Friday, 29 February 2008

FIF - Non-cream of Broccoli soup or Frog Soup


Ok this is another made-up recipe so bear with me.

I am not all that fond of broccoli but I know good it is for me so I try to eat it.

I wanted to make a cream of broccoli type soup one day but did not have any cream so while searching recipes online I came across one that used potato flakes to thicken the soup instead of cream.

So this is my homemade recipe.

  • One bag of frozen broccoli - it is already precooked so is easier to use but I am sure you can use fresh too.
  • I thaw it a bit - not fully - doesn't really matter.
  • I cut it a bit smaller and place into my food processor where I whiz the heck out of it - you want it fine. I do this in batches as a whole bag doesn't fit in my processor at one time.
  • I also whiz a large onion too.
  • Place the whizzed-up onion and broccoli into a large pot - add 4 cups chicken broth and 2 cups water.
  • I sometimes also add a packet of chicken soup base.
  • I bring to a boil then simmer for about 20 minutes.
  • I taste and add seasoning - salt, pepper, garlic powder (I sometimes add fresh chopped garlic at the beginning instead) - pretty much any spices you like - try it.
  • Simmer a little longer - taste, adjust seasoning if needed.
  • Then I use an immersion hand blender and puree the soup. If you don't have a hand blender you can put batches through your regular blender (small amounts as hot liquids expand!).
  • Once it is smooth and creamy, I stir in about 1/2 cup of potato flakes - stir until smooth.

That's it.

We got my son to eat this when he was little by calling it Frog Soup - but he is older know and won't fall for that anymore.

My husband and I love this soup - I often make big batches and take it for lunches daily - it tastes good and is good for me.

For more great recipes, check out Favorite Ingrediet Fridays over at Overwhelmed With Joy.

Frugal Friday - Using up samples


You know all those samples you receive, some in magazines, some you request online, some you get in the newspaper? Shampoo, conditioner, lotions....

What do you do with them?

Do you have them piling up in a drawer somewhere?

Do you, God forbid, throw them out?!

Here are a couple ideas:

  • I used to collect them and then use them as stocking stuffers for my sister and girlfriends.
  • I have collected a huge amount, added them to some store bought small bottles of lotion etc and placed into a nice basket for an inexpensive gift for a teacher or co-worker.
  • I have actually used them myself, when I've run out of shampoo. I continued to use them all up - I didn't have to buy shampoo, conditioner or lotion for at least a month or so.
Just a reminder that just because they are small - don't forget about them!

For more Frugal tips - surf over to Biblical Womanhood.

Thursday, 28 February 2008

New quilt update

So I have finished the new quilt top.
Is will be a double-size.

All it needs now is a border - my son says it should be the light blue shown in some of the flowers. I am not so sure. What do you think?

And then of course a backing - I am going to check out double sheets at Wal-mart for this again - not sure the colour - maybe a small floral print.

And then to sandwich and quilt it - the hard part.


My fabric stash

I decided I would post pictures of my fabric stash - this stuff is like crack to me.

I love the colours, oh and the patterns, oh and the textures.

I have a hard time bringing myself to actually use some of it - I love it that much.

Hey at least it is not fattening right?

This pile will become two crazy quilt pillows - I don't know for who yet - I bought the blouse at Value Village because I liked the embroidery.

This pile will become a crazy quilt pillow for my mother in-law for Mother's day - she doesn't read the blog.
Notice the colourful fabric at the bottom of the picture? It came from this - I cut it from the inside bottom hem as I didn't want to cut into the actual blouse yet - if I find just the right chair to use for sewing, I will cut into the blouse to make a seat cushion - otherwise it will remain hanging art on my door.

These I have been gathering for some time. Most are large pieces I can use as backing for quilts.

These too. They are to finish the quilt blocks I started making years ago - one day it will be on my bed.

And these.

Oh ya then there are these that I bought from eBay and planned to make into a quilt but my sister suggested a tablecloth and now I am not sure.
I have several ideas floating around in my brain on what to make with all these glorious fabrics - one day I will make them :)

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Works for Me Wednesday - Writer's Idea/Memory Journal

I like to write - I like to write anything really - I actually like the act of putting a pen to paper and writing the old fashioned way. I do journal but that is mostly personal stuff and a way to get things off my chest.

Sometimes I want to write but I just can't settle on a topic. I know they have writer idea books out there that you can buy that provide you with a topic to write about but instead of spending money I decided to create something myself.

I bought cheap ruled journals at the dollar store and some handmade paper also from the dollar store ($2 so far if you are keeping track). I covered the journal in the handmade paper and podgied it (you know that white stuff - looks like white glue - prob is) anyway, it made it looks all shiny and new :)

Then I cut out a bunch of images from Country Home and Martha Stewart Living (bought at the thrift shop) and used a glue stick to place the images randomly every couple pages or so.

So now when I want to write, I just open this journal, doesn't have to be at the beginning or where I left off last time, look at a photo and write what comes to mind.

The photo may invoke memories from your childhood, which you could write about. It could be completely different from anything in your life and you can write about the differences. You can simply write a few words that come to mind while looking at the image. You can create a fantasy based on the picture. Anyway you write about it - just do it. It gets the creative juices flowing and that is what i care about.

Now I can't really claim this idea as my own as I first saw something similar on Jewels' blog, Eye's of Wonder (which is private now and I miss SO much).

Jewels created a similar journal with photos and images and simply jotted notes down for each day, what they would do that day, task to be completed etc...a really pretty To-Do list in essence. Hers are on blank page journals but I used a lined book - it really is up to you.

So here are the pictures.

The front of the journal. I added some words from scrapbook paper as wells as some dried miniature pansies I had.

The back of the journal.

Images on pages - some small.

Some large.

Some may remind you of your childhood.

Some may not.

The journal does get kind of puffy after you add a lot of photos, but I think that just adds to it's charm :)
Either way - it gets me writing and thinking about beautiful things, and that Works for me - get more great tips over at Shannon's place.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Kitchen Tip Tuesday - Potato sponge


I use the sponges with the scrubby part on one side and the sponge on the other for washing dishes - you know what I mean?

Anyway - when I cook potatoes with the skins on - I like to scrub the skins real well. I have found that the scrubby part of a new sponge works great.

But I didn't want anyone to use my potato sponge for anything else - like washing dishes or wiping the counter - so, since I only use the scrubby part of the sponge, I took a permanent marker and wrote a large P on the sponge side - P for potato.

I keep the sponge under the sink and have let my DH know what the P means.

So far so good - no mixing it up with the other sponges.

Another tip - green sponges are what I normally use for dishes - so I bought pink ones for washing the sink - Pink for sink, so it is easy for me and DH to remember :)

Monday, 25 February 2008

Around my house.

I thought I would share some pics of some things in my home that I find special.

This was supposed to just be a picture of my living room but due to the
slowness of my camera flash - the kid was able to jump into the picture.Hall table.
Glass in my front doors.
Jar of gold buttons someone just Freecycled to me.
Part of my collection of crystals and Faeries.

More crystals and faeries.

Botanical prints, bowl of scented .....um...things...more buttons.

Friendship Angel from a friend and a lil box with mini candles inside.

Fish bowl of sea shells and marble eggs.

Glass jar of river stones.

Hutch/shelf in spare room.
The kid's new fish (an angel fish and a goldfish).
The kid playing video games.
The kid being himself.
The only plant I have that has not died yet & my salt lamp.

That's all - hope you enjoyed the tour :)

Rambling about cats

So we still have Princess visiting with us.

So far things are going well as far as my husband's allergies are concerned.

However,...he is concerned that Princess keeps jumping on the counters. The thought that she has been in the litter box then on the counters really freaks him out. I guess it does me too if I think about it - better not to think about it :)

We have been putting her in the powder room (her litter box is in there too) over night to ensure she doesn't go on the counters. Update: The last few nights she has been in the kid's room with the door closed.

So we were hoping, if this short-haired cat didn't bother DH's allergies, that we would get our own kitten - but won't we still have the same problem with it jumping on the counters? We can't lock a kitten up in the bathroom every time we sleep or are out of the house.

I had two cats before I got DH and his allergies LOL

I don't remember if they got on the counters or not - I'm sure they did and I just didn't stress about it.

So what do we do to keep cats off the counters? Any good ideas?

To help you think - here are a few pics of Princess - the kid simply loves her.

Friday, 22 February 2008

New quilt started

So I bought this floral fabric last week at Value Village that I find simply luscious. It kept calling to me to use it for something now!

So I decided today to start a new quilt with it. I also happened to buy a co-ordinating solid teal the same day - but didn't realize until later that they actual go together quite well.

Now my usual way of doing things is to just jump right in and begin - cuz I hate to wait!
But today I actually took a bit of time and planned my quilt - wow what a concept huh?
I usually just start to sew and then fudge to fit and paint to match later. Nope this one I planned. Guess I am maturing huh - Bout time. :)

So here is my plan.

And then of course I can't do things the way they are supposed to be done - cut all the squares then sew etc...nope I cut enough squares to get me started then began making the blocks. I used 6 inch squares cuz that is the width of my quilt ruler - I am all about easy I tell ya!

Once I had a few blocks done I cut the burgundy squares (fabric I already had - also bought at Value Village - maybe I should call it the Value Village quilt..)to size and started piecing the rows together.

Told ya I don't like to wait - I want to see what things are going to look like now. So at this point I have sewn a row of 3 blocks and a row of 5 blocks together and then joined them - got that? No check out the picture and you will see what I mean.

The colours didn't come through correctly in the pictures. The green is actually teal and the red is a burgundy. Kind of looks Christmasy in the photo but it is not really.

I'll update more as I do more.

Happy quilting!

FIF - Side Dishes


Here are a few of my favorite side dishes - I hope you know by now - I really don't use recipes - be adventurous!

Roasted potatoes
-scrub potatoes, cut into chunks, place in oven dish
-toss with olive oil (2 tbsp but depends on how many spuds you have)
-toss in seasoning of your choice - I often use garlic powder, seasoning salt and chili powder - or you can add spice blends - whatever you like, add some)
-bake in a preheated 350 oven - for about an hour - stirring every 20 mins or so - until brown and crispy.

Snow peas and mushrooms
-tip & tail the snow peas (cut off the ends)
-slice the mushrooms
-place about 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp butter in large fry pan
-over medium heat
-add snow peas and mushrooms
-add garlic powder & seasoning salt
-saute about 20 mins until the snow peas are tender crisp
- stir often

Sauted garlic spinach
-wash spinach - I often use baby spinach because it doesn't have the woody stems to cut off
-chop garlic or use bottled chopped garlic - as much as you like but at least a tsp
-olive oil & butter (tsbp each) into fry pan
-over medium heat
-add garlic and spinach
- cook only for a few minutes - until the spinach is whilted
- serve - salt & pepper to your liking

Maple carrots
-I use a small bag of baby carrots but any pealed carrot will work - cut to size you want.
- I steam my carrots in a double-boiler over med-high heat for about 6 minutes - I like them tender crisp - not soft.
- drain water from double-boiler and put steamed carrots in bottom pan
- add about 2-3 tsbp of maple syrup (the real stuff)
- toss to coat and rewarm is needed
- serve

I hope you try and enjoy some of these. For more great recipes, check out Favorite Ingrediet Fridays over at Overwhelmed With Joy.

Frugal Friday - Cheap Dinners

Now we don't do this too often but I think cheap and not-all-that-healthy meals are ok once in awhile.

For instance - I wasn't feeling well this morning, slept in and then forgot to get something out of the freezer for dinner. Oh no what will we have?

Well you know what? Some times we really like to have cereal for dinner, or eggs and toast, or soup & grilled cheese. Some times we each have something different too.

Tonight we are going to have chili dogs - hot dogs, tin chili, grated cheese and a bun. Definitely not the healthiest of meals but it does in a pinch and it also feels like a treat as we don't eat hot dogs all that often.

It is all stuff we have on hand and it is quick and easy.

For more great frugal ideas, pop over to Biblical Womanhood.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Changing Browsers

I am a Netscape user - or at least I was until today - I started out using the Internet years ago via Netscape and have never really liked Internet Explorer (although I have had to use it many times at various work places).

Well Netscape is being put to rest - AOL bought it and are not continuing to support it.

So I decided it was time to upgrade my browser - but I still do not want to go the IE route.

So I chose FireFox which is exactly like Netscape! Why didn't anyone tell me? I would have switched years ago!

So that is what I have been doing for the past hour or so. No it doesn't take long to download a new browser - but then I have to import all my bookmarks - then I have to of course organize then again because the powers that be inside FireFox decided I would like them alphabetized - which I do not!

Then of course I have to delete all the dead links that I probably never used in the first place and start sorting out and going through the probably gazillian! bookmarks I have accumulated in the last several years.

So I may not resurface for day or so - who knows.

What browser do you use?

Oh FireFox has a tons of cool looking plug-ins too - anyone have any recommendations on which ones are really useful?

So until I can dig myself out from under this pile of bookmarks - have a great day! :)

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Have you heard of Kijji? And a major posting catch-up

Lots of new posts - scroll down after this one - I finally got a burst of energy and have posted all the posts I have been meaning to :)

I don't know if it is only in Canada but we have this great site called Kijji.ca (pronounced Ka-Gee-Gee).

It is a buy & sell site but includes pictures (unlike many Craigslist posts) and is specific to many cities - the one closest to me is Oshawa.

Anyway....

I saw these listed on Kijji last week - both for $30! and the best part? The seller was located just down the road from me.

Close-upsThis 2nd one is a close-up of the door of the house in the first (did that make any sense?)

They are by Trisha Romance.

I have two other Trisha Romance prints that I got when a dear friend passed away a couple months ago. I will have to take pics and post them here too.

Cat sitting

Well we really aren't cat sitting - we are cat borrowing.

See hubby is allergic to cats - but we (kid and I) really really really want a cat (or a small cute lil REALLY expensive doggie :)).

So we have borrowed my sister's cat (she inherited it when our friend died), for a week - this cat, Princess, is a short haired cat and we want to see it she will make hubby's allergies act up - we know our friend's long haired cats do.

So we brought princess home with her litter box, and other paraphernalia with her. We hadn't previously told the kid we were doing this - his expression was priceless when almost as soon as we let her out of the cat carrier, she zoomed up the stairs and walked right into his room (where he was once again attached to the computer like a baby to it's Mother's t...umm you get he idea).

He glanced at the cat (oh forgot to mention the cat has a lil bell on her collar so she jingles when she walks) when she jingled by, looked back at his PC then did a comical double-take at the cat and then at me laughing in the doorway.

Princess doesn't much care for Kodi - but he is whining and crying to get out of his crate to go play with her - she stays upstairs (where he isn't allowed) when he is out.

So she has been here for about 5 hours now and so far so good - hubby's eyes are not bothering him at all - itchy eyes is usually his first symptom.

So here is Princess - she is a tortoise shell - she seems to dislike the camera as she leaves as soon as I point it at her.


And also a picture of the kid doing an imitation of Princess hissing at him - kid's croking smack :)