Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Friday, November 30, 2012
I went old fashioned and wrote the names down on little strips of paper and had my adorable 11 yr old daughter pick a name from a bowl. And the winner is.... Kerry Blair! Congratulations Kerry! Please send your mailing address to janicesperry @ q (dot) com.
Thank you everyone for entering my contest! If you didn't win, and don't live near a store that is stocking it, you can get it online. Amazon is overcharging on their print copies for some odd reason, but you can still buy it from the publisher for 2.99. That is less than a nice sparkly Christmas card! It even comes with an envelope so you can send it like a Christmas card.
Convenient direct link to publisher's site
Stay tuned. I'm going list where I'll be doing author signings next month.
Thursday, November 8, 2012
Here's the back cover blurb: Susan Winters has a secret. Every year at Christmastime, she abandons her solitary lifestyle and anonymously spreads the joy and spirit of Christmas as The Candy Cane Queen. But this year, something's about to change. This touching story shares the important message that at Christmastime we need each other more than ever. Perfect for the whole family to enjoy together!
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Step 2: Cut your Plaster of Paris strips into smaller strips. I didn't measure, but you can see they weren't very wide. I used wider strips for my husband. I'm not sure what he used on me. I had my eyes closed.
(I hope my neck doesn't look this fat in real life. Please don't tell me if it does. My daughter appears to be partly conscious. I assure you she felt no pain. I have no idea where her eyeballs went.)
Step 3: Dip plaster strips in warm water and apply to face.
I knew she still had her eye balls. She's also sporting a lovely beard. The Plaster of Paris dries very quickly. The first thing she complained about was an inability to smile.
Here she is with the completed mask. I started on the outside, framing the face, then worked my way in. Be sure to get two or three layers down.
Here's my husband.
This is my youngest son. (He just turned 8) I was worried he'd freak out with the mask, but he did pretty well. He enjoyed complaining about being unable to move his face.
My oldest son. He couldn't stop smiling so he stretched his mask a little. The mask even has a little grin.
Me. Note my husband didn't make mine as high as I made everyone else's. Go as high as you can or your mask will have a bitty forehead.
Step 4: Let dry overnight. We could have baked or microwaved them, but we ran out of time and had somewhere to go. I think I prefer the overnight drying anyway. This probably would have been a good time to apply the waterproofing spray. Plaster of Paris is extremely porous so the more layers of waterproofing the better. (These masks can also be painted.)
Step 5: Cut your cheese cloth. Mix the white glue with water (about half and half). Then attach the cheese cloth to the mask with the glue mixture. We used little sponges.
In case anyone is wondering, I drilled hole in the side with an ice pick to get a string through the masks. You can see the strings in this next picture.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Our church has an annual fathers and sons campout every year. So, while the boys are gone, my daughter and I do a girl's night.
My daughter liked the vegetarian enchiladas but she said she prefers the meat kind. If you like some meat, then slow cook chicken or pork with the brown sugar and vinegar. I've also done a half meat, half bean combo and it was really tasty.
2-4 cups reconstituted beans (depending on how full you want your shells.)
2 large or 4 small tomatoes
4 peppers of desired heat
2 medium onions
2 large handfuls of spinach (or more if you really like spinach.)
1 c. brown sugar
1 T vinegar
Fat free sour cream
Fiesta blend of shredded cheese
Chop tomatoes, onion, peppers, and spinach in food processor. Combine with beans with brown sugar, vinegar and salsa mixture. Allow to simmer for at least 30 min.
Spread half sour cream on bottom of pan. Stuff tortillas with bean mixture. Top with sour cream, extra bean juices, and cheese. Bake @350 for 20 min or until cheese is melted.
After doing our spa treatments, eating dinner, and watching Phantom of the Opera, it was time to go to bed. My daughter was disappointed we didn't have time to go shopping. She really wanted to go first thing in the morning before the boys came home.
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Here's the first one: Strawberry Salad with Strawberry Poppy Seed Dressing. Mmmm. The dressing doesn't have any cholesterol, unlike my favorite ranch dressing. It also contains olive oil, which is a source of the good kind of fat.
I'm not big on measuring so, since this is my own recipe, I didn't measure anything other than the quinoa. Sometimes you have to cook by taste, rather than by the rules.
1/4 c. uncooked quinoa per serving
black beans (soak dry beans overnight. Then slow cook for about 2 hours ahead of time. I like to make an entire bag and store the cooked beans in my fridge. Canned beans have a lot of sodium added.)
(abt 1 T) red wine vinegar and brown sugar (to taste) or your favorite BBQ sauce
You could also add meat and whatever other vegetables but this is filling enough that you don't need meat.
Prepare quinoa in rice cooker or according to directions. Coat bottom of pan with olive oil. Saute onion. Add vegetables, vinegar, beans, and brown sugar. Add cooked quinoa (and water if it's too dry). I like my vegetables a little crunchy so I let it cook long enough for the flavor of the vinegar and brown sugar to penetrate the quinoa. Five minutes is long enough. Cook longer if you like your vegetables softer.
Saturday, August 4, 2012
I saw the Candy Cane Queen on Amazon! Check it out here. The release date is Oct 9. This isn't my first published short story, but it is my first work published on its own. My other short stories were published in anthologies. This little book is 16 pages and will come with its own envelope. Yes, envelopes are exciting.
Here's the blurb. Susan Winters has a secret. Every year at Christmastime, she abandons her solitary lifestyle and anonymously spreads the joy and spirit of Christmas as The Candy Cane Queen. But this year, something's about to change. This touching story shares the important message that at Christmastime we need each other more than ever. Perfect for the whole family to enjoy together!
And I have to add the cover again because it's just so cute.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
I froze the smoothies, along with everything else that could be frozen, before we left. I packed them with our frozen water bottles and they stayed frozen for the entire five hour drive. Our little cabin at Mack's Inn had a refrigerator so we put all the cold food away as soon as we arrived. The big smoothies were for me and had spinach, yogurt, and a variety of fruit. The smaller smoothies were for my kids and had milk and fruit. I put the smoothies in the fridge to thaw the night before, but the fridge was too cold so we ended up packing them in the cooler and drinking them for lunches in Yellowstone. I had it figured out by the time we got to the reunion at the May Family Ranch and had them for breakfast there.
We also brought regular cold cereal for my husband and the kids. I brought milk with us since I wasn't sure if we could find a store. It did great surrounded by frozen smoothies.
Here's one of my favorite shots in Yellowstone
By bringing most of our food with us, I was able to control what we were eating. We did have a nice lunch at Mammoth, and my daughter will tell you that her favorite part of the meal was her brownie sundae. She told me about it often enough. I didn't have any dessert and I love brownie sundaes. My favorite part was that poppy seed dressing. I really must find the recipe.
Here's a shot of my whole family in Yellowstone.
This last picture is a place near Mack's Inn called Big Springs. It's beautiful there.
Friday, July 13, 2012
So if I keep my diet the way it's always been, I'll have a heart attack at 50. Doctors are such downers. I've spent the last 6 months exercising more and eating whole grains, blah, blah, blah. I lost about 10 lbs. But my cholesterol didn't go down. It went up. Crap.
I'm not big on medication. The cholesterol medicine side effects aren't especially terrifying, but I'd rather avoid them. I can't help but think they aren't the best option. So I've decided to cut my meat consumption down to once a day. The average adult can have 300mg of cholesterol a day. Those trying to lower cholesterol can have 200mg. I'm trying to stay around 100mg. It's not easy. Cholesterol is in all animal related foods, which are some of my favorites. Eggs, meat, milk, cheese... Mmmm. Now we all know why my cholesterol was going up. Ugh.
I already miss scrambled eggs. But this isn't goodbye. It's more of a long distance relationship. I'm going rather drastic for six months when they'll check my blood again. If I've lowered my cholesterol, I'll go for an occasional scrambled egg. (Yes one. Eggs are around 200mg each - yikes!)
I'm blogging about this because I'm hoping there are other people out there who have successfully cut down their cholesterol without going vegan or using medication. I also thought that I'd post how I'm altering my recipes to be more cholesterol friendly. I'll post recipes if anyone is interested. I might post some anyway.
So here's my plan:
Green smoothies. The fruit and spinach are cholesterol free. The yogurt contains about 7mg. I'm not giving up the yogurt because it does wonders for my digestion. Any more on that would tread on TMI.
Homemade granola bars. Oats are apparently really good for lowering cholesterol.
Homemade cold cereal. I'll post this recipe another day. I made some and we ate it all before I could take a picture. It was that good.
I'm trying to cut out some of the prepackaged food since they tend to be full of sodium and ingredients I can't pronounce. I've been thinking of doing this for a while but since I'm being forced to change my diet, I figured now was a good time to do it.
For lunch I've been having green salad (the lettuce in our garden is growing like a weed. I've also been having peanut butter and honey on Sandwich thins. I need to find some other options. I'm getting tired of peanut butter and salad. Suggestions? (No tofu)
Dinner is only slightly altered. The main difference is I'm keeping my meat servings down and cutting out red meat.
Monday - Chicken Joes. I slow cooked the chicken, shredded it and mixed it with our regular sloppy joe sauce. We also cut up a fresh pineapple, cooked some corn on the cob, and had more green salad. I put baby zucchini in the salad. Tasty.
Tuesday - Crepe dinner. Crepes have eggs and milk in them. I figured they have about 40mg per crepe so I only had two. We put fresh fruit and homemade jam on the crepes. This is super yummy but not super filling. I dug some potatoes out of the garden, sliced them, and sauteed them with zucchini, onions, peppers, and Italian seasonings in olive oil. I should have taken a picture. I just don't think about photographing dinner.
Wednesday - Chicken in homemade Rice a Roni. I boil chicken breasts in water with some Italian seasoning. Break spaghetti noodles into tiny pieces and brown in olive oil. Then I added rice and the water I cooked the chicken in. I mixed a cup of skim milk with some corn starch to make it creamier and added the chopped up chicken. This recipe had the added benefit of being lower in sodium.
Thursday - Homemade pizzas. I used Sandwich Thins instead of crust. This helped me control proportions. Then I put all the fixings on the counter and did a pizza bar. Here's what I put on mine. Pizza squeeze sauce - high in sodium, unfortunately, but very convenient. Jimmy Dean Sausage is 45mg for 2 or 3 oz. (It's also nitrate free.) I only sprinkled it. Pineapple and peppers. I forgot to add the onions, dang it. Mozzarella cheese is the lowest cholesterol cheese I can find - 20mg per inch chunk. I didn't measure but I did only a light sprinkling of cheese. My kids added all the stuff they like. My oldest son skipped the sauce and just did roast beef. My daughter also skipped the sauce and just did ham and cheese. My youngest son piled on the nitrate free ham, sauce, pineapple, sausage, and a mix of cheese. My husband put a little of everything. Everyone was happy. I kept my cholesterol levels down.
Friday- This is our leftover day. No cooking for me!
Next week we'll be going on vacation. I'll post later about how I did on the road. I'm a little nervous about keeping track but I have a plan. I'd love to hear how other people are lowering their cholesterol.
Thursday, July 5, 2012
And here's me next to my book shelf that needs some serious organizing. If you're wondering why there is an igloo on my shelf, I'm not really sure. My 7 year-old must have thought it looked nice there. I'm not so sure.