Rewind: Thanksgiving 2012

My collage of food for Thanksgiving dinner, whole berry sauce(don’t like the canned stuff) it makes a lot so best served for a big dinner party.  The recipe is on the bag of Ocean Spray fresh cranberries.  Additional side dishes- Sweet Potato Souffle with Crushed Pineapples, Cornbread Stuffing(homemade), Mac and Cheese,  Turkey  and sweet potato pie.  I forgot  to take pictures of the veggies, greens and string beans with smoked turkey parts.

Unfortunately I there are no recipes for any of my usual side dishes because it is made with heart & soul and  a little of this and a little of that…..If you’re lucky enough you’ll get an invite but until then enjoy the visual……

photo credit:  cocoamommy

Food: Baked Pasta with Vegetables


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The only tweak I made was leaving out the basil, because I forgot it on my grocery list.  This was a great make ahead dish.  I prepared it on Saturday and baked on Sunday.  Although my kids continued to ask what is this green stuff I insisted they eat!

 

Ingredients

  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pound penne rigate
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded, finely chopped
  • 1 small yellow squash, chopped
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups (32 oz.) spaghetti sauce
  • 1/2 cup torn fresh basil
  • 2 cups ricotta
  • 12 ounces shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Preparation

  1. 1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta until al dente, about 10 minutes.
  2. 2. In a large skillet, warm oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Add bell pepper, squash, zucchini and garlic; sauté for 7 minutes. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. 3. Drain pasta and return to pot. Add spaghetti sauce, vegetable mixture and basil; stir. Taste and season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, mix together ricotta, 1 1/2 cups mozzarella and 1/4 cup Parmesan.
  4. 4. Mist a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread half of pasta mixture in dish; drop spoonfuls of ricotta mixture over pasta. Cover with remaining pasta. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake until bubbling, about 35 minutes. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe courtesy of : All You magazine.   You can find the recipe online here

My Kid’s Chronicles: Asthma

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We were 3 weeks into the school year, when the coughing started on a Tuesday(Day 1).   As any parent with an asthmatic child knows, pull out the rescue medicine.  For us this means the nebulizer for about twenty minutes every 4 hours.  Well by Wednesday(Day 2) there was no improvement after using the nebulizer every 4 hours.   On Thursday(Day 3) was the annual well visit for both kids, and the doctor noticed my DD was not passing any air.   Her pediatrician gave her a stronger dose of treatment in the office and a dose of prednisone.  It is never a good thing when we get a prednisone prescription.   On Friday (Day 4) and I take her back for follow-up with the pediatrician and her condition is not improved.  We were instructed to go to the ER asap so after 4 days of in home treatments we were sitting in the ER for more treatments and a chest xray.    In the interim the pediatrician on call and the head of pediatrics wanted to wait for x-ray to determine if DD was going to be admitted.    Well the news we were not thrilled to hear, overnight stay in the ER.

 

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What does it mean when you are admitted for asthma flare ups not responding to your normal rescue medicine?   The medication is increased every 2 hours and with the frequency of the medication there is heart monitoring.   This must be done for at least 24 hours before the doctors decide to discharge the patient.   DD was given 2 hour treatments from Friday afternoon, Saturday and it was early Sunday afternoon when she was moved to every 3 hours.   It is impossible to get any rest for the patient and parent with medication being administered every 2 hours.     On the first night in the hospital I belive she finally fell asleep in the wee hours of Saturday morning.    This was truly a test of patience and endurance.   The x-rays did show the presence of pneumonia.  In addition to the respiratory treatments, there were a round of medications.   Two antibiotics, prednisone, an antihistamine, and an antacid(steorids upset the stomach).   The doctors believe the Enterovirus that was spreading was the reason DD’s symptoms were so aggravated.  Normally it takes only about 24-48 hours with the nebulizer but the virus made it difficult to recover with her normal medicines.   Lucky for us the nurse on duty was able to find some arts and crafts to keep DD busy and occupied.  It is difficult to keep a child focused when they want to go home and sleep in their own bed.   I never noticed until late Saturday her room was tagged with a placard for airborne contaminants.   All the hospital personnel who entered her room had to wear a mask and a protective gown.

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Thank goodness for cable and wifi in hospital rooms.  If only they would put in cots for parents who have to stay overnight.   Just imagine a chair that converts to a reclining bed for a day and a half.   I found it interesting that parents who stay overnight have to pay full parking and buy food vouchers to eat meals.    Again a true test of patience and endurance.  When I did get a chance to go home for a change of clothes.  It was so nice to breath some fresh air and see the sun.    Unfortunately there was no opportunity to take DD outside.  I have really have to thank her pediatrician Dr. Karten for going over and beyond with monitoring her condition.  Before we were discharged the doctors had me watch the Nemours Pediatrics asthma online.   We were discharged from the hospital on Sunday afternoon with 7 prescriptions, an asthma plan, a device to monitor her breathing zone, air spacers,

Inspiration: High School Graduation Card

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I believe I found my high school graduation card while cleaning out a bedroom in my mom’s house. This is the only card I have with my dad’s signature.   Although my dad only finished middle school he was a huge proponent of education.   He was elated when I graduated from high school and headed to college.   I am the 5th child of my dad’s 6 kids and the first to graduate from college.   My dad was very diligent when it came to skills, he painted, exterminated, drove a cab and school bus, knew a little about plumbing and electricity.    I believe my tenacity to learn new skills and being an early riser is from him.  It may explain why I was foolish enough to pursue an engineering degree.     He was never one to sleep in, his philosophy was to get up early and get it done.   I am not a fan of getting up early it makes me feel well accomplished.    Unfortunately my dad passed away during my 2nd year at college.   I remember coming home before the end of my first semester and getting the news.   The house I grew up in felt so cold and dark.   I was in shock because I had just visited him in the hospital the month before and for me growing up with a parent who periodically went into the hospital was not unusual.    My dad was a longtime smoker since probably his teens and he suffered from emphysema which caused multiple trips to the hospital.    I learned to deal with it and always thought he would always come home good as new.     This was his last trip in the hospital.

 

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He missed a gazillion jokes, questions, feelings, emotions, ups, downs, and daddy and daughter time.   I remember some of the things he always said “a hard head makes a soft” (I know it sounds like a convoluted statement), the gist of the statement means listen, look and learn otherwise you will not like the consequences!    Always check your tires before you take off, and he never wanted me to learn how to change a tire.  He thought it was too dangerous and better for an experienced person.    I remember how proud he was when I received my freshman grades and I made the dean’s list.   I wish at times I could talk to him and get his perspective on so many life issues.  A dad’s advice for a daughter means so much as an adult.  Memories are meant to cherish and hold on to as we remember those who have passed on.  My advice is cherish the time you have with your loved ones.

Single Mom Chronicles: Mommy Brain on Overload!

Do you have days when your brain is just fried? When I juggle the daily schedule that includes work, making dinner, packing lunches, homework, work at home, and bedtime (which is usually too late). This is the night when my energetic DD has the most energy and wants to give me the extended version of her day in the life of a 2nd grader. When I hit the front door I only want my Pjs, a little peace and quiet, glass of red wine before our evening starts. Sometimes I go into my room and lock the door as I change out of my work clothes. On some evenings I find myself locking myself in my bathroom to sit for some peace and quiet. Guess what I forget to lock the door and that’s when my DD knocks on the door and all I hear is………. I never got this when I was a kid but I so get it now.    Life in the Mommy Lane. Where do you go for peace and quiet?

Cooking and Baking by Me- Leftovers-Turkey Soup

 

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One of the best things about Thanksgiving dinner is the leftovers…but there are only so many days I can go with eating a full meal.   I decided to take the leftover carcass and make Turkey Soup thanks to this great recipe found at TasteofHome website

 

Ingredients

  • 1 leftover turkey carcass (from a 10- to 12-pound turkey)
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 medium onion, halved
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup uncooked long grain rice
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup, undiluted

Directions

  • Place the turkey carcass in a stockpot; add the water, onion, salt and bay leaves. Slowly bring to a boil over low heat; cover and simmer for 2 hours.
  • Remove carcass; cool. Strain broth and skim off fat. Discard onion and bay leaves. Return broth to the pan. Add the carrots, rice, celery and chopped onion; cover and simmer until rice and vegetables are tender.
  • Remove turkey from bones; discard bones and cut turkey into bite-size pieces. Add turkey and cream soup to broth; heat through. Yield: 8-10 servings (about 2 quarts).

 

The only tweak I made was adding my own blend of seasonings to taste after the final step.  Also I omitted the addition of rice  to eliminate a carbohydrate since I love crusty bread with any type of soup.   Bon Appetit!

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Recipe: Whole Cranberry Sauce

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I started making this recipes about 8 years ago. The recipe is on the back of the bag of Ocean Spray fresh cranberries.

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 12-ounce package Ocean Spray® Fresh or Frozen Cranberries, rinsed and drained

Directions:

Combine water and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil; add cranberries, return to boil. Reduce heat and boil gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover and cool completely at room temperature. Refrigerate until serving time.

Makes 2 1/4 cups.

*I add juice from an orange and also have grated orange rind for a little more color

Cooking and Baking By Me: Buttermilk Pancakes

 

 

phonto (31)My favorite meal is BREAKFAST! I love comfort foods and pancakes is definitely a favorite.   The only time I have for a full breakfast is the weekend.   This is my favorite recipe for buttermilk pancakes that I found on allrecipes.com.

You can modify the recipe based on the number of servings.  The below recipe is for 12 servings.   Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:
5 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
6 tablespoons butter, melted
5 cups buttermilk
5 cups all-purpose flour
5 teaspoons baking powder
5 teaspoons baking soda
1 pinch salt (optional)
5 tablespoons sugar
DIRECTIONS:
1. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, butter and buttermilk. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and sugar; stir into the wet ingredients just until blended. Adjust the thickness of the batter to your liking by adding more flour or buttermilk if necessary.
2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side. Continue with remaining batter.

Single Mom Chronicles-Why I Smile? : Life Lessons

 

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Last week someone told me my smile made their day and not this was not a significant other! Yes, I smiled. We all have a reason to smile, right? Well I know I do despite the good, the bad and the ugly.

In five months my life has felt like a 360 of great moments. A divorce, new job with a nonprofit organization, a new home and peace of mind. If I look back on the past four years, there is too much to catch up on in one post. I have started to write a book to chronicle as much as I need to share with the public. When we get married I guess the thought is it will last forever or as the words “until death do us part”. This is until the reality of the world sets in. No one can teach you how to handle being an adult let alone sharing your life with another adult, it is a challenging and complicated world at times.    Can you prepare for marriage?   Absolutely, if you have carved out a secure life for yourself.     You should definitely navigate the world through your eyes before you decide to settle down with another person.    From this I mean travel, enjoy and indulge yourself, pursue your interests and hobbies, determine your career interests, education goals and become FINANCIALLY SECURE(save, save, save AND INVEST)!     I feel settling down with another person should leave no regrets on what you could’ve, should’ve, and would’ve done.     From day one of planning a life with another person, communicate what you want and what you need so there are no surprises on either side!!!!    This is advice works for any and all relationships.      If you cannot articulate your desires or needs how will others ever know?   Lesson learned, check!   Fast forward to a new job after being unemployed for 2 years, working at a new job for 3 years.    It is amazing how you can become so complacent with the norm.      You wake up every morning, get ready, and drive to work, sit at a desk and wonder why I am here?    Yes, earning an income is important but what happens when you feel like you’re not working to your full potential?   What happens when the company you work for does not value its employees? What happens when the leadership does not value its employees? What happens when you start to dread driving to work each morning? And checking your watch every hour?    All of these are signs it is time to EXIT and look for opportunities that value you as an individual and employee!    I am now working for a nonprofit organization in a leadership role.     If anyone told me 4 years ago that I would be here my inner voice would have whispered yeah right!!!!! I am so glad that I turned off that inner voice and took a LEAP of FAITH to take an opportunity that was offered based on someone seeing my value and worth.    It is so easy to become conditioned to what others think rather than what you know is your FULL POTENTIAL!!!!    I will say that it is important to KNOW YOUR WORTH AND VALUE and never underestimate your capabilities to SOAR!     The LESSON LEARNED here is it only takes one person to BELIEVE in your VALUE and provide the capacity for you to develop professionally.    I am so fortunate to have this opportunity and I look forward to my future growth and development both personally and professionally.

When my kids wanted to drive pass our old house I was thinking wow I am so over my past life. The house represents such a sore spot for me and it felt so cold driving into the development. However I had to realize that for children any transition is difficult for them and no matter how much time passes it will be a part of them. When we divorce one another children stay attached to their previous life.   I thought by now the house was sold and occupied with a new family.   I’m not sure if it helped but at least it was a little bit of closure for them I think??     Well fast forward of living in my childhood home for the past 4 years with two kids and we are now in our new home in a new neighborhood.  LESSON LEARNED:  CHANGE FEELS GREAT!   The best part for me is having my own bedroom with my very own bathroom, sometimes it’s the little things!!! That matter!!!

This is my STORY!!! And Yes, I will continue to SMILE in spite of the PAST and continue to be HOPEFUL for the FUTURE!!!!

 

 

 

 

Single Mom Chronicles: What Does Love Mean to You?

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As a mom it goes without saying that I have unconditional love for my kids.   However in terms of the love described on this card, I feel a void!  I think my 45th birthday made me question if I have ever or will ever experience this type of love.    When I purchased my Alex and Ani bracelets, this card was in the box.   Wow, it made me think long and hard on the words.   Did I agree?  Is love a virtue?  According to Webster’s dictionary, a virtue is the following  1. morally good behavior or character 2. a good and moral quality 3.the good result that comes from something.     I do agree it is a good quality however I do not agree it is related to morality.    I say this only because MORALS AND VALUES are the core of CHARACTER.   For someone who lacks character I find they are emotionally detached which makes it difficult to express this powerful emotion.     I have learned LOVE should not be taken lightly and the words are no measure unless the actions are present.    The second line on the card said it is a force that ignites passion, generosity and affection.   I have to disagree because some RELATIONSHIPS can have these elements and there is the LOVE is not mutual.    Another lesson learned is if another individual has no capacity for understanding what another person needs  there is no level of generosity.   Affection comes in many forms not just in the physical sense.     For me LOVE is a physical, emotional and spiritual connection.     I do agree it illuminates the spirit and makes the days, nights, weeks and months easier to digest.   Life is short and yes we should not fight what our heart feels and share love openly with the right individuals.   I learned to my surprise that not all individuals are capable of giving or receiving love.   Yes, I learned the hearts of some are cold with no capacity for caring and respecting the emotions and/or feelings of another individual.   There is NO WELCOME MAT for this individual in my life.   Although there is disappointment and heartache associated with LOVE I am HOPEFUL!