Monday, January 19, 2015

Past Week's Meals

Lemongrass Chicken with Coconut Ginger Sauce and Lime Basmati Rice

Paulie's favorite - Brats, Dill Potatoes, Sauerkraut Salad (cold) and Horseradish Beer Mustard

Steak Fajitas with all the fixings, mushrooms, onions, peppers, salsa, jalapenos, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream and lime on onion Nan (non traditional)
Oven backed chicken wings, green beans with lemon and garlic, whipped sweet potatoes with ricotta cheese and celery & radish salad

Meatless Monday - Homemade Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

Pan seared Salmon with dill potatoes and ginger carrots

On Friday night we went out to Sushi but otherwise I cooked the rest of the nights.

Friday, January 16, 2015

I Need Your Input

I am conducting a mini market research study, below are options of names for a potential new blog that will feature an honest Mom's point of view of her life - kids, cooking, working, clean living, household, reviews and some well deserved and necessary letting off some steam.  Please take a few moments to look each option over and pick the one that stands out the best to you. If you have a suggestion that is not currently on the list, please feel free to write one in on your comments.
  1. Confessions of a Suburban Mom
  2. Honest Mom Diaries
  3. Honest Mom Report
  4. Life of a Suburban Mom
  5. Suburban Mom Diaries
  6. Suburban Mom journal
  7. Suburban Mom Life
Thank you for taking the time to help us out today.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


Yummy homemade granola

I saw Yolanda posted on Facebook that she made Granola which totally made me crave some. My pantry is pretty well stocked so here is what I used:
  • 3 cups of Oats (not quick cook)
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup Sunflower Oil
  • 1/3 cup Agave - Maple and Blueberry combination, you can use Honey or Maple Syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 4 tablespoons Sunflower Seeds
  • 4 tablespoons Pecans
  • 4 tablespoons Cashews
  • 4 tablespoons Coconut Flakes
  • 4 tablespoons Hazelnuts
  • 4 tablespoons Craizins
  • 4 tablespoons Slivered Almonds
Preheat oven to 300° F. In a bowl add Oats, Sunflower seeds and Almonds. In a separate bowl combine oil, sugar, agave, salt and vanilla then drizzle over the oats and mix until incorporated. Spread on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Turn over the mixture on the cookie sheet and bake for 10 more minutes. Remove from the oven and add remaining ingredients. The granola will harden as it cools. Store in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks although it never last that long in our house. I stash snack bags of this granola in hubby's work jacket for a healthier later afternoon treat. 

Oats and sunflowers with wet ingredients 

Spread on a cookie sheet on the way to the oven 

After 20 minutes in the oven 


After an additional 10 minutes (and after a mix with a metal spoon) 

With all the goodies added 

Cooling before being transferred to a storage container and snack bags.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Mushroom Stroganoff for Meatless Monday

Meatless Monday dinner was Mushroom Stroganoff over Vietnamese Noodles, Paulie said it was the best vegetarian meal he's ever had! Now that's praise coming from a devout meat eater.
Sauteed onions, leeks and baby portabella mushrooms in a heavy bottom pot. I saved half the onion/leek mixture and then about half of the mushrooms for another meal later in the week 
I added 8 oz of vegetable base (1 teaspoon in 8 oz of water) 
Teaspoon of Vegetable Paste 
Vietnamese Noodles, cook in 3 minutes 
All assembled and boy was is tasty. I list all the ingredients below and it was done pretty much on video in our daily vlog:

  • 1 medium onion (yellow or Vidalia) chopped
  • 1 large leek, rinsed, drained and chopped into half moon
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 2-3 scallions, chopped
  • 1 lb of your favorite mushrooms, I used Baby Portabellas, thickly sliced
  • 8 oz of vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon of veggie paste *optional*
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1/4 cup red wine *optional*
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon No-Salt Seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Cornstarch (added to a ladleful of liquid from the mushrooms) *optional*
Saute onions and leeks till transparent but not browned, add sliced mushrooms and cook till they release most of their liquid. Then add veggie broth, seasoning and herbs and simmer for 10 minutes. If the liquid is not reduced enough, take 1 teaspoon of Cornstarch in a heat safe bowl and add a ladleful of liquid from the pot to make a slurry which will prevent clumping. Add the slurry to the pot and mix well. Off the heat add sour cream, parsley (reserve some for garnish) to the pot. Serve over egg noodles or like we did the thin Vietnamese noodles with a dollop of sour cream, scallions and parsley.  Remaining mushrooms and onions were used to make Cream of Mushroom soup.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Anniversary Dinner - Oven Baked Fried Chicken

The finished product with Garlic & Ricotta Mashed Potatoes and Lemon Green Beans with Fried Onions

Two Chicken Breasts (I know these are GIANTS but we shared the protein with our dogs), dredging station set up - 1 cup Panko Breadcrumbs and Egg Wash which is 3 egg whites, one whole egg, 1 tablespoon of Dijon Mustard, 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon No-Salt Seasoning mix 

The dredge is Panko, Egg Wash and Panko again, then chicken is placed on a rack over a foil lined 1/4 sheet pan and baked in the oven @ 400° F for 45 minutes to an hour (depending on size of chicken breast) or until the internal temperature is 165° F

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Weekend Long Anniversary Celebrations

Paulie surprised me with Star Gazer Lilies this morning

I removed most of the stamen, which discolor the petals and actually make your flowers wilt faster 

Then a perfectly baked bagel with sesame seeds

Transported into a magical lox and cream cheese goodness with thinly sliced vidalia onion 

Yummmmmm, I feel spoiled and enjoying every second of it!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Meatless Monday Lunch or Side Dish for Family

This could not be any easier. Remember that Onion Jam I made last week, this comes into play to add a depth of flavor to this quick and satisfying 5 minute lunch or can be made as a side dish for dinner any night.

  • One can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 12 oz of fresh spinach or 1/2 box of 10 oz frozen
  • 1 small can (4 oz) button mushrooms or 10 oz fresh sliced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 tablespoons of onion jam (caramelized onions I make once a week to add to quick recipes)
  • 1 tablespoon or to your taste of Sambal (Asian Garlic Sauce)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon course ground garlic powder
  • Juice of 1/2 fresh lemon

Saute spinach till wilted but still green then add chickpeas, bell pepper and mushrooms. Once heated through, about 3 minutes, add onion jam, lemon juice, garlic powder, Sambal and Turmeric. Mix well and serve either as is for a lunch, over rice or couscous for a heartier meal or as a side. The heat can be adjusted to your taste, we like a spice that lingers but doesn't make you grab for a fire extinguisher.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Richblue A5 Purple Cardholder Binder Compatible with Filofax

A nice option for archiving A5 size Filofax inserts in this binder available on Amazon at $20* shipped (Prime)
Two shallow pockets on the inside of the lightly padded binder, 6 rings in a standard A5 size that fit Filofax inserts perfectly
Available in six colors - Black, Brown, Purple, White, Green and Pink 
2015 Filofax in A5 One Day to a Page 
In hand 
Lies flat, although this binder is advertised as a card holder, it does not have a closure or a pen loop but I think it would be nice to keep on my desk as a reference tool for prior calendar year's archive
***NOTE*** Since I did the video, the review and a post on Philofaxy Facebook page, the price of this binder (in purple and green only) skyrocketed from $18.36 to over $35 and I do not have an explanation as to why. The best thing I could recommend is to add this item to a wish list if you are interested and just keep an eye out for a price drop. If I can, I will try reaching out to the seller to find out why the vast price difference and so suddenly on the two colors out of 6 available and will post an update here.
***UPDATE (2-27-14)*** Seller replied to me that the price of all colors has been adjusted to $18.99 USD as of this morning, That's great customer service :)

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Review - Scrub Buddy from Dollar Tree

I picked up this single package of Scrub Buddy Extra Quick Eraser at Dollar Tree a while back but finally decided to put it to the test today. I had plenty of gross surfaces to put it to use, just check it out.

This door frame between the living room and kitchen get all of Paulie's grubby paws on it so I had to see how well it would work. Simply run the Scrub Buddy under water, squeeze out the extra and scrub away. Minimum pressure needed to get the job done. As it works, the volume of the 'buddy', I don't know, 'evaporates' so when you've given a significant amount of scrubbing to a portion of it there is nothing left to use. That's not a bad thing, just a heads up that it wears out as you use it. Granted I had a pretty big job between this door frame and the next photo below.
The door knob to the mud room gets a daily work out and it showed it. I was amazed by the difference even after a few minutes of scrubbing. Now that the bulk of the nastiness has been dispatched, I will maintain it on a regular basis to avoid it ever getting to this before stage. Who needs to wait for spring cleaning? I'm getting started NOW! I only got one of these Scrub Buddies so the next trip to Dollar Tree I will be picking up a few more to have on hand. Next test drive is in the bathroom on the floor to ceiling tiles, wish me luck.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

LEGO to A Party Invitations

Our nephew Eli requested LEGO themed invitations for his 7th Birthday Party, he approved the colors and the prototype before I mass produced these little beauties, all 20 of them. The following is the full recipe, links where available
  • Standard A2 size card (4.25x5.50 inches) printed on Staples 110 lb 92 bright White cardstock
  • Black layer 4x5.25 inches cut from Dollar Tree Black Poster Board (5 - 14x10 inch sheets)
  • Green & Blue textured paper is from Core'dinations, each square is cut to 1.25 inches
  • Green & Blue dots are punched with EK Success 1/2 inch punch
  • The glare technique on each dot is White Gel pen in a small curve, it fades slightly as it gets absorbed into the paper which is just the right element for making it look like a little plastic toy
  • LEGO to a Party is printed on the same Staple white card stock with what is hard to see in the photo - in light grey ink is a repetitive statement - Eli's Turning 7
  • Adhesive used - 1/2 inch ATG (base layer), Daiso double sided tape (1.25 inch color squares), Stampin Up Dimensionals (dots on LEGO)
Recommendations on Mass Production
  • Keep organized
  • Stash cut pieces in lidded containers to avoid disasters (trust me)
  • Do a math count on how much of each piece/color you need to avoid waste or running out before completing the invitations. I knew I needed 20 invites, each has 3 squares in 2 colors and each square needs 4 dots so that's 60 - 1.25 inch squares in each color and 240 dots in each color - 480 total.
  • Bread down each portion of the process into a daily task to prevent getting overwhelmed:
    ~ print invitation details on the 8.5x11 card stock
    ~ cut apart printed invitations, I use the Zutter Dreamkuts which I swear by
    ~ print cover message
    ~ cut the squares, stash in a container
    ~ punch out the dots
    ~ add adhesive to the squares
    ~ add dimensionals to dots
    ~ assemble the dots to squares * HINT - use tweezers to position evenly
    ~ assemble all the elements
    ~ stamp Made By on back of card
    ~ pack envelopes and prep for mailing/distribution
work in progress
Want to see it on video, just click play below

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Story of Hanukkah, Crib Notes Version

Hanukkah commemorates the successful rebellion of the Jewish people against the Syrians in the Maccabean War, but the military involvement are played down. What's really being celebrated is the survival of Judaism. After the Jews were victorious they ritually cleansed and rededicated the Temple, then re-lit the menorah, the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah means “dedication” in Hebrew).
The story is although there was only enough consecrated oil to keep the lamp burning for one day and it would take eight days to get more, the small bottle of oil miraculously lasted for the entire eight days. It is for this reason that Hanukkah is also known as the Feast of Lights.
Symbolic Elements of Hanukkah
Menorah - Candle holder - two variations available, the eight candles and nine with the center one being used as the 'server' that lights the other eight. Traditionally, the candles are lit from left to right, one candle each day is added so the first night a 9-candle menorah has the server in the center and one on the left hand side, the second night one in the center and two on the left and so on until the last night when each spot has a candle in it. The candle lighting is done nightly at sunset along with a special prayer and the candles are allowed to burn down each night (not blown out after the prayer).
Gelt - Hanukkah gelt was the original present, money, but now is more of a tradition of gold or silver foil wrapped chocolate kids enjoy as a treat on Hanukkah. This is not purely symbolic but there are other reasons the cash used to be the preferred gift - to allow the less fortunate to be able to purchase candles and ceremonial wine without shame is noted in some references.
Dreidel - A Hanukkah toy with 4 Hebrew letters, one on each side, with a spin bottom. Each player gets equal number of 'gambling pieces' which can be anything from coins to peanuts.Game starts with each player putting in an ante of one or two pieces. Each letter on the dreidel has a value if your spin lands on it:

Nun - Player gets nothing
Gimel - Player gets everything
Hey - Player takes half
Shin - Player puts in