Monday, August 30, 2010

OPEN FOR POLITE & CIVIL DISCUSSION

(Edited 9-1-10 7:30am)

Hi there everyone. I am glad you stopped by today. I thought you were going to blow up my email box yesterday LOL. Thank you for all the kind words of encouragement you all sent... witout even knowing my problems. There are still good people in the world. I am going through some very rough times in my personal life and you can probably figure out what that is... at least a little. I have been trying to collect my thoughts. I'm just praying time heals and for strength... the less time the better.

Well I need to discuss with you all that I am toying with the idea of shutting down The Frugal Mom on November 30 (my 1yr. anniversary) in more detail, as some of you are utterly confused. I don't feel I can continue to bring you a wonderful journey like I used to... at least right now. I started this blog as a mother... a family woman... with a happy life and that's what I wanted to share with you all... the fun of my "June Cleaver" life and the knowledge I have acquired over the years. However, those fundamental building blocks have since crumbled into the ground- especially this last week- and I don't feel it fair to present you with "fake" happiness. That would be lying to you all and that is something I cannot tolerate- to or from anybody! Many of you asked if there is something you can help and what have I lost. Without going into details, there is nothing that anyone can do or is resposible for, but thank you so very much. The rapid life changes have left me spinning and now I must tell the ride conductor I want off LOL. Rollercoasters have never been my thing anyway LOL.

Maybe I just need a break, I don't know... nothing is written in stone yet. If I choose to stop the blog, I would leave it up thru the end of the year so you could pull your favorite recipes and crafts off the site. I would go thru each blog entry and put as many labels on each as I could so you could quickly locate the various things. However, I would not be continuing with any new entries, unless something was so profound in that time, that I wanted you to know.

With the help of my family, a few good friends, and the good Lord above, I hope that I will make it through this a better person... stronger even. I have not made a final decision yet, but I will keep you informed of when I do. Please do not send emails of negativity or "bashing" as I call it, as only a few know the entire story. And that only makes matters worse anyway. I thank you all for coming and reading every day and all the wonderful comments and emails you have sent over the past almost year. I appreciate each and every one of you far more than you will ever know. I love you all and until next time... Be smart, Be safe, and Be Frugal! HUGS!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

TO BLOG OR NOT TO BLOG

Hi there everyone. I am so sorry I have been M.I.A. for the last couple of days. I am going through some very rough times in my personal life and have not been the best company to visit with. So I took a couple of days away to regroup, collect my thoughts, and gain my composure. I'm praying that starting today, things will be easier and improve each day there after. SO, it seems that I owe you alot of info, huh? Well never fear, the next couple of posts should have as much stuffing as your Christmas turkey! LOL!

First I want to bring you this article I saved that I saw on Yahoo. Its about reminding women to breathe in stressful or painful, etc. situations. More than ever I have to keep reminded of this right now in my life and I thought for those others who may be out there, this might help you too! Being reminded to breathe is good for your body, have you ever just taken a deep breath (I mean a full and purposefull breathe?). While meditating, breathing is something of a distractor. It allows the mind to relax so people can sleep better and not have as much anxiety. Also Oxygen is a natural drug, when you take a few full deep breaths your brain is almost experencing a natural "high". EMT's say that sometimes for those people that were having anxiety attacks or what they thought was something worse... a little oxygen saved the day. So no matter what we are going through in life, remember to stop for a moment and just BREATHE!

Remind me: why do women need to be reminded to breathe?
by Piper Weiss

There are at least four songs by female pop singers with the title Breathe. Yoga studios across the country bear the name. An entire network for women is devoted to Oxygen and Bliss Spa has created a signature oxygen treatment. Meanwhile, Lindsay Lohan, Miley Cyrus have "Breathe" tattoos. Now Drew Barrymore is the latest to imprint the reminder on her body. Is breathing something we're chronically forgetting to do? If so, I'd like to recommend a portable oxygen tank.

Not that kind of breathing silly! In the world of wellness, breathing is a luxury. You pay $20 bucks to have someone tell you to just focus on your breathing. (Also to remind you to thank yourself for showing up.) The age old practice of meditation gets choked in translation to take the form of a congratulatory reminder that you're already doing something. That thing being the bare minimum to stay alive. You're breathing. Isn't that great?

Shouldn't our self-expectations be a little higher? We are owning the job market, we're bearing children in our 40's and 50's. Back up. We're bearing children. I'm pretty sure the breathing thing under control by comparison.

In Lamaze, breathing techniques are supposed to refocus your attention from the unbearable pain of a human detaching from your organs. So what are Drew or Miley doing that is so painful it requires a ink-stained Lamaze coach at the ready?

The self-help industry has made a killing on the idea of "women who do too much." The common complaint being: "I don't take enough time for myself." And that's true of a lot of women who juggle work, family and relationships. We're nurturers and all that, but we're also highly capable creatures. Multi-tasking is in our DNA. There has never been a time when women haven't been expected to be responsible for keeping alive multiple humans at a time. It's what we do. We also breathe if we're lucky.

The implication is that we're dysfunctional. And like the word "relax" the more you're instructed to do it, the less you're able to. It fosters anxiety and coddles the panic. If anything, I'd rather it be one less thing to think about it. If I'm not aware of it, my body is working fine. The things we've got down, shouldn't be dwelled on. Things like confidence, organization, anger-management wouldn't be bad reminders. Personally, I could use the tattoo "shower". But breathe? I can do that in my sleep.

Not so for Taylor Swift song, who's song Breathe speaks directly to a guy who needs to give her CPR every minute. "I can't breathe with out you," she sings. That right there may be why he left. Talk about pressure. So no wonder we're given applause when we do it on our own. We've really turned a corner with our expectations of what makes an independent woman.

Then there's Michelle Branch (who performed her song Breathe at the Oxygen festival, above. ha). "When life's like an hourglass stuck to a table, just breathe," she advises. I would suggest leaving the Salvador Dali museum, drinking lots of water and never ever letting someone talk you into dropping acid at that high-art funhouse again.

(Just a corrective note- Piper, you're confusing Anna Nalick and Michelle Branch! Anna Nalick's song is "Breathe (2 AM)", which has the lyrics "And life's like an hourglass glued to the table." The Michelle Branch song you linked to is a completely different song, also entitled "Breathe". You might want to fix that last paragraph!)

And my apologies, but it seems the box office was closed for renovations the last couple of days for MEMORABLE MOVIES week. But fear not, the remodeling is done and tickets are now available! So I am gonna bring you some movies that maybe had 1 or 2 memorable foods that really stick in my mind and I thought would be fun to feature. Whether or not you make them is a whole other story LOL!



Fried Green Tomatoes

(Synopsis: 1991 comedy-drama film based on the novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg. It was released in the UK under the novel's full title. Directed by Jon Avnet and written by Fannie Flagg and Carol Sobieski, it stars Kathy Bates, Jessica Tandy, Mary-Louise Parker and Mary Stuart Masterson. It tells the story of a Depression-era friendship between two women, Ruth and Idgie, and a 1980s friendship between Evelyn, a middle aged housewife and Ninny, an elderly woman who knew Ruth and Idgie. The centerpiece and parallel story concerns the murder of Ruth's abusive husband and the accusations that follow.)



Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
5 green tomatoes, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 cup crushed saltine crackers
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup butter

Directions

In a small bowl, stir together the flour, salt and pepper. Place the crushed saltine crackers in another bowl, and the beaten eggs in a third bowl.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Dip each tomato slice in the egg to coat, then in the flour mixture. Dip the floured tomato slice back into the egg, and then into the cracker crumbs. Place the coated tomato slices in the hot skillet, and fry until golden brown on each side, about 3 to 5 minutes per side. Add more butter to the pan, if necessary. Serve hot!



Armadillo Grooms Cake from Steel Magnolias

(Synopsis: 1989 American comedy-drama film about the bond among a group of women in northwest Louisiana. The movie is based on a 1987 off-Broadway play by Robert Harling, which in turn dealt with the playwright's experience with the death of his sister. The title suggests the female characters are as delicate as magnolias but as tough as steel. The action centers on Truvy's beauty parlor and some women who regularly gather there. The film begins on the morning of Shelby's wedding to Jackson and covers events over the next three years, including Shelby's decision to have a child despite having Type 1 diabetes and the complications that result from the decision. We also get a glimpse of the unlikely friendship between Clairee and Ouiser; Annelle's transformation from a shy, anxious newcomer in town to a good-time girl and then to a revival-tent Christian; and Truvy's relationships with the men in her family. Although the main storyline involves Shelby, her mother and Shelby's medical battles, the underlying group-friendship among all six women is prominent throughout the drama.)The comedy-drama takes place in Louisiana and stars an incredible cast including Dolly Parton, Sally Field, Daryl Hannah, and Julia Roberts, among others. It explores the bonds of women, and the armadillo grooms cake debuts. The armadillo cake is made for the wedding of Jackson (played by Dylan McDermott) and Shelby (played by Julia Roberts) by Jackson's Aunt Fern.
The popularity of the movie, the uniqueness of the cake, and the comedic lines surrounding the cake in the movie have made the armadillo grooms cake popular years after the movie's release.

People choose armadillos as a grooms cake for reasons other than its appearance in the movie, of course. Many Texans embrace the armadillo as a mascot, since it is the state mammal of Texas. Randolph Community College in North Carolina claims this armored creature as a mascot along with other schools across the country. Whatever your reason for coveting an armored gray critter cake, it is sure to be charming.



The Bleeding Armadillo

Since grooms cakes are often fun, quirky, or unique, a bleeding armadillo cake can be a perfect choice. In Steel Magnolias the type of cake makes it appear as if it is "bleeding" when cut into slices. The type of cake used to achieve this affect is a red velvet cake, which is a rich, sweet cake that can be made with or without chocolate flavoring. Instant red velvet cake mixes are widely available in supermarkets, and recipes are also available.

The exterior of the armadillo is often made with a butter cream or cream cheese frosting that is colored to resemble an armadillo. While the cake in the movie was made with grey frosting, frosting can be white, black, brown, or other shades. Fondant frosting is used in some armadillo cakes to lend a smoother appearance, and airbrushing used to add detail. The back of the cake may be detailed with score marks or frosted to resemble an armadillo's scales.

An armadillo cake can be served on top of a sheet cake if necessary to accommodate more people for a large wedding party or if served at the reception. Surrounding details can include frosting or plastic grass, insects, logs, and lizards to evoke an armadillo's natural surroundings. Other cakes are shaped as if the armadillo is lying flat on the ground

Making the Cake

Since an armadillo cake requires a bit more work than a standard sheet or round cake, it may be best reserved for experienced bakers. For those willing to try, the cake can be made using a football cake pan as the base and using a mix or recipe for red velvet cake. The head, arms, legs, and tail, can be made from using sections of a loaf cake or from rolled fondant or butter cream frosting. Petal dusts, available at many bakery suppliers, can be used to add sheen to "scales" of the finished cake.
All in One Bake Shop also offers a recipe and full instructions for an armadillo cake, making it possible for anyone to enjoy this unique type of tribute to the groom.



Shrimp Cocktail from Beetlejuice

(Synopsis: 1988; Thanks to the carelessness of a cute little dog, newlyweds Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin are killed in a freak auto accident. Upon arriving in the outer offices of Heaven, the couple finds that, thanks to a century's worth of bureaucratic red tape, they're on a long celestial waiting list. Before they can earn their wings, Davis and Baldwin must occupy their old house as ghosts for the next fifty years. Alas, the house is now owned by insufferable yuppies Catherine O'Hara and Jeffrey Jones. Horrified at the prospect of sharing space with these obnoxious interlopers, Davis and Baldwin do their best to scare O'Hara and Jones away, but their house-haunting skills are pathetic at best. In desperation, the ghostly couple engage the services of a veteran scaremeister: a yellow-haired, snaggle-toothed, profane, flatulent "gonzo" spirit named Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton). The problem: Beetlejuice cannot be trusted-especially when he falls in love with O'Hara and Jones' gloomy, black-clad teenaged daughter Winona Ryder.)



Tejano Style Shrimp Cocktail

By: Rey Garza
"For those of you unable to make it to south Texas, A shrimp cocktail made Tex Mex style to include cilantro and chile serrano for that authentic flavor that will blow your tastebuds away, without leaving your home! Serve with saltine crackers."

Ingredients

1 pound cooked medium shrimp, chilled
1/2 large cucumber, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 large tomato, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
8 green onions, thinly sliced
1 ounce fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 serrano pepper, thinly sliced
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 lime

Directions

In a large bowl, combine shrimp, cucumber, tomato, green onion, cilantro, and serrano pepper. Stir in tomato sauce, and vinegar. Squeeze lime juice over mixture.

** For more kick, add an additional pepper **

Well kids I need to get off of here for awhile. I want to thank everyone for coming. I also want to let you all know that I am toying with the idea of shutting down The Frugal Mom on November 30 (my 1yr. anniversary). I would leave it up thru the end of the year so you could pull your favorite recipes and crafts off the site. I have lost a lot the last few months and I don't feel I can continue to bring you a wonderful journey like I used to. Maybe I just need a break, I don't know... nothing is written in stone yet. Anyways, be safe, be smart, and be frugal. HUGS!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

TIME TO DESTRESS

Good morning my fellow bloggites! How are you this steamy sticky Wednesday morning? I am just dandy. I had a good night's rest, the kids are off to school, and I got a busy schedule ahead of me! Let me be the first to wish you a HAPPY National Second Hand Wardrobe Day! Whether its passed down to you from a relative or bought at a thrift store... today is the day you should put it on and let it shine!



Alright, first on the agenda this morning would be to address something that effcts everyone at one point and time in our lives... it does not discriminate on age, sex, weight, religion, nothing! And it can even kill you if you have too much, can't handle, or don't deal with it. I know this all too well. Boys and girls I am talking about STRESS! Millions of things, both very little and very big, cause us stress all the time. Sometimes when we don't even really realize it. The less stressed you can be, the healthier you can become. I am working on this. I also found an article that gives some tips on some things you can EAT to help with stress. WAIT A MINUTE! You mean to tell me that there can be GOOD stress eating?!?!? OMG tell me more! Ok, I will LOL! Read this article about some stress fighting foods!

7 Best Stress-Fighting Foods
By David Zinczenko

I send out a lot of info on my Twitter feed, from nutrition news to management tips. I get the most passionate reaction—and the most retweets—when I talk about stress. In fact, a friend of mine recently told me that stress was her biggest dietary villain. “I eat when I’m stressed,” she said.

To which I reacted, “Good!” You should eat when you’re stressed—it’s our bodies’ natural reaction to want to store calories to face whatever challenge is causing the stress in the first place. The key, however, is to eat what your body wants—the foods that actually counteract the effects of stress, and make you stronger (and leaner) when the tough times pass. So next time anxiety runs high, be sure to grab one of these seven stress-fighting foods.

(And while you're at it, be sure to follow my Twitter feed for hundreds of instant nutrition and health secrets like these.)



Papaya
Wouldn’t it be awesome if there was a magic nutrient that could stop the flow of stress hormones—the very hormones that make your body superefficient at storing fat calories? Wouldn’t you want to gobble that food up like crazy, especially if it tasted great? Half a medium papaya carries nearly 75 percent more vitamin C than an orange, and provides potent protection against stress. Researchers at the University of Alabama found 200 milligrams of vitamin C—about as much as you’ll find in one large papaya—twice a day nearly stopped the flow of stress hormones in rats. It should work for you, too.

Other smart sources of vitamin C: Red bell peppers, broccoli, oranges

Bonus Tip: The closer an ingredient is to its original form, the healthier it is for you. Avoid the worst side of the nutritional spectrum by familiarizing yourself with this shocking list of The 15 Worst Food Creations of 2010.



Peppermint Tea
The mere scent of peppermint helps you focus and boosts performance, according to researchers. Another study discovered that peppermint tea makes drivers more alert and less anxious.

Other smart sources of peppermint: Peppermint candy and peppermint oil

Bonus Tip: Beware of disastrous drinks that only pretend to be healthy. Avoid 2,000-calorie shakes, 1,500-calorie smoothies, and other big offenders in this eye-popping list of The 20 Worst Drinks in America in 2010.



Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are loaded with stress-busting potential thanks to high levels of magnesium. Only about 30 percent of us meet our daily magnesium requirements, placing the rest of us at a higher risk for stress symptoms such as headaches, anxiety, tension, fatigue, insomnia, nervousness and high blood pressure. (Basically we’re frayed wires, and magnesium is the electrical tape that can pull us back together.) A quarter cup of pumpkin seeds gives you half your day’s magnesium requirements.

Other smart sources of magnesium: Spinach, Swiss chard, black beans, soybeans, salmon



Avocados
The healthy fats buried in the avocado’s flesh make it an ideal choice when you’re craving something rich and creamy. The reasons? Monounsaturated (healthy) fatty acids, and potassium--both of which help combat high blood pressure. Avocado fat is 66 percent monounsaturated, and gram-for-gram, the green fruit has about 35 percent more potassium than a banana. Whip up a fresh guacamole or slice a few slivers over toast and top with fresh ground pepper.

Other smart sources of potassium: Squash, papaya, spinach, bananas, lentils



Salmon
Not only does omega-3 fat protect against heart disease and cognitive decline, but according to a study from Diabetes & Metabolism, the wonder fat is also responsible for maintaining healthy levels of cortisol. And what’s the world’s best source of omega-3s? Salmon. But there’s another trick in salmon’s arsenal—a sleep-promoting amino acid called tryptophan. One salmon filet has as much tryptophan as you need in an entire day, and if there’s one remedy for stress, it’s a good night of blissful Zs.

Other smart sources of omega-3 fats: Flaxseeds, walnuts, sardines, halibut

Other smart sources of tryptophan: Chicken, tuna, beef, soybeans

Bonus Tip: The favorite trick of your friendly neighborhood restaurant? Substituting salt for flavor. Studies have linked high-salt foods to increased risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and even heart disease--and experts recommend getting no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium in your diet each day. Keep your salt intake in check by cooking with high-quality, locally sourced ingredients—and by dodging the salty disasters in this list of the 30 Saltiest Foods in America.



Almonds
The almond's first stress-buster is the aforementioned monounsaturated fats, but at risk of belaboring that point, let’s look at another almond-centered, mind-calming nutrient: vitamin E. In one study, Belgium researchers treated pigs with a variety of nutrients just before sticking them in a transportation simulator (basically a vibrating crate). After 2 hours of simulation, only those pigs treated with tryptophan and vitamin E had non-elevated levels of stress hormones. Almonds, thankfully, are loaded with vitamin E. To reach your day’s requirement from almonds alone, you need to eat about 40 to 50 nuts. Or you can mix them with other vitamin-E rich foods to save calories and add more dietary variety.

Other smart sources of vitamin E: Sunflower seeds, olives, spinach, papaya



Oatmeal
A biochemical effect of stress is a depleted stock of serotonin, the hormone that makes you feel cool, calm, and in control. One reliable strategy for boosting serotonin back to healthy levels is to increase your intake of carbohydrates. That said, scarfing down Ding Dongs and doughnuts isn’t a sustainable solution. Rather, to induce a steady flow of serotonin, aim to eat fiber-rich, whole-grain carbohydrates. The slower rate of digestion will keep seratonin production steady and prevent the blood sugar rollar-coaster that leads to mood swings and mindless eating.

Other sources of fiber-rich carbohydrates: Quinoa, barley, whole-wheat bread, Triscuits

Now it's time to talk crafts. Molly over at the Purl Bee has something I absolutely fell in love with! Giant Strawberries! Now you know that there is a huge berry bandit running rampit somewhere in my house that hides from me and I can never seem to catch LOL. But every time I go to the Farmer's Market, it manages to eat my crate of strawberries! LOL! I love them so much that once I saw this craft I have contemplated redo-ing one of my rooms in the house in a strawberry decor! OMG these are just too cute! Make sure to go to the site for the step by step photos and instructions. They are pretty easy to make and cute as a... well a BERRY! LOL!



Craft Idea of the Day: Giant Strawberry Pillows

Materials:

1 1/2-yards of Kiyohara Organic Woven Dots in Pink
1 1/2-yards of Kiyohara Organic Woven Dots in Red
1/2-yard of Organic Cotton Duck in Avocado
Two bags of Stuffing
A spool of light green thread to match the cotton duck, I used color #8975
A spool of neutral thread for sewing the berries
A ball of cotton embroidery floss
A Creative Grids 6.5-inch by 24.5-inch ruler or a protractor
A Strawberry Pillow Stem Template printed and cut out, available for free here

Ok folks, time for another crazy pick for your MEMORABLE MOVIES week. Today in the theme of destressing our lives, I have picked a light-hearted movie full of hope, humor, and the goodness of humankind. The movie is called "Michael" starring John Travolta, Andie McDowell, William Hurt, Bob Hoskins, Robert Pastorelli, Jean Stapleton, and even Teri Garr. (Synopsis: Frank Quinlan and Huey Driscoll, two reporters from a Chicago-based tabloid, along with Dorothy Winters, an 'angel expert', are asked to travel to rural Iowa to investigate a claim from an old woman that she shares her house with a real, live archangel named Michael. Upon arrival, they see that her claims are true - but Michael is not what they expected: he smokes, drinks beer, has a very active libido and has a rather colourful vocabulary. In fact, they would never believe it were it not for the two feathery wings protruding from his back. Michael agrees to travel to Chicago with the threesome, but what they don't realise is that the journey they are about to undertake will change their lives forever.) Ok, so in this movie, they are at a tavern and they order pie... lots and lots of pie! They even make Andie McDowell's character sing a song about pie. OMG I love pie! I can't help but to sing the song everytime I even think about pie! Its a super cute movie, so if you haven't seen it, definitely check it out! And with that, I have picked 5 super yummy pies for you today... although there are literally thousands of types of pies out there! Eat & Enjoy!



Saskatoon Pie

A not-too-sweet and fruity pie. Saskatoon berries are known as serviceberries in the United States. This berry has often been compared with blueberries though it has more of an apple flavor

Ingredients

4 cups fresh serviceberries
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3/4 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
1 tablespoon butter

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

In a large saucepan, simmer berries in 1/4 cup water for 10 minutes. Stir in lemon juice with berries. Combine sugar and flour together in a medium bowl, then stir into berry mixture. Pour mixture into a pastry lined 9 inch pie pan. Dot with butter. Place second crust on top of pie; seal and flute edges.

Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and bake for an additional 35 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown.



Creamy Peanut Butter Pie

Ingredients

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup whipped topping
10 peanut butter cups, divided
1 chocolate crumb crust (9 inches)

Directions

In a small mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and peanut butter until smooth and light. Fold in the whipped topping. Coarsely chop half of the peanut butter cups; stir into cream cheese mixture.

Spoon into crust. Quarter remaining peanut butter cups; arrange over top.

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before cutting. Refrigerate leftovers.



Sunshine Pie
By: Cool Whip

"A creamy layer, a fluffy pudding layer, and a topping made with fresh orange zest fill the graham cracker crust of this sweet, no-bake orange pie."

Ingredients

1 (8 ounce) package PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1 (14 ounce) can EAGLE BRAND® Sweetened Condensed Milk, divided
1 (8 ounce) tub COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed, divided
1 (6 ounce) HONEY MAID Graham Pie Crust
1 orange, zested and juiced
1 (3.4 ounce) package JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding

Directions

Beat cream cheese and 1/4 cup condensed milk with mixer until well blended. Whisk in 1/2 cup COOL WHIP. Spread onto bottom of crust.

Whisk orange juice, remaining condensed milk and dry pudding mix in medium bowl 2 minutes. Stir in 1-1/2 cups of the remaining COOL WHIP. Spread over cream cheese layer.

Stir orange zest into remaining COOL WHIP; spread over pie. Refrigerate 4 hours.



Caramel Pecan Pie

Buttery, nutty, and a touch of caramel, this is a very yummy pie! Full of flavor! Serve hot or cold, with a good size dollop of whipped topping or vanilla ice cream."

Ingredients

1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
36 individually wrapped caramels, unwrapped
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup pecan halves

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C.) In a saucepan over low heat, combine caramels, butter and milk. Cook, stirring frequently, until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt. Gradually mix in the melted caramel mixture. Stir in pecans. Pour filling into unbaked pie crust.
Bake in the preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown. Allow to cool until filling is firm.



Nectarine Pie

Ingredients

2/3 cup white sugar
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
5 nectarines
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie shell

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Place a large pot of water over high heat, and bring to a boil.

Combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, heavy cream and almond extract. Set aside.

Place the nectarines in boiling water for 30 to 45 seconds. Immediately place nectarines under cold running water and remove skins. Cut nectarines in half and remove pits. Place halves in the pie shell with the cut side down. Pour the cream mixture around the nectarines.

Bake at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for 35 to 40 minutes. Good served warm or cold.

Well kids, I'm outta here! I am off to clean, freecycle, sew, and whatever else suits my fancy! Thanks for joining me today and I say... let them eat pie! LOL! Be smart, be safe, and be frugal in whatever life leads you to today! Until tomorrow... HUGS!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

MEMORABLE MOVIE WEEK


Morning there guys and gals! How are you doing this morning? Its another hot and humid day here in Texas and I sit here sweating gallons in the early morning hours. But its ok, fall will be here before I know it and there will be a rebirth of spunk and vitality! LOL. So whatcha doing today? I got a tip for you today... never try cooking and eating frozen cheesesticks if you don't know how long they have been in the freezer LOL! You're tummy might not feel so great afterwards!

Alright folks, the New York Times is giving Frugal people, particularly men, a bad name! They are saying that it's not sexy, etc. I don't know about you, but I think I would find it a wee bit awesome if a man I was dating thought the same frugal thoughts I did! Do you agree? Check out this article and let me know what you think!

How to Be Frugal and Still Be Asked on Dates
The New York Times On Saturday August 21, 2010, 1:00 am EDT

Saving may be making a comeback, but it still hasn’t gotten its sexy back, particularly if you’re a man.

Earlier this month, the Commerce Department reported that the personal savings rate in June was a much-improved 6.4 percent and that the number had risen as high as 8.2 percent in the depths of the stock market doldrums in the spring of 2009.

Those who are single may not have been rewarded for their parsimony, though. Now comes some survey data from ING Direct, the people who would like you to save more money in their online savings accounts. In June, the company asked 1,000 people which words would come to mind if someone was fixing them up on a blind date with someone described as frugal.

Just 3.7 percent answered “sexy,” while 15 percent picked “boring” and 27 percent chose “stingy.”

Anyone who urges better money habits on the masses for a living ought to be gravely offended by this, though Ramit Sethi, author of “I Will Teach You to Be Rich,” tried to take it in stride. “The term frugality has been so perverted that it now means ‘No, no, no’ to everyone, whether it’s shoes or lattes or travel,” he said. “I don’t think it’s the right word.”

Yet it is a term that the online dating company eHarmony screens for in its patented compatibility test, asking people to rank themselves on a seven-point scale for frugality (along with things you would expect, like compassion and generosity).

“It makes sense, right?” asks Gian Gonzaga, 40, who has a doctorate in psychology and is eHarmony’s senior research director. “You look at the attractiveness angle, but farther down the road, money and finances are one of the biggest conflict areas couples traditionally face. And a lot of that comes down to having enough or not having enough.”

Well, maybe it makes sense and maybe it doesn’t. If your frugality has the potential to turn off nearly half of the mating pool, it raises a question: How best to broadcast your financial values and seek significant others who share your approach without coming off as a tightwad or a gold digger?

This challenge is a fairly recent one. Several generations back, personal ads could not have been more explicit about finances, since everyone knew that women generally had no income and a marriage involving a man of means was the only way to live comfortably.

This posting, from The New York Herald in 1860, was about par for the course, according to Pam Epstein, an adjunct professor at the Newark campus of Rutgers University, who wrote her history Ph.D. thesis on older ads. “A young lady, rather good looking, and of good address, desires the acquaintance of a gentleman of wealth (none other need apply), with a view to matrimony,” the ad read.

Ads from men from that period seemed custom-built to fit that bill. “The advertiser, a successful young business man of good education, polite manners and agreeable address, having recently amassed a fortune and safely invested the same, wishes to meet with a young lady or widow,” one said.

“There was this idea that men were very frugal,” said Ms. Epstein, 33, who posts copies of some of the ads she’s dug up at advertisingforlove.com. “You were going to work hard and save your money, and then by doing so, you would be able to support a wife in comfort. I do see a lot of ads saying ‘I’ve been wrapped up in business all this time and now I can support a wife comfortably.’ ”

Flash forward to today, however, and things get more complicated. Some people do put down an income range in their online dating profiles, though it’s not as if anyone is auditing the figures for honesty. Many men, meanwhile, pose peacocklike in front of their cars or boats or homes. The message here is less clear, though. Are these meant to be trophies, a sign of a fortune already amassed? Or is it the mark of a spendthrift? Or an indication that he’ll spend all of his time on the water, and you’d better be ready with the Dramamine if the relationship is going to work?
“There’s nothing admirable in frugality, because it’s invisible,” Ms. Epstein notes.
But even if you could transmit that value through an online dating profile, would you want to? It turns out that the answer to that may depend on whether you’re a man or a woman.

The ING Direct survey, which was conducted by phone and has a sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points, presented one more potential label for that frugal blind date: smart. And in a promising sign for the nation’s solvency, that was the term chosen most often, picked by 49 percent of respondents. EHarmony also crunched the numbers for me on 30 million matches it made in July and found that both men and women were 25 percent more likely to have a potential mate reach out to them if they identified themselves as a saver rather than a spender.

Curiously, however, 56 percent of men in the ING Direct survey gave “smart” as their favorite answer while just 42 percent of women did. (The numbers were similarly flipped on stingy: 33 percent of women labeled the potential mate that way, while just 20 percent of men did.)

What’s going on here? “My suspicion is that the value of frugality depends on whose money will presumably be spent,” said Reuben Strayer, 34, a physician in Manhattan who does not broadcast his profession or true income in online personals. He always pays for the first date and does not object to providing for a wife one day, he adds; he just doesn’t want to attract the kind of woman who is specifically looking for someone who will do so.

But even if many men still make more money than women and are wary of mates who would want them to spend it, they may not want to advertise it. “Frugality may or may not have anything to do with how much he loves you,” said BJ Gallagher, 61, an experienced online dater and author of several self-help books for women. “But for a lot of women, love looks like ‘Take care of me and give me things.’ ”

My jaw dropped listening to some of the dated stereotypes coming out of Ms. Gallagher’s mouth and I told her so. “I try not to get into right and wrong,” she replied. “I’m not a professional finger-wagger. I just hold a mirror to things. I’m descriptive, not prescriptive.” She said she’d been in relationships where she provided most of the income and had seen plenty of gay and lesbian couples where one mate provided the “masculine” energy that kept things in balance.
Fair enough, but what should you do if you want to communicate prudent financial values to a potential mate without dropping the unsexy F word?

Robert Epstein, a psychologist who has studied online dating, said he struggled with this during the seven years it took to produce a beta version of the relationship compatibility test now online at arewegoodtogether.com. He suggests that people who feel strongly about good money habits talk about how they love a great bargain.

Topher Burns, 27, a Manhattan resident who is about to move in with a man he met online, said he realized that he had it a bit easier than heterosexual men who might feel compelled to pay for dates all of the time. But he still took a subtle approach in his online profile by talking about how he loved discovering the newest cheap eats. It shows, he explained, both a love of quality and a respect for value, which seems like a fine message to send no matter who is picking up the check.

The trick, it seems, is to use such subtle codes, the same way people slip in mentions of their jogging habit rather than coming right out and saying that they’re not overweight. So rather than projecting frugality outright, try dropping a classic investing book like “A Random Walk Down Wall Street” by Burton G. Malkiel, into the list of things you’ve read recently, suggested Deborah H. Levenson, a financial planner with Braver Wealth Management in Newton, Mass. ,who recently became engaged to a man she met online.

“That might give someone a sense that you were a Vanguard investor,” she said. “I think Vanguard is sexy.”

All of that said, when reading these profiles, keep in mind that these are advertisements. They will stretch the truth or lie outright and may contain not just delusions of grandeur or wealth but ones of financial prudence, too.

You may be able to tease out any inconsistencies once you get to know a potential mate. But don’t ask about them directly. One thing that everyone I talked to this week agreed on was this: Frugality may or may not be sexy, but few people want to hear about your asset allocation on the first date.


Now if you have some new or soon-to-be mommies on your gift giving list this year, why not make them a neat and roomy diaper bag. Sturdy to handle lots of baby essentials and stylish enough (depending on your fabrics) to be "trendy" if ya know what I mean. This bag is a really long tutorial and it has great step-by-step photos and instructions to help any level crafter make this great bag!



Craft Idea of the Day: Diaper Bag or Tote Bag with center divider

Like the blog said, it was made by a mom who needed a diaper bag, but ya know, as long as you don't use baby fabrics, I think it would be a great tote bag for anyone. The center divider makes it wonderful to hold papers, books, or maybe one of those small notebooks or Ipads, while on the other side could hold makeup bags, wallet, you name it! I am a firm believer that most anything can have another purpose if you just think on it! So if you see something cute, before dismissing it, ask yourself if you can use it in any other way.

Alright folks, its time for another day of MEMORABLE MOVIE WEEK! Today is a classic pick called "The Godfather"! There are approximately 61 scenes in the film that feature people eating/drinking, or just food. "Leave the gun. Take the cannoli." is a super quote most people can identify with this movie. There is a scene where Clemenza is showing Michael how to make some gravy, because “you never know when you're gonna need to feed twenty guys”. Here is another famous transcript that even offers a "recipe" of sorts...

“Heh, come over here, kid, learn something. You never know, you might have to cook for twenty guys someday. You see, you start out with a little bit of oil. Then you fry some garlic. Then you throw in some tomatoes, tomato paste, you fry it; ya make sure it doesn't stick. You get it to a boil; you shove in all your sausage and your meatballs; heh?... And a little bit o' wine. An' a little bit o' sugar, and that's my trick.”

So now we are gonna make some of those famous dishes! For more great meals, grab some of your cannolis and rent "The Godfather". Eat & Enjoy!



"Spaghetti Sauce" from The Godfather

Anyone who is familiar with pasta will tell you that once cooked, pasta needs a sauce for flavouring. Otherwise, consuming what is essentially a paste of wheat flour and water tends to taste a little bland.

The following recipe for spaghetti sauce is one of the most famous, having been featured in the 1972 motion picture, The Godfather. It will yield enough sauce for 8-10 servings of pasta. Chefs may assign the resulting dish any of the following names:

Spaghetti Coppola (after the director of the film, Francis Ford Coppola)

Spaghetti Puzo (after the writer of the script, Mario Puzo)

Spaghetti Castellano (after the actor who explained how to cook the sauce, Richard S Castellano)

Spaghetti Coppolapuzo (after both the director and the writer)

Ingredients

2 14oz tins whole tomatoes or 12 Roma or plum tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped finely
2 small tins or 1 large tin tomato paste
1 teaspoon each basil and oregano (not seen in the movie, but useful nonetheless)
1lb/500g meat, either cooked sausages, sliced, or meatballs
2 tablespoons dry red table wine
1/4 cup sugar

Method

In a large pot or metal casserole dish, heat up the oil over medium heat and cook the garlic.

Add the tomatoes. Cook until soft.

Stir in the tomato paste, basil and oregano.

Add the meat. Stir until the meat is thoroughly coated.

Stir in the wine and sugar.

Reduce heat to low to medium-low and let simmer for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Ladle over large bowls filled with cooked spaghetti, toss in each bowl and serve.
This is a basic sauce which lends itself to a variety of personal tastes. For example, some people prefer adding a tin of chopped anchovies along with the garlic, to add body. Others may use beefsteak tomatoes (which are rounder and more acidic than Romas) and either double the sugar or add a grated carrot to cut the sourness.



Homemade Cannoli

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons shortening
1 egg white
3/4 cup red wine
1 1/2 quarts oil for deep frying
1 1/2 pounds ricotta cheese
1/2 cup sifted confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons chopped candied orange peel

Directions

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Blend in the shortening and egg white. Add the red wine one tablespoon at a time until the mixture forms a ball. Knead the dough enough to bring it together. Cover and let rest for half an hour.

Heat oil in deep-fryer to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Divide dough into 2 parts. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into 4 inch long ovals. Place a cannoli tube onto the oval lengthwise and roll up with edges overlapping; seal with a dab of egg white.

Fry cannoli shells 2 or 3 at a time in the hot oil. When golden brown, remove from the oil to drain on paper towels. Remove tubes.

To make the filling: In a medium bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese and confectioners' sugar. Fold in the vanilla, chocolate chips and candied orange peel. Chill for at least half an hour before filling shells. Drain off any excess liquid. Fill cooled shells and smooth off the filling at the edges. Keep refrigerated until serving.

Ok kids that's it. I gotta get off here and tend to some business. Then maybe I can get some sewing in today. But whatever life finds you doing today, be safe, be smart, and above all... be frugal! HUGS!

Monday, August 23, 2010

FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL



Good morning and welcome to the Wonderful First Day of School! YAY! Listen... listen... can you hear it? That's right... the golden sound of SILENCE! OMG is it great or what?? I just got back from dropping the kids off at school and let me tell ya... I only see that mass quantity of smiling mommy faces on the first day of school LMAO! That makes the drive there and the drive back, so incredibly enjoyable even though it's atrociously humid LOL! Now some of you are probably thinking that I don't love my kids. That is further from the truth! I absolutely adore my children... even more so once I've had a break from them. I may be a mommy, but I still need a little "ME time"! It makes me appreciate them even more once they get home... miss them even LMAO! So refresh that cup o' joe and sit with me for a spell and enjoy the wonderful ramblings I like to call my life LOL!

Ok, so I ran across this article about being frugal the other day and I can so incredibly relate to it! I always try to pay my bills as much as possible but often found myself struggling to keep gas in the car, milk in the fridge, etc. So tips to kids everywhere LOL... being frugal also means being smart!

Living on What’s Left
by Terry Rigg

Are you one of those people that pay your bills no matter what? That is an admirable trait to have when managing your money. You made the bill and you feel you are responsible for paying it. Good for you.

Now let’s talk about how much money you have to cover your household expenses after you pay all of those bills. Your household expenses would include your groceries, car gas, school lunches, and all of the other stuff that it takes to run a household. Do you have enough to pay this bill?

All to often, people tend to pay their bills and try to live on what’s left. This never works unless you have enough money left to cover these at home expenses. The grocery bill will always run about the same, you will always need about the same money for gas, etc. In other words, you need enough to live on.

I have seen this time and time again. Another bill is made and the money comes out of the household budget because there is no money available in any other category. Then what happens?

Many people resort to using their credit cards to cover their regular expenses. Since there is no other money available to pay their increased credit card payments, that also has to come out of their household expenses. This is how many people find themselves in over their heads.

There is only one way to change this cycle. You have to allow enough money in your budget to cover the things you need. You must do this even at the expense of your other bills. That could put you in a position that you can’t make some of your payments, but at least you won’t be increasing your debt, except for possibly late fees. If this is your situation you need to seek help to reduce the payments on your other bills.

Naturally, there are many ways to cut your household expenses that will allow you to pay more toward your other bills. You can save a lot of money on groceries by using coupons, buying generic, not using processed foods, etc. The internet is full of ideas and tips to help you save. I would start by visiting The Frugal Shopper at http://www.thefrugalshopper.com.

When you develop or revise your budget, always put the emphasis on your household needs. Once you have determined how much you need to get by, then you can see what is left for other bills.

Terry Rigg is the author of Living Within Your Means – The Easy Way and editor of The FREE Budget Stretcher Newsletter and Budget Stretcher web site . He has 25 years of experience counseling individuals and families concerning their personal finances

Ok today's craft is another great idea from Elizabeth from Twelve Crafts til Christmas. She published this as a baby toy, which I think is a marvelous idea. But I think it can be multi-purposed. I can see making some of these, stuffing this even, and using it as a multi-gadget collector for... well ANYONE! I think I am gonna make one of these out of some pretty fabric and ribbons and on each of the ribbon loops you can attach something small and cute. Like one loop could have a trial size hand sanitizer (Bath & Body have some great ones and a rubber holder too for super cheap!), one could hold a ring of shopper's key cards (yes I am guilty of this too!), one loop could have a mini flashlight, etc. etc. etc. You get the idea. I think it would be a SUPER gift, especially if you attach the items to the Taggie! The site has great step-by-step photos to go along with the instructions, SEW here ya go LOL... enjoy!



Craft Idea of the Day: Monogram Taggie

Materials:
-fleece, soft fabric or flannel in contrasting or matching patterns/colors
-a variety of ribbons
-a baby link or toy hook

Directions:

1) Use Word, Publisher or whatever to pick a font, make a very large letter using the first letter of the baby's name (first or last name) print out and cut adding about 1/4 inch edge all the way around when cutting.

2) Place fabric wrongs sides together. Pin printed letter to fabric and cut out.

3) Cut strips of ribbon about four inches long. I used 14 ribbons total.

4) Fold ribbons in half and pin around the right side of the thicker of the two fabrics.

5) Place letters right sides together and pin.

6) Sew around outside of letter. If you are doing a letter with an opening in the center of the letter - like A, B, D, etc., don't sew the center openings and sew all around the outside leaving no opening for turning. If you are doing a letter like C, S, N, etc., leave a two inch whole for turning when sewing around the outside of the letter.

7) Unpin, clip corners and turn. I used the opening in the center of the A for turning.

8) Topstitch around outside of letter. If you are doing a C, S, N, etc without a center opening, fold in the turning hole which will be sewn shut in topstitching. If you are doing another letter with a center opening or two, continue to the next step.

9) Trim opening(s) with pinking shears. You could do this earlier, but I waited until this point because the fabric could shift in topstitching the outer edge. I wanted to make sure that the edges were fairly evenly matched in the center. After cutting with pinking shears, topstitch around opening(s).

10) Add a baby link and little toy. Personalized gift . . . done!

Ok, its time for some of our readers (and especially mine) favorite section... FOOD! Yes friends it's time to reveal the Frugal Mom's secret theme of the week which will inspire some culinary genious or guts LOL! You'll get facts and alot of tasty recipes to experiment with in this section. So are you ready?? This week's theme is MEMORABLE MOVIE WEEK! Yes folks, this week I am gonna bring you dishes made famous by some of the most memorable movies of this century. Cartoons to Cult Classics, I'll bring you lots of fun and adventure this week, that's for sure! Thousands of food references are made in the movies.... from a single dish that stands out in a famous scene, to the title of the movie, to the theme of the movie itself!

Today's movie I have picked is one that I used to do an impression of that would crack up my mother every time! FORREST GUMP is today's Monday Matinee Madness! Now everyone knows, whether you have actually seen the movie or not, that 2 things were made famous from this movie... A box of chocolates and SHRIMP! So guess what this Gulf Coast child has in store for you? Yep, a school of delectable crustaceans is swimming your way today! YUMM-A-LICIOUS! (LOL I actually had to stop for a sec and think what a group of shrimp was called LOL... you hear "school of fish" or "pod of whales" all the time... but never shrimp LOL!)

The truth is... All Shrimp Are Not The Same, each type or species of shrimp have their own characteristics as far as flavor, texture, cooking times and a best cooking method for them. You have Gulf Shrimp, Farm Raised Shrimp, Imported Shrimp and Coldwater. You have shrimp with brown, white and pink shells. There are even shrimp with strips on them called Tiger Shrimp and with over 300 species of Shrimp in the world I'm sure you can find many more shell colors and names given to shrimp. The flavor and texture of shrimp are influenced by the waters they come from or are raised in, plus from what they eat or are fed. Wild shrimp feed on seaweed and crustaceans which gives them a more enriched flavor and thicker shells. The ability to swim freely also makes the meat firmer.

Tiger Shrimp
Grown mainly in Asian Countries, (Black tiger shrimp are also caught wild) they get their name because of the black and gray strips on their shells in the raw state. You also have what is called a blue tiger which are a blue shade and have yellow feelers, still a species of black tigers. The reason for the blue shade is that the food they are fed does not contain iron. A cooked black tiger shrimp shell will turn bright red and the meat will be white with a red skin tone. The moisture content in them is much higher than white, brown or pink shrimp, so they will shrink more when cooking them. The flavor is very mild and the texture is less dense. To avoid the shrinking and making them tough, I have learned to slightly under cook them. Because of the mild flavor of tigers, they are best when you use them in a cooking method that adds flavor to them, like grilling or in recipes or dishes that would have a sauce.

Coldwater Shrimp
These shrimp are wild caught from the waters of Greenland, Norway, Iceland and from the coast waters of Alaska, Oregon, Washington and Maine. Some common names for Coldwater shrimp are salad, pink, bay, tiny, cooked/peeled and baby. The shells are bright reddish-pink both in the raw and cooked state. The meat will be white with color tones from pale pink to a dark reddish-pink. Cold water shrimp are small ranging in size from 150 to 500 shrimp per pound. Almost all of them you will find will be cooked and peeled, they have a soft texture and a sweet taste to them.

Farm-Raised White Shrimp
Mexico, Ecuador, China and India produce the majority of the farm raised white shrimp to the U.S. Even though they are called white shrimp their shells are a light grayish-white and turn pink when cooked. The shell can be thinner than wild caught shrimp. Farm-Raised shrimp will have a milder flavor and sometimes a less firm meat texture, due to the environment they are raised in. A thinner shelled shrimp requires less cooking time, if cooking them in the shell.

So now that I have shared some interesting facts about shrimp, I am gonna share some super delish recipes... so EAT & ENJOY! (And remember the TRULY FRUGAL person will KEEP the heads and shells and make a stock out of it!)



New Orleans Barbecue Shrimp

Don’t break out your grill for this dish. In New Orleans, barbecued shrimp means sautéed shrimp in Worcestershire-spiked butter sauce. These shrimp are served to patrons with heads and tails on, so you need to dig in to enjoy. I highly recommend a bib. They are famous for their barbecued shrimp, and with reason. The biggest trick to making this taste like theirs is to not hold back on the butter. The three sticks called for are enough to scare you into cholesterol shock, but are key to the flavor and consistency of the sauce. Another tip to keep in mind: to emulsify the sauce, be sure to add a little butter at a time while stirring rapidly. And don’t overcook the shrimp or they’ll become tough and hard to peel.

16 jumbo shrimp (12 per pound, about 1 1/2 pounds), with heads and unpeeled
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cubed
French bread as accompaniment

In a large skillet combine shrimp, Worcestershire, lemon juice, black peppers, Creole seasoning, and garlic and cook over moderately high heat until shrimp turn pink, about 1 minute on each side. Reduce heat to moderate and stir in butter, a few cubes at a time, stirring constantly and adding more only when butter is melted. Remove skillet from heat. Place shrimp in a bowl and pour sauce over top. Serve with French bread for dipping.



Dilled Shrimp (Rejer)

(A wonderful Danish dish tradtionally served during the holidays. No Scandinavian buffet is complete without these!)

Ingredients

2 quarts water
1/8 cup coarse salt
1/3 cup white sugar
5 sprigs dill
2 pounds medium shrimp, with shells (or you can used UNcooked, peeled and deveined but tails on shrimp from your local fish monger)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon minced dill
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions

Bring water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Add salt, sugar, and dill sprigs; stir until sugar has dissolved. Pour in shrimp and cook until the shells turn pink, and the meat is no longer translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Strain the shrimp through a colander, discard dill sprigs, and chill until cold in the refrigerator, about 30 minutes.

Once shrimp have cooled, peel and devein them; discard the shells. Whisk together oil, vinegar, minced dill, salt, and pepper; toss with shrimp meat to coat. Cover, and chill overnight in the refrigerator; serve with sprigs of fresh dill.



Shrimp and Mushroom Linguini with Creamy Cheese Herb Sauce

Ingredients

1 (8 ounce) package linguini pasta
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian flat leaf parsley
2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup pasta water
1 pound cooked shrimp

Directions

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add linguini, and cook until tender, about 7 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; cook and stir until tender. Transfer to a plate.

In the same pan, melt 1/2 cup butter with the minced garlic. Stir in the cream cheese, breaking it up with a spoon as it melts. Stir in the parsley and basil.

Simmer for 5 minutes. Mix in milk, wine, and water until sauce is smooth. Stir in cooked shrimp and mushrooms, and heat through.

Toss linguini with shrimp sauce, and serve.



Fried Butterflied Shrimp

Ingredients

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined and butterflied
1 cup water or beer
3/4 cups cornstarch
2 eggs
1/4 cup fine corn meal
2 cups fresh bread crumbs
Salt, pepper, and granulated garlic to taste
5 cups oil for deep frying

Directions

Preheat deep fryer or skillet with oil to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a large bowl, pour in water and mix in cornstarch and eggs. In a separate bowl, combine bread crumbs, cornmeal, salt, pepper, and garlic.

Dip the shrimp into the mixture allowing them to be completely coated. Then roll the shrimp in the breadcrumbs. Coat the shrimp well with the breadcrumbs.

Drop shrimp, one at a time, into the hot oil and cook shrimp until they are golden brown.



Seafood Stuffed Avocados

Ingredients

1/2 cup flaked cooked crabmeat
1/2 cup cooked small shrimp
2 tablespoons peeled and diced cucumber
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
1 pinch salt
1 pinch ground black pepper
1 pinch paprika
1 avocado

Directions

In a bowl, mix the crab, shrimp, cucumber, mayonnaise, and parsley. Season with salt, and pepper. Cover, and chill until serving.
Slice the avocados lengthwise, and remove the pit. Scoop out the flesh of the avocado, leaving about 1/2 inch on the peel. Dice up the avocado meat and add to the seafood mixture.Spoon the seafood mixture into the hollowed centers of the avocado halves. Sprinkle the tops with paprika.

Ok kids, thats it. I am off of here to go dance me a jig and sing Joy to the World for the next 7 hours LOL! Actually I have alot of fun and adventure planned for today, so I hope that you have a super duper cool Monday like I am going to have! Be safe, Be smart, and Be frugal! Until tomorrow... HUGS!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

PRE-SCHOOL EXCITEMENT

Good morning and welcome to this steamy Sunday edition of the Frugal Mom! How are you this super sunny morning? I'm alright... it was my last day to sleep in and believe me, I took FULL advantage of it! Super excited about school tomorrow! YAY! Today is "put the final touches on everything" and cook and sew day! For me, that's exciting! What do you have planned for today?

I must take a moment to address my mom and her comment yesterday LOL! See, sometimes we should leave well enough alone LOL! Dormouses are best left unknown LOL! As for DD not wearing the shirt, she claimed she did not have the proper undergarments to wear with it... I think she just wanted to wear her squad shirt LOL! Its ok, there are other days to be wearing it LOL. And as for the gift recipient... I don't think she will come to see it. ain't gonna elaborate on that one, but you know what I think LOL! remember only 5 years LOL! Man am I old! As for your yarn and stuff... I'm gonna get it for you tomorrow! LOL... I will go in there since DD didn't!

Alright I found a poll online on Shine from Glamour Magazine and I wanted to bring it here, because I think its very interesting and would LOVE to hear your answers!

Are You Happier When Your Calendar Is Packed or Free? Guess Which Is Better for Health
by Sarah Jio, Vitamin G, Glamour Magazine, on Fri Aug 20, 2010 9:42am PDT

Is your life pretty jam-packed these days--running from one meeting or appointment to the next? That's me! Sometimes I long for the days when I had more time, less commitments. Have you ever wondered if being busy is bad for your health? Researchers have answers ...

On a recent evening after I put the kids to bed, I sat at my desk and looked around. All of my deadlines were complete. I'd already gone for a jog. The laundry was done, the errands were too. I'd grocery shopped, called my friends, even brushed and flossed. It was a rare moment when ... I had nothing to do. Guess what? I didn't like it!

Truth be told, I like being one step behind my to-do list. As much as I complain about my crazy schedule, I secretly love it. That's why I found the latest happiness news really interesting: Turns out, we're happier when our schedules are packed, BlissTree reports.

According to a study published in the journal Psychological Science, full schedules give people a "sense of accomplishment"--not to mention the fact that having a lot do do is stimulating, which can flood the brain with energy and endorphins. Is this busy-happy connection true in your life?

Tell me, are you super busy or less so? Are you happier when you're busy or when your calendar is free?




Isn't this such a thought provoking question? I can answer that... kind of. My calender fluctuates from busy starting in August, to rather slow in January, to stagnant during June and July! While it frustrates me to no end that I am "living on the road", etc. I like being busy. The author, I think, is right. You get a sense of accomplishment when you complete things off a list. And I like that! I live by lists, day planners, etc. I have a dry erase board on the wall by the front door so everyone knows where they and everyone else is going to be, for how long, etc. When you manage a house with 2 ADHD teens, an ADD dad, and an ADHD mom... yea writing everything down is almost a requirement! LOL! Ask my mom, when she was over here helping me declutter and I actually got something DONE... I was very happy and somewhat proud too! I also find that when I have really "nothing" to do, I find things to do to busy myself... be it cooking, sewing, cleaning, window shopping, etc. So yea, I guess I like being busy! LOL... what about you?

Ok so in the spirit of SCHOOL (oh how I love that word LOL), I wanted to bring you a craft today that makes a cute little teacher's gift and is fairly easy to make. Its a cute country decoration the kids can make and give to their favorite teacher to say "Glad to be back", "Thanks for all you do", etc. You could also make this craft using colored felt, foam, or fabric as well... all would be super adorable!



Craft Idea of the Day: Class Act Teacher's Apple

Materials:

brown grocery bag
acrylic paint in brown, barnyard red, and buttermilk
toothbrush
paintbrush
fine tip black marker
pinking shears (or other decorative scissors)
gingham material scrap
decorative buttons with classroom motif (ruler, pencil sharpener, pencil, etc.)
barnyard red medium button
cotton batting (Fiberfil)
white craft glue
craft wire
pencil
raffia

Directions:

Here's a fun and easy Teacher Appreciation gift to make with your child. Their teacher will hang this gift in their classroom with pride!

Lay brown paper bag on flat work surface. Cut out two large sections from the front and back of the bag. Stack those sections, one on top of the other, then cut out and trace around the pattern onto the bags. Cut it out with the pinking shears.

Beginning at the bottom of the apple, use tacky glue to connect the two layers at the seams, stuffing the apple as you go with cotton batting (Fiberfil). Work your way around the edges, carefully stuffing (but not too much!) until apple is completely closed.




When the glue is dry, paint the decorative edges and the stem with brown and the apple with barnyard red (see photo). When dry, dip the bristle tips of a toothbrush into the buttermilk paint. Test your splattering ability on a piece of scrap paper before doing this on your apple. Hold toothbrush horizontally and drag your thumb across the bristles, causing the paint to splatter spots wherever you aim it. When you are comfortable with this method, go ahead and splatter some buttermilk paint on your apple.

When the buttermilk paint is dry, use the fine tip craft pen or marker to write the words "CLASS ACT!" in the center of the apple. Using white craft glue, adhere a square of gingham fabric to the upper right hand corner of the apple. Glue a couple of decorative school themed buttons to the lower left and lower center of the apple.

Cut a piece of craft wire long enough to wrap completely around your apple. This should be enough for your hanger. Find the middle of craft wire, wrap the middle section of the wire around a pencil about 6 or 7 times. Pull the pencil out to create the curl at the top of your hanger. Curve the wire into a hanger shape and poke each end carefully through the sides of the apple as shown in the photo. Use the skinny end of a small paintbrush to curl the ends of the wire that you poked through.

Tie a piece of raffia into a bow out onto the craft wire just before where the top curls begin. Hot glue the barnyard red button to the center of the raffia bow.

Note: It is not necessary to paint the back of the apple, though you may if you like.

Primary colors: If you prefer to use primary colors for your apple, use red for the apple, leave the decorative edges plain, use yellow decorative fabric, and primary colored decorative buttons. Use a white craft pen to write "CLASS ACT!" on your apple.

Alright, now its time to wrap up a delicious week of BODACIOUS BANANAS. Now I know that my mother has been raggin on me that I am gonna put her into a coma with all the sugar in this week's recipes. And I know that I have more diabetic readers out there than just my mother, DB's GF, Dad, basically my whole family LMAO. So today, for us, and for all of you I am closing the week out with some recipes aimed specifically at Diabetics! Yes, today is all about sugar substitutes and super flavors! So even if you aren't diabetic, try them out. Lord knows we could all use a little less in our lives after grabbing that syrupy soda with that fast food combo on our lunch break, or those few sugary sweet donuts in the break room first thing in the morning... you get the idea! So try it out... Eat & Enjoy!



DIABETIC BANANA BREAD

1/4 c. shortening
Sugar substitute equivalent to 1 c. sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 bananas, mashed

Cream shortening, sugar substitute and egg. Add flour, soda, salt, milk and vanilla. Mix well. Add bananas. Mix well.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes in lightly sprayed or greased pans.



Diabetic Strawberry/Banana Milkshake

Yield: 2 Servings

1 c Frozen whole strawberries
1 Ripe banana
1 c Milk (skim and low fat work fine)
4 pk Sugar substitute (or more to taste)
1/2 ts Vanilla

Place all ingredients in a blender and run the blender on the highest setting. The shake will take longer in the blender than most people will expect because of the frozen strawberries. However, the frozen berries along with the banana provide the smooth thickness of this drink. Remember, this recipe is not a scientific formula. The quantities of each ingredient are very flexible, experiment until you find your favorite.



Oatmeal-Banana Muffins Recipe

Oatmeal-Banana Muffins Recipe from the diabetic recipe collection at InformationAboutDiabetes.com

Ingredients:

3 cup Whole Wheat Flour
3/4 cup Rolled Oats
1 tbsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
1 tbsp Sugar
1 Egg
2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 1/2 cup Lowfat Milk
1 small Banana, cubed
1/4 cup Sunflower Seeds, toasted

Preparation:

Combine the flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar in a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and blend.

Spoon into oiled muffin tins or paper muffin cups.

Bake in a 375-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

Makes 12

One Muffin = Calories: 180 Carbohydrates: 29 Protein: 5 Fat: 5
Sodium: 91 Potassium: 221 Cholesterol: 23

Source: Holiday Cookbook, American Diabetes Association, ISBN 0-13-024894-0, by Betty Wedman, M.S.,R.D.



Diabetic Banana Split Pie

Yield: 1 Pie
Ingredients

1 graham cracker crust
1 (4 oz.) pkg. sugar-free instant vanilla pudding mix
2 c. low-fat milk
2 bananas, sliced
1 (15 oz.) can crushed pineapple
1 c. Cool Whip
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. pecans, chopped

Instructions

Mix pudding with milk and beat until thick, pour into crust
Put bananas over pudding
Squeeze pineapple to remove all juice
Sprinkle on top of bananas
Cover with Cool Whip, sprinkle pecans on top
Chill well

Well everybody, that's it. I am so incredibly out of here! I have tons of last minute things to do before the best day of the year (aside from Christmas) LOL gets here tomorrow! Thanks for joining me and I hope you will come back again tomorrow to see what is in store for the first day of school, a new food theme, and lots of more fun and excitement. So until tomorrow... HUGS!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

SCRUMPTIOUS SATURDAY

Good early weekend morning everyone! How are you doing today? I am super excited as I am going out with my mom today! Not sure what kind of adventures she has in store for us today, but I can tell you whether we are sitting at home (either her's or mine) just talking or cooking or whatever, or we are running the roads, etc. we always have a blast! Summer has come and gone, summer band ended last night with a fantastic squad competition and super fun pool party, and I have just 48 hours til the most wonderful time of the year! WOOHOO! LOL...



Remember I said I was gonna get some sewing done yesterday? Well this was the first thing I made. Remember a few days back when I brought you the Heat Halter Top craft made from a men's shirt? Then I said I was decluttering the clothes and grabbed this old shirt of DH's to try the craft? Well I changed it up a bit and made it for my DD! I chopped off the curves at the bottom and added a hem. On that, I added some pretty white and gold lace. I added belt loops on the sides, elastic on the top, as well as a ribbon to act as a drawstring (which I inadvertantly picked a yellow with gold music notes LOL), and straps with lace edging on the top. I think it turned out super cute and am excited for Madison to wear it when we go out today!



Here you see another kitchen set. Yet one more gift done in the Christmas Countdown! Like the other one, it has a specialty cookbook designed for the recipient, 2 embellished towels, 2 pot holders, 2 oven mitts, and a grocery bag holder. It will be gathered with a sparkly black and sheer wired ribbon with silver glitter on it. I think this person will really like it! I have a little bit of the fabric left, and I am thinking of adding some small items like a cell pouch, makeup bag, etc. Or I might stick with the kitchen stuff and make a "patchwork" apron and some other stuff... not sure yet. I'm liking the apron idea, but how many people really wear aprons nowadays? I know I don't, even though I probably should at times LMAO! I dunno yet... what do you think? BTW, how is YOUR Christmas Countdown Challenge coming along?



Then we have the "Booty for Boobies" bag LMAO! It is a Denim jeans purse decorated with breast cancer fabric and colors! I thought it was so cute that I filled it with my junk and plan to use it as we go out today! Woohoo! Can you see the faces of the people wherever mom surprises me and takes us? Betcha you won't find another one like this... that's for sure!

Ok now for your frugal moment of today, I found you yet another set of tips. Its tips to assure you are being super frugal and ways to acheive it if you're not. Everybody needs a friendly reminder from time to time, and if you are new to the whole frugal thing, then its even more helpful! So check it out!

Do You Have These Frugal Living Habits?

Frugal living requires skills and ways of looking at things that help you take advantage of the money-saving opportunities in life. The truly frugal person makes these into habits. Six of these habits are outlined below. These are techniques that can be learned in a matter of a day or two, and made into new habits a few weeks. Then they will save money for you for the rest of your life.

1. Frugal living requires a knowledge of values. How can you get a great deal on a car if you don’t know what a great deal is. Get in the habit of educating yourself on prices, especially before you’re ready to buy anything that costs a lot. It takes a few hours of looking at listings for sale, for example, to know what homes are selling for in an area, but this is knowledge that can save you thousands.

2. Learn from other people. Most of us know someone who always gets the best deal on cars, boats, homes, or even groceries. Why not ask him or her how they do it! One person will tell you that the cheapest coffee in town is $3 per cup, while another will say 50 cents. Ask the latter about coffee shops. People near you are living a good life on half of what you make. Investigate that. See how others do things, and you’ll know your options.

3. Frugal living means always looking for alternatives. You might have just as much fun taking a discount trip to Mexico as you would going to Jamaica. Maybe you happen to enjoy pizza more than fine French dining. If so, why not skip the expensive restaurant and call Dominoes. This isn’t about sacrificing, but about getting even more of what you really enjoy by paying less for cheaper alternatives that work just as well.

4. Pay cash. What happens when everything you buy costs an additional 20% because of the interest you pay over the years? You can’t buy as much! Everything is cheaper when paid for in cash instead of credit. If you want that new patio set, divide the price by the number of weeks you can wait to get it. Set aside that much each week, and buy it for cash when you have the money. Not only do you save on interest, but you’ll often get a better price when you pay cash.

5. Learn to do the math. Did you really save $400 on that car if it costs you $500 more in gas each year? Did you know that some stores are cashing in on shopper’s assumptions that larger is cheaper? It’s true. That gallon of pickles might actually cost more than four quart jars. Make it a habit to do the math if you want to save money.

6. Tell people what you need. Mention it in conversations. Many people get free or cheap things, just because they talk. For example, a neighbor wanted to upgrade her living room debt, and was thrilled that I would take her three-month-old couch off her hands for $30. I sure am glad that I mentioned I was looking for one. You need to make this little trick a part of your frugal living habits.

About the Author – Steve Gillman has studied unusual ways to make money for thirty years.

Well kids, its time to get crafty! And let me tell you, this would make a super cool gift for any doctor or nurse in your life. Make a few of these in just a fractional amount of time and bunch them as a gift! So they always have one on the scope and one to wash, etc. These cool covers will increase the life of their job hardware as well as probably put smiles on the patients faces, depending on the types of fabrics you use. So you might not only be gifting to a selected person, but tons of strangers who need a smile at that time in their lives. How cool is that? Sew, scroll on down and get yourself rockin on some cool covers!



Craft Idea of the Day: Stethoscope Cover

Materials:

34 inch x 6.5 inches (86cm x 16.5 cm) of Fabric
1 inch square of Velcro or a press stud
2.5 inches (6cm)of Elastic

Directions:

Start by taking your length of fabric. Hem the 2 smaller edges for a neat finish.

Fold it in half so that it is inside out ( the print is facing inwards).

Following the steps in the image below, sew along the edge to close the strip to form a tube.

Take the elastic and sew it into place at end "A" by sewing it into place around 1/2 (1.5cm) inch from the edge.

Using glue or sewing machine secure your Velcro into place by stitching one side of the Velcro to each side of the tube. This will stop the fabric from sliding down the stethoscope.

You could also substitute the Velcro for a press stud if you wish it depends on your sewing skills as to how you wish to tackle this project.

Once you have finished turn it the right way around so that the print is facing out then thread it over your stethoscope with the elastic at the bottom and the press stud at the top.



Ok, its time for another installment of BODACIOUS BANANAS week. Today I want to talk about making "Stuffed" foods. It was once thought that foods that were stuffed were for the powerful, royal, rich, etc. (dishes like Chicken Cordon Bleu, etc. gave the distinction of upper class) (BTW Like my Louis Vitton banana LMAO!). But the truth remains that it is not known when stuffings were first used and were probably used by persons of all classes. The earliest documentary evidence is the Roman cookbook, Apicius' "De Re Coquinaria", which contains recipes for stuffed chicken, hare, pig, and dormouse. Most of the stuffings described consist of vegetables, herbs and spices, nuts, and spelt (a type of wheat/grain), and frequently contain chopped liver, brains, and other organ meat. In the Middle Ages, stuffing was known as farce (from the French); the root of the word 'forcemeat'. The term 'stuffing' is first attested in 1538. After about 1880, the term stuffing was replaced by dressing in Victorian English. But today, rest easy... we are not stuffing with any of those things. We are stuffing with our weekly ingredient! You could also top this with yesterday's curry sauce recipe as well! Anyway, here's to the banana! Eat & Enjoy!



Banana Stuffed Chicken

Ingredients:

4 Boneless skinless chicken breast halves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Small Bananas; peeled and halved
2 tablespoons Butter
2 tablespoons Minced garlic
1 tablespoon Minced shallots
1 Granny Smith apple; peeled and diced
1 tablespoon Curry powder
3 tablespoons Flour
2 1/2 cups Chicken broth
1/4 cup Flour for dredging
1 Egg, beaten (see note on next line)
2 tablespoons milk (beat with the egg)
1/2 cup Dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons Vegetable oil
1/4 cup Light cream; optional
2 cups Cooked long grain rice
4 Cilantro sprigs for garnish

Directions:

Cut the chicken breast halves almost in half again and open them up like a book so you form a butterfly shape. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the chicken and, using a heavy skillet or mallet, pound them to even out their thickness and make them thin. Lightly salt and pepper each chicken breast. Enclose a piece of banana by folding up the ends and sides around the banana and rolling up the chicken. Wrap each stuffed chicken piece in plastic and refrigerate for an hour or more.

In a saucepan, heat the butter and sauté the garlic and shallots for a minute or until soft. Stirring with a wooden spoon, add the apple, curry powder and flour and cook for a minute. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and simmer for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat the oven to 450 F. Lightly dredge the chicken in the flour, beaten egg and bread crumbs, making sure each chicken piece is entirely coated with bread crumbs.

Heat the oil in an oven-proof skillet and sauté the chicken on all sides to brown. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until the chicken is just cooked through.

While the chicken is cooking, puree the sauce in a food processor or blender until smooth. Pass it through a sieve and transfer it to a small saucepan. Add the cream if you wish, and simmer, over low heat until hot. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Mound some cooked rice in the middle of each plate. Slice the chicken into 3/4?inch slices and set the slices around the rice. Ladle the sauce around the chicken. Garnish each plate with a sprig of cilantro.

Ok folks, time for me to get the gang dressed and head on out of here to have a day of adventures with my mommy. LOL... I am so glad you stopped by today and hope that I will see you again tomorrow for more fun, food, and creative crafting! Be safe, have fun, and stay frugal baby! Until tomorrow... HUGS!