Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Thinking Valentines…Chocolate Silk Tart

Valentines Day is just around the corner and I found a recipe for a Chocolate Silk Tart that is low in calories, fat, and even carbs. Most women I know love chocolate. Instead of giving that box of chocolate, make a chocolate recipe that will suit her waist line. As much as I love chocolate, I do not want a box of chocolate for valentines Day.

Chocolate Silk Tart – Makes 12 servings:

13 - chocolate graham crackers
3 TBL. - sweetener, like Splenda
1 - egg white
3 TBL. – butter, melted
1 pkg. – ( 14 oz. ) firm tofu, drained
1 pkg. - ( 8 oz. ) Neufchatel cheese
1 pkg. – ( 1.4 oz. ) instant sugar-free, fat free, chocolate pudding
1 tsp. - vanilla extract
¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup - reduced-fat whipped topping, like Cool Whip, thawed
1 pint – strawberries, halved

1) Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In food processor, pulse first two ingredients 1 minute. Add egg white and butter. Press mixture into 9” tart pan with removable bottom. Bake
10 min.; chill.

2) In food processor, pulse tofu and cheese 2 min. Add next 4 ingredients; blend 2 min. more.

3) Spoon mixture into crust. Chill 2 hours. Add topping and berries. (Put cool whip on top of chilled tart and top with halved strawberries. If you would like, you can melt some chocolate and sprinkle it on top of the strawberries.)

Prep time: 10 min. Total time: 20 min. + chilling time.
Per serving: Cal: 244 Pro: 8g. Carb: 24g. Fiber: 2g. Chol: 20mg. Sod: 287mg. Fat: Sat. 9g. Trans. 0g. Mono. 4g. Poly. 1g. Recipe taken from: First Mag. Dated: 1-30-06

A few other ideas for Valentines Day:

Saying 'I Love You' for Less by Gary Foreman
Creative ideas for men or women that cost less and mean more.

Hersheys Gifts: For you guys with a little less imagination.

Question: What was your favorite valentine gift either given or received?

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Hillary in 2008?

You’ve gotta see this folks!

Like her or not, this is cute...

Thursday, January 26, 2006

She’s moving back to D.C…….

My friend Felicia is moving back to Washington DC. She has been here in Houston for 17 years and it has become necessary for her to move back to where her children are. This wonderful woman is 73 years old and she has a doctorate in science and education. She has been a school teacher, counselor and an assistant principal. I have known her, through our church, most of the time she has been here. From the very beginning we became best buds.

She raised four children mostly as a single mother. She told me that when her husband put a gun in her face and beat her up that it was time to “ditch” him. At the time this happened she already had her bachelor’s degree and was teaching school. After her divorce, she went back to school to get more education. Her parents helped her raise the children and she somehow made it all the way through her doctorate. Felicia is one tough mama. I have heard so many stories about her family that I feel like I know each one of them personally.

In the last year and a half, I have noticed that her memory was starting to go. In the last four months it has gone down hill. She forgot to pay her house payment and she would repeat the same story about six times in thirty minutes. She forgot how to get to my house even though she had driven over here numerous times. TF and I were getting worried about her. Thank goodness for Rodney, her youngest son. He called up a couple of weeks ago and asked her to move up with him. A new assisted living center has been built right behind his house. He knew she would not move in with him but he knew he could get her into this center. When things get to a point where assisted living is no longer workable, she can move two blocks away to an Alzheimers center. I keep telling myself, this is all part of life. The good thing is that Felicia understands this. She says that the Lord has “kept” her and taken care of her all these years. She is apprehensive about the move, but she’ll do just fine.

My husband and I are kind of taking charge of the move. Felicia’s friend, Virginia and I are packing her up. We have gone through her closets and given many of her things to the Salvation Army. You see, Felicia is going from a very large, three bedroom house, to a very small, two bedroom living area. Over her lifetime, and the last seventeen years, she has accumulated many things. There is a whole lifetime of stories in the things that she has. I try to get my work done in the mornings and go over there in the afternoons. A realtor will be putting the house up for sale soon, but there are things that need to be fixed before we can do that. My son in law has a dry wall business and he will be taking charge of fixing things for her in exchange for some of her furniture. Her chimney needs repair and there is a large tree in the back yard that has a root growing under the house. We have been told, by the realtor that it needs to come out. When the time comes, men from the church will come over and load up the U-Haul and a friend will be driving it up to DC for her. Sooooo…much to do!

Felicia has been one of my best friends. I have learned a lot from her and she has been like a grandmother to my children. When she is gone, I will miss her more than you can imagine. I thank God for friends like her.

Just a side note: I was able to find TF some good "last minute" airfare to West Palm Beach this weekend. He will be flying in and then driving the rest of the way to Vero Beach to visit with his parents. Bonnie (my daughter) is working in Fort Lauderdale this week so she will drive over on Sunday and have dinner with them. TF's mom had cancer surgery last Sept. and she is able to let him come visit now. I am so glad that he can do this every so often.

If you are interested in finding some good "last minute" airfare, go to: http://www.smartertravel.com and sign up for their weekly specials.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

London Broil Marinated in Soy Sauce and Mustard…

Ahhhhhh…..that just sounds good to me. Just to let you know, the diet is coming along just fine. I did not weight before starting because I was just too afraid to look at the scale. I know I am doing good because my closes fit better and I feel better. I am on a low-carb eating plan. I have tried other diets, but the low-carb plan just seems to work best for me. Even when I was on weight watchers, if I ate too much fruit, I didn’t lose my two pounds per week. So today I am posting a recipe I found in a low-carb recipe book. I have my London Broil marinating now and this will be the main course for dinner tonight. Alone with a Granny salad and some veggies, this will be a nice Sunday dinner.

London Broil Marinated in Soy Sauce and Mustard
Recipe by Prevention Magazine

1 TBL. - Dry mustard
4 tea – Soy Sauce
2 tsp. – Red wine vinegar
1 tsp. – Onion powder
¼ tsp. – Garlic powder
1 TBL – Olive oil
1 – Top Round or Sirloin London Broil (1 ½ pound), 1 “ thick
¼ tsp. – Salt
¼ tsp. – Ground Black Pepper

In a small bowl, combine the mustard and soy sauce to make a paste. Stir in the vinegar, onion powder, and garlic powder. Whisk in the olive oil. Place the beef in a glass baking dish. Pour the mustard mixture over the beef, and rub lightly to coat all over. Cover, and refrigerate 2 hours or up to 24 hours. Remove from the refrigerator 15 minutes before cooking.

Place the broiler rack 2” to 3” from the heat source, and preheat the broiler. Coat a broiler pan with cooking spray.

Transfer the beef to the pan, and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Broil until the top is browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn, and cook the second side until a meat thermometer registers 145 degrees F. for medium-rare, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove to a platter, and let rest 5 minutes. Thinly slice diagonally, and serve with the juices on the platter.
Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 309 calories, 36g. protein, 1g.carbohydrates, 17g. fat, 6g. saturated fat, 85mg. cholesterol, 560mg. sodium, 0g. fiber.
Diet Exchanges: 0 milk, 0 vegetable, 0 fruit, 0 bread, 5 meat, 3 fat.

Time Saver: Refrigerate leftovers in a covered container for up to 3 days. Use them for super fast suppers and lunches. To reheat, slice the beef and dip into simmering beef broth until heated through, 30 to 60 seconds.

Note from Lucy: Please make sure you let the beef "sit" for 5 minutes after cooking. If you cut the beef too soon it will be tough. You have to let the juices run through the meat before cutting it. Have you ever noticed how the juices just pour out of the meat if you cut it right away after cooking? That is because you did not let it "sit". I learned this trick from a top chef.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

How do they see where they are going?

I was watching the movie “Hunt for Red October” this morning, and I was wondering how they steer that submarine around under the water and not hit anything. How do they see where they are going? Do they have a peep hole somewhere? I know that the “SSRN Seaview” has a great big picture window on the front that Admiral Nelson and Captain Lee Crane could see thru. I wonder how Captain Nemo was able to navigate his ship under water? Every time I watch a movie with submarines, I wonder how they do it. One movie I watched, the sub was able to navigate thru a net and straight into the harbor without hitting the net and being detected. I know that there are mountains under water and somehow those subs manage to navigate around them without hitting one and sinking. How does this work? Any answers out there?

Ok, now that I have that off my mind, take this quiz about Ben Franklin and see just how much you know about him. I found out that I don’t know as much as I thought I did.

Here's a fun game to play. The object of the game is to move the red block around without getting hit by the blue blocks or touching the black walls. If you can go longer than 22 seconds you are phenomenal. I was told that the US Air Force uses this for fighter pilots. They are expected to go for at least 2 minutes. Give it a try!! http://tinyurl.com/56t9u

One last item here: 8 types of income the IRS can't touch

Monday, January 16, 2006

My Four Houses…..and two apartments

I don’t know what in the world made me start thinking about this, but this morning I have been thinking about all the houses I have lived in. (I have lived my whole life in Houston, Texas so there was not a lot of moving around.) My first house was a small 1,200 square foot three bedroom, one bathroom house. Mom and dad bought that house the year before I was born. They raised four children in that house and there are many fond memories there. I went to one elementary school, one Jr. High and one High school. We had very little money but there was a lot of love between those walls. I lived in that house till I got married; my dad lived there till he died. When it came time to sell the house, it was the hardest thing I ever had to do. That was the house I was raised in and I didn’t really want to see it go, but we had no need to keep it.

When TF and I got married we moved into an apartment across the street from Sharpstown shopping center. I was close enough to work that I could just walk across the street, enter the mall, and walk the rest of the distance to Montgomery Wards. We were there for a year. Then we moved into our second apartment two blocks down and even closer to my job. We lived there for another year.

By then TF and I were able to buy our first house. It was a small 1,200 square foot one story, three bedroom, one bathroom house in Oak Forest. It was a pre WWII house just outside the 610 Loop. We only paid $ 19,500.00 for that house. It was what I would call a “fixer upper”. We worked on that house for the entire seven years that we lived there. Two of our children were born there and we loved that house. The neighborhood was old and there were a lot of trees. We sold that house in 1981 for $ 55,000.00.

We purchased our next house which was an 1,800 square foot (three bedroom – 2 bath) house in a brand new neighborhood with NO real trees. Each house, in the neighborhood, had one newly planted tree in the front yard and one in the back yard. Our son was born there and we lived in that house for about nine years. When we decided to move into the house we presently live in, we decide to keep the second house and rent it out.

The house we presently live in is only five miles north of that house, but it is in a well established older neighborhood and there are plenty of trees. I love trees and I am happy to have lots of trees on our lot. This house is about 2,300 square feet. The house is a two story, with three bedrooms, one bath and an office upstairs. Down stairs has the master bedroom w/bath, living room, den, formal dining room, kitchen, nook, ½ bath, and laundry room. Bonnie was in eight grade when we moved in, august of 1992. It’s been a wonderful house for our family. TF and I will probably live the rest of our lives here, unless a miracle happens and we are able to buy that house in the mountains of Colorado. The Lord has truly blessed our family. I would have never dreamed that I would live in such a nice house.

I think what got me thinking about this was a story I was reading about buying a house for a dollar. Yes, you can actually do that. Cities that buy houses for eminent domain would rather sell the house for a $ 1.00 than pay more money to have it demolished. You would be required to move the house to a piece of your own property. Interesting thought, if you are willing to be creative.

Here are several articles that I found interesting:

Looking to buy or sell in 2006? A property expert offers 10 pitfalls for the unwary.

Should I buy in a slowing housing market?

Search Foreclosures Nationwide!

3 Simple Steps to Reel In Buyers.

Have you overimproved?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

In season now: Roasted Vegetables

One of the goals that I am working on this year is to lose weight and stay healthy. While reading the Women’s Day magazine, I came across and article on cooking healthy vegetables. Roasting veggies brings out their flavors. Cut into uniform size, and then toss with enough oil to lightly coat: sprinkle with salt, pepper and herbs. Roast at 425 degrees until tender. Delicate veggies, like asparagus, should roast about 20 minutes, while potatoes need about 45 minutes. For a delicious medley, mix and match to find your favorite blend.

Here are some ideas of what you might use:
Vegetables: Sweet potatoes, red potatoes, asparagus, butternut squash, yellow squash, and zucchini , cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, brocklie & etc.
Onion: Yellow onions, red onions, shallots, pearl onions, leeks
Seasoning: Rosemary, garlic, thyme, sage, marjoram, oregano, chipolte, chile pepper or you own favorite mix of herbs.

I have never done this before because I am a fan of steaming. But last night I tried the roasted veggies. They were a pleasant surprise. In the crock pot, I cooked some chicken thighs that I sprinkled with Lipton’s onion mushroom soup mix powder. I added ½ cup of water, with one TBL. Worchester sauce mixed in, to the pot. Whalla! An easy low carb dinner.

As a side note: Last Monday, at HEB, I found chicken thighs marked down to $ 2.50 for an 8 lb. bag. They had eight bags and I purchased every one of them. I took four of the bags over to a friends house and helped her put them in freezer bags. Then I went home and put up the other four bags. It’s a bit of work, but I won’t have to buy chicken for a good while. It’s amazing how much money you can save, if you just look.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The pain of discipline or the pain of regret…..

I went to a training meeting last night for my business and learned quite a bit about ways to obtain our goals. Tracy Jarvis, got up at the end of the meeting to do the close and she talked about a book that she had recently read called, “The Slight Edge” by Jeff Olson. She asked us the question: Are you living with the pain of discipline or the pain of regret? She went on the give an example.

She and Mark, her husband, had been out of town and returned home late the night before. She set her alarm clock for 6:00am., because she knew she needed to get some things done in the morning. When 6:00am. quickly arrived she decided that she needed to sleep in, she was tired and she just wanted to sleep. She rolled over and turned off the alarm. She said that she couldn’t go back to sleep, she lay there thinking about all the things that she had to do. Tracy said, I just couldn’t get my arm to pull the covers back and throw that leg out of the bed, I was frozen. Finally around 7:00am. she pulled herself out of bed. She missed out on getting some things done that she knew were important. Her mind asked her the question, “Are you living with the pain of discipline or the pain of regret”?

The book she had read talked about the little things we can do every day to live with discipline and not regret. We set our goals but what do we do to obtain them? We have to be consistent. I have made up my mind that I will do the “little things” it takes to obtain my goals and dreams for 2006. Isn’t it funny that we hear things all the time about how to do what we want, but one little sentence can hit us smack in the face and really make an impact. Tracy made an impact on me last night. I am going to go to the book store and buy the book and read it to learn more.

I have to admit that 2005 was a good year. I got a new grandbaby, learned how to care for new born puppies, I started a blog, and other things. But I didn’t obtain the goals that I had set for myself. There are goals that did not become a reality. I will do better this year and live with the pain of discipline and not the pain of regret….

Tip of the Day: Resolutions to lose weight? Heres how:

Perfect Winter Beef Stew: http://www.kraftfoods.com/main.aspx?s=recipe&m=recipe/knet_recipe_display&recipe_id=90514&e=email

Friday, January 06, 2006

Time for a little fun…..

Better Safe than Sorry sort of tagged me for this meme. So here goes:
Four jobs you’ve had in your life:

1) My first job was at the Houston Astrodome. It was newly opened and I got a job as the popcorn girl in one of the commissaries. This is were I met my husband. We were only 16 yrs. old at the time and we didn’t get married for four more years.

2) I worked part time for a retail store called Sage. I worked in the Linen department and I sold bed sheets, draperies and fabrics for sewing. I learned how to sew while working on this job.

3) My senior year in high school I worked one summer with the telephone company. I was a long distance operator back in the days when they still had operators.

4) I worked for seven years at Montgomery Wards. I started out in the men’s suit department and then moved a year later as manager of the women’s hosiery. A year later I was made the manager of the better jewelry department. I stayed in that department till I left my job to start my family.

Four movies you would watch over and over again:

1) Dave – That movie is so cute. The American President is very similar.
2) Fiddler on the Roof – I love musicals and this is one of my favorites, along with South Pacific, West Side Story, My Fair Lady and The Sound of Music.
3) Driving Miss Daisy – I love Morgan Freeman and Jessica Tandy. There’s a lot about friendship to be learned with this movie. Fried Green Tomatoes is another very similar one.
4) The Green Mile – Such a good movie. I suppose Shawshank Redemption also written by Steven King is another favorite.
It’s hard to list just four movies. Other favorites are: Forrest Gump, Dances with Wolves, Big Fish, Second Hand Lions, all the Harry Potter movies, Star wars, and many more.

Four places you have lived : I have only lived in Houston, Texas. I was born and raised here. I’ve never lived any where else.

Four TV shows you love to watch:

1) Oprah Winfrey – love Oprah!
2) Jeopardy – I always try to answer the questions myself. I loved it when Ken Jennings was on.
3) Medium – Monday night on NBC
4) Today Show – Matt, Katie, Al and Ann

Four websites you visit daily: The only ones I visit daily are my blog friends. I visit other websites, but not daily.

Four of your favorite foods:

1) Bluebell ice cream – From that little ol' creamery in Brenham. Vanilla Bean and Moolineum. Yummmm
2) Fried Chicken – most any kind
3) Whataburger – best hamburgers in Texas.
4) Granny Salad – special salad perfected by TF’s grandmother.

Four places you would rather be right now: Actually, right now at 8:00pm. on a Friday night, I am right where I want to be. I’m home with my husband, on a cold night with the fireplace going and a movie (Independence Day) on the TV. It’s time to relax!! It’s been a big day.

Four bloggers you are tagging: Actually anyone who would like to do it is tagged!

Monday, January 02, 2006

The Old Year Out and the New Year In……

The week after Christmas was a busy one for me. I rested the day after Christmas, went to Jimmy’s funeral on Tuesday and the rest of the week was spend tying up year end activities for my husbands business. I also did some after Christmas shopping. I already have a start on next Christmas. Boy, did I find some bargains. I still need to get a large oversized 2006 calendar for the wall between the kitchen and nook. All appointments and activities go on that calendar. It seems like the older I get the more I need a calendar to keep me where I need to be.

New Years Eve was a jumble of activities. I picked Bonnie up at the airport, did some last minute grocery shopping and then went out to dinner with my husband. We were later than usual getting out for dinner, so we ended up waiting for an hour to be seated. It was worth the wait because we had a fantastic meal with excellent service. After dinner we went straight to Foleys to purchase an alternative down comforter for my daughter’s bed. (I had purchased one the day before and liked it so much that I wanted to get one for her bed. I got both of them for just under $ 100.00 total.) After purchasing our comforter we headed home for the evening. You could hear fire crackers going off and there was evidence of drunk drivers already. Neither one of us wanted to be outside for the rest of the evening. Once home, we walked the dogs and settled in for the night. Wouldn’t you know it, both of us were asleep by 10:30pm. I couldn’t keep my eyes open another minute.

New Years Day I was up by 6:00am. I started work on a very special dessert that took me 3 hours to make. This recipe has been in the family for over 150 years and is so rich, you can only eat a little. My kids begged me to make it for dinner. TF’s mom would make it every year at Christmas and when they moved to Vero Beach we stopped eating it. She gave me the recipe, with complete instructions on how to make it, and this year the “Charlotte Rouse” was made. Our traditional New Years dinner was great. Along with our fabulous dessert we had Steak, black eyed peas, cabbage, rice, Granny salad and French bread. We had a toast, for the New Year, with Sparkling Grape Juice. The dinner and the company were wonderful.

My hopes and dreams for next year are as follows:

1) For my family to achieve their personal goals.
2) Somehow help my son, who seems to be in denial about his drinking problem.
3) Take off some unwanted pounds and stay healthy.
4) Read my scriptures every day and attend the temple at least once a month.
5) Get better organized and get rid of clutter.
6) Achieve set goals for my business.
7) Help others and be in tune with the Lord.
8) Be thankful for all I have.

I wish all of my friends, out there in blogland, a happy and prosperous 2006.

Today's Healthy eating tip: Lisa's 40-Calorie White Custard

3/4 cup liquid egg whites
1 1/2 cups Hood Carb Countdown fat-free milk
1/3 cup Splenda
1 tea. vanilla

Blend all ingreditents well without whipping; pour into 4 Custard cups. Sprinkle with Cinnamon if desired. Bake at 325 degreesF in shallow pan of water for 30-60 minutes until knife in center comes out clean. Serve chilled.
Serving size: 4 - Calories: 41 - Protein: 7 g. - Fat: 0 g. - Chol: 0 mg. - Sodium: 132 mg. - Fiber: 0 g. - Sugar: 2 g. - Kitchen Time: 5 minutes Total time: 1 hour.