I love me a good diner. I really do. There’s a tiny one in our town that has a fish fry every Friday. The place has a counter and 4 tables and that’s it. The menu is the front of a sheet of paper, but they have all the basics.
Tonight we went and Chris ended up winning us a $25 gift certificate for a Mexican restaurant up in Saratoga. They have this container there with 200 numbered disks in it. They randomly choose a number and put it on the wall. Then each patron gets to reach into the container and pick a number. Out of 200 numbers, Chris picked the winning one!
The fish sandwich was huge and slathered in yummy tartar sauce. The fries were freaking delicious and the people there were really sweet. Plus the cook surprised Jack and made a Mickey Mouse face out of his blueberry pancakes. There’s nothing quite like a good, small town diner to put a smile on my face.
Whenever I heard people (by people I mean old women) say “I’m going Antique-ing” I thought that was strange. I’ve been a huge fan of vintage and used clothing for a long, long time now, but I’ve never had a huge desire to shop at antique stores.
Granted, I have had an antique/vintage typewriter and Knight Rider metal lunchbox for many years now, but that’s about the extent of it. If I needed furniture before it was going to be something cheap, and most likely from Ikea.
Now that I have a house, I want to fill it with nice stuff and not the wares of transient college students. I still love the stuff I have from Ikea, and I’m extremely proud of the fact that I put it together all by myself (most of it while I was pregnant actually). However, it’s nice to look around at things that I know I will have for quite some time.
Thankfully we have a bucketload of great antique stores just down the road from my house. Not to mention, there’s always Craigslist, which is a minor obsession of mine. Recently we bought an amazing old metal dining table from an older couple that I found on CL. It’s white and black and came with 2 chairs and all of that only cost me $90! It got a little janky when I transported it, but it’s still great.
I still needed 2 chairs for it though. I kept seeing stuff on CL but it was either too big to fit in my car, too far away, or too expensive. So today the hubby informed me that he was going to a local antique store to look for vintage razors. Incidentally he found an amazing Gillette travel razor that’s from the 60s and brand-spankin’ new. He also found two of the most perfect yellow chairs which were only $15/each. Hell yes!
So tomorrow we are going to fix the underside of the table up so the top isn’t wobbly, and then my dining room set will be complete. Now I just need some more pictures on the walls and some type of storage cabinet. I would already own one except for the fact that I don’t own a truck. In fact, I would own a heck of a lot more stuff if I owned a truck. Maybe I should buy a truck…..
So there are a zillion ways to save money on monthly expenses. I could probably figure out a way to live on $100/month for groceries if I needed to. I could stop buying coffee in the morning, I could cancel my cable tv.
But here’s the dilemma: I spend quite a bit at the Farmer’s Market each week. I don’t mind this though. I also don’t just buy stuff from one vendor, I try to spread the money around. I want to support as many of those people as I can. I love spending my money there. I look forward to it all week. I just don’t know how to keep it really low.
Next year we will probably get a CSA share, because it’s only about $400 and that should keep us stocked for the better part of the year with veggies. Plus I’ve been trying to make a lot of stuff at home, like bread, peanut butter, granola bars, and cereal.
Here’s where I feel conflicted: typically when you aren’t spending much on groceries each month, you are losing out on key things. You could be eating pasta, rice, beans and the like, but I feel like it’s impossible to get enough fresh fruit and veggies.
I just think that people need to be very aware of how they are spending their food money and not try to skimp on health. People used to spend a much larger portion of their monthly costs on food. We should pick other areas of our lives to reduce costs. If money became really tight for us, I could live without Comedy Central.
On my hunt to find somewhere nearby where I could pick berries, I found an amazing site! It’s PickYourOwn.org and it gives a breakdown by county of the farms where you can go pick fruits and veggies. It also lists farm stands.
Soooo…. what do you do with all that fruit??? Well, they have resources for canning and freezing as well!
I can’t wait to get started on my epic canning adventures!!
We went to Chipotle tonight because I guess during July they offer free meals for active duty military on Mondays. I wish we had known about this at the beginning of the month though. I freaking love that place. Maybe they will do it again later in the year.
On a side note, over half of the people there were Navy, and while DH was at work earlier today, tons of people were coming in with burritos. Obviously everyone in town that’s military knows about this.
What was really cool was that we also got a side of chips and salsa for the kiddo and they didn’t charge us for that either. So what would’ve been a $20 meal came down to just over $6, which was the cost of my burrito.
As if I didn’t already lurve Chipotle enough, I noticed they had a poster up for the new documentary Food, Inc. I would really love to see this film except the closest it’s playing is NYC. Eff that! Why not Albany?? Turns out they are one of the film’s sponsors. This made me tickled-pink! Yet another reason, besides the killer guac, to keep coming back for more.
I love bread, I really LOVE it. I could never even imagine a lo-carb diet for even 2 seconds. I wish I could eat it at every meal. When I used to buy bread I would always try to get stuff that was healthier. A lot of times I would get ones with tons of grains and no HFCS.
Then I thought (like I often do)….can I just make this? It can’t be that hard right? Well, good news, it’s not.
If you didn’t know by now, I’m a little obsessed with RecipeZaar.com. The thing I like best about it are the reviews. I could find endless recipes online for stuff but I don’t always know how it’ll turn out. Plus in many of the reviews people mention substitutions and stuff, which give me good ideas.
So here is the one for my bread. So far I’ve made it 3 times. My most recent batch is cooling on the stove top right now. This time I added slow cooking oats and sunflower seeds, but the seeds are only at the top and bottom of the bread. I can’t wait to toast some up and slather the slices with my homemade PB.
Oh yeah, I make Peanut Butter too. It’s so easy. Here you go:
2 cups unsalted, roasted peanuts
Drizzle a little EVOO in with them into a food processor
add a pinch of salt if you wish, but you don’t have to
You are going to blend until it’s the consistency you desire.
You can add more EVOO but go slowly with it, because you don’t want super greasy PB.
Sunday’s we usually make a big dinner from one of Juila Child’s recipes, as long as Chris isn’t working swing shifts. Since I go to the Farmer’s Market on Saturday I try to get as much as I can from there for our dinner. Tonight he made a lamb stew (the pics don’t even do it justice) and it was amazingly good. I must admit too, I’ve never really eaten lamb before. I’ve tried small bites but never in a meal.
I got the lamb from the market as well as turnips, green beans, peas (which we shelled ourselves), potatoes, and tomatoes. I love having everything really fresh. The green beans and peas were electric green when they were cooked and cooled. So crisp and yummy. We also got to use the Rosemary I’m growing outside.
The only things that weren’t from the market were pearl onions and carrots. Honestly next time we would just get regular onions and chop them into quarters. Dealing with the tiny ones is a pain in the tookus.
While dinner was cooking I made some Morning Glory Muffins. I’ve wanted to make these for awhile and I’m not really sure why I never have. I used a recipe from RecipeZaar.com and they turned out perfectly. I highly recommend grating everything in a processor if you can. Doing it by hand isn’t terrible but I almost cut myself a few times on the cheese grater. I added some chopped walnuts and shredded coconut too. This seems like a recipe that’s pretty easy to mess with, especially going by what the reviews say. I’m always excited with recipes that are easy to tweak.
Tomorrow morning I will be snacking on one of these muffins as I drive to work. I’m already jazzed. about it.
I can’t stand huge rooms with completely white, blank walls. One of the first things we did upon moving into our new home was paint two of the rooms. All I have left in the downstairs is the living room and would’ve done it this weekend, but we are getting ready for our wedding and I’m trying to focus on that.
When I did the first room (my reading room) I knew I wanted to find an eco-friendly and VOC free option. I poked around online and found a few. There’s Natura by Benjamin Moore and then there’s Milk Paint, which sounds freaking amazing but I think I’m going to use it later when I refinish furniture. In looking for a local place that sells Milk Paint, I realized they had it at a local hardware store called Allerdice. When I called to ask about it, the guy working in the paint department told me about Pittsburgh Paints.
Here’s what it says on their site:
“Pittsburgh® Paints Pure Performance® was the first national brand paint to receive Green Seal® Class A certification for meeting environmental standards. Pure Performance® contains zero volatile organic compounds (VOC), eliminating detrimental impact on air quality. This very low odor paint allows you to paint by day and occupy the room by night. This environmentally friendly paint is ideal for green building projects!”
I have since used 3 different colors of their Pure Performance line and all have been beautiful, easy to use, and have had no odor at all. You can literally stick your face in the can and it smells like pigment maybe but nothing unpleasant, and not how you would expect paint to smell. It’s so safe that our local hospital was just repainted and this is what they used.
I plan on using it for the rest of my home, I can’t imagine using anything else. Oh, and the best part….it’s less than $30 a gallon! That’s incredibly reasonable for a good paint.
Who am I kidding? I have so many faves, it’s hard to narrow it down. But I have certainly been a huge fan since I was pregnant 5, almost 6, years ago. I just signed up on the community and there is just so much great stuff there! I actually think that many years ago I signed up but who knows what the hell my username was. I doubt I even contributed much then anyway.
Granted, I do not adhere to everything the mag talks about, but the thinking is a lot more in line with how I am than Parents Magazine or any of that garbage. If you are a parent or will be one soon, check it out. If you are close with someone who has a baby or is going to be having one….buy them an issue.
Now if they would just hire me on as a freelance writer…
>I don’t have any pics yet because I still need one more curtain rod for everything to be up and ready to rock. But in the past 2 weeks I’ve made 7 curtains. Four are just different patterned fabric for the kitchen and I made some for my son’s room. He has 3 in his room, 2 Transformers and 1 Spongebob. He picked the fabric out himself.
It’s so insanely easy to make curtains. Really and truly it’s crazy simple to do. I also got super cheap tension rods from a place near me. They look a little nicer than the traditional ones and they were only $2.99 each. The benefit of this is that I don’t have to drill into my wall before painting it. I have painted the kitchen already, but not in any other room where I’ve put curtains up. It would just suck to have to remove fixtures to paint and then have to just put them back up later. Plus some of our window placements are weird and rods up above just wouldn’t work.
Now I just need to make 2 for the living room and two for the craft/band room upstairs. Easy Peasy.