Black Friday Freebie

Happy day after Thanksgiving!  I hope everyone had a great day yesterday.  My celebration this year was on the smaller side.  We have had to cut it down the last couple of years because my dogs don’t behave well with so many people in the house.  We were a total of 12 this year and it seemed to work out fine.  We visited, ate well, and watched the New York Jets get their butts kicked by the NE Patriots!

The food was great.  My most recent Cravebox was full of things for Thanksgiving and believe me I used them yesterday. Every year I like to try something new as a side dish.  My dish this year was mashed cauliflower.  I was surprised – it wasn’t bad.  I am told I should substitute this for mashed potatoes to save on carbs, I might have to start doing that.

Black Friday officially started yesterday at 8 pm.  I find that Christmas is creeping up the calendar every year.  While I love Christmas and the holiday season as much as the next person, I don’t like having it shoved in my face the day after Halloween.  For that and other reasons, I never do Black Friday – especially when it now starts on Thanksgiving.  What used to be a holiday where you celebrated family and were thankful for what you had – you are now gobbling down your meal so you can be in line when the stores open at 8.  The whole idea of that just bothers me.  Christmas isn’t Christmas anymore.

OK – I will get down of the soapbox.  I may protest Black Friday, but that doesn’t mean I am going to give up on Christmas…  Instead of shopping, I decided to create.  I made a FB cover to celebrate Christmas – I liked it enough to turn it into a FB quick page.  There are two in the file one with “From My Family to Yours” and one without!  I hope you like it – enjoy the rest of your weekend! Download file here

College Visits, Football Sunday & Happy Columbus Day

Friday – my youngest and I visited a couple of colleges.  It is always a nice time of year to visit colleges in upstate New York.  My favorite was Utica college.  Though it is on the smaller side, it offered the program my son was looking for.  Bonus –  it also has a swim team.  Not sure what he is thinking yet, but we will find out soon.

Yesterday was Sunday and for me that means football. I am an avid New England Patriots fan.  Would not matter where I lived, they are the team for me.  I have been following them since the Mid 80’s, so I have been there through the bad as well as the good times.  My football game was the 4 pm game, so that gave me time to get a little crocheting done.  I have been working on a afghan.  I found the pattern on this website.  I decided to do my own thing and add an additional color.  I will post the completed project once it is done.  These are pictures of where I was at the beginning of football afternoon and then what I had done at the end.  Progress – right!

Squares before

Squares After

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love having a Monday holiday.  It seems to make the entire weekend much better.  For me it is a relaxing, catching up on some chores kind of day.  Here  it is a little chilly, so my dinner choice is comfort food.  Planning on meatloaf, mac & cheese, salad and cornbread.  I have found a few good recipes for mac & cheese on Pinterest.  I have a good recipe from my Mom, but I love to try others when I can.  I also like to use whatever cheese I have on hand.  This time I added a little smoked Gouda.   I also made my own breadcrumbs using some left over rolls I made.  I am hoping the family likes it!  Back to reality tomorrow.  Enjoy the rest of today!

Michelle

Cravebox – politics banned!

Today is Wednesday – normally a nothing kind of night, middle of the week boring.  This week it has taken on new meaning.  The presidential debate is on.  No, I am not going to get political here.  You will vote for who you vote for.  The important thing is -that you vote!  Well others in my family have different opinions and they are very into debates, etc.  Me, I look for an escape.  Don’t get me wrong, I think it is important that you gain knowledge so you know what you are voting for.  But I can figure that out early on and not much they say in these debates will change my opinion.  Wasted TV time.

So what do I do?  I turn to my favorite TV channels – HGTV or FoodNetwork.  I love their shows and the commercials do not include political ads – a big bonus as far as I am concerned!  Plus – I can learn a thing or two.

Today I was excited because I received my first Cravebox.  I mentioned that I was expecting this in my last post.  I was quite excited to receive it.  My guess about the book was correct, so I know I am very excited about reading it.  If you want to read the first few pages as I did, go to Amazon. I also received a package of licorice from Natural Vines.  I have had licorice before, mostly form the grocery store.  Well, I have to tell you, there is a BIG difference.  This licorice is soft and very flavorful.  I had my son try it as well and he agreed. Another part of the box was a very cute bracelet from Alexa’s Angels, it spelled out Gratitude.  When I look at it, it does make me think about what I am thankful for.  Go to their website.  They have a lot of great gift ideas there. The last (but not least) sample in the box was a bag of soy nut mix.  I have to admit, I was a little skeptical about this one.  I am pleased to announce that it was good.  The bag had soy nuts, but also included a little bit of chocolate.  The combination made this work.  It was also the perfect snack size.  I will be buying from Crum Creek Mills again.

This may seem like an advertisement – but it isn’t totally (though to be honest, I want to be selected for more boxes…).  I am very impressed with what I received from Cravebox.  The products I received are definitely things I will use and seek to purchase in the future.

Book Lover's Cravebox Image

Well, I am off to read my book and eat my snacks.  Hope I get picked again soon!

Michelle

End of September

Well, today is September 30th.  It is amazing to me how quickly this year has gone by.  I swear it was the beginning of summer yesterday…  Well this day is always melancholy for me.  My mother passed 6 years ago today.  I miss her very much.  She was such an inspiration and I have to credit her for the best parts of who I am today. It is also because of her that I love all the various things that I do.

On to other things…  I learned last week that I have been picked to receive the book lovers cravebox.  I can’t wait. It should arrive this week.  I will let you know what I think after I read the book.  They were giving away hints on twitter, so I think I know what the book is and I have a feeling I am going to like it.  They also send a long a few other products to enjoy while reading the book.  All the products they send are new to the market, so I will get to be one of the first to test them.  If this kind of thing interests you, you should look into it.

Image Image As always I have been busy cooking and trying many of the new recipes I find on pinterest.  I love that site, if you don’t belong, you should.  I also like to try the recipes that I find in People Magazine.  Yes I said People magazine.

I tried this recipe by Maggie Gyllenhaal.  It was delicious.  It was made with arugula, ribbons of zucchini, pine nuts, parmesan cheese and an oil & lemon vinaigrette.  I can’t seem to find the recipe online – but here is a scanned version.

Mine doesn’t look quite the same, but be assured, it tasted delicious.  Try it while you can still get fresh local zucchini.

I think I will spend the rest of this rainy day working on a few craft projects and watching football.  Happy end of September.

Michelle

Back to Reality

I have recently returned from vacation in Cancun.  My husband and I went there to celebrate our 20th anniversary.  We had a great time.  I must say that Cancun surpassed my expectations.  I was expecting it to be like Fort Myers during Spring Break… You know, loud rowdy college students, drinking too much. That was not the case.  I can’t mention the fabulous weather enough.  One of my favorite pictures – taken from my beach chair at about 9 am. Image

The other great thing about Cancun was the food.  I love Mexican food and you can’t really get it any more authentic.  I tried everything I could.  One of my favorite things, which I am going to have to try to figure out the recipe for, was Red Snapper Ceviche.  I had this on the last day.  We were on the way to the airport and stopped at the Ritz Carlton for lunch.  It was so fresh and delicious.  From the title of the dish I know it had red snapper, mango, jicima, as well as the obvious citrus flavors. I also believe it had pepper of some kind – not hot, as the dish was not spicy.  Anyone out there have a good ceviche recipe to share?

Anyway – back to the real world of work and all the rest.  I know the memories will keep me going and last a little while longer…

Ziplist.com Oscar Party Contest

Hey – I mentioned ziplist in a previous post, well they are having an Oscar Party contest on Pinterest.  I entered and surprise, surprise, I am a finalist.  The thing I need though, repins or likes.  I have selected some recipes and games etc. that I would do, if I were having an Oscar Party.

Visit my board here and like or repin please.  If you don’t do anything else – go to ziplist and see what I was talking about in my previous post!

Trying New Recipes

Last night I tried a recipe I found on Pinterest.  I changed it a little to work with what I had on hand.

On the note of recipes, if you are a collector like I am, you might be interested in Ziplist.  It is a service that allows you to save recipes you find online, to a recipe box.  From the recipe box you can select recipes you are interested in and create a shopping list from them.  I have folders and files of recipes I cut out from magazines.  The only problem with that, I can never find the one I want when I am looking for it.  I will admit, I am really unorganized when it comes to my recipe collection.  One day…

Anyway,  Ziplist keeps my recipes in one place and I can search for the one I want in multiple ways.  I can do this from any place that I can access the internet.  Sure beats carrying my recipe folders with me everywhere!  The one downside (if you want to call it that) is the website you are getting the recipe from, also needs to belong to Ziplist.  I think it is getting more popular as I am finding more blogs and sites that offer the ability to save the recipe to Ziplist.

Ziplist screenshotZiplist screenshot

Pictures from Ziplist 1st one is the grocery list section, the 2nd is the recipe section.  Check it out, you’ll like it.

OK now onto the recipe for Taco Salad that I made for dinner last night.

1 lb ground beef
1 can ranch style beans (I used Bush’s Grillin’ Beans – Black Bean Fiesta)
1 pkt Taco Seasoning

The key to this recipe is the dressing.

1 cup mayo
4 oz cream cheese (I used reduced fat)
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp onion powder (instead of the above seasonings I used 1 1/2 tsp of Paula Deen’s House Seasoning, it is a blend of the same seasonings)

For the dressing – put all the ingredients in a blender and pulse until combined.  Then let it sit in the fridge until ready to serve.

For the meat  – brown the ground beef in a skillet.  Drain.  Add the taco seasoning, stir to make sure it is well absorbed.  Add the canned beans and simmer for about 10 mins or until the beans are heated through.

To serve – I heated up 2 tortillas, in a 375 degree oven for about 5 mins,  in the shell pans (picture below).  I added lettuce, chopped tomatoes and the ground beef mix, sprinkled some cheese (I used a shredded Mexican cheese mix, found in most grocery stores) and topped with the dressing.  That is all there is to it.  Really easy and delicious.

I found the original recipe at the Becoming Betty Blog, above is my take on it.

Taco Shell PansFinished Taco Salad

I hope you enjoy!