Sunday, February 1, 2009

In case it isn't already obvious...

It's time for me to be honest with myself and you all, and admit that I do not have time for blogging at this point in my life. There's just way too much going on for me to devote time to this little blog. Maybe at some point in the future that will change. For now, I hope you all know that I am thinking about you often, and I hope you will keep in touch via email. (((HUGS)))

~ Jennifer

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Winter Survival Gear

The wind chill is -15. I would say this is for the birds, but the birds have enough sense to leave.

Here are a few things that help get me through the cold winter months. I couldn't survive until March without them! (Click the blue titles to shop for items.)

China Silk long underwear

Nothing beats silk against the skin for pure warmth. I’ve tried Cuddle Duds and a few other mixed material versions, but they just don’t cut it. I wear these under my thermal long johns. :-)

EMU Australian Boots

I bought these boots at the end of last season, on sale. Even then, they weren’t exactly cheap so I beat myself up about it all summer long. I really do not ever spend money on myself, even when it’s something I need. But now that winter is here, I can say unequivocally that these were an excellent purchase. The tips of my toes all the way up to my knees are surrounded in warmth. I only wish they covered my thighs....


Quite possibly the best thing ever invented…and so simple. Metal coils wrapped around industrial-strength rubber bands that wrap around your shoes. Dayton is notorious for not salting their sidewalks or parking lots in the winter. With these babies on, I can walk anywhere without worrying a bit. I ought to be on their payroll, because I can’t even tell you how many pairs of these I’ve sold!

Avon Intensive Moisture Therapy

An absolute must. My skin gets so dry it cracks and bleeds, and no other lotion I have ever tried comes close to providing enough moisture. In fact, I have bad reactions to most other lotions. This coats the skin nice and thick and takes awhile to fully rub in, which is why it works better than the thin, runny stuff. Fortunately, Noelle's grandmother keeps me stocked!

Bailey’s Irish Cream

Mmmm. A jigger or two of this stuff in some decaf coffee at bedtime is the perfect recipe for sweet dreams.
What's on your list of winter must-haves?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Welcome, 2009

Well, my hard drive has gone to hard drive heaven. So sad. What really makes me sick is that Noelle and I had hundreds of photos on the computer that are gone forever. I at least have a Flickr account to which I have been uploading photos for the past couple of years, but that is only a fraction of what I had. Poor Noelle, who had so many lovely photos, is heartbroken. Lesson learned: get a backup drive. Fortunately, my computer friend says I can pick up a new hard drive at Best Buy for around $100. Not that I have $100, but it’s a heckuva lot better than a whole new computer!

I have to say, I am very glad to see 2009 get here. The last half of 2008 was not good to me! Have you made any resolutions? I normally do not make any resolutions. This year I have decided to learn how to relax. I know, I KNOW. You all know me pretty well by now, and you know that this is really like Mission Impossible. But a friend of mine pointed out that our local rec center is having Yoga classes, so we might sign up and do that together.

My other resolution is to reconnect with friends. With all the craziness of last year taking up so much of my time and money, I have turned into quite a hermit. I need to find ways to get together with my friends on a more regular basis.

I hope 2009 is off to a great start for all of you!

Monday, December 29, 2008

That's the brakes

I got hit with two major whammies this week. First, my home computer which has been on life support for the past 2 months is now toast. I have a call in to a friend who works with computers to see if there is any way possible the hard drive can be saved. I hope so, because I certainly can't afford a new one at the moment.

And, after 2 round trips to Kentucky and Indiana over Christmas, my brakes went out. Completely. It’s a miracle I made it home in one piece. When the Midas mechanic called me over to show me what was left of my rear brakes, they were literally crumbling in his hand. $600. And I need new tires too, but that was another $500 and will have to wait.

So, you may not be hearing from me for a while as I need to sort things out and recover. Just wanted to let you all know what was up. I hope you all have very happy New Years. Stay safe out there!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Black Bean Chili

2 15 oz. cans diced tomatos, with juice
2 15 oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 11 oz. can Mexicorn, drained
5 green onions, sliced
3 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. cinnamon sugar
1/2 tsp. minced garlic

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low heat for 4 hours. Serve with tortilla chips.

This is a very mild chili, as Noelle's tummy can't handle anything too spicy. This was pushing the envelope, really. I added a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of shredded cheese on top of hers.

It was just the thing for a night in which the wind chill hit 25 below zero with winds at 40 mph.

Merry Christmas to you and all your families!!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Eggless Cooking

If you’ve ever wanted to bake something but had no eggs in the house, or if you have someone in your family with an egg allergy, you should check out a website I recently found called Madhuram’s Eggless Cooking.

Although I am not vegan, I do like to keep my egg and dairy use to a minimum. We don’t drink milk and we don’t eat eggs, other than in baked goods, because it’s nearly impossible to do otherwise. Now vehement vegans everywhere will argue that point, but a busy single mom on a limited budget doesn’t have the time or money to hunt all over town for vegan bread.

The only time I ever buy eggs is when they are called for in a recipe, and then the least number I can buy at the grocery is 4. There are no chicken farmers here in suburbia that I can get a single egg from, and neighbors would quickly tire of me bumming their eggs. So I will typically use one or two eggs out of the carton and give the rest to the family next door, who I know can use them. Ditto with milk.

I know you can often substitute applesauce in some foods, but not all, as eggs serve different purposes in different recipes. And I am not very comfortable changing ingredients in recipes without knowing what I’m doing.

So I appreciated finding Madhuram’s Eggless Cooking site. Very colorful photos and a wide variety of dishes. The author is Indian so lots of great Indian recipes as well. Note that the site is not vegan – many recipes call for lots of cream and butter. So I think it primarily caters to those with egg allergies. Or, people like me who don’t want to pay an arm and leg for a carton of eggs when I only need one. :-)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Hello, Winter. Back so soon?

It’s not just the lack of sunshine that gets to me, although that definitely doesn’t help. It’s that I have always been abnormally susceptible to the cold for some reason. I never enjoyed sledding or building snowmen like most children because the brutal cold winter air is literally like torture on my skin. I admit it, I’m a total pansy. And it’s gotten worse as I’ve gotten older, despite weighing much more than I used to. In February and March, when winter is at its worst here, I have to wrap my legs in heating pads when I get home from work just to be able to feel them again. I’m jealous of women who get hot flashes.

In the summer, I get annoyed with people who turn up the air conditioner until a place is a meat locker. Honestly, people start running the AC once it reaches 80 outside! 80 is probably the optimum temp for me. The blood in my veins is finally starting to thaw out at 80. These same people think I’m nuts for turning on the heat when it reaches 34 outside! Am I really THAT out of whack? How cold does it have to get before you turn the heat on? And what do you keep it set at?

I installed a programmable thermostat a couple of months ago. Well, um, okay, I had a boy install it for me….. seriously, you don’t want me messing with electrical wiring, folks. Anyway. I have it set at 70 from 6 – 8 a.m. when we’re getting ready for work and school, down to 62 from 8 - 4, up to 68 at 4 when Noelle gets home, and at 70 from 9:30 – 10 just to get the bedrooms warmed up before bedtime. Then back to 68 overnight.

I also shrink-wrapped all my windows and hung thermal-backed drapes in my bedroom (the coldest room, of course!) to cut down on energy usage. I’m really hoping that all of these measures will help reduce my heating bill, which was absolutely outrageous last winter.

Even with all of this, I wear silk long johns, sweats, and two pairs of socks around the house, and I’m able to just stay above the “miserable” range. I used to think I must be anemic, given that I have been a vegetarian since I was 13. But I now have my blood tested every year and my iron is fine. Probably because I’m cognizant of the fact that I need to eat more iron-rich foods, being a veggie. So I don’t know what my problem is. All I know is that I am counting the days until April.

The good news about winter is that I will be keeping in touch with all of you more, since I will be huddled up inside the house. :-)


After a whole year of posting, this blog finally has a name. Inspired by the never-ending question that plagues all us vegetarians, particularly during the holiday season: "Where do you get your protein?" Usually asked with a scrunched up, bewildered facial expression. This is my answer. :-)