Doing Our Favorite Things

Bill and I had another fabulous week spending time doing some of our favorite things.

We are starting week three of our new Paleo food plan so we planned our menu for the week, shopped for the things we need to cook all our meals, and we washed, chopped, and grilled lots of fresh fruits and veggies for the upcoming week. I think half the battle of staying on any new food plan, where you are required to eat whole fresh cooked food, is planning ahead and having things on hand that are prepped and ready to make a meal.

This week we will enjoy menu’s that include grilled fish, balsamic grilled pork chops, coconut curry chicken, Sheppard’s pie, cabbage rolls with sauerkraut and tomato sauce, warm steak salad, and lots of sides like sautéed leeks and poblano peppers, roasted fresh beets and carrots, grilled pineapple etc. We are both loving this new way of eating, and so far, we have both seen positive results. For the first time in years, Bill said his hands are not hurting him and he can actually make a complete tight closed fist… I am also noticing I’m not having as many little aches and pains.

We also enjoyed an afternoon date at the movies this week. Both Bill and I love going to the movies!

Then, today, we decided to get our exercise in by hiking the Fountain Hills Lake Overview trail. It’s a nice little hike that we had never taken before so we thought we would give it a try today and we are glad we did.

We started off climbing up and around hill,

that allows you to see all the way around the Fountain Hills Fountain Lake,

and all around the town of Fountain Hills.

After leaving the overview hike, we ventured on over to the Fountain Hills Desert Sonoran Botanical Garden which is located right in the town of Fountain Hills. Here is a picture of the hike map through the gardens.

Of course, there are lots and lots of mighty saguaro cactus everywhere. I found this group of cactus interesting because to me, they look like they are all happy to be together, and are going to hug.

This saguaro caught my eye because the more I looked at it, the more I began to see little faces within the rotted out places within the cactus… do you see any faces in it?

Then, much to our surprise, we found out there is actually a historical dam in the garden. Well, blow me over… who knew?

There are also lots of large granite boulders throughout the gardens,

and the green coating seen on many of them is called “desert varnish”.

Bill and I had never visited The Fountain Hills Desert Sonoran Botanical Garden. We thought it is a lovely little walk, and a good way to get some light exercise if you can’t make it to our beautiful McDowell Mountain Regional Park, or you just want to explore some of the surrounding areas…

It doesn’t take a lot to make Bill and I happy. After 30 years, we are still very much in love, are each other’s best friends, and we enjoy anytime we spend together regardless if it’s working, cooking or doing chores, going to the movies, or enjoying the great outdoors. If we’re together, we make whatever we are doing FUN! And really, isn’t that the way love is supposed to be?

Stay Tuned!

 

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Mediterranean Meatball Ratatouille

Two weeks ago my husband, Bill, aka Papa/Bro and I decided we both wanted to try a new approach to  losing some unwanted pounds. After a lot of on-line research, and a trip to a local bookstore, we decided to give the Paleo food plan a try. This food plan is all about eating whole foods. It is also known for being a food plan that can help reduce inflammation in the body, something both Bill/papa./bro and I are excited to try.

One of the two books we bought to help us understand the Paleo food plan, and to provide recipes for us to follow the plan, gives this nutshell description of the Paleo food plan. “Paleo Made Simple:

  1. Eat whole foods, not processed
  2. Don’t eat grains (especially wheat, but also corn, rice, oats, barley)
  3. Eliminate dairy products
  4. Avoid legumes (beans, peanuts)
  5. Enjoy lots of fruits, vegetables, and plenty of protein

The Paleo food plan is often called the “caveman” diet because it is based on whole foods that have not been processed in any way. Fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, eggs, and grass-fed meats (when possible), i.e. beef, pork, bacon, chicken, and seafood.

Bill/Papa/Bro and I read through all the information and decided we are both “all in” to give this new food plan our best shot. The first thing we did after making our total commitment to this new food plan was rid our home of anything that is not on the Paleo plan. No need to have temptation in our way right?

This is week two for us and so far, so good. Bill lost 3 1/2 pounds and I lost 2 pounds. Everyday we try a new recipe from the Paleo books we bought. So far all of them have been very good and filling.

Today, I made Mediterranean Meatball Ratatouille. This is a picture from the recipe book showing what it is supposed to look like.

I started out chopping up some grilled zucchini (Bill grilled up a lot of fresh veggies for the week), and I added fresh mushrooms, and onions.

 I made meatballs out of ground Italian seasoned turkey, and browned them on all sides. Then I put the meatballs in the crockpot with the zucchini, onions and mushrooms, spices, and just enough chicken stock to keep it moist and set the crockpot to low for 5-6 hours. At the end of the cooking time, I put a can of diced tomatoes and two tablespoons of tomato paste into the crockpot and continued cooking an additions 15 minutes.

While that was cooking, I made a Paleo Bread from almond flour, baking soda, salt, eggs, honey, and apple cider vinegar. First I mixed the dry ingredients together,

then mixed the wet ingredients together,

and combined them to make the bread dough.

That was baked in our little outside oven at 300 degrees for 30 minutes, and produced this beautiful loaf of Paleo bread.

The next step in our dinner preparations was to process a head of cauliflower to make “riced cauliflower”,

that I stir fried in a non-stick skillet until it was tender but still a little firm. It was used to serve the ratatouille over.

The end result was delicious and something both Bill/papa/bro and I agreed we would definitely want to have again. High protein and very low carbs but very tasty, filling and satisfying.

It takes thought, time, and planning to cook whole foods vrs eating out, or using processed foods, but Bill and I are committed to this, and so far it is working great. We are excited to keep trying new recipes and see where this takes us.

Stay Tuned!

New Year’s Traditions

My husband, Bill, and I never go out on New Year’s Eve. Not that we don’t like to socialize with family and friends, we have many opportunities to do that throughout the year, but 30 years ago, Bill and I started our own New Year’s Eve tradition. We decided we always wanted New Year’s Eve to be spent with just the two of us enjoying each other’s company. We have a nice dinner, and spend quality time talking about things we want to do in the New Year that will help us be overall better people. We talk about what we want to do that will help us continue to keep Christ front and center in our lives, what we can do to continue to grow our love for each other keeping our relationship and our marriage strong, and the priority in our lives, how we can help our family and friends that may need our help, and now that we are full-time RVers, we talk about what we want to do in regards to summer travel plans in the New Year. We find it is a great way to reflect on the past year, center ourselves, and make goals for the New Year ahead.

Making sure we get enough exercise is a big part of our lives. We try to take a walk or hike at least five times a week. So today we took a lovely walk around the Fountain Park in Fountain Hills. This park is a little gem that sits right in the center of the lovely town of Fountain Hills, just 4 miles from where we host at McDowell Mountain Park.

The fountain goes off every hour on the hour for 15 minutes. We can see the fountain from our host site at McDowell Mountain Park.

It was a beautiful day and lots of folks were out taking advantage of the beautiful mid 70 degree weather… This is why I never want to be anywhere but Arizona in the winter months.

From every angle around the park there are beautiful views.

They even have a Veterans Memorial in the park. So special. I will let the pictures speak for themselves.

 

 

 

 

The park is surrounded with beautiful plants,

and artwork is everywhere…

There are sculptures with memorials to loved ones lost throughout the park. This one brought tears to my eyes.

 

This one was titled “my buddy.” So special.

As you make your way around the park, there are lots of shops and places to eat…

The park also has frisbee golf. That looks like it would be fun!

Bill and I had a fun time exploring this beautiful park in the middle of Fountain Hills, something we have talked about doing but haven’t done until today. We loved it and will be back.

Over the years, I have had many people say to me “you and Bill always seem so happy and in love. What is the secret after 30 years together?” The answer is there is no “secret”. Bill and I were friends first, then, over time, that grew into a love relationship that we treasure, and decided right from the start we never wanted to lose. We are certainly no experts (we have both been married before) but we have learned, from past mistakes, if you really want to keep any relationship alive and well, you have to give it the time and attention it needs. It is now our number one priority. For us, we never keep score, but we know that as long as we keep each other first, me giving all I can, and him doing the same, the rewards triple any effort.

I thought the next picture from the park expresses what I am sharing in regards to relationships, so much better than I can say. Just like you don’t mind the time and attention you would give to your child, pet, etc, We give that time and attention to each other, but we don’t think of it as a “job”. You get the idea…

Bill and I wish all of you the very best of 2018. Whatever your heart’s desire are worth the effort you put into achieving it..

Stay Tuned!

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