Category Archives: Cooking

Foodie For Thought – Thanksgiving

I’m one of those people that can be happy with a meal of a good glass of wine (or beer), some yummy h’ordeuvres and good company/conversation. I value the friendships I have and the people in my life – some are new and some have been around the block a few times with me.  This Thanksgiving is definitely little different.

  • It’s my first in 11 years as a single person.
  • It’s my first without my dad (I miss him terribly).
  • It’s my first (in 12 years) without my family.

I am grateful to have excellent friends who have supported me throughout the last 7 months. It’s been a rough road and I have had MANY challenges. This holiday season has been OK so far, it’s hard without my dad and the traditions I have relied on (and sometimes complained about) for years.

This year I returned to my old place of employment, I have made some special new friends and I have let some friends go. I hope my friends and family know how much I care about and love them.

Someone who has become a good friend is Jess, I am going to her house for my Thanksgiving meal and I am contributing two yummy recipies for the feast.

First up is Carmelized Onion and Blue Cheese Bites and the second is Brie and Fig Jam Bites. Who can say no to puff pastry, gooey cheese, yummy rosemary, blue cheese and fig jam? Just add wine!

I’m not a big fan of New Years resolutions but I am so ready to rock 2013 I may just change my mind on that. I am ready for a new chapter in my life. I don’t need to dwell on the past any longer. It served it’s purpose as a lesson and I am moving full steam ahead!

Watch out world!


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Filed under celebrations, Cooking, Holiday's

>Small Accomplishments, Mini Quiche & Roller Derby

>What do they all have in common? Not really sure but it’s what has been going on in my world lately.

Last weekend the hubs got the rest of our baseboard molding installed in our living room. We still have to patch the holes and paint but all base and crown molding is now installed in the main part of the house (kitchen, living, hallway & dining). We technically still have to install moldings around the bedroom and bathroom doors (three of them) but narrower molding so I am calling this step in the project done!

Last night I made mini quiches with red bell pepper, mushroom, bacon and cheese. I did them in muffin tins. I was NOT pleased with how they turned out. Too small and even though it was cooked through it was too watery. I even cooked the veggies BEFORE I put them in the egg mixture.

The egg mixture probably needs to be increased in order to make enough fuller mini quiches for breakfast for the hubs and I each morning. That is a lot of eggs! I have not figured out the calories yet. Anyone have helpful tips on mini quiches?

Last Saturday the hubs and I went to Roller Derby for the first time. It was a friends birthday and she saved three of the front rows for us all to hang together. That night we even set an attendance record! It took me a while to get the general idea of the rules and I still don’t understand everything but it was fun. The medics only had to be called out once and a girl ended up on crutches.

The local league is the Rat City Roller Girls. There are four teams; Derby Liberation Front, Grave Danger, Sockit Wenches & Throttle Rockets. They have the GREATEST names like Yoko Onoudi’nt, Georgia O’Grief, X-Khan & Betty Ford Galaxy.

Oh yeah, and their “cheerleaders” and fans take things seriously! Below Skeletora or Countes De Bodies – not really certain.

A huge Grave Danger fan. He was VERY in to it.

My SD and her friend with a member of the Throttle Rockets.

Her friend (in the hat) is in Jr. Roller Derby. I think my favorite was the Sockit Wenches. Probably because I liked their uniforms the best and they kicked some serious but in their match.

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Filed under completed goals, Condo, Cooking, dieting, health, Home Improvements, recipes, roller derby, steampunk

>Quick Easy Inexpensive Meal

>I picked up a couple cookbooks at the library recently. Both by Sandra Lee of Semi Homemade fame. For those of you who have not heard of her. Her whole philosophy around cooking and food is 70/30. Mix 70% quality prepackaged foods with 30% fresh ingredients. I watched her show on the Food Network a lot when I was unemployed three years ago. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to pick up one of her cookbooks!

Tonight I made cashew chicken from the Money Saving Meals cookbook. It took hardly any time at all and it was good. I bought a roasted chicken which is more than enough meat for two recipes (tomorrow night it’s chicken mole), a bag of frozen stir fry veggies (also will cover both dishes), canned sauces, cashews, canned chopped tomatoes and Top Ramen. Total cost for these groceries $23.48 (already had rice for chicken mole at home). Recipe says four servings each but it makes more like six for the cashew chicken. That comes out to $2.35 per serving unless the chicken mole makes six servings then it’s $1.96 per serving!

I lucked out too cause the cashew chicken recipe called for a can of waterchestnuts and the bag of frozen veggies I bought already had them in there (along with mushroom, carrot, broccoli & yellow carrot). I think next time I make this dish I will make a few substitutions.

  • The stir fry sauce was a little to salty for my taste so I will substitute peanut sauce.
  • Two packages of Ramen noodles were a lot (my veggies actually had a small amount of noodles included too) so I will try just one package if it’s just hubby and I.
  • Not as many veggies as I like so I will double the veggies next time.

Just the other night hubby and I went to a local restaurant that has a really good happy hour special and spent $26 (including tip). Granted our beers were $6 each (Guinness) but our appetizers were $3.50 and $4.50 each. The appetizers were really more like regular servings. Hubby got a huge burger and fries and I got a regular serving size of Rigatoni Bolognese. We were totally stuffed.

Even though the happy hour meal was a good deal for the price for eating out it just goes to show how much you can save by cooking at home. Not only that but this recipe was pretty Weight Watchers friendly. The Ramen noodles were probably the worse in the dish point wise! Also, it’s a recipe I can make from memory. I don’t need a cookbook to tell me how to make it again.


Filed under Cooking, dieting, finances, recipes, Weight Loss

>Happy New Year!

>It’s September 1 and my “New Year”. Today is day one for so many things…

Health – Goals for September are…

*Lose ten pounds
*Get twenty minutes of exercise a day
*Drink at least six 8 oz. glasses of water a day
*Journal my points on the ww website religiously
*Take current photos and measurements

I weighed myself this morning and entered it in to weight watchers online system (up 1.8 from last week – bummer but not a surprise) along with my yummy point wise breakfast. I put together chicken chili and it’s cooking in the crock pot as I type this. I got out some salmon to grill for dinner too. I plan on jumping on my elliptical for at least twenty minutes today as well.

Wealth – Goals for September are…

*Stay within the 5% fun money budget
*Stay within the food budget
*Try out the Walgreens 101 plan
*Keep doing surveys enough for another $50 check (or more)
*Start some online offers
*Pay additional $485 on the debt (focus is credit cards this month)

I spent some time yesterday going over the budget and making some adjustments. Today I finished revamping our budget spreadsheet and balanced the checkbook. I updated our net worth badge and debt graphs on the blog. I know what our fun money budget is for this week until I get paid Friday. I have done a couple surveys and plan on starting an online offer this week.

Spirit – Goals for September are…

*Do yoga once a week to settle myself
*Have “date night” with hubby to connect
*Work on my screenplay/book
*De clutter my bookmarked sites, documents and photos saved to the computer
*Work on knitting my Lady E
*Generate a list of ideas for Christmas gifts (hand crafted or not)
*Get my house decorated for fall
Research a class on html and writing

I have started to jot down what is rumbling around in my head for my screenplay/book. Plan to do some knitting while watching a favorite movie after I get off the computer.

My thoughts are with all who are affected by hurricane Gustav. Here’s to a great month!

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Filed under clutter, Cooking, crafts, Debt, finances, goals, Lady E, Weight Loss, writing

>Pasta Sauce

>Several years ago when I was not working I was addicted to the Food Network and watched Giada De Laurentiis show Everyday Italian almost religiously.

One day she was talking about making homemade pasta sauce. She would throw some tomatoes, basil and garlic in her food processor and make up a big batch then freeze it in serving sizes for two. When she needed some pasta sauce she would take out a freezer bag and just reheat it on the stove.

I thought this was a great idea to save money. I could grow my own tomatoes (or buy bulk at Costco) and basil and make a batch of pasta sauce at low cost which I could reheat whever I wanted to throw over my favorite pasta. I knew all the ingredients that went in to it. I did not have a food processor at the time so I filed that away in the back of my mind for when I did.

Last night I tried to make this recipe from what I remembered from watching her show. It turned out OK – kind of watery but some of that could have been from the tortellini’s. I threw three Roma tomatoes, two small garlic cloves and two leaves of basil in to the food processor, pureed it, then put it on the stove with a little Oive oil mixed in.

The result was a little too much garlic flavor for my taste and it needed to be either thicker or chunkier – or both.

Do any of you out there have a great quick homemade recipe for pasta sauce or suggestions for my attempt?

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>Alton Brown Is My Hero

>Have you ever watched that TV show on the Food Network called Good Eats? Alton Brown, the host, really get’s in to food. Right down to the science behind how food is supposed to taste. One of his most recent episodes is about chocolate chip cookie baking. Who knew that by simply adding more brown sugar you could get chewier chocolate chip cookies? Chewy is the way I like em. Not crisp or fluffy but gooey chewy.

Ooey gooey chocolaty goodness!

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