Saturday, February 28, 2009

crazy weather

these flowers are in my yard today the last day of february. the crocuses in fact seem to be blooming like weeds all over my front and side yard. i think they are the cause of my terrible runny nose and watery eyes right now. somehow i turned 30, and i had my first bout with hay fever. it seems to be returning this year too.

i am so happy to see the daffodils as they are one of my favorite flowers. they finally bloomed this afternoon.

however, here comes the ice. in fact right now, it is icing and was doing such as i took these pics and snow is expected later tonight. tomorrow is supposed to be the big snow and they are calling for 6-10 inches for our area. i really hope all my flowers die as a result of this cold front.

today's free stuff 2/28/09

free bop88 body oils
free sample gorilla glue
free printout coupon for a free panty from express intimates good through march 1st, 2009
free redken for men shoe shine kit download the widget then play truth or myth game and that will bring up the form for the kit

Friday, February 27, 2009

ice cream in a bag

i am super miserable with my first round of allergies this season. my darling decided with it being so warm wednesday and thursday to open windows in our house. flowers have just bloomed though and i could feel the beginnings of my agony welling up. so, now i have a bit of a sore throat from not being able to breath through my nose. what would feel better than some cold ice cream. but, i have none in my freezer. i remember making ice cream in coffee cans camping as a kid and figured there had to be a way to make some myself without an ice cream maker. enter my laptop and the handy dandy internet. how did i ever survive without out the internet and better yet what did my mom do without it. i looked up ice cream with a coffee can, and found this recipe for making ice cream in plastic bags. if you want a recipe for making it in a coffee can, which we called kick the can, try here. i made a few changes, and it worked out fine.
i combined 1 % milk, imitation vanilla extract(as a recovering alcoholic i try to avoid using real extracts as they tend to be high in alcohol whereas the fake stuff often isn't.) and less than the called for sugar hoping to cut back some by using a lower fat milk and less sugar. i used a sandwhich bag instead of a pint bag. here's my mixed baggie.
i used a pint size instead of gallon bag because it was all i had. i also substituted kosher salt for the rock salt and used half a tray of ice. ready to shake, shake, shake.
and the result

so maybe, i took it out before it was completely done; but it was yummy. not as creamy as it would have been with half and half or cream but also not as fattening.
i made it as the recipe stated, so it really was only about a scoop full. i wanted more so i decided to change the flavor. this time i tried peppermint by switching the vanilla extract with peppermint extract and adding a bit of red food color to give it a pink color. i also doubled the recipe to make more ice cream.

even doubling the recipe, it really only took about 5 minutes.

super refreshing. its also nice since it seems the only time you can find peppermint ice cream is at the holidays. peppermint is one of my favorite flavors if you haven't figured that out from some of my earlier posts. this time i also took the bags and put them in a plastic container to shake it. i found the bags get cold too quickly and literally hurt my hands not from being heavy but from the coldness. i also placed the extra ice cream in the fridge to eat tomorrow. now, i want to try chocolate which i bet would work well with chocolate milk. also, the pics look soupier than the ice cream really was. its just because i had my camera in another room and had to get it to take the pics. by the time everything was set up, the ice cream melted a bit.

cheese and pate dinner

yesterday after watching some dvr'd episodes of unwrapped off the food network on canned foods and cheese, we were inspired or should i say suckered into getting some cheese and crackers and canned meat. now obviously, the meat was not for me. i told my boyfriend to make things simpler by limiting us to 2 cheeses. he decided to go for a semi soft and semi hard cheese. his decision was to get manchego and herbed chevre. he went for the manchego because it his favorite all purpose cheese, and despite his adoration for it, i have somehow never managed to have it before. manchego is a sheep's milk cheese and can only be called manchego if it is made from manchega sheep which originate from la mancha region of spain(sound familiar like don quixote). our local bloom carries it for $18.89 a lb. needless to say we got quite less than a pound. i love goat cheese so i was glad that chevre was his second choice. for his canned meats, he got liver pate, lobster pate, and deviled ham. all the canned meats were approxiamately $2 a can. the deviled ham was the original inspiration. the show mentioned vienna sausages which he had never had. i remember as a child having vienna sausages and hating the slimy juice they came in. but, i did remember liking deviled ham. when i looked online, all explanations seemed to be that it was finely diced ham and seasonings. he thought well that sounds good, and he wanted to try some. he also got some gardenia, pickled spicy vegetables instead of the usual olives to accompany our spread. and, of course, we need a bread so he bought some seasame crackers and boxed crostinis(who knew they made these? what a time saver for parties.).

the results. the cheeses were absolutely divine as expected. the chevre fabulous as expected and the manchego has an almost nutty quality to it. it was a 3 month old wheel, but we really can't afford to get one that is more mature as those are even pricier. i was also pleased at how full i was after what might be seen as a course in many other meals. the meats did not go as well. the lobster smelled like lobster at least which is a bonus as the other two cans smelled like bad cat food. he made me smell them much to my dismay. i guess my memories of deviled ham were off cause he was less than a fan. the liver pate was so bad that even the cats would not eat it when we put it in their bowl. it was still sitting there the next morning. i suppose thats what you get when you buy cheap. all in all a nice change of pace and a lovely chance to feel like you are living th decadent life.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

home hair dyeing tips

i am a home hair dye junkie. my hair started going white at 14. yes white, never grey. i was terribly embarrassed. while living with my parents, i was not allowed to dye my hair other than the occassional use of lemon juice or sun in which did give me slight auburn highlights but did nothing to cover the white hair coming in. once in college and out of my parent's house, i took the opportunity to dye my hair not only to cover the white but to experiment with other colors. orginally, i started out with shades of brown and red, but since i've had pretty much every color from jet black to platinum blond. me in high school in the bugs bunny sweater(remember the 90s now) with my boring brown hair
jet black march of sophmore year of college
one of my fave shades of red back in march of '04 growing my hair out which explains the completely uncute cut
multitonal hair descending from platinum blond to orangish shade not sure what i was thinking here, but it was not too long after one of my stays at the crazy house
very light red almost orange
couldn't find any of the platinum blond and there have been several other shades of brown and red. here's a closeup of the color i did last friday evening.
along the way, i've learned a few things about home dye jobs. its a great way to save money if done well. you can either buy it in a kit at a drug store, grocery, etc or go to a beauty supply store like sally's and get the individual components. so, here are my tips:
  • if in doubt, get a friend to help you out. it really can be fun to have a hair dye party. i don't recommend this as a time to take pics except before and after pics. trust me, no one wants pics of themself with their dyed hair piled up atop their head.
  • if possible, take off your bra. hair dye can easily seep through your shirt and ruin a perfectly pretty bra and with as expensive as they are who wants a ruined bra. even a little drop is enough to piss me off.
  • even better invest in a cape. you can find them at beauty supply stores for a couple of bucks, and it will save you ruining some clothes.
  • if you have thick hair, you may need to buy multiple boxes or bottles. unless my hair is super short, i always need to get two boxes for full coverage.
  • they sell color remover if you get any on your skin in the same aisle as the hair color. but, you can also use ash mixed with water to remove the color on your skin on the cheap.
  • hair dye will permanently dye just about anything it comes in contact with. if your going to do it at home in your bathroom especially if you have a small bathroom, some touchup paint can be your friend. if you get it on your sink though, you can usually prevent staining by immediately and i mean immediately wiping it up. if it even sets as long as it takes to finish dyeing your hair, you may have staining.
  • dyeing your hair darker or red will improve the health of your hair but lightening is damaging. if you lighten, you really need to condition and use special oil treatments to keep up the health of your hair and prevent it turning to straw.
  • if you are covering grey or white hair, you must be sure to look for product formulated to cover it or you will end up with uneven results. i learned this lesson the hard way buying clairol hydrience which is not for grey coverage and ended up with grape purple roots. i had to redye my hair to cover them up.
  • it really is worth it to buy shampoo and conditioner specially formulated for colored hair. they are special formulated to protect your hair from uv damage and prevent fading.
  • i have a special towel i use for when i dye my hair that way i don't ruin any other towels. mine is already red, and i have used it for almost 15 years now.
  • combing your hair once you have applied the dye is a good way to distribute the dye to the ends.
  • if you buy a kit and like the way the color turns out, keep the box end which has the brand and number. that way the next time you go to buy you can easily get the same color again.
  • hair dye always stinks even if it is amonia free. so, turn the bathroom fan on.

the most exciting news of the week

i am so happy for my best friend who just became a grandma. the baby shower is still not til march. the baby came a month early, but at 2:39 am tuesday, february 24th, 2009 madox breau joined the world. he was 5lbs 8oz. and already home. i haven't been able to see him yet with everything going on, but can't wait. congrats to the new parents, derek and dawn. dear me, i remember when i was telling derek to stay in school and now he's a daddy. my how the years fly by. i hope to be a proud "auntie".

my work's new policy on facebook, myspace, and blogs

this weekend, we were informed that the company i work for has a new policy that makes it a terminatable offense to either mention the name of where we work or anything about work or coworkers on facebook, myspace, or blogs. i have always excluded the name of where i work on my blog for personal reasons, so i'm not really that worried about how it will effect my blog. i have several coworkers as friends both on myspace and facebook. i figure i will just have to limit any conversations to private messaging. still, i'm not sure how i feel about this policy. recently, there had been controversy at our particular store about people making disparaging comments about coworkers on myspace. still, this is the same in my mind as idle gossip between coworkers that takes place both inside and outside of work and will always occur when you have people who spend that much time together. the only difference is that now there is a written record. however, making it a terminatable offense for speech that takes place outside of the workplace seems not only harsh but also questionably crossing the line. we are a casual restaurant. we have had people who work as strippers on the side without it being the slightest issue, however mentioning that you work at the restaurant is a problem for their image. i wonder if this is a standard corporate practice now with the prevelance of social networking and blogging or unique to my company.

happy belated mardi gras

i missed wishing everyone a happy mardi gras, and i am sorry for that. i hope everyone at lots of pancakes and got lots of beads. i got some beads but not for doing anything naughty.
showing off the beads. my friends and i did karoke as we usually do on tuesdays.
paul singing some michael jackson as usual.

travis doing oklahoma broadway style.

me singing something to talk about as a special request for trav.
jermaine singing some prince just for me.
janet rockin it.

noah belting some katatonia.

and some good friends, patrick and brendan came to town with a coworker, kim.

a wonderful group pic.

pat and brendan singing together.

patrick and i

brendan and i . it was so good seeing them again, since the last time they last time they made it down was september.

paul and i

and, of course one of me and trav. these are just the highlights, since i took over 50 pics that night.

cake mix cookies

as i have mentioned in earlier posts, i have been looking for ways to use up all the boxes of cake mix i have. i looked online and found a ton of recipes for cake mix cookies. i decided to use this as my basic recipe. i used . i decided to separate the dough into 1/3 to make 3 different kinds of cookies. the first would be basic sugar cookies. i started making really small cookies as i was afraid they might spread too much when baking. i also found that in my oven i needed to bake them for about 15 mins instead of 9-12 as the recipe calls for. here's how the basic cookies turned out. they are super soft and moist with a wonderful vanilla flavor. the second part of dough i added cinnamon and red hots. the third part i made into raisin oatmeal cookies by adding brown sugar, raisins, and oatmeal. i had gotten a tip from a coworker on monday that to make for softer raisins when cooking presoak the raisins in hot water. i let them soak til they plumped up for about 15 minutes or so. i was anxious to see how these 2 varieties would turn out, so i baked them simulataneously. and fully baked the red hots melt when baking and these cookies are best eaten warm. be careful though cause sometimes the candy will stick to the pan if not well greased.

things i learned in the last week

so much has happened in the last week, and i've barely been posting. so, i thought i would hit the highlights in things i learned in the last week.
  • baking soda and yogurt don't mix. one night, i awoke with tremendous stomach pain and bloating. half asleep, i thought it would be a genius idea to combine baking soda and yogurt since both are supposed to aid stomach ailments. plus, i thought it might cover that nasty taste of baking soda. in my haze though of pain and just waking up, i didn't think it through. i ended up with a mini volcano in my bowl. oops.

  • it bothers me when my dad asks about me in the "we" form. my boyfriend and i have been together for 3 years in just a few weeks. my dad though has seemed to take it more seriously. this christmas, he asked about getting something for my boyfriend too something my family has never done. since about that time, he's started asking how my boyfriend was doing more often. this past weekend, he called and asked how "we" were doing. it all started with a voicemail he left asking how "y'all" are. this really got under my skin. i suppose its nice; a sign of his acceptance. however, i still feel like his little girl even at 31. i like being special to him, and somehow i feel it takes away from me. sad, i know but true.

  • housing prices seriously are hitting rock bottom. watching bill maher, i heard that the average price of homes in detroit are down to 18k. i was blown away. i've spent more than that on an suv before. trailer homes are more than that here. the next day, i saw this article on homes selling for under 6k. i wish i had more saved to buy a home.

  • i am an absolute sucker for baby items. normally, i avoid the baby section. too depressing to me in my situation. last night wandering around walmart with friends, i was drawn to the baby section especially since my best friend became a grandmother earlier we expected, and by earlier, i mean this week 2 weeks before the baby shower. i started cooing over everything. i was all look at the cute lil yes lil not little everything. the theme for the baby is jungle, so i was beyond smitten when i saw this onsie.after that, i walked around walmart holding up the onsie saying roar. i couldn't resist. i was almost in tears picking up all the items. i wanted to buy all the stuff for a baby of my own. i still have to do my actual shopping for the baby shower presents, but i think i need to stay away from walmart.
  • cake mix cookies rock. but more about that in a whole post about them.
  • reorganizing only works when you remember where you moved things. we hit a wall last thursday when we thought we were out of trash bags late at night when we needed one. this was especially frustrating since i had gone to the store just that day. when i did get another chance to go to the store, i bought more trash bags among other supplies. as i was putting away those cleaning supplies, i suddenly found the stash of trash bags i had already.
  • forgetfulness seems to be a trend this past week. after going to the bank, i had to stop by sheetz. i needed to get gas, oil, windsheild wiper fluid/deicer and something for dan to drink for work. i picked up the oil and winsheild wiper fluid/deicer since it was outside the building. but, then i ran into someone i knew. i ended up checking out and walking out the door only then to remember i needed to pay for gas. i got gas and headed off. i was almost home and remembered i needed the beverage. luckily, there is a 7-11 super close to my house and i could stop there.
  • people who make plans with you to do something, but then become impossible to contact when you are supposed to get together really gets on my nerves. i had friends come from out of town tuesday night. we got to hang out at karoke, and made plans to do lunch with one of our mutual friends at 1pm. they were going to text us to tell us who was going to get picked up 1st. we figured one vehicle for all of us was a good idea since we weren't sure where we would want to eat. i held off eating waiting for our lunch date. around 12:30, i contacted the mutual friend via text to make sure we were still on. he and i assumed so but hadn't heard yet from our out of town friends. nothing til 2, when we got feed up and finally texted them. they had just gotten up and needed to shower and get ready. then, we never could get texts back. i was super annoyed. my friend had wasted his lunch break and we were both starving. plus, we had wanted more time together since it seems we only get to see these friends about every 5 months. well, hopefully we will get more time together in july when they'll be back.
  • i finally found a mexican sit down restaurant with good rice; pancho villa. in fact, i think it was the only part of our meal that was seasoned. usually, at mexican joints, i find the rice to be bland. pancho's villa's was yummy i must say which was good since their vegetarian combos do not include beans.

tgi friday's spinach dip

i love spinach artichoke dip especially at tgi friday's. so, i was surprised when my boyfriend brought home the frozen version from the grocery store as i treat since i was feeling under the weather. it was a sweet thought on his part especially, since he's worried that when i don't feel well that i don't get all the nutrients i need. sadly, i was quite disappointed. it tasted completely different from what you get in the actual restaurant. the food clealy tasted like it had been frozen. it was also really runny and not creamy the way i expected the dip to be. the dip was also extremely bland. we tried doctoring it by adding cheese, salt, pepper, and a bit of hot sauce to balance it out. even with that, it was still less than i had hoped.

back into the swing of things

i know it has been a while since i've posted. it all started with me being sick. having digestive problems left me either spending too much time in the bathroom or laying down with a heating pad. when i did start feel better, i was lucky enough to have friends visiting from out of town and wanted to try to catch up not only on stuff that needed to get done but also catch up with friends. there just seems to be so many things to do. i mean for pete sake my dvr is practically full.
i was surprised how difficult it was to getting back to blogging. i would start typing a post, and i felt like i was typing in slow motion. i allowed myself to be easily distracted or find reasons to do something other than blog. its not like i didn't have things to talk about. a million things have happened this past week. i hate to say i have been working bit by bit on typing 3 posts for almost 5 days. naturally, i am a procrastinator, but this is silly. i enjoy blogging getting my thoughts out.

today's free stuff 2/26/09

free sample of splenda either with fiber or for coffee
free crest advanced seal whitening strips text crest to 467467
free subscription to maxim magazine
free sample parent's choice infant formula
free caribener key ring or buy one get one free pack offer from marlboro enter promo code mar6222
free subscription to elle magazine
free aeropostale tank starting march 3rd, 2009 bring either a printout of the seventeen homepage or copy of the page from the april 2009 issue with the aeropostale ad
4 free issues of esquire magazine
free pork recipe brochures
coupon for free kids meal and kids drink at bob evans also when you pay at the register many bob evans also have these coupons that they are giving away currently
free kidz eeze chest relief sample
free nelsons purifying daily face wash
free reusable sports bottle
free samples of softsheen hair care
free sample of lactaid
a different free sample of parents choice infant formula
free chips and queso from chili's
free coupon printout for arby's roastburger

Monday, February 23, 2009

red lentil soup

i know i am a bit behind in getting this up. i made red lentil soup in my crockpot last friday evening. i say red lentil not just lentil soup, because i think the red lentils make the soup look so much prettier. red lentils generally cost the same or maybe ten cents more than regular lentils which tend to be a greyish brown color. i am a huge fan of lentils and lentil soup, but i must admit it looks, well, a bit ugly. so, when i was shopping for dried beans last week, i saw red lentils and thought why not use them instead to make lentil soup. red lentils aren't truly red as i noticed many foods with colors in their name tend not to match the color like white sweet potato which is really yellow. by the way, if you haven't had white sweet potato, i highly recommend them especially for a sweet potato pie with lemon extract like my grandma makes. i digress and will have to discuss my favorite pie around thanksgiving when it is more seasonal. i also wanted to get creative and see if i could make this all in my crockpot. my hands have been suffering from dryness, so i'm a fan of avoiding washing more dishes. i normally, saute my veggies(better known as mirepoix) before making the soup. if this works in the crockpot, i would be good. so, here's the recipe and how it worked out.

red lentil soup

1 1lb bag of dried red lentils
2 cups diced onions
1/2 cup grated carrot
1 cup chopped celery
water or vegetable broth just enough to cover the beans and veggies
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tbs minced garlic
1 tbs oregano
(this recipe omits spinach which i normally use more to keep uniformity in the color scape.)

i start off by soaking the lentils overnight. now i understand that lentils and split peas do not need to soak in order to cook. however, not only does it get some of the dirt off, but it also helps reduce some of the gassiness associated with beans. then, i thoroughly rinse them. i took the marjarine, onions, garlic, and seasonings and allowed them to sweat in the crockpot on high for 1/2 hour. once the onions were almost translucent, i added the celery and carrots and cooked them down for an additional 15 minutes til the onions were completely translucent. then, i added the red lentils and water or broth. here is a picture of the soup cooking. i moved the crockpot setting down to low allowing the soup to cook for 3-5 hours til the lentils were thoroughly cooked. then, after the soup cooled some, i portioned the soup into individual containers to freeze. sadly, that's flour spilled in my freezer.

today's free stuff 2/23/09

free 2 year subscription to parent's magazine
free membership to juicy juice bunch should receive samples and coupons
free subscription to woman's day magazine
free redbox rental code good for today s39xkt
free small sub from quizno's good for 5 days from printout
free subscription to success magazine

Sunday, February 22, 2009

stomach pain still

i have still been battling with my issues with stomach pain and as a result have had very little energy. this has been a rough week. i can't remember the last day without some level of digestive issues; maybe last saturday. i just hope this is my ibs aggravated by the stress of the economy on my work. i am back to the bedroom to try lying down again with a heating pad. sorry that i haven't posted more. i promise i have a ton of catching up to do including discussing my red lentil soup, dyeing my hair, my companies new policy regarding facebook, myspace, and blogs, just to name a few.

today's free stuff 2/22/09

free coupon for a kashi frozen entree
coupon for free bag of milk bone treats valued at $4.99 check page 15 in the people magazine march 2nd, 2009 issue and page 10 of entertainment weekly february 20th, 2009 issue
code for free bag of custom printed m & ms with any order at with code bday28
free condom if you are 21 hit yes then where to get horny
free all you can eat pancakes at ihop 2/24/09 to celebrate international pancake day
free food from boston pizza