Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hey Good Lookin' What's You Got Cookin' ?

I love to cook and bake! I always have and always will. I am trying  not to consume processed junk. Now that I'm on summer break I have more time to cook at home. Yum-o! So here is just a snippet of what's been on the stove lately! So my  {LOVE THEM SO MUCH <3 } neighbors, Shannon & Chris, are always willing to be taste testers and give me feedback! (Sniff Sniff  they are moving a few miles up the road. Sad Day Very Sad Sad Day. )  

1). French Bread Pizza with Peppers and Onions
2). Homemade Coconut Organic Whole Wheat Almond Brownies
3). Lasagna Roll-ups! 

Cooking is relaxing because I turn on my music and go to town! (If the walls could talk right?! HAHA! ) I have no desire to be a chef or cook. However, one upping Martha Stuart Camp Cupcake Queen is fun. Have you ever watched her show? I DVRed it. She is mean! ( Miss Thang could make the devil cry) I found myself annoyed. Everything has to be look perfect. Well keep it movin' sister! This is the college-early 20's something edition! So consider this your fair warning. Hold on and hope that I don't light my eyebrows on fire! :) (Seriously though, with all the make-up I wear it's a wonder I haven't light up like a Christmas Tree. that would be FUNNY though. )

The French Bread pizza I had once at a party with-old-what's-her-head-I-haven't-the-slightest. So here is the break down. 

Cut a baguette or the Hill Jack Indiana word French Bread! ( Are you happy now Taye Taye?! baguette- It's French and worldly. hehe. Love you ! Can't wait for you to come down) 3 Medium Bell Peppers. 1 medium onion. I bulb of Garlic. Garlic Powder or Garlic Salt. 2 C. Moz or Parm Cheese. Oilve Oil. 2 Cans Diced tomatoes.  

1). Cut baguette in half. Coat with olive oil. 2). Put on cheese any cheese that you like will do. 3). Chop up and saute peppers,onions, tomatoes, and garlic all together in a pan with a little olive oil. Cook long enough until you can smell all of the veggies! 4). Add garlic salt if you love garlic (like me) to the veggie mix! 5). Transfer veggies to bread. 6). Add the rest of the cheese & bake at @ 375 for 15 min. Baking times will vary. My oven is weird. Remember everything is cooked already so you are just browning the cheese and the crust! *Some people say this is wonderful with Italian sausage* Go for it baby! :) I just chose to use what I had on hand. This doesn't reheat well.

The Brownies are the best. (Duh) This recipe is from my mama. Thanks Tarmy :O 
1 C. Organic Sugar in the Raw
1/2 C. Coco (Love me some Trader Joe's Unsweetened Coco!) 
1/2 C. Organic Coconut Oil 
1 Tsp. Vanilla 
1/2 C Whole Wheat Flour
1 Pinch of salt 
3 Farm Fresh Eggs 
1/4 C. Raw Almonds

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Add batter to a greased pan. Bake. Eat. Wash down with a glass of milk. Repeat. Bake at 425 for 30 minutes. Again oven times are iffy at best. This worked for me though. I also use 3 eggs because it makes them a bit fluffier. If you have a nut allergy and you don't want your face to swell like a balloon simply don't add the nuts :) Remember I know CPR ;) I am obligated by law to save you ,if you do something stupid. I ain't afraid to throw down ! :)  

These are my new favorite! Well Garfield and I. ( Fun Fact. I loathe cats. However,one that likes lasagna is the only one that I like. ) 

1 Jar Pasta Sauce
6 Lasagna noodles
2 C grated Cheese -I used Chedder and some Italian blend
1 Container cottage cheese
1 Egg
1/4 C.  Diced Onion

This recipe is amazing because it is super easy! You can use hamburger or not. Again, I used what I had on hand. I am trying to do at least 3 meatless meals a week. So this is one of them. If you don't put it in you won't miss it I promise! I need a red bumper sticker that says I'm a carnivore. Hehe. Nuts to you PETA! 
This looks and is messy. I promise you though it is scrumptious.*Cough Cough Toot Toot My Own Horn Beep Beep* There are are 1,258,599.6 different recipes for Lasagna. So I encourage you to use whatever works for your budget,waste line, and family. 

First, boil noodles. While the noodles are boiling cook pasta sauce. I add the onion in while it is cooking. I also add Garlic powder. (Tip # 2 See all the garlic I use. I meant what I said about being careful with food allergies. You don't want my garlic breath coming at you. :) While all of this is cooking mix together 1 egg. 1 Container of cottage cheese and 1 C of your grated cheese into the mix. Drain noodles. In my efforts to save time and not dirty up every pan in my apartment, I have a handy little work station. Refer to above picture.  Carol Engle, (Love you so much!) Gave me big glass cutting board. This is the secret to my perfect little work station. I placed the pan of pasta sauce on a hot pad thing? (Yes I know Martha would know the proper name for it. She probably also sells one at the K-Mart! Blue Light Special ) Ha. Anyway, I also used the sauce pan lid to hold my noodles. I spread about a 1/4 C of pasta sauce on the bottom of my pan. Then lay out all of you noodles and begin. Spread your cheese mix on first. Next, add your sauce and do the tootsie roll. THIS WILL BE MESSY, BUT WHO CARES? Do you own hand soap and a clean towel? Then it's no worries :) After  you roll these up and place them in your pan, wash your hands. After that get a spatula and put all of that sauce and cheese mix in your pan. Didn't your mother teach you not to waste good?! Any left over sauce can be added as well. Then add remaining cheese & bake! Bake at 425 for 30 min. until the cheese bubbles. This dish can be made up the night before. I made two pans of this last night. The first batch was for dinner guests, the other was for work lunches. I let it cool and place one roll in foil. I am not sure how long these last in the freezer. (Why? I eat them within a few days. Ha.) So how long you keep them in the freezer is in your hands! 

I have made the switch to whole wheat pasta and grains. You might call Bull Crap! The noodles above are white, yes you are right! However, I wasn't going to chuck those noodles because they are white. My new box is whole wheat. Make the switch, it is weird at first but worth it. I feel better eating healthy. It is also relaxing and fun to cook my own food.(Dancin' around my kitchen singing loudly and off key to country music or Gaither songs! )  There is also a sense of accomplishment in knowing my hands nourish other people. Use whole wheat flour in the brownies, no one will know the difference. If they do, well then more for you! :)  

Recently, I have also made Whole wheat organic chicken and broccoli Pita pockets, Organic Ranch and Cheddar burgers, Organic parmesan zucchini bites, Homemade Chicken Parm. It feels good to eat real home made food. This makes week number 3 of no fast food! 


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Why Wait?

Happy Father's Day. I thought of many ways to say that. I thought back to funerals I have attended. This song has been a staple at many of of them. This song has given me pause for more than one reason. The most important reason is how many of those men would they have been touched or even shocked to hear their children choose this song for them? So why wait? Many of you have heard the song Holly Dunn's "Daddy's Hands."  I couldn't think of a better way to say Happy Father's Day than to post this song. It's not too often (if ever)  that I feel like someone can say something I want to say better than me. However, I will concede. This song is perfect. I don't want this to be a funeral song. I don't want to wait for all of the things I should have said. So I am saying them now. Here it is Dad! 

I remember daddy's hands folded silently in prayer
and reaching out to hold me when I had a nightmare
you could read quite a story in the caluses and lines
years of work and worry had left their mark behind

I remember daddy's hands how they held my momma tight
and patted my back for something done right
there are things that i've forgotten that I loved about the man
but I'll always remember the love in daddy's hands

Daddy's hands were soft and kind when I was cryin
Daddy's hands were hard as steel when I'd done wrong
Daddy's hands weren't always gentle but I've come to understand
there was always love in daddy's hands

I remember daddy's hands working til they bled
sacrificed unselfishly just to keep us all fed
If I could do things over, I'd live my life again
and never take for granted the love in daddy's hands

Daddy's hands were soft and kind when I was cryin
Daddy's hands were hard as steel when I'd done wrong
Daddy's hands weren't always gentle but I've come to understand
there was always love in daddy's hands

Read more: http://artists.letssingit.com/holly-dunn-lyrics-daddys-hands-5jf7dg2#ixzz1y17UtNWc 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Amish In 4 Inch Heels

My goal is to live downtown Chicago (10 weeks && counting baby!) and be as Amish as possible! I have decided to be self-reliant. Here is a list of my top 4 homemade products. I debated on adding in tortillas. Those need their own post! Coming soon. 

1). Homemade Deodorant. This deodorant is awesome! I sweat like Hebrew slave. So it is imperative that my deodorant work well. Some people will turn up their noses to this. (Get over it! It's deodorant) The recipe is from Pinterest. 

2).Homemade Face wash.  Lucky Duck! I have always been blessed with wonderful skin. I can't complain. I will get the period pimples once in blue moon. That is the extent of my "acne." So I have ditched fancy expensive face washes && creams. (unless my tight-fisted self can find them for free! Love my CVS!) 

3).Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner. I use a combination of Dawn (blue it needs to be classic BLUE), vinegar, and baking soda to clean my entire apartment. I LOVE them because they are inexpensive, healthy, and simple. 

4).Homemade Beans. Beans Beans the magical fruit the more you eat the more you.... fart (for my mother's sake the more you toot) These beans are perfect source of protein. They are also very filling. I eat them for lunch at work with my homemade tortillas all of the time. I use these beans in homemade tacos, homemade refried beans, and homemade breakfast burritos.  

How do you make all of this stuff by yourself? It doesn't make sense that someone who wears more make-up than Tammy Faye && walks around in 4 in. heels is so *gulp* Amish?!

2 Reasons 
  • My mama, Carmen! This is where I learned to cook, clean, and sew . Growing up my mother always made everything from scratch..  She didn't believe in junk. She fed our family with hard work, elbow grease, and love.  These ingredients are not found in cheap  processed garbage. (I think this is why my food never tastes like mom's) Boo ;( Despite my best efforts it's never like her's. Anyone else notice this?! You follow their recipe to the letter but no dice! I think it's a comfort of home. Something I have learned to appreciate now that I'm on my own. Growin' up ain't for sissies! No mam! 
  • Pinterest. Some many people are smart,creative, and bored. It is amazing what people come up with. Sometimes I am floored by people's creativity ! Seriously, have you seen this stuff?! Red velvet cheesecake brownies, serving trays from spearmints, homemade baby wipes! Moses! Anyways, this forum allows people to be creative and fun. Another reason I believe it is another hit is because Pinterest is a creative outlet. So many times if a person suggests the  idea of making homemade deodorant, or cleaning products from vinegar, there is always a nay sayer. The cool thing is about Pinterest when you post an idea, saying, or recipe, it generally gets repined. (I believe a pin is a virtual high five. For all of you men this is the good-game good-play slap on the butt).  
 Enough chit chat woman! Tell me what to do!

1). I have adapted this recipe. However here is the original. Another critical topic is to always give credit where credit is due. http://smashedpeasandcarrots.blogspot.com/2009/08/natural-deodorant.html. However, in my recipe I use 3 T. organic coconut oil. 1 T. baking soda. 1 Tsp. baby powder. 1 T. corn starch. I mix them all up with a fork in a ramekin. ( the dish you put Ranch dressing in when you order the dressing on the side.Thank You River Terrace) Next, I put it into an old deodorant container. I put it into the fridge to solidify. Eureka! It can be stored in the medicine cabinet. However, I don't suggest leaving it in your car. The coconut oil can get melt-y. 

2). This came from Pinterest again  http://frugallysustainable.com/2011/10/simple-homemade-eye-makeup-remover/ I didn't have the soap she uses. So I used Castor oil instead. (Yes, this is the same oil that is normally used for constipation. Someone hasn't been eating their beans ;) I used a rummage-sale jar to hold mine. My recipe is 1/2 C. Olive Oil & 1/4 C. Castor Oil. Combine ingredients in container & boom baby! The Castor oil draws out the dirt. The Olive oil makes your skin supple. I use my fingertips to apply the face wash. (Some Mary Kay lady told me to rub up so I don't get wrinkles. Probably a load of hog wash. However, I still rub upwards in a circular motion. So much for me and my principles of not buying into mainstream hype!) Next,take your washcloth and get it all nice and hot. I prefer mind scalding.(Remember, I have tough fingertips from flipping tortillas with my bare hands. Rawr.I am Woman.) Then ring it out and let it rest on your face for a minute. Wet it again && then wipe it off! There is your facial. Take that Clinique! *Shakes fist to over-priced products*

3). I use 2 parts of Classic Dawn to 3 parts of vinegar. Again, i just use the Wal-Mart brand of vinegar because with the overage on coupons I can get it super cheap. I bought a dollar store squirt bottle and mixed the ingredients together! I love this stuff! You can adjust the recipe if you feel the need. I clean the tub, kitchen counter, fridge, everything with this stuff! I also use the baking soda & vinegar to the clean the garbage disposal (that is some nasty stuff in there.) Vinegar also cleans the toilet. Just add a splash. Come back in 5 minutes && BAM! Clean Lou! Source: Vinegar: Over 400 Various, Versatile, and Very Good Uses You've Probably Never Thought Of. I couldn't find a direct link to any on Pinterest. So this book is where I pulled these recipes from. 

4). The magical fruit (protein). Buy a bag of pinto beans. I buy mine at Aldi. Meijer has Pork Salt in by the ham. It looks like short fat bacon. However,it is not! Bummer. Open the bag of beans and remove any bad looking beans and rocks. Don't ask. Rinse beans off in cold water . Drain them and then put them in the crock-pot on HIGH! THESE STEPS MUST BE FOLLOWED TO THE LETTER! 1). THE BEANS MUST BE ON HIGH FOR 8 HRS. 2). KEEP THEM COVERED WITH WATER. 1/2 INCH AT ALL TIMES. ADDING MORE WATER WHEN NEEDED.THEY MUST BE TOTALLY SUBMERGED IN WATER. 3). I PUT THE PORK SALT IN AT HR. 5. LET IT COOK FOR ANOTHER 3 HRS. If you don't keep your beans underwater they will not turn out right. This is my mother's recipe. (I'm sure the source is from  someone who managed to jump the fence && run bc boarder patrol was on their heels) After the eight hours is up remove beans from heat.Also don't break up the pork salt & remove once the 8 hrs are up.  I just put the pot itself on a few hot pads and let cool over night.Divide the beans up in some for the fridge && some for the freezer! Enjoy! 

Don't feel like you have to try everything tonight or even this week. If something strikes your fancy go for it sister! However, I encourage you to go slowly so you aren't overwhelmed. If you think a recipe could be improved by adding or omitting an ingredient or two by all means! Some one might even say this is crap and I buy my Clinique at Macy's that is perfectly fine as well :) I am just sharing the experiences I have had on my buffalo squeezing journey!

I will leave you with this! I have a friend that uses & swears by Latisse. (The stuff that makes your eyelashes grow in length and thickness). That little bottle runs a whopping $100. OUCH So, I found a cheaper version that fits into my budget. VASELINE! Yep! That Stuff! I have been applying it every night just a dab on my eye lashes before I go to bed . I have noticed longer and thicker eyelashes. Also, I have also had a few compliments ;). Try it! I dare you!
 Source http://www.mythirtyspot.com/2011/09/20-uses-for-vaseline-girls-best-friend.html

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Poopin' Buffaloes

I do many things to squeeze the nickel until the buffalo poops! One of the things I do is coupon. I use two websites that help me to do this. My favorite is Moneysavingmom.com  the other is Hip2Save.com. These two women work tirelessly to help others get the most bang for their hard earned dollars. They each have a host of tools to help you stay on track with your money.Their sites help the (savings illiterate) newbies to carefully navigate the confusing world of coupons and stock piling. I encourage anyone who wants to save money, to check out these sites. It is well worth your time. 

Anyone who wants to save money must learn this cardinal lesson. TIME IS MONEY! Another, rule that must be adhered to is SAVINGS DO NOT PUT THEMSELVES IN YOUR SHOPPING CART! If you want to save money you are going to have to work at it. It takes a while to get into the groove of shopping for a week at a time instead of night-by-night. However, like anything that is important if it is important you will find a way. If not you will find an excuse. 

Nothing makes me crazier than to hear people say "I don't have time to save money." or "I'm not smart with math." Well listen up honey, neither am I! I had a tutor in high school && in college! However, I have redeemed myself by saving my dad so much money now! Redemption is sweet!  Saying you don't have time to save money is fine, if you like lighting money on fire. I get my Sunday papers on Saturday. I get the Weekend Journal bc it is .50 cents cheaper than the Indy Star && has the Red Plum insert. It's only .50 cents what's the big deal? Well, If I buy at least two papers a week that saves me $1 a week. 52 weeks in a year. That is at least $52, sometimes I will buy more than two papers. That meager $52 will pay my water bill twice! 

The key to saving money isn't to  be these extreme couponers (HOARDERS!) No human needs to buy 90 bottles of Tide. Half of the time these people will say "Oh baby, I done got me 85 bottles of body wash for free!" "No I can't use that kind bc I'm allergic real bad. I will break out into hives if it makes contact with my skin, but they was free." (*crosses eyes* for more than one reason) Here is an example. CVS has the  Charmin toilet paper on sale. If you buy $30 of it you will get $10 in ECB back. This is actually a very good deal. No coupons needed for this, just scan your Extra care card. It is free to sign up. You give them the TP and money. Then something AMAZING happens! They give you back money for  their store. This isn't cash, it is strictly money for their store. However, you can use this to turn around and buy something else in CVS!

Another tip in this saving money game is to not compare yourself to other people. I have found this to be most helpful in my savings journey. If I compare myself to what you  have I won't be happy. If you compare yourself to me you won't be happy. Moral of the story be thankful for what is on your table. This is hard pill to swallow. Something I work on every single day. I do believe it is the Devil that whispers you aren't happy until you have that fancy car. Or those sexy high heels with the shiny red bottoms. (Christian Louboutins are thousands of dollars a pair) *Gasp* a few of those could pay for Columbia! Stop putting happiness into STUFF and THINGS. I promise you, STUFF && THINGS do not a happy life make. Shhhhh all of you that say "Stephanie, you are exactly right! However, I would rather cry in my Bentley than my Gremlin!" 

This is a topic I could spend a lifetime on. This is just the tip of the iceberg for all of this world of savings and making your own face wash! These websites should help you get going on your savings journey. I am always  a phone call, text, or email away. 

A few things that will also help  you get poopin' buffalos is (Remember the ADD?) always write down what you are going to buy. Also, write down whatever coupons you will be using. This tip is CRITICAL for everybody. Take stock of what you already have. If your pantry has 50 can of green beans stock up on corn this week. After you have looked at all you have, say two prayers. One being thankful for all you have. Another is for everyone that doesn't.  I started doing this along time ago. I pray two prayers when I  drive by Lutheran hospital. It is a long story, however, the key element is a thankful heart. Every time I pass that hospital, I thank the Lord for still having my dad around. I also say a prayer for everyone who is on the other side of that door praying for their loved ones.  

Rest assured there will be many more posts on saving money and all kinds of other wonderful topics. This should get you not the right path! Thank you all for reading the wonderful comments,texts, emails, and support you have all shown me! I love you all && I am BEYOND thrilled that we are all in this together. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Who Done It?

I named this blog "Bodies In The Yard" because I have always said one one day, there will be Bodies In The Yard. :) Well the time has come. I done it! Many of you know I have always said I want to write a book about my many adventures && it will have to be in the fiction section!!!! So here is a blog. Baby steps. I am doing this for many reasons. One of the biggest right now is I am 24, no babies, no husband. So where in the world do I fit in?! I feel like it is very easy to get lost in the shuffle because I don't have these blessings in my life yet.Someday though! I'm praying for it. More on that later! Back to the task at hand (apologies now, we all know I have the attention span of a goldfish) Any who, I made the comment one day about being tired. Some woman said ,"You don't understand tired, you aren't a mother." It took everything in my power to not mouth off.  Truth be told it hurt my feelings as well. Well Duh. I am 24 && not married. IF I was an unwed mama you would whine, and say you had pay for the Pampers on my babies rump. So shut it! :) I kept it all to myself though. (see Mom && Dad you raised me right!) I really wanted to say if having kids brings you so much joy and happiness you ain't got none, mama! (Again, to I kept my trap shut!) However, it really got me thinking. It's not so much that I don't have my own mini me,  it just feels like my life isn't worth as much when people make comments like that.  That really gets in my crawl space. Every person does his or her own thing. Da vinci  never had kids. We still use his work in our everyday lives. Neener Neener.  So how do I say we remedy this? We (that means me too!) are very careful about what we say to our brother and sisters. Everyone is on a path that is specifically just for them. I feel very strongly that I am exactly doing God's will for my life. I'm not changing diapers, I have no ankle biters of my own. However, what I do have is 4 handsome nephews and 3 pretty nieces. Also, I have wonderful examples of what a mother should be. I'm blessed with more than I deserve. So one day when I am lower-lip deep in butt paste, I will remember not to be snide when I hear someone say "I'm tired!" I will be thankful for the blessings that butt paste brings to me! 

 I have also had a similar experience at church when a fellow church goer picked up my hand and asked why I'm not an ex McCormick yet. (Excuse me, you have bee divorced 3 times doll face) I was annoyed to say the least, the very least. Leave me alone!!!!!!!! It's not socially acceptable for me to say, "How much do 3 alimony checks run you each month , sugar?" So why not just ask how I am? Please and Thank You. 

I am sure someone else has been in the same boat right?! I dread the famous, "What are you up to these days?" Shoot me in the face now! When I say I'm finishing up college and living alone, they give me a sympathetic annoying-as-all-get-out pat on the head. I'm thinking you either are going to give me biscuit for being a good girl,or you heard that I am a leper living alone in a van by the river. 

So back the reason for this blog! You thought I forgot didn't you? I did as well! Ha! The point of this is to show how a 24 year old  can live alone, and love every minute of it. The hardest part is eating dinner by myself every night signing loudly and off key whenever the spirit moves me. HAHA. Back to a serious note though,eating dinner by myself is my hardest part about my day. I would like someone to talk to about my day. "Hey did you hear about the Secret Service being tight wads with working girls?" "Yes! Moral of the story, always pay the help." Just kidding. ;)  However, I am learning to embrace this season of my life. I am looking forward to the future, but also using this precious time. I'm learning not to waste on moment. So this blog will have everything on here from tips on how to coupon, be Amish in 4 inch heels, how not to shoot people that piss you off, and a plethora of other topics.

I encourage your thoughts, questions, comments, and words to live by. Thanks for indulging me. After all we are all in this together right?