Sunday, June 30, 2013

Frugality and Fashion

It is a beautiful day here already. I made my eggless pancakes with chocolate chips of course and just cleared out a dry sink we have of old DVDs which got moved to a closet and platters were put in dry sink. I am went over my house list to see what else I could get done today. Now, the truth is, I should be working on my short story, but instead I am on Pinterest looking at vintage clothing. Easily distracted? Yes I am.
The reason for that is my wardrobe is currently pitiful. I have four, yes four, t shirts for the whole summer. I am not going to an office or going out to fancy pants places so I have not really shopped. I do have some nice pieces pre-baby but I do my best to keep them in good condition in case we do go somewhere that requires getting a little dolled up. And for the frugal minded who are all about "make do or do without", two pairs of pants I wear are actually maternity wear. I had gotten them when I was between 5-7 months pregnant so they fit well and I figured hey, why not? I do chose to wear some of my skirts,  but to be honest, I look like a devout fundamentalist of some sort due to the shapeless, long t-shirts over them. All I need to do is cover my head and I would be quite the picture.
I am all for wearing what you have. Look what people did for centuries. Closets were small because  you probably only had two or three dresses and a few tops and skirts, if that, but this world is much different. While I am not embarrassed that I have been wearing the same red, black or purple shirt every few days, it would be nice to add a piece or two to the mix. I have read A LOT of posts about going to thrift shops and not getting sucked into consumerism. I agree, but I am also not going to deny that a new sundress or skirt would make me a little giddy. Could I sew it? Perhaps, but in the time it would take me to do it I could have run to Marshalls and got one on discount. One of the reasons I have not bought any new clothes or shoes or bra (Lord God Almighty could you lower the prices on the larger bosom bras please, anyone????) is that we have been paying down debt. I am happy to forgo clothing and eating out to reach that goal of being credit card/school loan debt free, except my sandals are shot. Ripped up from the soles type of shot. Because of this my hips and feet are in immense pain. I do need to see the chiropractor and I did get new sneakers for the gym on sale with a $10 off coupon thank you, but otherwise I am so misaligned I feel like a Picasso. Lament, lament, lament. What is a gal to do? well, one of things that actually makes me feel better is to peruse beautiful things. Some people get jealous and angry, I actually get inspired or empowered. Go figure.

LOVE


I could rock this house dress every day.



Can't you see me wearing this to the park to push my son on the swing?


How I would love to be sweeping about my house wearing this little number from House of DrĂ©coll. Of course I do not think I have ever had a waist that tiny. Maybe at birth. I think that waistline is equal to the circumference of my thigh. Such tiny ladies back in 1890 eh? I know there is a corset involved and my rib cage trembles at the idea, but for one night in this gown I think I could hack it.


Going off the clothing path here, but look at that stove!!

Thanks to our CSA I had cauliflower and collards to cook with and so I found this awesome recipe on MarthaStewart.com for Pasta with Cauliflower and Collards. I only had linguine so I broke it in half and it came out just as tasty. You can add more garlic or throw in some crushed red pepper. I also chose to use the roasted cauliflower recipe from What's Cooking America and it came out heavenly.


.
Enjoy your day!

Cheers!
MissFifi

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Sauteed Radishes with Mint

Quick recipe post. Will do a nice long wordy post soon :)

From Food52.com - Sauteed Radishes with Mint

Have a great weekend!

Cheers!
MissFifi

Monday, June 24, 2013

And it is Monday



This is Edith Wharton. I wish I had half her brilliance and I also wish I was able to sit and write for hours on end.

Good morning! I am attempting to write a short story and send it in by the 30th. My ambition may be a little crazy, but I need a diversion while I work on my novel. Not that the novel is not going well, it is just morphing into something unexpected. I have gutted the story to the point where all my prior notes and outline are sort of not necessary. So that makes it like I am starting over and the scary part is I have no idea if it will pay off in the end. I just go where the characters take me, but the hardest part is not being able to work on it consistently. I end up writing an hour or less here and there and I still have to make peace with that. Not easy, but I do my best until I have a small breakdown and my husband listens sympathetically to my rant about not being able to work and progress for the hundredth time. Poor man, he takes it so well when deep down he probably wishes he could escape his whining wife. Big sigh. If I had money, I would have an au pair just a few hours a day, but we do not and besides,  the cost would make me twitch so let's move on shall we?
By me writing a short story it gives me the opportunity to hone a skill that is sorely lacking. The main one being me sticking with writing a short story. I think it will make me feel better to do it, send it out and feel like I have accomplished something. Wish me luck me dears.

Read this great "interview between Michael Pollen and Ruth Reichl. Their love and respect for food is infectious and I swear they should have a weekly feature on NPR. Smithsonian Magazine: Michael Pollen and Ruth Reichl Hash out the Food Revolution

As someone who has high cholesterol, about 230, and seems to be genetically predisposed no less, I was on Zocor a few years back. I was also one of the lucky folks who had the charming side effect of sore leg muscles. I stopped and then got pregnant and quite frankly have no desire to go back on them. Seems there are a few people who have issues and it seems the numbers were wrong when it come to percentage of people being affected by the medicine. I have been wanting to cut sugar out of my diet more to see if that would help the numbers. Cutting cheese does nothing, amen to that, so maybe sugar is the possible culprit. Not that any doctor has suggested that to me. I read it somewhere and it has nagged at me ever since. Time to get serious and cut out the sweets then. Most go have one more scone in the meantime...
Side Effects Prompt Patients To Stop Cholesterol Drugs

Now this looks like something I can dip in a bowl of tzatziki. Farinata Genovese (Genovese Chickpea Flatbread)

Cheers!
MissFifi

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Let's Make A Sandwich (1950)

Honest to all that is high and holy, I love these old school "information" videos so much.

Tuna Rarebit for everyone!



Cheers!
MissFifi

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

On The Mend and Good Finds

We are doing better here. Though my little guy was exhausted after being up for only an hour and a half is now napping. Which is good. He needs his rest to heal.
Because I have been busy doing housework, I sound positively fifties, and then got sick I have not been up to sitting down and working on the my novel. Or I should say, I am not able to focus correctly an that  sucks. Sure I can bang out a blog post, but my novel? Not so much. I am hoping that I am feeling better by this evening and can maybe start getting back to work.

In other somewhat odd news, I have braved the frontier and a few weeks ago removed myself from Facebook. I was sort of tired of reading the same political rants over and over, including my own. I was also made uncomfortable more than once by some of the reveals by people in regards to their marriages, kids, etc. Seriously, the amount of jaw dropping moments I experienced due to "high school" brawls on people's walls or worse was becoming more frequent. And finally, I am no fan of Zuckerberg and Co and the relentless ads and privacy changes. So yes, I bit the bullet. This may seem hypocritical since I am blogging and also have a Pinterest and Google+ account, but I feel more in control with those. Don't misunderstand me, I am no fool and know for sure that Google mines my data, but it doesn't feel as sleazy. Ah silly me :) Do I feel disconnected ? Yes, in a sense. The world operates in a social media platform so by leaving Facebook I have cut myself off. It is sad and freaky all at once. You are only as current as your last post I guess. C'est la vie.

Lighter topics time!
If I had chickens and skills to build, this Mid century modern chicken coop may be the way I go.



Veggie Belly has an interesting looking cookie recipe. Eggless Cornflake Cookies.

This updated 1820's Cape home in Vermont is beautiful, but it is the kitchen windows over the sink I am drooling over.


Purl Bee has a pattern for beautiful slip stitch dishtowels that would look great in your home or make a terrific gift.


Wheatless Energy Bars via Reebecki Supergirl.


Have a wonderful day!

Cheers!
MissFifi

Monday, June 17, 2013

A Sore Throat and a Sniffle

My whole house is sick.

Aces.

My husband was unwell as of Thursday. We knew it was a cold and I was hoping no one else would get it, but bacterias/viruses have their own ideas. Yesterday, our son woke up stuffy, but since he seemed okay and had no fever, we still went to Sesame Place. (Irresponsible, bad parents aren't we?) He had a fabulous time and so did we as we got to see some good friends and their children too. My son fell asleep at the park and slept the whole way home. Thank you Sesame Street for exhausting my child who loves your little tidal wave pool better than anyone. :)
Today, my husband is doing better, my son seems alright and I woke up with a sore throat. Luckily, this is nothing like the last time we were ill. No fevers, no need to lay like slugs and nap for hours on end so I will take this. But honestly, I rather blow my nose nonstop then have a sore throat. I am drinking green tea with ginseng, honey and lemon. My son is playing with the iPad watching PBS Kids. We will get out today in the fresh air regardless of this slight body battle with germs and let the sun cure us. I sound like a crazy ass hippy, but fresh air is best in my opinion. And that is that.

I am happy to say I sold my bundle of cloth diapers to what sounded like a nice young lady from Michigan. I hope she and her little guy likes them and gets good use out of them. I could not imagine just keeping them or, God forbid, throwing them away. They are in very good to almost excellent condition so it is nice to find the a home.

I went on a bit of a bender in my house this weekend trying to rid ourselves of unnecessary photos and other stuff. I set a pile aside for those to be scanned and others can be kept or framed but really, why hold on to pictures of people yo no longer know or like or even pictures of yourself that are blurry, etc? I even threw out a yearbook I had of the class before mine and since I never look at the darn thing, off in the trash it went. The diapers going are a huge plus and I have a bag of clothing and some toys that I am hoping to bring to Once Upon A Child and sell some if not all of what I have. I am also looking to make new cafe curtains for the kitchen from fabric I have stored up as I opposed to buying some. Have you seen some of the prices for curtains?? You would think you were buying a hand embroidered tea length gown for a coming out ball!

For some reason, I absolutely LOVE this cutting board by Joseph Joseph and look at the ridiculously cheap price. I like that the knife stores in the board.

Made a white bean dip the other night. Now, I did not make the pita chips because I cut up carrots instead but I am going to suggest you make this and let it sit in the fridge over night. You don't have to as it is delicious the same day, but I had some left overs yesterday and my goodness it was even better than the night before.

White Bean Dip with Pita Chips

Cheers!
MissFifi

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Red Lettuce and Balsamic Onions Salad

Made a delicious salad via the Barefoot Contessa tonight to go with the main dish of shaved asparagus pizza and it was superb. The balsamic onions played off the dressing of this salad quite well and our one friend had three helpings of salad. :)

RED LETTUCE AND BALSAMIC ONIONS

My changes:
I used one head of red leaf lettuce and one head of bibb lettuce. (Thank you to my CSA.)
I only had spicy brown mustard instead of Dijon so I used that.
I did not use 3/4 cup of olive oil when whisking the dressing, I used less than that, did not measure it, and it still came out very well.

Enjoy!

Cheers!
MissFifi


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Random Goodies

I was up at 5:30am this morning because our cat Chloe decided she needed to eat. This has become her normal waking hour and I must say this displeases me greatly. I snoop quietly past my son's door because out upstairs floors are very creaky and grab my gym wear. I feed the "starving" feline, get dressed and go and do my best to get fit for about 30-40 minutes. One of my favorite new workouts is the rowing machine. It gets the muscles going, the sound of the machine is actually relaxing and when I am done I feel as if I just competed at the Head of the Charles Regatta. Here is an article on how to properly row an there is a video included which I have watched several times to make sure I do not hurt myself.  I may still ask one of the trainers at my gym to watch me to make sure anyway. Proper Way To Row

Went and got this week's CSA haul and I am a little giddy that beets were in there. I love beets. Even though when one prepares them their sink and hands resemble an episode of Dexter. I am not sure what I will do with them yet, but I hope to enjoy them some time this weekend.

I made Roasted Asparagus, Scallions and Carrots last night and it was so darn good!! I do not buy or use baby carrots so I just took my regular ones and cut them down.

Are you the outdoorsy type that likes to go on long hikes? Not me, but here is a list of the Ten Essentials as posted on 72 Hour Bag. No one should be caught in the wilderness unawares and sadly, it does still happen. Be careful people and take the time to prep for your adventure okay?

I had to search high and low to find a place online to sell my son's gDiapers.  I finally settled on ClothDiaperTrader.com and I have my fingers crossed that someone buys them. If I can't sell them I may just donate them. There seems to be quite a few places that take used cloth diapers for low income families. I can get behind that idea so that is what I will do if after 60 days I get no interest. I am not looking to make my exact money back, just a little something to put in his piggy bank.

Managing Space In A Tiny Home has pointers I think anyone can use.

I am looking into picking up popsicle molds. I think the little man will dig that. Bed Bath and Beyond have some and I do have 20% there so that may be where I go.

Pizza Cups - well, these look yummy.

Cheers!
MissFifi








Tuesday, June 11, 2013

665 Square Feet and Recipe

Not that I need to make an announcement, but every post, no matter the topic will always end with a recipe or two. Let's face it, food is life and no matter how brilliant, boring or exciting life is, we gotta eat. Might as well share the delicious things in the world since we get bombarded with the gruesomeness and inadequacies of life on a constant basis. This is why I read the news and never watch it. I can filter at will and am probably better off for doing so. Anyway, let's focus on part of the title in today's post.

665 Square Feet. Could you live in that size space and be happy? A family downsized after the economic crisis pretty much kicked them in tush like a lot of folks. They went to Wyoming and built this charming cabin on rented land. Now, I have been very clear on my dislike of open shelving. It is beautiful for photo shoots and nothing more in my mind. In this particular design case, it makes sense because cabinets would make the room feel less airy. It is still not something I would do, but I understand the purpose of it here since it is not being done due to trends. Read about the cabin and the choice they made to move to Wyoming and what they plan for the long term on their blog Assortment.

What I admire most about this home is that people found themselves in a crap situation and figured a way out on their own. One of the best things stated in the section of "Our Story" is this:
For us, financial security was no longer linked to the size of the portfolio or the potential of real estate holdings; financial security now meant zero debt and a job well loved. Home security meant building a 665 square foot portable guest cabin, placing it on rented land, and living there while saving our cash to buy land and build a house. Life security meant adjusting parameters to ensure more time for passions, and less for obligations.

I do understand this lifestyle choice is in not suited to everyone. I am not even sure I could do it with a family of three, but I appreciate that someone out there figured out things and keeping up with the various Joneses is not what life is about.
Now let me give you a very cool, opposite side of the coin story.
We have friends that have a beautiful, stately home that resembles 'Tara' from 'Gone With The Wind',  so every time I am there I want to grab dirt in my hand and yell that "I will never go hungry again". (You would do the same thing so stop laughing.) They happen to have three two year olds, God Bless, and these little cuties all share a room. That's right. Share a room. As they get older they may want to split up and all have their own room, but right now, they share and it seems to work for everyone. Our friends who own the home both grew up in large families and one of them said, "I shared a room growing up with my brothers so I don't see the big deal." In case you want to know, besides that bedroom and the master bedroom, there are two other bedrooms on the floor and they are currently used for guests and the au pair. Here they are, in a house with more than enough space and yet, the girls have an awesome room together. I respect that big time. I also respect that at some point, our friends will have to deal with hormones, driver licenses and college all at the same time so may God be gentle with them. :)

Last night I made a fantastic stew. It had been raining all day and I wasn't sure what to cook. I have a small amount of lentils, not enough for a soup on its own, but enough to mix with something. Thanks to the wonderful BBC GoodFood site I found a recipe for Chorizo, Chickpea and Lentil stew. I used out soy chorizo from Trader Joe's and since I had no paprika I used red chili powder. My chive biscuits were great with it especially to cut the heat of the spices. Mine did not come out like the picture, but no matter, still delicious.





Have a wonderful Tuesday!

Cheers!
MissFifi




Monday, June 10, 2013

Vegetables and Recipes

While I cook most meals from scratch, every now and then it is nice to buy bagels or Dunkin' Donuts or do take out and I will not apologize. This weekend though I got really rebellious and tried three new recipes. Part of the reason was because our half share from our CSA was quite the awesome bounty. Here is what we got.
Half Share:

quartstrawberries
bunchasparagus
bunchkale
1/2 lb baby spinach
bunchscallions
bunchbok choy
bunchchives
buncharugula

So far we have eaten all the strawberries, kale, spinach and have used the asparagus and chives. Everything has been delicious and once again, I am thrilled we did this. Keep in mind I still have a vegetable garden going and my kale out there is growing beautifully along with more carrots than a rabbit would know what to do with and my swiss chard is stunning as well. The tomatoes are still an uncertainty, but on a whim I took seeds someone gave my a few years ago and threw them in a pot assuming nothing would happen. Unless they are weeds, I have about 15 seedlings coming up. I am about to become Queen of Tomatoes and I am thinking lots of salsa this summer then :)

Here is what I made this weekend using some of my fine ingredients and encourage you to give these recipes a shot as they were delicious.

Buttermilk-Chive BIscuits - Myrecipes.com says it makes a dozen. Now, maybe it was because I used a regular drinking glass as a biscuit cutter, but I ended up with 20. Yes, 20. We have been eating them since Saturday and I have kept them in a covered cake platter to keep them fresh, but obviously you could freeze the extras. The only change is I used soy milk with vinegar to make buttermilk.  Eat them warm, they are fluffy and tasty, but I did toast some today for breakfast and even crunchy they are good.

Gingered Kale and Tofu - We did not make rice to go with this, but regardless, this recipe is outstanding. One of the things we do is buy fresh ginger root and my husband grinds it up in the food processor and fills ice cube trays. This makes it nice and easy to just pop one out when needed. I added the ginger when I heated the oil for the kale, but you can add it with the other ingredients if you choose. You will have extra marinade if you do not make rice with it, but you can store it and use it for something else I am sure.

Shaved Asparagus Pizza - Thank you Smitten Kitchen this was fabulous. Of course shaving asparagus is not easy and you will think you are mucking up when you can get perfect slabs, or if you are like me you don't care, but no matter, the inconsistent sizes make this delicious. 



There you have it. Now go forth and stuff your faces.

Cheers!
MissFifi

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Feeling Silly Today

Writing is going well and our CSA starts today so I am off to get our half share. Cannot wait! Here are some cool things. Enjoy!

So digging these retro bathrooms featured on Retro Renovation.

Baby Pants from Purl Bee


Post Punk Kitchen's Chipotle Mac & Cheese with Roasted Brussel Sprouts


Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Pesto and Tomatoes from Mennonite Girls Can Cook.

Okay, have to run!

Cheers!
MissFiFi

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Spinach and Mushroom Hand Pies - King Arthur Recipe

Quick post as I am on a writing bender and also need to hit library and take care of other not so fascinating errands today. Actually, the other I was dusting, something I truly hate to do hence why open shelving makes me twitch. Why make more work for yourself?? Everyone claims they put everyday dishes on open shelving which means they will be washed all the time, but I call bollocks. Anyway, as I was wiping a table down, I recalled a George Carlin quote.
"Dusting is a good example of the futility of trying to put things right. As soon as you dust, the fact of your next dusting has already been established."
Amen George, amen.

A friend sent me the recipe below and what changes she made.

Made this today, but omitted the cheese powder, and baked as one large pie instead of mini pies.  Tripled the filling so it would be enough, and it was fabulous!

SPINACH AND MUSHROOM HAND PIES



Cheers!
MissFifi

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Peonies, Deer and Veggie Garden

I adore flowers. If I had my way I would do away with most of the grass and have carpets of flowers everywhere. Of course this is not possible and grass is necessary, I guess.
Anyway, when we bought out house it came with a peony. I had no idea how fortunate I was until it bloomed and I fell in love.  Last year I noticed that next to it a new plant was growing and I became even more giddy. Oddly enough I never cut any to being into the house. I just loved going over to them and smelling them and commenting on their beauty.
The other day I noticed my neighbor snipping some of his irises and peonies and placing them in a case.
This was my "duh" moment.
So just a few minutes ago I went out and voila! I have a small but charming arrangement in my kitchen.

This now makes me want to grow hundreds of these and start work on my cutting garden which would need to have a ten foot electric fence around it because this morning I noticed that the beautiful vermin known as deer had chomped down some of my echinacea, my sunflower seedlings and of course, some of my hostas.  I just put mint in some pots and placed it by the sunflower sprouts in the hopes of thwarting the little bastards. I tried same thing with foxgloves last year by my hostas and they ate around them. Clever creatures, eh? They are sort of majestic looking, even though I want to smack it in the head with a shovel. Seriously though, I have no issues if the deer want to pick at the birdseed or drink from the birdbath, but mess with my gardens and it is on. I know, I know, they will win. (Hangs head in defeat.)


Here is also a partial shot of my vegetable garden. The back rows are carrots (and whole lot of unregulated mint to keep away the deer. See, my life has turned into a deer stopping mission.). A kind friend bought me a packet of carrot and sunflower seeds. The carrot seeds are the size of a gnat and I had no desire to take  tweezers and space them out correctly so I just did my best assuming my rocky dirt would produce nothing.  I am afraid that out of 500 seeds, 100 or more took. Good thing we love carrots. My tomato plants look like crap so I added more compost and even potting soil in the hopes of reviving them. We shall see. We did join a CSA this year so I know we will have tomatoes. It is just nice to be able to walk out into your yard and grab one when it is ripe.


Have a wonderful weekend!

Cheers!
MissFifi