March-ing Ahead While February Finishes

I know it's Leap Year and we've two days more to go in February this year, but you know me....Planning ahead is in my blood.  I've already been over the February budget (ugh) and ticked off the last of the things I did do on my February goal list.  I've planned my March housekeeping goals and this morning worked out my personal/financial goals for the month ahead. 

I've really not done as well as I ought/want to do on goals the past two months.  In fairness, I got sidelined by that nasty bit of cold in January but February...well I've no excuse I can think of for accomplishing little.  I think it's a matter of what I've already learned and it begins at the very start of my day.  If I get showered and dressed right away I get worlds and worlds more done.  If I stay in my pajamas and muddle about the house, I'll be after noon getting started with anything major.  I'm working against my own nature when I do that.

I did hit on another incentive: working towards a Fun Friday.  Seriously works out great for me and definitely will be what I attempt to do at least twice this month.

So on to goals for the month:

Menu Monday

Menu Monday:

Did you ever have one of those days where you have a plan, you step into the kitchen and for no reason you can name, everything changes?  It wasn't an unexpected outage of an item.  It wasn't that I thought "Oh I really don't want that..."  I had my menus all planned out and now they are all different.  Go figure.

30 Minute Chili, Yellow Rice, Crackers, Applesauce
Chili was not on the meal plan anywhere.  I meant to make something else entirely, then looked at that good ground beef we'd bought Saturday afternoon and thought of hamburgers...with baked beans and potato salad.  Here's where I was thrown by an ingredient.  The beans under the counter were pinto beans seasoned with chili powder and jalapenos.  And they were a bit spicy.  It was cool, misty rain outdoors, we'd been chilled to the bone while feeding the dogs and John was outdoors working on the truck.  Chili seemed a good remedy to an unexpected seasoning and I knew I could use 1/3 pound of burger meat and still squeeze out two burgers for supper tonight.  Leftover yellow rice and crackers rounded out the easy menu.
Made applesauce from some apples that seemed tasteless (made a nice flavored sauce though).

An Oregon Cottage: Quick And Easy Lava Cakes

An Oregon Cottage: Quick And Easy Lava Cakes: Lava cakes are one of the most fabulous desserts I know of: oozing dark chocolate, crispy brownie outside, and melt-in-your-mouth goodness ...

Tried these for our dessert today. They are so good, every bit as easy as the recipe title promised and OMGoodness GOOD! Greatest struggle was trying to lift off the ramekins with a pot holder. Please use a dishtowel for your own safety.

Thrifty Thursday

               A repurposed notebook using scrapbook paper and an old calendar illustration

Friday:  My planned day out.  Not a day planned without thought to gasoline use however.  Yes, more than one errand found it's way onto a list, but I kept in mind the day was about FUN and not all about homework (and isn't it all homework even if we aren't at home?). 

On the spur of the moment, I stopped at Goodwill.  I hadn't planned that into my day but the store was just one turn and less than 1/4 of a block off the road to my destination.  I'm so glad I went in.  I found a frame to fit an odd sized poster I've had for years and hated to pay HUGE bucks for a specially made frame.  Cost was $4.04.   I also found a small aluminum tote box just the right size for John to carry some of his music equipment in.  Similar boxes were running upwards of $80 online.  My price was $3.03 and John was very pleased I'd thought of him when I'd seen it.

My destination was to Ross for Less.  I looked at every thing.  I mean every single thing in the store.  Some items went into the buggy and came out again too as I really thought about each purchase.  In the end, I was pleased with what I came home with, nothing big or fancy but most certainly useful and beautiful: storage containers for bulk herbs I had in the cabinet, vanilla scented tea light candles (John's favorite scent) and a deep rectangular basket to store potatoes and onions, a new set of dishtowels and terry cloth dishcloths that I am using on my dining table as place mats and napkins.  And yes, that was all and I was well pleased with each purchase.  I had a great time and spent less than $30.

Menu Monday

I've been busy all day long.  Not a bit of it shows.  The floors still need to be done and the bathroom could use a nice tidying and the seeds I meant to plant are still in the packets.  I haven't yet made out the grocery list nor moved the items from the fridge that must be 'harvested' today, and we won't even discuss that wonderful little post that just would. not. be. posted.  No matter how often I hit publish/save, copied and pasted to my email or to Microsoft word.  It was adamant that it should not be posted and I am deeply sorry over that as I thought it was lovely and well thought out, sigh.  But I digress.  I am not late on Menu Monday because I am so behind on absolutely everything despite working steadily all day long that I refuse to admit one more failure.  It's been such a Monday, sigh.

Monday:  Crockpot Lasagna, Salad, Pita bread
I got the crockpot started in plenty of time for lunch.   And then walked away from it and began doing other little tasks.  I thought I'd put the thing on LOW, but no it was on HIGH and that meant that not only did the lasagna cook quickly it stuck and burned a bit around the edges.  Yikes.  And I didn't eat until 2pm and by that time was so hungry I skipped the bread and the salad and just had lasagna in a bowl.  Period.  But you do better than me, please.

Bits and Pieces That Make Up My History

I know I've been showcasing a lot of the quilts I have of late.  My interest is slightly higher now that I'm planning my own.  But first, before we go further, can you see Maddie in that top picture?  She thought she was 'hiding'...Reminds me of the cutest little book Samuel  (or was it Katie?) had long ago of two raccoons playing hide and seek which taught basic opposites.  The last line of the book read, "I've found you! I've found you! Of this, there's no doubt.  Your head may be IN but your tail's sticking OUT." lol  Doesn't that just describe that silly red dog of mine?

This quilt top was a work in progress by my great grandmother, Granny's mom, who was called Big Mama by all the grands and great grands and great great grands.  I've had this in storage for years upon years.  Granny gave it to me shortly before Big Mama died, along with a bag full of quilt pieces that had been cut to finish off the quilt.  During my recovery from an automobile accident, my soon to be ex- husband packed up my things and decided that the quilt pieces were trash and tossed them into a burn pile.  I'm grateful that for whatever reason he saved this to pack up instead.

Truth time.  I've never really looked closely at the quilt top until the day last month when I pulled it out of storage.  My plan is to try to finish the quilt off, which will involve removing a few rows along two sides to make it look right, planning a bordering fabric and then quilting and binding.  It should be about lap quilt size when finished.  I'll save the spare pieces to use for something else.  Perhaps incorporate into other pieces for family to have in the future. The very central squares are flannel, but the other materials I fancy were fabric from dresses and  flour sack aprons that Big Mama made for herself.  Some of my favorite of all materials is black with tiny little flowers sprinkled upon it and there are not one but two different pieces in this quilt which feature tiny rosebuds on a black background.  I think the graphic print (which has a very late 50's, early 60's feel} and the pink polka dot fabrics are kind of retro cool looking, don't you? 

Thrifty Thursday

I made an apple pie from apples that had gotten a little wrinkly looking...Using what I have on hand before it spoils is my favorite thrifty move.

Friday:  Rather than buy luncheon meat last week I splurged on a chicken breast roast.  It required heating for 20 minutes before slicing just to turn it golden brown.  I paid about $3/pound for it and if you've priced luncheon meats you'll realize rather quickly what a bargain that was!  I sliced it thinly and we had sandwiches from it both Thursday night and tonight.  I've three more packets of meat to put in the freezer for future sandwiches. 

Do you ever do something and then, in hindsight, just kick yourself a bit?  I made a new recipe today which called for a spice that I've never had in my spice cabinet, Cardamon.  Now I bought it on sale, with a coupon that allotted me $2 off and felt it a good buy at the time, but I've just recalled that the Mennonite store 30 miles south of here carries bulk herbs and spices for pennies on the price of what the grocery charges...I shall make sure to keep track of any unusual items I need and pick them up there in the future and save the recipe until I make a trip down.

That new recipe, except for the unusual spice, used every day ingredients, commonly on hand.  I did make a few substitutions.  I didn't have a bone in chicken, so used boneless skinless breasts.  No cloves, but had allspice so used that.  I must remember to put cloves on my list!  I reduced the recipe suitable for two rather than 8 as it said it should feed too.  I will say that we were very pleased both with the aroma as it was cooking and with the taste of it when it came from the oven.  Yummy!  That one went into the keepers file with notes.

Menu Monday

I'm pretty pleased.  With only two exceptions, we cooked what was actually on the menu last week!  The two exceptions: No Fried Rice. I reheated that leftover rice to make the pilaf for the Pakistani chicken dish and very few leftovers.  In fact, there was only a bare two servings of mac and cheese and five pieces of hot wings left.  I'd have had those for dinner yesterday but was invited Saturday to spend Sunday dinner with friends.

So we start fresh this week.

Monday:  Pastitio, Green Salad, Crusty Rolls, Apple Pie
Nothing thawed this fault.  I should have gotten things from the freezer last night when I thought of it but I was being lazy.  The heater had the living room all cozy, I had a good movie on...I have good excuses, lol.
So when dinnertime was quite near, I suddenly sprung into action and made up the pasta dish using the leftover mac and cheese, with the extra cheese sauce left when I made it last week with a ground meat/tomato sauce base under it all.  It wasn't bad.  I made a couple of mistakes and knew they were mistakes but that's on me, so it was a bit of a mess, but a GOOD mess.
Apple Pie from wrinkly apples that John would never eat otherwise.  Funny how good he thinks those same apples are when in a pie...Saved the cores and peels to add my stash for making apple jelly.

Tuesday:  Swedish Meatballs, Noodles, Russian Salad

We've got to run a couple of errands this morning.  I'll hopefully get the meatballs ready to cook before we leave, then I can pop them in the pan when we're back home again.  Salad is nothing more than some of the red and green lettuces I bought last week, boiled egg, shredded pickled beets, Russian dressing.  Sounds more exotic though to say it's Russian, agreed?

Diary for July: Week Two

July 7, Shabat Saturday:   So very much I want to chatter over today and perhaps I will...I don't typically write on Shabat, having al...