Wednesday, September 24, 2008

So far...

So far we have:
1. had a lovely visit with Kate and Nick, Pablo's people. We were so pleased to find that we had a LOT in common and plenty to chat about. Nick and Denis had a nice jam session as Nick has a few couple of guitars around the house and is keen to improve on his finger picking skills.
2. met the famous Pablo - he didn't want to change his aloof internet celebrity status, so he stayed a bit aloof, but we did sneak a little pat in and had some photo ops.
3. went to the street market with Nick, Kate and Christine - we did our part to support the Tasmanian economy and got some particular Tasmanian souvenirs.
4. went to morning home church with Nick, Kate, Christine and Mike. This turned out to be our only chance to get to meet Mike and I think he felt a bit there "by request", but it was great to meet him and get to visit even though it was short. We did get to spend more time with Christine since she came to pick us up at the airport, went to the market and also to church.
5. travelled North to Launceston (Hobart and Launceston are the major cities of Tassie) to meet some friends of friends. We saw emus and wallabies on the property of a friend of theirs. Many of the wallabies had joeys in their pouches and I was able to get some pictures.
6. went to Toronga Zoo with Ruth, Nixter, D, E and Ruth's mum. D and Denis became fast friends - so cute! D thinks Denis is too cool!
7. had a nice dinner interview by Ruth's boy's. They guessed things they thought were true of America and we provided verification. :o)
8. attended Bible Study led by AB - it was nice to meet some of the young people in their church.
9. Stayed overnight in downtown Sydney - we've ridden the fast ferry to the historic section of town. We also met Nixter for chocolate near her work.

Still to come: the 30 minute ferry ride to Manly beach which will get us great views of the opera house and the bridge, a day in the Blue Mountains and meeting Rodeoclown and fam, seeing the Aussie rules Football final with Scott and Nix, picnic with friends in the park and Hunter Valley overnight trip. Yay!! I'm getting some good pics. I'll be sure to get ones of people, except I totally forgot to get any pics with Mike and Christine!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Putting my lessons to use

Last summer I made salsa and had some problems with it. Well, I did learn my lessons this year:

1. real cilantro
2. a nice new bigger food processer
3. plenty of jalapenos.
= much better this time around. :o)

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Walking again

I'm still on the committee to help plan the annual fundraiser walk for the American Diabetes Association and I'm walking to raise funds again this year. The walk is October 11th and I'm not exactly looking forward to how busy the next month is going to be. I've got some extra work projects going and planning our big Sydney trip. As soon as we get back, my feet will hit the grounds running because the walk is only 1 week after.

In case you are not aware of all that the ADA does, I'll summarize. They work to benefit people with all types of diabetes (type 1, type 2 and gestational) in three main areas:
1. Legal and political advocacy - Workers can have reasonable accommodations to be able to take their blood glucose readings, insulin and eat when necessary without discrimination. Children with diabetes should be able to safely participate in all school activities. Health insurance should help to pay for the costly care of diabetes. The ADA lobbies in DC for these sorts of rights and offer legal help to individuals who have been treated unfairly.
2. Education and professional leadership - The ADA authors an extensive informative website as well as many brochures about diabetes treatment, self-care and prevention. They also lead the way for appropriate treatment, providing professional conferences and guidelines for adequate care.
3. Research - the ADA helps to fund all kinds of research, some investigating best treatment for all types of diabetes, others searching for a cure. Yes, they do support, lobby for and fund stem cell research, both adult and embryonic. This is the one area that I do not agree with, but I feel that it is a very small piece of what they do.

If you would like to pledge to sponsor me for the walk, you can go here. Thanks

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Low fat, low calorie - who me?

I found this cookbook on sale at Safeway a couple of weeks ago, so I took a look at it. Have you heard of Hungry Girl? It actually started out as a small email newsletter produced by a gal named Lisa Lillien and sent to a group of her friends. It grew into a website devoted to finding low calorie, low fat foods that actually taste good - "guilt-free" cooking.

Now I must say that I have never been one to buy non-fat versions of food. I have switched to the "low-fat" version of some foods, but I'm really hopelessly addicted to creamy, cheesy, fattening foods. The nonfat version of these things just never taste right, so I don't get them.

Well, the idea of this book is to combine different non-fat products to make them taste a bit better than the sum of their parts. Often, they are also hidden underneath something more flavorful so that distracts you from the non-fat food.

Anyway, my goal is not really to eat completely out of this book. But I'd like to replace some of my splurge foods (fettucini alfredo, sausage mcmuffin with egg) with some Hungry Girl "splurges". She's got lots of suggestions for avoiding high calorie foods at restaurants and at work too.

Here is the recipe for the faux fudge that I made last night:


2 cups canned pure pumpkin

1 box Betty Crocker Fudge Brownies Mix (the 18.3-oz. Family Size box)

2 tbsp. reduced fat peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine pumpkin with the brownie mix in a large bowl; stir until smooth (do not add anything else). Spray a small baking pan (8" X 8" work best - no larger!) with nonstick cooking spray and pour in the mixture. Spoon 2 tbsp. of Better ‘n Peanut Butter (room temperature) on top and use a knife to swirl peanut butter around. Cook for approximately 35 minutes. The batter will remain very thick and fudgy, and it should look undercooked. Remove from oven. Cover with aluminum foil and let cool in fridge for a couple of hours. Cut into 36 squares and serve.

Serving Size: 1 piece (approx. 1.3 oz.) Calories: 63, Fat: 1g, Sodium: 56mg, Carbs: 13.5g, Fiber: 1g, Sugars: 9g, Protein: 1g

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Garlic - Mmmmm....

So, once you have grown your garlic and harvested it, you are supposed to hang it up to dry in a cool place. Where do you hang it when you live in an area that is 90-100 degrees for most of the summer? The garage is too hot and we have a small house.

How about the broom closet?!

It's been hanging in the closet ever since we harvested it about 5 weeks ago. It's perfect now and I'm loving cooking with it. The cloves are so perfect and white - no ugly bruises or rotting areas like what I buy in the store. And the heads are nice and big!