I Love Potatoes!!!

I have just got to post this potato that I found the other day in a big bag.  I was peeling potatoes for a potato salad and I just didn’t have the heart to peel this one.  It was so cute that I had to keep it.

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I am still on my diet and still losing the pounds.  I went off my diet for a few weekends and gained a few pounds back.  I am back on my diet and have lost all the pounds I gained plus a few more so I can’t complain about that.  Thought I would post some of the meals I have been cooking.  Not all of these are diet friendly so the portions are very important if dieting.  I am also still feeding one big, young hungry boy and so I usually cook in servings of 4 right now.  In a few months we will be empty nesters and I will only be cooking for 2 at that time.  Here are a few of the meals that I have been cooking….

Fettuccine Alfredo with Imitation Crab, Salad and Garlic Sticks (I just bought the low calorie Alfredo for this and mixed it with some fettuccine and cut up some imitation crab.  I avoided the garlic sticks altogether.)

Pulled Pork Enchiladas, Pinto Beans, Corn on the Cob (I used the leftover meat from July 4th for this.  I softened the corn tortillas, put some of the pulled pork in a tortillas and some shredded Monterey Jack cheese and rolled it up.  I used 2 cans of red enchilada sauce.  Poured a little sauce in the bottom of a 13×9 dish and put the rolled up enchiladas in.  Topped the whole thing with more enchilada sauce and sprinkled more cheese on top.  Covered it with foil and baked it for about 30 minutes at 350F.  This is my basic enchilada recipe.  I will use any leftover meat to make enchiladas.  If I have leftover chicken or turkey I will use green enchilada sauce instead of red.)

Smoked Turkey Legs, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, and Broccoli (I skipped the mashed potatoes and gravy but made lots for everyone else.  I cooked up 2 smoked turkey legs and it was enough for 3 people with leftovers.  I have been making sandwiches with the leftover smoked turkey this week.)

Tamales, Mexican Beans, cornbread(I buy the frozen tamales.  I can’t seem to be able to find the homemade kind around here. I also made up a big skillet of cornbread for hubby but I didn’t eat any.)

Blackened Tilapia, Green Beans, Salad (I bought a big 2 pound package of frozen tilapia fillets the other day.  I like buying fish in fillets because I can take out as many fillets as I want.  In my case it will be 4 fillets.  I bought a small jar of blackened seasoning and will sprinkle that over each fillet and cook it in a skillet.  Well, second thought I am going to have to use 6 fillets as they are quite small but I can’t fit it in a skillet so I am going to bake them.)

Slow Cooker Cornish Game Hens, Peas and Salad (I have never cooked this before but I need to do something with the 2 cornish game hens that I have in the freezer.  I will tell you if it turned out good or not.)

Slow Cooker Dijon Chicken, Rice, Mixed Veggies

Homemade Pizza (I will probably eat 2 pieces)

Teriyaki Salmon, Rice, Green Beans (I bought a big bag of salmon fillets and I have 4 fillets left so I thought this would be a good way to use them up.  I like to marinade the salmon in Veri Veri Teriyaki.  It is good stuff!  I like the salmon grilled if I can talk hubby into grilling it for me.  If not then I just pan fry it or it could even be baked in the oven.)

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Just a short update

4th of July

I have been doing well on my diet.  I have lost almost 11 pounds.  I have been eating Special K Chocolately Strawberry Cereal for breakfast.  It is so good and it satisfies my chocolate cravings.  I also enjoy a cup of Teavana tea in the mornings while sitting out on the patio.  My favorite teas right now are Youthberry and Wild Orange Blossom Herbal Tea.  For lunch I have been eating a Lean Cuisine frozen dinner.  They are low in calories and they are tasty too.   On this diet I can snack around on just about any fruit or vegetable.  I can eat as much as I want of them.  Luckily it is summertime and there is plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to choose from.  Lately I have been eating watermelon.  I have been fixing about the same main dishes for my family for dinner.  I eat a very small portion of meat.  Then I add a salad with low fat dressing or I stir fry up some vegetables to go along with it.  I stay away from the potato salads, mashed potatoes, baked beans etc. that my family generally loves.  I cook it for them but I just don’t eat it.

Tonight I am cooking my Chicken Fried Steak and I am going to try not to put much gravy on it.  Then I will fix myself a salad.  Everyone will eat some corn on the cob and the others will enjoy some baked beans.  On the 4th of July I am cooking Slow Cooker Texas Pulled Pork and Gourmet Potato Salad.  Yumm-O  I will have to be careful about my portions here though.  I am also baking Patriotic Jello Cookies.  I just might try one of those just to see how they taste.  Friday night we will probably have leftovers as we are having company coming in on Friday night.  Saturday night I am cooking Baked Spaghetti, tossed salad and garlic bread for our company.  I am going to make the Baked Spaghetti ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator.  I will bake it an hour before we want to eat.  This way I won’t be spending all my time in the kitchen when our company is here and I can visit.  Sunday they are leaving so Sunday evening we will probably be eating leftovers again.  Actually the Baked Spaghetti tastes better the next day.  All those wonderful flavors seem to be even more enhanced.

I hope everyone has a happy and safe 4th of July.  I will post a few updates here and there of my weight loss progress.  I have come across some good family meals that are diet friendly and I will post those later.

Dieting…..that four letter word

Soooo, I have decided to join Weight Watchers and drop some unwanted pounds.  My menus are going to change to accommodate my diet.  I won’t be posting monthly menus until I have lost my target amount of pounds.  I will from time to time post meals that I am cooking.  Also starting in August, we will be empty nesters and the meals I cook will be smaller in portions to just accommodate the two of us.

On the meals I cook,  I will start adding the WW points to each recipe.  I know this summer I will be loading up on watermelon which is 0 points.  🙂  I LOVE watermelon!!

So starting in June I will no longer be posting my monthly menus.

Oyster Fry

I went to an oyster fry in Frederick, Oklahoma yesterday.  I had never been in Frederick before.  It was a nice small town.  I think the thing that impressed me the most about it was how quiet it was.

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As we were leaving Texas there were lots of pump jacks working on pumping lots of oil.  I hadn’t seen that many pump jacks since I was out in West Texas.  There were quite a few here.

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Then we arrived in the small town of Frederick, Oklahoma.  The buildings in the downtown area were very old with lots of character.  One particular building, the Ramona Theater, had even more character.

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The town was restoring this little theater.  I enjoyed the little tour I got of the theater and took in some of the history of it.  It was built in 1929.  Evidently it was suppose to be haunted.  Several other people on the tour claimed they “felt something” but I didn’t.  A ghost hunting team had done an investigation here at one time.

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And what town isn’t complete with it’s own courthouse?  Actually this is the county courthouse and I think it is the largest building in the town.

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The high school was really big for a small town and I am guessing a lot of students from the surrounding area attended here.  Looks like they have a really good football team too.

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Loved browsing the shops and the crafts fair before the oyster fry started.  I just had to buy some homemade soaps.  I love homemade soaps so I stocked up on some goat’s milk soap.  Then it was on to the oyster fry.  We had worked up an appetite from all that walking.

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The oyster fry was held at a local elementary school.  Chefs fried the oysters outside.  It was a cold day to be cooking outside.  Lots and lots of oysters were being cooked up.

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We went inside the school and went to the cafeteria where we sat down to eat oysters.  You could have these raw if you preferred but most people ate them fried.  They were excellent.  If you are interested in attending, they have this every year the last Saturday in February.  This may be something I may have to attend every year!

Feelin’ Like Andrew Zimmern

I have been traveling a lot lately and one of the things I do enjoy is trying out the local cuisine.  My first stop was in Galveston, Texas.  Now to be honest with you I love seafood and I had been dreaming of an oyster poor boy way back since last September.  So the first thing I did upon arrival in Galveston was to drive down the Seawall and find the restaurant that I think might serve up an oyster poor boy.  We stopped at a restaurant called “Fishtails” across from the new pleasure pier that is being built.  I ordered the most wonderful oyster poor boy and I savored every morsel!

oyster poorboy

 The next day we got on our ship and began our voyage to Honduras, Belize and Mexico.  

Our first stop was in Honduras.  It was a cold, foggy, rainy day when we first arrived.  The beautiful green mountains were draped in a white mist.


The rain clouds slowly drifted away and we took a bus to a pretty little beach.  While we were there we had lunch on the beach.

 
While you may think that hamburgers are more American than anything else, what was different was the red beans and rice served with it.  It didn’t taste at all like the Cajun red beans and rice.  It had a sweet taste to it.  It was really good!  We  also had a small piece of chicken dipped in a sweet barbeque sauce.  

In Belize we didn’t have time to stop and eat.  I really wanted to try some conch.  I have never eaten it before, maybe next time!

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I did have time to do a little shopping.  I love coffee.  I saw this bag of coffee beans and just had to pick it up.  I have been drinking this since we got back.  I grind up the coffee beans fresh every morning.  Starbucks move over!  The coffee in Belize is wonderful!

Then it was on to Cozumel, where we docked there early the next morning.

From Cozumel we got on another boat and went to Playa Del Carmen.  I think this is the most beautiful beach I have ever seen.  I could have stayed here for the rest of the vacation!

In Playa Del Carmen we got on a bus and went to Xel-Ha.  It is a beautiful little place with a huge lagoon that is wonderful for swimming and snorkeling.  There are lots of underwater caves to explore and cenotes to swim in too.

The water was so clear that you could see right through it.  Snorkeling wasn’t really necessary!  You could get in the water and swim with all the animals that were swimming in the lagoon like dolphins, stingray (gulp!) and there were some  Beluga whales here too!

Mexico isn’t Mexico without a few iguanas hanging around.  Mexicans actually eat these things.  They say it tastes like chicken and NO I did not eat one!!

There were lots of Macaws and Toucans hanging around too.  They are such beautiful birds!

With all that swimming and sun it is easy to build up an appetite!  We stopped and ate lunch in Xel-Ha.  The front part of my plate is Fish Vera Cruz.  I just couldn’t seem to get enough seafood!!  Going clockwise from the fish is a sausage and bean dish.  I forgot what it was called but it was delicious!  Next was a poblano and sour cream dish.  This dish was yummy and I may try to make this one at home sometime.  Next to that is Ceviche which is raw fish.  Normally, I do not eat anything RAW in foreign countries but I do like Ceviche!  I survived!  Try it at least once.  If you don’t, you won’t know what you are missing!  Then next to the Ceviche is the old stand by of refried beans.  Yup, you also see a Margarita on the rocks!  After all, it is vacation time!

And then of course, to top it off I had some flan.  Oh was it wonderful!  The sugar and vanilla that is in Mexico tastes so different from what we have here in the US.  The flavors are just wonderful!  BTW, I do use Mexican vanilla in all my recipes.  Just can’t bet it!!

The Royal Treatment

I have been gone. I have been gone a long time. I have been gone on a much needed vacation. I have been gone on a very refreshing and wonderful cruise. If you have never gone on a cruise, I suggest you try one some day. We certainly got the royal treatment and traveled to some fantastic places.

The food on the cruise was absolutely superb! Now it is diet time for me—only down side of indulging. I wanted to take away some of the wonderful dining experiences with me so I purchased one of the cookbooks offered on the cruise.

Each dish was arranged artfully just like in the photos and brought to the table. I would have loved to have observed how they are able to feed so many people in the galley.

Throughout the book the chefs are featured who created each dish. There is a picture of the chef and a little bit about where he is from and his experience. I found it interesting that all the chefs were men!

One evening I ordered this Caprese Salad. It was delicious and looked just as beautiful as it does in this picture.

This New England Clam Chowder was exquisite!

I ate lots and lots of seafood while on the cruise. Getting truly fresh seafood is something I can’t get where I live. I miss it so much. This lobster and shrimp fit the bill and satisfied my seafood craving.

Then of course there were the wonderful desserts. I could not resist them.

In the coming days I hope to try out a few of these recipes to bring back some memories of our cruise.

Green Eggs and Ham

Today is Dr. Seuss’s birthday.  Everywhere you look there is something about Dr. Seuss today.  The new movie, “The Lorax” is coming out in theaters today.  Oh, how I love the story of the Lorax, Truffula trees and the Once-ler.  I read that story this week to my students and had some fun activities about conservation.  All this Dr. Seuss talk has made me hungry for green eggs and ham for breakfast!  So I decided to make just that!

Here is a link to Martha Stewart’s recipe for green eggs and ham.   Even though the thought of eating green eggs does not sound very appetizing, it is great fun for children!

Pancake Festival !!!!

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It’s big.  It’s huge.  It’s tradition.  It’s the pancake festival that our town has every year, the last Saturday of January.  I think the whole town eats pancakes for breakfast, or lunch if you arrive later or even dinner if you are the late late riser.

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There are lots and lots of people lined up waiting to get their pancakes.  There are also lots and lots of chefs cooking up pancakes.

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The “Batter Boyz” are very important to the whole process. They mix up all the batter. Then they carry the batter in pitchers to the chefs.

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There was lots and lots of pancake mix. Enough to feed an army or maybe the Air Force, Navy and Marines too!! Which reminds me.

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We sat across from the two nicest Marines as we were eating our pancakes. It is nice to sit down to eat with people you don’t know. By the end of the meal, you have gotten to know someone new!

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Then we have to go back for seconds. Chefs are still cooking pancakes, lots of pancakes!!

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And we have to get sausage. We just have to have sausage with our pancakes!! Gotta love those pancakes! Gotta love tradition!

These boots are made for walkin’

Leddy Sign

ML Leddy is a unique boot store located in San Angelo, Texas.  They aren’t like any other boot store.  They make boots by hand, the old fashioned way and probably it is the best way.  This part of Texas has lots of ranches and lots of cowboys.  It isn’t unusual to see a cowboy at the local Walmart in his boots, spurs and chaps.  You can hear him walking down the aisle with the clink, clink of his spurs.  You can smell him coming a mile away because needless to say, he smells like his horse but then I guess all cowboys do.

This is the sign they have hanging inside the area where the boots are made.  It truly is a handmade Texas legend.  ML Leddy started his boot making back in 1922.  Boots have been made here for presidents, rock stars, and everyday cowboys.  All boots that have been made are recorded in their history book.

Beverly Allen, the granddaughter of ML Leddy, showed us around the boot shop and told us all about how they made boots.  I saw this pair of cactus boots and just had to get a picture of them.  This pair was in the shop for repair.  They were getting re-soled.  Each boot is custom fitted to the customer.  The design put on the outside of the boot is also custom designed.  She picked up another boot and said, “Oh, this boot was won by this cowboy at a rodeo.”  Etched on the outside of the boot was the rodeo and year.  Each boot has a story to tell about the owner.  I looked at another boot that had a purple horned toad on it and yet another one with an orange longhorn.  If only these boots could talk, what stories would they tell?

These are the forms used in making the boots.  The leather is fitted around the forms.  The table in front of the forms displays some of the tools used to make the boots.

This is where the toe builder sits.  He has been building the toes of boots for 38 years.  Nine boots are completed a day.  It takes 10-12 months for a boot to be completed.

They also make custom made saddles.  The saddle shop is located in the stockyards in Ft. Worth, Texas.  It takes about 1 1/2 to 2 years for a saddle to be finished.  Someone (hmmm….I wonder who?) commissioned ML Leddy to make 2 saddles for the 2 teams playing in Cowboy Stadium for the Super Bowl last year.  Beverly Allen said Dan Rooney, owner of the Steelers, called them up himself to say it was the best gift he had ever gotten.

Talk about a custom made saddle, this one has a built in radio!!  You can see it under the horn of the saddle.  This particular saddle was made back in the 1940’s.  Just look at the design on the saddle and it is all handmade!

So if you ever happen to be in San Angelo, stop by ML Leddy and take a look at their boots.  You will get to see a very unique part of west Texas.  It is the kind of legends that Texas is made of!!

Here is their website:  ML Leddy’s