Melanie's, Kira's and Joseph's blog.

Baked Grapefruit and “Fried” Fish

  • February 28, 2012 7:35 pm

I stumbled upon two really delicious meals this week. 

In my quest to eat more natural and more healthy, I’ve been trying to expand my selection of fruits that I enjoy eating.  I have tried multiple times in the past to enjoy grapefruit, but I just could never develop a taste for it.  After a LOT of searching over the Internet, I stumbled across Baked Grapefruit.  There are many iterations of this out there, but the basic concept is the same:  take 1/2 red or pink grapefruit, run a knife around the edge to separate the peel a bit, sprinkle with a teaspoon of sweetener (I use brown sugar, but Splenda and honey are also common), bake in a 375 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes.  And then…









This is my new snack and/or meal of choice.

On to the fish…

Do you love the flavor and crunch of a good piece of fried fish?  Do you not want to eat all the fat and calories from that good piece of fried fish?  Here’s a tip:  wrap individual servings of fish (I used red snapper) in 2-3 sheets of phyllo.  I cut the phyllo in half, so it wasn’t 2-3 full sheets; it was just enough to wrap up the piece of fish like a little present.  I swiped the fish with a thin layer of garlic oil, then sprinkled salt, pepper, and dill.  Wrapped up the fish and baked at 350 for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.  It was SO delicious.  It had all the crunch and flavor of that good piece of fried fish, but a fraction of the fat and calories. 

Sadly, no picture of the “Fried” Fish, as the inspiration to blog about it didn’t come until we’d already eaten it.  However, take my word for it, absolutely delicious!


Recipe: Blueberry-Vanilla Ice Cream

  • February 7, 2012 7:30 pm

I bought a fantastic new ice cream maker.  My plans are to figure out ways to make healthier ice creams, sorbets, frozen yogurts, etc., ones that don’t have any chemicals or processed junk in them, and that hopefully are a bit lower in fat and calories as well.  The first two batches were sinfully bad for us, but ever so delicious.  Today I decided to try one with fruit, so I made a Blueberry-Vanilla Ice Cream.  It turned out really good, and can even be made lower in fat/calories by substituting the heavy cream for fat-free half & half, which I’ll do next time.

Blueberry-Vanilla Ice Cream

2 cups fresh blueberries

1 vanilla bean

1 cup water

1 cup white sugar

1 cup heavy cream

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1.  In a medium saucepan, put blueberries, water, and sugar.  Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds out; add seeds and the vanilla bean to the saucepan.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for a minute.  It will get all frothy and delicious-smelling.







2.  Remove from heat, stir once, then let steep for 30 minutes.







3.  Remove vanilla bean.  Pour into food processor and blend until smooth.  Strain into a bowl.









4.  Place bowl in refrigerator until chilled.

5.  When chilled, stir a few times, then mix in the cream and lemon juice.













6.  Add to ice cream maker, following the instructions from the manufacturer for your model.  Churn until desired consistency.  Mine took about 20 minutes.







7.  Remove from ice cream maker and put in a bowl.  Cover and freeze for an hour or more, just to get desired level of chill.







Serve and enjoy!

Nutritional information (based on a serving size of 1/8 the total amount):  Calories:  170  Fat:  6g  Carbohydrate:  19g  Sugar:  16g (4g natural) Fiber:  1g  Protein:  1g

Our New Zealand Trip!

  • January 13, 2012 5:42 pm

We got home safe and sound early Tuesday morning.  Here’s a not-so-brief synopsis of our adventures

The plane trip to and fro: 
It was roughly 30 hours of travel, each way, with 3 airplanes each way, the longest being 12-13 hours.  On the way there Kira was fantastic.  Not a single tear shed, not a hint of a tantrum, and she slept the majority of the long haul flight.  We were tired when we arrived, but it was a pretty easy trip.  Coming back…not so much.  She was still really good, no tantrums, etc., but she did not sleep AT ALL (for over 30 hours!) and was really antsy and hard to keep entertained.  We had a 9 hour layover at LAX coming home and we got a hotel room – best move ever.  We ate a giant room service meal and all took a few hour nap before boarding the final flight to Detroit.  I think we would have killed each other or collapsed in exhaustion if we hadn’t had that little break.  The long flight from NZ to LAX was just horrid: they messed up our seats and had us crammed in a center section, no one slept, lots of turbulence…for 12 hours.  Ugh.  Joseph and I both broke out the Xanax just to cope without snapping.  Even though Kira was good, she was still very demanding of our attention and time, and we were just so tired and miserable.  We both swore we will never fly anywhere again!  LOL

New Zealand:
Our time there was really great!  It’s so hard to even recap all the good times we had – two family Christmases, a Christmas BBQ with friends, taking little day trips…just lots of good times.  The weather was beautiful, gorgeous summer.  The scenery was amazing.  Food was really yummy!  We stayed with my father-in-law and mother-in-law the whole time, except for New Years weekend where we went away for a few nights with Joseph’s sister and boyfriend.  Kira fell immediately in love with her new Grandad and grandmother, and her Aunties and Uncle…and they loved her too.  She was a spoiled little girl for a few weeks LOL.  My father-in-law owns 2 toy shops, so the amount of toys he got her to play with there and also to bring back was just awesome.  He got her a LeapPad, a Calico Critters/Sylvanian house and TONS of families and accessories, plus various other small toys and books.  They took her to 3 different zoos, to the toy store several times just to play, out for yummy meals and snacks, to the park.  They watched her for us so that Joseph and I could get out and go for walks or to dinner or even for a whole day so we could have a grown up day.   It was a nice relaxing time.  Which brings us to…

The earthquakes: 
Christchurch has been hit by a lot of really big earthquakes in the past year, the biggest in February which caused heaps of damage, death and injury.  They’ve been having aftershocks off and on since then, but had had a 4 month period before we arrived with nothing at all.  I was happy to hear this…  Then on December 23, Joseph and I were at the house alone and had just put Kira down for a nap, when a 5.8 hit…and it was a shallow, violent 5.8.  My first earthquake.  It lasted about 30-40 seconds – an eternity.  Joseph and I flew into Kira’s room as stuff is crashing down off the walls and out of cupboards.  She was sitting up in bed and nonchalantly commented “It’s shakin’.”  LOL  As her mother is practically collapsing in panic!  We went out into the living room, when the second one, another 5.something hit.  I was just panicked as I braced in the doorway.  I just had no idea what was going to happen – it was so scary.  Everyone on the walls and shelves was now on the floor – even the coals had come out of the fireplace (luckily unlit).  Finally that one ended and Joseph brought Kira out…who was still fine, but refused to stay in the “shaking” bed.  So we settled her on the couch with a movie, figuring no nap that day.  My two sisters-in-law and brother-in-law rushed over almost immediately to be with us.  I was just so shaken up…I was afraid to get up and walk around or leave the room, feeling like it might trigger another one.  So they bustled around cleaning up, I tried to calm down.  I also called my family and left them messages so that when they saw it on the news they wouldn’t fear the worst.  About 90 minutes later, the third one hit – this one was stronger, a 6.0, and felt like it lasted forever.  Joseph and his sister had Kira sandwiched between them in one doorway, and my other sister-in-law and brother-in-law had me in another doorway, and it was just horrible and scary.  Everything we’d just cleaned up fell right back down again, plus other stuff shattered on the floor.  Thankfully the house is a modern one and aside from “stuff” breaking, there was no major damage.  After that big one, my father-in-law rushed home from the shop, since now all businesses were closed (partly it’s a rule, partly all the merchandise is now on the floor).  You should see the footage from the grocery stores…just everything on the shelves now piled in the aisles.  Horrible mess.  So anyway…long story…trying to wrap it up now…   We had continuous aftershocks throughout that day and night, all in the high 4s.  Starting the next day, and every day until we left, we had up to 19 aftershocks a day…some of them just a teeny rumble or jolt (like a low 3) and some as high as 5.0 again.  It was amazing though how fast I got used to them.  I wore earplugs at night because I found that if I couldn’t hear the loud earthshaking sounds, the swaying of the bed didn’t freak me out enough to wake me completely.  Kira slept through them all at night, thank goodness.  The little ones in the day she’d just acknowledge with a “it’s shakin again” and then go about her business.  Which is kind of what we adults went through too:  a shake begins, we all freeze, the shake stops, we move on with life.  Some of them brought us to our feet, wondering if we needed to get to cover, but mostly they were just a nuisance.  I don’t know how people can live like that though…you don’t get any warning.  Just randomly the earth starts to move.  I’m glad Kira’s not traumatized though.  In fact, when we got back to our house, Joseph made a little thumping sound in the other room, Kira just glanced up “Oh, it’s a shake”, then went on about her business.  LOL

But anyway, earthquakes and horrible plane trip aside…it really was a great trip.  We do really miss seeing our NZ family already, and Kira keeps asking about them too.  I’m going to make a little photo book for her to leaf through so she can keep their images and memories vivid.  We’re hoping they’ll all be making trips over here in the next year or so, and there’s always our monthly Skype calls.  Just hate that they’re so far away.  Everyone just fell in love with Kira, and I felt so bad to take her away from them.  On the other hand, she was SO happy to see my parents back here – she hasn’t been able to stop hugging them every time they’re around.  It’s hard to have family split halfway across the world.

Here’s the ones I’ve posted…just a cross section of the trip:  https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150431260126478.360670.553746477&type=1&l=7bdeda514f.  I took over 2000, which my parents gamely sat through last night 😎

As with all wonderful long trips though, it feels incredible to be back home again!  Now we’re just reacclimating to the drastic seasonal and time change.  Still a little jet lagged, but slowly getting back into our normal routines.

Kira’s Happy Birthday Bathroom

  • November 19, 2011 9:02 pm

A year ago, for Kira’s 2nd birthday, I redecorated her room in the adorable Circo Love & Nature deco from Target.

Well, I was wandering around Target’s website this afternoon and much to my happiness, I discovered they had come out with a BATHROOM version of the same decor.  I hopped right into the car and went to town and bought all the fun stuff to re-do Kira’s bathroom for her 3rd birthday.  We called it her “Happy Birthday Bathroom” and she found it pretty thrilling.  It’s a few weeks early, but who wants to sit on all these adorable decorations and not put them right up!

PS:  The artwork hanging over the toilet is my own creation!  🙂


30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 11

  • November 11, 2011 11:20 pm

Blessing #11:  The sweetness of a sleeping child.

Thank you to Auntie Mar for the plastic puppy.  You can see that she loves it!