Archive for the ‘Household’ Category

Works for Me Wednesday: My Personal Salad Bar

March 21, 2007 @ 9:59 am | Filed under: ,

It’s been almost two years since I had the brainstorm that dramatically improved my eating habits…for a while. A long while, a year at least. But somewhere along the line, I let the habit slip, and then I forgot all about it.

Time to start over. Here’s the idea: I keep a plastic bin full of yummy salad fixings in my refrigerator.

Boom, one-stop shopping. It’s right there at eye level on the
fridge shelf, where I can’t avoid seeing it. Big bag of prewashed
spinach sitting on top. In the bin are all the little baggies and
plastic containers that I was finding it such a burden to collect from
various points in the pantry and refrigerator. Pine nuts, sunflower
seeds, almonds, mandarin oranges, dried cranberries, real bleu
cheese…mmm, just cutting-and-pasting this list from above makes me
hungry. (They don’t all make it into every salad, of course, just a
random selection. Otherwise there’d be no room for the veggies, which
are, of course, the whole point.)

Also in the bin: sliced mushrooms, diced bell peppers, chopped
carrots. OK, so it’s not a perfect system: I still have to prep the
veggies. But (another duh moment) I’m doing it once or twice a week, at
night after the kids are in bed. Then in the middle of my busy day, I
can scoop a handful of diced peppers out of a baggie and throw it on my
beeyootiful salad. I know, lots of people have thought of this before
me. I don’t claim to be innovative. Except possibly in the matter of
sticking it all in a bin together so all I have to do is pull the bin
out of the fridge and mix-and-match until I’ve got a bowlful.

You can read more about the idea in my original post, but the gist is pretty simple. During the year I was sticking with it, I really did eat a nice big salad pretty much every day because that darn bin was staring me in the face every time I opened the fridge, with the blue cheese crumbles and toasted almonds right on top. Yum.

Rachael Ray makes a quick and easy vinaigrette out of orange marmalade, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil.  Delish, as she says. Or try raspberry preserves in place of the marmalade: oh my goodness is that tasty. I know what I’m having for lunch.

Visit Rocks in My Dryer for more WFWM posts.

Heckuva Markup

March 15, 2007 @ 10:25 am | Filed under:

Hubby just forwarded me this Boing Boing post:

On the Freakonomics blog, Stephen Dubner (co-author of the wonderful
Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything) digs into the pricing on generic drugs and finds that the main-street pharmacies mark up their offerings by 975 percent!

Even once you factor in the cost of buying a membership at Costco and
Sam’s Club, the price differences were astounding. Here are the prices
he found at Houston stores for 90 tablets of generic Prozac:

Walgreens: $117

Eckerd: $115

CVS: $115

Sam’s Club: $15

Costco: $12

Those aren’t typos. Walgreens charges $117 for a bottle of the same pills for which Costco charges $12.

Yowza! I’d be interested in seeing the differential for asthma medications (the only prescription meds we buy on a regular basis here).

Click through to Boing Boing
to get the link to the whole post quoted above, which is quite interesting.  A commentor chimes in that Costco does not require membership for pharmacy purchases. Is that correct? I don’t shop at Costco (yet) but I have always heard good things about it (including its corporate policies). I keep meaning to go check out diaper prices there. I’ve been getting them via Amazon Grocery, and with the 15% discount for subscription service, I’m paying 18 cents a diaper. I used to get Target’s store brand for 17 cents per, but the doorstep delivery is totally worth that extra penny, in my book.

Except this time I cut it too close, and the baby is wearing the last diaper in the house, yikes! We are nibbling our nails while waiting for the doorbell to ring this morning…

Cookbook Open Thread

February 26, 2007 @ 1:50 pm | Filed under: , ,

What is your favorite cookbook? Especially in regard to making regular old weekday family dinners?

I like the Leanne Ely books—Saving Dinner, Healthy Foods, and Frantic Family Cookbook—although I’ve never been able to make the Saving Dinner plan work for us on a regular basis. Picky, picky children here. And hubby doesn’t eat beef or most kinds of cheese.

As long as we’re talking recipes, what are your favorite cooking and meal-planning websites? I had a good time playing around at the interactive Robin Miller’s Quick Fix Meals toy at Food Network, but there aren’t many recipes there; you have to click over here to find the archives.

This week’s edition of Carnival of the Recipes is all about slow-cooker meals, hosted by (appropriately enough) the Slow Cooker Recipes blog. I love my crock pot. Speaking of which, I have half a roasted chicken in the fridge awaiting crock-pottish inspiration…I’m envisioning some kind of chili-chicken-corn chowder, but I don’t have a recipe. Winging it in the kitchen is not my special gift, let me tell you! Time to cozy up to my pal Google…

UPDATED: Found this and this. This one looks tasty. This one too, but Rilla can’t tolerate my having cream. (Wah.) Still, between them all I think I can come up with something.

UPDATED AGAIN to add the Loveliness of Baking fair. Yum!

Works for Me Wednesday: The Dishtowel Tote

January 10, 2007 @ 3:08 pm | Filed under:

UPDATED to add: Ha! I’m a nitwit! After I posted this, I realized this week’s WFMW has a recipe theme! Doh! I deleted my link and will put it in next week’s collection** instead. But I may as well leave this post up. So here you go.

**Except! I forgot to do that until this week. So here it is, properly linked at last. Bump!

I’m still working on part two of the narration post I promised yesterday, but I just remembered it’s Wednesday and I’ve had a Works for Me Wednesday post in the drafts folder for weeks. So here! This works for me!

Under my kitchen sink I keep an old plastic beach tote in which I toss the seventeen dishtowels we manage to go through in a day around here.* I got tired of trotting to the washing machine all the time (especially since in our old house, the washer was upstairs), so I just fill up this basket and then I can take all the kitchen laundry to the washer at once. Voila.


*Today’s towel tally so far: three, which is how many it took to clean up the mess caused by escapees from our sourdough crock!


(Note to self: next time you see it like this, TAKE CARE OF IT BEFORE RUSHING OUT THE DOOR, no matter how late you are. Especially do not stop to take a picture of it for the bread blog and THEN rush out the door without cleaning it up.)

(By the time we came back, the rebels had oozed their way all down the side and along the counter. I think they were plotting a takeover of the flour canisters.)

Things I Did Not Factor Into My New Housework Schedule

December 21, 2006 @ 8:01 am | Filed under:

• Time for tracking down the cause of the nasty smell coming from the heating vents.

• Time for removing nasty-smelling dead rat from under house.

• Dead! Rat!

• Time for addressing and mailing the Christmas cards I was so proud I managed to order early.

• Time for multiple doctors’ appointments for multiple children with respiratory infections.

• Time for extra laundry generated by baby’s abhorrence of antibiotic. (As in: my laundry. Amoxicillin spatter? Not my best look.)

• Time for dealing with horrific aftermath of three-year-old’s antibiotic-induced gastro-intestinal distress. (He had poop on his eyebrows; need I say more?)

• Time for eight frantic phone calls to eight online vendors in order to correct colossally stupid mistake involving credit card number. (Tip: when carrying out your brilliant plan to cut and paste your credit card number from a desktop sticky into various online order forms, MAKE SURE YOU ARE PASTING THE CORRECT NUMBER, AS IN THE ONE WITHOUT THE TYPO. Especially if you want the gifts to arrive before Christmas.)

• Time for calling the DMV to find out what happened to the driver’s license they were supposed to have mailed me a month ago.

• Time to snark to various friends about how the DMV promised to look into it and call me back, uh huh, yeah right.

• Time to eat crow when the DMV actually DID call me back. With an apology, no less!

• Time to make series of phone calls from the grocery story in search of the ingredient list for the recipe I specifically went to the store to shop for, but whose ingredients I forgot to check before I  left home.

• Time to scold bored and impatient children for rowdy behavior in grocery store while mom is on phone.

• Time to humbly accept compliments from no less than three elderly strangers on excellent behavior of children in grocery store.

• Time to wonder whose assessment of children’s behavior was correct, mine or elderly strangers.

• Time to break down large quantity of cardboard boxes which arrived containing Christmas presents.

• Time to finish breaking down large quantity of cardboard boxes leftover from cross-country move.

• Time to supervise massive cleanup of daughters’ closet, which can’t possibly have needed cleaning out yet since it was only moved into two months ago.

• And yet, it did.

• Time to watch various funny, gorgeous, or nightmarish video clips forwarded by husband who was forced to kill time while office maintenance men stood on ladder next to his desk repairing air-conditioning system for the whole floor.

• Time to write a long list of the things I forgot to allow time for.

Two More Reasons to Hug the Internet

December 15, 2006 @ 1:00 pm | Filed under:

Heard about this site on the Ambleside Online yahoogroup and had to share: The Toymaker’s instructions for making paper toys. My girls are going to GO NUTS over this. Fairy furniture, pinwheels, all kinds of neat stuff.

And Michele Quigley of Family-Centered Press is very kindly posting step-by-step instructions for making your own baby sling. See how lovely hers is? And isn’t her new baby too scrumptious for words? Congratulations, Michele, and thanks for the sling how-to. Too cool.

Eat My Dust: Choosing a Vacuum Cleaner

November 10, 2006 @ 3:02 pm | Filed under:

Y’all were so helpful with the bread recipes (and I have more links and recipes to add to the carnival, just as soon as I get a chance!) that I thought I’d throw a new question at you. My old vacuum cleaner was one of the things that didn’t make the cut when we moved. This house has all hardwood floors, and I want a lightweight vacuum to save me from having to sweep every day. Any recommendations? I want something that won’t scratch the floors but will pick up the crumbs and can handle area rugs too.

I do use a Swiffer broom a couple of times a day, and that’s great for dust but not crumbs. Has anyone tried the new Swiffer vac? It seems like basically a long-handled Dustbuster with a Swiffer pad mounted behind it. Looks promising, but wouldn’t work on my area rug. Hmm.

I don’t want anything big that will take up a lot of room in the closet. I know Orecks are small and light. Are they worth their salt? Will they scratch hardwood floors?