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Thursday, January 30, 2014

DIY - Mayo ... Super Easy and Delicious!

I'm hoping that you all are enjoying the DIY series that I've been trying to keep up with ... I know this week I'm a little late ... I wanted to share the Ketchup this week but things have gotten away from me, so I will recycle an all time favorite:
 
MAYO.
 
Yes, mayonnaise!
 
I'm a mayo snob, I'll admit it. Do NOT ever put that Miracle stuff anywhere near my plate ... and no, I do not like Kraft either. Only Hellman's ... thank you very much.
 
BUT ... once I made the stuff from scratch (it's really easy, I promise!) I never ever looked at another sale jar of mayo again.
 
Oh. Well. Sort of ... I do buy the jar, I think maybe 2 in the last 12 months? Only because if we are doing something with heavy mayo, I'd be dying in the kitchen to keep up, you know?
 
For the most part though, it's the stuff from scratch. Hubby will even inquire if we have enough for say, Blackened Chicken Sandwiches (birthday party, 10 people), or Blue Cheese Dressing ... or ... well, a lot of stuff ... he likes it as much as I do, and I hope you do too!

The recipe calls for FIVE ingredients, that's all. F I V E! Go grab your jar of mayo from the fridge and look at the ingredient list. I'll wait. Ok, are you convinced maybe you should give this a try?

A few notes:

1.  Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature.

2.  Give yourself 5 to 8 minutes of undivided attention as you need to do this slowly.

3.  Buy a large bottle of LIGHT Olive Oil. I know, it doesn't have ALL the benefits of extra virgin, but if you use regular, you will mayo that taste VERY strongly of olive oil ... and while some people might be ok with that, we were NOT.





Seriously, this is all you need.



This was made with regular olive oil ... see how it's got a yellowish/greenish tint?


When the oil goes on sale with a buy one get one free, I'm stocking up baby!
 

Ok, are you ready to give this a try?

1 egg
2 tsp lemon juice (yes, I do use the stuff in the bottle IF I don't have fresh lemons)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dry mustard powder
1 cup olive oil


Put the egg and the lemon juice in your food process and walk away for an hour or so. Seriously. See up there ... PATIENCE? In order for the stuff to incorporate and emulsify, it MUST be room temperature. Honestly, I had mine out for 2 hours the first time, an hour or so is normal for me.



When it's all to room temp, go ahead and cap the processor. Drop the dry mustard and salt in the chute, fire up the machine and pour the 1/4 cup of oil in and let it rip for a minute.




Now comes the FUN part ... roll your shoulders, flex your triceps muscles and S L O W L Y start drizzling the 1 cup of oil down the chute. Be slow about it, you want a very thin stream of oil going in!

The stuff will start spattering around and you'll be tempted to stop and scrape but DON'T GIVE IN, keep drizzling it through the chute.




Suddenly, it sounds like slapping. Keep drizzling.


And just like that, the whole thing changes. The sound, the feel everything will suddenly become a smooth hum. You are almost there. Keep drizzling. Ignore the cramp in you triceps, keep drizzling. This is nothing folks, keep drizzling.


When you get down to that last bit, RESIST THE URGE to just dump. Keep drizzling.


When olive oil is all emptied out, let it continue for about 30 seconds more. Turn off processor and flex arm.


Rub hands together, give an evil grin  to the Hubby and take off the lid.




Hot Diggity Dog!! Creamy. Luscious looking. I slathered some right on a piece of turkey and ate it. Yummm. Oh, how about some deviled eggs using the mustard powder along side?? Oh, I think I might be on to something here!


This made a nice size jar of fresh mayo. It should keep as long as your egg was fresh. I have a feeling it would last a little longer than a week beyond what the egg carton says for the "sell by date" but if you follow food police guidelines, use that for your 'expiration' period.

Can you tell which is EXTRA virgin and which is LIGHT?



Honestly, this is an every 7 to 10 day occurrence in the kitchen. Nobody even thinks to remind me that there is an egg sitting on the counter ... they KNOW its for MAYO and I think do a little skip in their head as something yummy is fast approaching!


Go ahead, whip up a batch. I think you will be oh, so very surprised AND hooked.

Looking forward to linking up with some great blog hops ... make sure you check them out! In and Out of the Kitchen, I Gotta Try That, Memories, Tasty Tuesday, Tuesdays At Our Home, How To Tuesday, Handmade Tuesday, Making a Home, Show Me The Goods, Talking Tuesday Over the Fence, Totally Tasty Tuesday, All My Bloggie Friends, Frugal Tip Tuesday, Teach Me Tuesdays, Tuesday Talent Show, Tiny Tip Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Penny Pinching Party, The Gathering Spot, Anti-Procrastination Tuesdays, Kitchen Tip Tuesdays, Domestically Divine Tuesday, Tuesday with a Twist, Frugal Tuesday Tip, Show Me What Ya Got, What's Cooking Wednesday, Its a Party!, Recipe Swap, Works For Me Wednesday, Sugar and Spice, Wake Up Wednesday, Wheat Free Wednesday, Whatever Goes Wednesday, Wednesday Whatsits, Work It Wednesday, Homemade By You, Healthy 2Day Wednesday, Hearth and Soul, Real Fun, What I Whipped Up, Work It Wednesday, Lovely Ladies, Weekly Creative, Domestic Superhero, All Things Thursday, The Weekly Creative, Tasty Thursday, Full Plate Thursday, Create It Thursday, Crafty Thursday Obsessions, Frugal Food Thursday, Showcase Your Talent, Simple Lives Thursday, Foodie Friday, Get Real Frugal Friday, Frugal Fridays, Food on Friday, Freakin Did It Friday, Feature Friday, The Pin Junkie, Freedom Friday, Friday Favorite, Foodie Friday, A peek into my paradise, Foodie Friends Friday, Fun Friday blog hop, Happy Friday, TGIF BLOG HOP, Weekend Retreat, What’s Shakin, Weekend Wonders, Weekend Potluck, Get Him Feed Anything Goes, Dwell on Fridays, Friday Foodfight, Lil Luna Link Party, Foodie Friday, Friday with Friends, Simple Living Foodie Friday, Inspirations, Weekend Wander, Simply Delicious Saturday, Weekly Roundup, Feature Yourself Saturday, I Gotta Create, Show and Tell Saturday, Show Off Weekend, Show Stopper Saturday, Sweet and Savory, The Weekend Creative, Weekend Potluck, Will Cook For Smiles, Strut Your Stuff Saturday, Saturday Show & Tell, Super Saturday Show & Tell, Say G'day Saturday, Not Bad Sunday, Potluck Party, Sunday Showcase, Savory Sunday, Sundae Scoop, Super Sunday, Mop It Up Monday, Creative Monday, The Scoop, Melt In Your Mouth Monday, Dinner Time Recipes, Show Me What You Got, Made By You Monday, Hunk of Meat Monday, Sweet Sharing Monday, What’d You Do This Weekend, Marvelous Mess, Making It Cuter, Motivated Monday, Time To Sparkle, Mealtime Monday, Whats In The Gunny Sack, Makin You Crave Monday, Clever Chick, Creative Corner Blog Hop, Make Your Own Monday, Mix it Up Monday,  Save Money Monday

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Frugal Activities #3



I sort of like keeping track of what I did to be a little more frugal ... so much so that I've started to really track ALL my spending ... I created a spreadsheet in excel and have categories like "entertainment" which covers dinners out and Netflix, "booze" because I wanted to move that out of the food budget (seriously, I spent about $50 or so a month on beer/wine) and a few other categories I wouldn't normally have set up ... I'm hoping I can get a better grip on the spending and really get refocused on being more frugal.

Here are a few things that we did this past week:
 
1.  Hosted a last minute 23rd birthday party on Saturday night ... Hubby made the cake and frosting with what we had on hand, opted to make blackened chicken sandwiches because I had lots of thin cut chicken breast and we also made Italian taters (boiled red taters, marinate in Italian dressing and finish off on charcoal grill) ... I made the warmed onion dip and salsa for appetizers and served with bread rounds and chips. Only thing we bought were the onion buns and baguettes.

2.  Opened all the windows in the house to air out during our cold front. Layered on clothes and blankets at night to keep warm. Yes, it was 45 degrees 3 mornings in a row which is COLD for us.

3.  Menu planned and posted on the fridge for Hubby to try and follow along on :) Stuck with the plan about 75% of the time.

4.  Did all my shopping on Saturday when I went to see my dad. Unfortunately, he fell on Sunday and they took him to the ER which meant I had to drive out to the hospital (15 miles there, 5 miles to dads home and then 10 miles back home) to bring him home. He never should have went to the ER as he banged his knee and that was his only complaint. It wasn't a medically necessary situation but I understand the facilities point of view in protecting themselves from a wrongful/neglect suit. Uggg.

5.  Hung 50% of the laundry to dry in the guest bedroom (it's dry here with this cold front!).

6.  Continued with the Pantry Challenge, skipped my planned Costco run (to get my $32 credit back for the coupons I couldn't use the last time I was there. Did you know that if you bring your receipt back during the coupon period, they will credit you back?) ... instead, made a stop at Aldis with Hubby in tow for eggs ... ahem, NOT a smart idea as he got sidetracked in the snack/chip aisle.

7.  Did my own manicure again.

8.  Had Monday off so made my dr's appointment instead of having to take time off work. I used a gift card (this was 'non-medical related')  ... thank you Hubby!

9.  Went to the gym with Hubby and the Boy as their "guest" ... worked harder than I've worked in quite a while which makes me think I need to do convince them to go in the evenings after I get home from work.

10. Moving forward with arrangements for my current SEP IRA to be moved to my financial planners office. The funds are currently not invested and are straight cash. I told Hubby to make this an aggressive account to see what kind of return we can get.

11.  Hubby and the Boy are fixing up a beach cruiser bike that they picked up for ME!  Actually, it's one of my seasonal neighbors (Canada/Florida) and she put it out on the corner for someone to pick up as the back wheel bearings were going bad. The Boy and Hubby are fixing it up ... funny as I had requested a bike for Christmas but they were just really expensive to Hubby ... so this is PERFECT! I figure they have spent $20 maybe on parts :)

12.  Made my breakfast and packed my lunch the 4 days I worked. This is what I normally do but will occasionally fall off the wagon. Oddly enough, if I do it one day, I somehow feel I'm "entitled" to do it again the next day ... strange.

13.  Looked at the American Express points and have determined I can get about $500 worth of AE gift cards if we cashed in a lot of our points. Hubby wants to hold them til something really cool comes up, he's thinking like a vacation or something. I'm thinking we could stretch out a months worth of groceries a LOT better with these. I will continue to work with him on that.

14. Started shopping around for auto insurance that comes up next month. Currently, 6 month premium for 3 cars is $1318. That's a lot. And especially since only 1 car (mine) is driven 5 days of the 7 ... So far we've not had much luck in finding a lower quote. Where we live and what we drive are huge factors :(

Some of the not so frugal things we did this past week:

1.  Shopped at 4 stores total. Target had me filling up the full size cart when all I was picking up was 2 items. This prompted me to re-evaluate my shopping habits ... and was a very big eye opener!

2.  Turned the heat on one morning to 73 to take the chill off. It really wasn't necessary as 68 in NOT cold by most standards!

3.  Ahem, took Hubby to the store with me and let him throw stuff in the cart. What should have been $20 or so cost almost $40 ...

4.  Had a weak moment on Tuesday and convinced Hubby and the Boy to go out to eat at the Japanese buffet place ... $75 later and my "grocery cash jar" has $20 left for the month! Oh Oh. This is what happens when you "borrow" from one account to feed another!

5.  Went to Costco on FRIDAY night after work. So not a good idea as I was in a hurry. Got my $32 back and then proceeded to spend $402. Uggg.

6.  Friday night, Hubby and I decided to walk down the street for one drink. Ummm, we went to the first place, kept walking to the 2nd place, ordered some food and drinks for a total of $75 (with tip) and walked to the 3rd place and spent $30 (I can't remember how much I put in the jukebox). We walked home at around 1:30am ... um, I suppose I could say at least we didn't spend money on a cab? 

What have you been doing to be Frugal lately? 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Week 57 Menu Plan - Using What We Have

AND ... entering Week 33 of Hubby's Unemployment Adventures.

Hmmm ... that's a little unsettling to see 33 weeks of being out of work.

I did a pretty big shop at Costco this past Friday night after work. Didn't feel like I bought a lot of "food" so to speak, frozen fruit, yes, bratwursts, yes, hemp hearts, yes, eggs, bacon, and a few other odds and ends ... but not a lot of food ... hmmm

We are still doing a "pantry challenge" sort of. I suppose maybe I should be calling it a reduced spending challenge as that might be more appropriate?

So, continuing forward ... here's what we are planning for the week:

Sunday - Chopped Steaks with Mushrooms and Sauce ... watch for the recipe this week! Beef from freezer (I think that's the last package?) shrooms in fridge and the balance of ingredients from pantry/fridge

Monday - I was going to do salads tonight, but we have leftovers: pulled pork from Friday, steak from Saturday and chopped steak from Sunday (recipe coming this week hopefully!) ... so leftovers it is tonight!



Tuesday - Taco Tuesday keeps ringing in my ears so I think we will have Beef and Bean Enchiladas ... I will need to by the ground beef (it's on sale this day for $2.99/lb at Fresh Market, will probably by 10 lbs or so since the sale ends this day), shells, refried beans in pantry and cheese in freezer

Wednesday - Crock Pot day ... I think it will be ranchy chicken since I have quite a bit of chicken!


Thursday - leftovers OR soup and and grilled cheese sandwiches in the waffle maker ... our new favorite thing to do :)

Friday - Hubby's choice ... we have lots of chicken in the freezer, getting low on ground beef (unless I really do stock up on Tuesday ...

Saturday - Hubby's choice ... can you believe today is the first day of February, 2014?? As tomorrow is Super Bowl Sunday, most likely will not really have any one over on Friday or Saturday as we may be hosting the Sunday event (no one discussed WHO was to host! That leads me to believe we will)

What are you planning for the week?  If you need ideas, go over to the Organized Junkie and check out her Menu Plan Monday bloghop!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Hard "Boiled" Eggs

I suppose the title probably gives it all away ...

They aren't really boiled! Doh!

Honestly. I've seen this pinned so many times and I think I've probably re pinned it numerous times and finally, FINALLY, I tried it.



Guess what?

It works, and can I just tell you that this is how I will be doing it from here on out? So easy and so convenient!



Ready for the nitty gritty details?

Get yourself one dozen eggs (that's twelve total!)

Get yourself a muffin tin. Hopefully, you won't be like me and say "hmmm...where is the muffin pan?" due to lack of use ... yes, I found it!

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.



Place an egg in each tin. It's meant to be: one dozen eggs fits a 12 cup muffin tin perfect. The stars have finally aligned!

Place the pan in the oven and set the oven to cook for 30 minutes. Since you are doing something to save time and money, just leave the light off. You really don't need to peek at them to see the status as you wont' really see anything happening.

Get yourself a large bowl, fill up with some ice and add water as you will need this too.



Honestly, I sort of expected the eggs to explode or something. That happened once when I made baked taters, I forgot to poke holes and they exploded. Not a good thing!

After 30 minutes, remove the pan and using tongs, transfer the babies to the ice bath. It took mine a whole 5 minutes to cool enough to peel and try one ... I was dying to see how they were.

Results?  An egg that peeled way easier than normal. Not rubbery AT ALL. No smell. AND ... no green ring around the yolk.

One of the things that DID freak me out though was the specks on the shell when I removed them from the oven. I'm not sure why but once they went in the ice bath, they were fine. It might have just been dirt or leftover chicken coop stuff/whatever (I don't really want to think about that, ok?)




I couldn't quite figure out WHY some of the eggs looked like this. They were fine to eat, though. The kids didn't like this and avoided the few eggs that had these spots after peeling.

There were also a few eggs that weren't quite cooked all the way through the yolk and I'm willing to bet that those were the eggs in the middle of the pan ... and maybe, just maybe, there were a little larger than the others. Regardless, I'd still do this, but it did freak the kids out a little when they got one that was rather moist in the middle ;)

I eat a lot of eggs in this house in a variety of ways. Hard boiled eggs are great to toss in a salad for some extra protein, make up a single serving of deviled eggs, make an egg salad (oh, don't forget to do the homemade mayo!) or just eat the thing as is.

I strongly recommend that you give this a shot.

Enjoy!


Looking forward to linking up with some great blog hops ... make sure you check them out!  In and Out of the Kitchen, I Gotta Try That, Tempt My Tummy, Memories, Tasty Tuesday, Tuesdays At Our Home, How To Tuesday, Handmade Tuesday, Making a Home, Show Me The Goods, Totally Tasty Tuesday, All My Bloggie Friends, Frugal Tip Tuesday, Teach Me Tuesdays, Tuesday Talent Show, Tiny Tip Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Penny Pinching Party, The Gathering Spot, Anti-Procrastination Tuesdays, Kitchen Tip Tuesdays, Domestically Divine Tuesday, Tuesday with a Twist, Frugal Tuesday Tip, Show Me What Ya Got, Show Me What You Got, What We Wore/Read/Made, What's Cooking Wednesday, Its a Party!, Recipe Swap, Works For Me Wednesday, Sugar and Spice, Wake Up Wednesday, Wheat Free Wednesday, Whatever Goes Wednesday, Wednesday Whatsits, Work It Wednesday, Homemade By You, Healthy 2Day Wednesday, Hearth and Soul, Real Fun, What I Whipped Up, Work It Wednesday, Lovely Ladies, Weekly Creative, Domestic Superhero, All Things Thursday, The Weekly Creative, Tasty Thursday, Thrifty Thursday, Full Plate Thursday, Create It Thursday, Crafty Thursday Obsessions, Frugal Food Thursday, Thursdays Treasures, Somewhat Simple, Showcase Your Talent, Simple Lives Thursday, Show Your Stuff, Foodie Friday, Get Real Frugal Friday, Frugal Fridays, Food on Friday, Freakin Did It Friday, The Pin Junkie, Freedom Friday, Friday Favorite, Foodie Friday, A peek into my paradise, Foodie Friends Friday, Fun Friday blog hop, Happy Frigay, TGIF BLOG HOP, Weekend Retreat, What’s shakin, Weekend Wonders, Weekend Potluck, Get Him Feed Anything Goes, Dwell on Fridays, Friday Foodfight, Lil Luna Link Party, Foodie Friday, Simple Living Foodie Friday, Inspirations, Weekend Wander, Simply Delicious Saturday, Weekly Roundup, Feature Yourself Saturday, I Gotta Create, Show and Tell Saturday, Show Off Weekend, Show Stopper Saturday, Sweet and Savory, The Weekend Creative, Weekend Potluck, Will Cook For Smiles, Strut Your Stuff Saturday, Saturday Show & Tell, Super Saturday Show & Tell, Say G'day Saturday, Not Bad Sunday, Potluck Party, Sunday Showcase, Savory Sunday, Sundae Scoop, Super Sunday, Mop It Up Monday, Creative Monday, The Scoop, Melt In Your Mouth Monday, Dinner Time Recipes, Show Me What You Got, Made By You Monday, Hunk of Meat Monday, Sweet Sharing Monday, On The Menu Monday, Meatless Monday, What’d You Do This Weekend, Marvelous Mess, Making It Cuter, Motivated Monday, Time To Sparkle, Mealtime Monday, Whats In The Gunny Sack, Makin You Crave Monday, Clever Chick, Creative Corner Blog Hop, Make Your Own Monday, Mix it Up Monday
Enjoy!