Saturday, January 23, 2010

Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do, or Do Without...

Okay, maybe that's a bit dramatic and I'm not accustomed to doing without any of the necessities of life and enjoy many little luxuries, but really, we went a little overboard on some budget items last year and I'm vowing to live more providently this year. But other than not spending so much there are other areas that need improvement.

One area of waste is food and I feel very guilty about it because my mother taught me better. So I have make a promise NOT to throw away any food this year and find creative ways to use it all while it is still considered edible. Things like one of a dozen different veggies, bits of cheese and apples going soft.

A few wonderful foods that lend themselves to fresh or frozen "bits and pieces" are things like muffins, quiches, omelette's, french toast with sliced fruits or berries, granola, pizza, soups and stews, roasted or stir fried veggies, pasta dishes, with or without any meat, SMOOTHIES, and so on. Two days before I left for my recent trip to Utah I used up 12 different vegetables, a box of mushrooms and a dozen eggs. It felt great because we ate most of it and only a bag of carrot muffins went into the freezer.

Instead of looking in the fridge and thinking "what do I want?", I ask "What needs to be eaten?" I am going through the fridge first, then the freezer and pantry for items that need be be used before they expire.

I am also going to give away pantry items that I know I will probably never use. Recently I put together no less than 5 different waffle and pancake mixes into one Ziploc bag and put directions on the bag with a sharpie marker. It tastes fine and five boxes went into the recycle bin! And more space in the pantry. I also combined all the leftover nuts and seeds into a jar to sprinkle over waffles or use in granola or cookies or whatever. Put all the leftover baking chips together for one batch of cookies. Go to Wal-Mart and buy some of those glass containers with the screw on lids - they hold one can of food storage - or a bunch of thrown together items like the ones I just mentioned. And they look pretty in your pantry.

Lastly, this morning I looked at the four half eaten jars of jam in my fridge and decided they had sat there long enough taking up space so I pulled them all out, put them all in a pan, heated them up together and now I have one container of very tasty plum-cherry-strawberry-boysenberry jam in a recycled plastic container, four clean jars, and old metal lids in the recycle bin. One teaspoonful of the jam on my yogurt this morning was just enough to make it sweet and tasty. Yesterday I made some lovely chicken veggie soup with fresh veggies and leftover near empty bags of assorted chicken parts from the freezer and those yummy egg noodles from Costco.

We need to eat more fruits, veggies, beans and grains anyway and I am finding out they are much more versatile than once believed. Bon Appetite!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Happy New Year of Reading & Thank You!

I have already read two books this year, The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, thanks to the persistent encouragement by certain family members. So thank you for getting my reading year started on the right foot!

I also purchased a cute pink journal to use as a "book journal" and I am very excited about that! So just keep those recommendations coming.

I am maintaining a list of "on hold" books at the library as well so eventually I will get them as they become available.

Staying active in Book Group even though some of the selections are definately not my taste.

I just checked out "The Help" audio book from the library yesterday to listen to in the car as it just became available, and brought home two books from the Institute library that look good - a book about Nauvoo and another about Isaiah. I am really going to read the Old Testament this year for only the second time - the first was when I was teaching seminary many moons ago in Seward and was kind of freaked out anyway due to actually living there so I probably missed a few things.

So, the reading plan exists. Thank you to all of you who have encouraged me to continue to read. Good luck on your own new years reading resolutions!

Oh, and suggestions for good reads are always welcome!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Girls Spa Day

Flying anywhere on a red eye is not my idea of a cup of tea, but being picked up and pampered by my wonderful daughters certainly is! After arriving I was picked up and chauffeured to one of our favorite bakeries for a wake up breakfast - usually consisting of sugar and chocolate, the ultimate wake up food. After tasting the treats there we headed to a spa for some relaxation and pampering. They chose the pedicures so they would all have cute toes for the wedding reception and other festivities, but I chose a detox body wrap, my first, which was wonderful - warm and relaxing- and a facial to pass the time while I was laying there wrapped in plastic wrap! I was suffering from a bad cold when I got there but by the end of the treatments I was feeling almost as good as new. Since this was all very time consuming we worked up an appetite and headed to lunch at a favorite Italian place which consisted of a lovely spinach salad and some yummy pasta. Because I was going to only eat healthy and Weight Watchers approved meals this week. Right. I think that lasted about one day. Or maybe one meal. Anyway, shopping and then lovely Chinese take out supplied by Stephanie and Cortney followed by a very culturally musical night of Beatles Rock Band and brownies.

The evening hotel was my treat from Megan followed by a delicious breakfast. I think breakfast is my favorite meal.

We have established that this must be an annual event.

The Mike and Aubrey Show

The last couple of weeks have definitely been a whirlwind of activity surrounding Mike and Aubrey. Their trip to Alaska, the wedding, and all the family fun associated with them. It's all been fun and I promise to post some cute pictures asap. Here is one from the night they arrived in Alaska opening Christmas presents. Love the hat! The quilt was broken in well here as it's usually chilly! More to come!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

Well, not exactly all of my vacation but a good part of December and into January were spent catching up on quilting projects. It's always so rewarding to see the fruits of my labors and it would be very hard to part with things I've become so attached to if I didn't love the recipients so much!
This is baby Hudson Atticus's first stocking. I just love his middle name so much I had to add it in. Valli and Madeline's stockings.
A close up of Ethan's new big boy/birthday quilt.
Sock Monkey's.
A close up of Mike and Aubrey's wedding quilt.

Mike and Aubrey's quilt.

The best projects are the finished projects!