Jan 31, 2010

Here we go Lady Gaga, here we go!

Grammy's are on tonight! Yay!

Note: My pictures now include a little label on them. I was reading on another blog about "copywriting" your photos and ideas. Granted alot of my ideas are not mine, but the photos are. I also am going to stop sharing photos of the recipes out of books just because I don't want to get into any copywrite problems myself! I will let you know what page though in case you have the book.

Mike and I have been saving alot of things we normally wouldn't have in the past. Since money is tight we just can't part with anything! Including glass jars and plastic containers with lids. We had a big 5 gallon plastic ice cream container that we saved. I didn't know what I wanted to do with it. Then one day, after starting our garden, I thought "Hey, we should start composting". So I started filling up the container on the counter, but it got full quick. So earlier this week Mike went out an got 2 15 gallon containers for $6 (we only needed one). Today I finally made him make our outdoor composter since the container on the counter was starting to grow mold. From his $6 container and some wood and dowels left by the previous owners Mike started:
After a few hours (especially waiting for the drill battery to charge), he finished:

He did have to go out and buy the hinges and latch (costing him $12) which put this project to $18 but it is still way cheaper than buying one of this pre-made composters which can cost hundreds of dollars. Now we have our own personal composter to feed our plants and maybe help us make more!
Breakfast today was the pancake recipes from the 1961 cookbook (pg 92) just because:
The butterscotch brownies I made for Christmas dinner on Thursday were divine! So I made more. Just the butter mixed with the brown sugar is heaven:
I know, so bad for me, but soooooo good! We still had a few of those fish squares left from Angel Food Ministries, thus dinner consisted for baked fish squares, potatoes sauteed with garlic and herbs, and everything coated with clarified parsley butter. No real recipes for this stuff, just followed to basic guidelines I learned awhile ago and tada (sorry, I wanted to taste it and then I forgot I hadn't taken a picture):

Until we meet again, here is a picture of baby Charlie enjoying his first big yard:

Jan 29, 2010

Finally....a job!

After 2 interviews, a drug test, and a background test I finally got a job offer from Aldi! It's only for a cashier but I will be making $10 an hour plus I only need to work 20 hours a week to receive benefits. I know it's going to be a tough job (I won't just be a cashier, I also will be unloading trucks, stocking, and cleaning the store). I have heard lots of negative and positive things about the job. But it will just be part time so I will still be able to do what I love as well as pay my bills (and finally be able to help Mike out with house!). So to celebrate Mike got me a bottle of Absolut Pears.

No cooking or crafting today. We are stuffed to the gills with food and I need to clean my dining room table. I just wanted to slightly brag about the job. Until I bring you more food or crafting goodness please enjoy this picture of a tote bag I made back in the beginning of 2008. It's a frog with his buddies Mr. Tad and Mr. Pole (the patterns are from a book called The Cute Book):

Jan 28, 2010

Baking, Baking, Baking.

Since I have all that flour from my Aunt baking was a necessity the last two days. For the last few months I have been making homemade pizza dough but without yeast since we were just too lazy to go out and buy some (plus I had found a recipe that didn't use eggs or milk either so it helped when we were low on food and couldn't go shopping till the following month...budget budget budget). But yesterday we tried a dough with yeast courtesy of Emeril Lagasse. Got to use the dough hook:
We decided on canned spinach (don't forget to rinse!), canned tomatoes (normally use fresh but we have those 9 million cans), chicken, and mozzarella:
I also make my own sauce from tomato paste, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and some oregano. I forgot to take an after picture but here is the before:
Mike liked it alot better than my normal pizza crust. It wasn't bad, but I do prefer the flat bread pizza taste better. Just preference.
I also started baking yesterday for our super belated Christmas dinner at my Grandma's in Sarasota today. Last night I made the Honey Drizzle Cupcakes from a cupcake book I got from a bargain bin some time some where:

They didn't rise as well as I thought they would (I would probably add 1 tsp baking powder next time and maybe add a little more sugar to the batter). So I decided to call them tartlets instead of cupcakes:
This morning I had three things I wanted to make. First was Ring Around the Cookies (1956 book) since they had to sit in the fridge for a while:

Look at that yummy log (I rolled it in chocolate pieces):
Butterscotch brownies (1956 book) were next:
So good:
Lastly was the Orange Caramel cookies (1961 book):

I forgot to take pictures of it in the sheet, but they came out very crunchy and very very sweet. I used fresh oranges from my Grandma's tree but they were also very sweet. Next time I think I need to tone it down. Needless to say they weren't a big hit. Here is everything all together ready to do to the party:
On the left you can see the honey drizzle tartlets, then the butterscotch brownies, then the orange caramel cookies, and finally the ring around the cookies in the bottom right hand corner. 

Besides all the food, my Grandma gave me this cookbook she found at a Goodwill:
It is the 1987 Southern Living Cookbook . I haven't really gotten a chance to look at it but I will let you know how it is very soon!
Until then, enjoy this picture of an anole we caught when I was on a research trip to Jamaica in 2006 when I was an undergrad:


Jan 26, 2010


I couldn't think of a better title. Creativity is running a little low.....but hopefully it will pick up soon since we just got this awesome fabric to cover pillows for our couch with (pictures soon!).

No excitement today except for a 2 hour walk with my new shoes (well new as of Sunday), oh, and that Mike downloaded  Lady Gaga's "The Fame Monster" album for me. I don't know why, but I am obsessed with her right now!

We are running low on cereal at the house and since we can't go shopping for food till February, I made cinnamon rolls from scratch yesterday! The basic recipe was in the 1956 cookbook:

I am still getting the hang of rolling out dough. Normally I steer clear of recipes that involve rolling out dough.

The recipe suggested just placing them in on a baking sheet or in individual muffin cups but I prefer the glass casserole dish:

All done!

Wait, I forgot something.....the icing!

Fantastic! Tomorrow and Thursday I will be working feverishly on goodies to take for our extremely belated Christmas dinner down in Sarasota with my Grandma and Aunts, so I am sure there will be plenty of pictures. Until then here is my little crested gecko Yomi after I adopted him at 6 months old in 2007:

Jan 24, 2010

"Rah-rah-ah-ah-ah, Roma, Roma-ma, Gaga, ooh-la-la"....Sorry I have been obssesed with Lady Gaga today

Mike went fishing today and when I called my Aunt yesterday to make sure everything was golden for today and she told me "Make sure Mike brings some of your homemade cookies". Crap. We had already eaten all those chocolate chip cookies (I know, shame on us). I had to make something and make something quick (since it was 4pm and we had a play to go to at 8pm). I decided on the Cocoa Drop Cookies from the 1956 cookbook:
And topped them with the Easy Creamy Icing:

I bought this tiny food processor a while ago for like $10 and I love it. I have used it to make hummus, chop nuts, mince garlic, etc. I don't really need a big one so this one is great. Here it is chopping up the walnuts:
Of course the mixer dealt perfectly with chocolaty batter and walnuts:

After my icing attempt: I tried to use the piping bag to decorate the cookies. I must have made the frosting too thick and I must not of secured the tip properly, anyway, the tip busted off and I spewed icing every where. So I just decided to use a spatula...whatever!

I guess everyone liked them, but I won't get the full report till I go down to Sarasota on Thursday.

We got our Angel Food box yesterday so I needed to start clearing out the freezer of the old food. What I came up with was sort of odd but worked. I sauteed some onions, frozen broccoli, and pork in oil:
Then I added the stuffing from the chicken the other night (consisting of rice, tomato, and carrots):

Heated it for a minute or two and that was it:
Nothing spectacular, but very colorful and edible. So when ever you need to use up whats left in the freezer or fridge just saute it in olive oil with some spices. Thats what I do!

As February is getting closer, I am getting worried about the $150 a month food plan. I know we will be able to do it next month, but not in a way that will be reasonable for other people to follow. Let me explain. I already had alot of basics in my pantry, fridge, and freezer, but when Mike got home today he had a car full of food. My Aunt had gone to BJs and thought I need some staples: 10lb of white flour, 5lbs of brown sugar, 4lbs of butter, 8 small cans of diced tomatoes, 4 super large cans of whole tomtaoes, a huge bag of chips, crab meet, sausage, 2lbs of mozzarella, and of course, every single orange and  grapefruit from her tree at home that we didn't grab 2 weeks ago when we were there (by the way, we still have half of the oranges from last time!). The pantry:
The fridge (notice all the orange color):

The fridge door:

The freezer:
The freezer door:
And the oranges from 2 weeks ago:

Please don't be disappointed if I can't really blog about living on $150 food budget till April (March is visitor month!). 

Until next time, here is one my most favorite pictures of Mike and I at Warped Tour all the way back in 2002:

Jan 21, 2010

Thursday.....Just Thursday

Let me share my butterscotch pie with you from yesterday. The recipe was the same in both of my Betty Crocker cookbooks, but one said to bake it for 10min and the other just said to let it cool.

Pretty much it's like butterscotch pudding. Here is me trying to cook the pudding:

This was also my first time tempering eggs and I totally screwed it up. I managed to scramble about 1/3 of the eggs :( But the pie still tasted fine, it just looked kinda weird with small pieces of egg floating around:

Better luck next time.

So my neighbors gave us some chicken that they didn't want so chicken was it for tonight. I made a slight variation on the stuffed chicken recipe from my Light Cooking book

The filling was just cooked yellow rice, cooked carrots, diced tomatoes, and basil (quite different from the recipe), but it was cooked just the same. First you pound out the chicken to make it flat:

Then you stuff it with the filling and use wet toothpicks to hold it shut while it cooks:

First you pan sear it for about 2 minutes a side and then bake it at 375 for about 20 minutes and then you have delicious-ness.

Since I was slightly disappointed with the pie, I made some chocolate chip cookies from the Light Cooking book (low fat, low cholesterol). Mixer in action, blending brown sugar and oil:

And they came out sort of lumpy but very good:

And that was it. Yay!

Until next time, here is a pillow I made for my friend for Christmas. I got the idea from a sewing magazine I picked up at a JoAnn fabrics.