Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body,
but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming “Wow, What a Ride!”

Monday, December 23, 2013

winter magic

Whatever is beautiful,
Whatever is meaningful,
Whatever brings you happiness...
May it be yours this Holiday Season
and throughout the coming year!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

~happy solstice to all~

 Happy Winter Solstice 2013 ~ December 21 ~ 9:11 a.m. (PST) 
margeaux, steve, & tiera kitty

Friday, December 20, 2013

fun friday photo ~ we are maine coon

apprentice mousers
besides the fact that all kittens are adorable
I am getting a special fondness for Maine Coons
the perfect ranch cat for colorado

Thursday, December 19, 2013

~holiday wreath basket~

A Yule Wreath Basket for the Solstice and Christmas holidays.

This year I decided to change my Yule Wreath to more of a table top display. I used the same wreath I made last year from my birch tree and this year made a small woven bowl to place in the center. Then, I added all my goodies... like my little bristle animals and instead of a yule spice bag, I just mixed them into the bowl. And to add a little sparkle I painted some pine cones and tree pods from a tree at the park where Jesse's loved to play.

I was going to take step-by-step pictures, but got on a roll with the planning and wallah it was just the way I wanted it; didn’t have the heart to break it down and put it together again. I think you have the idea.


Here is a picture of last year’s Yule Wreath, my first. Jesse’s ornament - a gift from my wonderful friend in Wales- Liz. 

what’s in my basket and their meanings:
  • squirrel - take life less seriously and have more fun
  • owl - wisdom, smooth transitions in new endeavors, protect nature
  • polar bear - fearlessness, power, healing
  • mouse - resourcefulness, conservation, connection with Mother Earth
  • pinecones and the pods from an unknown tree in the park jesse loved - in memory of all my four legged friends over the years.
  • cloves - optimism
  • ginger - love deeply
  • nutmeg - inspiration
  • rosemary - protection
  • saffron - happiness and strength
  • cinnamon - healing and spirituality
all these herbs have filled my living-room with a spicy holiday aroma too!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

meal ideas ~ solstice treats for wildlife

Solstice treats for your wild friends

One of the things I love to do is provide treats for the birds and other animals wintering in my garden. The Winter Solstice is coming on Saturday and I saw a wonderful idea to decorate a tree outside with yummies for our wild animal friends to enjoy for their Winter Solstice celebration.

String garlands of fresh fruit:

Roll pine cones in peanut-butter and bird seeds:

Slathered apple slices with peanut-butter and roll them in birds seed:

Juice oranges and use the orange cups as a bird seed holder:

Hang everything on a tree so there would be plenty of space for birds to perch and eat!

All of your wild friends will enjoy the tree of treats as much as you will enjoy watching them! It’s fun to provide treats for them during the cool winter months.

What are your favorite garden wildlife treats for this time of year?

Monday, December 16, 2013

a winter poem for the upcoming Solstice

In drear-nighted December
John Keats (1829)

In drear-nighted December,
   Too happy, happy tree,
Thy branches ne’er remember
   Their green felicity:
The north cannot undo them
With a sleety whistle through them;
Nor frozen thawings glue them
   From budding at the prime.

In drear-nighted December,
   Too happy, happy brook,
Thy bubblings ne’er remember
   Apollo’s summer look;
But with a sweet forgetting,
They stay their crystal fretting,
Never, never petting
   About the frozen time.

Ah! would ’twere so with many
   A gentle girl and boy!
But were there ever any
   Writhed not at passed joy?
The feel of not to feel it,
When there is none to heal it
Nor numbed sense to steel it,
   Was never said in rhyme.

The Winter Solstice is Saturday Dec. 21st- happy Yule to all

Friday, December 13, 2013

friday fun photo ~ my favorite three

my friend Angie W once again sent laughter on the "e" mail. here is a link to all of the funny "bad dog" photos- below are my favorites ~ 

 angie: thanks for giving me a much needed laugh.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

CO Mountain High Snow Babies

remember T&V Stable's spring foals... 
                      Casper, Puma, and of course Babe’s precious Hope?

well, they’ve grown a lot and are having fun learning about living in the high mountain snow country- last winter they were warm in their mama’s tummies. 

Casper, Puma, Hope - photo by Eileen M. of T&V Stables- nice shot Eileen!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

meal ideas~ easy! delicious! Truffles

Easy because you're just going to melt chocolate in the microwave. It's a basic chocolate truffle with some goodies thrown in, and then rolled in ground graham crackers. AND learned a new way to chop sticky marshmallows without losing my mind! A friend suggested you dust your knife with powdered sugar before cutting them, the marshmallow-chopping was a piece of ... truffle delight. hehe! Sadly, this is not diabetic friendly...but one little truffle will not hurt your BS goals.

easy, fun Truffle with a twist- you’ll want some’mores.

4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk#
1/4 cup mini marshmallows (or chopped marshmallows)
1/4 cup chopped graham crackers
1/4 cup ground graham crackers

1. Combine the chocolate chips and coconut milk in a glass or ceramic, microwave safe bowl. Nuke on high for 45 seconds. Take the bowl out and give it a good stir. Nuke it for 30 more seconds, stir, and repeat until the chocolate is completely melted. This step will depend on the wattage of your microwave.

2. Throw in the marshmallows, gently fold them in and let the chocolate sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. [Vegan Marshmallows melt slower and can be thrown straight into the melted hot chocolate without them melting into oblivion. If you're using a standard brand you might want to test a couple of marshmallows first, to be sure they hold their shape or let things cool slightly before this step]

3. Stir in the chopped grahams and refrigerate until firm enough to shape, about 30 minutes. Give it a stir half way through chilling if you want to speed it up!

4. If you haven't ground your grahams yet, run them through a food processor until powdery. Place the ground grahams in a shallow bowl. Now it's time to make some truffles!

5. Using a small cookie scoop or a spoon, scoop out about two teaspoons of the truffle mix and use your hands to shape it into a ball. Roll the ball in the ground grahams and repeat with the rest of the truffle mix. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Notes and variations:

You can mix it up and roll half of the truffles in ground grahams, and half in cocoa powder or chocolate chips, or chocolate/vanilla/peppermint sprinkles/nuts... use your imagination.  How about adding some chopped cherries, or other treat when adding the marshmallow?

*If you're not happy about using full-fat coconut milk you can use almond milk instead. Use ~just short~ of 1/4 cup if you're using almond milk.

If for some reason your chocolate doesn't want to firm up enough to roll it into balls, you can throw in some ground grahams in there to show it who's boss. That'll firm it up and teach it.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

meal ideas ~ let's go low-sodium

Since the heart attack we have been on “sodium watch” even to a greater extent than before. One item in our cooking arsenal that posed a real problem was Dry Onion Soup Mix; something that got used in many of our recipes. Steve found this recipe from All Recipes, which we used for our famous cold-weather Lazy Day Chicken Bake Casserole. (recipe at bottom of post)  In all reality... we loved the flavor of this over the normal... sodium rich... version. Now you actually can taste the flavors not just a rush of salt. Here are several other Holiday Favorites with a low-sodium flare.

Dry Onion Soup Mix
You probably have most of the ingredients already. The recipe makes a substitute for a 1-ounce envelope of purchased mix.
1/4 cup (or more) dried onion minced or flakes
2 tablespoons low-sodium beef bouillon granules
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon parsley flakes
1/8 teaspoon celery seed
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1.Stir the onion flakes, beef bouillon granules, onion powder, parsley flakes, celery seed, paprika, and black pepper in a bowl. Use as substitute for a 1-ounce envelope of dry onion soup mix.

Low-Salt Turkey Gravy
2 cup Low-sodium Chicken Broth

2 T Flour
2 T Turkey drippings, including some of the "bits" from the bottom of the pan

In a wide bottomed skillet, blend drippings with the flour until a paste is formed. Add broth slowly, cook and stir until thickened. Season to taste with a bit of no-sodium poultry seasoning. approx.

Low-Salt Garlic Mashed Potatoes
4-6 large Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes (1 per person)
1 1/2 cup Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1/2 cup Half-and Half or Milk
2 T Unsalted Butter
1/2 tsp Onion powder
1/4 tsp Garlic powder
Black pepper to taste

Peel and quarter the potatoes, and boil until a knife slips easily into the center of a large piece. Drain, and transfer into a large bowl. Alternate adding the liquids while mashing the potatoes well. Season with the onion, garlic and pepper to taste – add more pepper if you like. A bit of chopped green onion tips or parsley can be added for garnish. Serves 4-6.

Glazed Carrots
2 cups Carrots,Sliced
2 T Unsalted Butter
2 T sugar
Wash and scrape carrots. Slice about 1/2 inch thick. Cook in boiling water until tender. Drain. Melt butter in saucepan. Add sugar. Add carrots. Cook until slightly browned and glazed. Yield: 4 Servings. 

Candied Yams
1 29 oz can Yams in syrup
4 T unsalted butter
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp each cinnamon and nutmeg

Pour yams and syrup into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add all the rest of the ingredients and stir a bit to blend. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer until the syrup has thickened. Don’t overcook as the syrup will turn to brittle! Yield – 6 servings.

just a note: I have been watching sodium long before this incident, I even eat hard boiled eggs without any salt and have found that after a week or two your taste buds forget the salt and you actually get to taste what the “food” was suppose the taste like- I encourage everyone to try a few weeks without adding ANY EXTRA salt to their foods beyond what is really NEEDED for cooking. Then, try and eat as much “low-sodium” packaged foods as possible, but be careful and read the labels- they want you to only have a max of 2300 mg of sodium in a day....most people have that in one meal. GO LOW SODIUM- Your health will love you for it.

Lazy Day Chicken Bake
This dish is one of the easiest comfort foods you will find. I found this recipe 40 years ago and it has been one of Steve’s favorites. It is so simple and delicious that there is not much to say except… have a try and see for yourself. You can add mushrooms or any other tid-bits in with the rice to make it more interesting. The rice comes out slightly sticky with a creamy texture of risotto.

4 chicken thighs or 2 chicken breasts – skinned
1 can Low Sodium Cream of Chicken Soup
1 recipe no-salt Dry Onion Soup mix
3/4 can water
1 cup uncooked regular long-grain white rice
ground black pepper

Stir the soups, water, rice, and black pepper in a 2-quart shallow lidded baking dish. Carefully top with the chicken. Sprinkle with paprika to taste and appearance. Cover the baking dish.

Bake at 325°F. for 1 hour until the chicken is cooked through and the rice is creamy tender. Let stand for 10 minutes. Optional to stir the rice before serving. AND yes, it can be made in the crock pot in the summer months - on low for about 4-5 hours.  serve with fresh steamed sugar snap peas and carrots.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

healthy living ~ cute holiday song from CDC

The 12 Ways to Health Holiday Song

Learn how to stay safe and healthy with this festive song, sung to the tune of The Twelve Days of Christmas!*
1. The first way to health, said the CDC to me
Wash hands
 to be safe and healthy.

2. The second way to health, said the CDC to me
Bundle up for warmth, and wash hands to be safe and healthy.

3. The third way to health, said the CDC to me
Manage stress, bundle up for warmth, and wash hands to be safe and healthy.

4. The fourth way to health, said the CDC to me
Don't drink and drive, manage stress, bundle up for warmth, and wash hands to be safe and healthy.

5. The fifth way to health, said the CDC to me
BE SMOKE-FREE, don't drink and drive, manage stress, bundle up for warmth, and wash hands to be safe and healthy.

6. The sixth way to health, said the CDC to me
Fasten belts while driving, BE SMOKE-FREE, don't drink and drive, manage stress, bundle up for warmth, and wash hands to be safe and healthy.

7. The seventh way to health, said the CDC to me
Get exams and screenings, fasten belts while driving, BE SMOKE-FREE, don't drink and drive, manage stress, bundle up for warmth, and wash hands to be safe and healthy.

8. The eighth way to health, said the CDC to me
Get your vaccinations, get exams and screenings, fasten belts while driving, BE SMOKE-FREE, don't drink and drive, manage stress, bundle up for warmth, and wash hands to be safe and healthy.

9. The ninth way to health, said the CDC to me
Monitor the children, get your vaccinations, get exams and screenings, fasten belts while driving, BE SMOKE-FREE, don't drink and drive, manage stress, bundle up for warmth, and wash hands to be safe and healthy.

10. The tenth way to health, said the CDC to me
Practice fire safety, monitor the children, get your vaccinations, get exams and screenings, fasten belts while driving, BE SMOKE-FREE, don't drink and drive, manage stress, bundle up for warmth, and wash hands to be safe and healthy.

11. The eleventh way to health, said the CDC to me
Prepare dinner safely, practice fire safety, monitor the children, get your vaccinations, get exams and screenings, fasten belts while driving, BE SMOKE-FREE, don't drink and drive, manage stress, bundle up for warmth, and wash hands to be safe and healthy.

12. The twelfth way to health, said the CDC to me
Eat well and get moving, prepare dinner safely, practice fire safety, monitor the children, get your vaccinations, get exams and   screenings, fasten belts while driving, BE SMOKE-FREE, don't drink and drive, manage stress, bundle up for warmth, and wash hands to be safe and healthy.
Happy Holidays from the Center for Disease Control!
for an audio or video file or send an e-card of this song~ 12 Ways Holiday song @ CDC

Monday, December 2, 2013

10 Thoughts on Life ~ december


1. Reverse the golden rule:
      Treat yourself as you treat others.
 2. Open your heart to receiving,
      as well as to giving.
 3.  Home isn't a place. it's a state of mind.
 4. Surrender your need to control;
       let yourself be amazed.
 5. Try creative, new ways of connecting
       with others.
 6. Multitask stuff, not people. Look someone in the eye when you talk to them.
 7. Take comfort in rootedness; this is where community begins.
 8. A close network of friends & family can sustain you in more ways than you know.
 9. Family traditions are a sacred practice -- they affirm our deepest values.
10. Forgiveness is more than a one-time choice; it's a whole approach to living.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thursday, November 28, 2013

happy turkey day !!!! yum-yum-yum

i am thankful to have been given a wonderful family,
 friends, and path in life.

 ~ may this day bring you love, joy, and memories for life ~
 p.s.- I also give thanks to the precious turkey who gave his life for me to enjoy this day.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

meal ideas ~ 4 weeks of yummies -wk4

Thanksgiving has arrived--- yum! Over the past weeks I have had tasty side-dishes for you to add to the table.  I hope you found something new to add to your holiday feast---- ~Since it is especially hard to watch our healthy meal plans during the holidays, I have included nutritional facts-  enjoy knowing these all are healthy dishes approved for Diabetic, Cardiac, and Low Carb meal plans to print just click the print icon in the upper corner of the side-bar.

Cranberry Cucumber Salad
High in antioxidants, cranberries are all too often hidden in a thick, sugary sauce. This colorful salad, packed with fresh produce and dressed with a dash of olive oil and lemon juice, is a beautiful and healthy opportunity for the red berries to shine.
 3 cups mixed salad greens
 1 cup fresh spinach
 1 medium cucumber, seeded, and chopped
 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
 1/4 cup sliced pitted ripe olives
 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
 3 tablespoons olive oil
 2 tablespoons lemon juice
 2 tablespoons water
 1 1/4 teaspoons  Homemade Spice Mix
 Cracked black pepper (optional)

 In a large bowl, combine salad greens, spinach, cucumber, tomatoes, olives, and cranberries. Set aside.

 For dressing: In a small screw-top jar, combine oil, lemon juice, the water, and seasoning; shake well. Pour over greens mixture; toss to coat. If desired, sprinkle with black pepper. Makes 6 (1-cup) servings.

Homemade Spice Mix
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground tumeric
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

 In a small bowl, combine paprika, coriander, cumin, garlic powder, turmeric, salt, and cayenne pepper. Store any leftover mix in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: Servings Per Recipe: 6: 88 cal., 8 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 200 mg sodium, 6 g carb. (1 g fiber), 1 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges; Vegetables (d.e): 1; Fat (d.e): 1.5

Avocado and Grapefruit Salad
Crisp greens, creamy avocado, and zesty grapefruit are topped with raspberry vinaigrette in this beautiful side salad. Make the dressing a day ahead for easier entertaining. 

 8 cups torn mixed salad greens or fresh baby spinach
 2 grapefruits, peeled and sectioned
 1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and sliced
 2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
 2 tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil
 1 tablespoon water
 1 teaspoon sugar
 1/8 teaspoon salt

 On a large serving platter or 6 individual salad plates, arrange the mixed salad greens and/or spinach, grapefruit sections, and avocado slices.

 For dressing, in a small bowl, whisk together raspberry vinegar, avocado or olive oil, the water, sugar, and salt. Drizzle over the spinach mixture. Makes 6 (2 cups salad and 1 tablesoon dressing) side-dish servings.  Salad and dressing can easily be doubled to serve a larger crowd.

Make Ahead Tip Prepare dressing as directed in step 2. Cover and chill for up to 1 week. To serve, prepare salad as directed in step 1. Whisk dressing; drizzle over salad.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:  Servings Per Recipe: 6 PER SERVING: 134 cal., 9 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 60 mg sodium, 14 g carb. (4 g fiber, 7 g sugars), 2 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges Vegetables (d.e): 1; Fruit (d.e): 0.5; Fat (d.e): 2
the dishes....
11-6    Butternut Squash Soup ~ Pumpkin Mashed Potatoes
11-13  Carrot Mushroom Stuffing ~ Wild Rice Stuffing
11-20  Rosemary-Chive Parker House Rolls ~ Buttermilk Corn Muffins
11- 27 Cranberry Cumber Salad ~ Avocado Grapefruit Salad

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

chilled salad anyone??

update just in from the ranch- thank you Eileen for the pictures of the girls.

Babe and Spirit out in the snow getting their evening snack of oats and hay. both girls look very pregnant and happy... but burrrrr that’s what I call a chilled

Friday, November 22, 2013

fun friday ~ adventures anew

i post this in celebration.... 
a friend flutters to sweeter flowers

good luck my friend in your new endeavor. 
you were one hell of an ER nurse; with this new freedom may your wings carry you to happiness and many exciting adventures.

congratulations  !!!

hugs, love, and pooch smooches~  M