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Monday, October 20, 2014

Fish on Monday, and LOTS of veggies!

Tonight's fish dinner: fzn Tilapia fillets turned into horseradish encrusted fillets, using homemade breadcrumbs

 The last of my multi colored, multi shaped pasta that I usually reserve for Summer pasta salads. Still plenty of pasta in the home, just nice to use stuff up, too. I buttered it and seasoned it with salt free, garlic and herb seasoning
 A nutritious alternative to a salad: I took the freebie Pok Choi (also known as Chinese cabbage, or Bok Choy) and chopped it up, before sauteeing it in some reserved bacon/pork fat. I added salt, pepper, a large bay leaf, some dried Italian seasoning, then a 29 oz can of stewed tomatoes. Delicious!
Finally: drained, canned corn topped with butter and seasoned with salt and pepper before warming it through in the microwave.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Saving on cleaning costs

 A cloudy start to the day today, but FINALLY, the sun came out for a visit today! Perfect as it is usually Sunday when I do whites and I prefer to let them get deodorized and bleached by the sun, vs using a dryer, saving my pennies in the process.
 Yesterday's marathon laundry overage finished drying on clothes racks brought out in the full sunshine on the back deck,

I am not at all loyal to brands, selecting whatever works, at a great price. I recently tried LA's amazing laundry detergent, and find it works just fine. $1 at Dollar Tree. I had 3 empty bottles down cellar (no sink down there-weird) and wanted to rinse these out for a load of laundry and then some hand washing.
 Still plenty of soap left in those bottles, and just enough to hand wash a wool sweater. Perfect.
My goal is to aim for $2/25 oz bottle of dish soap. I picked up this bottle of Reeva from Aldis to try as it has shea butter, and come Winter, my hands get bad. Next to it, is a bottle of LA's amazing brand dish soap, a Dollar tree find. Huge bottle for only a $1. Awesome price and works really well.

Sunday supper: Salisbury steak with onion-mushroom gravy

 A stretchy supper, used a few things up in the process. First: whirled some dried bread heels in the food processor, and added some additional bread crumbs from a storage Mason jar
 Got a small container of beef stock out of the freezer, and used 2 lbs beef to make 8 servings.

 After forming and browning the patties, I removed them from the electric skillet and added some margarine, so as to saute a pkg of mushrooms

 Here's the French onion soup that was used to make an onion gravy; I only used one can
 Once the mushrooms were done, I mixed up 2 cups hot water with 2 tsp Knorr beef bouillon powder,

added the can of French onion soup, and the small container of beef stock. this was my gravy base.
 I added approx. 3 cups of this broth the the skillet, in which I had  returned the cooked patties, placing the mushooms on top.
 I whisked in some cornstarch and gravy master into the remaining 1 cup of beef broth
 I brought the patties and beef broth up to a simmer
 then gently added the corn starch slurry infused broth, to thicken the resulting gravy.
 Mashed potatoes on the side
 along with steamed carrots and mange tout organic peas

My supper plate.

Need a Dacyczyn fix?


I stumbled across this, through another blogger:

enter "Dacyczyn" in the search engine and read interviews of Amy Dacyczyn's three daughters.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

A busy, Fall day

Here is the view from the deck off of the sun room. We are definately past the prime, as far as Fall foliage colors are concerned, the brilliant reds and oranges have now moved to harvest golds and russet hues as leaves are falling more and more each day. There are few trees around the home, which is highly unusual for this town, but we have them flanking the property on both sides, and the rear of the property is wooded.
 The sky was covered much of the day; little sunshine was seen. From the movement of the clouds, I can tell that they are bringing a cold front, which is to embrace CT tomorrow night, with reports of a killing frost. It's that time of year, we've been spoiled, temperature wise, not that my utility bill is complaining.
 Yesterday afternoon brought my monthly cleaning service for a good, deep clean, changing beds as well. I was left with a lot of laundry-not unusual for a larger family to have, even with me keeping on top of it daily. As soon as there is enough for the HE front loader, it is run through. I chanced the forecast that advised that we may* have a passing shower, and hung 3 loads out today
 as well as placed one on the clothes horses, set up in front of the South facing windows of the Sun room. I am certain that these will be dry by noon tomorrow. I still have one more load going now, which will also be hung up, save the few towels in amongst the sheets.
 The Living room couch loaded with folded, stacked laundry-smells so fresh from being outside
 as well as more on a side chair, holding DS# 1's and GF's laundry. Clothes to be placed on hangers are gently laid across the back. Owners can do their own hanging.
We managed to eat through some lingering leftovers for lunch, more will be used up hopefully tomorrow as well. Tonight's supper: we are trying something new. Instead of the usual, Saturday night is soup night (I have 2 different types of leftover soup in the fridge that I will push for Sunday's lunch choices), we are trying this:

Only modifications is that I tripled the recipe so as to serve 6, added about 3 Tbsp apple juice to the fry pan so as to deglaze it, adding this liquid to the Crock Pot as well, and I am using the convection toaster oven vs the microwave to bake the potatoes as I much prefer conventional baked vs micro baked potatoes. If I was pressed for time, I would absolutley use the microwave instead. : )

My oven roasted/baked potatoes

 2 hours cooking on high, here's what we ended up with

My dinner plate

A large, tossed salad with choice of dressing

Review: very good, hearty, filling. I'd make it again, just not necessarily every week.

One kidlet had some lessons this morning in the city, so after dropping him off, I hit Aldi's and DT since I was close by. While I knew that I would be picking up some "extras," including ingredients for this recipe, the final tally on the receipt was more than I was hoping to spend. I do need to tally my slips and see where I stand, grocery budget wise, as we move into November. Tonight, I am using Ald's fzn beef-pork meatballs, as well as their canned pork beans in Froogs recipe. Smells good, I'll have to report back with  a review.

Friday night pizza night and sometimes, I just can't win!

The last time we had Friday night pizza night, and all 6 of us were here for supper, I made 2 large pizzas (forget what types) and it turned out that one would have been fine, as we had a whole pizza's worth leftover! Now worries, it was eaten later.

So, last night, I again made 2 large pizzas:

 A "special" pizza with pepperoni, red onion, black olives, green peppers
and an onion-Pepperoni pizza

We quickly ate both, with some kidlets asking for more! Ack! Some nights, I can't win! So, do I make THREE next time?

Is the heat on yet?


We've had some pretty up and down weather. Already had a frost warning a week or so ago, followed by unusually hot, humid, sultry weather. Add that the A/C system was bleed at work (prematurely) so work was far from pleasant (I work in a windowless room). On several occassions, I've heard the hum of the furnace in other homes on the street (granted most would also have oil fed boilers as well for domestic hot water but the length of time that the furnace is running tells me that it's for heat, not hot water). I have yet to even set the programmable thermostats. : ) 

I'm holding out as long as I can, conserving in the process. We're doing the following: 

-wearing layers, warm socks/house slippers 
-extra blankets on the beds, flannel sheets 
-warm night clothes 
-taking advantage of passive solar, especially from the attached sun room off of the Den. Let the heat build up, then open the French doors into the Den, to allow the heat into the house 
-cuddling on the couch with assorted blankets/quilts 
-serving pots of hot tea after dark 
-hot meals for supper (we eat around 7 p.m.when it's dark) 

Soon, the wood stove will be used in the afternoon as well. I need to get a wood delivery 

Forecast is for some chilly weather to enter CT this week, along with rain=cold, raw weather. We're enjoying this energy efficient rental, to be sure, compared to our former rental, which was often damp, cold-especially after night fall. 

If I can hold out until Nov 1, that would be awesome, and even then, there will be limited use of the furnace, if at all. At what temperature (interior of home), do you finally cave and turn the heat on? It's been years since I lived in a 2 story home, last experience was an end unit but attached on one side, townhouse appartment from '86-'90, with electric heat but awesome, sunny exposure. Luckily it was zoned per floor, with the bedrooms upstairs. I never even turned on the upper floor, we kept the downstairs (had another tenant below us in an efficiency appartment at 55 while away/night, and 60 when home. 

We continue to adjust to this new rental. I anticipate keeping the second floor colder (bedrooms), but the main floor warmer, and timing just the Den (third zone) for when we would be viewing tv. I'll probably start at 55 upstairs 24/7 and 55 downstairs (both zones) at night and when away, then set the at home/evening setting to 64 and see how that goes.

How are you doing in your neck of the woods?