So today is Halloween… except it isn’t, really. See, here in good ol’ central Indiana Halloween has actually been moved to tomorrow due to some rather nasty thunderstorms that are expected to wreak havoc on us.
Because we have weather that makes sense.
I’m not terribly upset because now I have an extra day to put the final touches on the boy’s costume. I have a feeling that I’ll be doing it right before we leave the house tomorrow, if not in the car. We don’t even have a Halloween plan, to tell the truth. This does not bode well for future Halloweens…
We’re spending today watching the Halloween marathon on AMC, because nothing says family fun like Jamie Lee Curtis screaming her head off.
Hey, I’ll take it as long as she doesn’t start asking about my pooping habits.
Ol’ Jamie Lee would love my kid. All he does is poop.
I’m both excited and terrified to get that costume on him… it’s going to be SO cute but he tends to enjoy destroying…everything. If that costume isn’t in pieces within five minutes of getting the whole thing on him I’ll be ecstatic.
While you’re in the Halloween spirit, check out the trailer for my pal’s thriller… that’s right, I’m so cool that I have a friend that’s making a movie. Anyway, it’s called Still and it looks awesome.*
OH! And check out Confessions of a Mommyholic for a good post about the scary parts of motherhood… featuring a quote from yours truly!
Are you celebrating Halloween today? What are your plans? Are you also perplexed by Halloween III: Season of the Witch?
*Disclaimer: My buddy did not ask me to shamelessly plug his movie, I just did it because I think he deserves to get the chance to see this thing through.
I don’t think it’s a big secret that I’m a bit of a tightwad… Not quite so bad that I rinse and reuse paper towel (people really do this and it baffles me), and I don’t think I’m a candidate for Extreme Cheapskates, but I certainly do my best to save money whenever possible.
I have a few tried and true methods that have served me well. What kind of person would I be if I didn’t share these tips with my readers?
Not a very nice one, that’s for sure.
So here they are, some of my favorite ways to save a buck:
1. Don’t buy Swiffer refills. If you have the original Swiffer, a plain ol’ dishcloth will fit and they work quite well. After sweeping, I like to spray a diluted Mr. Clean solution on the floor, then use my dishcloth-covered Swiffer to mop it up. Bonus: the Mr. Clean with Febreeze makes everything smell nice and clean.
2. Join Swagbucks.com. I have the search bar on my phone, and I check the website daily for more opportunities to earn. I cash these points in for giftcards and buy things I need with them. It’s like getting cleaning products, or kid’s clothes, or almost anything you can think of…For free!
3. Similar to the tip above… But consider joining websites like Influenster and Tastemaker Mom. Both reward participating members by sending free products to try. It can be kind of random but hey, free is free! Both sites are invitation-only. I have invites available for each site, so if you’re interested let me know!
4. I don’t buy baby food. We did at first, because O started eating solids right when I had my surgery. I couldn’t do much of anything while I recovered, and it was easier for everyone to just buy the jarred stuff. Once I got back in the kitchen, I started making my own. Now that O is almost a year old (I don’t know how that’s even possible), I can just share most of my food with him.
5. I very rarely buy O’s clothes brand new. The kid grows out of stuff (or stains it) so quickly that I don’t see the point. Yard sales, friends that are desperate to get rid of stuff… I’ve actually got a huge pile of clothes that I’m getting ready to sell, myself. Which leads me to…
6. Don’t be sentimental. Once your kid outgrows something, sell or throw that shit out. I’m keeping a few of his “My first…” onesies, but I plan to make something out of them. Everything else is going to turn into money in my pocket.
7. If you’re a natural brunette, you might like this one. I quit dying my hair when I got knocked up and I haven’t done it since… but if I feel like my natural color needs a boost I use leftover (cold!) coffee. Here’s how!
8. I cook dinner every night…And I mean really cook, not processed convenience foods. It’s healthier and easier on the ol’ wallet than going out to eat all the time. It may not be the easiest thing to do sometimes, but it’s worth it to me to know exactly what I’m feeding the people I love.
What is your favorite money- (or time!) saving tip? Share it in the comments!
Today I was going to write about money-saving tips that I’ve discovered…Or I considered talking about a couple of (super awesome) opportunities that have come my way recently… But then I noticed today’s date.
Today, October 28th, is the two year anniversary of my dad’s quintuple bypass.
Quintuple = FIVE
So yeah, it was pretty major.
Don’t worry, I will get to the tips and you’ll definitely hear about the opportunities because, hooray!
Today, though, I want to just say that I am grateful. So, so grateful.
For the anesthesiologist that caught the weird rhythm during my dad’s back surgery.
For the cardiologist that ran tests.
For the heart surgeon, Dr. Stone with IU Health.
For his nurse, Jamie, who updated my mom and I on my dad’s condition every single hour during the surgery.
For the nurses that cared for him (and my mom and I).
For the wonderful people at the rehab facility.
I’m mostly thankful, though, that I still have my dad and that my boy gets to know his grandpa.
Happy anniversary, Dad… I know it wasn’t easy to go through, but you did it and I am so proud of you!
I thought yesterday was a pretty good day. An experimental pie I baked turned out really well, the boy took a three hour (THREE HOUR) nap, and I made a big pot of chili and some corn bread for dinner. In addition to all of that, I scored an awesome birthday present for the boy for free. Hooray for me!
Then I woke up this morning. Truth be told, I did not feel awesome. My sinuses have been a mess because of this weather, and my hips and knees are apparently trying to leave the rest of my body as violently and painfully as possible. I could barely hobble down the stairs because of the stiffness in my legs. Once I made it, I just kind of sunk down to the floor and gave in to being a human jungle gym for my rambunctious boy. I picked up my phone to check the time, hoping to see that I could lie there in agony for just a bit longer before I had to make breakfast…But I got distracted by a new email from BlogHer.
I had to read it three times. Partially because the boy knocked my glasses off when I was reading it the first time, but also because…Holy shit, does that say what I think it does?!
And it did!
I mean…Who knew that damn tumor would get so much attention?
Ok, so I know you’re probably thinking…”Yeah, yeah, we’ve heard about Fred before…Let’s talk about this pie!”
Guys, this pie was amazing. It started Monday night, when I wanted some ice cream with caramel sauce. If you’ve never made caramel sauce, it’s super easy: Combine 1 cup brown sugar, 1 stick of butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/4 cup evaporated milk and a pinch of salt in a pan, then just cook and stir over medium heat until it turns into sauce. Done!
So I made the caramel sauce and since I’m a giver, I shared it with the BF. We ended up having some left, and yesterday morning, when I was getting a plum for the boy’s breakfast, I noticed it sitting there in the fridge. The BF had brought a bag of apples home that I had planned to turn into applesauce but…
Pie sounded better.
I made my heart healthy pie crust, but I didn’t roll it thin enough to get two crusts out of it. If you’re less lazy than me, you could always store half of the crust dough in the fridge for later use because you’ll only need a bottom crust for this pie. Believe it or not, I actually don’t own a pie pan… It’s on the list of things I should buy, but for some reason I never do. Anyway, if you find yourself in this situation, just use an 8-inch round cake pan (of which I have three). Press the bottom crust into the pan, and feel free to make the edges pretty if you like. I didn’t feel like fussing with it, so it’s a rustic apple pie.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. I peeled and sliced 6 smallish red apples, though you could use less or more…Green apples would probably also be delicious. I like to toss the apples with a little brown sugar, cinnamon, flour, and pinches of nutmeg and salt. Dump the apples into your prepared pie crust. Now, stir the caramel sauce and pour some it over the apples…A little goes a long way!
For the topping, combine about a cup of oatmeal with 3 tablespoons of melted butter, about 1/2 cup brown sugar, a tablespoon of cinnamon, and a pinch of nutmeg. Sprinkle it evenly over the apples, then put your pie in the oven and let it bake for 40 minutes or until the crust and topping are nice and brown.
If you have company coming over, or if you’re maybe trying to sell your house, you should totally put one of these pies in the oven. Good LORD does this pie make your house smell like fall in the best way possible.
This pie is pretty darn delicious just the way it is… But you can pour more caramel sauce over it. You could also have it with ice cream if you weren’t out of ice cream.
It’s not my fault.
It doesn’t actually need ice cream, though…Just the pie with some caramel sauce drizzled over it is amazing enough. Feel free to eat a piece before your BF gets home from work, and then go ahead and hide the rest in the back of the fridge. It’s not that you won’t share…It’s just that you want to share on your terms.
Sometimes The BF goes a little crazy at the grocery store. Like, 5 pound boneless pork loin crazy. Now, I love pork loin because it’s so easy and versatile… but I typically buy a much smaller one since I’m only feeding two people.
Well, 2 1/4 since O can have table food now, but that hasn’t really impacted the amount of food I have to make yet. I know…Wait until he’s a teenager! Yeah, my wallet is already bracing itself for those grocery bills.
Where was I? Oh yes… Five pounds of porky goodness…
I originally wanted to wrap it in bacon and stick it in the oven… Too bad we were out of bacon. Since that was out if the question, I decided to drag the ‘ol crock pot out.
For the first night, I simply quartered two small onions, smashed 4 cloves of garlic, and quartered (lengthwise) 5 smallish potatoes. Everything got dropped into the bottom of the crock pot (lined with a turkey bag because hello, easy cleanup). I seasoned everything with salt and pepper and poured in a little chicken broth (only about 1/2 to 3/4 cup). The pork loin went on top, and I sprinkled salt, pepper, granulated garlic, rosemary, and thyme on it. The lid went on and I cranked that puppy to high for four hours. Easy-peasy. After four hours, turn it to low and just let it go until dinner time. Check the thickest part with a meat thermometer before serving to make sure it says at least 150, though some still say 160 degrees is safest.
For night one, I served the pork loin with roasted brussels sprouts, cottage cheese, and garlic parmesan biscuits.
On night two, I pulled some of the pork and made a quick pulled-pork barbecue. Toss the pork into a pan with the following (all to taste): ketchup, mustard, barbecue sauce, brown sugar, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, and a little cayenne pepper or cajun seasoning. Let that all simmer together on lowish heat. Use any leftover potatoes to make a quick mustard potato salad: diced potatoes, mayonnaise, mustard, diced onion, diced pickle (or pickle relish), celery seed (or chopped celery), salt, and pepper.
I split the parmesan biscuits, spooned a good amount of the pork onto the bottom half, topped them with cheese and stuck them into a 350 degree oven until the cheese melted.
For the third day, I decided to make tacos. Pull some pork and toss it into a pan with chili powder, salt, pepper, cumin, garlic, onion, masa, and a little chicken broth (about a cup). Let it simmer on low until the liquid reduces and thickens a bit. Warm corn or flour tortillas in the oven, then top with the pork and whatever other taco toppings you love. I served mine with refried black beans and Spanish rice.
And the fourth (and final) day… Nachos!
I cut the leftover tortillas into triangles and crisped them up in the oven. Put them on a baking sheet, spray with a little oil, sprinkle with salt, and bake at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes on each side. Watch them, because they could easily burn.
Meanwhile, heat your leftover taco meat, beans, and make your cheese sauce. Milk and whatever cheese you like, nuked at 30 second intervals. Stir frequently and if you like add some chopped jalapenos.
Once your chips are ready, spread them in a thin layer on your plate. Top with pork and drizzle (ok, dump) the cheese sauce all over. I piled the beans in the center rather than trying to spread them over the chips. Feel free to add sour cream, guacamole, extra cheese, or whatever other toppings you like. I like to sprinkle pico de gallo and shredded cheese over everything.
Sunday night, I realized I was out of pork loin (finally). We had frozen pizza for dinner.
What? I can’t be Martha ALL the time.
Totally unrelated, but…This is my 300th post. Hooray! I’m windy!
Ok, so this is not one of the healthier recipes you’ll find on this blog. Everything in moderation, though…I mean, you definitely want to make this.
If you’re saying right now, “No, I don’t think I want hot fudge pie…” we probably can’t be friends.
Go to your kitchen and assemble the following ingredients:
1 stick butter (I used salted), softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour (all-purpose)
Now grease a pie pan (8 inch) and preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy with a hand mixer. Add eggs and vanilla, then mix until combined. Dump in cocoa powder, salt, and flour. Stir until a thick batter forms. Pour into prepared pie pan and bake until center is set, about 30 to 35 minutes.
Feel free to dust with powdered sugar, though it’s pretty stellar without. I like to serve it warm with vanilla bean ice cream.
Or you could do this:
Warm hot fudge pie…Two (ok, three) scoops of vanilla bean ice cream… AND peanut butter sauce. Because I just don’t know how to be anything other than excessive when it comes to desserts.
In my defense, our ice cream scoop is pretty small. I also expected the BF to share this with me, but he claimed he couldn’t eat another bite after dinner. I just don’t think he was trying hard enough.
Peanut butter sauce is simple, by the way. Drop two or three tablespoons of creamy peanut butter into a microwave-safe dish. Add about a teaspoon or two of butter and microwave at 15-second intervals (stirring in between) until smooth. Stir in powdered sugar to taste. You might need to re-nuke it when you’ve got it the way you want it. It’s pretty much peanut butter icing, warmed up and dumped on ice cream.
Who knew becoming a mom opened you up for so much judgement? Not this girl.
Formula vs breastfeeding, co-sleep vs cry-it-out, stay at home vs go to work… All decisions that you make as a mother and all, apparently, open to judgement from only everyone.
I saw this on Facebook last week:
And then I saw what Matt Walsh wrote about his wife, who is a stay at home mom:
The people who completely immerse themselves in the tiring, thankless, profoundly important job of raising children ought to be put on a pedestal. We ought to revere them and admire them like we admire rocket scientists and war heroes. These women are doing something beautiful and complicated and challenging and terrifying and painful and joyous and essential. Whatever they are doing, they ARE doing something, and our civilization DEPENDS on them doing it well. Who else can say such a thing? What other job carries with it such consequences?
And you know what? They’re both a bit ridiculous.
I mean, kudos to Matt Walsh for sticking up for his wife. I will admit that I LOVED his post when I first read it. Then I read it again, and again. He sounds a little…frenzied…in a couple of parts. Like he came straight home from that coffee shop and sat down at his computer to TELL. THOSE. BITCHES. WHAT’S. UP.
What completely baffles me about this whole thing is…Just why is everyone competing so furiously to have a harder life? I mean, seriously… I hear working moms say things like, “Well I have to work all day and then I have to come home and cook dinner.” or, “Well my house would be cleaner but I actually have to work…”
And then there are the stay at home moms that come back with things like, “Well I haven’t showered in three weeks!” and, “I don’t remember the last time I pooped by myself…”
Being a mom is hard. Period. Why don’t we all agree to stop competing for the title of shittiest life (uh, and biggest martyr) and actually be supportive of the other moms around us? And even better, maybe we should all remember that the parenting decisions made by other moms are actually none of our business and therefor not for us to comment on?
In the words of a good friend of mine (who happens to be a working mother, if that matters):
“Why do some moms have to be bitches?
Want to hear a joke about pizza?
Never mind…It’s too cheesy.
… ! …
I don’t know what is up with me lately, but I’ve been slacking in the meal planning department. Seems like most mornings are spent trying to figure out what to make for dinner while sucking down a
cup pot of coffee and tending to my 10 (almost 11!) month old. I had stuffed peppers on the brain yesterday for some reason, but I didn’t want the same ol’ stuffed peppers. I also had some things in the fridge I needed to use up, and I had a bit of a craving for pizza.
Well it doesn’t take a rocket scientist…Pizza stuffed peppers!
Here’s what I used to serve 2 people:
1 large green pepper (for every 2 people you’ll need one large pepper…for example, for two people you just need one large pepper, for four people you’d need two, etc…)
For the filling:
1 pound ground beef or sausage
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 can pizza sauce*
1 can basil and oregano tomatoes, drained
Salt and pepper
Any type of pizza topping you can think of! I used pepperoni and mushrooms but feel free to add in your own.
Shredded cheese (I used pizza blend and parmesan)
Brown your beef or sausage, onions and garlic in a pan over medium heat. Drain, then pour back into the skillet. Reduce heat to low, then add pizza sauce, drained tomatoes, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Cover and let cook…Mine simmered on low for probably an hour while I did some things around the house, but you could just let it come to a simmer and proceed with the next step.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Prep your peppers by cutting each one in half and removing all of the seeds and pithy white stuff. Place them into a foil-lined baking dish, cut side up, then fill each pepper almost to the top with the pizza mixture (Note: If your filling mixture is a bit runny, use a slotted spoon to keep excess moisture to a minimum). Add your pizza toppings, then cover and bake for about 25 minutes.
When the timer goes off, remove foil and top peppers with cheese. Put ’em back into the oven (uncovered) for 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese melts. I also like to give mine a few minutes under the broiler (on low) to get the cheese nice and brown on top. That step is totally optional, of course.
Served with a salad and a hunk of toasty, cheesy garlic bread these are super satisfying. *Next time I’ll make my own pizza sauce, but we end up with pre-made stuff in the pantry when the BF goes shopping.
You might have leftover sauce. That’s ok! Use it for the next night’s dinner or freeze it.
Football season is (finally!) upon us, ladies and gents! It’s a damn good thing, because sometimes during the off season I occasionally found myself bitching about how the Vikings missed going to the Superbowl because of two blown calls in the fourth quarter…in (I think) 2009. Withdrawals are ugly, y’all.
Of course, football season is primarily about, duh, watching football…But there are things that accompany football season that are awesome. Game day rituals (if you’re superstitious), permission to yell like a madwoman at the tv, football food, and talking mad shit are my favorites. Surprisingly, there is one thing I kind or hate about football season. Allow me to illustrate it with a story:
I was at a friend’s house playing Madden with one of the guys. A girl walked through the living room and noticed what we were doing. “I love football!”, she exclaimed, and plopped herself down on the couch behind us. After a few minutes, she said,”I don’t know who to root for…Ashlee, which team are you?” This was a perfectly reasonable question, so I explained that I was the Packers and went back to kicking the crap out of my friend.
Her: Is that the yellow and purple?
Me: … … …No, green and yellow.
Her: OH! Hee hee… Isn’t that who Brett Fah-vray (yes, that’s how she pronounced the name of one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time) plays for? I like them! He is sooooooo hot!
Tangent: I wonder if she still thinks that after he became the Limp Penis Picture Texting Bandit…
Now, friends…this is bad. This is what will never fail to make me roll my eyes and maybe like, gag me with a spoon. The female “fan” (Note that the female “fan” is a totally different creature than the female fan…I don’t want any hate mail here). These “fans” are everywhere now… posting shit on Facebook like “Watching the Colts game! LOL!” (WTF is so funny about football?!), proudly wearing their glittery pink and likely Bedazzled jerseys, getting their team color mani/pedis, putting their hair in pretty little pigtails with bows…All to accompany their husbands and boyfriends to Bdubs or a friend’s house to “watch the game”.
…Except by “watching the game” they really mean “text and play on Facebook and whine that it’s boring and generally annoy the living shit out of everyone that’s there to actually watch the game.”
Pretending to “just loooove football!” isn’t going to impress anyone. The minute a touchdown gets taken away because of a penalty and you’re the only one still cheering, or if you refer to a touchdown as a home run, or when you don’t get the difference between yellow and red flags… Honey, the jig is up.
It’s ok if you don’t get football… It’s totally fine if you have no desire to understand it… But some of us do, and you’re making us look bad.
Just stop it, ok?