Sunday, February 27, 2011
Another week is wrapping up, as is the month. I had the good fortune to be able to plan my monthly menu at leisure over the past couple of days. I'm very glad March's menus are wrapped up - and without a blank day! I'm going to run a report on our budget for groceries to see how our month added up with the careful planning and scheduled grocery shops.
This weekend, we had my parents over for dinner. I went a little overboard but I was worried that we didn't/wouldn't have enough a food. We had my Easy Hot wings, coyote fritters plus I did a honey garlic wing and some BBQ pork short ribs in the crockpot. We had potato skins (oh my goodness, were they every good - nothing beats homemade skins) and a veggie plate with dip. Then we had strawberry shortcake for dessert. It was a fabulous night and we had a great visit!
My husband's contract is wrapping up so I'm back to planning some lunches. Breakfasts are old hat now to my husband and son - especially since TroubleMaker has discovered cereal!
This week is looking tasty with our favourite Mushroom and Chicken Linguine - fresh pasta was on sale so instead of the dried I use generally, we get to try it with fresh! Here is our plan for the week - what's on tap at your house? Want some more great ideas? Check out the Menu Plan Monday over at the Organizing Junkie's place!
February 28 to March 6
Monday All in one pork chop bake
Tuesday Chicken and Mushroom Linguine
Wednesday Grilled Cheese and soup
Thursday Sloppy Joes
Friday Chicken Nuggets and fries
Saturday take out after the birthday party
Sunday Crock pot Swiss steak
Friday, February 25, 2011
Roadblocks. I think they are something we all run into or create for ourselves. And this was my week to run smack dab, face first into a big roadblock...
The Roadblock of Me
Anyone who knows me and likely anyone who has read this blog could tell you that I have great plans, great desires and great intentions. I try - I really do - give my all to something but a good majority of time something gets in my way or crosses my path and I stop or get distracted or I give up. Sometimes, I think I wrote the book on excuses - but perhaps I'm being too hard on myself - this happens to everyone, right? (Agree - for my sanity, please agree) ;-)
The past couple of weeks I've really struggled with my organizing. It isn't that I don't like the results - I do. I like going to my Cupboard of Doom and feeling successful and accomplished. I don't mind taking the time to neatly fold my sweaters after work and placing them back (in order of the picture, even) on my closet shelf. We've all taken care to make sure we keep TroubleMaker's dresser organized.
I like being organized. But it just seems too hard. I know I can break it down into small stuff and just do little chunks but ugh. I don't know - I like doing it, I like the planning and the organizing but it is hard, daunting, overwhelming and I just feel like I won't keep up. So, when this happens, I stop.
But not now. Not this time. I want to succeed, I want to be able to find what I need when I need it and I want to be proud of my home and of the work I've done (and keep doing). So I need to just take stock of the accomplishments I've made and just keep taking it one small step at a time, one success at a time.
It may be a 52 Week project - that's just one project per week. And the big projects I have on my list don't have to be done all at once (if you look here, you'll see my one of my biggest organizing tasks yet to come - and trust me, my husband was very kind when he took those pictures). I can't let the big scary stuff stop me - I'll just have to break it down into chunks or pieces I can deal with.
So today, I did the project I planned on Thursday night and it took no time at all. I made a trip to the local dollar store this morning and it was container-pulooza. I was in HEAVEN - who knew the basket isle of that store could bring me so much joy for so little money!
Here is the task that got me past the roadblock today - the bathroom vanity. And oddly enough, with all the stuff I tossed out and the things I neatly organized, the thing looks HUGE!
For more inspiration and roadblock breaking goodness, check out all of the great people participating in the Org Junkie's 52 Week Organizing Project!
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Spinach Lasagne Rollups
My menu plan had "Lasagne" on the menu for February 21 (a statutory holiday where I live). Sunday night as I looked at the plan I realized I did not want heavy, overfilling lasagne. I wanted light and tasty and creamy. So I searched around for a while and decided to try these Creamy Lasagne Rolls. But looking at the recipe, it just looked blah and somewhat unappealing to me. But, I did decide I liked the idea of lasagne rolled up with a savory filling and a cream sauce... But what kind of cream sauce? I knew my Alfredo would be too heavy. I thought about adapting my sauce from the Mushroom Linguine recipe I use. But part of what makes that recipe so tasty is the ton of mushrooms and sauteed onions.
So I went back to basics and started thinking about the tried and true white sauce recipe I use from my grandmother's 1958 Edition of the Five Roses Flour Cookbook. This is a staple recipe in my kitchen and I use it as a basis for many dishes. So if I added some different seasonings, thinned it a bit more, it might just make a good pasta sauce. So, I set to work.
12 lasagne noodles, par-boiled
1 cup Ricotta cheese
1.5 cups shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
1 package chopped spinach, drained and squeezed of water
1/2 orange pepper, finely diced
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp minced garlic
-Par boil lasagne noodles until firm but pliable (you'll need to fill and roll them up but too soft will cause them to tear)
-In a mixing bowl, combine all remaining ingredients until well blended. Reserve half cup of mozzarella cheese.
-Beginning filling noodles. Pat noodles dry and spread a nice layer of filling over the entire length of the noodle. Roll carefully and lay seam side down in a large casserole dish (I believe I used a 2 qt Corning Ware dish)
-Continue until all the filling and noodles are used.
-Set dish aside and make sauce.
3 tbsp butter or margarine
3 tbsp flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3 cups milk
1/4 cup dried basil or 1/2 cup fresh
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
-Put margarine and flour in a saucepan. Heat over medium heat until butter is melted. Stir constantly for two minutes. Ensure the butter/flour mixture DOES NOT brown
-Add salt and pepper, stir well.
-Pour milk in slowly, stirring to combine and to prevent lumps. Once well combined, reduce heat a bit and add in basil.
-As the sauce starts to thicken, add cheese and stir to melt. Once melted, remove from heat and pour over roll-ups.
-Sprinkle reserved mozzarella cheese on top of roll-up and sauce mixture.
-Bake covered at 350 F for about 30 minutes, remove lid and continue to bake another 10 to 15 - broiling on low for last few minutes to brown cheese.
Note: After adding the sauce and cheese, I put mine in the fridge as I prepared it in the morning. It baked up just fine although we prefer our pasta a little saucier. Next time I make this, I will increase the sauce by a half recipe to make it creamier and saucier.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Last week we took a good look at foundations of colour. This week, I'd like to share some more important information about colour. We'll look at the psychology of colour, colour perceptions and of course applying colour in interiors.
Psychology of Colour
Colour can be one of the most powerful tools in a designer's kit. It can be used to sell products, make people feel calm, angry or happy. It can impact behaviour in a number of different ways too. The way an individual interprets or feels about a colour can vary according to their experience, cultural associations and education. Often this interpretation is very personal and very individualistic.
Colour very often mean different things to different people depending on what they associate with that colour. Naturally, Western society has different associations then other parts of the world. Let's look at few colour associations here and with in other societies.
Red Battle, blood, fire, passion, love & excitement. Also royalty, majesty & victory. It is bold and makes a noticeable impact and draws attention. Eastern associations include luck, money, happiness and prosperity. One other thing of note, red is also often associated with mourning in different cultures.
Orange Friendliness, pride, ambition, warmth, relaxation. Stimulates the appetite. Eastern associations include strength, purpose and organization.
Yellow Cheerfulness, optimism, safety & spring. Eastern cultures often associate yellow with sacred things and imperialism.
Green Luck, greed, wealth, jealousy, newness, nature. Eastern cultures it can mean newness, life and rebirth. Additionally, it is often linked to fertility.
Blue Masculine, trust, authority, peace, calm & depression. Elsewhere, it is linked to mourning, protection, virtue and liberalism.
Purple/Violet Royalty,wealth, being distinguished, spirituality. It can again represent mourning, death and wealth in other lands.
The psychology of colour is a long studied, continually changing discipline. As mentioned, colours can mean very different things depending on where in the world you are: Red roses are often associated with love here in Canada - elsewhere, they are the flower of choice for funerals. Things like this are important to keep in mind when picking colours and understanding others reactions to them. When you are picking paint for your home, depending on the room and it's use, it truly is one of personal preference. Assuming of course your partner gives you carte blanche!
Colour Associations and Perceptions
When looking to repaint your home, it's important to think of the function of the room and what kind of feeling you wish to invoke. Thinking about how and when the room is used (time of day, who uses it, what the room is used for) will help apply the appropriate colour solution too. The application of muted pastels in hospitals and similar shades in infant nurseries tend to be done for a reason - they create a relaxing environment and help to calm the occupants.
Warm pallets with reds, oranges and yellows can be cheery, active and energizing. This is especially true if the hues are saturated. These colours also appear to advance toward the eye because they seem nearer than they are. A sofa in an intense red colour will generally appear bigger than the same piece in a cool colour. Using warm colours in saturated hues in a space can make the space appear smaller.
Cool pallets with blues, greens and purples can create a soothing feeling. Cool colours are generally thought to recede since they tend to appear farther away then they are. A room often looks much larger when painted in a cool colour.
In both applications, intensity of the hue must be taken into consideration. A bold bright blue can have the same affect as the big red sofa. Additionally, a warm, pale yellow can make the space look larger as the intensity is less thus making it appear (to the eye) to recede.
When selecting paint for your home, office or any other project, it's important to note not only what you think of the colour but also how the colour makes you feel. The larger the swatch of colour, the better... Using a 2"x2" chip to decide the colour of your entire bedroom isn't enough, especially when how we (and others) react to colour is very personal.
Blue Door Interiors Inc. tip of the week:
Always, always view the paint chips in the light that will be used in the room and view the sample at a variety of different times during the day.
For further reading, check out
Dream Home Decorating
Colour Experts at Squidoo
All photos this week are courtesy of Mystical Photography based in Edmonton, Alberta. The pictures were originally taken for promotional literature for a local Benjamin Moore store. Used with permission.
Sunday, February 20, 2011
I feel rather accomplished this Sunday afternoon. Not only is my menu planned, but the groceries are done and I got most of my veil done for my upcoming dance recital (who starts dancing at 36 - oh yea, ME!). I have to make a few alterations and shorten it (as believe it or not, its TOO long, something that never happens to me). I also have to bedazzle it - not literally of course, but I want to do some decorative stitching, add some 'bling' and perhaps do a motif or two in beads.
This week's menu is rather 'boring' but it will be tasty and I like the simplicity of it. I really like perogie night - but they are one of my weaknesses. Must've been all those years working in Vegreville. Wednesday supper is a new recipe - although we won't be using the shrimp. No one here eats much seafood so I'll substitute chicken.
February 14 to 20
Monday Spinach Lasagne Rolls in a Basil Cream Sauce (come back Thursday for the recipe)
Tuesday Perogies & sausage
Wednesday Simple Shrimp Stir-fry
Thursday Tuna Melts w/ veggies & dip
Saturday Easy Hot wings & coyote fritters
Sunday Crock pot beef roast
It hardly seems fair that it is already Sunday and even though tomorrow is a holiday for me, the weekend went too fast, again! Tomorrow will be a good day. I hope to bake a little and clean a little. I'd also like to get back to finishing my veil. So many things, so little time!
For many more great menus, recipes and ideas, check out the Org Junkie's Menu Plan Monday! Thank you for stopping by and see you next week!
Friday, February 18, 2011
Last night, I turned on my laptop to post a recipe. For some reason, I opened my email program and began cleaning up my messages.
All 700 of them sitting, abandoned, in my inbox since migrating to my new laptop in April (2010). I created new folders and began the task of deleting and moving and renaming and saving the attachments.
And as I cooked supper tonight, I thought "What on earth and I going to organize between now and bedtime!?" Forgetting completely the task I'd completed the night before!
So there was no fanfare, no big production, no dragging my husband by the wrist to see my latest accomplishment - it was just a task that had to be done and I did it.
And now I feel like I've got control of my inbox! At least for this week!
For more from the 52 Weeks of Organizing, check out everyone sharing their projects over at the Org Junkie! Thanks for stopping by and come back soon!
Thursday, February 17, 2011
This past weekend (as part of our Valentine's Day dinner) I made one of my husband's favourite desserts... Something he's named "Cloud Pie"! It is a decadent, creamy and chocolaty flavour experience that we all adore!
It is very simple and so tasty! Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!
1-8oz package cream cheese
1 package instant chocolate pudding
1-1/2 cups milk
1 chocolate graham pie crust
Cool whip topping
Soften cream cheese in microwave. Add pudding powder and milk. Use a hand blender to mix. When nearly combined, 3 or 4 heaping tablespoons of cool whip. Blend well for 2 or 3 minutes.
Pour into pie shell. Decorate the top with Cool whip and drizzle with melted chocolate, if desired. Refridgerate two to three hours before serving.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Thanks to all our contest entrants - check back soon for another giveaway.
I do have another colour article I'd like to share with you but unfortunately, I didn't quite get it finished in time for publishing it this week... So please come back next week for We-Design-Day (Wednesday) at Barefoot Deliberations!
Monday, February 14, 2011
Happy Valentine’s Day! I’m sure many of you are preparing yummy meals for your beloved partner and family… We did our celebration yesterday (more or less). Although we don’t usually make a big deal, my wonderful husband (who claims to think Valentine’s Day is a Hallmark Holiday) bought me a beautiful card anyway. So I made him one of his favourite desserts! I’ll post that recipe on Thursday…
This week is a simple menu and this coming weekend is a LONG weekend for some of us Canadians (It is “Family Day” in Alberta where I live). I’m trying something new this week with the Layered Meatball Casserole, but I’m substituting homemade meatballs for ready made. I don’t like buying ‘pre-made’ food when I can help it. Yes, I’m sure it makes things a little more convenient, but with convenience comes a price… A box of 30 meatballs was around $12 (on sale) at my local grocery market. Buying a little more than a pound of extra lean ground beef from the same store was $5 (it would have been more like $4 from our Butcher – but I didn’t make that trip on Saturday). Also, if you read the Nutrition Label, I’m sure it will frighten you too… The sodium content in most prepared foods is up to three times what the homemade equivalent is.
The one thing I learned early on in my life is the importance of menu planning when it comes to maintaining healthy eating habits. When you come home tired, fed up and hungry (from school or work, etc) it is very easy to toss in a frozen pizza or cook up a box of Kraft Dinner and scarf a cold hot dog or two. I’m not perfect but let me show you an example.
My recipe for “Gramma’s Homemade Mac & Cheese” breaks down nutritionally like this: 1 serving (about ¾ of a cup) has 371 calories and 768 mg of Sodium. “Healthy it up” by omitting the salt (flavor using other spices), using reduced fat cheese, skim milk and whole wheat pasta makes it 297 calories per serving and only 348 mg of sodium!
Comparatively, a similar sized portion of Kraft Dinner has 520 calories and 1200 mg of Sodium!
Most people need only 1200 mg of sodium EACH day. When you make “homemade” you have options – prepackaged food doesn’t give us those choices.
Makes you think, doesn't it???
Here is our menu for this week… (some will be updated later - I left for work and forgot the menu)... :)
February 14 to 20
Monday Crispy Baked Chicken & Corrie's Spanish rice
Tuesday Tuna Melts w/ veggies & dip
Wednesday Ravioli w Rose Sauce
Thursday Layered Meatball Bake
Friday Burgers & chips
Saturday Easy Hot wings & coyote fritters
Sunday Pulled Pork Roast
Want to learn more about healthy eating? Check out these fantastic links…
Canadian Government endorses Menu Planning
Print you own Food Guide
More Good Stuff from Health Canada
Choose My Plate
More good info from the US Dept. of Agriculture
For more links, tips & tricks of Menu Planning and so many more great menus, check out the Org Junkie's Menu Plan Monday!
Friday, February 11, 2011
I'd love to tackle my cookie sheet cupboard - it's a bit chaotic in there and it frustrates me every time I need something from it. But after seeing this post at the Org Junkie, I really, really, really want the storage racks... But I'm writing on route to work so I've got no time to shop today!
I am tempted, very tempted, to just wait until I have the "right" supplies or hide behind the 'I have company' excuse. I know getting off track will just lead me back down the old familiar path (of being the leader of the disorganized) and I'm really committed to making a change.
After running around after work, making dinner and getting the cookie dough made for the Valentine's baking day tomorrow, I looked at the cookie sheet cupboard and felt guilty... So I did what any motivated woman would do...
I enlisted the help of my son and my niece. Because, you know, you're never too young to learn good habits! So I sat back (camera in hand) and provided direction. My niece declared she loves organizing and TroubleMaker loves anything she does, so he helped too.
They had the space emptied in record time and nothing got broken! My niece took three of my seven ice cube trays and offered to take my 1L wine carafe for flowers (I firmly said "NO!" because, well, I don't know why but I'm just not ready to get rid of yet). I offered my Mom a set of nice mixing bowls (that I never use because I have another set) - but being inspired by my recent organizing frenzy - she politely declined.
My niece organized and started placing everything back in the cupboard. She kept asking why I had garbage in the cupboard (lids from disposable containers I no longer have, a grocery receipt, and a liner from some disposable cookie sheets). I had no answer - laziness, always in a hurry, it was so messy it ate things like a black hole...
My niece did a fantastic job of sorting and organizing and with a little bit of direction, my cupboard turned out super-duper fantastic!
So even though I didn't have the fancy racks I wanted and I didn't have a lot of time, the job still got done... Albeit with a little help from my friends! So this week, I must really thank my darling niece (isn't she pretty?), not only for her super organizing ability, but also for having the patience to work side by side with her little cousin - who kept hitting her with a barbecue basting brush..."But Mama, it was on axi-dent!" TroubleMaker claimed.
Inspired - for sure. Great job - for sure. Proud - without a doubt! Young or old, big or small - organizing is for everyone. We all felt great when the job was done and I realized that even cleaning and organizing can be quality time - if you do it with those you love.
Have a great week and for more inspiration, check out all these other lovely folks organizing their way to happiness with the Organizing Junkie!
Thursday, February 10, 2011
A few months ago, I decided to take that leap back to kitchen creativity and 94% of the things I've attempted have been really good. The other 5% were 'good'. This weekend, I created that one dish, that rare and elusive 1%, that is unbelievably fantastic, sell it to a restaurant good. I'm a good cook, of this I have no doubt, but this weekend, I excelled to Awesome Cook. I might have to make myself a badge...
This idea came to me as I didn't want what I'd planned. A quick trip to the bakery for fresh sub buns and one half hour prep and cooking time (plus Garlic Chipolte Mayo chilling time), and it was an easy, simple, have on hand dinner.
Without further self-adulation, I'm very, very pleased and proud to present...
Premium Edmonton Cheesesteak Subs with Garlic Chipolte Mayo
1 pound Sirloin Steak (or the most tender cut available to you)
1/2 red pepper, julienned
1/2 green pepper, julienned
1/2 yellow pepper, julienned
1/2 medium white onion, sliced into rings
4 very large mushrooms, halved and then sliced thin
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp parsley
1/4 tsp Seasoned salt
1 tbsp olive oil
Garlic Chipolte Mayo:
1/4 to 1/3 cup Miracle Whip Dressing (or mayonnaise)
2 tsp minced garlic or 2 to 3 fresh cloves, minced
Dash + of Chipolte Seasoning
-Toss steak in freezer for up to 40 minutes to firm it up before slicing thin. (when I made ours, it was mostly frozen as I decided late in the day to make this dish)
-While steak is chilling, slice vegetables and set aside.
-Combine mayo, garlic & Chipolte seasoning in a dish. Refridgerate 1 hour (or more), then remove when you start cooking to allow it to blend. Stir occasionally.
- When steak is sufficiently chilled, slice steak into thin strips
-Heat olive oil in a cast iron pan. When very hot, toss in all your steak. Pan sear, then turn down heat. Add mushrooms and onions. Saute 2 to 3 minutes. If steak is nearing 'done' (meaning just a thin thread of pink), add peppers and seasoning. Toss and continue cooking on med-low. Cover with a lid.
-Slice buns and put on a cookie sheet. Preheat broiler to "low".
-Spread a generous amount of Garlic Chipolte Mayo on bottom half of bun and a thin layer on top.
-Toss meat mixture and then divide equally onto three sub buns. Top meat size with thinly sliced mozzarella cheese.
-Place under broiler until cheese melts and starts to brown.
Remove, close, slice and serve. Makes 6 servings (1/2 a sandwich each).
Part of what made this meal absolutely fantastic was the Premium Alberta Beef we are able to get at our local butcher, Beverly Meats. As a former vegetarian, I can tell you that if you start eating meat again, seek a local butcher who sells locally grown product. You cannot go wrong. We've never had a tough cut and his prices are competitive with, if not better, than the local chain store price and the quality is out of this world.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
As a designer, I feel understanding some basic colour theory can go a long way in helping you apply colour in your design and make your interiors truly your own. Whether it is furniture colour, wall colour or flooring, colour can truly work to anchor your space. The other great thing about colour is it can be so personal.
Let’s go back to the beginning and look at the basics of colour.
In kindergarten, we learned our primary colours: red, yellow and blue. Primaries are described as the foundation colours – in part because they cannot be created from any other colours.
Then we have secondary colours: green, orange and purple. Secondary colours are made by mixing primary colours.
- Yellow + blue = green
Red + yellow = orange
Blue + red= purple
Next there are tertiary colours – red-violet, blue-violet, blue-green, yellow-green, yellow-orange and orange-red. Tertiary colours are made by combining secondary colours. The names I gave above I would class as the ‘technical’ names for the colours, but we know them by many names! Open fan deck of paint chips and you’ll find every colour you can think of – all of which are formed by combining our primary and secondary colours (and of course, adding greys, blacks and whites).
But wait! There is more! To describe colour with reasonable accuracy, three basic properties are used to identify the quality of a colour.
HUE by definition, is the name of a colour in its purest form (red, blue, yellow, green, etc). It further means that no black or white have been added to it. It is the true pigmented colour – primary, secondary or tertiary.
VALUE designates the darkness or lightness of the hue. Usually expressed by three methods: shade, tone, or tint
- Shade Shades are created by the addition of black to the hue (it darkens the hue)
Tone Tones are created by adding grey. Depending on the value of the grey, it can either lighten or darken the hue. NOTE A grey scale is very common in most colour systems. Generally, most are comprised of nine steps – referred to as the “Achromatic Scale”.
Tint Tints are created by adding white, thus lightening the hue.
CHROMA is described as the degree of strength or purity of the a colour. Also refers to the saturation or amount of pigment and how the colour is perceived by the viewer.
- High Chroma Pure, ultimate vividness.
Low Chroma Washed out, less intense.
In design, we apply colour schemes to a design. Generally, I base most of mine off a typical 12 point colour wheel. A colour wheel is very helpful when trying to figure out your colours. I picked mine up for a few dollars at a sewing store. Quilt shops and art supply stores will likely have them too.
One good thing about having a colour wheel is on the back of most of the ones I’ve seen and used, they have all this information for you.
Typical Colour Schemes:
- Monochromatic consists of different values (tints and shades) of one single colour
Analogous colours that are adjacent to each other on the color wheel
Complimentary colours that are opposite each other on the color wheel
Triadic A color scheme in which 3 colors of equidistant distribution on the color wheel are used
Split complimentary colour scheme that includes a main colour and the two colours on each side of its complementary (opposite) colour on the colour wheel. These are the colours that are one hue and two equally spaced from its complement
Tetrad Tetrads (or quadrads) are any four colors with a logical relationship on the color wheel, such as double complements (also referred to as double complimentary)
Neutrals are also a potential colour scheme – meaning colours not found on the wheel - like beige, browns & greys. When I studied, we generally referred to this type of scheme as monochromatic but with the surge in popularity of design; I think it was splintered off because you can combine more than one neutral in a palette.
How was that for a crash course in colour theory? Don’t worry, I won’t leave you stranded! This week, because this is our twelfth week of the We-Design-Day series and because I think the work needs more colour, I’m very pleased to sponsor a very special give-away!
How would you like a $50 gift certificate for paint from Benjamin Moore paints? Want more – there is! In addition to the gift certificate, I’m also offering a private colour consultation for the winner! If you’re local to me, I’ll come to your house and help you out… But don’t fear – if you live far, far away from my Northern home, we can still have our one-on-one colour consultation via email or phone!
To enter, just leave a comment and be sure that I can contact you via your blog or an email link on your profile. If you rather, you can email your entry to brennansbest at g mail dot com. Hurry and enter – the contest closes next Tuesday (February 22) at midnight Mountain standard time.
This contest is being proudly sponsored by Blue Door Interiors Inc. Check us out on Facebook and "Like" our Facebook page and we'll enter your name again in our draw!
Monday, February 7, 2011
Week One of “Food & Budget Bootcamp” is finished and we survived and did very well. We stayed on track and on menu and on budget – save for one little change on Saturday.
I was just not in the mood for the Shepherd’s Pie I had planned… So I came up with a different idea that only required a $5 spend on some decadent submarine buns from our local bakery. The bonus is we had a fabulous meal (come back on Thursday to get the recipe) and we have enough buns frozen to have subs again in the coming weeks… A teaser about the recipe – Premium Edmonton Cheesesteak Subs featuring Grade A Alberta beef with Garlic Chipolte Mayo…
They were likely one of It was the best recipes I’ve ever created!
We also had the good fortune of being invited to my Dad & Step Mom’s house for dinner on Sunday… The invitation came after I’d already prepared Sunday’s meal (and had just turned the crock pot on) and I’d made Monday’s meal too!!! SO I had to shift everything over one day this week (which is FINE by me)! Given our dishwasher went on the blink Saturday morning, I’m glad my dish panned hands got out of doing dishes for a night! I feel like I should give myself the “Ms Organized Award” for the Month of February. I believe even my husband is surprised at the recent change in my organizational ability!
Note - the underline recipes are a little further down in this post. Scroll to get the goods and remember to check back Thursday for my newest kitchen creation! Thanks for stopping by and have a great week.
February 6 to 13
Monday Beefy Crock Pot Tortellini
Tuesday Hamburger Soup with Biscuits
Wednesday Egg Wraps with Tater Tots
Thursday Sweet & Sour Chicken Balls
Friday Home Made Macaroni & Cheese
Saturday Pizza Party! (my mom & niece are coming in for the weekend)
For more great menu plans, recipes, tips and tricks, check out all the fabulous links over at the Menu Plan Monday at the Org Junkie!
½ pound hamburger
½ onion, diced
1 rib of celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can water
2 carrots, peeled & sliced
½ cup peas or large handful of snap peas roughly chopped
1 tsp beef bouillon
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
½ tsp oregano
½ tsp basil
½ package stuffed pasta (tortellini, ravioli, etc)
Scramble fry hamburger until nearly done. Drain well.
In a separate large pot, sauté onions, celery and garlic in about 1 tbsp of olive oil. Cook until garlic and onions just start to brown. Add cooked hamburger and sauté a few minutes more. Add tomato sauce, tomatoes and 1 can of water.
(HINT: I fill one can about ½ full, swish it around and then pour into the other tomato can and add the remaining ½ can of water before pouring into the soup pot)
Add carrots and bring to a simmer. Simmer 5 minutes and then add the peas.
(HINT: You can also add baby corn, niblet corn, green beans, canned kidney beans, frozen or fresh spinach or any other vegetables you desire
Simmer all ingredients on lowish heat for about 45 minutes stirring as needed.
Taste and adjust seasonings to suit your taste. Add more water, if desired (about another ½ to 1 full can). Add stuffed pasta and simmer until done (about an additional 10 minutes).
Serve with a bit of shredded mozzarella cheese on top and fresh warm biscuits.
Serves 3 to 4 (depending on hunger levels). This recipe is actually half of the usual amount I make – it doubles well and freezes well too however, I suggest not adding the pasta before freezing. Split the soup in half and freeze without pasta.
NoteI’ve searched a long time to find a hamburger soup that I liked. After trying a few recipes, I created this one. I love it full of vegetables (I love baby corn & spinach) and my husband suggested adding the pasta to make it a more filling meal.
Baking Powder Biscuits
2 cups flour
4.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp margarine or butter
1 cup milk
Preheat oven to 450 F
Stir dry ingredients together. Cut in margarine until crumbly. Pour in milk and stir to combine. Turn onto floured surface and knead a few minutes. Roll out and cut. Place on ungreased cookie sheet or baking stone. Bake for 12 to 16 minutes until lightly browned on top.
Makes about 12 biscuits.
Add about ½ to ¾ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese for cheese biscuits
Saturday, February 5, 2011
Well, tonight, I learned that one shouldn't click 'OK' unless you really mean it... Now I have a blog that I don't recognize and I can't quite figure out how to make it look like it used too. So I suppose I will spend the rest of my weekend creating the 'redesigned' site.
Yes, I am apparently technologically deficient. What can I say - I planned on being a rock star when I grew up so I took music classes instead of computer classes.
Friday, February 4, 2011
However, one of the shelves was holding computer supplies - printer paper and spare ink cartridges for the small workstation we have just off our kitchen. This would seem like a good idea given the cupboard/closet is just around the corner from the workstation.
But sitting beside the computer station is a 4 drawer plastic cart that was placed there for the specific purpose of holding office supplies. I must admit that although it does house some office type things, it is really packed full of stuff... Most of which don't belong in that cart but were jammed into the drawers in one of my haphazard attempts to tidy up.
So I thought it would be a great, easy project to tackle. After dinner last night, I lugged the cart downstairs to the TV room so I could do my organizing and keep TroubleMaker entertained. I was wrong on a couple of fronts.
First, it took me two hours to do (there was a lot of junk packed in that thing) and second, it was more challenging because TroubleMaker kept moving my piles around (all the while saying "Mama, I'm a goooood halper!").
I kind of find this organizing a little like unpacking after a move - I rediscover stuff I forgot I had! Last night's discoveries included my calculator that does fractions, two architectural scales that I've been looking for, and my totally awesome 'vintage', limited edition green cassette of the Northern Pikes Secrets of the Alibi!
Job well done! For more great inspiration, check out the Organizing Junkie and the rest of us Junkies in training here!
Thursday, February 3, 2011
This week, we tried a 'new' recipe - but like usual, I added and modified and revamped it to make it more interesting. I then decided to pair it with "Mexi-Fries". The result was good - everyone ate well and agreed it was a "do again" meal.
Cheesy Beef Burritos
1 lb hamburger
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 cup salsa
6ea 10" flour tortillas
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 diced green onions
6 leaves, chopped fine, romaine lettuce
1 tomato, diced
Scramble fry hamburger until nearly done, add chili powder and cook until done. Drain if necessary and then add salsa. Simmer on low. Stir in about 3/4 cup of shredded cheese, stir until melted. Keep warm while tortillas heat.
Warm tortillas in oven (450 F for 7 or 8 minutes - wrapped in foil).
Remove hot tortillas, place spoonful of meat mixture down centre of tortilla, top with shredded lettuce, tomato, green onion and sour cream. Add a sprinkle more shredded cheese if desired. Roll tightly and slice in half. Repeat until all tortillas and fillings are used.
Makes 6 servings, 1 burrito each.
16 oz Tater tots
3 - 4 tbsp Cheeze Whiz
3 - 5 tsp Enchilada Sauce
Sour cream, if desired
Cook tater tots according to package directions. Heat 3 to 4 tablespoons of Cheeze Whiz in microwave, when nearly melted, add 3 to 5 teaspoons of enchilada sauce. Stir and heat another 30 seconds.
Put 9 to 12 tots on each plate, top with Cheeze Sauce and a dollop of sour cream. Makes 6 generous servings.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
VI.Unity & Harmony
- a.Unity is generally defined as "oneness"; that is to say that all the parts (of the design) work to tie it together. Unity provides a sense of order. It is often achieved by the use of repetition albeit in shape, pattern, texture or form. Colour can also be used to fuse a space together by providing similarity between dissimilar objects.
b.Harmony works in conjunction with unity and is the result of a design fitting together; harmony can hold a design together.
- a.In design, variety works to capture our attention and create excitement. Varying objects (tall vs short), patterns (stripes vs polka dots), and textures (rough vs smooth) all work to add diversity to a design.
That concludes our introductory look at the Principles of Design. It's a lot to take in but as we work through our design projects, I'll highlight and note how I am applying the Elements and Principles so you can see how they work 'in action'.
Thanks for stopping by and I look forward to journeying down the Design path together!