Tag Archive: The hodge podge

All of us bloggers read our stats daily.

This is not a secret, we are all crazy enough to blog on a regular basis. And we want to know how many read our blathering each day. Then we want to know which blathering gets the most hits.

Vegetable stand slevinThe one post in my collection of over 400 blatherings that everyone seems to love is called The One Weird Secret to Losing Weight. Two and a half years ago I wrote about how hard I was trying to lose weight. At that time, I was being tempted by quick weight loss solutions that always included acai berried and a colon cleanser. There was hydroxy cut and whey powders and all sorts of things that were promising quick weight loss. Oh, and I was not going to have to change my eating habits.

At that time, I weighed over 200 pounds. I was snoring so loud, I woke myself up. I was having dizzy spells and sugar spikes that I felt emotionally. If that was not enough, I was growing out of my clothing. I pretended I was a size 16 when in reality I was an 18 or higher depending on the cut. While I would have loved quick fixes, I have not gone that route.

Instead, I have made lifestyle changes. And the results have paid off. My weight has gotten to the 180s. I am no longer snoring and the dizzy spells have disappeared. This took a couple of years to achieve. I made one change at a time.

First thing I did was set up a regular meal plan. This includes a sweet snack in the mid morning. Then I slowly began to change things. I restricted the amount of soda I drink, making it into a once-a-week treat.  Once that became a steady habit, I added whole wheat or multi-grain breads to my diet in my daily lunch sandwich. This forces the blood sugar to rise in a slower manner and keeps me happy.

Then I worked yogurt in the diet. The next change I worked in was to eat carrot sticks with my lunch and a salad or fruit with dinner. Here the raw veggies and fruit work as fiber while keeping the sugar from getting too high.  But there is another benefit. That fiber begans cleaning out my system naturally. Which meant some days, I needed to stay near a bathroom as my system cleaned out a lot of junk.

But there was one other change I made in my routine. I began walking with the dog every day.   I started at a half of a mile and worked up to one mile. Some days I make it over a mile and a half. The dog loves it. My feet usually feel better when I do the walk.

Image by Orchid

Image by Orchid

This means I am losing weight and inches. As my weight goes down so do the symptoms of diabetes. While I have some other health issues going on, I know that they are going to improve because my weight is less of an issue.

That is the end result of my battle with the weight. I hit my goal weight and lost the muffin top. While I have gained a few pounds back, I believe I will be able to get them off. I have fallen away from doing the daily walk and that makes it hard to keep weight off. So this week, I am getting back into the groove.

Oh, and I have stuck with the original plan of eating less and moving more. It works, it really works. If you are looking for the one weird secret to weight loss, that is the only one.

Move more, eat less.

Funny how simple that really is.

The Quotable Helen Keller

Notable Quote for the Week

Perhaps not the most accurate depiction but it makes Helen even more beautiful than she was. Image from http://www.annaspooner.com

Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.
Helen Keller

Do you have a favorite quote?

Is that a Porsche?

I love cars.

While I am not a gear head, I can look at the insides of a car with basic understanding. Spending a day under the hood is simply not my idea of fun.

However, I do like a great car.

Ferdinand A. Porsche was a man after my own heart. He designed great cars starting at the tender of age of 23. During the mid-1950s, his father – Ferry Porsche – decided he wanted a new style of the classic company car. F.A. Porsche began working in the technical design department as an apprentice after studying at Ulm School of Design during this time.

Image of F.A. Porsche from Global Motors.net.

While many styles had been rejected, in late 1959 F.A. presented his design and it was accepted. He changed the 356 while keeping the sloping lines in back. The headlights retained that ‘face’ look.

The world responded by falling in love.

Some models were meant for us regular folk, others for the rich and then there are the race cars. Hearing the name Porsche still incites a thrill because this company exudes style and class, something it has done once WWII was over and it could build cars again.

F.A. once stated “Design must be functional and functionality must be translated into visual aesthetics , without any reliance gimmicks that have to be explained.”

Image by Alvimann

For those of us who know nothing of design, that means that back slope of the car allows the wind the pass over it quickly – and therefore move faster.  We can see that it will happen without someone telling us.

According to a poster on Treehugger.com, F.A. Porsche worked to make models for the regular guy that worked well. He helped to create the “20 year” model with the idea that a car could last for 20 years. Treehugger.com also had a picture of a current Porsche model that is electric. Global Motors.net credits F.A. with designing the type 803 racing car and the Porsche 904.

F.A. stayed with the company until 1972 when he created Porsche Design which created luggage, sunglasses, pens and all sorts of products related to Porsche.  He later came back as chairman of the board in the 1990s.

The car that he designed has been modernized over the years but it has never left behind the essential style of the original. And when you see one of the street, there is always a bit of a gasp of astonishment in the beautiful vision before you.

Today, the New York Times reported the death of F.A. Porsche at the age of 76 although a cause was not listed. With it goes another designer who wanted to make the world a more beautifully functioning place.

Image by Clarita





Spring has come early to our corner of the world.


The tulips are brilliant.


Clematis vines are six inches long, peony plants are a foot high.



Pansies in bloom.


Wild Violets going crazy.


Even my neighbor's flowering tree is going at it.


But, as always, there is a downside to all of this great warmth and beautiful sights.

The return of the Fruit Fly.


These little flies come along and take over the kitchen. If you do nothing, they multiply fast. I hate having fifty or more buzzing around my head.

These things live for a day or so and must get a lot of stuff done. However, I have a solution that works for me. It involves a little red wine  or white wine and red kool-aid as well as some dish-washing liquid. I do not know why they love red wine but the husband has to be careful with open bottles.

The trap.


Now we wait. It takes a while for one, then another, then another to gather on the bowl, take a drink and realize they cannot get up. Perhaps they are too drunk to fly and fall in, perhaps the dish soap make their little legs stuck.


See those black dots? Those are the fallen.


Before you know it the dish will have 20, 30 40 fruit flies in it. The dish will be disgusting and I will clean it out. Then I will set it up all over again.

How do you get rid of fruit flies?



Grammy Inspiration

Everyone has their own take on Whitney Houston who died this past weekend. My own take will come later this week.

Image by popplepop

However, today I want to ask people who is the artist/singer/band who speaks to your soul.

For me at this time it is Adele. I love her voice, her demeanor, the passion with which she sings. While I like Katy Perry, Madonna and Lady Gaga (They have wonderful voices when you listen to their recordings), their performance becomes style over substance. Although, I have to had it to Katy. Setting fire to an ice sculpture of a man after the divorce is final is a great send off to the ex.

But when you consider the money and awards that Adele has earned since her break-up songs on her “21” album, perhaps there are other ways of celebrating that break-up. Then again, her ex tried to demand royalties because of the inspiration he gave her. Yeah, that is not happening.

I am also becoming a big fan of Foo Fighters and David Grohl. Her is his acceptance speech from last night.

“This is a great honour, because this record was a special record for our band. Rather than go to the best studio in the world down the street in Hollywood and rather than use all of the fanciest computers that money can buy, we made this one in my garage with some microphones and a tape machine…

“To me this award means a lot because it shows that the human element of music is what’s important. Singing into a microphone and learning to play an instrument and learning to do your craft, that’s the most important thing for people to do.

“It’s not about being perfect, it’s not about sounding absolutely correct, it’s not about what goes on in a computer. It’s about what goes on in here [your heart] and what goes on in here [your head].”

After his acceptance speech, the husband and I looked at our aspiring drummer, saying  “what he just said that is what you need to do.” 

So who is inspiring you?

A Tasty Dish of Guisada

About a month ago my niece mentions that she is making comfort food, a dish called Guisada.

Of course, I asked about it. And then my other niece gave me a recipe. So when I got the chance, I made Guisada using this recipe.

The Ingredients

I cut up a two-pound chuck roast along with the stew meat, diced the potatoes and covered them with a flour mixture of chili powder and cumin.

Meat and potatoes in the flour mixture

The recipe did not call for the meat to be browned first so I put everything in the crock pot with the onions, garlic and broth. Then I left it there for hours.

Guisada with Rice

What surprised me was that my kids, who can be very picky, liked this dish and asked me to make it again.
And I plan to do just that.
What are you experimenting with in the kitchen?



Visit with Author A. Lawati

Every now and again, I am blessed to have an author of a book to come to the blog and speak about their new book. Today, I have A. Lawati whose’ new book is called “The Jungle Adventure of Chimpoo” available through Author House in Bloomington, Indiana. I was given the book to review and enjoyed it as a bed time story with the kids although it could be read at anytime of the day.


I asked Lawati to talk about how he used Chimpoo to express feelings a child might have in a similar situation, which is one of the things I love about the story. While looking over the press materials I found that Lawati had a pet monkey when he was a child and I am sure that helped with his story-telling.


So without further ado, please welcome author, A. Lawati


Cover Image from AuthorHouse

When thinking up the character of Chimpoo, I wanted to express via his animal character the strong feelings children have for their parents. Children want to protect them as much as parents want to protect their children. Chimpoo displays his love and affection for his parents by showing sensitivity to his Mother’s concerns on Papa’s disappearance. He additionally showcases a coming-of-age in that short time to take up responsibility to rescue his Papa and look after his little brother, Aichoo, while guarding his innocence at the same time.

Chimpoo sets out alone to rescue Papa even though he has to venture into uncharted territory. This leads him to show his protective instincts for his family with his first encounter with Thinking Eyes the Owl who later becomes a trusted friend.


Parents may sometimes not recognize this quality in their children but it is there and is often expressed by simple reactions such as crying and being difficult. My cousin recently relocated to British Columbia and my nephew was giving the parents a hard time with the move. I advised that once his mom adjusted to the new home and starts enjoying the place, little Noah would settle down as well.


That is exactly what happened. As you can see, when we as parents have inhibitions or fear about something, it is automatically transmitted to our children. They, in turn, tend to respond in a protective manner appropriate to their age.


I wanted to show these protective feelings that our children possess via Chimpoo’s character, making it easier for parents to understand their children. Children reading this can relate to the feelings shown by Chimpoo. And if properly allowed to nurture, children will develop a personality that is based on love for people who are important parts of our lives.

 Thanks, Lawati, for stopping by and talking about your book. For more information about “The Jungle Adventure of Chimpoo” or to buy a copy, visit the website for AuthorHouse  books.

Last week, I raved about my crockpot. How with this one piece of cooking equipment, I am a goddess in the kitchen.

I am capable of making sauces that make you cry with joy. I can bake wonderful cookies and bread pudding and so much more from scratch. So while I know real cooks read my blogs, make snarky comments to themselves or in the comment section while wondering how does a poor person like this live with themselves, I know I am capable of cooking real food.

What I love making more than anything is comfort food. I am talking about food you want to eat on a cold day that is nowhere near to being healthy. Memphis corn pudding, rich soups, bread pudding,  chicken breasts in various cream and wine sauces, stuffed shells swimming in tomato sauce. When I have fruit I put them in muffins and cakes. I want to master oriental noodle dishes because my oldest loves them.  

So today’s recipe is another recipe I make in my crockpot. I tend to put things in the pot without measurement. I went to my deli and bought a slab of boiled ham about 1/2 thick. I also bought an onion and beer. At the house I already had potatoes, cheddar and swiss cheese, and some rosemary.

Potato and ham

First things first, I diced the onion and began to saute it in the pan. Next came diced bits of the ham. While the onions are becoming clear, I begin to peel and dice seven potatoes. All are placed in the crockpot. I then add enough water to just below the top of the potatoes and place on the cover. This part ofthe concoction sits on high for a few hours. We do some errands, take the dog for a walk and return home. The potatoes are beginning to break up. I add some rosemary that I crush by hand.

The Cheeses and Beer

I leave things alone for awhile and make cookie dough with cinnamon chips. Then I begin making oatmeal schotchies with dough I made earlier. I stir the soup again, breaking up more of the potato. This is when I add the beer. I leave the lid off of the bubbling mass so the alcohol can cook out a bit. Twenty or so minutes later I am adding 1/2 cup each of grated cheddar and swiss cheeses. I serve the soup soon after that.

Well, some people complain that they do not like this soup. Others are overjoyed that their favorite soup is being made this week. One of our guests asks for seconds. Not a single bowl came back with any soup left.

What matters most is that on a day that got colder as time went on is that there was a wonderfully soul-warming  soup ready for supper.

The Answer is…

Image by Hamper



I was over at Lavender and Lime’s blog and saw this post with a number of questions. The questions are all cooking related but it is fun to see how others cook and what they use the most.  So here are the questions and my answers. Perhaps you will answer these on your own blog so the rest of us can find out about your cooking habits.




1.  Who would you be honoured to have cook in your kitchen?

Jacques Pepin. Maybe it is the accent or his technique. No matter what , I am always hungry after watching his shows and try to incorporate his techniques.

2. What have you always wanted to cook or eat but never have?

Goat meat.

3.  What is your favourite part of a chicken?

Chicken breast. I like to pound it thin and braise before making a creamy wine sauce.

4.  Do you use a knife or a vegetable peeler to peel potatoes?

I use a Oxo peeler when I do peel.

5.  What one item do you keep in the kitchen you know you shouldn’t use but do?


6.  Do you like using the new culinary foam (such as cappuccino foam) with your meals?


7.  What 3 meals would you take to a friend who is sick in bed?

A good soup to the person’s liking, enough to last several days, along with bread and a sweet that works well with tea or coffee.


Now it is your turn. Pass it along.

Happy to Pass It Along

So I get this email telling me I am lovely.

My husband tells me that all of the time, it is something I am used to hearing. But then I read the rest of the email to find out that Georgette told me she thought my blog was lovely.

The Lovely Blog award is making the rounds and Georgette gave me one along with some other bloggers. But there are a few other responsibilities when you receive this award. You have to tell seven things about yourself not mentioned ever before. And you have to pass this award on to other bloggers.

So what I am going to share that I haven’t before?

1. On my droid is an app called Noom that tracks my workouts. The voice has an English accent and I call him ‘Hugh.’

2. Finding new recipes is one of my joys.

3. If I had never been fired, I would not have become a blogger.

4. I love Halloween and carving pumpkins.

5. I do not drive stick shift.

6. I like to drink White Russians or just about anything with Kailua in it.

7. Despite taking at least four bags of clothing out of my room within the last week, there is still too much in there. And it is not all mine.

Now for the truly hard part – picking out others to send your way. There are some bloggers I visit on a regular basis and others that I get to every now and again. I only hope that those who receive this award will accept it with the love and devotion that was sent with it.

  1. Mostly Bright Ideas is a great place to go for a laugh, some thoughtfulness and just plain old good writing. I am always inspired by Charles but I never go during a coffee break. That could be dangerous to the computer screen.
  2. No one will ever mistake me for a fashionista. But I still like knowing what is in style or the current hot thing. That is why I visit Prada For Breakfast. I can see new creams, makeup and clothing items that are Right Now.
  3. Everyone needs someone who is a straight shooter who tells a good story without a filter. Who is willing to tell you the truth without a filter. I found that in The Redneck Princess. I love her tales of the BC and life in general.
  4. Whenever I want to go to for the French feel of New York or Paris, I go to Ritournelle. There is an elegance in her blog that I just love.
  5. Why I ever subscribed to a blog about whiskey and beer, I will never know. However, I find it interesting to read about different beers and craft beers and whiskeys. Beer & Whiskey Brothers are always interesting.
  6. There are some posts that I enjoy for their total immersion into one subject. The Last Muggle to Read Harry Potter is an enjoyable dip of the Harry Potter pool in which I can read or discuss some of the finer points of the series I have a hard time letting go.
  7. Last but not least, a blog that I enjoy is called 4 Mothers. These four gals who have 11 boys amongst them are from Canada and share a blog, reporting on life from their points of view. I love to hear their differing viewpoints on any number of topics.

I ask that you visit these blogs and enjoy them. Not all of them will fit but I hope you will enjoy making a visit here and there. Each and every one is lovely in their own way.