Saturday, August 25, 2012

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Back to School Shopping

It's that time again!  Back to school shopping is the only thing on our agenda for this coming weekend.  I think I enjoy it more than my daughter.  We have so much fun at the mall and boutique shops are our historic town.  My daughter Gina is a senior in high school, so the look is mature and preppy.  She likes the romantic look of laces and floral.  My baby girl is grown-up now and I'm going to make the most of it.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Canning to preserve the summer

I remember when I was young watching my father in the kitchen canning hot peppers.  Being Hispanic meant that hot chili peppers were essential at every meal.  My dad loved many different varieties of peppers, like jalapenos, serranos, chili pequin, and so many others. 

It seems like it was just yesterday that I was walking in the house and being confronted by the strong aroma of boiling peppers.  The aroma hit like a strong heat to my eyes, my nose, and quickly to the back of my throat.  As a kid it was yucky, but now it's a wonderful memory.  He took such delicate care in making sure everything was perfect through out the canning process.  He would blend some of the peppers in to a salsa base.  Others he would leave whole, which was a perfect finger food at kitchen table.  The pantry cabinets were fulled with bottles of canned peppers, and there were always opened bottles chilling in the refrigerator. 

My father passed away several years ago and I wish I could go back in time to learn the canning process from him. I wish I would have sat there with him as he proudly and loving worked with his beloved peppers.  There is so many things I would do if I could turn back time.

Canning to preserve the summer

If you want to eat locally ― and eat well ― year-round, can your own fresh fruit and vegetables. That’s what Kelli Glazier of Palo Alto, California, and her book club decided they’d do last summer after reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, inspired by the author’s account of preserving the glut of tomatoes and other summer produce from her farm.

"We wanted to support our local farmers, buy as much pro-duce as we could, and can all day ― like in the old days, making food for the winter," Glazier explains.

None of the four friends had canned before, but they jumped in and learned together. "It was so much fun," says Glazier. By the end of their first day, they had transformed boxes of produce into gleaming jars, and everyone got to take some home.  source

Monday, August 13, 2012

Friday, August 10, 2012

My Son-Shine

My son Vinny is the sunshine of my life.  He attends the University of Texas in Austin where he majors in Government and a minor in Communications. He just came back last week from Washington DC where he spent the summer working as a political intern.  He is moving in to his new apartment this weekend.  You should see my house, his boxes and furniture all over the place.  We have been storing his stuff since the summer when he moved out of his dorm.  I'm so ready for the my place to get back to normal.  I love my son and I'm going to miss him, but I'm not going to miss the clutter.  Thursday evening we went to dinner at the Gristmill, a restaurant near our home in Gruene.  They have delicious salads that are served in huge platters.  The three of us shared 2 grilled chicken Caesar salads, and we still have left-overs.  I loved it when I started to annoy my kids by taking pictures during the meal.  Gotta love them!!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Happy and Healthy

Your best body. The dream job. Whatever you want most you make it happen. Your happy life starts here, today.  How you feel about your body affects your outlook on the world. Learn more about how your body image and self-concept can help -- or hinder -- your self-esteem.  Be a Cardio Queen.  Just one 45-minute high-intensity workout can help increase your RMR by 37 percent for up to 14 hours post-exercise.  As you age, you start to lose some muscle mass. Lifting weights helps you maintain and build on what you have, so your metabolism stays high. Losing weight and diets can be hard. But they don’t have to be if you have healthy diet plans available to help you decide which weight loss plan is right for you.  Regular snacking is vital to a healthy and active lifestyle. Fitness-friendly snacks should be quick, delicious, and balanced to satisfy your exercise and nutrition needs. Active women should aim for snacks in the 100- to 200-calorie range and up to two snacks a day between meals to keep your energy levels steady all day long.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Pork Stew

Shot-and-a-Beer Pork Stew
San Francisco's Tacolicious ($$; serves this braised pork in tacos, but owner Joe Hargrave also makes it at home as a fall stew. The chiles fall apart as the dish cooks, giving the meat a mellow, earthy spiciness.
Tacolicious, a taco stand at San Francisco's Thursday Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, serves this braised pork in tacos, but owner Joe Hargrave also makes it at home as a fall stew. The chiles fall apart as the dish cooks, giving the meat a mellow, earthy spiciness.  Time: 3 3/4 hours.
2 large dried chipotle chiles
2 large dried ancho chiles
12 ounces Mexican lager such as Tecate
1/4 cup white (silver) tequila
3 1/2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 2-in. cubes
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3/4 pound tomatoes, chopped
Click to see savings2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Wipe chiles clean with a damp cloth. In a dry, heavy saucepan over medium heat, toast chiles until fragrant and puffy, turning occasionally to keep them from burning, 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool slightly, then remove stems, seeds, and membranes. Pour beer and tequila over chiles to soften.
2. Meanwhile, season pork with salt. Heat oil in a heavy, large ovenproof pot such as a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown half the pork at a time, turning as needed, 8 to 10 minutes per batch. Transfer browned pork to a bowl.
3. Add onion and garlic to pot; cook until soft, stirring often, 5 minutes. Stir in beer mixture, tomatoes, oregano, cumin, and pork. Add water if needed to barely cover pork. Bring to a boil over high heat; cover.
4. Bake stew until pork is falling-apart tender, 3 hours. Skim fat. Ladle stew into bowls and serve with accompaniments.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Core Abdominal Moves

Crunches are not enough: These six moves -- three that strengthen your insides, three that target your outer abs -- keep you looking and feeling beautifully balanced.

What It Does Helps you use your abs in concert (unlike crunches, which isolate one muscle group)

How to Do It Lie on your back with your arms in the shape of a T and legs lifted so they're perpendicular to the floor. Shift hips a few inches to the left, then exhale and drop both legs slowly to the right, stopping before they touch the floor. Hold for a deep breath, exhale, and return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side. Alternate for 20 reps, 10 on each side.

Amy Butler

I am totally in love with Amy Butler fabrics.  Her designs are so vibrant and gorgeous.  She has a way of combining colors and patterns that makes her designs stand out from the rest.  Amy Butler offers products for crafting, home, and fashion.  You can find wonderful project ideas and free patterns on her website  I love that she has yarn collections and knitting projects, and she carries premium threads.  Many of the shops who carry her sewing patterns and fabrics also carry her books and stationery.  She designs wallpaper and rugs too.  Amazing!! 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

National Watermelon Day

Have a slice or two on August 3rd to celebrate National Watermelon Day.
Ingredients:  watermelon slices, crumbled goat cheese, torn fresh basil leaves, drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar, sprinkle of salt, light sprinkle of cayenne pepper (source)

Watermelon Fun Facts
  1. The first recorded watermelon harvest occurred nearly 5,000 years ago in Egypt
  2. Watermelon is 92% water.
  3. Watermelon's official name is Citrullus Lanatus of the botanical family Curcurbitaceae. It is cousins to cucumbers,pumpkins and squash.
  4. By weight, watermelon is the most-consumed melon in the U.S., followed by cantaloupe and honeydew
  5. Early explorers used watermelons as canteens
  6. The first cookbook published in the U.S. in 1776 contained a recipe for watermelon rind pickles
  7. In 1990, Bill Carson of Arrington, TN grew the largest watermelon at 262 pounds that is still on the record books.
Delicious frozen watermelon treat perfect to beat the heat for you and your kids this summer. And the best part is, it's healthy!


Wednesday, August 1, 2012