October 31, 2008

Adventures in a Stick Shift or Finding Out What It Isn't

I got to revisit how dependent I am on my automatic yesterday.  I love my automatic.  It's taken me nearly five years to say that.  I drove my grandparents to OHSU in Portland.  It's on a hill.  There was traffic, lots of traffic.  I didn't kill the car, us or anyone else but I sure wished I had the automatic!

Know what it feels like to find out what something isn't but still not know what it is?  That's what Grandma got to feel yesterday.  While everything the doctor had to say was encouraging, it didn't get at the root of her problem.  She's healthy, he expects her to live to 113, and the veins to her brain are great.  The chances of a stroke are low.  But none of this explained why she's dizzy.  "I feel defeated," she said at lunch.  I know what she meant but had no words to buoy her up.  

Should she feel defeated? That's open to debate.  People like to say things are what they are.  All things point to health.  Is that what she should focus on?  I don't know. I know in my life I hate it when I don't know the answer.  Why do things happen the way they do?  Are we supposed to be learning something from life? Or, are things what they are? Okay, so no great answers today.  

Only once did I forget I was driving their car and try to start it without pushing in the REI.  Luckily, I had pulled forward into the next spot so there wasn't a car in front of me to hit.  It was what it was.

October 25, 2008

The Importance of Being Trustworthy

I woke up with a thought this morning.  I've been thinking about relationships for the last couple of days.  What is the most important thing we can do to create, keep or save our relationships?  Many times we think of relationships as being between partners, like a husband and wife or boyfriend and girlfriend.  We all have relationships though.  Relationships with family, with friends, with co-workers, with pretty much anybody we meet.   These relationships don't always go well.  I'm not trying to be negative.  I'm just trying to point out something I think we can all work on. 

Have you ever really thought about why relationships don't always go so well?  Are you pointing the finger at someone else right now?  Be honest.  I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that perhaps relationships don't go well when there is a trust issue.  If each person in the relationship can trust the other, all other things fall into place.  Communication cannot work if there isn't trust. If money is involved, things can get really bad really quick if there isn't trust. If it's a sexual relationship, trust plays a huge role.  Every part of a relationship comes back to trust.

Being who you say your are and doing what you say you will goes a long ways towards creating a person that others will trust.  If others trust you then you are leaps and bounds ahead on creating a good relationship!

October 4, 2008

High Taste Low Fat Pumpkin Bars

It's that time of year again...the time of year when I become obsessed with all things pumpkin. Or at least that's what Andy thinks.

However, I hate pumpkin pie. It's not because of the pumpkin though. It's the texture. Until a couple of years ago, I still thought it was the pumpkin. Once I realized how wonderful pumpkin muffins, scones, pancakes, waffles, and lattes were, there was no looking back.

Now, realize I am a seasonal girl! I don't want pumpkin muffins or lattes in July. I want them from October through December. Well guess what, it's that time of year again.

Canned pumpkin lends itself well to low fat recipes - it moist and flavorful. So, while I plan to share a recipe below that's easy and tasty, I thought I'd share a little information about pumpkins. Or, rather, about Libby's canned pumpkin.

Did you know that this product first appeared on store shelves in 1929? And for those not in the know, canned pumpkin is not that little jack o' lantern you carve at Halloween! You would do better to use squash than those things (the others are watery and stringy). Libby's uses a special variety they call the Dickinson Select. About 5,000 acres of these little jewels are grown each year around Morton, Illinois. And, they can them the same day they're harvested. I like to do things by hand or from scratch, but pumpkin puree is just not worth it.

Ok, let's get to that recipe. I'm calling it High Taste Low Fat Pumpkin Bars. I adapted the recipe from one on a blog I read, called A Veggie Venture. Go check her out! She has a ton of recipes -all with veggies. If you can't find something new to try than you have a problem! Anyways, this recipe is adapted to low fat and no wheat. They are amazing and easy. Even Andy admitted they were good after teasing me about, "Are they pumpkin?"

Note: If you don't need wheat-free just use wheat flour, preferably whole wheat!

High Taste Low Fat Pumpkin Bars
  • 1/4 cup canned sweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 cup corn flour (not corn meal)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp Sugar in the Raw Turbinado Sugar from Natural Cane
Whisk brown sugar, applesauce and egg together in large bowl. Add vanilla and pumpkin. Combine well.

In separate bowl, mix flours, baking powder, baking soda, and spices together. Add to liquid ingredients. Combine well. Pour into greased 8x8 or 9x9 pan. Spread evenly. Sprinkle raw sugar on top.

Bake about 15 minutes at 350 degrees. I had to do let mine cook a little longer. Just cook until the center is set up. The raw sugar will stay a little crunchy on top (Duh, that's why it's tasty!).

This makes 9 servings at 1 WW point/serving or 2.5 WW points/serving.

Love Letters to My Sons..