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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tangled Up in Blue

Oh it has been far too long. That's what happens when you let work get in the way of keeping your blog up to date with the inane goings on in your life.

My brain is still swirling with work and the aftermath of the project I just finished up (...coming to a 5th Avenue window near you at Christmas time!) so I thought I'd ease back into my blogging habit by sharing this with you:

I think the Squirt has officially graduated to footed PJs. These just don't cut it anymore.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

9 Days 11 Dollars: The Round Up

Pizza and a party. That's how the week of scrimping, saving and starving ended. OK, not starving. Starving would be if we had run out of frozen pizzas. Thank you Tombstone.

On the eighth day we had our last frozen pizza. It was a bit like crossing the Jordan. (Was it really you ask? I'm not entirely sure...need to do some Scripture research here. I do believe there was an element of faith and the miraculous involved when Elijah/Elisha crossed the Jordan. That's where I'm going folks.)

So yes, we crossed that Jordan and ate our last pizza not knowing where our final meal would come from. Every blessed part of our young chicken had been roasted, sauteed, chopped and stewed. My collection of canned goods was down to one dusty can of Mandarin oranges and some kidney beans. I woke up last Thursday morning in a cold sweat wondering how I was going to make it through.

And then it hit me. Party!!

We had a party to attend that night for a dear friend's birthday. Surely there would be food and I could return to my blogging family with head held high on Friday morning.

And indeed there was food. Lots of it. A kind soul must have noticed our gaunt faces as we licked our plates clean and sent us home with 1/4 of the ginormous birthday cake.

So we made it. Regardless of the fact that my own irresponsibility with the grocery envelope put me in this pickle, I am proud of the fact that we made it through without pulling out the old tarjeta de debito.

In no particular order, here's what I learned from the whole shenanigan:

1. Frozen pizza (or any frozen dinner for that matter) is a working girl's best friend.
After a long day, having food that can be ready to eat in under 20 minutes while you lay on the couch and beg for a foot rub from anyone in your starving family may save your sanity. Or your marriage. Or both.

2. Stock up on the basics.
Okay, so there were no eggs save one on hand during these long 9 days. But I had flour, butter, sugar, milk, frozen and canned veggies & fruit. It's amazing how many meals you can turn out if you have these on hand.
Throw some yeast in, you can make bread. Add some cocoa, you've got brownies. Smoothies, stir-frys and bizarre meals like cut up hot dog in mac & cheese all come together pretty quickly when your pantry is stocked with Food 101.
Buy these items when they are ON SALE and you have a COUPON. You can always make use of them!

3. Get back to basics.
Learn how to make your own bread. Learn how to make chicken (or vegetable) stock. These are staples in any diet and can be made more healthfully and cheaply from scratch at home.

4. Share what you have even when you don't think there's enough.
I've found that God smiles on you when you give out of the little that you have. A good life lesson for anyone, any time.

Friday, September 11, 2009

8 years later

Eight years later and it still chills me to think about. I remember the day so vividly.

Do you remember where you were 8 years ago today?

Say a prayer for the families who are still grieving.
Say a prayer for this divided nation.
We could all use a little more of the love.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

B Daddy & E

I've come to realize and appreciate as of late that B Daddy parents differently than I do.

Not better. Not worse. Differently.

It's quite often a struggle for me to remember this. Differently Katie - differently.

Now naturally the way that I bathe Little E is the most efficient way to bathe a child and the way that I wake him up in the morning is the way that delights him most - but a father needs quality time too and the occasional book read in the wrong accent won't set him too far back in school I suppose.

But when it comes to playtime, B Daddy has me beat hands down. I love watching B play with his little boy.

Out hiking last weekend, we stopped for lunch about three miles into our trek. I promptly collapsed in a sweaty heap and told the boys to wake me when my break was over.

B on the other hand played this game for a good fifteen minutes just to make the little man smile.

Editor's Note: For those of you who followed along, a full summary of 9 Days, 11 Dollars is coming I promise.

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Yup. We're those kind of parents.

It's the first college football Saturday this fall and so naturally the Squirt woke up to the Georgia fight song this morning. I promptly changed him into a Georgia onesie, Georgia socks, Georgia hoodie and gave him a Georgia football to play with.

It's game day baby!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

How to Make Chicken Stock from Scratch

7 Days into the Challenge and we are down to some slim pickin's around these parts. But two nights ago I outdid myself (if I do say so myself) with a fabulous homemade chicken noodle soup.

It started on Sunday, when I threw the bones leftover from Dinner #1 together with some dried up carrots and the tops of a few celery stalks I had been saving for precisely this purpose into a pot and covered it with water.

Looks appetizing doesn't it?

As I threw my celery tops into my stock pot (never throw away celery tops- they are incredibly flavorful. I am sure they are the reason my stock was so rich...either celery tops or the giblets.) I stopped mid-throw and thought to myself, "Hey! I'm making a STOCK pot. That's where it got its name."

Just keeping it real for you.

Then I decided to tackle this:

Ugh. Ew. 

Usually these come out of the chicken's bottom and go kerplunk straight into my trash can.

But on Sunday I was feeling adventurous. And frugal. There's no escaping the frugality around here these days. I did a quick Google search and discovered that chicken innards (or giblets as they are commonly known...that's a soft 'G' as in 'giant'....not a hard 'G' as in 'Gosh you've been mispronouncing that word your entire life') add loads of flavor to chicken stock and should never ever under any circumstances be treated as a slimy smelly nasty mess.

So in they went into the skillet.

Ick. Ick. Ick.

Once all the elements are in the pot, set everything to a low simmer for 4-6 hours. The smell in your house will be incredible. So incredible you'll have to explain to your husband multiple times that this is not in fact dinner. Your husband will be disappointed when you tell him tonight's dinner is frozen pizza.

When you finish up the simmering, strain away all the bones and bits of veggies and ESPECIALLY the icky giblets - what's left is chicken stock. You're a bona fide gourmand if you make it this far. It's best to let it cool off and use it a day or so later, then you can skim off all of the fat that rises to the top once it's cooled.

Mine looked like this once I pulled it out to make soup.

I had no idea it was going to congeal like this - thanks again to Google for the reassurance that this was totally normal.

Finally the stock went into a pot with some frozen veggies (endlessly useful) spaghetti noodles and chicken picked from the bones....and twenty miutes later we had dinner.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

9 Days 11 Dollars: Dinner #6

To find out why any self-respecting adult
would eat the meal pictured below, you can catch up here.

No there isn't a toddler in my home you're unaware of.

This was dinner last night. At least for me. Mac & Cheese with a cut up hot dog. I felt like a 6 year-old. But it was filling - nutritious no, filling yes.

I had to head to the office after B Daddy came home - so he was left to his own devices with our meager pantry. He did pretty well and even took a shot of his plate for me to post.

Looks like spaghetti noodles, some sun-dried tomatoes (not on the list, there were approximately 6 in a jar) and Artisan bread. Way to go B.

And if you're rubbing your screen trying to get a clearer picture - it's not you, it's me. Or my camera I should say. When trying to document the chicken-stock-making process you should not come in for a close up right after you drop the giblets in a pan of hot oil.

Now you know.

More on the chicken-stock-making tomorrow... it made for a lovely dinner this evening.

1 hot dog
Leftover mac & cheese (from Mom, not on the list)

Grocery Day

Woo hoo! Finally went to the grocery store to spend my $11.00 today.

4 chicken thighs $2.50
6 chicken legs $1.60
One package deli turkey $2.45
One loaf of bread $1.45
One bag of Doritos (I have no self control I tell you) $2.00
One onion $0.31
Total Trip Cost: $10.65

Editor's Note: Without coupons/sale items these same groceries would have cost $18.92. WAY over my budget!

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