Sunday, January 31, 2010

Oops, I forgot

I had promised myself and my good friends here to post my new recipes that I try this year and I have already forgot!

Well, I need to get on the ball.

Today, after a huge day of wrapping for my event (we did 70 baskets yesterday).

I have decided to make my beef stew. It's not new but I have only made it once before so let's see if it just as good the second time!

I also like to make the wide egg noodles to go with it since the kids like noodles and who doesn't like noodles covered in such a delicious sauce!

I also make this because here in the BITTERLY COLD Northeast a good comfort meal is great on a Sunday night.

Beef Stew

2lb Stew Beef
2 Tablespoon vegetable oil
2 Cups water (I use beef stock)
1 teaspoon Worstershire sauce
1 clove of garlic peeled (2)
1 or 2 bay leaves
1 medium onion sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
dash of ground allspice or cloves (I used allspice)
3 large carrots sliced
4 red potatoes quartered
3 ribs of celery chopped
2 Tablespoons cornstarch

Brown meat in hot oil. Add water, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, bay leaves, onion, salt, sugar, pepper, paprika, and allspice. Cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours. Remove bay leaves and garlic clove. Add carrots, potatoes, and celery. Cover and cook 30 to 40 minutes longer. To thicken gravy, remove 2 cups hot liquid. Using a separate bowl, combine 1/4 cup water and cornstarch until smooth. Mix with hot liquid and return mixture to pot. Stir and cook until bubbly.

Friday, January 29, 2010


A few nights ago I started an email about a wonderful little girl who passed away.

It was very difficult for me and I had just found out about it and knew little details.

It turns out she was 9 years old. A little Tomboy who loved life. I did not know her personally but know people who did.

I was notified y our soccer league as she was a player and then by our Daisy troop since she was a Brownie.

This is the unimaginable for any family, I know my family lived it.

My brother passed away at the young age of 17 on the morning of my son's bris. My parents have never recovered and probably never will.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the Powers family as they try to get through this very difficult time.


** I chose balloons since we usually send balloons up with messages of love to my brother

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Fabulous Giveaway!!

I always knew this blog was fabulous so you really need to check out JennieMac's Birthday giveaway here and it is for this:


She is totally my kinda gal. Go check out her post and see what it's all about. Giveaway ends 2/6/2010.

Good luck!


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Mr. Patron is NOT my friend

A few weeks ago I had visited a very cool blog and the lovely owner of that blog JennieMac. She talked of a Don Patron and his not so nice Cousin. The post had me in stitches as I could totally relate to what she was saying.

Now mind you, I love a good Margarita but shots of that poison I do stay away from. I have see the likes of him and his cousin obliterate and evening in a matter of hours. So, he tempted me once and I learned my lesson and have stayed away from them


last night.

So bad, but Mr. Patron, well he really tricked me. He enticed me (which I think was not fair - he came disguised,

Coffee flavored. (and with two of my friends making me feel bad and ashamed not to try it)

How could I not? They were all my friends.

Little side bar here, I was drinking wine before my friends arrived with their 3rd wheel of a friend. And you know the saying, Wine before liquor, never sicker.

So, I did a few large shots with my friends and promptly became sick literally right after they left and felt AWFUL all morning.

All the while I was thinking of Jennie Mac and what she said. They are not nice cousins and he is your best friend and then turns on you! He sure did. But now as of 8 pm I am okay.

I will be okay and there will be no more drop by friendships with those two any more!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Red Carpet Baby

I truly love a bold color like this

What a fabulous dress (both style and color) and the date is not too shabby either

What a gorgeous color

Just Dazzling


When I saw Jennifer Garner I thought WOW

I really liked her speech, honest. I like the dress except for the poof on the hip.

I also REALLY liked the dress Helen Mirren wore, I think she looked absolutely fabulous but could not find her.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Where's my Paint Brush?

I have absolutely fallen for a color.

Usually I am a Benjamin Moore kind of gal but today, a color caught my eye, at Restoration Hardware.

You see I was out with my Grandma, who just had her 80th birthday this week and my daughter. It was such a nice day, we were shopping for curtains for my living room, more on that later.

So, Grandma decides she would like to have lunch at Cheesecake Factory (LOOOOVVVEEEE). We go and of course have a little wait. I tell them I will be right back. (Restoration Hardware is right across the way)

I go into RH looking for a cool spray that was mentioned here by Lissa. I love Beachy smells so I had to try it out - So far LOOOVVEE it!

This lady is buying some paint, who knew RH sold paint. SO while waiting for the lady to find a price sticker I browse (not a good thing) and I find THE color.

I mentioned I wanted a change and by golly, I FOUND IT.

It is the top gallon of paint.

I think I will have to go back tomorrow and buy the paint.

I think it will be good, it is what I have been thinking of. Do I need a primer since my walls are a slate-y blue?

Hmmmm, what should I do?


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Beautiful Bedrooms

I am in the mood for a change, a bedroom change.

Tomorrow I will head over to a store where I saw something I liked very much.

I love Blue but somehow the blue I painted my bedroom is just annoying me. I somehow knew it when I first saw it on the walls.

I NEED this change. I am thinking....

I had actually loved this bedroom style for a while
I really like this one

The light and dark contrast here suits me

And finally this looks so cozy I want to stay there all day

Have a good night,


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Slipcover Madness

So, we have this old couch. She's been with me for 12 years.

She presently resides in our living room so it doesn't look bare.

I got an idea from somewhere, if it was you let me know so I can credit you.

A slipcover made out of drop cloths from HD.

I tried it. Half is done. Check it out

Ugly couch with sheet covers

Side view

Finished cover


PS I keep jamming and breaking the needles on my sewing machine (I need a lesson) so this was made with fusible/hemming tape with an iron.

Waiting is the hardest part

I had some major life changes this year.

I lost my job due to a technicality, finished my Masters degree and now I am staying home until I get a job.

I am not one to stay home. I love my kids and have always dreamed of staying home but my kids are not home, they are at school.

I have projects galore, I want to repaint my room, decorate our house, craft, cook, plan you name it BUT that costs money and being unemployed there isn't so much of that.

Not my colors but a variation of swatches

I may distress my kitchen cabinets

I want to go white in bedding

I am also on this organizing kick. Believe what can go to charity has and is, what can be sold for whatever it can be sold for will. Remember, I am going to SIMPLIFY my life.

I also HATE waiting. I am a go getter type of gal. I want something, not necessarily talking material type of wanting, I go for it. I make a plan and steam full ahead like a train to go for my goal. If I want it I am going to do it. I work hard, when I want (lol).

So, I have been home two weeks (student teaching ended before the break) and I have found stuff to do - clean the closets, donate, get a garage door opener (had to throw that one in) and cook.

So, I am waiting. Waiting for my old school to call so I can teach there again - not as speech but a full teacher. This may not be the case, yet as they would only hire as a long term sub for now - which I would gladly take. So I apply all over.

Today may have been my call. I saw a number I do not recognize and decide not to answer. Well, they call again, right away and I do not answer. I use my clever reverse call number id and guess what? It was the Department of Ed. I call back hoping to get some kind of person and I get a listing for like 10 schools! How the heck can I reach someone and they did not leave a message.

UGH! I hate waiting. Let's hope they call back..soon.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Cooking Side by Side

My husband is a trained chef. He studied at The Culinary Institute of America. The premier culinary school.

However, he does not cook all that much. I do. Which I don't mind, I love to cook.

But yesterday I had planned on making a stuffed pork tenderloin. It was defrosted and I had all the ingredients that I wanted to use to stuff it - mushrooms, onions, garlic and herb cheese spread and pumpernickel bread.

Hubby and I worked side by side in our tiny kitchen. He doing a lot of the chopping and cutting and me mixing, sauteing and cooking.

It was actually very nice EVEN though he is a VERY ANAL man when it comes to cooking.

I also made a Butternut Squash Risotto, hubby did all of the cutting for those ingredients.

We had some friends over to share in our tasty food. It was delish.

In the end Hubby put some of the sliced pancetta on top of the pork tenderloin.


Butternut Squash Risotto


  • 1 butternut squash (2 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces pancetta, diced
  • 1/2 cup minced shallots (2 large)
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice (10 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Peel the butternut squash, remove the seeds, and cut it into 3/4-inch cubes. You should have about 6 cups. Place the squash on a sheet pan and toss it with the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing once, until very tender. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the chicken stock in a small covered saucepan. Leave it on low heat to simmer.

In a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the pancetta and shallots on medium-low heat for 10 minutes, until the shallots are translucent but not browned. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains with butter. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add 2 full ladles of stock to the rice plus the saffron, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir, and simmer until the stock is absorbed, 5 to 10 minutes. Continue to add the stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring every few minutes. Each time, cook until the mixture seems a little dry, then add more stock. Continue until the rice is cooked through, but still al dente, about 30 minutes total. Off the heat, add the roasted squash cubes and Parmesan. Mix well and serve.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Dreaming of Blooms

I had to think about something related to warm weather on this FREEEZING day here in the North East, this made me happy.

Ever since we bought our house I have wanted to put in a beautiful landscape design, where is Ahmed Hassan of Landscape Crashers when I got to Lowes or Home Depot?

And we all know how expensive landscaping can be.

I have the most ugly GINORMOUS bushes in front of my house. Seriously they are creeping out, it's unbelievable.

I have been begging the husband to get rid of them. Everyone says, cut them down in the winter - well, it's winter let's get rid of them.

He won't because then the house is bare in front. WHO CARES I HATE THEM. Okay I got that out and I digress. I dream of these beauties and this year will find a way to get some pretty colors going on in front of our house.

I think this would beautiful instead of the Evergreen on the end by the garage

I was thinking of putting some of this around our little light post
I LUUURRVVEE this like no other, there will be plenty around the yard of this gorgeous flower

These are just as gorgeous, I was thinking of this by the front steps

Some of these mixed in too with some boxwoods

I have always loved flowers, back in the day I took Floral arranging as a science at Community college. This year hopefully I can have some flowers from my our garden to arrange.

Have a lovely day.


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Spoiled? I think not

Okay, for the most part I do not vision myself as being spoiled until two weeks ago.

You see, about two weeks ago my garage door opener died.

Yes it took me two weeks to actually go out and get a new one with the holidays and all, the kids home and of course the extra money it was going to cost at this time of year.

So, for two weeks I have been lifting up my garage door every time I wanted go out or come back home. AND you see because of some locking mechanism I had to go through the front door and open the garage from the inside.

Can you say Pain in the ass? Why yes you can. You see there used to be this awesome little button on the side of the garage that would open my husband's side but NO it no longer works, and we don't have a walkway to our door because the previous owners didn't think one was necessary. (they actually did but it went from the street and I ripped it out since most of the tiles were covered by grass - believe once I get a new job and summer comes we will find a way for a walkway)

So this leaves me with walking in a snow covered yard to my door, see the annoyance here?

Well, as I lift this door it occurs to me that there wasn't always this garage door opener thingy and people had to lift their doors. Am I spoiled that I like to push a button and magic happens?

No, I am not spoiled but used to the technology that I have grown up with.

Fear not ladies, you see, between 2 and 4 today I will get a new garage door opener. I am SUPER happy and absolutely doing a happy dance. I will be getting this bad boy:

I'll let you know how it works.


PS I am sure you are asking why didn't hubby and switch sides for this time and the answer is, the pavement by his door goes up a little bit therefore scraping the top of my roof rack on the truck so we switched sides a long time ago.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Coupon Mania

I have it.

I have decided that since it is a tough year I was going to start making better use of my money. All over TV you see the fabulous Coupon Mom. She is all over. So I went to her website and printed a bunch of coupons for my shopping trip today.

I listened to her advice to make your meals according to the sales flyers, coupons and your pantry. I printed my coupons, took out the ones from my coupon holder and checked out the flyer. Right now my Shoprite has Can Can days so lots of things are on sale.

I went with my list, another thing to do. Did you know that if you go without a list you are mostly to spend 20% more on your grocery bill? I went with my list and coupons for the things I needed or wanted.

Guess what????

I saved... Drumroll please...

$44.65 in coupons and sales this week!

I am so proud of myself, I called the husband right away. He said that I sounded so proud of myself, I am.

So that's it, I check it out.

Happy Clipping!!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I Wish

to get away to some fabulously warm place.

As much as I love the Northeast I don't really like the cold. I hate wearing big jackets, in fact most of the time I leave my jacket in the car. I know, it's crazy BUT when I go into a store I get hot since they are BLASTING the heat since it's freezing outside. SO I brave the cold and leave the coat in the car.

I would give anything to be in any of these places right now for the next three months.

Ahh to dream....

Can you imagine a Sunset from right there?

Pure bliss in Australia

My favorite place, a Motu in Tahiti

My other favorite place, the overwater bungalow from my Bora Bora Honeymoon.
Beam me there anytime Scotty

Where do you wish to go?

Nighty night,

My Promise

I did promise this year that at least once a week I would try a new recipe I have never made before so I did.

An Awesome Spinach-Artichoke Dip.

Now I always make that spinach dip from Knorr and it is so very tasty but I wanted to try to make the one like the restaurants.

And I did. It was pretty easy. I would add more cheese next time. We had so much extra since our company had to cancel but we found great ways to utilize this dip. (I ate it every day as a little snack - ;) but don't tell anyone). Hubby put it in top of his chicken cutlets that I made.

I used a recipe from one my favorite gals, Paula Deen.

Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip

  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach
  • 2 (13 3/4-ounce) cans artichoke hearts
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 cup grated pepper jack cheese
  • Directions

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a casserole dish with nonstick spray.

    Heat the spinach in a microwave oven on high for 5 minutes and squeeze dry. Drain the artichoke hearts and coarsely chop in a food processor.

    Combine all the ingredients except the jack cheese in a large bowl. Stir well. Scrape into the prepared casserole dish and sprinkle the jack cheese on top. Bake for 30 minutes. Transfer to a chafing dish and keep warm over a low flame. Serve with bagel chips.

    I also served it with pita chips my husband made. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Have you ever been violated?

Well I have, sort of.

Today the husband calls me and asks if I had shopped somewhere yesterday. I told him yes and the amount spent. He says there was another amount and I said no way, he said call the bank.

So, now I am in a Tizzy.

I call the bank. Turns out the charge was on the husband's card.

Great. I felt a little validation because I am sure he was thinking what did she get herself into now (not saying I get into trouble but you know men they want to be right and you wrong - which I'll let you in on a little secret - I am never wrong, never). So I file a claim, cancel his card, get instructions on what to do from there and then call the husband.

I tell him it was his card, to which he tries to find out "where" this could have possibly taken place. He has an idea and the crazy part wants to go and beat the arse and the other is being level headed and will use cash from now on as that is where he gets his bus tickets occasionally.

I head over to the bank, get the form and head on home.

Now I have to watch my account, thank goodness we got this done early and it was only two charges but it is a major feeling of violation.

Someone was trying to steal from us. That is wrong, what is wrong with people today? I am just happy that no one is hurt and we found out so soon.

So, be careful when you are out shopping and watch what people do with your cards.

Be safe.


Monday, January 4, 2010

It's a Lisa Leonard Giveaway!!

Tracey over at Beneath My Heart is hosting a Fabulous Giveaway over here.

It's a $75 Giveaway to Lisa Leonard Designs!!

How awesome is that?

Go On Check it out. Drawing will take place on January 8th! Tell all your friends! Good luck!


Saturday, January 2, 2010


Okay, now it is my crunch time.

I am the chairperson for one of the largest single fundraisers in my school.

It is a year long process. Really, as soon as I finish one year's event I (and my awesome committee) get planning for the next year.

This will be my last year. It is very time consuming and even though I love it I need to pass the baton.

So, what is this event you ask?

It is a Tricky Tray. Now I think this may be a New Jersey name for it (the girl who brought it to our school is originally from NJ) but some call it a Chinese auction and what ever else. We call it Tricky Tray - if you want check out more info here.

Basically we go out and get donations Locally and Nationally. Lots of letters, faxing and emailing.

It's all for the kids. We have lots of great prizes a 50" flat screen is our Super Grand prize, US Open tickets, electronics and such.

So, I will be busy. The event is March 12th. My countdown begins. Lucky Me.

Curtains Finally!

Can you believe that for one year I have either lived with no curtains at all or those paper shades on my windows?

I know, you are all shrieking back with disgust.

I had to, you see, I did not want to settle on something I did not like, spent too much on and was waiting to get my feel of the house and it's rooms.

So, last week while out with a friend I found something I thought I might like for the living room AND I actually bought it. Then a few days later I actually bought the rod for it.

New year, new me I had the husband hang it up and VOILA a shaded room!
I love it! I cannot believe i took so long to actually get off my tush and find something. So much so I ran out and looked for curtains for our living room windows (big thing - one window is 135" and the other is 72"). I had originally bought the metal tie backs but decided against it. I am going to go with a black sash type of tie back, I just need to get the fabric this weekend (especially since I have my new sewing machine if need be).

I have realized that I want curtains, I think that they make the room softer. I want something neutral - I can spice it up with color the base should be neutral - I think?

I am excited. I am looking forward to doing this, along with another project I have in mind for that living room....

Friday, January 1, 2010


Happy New Year first of all.

I have been inspired my wonderful friend Kim over here. She had declared last year as the year for her to simplify and this year I have been greatly inspired by another fabulous, strong woman Nie found here who has themes for her family when starting the school year. So, I thought long and hard about things and I want to

and that is just what I intend to do this year.

After reading Mimi Charmante's post I went and cleaned out my closet.

Yup, I did and got rid a HUGE contractor's bag of clothes (they will be dropped off at People to People and Goodwill on Monday).

When the children go back to school on Monday you know I am going through their rooms and the playroom. The basement will follow.

I am ready for it. I see that over the years I collect things and my kids are becoming collectors.

There has to be a better way, I want this.

And, I actually had the husband hang up curtains I bought last week for our dining room, but that's in the next post.

I have some projects in my mind that I want to do and *hopefully* they are simple.

Much love ladies, have a great night.