Monday, October 26, 2009

Pictures from my week

One of my favorite parts of the laundry is matching up the socks. This is 18 pairs of Jared's sock after only six days. I guess working two jobs and going to the gym is excuse to go through that many socks in one week. Crazy.

This is a baby dress or kids shirt that I sewed last week. I think the pattern is so adorable.  I am not a huge fan of the fabric, but I like to experiment with new patterns and not so great fabric in case I mess up.

I cleaned my whole house thoroughly this week.  It smells so good.  I opened all the window and cleaned them out.  This is what they looked like before.  How does so much dirt get five feet into the air?!?

This is an old shirt of mine that has shrunk.  Note the sleeves and bottom are too short.

I am working on turning it into a child's dress.  The belt is going to be different and I am thinking of putting lace on the bottom of the dress.

Friday I went over to my niece (whom I think I have caught a cold from) and my nephews house to babysit and make gingerbread.  These are all the pictures I had time for.  ha.

And finally, Michelle came this weekend to hang out with my family and me!  Yay, for Michelle and for Anna who takes beautiful pictures. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pinto Beans that taste better than Chipotle pinto beans and some Spanish Rice

**No pictures because Spanish Rice and Refried beans aren't the prettiest of foods.  **

Spanish Rice
* 2 cups rice
* 2 -15 oz cans of chicken broth
* 1 can diced tomatoes, pureed
* 1 small onion
* 1/2 bell pepper
* 1/2 tsp garlic or 1 clove
* vegetable oil or butter or margarine
* mixed vegetables (optional)

- Notes: I didn't have regular rice because Jared had bought some rice in the bag from when he lived alone (not that he ever cooked it because I found the box unopened, but he had purchased it). I decided to use that up instead of buying new rice. So I didn't follow the directions as they were written. I only used 1-1/4 cups of liquid because that is what the box called for. I basically halved this recipe and then I only cooked it for the time that the box said (10 minutes) instead of the 20 that the recipe calls for. I think it would turn out basically the same. I thought it was a little tomatoy, but I might have added more tomato then it called for. I used tomato paste instead of diced tomatoes. So that could definitely have deepened the flavor of the liquid.

1. Cook the oil/butter/margarine and the rice for about ten minutes. You want the rice to be browning and crunchy. I ended up only cooking mine for about six minutes and then adding the vegetables because it looked like it was almost about to burn. You don't want it to burn, but you want to get as close to possible without burning it.

2. After cooking the rice add the onions, peppers, and mixed vegetables (I used some frozen from a bag). Mix that around until the onions and peppers are soft. Add the garlic and stir around.

3. Mix the tomato puree and the chicken broth together. Pour over the rice. DO NOT STIR. I tilted the pan to even out the broth, but I didn't stir. Let it come to a slow steady boil and cook for 20 - 25 minutes (as I stated, I only cooked mine for ten since it was boil in the bag).

4. Fluff with a fork. Don't use a spoon.

Refried Beans (without the refry)
* 1 onion
* 3 cups dried pinto beans
* 1/2 jalapeno pepper
* 2 T. garlic
* 5 tsp. NaCl (salt)
* 1-3/4 tsp. black pepper
* 1/8 tsp. ground cumin
* 1 - 2 tsp. chili powder
* 9 cups of H2O (water)

1. Mix all in the slow cooker. Cook on high for 8 hours (I found that it didn't take quite this long. Mine were ready in 4-6 hours, but I halved the recipe, so maybe that made a difference, however when I left them in for the full 8 hours they were 10 times better than they were at 4 hours). Add more water if needed during cooking if it looks like their isn't any water left (I didn't add more water and I let them cook down until there was only a little liquid left). You might want to take some out and mash them in a bowl with a fork and see if they need any more seasonings. I added more garlic, cumin, and chili powder.  Be careful because they will be spicier at the end than when you test them at 4 or 6 hours.

* note: I skipped step 2 and served them whole in the juice that they had made.  There wasn't very much juice left and it reminded me of Chipotle pinto beans.  I tasted them after 8 hours in the crockpot and I was so happy to taste Chipotle.  They are a little spicier than Chipotle pinto beans, but that is even better.  I love them!

2. Drain the liquid into a bowl. Mash the remaining pinto beans with a potato masher. They should still be chunky when you are finished. Only canned refried beans are completely smooth. Add any liquid back into the beans that you think you want. You can make them as thick or as thin as you want.

3. I serve mine with cheese and sour cream. I also served it with the above rice recipe, flour tortillas, spinach, and carnitas.


P.S. I had forgotten that the work halved is spelled like that. I wanted to put halfed. What other words are similar to that in the English language?

P.P.S. You aren't getting the carnitas recipe because I didn't like them at all. The rest of the awesome food hid their boring flavor, but they aren't worth making again. I will continue to search for a recipe for them.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tuesday Dinner

For dinner tonight we will be having flour tortillas, carnitas, refried beans, and all the taco toppings that are normally included (sour cream, cheese, spinach, salsa, peppers, corn...etc.). I never knew how easy it was to make tortillas until today. It is also a lot of fun!

Flour Tortillas
(makes 12 - 24 depending on the size and thinnest you make them)
* I fourthed the recipe and made 5.

* 4 cups flour
* 2 tsp. NaCl (Salt)
* 2 tsp. baking powder
* 2 T. lard, shortening, butter... etc. (I used butter flavored shortening because that is all I have)
* 1-1/2 cup warm or hot H2O (water)

1. Mix dry ingredients together.

2. Cut in the shortening. I use a pastry cutter, but the recipe said it could be done by hand as well. I enjoy using a pastry cutter. It is rewarding to me.

3. Mix in the first cup of water and mix around (I use my right hand so I don't get my rings dirty). Add the last 1/2 cup bit by bit as you need it. I found that I didn't need the full amount of water. Knead it a little bit until it is smooth and elasticity.

4. The recipe said to divide it into the 24 balls, but I pulled a piece off for the first one just to play around and see how large I wanted the balls to be. I ended up making them a little larger then what the recipe called for. If I made the full batch I would probably make about 16 or 18 out of it. That would make you about the larger size of flour tortillas. After I figured out the size I wanted I divided them into balls of equal size.

5. Roll them out until they are really thin, on a floured surface. I have a nifty little piece of Teflon or something that I use to keep the flour from spreading all over the counter. I don't like to clean up flour and this makes clean up a bit easier. I wish it were twice the size; I usually end up rolling off the edge.

6. Place them into a hot skillet (that you have already heated up). There is no need for grease or anything in the pan. I had my stove setting on 8 or 9 to warm it up and then I decreased that down to 6 or 7 because they started to burn. They should heat about 30 - 60 seconds on each side or until they have a few of those little brown circles on them. If you cook them too much they will become crispy and unable to be folded (or that is what I read on the comment section of the recipe).

7. Enjoy. You can sort of see the first one that I made under the second one. It was a little bit larger until I ate it. I thought it was a bit too large. This would be the size of the tortilla if you made 16 balls out of the dough. The second one came out a good size. It was about the size of what you would get if you made 20 balls out of the dough.

If my refried beans turn out well, I will post the recipe of them tomorrow. I found a slow cooker recipe for them. I love refried beans! They smell wonderful, but still have five hours to cook.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Monday Dinner

Thin Crust Pizza
Recipe adapted from Frugal Girl.

10 ounces unbleached all-purpose flour (about 2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
6.2 ounces water (about 3/4 cup plus 1 1/2 teaspoons), 100 to 105 degrees
1/4 cup olive oil(I used 1/2 vegetable oil & 1/2 applesauce)


1. Mix everything but the water and oil in the bowl.

2. Mix in the water.

3. Mix in the applesauce (I love applesauce as a substitute for oil - I use it all the time). Then mix in the oil and make sure it gets distributed throughout.

4. The recipe says to take the dough out and knead it, but I usually just knead it around in the bowl. I don't enjoy wiping flour up from my counters.

5. Place it in some dish in the refrigerator. I don't know why you are supposed to do this because I made a mini pizza before I put it in the refrigerator and after and I didn't see a difference. You are supposed to leave it in there over night, but I wanted it to be ready for dinner.

6. Now the recipe calls for you to roll it out on parchment paper and that way you can stick it onto the hot pizza stone in the oven. However, I made smaller pizzas so that I could stick them directly onto the pizza stone. I rolled them about six or seven inches in diameter (on cornmeal). Then I placed them on the pizza stone and let them cook for about two or three minutes (or until firm enough to pick up with a spatula and able to carry their own weight and not flop around). I rolled mine as thin as I could without them breaking because they will shrink a little when they are moved around.

7. Add pizza sauce and toppings. Place place on pizza stone in the oven for about 10 - 15 minutes depending how crunchy you want your thin crust to be.

And thanks to the Townsends for the peppers and the pumpkin. I went over to Rachel's on Saturday, while Jared was at work, and carved this wonderful little pumpkin. I think it turned out really well.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

For the want of food coloring, the cookies were only white...

These are the first Gingerbread of the year!! I really like the tree cookie cutter I got on clearance last year. It reminds me of Dr. Suess and a Whotree. The lighthouse came from Maine (we bought a moose shaped one too). I added sprinkles to these since 1. I am not artistic with the icing and 2. We don't own food coloring. I'll post pictures of Jared's gingerbread cookies later (maybe this batch or maybe next time).

I don't know why, but these are some of my favorite lyrics and music in a Newsboys song:

For the want of a compass
we'd be shuffling charts
For the want of good radar
we'd be glacier parts
For the want of a lighthouse
can't you see
we'd be lost at sea
lost at sea
Grocery Deals at Food Lion - For Dad

* Edys Ice Cream 4 for $10 (you have to buy four - if you buy 1 they will charge you $5, 2 costs you $8 and 3 costs you $9).
* Scooby Snacks are buy one get one free
* Hamburger helper is 10/$10

That's all I see this week.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A wedding thank you for my sifter!!

This post is for the person who was kind enough to go online and have the sifter with the spinning handle instead of the squeeze handle. Target wouldn't let me register for the spinning handle one and I don't enjoy using the squeeze handle ones because my hand starts hurting after a while (plus the spinning handle is simply more fun). The package arrived a week or so after the wedding and my parents brought it to Avery's wedding to hand off to me. However, when I opened it it came with no card. I was so excited at the time, but between writing thank yous and unpacking other gifts I simply unpacked it and put it on the shelf. I completely forgot about posting this. About a month ago, I went to post this thank you and the internet was down and then I forgot again.

So this is to you, whoever you are, I love my sifter and it makes me life so much easier. Thank you for the wonderful, thoughtful gift! I was so happy and surprised when I opened. I am sorry this thank you is three months and a day late. I used it tonight to make gingerbread cookies and it is lovely. It will last me many happy baking years!

Christmastime has started because of you and Jared is going to be so happy when he comes home from work and the house smells delicious and when he has gingerbread cookies in his lunchbox. :)

* To everyone else, if you know of anyone that has mentioned they didn't get a thank you note, maybe you could let me know who gave me this gift and pass that along. Thanks!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Your password must have 2 upper case letters, 2 lower case letters, 2 numbers, 2 special characters, and be a minimum of 9 characters and a maximum of 12 characters in length.

... and they expect me to remember this how? ...
This is getting absurd.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Baby shoes and apple sauce

Five sets of baby shoes made.
If Linnea and Ben ever have a girl they will be getting a pair made from the little flowered material since I bought it with Linnea on an ICEE run a long time ago.

Challenge to fill all 24 quart jars before Jared comes home from work.
Bonus if you get them all sealed as well.

Peel apples with one hand, while stirring the pot with another hand. During that take time to mashed the cooked apples, season them, fill the jars with the complete applesauce, and boil and blend (in the blender) the skins and their juice to give the applesauce a nice reddish brown color.

11 jars finished. Three hours down. Three hours to go.
I ended up only getting 20 of the jars sealed by the time Jared came home, but they were all filled!!
Here is a picture of my kitchen and how I used every available space. ha. The counter on the let was used to hold my empty, washed jars and lids. Next to it in the corner is my blender and next to that was my pile of dirty dishes. In the sink were the apples in warm water being washed. In the right corner was the apple peeler, bowl for peeled apples, and the bag for the cores and peels to go into. On the stove was a pot for the jars, a pot for the jar lids, a pot for the apples, and a saucepan for the apple peels. In the foreground of the picture you can see the table with my mixing bowl, all my seasonings, and the jars being filled. It was crazy. It was fun. I love making applesauce!!

Friday, October 02, 2009

I had the most fascinating tour of a shipyard today. They let me climb all over four decks of the cruise ship. I walked around in my (Jared's old boots), hard hat, and safety glasses. It was great fun. Then the engineers took me to the office and showed me all the software, blueprints, shop drawings, and videos of boat launchings. Woohoo. Anyone that is still homeschooled should try to get a tour. :)

Thursday, October 01, 2009

baby shoes

The next person to have a little girl will be receiving these as a shower gift or maybe an improved version of these (depending on how much I start playing with this pattern). I think buttons would look really cute on the toes.

I put them next to scissors to show you the size. Aren't they absolutely adorable?!? I think I might make them in flannel next. That would be so cozy.

* I read a blog called, Frugal Girl every once in a while. She is giving away $100 gift card to buy groceries. All you have to do is comment on her post. Read the rules and comment.
I suggest reading her blog sometimes too. It is really interesting.