Saturday, March 21, 2009

file in the complaint jar

i watched jay leno for the first time in years this thursday evening for one reason; obama. let's be honest it was a big deal. we have never had a sitting president on a late night talk show before or comedy show before. i knew he was there to sell the president's stimulus package, and i was intrigued. there was plenty of buzz on the web before and after the president's appearance about whether or not it was appropriate. my reaction was that he was down to earth and funny. i think in these difficult times, it was good to see the president yukking it up with leno being a real human being when many people are scared of the cold "fat cats" we see hear about who ran financial organizations that are responsible for the economic state we are in. i think the contrast sets a good tone with the public.
additionally, i hadn't watched leno in years. i forgot that he is funny. maybe i'll check him out again, but sadly probably not.

looking for your advice

i need some input from my friends and even people i don't already know out there in webspace. i am getting close to my 200th post(a little more than 20 away or about a week at my rate of posting) so, here's what i need:

  • how can i improve my blog in general?
  • do i need to focus more on certain topics and separate this into multiple blogs? i started to setup the bargainista blog but never did anything with it. should i get back to that and then somehow separate into a personal blog and a diy blog on food/crafts/around the house blog?
  • what formatting can i do to my page to make this more reader friendly? do i need a new layout? probably, i think. should i split up my blog roll into categories? even are my colors on my blog easily readable? do you like the font? i really want to improve even the minutia.
  • how can i improve my readership?
  • what would you like to see me post about more?
  • how do i get more followers?
  • what have been your favorite posts so far?
  • how can i get more comments as i really need/want feedback?
  • really, any advice is appreciated. i want to hear from people about this. so, what's worked or not worked for you?

is twitter my new crack?

i must admit i am addicted to twitter. it's just part of my internet progression. first, it was myspace which i so rarely visit now. then, it was facebook aka crackbook. now, its twitter.

i got on to twitter january 1st of this year since a friend was on twitter. but, i really didn't get into til recently. i like that i have it linked so it updates my status on facebook which i've found is not only convenient but since having a blog lets my non blogging friends be aware of my blog posts and check them out. originally, i was just copying and pasting links onto twitter. please don't laugh at my being behind the times technologically. thankfully, i just this week found twitterfeed.com which allows me to have it set so new blog posts automatically are listed as tweets on my twitter account. love that. but, i still don't have many twitter friends. i really don't know how to find people easily on twitter.
i do like microblogging when i don't have enough for a real post or just want to say a few words. twitter really has gone mainstream though. not only is it all over the media, but even my mom is on twitter.

so, do you twitter? if so, follow me. just click the link on the right sidebar. and, how do you use twitter to help your blog or otherwise to help you?

Friday, March 20, 2009

what do you eat?

since it is meat out day, i thought i would post some thoughts on being a vegetarian. recently, we've added several new employees at my job. and when they find out i'm a vegetarian, they all seem to have the same question; what do you eat? after over 10 years of being a vegetarian, that's a pretty funny question to me. i guess i have to think back to when i was a meat eater and realize i too was pretty ill informed. so, what do i eat? today being a work day is a little harried, but i'll use it as an example:

breakfast: peanut butter and jelly

lunch: kashi's mayan harvest bake frozen meal

snack: ramen noodles cooked with some frozen broccoli then added a spoonful of crunchy peanut butter(you want the peanuts for some crunch), several squirts of sriracha, soy sauce, and asian chili sauce (usually for a meal i added julienned extra firm tofu, carrots, and red bell peppers.) this was inspired veggie chic's post since i haven't made my version in quite a while

dinner:(we haven't eaten yet, but my boyfriend has already informed me of our dinner plans.) since he is having bison burgers, i am having veggie burgers with yet to be determined side.

and for those of y'all worried about protein, i actually have protein in all those meals and even my snack.

but really there are tons of meat alternatives for protein including but not limited to:
tofu, seitan, beans, eggs, veggie meat products like veggie dogs, quinoa, nuts, cottage cheese, dairy products, tempeh, leafy green vegetables such as spinach, amaranth, seaweed, and seeds.
plus, i still eat lots of stuff i used to eat like mac and cheese.

today's free stuff 3/20/09

free tote fom victoria's secret register and the next page will give you a coupon printout for a free gift in store only
free thomas and friends train at toys r us 3/21-3/22 with this coupon printout
free subscription to milk magazine
free box glucerna cereal with this coupon printout or by calling 1-877-879-4857 its automated
free sample dove hair care
free t-shirt at olympia sports stores thru 3/22 with this coupon printout for store locations

kashi's mayan bake

i've been a fan of kashi products for some time now. when kashi announced they were offering coupons for a free frozen meal (the promotion appears to have ended.), i was all over it. before i even got my coupon in the mail, i perused the frozen meal offerings to see what new frozen meals they had to offer. when i saw the mayan harvest bake,

i was excited to try and pleased when i found it at my local walmart. it has plantains, black beans, sweet potato, kale, kashi 7 whole grain pilaf, amaranth, polenta, and a spicy ancho sauce. i cooked mine in the microwave.
my thoughts on the dish: it definitely needed more salt and for a meal that states on the front of the package it had a spicy ancho sauce, it wasn't spicy at all. so, i added salt and sriracha. i could have choosen an ancho hot sauce since we certainly have some in our fridge. you really wouldn't believe the number of hot sauces we have in our fridge(20+), but sriracha is my go to hot sauce since meeting my boyfriend. i really like the texture especially the added crunch of the pumpkin seeds and barley to balance the creamy other ingredients like the sweet potato and plantain. amazingly, it was really filing for what seemed to be a small portion most likely from the high fiber. overall, i really liked the meal. it tasted pretty darn good for a frozen meal, and its good for me.

the rest of my target order arrived

the rest of my target order arrived today and here it is:

skirt $4.99

tunic and sequin scarf $4.99
3/4 sleeve v-neck dress with smocked empire waist $7.49

happy spring


after a winter with more snow than we usually get here in virginia and lots of super cold days, i am ready for spring(though not the hay fever it will inevitably bring). so, here's to spring which arrives officially at 7:44am. what could be more spring than flowers, so here are some daffodils from my yard last spring to ring in the season.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

meat out day

tomorrow, friday, march 20th is meat out day. being a friday during lent, i am hoping this gives some of my catholic friends an incentive to participate. i have been a vegetarian since new years of 1998. i have just recently started blogging. so, i don't have lots of pics for vegetarian recipes that i cook. as much as i am a fan of recipes with photos(seriously, i consider this if buying cookbooks), i will make an exception this time and give you some of my super easy meatless recipes. i'll focus on the proteins since i am sure that is what people worry about when cutting out meat even if for only a day. just remember us govt standards recommend .37 grams protein per lb you weigh or if moderately active .50 grams. that means only about 65-100 grams for a people weighing between 130-210 lbs. that's not a lot though to gain thru non meat sources if you consider a serving of beans gives you between 20-30 grams of protein depending on the bean.
here are 2 super easy vegetarian recipes:

roasted red pepper hummus

1/2 jar roasted red peppers or approxiamately 2 roasted red peppers
1 16 oz can of chick peas drained
salt and pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic crushed or 1 1/2 tbsp minced
1 freshly squeezed lemon
1/8 cup olive oil
1/3 cup tahini
1 tsp cumin

this recipe can be made with or without tahini(really i promise especially since it has the red peppers you will still enjoy it even without the tahini). now, if you aren't familiar with tahini, it is made from seasame seeds and can usually be found with the middle eastern food. even walmart carries tahini paste.
all you do is mix all the ingredients in a food processor then serve as a dip with either pita bread which is best toasted or veggies.
you can make plain hummus by eliminating the roasted red peppers.

walmart chili (so named cause everything can be purchased at walmart with their generic brands)
1 16 oz can lt red kidney beans drained and rinsed
1 16 oz can dark red kidney beans drained and rinsed
1 16 oz can chili beans drained and rinsed
1 16 oz can southern ranch beans
1 16 oz can of pinto beans drained and rinsed
1 16 oz can of black beans drained and rinsed
1 small can of tomato sauce
1 can of diced green chilis
1 16 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 packet of mild chili seasoning
1 packet of hot chili seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
water

drain and rinse all the beans except the southern ranch beans which you will use the liquid they come in. add all of these to a crockpot. keep the can that the southern ranch beans come in as you will use water to rinse out the remaining seasoning in the can and add that water to the crockpot. add all other cans but repeat the water rinse with the can of tomato sauce. add the chili seasoning packets. stir thoroughly. simmer on low for several hours til the chili has thickened to your liking. i like mine super thick so i generally simmer mine overnight or all day at work. surprisingly, i actually won a chili cook off both in the spiciest and best vegetarian chili with this recipe with just a few dashes of the pampered chef southwestern spice added in. you can also add in veggie crumbles, sliced mushrooms, peppers, or peanuts if you like, and i sometimes do.

also check out these previous posts with vegetarian soup recipes:
red lentil soup
broccoli and brussel sprout soup

check out meatout.org for more info on meatout day and events in your area and even send a meatout e-card to friends and family

here some great vegan and vegetarian blogs i've come across:
groovy vegetarian
11th heaven's homemaking blog
veggie chic

awesome vegetarian sites:
go veg
vegetarian times which is an awesome magazine
vegetarian resource group
veg news magazine

and finally, if you have some great meatless recipes you want to share. please post them in the comments as i would love to try them out.

great deals at target

right now, target has a lot of great deals in there clearance section. additionally, they are off $5 off purchases of over $50 thru 3/30/09 and free shipping on purchases over $50 in select categories including women's apparel. i took advantage of this last week and ordered a ton of stuff from them. my first package arrived today. everything i ordered was 75% off. plus, i used a$10 gift card from mypoints. so, after all that, i spent $51.33 and got 1 necklace, 1 tunic, 1 dress, 1 scarf, 1 skirt, 2 clutches, and 5 pairs of shoes. i highly recommend checking out their great deals.

this black and gold faceted necklace was $2.99
these wine metallic mottled faux snakeskin pumps were $6.24 right now, i'm really into snakeskin and metallics. so, these were right up my alley.
open toe wine metallic mottled cutout wedges $6.74. i am in love with the cutout in these wedges.
ivory snakeskin clutch $4.99. if you haven't guessed from my recent posts, i'm really digging oversized clutches right now.
angie and lola hot pink metallic clutch with detachable chain $6.24. the picture does not do the color justice. it really is hot pink.
blood red patent flat with zippered detail $6.24
patent red moccasin heels $6.24
burgundy loafer heels with buckles $6.74
can't wait to get the clothes in the mail now.

today's free stuff 3/19/09

i know i am a little behind ok a lot behind on doing my free stuff posts. but, that's stop today.
free prilosec sample
free advanced screening of haunting in connecticut on 3/25 in select cities
free gift at north face stores excluding outlet stores with printout of this page on march 20th-22nd
free subscription to american photo
free sample of gain
free huggies gentle care wipes with this coupon its $5 off and they are currently less than that stores such as walmart
free biocare hair and skin sample
free sample of eco centsible laundry detergent email them see here
free little people dvd at toys r us 3/21/09 from 12-2
free natural bag with 8 samples at sephora 3/21/09 with this coupon printout between 12-6pm
free franklin planner 3/21/09 in stores for those recently laid off with employer info, supervisor name, and date laid off
free glytone starter kit
free deck of magic the gathering cards
free subscription to mine magazine, a compilation of other mags that you choose for the 1st 31k
free source of life shaker cup and sample
free subscription to woman's day magazine
free xtreme t-shirt
2 free issues of town and country magazine
free italian ice at rita's on march 20th to celebrate the beginning of spring
free breakfast at ikea with printout 3/20-22 not valid at charlotte, hicksville, pittsburgh, and houston
free natural lamb condom
free lindt truffles and recipe dvd
free stuff from viva diva you get points by referring friends and commenting
free subscription to american baby
free astroglide sample
free vix tote
free bread recipe book from fleischman's yeast
free trojan condom
free goodnites boxers samples
free tomato seeds from campbell's use code 1 p8039 and code 2 u6
free id personal lubricant
free beyond 7 condom
free matrix biolage sample
free sample carress bodywash
free aveda samples in store only with print out coupon
free sample of emergen-c bubbles
free sample of kotex overnights
free 2 pack training socks good thru 3/22 only in store at lucy's with this printout and has a store locator
free sample of dove heat defense and intense defense
free roots of nature hair samples
free sample kellogg's fiber drink mix
free personalized letter for your child from the easter bunny
free sample 8x10 photo from cannon-you upload your own photo
free sample of cascade
free grill spatula from weber
free sample aveda black mavda shampoo

where are the non mommy blog networks?

i have nothing against mommies. in fact, one day i dearly hope to be one. but for now, i'm not one. i'd like to think i have a point of view and that there are more women out there like me. but, i am a bit hard up finding networks for a non mommy like me. there are lots of mommy networks like momlogic, blogamama, mom blog network, the mom blogs, the motherhood, just to name a few. i tried blogher, but they are not taking new blogs. i have found a few sites and will now see buttons listed under my favorite things. please check them out. also, let me know of any non mommy networks y'all know about.

derek's belated birthday evening

we didn't get to celebrate derek's birthday last week due to work schedule conflicts, so we decided to do it tonight when we were all free. as an added bonus since i was no longer sick, i finally got to hold baby madox. while there, i also baked derek a rainbow chip cake which is his favorite and i will post about later.

i had to get these at walmart before i headed over since they were too cute.


me with baby madox

feeding time


i just love the look madox is giving shane.
look at those beautiful bright eyes.
a pic i took of madox as i was holding him
kicking and sleeping

silicon bakeware

i recently purchased a burnless bake square from easybakeware.com.

i have for a long time wanted to try out silicon bakeware, but i had some concerns. i've used silicon spatulas of course, but that's completely different. my first concern is with how flexible silicon bakeware is. i was afraid i would either food or crack the food when it was done baking. so, since derek's birthday means a request from him for rainbow chip cake;
i thought i'd test out my new pan. the instructions say to grease the pan the first time and then you never have to again. i really hope this part is true, but we will see.
here it is full of batter and ready to make the "dangerous" journey to the oven. okay, so i made it without dropping anything; but it did fold in a bit on itself. so, if it had been fuller, i think i would have had splatter.

the cake came out burn free and as you can see the cake pulled away from the side. so, it didn't stick at all. however, when i went to pick it up the cake did crack in several places.
at least the cracks didn't show when i flipped over the cake.
the final frosted cake. he likes a super thin layer of frosting.
in the end, i don't really think i like it. it's just too flimsy.

more baby shower pics

i finally got to get the pics shane took today. so, here's some of my favorites.


i love that shane got a pic of me taking photos.

daddy and baby madox
derek, shawn, brenda, and i
me with the baby rattle necklace in my mouth attempting to be humorous
derek, shawn, and brenda
shawn and brenda

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

happy st patrick's day


happy st patrick's day to all. this is the green carnation my boss gave me for st patty's day.

Monday, March 16, 2009

my wish list

i love list making. i don't know if many other people do this, but right now, i have a wish list of clothes and accessories i am looking for right now.

  • white sleeveless top-purchased at goodwill 3/14/09 for $2.25


  • camel handbag and shoes
  • denim pencil skirt
  • checkbook style wallet-purchased at burlington coat factory 3/15/09 for $6.99



  • black strappy high heeled sandals
  • gladiator sandals(i know how did i not get a pair last year.)
  • brown handbag
  • straw handbag
  • bubble gum style necklaces-yellow, navy, white (yellow purchased at plato's closet for $2.99)
  • purple and orange shoes
  • bright yellow ballet flats
  • zippered shoes my faves right now are these from forever 21 which just went down in price to $5.99 but my size just sold out guess i need to search for them on ebay
  • cardigans especially white and black
  • yellow handbag
  • snakeskin handbag
  • leopard print shoes
  • neon shoes and accessories
  • stone necklaces
  • fabric shoes
  • gold handbag
  • new statement ring
  • spring scarves
  • zebra/giraffe print heels
  • dotted items-skirt, handbag, headband i'm not sure

hit me up if you find great deals on any of these. and, i am on the lookout for these.

surprising foods vegetarians don't eat

with meat out day coming this friday, i thought i might get a head start by listing some foods not thought of right off the bat as hands off for vegetarians such as myself. this is in no way meant to be a comprehensive list, more eye opening or a helpful guide:

  • anything with gelatin in it. gelatin comes from boiled bones, tendons, and skin of animals usually hoofed animals such as cows, pigs, and horses . this list includes many commercially made yogurts, kellogg's frosted mini wheats, marshmallows but not fluff, jello, ice cream, and gummy candies. you really have to read packages on these items to see if gelatin is listed. agar-agar is made from seaweed and an alternative to gelatin.
  • worcestershire sauce and food and beverages made with worcestershire sauce such as bloody marys. worcestershire sauce contains anchovies. vegetarian worcestershire sauce is available in stores. some commercial bloody mary mixes do not contain worcestershire sauce. i actually hand made an awesome bloody mary when i bartended without it.. you really have to ask the bartender or do what i did and asked to read the bottle.
  • caesar dressing and hence caesar salads contain anchovies as well.
  • red velvet cake, port wine cheese, maraschino cherries, the liquer campari, and many red foods especially meats, strawberry or raspberry flavored foods contain cochineal aka carminic acid or carmines natural red 4 which is made by grinding the scales of cochineal bugs.
  • many frozen pie crusts contain lard
  • utz's hand cooked potato chips which used to be faves of mine are cooked in lard.
  • chewing gum often contains glycerine made from animals although wrigley's uses vegetable glycerine
  • hostess snack cakes are made with beef suet

some links with lists of tricky foods and food additives

a list of tricky food additives

a list of tricky foods for vegetarians

a list of animal based ingredients

Sunday, March 15, 2009

plato's closet

somehow i never managed to step into a plato's closet store until this past fall. when some friends decided to take me, i realized what i was missing out on. plato's closet is basically a brand name consignment store. due to the current economic malaise, i have limited myself to only 2 shopping trips since. but, each time i find some really cute items at great prices. since its a chain of consignment shops, their website does not
have any items for sale. but, i do recommend checking out www.platoscloset.com to find a location near you. you can also sell items to them. they also have a card you get stamped for every $10 you spend. after 10 stamps, you save 20% on your next purchase.

my first shopping trip, i picked up these metallic blue flats by fioni for $4.

as well as 2 handbags.
last week, i picked up this black fauz snake skin oversized clutch which still had the original plastic on it for $6
and this yellow bubble gum necklace and earring set for $2.99.
i saw a hot pink pair of chinese laundry heels for $8 which i decided against only because i was trying to keep my damage low.

what a score

yesterday, in my search for a white tank top, i decided to stop into goodwill. and, i hit a score. i did find a tank top, but that's not what this is about. i always check shoes any time i am in a store that sells shoes. what can i say its an addiction. look what i see. see the elastic still attached. they've obviously never been worn since they still have the elastic holding the shoes together from the store. they have an inch wedge. i had been looking at purchasing them from target, but couldn't find them even for 75% off this cheaply. they were only $4. so, what can i say, i got them.

pics from the baby shower

finally, here are the pics from the baby shower last weekend. we had tons of food the tub with the blue lid is my pasta salad, and the red tub is my peanut butter cookies. someone even made chocolate truffles and labeled them baby poo.

the cake with a jungle/safari theme was really a madagascar cake
brandy and her son shawn
lil baby madox
brenda with one of derek's oldest friends
brenda, casey, derek, and dawn
derek, shawn, and bren
shawnyboy and brenda
shane helping me out taking pics as well with brenda's camera. i will probably post more pics when i get her photos since i will be in some of those.
the presents
momma, baby, and daddy
derek holding his son
brenda holding her new grandson
dawn opening presents