Love in the Kitchen - making fast, healthy, homegrown meals you'll enjoy

Thursday, April 30, 2009

I Won!

I won!! I entered The Pink Potpourri's contest for a print from Catherine Holman... and I won!! This is the print that I chose - I can't wait (!) until it gets here!

Thanks TPP and Catherine!

Now the long wait until Christmastime to hang it... but BOY do I have plans for it! You'll have to stay tuned..

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

It's Pandalerium!!

OK, not yet. But the news is certainly a-flutter with swine flu pandemic predictions. Here's a few of the current headlines:

  • MSNBC - "Hundreds of Kids May Have the Swine Flu"
  • CNN - "Federal OfficialsHold Briefing on Swine Flu Outbreak"
  • FOX News - "Homeland Security Dept. Briefing on Swine Flu" & "LA Officials Probe Two Possible Swine Flu Deaths" & "Mexico Slammed for Slow Response"
Some interesting information to help put this outbreak into perspective:

  • Across the entire Mexican nation, there are over 109 million people. Of those millions, 1600 people think they could have the virus. The number of deaths Mexican officials suspect were caused by swine flu are 149.
  • Every year in America (population 303.8 million), more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from (regular) flu-related complications and about 36,000 people die from flu-related causes. At this time, 64 cases of Swine Flu were confirmed in the US in NYC, California, Kansas, Ohio and Texas.
If you listen carefully, behind the media hype, doctors and officials are saying that this is not cause for alarm. They agree people can fairly easily prevent contracting this disease... by practicing good hygiene and using common sense. (of course, I do realize that common sense is by no means common...). Wash your hands, cover your mouth when you cough, stay away from sick people. If you are sick - STAY HOME! If you have flu-like symptoms (high fever, cough, runny nose, body aches, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea) contact your doctor.

And you don't have to take my word for it... the Center for Disease Control says the same thing.

The word "pandemic" does sound pretty threatening. As I was listening to the latest news while getting ready for work this morning, I wondered what a pandemic really was. Google told me that a pandemic is a widespread outbreak. Not very helpful. But it turns out that "pandemic" phases are kind of subjective. This is a good link to a chart showing the WHO pandemic phases:

Lots of information out there. Lots of media hype. Bottom line... don't make this out to be more than it is.

And don't forget to wash your hands.


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    Monday, April 27, 2009

    Being a Stepmom

    I "inherited" The Boy and The Girl when I married The Mr.

    I have to admit, I never really expected to have kids, and the adjustment to motherhood (STEP-motherhood The Girl would be careful to emphasize) was pretty interesting to say the least. (Disclaimer: To be fair, before I go further, The Girl is very literal. A thing is either black or white, never gray. And she is only 11 and does not realize yet the power of words. The Boy believes every word that The Girl utters.)

    The Boy and The Girl have two "real" parents and two "step" parents. We try to evenly split their time (as much as practical) between the two sets of parents.

    In a number of conversations lately, we hear The Children talking about their "real" mom or dad, or their "step" dad or mom. I do understand that The Children are just that - children. And they need a way to describe which set of parents they are discussing.

    Anyway, I got to thinking about what it means to be a "real" instead of a "step".

    From my perspective, I have real kids. My real time is spent cooking dinners, driving to activities, checking homework. My real money pays for piano lessons and sports and will send them to college. I feel real joy when they do well and real pain when they struggle. I have real excitement and fear and worry when I think of what is ahead. I experience real anger and frustration as they enter their teenage years ("Oy Vey!").

    And my real love surrounds all of it.

    I think that's what makes a "real" parent. I don't mind having the "step" label. I know what the bottom line is.

    Any other step-parents out there? I'd love to hear your experiences!

    Zentmrs Pin It

    Sunday, April 26, 2009

    Weekend Project

    We found ourselves with a bit of free time Saturday afternoon. We walked into the backyard and saw that we needed to pick some roses. We have 9 rose bushes and they are growing like crazy!

    While we were tidying the roses, we realized that we have space for 5 more roses.  And if you have space, you have to fill it, right?

    Digging some holes, getting the rose bed ready...

    ... one of our new roses "Nancy Reagan"...

    ... "Laura Bush"...
    ... "Ronald Reagan" is on the left....

    ... and "Mr. Lincoln" round out our Presidential rose bed!

    We can't wait until we see the new flowers blooming!!

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    Friday, April 24, 2009

    Talented Friends!!

    I must say, I am lucky to know some very creative people. One of my friends just opened her new bakery, another is a wonderful photographer.

    I recently became reacquainted (via Facebook) with another super-talented friend. She started a jewelry business and I had to share!

    Jennifer of jenjewels ( creates amazing antique-inspired, one of a kind jewelry. These are a few of my favorite pieces from her site (images Copyright 2009 jenjewels).

    She will also design a custom piece of jewelry just for you! She can incorporate old pieces of jewelry or antique items into a new wonderful piece that will be an heirloom. Great idea for Mother's Day!

    Let me know if you have anything made - I'd love to see it!

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    Thursday, April 23, 2009

    Things You Should Know About Breast Cancer

    I've been doing a lot of research on breast cancer since my sister was diagnosed a few months ago. The Mr and I are gearing up to do the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk for the Cure in November (more on that later). I'd like to share some of the information I have found, and hope that it will help someone out there. Knowledge is power my friends!

    A few quick facts about breast cancer risk:

    • All women are at risk for breast cancer
    • Risk increases with age
    • About 1 out of every 7 women will get breast cancer over a 90-year life span
    • There are ways to reduce your risk!

    Some risks cannot be controlled:
    • Gender
    • Age
    • Family history or personal history of breast cancer
    • Race
    • Radiation therapy to the chest
    • Breast cellular changes
    • Exposure to estrogen
    • Pregnancy and breastfeeding
    • DES exposure
    OK, so you can't change your gender (well, maybe you can, but I'm not sure what that does to your breast cancer risks, and I suspect other risks are increased, so I think we'll leave that alone). And you can't get younger (risk increases as we get older) or be a different race.

    But many risk factors can be controlled!
    • Weight - Being overweight is associated with increased risk of breast cancer
    • Diet - generally a low fat diet is recommended (see these tips)
    • Exercise - Evidence is growing that exercise can reduce breast cancer risk. The American Cancer Society recommends engaging in 45-60 minutes of physical exercise 5 or more days a week
    • Alcohol consumption - Studies have shown that breast cancer risk increases with the amount of alcohol a woman drinks.
    • Smoking - Smoking is associated with a small increase in breast cancer risk

    Know your risks. Perform a self-exam monthly. Have an annual mammogram if you are over 40 or are at high risk. Early detection can save your life. Early detection can save your life!

    For more information, see my source,

    Zentmrs Pin It

    Wednesday, April 22, 2009

    San Diego Daily Photo

    I have another blog.  Over there I attempt to take a picture of San Diego daily.  I call it (cleverly) San Diego Daily Photo!  

    I've been doing this for some time and today put together a photo album of the Best of San Diego Daily Photo.  Thought you might want to take a look!  

    Let me know what you think...

    Zentmrs Pin It

    Tuesday, April 21, 2009

    Newcomers to an Old Bandwagon

    The Mr and I recently (re)discovered NetFlix and are loving it! I had a subsciption when NetFlix first started, and for various reasons (customer service, broken DVDs movie selection...) cancelled. The Mr had a similar experience, also quite a while ago.

    Recently, when searching for movies to get us in our "Hawaiian" mood prior to our cruise, we decided to give NetFlix another chance. What a difference! Since we signed up, we've seen two movies a week, which is about as fast as we can do the turnaround (and frankly, two is as many as we have time for in any given week).

    We've been watching a lot of Hawaii related movies:
    • Tora! Tora! Tora! (great movie about the bombing of Pearl Harbor)
    • Blue Hawaii (Elvis, not great acting, but great scenery, and he could really sing!)
    • Pearl Harbor (Interesting - reality-based fictional account of WWII from just before the bombing of Pearl Harbor through Doolittle's raid on Tokyo. Glad we saw it prior to our trip to Honolulu.)
    • Midway (WWII movie, taking over where Pearl Harbor left off)
    • From Here to Eternity (Hawaii just before Pearl Harbor, Oscar winning... but I didnt really like it much. Not quite what I expected, though Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr were excellent)

    And a couple not related:

    • The Aviator (Leonardo DeCaprio as Howard Hughes - great movie! Loved this one!)
    • Citizen Kane (Very good classic. I can see how this was really ground-breaking when it was released)
    • Catch Me If You Can (Another Leonardo DeCaprio movie, based on a true story - this was another great movie! Really enjoyable - The Mr and both loved it!)
    NetFlix is a great solution for us. We will go out to see movies in the theater when they are something we really want to see, but we almost never rent movies that we missed in the theater. Now we've got our queue of "missed" movies... and it's quite a queue!

    The movie "Hawaii" rounds out our Hawaai themed movies and should be delivered today. Then we've got our queue that should last for the next 18 months at the rate we are watching. Keep an eye on my sidebar for what we are watching next!

    Zentmrs Pin It

    Monday, April 20, 2009

    Weekend Recap

    My brother-in-law and sister-in-law were in town visiting from Paso Robles (central CA) this weekend. We had a great (and incredibly food-filled) weekend!

    We took them to see The Presidio, Old Town and The Hotel Del Coronado, all the while enjoying a fabulously warm Saturday afternoon. Though they have visited San Diego with some frequency for many years, they had never been to these places!! We have plans to spend a day next time they visit just wandering around Old Town.

    Then there was the eating. Oh my. We had great meals here...

    Casa de Pico

    Gaslamp Strip Club: A Steak Place

    The Brigantine

    We are all so busy that we don't have much of an opportunity to get together. We all had just a great time and look forward to the next visit!!

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    Friday, April 17, 2009


    So if you were coming to San Diego for the weekend, what would you want to do?

    Assume we are having our trademark gorgeous weather (I think the temperature will be in the high 70s) but not quite beach weather (water is shockingly cold still).

    Maybe the world-famous zoo?

    One of our many missions?

    The lovely Hotel del Coronado?

    The architecturally delightful Balboa Park?

    Relaxing Mission Bay?

    Something else? My visitor creativity is low today. Help is most definitely appreciated!

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    Thursday, April 16, 2009

    Love Mail? But Not Junk Mail?

    I love getting mail. I think I told you that.

    Not bills... but mostly our bills are electronic now.

    And definitely not junk mail.

    And then this morning on the news I heard a story about how much spam email costs. People get really upset about spam. But those same people are not upset about junk mail (snail mail spam really) showing up in their mailbox day after day.

    Think about the cost of junk mail:

  • printing and paper

  • shipping

  • recycling

  • time!

  • I must say, I do enjoy the occasional catalog, but I get stacks of catalogs, mailings, credit card applications, coupons, etc. every day. I used to take my mail directly from my mailbox and deposit most of it into the recycling bin.

    But not any more.

    I thought you might like to know how we have fixed our junk mail problem.

    We signed up for's free service just before Christmas. About 2 months after that, our junk mail became virtually non-existent! Now, if I see mail in my mailbox, it is most likely fun!

    Proquo shows you have to stop junk mail you do not want and keep those mailings you would like to keep. For the free (!!) service, you will need to print and mail pre-populated letters to the companies that manage the marketing lists. For $17.95 per year, they will do it for you.

    $17.95 per year, they do everything
    Free (print and send letters yourself)

    But, if you are looking for some fun mail, be sure to check out this post!


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    Wednesday, April 15, 2009

    Do You Like Mail?

    Since I was a little girl, one of my favorite parts of the day is checking the mail - especially if I have received a note or package.  

    I've seen this on some other blogs and loved the idea.  If you are interested in receiving a card/little treat by snail mail, all you need to do is fill out my snail mail form and keep an eye on your mailbox!  Can't tell you when it will be sent, but if you send me your information, I'll send you something.  

    Have a wonderful day!

    Zentmrs Pin It

    Tuesday, April 14, 2009


    We had a nice Easter Day. After church was over, we went to The In-Laws' house for a yummy brunch. Then we hunted for eggs! This is The Boy and me counting the eggs he found.

    I wore a dress that I bought in Maui (ten minutes before we had to get on the ship, I stopped at one of those "tourist" shops and bought this flowery dress). This is NOT a great picture of me, but I liked the dress.

    And here's our "family portrait" minus Great Grandma because she refused to take a picture.

    After our photo session we dropped The Children off with their mom and we spent the rest of the afternoon in peace. We took a wonderful walk around Lake Murray (about 6 miles) in the afternoon sun and talked about future vacations. Ahh! Then we had dinner and watched Citizen Kane. All in all, a wonderful Easter!

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    Saturday, April 11, 2009

    Getting Ready for Easter

    We finally had the time to dye our eggs today.  We got set up with hard boiled eggs and dye...

    ... then The Girl...

    ... and The Boy worked on their eggs.

    The Mr focuses intently on his blue egg.

    The Mr and my eggs...

    Morgan wants to dye some eggs!

    I think Anna just wants to figure out what is in the container!

    I am bringing dessert to our family Easter brunch.  A few weeks ago, I bought a pull-apart Bunny Cupcake pan and baked this cute cake.  The pan makes cupcake sized pieces that fit together to form a bunny.  Cute!  Decoration in progress here...

    ... and the finished product!

    Hope you all enjoy your Easter!


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