Christmas in October?

29 09 2008

Some people have decided that the season of giving will come early on their blogs with some really neat giveaways in October. Jennifer and I have some things planned too towards the end of the month, but, in the meantime, you have to check these sites out!

The Not-So-Blog Blog is throwing a week-long Spook-tacular Sweepstakes.
The Not-So-BlogThe first giveaway is an
adorably sweet treat bag from Mimi and Reese. I am in love with these tote bags! The 2nd giveaway is a Tupperware Fall Collectible Tumbler Set.  

 

Momma FindingsMomma Findings is sure to light up the week with her own spooky giveaways. You can win a cute Litewear shirt for your pumpkin. Kids love lights, right? I guess teens do too—the 2nd giveaway is a flirty juniors litewear shirt.

 

Over at Sister and Sister, they also  have a giveaway week. I know you really want a Spider! (A Mutsy Spider Stroller, that is!) 

 

So, have fun reading some new blogs or visiting old friends. I’ll update with other prizes as they are revealed.





Cute Shoes for the Big Kids

29 09 2008

My son started out life at 10lbs 5oz. At that size, he was already too big for all the cute little newborn shoes. And now he is quickly growing into the toddler shoes we already have from his older brother. The ones his older brother is quickly growing out of! I keep my eye out for cute shoes in bigger sizes, but it always seems the bigger the size, the duller the shoe. (Especially for boys.)

Well, fret no more- check out the Eleven Collection! These shoes are currently offered in children’s sizes 9-1 and boast durable, leather upper construction as well as a selection of fun styles for both boys and girls. Even though my kids are boys, my favorite shoe is the Anya– maybe I’ll have to get one for my niece to wear!

And to make this discovery even better, Elizabeth at S.I.M.P.L.E. is graciously hosting a giveaway now through October 7. Check out her site for a ton of other great products that she showcases and reviews.





Smithsonian Magazine Free Museum Day

26 09 2008

When’s the last time you were in a museum? Why not visit one this weekend, especially with the rainy weather in some parts of the US. Check this out:
Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day
Enjoy free general admission for you and a guest to hundreds of museums and cultural venues nationwide.
Saturday, September 27, 2008

How?
Present the Museum Day admission card to receive free general admission at participating Museum Day locations. The admission card is available in the September 2008 issue of Smithsonian magazine or downloadable via this site.





Tapioca evades me

25 09 2008

Is it just me, or is it terribly difficult to get or make a tasty bowl of tapioca pudding? I won’t even begin to elaborate on my woes. Too much stress right now that stems from a little pregnancy craving!





A Pink Princess Girly Card

24 09 2008

This pretty princess card is the perfect fix for frugal royalty since it’s put together with forgotten materials and imitation bling. The whole card was inspired by a friend’s swap on the theme “Enchanted” and a roll of princess ribbon from Michaels that I bought last year to add to Bean’s tutu (but never actually used it). I brushed the pink cardstock with the brillance ink to make it shimmer like the Bazzill paper. A star punch helped create the mask for the background. The fairy dust is courtesy of a ranger pen and a marvey silver gel pen. The illusion of brads is made by first gluing hole punches to the paper, then stamping with a pencil eraser dipped in Brilliance ink and embossing. I don’t know where the cheesy plastic stars came from, but they are perfect for this card. I would have embellished it even more with glitter, but I’ve put the glitter away for safekeeping from Bean, and can’t seem to find it again.

Ingredients:
stamps: SU like it a latte swirls, studio g hearts & princess wand
inks: Tsukineko Brilliance: Pearlescent Orchid & Starlite Silver, VersaMagic Perfect Plumeria
papers:
Bazzill basics string of pearls, pink cardstock, tracing paper, unknown patterned paper

I discovered this neat blog by a crafty mom today called Nessy’s Notes. I’m posting this card as a tribute to her on her birthday. Wishing you another great year! You should visit her too, wish her a happy birthday, and eye her beautiful blog candy…

 

 





SchlemmerTopf and Other Clay Bakers

23 09 2008

Romertopf Clay Baker 3-5 Lbs 01092When we received the Schlemmertopf as a wedding gift three years ago I knew it was going to be one of those things that sits in the back of my cabinet and used only occasionally, if at all. Fast forward to today, and I still have not broken it in. I think it’s something in the name that scares me- Schlemmertopf, sounds so industrial and complicated.

Digging through my cookbooks the other day I stumbled across the manual and recipe book that came with it. The title page touts “healthy cooking” and “easy cleaning.” I read through many of the recipes and they all sound so yummy so I am vowing this week to give it a try.

The Schlemmertopf is a clay roasting pot, glazed on the bottom (inside) to give it a non-stick surface. Food’s natural flavor and nutrients are retained as everything cooks in it’s natural juices. The bottom of the pot can be washed as normal dishes, either in the sink or dishwasher.

This week I will be making Sauerbraten, a recipe listed in the manual:

Sauerbraten

3 pounds beef shoulder
2 teaspoons salt, pepper
2 cups vinegar
2 cups water
1/2 cup sliced onion
2 carrots, sliced
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon peppercorns
1/4 cup sugar
4 cloves
4 oz. sliced bacon
1 cup sweet cream

Rub meat with salt and pepper and place in bowl.
Heat vinegar, water, onion, bay leaves, peppercorns and sugar together.
Pour hot mixture over meat, cover bowl, and let stand in cool place 4 days, turning meat each day.
Drain, saving vinegar mixture.
Soak lid of Glazed Schlemmertopf.
Place bacon in bottom of Schlemmertopf, add meat and cover.
Put into cold oven and turn temperature to 425 degrees F.
Bake for 1 hour.
Add warm vinegar mixture and spices, return to oven, bake for another 60 minutes.
Remove meat and keep warm.
Pour strained gravy into saucepan and thicken with flour or corn starch, add cream.

You can find many other recipes at the Schlemmertopf website here, and also at other clay baker websites such as claybakers.org. I’ve seen some great sounding recipes that I am eager to try, including lowfat lasagna, creme brulee, baked ziti with turkey meatballs, banana cake, I could go on! I think I might even try making bread in my clay baker.

Time to go dust it off!





Dusting Off the Unused Kitchen Gadgets

23 09 2008

Who among us doesn’t have one or two (or ten or twenty) small kitchen appliances or gadgets that are lurking in the depths of the pantry just waiting for their turn at assisting with dinner?  Life, and dinner in particular, is always so rushed that the only time I think about them is when I move, or the rearranging bug hits me.  For instance, there is the ShlemmerTopf that we were given as a wedding present that has not even been used once.  Or the pressure cooker, also a wedding present, that has only been used for corned beef.  I could go on and on, but I will spare you the details for now.

Now that winter is nearly upon us and I won’t be spending as much time outside, I decided to pull out my unused kitchen gadgets one by one and make a decision on whether or not they deserve shelf space in my home.  On that note, I am starting a weekly series that will assist me in bringing life to these old gadgets, or help me determine that they need to be blessing someone else’s kitchen (ie- donated to the goodwill).  Each week I am going to pull out a seldom used appliance, post tips and tricks about it, use it in at least one recipe, and see if it will work for me in the future or if not, get it out of my kitchen.  If you happen to have a similar item that is just collecting dust you can join in the fun.

Look for more information on these items (not in any particular order) in future posts and in the meantime, please let me know if you have any favorite recipes or tricks of the trade for these:

SchlemmerTopf Glazed Clay Roaster
Pressure Cooker
Handheld Stick Blender
Double Boiler
George Foreman Grill
Toaster Oven
Waffle Maker
Food Dehydrator
Pressure Canner
Food Processor





Sushi

23 09 2008

Here’s some sushi for you per the meal plan request. (The right side is cucumber roll, because I can’t eat the raw fish right now.) Enjoy!





Menu Plan Monday- AK

22 09 2008

This week at I’m an Org Junkie, the theme of our menus is family favorites.  I have been feeling stressed lately so I am going to take advantage of some of the convienence food in our freezer (ie- frozen ravioli, pierogies) and my crockpot (pot roast) to simplify life this week.  All of the weekday meals are favorites, not only for my family to eat, but for me to cook!

Monday– frozen ravioli, marinara sauce, garlic bread, salad

Tuesday-salmon patties, pierogies, grilled onions, green beans (Mix 2 cups cooked, deboned, flaked salmon, 1 TBSP dried chopped onions, salt and pepper to taste, and one egg.  Add enough bread crumbs and/or mashed potatoes to make patties.  Cook in pan or on griddle sprayed with non-stick spray until browned.  Serve with sour cream or tarter sauce.)

Wednesday-pot roast with potatoes, carrots and onions (Put roast, chopped veggies, a little water, salt, pepper, garlic and other seasonings as the mood strikes into the crockpot.  Cook on low 7-8 hours.)

Thursday– leftovers

Friday-greek style pizza (homemade pizza crust or Boboli type, topped with grilled onions, mozzarella cheese, feta cheese, chopped olives, chopped cooked chicken breast, cooked spinach, etc)

SaturdayParmesan Pork Cutlets, broccoli, pasta (check out the link to this recipe, doesn’t the photo look so yummy?  I think this is bound to be a future family favorite)

Sunday-Sauerbraten (see post here)

Be sure to check out other great tried and true family favorites here at I’m an Org Junkie.  Have a great week!

 

Note to my hubby who requested sushi- I will make it when I don't have kids hanging on my pants every time I go in the kitchen.





Carrots Anyone?

22 09 2008

The other week I decided instead of the $3.50 bag of baby cut carrots, I’d buy the $3.50 5# bag of regular carrots. A deal right? But what do you do with 5lbs of carrots?

After a quick rinse and the ends cut off, the food processor made quick work of the entire bag (save one lonely carrot for the kids’ snack).

Now, what to do with 17 cups of shredded carrots?

Carrot soup- 5 cups
Carrot cake (2 cakes)- 8 cups
Carrot bread (instead of zucchini)- 2 cups
Carrot muffins (same recipe as the bread)- 2 cups

And there you have it folks! I still have to make the cakes, but the rest is done and the bread/muffins turned out delicious! The soup was kind of bland, but I’ve been adding it to the baby food and also slipping it into dishes here and there (ie- used in meatballs instead of ketchup).

I am happy I actually used the entire bag. I am notorious for having good intentions with carrots, but having them dry up before I actually use them.

Please let me know if you have any other carrot recipes I could try, because I see myself buying another bag in the near future, this just turned out so well!