Monday, June 30, 2008

A little update

It's been a busy 2 weeks since I last posted. It's rained almost everyday which means we are in the "monsoon" season now. I'm hoping that all the rain helps with our serious drought conditions. As long as the lightening stays away we are good! Of course the rain has really messed up our home improvement projects. We have not been able to pour concrete for our new storage shed so that means we haven't put the shed up yet. I had rented a huge storage room when we weren't sure where we were going to move to this spring and only had about 1/4 of it full. This weekend we moved that stuff in to a tiny storage room until our new one is built at the house. It's not a lot of stuff but it's stuff we don't have room for here....Christmas decorations and trees, yard sale stuff, tools, camping/fishing stuff, and yard stuff. I can't wait to have the storage here to put it all in.

In other news, my camera died week before last. I've had that camera for about 4 1/2 years and was having a few minor problems with it. I hated to see it go but love it's replacement. I bought a Canon Powershot A950 IS this weekend. It has a lot of the features that a DSLR camera would have but in a small body. I will be able to add a telephoto and wide shot lens in the future with an an adaptor. I'm really happy with it so far and have had a blast taking pictures today. I can't wait to take it out and shoot some scenery and plants.
Kinsey and her silly cat Annabelle.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Pumpkin-carrot Snack Bars

I have been experimenting with healthy but delicious recipes lately. I've been craving something sweet but am trying to cut back/out refined sugars (which contribute to diabetes and overweight). That's hard because there is high fructose corn syrup in so many things--things you wouldn't think of. Go and read labels of things in your cabinets, pantry, bread box, and fridge then come back and tell me how amazed you are. It's so hard to find whole wheat bread that does not have fructose in it. I finally found Nature's Own 100% whole wheat bread and it uses brown sugar. Also, it doesn't have artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors and it still tastes good! I know I could make bread and not have these concerns but I haven't quite gotten that far yet. One of these days I'll break out the bread machine and tackle bread making.

Anyways, back to finding a healthy snack. Last year I bought a book called The Sugar Solution which is not a diet but a change in lifestyle. There are many, many diabetics in my family and I want to try to keep from having it or stave it off as long as possible. I'm trying to change what I and my family eat. It's going to be a little at a time as old habits are hard to break. We are eating a lot more whole grains, more fresh fruit and veggies, and less meat. Neal is having the hardest time with less meat. He is a meat and potatoes man but I'm trying to find veggies he really likes so that he can eat more of those. I forget he grew up on a farm and ate a lot of veggies where as I grew up in a family that did not eat a wide variety of veggies. I keep finding things he has ate and likes so we are eating a lot of different things now. I love to try new recipes and finding something I haven't ever tried. I recently purchased the cookbook to go along with The Sugar Solution called The Sugar Solution Cookbook. I have found a lot of recipes that I want to or have tried. I was really excited when I saw the recipe for Pumpkin-Carrot Snack Bars. I made them this weekend and they are WONDERFUL!! These bars are loaded with fiber and have a lot of vitamins with all the fruit and veggies in them.

from The Sugar Solution Cookbook

1 c canned solid pack pumpkin ***
1 c shredded carrot
1/2 c sugar
1/3 c dried cranberries or raisins, chopped
1/4 c canola oil
2 large eggs
1 c whole wheat pastry flour*
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 c shelled pumpkin seeds or chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 13" x 9" x 2" baking pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin, carrot, sugar, cranberries or raisins, oil, and eggs. Stir until well blended. Add the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Mix until blended.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds or walnuts, if using. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or until the top springs back when pressed lightly. Cool completely in the pan on a rack.

Makes 16

per bar: 99 calories, 2 g protein, 14 g carbohydrates, 4 g fat, 25 mg cholesterol, 150 mg sodium, 1 g
dietary fiber diet exchange: 1/2 bread, 1 fat
carb choices: 1

* I used regular whole wheat flour instead of pastry flour and they turned out ok.
** I added 2tbs ground flax seed for extra fiber and omega-3s
***Just realized I used the whole can of pumpkin instead 1 cup. They are really moist and cake-like instead of "bars". I'm not sure how this will skew the calorie/fat count.

by the way, I would suggest these two books to anyone interested in cutting out/back on refined sugars. There are a lot of really good recipes and ideas. The Sugar Solution was very eye opening for me. I fell better and am thinking clearer since starting to eat better. I don't feel so tired all the time. I'm rarely hungry like I was before--always craving sweet things. I would also suggest Betty Crocker's Healthy New Choices cookbook. There are lots of flavorful healthy recipes in it.

Monday, June 09, 2008

A trip to the zoo

Kinsey and I went to Roswell, NM on Saturday and visited the zoo while we were there. I only just recently found out they had a zoo or we might have gone sooner. It's a small zoo and park but was a lot of fun. We had a very windy picnic then Kinsey played on the play ground while I read for a bit. Next she road the carousel a few times.

When we went to ride the miniature train it was over heating so we walked through the zoo. Unfortunately the middle of a hot day is not the time to walk through a zoo. We didn't see many animals but did see tons of prairie dogs. When we got back to the train it was cooled off so we got to take a scenic ride through the rest of the zoo. As we were leaving we saw these two peacocks.

Friday, June 06, 2008

My nephew Cade

My almost 13 year old nephew Cade had a violin recital tonight so Kinsey and I attended. Cade started playing the violin about 6 or 7 months ago and is a natural at it. This is one of many instruments he plays. He plays the trombone in the school band, has taught himself piano/keyboard and harmonica. I was able to pick up some video/sound on my little camera and thought I would add it to this post. He is kind of in the middle, longer blond hair, and the lightest blue jeans.

The recital was held at the Smokey Bear Museum and Park. I forget they have a small stage and seating area. It was perfect for the recital. The temperature was so nice and the wind wasn't blowing! Enjoy!