Tuesday, September 30, 2008

May I Have Some Fiber with That, Please?

My doctor had suggested that I go to a nutritionist and set up the appointment for me. I had always balked at those suggestions in the past. But, I have put on so much weight over the years that now they have me on diabetic alert. My blood sugars have been fine but they want to make sure they stay that way. So do I, of course. When they took my blood today, two hours after lunch, it was a perfect 70. Yea!

The nutritionist, who I absolutely adored, explained some things about how foods are broken down once in the stomach. I now know that liquid carbs are a no-no. No juices, no sodas, etc. They just go right into the system and spike the sugar up to 60 points! Ouch. Not a problem there, I'm not a big juicer or soda person. She also explained to me that it's the fiber that helps slow down the digestion of carbs which in turn gives time for the insulin to do its job. I was told to have 7-11 grams of fiber with each meal. She told me about what foods to eat to get that fiber each day. I think I'm feeling better already. Not that I was feeling bad. Just fat. For once, I have to add something to my diet rather than to take away. Sounds good to me!

Before going to the nutritionist's office, I picked up some mags to read, including the new Cook's and ATK magazines. (I didn't take them into the office, just in case everything in them was a no-no.) I brought them home and let the kid pick out what dinner would be tonight.

He chose the chicken with biscuits. Super easy as it called for already-made rotisserie chicken! Yahoo!

Now you know me and my biscuit-challenged self. I wondered if these would turn out.

They did! Again, yay!! (Sorry for the pic. We had already dug in and I don't know why it's blurry!)
With a serving of this, even with the biscuit on top (hardly any fiber!), I had a slice of Nature's Own double fiber wheat bread--a whopping 2.5 grams of fiber right there in a slice!

Wooof. I'm stuffed. It was a good day.

Monday, September 29, 2008

With a Little Help From My Friends

Bella wasn't the only one cleaning today. I decided to finally go through my pantries and see what was lurking in there. I've been telling myself to do just that and use all the things getting ready to expire, but you know how that goes.

I hated when I went to pull out a drawer and it would get stuck on something and then it would act like a leveler and knock everything down into the next drawer. Pfffffft. And I was embarrassed when my brother Jim was here--with no warning! I kept saying as I started looking for something in there "I better get these cleaned out before my brother gets down here!" He would just giggle at me.

But no more. I straightened everything out and even came up with an extra "baking" drawer somehow. Hmmmmm.

I indeed find a lot of stuff that had expired (some from 2006--ew!). But there were some things I wanted to use up rather than throwing them out. The first was a soup mix for chili. We're supposed to turn cold this week (although it's upper 90s out there now), so I thought chili would be good. (The hub and kid made a mean pasta sauce last night to use this week too.) I love the Bean Cuisine mixes. The spices are always right on the money.

Then I found this package of apple crisp mix that I had purchased at a little farmers' market in 'bama. Perfect. I have been in a total funk about cooking lately, so the help of these little packages have pushed me to at least cook something.

A little help never hurt anyone. Suppose we all have to give in a little help every once in a blue moon. Ya think Mawtha ever pulls out a box of Kraft mac-n-cheese? I doubt it.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sunday (FT) Snippets

You know I'm addicted to china (and crystal and silver and pottery . . . ). You know I have more than just several sets. You know I redid my kitchen mainly to find room to store my china, right? Problem is, I still get that pang in my stomach when I see lovely pieces such as these. Like I need more. You know I have two sons, right? Do you think they are interested in inheriting any of my much beloved dinner sets, tea sets, even dessert sets? I think not. (I'm praying both will marry girls just like ME who will love all of my stuff with as much excitement and I.) Fat chance.

When I opened up the Financial Times' House & Home section, it was interesting first to read about the house the Obamas reside in and the houses and condos (8?) the McCains own. I, for one, love me a good old brick home vs. the condo scene. Ask me again in about 30 years and my answer may change. Perhaps it won't. Regardless, the article, The Candidates' Cribs, delves into "the choice of where they make their homes can easily be seen as symbols for their differing ideologies." I've always fascinated by people's homes regardless of who they are.

After finishing that article I skimmed through the normal real estate section picking my next house out in the English countryside (my dream retirement home) and then on through the paper. Of course, when I turned to the photo at the beginning of the post, my heart did a skimp jump. I have no idea where my addiction to china stems. I purchased my first set at a yard sale when I was barely out of high school for about $30. It was a big cardboard box chock full of Noritake's cardinal pattern (made in "Occupied Japan" mind you) that I stuffed in my closet for years before I ever looked at it again.

When my dear Aunt Ollie passed, I was given several pieces of her dessert set in Haviland's silver anniversary pattern.

After becoming engaged to the hub, we picked out "our" china. We were both into art deco and chose accordingly with all our art deco fervor, Noritake's sterling cove pattern. (If he hadn't come along, I was just about ready to pick out my own at the ripe age of 25!) Of course, shortly after we were married the pattern was discontinued. To my amazement, I found it one year at Costco, of all places, and purchased enough to throw a grand party. (Yea right.)

Then, there was the year, out of the blue, the hub purchased for me a lovely tea and dessert set by Villeroy & Boch, their Pasadena pattern. (Bella was not included.)

I fell so deeply in love with my mother-in-law's wedding china, I started collecting it off Ebay. And so, I have that set now. Grin. So yes, you see, there is a pattern--an obsession, I suppose you could call it.

But yes, there's more. There's always more. Here's the china cab I had built in. Did it hold everything?

Naw. I had to finish out the hall closet in the back. Remember that DIY weekend?

It's the shapes of the pieces that always grab me. Just a little different is what makes me giddy. Again, when I saw the picture of the Ina coffee set at the top of the article Coffee Cups and Communism, I got butterflies in my tummy. It's about a new exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum (sigh) "Cold War Modern: Design 1945-70." You know I'd take a cab right over if I were in London to ooh and aww over the exhibit. Obviously, I care more about the coffee set than the crazy modern chairs.

And, of course, the addict I am, I quickly went online and did a quick search of LubomirTomaszewski's Ina coffee set (above circa 1961). And, of course, there was a set for sale dating back to 2006 at Czeczko.com, above, for a mere €1280. I wonder if it's still available? hehe.

Look at the curves on these babies! It reminds me a lot of my mother-in-law's set, circa 1950s. Yep, I could surely fit this set into my collection. And, yes, I could find space for it. There's still another closet that has yet to be refinished by me!

Stop me now! Kidding, of course. But a gal can dream, can't she? But please do not, I repeat DO NOT allow me to get onto Ebay in my state of heightened china excitement.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Tennessee Arts & Crafts Fair

I was so excited to see that the TACA show was this weekend in Nashville. I needed something to get me out of the house and get my mind on some fun stuff. They show twice a year here, once in the spring and once in the fall. I believe I missed out on the spring show this year.

Some of my favorites were there including R. Michael Wimmer. His work is called "found object sculptures." I would love to have one! What fun stuff.

Then there was one of my favorite clay artists, a husband and wife duo Sandy & Ann Batton of Batton Clayworks out of North Carolina. Love their stuff!

These were new folks that I had either missed in previous years or were actually new to the show. Eco Art had some wonderful pieces.

When I saw this, of course I had to get it for Riverside!

Not sure if Maclone Clay was new or not, but I had not noticed them before. Loved their yard stakes and the little plaque about faeries.

I got this, also for Riverside, to cover up the old door bell hole in the wall by the back door. These are the only rules at Riverside.

It was a beautiful morning before the sun began producing the heat of the afternoon.

I skipped out on a demonstration by Akira Blount that I would have loved to have seen. Her "dolls" are incredible. More than incredible. It was beginning to get too hot and too crowded so I missed it. I'm bad that way. I was also afraid I may be tempted to purchase a piece with no money to buy it with!

I did come home with lots of papers to go through including a brochure from the Appalachian Center for Craft which lists classes! Classes!!! I am in desperate need of some classes! That is one of the things I miss the most after leaving the DC area, classes and workshops. They are very few and far between down here in Nashville. So, you can only imagine my excitement when I came upon their booth. They are about an hour and half from here, not too bad. There are two weekend sessions that I am thinking about--"Figure it Out," modeling a figure in clay and "Book Arts Galore," innovative formats to create our own books. Hmmmmmm. Ooops, already missed the clay class. Oh well.

Now, look at the pieces I brought home that I am really excited about! Remember last year, I bought the funky tea pot from Batton Pottery? Well, this year, they had a platter that was reduced for quick sale! Yep, I bought it very quickly. Look at how pretty!! Yay!

You know I'm a sucker for small things. And Sandy had more of his tiny little clay boxes. So yes, I bought a couple more to add to this one I got last year.

Precious little tea pot on top.

And who could resist eggs and bacon? Not me, for sure. Can you hear me squealing from there?

Then I splurged. I was being so good too. Really. But when I came back by Ben Caldwell's copper booth, I just couldn't help myself. You know me and my copper in the kitchen, right? I had found this great polenta pot on the bargain table at Williams-Sonoma a while back and I had just recently hung it behind my stove. I loved the acorn motif on the handle. Well today, there were these luscious copper ladles just calling my name. Ok, I bought the smallest one. And look at how utterly perfect it goes with my pot. Can you say "hot apple cider?" hehe.

It all is just making me happy. I need to be happy. Happy happy happy. Are you happy today?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sunday Snippets on Wednesday

Again, late with my (Financial Times) Sunday Snippets. The weekend before last there was nothing. Nothing in House & Home, nothing in Arts & Weekend, not even anything in "How to Spend It." But this weekend--aha! Tennessee!

There's a wonderful article written by Ann Patchett about non other than our little Nashville. I was amazed to see it, right there in the Financial Times. Rules of Undergrowth is all about growing up in Nashville and how the beautiful landscapes outside the city have continued to flourish. I'm always amazed myself. I can drive a couple of blocks away and climb a mountain (not literally, mind you) with such awe-inspiring views. I have shared many photos with you which always get some ooohs and aws. I guess we actually are on the map. (Photo above from FT article.)

Then there was the blurb on the upcoming PBS series "Spain . . . On the Road Again" with Mario Batali and Gwyneth Paltrow. The FT's No Ordinary Road Trip gives some insight on the odd couple's food adventures in Spain. I think I may have seen something about this elsewhere and thought "Huh?" But, after reading the article and looking at a few clips of them frolicking about Spain, I can see why the two click. Looking at Gwyneth, and knowing a little about her past "diets," at first I thought "What in the world is she doing running around with Batali?" the major food machine he is. But somehow it works. They are both fun loving and tease each other like brother and sister. The show begins here tomorrow night. I can't wait to see it.

And what does this article about Gwyneth and Mario have to do with Tennessee? Well, you know Mario's bright orange clogs, right? (Actually, now he is pushing crocs.) He had to first buy these here in TN. Of course, he would fit right in at a UT football game. So, all I have to say is go Big Orange!



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