Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving Dinner's, we have two days of celebration

Our first celebration is with my husbands family, and we all get together on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. 

This year I have a tripod, and was able to get all of us in the photo.  We had a great night, and I brought sweet potato dishes to share, and a green lettuce salad.  This is much more of the traditional Thanksgiving meal, with all the sweetened foods and such I took the first sweet potato dish for the family, and so that my husband would be happy. The second was for me, and something that could be converted if we ran out of the first one and I had to dump marshmallows on it and serve even more to the crowd.  It was not necessary, but they both turned out good and everyone was filled with good food.

Traditional Sweet Potato Casserole

Top this lightened version of the classic sweet potato casserole with both marshmallows and toasted pecans. (For more classic dishes, visit our sweet potato recipes collection.)

Yield:  16 servings

2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans, divided
Cooking spray
2 cups miniature marshmallows

Preheat oven to 375°.
Place the sweet potatoes in a Dutch oven, and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes or until very tender. Drain; cool slightly.
Place potatoes in a large bowl. Add sugar and next 3 ingredients (through vanilla). Mash sweet potato mixture with a potato masher. Fold in 1/4 cup pecans. Scrape potato mixture into an even layer in an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup pecans; top with marshmallows. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until golden.

CALORIES 186 (27% from fat); FAT 5.5g (sat 2g,mono 2.3g,poly 0.9g); IRON 0.7mg; CHOLESTEROL 8mg; CALCIUM 23mg; CARBOHYDRATE 33.1g; SODIUM 272mg; PROTEIN 1.6g; FIBER 2.5g

Cooking Light, NOVEMBER 2007

Brown Sugar-Glazed Sweet Potato Wedges

Make this tasty brown sugar-glazed sweet potato side dish up to two days ahead, and store, covered, in the refrigerator. Reheat at 350°, covered, for 20 minutes or until heated through; if desired, finish the dish under the broiler to recrisp the edges of the sweet potato.

Yield:  12 servings (serving size: 2/3 cup)

1/4 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
4 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, cut in half crosswise, and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400°.
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add sugar, water, salt, nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon; bring to a simmer. Cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Discard cinnamon stick. Combine sugar mixture and potato wedges in a large bowl; toss well to coat. Arrange potato mixture on a large jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 40 minutes or until tender, stirring after 20 minutes.

CALORIES 182 (19% from fat); FAT 3.9g (sat 2.4g,mono 1.1g,poly 0.2g); IRON 0.8mg; CHOLESTEROL 10mg; CALCIUM 44mg; CARBOHYDRATE 36.1g; SODIUM 211mg; PROTEIN 1.7g; FIBER 3g

Cooking Light, NOVEMBER 2004

We then traveled to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family.  My sister this year has a brand new house, and she hosted the crowd at her place.  It was festive and fun with everyone there.

There was now room to set up another Norman Rockwell type photo, so we stood by the fireplace for this one.  The kids had their own table, so only one of them joined us in this photo.  He does not like to leave his mothers side.  

This is the salad I made for this Thanksgiving dinner.  My sister already had the yams taken care of.  She cooks them with butter, and sprinkles them with cinnamon, hmmmm yummy.

Quinoa adds vegan protein and heft to simple green salads- perfect for lunch or a light supper. Use pears or apples in this recipe- either one will work.

First you'll need to make the quinoa:

1 cup organic quinoa
2 cups water
Sea salt

Place the quinoa in a saucepan or a rice cooker. Add 2 cups fresh water, and a pinch of sea salt. Cover and cook on a low simmer until all the water is evaporated and the quinoa is tender- roughly 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork and dump it into a large salad bowl.

For the salad you'll need:

2 good handfuls of organic baby spinach leaves, washed, drained
1 large ripe pear, washed, stemmed and cored, cut into pieces (I've also used craisins)
1/2 cup chilled chick peas, rinsed, drained
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
A handful of pecans, pan toasted and salted to taste

For the Maple Vinaigrette Dressing:

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons golden balsamic vinegar (I've used Rice vinegar once & White Balsamic both were good)
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Whisk together.

Add the baby spinach, pear, chick peas, and chopped parsley to the quinoa and fluff. Pour on the vinaigrette and toss gently to coat. Season to taste with sea salt and ground pepper.

Just before serving, add the toasted pecans and lightly combine.

Makes four main course servings, six side dish servings.

This recipe was found on the GlutenFreeGoddess.com, her pictures are amazing as well.  But this side dish has just become a favorite of mine.  I have made it again for dinner with cranberries instead of pear, since I did not have pears.  This is very very good, and versatile.  I tried it because it incorporated so many things that are PCOS friendly, and I was delighted to see that it was well received at the dinner.  My husband was the only one that only liked it, but was not wanting seconds, everyone else wanted more.

Instead of doing a full turkey, we do the turkey breasts at our second Thanksgiving.  These were delicious!

My step-mother brought a delicious cranberry salad.  This is very easy. Toss cranberries into a blender, an orange, and sweeten to taste.  She used some sugar, last year we used some stevia, use what ever sweetener you prefer, just blend it all together.

Here are the rest of the kids, enjoying their meal, although I did seem to be interrupting their conversation.

We also brought our dogs, and introduced them to my sisters new puppy.   Some moments were good, others were not.  Little patch was all puppy, and wanted to play all the time.  Mandy was rather feisty with him, poor thing.  They did do much better later on in our visit, but there was a bit of an adjustment period.  Bear and Mandy are quite protective of anyone else getting attention from us, or touching us, or people wrestling, or pretty much anything to do with us. So there was barking and following us around everywhere.

Here is Patch, I was unable to get one of all the dogs together.  They were quite mobile and so were the kids.  There are many other things to share about the trip, and I will be posting one about our journey there, but I will post these in intervals.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pumpkin and PCOS - Thanksgiving treats

Picture from Gluten Free Easily.com
     Pumpkin Pie Smoothie - Gluten Free Easily

    (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Refined Sugar Free + More Free)

      1 cup pumpkin puree, chilled (fresh or canned)
      ½ cup full-fat coconut milk, chilled
      ½ cup filtered water
      1 sliced, frozen ripe banana
      1 tbsp almond flour (optional) (I would use coconut flour instead)
      1 tbsp hemp seed (optional) (I don't have these, and would just omit this)
      A tablespoon or two of honey, to taste (or other sweetener, agave, stevia, etc)
      ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice, or more to taste
      Prepare glasses by dipping rims into shallow bowl of water and then cinnamon.
      Combine all ingredients in blender. Cover and blend on high until smooth, about 30 to 60 seconds.
      Pour into prepared glasses or pint-sized Mason jars as I did.

This recipes was highlighted by InCyst today, and since I have lots of pumpkin to use up I may have to make a shake tonight.

     Vegan Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream - Elana's Pantry
      ½ cup cashews (raw)
      ¼ cup coconut milk
      2 cups roasted pumpkin, or other squash (learn how to roast pumpkin in 10 easy steps!)
      1 ¼ cups water (I would use more coconut or cashew milk to make it creamier)
      ½ cup agave nectar
      1 tablespoon vanilla extract
      1 tablespoon cinnamon
      1 teaspoon ginger
      ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  1. In a Vitamix (blender) combine cashews, coconut milk, pumpkin, water and agave
  2. Blend ingredients on high speed until smooth
  3. Add vanilla, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg
  4. Pour mixture into an ice cream maker and process according to instructions
  5. Serve
Now this one from Elana's Pantry is nice, but thin. It is more like a sorbet, and I was hoping for something a bit more creamy.  Luckily she included links to others posts and recipes, and this one sounds delicious, although not dairy free or vegan, if that is what you are looking for.  Next time I might even add in the heavy cream in place of the water.

More From Elana's Pantry - this one was found in the notes, and uses coconut flour! I'm a fan of coconut flour, and I'm glad to see recipes popping up using it in seasonal favorites.

     Pumpkin Cookies

         1/4c butter, softened (or coconut oil)
         1/3c pumpkin puree
         3 eggs
         1/4c agave
         1/2tsp vanilla
         1/2c coconut flour
         1/4tsp salt
         1/4tsp baking soda
         1 1/2tsp pumpkin pie spice

     1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment.
     2. Combine wet ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
     3. Combine dry ingredients in small bowl.
     4. Blend or whisk dry ingredients into wet, making sure no lumps remain.
     5. Let batter sit for a couple of minutes to thicken. Dough should be soft but hold its shape when scooped.
     6. Scoop dough onto parchment-lined sheet, about 1" scoops.
         Cookies will not spread much during baking.
     7. Bake 17-20 minutes. Cookies will be set and very lightly browned.

It should be noted that Monika brought to my attention that Almonds have plenty of Omega 6 in them, so it does add up over time, and we need to focus more on getting our Omega 3's, you can also read up on it here.

"You can make flour out of any nuts with your food processor. You may want to mix up the nut you choose since almond is high in omega-6 and that will add up over time. Try pecan for the holidays!" - Monika

Well, have a great time celebrating and being thankful. I will have more posts on food, and celebrations to come.  We get to celebrate twice every year! So how wonderful is that?  Luckily our celebrations are very different. One is much more the "traditional", cream based type foods. The other is much more like a fall roast, with the foods being very unadulterated. Those recipes are much easier to post, example. Cranberry side, one bag of cranberries, one orange put in blender, and puree. Mix in Stevia, or honey to taste (this is generally still very tart).  The sweet potatoes are similarly made, by cutting into chunks and sprinkling with cinnamon and baking, add a bit of butter (or Brummel and Brown) as desired.

I found this free e-cookbook over at the Baking Beauties

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thanksgiving Recipes, and tips for Holiday eating.

Posted: 18 Nov 2010 12:00 PM PST

Martha Stewart has created a Free Thanksgiving Cookbook to download!  It’s got great photos (I hate cooking without a picture) and some recipes that I definitely want to try, namely the Sweet Potato Gratin, with granny smith apples and bread crumbs on pg 37, by Wolfgang Puck!  It’s a 63 page cookbook, which works out to $0.00 per recipe.
Click here to download the Thanksgiving Cookbook!  Thank you to the Krazy Coupon Lady

Here are some tips I received from my Medifast Coach, these are good things to remember even if you are not doing Medifast, swap a 100 calorie meal for the medifast meals noted below, of course keep them low carb too.

Thanksgiving Tips!
Thanksgiving is supposed to be a time to remember all of the things and people we have been blessed with, but somehow it became more about food. We come together and eat, then eat more oh yeah then we eat some more! The next day we regret how much we ate because the scale tells the story and we feel miserable. Was is worth it? Are you ready for a change? By choosing this program you made a decision to start changing your habits so that you can have a long and healthy life. So lets continue down that road and make this Thanksgiving different then it has been in the past.
Facts:* According to the National Institutes of Health, the average American will gain seven pounds this holiday season, from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day. The stress of the holidays combined with the continuous presence of fattening foods makes healthy eating difficult to achieve during this time.
*According to the National Institutes of Health the average number of calories consumed by one person during a typical holiday dinner feast is 7,100. This underscores the problems many Americans will face managing their weight this holiday season.
*Many Americans wait until New Year's to begin their weight loss resolutions - after they have already put on additional holiday weight. "By using Medifast's quick, easy-to-use meal options, people will be able to begin working on their weight loss goals now and look great by the New Year."
Fact Source: PRNewswire
Thanksgiving isn't the only time of the year that you are surrounded by unhealthy food. This is a great time to start changing those habits so you can be successful in making healthy decisions on a daily basis.
Following are some tips to help you stay successful on your journey to health!
Before the "Big Day"
1. Get the right mindset. Please take the time to do the following 3 things:* Identify your eating triggers: This is the first step. Put it in writing. By keeping a food and feeling journal in your Support in Motion you will realize how you are feeling. By staying in touch with yourself and your emotions around different events you will know what your food triggers are.
* Read Chapter 3 of Dr A's Habits of Health and do lesson 3 in Living a Longer Healthier Life.
* Stay in touch with your Health Coach ~ he/she is there for you!
2. During the Holiday, make your goal to maintain your weight and not to gain any! Lesson 5 of Living a Longer Healthier Life takes you through the steps of setting goals. If you haven't done this, then talk to your health coach and get started. Having this goal will help you stay on track and make healthy decisions through the holiday.
Be positive. Focus on your health goals and choices and you will avoid cravings and regrets.    
4. Holiday traveling, don't forget to pack your convenient Medifast meals! Put your Medifast meals in zip lock bags and use them as cushion around items in your suitcase. Bring a cooler of fresh vegetables and water whenever possible.
5. Tell your friends and family ahead of time about your goal to eat healthier this year. Be prepared with what you are going to say. Example of how to say it "I have begun a program that is teaching me how to make healthy choices and get control of my health again. I would love it if you would support me in my journey and not be offended if I respectfully decline some of the food. Would you mind if I brought some food to help out?" Talk to your health coach to practice how you are going to say it.
Participating in the "Bid Dinner"It is extremely important to be very aware that "dinner" can pack thousands of calories that we would not normally indulge in. 1. Continue to practice your healthy eating habits. Do not skip meals or save calories for the "big meal". That sets you up to overeat!!!
2. Make sure to have a Medifast supplement before going to a meal or gathering (about two hours before eating)... ALWAYS plan ahead. That way if dinner is served late then you are okay.
3. If going to dinner at someone else's house, offer to bring an appetizer and side dish. That way you can be sure there will be healthy choices for you. If you are throwing the party, have lots of vegetables available, instead of chips only. Prepare lower fat dips and offer salsa. Explain to your guests in advance your determination to make this a healthier holiday celebration, and ask them to keep this in mind when preparing any dish they may be bringing. If you are in MAINTENANCE, bring fresh fruits like diced apples, pears, and strawberries for a dessert choice, if that will help your program.
4. Make Lean and Green compliant dishes to share. Example: Creamed cauliflower instead of potatoes, roasted vegetables, If in Maintenance then bring healthy rolls (sour dough, whole wheat or pumpernickel are best) , low sugar dishes, fruit..... Talk to your coach for more ideas.
5. Be watchful of your portions. Dish up your plate then sit down. Try not to sit close to the food if it is on the table. Maybe suggest they set it up buffet style. Then the table it not so cluttered and you won't be tempted to have more.
6. Beverages: Limit high calorie beverages such as sodas, juices, smoothies, and blended coffee drinks or skip altogether if indulging on a particular dessert. There are nearly 150 calories in one 12-ounce can of soda or juice. Smoothies and coffee drinks are often
250-500 calories, excluding the whipped cream. Alcohol is packed full of calories and carbs. It can also lead you to lower your goals and overeat or make poor food choices.
7. At the event, choose healthy foods and stay away from the chips, bread and sugars as much as possible.
8. Always have a meal replacement or beverage (healthy) in your hand so you are not as inclined to reach for the appetizers as they pass on by.
9. Remember to eat slowly, which will help you to eat less and feel full and satisfied.
Dessert Time1. Remember to STOP CHALLENGE and CHOOSE (lesson 3 of Living a Longer Healthier Life.)
2. If you are in the
WEIGHT LOSS STAGE of the program then bring your favorite meal replacement for dessert time. Dress it up. Maybe top your brownies with a little bit of cream cheese (regular would be a healthy fat serving, low fat would be a condiment.) Or take some of your soft serve ice cream! (Make it ahead of time and put in freezer.) Or add sugar free syrup to your pudding.
3. Make a "Medifast" dessert to share! There are some great recipes online. If you need some ideas just call your coach.
4. Take a sugar free drink or diet soda with you!
5. If you are in
MAINTENANCE then allow yourself one dessert per social event, and stick to this decision no matter what. It would be best to follow the "3 bite rule" for desert.
6 If when you get to the party, and you find yourself wanting more then one dessert, ask yourself immediately what you really want, and maybe have that favorite.
7. Freeze your favorite dessert. If you are in the weight loss stage and there is a dessert your really want, but you don't want to mess up your weight loss then freeze it and have it after you have reached your goal.

After the "Big Dinner"

1. If the holiday party is at your house, send some of the left-overs home with your guests, especially the desserts
2. Plan active play dates instead of the movies where you would have a tendency to sit more and ask for "junk foods." Take some time for exercise (if you are at that point in your journey.) Choosing to "take a day off" on a day the you may eat a little extra may end up working against you. Incorporate it into your time with family - walk, play sports......
3. Get enough sleep. Remember if you don't sleep well your body will produce chemicals that make you crave food when you are not really hungry! (Please see Dr A's Habits of Health chapter 17.)
4. Remember the reason for the Holiday and focus on 'fellowship' and not on 'food'!
5. Habits are habit forming... People form habits but habits transform people!

Let's Take Shape for Life! Let's transform our thinking to become choosy about what we eat. We can act out our choices and form our habits of health, by selecting healthy foods and planning to integrate Medifast foods as part of our "prescription for life"! Have a Happy Holiday!!!!

Grace ParksCertified Health Coaches

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Can you say...Murder?

I've been planning this last weekend for some time, and I love having friends over.  This party turned out quite a bit different than how I had envisioned it, very very different.  I have been thinking about whether I wanted to post pictures, or share this experience with the world, but I thought about the similarities between the planning for this party and my plans for life.  Neither one turned out how I planed, but the party was a great success and we all had a great time, and then I thought that's how my life should turn out as well. In the end, there should be laughter and although different than planned, it can be a wonderful experience.  PCOS knocked me for a loop, I was diagnosed after being married to my husband for three years.  This was not something I thought I would ever have to deal with, I had never had issues with loosing weight, but all the other signs were there but no doctor could figure out what was going on with me.  I have always been a positive person, although there are times when I have dark moods.

I've been reading others battle through this diagnosis and feel hopeless, and that is just to much for me, it would swallow me whole thinking that there was nothing that could be done.  I've been doing what I can to eat right, and exercise and just listen to to the wisdom of others. As you can see there are recipes and things that I have tried, and there are others that I don't like and have not posted.  I'm still unsure about the Shirataki noodles, praised by Hungry Girl, but I may grow to appreciate them eventually. 

So, back to the party. I had invited three couples, about a month in advance.  One of the husbands was immediately unable to come, and I was making adjustments to read the extra part for him.  Well, closer to the event another husband dropped, and then finally the night before the final  husband dropped out from sickness.  His wife found a replacement, and I had found a replacement for the previous player, both of these replacements were female.  This left my husband to be the only male playing a male character, and the rest of the party were all female.  He was also coming down with something, and so I left him bow out and rest.  Finally the night of the party and it was a girls night, we had a great time talking about all sorts of things beyond the Murder Mystery Characters and were quite comfortable with one another.  The evening was fabulous and now I'm looking at doing another.  The plans of mice and men sometimes go awry, and then we make the best of it and make it work.

And now another disaster, my computer didn't download all of my pictures from my camera but wiped the card clean, so I have lost all of the pictures that I did take that evening.
Here are some links to find Murder Mystery Games.  We played The Last Train From Paris.

How to Host a Murder Mystery Party Game

The Last Train from Paris

Last Train from Paris Murder Mystery Dinner Party Game

Dear Friend:
      It seems that the German troops are about to enter Paris. The roads south are a hopeless snarl. The trains are full, and one cannot find space aboard them. Yet to remain in the city under Nazi control will not be pleasant.
      This letter offers you what may be your last chance to escape.
At 5:00 p.m. on 13 June 1940, a government train under military guard will depart platform 7, Gare d'Austerlitz, for the relative safety of southern France. Attached to this train will be a private Pullman car and dining car. The accompanying transit authorization will see you past the military guard and on board.
      I do hope you will come.
      Who am I? Well, for the time being, I will not tell you. Think of me as someone much like yourself, a citizen of the world. There will be eight guests. I have listed them all below and, as you can see, they are a distinguished group. I will make it a party of nine.
      Do bring proper attire. We will dine elegantly. Our chef is the man who made travel by train a delicious experience, Master Lester ("Les") K. Arrgowe. Oh yes, each of the train cars has its own name: the lounge-dining car named "Délice" and the Pullman sleep car named "Désire."
      Don't be late. Miraculously, the trains are running on time.
     Number 9


A well-traveled and worldly individual, Mr. Ageante is seldom home in the British Isles due to the necessities of business travel. Distinguished, impeccably dressed and courteous to a fault, he is welcome in the finest hotels and restaurants in Europe. Yet there is an aura of mystery about him, and no one seems to know exactly what his business is or why he travels between Berlin and Paris with such regularity.
Costume Suggestions: Crisp, 1940s-style suit and briefcase.
A royal refugee driven to Paris by the advancing German troops, Princess Idelle is the sole surviving representative of the ancient and noble Chattre family. Those European rulers descend directly from Nonnes Taupe Chattre, who, in 1124, at the head of an army of fierce Northern tribesmen, conquered and carved out a small, heavily wooded land where his descendants now live. Despite her youth, Idelle is aware that she alone carries on the family line. Strong-willed and quick to anger, she is quite beautiful and, it is said, possessed of considerable family wealth safely invested overseas.
Costume Suggestions: Regal but not without style; jewels; crown and scepter might be a bit overdone, but acceptable.
"Mal" is a soldier of fortune. Restless, cynical and secretive, he is well-known in Paris society; it is whispered that for some undisclosed reason, Mal cannot return to his home in the United States. Some say he killed a man; some say it was an affair of the heart; others say he makes his living in the active and thriving black market of Continental Europe. Whatever the truth, Mal is a welcome participant in Paris high society where his worldly toughness stands out against a backdrop of leisured affluence.
Costume Suggestions: Gangsterish; dark shirt and suspenders, white tie, fedora.
A journalist for a large metropolitan U.S. newspaper, Mary has lingered in Paris to send the true story of the war in Europe home to her readers. She has interviewed men in the street, soldiers and generals, ministers of state and celebrities. Her articles are published in metropolitan papers across the United States under the byline Mary Trairie, but those who know her past remember her as little Mary Kohn, daughter of the late Augustus Kohn, journalist, publisher and newshound. It was Augustus who said, "There's them that wants news and there's them that wants truth. Don't ever confuse one with the other." Mary was briefly married to a young city editor named Harold Trairie, but it didn't last. She has kept Harry's name, feeling her father's too austere.
Costume Suggestions: Tailored, possibly a man-style suit; no frills; steno pad.
Known to his men as "Wey," Capt. Awfcorce is a pilot of renown. His squadron of Laklustre Bombers is likely to prove one of the most formidable armaments available to the British Armed Forces. Shot down on a reconnaissance mission over Germany before hostilities commenced, Wey evaded capture and made his way to Paris, and is now trying to return to England. Born of English nobility and educated at Oxford, Wey epitomizes the strength, endurance and noble character of that island race.
Costume Suggestions: Flying jacket, scarf and goggles.
Barbra may be described in a few words - "rich, spoiled and beautiful." Daughter of the late French perfume king, Louis Z. Enhussie, she was brought up in extravagance and has carried on the tradition of the Enhussies in all respects. Châteaux Enhussie, on the outskirts of Paris, and Barbra's luxurious apartment in the city, are centers of lavish social activity. Everyone who is anyone is a regular at Barbra's.
Costume Suggestions: Something frilly and flowing; dripping jewels; a fur.
Another royal victim of the German advance, the Duke fought his way through enemy lines to reach Paris. His own small army in tatters, he and a few hand-picked men succeeded in bringing valuable information concerning German troop disposition to the French High Command. The Duke remains a hero to his now captive people, the sturdy peasant stock of the region known as AlzŠse-Laverne. He is a man of noble bearing, schooled extensively in military matters and a swordsman of considerable talent. Young to be the leader of even so small a nation, the Duke is not married and is considered to be one of the most eligible bachelors in Europe.
Costume Suggestions: A regal military uniform with sword; horse optional.
A "couturière extraordinaire" is the way Belinda is described by her wealthy clients. Usually she just blushes and responds, "Really, I'm only a simple dressmaker," but those in the inner circle of Paris society know better. Owner of a thriving high-fashion studio, Maison de Screete, this clever and well-educated American has thrust her way into the Paris fashion world. More than a caterer to the patrons of high-fashion, Belinda participates in that society as actively and as well as any. Vivacious and charming, she is a frequent guest at the mansions and châteaux of wealthy and influential citizens of Paris.
Costume Suggestions: Extremely stylish or, at the other extreme, extremely dress-makerish (pins, thread, tape measure, scissors...).

Of course I can not tell you who dunnit, that would be cheating!

Other games can be found through these links:
Dinner and a Murder

Murder Mystery Games

Murder Mystery Games UK

Mystery Game Central

I know how to set a proper table, my mom drilled it into my head growing up, but for those of you who did not have mothers like mine here is a link to a site that will show you the proper ways to set a table:
Table Settings with cheat sheets My home ideas.com

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Turkey Bacon and Coconut Bread French Toast

Coconut Bread French Toast and Turkey Bacon

Coconut Bread Recipe

This was a great way to use the remaining pieces of this bread.  I was also happy when my DH liked the bacon more than the original bacon because it was not all fat.  Score one for Turkey Bacon!  We are still not winning on the burger front though, but one day, it will happen.

If you've never made French Toast before it's very easy.  You have a dish, bowl or tray to put your beaten egg into.  You dip the bread into the egg, and roll over and cover with egg, and then place the covered bread into a fry pan with melted butter, and you fry it up.  Only this time I used coconut oil instead of butter since I did not have Ghee, and Brummel and Brown yogurt butter does not fry well.

There are some sites out there that have discussed Coconut oil as an aid for fertility, Natural Fertility Info.  They also mention it in this post Healthiest Oil on Earth I've also seen it encouraged as a healthy oil in other PCOS and Insulin resistance diets Therapeutic Diet for Insulin Resistance.  It is good to remember that even coconut oil should not be consumed when it it hydrogenated.

I will keep my eyes and ears open for more information regarding all things coconut, but for now I'm confident in using it in my cooking.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Coconut Flour Pancakes

topped with sugar free syrup

2 eggs
2 tablespoons Organic Virgin Coconut Oil melted
2 tablespoons coconut milk or whole milk
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sifted Organic Coconut Flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
Blend together eggs, oil, coconut milk, sugar and salt. Combine coconut flour with baking powder and thoroughly mix into batter. Heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a skillet. Spoon batter onto hot skillet making pancakes about 2 ½ to 3 inches in diameter. Batter will be thick, but will flatten out when cooking. Makes about 8 pancakes, if you make them small. I made mine large and had two or three pancakes.
Recipe from Samantha N. - Thank you!
Whipped topping with heavy cream and stevia

Variation from Samantha N.
Add in dairy free chocolate chips and then cook the pancakes.  
For whipped cream, refrigerate a can of whole coconut milk the night before.  Then when you take it out the fat is separated from the milk.  You scoop out all the fat on top and put it in a bowl.  Then you get a hand mixer and whip up the coconut fat.  Once it has kind of a marshmallow consistency you can add stevia, vanilla etc.  A pack of stevia and a little cinnamon and vanilla, taste great for fall flavors.  FYI, if you put the whipped cream on the hot pancakes it will melt.  But it just makes it all the more delicious.


Eventually I will have to try and add in blueberries, but so far I have not made them with fruit mixed in.  I do prefer these to the Ricotta Pancakes that I had made previously. These are light and fluffy, not such a difficult sell for trading in your regular weekend pancakes for the low carb version.  These are now my go to recipe when hubby wants pancakes, he gets the regulars ones, and I get these, and I no longer feel cheated.

Okay here are the nutritional stats from entering the information into the Lean Cuisine custom meal planner.
Total Nutrition Facts
Calories: 325.1
Total Fat 21.9g
  Saturated Fat 16.3g
Cholesterol 211.5mg
Sodium 428.7mg
Total Carbohydrate 21.2g
  Dietary Fiber 10.9g
  Sugars 4.9g
Protein 11.8g

Friday, November 5, 2010

Bouncing off the walls

My little doggies love to run, and jump, and bounce off the furniture.  They love to fetch the ball, and I like to play in the house, especially in winter since it gets all muddy outside.  When I get the ball and throw it, there is a flurry of furr running under the end table. They collide in our entry way sliding on the tile, and finally get that ball.  Then the process begins all over again.  Their energy is boundless as they play, it can go on all day if I'm willing to keep sitting there tossing the ball, one will rest while the other plays.  This way they can keep me occupied, and not let me get distracted from my job as the ball thrower.

Mandy waiting for me to begin playing

Bear running

Our furniture is just an obstacle course for them to run and play in

Mandy getting the ball from behind the evil flowers.  Just ask her, they are evil.

These moments are much more fun with narration.  I have friends who are not dog lovers, or animal lovers for that matter, but they have found that the commentary when playing games is rather fun.

"Are you going to throw it, or what?", or "Anytime now!", maybe even "It's your turn!"

These are the fun things that I get to say, it's all in their body language, and yes they have body language.
I love my furr babies, and I'm so glad that we have them.

I do have people who say interesting things to me though, regarding my doggies.  Such things as "you really don't need kids, you've got your dogs." "your dogs are just like kids, so it's alright".  For those of you who are unfamiliar with some of the PCOS issues, infertility is one of them, and currently I do not have a baby.  This has caused concern among family members, and friends.  It's not that we don't want a family, it's just taking us longer to get there, and hearing things about my dogs being able to replace a baby is ridiculous.  There, that's my rant. I'm moving back to the cuteness of my adorable doggies.  I can't call them puppies anymore, they are older than that now, so doggies it is.

I am also excited to say that I have recently been approached by csnstores.com to do product reviews for them. I’m pretty excited about it because I am a fan their cooking things! With over 200 products…I can’t wait to get started reviewing products for the house and sharing them with you!

an update to this post, I was waiting for a skillet which was on back order, and it has not yet come back in stock, and today when I finally decided to try for another one, I found that the promo code I was given had expired. I will not be reviewing their items.  If I purchase form them in the future I will only provide a review of the item itself.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

French Onion Soup with Beef and Barley

I know that I am supposed to add mushrooms and barley into my diet, the nutritionist Monika M. Woolsey, MS, RD suggested that I work to in corporate them into my diet some how.  Hmmm....this has taken me some time to think about.  I don't have recipes already incorporating these things, and barley is a new flavor for me, so I wasn't sure how to incorporate it. 
Recently though I got a craving, and this one is a strange craving for me. I'm not a fan of onions, and I rarely eat red meat, and I'm not a huge fan of mushrooms, but this soup is something that I love. It's Cooking Lights twist on French Onion soup, and when I've made it before, I just skipped the barley. :) Yep, I'll admit it, I left it out and didn't even think twice about it.  So, when I was searching through all of my cooking light volumes to find this treasure I had forgotten that it had barley in it.  So this time when I went to make this delightful soup, I went ahead and bought some barley to toss in.
I have to admit, it makes this soup much more hearty, and it was worth purchasing the barley.  I will have to find some new recipes to incorporate this into my diet, but here is the first attempt at adding barely.

this is not my photo, it came from Cooking light, but no photographer was given credit there either.

French Onion Soup with Beef and Barley

Chock-full of fiber-rich barley, this French onion soup is a tasty variation on the classic. You can omit the sherry or replace it with white wine if you wish.
Yield: 6 servings


  • 1  cup  boiling water
  • 1/2  ounce  dried shiitake mushrooms (I've tried this twice, and I'm just not a fan of these mushrooms in this soup, I will remove them next time)
  • 1  tablespoon  dark sesame oil, divided (I've used the light when I've run out of the dark, and it still turns out delicious)
  • 2  medium onions, each cut into 8 wedges (about 4 cups)
  • 1/2  cup  chopped shallots or onion
  • 2  teaspoons  chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 4  garlic cloves, minced
  • 3  cups  sliced button mushrooms (I halve this amount since I'm still not a huge mushroom fan)
  • 1  teaspoon  brown sugar
  • 1  (12-ounce) lean boneless sirloin steak, cut into 2-inch strips
  • 4  cups  water
  • 2/3  cup  uncooked pearl barley
  • 1/4  cup  dry sherry
  • 3  tablespoons  low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1  (10 1/2-ounce) can beef consommé
  • 12  (1/4-inch-thick) slices diagonally cut French bread baguette
  • 3/4  cup  (3 ounces) shredded Gruyère or Swiss cheese


Combine boiling water and shiitakes in a bowl; cover and let stand 30 minutes. Drain the shiitakes in a colander over a bowl, reserving liquid. Slice shiitakes, discarding stems.
Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, shallots, ginger, and garlic; sauté 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Add the shiitakes, button mushrooms, sugar, and beef. Sauté 10 minutes, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add reserved mushroom liquid, 4 cups water, and the next 4 ingredients (water through consommé); bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 50 minutes or until barley is tender. Stir in 1 teaspoon sesame oil.
Preheat broiler.
Ladle 1 1/2 cups soup into each of 6 ovenproof soup bowls; top each serving with 2 bread slices and 2 tablespoons cheese. Broil 3 inches from heat 1 minute or until cheese melts. Serve immediately.
Note: This soup will freeze well for up to two months. Pour into an airtight container, leaving enough room for expansion (usually an inch or two at the top). To reheat, thaw completely in the refrigerator; then place contents in a saucepan over low heat, adding some liquid if necessary.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 351 (27% from fat)
Fat: 10.7g (sat 4.3g,mono 3.8g,poly 1.7g)
Protein: 24.6g
Carbohydrate: 40g
Fiber: 6.2g
Cholesterol: 50mg
Iron: 3.7mg
Sodium: 676mg
Calcium: 196mg
Martha Condra and Jill Melton, M.S., R.D., Cooking Light, JANUARY 2000

Now there is also a blog from the lovely Monika on Ezekiel Bread, another food item that was recommended for my new way of living. Check out the blog post: Food of the Week Ezekiel Bread
See, not all carbs are bad and evil from the devil, some are found in the Bible and are really pretty good for you. :)  Even if you are not one who reads the Old Testament, it's still a good bread.
In case you are not familiar with InCyst, they are a group of Nutritionists and Physicians who are focused on PCOS and fertility, and they are a rather positive group. Check them out when you have some time.

Organic coupons - Nov 2, 2010

Since there are not many coupon blogs dedicated to organics, or to gluten free, or just health food in general I thought I would share some of the coupons that I have found this week.  There are ways to eat healthy, and find good deals.  It just takes a bit more time to find the deals out there.  I will try to share more as I find them out there.


 shopOrganic.com - Subscribers Save An Additional 5% Use coupon code NOVDEAL on the first page of checkout to save 15% on delicious Sale Items


Logo CircleSave additional 5%
(15% total)
on Sale Items
Use coupon code:

Coupon Code NOVDEAL expires: November 8, 2010  at 11:59pm PST. Please note that discounts are reflected on individual product prices and do not appear as a 'Promo Discount' total on your order confirmation. Enter the coupon code on the first page of checkout and be sure to click 'Apply Code'. If you run into problems, email us or use the contact us form online - we're here to help!

Tropical Traditions Healthy Buyer's Club, November 1st, 2010:

FREE Organic Coconut Cream Concentrate 32 oz. Ends Thursday

50% OFF Organic Virgin Palm Oil

40% OFF Virgin Coconut Oil Liquid Soap Pumps

60% OFF Expeller-Pressed Coconut Oil 5 Gallon

NEW PRODUCT: 50% OFF Household Traditions Powdered Dishwasher Detergent

Purchase Organic Thanksgiving Turkeys This Week!

New Coconut Recipes: Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Cream Concentrate - Coconut Rice Fritters - Gluten Free Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Special Deals & Giveaways Blog

Become a Fan on Facebook for Instant Updates

Healthy Buyer's Club Discounts:

49% OFF Cases of 3 Organic Expeller Pressed Coconut Oil Gallons ENDS TODAY!

50% OFF Gallon Cases of Organic Green Label Virgin Coconut Oil

65% OFF Cases of Moisturizing Creams

55% OFF Organic Coconut Water Vinegar

Created4health Article: Defilement: Are you shaping the culture around you, or is the culture shaping you?


Coconut Cream Concentrate is certified organic whole coconut meat in concentrated form. It contains no additives (not even water). The dried coconut meat is ground into a very fine powder, giving it a creamy consistency due to its high fat content. Since it is 70% fat, it is a rich source of pure virgin coconut oil. Note: this is a food, not a cooking oil.

It is an excellent ingredient for cooking and baking. Because of its low moisture content, it can be mixed right in the batter or dough of breads and pastries. It can also enhance soups, be blended with smoothies, or made into ice cream. Many people just eat it straight, or spread it on breads and crackers, because it is so delicious!

Many people have begged us to package this in larger containers, like gallons, because they consume so much. But it is not practical to package this in gallons. For one thing, during the hot summer months the coconut oil in this product turns liquid and separates, just as in other natural nut butters or peanut butter. It needs to be mixed back in. During the winter cold months, the oil gets very hard, and it is almost impossible to get the material out of a large container as it becomes literally hard as a rock. Therefore, it needs to be warmed in the winter time. So this is your chance to purchase a couple of gallons at a lower price, packaged in glass jars!

Now, through Thursday, November 4th only, you can purchase 2 quarts at the retail price and get the second 2 quarts FREE! That's a whole gallon packaged in 4 high quality glass jars. The normal retail price for this is $120.00, but now you can purchase 4 quarts for only $59.99! Order here:

Tropical Traditions Virgin Palm Oil from small-scale family farmers in Africa is back in stock! Virgin Palm Oil is palm oil that is traditionally made and maintains the natural nutrients of carotenes (precursors to Vitamin A) and the antioxidant tocotrienols (Vitamin E). Typical RBD (Refined, Bleached, and Deodorized) palm oil has these nutrients stripped from them resulting in a clear oil. In its natural state, palm oil is red in color due to a high concentration of carotenes and tocols. Palm oil comes from a tropical palm tree (elaeis guineensis - NOT the same as coconut palm trees), which is native to the tropical areas of Africa, where it grows wild. It is a traditional oil used for more than 5000 years in African countries, where small-scale family farms flourish. The palm oil palm was introduced to South East Asia in the early 1900s, and Malaysia is now the world leader in exports of palm oil (Tropical Traditions does NOT source palm oil from there.) Being an introduced crop to Asia, they are mainly harvested from large plantations. Tropical Traditions Virgin Palm Oil comes from West Africa, NOT South East Asia. Our Virgin Palm Oil is produced by small-scale family producers in Africa that are certified organic. When you purchase Tropical Traditions Virgin Palm Oil, you are supporting small scale family producers in Africa, and NOT large corporate plantations in South East Asia

Now, through Sunday, November 7th, you can purchase a 32 oz. jar at 50% OFF the retail price. That is a $25.00 value for only $12.50! Order here:

Most liquid soaps you find have added ingredients to make them thicker in consistency. Tropical Traditions organic Liquid Soaps are made from 100% organic Virgin Coconut Oil. The scented varieties have organic essential oils added. These are packaged in a special foam pump dispenser that adds air to the soap, causing a rich lather of foam to come out. Because of this special foam dispenser, and a pure liquid soap with no added fillers or thickening agents, you get more uses per container.

Now, through Sunday, November 7th only, you can purchase an eight ounce soap pump dispenser with liquid Virgin Coconut Oil soap for 40% off the retail price. That's a $9.50 retail value for only $5.70! Order here:

Tropical Traditions Expeller-Pressed Coconut Oil, non-certified, is made from high quality coconuts in the Philippines. This is the "common" type oil that millions of people in Asia consume on a daily basis. It is less expensive than our certified organic Expeller-Pressed Coconut Oil because it does not include the cost of organic certification. We get our Expeller-Pressed Coconut Oil, non-certified, from unpolluted areas of the Philippines where pesticides and fertilizers for coconut palms are virtually unknown. The coconuts typically come from very rural areas in the Philippines, far away from major urban centers. It is also deodorized and processed the "old" way with "physical refining" that DOES NOT use solvent extracts. This is the most economical high-quality coconut oil we sell. Expeller Pressed Coconut oil is less expensive than Virgin Coconut Oil because it is machine made, and because it goes through a steam deodorizing process the taste is very bland, unlike Virgin Coconut Oil which retains the odor and taste of fresh coconuts. Some people prefer a bland, tasteless oil.

Now, through Sunday, November 7th only, you can buy a 5-gallon pail of Tropical Traditions non-certified Expeller-Pressed Coconut Oil at 60% OFF the retail price! That is a $240.00 value for only $95.00! Order here:
http://www.tropicaltraditions.com/expeller-pressed_coconut_oil.htm? s=e11110

Household Traditions Powdered Dishwasher Detergent is non-toxic and environmentally safe with no harmful by-products upon decomposition. Household Traditions Powdered Dishwasher Detergent does NOT contain chlorine, phosphates, fillers or fragrances. Household Traditions Powdered Dishwasher Detergent rinses away completely leaving no residue on your dishes so you get a clean, safe sparkle.

Now, through Sunday, November 7th only, you can purchase a 5-pound container of Household Traditions Powdered Dishwasher Detergent at 50% off the retail price! That is a $32.00 value for only $16.00!. Read more and order here:

Order your Thanksgiving Turkey NOW! This year's Turkeys are IN STOCK and SHIPPING! Our pastured free-range turkeys are raised on organic green summer grass in Wisconsin by family farmers an on our own soy-free Cocofeed. We ship these in frozen coolers with dry ice. There are no other turkeys like this on the market! You can purchase one of our organic pastured turkeys with an average weight of 10 lbs. for only $69.00 or $135.00 for two! Watch our video and order here:

Visit our FREE Coconut Recipes website where we constantly add new recipes! http://freecoconutrecipes.com/ Subscribe to the blog to receive new recipes each week, as well as tips and advice! Our latest recipes:

Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Cream Concentrate - http://sn.im/1dmslm
Coconut Rice Fritters - http://sn.im/1cssio
Gluten Free Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars - http://sn.im/1c6lge

Successful recipes submitted through our recipe submission form earn coupons for FREE Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil! Do you have a favorite coconut recipe that you have created and used successfully? Or do you have a picture of one of our recipes that you made? You could earn a free quart (per recipe) of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil by submitting it here: http://www.freecoconutrecipes.com/recipe_submission.cfm

If you have an account on Facebook and sometimes miss our special deals and offers, become a fan of Tropical Traditions' Facebook page and receive instant updates throughout the day! We will be announcing our sales, breaking news, special deals, coupons, new recipes and other things via our Facebook page. So connect with other Tropical Traditions fans today!

Tropical Traditions is now announcing special deals, coupons, and product giveaways each day through our new blog:

We created this blog to use for all our coupon and product giveaway specials. Last week we announced blog giveaway contests for Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil, Canadian Raw Honey, Atchara, Liquid Soap, Glass and Surface Cleaner, Shredded Coconut, Coconut Cream Concentrate, Coconut Peanut Butter, Golden Flax Seed, Skin Exfoliator, Moisturizing Cream, and Laundry Detergent! You can subscribe to this blog and receive the announcements via email, or just use an RSS reader. So watch this blog throughout the week for FREE products and coupons! Always check this blog before placing an order, as you may be missing something for FREE!!

If you have an account on Facebook and sometimes miss our special deals and offers, become a fan of Tropical Traditions' Facebook page and receive instant updates throughout the day! We will be announcing our sales, breaking news, special deals, coupons, new recipes and other things via our Facebook page. So connect with other Tropical Traditions fans today!


A case of 3 gallons of organic Expeller-Pressed Coconut Oil retails for $195.00, and our normal club discount is $120.00. Through today, Monday, November 1st, you can purchase a case for only $99.00.

Our 3-gallon cases of organic Green Label Virgin Coconut Oil are 50% off this week! The normal retail price for a case of 3 gallons is $300.00, and the normal member discount is $170.00. But now, through Sunday, November 7th, you can order one case for only $150.00!

All cases of 6 jars of Tropical Traditions Moisturizing Creams are on sale. For example, a case of 6 Baby Silk Moisturizing Cream retails for $120.00, and the normal club member price is $67.50. But now, through Sunday, November 7th, you can get a case of 6 bottles for only $42.00! Not sure which variety you want for a whole case? Get our mixed case of all six varieties (Baby Silk, Unscented, Arnica, Lavender, Citrus, and Peppermint)!

A case of 12 of our 32 oz. Organic Coconut Water Vinegar retails for $222.00, and our normal club discount is $150.00. But now, through Sunday, November 7th, you can purchase a case for only $99.00!

Defilement: Are you shaping the culture around you, or is the culture shaping you?

The Healthy Buyer's Club is a service provided by Tropical Traditions, Inc., and the Healthy Buyer's Club website is the online store for purchasing all Tropical Traditions, Grass-Fed Traditions, and Household Traditions products. A paid membership is NOT required to purchase these retail products. A paid membership in the Healthy Buyer's Club provides one with access to bulk discount prices: http://www.healthybuyersclub.com/join.cfm


Tropical Traditions

We love sharing the dairy-free experience with our customers and with people who are interested in trying our vast array of premium dairy-free frozen desserts. So, we have created a variety of ways you and your family and friends can receive cents off coupons and/or enter to win a variety of prizes, from cool t-shirts, to free product, to even a year’s supply of dairy free ice cream!
Coupons: We make it easy to try So Delicious® and Purely Decadent® dairy-free frozen desserts and refrigerated items. Click here to print coupons.
Win A Year Supply: Take our survey and let us know what you think about our products. When you submit a survey you will automatically be entered into a monthly drawing for terrific prizes!
Tell A Friend: Love our pure dairy free indulgent frozen desserts and want to tell your friends about them? Use our Tell a Friend link to get the word to them. They will thank you!
So thank you and use the links above to get your just Rewards!

Mahalo.com - Amys Kitchen Coupons
  • Amy's Kitchen items are typically found in a standard grocery store's frozen food section near other vegetarian selections. Non-frozen items may be located in the standard grocery section such as the soup isle, or may grouped in a special organic section. Wider selections of Amy's products are often found at Organic grocery stores or natural food stores.

    Specific options range from canned soups, burritos, kids meals, pot pies, pizza, veggie burgers, salsa, pockets, Indian meals, Asian meals, beans, chili and comfort food. Popular items include Amy's vegetable pot pie, veggie loaf and burritos. Amy's Kitchen has recently added a line of desert selections.http://www.amyskitchen.com/products/index.php10
  • Amy's Coupon Sources

    Amy's Kitchen coupons are not widely distributed, but below are a few potential sources of discounts.
    1. Send a letter to Amy's Kitchen. Occasionally, they will respond with free coupons by mail.http://www.amys.com/lemonslice/dear)amy/letter_of_month.php11
    2. Become a fan of Amy's Kitchen-GO ORGANIC! on Facebook for occasional promotions and coupon offers
    3. Product packaging- Amy's Kitchen occasionally places coupons for other products in the packaging of Amy's kitchen, especially when they are launching new products
    4. Grocery store circulars and in-store coupon offers- some grocery stores offer discounts and special promotions on Amy's products.
  • Amy's Coupon Policies

    Coupons for Amy's products typically feature cents off a single purchase or a larger discount off a multi-product purchase. Typically coupons require purchase within a specified family of products and usually feature an expiration date. Coupons are subject to acceptance at your retailer. In particular, some retailers do not accept printable coupons.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...