Friday, February 18, 2011

I love coffee, I love tea, I love the Bean Juice and it loves me

I knew it. I love bean juice. And now I know that it loves me back.

If you want to read the report, you can do so by clicking this link: coffee goodness. It basically says that there are no bad health effects from coffee, even up to 6 cups a day!

SIX cups a day, people! I am waaaayyyy over the guilt I have carried about days when I drink 3 cups a day.

It even says that there was a trend towards a lower risk for heart disease in those who drank the most coffee. And even further, it says that other studies have found that coffee drinkers are:
  • less likely to become diabetic,
  • have higher levels of good (HDL) cholesterol and
  • lower blood markers of inflammation.
How's that for convincing?

Well, this is all really good news because TEA seems get all the publicity lately about good health effects and coffee has been treated like the ugly step-sister. And while I'll drink a cup of tea now and then, it's coffee I really crave at times.

I have to wonder though, are the positive health signs BECAUSE of the coffee, or actually due to the absence of other things... like sugared donuts, bacon, eggs and other junk we like to eat at breakfast. I probably don't really want to know. I'll just enjoy the bliss I'm feeling about me and the bean juice.

Fill it to the rim, with Brim french-roast-home-ground-brewed-on-strong-with-a-little-creamer.

My favorite, from Costco of course
We keep the beans in the canister that was my Grandma's. She loved coffee too!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

What Saturday Looked Like

So much going on this weekend, but it's all been doable.
  • Baseball auditions tryouts for Thomas (after years of thinking/talking about auditions, I'm trying to make the switch to sound less an "orch dork" and more like a "soccer mom".);
  • an overnighter for Emily;
  • babysitting extravaganza for Amanda;
  • a WIRB packet to be completed by me;
  • finishing season 2 of Prison Break for Jack and Emily...
Yes, lots of stuff. Here are a couple of other things we did yesterday... I actually have pictures of these.

BASKETBALL. The Ravens dominated in another nobody-keeps-score YMCA basketball game. Our team is coached by Coach Doug, who happens to be the (very active) grandfather of one of the boys on the team. The assistant is Doug's son-in-law Tim who also happens to be the NTHS Rams boy's varsity basketball coach. We have it made in the coaching department, for sure. We also have it made in the "tall girl" department in the form of one lovely named Helena. She is a sweetie. And tall. And we're really glad that she's on our team. Look...

This girl is really going to be an amazing player as the grades go by.

Some of the kids, Max, Raiden, Thomas, Haven, Helena; Coach Tim, Coach Doug
Here a few shots of the game on Saturday.

Thomas is #39 you see on the left. Our ref was Lawrence. We know him from the high school program at church where he is an intern.

Coaches talking to the kids at half-time.

Coach Doug is talking to Thomas and a couple of other players. Coach Tim is giddy with excitement as he day dreams about how close he is to the end of the high school boy's  basketball season and how he can soon get onto better things, like coaching Lady Rams golf! (See Amanda's writing about golf here) Hey Tim, I think you better go get on the golf sweatshirt order, PRONTO.

Thomas, the Defender of The-Girl-in-Braids-Who-Keeps-Running-the-Stinkin'-Ball-Down-the-Court

There is the Braided Girl, at it again. No stealing of the ball in this league.

Thomas shoots, SWISH, and scores! Two points for the Ravens in the non-scored game.

Besides taking pictures at the game, I also was able to quickly browse through my newest Food Network magazine; The Italian Issue.

LOVING this subscription Jack gave me as a Christmas present!

In classic form, I looked through it, ooed and awed at several of the recipes inside, and cooked something for dinner that wasn't really a recipe. Well, part of it was. The pizza crust part. The rest I made up. And here it is... Chicken and Peppers Pizza with Pesto Cream Sauce. Yum!
The finished pizza


Here's the quick run down on the recipe:

Use your favorite pizza crust recipe. Or boboli. I used this one (click right here) which was similar to others I have used in the past.  Once you have the dough done, put half in the freezer for another day. Roll out the other half using corn meal on a pizza stone or pan and bake at 400 for about 7 minutes. Pop any bubbles that try to sneak up on you. While the crust is cooking, cube 1 good sized chicken breast, season the meat with 2 cloves of fresh garlic (pressed or minced) and saute in a little olive oil until cooked through.

To make the sauce, first make a basic white sauce. Melt 1 T butter in a small sauce pan. Add 1 T flour to make a paste. All at once add 1 cup milk and wisk on medium high heat until mixture thickens. Then, add 1/4 cup pesto... I buy mine allready made at Costco. There- sauce is done.

Assemble the pizza: use most of the sauce and spread it onto the cooked crust. You can either use up the extra sauce on something else or save it for dipping your pizza in. Put the cooked chicken on, put on sliced bell peppers (I like red, yellow or orange) and top with grated mozarella. You can also add whatever else you like, because afterall, it is pizza. I think next time artichoke hearts would be pretty yummy on this.

Bake at 375 for another 8 minutes or so. Until it's done. TRUE CONFESSION... I don't really time these things so these times are just a guess. But it's pretty close. Just watch through the window and don't take it out until the cheese is melted and the pizza is hot enough to burn the roof of your mouth, the way pizza is supposed to do.

Let it sit out of the oven a few minutes, cut and serve. Afterwards, watch your family generously offer to clean up because you cooked such a fine meal.

See? Swarming to clean. I tell ya, it's the best. My family is the best.

So I've blogged and now I'm off to tackle another week. How about you?

Monday, February 7, 2011

A great rambling

Let's just start right off with that National Anthem. You know the one. The version presented to the entire United States and many other parts of the world by Christina Aguilera. The one where she was supposed to sing the line "O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming," and instead repeated an earlier line, with a slight variation. She sang, "What so proudly we watched at the twilight's last gleaming," repeating and mangling an earlier lyric. I read that she reported she was so caught up in the moment, she forgot her place in the music, and then we heard the result.

Even if she'd gotten the words right, Aguilera's rendition would still have been awful. It's the national anthem. It should have tempo. It should be respectful. It's not supposed to be a forum for Aguilera or anyone else to give us their vocal interpretation. To make up their own notes as they go along. And then say, "Thank you" when they are done singing. It's not about you when you sing the National Anthem.

Hmmm. I guess there's nothing much else to say, so instead I will just say, BRING BACK JENNIFER HUDSON! Now there's a performer. AND WHITNEY, but she's probably in rehab somewhere.

I had a few favorite Superbowl ads... Doritos that can bring fish, plants, and a sweet Grandpa back to life was my favorite. It didn't hurt me to see Roseann get beaned by a big log. Where has she been, anyway?

While I seem to be on the topic of things that bother me, let me just say right now that I find it completely irritating that in this last week... the week before my birthday... I am receiving SPAM email with titles like these:
  • Discover your AARP benefits
  • AARP and seniors
  • How AARP works for you
REALLY? Turning 46 means you get junk email from the American Association of Retired Persons? Maybe they figure that if I start thinking about it now, I'll be ready to join later. Much later. I know that in the eyes of some we had children late, but who joins AARP when they have an 8 year-old son? That's just silly.

How about we talk about happy things. Like the people we spent Superbowl Sunday with (we love the Josses and Carlsons!) And let's talk about what we ate while watching the Superbowl. Here's the quick run down:
  • jalapeno poppers (jalapenos stuffed with cream cheese, Parmesan and sausage)
  • chips and warm chili-cheese sauce
  • bacon and cheese stuffed potato skins
  • Superbowl buns (warm ham and cheese sandwiches on these yummy little buns)
  • homemade chicken noodle soup
  • fruit and dip
  • veggies and dip
  • a massive chocolate cake
  • a crazy good ice-cream sandwich cake
The flavors, calories and fat were enough to make me think it would be a good idea to learn who the good cardiologists are in town. Just to be prepared. Mercy, I don't think I will need to eat again until March. But it was soooo YUMMY! I'd do it all again, except I would eat more of the jalapenos.

And here is something fun; my new job starts tomorrow! It's actually an old job I've had for about 14 years, but with a new twist. I'm starting a regular position at Providence St. Peter Hospital, doing speech therapy for acute care patients. The job I've had in the past has been doing speech therapy at St. Pete's as a "per diem" therapist. That means covering vacations and weekends as my schedule has allowed. Now, my work time will be more regular. I will be doing a lot of speech, language, cognitive and dysphagia (swallowing) evaluations and treatment.
St Peter's Hospital, 1890; I believe this building sat on the capitol campus.

St Peter's, 1928; This building still exists on Olympia's westside. It's now senior housing. Maybe I could move there if I get that AARP membership?

The current Providence St. Peter Hospital on Lilly Road. This is where I work. The tall tower is 11 stories tall and is where the acute care patient rooms are. The views from the upper stories are phenominal. I could see Mt. St. Helens (120 miles away) spewing ash into the sky from the 10th floor several years back.
I like the setting of acute care and the other acute care therapists are great. The hours are perfect, allowing me to be home when the kids are and I can still chair my WIRB panel on Mondays! (What's a WIRB? That's a post for another day.) Because I even get benefits, we will get to save a good number of pesos by switching some of our insurance coverage around. (Don't worry Mr. Obama, we will all be purchasing health care insurance as you seem to think this is important.)

Speaking of old things that are new, HAVE YOU BEEN WATCHING AMERICAN IDOL? Who woulda thunk that Steven Tyler and J.Lo could resurrect that show? It's fun to see the judges actually respond to the people auditioning instead of to each other. The weekly Simon -vs- Paul thing got so old, I didn't even watch the last 3 seasons. I'd much rather watch Steven Tyler bliss out to a good song and I'm sure my husband isn't the only man in America who is happy just watching J.Lo sit there, smiling.

That's it. I need to go finish watching The Bachelor. Brad is in trouble and he needs me to shout through the TV to tell him of who is good and who is "that woman your mother warned you about".

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sweet 16 and the DOL

It's been a whirlwind around here lately. Amanda turned 16. I remember 16, almost as though it were 29 years ago. (Cough, really?) What's especially fun about this Sweet birthday of hers is her driver's license. Yes, a real, legal driver's license. The kind with the picture and everything. The kind that allows your child to go drive off BY THEMSELVES and go somewhere. (Amanda doesn't really care where, she just wants to drive. By herself. Thank you very much. I think she takes after me, poor thing.) 
So, here she is, up at the counter after we waited for approximately 127.495 hours at the DOL. Yes, I'm pretty sure the wait was that long.
Isn't she so cute?
After obtaining the paper-proof-of-independent-driving, she drove us home. We pulled into the driveway, and without even turning the engine off she yelled to Thomas, "Hey, get your shoes on, we're going to McDonald's!" The shoes went on quickly. Emily was gone for the weekend, so she miss the inaugural drive.

I told them to stick their heads out so I could get a quick picture before she rolled off on her first independent Licensed Driver drive, and here's what I got:
A picture is worth 1,000 words. I'll let you come up with the words, but a few of them might be, "Hey Thomas, buckle up!"

Amanda has more about her day on her blog, where she talks about the morning kidnapping and the evening party. You can read about it here.

This is the very sweet cross Jack and I gave her. Gold and diamonds to tell her how valuable she is, and a cross to remind her of whose she is. A child of God... nothing is more precious!

Emily and Thomas each got her a Costco package of gum. Oh mercy, that's a lot of gum.

Since her birthday on Saturday, she has had a few other times to drive herself to where she needs to be: dance, youth group, basketball game. OH, and let's not forget the best one... to THE STORE to get me a gallon of milk.

It's a strange feeling to have her out on her own, but I think we'll get used to it in short order. She texts us when she gets to her destination, and also again when she's coming home. She's a very good driver, but I worry about the other morons on the road who seem to like to hit my van (somebody please be honest with me and tell me if there is a target on my Swagger Wagon which compels stupid drivers to hit my Sienna). I have to admit though, it's pretty nice to not be the driver all the time. Especially when we're short on milk.

So, Happy Birthday Amanda! We love you!

"Drive careful... duh!
Drive fast and take chances!
Cut people off sweat pea!
Use your road rage if you have to!"