Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wow, been a while!

So,...long time, no post, huh? Yep, it has been quite a while since I had a chance to sit down and peck out a post for you guys! Here goes!

I've gotten back to work as a substitute teacher. I've been working somewhat regularly and am actually surprised at how frequently as it still seems so early in the year and teachers are usually sort of stingy with their down days this early out as they may want to use those days for "mental health days" later in the year when they are just plain tired! But, I have had weeks when I got called for every day at least a half day and some a whole day... Sure adds up! I gave my notice with the parent training group and am no longer doing that as of this past Friday. I love the job and working with parents of children with disabilities, but teaching is where my heart lies and getting back into the classroom--even as a substitute teacher--is going in the direction I truly want to go. I hope to find a full-time position in the next year or two. There are actually some social studies teachers approaching retirement in our county, so it may even happen for this next school year. Fingers crossed on that one! I'd prefer to be at the school my daughter attends rather than in the next county over from us... And, Mandy will be a senior next year, so being around school for all the fun stuff will be great! Having that full-time income would be even greater when trying to cope with all the expense of senior year! Senior portraits, cap and gown, graduation announcements, and more! It seems that it never ends! LOL

What else is new??? Matthew (grandbaby extraordinaire!) turned 3 mos old on 10/17. He is just the best baby in the world. He hardly ever cries and when he does you can not even hear it in the next room! He is starting to teethe... This could change things! LOL

He is starting to look a LOT like his grandpa... We're going to have to take a picture of the two of them with their faces alongside one another. You'll see what I mean! His own Momma hadn't noticed it till I pointed it out in the pic above! And I'm talking about her Dad!

He is SO his Momma's son... Check out this one!
How's that for a bed-hog in the making??? LOL He is over 2 feet tall now and weighs about 13 pounds. He's growing like the proverbial weed...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Recipe: Crockpot Chicken & More

I wasn't really sure what to call this one! It was sort of whatever-you-want-to-dump-in! I started out with 2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breast. I put that in the bottom of the crockpot. Then, I liberally added some Everglades Seasoning. Next, I peeled and sliced 3 big carrots and tossed those in on top of the chicken. Over to the fridge, open the door...what to add, what to add??? Oh, some sweet onion... I wedged up a sweet onion and dumped that in. Back to the fridge... Oh, the last of the sliced mushrooms! Toss those in there too. Next, I dumped in a can of cream of mushroom soup and a can of cream of chicken soup. That looked good enough, so I put the lid on and turned it on high heat as it was already 2 pm.

At around 5 pm, I got to thinking about what else I could do with this crockpot of chicken and stuff... I decided I'd stir in my green veggie instead of doing it as a side. So, at about 6:20, I drained and added a can of green peas. Then, when I realized how much liquid was in there (more of a soup than a casserole), I decided to toss in a couple handfuls of Barilla Plus elbow pasta. I allowed that to cook for about 20 more minutes before I had to add about a cup of water to keep it from ending up too dry! From too liquidy to almost too dry in 20 minutes with the aid of about a cup of pasta! LOL Another 10 minutes or so and dinner was served! I'm calling it Chicken and More! LOL

Sorry for the crappy picture. I think that the lens on the camera steamed up when I pulled the lid off the crockpot!

SO, here it is in a more user-friendly recipe format!

Crockpot Chicken & More

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 medium sweet onion, cut into wedges
3 very large carrots, peeled and sliced about 1/2 inch thick
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
fresh mushroom slices
1 can green peas, drained
1 cup Barilla Plus elbow pasta, uncooked
1 cup (more or less) water

Add chicken to crockpot and season.
Add carrots, onion, and mushrooms.
Pour soups in on top of it all.
Heat on high for 4 to 4 1/2 hours, but stir it all up at about 2 hours and 3 hours into the cooking time, working the chicken into more bite-sized chunks by sort of breaking it up with the spoon.
Stir well, then drain and add can of green peas, 1 cup uncooked pasta and 1 cup water.
Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, till pasta is completely cooked. More or less water may be added while cooking to achieve liquid amount of your choosing--less liquid is more like a casserole dish, more liquid is more of a soup or stew.

Alterations: You could use 1/2 to 3/4 cup of rice of your choice in place of the pasta. You might also leave out the pasta and water and serve this over rice or pasta. Another option is to make it thinner with more water and serve as a soup or stew with some piping hot cornbread on the side!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Win Free Stuff!! Dr. Kracker giveaway drawing...

I recently posted some reviews on the Dr. Kracker snack chips. Search my blog using the term review and you'll see those and other product reviews. These "snack chips" are basically a very crunchy flatbread in small cracker form made with organic, whole grain ingredients. They are crisp/crunchy and they have seeds on them as well. Some even have cheddar cheese on them. They suit my need for a cracker quite well. They are great with something like chicken salad spread on them or a slice of cheese... And, they are a good snack choice for my lunchbox days as well as they are packaged in 1 oz individually sealed bags!

The Home of Uber Crunch!

Dr. Kracker Snack Chips

The good folks at Dr. Kracker donated some product for our mini-challenge folks for a prize for our current round of the mini-challenge!

In five stupendous flavors:

And, I got a few extra to use as incentives as well. SO, I'm offering a prize box now! On Saturday, 10/11/08, I will draw a name. Anyone who posts a comment to this blog post will be entered in the prize drawing! No purchase necessary! LOL And, I'll cover the shipping costs too! So, this is a totally free chance to try all 5 flavors of Dr. Kracker snack chips for the person who wins the drawing! Post your name or OH username and your email address so that I can email you for shipping info if you win! And, if you like, tell us about other products you are interested in seeing reviewed or would like to try as a future prize item!

How many calories can YOU eat and still lose weight? Formula...

Someone shared the following formula for calculating your BMR (basal metabolic rate). I believe the info was posted in Barbara Thompson's newsletter... Your BMR is the amount of calories you burn each day just merely living--breathing and digesting, etc...without any activity whatsoever. This is supposedly the number of calories you'd burn if you just sat on the couch or stayed in bed all day long--24 hours straight. If you eat 3500 calories less than that amount, you lose 1 pound of weight. So, if you ate 500 calories less than that amount every day for 7 days straight, theoretically you should lose 1 pound. 1000 cals less every day for 7 days would yield a 2 pound loss... You get the drift. Here's the formula:

To figure out your calorie expenditure using this formula

For women the formula is:

655 + (4.3 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years) = BMR (Women)

For men the formula is:

660 + (6.3 x weight in pounds) + (12.9 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years) = BMR (Men)

Then you have to determine your Activity Level. This is where it gets tricky.
If you are sedentary: BMR x 20 %
If you are lightly active: BMR x 30 %
If you are moderately active (You exercise 3 to 4 times per week): BMR x 40 %
If you are very active (You exercise intensely 5 or more days per week): BMR x 50 %
If you are extra active (You do hard labor or are in athletic training, or exercise intensely 5 or more days per week for 3 or more hours per day): BMR x 60 %

Add your Activity Level number to your BMR = Daily Calorie Expenditure

SO, for me it would look like this right now:
655 + 881.5 + 317 – 192.7 =1660.8

Then, if lightly active (my life lately), you 'd add 498.24 more calories.
S655 + 881.5 + 317 – 192.7 =1660.8 + 498.24 = 2159.04

That means that in order to lose ONE pound per week, I just need to say below 1659 calories per day. To lose TWO pounds per week, I would have to stay around 1159 calories per day. I am here to tell you that this doesn't work for me! I don't lose even at 1100 calories per day these days. However, when I have those days that hit closer to 2000 calories per day (remember, I am over 2 years postop), I see a drop the next day unless it was a carb-laden 2000 calories... Stressful!! LOL

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