Friday, February 8, 2013

TGIF! $25 Target Gift card giveaway today!

Five Photos For Friday

1. I love my striped bedroom chair. Just looking at it makes me happy.
2. I organized my makeup brushes on my dresser a la Gwen from Confessions of a Gila Monster. They need a little more work - I have to swap the round jar out for one of my square ones. I'm dying to try the polenta dish in that post too.
3. My happy place: cucumbers and cream cheese on a bagel and an icy cold V8.
4. It's time to change my wallet. I got these on super clearance at Target. Which to choose which to choose.
5. Spare room vignette: Love Makes Life a Beautiful Ride printable, old garage sale tray, candle, Grandmom's ring holder.

I am so so happy it's Friday. Here are this week's happies and crappies. I'm starting with crappies and ending with happies because I like to end on the up.

  • Lots and lots of deadlines with a heaping side of stress and headaches for dessert. 
  • Butthole drivers caused me to miss my train on Tuesday morning. 
  • Then I was stuck on the train for an extra hour on Wednesday. 
  • This impending bastard winter storm has cancelled my weekend with my BFFs, which I could totally use right now. Suck it, winter. 
  • Precipitation makes MFD think he's a weatherman. He's been monitoring this storm and telling me all about the Gulf Stream and the European Model and the flim flam and the shim sham and I don't care we can look out the window and see the weather we don't need to study it. Sweet Brown, save me. Ain't nobody got time fo dat. 
  • In a few short hours, this week will be in the history books. There will be much rejoicing throughout my land.
  • I was rocking my favorite nail polish, Essie Merino Cool.
  • I'm all caught up on Downton Abbey. This is also a crappie, because now I'm like a crackhead jonesing for more Downton Abbey and no dealer in town has any. 
  • Even though I was looking forward to being with my girls this weekend and away from my everyday digs, the truth is I could probably use some major decompression this weekend after the week I've had. 
  • I hausfraued like a champ last night so I can lounge, read, cook, nap, and maybe do some organizational projects this weekend. Or I can find another show to watch obsessively for 14 or 15 hours a day. 
  • I signed up for the Lucky Leprechaun Book & Polish Swap. Visit Fortune Favors the Brave, Lulu & Sweet Pea, or My Three Bittles to sign up! Who doesn't love books and nail polish? If you say ME to both, we maybe can't be friends anymore. I need to decide which of my favorite books I'll be sending. It's safe to say I have my favorite polish picked out already. Someone's getting Essie Merino Cool. Boom.
  • This $25 Target Giftcard Giveaway. Because I love you. 

Thank you so much for reading my blog.  Good luck and have a great weekend! You can enter through the weekend. Spread the word and share the love!

New Englanders, start limbering up for the shoveling now. Stay gold, Pony Boy.

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Linking up with The Sowell Life for The Friday Five and The Vintage Modern Wife and Scissors & a Whisk for Happies & Crappies.

The Vintage Modern Wife: Happies and Crappies Link Up

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard

Anyone who knows me knows I like to be well stocked in the kitchen. I rarely run out of things and my cabinets are always full, for which I'm very thankful. With this stuff on hand, I feel confident I can throw together a meal on the fly without having to go to the store. Things that can always be found in my pantry:

Oils - olive, vegetable, grape
Vinegars - I am a vinegar ho.
Worcestershire sauce
Hot sauce - MFD's. I don't touch the stuff, although I may add some to a recipe if I'm feeling saucy.
Soy Sauce
Heinz Ketchup
Mustards - yellow, spicy brown, dijon.
Hellman's mayo
Ranch and italian dressings. I also use creamy caesar for marinades.

Salts: coarse kosher salt, sea salt, regular salt.
Beyond that, I have a robust collection of spices. The ones I use most often and find necessary on a weekly or daily basis: chili powder, dill, cumin, garlic salt, garlic powder, ground dry mustard, onion powder, paprika, oregano, thyme.

Dry Goods
Pasta - spaghetti, elbows, rigatoni, bowtie, orzo. I like Barilla Plus or Healthy Harvest, but I keep regular on hand so MFD doesn't have a shit fit.
Brown Rice
White rice
Quaker Oats - I love the Quaker Oat man.
Bread - I prefer Sara Lee. I'm also a sucker for rye.
Panko breadcrumbs. If I need regular, I'll make my own.
MFD's requirements: Lipton noodle soup, Kraft Mac & Cheese

Cans and Jars
Beans - pinto, black, and kidney. I make my own black beans from dry and freeze them.
Tomatoes - diced, crushed, and whole peeled plum. I prefer Tuttoroso.
Tomato paste - I use what I need from the can and then freeze the rest in ice cube trays
Peanut Butter - Peter Pan mostly.
Jams and jellies - I love a variety. My least favorite is grape.
Peppers - roasted red, banana, jalapeno, chipotle in adobo sauce
Pickles - always dill, never sweet or bread & butter
Olives - green and black. Sometimes kalamata. Opa!
Chicken broth - I make my own whenever I can and freeze it, but I always have some on hand in the pantry as well.

Baking things
Flour - all purpose and whole wheat
Sugar - white, brown, confectioner's
Cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder
Vanilla extract
Chocolate chips and Baker's chocolate
Pudding - vanilla and chocolate, instant

Dunkin Donuts coffee, green tea bags and black tea bags.
CranGrape juice
Assorted sodas

Milk - skim for me, 2% for MFD
FF half & half
Greek yogurt - I substitue it for sour cream often.
Sour cream
Cheese - feta, blue, parmesan, extra sharp cheddar, some type of jack. Block over pre-shedded. Nine times out of 10, I grate my own.

Homemade marinara sauce, frozen flat in ziploc bags
Veggies: I always have chopped onions, chopped spinach, broccoli crows
Shredded cheese
Shredded chicken bagged and frozen in one and two cup portions
Homemade soup - either leftovers or made specifically to freeze.
Ellio's pizza
Chicken breasts and thighs
Garlic bread

I always have celery, carrots, and potatoes
I usually have cucumbers, peppers, and another veggie.
Fruit I buy the most: naval oranges, granny smith apples, berries, grapes, bananas, stone fruits

Tortilla and regular chips, Utz special dark pretzels, Ritz crackers. I keep all of those on hand in case an impromptu party arises that we are either hosting or attending. If MFD has his way we also have Oreos, gummy bears, Nutty bars, and other assorted processed bad stuff.

What's in your pantry?  Big Hungry Shelby posted on this topic a few weeks back. Check out what she stocks here.

Tomorrow, tommorow, I love ya, TOMORROW!
Tomorrow I'm giving away a Target gift card because I love you.

Kiss kiss.

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Monday, February 4, 2013

My Kitchen Essentials

I enjoy cooking. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, usually trying at least one new recipe a week. Pinterest has been a godsend, you guys. Anyway, being in the kitchen so much, I have some things I consider essential.

1. No paper napkins except at parties.
2. No paper towels - I use washable rags.
3. Mickey Mouse pot holders.

4. Trivets. One of mine hangs on the wall. I bought it because I am not handy or crafty enough to make it.
5. Food processor. I use this mostly for hoagie dip, pesto, making my own breadcrumbs.
6. Mr. Coffee iced tea maker.

7. Pampered Chef one cup prep bowls and Pyrex glass containers.
8. Nordic baking pans.
9. An eclectic collection of coffee mugs in no particular order. I like reaching in and pulling out whatever I find without looking. I do most of my cooking on the weekends, and I like to drink coffee while doing it.
10. Mixing bowls. Colorful mixing bowls.

11. Good knives and my most used spices in a rack on the counter.
12. Lock top containers that keep crackers and such fresh.
13. My trusty mandolin. It's a dream for scalloped potatoes and my cucumber salad that I make weekly in the summer.

14. I've gotta keep the dog food fresh. They are demanding little tyrants.
15. Plenty of casserole dishes, many handed down from my grandmother. Varied in size, shape, and color. For cheap colorful ones, check Homegoods, Marshalls, or TJ Maxx.
16. Spoon rests so I don't muck up the counters.

17. I'm a crock pot whore. This is my smallest, and I use it for dips. I also have a four quart, six quart, and seven quart. They are perfect for entertaining. I keep the two I don't use often in the basement utility closet.
18. Cheese grater. I avoid buying shredded cheese 99% of the time, so I grate blocks on my own.
19. I only like Palmolive dish liquid. And Eucalyptus Spearmint soap - it's the scent of this house.
20. I love utensils. Metal and plastic in one, wooden spoons and spatulas in another. My favorite most recent purchase is a flat whisk. I got it earlier this year and it's been indispensable in making sauces. I also keep a cruet of oil by the stove for quick flashes in the pan.

Not pictured, but integral:
21. Both non-stick and stainless steel pans. And a cast iron skillet.
22. Three different sized colanders.
23. Two large stock pots.
24. Pans: covered 9x13 and 8x8 cake pans, regular and mini muffin tins, and two loaf pans.
25. A warming tray for entertaining.
26. Measuring cups, dry and liquid, and measuring spoons. I have doubles of each so I'm not always stopping and rinsing/washing when I'm preparing a large meal or multiple meals at once.
27. A roasting pan with a rack.
28. A rolling pin.
29. Wire cooling racks.
30. A hand mixer. I'm lacking in the Kitchenaid department, and so far I've been okay with that.
31. An immersion blender. I am not the person who will pour soup in a blender, blend it in batches, and put it back in the pot. I use my handy immersion blender and do it right in the pot.
32. Serving pieces - bowls and platters.

What are your kitchen essentials? Check back here on Thursday to see what's always in my pantry.


Linking up with Helene and Emily for the final Tell Me About it Tuesday. It's been fun ladies!

Helene in Between
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