Thursday, May 31, 2012

Here I Go Again...Models and Photoshop

Do you see something wrong with this picture?  Tell me...what do you see?  No boobs...boobs.  No cleavage...cleavage.  It's magic!  No, it's not magic, it's called photoshop.

I also bet she has to diet and workout constantly to stay super thin.  Now...I'm just guessing here but I'd even venture to say Victoria's Secret keeps it's models on a strict routine/regimen.  If you get a few pounds overweight; you are warned.  If you stay a few pounds overweight, you are fired.

We wonder what's wrong with our daughters, with ourselves.  We can't keep up with society's standards, because they aren't realistic.  Miranda Kerr looks teeny in the first photo, and often times photos have you looking ten pounds bigger than you really are.  How can any of us be as small as her?  Or, would we even want to be?  If you've read some of my previous posts, you see where I refer to Vintage ads when shapely women were more beautiful, or poking fun of today's view of beauty and how thin it is.  I realize, I've already covered it.  But...have I really?  Look at this picture to the left.  This is just a normal girl, with dark hair, blue makeup and imperfect, sweaty skin.  We can all relate!  So, then, who is this girl to our right?  This perfect version of gorgeousness...?  I'm not saying makeup isn't important.  But...look at everything from her cheeks...her lashes, her lips...her startling white teeth.  Her flawless skin and brows...her impeccable skin.  Just great lighting and makeup artists?

Gisele Bündchen and a Pair of Skinny Legs | gisele bundchenOr even favorite...or not so favorite-the same dame that said women should be forced to breastfeed for six months, as a mom of not even ONE YEAR. Oh dear Gisele, I didn't realize you were a doctor and could actually tell me how long I should breastfeed.  Or that you actually understood what it was like to have to stop breastfeeding because your baby had colic and couldn't handle the protein  in your milk.  Or, that like many moms, you had to work a real job where you were gone 9-5 and it made it impossible to keep up with the milk supply.  Oh that's right, you don't know what that's like.  So, you should maybe shut your mouth??!  I don't know, but that's my opinion!  An entire other article, so I'll keep going!  Check out those legs!! Now, maybe I'm targeting Giselle a bit because I don't like her, but hello, can you see, chicken legs?  Now, look at the other picture, the photoshopped picture.  What do you see?  Shapely, muscular, feminine yet...not chicken-legs!'s amazing what photo-shop can do!!!!!! (By the way, she's 5'11'', and 125 pounds.  Tell me that's normal!).  Then, there's Heidi hello.  Look above.  BOOBS!  Look below right: no obvious six pack, no womanly legs.  Hmmm..
heidi klum bikini italy 01
Dear Victoria's Secret...I urge you, help us help ourselves, and our daughters, and even society in general by hiring models who actually look like humans and women...please!  You could start a movement...the Marilyn Monroe Movement! And you'd sell tons of bra's and swimwear...I promise, likely MORE!  Lets do it together.  Check out below pictures from Glamour!  The one on the left in the first pic is called a Plus Size Swimsuit model...seriously?  I think she looks much better than the skin and bones I see above! The photo to the below right is her as well...she looks amazing!  Has she been photoshopped?  You bet she has!  But at least when we walk by her on the street, she's not so thin it's almost unhealthy...and her body is just altogether more realistic with what you see in today's "everyday" women.

Lets make a change, starting with one of the largest fashion/retail magazines in America. You with me?   ~ Trina

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Anti-Chicken Fingers Movement - Salmon Burgers

Don't leave me now! For an avid beef burger fan, this recipe almost blew regular burgers out the door!  Seriously! These pattys (not only healthy) were flavorful and delicate...almost melting in your mouth.  It doesn't even need cheese it's so good alone. Original recipe found here.

Salmon Burgers

1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless salmon
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup coarse bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1/3 cup light mayonnaise
Juice of 1/2 lemon
4 soft hamburger buns


Cut the salmon into large pieces, and combine 1/4 of the pieces with the mustard in a food processor. Process until the mixture becomes pasty, scraping down the sides as necessary. Add the shallots near the end so they are also finely chopped.

Turn out the mixture into a bowl and stir in the breadcrumbs by hand. Season with a healthy pinch of salt and a few grinds of fresh pepper, and shape into four patties.

Heat butter or oil in a large (12-inch) skillet, preferably nonstick, over medium-high heat. Once the skillet is very hot, carefully place the patties inside and cook 2-3 minutes per side, turning once. Alternatively, grill them for the same amount of time, though be careful as the patties are rather fragile.

In the meantime, stir the remaining parsley and the lemon juice into the mayonnaise. Serve with the burgers on a bun or a bed of greens.

Buon Appetito!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Covenant Cookies - A Gift of Delectable Bites, Inspirational Messages

Words are powerful. They can build you or tear down - and become reality.

That's why these elegant little cookies are so great!  Well, one of the reasons!  Covenant Cookies allows you to send that custom positive message to someone you care about via dipped and decorated fortune cookies. 
Yes, the cookies are delicious (much better than the plain, stale ones you get at the Chinese restaurants) - but it's the inspirational fortune that delivers the real treat.  I knew this gift was coming to me in the mail-even so, I was as excited as a little girl getting fan mail response from one of the New Kids On The Block 20 years ago! Almost any package addressed to you is exciting, but one with a classy box, wrapped in a satin bow containing gorgeously decorated fortune cookies individually dipped in chocolate - I'll say it - made my day!

Here's an example that I thought of: You have a girlfriend who just got initiated into the world of mommyhood.  It's week 3 and your bestie is overwhelmed with her newborn - the excitement of the "new" has worn off, the lack of sleep is catching up with her and she's breaking down. So picture this...she opens the package that has just arrived at her door. Upon opening, she is hugged by an elegant container filled with just what she needs - sweets! She's so touched she almost cries. But it's not until she cracks open her fortune "You're a strong mama. Hang in there. It gets easier!" that she does cry.  The words are powerful, and they build her up. She enjoys a couple of the tasty treats and is ready to conquer the rest of her day. Next time you talk, she can't thank you enough!  And then she pays it forward and has a basket delivered to her sister.

So whether you want to encourage a friend, thank your mom, or tell your husband you really do appreciate him; Covenant Cookies is the classy and delicious way to send your love!

For information about Covenant Cookies, please check out  Covenant Cookies's website or call 888-MYCOOKIES.  Don't forget, Father's Day is just around the corner and Covenant has just the right gifts for his sweet tooth (check out this golf themed fortune cookie!)

Please email and let us know about your experiences with Covenant Cookies!

Leah and Trina

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day 2012

Memorial Day Photos
Just a few memorial day quotes I found that I wanted to share on this special day.  Let us not forget what Memorial day is truly about; and while we enjoy an extra day with our families and friends, let us say thanks to the fallen and currently active soldiers protecting our freedom and rights as Americans.

Memorial Day 2012 in Washington, DCChance has never yet satisfied the hope of a suffering people. Action, self-reliance, the vision of self and the future have been the only means by which the oppressed have seen and realized the light of their own freedom. -Marcus Garvey

So long as there are men there will be wars. -Albert Einstein

The cost of liberty is less than the cost of repression. -Web Dubois

Memorial Day Pictures Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty. -John F. Kennedy

Future years will never know the seething hell and the black infernal background, the countless minor scenes and interiors of the secession war; and it is best they should not. The real war will never get in the books. -Walt Whitman

As I approach the gates of heaven;
St. Peter I will tell;
One more soldier reporting sir;
I've served my time in hell. -Mark Anthony Gresswell

Peace is more important than all justice; and peace was not made for the sake of justice, but justice for the sake of peace. -Martin Luther

~Trina & Leah

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Anti-Chicken Fingers Movement ~Cheese & Jalapeño Baked Stuffed Chicken

This meal is officially one of my favorites, healthy...and delicious.  I have to admit the kids weren't crazy about the southwest salad, and I made their chicken without the jalapeno mixture, just in case it was too spicy.  I will definitely be making this yummy dish again!

Ingredients for chicken: 
·                     2 slices center cut bacon, cooked and crumbled (I used Turkey)
·                     3 jalapeños, chopped (removed seeds for mild)
·                     3 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
·                     4 oz reduced fat shredded cheddar jack 
·                     8 thin sliced skinless chicken breast cutlets, 3 oz each-or four full breasts, sliced in 1/2
·                     1 1/2 to 2 cups Italian seasoned whole wheat breadcrumbs (or regular whole wheat bread crumbs with italian seasoning mixed in, or regular italian seasoning breadcrumbs)
·                     1 1/2 juicy limes, juice of (I used 3 limes)
·                     1 tbsp olive oil
·                     salt and fresh pepper
·                     olive oil non-stick spray

Ingredients for southwest bean and corn salad: 
  • 1 1/2 to 2-cups corn
  • 1-can black beans, rinsed & drained
  • 1/2-small or med red onion, minced
  • 1-Avocado, chopped
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup of chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2-Tbl Oil
  • garlic salt to taste

Directions Chicken:
Wash and dry chicken cutlets, season with salt and pepper.  Preheat oven to 450°. Lightly spray a baking dish with non-stick spray.

Combine cream cheese, cheddar, scallions, jalapeño and bacon crumbles in a medium bowl.
Lay chicken cutlets on a working surface and spread 2 tbsp of cream cheese mixture on each cutlet. Loosely roll each one, secure the ends with toothpicks to prevent the cheese from oozing out.

Place breadcrumbs in a bowl; in a second bowl combine olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper.

Dip chicken in lime-oil mixture, then in breadcrumbs and place seam side down on a baking dish. Repeat with the remaining chicken. When finished, lightly spray the top of the chicken with oil spray.
Bake 22-25 minutes, serve immediately

Directions southwest bean and corn salad:
mix all ingredients together & serve w/chicken!

Happy Healthy Eating Friends! ~ Trina

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Babysitting Woes & Eric Church

Am I seriously the only one with babysitting issues?  I mean...really.
I can't be the only one who doesn't live close to family and struggles every time I actually want to go somewhere with my husband. definitely feels that way.

When friends invite us anywhere as a couple, I'm thinking....either I'm going alone or we have to shell out $100 at the very least.  It's like okay, it's worth it because every marriage needs it.  Girl time is also needed, for less than a $100...hmmm...and Shannon usually agrees because he'd rather hang out with the kids than attend most of my social, dysfunctional gatherings.

Last weekend we attended the Eric Church concert with our friends Amber and Jeff Wissing.  Of course, they had family to watch their children.  And, our babysitter suddenly had much cooler plans than heading to our house at noon so we could drive the three hour trek to Denver to watch the concert.  I was struggling with whether I should plan on going alone...or bagging out altogether if we couldn't find someone.  Thus the life of a mommy and daddy far away from any family.

Luckily, my friend Amber saved the day as always.  She called a few people, including her daycare provider's daughter, who agreed to keep my kids.  Because Amber trusted these people, I knew I could.  And, they ended up being some of the best sitters we've had to date.  Thanks Amber!!!

The minute we left the house, I started to feel the stress leaving.  I'm a party girl at heart and love a great time!  Shannon immediately started worrying though, so I had to work on squashing his fears and convince him our kids would be fine.  Soon, he was on board, and after we'd met up with Amber & Jeff, we were on our way to parental freedom.

The concert was amazing.  I love a country singer who can sing with a unique twang about drinking Jack Daniels and Jesus saving him all in one breath.  You see, I relate to that!

We danced, drank, and just enjoyed one another's company.  The concert was held in an outdoor ampitheatre of red rock (it's also called Red Rocks...imagine that). It was beautiful, to say the very least.  If you know Eric Church, you know he's an amazing performer...and at the very end...he sang one of my favorites, Springsteen.  He had everyone open their phones (much safer than lighters I'm sure!) and sing along.  The entire crowd became one mystical, swaying group as the lights from their phones glowed down toward the stage.  I felt like I was in heaven!

The next day, we hurried home to reach our children...whom were having so much fun, they didn't even want to leave with us.  Go figure.  We looked at eachother on the drive home while the kids were bickering with one another about sharing a toy...and our eyes told what our mouths couldn't say; back to the craziness.

You see, our children will sustain and survive...and likely even have more fun with us being gone.  The real people that we need to worry about our ourselves.
Shannon told me something after that concert that made me really think, he said; "Trina, you really are a lot of fun."  Translated to; "you're normally a bitchy pain in the arse who's always stressed out.  It was nice to get back to the real you for a night."

$150 later for the babysitter...not mentioning food, drinks, the concert tickets and gas....we're still ahead. Whether for a happy marriage or just pure insanity relief...a break is always much needed and fully accepted.  ~Trina

Thursday, May 24, 2012

It's the Little Things That Count...Like Homemade Butterfinger Icecream

On Monday I got off at 4:00pm, so I got dinner cooked a little early and we all headed to the grocery store afterward to get my weekly shopping done.  It had been a busy weekend and I didn't have time...or rather, didn't make time.  Grocery shopping isn't exactly my favorite thing to do.  But, it was a beautiful day, the kids were in a great mood, and it seemed like a good idea.

It didn't go too bad, I did hold Clayton most of the time or he was screaming (I never take him to the store with me, in case you didn't guess), and Callie was begging for this or that.  Shannon decided he wanted to buy an icecream maker, like the one his mom has in Oklahoma.  She makes the best butterfinger icecream, so instead of cringing at the price, I smiled at the thought of a little unhealthy indulgence later on.

We got home around 7:00, and Shannon started the process of putting the icecream maker together.  I normally would be busily doing the dishes, or sweeping, or giving the kids a bath, but I couldn't help feeling their excitement; it was infectous.  I decided the dishes and the baths could wait - I was participating in the fun!

If you've ever made homemade icecream (I had not), you know that it takes much longer than the forty minutes the directions say it does.  So, at 9:30pm, we were still up, way beyond bedtime, waiting (and drooling I'm sure) for the icecream.  I begged Shannon, who is the direction follower in our family, to just this once, go against the grain and check if it was done.  It was humming loudly and straining to churn; I was sure this was a sign it was done.  But, Shannon being the level-headed person of our team...waited it out and sure clicked off and we finally got to enjoy some of the yummiest butterfinger icecream ever.
Even though we were up way past bedtime with a sugar-high, and the icecream took forever, and I went to bed with dishes in the sink...and the kids with no bath, it was one of the best evenings of the year so far.  All we did was make icecream!  While we were out the $50 for the maker, next time all we'll have to pay for is the ingredients.  We may hear it all the time, but it doesn't matter...I'm still amazed at how the simple things, the small things are what you remember.

I've included Janet's (Shannon's mom) super recipe below:

You'll Need:
1 Eagle Brand Evaporated Milk
3/4 Cup Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
dash of sea salt
2 Eggs
5 Butterfinger Bars, crushed
1/2 a gallon of 2% milk
Rock salt/icecream salt

mix together the evaporated milk, sugar, vanilla,  sea salt, eggs, and butterfingers, and 2 cups of the milk in your blender, and blend well.  Put in the icecream tin, fill the remaining tin up to fill line with the remainder of the milk.  Add the crushed butterfingers.  Surround the outside of the tin with ice and rock salt per the icecream makers instructions, and viola, in (much longer than forty minutes, I assure you) you'll have homemade delight and some enjoyable memories that will last. ~ Trina

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Anti-Chicken Fingers Movement - Ground Turkey Pasta Bake

Incredible! Not sure if its the white wine or because I was starving, but this recipe is delicious!  And Luke loved it, so its a keeper!  Recipe found at Erin's Eats!

Ground Turkey Pasta Bake

1 pound of ground turkey
2 cups macaroni noodles, uncooked
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, pressed
1/2 cup white wine
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
1/4 cup Pecorino Romano
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1 tablespoon Italian breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 8x8 baking dish.

Cook pasta as directed.

Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium/medium-high heat. Add onions, ground turkey and cook until browned. Add garlic and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute). Add white wine and cook until reduced by half. Add tomato sauce, bay leaf, oregano, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper. Stir to combine and simmer for 20 mins. Remove bay leaf. Add Pecorino Romano and stir.

Add cooked pasta to sauce and stir to coat. Pour pasta mixture into the greased baking dish. Top with breadcrumbs and mozzarella cheese. Bake until cheese melts, about 10 to 15 mins.

Buon Appetito!

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Fun Language of a Two-Year-Old

My 2 1/2-year-old is talking up a storm! Where has my baby gone??  The bottles are gone, the diapers are gone, he's running and jumping and climbing. And each day he adds a few new words to his vocabulary.

He's clearly putting small sentences together in clear form "mama, I like the beach" and "swimming is fun" and "bro hit me".

But, there are just a few precious words left that he hasn't yet perfected.  But it's coming, and I know it's crazy, but I'm in no rush for him to get them right. Those words are like my last bit of my baby that I can hold on to.  When he asks for chocolate milk after his nap, he asks for "ka bunk".  Just yesterday, though, I heard his daddy urging him "chocolate, say chocolate".   Or thank you.  Thank you is "kay bit".  And its cute.

Luke used to say "fer-wel" instead of squirrel.  And somehow Luke and daddy were calling Spongebob "Fogrob" for some time. When Luke was almost two and would enthusiastically speak of hot dogs as "dog dogs".  Today, Zac and I still jokingly refer to hot dogs as such laughing as parents do while Luke looks at us inquisitively.

Last night was a super cute.  Zac had taught the boys a knock knock joke.  Zealand wanted to give it a shot. He knocked twice on the table knock, knock. I said, whose there? ORANGE! Orange who? ORANGE!  And he laughed hysterically!

Or the other night when we had a 10 minute guessing game...somewhat like an SNL skit I used to love.  He kept saying one word over and over again.  Each time he said it, I thought it sounded like a different word.  And he was begging me to understand.  I kept trying bring it? take it? rocket? frog? blankie? He smiled and clapped with glee, "Yeah!" Whew! He wants his blankie.

This age is so much fun. As they're learning to put things together but not quite there yet.  Of course, I do want him to brilliantly perfect his speech before he goes to school, but I never want to forget the sound of my precious little boy asking me to "lay me" (come lay with me) the squeal of his voice when I come in from being gone a couple of hours "mom-eeeeeeee!"

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Anti-Chicken Fingers Movement ~ Shrimp & Cauliflower Soup

I got this recipe from the Eat Up, Slim Down cookbook.  I decided to add turkey bacon and green onions...and it turned out delicious.  Callie loves cauliflower and shrimp, and Clayton loves they each ate without too many complaints!  Now Shannon, he's not a big soup fan so if your hubby doesn't enjoy seafood or soup, you may wait until a night he's away :)  Enjoy!


  • 2 green onions, diced
  • 4 slices turkey bacon
  • 1/2 cup fat free milk

  1. Coat a grill rack with cooking spray. Preheat the grill to medium-high.
  2. Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook bacon until crispy. Add the red onion and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 6 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in the cauliflower and coriander and cook for 2 minutes. Add the broth and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender. Remove from the heat and cool for 5 minutes.
  3. Season the shrimp with 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and the remaining 1 teaspoon oil. Grill for 5 minutes, turning once, until opaque.
  4. Puree the soup in batches in a blender or food processor. Return to the pan. Stir in the milk and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Warm over medium heat until heated through.
  5. Divide into 4 bowls and top with the shrimp and green onions.
Happy Eating Friends! ~ Trina

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Preschool Graduation

Preschool graduation was held last night, and as she is with anything...Callie was super excited.  We'd bought her a new dress, put her hair up and curled it, and packed an extra matching bow.

Since I've never done preschool graduation, I assumed it would just be a little bbq at the park and playing.  While I am usually excited to do anything new with my kids, I slightly dreaded this large event, swarming with young children and parents chasing after them.  I imagined Clayton trying to scale the large slides, and throwing a fit as we tried to corral him for two and a half hours.

This is how it started out of course, and by the time they called out for the preschool graduates, I was exhausted from chasing either Clayton (I was accurate, he kept heading to the gigantic slide), or Callie, who was chasing boys by the creek (and the mud).

We all huddled around the line of teachers, who handed out graduation caps to our little ones that were heading off to kindergarten.  While the caps were only half the size of the one I received in highschool, I still felt a little sad.  I know this is the only the beginning of the slew of things that will be ending and new beginnings in my baby's life...but this is one I'm truly sad to let go of.  First of all, it went entirely too fast...and I'm pretty sure I was too stressed about work, or a clean house, or just life in general to really take it all in.  Secondly, I felt attached to these teachers.

I often times hear people say, I don't want to take my kids to a church school, I don't want them pushing their religious ideas off on my kids.  However, God is not a religion, period.  These teachers are so wonderful, warm...and loving - they themselves represent God in everything they do.  Religion is about things you can't do, or judgement.  God himself is about things you can do, love, and forgiveness.  While I think many people confuse religion with God, Callie's preschool teachers do not.  They pray for our children, they tell the story of how Jesus died on the cross (which is in the Bible itself)....but above all they just love and nurture our babies so they are ready for the next phase in their life.  To me, they bring the best of what God has to offer and we as families can take it or  leave it.  It's not pushed, and I believe, we'd be foolish not to accept.

I watched Callie enthusiastically put on her graduation cap, smile her cute little smile, and when they called her up to the front, she bounced up there with glee.  The teacher had something wonderful to say about each child.  They started with one word, then explained in a few sentences that did not define our child, but that could explain a few of their traits.  One boy was charming, and often told each teacher they were beautiful.  When Callie got up there, I held my breath in anticipation, as though we were at her college graduation and she would be heading off to law school.

"Teacher.  Callie's word is teacher because she's constantly teaching.  She's teaching the other kids, she's teaching the teachers.  We always have one or two of them...they are the ones that could run the classroom.  She could probably run this whole event!"
While I didn't cry, I felt like it.  It honestly didn't matter what that pretty teacher had said, I'd felt pride for each and every parent as she described their children as well.  There's something about being singled out and having your special traits displayed for a group to see.  It's something to be proud of, no matter who you are.

As we drove home, I realized I better take in this next year each day at a time...because I realized these milestones are just going to keep flying by, and before we know it, we'll be sitting at her highschool graduation....and I will be crying!

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Case for Beer - Why You Should Enjoy It & Enjoy It Right

While Trina and I are avid promoters of the wine industry, there is a special place in my heart for a good ol' beer.  Maybe its flashbacks of a simpler time-those super fun college sorority days.  Or just the idea of a backyard BBQ full of friends and family with an ice cold Sam Adams in one hand and a croquet mallet in the other.  I love beer.  And I love all types.  Sam Adams is my go-to these days, but I enjoy my husbands favorite (Stella Artois) and we have history in Sierra Nevada and Yuengling.  I remember the low-carb days of Mich Ultra Amber. I'll sip a Guinness, but wouldn't order two.  So, I say, grab a beer tonight and crank up your radio and belt out a good song like "Sweet Home Alabama"...something you can raise your bottle high as you dance around with some good friends.  Enjoy another fun infographic from - L'chaim!

Beer Infographic

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Anti-Chicken Fingers Movement - Carole's Pizza

Is there a certain recipe that you acquired from your own mom, that every time you cook it up, your house has the aroma of the home you grew up in.  THIS is that recipe for me (or one of the recipes).  My mom's homemade pizza.  Don't shy's easier than you'd think.  And the bonus is you can involve the kiddos.  If they're anything like my boys, they'll have a blast making the pizza and enjoy eating it too!

Carole's Pizza
2 envelopes dry yeast (I use the fast-rising kind)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/3 c warm (hot if rapid-rise) water
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups flour
corn meal

Sprinkle dry yeast over hot water.  Stir and let sit for one minute. Stir in sugar, salt and 2 cups flour.  Work in one more cup flour.  Use remaining cup as needed (you don't want the dough to be too dry). Let sit in bowl to rise.  While dough is rising, prepare pizza sauce and shred cheese.

1 16 oz. can tomatoes, pureed.
6 oz. can tomato paste
1/2 c hot water
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon pepper
onion powder

Mozzarella cheese
Desired toppings - pepperoni, mushrooms, sausage, etc.

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Place pizza crusts in oven for ten minutes. Remove from oven and top with sauce, mozzarella cheese and other toppings. Bake for 10-12 minutes longer until cheese browns.

Buon Appetito!

Skinny Girls are Not Glamour Girls!


Dear Marilyn Monroe, if they ever bring the "big"sexy back, you've got some competition is all I'm sayin'!

  I wasn't born the naturally skinny girl.  Even at my smallest, I have curves that can't be mistaken.  If you call me small, likely you are just being nice.  Only recently, I've begun to appreciate these curves and realize that I truly would rather have hips and a butt than what is now considered sexy.   Sexy in today's world?  Manly.  No hips, no butt, no nothing.  Manly....or Gisele Bundchen...sorry, but true!

  My friend and I constantly banter back and forth about society's view
on beauty, and how thin is the new "in", and how unhealthy has somehow replaced healthy in what's sexy today.  While she's thin, she understands how it feels to not be "thin" enough, or "perfect" enough, and is just like every other women, fighting to fit in.  Which means, nobody's in the clear my friends.

A few weeks ago, she sent me a link to some vintage ads about gaining weight.  Since I've never, and I mean, never seen ads about gaining weight...naturally I was intrigued!  Who wants to gain weight?  Who ever wanted to gain weight?  Hello people, it used to be cool to be thick.  People use to pay to gain weight.  Now if we can just convince Vogue and Cosmopolitan to hire models that are a size 6 instead of a size 0 (and no, I do not consider that a plus size, and neither should anyone else!), we could maybe start seeing some changes.

She sent me the link; mostly because she knows how fired up I get and likely thinks its fun to get me going.  I did steal the pictures of the ads (yes, I know...this is not acceptable in today's tech world!), and had to admire them all the same.  Look at those sexy women!  Now, I may be partial...but a nice, round, full butt; sexy, womanly hips...and breasts (not fake, real!) are something to be talked about!  I salute the women who look like women!

Always, I have to those women who are naturally thin and are happy with it, you go girl.  Wherever you are in life-if you are happy, you are good.  But...if you are dieting to be one of those flat chested, flat butt, no hips and no legs've lost yourself somewhere along the way. A confident girl is a sexy girl, no matter what the size.   We may not get the magazines to be convinced of that; but if we refuse to diet (okay, if you are overweight, that's one thing-dieting may be good for your health!) and refuse to conform to what the media...and quite honestly, America portrays as beautiful and perfect....who is winning?  YOU ARE!  Look at the pictures.  Can you honestly stay those girls don't look fabulous?

The most amusing part is, there were probably women rallying back then for the thin ladies, encouraging them not to gain weight just to fit some current fad...  ~ Trina

Monday, May 14, 2012

Go, Mommy, Go! Be Your Own Child-Rearing Cheerleader

My boys keep growing smarter and more deliberate every single day.  With each new thumbs up for learning a new letter of the alphabet or counting past thirteen; they equally develop new testing techniques.  Testing me.  And with each new test, I'm having to study up new discipline.  Or so I thought.  

If the boys didn't start listening or stop hitting over night after I tried out a new system, I'd give it up and look for a new one.  I wanted something to work immediately.  Or maybe after a full 48 hours of repeated redirection, time-outs and tears of frustration, I vowed to find the next best thing.  The one that worked. 

Last week, a great friend of mine was in town for the weekend.  We were finally able to get our boys together for the very first time.  Right away, her 2 1/2-year-old was showing my boys around his train tracks, race track and puzzles galore.  It was too adorable to see our offspring co-existing.  

While we sat around chatting for a couple of hours, intermittently chasing one boy this way and another boy that way.  Or corralling them all into one spot with some peanut butter crackers. I told her about how hard I was trying to get Luke to listen lately...ever since our move. I expressed that I just couldn't get a handle on it.  

She was giving me advice on things she had learned about the subject. I saw Luke opening the door to their back deck and had to interrupt her to grab him.  "Luke, you are not allowed to open doors without permission.  Shut it, please."  Kind, but firm.  Just like they taught me. I went back to my conversation with Jody. "Where was I? I just need him to listen. That's it." I looked up to see Luke standing at the door.  Thinking.  Pondering if he should open the door.  And he walked away.  "Did you see that," Jody whispered excitedly.  "He's listening!" 

"Oh my gosh, you're right!" I said.  I think if she hadn't been there to say that out loud, I would've been just stressed out watching him nervously thinking that by going towards the door - that meant he wasn't listening.  But HE WAS listening!  He was, indeed, following the directions I have him.  DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR WITHOUT PERMISSION. 

The next day, Jody and I got our kiddos together for a fun outing at the fountains. About five minutes after having to coach Luke not to climb this brick wall (clearly, we decided, the designer of this fun park didn't consider a 4' wall to be a hazard to the little ones), Jody pointed out once again that my son was faithfully following orders.  "You need a personal cheerleader to point out when what you're doing is working!"  she said.  "That's it!" I responded.  "That's exactly right.  How many nights have I dreamed and hoped and prayed that I had the Supernanny following me around telling me if I was doing something right or wrong so that I would be ensured my boys will be raised to be confident, disciplined, hard-working yet fun men."

Ah, maybe it would be nice to have a personal live-in cheerleader to boast my confidence in the child-rearing business.  Then again, maybe by being more conscious of when the kids are listening and learning and responding; I could be my own cheerleader!  Go, mommy, go!

Thank you Jody for such great advice! I wish we had more time to spend together, but the time we did get was so fun!  

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Anti-Chicken Fingers Movement ~ Chicken Parmesan w/Whole Wheat Pasta

Chicken Parmesan Got this one from Pinterest!  Another hit!  Thanks to  I used Italian bread crumbs as I didn't have any Panko, but I love Panko too, so whatever you desire!  

  • 3 (11- to 12-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half horizontally
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups panko or italian bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 ounce)
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 3 cups Tomato Sauce
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves (about 20 medium leaves)
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 12 thin slices
  • Whole Wheat Noodles (amount desired, I used a whole package)
  1. Heat the broiler to high and arrange a rack in the top third of the oven. Place the chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap, parchment paper, or waxed paper, or in a resealable plastic bag, and pound to an even thickness (about 1/4 inch thick) with a meat pounder, a rolling pin, or the bottom of a pan. Season well with salt and pepper.
  2. Place the flour in a wide, shallow dish, season well with salt and pepper, and mix; set aside. Combine the milk and eggs in another shallow dish and mix until the eggs are broken up; set aside. Mix the panko and Parmesan together in a third shallow dish.
  3. To bread the chicken, dredge a breast in the flour mixture and shake off the excess. Next, coat it in the egg mixture and let the excess drip off. Finally, press it into the panko mixture until it’s well coated. Set the breaded chicken on a large plate or baking sheet and repeat with the remaining breasts.
  4. Line a clean baking sheet with paper towels and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking, or 350°F on a deep-fry thermometer. Add the chicken in batches (don’t overcrowd the pan) and fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Remove to the paper-towel-lined baking sheet and repeat with the remaining chicken.
  5. Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions.
  6. While frying the last batch of chicken, bring the tomato sauce to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Once warmed through, stir in 1/4 cup of the basil and reserve the rest for garnish. Remove the paper towels and place the chicken directly on the baking sheet. Divide the mozzarella slices evenly among the breasts and place under the broiler until the cheese is golden and bubbly. (Rotate the baking sheet as needed for even browning.)
  7. To serve, spoon the desired amount of noodles on the plate, ladle 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce onto each plate, top with chicken, and sprinkle with the remaining basil.  
Happy eating friends! ~ Trina

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mother's Day Around the World

Growing up, mother's day was just another day.  I never appreciated my mother and all she did enough, so this one day was a day for us to celebrate and thank her.  I would usually make or buy her a card, and that was it.  Now of course as a mom myself, mother's day signifies a bit more to me.  I realize everything my mother has went through, and I can truly appreciate her.

I wanted to know, what do other countries do to celebrate mother's day?  Just cards, flowers, and maybe a meal together like the US?

Australia:  Mother's Day falls on the same day as it does in the US.  They wear a carnation on mother's day.  A colored carnation signifies that a person's mother is living, while a white carnation  is used to honor a deceased mother.  They say this is the same tradition as the US, but of course, I've never seen anyone in the US do this...

France: The French do not celebrate Mother's Day.  Instead, a special day for moms is reserved for the last Sunday in the month of May, where they have a family dinner and usually the mother is presented with a cake that looks like a bouquet of flowers.

India: Mother's Day in India is an idea that is slowly catching; the concept of celebrating moms on the second day of the month of may has been a success, although only happening for around the last decade or so.  It is also said that this is a great achievement for a foreign festival to make it's presence felt in a culturally diverse  and vast country like India.

Ireland: Mother's Day is not celebrated on the same day as in the US, it takes place on the fourth Sunday while in Christian fasting month of Lent.  The history of Mothering Sunday can be traced to medieval practice where children from poor families were sent to work as domestic servant and apprentices to work with the rich.  Once a year in the middle of Lent, these children were given a day off to visit their 'Mother Church' and worship Virgin Mary.  Afterwards, they visited their true mother's and gave them flowers they'd picked along the way.

Mexico: Mother's Day is celebrated on a fixed day of May 10.  This day in May is a celebrated in a colorful fashion, and children honor their mothers and thank them for bringing them up according to Mexican custom.  Sons and daughters make them present in the house on the eve of Mother's Day on May 9.  Mother's day is celebrated with excitement as the churches in Mexico organize special mass.  The high point of the event is the orchestra which plays "las mananitas" and then distribution of tamales and atole which is the traditional early-morning meal to local moms.

New Zealand:  They celebrate the second Sunday of the month. They also celebrate this day similarly, going out to dinner with family and providing cards and flowers.

South Africa:  Also celebrated the second Sunday in the month of May, Mother's Day is a day where the important of mothers acknowledged and they are thanked profusely for their love and care.  Young children present their mothers with homemade gifts while the elder ones buy gifts.  Grandmothers and women who are like mothers are also thanked this day.

Spain: Mother's Day in Spain is celebrated on December 8.  Spaniards pay tribute not only to their own mothers that day, but also to the Virgin Mary.  It's a day that includes religious celebrations around the country.

UK:  Mother's day is celebrated with great excitement, but does not fall on the same date as the US either.  Celebrations take place on the fourth Sunday in the month of Lent.  Since the Lent days are not fixed, the date for Mother's Day changes every year.   Mother's Day came to be celebrated in the UK in the 17th century as Mothering Sunday, much before the custom began in the US-the tradition began much earlier in England.  In fact, England was the first country in the world to dedicate a day for mothers as early as the 1600's.  The tradition of Mothering Sunday stopped with the advent of the Industrical revolution in England when the working conditions and pattern of life changed.  Now, the day is referred to as Mother's Day in the UK and there is a tradition of making rich, almond cake for mothers called 'Mothering Cake' or 'Simnel Cake'.

Of course, those are just a few countries but it's interesting to see how other people celebrate.  I think I like Mexico's idea of a large celebration, music, and food!  Or...that almond cake looks pretty delish too!  Whatever your celebration style is this Mother's Day, we hope you have a wonderful and relaxing time with your family!   ~ Trina