Posts tagged ‘food’

Happy Holiday!

 

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I know I’m a week early but I have been thinking about the holiday and making plans so I wanted to make sure I wished everyone a great Thanksgiving!

We are actually doing the dinner on Thursday this year and that will be the first time we have had dinner on the actual holiday in, oh, at least five years. I am stoked and looking forward to it. We have a small family so it will be a quiet affair with no frills but that suits me just fine.

Do you have a big family blowout or a small get together?

Happy Thanksgiving 2009

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Here we are, the day before Thanksgiving and I can’t believe how the year has flown by! Seems like it was just this time last year and now we have to get our Christmas shopping and holiday prep done.

We always do our Thanksgiving dinner on the weekend with our family up in KC, MO.  and have started a tradition on Thanksgiving Day of getting together with our son (lives close by) and going out for Chinese food then hitting the movie theater. Thanksgiving Day has never been a big deal once our children were grown and out on their own. We would rather do the dinner whenever we can all get together than worry about having it on the actual holiday.

Now that’s not to say we don’t have traditions with the dinner, we do. There are just certain foods that must be prepared or it’s not right. When the children were small they were split on the green bean casserole or a triple corn casserole that I tried so now we have both. We have to have deviled eggs, turkey (of course),  gravy, mashed potatoes and stuffing. Now we aren’t as rigid on desserts and my Death by Chocolate cake seems to be my daughter and SIL favorite one so that’s what we are having this year.

Do you have big family get together? Do you have any food that just has to be there or it’s not Thanksgiving dinner?

I want to wish you all a great Thanksgiving and if you are traveling please be careful and get there safely.

If you are crazy enough to get out and shop on Black Friday then really, really be careful because those bargains aren’t worth getting hurt over and I am just concerned about someone else being killed in a stampede at one of these stores since finances are tight for most people. Hopefully that won’t happen this year.

Anyhoo – Have a great Holiday and I will be back on Monday.

 

 

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Jamaica is a Great Vacation Destination

Jamaica is a very poor country and the recession has hit them even harder than the USA. When we went 2years ago the currency exchange was $1 US = $37.50 Jamaican, now it is $1 US = $88.00 Jamaican. Tourism is their #1 money making industry followed by the exportation of their Blue Mountain coffee.

Check out the price for gasoline and this is per liter not gallon.

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Unfortunately for Jamaicans, most of the plantations have shut down, the bauxite mine is closed and a lot of the smaller resort hotels have shut down as well. This leaves over 1/3 of the adult population out of work.

Despite this situation, the Jamaican people are warm, friendly and very glad to see tourists. Between the great weather and wonderful beaches, where else would you want to vacation?

The ocean is so clear and there are practically no waves since the corral reefs break the waves prior to them hitting the beach. Swimming is great because the water is somewhat warm and very relaxing.

I love the swim area at Sandals Resort in Ocho Rios because it has a pier surrounding it which is built on cement blocks which creates a “mini reef” effect. In less than 7 ft. of ocean you can see the fish, coral, sea urchins and even an octopus if you are lucky like I was. This makes snorkeling in this area a whole lot of fun and extremely easy to do. We went snorkeling farther out in the ocean and all I could see was the reef since it was deeper water and I’m fairly blind without my glasses and can’t dive at all. Surface snorkeling was way more fun when you can see the fish.

Lots of homes in Jamaica look like they are abandoned but they aren’t. Jamaicans mostly can’t afford to have construction companies work on their homes so they work on them a little bit at a time which makes for interesting neighborhoods. There will be fancy homes next to ones that look like they are falling apart or derelict.

Neighborhood in Jamaica

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Home of “voodoo” practitioners and you have to cross a thin walkway bridge after paying the entry fee to see the voodoo priest. Not set up for tourists this is the real local voodoo den.

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The views of the ocean and the rest of the island are really pretty.

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This was our room for the 10 days. Backside/poolside of the villa, we are the one with the towel on the railing. We had a big bedroom, medium sized living area, bathroom and small kitchen which is the window on the left.

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The pool was for the four villas only and we usually had it to ourselves which was great.

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We had a few visitors that kept us from missing our pets

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The pool at the Manor house which was the main hotel portion of the resort and where the main desk, tour desk, restaurants and spa are.

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And food? OMG! Such great choices! The actual Jamaican jerk chicken and pork is terrific but they have that for lunches and pull out the stops for dinners. Here is some pictures of a buffet they had set up on the evening I got injured. Hubby went and took pictures and brought me back some goodies.

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I recommend Jamaica as a place to visit on vacation even if you don’t  stay at Sandals but I highly recommend them as a resort of choice. There are six Sandals resorts in Jamaica to choose from and they are really super!

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Beyonce and….Hamburger Helper?

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I have no problem with Beyonce Knowles. She is a lovely woman and I think she has a great voice. She doesn’t appear to be an annoying superstar, plus she is one of the wealthy stars that tries to give back something to poorer individuals. But, and there is always a but, why on earth would she choose to broker a deal with…Hamburger Helper?

I do not fault Hamburger Helper or Ms. Knowles for trying to address the plight of hungry people, especially children in America. Great. Fantastic. Let’s feed those starving people, which according to the website, there are over 12 million hungry people in America right now.

But can we feed them something more nutritious than Hamburger Helper?

Is America not fat enough with the most readily available and cheap food in this country being bought off of $1 menus at all the millions of fast food eateries across the nation? I know I speak from personal experience that when we were hurting for money it was cheaper to fill up on 89¢ & 99¢ burritos and tacos from our local Taco Bell then it was to try and pay over $2.00 lb. for various produce that didn’t give you much and left you hungry in an hour or two and  ground meat is the cheapest version. Who hasn’t resorted to Hamburger Helper at some point in our lives as adults struggling to make ends meet?

We have, though not in a long time and I will admit that it is pretty darn cheap. But at what cost in the long run? Let’s look at a box:

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(nutrition facts found at eLook.org)

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: (100 grams)


Amount Per Serving

Calories: 395


% Daily Value*


Total Fat 10g
16%

Saturated Fat 3g
14%

Cholesterol 9mg
3%

Sodium 2030mg
84%

Total Carboydrates 64g
21%

Dietary Fiber 0g
~

Sugars 0g
~

Protein 11g
22%


Vitamin A
0%
Vitamin C
0%

Iron
0%
Calcium
0%


*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs

This also doesn’t make a whole lot and we are talking about a 1/3 – 1/2 cup serving per person which isn’t much food. Hopefully this would be paired with a salad and some other vegetable, but if the truth be told, most of us just added a can of either corn or peas to the casserole trying to stretch our money with the cheapest canned vegetable we could find.

Does this make this a nutritious meal? No. Does it fill you up? Sort of. Depends on how many mouths you have to feed and how far you can stretch your budget.

I applaud Betty Crocker© (maker of HH), Beyonce Knowles and their “Show Your Helping Hands” campaign to stop hunger. They make a donation for every UPC code that is entered which goes to nationwide food banks and people are being encouraged to donate food at Beyonce’s concerts which in turn goes to the local food banks in the cities where the concerts are held. This is all fantastic and goes to people in need and that is marvelous.

But does this promote healthy eating for those of us buying this product so the money can go to the needy? No.

We are already a nation where the average American is overweight and most of those of us that are overweight are classified as obese. The average sized American woman is a size 14/16. Personally, I strive to be that skinny. Haven’t seen that size in about 2 years myself so I’m not pointing a finger at anyone besides myself. I am about 50 lbs. overweight and I struggle with this daily.

My main point with all of this is not that I object to the charitable contributions by Betty Crocker© and Ms. Knowles. I just wish it could be another more healthy product that they would choose to endorse and promote that wouldn’t contribute to our overly expanding weight issues in this country.

Yes, you can donate at the concerts and bring healthier alternatives to add to the food banks and I whole heartedly recommend that concert goers do just that, but isn’t a good part of this a marketing ploy by Betty Crocker©? Isn’t this also promoting their product for Americans to buy?

This is a win-win situation for the sponsors and the recipients of the monetary and packaged donations. Hamburger Helper and Ms. Knowles get air time on TV, more product sold both in the grocery and music stores and more concert tickets sold. Food goes out to needy individuals.

But what about the people in the trenches, the people that actually buy the product? Don’t they lose out in the long run by continuing to eat overly processed and nutritionally anemic products? Does this help promote healthy eating?

Just asking.

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I’ve Been Tagged! – Home Staples

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Not my pantry but I wish :0)

My blogging buddy Noemi over at Dreamwalker tagged me for a Meme – Home Staples. This is based on the “gotta haves” that we keep in our house.

So here is what I make sure we always have on hand because we just can’t do without it.

Fridge:

Milk – I have to say that I don’t drink it unless it’s a milkshake. Hubby has to have his morning glass of chocolate milk to go with his coffee. Did I mention that I really love him but he is kinda strange. He doesn’t like the chocolaty coffees but he wants his chocolate milk. Go figure.

EggsHash browns – bacon –  We like our breakfast foods sometimes even for dinner

Cheese – I have to have cheese. Love it.

Ice Cream – Never know when you’re gonna get the urge for some.

Frozen Shrimp – I make a shrimp and pasta dish at least once every two weeks so has to be on hand.

Pantry:

Pasta – Usually have noodles, spaghetti and Penne on hand since I use that the most.

Tuna – Hubby hates it but I like it and I eat it when he is out on the road and it’s just me at home.

Spaghetti Sauce – We have spaghetti probably 2 – 3 times a month.

Veggies – Usually corn, peas and green beans.

Spices – I hate bland food and I don’t use a lot of salt so I have quite a few seasoning blends, peppers, and spicy mixes.

Oils – I use olive oil and canola oil but we don’t fry a lot of foods. I use the olive oil for sautéing onions, peppers, garlic, etc. to but into casseroles or toppings for hamburgers or steak sandwiches.

Bathroom:

TP – Obviously cannot live without it especially if you are a woman.

Shampoo – Conditioner – soft soap – Duh! Be pretty stinky without it.

Razors – Clippers – Gotta shave and I cut Hubby’s hair. Yes, he does let me get close to him with sharp objects and I haven’t killed him – yet!

Misc:

Books – I don’t even want to think about how many books I get a year either through a book club, discount books at the store or Barnes & Noble and through Bookmooch. Love to read and have a house full of books.

DVDs – I watch quite a bit of TV anyway and we watch a lot of movies plus I love to get the TV series that I really like because I watch them over and over. Like Gilmore Girls, Farscape, The Closer.

Candles – I have a lot of candles.

Pet Food – Have to take care of the little guys.

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So, what are your staples?

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