July 31, 2012

A Bend in the Road

This blog will be making some changes. That is because I have to make some changes. I had a physical the other day and my blood pressure was high! That has never happened to me. Ever.  It used to be low, as a matter of fact. We determined that I have been retaining water, which I kind of knew and think has been a problem since I started having babies. So tomorrow I start on a water pill (bathroom, here I come!) and I have to follow the DASH diet. I have many changes to make.

But why? Why am I retaining water? I do not salt my food at the table. I only cook with salt when making pasta, potatoes, rice. Oh, when marinating meat. Oh, and baking. Oh, and eating processed foods.

The recommended maximum amount of salt intake a day is 2400 mg. If you have high blood pressure, or hypertension, which is my official diagnosis, it is 1500 mg. Now for some perspective. One teaspoon of salt has 2132 mg of sodium. Now for some more perspective:  this week I am sticking with my menu plan while preparing to start the DASH diet next week. Tonight I grilled marinated chicken breasts. The marinade had 1/4 cup of LOW SODIUM soy sauce. One quarter cup of LOW SODIUM soy sauce has 2,300 mg of sodium! I also cook my rice with bouillon cubes. The oil from the bouillon coats the rice nicely and keeps it from getting sticky. That bouillon cube (which is for two cups of water) has 1,780 mg. Of course I did not ingest all of that sodium, but I am obviously having too much, or my body is not efficient at processing it, so now I need to rethink my cooking altogether.

By the way, that marinade was delicious, but I am not going to share the recipe with you because it is not healthy for you.  However, I did find a recipe for a low sodium soy sauce substitute made with molasses, so I will try that with the marinade and let you know how it is.

So, I guess this blog is going to have to change too.  Hopefully with a healthy eating/clean living kind of vibe.

So here is my first healthy tip:

I love mason jars, and I have found that one of the best uses of a quart size jar is to use as a water glass. Two jars a day keeps the sodium away!

July 30, 2012

Happy Homemaker Monday July 30

Welcome to Happy Homemaker Monday, hosted by Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom.  Every week we get this opportunity to reflect on our lives and our blessings when we write these posts.

It is a beautiful summer day here in New England.  Right now it is 73 degrees with 70% humidity and the sun is shining.

On My Reading Pile
Finished The White Queen by Philippa Gregory.  I liked it except for the battles, and there were a lot, so I don't know if I will read any more for the time being.

Finished Standing In the Rainbow by Fannie Flagg.  I find her delightful and love her characters.  I would like to read Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe next.  Hopefully I can find it at my library.

Finished The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  This is my oldest son's favorite book from high school and he wanted me to read it.  I enjoyed the story and felt that it portrayed well the time period and certain aspects of our society.

Still working on Anna Karenina. At the rate I am going, I should be done in 10 years.

Slowed way down in the New Testament.  I have to get back on track.  Right now I am at Romans 6.

Currently reading The Hangman's Daughter by Oliver Potzsch.  Really enjoying this book and it is a quick read with a mystery, which keeps me going so I can find out what happened.  My brother in-law told us about this book.  The author wrote this work of fiction based upon his family history, which I think is a fascinating idea.

On my tv
Just watched 27 Dresses last night - a typical entertaining chick flick.  Have We Need To Talk About Kevin from Netflix.

On the Menu for this Week
My weekly menu is posted below if anyone is interested.

On My To-Do List
Can I list finish The Hangman's Daughter on here? No? Ha ha. I actually had a physical this morning, then went for blood work and got my allergy shots, so I feel like I deserve a little slacking off! Hopefully I will get a load of laundry done, straighten up around the house, and vacuum downstairs, which are pretty much daily chores.

What I am Creating
I want to make some zucchini bread, does that count?

Homemaking Tips
I used to have a family binder where I kept info from school, my kids extracurricular activities, notices, etc.  Then I found one binder was not sufficient.  So now I have a binder for each child, where I keep their school information (especially handy when they are in different schools), class information, health information (like prescription info), scout info, etc.

Looking Around the House
My daughter is reading on the couch, the dog is downstairs sleeping, and everyone else is away.  I hear the hum of the air conditioner (why do I have it on when it is only 73 degrees outside?). I see numerous birthday cards on our mantel.  (Three out of six of us have birthdays in July.)

From the Camera
My youngest reading The Hunger Games on his Kindle.

On My Prayer List
My children, my father, my cousin's husband who is having surgery tomorrow for pancreatic cancer.

Bible Verse
Read this yesterday while sitting in church.

"And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also:  knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope"
Romans 5:3-6

One of my children has mental health problems, and one of the benefits of going through this experience with him is that I have become MUCH  more patient.  You just have to.  But I am also grateful for it.  The patience.  Not the mental illness.

July 27, 2012

Next Week's Menu, Up Already!

photo courtesy of Kalyn's Kitchen

I did not have to come up with a menu for this week. Everyone is away except for me and my oldest, who is almost 19 and tries to be out of the house at all times. So, this week was my vacation. And I ate out all week. I didn't actually intend to, but that's how it worked out. Tonight will be pizza rolls or something like it that is lurking in my freezer. I'm kind of done with the eating out thing for now. Where did I go and what did I eat, you ask? Well, I'll tell you! (It is actually just myself that is asking, probably a few weeks from now when I can no longer remember.)

Monday was Friendly's, which I had just been to the week before and really didn't have a desire to go to but my son wanted to. Yes, he took some advantage of my vacation. I got a BLT with fries and an ice cream sundae, of course.

Tuesday was Duchess for a bacon cheeseburger and fries (that I did not eat). Hey, I didn't say it was fancy eating all week.

Wednesday was the Cheesecake Factory - this indulgence was planned. I always get the same thing. I love it so much that I cannot waiver to try all of the other amazing things on their menu. I get Barbecue Ranch Chicken Salad. And I always bring at least half of it home. And cheesecake. This time it was the plain cheesecake with cherry topping. I brought one home for my son, because I'm nice like that.

Thursday was a day trip with my mom, so we ate at Cracker Barrel and we both had the turkey and dressing special.

The good thing about eating out all week, is that I am now looking forward to home cooked food, and spent last night browsing through one of my cookbooks.

Which reminds me, I have been finding menu planning overwhelming lately. I have so many cookbooks and almost don't know where to start. So for now, I am going to stick to one cookbook a week (unless my creative juices get flowing and I can handle multiple media again). So this week's menu is based mostly on Fix It and Enjoy-It! 

When it's grill season, the first thing I do is look up the weather forecast for the coming week. There is nothing worse for me than planning on grilling something for dinner and having it pouring rain. And around here, if it is going to rain, it will be in the late afternoon-early evening period. So my grilling days are based on the days with a low chance of rain. (Once I had a flank steak and threw it in the crock pot because it was raining, and it was delicious. It didn't come out as stringy as a bottom round roast does.  So sometimes good things happen when my plans are messed up. Only sometimes though.)

That was a long introduction.  Here we go:

Sunday -  Grilled London Broil, baked potatoes, broccoli, and fresh cherries
Monday - Grilled chicken with rice and green beans, watermelon
Tuesday - Grilled tuna steaks, orzo & corn salad, corn on the cob, sliced cantaloupe
Wednesday - Grilled ham steaks, pineapple, coleslaw, mashed sweet potatoes
Thursday - Spaghetti, chicken sausage, salad, strawberries
Friday - leftover day
Saturday - family cookout/birthday celebration.  Hamburgers, hot dogs, sauteed onions, corn on the cob, pasta salad, fruit salad, cake, milkshakes

I love including fresh fruit on my menu.  That one of the blessings of summer. I cannot wait. I will be trying various marinades and sauces from the cookbook, and will post the ones that we liked. If I don't care for it, I don't post it, because I only want a record of recipes that I want to keep on here. I do, however, write notes in my cookbooks; and if I want to make it again, it gets recorded on here and in an index file I keep on my counter.

Now I have to go through the recipes and write up my shopping list.

July 20, 2012

Delicious Triple Chocolate Cake

I use quite a few recipes from a book titled Remedies For the "I Don't Cook" Syndrome. I thought it would be a cookbook of some very basic recipes, but I was surprised that it really is a collection of special recipes. Recipes that make the kinds of foods that people remember you by when you bring them to potlucks.

Today is cool and rainy, and so I felt like baking something yummy, however, I am out of vanilla! What baked good worth anything is made without vanilla? So I went searching through my pantries (I have a second one in the basement for the things we stock up on) and found a chocolate cake mix, and instant pudding mix.  I knew I had sour cream.  I looked up the recipe, and Yes! I had all of the ingredients.

The recipe is actually called Infallible Chocolate Chip Cake in the cookbook, but that gives no indication of just how wonderful it is.

Here we go:

1 C sour cream   (you really don't want to indulge in licking too much of the batter when you are done - it is pretty rich because of the sour cream)

1/3 C oil (I use canola for all of my baking)

1/3 C water

4 eggs

1 (18.25 ounce) package chocolate cake mix (the regular size boxes - and I use devil's food)

1 (3 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix

1 (12 ounce) package chocolate chips (I use two cups, because I buy the huge bags of chocolate chips at my warehouse store)

Basically you mix it all together (mix in chips after everything else is mixed) and "pour" it into a bundt pan (make sure you grease and flour it first) and bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes.

Now, to make it easier on yourself, put the eggs (cracked, of course!), oil, water, and sour cream in a large bowl and whisk together until mixed.  Then, add the cake and pudding mixes and stir with a spoon or a spatula. Then add the chocolate chips.  

Just look at that chocolaty goodness

The directions say to pour batter into pan, but really you have to spoon it in because it is so thick.

I suggest dusting the cake pan with cocoa powder instead of flour since this is a chocolate cake and you do not need to frost it.

The last step is to sprinkle powdered sugar on the top once you have taken it out of the pan.  I suppose you can make a drizzle of some kind, but it is a pretty rich cake and that may be too much?

The white is from powdered sugar, not flour.

He would kill me if he knew I posted this, shhh.

Everyone wants some.

July 19, 2012

I'm Divorcing

Not my husband, he's kind of cute and he puts up with me.  No, I am divorcing this guy:

I've tried a couple of recipes this past week that I was so excited about, only to be disappointed.  They both contained a cream soup.  It must be me, because we used to get along.  Sometimes I would actually pine for it.  But lately my tolerance for sodium has reached a new low. I know you can find low sodium versions these days, and maybe I will give it another chance come Christmas when it's time to make the  green bean casserole. But I think my taste buds have been saturated. 

The problem is that I still love creamy comfort food, but now I will be on the lookout for different ingredients.  Will let you know if I find anything good.  

July 17, 2012

I Have a Question for You

Where do you accumulate your dirty laundry?

  • Do you have a laundry room?
  • If yes, a laundry shoot?
  • Do you have a laundry basket in every bedroom?  Or do you use a hamper?
  • Do you have one basket/hamper and wash as soon as it is full?
  • Do you throw it right in the washing machine and start it as soon as it is full?  (My sister in-law does this.)
  • Where in the room do you keep your laundry basket - in a closet or in the open?
  • How many floors does your home have?
  • On what floor is your washer/dryer?
  • How many people are in your household?
I have a two story home (three if you count the finished basement) with bedrooms upstairs and the washer and dryer are in the bathroom on the main floor.  There are six adult sized people in my house:  my husband and I and four teenagers (three are boys).  So you can imagine the laundry situation.  The reason I am asking about this is because the fourth teenager just recently moved in with us and now the laundry dynamics need to be rethought.  

Right now I have two laundry baskets in my linen closet in the upstairs hallway.  My husband and I and our youngest son put our laundry in those baskets (one for colors, one for whites).  My oldest son is technically an adult and so I make him wash his own clothes and he has a laundry basket in his room.  He had it out in his room and I threw it in his closet.  My daughter also washes her own clothes because she wears several outfits a day and then throws them on the floor, so I quit.  I also have my two oldest children wash their own clothes because at some point they need to learn, right?

So now I don't know what to do with the two younger boys (both will be high school freshmen in the fall).  They don't really have room for a laundry basket or a hamper.  The other issue is that these clothes get SMELLY!  I have an extremely weak sense of smell, so that does not affect me, but is does affect everyone else, and I do care about them.  But the one advantage to keeping each person's laundry separate is that I don't have to figure out whose is whose when folding and putting away.  This is especially difficult because we hand down from one to another.

So let's have it.  What do you do with your smelly, dirty laundry until you wash it???

July 16, 2012

So Proud of Myself

My daughter turns 16 on Wednesday, and ugh, we won't get into the driving and dating thing. She left this morning for a week at camp, so on Sunday we had our family celebration. I shopped on Saturday to buy ice cream for an ice cream cake (our local ice cream shop makes great tasting cakes but they are $18 for a small round cake - I think we are done with that). I found out Saturday night that she is tired of ice cream and wanted a regular cake. Okay, so this part about my wasting money on ice cream is not what I am proud of. I am proud, because I did not go back to the store and buy a cake mix. I decided to go the from scratch route. It's not that I cannot make things from scratch, I used to bake all of the time, back when I was single with no kids or husband and both my father and my boyfriend's father yelled at me to stop baking because they were gaining weight. They really were mad at me. Tsk.  

Anyway, now that I have a husband and kids, who has time to bake from scratch? Let's face it, the question really is, who wants to make time to bake from scratch. Well, I've been inspired by reading Diary of a Stay At Home Mom and about her grocery budget, and decided I should give it a try and see how much I can save. This is especially helpful because I am not working right now and need to watch the spending. And I spend a LOT of money on groceries. If I get it under control, finally, I will post about how great I am doing and reveal the amount I spent on groceries. But until then, I am just ashamed. I will tell you this:  I told a friend once and she told me that it was close to what her husband's paycheck was (and she is a SAHM too). That put it in perspective for me.

Wow, can I ramble. So, I made this cake from scratch (the frosting is canned frosting, don't yell, but I happened to have some on hand, and forgot to take butter out to soften because I was being herded out of the house for reasons I won't get into, and so I used the canned. But the cake came out terrific, and I used what was on hand. Yea for me!

And there are leftovers. Bonus!

Weekly Menu

Update:  I just clicked over to the link on my sidebar for Clam Chowder on Full Bellies Make Happy Kids and am changing Tuesday's menu.  Cannot wait to try this!

I wanted to join Sandra's Happy Homemaker Monday carnival, but did not have time to type it all up.  Please join her for a lot more fun than you will have here.  ;  )

Hurrah, hurrah, it's an easy week.  Two are at camp, one is working two nights this week and will eat there, and we are assigned to clean our church this week, so one night (probably Saturday) will be pizza. I would like to take this opportunity to use stuff I already have, so I will be buying some dairy products, breads, and produce, but not much else...I hope.

Monday Hot dogs, leftover potato salad and green salad, canned baked beans.  

Let me talk to you about baked beans for a minute.  I am from the northeast.  Born, raised, growing old.  I have made baked beans from scratch, and they are very good, but so are the canned varieties.  I feel the same way about pumpkin pie.  I haven't eaten a pumpkin pie that did not taste good, so sometimes I will make one from scratch, and most times not.  Also I make a very good doctored version of canned baked beans with maple syrup.  Yum.  We won't talk about the fact that I have tons of dried small white beans and a working slow cooker, and therefore every reason to make my own baked beans.  Shhh.

Tuesday Tuna Steaks, leftover rice, peas and carrots.

Wednesday Hmmm, chicken quesadillas, corn,  more leftover rice if I'm lucky

Let's talk about the word quesadillas, which blogger does not recognize.  These are its spell check options:  cedillas, Sadella's, Quintilla's, Gusella's.  Really???  You don't have quesadilla, but you have those words?  What really makes me laugh is that the last three options have a red line under them as I write this, blogger's spell check does not even recognize its own suggestions?

Moving on,

Thursday Grilled pork chops, rice-a-roni (leave me alone), green beans

Friday Fish fillets, mashed potatoes, peas and carrots

Saturday pizza!

Sunday chicken pot pies, pizza rolls (Don't judge, it will be just me and possibly my oldest son - everyone else will be away.  If it is just me I will only have a pot pie, promise.) and carrot sticks.

July 14, 2012

London Broil

One of my pet peeves is that there are numerous names for a cut of meat, and in the case of London Broil, well, that is the name of the recipe, not the cut of meat.  It is often referred to as flank steak.  My supermarket calls it top round.  Or maybe they are two different cuts of meat, but if that is the case, both can be used for London Broil.  Ugh.

Anyway, the top round was on sale  this week.  And it is such an inexpensive cut of meat and so good, I have no idea why I do not buy it more often.  My family loves it as much as any other steak.  It is lean, and really tasty.  Well the tastiness comes in part from the marinade, which is what I am sharing here.

This recipe comes from Allrecipes.com.  Here is the link.

Delicious London Broil

(this photo is from google images, although my steak looked like this)


1 clove garlic, minced (I just crush mine)
1 tsp salt (next time I will cut back on this - even with using low sodium soy sauce my son thought it was a little too salty)
3T soy sauce (I recommend low sodium, otherwise omit some of the salt)
1T ketchup (remember when it was called catsup?  when did it change?)
1T vegetable oil (I used canola)
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp dried oregano

flank/top round/whatever steak  (the recipes calls for 4 pounds, my piece was only abt 2.24 pounds but I still made the same amount of marinade)

Score top and bottom of steak about 1/8 deep with a knife

Mix marinade ingredients, rub into steak

Wrap steak in aluminum foil (or put in a plastic bag, or in a covered dish...however you marinate your meat, I don't think it really matters)

Refrigerate for 5-6 hours  (I never think about dinner until late in the day, so I did not marinate it for that long, maybe two hours, but it was still very good)

Grill for about 15 minutes or until desired doneness, flipping once.

This was a big winner, as everyone loved it.  I served it with baked potatoes, green beans, and mushrooms and onions sauteed in butter and soy sauce.  Yum.

July 9, 2012

Happy Homemaker Monday July 9 2012

Join our hostess Sandra and the other moms who have participated today.
You can find it and lots of other wonderful posts at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom.

The Weather

I am IN LOVE with our weather today.  Right now it is about 76 degrees with 60% humidity.  The high is 83 and it is sunny.  Right now there is not a cloud in the sky.  It is rare that we have perfect days like this.  It amazes me how something like the weather can completely affect my mood.  I feel very content, and I have a lot on my plate.  Bring it on!

On My Reading Pile

I am becoming like my son, I have four books started (5 if you include the New Testament).  They include:

The Magician's Nephew  which is the first book in the Chronicles of Narnia series.  I am determined to read the whole series this summer.

Can't Wait to Get to Heaven  I have seen this one mentioned on Sandra's blog and I am half way through and loving it.

Anna Karenina Haven't touched this one in awhile, we'll see if I get through it.

The New Testament I am on Acts chapter 13 already!

I cannot remember the name of the 5th one, and it is upstairs so I'll share next time.

On My TV

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (I can't believe I am admitting that)

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets It is not summer without Harry Potter.  Am trying to resist buying the digital copies of the books, but I know I'll give in.

The Five People You Meet in Heaven  Read the book and saw a small part of the movie.  My daughter requested this from Netflix.

The Pianist

On My Menu for This Week

A lot of Sandra's recipes.  I have been reading through her blog from the beginning and have so many bookmarks, it takes up a page on my Nook.  Anyway:

For tonight (Monday is always pasta night unless it is a holiday), will be The Best Lasagna Ever.  Now I make a lasagna that is super easy and my kids love, so this will be an interesting test to see how they react.  

I haven't finished my menu planning, so I cannot post any more.  I highly recommend that you checkout Sandra's cooking blog though,  Full Bellies, Happy Kids

And while I am at it, I would just like to thank all of the people who share their brilliance with the rest of the world, through blogging and what have you.  There are so many talented, creative people, not to mention great cooks, and I for one appreciate you.  You inspire me.  I have known women who make amazing dishes and WILL NOT SHARE THEIR RECIPES.  I admit that I do not understand this.  I could understand if it was their profession, of course you cannot give your product away for free.  However, in these particular instances, they considered them family recipes and would not share.

I am sorry, I do not understand their motivation.  And I SO APPRECIATE those of you who are generous with your knowledge and skills.  So THANK YOU.

Okay, moving on.

On My To Do List

Pick up my son from band camp (already dropped him off)
Menu Plan, grocery list, buy groceries
Vacuum downstairs and mop floor
Clean half bathrooms
Laundry, always laundry
Turn on the pool filter.  I always forget this until half of the day is over.

What I am Creating

I think I am going to start my life story on my family blog.  I will do it slowly and start from my earliest memories.  This is just in the idea stage right now.

Homemaking Tip

This comes from my mother in-law.  Use a strawberry huller to get pieces of eggshell out of a cracked egg.  You can also use it to get rid of the squiggly white things.  You need one with a rounded tip, like this one.
Looking Around the House

I will ignore the mess that I see.  It is quiet.  The dog is hiding sleeping downstairs, my two oldest are sleeping upstairs, my foster son is at scout camp, and my youngest is at band camp.  I hear the hum of the air conditioner, although I do not know why I am wasting electricity running it today.  I have my grilling cookbooks out and my local grocery store flyer just waiting for me to plan my menus.

From the Camera

Looking through my sliding glass door

On My Prayer List

In church yesterday a woman told us that she has a list of names written on a piece of paper and she has been praying for those people for almost a year.  She has seen some miracles in some of their lives.  What an inspiration.  This is something I want to do, especially for two of my children.

Bible Verse (what I read this week)

"But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God."

Acts 7:55-56 

July 6, 2012

How About Some Tomatoes?

(this photo comes from Google images)

Another attempt to sneak in some healthy goodness to my otherwise high carb diet.
This morning a cut up some tomato and threw it in a pan, added an egg and scrambled.
I do not really like cooked tomatoes, but these were not in the pan very long.

Then I toasted a wheat bagel with one slice of cheese and made an egg sandwich.

Again, my usual choice would be a scrambled egg and a bagel, but throwing in the tomato took nothing away from the overall eating experience, and provided me with a serving of vegetables (well, probably half a serving).

July 5, 2012

How to Get a Little Bit Healthier

I am a baaaad eater.
As in a eat a lot of bad foods.
I have been known to have ice cream for breakfast.
That kind of bad.
Chocolate is my drug of choice.
And I am overweight.
So I am not advocating my food choices.

I try, I really do.
I bought a Ninja blender.
They had them at my warehouse store and I got it for about $80, which is much better than the $400 - $800 I saw when I researched them on-line.

I was going to make smoothies.
Healthy ones.
It even came with a recipe book with lots of healthy smoothie choices.
And I did try a couple.
I really did.

And we have been using that blender a LOT.
For milkshakes.
Yum, yum, yum.

So much for eating healthy, right?


Well, not entirely wrong.

BUT, for me, I am trying to incorporate some health into my bad eating.

So, yesterday I made myself a milkshake.
(I made them for the rest of my family too, just so you know.)
But for me, I made a chocolate milkshake,
and I put fresh strawberries and blueberries in it.


I also made a macaroni salad to bring to my sister's house for a picnic.
There is a bag of kale in my fridge.
Yes, I did, I put some chopped kale in my macaroni salad.
(Well, I actually split the salad into two salads and put it in one.)

Today I am trying to eat some leftover fruit salad.
I have a little hot fudge sauce in the fridge.

So I can look at this three ways:

  1. I am ruining healthy food by eating it with unhealthy food.
  2. I am ruining the taste of unhealthy food by adding healthy food.
  3. I am improving unhealthy food choices by adding healthy foods and getting some healthy food into my body.
I choose door number 3.

July 3, 2012

Okay, I'm in Love

(photo courtesy of smittenkitchen.com)

I got this recipe from A Chelsea Morning.  You can find the original post here.

2 boxes cake mix
2 sticks butter (melted, but I left mine out on the counter and in the heat of the summer, it was plenty soft)
2 tablespoons water
2 eggs
2 cups chocolate chips, or peanut butter chips, or raisins, or whatever goody you want

Mix cake mix and butter
Add water and eggs
Add chocolate chips

Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes

The flavor combinations are endless.  I used Dunkin Hines Butter Golden flavor with semi-sweet chocolate chips.  What about Devil's Food with milk chocolate chips?  Spice cake cookies with cream cheese frosting?  Marble with mini chocolate chips?  Oh yum, I cannot wait.

* Now, I am a Toll House snob.  But this is so quick and the cookies come out crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, and I find them a very close second.  Very close.

Hope you like them!

July 2, 2012

Happy Homemaker Monday - Hosted by Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

Since I am a housewife, and today I am feeling happy (the weather has a lot to do with that), I have decided to join Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for:

The Weather
Today is a perfect summer day in New England.  It is 84 degrees with 54% humidity, blue skies with white fluffy clouds. 

On my reading pile
Anna Karenina
The New Testament
The Awakening
Prodigal Summer

I am determined to get through the New Testament this summer.  I have to teach it during the school year and although I have studied it before, it is good to have it fresh in my mind.  During the school year while I am teaching it, I will study it in more depth.

I am hoping to get through Anna Karenina.  There is a movie coming out and I really want to have read it before I see it.

The Awakening is on my Nook and was a required book for my daughter's summer reading, but she switched from Honors English to AP Language and her list changed.  Don't know if I will bother, depends on if I get to it.

I have started Prodigal Summer but don't know if I will finish it.  I really liked The Poisonwood Bible and The Bean Trees, but this one isn't capturing my attention.

I sound a little picky, and I guess I am.  I only have the summer to read for pleasure, and I don't want to waste it on a book that doesn't satisfy.  Think I will be going back to the library to look for more.

On my tv
I don't watch much t.v., but two of my children have been watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and if I'm around I usually plop down in the family room and join them.  We have Jane Eyre and National Treasure coming from Netflix.  We usually watch all of the Harry Potter movies (and Lord of the Rings) during the summer.  Time to start that marathon.

On the menu for this week
For now it is easier for me to take one day at a time with dinner planning.  Having teenagers around and a crazy schedule, I sometimes do not know who will be around (including me).  Plus, I have a birthday this week and perhaps will be taken out to dinner?  Tonight, however, we will be having macaroni with meat sauce and shredded mozzarella and a chopped salad.

On my to do list
Sanitize the washing machine (I have a front loader with a mildew problem I am trying to get rid of)
3-4 loads of laundry
clean 3 bathrooms
vacuum main floor

What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting or creating
Ha!  This is NOT me, though I love to see what Sandra is up to.

Homemaking Tips
The best thing to get a spot out of a carpet is seltzer water, a white rag, and just a little elbow grease.  It has not failed me yet and the spot does not show up months later.  I just wish I knew about this for the first 10 years I had carpets.  (Credit goes to my sister for this tip.)

Looking around the house
Everyone is finally up and my 18 year old son is sitting with me at our kitchen table looking at his laptop, my 15 year old daughter is playing the piano, and my 13 year old son is downstairs on the computer watching nature videos on YouTube.

From the camera
My favorite flower, the daylily, growing in my front yard

On my prayer list
Always my kids, my father and father in-law who are both in poor health.  

Bible verse, Devotional

I just read this yesterday:

"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.  In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
John 16:33 

July 1, 2012

Light the Grill Day 2

(this is not my photo, this image comes from google images)

Tonight we had grilled salmon.  I didn't do anything with it at all (due to some members of my family liking food plain and simple), just sprayed canola oil on a piece of heavy duty foil, placed the salmon on top, and placed it on the grill.

I made some peas and a potato salad.

I'm trying to perfect a potato salad.  I never made them much, due to the heaviness and high calories, and my sister makes an awesome one for our family parties.  And for my husband family parties, my MIL makes an awesome German potato salad.

But last year I saw a recipe in either "Woman's Day" or "Family Circle" for a salad that was half potato and half cauliflower.  Now THAT lightens it up quite a bit.  The first time I made it I used Thousand Island dressing, and it was pretty yummy.  Trouble is, my husband, who really is not picky at all, but he does have a couple of dislikes, and relish (pickles in general) is one (coconut is the other - no coconut cream cakes for me, waaah).  

I think I have the vegetables down that I want:  potatoes, cauliflower, celery, and radishes.
But I am still looking for the right dressing.
I tried ranch dressing (gotta use up that ranch), and it was just all right.  Perhaps if I mixed in a little of the french dressing like I did last night for the chicken...

Still searching.  Will post an official recipe if I every get it the way I want it.

Light the Grill...Meal #1

Our forecast says it will be sunny with occasional thunderstorms (which always happen when it is time to make dinner...), so I have been pulling out my cookbooks for the grilling recipes.  At my warehouse store I bought a large package of boneless chicken breasts which is good for two meals, a salmon filet, and a package of three ham steaks.  We will see how far that gets me.  I am hoping for a leftover night, but we will see.

Yesterday I grilled corn on the cob (without husks) which became our appetizer.  Then I mixed 1/2 C ranch dressing with 2 T french dressing and basted the chicken with it as it grilled.  (This idea came from Betty Crocker's Good and Easy Cookbook).  Everyone loved it and the chicken stayed moist and tender; and I am happy because I have two large bottles of ranch dressing to use up over the summer.  This recipe is a keeper.