them.  Ah, those were the days!

Friday:  business dinner out

Saturday:  pork tenderloin with orange marmalade sauce and sweet potatoes, spinach salad

Sunday: chicken, mashed potatoes, peas and carrots

Monday: hamburger day. Yay!  Meatloaf!  I am going to try mini meatloaves and see if they freeze well.  I will have potatoes leftover from Sunday to serve with it, and steamed veggies to fill out the plate.

Tuesday:  Soup day. Time to clean out the refrigerator!

Wednesday:  Housekeepers day. I think I will bake in the afternoon, to fill that new Tupperware container with the tasty goodness of gluten free muffins.  Pasta is an easy thing to make on a baking day, so pasta it is!  It will also incorporate the leftover meatloaf if I make "poor man's macaroni" which means tossing in the odds and sods of everything in the frig and blending it with some  canned of tomatoes.

Tnursday: Leftovers!

Well, I had better get going and put those groceries away. The man will be returning from Toronto shortly!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

It's me wearing Baby Sleepers!

 No, not quite.  Would you believe dresses that feel like baby sleepers?  I found a velvet, stretchy Susan Graver dress on QVC last year...bought it in black of course. (the picture shows me sporting a scarf that my dear granddaughter picked out for me all by herself! A treasure indeed. )  

After several shopping trips this fall, I could not find two new dresses. So, I simply reordered the same dress in another two different colours! Counting on the fact that they look so different in each colour, I could really care less if I wear the same thing day after day! I love a plain backdrop for all the baubles and bangles I have collected over time. 

One is a chocolate brown...the colour of creamy hot milk chocolate. The other is a deep, rich navy blue. All three colours lend themselves well to accessories that I already own, and all three dresses are cozy, and more importantly, comfy.  Just like baby sleepers!  All occassion, too. They can be dressed up or down, and the fit is loose, but flattering. I think that is because of the stretch fabric, and the silky 'backside' of the fabric that just flows over the body, and hangs so nicely over all the bumps! So, if you are looking for a good comfy dress for all occasions this winter, and are a fan of swing dresses, this might work for you too!  By the way, it packs very well. Not a crease in them after the long trip from the US in a QVC plastic bag!  They also have a future. When they have outgrown me, they will make great lounge dresses.

Speaking of 'outgrowing me', I am presently wearing my new blue jeans purchased on Black Friday of last year. I put them in the closet when we returned home, and frankly never wore any jeans other than my old ones, last summer. After having my pants droop beyond the pale (reader beware of mental images that will not erase) last week, I decided that it was definitely time to break in the new ones...well, in the year's time that has passed, these now are rather large as well. They are supposed to be snug as they have that tummy control feature, but to tell the truth, I need a whip and a chair to tame the entity that resides beneath me....sigh. But it is good news to know that my new jeans are comfy and roomy now too! Next trip, I will have to try on the next size down, for next year!  By the way, the whole world knew I was sporting a smaller size, because I forgot one sticker on the thigh of the jeans. Just discovered it when I returned home and wondered what in  heck was stuck to the back of me!  So, I am proud of sporting the size, though! Everything in life is comparative, and I remember a time when the largest of larges wouldn't fit. Sometimes you are happily forced to acknowledge progress, no matter how slow it may be.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Gluten Free Croutons

This is so easy, it hardly even qualifies as a recipe, but for so little effort the gain is amazing!  Usually, I content myself with a piece of toast, cut into squares and sprinkled with garlic powder. For some reason, I decided to try a little harder yesterday, and my, I am so glad I did! The texture is wonderful.
Set the oven to 285º. 

Cut the crusts from four slices of gluten free bread (I used the white  Kinnikinick in the yellow wrapper) and butter lightly. I (being calorie conscious, I only buttered one side, and used about two teaspoons for the four slices of bread. If calories are not an issue, decadently butter both sides!)

Sprinkle with onion and garlic powder, cut into small squares and toss onto a small brownie pan. 

Place in the preheated oven for half an hour, tossing once or twice. Turn off the oven, and forget to take them out for about 18 hours! 
These turned out so crispy and light, that I had trouble not eating them all at once!  The amount I ended up with, filled a small Tupperware modular mate, and I am sure they will last for a week.  What a treat! These are so much better than those tooth breaking versions we are sold at an astronomical price, and are silly enough to buy them because we are desperate for something crunchy with our daily greens.  While I was taking this picture I couldn't resist nibbling on that nice golden brown crouton, and the flavour remains....!

Saturday, October 13, 2012


We went, we shopped, we ATE!!!! Man oh man. It is gluten free heaven down there!

The first day, we went to supper at Applebee's, the second day, we mustered up our "will do" attitude, and attacked Buffalo wild Wings. OH MY GOODNESS!  Rather their goodness!  Gluten free, sticky, crispy goodness. I was bound and determined to finish every scrap, so as to have no regrets.  I ate every single morsel except for one small fry, drowning in the ketchup!  This place has got to serve the best wings ever. Can not say enough good things about the cleanliness, the service or the good value for price. Mmmm Mmmmmmm good!  We ate at one yesterday, and I was unable to have a single bite until this morning at eight thirty.  Not the greatest for the diabetes management, but truthfully, I just could not eat a single thing more yesterday. I often wonder how people pack away restaurant meals like that on a regular basis. Of course, if you live in the same place, you could pack it home and have another two meals after you ate a reasonable portion at the restaurant!  Being three hours from home blew that option out of the park, so I ATE IT ALL and I am not sorry!

Now, the shopping was another matter. It was difficult to spend the 200 dollars that you are allowed duty free for a 24 hour trip. Finally, Bed Bath and Beyond offered up some neat things for both of us, and we were able to return home with a car full of goodies. I bought a few items of clothing suitable for our upcoming trip to Mexico...an orange scarf, a coral shift dress, and yet another black tee shirt type top. BUT in my defense, I did not have a single top with peep holes on the shoulders!  No purses, no shoes, that was it. BUT I did find a neat wall hanging, and some frig Binz products to corral both my eggs and drink cans (notice how there is just enough room to hide the juice boxes behind the drink keeper?) in the Frig.  I love organizers, so it was worth the trip down just for those!  Project ORGANIZE THE REFRIGERATOR is just about done with the addition of these little beauties!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

So many things accomplished today!

Sometimes I just amaze myself, I do, I do!  After the cleaning and laundry marathon this morning, we toddled off to do our errands. Shopping is made so much easier by remembering to take the list!

We both enjoyed our stop at Staples. What is this fascination  with stationery? I could spend hours there. I found a purse sized bright red weekly calendar for 2013. I usually buy a large desk calendar, but found that I rarely used all of that space now that our lives have settled down to a dull roar, and I have often wished I had one at hand in my purse instead! So, this one should fill the bill quite nicely. The bonus is one more thing NOT on my desk, the downside is that there will be one more item in my purse!

We went on to Costco, where hubby had a great time sampling. They even had one gluten free snack that I could taste this time....wild sockeye salmon on a cracker. MMM good.  Will definitely purchase that salmon when our present stock is depleted. I bought far too many nummy things for the weekend. I usually can't buy that huge container of grapes from Costco, because even though I love them, I can't eat a lot of them since they are so high in sugar. But, since the kids were coming why not? .....and wonder of wonders, everything fit into those new containers just perfectly. The only things that aren't containerized are the Brussels sprouts and fancy carrots, that have remained in their own packaging, so they should be quite safe until we eat them up! Using the crisper drawers for condiments and dairy really frees up refrigerator space.  I actually have meat in the meat keeper drawer now.  Will miracles never cease?

Tomorrow we are going to go to Lee Valley to pick up a pair of super oven mitts for Barbeque boy. I find it so easy to buy presents for the girls, but when it comes to my own son? I have no idea what to get for him. So, I finally found a Blue Bombers apron for him, he needed oven mitts as well. I looked at the matching mitts, but they were the type that go up in flames if you use them too close to the heat. Instead, I found gloves that are made of "fireman" fabric, and cover the forearm as well. I think he will like them as they are so practical. So I hope I have a happy baby this weekend!

I am really looking forward to having them back to stay in the house, but this time it is only for a very short time. Sniff. This empty nest just keeps on echoing......

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Cleaning Day

How do you clean all of the bathroom cupboards, clean all of the lighting fixtures,  vacuum thoroughly, scrub the bathrooms until they shine and dust the house from top to bottom? GET HELP!!!!

Wednesday is Ladies Day - cleaning ladies that is! I am starting to wonder why I didn't admit to needing help long ago. I must admit I enjoy the extra time I have to focus on detailed cleaning instead of doing the routine chores and tiring out after doing them! Keeping up is simple, and laundry is dealt with easily enough if I keep up with one load a day. Problem is, that you need to gather a load of a specific type in order to do it efficiently, so today is catch up day....all of the "types" are due to be done! It is better for your washer to rest between loads, so if I do one each morning and one each evening it will be better for both of us!  I must admit that there are perks to getting old and feeble!

Tomorrow's plan is to start the winter deep purging  in the master bedroom. I have made a start on the master bathroom, and have a bed full of all that came out of it! I would like to get every speck of dust out of the house, but especially in our bedroom.  Running a couple of Oreck air cleaners has really helped keep the dust at bay, (one up, one down) but it does tend to build up in nooks and crannies.  Of course, that is the plan, but we will see what happens. I have the kitchen deep cleaned, all shelves and drawers, so a quick  wipe down of the fronts  is what it needs. The stove was done last time, and the refrigerator is a work in progress. An army runs on it's stomach, as does a family. Speaking of which, the kids are coming on Thursday evening. I really enjoy having the house full and watching them run! So glad I can sit back and enjoy the granddaughter while my dear d-i-l does all of the work to keep her just so!

Speaking of beds, how often do you change your linens? We try to do it every week, on Friday, but somehow, that has been changed to Wednesday....mainly because I like to feel like all of the chores are all done, leaving me the rest of the week free.  But, as well you know, they really never ever will be! You can always find a bit of schmutz!  But on the surface, it looks good, and going to bed on Wednesday night is always a pleasure, at least with the belief, no matter how temporary,  that the house is all clean at once! 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Wanna see my refrigerator?

My Tupperware order arrived today! So, needless to say, I spent the remainder of the day sorting and stuffing those lovelies. There is a designated space for everything now.The system works well in the pantry, as I am sure it will in the refrigerator. After all, it is just a big cupboard for cold things, right? Each vegetable now has it's own happy little home, and to save confusion, I am just going to keep all of the containers in their spot filled with food or not.  We usually have the same types of veggies, so I think this will work out very well.

Tomorrow, I am going to make the salad for the week, and put it into one of  the largest containers as recommended on a YouTube video. A reliable source right? So much better than filling Ziploc bags with salad, and  having them get all squishy in the drawers.  It is amazing how an entire shelf of dairy fit into the crisper drawer with room to spare. It will be so easy to reach in and just pick what I need, instead of shuffling things off of other things. No matter how often you organize the refrigerator, what you need always seems to be under or hiding behind something else.  When I use the lettuce from the square container tomorrow, I will have a large space to store the round containers of  leftovers in one spot, next to the egg bin. (the white container, top shelf, right)That will allow free access to the drink shelf, that now has leftovers in front of the juices. 

One of my crisper drawers now holds all of the dairy products with tons of room to spare and the other has citrus fruits and apples. A big no no in the fruit and veg world but no problems so far, and I have been doing it for years. The meat and cheese drawer needs a makeover, but there is time for that tomorrow.  There is a large ham hiding behind on the bottom shelf, but it will be gone on Saturday, or at least shuffled into a tidier package. No need to have access to it, until Friday, so all is well.  That fruit drawer could use a bit of work, too, coulnd't it?

I was inspired to create in the kitchen, so now the whole house smells of cabbage rolls! They are all tucked away in a glass dish ready to put into the freezer in the morning, ready for our company at the end of the week. There is a fair bit of meat in them, so keeping them out for over five days  wouldn't work. So, they will be ready to thaw and serve on whatever day we decide to use them.  All of my groceries are purchased and tucked away for the week, so all that is left to do is to pick up is some Brussels sprouts and asparagus for my darling son, as well as some sliced sandwich meet for lunches over the weekend. Finding gluten free salami is quite the challenge, but I will have time this week to shop at a leisurely pace...perhaps after my doctors appointment when I am dressed and out! That will give me a little more time to focus on the projects I have planned for the week.

Deep cleaning is scheduled for tomorrow.  Top of the list is my closet and drawers...yet again.  I want to sort out the clothes for our trip to Mexico and have them washed and ironed, ready to go before November sneaks up on us far too quickly each year! I also need to go through my winter things to see what can be salvaged for the coming season. The focus is on the Master Bed and Bath this week, so a good clean out of the vanity in the bathroom is in order as well. Since changing to Lily products for my skin, I have very little clutter. A few products take care of me very well, and best of all? They fit compactly into one bag for easy packing!