40 by 40

July 30th, 2018

We almost bought a house yesterday but it was over budget. Not a little bit over budget, but a lot bit. Blow the roof off the the budget. It was exactly like the first house on the Property Brothers. You know, when they take people to their dream house and then it is hundreds of thousands of dollars over their budget and they laugh at them at tell them they should have made better life choices to have that house.

So now I am in crisis. I have been thinking all day about what we would do if that house came up for sale again next summer, which is when we were planning on looking for a house to buy. Maybe prices would drop! That seems like a reasonable thing to pin my hopes on. If the price drops enough, odds are that my investment account aka the downpayment would also drop and then we start to have a reverse give a mouse a cookie situation.

I have stared at the wall most of the morning. I have rage scrubbed a floor, deep in a pit of what if, should have dones and self loathing and then it hit me. I am doing nothing RIGHT NOW to help me buy that house in the future. And also, truth be told, I would rather go to Hawaii than have a house with a pool. A bigger house is just more to keep clean.

I think it is time to get my priorities straight. And figure out what exactly I want out of life and then make it happen. I need a list. I was going to do a 50 by 50 list, but being solidly planted in my early but not quite mid forties, being 50 is too much to think about right now. So what about a 40 in my 40s lift. That’s a thing, right? No. Well, I am making it one. Starting…. now.

Also, hey! hi! hello! I guess my blog is back.

via GIPHY

 

Spring Garden Cupcakes

March 8th, 2016

Full disclosure – I didn’t make this or think of it. These Spring cupcakes were the project for Spencer’s final 4H Intro to Baking class. They’re so cute, I couldn’t resist posting them. I don’t have the exact recipe, but I know enough to explain how to recreate them.

easter spring garden

They made a basic chocolate cupcake (from a mix or I love this one from Martha Stewart) and frosted the cupcakes with chocolate buttercream and topped with crumbled chocolate graham crackers (crushed chocolate wafer cookies could also be used). The basic idea for the cupcake is a dirt cake/cupcake, but topped with a strawberry dipped in orange candy melts to look like a carrot. (I imagine dyed white chocolate could also be used.)

Garden Carrots

 

To make the “carrots,” follow the directions on the candy melts, but basically you melt the candy melts over low heat, dip the strawberries in and then let them cool on wax paper.

Truman has an egg allergy so Easter is one of the trickier holidays. An egg free alternative to the cupcake is just placing the dipped strawberries on some shredded coconut, you could also dye the shredded coconut green if you wanted more of an easter grass feel.

I had a hard time keeping Spencer’s hands off of the cupcake. He was not pleased I wanted to take photos, making the wait time even longer. “Mo-oooom, I just want to pick the carrot. I made it.”

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Special thanks to Annette, and 4H baking. If you ever see this, thanks for the idea! And sorry about the photos, Spencer barely let me take photos with my phone, let alone get the camera out or set anything up. And yes, the cupcake is a little smooshed and lopsided. It was made by a 6 year old! Looks pretty good to me!

Amazon affiliate links were used in this post. All of you pennies, they will be mine.

Tomato and Bacon Soup (pressure cooker)

January 14th, 2016

Whole30 and Paleo friendly

Paleo Whole 30 tomato bacon soup instant pot

My first pressure cooker/instant pot recipe! I am by now means an expert but there are lots of blog posts out there with tips. I wouldn’t normally post a recipe using such new (to me) equipment, but this recipe for a Whole 30 and paleo-friendly tomato bacon soup SO GOOD that I had to share.

The smokey flavor is really strong in this soup, it makes a non-dairy tomato soup taste so full and rich. It’s great. A little cup of leftover soup would go great with eggs in the morning, too.

Ingredients

  • 1 slice thick cut bacon (or some prosciutto or pancetta), chopped
  • 20 ounce can of whole tomatoes (no sugar added)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped in to 4 pieces or so
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled (whole or chopped)
  • 4 cups water or chicken stock
  • 3 fresh basil leaves (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • smoked salt, to taste (about a teaspoon during cooking, more to finish) or sea salt

Equipment

  • pressure cooker (I used an instant pot, adjust cooking times for stovetop)
  • immersion blender or blender

Directions:

  1. Add the chopped bacon to a small pan and turn the heat to low/medium low (you can use the saute function on an instant pot, but I wanted to keep the heat real low and not brown the onions). You want to begin to melt the fat of the bacon without it getting crispy.
  2. When there is a nice coating of bacon fat on the bottom of the pan, add the onions. Cook until onions are translucent, trying not to brown them too much. About 10 min. Stir occasionally.
  3. Add the onion bacon mixture and the remaining ingredients to the pressure cooker.
  4. Cook using the soup function and either vent naturally or manually. (Please follow all pre-cooking safety checks per your user manual as well as proper venting procedure.)
  5. When soup is finished, blend with an immersion blender (or a regular blender, just don’t fill it too full!) to a mostly smooth texture.
  6. Garnish and serve!

Garnish ideas: chopped fresh basil, sliced green onions, coconut cream swirl, roasted pumpkin seeds (Or if you eat dairy try a little grated cheese or sour cream)

Note: I bet this could be made just as deliciously on the stove top or with a slow cooker, just cook it long and low and really allow the smokey bacon flavor to permeate the soup.

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2016 Goals by the Numbers

January 7th, 2016

There is an old saying that doctors make the worse patients. I think that must also hold true for (former) performance improvement specialists. I can improve anyone but myself… One of the adages in the industry is that it is better to set hard but achievable goals rather than easy to meet low hanging fruit goals. Why try and improve something by 5% when you can go for 25%?

I am taking that approach with goals for the year. My word per a facebook poll was change, so change it will be. I hope that having so many goals and things to do will keep me busy and on track. I’ll set up a page per goal to help myself keep track. I don’t think I’ll blog anything unless it is super noteworthy. Well, I will blog the blog posts that are part of goal #3. They might be book reviews in conjunction with goal #1.

Goals:

  1. Finish reading 52 books by female authors. (Any book completed for the first time in 2016 counts, regardless of when I started the book.)
  2. Try 52 new recipes. Maybe this is the year I will finally master the lamb chop. But this is recipes, not try 52 new through random stuff in a pans. I feel like our meals are getting boring because my basic skills are getting rusty.
  3. Write and publish 52 blog posts.
  4. Complete 1 whole 30.
  5. Get outside with my camera on a non holiday 12 times.

 

We. Will. See.

 

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New Year. New Snow.

 

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