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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Making Do - Homemade Dryer Sheets, sort of

Ok, first off, I love fabric softener and feel it's a necessity 90% of the time. I get extreme static electricity, to the point where I hate touching anything metal in my office (yikes, sparks fly!)

But in my Year of Zero ... it's not really on my necessity list at the current prices I see, even my Kirkland brand, (very compatible to Downy, by the way)

220 Loads! Wow, that's a lot!!

so when I saw this, I though, heh, what the heck, lets give it a try with some of the stuff I have left. Oh, and don't come back and yell at me if you spend 3 hours browsing that site!

Anyways ... this is super easy. I'm on my 2nd round (and the 2nd time, I made it even easier!)

Pour a little bit of liquid fabric softener into a container such as a bowl or other large, round open dish.

I used a tall deli type container. Dummy me, should have used a shorter dish to make it easier to get the whole cloth in!





Take an old washcloth, or even a torn up towel, I'm thinking even one of them bad stray socks that everyone holds out for the mate to come back ... and push it down in to the softener. Turn it over and move it around so it soaks up the liquid.





Hang cloth to dry. Once dry you are ready to use for about 12 loads or so. I can't guarantee the number, because I'm really bad at keeping a running count on the number of loads I wash a week, but this is the general number that all the other sites I've visited say.

At last, some color on all these white on white on white pics!

To use: simply toss in dryer when you dry your clothes. Woohoo. That's pretty dang easy!

NOTES:

So first, I had an old red washcloth that I was going to use. Fortunately, the little light bulb came on BEFORE I did that. Use a white or light colored item to prevent any possibility of color bleed!

Do this the night before you are going to want to use. I did it in the morning and then started laundry. Ummm, you shouldn't use the cloth when it's still wet :-/ although some sites say to. I think that would create stains on the clothing if WET fabric softener touches clothing that's not soaking in water. I don't know, but that just seems to be something I can remember from my laundry beginner days.

I didn't soak mine in the stuff as I didn't want to have to wring out the cloth (hard on my hands, and well, that just seemed excessive anyways), so you can see that the fabric softener is really just kind of here and there. So far it seems to be sufficient but I may add a bit more next time I do it to see how much 'softer' the clothes get.

The second time I did this (after the first one wore off) I just poured some right in the middle of the cloth, worked it in and then hung to dry for a day or so. Much easier and way less mess! I'm opting for this way in the future. You know me, I'm always looking for a short cut and reduction of cost!

Linking up to:
Works for Me Wednesday, Tip Junkie, Frugal Tip Tuesday, Frugal Fridays

Monday, February 27, 2012

How Do You Do It? $20 a week for groceries (February only ... and NOW March too!)

I've had a few inquiries to the $20 a week grocery budget for February ... "How do you do it?" ... both live, in person and online.

I suppose not everyone could do it, and trust me, I'm surprised that I CAN do it myself! 

It helps to have a fairly full pantry, freezers and such (remember, I did the crazy shop at Costco the last week in January?) ... and this makes it a LOT easier.  I suppose if you didn't have a store full of food, it would be much more difficult. It also helps to be "determined" ... just saying. I will be honest that this week is starting to show a few spaces in the freezer and I had to re-evaluate a few ideas I had for dinner plans since Hubby did a mighty fine job of eating from the freezer while I was gone (I love that he loves how to cook and is not afraid to do so!)

IF YOU SET YOUR MIND TO IT, YOU CAN DO IT TOO

1. Browse the food you DO have and make a menu from there. It doesn't have to be solid, set in stone, but you do need to have some kind of idea what you have to choose from. Don't say you can't make something because you are missing one ingredient (for example: cream) ... 9 times out of 10, you can substitute with something else (half and half, which I have on hand 90% of the time, but not NOW). It helps to have a list of meals that you can make pretty consistently, easily. This is almost a game I do when I clean out the freezers and pantry ... Here are a few that I've done previously:  Hard To Catch Up and A Running List. It's real helpful to PLAN leftovers if possible when doing this too!

2.  Make a list, a REAL list, of what you NEED, not what you want. Milk, bread (if you are opposed to making your own), produce, etc. Mind you, I'd love to be buying a lot more produce but know that it will go to waste AND put me over the $20.

3. If you are consistently running short on time after a long day, then prepare some of the meal ahead of time. It does NOT have to be piping hot from the stove or oven that very moment of serving, and shame on whoever made us feel it did. I piecemeal meals all the time because I know I'm more likely to cook a GOOD dish if I do it that way as I don't want to spend an hour in the kitchen after I've been up since 5am, worked at the office AND THEN went to the gym. Premake the taco meat, pregrill the chicken (I almost always cut the chicken up after it's cooked, makes it easier to serve and to reheat ...) This keeps me motivated to stay on track and NOT deviate completely from the plan after a long, tiring day!

4. Give yourself a firm guide. $20.00 in the wallet. That's it. Take out the debit card and the credit cards. Do a quick calculation BEFORE you leave of what your list is going to cost. Stick with it as nothing is WORSE than putting something back AT checkout because it's over. Ugg. So hate that. Personally, I'd rather have a ten, five and five singles rather than ONE twenty. Just easier. AND I prefer NOT to use the envelope. Just easier for me to reach in the wallet. (It should be noted, I do use the envelopes for the MONTH, but the $20 goes in my wallet for the week). It's quite obvious that there is not any stockpiling going on right now (although IF a great deal comes up, I will go for it ... but I've not seen anything as of yet!)

5. Give yourself a HUGE pat on the back each week when you roll the money over to the new week. I've not spent the full $20 until the start of week 4 and then of course, the traveling week and family drama sort of ruined it for me those 2 weeks.

Coupons - Someone sent me an email asking if I was still using coupons. Well, no, not really. BUT if it's something that I always buy anyways, then YES, but for the most part, no. See, if I were to continue using coupons to snag all the 'good deals' out there, I would still be doing what I was doing in 2011, buying, spending and splurging, not saving AT ALL. So I've sort of set aside couponing for now (don't get me wrong, Kitty Kitty's favorite cat food coupons, yes, creamer, yes, bread, yes, deli and dairy coupons, yes). I posted over here a while ago my current thoughts on the usage of coupons. There is definitely a time and a place to be a coupon queen, I am not at that stage right now.

I think you also need to bring out the creative side of yourself :-) ... seriously. You may be set on having stir fry for dinner one night but only have frozen broccoli and canned green beans for the veggies, make do or do without ... once you've done it a few times, it all works out in the end! Take a look at some of my past menu plans and you will see that there are times where I say "if I have, otherwise" ... I am all about making revisions as needed. Being open to that is a huge game saver.

And that my friends, is how I've been doing it!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Menu Plan - Week 9

It's Monday, and time to plan for the week! (I had to go look at the calendar ... it really IS week 9!)

Hubby is traveling Monday and returning Thursday ... and he has a big lunch meeting on Friday (will share details on this at a later date, change is GOOD!) ... so it will be me, Princess (if she's not working) and Kitty Kitty. Can you say EASY??

Seriously, would like to continue with the $20 a week challenge but feel Costco calling for a few items (paper towel, tp, salad stuff, spinach, milk, cheese, eggs, etc.), but the quick trip to the produce store on Saturday took care of the salad, spinach and egg issues as eggs were 98 cents for a dozen! So I'm thinking I can hold out a little longer and stay with my $20 challenge.

So here's what I'm shooting for ...
Sunday - Pizzas since it's been a LONG time ... I do have a few Kashi frozen pizzas in the freezer that we could doctor up if the desire to make the dough subsides (it will, I'm sure!)

Monday - aiming to hit the gym so looking at a Spinach Smoothie

Tuesday - again, hoping for the gym, early class, so a Spinach Smoothie. Although, I am thinking that I should make the dressing and grab the already cooked steak strips from the freezer and make my Evil Jungle salads for lunch this week ...

Wednesday - Tacos (beef and ground turkey are in the freezer) salad or maybe just plain ole Nachos ... never did make the week before :-)

Thursday - Hubby back and looking to do a Chicken Stir Fry again only because I already have everything in house to make it ...

Friday - In hopes that the meeting goes well for Hubby, planning to do chicken thighs (freezer) teriyaki and veggies on the grill (ummm, at the moment, it would only be onions as no peppers at the moment)

Saturday - Steaks (freezer) ... and taters on the side if I break down and buy fresh, otherwise, would do some boxed scallops (we may have friends over which is ok, I've got 2 porterhouses, 2 ribeyes and 4 filet mignons in the freezer)

Linking up with:
Menu Plan Monday

Friday, February 24, 2012

Settling Back In

I am back from my trip, 4 days later than anticipated. Thankful that I got out of there when I did last night as they were closing the airport due to the winter weather coming in (what's up with Midway lately anyways??)

I had some extreme Family Drama. What more is there to say?

At the moment, I have nothing to share. Nothing witty, entertaining, funny, valuable, etc.

I'm basically brain dead.

Tired too.

I'm going to take the rest of the day and this weekend to re-group and will resume posting on Monday.

Thanks for sticking around (and shame on that spammer that snuck past me!)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Easy in the Kitchen Hand Scrub

My hands have really been bothering me the past week or so. Not sure if it's from all the housecleaning and cooking or if I'm coming into another flare. God please help me if it's another flare ... been awhile since I've had a bad one and this is starting to feel like it. Ironically, typing doesn't make anything hurt more, but makes it more difficult (fingers swollen, don't respond the way the should, etc.)

So I'm looking for something to make them feel better. Well, that, and I'm really missing the manicures (the hand massage was the BEST thing of whole process!) ... and came across numerous hand scrubs using sugar or salt, and oil or whatever.

So I look in my pantry and see:

Baking Soda (score!)
Coconut Oil (double score!)

I get the coconut oil through Amazon Subscribe and Save program. So I currently have TWO ... one in the bathroom and one in the kitchen. Because I've never cooked with it yet, the kitchen one is still sealed. So I had to get the one from the bathroom

Anyways. Here's how I did it:

Took a teaspoon (flatware type) and did a scoop into the palm of my left hand. Poured about the same amount of baking soda into my palm with the oil. Mind you, the oil was in a solid form ...

Started to rub the stuff between my two hands and the oil pretty much instantly liquefies. Then rubbed it all around the the outsides of my hands and midway up my forearms.

Oh, this went on for about 5 minutes, it felt SO good. Rubbing with that real slick stuff and just a right about of grainy mixture really made the blood start to flow and the skin tingly. The coconut smell from the oil soothed my mind and soul too ...

Rinse with warm water and soap. Apply a light layer of lotion.

I couldn't believe how soft my hands were, and they actually felt better for a little while.

This is going to become a ritual in the kitchen ... I was thinking, MAN this would feel good on my feet too :-)

You could use any oil and any grainy type of thing, sugar, salt, etc. I just happen to love baking soda and have a big bag waiting to be opened!

Linking up with:
Kitchen Tip Tuesdays, Frugal Tip Tuesday, Works For Me,

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - Week 7 - Traveling Week

This is going to be a funky week as far as menu planning goes ... I leave on Wednesday and return on Monday bright and early ... so here's a few days worth and then suggestions for Hubby and Princess ... they most likely will do a night out together and Hubby is not afraid to tackle the kitchen ...

Great news in that I am rolling over $11 so there is $31 for the grocery budget this week (but of course, traveling will BLOW the remainder of budget). Will stop and pick up a loaf of bread, milk, cat food and some salad stuff.

Sunday - Chili (freezer) over mashed taters (the ore-ida frozen steam & mash stuff)

Monday - Salad (Hubby) and Green Smoothie (me)

Tuesday - leftover chicken and rice. I am well aware it's Valentine's Day, however, I fly out the following morning AND I'm probably going to hit the gym ... unless Hubby request I come home for something special

Wednesday - Soup (canned, pantry) and sandwiches (need to get bread, lunch meat, cheese and other condiments in fridge).

Thursday - Chicken and veggie stir fry (will try to have it set up for him before I leave so he can just toss in a pan and heat)

Friday - going to suggest that the two of them do dinner before Princess heads out with friends

Saturday - knowing Hubby, he will most likely do yard and house stuff all day long and then do something on the grill (chicken or pork chops)

Linking up with Menu Plan Monday ... hop on over and check out the 100's of other menus!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Chicken Kiev

I love them little Barber chicken things, but you know, 2 to a box and $3.99? wow. That's expensive. Not to mention, the list of ingredients is a little frightening (AND Princess will eat TWO while holding a conversation with you). And they have served a time and a place in my life.

Ahhh....what a safe standby to have on hand
(need to try the cordon bleu recipe next!)


So when I saw this recipe (and CRAP I can't find my original link!) I said OH YEAH, I'm so putting that on the menu! Fortunately I have everything on hand (except fresh tarragon, not even sure if I have dried, but will improvise) since I've put myself on an extremely reduced grocery budget for the month of February.



So, here you have it, the way I did it in this neck of the woods! Just a note: it did not look pretty, my buttery goodness all leaked out because I sort of cheated by using big chicken breast and slicing in half then pounding. Ummm, yeah, you should just use FOUR breast and pound them out. Next time (and there will be a next time, the flavor was spot on) I will do that.

1 stick of butter, room temp
2 tbs of butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp italian seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder, and a little extra for seasoning the bird
1 tsp salt, and a little extra for the bird
1/4 tsp ground black pepper, and, you guessed it, a little extra for the bird

4 b/s chicken breast, I had 2 large so I slice them in half horizontally to make 4 thinner halves for easier beating
2 eggs, beat with a tbs of water
2 cups panko (or if you must, bread crumbs)
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Ready? Ready.

Combine butter, 3 herbs, salt and pepper in bowl of a mixer and whip up.Place this in a piece of plastic wrap and roll up in a log. Place in the freezer (can be made ahead of time, no kidding!) NOTE: make sure you don't get major creases in the plastic as this can cause issues when you go to remove it from the frozen butter and it stretches and tears.


I hate pounding out chicken, but I think this is a necessity for the recipe. I would normally just slice them thin, but they need to be rollable. So go ahead, place the thin slice chicken in a ziploc (or other plastic type bag or plastic wrap) add a little water to chicken and a little more water to outside of bag. Gently pound til 1/8 inch or so thick. Yeah. Thin. But watch. They will get too thin, causing the butter to leak out ::sob::



Take out the butter and slice in to 5 slices. Take 2 slices and set them aside in the fridge.

Lay out a piece of chicken and place 1 slice of butter with a tbs of panko in the middle. (Well crap, I just realized I did NOT put the tbs of panko with the chunk of butter!) Fold in sides and roll into a log, completely enclosing the butter, wrapping as tight as you can. Once all chicken is rolled, cover and put in fridge for 2 hours or even overnight (yeah!).


Add egg and water mix in a shallow dish.  Melt the 2 slices of butter and add with panko and parmesan cheese in another shallow dish. Mix well.

Dip chicken in eggs mix and the roll in the panko mix. Gently place baking sheet, seam side down and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, til chicken is done (165 or so). Honestly, I cooked mine for 30 minutes as I could NOT get a 165 reading no matter what. The first time I cut one open and it was still pink. So really, watch the chicken and remove when its done, not 20 minutes.

::sniff:: the butter was leaking out, but I had it on some parchment paper
and was able to pour a little back over chicken when serving.



*This can be made ahead and frozen: Make all but do not bake. Freeze. When ready to serve, cook 35 minutes or so til done at 350 degrees.

Don't worry, I got more chicken!



Ummm, yeah. This is pretty damn good. Try it, you'll like it. Hello REAL Chicken Kiev, goodbye Barber Foods!

NOTE: (again) ... this is NOT a dinner you want to make after working 8 to 10 hours. It takes time so do like ME and prepare the steps on a Sunday and cook it up on Monday or Tuesday. I'm looking forward to doing it again only I will double it and freeze half ... and the house smells AWESOME!

Check out some of the cool blog hops I'm joining this week:
Your Recipe, My Kitchen, Mangia Mondays, Creative Mondays, Tempt My Tummy, Made From Scratch, Tasty Tidbits,  Tuesdays at the Table, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesdays, Whats Cooking Wednesday,  

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Nails, and nail polish, manicures, all that girly stuff

Remember here, this picture, I was so bummed that I even mentioned the purple nailpolish not holding up as well as I'd hoped?



Well, since then, I've done a bright coral, and this week, it's back to the purple.

I keep having to add another coat like every other night, (heck, the cheaper stuff constantly wears off the ends from typing, and being used as tools). The polish is thin and then it just doesn't set right and I end up getting dings and smudges ... which I HATE. So. I sprayed them with Pam.

89 cent polish at Walgreens a few weeks back ...


Yes, I did. I sprayed Pam all over my nails. It works, not a smudge and super shiny!!

Excuse the ugly swollen hands, arthritis and lupus are NOT kind to hands
(I used to have long lovely fingers back in the day ::sign::)




Here's how I did it:

Apply polish (in this case it was just another coat, otherwise, do the base, color and then top coat).

Shake can of Pam.

Remove lid.

Walk over to sink.

Place hand over sink, palm side down.

Spray each nail with a little squirt of Pam. Do not spray your whole hand/finger/body ok? Just the nail area.

I waited for about 15 minutes. I just set a towel on the countertop and put my hand palm side down and let the stuff sit on the nail (uh, I watched TV, the news, if you must know what I did for 15 minutes).

Rinsed the hand with cold water and dry.

Repeat with other hand.

Notes:  I don't think 15 minutes was necessary but it's what I used for the timing. Would I do this again? Uh, YES. It totally works! UPDATE: did this again with a fresh coat of polish and only waited 5 minutes. Nails were ok, but slightly 'soft' so I think 15 minutes is best. AND feel free to spray both hands and set at the same time.

Keep an eye out for a new hand scrub I'm getting ready to try and post ... any one have any recommendations to reduce swelling in hands?

Linking up with:
Kitchen Tip Tuesday (yes, this is a Kitchen Tip as this is where my nails really get messed up), Frugal Tip Tuesday, Works For Me Wednesday

Monday, February 6, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - Week 6

Still plugging away on the $20 a week grocery challenge. So far it hasn't been difficult, thanks to the last blow out at Costco ... will be hitting the store Monday or Tuesday for milk and spinach though.

I made THREE new recipes last week and all were hits. Thankfully. Even better that I had everything on hand to make (substitute half and half for cream in one) ...

So here we are ... another week and $27 (carrying over $7 from last week) to shop with as needed, first from the pantry, then the freezers and THEN the store ...

Sunday - Hubby is hosting Super Bowl for the two of us (long story but no party) so he is making stuffed shells and then pizzola meatballs

Monday - Spinach smoothie and gigantic salad with turkey and hard boiled eggs over the top (gym night)

Tuesday - taco salads (gym night for me)

Wednesday - should be date night but I'm going to push for staying in and having leftovers (probably shells and such)

Thursday - chili (freezer) (gym night)

Friday - Not a single piece of chicken has been served for the past week, so tonight will be b/s teriyaki chicken thighs with grilled peppers and onions

Saturday - Will let Hubby make some boneless chops on the grill IF the weather is holding out.

Linking up with Menu Plan Monday

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Chicken - Tuscan Garlic Style

I've never eaten the Tuscan Garlic Chicken at Olive Garden ... I've not been to Olive Garden in over 18 months ... but when Mel posted this ... I bookmarked it...and kept it in the back of my mind ...

It was suppose to be FRIDAY's dinner, but it ended up being Saturday.  And it was odd making it because I was sharing space with Hubby in the kitchen while he made his stuffed shells for Sundays game ... we don't share space too well when it comes to the kitchen.

Regardless, we worked around our issues  ... and actually complemented each other on progress (with the exception of WHY DO I have to go get your parsley??)

And since we were sharing space, it took way longer than it should to complete. I did it piecemeal style and then just sort of heated everything up when we ate at 10pm. Yes. TEN O'CLOCK at night.

But it was worth it. Delicious! So go ahead, share your kitchen space with someone you love and make this!

2 large chicken breast - slice them in half (which now I know, alternatively called butterflying!)
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tbs salt
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil
1 tsp black pepper
olive oil (ummm, says 5 tbs total, but I don't think I used that much)
4 cloves garlic, minced (or use the lovely garlic press)
5 sweet mini peppers, finely diced
6 ounces fresh spinach
3/4 cup half and half
3/4 cup milk
2 tbs corn starch
1/2 cup chicken broth

Ok, the ingredient list is a LITTLE out of order based on the way I wrote it while doing (the Kindle kept losing its wifi connection and the TV was blaring Kid Rock Radio (Pandora, gotta check it out if you don't use it yet), AND a bottle of white wine ... yeah, it was fun. The only way to deal with two of us in the kitchen!

Heat large non stick skillet and add some olive oil.

Mix flour, salt, black pepper, basil, oregano in a shallow dish (cake pan, pie plate, whatever)



and dredge chicken on both sides, shake off extra and place in pan. Cover with a splatter screen and let them babys brown on one side before turning over. Now, I had to scold Hubby as he was feeling the need to interfere in MY project ... he wanted to move my chicken ... it's like rice, leave it alone, don't touch, no peeking, etc. Once they are turning white on top, they should be sufficiently brown, so give them a flip (gently) and finish browning. Once done, place on a baking sheet lined with foil and stick in the oven at 350 to finish cooking (15 to 20 minutes).


Wipe out the skillet if you have too much oil in it still and reheat pan over medium heat. Add oil (2 tbs) and saute garlic and sweet peppers til softened. Stir in 1 tbs flour (NOTE: I used the season flour from dredging, whether you are comfortable doing THAT is up to you), and use a whisk to stir constantly for a minute.



Slowly pour in the chicken broth (I used veggie broth, that's what I had that was opened) and bring to simmer. Continue whisking non stop til thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. (Yell at Kindle as you read the directions, trying to reconnect to wifi and whisk - like patting head and rubbing tummy, can't do it).

Whisk cornstarch in with half and half, pour in to pan, along with milk and spinach. Give a quick stir and bring to a simmer.


Stir occasionally til spinach is wilted (stand back and say, ohhh that looks good).

 
I'm looking forward to buying spinach from the "bin" at the Fresh Market ...
no more suprises to be had in the middle of the container!


Just about there...where's the cheese?


Once the spinach is wilted, add the parmesan cheese, stir and let melt.

Ok, here's where I 'cheated' ... I had pasta already made that was stashed in the freezer (learned this from Jackie Brown) ... and saved alot of hassle on this day of all days! BUT, if you haven't tried freezing your leftover noodles, then you need to be boiling water and cooking up the noodles while you make your sauce (boil your water while doing the chicken and cook the pasta while doing the sauce) ...

Take half the sauce, add to the cooked, drained noodles and stir to coat. Serve up the pasta on a plate and top with a piece of chicken and top the chicken with a little of the reserved sauce.

To make it easier, I put the sauce in a dish for topping and dumped the
pasta in the skillet with rest of sauce

waiting on the chicken


I served all of it with a side of salad and Hubby's favorite Olive-Y Garden dressing I had made earlier in the day ...

Just plain romaine (wait, I don't think I told you how much I love Costco's lettuce! 6 heads for about $4 ... and it's GOOD, not all wilty and brown)

Yummy dressing

My hands were really bothering me today ... I can see how swollen they are here


Princess was so glad she got home from work at 9:30, she walked into the kitchen sniffing the air (this after working in a restaurant for 9 hours already) saying something smelled good (I suppose anything better than tex-mex style would be good to her!) ... and she graced us with her company at dinner ... so maybe it was a good thing we ate late that evening. (She also asked when we started listening to Lady Gaga and such?)

I cut our chicken up and THEN put it on the pasta, easier to eat

Go ahead, give it a try ... yummy.

Check out some of these cool sites that I've starting linking up with:
Mouthwatering Mondays, Your Recipe, My Kitchen, Mangia Mondays, Creative Mondays , Tempt My Tummy, Made From Scratch Tuesdays, Tuesday Tasty Tidbits, Tuesdays at the TableWhat's Cooking Wednesday, Made Famous By, Whats Cooking Thursday, Food On Friday, Anything Goes, Dwell On Fridays, GCC Recipe Swap, What's Cookin in the Kitchen, Weekend Wander, Not Baaad Sundays,

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Olive - Y Garden Salad Dressing

I used to make this recipe every stinking weekend and as odd as it may be, THIS is what I would bring for dinner at a friends ... I have an odd group of foodie friends :-) 

Yes, it does have corn syrup and apologies all around, but it does make a difference. If anyone can tell me a suitable replacement, I'm all for it!!

It's a very very thin dressing, not thick and creamy like you would expect .... I would recommend you double IF you like your salad dressing and plan on sharing!


Italian Dressing - just like OG ...

1/2 cup mayo
1/3 cup white vinegar
1 tsp veg oil
2 tbs corn syrup (now that I'm a little healthier minded, need to find something as substitute)
2 tbs parmesan cheese (I'd like to say use the real deal, but I've used the green canister in a pinch)
2 tbs romano cheese (if you don't have this, just double up on the parmesan cheese)
¼ tsp garlic salt (or one clove of garlic finely minced)
½ tsp Italian seasoning
½ tsp parsley flakes
1 tsp lemon juice

Mix all ingredients in blender til well mixed. If too tart, tame down with a dash of sugar.

NOTES: Best if you let it sit for a while in fridge
I sometimes just put in a jar and shake the heck out of it.
I’ve used all parmesan cheese and no romano (4 tbs) when that’s all I have, no biggie.
Can be doubled.

Wanna see my Hubby do a happy dance for salad? Make this!

Tasting before serving

Thursday, February 2, 2012

DIY Beauty - Uhhh... Waxing

*This post may contain pictures that are disturbing if you refuse to admit that women have facial hair that needs tending ...


Following along with Year of Zero? You aren't? Why? You can watch me fall flat on my face, sit up, dust myself off and continue onwards. 

Or better yet, you can read along on my daily adventures and nod your head in understanding at why sometimes I don't always succeed. I'd much prefer the latter but heck, if you really need entertainment value, go along with the first.

Anyways. Rule #10 , the very last one I made, because it was HARD for me to commit to was the NO MORE manicures, pedicures, lip/eyebrow waxing (What???), professional hair coloring ($200 plus a pop) and so on. Yeah. What was I thinking when I committed to THAT?? Hubby is most likely going to be calling a divorce attorney, or maybe just a mediator if the grey hair gets any further along ...

So I've been on a mission for DIY stuff. Which I've actually been doing for awhile but the waxing thing was really far off the priority list. I figured I would just, you know, TWEEZE. Huh. Yeah right. Owee mommy!

Then I thought, shave. But ummm, I really do not want the 5:00 shadow on MY face at 5pm every day :-( So last time I was at Bed Bath and Beyond with my 20% off coupon (it was still the Year of SPEND, 2011!) I came across this little box:


Well, if it's the WINNER (BEAUTY AWARDS) 2010 READERS CHOICE then heck, it's gotta be worth something, don't you think?



Ick. Sorry for the repulsive looking picture ... but I'm just proving to you that YES, it works. And honestly, I think it was LESS painful than a salon lip wax.

Wanna know how it goes?

Take this little wipe (I stuck it back in a ziploc, only 4 came in the package and it's a big wipe) and wipe the area to be waxed. Let it air dry a few seconds.



Take this little thing and roll it back and forth between your hands briskly to 'warm up' the wax inside.



Get up close and personal with the mirror and LOOK at which way the hair you want to remove is growing. This is sort of important in that you want the wax to be applied the length of hair so you apply it the way the hair grows.

Apply wax. If wax is difficult to spread/apply, put cap back on and rub again til its more fluid. If you make an oopsie and apply it right over the eyebrow, grab a qtip, get it wet with water and remove the wax. This stuff is beautiful in that water removes it but don't let water get on the wax applicator as it deactivates!

Take this handy little strip of fabric, and lay it across the wax, rubbing with your finger to get a good 'seal' on the wax (and hair). Gently pull skin tighter, count to 3 and PULL THE STRIP OFF in opposite direction of the hair growth.


Breathe. Peek at the strip. Say OMG where did all that hair come from. (Really, is it not ethical to tell a female that she's due for a lip wax? I wish someone had told ME!)

Touch up any remaining wax/hair/stuff that may be remaining and rinse with cool water to remove residue.  Also rinse out the strip of fabric and let dry (they can be reused).

There. I know that I saved $10 just then. That little box cost me $4.99 less 20%. And I'm sure it could last me another 8 episodes ... Yep, I'd say that's pretty Frugal!

So how about it, do YOU wax your own eyebrows and lips? Or get it done? Or don't do anything at all? Inquiring minds want to know!