Frankly Cindy

Back on Track

Let’s see, where was I?  I guess I need to prove a point.  I am my own worst enemy. 5000 step challenge.  Honestly what is the deal?  At least I can report that I have gotten back on track.

Sometimes a little time away gives you a chance to reflect on where you have been and where you want to go.  In the past year I gained 5 more pounds and have been dealing with some hip issues.  Welcome to the 60’s! My normal exercise routine was causing more trouble than benefits.  I was in a rut.

Time to change it up.

I decided to stop my yoga class and more recently my kinesis class.  I found I was modifying them so much I was getting little benefit.  I charged up that “fitbit”  battery and started my step journey once again.  10,000 steps a day.  It’s not easy.  You have to work at it for sure.  I am lucky we have a lot of hiking trails nearby.  A quick two minute drive and we’re there.   Drive a little further and we have trails around lakes, along rivers, up mountains.  Brad and I recently decided to go Emigrant Lake for a little change of pace.   We headed to Ashland, stopped for breakfast and on to the lake.    We saw a “trail” that headed over the dam and decided to check it out.

Emigrant Lake

Emigrant Lake

We were not disappointed.   It was a beautiful hike alongside the lake.  Wildflowers were in bloom, row teams were practicing and we discovered a quaint very old cemetery.

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I believe this is a perfect place to rest in peace!

 

but there is no better feeling than being scared when your wrist starts buzzing.  Mission accomplished.

My friend Anna got a “fitbit” for Christmas.  She told me about the feature where you can challenge your friends.  “Let’s challenge each other” she  said.  I should have known better.  Day one.  I wake up to a ” fitbit” text message…your friend Anna has reached 8743 steps.  Honestly? I immediately texted her and told her to sit down.  Good grief! I just stepped out of bed!! I must add she in Florida and I am in Oregon …there is a 3 hour difference but who needs to wake up to that?  Needless to say I lost that first challenge but I put up a tough fight I put in over 14,000 steps that day.  I also learned a great lesson.  Challenges work.

Today I challenge you.  What changes do you want to make? What will you do to make those changes happen?

5000 Step Challenge

What is it that holds us back from achieving our goals?  I am my own biggest challenge.   I find it hard to stay motivated.  I am easily distracted.  Perfect example, I started this post over a month ago.  Sad but true.   Blogging is new to me and I am not the most technical person on the planet.  What seems simple to me gets complicated , I get frustrated and then bam.  A month or two or more flies by.

The same goes for keeping up an exercise regime.   As we age one of the most important things we can do for ourselves is exercise.   You know the motto, “Use it or Lose it”.  I use it but clearly not enough because I am still losing it.  It’s an endless battle.  So what can I do to keep myself motivated?

One of my favorite exercises is walking.  It’s easy. Right?  You would think.  On our recent  trip to Hawaii, I found I simply had to step outside and I was motivated.  Warm air, cool breezes, sea, sand and whales jumping.  Paradise.

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I walked every day with ease.  I swore when I got home I would keep it up.   No matter what.  Then we got home and it was cold and rainy.  Motivation gone.  I had to do something to get re-inspired.  I needed a challenge.  I signed up for a free website, loseit.com.  I love it.   My favorite feature right now is that I can join “steps” challenges and easily sync my fitbit to the site.   I first recorded the number of steps I was  walking for a few days to see where my norm was.   Considering the ultimate goal is 10,ooo steps a day,  my norm was pretty dismal.   I started my first challenge at 5000 steps a day.  Pretty easy to do with very little effort.    I started taking my dogs on a daily hike on the Woodlands Trail system we are so lucky to have here. There are so many trails.  You can do easy, hard, long short.  Mix it up.

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The more we went, the easier it got. We have gotten several “routes” we take depending on time and energy level. I still fight myself…we start hiking and this hurts or that’s sore and alter ego starts trying to talk me into shorter walks but most times I win. I average between 7000 to 9000 steps daily now. My best day’s are when I am walking along and I get that wonderful fitbit buzz, that makes me jump every time, telling me mission accomplished. 10000 steps!

My first franklycindy challenge to you is start tracking your steps. The goal 5000 steps a day. Share your accomplishments. Get motivated!

60 Shades of Gray

It’s official. I am now legally gray. Yesterday I was filling out the form to renew my passport. Lo and behold came the question. Hair color? My heart skipped a beat. Wow. I looked at the box for a minute or two, took a deep breath and checked “gray”. What a year. 60 and gray.

I made the choice about a year ago to stop coloring my hair quite by accident. I had no intention of going “natural” at all. I missed my coloring appointment when my mom was in the hospital. Next thing I know it’s been 2+ months and I have roots.  Gray roots.   I observed my new roots and discovered that my gray had changed.  It was no longer the mousey ( I don’t think that’s a word)  reddish yucky gray but it had become more silver and light.  Hmmm.  Should I or shouldn’t I?   Emily said no way mom, you’re going to look old.   Now there’s a vote of confidence.  But then there was Sandy.   My own personal cheerleader!  Do it!  It’s beautiful.  It will look so good with your eyes and skin.   Ok we’ll give it a try.  She is very convincing!

Legally Gray

Legally Gray

Growing your hair out from coloring is not easy.  You go through some pretty terrible phases.  There were many and I mean many times when I would look at myself and think..it does make me look old.  What am I thinking???   I want to be blonde again.   Sandy was always there…it looks great leave it alone.   It’s beautiful!  Don’t color it.  She  even enlisted our friends to join in and cheer me on.   I had my own private pep squad.   I had no choice.   I left it alone.

Luckily, I wear my hair short and it grows fast.  By the end of the summer it was pretty much gray.   Then as an early birthday present, Sandy gave me gift certificates to get a hair makeover with her niece Addie.  The plan, grow it out longer, no bangs, swoop here, longer there.  Oh my.  How much more change can I go through?    I let it grow out for 2 months and then I couldn’t take it anymore.  I felt like an old shaggy dog.   Addie to the rescue.   Finally it’s long enough to style.  She was very patient with me and my cranky demands.  I HAVE to have bangs and it needs to be shorter around my face!  You can do whatever you want with the rest.   She smiled and said great let’s do it.   An hour later I was looking at a new me in the mirror and I liked it.  Maybe change is good.   I am still getting used to the gray.  I am liking it more and more.   It has many shades of gray.    I am often asked if it’s my natural color.  Huh?  Who colors their hair gray on purpose?  But I must admit it makes me feel better about it.   Even Emily says it’s not as bad as she thought it would be.    I think that’s a compliment?

Sandy sent this link to me the other day. Gray Hair Leads Beauty Trends in 2015

So there you have it.  I am officially and legally gray.  I am trendy.  Deep breath.  Sigh!

I am glad I did it!

Chicken Parmesan

I am a cookbook junkie. I love reading them and finding fun new recipes and new twists on old ones. For my birthday my sister Donna gave me SHEET PAN SUPPERS by Molly Gilbert. A new twist on one pot meals using sheet pans. I’m in! Not only do the recipes look great but it’s a fun read too. I couldn’t wait to try something. I decided on the Chicken Parmesan since I already had all the ingredients on hand. It’s a favorite in our house. In line with New Year’s Resolutions, I decided to add chopped summer squash, zucchini and red bell pepper lightly seasoned to the side in lieu of cooking pasta or adding bread.

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I popped it into a preheated 400 degree oven. Baked it for about 15 minutes then removed the pan from the oven and added the finishing touches. Marinara, provolone and parmesan cheese.

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After about 10 more minutes out came dinner. It was easy, healthy and delicious! All in one pan. Now that’s my kind of meal!!

chicken sheet pan

Print Recipe

Chicken Parmesan

Yield: 4 to 6

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 40-45 minutes

Ingredients:

Olive oil cooking spray

1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs

2 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp dried oregano

2 TBS sweet or smoked paprika

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 large eggs

4 to 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts or cutlets each about 1/2 inch thick

1 jar (24 ounce) marinara sauce (Molly love's Rao's)

6 to 8 slices of provolone cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees with a rack in the upper third.  Generously mist a sheet pan with cooking spray.
  2. Stir together the panko, garlic powder, oregano, paprika, 1/2 tsp of salt, and the pepper in a large bowl to combine. In another large bowl, whisk together the flour, the remaining 1/2 tsp of salt and the pepper.  In a third shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs.
  3. Dip each chicken cutlet first in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess, then in the eggs, and finally in the panko mixture, patting to coat thoroughly on both sides.  Place the breaded chicken cutlets on the prepared pan.  Mist the chicken with the olive oil cooking spray to lightly coat. 
  4. Bake the chicken until the panko has browned and the cutlets are almost entirely cooked through about 15 minutes.
  5. Remove the pan from the oven.  Top each chicken cutlet with about 1/2 cup marinara sauce and the provolone and parmesan.  Return to the oven.
  6. Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly, an additional 10 minutes or so.
  7. Serve hot

Happy New Year

2015. I can’t believe another year has passed so quickly! I really can’t believe I have turned 60. Where has the time gone? What will this new year bring? For starts Emily will graduate from High School. We will become empty nester’s. I must say I wasn’t handling “Senior year” very well. Tears here there and everywhere. I have gotten a grip on myself though. Thankfully. I am now more excited for this new adventure of hers. Graduating and heading off to college. I sit back with pride and in awe of the beautiful young woman she has become. We couldn’t be more proud.

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Before rushing ahead into the New Year I must reflect back on 2014. What a year it was. Filled with blessings and devastating losses. We lost two very dear friends. And we have friends who have endured that which a parent should never have to. The unexpected loss of their child. Our hearts are broken for them all. A day does not go by that we don’t think of them, pray for them, love them, miss them.
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On a happier note, we had fun family adventures traveling the west coast on the great college search. My friend Anna and I drove cross country, Oregon to North Carolina in 6 days. Happily we didn’t kill one another! It was such a great trip! Thank you Anna!

Last but not least, franklycindy.com became a reality. Thank you again, Lindsay, www.loveandoliveoil.com for taking my thoughts and designing the perfect blog for me. Special thanks to you Sandy, reluctantentertainer.com for inspiring me and helping me enter this new exciting world.

I am looking forward to 2015. I think it’s going to be a great year.

Greens and Beans

Last night we got home from a fun weekend visiting the University of Oregon…our last college tour.
We were tired and hungry and I needed to come up with something healthy and quick for dinner. Our garden is still bursting with Kale and Swiss Chard so I sent Brad out to pick some. I grabbed a can of white beans and tricolor beans and my new favorite Miso Ginger Broth, a few more ingredients and voila quick delicious dinner! Add some thick warm crusty bread too. Divine!

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Print Recipe

Beans and Greens

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

4 cups mixed winter greens chopped

(I used kale and swiss chard)

2 cans of beans rinsed and drained

(I used white and tricolor beans)

2 cloves of garlic crushed

1 TBS olive oil

4 cups Trader Joe's Miso Ginger Broth

 Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

Heat oil in large saucepan.  Add garlic and saute for 2 minutes.  Add greens.  Saute for about 5 minutes.  Add 2 cups of broth and let greens simmer for about 10 minutes.  Add the beans and remaining broth.  Simmer for another 10-15 minutes. Serve. 

Rao’s Famous Lemon Chicken

A few weeks ago, I went on a cross country road trip with my friend Anna. One of our stops was in St. Louis to see her dad, Jim. We were hanging out in his kitchen when I saw an interesting cookbook on his counter. I am a cookbook junkie. I had to browse. It’s called Rao’s Cookbook Over 100 years of Cooking. Rao’s is a 100 year old restaurant located in East Harlem NY with only 10 tables. Nearly impossible to get a reservation. The Cookbook not only shares the restaurant’s recipes but also has stories, quotes and history.

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I couldn’t put it down. Not only is it entertaining but the recipes looked amazing. Note to self. Get it.
The next morning as we were getting ready to leave, Jim handed me a bag and said, it’s a gift for you to thank you for keeping Anna company. “But don’t open it now”. I opened it once we were on the road and couldn’t believe it. He had gone out and bought me the cookbook. I was touched by his thoughtfulness to say the least. I couldn’t wait to use it. Jim had mentioned that one of his favorite recipes was the Lemon Chicken. So Jim, this is for you. It is as good as you said it was!

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The recipe is easy, simple and delicious.

Thank you Jim and thank you Rao’s!

Print Recipe

Rao's Famous Lemon Chicken

Yield: Serves 6

Prep Time: Total time 1 hour

Ingredients:

2 21/2 to 3 pound chickens halved 

1/4 cup italian parsley

Lemon sauce (recipe below)

 

Lemon Sauce

2 cups fresh lemon juice         1 1/2 tsp minced garlic

1 cup olive oil                        1/2 tsp dried oregano

1 TBS red wine vinegar          salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together juice, oil, vinegar, garlic, oregano, and salt and pepper.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.  Whisk or shake vigorously before using.

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat broiler for at least 15 minutes
  2. Broil chicken halves, turning once for about 30 minutes or until skin is golden brown and juices run clear (I used chicken pieces already cut up to save time)
  3. Remove chicken from broiler, leaving broiler on. Using a sharp knife cut each half into 6 pieces (leg,thigh,wing, 3 small breast pieces)
  4. Place chicken on a baking sheet with sides.  Pour 1/2 the Lemon Sauce over the chicken and toss to coat well.
  5. Return to broiler and broil for 3 minutes.  Turn each piece over and broil an additional minute.
  6. Remove from broiler and portion onto 6 plates.
  7. Pour remaining sauce into a heavy saucepan.  Stir in parsley and place over high heat for 1 minute.  Pour an equal amount of sauce over the chicken.  Serve with lots of crusty bread to absorb the sauce.

Rao's Cookbook Over 100 Years of Italian Home Cooking 

Frank Pellegrino

Whiskers

Now mind you, this is not the most fun topic but it is one that needs to be addressed. Whiskers. Those pesky little stubs that start growing out of our chins as we mature. Ladies…whiskers are for men. My sister Chris made me very aware of my whiskers a few years ago. She is almost as frank as I. Her point was well taken. Off we went to Costco. For just $19.99 you will find this wonderful mirror.IMG_4557
Well, I stand corrected! At the time of this photograph which was a few weeks ago it was only $14.99! It is a great deal. It has a normal side and a magnifying side. Both lit! The beauty of the magnifying side is you can actually see your chin. Maybe a little too much but whatever…think how much better you’ll look when using the regular side!!!
Take a few minutes once a week. Survey that chin and pluck those little whiskers away. Believe me, your friends will appreciate it!

Letting Go

“I think that the best thing we can do for our children is to allow them to do things for themselves, allow them to be strong, allow them to experience life on their own terms, allow them to take the subway… let them be better people, let them believe more in themselves.”
― C. JoyBell C.

This morning we put Emily on a plane. Alone. The first time. She was invited to Chapman University’s Soccer recruitment weekend. It’s a fun filled first time college experience. She’ll stay in the dorm, go to a class, hang out with the team. We are so excited and happy for her. Then why did I have tears as I watched her plane leave the runway? She’s my baby that’s why.

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But she’s not a baby anymore. She’s a beautiful, warm, funny, smart young lady. An incredible athlete too!

Letting Go

We have been blessed with an amazing daughter. We are so very proud of the young woman she has become. It is time for her to spread her wings and fly. It is time for us to let go. It isn’t easy. There will be more tears. But they will be tears of joy and pride.

Roasted Peppers

Gardening this year was well…pretty sad around here! Too hot. Too dry. And too many ground squirrels. The shining stars were the peppers. At one point we had more than we knew what to do with so I decided to roast them all. I cut them up, seeded them, added a little olive oil then roasted them at 375 till they started to char just a little.

Roasted Peppers
Once cooled I place them in a little mason jar, added some olive oil and stuck them in the fridge. Yummy with anything!

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