Monday, November 22, 2010

My new love

It's okay... Stud Muffin has been informed and has reluctantly accepted it.

When the doctor "suggested" (those should be air quotes) that I might want to lower my triglycerides by avoiding anything with fructose in it and increasing foods that are good for clearing triglycerides, I took to the Internet. Well, after I stomped around the house loudly proclaiming that it WASN'T FAIR and didn't the cholesterol gods recognize that I had lost 30 pounds lately?!?

Anyway, fructose. It's in EVERYTHING sold on a supermarket shelf except fresh foods and ingredients that require you do something with them to turn them into FOOD. It's in stuff that tastes sweet, stuff that tastes salty, stuff that doesn't taste like anything at all, and definitely anything that tastes GOOD.

Then there is the food that is supposed to help reduce cholesterol and triglycerides in particular. That includes everything that tastes like sauteed cow pies (don't ask) and is nothing fit for human consumption. Most people know that oatmeal is good for lowering cholesterol, but if it isn't in the form of a cookie with chocolate chunks, I'm not eating it! I might add it to the bath water or make a facial mask out of it (yeah, right! Me having a facial?? *Snort*) but it isn't passing my lips!

About to give up and resign myself to dying alone and without cookies, I determined to try some of the greens mentioned in the articles. I am not a fan of cooked greens, but I will eat almost anything in a salad. Mustard and collard greens didn't seem too promising, but I did find a way to eat kale without cooking it into something resembling something out of the bottom of a fish tank.

Raw kale salad. How simple is that?? A couple of articles mentioned that kale is a bit difficult to digest and is stiff enough to stucco a house with, but I did find some helpful information on overcoming this drawback. So here comes the salad preparations. Ready?

Get yourself some kale. Go for the dark green stuff, not the yellowish stuff. Or, if you are like me and have limited shopping venues, you take what you can get and be thankful.

Anyway, after you strip the curly kale leaves from the stem (don't eat this part!), give it a rinse and a spin.

Then, and here is the key to eating kale raw, massage it in a bowl with a sprinkle of salt and a drizzle of olive oil.

Go ahead and really work the knots out of it's muscles (and ignore the world's puffiest looking hand...yikes!) Slap it on the bootae once or twice for good measure until it is slightly wilted and glistening. On the plus side, your oil is already on the salad, and your hands get a nice moisturizing too!

Add some other lettuce so they don't feel left out, splash with balsamic vinegar then top with whatever floats your boat.

On mine I put some sliced marinated steak (slightly warmed), chopped teardrop tomatoes, feta cheese and croutons. Yes, I know the croutons have fructose, but a GIRL'S GOTTA LIVE!

Arrange nicely on a plate and take a picture. Then throw it back into the mixing bowl, because who are you kidding?? You aren't nearly graceful enough the eat a big salad from a plate without spilling it! Better to eat straight from the trough than embarrass yourself in front of the dogs (who hope that you use the plate!)

Ah. My love! You are tasty and have enough body to stand up to Shiatsu massage and not turn to squish. You will put me on the path to health, vim and vigor, and whatever else the doctor insists I need. I am quite giddy with having made your acquaintance. Let's hang out frequently...k?

Oh, and if you could talk to fructose when you get a chance. I really need it to get out of some food, any food. Well, any food that tastes good. It can go into oatmeal for all I care.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fantasy vs Reality

This is my fantasy fall morning vignette. Outside on a crisp morning, raking leaves for garden mulch, with a sweet canine by my side.

Never mind that it was mind-numbingly cold out. And raw-feeling. Never mind that said canine was eviscerating yet another "indestructible" (read: expensive) dog toy.

Never mind that the other canine-in-residence kept running through the leaf piles looking for a forest critter.

This was my fantasy vignette.

And this is my reality...

This is what greeting me as I stumbled out for coffee this morning I seriously thought about getting back into bed and staying there!

I have 4 weeks left in the semester and still have 5 exams worth 62% of my grade to complete. Needless to say, I spend a lot, most, all of my time right here.

But I did do some raking this morning. I got to live the "dream" for a little while today. This is how it looked before I started.

This is how it looked when I finished. I will not show you how I looked when it was finished!

Now, I could tell you that I raked and bagged all these leaves, but that would be a bold-faced lie. I eventually gave up and got out the riding mower to chop the leaves and blow them off of the grass. I have never driven this new mower before and it was quite an experience when I thought I was pressing the brake pedal, only to find myself launching backwards towards a ditch! Guess what?? There is NO brake pedal on this machine!! But you can lurch around in reverse if you jam down hard on the "other" pedal!

So, I "mowed" the leaves and then realized that before I winterized the machine and put away, I needed to wash under the deck to get all the grass stuff out. That required getting out the hose and playing with water in 40 degree weather. ARG! But I did it and it is tucked away for the season down in the shop.

I have also spent some time getting the "new" guest room ready for Thanksgiving visitors. Courtney and her boyfriend, Clint, are coming down for St Louis to spend time working having fun on the farm! Stud Muffin moved his office down from above the garage, so the guest room moved upstairs.

I still need to bring in another pillow and a few pictures. I wish another table would fit next to the bed, but, alas, there isn't enough wall space to accommodate it

The bathroom needed a storage/decorative rack, so I put one together. Not quite thrilled with the open rod shelves, but it works!

Consider yourselves officially updated!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Redneck dog house

Yeah... I know! I don"t have much time to blog these days, and my hours are getting even longer. Since I will at school for longer lectures (they "own" us so they get to do that!) I needed a way to leave the pampered dogs outside while I'm gone. Even though they usually go back to bed after their breakfast, eventually they need to use the facilities and I won't be at their beck and call!

Studly and I looked around at the available ready-made options and weren't happy with any. I would need two houses, which were very expensive for a plastic box with a hole into the side for a door, and after the cold, windy winter is over, I would have to find someplace to store them.

Enter the redneck straw bale house for dogs!

Eight bales of straw, a couple of thick moving blankets, two dog beds and a few chunks of wood and some clamps.

I tucked the blanket up better after I took this!

Don't you think they'll be cozy?? They probably wouldn't have used separate houses, so now they can be together.

When the weather improves, I can use the straw in the garden and put the rest away. leaving only the beds for their royal comfort.

Speaking of beds, I have been working a little bit, most days, to rake leaves to cover the raised beds. I found, this past spring, the the leaf blanket really helped improve the soil and prevent the weeds from getting a foothold (or would that be "roothold"?)

I still have bell peppers growing in the ever-cooling weather!

There is some basil left, but it is succumbing to the frosty nights. The black in the photo isn't a shadow, it's frozen basil. I will probably try to harvest and save some of the seeds for next season. Then again, I may not!

The grape vine is going to need protection, but I need to do some research to find out if I only need to wrap the root ball, or cover the entire vine with a sheet. No doubt, I'll have to go with the uglier solution, cuz that's how I roll!

As the day is cloudy and we are expecting rain soon, I have Taco Soup in the crockpot for dinner, after which I might just crawl into the redneck dog house and try it out for a nap!