Thursday, June 30, 2011

Low Carb Cinnamon Walnut Muffins

Yesterday I wanted to cook up a new recipe so I got out my The Low Carb comfort Food Cookbook by Drs. Eades and made a batch of their cinnamon walnut muffins.

They're super easy to make and don't call for any soy flour like so many of the low carb recipes do in cookbooks.
 Oh, they smell sooo good!
I get one while it's still warm. I even restrain myself long enough to take a picture. Then the first bite. Bleck!!! I forgot to add the sweetener! That's what I get for trying to bake while jacked up on allergy medicine.

Solution: sprinkle sweetener on them. :) The kids wanted to try one too so I put some sugar free pancake syrup in a bowl and they dipped pieces in that. They loved them! Chuck brought two to work with him this morning.

These are very tasty (if you remember to sweeten them) and are quick and easy to make.

Cinnamon Walnut Muffins
12 oz. cream cheese, soft
5 eggs
15 packets Spenda sugar substitute
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups almond meal
1 cup wheat bran
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 325*. Lightly grease a 12 cup muffin pan (I use the baking spray from Pam and it works great). You can also use muffin liners.

Put cream cheese and two eggs in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat with a flat beater until smooth and fluffy. Add the other eggs, one at a time, beating briefly after each.  On low speed, stir in the rest of the ingredients except the walnuts.  When mixture is well blended, stir in the walnuts.

Fill the muffin pans almost to the top (the muffins will rise only slightly). Bake muffins for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.  These muffins freeze well. Thaw at room temperature.

Yield: 12 muffins.  Each muffin: 5.8 g. carbs; 10.6 grams protein

I found almond flour at Kroger in the "natural" section with th other Bob's Mill products.

Happy Thursday to ya!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Workout Update

Workout Update. Now that's a title that is not going to deliver what is promises. Exercise just has happened.  *hangs head in shame*  I have got to get back in that game. Maybe some Zumba or Just Dance, weights, and riding my bike. I love riding bikes with the family. I feel so free on a bike. The wind blowing in my hair. Bugs lodging in my teeth. LOL It is one of my favorite forms of exercise.

My favorites are:
  1. Hiking
  2. Cycling
  3. Canoeing
  4. Swimming
  5. Zumba
  6. Spin Class
  7. Weights
  8. Running
In that order. So what is your favorite form of exercise?

Now that I see that list, I think I see some things that I want to do! Glad I did that. :)

Saturday morning Chuck has a shooting tournament. He didn't do as well as he wanted but I was still proud of him. Charlie came along with me to watch him.
 I enjoy being the supportive trophy wife and all, but it can get pretty boring waiting for every one else to shoot before we move to the next stage and Chuck gets to shoot again. In the meantime I get to hear a bunch of guys talk about things that I don't care to hear about or say things like, "We need some rain to warsh the air."  Warsh. Or worsh. It's like nails on a chalkboard to hear that. In high school I actually stopped dating a guy because he said "worsh" and "warsp" for wash and wasp. Where do they find the "r" in those words?!

So while I'm waiting for my guy to show off his testosterone I discovered that I can entertain myself with my cell phone and a nook app. I can read all of the digital books that I've purchased and/or check out digital books from the library with the Overdrive app! Joy!
A James Patterson novel.
 Within minutes of taking the picture of my phone, the SD card died and I lost all of my pictures and music. And yet angry at the same time.

Sunday morning began the day with fried eggs and bacon. Mmmmm. You really can't have too much hot sauce.
Thanks for cooking breakfast, Chuck!
 The weather was something straight from Armegeddon with scorching temps and very little breeze. Your face would melt off if you spent too much time outside.  Nevertheless, my brave husband put together a trampoline for the kids (our other had sadly succumbed to the elements and died an uninspiring death) and changed the brakes on my minivan, Vincent Van Go. By the end of the day he was exhausted and had taken two showers.

Hmmm....trampoline. Maybe I can get some exercise on it too! Fun. :)

Monday was grocery store day. Charlie wasn't feeling well (allergies?) so school was minimal for him.

I picked up some pre-seasoned chicken fajitas for dinner. They were delicious! I mean really good. I'm going to get some more of those. I used my electric griddle and first cooked some bell pepper and onion in some coconut oil & a little butter with a dash of soy and Worcestershire sauce (house smelled edible) and then cooked the chicken fajitas. Served with sour cream and cheese on low carb tortillas. Yummo!
 And Rachel made Chuck a birthday/Father's Day cake since we were out of town when his birthday came around. It's a canoe cake with cattails! It's adorable.

 Yesterday both Charlie and I were feeling terrible. It has to be allergies. But it sure can make you feel like you have something worse.  Not much school going on but I did read a book and worked on a puzzle book. I love the variety puzzle books that you can buy at the grocery store in the magazine aisle.

The whole day I really felt like death. My eyes itched so bad that I wanted to claw them out and almost did. Chuck brought home some Claritin which relieves the symptoms slightly.

Still had to cook dinner so I made the quick and easy cheeseburgers on half of a low carb pita. Oh man, those were good! I used Kroger's burger seasoning spices and it really gives it a good flavor.  Also served it with some wonderful watermelon. I have to be careful around watermelon. I could easily eat the whole thing.
The burger may not look like anything special but it was sooooo good.
Happy Hump Day to ya. Hope you're allergy free and having a great week.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Week in Review

I make a post on Tuesday and then *poof* the week just disappears and it's already Friday. Seriously, I am a bad blogger.

Every single day it's been something. I've been busy with school. In case you didn't know, we I homeschool the kids. Reasons: we're on the move a lot, don't like some of the things going on in the schools, don't like being told what to do, I thought I could give them an education with more variety, wouldn't have to move on to a new topic until I know they understand something, and no teacher will love them as much as I do. There are, or course, positives and negatives to anything. It wasn't an easy decision but I hope it was the right one. I'm very pleased with their progress.

Why do we do school in the summer? Because it's so darn hot and all of the fun places are too crowded. We take a lot of time off during the fall when the temps are cool and everyone else is back in school. :)

Right now we're studying our way through the Middle Ages. We read sections of history books and the kids each have a journal where they write a summary of what they've learned. I find it sticks in their heads longer if they have to write it down.  We're also working through a writing program, spelling, grammar,science, lots of math(!), Texas history, and we'll soon be starting up Spanish, art and music appreciation.  Both are enrolled in the library's summer reading program too. Believe it or not, it takes up most of my day.

Tuesday the library had a make-a-mummy activity so I took the kids. It was a little young for Rachel but she still had a good time.

The mummies. Very cute.
 Wednesday they had Indiana Jones and the Readers of the Lost Book. This guy was so funny. I love all of the puns he used and I tried to file as many as I could away into my memory so I could use them later. But I'm pretty sure my memory is not what it used to be so it may be gone with the wind.

 They had a good turnout for our little bitty speck of a town. This guy was so good he was able to keep the kids' attention for a full 30 minutes.  Charlie loved it. There's my little nugget in blue.
Thursday they had a teen event where they learn to make origami. And where is the picture? Oh yeah, I forgot to take one. My mind. I'm worried. They had 2 teens show up so Charlie participated.

Then last night we met up with some friends (we've known them since Chuck and I were dating 20-something years ago) at Alamo Drafthouse for an 80s sing-a-long. Once the beer started flowing we were all dancing and singing our heads off. Yes, dancing. In a movie theater. It was cool though. Everyone in there was dancing and belting out the lyrics to Love Shack and Just Can't Get Enough.  We also had a good time laughing at the cheesey 80s videos and styles. Ah, memories. And, hello? Where was Thriller?

The movie theater gave us all blow up keytars (like a guitar you wear around your neck but a keyboard instead) and we played our inflatable keytars like real rock stars during Take on Me.  Lots of fun.

At the end I know someone got a picture of all of us together but I'm not sure whose phone it's on at the moment. Not mine.  After the sing-a-long we sat at the bar and laughed and reminisced. It really was a good time even though I know I had way too much to drink.

And today is Friday. I'll be playing taxi to Rachel (I've got to get that girl driving more so she can get her license!) and then chill out for the rest of the day. We typically have 4 day school weeks so we'll probably take today off.

So happy Friday, y'all. I'll try to be a good blogger and not let the week get away from me so quickly again. :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

San Antonio Birthday Weekend Bash

(Warning: this is a very picture intensive post. Sorry if it takes a while for them to load.)

Chuck and I had a voucher for a romantic weekend for two at Noble Inns Oge House in the King William District of San Antonio. No kids allowed in this house which is filled with antiques and is nestled among large trees right on the Riverwalk. Absolutely gorgeous. We arrive Friday afternoon.
The Oge House.

Home! I could live here quite happily.
 The foyer was breathtakingly beautiful.
 We're shown to our room. Wow! This is so much better than the Holiday Inn.
Love the soft featherbed and antiques.

 The chifferobe contained the flat screen TV and DVD player. They had DVDs available to borrow in a sitting room off the foyer.

The sink was in the room and set in an old chest of drawers. Love this.

Time to relax with a glass of lemonade after a long drive. The windows are original and you can see the wavy glass in them. Not energy efficient but very pretty.
 It was so lovely we just wanted to lie in bed and absorb it all. Plus we may have been a little tired. Sometimes the fancier places can make me feel ill at ease. I'm afriad of touching anything and certainly can't relax. This place was completely different. I felt at home. I think Chuck and I both felt instantly at ease and just relaxed. The shadows from the trees danced on the walls and the birds chirped right outside the window. It was perfect.
 The voucher was for a "romance package" which included champagne, chocolates, 6 votive candles and two etched champagne glass. Also a massage and a ride in a Rolls plus breakfast!
The votives are electric but they flicker like real candles. We still haven't opened that champagne. It's in the fridge. :)
 After we relaxed a bit we got ready and walked to Mi Tierra. What would a trip be to San Antonio without a visit there? Let me tell ya, it was hot. 107* hot. We were sweating pretty good once we got to the restaurant.
 Hmmmm....what should I order?

 With our fajitas and several beverages finished, it was time to head back to our room. Along the way we passed this:
 Cool! O. Hennry's house! Right there near Mi Tierra in the middle of San Antonio. I had no idea.
 Did you know that walking in extreme heat after drinking margaritas and eating fajitas is a terrible idea? I was starting to feel a bit poorly. Then I saw this around the corner. Ahhhhh. Home.
 We then met Ashley and her husband Rob a couple of blocks away at a hangout called The Friendly Spot. I could kick myself for not taking any pictures. :( It was so hot and muggy we just sat in chairs sweating. It was great to see them again but after a while the heat kind of gets to you (this is an outdoor hangout) so we said our goodnights and went back to the inn.

Even though it was dreadfully hot I couldn't resist going back out into the lit garden after taking my shower. It was just so pretty.

Poor Chuck. He should really learn how to relax. ;-)
 Saturday morning we go to breakfast at 8:30am. I had already spoken with the innkeepers on the phone and asked for a low carb breakfast.

The table was set so pretty.
 The dining room was elegant.

We start off with coffee and strawberries with cream.
 Then the main dish is set before me. The innkeeper says, "I know you're diabetic so I gave you sugar free syrup." LOL  Not exactly low carb but it was good.
 Then back to our room for Chuck's birthday massage. Happy birthday, Chuck! A guy named Wayne shows up at our door with his table and gear. Again, I could kick myself for forgetting to take pictures!! Chuck enjoyed his hour long massage immensely.  He was completely relaxed when Wayne finished so we just spent the rest of the morning doing abosulutely nothing. Chuck watched some TV and I read A Jane Austen Education.

Sometimes I have trouble actually relaxing on vacation. I feel like we need to be on the move the whole time or we might just miss something. But being Chuck's birthday I followed his lead and he wanted to "chill". It felt good and it didn't take long for me to enjoy this aspect of the vacation. "The art of doing nothing. Ah, dolce far niente! "~Eat, Pray, Love.

That afternoon I released any tensions that I might have been storing and just enjoyed the room and the experience of being in such a beautiful place without worrying about what I might miss.

Soon it was time for lunch and we headed to a cool looking Latin restuarant called Azuca. Very eclectic.

 The whole place was decorated with a local artist's blown glass creations but the light fixtures really stood out. Loved them!
 We started off with mojitos and a crab cake.

Best crab cake I've had. It had a nice amount of spice to it too!
 I ordered the roasted cilantro chicken with garlic veggie shreds and it was out of this world good. I wish I had their recipe.
 Since it was Chuck's birthday we ordered the tres leches cake. Mmmmm. I posted a picture of it on Facebook from my phone and autocorrect changed it to trespass leeches cake. LOL
 Back to the room for more relaxing, napping, reading and doing nothing. Perfect way to spend a hot afternoon.

Then it was time to get ready for our Rollls Royce ride downtown.  A 1960 Silver Cloud. Ooooooooh!

Yes, I could get used to this VERY quickly.

 I've never ridden a car where people actually stop on the streets to take pictures. It was a sweet ride. We were dropped off in front of our destination: Texas de Brazil.
 We were dropped off around 7ish but I didn't have reservations until 8:15pm. I checked in with the hostess and asked her to let us know if a table came available sooner. We took a seat at the bar and before we even got our drinks the hostess came to get us.  Apparently they saw the car we arrived in and thought we were something special and seated us at their nicest table. The waiter even mentioned our car. LOL

This place is amazing! The atmosphere is hard to describe. Grand doesn't do it justice.  It has a large salad bar that also includes things like shrimp and salmon. Then waiters continually bring you meat: chicken, pork, filet mignon, steaks, lamp, ribs. It never ends. You have to pace yourself.


 There is a wall of wines (their wine cellar) and a woman hangs from remote control wires and does acrobatics while getting wines down. She's behind a glass wall and, along with the music and decor, gives a surreal experience.  I took a video of her doing her spins. It was mesmerizing.
 We ordered a bottle of 2005 Silver Oak Nappa Valley Cabernet. Wonderful.

An afterdinner Grand Marnier Flight: 50 yeard old, 100 year old, and 150 year old. Tasty!
Birthday dessert time! Lime creme brulee.
 It was a very satisfying meal and definitely a splurge both with calories and $$. Totally worth it.

We get up to leave and head to the front and our waiter meets us there. He says he wants to see us get in our car. LOL Chuck tells him that it's not ours and you can see the disappointment on his face (the waiter's, not Chuck's). We explain that the owner of the inn dropped us off. :)

We stroll leisurely towards Mi Tierra because we keep trying to get churros to bring home to the kids but they didn't have them Friday night.

The Market Square isn't nearly as crowded and it's a little cooler if you call 97* cool.  I love seeing all of the shops.

Aw, no churros today either. :(
 Chuck and I stroll hand in hand around the city slowly making our way back to the room. It's our last night in San Antonio and we just aren't ready for it to end. It's been a perfect day. 
San Fernando Cathedral.
 The Riverwalk's "mood" changes from place to place. Some places are bustling with restaurants and activity while others are more serene and the lights cast pretty shadows.

Home again.
Chuck and I had started receiving texts from Rachel before we got "home". I believe they started while we were still at the restaurant. She and Charlie were staying with my parents and they have one horse left. We've always had several horses when I was a kid. They're fun but very high maintenance.

It seems that their horse, Olivia, who is in her mid 20s, is having stomach problems. Colic. If a horse rolls aroud from the stomach pains they can twist a gut which is often fatal though they can sometimes do surgery. Horses can not vomit so things can get bad for them when they get a stomach ache.

Before they realized Olivia was having trouble she had already rolled and twisted a gut. A vet was called out around 12:30am and by 3:30am they had to put her to sleep. It was incredibly hard on everyone.

Sunday morning Chuck and I get up, have our breakfast and head home. We get home, unpack, take the truck to the shop to drop it off for a new tire and shocks, then head to Beaumont to get the kids. A lot of driving but they needed to come home. My mom had the dead horse and emotions to deal with and the kids had never seen anything like that before. Death is not a neat, tidy thing when you have a lot of animals in the country. I've seen some terrible things that leave an imprint in your mind. I didn't want them to see any more than they needed to.

Being Sunday and Father's Day, the city could not come out to bury her and the horse had collapsed right in front of the house. My parents had been taking turns leading Olivia around to make sure she didn't roll but it had been too late. Exhausted, she finally just dropped in front of the house and wouldn't get up. Rachel described the scene to me and it wasn't pretty. And the vet was inexperienced and instead of running a tube to her stomach to get in some meds, she ran the tube into her lungs which caused a great deal of bleeding. It was a mess all the way around. Terrible.

Before we arrive to get the kids, a cop, who had a relative down the road, brought over a tractor and tied a chain around the horse's neck and dragged her away from the front of the house. Keep in mind the temperatures we've been having. They covered her with a tarp until the city  could come out to bury her the next day.

My mom was terribly upset, of course, and so were the kids. I think it was hard on my dad as well.  We loaded the kids, hugged everyone, and headed home.

It didn't hit me until Monday (yesterday) how tired I was from everything. I had trouble staying awake the entire day.  Feeling better today. :)

It was a fun and eventful yet relaxing weekend. I wasn't thrilled about how it ended, of course.

So that was my weekend. How was yours?!

And I'd like to tell my hubby one last time: Happy Birthday, my love. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.