Monday, August 31, 2009

Meal Planning Monday

I've decided to participate in this week's menu planning at Org Junkie. I plan a rough idea of what I will make in a week but lately I have been throwing the plans out the window and making quesadillas every night. Its hard when its just two people for dinner. I like the freedom to not HAVE to plan but I definately benefit from following a stricter plan each week. Hopefully having a plan in writing will hold me more acountable and make me stick to it! Click on the button below to see more menu plans.

Monday: Roasted brussel sprouts, Au Gratin Potatoes, and homemade chunky apple sauce
Tuesday: Taco's using veggie crumbles and spanish rice
Wednesday: Going to my mom's for dinner. I will be taking over some homemade applesauce (which I will be making on Monday)
Thursday: Zucchini Lasagna and possibly some homemade bread if I am feeling ambitious
Friday: Zucchini casserole, which I made a few weeks ago and froze
Saturday: Stir fried broccoli with rice
Sunday: randomness- usually I will make some sort of dip with chips and some vegetables and whatever left overs there are from the past few days.

Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Cute Wedding Gift

I went to my cousins bridal shower this weekend. It was nice seeing everyone and seeing her so excited. I ended up wearing something completely different from what I had planned. I wore this black and white dress...

It ended up only paying $10 for it. I'm excited to wear it in the fall/winter with some black tights and tall black boots and a cardigan. It is a really comfortable dress so I will definately get some use out of it.

At the shower somebody gave my cousin a really cute gift. It was a bottle of wine, a bottle of champagne, and a bottle of sparkling cidar. Tied to the bottles were cute little cards.

The one of the wine said "Your Wedding Night- The night you have dreamed of is finally here. The future surrounds you with hope and yet fear. You’ve wanted so long to find your mate. Sip this wine and toast this date. The night is meant for you to share. Enjoy each other, a perfect pair. "

The Champagne bottle said "Your First Anniversary- Tonight you’ve been married a year one wonders where the time goes. No longer are you newlyweds, soon you’ll be pro’s. I hope the days have found you both in good health and spirit. Keep saying I love you one always needs to hear it. Now toast this date known as the first but certainly not the last. And as you build your future don’t ever forget the past."

and finally the sparkling cidar bottle said "The news that a baby will soon share your life will make you a mother not only a wife. You’ll see it through good times and sometimes bad. Nicole the loving mother, and Benjamin the dearest dad. Now instead of wine you will drink cidar in your glass. Sit back and relax nine months they quickly pass! "

I thought it was a cute and very non traditional gift. I was definately more creative than the vacuum that I bought her from her registry!

Friday, August 21, 2009


Jason and I decided to plant eggplant in our garden this year. Neither of us really love eggplant but it is good every once in awhile. So when we went to buy plants we though that eggplants grew one vegetable per plant. Kind of like cabbage or cauliflower. Looking back I'm not really sure what made us think this. However at the time it sounded right. So we bought three eggplant plants, thinking three eggplants would be the perfect amount. All I can do now is laugh as we have picked at like 10 egg plants already and more are still coming! I have given some away, frozen some, used some in casseroles, you name it and I have done it to an eggplant! I stumbled across this recipe on Recipe Zaar awhile back and it sounded pretty good. Well now that I have a dozen eggplant it sounds great! so without further ado here is the recipe...

Eggplant "Meatballs"

1 large eggplant
2 beaten eggs
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon mixed Italian herbs
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
black pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste
1 cup breadcrumbs

Slice eggplant and sprinkle with salt.
Let sit 10 minutes to draw out water.
Rinse and pat dry.
Saute on stovetop with a splash of olive oil and about 1/4 cup water until eggplant is soft.
Remove and chop finely.
Mix everything but the breadcrumbs when eggplant is cool.
Then add breadcrumbs and mix until you get the consistency you want to form the balls.
Place in a generously olive oiled pan about l inch apart and bake at 400 degrees until golden brown, about 40 60 minutes.
Turn halfway through baking to ensure even browning.

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

Thursday, August 20, 2009

This is why I am not a professional landscaper!

On Mondays and Thursdays I work from home. I looooove it. I do part of the work the night before and then leisurely finish up what I have to do the next day. So today I woke up did a little work and then felt motivated to do something. I started with the 10 loads of laundry that needed done. I got 2 loads in and was bored. Who has time to wait around for 30 minutes between loads? So next on my list was to bake Jason some chocolate chip cookies, Jason LOVES chocolate chip cookies. I always try a new recipe because I am always in search of the perfect chocolate chip cookie. I tried this recipe today from all-recipes. I am not usually a fan of all recipes but the recipe got good reviews. The cookies came out okay. Better than some I've made but not quite as good as others. I had to use half white chocolate and half milk chocolate chips.

Pioneer Woman has a recipe that includes instant coffee in her chocolate chip cookies. I reeeally wanted to try and make her version but I didn't have any instant coffee. Maybe Next Thursday!

So after my domestic extravaganza I decided to cut some of the grass to surprise Jason when he gets home. He hasn't had a chance to cut it since he's gotten back from Ca. Between 98 degree days and crazy thunderstorms there just hasn't been a day to do it. So i went out started up the mower and was just walking back and forth back and forth. Cutting grass is so boring to me! So I get by our sickle pear tree and keep on cutting when all of a sudden I start slipping and slidding all over the place on the pears on the ground. It was probably a hilarious sight for all of my neighbors. Thank goodness I didn't fall of I probably wouldn't be laughing now!

Hopefully Jason is happy when he gets home and finds not only grass that doesn't need cut but chocolate chip cookies too!

Tomorrow I have decided that I am going to try and can my own salsa. We have a bunch of tomatoes from the garden and I have already froze so many that I want to try something different. I found a couple of recipe's off of Recipe Zaar that look good but I am still looking. If anybody has any good salsa recipes that work for canning feel free to send them my way!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Wedding Bells, But Not My Own

So my YOUNGER cousin is getting married next month and this weekend is her bridal shower. I'm used to be a big fan of wedding showers. Whats not to love? Getting dressed up, eating cake, and watching somebody open up more household items at one time then they will ever use in their life. That is I used to love wedding showers until I dated a certain guy for 5 years, started living with him, and don't have a ring on MY finger. GASP! A few years ago wedding showers entailed me going and getting the bombardment of "How is college going?" "Getting good grades?" "Having fun?" Etc. Now it is "When are you going to be tying the knot?" or "Maybe you will be next!" and my personal favorite "When is Jason going to make an honest woman of you" Because certainly marriage = honesty. So in order to cope with the barage of questions from nebby old women I have decided that I must look fabulous and chic for the event. That way everybody will be so distracted by my cute outfit that they wouln't be able to form complete sentences or realize that Jason obviously has no intent to propose (at least any time soon).
So the current options for the bridal shower attire are...
This cute dress hails from Newport-News. If only Newport-News had a real life store. But if you can sift through some of the cheesy 80's looking outfits you can find a gold mine of pretty and affordable things on their website. I think this dress would be pretty with some neautral shoes and gold jewelry.
Then there is this little beauty that I've had my eye on for quite some time at Oldnavy. Im afraid it may be a little too casual but could potentially be dressed up with some cute shoes and chunky jewelry.

This dress caught my eye right away. It reminds me of a dress that you would wear to a tea (not that I've ever been to a tea). Its very 1950's! It is from Mod Cloth which I love but have never ordered anything from.

Any idea's, suggestions, warnings? The bridal shower is at a country club and start at around 1. So I don't want to be over dressed, but yet I still want to be appropriatly dressed and not the one everybody says "Oh poor Dawn she is so deperate!"

HELP! I need sound female advice!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Goodbye Vacation, Hello Real World

Jason and I just got back from San Diego on Saturday. All I can say about my trip is WOW! I LOVED San Diego! it was sunny and warm every day! I spent my days going to the beach, napping at the pool, eating sushi, and cooking Jason home cooked dinners (since he hadn't had any in a month!)

I took so many pictures but here are just a few..

This is the Hotel Del Coronado. Its a swanky historic hotel right on the beach. It was BEAUTIFUL!

This is the beach at sunset one day. I told Jason it looks like a picture off of a postcard!

This is Lake Hodges which was just created in 2002. It was neat to see a man made lake. The mountains behind it were awesome!

This is our pelican friend from the first day we went to the beach. We went to the beach in Oceanside which was very crowded but still very nice!

I think that I would move to California in a second. Although I would miss the snow and fall here! I am already excited for Western Pa fall and August isn't even over yet!

Since we've been back I have been pretty busy cleaning and just trying to get back into the groove of things. On Saturday when I got back I found this recipe on RecipeZaar that has the abbreviation OAMC after it. I was curious so I read the recipe and found out it was for the once a month cooking method. The method itself sounded pretty insense! Grocery shopping and cooking 30 meals all in one day! I don't think I would ever be able to do that. Not to mention that there are times when I enjoy cooking. But I did make several of the recipes to freeze and have on hand for time when I don't feel like cooking.

The recipes I made were Eggplant casserole, Mexican rice, and Zucchini Casserole. I'm excited to see how they turn out. I'm always nervous about freezing fod because if it doesn't turn out well then I just wasted all the ingrediants and time making that dish. Does anybody have any tips on freezing? Food that doesn't freeze well or food that does feeze well? Your tips would be greatly appreciated!

Monday, August 10, 2009

I'm in Love

After a week of having 3 dogs in my house, who by the way were all very good, my carpets were a little dingy. When moving into our house I made the mistake of picking out cream colored carpet. BIGGEST MISTAKE EVER! Did I stress that enough? NEVER BUY CREAM COLORED CARPET! Its the most beautiful carpet and I abosulutely adore it. But it is SO impractical. Even with an area rug in the most high traffic area it still gets dingy and discolored looking. So I have been in the market for a rug scrubber for quite a while. I wanted something that would be easy to use and not be too bulky. I read reviews for every rug scrubber ever created and came across reviews for the little green machine. I was unimpressed. How could something so small really work? However it got amazing reviews. like 5 out of 5 reviews on every sight I read. So i went to Wal-mart and bought it. The verdict is in. I LOVE LOVE LOVE MY LITTLE GREEN MACHINE!

It cleans SO well and the fact that it is so small works out perfectly. I can easily carry it from room to room, use it on stairs, and reach in around and behind everything without having to move heavy furniture. It is obviously not going to clean the entire floor in any room (although it could if you had enough patience to clean an entire floor with a 4 inch brush!). However it is perfect for high traffic areas and pesky stains. The moment that I knew I loved the green machine was when I used on a SET IN GREASE STAIN which Jason so lovingly tracked in the house 3 months ago. I had all but given up on ever getting this stain out. On the first pass over the stain with the green machine it came out. AMAZING!

Tomorrow I am leaving for San Diego! I could not be more excited. I havent seen Jason in over a month. Luckily I have so much to do today that I will hoefully be distracted and the day will go by quickly. Ever since I moved in to my own house I always clean the entire house really well before we leave. Its a compulsion! I just remember living at home and my mom would rarely clean before we left and then we would return to a house that needed cleaned and which we really didnt want to return to. I love having the peace of mind on my way home from a trip that my house will be clean when I return.

So I am off to clean clean clean, go to the library to get a book for my flight, and possibly go shopping to find something extremely cute, comfortable, and INEXPENSIVE for the flight there. After all I havent seen Jason for a month so I have to look radient when getting off of my 4 hour flight. Ha!

Hope everybody has a great week!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

What a week!

Thanks to Pennsylvania's wonderful govenor the state budget has not been passed. This means that all of the state worker have not been paid for over a month. I do not work for the state but rather a state supported agency which provides social services to the elderly population in my county. Up until now we have been paid since some of our funding does come from other sources and not just from the state. Well this week we found out that our "other sources" of income cannot sustain us any longer and they must cut our saleries until the budget is passed. So if I wasn't living as frugal as possible before I SURE will be now! Hopefully this is just for a month or so and then the budget will be passed. Im not too worried about losing my job because the client that I help have services that are mandated by the state, meaning that they have to have a social worker no matter what.

But on a brighter note I just found this great recipe for zucchini cobbler! I haven't tried it yet since its just me here for another week until Jason comes home. But when he comes home I definately intend to make it! I will share the recipe though with you guys and if anybody makes it in the mean time please tell me how it turns out!

Zucchini Cobbler
8 cups zucchini
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1 dash salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 (10 ounce) can crushed pineapple
1 box yellow cake mix or white cake mix
1/2-1 cup butter, melted

Peel zucchini and remove seeds. Dice into bite size pieces and boil until zucchini is tender (about 8-10 minutes). Drain and cover with cold water to stop the cooking process. Next in a bowl combine sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, cream of tartar, and lemon juice. Drain zucchini and add to mixture. Next add pineapple and juice and combine. Pour mixture into a greased 9x13 pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix over the top and drizzle with melter butter. Bake at 350 for 60 minutes.

This recipe reminds me of the fruit cobbler recipe that i posted on here before which called for a cake mix to be sprinkled on top and then baked. I was hesitant and didnt think that the cake mix would get moist enough but sure enough it was great!

Hope everyone is having a great week!

Sunday, August 2, 2009


I live just outside of Pittsburgh. Around here we like to think we have our own language. Rubber band is gum band, Vacuum is sweeper, and Soda is pop. This has nothing really to do with this post except to translate why I am writing about this mysterious drink, pop.

About a year and a half ago I started weight watchers with my mom. I was hesistant to have someone weight me every week and wasnt sure if I would see any results. Well low and behold I lost 5 pounds the first week and about 2 pounds every week after. I kept it up for abut 5 months and ended up losing 20lbs. I was so happy and felt like I was ready to tackle the maintaining part on my own. I just have to look back and laugh because WOW was I wrong! I am not going back to weight watchers now because my budget is pretty tight and I just can't justify spending $30 a month for something that I should be able to do myself.

The biggest thing that helped when I did weight watchers was not drinking pop. By switching to diet pop (which I know is just as bad) and water alone I could be losing a few pounds a week. Regular coke is like an addiction to me! I just need to cut myself off before It gets too late but recently with Jason being out of town and work being crazy I have been making excuses to myself as to why I NEED just one coke, which turns into two or three. So starting tomorrow I am going cold turkey. No more regular coke. I am going to drink only water and the occasional diet coke.

I will post on here to let you guys know how it is going! In the mean time does anybody have any tips or drink suggestions?