Friday, January 22, 2010

Project Back Door - update

Just a short note to let you know that I haven't forgotten about this.
I'm having SERIOUS issues with the installation company and, if I don't get them resolved soon, I will be naming names.

Stay tuned...
Pin It!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Project Back Door Part 1

We've wanted to have the sliding door replaced for years.
It's an old aluminum door that has been scratched to bits by the previous homeowner's dogs.
It's drafty and lets lots of cold air into the house.
And it's ugly.

Here's what we started with this morning. (Well, almost.  The installers had already removed the trim and put down their drop cloths.)

Did you see that little face in the bottom right corner?
I'm very excited, but I think they're going to be working out there in the dark soon.
Come back tomorrow for the "after".
Pin It!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Dinner on a Dime #1

OK, not quite a dime, but I do aim to cook for under $10 most nights of the week.  I tell myself that this makes up for the $25 Friday night pizza and the occasional dinner out.
Years ago a friend and I used to challenge ourselves to make dinner for under $5 but that was years ago and in the pre-teenager era.

I also love my crockpot.  There's nothing like taking 5 minutes or so to prepare dinner in the morning and not having to think about it again.  Love it!

This recipe works well for children (peanut butter!) or adults.
Crockpot Thai-Style Pork Stew
(Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine)

For the stew:
2lbs boneless pork loin, cut into 4 pieces
1 red bell pepper, cut in 1"x1/4"-ish strips
1/4 c teriyaki sauce
2 tbs rice vinegar
1 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 c creamy peanut butter

Remaining ingredients:
6 c hot cooked Basmati or Jasmine rice (2 c uncooked)
1/2 c chopped green onions
2 tbs chopped dry-roasted peanuts
8 lime wedges

To prepare stew, trim fat from pork.  Place pork and next 5 ingredients (thru garlic) in crockpot.
Cover with lid and cook on low for 8 hours.
Remove pork from pot and coarsely chop.
Add peanut butter to liquid in crockpot.  Stir well.
Gently stir in pork.
Spoon into bowls on top of rice and sprinkle with onions and peanuts.  Serve with lime wedges.

I use whatever pork roast is on sale, even bone-in (just add 4oz or so for the bone) and try not to pay more than $1.99/lb.
The bell pepper cooks away completely.  Kids won't notice it.
I like Trader Joe's Soyaki, but any teriyaki sauce will work just fine.
Jasmine rice is my favorite.  It adds extra flavor.
Be gentle when mixing the meat back in with the sauce or you'll have mush, which still tastes good but looks a little unappetizing.
The green onions, peanuts and lime are just for when I want to be "fancy".  I normally don't bother.
Pin It!

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Monday Morning Clean

Welcome to 2010!
House Front
(OK, so this is a photo from last summer, but we need a little green right about now, don't we?)

As part of my only New Year's resolution, which is to get organized again, I'm getting back to the daily routine.

Monday morning is cleaning day over here. After the weekend the house generally needs it.

I'm no Martha Stewart and I try to get this done as quickly as possible.
If you move fast you get a bit of a workout too. No gym needed on Mondays.

  1. Start a load of laundry
  2. Wash the dishes, wipe the counters - 20 minutes
  3. Straighten up and dust - 15 minutes
  4. By now I can put the first load of laundry in the dryer and add a new one to the washing machine.  This is normally the last load, because I do a load of laundry every day.  Remember?
  5. Take out garbage and recycling, wipe garbage can, replace bag - 5 minutes
  6. Sweep and Swiffer® floors - 20 minutes
  7. Empty wastepaper baskets - 5 minutes
  8. Windex shiny surfaces: stainless steel trashcan, ss microwave, window above the sink, kitchen scale, sliding door - 2 minutes
  9. Swish the bathrooms (wipe out sinks, toilet rims) - 3 minutes
  10. Vacuum - 15 minutes
  11. Fold first load of laundry and put second load in the dryer - 5 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Pin It!

Monday, January 4, 2010

What do you find...

...when you decide to shake the crumbs out of the breadbasket?
All clean now!
Basket liner
Pin It!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Books Read in 2009

I'm always amazed at how many books I get read.
I only read for about 30 minutes before I turn the light off at night.

The Glass Castle - Jeannette Walls
The Gravedigger's Daughter - Joyce Carol Oates
The Help - Kathryn Stockett
Blowfly - Patricia Cornwell
Olive Kitteridge - Elizabeth Strout
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer
The Shack - William P. Young
The Scarlett Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly - Jean-Dominique Bauby
Dangerous Games - Michael Prescott
Hornet's Nest - Patricia Cornwell
The Memory Keeper's Daughter - Kim Edwards
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle - David Wroblewski
The Road - Cormac McCarthy
Julie and Julia - Julie Powell
A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled Hosseini
My Life in France - Alex Prud'Homme
The Simple Truth - David Baldacci
The Red Tent - Anita Diamant
Peony in Love - Lisa See
Touching Stars - Emilie Richards

21 books!

My favorites:
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle
The Red Tent
A Thousand Splendid Suns

My least favorites (by far):
The Road
Peony in Love
Pin It!