Posted by missjunebug on January 8, 2013
English: New Year's Resolutions postcard (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
missjunebug is beginning to recover from her Christmacoma. She’s eaten her way through the Christmas ham, the New Year’s flank steak, the sweets and treats downed by the occasional Old Fashioned (Let’s here it for Maker’s Mark Bourbon! Cheers!) Mr.JB is back at work (reluctantly), ElderJB is back in Rwanda (happily) with his latest transfer of as many American products as he can fit into multiple (read 6) oversized duffle bags, TinyJB is recovering (slowly) in Miami from the devastating loss of the Irish to the Crimson Tide and may be recovering from other things as well, like too much food and drink in their awesome Club level seats at the Discovery Stadium he and his girl enjoyed until the Tide rolled. Touchdown Jesus clearly had better things to do last night than ensure an Irish win. To loosely quote the Scot: The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men and football teams gang aft a-gley.”
Well today missjunebug has better things to do than cry over what might have been. She’s ready for a makeover! She’s re-established contact with her gym and had the head trainer take her through the machines one by one that might help her salvage her muscle mass most of which withered away in her way-too-long stay in the hospital last year. She’s also enlisted the help of a walking buddy: Spoonbug, her dear Labradoodle who loves to walk when given the opportunity! To keep her on track her dear neighbor and friend Maria waits for missjunebug and Spoonbug at the top of a tough hill for a Monday through Friday uphill walking workout! Whew! It’s tough but good and the best part is the talking therapy that goes on where Maria and missjunebug solve all the problems of the world, including a few of their own.
The best thing about exercising a little more is that missjunebug finds she wants to make better food choices, too. What a concept! With a little help from Weight Watchers online, missjunebug can track her intake and help herself to a stronger, better, healthier her! The fact that missjunebug already ate every speck of the Christmas cookies, New Year’s cake, and gifts of candy she received helps keep her on track!
Seriously, missjunebug is planning her makeover one step at a time and hoping to be her best new self by mid April when she and Mr.JB head to Paris! They are hoping the TravelingProfessor.com website will attract a few more Francophiles for the spring trip the Professor has planned! The Prof needs 8 to make the trip a go! Check out his fab site and consider coming along (that means you, JBBro and JBSis-in-Law!!!) Of course, ElderJB and TinyJB are always welcome but missjunebug hears they have other plans!
missjunebug wishes you a Happy New Year and a New New You if you need one!
Posted by missjunebug on December 19, 2012
Holiday Still Life! Photo by mjb2012
No, this is not a post about the best place to imbibe alcohol during the holidays! missjunebug wants to share with you her recipe for fruity and nutty Holiday Bars. If you never got into fruitcake but enjoy dates, raisins, and walnuts, this holiday cookie is for you. Mega Delicious and Semi Healthy describes this bar perfectly. Easy to make, easy to freeze, easy to take to any party or cookie exchange, and very, very easy to eat!
missjunebug’s Holiday Bars
(adapted from an ancient but beloved cookbook entitled Cookery for Entertaining)
1 (8-oz.) package Sun Date California Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
1 cup raisins, Trader Joe’s golden or SunMaid regular or a mix of both kinds
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup sugar, divided
1 stick butter (1/4 lb.), room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs, organic
2 cups unbleached flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 tablespoons orange juice
Powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 375°. Grease 2 baking sheets (or use Silpat liners or parchment paper); set aside. Stir together in a large bowl dates, raisins, walnuts, orange peel, cinnamon, and 1/2 cup sugar until the fruit is well coated; set aside. In a separate bowl or Kitchen Aid mixer (best choice!) cream butter and the remaining sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.
Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Whisk together in a small separate bowl the flour, baking powder, salt, and orange juice. Then add this flour mixture to the sugar and egg mixture. Add the dates, raisins, and walnuts mixture and stir until blended. The dough will be stiff.
Divide dough into four equal portions and shape two logs (12″ x 2″ x 1/2″) on each prepared baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes until slightly brown. The logs will feel soft but they will firm as they cool. Cool for 15 minutes. Cut diagonally into 3/4″ bars. Dust with powdered sugar. These freeze well in Zip-loc freezer bags or cookie tins. Makes approximately 64 delicious bars!
After you make these, you can head to your fav holiday bar and celebrate! Cheers!
Don't these look yum x tum! Photo by mjb2012
Posted by missjunebug on March 18, 2011
Hey Little Steer! Check out that Spinach Quiche! Photo by mjb2011
missjunebug recently updated her reliable old standard recipe for Quiche Lorraine and made it a tiny bit healthier by cutting back on the bacon and adding spinach and a little goat cheese.
Here’s her recipe re-do:
missjunebug’s Spinach+Goat Cheese+Onion+Bacon Quiche
Read the recipe through for the list of all the ingredients.
Homemade crust or Pillsbury Pie Crust (just unroll and you’re ready to go!)
1 cup Half and Half
1 cup whipping cream
1 T. flour
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Whisk up the above ingredients and set aside while you assemble the quiche savory components.
1 bag baby spinach
1/2 chopped onion
1 T. olive oil
Cook baby spinach in a skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally until cooked down. Drain vigorously using paper towels–wrap and squeeze out the liquid, then chop.
Heat olive oil in a skillet or dutch oven. Toss in the chopped onion and saute until onion is translucent. Add the drained, chopped spinach and combine with onion. Saute together a minute or two, just long enough to blend flavors.
Now prepare these ingredients:
6 pieces bacon, fried until crisp (missjunebug loves Farmer John’s) and crumbled
1 1/2 cups Jarlsberg Swiss cheese, grated
2-3 T. goat cheese, cut up into tiny pieces
Place pie crust in 9″ or 10″ pie plate. missjunebug prefers ceramic ones, but glass or metal will do just fine, too.
Sprinkle in a layer of grated Swiss cheese, then a layer of crumbled bacon. Repeat until you use up all the Swiss cheese and bacon. In one layer, place the spinach/onion saute on top of the cheese/bacon layers. Finish off with the tiny pieces of goat cheese. This part is a little messy since the goat cheese is a soft cheese, but do the best you can.
Pour the custard mixture evenly over the ingredients in the pie plate. Bake on the lowest rack in a 375 degree oven for 45-50 minutes, until quiche is golden brown on top and firm in the center.
Cut into generous slices and serve with a fruit salad of cut up Gala apples, mandarin orange segments, and raspberries! Delicious!
Yum! missjunebug has already dug into that Quichelicious dinner! Photo by mjb2011
Posted by missjunebug on March 7, 2011
Image via Wikipedia
missjunebug watched a very interesting documentary last night on her fabulous instant view Netflix account. Fathead takes on the Super-Size Me documentary and pretty much dismantles its pseudo-science as well as its anecdotal portrayal of a guy who overconsumes McDonald’s intent on proving how heinous fast food franchises are. According to the Fathead documentary that’s just a bunch of bologna! Tom Naughton’s experiment of one month of fast food contributed to a lowering of his cholesterol (the bad LDL) and bringing his weight down by over 12 pounds. His doctor couldn’t believe it and yet, there it was. The throwback to a carb inhibited, high fat, high protein diet a la Atkins made for a slimmer, healthier Tom N.
missjunebug will leave it to you to decide which camp you’re in, but her take away lesson from Fathead and the entertaining nay-sayerÂ Tom Naughton is that fast food isn’t the problem. Run amok carb consumption is.
As the universe would have it, a day after watching this funny but cogent documentary, missjunebug tuned into Dr. Oz today where Gary Taubes was taking apart limb by limb, or should missjunebug say carb by carb, Dr. Oz’s low fat, low calorie, complex carb-based diet that is the mantra of many these days. Taube’s book Good Calories, Bad Calories embraces the theory that insulin spikes from carb consumption grow fat cells and keep people from losing weight who are sensitive to carbs. The calories in/calories out just may not explain everything after all.
So what’s a junebug to do? This must she knows for sure, the sugar’s got to go and Dr. Gott probably had it right all along with his No Sugar, No Flour Diet. She plans to err on the side of less sugar rather than more and to save those delicious French baguettes for special occasions. Or at least she can try. Meh.
Posted by missjunebug on November 23, 2010
Thanks ElderJB for This Delightful Turkey! mjb2010
Happy Thanksgiving! missjunebug loves this holiday and hopes you do, too! Savory food and family and all that pie! And so much to be thankful for!
Turns out that’s a really good thing to be: thankful. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Grateful people are happier, healthier long after the leftovers are gobbled up.”
The benefits of gratitude are legion: more of all the good things we want as human beings: optimism, energy, social connections, money (!), exercise, sleep, and even resistance to viral infections!!
missjunebug encourages you to cultivate gratitude daily in a gratitude journal, in daily prayer, in meditation, or in your own special way. missjunebug writes her thanks on those little iPhone post-it notes and in her Moleskines and she concludes each evening with her Dear Lord, thank you for this day prayer. Keep it simple. Make it grateful. Amen to that!
Posted by missjunebug on July 28, 2010
missjunebug has been busy lately reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Being a true-blue fan of self-help books, mjb was happy to pick up The Happiness Project having read a one-page preview of its precepts early on in Real Simple magazine (one of mjb’s favs). She’s even sent copies to her two sons ElderJB and TinyJB and she’s discussed some of its precepts with Mr.JB.
missjunebug is certain that the erudite yet down-to-earth Gretchen is on to something! Inspired by a couple of old school guys Ben Franklin and Samuel Johnson as well as the happy and holy ThÃ©rÃ¨se of Lisieux, Gretchen charts a course for a year, month by month to work on very specific goals to increase her happiness quotient. Part of her thinking is to perfect her ability to experience happiness now in preparation for the guaranteed tough times ahead. Having recently gone through some tough times herself missjunebug can fully appreciate this a-good-offense-is-the-best-defense strategy when facing the inevitable vicissitudes of life.
To give you a better idea of Gretchen’s approach, let missjunebug fill you in on her plan for Â November. That’s the next to last chapter that missjunebug is in the middle of right now and very close to the final page of the book. The theme for November’s happiness pursuit is Keep a Contented Heart and missjunebug definitely hearts that idea!
Gretchen hopes to meet these happiness “challenges” in November: Laugh out loud. Use good manners. Give positive reviews. Find an area of refuge. Neat ideas, Gretchen! In the course of the chapter, she learns to listen fully and engage in a full belly-laugh response when the joke is deserving instead of rushing to do the talking. She begins to value kindness and being kinder especially in her conversational style which at times can be a bit peremptory and one-ups man. She also comes to terms with the dark desire of humans to play constant critic, instead of doing the braver thing: to embrace joy. Her Barry Manilow example is well worth the price of the book. She finishes off the chapter with her very helpful idea of seeking out mental areas of refuge that can be as simple as mentally visiting a few things, people, and places that never fail to provide little packets of joy.
missjunebug thinks these very personal but powerful connections are the perfect push toward greater happiness in a rough and tumble world. And this terrific book looks at such connections to happiness in each of its other month-entitled chapters, January through December, all chock full of happiness wisdom earned the hard way by Ms. Rubin’s own personal trial and error. And believe missjunebug when she says, if Gretchen doesn’t get happy doing the particular happiness activity or process she sets for herself, she’s the first to jettison it and move on. Smart move, G.
The secret to missjunebug’s happiness in reading this very savvy, atypical, and highly recommended self-help book The Happiness Project is that she will be able to share her takeaways from it with the three shiny, happy people in her blessed life: Mr.JB, ElderJB, and TinyJB!