About Me

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

December Meal Plan

I know when Christmas is, really, I do, but somehow this year I managed to forget all about shopping for it. I *usually* pride myself on how prepared I am months ahead of time. I *usually* buy gifts all year long when I see something that is a great deal or really fits a certain person and I keep them all in a box in the school room closet. Then if a birthday party or baby shower or whatever comes up, I can *usually* "shop" in the closet and I have at least half (sometimes way more) of Christmas purchased by the this time of year. Well, right now, I have exactly one present in my box. Maybe it was the move, maybe it was the toddler, maybe it was babysitting, but something happened and I am woefully unprepared.

There's no use grumbling about it, I just need to buck up and find some money. I can't/don't want to get a job and so I have to cut from somewhere. I am pretty good at sticking to a grocery budget when I feel like it, but ours has been a little, eh hmm, fluid, lately. So, what does Christmas shopping have to do with my December meal plan? I'm glad you asked. :-) Everything! Stick with me, I'll get there.

I work hard to have a well-stocked freezer and pantry most of the time and right now it is even more so thanks to the Thanksgiving turkey. I took the carcass home and picked the meat and made stock. How much could that possibly be? It was rescued from the trash, for heaven's sake!

Take a gander (see what I did there,like a bird. I'm clever, I tell ya!):

Here we are, just getting started

Yum, after several hours

and after several more hours. I got a total of about six quarts of boiled down stock, that I divided and froze most of (we've already eaten some and it is delightful!)

Look at all of that! I picked enough for five meals


Here is some, just chillin'

Add that to the chicken, vegetables, breads, and vegetable base already in the freezer and we are pretty stocked. Sorry, I got a bit distracted there. Where were we?

Ah, yes, the meal plan. I usually budget $100 per week for groceries, gas, toiletries, and incidentals. This month, I plan to only use half that and use the other half for Christmas gifts. It wouldn't be terribly difficult to do, but I don't want anyone to feel deprived and I also want to have a somewhat fancy Christmas Eve dinner (by itself costing about $65 to feed 7, but with leftovers for one additional dinner) so I am pulling from the freezer a bit more than I would normally do. Here it is, not necessarily in the order we will eat it. The number behind lists how many dinners we will get from each recipe.


  1. Chicken, sliced potatoes, and salsa served with steamed vegetables - 2
  2. Chicken pot pie - 3
  3. Turkey soup with vegetables - 3
  4. Vegetable soup - 3
  5. Bean pasta with vegetable base and vegetables - 2
  6. Frittata with peppers, spinach, and feta - 1
  7. Tomato, basil pasta with beans - 1
  8. Chicken thighs with rice in white wine sauce and roasted vegetables - 2
  9. Spicy chicken curry - 2
  10. Jambalaya - 3
  11. Mini pizzas - 1
  12. Salmon nuggets - 1
  13. Chicken noodle soup - 2
  14. Chicken and vegetable pasta - 2
  15. Christmas Eve - 1
  16. Christmas Day (at Doug's family) - 1


When I meal plan I don't add breakfast, lunch, or snacks. We eat those things, of course. :-) We make a lot of quick breads (pumpkin muffins, pancakes, biscuits, etc.) and some yeast breads (rolls, cinnamon rolls, etc.) that we use for breakfast and snacks. We also eat a lot of oatmeal for breakfast and  fruit for snacks. We always have peanut butter on hand to eat as sandwiches, with crackers, or on pretzels. There is also usually canned tuna. Mostly, we eat dinner leftovers for lunch and the numbers above take that into account.

Here is the Christmas menu:

Apps:

  • Wasabi tuna dip
  • Hummus with crudite and pita chips
  • Crostinis with pesto, roasted tomato spread, and tapenade

Main:

  • Salmon
  • Beef tenderloin with red wine reduction

Sides:

  • Roasted brussel sprouts, carrots, onions, sweet potatoes
  • Mini latkes with sour cream
  • Tossed salad (brought by Aunt Sue)

Desserts:

  • Cookies (brought by Mom)
  • Mini pies (pumpkin, pecan, key lime, cherry, apple)
  • German chocolate bon bons
  • Coconut milk bon bons


Can this all really be done for under $200? Yuppers! That is, assuming you have a stocked pantry as well as freezer and staples. I went shopping for the month last night and spent $140 and that included a new mini muffin pan, I have about another $40 left to buy of things that won't stay fresh until I need them if I buy them now, leaving me about a $20 buffer for things I'm sure will come up before January. I didn't allot any money for gas since I have a full tank and we can always use some of the regular household money for that. I also didn't allot any for toiletries because I have backups of everything we might need.

Anyone who says eating on a budget can't be delicious and nutritious is full of baloney!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Ella

We are mostly moved in! 
Here are the girls using the secret entrance (through our bedroom) to the sun/playroom. 

I wasn't so sure I would like nearly black walls in the kitchen, but they are really growing on me. The kitchen is small, but it is so nice and we have a big built-in hutch in the dining room to provide additional storage.

I know it needs some decorating!


Beautifully remodeled bathroom
The sun/playroom. It leads right into the kitchen and the deck. I love this space!


This is the study, aka the dressing room and office. It still needs some rearranging, but we love having a space outside the bedroom to get dressed so whoever is lucky enough to get to sleep in can do so in peace.

This isn't a good picture, but it is Doug's favorite spot in the house. From here you can see all of the downstairs rooms if you stand just right.

And now, for the biggest room of the house - Paige's. This is the sleeping area. At one time our house was a duplex and the upstairs was a one-bedroom apartment. Levi got the bedroom and Paige got the living room/kitchen areas.

Continuation of Paige's room, this will be her art and changing area.

Our beautiful deck that overlooks the fenced-in yard

So, there it is, well most of it anyway. :-) We love, love it!


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

lapsed hippy

i'm embarrassed... i try, i really do. i try to be environmentally conscious. i try to do the right thing. but, sometimes i need BLEACH
and CHEMICALS
So, here's the deal.  I try to clean with natural things - lemon juice, and baking soda, and vinegar, and salt, and in a pinch, oxyclean, but the truth is that sometimes, particularly if you are a lousy housekeeper like me, those just won't work. :-(

To tell you the truth, I use the healthy things first, but about two or three times a year, I get crazy and buy some stinking chemicals. I just did it and, as it turns out SoftScrub with bleach works great. (not sure how i feel about saying that...)

So this is what I use: vinegar and baking soda mostly, then Seventh Generation cleaning supplies and dish soap, then for Doug's work clothes, every few months I soak them in blue Dawn. If you have never had the pleasure of cleaning restaurant clothes, let me tell you, it's a treat. Then, I admit, some SoftScrub and when all else fails (trash cans and diaper pails mostly) good ol' bleach. In the background there is Dr. Bronners. We use that for hand soap and sometimes baby soap when the California Baby isn't handy.

Does this make me a bad steward of this beautiful planet? maybe. There have been periods of my life where I would absolutely hate myself for "breaking" and buying the chemicals and think I had irreparably damaged the earth and my family, but, now, meh. I'm okay with doing MY best, not someone elses.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Photos in the Round

I don't think I've ever acknowledged how much I love the eclectic, yet organized photo display that my reluctantly artistic husband created. If I were to plan this photo, I would place the pillows more carefully and have Doug put down his phone, but even ignoring that, look how cute our house is!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

A Pretty Good Day aka I'm a Domestic Goddess

Fact: I am a lousy housekeeper
Fact: I'm pretty darn lazy
Fact: I'm a good mom
Fact: I can be fun to be around
Fact: I'm a pretty good cook

All of those things are equally true, I just didn't want anyone to think I was all depressed and down on myself so I added in some good things. :-)

The great thing about being a lousy housewife is that even the most minimal effort makes you look pretty good and from there, domestic goddess is right around the corner! My poor sister has to do something pretty spectacular to get the kind of appreciation the most basic act gets me. Take that, perfectionism!

Anyway, what did I do today? Went shopping and did things I love doing. Yeah, it's almost that simple! Goose and I went to the little local farmer store place (that, wonderfully, is just around the corner from our new house!) and bought yummy and delicious goodies. In addition to some lavender and rosemary to put in a big pot that I keep planting things in and then killing :

Goose helping - look there are even bugs and plants on her shirt, I totally didn't plan that, but boy, does it make me look put together!

I got veggies for a pasta primavera tonight and a whole box of "almost done for" peppers. I love having diced peppers in the freezer for quick meals, so I don't care if they are starting to wrinkle a bit.
Look at my beautiful bags of diced peppers!

Lucille also cuted herself to a couple of almost free peaches and a lime. (read: picked them up and started eating before I could stop her) The guy there was super nice and knowledgeable, I just can't tell you strongly enough how much I love friendly people!

I should mention that a big help in achieving the domestic goddess status came from the fact that Lucille slept until 10:00 today and then took a nap this afternoon after terrorizing Target and the market. So I was well rested AND had some alone time with the knife.

Now, just prepping and freezing peppers isn't quite enough, I also prepped all of the veggies for the pasta tonight, including fresh basil, thyme, and rosemary from my YARD! Oh yeah! (okay, fine, I just bought the rosemary today, but it's still a plant and I picked the leaves, damn it!) Seriously, look at those red and yellow tomatoes, aren't they gorgeous! Plus, there are some mushrooms in that bowl that the guy literally was selling to the market while I was there. He harvested them today, there were still bugs and dirt on them for heaven's sake! How can you not love this kind of stuff?!?


Not pictured is the penne I boiled in chicken broth from the freezer and white wine I'll add (and drink) later

Now, all that is pretty good, wouldn't you say? But, wait! There's more!

Look, almost all of the dishes are done and one side of the sink is clean!

This is the type of half-ass domestic goddess crap I'm talking about! But seriously, I put some baking soda in it and wiped it for like a second with a washcloth then dumped some vinegar and... ta da! clean!


Sunday, July 21, 2013

On Homophobia and Racism

I'm pretty liberal, progressive, tolerant, accepting...all those nice, fuzzy things. I'm also pretty proud of that fact and pretty proud that I am raising my kiddos to be the same. Every once in awhile, though I realize that, perhaps, I still have a way to go. This post is full of not-so-fuzzy admissions so please forgive them and know that I am just a little girl trying to make it in this big, crazy world.

If you would have asked me ten or even twenty years ago if I was supportive of gay rights I would have said, "of course, they are just like us" and I would have been happy with that answer. Here is the rub, though - those seemingly innocuous little words that break through to the real truth. They and Us. By using dividing words, I was showing what was deeper than my conscious beliefs. I thought I was accepting, I voted and talked and taught acceptance, but did I really, all the way down, believe that I was, perhaps, maybe, just a little, better than "them?" Looking back, I can't point to any examples, but I might need to admit that a feeling of superiority might have been there. I have had the privilege over the last year or so to get to know on a deeper level many homosexual individuals and families and with that familiarity has come an internal breakdown of walls that I didn't even know were there. I will say that I am much closer today to truly seeing We instead of Them and Us.

Now, what on Earth has gotten me thinking about all of this? Race. Specifically, the Trayvon Martin verdict. I am not going to get into that other than to say that I think the real travesty is not that the verdict was not-guilty or the act of violence in the first place. The real travesty is that Zimmerman apparently acted within his rights. The fact that the Florida laws allow a man armed with a vehicle, gun, and police backup to kill an unarmed person on foot is the real problem that needs to be addressed. Whew, for not getting into it, that was a lot said. Sorry.

It is no secret that I love our President, but there are definitely times that remind me just why and his impromptu remarks on the verdict are definitely one of those times. If you haven't seen them, it is totally worth the twenty minutes to do so. The gist of the speech is that we have room for improvement and until everyone can admit that, we are going to continue to have problems. There are still truths that African-American men, in particular, live that color how they see the world around them and unfortunately, too often, those are negative truths. The fact is that, even today, if President Obama were to walk down the street alone, many people would not let him get close enough to even see who he is because his gender and the color of his skin would blind them well before he was close enough to ID.

Much like the homophobia discussion, I thought I was well passed the race discussion. I have a lot of "checkmarks" in the boxes of race equality - I have black friends and co-workers, Tracy and I tried to adopt a black boy, I dated a black man, I live in an area with a lot of black people and knew that when I bought the house. But, I realized during Obama's speech that I still segregate in my thoughts. They and Us. When black teenage boys walk past my car while I am unloading groceries, I watch to make sure they keep walking. Would I do the same thing if they were white? I'm not sure, that hasn't happened that I remember (predominately black neighborhood, remember). I do know that I have had thoughts when getting to know and like a black man that he is different than I expected. So why do I expect black men to be "bad" and white men to be "good"? I know that at least part of the reason stems from a negative experience I had growing up, but to place blame there is really a cop-out and serves no purpose other than to slow my growth down.

What do I do with this knowledge? I don't know, yet. I'm going to spend more time pondering. I really, truly want to judge all people based solely on what they bring to the table as an individual, not on their physical characteristics or to whom they are attracted.  I welcome any advice!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Cabinet redux

So, what do you get when you combine

 $14 worth of lattice wood

and
 $4 worth of mis-tinted paint?

New cabinets!
Before

After

I'm pretty happy with them so far. After looking at all of these new houses, I got the urge to spruce mine up a bit, but didn't want to spend a lot of money on what will hopefully become a rental very soon. I am loving the grays and browns lately.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

What We Really Eat, Part 2



What do we eat? Carbs mostly. It's true. I'm not proud of it, but we eat a ton of bread, pasta, and sugar. I rationalize it by saying at least it's whole wheat, but really we probably should cut back. We all love breads (and as I've mentioned before, crackers) and have some type of bread at every meal and snack. The babies have also all inherited my sweet tooth, I'm afraid. 

Submitted for your approval - some random recipes from the Dolbi Collection:

Paige made these amazing chocolate chunk cookie ice cream sandwiches

These are our go-to cookies but we usually don't put chocolate in them. We call them Kara cookies after my sister who likes the last cookies made from chocolate chip dough that don't have any chips in them. At least, that's the story I remember, it was a long time ago, who knows if it's true. LOL Doug's mom sent us Easter baskets (yea!) so Paige chopped up some of the bunnies to add, she's a genius.

Kara Cookies

Dry:
1 C oats
1 1/4 C ww flour
1 t soda
1/2 t salt
1 t cinnamon

Wet:
1/2 C shortening
1 C brown sugar
1/2 C sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla

optional: 1 C chocolate or other chips or chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350*. Cream wet ingredients, add to dry ingredients, then add chips or nuts. Place about 1-2 T balls onto cookie sheets, bake 8-10 minutes. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

I usually make double or triple batches and shape it into logs and put it in the freezer so I can make a few cookies whenever the mood strikes (or, let's be honest, to just eat frozen).

What about that bread?
baked goodness


Today I used my basic recipe bread dough to make cinnamon rolls and hummus rolls. The cinnamon rolls are old news - wonderful, gooey, sugary, old news, but the hummus rolls, now that was a new idea; and a delicious new idea, if I do say so myself! That, my friends, is a terrifically awful run-on sentence with horrible punctuation, you're welcome!


So, rolls:
Basic yeast bread

8 oz soy (or regular) milk plus 8 oz water at 110* (just barely warm to the touch)
4t yeast
1/3 C sugar or 2T honey

mix above and let sit 5ish minutes (until the top is foamy), then add the following and stir.

2 egg yolks
2 oz oil
2 t salt
4C ww flour plus 2C ww flour

It is hard to say how much flour exactly, you are looking for a slightly sticky dough, but the exact amount changes with the temperature and humidity of the room and the attitude of the ingredients and the alignment of the stars and... and... I add 4 cups then dump onto a cup of flour on the counter and start kneading, adding more flour as I go, usually 6ish cups total. The dough is done when it can be kneaded without sticking to your hands too badly and the skin of it breaks and pocks when you push on it. That is a really poor description and I'm pretty sure that you shouldn't use the same words in a recipe as you might to describe disease, but there ya go; I did. 

Put the dough ball in an oiled bowl, cover with a towel and put on top of the refrigerator (that's what the old women do and they know stuff) or in an oven with a proof setting (what the young, hip women, like myself use). Let it rise until it basically doubles in size (30-60 minutes) then dump it onto a floured counter. Now your dough is ready to become about 15 dinner rolls, two loaves, or 20 cinnamon rolls. Shape the dough for your desired application and let rise another 30-60 minutes. Why such a large time frame? Remember the stars and attitude and humidity and all that jazz? It messes with the rise just like it messes with how much flour the liquid will soak up. Come on over anytime and I'll happily show you how, it really is easier than it seems!

Now, the creative part:

For cinnamon rolls: 
Gently roll out the dough into a large rectangle (roughly 16"x20") and slather it in softened butter or margarine. I mean, really slather, like twice as much as you think is enough. At least 1/2 cup, probably more, just don't tell your nutritionist. Then add about 1/2 pound (1/4 bag) of dark brown sugar (I'm sure brown sugar is healthy...) and a big time amount of cinnamon. We are cinnamon lovers here and use a lot, probably at least 2T, just sprinkle it all over. Go all the way to the edges! Then carefully roll up the dough, slice into about 1" slices and put in greased pans. I use a 9"x13" pan and put 15 in it and then put the rest in a loaf pan.

For hummus rolls:
I invented these today and I loved them. Paige hated them, Levi accepted them, Doug liked them. 

I rolled out the dough, but divided it - half for cinnamon, half for hummus. 

I sprinkled Colton's seasoning, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper over the dough, then layered hummus, spinach leaves, fresh cilantro, onions, and avocado chunks. If I had remembered that I had roasted tomatoes in the freezer, I would have added those. After I rolled and sliced, I topped them with chopped kalamata olives and italian dressing.
layering

rolling

post-rise, pre-bake
There you have it, what we eat. :-)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

What We Really Eat, Part 1

I thought it might be fun to have a record of what we actually eat.

Every once in a while it is said or implied that we are somehow missing out because we don't buy any processed foods and eat very little meat at home. We also eat a lot of leftovers! I feel like our diet isn't terribly varied, but is pretty tasty, although, to be completely honest, the more I think about it, the more boring it seems. I thought this would be a good time to start recording since I have already done all my shopping for the next week so I won't be tempted to buy something "fancy" to plump up the record.

I'm listing everything we ate for a week, but it will certainly not seem like enough food, remember how we eat lots of leftovers? I purposely make double batches so nearly every day we eat something I made previously, usually lunch is last night's dinner, so I only really cook one meal a day and sometimes not even that much. I will include some recipes, but mostly just an overview. If you are interested in specifics, I will be happy to provide.

Are you ready to see if your meals are better than mine? Here goes...



Coffee - If you were to bet that every day I had water, coffee, and beer, you would be pretty darn sure of winning. That is about all I drink, throw in some jasmine green tea and pinot noir and you would win every time.
Banana - I try to have at least one fruit a day, I know more would be better, but one is where I am. It is usually a banana, apple, or orange.
Frosted shredded wheat cereal - We eat this as breakfast and snack
Cinnamon and Brown Sugar Oatmeal - I make single-serve packets of oatmeal and keep them in a canister.  It couldn't be easier and is so much better and much cheaper than the instant packets you can buy; those are all mushy and sickeningly sweet - blech.

Put the following ingredients in a ziplock:
1/2 c old fashioned oats
1T brown sugar
sprinkle of cinnamon (to taste, maybe 1/8t at most)
pinch of salt

When you are ready to eat, all you have to do is put the bag contents in a bowl, add 1 cup of water (or milk) and microwave for 3 minutes, stirring frequently during the last minute to avoid an oatmeal volcano. Sometimes I add apple chunks, dried fruit, or nuts, but usually (like today) just eat it as is.


Garlic pita chipsWe are snackers -sometimes healthier than others, today was just plain pita chips, often I will make some hummus or black bean dip, but not today.
We are a cracker loving family! It is the only thing I never make from scratch, not sure why...hmm, maybe my next quest - we spend way too much money on them and they are the only pure white flour we eat. Levi, especially has a serious addiction. He would live on saltines if I would let him LOL



I love beer, it's a fact. My favorite are the slightly bitter IPA's, specifically Boulevard Single Wide IPA. Doug brought this Shiner Ruby Redbird home to try and I have to say, it is surprisingly delicious, not overly fruity, just enough bite

Ooey gooey, but yummy. This goes under the skin of the chicken. It is olive oil, chicken base, salt, pepper, lemon zest, and pressed garlic

All ready for my trip in the pressure cooker - 4 lb chicken - 35 minutes to tender, juicy goodness. Notice I threw the extra bits (neck and giblets and such) around the edge. I made stock with all the juice, bones, and extras when it was done cooking. I nibbled on a little of the chicken as I picked it from the bones, but didn't use it the day I made it, but rather made it for future use. This chicken was portioned into four 12 oz containers that will make at least 6 servings each if I put it in pasta. The stock was portioned into three 24 oz containers and all of it was put into the freezer.


Cinnamon Rolls - Rationalize these - whole wheat flour, so totally good for you (forget about the nearly half a bag of brown sugar). The secret? Take them out when they are still a bit squishy in the middle. Recipe to follow in another post. We ate these for breakfast, snack, and dessert several days and took some to church.

Quick and easy tomato pasta. Saute a small handful of onions and red and green peppers in olive oil for about 5-7 minutes, add a large can of diced tomatoes and two cans of water and about 1/3 pound of dried elbow pasta. Add about 1T italian seasoning, 2 cloves pressed garlic, and s&p. Let simmer until the pasta has soaked up all the water and is done (about 10 minutes). If the pasta isn't done, then add a little more water. At the very end, add a handful of chopped, fresh basil. Today I didn't feel like adding beans, but a can of drained kidney, white, or red beans would be great in this.

I also used this same technique for a lemon pepper pasta that I forgot to take a picture of. I started with the onion and peppers, but used campanelle pasta, water with veggie bouillon, then added frozen broccoli, lemon juice, and pepper about two minutes before the pasta was done. 

Slightly cooked spinach with a scrambled egg, some bacon, sauteed onions,  mandarin oranges, apple cider vinegar, and olive oil. Crisp the bacon, then add everything else, including some of the juice from the can of oranges and reduce a bit before you add the spinach.
Some days I like the house to smell yummy. If I happen to eat an orange on those days, I am set! A couple of cinnamon sticks and the peel of an orange in a pot of simmering water will make the house smell good all day, just bring the water to a boil, then back down to a very slow simmer. remember to check it every so often and add some more water as it evaporates.

More crackers. This time with tuna salad.

Salsa Chicken with Potatoes - Paige said she didn't want any until I made her try it and then she asked if we could have it more often. Score mom! I fried some thinly sliced potatoes in olive oil, added some of the chicken from earlier in the week (that I had in the freezer) and salsa. And that is it! So easy. I topped mine with sour cream (non dairy) but the kids ate it without.

Salmon nuggets with spicy aioli (fancy way to say mayo with Colton's seasoning and cayenne) and cold pasta salad with tomatoes, peppers, onions, basil, and mayo. No picture because I forgot and we gobbled it all up in one sitting! Levi claimed the salmon tasted like his childhood (in a good way) because I started making them after the house fire when we lived next to a great Cajun restaurant that sold this for a whole lot more than it cost to make it at home, but it was his absolute favorite thing on the menu! I take boneless, skinless salmon cut into bite-sized pieces and dredge it in flour seasoned with Colton's seasoning (before I had that I used creole seasoning) and pan fry them in half olive, half canola oil.

So, there you have it. Our very exciting (ha!) menu plan. There were probably a few snacks that I'm not admitting to (Easter candy is in the house) and I seem to remember a pb&j somewhere in there. Fine, I had Peeps with peanut butter! Happy now, sheesh, yes, a whole package. Fine, a whole three pack of packages. Twice. Aaaccckk, quit hounding me!

Part two will be more of what we eat, but with more details. :-)

Friday, March 29, 2013

My Latest Obesssion (aka revisiting the 1970's)

My meals tend to go in cycles; ranging from down home to near gourmet. I will get on a tomato pasta kick, then a hummus kick, then a lemon pepper kick... Right now, I am completely addicted to Seven Layer Dip. I'm sure part of it is that it is so stupid easy, I always have the ingredients, it dirties very few dishes and lately I am TIRED! But also, it is just so yummy! I call it seven layer because I'm a child of the seventies and I'm pretty sure that was its heyday, but it rarely has only seven. Here is today's edition:

Starting to layer - the beer doesn't go in, but it certainly is delicious!

Finished product, isn't it pretty! 
Here are today's layers:

canned refried beans
canned chili beans
salsa
onion
tomato
cilantro
frozen corn
raw jalapeno
almost guacamole (diced avocado, lime juice, s&p) sometimes I make real guac, but today was all about fast
sour cream (dairy free)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

$3 and 5 Minutes

I always feel so silly when I finally get around to a project that seemed like a hassle so I kept putting it off and it turns out to take next to nothing to complete. Today's project like that is the window covering in the shower.
Before: Fake bamboo. And that darkness in the bottom right corner? Mildew. Nice, I know.

After: $3 blinds. Sheesh, why, oh why do I procrastinate?? Literally took 5 minutes to install and that even included the 4 extra holes I accidentally drilled!

Does anyone else procrastinate for no reason?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Eating Scraps

I hate to waste food. Hate it. Haaaate it. I save all our leftovers, even things that weren't great the first time around. I can usually re-purpose those into something at least pretty good (eg a weak french onion soup became the base for one of the best pastas I've made lately). Today was an unusual leftover day since some of the food was leftover from my Book Club and the rest was on-its-last-leg refrigerator finds. 

Mission - feed myself lunch using scraps that most people would probably just pitch
For example, my friend, Jessica brought a delish raw veggie pizza and all these bits were left after we had devoured the slices

The rest of my list of hope-to-use-items was as follows:
parsley
tomato
mini sweet red peppers
chopped black olives
spring mix greens

I also have a pretty well stocked pantry that I could call for help to fill in missing items. I thought about just making a salad and calling it a day, but a sandwich sounded really good today.

The seminal thought came from the red peppers; they made me think roasted red pepper hummus. That worked since I always have canned chick peas, olive oil, garlic and lemon juice (I usually have lemons, but keep some bottled stuff for just this kind of emergency) and could add the parsley, checking another thing off the list.

I decided to broil the red peppers (tossed them in olive oil and dusted them with Jane's Krazy salt) until they just lost their crunch instead of truly roasting them and leave them separate instead of putting them in the hummus. Look how pretty they are!

Here is the start of the sandwich build

So, now to built the ultimate scraps sandwich:

whole wheat bread
sliced roma tomatoes
raw broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, celery mix with a little of the spread that was on the pizza (maybe a mayo, cream cheese and ranch-ish blend?)
hummus
spring greens
black olives
Finished product - sooo good!!

You might think, "Boy, that's a lot of layers, how do you eat that?" Hmm, good question. The answer is - privately. It got pretty ugly:


I should mention that I also fed the kids from the leftovers, Levi had the veggie pizza, some turkey, cheese, pepperoni, and crackers (and a perfectly good apple from the fridge). Paige had a turkey, lettuce, and tomato sandwich (and cherry pie she made yesterday).

(note - I'm lazy and have two babies in the house during the day so the pics are just from my phone)