Thursday, August 19, 2010

My Family

I thought I would tell you a little about myself in hopes that you will read my blog and perhaps in some small way we will get to know each other.  First let me introduce my wonderful family.

I met and married my husband, Mike, 16 years ago.  Seriously, we were married 7 months after our first date and I would have to say I have no regrets.  The toughest part of that situation is that I was 22 and he 35, the father of 10 and 8 year old boys.  I became the step mom of those boys at a VERY young age and didn't even remotely have a clue.  God is good and we all survived, miraculously I would definitely say.  I am still in love with this man but not without our struggles.  I have learned that love is a choice and when you make a choice to love through whatever circumstances it becomes a relationship that is so solid I wouldn't trade places with a single person on earth.

We have two boys together, Jackson and Corbin, 13 and almost 8.  I love my stepsons to death, but they are both grown, married and very busy with their own lives.  So my time now is devoted to my younger boys.  Jackson is a tournament baseball player, piano student, and wonderful actor.  He is brilliant and I am so proud of him.  He is also the quintessential teenager that drives me nuts.

Corbin is profoundly deaf and hears with cochlear implants in both ears.  He does extremely well in a mainstream 2nd grade class with an FM system.  He has a passion for food, art, and travel.  Crazy stuff for an 8 year old but I kid you not it's true.  He is taking piano now too.  I could talk for hours about our experience with Corbin's hearing issues.  I remember finding a journal I had written the first year of his life when he was around 5 and I realized everything was about his hearing.  It completely broke my heart because I understood that I didn't enjoy my baby, I was so wrapped up in his special need.  I wish someone had told me to see him for who he is, not just his special need.  Oh well at least I finally learned.  Corbin is truly amazing and I thank God for all of my children every day.

A little more on my stepsons.  Michael and Jason, 26 and 24 are a huge part of our lives along with their wives, Lindsey and Catherine.  Michael and Lindsey have made me "Granny Cole" at a mere 38 years old!  Ethan Paul is PRECIOUS.

Jason is in medical school and I cannot even begin to express how exiting that is.  Catherine is an angel from heaven.  I always wanted a daughter and even though I know she doesn't need another mother she is the daughter I always wanted.  Too bad they live in West Virginia. :(

I must say I am blessed beyond measure!

Salmon Cakes

A couple of nights ago I cooked salmon which tasted okay but in my opinion was a little overcooked.  Well today I decided to cook lunch and really didn't feel like going to the store so the leftover dry salmon was the star ingredient.  I apologize that I do not have pictures of the process, my camera battery was dead and hubby was staring hungrily at me, not like in a romance novel.

Salmon Cakes
10 oz. cooked salmon
1 small onion diced
1/2 red bell pepper diced
2 T. olive oil
1 egg
2 T. mayo
1 T. parsley
1/2 t. salt
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs + more for breading
Break up the salmon in a mixing bowl.  Saute onion and bell pepper in olive oil until tender, add to salmon.  Add all remaining ingredients and mix well.  Form patties, I made four from this quantity.  Place in more panko crumbs and coat.  Heat skillet and cover bottom with olive oil.  When oil is hot add cakes.  Allow to cook on each side 2-3 minutes or until browned.

Lemon Parsley Sauce
2 T. lemon juice
2 T. olive oil
1 T. mayo
1 t. parsley
salt to taste
Mix well and drizzle over salmon cakes.

I served my salmon cakes over fresh baby spinach tossed with a little olive oil and lemon juice.  Lunch divine!  The hubby was pretty impressed too.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Super Healthy Spinach Smoothie

If you are a friend or family member I know you are sick to death of hearing me rave about this recipe.  However, I must continue on the bandwagon of green smoothies.  It is just too impressive!  I am not a health nut by any stretch, my husband however is.  I do eat healthy more often than not and this smoothie is how we start most days.  Please don't be deterred by the spinach, I PROMISE you won't taste it.

Spinach Smoothie
1 medium banana
2 cups fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup frozen pineapple
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
2 T. ground flax seed
1 t. agave nectar
1.5 cups almond milk (I use Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla)
1/2 cup ice
Place everything in a blender and blend until smooth.

Nutrition info:
Calories - 350
Fiber - 11.5
Fat - 10 (Keep in mind these are VERY healthy fats found in the flax and almond milk)
Protein - 7.5 (If you are looking for more I highly recommend Nature's Sunshine Love and Peas, yum!)
Sugar - 31 (All naturally occurring in the fruit and agave)
We usually share this, I'm not a big breakfast eater and Mike has a slice of toast with his.  Totally delicious!

A few tips on organics...... This is a list of "The Dirty Dozen", aka fruits and veggies to buy organic if at all possible.  These things are not that expensive and spinach is available organic almost everywhere.  It would be a sad thing to drink such a healthy smoothie and yet be ingesting all those pesticides.
  1. Nectarines – 97.3% of nectarines sampled were found to contain pesticides.
  2. Celery – 94.5% of celery sampled were found to contain pesticides.
  3. Pears – 94.4% of pears sampled were found to contain pesticides.
  4. Peaches – 93.7% of peaches sampled were found to contain pesticides.
  5. Apples – 91% of apples sampled were found to contain pesticides.
  6. Cherries – 91% of cherries sampled were found to contain pesticides.
  7. Strawberries – 90% of strawberries sampled were found to contain pesticides.
  8. Imported Grapes – 86% of imported grapes (i.e. Chile) sampled were found to contain pesticides.
  9. Spinach – 83.4% of spinach sampled were found to contain pesticides.
  10. Potatoes – 79.3% of potatoes sampled were found to contain pesticides.
  11. Bell Peppers – 68% of bell peppers sampled were found to contain pesticides.
  12. Red Raspberries – 59% of red raspberries sampled were found to contain pesticides.  

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Coffee Scrub

A few months ago my man and I went to New York City to see a Holistic Urologist, he is fighting prostate cancer naturally.  I am happy to help especially when it means a trip to the Big Apple.  We were wondering around one day and discovered a fabulous little shopping venue in an old church.  I stumbled upon the coolest booth that sold all natural skincare.  However, being the do it yourselfer I like to think I am I simply could not spend $30 on a coffee scrub knowing I could come up with my own recipe.  

After a little trial and error I came up with a recipe that I think is pretty cool.  My big error was using decaf, I know that wasn't too bright but I had some in the pantry that I needed to get rid of.  The key benefit to the coffee IS the caffiene, DUH!  

Coffee Body Scrub
1 lb. coffee (this is one instance I use the cheap stuff)
2 cups turbinado sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil
30 drops orange essential oil
8 drops clove essential oil
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.  You will have to get your hands in there and really work it.  Place in jars and keep near your shower.  Massage into damp skin, rinse, lather with a good smelling soap or you may smell like coffee all day.  This recipe made enough for 2 quarts. 

Before and after shots, one week of use.

HAHAHAHAHA!!!!  Not really.  I just started this, I'll let you know if it works but I can assure you I will NOT post before or after pictures.  I'm sure laying off the ice cream sandwiches would help with this endeavor too.  

I did find lots of info backing my choices of ingredients.

  • Your skin be free of different radicals that can cause acne, eczema and other skin diseases
  • Improve the flow of micro-cellulars in your skin
  • Break up fatty deposits which cause those ugly cellulites
  • Clear up your skin of acne and other blemishes
  • Act as sunblock and prevent sunburn and wrinkles
  • Absorb and neutralize strong odors such as fish and other smells
Turbinado Sugar - This is basically just for the exfoliation, I prefer sugar over salt because if I just shaved salt burns.

Skin Care: Coconut oil is excellent massage oil for the skin as well. It acts as an effective moisturizer on all types of skins including dry skin. The benefit of coconut oil on the skin is comparable to that of mineral oil. Further, unlike mineral oil, there is no chance of having any adverse side effects on the skin with the application of coconut oil. Coconut oil therefore is a safe solution for preventing dryness and flaking of skin. It also delays wrinkles, and sagging of skin which normally become prominent with age. Coconut oil also helps in treating various skin problems including psoriasis, dermatitis,eczema and other skin infections. Therefore coconut oil forms the basic ingredient of various body care products such as soaps, lotions, creams, etc., used for skin care.

Orange oil
Orange oil for circulatory system: Its helps in treatment of edema and cellulite with help of orange oil massage. 

Clove oil
Clove oil can be used naturally to heal the skin and treats cuts.
*Note from me- love the idea of this because it will help w/ razor burn or if you cut yourself shaving.

Strawberry Shortcake

This post should have been made a couple of months ago but a day this perfect can't wait until next spring.

Corbin, my 7 year old, and I decided it was a wonderful day for picking strawberries.    We jumped in the car, my beloved convertible red mini cooper (yes my early mid life crisis), and headed to Mrs. Heather's strawberry farm.  I can't even describe the magnificence of picking berries on a beautiful cool day and checking out all the farm animals.

Please keep in mind right now it is almost 100 degrees in south Louisiana so I can simply sit in the blessing of A/C and reminisce of such a day.  After picking we came home and made strawberry shortcake.

A day such as this is perfection and I am so blessed to have the memory.

Strawberry Shortcake
3 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
Mix sugar and berries in a bowl and allow to macerate.
2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter (cold and cut into pieces)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup heavy cream
Place all dry ingredients in a food processor and pulse a few times.  Add butter and process until incorporated.  Add egg, vanilla, and cream and process until mixed.  Place a little flour on work surface and add mixture to it.  Form a ball, using a rolling pin dusted with flour roll into 1/2 inch thick disk.  Use a biscuit cutter cut into 8 rounds.  Place on lightly buttered baking pan, brush with a little whipping cream, and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake on 375 degrees aprox. 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

While warm split shortcakes in half and top with strawberries.  A little whipped cream would be great too if you have it.