Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tasty Tuesday - Tomato Okra Chicken Gumbo

On Sunday night I cooked for the Big Man -  This is part of my new balanced life.

I used a recipe from Paula Deen "Tomato and Okra Soup" as the base for my gumbo.  I added chicken and creole seasoning to the base to make the dish.

2 Tbs of olive oil
1 Vidalia onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup of celery, chopped
2 gloves of garlic, minced (I used the jar kind)
3 (14.5 oz) cans of vegetable broth
4 cups of chopped tomatoes (I used canned)
3 cups of okra (frozen)
1/4 cup of sliced fresh basal
2 tsp of fresh thyme leaves (I used dried)
1 tsp of ground pepper
1 tsp of sea-salt
4 med sized  cooked chicken breast .

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil, add onion, pepper, celery, and garlic. Cook over medium heat 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the broth and remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for 20 minutes.
The Big Man loved it.
Happy Cooking
~ Connie ~

Monday, January 30, 2012

Stop procrastinating - Eath That Frog

I  have been reading Brian Tracy's book "Eat That Frog" 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time -

I think I have figured out why I can't get everything done (especially at work) - " The fact is you can't do everything that you have to do. You have to procrastinate on something. Therefore, procrastiante on small task. Put off eating the smaller or less ugly frogs. Eat the biggest ugliest frogs before anything else" -

I guess tomorrow I will eat the biggest ugliest frog first

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Plans for a Balanced Life

Balance is my “One Little Word” for 2012.

Balance is a feeling or a state of mind. This feeling is derived from peace; it's a sense of harmony. It is essential to maintaining a quality in life.  My life is made up of many areas including your health, family, social, work, spiritual, recreation, personal growth, volunteer work and more.

The issue for me – like many of you reading this blog – is finding time to fit everything in to 24 hours.  I can’t spend time every day in each area of your life in equal amounts; the goal is to spend enough quality time in each area that I feel at peace.
I try to think of my life, like a set of building blocks being arranged in a structure. If one block is smaller or shorter than the other my structure will not be straight.  My structure would be at risk of collapsing.

Finding Balance in Life
A balanced life is about infusing into life what is important to me. I have the power (and so do you) to make choices about what comes first.  Making choices empowers you to live a balanced life.

Steps fof 2012
1.     Focus on my priorities. Spending time and energy on my personal and professional priorities. I am saying "no" to everything else. I am the only person that knows what is valuable in my life.
2.     Get organized.  I am creating a structured plan each day rather than reacting to whatever comes up. I using a modified version of Ashley Lewis “Seven Minute Life” – I am planning to accomplish 5 task before 11.

I am arranging time in my schedule for other activities besides work so that my days are not only balanced, but rewarding. I find running, knitting, scrapbooking and   spending time with my family rewarding.

3.     Be flexible.  I am learning to be flexible without being overrun. I am also learning to accept the fact that I am notperfect – some task will not get completed

Create daily routines. I am working on creating daily healthy habits. I recognize that I need to relax and relieve stress. Journaling, mediation (yoga) and running are my stress management tools.  I am focusing on eating healthy. This is not just for me, but also for the Big Man (aka my husband – the love of my life).

5. Simplify your life.  Simple was my One Word for 2011 – I think this is something I will always struggle with, so I am not letting it go in 2012.

I am working on not over-scheduling or over-committing. I have learned that saying yes and over committing leaves me not time for what is important and makes me angry. 
When your life is overcomplicated and overfull, there's little space for what truly matters. And there's no room for personal growth, positive energy, love, or even breathing at times

What does you circle look like?  How are you balancing your life? ~ Connie ~

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Training Thursday - Finding Motivation

"If you don't have confidence, you'll always find a way not to win."
- Carl Lewis

I have been struggling with wanting to be a runner. 

For several years I have focused on:"I am a runner because I run, not because I run fast, not because I run far.  I am a runner because I say I am and no one can tell me I am not."

I can't run far and I don't run fast.  In high school my coach enjoyed telling me how un-athletic I am.  I played basketball, volleyball, and ran track. I was never great at any of them.   My track experience was horrible. I was disappointed and embarrassed every time I got on the track.

Today when I run I don't want anyone to watch - I still feel like that chunky little girl that could not win  a race. 

So why, did I decide a couple of years ago that my goal is to run a half-marathon before I turn 50???

Is it because I want to be what I wasn't in high school - an athlete?  Is it because I want to prove something to my old coach? 

Can a nonrunner run a half-marathon in 40 days? Probably not.  What a nonrunner can do is be true to herself.  I can run because I want to.  I can run for my health. I can run for my future.
So - off I go to build my confidence and pursue my dream of being a runner.
~ ConnieKay~

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tasty Tuesday - Oven Fried Chicken

My Grandboys love food.  Recently their Mommy (who happens to be a great Mommy) cooked oven-baked fried chicken for the boys.  The boys love it.  The recipe comes from Our Life UnCommon.

   Oven- Fried Chicken

Place thawed chicken breast tenderloin strips in a bowl of milk. Let soak for 20-30 min.

Mix in a Gallon Size Ziploc or Large Bowl:  1/2 tsp. Salt|
1 T Season All
 3/4 tsp Pepper
1 c. Flour
  2 tsp. Paprika

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut 1/2 stick of butter into a few pieces and place in a 9x13 pan. Melt butter in pre-heated oven.

Spread melted butter around the bottom of the pan. Lightly spray the pan, if needed, to make sure that there are no dry spots.

Shake excess milk off of chicken and completely coat each piece with the seasoning mix. You can either shake the chicken in the bag, until coated, or dip each piece in the bowl until coated.

Place each piece of chicken in the pan.

Cook for 20 min. Turn each piece of chicken and continue cooking for 20 more minutes, or until cooked through.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Balance in Everything I Do

Last week I talked about focusing on balance in my life. I have started reading a book by Allyson Lewis - "The 7 Minute Solution".  Lewis talks about "The seven vital signs of life: conscious awareness, motivation, growing & learning, engaging, persevering, living in the flow, and living with faith" 

When assessing my seven vital signs of life - I find that I have a diminished pulse in an important area, motivation. My motivation has been lacking.  Without motivation my time management skills have been off. 

"Time management is not about doing more; it is about doing more of what matters in your life" Allyson Lewis.
 What matters in my life:
Meaningful Work
Living with Compassion
Making a Difference
Reaching my Full Potential 
Leaving a Legacy              

  To work on balance this past week I created a couple of recipe cards for a swap.  I love collecting recipes and cooking for the Big Man.  On Tuesdays I will be sharing "Tasty" recipes. Check back tomorrow for the "Tasty Tuesday Recipe."  Till then below is one of the recipe cards I created last week.
ConnieKay ~

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Well 2011 has come and gone. 2012 is here for 12 short months.  Every year I make great plans (aka resolutions).  More often than not, I fall short of making all my plans come true. The one thing I did do last year is- Simplify my life. 

No I didn't get rid of anyone or anything.  I decided on what is important and what is not important.
The important things in my life are: The Big Man, our family, the four-legged children, our health and doing things that I enjoy.

This year my one -little word is Balance.  I work hard, I have been known to have three or four jobs and a couple of volunteer activities going on at one time.  So, I have cut out a few "things" - not teaching online, no selling jewelry or purses, not adding any volunteer activities unless they have meaning.

In 2012 - I am going to Balance my Simple life.  This year, I am focusing on completing my Family Nurse Practitioner degree, spending time fishing with The Big Man, cuddling with the four-legged children, listening more to the adult children, scrapbooking, knitting, running - things I want to do.
So, check back frequently see if I can use my one little word to build a simple balanced life.
~ Connie ~