Archive for September, 2011

September 25th, 2011

They’ve Got The Hope While I’ve Got The Change

by VK

Now that I’m the 40-something year old mother of a boy starting middle school, I understand why people are meant to have children when they’re younger. No house — and I mean NO house — is big enough for the clash of menopause symptoms and puberty.

For one thing, our budget can barely cover the air-conditioning bill required to keep my hot flashes, as well as the smell of a sweaty pre-teen boy, from stinking up the place. Then there are the mood swings, both his and mine. His usually strike when he’s tired, which happens in the half-hour before dinnertime. Mine usually strike when I’m both tired and still have obligations, like making a meal for said dinnertime. For the most part, we’ve learned not to be in the same room during those stressful thirty minutes, but every so often his homework runs longer than usual. That’s when my husband will come home to find both my son and I barely speaking to each other not out of anger, but out of restraint: we’ve learned that conversations at that point are likely to lead to tears (his), grinding teeth (mine) and drop-dead stares (both of ours).

Unfortunately, my husband has completely forgotten what he was like during his own puberty, and of course he has absolutely no experience being a menopausal woman. As far as he’s concerned, both my son and I can simply “walk off” our hormonal mood swings. Maybe that’s true for a pre-teen boy with a full head of steam, but the very LAST thing a middle-aged man out to tell his wife when she’s experiencing the bloating, mood swings, exhaustion, and hot flashes of The Change is to “just walk it off”.

Because, well, she just might keep walking and never come back.

The good news is that I no longer am looking to my husband for understanding about any of this. I don’t have to now that there’s a website devoted to what we’re going to call the “menopausal community”. GotMenopause covers it all, from peri-menopause all the way through those post-menopausal years when you’re finally, finally getting back to the real you. There are articles as well as forums, and they’re building a nice little social network over there.

In other words, the next time my husband suggests I just “walk off” the insomnia, brain fog and those horrible, horrible hot flashes, I’m going to do just that. But, instead of walking out the door, I’ll make a path to the computer.

September 14th, 2011

17 Low-Pain Dinner Recipes

by VK

My friend, Terry, asked me for some “easy-ish” dinner recipes. She writes:

I typically do not want to spend any more than 1/2 hour on prep. Cooking time doesn’t matter; once it’s simmering or baking, I don’t care.

This might not sound like a challenge to you, but I’m the type of person who slices, dices and chops throughout the day then stashes my ingredients in bowls in the fridge until I’m ready to really get started on making dinner. So, after scratching my head a bit, I decided to delve through my archives. Whaddya know, it turns out I do have some “easy-ish”* recipes among my various blogs!

(*NOTE: When I say “easy-ish”, it really depends on your knife skills. Some people spend 5 minutes dicing an onion that only takes a minute for someone else. If the prep work seems like a chore, use a food processor’s slicing blade, or buy pre-sliced veggies from your grocery store’s salad bar!)

1. Here’s an baked salmon recipe that’s diet-friendly, too.

2. What could be easier than a pot roast you stick in the oven and ignore? Made with eye of round — a less-expensive cut that comes out surprisingly tender when cooked this way — this one’s easy on the budget. Plus, the leftovers make for great roast beef sandwiches, au jus or not.

3. My family loves crockpot Steak Pizzaiola served with salad and a crusty loaf of bread.

4. While we’re talking about crockpots, here’s my Sin-free crockpot lasagna. (Now that I’ve looked over that recipe again, I think we’ll be having it later this week.)

5. Then there’s my Slow Cooker Chicken with Olives, that’s not only a one-pot meal but my most-searched recipe.

6. One more for the crockpot, this is the easiest BBQ chicken I’ve ever found. Serve it on warm rolls with tossed salad and jacket potatoes for the taste of summer barbecuing any time of year!

7. We try to keep an eye on carbs around here (okay, we don’t, but I sound SO much more ‘with it’ when I claim otherwise), so I came up with a flourless chicken piccata. (Bonus recipe: substitute peeled shrimp for the chicken!)

8. Speaking of shrimp… how about super easy shrimp linquine?

9. I almost hesitate to share this one, because it’s my 5-star recipe and I’d hate to find out that everyone who’s raved about it has actually been lying. But here’s a 10-minute Seared Ahi Tuna with Wasabi Butter Glaze that’s delicious enough for company.

10. We love soup in the winter, especially because it gives me a chance to sneak veggies into my family’s diet. This Southwestern Turkey Soup is my go-to on the day after Thanksgiving, when I’m trying to use up turkey, but I’ve been known to make it with leftover roast chicken, too.

11. And here’s a chicken tortilla soup, too!

12. This Garlicky Chicken with Spinach just needs a side of rice, mashed potatoes or quinoa cooked in broth to make a complete meal.

13. AND 14. Love lamb? Here are two ways to try it: lamb ‘piccata’ patties, and herbed leg of lamb. Yes, they really ARE easy-ish!

15. Too tired to cook from scratch? Try this Dutch Oven Chicken and Dumplings.

16. More interested in a sandwich? This Muffaleta recipe makes a filling dinner… and the next day’s lunch… and the day after that….

17. Finally, here’s a spicy and hearty beef stew recipe that was handed down from my great-great Aunt who made it without the veggies, as did my mom. I added veggies to make it a one-pot meal, but it’s great either way.

September 4th, 2011

Four Freebies And A Fantastic Coffee Coupon

by VK

Now that we’re back in the swing of being back in school, life’s been crazy busy around here. Still, I found some great freebies this week that you’ll want to grab this. Plus, there’s a 50-cents off Folgers Coffee coupon — and with coffee prices rising almost as fast as the national debt, it’s particularly great savings if your grocery store doubles like mine does! Oh, and take a peek at the right side of this page where you’ll find even MORE great coupons for savings on groceries, cleaning supplies, clothing, restaurants and services!

This week’s freebies:

» Get a free Shout Color Catcher sample. Just like their page on Facebook!

» Take the Eucerin skin care pledge and get a free sample of Eucerin Everyday Skincare Protection SPF 15 lotion. Good stuff!

» Check out Calvin Klein’s latest fragrance, ‘Beauty’, by ordering your free sample.

» Get not only a free sample, but great coupons for Invisible Glass Wipes. (If your kids are like mine, they can’t keep their hands off of your car windows. These are super handy to keep in the glove compartment for fast cleanups!)

And now, to jump-start your mornings — and your savings:

Freebies and coupons from