My daily addiction:
1 cup skim milk (90 calories)
1 cup fat free yogurt (any berry flavor) (100 calories)
2 fistfuls of frozen blueberries (1 cup = less than 85 calories)
6 frozen strawberries (about 5 calories each)
blend until purple.
An antioxidant, vitamin C loaded snack that tastes like dessert for around 300 calories!
I’ve spent decades of my life not eating fruit on a daily basis. I’ve gone weeks at a time without eating any fruit. Not because I don’t like it, because I really like most fruits. It just doesn’t occur to me to eat any. Multiple times per year, I make resolutions to eat just ONE fruit per day. Finally, I included it on my fitness log (see the sidebar to the right) to try and put myself in a situation where I have to be accountable.
I also have a problem getting enough calories, which causes my metabolism to drop. I tend to forget to eat.
Smoothies solve both problems. I’m actually consuming fruit on a daily basis for the first time in my life and making them is easy and takes less than 5 minutes, so eating doesn’t intrude on my day. It doesn’t hurt that I actually crave them now.
I stumbled upon the smoothie idea while trying to get PinkGirl to consume some sort of nourishment in the morning. Trying to get that girl to eat breakfast before school is a chore! A few friends suggested I try smoothies and since PinkGirl loves Planet Smoothie, I thought it might work. It only took about 3 or 4 months to finally hit on a recipe that I actually liked. (for ME, not her. She still wavers about what she likes. I don’t know if I’ll ever find a recipe she really likes.)
But I was having blender issues. If the Vitamix is the BMW of blenders, it seems my little Oster was the VW bug of blenders. It was either forming a little pocket of air at the bottom and doing nothing or it was spinning like crazy and only blending the bottom half of my smoothie. I had to add more and more milk to thin it out so the blender would actually blend the entire smoothie.
I put a new blender on my Christmas list.
Which really irritated me because I own an Oster Kitchen Center with nearly every possible attachment, similar to this one:
It transforms from a blender to a chopper to a slicer to a mixer to a juicer to a . . . it does everything but clean itself. We got one as a wedding present from my husband’s parents and about 10 years ago, it died and I replaced it at our church’s WHALE of a Sale. Since all Oster attachments are interchangeable with every Oster made, I even bought a newer countertop blender to switch to the chopper when I needed it:
So I was not looking forward to having a different blender on my countertop. It was going to mess up my system.
FirstHusband surprised me with an early Christmas present: An Oster Milkshake blade for my blender!
My little Oster just got tricked out!
And THIS ONE is also on its way, so we’ll see which one works better.
Nothing like a new washing machine to make me feel compelled to clean my laundry room…
I’m currently observing the “no helping, no complaining” rule of our household.
Round One: Two guys vs. an outgoing dead washing machine.
Round Two: Two guys vs. an incoming craigslist washing machine.
I just have two questions: Where’s my camcorder? and
Is AFV still on the air or is it just in reruns?
I decided to keep my distance lest I be recruited. I’m no dummy.
A little later:
PinkGirl, inspecting our “new” top load washer: “Mom, I don’t understand this. How does it work?”
Me: “oh, don’t worry, I’ll teach you!”
(I am SO glad to have a top load washer again! Now, when I need to throw in just one more thing, I can get the door open! and if someone accidentally washes an ipod, we can fish it out before it goes through the entire wash cycle while we stand helplessly by and watch it.)
PinkGirl just opened the new top load washing machine to watch it spin and it came to a stop: “Mom, I still don’t get it. How does it actually CLEAN the clothes?”
Me: (it was 10:15pm for cryin out loud): “Ask your dad.”
PinkGirl, under her breath: “I really don’t want to hear ‘geek talk’ right now.”
This morning PinkGirl asked me AGAIN how our new top load washer cleans the clothes.
Me: “you know, I got two comments on facebook suggesting you look it up yourself.”
PinkGirl: “I don’t wanna LEARN! It’s SUMMER!”
Me: “Then why are you asking questions?”
PinkGirl: “cuz I’m bored.”
Me: “oh, I can help you with THAT.”
PinkGirl dropped our binoculars a few months ago while jumping on the trampoline. I know, I have no idea how she can look through binoculars and jump at the same time, but…
Anyway, it was a real bummer because we back up to a pond and the woods and a river, so there’s great wildlife to see and I wasn’t seeing it because the binoculars wouldn’t adjust focus anymore. Since I’m so Ramsey frugal these days, I was thinking I needed to find myself some binoculars at a garage sale, but I just hadn’t gotten around to it.
Friday night, I told FirstHusband: “I’m going garage saling (I’m just making up words today) in the morning.”
He took PinkGirl to rehearsal on Saturday morning and called me from the truck: “Did you know our neighborhood is having a community wide garage sale today?”
Now that’s just too much of a coincidence. I can’t remember the last time I actually took a Saturday morning to shop garage sales. It’s been over a year. Maybe two. or more. Seriously, a LONG time.
So I write FavoriteSon an I.O.U. for the $30 I take out of his wallet to supplement my available cash,
(what? like I haven’t ever emptied my wallet for HIM. Besides. He’s a teenager. He never needs any cash on Saturday mornings, he’s in bed.)
I get my coffee and I’m off.
First stop, is about 8 houses away and what do I see? You got it.
And these aren’t the cheapo plastic kind you find these days, these are the honkin big, heavy kind they used to sell when I was a kid. SO much stronger and better than what PinkGirl broke.
Thank you Lord! I should have made a bigger list!
Then, Saturday afternoon, PinkGirl was sporting new jeans, new shirt, new jacket, the periwinkle manicure I gave her Friday night, a new haircut…and ratty old nike shoes with my old laces.
She wanted boots. This from a girl who would go barefoot 24/7 if I let her. I anticipated an unproductive shopping trip in my immediate future.
We went to Payless. nothing. Some big shoe store in the mall. nothing. Sears. Bingo. Clearance rack. She found a pair of black ankle boots in less than 5 minutes. Bonus. So did I. They were marked $19.99 and each rang up for $9.99!
Thank you again, Lord! I really should have made a bigger list!
This isn’t the first time God has been my personal shopper! When I pray for him to help me make frugal choices with the money he blesses us with, he answers hands on!
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise…
I’m on a freakish quest to lower and/or eliminate our expenses in an effort to become debt free.
First thing on my list? Significantly reduce the number of times I have to apply the category “restaurant/dining” to an item in our checking account register. So far, so good. And I haven’t burned anything yet – food, pots or pans, myself…
Next up? Lowering our monthly bills.
“Reducing your living expenses so they fit within 80 percent of your income requires scrutinizing every expense and then finding the best way to reduce it. By reducing everything a little bit, you may be able to avoid eliminating any spending categories. This is going to require creativity and discipline.”
I feel like I’ve been on the phone for two weeks! I think I’ve called every vendor we deal with. Here’s how the conversation starts:
“I’m doing an expense audit, going through every bill we have and making sure we’re spending our money wisely. I’ll be getting quotes from some of your competitors and before I do, I just wanted to make sure we’ve got your best price. I also need to know what sets [insert company name here] apart with regard to services so that when I get quotes from your competitors I take into account any special or unique services you provide.”
With only one exception (our AT&T land line phone), in EVERY case, with EVERY vendor, they lowered my bill during that first phone call. Most lowered it so much I’m not even going to get quotes from other vendors because I can already tell from advertisements and web pages that my current vendor is lower. With some companies, I changed the terms of our services to fit our needs better. In some cases our payment stayed the same, but our service was better. In some cases, changing the terms of service also lowered the bill.
I’ll be writing about this process and updating this post with links to those posts. I’m also creating a category called “debt free living.”
First up? Phone service. (Saved $839.28)
Works for Me Wednesday posts prior to February 2009 are archived at Rocks In My Dryer.
Ever since I posted about and shared photos of my banana slicer, I’ve gotten comments and emails asking where they can be purchased. Long story short? Discontinued. BUT, they are available on ebay from time to time. Like TODAY. And the seller sent me an email telling me she actually has FOUR MORE available.
Click HERE to see the ebay listing and contact info for the seller!!
I personally snapped the wires on mine trying to slice a very firm strawberry and just recently got another one myself. I purchased my replacement at a kitchen outlet in Valdosta, Georgia. Ya KNOW I bought TWO.
After I broke mine, I shopped around the internet looking for another and when I couldn’t find one, I sent an email to Farberware asking them if it was discontinued. The first reply was a generic email containing a list of Farberware retailers.
I tried again. The second reply contained a link to an entirely different product, which works okay on very firm bananas, but it really doesn’t go all the way through very well.
I emailed again. (I am a pest.)
The answer? Discontinued.
So . . . I saved a search on ebay, got an email from ebay when one was listed, emailed the seller to inquire, went to Georgia over the holidays, stopped at the kitchen outlet store (coincidentally – where I found my FIRST one), and purchased TWO, so that when I’m foolish enough to try and slice something other than bananas with it, I’ll have a backup. Check ebay!!!! They still appear from time to time. Since I no longer need one, I promise I’ll never bid against you!
UPDATE: I’ve gotten SO many inquiries on banana slicers, I did a little digging and found these alternatives:
In one of my “What I Learned This Week” post, I mentioned that I learned to use a neti pot. It was weird, but very effective. I love that it is all natural. And it’s so FAST – less than 5 minutes! It just doesn’t seem like you should be able to breathe through your mouth while you’re using it, but the fact that you can just proves that the saline doesn’t go down your throat – or you would be choking instead of breathing.
If you’re nervous or skeptical, check out these two short clips. The first shows the exact neti pot we own. The second clip is a homemade variation. A kid demonstrates using a funnel. He makes it look so easy!
eHow also has a great article explaining how it works.
If you struggle with sinus problems, give this a shot. This could be a perfect solution for those who shouldn’t take cold medication due to high blood pressure, pregnancy or some other medical condition. Don’t be chicken.
But you may not want to make it a spectator sport, because sometimes the results aren’t pretty. But then again, neither is that disgusting, wet, snorting sound frequently made by people trying to delay blowing their nose. ewww.
(UPDATE: December 2011 – PLEASE follow manufacturer’s directions for neti pots and USE ONLY FILTERED, DISTILLED or BOILED WATER.
Deaths have been linked to bacteria in tap water.
CLICK HERE to read more.)
Works for Me Wednesday posts prior to February 2009 are archived at Rocks In My Dryer
Check out my recent purchase! $29.99 for both the desktop and mobile platform! And the license allows me to load the desktop software on both my laptop and desktop computer.
I’m a LONG time Palm girl, so the mobile version, on my Centro, looks like this:
There’s also a Windows mobile version.
It even has an interactive shopping list and menu planner! My favorite part? Adjustable serving sizes that modify ingredient amounts! I can edit ingredients, add photos, assign and filter by multiple food categories and search by up to three ingredients.
It comes with over 1200 recipes. Most look pretty good (and easy), but I’ve already deleted 60+ I knew I would NEVER make. Like “Potted Tongue.” This software has everything I can think of, in an intuitive and clean interface. I’m already loving it! Check out some more reviews
I get most of my PDA software from http://www.handango.com and they almost always have an active promo code. If the ones below are expired, search for “handango promotion” and you’ll probably find one.
“APPSWELIKE” expires tonight at midnight and saves you 15%
“SAVE20NOW” saves you 20%, but I’m not sure when it expires.
About three years ago, I mentioned to a few people that I needed some good kitchen knives. The next Christmas was . . . very sharp. I got knives from my dad, my in-laws and FirstHusband.
Great knives – every one. Especially my favorite – the ceramic knife FirstHusband got me. (second from the left). The problem was that they didn’t match.
Then, walking through Bed, Bath & Beyond one day, FirstHusband found THIS:
Looks like a plain old knife block. Look closer.
It’s called a “Kapoosh ” (amazon product link) and it holds any knife, no matter the size.
To clean it, you just remove all the knives, turn it upside down and the plastic part comes completely out. I just wipe it down, fan it out and pop it back in. Kapoosh!
I spent some time hanging upside down tonight and let me just say . . . ahhhh. My friend Heidi let me borrow her Teeter Hang Ups F5000 Inversion Table and after a few minutes of watching FavoriteSon finagle it into the back of my van, we got it home, adjusted it for my height and weight and I spent some time hanging. Twice. So let me say again. ahhhh.
I went to see my doctor on Thursday, and he believes I have a ruptured disc in my neck. I’ve been on some serious cortosteroids and a nightly muscle relaxant. Before Thursday, there was numbness and tingling from my neck to my fingertips on my right arm and hand. My doctor, an osteopath (they also do chiropractic care) performed some serious neck cracking. And some more. And some more. ahhhh.
His words? “I don’t think there was one bone in your neck that was where it was supposed to be.”
“No more jogging. You can walk. But no more jogging.”
I’m not sure what happened, but I would bet it started with sorting hundreds of books at the Whale of a Sale. Then I upped my cardio workout by including some jogging. I had been walking 3 to 5 miles a few times a week, but for the last four weeks, I’ve been doing interval training. I would jog for about 30 to 45 seconds to increase my heart rate and then walk for a few minutes. Rinse and repeat a few times in my 30 to 60 minute walk and I thought I was doing pretty well. I was jogging longer without wimping out. Unfortunately, my neck and arm pain, the numbness and the tingling were getting progressively worse. And for some stupid reason, I didn’t make the connection.
The neck, shoulder and arm pain aren’t new. I have arthritis in my neck, stemming from an old MBA injury. It was 1994. There was a full book bag hanging on one shoulder and a prehistoric laptop (which weighed as much as a dinosaur) hanging from the other shoulder. There was wrenching and pain. A doctor visit and muscle relaxants. Over the years, there have been stupid choices, resulting in a few days of rest (on muscle relaxants). And for the last few years, there’s been arthritis.
But the numbness and tingling made me nervous. Doc says that if I’m not feeling better in 10 days, I have to have an MRI. I HATE those. Listening to a jack hammer while I’m trapped in a torpedo tube is NOT my idea of a good time. If I have to have one, I’m finding one of those open MRI places.
But I digress and the muscle relaxant is kicking in. What was I saying again?
I remember. I’m going to do EVERYTHING I’m supposed to do to heal. I’m taking the cortosteroids and the muscle relaxant. I’m not jogging or jumping on a pogo stick or doing anything “jarring” to the neck. I’m using my Pronex Cervical Traction Device
And just a few notes. First, no, that is not me in the Pronex device. That is not how I look when I’m in traction. That is not the facial expression of anyone in traction. Secondly, I did NOT pay $339 for mine. They were even more expensive before the Pronex II came out. Back then, they were $450 and you know I am WAY to cheap to pay that much. I got mine on eBay for $80. Somebody was in a car accident, completed treatment and then sold it. Back then, you were supposed to get a doctor’s prescription for it. (I don’t know about now.) I figured his order to go to a physical therapist for traction twice a week was close enough.
So in addition to all that, now, thanks to Heidi, I’m also hanging upside down like a bat.
Does anyone know how to blog upside down?
I did need to cut the carrot in half to fit on the grate and the smaller grate needed extra pressure, but it worked great – as usual! I’ve posted before about what my Vidalia Chop Wizard! can do.
It’s the handiest gadget in my kitchen. Besides the speed, do you know my favorite part? It’s dishwasher safe.
Before I met FirstHusband, I had never heard of this product. Now, it’s the key ingredient to a standard recipe in our house. And the key component in the phenomenon of the disappearing carrots.
Here’s what we do:
1. Brown a roast (usually a chuck roast), put it in the bottom of the crock pot.
2. Top off the crock pot with peeled and cut potatoes on one side, baby carrots on the other.
3. Add water till it covers the carrots and potatoes.
4. Pour in Kitchen Bouquet until the water is . . . dark brown.
(sorry, I have NO measurement for you.)
5. Turn the crock pot on high for 4 to 5 hours.
6. Scoop out the potatoes into one bowl, the carrots into another and the roast onto a serving platter.
(we like our food separated. if you want vegetable chaos, mix them together, we don’t mind.)
7. Make some gravy with some of the broth. Save the rest of the broth for freezing.
(There are never any leftover carrots. PinkGirl ate them like M&Ms on Monday night and asked for more on Tuesday. Luckily we have the leftover broth – cause THAT’s what makes the carrots so irresistible.)
I own a few books. Okay. More than a few. Okay. I own a lot of books. But . . .
I buy them cheap! Really! I hardly EVER pay retail! Here are my favorite (searchable) online sources:
I always check here first. half.com is a subsidiary of ebay, so I earn (so far) positive feedback as an ebay member from half.com transactions. If you have an ebay account, you still have to register for a half.com account – although you can use the same username and password for both. half.com has a pretty hefty inventory and great prices – often lower than Amazon, which is my second choice. It’s a GREAT online book source! Tell all your friends!
I also sell books on half.com. Sold one yesterday, actually. Unlike selling on ebay, listing an item for sale on half.com doesn’t cost anything (no listing fees), but they charge a (higher than ebay) commission on each sale. (I think right now it’s 20% of the sale.) Unlike ebay and Amazon, listings don’t expire. Also, if you list items for sale, you automatically have an online store, like me. Like Amazon, they charge the buyer a flat shipping fee and you pay for shipping. Currently, the standard half.com shipping fee is $3.49 per item. You decide if you want to offer expedited shipping. If so, and the buyer chooses it, half.com charges the buyer a higher shipping fee. If you can ship for under the amount they charged the buyer, you keep the difference. If shipping costs more than half.com charged the buyer, you make up the difference. Most of the time, I come out ahead, so that helps cover the commission fee.
I do buy books from ebay also, if the price and shipping are right. I just bought Cold Sassy Tree two days ago. It was recommended by Lisa Writes and I finally got around to reading it. I liked the ending so much I decided to add it to my collection because I think I’ll be reading it again in the future. It kind of reminds me of Will Campbells’ writing and theology. (Most of the books I buy are non-fiction. I keep most of my fiction books at the library, so when I actually BUY a fiction book – I really like it.) Thanks for the referral, Lisa!
No matter where I buy my books, I usually go to amazon.com to see user reviews and to take advantage of the “Search Inside” feature offered on many of the listings. I rarely buy new books from amazon.com. I usually buy used books from Amazon independent resellers by clicking on the “used & new available from . . . ” link on a product page. The shipping works largely the same as half.com. Currently, the standard Amazon shipping fee is $3.99 per item.
I do have some books listed for sale on amazon.com, but the fees keep me from listing low cost items. In addition to their commission (I think it’s 15% right now), they charge 99 cents for
some made up fee a “transaction fee” that is really meant as a deterrent to sellers. If you aren’t careful, you can actually LOSE money on a sale. What do I mean by “deterrent?” Why would a buyer let Amazon fulfill an order at retail prices if they can buy from an independent seller for less? I’m thinking they wouldn’t. So if Amazon sells an item at a retail price, I’m thinking they don’t want independent sellers listing that item. If Amazon charges sellers another dollar (okay. 99 cents.) on top of the commission, they make the profit so low it’s not worth it. Of course, Amazon doesn’t explain it that way.
I also opened an affiliate account a few months ago and have earned . . . (drumroll, please) . . . 84 cents so far. Woo Hoo! They do give you an online store, though. I’ve started to use mine to keep track of some of my favorite titles. I need to keep up with that more. I need another 84 cents.
I use this site when I’m looking for a hard to find or out of print book. I’ve also listed a rare book here before, but I don’t think I have anything listed right now. I also check prices here before listing something rare or unusual.
Other sites I’ve used are:
(although if you want to change your email account, you can’t. You have to set up a new account. THAT was annoying. I had already registered my “Millionaire’s Club” card number to my account. The online inventory isn’t that great, but I love the brick and mortar shopping because they often carry books by local writers.
I also just opened an account on paperbackswap.com. I’ve listed my minimum 10 books to get started, but I haven’t selected any books for myself yet. Since I haven’t had any activity yet, I can’t comment. But Lynn likes it!
I get books from Goodwill, Salvation Army, local thrift stores, garage sales, and library sales too. My biggest source? My church’s annual rummage sale, the first weekend of October. I’m the “Book Lady” because I take off two weeks every year and work the prep. I sort and alphabetize hundreds of book in that two week period. I also bring home a few. You know how some women will buy a new outfit, bring it home, take off the tags and slip it into the closet? Not me. I sneak home a box of books and quickly shelve them. “What? Those old things? No, they’ve been there for a while.” Take a look at the photo in this post from last year. October is bookshelf buying season in this house! (Yo! FirstHusband! Are you rolling your eyes?)
But. My favorite. all. time. bookstore?
The Book Warehouse at exit 5 on I-75 in Valdosta, Georgia. (technically, it’s Lake Park, Georiga)
Give me $50 and an hour in there and you’ll still have to drag me out – after giving me more money.
Someone will have to help me carry all the books, though.
FavoriteSon was camping with friends last weekend, so it was just me, PinkGirl and her dad. What to do? What to do?
We ended up in PinkGirl’s room. We were pretty sure it was her room. It was pink. After three play dates, one followed by a sleepover – each with a different pair of sisters, this is what it looked like on Sunday afternoon.
Now, I know these 6 other girls don’t have a clue what the Underwear Principle is, but PinkGirl totally gets the concept. And the organization of her room was NOT working for her. The two air mattresses aside, her toys, books, and costumes weren’t stored well. We could have just helped her clean everything up and put everything away, but the fact is, it would have turned out this way again. (I know this from experience.) Let me explain:
Let’s start with books. PinkGirl is her mother’s daughter. She loves books. If you see the pile of books over to the right side of the photo, you can see some cubbies at the head of her bed. (Click the photo to see a larger image.) They went all the way up to the ceiling. The lower cubbies faced outward, the upper cubbies were reversed to provide easy access when she was in bed. Not working for two reasons. See that pink box sticking out of the lower cubbie? We tried to store books in those bins, inside the cubbies. She would take books out (that would be plural) to get to the one she wanted and NEVER put them back. Also, she would bring books (that would be plural) from the lower cubbies into bed with her and NEVER put them back. Not working. She needed access to her books from her favorite place to read. Her bed. She also needed to be able to pull the exact book she wanted without sifting through lots of others. So. Book storage in Pinkgirl’s Room? Not working.
Next, the toys. Little toys. Kid meal size toys. Lots of them. Everywhere. FavoriteSon had a box for each. Tarzan toys? In the box with a picture of Tarzan on it. Toy Story toys? In a box with Buzz and Woody on it. Bugs Life toys? You get the idea. FavoriteSon liked everything separated because he played in a very structured world. PinkGirl, on the other hand, can have Buzz Lightyear marrying Cinderella with Tarzan as the best man, fighting off Zurg while the entire cast of every Disney movie ever made attends the wedding. So. PinkGirl does not store her toys by “like kind.” She likes to dump a box, pick today’s cast of characters, shove everyone else out of the way and play. When she’s done, she like to dump everyone a box. Any box. It doesn’t matter. (Kinda freaks FavoriteSon out a little, but he’ll be okay.)
In addition, PinkGirl has an elevated bed and she LOVES to hang her comforter over the side and make a tent to play in. Santa brought her a Barbie Hotel last Christmas (she calls it “The Tipton“) and she has it tucked under there. (It’s pretty cool, I saw one just like it a few years ago at a garage sale for $25.00. That would have been a great deal! ) Anyway, she needs a place for Barbie storage too.
So. We bought 4 more cubbie units. One 3 x 3 unit and three 2 x 4 units. Each unit was $39.99 at Target. Each cubbie is 1 square foot. In all, we added 33 cubic feet of additional storage space to PinkGirl’s room. FirstHusband is a MASTER at putting these babies together these days, but this time he had some help.
AMAZING difference. We lined the wall with them, floor to ceiling. Somehow the height of the bed was just perfect. It didn’t block ANY cubbies completely. Check it out four days later. Still straight. (hey. four days is major in this house.)
PinkGirl’s entire library is right within reach when she is in bed. She’s got all her books completely organized. Chapter books together, one cubby for paperback storybooks and another for hardback, one cubby for large Christian books and another for small. Dr. Seuss has his own cubby, Disney has two and “learning” books are all grouped together. She put nearly every one of the books on her new shelves all by herself.
Under the bed, she’s got all her toys in bins, Barbies in the top cubbies, everything within easy reach. And again – SHE put everything in the cubbie bins.
Just a note here, the white, plastic bins were from Walmart. At a $1.83, they are a great option for these cubbies. Target does sell canvas boxes in different colors but I HATE them. They are thin and cheap and they don’t hold their shape. I got the dark pink canvas bins (shown below) at Big Lots for less than half the price -and they are heavy, strong and hold their shape. They don’t go all the way up to the top of the cubbie, but we like that because we can see inside without pulling them out. I would have gotten more instead of using the white plastic bins, but Big Lots didn’t have the colors we wanted right now. Maybe later. For now, all but one these bins (in the photo below) are EMPTY!!! So we have the flexibility to rearrange some things as we figure out what works and doesn’t work about our latest organization of PinkGirl’s stuff. Most of the stuff in the photo below is for playing school and for creating art (With everything except paint. No painting in the bedroom.)
We also have some completely empty cubbies at the head of the bed. (she was eating a snack at her table – we don’t usually store ketchup in her room)
So. In less than a day, for less than $200, this room went from a pink explosion to pinkalicious. So far. So good.
We even manage to box up over 50 books, lots of toys, outgrown costumes and an old, giant Fisher Price doll house for charity donation. I’ve already entered it into It’s Deductible! Now if I can just get it all moved from the hallway to my van. And then to the charity drop off. Baby steps. Baby steps.
I mentioned before – I LOVE my Vidalia Chop Wizard! Last time I showcased this wonderful little gadget, someone commented that they were surprised that it could handle tougher veggies, like onions and carrots, so I thought I’d show how the chop wizard handles onions. Notice that I’m using the smaller chopping grate this time and check out the time on the little red clock.
Again, I PROMISE you – I did NOT touch that little red clock! I just LOVE this thing! Chopped onions really are a breeze!
But you probably noticed I didn’t finish all three onions. I actually filled up the chop wizard and had to stop to complete my “onion chopping ritual,” so I thought I’d go ahead and include it in this post as well. I usually chop onions in bulk to freeze, but I only had three today. Here’s what I do:
I chop all the onions I’ve got, either using the chop wizard OR, when I’m really in a hurry, I use my Oster food processor attachment. (I have a 1990 Oster Kitchen Center, but for smaller jobs, I keep my 2003 Oster blender on the counter because it takes most of the same attachments. Isn’t it cool that the attachments are interchangeable?) Anyway, I had an extra 5 minutes today and I really prefer the onions chopped in nice little squares – they’re just prettier than the shredded onion that the food processor produces.
Then, I lay out the chopped onions on a large metal cookie sheet for flash freezing. Flash freezing refers to the freezing technique where you lay out something individually, best on a metal cookie sheet (it gets colder much faster than a cutting board), and freeze it quickly. It keeps the food from sticking together in a big frozen ball of goo. REALLY great for freezing any kind of berry!
Then, I sit here for about a half an hour and write this post. (besides, I need my coffee.) I usually leave the onions in longer because I forget about them. If you can leave them for an hour or two, that’s actually better. I once left them in overnight with no problems. At a minimum, you want ice crystals to form.
When the onions are frozen, I move them from the cookie sheet into something better for freezer storage, such as a Ziploc bag. I stack the bags in the freezer and because they are flat, they take up very little space. (I was going to include a photo of the frozen onions on the cookie sheet, but you can’t see the ice crystals, so it just looks the same as the pre-frozen cookie sheet photo.)
Later, when a recipe calls for onion, I’m ready! They defrost really fast! I leave the bag on the counter for a few minutes and when I take the slab of onion out of the the Ziploc, it just crumbles.
It Works for Me!
Check out more great ideas at Kitchen Tip Tuesdays hosted by Tammy’s Recipes!
Find even MORE ideas at Works for Me Wednedays hosted by Rocks in My Dryer!
Don’t forget to enter this week’s clean sweep(stakes)!
I LOVE my Vidalia Chop Wizard!
I love any gadget that makes my life easier and speeds up a job! I got a beautiful ceramic knife for Christmas two years ago and I used to dice red, yellow and orange peppers by hand. Not anymore! Check out the time on the little red clock.
I PROMISE you – I did NOT touch that little red clock! I just LOVE this thing! Chopped onions are a breeze!
Mine has two blade sizes, so you can dice even smaller than what you see in these pictures. And it’s DISHWASHER SAFE! The best $20 I spent last year! (and, no. I didn’t get paid to write this – I just really like it.)
Check out more great ideas at Kitchen Tip Tuesdays hosted by Tammy’s Recipes!
Find even MORE ideas at Works for Me Wednedays hosted by Rocks in My Dryer!
Don’t forget to enter this week’s clean sweep(stakes)!