Wednesday, April 30, 2008

WW Wednesday

Goop. Yup. My mom "named" it when we were kids and I have to say there isn't one among the three of us who don't drool when we hear it. Goop.

Goop came to be as a remedy for the first big recession in the 80s. My dad was in construction/heavy equipment and he was out of work. A lot. So, he went to work at the local schools system (janitorial) and my mom learned to drive school buses. Dinners became faster and the grocery bill for a family of 5 needed to extend farther. My mom, always a bastion of good nutrition, wanted her very energetic kids to have red meat at least 1-2 times per week and make sure veggies got in us (some of us, ahem: J!, were resistant to any and all veggies). But, a small grocery budget and red meat (i.e. steak) for a family of 5?? Let's just say, the steak "needed a little somethin'" to be more appealing.

Goop: that somethin' special! And since we are (or soon will be) in another recession and everyone's looking for ways to reduce the cost of food, I thought I'd share it with you.

WW: 2 points per 1/4 cup. Makes 6 servings


1 onion, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
4 big mushrooms, sliced
1 tomato, sliced (strange, but the pinker "not-ripened-on-the-vine" (y'know:cheap ones!) work best
1 large bottle of Fat Free Italian Dressing (Wish Bone brand is the best, and on sale)

Put everything in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve hot over steak tips, strip steaks, chicken, etc. YUMMY.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Nipple Tape

A few weeks ago, my guild (MetroWest Knitting Guild) hosted Joan Michael-McGowan as a guest teacher for a weekend. There were many wonderful classes offered, but I only participated in two: vintage knitting and whip your knits.

Vintage knitting gave us old lace patterns that would be great accents to blankets, pillowcases and even plain ole stockinette sweaters. Not my normal cup'o'tea, but i am trying to step outside my comfort zone (not with car purchases, but more about that later).

Whip your knits was probably the best thing I have ever done in terms of understanding knitting for myself. The first exercise resulted in the photo you see above: nipple tape. And waist tape and arm tape. By buddying up and armed with masking tape and our trusty sheepy tape measures,Trinknitty and I set to work, measuring each other and writing down the measurements. What an eyeopener!

Now, Item #1. You have a photo of ME on the blog. Yup. Talk about WAY outside my comfort zone, but I have to tell you.... last year a photo of myself that I saw put me in a state of depression--- well, it was bad. This year, with WW and the gym and tennis (starts tonight!!!), I am slightly smaller. And, you can tell by the smile on my face, I am having so much fun at this class. So, maybe more Mini photos "IRL" (in real life) as I am know going to try to knit more for ME!!

Tonight I pick up the new car. I think her name will be Betty Sue, the Vue. The Kia's name was "ka-ka-kia!" b/c my grampy used to sing "ka-ka-ka-kay-teeeee" to me all.the.time. I miss that. There's a lot involved in my heart with handing over the Kia to PC and taking on the new car. My first adult purchase was that car. It was the first thing over a thousand dollars that I owned. I learned alot buying and paying for that car. PC keeps asking me why I don't seem more outwardly excited about the Vue... and it's kind of hard to explain. I know I will love this car. But, while we were test driving cars, I had the opportunity to buy something "fully loaded" and kinda sexy. Not so "soccer mom" or "safe and reliable". Something that would turn heads. But, as with all things in my life, practicality won out (PC says this is an endearing quality of mine) and I bought the Vue. And I will love it (I already do--- they're giving her a bath and installing the remote start today), but doesn't everyone want to be the sports car once in their life?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Unexpected Expenses

Okay. The yarn stash is officially at maximum capacity. The beloved Kia (my car for the past 10 years) has been a "problem" for a few months. She groans, I offer a quick fix, my wallet cries. We get along for a few weeks, she cries a little more, I sigh, open wallet and start feeling weepy myself. There have been hushed discussions about quality of life and "being able to get places, like work"... decisions have been made and considered.

Banks were called.

Decisions were made.

Cars were driven.

Dealers were pushy and ready to deal.

Overall, the result is that the Kia will live on in our family, as PC's back-n-forth to work car, with some repairs (will save us buying 2 cars this year!!!) and *fingers crossed* this will be in the driveway Tuesday night:

2007 Saturn Vue,V6, 3.7L, 270 hp, AWD
Got her for a steal at Saturn of Norwood. A review of my service later this week. I have to say, having been "among" car dealers for over 3 days straight, I felt confident buying my new baby here. Oh, and the finance guy even got me a lower rate than I was preapproved. Even better.
So, yarn shopping: no mas until Christmas. So, feel free to send yarn!
:) kate

Thursday, April 24, 2008


I am really glad so many of you like the "WW Wednesday" idea... please let me know if you have a favorite or if you made any changes to a recipe that I should know about (i.e. "adding BBQ sauce really yummed it up!").

Pressure. Pressure at work (big presentation next Friday--- trying not to throw up). Pressure at home--- huge car repairs and car buying decisions to be made. Pressure from knitting. Yup. I have some projects to complete and I am trying to not impose deadlines. Baby C--- you will have hand knit items, but if your baby blanket doesn't start behaving itself, permanent time out!!! I am also working on some stash reduction (stop laughing!!).

On my knitting queue:

baby backpack (jungle theme) for Baby M's 1st b-day, complete with finger puppets.
baby blankie (knit) for Baby C's shower
baby quilt (sewn) for Baby C's shower
orange aran wiggles for me!
cotton pullover for me.
fionn for PC
Oh Canada! for me (using Kim's yarn)
Cobblestone for my dad
Mr. Green Jeans for my mom
10 pairs of socks

That's my list for the year. I might add in another sweater for myself right around Christmas.
Oh, one more pressure:


(you knew there was a reason I wasn't blogging, didn't you?)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

WW Wednesday

I swear: I knit. I do. I just haven't been taking photos and who wants a knitting post without photos? So, until I get my butt in gear (Saturday? I have free time on Saturday b/c the NFL draft is Saturday and PC will be glued to the tv.), you get another recipe. This is a PC favorite:

Greek Burgers:

1 lb ground lean turkey
2 tsp olive oil
8 ounces fat free feta, crumbled
2 tbsp oregano
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Preheat grill pan, broiler, grill, indoor grill-y thing until hot. Combine all the above ingredients in a bowl and shape into 4 patties. Grill 20 minutes (it's poultry--- make sure you cook it all the way through) over med-high heat.

Serve with lite whole wheat rolls (Stop'N'Shop brand: 1 pt) and hummus or yogurt/cucumber sauce. Delish!!

WW: 5pts each (makes BIG BURGERS)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

WW Wednesday

I do Weight watchers. kinda. I haven't been going to meetings b/c my clothes are looser and I am in better shape, but the lbs... they aren't coming off. Surprised? I am! Many discussions with the trainer and the PC, I guess this is normal when you are working out.

Anywho.... I have a new "blog thing" I want to try: WW Wednesdays. I will post a WW friendly recipe (complete with points) that PC and I have tried and liked. I know some of you out there are also being a little bit more calorie conscious, so we all help each other, no?

Today is something I made up this week to fill in a meal ( haven't we all done this?). I call it Mexican Lasagna, PC prefers "taco casserole" (we both agreed if we had it in a high school cafeteria, this would be "taco surprise"). I hope you enjoy it! Let me know if anything seems "off" or if I missed a step!

Taco Casserole

12 small corn tortillas (we like Mannys: 1 point each!)
1-15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 bottle enchillada or taco sauce (pick your poison- and regulate your own heat)
1 lb lean ground turkey
8 ounces corn
2 cups cooked couscous (no oil, no butter)
2 packets low sodium taco seasoning (or whatever you use for taco seasoning)
8 ounces reduced fat "mexican" cheese
1 1/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large skillet, brown the turkey; add taco seasoning + water once meat is completely cooked. Stir in couscous, corn and black beans. In a casserole dish (Big one!),sprayed with cooking spray, layer 6 tortillas along the bottom. Pour 1/2 the meat-bean-corn-couscous mixture into the casserole dish and spread out evenly. Top with 1/2 the taco or enchillada sauce. Layer 6 more tortillas and the meat mixture. Top with more sauce. Cover the entire casserole with cheese. Bake at 350 F for 20-30 minutes.

Serves: 8
Points: 7 points/ serving

Friday, April 11, 2008

One Month Later

Hi. Did you miss me? I missed all of you! Well, especially you, of course. I'm back with a new outlook, a new routine and am raring to go. Raring might be an overstep. Okay, I'm ready to go.

So, I got a lot of "ohmygodwhodied" when I said I was stepping away from the blog for a breath. Honestly, I stepped away from pretty much everything. And, no, no one died. I'm sure someone somewhere died, but I didn't know them and it wasn't the cause of the emotional upheaval. I'll be honest, I needed a break. I needed to regroup.

Anyone who really knows me (Ahem. PC?) will attest that I crave routine. I like that we watch this show on Tuesdays and I do this activity on Fridays. I like to be busy, I like to do stuff, but I like to know well in advance that I am going to do it. So, in the interest of embracing my routine-loving self, I started a new one. The gym. Yup, this chubby gal is puffing away at the local gym (under the careful eye of my trainer...more about him some other day--- Steve rocks. I *Heart* Steve's training) 5 days a week (soon to be more!). Are you ready for this??


I know!!! I am totally amazed myself! I lift them and I don't mind it so much. I like it better than the damn elliptical. I hate the elliptical. With the fire of a thousand suns, I hate that machine. But my thighs are smaller and it's probably b/c of it, so I'll hate it,but I'll hate it while i am making it work. Combine the crazy 1/2 hour each morning "power workouts" (no stopping--- just as fast, hard, heavy as you can go for 30 minutes) with some sensible eating and you have : a slimmer more streamlined Mini. Who is realizing her body can do some amazing things.

Now, there are a few goals. 1) we are heading to Disney in October--- I want to ride the rides comfortably. 2) zip line in NH--- I need to lose a little more until I can ride it, but then, I am doing it! 3) my 10 year college reunion (!!!) is next year. I'm going and I am looking fabulous. Other things: all of the little peeps in our lives are walking--- I'd like to be able to chase them. :)

Knitting: yup, been doing that. For Chloe. She's a yet-to-appear baby and I have been knitting a little for her. I am very close friends with her mom and so, i'll be knitting for this kid until she's in college.

Some photos this weekend. My guild is having some classes this weekend email me if you are interested:
The Metrowest Knitting Guild proudly presents

A Weekend of Knitting with
Joan McGowan-Michael
of White Lies Designs

April 12-13, 2008
New Arts Center, Newton MA
9:00 am-12 noon; 1:00-4:00 pm each day

Joan McGowan-Michael has been professionally designing clothing and
knitwear for over 25 years. Her company, White Lies Designs,
specializes in unique, vintage-inspired romantic knits for a wide
range of sizes.
She has appeared on local and national television programs including
DIY networkĆ¢€™s Knitty Gritty, Shay PendrayĆ¢€™s Needlework Studio and Good
Evening Sacramento. Her designs and articles have been published in
Vogue Knitting, Interweave Knits, Knitters, Cast On, and other
knitting publications. She has contributed designs to numerous books
including Stitch-N-Bitch Nation and Big Girl Knits.
Her own book, Knitting Lingerie Style, was released in the Spring of
2007 and has received excellent reviews for its uniquely elegant and
innovative design aesthetic.
Visit her website at and read this
story at

Come for one to four of the classes

Saturday AM (9am-12 noon): Vintage Knitting
Wondering what to do with all those old knitting patterns people
insist on giving you? What's old is new again and with just a little
tweaking, knitters can use those wonderful retro styles to add vintage
flavor to their sweater wardrobe.

Bring: Size 5 needles, 1 ball of DK weight soft wool

Saturday PM (1:00-4:00): Crochet for Knits
Have no fear; if you can knit--you can also crochet!
Sometimes knits cry out for the stability , prettiness or just the
fine finishing touch of a crocheted edge. Learn how to handle a hook
and work some simple crocheted finishes that lend added depth to your
knitted garments.

Homework: With size 6 needle and smooth worsted weight yarn, cast on
30 stitches and work in stockinette st until swatch measures 5 inches.
Bind off. Make two. IMPORTANT: Please steam press your swatches to
make them as flat as possible.
Bring: Your swatches, the same worsted weight yarn, size G or H
crochet hook.

Sunday AM (9:00-12:00 noon): Whip Your Knits into Shape!
Adding designer shaping touches to your knitted garments is easy once
you know a few simple rules and how to apply them. Flatter your
figure by shaping any garment as you knit it. Darts, ease, and short
row shaping are all important elements for a custom fit. Learn which
ones to use to play up your specific body type to its best advantage.

Homework: None.
Bring: Size 7 needles, stitch markers, ball of light colored smooth
worsted weight yarn.

Sunday PM (1:00-4:00 pm) Beading for Knits
Learn how to bead embellish your own knitted garments to give them
that glamorous touch. A plain cardigan or pullover becomes a gorgeous
heirloom in a matter of a few hours! Hand beaded sweaters sell for big
$$. Learn how to duplicate this luxurious look easily for very little
money.$5 per person additional materials fee.

Homework: With plain DK weight wool and size 5 needle cast on 30 sts
and work in stockinette for 6". Bind off. Single crochet around
outside to keep swatch from curling.
Bring: 6"x 6" swatch. Scissors. Sewing thread, white and black.

General Information
Location: The New Arts Center is located in Newtonville, MA at 61
Washington Park, just off Walnut Street and very close to the Star
Market that sits over the Mass Turnpike. Directions are available at

Lunch: Lunch is at your own expense. There are several sandwich shops
within walking distance of the New Arts Center, or you can bring your

Cancellation Policy: Sorry, we cannot do refunds, but LeAnne will keep
a waiting list of those wanting to participate and will pass it along,
should you not be able to attend. Then, you are responsible for
finding a replacement and working out financial details with them on
your own. We cannot manage substitutions for you. Questions? Contact
Kate Skaare :

Course Fees:
One Course (Non-members) $50
Two or More Courses (Non-members) $45 each