Health, Stress Management, Travel

First snow 2019

It’s very unusual to just now be experiencing our first measurable snow here in central Indiana. Not going anywhere today! Was hoping to get to the hike at Clifty Falls.

So, I got out and took a few pics, still very much learning my Lumix FZ80. So nice to be able to hang out at home all warm and cozy and enjoy the beauty of nature. I did get out to shovel some snow for exercise today! Might yell at the TV some during the Colts game…



Pork Chop alla Pizzaiola


Wow, this next meal is awesome too from Home Chef. As a single lady, I prepared 2 chops so I eat one tonight and another tomorrow. If I fix 2 meals per week this way, eat out once, and fix some easy breezy meals the other 2 nights, it makes a weeks worth of delicious, healthy meals! I adjusted the quantity of squash and came up short, the were so yummy, so use the recommended amount!

Preheat oven at 400


2 zucchini
1 yellow squash
2 green onions – I added more
2 garlic cloves
1 oz roasted red peppers ( love these, used 2 from the jar)
1/2 oz pitted kalamata olives (I’m not a big fan but they do add a nice flavor and I just used 2)

2 boneless pork chops ( I misread and had bone in)

1 tsp Italian seasoning blend(I use Ms. Dash)
6 oz marinara sauce ( didn’t measure, I’ll use more next time)
1 oz grated Parmesan cheese


Angle cut the squash and green onions, keeping white and green portions seperate
Mince garlic
Chop roasted red peppers and olives 1/4 dice

Pat dry chops, put seasoning on both sides, salt, and pepper

Toss squash on aluminum foil covered tray (makes for easy cleanup), toss w olive oil, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Single layer, cook 12-15 minutes.

Sear chops in a medium pan over medium-high heat, adding oil and chops for 2-3 minutes per side.

Add marinara, 1/4 cup water, white part of green onions, half the garlic, bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook till chips are at 145 degrees and marinara is consistency of thick pasta sauce, 6-10 minutes. Remove pan and rest chops for 5 minutes.

Make relish by combining roasted red peppers, olives, green part of onions, garlic and 1 tsp of olive oil.

Plate by spooning sauce on plate, adding chip on top, spoon relish and serve with roasted squash with Parmesan cheese!

Yum!!! ~Amy



Baja Fish Tacos


Home Chef is kind enough to offer recipes of its meals that are delivered to your home. I have no need for that but LOVE their recipes! Here is the fish taco recipe I made tonight. Had to remove a bit of the tortilla so it’s not as pretty as it could be, but still delicious! I had some frozen Tilapia fillets I thawed overnight. I made my own sriracha and tempura.

The sriracha recipe is at I used rice vinegar, garlic, pancake syrup, salt, shallots and no chili peppers cause I don’t like hot. Next time I’ll add some Ancho Chili Pepper for a bit of spice. I also just simmered it down and skipped the straining, didn’t seem to need it.

I made the tempura with arrow root and flour instead of corn starch cause I was out, next time I’ll use the corn starch. I added baking powder, pepper, and an egg added water for the batter.

I just dumped all the cut up fish to the batter and added to the skillet with oil, cooked for a few minutes and flipped for a few more.

I bought a bag of slaw mix, added a bit of mayo, and Sriracha, and salt, not too much! I chopped a shallot, added lime juice and salt in another bowl.

Warm the tortillas with a wet paper towel in the microwave and add in the fish, slaw and shallots and lime. Yum!!!!

Since it’s just me, I have plenty for dinner tomorrow and I’m looking forward to it!!!

Eat well and have FUN cooking!


Health, Travel

Mountain Biking at Griffin Bike Park

Griffin Bike Park is just outside of Terre Haute Indiana in Vigo County. It just opened in 2016 I believe. They honor those who have lost their lives serving our country. The Griffin family experienced this first hand with their son Dale. This is a unique mountain bike park, it has all kinds of skills apparatus and loops for little kids, terrain park with short hills you can do tricks on, and trails for all levels. Me, I just roll over the mounds, and have fun on the little kids tracks. Noah is really good at helping me be brave for the drops. He tests any drops on the trails to make sure I can roll over them without tipping over! Normally you need to get some air to land the front tire properly.

Now here is a drop a will not try but he has no issue with!!!


This park is very unique with the training aspect of it. I really wish we have something like this closer to me. There is a park being developed in my county that potentially could have something like the balance course. Mountain biking is extremely popular with plenty of youth development teams and colleges with biking programs. There are even 3 bike shops in my area. It’s good clean fun, albeit a bit dangerous, but what sport isn’t.

Noah has raced with the DINO series since he was about 8 and still enjoys racing though he doesn’t have much time to ride now with college and work.

I really enjoy riding the easy trails. I still need to get stronger to make it up the hills. But, I’m always proud when I have small successes and it’s FUN! Wheeeeeee…..

DINO also has kayaks for rent. There is a nice little lake at Griffin Park, they even have a bike jump into the water! And a bike trail over the water! We have fun cooling off on a hot day!

Our next stop will be Potato Creek near South Bend, Indiana. Will be pulling the pod with a full load of kids, they will always be my kids no matter how old they are of course, they just take up more room now!

Happy trails! ~Amy

Health, Stress Management, Travel

Silent Mindfulness Meditation Retreat

I knew I needed something. A time out. Upon reflection, I wanted peace. Time for myself without all the responsibilities and demands of the kids, house, yard, dog, cat, work. Don’t we all from time to time. I have not ever been good at balancing out self care with responsibilities. Well, I stumbled across a mindfulness retreat related to the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction certification program developed by Jon Kabat Zinn and the University of Massachusetts.

This was a week long retreat held at the Won Dharma Retreat center in Claverack NY! It was also a silent retreat. This means after arriving and have an introductory meeting and dinner, we stopped looking at and communicating with everyone. We ate in silence, we no longer acknowledged others as we walked around, we were even silent in our rooms with a roommate. This was for 7 days. The two leaders did communicate, teach, and lead groups where they checked in with us to see how things were going. We were allowed to talk briefly then.

It was a process letting go of the feeling of responsibility to acknowledge other human beings throughout my day. I reluctantly turned in my phone. I had no way of telling time except for the bells they rang and certain times during they day calling us to meditation sessions and meals.

This a Buddhist center that is open to all, their goal is to relieve suffering on the earth. There are practicing priests and priestesses there. The food is Korean based and delicious. I love the practice of removing the shoes before entering all buildings except the dining hall and the office. They have many retreats.

The center is eco-friendly having solar panels, recycling, gardening, oh and they make their own Kimchi, which I’m sorry to say I am not a fan of.


And there is the resident cat to take care of the critters… he loves to approach when we are meditating.


The setting is in the Catskills, beautiful, peaceful!

We spent all day in practice of mindfulness. Starting with a sitting practice at 6:00 am and ending with a sitting practice at 9:00 pm. We did sitting, standing, walking, and at times laying practice of meditation. We also did alternating days of yoga and Tai Chi.

My teachers lead us through the week, building on what we learned the days before. They really gave me tremendous insight about the potential benefits of meditation practice.

Number one is, I must practice. That is where insight is gained. I learned that being present with discomfort and not acting on it allows it to pass. I also learned that excitement is not what makes me happy. Being peaceful and calm is. There is a fight between wanting more and rejecting discomfort on a daily basis for me. I can get sucked into my thinking and my body responds as if I am in that situation, be it positive or negative. I get attached to things and beliefs.

I come from a background of believing I was not noticed. I was invisible. I best served others by not rocking the boat. I have learned over the years that my people did the best they could, they loved me the best they could. My perception is what molds my beliefs, not necessarily the truth.

I have felt separated, apart from, on the inside looking out, in fear, no confidence. I now know all that is up to me, not others. If I want to belong, I must insert myself into community, make myself vulnerable, allow others to get to know me, be interested in others. I create my separateness.

Now it is up to me to practice. I ebb and flow. I try not to judge myself, but just get back on track.