Thursday, August 31, 2006

Just too corny for me

I'm all for convenience, if it's at a reasonable price. I don't like making pizza--it never comes out right--so if I want pizza, I get it from a pizza parlor, for example. But sometimes the cost differential between 'convenience' and 'do it yourself' is so ridiculous I don't know why anyone would be so lazy. Today I went to the grocery and I picked up an 8-pack of nicely shucked ears of corn. Then I turned it over to get a price. Almost $7!!!!! Almost a dollar an ear! The shuck-it-yourself corn? Five ears for $2. Almost a dollar vs. 40 cents. Hmmmmmm...let me think on this one! Duh! If I bought the convenient corn, it would be like paying someone almost 50 cents to do a 2 second job. How hard is it to shuck corn? This is right up there with those hot dogs that already come in a bun.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

WFMW: New Uses for Old Tablecloths!

Do you have an old holiday tablecloth that has too many stains to use on your table? Instead of turning it into rags, why not cut out the nice parts and make some new things? For example, my mil had a Christmas tablecloth she used for years. It had holes in it and too many stains for good use. So I found enough unstained parts on it, where there were pretty Christmas designs, and made 4 Christmas stockings for my kids. I had a Thanksgiving tablecloth that had outlived its original usefulness...I made both an apron and some decorate pillows out of that. Aprons, napkins, pillows--if you can make it with a piece of cotton fabric, you can make it with a tablecloth!

Monday, August 28, 2006

This Week's Menu, I hope

Seems every week I improvise! Well, here's what I hope to make this week.
Monday: Chili. I already have the meat cut up and browned since I didn't make it last week! I'll be having a taco, myself, since I don't eat chili. I'll just take out a little of the meat. We'll have chips and salsa, too.
Tuesday: Mahogany Chicken Tenders, Peanut Butter Spaghetti and salad with Mandarin Orange dressing.
Wednesday: Homemade Pasta sauce with rigatoni and salad. I will have my husband put the sauce together for me, since it involves opening cans. Can lids and I don't mix...
Thursday: Haven't decided yet, but it will probably involve ground beef since I have a lot of that. I have a meatloaf recipe I'd like to try. I would make it with those danged biscuits I meant to make 2 weeks ago...the dry ingredients are still sitting in a plastic bag, in my mixer!
And if I'm really, really, really ambitious...I'm going to make Tollhouse cookies this week.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

My first Meme Organized Junkie has tagged anyone who wants to play to do this meme. I've never done a meme before. At least, not on purpose. So here are my answers to the questions in her list. (Actually, she got them from "Kisses of Sunshine.")1. What was your favorite thing of being a kid?
I wouldn't be a kid again for the world, but one of my fondest memories is sitting with my dad in a little room in our basement, where he had his ham radio set up. I can still remember his call number: WB2MBU. You are talking about 40 years ago, btw!
2. What was your favorite subject in school? I loved high school biology. I really loved anything to do with science. English would be next.
3. Who was your best friend when you were 10? Betty and Stephanie. I've long since lost contact with them, alas!
4. If you could be any animal what would you be? A cat. Specifically, a cat who lives with someone like me. What a life my Nutmeg and Melody have. I want that life: to sleep 20 hours a day, eat, torment squirrels, bother humans to scratch my ears...5. What would you change about your school, occupation or life right now? I would like to not be in pain most of the time (back problems). I would like to be totally out of debt. I'd like to sleep at night.
.6. What is your favorite color?
My favorite color is red, then purple, then blue.
7. What is your favorite type of crust and favorite topping on a pizza?
I like any kind of crust. I only like cheese on my pizza, since my stomach can't take anything too spicy. I used to love pepperoni!

Friday, August 25, 2006


The menu plan I post as part of Menu Plan Monday never seems to go exactly as planned. I never made the potato bread. I was going to make the clam chowder tonight until I added up what it would cost. The cream alone would be about $4, let alone the clams, etc. I'm glad I didn't make it though, because I ended up with enough mussels (made in a white wine marinara I sort of did impromptu) to feed 12 people, let alone 6. (I don't eat them.) The broccoli au gratin that was supposed to be with one meal ended up being tonight's vegetable. I changed the recipe to use mozzarella instead of cheddar cheese. As my daughter put it, it was 'mad good.' I keep pushing seconds on everyone, LOL! I think, in the long run, there won't be much left. I'm not sure if mussels reheat well, and I really hate leftovers. But I've got cold shrimp (we like it cocktail style) I can turn into shrimp salad, or still eat with cocktail sauce, for lunch tomorrow. Now, that kind of leftovers, I can live with.

A layout I did

Here is a layout I did of my daughter and her boyfriend. Aren't they cute together? He is the nicest kid. I wouldn't mind having him for a about 5 years! (My daughter is in no rush to get married, believe me. She's only 21 and he's only 23--way too early in my book!)

The blue parts are by Sue Jones--I'm sorry I don't remember where I got the kit from. The hearts and bears are from PC Hugclub. I decided that this is going to be one of the last layouts I do that I print completely. Ink cartridges are just too expensive. (I've tried those ones you refill--I hate them.) I get 98% of my scrapping supplies for free from different sites on line, but when you pay $25 for a cartridge and it disappears pretty fast...time to rethink how you do things. So I'll have to print out elements and use paper I already have for the backgrounds. A little bit here and there always helps, doesn't it?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Another spelling lesson Shannon over at Rocks in My Dryer worries about being a grammar snob--even a little bit. She's got a great tip to remember it's from its. But I don't think she needs to worry! I think we need more grammar snobs! People might say that in the Big Picture of Life, who cares if you use it's or its, lose or loose, etc. But you know what I think? I think that all these little things add up to make the Big Picture of Life! If you make a mosaic with a lot of dull or broken tiles...won't your final product be unpleasant? You might not notice one tissue dropped by one person...but multiply that by a million, and...well, you get it. So, so, so...what is my "Works for Me Wednesday" tip? I'm not going to write about my absolute pet peeve of spelling, loose and lose. Part II of today's spelling lesson (Shannon must have been up early for part I!) is "affect and effect." This one is so easy it's silly. "Effect" is a noun. You often use 'the' with nouns. (The cat, the ferret, the backyard.) "The" ends in "E," and "effect" begins with "E." Just match them up! "What is the effect of reading Shannon's blog each day?" "Affect" is a verb, an Action word. It does something to something else. "How will that affect me?" Now, if you don't have a 'the,' just try to change the sentence to use one and see if it works: "What effect does blog hopping have on you?" Change to "What is the effect that blog hopping has on you?" Capisci?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes...

This is for Jenny over at Blogolicious (I might have spelled it wrong). Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Shallots

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1 medium shallot, sliced thin
1/4 C olive oil
3 pints cherry or grape tomatoes
salt and pepper
1/4 t red pepper flakes
1 1/2 t sugar
1 T balsamic vinegar
3 large garlic cloves, sliced thin

In a small bowl, toss shallots with 1 t oil; set aside. In a medium bowl, gently toss tomatoes with remaining olive oil. Add other ingredients. Spread over a rimmed baking sheet. Scatter shallots on top. Roast until shallots begin to brown and tomato skins are slightly shriveled, about 35-40 minutes. Do not stir! Cool 5-10 minutes. Serve over pasta or as a side dish. (PS...don't tell anyone, but I use garlic powder. My stomach can't take the real stuff, alas. And frankly, a handful of nicely chopped onion--think Vidalia!--would be just as nice as shallots.)

Monday, August 21, 2006

Strawberry Jam Part Deux

My menu plan for the week is in the previous post. Which is where I also did some b*t*hing about making strawberry jam. Good suggestions to try freezer jam. Next time, believe me, I will. I've made it before. I thought maybe this would be a way to learn the actual canning/processing method. I gave up. Well, partly. I just decided there was no way I wanted to be canning at 9:30 tonight after work. So I finished off the recipe and put it in jars without processing it. The recipe book is for 'small batch canning.' They aren't kidding. I only got 2 pint jars out of it. Which is good because a lot of strawberries would have gone bad. At least I know this much will get eaten quickly. And what do you know? I looked up recipes on line and found one that uses the exact same ingredients, including the amount. And it takes 40 minutes from start to finish. So what's up with this 'let the strawberries and sugar sit for 8 hours' and (after cooking) 'let sit for 24 hours'?????? I admit to having a reading comprehension problem. My eyes probably just skimmed those parts. If I'd been paying attention, I would have looked for another recipe. Next time I'm gonna try salsa. But if I can't make it within an hour from start to finish...I'll buy Old El Paso.

Menu Plan Monday Well, I don't see any menus up yet, but here goes mine. At least, I hope--experience has taught me nothing about a weekly menu is carved in stone.

Monday: Chicken and egg salad, green salad with tomatoes, biscuits and leftovers for anyone who doesn't want chicken. My 23-year-old son does not eat chicken. Go figure.

Tuesday: Steak, Potato Bread (new ABM recipe I'm trying) and broccoli au gratin

Wednesday: Chili and bagels and salad

Thursday: Roasted pork tenderloin (BOGO last week--so I bought 4!), Cauliflower Polonaise

Friday: Clam chowder, Grilled Scallops, Whatever fish is cheap (I hope tilipia), roasted cherry tomatoes and shallots

The food highlighted in red is new recipes I'm going to try.
I'm also finishing off my first noble attempt at making strawberry jam tonight. I have to do it after work because it has to sit 24 hours. Believe me, if I'd known it was this much of a production to do canning I wouldn't have done it. My mother cans up a storm, but I have found it tedious. Oh, well.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Who's Way is the Right Way? There is a wonderful discussion going on at this blog regarding homeschool vs. public school. Oh, my goodness, I keep writing and erasing because I do have some opinions (we're all entitled to them) and I don't want to hurt anyone. I could write paragraphs on what I think of the Duggar family (suffice to say I don't 'get' them). Not that I have more than about 5 readers here. But this is my blog and I get to voice my opinions here. I think homeschooling is great. I might have considered it, but things didn't work out that way. And fortunately, our school district is excellent. Nor did it work out that I would have a lot of kids. I love large families. I wish I could have had 8 or 10 kids. But when your last pregnancy is so rough that you literally have to crawl on the floor at times because you are so sick/tired/in pain--it's time to stop. When you can't afford to feed and clothe them (that wasn't me, btw--we were actually quite well off in the 80s, even though the fricking gov't took 75% that in taxes), it's time to stop. You should not have babies for the sake of having babies. You should have them because you want to, and only if you can care for them both spiritually and physically. It isn't just the physical problems that stopped me at 4. It was financial, too. Yeah, I know--you can budget. That's a whole 'nuther topic and in my case it's in the past and gone. People who truly love children should have them in abundance. But we all know there are people out there who shouldn't be near kids, let alone have ones of their own. But that really is a personal choice. The only way to stop those people from having babies makes me think a little too much of a certain fellow named Adolph. So all we can do is pray for those children and let the law step in when necessary. I need to draw this to an end, so I'll say I am SO glad I no longer have to be part of the (take your pick): homeschool/public school, large family/small family/no kids, breast/bottle, scream-it-out/take the kid into bed with you and everything else regarding the raising of children ad infinitum. That is...until my grandchildren come along...

Thursday, August 17, 2006


My weekly menu plan never quite flies exactly the way it is written. The buttermilk chicken tenders I was making on Tuesday turned into a Mexican dinner. My daughter had called to say she was bringing home the provisions to make salsa and quesadillas. So I never made the scalloped apples or the biscuits. I fried up the chicken tenders, but we wrapped them in the quesadillas with the salsa. It was goooooood. Next time you make crispy, boneless chicken, have it that same way. You'll be amazed.
The funny thing is that I have the dry ingredients for the biscuits in a plastic bag, all ready to go for another day. The apples are still waiting, too. I'll have to aim to use them tomorrow night. Tonight we're celebrating back-to-school with a trip to our favorite restaurant, "Catfish Annie's." Which got me thinking why I'd make seafood tomorrow night, too. So...the biscuits and apples will be made to go with something else. Maybe just a simple steak on the barbecue.
Last night I was planning to make turkey cutlets in lemon sauce. I dont' make turkey often and I had no idea it isn't all that readily available this time of year. But I found turkey burgers which were on sale for a good price. So I used those instead and we had them on bagels with the lemon sauce.
I'm glad to have a day off from work where I'm also not cooking, because I have a lot to catch up with. I'm sitting here with "Excellence by L'Oreal" all over my head. I have to finish laundry. We had a new window put in the laundry room that had to dry before the vent could be reattached, so I have been 'sans dryer' for 2 days. I have to get to the post office and mail off a book proposal. That is...if the guy who is supposed to fix the broken door on my dishwasher shows up before the day is over.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Works for Me Wednesday: Paying Debt

My debt story is the same as a lot of people. I'm not frivilous. I didn't max out my cards on silly things. It's more like I was dumb about how they work. There are so many sneaky tricks they play on you! But that's beside the point. I'm slowly paying it off and I like anything that puts me in control. I've read in several places that a good idea is to pay in weekly installments instead of monthly. Just make sure you meet the minimum by the deadline, of course. The idea is that it's easier to pay $25 a week than one big $100. And you can round it up to pay even more without it really hurting too much. In other words, if I'm paying a minimum of $240, instead of paying $60 I'll pay $65 or $70. So how can I make this easier on myself? My WFMW tip is this: Get some blank address labels and use a computer program to make labels addressed to the c.c. companies! I have a whole sheet for Bank of America and another for Capitol One. I made up some form letters that say: "Dear ______, Please accept the enclosed payment for my account ending in 1234. Sincerely, My name, address and phone number." This way all I have to do is stick the label on an envelope, print and sign the letter, write a check and add a stamp. Having the labels means I don't have to hunt down the address! I hope this helps some people. Debt is a nightmare, and any way we have of getting out of it sure 'works for me!'

Monday, August 14, 2006

Menu Plan Monday
Organizing Junkie is hosting another Menu Plan Monday! Here's mine for the week:

Monday: Spaghetti with Meatsauce
Caprese Salad

Tuesday: Buttermilk Chicken Tenders
Butter-dipped biscuits
Scalloped Apples
Tomatoes from my garden

Turkey Cutlets with lemon sauce

Thursday: Dinner out with my family at our favorite restaurant: Catfish Annie's!!!!

Friday: Mussels in wine
Shrimp tartlets
Tomato-basil bruschetta

I go to work at 4 on Saturday and Mike usually makes homemade pasta sauce on Sunday.

All I know about this week is...we're eating a LOT of tomatoes!!!!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Various stuff

I was going to use 'miscellany' as the title, but if I end up spelling it wrong--at least it isn't right there at the top. Today I mixed the mayo for my seafood salad (fake crab) sandwich 3/4 parts fake mayo to 1/4 part real. It tastes just as good. My daughter says she can't tell the difference between the fake stuff and the real stuff. I must have too damned many taste buds, because I can. Speaking of my daughter, we had a wonderful day out yesterday. She's 21. When my kids were younger, I'd take one kid out each Saturday to run errands with me, hit garage sales and have lunch. That got the particular kid out of chores for a day. It got me one-on-one time with one kid. The practice has faded over the years--the older 3 are in college and have jobs, the younger one is too busy with his friends. But when Katherine said, "you know what I'd like to do? I have Saturday off--let's hang out like we did back in the day", I was thrilled. Back in the day is one of her expressions. So we had lunch in Northport, by the water, and talked about this and that. Having lunch with my 21-year-old is like having lunch with a girlfriend. We hit a few garage sales and an antique store. The weather was perfect. Lunch was pricey--we went Dutch on it. I told her next time we'd do hamburgers. I hope it isn't too long until next time!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Sewing today

I actually finished a blouse I've been working on...forever. Can't take pictures because the puppy chewed up the wire that connects the camera to the computer. (I have to work on replacing that.) But it's basically just a sleeveless v-neck tunic with an empire waist. I made it in a pretty blue and white fabric. The funny thing is that it was supposed to button up the back. Instead, I sewed a regular seam down the back. The extra I would have folded over for the button and buttonhole facings made it wide enough to just pull on over my head. Besides, who wants to deal with buttoning up a shirt from the back? I finished the edges with bias binding I made myself. You can go online and look up 'continuous bias binding' and get instructions. It's fun to do and it's nice that it matches the outfit exactly. I'm just happy I actually finished something. I also did finish--FINALLY--that baby dress! Now I just have to put it in the mail.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Sorta dieting

For the last 2 days I've had my mix of half lowfat/half real cream cheese on my English muffin, with just a little jelly. I usually have butter, so I know I'm saving a bunch of calories there. Once this half/half mix runs out, I'm going to try one quarter real to 3/4 fake stuff. Okay, I know the lowfat stuff isn't 'fake,' but it ain't the way cream cheese was supposed to be, either. Eventually I hope to find the combination that works for me, where you lose most of the calories but you can't tell. I'm off to take my son to summer school. I'm stopping at Waldbaum's (grocery store) to pick up a few things. I found out a few weeks ago that Waldbaum's makes incredible fried chicken. So I had planned to pick some up for my lunch. Then I said to myself this morning...are you nuts? You're trying to lose weight! I had already said I wouldn't give up everything, but I think fried chicken is pushing it. Besides, I'm having pizza for dinner. Yeah, real pizza. I got back from a trip to Pennsylvania a few days ago, and I've cooked every night since. I need a day where food isn't the focus so I can 'catch up' to all the cleaning, etc. that needs done around here. Not to mention time for sewing and scrapbooking. Wish I could crochet...but at the moment the thumb is a little sore and I don't have full use of it yet.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

My diet plans

I have decided to make a real effort to lose some weight. I made a fruit salad tonight. It usually has cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and mayonnaise in it--very fattening! I cut everything except the mayo (too lazy to go downstairs to the second fridge and hunt up the lo-fat stuff) half and half with lowfat or non-fat versions, plus the sugar I cut with Splenda. I really hate lowfat stuff, but if you mix it it takes that funny taste away. You can't even tell the difference. Next time I might do 3/4 lowfat to 1/4 regular and see how that goes. Trust me on this, I've tried straight-out low fat or no fat stuff and all Splenda and I can't stand it. No point in making a recipe if I'm not going to eat it. I'm not trying to starve myself, which would be stupid, anyway. I'm trying to see where I can cut calories and still feel satisfied. I'm going to try to get back in the habit of drinking a lot of water again, too. We really went overboard with soda during the heatwave. I didn't care, though. It was only for a few days and it was more important to drink stuff than think about calories. BTW, the recipe is called "Creamy Fruit Salad," and I think you can find it on the Taste of Home website.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


Serendipity is the pleasure of finding something nice when you aren't expecting it. I was at CVS today getting a few things for a trip, which included a bottle of store-brand non-aspirin PM medicine. The order was completely rung up before I noticed I'd forgotten to put the box on the counter. So I had to wait for a second order. What do you know? The CVS coupon I got back from the first order included "1.50 off on any pain reliever purchase." forgetting that box saved me a dollar fifty. It was like it was meant to be, LOL! Don't you just love when things like that happen?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

WFMW: Extra Ice on Hand

Well, first let me send cool thoughts to all of us suffering in this ridiculous heat wave. Take heart: it's supposed to drop about 20 degrees by tomorrow. Right now, 85 sounds positively arctic. Now, my tip: we all guzzle down a lot of ice cold water and other drinks in the summer. To keep from running out of ice, empty all of your trays into a baggie. Then refill the trays. Repeat as the bag gets empty, and you will always be a 'step ahead' when it comes to having ice on hand!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Tackle It Tuesday: Painting Chairs

Holy cow, everything is running slow today--especially Photobucket. Must be the heat. It's 91 now but we're supposed to get a heat index (whatever that means!) of 105 here on Long Island. Which makes me glad I did these chairs over the weekend, LOL! Here they are partially done--you can see the white on the legs. These are just those cheesey white chairs we all have, which get spotty and ugly after a while. Still, they are structurally sound and it seemed a shame to throw them out. So I revitalized them with a few coats of Krylon Fusion paint. I probably used too much since I went through a can for each chair--but they look brand new! Michael's had the paint on sale for $3 a can, so for $6 I have two 'like-new' chairs.