Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Fruit vinegar

Just the other day, I went to reach for the red wine vinegar, and I was completely out. So, instead, I reached for this easy substitute. In fact, I think I like it better. It's fruit flavored vinegar. This one is blueberry, but other fruits work well, too (cranberries, peaches, apples), as well as herbs (basil, rosemary, thyme). I used up the blueberry vinegar in the recipe I was making, so I needed more.

It starts with plain ole' vinegar. I know, I know. It's a foodie faux pas to use white vinegar. But, we like it, and it's also good for cleaning, so I always have it around.

I find bottles everywhere. This one (shockingly) came from a walk down the street on recycling day. I run it through the dishwasher, check for cracks, and there you go.

the lighting in my new house is horrible. I'm working with it, but bear with me in the meantime.

These blueberries were frozen last summer. Just dump them in. Heat the vinegar to boiling (no pictures of this, but if you do it, remember...hot vinegar will clear your sinuses like nothing else), then pour over.

This vinegar will sit for 2 weeks or so, and it'll be ready to use. I usually keep it as is, but you can also strain out the fruit. It would make an easy, elegant Christmas gift, too. It's a great substitute for red wine vinegar, it's good in salad dressings, and it makes a nice ingredient in marinades and pan sauces.

Today, I'm linked to Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam. Check it out! Lots of fun stuff over there every week.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Another successful Thanksgiving! And, just in case you're confused (I was), that's a turkey, put together from a craft kit by a two year old. Yes, mutant turkeys decorated my holiday table this year.

And that two year old was the proudest thing ever. So cute.

I brought home the turkey carcass from Thanksgiving, so I was able to get a couple of meals from that that we'll enjoy this week. Plus, Mike was home over the long weekend (of course), so a little more eating out than usual. Coupled with a quiet Black Friday shopping trip of just me and the baby, I'm feeling like I had a little vacation, too.

Friday--the Varsity (lunch), take out (supper)
Saturday--leftovers (lunch), steaks, onion casserole, salad (supper)
Sunday--out (lunch), turkey gumbo (supper)
Monday--french dips, carrot sticks, cumin-scented lima beans with artichokes
Tuesday--sweet potato/black bean burritos, Mexican rice
Wednesday--cincinatti chili over spaghetti
Thursday--Thai red curry with pork, rice

As always, I'm linked to orgjunkie's Meal Plan Monday.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


As I count my blessings this year, I'm thankful for our warm, cozy little house. It's in such a great location, so sweet, so fun, and so me. I think my mom is one of the few people that realize just how me it is.

We lost our last house because of bad circumstances, combined with some stupid financial moves. (not like Vegas stupid, and in different times, we would have been okay, but hey, chance is chance, and you can always lose) So, part of me felt like we would need to pay penance for that and live in a terrible efficiency apartment in the ghetto while we got our acts together.

But, God is GOOD. And that's not what has happened at all. Sure, there is restoration to do. We have some debt to pay off now. It will take us years to save up for another house. But, in the meantime, we are in a great place, just right for us. My children are thriving, my family is happy, and I have to pinch myself that I really live here now.

So, I'm thankful. Very thankful that even in our stupidity, God can make beauty out of ashes.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


This week, our Bible verse is 1 Thess. 5:16 In everything, give thanks.

And, so, I thought I'd share some of the things I'm thankful for.

I never thought I'd be the mama of even one son, much less three of them! What joy they bring to my life. What excitement. What energy. I love each and every day with them. Even the days when I escape to the grocery store after dark for a few minutes of quiet. This is really a fun season of my life, and I am thankful.

Tomorrow, I'll share a couple more of the things I'm thankful for. Join me this week as we give thanks to God for all that He has given us.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Unexpected blogging break

A girl with no camera is a sad blogger indead!! First, it was a lost battery charger (which was so thrilling to find!), and then, it was something wonky with the memory card. But, hopefully, my camera woes are behind me, and things are good. I really love this camera, so I'm hoping for a little more time with it. We'll see. It's probably time to start a Dave Ramsey envelope titled "camera" just in case. Cause everyone knows you must have a camera. There is no blog without one. And, that just can't be.

We travelled to see my inlaws last weekend, getting home late Sunday night (it's a 6 hour without kids, 8 hours with kids drive). And, my husband only works 3 days this week. So a little wonky. Plus, Thanksgiving of course and shopping the day after with my mom. One very good thing for us is that my mom isn't a fan of leftovers. So, we'll get the turkey carcass. Last year, I scooped up that sucker and made the turkey gumbo that I'd read about in lots of magazines and books. And, yes, it was really all that. So, I'm definitely doing that again.

Monday--fancy venison stew, wild rice, zuchinni
Tuesday--Mexican rice skillet, roasted cauliflower, roasted sweet potato
Wednesday--fettucini alfredo
Thursday--mostly on my mom (thank you mom!), but I'm contributing a new-to-us three onion casserole. It has Alouette cheese and havarti. It sounds great.

And, just because it's interesting, I'll put what I know we're having. We have about 80% of the old faithfuls, and a few new things, too.
Relish plate--olives, stuffed celery (with onion cream cheese--sounds gross, tastes good), pickled peaches
Dressing (similar to Paula Deen's)
giblet gravy
cranberry sauce (it's a little overboard--the smooth kind for my brother, whole berry for most folks, and some years, a jello cranberry "salad" that never gets eaten, but makes great leftovers)
sweet potatoes
butter beans
this oh so fancy and good cake from a local bakery
(and yes, my family doesn't eat mashed potatoes nor pumpkin pie--we'd tell you those are yankee things. And we might smile. But definitely for yankees.)

Friday--tacos de pastor (pre-marinated meat from the store--an easy meal for a shopping day)
Saturday--turkey gumbo

And, just because, I thought I'd leave you with a picture of this cutie. He's just as happy as this picture looks. He had his moments, but by far the best traveling baby I've had. He's sooo good natured. I feel really blessed.

As always, I'm linked to orgjunkie's Menu Plan Monday. I can't wait to see what other people are making for Thanksgiving week.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


My family will eat anything in a taco. Case in point.

These are mashed potato, roast chicken, and collard tacos, on flour tortillas. We topped them with cilantro, onion, diced hot peppers (these were late season cayenne peppers from my mom's garden), and a little hot sauce (Valencia).

Sounds bizarre, tastes good. Try it!

I'm linked to Balancing Bedlam and Beauty's Tasty Tuesday. Check out lots of new ideas over there.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Weekly Menu November 8

Last week was a great, relaxing week with my husband at home. It was so fun to have him here, and we did lots of great family things. We went to the children's museum, lots of time in our neighborhood park/playground, we got tons of projects done in our new house, went to lunch with my mom, and we even threw in a trip to IKEA. What could be better? And, true to form for all of our vacations, we ate out several times and had so much take-out that we were *almost* tired of it by the end of the week. It makes getting back to cooking much easier, though!

We had our first cold snap the end of last week. This week should be beautiful, but it's definitely fall, and we're craving cozy, warm meals. Lots of them cooked in the oven for the double bonus of warming up the house.

Sunday--chicken spaghetti, salad

Monday--slow cooked pork butt, rice, pinto beans, corn tortillas

Tuesday--roast chicken, roasted sweet potatoes, zuchinni, salad

Wednesday--leftover pork in barbecue sauce, collards, black eyed peas


Friday--Brunswick stew

As always, I'm linked up to orgjunkie's Menu Plan Monday. Check it out!