Posts Tagged ‘“cooking”’

Soup Season

Friday, November 9th, 2012

The weather here has been a little erratic this week. Well, I should clarify- erratic for here in Southern California where a ten degree swing and a bit if drizzle sends people in to a panic. We are not hardy east coasters, that’s for sure.

The weather finally has enough of a chill that I am thinking of soup again. I might dust of the old soup or salad blog or just keep recipes here, but I was wondering if anyone had any requests. I think I might do a mulligatawny and maybe some sort if chowder. What else sounds good?

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The Simple-ing: Stage One

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Somehow, I thought just announcing my desire to Real Simplify My Life by blogging it from the rooftops would solve all of my problems and magical elves would swoop in to reorganize my house, color block my wardrobe and fold paper into random objects. Guess what? Didn’t happen. However, I did make some little changes and try some things out. I also started boards on pinterest if anyone wants to follow along with what I have tried and what is on deck.

Snapshot of my morning studies.

The cover stories in April were:

  1. Act Small Save Big everyday strategies to save $5,000 this year
  2. Food Storage 101
  3. The Organized Home Office
  4. How to be More Optimistic
  5. Where did your Free Time Go?

I started with 1, kept 2 for future reference, don’t even recall 3-4 and 5 seemed to be more for people who worked or were much busier than I am (how I get more free time: spend less time on the internet. how I get productive free time: take Spencer to school), but I’ll look at it again.

The financial article was disappointing. There were a few gems here and there (Tried to find one to insert in these parenthesis, so on second thought, maybe nothing groundbreaking), but it mostly focused on stating the obvious. The food and drink/home section had 25 items and basically just said: use coupons, buy in bulk and shred your own cheese. There were a few recommendations for shopping at specific stores for specific savings (like shopping at drug stores from milk). I always find that surprising, but I guess it depends on perspective. They suggest that going a separate place for milk could save up 20%. I would only recommend doing this if you were already going to the store. Otherwise it doesn’t seem worth the time, gas or possibility to buy something else in the store. I’ve also found that Target, Fresh & Easy and Trader Joe’s all sell milk at least 25% cheaper than our chain grocery stores.

The other thing I found very surprising was that they suggested a big savings ($668) by buying bottled water by the case instead of at gas stations. I’m pretty surprised that there isn’t a recommendation to not buy bottled water. The monthly bills section is a little better. Many people don’t know they can appeal property taxes and get reassessed, so good to include that. And they said to dump extras on your landline and somewhere else to bundle your landline, but never to drop your landline, so I sense a corporate hand in some of this. So basically, if you’ve never read an article on little ways to save money, check this one out. Otherwise, skip or scan it. It’s mostly common sense.

 

I had a lot more luck with the food sections this month. 10 ways to cook chicken thighs! We like chicken! Lemon desserts! We like lemons! I had less luck with an online pot roast recipe, though. So, maybe I should stick to print. Starting up with menu planning was my biggest change, which wasn’t in the magazine per se, but inspired by the project. I’m sure they’ve mentioned it at some point… I did 4 days and stuck to them, with some minor rearranging. It even rolled into a 5th day when I decided to use my leftover pot roast to make chili. If you are looking for a pot roast recipe, don’t use this one. I do, however, highly recommend making chili from left over roast. Delicious!

Purchases/Trends

I only really did 2 things from here this month: purple eye shadow and the magic hairbrush. Seriously, this hairbrush is a life changer. I don’t blow dry my hair and would put it up out of the shower to keep my clothes from getting wet and then hours later, I would end up with bumpy, still damp hair. Now, I get out of the shower, towel dry, brush through and I can leave my hair down or braid it and no wet shirt. Score!  I thought I could test run the lacy bra feature when I found one that still had tags on in my dresser drawer, but it didn’t fit. I’m quite curious about preppy clothes – maybe if I need a new thing or two for BlogHer in august.

This Month’s Question: What change to your routine has save you the most time?

I found this section way more helpful than the article. This is where readers write in answers to a question posited in the issue prior. Maybe I should make it my mission to get one published.  The tips were really good: sort silverware in the dishwasher while you are loading it (I tried this – way harder than it sounds). don’t put it down, put it away (I’m trying this, but it is brutally hard. I’m a stuff abandoner.), choose kid’s clothes the night before (I did this myself for work, will use for Spence when he cares more.)

 

I also cleaned my kitchen cabinet that was on my 12 in 2012 list for April, but I got the extra motivation from reading such an organization-focused magazine. Baby steps, people. Baby steps. I realized that I can’t focus all of my energy of just the magazine and the website has a lot of listings, although not the current issues recipes (?), so I am going to consult it when I have a question. Like right now, I am thinking about changing out the liners in my kitchen drawers, I will definitely check the site for tips. Maybe I should make myself a WWRSD bracelet.

Little Bits from My Kitchen vol. 3

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

It’s been a while since I’ve posted one of these, but I haven’t done a ton of cooking lately. I’ve been battling a broken oven and a general feeling of kitchen ennui. I did, however, sign up for foodzie and get my first box, so that was super fun. Thanks Amanda for telling me about it!

The box was pretty fun and who doesn’t like getting packages? I won’t break down all the parts, but I think my favorite part was either the old bay/bacon fat peanuts or the granola. My husband’s favorite was the beer truffles, I think. Everything was make in Brooklyn, pretty awesome.

I need to talk about my water carafe. It really changed my day to day beverage life and for the way better. We picked up a fantastic thermal water carafe over the holidays and I love it. I’m not one of the cool kids with a Keurig and our coffee maker was awful so we gradually switched over to instant coffee. It has come a long way since the sanka I remember from childhood and we use the trader joe’s brand for day to day and the starbucks via when we’re feeling fancy. I love this carafe because I can just boil a kettle of water on the stove, pour the remainder in the carafe and it stays nice and hot all day. In fact, if we make a cup of tea after dinner and fill up the carafe, it is still plenty hot in the morning.


I’ve been trying to buy more bulk chicken to cook for dinner. Chicken legs were on sale a few weeks ago and I bought I giant pack of them and then just sort of started at them. I don’t love legs, but it turns out I like them more than I remember. I brushed them with bbq sauce and baked them in the over (before it broke) turning a few times and brushing with more sauce throughout the baking. Yum. I’m also getting the big bags of boneless skinless thighs to try some of the Real Simple Recipes.

Cooking is part of my Real Simplify My Life Project and I’ve made one thing so far, from the 10 things to do with chicken thighs article.

This turned out really well – even Spencer liked it. I followed the recipie about as well as a normally do. I made it exactly like this, but used boneless/skinless thighs, cooked it in a skillet and used edamame instead of lima beans. The most fun part of this recipe was how much Spencer helped. He helped me zest and squeeze the lemon, his hand on mine, meausure the spices and mix the marinade. He even poured it over the chicken.

Tip: if you have a counting obsessed toddler and a recipe calls for tablespoons, go ahead and use a half teaspoon to measure. Spencer really dug all the extra counting. Just remember – 3 teaspoons in a tablespoon, so 6 half teaspoons in a tablespoon.

The Groundbreaking Art of Cupcake Eating

Friday, February 18th, 2011

I seriously have no idea why I never thought of this sooner. It must have popped in my head because Spencer insists on calling cupcakes muffins. We don’t eat them very often, so I thought I would make them for Valentine’s Day. Hubs went out to run some errands and Spencer was happily playing puzzles so I thought I would get the cupcakes in the oven, funfetti naturally. So the cupcakes baked away and were cooling and then hubs got home with my super-awesome Valentine’s present – an ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins. Awesome present yes, but it negated the cupcakes. I went a head and frosted one because I wanted to take a picture of the cupcake for my valentines’s project365 post and one for wordless wednesday and then froze the rest. Cut to today, a few days after Valentine’s day. I had already made a dent in the frosting with my spoon, but now I wanted a little cupcake with my frosting. For breakfast. And then brilliance struck while I was thawing the cupcake. If a cupcake is a muffin, then frosting should be the butter. Confused? Allow me to show you, PDub style.

Assemble your supplies: frosting, cupcake and a knife (not shown)

Unwrap the cupcake. If you did not use a paper wrapper, skip this step.

Cut cupcake in half, using a knife.

Rinse off your knife, preferably in a clean sink, but in a pinch a dirty sink (pictured) will do.

Dry off your knife or you will get water in your frosting and it will slide right off the blade.

Scoop up frosting with the knife. Do not lick.

Spread frosting on the cupcake halves.

Stuff in your pie, or in this case cupcake, hole.

Disclaimer: This was not sponsored by any sort of prepared cake or frosting company, but I do think they would be pleased by my ingenuity. I doubt, however, that the Pioneer Woman would be impressed.

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