Tag Archives: cooking

Good News Stories

Okay.  Time to brighten the news doom and gloom once again.  Shootings, politics, racism… I get so tired of hearing about all of it.  I even had a friend post on Facebook, “If you’re a Trump supporter, then unfriend me.  I don’t want or need you in my life.”  This year’s election is bringing out the best in people.  It’s shameful.  I cannot believe all the hatred.  I understand people are passionate, but really?  To go to that extreme just because they have different beliefs?  What ever happened to the “agree to disagree” concept?  Is it all or nothing these days?

So I’m taking a “hatred break.”  Even if it is only for 5 minutes.  Here are some super happy stories that deserve some attention and just might make you smile.

Instructors Teach Hospice Kids to Dance

The younger patients of children’s hospitals might have a hard time keeping their spirits up during treatment, but this organization is showing that all it takes is a little dancing.

Dancin’ Power is a nonprofit organization that gives free dance lessons to children in hospice care. Since their debut in 2006, instructors have been inspiring sick kids to find joy and healing through dance.The teachers are trained to customize their lessons for whatever disabilities the children may have. Whether they’re wheelchair-bound, or need to stay in sterilized environments, Dancin’ Power volunteers are ready to accommodate any hindrance.

The dancing doesn’t just give the youth joy during their illness – it also gives them a chance to exercise and have fun.

“Every day we learn so much from our kids, they are so resilient and strong even when facing challenging times,” Dancin’ Power said on their Facebook. “We are grateful to be a positive part of their lives during those hard times. We hope that you too can find strength and resilience when facing hard times!”

 

Police Officer Sees Woman Swerve, So He Buys Her Dinner

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Officer Emanuel Dotch was driving towards Florida on the Interstate 10 when he noticed an erratically driving car ahead of him. Amidst their swerving, the mysterious driver almost side swiped a truck, so Emanuel decided to pull them over.

It was a little old lady driving from Texas to Florida. When she insisted that she was fine, Emanuel offered to buy her dinner since she had apparently not eaten since lunch time.

After paying for her meal at a nearby Waffle House, the officer waited in his car for her to finish.

“She walked out and tried to offer me some money,” Emanuel wrote on Facebook, “but I told her I couldn’t accept that because it’s apart of my job to protect and serve so she asked me would I accept a hug and I told her I would do that. The moral of the story is if we would just look out for each other, this would be a better country.

Meet The Woman Inspiring a Community of Kindness Warriers

cate-cook-submittedWe’ve seen examples of kind pedestrians paying good deeds forward, but Cate Cook is trying to inspire an entire community to follow in her footsteps.

Cate has been the secret orchestrator of hundreds of secret sweet gestures all over Adelaide, South Australia since January. Her Yours Kindly Facebook page documents all of her anonymous gifts – from leaving bubble wands on park benches, to leaving change taped to parking meters, to leaving flower bouquets in public spaces.

The page has over 2,800 self-identified ‘Kindness Warriors’ who have been inspired by Cook’s gestures and imitated the generosity in their own communities.

“We are a kindness community and people are often sharing kind deeds that they have done – leaving chocolates, opening doors, buying care packs for homeless people, writing inspirational notes, paying for someone’s coffee, etc.,” Cate told the Good News Network. “Recently after a TV interview, the cameraman and sound technician both said that what I am doing is inspiring and such a great thing that they were going to go and do acts of kindness too. It truly is a ripple effect.”

As further evidence of her compassionate nature, Cate celebrated her 62nd birthday in August with 62 different acts of kindness around the city.

Quick-Thinking Teen Thwarts Kidnapping in Progress

kidnapping-thwarted-malyk-bonnet-laval-police-facebookIt was none of his business, maybe, but Malyk Bonnet didn’t like the way the guy at the bus stop was treating the woman he was with. And she looked scared.

He thought maybe he should intervene, but how?  Bonnet decided to keep his eye on the couple and follow his instincts.

The 17-year-old cook had just completed a shift at work in Montreal, Canada, and saw his chance to help when the man asked him for money, saying he and the woman needed bus fare to get to the town of Laval, some 25 miles (40km) away.

Thinking on his feet, Bonnet not only got the money for them, but also announced that he, too, was headed to Laval. He hopped on the same bus as the couple, and when they stood up to get off, Bonnet stood up, too, and offered to buy them dinner.

Pretending to go to the restroom, Bonnet instead borrowed a stranger’s cell phone to call police. So good was the teen’s facade that when law enforcement arrived to arrest the man and escort the woman to safety, the kidnapper had no idea it was Bonnet who had tipped them off.

“(The woman) looked at me, and she was almost crying, and I said to myself, ‘I did good,’” Bonnet told CBC News.

He did more than good, according to Laval Police Lieutenant Daniel Guérin, who told CBC that in 24 years of policing, he’s never seen anything quite like what Bonnet did.

Bonnet didn’t even know the police were already searching for the couple. The 29-year-old woman had reportedly been kidnapped a few hours earlier, and authorities were pretty sure they knew by whom—a dangerous ex-boyfriend who was under a court order to stay away from her.

The Laval cops were so impressed with Bonnet’s decision-making, which they said probably saved the woman’s life, that they took up a collection to reimburse him for the money he spent. They raised $255 for the quick-witted young hero.

Bonnet was delighted to have his cash returned, and his proud mother bought up eight newspapers as keepsakes.

These people are setting positive examples in their community, examples we can all learn from. Have you performed a random act of kindness lately?  I know I haven’t, but I think it’s high time I do.

(all stories retrieved from goodnewsnetwork.org)

I Cooked!

I did something totally out of character for me last night… for Meatless Monday, I actually cooked!  And something other than spaghetti squash!

I’ve been following some fabulous recipe blogs, and boy, am I ever inspired!  So many of you are just fabulous with ingredients, and seasonings, and cooking, and baking, and… well… just wow! I thought it would be kind of fun to see if I could come up with a new and tasty dinner for James and I to try from your recipes even though the kitchen and I just don’t get along.

I was planning on making Lynz Real Cooking’s Traditional Falafal recipe.  However… it kind of worried me that I didn’t have a meat grinder.  I’ve never had falafal before, and I think I’d like to taste it first before I go and botch it all up as it looks like something I really, really, really want to like!

So I searched her recipe archives and found Zucchini Pie!  Perfect!  I knew what all the ingredients were (sometimes this is a serious challenge for me) and I knew what you were supposed to do in each step, so I gave it a whirl! Voila!

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The only thing I did different was I added mushrooms, and I did keep the mozzarella cheese in it as well (she gives you the option to leave it out).  I did have to use a ready-made frozen pie crust because the only thing I can roll out is Play-Dough, but the entire dish was fabulous!  This is definitely a keeper!  Great recipe, Lynn!  Thank you so much for your inspiration!

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But I didn’t stop there!!  Months ago when I first saw this brownie recipe I wanted to make it for my son as he loves brownies so much.  Again, I suck in the kitchen, so I put it off for a long, long time.  Until now.  Say hello to Lynz Real Cooking’s Mint Cookie Brownies!

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Before I baked the brownies, I added chocolate chips to the top because, well… the more chocolate the better, amiright?!

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Smashing those cookies was great for the soul!! I had actually gotten some Mint Oreo’s, but the boys ate them before I got to use them, so I used some other chocolate mint cookies instead. They were still fun to smash!

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And there you have it!  Wonderful Mint Cookie Brownies via Lynz Real Cooking!  My husband and I loved the Zucchini Pie (sorry, Lynn, can’t convince the child to even try it, haha), and all three of us adored the brownies!  And if I can make these recipes, then anyone can do it!  Again, a big thank you to Lynn for both of these recipes!!

Go ahead!  Try it… you’ll like it!!

 

One Final Splurge — Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding

As 2016 approaches and we think about all the things we’re going to change, adjust, aim for and/or do, it’s important to have that last little bit of debauchery to send out 2015 in a big way.  And I’ve got just the thing before the sugar goes on hiatus for the New Year!  Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding!  This stuff is so sinfully good, you’ll be wanting to stop by the confessional no matter your religion!  Here’s the best part… it’s so easy even I could make it (I don’t because I’ve got a good thing going with The Motivator being the chef, but if I wanted to, I could, really and truly)!!

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A little bit of this, a little bit of that…

DSC00044Getting back into the swing of things is a little harder to do after a long vacation weekend than I originally anticipated, I’ve come to find.  After all that fabulous Chicago food and pasta, I was looking forward to eating some simple and healthy roast chicken and veggies, but I find myself having to combat those ugly bad carb cravings mid-day that I had control over beforehand (you know… chips, soda, sweets).  It amazes me that 5 days of debauchery can completely undermine months of good behavior!  And then when I give into those cravings, they’re not even satisfying, so go figure.

wpid-20151016_202401.jpgOkay, well, it doesn’t help when you come home from holiday and actually are in the mood to try to cook or to try to bake!  I say “try” because I am not a baker and I am not a chef and I can’t stand to be in the kitchen for any length of time doing anything remotely “kitchen-ish.”  However, when James and I got back from Chicago, that Friday we had a celebratory happy hour in which I decided to bake these wicked Mountain Dew Apple Dumplings.  Talk about a sugar overload, holy cow.  But oh, they were good.

 

Not to mention the 18th was our son’s 11th birthday, so on Saturday night, I decided to make this:

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This is so out of character for me.  I’m not exactly sure that I’ve made one single cake in the 11 years AJ has been on this earth, but something possessed me to attempt this that night (Jamesy is the one who made sure there were plenty of sprinkles on it, not me; he did a great job).  I think the baking inspiration has come from some of my blogging friends who have actually made me want to step outside my comfort zone.  The cake may not be professional grade, but I sure had fun doing it.

However, all calorie-laden creativity aside, I do have my next training plan for Maui in place and have already started it:

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I don’t start the killer hill training until next week, but I’m happy to say I’ve nailed my runs so far.  In the middle of the one chart, you’ll see a big 3.1 highlighted… that’s a Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot we’ve signed up for (James will do the 10K).  As well, we’re doing another Turkey Trot race the Saturday before that (after which the next day it looks like I have a 13-miler scheduled in there… oh dear).  Anyway, I already have an 8-miler coming up this weekend, so… here we go again, off and running.

And now it’s time for me to put all the sugar and processed foods to rest and make up our quickie oatmeal breakfasts for the next week:

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I start with 1 cup quick cooking oats, then add flax seed, dehydrated fruit (blueberries, craisins, bananas), nuts, cinnamon, salt, brown sugar, store in mason jars, add boiling water (I add a tablespoon of peanut butter for protein when I add my water)… this is a rib-sticking breakfast that won’t allow any type of craving to rear its ugly head and you’ll even question whether or not you’ll want to eat lunch!  But don’t eat it then go running!!  All your energy is being used for digestion for a couple of hours, so you’ll never get through a run without GI issues if you eat this beforehand.

Lastly, I leave you with this thought:

Running is not about being better than someone else, it’s about being better than you used to be.

Cheers!