Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Spending: How did you do?


You know the old Christmas song, "Christmas is coming, the Goose is getting fat....."


Well, this is how the song should go now that it is December 26th:  "Christmas is over, the Goose is very slim....."   LOL


I saved, I splurged (a little), and am now spent.  Time to start all over again for next year!


How did you do with your Christmas spending?  


A.Marie





Friday, November 25, 2011

UPDATE TO ORGANIC ACRES POST....MOOLALA ROCKS!!

So, I posted this morning about our Organic Acres fiasco and how I sent an email to Moolala requesting my money back.  I expected to hear back from them next week.  That is the usual time it takes, it seems, for a company to respond to a complaint.


Not Moolala, however!!


I emailed them around 8:00ish this morning, and at 8:30 am I received an automated reply that said I would get a personal response within two days.  At 11:00 am this morning, I received this email:



I'm so sorry you have had this experience with one of our merchants. This is certainly not what we want for our members!


Organic Acres have had several issues over the summer and fall and we had hoped they would be able to resolve their issues, but it now seems unlikely that they will be able to fulfill the rest of our members' orders. I know this was a great deal and it’s disappointing that it’s fallen through.


Because this transaction is more than 90 days old our payment processor is unable to refund to your credit card. We can send you a refund check or you can use the funds to buy another voucher.


I've refunded $19.00 to your Moolala Rewards Account 


To request a check all you need to do is login to your account and fill out this form (you can use the link below to go directly to the right page) and you'll receive a check within 10-14 days.


Or, you can use these funds to purchase deals you'll receive an additional 5% bonus instead of the normal 2%.


Again, I'm sorry it turned out this way. If there is anything else I can do for you just reply to this email and let me know.


Thanks!


Pamela


for the Moolala Member Experience Team



How's that for Customer Satisfaction?! I clicked the link that was provided, and YES! The money is back in our Moolala acount!  Hubby and I are very, very happy to have our money back (okay, I know it was only $19.00, but around here, that's a lot of dough)!!  


I am extremely happy and very grateful to Moolala, and after this experience, I won't hesitate to recommend their deal site to anyone!!  Like I said in the blog title, 


"Moolala Rocks!"  


ORGANIC ACRES SCAM *TOTALLY RESOLVED*


Way back in April, Moolala had an Organic Acres deal that I blogged about and a few of you signed up for:
Well, I am here to tell you that it appears we all were fooled....that it was just a big scam....and if you haven't received your box, which you most likely did not, there is someone that you can contact, at Moolala, to get your money back.  
This is the official email that I found on the Moolala site:

OFFICIAL ANSWER:

Hi, Jon Dale here, I'm the Chief Happiness Officer at Moolala. I wanted to provide you with an update on the situation with Organic Acres.  Unfortunately, due to the overwhelming response and circumstances beyond their control, Organic Acres has not been able to fulfill many of our Members' orders. 

As you know Moolala guarantees every voucher you buy.  As a result if you’re one of the ones who hasn’t received your veggies we’d like to issue you a refund. Please contact us at support@moolala.com.

If you didn’t receive your veggies we’re really sorry, we know this was a great deal and it’s disappointing that it’s fallen through.

If you have any questions please email us.

Thanks,

Jon Dale
Chief Happiness Officer at Moolala

He calls himself the Chief Happiness Officer...Now THAT is FUNNY because I know that I sure am NOT HAPPY with them!!  


Thursday, November 24, 2011

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

Hilarious Turkey Groucho Marx Disguise Animation: comical turkey wearing iconic Groucho Marx novelty eyebrows/glasses/nose/moustache combination for a disguise and holding a sign that says I am not a turkey; very funny animated turkey gif free for Thanksgiving Day holiday season.

HAVE A VERY BLESSED THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!!  

Sunday, November 6, 2011

SOUP SUPPER



I love to buy a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store....I can serve the chicken for supper one night, along with potatoes and a vegetable, and then I can use what is left from the chicken to make soup!  If you don't care about the extra fat in your stock, you could make this all in one day.  However, I like to "de-fat" my stock, so it takes a bit longer.
Ingredients:
1 leftover store-bought rotisserie chicken
1/2 bag (6 oz) extra wide noodles
2 quarts chicken broth (boxed/canned or from bouillon) 
2 big carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds or half-rounds
salt and pepper

In a large stockpot, place the chicken along with the sliced carrots.  Add enough water to cover the chicken and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.  I like to simmer until the chicken comes off the bones easily.  I then take the chicken out of the broth, remove all of the meat, and return the bones and skin to the water.  Put the meat back in the fridge and simmer the stock for about 4 hours.
**I've found that if you put the leftover chicken pieces in with the bones while you're making broth, the chicken meat tends to lose nearly all it's flavor. Better to save it & add in later.
After the stock is finished, strain and cool.  Then I refrigerate the stock overnight and the next morning, I take off the fat that has risen to the top.  I save this in a container, in the freezer, to make suet for the birds. *Recipe for that coming soon!
I place the stock back on the stove and add the canned broth (if you want a thinner soup, you can add more broth after the noodles are cooked).  After the stock has started boiling, I add the noodles and cook until tender.  Then I cut the chicken up into cubes and add it to the pot.  Heat on low until chicken is warmed through.  Salt and pepper to taste and VoilĂ !!  SUPPER!!!!






A.Marie

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

GIVEAWAY AT THE OTHER BLOG

I have a giveaway going on at my other blog!  Click here to enter!!!  :)


Hope you all are having a terrific day!  It's is sunny here in Smalltown today but I am keeping an eye on the weather.  Yesterday, my house cat was having playtime outside (that's what I call it...playtime! LOL) and I didn't realize that it had started raining.  I was on the phone with my Mom, and all of the sudden, I heard this strange noise.  I looked outside and yelped in the phone, "Oh No! Gotta Go! It's raining and my baby is outside!"


Good thing my Mom knows me all too well....and still loves me in spite of the fact that I call my cat my "baby" and I sometimes phone her to tell her how her "Grandcat" is doing; hahahaha....


Anyways, I ran out there as if on fire and started calling her name.  I heard this pitiful mewing and there she was, under the deck, looking like a drowned rat.  I crawled under there to get her and ran back inside.  Poor baby....she was so scared that she had messed all over herself.  *Sigh*  The things that we Mothers have to do for our fur-babies.....
After a cleanup, she was all dry and happy.  She crawled up on the couch upstairs and promptly fell asleep.  She stayed asleep the rest of the afternoon, all evening, and most of the night.  By this morning, she was her frisky, onery self again!


I let her go outside for playtime again, but this time, I'm keepin' an eye on Ol' Mother Nature.  As much "fun" as that was yesterday, crawling around under the deck to get her, I'd rather not repeat that experience!   ;)

A.Marie

Thursday, September 22, 2011

WHEN IT DOUBT, JUST BEAT IT!



Okay, Okay, so this post ISN'T about Michael Jackson....but it IS an awesome song, isn't it??!!  ;)

So, yesterday, I found this awesome-sounding recipe online that I decided I just HAD to make (or die trying).  Which almost happened


Oh, the recipe looked simple enough: just take some softened butter and sugar and beat until light and fluffy.  That went just fine.
Next, add an egg. Check. Then, add the flour, baking soda and cinnamon. Check.


Fold in apples and pecans. Uncheck. This is where something went wrong.  You see, I had this simply BRILLIANT idea to use already chopped and cooked apples that I had leftover in the fridge.  I didn't see any reason why cooked apples couldn't be used in place of chopped raw apples.  I mean, come on! An apple is an apple, in my book. But, I forgot one teeny-tiny detail.  When blended with the blender, cooked apples tend to fall apart into a mushy-like substance, thus rendering the entire cake-apple mixture into an undesirable messy conglomeration.   I just about had a heart attack!!  UGH!  It looked TERRIBLE!!!   I couldn't just throw it away...I HAD to find a solution to this problem.  I actually could feel myself start to panic.  What to do....what to do......


Well, I figured that I had already made a mess, so I just had to keep on going.....I set my mixer on high and just beat the stuffin' out of it.  It started looking really whippy and frothy and then I poured into the baking pan, smoothed it out, and shoved it into the oven.  And hoped for the best.


After the timer went off, I checked and it was nowhere near done.  It was still wiggly and jiggly and I shoved it back in.  For 10 more minutes. Then for another 10 minutes. Then I decided to get radical. 


I set the oven temp lower and just let it sit in there for about a 1/2 hour.  When I checked it again, I was pleasantly surprised!  It had cooked to a wonderful ooey-gooey almost-like-bread-pudding consistency...and the taste was DIVINE!  SCORE!!


So, here is the recipe that is aptly titled: Golden Apple Snack Cake.  I have renamed it to Alisa's Apple Mess....LOL  ;)


Ingredients
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 1/2 cups chopped peeled tart apples
1/2 cup pecans


Directions
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add egg. Combine the flour, baking soda and cinnamon; gradually beat into the creamed mixture.  Fold in apples and pecans.  If using cooked apples, beat the stuffin' out of it.  


Transfer to a greased 9 inch square baking pan.  Bake at 350 for 32-38 min. (or 52-58 minutes it you are trying to replicate my mess....then bake another 1/2 hr. at 250!)  or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes clean.  Cool on a wire rack.  Yields 9 servings unless feeding a teen son and hubby.  Then it yields only 2 servings.  LOL


Meanwhile, eat your yummy dessert and listen to some more of MJ!  Ain't life GRAND?! ;)



Tuesday, September 20, 2011

YUMMY EGGPLANT (AND THE ANSWER TO KEN. B'S QUESTION)


I LOVE cooking with eggplant.  And, I have found a recipe that is absolutely amazing and, best of all, my hubby likes it!  So, it's a winner in my book!  :)


Here it is:  Tomato and Eggplant Casserole


1 medium eggplant
1 T. finely chopped onion
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 T. butter
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 t. oregano
1/2 c. dry bread crumbs
1 large tomato, cored and cut into 6 medium-thick slices
1/2 c. grated cheese


Directions:


Peel the eggplant and slice 1/4" thick.  Put in a saucepan with the onion, salt, and 1/2" boiling water.  Cover and simmer about 10 minutes until tender.  Drain well and mash.  Blend in the butter, eggs, pepper, oregano, and bread crumbs.  Turn into a buttered 1½ -2 quart casserole.  Cover with the tomato slices.  Sprinkle with the cheese and salt and pepper.  Bake in a preheated 375° F. oven for 25 minutes until lightly browned.  Serves 6.


************


I am also feeling really, really bad.....I never responded to Ken B's question on my flash freezing post.  It's not that I was ignoring you, Ken.  I just didn't see your question until recently.  For that, I apologize.  I will now attempt to answer your question about preserving the nutrients in fruit and vegetables and how quickly they have to be frozen in order to achieve this.


I did alot of research on the computer, and it appears that there are alot of differing opinions as to what vitamins are preserved during the flash freezing process and which vitamins are lost.   In fact, the opinions are so differing that it was very difficult to come to a conclusive answer.  That is why I am including some of the links that I found.  In this way, you can form your own opinion about the pros/cons of flash freezing and/or blanching and then flash freezing.   I just know that after reading the articles, I was slightly cross-eyed!   :)


http://www.veganforum.com/forums/showthread.php?366-Vitamin-loss-canning-freezing-amp-more


http://www.eufic.org/article/en/food-safety-quality/safe-food-handling/artid/freezing-foods-quality-safety/


http://www.experts123.com/q/what-is-flash-freezing.html


http://www.ehow.com/info_8373496_snap-freezing-mean.html




Have a wonderful day, Everyone!!!



A.Marie

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Kielbasa, It's What's for Dinner!!


(photo courtesy of Group Recipes.com)


I have been trying to use up what is in my freezer and I came across a package of Kielbasa.  Since I wanted to make this in my crock pot, I started googling.  This is what I located at Group Recipes:


Slow Cooker Kielbasa Stew


  • 4 cups coarsely chopped cabbage
  • 3 cups peeled, cubed potato
  • 1-1/2 cups sliced carrots
  • 1 pound cooked kielbasa, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil, crushedshopping list
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 14-ounce cans reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • In a 4- to 5-quart slow cooker combine cabbage, potato, and carrots. Top with kielbasa. 
  • Sprinkle basil, thyme, and pepper over kielbasa. Pour chicken broth over all.
  • Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 7 to 9 hours or on high-heat setting for 3-1/2 to 4-1/2 hours.
Doesn't it sound delish??  What have you made in your Crock pot lately?  



A.Marie

Thursday, August 25, 2011

MY CANNER RUNNETH OVER

Presto Pressure Canner
(image courtesy of SimplyCanning.com )


See the picture right above?  That harmless looking green bean?  Well, not to complain or anything, but that innocent-looking vegetable is taking over my kitchen.... literally.  I don't know what happened out there in that garden, but those green beans must have decided to give it one last hurrah, because they are bustin' out of their rows....I canned some this morning, there is more to can on the kitchen table and still more to pick out in the ol' garden patch.


But, again, I'm not complaining.  I am very glad that Mother Nature graced us with "her" presence a couple of days ago and gave us that nice soaking rain.  It just made the green beans a little too happy, that's all I'm sayin'!   LOL  ;)


Okay, enough blogging....back to the canner I go!  


What are all of you doing today?



Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Things I Do For My Cat

WHAT! WE'RE OUT OF WET CAT FOOD??

Okay, Seriously....someone get me some kitty prozac so I can calm my cat down!  He absolutely LOVES his tasty wet cat food "treat" that I give him throughout the day.  But, since I was lazy and didn't make it to the store, I am all out of his favorite tasty yummies.  

So, I have been searching the internet to come up with something that I can make at home that will sort of resemble canned cat food.  After reading a ton of articles, I came upon one that said boiled chicken is fine for cats so long as it wasn't cooked with onions, garlic and salt.

YES!  I can do that!  I have alot of chicken in my freezer (breasts to be exact) and I am going to boil some, cool them, chop it really fine, and see if Mr. Picky aka thirteen-year-old-geriatric-fussy-pants-cat will eat it.  

I'll let you know!



Wednesday, August 10, 2011

BAND CAMP 2011

Band Camp is over for the summer and it's now time to move on to something else, like weeding the garden, picking the tomatoes and putting up corn for the upcoming winter.  Time marches on and life is a continuous ebb and flow, like the seasons, like the ocean's waves.


Since this is teen son's last year of high school, there will be many more "lasts," but then he will start college and that will start many more "firsts."  There can't be an ending without a beginning, so as we are going through this last year of high school, I will be thinking about how this all began in Kindergarten and is ending with his Senior year and will begin again (with college).  Life....gotta love it!!!  ;)

(walking off the field at the end of band camp 2011)

I also noticed something when I was busy volunteering at this year's band camp.  This was my last camp that I will be actively volunteering at all day, every day, and I didn't feel the need to "prove myself" like I did at the past camps.  I just did what I could from day to day and didn't leave with the feeling that I didn't get enough accomplished.  I just felt more relaxed and at ease.  Does that make sense? 


I enjoyed getting to know some of the freshman Mom's and really look forward to being around them during the next few months as the band performs at their band competitions.  Then, when the last and final competition comes to an end, and my duties as the Snack Queen are over, I'm gonna take my invisible crown, place it on the head of my successor, raise my water bottle to her in a toast and bid that part of my life adieu!   :)

(My trusty water bottle that has lasted for 4 band camps.  I felt it deserved a photo!)  LOL


Have a great day everyone!  I'm off to husk some corn, cut if off the cob, blanch it and bag it for the freezer!  It's gonna be alot of work but my family will enjoy it when the snow starts flying!!  



Saturday, August 6, 2011

DON'T "DO THE OSTRICH"




I have been busy, busy, busy this week doing the Band Mom "thing" for band camp.  My teen son is a Senior this year, so this'll be his (and my) last camp.  Someone asked me if that made me sad, but I was like, "not really."  I mean, it's been fun and all, but nothing stays the same, and it shouldn't.  Time marches on and we just have to adapt and move on right with it.  I enjoyed volunteering in the grade school, then the upper grade school, then the junior high, and now the high school.  And, when that is over, it'll be time to say, "C'est la vie" and embrace the next phase.  


Which leads me to what happened last evening at the annual potluck that is held after the first week of Band Camp.  It's usually a fun time meeting and greeting new Freshman parents and catching up on what is happening with fellow band parents.  So, hubby, son, and I were sitting with hubby's sister, and hubs was telling us that he had chatted with this other band mom and had said to her, "Can you believe that your son is a Senior?"  (Now, keep in mind that our son is also a Senior, but we have a very different approach to this question than she did!)


She got really upset that my husband asked her that and he told me that she just "clammed up" and wouldn't say another word to him.  When he told us about this little episode, I thought that she probably was just kidding around with him and decided to ask her about it when I saw her.  So, as "luck" would have it, she walked right by our table just as he finished telling me this story.  When she got by me, I said to her, "Hi! How are you doing!!!!  Can you believe that your son and my son are finally Seniors?"  


OH. BOY.  


WRONG-O THING TO SAY.


BECAUSE HUBS WAS NOT KIDDING.


SHE GOT REALLY MAD.


IMMEDIATELY her friendly smile withered away to nothing and was replaced by an ugly, angry scowl.  Her eyes turned cold as ice, her body language went from relaxed to stiffened as she clamped her lips firmly shut and stomped off.  I could NOT believe it!!  I shouted after her, "Hey, I was only kidding....seriously....are you really mad?"  And, she didn't turn around at all.  She just stiffly walked out of the building and went outside.


I was stunned.....so was everyone else sitting there.....The change in her, with that one sentence, was just incredible.  I said to everyone that saw it, "Boy, I feel really bad.  I really didn't think that she'd get THAT mad!"  But, there was not much I could do to make it better.  I decided to just go on with my meal and try to find her later and apologize.


Well, she came back into the room, stormed right over to where I was sitting, pointed at me and looked me straight in the eye and said with a very cold voice that held absolutely no emotion, "It's a good thing that you are a church going woman or I would say some words to you that you wouldn't want to hear."  And, with that statement, she stormed off again.......


Me thinks that there is something not right with her "upstairs" and I am going to A.V.O.I.D. conversing with her for awhile.  There is an obvious problem and I'm not willing to get myself all upset because of her.  Both of our sons are graduating and that is a fact.  Nothing can change that.  She can "stick her head in the sand" and avoid the obvious, and that is her choice.  But, that is not my choice.  I am going to enjoy this last year, because this is truly the last high school year.  I have no other kids in school.....teen son is the last one.  I'm going to have a good time, enjoy the camaraderie (for the most part), do what I can to help with the competitions, volunteer at the music functions, and when it is all said and done, next May, and those Senior kids walk down that aisle with their cap and gowns on, I'll shed a few tears and then just turn my face to the future and not look back. 


But, until then, there is much band mom "stuff" to do and I'm just doin' what I can and enjoyin' the fun!  (and, for those of you who are wondering....I haven't touched a screwdriver yet since this last post!   ;)


A.Marie 



Wednesday, July 27, 2011

HAVE YOU EVER HAD

......a moment in your life where you just wanted to have God open the floor and swallow you up?


.......where a big, fat Loser sign should be painted right across your forehead?


Oh.
My.
Word.


I had one of those days yesterday.  Let's just say it involved me, the very willing band-helper-Mom that I am, a very frozen little office refrig, and a screwdriver.  Yep, you heard me right. A screwdriver.  And, I'm not talking the liquid kind.  Although, after it was all said and done, and I managed to kill the fridge, if someone had handed me one, I would have gulped it down in about 2 seconds flat and said, "pour me another one...."   
I have no idea what I was thinking....but, there in lies the problem..I obviously was NOT thinking (sound of hand smacking forehead)!!!



So, anyway....that has been my do-not-ever-want-to-repeat moment of my life.  I am going to go for a drive with my son, and we are going to hit up the next-town's donut shop.  A coffee and a sweet treat sound good to me right now!   And I promise to stay away from any and all types of screwdrivers!! :}


A.Marie







Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ham and Potato Chowder....It's What's for Dinner!!

PotSoup

(Photo courtesy of Fix-It and Forget-It)


Doesn't that soup look AMAZING?  I read about it how to make this ham and potato chowder over at Fix-it and Forget-It's blog and it sounds super simple to make.  This recipe comes from their Fix-It and Forget-It Kids Cookbook,; I think that my daughter could even attempt this recipe.  


What do you think?  Does this sound yummy or what?!!


 Don't forget:  I am having a cookbook giveaway over at the other blog: My Money Mission Online.  Go over and check it out!!!  

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

HOT WEATHER MENU



It is officially hot here in smalltown.  The temp. is already 93 degrees and the heat index is 107 degrees.  I am tempted to take an egg outside, crack it on the sidewalk, and see if it really IS hot enough to fry it.  But, I'm just not that ambitious.  So, I'll just surmise that perhaps it could work.  If any of you feel inclined to try out the theory, feel free!  Let me know the results!!  LOL  ;)


Anyway, even though we have a/c in our house, I really don't like to heat up the stove to cook.  So, this is going to be my supper menu for today and possibly tomorrow:

Cold Sandwiches
Dilly Potato Salad or lettuce salads
Deviled eggs
Apple Slices
Ice Cream/Sherbet for dessert

What is your Hot Weather menu looking like??

I forgot to mention:  I am having a cookbook giveaway over at the other blog: My Money Mission Online.  Go over and check it out!!!