Monday, May 30, 2011

Grilled Salmon and Black Bean Salad

I love summer with fresh vegetables and the grill.  I found this recipe in one of Rachel Ray's cookbooks.  I've altered it a little.  It's colorful and so good.  It's good for you as well.

Lime and Honey Glazed Salmon with Warm Black Bean and Corn Salad

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced
Red pepper to taste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
Juice of 2 limes
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon chili powder
4 6-ounce salmon fillets
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
2 cups frozen corn, defrosted
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
2-3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
6 cups baby spinach

Preheat grill.
Combine juice of 1 lime, honey, chili powder, salt and pepper in ziplock bag.  Add salmon and toss to coat thoroughly.  Grill until cooked through, about 5 minutes on each side.
Preheat a medium skillet over medium heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Add onions, garlic, red pepper flakes, cumin, salt, and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes.  Add bell peppers and corn and cook for 1 minute.

Add chicken stock and continue to cook another 2 minutes.  Add the black beans and cook until beans are just heated through.  Remove skillet from heat.  Add the juice of the second lime, the cilantro, and the spinach.  Toss to wilt the spinach and then taste and adjust the seasoning.  Serve the salmon on top of the black bean salad.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

New Shopping Experience

Aldi--We've had this store in our town for quite some time, but I've never checked it out...until yesterday.  Thankfully, a friend had warned me about having to pay a quarter to use a shopping cart or I would've been totally confused.  (You get it back when you return the cart.)  Also, you need to bring your own bags or they charge you for theirs.  They have their own brand and then a few random national brands.  This is what I ended up with.

I paid $29.05 for all of this--a good deal.  I did a few taste tests.  The chocolate bar is 70% cocoa--too bitter for my taste--so I won't get that again.  The fake Oreos taste pretty good.  If you put it side by side with a real Oreo, the fake Oreo is a little smaller with less frosting and darker in color.  I was using these in a recipe, so I don't think it will be noticeable. The produce was much cheaper than the grocery store I normally use, so I will probably go back for that.  The ice cream was disappointing.  It's butter pecan but tastes like vanilla pecan.  Also, it's made with skim milk so it tastes like "ice milk", a product I haven't seen in years.  The milk is good (50 cents cheaper) and I will let you know about the wine when we try it.  All in all, I will go there again.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mom

Today is my mom's 80th birthday.  She is pretty amazing for her age.  I swear she has more energy than I do and she's always game for anything.  Last fall, she came with us to Ann Arbor for a Michigan football game.  We walked a mile to and from the stadium, plus we entered the stadium at row 73 and walked down to our seats in row 15. She handled it with no problem.  As far as her health, her cholesterol is her only problem.  I hope when I reach 80, I am doing half as well.   
Happy Birthday, Mom!

At the Michigan-Wisconsin football game.

Look What I Just Saw

This little darling (and it's mother) was just in our front yard.  From the way it was walking, it can't be but a day or two old.  My blessing for today came early.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hula Hooping Bust

Today I decided to bring my hula hoop into work and show my cardiac rehab patients a fun way to work their core.  I did a little demonstration for each class, and really talked it up to get them excited.  I had one brave soul who decided to give it a try.  Everyone else just smiled and said they were too old. 

 Maybe I shouldn't have used so many hoops. 

Mexican Grilled Chicken

I tried this new recipe earlier this week and both my husband and I loved it.  It's quick and easy with very little fat.  And the lime juice makes it refreshing and summery (is that a word?).

Mexican Grilled Chicken

1 (6 ounce) can of unsweetened pineapple juice (3/4 cup)
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
pepper to taste
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

To make marinade, combine all ingredients except chicken in a small bowl.
Place chicken in a ziploc plastic bag.  Add marinade.  Seal and refrigerate overnight.  Bring chicken to room temperature before cooking.
When ready to cook, preheat grill to medium-hot.
Grill chicken until done, basting with marinade.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Carmel Weekend

That's Carmel (with the emphasis on the first syllable), Indiana--not Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA.  My niece, Elise, is graduating from high school and the celebration was this weekend.

Elise made this adorable dress.  She is going into fashion design.

As it so happened, Sophie's (Elise's younger sister) LaCrosse game for the state championship was the same day.  (This is quite an honor for Sophie as she is a freshman playing on the Varsity team.)  I don't know a lot about LaCrosse, but it was very entertaining.  The team won big time.  We're so proud of Sophie.

Sophie (#39) going for the ball.

Final Score

Sophie (2nd from right) with a friend.

We picked up our daughter and son-in-law on the way and drove down together.  We had so much fun with the two of them. And it's always great to see extended family.  I love talking with my nieces and nephews and hearing their take on everything.  They have an interesting perspective.

 Anne and Jason

 My husband and me with my brother-in-law, Rick, and his father-in-law, George.
It was hot and humid, hence, a bad hair day.

We almost had a catastrophe.  When we were checking into our hotel Saturday evening, I realized I had forgotten the bag with all my toiletries.  Yikes!  Twenty years ago, this wouldn't have been that big of a deal.  But at 50+ years old, believe you me, this is a problem.  Thankfully, the hotel had a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, and a comb.  My daughter let me use her make-up, and since I didn't have hair styling products, I decided not to wash my hair.  All was okay (not well).

No Pictures from Sunday    

Friday, May 20, 2011

Feeling Good

Yesterday morning, I got on the scale and was so excited to have lost a pound.  WooHoo!  I had a good workout and was feeling pretty good about myself....that is, until I transferred a load of laundry from the washer to the dryer with my reading glasses on.

Normally, I don't have my glasses on while I do laundry.  The only thing I'm concerned about reading is whether a tag says "hang to dry" or "tumble dry".  I can usually squint and pick that out.  Well, with my glasses on, I noticed the label on my running shorts.

My ego was totally deflated when I read this.  If I lived in Asia, I would wear an XL.  Even worse, in Japan, a 2XL.  There's nothing like a little vanity sizing.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Budget Friendly Home Gym: Part 5

With spring here, it's time to return to your childhood and get out the hula-hoop.  You can pick one up at any discount department store for around $5.00.  I tried several in the store and ended up getting a weighted one.  It also is pink with sparkles.

Hula-hooping is great for your core, thighs, and arms.  It will also get your heart rate up.  Studies show you can burn over 200 calories in a half hour.  Throw on some fun tunes and it's a great addition to your workout.

The moves:

  1. Side to Side - Holding the hoop at waist level, start with your feet about hip distance apart.  With your hands, push the hoop off a hip so it begins to rotate.  As it spins, sway your hips from side-to-side, as if bumping each side of a doorway.  Work up to 60 seconds.  Rest.  Repeat.
  2. Front and Back - Stagger your stance so one foot is forward and the other is back with toes pointing forward.  Hold the hoop at waist level and push it off a hip so it begins to rotate.  With your knees soft (not locked), rock your hips back and forth to keep the hoop rotating.  Work up to 60 seconds.  Rest.  Repeat.
  3. The Revolution - Stand with your feet together and hold the hoop straight out in front of your body.  Get the hoop in motion so that it's rotating around your hand (move your arm up and down slightly to maintain the motion).  Slowly raise your arm above your head, keeping the hoop moving.  (You may want to do this outside at first as the hoop can easily fly off your hand.)  Work up to 60 seconds. Rest. Repeat with other arm.
There is a video you can watch to get started @

Update:  See post on 11/13/11

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Summer Grilling

Today's Blessings:
  1. Six out of seven green lights on the way to work this morning
  2. My dad stopped in to see me at work and brought Starbucks.

I love grilling in the summer.  Not only does it taste great, it's healthier and there's less clean-up.  I tried this new pork tenderloin recipe and my husband and I both loved it.

Sesame-Garlic Pork Tenderloin

4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon dry sherry
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, lightly toasted
3 green onions, sliced
1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin

Combine all ingredients except pork in a plastic zip lock bag.  Add pork and marinate in refrigerator overnight.

Take pork out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling.

Preheat grill.

Grill pork over medium-hot coals for 20 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads at least 160 degrees.

Remove pork from grill.  Let stand 5 minutes before cutting into medallions.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Unexpected Blessings

I've decided that every evening, I'm going to take a moment and reflect on my day and come up with at least one positive thing that happened.  It doesn't have to be anything huge, just one little moment that brought pleasure.

For instance, I had two blessings today.

He's such a hoot!
  1. This morning, an owl was sitting on the end of the flag pole that's attached to the porch.  I grabbed my camera, but he flew off before I could snap a photo.  I'm assuming it's the same owl that was sitting on our porch railing last summer.  I'm sure he'll be back.  (I think it's a he.  I'm not sure how to tell with owls.)
  2. While I was out running this morning, several times I caught a whiff of some fragrant flowers.  Mmmmm.  They smelled so good.  A little blessing.

I need to take the time to notice these simple little pleasures in life.  God blesses me everyday, and most of the time, I miss it.  I want to live in the moment and take stock of the good things that are happening all around me.  

How were you blessed today?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Colorful Black Beans?

Colorful black beans--sounds like an oxymoron, doesn't it?  This recipe is a great side dish.  And it's healthy.  What more could you ask for?  How about quick?  It takes less than 15 minutes to throw together.  You must try this one and let me know what you think.

Hmm.  I put my reading glasses on, but it still looks blurry.

Savory Black Beans

2 15-oz. cans black beans
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 medium avocado
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 small tomato

Drain and rinse one of the cans of beans.  In a medium saucepan, combine both drained and undrained black beans, garlic, and cumin.  Heat through, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, peel and cube avocado.  Seed and chop tomato.

Just before serving, sprinkle with avocado, cheese, and tomato.
Makes 6 servings.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


I grew up, the youngest child of three, and the only girl.  In essence, I was the "little princess", a position I loved.

 With my brothers and the children of the family we always vacationed with.

Now that I'm an adult, I really wish I had had a sister.  Sisters have a special bond that I don't have with my brothers.  Thankfully, though, I have been blessed with two wonderful daughters.

Anne and Katie

I find the girls are my sounding board, especially when it comes to fashion.  (Katie works for Banana Republic and is going to fashion design school in Boston.  She also picks out the wardrobe for Dylan Dreyer, the meteorologist for Channel 7, the NBC affiliate in Boston.  I'm hoping she'll design clothes for her mama someday.  I also want her to design men's socks that have "navy" or "black" written on the toes so they are easier to sort.)  Whenever the girls are home, I make them come into my closet and help me put outfits together and decide what I should get rid of.  They help me stay up-to-date, although I sometimes have to remind them that I'm not 30 anymore and need to dress my age.

The sweater Katie got me for Christmas

I love the scarf Annie gave me for Mother's Day.

Annie is a talented writer and was a blogger for Wedding Bee.  She, actually, is the one who encouraged me to start a blog.  She continues to give me ideas on what to write about.  She also is a natural at photography.  She has given me inservices on how to use my camera (since I have yet to read the instructions).  She also helps me with technology, whether it's the computer, my phone, or using the DVR.

I wish my girls lived closer.  It is so much fun to spend time with them.  I'm thankful Anne lives within driving distance as we get to see her and her husband about once a month.

Hiking last weekend

Unfortunately, we only see Katie 2-3 times a year.  Last summer, she was home for almost a week and we had a blast kayaking, going to the beach and just hanging out.

Kayaking on the White River

I savor those times.  And I'm really thankful for cell phones.

I love the following quote:

"A daughter is the happy memories of the past, the joyful moments of the present, and the hope and promise of the future."  ~Author Unknown

Check out my girls blogs:

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Push Up Pain

If she can do it, so can I.

A month ago, I happened upon a website called  It's a systematic plan to be able to do 100 push ups in 6 weeks.  It thought to myself, "Why not?".  Up until a month ago, I could only do at maximum, on a good day, 4 men's push ups.

Push ups are fun!

After four weeks, I am happy to say I can do at least 15 fairly good quality men's push ups,  although it seems they never get any easier.  I have found that I can't progress quite as fast as the program calls for.  In fact, I end up doing each day at least twice before moving on.  But that's okay.  And, I've decided I'm only going to work my way up to fifty push ups.  It's way more than I ever thought I would be able to do.  I hope you'll give it a try.  It's fun, in a masochistic kind of way, to have a personal challenge.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Japanese Salad

I got this recipe from my co-worker, Jill.  It is so good.  The problem is that it doesn't look that appetizing.  I brought it to the Derby party, and I ended up bringing some home (not that I'm complaining).  I even told a lady in the buffet line to try it, that it was really good, all the while pretending I wasn't the one who brought it.  Anyway, you'll just have to take my word for it.  You'll love it.

Japanese Salad

1 package Ramen Noodle Soup Mix (chicken flavor)
3 ounces slivered almonds, toasted @ 400 degrees for 5 minutes
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoon sugar
16 ounces Cole Slaw mix
2 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped

1/2 cup oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon Accent
1/2 teaspoon Lawry's Seasoned Salt
3 tablespoons vinegar
Season packet from Ramen Noodles

Whisk dressing ingredients together.  Pour over salad and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Birthday, Dave

How appropriate that my son's birthday is on Mother's Day.  He was born at 7:41 a.m. on May 8, 1984.  He was probably my easiest labor as I had taken Castor Oil to induce contractions.  I had been to the doctor on the 7th, and she said I was ready to go.  I talked to her about the Castor Oil and she said that was fine.  I took it at 10:00 p.m. thinking it wouldn't start working until the following morning.  At 10:45, I started having mild contractions.  We got to the hospital around 4:00 a.m. and the resident told me to walk around because I looked too happy to be in labor.  At 7:00 a.m., my doctor came in, broke my water, and I had Dave 41 minutes later.  Not bad.

Dave at about 45 minutes old.

3 months - Isn't he the cutest?

First birthday--gotta love that cake.
He's still a Tiger's fan

Mackinaw Island--1990

Bedtime ritual of reading

Mother/Son Night at the elementary school.

Disney World with Grandpa and Grandma

My favorite school picture-4th grade.

Washington D.C., 1992 
In every picture on that trip, Dave was doing "the lean".

Skiing at Keystone with Dad and Uncle Rick

Maui, Christmas, 1999

Prom 2001
Big sister giving little brother a hug before he leaves to pick up his date.

May, 2002--Dave with buddies after last high school choir concert.
(The school mascot is the Sailors - hence, the reason for the uniforms.)

 June 2002, High school graduation

 Coast Guard - Stationed in Charleston, SC

 Dave's 24th Birthday at Disney World

May, 2009 - Dave's graduation from MSU

 Anne's Wedding - July 11, 2009

Dave and Danielle - Villanova Law School

Dave has been such a joy in our lives.  He has always been kind and thoughtful.  He has made our lives more fun just by being there.  Thanks for being you, Dave.  We love you and are so proud of you.  I wish you lived closer so we could celebrate with you.  Happy 27th Birthday, Honey.