Making that food dollar go all the way.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I've been thinking lately how we will make some awesome meals then live off of the left overs for a week or until we are sick to death of them. Well, this week we're doing things differently. Last night I did the traditional roasted chicken using chicken quarters husband had got on sale with some staples we keep in the house of potatoes, carrots and onions. It came out fabulous, but not something I wanted to eat all week long for lunch and dinner. Tonight is the beginning of the re-purpose, re-use and re-design of that which was made first.

I now present to you, the chicken tostada!

I took one of the quarters and shredded it, added garlic powder, red chili powder and cumin and sauteed it while I fried up some left over tortillas from Saturday. I heated up some beans, chopped some onions added some cilantro and busted out the tomatillo salsa that husband had made that day. They turned out fabulous and were a quick Tuesday night meal that even Rachel Ray and her 30 minute timer would be proud of.

Huzzah for leftovers of another color!

Baker's first time

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Those who know me know that I'm not a huge baker but I do enjoy the occasional cookie baking session. Husband has been begging for a Kitchenaid mixer for a couple years now and since he makes many loaves of bread in a month so I figured he kind of deserved it and Christmas came early to the Peterson house.

After noticing a sale at Kohl's where the $399 mixer was on sale for $299 and I had a 30% coupon giving me an extra $90 off plus free shipping, a $30 rebate and ordering through getting me another $8.40 cash back, I figured I couldn't pass it up. Also, I think husband was happy.

Not to mention the pretty pistachio green color couldn't be passed up!

Once I broke it in with a batch of cookies, husband has made banana bread, white bread and a batch of tortillas so I felt it necessary to put my baking skills to the test tonight. Husband had bought a big bag of limes last week and I didn't want them to go to waste so I figured it was time to do a key lime pie. I whipped up a graham cracker crust and found a recipe for a key lime pie. Now the tricky part was that having egg whites left over I figured I would make a meringue for the top. I have never beat egg whites to a stiff peak before and I hope I did it correctly, but I think the pie at least turned out pretty. Just going to have to give it a try.

To the rabbit hole

Friday, August 12, 2011

The parking lot where I work is located in an alley and therefore is not the "shiny" side of the street. Several months ago, I noticed some interesting graffiti on the back of the building that is behind our parking lot. A cute little bunny. He just sat there on the corner of the building like he was meant to watch over the alley.

This morning, as I looked over to make sure our little friend was still there and doing his duty, I noticed something new. He now had a home to go to at night. A small door was placed on the side of the building and you could see his little rabbit foot prints make their way from the door to his place of vigil where he stands during the day.

This little bit of "vandalism" or artistic creativity made my morning and brought a ray of sunshine into an otherwise gloomy day. So, thank you to who ever you are that decided to add some whimsy to our world. We need more of it in these dark times and it sure does help.

Mexican chicken on the fly

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

In my effort to update this blog a bit more often, I'll share what I made for dinner last night. Husband was gracious enough to thaw out a little roasting chicken during the day, so I rubbed it with some olive oil, garlic, salt, cumin and cayenne then set it in a 400 degree oven for a little over an hour and served it with some great corn he had picked up earlier in the week.

Topped with some left over salsa and a sprinkle of green onions it was quiet tasty and not a whole lot of work.

Dark and Stormy - Yes Please!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Not sure if I've ever mentioned my new found love for the beverage known as a dark and stormy. If I haven't well, let me introduce you. A dark and stormy is a lovely rum drink simply made with Gosling's black seal rum and the spiciest ginger beer you can get. You poor the ginger beer into your glass, then float the rum on top to add the "dark and stormy" look. Garnish with a lime and that's it! You're done, enjoy!

In my quest to find a suitably spicy ginger beer, I came across a recipe online to make your own. As the home making freak that I am I, of course, had to try this recipe and since I was planning on having a luau party, I figured this would be the ultimate time to make it. The recipe is simple, grated ginger, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, yeast and time. That's it, nothing too special. When done, I had a wonderfully spicy ginger brew that made my dark and stormys to die for. Also, on hot summer days, it's wonderful on it's own served over ice.

The recipe needs some tweaking, a little more ginger, a little less lemon, but all in all, it's a great cheap beverage for cocktails or on its own. Enjoy!

Dog Whispering and Dead Batteries

Monday, August 8, 2011

It all started with the thought to do some good for a friend. A girlfriend of mine recently decided to foster a little yorkie but has never owned a dog in her life and was starting to have some problems. The dog had started to bite her and her family and also basically anyone who went to touch him and she didn't know what to do. As a dog lover and an avid fan/student of Cesar Milan's I wanted to help. I figured she was doing her part by giving a homeless dog a home, it was up to me to help her with how to provide a happy home for the dog.

You'd think this is the face of an angel? Sweet little yorkie can do no wrong. Right? Um, no. From what my friend had told me, Leo was found on the streets and it seems he's had no "formal" training in his life and has just been able to run wild and take over whatever he wants. Well, I show up and basically tell him that things are going to change. After 40 minutes of trying to get the dog to submit to me I finally am able to get the leash on him. The whole time I have to control my emotions and stay calm while this dog is trying to attack my feet, the broom I am holding and whatever else he can get his teeth on him. Needless to say I was emotionally spent but had only just begun. One good thing is that Leo is wonderful on a leash and is taken on walks daily by the family which is the best thing they were doing for him so when we went out for a quick walk to re-balance ourselves I didn't have to fight him or show him how to walk properly because they were already doing it all correctly. Yay!

Getting back into the house we decided the first thing to work on was his biting. (Oh joy!) I went to sit on the couch and brought Leo with me and let the fun begin. Once again, he did not want to submit and knew that he had all this power by being able to bite and snap at people, but I was determined not to let him win. Needless to say, after several frustration fits that made it sound like he was being murdered, laying him down to submit and several small bites to my left hand, he finally began to calm down and realize I wasn't there to kill him. The poor pup had even peed and pooped himself because he had so much pent up frustration and just released everything he had on me, but we had success! This whole time my wonderful husband was with me and he knew exactly what I was doing so he could talk to the family and let them know what was going on, what I'm trying to accomplish and answer their questions leaving me to purely focus on the dog, and trust me, I needed it. After the fit-o-rama that Leo put on, their next big request was to get him to go into his crate because that's where they want him to sleep at night. Phew... no problem! It took a bit to show Leo what I wanted and for him to trust me enough to move forward, but in the end it was only about 30-40 seconds of me giving him a gentle tug of the leash into the crate until he moved forward, then he was in with no problem. We did it several times with the mom, kids and me and each time was easier and easier, just like I knew it was going to be. There were a couple other small issues and lots of questions, but by the end of the evening, Leo was going into his crate all by himself and the family was very grateful to have had us come over. Myself; I was emotionally exhausted from staying calm with a temper tantrum dog biting my hand over and over again and also fairly proud of myself for what I had accomplished. I had never done anything like this before, but kept my head and knew I was doing what was right for the dog and the family.

That was Friday, this is Saturday or Day of the Dead as I call it. All started well with thoughts of going to the farmer's market for whatever goodies we could find, a quick stop at the grocery store was all that stood in our way. We stopped at the store for the much needed cat food, got our cash for the market and were back in the car when... click, click, click... dead battery. CRAP! How could it be dead? We've had no problems!?! So I go to call roadside assistance and notice 1 bar left on my phone. Double crap! Well, here's to hoping that the battery will hold for my rescue call, which it did, then once I received the confirmation text, it went ahead and died it's battery death. There we sat with 2 dead batteries and waiting for a jump. Luckily there was shade and it was a pleasant morning, so other than being pissed that this was happening and frustrated that I hadn't charged my phone, all was well. Except... husband decides to play music from his phone to make the time go faster and his phone which has been having issues lately decides to lock up and we can't get it to turn back on. WTH??? Well, within the described time the guy shows up to jump our car and I guess our battery was extra dead because he had to use his car plus the portable jump compressor. Just as he is driving away and we are going to pull out, the car dies again! TRIPLE CRAP!!!

There we sat, no car battery, no cell phone and no idea what we were going to do. Luckily the kind people at the bank inside the grocery store were wonderful enough to let me use their phone to call, once again, for a jump, which turned into a tow. After more frustration and waiting and not knowing what we're going to do with this stinking car because now we don't know if it's the battery or the alternator, hoping for the best, preparing for the worst, the tow truck shows up to take us home. At this point all we want to do is go back to bed and start the day over, but we know there are problems that need fixing and batteries that need to be attended to so we got to work. Husband got his tools and dealt with the car battery while I put my phone on the charger and went on the hunt for my old phone to transfer to the husband. Much later with more frustrations and hard work we both finished. A day that started around 10:30am with a "quick trip to the store" ended at 4pm exhausted and all we had to show for it was a bag of catfood and a lighter wallet. We were glad we survived however husband did say "no good deed goes unpunished." Meaning the good we did the night before helping a friend in need was punished with what we went through that day. I'm not sure if I agree, but it certainly had great timing if it's true.

Luckily, Sunday was capped off with an evening of fun having Mark, Selina and their boys over for pizza and a movie. Laughter and fun was all we had to deal with and we survived that with flying colors!

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