Sunday, August 14, 2011

#6 Do Six Things I've Never Done Before: Part One

At nine in the morning the sun was shining on our faces but there was still a gentle breeze to keep us cool. It was still early enough that there weren't too many people around to distract us. Instead there was a nice distant sound of joyous laughter and crickets chirping. We dug our toes into the grassy earth and had our first Yoga class in the park. 

As tough of a workout as it is on your muscles, when all is said and done you feel completely relaxed and ready to take on the day! I wish I could start everyday this way!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Recipe #1 Spicy Pita Chips

#15 of 30 before 30; Learn 15 New Dishes

Disclaimer: All new recipes have been approved by my husband's appetite!

After a Seder served at my family's church we inherited more homemade pita than we knew what to do with. We decided eating sandwiches in a race to beat the expiration did not sound like fun. I stumbled across this amazing recipe that made the pita disappear quicker than I ever imagined!

Spicy Pita Chips
Makes 4 Servings

1/4 cup tomato juice
1    tsp onion powder
1    tsp dried oregano leaves
1    tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
Four 2-ounce pitas

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheet with foil; spray with nonstick cooking spray. 

2. In small bowl, combine tomato juice, onion powder, oregano, oil, garlic salt, pepper and salt. 

3. With pastry brush, brush both sides of each pita with an equal amount of tomato juice mixture. Cut pita into eights; place on prepared baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes. Turn oven off; do not remove pita. Let pita remain in oven until cool and crispy.
WW Points: 3; 174 calories, 2g fat, 2g fiber

Dani's Modifications
Normally we do not have tomato juice in our pantry. Salsa was an amazing substitute that provided a little extra kick.  My favorite kind is the hot salsa you find near Giant Eagle's deli, that is made right in the store.
Paired with my homemade hummus it was a great snack or meal!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Recipe #2: Roast Turkey Stew

#15 of 30 before 30; Learn 15 New Dishes

Disclaimer: All new recipes have been approved by my husband's appetite!

The first new recipe I tried was gobbled up long before I could remember to reach for my camera.  So let's start with recipe #2! :)

Roast Turkey Stew
Makes 4 servings

2 tsp vegetable oil
2 cups halved large or whole small mushrooms
1 cup chopped onions
12 ounces skinless boneless cooked turkey breast, cut into chunks
2 cups baby carrots
1 cup frozen baby onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup canned brown gravy
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup dry red wine
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp diced rosemary leaves
1/2 cup frozen peas

1. In large nonstick skillet, heat oil; add mushrooms and chopped onions. Cook over medium high heat, stirring frequently, 4-5 minutes, until liquid is evaporated and vegetables are golden brown.

2. Add turkey, carrots , baby onions, celery, gravy, broth, wine, salt, thyme, pepper and rosemary; bring liquid to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes until vegetables are tender.

3. Stir peas into turkey mixture; simmer 10 minutes until peas are heated through and tender. 

As with all recipes I modified it just slightly. I am not fond of mushrooms so I substituted frozen corn; cooked with the peas. Serving over mashed potatoes makes it extra delicious!

   WW  Points:  6 per serving; 8 with 1/2 cup mashed potatoes
   280 calories, 7g fat, 3g fiber

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Amazing Egg Timer Trick

Now that I have written about all the things I want to do... what about the mundane tasks of daily life that nobody really wants to do?

My love of reality shows on HGTV and TLC have produced one great thing in my life. This cute little guy! The three dollars it cost at my local Marshall's to adopt him was the best investment I've made to date. 

Niecy Nash, host of Clean House, helped out a husband with Adult ADHD conquer his inability to focus on the task at hand with an egg timer! A few days ago John Tesh confirmed on his radio show that this trick works and here is why.

Our brains are naturally wired to procrastinate. We work best "under pressure" because we have to. Those tasks that seem too overwhelming and that have no real deadline can be conquered 10, maybe 15 minutes at a time. 

Have a giant stack of boxes to unpack or an unending dissertation to write? Set the timer for 15 minutes. When it dings, get up and stretch your legs, go for a walk, get a drink. Then reset the timer. You'll be amazed how much you can accomplish in a few minutes when you trick yourself into thinking that is all the time you have!

If you don't have someone holding you accountable to get something done now, why not a cute little egg? If eggs aren't your thing, don't worry there are plenty of options out there!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Thirty before Thirty

I'm not going to lie, I'm a little scared of turning the big Three O.

In my early twenties my family took a vacation; both my brother and I left our hearts in San Francisco. 

I built homes in Miami and swam in the ocean. I fell in love with a little girl in a Honduran orphanage.

I taught Graphic Design & Photography classes with the aide of Legos and field trips to the zoo. 

I spent nearly three years living a dream by working for the big cheese in the Happiest place in the world. I made friends with fairies and fairy godmothers-in-training. I shook hands with Marty Sklar the only Imagineer to open every Disney park. 

I became a guitar hero with Samurai Cheesecake and Cinderella with castle & coach. 

I ran my first 5k with princesses through Epcot. I conquered my first half marathon with my prince by my side in the Florida snow. 

I saw Evanesence, Eve6, Maroon5, Splender, Radiohead, Avril Lavigne, Fuel, The Aquabats, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Earth, Wind and Fire, Kelly Clarkson, Boys like Girls, Nelly, Chubby Checker, Trans Siberian Orchestra, Collective Soul, No Doubt, NeedtoBreathe, and Lady Gaga in concert. I sang on stage with Neil Patrick Harris. I've seen my love sing to me on an American Idol stage, twice. Best of all every Sunday I watch my husband worship the Lord with his drums! 

I had lightsaber battles next to Luke & Chewie. I documented the last week of Adventuring in Pleasure Island. I attended the last Radioathon and Hoopla. Adventure still calls my name... 

I bought a business license and started Ever After Imagery, Ltd.

This year I married the man of my dreams... nothing can really top that.

The last ten years were exciting! Still turning the page to the next decade is a bit more intimidating than the last. So as a last hurrah I've started a list of thirty things to complete in the next sixth months.

Start a blog! (Check and Completed) 

Take 2 classes a week at the gym.

Take 3 new people to church.

Learn 4 new dances.

Run a 5k for a cause.

Try 6 new things including Paintball and growing an herb garden!

Watch 7 sunrises.

Have 8 people over for waffles.

Learn 9 sayings in Portuguese and Spanish in preparation for World Cup 2014.

Make a  list of 10 places I want to visit in my 30's. Research what makes them unique.

Have a Mad Tea party with 11 different kinds of tea. 

Take 12 exposures on my medium format camera and have them developed. 

Memorize Chapter 13 of 1Corinthians. 

Give away 14 photos. 

Learn 15 new dishes.

Memorize verse 16-18 of 2Corinthians Chapter 4.

Write 17 love letters.

Do 18 hours of service

Watch 19 sunsets.

Be able to do 20 push ups.

Spend 21 hours in the sun; hiking, biking, picnicking, etc.

Clean out my closet and give away 23 things I'm no longer using.

Take 24 photos of beautiful things I see everyday.

Finish 25 Scrapbook pages.

Leave 26 lucky pennies on the ground. 

Discover 27 new locations for photo adventures.

Send 28 handwritten notes to people I have not seen in a long time.

Pick out a favorite photo for each of the 29 years of my life.

Buy 30 balloons.