Wednesday, August 29

2 Low Cal Veg Brkfst Sandwiches Review

Last visit to Target
I saw these low calorie breakfast sandwiches.
Both vegetarian, neither vegan.

I never use to be a fan of frozen foods
or anything packaged,
because of the sodium, preservatives and frankly the taste.
I like homemade,
with counting calories
I like pre-packaged serving sizes.

Sooooo I bought these and tried them both.
My favorite HANDS DOWN
is the Morning Star
"sausage", egg & cheese biscuits.
It has the texture and taste of a homemade
southern biscuit and the filling taste like really
good sausage gravy.
They are a bit high on the calories - 270
for what I like to have at breakfast time,
so I split mine w/ our parrot Bandit.
And half was perfect.
Hubby also had one, we had these
this past Sunday morning
and he also gave it a thumbs up! :-)

Sadly the Vitalicious egg & cheese on 
whole wheat english muffin for
only 150 calories was not that good.
First of all, the cooking instructions
is to wrap in paper towel in microwave
for so many seconds, then wait, then turn over
then cook some more.
Well the paper towel was stuck on to the sandwich
and it was kind of messy!
There was NO taste!
Completely tasteless.
I loaded it with sea salt & pepper
and still it tasted like cardboard,
so out came the hot sauce.
I drenched it in hot sauce and then it was
edible. Sigh. 
Now I think I know why they were on clearance. :-O

Back to the Morning Star brand.
For vegetarian frozen foods
these have become our favorites.
We have loved all of their products.


Monday, August 27

Fall Decorating

I tried & tried & tried....
     to wait until after Labor day to Fall decorate...
           but I just couldn't resist once I packed up the summer/4th/americana decor.

So all I opened was one crate of fall/Thanksgiving stuff but kept the little pilgrims and turkeys packed away (besides I am going to give those away to my little buddy the Kauffman, I don't like having Turkeys around since we don't eat them anymore, I would rather have acorns and squirrels.) And I quickly figured out all my candy corn decorating items are in one of the numerous Halloween crates/boxes in the attic. :-/


Sunday, August 26

Putting Away Summer - 4th decor

I have Summer - Patriotic decor through out
my house, but I wanted to just share
a few pics of my Longaberger Summer 
items in the dining room 
before they get packed away.

I have been buying Longaberger for 
a very long time.

I am ready to decorate for Fall! :-)


Saturday, August 25

The Best Gift

On the first week of January 2012
     I noticed many people on Facebook signing up
           and sharing that they signed up to read the Bible every day.

                  I wanted to do it also. So the link took me to Bible Gateway.
                        I signed up and ever since then, every night before bed, I read the scriptures.

Reading the Bible in context without reading a scripture thrown here or there to back up a point is a completely different experience. My whole outlook has changed. I can feel myself changing mentally. It was the best gift I could have ever given myself.

So this year on Thanksgiving when we sit around the table and say what we are thankful for this year, this will be #1 on my list!


Friday, August 24

New Pizza Pan

A piece of new Longaberger Flameware, the Pizza Pan came in my kit.
I couldn't wait to begin using it!
For years now, a Pampered Chef Pizza Stone has been in my oven, used weekly by my husband. He is a pizza fanatic! His favorite is the frozen California Pizza Kitchen 5 cheese.
I have loved the Pampered Chef stones, however not being able to wash them with soapy water always freaked me out!

So insert the new Longaberger Flameware Pizza Pan that not only I can keep in my oven for pizzas, but we can put it on our outdoor grill to make grilled pizzas and it can be put on a stovetop burner to use as a griddle and I can wash it with soap and water or throw it in the dishwasher!!!! How cool is that????
So YES I was sooooo excited to begin using it.

You can order it in different colors, but the one in my kit was ebony aka black.
Nice color. Perfect for the grill. Also included in my kit was a package of Longaberger pizza crust mix.

But anyway.... first use.... we made 2 mini pizzas and one medium one out of the 1 pizza dough mix from Longaberger on the outdoor grill!
It was good!!!! Really good, and only took 7-10 minutes grilling time. We had never had pizza cooked on our grill before.

Second time using the pan we baked it in our oven and used a store bought pizza dough found next to cookies and pie crusts. You just unrolled it and you bake it. I found it a tad greasy (I am searching for a homemade low calorie one.) This time we made one big pizza.
It was really, really good. We did toppings of an italian cheese blend, vegan salami, artichoke hearts and black olives.

Third time (tonight) we used it on the stove top and made quesadillas. It was really nice to have that big pan as a griddle and we didn't use any oil. It heats a nice even consistent. We were saying to each other how nice it will be to make eggs and potatoes on it.

Long story short, We are loving this new Flameware Pizza Pan. We think you would love it too.


Vegan recipes?

I was thinking for a new reader to my blog, it might seem weird on why some recipes are vegan and some are not. So let me explain. . .

Our adult daughter is a straight edge vegan who is also gluten free. She has been a straight edge vegan for about 5 years now and gluten free for the last several years. She currently manages a vegan gluten free bakery in Seattle. She is very into animal rights and volunteered for PETA for years before working for them briefly as a demo coordinator. Our daughter will spend her days off volunteering at local animal sanctuaries and she will take parts in protests ie fur. She is our little animal lover. :-)

Hubby and I are pescatarian (fish & shellfish eating vegetarians) for health reasons only. I did eat completely vegan for a year and a half several years ago and years before that for about a year. Hubby and I love to eat at vegan restaurants with our daughter and my mother. Our most favorite is the TeaPot in Bellevue, WA.

My mother is a vegetarian.

And the rest of our family are all meat eaters.

So thats why you will see a variety of vegan or vegetarian recipes.


Vegan Banana Bread

I use to have this recipe
on the blog but removed
all the recipes I scrapbooked
and made into a book that time.

Last night I had some very ripe bananas
so I whipped this up.
It's soooooo easy and 
my whole house smelled good.
And remember bananas are naturally a binder,
no need for eggs.

1 1/2 cups sugar 
(I used to use raw, 
now I use organic)
1/2 cup soy margarine
(I still use earth balance,
but not the soy one)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
5 ripe mashed bananas

Cream sugar & margarine together.
Add bananas,
and all dry ingredients.
Pour into a greased or PAM
loaf pan (I prefer a Longaberger one) :-)
Bake at 350 for 70 min
Check if done, might need 10 min more.

*** If you use white flour, then only use 4 bananas***


Thursday, August 23

Hmm.... the coffee club

I am very honest, almost to a fault.
If I like something, you will know it and if I don't well you will know that too.

Upon signing back up w/ Longaberger they now have a coffee club. Remember Gevalia? It reminded me of that. Fresh coffee coming to your door every month.
Anyway.... I was excited to try the coffee because if I liked it I would sign up for me plus promote it.
So when my kit came, it included 3 ready pre-measured bags of regular Arabica ground coffee to try or/and take to home shows to brew and share. Longaberger promoted that it was different because it was roasted in small batches and bagged in 1/2 lb bags to keep it fresh.

One problem:
I didn't have a regular coffee maker! :-O
When our kitchen-aid coffee maker passed away we jumped ship to the Keurig. Our first Keurig was a gift at Christmas one year from hubby's family to hubby, when they heard our coffee maker was dying and didn't have much longer to live. WE LOVED IT!!!! I bragged the Keurig all over town until within less than a year it died! Now 3 Keurig's later (this time we went with the Cuisinart brand and so far knock on wood.) Anyway.... all we have are K-cups!!! If we aren't at Starbucks we are at home living "la vida loca" with our K-cups coffee & teas. I was slightly puzzled that in this day & age Longaberger wouldn't have gone straight to K-cups.

Anywho.... so guess who bought a coffee maker today?
Meeeeeeeeee thats who!
An old fashioned Mr. Coffee on sale at Macy's for $23.99 :-D

So I couldn't wait to get home and try this Longaberger coffee!!!!




Is it just me?

I yell for hubby, "Taste this." As I pour him a cup.
He taste it, swirls it around. Goes all wine testing on it.
I said, "Well????"

Oh No! He said exactly what I was thinking.

"If you can't say anything nice, don't say it at all." :-O

Maybe they can come out with some teas?


low calorie chocolate smoothie - shake

My mom told me about this,
and I don't know if she just
made it up, or got it from Dr. Oz
or what... but I am loving it!
It's just perfect.

1 cup light chocolate soy milk
1/2 frozen banana
6 ice cubes

Blend in blender or vita-mix until smooth

Only 140 calories! :-D


Wednesday, August 22

small fill it hurricane

My Longaberger kit arrived!!!
       And what I really, really, really LOVE it this candle holder...

Now mind you...
I have seen this for months.
In various flyers and catalogues and 
I just kind of shrugged my shoulders,
like whatever... "I need another candle
holder like I need another dog in the house!" :-O

So when I saw one was coming in my kit,
I was like, Eh Okay.

It is the coolest ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My most favorite thing in the kit!!!!!!

This is what I did with mine:
Just for the time being.
I love cherries & checks,
so I added a few plastic cherries and some checked ribbon.

See the black under the candle?
That is a metal disk w/ a lip all the way around
and it just lifts out.
So its easy peasy for change up!

Oh man... imagine this fall with
acorns or leaves or my choice --> candy corn! :-)
Then with Christmas...
you could add:
little bells, ornaments or my choice --> Hershey Kisses!
See how it always ends up w/ food with me? LOL! :-D

Sooooo this is the SMALL size 
and you know I gotta get the medium one next.
Oh YES I do! :-D

If you want one too
here you go, click --> HERE
It is only $29!
And look how they show it as a vase without the disk.


A Kauffman Day

Me and my little buddy the Kauffman yesterday
     usually we shop till we drop but this time
         we had lunch at Starbucks and then went and
               saw Snow White & the Huntsmen at the low budge theater.
                      It was really good. :-)

The little rat!
Sitting next to me w/ that huge
bucket of buttery goodness
driving me crazy!

A small un-buttered movie theater popcorn
is 500 calories. I stay faaaaaaar away from it! :-O

Aww... isn't she cute watching the movie
w/ her drink & popcorn... LOL!!!

We got to the movies way to early
and silliness turned into pictures...
there was a lot more, but you don't want to
see those. LOL!!!


Tuesday, August 21

My 0 calorie soup

Once after I ate a huge bowl of sliced
cucumbers and tomatoes drizzled w/
balsamic vinegar, I was so full 
I thought UT OH, how many calories
did I just eat?

So after googling I realized it was only 30
for that huge bowl. Upon further googling
I read that cucumbers are considered
a negative food calorie,
which means it takes your body more calories
to process it than the calories in the food itself,
and a lot of women were losing weight
on negative calorie foods.
So cucumbers became my GO TO snack
whenever I was hungry and didn't want the extra calories.

But after awhile I got kind of tired of cucumbers and celery,
another negative calorie food I would eat through out the day.

So living in the Pacific Northwest we have had some chilly
days where soup just sounded good....
so I started making 0 calorie soup.

Now in all actuality the broth is like 10 calories a cup
and all of the veggies have a few calories
so its not really 0 calories, its more low calorie
they are so many negative calorie veggies
and your body will be so busy processing it
that it makes this soup 0 calories.
(Thats my story anyway and Im sticking to it. LOL!) 

And it taste like minestrone! :-)
And I love minestrone soup.

In to a large stock pan
add the following:
1 carton of no-chicken broth
Do not add any water!!!!
The water from the veggies will make up your broth.
1 large can of crushed tomatoes
3 small zucchini, chopped
1 container of baby spinach leaves
1 carton of sliced mushrooms
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, sliced
1 head of cabbage, sliced
1 head of broccoli, chopped

Add to taste:
fresh basil leaves, chopped
(I do about a handful)
salt, pepper, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes,
oregano & parsley

Turn heat to high
and once it gets to boiling,
turn down to simmer until veggies are soft.

Packed up in serving sizes for the week. :-)


Monday, August 20

Counting Calories

I guess its time to talk about it publicly, I wanted to wait until I lost all my extra weight but every week I get messages on facebook asking me what I am doing and sweet Val was the most recent.

So here goes....

The day after Thanksgiving 2011 I started counting calories.
That's it. I didn't spend any money on a diet plan or a diet supplement or bought a gym membership or had any sort of surgery.

I have always been fat! ALWAYS! When I was little I looked like winnie the pooh. I am an apple and carry all my weight in my chest and stomach. Oh sure I thinned out a bit when I was a teenager from running around and dating, etc... but as soon as I got pregnant I ballooned right back up again.

I did the low carb & somersizing thing (for over 10 years.)
I was even vegan off and on twice.
My problem wasn't/isn't the diet, its the portions.
Plain and simple ---> I ate way to much of the wrong foods!

So I started counting calories and the extra weight just kind of melted off. I eat 1350 a day. Some may say, thats not enough, thats not healthy. Well... I didn't magically come up w/ the number. I googled a caloric calculator that asked me my height, weight, age and how much I exercised.
It will calculate how many calories a day you eat to maintain your current weight and if you want to lose weight you can minus up to 1,000 calories. But not more than that. It's very healthy.

I just had a complete physical and everything was normal in fact my doctor said my cholesterol was so good, it was perfect textbook good.

Before I ate foods like beans and avocados. They sound healthy don't they?
Well one can of vegetarian beans is 800 calories. 1 can of beans is 4 servings.
I would eat the whole can topped with a mashed up avocado for lunch.
One avocado is 300 calories. Total = 1100 calories
Now if you burn a lot of calories then thats a healthy lunch for you.
But I don't, and I have a very slow metabolism.

I actually feel like I eat more now, in fact I know I do.
I am always eating, I just eat differently. I eat foods that are of low calories.
And I always save calories for chocolate.
I am a choc-o-holic.
And I never deprive myself, ever!
If hubby is eating something wickedly sinful, I will have a bite. 1 bite.

Anyway.... this diet works for me and I know I will have to do this for life.
It's become addicting, writing down my calories.
As of 2 days ago, I have lost 57 pounds.
I have 33 pounds left to reach my ultimate goal.
I am in no hurry and don't stress about it... I will just keep counting my calories one day at a time. :-)


Sunday, August 19


Do you think one can be to old to wear handbands?
Are they just for the younger crowd?

I ask because its all I want to wear anymore, but I don't want people to think or say, "oh good grief."
Know what I mean?

So what do you think?
Is there an age limit for headbands?

Here are some examples, and I couldn't even find any images of "mature" women in headbands... Hmm... maybe that tells me something. :-/


Saturday, August 18

Chris' BBQ

Chris had another summer BBQ!

This is why I love Longaberger,
look how pretty this is...
all packed up & ready to go! :-)

(large market, med market & 2 cake baskets)

What I made & brought:
(all new & first time recipes
I was in a baking mood.)

It was the first to be eaten,
I thought it was just okay.

(looks so awful but taste like pumpkin)
I had to disguise with cool whip otherwise
no one would have touched it. 
It was that gross looking.

Tasty but a bit on the dry side for me.

and veggie dogs, buns & chips 

Over all, all new recipes that I wont ever make again.
But its fun to try new recipes. :-)

This is Bentley, Chris' was petsitting it for his Boss.

Ray & Patti trying out the green pie - Ewww!
Kyle, Amber, Chris & Eric
My mom & Apple

Pics Amber took:
 Amber's collage of photos
Kyle & Apple

Pics Chris took:
 This guy "Eric" is sooooo much fun.
 These grilled zucchini slices were amazing!

Great ladies! Chris' neighbors & friends.

Could this have been the last BBQ of the season?
sniff sniff
I hope not.


Friday, August 17


Our parrot Bandit is very sick.
He was diagnosed w/ the Avian Bornavirus also known as the Macaw wasting disease.
There is no cure and its fatal, however with medication and a good diet you can prolong LIFE.
I go back and forth if the lack if quality of life is worth it.

Bandit has had many surgeries because along w/ the disease he has a colon that repeatedly prolapses.
It has cost us thousands!!!!! Im not exaggerating at all. 
after the last surgery I said, I can't do this again.
Look at him.
He was listless and sullen and in severe pain.
His quality of life was GONE!
I have to think about him, not about us missing him once he is gone.

The list of things Bandit cannot have is HUGE.
Everything he loves and loved was taken away.

Well after his last surgery, he had to have more hormone injections a few months later, I said, nothing is helping. Nothing is working. I am giving his things back! No more DONTS, Bandit is getting his DOS until the END. Its just a matter of time, how would you want to live your last days???

Well.... this has been going fine for awhile and then a few weeks ago I thought, he seems bored. He needs to go play outside. 
So every night now we have been putting him in a backyard tree and letting him chew and play and do what birds do before he gets his nightly medicine and goes to his sleep cage.

That tree time is changing him. Its fulfilling a void thats been missing in his life.

Parrots should not be in our homes, in cages. They need to be out in the wild being free.
Bandit was actually born/hatched in a pet store in Plano, Texas. 
But somewhere deep inside he knows something isn't right and its killing him.

Please do NOT support Parrot breeding. It's not right. It's not natural.


Thursday, August 16

WooHoo with Longaberger Again

Guess who signed up to be a Longaberger Consultant again? :-) 

What am I most excited about? That I am my own best customer and there are so many new products starting Sept 1st that my greedy self wants all of it!!! Like the new Trifle bowl in the above picture.


Monday, August 13

Fall decorating . . .

Have you noticed
Owls everywhere?

It seems to be this years "IT"
decoration, and I love it.
My daughter especially loves owls
maybe thats why I think they are cute.

My fall theme this year is
pumpkins, scarecrows and owls.

I adore the Fall season. :-)


Saturday, August 4

Popcorn Cake

How awesome is this popcorn cake???

My cousin Kelly made this cake.
I am so proud of her.

If your in the Mesa Arizona area
order a cake from her.
All her cake decorations are completely edible.