Wednesday, March 28, 2012

In loving memory...

A picture of YY and Glycerin
On Sunday, March 18, 2012 at 9:30 PM our loving Glycerin was layed to rest.  Our adoring kitty wasn't a year old yet, but what short of a life she had was great.  M and I both miss her.  Sometimes I catch myself about to call "Here kitty, kitty, kitty...," or trying to keep her from coming inside the house when I open the front door.  Then I remember, Glycerin is no longer here.  I miss her greeting me when I come home from work or anywhere else; she used to jump on the hood of my car as soon as I got parked.

Even Nitro misses her, which surprises me a bit.  He sniffs around the porch looking for her so that he can "attack" her, in a playful manner (Glycerin always just hissed at him and swiped his nose).  Since she died, he usually has a pan partially full of food when we feed him.

M and I decided to make a cross for where she is buried at.  The electric company recently sawed down part of a tree next to our property line, and all of the limbs are still lying in the ditch next to the field, so we used a couple of limbs and wire to make a cross.  I would like to make something to hang on the cross with her name on it.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

New Discovery

Thanks to Pinterest, I just found My Fridge Food.  You can enter what food you have, and the website will give you recipe ideas that use the food you already have on had.  That's pretty cool!

Rice Exploration

I have a great cookbook (previously mentioned) full of low cost recipes.  I love it!  However, it doesn't have very many recipes that call for rice in it.  I've decided to use rice in my cooking as much as possible right now because well... lets face it, rice is cheap cheap cheap!  I'm going for what's cheap right now.  Rice can also be filling, and M of course made the mistake of telling me how much he likes rice! lol  I have had a bag of unopened rice in our cupboard since we got married; it is gone now, and I just bought a 10 pound bag of generic brand white rice for $6.09.  That is $.609 per pound of rice I use (cheap cheap cheap).  I also like to have leftovers.  We eat a lot of leftovers.  I take them to work a lot, which is great because eating PB&J and balogna with cheese sandwiches over and over and over again without any break gets old fast!  Here are the things that I've made so far with rice (and some without).

Rice casserole:  I actually haven't made this yet, but I had it a lot growing up.  It is just lasagna, but you replace the noodles with rice.  Also, my mom also used square cheese on top and parsley.  Good stuff!

Cheesey potato soup: I just kinda make it up as I go, so each time it is different.  In a nutshell it includes, potatoes cubed, chicken broth, cheddar cheese soup, cream of potato soup, American cheese cubed and melted, herbs and spices (oregano, basil, rosemary, or whatever else I decide to add), vegetables (this time I used sliced carrots and a little broccoli), and rice.  I sometimes add bacon (you could do ham too), but I don't like how the bacon tastes warmed back up in the microwave with this soup.  This was the first rice thing I made, and I forgot to follow all of the directions for cooking rice... it was interesting to say the least.  I made A LOT on purpose so that I could have some to take to work for my dinner, and I froze the rest for later.

Breakfast stovetop casserole: I usually make one package of frozen hasbrowns (cooked first), sausage (has to be J.D. brand, orginal, browned), 5 eggs (scrambled with some dry milk), cheedar cheese, and mozzerella cheese.  This time, I replaced the hashbrowns with rice, used bacon grease that we started saving to mix it all together in the skillet (usually I use margarine/butter), and for something a little different I cooked a few strips of bacon and crumbled them.  The result was tasty and filling.  We had plenty of leftovers for me to take to work for my dinner.

Rice and egg casserole: This is a layer of rice, with 6 eggs (scrambled without milk), a few potatoes cubed (cook on the stove in olive oil for a few minutes until they just start to soften before putting in the casserole), sausage (browned), cheddar cheese, and mozzerella cheese.  I had about 1/4 pound of already cooked sausage in the freezer that we have pulled out on occasion for pizza, so I just used that.  The results were tasty!  They only thing I would do differently is either use a smaller pan with a little less rice OR use more eggs.  [pictures]

Tacos: When I cook taco meat, I typcially cook two pounds at a time.  What is left gets stuck in the freezer, and we pull it out now and then for fast tacos (saves us lots of time so we can spend a little more time together that evening).  This time, I made two cupse of rice (with 4 cups of water) and mixed most of it into the meat.  That doubled the mount of meat I had.  As a note for us picky eaters that don't eat enough protein, I think I ended up eating more meat than I normally would without the rice mixed in because I put way more of the meat mixture on my taco than I do without the rice.

Meatloaf: A single friend of ours who, I guess you could say, works "over the road" eats at our house a lot rather than going to the grocery store; with one person in the house and him being gone so much the food spoils quickly.  Anyways, one night I made meatloaf for the three of us.  I decided to use the recipe in the Dining on a Dime cookbook, but I made it my own a little bit.  I have to put sausage (J.D. brand) in my meatloaf because meatloaf without sausage just doesn't taste as good.  I ended up putting 2 lbs. of hamburger, 1 lb. of sausage, and about 2 cups (before cooking) of rice in my meatloaf.  I still used a little oatmeal to hold it together.  I had never used oatmeal in meatloaf before; I usually use bread crumbs or cracker crumbs.  Needless to say, it was tasty.  Technically, I made meatballs, and I ended up with 12 very large ones.

Wondering what to do with leftover rice?  Put a little milk, butter, cinnamon, and sugar in with it and warm it up.  I've had that for dinner at work a couple times too.

I've also been looking for new grilled cheese ideas on Pinterest and  Thanks to this website I the idea to do a breakfast grilled cheese sandwich.  I scrambled some eggs and cooked some bacon first.  For the sandwiches, I used a square slice of cheese for each slice of bread and squeezed the eggs and crumbled bacon between the bread and cheese.  YUM!

When all else fails though and we don't know what to make, we made fried egg sandwiches, egg hole in the bread fried, or pizza.  We've started to make homemade crust using the recipe in the "Cooking on a Dime" cookbook.

Feel free to share your rice recipes or frugal recipes!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

It's a Keeper

M saw a picture of the Chocolate Chip Swirl Cake on the boxes of cake mixes, and said, "I want you to make this for me sometime."  One thing you have to understand about M, he doesn't eat sweet stuff very often.  When I make cake or something, if he eats any of it he only eats one piece.  Moving on... I recently made his Chocolate Chip Swirl Cake (, but I of course had to put my own spin on it for a few reasons 1) it's what I do and 2) lack of resources.  Below is what I did different than the recipe as well as a picture of the cake, not the one I made though because well... just keep reading and you'll find out why.

  1. I had an open bag of generic chocolate chips with just a few left.  I have no idea how much was left, but I just dumped all of it into the batter.
  2. I used vanilla cake mix rather than white, and I added my special ingredients that I always use when baking from a mix.
  3. Rather than reserving some batter and mixing the chocolate ice cream syrup into that, I just drizzled the syrup on top and swirled it in with a butter knife.
  4. I got the GENIUS idea to swirl caramel syrup into the batter as well.  I'm not a big chocolate fan, but if I am going to eatch chocolate I love love love to have caramel with it.
  5. That gave me another idea... why not make caramel frosting to put on top?  I was going to do buttercream because lets face it, in my world can frosting isn't real frosting; the only time I use it is when I make my Oreo cake (maybe I'll tell you about that sometime).  So I make caramel buttercream frosting ( - thanks Pinterest!)
  6. For the frosting, I learned to ignore the recipe a little and cream the butter by itself first so that it wouldn't be chunky.
  7. I love love love caramel, so I just poured in the caramel syrup until I reached the desired caramel flavor I was looking for.
  8. To top off the frosting, after I spread the frosting on I drizzled chocolate syrup on top (as previously mentioned I didn't have chocolate chips left for the frosting).  I then proceded to swirl the syrup in with a knife (don't do that, just leave it as it is).
The results were yummy, yummy, yummy!  It was moist, not too much chocolate (my opinion), and the frosting was perfect.  The chocolate chips all settled to the bottom, so I think I will try mini chocolate chips next time; I may even try chocolate sprinkles.

Why didn't I post the picture of my own cake?  Well you see... we shared our cake with some friends.  As we left their house, M was caring the cake pan by the handle on the top of the lid.  For some reason, the handle decided to pop out, which make the pan land lid side down one the floor.  (CAKE DOWN!!!)  No worries though, the cake was not wasted.  It was actually devoured!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Johnny Cash and the Power Rangers

Have you ever played Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" and do "sign language" to the song?  I recently experienced, twice in the same day.  It is a BLAST!  It's not real sign language, you just make up your own movements through the song.  It reminds me of what the Happy Hands Club does in the movie "Napolean Dynamite."  I had fun doing it with a group of people, or maybe I'm just crazy.  Of course, I am easily amused!  Give it a try some time and make a comment about it.

I was asked to make a birthday cake for a 6 year old.  He requested a rainbow cake with something Power Rangers on top.  Well, as fascinated as I am with cake decorating (I hope to get much better), I still have a lot to learn about it, so my skills are very basic.  When it comes to rainbow cake, I LOVE making them!  I have the technique down pretty well; I just need to work on the pop recipe more.  (The pop recipe makes tends to make the cake fall apart easily)  Anyways, the little man got a rainbow cake and cupcakes.  I did the lightning bolt from the logo and surrounded it with "Happy Birthday" like the logo.  His favorite Power Ranger is red, hence the reason the cake is red.  The cupcakes I frosted with the colors of the Power Rangers (NOTE: PRs have changed so much since I was a child, gold is currently one of them not black).  Since I didn't have anything edible that is gold, they told me I could just use black.  The cupcakes dont' have all six colors in the batter, they have two to three colors.  It is hard enough to get three colors in without using too much batter.  FYI the black scribble is the birthday boy's name scratched out.  Happy baking!

Blue, Red, Pink, Black, Yellow, Green Power Rangers cupcakes