Monday, June 20, 2011

Show Time

The preparation and rehearsing is over. It's time for my girls to hit the stage tonight.

I'm so proud of how hard they have worked these last few months.

I hope they will get on that stage and have a blast. That's what dancing is all about.
(And remember the steps.)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Moments That Matter Most

I needed this today.

Have a lovely weekend filled with the moments that truly matter most.

Broccoli Water Popsicles

Last night as I was steaming broccoli for dinner, I remembered a funny thing my sister (J, aka Dr. J) and I did in high school. It started out when we saw the green-colored water at the bottom of the steaming pot my mom had just used to steam broccoli. Although the wording is not exact, it's pretty much what happened.

J: "Wow that water is really green!"
Mom: "When you cook vegetables, some of the vitamins and nutrients are lost in the water."
J: "So, that green water is full of broccoli nutrients? Maybe I should drink it."
Me: "Drink it? I guess it is full of good stuff, huh. Sounds like a good idea."
Mom: "You will still get plenty of good things from eating the broccoli."
J: "Maybe I should save the broccoli water."
Mom: "It would probably taste better as a popsicle."
Me: "Great idea, Mom. The popsicles would definitely taste better than just drinking it."

J and I get out the popsicle molds, dump the green water in and pop them in the freezer. All while my mom is probably thinking we are completely psycho.

A few hours later . . .

J: "Let's go check our popsicles."
Me: "Ok."
J: "They're done." Pulls one out.
Both: Sigh.
J: Tastes it. "It's not that bad. Plus, it's full of healthy stuff."
L: "Yeah, it's not that bad, Mom."

A few licks later . . .

L: "This is kind of gross."
J: "Yeah, you're right."
Mom: Laughing.

Moral of the story is - If you want to save your nutrient-filled steamed veggie water, add it to something else that actually tastes good.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Some days I just need some cookie dough.

I don't know about you, but I love cookie dough.

I mean love.

Truly love.

Some days I just need some cookie dough.

Glad I found this recipe.

(Or not so glad.)

We'll see.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Last Class

Today I taught my last ballet and pointe classes for the school year. Their end of the year recital is next week, so we spent the entire class times cleaning and perfecting their dances. It was slightly exhausting.

I'm excited for the show. Just hoping the girls remember all the details since we won't rehearse again until the day of. (Eek!) I'm sure proud of their improvements in the last few months. They have worked hard, and we've had some good times together.

Summer classes are off and on in July and August. I'll be teaching ballet technique three times a week for five weeks. I'm really excited to have them a few times a week. Improvement happens more quickly, and it just works out better that way.

Oh, how I miss dancing!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Recent Meatless Favorites

Husband and I are meat-lovers. It's true. However, we have been trying to incorporate more meatless dishes into our lives. Here are three winners I have tried recently plus an incredibly rich, chocolatey dessert.

First up we have Curry Chickpea Cakes with Yogurt Cucumber Sauce from one of my current favorite cookbooks. They were fantastic.
Husband loved them and said he didn't even miss the meat. You can find an almost identical version here.

This soup was surprisingly delicious with yummy asparagus, spinach, and creamy rice. Both kids loved the rice. Still working on these particular green veggies. Another hit with Husband.

Decided to make a tart last night and needed a quick crust. Tried this recipe from Chocolate & Zucchini which uses olive oil and whole wheat flour. Verdict? Delicious! I topped my crust with a mixture of yukon gold potatoes, leeks, and fontina cheese. Yum!

Cookie & brownie together is a glorious combo. Miss M shouted out, "This is amazing!" Simply take your favorite brownie recipe and your favorite cookie recipe. Put the brownie batter in the pan first and then layer the cookie dough on top. Bake and try not to eat the entire pan. Try really hard.

What are some of your favorite meatless dishes?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Cleaning makeup brushes

Ok, I'll admit it. I hardly ever clean my makeup brushes. I know. Super gross. I think about it a lot, but don't actually do it. But lately, I keep breaking out on my chin. It's driving me crazy, so maybe this will help prevent future breakouts. And besides, it started grossing me out.

It really is best to thoroughly clean brushes at least once a week, more frequently if needed. They get full of all sorts of gunk such as makeup, body oil, and dead skin cells. Talk about a breeding ground for bacteria. Yuck! I don't want to keep putting that back on my clean face.

I like to pour a small amount of mild dish soap into a littlel bowl. Then I add a few drops of tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is antibacterial and antifungal and really helps get those brushes sanitized. Then each brush gets a dip in the solution, and I swirl the brush around on the palm of my hand and use my fingers to really get in between the bristles. I rinse under running, warm water until the water runs clear and the brush is clean.

Hang your brush to dry with the bristles pointing down or at least slanting downward. You don't want to let it dry with the bristles pointing up because water will cause the glue holding the bristles together to breakdown much faster.

Hopefully, I'm a newly-reformed brush cleaner now :)

How do you clean your makeup brushes?
Or do you?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Lovely Weekend: Relaxing & Celebrating

Why do weekends have to fly by so quickly? This weekend was relaxing and spent with my little family. I haven't had a relaxing weekend like this for quite a while. Very much needed. Here are a few highlights.

Watched The Social Network with Husband on Friday night.

Slept in on Saturday. (Joy.) Had pancakes. Bummed around with the family.

Ran a few errands with the family.

Played with the family.

Had yummy dinner with the family.

Went to church Sunday.

My sister, brother, and brother's girlfriend came over to celebrate brother's birthday. The big 2-5. Had tons of fun. Ate good food. Laughed until we cried. Multiple times.

The best things in life really are simple.
Having loved ones around is definitely one of the very best things.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Add a little fancy

I would love to wear these to a super fancy party.
Or the grocery store. Because that's the place I frequent most.

Bring a touch of glamor into your every day life.
You will feel amazing.

Thinking about this because Miss M and I have been reading lots of Fancy Nancy books.
She put every one she could find in our bag at the library.

That Nancy, she's got a point.
Everything is better when it's fancy.

How do you bring a touch of glamor into your everyday?
Do you think making things fancy makes a difference?

Have a lovely weekend!

Out with the pyramid, in with MyPlate

Yesterday, the Food Pyramid was finally replaced with a more useful plate icon. Fruits and vegetables are finally getting more attention as an important part of the American diet. It's great to see a step in the right direction in helping America overhaul our SAD diet (Standard American Diet).

Here are a few of the main recommendations:
  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
  • Eat less, avoid oversized portions.
  • Eat more whole grains.
  • Choose lower sodium foods.
  • Drink water, avoid sugary drinks.
Hopefully, this is just the beginning of making changes across our country that is in desperate need of a healthy lifestyle reform. It would be great if high quality fruits and vegetables could become more easily accessible. Everyone deserves to feed themselves and their families well.

Need help remembering what to feed your kids? I ran across these plates from Super Healthy Kids. The sections make it easy to plan a meal for your child. I just wish they had adult ones, too!

What are your thoughts on My Plate?
Did you use the previous Food Pyramid as a guide?
Will you use MyPlate?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Clean that produce! More than a quick rinse.

Mr. T enjoying just-cleaned grapes.

Several years ago when I was pregnant with Miss M, I was sitting on the couch after work watching Oprah. A lovely woman, Sophie Uliano, was on the show talking about her book Gorgeously Green. I was intrigued to hear her talk about so many tips and tricks for healthier, greener living. At the time, green living and organic food wasn't as widespread as it is now.

Sophie Uliano mentioned that she cleaned her produce by spraying a solution on it and then rinsing it off. She shared the recipe, and I decided to give it a try. I now keep it under my sink and use it to clean pesticides and bacteria from my produce. Plain water just doesn't clean as thoroughly. Although, it is better than nothing.

The veggie cleaner spray is a simple recipe using water, vinegar, baking soda, and grapefruit seed extract. Chances are good you have 3 0f the 4 ingredients on hand. Mix them together, spray your produce, wait 5-10 minutes and rinse. So simple! The recipe can be found here.

If you don't have grapefruit seed extract, and are not interested in purchasing it, you can substitute the juice of half a lemon according to Dr. Oz. You can also use an even simpler solution of one part vinegar to three parts water. I just like the addition of baking soda and grapefruit seed extract.

Do you clean your produce? Do you use a cleaning solution or simply water?
Do you think it matters?

It at least makes me feel better because who knows how many dirty hands touch that food before I buy it. Blech. Like Miss M who took a bite out of a bunch of broccoli yesterday at the store. Oy.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Standing at a Crossroads

We are standing at a crossroads, Husband and I.

There are two great roads in front of us.

Both have their fair share of twists, turns, and bumps.

Both show promise, great promise in leading to beautiful places we would like to go.

We have been traveling one for a while. The ride has been long and rough,
but the potential is still great off in the distance.

The other is new and exciting and brings renewed hopes for achieving our dreams,
but it, too, will be a difficult one.

We are not ready to give up on the first, and we do not want to pass by the second.

Neither one is a sure thing.
Both are roads less-traveled.

Can we do both?

Time will tell.

How do you decide between two good things?
Do you pick just one or go for both?
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