Saturday, May 19, 2012

Wild Saturday Night

Why do I have a frozen teething toy on my eye, you ask???

After we put Turner to bed, Mike and I made ourselves a couple of cocktails and snuggled down on the couch to catch up on some Modern Family, because that is what hip parents do on Saturday nights and we are cool like that.  Anyway, after a couple of episodes and a couple of drinks, Mike thought it would be fun to pin down my hands and ruthlessly tickle me.  He thinks it is fun to hear me shriek in protest  - sadist.  However I prepared for my get a way; thanks to all my yoga [like my page, please :)], I geared up to kick my leg over my head to get free.  Sadly, due to my inebriation my awesome flexibility backfired and I kneed myself in the eye. Thus, the frozen teething duck on my eye.  I laughed and cried at the same time.  Lesson learned: do not operate mad yoga skills under the influence of Texas Teas. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Spinach Smooties

I watched the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead a few months ago.  It really opened my eyes to the healing powers of food, or more like the poisonous effects fake processed food can have on our bodies.  The premise of the film follows this Australian guy who has an autoimmune disease as he goes on a juice fast while traveling around America.  Through this process he is able to wean himself off the steroids and other multitude of medications he must take just to manage his condition.  Along the way he meets a few regular folks, one lady suffers from horrible migraines, the other guy is a 400+ lb man who also has the same rare auto immune disease. The main character recruits these people into trying out the fast.  It was amazing to watch these very regular middle American people over come the ills that plagued them just by taking out the junk and replacing it with real food.   It is an eye opening film and I highly recommend watching it. 

The film inspired me to get more veggies into my diet.  Lots more.  I best way that works for me, is a spinach smoothie.  In one of these smoothies, I consume enough spinach as a giant salad, and while I like salads and all, who has time or the desire to much through a giant bowl of greens every single day, if not a couple times a day.  I find it is much more enjoyable to sip a fruity concoction that reminds me of vacation.  Who wouldn't like to feel like they're on vacation through out the day.  Me! Me! Me!

Here is how you make it. 
1.  Take your favorite fruit smoothie recipe. 
2.  Add a whole bunch of spinach (I use three big handfuls in mine and I've got big hands, so that is a lot!)  If your scared of the tiny green leaf start out with one hand full of spinach and then work your way up.  I promise you will not taste spinach.  My veggie fearing husband even likes these. 

Here is my specific recipe for most mornings, but again, you can use any smoothie recipe.  Just note that red and purple berries mixed with spinach will turn into a purpley brown color.  It still tastes amazing just don't drink it in a clear glass. 

 Today, I kept it super simple and decided to use just banana and about a cup pineapple juice (I keep frozen concentrate in the freezer).  If I have it on hand I will throw some frozen or fresh fruit in the mix.  It does add even more yumminess, but the banana is such a sweet fruit it can fly solo in this smoothie, too. 
This is the size of ONE of my handfuls. 
I do three of these. 

Throw it all in the blender.  This made a 24 ounce smoothie.  I love the green color...

A word of caution if you have a glass blender. 
Do NOT sick a spoon in the blender while it is running to try to get it to blend better.  Not a good idea, as I've learned from experience. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

How to make Greek Yogurt.

To follow up on my previous post.... yeah, I know it's been a while, but I've been busy working three jobs and I haven't had time to organize my thoughts into a written form in a few months. The five people who are going to read this, give me a break already, Gosh. OK, so I'm a little tense, but like I've said, I've been busy, but not too busy to keep making Greek yogurt. I'm telling you people it is EASY. So here is a how to.... It is going to take longer to write this post than the hands on time to make the yogurt.

Your tools.  8 Cups of Milk (makes 4 cups/32 oz of yogurt),  A couple table spoons of your favorite yogurt containing live cultures, a thermometer, a double boiler, or just two largish pots that fit inside one another, a towel, some tongs.

 While holding the smaller pot inside the bigger pot fill the bigger pot til water comes up half way of the smaller pot.  Make sure you are holding the smaller pot down.

Then take the pots to the cook top throw your utensils in the water and invert the smaller one over the big one and turn the heat on high.  Let the water come to a boil.  You are sterilizing everything so all that is growing is the good bacteria you want and none of the skanky ones.

While waiting on your water to boil,  take two table spoons, only two table spoons more is not better here, of your favorite yogurt and mix it with some milk in a bowl and leave it alone.

After your water is boiling for a minute carefully flip the smaller pot into the bigger one and pour your 8 cups of milk into the pot. 

You are going to get a facial from this.

Now heat the milk til it reaches a steamy 185 degrees.  Again, another step in killing all the bad bacteria.  It takes about 10 -15 min to reach this temp.  I usually do this as I'm making dinner, but you could easily put a little of the left over yogurt on your face to round out the facial you began with the steam bath.  I may try that next time...

Once you've sterilized your milk, its time to cool it down to a temp the probiotics will like.
There are two methods.

1. let it sit on your counter and
wait (it takes about an hour)
 2.  stick it in the sink full of
 cool water (about 10min). 

When you get to 100 degrees, it is time to add the yogurt milk combo that has been hanging out and let the party start.

Now, stick a lid on your pot and wrap it up in your towel.
 Turn on your oven light.  This will provide just enough heat to keep the probiotic party poppin.

Tuck your cozy cultures in the oven for 8-10 hours (i.e. over night).
In the morning you will have plain yogurt.  You can stick this straight in the fridge if you want and enjoy when cool.  We are making Greek yogurt, though.  Thick, wonderful creamy goodness.

Anyways, on to the Greek part of Greek Yogurt....
You can forget all the above steps and just use your favorite store bought yogurt, if you would like.    

Your tools:  You need a large bowl, a colander,  and some paper towels or cheese cloth

Line the colander with the paper towels or cheese cloth and put the colander over the bowl.

Now, pour or spoon your yogurt into the lined colander.

Then cover, put in the refrigerator for a 6-8 hours (i.e while your at work) and then you have Geek Yogurt.

Here is the whey.  Lots of uses for this in things like bread making etc. but I'm not going to get into that. 

Spoon your yogurt into a container.   Sometimes, at this point, I will stir a little milk back into the yogurt if it got too thick in the straining process.  I hear Greek Yogurt will last in the fridge 3-4 weeks, but I always eat mine way faster than that.  Remember to save a couple of table spoons so you can make your next batch.

Now, sweeten with some honey or fruit preserves or use in place of sour cream.  Enjoy and never pay those ridiculous prices for Greek Yogurt ever again.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Homemade Yogurt

I just made yogurt!  Greek Yogurt at that!  I'm patting myself on the back because up until last week I didn't even think you could make yogurt in your kitchen let alone the super indulgent and expensive Greek yogurt that is all the rage these days.  Just to let everyone know, those Greek Yogurt makers are totally ripping everyone off.  I'm super excited because we eat a 32oz tub or more of yogurt a week.  This skill will save me so much money.
While it took some time, it really took little effort.  Its one of those projects you have going on when you are home doing other projects, like laundry and catching up on your shows. Also, if you make it in the crock pot and time it right it really makes it's self while your are sleeping.  Something I will try next time.   

Lastly there are some great by-products produced from this process.
I've read that the left over whey is supposed to make your homemade bread super soft.  I cannot wait to test this out as I've been struggling with my bread.  Also, if you are looking for a great skin treatment, you can use the little bit of yogurt that clung to the paper towel during straining as a skin softening mask (something I'm doing right now:).   I've killed three birds with 1/2 gallon of milk today! 

Although, I read through several different regular and Greek recipes first(Thank You Google).  This is the recipe I used    I may re-post later showing the few tweaks I made after I make multiple successful batches, but for now I will give this blogger all the credit. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I think my brain just exploded a little bit.

After about 30 minutes after I laid Turner down for her nap I hear, "Mommy I TeeTee!  Mommy I TeeTee!"  We've been working on potty training for the last couple of weeks now but she has not been the best about telling me when she needs to go. She is really just going when I remind her to sit on the potty.  Frankly, I'm the one that is doing all the work, so it was possibly good news that she is telling me she needs to go.  I run into her room and the diaper is still dry so we jump out of bed and run to the potty only to sit there for 10 minutes before the smallest trickle comes out.  We still jump up and down and get a sticker and all that other positive reinforcement stuff even though this is an obvious ploy to get out of nap time.  As we are finishing up in the bathroom, but before I put Turner back in a diaper Mike calls me.  Knowing he probably needs something, I answer and let Turner run off still super excited she TeeTee'd in the potty.
Mike is needing me to email him a work form and is walking me through the process while T is running crazily through the house shrilly screaming at the top of her lungs dumping her toys. It is a state of delirium she reaches when she is tired and can be quite comical, but not so much today.  I'm doing my best to stay focused on helping Mike and tune the chaos out.  Bad Idea.  As I'm about to wrap up with Mike, Turner suddenly stops her manic frenzy on my kitchen rug and says "Poopoo mommy"  with a very serious look on her face; and I say, "RUN!!!, Run to the potty," but it is too late! Ooooh maaaan!(Think Dora The Explorer's Swiper) I have conditioned myself to say this when we have an accident instead of the flow of expletives I would like to say.  Some book said that was not a good idea ;)

Anyways, while still on the phone, I start to take T to the bathroom to get her cleaned up with the intent of cleaning up her other mess in a minute when I see Sunshine sniffing the deposit.  I yell at Sunshine, "NO!  GET BACK!"  Yet again, too late.  Turner's poop disappeared.  UGH!!!  Nastiness! The color drained from my face and had to fight to hold back the vomit.  I didn't need to add to the mess.

 My sweet husband hearing all of this on the other end of the phone said "Well at least you have less to clean up"
Oh dear....what a day!  I threw Sunshine with a big rawhide bone in the back yard, cleaned up Turner and put a diaper on her and put her back in bed to much protest while I calm down and brace myself for the next curve ball.   I guess I will go get Turner out of her bed since she never did fall asleep.  Pray for us.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Bite

Today was the day Turner and I were going to get back in the swing of our routine of going to the gym in the morning followed by lots of other productive activities in the afternoon.  We had been quarantined for the last two weeks with hand foot and mouth disease and it was finally time to rejoin life before I went crazy!  Well, it may have been too late. 

The morning started with the normal herding of my daughter through breakfast and getting dressed and trying to keep her out of too much trouble while I try to get dressed.  Today was also in the realm of normal when I took away some item that was hazardous and she bit me in protest!  She bit me hard!  As I reached to take what ever it was (I don't remember) out of her mouth she grabbed my hand an clamped down like a pit bull.  I think she even shook her head a little with rage like an animal does when they are going in for the kill.  OUCH plus a few expletives!!!! 

She has left me with bite marks on numerous occasions and my typical response is to take her straight to time out.  Well, obviously she was not getting the hint about not biting!  I've been talking to my other mommy friends about my daughter's biting and they all tell me stories of how they or someone they knew bit their kid back and then the kid never bit again.  Today was the day I snapped and I became one of those women who bit their child.  I bit her pretty hard, too.  I wanted her to cry and to know how much it hurts in hopes that my child is empathetic and if she understood what she was doing then she would stop.  This was my logic in the split second before I decided to clamp down on my daughters arm like a crazy person. 

Oh, the look she gave me  before she let out a little whimper was just awful!  She was so confused. Why was Mommy was hurting her?  My heart completely broke.   She looked at her arm for a second and I told her, "See, this is why we don't bite.  It hurts."  She whined for a second and then got up to go play like nothing happened.  The worst part is I left bite marks and she didn't seem to even feel it.   

I am mortified and it may not have taught her any kind of lesson. I feel like all I did was add to the collective memories that Turner will use against me when she is a teenager.  Ugh...What an awful experience and it seemed to punish me still more than it punished her.  It is like when my parents used to say, "This is going to hurt me a lot more than it will hurt you," before they would spank me, but I am not a spanker!!! 

Needless to say, we didn't go to the gym today.  I was afraid that they would report me for child abuse.  Hopefully there will be a day when it doesn't feel like the stars have to align in order for us to leave the house and until then I will never bite my child again. 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Night I was Arrested

Gasp!!! If you know me very well, I know you are gasping as you read the title of my blog. Well it is true, and with a Felony at that! It makes for an incredible story that must be documented....

Where should I start? Lets see, back in 2003 my future husband and I were remodeling our first house in The Colony. After work I went to the house, changed and went for a run and then proceeded to sand all the door jams in our new/old home with an electric sander. At about midnight, exhausted, covered in sweat and saw dust I drove home to my apartment in Denton. I was so tired and could not wait to get into the shower when I saw red and blue lights in my rear view mirror. Apparently, I had been a little too anxious to get home. The officer routinely took my license and insurance and went back to his car. I must have dozed off for a little while, but it sure seemed to take him a long time with my info. Whatever, I just want to take a shower and go to bed. I will deal with the ticket tomorrow.

When the officer came back to my window he said, "Miss Hill there is a warrant out for your arrest and I need you to step out of the car".

"What," I screeched!!!!

"Why!" I was very awake now! I looked in my rear view mirror an there were now like three cop cars behind me. What is going on. This is so surreal.

The officer said there was a warrant out for my arrest for theft by check in Hockley county. What?! I had taken care of all that stuff a long time ago...

Ok, so I guess I need to go back a little farther... In may of 2001 I met a high school friend and we talked a long time in the parking lot and after exchanging email addresses, etc., I ended up leaving my wallet/day timer/container of all my valid information (i.e. checkbook, social security card, DL, etc.) on the roof of my car when I drove off. Did I say I was 18 at the time and this "friend" was a long time crush... I didn't exactly have all my wits about me.... anyway someone picked up my wallet/day timer/container of all valuable information out of the middle of 34th Street in Lubbock TX and waited an entire year before starting to write checks with my long since canceled checkbook. I told the bank and the Lubbock Police department what had happened, but I still started getting letters from all kinds of places that I had written and insufficient check and with every single merchant, I would have to go get some affidavit notarized saying that I did not write those checks. It was down right annoying. Especially when I would see that the checks were for like $32 at sonic... Who spends $30 at sonic and who writes a check?! Ugh.... I became really good friends with the notary at my bank. I swear I was in there every week.

Eventually the letters stopped coming, or so I thought. but it turns out they could no longer find me, because I was in the season of a college student's life where I moved every six months and in my very independent mind, I did not feel it was necessary to keep my parents address as my permanent address because I would not be moving back there till hell froze over... I was so young and so arrogant.... Anyways it turns out the perp did not only write checks in Lubbock County, but they traveled to the next county and wrote checks in Hockley county, but those letters never found me and Hockley county put a warrant out for my arrest for Theft by Check.

So, back to the officer outside my car door telling me he has to arrest me... I was in disbelief! I got out of the car and there were a whole slew of other cop cars that had pulled up for back up. They were about to arrest the biggest baddest hot check writer of the decade! I was completely numb as the female officer frisked me and handcuffed me! I could not believe this was happening to me - the most by the book person any one knows. I don't even lie well. I have a conscience bigger than George Washington's and here I am getting arrested. My parents will be mortified. Once in the back of the officers car behind his plate glass partition, I chuckle through my tears that this will make a funny story someday... Then my phone rang in my purse in the front seat of the car. It was Mike calling to see if I had made it home OK as I usually called him to let him know I made it home. The officer kindly answered the phone and told Mike what was going on, where I was going, and how much my bond was so Mike could start working on getting me out. It certainly pays to use your "yes sirs and ma'am" that officer did not have to talk to Mike and could have just let me go through the system like any other criminal and wait for my one phone call.

As kind as the officer was, he still had to do his job so I still got thrown into the drunk tank full of other neredowells. Most were sitting out tickets, or drunk, but there was one girl in there accused of murder. Oh dear! I pulled my big girl orange pants up and prepared for the worst. There were several girls in this 12x12 concrete room with a drain in the center and a not so private toilet who had been in this room for days awaiting transfer to general population. They were hoarding toilet paper as cushions because there were no beds and everyone was sleeping on the concrete floor! Oh dear! My white bred Pollyanna follow the rules ass was not prepared for this. How long was I going to have to be in here???

Not for long, thank goodness.. Mike was able to act quickly and bail me out. According to Michael I was only in the jail cell for 30 minutes, but it felt like 10 hours. I cried as they were releasing me. The bailiff said your not supposed to cry as you are being released from jail. I said only if you were never supposed to be in here in the first place.

Mike took me home and I took the longest shower ever.

With a few phone calls and another trip to the notary, all the charges were dropped and I have been lucky to have had no other issues with identy theft. Knock on wood....

I'm still waiting for this to become a funny story. I guess it is funny to watch folks gasp and their eyes go wide with shock to hear that I had been arrested. It is also funny to hear Mike say he will never bail me out of jail again.

I did learn a few valuable lessons about carrying so much information with me. I never carry a check book and I check my credit report often. I do not wish this story on anyone.