Showing posts from January, 2010

Date Night Tiramisu

Another "metabolism miracle" friendly recipe, by me.


6 eggs or 12 egg whites
1 cup splenda
1 stick butter, melted
1/2 T. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup coconut flour.

Beat eggs, beat in all ingredients and beat until batter is fluffy. Bake at 350 F. in a 9x6 pan, 20 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cake cool.

Set out 1 8 oz. package of neufchatel cheese to allow it to come to room temperature. Brew about a cup of double strength coffee (I used decaf).

Later, beat together:
8 oz. neufchatel cheese
1/2 of a 30 oz. container of part skim Ricotta cheese
1/2 cup splenda
1/2 tsp vanilla extract.

Cut cake in half to form two 9x6 inch layers. Soak each layer in half the coffee. Transfer bottom layer to original pan, and top with half the cheese mixture. Repeat layers. Sprinkle top with unsweetened cocoa powder through a sieve. Refrigerate. Top with whipped cream when ready to serve.

My favorite restaurant dessert…

Reality Bites

Sometimes I wish I had a total fantasy life to present on this or another blog that was completely divorced from the reality and stress of my life. It would have pretty artsy craftsy things on it. It would be creative. There would be lace doilies, old fashioned tatting and teapots. There would be classical music and bits of lace and flower printed fabric in charming concoctions for spring time.

Perhaps there would be idyllic snow scenes and spiritual thoughts about positive things.

Oh, and the house would be clean, clean, clean.

Today my back has been hurting. I'm so glad I have a chiropractor's visit this week, coming up.

I got to go to Divine Liturgy this morning and had a LONG coffee "date" with a dear friend who has been out of town for a while. It was SO nice to catch up. What a blessing!

My oldest feels like she's a total mess. Actually she is. But today she learned that one form of prayer is to simply gaze at an icon. She says "Oh, may…

Low Carb Brownies

These are NOT "Nourishing Traditions" approved, since they contain splenda. Oh well.

1/2 c. pastured butter or coconut oil, melted
1/2 c. cocoa powder
6 eggs, preferably farm fresh/pastured
1 c. splenda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/3. c. coconut flour

beat all of the above ingredients to death in kitchen aid. Bake at 350 degrees F. in a square or small rectangular pan. 30 minutes or so.

This recipe works very well for the Metabolism Miracle Diet. It would count as a "freebie", but I'd personally count it as a "eat just one you overweight fool" type of a food and skip my 5x5 carb while I'm at it. The coconut flour is very filling and has lots of fiber.

Today's Kitchen Work

-B and I got some coconut milk made and now we are brewing coconut milk kefir. A handy hint for kefir grains: Get a little plastic mesh bag (we found the Whole Foods sells a few bulbs of garlic in a sturdy little plastic mesh bag which we carefully cut the top off of, and wash), place rinsed kefir grains in the bag, and sew it up with some white thread. Now you have a kefir grain "tea bag" that can be transferred from one batch to the next without any annoying straining process. Remember to rinse kefir grains under filtered water. Tap water can kill the colony.

-broth going in the crock pot. I use a picked over roasted chicken carcass, and some organic carrots, celery and an onion. I don't even bother to peel the onion or carrots. I just throw it all in the crock pot with some apple cider vinegar (about half a cup) and some salt...a couple of tablespoons. Cover all the filtered water and boil in crock pot for a couple of days, adding more water as needed. By t…

Week one: Metabolism Miracle and other stuff

Well, the diet is going really really well. I took some measurements last Monday, and then again on Saturday night. My friends, I have lost over 8 inches! measuring 13 places on my body. Two inches here, and inch and a half there...significant changes. I did not get on the scale at all, which is good, because in the past, that is what has always gotten me so depressed and ready to give up. Who cares what I weigh, if my body is getting smaller, eh?

Food is a tiny bit on the boring side, and I am hungry a little bit, but just because I'm often simply not in the mood to go fetch something that I'm allowed to have. Salad with chicken and cheese was for lunch. It's not torture. And it's a good kind of hungry though, when I am hungry. The kind where I can still function and have energy. My mood is more stable, and I find myself seeking out exercise opportunities voluntarily. I have more energy and I sleep so much better.

Being off the diet for the four days I was …

Current/Recent Reads

Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future by Fr. Seraphim Rose. Controversial, yes, I know. One of my kids picked this up at the Church library and I snagged it and told her I had to read it first. She was interested in what the book says about UFO's. Ok, I said, I'll read it and tell you. My daughter is VERY impressionable and easily frightened/freaked out. So I read this, we had a discussion about broad concepts and I told her she couldn't read it this book yet. Our discussion seemed to satisfy her, though. Interesting stuff.

My Jihad by A. Collins. An American Muhjehadin (sp?) who went to fight in Chechneya and Kosovo and eventually did a stint working for the FBI/CIA as in informant. Interesting. A look into someone's life that I would never encounter in the course of my own life. Can't say that any of this man's life choices would be on the team I'm trying to bat for, but it was an interesting read.

Wild Trees, by Richard Preston. I love Ric…

Parish Website

I just have to brag! Our parish has the most beautiful photos on our website, now (I think I need to thank a certain Mr. Vest for those gorgeous photos and the talent behind the web page belongs to Mr. Irvine, I believe.)

So, here's the link to the photo page of my parish website. Seven days a week, I have the opportunity to worship God in such gorgeous surroundings. Sure beats my old sleeping bag and prayer book alone on my back porch for "just me and God Matins"....

(Don't get the wrong impression though...I'm WORKING ON the "seven days a week" part. The opportunity is there, though...I just don't always avail myself.)

And while you are perusing those gorgeous photos, and the website in general, please add Fr. Alexander Atty to your prayer list. He has stage four colon cancer. His surgery is scheduled February 2, 2010.

Peace and blessings to all.

Easter Lent (Eastern Orthodox) - Open To Me The Doors Of Repentance

This is what we are practicing in choir practice right now! Lovely music and even more precious words!

Life, the Universe, and a Rebounder

I'm having one of those weeks when I feel constantly overwhelmed. I've struggled in vain to get back to my card file system since being away for my grandfather's funeral last week. Today I managed to clean the toilets, so that is something, a start.

It seems that getting the kids back into the rhythm of school work has been difficult as well. I'm just struggling, I guess. It helps not at all that the whirlwind trip caused a bit of a fibro flare up, which means I have NO energy.

But I have been exercising, keeping dishes washed, laundry mostly washed, and food cooked and shopped for...TWO shopping days in one week due to the delayed shopping I had to do after returning from Texas...that explains a LOT of my extra busyness!

Today, instead of going to Curves, I bounced on our new mini-trampoline.

One thing we did last week is buy a mini-trampoline, aka rebounder, for the kids. Well, for us all, really. It's always been a favorite thing of mine to own for our …

Low Carb During Lent

Jennifer asks how one does low carb during lent...

Well, there are ways to do the Metabolism Miracle Diet as a vegetarian or a vegan. Tofu is allowed on the diet. Seitan (a meat substitute based on gluten) is also available. Many of the things like veggie crumbles (aka soy) are low carb. Shrimp, scallops, etc. are low carb. Veggies are low carb.

Personally, I don't feel very comfortable eating processed soy foods and I try to avoid them.

That being said, many of us ARE pre-diabetic or have had a doctor tell us to cut the carbs (I know I have, Oh, if only I'd listen!) and in such cases one has that chat with one's priest and one does what one is told (Oh, if only I'd listened!).

Because I've been told to eat the way my doctor told me to, and the whole "lenten excuse" has been, for me, to eat all my favorite foods in the name of fasting. Bread. Pasta. Cookies. Crackers. Potatoes. Carbs.

So here's the thing: Don't look at what is on someone…

Speaking of New Beginnings...

I have me some fat to lose. Yes, about sixty or seventy pounds worth. I could even lose eighty if my body suddenly decides to be thin. I doubt my body will decide that. At any rate, it's time to feed myself differently.

I already started an exercise program. Got a head start on that score when I joined Curves last November. I love going to Curves.

Now, what's my diet plan, you ask: The Metabolism Miracle. Yes, I know. Low carb again. But here's the rub: I counted SO MANY calories last year, and all to no avail. This diet seems smarter than others I've tried. And if you want to diss it, do so on your own blog. It also seems long-term liveable beause after an 8 week phase one of low carb eating, the purpose of which is to rest my poor beleaguered pancreas, the diet introduces careful amounts of very healthy carbs like milk and fruit and whole grain bread again. So the low carb is not forever.

If you have a spare tire around your belly that you can't…

Starting a New Decade of Life

I turned 40 yesterday.

I have high hopes that this coming decade will be better for me than my thirties. I dunno. I've heard from so many women that one's forties are GREAT, while one's thirties pretty much bite.

That was my experiene, so I'm hoping, hoping, hoping that the 40's will be better.

Perhaps one of the reasons they will be better, is that I've learned a thing or two, and I'm actually starting to apply these learned things. As with any type of growth, it's indiscernable when viewed up close, day to day, but over the long haul the changes will be evident, I hope.

-I have finally figured out that I am the grown up. And no one is going to wave a magic wand and make me better. I have to take care of myself: physically, spiritually, emotionally, intellectually-all of it, lest I completely go to seed or unravel, or whatever will happen. Self-neglect would be sinning against those around me and against myself, and that won't do.

-I ha…

Don't Forget Haiti!

Leavin' On a Jetplane....

Well, today turned into a kerfluffle of flying telephone calls, as my sister and I, my brother and my parents were all trying to coordinate travel plans to go to my grandfather's funeral in central Texas.

I have not been on an airplane in over fifteen years! It was a different world, back then, I guess. Now I have to worry about security issues. I don't think they'll let me bring any atkins shakes with me. Bummer. Guess I'll have to buy those when I get on the ground again.

I had to make a store run to get travel sized stuff, and some low carb snacks, a couple of brainless novels to read during flight, etc.

I keep checking and re-checking baggage restrictions. And I can barely wrap my head around what to pack, not to mention what's for supper. Today was such a day. My card file system was utterly ignored, as the normal was replaced with activities outside of the scope of normal.

Although I'm not looking forward to getting up at pre-dawn hours to get …


The house keeping card file system is going SO WEll. I will admit that I took today off. For one thing, I'm tired today, and for another thing, I don't have any monthlies/weeklies tomorrow, and so I will do today's chores tomorrow. The dailies, the nice thing is if I skip a day, things are still better than before, when I never did them. So zero guilt there.

I am struggling with one problem: procrastinating my Bible reading until the very last thing and then not doing it at all. Guilty as charged. The spiritual disciplines are always the hardest. Some days, just a Psalm will have to qualify.

Another thing I've been thinking of, is that I want to create time in my day to read. My brother sent me Richard Preston's _Wild Trees_, and I've delved in to the first few pages, and am eager to read more. Additionally, when I'm in the bathroom I pick up and read a few lines of that history book (late 1700's) that I'm working on. At least I'm m…

What to do, what to do?

My house is so clean and tidy that I hardly know what to do with myself...which basically means my standards are really really low. Because I still have untidy shelves and dust everywhere, since I have not gotten to the day those chores are on yet.

What I SHOULD be doing (and what I will do as soon as I pop off of here) is grading papers. That is so not fun. But that's what I need to do.

So that's what I"d better go do. NOW, Alana. Get. Off. The. Computer. NOW!

...okay, okay, I'm going already!...

A Poem for Theophany

He became just like me
clothed in humanity
hungry and tired
so close to harm
God lay as a baby in frail arms.
Oh, great mystery!

He breathed the air I breathe
such his humanity
touching the water
air and the land
fully God, yet He's fully man.
Oh, great mystery!

The Holy Spirit
came down like a dove
The voice of the Father said
"This is my Son, beloved in whom
I'm well pleased."
Oh, great mystery!

But the whole universe
cannot contain Him
so all is forever changed.
His very touch makes us holy again.
Oh, great mystery!

Oh, Great Mystery!
God is a trinity
A humble deity
and all things made new!


As promised below, here's the list of my chores. Now, bear in mind that a) I might have glaring gaps because I'm just starting, b) I live in a 1550 square foot ground floor apartment, in part so that I'll have fewer chores and so that there's no yard work or roof repairs in our life (schizophrenia, autism and fibromyalgia is quite enough, thankyouverymuch!) and c) THIS SYSTEM IS NOT MY ORIGINAL IDEA. I'm just implementing the advice from the book Sidetracked Home Executives: From Pig-Pen to Paradise.

So, without further ado, in the order they appear in my box:

-Read your Bible-daily
-Evening Routine: Prayers, tidy kitchen, sweep kitchen floor, rotate diesh, put stuff away off kitchen counter, tidy Living room/Dining Room-daily
-Spray and wipe toilets-daily
-Living Room Tidy/Declutter-daily
-15 minurwa tidy/declutter master bedroom-daily (include vacum and dust when ready)
-kids spend 15 minutes tidying rooms-daily
-Morning Routine: Prayers, tidy kitchen, start laundry…

I forgot to say...

I was so busy being funny on that video that I missed making an important point:

Arrange the cards in piles, according to how often you do the chore: daily, weekly, monthly, etc.

Then, spread the chores out evenly across your days that you want to do them. For me, thats Mon-Friday.

So, all my dailies go every day of course. Then I count my weeklies, divide by five and put that number in each day of the week. When I do a weekly chore on monday, I rotate it to the following monday's date. etc.

Monthlies, I decided to distribute on Mondays and Wednesdays, throughout the month. That gives me eight days to do monthlies on. So I might have one or two monthly chores on those days.

Each chore is something small and quick, so that nothing feels overwhelming, and they can be done around the edges of a much more interesting day.

Tomorrow I'll take some time to post a list of all my chores, just to show what types of things I'm starting with. I'm sure I'll add some…

Card File System

the video got cut off a few seconds too soon. I end it with: "I'd rather be blogging". Yeah.


We are going to Church today! Yaaaaaay! Various ones of us have been sick the past week plus and it's really put a dent in our Church attendance. We did make it to Vespers last night, and fatigue hit me about half way though. Like SLAMMED me. But I kept standing there, trying to pray. I kept telling myself that if the lady with the hip replacement surgary six weeks ago could stand there, then so could I. I found myself focusing on the middle distance between myself and the holy icons, looking at nothing much of the time. When I realized I was zoned out I tried to pull myself together and FOCUS. It was a battle. But I was there, and happy to be there.

And on another happy note: I found another family dinner that we ALL enjoyed: Sloppy Joes. I had to make the sauce from familiar ingredients in order for Bethany to be able to eat it (I used our normal sugar free organic pasta sauce that I buy at Whole Foods) and I sweetened it with a bit of honey to give that "slop…

You'll Get Better Results if You Try

January 1st, 2010. Hope returns, after a bit of end of 2009 despair had set in the day before.

In which I realized that the Nourishing Traditions police were NOT going to come and arrest me if I bought sandwich meat and ate the occasional ham sandwich at lunch. yum.

In which I started reorganizing my so-called "Home Management Binder" (aka Big Book of Chaos and Disorder, aka Big Book of any two words that pop into my head that start with a C and a D such as Crime and Development, or Croutons and Dills, or Chaos and Despair aka merely "The Book").

I always have big dreams about being more organized and staying on top of the domestic scene better. And although I'm constantly falling off the wagon, each effort in that direction yields a bit of personal growth, too, so that the new normal is a wee tiny molecular bit better than the "old normal". I figure a new year is as good a time as any to put forth a bit of extra effort in my home keeping. Bo…