Tuesday, November 30, 2010

stir fry

I finally bought my wok cashing in on the Jewel food store special.  I saved up my stickers each time I shopped and redeemed them for my new cooking utensil.  Previously I dabbled in a stir fry recipe using my dependable skillet but today I will attempt to use the official wok for this endeavor.  Here goes.

1 head cabbage
2 onions
1 lb. fresh shrimp
bean sprouts
chick peas
water chestnuts
soy vay wasabi teriyaki
veri veri teriyaki
tuong ot sriracha hot chili sauce

various oriental noodles
(the one on the left is best)

Shred cabbage and chop onions, carrots and broccoli.  Saute in lots of butter and oil until tender.  Add cooked shrimp, water chestnuts and chick peas.   Prepare noodles then drain.  Mix together and season with teriyaki sauces.  Place all in a wok and blend together.  Add a little hot chili sauce as this is extremely potent and could potentially knock your socks off.   I always eat oriental foods with chop sticks.  For some reason it tastes better that way.

Please keep a few people in your prayers who are undergoing surgeries this month:  Brent, Aletha and Cindy.  They are connected to one family - things do happen in 3s.   xo

Monday, November 29, 2010


Dr. Oz

While relaxing in my simple abundance room, my remote happened upon some tips worth sharing by Dr. Oz.  I love this guy.  He is so genuine and down to earth - and brilliant, to boot! 

Shortcuts to Better Health

Eating an apple before lunch fills an empty stomach and deters us from eating more than we need to be satisfied.  This simple shortcut shaves off 5 pounds per year.


Replace oils with apple sauce by half when baking.  Those with a sweet tooth will not taste any difference and quite possibly it will taste better!  Plan to lose 6 pounds annually using this weight loss shortcut.

Refrigerate your cans.  Yep!  If you have any spare room, this will bring the oils and grease to the top and when you open the can, just scrape it off.  Shave 6 pounds each year with this tip.

Dilute juice with 1/2 cup seltzer water.  Juices contain sugar which can add up to 48 pounds of extra sugar that you can afford to stop putting in your body.  Simply diluting cranberry or orange juice, and any flavored drink for that matter, with seltzer, makes a huge difference.  Plan on losing 13 pounds per year. 

Fake carbohydrates by substituting a pasta for a veggie. Simply blend veggies of your choice (chives, peppers, cauliflower, broccoli) with potatoes or pasta.  This allows you to save 12 pounds each year!

The most significant shortcut shared by Dr. Oz was having a support system with endeavors to lose weight.  By swapping a gym bag with a friend or spouse, this encourages us to get to the gym more frequently so as not to disappoint our buddies.  It only takes 30 minutes 3 times a week to see results.  Plan on losing 13 pounds. 

The holidays are a time to share meals and baked goods.  Enjoy your creations with a little less guilt about gaining inches by taking shortcuts to a healthier you. 
Thanks, Dr. Oz.  xo

Sunday, November 28, 2010

deena's easy peasy beer bread

Deena's Beer Bread

Today the area is hyped up for the  Bears vs. Eagles football game.  We heard at least four conversations at the grocery store with predictions and my fellow facebook friends are gearing up to watch the game.  All week news announcers mentioned this is a validation game which makes me scream.  How many times have I heard that this year?  Let's enjoy a good old-fashioned tight game (with the Bears ahead 47-3, per my better half.) 

My cousin shared an easy recipe for me to try.  She knows I have a hard time baking and thought my confidence could be boosted with an easier recipe with only four ingredients.  Thanks, Deena. 

beer bread with cheese

3 cups self- rising flour
1/2 cup sugar
12 oz. beer

butter for top

Mix first 3 ingredients and place sticky dough into greased loaf pan.  Bake at 375 for 50-55 minutes.  Drizzle melted butter on top of loaf while hot out of the oven so it gets nice and melted. 
Add cheese, bacon, nuts; or for a sweeter version, raisins or cranberries.  Substitute the beer with sugar-free or regular soda.  The beauty of this bread is the basic simplicity.  Serve with soups, stews or casseroles.  Today is chili for the football games.  Indulge your senses. 


Saturday, November 27, 2010


Originally trees were adorned with apples, strings of popcorn, white candy canes and pastries in the shape of hearts, stars and flowers.  Glass baubles and beads were created by Hans Grenier in Lauscha, Germany in the mid 19th century.  Today ornaments are made so we can place them on our trees year after year and many hold sentimental significance.

Little Stevie

   We trim two trees in our home.  One graces the entrance room with various ornaments collected throughout the years; the other is in our nesting room. One was purchased when Mike worked at Wannamakers and the other when Dan worked at F.I.M, so they are both sentimental to us.

The only ornaments that grace our family room tree are those made by my Mom.  To be honest, most of my indoor holiday items were made by her.  I would call every year to thank her when I hung these treasures of our boys.  She captured each of their childhood years in an ornament that tugs my heart.  And she boasted 17 grandchildren! Now I have warm fuzzies whenever I place them on our tree.  This year Steve and Darcy had the honor so they could begin to have that same feeling.
Little Mikey
These precious tokens can never be replaced, so we keep them in a special place.

Each ornament has a unique design.

Little Danny

One year I attempted to make ornaments for my special friends. This was the best I could come up with for our tree.   That was a long time ago, capturing the years when we were in taekwondo. 

The Wind Family 1996

Now that I have time to enjoy this season, perhaps I'll take another stab at continuing this tradition.  I still have quite a bit of tools so I'll put on my creative cap and see what transpires.  Thanks, Mom! xo

Friday, November 26, 2010

black friday

group shot

The feast is consumed.  Hugs and smooches were abundant.  Those who visited our humble abode enjoyed each other's company for awhile then continued our day of thanks with more family members.  Thanks to Steve for using his tripod, and Margarita for figuring out how to adjust it so we could capture this memory.  All the boys grumbled and growled when the camera started clicking, so we limited the exposures.  Got some good ones anyway...


It's always fun to catch up in person with the family.  Time has a way of passing a little too quickly the older we get.  I want to make as many memories as possible and share them with those who were not with us on this day so we feel more connected.  It's not that often that we can get everyone together at the same time these days.  Now Wayne has his coveted updated family picture. 


I learned a long time ago from both my moms to always prepare more than you think you need, so we have plenty of leftovers and everyone took some home.  We will not be among the plethora of people shopping today, but rather will spend a quiet day at home digesting our meals and enjoying each other's company.  As Wayne says "I'll just sit here and catch my breath for awhile." Our shopping is done and the decorations are up already so we can spend the month sharing the spirit with ease.   It's very sunny on this day called black friday. 

birthday boy

We had a dual celebration as we sang to Steve for his 19th birthday.  I made an old fashioned double box Betty Crocker devil's food cake with cream cheese frosting.  Those who don't normally eat many sweets devoured a huge slice (Dan).  Go figure....We were chuckling last night when everyone left and Dan raided the fridge.  Wayne asked him "what do you have"; Dan's response "more". 

steve's seiko

Last year my Dad gave him a super deluxe watch that he never removes, but he asked for another so he wouldn't wear his out.  He loves blue; can you tell?  For some reason he wanted his Dad to choose this one.  He did good.


One of his best friends forever stopped by after work to eat my viddles and share a part of Steve's day.  He loves elephants.  It warms my heart when those we love want to be with us.  It's the fleeting moments that make our memories precious.

I had to share this gorgeous sunset, one of many we captured to everyone's delight.  This supercedes any LED light set.  To me, this is God acknowledging our gratitude for all His blessings. 

OK, Darcy, now we can play Christmas music in the house.  Let the season officially begin...xo

Thursday, November 25, 2010

happy thanksgiving

















Wednesday, November 24, 2010

happy birthday steve!

This year we celebrate your special day on Thanksgiving. How appropriate, for we have so much to be thankful for and you are a huge part of our gratitude and joy.  I keep these photos in my safe box for they are most precious - and you take a lot of cute pictures, my sweet boy! 

Remember when we had all those birds?  They let you play with them all day long.  You had such beautiful blonde hair for many years - I didn't have the heart to cut it.  You are my sunshine.  This is your last year as a teenager, then on to the big time of life.  Keep shining brightly, sing songs, play piano and make music.  Embrace your talents and show the world how creative you are in the arts.  Be your best and most of all, have fun -- and be happy

You will always be my Boo...we love you.  xo

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

thanksgiving treats

oh my, somebody save me...

how on earth did they pose for this?

this was too weird to pass up

my favorite childlike crafts

thanks to the Lord

Native American thanks 


 enough said

God is great, God is good.

chapel of thanksgiving

Hope this inspires and brings a chuckle to your day. xo

Monday, November 22, 2010

brining a turkey

A few years ago I continued the tradition of having Thanksgiving in my home.  Previously, this was a holiday spent with both families as our moms regarded this a most special time to have their families together to celebrate togetherness over a home-cooked meal made with love.  Needless to say, we were so full from eating at two places.  It was inevitable that my turn would come to be the one to prepare this coveted meal and when it was time, I made my first dinner thanks to Martha Stewart.  I followed her recipes to the letter.  This is when I discovered brining.  I have fond memories of rising at the crack of dawn with my mom to help prepare her bird, especially the stuffing.  The first time we shared this meal with my brother, John, and his family, he asked if I was brining the turkey. I was proud to know what he was talking about and he was impressed.  He also suggested I initially cook the bird at 425 degrees for the first half hour, then reduce the heat to 325. 

The best way to get flavorful poultry, regardless of how it is prepared, is to start with a brine.  Brining adds moisture and flavor to poultry and helps to keep it from drying out.  A turkey can be a serious investment in time so you want to make sure it is perfect, especially if you are entertaining.  Think National Lampoon's Christmas.  Whether you grill, smoke, fry or roast your turkey, brining is key.

To properly brine a turkey, you need to start the day or night before you plan to cook.  You will need at least 10 - 12 hours (plan on one hour per pound of turkey), a container large enough to hold your turkey and enough brine to cover it.  This was always a challenge for I cook a 22 pound turkey and had a hard time finding something it would fit in with the brining water.  A large stainless steel stock pot or even a 5 gallon clean plastic bucket would make excellent containers.  Whatever container you choose, the turkey needs to have enough room to be turned so it should be big.  At last, I found the perfect pot that Wayne's grandma used to cook soup in.  It is humungous and only gets a work out this time of year.  You will need salt, water, sugar, seasonings, and enough room to refrigerate it.  Again, another challenge, but it is usually so cold this time of year, we put it in the garage.  If your bird is smaller, Reynolds oven roasting bag for turkeys and Ziploc XL storage bags work just as well.

The turkey should be cleaned out, completely thawed, and should not be a self-basting or Kosher turkey, as these turkeys have a salty stock added that will make your brined turkey too salty.  Make sure you check the ingredients on the turkey before you decide to brine.  A fresh, natural turkey works best, but a completely thawed, previously frozen turkey will work be just fine. 

To make the brine, mix 1 cup of table salt in 1 gallon of water.  You will need more than 1 gallon of water but that is the ratio to aim for.  One way of telling if you have enough salt in your brine is that a raw egg will float in it.  Make sure that the salt is completely dissolved before adding the seasonings you like, making sure not to add anything that contains salt.  Brines can be spicy hot with peppers and cayenne, savory with herbs and garlic, or sweet with molasses, honey and brown sugar.  Whatever your tastes are, you can find a large number of brine recipes online.  Sugar is optional to any brine, but works to counteract the flavor of the salt.  While you may choose a brine without sugar, it is recommended that you add sugar to maintain the flavor of the turkey.  Add up to 1 cup of sugar per gallon of brine, making sure it is completely dissolved.  Boil the seasonings in a pot of water and let cool down a little.  Add to the salted water.

Place the turkey in a container and pour in enough brine to completely cover the turkey with an inch or two to spare. You do not want any part of the turkey above the surface of the brine.  Cover with foil if you do not have a big enough pot with a lid.  Remember, the turkey will rise when water is added.  Now put the whole thing in the refrigerator, or a cooler if you do not have refrigerator space.  If the weather is cool, but not freezing, you can put the whole thing outside until you need the turkey.  If the weather is warm, fill a zip top bag with ice and place this in the cooler with the turkey and brine and it will hold down the temperature during the brining process.   The turkey should sit in the brine for about 1 hour per pound of turkey.  Brining too long is much worse than not brining enough so watch the time.  I begin the brine about noon on Wednesday and remove it around 6:00am on Thursday.

When you are ready to start cooking your turkey, remove it from the brine and rinse it off thoroughly in the sink with cold water until all traces of salt are off the surface inside and out.  This is the single, most important step.  If you do not get the brine rinsed thoroughly you could get a very salty bird. You will notice tiny holes throughout the turkey - don't panic, this is what happens when it saltifies.  Safely discard the brine and cook your turkey as normal.  You will notice the second you start to carve your bird that the brining has helped it retain moisture.  The first bite will sell you on brining turkeys forever.  Just ask my nephew, Robert, who has been drooling for my turkey since the beginning of October. 

Hope this helps in your preparations for our upcoming holiday season.  Enjoy! xo

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Mielzynski crest

As a maiden, this was my sir name.  Even though I have the honor of being a Wind for 30 years, I will always be a Mielzynski.  My cousin, Ronnie, sent information he found on wikipedia which confirmed what a woman told me a few years ago.  When we were searching for a caretaker for my mother-in-law, the Polish owner of the service mentioned my maiden name was from a noble family in Poland.  Her insight is validated by the following.

The Mielzynski family (Polish pronunciation mjel'zin'ski) originally of Lithuanian and Polish stock in the first millenium, were a noble family within Poland from the 13th century into the 20th.  Part of the Nowina clan, the Mielzynskis were players in politics, the arts and military endeavors.  Their wealth included palaces like Pawlowice and Iwno.  As magnates and members of the szlachta, their dynastic connections to the Royal Houses of Europe were extensive, including lineages to the Kings of France and modern Spain. 

Mielzynski of Nowina, Maximilan, Antoni, Jan (sons of Andrzej) by his wife Anna-Petronella Brinska (1738-1799) obtained the hereditary title of Count from Kaiser Frederick William II of Prussia on September 19, 1786.  His two children, Stanislaw and Mikolaj, appear in the 1824 list of persons authorized to bear the title of Count in the Kingdom of Poland.  Josef (son of Maceij) by his wife Seweryna Lipska (1765-1824) obtained the hereditary title of Count from Kaiser Frederick William III of Prussia on July 12, 1817.

Mielzynski's Wine Bar

The interesting thing about writing blogs is most times I think of a topic and after research and expanding on same, I come up with a few more related ideas to share.  The domino effect is amazing.  I usually don't know what I will write about and suddenly an idea pops in my head and I click away.  This is the most exciting perk about writing - it can be endless and I never know where my thoughts will lead me.  Now I can share a little more heritage information for my sons and their families.
 As I researched my heritage, thanks to Ronnie and the internet, I discovered a quaint wine bar located in Warsaw, Poland.  Mielzynski's Wine Bar is close to Warsaw's main road and one patron described it as being able to hear bird's singing and people laughing over a good meal and wine.  This is one of Warsaw's chic places where you always pop into celebrities.
The wine bar website is in Polish so I could not decipher all its offerings, however, one thing was for certain - the owner bears the same name as my Dad - Robert Mielzynski
 Robert Mielzynski (owner)

Can you believe it?  Another testament as to how we are are all connected.  xo