Wednesday, March 25, 2015

How to Set up a Metamucil Bar

Sounds pin-worthy doesn't it? You know you're old when you have a "Metamucil Bar" in your kitchen. I found this cute galvanized plant stand at Target and thought it would be perfect to corral our vitamins, cat medicines and "fiber" supplements.

Nothing is quite as attractive when you have company over and while they're sipping their champagne cocktail they take a gander at your "BM" meds.  Thinking to themselves "is this her house or a nursing home?"

So this doesn't sound that ridiculous, let me share a nightly cocktail that Mr. Bee and I have been concocting before bed.  We mix a heaping tablespoon of Metamucil or Miralax with a package of Emergen-C.  The fiber helps reduce cholesterol and improve your digestion (and the Gastro said this makes your colon nice and healthy) and the Emergen-C is packed with all kinds of good-for-you vitamins and minerals.  I am curious to see when I go for blood work soon if it indeed lowers my cholesterol.  And, the vitamin C helps to prevent colds.

I found these cute Le Parfait French Terrines at the Container Store to put all my supplies...

Metamucil, Miralax and Emergen-C

I took a wooden floral container and stuck on a chalkboard label to house all our vitamins.  The little glass dish has kitty cat's medicines, and a cute notepad.

Our supplies are neatly stored and displayed in the kitchen next to the sink without screaming "We are freaks about our colon health!"

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

What d'Orsay about this spring shoe?

Popular for spring is the d'Orsay style shoe and Target's Sam and Libby brand has the cutest pair for spring.

The d'Orsay is named after Count Alfred G.G. d'Orsay, French society leader and arbiter of fashion.  By definition, a d'Orsay is a woman's shoe in which the vamp of the shoe is cut away very close to the toe box, and sides are cut away, revealing the arch of the foot.  They can either be flats or heels.

I own both of these shoes.  In my fashion world two things are true:  Every woman should own a pair of animal print shoes because they go with everything and give your wardrobe a certain unexpected spark; and second you should own a pair of pointy toe heels.  They make your legs look long and can be worn with ankle pants, flared jeans, or any style of skirt.

Right now, I think Target has these shoes for $23.99 and they are true to size and very comfortable.

What new spring style are you sporting?

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Hosting a Girl Scout Cookie and Wine Pairing Party

Not too long ago I saw an article on FB for pairing wine with Girl Scout cookies.  I looked on Pinterest and found three posts with suggested wines for each of the cookie types.  Mr. Bee and I thought it would be the perfect theme for the neighborhood parties we all take turns hosting each month.

Since Girl Scout cookies are plentiful right now, with the little scouts selling them on almost every corner, it wasn't hard to score six varieties of cookies.  I made my list and did some research to determine the suggested type of wine for each cookie I had purchased.  Mr. Bee and I headed over to Total Wine last week after our date-night dinner and a very helpful, friendly lady named Kathi helped us shop for each wine we needed.

Thin Mint -- Michel Gassier Syrah Les Piliers at $14.99

Tagalongs -- Script and Seal Merlot for $9.99

Samoa -- A Port Quinta das Carvalhas for $17.99

Savannah Smiles -- There were a few suggestions on this and we went with Petals Riesling for $8.99

Trefoils -- A sparkling wine was suggested and I already had the perfect bubbly in my wine fridge.  A Petite Cadeau from Wine Shop at Home, an online wine club.  My FB friend sold it to me back in December and I was waiting for the perfect event to open it.

Do Si Dos -- We tried a Zweigelt, and Austrian wine,  from Winzer Krems Blauer for $13.99

Total Wine extends 15% off when you purchase 6 or more wines at one purchase, so we saved some money.  The Port was on sale during their Spanish wine promotion.

To prep for the party I used long, white platters (from Walmart) to showcase the cookies. White platters are perfect because they draw attention to the detail and colors of your food.

We cut the front off of each box so the guests could see the full description for the cookie.  Then I took small chalkboards and wrote the name of each cookie and placed them at the top of the platters.  We used cocktail napkins and dessert plates.

We told our guests to eat dinner first and to come over around 7:30 p.m.  I asked a few neighbors to bring mixed nuts, and sliced apples and cheddar cheese to help cut the sweet between cookies.

Cindy, of course, went the extra mile to prepare the prettiest platter of five varieties of apples and labeled them for identification...

Cindy is the same person that several years ago gave me for my birthday the cutest chalkboard place mats.  I set them on the bar and labeled each wine and the cookie it accompanied, then we put each bottle in order of when we would taste it -- lightest, to medium body, then finish with the dessert wine (Port).

The Petit Cadeau from Wine Shop at Home was so light and refreshing.  It was paired with the Trefoil (a shortbread cookie).  I love sparkling wine and I will definitely purchase this variety again.

I'm a sucker for a pretty label and this hot pink Gerber daisy had me at hello. This Riesling was light and was paired with the Savannah Smile -- a lemon powdered sugar cookie. The price point on this was a great bargain and would make a perfect summer time wine.

This Merlot was just so-so and we felt the peanut butter in the cookie was a little overpowering.

This French Syrah was excellent with the Thin Mint.  The coolness of the cookie with the peppery taste of this wine was superb.  It was rated number one among all the guests as the best pairing.

And finishing off the tasting was the Port.  We practically finished the bottle.  I am not a fan of coconut, but the pairing of this Port with the Samoa highlighted accentuated the coconut.

I didn't get a pic of the Austrian Zweigelt variety with the Do Si Dos.  It was a brand new wine for all of us to try and it was pretty good.  It paired nicely with the peanut butter sandwich cookie.

We had fun tasting each wine.   One of our friends is a wine enthusiast and asked us to smell the wine and with our first taste to try and identify the taste notes -- floral, peppery, fruity?  It was fun to come with up with our ideas then compare the crowd's input with the description given of each wine by the winemaker.  In most cases, each label on the bottle described the wine, but if there was no description we looked it up on the Total Wine's website.  All of the wines we selected with just input from the Total Wine expert were worth trying and ones we would definitely try again.

We also purchased beers to pair with the cookies, but we ran out of time and were full of cookies and wine.  So, we're hosting another party to just focus on beers.  It was a fun, easy party to host!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Friday's Food -- Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

I finished my pantry project for spring break.  I have just a few more things to do before the big reveal.  Since it's clean, fresh and newly organized it inspired me to do some baking.  I don't have a good recipe for oatmeal cookies so I asked my good friend Pinterest for inspiration.  I decided on a Martha Stewart recipe for Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies and I added bittersweet chocolate chunks.

They were really soft and had a great texture.  Often times the recipes I have attempted resulted in a crunchy cookie and I really prefer soft-baked cookies.  I think the dark, bittersweet chocolate was the right balance for the tart cranberries.

Happy baking!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Colon Chronicles

I turned 50 and with that comes many milestones.  For example, you should have a baseline screening colonoscopy.  This is especially important if you have family history of polyps or colon-rectal cancer.  Earnie had polyps and her mother died from colon cancer.  So I could start 2015 out with a shiny, clean colon I thought I'd book this adventure during spring break.  Here's how the fun went down.

My procedure was for Tuesday, so the day before you are supposed to eat a liquid diet.  No solid food, but you can have yogurt, milkshakes, beverages (as long as they aren't red or purple), hard candy and chew gum.  I started the day with coffee.  By lunch I was hungry so I had a vanilla milkshake from Whataburger.  Satisfying.  By 3 p.m., I was starving so I had banana pudding.  Ok, not so bad.  I was really wanting to chew something, but I wasn't feeling weak or deprived.

About 4:30 p.m. I delivered food to my niece since she just came home from the hospital having her new baby.  I went by Rosa's Cafe and got two giant fajita platters.  Miss Bee was holding them while we drove and I kept looking at her like she was a piece of meat in the tiger's den.  Gosh, I really wanted to pull over and eat a giant tortilla stuffed with meat.

6 p.m. was show time.  It was time to start part one of a two-step process. I thought I'd stage this photo of the Suprep Bowel Prep Kit (how else could you describe this) with roses in the background since it's the finale of the Bachelor and I'll be watching it while I "prep."  I read the patient "Guide to the Gates of Hell" manual and its mission statement is pretty clear:  Patient will produce copious amounts of diarrhea.  What does the person look like that had to write this?

My gastro did the fast-sell on this version of colon prep to me while I was getting my pre-procedure consult.  She said she taste-tested it and it was by far the best tasting "solution."  That should have been my first clue when it was referred to as a "solution" instead of a drink or cocktail.  I remember when Earnie and Mr. Bee did this they had to drink an entire gallon of prep so this couldn't be that bad.   Looking back I should have been suspicious when she said she taste-tested it.  Just how much did you taste to come to this conclusion?

You pour one bottle into a cup, fill it up with water and drink it.  Down the hatch.  After the first big gulp, I was thinking how in the hell am I am going to finish this, then drink it all over again later?  Kinda like you can't explain how labor pain feels -- well I can't describe how awful this tastes.  Vats of salt marry a swamp?   It was grape flavored which I have detested since the early days of Earnie medicating me with grape-flavored cough syrup from the 60s.  I avoid all things grape -- candy, suckers, gum, drinks.  This was hard work.  But, I pushed through it.  I thought I was going to barf at the last big gulp, but I didn't.  Then you have to follow this with two more cups full of water over the next hour.  I paced myself, drinking the first cup within 30 minutes, then the last cup over the remaining 30 minutes.  I wasn't feeling too full or queasy, but I was cold.

Within 15 minutes the party started if you know what I mean.  This went on for about 2 hours.  By 8 p.m. I went to bed, because I needed to get up at 2:30 a.m. to do the second part of the prep.  I set my alarm, but didn't need it because my stomach sounded like the sinking of the Titanic.  As if on cue, my bowels knew part two was about to commence.  I got up and did the whole thing over again.  By 4 a.m. I was done and turned in because there was nothing more to produce.  Frankly, I was so tired I didn't care if I pooped my pants.  As I drifted off to sleep I kept thinking when I wake up I will be that much closer to a McDonald's Egg McMuffin.  Oh, and I made a press release:

Woke up at 6 a.m. for a quick shower. Got to the endoscopy center at 6:30 a.m. to check in.  They started an IV for sedation (which is the reward in all this) and wheeled me back to the procedure room.

As I was wheeling by the staff break room, I could see my doctor wolfing down a sausage biscuit.  Damn him.  I said, "I see you!"  I also spied a box of donuts on the counter with hot coffee.  Damn all of you.

I chatted with the CRNA who was administering my Michael Jackson sedative.  As I felt the drug making its way into my veins, I told her it was nice to meet her, she had pretty hair, and to have a super day.  I wanted to be voted Miss Congeniality of patients that day.  You know things like, "that lady with the glasses, wasn't she the cutest?" or "I heard Dr. Gastro say she had the prettiest colon he'd seen in a while!"  What? Don't judge. I like to be noticed.

I woke up in the recovery area and the first thing I told the nurse apparently was that I was going to eat a cheeseburger.  Doug said I made this proclamation several times to anyone that would listen.  I was drinking a cup of coffee and asked for coffee.  I asked for my glasses and the nurse nicely told me I already had them on.  This drug is amazing!  You have no memory of a 30-foot long tube exploring your colon.  You do get as a party favor a set of super cool pics of your colon for your scrapbook, flatter abs, and you loose about 6 pounds of poop.

Mr. Bee rewarded me with a cheeseburger later for lunch.

Was it really that good or was it because I hadn't eaten solid food in 48 hours?  I don't know. And I don't care.  I am polyp free, which means I don't need to see Dr. Gastro for another 10 years!

All kidding aside.  This is a really important procedure to have.  Despite the mild discomfort of the prep and incessant diarrhea for about 4 hours, it was totally worth it.  There are other things worse than this.  Like having colon cancer when you could have prevented it by not being such a wieney.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Friday's Buzz

Tons of things buzzing around for today...

My sweet little niece came today.  She's perfect.  All tiny, snugly and wrinkly.  It's like having a new baby, but I get to give her back to her mother..and don't have to breast feed her.

I got a new phone for my Honey-Comb-Hideout.  I found her while on my girls' weekend. A great companion for the blue one on the wall.

I'll be sampling this new sparkling wine I found at the grocer..with a touch of grapefruit essence.  While I finish this furniture project

A Pier 1 chest I bought a few years ago and decided the green and red stripes weren't for me.  I tried a new paint from Amy Howard Home. And I found some new knobs at Hobby Lobby.

I'm trying to make a list of things I think of for my blog so it's not so long between posts. One fun event I will be posting on all week entitled "The Colon Chronicles" will show my journey through a "Welcome to 50" routine colonoscopy.  Good times.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Trader Joe's Banana Bread -- is it Buzz Worthy?

My hip, 80 year old neighbor Helen told me I needed to try Trader Joe's boxed banana bread mix.  Her tip was to add one ripe banana to the ingredients which calls for the basics -- two eggs, oil and water.  As I type this I wonder if next time instead of water I tried orange juice.

Anyway, I made a box of it last night before bed so it would be ready for Miss Bee's breakfast this morning.  I always add my own touch of sprinkling the top with cinnamon sugar so it makes a nice crust.

I had a slice this morning with my coffee and it was really, really good.  It wasn't dry and had lots of flavor.  This would make a great staple to keep on hand in the pantry.  I think it was $2.99 for a box.  You could make a fun gift basket with a box of this and include a bag of coffee or box of tea, a few bananas, a tea towel and a magazine.  It is definitely buzz worthy!