Friday, March 30, 2007

Favorite Things Friday

Will have to be postponed this week, because I can't think of anything that I am really loving this week (aside from hubby, puppies, and family).

As far as the loveliness challenge goes, I have completed everything on my list with the exception of switching over the clothes. I need to take a look at the weather and see if this is a prudent thing to do or if I should wait a little while longer.

I have been thinking about spring cleaning, which I think will start this weekend and what should be on that list. What does everyone else do for spring cleaning? Hopefully I will have more insight on that next week.

This weekend will be preparing for passover. This basically means getting rid of the bread in the house (conservative and orthodox Jews will get rid of any food that is not Kosher for Passover, but we are not that strict) I just don't think it's fair to have homemade bread laying in plain sight when you can't eat it.

Other than using up/putting away bread getter ready for passover means making Matzo Ball Soup and Chocolate Toffee Matzo (this is so good I eat it all year long). My recipe is similar to this one, I highly recommend it!

Molly's Matzo Ball Soup

6 eggs
2 tsp. salt
6 tbsp. oil
1/2 c. ginger ale (or seltzer, or anything clear and fizzy)
1 1/4 c. matzo meal (You can make your own by putting matzos in the food processor)

Beat eggs thoroughly.
Add salt, oil, and ginger ale.
Add matzo meal and stir thoroughly.
Refrigerate for at least one hour (but overnight is MUCH better)

4 qts. water

Boil water in a large pot with a lid. One by one drop rounded (as much as possible) handfuls of the batter into the boiling water. When all balls have been added clamp the lid down and boil for 30-45 minutes depending on the size of the balls (snicker!)


Remove from boiling water and set aside.

I heat up homemade chicken stock and cook some chopped carrots and celery in it. When the stock is hot, add the balls and heat through (@ 15 minutes or so).


Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

More Lovlieness

I accomplished two more things on the loveliness challenge (YEAH ME!) I gave my hands and nails are sorely needed spa treatment and I have been faithfully drinking my Green Goodness Juice.

For my nails:

1. Soak nails in warm water to soften cuticles
2. Apply a generous amount of lavender scented baby oil. Massage until absorbed.
3. With a orange wood stick gently push cuticles back
4. Trim and hangnails and file down rough, uneven edges.
5. Dampen a cotton round with nail polish remover and swipe each nail to remove oil
6. Polish with a clear coat or the color of your choice

I did clear because my nails are pretty ragged and because I have bitten most of them off. A color would only draw attention to the mess. They do look much better now.

Only 1 more to go... although the weather has turned less spring and more winter so I may hold off on switching the clothes just yet. I have committed myself to wearing rose perfume everyday, so maybe that could be my new number 5.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Crazy Dogs

This is what my baby dogs were playing with tonight... they can't actually lift the branch up but they had a lot of fun dragging it around the yard.

So Far, So Good...

The day is still young but I am making good on the Loveliness challenge. I dropped off junk at Goodwill (for once dropping off and not picking up, my hubby will be so pleased), and I took several armfuls of clothes to the consignment shop. I also mailed the overdue condolence card.

Two down, three to go.

This afternoon will be filled with meetings :(

OH! I found a great blog that is new to me... Posie Gets Cozy... check it out.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Commitment to Loveliness

Who doesn't want a little more loveliness in their life?

Emma from Charming the Birds from the Trees has posted a little challenge about adding more loveliness to your life.

Here is what I would like to do this week

1. Catch up on all of my cards and correspondence
2. Give my hands/nails a spa treatment and a new coat of paint for spring
3. Take clothes to consign/Goodwill
4. Bring out spring/summer clothes
5. Sit and enjoy my green goodness juice every day after work

Monday, March 26, 2007


There is not much I can say about Monday. I am completely wiped out today and it is getting harder and harder to get any work done. On the up side I finally got to the post office to return the Cesar Millan DVDs I ordered in a fit of hysteria, or a delusional moment, or something. I'll be happy to see that money back on my credit card. The Dog Whisper may be famous but he is also widely discredited for his voodoo like training methods. What exactly was I thinking?

So I did not get a chance to do the BIG COOKING I was looking forward to. We ended up going out to dinner with Hubby's family. I did make the no knead bread and it turned out great. I gave the loaf to my mother-in-law and she reported back with rave reviews. YEAH ME! I will definitely be making that bread again. I didn't realize that it was low-yeast as well as no-knead. So if anyone out there is looking for a recipe for a low yeast bread, check this one out.

Yesterday was my marketing day. Boy do I love going to the supermarket. I only go once a month, for time's sake (I just don't have the time to go more than once a month) and for budget's sake (I find the more I go, the more I spend). I got some great deals yesterday. What I have noticed is that as it approaches the end of the month, there are more and more marked-down items or clearance items. And nothing makes me happier that marked-down food... that is unless it is marked down meat! I got some grilling steaks super cheap and some veal cutlets both of which were marked down. The only time I buy meat other than ground beef/ground turkey/ split chicken breasts is when it is BOGO or clearance. As the weather warms up an hubby gets the urge to grill the steaks will be a nice change of pace.

I was also fortunate to find Orval Redenbacher Organic Microwave Popcorn on the clearance rack for $1.17. I like to keep semi-healthy snacks in my desk at work and this will be a nice addition.

I did stop at Goodwill today during my lunch hour and found at least one fabulous deal.

This vase was $4.99

I have been ogling it in Museum catalogs for years, but it retails for $49.99. Now it is mine and I saved $45.00!!!

I also found a great book about caring for houseplants ($2.99), and a brand new white linen skirt with tags and everything for $3.99(only time will tell if this was a smart purchase, but if I don't wear it I can always consign it).

I think thats all for now.

Friday, March 23, 2007

This Weekend...

We will be having Hubby's family over for dinner so I will get to do some BIG COOKING! (There are usually on two of us, so I can't really make big meals on a regular basis)

I think we'll be having Meat Lasgna, hot and sweet sausage, a green salad, and bread.

I also think that I will be trying my hand at the famed No Knead Bread which now has its own Flickr group.

[Update: There is even a site with video tutorials on making the fmaed No Knead Bread... Check out Breadtopia]

I'll let you know how everything turns out on Monday.

Favorite Things Friday

I spent a long time thinking about what my favorite things were this week... Spring time weather (not matter how short lived) was certainly on the top of the list. But what else?

BoltHouse Farms Green Goodness Juice -- I found it a BJs significantly cheaper than anywhere else and I love that it is all natural, that it counts as a serving of fruit, and that it gets all those good greens into my diet. Tastes pretty good too!

Homemade Whole Wheat Bread with Flax Seeds -- What can I say, there truly is nothing better than homemade bread. The other night for dinner I tried making something that came in a box [why did I even waste the money] and it was terrible! I turned to my trusty bread and had cinnamon toast instead.

KerryGold Dubliner Cheese -- I can't actually describe the flavor other that Good. Interesting cheddar like cheese with a hint of sweetness. I could eat the whole 1.8 pound block in one sitting, although I try really hard not too. ;)

Hummm... is there a pattern forming here? I guess I'm hungry.

I'm also pretty darn happy about Good Judgement. I went home at lunch to let the dogs out and it took longer than expected. I was hungry and was thinking that I would just run to McDonlad's [I know, the horror...] anyway, I started to head in that direction and decided that I didn;t really want to pollute my body with all that junk... and so I didn't. I headed back to work and ate the left over chinese food I brought with me instead.

So what are your favorite things this week?

Visual DNA

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Shape Up for Spring

Since spring is right around the corner here, its time to think about getting in shape for shorts and sleeveless shirt weather. Walking is my exercise of choice since it is free and I can do it with the dogs. To keep myself on track I like to wear a pedometer. Pfizer is giving away free pedometers when you answer a few questions about your health.

Check it out:

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Congrats to the Boyte Family!

A friend of mine from college and her husband are in the process of adopting a baby from Guatemala. The process has taken much longer than usual because of some political rangling, but they got good news today that they are out of PGN and into the final stages of adoption.

Check out their blog for info and pics of their very cute baby boy Xiabe.

The Boyte's Adoption Journey

Latest Goodwill Acquisitions

A set of pretty herb pots for $2.99

Donut cutters for $1.99

Ox-blood pumps (band new!) for $1.99

Books and cards for $6.00 (the cards are usually $4 each)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


I have, for the moment, solved my wet dog smelling house problem. I washed every stitch of cloth that comes in contact with the dogs, vacuumed, and lit a vanilla scented candle. I think the washing made the most difference, but who cares... the smell is gone.

Last night for dinner I tried my hand at an all American comfort food I had never had, Chicken and Dumplings. I used this recipe from Simply Recipes. How did it turn out you ask? Well... the recipe was super complicated, so I made it my way with her ingredients and it looks exactly like the picture, neither hubby nor I were impressed. Since I don't have this in my comfort food repitiore I didn't know what it was supposed to taste like, but this turned out flavorless. On the up side the dumplings were light and fluffy which I hear is not always the case. I think I will stick to making Matzo Balls.

I was in class all weekend, so not much else got done. I have pics from my last trip to Goodwill (it was a good one) which I will post later... hopefully.


Friday, March 16, 2007

Favorite Things Friday

The list will be short this week.

Currently I am loving baby oil.

Not very exciting I know, but I love the fact that I can use it as an eyemakeup remover and as an eyecream all for pennies a day.

I love the lavendar scent that is now available and since generic version abound, I am in frugal heaven.

Housekeeping Phobias

Does anyone have them besides me? Do you all think I have completely lost it? What I mean is, it there one particular housekeeping thing that you will do anything to avoid. For example, some people will do anything to avoid hard water stains or having to scrub grout. My housekeeping phobia is having a house that smells like a dog.

I have been very lucky with our big dog. He dos not smell like a dog, he has not made the house smell like a dog, and he has NEVER had doggy breath.

The new, little dog is another story. He has a very doggy smell about him and has a combination diggy/fishy breath. Now that we in the Mid-Atlantic states are in the midst of another winter storm to doggy smell in my house has been replaced with a wonderful wet doggy smell.

How do you get rid of it?

I open windows when I can (not possible today)
I have Airwick odor absorbers strategically placed around the house.
I wash all of the dog's bedding and towels on a regular basis.
I vacuum faithfully.
I Febreeze my furniture, curtains, and any non-washable dog beds.

Anything I'm missing? An thoughts on what else I can do? Help!!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Spring Has Sprung

I went home at lunch to let the dogs out and I noticed under my dead hydrangea bush that my crocus have bloomed. What a pleasent little surprise!

Spring has sprung... just in time for the temperature to drop to 40 degrees this weekend. Oh well... three days of 60 + weather does a body and soul good.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Sleepy Puppies

No matter how well you think you know your dog (I can't speak for cats) you never truly know how they will react to a new animal in the house. My darling baby boy Beo was a little unsure of his new little brother at first... but I think he is over it now... don't you?

Dinner Last Night

I was off from work yesterday so I was able to make a big fancy dinner for Hubby and I. I love to cook, and really like to make things from scratch as opposed to opening packages, so I was in hog heaven.

The Menu:

Crockpot Pot Roast with Gravy
Kasha and Bowties
Roasted String Bean
Roasted Grape Tomates

The Recipes:

Crockpot Pot Roast with Gravy

1 Can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 Onion sliced
1 3-4 pound eye round roast
1 packet onion soup mix

In crockpot/slow cooker spread soup on bottom of pot. Toss sliced onions on top of soup. Place roast on top of onion (Mine was thawed only slightly and all visible fat had been trimmed off) sprinkle with salt, pepper, and onion soup mix.

Turn crockpot/slow cooker on high and cook for 6-8 hours depending on how you like your meat. The roast will be tender and very juicy and a nice onion gravy will have formed in the bottom of he pan.

Kasha and Bowties (Hubby's Favorite)

2 Tbs. Butter
1 Onion
2 Cups Broth or Water
1 Cup Kasha
1 Package Bowtie shaped egg noodles (such as Manischewitz)

In medium sized saucepan melt 1-2 Tbs. butter. Add 1 onion (diced) and saute until onion is carmalized. Add 2 cups of broth (I use homemade chicken) or water and bring to a boil. Add in 1 cup of kasha. Cover and remove from heat. Let stand for @ 5 minutes, and fluff with a fork.

Cook pasta according to directions on the package. Drain and combine with the prepared kasha. Season with salt pepper.

Roasted Green Beans & Roasted Grape Tomatoes

Olive oil
salt and pepper

Wash and try vegetables. Toss with olive oil or spray with olive oil cooking spray and season with salt and pepper. Put on cookie sheet and bake in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes. The veggies will shrivel a bit and the tomatoes may burst. Serve Hot.

I Found it!

It being the much sought after Chefmate Round Cast Iron Casserole Pot with Lid.

Cook's Illustrated magazine ranked this as one of the best cast iron pots without a hefty price tag. Not Martha talked a lot about it in relation to making the famed No Knead Bread that is all the rage with bakers these days.

At $39.99 the price is right for an enamel dutch oven, but it was marked as a clearance item at my local target so I got it for $17.00 for some reason. Who knows... who cares!

I will be making the No Knead Bread as soon as possible and I will report back.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

There's a New Puppy at Our House...

and his name is Jax. He is a rescue dog, so we are not 100% sure of his breed, but we think he is a Boxador (A Labrador/Boxer mix). He is 6 months old and 30-40 pounds. Here are some pictures of Jax playing with our 1 year old Lab, Beo. Jax is the smaller brown one, Beo the lager black one.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Goodwill... Good Shopping

Here is my latest Goodwill find. For $1.99 I got this (what looks like handmade) pottery basket. This is the kind that you heat p in the oven and then use to keep your bread warm. I think this will be a housewarming present for a fried of mine with a homemade loaf of Challah in it.

Favorite Things Friday

Its that day of the week again... Favorite Things Friday!

This week there is a theme... see if you can guess it.

The Dyson DC17 Animal works like no other vacuum cleaner I have ever seen. I vacuumed my carpet using my Hoover Windtunnel and then with the Dyson (over the same spot mind you) and I had to empty the Dyson three (3) times. It picked up that much dust, dirt, and dog hair. Aside from that, it is bagless, so there are no disposable bags to buy and them throw away.

The Furminator de-shedding tool , how I love thee. Just like with the Dyson, I can brush the dog with a Slicker brush and remove what I think is a lot of dog hair. I can then go over the dog again with the Furminator and remove three (3) times as much hair as before.

Did you guess the theme?

You're right... this week's theme is "Dog Stuff."

Humm.... I wonder why? Look for future posts to find out. ;)

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Thrift Shop Find

I went out thrifting on monday and found this lovely black cashmere cardigan from Nieman Marcus (or Needless Markup as I like to call it). They were selling it for $25.00, but since it is at the end of the season I got it for 50% off. It's a little more than Goodwill, but well worth $12.50 for the quality.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Disposable Woman No More

I once was a disposable woman....

What I mean is that I bought lot and lots of disposable products, particularly for cleaning. Clorox Wipes, Swiffer dust cloths, Swiffer cleaning pads for my wet jet, the list goes on and on.

I have recently had a change of heart (for monetary and environmental reasons) and have begun using up all of my disposable products and replacing them with reusable ones instead.

For example (and this is a no-brainer for most of you) I used the last of my Clorox cleaning wipes and replaced them with all purpose cleaner (which I made myself in a reusable spray bottle) and rags. I also used the last of the pad for my Swiffer wet jet and instead purchased washable/reusable pads from Bissell that work like a charm.

I have also used up the last of my disposable Swiffer dry cloths and are substituting microfiber cloths that can be washed and reused. I went to Target today to pick up another pack (I use them everyday) and in the cleaning isle found a number of different products that would work, although they all came out to @ $2.50 per cloth. That seemed a little steep, but I would get a gazillion cleanings out of each one so I was ok with it. As I was headed for the checkout my mom noticed that in the car care isle there were packs of 10 microfiber cloths for $7.99 or $.79 per cloth, a much better deal!

The moral of this story... leave no stone unturned. A very unlikely place yielded a much better deal on what I needed.

P.S. I have to measure it all out so I don;t know for sure, but there is even the possibility of cutting each cloth in half making them 20 for $7.99 or $.39 each! :)

P.P.S. My microfiber bounty is pictured on the right folded and ready to go

Friday, March 02, 2007

Favorite Things Friday

This week's installment of "Favorite Things Friday" features a few tools of frugality:

My OXO Tea Kettle which was a wedding present, so I didn't pay for it and it allows me to make all sorts of hot beverages that would under different circumstances have my scrambling to my nearest Starbucks.

My P Touch Label Maker which allows me to label all of the white powdery ingredients in my cabinets (AP flour, bread flour, matzo cake meal, and soy flour all look EXACTLY alike) so that I know what I have and don;t buy unnecessary duplicates. Also, it was 50% off :)

My Brand New Kitchen Scale... Buy in bulk and freeze in portions is my new motto!

And Daffodils. Cheaper then flying to the Islands or going to a therapist. Plus they were 2 bunches for $5.00 at the market this week.

Please share you favorite things this week!