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!”

Thursday, February 26, 2015

thursday's garden ~ Lady Hawk

our Lady Hawk's observation tree, the tallest around and close to her nest- here she can see forever

she has quite an intense expression
my favorite picture to post this week is of our resident hawk- she “kee-ahhs” every morning right at 6:00am, best alarm anyone can ask for with her beautiful sound.  At first we thought she was a Cooper’s Hawk, then a Sharped Shinned, but actually according to much research... it is final- our beautiful lady is a Red Shouldered Hawk.  She has a nest in the pines near our backyard and I am hoping that much of her cries throughout the day is for a mate to produce some hawk-lettes.

this has been a gorgeous week for our garden, with all the rain we had on Sunday the flowers are blossoming everywhere. Again I am finding my love for bulbs and the “surprise I’m here” when they pop out of the ground with colors galore.

The other night I was sitting in the garden and an intoxicating aroma came to me on the breeze. The next morning I went outside and realized that my lime and orange trees are so filled with flowers the branches are drooping.  Both trees are buzzing with bees and hummingbirds- it is awesome.

have a great week, hope all of your gardens are filling with beautiful colors and aromas.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

meal ideas ~ gotta sweet craving? i do

need some more healthy, low carb, diabetic friendly sweets?? I know I do, here are three that I found which prove to be all of the beforehand mentioned and quick and easy to make. enjoy!

Chocolate-Drizzled Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars 
Creamy peanut butter proves to be the perfect flavoring for these rich cheesecake bars. Topped with a chocolate drizzle and peanuts, this tasty dessert is a crowd favorite.

Nonstick cooking spray
1/2 cup regular rolled oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar or brown sugar substitute
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 8 - ounce packages fat-free cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar or granulated sugar substitute
3/4 cup refrigerated or frozen egg product, thawed
1/4 cup fat-free milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 -3 tablespoons fat-free milk
3 tablespoons chopped peanuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with cooking spray; set aside.

For crust, place oats in a food processor or blender. Cover and process or blend until coarsely ground. In a small bowl combine ground oats, flour, brown sugar, and melted butter. Pat evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Set aside.

Meanwhile, for cheesecake filling, in a large bowl combine cream cheese, peanut butter, and granulated sugar. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Add egg substitute, the 1/4 cup milk, and the vanilla. Beat on low speed just until combined.

Pour cheesecake filling onto the prepared crust. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes or until set in the center. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.

For chocolate drizzle, in a heavy small saucepan heat and stir chocolate over low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and beat in enough of the 2 to 3 tablespoons milk to make drizzling consistency. Spoon melted chocolate mixture into a small resealable plastic bag. Seal bag. Using scissors, snip off a very small corner from bag. Pipe melted chocolate over the cheesecake filling. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts. Cover and chill until chocolate is set.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 145 cal., 8 g total fat (3 g sat. fat), 8 mg chol., 203 mg sodium, 13 g carb. (1 g fiber, 8 g sugars), 7 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges Lean Meat (d.e): 1; Starch (d.e): 1; Fruit (d.e): 1; Mark as Free Exchange (d.e): 0; Fat (d.e): 1;

Hazelnut-Mocha Torte 
Whipped espresso-chocolate frosting makes this cake seem richer than it is. This lovely confection is elegant enough for a party but easy enough to make for everyday occasions.

1 1/2 cups hazelnuts or walnuts, toasted*
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup egg product, or 3 eggs
1/3 cup sugar**
Chocolate curls (optional)

White Mocha Filling:
 8 - ounce container frozen fat-free whipped dessert topping
 2 ounces white baking chocolate (with cocoa butter)
 1 tablespoon instant sugar-free, fat-free Suisse mocha or French vanilla-style coffee powder
 1 tablespoon fat-free milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8x1-1/2-inch round cake pans. Set pans aside. In a medium bowl, combine nuts, flour, and baking powder; set aside.

In a blender or food processor, combine eggs and sugar; cover and blend or process until combined. Add nut mixture. Cover and blend or process until nearly smooth, scraping side of container occasionally. Divide batter between the prepared pans; spread evenly.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake layers in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans. Cool completely on wire racks.

Place one of the cake layers on a serving plate. Spread top with half of the White Mocha Filling. Top with remaining cake layer and remaining filling. Loosely cover. Chill frosted cake for 2 to 24 hours. If desired, garnish with chocolate curls. Makes 16 slices.

White Mocha Filling: Place three-quarters of an 8-ounce container frozen fat-free whipped dessert topping in a medium bowl; thaw. In a small saucepan, combine white baking chocolate (with cocoa butter), chopped; instant coffee powder; and fat-free milk. Cook and stir over low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in 1/2 cup of the whipped topping (whipped topping will melt). Cool mixture about 5 minutes. Fold melted mixture into remaining whipped topping in bowl.

*To toast nuts: To toast nuts, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place the nuts in a shallow baking pan. Bake about 10 minutes or until toasted. Cool nuts slightly. If using hazelnuts, place warm nuts on a clean kitchen towel. Rub nuts with towel to remove loose skins.

**Sugar substitutes: not recommend for this recipe.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 144 cal., 9 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 1 mg chol., 63 mg sodium, 13 g carb. (1 g fiber), 3 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges Fat (d.e): 1.5; Other Carb (d.e): 1;

Berry-Topped Cheesecake 
A pretzel-and-almond crust topped with a creamy filling that's studded with fresh fruit -- now that's a cheesecake like no other, especially because it has only 14 grams of carb per slice!

1 1/2 cups small pretzel twists (2 ounces; about 33)
2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/3 cup water
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 8 - ounce tub light cream cheese, softened
 8 - ounce carton light dairy sour cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 8 - ounce container frozen light whipped dessert topping, thawed
1 cup quartered or halved fresh strawberries
1 cup fresh blackberries or blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. For crust: In a food processor, combine pretzels and sliced almonds; cover and process until finely crushed. Add butter; cover and process until combined. Press pretzel mixture on the bottom of an 8- or 9-inch springform pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.

For filling: Place the water in a small saucepan; sprinkle with gelatin (do not stir). Let stand for 5 minutes to soften. Cook and stir over low heat until gelatin dissolves; set aside to cool slightly.
 In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream, powdered sugar, and almond extract; beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add gelatin mixture; beat until combined. Fold in whipped topping.

Spread half of the filling evenly over cooled crust. Top with half of the strawberries and half of the blackberries. Spread the remaining cream cheese mixture over berries. Cover and chill cheesecake for 4 to 24 hours or until set. Run a long sharp knife around edge of cheesecake to loosen; remove side of pan. Cut cheesecake into wedges. Top each serving with some of the remaining strawberries and blackberries.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:PER SERVING: 176 cal., 11 g total fat (7 g sat. fat), 28 mg chol., 236 mg sodium, 14 g carb. (1 g fiber, 7 g sugars), 6 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges Other Carb (d.e): 1; Fat (d.e): 2

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

healthy living ~ week three- bellyfat fighters

All of us have read, heard, and just know what foods ”to” and what “not to” eat to battle the mid-body bulges and bumps- but just as a reminder during our Flatten that Tummy challenge; and keep your middle trim. Make sure to, if not already eating, add these super tummy fighting foods to your diet.

Cold Potatoes
Hate having to pass on the potatoes for the sake of your pants size? Well, you may not have to. Just eat them cold -- as in vinegar potato salad. If you chill potatoes overnight, they form something called resistant starch crystals -- a constituent of fiber that triggers the production of two hunger-halting hormones, according to research. And resistant starch helps the body incinerate more fat for fuel while making less fat available to stash away in fat cells. Red Potatoes are the best due to their creaminess. (remember: it is what we put on our potatoes that make them unhealthy.)

Fresh pears are so low in calories and high in fiber, you could eat one before every meal and still lose weight. But even better, pears are loaded with catechins and flavonols -- two antioxidants that appeared to hinder the storage of belly fat in a 14-year study.

Go ahead. Pop up a bowl. Sans the butter and salt, popcorn is a real gut whittler. Why? Because popcorn is a whole grain -- and a study revealed that people who ate lots of whole grains had smaller middles compared with folks who ate mostly refined grains. So while you're waiting for yours to pop, clear all the white rice, pasta, and bread out of your cupboards.

White Tea –(or green works too)
Seems the white version of this brew may be a veritable fat blaster. When human fat cells were treated with white tea extract in a lab study, the cells absorbed about 70% less fat than the untreated cells did. And those same tea compounds also triggered the breakdown of fat in existing cells

Apple Cider Vinegar
As a fish condiment and tang-provider for sauces and salad dressings, nothing beats apple cider vinegar. But here's a big bonus: Apple cider vinegar also has a compound called acetic acid, which turbo-charges the body's ability to burn fat and simultaneously hinders fat storage. NOTE: I just put a tablespoon into a tall glass of cold water in the mornings and swig it down- it really is a fantastic daily start, and if you have problems with acid reflux, this is the best way to cure (believe it or not) that nasty problem. AND- add it to your "cold red potatoes" for a double kick.

Safflower Oil
This popular salad dressing ingredient could be a big boon to your belly-flattening efforts, thanks to the omega-6 fatty acid called linoleic acid. It may rev up metabolism. And in a study, just a couple of tablespoons a day appeared to encourage belly fat to take a hike.

Black Beans
All legumes are full of protein and fiber -- two well-known appetite crushers. And thanks to their dark color, black beans are also one of the highest in flavonoids of all the beans. And research shows that flavonoids may thwart the storage of excess tummy fat.... AND someone told be about Black Bean Brownies...I am defiantly investigating that one.

and the best of the seeds and nuts.....

Sunflower Seeds
Toss 'em into soups and salads, mix them into yogurt, or sprinkle them onto sandwiches for nutty crunch. Plus, sunflower seeds (unsalted, please) are high in monounsaturated fat -- a healthful type of fat that appeared to inhibit waist widening in a study of overweight people

Hard to believe that rich-tasting, calorie-packed peanuts could help you lose weight. But they just might. Seems the healthy fats in peanuts are burned more readily than the less-healthy fats found in cookies, chips, and creamy desserts. So make them your snack of choice.

Monday, February 23, 2015

if life was easy ~

I use to be able to handle most anything that life tossed at me, see the lesson in the event, find a new path, or just simply let it go. However, recently I have let my emotions get away from me, even sometimes when the issue doesn't belong to me, an event that is on someone else’s platter, but I get involved emotionally. The other day I sat back and looked at myself and really thought about the emotion I was dealing with at that moment- it suddenly became clear that my perspective had changed, gotten lazy, that I expected my life to always be comfortable.

Perhaps it’s the belief that we shouldn't have any problems, discomforts, or any pain, that makes modern life seen so distressing. Life doesn't match our image of how it should be, and we conclude life itself is wrong. We relate to everything from the narrow, fearful perspective of “I want” – and what we want is to feel good. When our emotional distress does not feel good, we recoil from it. The resulting discomfort generates fear, then fear creates even more distress, and distress becomes our basic requirement that life should be comfortable. This one assumption causes all of us endless difficulties. 

Or there are those who cruise through life on automatic pilot, gliding across the thin ice of denial. But ignoring the thing you don't want to face will not prevent you from falling into the frigid water below.

This week I am going to reconnect and no matter how I may be feeling, I am going to simply sit down, experience the texture of what is happening in MY body and mind ~ fully experience the moments that belong to me, acknowledge any “discomfort” if necessary, and then move on.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

meal ideas ~ chicken salad- yum

When we have chicken it is usually cooked whole on the barbecue rotisserie with various dry rubs or sauces- depending on our tastes for that day. And we always have the breast portion left over to use for a chicken sandwich. Last saturday's chicken breast will be a salad mix for this week. And there are so many ways to enjoy a refreshing chicken salad. Whether you like hearty chicken salad sandwiches or just a simple salad with chicken, there are a variety of diabetes-friendly recipes that pair the lean protein with light ingredients and lots of veggies.

Chicken Salad Panini Sandwiches
These delicious chicken salad melts are packed with rich flavor thanks to roasted red peppers, fennel, and provolone cheese. Make them for a surprisingly low-carb, guilt-free indulgence.
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast
1/3 cup finely chopped fennel
8 slices very thinly sliced whole wheat bread
3/4 cup arugula or spinach leaves
3/4 cup bottled roasted red peppers, drained and cut into thin strips
4 slices reduced-fat provolone cheese (3 ounces total)
Olive oil nonstick cooking spray

 In a medium bowl combine mayonnaise, vinegar, and garlic. Add chicken and fennel and stir until well combined.

Spoon chicken mixture evenly atop 4 of the bread slices, spreading to an even layer atop the bread. Top with arugula, pepper strips, and cheese. Top with remaining bread slices.

Lightly coat an unheated panini griddle, covered indoor electric grill, or large nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat over medium heat or heat according to manufacturer's directions.

 Place assembled sandwiches on griddle, grill, or skillet, adding in batches if necessary. If using griddle or grill, close lid and grill for 2 to 3 minutes or until bread is toasted. (If using skillet, place a heavy saucepan or skillet on top of sandwiches. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until bottoms are toasted. Carefully remove saucepan or top skillet (it may be hot). Turn sandwiches; top again with the saucepan or skillet. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes more or until bread is toasted.)  Cut sandwiches in half and serve warm.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 285 cal., 12 g total fat (442 g sat. fat), 62 mg chol., 480 mg sodium, 19 g carb. (3 g fiber, 3 g sugars), 25 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges Fat (d.e): 1; Lean Meat (d.e): 3; Starch (d.e): 1; Vegetables (d.e): 1

Champion Chicken Pockets
You need only seven ingredients to throw together this easy chicken salad pita recipe! Make the low-carb filling ahead of time, and spoon it into pita halves when you’re ready to serve.
1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
 1/4 cup bottled reduced-fat ranch salad dressing
 1 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken
 1/2 cup chopped broccoli
 1/4 cup shredded carrot
 1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
 2 6 - 7 - inches whole wheat pita bread rounds, halved crosswise

In a small bowl stir together yogurt and ranch salad dressing.

In a medium bowl combine chicken, broccoli, carrot, and, if desired, nuts. Pour yogurt mixture over chicken; toss to coat. Spoon chicken mixture into pita halves. Makes 4 sandwiches.

TO MAKE AHEAD: Prepare as directed. Wrap each sandwich tightly in plastic wrap. Chill for up to 24 hours.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:  231 cal., 8 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 53 mg chol., 392 mg sodium, 21 g carb. (3 g fiber), 20 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges Starch (d.e): 1; Vegetables (d.e): 0.5; Lean Meat (d.e): 2; Fat (d.e): 0.5

Chicken-Ginger Lettuce Wraps
Using coleslaw mix in the chicken mixture cuts down on prep time and—along with carrots and peanuts—adds wonderful crunch to this low-carb chicken salad recipe.

 2 cups finely chopped cooked chicken breast
 2 cups shredded cabbage with carrot (or coleslaw mix)
 1/2 cup finely chopped carrot (1 medium)
 1/4 cup chopped green onions
 2 tablespoons chopped unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
 1/3 cup bottled light Asian salad dressing
 1/3 cup drained canned crushed pineapple
 12 leaves butterhead (Boston or Bibb) lettuce or green leaf lettuce

In a large bowl combine chicken, coleslaw mix, carrot, green onions, peanuts, and ginger. Add salad dressing and pineapple to chicken mixture; stir until well mixed.

Spoon about 1/4 cup of the chicken mixture onto each lettuce leaf. Fold in opposite sides of each lettuce leaf; roll up and secure with a cocktail pick.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:  221 cal., 8 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 60 mg chol., 274 mg sodium, 12 g carb. (2 g fiber, 9 g sugars), 24 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges Vegetables (d.e): 1; Fruit (d.e): 0.5; Lean Meat (d.e): 3; Fat (d.e): 0.5; Mark as Free Exchange (d.e): 0

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

healthy living ~ week two, "the belly challenge"

Okay, here we are again with our newest healthy living challenge- Flatten that Tummy. Along with Diet you must exercise; everyone thinks that lying on the floor doing hours upon hours of sit-ups or crunches is the only way. NOT. I will use every muscle from my boobs up... to lift my head and shoulders off that floor...even my eyebrows put in their two cents worth....just as long as my stomach muscles can play dead to the world. Crunches do not work for me...and I bet they don’t for you either.

I have a much better solution, I have been doing Standing Crunches for the past week and OMG I feel my poor tummy muscles actually beginning to tighten and feel worked. So, put your mat away and give your neck a rest.

Standing abs exercises work more muscles than crunches—and the more muscles we use, the more calories we burn. While sit-ups and crunches only work superficial surface muscles, standing moves strengthen deep core muscles that lead to a great six-pack.

So, here are my favorite four standing tummy exercises that I am doing each day in the morning. I takes me 10 minutes and I actually feel the workout for hours afterwards. My mind remembers the tightness and with a little reminder occasionally, to pull that stomach in, it stays tight all day.

Knee Cross Crunch
The knee cross crunch hits your entire core — the upper, lower, and oblique muscles. The move also requires balance and coordination, effectively working your entire body.

Stand with your shoulders in line with your hips, and extend your left arm up and your right leg to the side, toes pointed.

Lower your left elbow and raise your right knee, crunching them together on a diagonal line. Return to the starting position. That's one rep. Do 8 to 12 on each side.

Also: I have been doing a couple sets NOT crossing my knee and elbows. From an overhead reach, I pull both elbows down lifting one knee, reach up then elbows down, the other knee comes up.

Trick>> you really feel the workout if you exhale strongly pulling your tummy muscles as tight as you can while the knee is moving up to meet the elbows. My stomach feels these crunches! 

Side Imprint

Say goodbye to the dreaded muffin top by targeting oblique muscles.

Stand with your shoulders in line with your hips and raise your right arm. Shift onto your left leg and rotate your right leg at the hip, turning your toes out. Crunch your right elbow and right knee together, pinching your waist. Return to start. Ten per side, do not alternate.

Make sure you squeeze your abs and pull your navel closer to your spine -- don’t simply move your arms and legs.

  Kettlebell/Dumbell Windmill- remember doing the “Windmill” in high school gym class; was an excellent exercise then and still is.

You can use a dumbbell for this exercise if you don’t have a kettleball, which I don’t.  Grab a kettlebell with your left hand and stand with your feet more than hip-width apart. Bring the weight next to your left shoulder, then press it overhead (a). Rotate your chest to the left and look up at the kettlebell as you try to touch your right foot with your right hand (b). Pause, then return to start, keeping your left arm extended. Do eight reps before lowering the weight, then repeat on the other side. Also, try a few crossed over to the opposite side bending forward-tuck that tummy tight, and reach to ankle or knee.

Overhead Dumbbell Side Bend

The overhead dumbbell side bend is a great exercise because in addition to targeting the oblique’s, you also elevate your heart rate. This move does not hit all abdominal muscles, but it fires up the exterior abs muscles and gives arms a light workout.

Hold a pair of dumbbells over your head, in line with your shoulders, with your arms straight.
Without twisting your upper body, slowly bend directly to your left side as far as you can. Pause, return to an upright position, and then bend to your right side; alternate back and forth with each repetition.

Here is a great little video I found that may help you with this new “standing” concept.  Remember, Email Fans, you will need to go to my blog page to view the video.
here is the link:  While Strolling Through Reality

The Standing Crunch-less Ab Workout

Monday, February 16, 2015

listen to your words before they are spoken

Perhaps my biggest fault in life is my mouth, or rather my ability to speak without thinking it through beforehand.  Realizing it, not necessarily for the first time, I decided this was something I really want to work on, that can be easily changed, and will only strengthen my character.

Words carry energy and this gives language its power and its potential to heal or hurt. Most of us can remember a time that someone sent a word our way, and it stuck with us. It may have been the first time we received a truly accurate compliment, or the time a friend or sibling called us a name, but either way it stuck. This experience reminds us that what we say has weight and power and that being conscious means being aware of how we use words. 

The more conscious we become, the more we deepen our relationship to the words we use so that we speak from a place of actually feeling what we are saying. We begin to recognize that words are not abstract, disconnected entities used only to convey meaning; they are powerful transmitters of feeling. For the next few days, you might want to practice noticing how the words you say and hear affect your body and your emotional state. Notice how the different communication styles of the people in your life make you feel. Also, watch closely to see how your own words come out and what affect they have on the people around you. 

You may notice that when we speak quickly, without thinking, or rush to get our ideas across, our words don't carry the same power as when we speak slowly and confidently, allowing those receiving our words time and space to take them in. When we carefully listen to others before we speak, our words have more integrity, and when we take time to center ourselves before speaking, we truly begin to harness the power of speech. Then our words can be intelligent messengers of healing and light, transmitting deep and positive feelings to those who receive them. 

this week: try listening, not only to what others have to say- truly listen; but listen to yourself, hear what you are going to say before the voice captures the words and lets them loose upon the world. you may be surprised at the results.

Friday, February 13, 2015

fun friday photo - friday the 13th

for some Friday the 13th is just not fun!
for others, it is just too

Thursday, February 12, 2015

thursday's garden~ hodgepodge of pics

okay-dokay, the plan for me yesterday was to get out in the garden and do a little winter-to-spring work. Maybe even finally get to use my new reel mower; but Mother Nature had other ideas... like producing such a windy day that even the birds stayed safe in their nests and didn’t come and get what seed wasn't blown away- ha! So, I decided to share a few photos I have taken over the last couple of weeks. Then, today, if all goes well I can complete my garden to-dos. 

 "Blue" my young resident jay, from last year's nesting of JJ and Screech. He comes very close to me when I am filling his bowl with peanut suet pellets, peanuts, and sunflower seeds. He is still a bachelor but I hope he will soon find a lady friend.

one of my beautiful morning doves. I place their seeds in a small dish inside this hanger to prevent Mrs.Squirrel from eating it all before they can enjoy. When a squirrel is near, one of the doves will sit inside of the bowl as if guarding. And, Mrs Squirrel or Mikey do not bother any of the hanging dishes of food.

I love these little capped sparrows, they are fun and usually spend a lot of time on the ground scratching for bugs. I looks like this little one is spying on something below as he sits on one of the feed dishes...

  wonder what he is so interested in...

...oh-oh... it's a Samantha-Kitty. Sometimes she'll sit out there out there by the squirrel box, waiting for them to come by, but she just doesn't get it--- "they not be come'n if'n ya be sit'n right at their peanut box." ha! 

after a while she gets board and explores the garden a little then goes to her "hiding place" under the chair where she can watch everyone clandestinely. She has learned if she just sits quietly she can watch all their activities. (just a note: she is never out there without Steve or I sitting on the porch with her-so all are safe)

she had found a new place to sit and watch for critters. with the weather warming we are getting lots of baby lizards running around in the rock garden area. I am sure she hasn't seen a lizard before and this excites her to no end.

then, eventually she just plops down, rolls around on the patio and takes a short sun-nap enjoying her new furever home. sure has to beat that 2x2 cage.

yep it's a wild garden...

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

meal ideas ~ dessert treats for Valentine's Day

(wow, I am sorry, this didn't get posted before midnight; so, my email fans you won't see this until Thursday- but it will still be in time for Valentine's Day. )

Need a tasty treat for that Valentine's Meal? Even if you go out, I suggest that you come home to one of these delights; they really are scrumptious and in my opinion...desserts always taste better in the quiet of my home with the one I love. I am planning on making the first one- so yummie.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Molten Cupcakes

Your loved ones will rave about these scrumptious cupcakes that ooze chocolate and peanut butter. They're easier than you might think to make, plus you can use a sugar substitute.

2 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter (not reduced-fat or natural)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup sugar or sugar substitute
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
 Fresh strawberries (optional)
 Powdered sugar (optional)

 For filling: In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine milk chocolate and peanut butter.

Microwave on 30 percent power (medium-low) for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring once halfway through cooking. Cover and chill until mixture is the consistency of thick frosting, stirring and checking mixture every 5 to 10 minutes until consistency is reached (this may take anywhere from 10 to 25 minutes). Mixture will set up quickly at the end so watch carefully. Use two spoons to drop mixture into six mounds on a wax paper-lined baking sheet, using about 2 teaspoons mixture per mound; return to the refrigerator until ready to use.

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease six 2-1/2-inch muffin cups; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg, sugar, water, oil, baking powder, and vanilla. Add flour and cocoa powder, stirring until smooth. Spoon about 1 tablespoon batter into each muffin cup. Set a chilled peanut butter mound in center of chocolate batter in each muffin cup. Spoon remaining batter over peanut butter mounds.

 Bake 12* to 14 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool cupcakes in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Run a thin sharp knife around the edge of each cupcake. Invert cupcakes onto serving plates. If desired, top with strawberries and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: PER SERVING: 193 cal., 9 g total fat (3 g sat. fat), 2 mg chol., 51 mg sodium, 24 g carb. (1 g fiber, 14 g sugars), 4 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges Other Carb (d.e): 1.5; Fat (d.e): 1.5

Cherry Chocolate Bread Puddings

This chocolate bread pudding boasts only 148 calories and 25 grams of carb per serving. Tart cherries and fresh orange peel add undeniable flavor to this rich chocolate dessert. Make it ahead for a fuss-free night.

Nonstick cooking spray
2 cups firm-textured whole-grain bread cubes (about 3 ounces)
3 tablespoons snipped dried tart red cherries
1 tablespoon toasted wheat germ 
2/3 cup fat-free milk
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
1/3 cup refrigerated or frozen egg product, thawed
1 teaspoon finely shredded orange peel
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Frozen light whipped dessert topping, thawed (optional)
Unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)

 Coat four 6-ounce individual souffle dishes or custard cups with cooking spray. Divide bread cubes, cherries, and wheat germ among the dishes.

 In a small saucepan combine milk and chocolate. Cook and stir over low heat until the chocolate melts; remove from heat. If necessary, beat smooth with a wire whisk.

 In a small bowl gradually stir chocolate mixture into egg product. Stir in orange peel and vanilla. Pour mixture over bread cubes in the dishes. Press lightly with back of spoon to thoroughly moisten bread.

 Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until the tops appear firm and a knife inserted near the centers comes out clean. Serve warm. If desired, serve with whipped topping and sprinkle with cocoa powder.

Make Ahead Tip:
 Prepare as directed through step 3. Cover and chill for up to 2 hours. Continue as directed in step 4 and 5.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:  148 cal., 4 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 1 mg chol., 152 mg sodium, 25 g carb. (3 g fiber), 7 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges Other Carb (d.e): 0.5; Starch (d.e): 1; Lean Meat (d.e): 0.5

Chocolate Meringues with Chocolate Topper and Raspberries

The winning flavor combination with the light texture of meringue will definitely satisfy your chocolate craving and win over that special someone's heart. Makes: 2 servings Serving Size: 1 meringue shell, 1/4 cup raspberries, and about 3 tablespoons chocolate topper each

1 egg white
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup frozen light whipped dessert topping, thawed
1 1/2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
Powdered sugar (optional)
Chocolate curls (optional)

 For meringues, allow egg white to stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Draw two 3-inch circles on the paper or foil; set aside.

 Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. In a medium bowl combine egg white, cream of tartar, and vanilla. Sift together the 1/3 cup powdered sugar and the 2 teaspoons cocoa powder; set aside.

Beat egg white mixture with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Add powdered sugar mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight).

 Spoon or pipe meringue over circles on paper. Bake 1 1/2 hours. Turn off oven; let meringues dry in oven with door closed 2 hours. Lift meringues off paper. Transfer to a wire rack.

 For chocolate topper, place whipped topping in a small bowl. Fold in the 1 1/2 teaspoons cocoa powder. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 To serve, spread the chocolate topper evenly onto meringues. Top with raspberries. If desired, dust lightly with additional powdered sugar and garnish with chocolate curls.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 142 cal., 2 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 28 mg sodium, 30 g carb. (3 g fiber, 22 g sugars), 3 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges Other Carb (d.e): 2

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

healthy living ~ :( belly fat :(

  I hate “belly fat”~~~I have “belly fat”~~~I will lose my ‘belly fat”

There... I said only real source of unhealthy weight is my stomach. I have “belly fat” I could be the poster child for “do not let you stomach look like this” ha! Well, maybe not that bad, but it is at a very unhealthy size. And with my heart condition, diabetes, high blood pressure...and yes, age... I need to get rid of it now.  Of course a healthy diet is the best way followed by the correct exercise. I did find a nice poster that shows several herbs and other foods best eaten. And the website for those ideas had some interesting information.

Over the next couple of weeks, I invite you to join me in the “get rid of the tummy” campaign and let’s do this now! I am taking measurements, something I never do, of my waist and hips and see what best works and what is just plain baloney.

And of course I would love to hear any successful, or not, ideas and stories you have. so.....

here’s to our “Battle of the Belly”  ~

to read more- go to the website above

Monday, February 9, 2015

some times life sends a teacher

As some of you know I had recently joined Facebook- I've kept a low profile, unless it involved my goal of protecting the environment and wildlife. I did not seek out to friend anyone beyond a few special friends, (didn’t want to have to force or make someone feel they had to friend me- silly, I know) However, I was surprised and excited, and still am, when one of my co-workers sends me a “friend’s request.”

Occasionally I get a request from someone I do not know and have always ignored their request. However.... there was one gentleman from Suri Lanka that sent me a request- he had seen some of my comments I had made to a posting. He is someone I did become friends with- if you have Facebook I urge you to visit his page and see what you think. If you do not Facebook, you can be sure I will post some of my favorites postings here once a month.

I have recently been down and actually depressed about the state of affairs our world societies have been facing, the violence toward children and animals, the want for it all to stop. Even feeling it would be great to" cull" some of the human population off the face of this earth. sends me a teacher, someone from a far away place, someone who will help me down a new path, help me understand myself; thus, understand life a little better~

Rev. Walpaluwe Santhidriya is the principle
of Bhikku 
Training College
i love this!