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!

1 comment:

  1. Debbie "MOM"August 23, 2010 at 9:05 AM

    Wow, when you mentioned the weeks theme I thought we were getting a recipe for chocolate covered shrimp! Thank goodness I was wrong because I would much rather have these recipes. YUMMY!! If only shrimp wasn't soooo expensive, I would try them all. LOL
    I dont understand the craft today. Is it stuffed or just flat? I think it would be cute stuffed with catnip to make a cute cat toy. My cats usually grab the tag on their toys and throw them around. This would work for them too! So now the craft has another use. LOL
    Your horse picture at the top of the blog is hilarious! But it does remind me of past days taking all the kids to the first day of school. LMAO And you are right; a little time away from the kids......just those few hours their little brains are being educated, is great for parents. Its our time to regroup, destress, and enjoy a few quiet minutes of unmommyhood. (a little word of my own. feel free to use it) Then you can face the afternoon and evening refreshed and happy and full of enthusiasm. The kids aren't that thrilled, but they'll get over it. LOL And just think....those trips out wont be so time consuming and headache inducing! Hey, another bonus!
    Hope everyone enjoys their day and just a reminder.....Dont smile too big, your face might freeze like that. LMAO Til next time.....

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