Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Homemade Ice Cream

Today is National Ice Cream Day!  Now this is a holiday I can get into!  To celebrate, for dinner I made homemade ice cream.  Nothing too fancy, just the basic vanilla recipe from Cuisinart. 

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Just look at that!  Delish!

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I would have shared pictures of it all heaped up in a bowl with caramel and chocolate sauce, but . . . it didn’t last.  Happy Ice Cream Day!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Best Laid Plans

Do you ever realize that the things that you agonize over and schedule down to the minute  never turn out the way they are suppose to?  But the things that just happen come together without a hitch?  Or maybe it’s just me.  A few weeks back I got everything ready to share some the projects that I have been working on.  I got it all planned out and then my computer wonked out me.  It’s amazing how weird it felt being without my computer for over a week.  But (hopefully) without further adieu here are some of the things that I have been wanting to share :

Happy {Belated} Birthday

Halloween Ornament Swap

Pinspiration: Spidery Cupcakes

Spooktakular Pumpkins!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Pin-addiction

I can’t believe that it is almost Christmas time already!  Wow have I lost time!  Remember how as a kid, it seemed time was slow and you couldn’t wait for it to hurry up?  Winter brakes seemed sooooo long?  What ever happened to that?  Now, the older I get it’s like time is gone in a wink.  It feels like Halloween was just a couple of weeks a go.  Ohie!
You know what I blame?  One word.  Pinterest.  Well, actually it’s more than that (like a computer that finked out on me), but lets face it, that’s where I’m putting all the blame.  What little time I’ve got to spend on the computer, I put into searching the Pinterest boards.  I’ve missed my birthday post, Halloween, Veterans Day, and Thanksgiving!  Noooo, say it isn’t true!  So I’m considering this my Pin-ervention.  Cause I need one apparently!                                               
But the good thing about searching Pinterest in that I have been inspired to make a ton of stuff.  And organize!  Woot!

Want a teaser? (or a spoiler maybe)





















Is that enough?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Spooktakular Pumpkins!

I would be remiss if I didn’t share some photos of the local pumpkin decorating contest.  One of my favorite things during Halloween!  Ok here we go!
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The last one looks a lot like this one!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pinspiration: Spidery Cupcakes

See!  I haven’t just been sitting with my eyes glued to the Pinterest Boards.  I’ve been actually making stuff too!

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Here are the spidey cupcakes I made for our Halloween party at school.  The invitations said to not wear costumes  with ghosts and witches and the like, but I didn’t think these were too scary . . .

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The inspiration photo just has a regular Oreo, but I accidently picked up these double Oreos with chocolate and regular cream.  I think it kind of gives him an extra silly grin. 

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And here is the gaggle of spidey cupcakes. 

Here is the inspiration photo . . .



I think these turned out super cute.  But they aren’t perfect.  The inspiration photo used some sort of chocolate licorice pulls, which I have NEVER seen in stores.  I luckily found some chocolate Twizzlers that I had to try to cut down because they were far too big.  I’ve had this problem before when I made the microphone cupcakes for the rock star party.  The inspiration photo had the same chocolate pulls.  I decided to use sour strings instead, which actually made them more colorful.  I could have not used anything, and they would have turned out just find too (except for the trying to cram cupcake into a ice cream cone part because I didn't know how to bake them in there).  I also decided to just use upside down mini-chips that I had on hand instead of spending more money to get the perfect eyes.  Sometimes is a balance, people.

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And because I couldn’t leave the teachers out, I made these!  Chocolate cupcakes with Oreo icing topped with a double Oreo!  (The Oreo icing came in a squeeze tube!)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Halloween Ornament Swap

This year Sarah from Makin' Projiks hosted a Halloween Ornament Swap!  Two of my favorites, crafts and Halloween!  And lovely handmade ornaments back to me!  Yes, please!  So I signed myself up.  Then I realized . . . I would actually have to make ornaments. . . . and send them to Sarah . . . who is a mad crazy skilled crafter . . . who would send them to other crafters that probably had mad crazy skills too!  Eeeeep!  What had I done? 

So right away I started thinking about what I could make.  My BFF (who I dragged into the crazy) started scouring Pinterest and talking over ideas. 

I had to bring the skills ya’ll.  Had too!  I decided to do a twist on scherenschnitte (which is a fancy German word for fancy paper cutting) and use felt. 

Et viola!

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Normally I would have finished the backs better, with either another black piece or a black circle with the middle cut out.  But I had to do this 12 more times.  That’s a lot of cutting ya’ll!

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And in true lazy blogger form, go here (Swap Madness, Swap, More Swap aka where you see mine, End of Swap) to Sarah’s post to see all of the other ornaments that were in the swap!  Delish!

I also thought I would add in some ‘process’ photos.  It’s a rare moment, I think, in blogland when you actually get to see the not perfect crafts or the middle of something being made.  There are tons of tutorials, but that isn’t the same as trying to get a project to work.  By that point you know it’s going to work. 

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This is the photo that I sent my BFF while I was trying to decide how to layer the felt.  If I should go simple spider on white like the traditional scherenschnitte or make it a little more 3D with a spider web.  The rest of the photos are me trying to decide what color spider web, and if I should put white behind it or leave it open.  Or still just do white with a simple silhouette. 

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Happy {Belated} Birthday

Who forgets their own birthday?  Me!  That’s ok right?  I think I am at that age (past 30) when age no longer starts to matter right?  That’s what I keep telling myself anyway.  I really don’t feel that old.  Except when I start trying to explain what a big wheel is.  I mean really!  What are they teaching these kids anyway?  I digress.  Without further adieu here is my much anticipated birthday list  of randomness about me. . . .

1.   I quit the gym.  I could write a whole post about why, but I’ll just sum it up with customer service. 

2.  I’ve decided to give P90X a try, if I can figure out the diet.  Grief!

3.  I’ve got my craft closet about 60% organized.  I purged some (read moved down into the basement in a big bag), but still need to cut back a lot.  Seriously.  Anyone interested in a swap?

4.  Still wanting a pair of moccasin boots.  Bad.  But settled for a $35 Target boots found on Pinterest.  See Pinterest saves you money!

5.  I’ve decided that I’ve moved into a Johnny Cash phase.  Well, not a full fledged Johnny Cash phase, but more like a watered down version.  Instead of wearing black, I’m lovin’ wearing grey.  And listening to Cash.

6.  I’m so liking the gray that I had to go buy a gray coffee travel mug.  Word.

7.  I like ending random sentences with word. 

8.  I got to go to an Avett Brother’s concert before my Birthday. LOVED IT!  But left with a strong desire to wear flannel.  And grow a beard.  Just kidding about the beard. 

9.  My favorite holiday is still Halloween, but I didn’t even celebrate it this year.  Sure we went trick-or-treating, and but I didn’t have a party like I wanted or even decorate.  What’s up with that?

10.  Totally missed out on the family pumpkin carving picture this year.  I feel like such a bum.

11.  I did buy more black birds from the $1 store.  I have around 77 now.  Up from the 25 last year.  And I didn’t put out one.  Not one!

12.  I have a lot of Star Wars toys.  A LOT. 

13.  They are all piled in the basement.  I really need to clean that out.

14.  I also have to paint a cabinet and finish up a project down there too.  Oh procrastination.

15.  I’m thinking about going ahead and decorating for Christmas.  Not because I’m in the Christmas spirit, but because I’m afraid that I won’t be.  I don’t want it to be mid-January before I realize that we haven’t gotten a tree.  It could happen.

16.  Even though I don’t feel my age, I have a white streak in my hair.  I’m hoping I can play it off like “I’m sooooo cool like I have a white streak or something.”   Or that I’m like Kitty Bartholomew.  Or something. 

17.  I have been going to Bible study, but I can never get the homework completed. 

18.  I only have one picture hung in our master bedroom. 

19.  My BFF and I actually painted my master bedroom.  It’s called Potter’s Clay.  And of course it’s a Martha color.  I would share the pics, but the rest of the room is far from ready.

20.  We bought a new oven too.  It is so much better.

21.  I always thing that making a list about myself will be easy, but half way through I realize I’m really not that interesting. 

22.  There is a blogging conference coming up that I am thinking about attending.  But since I’m a lazy blogger I’m not sure if it will be worth it or just a waste of time.  Or make me realize that I am more lazy than I realize. 

23.  My Mom can literally make anything,  If fact I am wearing a ring that she made now.  And when I say made, I mean melted down metal, craved a tree branch to make the mold, and then sanded the whole thing smooth.  She is crazy talented.   When my Mother-in-law asked where I got my ring, and I told her Mom made it she said, “Of course!” 

24.  is my favorite number!

25.  I am probably the only person that has a blog, but hasn’t joined Facebook.  Thought about it only so I could put my status as “Whoop.  Joined the Facebook!  So now it is officially not cool.” 

26.  I am also probably the only person who finds that funny! 

27.  I finished reading the new Vince Flynn novel.  I read it in a week.  After I read an older one that my husband had, I went back and got all of the books that he had from the series, ordered the two that were missing and read them from beginning to end.  They are great! 

28.  In fact, I liked them so much that I would go to bed early so I could read them.  My husband would ask where I was going and I would say on a date with Mitch Rapp. 

29.  I have never read a Harry Potter book.   I have also  never read or seen a Twilight movie. 

30.  I’m actually thinking about starting the HP series, but there is no way in the world I want to read/see Twilight.  Just can’t do it.  But the new movie that is coming out that they are saying is the next big thing looks good. 

31.  Has anyone read/seen the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo?  The movie preview looks really good. 

32.  I made my Husband take me to the mid-night viewing of Paranormal 3. I have never seen the other ones before.  LOVED it!  The theatre was packed.  And I think we were the oldest ones there. 

33.   And I still have the bestest family!

Wooo!  That was hard.  Not sure if I can do that next year!

Monday, October 3, 2011

My (Not So) Storybook Life Advance Copies Giveaway–At Mabel’s House

I know many of you are probably familiar with Mabel’s House and how great it is!  It was one of the first blogs that I started reading.  In fact there are still some posts that I have booked marked to read when I need a good laugh (Coke Tsunami, and yes it is as funny as it sounds) and when I need a good cry.  And now even better for us, Liz has wrote a book!  AND even better than that she is giving away an advanced copy.  I totally want it! But truthfully, I’m going to buy this book even if I don’t win. 

Here is an excerpt:

***

Once one has breathed in the deep pungent aroma of sewage, you never again forget the nose-hair singeing, eye clawing, throat gagging experience. It comes over you slowly. You begin to feel like a character in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest as your muscles involuntarily jerk and you run screaming and blowing raspberries. Anything to get away from the mind-numbing stench.

But let me explain.

It was 6:30 a.m. I was standing in my retro pink tiled bathroom trying to open my bleary eyes and ready myself for work. As I stood there, peering into the mirror and wondering what demented nighttime fairy had planted four new wrinkles on my face, I paused and sniffed.

“Matt… what’s that smell?”

Matt staggered from the bedroom in his underwear, eyes half shut. “I don’t smell anything.”

I pointed my nose into the air like a hunting dog. “Seriously? You can’t smell that? Did you go to the bathroom in here earlier? I told you to use the room spray when you do things like that.”

Matt puffed out his bare chest and gathered his pride as best a man can with sleep in his eyes and a small hole in the side of his underwear. “I just woke up!”

I frowned, catching a glimpse of my makeup-less hot-rollers-in-hair state and tried not to think about the fact that I looked fifty instead of twenty-nine. “Well, help me figure this out. Because something smells ripe.”

We sniffed the sink drain and ruled it out as a suspect.

“Is it coming from the toilet?” Matt asked, examining it from top to bottom.

“No, that’s not it,” I snapped. I’m not known for my milk of human kindness in a disaster. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a survivor. I plan on eating my radish like Scarlet and clawing my way out of the nuclear dust while dragging my loved ones with me. But I won’t be doing it with positive phrases and a smile.

“Hon, I just don’t know. We’ll call a plumber after work, maybe it’s coming from under the house.” Matt staggered a little, trying to get past me and out of our tiny bathroom.

“Well, that’s just great,” I moved aside and pulled the shower curtain back so I could perch on the side of the tub and give Matt room to move out the door.

That’s when the full brunt of nastiness filled the air around us, a swirling mix of excrement and acrid stench that would have brought the sewer dwelling Ninja Turtles to their knees. Where the normally slightly-clean-with-a-hint-of-soap-scum bottom of the tub should have been, there sloshed gallons and gallons of brown sewage.

I clutched the front of my sweatshirt and held my breath. Matt began to dry heave.

“Get out and shut the door!” I screamed as we bumbled into the hallway.

“I’ll deal with this,” Matt grabbed my shoulders, trying to talk and hold his breath at the same time.

I could feel my eyes glaze over, the horrors of typhoid and hepatitis in our bathtub filling my mind. But more importantly, I could envision our evaporated savings account. In my mind’s eye I could see the long, gray hallway at the bank. A worker shrouded in a black suit pulled a set of keys from his pocket and unlatched a small locker labeled “Owen Bank Account.” Inside were two small stacks of quarters and a few crumpled dollar bills. It was bleak, not only because the banker with an unimaginative wardrobe gazed at me with an expression that could only be interpreted as “You’re a Big Fat Loser,” but also there was a very definite possibility we wouldn’t be able to pay for a plumber.

I wasn’t necessarily a spend thrift. In fact, I was downright frugal when it came to decorating with thrift store furniture and rewired vintage lamps. But the fact was, we were poor. We were starting out at starter jobs with starter salaries. We were starter adults with a starter bank account.

“Okay,” I nodded numbly, thankful that Matt was taking the lead on such a disastrous biohazard. “But make sure the plumber is super cheap. We don’t have much money!”

I left for work like a wino stumbling through a fog, not really remembering my commute, not really doing any work as I sipped my coffee and stared blankly at the computer screen. A disaster of such gargantuan proportions had previously been unthinkable in my life, and now I found myself attempting to push the image of a vast sea of bathtub poop from my mind. But I was sure of one thing: Anne Shirley never had to get ready for work while breathing raw sewage.

 

Awesome right!  Go here to enter to win or just to read about the book!  Hurry!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

On my mind . . .

When you think of the South and food a lot of different things come to mind.  Cat head biscuits, biscuits and gravy, biscuits covered in butter and honey,  corn pone, fried chicken, grits, watermelon with salt, collard greens, pecan pie, and of course sweet tea.  (I know tea isn’t typically a food, but when you have enough sugar in it to float a horse it’s a food).  And I’m sure there are more, but right now my mind is on something that most don’t think about.  And maybe not really be a “Southern” food.  But when you taste it and close your eyes it taste just like the Appalachian mountains.  This my friends is the scupadine. 

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(Now these aren’t  actually scupadines but  muscadines.  They are  basically the same things but scupadines are a variety of muscadine that are light green in color.  I would be showing you both but, . . . . I finished them all off this morning.) 

This morning I woke up to an email newsletter from one of my favorite Southern writers, and she was talking about this Southern mountain jewel.  I thought the timing was just uncanny, and had to write an email telling her so. 

You see, just last night I was sharing some scupadines and muscadines with my husband.  He had never had them before, so I had to explain just the right way to eat them.   The muscadine is  very much like a grape, but being native to the Southeast it is adapted to our hot summers.  In other words, they are a little thick skinned.  The fruit is about quarter sized and unlike the grape, you can’t just pop them in your mouth and eat them.  While the fruit is sweet, the outside skin is thick and very bitter.  Just like most things, some people enjoy the hulls.  I think the best way is to bit down on them and squish the fruit out, being mindful of the seeds and making sure to get all the juice.  

As I was eating them, my mind went back to something else the above author had sent me after I had shared another commonality with her.  She wrote back saying “We country girls are all alike, aren't we???”   I’m not sure what made me think of that, except that as I stood there in my kitchen as I was cleaning, barefoot and with music blaring and my  eyes closed, I could taste the mountains.  Part bitter, part sweet, and hard work.  I could taste home. 

And then I found this song.  Perfect!  And if this is true, then I guess us country girls are all alike.
So tell me, have you ever had a scupadine or muscadine?  What are the foods that remind you of home? 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Thrift Score–A Mad House

Tuesday I had to be out and about early.  A lot earlier than normal.  When I finished my errands I thought I would make a stop at the local thrift.  I didn’t realize that I was arriving about six minutes before it opened.  Can you believe what I saw?

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I don’t know if it’s like this every morning but it was crazy!  It was like black Friday at the thrift store!  When they didn’t open right on time, people started banging on the door.  Elderly ladies were talking about not being able to get buggies!  It was a mad house I tell ya.  There must have been at least fifty people standing there!

I, of course, made a bee line for the furniture.  There was a couple of promising night stands, but I’m on strict orders of no more projects so I had to let those pass.  Next I hit the dishes.  I found a couple of plastic coffee cups.  Perfect for a play kitchen.  Then I buzzed over to my favorite spot, the craft section.  It was packed.  I was a little bummed by this because I didn’t expect it to be that popular.  I still got some good finds though.  Here is my loot!

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I think my total was $3.21.  The magnetic snaps were $.050 a piece.  A steal!

My favorite are these wooden spools.  I was so happy that they used tape and didn’t write on the wood!  I HATE it when they do that.  The one on the right is a nylon thread.

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Look at the delicious label on top. 

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And here is the bag of thread after I opened it. 

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I bought it because I saw these mixed in the bag.

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Mini wooden spools!  And look at the labels on top!  My favorite is below second from the left.  I even love the thread color. 

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The other spools aren’t too shabby either. 

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See the one on the bottom left?  It says Fruit of the Loom!  Most of these are Styrofoam with a couple plastic ones.  Not sure what to do with these.  Any suggestions? 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Snack Attack

Can you believe that it’s the time for school to be starting back?  While I’m ready to get rid of this heat, I almost didn’t realize that it was that time already! 

This year I am going to have to pack snacks, which I have never done before.  Oh, sure sure I’ve packed snacks for family use occasionally, but somehow when you have to pack it every day ( or three days a week) it adds on a little pressure. 

I’m relatively sure I can come up with healthy choices, but what to put it in became the dilemma.  I needed something non-breakable, easy to open, relatively inexpensive, and most importantly food safe!  It astonishes me how much food storage is still out there that doesn’t say BPA free! 

When I think of storing food there are two names that comes to mind, Pyrex and Ball.  I knew Pyrex wouldn’t work, but maybe Ball would.  I decided to try some Ball freezer jars!  I found two sizes at WM, and decided to give them both a try.

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I am so glad I did!  The smaller 8 oz size is perfect for cheese cubes, baby carrots, trail mix, and Freetos!  The bigger 16 oz is just the right size for bigger chips. 

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The only down side to this is that I am such a container freak that two packs of 5 of the 8 oz just isn’t enough.  When I had a coupon a couple of weeks back for $1.00 off I had to buy another pack . . . and still don’t think it’s enough. 

I’ve been debating the idea of making some reusable snack bags, but just couldn’t figure out how they would make things simpler.  Sure it would mean less packaging, but how in the world do you get all of the little left over food bits out of all the nooks and thread.  I think this is a much better solution.  And now we can make our own personal sized chip backs without buying the individual sized ones and a much higher price.  Totally justifies me buying more freezer jars right?

What are your favorite healthy snacks?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Look What I Found at the Book Store

Here is book three on my night stand.  I haven’t gotten to it, yet but I’m really excited to crack it open.

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I was really surprised when I came up on this at a random big book book store.  I hardly ever buy new books.  My husband goes through them like . . . . well like I have no idea what.  Let’s just say he had totes in the basement that I’ve been trying to talk him into doing something with.  I could use that space to store all my cool stuff (he would read as junk), but I digress.

When I saw this at the big book store I decided it was worthy of a splurge.  See what is inside?

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One day people, one day . . . .

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Summer Reading

One of my favorite parts of summer has always been reading.  Every summer I would faithfully go to the local library and sign up for the summer reading program . . . even when I was in high school!  Yes I did! 

Summer reading was something that I really wanted to pass on to my family.  While I was at the library signing us up I noticed this  . . .

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You may have noticed from the lack of recipes or food related posts that I am not a foodie.  I can cook, but generally my clumsiness leads to too much of a mess, and since I HATE doing dishes . . . and there you go. 

One of the things I really wanted to see during a trip to the Smithsonian was Julia Child’s kitchen.  (If you go here you can take a virtual tour!)  I had heard that they took it apart bit by bit, cataloguing everything to rebuild it in the basement of the Smithsonian.  I just had to see it.

Then after hearing rave reviews about the movie Julie/Julia, I decided to watch it but was disappointed.  I found the Julia parts really interesting so  thought I would like this too.  And it has not disappointed.  It is so interesting how life really  has not changed that much in the last 60ish years.  Julia and her pin pal discuss things like MSG, politics, and using the convince of frozen food verses making a healthy meal from scratch.  Sound familiar?  I’m enjoying it so much that I might have to read Julia’s  My Life in France. 

The next book on my night stand is Ronda Rich’s What Southern Women Know (That Every Woman Should).  You would think I really didn’t need to read this wouldn’t you? 

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I started out reading Ronda’s column in my local paper, and loved it.  LOVED.  IT.  I don’t know how many times her column would seem to shadow my own life.  I borrowed her book The Town That Came A-Courtin' from the library and fell in love with the characters.  I just had to read more Ronda. 

I was just a few chapters in when I had to put it down.  Not because I wasn’t enjoying it.  I was.  And not because I didn’t agree with it.  I did.  Mostly.  Not to give too much away, but Ronda says that Southern women must wear make-up.  Ok, ladies.  Confession time.  I would say 90% of the time I don’t wear make-up.  No foundation, no mascara, and absolutely no lipstick.  So it started me thinking.  Ronda says that you have to put your best foot forward, and always look your best.  And I agree.  I just feel more me without it.  But sometimes I have those down days, so maybe if I put on a little gloss I would feel better.  Or maybe I’m not really a “Southern Woman” . . . maybe I’m a Southern Country Woman . . . or an Appalachian Woman?  I’m sure she didn’t intend for this to cause inner reflection, but it has. 

By the way, today is Book Lover’s Day!  So what’s on your night stand?  Have you tried either of these books? 

Friday, August 5, 2011

Simplify Your Life Week: My Recipe Book

This is a project that I have been thinking about for a long time.  Every week I seemed to struggle with what to make for dinner.  I would comb through cook books trying to find something to make, and writing up elaborate shopping lists only to do it again the next week.  It just seemed like a big waste of time.  When I would ask Hubs for some suggestions  for dinner, the answer was always “I don’t know.  You know what we have.”  I thought how much easier it could be if I had some sort of menu to chose from, and then it hit me.  Why not have a single place to look for menu suggestions, and then an actual menu of things that we had the ingredients to? 

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I have all my favorite recipes in these Avery 76010 pouches.  They are like regular sheet protectors, but thicker and with a little flap over the top.   I really wanted to laminate, but it was just too expensive.  I found these on clearance at WM months ago.

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It took we a while to go through all my recipes and print them out.  I actually printed these onto cheap cardstock.  That way they are more sturdy.  I also like that I can attach little post-its  under the pouches to keep with the recipe.  Here are my notes so I will know how much good luck collards to by for the New Year.

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Other recipes jut got slipped right in the pouches.  Here is my Martha!

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This was clipped from Parade Magazine.  It’s Zac’s recipe for Campfire Chili.  It isn’t in a pouch, because I actually copied his whole cookbook and put it in here.  You can see it to the left.   Even though he had this great idea to print his on removable index cards, the book is just too nice to mess up.  And I am a messy cook.  Hence the need for pouches.

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I also put recipes that I have clipped, but haven’t tried in regular sheet protectors and put them in here too.   Makes me feel less committed.

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And here is the back of my book.  It’s a Vegetable & Fruit Storage cheat sheet.  Did you know that you can’t put apples next to lettuce?  Well I didn’t.  Or that squash went on the top shelf?  Well, I didn’t know that either.  I actually just made this, because it seems like I am forever throwing vegetables away.  So maybe this will make things simpler.  I sure hope so!

How do you meal plan and store your recipes?