When the air is this cold, every bit of moisture freezes, static electricity sneaks up and gives me random shocks and clingy pants, and the sun decides it would rather hang out in the southern hemisphere, leaving me seasonally depressed and in much need of vitamin D. This first winter without skiing being a major part of my schedule is starting to take its toll. I refuse to feel oppressed however! My Scandinavian roots and hearty Minnesotan ways are no match for the winter blues. I am arming myself with fresh produce, scarves, uplifting iTunes purchases, kickboxing classes and LOTS of moisturizers! So much so that I have decided to express and write a few love letters...
I have known many a lip balm in my life, but you, my blue-tubed friend with SPF 15, are truly special. You smooth my lips and moisturize with lasting effect. Instead of leaving me chapped 30 minutes later, you actually heal the damage done by the cruel dry air. I also can't deny that your delicious flavor makes it all the more delightful to press my lips against you. If this isn't love - I don't know what is.
True Blue Spa "Lay it on Thick" Lotion
Dearest new little bottle of lotion, there is so much about you that I love. Your Shea butter, macadamia nut oil and vitamin E make my dry, chapped hands soft, silky and sweet-smelling. Since you came into my life, I have said goodbye to tiny cracks and hangnails. Never before have I met a cream as greasy and thick as you, and that is just what I was looking for. You are just what I needed. You complete me.
Jergen's Natural Glow Lotion
Although we don't get together as often as we probably should (I just don't have the time or energy), when we do, your magical ways make me glow. Unlike those oompa-loompa-orange self-tanners, you give barely a hint of color and transform me from anemic albino to a healthy glow. You smell a tad awkward but are very tolerable when compared to the tuna-melt stench I have experienced with others. So, every now and then, when I have to dress up and show some leg or the skin on my upper arms and neck, I will invite you back into my life for a rejuvenating fling. You are the sunshine of my life... in the winter.
Another awesome recipe discovery! Not to difficult, although I would recommend getting pre-grated ginger. That part was a bit tedious and I almost grated my fingers off. I would also recommend adding more vegis because the ratio was a bit off. This would also be very good with shrimp instead of chicken. Also broccoli and more carrots and maybe some bean sprouts too. Yum. This one's a keeper!
1 pound thin cut chicken breast meat, available packaged in meat case of market
Grill seasoning (recommended: Montreal Seasoning by McCormick)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, 2 turns of the pan
2 tablespoons minced ginger root
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and very thinly sliced
1 cup packaged shredded cabbage and carrot mix
3 scallions, chopped on an angle
1/2 cup plum sauce
2 cups basil leaves, loosely packed
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/2 head iceberg lettuce, cut into half again
1/2 seedless cucumber, chopped
Thinly slice the chicken into strips and sprinkle with grill seasoning.
Heat a large skillet to screaming hot. Add vegetable oil, then chicken. Cook chicken 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the ginger, garlic, peppers, cabbage and carrot mix and scallions and stir-fry another 2 minutes. Add plum sauce to glaze the mixture, toss 1 minute, then add basil and wilt leaves. Add fish sauce and turn to coat. Transfer cooked chicken and vegetables to a bowl. Place spoonfuls of chicken into a piece of lettuce with cucumber and fold lettuce over to eat, like small tacos.
I just donated to the Real Hope For Haiti Rescue Center and got a cute little key fob in the process. I had intended to donate somewhere, but I just didn't know where I wanted to send my money. I stumbled on this blog Pitter Patter Art, via One Pretty Thing, and just decided that they deserved my help. I have no real way of verifying that this is legit, aside from the seemingly genuine efforts of this one crafty lady to entice more people to support this cause. I have read the blog, checked out the sites, and realized that I had to do something. I don't know how any informed person could sit back and do nothing. The devastation is unreal. So, if you want a cute little handmade key fob (and who really scams people while sending them hand sewn key fobs!?!) then check out this blog and donate! If you don't want one, then find another venue for helping out, because they need help people. Real bad.
When I was in high school, I learned that I had low red blood cell levels/ I was slightly anemic. Not surprisingly, Mom rarely packed any red meat or leafy greens in my lunches - which by-the-way, CAN YOU BELIEVE my Mom packed my lunches for me high school!?! First of all, only losers brought mom-made lunches, complete with sharpie-labeled brown bags, crinkle-cut carrot sticks and little embarrasing notes (which actually really make your day). I loved it. Second of all - How lucky was I!?!?! If I had some extra cash, I would seriously consider paying big bucks to hire Mom as my full-time lunch maker seeing as I have already accepted my uncoolness.
So anyway, when I was shot down at our high school blood drive for showing up with a lame red blood cell count and a ratio of far too much plasma, my Mom helped me research some ways to beef up (pun intended) my iron consumption. Not being a huge carnivore, I sought out iron-rich alternatives. I have been on a quest for dried peaches since. They just can not be found. What I did discover was spinach. I love spinach. Love it. One of the best parts about spinach, besides it's high iron content, is how easy it is to incorporate it into your diet. I like it strait up, in my scrambled eggs, sandwiches, salads, pizza, meatballs, tacos, lasagna, even fruit smoothies! Which bring me to the end of this wandering tangent - the recipe for garlicky greens. I would love to tell you about the NPR radio show that I listened to last weekend where garlicky greens were being downed in massive quantities at an eating competition, but it's time to get to the point.
Garlicky greens are just a bunch of spinach cooked down in a pile of butter and garlic. It takes all of two minutes to make them. Easy peasy. They are delicious and nutritious and I could eat them every day. To start, you need a big frying pan and A TON of spinach. One bag of spinach is only enough for about two to three servings. Add some butter or olive oil to the pan and turn it up to medium-high and add a clove or two of crushed/chopped/mashed/pressed garlic. Dump in all the spinach and cook that stuff up until it's shrunken down and wilted. Then add some salt and enjoy... or add it to your meatloaf! Then feel awesome and do your best Popeye flex, because you just ate a ton of spinach! Yummmmm...
Looking for something a bit healthier to eat, I tweaked this recipe last night and it turned out to be really, really good! I actually like this version of meatloaf better than any others that I've tried. It's really juicy and tasty, easy to make, inexpensive, and healthy! Quadruple win! If only it didn't take an hour to cook - by the time it was done I was STARVING! So I ate about half of it :)
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey breast
(All I could find were turkey burgers, so I only bought 1lb, which made for very small slices... which is how I justified eating half the pan...)
1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed well to remove any excess water
( I just cooked up a panful of "garlicky greens" and threw in what looked to be enough...recipe for "garlicky greens" to follow...)
1/2 cup minced onion
1/2 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
(Didn't have this so instead I sprinkled in just a touch of dill and thyme... not really a comparable substitution at all - but it worked out well!)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 ounces grated part-skim mozzarella cheese (1 cup)
(I didn't have mozzarella, so I used muenster and it tasted great.)
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Preheat oven to 375° F. In a large bowl, combine turkey, spinach, onion, bread crumbs, parsley, oregano, egg whites, salt and pepper. Mix well.
Press half of mixture into an 8-inch loaf pan. Top bottom half with cheese. Press remaining turkey mixture over top and flatten. Whisk together ketchup and mustard and spread mixture over prepared meatloaf.
Bake 1 hour, until top is golden and loaf has pulled slightly away from sides of pan. Let stand 10 minutes, then slice and serve. YUMMMMM!
It was twenty years ago today,
Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play
They've been going in and out of style
But they're guaranteed to raise a smile.
So may I introduce to you
The act you've known for all these years,
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band