Sunday, 27 March 2011

Things My Mother Taught Me*

1. How to Bag Groceries
My mother was always very picky about how the baggers at grocery stores bagged her groceries. Something are no brainers- like bread and eggs seperated from everything else, but other things she insisted on seemd strange to me at the time, or, judging by the heavy sighs, to the cashiers as well. However, if I pack everyone's groceries as I would pack my mother's most customers seem to be fairly satisified and occasionally complement me on my bagging job. Others either insist I shove everything into one bag or glare at me and mumur something along the lines of kids can't do anything right, when I fail to bag their groceries- plastic in paper in plastic, two items maximum per bag- without being asked.
2. To Always Do My Best
Dealing with the public and ringing groceries several days a week as never been my dream job, and certainitly won't be a career for me, but while I'm there I suck it up, smile, and do my best to ring fast, pack well, be courteous, and remember 8000 codes. This belief was instilled in me from my mom always insisting that I do my best, even if it was something I didn't care of or didn't excel at.
3. Be Nice to Everyone
My mom was like the mom in Bambi. I frequently heard "If you can't say anything nice then don't say anyything at all." I learned that everyone deserves respect and should be treated nicely. As for the rude customers who think the grocery store revolves around  them and that I can balance their 12 pack on my head while ringing and baggin their groceries, I "kill um with kindess". This belief gets a bit tricky when it comes to dealing with my mother in law because she  calls almost everyday, and if we don't pick up she will continue to call on the hour, and will alternate between our house phone and cells. She always asks (both of us) the same questions, several times, in the same conversation. She even told my husband that she does that because she doesn't listen to our response. As far as being mean to her goes- I want to explode and tell her everything she does that drives us both crazy. The worst thing I've done so far is hang up on her. Like I said, "If you can't say anything nice, then don't say anything at all" :)
4. Volunteering
My mom instilled in me, at an early age, a desire to volunteer and help others. As a Girl Scout I picked up trash, helped out a camp,served at nursing homes, held food drives, worked with children at Head Start and helped with Hurrican Katrina relief. I volunteered a lot in college too- helping with the Children's Shelter, Girl's Home, baking cupcakes for the soup kitchen, cleaning at a woman's shelter and a varieety of other things. Helping others is missing from my life right now, and I miss it. I'm looking for something to get involved with in my area, but I keep coming up short. There seems to be a shortage of nonprofits in my town, as well as the next one over, there doesn't seem to be a soup kitchen and the food bank is also about 45 minuts away and has a confusing volunteer system. The only flyer I've seen is for a lunch buddy program, but I tend to work during hte lunch hour. Any suggestions for programs to check into? Perhaps something that I can do with my inconsisten work

*This was inspired by a Mama Kat prompt

Sunday, 20 March 2011

2 Easy Recipes= 1 Great Dinner

I made these awhile back and just haven't gotten around to finishing the post. That actually happens a lot. As many drafts as I have I should have a new post going up every day but that rarely happens.
I'd been craving fried chicken but didn't want to go out to a fast food place for some, and as luck had it I happend to be flipping through channels when I stumbled upon some blonde lady, that I didn't recognize making "easy fried chicken". Sold!
Easy Fried Chicken!
Take your chicken breasts, or thighs or whatever you prefer, and let them soak in buttermilk for 20 minutes or so. Dip the meat in to a 1 part paprika 3 parts flour mixture, back into the buttermilk and then back into the flour mixture, pressing to adhere it to the chicken. Pop into hot oil for three minutes. Promply remove and bake in a 350 degree oven, on a bakng sheet for about 30 minutes. Presto- a crunchy "fried chicken"
And to go with it I made Twice Baked Buttermilk Potatoes. I'd always had twice baked potatoes from the store and thought they tasted like regurgitated cardboard. But Mike likes them (along with instant potatoes that you make from pieces that look like cardboard. I swear that boy must have not had a decent culinary childhood. But I digress), so I thought I would try to make  them at home...and they turned out super yummy!
Twice Baked Buttermilk Potatoes
I put two potatoes in the microwave until tender and then let them cool until room temperture. I scooped out the insides and mixed them with 1/2 cup buttermilk, 1tbsp melted butter, salt and pepper and chunks of cheddar cheese. I popped the mixture in the microwave to insure that the butter and cheese melted and mixed all into everything else. I filled the skins back up, sprinkled with paprika and popped into a 350F oven for 15 minutes. YUMMY!

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

A Quad of Q's

  1. Q is for....Quilts
My mom knows how to uilt, as do the mothers of my friends and some of my friends. Lyric explained it to me in principle back in the fall. I've been tossing around the idea for some time now of learning to quilt and making all of the  tshirts that I don't/can't wear anymore but have sentimental signifigance into a quilt. What do you think? Has anyone done this? I know there are places that will do this for you but I think it would be a neat skill to learn.
2. Q number two is for....Quotes

I get to interview and quote people in my freelance writing and I love it. People have such great stories, and I'n such a nosy person that this works out fabulous. I really hope to find a way to make this my fulltime job.

3. Q is for quirky

My friend described herself as quirky in a recent interview and got strange looks back. She meant that she was an individual, and an out of the box one as that. But the connotation her interviewers read was "weird, odd, strange". Thats not what I think of when I think of quirky. It's like an "innocent different". An extra bit of personality, in a good way. What are your  thoughts?

4. Q is for Quinn.

I've happened to catch a few episodes of Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman lately (reruns of course). And I remember how much I used to love that show, although I pick up on a lot more things now than I did when I watched it the first time. It's a good show, and I still think Sully is hot!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Completey, Totally Yummy!

I could eat this stuff for days- it is that good. It's a recipe for Cowboy Beans and Sausage that I found in my Woman's Day cookbook. I followed the recipe and then topped it with grated cheese and crumbled cornbread. But you have to use Aldi's Baker's Corner cornbread mix. I've never had any mix other than Jiffy until the other  night and this stuff knocked my socks off. It was very light and had a slight honey taste to it. Mmmm!
Here's the recipe for the Cowboy Beans and Sausage
1 can pintos1 can kidney beans1 can black beans8-16 oz Kielbasa or smoked sausage1.5 cups chopped onions3/4 C bbq sauce2 tbs pancake syrup or sugar1 tbsp cider vinegar
1. Brown the sausage and remove from skillet.2. Add onions and cook until tender3.Add bbq sauce, syrup and vinegar and bring to a boil.4. Cook 15 minutes, covered over medium heat. 5. Sprinkle with cheese and serve with Aldi's cornbread- I loved my cornbread  crumbled into it! Mmmmm!

Monday, 7 March 2011

Meal Plan Monday

I need to go grocery shopping but until then this is the menu plan I'm tossing around

Monday- Fried Chicken with Twice Baked Potatoes (turned out fabulous!)

Tuesday- Honey Lemon Chicken and Black Eye Peas

Wednesday- Breakfast

Thursday- Pork Tacos and Stuffed Jalepenos (grocery shopping day)

Friday- Stuffed Cheddar Chicken with Black Beans, Amish Cake for dessert! (We'll have company!!)

Saturday: New and Improved Pasties (I made these before but they didn't turn out the way I hoped, so I hope with some Racheal Ray inspired modifications these will be the way I remember!!)

Sunday- Turkey Pita Burgers with Amish Black Beans

Monday- Spaghetti with homemade sauce and turkey meatballs

Tuesday- Amish Cheeseburger Pie

Wednesday- Taco Quiche

Thursday- Breakfast Casserole

Friday- Chicken Fajita Pasta

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Gotta Love Bend and Dents

We try to stop at Little Barn, a bed and dent store, everytime we drive over to visit Mike's family. This shopping trip we spent around $30 and got:
  • antibotic bandaids
  • 4-5 cans of Campbells soup
  • hot chocolate
  • popcorn
  • 2 bags of chips
  • dried black beans
  • 2 boxes of ceral bars
  • granola bars
  • granulated sugar
  • chocolate chips
  • pb chips
  • sweetned coconut
  • 2 rice mixes
  • a bag of seasoning for wings
  • salsa
  • enchilda sauce
  • cream of chicken
  • beef consome
  • marshmallows
  • peanut butter
  • apple butter
  • grape water
  • ferror rocher candy
I love going to this store because I can get my baking supplies on the cheap, as well as extras like popcorn, hot chocolate, chips, chocolate candy and apple butter that I wouldn't normally buy because of the price. If you total it out we spent on average, $1 an item.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

What's Been Going On

1. My husband is healing.
2. I've been working for the paper and loving it.
3. The paper's freelance photographer has taken to calling me "Word Girl".
4. I enjoy working as a cashier- everyones been very nice and helpful...but I can't help but wonder what it would be like to work in the bakery...have you every done that?
5. I'm reading Ernest Hemingways Moveable Feast, and enjoying the majority of it. Any suggestions on what to read next?
6. Today we're going to an amish store to purchase some mashed potatoe candy.
7. Tomorrow, we're trying out a new church and I'm making mango cupcakes, to complete my challenge.
8. And this time next week, Mike's best friend and his wife should be up to visit!

Friday, 4 March 2011

What I Wanna Make!

Here are some recipes that have had my mouth watering lately.

Plantains with a Coconut Caramel Sauce....I love plantains!
Chocolate Carrot Cake
Turkey Pot Pie
Tex Mex Manicotti...I love manicotti, and tex mex so this seems perfect!
Triple Chocolate Amish Friendship Bread....3 chocolates? YUM!
Peanut Butter Pretzel Torte

Have you made any of these? What have you been craving lately?

I'm linling up with Finding Joy in My Kitchen

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

A Little Bag of Goodies!

I won a shop credit to Piecefully Home, a super cute etsy store!
And this is  what I picked out:

2 cupcake and polka dot napkins
2 rocket and stripe napkins

1 beautiful set of gift tags