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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ham stir fried rice aka "fridge clean out"

 Here's tonight's supper: I put some canola oil and some sesame oil on my large, grill pan, then added the following: bok chop, some fresh asparagus, 2 carrots, some long in the tooth celery, 1/2 of a yellow pepper. I left this stir fry a bit, then added: about 2 cups chopped Easter ham, a container of l/o mixed fzn vegetables, all of the assorted, l/o sauce packets from a recent Chinese take out celebration: soy sauce, mustard sauce, sweet n sour sauce. I let that cook a bit more before adding the l/o Chinese restaurant rice, the l/o Basmatti rice from last night and 2 eggs that I scrambled on the grill pan.
Here's some close ups-can't tell which one is better (color wise)
Glad to use this stuff up, and 3 of us enjoyed this for supper (Mr Picky grabbed some cold cereal). Rest is going into take away containers for DD and I to tote to work.

Here's today's freebie, a gift from a student, who I wrote a college recommendation for:

Nice! and yes, she got into UConn.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Fish on Monday: salmon

After a delicious, but rich Easter dinner that highlighter PORK, it's back to lighter fare. Fish on Monday today was broiled salmon fillets, seasoned with black pepper and dill weed; Basmati rice, fzn mixed vegetables. Simple, easy and light. Bfst was homemade butternut squash-mini choc chip-spice muffins, OJ, coffee/tea. Kids took bologna and cheese sandwiches on homemade bread, unsweetened brewed tea. I took some l/o salad, a small container of tuna salad, canned peaches. I made tea at work.

Tired today, as we transitioned back to work/school. Kids had a hard time readjusting to our schedule. Since they were up, I didn't get a good night's sleep. After a check up with my surgeon, I came home to nap for 2 hours. Guess I needed it.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

It'll be a quiet day here, "vacation" officially is ending, it's back to work/school, our normal routine in the morning. Due to appointments and my internal time clock, I've been up early all vacation. : )

Some laundry to do in cold, and then line dry. Other than that, just some puttering around I suppose. I do want to get over to IGA today, it's the last day of their sale on Gold Medal unbleached AP flour $1.88/5 lb bag and I just emptied my storage bin of AP flour. While AP flour is cheaper at Aldi's, it's not my prefered, unbleached variety.

 Breakfast is fend for yourself-several options. I made myself a leftover hashbrowns and 2 egg whites plus one broken egg while making a birthday cake and trying to separate yolks from whites, omelette. Lunch will be pretty much the same-leftovers I suspect will be pushed. Small fridge=get it out of there, FAST! Easter dinner tonight, as DS is working until 5 p.m. so we'll eat for 6. I pulled a butt portion ham out of the freezer, I'll bake it with sliced pineapple rings, making a glaze out of pineapple juice/spicy mustard/brown sugar and stud the ham with whole clove. Parslied, boiled new potatoes, steamed asparagus, corn (a request), boiled kielbasa with choice of mustard will finish the meal. Home made chocolate birthday cake with a layer of Italian cherry fruit preserves and coconut inside, iced with home made, chocolate-cream cheese icing. Yum! Mint chocolate chip ice cream to accompany.

Sprucing up Saturday

Up and out early for a return visit to our organic, CSA farm for an update on the animals (2 kidlets went for the first time). Lambs were moved to pasture for the first time, so cute!  Got a tour of the grounds, but not as extensive as we'll have next week, when just DD and I return again. These outings are freebies, included in our CSA membership. A quick 10 minute drive from our home, too. The Spring CSA will start next Friday, and I'll be able to pick up on my way home from work-awesome. Just a 3 minute detour off of a main road to get to the farm, veering from my normal route home. Very little additional fuel will be used. Perfect. I am really looking forward to this.

One kidlet had a lesson to attend in the city. While he was busy doing that, I ran over to Aldi's for a few things: whole milk, 1 % milk, kielbasa, strawberries, Parmesan wedge, stick margarine, graham and cinnamon graham crackers, no boil lasagna sheets, 1 12 pack each of root beer and ginger ale.

I also bought a replacement market umbrella and a LED light kit for our patio set. This is a set that I have refurbished over and over again. The table harks from the 1960's as far as I can tell: round, steel, mesh top, collapsable table that I am the third owner of. It was given to me, painted white. I had it sanded and repainted black last year. No chairs, but this rental came with 4 white, stackable, plastic chairs, with instructions from the realtor to do with them as I want-toss, keep, leave behind when I go. I'm keeping them. : )    The market umbrella was originally trashed picked by DX years ago; it's on a wooden pole, and has a neutral beige, canvas cover. It was ripped, which is probably why someone just tossed it. DX brought it home, I washed it, sewed it, good as new! It served me well for years. The fabric has finally rotted out, and we lost the pin that keeps the umbrella open (used a nail last year). Time for a new cover! but I couldn't find just a cover. : (      Instead, while shopping, I found 2 sources of replacement market umbrellas: Aldi's and Xpect. Since I was at Aldi's, I bought it there, choosing a red one. There was also a black and white stripped one (feared that the white would get dirty quickly) as well as an olive/brown/tan stripe and an olive one. $29.99 plus tax. The LED light kit (tried last night, works well), was $7.99.

We kept everything off of the deck last Summer as we were told in MAY that the handyman was coming back to paint. Never happened. Should he come back this year? if we are still here, HE can move it.

So now the deck is set, with the exception of planting some vegetables in the 2 large planters.

Did a load of towels, partially dried in the dryer, then hung out to finish drying in the breeze. After lunch and first calling ahead to make sure that they would still be open, I drove the trash and recycling over to the transfer station. $3.40 in trash fees @ 20 cents/lb.

Lunch was leftovers. DS # 1 was here for round 2 of odd jobs for pay. He made himself a bologna and cheese sandwich while we were out. 2 other DS's finished the cheese filled, stuffed shells. I made some tuna salad, had a tuna salad on toast sandwich with a tossed salad on the side. DD was off to work, toted some yogurt, granola bars, fruit etc in a lunch bag.

Supper was very late for us: birthday boy *(officially the 22nd but we chose to celebrate on Sat) chose take out Chinese, and I had funds to cover it. 25 minute drive to his restaurant of choice, then home again to cook the Aldi;s pot stickers and chicken egg rolls. Worked out fine. Fortune cookies and almond cookies were dessert. Choice of beverages. Although I made his birthday cake yesterday, I suggested that we save that for Easter dinner's dessert. All agreed. We gave him his cards and gifts, he seemed happy.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Fruitful Friday


A fruitful Friday, actually a fruitful "vacation" week at home. Up early this morning, made bfst of eggs, hash browns (see product review post), pineapple juice, coffee/tea, toast/pumpkin bread. Lunch was fried fish fillet sandwiches (fzn) on toasted hamburger buns with homemade tartar sauce, lettuce. Sides were corn and a fzn chicken rice-veg mix that I recently purchased for $1.Dinner was 2 homemade cheese pizzas (all the kids here plus the GF), large tossed salad of iceberg lettuce (not a fav but I got 2 heads @ 50 cents each on marked down), organic baby spinach leaves, grape tomatoes, cannellini beans, grated carrot. Choice of dressings.

2 loads of laundry hung outside, the usual daily cleaning jobs but my main task was to tackle to mound of mending that had piled up:

-6 bath towels that were fraying
-2 hand towels-fraying
-9 socks
-a sweater with loose buttons
-a pair of cargo pants needing new hems on the legs as well as 2 patches (that's why I save twill cut offs)
-2 pairs of sleep pants (one patched with fabric from a cotton blouse I was going to upcycle into a quilt)
-5 pairs of leggings
-2 flannel bottom sheets with holes (now sporting new patches made from repurposed flannel boxers whose elastic gave out)
-a T shirt with an underarm hole
-a long sleeved T with a seam needing to be restitched
-a sweater with 2 holes where the tag was pulled off
-3 athletic undershirts

I may be missing something. As usual, I turned to my odd ball colored thread, using several spools finally up. I find that mixing a neutral such as beige/grey with a weird color helps the color to blend in better. Whenever crutial, I will use the "proper" color, but efforts are being made to make due with what I have. A hole in a sock can be chartreuse (yes, a color I am currently using up) while a black sweater, really needs black.

Addressed a "problem" earlier: the double kitchen sink has 2 sink strainers:

one is the standard type, while the other is a mesh screen gizmo that really gunks up easily. I found that I was sending it through the dishwasher daily, if not hand washing it. I really wanted a standard strainer for both sides of this sink. The I remembered: there is a sink we don't ever use at the "bar"-sure enough, it had a standard sink strainer so I swapped them out. Nice. I was actually considering buying one, it was that much of a bother.

DS #1 was here yesterday, earning some extra cash this month, while attending to some chores I can't yet do easily, for which I'd otherwise turn to the expensive, handyman service, which charges over 5 times what I offer DS-which is still double what he normally earns at work, so it's a win-win situation. One task I asked him to attend to, was to finish emptying out the back storage section of the garage. There, he found a glass storm door panel, and as I suspected, it's the missing glass storm panel for the front entry vestibule storm door that I have been putting 6 ml plastic over the screen to help insulate it for cold weather. Awesome! The landlord didn't know where it was (hasn't been here in years) and wouldn't spring for a new/replacement one. I priced them out at the hardware store-pricey. Should we end up staying her another year, we now have the storm window. Yay! It's the small things that matter sometimes! : )

Friday, April 18, 2014

Product review: Hungry Jack Hashbrown potatoes


Here's a new to us product, on our plates this morning: Hungry Jack hash brown potatoes that I doctored up a bit with onion, black pepper, and used reserved bacon fat instead of oil. Very good-an interesting product. Dried, shredded potatoes are reconstituted in the box for 12 minutes with hot water, drained and then fried off. Great emergency meal, camping food item. Normally $1.79/box at the pricer S & S, I had a cpn, bringing them down to $1.29. I had hoped to find them at the dollar store.

Additional bfst offerings: pineapple juice, coffee/tea, eggs fried in bacon fat, strawberries, toast/pumpkin bread.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Getting ready to celebrate!


Up and out early this morning for a PT appointment, then stopped at Aldi's for milk, 1/2 & 1/2 (kept a cooler in the car, but it's cold out), then on to my monthly hair appointment. Next stop, as I worked my way home: Target: 2 99 cents/lb fzn turkey breasts (the limit), 2 pkgs marked down ground beef, large eggs @ 99/lb, 2 pairs of cargo shorts for DS (who commented that he's not sure that he likes them), a navy cardigan for me (on my to find list) and a blue/white stripped, scoop neck T for me. I then headed over to Dollar Tree, hoping to get some tater tots-they were out. So I returned to Aldi's (next door) and got tater tots and hamburger buns. Once home, I made lunch, we cleaned up a bit, then I set to wrapping DS # 1's birthday gifts, having the boys sign their cards for him.  I intentionally chose loud, kid themed, wrapping paper that I unearthed from my craft closet. I hope DS gets a chuckle out of it! Now that we're set on the birthday celebration for this Sat, I can focus on making the cake tomorrow (assemble on Sat), and getting Easter preparations finalized. We're starting to gather a menu, from requests.

 Late in the afternoon, the cleaning service came for my monthly deep clean so, I popped a tray of fzn enchilladas and a tray of stuffed shells into the oven for supper. These are extra "frozen assets" I prepared prior to my surgery. A quick salad, dinner is done. I hope to turn in early tonight, I am tired.

While it's been a "vacation" it has really been about getting stuff done. The house looks great (except for my stack of mending and the stack of clothes I still need to cull through) but it's clean, well organised otherwise.  : )