Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Snow-magedon 2015

Did you prepare?  What did you do?

Where we live the forecast was nothing but rain and a bit of flurries that wouldn't amount to much.  I didn't do much to prepare, however, I really was already prepared.

The kids got flashlights for Christmas and we bought a huge supply of batteries for them.  Firewood was delivered just after Christmas and we still had about a day's worth of firewood should the electricity go out.  I had just shopped at the grocery store and we were pretty well stocked, AND I had just purchased a bunch of toilet paper and paper towels at Sam's Club (because we were starting to run low).

We ended up getting 2 inches of snow overnight but by mid-day the roads were clear and safe for travel.

Honestly, we could have been snowed in for days and been okay.  It is the electricity thing that concerns me the most.  Our only alternate source of heat is the fireplace and we are low on wood.  We would have survived about a day maybe a day and a half at most before we would really get chilly here.  I need to work on this for the future.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas on a Budget

If you have been following along with me and this blog for a while you know we recently returned to our home town.  Just over a year ago we moved to Florida and tried to start a new business down there and have a change of pace for us.  A few months ago we returned to our home town and are struggling to make ends meet. This month we are struggling to make our rent payment, that kind of struggling. In the end, I am sure we will squeak through. But I digress.  When we moved to Florida we got rid of a bunch of our stuff.  Like over half of all our belongings and a TON of our holiday decorations.  Last year we didn't even dig into our Christmas decorations at all.  I am anxious to open our few boxes we did save to see what we have.

Luckily, the kids aren't asking for much this year and it looks like we will be able to get them what they are asking for with some scrimping on other things.  For others on our list, look for homemade items.  Our kids will be getting lots of homemade items too.  Over the next couple weeks I will be posting some patterns and ideas that I had while preparing for the holidays.

This year I am focusing on crafts and creations, baking and activities.  These can be fun and cheap.  We will be going to look at the lights around our town, enjoying free activities, and having family nights where we will watch holiday themed tv shows. (By the way, we don't have cable so we can't record them and watch when we want, which can make the event even more exciting because we will get one chance to see some of these shows.)

Last night I was on Pinterest and found some fun crafts that we will be doing over the next few weeks.

The above was written in the beginning of December.  Here is the update.....................

Christmas is over. We are now awaiting New Year's Eve.

We never got around to all those great Pinterest ideas.  I still want to make some snowflakes to hang on our walls for winter.

The kids did most of the decorating for Christmas and they did a great job.  I never actually dug into our boxes of decorations to see what we had and didn't have anymore.  I ended up working all but 3 days prior to Christmas so I didn't have much time.

We did some baking, made Gingerbread houses out of kits and they turned out great.  We created a pretty "Frozen" tree for our front foyer. We put lights outside our condo and on our balcony.

The time leading up to Christmas seemed to fly by, faster than in years past. My goal for next year is to slow down time.  Ha ha..... I do wish I had that super power though.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Turkey-Zucchini Soup

Here's one for the turkey leftovers!

Turkey-Zucchini Soup

1 pkg (8oz) frozen cut green beans
2 cups thin sliced zucchini
2 cups chopped cooked turkey
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
½ cup fine chopped onion
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp dried savory
Dash pepper
1 pkg (3 oz) cream cheese

1. Place first 11 ingredients in crockpot.
2. Cook on high setting for 3 hours.
3. Blend approx. 1 cup hot soup mix with cream cheese. Return to cooker.
4. Heat through.
8 Servings

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Quilted Place Mats

 I had this bedspread I bought and my husband doesn't really like it.  So it has been sitting in the linen closet taking up space.  I keep meaning to take it to Goodwill when I had this brilliant idea to cut it up and make place mats out of it.  It is quilted on both sides with two different patterns.  This is the same style of fabric I have bought in the past at Joann's to make place mats.  We use place mats all the time at all our meals.  It makes clean up so much easier and gives the plate a place to stay.

The first thing I did was make the pattern.  I don't want huge placemats but ones that will hold the plate and the fork, knife and spoon.  I used a paper bag to cut my template.  I used my plate as a guide and cut about an inch above and below the plate and about two and a half inches on each side.  Again, not too big.

Then it is a simple process. You can take a permanent marker or a fabric marker and trace the template onto the fabric, but in my case I just held it in place and cut around it.  I am lazy like that.

Once you cut them out they will have an open edge on them so we now have to sew it up.  You can take double folded bias tape in a coordinating color and sew it around the edges, but I didn't have enough in one color to do that so I just used my serger and serged all around it.

Voila!  Here the are all done and ready to use.  If you have stray strings or if it looks like it is going to unravel, put a bit of fabric glue on the stray threads and that will hold them.

It is a perfect size for my plates.  If you want it bigger to fit a glass on it then make the template bigger.  If you want to make smaller coasters then you can do that too. You can also make a table runner. Oh the possibilities!!!

The opposite side.

Okay, here is the best part of this whole thing.  I bought this king sized quilt for $24.99 which came with two pillow shams as well.  I made 10 place mats and still have a TON of material left over.  I can buy a yard of this same stuff at Joann Fabrics for $14.99 to $19.99, but not have near as much fabric as I have here.  My thought is that I am going to get a quilt in a Christmas pattern, maybe just buy a twin sized quilt, and make more place mats for the holidays.  This is the cheapest way to get this material. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Seafood, Potato and Corn Chowder

This is another of Dad's recipes.  I loved this chowder. It is a great recipe for cool fall evenings.  I substitute crab meat for the white fish.

Seafood, Potato, and Corn Chowder

3 - 16 oz cans of chicken broth
1 onion chopped
2 large potatoes 1/2" dice
1 can whole corn, drained
1/4 cup flour
2 TBS dill
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 lb white fish, 1/2" dice (Can substitute crab meat)
1/2 lb cooked shrimp
1/4 tsp pepper
dash garlic
2/3 cup instant mashed potatoes
Salt to taste

1. In a 3 1/2 QT slow cooker, combine first 5 ingredients and 5 tsp of dill.
2. Cover and cook on low heat about 5 1/2-6 hours.
3. Increase the setting to high. Stir in rest of dill, cream, seafood, pepper, salt and potato buds.
4. Cook 35-45 min longer until slightly thickened.
5. Season with salt.

Serves 4-6.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Potato Casserole

This is one of my dad's recipes.  He passed away in 2007.  He was a great cook and I am so glad that I was able to get his recipes.

Potato Casserole

3 lbs potatoes, peeled and quartered
1/2 cup butter
2- 3 oz pkgs cream cheese softened
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 - 2 oz jar diced pimento, drained
1 small green pepper, finely chopped
1 bunch green onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp salt

1. Cook potatoes in boiling water 15 minutes. Drain and mash.
2. Add butter and cream cheese. Beat at medium speed till smooth.
3. Stir 1/2 cup cheddar and next 6 ingredients. Spoon into a lightly greased 11 x 7 x 1 1/2 baking dish. Cover and chill.
4. Remove casserole and let stand at room temp. 30 minutes, then bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.
5. Sprinkle with remaining cheddar and bake 5 minutes or until cheese melts.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tri Tip Steak with Mr. Yoshida's Sauce

The other day we were in Costco and sampling their new foods.  We came across a lady in the meat aisle and she was sampling tri tip steaks.  She had marinated it with Mr. Yoshida's Original Gourmet sauce.  Oh my goodness!  This was steak heaven on a toothpick.  My whole family went CRAZY over this!  I mean the "mom you have to get this!" kind of crazy!

So I asked the lady how she prepared it and got the ingredients while I was there.  The next night we had Tri tip steak with Mr. Yoshida's Sauce and veggie kababs.  I served them over rice.

The sauce is a sweet and tangy sauce, similar to an Asian stir-fry sauce.  It is delicious with steak and veggies.  So delicious that the next day I cut up the left over steak and veggies into smaller pieces, made some more rice, and stir fried the steak and veggies.  Super yummy.

To cook the tri tip I cut it into a little larger than bite-sized pieces and marinated them for about 30 minutes in the sauce.  I cut the veggies into chunks and then put the veggies and meat on skewers.  I grilled them for about 8 minutes total, until the meat seemed done enough for us (medium).  I let the kababs rest for about 3-4 minutes before serving.

You can also cook tri tip steak on the grill in large long lengths.  Cut against the grain to make a more tender slice.

I know you can get Mr. Yoshida's Original Gourmet sauce at Costco.  I looked at Kroger when I was there but didn't see it.