Friday, August 27, 2010

Wanted. Part 2.

(See also: Wanted.)

There are thousands of fall shoes and boots out right now that I am drooling over...

like these peep-toe pumps,

these wedges,

these booties,
and these boots.

And don't even get me started on all the fall clothes that are out...

This sweater layered over a light long sleeve t, with jeans and boots -- bring on the fall weather!

Or this sweater with black jeans and black motorcycle boots.
Or this jacket with...well, practically anything.

or this dress - so cute for the transition into fall when it's still 90+ in the afternoons.
Someone stop me. My credit card is starting to smoke!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Around the House: Menu Board

We try to get the grocery shopping done on the weekends and have enough meals planned out to last all week. We use a small white board on the fridge to keep track of what meals we bought ingredients for each week. It's nice because in the mornings we can see what the supper options are for that night, and it reminds us if we need to take something out to thaw or stop at the store for a last minute ingredient or whatever.

We use the other half of the board for thoughts, funny quotes, etc.

Is your meal planning just a general outline like this, or do you plan out a specific meal for each day?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Squeeze My Lemons

This summer I have enjoyed making freshly squeezed lemonade. It's pretty simple to make -- simple syrup (1 cup of sugar dissolved in 1 cup of water) mixed with 1 cup of lemon juice, add water to taste (between 4 and 5 cups).

I've gotten tired of squeezing 5+ lemons every time, so the other day I asked BD to squeeze my lemons. I'm not sure if this is exactly what he had in mind, but he did it anyway. ;)

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Girl and Her Vacuum

I am disproportionately excited about a new household appliance. Thanks to some credit card rebate points and a generous graduation gift from BD's mom and step-dad, I got this baby for FREE! Kip is not exactly thrilled with all the vacuuming that's been going on lately, but my house has never been so clean.


I took these to a friend's house recently and referred to them as Adult Rice Krispies Treats, then had to disappoint everyone when I said there wasn't actually any alcohol in them! Perhaps a more appropriate alternate title for these would be Fancy Rice Krispies Treats, because that is basically what they are.

This is the second Rice Krispies Treats-esque recipe I've made where light corn syrup was used instead of the traditional marshmallows. On both occasions I've wished that I'd just used the marshmallows. To me the corn syrup makes them more dense and too chewy. Let me know what you think, if you try these.

Ingredients: Crispy Rice cereal (or actual Rice Krispies, if you aren't cheap like me!), crunchy peanut butter, light corn syrup, granulated sugar, butterscotch chips, and chocolate chips.

Melt the granulated sugar in the corn syrup on the stove top.

Mix in the crunchy peanut butter and cereal.

And press into a greased pan.

Melt the chocolate and butterscotch chips and pour over the top.

Let chocolate harden (I let mine sit overnight) and then cut into bars and serve.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Breakfast for Supper

We have had no significant rain here in a while. BD spent an hour or so outside watering plants trying to keep everything alive, so I was in charge of a recent weeknight supper, which means...breakfast for supper!

Luckily I had a recipe on hand, so I didn't have to do the standard scrambled eggs and grits.

I sauteed the broccoli and mushrooms first.

I whisked together the eggs, milk, Miracle Whip, Velveeta, and green onions, then added the veggies when they were ready.

I rolled out the pre-made crust into the pie plate.

It baked for about 40 minutes and was perfectly done.

BD wished that I had chopped the broccoli a little smaller, but overall we were both impressed with this one.

It did have to bake for a while, but I had everything prepped in 15 minutes, so it was less than an hour of total time -- a little longer than I prefer for during the work week, but not too bad!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Around the House: Dog Toys

Kip's toy box:

Yes, he IS spoiled, thank you for asking! You can tell him to go get a specific toy out of the box ("Go get your Care Bear"), and he will go over to the box and dig around until he finds the right toy. Smart boy!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Channelling Fall

I generally don't have a favorite season of the year. I like all of them for different reasons; I don't really mind the heat of the summer or the cold of the winter (as long as the A/C or heater is working!). There are things about each season that I really like, so I always find myself looking forward to the upcoming season as the current season comes to a close. Around this time of year, I get excited about crisp fall weather, football season, cozy sweaters, and boots.

Although it's hot here right now, and will continue to be hot for at least the next 6 weeks, I decided to get a jump on the season with a fall-inspired meal.

The entree was beef stew in the crock pot, with potatoes, carrots, and onions. I got this recipe from the Kraft foods site. I love their "1 Bag, 5 Dinners" feature; it usually has easy, flavorful meals that don't take hours to prepare.

Beef and veggies, along with some beef broth, oregano, italian dressing, and BBQ sauce for flavors, all went into the crock pot for about 8 hours.


2pm - about halfway done

6pm - ready to eat!

We strained out the meat and veggies, then added some flour and water to thicken up the gravy a bit and served it over white rice.

For dessert, I made an apple crisp. I have always had an aversion to hot fruit (in pies, cobblers, etc), but I have seen the light with this recipe. It was so, so good.

Kip loves apples, so he stood right under our feet and drooled waited patiently while we peeled and sliced apples. Can't you just see his little brain going "DropTheAppleDropTheAppleDropTheApple" in this picture?!

The apples get tossed with brown sugar and cinnamon,

then topped with more brown sugar and cinnamon, oatmeal, butter, and crushed Nilla wafers.
It gets baked at 350 for 30 minutes. I ate this with vanilla ice cream; BD also topped his with Cool Whip. It was the perfect almost-fall dessert!

Before and After

After 6 years of living in our house and accumulating stuff, I have decided it is time for a clean out. Our house has lots of storage space for a small house, so we've had plenty of room to stash away junk our belongings and forget about it. I am planning to work my way through all of the storage spaces little by little this fall.

Over the weekend I started with the shelves over our washer/dryer, under the sink the in half-bath downstairs, and the pantries in the kitchen. I didn't think to take pictures of the w/d shelves and bathroom, which is a shame since BD uses those as an extension of the garage and I found all kinds of interesting stuff hiding in there.

Here is the small pantry in the kitchen, where we store food items:



And here is the big pantry under the stairs, where we store small appliances, cookbooks, paper goods, etc. I wish I would've gotten a close-up picture of the spice rack (on the wall to the right); it was out of control. BD went through and threw away everything that was expired. The winner went to a jar of red pepper that expired in :ahem: 2005. I'm not one to throw away spices the day after the expiration date, but I think 5 years is pushing it just a bit.



Up next: under the kitchen sink and the bathrooms (cabinets, drawers, and linen closets) upstairs!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Lemon Bars

After anything chocolate, my next favorite type of dessert is anything lemon. These Lemon Bars are super simple and always a hit.

It's made with only 5 ingredients!

You start with the cake mix, melted butter, and one egg.

This makes a very thick bottom crust layer.

Next you mix together the powdered sugar, cream cheese, and the 2 remaining eggs.

Pour it on top of the crust and bake for 35-40 minutes. It makes a really pretty two-layer dessert. I love recipes like this because people always think you worked hard on it, but it was actually so easy!

I save a little bit of the powdered sugar to sprinkle on top after they're baked.

I like these because they are super easy to transport to parties, give as a gift, etc.

Do you prefer your lemon desserts to be tangy or sweet? I take after my dad and prefer tangy.