How Do You Find the Time?

"How do you find the time?"

I get asked that question a lot and I really don't know the answer. I know that I just do the thing that I get enjoyment from and the things that need to be done.

A single parent, a working professional, someone who loves to read, knit, craft and create, someone who is working really hard to create a good life for herself and her kids. I know I'm not the only one out there, and I enjoy reading the blogs of others, so I thought, "well, why not?" So here we go!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

What did you do this weekend?

Nothing exciting going on here except for everyday life.    First off, accounting - down a total of 12 pounds so far!   Yay me!     Logged food every day, exercise 4 times this week  (busy meeting week!)   I'm in the process of finishing a UFO - a shawl made from homespun alpaca.   I'm close to the end and will finish it this week!   Woo hoo!

On Monday at school, we had the Black Hands Drummers come to visit our students.  They are amazing, energizing, and just so positive.      We got to get up and dance and sing with them.  I think we should start every day off that way.    Here are Gil and his wife.    They are such wonderful people!

On Saturday, our trainer, Moses tried to kill us!   Not really, but it feels like it today.   My quads are so sore - I think it was from the skating he had me doing on the gym floor with towels under my feet.    I did get a workout in today and soaked some in the hot tub, but I am still sore! 

Lately I've been finding a lot of recipes via Pinterest.    Talk about addicting!     I'm seeing lots of delectable desserts (think hot fudge chocolate cake made in the crockpot), but I have resisted, thinking of the progress I am making.     I have been searching for a few sweet treats to make that won't kill the health routines.    I found these three recipes on there, and that's what's for dinner tonight and lunches this week.   

Slow Cooker Cream Cheese Chicken Chili
1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 can corn, undrained
1 can Rotel (tomatoes & gr. chiles), undrained (I used a 14 oz can of tomatoes and some generous spoonfuls of green chili)
1 pkg. ranch dressing mix (I only used 1/2 package)
1 tsp. cumin
1 Tbl. chili powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
2 chicken breast halves or 5 tenders (I used 6 boneless, skinless thighs, thawed), frozen

Place chicken in bottom of slow cooker.  Combine beans, corn, Rotel, ranch seasoning, cumin, chili powder and onion powder and pour over chicken.  Place stick of cream cheese on top.  Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Stir cream cheese into chili.  Use 2 forks and shred the chicken.  Stir together and serve.  Yield: 3-4 adult servings.   

Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower: 

Preheat the oven to 425.

Take 4 to 5 pounds of broccoli and cut into florets (but relatively big ones.)  Dry them THOROUGHLY. That is, if you wash them.

 Put the broccoli on a cookie sheet. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. ( 5 Tbs olive oil, 1 1/2 tsps kosher salt, 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper.) Now add 4 garlic cloves that are peeled and sliced and toss them in too.

Roast in the oven 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.

When it’s done, take it out of the oven, zest a lemon over the broccoli, squeeze the lemon juice over the broccoli, add 1.5 Tbs more olive oil, 3 Tbs toasted pine nuts (I left those out), and 1/3 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

My Notes:   I tossed the broccoli and cauliflower in a ziplock bag with the garlic.    We have had this once before and it was delicious!   I think that the lemon zest and the Parmesan cheese at the end are the best parts of this dish! 

No Bake Granola Bars 

- 1 cup oatmeal
- 1/2 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 cup coconut flakes
- 1/2 cup hemp seed (or flax)
- 1 bar (1 oz.) Baker's* dark chocolate (optional)
Combine all ingredients and mix well.  
Roll into tbsp sized balls.  
Melt chocolate in microwave safe bowl and transfer to a sandwich bag.  Snip a small tip off the corner of the sandwich bag and drizzle away! 
Let balls set in fridge for another 1/2 hour before serving. 
My Notes:   I heated the honey in the microwave, mostly because it had hardened in the container, but it made it easier to mix.    I also heated the peanut butter for the same reason.     I only had about 3/4 of a cup of coconut and I did not use Baker's chocolate.   I used about 1/4 of a cup of chocolate chips and 2 Tbsp of  peanut butter.   I do not have hemp, so I used ground flax seeds - you can't use flax seeds whole unless you soak or cook them.     I did not refrigerate this first, but instead spread it into a cookie sheet on parchment paper and used a rolling pin to flatten it.    I started to drizzle the chocolate/peanut butter mix over it, but then decided to just spread it.   I then put it in the refrigerator and later cut it into squares.   I wrapped each one individually for lunches this week.    Just the sweet touch I was looking for!

And finally, we have been seeing some amazing sunrises this month.   I took this photo when I dropped the boys off at school on Friday morning.   Amazing colors!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Korean Chicken and Accounting

Wow, busy week last week, with going back to work. It's all good though! So first off, accounting for my goals:

Weight: Down 9 pounds! Yay me!
Exercise: 5 of 7 days
  • Monday: Cardio and core stregthening
  • Tuesday: Water Aerobics - 60 minutes
  • Wednesday: Cardio and core strengthening
  • Thursday: None
  • Friday: Cardio and core strengthening
  • Saturday: Cardio workout with personal trainer - 60 minutes - brutal but fun!
  • Sunday: None

Food Journaling: Every day!


I made this scarf from a cool art yarn called Flounce that my friend Cathy sent me! It was a very easy, quick and fun knit.

I also finished a lunchbox that I started over break. I found this cool Dr. Seuss fabric and thought that my artist child would love it. He does!

So there's a blog I'm following called Six Sisters Stuff - you can see the link in the sidebar. They have great recipes and I found the below recipe on their website. My kids gave the recipe a huge thumb's up! It's a keeper!

Korean BBQ Chicken

1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup soy sauce (low sodium is fine)
1 cup water
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp minced garlic
Sesame seeds
10 chicken tenders
Steamed broccoli
Cooked rice

Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces and spread out in a single layer in a 7x11" pan.
In a medium saucepan over high heat, whisk together the sugar, soy sauce, water, onion powder, garlic, and ground ginger. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes.
Remove mixture from heat and whisk in lemon juice and red pepper flakes.
Pour mixture over chicken. Cover pan with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, stirring halfway through to make sure chicken is evenly covered with sauce.
When finished cooking, drain some of the leftover juices into a saucepan. Heat up and add cornstarch to make a thicker sauce.
Add steamed broccoli to chicken in the pan and mix gently.
Put chicken/broccoli mixture over cooked rice and drizzle thickened sauce over the top. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top.

My Notes:

1. I used 1 3/4 cup chicken broth and 1/4 cup soy sauce in place of the soy sauce and water. I find things with that much soy sauce to be too salty.

2. I used minced ginger instead of ginger powder.

3. I only used about 1/3 of a cup of sugar - honey or agave nectar might be even better

4. Instead of red pepper flakes, I used 2 tsp of siracha

5. I added siracha to the sauce at the end because I wanted more of a hot and sweet flavor. I think I added about 2 teaspoons, but this could be adjusted to taste. Red pepper flakes would definitely work too.

6. I used boneless skinless chicken thighs because that's what I had.

And finally, a couple of photos of my dogs. It was so beautiful this weekend and they enjoyed being outside. I was trying to get a photo of Shiloh with his ear sticking up. It was quite amusing, but I couldn't quite get it. I think though, that these two photos are fun!

First Shiloh!

Then Willie!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

German Bread and other musings

So someone at work asked me today how my journaling is going. I looked at her with a blank stare...Journaling? Oh, food and exercise journal! Yes, that is going really well! I've been able to write down what I am eating every day and I am also recording my exercise. Prior to the Christmas holiday, I was considering doing a 21 day Vegan diet. However, as I considered it, I had to think about what I could easily do and maintain. A new diet with new foods, with boys who would not have been supportive of that would have been much more difficult. So I made the decision to make my commitment to exercise and journaling what I am eating.

Another change that I am making is having a BAS every day for lunch. BAS is "Big-a$$ Salad." I've been reading a great blog by a woman who lost 135 pounds and has kept it off for 5 years! She eats a BAS every day for lunch. So I've done that every day this week. Lots of creative ideas and thoughts. Today I had the soup I made yesterday on top of my salad at lunch. I also do something very strange - I put my salad in the microwave for about 30 seconds. It takes the edge off of the cold and makes it so much more enjoyable for me.

There is a great German Bakery in Colorado Springs. I love love love their rye bread. It's delicious and I've been on a quest to find a recipe that replicates their bread. I think that I found it! Fair warning - it's pretty time-consuming, but the time is really in letting it rise and do its stuff.

I followed the directions exactly as written and OMG, it's delicious! I'm making more next weekend - two loaves! I may never buy bread from the store again. I love the fact that it only has 1 Tablespoon of oil in the whole loaf and has honey, not white sugar.


1 large loaf



Dough Starter

  • Bread flour -- 3/4 cup
  • Rye flour -- 3/4 cup
  • Honey or malt syrup -- 3 tablespoons
  • Water, lukewarm -- 1 1/2 cups
  • Instant yeast -- 1/2 teaspoon

Flour mixture

  • Bread flour -- 2 1/2 cups
  • Caraway seeds -- 2 tablespoons
  • Salt -- 1 1/2 teaspoons
  • Instant yeast -- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Oil -- 1 tablespoon
  • Cornmeal -- for the baking tray


  1. Add the ingredients for the starter to a large bowl and mix together until smooth. Set aside for 10 minutes for the yeast to activate.
  2. While the starter is resting, mix together the remaining ingredients except for the oil and cornmeal. Pour the flour mixture over the starter. Do not stir. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean towel and set aside for at least two hours and up to five hours. The starter will bubble up through the flour mixture.
  3. Add the oil to the flour mixture and use a wooden spoon to stir the flour mixture into the starter. As the mixture comes together, remove the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead for about 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. The dough might be a little sticky. Knead in just enough extra flour to keep the dough from sticking to your hands.
  4. Set the dough aside to rest for about 10 minutes, then knead for another 5 to 10 minutes.
  5. Set the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl and lightly oil the top of the dough. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean towel and set in a draft-free area of the kitchen to rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Remove the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Punch down the dough and lightly knead it 3 or 4 times. Form into a ball, return to the bowl, cover and let rise for another 45 minutes or so.
  6. Preheat oven to 450°F and set the shelf at the lowest level. Put a small metal pan in the oven (you will use this later). Lightly press down on the dough and form it into a ball. Sprinkle the cornmeal onto a baking sheet and set the dough onto the baking sheet. Lightly oil the top of the dough and cover it with plastic wrap. Set aside to rise for another hour.
  7. Use a sharp knife or razor blade to slash the top of the dough in 3 parallel lines about 1/4-inch thick. Then slash with another set of 3 lines perpendicular to the first set. Use a spray bottle to mist the dough with water.
  8. Set the baking sheet in the oven and pour about 1 cup of water into the small pan to create steam. Shut the door immediately and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 400°F and bake for another 35 to 45 minutes. (An insta-read thermometer inserted into the middle of the loaf should register 190°F.)
  9. Set the loaf on a cooling rack and let cool completely.

This is the starter bubbling up through the flour mixture

This is the final loaf of bread - I should have made the cuts deeper. I forgot to take photos in between. The Broncos were playing the Steelers. I was lucky to get this!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Happy New Year

Wow, it's been a while since I've blogged! I've been busy with making things, but didn't bother to document them. Now I wish that I had done so.

Knowing myself, I know that if I want to accomplish things, I need to set specific goals. I can do project-oriented things well and love the feeling of finishing something, but it's the more nebulous goals that are harder for me to reach. So, I have a "To Do" list for 2012. Here it is:

1. Lose 5 pounds per month
2. Exercise 5 - 7 times per week
3. Organize the house better (Ok, that's still a bit nebulous, but I do have specific goals - related to #4)
4. Spend less time on the computer and more time doing things around the house (like organizing)
5. Make at least 50 things this year - one per week (and document this somewhere)
6. Keep daily log of exercise and food

So I have a composition book in which I have started logging my food, my exercise and my accomplishments around the house. I know that with logging food, it has to be easy, hence the book. We joined a great gym, Lifetime Fitness, and have already logged some time there and are working out with a trainer, Moses.

Today we organized the desk in the office, which was no small feat! We found 3 1/2" floppy discs (which my children found hysterical), Office XP software and games which will no longer run on any computer we have. It felt good to do some purging and finally find that darn stapler I knew I had!

I've also done some cooking and prepping for being organized with cooking once I go back to work (Monday - eek!)

Dinner tonight - Crock Pot Jambalaya

Slow Cooker Jambalaya from

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into 1 inch cubes - I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 pound smoked turkey sausage, sliced - I used cajun chicken sausage from Sunflower Market

1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice

3 Tbsp dried minced onion flakes - I used fresh onions

1 cup chicken broth

2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 teaspoons dried parsley

2 tsp minced garlic

2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper - omitted, the sausage has good spice

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

white rice or instant rice (I used 2 packs of Uncle Ben's Ready Rice - Garlic & Butter flavor) - Cooked brown rice to serve with this.

In a slow cooker, mix the chicken, sausage, tomatoes with juice, onion, garlic, celery, and broth. Season with oregano, parsley, Cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper, and thyme. (I do this the night before and put it in the fridge. I put it in the slow cooker before I leave in the morning.)

Cover, and cook 7 to 8 hours on Low, or 3 to 4 hours on High. Mix in cooked rice cook for about 15 minutes to warm through.

Verdict: Delicious!

One more thing. It's snowing!