Thursday, June 30, 2011

Coconut Mocha Frapp (healthier than you know what from you know where)

Coconut Mocha Frappe

The deluge of seasonally flavored frozen beverages continues. Today's swap takes us to the caffeine fiend's haven known as Starbucks, celebrated for its strong brews but feared for its selection of over-caloried drinks. While many incarnations of the Frappuccino are available year-round, limited-edition fancy flavors are always popping up. This summer, it's the dastardly blend of coconut, chocolate, and coffee. What freezy-java lover can resist such a concoction? One who knows what's best for them. At its worst -- a giant Venti made with whole milk and topped with whipped cream -- this drink has 550 calories and 18g fat. ACK! Even a seemingly reasonable Tall Frap made with nonfat milk and finished off with whipped cream has 300 calories and 9g fat -- too much for a sippable treat. Considering how tasty our version of this rich drink is, there's really no reason to spend hundreds of calories on this thing. Blend it up at home and chill out, people!
Serving Size: 16 oz. (Grande) with toppings, made with 2% milk
Calories: 400
Fat: 14g
Sodium: 210mg
Carbs: 66g
Fiber: <1g
Sugars: 62g
Protein: 5g

Wake Me Up Before You Coco...

This new recipe is a major eye-opener, and not only because it's made with coffee and chocolate -- it will open your eyes to just how easy it is to make Starbucks-style blendy drinks at home... YAY!!!

2 tsp. shredded sweetened coconut, roughly chopped
2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp. fat-free non-dairy powdered creamer (like the kind by Coffee-mate)
1 tsp. instant coffee granules
1 tsp. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 no-calorie sweetener packets (like Splenda or Truvia), or more to taste
1/8 tsp. coconut extract
2 cups crushed ice or 10 - 16 ice cubes
2 tbsp. Fat Free Reddi-wip
1 tsp. light chocolate syrup

To toast the coconut, bring a skillet to medium heat on the stove; add chopped coconut and, stirring occasionally, cook for 2 minutes, or until lightly browned. (Or, if you have a toaster oven, just toast until lightly browned.) Set aside to cool.

In a tall glass, place cocoa powder, powdered creamer, coffee granules, chocolate chips, and sweetener. Add 1/2 cup very hot water and stir until ingredients have mostly dissolved. Add coconut extract, and transfer contents of the glass to a blender. Rinse the glass, if needed, and set aside.

Add ice to the blender, and blend at high speed until completely mixed and smooth. Pour into the tall glass.

If you like, add additional sweetener to taste. Top with Reddi-wip, drizzle with chocolate syrup, and sprinkle with toasted coconut. Enjoy!


Serving Size: entire recipe (about 16 oz.)
Calories: 120
Fat: 4.5g
Sodium: 24mg
Carbs: 21g
Fiber: 4g
Sugars: 8g
Protein: 2.5g


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

a hat and a bike

Do you ever get obsessed with a certain item that you don't have and are constantly looking in stores or on line for, until you either purchase said item or move on to another one? Well, I do all the time. Like adult trikes that I have posted about a lot of times, retro travel trailers, vintage dresses, shoes, etc., etc.
Lately I have been imagining myself actually owning a trike which I would have found at an" I can't help but buy it" price and start tooling around the neighborhood. Only problem is that in real life it's sooo hot out, so if my daydream comes true I will have to wear a hat to shield me from the hot sun. So I start looking at straw hats everywhere I go, like Target, Walmart and Old Navy. I found a cotton Gilligan looking hat on clearance at Old Navy for five dollars just so I will be ready to live my dream come true. But for now, my only modes of transport are my Ford Focus or my two feet! Maybe I will try my hat out in the car or out walking while pretending to be getting a great workout on my trike!

(I couldn't find any cool trike pics so have resorted to the two wheel variety!)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Country Living Oilcloth Clutch Tutorial

Step One: Print two copies of our template and cut out. Leave one template intact; cut the other along the dotted line (as shown) to create a total of three patterns.

Step Two Use the resulting patterns to cut three shapes from half a yard of oilcloth ($8.99 per yard; Place the largest oilcloth shape on a table, right side up. Twist a hair elastic into a figure eight, with the bottom loop larger than the top (as shown). Center and tape the elastic atop the oilcloth. Baste in place a quarter inch from the edge; remove tape.

Step Three Align the two smaller oilcloth shapes atop the larger one (as shown), right sides facing down; tape in place. Stitch around the outer edge, leaving a quarter-inch seam; remove tape as you go.

Step Four Use scissors to make small slices about every inch along the bag’s seam allowance (as shown) to allow for easy turning.

Step Five Turn bag right side out. Topstitch along the flap’s edge, then finish by hand-stitching a button onto the bag (as shown in photo).

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Family weekend

We went to Florida last weekend and had a grand time seeing family and friends.
We got to meet our new baby great nephew Elijah who was just a little doll! Our great niece Lilly has gotten to be such a lovely young lady and her mom Chrissy ( my niece) and her husband look like they are a very happy and blessed family!
And of course we got to hug and kiss and play with our grandson Kavi who brings us so much joy with his loving and happy ways
Our daughter Christina looked oh so sweet with her new bangs and her husband Suj looks even leaner now since he is a runner!
I managed to eat healthy while there and have lost about 8 pounds in the past 5 weeks. Yippee for Angela who has also lost 8 pounds! Woo hoo! I have been eating meat only a few times a week, and have only been having fruit or raw food bars made of dates and nuts as my sweets, occasionally having frozen yogurt as a special treat within my calorie allowance. An app on my phone called My Fitness Pal has helped me tremendously. It calculates my weight, calorie intake and exercise to help me lose a pound a week. I have found the most obscure items in their calorie data base and find the app very easy to use. I still have a long way to go and I will probably be joining the YMCA so I can use more than my exercise bike this summer!

My daughter Jenny with Lilly on the left, Elijah in her arms and Kavi on the right!

Kavi with a balloon car that was made for him at a restaurant on Sunday

Christina and Jenny my two beauties!

Friday, June 17, 2011

What I'm working on now

I found a tutorial for this Afghan pattern and have enjoyed working it.  I plan on making a lot of these to use up my surplus of yarn:)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

i want, i want, i neeeeed

Sigh...You know how I daydream about touring the USA in one of these with my golly, one day we will! One day we will!! A Tin Can Tourist is what I want to be when I grow up!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

on the way home

the tree that snapped

Yesterday, Ray and I made a trip to Target in a town about 45 minutes from here. The weather was bright and sunny and I wondered when it would rain again since it has been so hot but no usual afternoon thunderstorms to cool things off. Well, on the drive back home we noticed it looking rainy and misty up ahead, but it was more like a blinding torrential rain that made it so hard to see, we pulled over at a gas station to wait for the storm to pass. Several other cars did the same thing and we noticed that electricity was out at the station. The wind was whipping like crazy as we gazed from under the shelter of the gas station overhang and Ray kept pointing out how one of the trees nearby was bending really low from the force of the wind and the next thing you know, the tree was down, snapped apart from the force!
We were only a few miles from where the April tornado had passed through and I am sure many of the residents of the area were anxious about this fast moving and powerful thunderstorm.
When the storm passed through we got back on 431 to come upon a roadblock probably due to a fallen tree or something, so we followed a line of cars down a narrow country road figuring that those drivers knew how to get back on the main road. Apparently Aprils storms had been down this road before us because both sides of this road had uprooted and broken trees. A little surreal for sure.

the detour

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Home sweet Home

Source: via Angela on Pinterest

Source: via Angela on Pinterest

Source: via Angela on Pinterest

Source: via Angela on Pinterest

Sure do love these sweet home things I found on PINTEREST! Last year I bought some embroidery hoops, floss and funky embroidery patterns yet never tried them out. Do you ever do that? Get inspired to do a new craft but never quite get it going? I did some embroidery when I was in my 20s and really loved it but I guess I got too busy to keep it up. Maybe this summer I will revive it. Or maybe Fall. Or at least winter...Oh I am such a procrastinator!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Summer Scents I love

honeysuckle, gala apple and stephanotis
purple passion fruit, Shangri-la yellow peony and vanilla orchid

Stella by Stella McCartney
soft rose and amber
I don't know about you, but I have an aversion to strong pungent perfumes that so many ladies seem to engulf themselves in. Standing in line with a super drenched in scent lady makes me wish I had used the drive through! Then there are the times when someone walks by and you get an ever so gentle waft of something light and refreshing. That's where I want to be. Gone are the days of Jean Nate cologne as the go to gift for an office Christmas gift exchange. No more Poison or Shalimar attacking our senses in the elevator. Those days are gone my friend. Embrace the clean fresh fragrances that just make you feel like you smell clean and happy!

I actually prefer body mists for their light and refreshing smells, like Victorious Secret, Secret Charm and Bombshell. There are many varieties at VS so you can choose floral or fruity scents. Bombshell also comes in a Summer edition which has a citrus edge to it but I prefer the floral regular Bombshell.
Stella is a long time favorite of mine with a modern soft rose scent, not at all like your granny's rose perfume. There is also a Stella Nude scent which is also so lovely and light!
Hope you have a fresh and cool summer!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

hair-rific braids

via Crystal on Pinterest

I am trying to grow my hair longer so I can do a braid "do"! Well, actually for many reasons, braids being one of them. I haven't had longer hair for a while and want to have it before I am too old for it :)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

more my style

Let's be honest. A few posts ago I featured a make it yourself canopy for a backyard. I will probably never attempt such a task even though it was described as easy. These pictures are much more a reflection of what I would do. Some rope, some old blankets and some trees or branches. More colorful, fun looking and easier. I especially get a kick out of the crochet tent. Now that would be a statement piece at the old State Park campground! Just pray it doesn't rain!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Rise and Swine!

Last night I watched "The Shark Tank" for the first time and became an instant fan. Successful business people have money to invest while inventors and creators of various ideas and gadgets make their pitch asking for money to help them start up their businesses. One woman had an idea of starting a club like Netflix, only for kids toys, where you pay a monthly fee for used but sterilized and shrink wrapped toys which are delivered to your home for your kids to play with, then send back when bored. Each month you get a new batch.
But by far the most unique pitch was for an alarm clock that starts cooking bacon ten minutes before you get up, so the smell wakens you AND you get to eat the bacon when it is done. Needless to say the investors were amused by it, but passed on it due to safety hazards like setting your bed on fire while you are sleeping!

Friday, June 3, 2011

make your own shade on a sunny day

Create a cool spot for summer living with one of our easy canopies.

All by itself, a simple canopy can turn an empty space outside into a "place." While trees might take years to grow, an expanse of cloth goes up in minutes, providing shade wherever you need it most. When the outdoor season ends -- or a storm whips in unexpectedly -- you can take it down, quick as a wink.

Unlike a pricey pergola or arbor, which demands a permanent surrender of ground, a canopy requires scant commitment or expense. For the most basic version, spend a few dollars on a drop cloth from a hardware store, and a few more on the supplies you will need to suspend it overhead: a grommet kit, tent poles, stout cord, and sturdy pegs. These ideas can be modified for other settings and styles.

You can sew a canopy yourself, or have one stitched by a seamstress or sailmaker. You'll need a few things from a hardware store, garden center, or camping-supply store to put up the fabric you choose. The way you erect the canopy depends on where you want it to be -- it can be suspended from poles, or stretched between a wall or roofline and poles.

Tools and Materials
- A grommet tool makes it easy to punch sturdy holes in the corners of your fabric.

- Plastic tent pegs anchor lines from the tops of poles into the lawn or planting beds.

- An inexpensive canvas drop cloth can serve as a fine canopy.

- Stout clothesline or venetian-blind cord will keep a canopy in place.

- Wooden pole with dowel pin or bamboo pole with dowel

- Adjustable aluminum tent poles can be raised or lowered to fit your setting.

Attached to a Wall or Fence How-To
At a corner of the canopy near the house, a short length of cord extends from the grommet to a screw eye on the house. At its apex, the tent is anchored to the center pole; two cords tied to the top of the pole are pegged to the lawn. There is also a cord anchoring each of the shorter poles that support the sides.

To fashion a patterned tent, sew together two full-size lightweight cotton bedspreads, creating a reinforced 2-inch overlap in the center. Punch grommet holes in the corners, and one on each end of the center overlap. Cut a third bedspread to make full-length, 6-inch-wide border strips. Stitch one to either side of the fabric, which adds hanging borders. To put up the peaked canopy, use a tall pole for the center and shorter poles for either side; attach screw eyes in corresponding spots on the house.

Free-Standing Canopy How-To
If you don't want to secure the canopy to a wall or fence, create a free-standing one with four poles. You'll need four people, too. Start by installing a metal grommet at each corner of your canopy fabric. Stand four poles with long, thin tips (use tent poles; drill a wood pole so it holds a dowel pin or fit bamboo, which is hollow, with a dowel) on the ground. Hook the grommets over the tips. Then have each person simultaneously loop sturdy cord around the tip of his or her pole and stake the other end of the cord into the ground several yards away.

- Grommets at the corners of the fabric fit over poles in front and are tied to screw eyes on the house

- Loop cord around the poles to keep the fabric in place and attached to pegs in the lawn for added stability

- Tie extra fabric to the cords to make them more visible so no one will trip over them

- Canopy poles get added stability by fitting them into lengths of PVC pipe and sinking the pipe into soil-filled terra-cotta pots

- Painted wooden dowels and colored cord make the canopy's mechanics part of the picture

- Take the tent down when not in use to discourage fading


- Cut openings that allow wind to circulate through

- Grommets at the corners of the fabric fit over poles in front and are tied to screw eyes on the house

- Loop cord around the poles to keep the fabric in place and attached to pegs in the lawn for added stability

- Tie extra fabric to the cords to make them more visible so no one will trip over them

- Canopy poles get added stability by fitting them into lengths of PVC pipe and sinking the pipe into soil-filled terra-cotta pots

- Painted wooden dowels and colored cord make the canopy's mechanics part of the picture

- Take the tent down when not in use to discourage fading

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Summer Survival Iced Coffee

Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee

With thanks to the New York Times and a bunch of web sites.

2/3 cup ground coffee
3 cups cold water, plus more for finishing
Ice cubes
Whatever you take in your coffee

Place the ground coffee in a pitcher or bowl. Cover with 3 cups water. Let stand at room temperature for 12 hours or overnight.
Using a fine-mesh sieve, strain the coffee into a small bottle or pitcher. (Here is where I split with the other sources. Some suggest a double-straining method, using a sieve and then a coffee filter or cheesecloth to get the last bits of ground coffee. A single straining works fine for me, because any ground coffee left in the mix will settle to the bottom and can be avoided. Up to you.)
Refrigerate the mix until you need it. To use it, pour equal amounts coffee and water over ice. (Use less water if you like, but remember that the coffee mixture is very strong.) If you really want to get fancy, you could also make a batch of ice cubes out of it, but that's more trouble than I can handle in summer.
Add whatever you need (while I usually drink coffee black, I do like a little skim milk in iced coffee).
Drink. Feel cooler.