Friday, July 31, 2009

Zucchini Invasion

Out of all the vegetables in my gardent the one that it doing the best is by far the zucchini plants. From the two plants that we have so far we have gotten 8 huge zucchini's. I hear alot of differing opinions on the subject but personally I like to let my zucchini's get a little bigger. My new favorite thing to do with zucchini (besides making zucchini bread) is to marinate it for a few hours or even over night and then grill it. It's simple and yet oh so good! I have tried a few different marinades but so far my favorite is a sweet and tangy honey mustard marinade.

Honey Mustard Zucchini Marinade
3 tablespoons honey mustard
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon oil
and a handful of any herbs that you have lying around- Fresh basil has been very abundant and has paired really well with this marinade

Cut the zucchini into 1/4 inch strips or slices and marinade at least an hour or for maximum flavor marinate overnight. Turn the grill on medium high and cook the zucchini for about 8 minutes on each side. Be sure to turn regularly so that the zucchini doesn't stick!

I like to serve this with some marinated artichokes, roasted red peppers, and crusty bread. Hello tapas night! It sounds simple but if you like zucchini you are sure to love it!

For other great recipes check out the recipe swap going on over at The Grocery Cart Challenge.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Playing Hooky

Today I woke up and it was POURING down rain. Not a good way to start the day, especially since I had a cute pink LINEN wrap dress planned for today. Linen plus rain equal no good. So I started getting ready and was just not feeling like going to work. Which is a usual feeling. But today I just couldn't get in the mood. I have been with my company for about a year and have only taken 1 sick day. So today I mustered up all of my courage and sick voice and called in sick. First on emy sick day agenda was to go back to bed and sleep. So far that has been my day. But I do have big plans for today. I am going to wash my kitchen floors, clean the carpets (by the way does anybody have any carpet cleaner recipes or tips??), organize my dinning room which is FULL of papers to be filed, and take my sewing machine to the shop to be fixed. Its a tall order but I think I can get it all done. I especially want to have the house clean because my parents are bringing over their dog to stay for 10 days. She is old and I love her but I am just imagining the things that 3 dogs can get into. I feel like if its clean to begin with it will be easier to maintain and see what the dogs are destoying along the way! JAson took the camera to San Digeo but hoepfully I can get my old one to work so I can snap some cute pictures of the three playing (well Molly and Paco will be playing, Heidi cannot be bothered with sort of playing).

Paco has loved Molly (my parents dog) since the day they met. Paco is usually very timid around other dogs and growls a little but not Molly. Every time I go see my parents Paco runs to the door and looks for his Molly and when he finds her he licks her right on the nose. Its the cutest thing ever, especially because molly is literally twice his size!

This picture is from my cabin a few months ago. Molly refuses to look at a camera when you try and take her picture! We'll work on that this week!

Any suggestions for the carpet would be great!I have beige carpet and it gets SO dingy from day to day walking on it. I usually get it cleaned twice a year but I want to try something myself (and be cheap!) and see if it works. Has anybody tried the woolite high traffic area wand thingy?

Well I am off to accomplish my list of things to do. Have a happy Wednesday!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Domestic Goddess Extraordinaire

My plans for today include cleaning, laundry, and baking some bread. Sounds like something out of a 1950's home journal or something. I actually like to clean and I love to cook and bake. The problem is work always seems to get in the way. By them time I work all day and come home the last thing I wanna do is cook and clean. Before working at my current job I had about a month from the time I left my previous job until the time I started my new job. It was an awesome look into what it would be like to be a housewife! The house was sparkling clean every day and I had awesome dinners ready for Jason when he walked through the door every night. Secretly if I could transport myself back into any time, I think I would want to be a 1950's house wife. 

A few months ago I cleaned out under my kitchen sink and found at least 20 bottles of cleaner. From floor cleaners, to glass cleaner, and even hardwood floor polish (we don't even have hardwood floors!). So I vowed not to buy any more cleaner until everything was used up. Well the other day I was looking for an all purpose cleaner and we didn't have any. Ultimately my goal is to get rid of all the cleaner we have and just have 2 or 3 cleaners to use for all the cleaning. Well I just found the Method Grapefruit all purpose cleaner. Its non toxic, safe on all surfaces, and it smells heavenly! 

From now on Method will be the only brand of cleaner that I buy!

When you guys clean do you have a set routine? Some people have to said to focus on a specific room on a specific day while other have said to do a quick clean up everyday and an intensive cleaning every week. Usually I pick up as I go but some how I feel like the cleaning is always getting ahead of me! Any tips would be greatly appreciated!  

Friday, July 24, 2009

Dear San Diego, I hate you much less now.

The only perk about Jason traveling so much is that I sometimes get to go and see him where he is at and stay for a few days. I was debating whether or not to visit him in San Diego because of the price of the plane ticket. But in the end I decided that I need a mini- vacation and I have never visited California so this will be a new and exciting experience! I'm SO excited to go. I'm not sure if I will be able to make it through the next 18 days. Ugh.
I have two favors to ask of you wonderful readers out in Blog land. Does anybody have any suggestions of things to do in and around San Diego? Also, I'm trying to pack as light as possible now that it costs $25 to check a bag. I'm only going to be there for 3 days. Do you guys think it would be possible to pack only a carry on?? I haven't flown for over a year and this whole paying to bring one stinking suitcase is killing me. I really would rather spend that $25 while I'm actually IN San Diego. Any packing or travel tips of suggestions you guys may have would be oh so appreciated!

In reward for your valued opinions I will leave you with the best ever recipe for Italian bread. I make one loaf every Sunday and it lasts until about Monday morning. Its that good. Before making this bread I tried about 7,253,448 bread recipes. All of which produced either a thick brown crust, a weird shaped load (thank you bread machine), crumbly bread that fell apart when you touched it, and a variety of other bread ailments. This recipe is easy and delicious! It tastes like bread that you would actually want to eat. So without further ado here is the recipe...

Italian Bread

1 cup luke warm water
1 1/2 tbs sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
2 1/4 tsp fast active yeast
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbs olive oil

Combine water, yeast, and sugar. Let sit for 10 minutes or until mixture is foamy. In a separate bowl combine remaining ingredients. Once yeast mixture is frothy add it to the dry ingredients and stir until all ingredients are combined. Knead for 1-2 minutes on a floured surface. Place in an oiled bowl and let raise for 45 mins. Form into a loaf type shape on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 25-30 mins.

If you are feeling fancy you can add a few tablespoons of chopped herbs and a dash of Parmesan cheese. I had great success with a handful of basil, fresh garlic, and cheese added. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Dear San Diego, I hate you.

This is Jason.

This is Jason, wearing my glasses and pretending he is me. He looks much better in my glasses than I do.

This is Jason acting surprised that he saw a deer, in Potter county Pennsylvania, Deer Capital of the world.

Jason just left for San Diego on Monday. He will be there for a month. 1 Month. Otherwise known as FOREVER. I miss him more than I have ever missed anything or anyone in my whole life. I miss him more than I miss Ben and Jerry's lemon swirl ice cream which is sadly no longer made.

In other news, Paco is mourning the loss of a fellow chihuahua. Gidget, the Taco Bell dog died today. Paco is in mourning.

Or maybe he just fell asleep sitting up again. Its hard to tell with chihuahua's. I was concerned after hearing the fateful news about Gidget. Paco is almost 11 and not in the best shape, as can be seen by his little budha belly in the picture above. So after dinner I took him and Heidi for a walk. They seemed to like it except for the humidity part. Apparently 300% humidity can even cramp a chihuahua's syle. So after 5 blocks and 2 dogs breathing like they were doing phase 2 of the 30 day shred we returned home. It was a good time and hopefully it will add at least 3 days to Paco's extraordinary little life.

Monday, July 13, 2009

When the moon hits the sky...

For the past few months I've been trying to perfect my pizza making skills. It was touch and go for awhile. There were several nights that it felt like we were eating cardboard with sauce and cheese. For once in my life though I decided to actually stick to something and see it through and the results were definitely worth it!

The recipe I used made two medium sized pie's.

I topped one with mushrooms, red sauces, and fresh mozzarella. (I was taking the pizza's to Jasons parents for dinner and only half baked them at my house then baked them for the last few minutes at Jason's parents- Hence then light colored crust and unmelte cheese!)

and for the second I used fresh basil from the garden, tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella. Instead of using sauce I topped it with a little olive oil and garlic.

The best part about these pizza's was the price. The only things that I didn't have on hand to make the pizza with was the mozzarella. Everything else either came from the garden or I had in the pantry. I even got the mozzarella at Adli's for a mere $2.19, which was enough for both pizza's plus a little extra left over.

So without further ado here is the recipe.

The best pizza crust ever...

1 cup warm water
3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

In a small bowl combine water, yeast, and sugar. Let mixture sit for 10 minutes to proof. (This is THE most important step and one that I always skipped until this recipe, hence the cardboard) Meanwhile in a large bowl combine remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. After yeast is frothy and well proofed add it to dry ingredients. Mix all ingredients until combined and then transfer to a floured surface. knead for about 4 minutes or until your arms feel like their going to fall off. Put dough into an oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel. Let bowl sit in a warm place for 45 minutes.

Once yeast has risen for 45 minutes divide dough into 2 pieces and roll out into a circle. Cover with sauce and toppings of choice and bake at 500 degrees for 10-12 minutes. (Mine got a little two brown towards the end so for the second pizza I baked with foil over it for the first 5 minutes. If you like crispy crust I would skip this step!)

For more frugal recipe's check out the recipe swap going on over at The Grocery Cart Challenge.

Friday, July 10, 2009


So a few weeks ago I mentioned that we were going to buy a new couch. I found the most perfect couch at Ikea while we were still in the "looking stage". It was a turquoise sectional that had clean lines and a solid back. I had been searching for a couch that did NOT have a pillow back for months. Finally my search was over. 2 weeks later I returned to buy my coveted turquoise couch. To my dismay they are no longer carrying the turquoise couch. However they did have it left in 2 colors, a beige-ish off white color which I was pretty fond of and a grey color that I was not so fond of. As we were weighing our options I began to think of how tired I was of looking for a couch and how much I just wanted to be done and have a new piece of furniture. Initially I wanted the beige couch which I though was pretty and neutral, which meant it would be easy to accessories. However after 20 minute of Jason telling me how dirty a white couch would get I must have had an aneurysm and agreed to get the grey couch. Looking back I should have put my foot down and gotten the beige couch. So for now I am stuck with this grey sectional (that is until I go back to Ikea and buy the beige cover). I love the couch and the lines but I don't feel like it fits where I have it in my room. Maybe its because I am so used to the old set up or the fact that ALL of my art work and other furniture is exactly where it was before I moved the room around, but in any case Im not loving the set-up. So thats where complete strangers come in. HELP! What do you think I could move or fix?? My living room has exactly 4 doors and 1 window and only 4 walls. Thats right a window or door on EVERY WALL. Don't believe me? See for yourself...

Warning: I should be embarrassed to show the pictures of my messy living room with random objects strewn about. But at this point I just want a beautiful living room courtesy of your lovely comments!

As you can see I have our entry door and one window on one wall and the door leading to our bedroom (which is always closed except for this one instance) on another wall.

Same walls different view. As you can see Paco and Heidi have embraced the new couch.

This is the view from the entry. Thats my dining room through the archway and my kitchen through the door next to the archway. Another problem my poor confused living room faces is this gigantic TV. Is it sad that we have a huge TV but just canceled TV? I think so. In my defense though this TV was bought BD- Before Dawn, as in when Jason was single and had nothing better to buy than unnecessarily large TV's.

So there you have it. Any suggestions short of a gutting the place and plastering over doors would be greatly appreciated!!