Thursday, July 29, 2010

Clean Out the Pantry Day 3: Garlic & Jalapeno Shrimp

Last night I made the Garlic & Jalapeno Shrimp from the May 2010 issue of Martha Stewart Living . I had everything to make it except for the jalapeno pepper which I picked up at the grocery last week for 38 cents. Bank breaker right there ladies and gentlemen. :)

My husband and I both liked it. A lot. I'll definitely be making this one again.

On the side, we ate this seasoned rice that's been taking up space in the pantry since I got it free with a coupon.

The recipe also specified to "Serve with cold beer." I'm not gonna argue with Martha so...

Grocery Update: This morning I did my menu planning for next week and discovered that I could easily do another week of cooking with what we already have. I went to the grocery today and only spent $10 on ingredients for those meals. It would have been less, but my husband specially requested a dish. I have the chicken and the sour cream, but had to purchase the rest.

The only others things I bought were bread, produce, beer and things for my husbands lunches next week. All of these are things we will consume in a week.

My credit card was very, very happy. It was also nice not having to unload 2,000 bags of groceries and spend an hour putting everything away.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Clean Out the Pantry Day 2: French Onion Pork Chop Skillet

Last night's dinner was one of my husband's favorite. I found the recipe in a Kraft Foods magazine shortly after we got married and it's been a semi- regular feature on our menu since then. We haven't had it for a while so my husband was excited to see it finishing up on the stove when he got home.

You can find the original recipe here. The only modifications I made were to use one pound of pork chops instead of 1.5 and I used 2% shredded cheddar cheese instead of part-skim mozzarella.

I swear there really are pork chops in there, under the onions.
I didn't have to buy a single thing for this meal. Even more exciting was that this dish used up my last box of stashed Stove Top stuffing. I don't really know how I amassed so much of that stuff, but at one point I had about 10 boxes on the lazy Susan. Either there was one heck of a sale or I had some mad coupons. Or both. :)

On the side, we had salads made from our fridge stash of lettuce, tomatoes from our garden and croutons from the pantry.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Clean Out the Pantry Day 1: Garbage Salad

Kristan's post about having a ton of food stocked in her pantry and wanting to cook for one week using only ingredients she had on hand. I decided to challenge myself to the same thing since I have a ton of non-perishables in the pantry, meat in the freezer and things in the refrigerator that need to be used up.

Yesterday I hit the trifecta. I used not only two items from the pantry, but also an item from the deep freeze and a few things from the refrigerator.

The steamy weather yesterday was not conducive to a heavy dinner. It was, however, perfect grilling weather so my husband threw a sirloin steak (from the deep freeze) on the grill for our protein. Instead of serving it with a starchy side, we decided to just throw it onto a salad. Every one of the toppings were things we already had on hand and some of them were things that would have gone bad had they not been used up this week.

I present to you my Garbage Salad:

spring mix, tomatoes (from our garden), dark red kidney beans, croutons, coleslaw & sirloin steak
Yes. That says coleslaw. My husband looked at me like I had lost my mind. 

I wanted a slaw-like dressing for my salad, but we didn't have any because I'd used up the last jar toward the end of last week in a batch of homemade coleslaw. We ate it as a side dish with several meals, but there was still quite a bit leftover that would have gone spoiled in the refrigerator. I threw it on top of my salad to keep that from happening. Lo and behold, it was actually really good.

It was a perfect meal for a hot summer evening. We weren't overly stuffed and the veggies were extra refreshing.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


My junior year of college was a  rough one. When spring break rolled around I needed an escape. While most of my friends were venturing to Cabo San Lucas or Miami for a wild week, I went a completely different route and headed to Virginia Beach...with my mom. Not exactly what most college students would picture as their idea of a fun vacation. It turned out to be the most relaxing getaway I can ever remember. There was absolutely no agenda. We spent the week reading & walking on the beach, dining on fabulous seafood and sleeping with the balcony door open to enjoy the sound of the waves.

We also explored several little boutique shops, my favorite of which was full of beads. The walls were lined with tiny drawers, each one housing a different bead. I felt like I was on a treasure hunt as I walked around the store, pulling out each drawer and discovering its content. I've never been very good at making jewelry, but I've always had a love for beads. There are so many different shapes, sizes, colors, styles and materials. I fell in love with a few beads, but couldn't really justify buying them since I had no purpose for their use. As we were leaving, we passed a display case that held shelves and shelves of gorgeous prisms. They were beautiful. As is almost always the case with me, I couldn't settle on just one.  I asked the cashier to hold two for me and I hurried back to the little drawers, this time with purpose. I bought enough of the beads I'd previously coveted to string with the prisms.

I'm not sure why, but those beads and prisms sat unused in a drawer...until yesterday. One of my child development books said that little ones love prisms. When I read that, I remembered seeing the little plastic bag of prisms and beads when I reorganized my crafting supplies a few weeks ago. I dug them out, strung them on some fishing line and hung them in the living room windows where we get plenty of early morning sun. When I got the baby up for the day, the living room was full of dancing rainbows. The walls, floors and furniture were polka-dotted with them. Her face lit up and her little eyes danced from one speckle to another. After breakfast, still mesmerized with the new addition to our decor, she crawled across the floor and tried to pick the spots of color up in her hands. Watching her play, laugh and shriek with enjoyment at something so simple takes me back to that vacation and to that bead shop. The trip was none too wild, but sometimes those chances to slow down, relax & discover can be just as exciting.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Fresh Start

Can you really call it "starting over" when you only made one post before taking the hiatus? :) Probably not, but I'm excited to revisit this blog I created over a year ago and see the potential for the future. I don't have a specific purpose in mind for this blog. It will just be a collection of my life happenings, thoughts, projects, photos and whatever else pops into my brain that day.

I should probably catch you all up to speed since I've had a couple major life changes have taken place for me since my first/last post.

Last October, I made this (with the help of my husband):

Which has now turned into this:

My husband and I are both head over heels in love with this little girl.

Major life change #2 is that I quit my job in the world of finance last December to stay home with her full-time. I feel truly blessed to be able to watch her learn and grow every single day. It's the hardest job I've ever had, but also the most rewarding.