Thursday, April 24, 2014

Sardine Tacos

I can imagine some of you have cringed and said, "Yuck!" For me, the health benefits outweigh the "yuck" factor.  I have actually come to enjoy the little buggers. The husband still needs convincing, but he that last night's dinner is helping him along.
First off, the usual is sardines on toast or in pasta. All well and good, but I wanted something different. So I began to search like crazy and on some food blog, I think Chow, someone suggested using it in a taco. Now that sounded very interesting.
The recipe was a hit.
I did do some tweaking with the ingredients. Instead of corn tortillas I used habanero-lime ones from Trader Joe's and also go my sardines there. I did not have coriander seed so I just used ground up coriander. I used Siracha in place of having sardines in chili oil and I did not toast the cumin seeds out of sheer did not feel like it-ness. I was going to add cabbage, but the hubby forgot to pick it up. We usually dig cabbage with our tacos and I tell you, there is not doubt in my mind that the pickled onion sauce would go divine with cooked or raw cabbage.

La Sirena Sardine Tacos

If you are a fan of sardines give this a serious go. Heck, even if you are not a fan, the different flavors may make the fish more palatable and you can play with the ingredients. I cannot say enough about the onion sauce. Seriously, it is that good. Oh, I also had the leftovers over pasta today and they were even more delicious than last night. This recipes is a definite keeper.



Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Frugal Is As Frugal Does

I am a little tired today because our handicapped dog, who was just diagnosed with Lyme disease thank you very much, woke me at 1:30am for a drink. The doxycycline she is taking makes her extra thirsty and since she cannot get to a water bowl on her own, she whines a little to let us know she needs something and we accommodate. There are times that whine could make you smother someone with a pillow. Once she was set I laid back down to sleep.
At around 4:30am our son woke up, calling out for us. My husband went in twice then so did I. Poor kid had a hard time settling and honestly, I probably should have stayed awake at that point. I have not had broken up sleep like that since he was a newborn so I am very short with everyone today and pretty much of a muddled mind. That being said, trying to work on my novel while he naps would actually not be a good idea. Instead, I am going to post here, then do some reading.

A very helpful and interesting blog I read is The Prudent Homemaker. She has quite a large family she discusses who they have gotten by on one income that has been decreasing due to the economy and how they make do with what they have. Her commenters are also some pretty thrifty folks. Every week she does a "Last Weeks Frugal Accomplishments" post that is beyond informative because her readers share their tips as well.

Anyway, I was reading through comments from her latest entry and saw a few ideas that I wanted to post here because honestly, I thought they were awesome. There is a link directly to her site at the end.

This idea for cereal box bags by Marcia in RuralWNY is fantastic. "My husband and I eat cold cereal 6 days a week for breakfast, and I save the waxed paper bags that the cereal is in. I roll my pie crusts out between two sheets, and also use them as throwaways instead of dirtying dishes when baking---I sift flour or powdered sugar on to a sheet, or grate cheese or vegetables onto one when I'm prepping meals. My friends may make fun of me, but I have the last laugh...I use one or less than one purchased roll of waxed paper per year. I also reuse foil until it's too dirty to use again. Most of it is used under fruit pies as they bake--but often used a couple times before that. I fold the edges up to make a shallow tray and put that under the pie---saves cleaning the oven, and since mine is electric, that's quite a savings!"

mdoes37 saved money on mascarpone cheese by making her own version: "I needed mascarpone cheese for a recipe. I initially couldn't find it in the store, so I looked up a substitute for it, a recipe using cream cheese, a bit of sour cream and cream. I did find it and it was on sale, but after getting it home and tasting it, the substitute recipe would work just as well. And probably a third of the cost or better."

Would never have thought to do this. Debbie in Florida: "Male flowers opened on the zucchini. I collected pollen on paintbrushes to pollinate the females when they open."

A gluten free recipe using quick cooking or old fashioned oats shared by Marivene:
"If you have access to gluten free oats, you can soak 2 cups of oats overnight with 2 cups of milk, then stir in 2 eggs, 1 tsp baking powder, 2 TBSP brown sugar, a dash of salt, 2 TBSP of melted butter or oil, and (optional) cinnamon, cloves & ginger. It makes fabulous waffles that freeze well & reheat well in the oven. We have celiac in several family members, & this is the recipe that replaces cinnamon rolls for Christmas & Easter mornings. They are great with a little vanilla ice cream & maple syrup on top for a holiday breakfast, & if you like pumpkin, you can add 1/2 cup of that as well."

So if you have some time, go on over there and read to your heart's content.  
The Prudent Homemaker: Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

Our son has been a blueberry fiend for some time now. My husband is not a berry fan and that is just fine by me because that means more for us!  The thing is, the little one has sort of become addicted to them. He insists on eating them whenever he can and thanks to Trader Joe's carrying organic frozen, we keep them in stock. Today, he asked for the blueberries while pointing at the freezer, then went and got me the mini colander because he knows I run them under the water to defrost them a bit. (Bless his little blueberry heart.)
Due to this slight berry fetish, Dear God may he always eat like this, I have decided that next year I will attempt to plant blueberry bushes. This means we will need to make the garden larger and I will need bird netting so the birds do not eat them all before we get our hands on them.
In the meantime, a NJ farm called Blueberry Bill Farms, Southern NJ is the blueberry mecca in case you missed the memo, sells 30lb boxes of frozen blueberries. Yeah, we might have to make the pilgrimage and buy them. Of course I need to find out what it costs first because it may not be worth it so we shall see.

Enjoy your day!


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Hormones are Hell

So would a bloody mary or a nice glass of Prosecco.

This post will seem a little off after I wrote about the importance of being grateful. I still am, but I am also hormonal so all bets are off right now.

One of the big issues is that I have been unable to sleep through the night for some months which sucks. Thank you perimenopause. This getting old crap sucks. If I sit crossed legged for too long, when I go to get up, oh mercy me! My hip bones seem to have gone on revolt, locking in place and mocking me along with all the muscles that assist them and my legs into standing. If my house was on fire I would probably move faster crawling. How sad. I am working out still and I feel great while doing it and after, but once I sit, you would think I never stretched my body ever. I really need to do yoga every night, just to unwind all that is wound. Deep thinking right there dude.
My horrible hormonal imbalance is also making me short tempered which is not a good thing. I do my best to keep it in check as I do not want to drop dead of a heart attack screaming about water on the floor. Death from something so trivial would be a tad melodramatic, no?

As for drama, Isadora, our dog, seems to be having a rough time dealing with the loss of our cat. How would I know this? Well, as you know, she is handicapped and cannot just walk over to where she wants to go, so she whines to give us a heads up. The problem is, she is whining all the time. All. The. Time. I move her to be near us, but sometimes that does not even suffice. Chloe was sleeping with her in the mornings for the last month or two, so I believe she misses that camaraderie and sense of another animal in the home. I understand where she is at because I almost bought cat food the other day, but it also makes it impossible to think when all she does is whine. Sometimes I will have her on my lap and that is still not enough. We feel bad for her we really do, but it is like having an extra toddler in the house. Which brings me to our son.

A feisty, independent child, he suddenly has this need to be with me all the time. If I am in the kitchen, trying to write an email, my book, doing dishes, he wants me to come and sit, with his "bitty" aka blanket, and watch a show. Of course I accommodate him, but a small part of me wants to be able to sit down and take care of something for five, maybe ten minutes, without being interrupted. I understand raising a small human requires constant care. At this point children to me are like rare rose bushes which are susceptible to disease and issues if not well tended. I am not suggesting one helicopter like a lunatic, but you are the one responsible for who they are and what they do so you need to be diligent. You know, like throwing a metal train across a room is not a good idea there kid.
When we realized we were having a bouncing baby boy I did my best to gauge what I was in for as the stay at home parent. No matter what I read or know, it boggles the mind how much juggling I do. Being an executive assistant for CEO's has prepared me and I tell you what, a CEO is easier to accommodate than a toddler. Though their shared "I want it now" and "why can't I have that?" attitudes are pretty much the same so it is sort of funny. See? There is humor in everything.

In sweet news, our son gets upset if we go outside and do not bring Izzy with us. They have formed a nice bond, one that has to still be watched as she is a Jack Russell with special needs and as such cannot run away if she wanted to get some space. She does growl as a warning and we have been teaching him since day one that means leave her alone. He gets it, but he is only two so the need for reinforcing is constant. The best scenario is when she is in her wheels because then she can run with him and chase the ball. All good.

It is chilly here today, about 30 right now. After having temps of 70, this sucks, but fortunately, only temporary. Have a wonderful day!


Monday, April 14, 2014

Being Grateful

Most of the time, a lot of us folks feel like we are running uphill most of the time. Whether it is from work, a relationship or everything and anything in-between, life can get you down . Sometimes I feel like even though I have done a lot during the day, I almost feel like I could have done more. I do try and take moments where I am outside with my son and just listen to the birds or smile at the clouds, but most of the time I am trying to prevent him from killing another bug. We are currently learning that we do not touch spiders. Spiders bite and my newest tactic to prevent any issue is telling him that spiders are hot like a flame. So far we are okay, but like any curious lad he will still attempt to pet a spider. God help me when the big garden spiders start to rear their heads. But I digress...

Today as I was cleaning the guest room I moved a bag that had a comforter set inside. One day friends of ours called and said they had an extra set they did not need and would we want it? Happy to not have to go buy such a thing we took it and now I only need to get sheets. These same friends seem to have an uncanny knack for knowing when I am about to go purchase something. I was reading reviews on crockpots last year when lo and behold, my friend called, said he bought a new one and we would like the old one? Yes please. We also got a toaster oven from them as well.

Another friend saved clothes and books from her son along with some toys from her daughter and passed them on to us. Our little one has enjoyed the toys, especially the Thomas the Train set, and the books. The bounty of clothes which are in sizes for when my son is older, like 4 or 5, are a Godsend and I feel incredibly blessed to have such a dear friend.

Normally I am a cynical beast, but I do realize that we have been blessed and are very lucky. I am grateful to those in our lives who have been generous in many ways. Whether it is with a visit or a crock pot or an unexpected sweet gesture, it is worth taking the time to smile and think of the goodness that surrounds me and be happy.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Yes, I Cried While Watching This

Heartwarming, touching and proof there is some decency left in this world.

As part of the "Prank it Fwd" campaign, the Ascencia Homeless Shelter in Glendale, CA was turned into a 5 star restaurant for an evening as a surprise for the residents.

What killed me most is the woman saying, "And I never in my life got treated like this, never."

Human kindness people, we need more of it.


Thursday, April 3, 2014

An Amusing and Surreal Moment

                                          *An Oldie But A Goodie Song

Last night while I cooked dinner I regressed back to my youth and began blaring music that my friends and I used to boogie to in the clubs. Here I was, bopping around my kitchen to songs by Ministry, Skinny Puppy, Psychedelic Furs, Love and Rockets, all good stuff, and making the house favorite recipe of Zesty Chicken Enchiladas. I used shrimp for chicken and added corn and spinach and bell peppers. I had no cream so used milk instead and since I am sans tomatillos I used salsa verde instead. All while our two year old son ran in and out, amused by his Mama singing Tool's Parabola on the top of her lungs as she handed him more pieces of cheese.

Sometimes it is good not to be a full on grown up and enjoy life.

I think of movies and shows that depict people 50-150 years ago and how 40 was middle age and old and you wore helmet hair and clutched your pearls at anything "radical". I am grateful to be a Generation X-er, sure there were drawbacks, but who hasn't had any in their teen years? I like to believe that people in my age group are aging just like me. With whatever grace and humor they have and showing people that being in your 40's does not mean you are a boring old blob. And let's be honest, but I grew up with the best music of any generation so there. LOL

Here are some of the songs I was dancing around to last night. Some of you may find it rubbish or offensive or you may be turned on and find it fun. You may also think I am batty and you would not be the first. So without further chatter...

Ministry - We Believe

Parabola - Tool

Skinny Puppy - Blue Serge

Psychedelic Furs - Heartbeat

The Beatles - Tomorrow Never Knows


Tuesday, April 1, 2014


Our beloved 17 year, 5 month old cat had to be put to sleep this morning.  She was very ill and we knew this time was coming, but it is never easy. We all went to the vet together and said our goodbyes. Our little man laughed and head butted her which was bittersweet, but she loved him so I know it made her happy. She was the last of three cats we had and as someone who has always had a cat since I was twelve years old, it is extremely odd and almost eerie to not have a feline in the house. Goodbye Chloe you were a gentle, sweet soul. Love you little lady.

With heavy heart,