Monday, May 17, 2010

My Totally Hot Freezer!

I have a freezer where I can find EVERYTHING and I love it!

How to Organize your Freezer in 10 Minutes or Less:
  1. Buy cheap clear plastic containers. I use Rubbermaid Take Alongs. Buy the square and the deep square so they can stack on top of each other in the freezer. The lids are interchangeable.
  2. Pull everything out of your freezer. This is the time to junk your frozen bag-o-lard fries and your nasty ol' tv dinners. Anything processed, shaped like a dinosaur or crusted over with stinky ice--toss it.
  3. Put everything into those containers. Pour the bag of frozen blueberries into a container. Pour the frozen shrimp into a container. Fit the frozen bananas into a container. No need to label--the containers are clear. Stack your containers back into the freezer and admire the beauty.
  4. Close your freezer door, but before you do, grab those frozen bananas, a tray of ice cubes and some pb from the cupboard. Make your smart self a Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie.
Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie
1 frozen banana
1 Tbs. peanut butter
1 cup milk
3 ice cubes
squirt of honey

Blend well!

Enjoy your new freezer!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Cleaning House

My family attends a church just a block away from our home. It's oh-so ultra modern with all the latest features a family from the 1950s could want. Including avocado appliances in the social hall kitchen.

That's why it's being remodeled this year.

Because of the remodeling, all the cupboards had to be emptied. And after fifty years, there was a lot of stuff that spilled out of those cupboards.

We had to make decisions like:

Should we keep this half used pack of paper plates?

What do we do with 100 copies of How Great Thou Art?

What are we supposed to do with two American flags with 48 stars?

Moving is a good thing. It's cleansing. It helps us make priorities, remove clutter, remember what we had in the first place.

If you haven't moved in a while, take some time this weekend and move (without the teary goodbyes and last minute panics). Go through drawers, closets and shelves and decide what you'd keep and what you'd toss. Then physically unload the stuff you wouldn't take with you if you had to move today.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Jackson Pollock Pizza Dough

My family eats pizza once a week. And believe me, I'm way too cheap (ahem, thrifty) to buy pizza from a boy who drives a rusted out '87 Subaru. (Although I applaud his mission to "live like no one else")

We just love, love, love eating pizza! And I love making pizza! I think of my pizza dough as a canvas on which, with Jackson Pollock as my internal chef, I paint with wild pesto, smatterings of feta, random tossings of broiled eggplant, and piles of untamed sausage. Sometimes my pizzas look dangerous.

But they're always delicious.

Over the years, I have perfected my pizza recipe by borrowing methods from friends, watching YouTube videos, staring at Jackson Pollock paintings. I've developed a pizza "way of life" that has made my family very, very happy.

Pay attention. I'm only posting this once.

Jackson Pollock Pizza Dough

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tsp. dry active yeast
1 tsp. salt
4 cups flour (either white or wheat).

When it's mixed well in your KitchenAid, coat the dough mass with a slog of olive oil, cover with plastic wrap and put the bowl in the fridge. The next day or a few days later preheat your oven to 500 degrees. Menopausal women, just crack the fridge.

Next pour a few drizzles of olive oil onto a baking sheet; 3-4 Tbs and then a generous sprinkling of cornmeal. Take half of your dough and lay it in the puddle of oil and shape into a circle (most people don't like square pizza). Do your artsy-fartsy thing with your toppings and live out your dream of becoming a modern artist. Sauce, cheese, toppings. Bake for 15 minutes at 500.

Prep the next pizza. I've never had success with cooking two pizzas at once. They need all that heat to themselves. Bake the second pizza while you're eating your first.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Stay at Home, Moms!

If I had a job that paid real money and took me out of the home away from my children and husband, I would spend the money on stupid, stupid, stupid things. Here is what I would do with my mega-hoooge paycheck:

1. Put fancy streaks in my hair, dye it 3 shades lighter or darker and trim it every six weeks. I'd also get one of those angled bob haircuts that I could roundbrush and shellac. Bam! I gots to finish the look with pretty mani and pedis, 'cause I'm a workin' girl. I deserve it!

2. Buy darling dresses, trendy leggings and runway knock-off shoes for my daughter. Maybe even from a store like El Gap or Ye Olde Navy. And dress her in all the cutesy trimmings that I couldn't afford before I became a workin' girl. Thank goodness I have a dress-up daughter! (Or I'd have to buy a baby doggie!)

3. Go on get-away trips to my timeshare condo with my husband. And be gone prolly most weekends. Thanks grammie for watchin' the kids. Grammies are the best. (I only love her 'cause she watches the kids all the time. j/k, Grammie--you know I lurve you and not just 'cause you're a free babysitter!)

4. Eat out more so I'd get a nice squishy workin' mom rear end. I'd also buy way more stuff from the freezer section of Costco cause I sure won't have time or energy to make dinner ('cause I'm a workin' girl, remember?) ;) (That winkie is for Bev who does samples at Costco in the freezer section.)

5. Totally get into scrapbooking. Don't care how much it costs--all I care is that it's cute. And I'd totally make a girl-style man cave for all my scrappie-doodle-doo stuff. I don't even scrapbook, I just want all the stuff in cute little drawers with ribbon on spindles and paper in cubbies.

6. Buy every new Disney/Pixar movie and non-violent (but maybe a few violent ones if I forget my rule) video game for my kids.

7. Redecorate with a little stuff from cheap (but not too cheap) stores like Target, IKEA, Pier 1 and maybe an antique store that my hubby and I will stumble across on one of our timeshare getaways. (Found a super cute vintage tractor sign to hang in my boy's room--he LOVES tractors.)

8. Buy a new car that's a good deal. Cars that are cute are like an investment in who I am and what I want people to think about me. Like one of those teeny cars that gets super-cute gas mileage and has a horn that goes "Beep! Beep!" Light blue or red. Hmmmm, no way, light blue fer sher!! Car payments are going to be totally affordable, cause I'm a workin' girl! Woot woot! Beep! Beep! Wink!

And if anyone asked me why I don't stay at home I'd just do a little pouty face and say in my baby voice "I weally, weally wish I could, but unfortunately I just can't. We can't afford it."


Or how about this? Mothers who work, come home. Go back to your natural hair color, make a healthy dinner, be thrifty, let your man provide, and be happy with what you have.

I promise that you'll be glad you did.

P.S. Want to be a stay-at-home mom, but can't afford it? I can show you how. I've done it for ten years on one income (even through schooling), no selling plasma, make-up or scented candles. It requires planning and committment. I challenge any mother who is working outside the home (or thinking about it) to contact me. I will help you put together a plan that will save your marriage, save your family and save your sanity. It's time to come home.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

God Bless America

I'm the mother of four young children. That makes my life exciting by default. You know, the surge of adrenaline that comes when at 2:47am a child mumbles "Mommy, I'm going to throw uuuuppp". Or the mad dash for a stack of napkins when orange juice is knocked over at breakfast. It certainly breaks up the routine! (...or is that the routine?)

This month had a different kind of exciting. I was able to be a county delegate at my county's nominating convention. There were charismatic political candidates, campaign signs, eager delegates, and lots of excitement. In fact, ninety percent of the nearly 1500 delegates attending the convention were first-timers.

The convention had a set agenda which included party business, speeches, voting, and waiting for the results. As we waited, the county party chairman stood up and announced that it would be ten more minutes until the results came in. Several people from the crowd stood up to the common microphone and offered a scuffle of suggestions on what to do while we were waiting. "Let's alter the agenda!" "Let's vote on the resolutions!" "Let's sit and wait!" But a single thought raced through my head and my heart pounded. I knew what we needed to do.

Suddenly, I stood up, and made my way to the common microphone. The words that came out of my mouth filled the expansive exposition center. "I know this may be unconventional, but how about a patriotic sing-along?" The crowd laughed their approval. "God bless America," I said firmly.

With absolutely no permission from Robert Rulsovorder (whoever he is) the chairman took the microphone and said, "We're going to sing patriotic songs. Please lead us." I made my way to the front of the delegates, political candidates, the governor, senators and congressmen. "God Bless America," the crowd instinctively rose to their feet and the fire of patriotism filled the room. "Land that I love..." And the moment thrilled.

We stood, not as 1500 delegates, but as one, as we then unified our voices in the National Anthem. We sang with with our hands on our hearts, and our hearts in our throats. Facing the flag, we were firm and unwavering in our love for America. We raised our voices to proclaim that America and all that she stands for is good, just and right.

We were changed that day. Unified in song. Unified in love for our country. Unified as true Americans. God bless America.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Free Lunch

I've been watching a hornet build a nest this week under our hose hanger in our front yard. I'm too scared to knock it down.

Maybe I could hire a hit man.

Enter freaky albino spider (and his hot girlfriend, who is already in his web--look closely). Just one misstep from the hornet and those two spiders are gonna have date night at El Hornet Ristorante every night this week.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Last Person in America

I made a batch of Sponge Candy this afternoon for the very first time.

Actually that's a lie. I made it for the second time, because the first time I made it I didn't mix the baking soda in properly. There were pockets of undissolved baking soda throughout the batch.

From a quick survey of the internet, it appears that I am the very last person in America to try sponge candy. There are millions of websites and several Facebook groups devoted entirely to the love of sponge candy.

How did I miss this stuff?

It's easy as sin to make, and the results are a sugary, toffee, melt in your mouth crunchy treat. Before I made it, I thought that Sponge Candy got it's name from it's spongy texture. No. It actually looks like a sponge when you break it open. Plus you can dip it in chocolate. How cool is that, ladies?

Try it out:

Sponge Candy

1 cup sugar
1 cup dark corn syrup
1 Tbs. white vinegar
1 Tbs. baking soda

Line a 9-by-13 baking pan with foil and spray with non-stick spray. In a large saucepan (at least 3 quarts) combine sugar, dark corn syrup and white vinegar. Cook, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved.

Insert candy thermometer and cook to 300 degrees (hard crack stage). Remove from heat, sprinkle with baking and stir very quickly, making sure it's evenly combined. The mixture will bubble and expand.

Pour into prepared pan. Do not spread, as mixture will spread itself. Cool.

When candy is thoroughly cooled,turn pan over and tap it to loosen candy. Break into pieces. Makes 16 pieces (but really more like 16 big pieces and 3278 broken chards).