Wednesday, October 31, 2012

French Onion Soup

The French Onion soup recipe I tried was...a success! I was worried because I'd never made it before, but found a recipe about how to can it.

I had originally planned to make a huge batch and do a lot of canning, but the onions were so tear-inducing that I gave up and just made a batch for us to eat for dinner.

Ok, the batch ended up big enough a dozen people could come eat for dinner, but who's counting servings?

I'm going to tweak the recipe a little (cause you know what I do), then I'll post it here!


Free $1.29 MP3 code from Amazon!

If you go here and share your favorite party song (it can be any song, I chose to enter "Thriller"), you will have a $1.29 MP3 code automatically added to your account!  You can use it for any type of music you want- use it towards an album, get multiple songs (some are on sale for 69 cents each) or get a new release for the full $1.29.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hotel Transylvania

We went to see Hotel Transylvania the other week.  I have been excited for the movie, Tim- well he wasn't so excited.

We took the 10 year old with us after clearing it with her mom.  We settled in and prepared to either be wow'd or disappointed- there really was no middle ground that I could see.

For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about- Hotel Transylvania is an animated movie currently out in theatres.  Dracula (Sandler) builds a hotel for monsters, safe from persecution from humans.  As his daughter Mavis's 118th birthday approaches, he plans a huge party for his baby girl- only to discover that somehow a human has found his way in to the hotel.

It was great!
This movie was Adam Sandler at his best.  He was fully able to be goofy and over the top, but we didn't have to look at him.  I really think that made all the difference.  No crazy faces and odd gestures to distract from the actual movie.

The plot line was cute and had all of us laughing, though the 10 year old we were babysitting cracking up the most.  Her new favorite thing is to walk around and quote a few memorable parts from the movie.  High praise from the kid who originally wanted to see Frankenweenie instead.

It's definitely worth seeing.


Monday, October 29, 2012


I've always joked I'm part squirrel, because I love to "squirrel" things away.  I've got a tendency towards pack-ratty-ness, but thankfully nothing Hoarder level.

I think this is why canning appeals to me so much.  I've got the opportunity to take too much of something (like too many tomatoes, too many peppers, etc) and turn it in to something I can store and use later- salsa, canned tomatoes, stew fixings, etc.

Imagine how excited I am right now to have a bag of apples, a carving pumpkin and five pie pumpkins sitting on my dining room table, waiting to be stored. 

I'm expecting to use most of the pumpkins to can pumpkin pie filling- that way when I want to make one, I have it already cooked and spiced- voila! Tim has guilted me in to making some more apple butter, so that takes care of the apples.

However- I've got something new to can that is making me all kinds of excited:

French Onion Soup!  That's one of those things that is yummy, but can be a pain to make, between cutting the onions, caramelizing them, etc- plus you end up making too much and you mess up a lot of dishes, spoons, etc.

I'm planning on making a big batch of the soup and canning it in to more manageable portions (sans cheese and croutons of course), so any time we want some, we can just eat it up and eat. Look for that post soon.

Canning is definitely a good way to direct my "storing" tendencies.  It leads to less mess, less clean up and more good food for us! Yum yum.


Free Taco Bell!

A base was stolen in the World Series!  You know what this means-

Tuesday, October 30th from 2pm-6pm, you can get a free Doritos Locos Taco from Taco Bell!

I know what Tim will be eating for dinner!


Saturday, October 27, 2012

No Eggs and Other "Homestead" Thoughts

I am now longing for the days when we had dozens and dozens of eggs- so many we were having to boil them and feed them to the dogs. 

It has been two weeks now and there have been no eggs laid.  The Ameracaunas and the Australorp are still too young, the bantams have apparently gone on strike.  They appear to be in a molt, but still- I need some eggs!

I procrastinated too long in making the winter garden.  The first round of seedlings died and we've been so busy I haven't given much though to replanting them.  I may try starting some lettuce in a pot, but I haven't really decided yet.  I hate to not have anything growing right now.

In another week, the Florida White bunnies will be here!  Tim's ultimate goal for these guys is to transition them to a natural diet and transport them down to Haiti.  There they will become the foundation stock to breed animals for meat and perhaps even pelts.   Before they do that, they will provide us and the dogs with meat. Exciting!

It's also hunting season! We don't purchase beef anymore, having decided to mostly eat venison.  While we have quite a bit in our deep freezer right now, who can turn down more delicious roasts and backstrap?  My Dad has even managed to talk us in to going hunting with him.  The last time I went, my little brother caused us to miss a shot on a beautiful buck.  I hope we have luck this time!

I have a pumpkin and a bag of apples that need to be processed.  I'm going to can the pumpkin to have ready-pumpkin-pie filling. Tim has also demanded a return of the seasoned pumpkin seeds.  I haven't decided if the apples will be apple chips or apple butter yet. Either way, the rabbits and the chickens will be thrilled with the cores!

So there we have it- while we're short on eggs and vegetables right now, we're rich in meat, thanks to butchering the broiler chickens and the deer from last year.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Free Mini Candle this weekend from B&BWorks

Go to their facebook page and get a coupon for a free mini candle from Bath and Body Works!   It is valid from Friday, October 26- Sunday, October 28th.

This could be a great little stocking stuffer, part of a larger gift (just store it in your Christmas Box!)  or just a nice little treat for yourself.

I chose one that smells like "Autumn"! :)


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Book Update

So, I posted a while back (here and here) about the book(s) I'm writing.

I've been concentrating on the one closest to completion, the one nearest and dearest to my heart.  I *think*, perhaps, I finally have a title.

The first 10 chapters have been sent to the beta reader and I'm getting some really positive feedback, as well as some valuable notes about anything that needs clarification.

Apparently I am also quite fond of commas.  I already knew this about myself.  I'm ok with it.

I'm currently working on some rewrites of later chapters.  The book started out going one direction and actually ended up metamorphosing into a whole new creatures as the characters developed their personalities beyond my first scribbled notes.  Regardless of how or why they changed, several chapters are severely out of date, trying to propel them down a path that just doesn't exist later on. I'm saving these chapters in case they fit into later projects and rewriting them from the ground up.

Occasionally I go through periods where I can't get the words down quickly enough.  Other times, like last night, it takes me well over an hour to bang out a few paragraphs to my satisfaction. It helps to have the pressure of the beta reader to keep me powering through the tough-to-perfect parts.  Even if I try to distract myself by cleaning (or blogging) I know I have to get back to work to keep ahead of the demand for new chapters.

So there you have it.  I'm still plugging along.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Redbox 1/2 price movie rental

Redbox is offering a half price movie rental with coupon code: JXX6GHR3

It's good through November 1st.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Free Taco Bell- maybe

Taco Bell has a new promotion involving the World Series!

If a base is stolen any time during the first four games, Taco Bell will give out one Free Doritos Locos Taco per person from 2 PM to 6 PM on Tuesday, October 30th.

If no bases are stolen during the first four games, but one is stolen in any of the last three games (5-7), the promotion will take place from 2 PM to 6 PM on Monday, November 5th, 2012.

It is at participating locations only, so if a base DOES get stolen, you may want to call up your favorite Taco Bell to make sure they are participating before you run over there.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Pancake Batter Dispenser

Not my picture- like I have that much counter space!
Do you make a lot of pancakes?

The next time you finish a squeeze bottle of ketchup, rather than tossing out the bottle, wash it out.  Put in your pancake batter and you can squeeze out exact amounts instead of slopping the batter all over the place while you try to spoon it in to your pan.

You could even do fun shapes with the control the bottle gives you.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Temporary Mom

Tim and I are temporary parents- we've inherited a 10 year old little girl for 5 days.

I'm already learning tons of things- don't get me wrong, we've hung out with Deanna before, we've babysat her- but never for an extended period of time and certainly not overnight.

Lesson #1:  Small kids don't eat very much at all.  As in, don't make extra food for them, they can just eat what you would normally have as leftovers.  In your over-eagerness to make sure they don't die of starvation, you will make enough extra food to feed a professional linebacker.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Gone a week, gone a lifetime

We spent the past week in Florida with my in-laws.  It was warm down there- some days drenching us in sweat, though by the last few days it was beautiful.

When we returned home, it felt like we had been gone more like a month!  It's cool here- approaching cold at night.  The trees, which had just begun to color their leaves when we left, are nearing their full Fall splendor.  My poor in-laws live in the mountains and they came home to bare trees and dead tomato plants!
Our garden is mostly dead as well, time to pick the very last of it's produce. 

My junior bunnies (those under 6 months old) have undergone a metamorphosis since I have last seen them- mostly for the better!  Still, in just a single week my "babies" have turned in to mini adults! Time flies in earnest when you're gone.

We did have one mild heartattack when we came home- the chickens were all out and two were missing.  I saw tons of feathers everywhere and assumed the worst, but luckily everyone is still alive.  The other two girls were apparently off on a field trip somewhere.  Note to self: fix the coop door.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Trick Yourself in to Saving Money Tip #5

Do you use coupons?  Even if you are only a casual couponer, try moving that $3.00 you saved on your last grocery bill directly in to savings.  It's not like you'll miss it and it will help bolster your savings account!


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Cutting Costs of Sporting Events and Concerts!

Ok, so you've read about having minor league experiences and you know all about the high cost of seeing a professional game, but you really want to go see those pros play.

I totally get that.   That doesn't mean you have to pay full price for everything though.

Try StubHub to get your tickets!  People get tickets or have season tickets and can't make it to all the games, so they post them (often deeply discounted) on this website.  StubHub backs every order, so no worries about getting fakes and being cheated out of your money. We have used this site twice- once to get discounted Anaheim Angels tickets and once to get very discounted UNC-Chapel Hill men's basketball tickets.  They even sell concert tickets, so don't despair if your concert is too expensive or is sold out- check out StubHub and see what you can find.  It may save you a few bucks.

Eat before you go.  It may sound appealing to have a ballpark hot dog and a box of popcorn while watching your favorite sports team, but when you get there and realize you just paid the equivalent of a steak dinner for a snack that doesn't even taste that good, you're going to be very disappointed.

Go easy on the drinks.  Beer and alcoholic drinks are widely available at concerts, sporting events and other similar venues (like street fairs).  They are also highly marked up.  Do you want to miss the play of the game or your favorite song because you had to go to the bathroom?  Do you want to be drunk through an event that probably cost you upwards of $100 to experience?  Skip the $7 beers or just drink in moderation and you will really cut the money you spend on your night out. Plus you won't have those holes in your memory of the night before or that pesky hangover to deal with.

Carpool.  Since paying for parking is unavoidable, see if any friends or family are interested in going to your event.  You don't have to sit together, but splitting up the cost of parking is at least 50% savings!  That $7.50 might just buy you a beer, hehe.

Easy on the souvenirs.  I know that concert Tee looks totally awesome.  I also know that the stuffed bear wearing a baseball uniform is super cute.  Evaluate how much you need items before you buy them and don't do your shopping after you've tossed back a few drinks.   Go with a budget- your wallet will thank me next year, when you sell that bear for $1 at a yardsale, or the donate the unworn Tee to Goodwill because the concert's idea of an XL and yours are two different things.

Hopefully these tips help ease the pain of trying to see a concert or a game.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

$5 Amazon MP3 Credit

You can earn a $5 Amazon MP3 Credit for very little work right now.  Just go join Scott Rewards and they will send you the credit! You sign up (I used my survey email account and also unchecked the box about sending my info to 3rd parties), then you go to page 2 and tell them what Scott products you have in the house. 

That's it! Enter the second security code and the code should arrive in your inbox in just a few minutes.


Monday, October 1, 2012

McCormick's Recipe Inspirations

I don't get paid or any kind of anything for telling you about these. Hi McCormick! Come pay me!

A friend of mine gave us a package of McCormick Recipe Inspirations recently.  She had purchased it, but decided she probably wouldn't get around to using it, though she loves these little packages.

Basically, it's the spices you need for a particular recipe (recipe card is on the back of the package).  They are pre-measured and actually really convenient.  So if your spice cabinet is not as stuffed full as mine are, read on!

We made the Apple & Sage Pork Chops and they were incredible.  I'm not a big fan of "sweet meat", but this recipe was much more savory than sweet.  I didn't have Allspice or Rubbed Sage on hand, so it worked out well to have it in the package.  Plus, now I have the recipe card so when inevitably I do get the Rubbed Sage and Allspice, I can make my own recipe, minus a little convenience.   The ingredients I needed outside the spices were minimal- an apple, an onion, the pork chops, apple juice and a tbsp of flour.  Not bad at all.

There are quite a few different flavor packets- I am thinking these would be perfect to take on vacation with you, if you know you'll be cooking in the room.  I'm actually planning on getting at least one packet for the upcoming trip to Florida.

So, here is an easy way to spice up your cooking- learn a bit about flavors and how they interact while making a quick and easy meal.  It'll impress anyone that eats it and you don't have have a Ph.D. in Cooking to pull off the recipe. 

Overall- I'm a huge fan!