Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Day Delights

Happy Thanksgiving!
I have about 10 minutes before I need to finish up my work day so I thought I would share a few recipes that I am making this year. The first one is a recipe from one of my favorite Chefs...Tyler Florence. It is sooooo good! It is a Brussel Sprout Hash. I never knew my love for Brussel Sprouts until I saw him make this on his show and they looked so good I had to try it. Now I make it about once a month. Since we are already making mashed potatoes I will omit the potatoes.

Bacon and Brussel Sprout Hash

Extra-virgin olive oil...2 Counts
4 slices of thick-cut bacon
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 lb of fingerling potatoes, split down the middle
2 cups Brussel sprouts, cut into thick slices
1/2 lb red pearl onions, peeled
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 bunch flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Set a large saute pan over medium heat and add a 2 count of olive oil. Cut bacon into long strips and add to pan together with thyme. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes to render the fat then strain and set aside. Discard half the fat in the pan then add brussel sprouts, potatoes and pearl onions. Season with salt and pepper and cook until slightly browned. Add chicken stock and steam for 3 to 5 minutes until liquid has evaporated and vegetables are tender. Add balsamic vinegar and toss to coat. Cook until balsamic has reduced then fold in fresh parsley and bacon.

The second is Williams-Sonoma's Cornbread Stuffing Recipe. My family always asks for it. I almost didn't make it this year because The Hubs calls it "Fancy Stuffing" and he doesn't like it..but sorry babe everyone else does so you can have unfancy stuffing..which is delicious too:).

8 cups cubed day-old corn bread (1-inch cubes)
2 cups cubed day-old country-style white bread, crusts removed (1-inch cubes)
1 1/2 lb. mild Italian pork sausage, casings removed
1 to 2 Tbs. olive oil, if needed
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 cup roasted and peeled chestnuts, quartered (I do not add this to my stuffing)
1/4 cup chopped mixed fresh herbs, such as sage, rosemary and thyme
3 cups low-sodium chicken stock
Preheat an oven to 375°F. Butter a shallow gratin pan.Spread the corn bread and white bread out on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven until light golden brown and dry to the touch, about 20 minutes. Set aside. In a sauté pan over medium heat, brown the sausage, stirring and crumbling with a fork, until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Return the pan to medium heat. Add the olive oil to the accumulated fat in the pan, if needed. Add the onion and celery and sauté, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to the bowl with the sausage. Add the corn bread and white bread, the chestnuts, herbs and stock. Season with salt and pepper and stir gently to combine. Transfer the dressing to the prepared gratin pan, cover with aluminum foil and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until browned and crispy, 35 to 40 minutes more. Serves 10 to 12.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Craft Night and Master Bedroom Accessories

I hosted another craft night this past Friday. There were five of us that got together and made Christmas wreaths. They all turned out so cute.
However I forgot to take pictures of them all:(

I also went to a Holiday Limo Tour of about 5 gift/antique shops in Riverside with my mom and a few of her friends. It was really fun. The limo took us to a shop that was participating in the tour and we got out and shopped and then got back in the limo to take us to our next shopping destination. I did not find anything until the very end at an antique store called Old Glory. I have never been there and I can't believe that it is only a few minutes from my house!!! I found the white horse chess piece pictured below!!! It was only 22.46. It is going to go great in my new Master bedroom. I also picked up the votive candle holders below at Michaels for like 1.00! I had just seen them in a magazine for a lot more so I was so happy I ran across them. And finally, another accessory for my Hollywood Regency room that I am so excited about. I made my own Starburst Mirror from two items from the Dollar Tree. I knew I wanted to use bamboo skewers for the Starburst portion...I had the gold paint and when I went to the Dollar Tree to find items for my Christmas Wreath I was so excited to see a round mirror and then a little ways down I saw a Styrofoam round that the mirror would fit perfectly on. I just inserted the skewers into the Styrofoam round(after painting gold) and then glued on the mirror. For a finishing touch I added some gold banding to cover the ugly parts:). It of course is not super amazing but for 2.00 and some change I would same I am very pleased with it. I can not wait to put this room together.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Money vs Time

I have really been taking a look at areas in my life where I can shave off a little fat. That really just made me think of loosing weight and that is so not where I was going with this..but I guess I should think about that too. Another time. Back to the situation at hand-money$$$. It is no surprise that so many people are struggling right now and are taking a look at what they truly need rather than what they want. It really is a more simpler life. Less stress, but the finer things in life are missed. I am not one to wash my used Ziploc bags and hang them to dry..or use cloth diapers..or really even recycle...but I think that whatever works for your family is great.
I recently joined a coupon site online. is a great site that lists grocery stores or Drug Stores that feature certain discounts, along with coupons. My goal is to get something for free! My first good deal was at Vons. Yes, I know most people think Vons is expensive (including The Hubs) but the people there are so nice and helpful and it is never busy and the checkers don't talk to the box people like a certain store that I HATE. I will give you a clue it rhymes with Cater Pros..sorry that was lame:(. Anyways, I hate grocery shopping so I need to prove to The Hubs that I can shop at a nice store and still get some great deals. I saw there was a sale on Glade products. If you bought three you got them each for .99cents each. Then I had a $1.50 off coupon if I bought two. So, originally they were 1.99 each..that is 5.97 and I got them for 2.97-1.50=1.47...a grand total of .49cents!!!!!
The checker had a hard time finding the coupon though. I was in line forever as she looked for it as it was an in-store deal. Finally, the manager just did an override of the system and gave me the discount. This discouraged me a bit. This is the reason I don't use coupons. I am always behind someone who does and there seems to be some sort of an issue. So, all this to say is your time more valuable than money.
We use products these days that are made to cut down on time for daily tasks. Such as those Swifter products. I use the dusters and the floor cleaning pads. It is great ...I don't have to take the duster outside and pounce out the dust as it gets all over me. I don't have to bring out the mop bucket and mop. that really worth the amount of money I am spending monthly to purchase the refills? Maybe I am going to the extreme. I feel though that we have become a society that needs instant gratification. Who has the time to get out that mop bucket, or prepare a meal instead of waiting a few minutes to get some fast food. I am guilty of even waiting for my fast food any longer than 5 minutes and getting irritated. When my computer is slow it is so frustrating. I started to think back to what I did 5 years ago, then 10 and finally 20. Then what my parents did that seems so ancient or prehistoric now...sorry they probably would not appreciate that reference.
Just think about the evolution of the phone. Just in the last 50 years there have been so many changes. From the rotary dial, to the push button dial, to voice prompted dial..I am always amazed at what they can do with technology. Is this all too much? Have we become lazy and dependent of technology to get us through the day. 100 years ago I wonder how my Great-Great Grandparents announced the news of my Great-Grandfather's birth. Today I could have someone videoing my son's birth with their Smart Phone and have it uploaded to Facebook in seconds or better yet YouTube for the whole world to see...not that I would appreciate that technology..but it could happen!
So, in conclusion, I am not going to turn into one of those super frugal mom's, who sews their children's' clothes and makes their own baby food. That just isn't me. I am however, going to not waste my money in areas that I could be saving a lot. I want to be a smart shopper. CA is so expensive and with this past election I do not see any change for the good. We would love to have another child and be able to allow me to not have to work anymore. That would be so wonderful!!!! So I figure unless I have no knowledge of currently being pregnant..I have at least about a year to save and learn to live on less and take more time to do things that will save me that hard earned cash$$$.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Mama Woes

Woe is me! I am soo tired. I think I may be dying. Ok not really I am a bit dramatic, but I seriously can't keep my eyes open. I feel like I did when I was pregnant..uh oh!!! No I am sure that is NOT it. Shane has been super cranky. Scott is gone in Vegas and I think Shane is upset.

I went to Kohl's because I have been in desperate need of new jeans. I got paid and I headed straight there. I always seem to find a pair on the clearance rack, this time was no different..I was so happy. About five minutes into our Kohl's adventure, Shane started fussing. Ugghhh...really lil man??? "Momma needs this retail therapy", I cried out inside. He didn't get the vibe. I had to get a few other things. I was there less than an hour, which is good for me but not for Shane. I had planned on going grocery shopping too, but that did not happen. Accompanied to Shane's crankiness, is his clingingness(spell check did not recognize this word). So, I tried to take a nap on the couch when we got home, but my little monkey did not want that to happen.
Ok..I am still not done complaining (I mean telling my story). I also was asked to work OT. At about 9:15PM I put Shane to bed..hallelujah!!! Signed onto my computer and could not get up enough strength to move my mouse...forget this. I had worked one hour of OT earlier and decided to work a few extra hours today instead. Off to bed I go....well not quite..I suddenly had all this energy..figures!!! So I decided to go into bed, but just read. As I mentioned Scott was in Vegas and so I knew it would be hard for me to fall asleep. I turned off the light around 10:20 and so it began.
I swore that I heard someone breaking in at least 17 times. I was so upset with myself. I prayed and just said Lord, please give me a peace and let me fall was now 11:00. I knew at 11:20 I could probably be close to falling asleep because that would be one hour since I laid down. I could feel myself falling into a deep sleep and then what is that I hear at 11:21??? Shane crying!!!! Are you serious? He has not done that in weeks... if not months. I had to start laughing. So this is what I signed up for being a mommy. I quickly jumped up, got the juices flowing again, and went to check on him. He was in the same position he was when I laid him down and I think his arm or something fell asleep..because he wouldn't move. He was in so much pain..poor guy. I found his binky and rocked him for a bit and he went back to sleep. So, now I had to start all over again! Dear Lord..please allow me to just pass out..AMEN.
12:33 I have probably been asleep for no more than 10 minutes. Dog jumps on bed. Bad idea for dog. I quickly snap at him and tell him very sternly to get in his bed. Daddy lets him sleep on his side..but that is a no no when it is just me. He never returned back to our dog!!!!!
7:30 Shane wakes up. So much for getting in a few hours extra of sleep. Oh well it was a nice idea. I know God did not do this to be mean, or Shane, or the dog..but it is so weird. It seems as a Mom that it is impossible to sleep any more than 6-7 hours. I guess that is why everyone always tells you to sleep as much as you can before your child arrives. They were not kidding! You will never enjoy those Saturdays where you can sleep in as long as you want. I guess I will have to wait until Shane is a teenager to experience that again.

I told The Hubs that there are three things that I rarely get now that I have a child.
1. Sleep..obviously
2. Sex...sorry, but it is true..who has time or energy for that!
3. Showers..I am lucky if I get 2 a week...ewwwww!!!
And now I can add Shopping to the "S" list. I wouldn't trade any of it though. I am exhausted, clothes are needs to be is a mess..but even though I don't get a few of those "S's" on my list I gained the cutest, smartest, sweetest and most wonderful "S" of them all- SHANE!