Saturday, January 30, 2010

Obsessions

Am I the only one that has an obsession with Jane Austen? I might need a 12 step program! I love all of her books...She is just incredible...When we went to England we scheduled a trip to Bath just to go to the Jane Austen Center (unfortunately, there were so many things to see that we did not make it there). My husband can attest for this obsession...Obviously, he does not get it. Masterpiece Classics on PBS is showing Emma right now (so much better than Gwyneth Paltrow's version). Check your PBS schedule for dates and times... So, don't call me Sunday night, I won't be answering the phone...I'll be watching Emma.

Romola Garai as Emma

PS. if you are a fan like me, Northanger Abbie and Persuasion are next... can't wait!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Menu for the week

Orecchiette with Roasted Cauliflower, Arugula & Prosciutto - recipe from here/salad
Whole wheat pizza with artichoke hearts, spinach and sundried tomato/salad
Beef tikka masala, basmati rice and roti
Thai chicken soup with rice noodles - recipe from here/salad


Breakdown:
Aldi/Kroger $41
Costco $8
Super H $7
Trader Joe's $9

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I love the internet...

Yes I do and here is why: I have been looking for a pair of tall/flat boots. You know, like those that everybody is wearing in the last, I don't know, four winters? Unfortunately, my scrawny legs are too thin for such a cool accessory...I know what you are saying...I wish I had that problem! or lucky you! Well, the truth of the matter is that it is very frustrating to have very thin legs and not being able to find boots that fit. Kind of like the grass is greener on the other side, right? So here is where the trusty internet comes to the rescue. I Google "tall boots for thin calves" and lo and behold...There is a store that custom fits boots to your calf size...Hurray! Check them out...Aren't they adorable?

They are on sale right now but still a little pricey. But honestly, tall leather boots are not cheap... But, I am considering this my birthday present (which is coming up soon!) and I am back to work on a contract basis. All the stars are lining up...Good things to come!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Back to work or not

I wanted to share some tips that will save you time and money. These tips are useful for some of you stay-at-home moms, as well as for the working moms. We all know it is a struggle to get a homemade meal on the table in as little time as possible, without any waste and to save money all at the same time.

The first tip comes to you via the New York times. I have learned a great deal about freezing foods from this article (specially freezing lemon juice... I will never pass the oportunity to buy a box of Meyer lemons). In addition to the NY times article check out this tip and this tip from Ms. Martha Stewart...Genius.

The next tip comes to you via Angry Chicken. Great tip on how to prepare make-ahead rice...Using her own words..."life changing". A little of a side note: I have a rice cooker... A little luxury gifted to me by a friend from Japan...I still feel more comfortable making my rice the old fashioned way (my Asian friends think that I am crazy)...I just may have to get it out permanently.

This is a snapshot of my freezer (a little bit anal, I know!) but this tip from my mom really works. Place items to be frozen in a freezer safe bag, label, date, flatten and freeze. By doing this you will be able to save space in your freezer (by stacking neatly) and it will take less time to defrost... It works, I promise.

Lastly, before I forget, I have been engaged to do some consulting work and I have been cooking up a storm to leave meals ready for the family. I am exited to get back to work even if it is for few weeks.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Practicing winter panning

Are you sick of seeing pictures of the kiddos playing in the snow? I hope not because I have a few more to share...I wanted to make them a little more interesting so I decided to try some Panning. Looks cool don't you think?




Monday, January 25, 2010

Button ties




Miss V is growing her hair. That means that we need to come up with ideas to get her hair out of her face. I decided to cover some buttons with scrap fabric (from the skirts I made for her) and attach hair ties to them. I saved some money by looking for unmatched ties around the house...Believe me, there were so many of them. Don't even get me started with all the crayons I found. Anyway, it was an easy project. I found the button cover kit at the craft store and started covering with leftover fabric. Then I attached the buttons to the ties with a needle and thread. Easy peasy lemon squeezy

Friday, January 22, 2010

Menu for the week

4 mushroom (portobello, porcini, white button and cremini) lasagna/salad. I use this recipe and made some changes.
Ribollita with poached egg/salad. Recipe from the Silver Spoon.
Lentils with a dollop of creme fraiche/ salad with romesco sauce.
Grilled chicken pannini with mustard, creme fraiche and grilled onions/orzo salad with garbanzo and zucchini.


Breakdown:
Aldi/Kroger $ 35
Costco $ 7
Super H $7

Have you seen the price of creme fraiche?...The cheapest one I have seen is at Trader Joe's for $3.99 for a tiny tub...Not cheap. So I found the recipe here also found here. All I had to buy is a small carton of heavy cream since I already had buttermilk (on sale at Kroger for .75 cents a quart). Turned out awesome! Give it a try if you like creamy, ever so slightly tangy (100 times better than sour cream) goodness.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

What is my little man into right now...

Per big sister...

Favorite cartoon: Curious George
Favorite food: Snacks and Candy
Favorite activities: Playing with his buddy Benjamin
Favorite phase: I want you be heewt (I want you to be here)
Favorite friend: Benjamin
Favorite movie: Incredibles
Favorite sister: Nana (that is how he calls big sis)

Still favorites
Wearing underwear backwards, superheros (especially Batman and Spiderman), Woody and Buzz, karate moves with daddy, showing muscles, getting a mean face in school (instead of a happy face for good behavior - Mean face is his manly version)

See what I mean!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Best friends



This two little girls are so cute together. They get along so well since the day the met for the first time at kids-r-kids preschool. I love that Miss V is starting to understand the beauty of friendship in such a young age. I hope these two are friend for a very long time...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Make-ahead cookies


Have you ever been invited to a last minute dinner and have nothing to bring? Have you ever been watching a late night movie and a sugar craving hit you? Yes and yes for me. To solve those dilemas I made some make-ahead cookie dough. Basically what I do is prepare my favorite cookie dough (I made this and this) and wrap it up in wax paper and then put it inside a paper towel cardboard tube and secure it with elastic bands. Then all you do is place it in the freezer in a plastic bag (label flavors and cooking instructions...Trust me!) and when those cravings hit get some frozen dough out of the freezer, slice it up, place them on a cookie sheet and bake them to perfection...

Check out this video to get a visual of the process

You are welcome...

Monday, January 18, 2010

For today

I read about this little exercise somewhere...Come play with me, would you? The questions are in bold:

Outside my window...leafless tree, cold outside.

I am thinking... Of the devastation left by the earthquake in Haiti and what else I can do to help (maybe a bake sale?). We have already made a donation to UNICEF. What about you?

I am thankful for... Health and how lucky we are to live in this generous country.

From the kitchen... European breakfast. Today is a school holiday here in Georgia (Martin Luther King Jr. Day). We are having breads with jam and nutella, cheeses, hard boiled eggs, blueberry coffee cake and, of course, coffee (with a generous side of Edith Piaf :)).

I am wearing... Pajamas (no school today, did I already say that?)

I am thinking of creating...A scarf for Miss V, new napkins (maybe I need to have a dinner party).

I am hearing...the sound of our neighbor's truck pulling into his driveway.

Around the house... Packages to be mailed, clothes that need to be folded and put away...

A picture to share...

Soba noodle salad

Do you remember last week we had in our menu shaved pork with soba noodles? Well, I made the whole pound of noodles and after two meals I still had 2 cups left so I made soba noodle salad for lunch yesterday. I use this recipe and made some changes since I did not have all the ingredients...It is fool proof...Delicious!

Check out our kiddies...I am so proud of them. They ate it all and loved it!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Menu for the week

Baked ziti with tomatoes and potatoes/salad
Chicken breasts baked with goat cheese, sun dried tomatoes and basil/steamed brocoli/salad
Black bean soup/cheddar corn muffins/salad
Italian wedding soup/salad

Breakdown:

Aldi/Kroger $40
Costco $24

Based on the request of two of my friends I am working on adding pictures of some of the meals I will be cooking so you can have a better idea of how good (or bad) the food is...It is all about visualization, right? Stay tuned.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Snow day









Last Friday was a snow day. That means that here in Georgia there is no school. We had a nice dusting of snow and since the temperature stayed below freezing the snow and ice stayed for a lot longer that other years. All of the kids in the neighbourhood gathered on the cul-de-sac and went sledding. I even got in on the fun. We all had a great time. I wonder if we'll get another snowfall here in Georgia this year? That would be unprecedented but all so fun!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wrist worms - My version


Do you remember this pillow? and this post? Well, I decided to take on the challenge and make my own version of wrist worms (Miss V got some for Christmas). I do not know how to crochet but I had the idea to use the sleeves of the sweater I used to make the pillow. I think they turned out really nice, and the price was right. Only ZERO dollars. I have worn them for most of the fall and since the weather here in Georgia is very forgiving I plan to wear them during winter.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

More family pictures...A family photoshoot

My Christmas present to my sister-in-law's family was a photoshoot (A lot to be said from a photog wanna be). I wanted to give to them what (in my opinion) is better than any present...Capturing the moment in time. Here are some pictures from that day:

Susan and Darren make a darling couple

These two girls have very distinct personalities. One shy and reserved


the other outgoing and extroverted.


Both very sweet.

The family together



Some of the grandparents


And the whole family

The pictures from this shoot will also have another purpose. They will be included in a time capsule. My mother-in-law decided to gift time capsules to our girls. These included a questionnaire that the girls filled out and other memorabilia. In addition to the pictures, a video with different "shows" the kids put on for us will be included. What a great idea, right? Ten years from now we will be opening these time capsules...It is going to be so nice...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Winter Portraits

Here are some pictures of the my sweet girl and her cousins posing for me in the snow






Let us don't forget about my little man...
Confession: as mad as he can make me sometimes...With a face like this I cannot be mad for very long