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November 25th, 2022 at 05:14 pm

Pre-Thanksgiving was Drama Drama Drama.   But the day ended up very nice and peaceful.

Long story short, hell froze over and MH agreed not to do Thanksgiving with his family.  Of course his mom can't let it go, so it was a lot of drama the days prior.  (I don't think he's ever missed a Thanksgiving.  They have no concept that I have a family too, that MH has his own family, etc.)  I think the worst of it was Wednesday, when I was blissfully out of town.  If I was home, MH would have been venting to me all day.

**Edited to remove my own venting.**

I wish we could have given the Holiday to my parents, but they just aren't up to it at this point.  So we decided to have a peaceful day at home.  Is what all of us wanted more than anything at that point.  But we had sent off MM(19) to his girlfriend's Holiday and they ended up inviting us.  We felt obligated to go.  Most particularly because they had for months planned a summer BBQ that we had to cancel last minute when MH had COVID.  & it turns out that they usually have a bigger Thanksgiving with family but had stayed home due to medical reasons.  So they really appreciated having more mouths to feed.

The girlfriend and the Dad are both really good cooks.  We ate very well.  They seem to be a very relaxed bunch and we really enjoyed meeting them.

I tried a new/simple cookie recipe that was amazing:

I am looking forward to the peaceful long weekend.  Nothing planned today, though we have some appetizers to eat through (that we had bought for the in law Thanksgiving.)  

This weekend will be college stuff.  Have some financial stuff to go through with MM(19).  & DL(17) is going to be applying to one college.

We toured the local State college a few weeks ago and were all very pleasantly surprised.  It's a really nice campus.  I think we've always been kind of "meh" on the local colleges, being from the Bay Area.  & I mean, they didn't have any accounting programs when we moved here.  I abandoned my Graduate degree with the move.  Lord knows we didn't see the point of studying engineering here (with all the Bay Area schools to compare).  So I booked the tour and MH and DL(17) were kind of, "Why are we here?"  Because I like back up plans for my back up plans, and wanted DL(17) to know what his options are.  We all ended up really liking the campus.  So he may just stay at home his first year of college.

I keep trying to get him to tour my alma mater (which has an amazing accounting program) but DL(17) is really resisting.  He is prickly and I honestly think he would just hate it (it's in the middle of downtown).  But he wants to study accounting and I think he needs to at least set foot there and guage how he feels about it.  If he viscerally hates it, I am totally fine with that.  But it would be nice to know for sure.  (He absolutely could not stand MM's college campus.  If he didn't have such a negative visceral reaction, I'd suggest he just goes to community college down there and room with his brother.  I suppose it is another community college he could look into, but I think the distance is a bit much for him.)

We were out of town Wednesday because we went on a tour of the community college he is interested in.  In the Bay Area.  It was also a beautiful campus.  Both these campuses are woodsy, and he likes that.  

DL(17) has been overly fixated on college costs.  I told him to let it go.  The $8K state college is only $1,500 (annual tuition) after Federal tax credits and State middle class grants.  I told him the difference was negligible (versus community college) and that is why I personally didn't bother with community college.  I can't speak for MH but I expect it was the same for him.  I told him this at the beginning of the State college tour and I think he went into it with a more open mind.  It might cost $1,500 more per year but we can afford it and that $1,500 buys a lot of amenities.  Also, I've said before, if he starts out at State he is more likely to stay there.  So bigger picture I really think it's the most bargain option for his degree.  He's more likely to just start out at home (no extra room/board) *and* he is more likely to just finish his 4-year degree at the very affordable college.  Once he has that momentum going.  

Onion Fritters Recipe

January 26th, 2021 at 02:23 am

Onion Fritter recipe:

This was the easiest recipe.  So I figured I would share.

MH is really not into anything greasy or deep fried.  In that vein, I just got a small frying pan and covered the bottom of the pan with oil.  With the small pan, wasn't using tons of oil, and was never going to use as much oil as the recipe called for.   

But...  Because it was a small pan, once I filled it with onion/batter, the oil covered half the fritters anyway.  The first few came out absolutely perfect.  My husband commented on maybe turning down the heat or cooking longer on some of the later ones, because they were more doughy.  I told him it was because I was running out of oil and they were less "deep fried".  Which I knew would overall be his preference (doughy) if the alternative was just more oil.  I don't think anyone really cared, there were none left when I was done making them.


Instant Pot Recipes?

November 27th, 2020 at 11:07 pm

Mentioned in my last post that we finally pulled the trigger on the Instant Pot.  It just arrived and we did the test run (with some water).  I already found a handful of recipes that we have ingredients on hand for.  Will probably make corn chowder this weekend.

For today, going to do a quick mac & cheese test run.

Wanted to ask if anyone had favorite recipes that they wanted to share?  TIA!

Thai Basil Chicken

July 4th, 2020 at 02:03 pm

Thai Basil Chicken

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I have never attempted to make any Thai food before.
O.M.G. So Good!

Traditionally this is a very spicy dish. MH literally only picked up one pepper. ??? I don't know. As I have learned from Indian cooking, just throw in a little extra cayenne, seems the easiest way to spice up these type dishes. We had discussed ahead of time we would obviously need more than one pepper, but he forgot. So I would like to try again with more peppers, and will work on dialing up the spice. But this recipe was flavorful and mild.

P.S. We only used one pound of ground chicken. I am going to have to double this recipe for my household.

Chicken Fajita Sandwiches

July 4th, 2020 at 01:47 pm

Chicken Fajita Subs

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MH worked full-time during May (for the first time in 18 years...). He did all the grocery shopping for us (doing one trip mid-month) but I brainstormed a lot of the meals because I (and the kids) were going to be doing all the cooking.

Mostly, I would pat myself on the back. It seemed *very* overwhelming, but we kept everyone fed and it was easier than I imagined it would be. Especially because this is probably the hardest time of all to keep my boys fed. So... They were happy and fed, and by some miracle I kept them satiated. (I can't take much credit at all. MH has a good system and so we might actually survive if anything ever happens to him).

Then... MH stepped back in and as he keeps making some of our meals I am just, "Duh, why didn't I think of that!?" & he has a weird recipe system anyway, so I am making an effort to print out my favorite recipes for my recipe book. So that I can remember and find said recipes. I feel a million times more prepared if I ever have to take over meal planning again.

This recipe is *so good*. By itself I don't know if it's that exciting, but the mix of the cheese and the mayo and the chicken just makes it amazing.

Butter Chicken Recipe

July 4th, 2020 at 01:18 pm

I realized that I don't think I shared this recipe:

Butter Chicken

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I tried this recipe, and DL (my budding chef) recommended adding 1 tsp of cayenne pepper and 1 tsp of cumin. It was so close to our favorite Indian cafe's recipe I can't believe it.

I was intrigued by the meatball take on butter chicken, but in the end we abandoned the meatballs and it tasted better with just crumbled meat.

Finding this recipe around the time the quarantine started, is maybe a reason I currently feel somewhat "meh" if we ever eat out again during 2020.

Meatloaf Recipe

May 12th, 2020 at 02:32 pm

Meatloaf recipe:

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It was easy to find online. Phew!

Brussel Sprouts

February 23rd, 2019 at 12:54 pm

I don't even remember where I saw it, but I saw a recipe for brussel sprouts with balsamic vinegar. I thought that sounded really good, but poked around for a more positively reviewed recipe. I found a winner:

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In other randomness, we made it through African Queen and Duck Soup. Our weekend is busy, so I am guessing that is all we will get to. But we are getting caught up on "Top 100" movies.

Tonight we are going to the Symphony. I expected to drop expenses like this with my pay cut. Not a huge adjustment, as we were just getting to a point where we could add these kinds of expenses to our budget. But I've had so much side work, we splurged. Tonight is Gershwin, Rhapsody in Blue. I am so excited!!

South of the Border Wraps

December 19th, 2018 at 03:29 am

MH dug out an old recipe a couple of weeks ago and it was *so good*. Better than I remembered.

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Just some beans and veggies, with some cheese and butter. & I can imagine infinite ways to customize to one's taste and/or what is on hand.

MM(15) and I made for dinner tonight. I wanted to share while I Was thinking about it.

Indian Recipe

September 24th, 2018 at 12:23 pm

When MH was at the Indian grocery store the other day, the clerk gave him this recipe. MM(15) wanted to make it for lunch. I only had a bite, but *wow*, I don't know if we have ever made such an authentic Indian recipe before. (Beware: It's spicey!)

Egg Bhurgi Recipe

3 Eggs
2 Tbs Oil
1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
1 Large Onion, finely chopped
1 Serrano Pepper, chopped
1/4 tsp Ginger
1/4 tsp Garlic
1 tsp Garam Masala
3/4 tsp Cayenne Chili Powder
1/4 tsp Turmeric
1/4 cup Chopped Cilantro, divided

Beat eggs in a bowl.

Heat oil in pan, add cumin seeds. When they splutter, add onions & serrano peppers and fry until golden.

Add ginger and garlic. Fry till you get a nice aroma.

Pour in the eggs and scramble lightly. Stir constantly to prevent burning.

Add garam masala, chili powder and half of cilantro. Stir well, salt as needed.

Garnish with remaining cilantro.

Serve with rice or bread (or tortillas?)


In other randomness, my 13yo randomly asked me for help making eggs "sunny side up", on Saturday? He made them, but was asking me if I thought they were done. HA! I had no idea. I know how to scramble eggs? I think DL(13) was pleased with his cooking skills. As the younger child, I think usually he just lets everyone do things for him. MM would plan and prepare a 5-course meal. In contrast, DL would whine if I told him he could make his own mac and cheese. So it was nice to see him being so adventurous in the kitchen.

He's on an egg kick, so I taught him how to hard boil yesterday. So that the shell comes off very easily.

July 1

July 3rd, 2018 at 01:06 am

July 1
$10 Parking @ Water Park
$0 Movies
$0 Library books
Dinner: Parmesan Pasta & Mediterranean Salad

Note: Just tracking spending. Not attempting to cut expenses or to be uber frugal.


For whatever reason, was thinking of tracking spending this month (er, sharing in the blogs. I always track spending). Life has been crazed and I don't even remember why I was thinking that, except for maybe a bit of a reset.

I didn't even realize it was UFM month. I guess that is extra motivation.

{I don't generally participate in UFM and don't want to upset our delicate balance. But the way I participate is by sharing our spending. I will put some kind of disclaimer on my posts}.

I am also putting these in the "one-income" category since MH doesn't work during the summer months.


I had bought premium season passes to our local water park around the time of Black Friday. About 50% off current prices.

The catch is that we had to process our season passes at this location, and ideally before the Fair starts. (I personally bought my season pass more for another location).

So we took care of that yesterday. It was a pretty horrible trip for us adults (especially because I wasn't feeling well and it was crazy hot). But, the kids had fun. (We maybe stood in lines for an hour, and then the kids spent an hour on the slides. It wasn't that crowded but they were just that inefficient. Security was slow. Season passes were slow. Ugh). I could see MH being more moody about the whole thing, since he is the one who will be taking the kids on weekdays and generally doesn't do *sun*, but he seemed impressed with how cheap the passes were. (The way to his heart is through a good deal?).

I also ended up getting a free meal while we were there. MH got me something because I was so miserable, and we thought it might help. So we went through all the coupons we got (x4) and I chose whatever was cheap. (I mean, it's all junkie food I wasn't that enthralled with to begin with). In the end, they refused to let MH pay. HA! Told him he had some kind of meal card. He argued with them a bit, but then figured he doesn't know what the heck I bought. I told him 100% I did not buy or get any meal cards. So he decided to go check with customer service and see what the heck. Because if our meals were really supposed to be free then he was getting the kids some free food.

I guess it's early in the season. Everything was just kind of very slow and was chaos. In the end, we were not supposed to get a free meal. Wink The free food put us in a better mood though.

After that, I slept for several hours. I just hadn't been feeling well, and have some other medical issues in addition to having some kind of bug yesterday.

When I woke up, I was craving some pasta recipe I saw online earlier. We had everything on hand (though our fridge was mostly bare otherwise). I asked MH what he was planning to make for dinner, and it was actually something similar. He was fine with me taking over dinner. Everyone liked it. I didn't have a quick/easy creamy pasta dish before. Now I have one:

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Other than that, I've been reading. I might have to finish my library (ebook) tonight. It's due back any second.

We watched the French Connection last night. That one was pretty weird. Every movie we watch leads to like 5 more movies to watch. Anyway, MH told me I had to watch the commentary track. I think he bought this one at the used store ($0 cash out of pocket ~ used his credit). We didn't realize until after that it was based on a true story. Anyway, there are not enough hours in the day and I have had to let it all go. But maybe I can squeeze in this one commentary. Especially because I got like a 10 day break from the movies and I have Wednesday off work.

Titanic is next on the list, which is one of my favorite movies. Probably one of the very few I have actually seen.

I want to do a more general update too. Will see... I think overall less chaos this week. Except for my medical stuff, everything is kind of calm right now. (Knock on wood).

Another Easy Dinner

May 28th, 2017 at 03:09 pm

I am finding the recipes from Damn Delicious to be really hit and miss. But I keep trying.

So I was happy that this one turned out so well:

Chow Mein Copycat

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Apparently it's a Panda Express copy cat. I've never eaten there, so I can't speak to any similarities to Panda Express. But this recipe is definitely a keeper. Will definitely have to double for my family. Maybe triple, for leftovers.

Oh, and I did use sesame oil instead of olive oil (a suggestion that was in the comments).

I will share again my favorite fast/easy recipe from Damn Delicious:

Korean Beef Bowl

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I think it's meals like this that help with the habit of eating at home. If we crave something like this, the home cooked version is so much better tasting. If it only takes a few minutes to whip up, it's really easier/faster than going out.

I'd like to add the new chow mein recipe to my "last minute meal" rotation. It will work better if MH doesn't put it in his meal rotation (which is what he did with the Korean beef bowl). Usually the super easy (and more random last minute) stuff is more my territory.

Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies

December 2nd, 2016 at 03:43 am

Thanks for the great recipes!

Here is mine:

1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
12 oz semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, and cinnamon; stir into the creamed mixture until just blended. Fold in oats and chocolate chips. Drop by rounded measuring tablespooonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 10-12 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

The dough freezes well for later. This recipe makes 3 dozen cookies, but the recipe came with the recommendation to bake half and freeze the rest of the dough for later. Or double the recipe and freeze more.

These are pretty much the only cookies I make. I've forgotten all other cookies. These are just too good!

Some Crockpot Recipes

October 31st, 2015 at 03:09 pm

I was trying to link a few recipes for Jazzy but I Was having technical difficulties. Will try again in my own blog.

Historically I really like the crockpot365 website, but it looks it has been archived and is a little less user friendly. Still, you can use the index and scan through for interesting recipes. Each recipe had been reviewed:

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My dh got on some recipe list otherwise - I will ask him about that. Most of these are fairly new recipes we have tried but really liked:

This first one had way too much cheese. I believe we completely cut out the cheddar cheese the second time we made it:

Artichoke Pasta
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This one is a little more work (post crockpot prep) but is worth it!

Chile Colorado Burritos
This link is not working? Copy and paste I guess.

& then some others...

Cashew Chicken
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Balsamic Chicken
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Hobo Dinner
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December 14th, 2014 at 01:52 pm

Had a GREAT soup for dinner last night!

Sausage & Kale Lentil Stew Recipe

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This weekend we worked on our Christmas Giving.

Saturday we did a Giving Tree sort. This picture is a small fraction of what was sorted. This charity caters to sick and grieving families. It was the first time we volunteered for the sorting, and it was kind of mind blowing to see all those toys crammed into one building. (Lots of toys and bikes and clothing).

We always take my Christmas bonus ($200) and take $50 each to donate. The kids are both choosing the animal shelter this year. I will probably give $50 to the food bank. (We will do this regardless if I get a bonus or not, but that was just how we started this tradition).

Both kids' classes are doing secret santa with junk food and soda. (After all the endless notes not to send junk to school, don't ask me! I suppose they figured it was cheap and easy, and I appreciate that at least it will be consumables). So we picked those up on the way home from sorting, yesterday.

Dh has been doling out Scholastic gift certificates. Teachers are very happy.



**Last night I cleaned the kids' shower. It goes a lot quicker when you use the good stuff that dh is hoarding in the bathroom, not the 10-year-old expired shower cleaner. LOL. Seriously, that tub and shower hasn't been so sparkling white in years. IT was some no-scrub thing and it actually worked.

Anyway, the reason I did so was that I got a new shower curtain for the kids. When trying to figure out what to do with some Kohls gift certificates and Kohls cash, that was one thing I was looking at. The kids' "froggy" shower curtain was starting to fall apart. I could probably limp it along, but I figured they would probably prefer something a little more grown up, for the long run. So I did end up picking that up this month. The new shower curtain seems rather flimsy, so we will see how long it lasts!

Of course, I still also have the original original shower curtain. It was someone on the blogs who mentioned that you can just wash shower curtains in the regular wash. Yesterday I did a good wash of the extra long shower curtain I have in there. Which was apparently of high quality and has held up very well (& several washings) over the past 13 years or so. It's extra long for the tall shower but it is also just a clear thing. I had put our old (froggy) shower curtain on the outside for aesthetic and some privacy. (Though otherwise it would be too short for that shower, by itself). I suppose I could tell the kids if they break the new one they will just have to live with the clear plastic. Big Grin Will see how it holds up...

**I bought myself a new laptop this week. Last week was just one too many days of "fighting over the computers" in this household.

Kind of impulsive, but I had no idea how cheap they had gotten. We did already buy a laptop this year, but every computer in our house has more advanced gaming and video editing capabilities. My needs were far lesser than that. I think it was last Saturday that I joked that I needed a new laptop. Dh kept an eye out on sales and picked one up Thursday? $288 for another Lenovo. Merry Christmas to me!!

Hoping for more peace in the house.. The computer didn't need much more than internet and spreadsheet capabilities, but dh picked out something that should be fairly future proof. (Faster processors and what ever techie goodness he wanted). I had a few wants with the laptop too, so it wasn't just "the cheapest thing we could find". I can't get over the price!

I will either pull the money from savings in January (a blip) or will pay for it with extra Christmas money. Hoping for extra Christmas money!

I am waiting for a $99 Chase refund and I think my parents owe me $150-ish for Ting. So, I guess there is some of that too. (All money due to me, but the checkbook is already fine for this month, so maybe one reason I am not sweating some bigger purchases this month).

**It's that time of year! San Francisco Comedy Sketchfest. They put on a TON of shows and we try to narrow down given the constraints of money and time.

I think a lot of the smaller stuff was kind of "meh" or either not that exciting or worthwhile for a weeknight trip. My pocketbook is happy with that! Dh is trying to arrange companionship for some of the shows. (Babysitting is a challenge, I don't like all the same weird stuff he does, AND I have an early bed time. I will go if he needs me to, or he will go alone, but it's more fun to go with a companion who can stay awake). Which has led to some conversations in our house about, "What is the point of making a bajillion dollars if you can never DO anything?" UGH!! (Don't get me started... You know, we are just the stupid ones who don't make as much money as we should, live in the middle of nowhere, and never have any fun. That kind of thing...).

So far our plan is to buy $200 show tickets. Hoping to cover with Christmas money. Thrilling Adventure Hour (a tradition for us) and a Newsradio Panel. Will have most the cast. (Oh how we miss Phil Hartman! Frown )

I like how that worked out because we didn't want to go too overboard, and the Newsradio was completely unexpected. But is one of our favorite TV shows. Will see if dh can swing any company for some of the other $20 shows. Or if I will be drug along.


November 8th, 2014 at 04:11 pm

I guess fall is in the air, sort of/kind of. (Though weather-wise, it is still unusually warm).

Fall always puts me in a baking and cleaning mood. Definitely have been doing a little bit of both.

A lot of it is that work is so quiet. Very slow at work and not going into the office too much.

We host Thanksgiving, and so my plan this next month is to prep the house for that. (I don't know that we usually put that much effort into it. BUT, since we have gotten the momentum going on cleaning I did want to work through sorting some of the clutter and putting things away, versus our usual tendency to throw things in the closet the night before).

Otherwise, it's more of a potluck thing and dh is in charge of all the food/grocery/cooking side of things.

In recent years we have tended to go on vacation after Thanksgiving, but the kids don't get that Monday off this year (bummer) and we have exhausted our vacation funds and are saving up for Japan. I took the day off before I knew the kids didn't have the day off, so look forward to a long Thanksgiving vacation. The final calm before the work storm. Then it's busy busy busy until May.


We tried an Olive Garden copycat Pasta Fagioli in the crockpot last week. YUM!! My new favorite recipe:

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{I love this crockpot recipe site but I never saw the pasta fagioli before! Has always been one of my favorites}.

Today we are making butternut squash soup in the crockpot. One of our favorite recipes:

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Edited to add: I have to bookmark this recipe because it was the best roasted seeds I have made. YUM! {I couldn't remember how I usually toasted them; ended up being about 18 minutes to perfection in our oven, at 275 degrees. Tossed in butter and garlic salt. I was better than usual about letting the seeds dry out a little first}.

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Christmas shopping is mostly done over here. The kids buy us and each other gifts. Dh picked up a couple of things for the kids a while ago. We don't do much Christmas materialism. I sometimes buy my folks birthday and Christmas gifts, but this year I am not feeling it. Probably just a donation in their name. (The bulk of us all have birthdays next month too. Just dh's mom and the kids are off in their weird world of summer birthdays. Wink ). No one in our family with kids wants to exchange anything because grandparents spoil too much. Dh and I bored of getting each other gifts a long time ago. OF course, work is crazy busy at Christmas time and so I mostly sit out the season. That is a lot of it, for me. Means I don't really care to buy gifts OR make gifts or do much of anything Christmas-y.

I picked up a few random things we could use, while shopping. Replacing bath rugs that I am unhappy with (saw a good sale) and replacing BM's broken watch. Stuff like that.

I did go through the kids' clothes. They don't really need too much. (Stocked up on next size up clearances over the summer, that are fitting BM now). But LM refuses to retire pants he is way too tall for and so I told him we could go find some replacements this weekend - in a more appropriate size. Hope I can find something similar?

I also bought a middle school sweatshirt for BM that is too small. Hoping we can exchange it for a bigger size.

Well, I have a date with a squash! (Dh is the chef but I am the sous chef for this dish - I always help him with the task of cutting up the squash - it goes a lot faster).

Pumpkin-Chorizo Pasta and Fruit/Veggie Pizzas

September 7th, 2014 at 10:20 pm

Tried a new recipe that was a hit with the adults. I don't recall the kids caring for it much, which is kind of surprising.

Pumpkin-Chorizo Bow Tie Pasta

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(If the link doesn't work, just google it. It's free to join the Taste of Home website and to see recipes, BUT I generally don't share recipes that need a login. It seems to be finicky right now and depends on the browser I guess. It seems to work in Chrome if you open in an incognito window and earlier it worked in plain old firefox).


Went to a party yesterday and had some interesting pizzas.

The kids made "watermelon pizza". The white stuff is coconut. Berries and grapes make a nice topping.

A vegetarian relative also brought some veggie pizzas for her kids. They were surprisingly delicious. Instead of cheese, they grated carrots onto one pizza and added little bits of brocolli. I didn't expect much, but was pleasantly surprised by how tasty it was.

Indian Potatoes

June 7th, 2014 at 03:39 pm

So, I came across another Indian cookbook author and have been trying out a few recipes. (I put her cookbook on my Amazon wish list - will get it for Christmas if nothing else).

But she has a bunch of recipes on her website.

I tend to fry up potatoes on the weekends and so I decided to try an Indian version today:

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Different spices that ended up tasting pretty similar to our "paprikia/salt/pepper" blend. Dh said the spice was pretty subtle. I told him I had doubled the spices. I think "tripling" them will be the sweet spot for this dish. We like our spice.

What I am intrigued by is this dish: Indian Style Chili.

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I still have to find a samosa recipe, for the young'un who is on a samosa kick. Just been busy with other things.

What we don't have and what I want is a good and simple Thai curry recipe. I tried one while dh and the kids were sick one week in winter. I thought it was okay and dh and the kids didn't like it. They had some flu and their tastes buds were way off. I just mentioned and dh said he liked it. I said, "That is not what I recall". Though it's possible they would like it better in good health. I think I rather scour the internet for a similar recipe with high reviews. I was healthy and the flavor was a little off to me.

So those are my two current cooking goals. To find a good and easy samosa and thai curry recipes.

P.S. Check out my last post - a good balsamic chicken recipe.

Balsamic Chicken

June 7th, 2014 at 03:04 am

For dinner last night we had Balsamic Chicken with Broccoli couscous.

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The chicken was excellent but couscous was just okay.

Some Recipes

April 27th, 2014 at 12:17 am

This is the "mac and cheese" recipe in our house. The kids LOVE it.

Pasta with Chickpeas and Garlic Sauce

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Dh made it twice this week, so I thought to share it.


The older child goes crazy for this one:

Taco Rice Salad

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Oven Roasted Broccoli

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I made this one a while ago. I had forgotten about it. I am kind of "meh" on broccoli. Neutral, I guess. I tried this and it came out excellent. Funny thing is my older child keeps asking me when I will make broccoli. I guess that makes this one a keeper. (He's not a picky kid, but seriously, what 10-year-old begs for broccoli? Big Grin )

One thing I really need to work on is replacing potato chips with vegetable chips, in our house. I have been wanting to try some new recipes and experiment with that a bit. I write this down so I will remember.


I tried a curry recipe a couple of months ago. The flavor was a little off. I think dh requested when he was sick because it sounded good. (He had the flu a couple of months back). Both BM and dh had this bug, and their taste buds were off for a while during and after. It might be worth a redo.

But I am writing this down too so that I remember to keep an eye out for curry recipes.

Just trying to expand our cooking repertoire and try new things. So, the theme for 2014 is baked veggies and curry.


LM has been going *crazy* for samosas. I told him I would try out some filling recipes and go from there. Is basically potatoes, peas, spices (we have ample Indian spices on hand). I think actually wrapping it in dough and frying it is a bit much for me. Will see if we can just get the filling to work.

He's the picky one, but we have him pretty sold on Indian food. We could probably also use more chickpea recipes. Dh has an intense crockpot recipe that has to cook overnight on high (starts with dried chickpeas). I'd like to find a few simpler recipes with canned chickpeas.


I felt like doing absolutely nothing today (my first free weekend off in months). I fell asleep for a few hours, so felt better about my lack of energy. I guess I just needed a good rest. Hoping to be productive tomorrow. (Don't plan to do much, but would prefer to do more than "sleep all day". Big Grin ).

Tonight I will go through the kids' clothes and move things over and purge the outgrown. Make a list if they need anything. I picked up summer stuff for BM on clearance around Christmas. So, not expecting to have to buy much for the warmer months. (Except I suppose I should keep an eye out for clearances for winter clothing).

Where To Begin? Just The Usual...

November 14th, 2013 at 04:37 am

This is my past week or so:

**Mom was in a car accident. She is okay; it was minor.

**Mom's cat passed on. This was the cat we were really worried would pass within weeks of my mom's mom passing. SO, we are relieved (and very surprised) that she held on as long as she did. She did go fast and sudden though, so was kind of shocking in that regard. But I still can't believe that cat outlived mine by a solid 8 months. !! (That cat was very sick for many years; ours was only diagnosed with cancer a few weeks before she passed).

It's been a rough year for pets in our family.

**I had a scary medical thing on Monday. It turned out to be "nothing", but you know, you don't know that at the time. More on that later. It's really nothing that exciting, but was just scary when I had no idea what it was.

**I suppose the crappy luck is in my parents' court for now. I am fine and I Was able to be evaluated at a routine medical appointment. I just sped up the appointment to yesterday and so am not out any extra money for the evaluation. (I was worried I'd be sent for an MRI, so glad it worked out the way it did).

I don't like to be cheap with medical stuff, but it has been one heck of a year!!

Oh, anyway, so today was at least a little good news:

Today was the big dental appointment that I was thinking we should see out before booking winter vacation. BUT, it went about as well as it could have. BM had 2 teeth pulled (Expected).

LM may cost a small fortune next year but is currently in "wait and see" mode. I am so relieved to have a 6 month financial reprieve on that. (They did not even pull his baby tooth, which was expected today).

Yes, *only* spending $100 for a routine doctor appointment and $400 at the dentist is GOOD NEWS around here. Lately.


So that my post is not just whiny and "woe is me" and accidents and death and doctor bills...

**I got called for jury duty and already got excused (As sole breadwinner/non-paid for jury duty). Oh - they called me in for the worst possible week of the entire year as far as work. That was stress I did not need. (I started to worry maybe my excuse was not automatic and I had used it too many times). Let's just say... "Phew!"

**Last year at this time I got some school shorts on clearance for $3.88 per pair. I hit a couple of Targets last night but no such luck. I think I just got lucky last year.

While out, we got a sympathy card for my mom. I bought the kids a couple of shirts on clearance.

**Dh made 21-ingredient-chili, which was raved about on the crockpot365 website. It was interesting... & I mean that in a good way. IT was tasty and different and good. But, I think we will toss that recipe aside as it doesn't fit our preference for "less complicated".

In case you are intrigued:

Text is and Link is

It just couldn't hold a candle to our very simple/tasty recipe. Much preferred by ALL of us:

Text is and Link is


**Last, but not least: Have you heard anything about 3D printers? Dh and my dad are engineer types and so there had been talk about this technology. I saw probably towards the beginning of the year that our library had a 3D printer. O.M.G. I think it took them a while to get staff and support for it though.

So anyway, dh finally went over there to check it out. Now that they have regular hours and information and so on.

HE found a site with designs you can take over to the printer:

Text is and Link is

HE found a cup holder kind of design for his new phone (a phone stand to keep in the car cup holder). & so he decided to experiment with that.

Well, it ended up taking about 3.5 hours to print. On a day where the printer was only available for 4 hours. That said, while I was in there, a guy walked in and said, "I promise it won't take 6 hours this time!" So, I guess it happens...

There are several things of similar size that only take 15 minutes or 1/2 hour to print. It seems like it is maybe a little hit and miss.

All of the above said, no one knows about it (the library printer) and it appears to be generally under-utilized.

This thing is a frugie's dream!

Practical applications:

--To make replacement parts to fix items

--To make gifts or toys (or jewelry)

--To make small practical items like key chains. Or cell phone cases.

--Useful for school projects?

The possibilities are probably endless...

Actually, there was a local news story about some young entrepreneurs prototyping their invention at the library.

Here is the 3D printer in action:

Interesting Dinner

June 7th, 2013 at 01:19 pm

We had an interesting dinner last night. Sausage-stuffed acorn squash. VERY good! Interesting, just because it was very different - had a lot of different flavors.

Text is and Link is

Squash seems to becoming a large staple in our diet. (Love butternut squash soup, dh has been experimenting with acorn squash of late, and spaghetti squash is one of our more recent finds).


While sitting here and typing I kicked the cat out of the room because he was so insistent on taking a nap on the keyboard.

So... He instead figured out how to open the traditional round door knob to get back in. OMG. He is quite the little trouble maker. (Dh and I were just talking about this the other day. I said Siamese cats can easily handle lever door knobs - though I have yet to see him try because we don't leave many doors closed in the house. Dh said "at least the theater room has a round door knob." Since the cat seems to have a lot to get into in this room. HA!)

Chickpeas for Lunch

February 17th, 2013 at 11:41 pm

Give me a convenient Indian grocer, and a good crockpot cookbook. & I am pretty much ready to go vegetarian. Which sounds totally absurd to me on some level. Big Grin

Seriously. I am keeping a food log because I kind of want to see where we are. Dh and I have been talking about cutting back meat a bit more. (For us - not for the kids). I don't think I could have fathomed this ages 0-30. My caloric needs were way too high while growing and bearing children. But age slows things down considerably. These days it's more like a shrug and a *why not?* What's even more interesting is dh is so on the same page as me. Probably anything to get me to eat better. But his metabolism is slowing too.

I believe in moderation, so I highly doubt we will ever go 100% vegan or vegetarian. But we are just trying to be more conscious and move more in that direction.

I think we have just been naturally heading in this direction as we have been mindful of our grocery budget since having children. Eating at home mostly. Improving on that over the years. VEry slowly picking up more and more cooking skills and tools. When we eat these beans and lentils, to replace only a handful of meals, our grocery bill is going down down down. !! It will be interesting to see how this plays out for the long run. Could be a substantial grocery spending cut while feeling like we are eating even better.

Anyway, what yummy goodness has me pondering vegetarianism?

Curried Chickpeas:

Text is and Link is


That was 14 hours on high, slowcooker. So we cooked it overnight and had it for lunch.

Black Lentils

February 13th, 2013 at 03:21 pm


This cookbook is going to save us a fortune in eating well:

The Indian Slow Cooker: 50 Healthy, Easy, Authentic Recipes

Text is and Link is

**THANKS to Thriftorama, who recommended it!**

Last night we had black lentils:

Text is and Link is

{Beware - this is a spicy dish}.

Served on rice and garnished with finely chopped onions. SO GOOD!!


It's interesting, because we eat a diet heavy in onions and garlic, and peppers (probably more mexican inspired, usually, when it comes to home cooking skills). But all these Indian dishes are really heavy on the garlic and onions, and peppers - just prepared in an entirely different manner. No wonder we like so much.

Dh scored spices for 70 cents, at Target. HE noticed quite by accident.

Since we *just* had a new Indian grocer open up real close, we are getting most the Indian spices and lentils very cheaply there. So, what I thought might be a bit of a luxury is actually decreasing our grocery bill. I likey!!


In other news, dh told me he got all kind of deals at Target yesterday. I am too busy with work to detail any of it or figure it all out. I think there was $5 off for buying pet products (cat litter and cat food).

$5 off some blu rays, too.

Dh also told me that he can no longer keep the grocery runs at $100+ (for gas rewards) if we are going to be eating all these Indian dishes. Oh well!! I think we come out farther ahead with the lower grocery bills. Wink I don't think he hit $100 at all this year. Another big part of that is they changed up their rewards. Which made me anxious at first, but we seem to be benefiting us - working in our favor. The gas coupons usually amount to about $8 of gas saving a month, but obviously we are saving far more than $8 on groceries. So I can appreciate the bigger picture.


November 20th, 2012 at 12:07 am

The house smells so good.

Greek chicken - a very easy and tasty crockpot recipe:

Text is and Link is

The House Smells So Good

October 13th, 2012 at 02:33 pm

I will say that this recipe wasn't the best ever (maybe we could use some practice), but I would make it again just for the smell. I came home last night and it smelled like an Indian household. YUM!

**ETA: Scratch that. Apparently dh forgot the salt the first time. He made it again and it was just divine. Who knew a little salt could make such a difference?**

Crockpot Chicken Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken)

Text is and Link is

I am also wondering if this one will taste better reheated.

Don't get me wrong - it was good! It's just I am used to the real thing, so our version was a little lacking.

Reminds me, we also got a new Indian grocery store just down the street. OMG. We haven't checked it out yet - what are we waiting for? (They also have food "to go" there - will have to try it out some time this month).

& also, this is another crockpot recipe we have been using a lot:

Text is and Link is

The thing about Indian food is that it tends to be so complex and time-consuming to make. So I LOVE these crockpot recipes.

Slow Cooked Beef

October 10th, 2012 at 04:35 pm

Fiscal Doings:

**Finally redeemed old cell phone for $5 credit. Sprint had offered larger credit for accessories, but somehow we did the *big* cell phone changeover with no need for accessories. Dh was dragging his feet because wanted to pick out an accessory. I am glad he finally settled on the $5.

**Dh has some costumes listed on Craigslist. Also 2 old carseats. If all this sells, I might be willing to buy costumes this year, but sounds like the kids have a good DIY plan. More on that later, when decisions are made!

**Received my $420 Chase reward. After I cash it I will close that card. Saving that for our Pismo Beach vacation next month.

Food Doings:

Dinner last night was YUM!!

Sweet & Savory Slow-Cooked Beef

Text is and Link is

Cost = $1.66 per serving.

Plus, we had a salad pre-mix. I usually make our own salads, but they were on sale, and the salad was very good too.

*This* is what I missed on vacation. Cheap and yummy.

Will have to remember this recipe for future potlucks - so very easy and feeds a lot!

Other Doings:

Tonight we have a big concert. Lumineers. Interesting find - dh has already seen them twice, but apparently they went *BIG* in the interim. Lucky to get tickets - very small venue - hoping it is not too crowded.

It's the most wonderful time of the year

March 12th, 2012 at 12:19 am

**LOVE** Daylight Savings. Actually, it totally snuck up on me.

Dh is grumpy because he hates it (just picture him as a vampire - not more light! Not waking up earlier!!!).

I could do with daylight savings replacing regular time (& skipping all this back and forth). But, in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't bother me.

**I finished Grandma's taxes. & that's a wrap! Still waiting for a couple of things for my folks, but theirs' is mostly done. That's all the charity tax work I can squeeze out, but it seemed to go pretty fast this year.

I still don't know if in-laws did their taxes. I still think they will be surprised by how high their taxes will be in retirement. I am sure we will talk about it later.

**Reminds me, dh's sister got a job. She got laid off about a year ago, and wasn't even looking for a job. {I know - know one wants to hear about it! Jobs falling from the sky? Rolleyes }

Dh's family is no more a pile of deadbeats. I guess mine isn't either since my sister is gainfully employed now too. Wink

Actually, our families are good savers, and everyone dealt with unemployment just fine. There was just a time in there where *everyone* was unemployed.

**I got some chores done this weekend. First haircut in ages. Have to cut LM's hair a bit. Got some groceries while I Was out (ran out of cat food). Updated my credit card at the gym. Stuff I have been far too lazy to do!

Of course, I forgot I had a Target return. Tempted to run out and just do it, but think I will just do it on the way home some day, to save gas.

**Dh is making a wonderful greek chicken dish in the crockpot. Smells divine!

Oh - the dish was chosen because we had leftover potatoes from corn beef and cabbage night. A frugal choice to use up items on hand.

Text is and Link is

*Perfect* Eggs & Weekend Doings

January 22nd, 2012 at 05:48 pm

**I have mastered easy-peel hard boiled eggs. So we have been eating them a LOT lately. (They are suddenly not a chore to make!)

Of course, I think a lot of it depends on how fresh your eggs are and how your stove is, etc., etc.

But what is working for me?

**Boil water & THEN add the eggs. Boil on medium-high for 6 minutes. (Just not a roiling boil so the eggs don't get knocked around too much).

**Take off burner and cover pot, let sit for 1/2 hour

**Cool eggs in ice water for 10-15 minutes

That's it. They practically pop out of the shell. In fact, we boiled a dozen last night and was going to keep 6 shelled for later. Within a minute the kids had shelled them all. *Then* I remembered I wanted to keep some. Anyway, was glad to see the shelled ones keep about as long. I ate on for breakfast and thought I had never seen a more perfect hard boiled egg, so had to share.

I just take then straight from the fridge to the boiling water - it seems to work well that way. We just have store bought eggs - these eggs were just bought they day I boiled them, so maybe there is something to "fresher" eggs.

On average, only one per dozen has been cracking with this method, and still turns out well anyway. (I think generally advised not to put into already boiling water, due to cracking, but that seems to be the least of my issues with boiled eggs - I'd rather not spend all day peeling them!).


I should probably try to get my taxes done the first weekend in February. I just feel slammed with work and 1/31 deadlines right now, plus would like to go out of town next weekend. SO, will probably have to wait 2 more weeks. I owe the Feds so no huge hurry, buy I think I might get $20 or so back from the state. If it's $5, I will file ASAP, otherwise lord knows when I will get it. Too many years of IOUs in this state. I was really not expecting a refund this year, at all. But was close enough that I will just leave my withholding as is.

I probably should have done the taxes sooner. I usually have them done by 1/31, but usually not so swamped.


Work is crazy but for none of the usual reasons. I've been frustrated with clients who want everything yesterday that are not deadline related, etc. So will probably work a pretty long week this week to get my 1/31 deadlines done. Way far behind for usual, which I didn't really expect since I was out 1-2 weeks the last 2 Januaries with our surgeries. I thought this year would be EASIER. But we lost one employee, and everyone wants everything yesterday. It's just been hectic.

All that said, I Really don't mind. The tax side gets really stressful, but this 1099/W-2 stuff is mostly low key. So am just enjoying this kind of work before I get slammed with more stressful taxes. w-2s and 1099s are pretty EASY.

I'd probably work today but dh had a commitment this morning and I didn't want to work in the afternoon. So, will probably just bring some work home during the week.

I feel like I have no time for anything. It is amazing how much an extra 13 hours a week of work makes. 13 hours lost of free time. & I generally leave work 5:00 every day. It just still feels like an intense adjustment. Anyway, I have never met anyone in the industry who works as little as our firm does. & I also get paid overtime. So no complaints here. I know I have it GOOD!!! Just 3 more months, and back to normal. The extra income is always nice. The boss does not like us working too much and getting burned out. Then quality of work suffers, know what I mean?

It's hard to believe that this is the first January in three years that dh and I are not having major surgery. He says, well, his mom is having surgery. Yeah, but I don't have to pay for it or take a ton of time off work for that! Nor try to recover and care for my family and all that. So I am surprised how swamped I have been feeling. I expected this year to be much easier than past years - particularly January. Anyway, yes it sucks that she is having surgery, but it doesn't affect us quite in the same manner. Her surgery is on the 30th I believe - I will keep you updated. All seems to be good news but "they won't know for sure until they get in there."


The weather was GORGEOUS yesterday and crappy today. I'd work Sundays instead, but then Sundays would be pretty and Saturdays would be all gloomy. Can't seem to win. Wink


Oh, and I paid the February bills. It's amazing how quickly the checking account balance piles up when you put all savings and mortgage payments on hold (waiting for refi to finish). Anyway, which means once I get paid 2/1 I can probably resume some ROTH payments. I have 2-3 months on hold due to credit card rewards and refinance. I'd have funded those amounts to ROTH by now, but I need more "cash in the bank" per CU request than I expect to *really* need. For one, I've paid off $1200 of mortgage since I applied for refi the first of December. So I won't need *that* $1200 for the refi. But I need to keep it in my checking account until they re-run their figures for actual closing.

German/Irish Cookie Recipes?

November 30th, 2011 at 02:45 am

Here are all the butterflies we couldn't see when we went to the beach the other day:

WOW! It just wasn't quite so impressive down on the ground. (My dad sent me this picture and was also surprised how many there were).

Next time we will have to remember our binoculars.


BM needs to work on a big cookie project for school. He is supposed to pick a recipe from his heritage. I told him he was American and we have been here for several generations - and I have no non-American recipes. I have a great chocolate chip cookie recipe from his Grandma, and is the best I could come up with. I googled it to check that chocolate chip cookies were American. Encyclopedia BM already knew the answer to that.

Anyway, we googled German cookies and found a couple of recipes, and I said we could try a couple this weekend and see what we like best.

BUT, if you have any Irish or German cookie recipes, please share. Of course, preferably the easier the better since he has to make a how to book of some sort. We ruled out some of the recipes with 20 ingredients.

I still think we should just pick something American, but that just isn't as cool!

There will be lots of baking in my house this weekend!


Tonight we tried this recipe:

Sweet Potato Enchiladas

Text is and Link is

Thumbs up!

Dh got a few free recipe books on the kindle - so this was one of those - glad I could find it online to share.


Today I received that annual refund from Chase. YAY! I will have to update my rewards tallies. Maybe tomorrow.

Plastic Jungle is less impressive this round. Last time they struck me as lightning fast - I sold some gift cards for cash. This time it took them EIGHT DAYS to receive half of my gift cards. The other half has apparently not arrived yet. They clearly closed their offices for the holidays, but from 2 to 8+ days is a little ridiculous. (To be fair, the US Postal service has gone amazingly downhill the last decade, and I use it as little as possible any more - I understand it may not all be their fault - but I think the Holidays slowed them down VERY considerably).


Tomorrow is back to work for me. The end of lazy and the beginning of CRAZY.

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