Friday, November 7, 2014

Recipe Share: Vegetarian Salad Rolls

A while ago, I found this recipe on the website and I thought they would be tasty. During my next month's menu plan, I added it for dinner, intending to serve it with an Asian inspired chicken. I purchased the vermicelli noodles and rice wrappers and promptly forgot where I found the recipe.

Fast forward a bit and I asked my friends on Facebook. Naturally, they came through with suggestions. I combined the suggestions, deleted a few things, added a couple more and came up with my own recipe.

Here's what I did!

Vegetarian Salad Rolls

1-1/4 mini cucumbers – cut into matchstick size pieces
6-8 baby peeled carrots – cut into matchstick size pieces
1/2 – 3/4 cup bean sprouts
1/2 yellow pepper sliced thin and cut length wise
3 green peppers, sliced thinly
1 to 1-1/2 cup cooked rice vermicelli noodles
1 – 2 tbsp fresh ginger (grated from frozen)
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 caps, full, soya sauce

14 round, rice paper wrappers

Toss all ingredients (except for wrappers) in a glass bowl. Soak rice paper liners (one at a time) in hot water (30 seconds or until soft). Place on clean tea towel. Add filling (at one end) and fold sides in and roll.

Place seam side down on parchment paper, cover with plastic wrap and chill until ready to eat.

We served them with spicy Thai chili sauce but a good peanut sauce would be nice too. I think one could add shrimp and my son said that the Teriyaki chicken I served with it would have been awesome inside the rolls.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Menu Plan Monday: September 1, 2014

This is my first MPM post in months... I've been planning though! I have monthly menus dating back to February 2014 and my hope is to have the next four months planned by the end of October. I'm SO happy! No more dreading meal planning each week/month. I'm so close to have a full year of menus I can't wait!

Do I worry about boredom? NOPE. I've got theme nights and a plan to replace key meals each month to keep things 'interesting'. I can't begin to tell you how excited I am about this!

Without further blabbing, here it is. I've noted the month's themes too so you can see just how clever I am! My recipe for the Crunchy Chicken is at the bottom of the post.

Monday (Macaroni Monday's): Crunchy Chicken with garden potatoes, carrots & corn
Tuesday (Try It Tuesday's): Mexican Unstuffed Pepper Casserole
Wednesday (It looked Pinteresting): Chili's Monterey Chicken with rice
Thursday (Quick & Easy) Perogies and sausage
Friday (Finger Food Friday): Clubhouse sandwiches and Macaroni Salad
Saturday (Sandwich Saturday's): Smokies and leftover Macaroni Salad
Sunday (Simple Sunday's): Eggs and toast

Linking up to the Org Junkie's Menu Plan Monday! Have a great week - back to school plus we're heading out camping next weekend so it's going to be a wonderful week!

PS Here is the recipe for my crunchy chicken. I kind of created this and my first run was TOO salty so I expect I'll play with it and seriously reduce the amount of season salt!

Crunchy Chicken

3 or 4 chicken breasts

3 cups corn flake cereal
1 tsp season salt (originally, I used two)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp pepper

~place all in a large zippered bag. Roll and crush with a rolling pin.
~set aside

1/2 cup mayonaise
2 tbsp water
~place in a bowl and stir to combine
~set aside

1/2 to 3/4  Flour
sprinkle of: pepper, table salt, basil

~place flour and spices in a shallow plate and stir.
~set aside

1 egg
1 tsp water
~combine egg and water in a bow and beat to combine
~set aside

1. Wash & dry chicken.
2. Dip chicken piece in egg and water, then dredge in flour mixture.
3. Dip again in mayo mixture and dredge well in corn flake mixture.
4. Place on parchment paper and bake at 400F preheated oven for 35 minutes (or until cooked through).

Monday, June 23, 2014

Forty by Forty (40x40): Day 21 - my closet

Today, in the world of the world's most boring 40x40 countdown, I decided to tackle my bedroom closet (my side of it). Fortunately, I knew what I was in for. Unfortunately, it wasn't the first time I'd completed this "organizing" task.

Over the past two years, things have "slid" around my house. Unable to do as much as I'd like and unmotivated to do what I can, "things" have just been put where there is a space. In attempt to control my clutter, I've been ridding our house of as many horizontal surfaces as possible. However, I'm SO good at amassing clutter, that I've found ways to be cluttered in vertical positions too.

I've also completely repurposed rooms in our house just so it can contain my clutter in an seemingly organized fashion (that's really a joke but the bed in the photo studio may tell otherwise)...

Want to see my shame?

And before anyone asks, the paper plates stuck to the walls are actually reading aids for TroubleMaker. We were reading by flashlight and he'd have to find the word on the wall. He moved out a month ago (to his own room) and I've not taken them down... As I mentioned, things have slid a lil' bit around here.

Over the years, I've blogged about getting organized a lot. Like a lot, a lot. I've done a couple (three?) different organizing challenges (52 Weeks & 29 Day) and it always goes well enough. I completely understand the process and I'm really good at it (check out this and this and this) but as time passes, my interest wanes and my stick-to-it-ness disappears and then I'm right back where I started.

'Cept this time, The Org Junkie (the guru of all things organized) isn't hosting an organizing challenge so I must go it alone (I'd use a Star Wars reference about Luke & Yoda but I really don't know anything about the movies).

First, I emptied everything out of the closet.

Then I went through everything. Happily, I purged several pairs of pants that had grown too big for me. I tossed out several pairs of dress pants that I've had for more than 10 years and haven't actually worn in at least 4 years. Then I rehung what I'd kept, washed a few items (again that haven't been worn but one must always have at least one pair of dress pants and a blouse or two). I cleaned out the five purses I own (I used to only have one purse - it did everything I needed it to do, then I discovered Grace Adele and now I own four purses, 5 clutches and two wallets). I then put my boot supports in my most awesome boots and folded all my purty sweaters.

Now it is done and I'm the happy owner of a very tidy closet.

Friday, June 20, 2014

40x40 Update: Day 25 - Meal Planning (in my defense)

My goal was to plan (at first) six months ahead - then I said three and finally settled on two months. I accepted that I need to accommodate what I could realistically complete. I've got the rest of June, all of July and August done and it feels amazing!

I've been teased for years about my meal planning and when sharing my Day 25 40x40 challenge on Facebook, my sweet sister started teasing me about it and it was her goal to teach me a few things about living life instead of planning meals. It got me thinking - why do I meal plan?

Reaching way back in my memory, I recall the first time I started planning meals. I was working as an order-picker in a sewing supply warehouse. Although I liked the job, it was dreadfully mundane and sometimes I needed something to pass time while I was wandering the isles picking orders. It was usually the same thing week after week but it killed five minutes.

Later on, it evolved to planning when my husband worked out of town. I again ate the same thing Monday to Thursday, week after week, but always tried to plan different things when he was home.

When I went back to work after our son was born, it had to happen. I was gone from the house 7am until 4:30pm and my husband didn't cook so I had to make sure he knew what to make for breakfast and lunch plus, I needed to be able to spend as much time with my baby as possible when I got home from work.

Planning further ahead (like I've been doing since February) works so much better for me for a few reasons...

1. Planning ahead helps me save money.
2. It takes the guess-work out of dinner.
3. Aids me in planning more nutritious meals.
4. Gives me more time with family.
5. Helps me stay on budget for our 'dining out' budget and our grocery budget.
6. Reduces my stress level because I'm not worrying about it.
7. Ensures I have several meal choices on hand (in case we don't feel like what's on the menu that day).
8. Once I get another five months planned, other than tweaking it and rotating in new meal choices, I won't have to worry what's for dinner for a good long time to come!
9. Less time in the kitchen!
10. During the school year, we have commitments on at least one night a week, knowing what's for dinner means we can eat and get out the door on time and I don't turn into Momzilla.

And those, friends, are just off the top of my head. If I thought a little more, I'd likely come up with 10 more!

Everyone is different - some of us plan, some of us don't. I say do what works for you and be happy. Life is too short to worry about what others are doing but if I had to give anyone a piece of advice, it would be to try menu planning - you might just like it!

Sister: I'm expecting you to teach me some of what you've promised!

PS If you're interested in learning how I menu plan and how others do it, here are a few links so you can be in the know too and simplify your life.

My menu planning guidelines
Our Family Recipe Index (it needs updating)
The Organizing Junkie's recipe selection criteria
More Org Junkies Menu Planning Resources

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Forty by Forty (40x40) - Day 33

First and most important lesson learned today: I cannot count. Counting backwards was never really my "thing" and I realized today, that I've somehow managed to get mixed up but I'm back on track and I've been doing things daily (or delegating) so it's all going to work out in the end.

Today was a delegation day... I enlisted my super awesome, couldn't do it without her, Mother, to help me. My plan had been to do a cupboard today - my spice cupboard. Which I superbly organized while participating in an organizational challenge a few years ago but it's recently fallen on hard, mixed up times. So it got gutted, cleaned and reorganized all by my wonderful mother while my hunny and I spent an hour at Registries sorting out the how and why of registering a motorhome once the Registry office creates the registry incorrectly.

I also gave confidence to two Mommy friends who have apparent bathing suit complexes, cheered on eight very enthusiastic soccer players, made a kick-ass dinner and even crocheted a lil' something (serious, it's only little - I just did three rounds).  I figure that's a good list of accomplishments for today and will still only count all this awesome as just "one" thing.

What kind of awesome did you create today? This life is a journey and I think we should all try to be as awesome as we can each and every day - not just a certain number of days prior to a certain milestone. So go, be awesome and enjoy this thing called life.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Forty by Forty (40x40) - Day 36

First, some housekeeping...

I'm tossing the order of my "list" out the window. Turning 40 is liberating in the sense that I'm now getting to the age where two things are happening:
1. Things I remember like yesterday are becoming "vintage" (as I learned the other day, 1989 (the year), is now considered as such)
2. I can do whatever the hell I want!

The newest member of our family
Day 36 - today... Since my list is still my list and the order is being juggled like balls at a carnival, I've decided today is the day to buy an RV. Technically speaking, Monday was the day (we signed the final paperwork) and Thursday is the day we take possession so Wednesday seemed like a good time to share our news.

I've spent the past (nearly) two years cooped up in the house (well, in a manner of speaking) and since I'm not getting any younger and things (health wise) aren't about to change drastically any time soon, we, as a family, decided it was probably time we start "living" and for me, that's been a really important step to beginning to accept the my new reality. We've purchased one of those ridiculous reclining lawn chairs (zero gravity type) and with my super neck pillow, I figure it'll be just as awesome as my (ugly but comfy) recliner at home.

Different walls, different trees and a different place will be good for me. Different is good and I'm looking forward to getting back to something I've always loved doing! Our first trip is planned and we're looking forward to it.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Forty by Forty (40x40) - Day 39

So... Today's task was to sign my organ donor card. Doesn't sound like a big deal, does it? But it kind of is because I'm basically saying that when I die, they can take all the parts of me they want to use. Moreover, I might be able to actually help someone live!

That's really kind of awesome and since I have no religious affiliations (or attachments to my body), I say USE ALL OF ME.

 Did you know in any given year, there are approximately 4500 people waiting for an organ transplant? Did you also know that Canada has one of the lowest rates of organ donation in the world? And guess what, you can donate when you are ALIVE!!!

 Just some more quick stats for you... The biggest needed organ? Kidney - which you can be a living donor for. Number of people who died while waiting for organ donation (in 2012)? 256. What can one organ donor potentially do? Save as many as eight lives! A little weirded out by the idea of donating a part of yourself when you die? Donate blood NOW - it's considered the gift of life, takes about an hour of your time and they give you juice and a cookie when you're done!

I signed the back of my Alberta Health Care Card and made sure my husband knows what I wish to have happen when I die. That's really all I have to do! If you want to be a living donor, there are links via a map here.

PS It was very kindly pointed out to me that yesterday, I posted five things on my list and stated I would update next week. Apparently, next week is 7 days so why was I posting 5 things I'd do over 7 days... So, to please the one who will be donating my organs, here, again, are the SEVEN things I will be doing...

1. Finish & share my 40x40 list!
2. Sign my organ donor card!
3. Make a duct tape wallet for TroubleMaker (aka Brennan, who, with each year, outgrows his toddler moniker)
4. Store away our winter clothing & footwear
5. Make a kid summer "bucket list"!
6. Clean out my beside table (I live so dangerously)
7. Clean out my closet

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Forty by Forty (40x40) - Day 40

In 40 days, I turn 40 years old. Although I'm not especially bothered by turning 40 (if any birthday was hard, it was either #18 or #39), I kind of thought it'd be fun to try and do 40 things (a thing a day) on and before the 'big day'. I'm going to send my thirties off in as big a style as I can...

So what will I strive to do? Well, I can't travel too much (my ability to drive has been impeded) and I won't be doing anything crazy (like bungee jumping or skydiving) so in the grand scheme of awesome, it may only register as a “6” - perhaps even just a “5” - but it'll be my 5 and I'm going to enjoy every minute of it.

You can follow along here on Barefoot Deliberations or find me on Instagram or Twitter. I will also be posting publicly on Facebook (I will specifically open up the 40x40 Facebook status updates and will Tweet  links to them). The notable exception is the one item which stipulates "24 hours with no Facebook, Instagram or Twitter". I likely will still blog about it though - not totally decided!

Here, in a not yet determined order, are the first five things of the 40 things I aim to complete...

1. Finish & share my 40x40 list!
2. Sign my organ donor card!
3. Make a duct tape wallet for TroubleMaker (aka Brennan, who, with each year, outgrows his toddler moniker)
4. Store away our winter clothing & footwear
5. Make a kid summer "bucket list"!

Exciting, I know! Can't you just wait to follow along? Each Wednesday, I'll post the next five things on my list.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

We-Design-Day: Big Boy Room!

It's been a while since I wrote about working on a plan for my son's "Big Boy Room". For a while (ie over Christmas/holidays) I did not think about it (mostly) or worry about it (even thought my original goal was to get him transitioned to his room before/over Christmas). Now with the new year here, it's time to start thinking about it again and work towards getting the design completed and work on implementing it.

My ideas are all broad and conceptual, but I know I want the room to grow with him as he ages. The room needs to be functional (sleeping, relaxing and double as a "sometimes" guest room), inviting, mature with the ability to be youthful, energetic, edgy and "masculine" but not so much as to take away from the fact it's a child's bedroom.

Typically, when I do design work, I've got worksheets and interviews I conduct but the biggest tool I use is observation. I like to observe people and their things and learn more about them. I can give you magazine perfect, trendy design but if it isn't who the people are, they won't be happy with it and subsequently, neither will I. I know my son pretty well. I know what he likes, what he doesn't like and I kind of know his "style" (as much as a five year old can have a style).

This weekend, I dug out my paint kid and started reviewing my samples looking for greys. I had it in my head that grey tones were they way to go. Black furniture to ground the space and the use of industrial materials (diamond plate metal, various garage/shop accessories/furniture) would give me the look I wanted.

And in my head, it was fabulous, with a Capital "F".

The small swatches of colour looked great and I was in love with the three different combinations I'd put together - I had no idea how I was going to pick just one! Today I pulled out the paint chips and laid them all out.

And I quickly realized that they were in no way reflective of my son. At all.

The idea is concrete and is reflective of him and his likes, it was just my preoccupation with a neutral pallet that got in the way.

Can we agree to make red the new neutral?

Design Tip:

To thine own self be true.

HAHA! I've always wanted to use that on my blog and tada!

In all seriousness, it's very easy to fall in love with something trendy or something you see on TV or in a magazine but if it's not really indicative of your style, you're likely better off to admire the pages of the magazine and focus on figuring out what your style is.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The significance of September

It would appear everything I like doing, I stopped doing in September.

As my son and his friend sat down to play the Wii, I thought "What should I do?" Write! That was the obvious answer. I donned my earphones, turned on my music (do you have any idea how annoying the Mario games' music is?) and opened my story (you know the one, the one I wrote in six weeks?). It was then I noticed I hadn't touched the story since September 19 (2013)! WTH?! How did that happen?

I started dreaming about the story the other day and I knew I had to get back to it. I have a serious love for the characters in the story - I'm kind of sad, really, I should get a life. Maybe it's the writer's curse to be in love with your own hero and heroine?

None the less, yesterday's post about "new year, new book" may be the inspiration I was looking for. I mean, really, I have at least one other story idea sitting in my head (I wrote it down - I can't trust myself to remember my name these days) but I want (must, need) to finish up the first one before I dive into another.

Here I go, back in with Derek and Clare, see you on the other side!

(PS If/when I publish the book, I think "Derek" will have a different name. I used "Derek" initially as a place holder and it's not grown on me)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New year, blank book?

Someone I know (actually, I think it was three people) posted this clever little sign on their Facebook page about how the new year is like a blank book - you can write your own story. It finishes with the even more clever "write a good one".

Honestly, I love it. I love the saying and think it's fabulous.

And at it's core, it a great sentiment but it really isn't all that practical. I mean, really, who wouldn't want to start each year - any  day - with a blank slate. A chance to right our wrongs, a chance to paint a beautiful picture, an opportunity to make our lives exactly what we want them to be.

Except for bills. And money. And mortgages. And life.

My son is five (coming six) and his book is blank but even he's got school (2.75 hrs per day, 5 days per week - and piano on Tuesdays plus 20 minutes piano practice 5 days a week) and yanno, he's five so I make his bedtime and major life decisions for him.

I suppose if I don't take it too literally, I could see the benefits of looking at the new year as a blank slate. I can choose better and choose different. I can resolve to be kinder, think sweeter and to taking the high road more often.

But I'll think about that tomorrow. Welcome to 2014.


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