Rejoice with me Internet.
My beloved precious camera arrived yesterday, and it works.
Tomorrow I will have pictures to share.
Cousin Jerry sent me an email saying…
Rejoice with me Internet.
My beloved precious camera arrived yesterday, and it works.
Tomorrow I will have pictures to share.
Cousin Jerry sent me an email saying…
Good grief, where did October go?
Every morning, Monday through Friday, the girl and I go out for exercise.
It has been rather chilly of late, (30º) so early in the morning. (7:30am)
I, being the Queen of DeNile, not wanting to acknowledge that winter is on its way, throw on a pair of gloves, grab my walking stick (thank you Ginger) and am on my merry way.
The girl, however, is a different story.
To say that I am frugal is to say that pink is a nice color, or chocolate is a nice after dinner treat.
No, I am very frugal. Not to an extreme measure like Amy Dacyczyn of the Tightwad Gazette fame. (Although I do have all three of her books, and have them highlighted) Her books opened the frugality door a bit wider in my world. I do some of the things that she suggests, but not all.
About 8 years ago, Superman had neck surgery and he was out of work for 3 months. That was the worst year, financially, of our marriage. We literally had nothing, and I vowed like Scarlett O’Hara that we would never be hungry again.
In today’s economy, I think everyone is beginning to rethink how they do things. Especially grocery shopping.
This week someone asked me how I can make all the things I post on my blog and not go broke. It isn’t a miracle like someone suggested, I just shop differently.
After Superman’s surgery, and reading all my Tightwad Gazettes, I took one of her suggestions to heart and I have never looked back.
First I shop at Aldi. If you are not fortunate enough to have an Aldi in your area, Save-A-Lot is the next best thing. I have never seen another store be able to compare in price over all, to Aldi.
Many people don’t want to give up their name brand items. Many site that store brands don’t taste good or they are a little ‘off’. Just because a store brand doesn’t taste the same as a name brand doesn’t mean that it tastes bad, it just tastes different. This doesn’t mean that I don’t have name brands. I have about 5 bags of Ghiradelli chocolate in my pantry. (It went on sale.) I also have about 50 pounds of Gold Metal flour. It was on sale, cheaper than I could get at Aldi.
Secondly, I stock up.
My grocery cart rarely looks like a normal persons. When I find flour on sale (and it has to be a good sale) I won’t just buy 2 bags, I buy 10. When butter goes on sale, I buy 40 pounds and freeze it. Same with sugar, etc.
I wasn’t able to do that in the beginning.
When we began to recover, financially, from Superman’s surgery I started slow. I’d go to the store, and purchase my regular amount of groceries and add a couple of cans of tuna, or green beans, or bags of flour till I was stocked to the point of having enough in my pantry till another huge sale came along. One thing that always works in my favor is Thanksgiving and Christmas. Basic baking staples always go on sale around this time, and I am the freaky woman who is shoveling flour and sugar in her cart. It is also at this time that I stock up on nuts.
It took about a year or so to get to that point, and it was a struggle at times to get there. There have been years that we have eaten straight from the pantry for months at a time because I couldn’t afford to go to the grocery.
One of the other things that helps me to be able to stock up like this, is I try to put back money for this specific purpose. When times are lean, I only stick back $1-5. When Superman gets overtime, I stick back $20. That way, I am not taking $$ away from any other area.
This is what works for me. It might not work for you, but I hope that I have been able to encourage you, to get some thoughts flowing on how you can save some $$ at the grocery.
Next time, I’ll talk about how I save on cleaning supplies, etc.
I have no cute story for today, because today we are talking about Chocolate.
Specifically chocolate and peanut butter.
And when I talk about chocolate (and peanut butter), everything else leaves my brain.
Clara from I ♥ Food4thought picked today’s TWD and she picked Chocolate Chocolate Cupcakes.
I put a lot of thought into these cupcakes, as 1. they are chocolate and I wanted them to be fabulous, and 2. they are chocolate and I wanted them to be fabulous.
Many people said that this recipe was dry to them, so I substituted half of the butter with oil.
Some people filled them with marshmallow cream, some suggested putting an Andes mint in the middle, some didn’t fill them at all, but as you can see…I did!
And as you can clearly see, I got a bit over zealous.
Over filled them.
Which in turn made them a bit difficult to de-pan.
Which is fine with me, as cook cleans up the crumbs.
Then I had to think about the icing. See, it the recipe calls for a ganache.
Ganache has its place, and I do like a good ganache~~in truffles~~but not as a topping for a cake, or a cupcake.
Cakes and cupcakes must have a ooooey-gooey icing.
Must. I think I read it in the rules…somewhere.
I had to consider what kind of icing these cupcakes deserved.
I thought about taking marshmallow fluff and mixing it with some peanut butter, but then I wasn’t quite sure of proportions.
Then I considered doing a chocolate icing with some peanut butter in it, but thought that might be over the top.
So I consulted my good friend Google.
Google suggested many things, including my new favorite frosting.
Fluffernutter Frosting~~adapted from Google
Cream first 4 ingredients together. Add salt and sugar. Mix well. Icing will be very stiff. Add at least 2 tbsp. ½ and ½ or more till you get the consistency you like.
These are outrageously good.
If you want to make them, go check out Clara’s blog. She has the recipe.
October is pastor appreciation month, so yesterday in Sunday School, we had a tea party for our pastor’s wife.
One of the things brought out in the small devotional that was given, was that we really need to be grateful for others around us.
Grateful, thankful and encouraging.
Are you thankful for the people in your life?
Do you encourage those around you?
Do you let the special people know just how special they are to you? how happy you are that they are in your life?
How often do you encourage someone?
How often do you let others know you care?
Take time to let them know.
Send a card, send a wee giftie, tell them verbally, give a hug, but do something.
It will bless them, but it will also bless you in return.
Then continue to do it, because those in our lives need to know we care. Once just isn’t enough.
PS. I made some Orange muffins for the tea. Several ladies were asking for the recipe.
I got the recipe from here. I love them because they are a one bowl muffin, and you don’t even need to get out a mixer.
~~Ok, ok, ok…I got out my little hand mixer, because I’m a princess in hiding, and I didn’t want to have to put out the effort of creaming the butter and sugar with a wooden spoon. I have done it before with the wooden spoon, but…have I mentioned I’m lazy?
Orange Muffins with Brown Sugar Glaze
Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and mix well. Mix in butter milk. Add flour, soda and orange zest. Stir till just combined.
Grease your mini muffin tins and fill 2/3 full. Bake for 12-15 minutes @ 375º.
Stir orange juice and brown sugar together. Take muffins from oven, and immediately top with glaze. Remove from pans and cool slightly.
Do you have a bunch of apples in your kitchen and don’t know what to do with them?
I have a great idea.
Make an apple cake.
But not just any apple cake, specifically this apple cake.
I have never had an apple cake that tasted so good.
Let alone one that doesn’t need icing or any other adornment. It is fabulous all by itself. (and that’s saying something because this girl loves her some icing)
It is also good the second day, and the third day.
I couldn’t tell you about the 4th day, though.
Yesterday, my kid sister and I were chatting on the phone, and she was telling me how her husband “rigged” their rotting bathroom floor with…license plates.
Yes, internet, license plates.
I can not really say much because one of the arms on my umbrella style clothes line is “rigged” with a ½ ” metal pole and duct tape. It has been like that all summer.
My laundry sorter is “fixed” with the same duct tape.
It is Friday, and I am nosy.
Is there anything “rigged” at your house? and who “rigged” it?
What is the most ridiculous “rigging” you have every seen or done?
I cheated, and I’m not sorry so sorry.
I just didn’t have the gumption to make this weeks BB (Barefoot Bloggers) recipe.
I don’t know if it was because the recipe was really involved, or if the ingredients didn’t quite appeal to me, I don’t know.
But I cheated.
I asked Chefboy to make the filling for me.
And he did.
I did put it in the bowls.
I also had a baggie of my favorite pie dough in the freezer.
So cheated and used that too.
To ease my guilt make up for the fact that I really didn’t do anything but photograph this recipe, roll out the dough, put the tops on and bake it, I tried to pretty up the tops.
I’ll do better next time.
Here is the recipe that Deb of Kahakai Kitchen picked for us.
Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and fennel and saute until translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the flour, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Slowly add the stock, Pernod, saffron, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the heavy cream and season to taste. The sauce should be highly seasoned.
Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 10 minutes. Lift out with a sieve. Add the asparagus, carrots, and squash to the pot and cook in the boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain well. Add the potatoes, mixed vegetables, onions, and parsley to the sauce and mix well.
For the pastry, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the shortening and butter and mix quickly with your fingers until each piece is coated with flour. Pulse 10 times, or until the fat is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water; process only enough to moisten the dough and have it just come together. Dump the dough out onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Divide the filling equally among 4 ovenproof bowls(ok, this filling makes tons. I don’t know what size her oven proof bowls were, but mine were a good sized cereal bowl, and I needed 7 or 8 of them). Divide the dough into quarters and roll each piece into an 8-inch circle. Brush the outside edges of each bowl with the egg wash, then place the dough on top. Trim the circle to 1/2-inch larger than the top of the bowl. Crimp the dough to fold over the sides, pressing it to make it stick. Brush the dough with egg wash and make 3 slits in the top. Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot.
This was a wonderful tasting Vegetable Chicken Pot Pie. I loved it. Chefboy did a wonderful job on it.
I won’t cheat again.
I want my camera back.
It is Autumn now, and the trees have almost all turned. Most of them have lost their leaves already. I wanted to take some pictures of pretty trees with red and orange and yellow leaves, not barren sticks.
I want my camera back.
Impatient in Pothole, Ohio
Every since I was little, I have always been afraid of pumpkins. That whole cutting off the top and sticking your hand into some dark, slimy, mysterious place that your hands really shouldn’t go.
As a teen, the parents stopped doing the whole carving pumpkin thing, so I was off the hook for the longest time, but then I began to have children.
And the children began to want to carve pumpkins.
And Superman began to work 2 jobs.
And I began to have to cut tops off and stick my hands into dark, slimy, mysterious places that they didn’t belong.
Oh, the things parents do for their children.
Today’s TWD is Pumpkin Muffins, and it was Kelly from Sounding My Barbaric Gulp’s turn to pick our recipe.
I didn’t change much in this recipe.
I substituted mini chocolate chips for the raisins, because I like raisins in my baked goods about as much as I like sticking my hand in a pumpkin.
I also candied the sunflower seeds for the topping.
These muffins are hearty, moist, and good.
If you’d like to make these great muffins, you’ll find the recipe at Kelly’s blog.
Over the weekend, some friends invited us over to their house for shooting and pizza.
Shooting + Pizza = happy men
And even though the girl and I are princesses, we must keep up the disguise.
If we didn’t, there would be all this paparazzi and reporters following our every move, and I just couldn’t live like that.
PS. See the chips? See how far there face is away from the scope? See me? You should see my nose all bruised up from the recoil. Someone should have warned me.
Driving a Chevy Astro van, with Missouri tags.
Pulling a trailer with Oklahoma tags.
Mom, dad, and then fiancee along for the ride.
Clueless about a loaded shot gun under the back seat.
Red flashing lights in the rear view mirror.
First speeding ticket.
I’ll never forget the embarrassment of being pulled over in front of my fiancee, or the fact that I had to walk to the cruiser and I was barefoot and the ground was cold, or the fact that I oh, so snarkily told him to have a Happy Thanksgiving after he handed me my ticket, or the relief in my dad’s voice as he told me about the gun.
If you have, how old were you when you got your first one?
Sweetest Day is an observance celebrated primarily in the Great Lakes region and parts of the Northeast United States on the third Saturday in October.
The origin of Sweetest Day is frequently attributed to candy company employee Herbert Birch Kingston as an act of philanthropy. However, Bill Lubinger, a reporter for The Plain Dealer, contends that “Dozens of Cleveland’s top candy makers concocted the promotion 84 years ago and it stuck, although it never became as widely accepted as hoped.”
The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s October 8, 1921 edition, which chronicles the first Sweetest Day in Cleveland, states that the first Sweetest Day was planned by a committee of 12 confectioners chaired by candymaker C. C. Hartzell.
I insist that the Chocolatechic house celebrate this ‘holiday’ every year, because it is another reason to celebrate chocolate.
So join me in the celebration. Go surprise your sweetie and get them some chocolate, of course making sure that you get some too.
It is Friday, and I am nosy.
I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you of my secret love of office supplies, paper, post-it’s and good quality ink pens.
I love stationary.
I don’t understand it, but I do.
OH, and to get a wonderful ink pen that feels good in your hand, writes smoothly, and makes your hand writing look fabulous…it is rare these days.
Right now, my pen of choice is a Pilot Precise V5, extra fine point.
So, my question today is what is your favorite office supply?
We all have them.
They are the place where we feel our best. It is the place where we always come back to, because we are good in our comfort zone.
Doing the Tuesday’s With Dorie (TWD) and the Barefoot Bloggers (BB) has thrown me out of my cooking/baking comfort zone.
Today’s extra BB recipe for Easy Cheese Danish, picked by Val of More than Burnt Toast, is no different.
For today’s recipe I had to use puff pastry.
I had never used puff pastry before, for several reasons.
1. I heard that it was difficult to work with, 2. I don’t do fancy~schmancy, even though I am a Princess in hiding, and 3. I really hadn’t even looked at recipes that called for it, because ….helloooooo comfort zone!
Shame on me.
Don’t listen to everything you hear. Puff pastry isn’t hard, internet. It is really just like working with pie dough, only it is better.
I did a few things different with this recipe and added a few extra touches to make them pretty.
Easy Cheese Danish
When you were a teen, did you ever spend hours and hours on the phone with your friends?
Flopped down on your bed?
Hanging off the bed?
On the floor with your feet on the bed?
Yelling at your little sister to “get out of the room” so you can talk to your friend in “private”!
When I was 14, we had been in Houston for about 3-4 months. I met this wonderful girl named Karen Hammock. (Hi Karen~~I just know you read my blog!)
She only lived about 2 blocks from me, and I would go over to her house quite a bit.
We spent about as much time on the phone as we did at each others house.
That’s why when the girl got a phone call from a friend the other day and she took the phone into the kitchen, I giggled to myself because I knew she wanted privacy.
Later, when I went to go into the kitchen, I figured I’d see her sitting at the island chatting away.
I wasn’t prepared for this.
Last I heard, Karen is married, has a little girl and is living in Fresno, California. I hope she remembers me with the same fondness that I remember her.
She taught me so much about how to be a friend.
I have always joked with my mother that I was born a Princess, but was switched at birth.
I have always liked very simple, but very expensive things.
Even as kid I always gravitated toward expensive items.
I take the girl to a local jewelry store quite often, as she has a love of jewelry like I do, and we generally always end up at the diamond case at some point in the shopping experience.
There is one there that just blows me away every time I see it.
The first time I saw it, I just knew it was the best diamond in the store.
Then I saw the price.
I have always thought that Biscotti as more of a ‘princess’ type food, but I have never had it. I dont’ know why. Princess’s eat Biscotti every day.
Today’s TWD is Lenox Almond Biscotti Orange Pecan Biscotti. Gretchen from Canela & Comino picked it for us, and I was glad because it is high time that I got myself in gear and finally tried this.
I love almonds, but can not stand almond extract, amaretto, or anything else that tastes like fake cherry’s, so I changed a few things in this recipe.
I substituted pecans for the almonds, and in place of almond extract I put vanilla and orange extract. I also added some orange zest to add some oomph.
I have no clue what I was afriaid of, because Biscotti is fabulous, and this Princes will be eating a lot more of it!
Last Friday, the boy didn’t have to work.
Finally a Friday evening with the chips at home. I was so happy, and I wanted to make something special for us to celebrate.
I sent the boy downstairs to see if we had any ribs left.
Score! One rack left.
Glanced at the date, and oh…dear has it been 2 years since I purchased that???
I don’t care, we are eating them anyway!
I had thought that I might have done a tutorial on how to make the most tender, flavorful rack of ribs ever, so I searched my blog and sure enough, last year on October 17, I posted a tutorial.
My brain must think ribs around the middle of October.
I won’t bore you with the same tutorial.
What I will bore you with is how to make sweet potato chips.
First, peel your sweet potato, and beg because you don’t have the patience to cut the potato so thin tell your son he is going to cut your sweet potato up an 1/8 of an inch thin or thinner, so he can work on his knife skills.
When he leaves, I am buying a mandoline.
Set up an assembly line.
First you want to make sure your oil is at least 370º, have a paper towel lined dish, salt and cinnamon and sugar all ready to go, because it will go fast once you have started.
One of the biggest keys to making potato chips is to separate them as you are putting them in the oil. Drop them in one at a time as fast as you can, then you must stir them constantly. This keeps them from sticking and helps them cook faster.
Once you take them from the oil, give them a sprinkle of salt and the barest hint of cinnamon and sugar.
Also, between batches, make sure that your oil comes back up to temperature.
Taste one to make sure that the seasoning is just right.
Oh, they are just so good. Maybe another little taste.
Is that oil hot enough yet.
How about another little taste.
Oil? hot enough?
Gotta stop, there are only 7 chips left.
It is a good thing that sweet potatoes are so good for me.
Serve them up next to a side of ribs. Your mouth will thank you.
Oh, and Internet, I made some more Saturday for Superman.
“Superman, would you like me to make some home made potato chips?”
“Home made potato chips?!?!? Sure!!!”
He devoured them.
Pretty soon, he will lose his street cred for only eating potatoes, corn, and the occasional green bean.
In 1994, the we went on our first vacation and we videoed the entire thing. The chips were so small, that we just couldn’t help videoing them.
At one point at the beginning of the video I make a comment something like “Gas is $1.20 a gallon. This is getting ridiculous!”
And the chips never fail to tease me about this whenever we pass a gas station.
Gas was $2.80 yesterday and it excited me. How sad that $2.80 a gallon of gas is exciting, but it is. You see even though falling gas prices are hurting the global economy and the national economy, it is really helping my personal economy. That is why it is exciting me.
A friend of mine found a wonderful interesting, common sense, article with no hype about the economy and the stock market. If you’d like to read it, you can find it here.
I was having an interesting discussion with someone and she asked “What would happen in our society if there was no credit for any purchases other than for a mortgage, all purchases regardless of amount had to be cash only? You could use a debit card or check, but no credit whatsoever.”
So I am asking you the same question. Also, not only what would happen to society, but what would happen to your family personally. How would no credit, not having a credit card, not even being able to secure a loan for a car…how would that affect you personally?
Friendly warning. Keep this discussion polite. This isn’t a political debate. I WILL delete any post that isn’t polite.