Sunday, October 24, 2010

Been Away...

Well, it has been a while since my last post.  Our family left for a cruise a few weeks ago.  We were so excited to go.  So, we drove 10 hours to Florida and anticipated getting on the cruise for a well needed family vacation.  We all love the cruise.  We don't have to think, just get on and relax and enjoy.  So upon checking in at embarkation we give all of our identification, which were the usual, drivers license and birth certificates.  Passports are not yet a necessity, so we didn't get them.  So they lady behind the counter asks if these are hospital birth certificates and I say yes.  She says wait one minute and walks away and we don't think anything much.  She comes back and says we have to move to a different line.  Now I am getting uneasy.  

We move to another line and the gentleman tells us as of last June they no longer are able to take this birth certificate and that it is not valid ID.   Due to homeland security laws it must be a State issued birth certificate.  Well, my husband and I are now in total disbelief and argue that we have gone on 4 other cruises with these very birth certificates and these are all we have and have ever had.  He suggested we call the vital statistics offices in the states we were born in to see if they would fax it to us, but it was Columbus Day and the offices were closed.  

We WERE NOT getting on that ship.  The manager came out.  We were all pulled aside.  Everyone was going through the line happy as could be.  The kids were upset, I was crying... My parents were already on the ship as well as our friends that we were going on with.  The manager plainly told us they could not let us on that ship under any circumstances due to the homeland security regulations.  There was nothing we could do.  Our hearts sunk as we realized that we would not be taking this cruise.  

Our children had the proper birth certificates so we had to decide whether to let them go on with my parents and our friends whom we trust completely or let them stay back with us in Florida for the next 5 days.  With much persuasion from my husband we decided to let them go.  After all they were so looking forward to it and why should we make them miss out if they had the right papers.  So as upset as we all were they went on the cruise and my husband and I stayed back in Florida for the next 5 days.  We were really in shock most of that first day not knowing what to do.  

The rest of the week we tried to make the best of a really bad situation.  We went to Orlando and went to Epcot one day.  We visited St. Augustine which we loved.  The whole week was bitter sweet.  We had a nice time but really missed the boys and the cruise.  

So, my tip for today is not a health or cooking tip.  It is to check your birth certificates and make sure they are issued from the State you were born in.  It should say issued from Vital Statistics on it.  Tip #2 is GET A PASSPORT.  You will need them soon to travel anywhere outside the USA.  If we had a passport we would be assured getting on that ship.  So, I am taking my own advice.  We have already applied for the State issued birth certificates and as soon as we get them, we are going to get our passports so this doesn't happen again. 

I don't know the reason or plan God had in mind for this.  All I know is that we are in his hand and our steps are ordered of Him, so I have to trust that.  I'm hoping next time we are all trusting his plan on the Lido Deck.  



Thursday, October 7, 2010

Parmesan Popcorn

This is one of my favorite snacks.  Parmesan cheese popcorn.. yum.  It is really so simple and a great healthy snack too.  I know you can buy that microwave popcorn and that is easy enough, but that bagged stuff has who knows what in there.  That yellow stuff cannot be real this you know exactly what you are getting.
You can play around with the spices and use the ones you like.  The one thing I ask is please do not use that green can of Parmesan cheese that they sell in the unrefrigerated aisle.  You know the one I mean.  Some things are worth spending a little more on and Parmesan cheese is definitely one of them.  I get mine at Sam's Club but any grocery store will sell chunks of cheese.  I like Pecorino Romano, but Parmesano Reggiano is great or just a regular Parmesan.  Trust me this will make a difference.

If you do not have a popcorn popper you can do this on the stove top.  You will have to use a little oil in the bottom of a large pot to pop the corn.

So here is the recipe. 

1/2 C organic popcorn kernels.
1/2 C or to taste of finely grated Parmesan cheese
granulated garlic, black pepper, chili powder to taste (you can use whatever spices you love)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  (again this is not precise but around 2 Tbsp

Pop the corn in the air popper. 
In bowl toss the popcorn quickly with the olive oil and then immediately add the Parmesan cheese and the spices.  Some of the cheese will fall to the bottom, just dip the popcorn in that when you get to the bottom.

Enjoy !!

Today's tip is to look for a good cheese that you can try.  There are tons of them out there.  Find one you like!



Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Feeling Blah...

I guess it happens to us all.  Some days you wake up and just feel well... Blah.  I don't know why it happens.  It just does.  Well, that is how I felt this morning.  Every task seemed extra hard to do.  Getting the kids up and off to school was a harder chore than usual, and we of course ran late.  I hate running late and rushing.  Got back home and looked at all I have to get done and quite frankly just don't feel like doing it.  Then the dreaded exercise.  Since my weight loss journey I exercise 6 days a week.  I do this because if I don't make this a habit I will just slip back into not wanting to do it at all.  So, I just tell myself it has to be done. 

Then I get on the computer and read a daily devotion and boom... I am hit over the head like wake up Trish.
It was about offering a sacrifice of Thanksgiving to God daily.  We all find ourselves feeling down and then complaining, but God wants us to be thankful.  Thankful... I know we say we are thankful, but are we really.  What is our ratio of complaining to thanking?  I know mine is way off most of the time.  I am thankful for what I have but what about just being thankful for whatever situation I am in right now.  That is tough if there is some problem or trial I am going through. 

So, I am going to spend my day today being mindful of what I am thankful for and try to offer up a sacrifice of Thanksgiving as I go about my day.  That is bound to turn my blah feeling around.

Tip for the day:  Concentrate on what we are thankful for and not for all the negative things !!



Monday, October 4, 2010

Autumn Chili

Brrrr.  A chilly autumn day, a bit gloomy out.  I know what I want.  Something warm and hearty.  A bowl of chili perhaps.  Chili is a wonderful one pot meal.  A little chopping and you have a warm delicious healthy meal.  This chili I switched up a little bit from what I usually do.  I used white meat ground chicken and added rustic cauliflower for added depth and nutrition.  It turned out perfectly and my husband said that the picture didn't do this justice it was so good.  So, I guess this one is a keeper.  I made a rustic whole wheat bread to dip into it.  This was one great dish.

Autumn Chili

1 1b ground chicken or turkey
2 carrots
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 medium bell pepper
1 stalk celery chopped
1 small head of cauliflower chopped small

Saute above in a little olive oil till cooked down a bit (about 10 minutes)


1/2 C wine or beer (you can also use chicken or beef stock)
1 28 can diced tomatoes
1 15 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
1 can black beans (or whatever bean you like)
1 Tbsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp or less cayenne pepper
1/4 C chopped fresh cilantro or parsaly (optional)

Turn down heat and simmer for about 1 hour.  You can also do this in your handy crock pot.  Cook on high 4 hours or low 6 hours.

I hope you try this one, it really is good and so healthy and low calorie.  You can serve with tortilla chips or with some brown rice !!

Today's tip:  Try to add some unexpected veggies to your everyday recipes.  It will go further therefore making the dish cheaper to make and will add loads of vitamins and minerals to your dish!



Friday, October 1, 2010

Whole Wheat Penne with Spinach, Eggplant, and Mozzarella Cheese

This has to be one of the easiest meals I have ever prepared.  I wasn't much in the cooking mood so I took inventory of what I had on hand.  There are only a few ingriedients:  Whole wheat penne pasta, fresh spinach, eggplant, and mozzarella cheese... and a little extra virgin olive oil to bring it together.  It is so healthy especially using the whole wheat pasta.  I know most people will say they don't like whole wheat pasta and I totally get it.  I have never liked it either, but the whole wheat has so much more vitamins and fiber than the white stuff.  The whole wheat is very earthy tasting and great for a quick autumn dish.

1 lb whole wheat pasta (any shape you like)
1 package fresh spinach.
1 cup mozzarella cut in chunks
1 eggplant peeled cubed and roasted. (you can omit this to make it even easier, but I love eggplant)

Cook pasta according to package, save about 1 cup of the pasta water.
Drain pasta and put back in the same pot.  Add spinach, mozzarella chunks, eggplant and the 1 C of pasta water.  Drizzle with the olive oil.  Salt and pepper to taste and then shave some parmesan cheese on the top.

That's it !!!  Simple, delicious and healthy.

Today's tip is try the whole wheat pasta over the white.  It does have a totally different taste and texture.  Try it you just may like it.