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Doings

January 19th, 2017 at 05:42 am

**MH got called into work next week, but then gets two weeks off.

This works out for the best. I don't think he could have worked much this week. This week DL(11) has finals. CRAZY schedule.

We are going to have to take DL out to celebrate. He easily gets all As, without much effort. But... this semester I think he was lucky to pass all of his classes. PHEW! I know he's never had to work so hard. I am just feeling so much *relief* that we made it. The year started out very rocky. He's really done exceptional, given all he has had to deal with.

**MH's birthday is this week. I almost forgot in the work chaos.

We don't exchange gifts. I discussed with the kids, and they just wanted to give their daddy HUGS and home-made fudge. I said I thought that sounded perfect.

He already bought himself a sous vide (precision cooker). It's a long story, but he bought one for his parents for Christmas, and ended up with two. Was supposed to return the other one to Amazon but he seems to have a hang up about paying $10 postage to get a $40 refund. Don't ask me! He is way smarter than that.

I think *I* realized he wasn't going to return it before he did. He was struggling subconsciously with it. & he kept trying to make justifications to keep it. I finally said, "Happy Birthday". Moving on...

That was weeks ago, and he has yet to use it. (Still having some internal struggle about it). Thankfully some meat went on sale and he gave it a try this week. We've been eating like KINGS. I'd say we are accomplished cooks and eat very well, but probably limit ourselves on the meat side to the cheap cuts we grew up with and are familiar with. So this is expanding our horizons considerably. (MH has been salivating over this contraption since his friend cooked him dinner with one several years ago).

He made some seared tuna earlier this week. It turned out more cooked than he preferred. & he generally doesn't eat fish, but I guess is just more picky about it. He told us he over-cooked it. I said if it was any less cooked I'd be putting mine in the microwave. But maybe he will refine us a bit. Wink I thought it was *perfect*

Last night we had pork chops. I don't even know if I have ever had pork chops before. But it was *perfection*

I could get used to this. & it's nice to mix it up a bit and to try new things.

**In other fanciness, we went to the movies on Tuesday night. We got a new theater with the fancy reclining seats. The tickets are $6.50 on Tuesdays. I think our theater bumped up their tickets to $6.25 on Tuesday nights (cheap night) so there isn't any big difference.

MH had been a few times, and I just told him I wanted to check it out.

We agreed that Tuesday night is our movie night. At this theater. From now on! Used to be weekend matinees. Or you can stand in line and get there early on Tuesday nights (by our house). Or... you can just reserve your seats online and show up after the commercials/previews ,and sit in luxury. For an extra quarter per ticket. SOLD!

(MH had seen Star Wars at this theater on opening night. It's the first time he didn't have to wait in line for a Star Wars movie. Worked out because the weather was bad that night. He just reasoned he'd rather just reserve seats ahead of time. Few seemed to think of the option, but the new theater had just opened. Next time might not be quite so easy).

Back to School

August 21st, 2015 at 12:44 pm

I took last week off work. I really didn't do much of anything. It's probably been a while since I have had such a relaxing vacation. Aaaaaahhhhhh... & we leave for San Diego soon and then Hawaii not long after that!

One thing I did was work through some recipes. I've been wanting to try baking a wider variety of vegetables. That was when I stumbled upon the most amazing cauliflower recipe (see last post).

I also found another website that was very much my style. I salivate just looking at the blog. Definitely will be trying many of this site's recipes. Anyway, it all *looked* good, but we tried the first recipe last night. It was simple and delicious.

Balsamic Chicken:

[url]http://damndelicious.net/2015/08/14/slow-cooker-balsamic-chicken/[/url]

This weekend I am going to make Teriyaki salmon with sriracha cream sauce, also from the same website. (Dh doesn't eat fish, so why I frequently make salmon. Dh cooks most the rest).

I will probably also make the cauliflower again (the most of it is the smoky paprika to spice it up). It was one of those recipes we have everything on hand usually.

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Back to school. A big change up in schedule this year since both kids will be together at other campus and no more walking to school. I am sure dh is delighting in being able to sleep in every day, for the first time since having kids. !! The only big change is for LM, who has to leave an hour early (with BM and I). We are early birds so it's not been a big deal. Our calm mornings remain calm. I think a lot of it is honestly that we don't use alarm clocks. I was never a morning person in the slightest before we ditched the alarm clocks. (Admittedly, I was never a night owl either).

Dh and I have been working on getting walks in the evening, since dh is losing his 2 miles a day or whatever of walking. We haven't been consistent, but walk once in a while. It will be easier when it gets a little cooler. Yesterday was absolutely gorgeous. It cooled off before we went outside, and we saw a breathtaking sunset.

BM has been a challenge on the lunch side of things this year. He is not generally picky, but has gotten awfully picky about his lunch. Firstly, he refuses to buy lunch any more. Thankfully LM seems to like the food at this campus and he's just been buying more to offset BM. As school starts, BM will only eat a PBJ sandwich. That is it. ??? I decided he should just pack a snack on Wednesdays because they get out of school super early. Then he can eat a full meal when he gets home. Then Dh bought him a thermos so he could take hot leftovers. I can't tell you how genius that is. Dh is always good for solutions like that. Between the two of us I think we figured it out.

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So with all the school stuff going on our little "end of summer" celebration was mostly postponed. We had decided to go to the big pool (inflatable obstacle courses) on the first day of school since they got out of school before they opened. But then I saw that was the first day they closed the inflatables for week days. (Or maybe the day before they had closed it down). UGH! So we planned to go on the weekend and were resigned to more crowds.

On Sunday, dh mentions to me that it was supposed to be 105F degrees. OMG. We both would have preferred to postpone, but the kids were pretty set on going and I couldn't push it off any more. (In any other situation it would have been an INDOOR day). In the end, I am glad we went. The facility was really nice and the kids had a blast. We got there early enough to secure a comfortable shady spot. & there was even a breeze so it wasn't half as bad as I imagined. The water was also really cool, which helps. (Could have been cold simply because the air was so hot).

I told the kids we could go again this weekend. It should be much more pleasant. Unfortunately, it is about 30 miles away, as these places always are. It will be the last time for this year.

P.S. I'd share pictures if they worked!

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Oh, and we had the most amazing dinner the other night.

Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Cheddar Beer Sauce

[url]http://joythebaker.com/2014/12/whole-roasted-cauliflower-cheddar-beer-sauce/[/url]

O.M.G. So Good!

Left Over Food Safety

February 17th, 2014 at 06:32 am

The talk of using up and leftovers, reminded me of a story.

I had some leftovers at work pushing the 2-week mark so I thought I better look up when it was no longer safe to eat. When I googled it, I Saw most recommendations to throw away food after 2-3 days.

Rolleyes

It is just so ridiculous what a wasteful society we live in.

I decided to toss to food to be on the safe side, just because it was beyond my comfort limit. But for food less than two weeks we have always used the "smell" test. Is long as it tastes good, isn't moldy, and smells good. I've never particularly tasted anything "bad" if it passed the mold and smell test. So while the "taste" test is good in theory it would be rare to get that far??

A quick google today brought up an article that I think is excellent on the subject:

The Dos and Donts of Keeping Leftovers Safe

[url]http://thestonesoup.com/blog/2012/11/the-dos-and-donts-of-keeping-leftovers-safe/[/url]

Sum up:

--Put leftovers away ASAP (in appropriately cold fridge, etc.)

--Cover food well

A lot of food does okay with a loose covering, but there are some foods I wrap in an extra plastic bag to preserve freshness. I most often do this for baked goods or bread. (Loose covered food may never be kept very long, too, to be fair). This may be more due to our dry climate.

--Trust your instincts

--Properly reheat food before eating

--Don't throw away perfectly good food

--Don't leave things sitting out at room temperature for long period of time

So, that sums it up pretty well.

Between me and my spouse? He is the more cautious one - so I can tell he has grown up in a more cautious house. He will raise an eyebrow sometimes, at me, and he gets crazy insane about chicken. (I believe to the point of unreasonable). But, it is what it is - he is not prone to waste food. It more comes out in what we have to cook or eat "today" because he believes it will go to waste given another day. & now that I think about it - he would tell you the same thing about me. When something is way crazy expired (usually condiments and dressings) I will throw them out. & that drives him nuts. So, we all have our quirks.

Which reminds me, we are also far more food cautious in our sweltering summers than in our cool winters. (Since we keep our house much cooler in winter and much warmer in summer).

When thinking about it, the first thing that also came to mind was immunity. We have fairly strong immunities in my house, in general, and you do have to wonder if your body does adjust more to what you do eat. Interestingly, I did see that people with lower immunities should be more food careful. Fair enough.

Chickpeas for Lunch

February 17th, 2013 at 03:41 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:

[url]http://www.cookstr.com/recipes/curried-chickpeas[/url]

YUM!!

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

Black Lentils

February 13th, 2013 at 07:21 am

YUM!

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

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

[url]http://www.amazon.com/Indian-Slow-Cooker-Healthy-Authentic/dp/1572841117[/url]

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

Last night we had black lentils:

[url]http://www.mensfitness.com/nutrition/healthy-recipes-0/recipe/black-lentils[/url]

{Beware - this is a spicy dish}.

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

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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!!

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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.

A New Week

April 15th, 2012 at 01:16 pm

I got my salmon!

It was $8.99 per pound (good price) and I got 1.11 pounds for $9.89. So it ended up being 100% free (with $10-off coupon).

I also bought eggs and bananas (breakfast staples for moi).

& I was checking the online coupons and found a coupon for 88-cents per frozen pizza - Celeste brand. These are *really* good. I will keep them at work. Anyway, so I got five pizzas for $4.40.

April 15:
Groceries: $9.62
Dinner: Sweet & Spicy Salmon, garlic butter rice

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We try to slowly increase our culinary capabilities by just adding new skills - slowly over time. This week I am working on sweet potatoes. We seem to eat them all the time (out, etc.), but I have never bought one or baked or cooked a sweet potato.

SO, "frugal foodie/rob" had an interesting recipe recently, and I asked dh to pick up some sweet potatoes. He picked up a whole bag. I dug around online and found a very simple recipe for baked potato wedges (took me a while to weed through the "pile on tons of sugar recipes" - which are good,but now what I am interested in for our regular diet!). I also found a recipe for sweet potato hash. Says "good with salmon" but I didn't want to cook all day. Wink But maybe will make some time this week.

I also looked for a new rice side dish and found garlic butter rice. I will link/share these recipes once I try them.

The kids and I are going to enjoy the gorgeous weather today, and then I will be cooking this afternoon.

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This next week is going to be a BIG crunch week at work. Got tons of other deadlines (post tax day) coming up and dh has plans in San Jose next weekend. Unfortunately they have plans early Saturday and late Sunday, so it is an *all weekend* thing. I can't go unless I make huge progress at work this week. If I can swing it, the kids and I will go to the beach on Sunday. That makes me *very* motivated!

That said, if I am stuck with a quiet weekend at home, that won't be so bad either. I will survive. (I shouldn't have to work that much next weekend!)

*Perfect* Eggs & Weekend Doings

January 22nd, 2012 at 09:48 am

**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!).

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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.

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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."

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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

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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 29th, 2011 at 06:45 pm

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.

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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!

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Tonight we tried this recipe:

Sweet Potato Enchiladas

[url]http://www.netplaces.com/potluck-recipes/healthy-vegetarian-choices/sweet-potato-enchiladas.htm[/url]

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.

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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).

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