Monthly Archives: March 2009

Wedding Gifts

Wedding Gifts

 When Jay and I were married (almost) five years ago, we were given many generous gifts. I opened the final two this week. Yes, they were already unwrapped but we had them put away and stored for better times – times that we didn’t have a roommate living with us and perhaps when we had a little bit of cooking under our belt.

Yesterday I was able to cook for the first time with my brand new (almost) pots and pans. I love them! Farberware is amazing! I also used my cooking utensils for the first time. Do you have any wedding gifts that you are waiting to use? What are you waiting for? 

This is Supposed to be a Garage

This is Supposed to be a Garage

 

I promised to show you this. Call me glutton for punishment but go ahead and beat me up! Maybe it would help. Only constructive criticism!
My entire family would be horrified!
As someone who has a relatively organized home and life, this is my dirty little secret. It stresses me out. I even have a hard time working on it in 15 minute increments. This is one of the only places in my home that I look around and say, we could get rid of that… Sometimes I even think a flood or something would be a Godsend. I’d be sad and devastated but it would be the kind that makes you sigh with relief if you can just stop trying to remember what all you might have lost out there. 

Money Saving Idea #3 – $65-100

Money Saving Idea #3 – $65-100

 When my friends come to visit me they often leave their shampoos and conditioners behind in the guest bathroom. Since we rid ourselves of our housekeeper:( I’ve been responsible for cleaning this bathroom — up to this point I’ve never really set foot in here. Imagine my delight when I stumbled upon Shampoo Heaven!

I know that the cost of these shampoos doesn’t really add up to the $60 price tag I’ve attached but my shampoo usage for the next 2 months does! Not wanting these to expire or go to waste, I’ll use them! I’ll probably reserve the Suave for use right before my coloring appointments since it’s not really color safe.

Dear friends, thanks! I must say that YOUR shampoo and conditioner isn’t as nice as mine and doesn’t leave my hair feeling as soft as my shampoo does but then again, that’s why I’m broke and you can afford to leave your shampoo behind!

The Cat Lady Pounces Again

The Cat Lady Pounces Again

I promised you all a story about our infamous neighborhood Cat Lady. This is how we can all tell it’s Spring time – the neighborhood characters have all come out to play and so have I! The other day I mentioned that my neighbor, the Tech Teacher was selling everything in her home and that her sale was very popular in our community. Lucky for all of us, the neighborhood cat lady went to check out the sale and Tech Teacher had a wonderful encounter with her.

Unbeknownst to me, none of my neighborhood friend actually believed in the legend of the Cat Lady but lucky me, she gave me great credibility!
Cat Lady walked into the house and asked Tech Teacher what happened to the cat that used to live there. Tech Teacher said that the cat had been put to sleep and the Cat Lady became faint and fell backwards into the door way grabbing her chest saying, “No, no!” She ran up to Tech Teacher and pulled her necklaces away from her chest and showed off her cat charms and said, “I’m the Cat Lady!” and began to mourn the loss of a cat she had no claims to. Another stroke of luck for all of us, we have the official count on how many cats she has left: 14. During a conversation, he told Tech Teacher that she just recently gave away four of them. I’m glad to know she has liquidated because the last count we had was about 30!
After telling her all about her cats she asked Tech Teacher about why she was moving and found out that Tech Teacher had already moved so the Cat Lady ASKED Tech Teacher if she minded if her adult daughter STAYED IN HER HOUSE WHEN SHE CAME TO VISIT because there was no room for her BECAUSE OF ALL THE CATS! After all, the house WAS sitting vacant. OH MY GOSH!
Tech Teacher had NEVER in her life MET the Cat Lady, let alone spoken to her. In fact, Tech Teacher said that up to that point she never believed this woman even existed, despite my storytelling of my encounters with her!
Do you have a neighborhood Cat Lady?

 

Menu Plan Monday – March Week 4

Menu Plan Monday – March Week 4

Since we aren’t eating out, I figured I can finally succumb to the pressures of “Menu Plan Monday” and post what I’ll be serving in our home.

Monday – Lasagna (I’ll make 2 pans so that I can have one to freeze for the future)
Tuesday – Puff Pastry (It’s a friend’s birthday and I don’t think we’ve ever made these for her. I’ll make extra filling to freeze for Chicken Pot Pie in the future)
Wednesday – Dinner at Church
Thursday – Tomato Soup (out of the can) Pizza Style and Grilled Cheese
Friday – Chicken Taco Soup in the crock pot
Saturday – Birthday Party for a friend, night off!
Sunday – Homemade BBQ Chicken Pizza
 

My stomach is growling just thinking about this 

Tax Time!!!

Tax Time!!!

 Those were exclaimation points of fear and dread, not excitment.

My mom is my accountability person when it comes to getting my taxes done. Today she told me that I need to hurry (we get an extension — sometimes TWO every year). She’s worried that the government is going to run out of money and instead of giving us money they will write an IOU. Problem is, I don’t even know if we’ll be getting any money back this year… In that case, I want an extension!!!!!!!!!!

Has anyone else heard these “rumors” about not getting money from the government?

Ultimate Blog Party

Ultimate Blog Party

Ultimate Blog Party 2009 

My name is Kat. I grew up in Orange County, California in an amazing house with an amazing family. We went through a lot together and now I live far, far away from them and miss them and the beach every day. I moved to the Midwest and got married so now I’m stuck here living in the suburbs with my puppy and my husband. I just left my job working for a major Dot Com and now I’m working for a Non Profit. Next month my husband and I are joining three of our best friends for a 3 day hike down into the Grand Canyon and back!

I served for two years as the Vice President of our neighborhood (I’m really into politics (NOT) and this was a stepping stone for me..actually, I think I just like “knowing what’s going on“). I’ve been featured in the Wall Street Journal for my humorous outlook on Christmas decorations (yes, it’s a joke). My blog is full of stories about the crazy people I come into contact with in the suburbs, keeping up with the Jones’, passive aggressively battling with my neighbors (or am I the crazy one?) and the exciting things I am doing to begin “nesting” (whatever that means). I’m so excited to take part in my first Blog Party ever! If you want to join in you can check out my line up below or take part by clicking on the banner above!

Kat’s Blog Party Line-up

Monday: In addition to my menu planning entry for the week, I’ll have a new story about the neighborhood cat lady.

Tuesday: Besides my newest money saving sacrifice, I’ll give you a sneak peek into my terrible, horrible garage nightmare – maybe you’ll have some suggestions or maybe my photos will just make you feel better about your nightmarish areas.

Wednesday: After my Wednesday weigh-in, I’ll have some kind of fun giveaway that you can enter to win a prize.

Thursday: I’ll post a link to one of the best podcasts of all times featuring my friend Chandra and I.

Friday: I’ll probably whine and moan about something that our neighborhood trash man did to make me mad.

The point is, I’m just like you and I probably live in your neighborhood. Just as every neighborhood has a Cat Lady, every neighborhood has a Kat, telling everyone else all the dirt about what’s happening.

Yes, This is My Pantry

Yes, This is My Pantry

 

Now that I’m an adult, I’ve noticed there are two methods of “pantry keeping” which of course stems into 6-10 theories or methods of grocery shopping. Growing up, I thought that everyone lived in a house with a pantry and of course that everyone lived in a house with a pantry that was full of food (yet with nothing to eat). My mom was a stockpile pantry keeper and a stockpile/planned menu list shopper. As I grew up I was shocked when I would visit friends and their parents didn’t have a pantry or keep food to cook with or eat. Even now I’m shocked to come across this in my friend’s homes.
I can’t decide my identity. I was a stockpiler by birth and then when I was married and we were eating out more and not eating at home, I didn’t stockpile because I was throwing more away than we were eating! Now that we are eating out … never…I have returned to my stockpiling ways but I still pretty much am living off of my list from a planned menu. I am like my mother!
I think this DOES save money. I’m starting to buy ahead of time because I’ve planned my meals that far. I’ve even started reading blogs that help you plan meals based up on the sales for the month. I think stockpiling when done right can work.
What kind of “pantry keeper” are you and how do you do your grocery shopping?
Here are some tips for a “Perpetual Pantry” from Leanne of Flylady. Yes, I do pretty much have a perpetual pantry!

Canned Items: all manner of tomato products, diced tomatoes, whole tomatoes, spaghetti sauces, tomato paste. I keep a variety of sizes available, too. Canned beans: black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, whatever bean you can find that you’ll eat. It’s less expensive to use dried beans, but these are still cheap and will work in a pinch. Canned fish: tuna and salmon. Canned fruit and vegetables: stock the ones you like and will use. Canned soups and broths: stock the ones you use. I use a lot of chicken broth (low-sodium has more flavor). Canned milk: sweetened condensed, evaporated both work great in baking, if you need them.

Condiments: ketchup, mustards (yellow, Dijon, whole grain), pickles (dill and sweet), relish, mayonnaise, A-1, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, salsa, stir fry sauces, soy sauce (low-sodium, if you can find). Once opened, store in fridge (except soy sauce).

Oils and Vinegars: Vegetable oil of choice (I like a cold pressed safflower oil by Hollywood), olive oil, sesame oil for stir fry. All oil will go rancid staying out. After it is opened it has to go in the fridge. Olive oil will solidify, so put it in a wide-mouth jar and spoon it out to use. White and red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar and balsamic vinegars.

Peanut Butter and Jelly: Peanut butter (crunchy or creamy), jelly, jam and fruit spread or conserve, honey. My peanut butter needs to be refrigerated after opening. Check your label to be sure.

Herbs and Spices: To keep the price down on these spices, go to a dollar store or Wal-Mart to stock up as much as possible. Basil, thyme, marjoram, rosemary, dill, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, chili powder, paprika, oregano, ginger, dried mustard cinnamon, peppercorns for the peppermill, nutmeg and curry powder are in my spice cabinet because I USE all of them. Only buy what you use.

Baking Center: sugar (white, brown, powdered), flour (white, whole wheat, other), pancake mix (I hope you made mine!), baking powder (should be kept in fridge after opening), baking soda, salt, baking chocolate, cocoa, vanilla, chocolate chips, nuts, baking mixes (cake, brownie, etc.)

Pasta and Rice and Grains: an assortment of pastas that you will use. Lasagna noodles, spaghetti noodles, ziti, rotini, fusilli, fettucine, linguineÉonly what you use. Rice I much prefer brown, but get what you’ll use. Oats, split peas, dried beans (white beans, navy beans, black beans, pinto beans), lentils, barley.

Breads and Cereals: whatever you use. Bread should go in the freezer if it doesn’t get used up right away. Tortillas should be stored in the fridge.

Potatoes and Onions: Russets, Red Rose potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash (or other whole squash in season, except summer squashes which need refrigeration) brown onions, red onions. Keep potatoes away from the light or they turn green (and those green parts are poisonous and must be cut off before eating). Also, don’t store potatoes next to apples. Apples give off ethylene gas that causes potatoes to sprout.

 

Lasagna for Tonight and Later

Lasagna for Tonight and Later

Lasagna noodles for 3 layers in each pan (I used one package)

Ricotta (I used one container)
Shredded Jack/Mozarella Cheeses (I used 1 and a half 8oz. packages)
Ground Turkey Meat (I used 1.5 lbs)
Spagetti Sauce (I used 1 and a half jars)
Thawed Frozen Spinach (I used one package)
Cook ground beef on stove top. Cook noodles as directed by package. Spray lasagna pans with cooking oil. Mix in spaghetti sauce with ground beef. Add any spices you like. Mix in thawed spinach. Layer noodles, ricotta and then meat/sauce mixture followed by cheese. Repeat. Apply final layer of noodles, skip the ricotta mixture, spread remaining meat sauce mixture over noodles. Sprinkle with cheese.
I usually make a batch to eat within the next 2-3 days and then make at least one tray to freeze.