I wanted to be Dana Scully when I grew up

I wanted to be Dana Scully when I grew up

 

So what happened?

My Review of Roku 2 XS Streaming Player

Originally submitted at Roku

Adds an enhanced remote for playing games, plus extra connectivity options.


Already bought our second!

By Mylarocknrolla from Phoenix, Arizona on 4/14/2012

 

4out of 5

Pros: Great value, Compact, Easy to use, Built in Wi-Fi, Easy to set up, High quality picture, Reliability

Cons: Want more video choices, Search

Best Uses: Secondary TV, Bedroom, Primary TV, Living room

Describe Yourself: Movie buff, Netflix fan, Technophile, Home entertainment enthusiast, Power User

Love our Roku! We just bought a second one, this time for the bedroom. We have taken our Roku everywhere and shared our movies and television shows with our family. It travels so easily due to it’s size and ease of use. We recommend it to everyone!

(legalese)

Making old photos interesting again

The year is 1994. “The Sign” by Ace of Base is the number 1 song on the billboards and Kurt Cobain is god and apparently suicidal. Why Kurdt why?! No one leaves the house without a plaid flannel shirt covering, usually, a band shirt or just tied around your waist. It’s all about the grunge! Generation X, the 20+ year olds, are the buzz word to anything you wanted to do or wanted to be since you are either of Generation X and they are your peeps, or like me, you’re just one year too young. Why are the older kids always so cool? Of course you went to the movie theater to see “Pulp Fiction” and the Olympic figure skating world is forever tarnished when thug princess Tanya Harding has her competitor clubbed in the knee.”Why me why!”. Of course everyone gathers at the tv to see OJ in the back of his friends police fleeing SUV while on the phone threatening suicide to anyone that would listen and all of this is broadcast live on every channel from a news helicopter. Draaamaaa!

Ah yes, 1994 is not quite vintage being only 17 years ago, but it sure feels that way. I was a teenager at that time and I’ve had a lot of fun as an adult recently looking through the few pictures I have from then. I wondered how could I display these in a new and interesting way.

I have only 2 for now because these have taken me a while, but I plan to do more of them this way. Though the idea was to easily see them in a magazine talking about 1994, I think these looks could be used for modern scrap booking and diary pages. As framed pictures in your house, they’re sure to get people talking and I think these would be fun wrapping paper or personal cards for parents on holidays.

I hope you’ve had a wonderful weekend, and if you have any old photos that you’ve made modern again, share them in the comments section!

Song of the day

I love, love, love, adore music. I could not live without music, I really couldn’t! Amazon is having a 69¢ music sale all month long, so the boyfriend and I raided their stash. Which was actually not much for me because I listen to very little pop. But after buying “Judas” from Lady Gaga, and “Blow” from Ke$ha I was inspired to continue spending on iTunes which has more of my music. Meanwhile, the boyfriend finally bought the Tron: Legacy Reconfigured album by Daft Punk. Awesome album! So happy! And this album has a song that just rattles my soul. I don’t know if everyone feels music the way I do, but songs affect me deeply, and then there are those songs that *live* inside you, that almost hurt because they are so good. I’m speaking for myself here though if anyone else feels this way about music, share it in the comments and tell me your deepest “affect/infect you” songs.

My song is “End of the Line (Remixed by Photek)” by Daft Punk. I really like Photek anyway, so it makes so much sense that their remix is the one. I have no idea how many times I’ve listened to it over and over – another thing I do with my resinating soul songs – but it has to have made it on my Top 100 Most Played iTunes list by now.

 

Can’t….stop….playing…..song………*ecstasy*

 

Mother’s Day aka Luckiest Girl in the World

My boys are wonderful, I feel truly blessed. This was one of the best Mother’s Day I’ve ever had, and I’m feeling so loved. They (the boyfriend and my son) made a huge breakfast of scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese, a double pepper hash browns concoction, fresh fruit, and (faux) bacon.

In front of my plate was a card, a jewelry bag, and the table was decorated with Mother’s Day roses. The card was from my teenage son, and it was such a cute, perfectly fitting teenager card and his gift were the roses. So sweet!

The boyfriends gift was a gorgeous mom ring. He listened when I had seen the ring advertised and I exclaimed how beautiful it was. I’m such a lucky girl!


It says mom!

I hope you all had a wonderful Mother’s Day, and a happy Mother’s Day to all you mothers, grandmothers, mom’s-to-be, foster mothers, and everyone else who spends their love, care, time, and support to children (theirs or not).

“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.” -Washington Irving

Happy Mother’s Day!

Dinner, dessert, and Zapd

Happy Cinco De Mayo!

The boyfriend turned me onto a real cool app for our phones, it’s called Zapd. It makes a blog quick and easy, you just pic your background, upload pictures, add your links and then publish. You can then share on Facebook, Twitter, and email.

I tried this program last night, and I made this in about five minutes:

 

The Zapd blog is then on their site with the link that anyone can go to. There’s also showcased blogs, a couple of them were cool like Feed The Zombie. The app won’t bring traffic to your real blog, but it’s a creative and fun way to mini blog from your phone and share easily.

My father is elderly (he doesn’t seem elderly to me) and lives alone. He is actually in a wheelchair because of his Diabetes and while he is independent I help him as much as I can. He lives in a house he rents in Sun City, and despite a plumber’s visit ending with advisement for the landlord to replace the water heater back in January, the warning was not heeded and over the weekend the hot water heater burst and flooded the home. On top of that because it’s an older home, the tile that had to be replaced had asbestos so most of the house was sealed from my father. This confined him to one tiny room in the house. Worried, we’ve been bringing him dinner every night.

Last night my father asked for burgers for dinner. I was hesitant but then I was reminded on twitter that Portland’s Restaurant and Wine Bar has $5 burgers on Wednesday and uses fresh ingredients and lean beef (healthier for dad) and decided to take the boyfriend out for a nice burger and take two with us when we leave for my father. Portlands is one of our favorite restaurants, and they are extremely vegetarian friendly offering portobello mushroom as a meat substitute in any of their burgers. My father took one bite and exclaimed, “This tastes like a real burger just like they used to make!” – he was very happy. I truly adore my father.


Dinner at Portlands

After leaving my father’s house, the boyfriend and I went out to dessert. We were bad. The last 2 weeks I just haven’t been as serious about my weight loss, and last week’s weigh in was a +1 pound. This is devastating as I’ve lost 18 pounds up until then and still have another 15-20 pounds to go. Starting today I’m going to get back on track, Easter is over so I am going to get out of the big meals and Easter basket mind frame.

 

Speaking of holidays, here’s our Cinco De Mayo dinner recipes:

Mashed Potato and Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas

Yummy, yummy! These are so good, low cal, and just brilliant! We end up only using half of the mashed potato vegetable mix in the enchiladas which makes ours 186 calories per serving, and have enough enchiladas left over to eat for two days as a family of 3. I would suggest adding more enchilada sauce, and with this being so low cal you can afford a little extra. This serves 12, so you can cut this recipe in half to serve 6. Serve this with Spicy Vegetarian Spanish Rice (recipe below).

Ingredients:
1 head broccoli, cut into florets
8 ounces mushrooms
3 small zucchini, chopped
2 cups chopped carrots
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
3 cups water
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
1 (7.6 ounce) package instant mashed potato flakes
1 (12 ounce) package corn tortillas
3 cups enchilada sauce
8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine broccoli, mushrooms, zucchini, and carrots. Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Spread vegetables in a single layer in a shallow baking dish. Roast vegetables in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes; stir halfway through their cooking time. When finished cooking, remove from the oven, and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
3. Bring water, milk, and butter to a boil in a large pot. Remove the pot from heat, and mix in the mashed potato flakes. Let stand two minutes, then stir the mashed potatoes with a fork until they are smooth. Stir in roasted vegetables.
4. In a dry, nonstick skillet over medium heat, quickly heat each tortilla on both sides to make pliable. Dip the tortillas in enchilada sauce. Put a large spoonful (approximately 1/4 to 1/3 cup) of potato-veggie mixture into the center of each tortilla. Top mixture with about 1 to 2 tablespoons cheese, and roll tortillas. Place seam-side down in a 9×13 inch baking dish. Pour extra sauce over top, and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
5. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for approximately 20 to 30 minutes, or until the enchiladas are heated through.

Prep Time: 40 Min
Cook Time: 1 Hr 10 Min
Ready In: 1 Hr 50 Min
Original Recipe Yield 12 servings

Nutritional Information
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 390

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Spicy Vegetarian Spanish Rice

Easy, very tasty, quick, and very spicy! If you like a more mild Spanish Rice, half to quarter the chili powder. I would suggest chopping up some green bell pepper and adding for even more authenticity.

Ingredients:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup brown rice
1/4 cup tomato sauce
2 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika

Directions:
In a medium skillet, brown the rice in the oil on medium heat until just barely golden. Add the tomato sauce, veggie broth and spices. Cover with a lid and simmer on low for 20 minutes or until the rice is cooked through. Fluff and serve.

Number of Servings: 4
25 Minutes to Prepare and Cook

Nutritional Info
Servings Per Recipe: 4
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 150
Total Fat: 4.9 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 371.6 mg
Total Carbs: 9.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.0 g
Protein: 1.0 g

Enjoy!

Life, love, and food

Whole Foods on Facebook listed 12 recipes for a Mother’s Day brunch. Looks delish! Whole Foods also has an entire recipe section on their website as well.

My free Physicians Formula Primer sample came last week and I love it! It really does even everything out, including hiding big ugly pores like I have, and I was able to wear it without any make-up because it looks so natural. It also didn’t make me break out like so many face products do since I seem to have such sensitive skin. I’m definitely going to pick some up! The only complaint I have is that anything with sunscreen for the face should be 30 SPF minimum, and unfortunately it’s only 15 SPF. Still worth it.

I’m a modern bride to be. My fiance and I have been together on and off for 10 years, and in the past almost 4 years solid, I decided I would like to get married. He, on the other hand, doesn’t believe in marriage. I just heard the collective “gimme a break” moan from the female population reading this. However, he’s willing to let go of his neanderthal beliefs and marry me. There has been no formal on the knee asking me to marry him proposal, and despite my being married before, I have never had a formal proposal. I never cared before, but in the past few years, I’ve found that I would really like something like that and to have it recorded as something to show my future kids. They can see the story of their father and mother’s engagement, marriage and future belly videos/photos……what an awesome technological world we live in today. And I wonder when I became so terribly old fashioned.

Our wedding is on 11.11.11. Excuse me, our court/paper “wedding” is on 11.11.11. Because we can’t afford the wedding we want yet and don’t have many to invite, we will have our actual wedding at a later date. We’d also like to start trying for our family in August, which means I will be largely pregnant in November if everything goes according to plan, so I’m ok putting off the wedding so that the photos don’t look like we *had* to get married. So while I have some time to plan, and I’m taking advantage of it, I’m still planning a wedding.

Tomorrow morning we’re riding down to school to find out what’s going on with our financial aid. I’m already enrolled in all my classes, but I can’t access my financial aid yet to pay for my classes, neither can the boyfriend, so we need to get down there and figure out what’s going on.

Well it’s around dinner time, and I still have several things to get done today. Hope you all have a wonderful evening!

Eggplant Parm Rolls

I do a monthly menu plan that includes several recipes that we’ve never tried before their menu plan night. If they are good, they stay on, if they’re bad we try to fix them or never make them again.

Last night we had Eggplant Parm Rolls (by George Duran for Hunt’s) for the first time. These come in at only 314 calories (we count ourselves) for 2 rolls, which is excellent! They were very tasty as well and filling which is always a good thing in low-cal meals. The only problem was that the tomatoes really pulled all the flavor together, and there just wasn’t enough in each bite. So we’re going to change up the recipe a bit which will make it more calories I’m sure, but I’m going to try to keep it at least under 400. What we’re going to change up is using 1 can of Hunt’s instead of 2, make it a flavored Hunt’s, and then add half a jar of pasta sauce such as Ragu, Prego, etc in a flavor that matches or compliments our Hunt’s tomato flavor.

Hope you enjoy, and post any of your suggestions or changes!

Eggplant Parm Rolls
by George Duran for Hunt’s

Eggplant Parm Rolls - Yummy & Low-Cal!

Eggplant Parm Rolls Photo by Myla Thomas

Ingredients:
Olive Oil No-Stick Cooking Spray
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
2-1/2 cups chopped zucchini
2 cans (14.5 oz each) Hunt’s® Stewed Tomatoes, undrained
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 large eggplants (2 large = about 2-1/2 lb)
2 eggs, beaten
1 container (15 oz each) part-skim ricotta cheese
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 pkg (8 oz each) fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
 
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray 13×9-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.
2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; cook 2 to 3 minutes or until onion is translucent. Add zucchini; cook 10 minutes or until onion and zucchini are lightly browned, stirring frequently. Add undrained tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper; simmer 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, heat grill pan over medium-high heat. Cut ends off each eggplant; cut each eggplant lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices. Spray both sides of each slice with cooking spray. Grill slices 2 minutes per side or until lightly browned and pliable; set aside.
4. Combine eggs, ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese and basil in medium bowl. Mix until well blended; set aside.
5. Place 2 cups of the tomato sauce in bottom of prepared dish. Assemble rolls by spreading about 2 tablespoons cheese mixture on each eggplant slice. Roll up from a short end and place seam-side down in dish. Repeat. Top rolls with remaining sauce and sliced mozzarella.
6. Bake 30 minutes or until cheese melts and is lightly browned. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes before serving.
 
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings: Makes 6 servings (2 rolls and 1/3 cup sauce each)
 
Nutrition Facts 
Amount per Serving
Calories: 314
% Daily Value*
Total fat: 19%, 12 g
Saturated fat: 27%, 5 g
Cholesterol: 24%, 73 MG
Sodium: 19%, 448 MG
Carbohydrate: 6%, 19 g
Dietary fiber: 16%, 4 g
Sugars: 1%, 11 g
Protein: 30%, 15 g
Vitamin A: 19%
Vitamin C: 22%
Calcium: 28%
Iron: 6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Royal Wedding Bliss…..

I dvr’d the royal wedding that started at 1am our time and am now spending my entire day watching all seven hours of it. There’s so many reasons I am so into this wedding, the first reason being that I relate so much to Princess Diana. We were both married at 19 to older men who didn’t treat us nicely, with families that didn’t welcome us to the family, mother-in-law’s who were completely involved in destroying us in a divorce, and considered the less important parent and were treated so with the raising of our kids. I am so glad to see that Prince William speaks so highly of his mother and that this wedding appeared to have so many elements in her memory. It would appear that at least they have allowed the children to love and honor their mother (after her death unfortunately) which is none-the-less a redeeming quality.

The second reason is that my father is Welsh, and I was partly raised by my Nian (g ran) and Dodo (aunt). My Tied (grandfather) passed away before I was born. Forgive the spelling of my Welsh, it’s how we always spelled these words in the family but I don’t think those are the actual correct spelling, just the phonetic spellings. My Nian and Dodo read “the papers” or “the scandal sheets” and they were in love with Diana. I grew up hearing about Princess Diana like she was a member of the family.

Well I’m off to watch the wedding, I’m so excited! Hope you all enjoy your weekend!

New direction really means no direction (and happy)

I’ve struggled with one theme for my blog. I started with my photography hobby, sharing tips and tricks, but in all honesty I’m not all that good. My professional photographer fiance has tried to teach me, but I have not been a good student and really only photograph things when they peak my interest, which is my food, my fiance, my son, and our pets. Basically, I take pictures of my family life. This is limited to a very small audience.

My next blog focus was how I am trying to change my family from a car family to a bicycle family. I have always been “green”, using only cloth diapers for my son 15 years ago, growing a food garden, vegetarian of 18 years thus far (and for the rest of my life), getting pets from shelters, recycling (forcing my family to recycle 24 years ago), and even at one point about 12 years ago followed a “mellow yellow, down brown” toilet practice to conserve water. Environmentalism really goes to the core of my beliefs, I’ll always be a hippie.

The problem with a riding my bike only blog is that since we live downtown we can walk to everywhere which burns more calories, and when you’re trying to lose weight, it works better. Otherwise, we have to go across town to where my parents live. It’s a 30 minute drive, and mapping it out showed a 4 hour bike ride, 90% of which didn’t have anywhere for bikes to ride on, and since I have a cruiser, I can’t go much off sidewalk or asphalt. While I love riding my bike, and ride my bike to school, I walk everywhere else or have to drive which limits my blog entries.

I’m left with a bit of a scatterbrained blog that focuses on cooking, coupons, health & fitness, bicycles & bicycling, motherhood, green living, and whatever else is happening. You know, life. We all live it. I have no idea why my blog would be better than all the other life blogs out there, but I won’t try to be. I’m just going to put up what I know and hope that it entertains, enlightens, and is just enjoyable – the three e’s.

Thanks for reading and I hope you will continue to.