Monday, February 13, 2012

Pulled Pork Taco Meat

Last week at our home group bible study, Charlie mentioned the best way to make pork for tacos.  The next day pork shoulder was on sale for 1.19 so I took it as a sign from God to make pulled pork.  ;)

I tried to remember what he said, but I'm sure I forgot a few steps.  I didn't have a slow cooker so as required, so I just put it in a Le Creuset pot and put it in my oven for about 5 hours on low instead while I ran appointments and errands.  Came back, pulled it out, saved the liquid and shredded the meat (got rid of all the fat).  Put it back in the pot with liquid, 2 jars of salsa plus some salsa we had made, tons of cumin, a finely minced onion and one whole bulb (not clove) of garlic, minced.  Along with some salt, stirred it all up and put it back in the oven for another hour or so.  It turned out great, but a tiny bit liquid-y (yes, I know) when we put it on tortillas.  Fabulous none the less.

Again, everyone liked it but Amelia.  She had a small bite of the meat and ended up eating fruit and cheese.

Soup in a hurry

I haven't felt much like cooking lately, although in my mind I'm busy cooking fabulous food all the time.  But when it comes right down to it, I usually have about 20 minutes to get it all going at the end of the day with the way our appointments have gone lately.

Saturday I meant to cook something really complicated and delicious but felt too tired and lazy to do it. So when I realized that dinner was about 20 minutes away, AGAIN, and Rafe was outside flying a  kite with Amelia, I figured I'd better do something fast.  Plus Olivia was looking at me with her sad mouth turned down, saying "ee ee ee" and signing "eat".

So I took 1/2# hamburger out of the freezer and thawed it in the microwave.  I don't normally do that so I had to guess at what level to put it on and for how long.   Then pulled out my trusty Le Creuset pot, sauteed some onions and celery on super high heat, threw the meat in and browned it.  While it was browning, I just opened up a can of tomatoes and some corn and tossed it in along with some seasonings.  Stirred it and added couple of cans of chicken stock. Brought it to a boil and thickened it with a can of refried beans.  Turned out to be a big hit with Rafe and Olivia; not so much with Amelia.  I think she ended up eating a cheese stick.  I sprinkled a bunch of crushed tortilla chips on mine.  Delish.

Best of all, it was finished by the time they came into the house.

1 tbsp oil
2 sm/med yellow onions, minced
2 stalks celery, minced
1/2# ground beef, super lean.  (I think my package said 97% or something like that)
1 can corn niblets
1 can fire roasted tomatoes, diced
1 can refried beans with jalapeno and lime
2 cans chicken stock
kosher salt
tons of McCormick garlic pepper
chili powder
tons of cumin

Saute, add stuff, bring to a boil; eat with chips

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Just another day in the neighborhood...

One of the many reasons I love living on Parris Island and will miss it so much when we leave... 
hanging out at home and hearing the sound of the Parris Island Marine Corps Band coming down your street on a beautiful January day in South Carolina.  It gets really good at the 1:00 minute mark.
Livi was pretty impressed as well.  She loves music, and especially things with a strong beat and rhythm.
And the grand finale!                                            

Saturday Laundry

Caramelized Onion, Gorgonzola and Steak Pizza

I love Flat Out Bread for quickie pizzas.  They are quick and easy to make with the kids and my super fast lazy meal.  Amelia and her little buddies will grate the cheese and pick out their ingredients from the "pizza bar".   I gather a bunch of ingredients for toppings and set them in little bowls for them to choose from.  I'm sure it makes them feel all fancy, even though they only ever choose pepperoni and cheese!  They use a silicone basting/pastry brush to brush an open can of spaghetti sauce on the crust and then top it.  

Usually Amelia and Olivia will sit in front of the oven watching it cook - very cute to watch.

This one is all mama's... most of the toppings are for the adults anyway.  I keep crumbled gorgonzola in the freezer and just use it as needed.  Sometimes I make a big batch of caramelized onions and use them throughout the week in pizzas, sandwiches and other goodies.  And the steak was leftover!

Start 'em early...

I like to pretend to myself that teaching my children to do housework early will lead them to think it's natural
and they do it with joy.   Olivia is so excited to vacuum!  She loves it.

But you can see how well that worked by looking at the girl on the left :)
 She's full of joy....watching her little sister vacuum.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Princess Amelia

Pics of the ear

 This picture is just so I can show off her curls! :)

Pictures that should have gone along with this post...

She almost looks like Amelia from this angle, only with brown hair instead of blonde.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


I'm so glad this week is almost over.  All I've been doing at home is survival mode - fix breakfast, lunch and dinner for everyone and put them to bed.  Lots of phone calls and I've felt like I've been in paperwork hell with all the forms I've had to (and still have to) fill out for Olivia and family.

Things were busy and going well, but I came up against a bit of a roadblock today.  We need to see a Pediatric Dietitian, preferably one who specializes in obesity.  The closest one to us that fits that bill and who has some knowledge of Prader Willi Syndrome lives in Atlanta.  (Bailey Koch with Atlanta Pediatric Nutrition if anyone is interested)  Unfortunately Tricare won't cover any dietetic services unless they are given at a MTF (Military Treatment Facility).  I talked with our Tricare representative and found out that it would literally take an act of Congress in order to get those services paid for.  Joe Wilson, expect to be hearing from me soon!

In the meantime, we tried to find a way around that by going to the dietitian at the Naval Hospital and asking her to refer us to Bailey, hoping that once it was acknowledged that she couldn't help us it would get paid for. She agreed literally within the first 3 minutes that it would be best for us to go there and spent the better part of an hour trying to figure out a way for it to happen.  It still came down to this...NO.   The only option we had was finding a MTF anywhere in the US with the expertise to deal with that and then go there to get services.  Travel not included.  She is currently looking into it, but I doubt she will find anyone.

After coming to that conclusion, she gave me materials she gathered from the web about low calorie low carb diets and told me that literally the only thing she could find was that calories needed to be restricted between 33% and 70%.  She said it was such a huge range, divided the difference and said we should restrict her calories 50%.  I know she meant well, but it was probably one of the things that bothered me the most about the visit.  She was giving me her best GUESS.  On a major issue.  I could have done that myself.  It's not her fault at all, but I was bothered by that being my only option - again not her fault.  Cut Livi's calories to 50% across the board and see if she gains weight.  If she does, cut them again.  Really?  How do I make sure that she is getting all the nutrients for her growing brain?  I asked if there was any way to have a test run to find out what nutrients her body was actually absorbing and she didn't know of anything.  I know there is something out there; I just read about it but can't remember where.

We could pay for it out of pocket, but over the years it will add up to quite a bit of money and I really feel that since it's such a big part of the medical puzzle, it should be paid for.  So I'm going to try several different avenues, including contacting a company I used when I was a Chef, to try and find solutions for this problem. One thing I know for sure - the military has a waiver for just about anything if you can figure out how to do it. So I'm hoping that I can find a way to get a waiver from Tricare somehow.

Next Monday is our visit to Dr. Miller in Florida.  I don't feel prepared for this visit.  I have so many questions in my head but can't seem to access them anymore after this week of discussing so many details related to Olivia.

I am very glad to be going to see someone this week who is the expert on PWS and who will be answering my questions and not the other way around as it has been all week.  No matter which doctor or service I talk to, I'm the one educating them.  Not complaining (too much), I understand why, but I'm weary.  Very weary.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What a week!

It's only Wednesday and for some reason it's been feeling like Friday since Tuesday.  Since Monday we've had:

Appointments for Olivia - 
2 Physical Therapy
2 Occupational Therapy
2 Speech Therapy
2 Pediatrician visits
1 Orthotics visit (it's the third in 4 weeks)
1 SNERT assessment (Special Needs Evaluation Review Team)
1 CDC paperwork review
1 EFMP visit for housing referral and rating for Olivia
Events for Amelia -
2 playdates with friends
1 Parent night for rising first graders at EC Montessori
1 Dr. visit
2 pickups from school by me
1 dinner out at Taco Bell for stars earned 
1 trip to Walmart for tissue paper(to make crafts) for stars earned
Events for me - 
1 Home group  - small group bible study in a friend's home
1 Pampered Chef party (THE highlight of my week so far)

That's not even counting the conversations I've had with Naval Hospital and insurance people this week.  We only have 4 more appointments, and a playdate this week.  I'm dropping Olivia off at the CDC and trying to actually get something done at home the last two days of this week.  I think Rafe sometimes wonders what I do all day when he comes home and the house looks pretty much the same.  I do too, and then I look at a list like this and remember why the toys are still in exactly the same place as they were when the kids got done playing with them this morning.