Quick-and-Easy Salisbury Steaks (A Weight Watcher’s Recipe)

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I made this, this past week and OH BOY was it delish! Here’s the recipe:

  • 1 pound of ground round
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 (8-ounce) package presliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry or dry white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
  • 1 (12-ounce) jar fat-free beef gravy
  • Thyme sprigs (optional)

1. Combine first 4 ingredients; stir well. Shape mixture into 4 (1/2-inch-thick) patties.

2. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; place over medium heat until hot. Add patties; cook 4 minutes on each side or until done (I made sure they weren’t over cooked. You want them nice and juicy!). Remove patties from skillet, and set aside.

3. Increase heat to medium-high. Add mushrooms, onions, and thyme to skillet; saute 3 minutes.  Add wine or sherry; saute 1 minute. Stir in gravy; return patties to skillet. Cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Garnish with thyme sprigs, if desired.

**Yield: 4 servings. According to this “Cream of the Crop” Weight Watcher’s Magzaine, this dish is 5 points per serving. This magazine is old, so I’m not sure if it’s changed with the new point plus system.  Here are the measurements per serving:  CAL 237, PRO 29.2, FAT 6.3g, CARB 13.7g, FIB 1.7g, CHOL 65mg, IRON 3.5mg, SOD 511mg, CALC 26mg.

MANGIA!

Sometimes Quick & Easy Just Works Out In The Vegan, Gluten Free World!

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Today is one of those days that I wish I had more of. Let me explain…I’m actually not ‘THAT’ hungry!  Why can’t it always be like this!? LOL!! I’m feeling like I want to eat, but definitely not a lot. I have lots of delicious leftovers in the fridge, but my eyes spotted the asparagus and broccoli in the crisper, and they just sound delicious to me! So here is where fast and easy comes in.

1. Rinse them off

2. Lightly season the asparagus with evoo and some garlic powder. Toss in heated oven at 350 degrees for about 12 to 15 minutes.

3. Microwave the broccoli in a bowl with a little bit of water, covered, for about 7 minutes.

There’s my light dinner!  I eat the asparagus like finger food, and enjoy my broccoli tossed in a little bit of gluten free soy sauce!

It hit the spot, and was without a doubt, no fuss… no muss! Ahhhhh……………..Now, time to relax!

Take the easy route sometimes…it’s worth it!

Mary

Aim Your Motivation In The Right Direction!

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So here I am planning my meals for the week and putting a grocery list together. When I do this, I like to watch you-tube videos for ME-gan friendly meal ideas. There are many interesting videos available as well as blogs and other social media. When I watch these videos and read articles on Vegan/Gluten Free cooking, I get motivated & inspired! I really get ‘into’ it!!

Colorful food presentations and beautiful ECU photography entice our senses. With that said, we need to be careful what we read and what we watch, pertaining to food. When I watch food network shows such as Giada De Laurentiis, or Molto Mario, etc., I get inspired (or rather ‘tempted’) to get up and cook a full course Italian dinner! My mouth starts to water, my stomach starts to rumble and my brain says…. LET’S DO THIS!

The world is filled with tempters, so this is how I look at it…just as an alcoholic shouldn’t hang out with a singles group who goes to happy hour or other ‘meeting’ events that involve alcohol, so shouldn’t those with special dietary needs and who eat with certain limitations, hang out with foodies. In reality, they shouldn’t be watching the food network – period! It’s common sense.

AVOID TEMPTATION!

Instead, live ‘intentionally’ and go to the specific source of information that fits your needs. Look for books and social media venues that cater to your dietary need. Meet and hang with people that share your situation. Get motivated on the things that will do YOUR body good! Most importantly, if you do treat yourself and indulge in a meal that you really should not be having, limit your portion size! Make an effort; it’s better than no effort at all! One day at time…baby steps!

So, as I plan my weekly grocery list and prepare meals, I’ll hide all my Ciao Italia magazines!

Mary

So, How Did Things Work Out?

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Like I was saying in my previous post, Seasons are what our lives consist of. Without seasons, there would be no change, and without change how would we grow? How would we learn? What would the purpose in living be? I honestly can’t image life without change. It would be boring and mundane; purposeless.

Those who know me, and know about me, know that my health was in dire straits. I mean, I didn’t have cancer and it’s not like I was told I have six months to live, but if you ask me I was deteriorating quickly. My whole body was in a crisis. My joints hurt, my skin was breaking out, I had migraines, my digestive system was screaming at me, I had severe depression and mad moods…and many other symptoms. I wasn’t healthy and I wasn’t happy. I reached a point in my adult life where I was led by the Grace of God to turn things around for myself, and when that moment of truth and direction came, I didn’t waste a minute.

My entire life changed; not only my health (and in a short period of time too), but my outlook on life as well! I was happy again, I found ME again! It was too simple to be true, but it was. All I had done was change my eating habits. Living Vegan and Gluten free was ‘my’ answer to health. Will it be your answer? I don’t know. I wrote about my experience in The ME-gan Lifestyle. It’s MY story, and I put it out there in the hopes that it could possibly help others, but certainly not as medical advice. I am not a doctor, but like I always say “I am MY best doctor!”  I listen to my body talk.

It was over four years when I started being not as strict to my vegan, gluten free eating lifestyle. But why? Why would I go and tamper with something that worked so good for me and what were the implications?

To sum it up, it comes down to what I was saying about seasons, life and change. Life changed, and so did I. There are many factors to this change; events in my life, convenience, stress, mood, and the desire for more change. Sometimes truth doesn’t always make sense, but all I can offer is truth. You can make your own conclusions from it. Just don’t judge, because judging is the road to falsehood and half-truths, and basically gives us wrong answers. Judging others is harmful to our own being. Veering off this path meant that I could suffer old symptoms once again. Was it, is it, worth it? It’s an individual decision. We are all responsible for our own lives. Our ‘own life’ is the only thing we have control over.

I realize that The ME-gan Lifestyle was and is best for me. Does me not living it strictly prove it was just another ‘fad?’ No, absolutely not. Facts are facts and will always remain. My body proved that living The ME-gan Lifestyle can and will reverse years of damage. Nothing I do now can undo that truth. So today, I take one day at a time. I strive to live ME-gan as best I can. My body is not as in dire straits as it was, because it repaired itself, but if I went back to completely living and eating the traditional way, it would get there quickly. I don’t want to sabotage myself. I just don’t BEAT myself up over it. As I was talking about in my previous post, some people beat themselves up over certain bad habits they can’t break.

We can all only do the best we can do. As long as you are aware of the BEST way to do things, and STRIVE to get there, then what more can you do?

I only hope that when we all see our health failing that we won’t sit by the wayside and let it be. We only get one life and we should make the best of it. Being healthy and happy allows us to live our best. When the opposite happens, when our health is failing and we are unable to enjoy life or those we love, then how sad is that? Especially when we have the ability to turn it all around. Love yourself! You deserve it!

Mary

 

So…What’s forever for?

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Some people just beat themselves up over habits they can’t break. In a way that’s good, because at least they are aware of the habit, and obviously the habit must be a bad one, or they wouldn’t want to break it…right? I mean, that’s better than those who walk around thinking they are perfect, never admit their shortcomings, and do absolutely nothing to better themselves. I THINK it’s better anyway. What about habits they can’t KEEP??

Life is built around seasons, even the “GOOD BOOK” speaks on ‘seasons.’ So we must realize that with seasons come change and our lives will be filled with constant change. It’s normal! Accept it. Don’t feel bad or beat yourself up. Let me give you an example of something specific that I am talking about. Suzanne Somers…she wrote so many books; some on anti aging, some on being sexy forever, some on hormone solutions, and some, of course, on weight loss. I happened to have read her “Eat Great Lose Weight,” and “Get Skinny on Fabulous Food.” My younger sister and I followed her food combining diet for months, and it worked. Don’t they all? Yes. (well, most). But, (big sigh…), like everything in life, nothing lasts forever.

So… what’s ‘forever’ for?

Eventually you get tired of not eating a meatball with your spaghetti. I don’t know, you have to read the books to find out how it’s done, I’m not going to explain it, and there are different levels to the diet plan, but my point being that my sister and I could only do it for so long. We eventually hit that “SKA-REW-THIS” mark and gave up!! HA!

And quite frankly, I saw Suzanne on HSN about a year or so ago, and I’m sorry – she looked blown up and gross. God, I feel horible saying that! I really love her; I’ve admired her for years! She’s always been so intriguing to me, so I don’t want to be mean, it’s just how I feel. It appears she’s had all this ‘work’ done on her face – of course, I don’t really know for sure, so I don’t want to start rumors. She also looked like she gained 50 lbs or more (after seeing Suzanne all these years later, I think she said “SKA-REW-IT” too! I’m just say’n!). I was sad. I mean, we all age, and women somehow got stuck with having to age and still LOOK FABULOUS, while men can grow old naturally and be awesomely SEXY! Now THAT’S not fair! Who made the rules to that game? Obviously a MAN! That sucks! I want to re-write the game plan!

I can tell you right now, I’m broke, so I’m going to be aging naturally. I don’t have the money it takes for one plastic surgery after the other. Nor do I want it. I guess I wouldn’t mind a tummy tuck and perhaps a boob lift, but I’d stop THERE! I swear! :)

And what about The ME-gan Lifestyle? How did that all work out? Well let me tell you… in my next posting!

Mary

 

How To Un-Follow A Blog

If you’re like me, you’ve followed more blogs than you really need. If you would like to un-follow this blog, you need to do it from your end. I have no control who follows this blog, nor can I stop someone from following.

The way I understand it to work is that once you get to my blog, you simply click on ‘un-follow.’

If you need further assistance, please google “how to un-follow a WordPress blog.”

Thank you!

Mary

“If It Feels Good Do It!” Just a Little Note From Mary

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Remember back in the 70’s when there were stickers, pens, t-shirts and all sorts of stuff that said “If it feels good do it?” Who came up with that? Whoever it was, probably made millions. Just like the little symbol that came out a few years back that reads “Life is Good.” Great thinking, but quite simple. I could definitely make some bucks off cute little quotes like those; hmmm, why don’t I?

Could we relate this 70’s saying to food? Certainly! I ate at McDonald’s the other day, and guess what? I could feel myself slowing down with every bite I took! I did NOT feel good after, and on top of that, I felt bad about myself for eating non ME-gan. I understand life is not perfect, and we cannot be 100% on top of our game 100% of the time, but I’m just making a point. That kind of food definitely did not make me feel good. And I can also tell you that when I eat food that makes my mind and body thrive because it’s full of nutrition, I FEEL GREAT, not only ‘good.’ So, if taken in context, “If it feels good, do it” is probably worth a million bucks; and could possibly lead you down a path to better health! Sitting on your butt all day probably doesn’t make you feel too good, right? Be honest! But get out and run a mile or two, then tell me how you feel! COME ALIVE!

So, this leads me to what I want to tell you. Writing feels good to me, and I want to do more of it! I enjoy writing about all sorts of things; love, life, family, even poetry and short stories! Yes, I do love writing about food, but there’s more! So, I am starting a new blog site this week where I will simply be ‘writing’ about anything and many things! Check back here later this week for the details.

And, oh by the way, I have 580 articles on this site, so please come back and read through them! Some of my best articles are at the very beginning! This is not going away, it will continue to be here for your reading pleasure! So, please do enjoy!

Talk to you soon!

Love,

Mary

VIVA La Cucina Italiana! Tastes of Umbria Come To La Cucina Bortelino!

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What happens when Mary wakes up with passion and exclaims “I wish we were in Italy?” Well, the next best thing happens; Mary gets busy in La Cucina Bortelino!

A Sicilian woman can (and will) do anything she wants!

I am lucky to have co-workers who have their own gardens; one person brings me Rosemary, one brings me Basil and another brings me Eggplant. Lee and I want to have a garden but we just can’t seem to get anything to grow here in Phoenix, other than ant hills and cactus.

With my eyes catching sight of potatoes and knowing that I have these fresh herbs on hand, as well as some very bright, beautiful mini peppers & onions, I decided to bring a taste of Umbria to the house. These are all familiar ingredients from this special land and region along with garlic & olive oil. Together they assist in making up the classic Umbrian dishes.

I will bring Italy here, if we can’t go there (right now anyway!).

I will also point out that this dish is ME-gan and is also the wonderful colors of the Italian flag! Mangia!


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Italian-ME-gan love to you! XXOO!

Mary

A Day To Remember Those Who Gave It All

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On this Memorial Day, we honor all of those who made the ultimate sacrifice and gave their lives in defense of our freedom and country. It also provides another reminder to take a moment and reflect on all of our men and women in military service, past and present, who face extreme danger every day.

It is such a rushed and busy world today, but hopefully we all will take the time to remember the fallen, those we loved and those who loved us. This weekend Lee & I remember our fathers, who both served in World War II, and recall many memories and life lessons that they taught us. They both faced many challenges during the war, and we can only imagine what they chose to keep to themselves.

Lee speaking:

My father was a ‘no nonsense,’ straight ahead man of few words; but the ones he uttered had deep impact. He taught me to anticipate, think ahead and always take the high road first and stand on your principles. The work ethic I absorbed was a given from being a little boy. Keith, my father, would work on a project…not look at me or say a word,  then put his hand up for me to hand him the next tool he needed. He was teaching me to pay attention and to anticipate the next step before it comes to you.  He did it without saying a word!

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Keith F. Bortel – US Army European Theater World War II

Mary speaking:

My dad was the most kind and gentle man there was. He was firm, yet loving. If he taught us kids anything at all, it was to ‘get along.’ I’m not saying it worked, but that was what he strived for! My dad did not like disharmony in the family, and often said “can’t we all just get along?” He was born with nothing, and kept most of it his entire life. But he had a strong sense of family and a powerful passion for life, love and living! He served as the Mayor of Mabscott, W.Va. in the 50’s; he and my mother had 10 children, 5 boys and 5 girls. He was a man who loved his Lucky Strikes, Kentucky Bourbon and Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer. His family immigrated here from Sicily, and yet they were the most ALL-AMERICAN family I have yet to know! I love you dad! See you soon, on the sunny side of life!

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James Anthony Sparacino – My father, Man of Honor

May you all have a Memorial Day full of honor, respect, gratefulness & love for all our military whom we remember this day.

God Bless America, and GOD BLESS OUR TROOPS!!

Love Mary & Lee

Abbondanza!

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What is the meaning of Abbondanza? I bet most people think of the old Mama Celeste Pizza commercials when they hear this word. It’s an Italian noun, and the plural form is abbondanze. It refers to the following:

  • Abundance
  • Wealth
  • Richness
  • Affluence

What a great word, I just love it. For some reason I woke up yesterday with that word on my mind and have had it on there ever since; so today, I thought I’d write about it. You’d be amazed at how I can talk about and write on everything and anything! Lol!

I believe that God wants Abbondanza for all of us. But as I get older and life marches on, I realize it may not be in the obvious senses. When we achieve one or all of the above, we may have done just and only that. Do you know what I mean? What I’m saying is, Ok…so you’re there, you have it all; a home (or several), a car (or several) money in the bank (lots and lots), endless clothes & shoes (we’re talking running out of storage room here), food, drink & constant entertainment…now what? What’s missing? Happiness perhaps? What? Did I just say that? How could a person have all of these things and not be happy? Could it even be possible? This might make you rub your chin, roll your eyes in a pondering fashion, scratch your head, and let out a nice big “Hmmmm.” IMG_3424 IMG_3418 Yep, it certainly makes a clear calculation that with ABBONDANZA, happiness comes naturally. After all, hell, what more could one want?

  1. Abundance; plenty for all. Never running out or wanting for anything. 
  2. Wealth; endless material and monetary possessions.
  3. Richness; living on the good stuff, HIGH quality, or HIGH on the hog.
  4. Affluence; all of the above, profusion. 

Funny, they all kind of mirror one another. Perhaps if you have one of those, you have all of them? I definitely am not the person to confirm this, not from a ‘worldly standpoint’ anyway. But, what about spiritually?

I believe this is what God truly wants for all of us; Abbondanza in our hearts, souls, minds and actions.  When we can achieve THIS, what more could we want? I would imagine nothing, because this is what truly matters. This is and always will be true happiness!

May we each find meaning, fulfillment and love from all things in life that TRULY matter. Family & friends. Helping others in their time of need. Lending an ear or simply being there for the lonely. Helping out our veterans, homeless and disabled. Give love and understanding to a child who is hurting. Visit the elderly and forgotten; the nursing homes are full of people just crying out for friendship. Be a true friend to all, it’s human kindness. Be there through thick and thin. A friend in need is a friend in deed. They don’t need to ask for our help, we already know they need us. Why wait? Let’s get busy, because it’s not as easy as we would think to stop focusing on ourselves, and to start assisting others. When we can BE all of this, we’ve successfully reached ABBONDANZA, or should I say ABBONDANZE?!

Love and blessings to you and yours!

Mary

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