Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas!

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!

I had a great Christmas eve and Christmas day visiting with my family and yesterday I cooked Christmas/birthday dinner for my guy and the kid :)  Guaranteed I will NEVER forget his birthday ;)

I've done SO much baking over the past few weeks and it was all so totally worth it to see the excitement on everyone's faces when I walked in with platters loaded with cookies and home made marshmallows.

I've thankfully got the week off work to relax, decompress and spent time with the two most important guys in my life.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Christmas cookies

So far this year I've started my dough making early so as to not drive myself crazy by making dough and baking all in the same day like I've done the past few years.  There is an obscene amount of cookie dough in my fridge... But I'm a girl on a mission as I've got more than a handful of friends I'm gifting cookies to that I need to get out next week! (OMG 11 days 'till Christmas People!!)

Last night I made a chocolate dough for chocolate candy cane cookies.  I saw this cookie come up one day in my FB news feed and automatically bookmarked it and added it to my Christmas cookie list.  This is a completely new cookie I'm trying out this year, but as someone who doesn't always follow the rules instead of using regular cocoa powder in the dough I decided to throw caution to the wind and use the Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder and see how it comes out. I'm sure the filling for these cookies is going to be super sweet so with the dark chocolate.. Mmmmm.  The dough is dark.. black as coal and I can't wait to get these cookies in the oven tonight and see how they taste!!

This dough came together really quick, I was done in less than 15 minutes, put the ball of dough into a Ziplock bag and put it in the fridge with the rest of the Christmas cookie dough balls that are chilling.

This is a recipe from Bon Appetit, a magazine that I've been a subscriber to for at least the last 12 years.. one of my very favorites :)


Cookies
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg

Filling
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 drops (or more) red food coloring

1/2 cup crushed red-and-white-striped candy canes or hard peppermint candies (about 4 ounces)

Directions:

For cookies:
Whisk flour, cocoa, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until well blended. Beat in egg. Add dry ingredients; beat until blended. Refrigerate dough 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop out dough by level tablespoonfuls, then roll into smooth balls. Place balls on prepared baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart. Using bottom of glass or hands, flatten each ball to 2-inch round (edges will crack). Bake until cookies no longer look wet and small indentation appears when tops of cookies are lightly touched with fingers, about 11 minutes (do not overbake or cookies will become too crisp). Cool on sheet 5 minutes. Transfer chocolate cookies to racks and cool completely.

For filling:
Using electric mixer, beat powdered sugar and butter in medium bowl until well blended. Add peppermint extract and 2 drops food coloring. Beat until light pink and well blended, adding more food coloring by dropfuls if darker pink color is desired. Spread 2 generous teaspoons filling evenly over flat side of 1 cookie to edges; top with another cookie, flat side down, pressing gently to adhere. Repeat with remaining cookies and peppermint filling.
Place crushed candy canes on plate. Roll edges of cookie sandwiches in crushed candies (candies will adhere to filling). (Cookie sandwiches can be made ahead. Store in single layer in airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days or freeze up to 2 weeks.)


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Chocolate chip blondies


I have a confession.

Before Saturday night, I’d never made blondies before.  I wasn't interested.  I thought it was just a brownie without chocolate for the most part.  Well, I was wrong for sure!!  The first batch was gobbled up in no time, and if you follow my FB page you would know that on Sunday I baked a second batch and brought half to my BF to share with his co workers and the other half was gone by the time I got home (I am constantly amazed at the amount of food the teenage boy consumes)

This recipe is super simple, easily doubles and by lining the pan with parchment there is very little cleanup

½ Cup (1 stick) Butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup chocolate chips

Line an 8×8 pan with parchment (it’s not going to be perfect, but when you put the batter into the pan it will smooth out)
Beat butter and sugar until light, about 2 minutes
Beat in egg and then vanilla
Add salt, stir in flour and chocolate chips
Pour into prepared pan. Bake at 350°f for 20 minutes, or until set in the middle.
Cool on rack before cutting .

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cyber... Tuesday?

Looks like a lot of the sales from yesterday have been extended.  When I have time today I'll post some more links, I just didn't have time yesterday as it was crazy busy in the office with just two of us.

I made use of a Williams-Sonoma GC I had yesterday with their free shipping on everything I was able to grab a few things which was great since I never get to the mall (mainly because I hate it).

Monday, November 26, 2012

It's Cyber Monday.. shop away!

I have been inundated with emails about Cyber Monday since last week, and the sheer amount of emails in my inbox right now is more than slightly overwhelming.

So, I decided instead of just deleting all these emails I'm gonna go ahead and share this all with y'all.

Here goes... feel free to shop away. 

SmartBarga​ins: Cyber Monday Markdown Mayhem-Up to 90% OFF Sitewide‏ and Free shipping


Body Central: Deals under $10! Shop 'til your mouse breaks (FREE SHIPPING ends today)‏

 Betty Crocker Store: Last Chance Cyber Savings of Over 70% on Calphalon‏

Mario Badescu Skin Care: Free Shipping, up to 20% off + Free Gift for Cyber Monday – Hurry!‏

philosophy: cyber monday sale! free gift ($90 value) + up to 50% off + free shipping‏


Overstock.​com: CYBER MONDAY - 10% OFF COUPON‏

Big Dogs: ALL Graphic Tees 50% Off – TODAY ONLY! | Cyber Monday Special!‏

FAO Schwarz: One Day Only! Save $15 on a Muppet Whatnot, Plus Free Outfit!‏

MyJewelryB​ox.com: Top 10 Cyber Monday Deals Plus Save 25% Sitewide and Free Shipping‏

ThinkGeek: ThinkGeek's Cyber Monday begins... now!‏

Toys"R"Us: Starts Now! Cyber Monday Sale - Save up to 70%!‏

Walmart: Super-colossal Cyber Monday starts today. And so do the savings.‏

Party City: Cyber Monday: Free Shipping on All Orders! Today Only‏

Disney Store: Cyber Monday Savings with 25% off! Today only!‏

Mark.: 

 Babies"R"U​s: Cyber Monday Sale! Save up to 40% on Thousands of Items!‏

Cable & Gauge: Cyber Monday Free Shipping No Minimums‏

Foot Locker: Cyber Savings - 15% Off Online Plus New Markdowns Just Taken!‏

Linens-N-T​hings Cyber Monday Bedding Blowout Sale | 39.99 Bed in a Bags‏

Save 20% Sitewide - No minimum. Savings on merchandise only.
Enter priority code CYBER20 as you enter the checkout process.
Offer is valid Monday, November 26, 2012 only.

Black & Decker: Cyber Monday: Up To 50% OFF + FREE Shipping

Things That Make Scents Cyber Monday Save on Shipping! Use Coupon Code: CYBERMONDAY

ULTA.com:  It's HERE! Our Biggest Cyber Monday EVER!

Shutterfly: Cyber Monday Exclusive. Get up to 50% off, plus an extra 20%

My Starbucks Rewards: Cyber Monday only: $20 off + FREE two-day shipping

Yummie Tummie: LAST DAY: 30% site wide sale ends tonight - shop Heather's holiday picks now

CHEFS: Super Prices For Cyber Monday!

Fossil: Get Your Gifts With Free Overnight Shipping On All Orders!‏


Famous Footwear: BOGO 1/2 Off + 20% Off + FREE Shipping! Today Only!‏

Williams-S​onoma: Today Only! Save up to $180 on a New All-Clad Pan Exclusive, In Stores & Online

Bath & Body Works 25% Off Entire Site - Online Exclusive Cyber Monday Deal for You!‏

Lillian Vernon: Our BEST Offer of the Year is Here: SAVE 20% on ANY Order!‏

Bits and Pieces: TWO DAYS LEFT: SAVE 20% On Everything, Including All Our Best Sellers‏

Piperlime: 20% off sitewide ends today! | our gift IT list…a sublimely edited guide to gifting.‏

AlloyToday Only: FREE SHIPPING. No Minimum Purchase + Everything On Sale!‏

Carol's Daughter: Cyber Monday: Save up to 25% + Free Shipping!‏

talbots.co​m
50% Off 1 Full-Priced Item. Online, Today Only!‏ *  Use offer code: HOLIDAY 50% 

Benefit Cosmetics: TODAY ONLY! The Best Deal of the Season!‏'

OshKosh B'gosh: Pack up Your Cyber Sleigh

jcpenney: Hurry Cyber Monday Deals & FREE SHIPPING NO MINIMUM End At Midnight!‏

DHC for Beauty and Health: ONE DAY ONLY: 10% OFF SITEWIDE!‏

gap.com It's Cyber Monday! 30% off—BIG savings at all 5 brands‏


Petco: 25% Off Site wide - Crazy Cyber Deals ❶ Day Only!‏

The King Arthur Flour Company: SAVE 20% on gift-baking essentials


There are more... lots more, but I've gotta get my butt in gear here at work... around lunchtime I'll post more, there are still tons of emails coming in!!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Tis the season for 30% off BassBuds High Performance Earphones

Jeez the weeks have been just Flying by lately!!  I blinked my eyes and it was time to go grocery shopping for Thanksgiving and for the first time in Years I made Thanksgiving dinner and it was GREAT!!  I made dinner for the two most important guys in my life, my kid and my amazing BF.  We cooked together, we feasted and then we napped until my cousin called for me to go and babysit her little ones so she and her hubs could go and do that black Friday shopping madness that I want absolutely no part of.

So, Bassbuds you say?  I mean it's right up there in the title, isn't it?

The Lovely people over at BassBuds asked me if I'd like to try out their new high performance in-ear earphones, they have a mic + MP3 controller and are compatible with all smartphones. With one of the largest colour ranges on the web, there's a pair of BassBuds to suit all your style preferences.

I got a pair of Limited Edition white ones.. They're so pretty!  And the sound quality is AMAZING!!

I did mention something about $30 off didn't I?



Discount code $30.00: BB59830 Which you'll use here: http://www.bassbuds.net/usa/




  • Bassbuds have an integrated high-quality microphone with Call/MP3 controller (compatible with all smart phones)  (I have an iPhone 4S and I'm even able to get Siri to work with this!)
  • Crystal clear HD audio vua the Advanced Crystaltronics Virtual Surround Technology
  • Genuine Swarovski Elements embedded into the design
  • Anti-tangle, durable, double-wrapped cable (I can't even begin to tell you how much I love this)
  • Precision-cut, high quality aluminum housing
  • Gold-plated 3.5mm audio jack for optimum connectiviy and sound quality



















I will definitely be getting a pair of these for my Kid in Blue (his favorite color)

BassBuds come in over 20 different colors to suit your style, so check them out, I'm sure you won't be disappointed.  

Discount code $30.00: BB59830   http://www.bassbuds.net/usa/

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Snovember This is so not cool

Since the weekend they've been predicting a Nor'easter to come through NY.. like we needed that after Superstorm Sandy... but since nobody can control the weather in it came.  Yesterday morning it was 29° when I left my house and by the time I got to work it had started to rain, by 11, it was snowing  -_-  The snow started to get progressively heaver as the day went on and when the ladies came back from lunch I decided it was time for me to get out of here since I'm still taking public transportation until I can find an open  gas station in my area and fill up my Jeep.

We lost power for a bit last night but luckily it came back up after an hour or so but school was cancelled for today by a phone call from the principal around 10.

This morning I got dressed and put my boots on to get ready to walk to the bus stop once again and there was a good 6" of snow on the ground.

This is NOT a winter wonderland.. at all.



It was a very heavy, slushy snow and the poor trees can barely handle it.. there were more lines down as I was walking along.  We definitely need a break from this crazy weather.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Dumplings!!

I made a pot of chicken soup the other night to use up the rest of the chicken I had bought before it spoiled and it'd been sitting in the fridge until last night when I was so cold after walking home from the bus stop because there's no gas around my area at all and my Jeep's been sitting parked by my house for 2 days now and I'm taking the train to work.. it's just what I've gotta do for now.

.......But anyway... the chicken soup..

I went and heated up the soup last night, picked out the bones and thought to myself this soup need Dumplings... so I headed to the recipe box...

Dumplings:

1 Cup All Purpose flour
2 tsp. Baking powder
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbs butter
1/2 C Milk


1. Stir together Flour, Baking Powder, Sugar & Salt in a medium size bowl.  Cut in butter until mealy and stir in milk until you've got a soft dough

2. Drop by spoonfuls into boiling soup/stew/broth cover and simmer for 15 minutes.  Do not take off the lid while it's cooking!


Soft fluffy dumplings :)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

HI!

Jeez it's a little dusty around here.. sorry about that.

This has been a bit of a chaotic week with Sandy barreling through NY, leaving a good part of my area without power for days.  I was down for 2 1/2 days and finally got Cable and internet back on Thursday night but at my office we're still without phone and internet service.  

There are lots of huge trees down all over the place and horrific flooding in many areas.

I'm here.. I'm safe and all's good over here for the most part.  Once trucks can get out and fill our stations with fuel and our grocery stores with food things will be sort of normal around here.  I'm guessing by the middle of next week things should be better, grocery shopping yesterday was weird to say the least.  I've never seen grocery store shelves empty before O_o

I'll be around more soon.. Thanksgiving is coming up (yikes, already!) and it's going to be Christmas cookie time before ya know it.

If you were affected by Sandy at all, stay safe, be strong and anyone who wasn't affected by Sandy if you've got the means to help in any way it's greatly appreciated. whether it's a monetary donation, food, or clothing lots of people lost everything in this superstorm that barreled through.


To donate blood to the Red Cross, you can schedule a donation time or for more information, visit redcrossblood.org or call (800) 733-2767.
To make a financial donation to the Red Cross by visiting redcross.org, calling (800) 733-2767, or texting the word redcross to 90999 to make a $10 donation. 

To donate to the Salvation Army, go to disaster.salvationarmyusa.org/give
To help Staten Island, donors can go to tunneltotowers.org to learn more about the fund and where to send donations.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Apples? Oh yeah, I've got apples

We went on a road trip on Sunday to Maskers Orchard up in Warwick, NY.  That place is HUGE and holy cow was it Packed!  We've never been apple picking so this was an awesome adventure for the Kid and myself.  



My only disappointment?  No animals out anywhere =/


Oh yeah, I've got apples.. there's a few dozen in this bag

Baked apples? Yes please :o)
Well, you can't have a baked apple without Vanilla ice cream.

baked apples:

Preheat oven to 350°

Core the apple and add 1 tsp brown sugar, a little bit of apple or pumpkin pie spice (or just some cinnamon, whatever you've got)
Cook for 20-25 minutes and Voila! Dessert :)

I sat my apples in a muffin pan so they would stay stable when I took them out and all the gooey goodness inside wouldn't be lost in the pan if they toppled over.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The creamiest Mac&Cheese I've ever had


I've seen this recipe kicking around Pinterest for a while and I've been wanting to try it, but whenever I get myself ready to make Mac & cheese I either forget to look for it or it doesn't even cross my mind.  But... I've had Mac&Cheese on my mind for days and last night I made up my shopping list with cheese right up at the top.  I've been actively browsing pinterest all week looking for new recipes and ways to cut my grocery budget a bit and I've come across this recipe and variations of it at least a dozen times each day.


It's super simple, like slap yourself in the forehead and wonder why you'd never thought of this.

I found the basic recipe a little boring.. but, I didn't eat all day and I was starving when I got home so I didn't even bother putting the Mac&Cheese in the oven to bread and bake like I usually do.  (I had a choice between putting gas in the old Jeep or using the money to buy myself lunch this week.. guess which one won?)

The next time I make this I'm going to make a few tweaks, but here is the basic recipe.  This does not make enough for a big family meal, but can easily be doubled or tripled.  It was enough for the kid and I for dinner though :)

Super Creamy Mac&Cheese

2 1/2 cups milk
2 cups small or medium pasta shells
1 cup shredded cheese
1/4 tsp Dijon mustard or 1/4 tsp nutmeg (I actually used both, I always do)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (I omitted this because I'm allergic)

The original directions called for cooking the pasta in the milk until simmering and then boiling it for an additional 25 minutes.  That is WAY too much cooking time for pasta in my book.

I brought the pasta and milk to a slight boil and then covered it and cooked the pasta according to package directions (about 10 minutes)  After the time was up I left it covered for about an additional 5 minutes then I stirred in the cheese, waited for it to cool a bit and then dug in.

*I'll make this again soon with revisions because like this, it's slightly boring and not as cheesy as I'd like.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I don't have all the answers... BHG bakeware inquiries

A reader had sent me an email on Saturday night regarding a post I made in March, 2011 about the Better Homes and Gardens Non-Stick Bakeware 5-Piece Set. This was bakeware that was sold exclusively by walmart and, in my honest opinion some of the best non stick bakeware that I've ever used (and continue to use today, it's still in perfect condition, I use it for everything).

I couldn't find any information from the Better homes and Gardens site, if you click on the bakeware or appliances tab you are automatically redirected back to the cookware (which by the looks of it is something else that's been discontinued because it's clearance priced and no longer available). I took it upon myself to contact BHG and see if I could get some answers. I tweeted them and also left a post on their Facebook page

Me: Have you discontinued the cookware/bakeware/appliances? I honestly was shocked by their answer and lack of details:
BHG Live Better Hi Ashley – Yes, the BHG cookware, bakeware and small appliances have been discontinued. Thanks so much for being a fan!

I followed up by asking why it was discontinued and never received a response.

I use my bakeware all the time, I use my grind and brew coffee maker every day and my stand mixer is used every time I bake something and for the marshmallows I love to make (and hate to eat).  I'm honestly shocked since they are all very good products.

Friday, August 24, 2012

GLADE EXPRESSIONS® (I'm a BzzAgent)




I'm a Bzzagent So when I got an invite to the Glade Expressions campaign this morning I jumped on the opportunity to try these new products. I love when my home smells good, but it's honestly not always easy with a 65 gallon aquarium with 2 bratty turtles sitting in my living room. Trust me, no matter how good the filter is, it's always going to have some kind of odor. I have a scented oil plug in right under the aquarium to keep the odor at bay and it works very well, but sometimes I'm a little iffy about what kind of fragrance to use in my home.

Glade is here to solve that problem, they create their scents without the use of harmful ingredients:

What’s NOT Inside Matters Even More
If we wouldn’t want it for our family, we wouldn’t ask you to use it near yours. We’ve excluded more than 1,500 potential ingredients from our fragrance ingredients palette. Using our palette, SC Johnson does not formulate its products with:
Alkylphenols (APs)
Alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs)
Diacetyl
Formaldehyde
Nitro musks
Peanut or tree nut derived ingredients
Phthalates including DEP, DBP, DIBP, DPP and DEHP
Or any known carcinogens, mutagens or reproductive toxins listed by the U.S. National Toxicology Program, the European Union’s REACH and Substances of Very High Concern programs, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Carcinogens, or the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Stylish new oil diffusers that release long-lasting, true-to-life scents
Glade Expressions® Oil Diffuser releases a combination of long-lasting fragrances, without the hassle of electricity. The oil diffuser infuses layers of true-to-life scents throughout even the most open living spaces. The trendy holder matches décor perfectly, making it a convenient and stylish home-fragrancing option.

Glade Expressions® Fragrance Mist comes in a new stylish holder that releases a longer-lasting, finer mist of fragrance. The gentle mist creates layers of true-to-life fragrance that opens up note by note. The chic, newly designed holder blends with your décor for a burst of fragrance that’s always out and available. Just squeeze to spray; then refill the holder with your favorite fragrance.

I'm really excited to get my BzzKit and try out these great new products :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Almond Milk- make it yourself, it's easy & healthy!

@g33kgurrl This one's for you :)

Last week I made my own almond milk.  Inspired by my friend Shelly I asked her how she did it and she sent me the link to the one she uses @ FoodMonkey.  

I measured the almonds

Put them in an airtight container and added the water

After soaking overnight

This is where I had to make my own rules, because right now I only have the stick blender until I get the part I need for my blender and I don't have a juicer.. But I blended up the soaked almonds and water

Then I strained it through a fine mesh strainer

and Viola! Almond Milk!
When I was finished I added a little home made vanilla and agave.   I add it to my green smoothie in the morning and it's really good.  It's easy to make not to mention healthier and cheaper than the stuff you buy in the grocery store.

Thanks again Shelly for sharing this with me  :) you're such a great inspiration to help me eat healthier and teach the kid also :) ♥

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wordless Wednesday




(Okay, a few words. I didn't make the cake, my cousins friend did. I made chocolate chip cookie dough filled cupcakes. The cupcakes were way better though according to everyone who had one.  I have to make another batch and I will share my recipe.)

Next Birthday:  My Godson's 1st birthday :)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Yes, I actually did this...


Because I like to torture myself, or to better phrase this Push myself past the limits I give myself, I volunteered to make a pinata for my nephew’s 2nd birthday party this weekend.  This is going to be a Yo Gabba Gabba themed party.  My choice of creature for this Pinata is Muno


I did some research online... making a pinata can’t be too hard.. Make a skeleton out of posterboard and some balloons and paper-mache it making sure to leave a trap door in the back to fill the sucker with candy.

I started this on Tuesday night by building the body

Wednesday night I did the first layer of paper-mache and left it in front of a big fan to dry overnight






Thursday night I did the second layer around the body and added the arms and head




Friday I glued sheets of red tissue paper to the body to cover up the newspaper and then proceeded to hot glue strips of crepe paper all around the body.  By the time I was finished it was 11:30, my thumb and index fingers were burnt and blistered and I was exhausted. 


Saturday morning I had the kid cut the eye out (which was, according to my cousin a little too big but oh well it was good enough since I'm not a regular watcher of yo gabba gabba) and I made the mouth and then glued them on, carefully put him in the back of my truck and went on our way to my cousin's to prepare for the party that was yesterday.



The Pinata waited patiently until we stuffed him with candy and taped him shut and then they tied him up and hung him from the balcony.

He took a good beating before the candy came spilling out, but the kids had fun and I think my nephew is a little traumatized from the experience of seeing his friend Muno get the candy beat out of him.

Will I do this again?  Yup.  It was fun.  It was a LOT of work and next time I'll use construction paper taped together for the body instead of the posterboard.  Posterboard was too strong even though I paper mache'd over it.  This was a Huge Pinata standing a good 4' tall when he was finished.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Sometimes I'm a slacker

I have all these great blog posts in my head because I cook every night (someone's gotta feed this kid).  But I always seem to have something else to get done first and so the blogging gets set aside for another day and then I totally forget about what I was going to write.  There are countless pics of food in my camera with no blog post to go along with them.

I've been getting a ton of fresh veggies from my Landlord.  Tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers and last night he gave me a few pears from the tree in the garden.  Now that's a picture that I need to share with y'all.  The garden is amazing!

I'm not a huge fan of raw tomatoes so I've been roasting most of them, some go in salad and some go into grilled cheese.  I need to get myself a good recipe for sun dried tomatoes because I'm fairly certain that can be done in the oven too since I got rid of my dehydrator years ago.

I will post some recipes this week.  Sorry I've been slacking.... I hope you all still love me ♥

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday Flip off's

Well, I haven't done this in a really long time!!

This week DEMANDS A flip off though.


Monday: Came into the office at 7:45 since kiddo had to be at camp super early  and the server wouldn’t turn on.  Had to call the IT company from my cell phone because God forbid we have a phone that actually reaches into the room where the server is.  I run diagnostics with the owner for about 10 minutes when he finally says he’s going to have to send someone in because “this doesn’t look good” Guy gets here around 9 and has to take the server with him because he can’t fix it here.  Luckily he hooked us all back up to the internet before he left because otherwise we would have gone crazy.

Tuesday: We got our server back, Server had a virus, hard drive shot, had to reinstall the OS and the backup that we were using was completely useless so he gave us an external hard drive that backs us up automatically every 6 hours.  Now, if my boss wasn’t a super cheap ass when it comes down to getting office equipment and actually Paid an IT company to check up on us every so often instead of coming when we’ve got an emergency we wouldn’t have had this issue at all.  My boss is going to have a canary when he gets this bill, that’s for sure.  

Wednesday: I had to deal with people being assholes at work but I did manage to clean out my truck and now she’s very happy having gotten rid of all the junk in the trunk.

Thursday: All working fine at work, kid having a bad day at camp, THEN we lost all power in my office around 4pm.  No phones, no computers and no lights in the stairwells of my office building either!! (hello building code violation) We all left at 4:30 because I had to go get kiddo at camp and only two of us have flashlights on our phones.

Today: I get a call from the secretary who gets in early after leaving her a note to call me when she gets in so I can tell her how to turn everything back on.  She calls me back a few minutes later that the server still isn’t turning on and she can wait until I get in to do it.  I get in around 8:30 and after the BOIS runs the screen says “a Disk read error occurred press Crtl+Alt+Del to restart.  I do it and nothing happens.  Call the IT company and he calls me back on my cell... this isn’t good.. Not good at all (his words) Sending out a tech should be there by 10... it’s 10:40 and he’s still not here.


So.. This whole Freaking week can flip the hell off.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Summer officially begins when camp starts

But this is no vacation. Kiddo's gotta be at camp by 7:30. I don't have to be to work until 9. It's 8:20am. Guess where I am? Work. Our server is down so I guess it's good that I got here early because when I couldn't get the server to boot up I called the IT guy and ran diagnostics with him and then when that didn't work he sent out one of his guys. So now I'm waiting here.

So, summer camp. Summer camp means no more calling the kid to wake his butt up, No more empty refrigerator when I get home (we went through THREE GALLONS of milk last week!!) and a kid who will most likely pass out from exhaustion by 10pm at the latest.


This is my kid's 7th year at this camp(they actually knew him when he was little!), second as a counselor. He got assigned to the little ones which should be fun for him. Little kids think my kid is great because he's giant (6' at the last check) and he's a big kid at heart too ;). He's gotta be there at camp until 5pm. So it's gonna be a long day for him but I'm sure totally worth it.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Chicken and black bean burritos

This has easily come to be one of my favorite quick meals.  Not only does it make enough for a family dinner (or for us enough for leftovers for a day or two) but it's quick and easy on a hot summer day.

Chicken and black bean burritos (adapted from cooking light)



1 pound chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 /2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons canola oil
1/2 cup lower-sodium canned black beans, rinsed and drained or soak dried beans as per package directions
1 garlic clove, minced
2 (10-inch) whole wheat tortillas
Preshredded Monterey Jack cheese (or cheese of your choice, I like the new Kraft with a touch of Philly blends, they melt really well)
Cooking spray (I keep canola oil in a spray bottle, no chemicals)
1/2 cup pico de gallo
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream



Combine chicken, onion, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper in a bowl; toss well.

 Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Add oil & swirl to coat. 
Add chicken mixture; cook 8 minutes or until chicken is done, stirring occasionally. 
Add beans and garlic; cook 2 minutes or until heated, stirring frequently.

Place tortillas on a plate and cover with a damp paper towel, microwave 15-30 seconds to make malleable so they don't crack while you roll them up

Divide chicken mixture evenly among tortillas. 
Top each burrito with 2 tablespoons cheese. Roll up each burrito jelly-roll fashion.
 Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. 
Coat both sides of burritos evenly with cooking spray. 
Place burritos in pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until browned. 
Top with pico de gallo and sour cream.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July!!

Everyone have a safe & happy 4th of July!


Monday, July 2, 2012

Venturing out of my comfort zone...

I ventured out into NYC with my bestie, her son and my kid last week and tried bubble tea for the first time at a street cart downtown after walking around the World Trade Center site.  Work still in progress, we didn't get to visit the memorial because they were having some sort of ceremony.  Instead we walked around.



 Caught a hilarious street show and then stopped to get something to drink at a gathering of street carts.  It was  really hot on Thursday with temps in the low 90's, but in lower Manhattan between all the tall buildings and masses of people it felt more like 100°.  We stopped for smoothies and the kid and I opted for bubble tea.  It was really good and I wanted to figure out how to do this myself.  


After we got home I did a search online to find out where I could get this stuff locally and thought I had hit a dead end until I realized that there was an Asian market right over by where the kid's summer camp is.  The reviews of the store were mixed and I remember walking past there a few years back in the heat of the summer and the smell was atrocious (fresh fish market inside).  Some of the newer reviews were very good though.  It was blistering hot on Saturday and I decided maybe that wouldn't be the best day to go.  Instead we went yesterday (it was still hot, but  not as hot as Saturday) and OMG!! What I great place!  I can't believe I never stopped there before!! The store was Very clean and neat and reasonably priced.  


We walked in by the bakery and then went into the store first, got 2 bags of boba pearls and a package of bubble tea mix and a few other things and then walked over to the bakery where they also sell bubble tea to go.  The prices of the snacks and pastries was all under $2!!  I got a roast pork bun (that was FANTASTIC!) and the kid got a ham and cheese bun, each was $1.10!! for $3.50 the kid got a coconut bubble tea and off we went.  I'm so glad I stopped there and I will be going back often :)


Sometimes it's good to travel out of your comfort zone and try something new.  Go into that little shop that you've seen and always wanted to try but were afraid to.  It might be a great place! :)

Friday, June 29, 2012

Anonymous comments

Anon comments are off as of today because of spamming.

I tried to be nice and give someone who I noticed on here a chance to say something to me.  They didn't.  It's been a week.. anon comments are officially turned back off.

If you need to legitimately speak with me my contact info is right here 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

International Delight Iced Coffee

Running through the grocery store the other day, I decided to give this stuff a try since I had a coupon in my purse... figuring the $2 off coupon would make it practically free.  HA!! at $4.59 a carton it took a chunk off, but was it worth it?

No, not really.  it was Okay.  I don't see myself buying it again.

I grabbed a carton of original and after getting home and pouring myself a cup I sat down to look at the nutritional information:

Not too many ingredients, but then again.. nothing that makes is special and at 150 cal for 1 cup not really worth that in my book.  Who drinks just 8oz of coffee anyway?  Surely not me with my gigantic 20 oz coffee mug and 24oz cold cup I carry around with me.

This stuff tastes similar to 7-Eleven iced coffee (which is made from a mix full of odd ingredients) it's got a smooth creamy texture. The flavor was alright but I found it lacking a good coffee flavor and wound up adding a little bit of creamer to it anyway.

I'm better off brewing my own stuff.... or better yet checking out some of the cold  brew techniques for iced coffee and doing it myself (more on that soon).

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Surprise!

The last day I posted I got a HUGE surprise... my little  nephew decided to come into this world five weeks early!  He wasn't due until July 12th so I've been working really hard to finish the blanket that I had just started not expecting him this soon.

I went over on Saturday to see him and he's so little.

Thankfully all is good and despite the fact that he's real tiny he's healthy.♥



Teeny little Noah was born to my cousin A.& her hubby on June 7 weighing in at 5lb 7oz

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Marshmallow making basics

I want to go over a few marshmallow making basics for those of you who want to go ahead and make them yourself.

Many of the recipes that I've read say to grease your pan... DO NOT grease your pan.  This makes the bottoms of your mallows, well, greasy.  Eww.   I line my pan with parchment and dust with a mix of 50/50 Sifted cornstarch and powdered sugar.

You MUST have a candy thermometer to make real marshmallows (sugar free doesn't require this step) you Must boil the sugar mixture to 240°f.  Too cool and it won't fluff up, too hot and as soon as it starts to cool you'll have a broken mixer.

Be very careful when pouring the hot sugar into the mixer!  Start on low and once all the molten sugar is into the bowl, then turn the speed up.  Otherwise it will splatter and you will get burned.

Time your mixing!  12 minutes is what you need to get a good fluffy marshmallow.  Once it's done don't walk away or you're gonna have a bowl of marshmallow that you can't spread into a pan.  This rings especially true for the sugar free ones, they begin to set up almost automatically.

Don't use a hand mixer for making marshmallows.  The first time I made marshmallows all I had was a hand mixer, and there was marshmallow all over me, in my hair, on the walls, on the ceiling and not only that... I broke the mixer before they were even finished.

Let the mallows rest in the fridge, if you leave them out chances are they're not going to set properly.

When they're finished you can freeze them in storage bags, just make sure they're dusted well with powdered sugar and cornstarch so they don't stick.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Great Marshmallow Experiment

Ok, so y'all know that I made the sugar free marshmallows on Saturday (and I'll be making another batch tonight...more on that in a few).  I also made a batch of regular marshmallows on Sunday and then yesterday I got an idea in my head... Flavored marshmallows.  Over the past 3 days I must have made around 200 marshmallows!!

I have a recipe for Cherry almond cupcakes that looks amazing.  My only problem?  I'm allergic to Maraschino cherries (not the cherries, but the sulfates that are used to preserve them) so even though technically I can make them, I wouldn't be able to eat even one so that kind of kills it for me.  I started to browse around for recipes for flavored marshmallows and learned that you can use fresh fruit like berries, bananas, and peaches.  You can Not use pineapple, kiwi, mango, or guava because of a particular enzyme that breaks down the gelatin so the mallows won't fluff up at all.

I also don't like to use food coloring.  I try to avoid it as much as possible because I think it adds a weird flavor to the marshmallows and I try to keep things as pure as I can. I make my own Vanilla extract and I'm going to make my own almond extract soon too since that stuff is seriously expensive.

I had a thought in my head yesterday and wasn't going to let it go until I got home and did it and I was So happy that I went through with it because even my kid said they were the best marshmallows that he'd ever had!

I bought a packet of dried cherries and put about 1/2 cup into my food processor and chopped them really fine.  I put the chopped up cherries back into the measuring cup and added 1 tsp of almond extract and just let it sit and steep while I made a batch of regular mallows.  I added the cherries in the last minute or so of whipping up the mallows and they came out a very very pale pink with little bits of cherries in them.

Absolute Perfection!!  I'm going to make a batch of cherry almond sugar free ones tonight and I'll also let y'all know how those turn out.



I'm thinking the next batch will be orange vanilla.. or strawberry vanilla... or maybe.... banana coconut?  I'm not sure... there are so many options :)

Thursday, May 31, 2012

My kitchen's gonna get Really busy this weekend

Y'all know why right?

BECAUSE MY BESTIE'S COMING HOME ON TUESDAY!!!

Ok, not for good (yet) but she'll be home for six weeks so I've gotta get my bake on and make some goodies her and her little one have been missing.  Plus I'll be taking a stab at sugar free marshmallows since bestie's gotta watch her sugar intake, so over the next few weeks you may see some low to no sugar desserts here and I'll be tinkering with a few of my regular recipes to make them a little more friendly for everyone :)

Am I excited?

You bet your sweet ass I am!  I haven't seen her since last August!

Stay tuned... and keep your eye out for how these sugar free marshmallows turn out.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Pretties

My friend Vanna makes the best stuff. I have her magnets and clothespin magnets all over my fridge :)
See...


She's having a special over at her etsy shop free shipping on any order with code MAYSHIP12.

Check it out, I'm sure you're gonna love her
craftiness as much as I do :).
























http://www.etsy.com/shop/queenvannacreations