The Musings, Notes & Book/App reviews of a Children's Writer

Archive for the ‘lifestyle’ Category

Surviving Summer in Texas

This will be my 5th Summer in Texas and I’m learning to love it. Summer in Texas means; Summer camps for the kids,Trips to the water park, Heading to the Soccer Stadium, Outdoor festivals, amazing  BBQ, and lazy evenings by the pool. It also means 100+degree temps, June bugs, mosquitoes, spiders, flies ,fire ants, cute bunnies, and side stepping the toads who aren’t eating enough bugs. It’s difficult to open the back door without being swarmed, I’ve almost mastered the art of getting in and out without letting the flies in. Entering the great outdoors can be quite the adventure, armed with 1.sun screen (to avoid 3rd degree burns)  2.Bug spray and  3. Fly swatter. If you can deal with all that…..then by all means, fire up the grill!

***Myth or Fact? hanging a plastic bag of water will repel flies…..I tried it and it works!*****

Grilled Lobster Thermidor recipe (http://www.deliciousmagazine.co.uk/)  By Angela Boggiano

I’m not one to follow recipes exactly so I added extra lemon and a dash of garlic and Old Bay seasoning. it was Yummy Perfection. Bon Appetite!

Amazing Summer Treat – Grilled Lobster Thermidor

               Ingredients

3 Partially Steamed lobsters

2 table spoons butter

3 large shallots, finely chopped

1 1/2 cups fresh fish stock

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup double cream

4 tbsp chopped mixed fresh herbs, such as parsley, chives and dill

Pinch of cayenne pepper

3 Tablespoons Parmesan, finely grated


  1. Prepare the lobsters. Remove the claws, then crack them by covering with a cloth and gently hitting with a rolling-pin. Remove the meat in large pieces and put in a bowl. Remove and discard the legs.
  2. Cut the lobsters in half lengthways, first through the head, between the eyes, then turn around and continue to cut through the tail. Remove the tail meat from each lobster half and cut into chunky pieces. Add to the bowl with the claw meat. Remove the red row and add to the bowl – it has an excellent flavor. Gently mix.
  3. Remove and discard the grit sacs and intestines – the long, thin, black line running the length of the body.
  4. Transfer the empty shells to a baking tray. Divide the meat equally between each shell cavity, cover and chill until needed.
  5. Make the sauce. Melt the butter in a frying pan and cook the shallots for 3-4 minutes, until beginning to soften. Add the fish stock and wine and boil until reduced by half. Stir in the cream and cook gently for a further 5 minutes, until the sauce has a good coating consistency. Take off the heat and stir in the chopped herbs and cayenne. Season to taste.
  6. Pre heat the grill to medium-high. Spoon the sauce over each lobster half and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Grill for 3-4 minutes, until golden and bubbling. Serve immediately, garnished with extra herbs.


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Weekly Photo Challenge: Friendship

Band mates- Electric guitarist’s and lead vocalist chilling between sets at their first Music festival in Deep Ellum, Dallas.
Photo by E.Anaya

MONDAYS!

There’s nothing like a Monday put an end to a perfectly good week-end.  Many people just don’t do Monday’s well, myself included. Unfortunately, hitting the snooze button indefinitely isn’t usually an option.  Getting yourself and the kids ready to tackle the day can be quite the challenge, tack on walking the dog and dealing with traffic or public transportation….it’s just exhausting. It helps to get things prepared the night before, clothes, lunch, snacks, pocketbook, keys etc. A partner who’s a ‘Morning person’ is a plus, then you can divide and conquer.  Caffeine is often a necessity just to get out the door.  Wouldn’t it be great if Corporations avoided Monday morning staff or sales meetings, why do they do that?  Breakfast to go is a given, and a smoothie is not only healthy, it leaves you with a free hand to do a balancing act with the keys, pocketbook, tote, baby, holding your child’s hand etc.                                                                                                                                                                        Energy-Boosting Smoothies

Mocha Smoothie

Frozen Fruit Smoothie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These easy to make smoothies are more than just delicious drinks. Sip one to revitalize your energy level. These refreshing drinks are the perfect way to start off your day.

Cappuccino Smoothie – Healthy smoothie recipe for coffee drinkers.

2 cups brewed strong coffee
1 pint coffee ice cream
6 cups ice
1 1/2 cups milk
whipped cream, optional
cinnamon or mint for garnish

Place coffee, ice cream, ice and milk in blender. Mix well until smooth. Top with whipped cream (if desired) and cinnamon.   277 Calories

Frozen Fruit Smoothie – Healthy smoothie recipe for fruit lovers.

-Greek yogurt will improve the taste  and will add more protein and calcium.

1/2 cup frozen bananas
1/2 cup frozen peaches
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1 cup low-fat yogurt
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons honey or a hand full of grapes to sweeten                                                                                                                                   1 cup ice

In a blender, combine and mix all the ingredients until smooth. Pour smoothie into a glass, and enjoy! This recipe is great on those hot summer days.  488 Calories

Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer

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TURQUOISE BEACHES

Summer is warm sand beneath my toes, sunshine and beaches. It’s family vacations or stay-cations. It’s sitting on the patio chatting with friends on a warm afternoon, hoping for a cool breeze. It’s long walks thru the park with the kids and the doggie in search of the closest playground. Summer is camping trips, fishing on the lake, spending time bicycling outdoors enjoying nature.  Tank tops, shorts, sun dresses and flip-flops, sun glasses and cannonballs in the pool……..bring on those endless summer days.

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SUN SAND AND SURF.

Memorial Day musings

Memorial Day first started after the Civil War to honor fallen Union soldiers. These days, It’s becoming less about remembrance and more about the start of the summer season. This weekend will be mostly about sales, picnics, sports, concerts, pool parties and family. This is wonderful, but we enjoy these freedoms because of our veterans and the price they paid.  As citizens and residents of a country which has seen many wars and is currently still at war, let’s take a moment out of our family festivities to say a prayer and thank our veterans and soldiers (the 1 percent) serving their country, far away from their family and home. Remember that freedom isn’t free.

A few of the events around the country:

Washington: http://dc.about.com/od/hoildaysseasonalevents/a/MemorialDay.htm

Dallas: http://dallas.about.com/od/arts/tp/MemorialDay2010.htm

NYC: http://manhattan.about.com/od/summerinnewyorkcity/a/memorialdaynyc.htm

 

Mothers Day Treats…..Everyday.

Mothers day has come and gone, but a mom’s work is never done.  Busy moms always deserve a guilt free treat. Facials or Massages are super relaxing and a great way to unwind.  Cupcakes however the perfect antidote for just about everything.  The cupcake culture is thriving and I’ll single hand-idly keep it going, if necessary.

These are some of the best cupcakes in the US that I’ve found so far…The hunt continues.
Feel free to clue me in, on the little bites of heaven in your part of the country.
Hands down, the best cupcakes and best decorated cakes anywhere!
Now if I could only convince them to ship or open shops in other states besides
N.Y….Don’t deprive the rest of the country!




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The most artfully decorated cupcakes plus they offer decorating classes.
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Las Vegas/ DallasThe cupcakery http://www.thecupcakery.com/
Would live here if I could. Since moving to Texas, it’s become my ‘go to’ place, after a stressful day at work, or as a reward after a brisk work out.
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Florida/ West Palm Beach 
Made from scratch with real ingredients, unique designs and custom cakes
a real treat!

 

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Whole foods makes Delightful mini Cheesecake cupcakes, topped with fresh fruits.


I can’t drive by without getting one,or two.

 






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Those of you who prefer to bake your treats, check out http://www.foodnetwork.com/cupcake-wars/recipes/index.html

Life Happens

Ever had one of those days that you wished you could do over in a different way? One day that just took a weird turn and never quite got back on track.
The poor economy recently caught up with this household and both my husband and myself became casualties of a massive re-structuring plan. One of the perils of both of us working for the same corporation, I guess – I don’t plan on making that mistake again. How did this happen? Must be a full moon out.  While there are doubts and concerns about an uncertain future, this temporary situation will not defeat me. This an opportunity to get going in a different direction. God is definitely trying to tell me something.
Time to get my butt into gear and get my ‘Tomorow list’ started ‘Today’ while getting my career back on track. 
Now, for a little while, i’ll have time to do alot of things: 
-Vollunteer at my son’s school and at church.
-Take small business seminars at the SBDC-I strongly recomend this for anyone starting a small business.
-Organize stuff around the house and purge – Craigs list or Garage sale
-Get creative and paint my canvases 
-Keep up with my gardening- unfortunately the lawn and flower beds doesn’t weed itself.
-Exercise regularly or at least attempt to.
-Make time for friends- really important, many times we get so caught up with life
  and neglect to have face time with those we love.
-and most of all….stop waiting on a Publisher to decide on one of my picture book manuscripts and publish them myself!

Life happens for me…not to me_ Oprahs life class
Blank Canvas- Any suggestions?

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