Friday, May 27, 2011

I love it when Tarot goes all Smart-Aleck

I've been busy all week cleaning, and sorting, and moving things around - and finding it all very hard to prioritize what should get done first.

So today, I decided to pull a couple Tarot cards - not sure at all that it could actually give me a household task, but what the heck, right?   I know what my grand list of Things To Do is - I just want to know which one needs attention right now.

I used the Goddess Tarot, because it was what I laid eyes on first and ask, "What is my highest priority right now?" and intending to read the answer in terms of To Dos - not get lost in the metaphoric big picture weeds.

The 6 of Swords shows a woman and all her swords (her ideas/thoughts/worries/to-do list) in a little boat slowly working its way across the water.  The Big Picture answer is - just keep working steadily.  And that is very true!  Keep moving, accept that the pace is slow, but make gradual improvement is the only way this is going to get done.

But ...where to start now?  Well - the second I saw this, I thought.. BATHROOM.  The watery place that is my nemesis and that needs some *help*. Today.

But...but, sez, I... I don't WANNA.  Because I'm a whiner like that, and of course deep down, what I really want is to be let off the hook - tell me I badly need to, um... sort out my spices instead?

So I draw another card - because that's what we do when we don't like that first answer so much, right?  And I get this, but reversed.

The 8 of Cups - which shows a woman getting all her little emotional cups in a row, and then walking away from them - leaving something behind because it isn't giving you the emotional satisfaction you felt it should.

Reversed. As in, DON'T DO THAT.  If you wait to 'feel like it', It'll never get done!

Dagnabbit. The Goddess has spoken... I'm cleaning my bathroom today.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

What's Cookin' This Week: 5/22 - 5/28

The busier I get the more important meal planning gets, even if I'm only patchy about following it.  Why? Well not only are my finances stretched to the squeaking point, but I need to try to use up what I have, and minimize buying things that won't be used up before I leave.

So this week's plan is all about being quick, simple, and using things I have on hand.  I'm leaving days open, because how much effort I'm willing to make depends how deep I am into a cleaning project on any given day.

Hot Dogs in Buns
French Fries
Carrot Raisin Salad with Pineapple

(Hot dogs and French Fries in Freezer. 
raisins and canned pineapple in pantry. 
carrots in refrigerator.  
Had to purchase buns.)

Split Pea Soup with Ham Bone
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

(Everything on hand - dried peas in pantry,
ham bone in freezer, have potatoes and sweet potatoes, 
have bread and cheese.
Will slice any leftover hot dogs into soup.)


Taco Salad
Refried Black Beans
Spanish Rice

(Almost everything on hand - ground beef in freezer,
homemade cooked black beans in freezer,
salad fixings in refrigerator, items for rice in pantry. 
Purchased fresh tomato and sour cream)


Salmon Patties in Flatbread
Cucumber Onion Salad

(Have flatbreads that need to be eaten.  
Canned salmon and rice-a-roni in pantry. 
Onions and yogurt on hand.  
Purchased 2 cucumbers.


Meatball Calzones
Caesar Salad

(Holdover from previous menu - everything on hand.
Meatballs and bread dough in freezer. Salad fixings on hand. 
Purchased ricotta cheese.) 

My total grocery bill, including a gallon of milk, some cottage cheese, and coffee was $38.53.)

I Can Explain....

Oh my I miss posting here! I miss checking in on everyone else, too - I knew this time period was going to be insane, but knowing it and feeling it are so often different things, and I am starting to feel seriously overwhelmed.

My youngest graduates in 2 weeks, and family is coming out to attend that. I'm having a yardsale in 3 weeks.  She is heading to Thespian Nationals for a week in 4 weeks. I am moving in 6 weeks - and she's moving in with a friend at the same time.

Meanwhile, money is squeaky tight, and I'm getting very little help from my daughters or my son in law - and I don't mean asking for a lot extra, but a lot that I've BEEN asking for for months now that is theirs to do, like getting the upper floor I let them live in for 2 years cleaned out and scrubbed, and to finish up on commitments with a couple large items they promised to do - and got paid for on that assurance.

Time is running out, and I am never happy when I have to crack the whip - I'm one of those freaks who'd rather let things go to hell then have to repeatedly nag after it's become clear that no one is wasting a lot of worry ovre whether or not they're letting me down.  (Oh for goodness sake, someone slap me for whining.)

Yikes... this may be why I'm not posting much - rants!  It isn't helping that there's been a lot of rain, leading to a lot of achiness and loss of energy.  I just keep running face first into things I need done that I can't do, and then everything is waiting on other people.

So while I'm being cranky and busy, I won't be posting a whole lot - it should all pick back up in July, where I'll be happily setting things up, which I find much more fun and fruitful than getting things ready to move.

I hope you'll bear with me!

Monday, May 16, 2011

What's Cookin' This Week: 5/15 - 5/21

It's been a pretty hectic week - daughter's Prom was this weekend, and I was dividing my time between dealing with that, babysitting for my other daughter and trying to carry on getting things sorted for yard sale.

Honestly, it all feels like I'm walking in place - I'm not real sure I'm accomplishing much!  But, onward...

My meal plan last week was overkill - prom prep (and drama!) meant Deanna wasn't eating at home all that much, so I was eating a lot of leftovers on my own, and not cooking so much.  I have a feeling that might be the way of it for the next few weeks.  So back to not trying for dates ... just a few options, and deal with the ones that involve perishables - those that only require pantry/freezer items can be shoved back until whenever they're needed.

So, this week's plan:

Breakfast Dinner:
Eggs to order
Fried ham slices
Country panfried potatoes


Slow Cooker Roasted Orange Chicken with Honey-Ginger Glaze
Carrot-Raisin Salad


Fire Island Penne Pasta
Tossed Salad
Garlic Toast


Individual Shepherd's Pies


Hot Dogs
French Fries
Sliced Fruit

Shared with Meal Plan Monday

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Felt Applique Drink Cozy

This week I've been trying to focus on some of the scrubbing type jobs needed throughout the house so I haven't spent much time stitching, but yesterday, my son-in-law, daughter and granddaughter were over.  While I was cleaning, I'd come across a cardboard coffee cozy I'd set aside a couple months ago, and decided to use it as a template to make a non-disposable cozy of my own.

Felt and thread - no basting needed, I just applique stitched red and blue felt together while talking... very easy to set aside when my granddaughter wanted a moment of lap time, or needed to be herded back into the room instead of chasing the cat.  I used a couple felt scraps to applique hearts onto the cozy - this is completely reversible, and took very little time to do.

Now I need to go get a cup of coffee to try it out!

Shared with Craftastic MondayInspire Me Monday, Mad Skills Monday, Made By You Monday, Making the World Cuter Monday, Motivated Monday, You're So Very Creative, Homemaker Monday, Market Yourself Monday, Made With Love Monday, Nifty Thrifty Tuesdays, Get Your Craft On Tuesday, Anything Related, Running With Glitter Link Party, Creative Bloggers Party Hop.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Homemade Yogurt in a Slow Cooker

The other day, I made homemade yogurt in my slow cooker, using A Year of Slow Cooking's instructions.  No need to repeat those directions for you - they were perfect, as was the result.

I used whole milk (I'd originally gotten some organic, but they 'ultra pasteurize' it and that doesn't work at all for making there non ultra-pasteurized organic milk available commercially??) and Stonyfield Farm Whole Milk Plain Yogurt as my starter.

Getting the crock pot good and well wrapped with towels seems to be the key to this working - I went to go peek at the result in the morning, more than half sure I'd have a big crock full of milk, and squeaked with delight to see thick creaminess instead.

As is, it was rich, tart, and creamy, but I like my yogurt 'Greek' style, so after letting it chill awhile, I strained it and the result is incredibly smooth and thick - with honey drizzled over the top, this is an insanely tasty snack.

I left a half cup unthickened to use as my next starter, and wound up with two mason jars full of whey.

Shared with Mouthwatering Monday, Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays, Monday Mania, Made By You Monday, Homemaker Monday, Made With Love Monday, Tuesdays at the Table, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Tuesday Night Supper Club, Made From Scratch TuesdayTuesday's Tasty Tidbits, Your Recipe, My Kitchen, Tasty Tuesdays, Hearth & Soul Blog Hop, Traditional Tuesdays, You're So Very Creative, Anything Related.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

What's Cooking This Week: 5/8 - 5/14...and a recipe

I hope everyone had a lovely Mother's Day - today was also Daughter #3's birthday, so her family came over around 9am and her husband made us breakfast.. yum!  We visited for a couple hours, exchanged gifts, watched her daughter (21 months old) run in circles around the house, happily yelling, "Help! Heeellllpppp!" and hoping someone might chase her.  Then they headed off to meet up with friends and I had a quiet afternoon.  Sadly, Michael left to head home today too, but even so, it was a good day.

Before I share this coming week's menu plan, I have one more meal from last week to share:  Adobo Chicken.  If you've never had this Filipino specialty, you have go to try this - the chicken is extremely flavorful and tender, and as you'll see, the process is ridiculously simple. I'm going to have to make this again soon, because it was so good.  Don't forget to eat the garlic clovers... they mellow into tender deliciousness that you don't want to miss.

Filipino Chicken Adobo
(serves 4)

4 lb chicken thighs, skin on, bone-in
1/2 c. white vinegar
1/2 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. olive oil
1 head of garlic, broken into cloves, peeled, and slighly smashed
1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
3 bay leaves

Combine all in a sealable marinating container, blending to combine.  Let marinate for about 3 hours (more is fine), then turn chicken and marinade into a large cooking pot. (I used my wok)  Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 1/2 hour, stirring occasionally.  Uncover and simmer another 30 minutes...sauce should reduce.   Remove chicken to a hot saute pan with a little olive oil, and saute at medium high heat to brown lightly.  While the chicken is being sauteed, raise heat on marinade if needed to continue reducing sauce (a little bit of cornstarch mixed with water and added to the marinade can help it thicken).   Return chicken to sauce, and turn to coat completely.

Serve with rice or other grain (rice would be traditional, but I served this with quinoa).  Yum!

This coming week will be thrifty, using what I have stowed in the freezer or in the pantry:

Leftovers...Mom's not cooking!

Sliced Strawberries and Kiwi

Chicken Curry
Tossed Salad

Meatball and Mozzarella Calzones

Black Eyed Pea Curry with Spinach & Coconut Milk
Sliced Ham
Carrot Raisin Salad

Individual Chicken Pot Pies (from freezer)

Fend for Myself

Shared with Menu Plan Monday, Mouthwatering Monday, Hunk of Meat Monday, Craft-O-Maniac Monday, Mad Skills Monday, Made By You Monday, Making Monday Marvelous, Motivate Me Monday, Homemaker Monday, Market Yourself Monday, Made With Love Monday.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Greek Turkey Patties and Cucumber Yogurt Salad

This has been a really good week of meals - popular with everyone, very tasty, and I just realized we seem to have been conducting a little tour of around-the-world flavors.  On Monday, it was Greek/Mediterranean - Greek Turkey Patties in flatbread wraps. I was very unsuccessful in locating pitas for this for some reason, but the multigrain rectangular wraps I found were really delicious and we actually liked them better than store-bought pitas.

I made a Cucumber Yogurt salad to go along with this, made up a box of tabbouleh, and pan fried up a few potatoes to feed the daughter's boyfriend who is often highly suspicious of the weird food I cook (ie, not breaded, not from a bag in the freezer, and often including vegetables!  But he's polite about it.).

The tabbouleh was Far East brand's and is ridiculously easy to prepare - soak it, toss in some chopped tomato, cucumber, chopped kalamata olives, and feta.  We continued to nibble on the leftovers for the next couple of days, and it only got better as the flavors melded.

The turkey patties were a total winner - no leftovers on these or the cucumbers (recipe below):

Greek Turkey Patties

1 lb. ground turkey
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup chopped Kalamata olives
2 tsp dried Italian or Greek seasoning (I used Penzey's Greek Seasoning)
1/4 cup finely minced onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 clove garlic, finely minced
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Blend together, lightly and shape into patties.  Either grill or pan-grill - I used a little olive oil in a pan to cook a few at a time.

To serve, lay a patty or two on 1/2 of a flatbread, top with onion, lettuce, tomato or a little cucumber salad and/or tabbouleh, fold in half and enjoy.

Greek Cucumber and Yogurt Salad

3 cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced
1 white onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp dried dill or mint
1/2 c. thick yogurt

Spread cucumber, onion and salt out on a cookie sheet covered in paper towel and sprinkle with salt - set aside for about a half hour (the salt will draw out excess moisture).

Toss cucumber, onion, and herbs together in a bowl, and fold in yogurt.  Let chill until serving time.  Flavors will meld with longer chilling time.

Shared with Full Plate Thursday, It's a Keeper Thursday, Thrilling Thursday, Pennywise Platter Thursday, Simple Lives ThursdayShabby Nest Frugal Friday, Frugal Friday, Friday Favorites, Simply Link Party, Flaunt It Friday, Show Off Your Stuff, Fat Camp Friday, Foodie Friday, Fun with Food Friday, Weekend Wander, Weekend Wrap Up, Whatcha Got Weekend, Check Me Out Saturday, Saturday Nite Special, Show and Tell Saturday, Not Baaad Sunday, Sundae Scoop Link Up, Sunday Showcase, Think Pink Sunday, Show and Share Sunday, Sister Sister Sunday, Mouthwatering Monday, Hunk of Meat Monday, Craft-O-Maniac Monday, Mad Skills Monday, Made By You Monday, Making Monday Marvelous, Motivate Me Monday, Homemaker Monday, Market Yourself Monday, Made With Love Monday, Monday Mania.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

May TUSAL: New Moon in Taurus

It's New Moon time again, so it's time to share the TUSAL. I've got a lot of greys and greens and maroons at the top right now - I've spent the last few days working on my "Don't Blink" Doctor Who stone angel - so it's all marbled stone shades.

Before that was a fast stitch for my third daughter's 22nd birthday (which she shares with Mother's Day this year) - I chose a small oval sampler from Cross Country Stitching's 2001 Special Edition: Americana Alphabets.

This is a picture of the picture in the magazine - very sweet, no?  It's called Charming Counry ABCs.

I wanted to change up the saying to something that would be more meaningful to her, and this is what I came up with - I will be putting it into a small frame that she can tuck on a shelf she uses for various pretties.

I haven't done nearly as much stitching as I would have liked this month, but Spring just always seems to be that way - too many other things to do.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Red Lentil Curry with Sweet Potatoes and Spinach

I wanted something a little spicy for May Day dinner - a fiery dish for a spicy day!  I also wanted to be able to use what I had on hand - this dish is a recipe I've used before and it's a sort of hodgepodge of a few different recipes, along with a healthy dash of 'use what I have on hand'.

The only change I'd suggest is using fresh chopped tomatoes and a couple fresh chiles, jalepeno or habanero as you like, instead of the Rotel, just to keep it all fresh.  That said, the Rotel worked just fine!  Be sure to use red lentils, not the regular brown lentils - the brown lentils take a lot longer to cook, and never melt into the rich creaminess of red lentils.

Michael's comment: Ok, this is a keeper - make this a whole lot!

Red Lentil Curry with Sweet Potatoes and Spinach

coconut oil or olive oil, for cooking
1 onion, chopped
1 can Rotel with Habaneros
1 tsp. Garam masala
2 tsp. curry powder (I used Penzey's Vindaloo curry powder)
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. Turmeric
1 tsp ground ginger
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1 medium dark-fleshed sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes
1 cup dry red lentils
1 14 oz. (398 mL) can coconut milk
2 cup water
A big handful of baby spinach leaves

 In a large, heavy skillet, heat a drizzle of oil over medium-high heat. Saute the onion for about 5 minutes, then add the Rotel, ginger, garlic, garam masala, curry powder, cumin, turmeric and salt. Cook for a few more minutes.  Add basil leaves, and stir until they wilt.

 Stir in the sweet potato, lentils, coconut milk and water; bring to a simmer, then cover, turn the heat down to medium-low and cook for about 20-30 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and the lentils are creamy and soft. 

 Uncover and tear in the spinach; stir, return the lid and cook for another minute or two, just until the spinach wilts. Serve immediately, over brown rice. Serves 4-6.

Shared with Mouthwatering Monday, Amaze Me Monday, Craft-O-Maniac Monday, Mad Skills Monday, Made By You Monday, Making Monday Marvelous, Making the World Cuter Monday, Motivate Me Monday, You're So Very Creative Monday, Homemaker Monday, Market Yourself Monday, Made With Love Monday, Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays, Monday Mania, Tuesdays at the Table, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday Parade of Foods, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Tuesday Night Supper Club, Made From Scratch Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays, Get Your Craft On, Running With Glitter Link Party, Creative Blogger's Party and Hop, Hearth and Soul Hop, Anything Related, What's on the Menu Wednesday, What's On Your Plate Wednesday, We Did It Wednesday, Whatever Goes Wednesday, Show and Tell Linking Party, Make It Yours Day, Penny Pinching Party, Real Food Wednesday, Works For Me Wednesday.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

What's Cookin' This Week: 5/1 - 5/7

Michael's in town this week, and Deanna's done with play rehearsal for a little while, so she should be home a bit more for dinner.  So here are my plans:

Curried Spinach and Sweet Potato Red Lentil Dal
Brown Rice
Greek Turkey Burgers in Flat Bread Wraps
Lemon Potatoes
Cucumber Salad


Chicken Caesar Salad
Tangerine Sections
Rice Pudding
Refried Black Beans
Spanish Rice

Shared with Menu Plan Monday!