Saturday, April 30, 2011
My friend Lou and I (my friend I do the Tuesday dinners with) were talking the other night and we decided we're going on a TV diet. I have so many things on my To Do list that I thought it would be better to just keep the tv off most of the time and only watch every now and then. It's a diet, not starving ourselves to death! My guilty pleasure is the show Survivor. I'll also watch the news. :)
Little Foot is also on a TV diet, he needs to take it easy on the Animal Planet!
Posted by Jolie at 4:45 PM
Thursday, April 28, 2011
I did this a couple of years ago and it felt good to try to use up the things I had and only buy the basic necessities. I think it's about time for me to go on another one. It just dawned on me recently that I did end up spending a lot getting my house fixed up last year and this year I need to slow down and make up for it without making a bunch of huge purchases for my home. I'll probably be posting some frugal posts for a while because of it.
Here are some areas I want to work on:
1. Make sure I use up every bit of groceries that I buy and not let anything go to waste. I have learned by doing some research there are things you can freeze to keep them from going bad that you ordinarily wouldn't think of.
I can freeze that?
2. Use up all my toiletries before I purchase anymore. I've actually been pretty good about this over the past couple of years, but there is still room to improve.
Things such as
a. shampoo & conditioner
b. soap, shower gels
c. hair products
d. facial products, cleanser, moisturizer, masks
3. And just the miscellaneous things, stuff I don't really need, but think would be fun to buy. Work on projects that I already have here instead of buying more things for new projects.
I am not going on a super strict No-Buy, but in a way that will cut back 85% of what I now spend on non-essentials. Like I want to go see Water For Elephants real bad, so I won't 100% deprive myself. :-D
To get started, I just now made a big pot of soup to get things cleaned out of my refrigerator that might have gone to waist.
Please share frugal tips, tricks or websites that help you lay low on spending dough.
Posted by Jolie at 2:33 PM
Sunday, April 24, 2011
I finally got to get away to the beach this weekend.
It was so nice and relaxing.
I went with some friends and we stayed for 3 days. A 5 hour drive to Myrtle Beach.
Worth every minute of the drive!
We also got to go to Sunrise Service on the beach, this is a shot of it in the photo below.
And this is how over the moon excited and happy I was to be there!!!
"Now I'm going to pack my things and go!"
(Soft Cell-Tainted Love)
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
1 pink grapefruit, peeled, sectioned and coarsely chopped
1 navel orange, peeled, sectioned and coarsely chopped
1&1/2 cups cantaloupe balls
1 mango, peeled, pitted and diced
2 cups lightly packed tender water cress sprigs
1/2 cup fat free sour cream
3 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons snipped fresh chives
Mix together lobster, grapefruit, orange, cantaloupe, and mango in a large bowl.
Line platter with watercress; mound lobster salad on top
To make dressing, whisk together all ingredients except chives in a small bowl until blended. Spoon over salad; sprinkle with chives.
291 Cal per servings ( about 2 & 1/2 cups per serving) Weight Watchers Points Plus value: 8
Makes 4 servings
A funny little story that happened when I was buying the lobster. The guy that was ringing up my food grabbed the lobster tail and pulled his hand back real fast and said, AAhhh what is that? LOL It was so funny. I told him lobster and he said, how do you cook and eat that thing? I said you can boil it or bake it. He said, oh well I've only been to Red Lobster a couple of times, but I never really had the lobster.
I get that with a lot of the food I buy, since I don't buy your typical soda pop, frozen pizza and chips like they are use to seeing. haha
It was Lou's turn to pick the meal for our dinner across the miles. The Lobster Salad turned out great! It was delish, but I love lobster and I love fruit, so this recipe was hard to go wrong. I know the recipe called for a pound of shrimp, but I just bought a tail. I don't know where I could buy cooked lobster by the pound around here anyway. I couldn't find any water cress sprigs in the stores here, so I just used leaf lettuce. Everyone knows my issues with trying to find ingredients in a small town, so I won't go into that again. I did use my own chives from the garden. It was my first time cooking lobster, so that was fun. I stuck a skewer through it so it wouldn't curl up while it cooked (only takes 5 minutes). A very fun learning experience, I am too scared to try to cook a live lobster, though!
This was a refreshing meal and I highly recommend it. Very easy to make, too. Two thumbs up!
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Ok, I don't know if you want to call it a crop or not, but what little bit I have started this year has really been doing great so far! My strawberries are already turning red and ready to eat. That was fast! It only took a couple of weeks. It was delicious, too! I love gardening!
I was at the gas station the other day and they were giving away free squash plants, so I got me a little box of them.
Little Foot enjoying the spring weather, I can't get him to come in the house anymore.
I pulled my kitchen table into the area I want to turn into my dining room to see how I like eating in there. When you sit at the table you can see out the windows and all, but the windows are up higher than I would like. I wish I could just put some doors on one side of the room to get a better view out. I'm still on the hunt for the perfect dining room table. Just checking out thrift stores whenever I can.
Hope you're enjoying the Spring, this weather is so beautiful!
Posted by Jolie at 1:47 PM
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 2 small Japanese eggplants or 1 medium to large regular eggplant, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
• 2 zucchini, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
• 1 small red onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 2 baguettes (each about 2 feet long)
• 1/2 cup Basil Pesto, recipe follows
• 8 ounces fresh water-packed mozzarella cheese, drained, sliced
• 2 tomatoes, sliced
• 1/2 cup roasted red peppers
• 8 large basil leaves, optional
Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle the oil over the eggplant, zucchini, and onion slices, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Working in batches, grill the eggplant, zucchini, and onions until they are tender and grill marks appear, about 4 minutes per side. Cool completely.
Cut each baguette into 6 pieces. Working with one baguette piece at a time, slice in half and spread both sides with the pesto. Working with the bottom slice of the baguette, stack 2 slices of eggplant, 2 slices zucchini, 1 slice onion, 1 slice tomato, 1 slicemozzarella, and 1 slice of roasted pepper. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place top half of baguette on top and continue with remaining baguette. (The sandwiches can be made 4 hours ahead. Wrap well with plastic wrap and refrigerate.)
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup (about) extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
In a blender, pulse the basil, pine nuts, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper until finely chopped. With the blenderstill running, gradually add enough oil to form a smooth and thick consistency. Transfer the pesto to a medium bowl and stir in 1/2 cup of cheese. Season the pesto with more salt and pepper, to taste. (The pesto can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
Yield: 1 cup Prep Time: 10 minutes
Recipe by Giada
I got this recipe from the DVD above by Giada. She has some really great recipes on it. She's my favorite Food Network cook!
Lous turned out really great, too! Go see the one she made here. This was our Tuesday night dinner across the miles.
Very easy to make when you just want to throw something together.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
I just went to the library yesterday morning and got this book to read and finished the book in one day. It's really an easy read and very interesting. You've heard people say, the reason people live in poverty in America is because they are too lazy to work or too this or too that, but this book explores the topic in depth. Barbara Ehrenreich walked away from her upper class life and stepped into the work force at poverty level to see if she could work her way out of a dead end job and make ends meet on poverty level salary. Her findings were interesting.
I thought the book would be more detailed about the end results of her ventures throughout the whole book, but she actually just wraps everything up in the final chapter. The first 3 chapters are her jobs she works in 3 different states and what she goes through trying to find a job with no skills/experience and find housing and everything she needs.
The first chapter told of her job as a waitress and how she was treated at her job.
The second chapter tells of her job working as a maid, which I use to work at Merry Maids and can relate to everything she went through, bringing back memories I don't care for. She also worked a 2nd job at a nursing home, something I have also done.
The third job was her job at Wal-mart. I've never worked there, but I completely believe what she says about it by the way I hear some of the employees from Wal-mart talk.
In her conclusions she states some facts:
"Something is wrong, very wrong, when a single person in good health, a person who in addition possesses a working car, can barely support herself by the sweat of her brow. You don't need a degree in economics to see that the wages are too low and the rents too high." (p. 199)
"So if low-wage workers do not always behave in an economically rational way, that is, as free agents within a capitalist democracy, it is because they dwell in a place that is neither free nor in any way democratic. When you enter the low-wage workplaces- and many of the medium wage work places as well- you check your civil liberties at the door, leave America and all it supposedly stands for behind, and learn to zip your lips for the duration of the shift. The consequences of this routine surrender go beyond the issues of wages and poverty. We can hardly pride ourselves on being the world's preeminent democracy, after all, if large numbers of citizens spend half their waking hours in what amounts, in plain terms, to a dictatorship." (p. 210)
And you know the saying, "Treat someone like a criminal and they become a criminal",she sums it up by saying...
"Any dictatorship takes a psychological toll on its subjects. If you are treated as an untrustworthy person- a potential slacker, drug addict, or thief- you may begin to feel less trustworthy yourself. If you are constantly reminded of your lowly position in the social hierarchy, whether by individual managers or by a plethora of impersonal rules, you begin to accept that unfortunate status." (p. 210)
I have always hated stereotypes of any kind and when I hear people complain that all poor people are poor because they don't try hard enough it bothers me. It's just more complicated than that. There are so many different equations that fit into it. Barbara realized that as a single person, it was much harder for her to try to survive out there on her minimum wage alone, she said that most of the people she worked with were having to live with relatives, boyfriends or get married to have more than one income to keep them afloat. Throw in having to feed and raise children and it's alarming. By the time she got to Minnesota, she found it the hardest to live there of all, where she eventually had to leave her *experiment for her book* because she ran out of money.
She met many people along the way during her experiment that touched her life. She found things within herself, depths of compassion, anger, strength that she didn't know she had. Her story really touched me and I am glad she wrote this book for others that may have not ever had to go through any of these situations themselves, to read what it is like living day to day in a low paying dead end job. I highly recommend this book to anyone, regardless of their situation.
While Barbara worked at poverty level, she still saw those around her giving out of their poverty. They even encouraged her to do the same. Maybe the poor have found a secret that some wealthy people haven't to the secret of happiness. Dipping into their own tip money to buy food for out of work friends, throwing on extra croutons when the manager isn't looking because you care more about the people than the rules... regardless of how little you get, giving has more rewards than receiving any amount of income.
"If you seek happiness for yourself you will never find it. Only when you seek happiness for others will it come to you." (p.20)
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Since spring has come and it's time to start getting ready to plant fruit and veggies again, I thought I would get a kickstart on things. A week ago I went out and bought this strawberry pot and some strawberry plants. When I got the plants they had little flowers on them. That night on the news they were interviewing some local farmers who had strawberry fields and they said that once you see the flowers, then you will usually get strawberries 30 days later. We had a cold front come in and the farmers here were afraid they were going to lose their crop, so they turned their sprinklers on that night to protect them from the weather. We've had quite a few more nights where it's got down to freezing temps, so I have to keep bringing my little strawberry planter inside the house at night before I go to bed.
This is how much the strawberry has grown in just 1 week after the bloom.
The tomatoes didn't do well in the garden last year, so this year I'm going to grow them in pots on my deck.
I got one already to get me started, I've also had to bring this in at night to keep it from the freezing temps, too.
Hopefully they will do better than they did in the garden.
Then there is this contraption...
Do these things really work? Hanging tomatoes and growing them this way?
If so, I would be interested in trying it out.
I pulled some old clay pots out that I had in storage and was thinking of planting things in these, too. My past experience with using clay pots is that the soil drys out really fast in them. Are there just certain types of things you're suppose to grow in them? What grows best in them? I'm new to all this gardening, so any advice would be great.
I'll still do my garden this year, too, but I'm going to experiment with different things this time.
My dad also said I could use some of his space to plant things over at his farm this year since he won't be doing any gardening himself this year.
What is the easiest thing you've ever grown?
I think my parsley is probably the easiest, it seems nothing can kill this stuff!
My Thai basil grew amazing, too! That is definitely on my list again this year.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
1 1/2 lb of bone in chicken parts (breasts, drumsticks, thighs) skinned
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 tsps olive oil
1 red bell pepper chopped
2 celery stalks, sliced
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves. minced
1 (14 1/2 oz can) diced tomatoes
1/2 cut reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup long grain white rice
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp saffron threads, crushed
1 cup frozen green peas
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Preheat oven to 350*F
Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to lidded 2-quart casserole dish.
Add bell pepper, celery, onion and garlic to skillet; cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes with their juice and broth; bring to boil. Stir in rice, oregano and saffron; add to the chicken.
Bake, covered 25 minutes; sprinkle with peas. Bake, covered, until chicken is cooked through, rice is tender, and liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.
Serve sprinkled with the cilantro.
Per Serving (1/4 of casserole) 321 cal. PointsPlus Value *
Lou picked the recipe for this Tuesday nights dinner across the miles. It is Weight Watchers Chicken and Rice dinner. It turned out perfect! I made sure I had all of the ingredients for it this time.
The thing I liked most about the meal was the saffron in it. I had to drive all over town looking for this stuff. One of the setbacks of living in a small town is you can never find things that are the least bit out of the ordinary. I had never bought this before and couldn't wait to learn how to cook with it.
I've had Saffron rice many times when I've eaten out at restaurants, but have always wanted to learn to make my own. I found a Mexican store here that sells the crushed saffron flower pedals, but this recipe called for the threads of the saffron, which I finally found at Lowe's grocery.
Here is how they looked when I opened it.
Just like little threads.
They are hard and crispy feeling and break apart very easy.
[Photo from Flickr]
Those 3 red stigmas sticking out of the middle of the flower, that is what they take from each flower to make a blend of the saffron threads. It's the most expensive spice in the world because they are hand plucked from each flower. Tens of thousands of strands goes into just a single ounce.
I was doing my research on this today and was so intrigued to find out all of this.
The meal turned out delicious and I am definitely making this again. I may substitute the bell peppers for hot peppers next time though because I love really hot and spicy food. :)
Go here to see how Lou's Chicken and rice turned out.