Thursday, March 11, 2010


Oh my I have had a busy couple of weeks.  No excuse for not blogging...but whew I'm tired.  

First, just as we were getting quotes to finish our basement (can we say expensive), the person who was upstairs fixing our washing machine told us that we would be needing a new washer. Fantastic! As I said, our washer and dryer our this closet:

Now, this is kind of nice because I don't have to go very far to hang up clothes, fold, etc.  I also kind of like that there is no laundry "room". For procrastinators such as myself, it forces me to put the stuff away. But and I say this with a big BUT, the problem is what do you do if it breaks? Well.  Let me tell you.  You need to have two people and one who can perform this move:

Except with a dryer.  Then the other guy climbs under and hooks up the washer.  It costs like $300 just to have it looked at.  Oh and forget about cleaning.  Tried that.  You end up disconnecting the dryer vent and then you have to pay $300.  

Now that the washer is broke we thought maybe we should just put it in the basement.  Well there is no hookup.  Of course.  So, next Tuesday they're jackhammering the floor and putting in a hookup.  Fun stuff.

Which brings me to my question of: Can anyone recommend they're washer and dryer? I'm just not sure if it's worth spending a lot to get a new fancy one.  But then I don't want to be buying another in 5 years.  So maybe it is? 

On the up side, last weekend was my birthday.  I'm the big 25 now, so I can officially rent a car!!!! I think I'm going to buy a new camera with some of the money I got.  I also got these lovely flowers:

Bring on the washer dryer suggestions!!!

Friday, February 26, 2010

To Paint or Not to Paint....

Ahhhh....I love home projects.  They keep me up into all hours of the night scouring the internet for ideas and inspiration.  Hubs and I have decided to finish our basement. After toiling for the past two years over whether or not to do it, we've decided to bite the bullet. 

We made the decision based off of a few things. One, we knew we wanted to finish it before we sell because houses in our area sell so so much better with finished basements.  And if we're going to do that I want to enjoy it for the next few years while we're still here!  Two, I feel like we will be able to get a good price with the economy the way it is now, and I am happy to give someone a job for a couple weeks. Third, the hubby needs a man cave.  I can only take so much ESPN.

So, within the next couple of months we hope to get this project going. We have went back and forth over doing some of it ourselves.  I still think we will do some of it, but, mostly we will have professionals do the job.  I don't want it to become a 3 year project. However, that doesn't mean we won't try to cut costs in some areas.

One of the ways we were thinking about cutting costs was to paint the basement ceiling as opposed to dry-walling or drop ceiling it.  Here are some inspiration pics.  I don't know where I got these, so sorry for the lack of credit.

I like the more industrial look.  I think after all is said and done, it is still a basement.  It will also save us a TON of money.  Our basement is close to 1500 sq ft.  So to ceiling all of that....well....we're waiting on the estimate, but it's a lot.

Has anyone ever done this or know someone who has? I think the biggest drawback is going to be the noise between the two floors.  But, I'm not sure how bad it would be. This is one of the first decisions we have to make because it is the very first thing you do.

Ahhhh!!! Decisions!!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Veggie Chicken Soup

I love having soup for lunch.  It's so easy for me to make a batch of soup and freeze it into individual portions.  If I do this often enough, then I have a pretty big selection of soup to choose from in the freezer.  It is way way cheaper that buying cans from the store.  It's also healthier and yummier :) I know many people aren't fans of lima beans, but I think in here, they're fantastic. Also, you can substitute some of the veggies in here for your favorites.

Veggie Chicken Soup


2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups diced onions
2 celery stalks, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 zucchini, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 lbs boneless, skinless, chicken thighs or rotisserie chicken
8 tomatoes (plum or roma), diced
3 cups chicken stock
1 pkg (10 oz) frozen corn
1 pkg (16 oz) frozen lima beans


Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add in the onions, celery, green pepper, zucchini, salt ( I did about 2 tsp) , and pepper. Cook until everything is softened and starting to get a little golden.  

Stir in the tomato paste and add in the chicken, if using uncooked, and tomatoes.  Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce to a simmer.  Cook for about 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.  

Remove the chicken and dice.  If using rotisserie chicken add in now with lima beans and corn. Warm everything through and top with a little sour cream if you want.


Note:  This makes a BIG batch of soup. Cut by half if you only want enough for 4.

To see more delicious recipes check out these fabulous blogs:

Have a great day!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Menu Plan 2/21 - 2/27

As I posted last night this weekend was kind of a bust.  My guy was really sick and we didn't do too much.  I did, however, watch a lot of the Olympics!!  I'm really not much of a sports fan, but for some reason I LOVE the Olympics! Much to the despair of my husband, figure skating is my favorite. 

Here's what I have planned for the week:

Sunday:  Pulled Pork

This couldn't be an easier or more inexpensive meal.  I put about 1/2 cup BBQ sauce and 1/4 mustard on the bottom of a large crock pot.  Then I put in a large pork loin and put some more sauce on top.  I cook on high for about 6 or so hours.  There will be a point at about 4 hours where you'll check for tenderness and it will not be fork tender at all.  Then give it a couple hours and when you can shred it with a spoon, it's done.  Once shredded I add some more BBQ sauce and mustard to taste and put it over some buns with cheese.  That's it.  Super easy.

Monday:  LO Pulled Pork

Tuesday: Clam Pasta - didn't get to this last week :)

Wednesday:  Left Over Pasta

Thursday:  Salmon with salad and veggies

Friday: Dinner with friends

Saturday:  Out to dinner than scrapbooking with friends

To see more menu plans, check out Organizing Junkie here!!

I also linked this post up to Smockity Frocks Crockpot Carnival :)

Have a great week!!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Sick Boy...

My guy has been sick the past couple of days :(  I don't know what it is, but if I'm sick...yeah it isn't fun. But, if he's sick...I'm so sad for him. So, this is what we had for dinner last night. Some "sick soup" and grilled cheese. "Sick Soup" is Lipton Noodle Soup out of a box, that my mom used to make me when I was sick. I love it when I'm sick, but don't like it so much when I'm not!

Then I felt bored after sick soup and grilled cheese.  So I made dessert. And it was good.  Real good.  There's Nutella in it.  Real good.

Basically, I pan seared some sliced pineapple in a little butter over high heat, until brown. Then I took a couple tablespoons of Nutella and about a tablespoon of milk or so and put it in the microwave for about 20 seconds.  Then I stirred it until combined.  I drizzled that over the pineapple and put little dollops of Mascarpone Cheese and chopped almonds on top. Mascarpone is totally optional but seeing as how I believe it is the greatest food product on earth, I would say...use it. You won't regret it.

Even sick boy ate a little. 

Happy Sunday!

Friday, February 19, 2010

We Have a Winner!!!

Thank you everyone so much for entering my giveaway for the cutest reusable produce bags!  I really love this product and think that it is such an easy way to make a big impact on the environment.  

So our winner is.........................bummmmmfrummmbummmmm (drumroll):

Tara,  I'm so glad you won because I know you wanted these!!!!

Thanks again everyone!

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

WFMW ~ Chicken Stock

One of the biggest money savers in our house is making homemade chicken stock.  I make a lot of soups and other things that require chicken stock and it is very expensive to buy. I know there are a lot of recipes out there for making stock...but really I just throw a bunch of things into a giant pot and boil away. Good enough for me.  

As I accumulate things in the kitchen that I think would be good in stock, I freeze them in a large container.  Then, all I have to do is open the container and throw the item in.  It's okay if they all stick together, because your throwing it all in the same place anyway.  I think having one container saves on space, time, and money. Here is a list of some of the things I have thrown into a pot of chicken stock.  The ones that are bold are, in my opinion, a must:

Chicken - cooked chicken carcasses, uncooked chicken parts, skin, yucky parts...whatever
Celery - save your leafy parts as they add tons of flavor to the stock
Garlic - no need to peel
Leek tops
Fresh or Dried Herbs
Parmesan or other cheese heels - once you've used the cheese just stick it in the freezer to save
Salt - don't go crazy on this because you can always add more to the dish
Whole Peppercorns
Broccoli Stems
Left over veggies such as peas, corn, green beans, green onions - seriously, it all adds flavor

I make chicken stock every couple of months and I basically just load up a large pot with all my savings and fill it to the top with water.  Then I bring it to a strong boil and reduce to a simmer. Then I cover it and let it go.  Simmer for a loooooooong time.  I've been known to do it overnight.  I would say at least 6 hours. 

Then, I let it cool and get a large tupperware container.  I  then strain the stock over a strainer. Throw all the leftovers away.  DON'T try to save the chicken.  You just boiled the heck out of it. It's done its duty.

Now, let the strained stock stay in the fridge overnight.  All of the fat and other left over bits will rise to the top and you can skim it off. It really is worth the overnight wait.

Finally, divide the stock into bags or other containers to freeze and use for later.  I divide mine into 1 quart (4 cups), 2 cups, and 1 cup increments.  I freeze mine in bags.  It works well and rarely leaks.  See here:

Then your husband, who thinks making stock is silly, can leave you messages on your bags :)

Well, that's what works for me!  To see more tips go to Works For Me We Wednesday!

If you haven't had a chance to enter my giveaway for the cutest produce bags ever you may do so here!!