The Crazy Suburban Mom: 2009-04-26

Saturday, May 2, 2009

I hate my hair...



I did this card years ago.

No one is ever happy with their hair....

It's not just me, is it?

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mothers day give a way link back

Ohhhhh giveaways! http://www.5minutesformom.com/6032/mothers-day-giveaway-2009/

http://www.5minutesformom.com/6082/win-an-hp-mini-1000/trackback/

crockpot! http://www.5minutesformom.com/6039/crock-pot-slow-cooker-giveaway/trackback/





Mothers Day 2009

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I have to get rid of these hot dogs before I have to get rid of these hot dogs...

I had a realization after watching the video of Clara, a 93 year old gramma who does you tube videos of depression era recipes.

Oh! No! I've got half a pack of hot dogs in the fridge.

That may not seem like a big deal to you but I've had childhood Hot-Dogs-Gone-Bad trauma. (If you have a strong stomach here's the post.) I've seen the dark side of wieners. I've seen what happens when Hot Dogs Go Bad.

What got me going with this was Clara's recipe for Poorman's Meal. The recipe is hash brown potatoes with hot dogs.

And while I didn't have everything I needed in my pantry, I had to get rid of those hot dogs before I had to get rid of those hot dogs.

Clara used fresh potatoes but the store I went to had some especially shady looking tubers. Kind of wrinkly, kind of old and just this side of green. I thought of checking out another place but living frugal isn't always about getting the best price. If I have to drive 10 more miles to find some good looking 'taters, it's not very cost effective.

I looked around for an alternative and got a good price on big cans of potatoes. Canned potatoes are easy to work with, easy to prep and easy to store. And fairly cheap too. I got some big cans (over a pound each) for $1.39.


Clara's recipe was very easy. A simple hash. She cut the potatoes up, added onions, sauteed it all, and added the hot dogs. You just cook it all until done (and crispy).

I didn't do that smooth a job of it and I will make it again but I learned a few things.

Using the canned potatoes was a time saver but it made them hard to brown. Short of deep frying them; putting them in a hot (450 degree) oven was the only way to get them brown and crispy.

While it was in the oven I had an Aha! moment... Next time I will do the whole shebang in the oven from the start... it be quicker, easier, and use less oil, too.

So, this is the recipe.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Line a cookie sheet with foil.

Drain and rinse and dry 2 large cans of potatoes. Cut up the potatoes if they aren't cut up. (Note:If you don't rinse them well they will taste like the inside of a can and if you don't dry them it will be like trying to crisp up a sponge. You have been duly notified.)

Dice a medium to large onion

Slice up how ever many hot dogs you want - at least half a pack

Put the potatoes on the lined cookie sheet. If you have much more than a single layer (I did) it's better to use more than one cookie sheet (I don't have more than one and that was a huge part of my browning problem).

Saute the onion in a some oil and than add to the potatoes

Add the cut up hot dogs

Put the cookie sheet into the oven and cook until everything is all brown and crispy. You will want to stir everything around once in a while so everything gets evenly browned and looked like this but browner... this was a test-run. When I make this again I will make this much browner and crispier.

hash1

This is the kind of recipe that I love because it's more a method than something exacting. You can cook the potatoes as brown and crispy and you like... lots of onion or a little. Add peppers if you love them... Sausage? Kielbasa? Corned Beef? Yep, yep , and yep...all would work.

I think a mix of sweet and white potatoes would be delish with some chicken sausage and maybe some thyme?

And this is a great pantry recipe because it's very easy recipe to change depending one what you have in the house (or need to use up) that day.

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Visiting Nurse Association Flea Market - Score!


The VNA of Somerset County has a rummage sale every spring and fall and it's a huge deal. I've only gone once before but it's irresistible. I mean, what's not to love? Crap-loads of other peoples...er...crap?

Anyway....

There are stalls of housewares, books, holiday things, furniture, clothes, expensive things (called Bon-Ton, what does Bon-Ton mean?) and much more... And everywhere the smell of port-a-potties and the sight of burgers fills the air.

Wait.

Switch that last thing.

But, seriously, it's fabulous. I, still a novice, forgot my stash of sturdy bags and rolling devices. But it still rocked. This time it's running May 1, 2, 3 and all week I was thinking it started today. Than yesterday I got on the computer and realized - Holy Yard Sale, Batman! It going on now.

Thinking it was Friday and everyone was at work, plus the rain, I would have no trouble getting in. Silly, silly me. The line just to get on the line to get on the line to turn left onto the street was taking so long that the woman, all by herself, in the car in front of me was screaming her fool head off.

Good thing too. It was most entertaining during my long wait to get onto the line to get into the line to make that left.

Once I got in and actually had to park? Now that wasn't quite that much fun. Wanna see where I ended up parking?

That's right.
Gdansk.
See my car?

However, after I strolled the leisurely 30 or 40 mile amble over to the sale I forgot all about having to park in a different hemisphere. And I was blissed out.

The first place I hit was the kitchen stall after waiting on the line to get in for at least 20 minutes. I let the lady in front of me let her friend in cause. ..

Lady in front of me: I'm holding a spot for my friend, I'm just letting you know, you don't mind do you?

I thought: Oh hell no. And while your texting her to tell her your getting close to the entrance why don't text your whole family and tell them to C'mon Down! Or how 'bout you and your friend get in line behind me? I've been holding that space for the two of you. Let's ask the lady behing me, shall we?

I said: 'Course not (because I'm such a weiner)

But I got in finally, after those two, and fed my kitchenalia sickness. And than moved on to the book stall where I bought some old cookbooks ( feeding the kitchenalia monster some more.)

I'll put of the pictures in another post soon but I'll leave you with this one. It came with a cookbook sponsored by Crisco and it's from 1959.

mary6

I totally love the vintage illustrations.

Well, most of them.

This one...

mary7

On the fried chicken page...

Is it me or does that woman look like Snow White on crack? And as to that poor chicken, all twisted and deformed, limbs askew.

I think it got one look at Snow and died of fright.






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Friday, May 1, 2009

Pole Dancing Stripper Chicken Breast A La Stealth Result and a bonus...

Okay so the Pole Dancing Stripper Spicy Chicken Breasts A La Stealth is done and it's really good! The recipe is here.

softtacos


When it was done crock potting, I took the chicken out and shredded it. And I must say cooking Pole Dancing Stripper Chicken Breasts this way was a really good idea because:

1. White meat tends to dry out and cooked this way, in all that tomatoy goodness, and than shredded? Not dry.

2. They were so big they would have taken forever to cook any other way so see # 1 and multiply by 1000.

3. These were so big that any recipe calling for a chicken breast was calling for these chicken breasts prepubescent younger sisters.

4. It's the perfect stealth dish. I put an entire can of fat free refried beans in there and you can't taste it.

5. When I told the boy I was making it he said, WORD! Which is a good thing, if you didn't know.


As to the recipe I used. I made it as it was stated in the prior post. The only thing I did by taste was at one point I tasted it and all I tasted was 'hot'. Not incendiary hot, send in the fire extinguisher... but there wasn't really - as Rachael Ray says - any flavor in the background that makes them go, Hmmmmm?


softtacos1


I was sure there were actually flavors in there but the 'hot' was covering them so I added a bit more sugar, covered the crock, let it cook a little and retested. After that I could taste the garlic, the spices (pleural) tomato...etc. So when in doubt add some sugar first...

This is hot but it sn't blow the back of your head off, hot. If your family likes incendiary food you will need to add something else for extra heat.

Also if you like cilantro and your family doesn't have any what-are-those-green-specks-in-the-food issues, I'd add that too.

Personally, I just don't want to hear about it.

On to the lime rice.

I make rice in a rice cooker. If you don't have one you're missing something great. While I have a lot of appliances out on my back porch that I was sure I need but are now waiting to go to Goodwill... my rice cooker I use all the time.

See, I cook a lot at one time. Divide it up in zip loc bags. Squeeze the air out, freeze them flat and than turn they vertical. It takes up hardly any room in my freezer, keeps great and I always have rice to serve.


softtacos2
I'm not sure of the brand I have but it was the one Martin Yan was pitching. It even came with a picture of Martin Yan on it. My son and his friend thought that was the best thing about my rice cooker and had a ridiculous amount of fun with the picture of Martin Yan, blackening a tooth and posting it as one of their Facebook profile pictures.

Boys, right? If I could only get them to use their powers for good....

Okay...on the the lime rice, for real this time. Like I said in the other post. Saute some rice in a little oil and butter (or either or), salt and pepper, and squeeze in some lime.

My son orders it all the time from Chipotle but the first time I made it for him he said, you didn't make it too limey did you? I was kind of confused because I thought that was the point. And I had made it limey.

Of course I said, Nope, not limey at all.

He ate it and the rest is history.


My son's verdict? He brought over the same friends that he brought over for the Bubble Pizza. It was a huge hit and proclaimed, The best thing ever. Well, all except for one girl who doesn't do spicy. I made her a ham and cheese sandwich.

No one suspected a can of beans inhabited their food. No foreign beanish flavors were detected. No beanile matter seen.


And as a bonus for anyone who is still reading... Bless you....


I made a second dinner tonight. The person who I chose to spend the rest of my life with, much like my son's friend, doesn't do spicy either.

wings

It's too easy for a whole post. Let's just call it, I don't do spicy chicken, chicken... Take a whole package of chicken wings... salt and pepper both sides. Than sprinkle them with a little sugar. Both sides. Just a little, you're making chicken here, not creme brulee...

Heat oven to 400 and bake 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes put a spoon of Housin sauce on each peice and mush it around so the whole wing is covered, both sides and cook another 30 minutes.

They are really good. And very pretty :)


P.S. If you want some stealth cooking inspiration, these are the two books I have. I know there is another one, one that had some air time on Oprah... but I like this author best.










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What's in the pantry today? Pole Dancing Stripper chicken breasts a La Stealth

I love Mexican food. Tex-mex. Thai. Indian. Until recently none of them crossed my cookware because it broke a variety of the picky eater commandments . But in the last year or so my son discovered Chipotle and my world has forever changed.

Bring on the peppers!

Granted, he only eats one thing there but I'm good with that... and I can make a reasonable version at home.

What he orders are soft tacos filled with a spicy chicken, and lime rice. I won't go so far to say it's a clone. It's not. Or maybe it is, I have no idea, I've never eaten there... But it makes my kid happy. It makes me happy and it's way cheaper than eating in a restaurant.

The down side is the person I chose to spend my life with won't eat it. No 'picy food there. None. Zero. Zip. Nada.

So that's a big drag but like the saying goes...you can have anything, but you can't have everything.

I looked around the kitchen today and had the makings of the spicy chicken. I've made it different from time to time. I'm posting today's recipe because this is what I did today. Today, I had chicken breast, I usually don't. Today I had the packets of seasoning mix, I don't always have them. Today I even had the no-name brand of Ro-tel tomatos and jalepeno peppers. A rarity.

Use what you have, taste what you make and season it till you like it.

It works for me anyway.

Here's today's what's in the pantry recipe

4 Large boneless chicken breasts (These were huge. They weren't the dainty pre-cut, pre-shaped variety. These were some huge breasts. I'm serious. They looked like they had the chicken version of of a boob job. If there was such a thing as stripper chickens... The chickens that these breasts came from would have been hired to do pole dancing).

Um.

I'll stop now.

But I just know I'm going to have visions of pole dancing chickens all day.

1 Big (28 oz) Can tomatoes (diced, whole, whatever you like)

1 smaller can diced tomatoes and jalapeno peppers (I used the store brand copy of Ro-tel)

1 of those small packs of sauce mix - chili

1 of those small packs of sauce mix - taco seasoning

2 or more chopped up garlic cloves

1 can fat free refried beans

I want to pause here and give a shout out to stealth cooking.

"Hellooooo! Stealth cooking, I love you so!"

Ever trown stuff in a dish just 'cause it was good
for them? It didn't really 'go' with the recipe, per se. Well, I like to do that whenever I can. Did you know you can throw pureed carrots in pasta sauce and no one will know? And while your doing that add some pureed white beans. They add body, nutrients and no flavor.

It's perfect, really.

I know a lot of people are against stealth cooking on general principals. That kids (and adults) should just eat their veggies.

To that I say... Yeah, right.

I know you mean it with good intentions...but I'm happier knowing the kid is eating vegetables. I don't care if he is cognizant of that fact, or not.

Back to the recipe....

Better than Bouillon Beef flavored soup stock - 1 tsp on up, whatever it needs.

A few tablespoons of sugar.


All of that is in my crockpot at the moment, smelling rather wonderful, I might add. I'll be letting that cook all day. Tasting and adding this and that if I need to.

I'll do some pictures later.

As to the lime rice? Phhhhft!

I saute some cooked white rice a little butter and a little oil, add salt and pepper and some lime juice. No recipe needed. This is cooking. Cooking is an art, not a CSI storyline.

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Organized Junkie's Monthly Organizing Round-Up #2

Okay, since I have some seriously unorganized spaces in a relatively organized house... I'm joining the Organizing Round-up!

Yee-haw!



Organizing Blog


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Depression cooking works in the year 2009

I follow a blog called Retro Renovation that's mad-fun! I love mid-century modern design. If I could manage it, my house would look like it stepped out of a 1960's suburban development in Anywhere, USA. And Pam, over at Retro Renovation feeds that retro need.

This morning she posted about Clara, a 93 year old Grandma...with a blog and You Tube channel! How cool is that? 93 with a blog and a You Tube channel?

Her blog is called Great Depression Cooking with Clara and the You Tube videos are of her cooking the recipes her mom made for the family.

Like this one.



I love the stories that go along with the recipes. About how her neighbor came to steal a shopping bag full of vegetables from her garden... and how she had to quit high school because her family couldn't afford to buy her socks... And how they sat around the stove to keep warm.

Than turned their chairs around to warm their backsides.

I've really been enjoying the videos and the recipes. And I am so totally going to make that poorman's meal with potatos, onions and hot dogs!



As an aside - I was watching her this morning with my son. And he said:

She's cute but what's that got to do with depression?

No, not depression. THE depression.

Ohhhhhhhhhhhh!

Isn't it so odd that when kids think of that word they think of the disorder, depression? I have to think on what that means about the society...


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Bacon, Bacon, Bacon., Bacon. BA-CON!

Got my order of Baconnaise in the mail yesterday and Oh!

Tried it!

Is it good.


Really good.



First a public service announement

** Please note I am not a paid bacon shill. While nothing would make me happier than free bacon-flavored products (Except the mints...There is no place in my life for Bacon-flavored mints) I didn't get my baconnaise free. I paid the Amazon price of 14.29 for 3 - 15 ounce jars (with free shipping because I have Amazon Prime ).**

Now on to Bacon-A-Ganza, the Bacon-Tacular ... The Bacon-Topia of it all...

baconaisse

I saw the Bacon guys (J&D's) on Oprah and couldn't resist because I've used their Bacon Salt before (which rocks on popcorn and scrambled eggs, by the way).



But does it taste like bacon? Because it has no bacon in it... No meat of any kind...

It's interesting, I read the reviews before I tried it and some people thought it was totally spot on, some thought it was just smokey. But even the people who thought it was primarily smokey thought it tasted really, really good.

I can't tell you how you will react, but I can say... On a turkey sandwich, with some lettuce, tomato.... and good toasted white bread? It pretty much rocked!

I got the regular (they do have light) and it's nice and creamy. Creamier than mayonnaise, in a good way. And heavier. It spreads beautifully on bread... And while smokey is the primary flavor (but, after all, smokey is the primary flavor in bacon) it seems darned bacony to me.

Even when I was eating it out of the jar.

Which I just did.







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Thursday, April 30, 2009

That morning face...

Chromosome Damage

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The language of texts... or Holy Crap! I've turned into my mother...

My son's been sick this last week. Nothing bad enough to keep him from doing anything recreational... But definitely (definitely) bad enough so that he wants to stay home from school.

Tuesday he and I had this conversation via text messages.


He texted me from school:
Mom I really dont feel well

And I texted back:
Hang in there honey dont want u to have any more absences

The conversation nagged at me all day until I finally realized what was actually said was:

Mommy, I'm so sick come get me take me home and take care of me

To which I replied:

NO!

And I had the awful realization that I had turned into my mother. It took me until Wednesday to prove to myself I hadn't become my mother.

It was fairly easy.

I let him stay home on Wednesday and I bought myself a Hello Kitty credit card wallet.


hellokitty

I'm thinking nothing says, You are not your mother, like Hello Kitty

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The 18th birthday

I'd been wondering what 18 year olds do on their 18th birthday in the year 2009.

When I turned 18, we did all the normal things...

We lied to our parents, went some where to drink beer, threw-up in a parking lot and talked about how adult we now were.


Not so in 2009.

All my son's friends have gotten tattoos.

I've talked to him about it...

How are you going to manage a tattoo? You pass out when you get shots?

I know.

Not just shots... Remember you passed out when you got allergy tested. That didn't even break the skin... There wasn't even blood.

(eye-roll) Oh, like that's still going to happen.

Honey, get real, the allergy testing was last May.


Yeah, but a tattoo is different.

Oh. Well, you have me there. (insert eye-roll of my own here)

See, there isn't all that much I can say, having my own tattoo and all. And it's not even that I mind so much... I just don't see how he can make it through a tattoo of a lower case "i" let alone the guitar with wrap-around banner, and added text he's planning.

But that's the thing. He's got his mind made up and he's nothing if not set in his ways. He's always been his own guy.

See this little guy?

boy

That's my very determined boy.

Back than hated talking toys. He didn't want anything inanimate to talk to him. He once bolted from FAO Schwartz when that talking tree got going. He hated (Thank Goodness) Chicken Limbo. And when I bought him a music tape that used his name;hearing that bodiless voice creeped him out so much he ran from his room and didn't go back for days.

But see him in that picture? Sitting so intensely watching The Truck Video. So focused on what he's doing?

boy2

Every morning for, I don't know how long, he would walk to my room and ask me to put the truck video on. ( The Truck Video was a video of a construction site ... That's it. Just a construction site.) No script, no dialog...just lots of dirt, lots of trucks and the occasional explosion filled my mornings for the better part of a year.

But even back than when he wanted something he didn't let the facts get in the way (Sort of like what he's doing now. Thinking he can get a tattoo despite never remaining conscious for a single injection). That hatred for talking toys? Frank talked. But he liked Frank therefore Frank was okay.

An aside on Frank. Frank said, "I'm alive!" But there was nothing I could do to convince that boy he was saying that. They would walk around the house together all Frankensteiny, Frank saying, I'm alive and my son saying, I'm a Lime.

And he has a steadfast determination, too. He watched that truck video everyday, forever. At his age watching that video everyday was the equivalent of doing the same thing for decades.

I'm guessing there is a tattoo in my - er, I mean his future.

Or at least part of one...


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What's with all the crap on the stairs?

Do you have stairs in your house?

They aren't really stairs are they?

What they really are is a mid-point for everything in the free world that needs to go from one floor to another.

And all of us in the know that never happens.

pile1

And the really sad thing is that's the view people get when they first walk in my house.

Oh wait. That's not right...

pile3

THIS is the view people get BEFORE they walk into my house.

So, let's explore this phenomenon, shall we?

If that teetering pile of crap BIG ENOUGH TO HAVE IT'S OWN GRAVITATIONAL PULL (for Pete's sake) is there because...

"I'll get that next time I go upstairs"

How come some of that has been there a month?

You guys can't fool me. I may not pay attention to everything but I KNOW at least one of you has been upstairs in the last month.

Let's look closer shall we?

pile2

Oh dude, not that close.

If you ever think of getting a jewel tone carpet, revisit this picture. If you do you will realize that dirt isn't actually a dirt color. No, it's true. Dust, specks of dirt and random schumtz are all rather pale.

pile

Okay, I'll cop to the make-up bag. But the rest?

(Taking a deep cleansing breath)

Give me a minute - I need to go to my happy place before I blow that aneurysm.

The Secret Sits

I'm much better now.

So.

What did I do?

I'm a big note leaver. I do it because when I get upset like this and I want to express my frustration what ends up coming out of my mouth is a lot like this guy.



Yeah, the talking stain guy, from the Tide To Go commercial. So I've taken to leaving notes.

I cleaned up the steps and left this in place of the pile. I've done this before and it's remarkably effective. While people seem to leave junk on top of junk rather easily... They think twice before leaving it on top of a stop sign.

clutternote

If you want you're own Clutter is a crime against nature sign....You can download your own here . If your family has an odd sense of humor like mine, it might even work!

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What not to say to the person who cooks your dinner...

Okay...

Tuna doesn't smell like roses.

I get that.

But you saw me.

I was standing in the kitchen.

There was a pot going on the stove. And I was stirring something on the counter, in a, ya know, food-type vessel.

What made you think walking into the kitchen and saying...

"What smells like poop" was a good idea?



See?
tuna

I thought this was tuna, apparently I was mistaken.

Do not walk into a kitchen where someone is cooking (your dinner) and speak of poop.

Thank you.

This has been a public service announcement.

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I'm taking a poll...

Should I bother making my bed?


Should I bother making my bed?

Keep in mind, that would involve both putting away all that laundry and moving the dog....


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Ginger's Suburban Teen Dictionary - Volume 1

1. Snap! - An exclamation or utterance expressing surprise, similar to Fiddle-De-Dee.

example:

"Oh Snap Officer, You couldn't possibly have seen me texting. I was holding the phone way, way under the steering wheel.

2. Word - An expression of agreement, similar to affirmative.

example:

"You mean, no one liked last nights meatloaf?"
"Word."
"Word."
"Word."
"Word."
"Word, that."

3. Peace out - Used to express an acknowledgment of parting, similar to toodle-oo-oo

Ginger says, Peace Out, Y'all.
gingergrass
My record of being unable to do wordless Wednesday?

Unbroken!

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I was told I was a weird pregnant woman because...



1. Whenever someone asked if I wanted a boy or a girl my answer was, " I want a C-Section."

2. I once won an argument with someone I worked with by saying, " Yeah well, I got two brains in this body, do you even have one?"


3. If you work in a hospital it's best not to deliver where you work. I yelled, get the HELL out, at anyone who poked their head in.

Invariability, you're nether regions are facing the door in labor & delivery and when co-workers stop by to see how you're doing they will be greeted by you're cervix smiling up at them. Next time they see you, they may be looking at your face.... but they will be thinking of your grinning girly parts.

It's a hard thing to forget.

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CSM Featured Website - RadicalParenting.com 10 Rules Kids Wished Their Parents Lived By




Vanessa Van Petten was 17 when she wrote her parenting book from the teen’s perspective, called “You’re Grounded!. She is now on a national speaking tour, reaching out to both parents and teenagers talking about what young people really wish adults knew about them.

Her blog and company: RadicalParenting.com, which she runs with 15 other teen writers, is read by thousands of teens and adults daily and has been featured on hundreds of other parenting sites around the web as the only teen written parenting blog.

Venessa has been featured on CNN, CBS 4 Miami and Fox 5 New York and has been in the Wall Street Journal, Teen Vogue, Atlanta Insite Magazine, the World Journal and many other media outlets (see our press page). She has been an expert on numerous radio programs including Playboy Radio, KBUR, WCOJ Philadelphia and more for giving a young perspective on awesome parenting.



This article is by Vanessa Van Petten who runs RadicalParenting.com a parenting blog written from the kid's perspective with 20 teen writers. Their goal is to give parents a secret view into the world of kids and youth.

10 Rules Kids Wished Their Parents Lived By Here are our radical parenting principles put together by Vanessa and our Teen Team of how we wish parenting would be.

*Some content from radicalparenting.com*

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An award to the great blogs I follow!

I love the blogs I follow, or I wouldn't follow them, obviously!! There is a crazy-great amount of talent on the internet. And I was sitting around last night looking over the blogs I read and I realized most of you are moms...talking about you're lives... your kids... your work.

What you do...

What you cook...

What bugs you...

What makes you happy...

And sad....

Sometimes it's the same stuff as me and sometimes it's totally different and sometimes it's exactly what I feel except I didn't know it 'till you said it. I wanted to find a way to say thank you so I made an award and when I tried to post it in your comment section, I couldn't so...

I figured I would post it in my blog and tell you to please copy and take it...


mileinmyvanAWARD

Love y'all...

Tracy

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pyrex Love - Score!

This is from a prior outing. After a real dry-spell... Like maybe after a year of looking I found 4 pieces....Than I found more than twice that at one estate sale. This was part of that Score!

I made a little Pyrex-scape for you - Hey, if Sandra Lee can make a table scape on every show I can make y'all a pyrex-scape!! Dontcha think?

pyrex5

The little ones? With the lids? Well, that one lid...was the original reason I started collecting. I really wanted to replace my new plastic, made who knows where, with who knows what storage containers. I decided to try and replace all of my stuff with glass, old pieces.

Little did I know these were hot collectibles and I would have to look hard, be first in line, have a lot of luck and persevere.

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What's in your closet?

Here's mine....

closets....


Bet we have the same closet.... we all do....

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Japanese Craft Book Obsession - Button Crafts

I love Japanese Craft books and Mooks (Sort of a combination book + magazine). I don't think American craft books hold a candle to the Japanese version. I don't even think they come close.

I've rarely seen a Japanese Craft book I didn't covet. And I admit I buy them for crafts I don't even plan to do... just because I love them so darn much. Recently, I had to destash some of them. It was excruciating.

I wanted to highlight a few that I love (and kept) on my blog. I did one about a week ago on the book Zakka Sewing. A fabulous, new acquisition of mine and in English, even. But I don't mind if they are in Japanese... most of the time the directions are so wonderful and visual it doesn't matter a whit if you can't understand. I'll show you....

This book...

buttonbook

... is on Button Crafts. Gosh, don't get me started on how much I love vintage buttons...

buttonbook1

The book has directions on how to embellish clothes and accessories with buttons.

buttonbook2

How to embellish buttons, themselves... Beautiful, aren't they?

buttonbook3

And how to make button projects for jewelry...

And as to the directions being in Japanese?

buttonbook4

You can totally do the project without knowing a word. Don't you think?

You can buy Japanese craft books online at Etsy, Ebay or even online at Amazon Japan. Did you know you could order from Amazon Japan? Just hook yourself with Google Translate and your all set. Well, mostly. Google translate isn't perfect of translation especially between Japanese and English but it got me through the ordering process more than once! I ordered this very book directly from Amazon Japan. Check it out... If you go to the home page and put in this books information ISBN is 4-579-11063-3 it will show up. Because Amazon makes other like suggestions you can navigate to other similar books...

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CSM Featured Website - RadicalParenting.com 50 best Mom Blogs


Vanessa Van Petten was 17 when she wrote her parenting book from the teen’s perspective, called “You’re Grounded!. She is now on a national speaking tour, reaching out to both parents and teenagers talking about what young people really wish adults knew about them.

Her blog and company: RadicalParenting.com, which she runs with 15 other teen writers, is read by thousands of teens and adults daily and has been featured on hundreds of other parenting sites around the web as the only teen written parenting blog.

Venessa has been featured on CNN, CBS 4 Miami and Fox 5 New York and has been in the Wall Street Journal, Teen Vogue, Atlanta Insite Magazine, the World Journal and many other media outlets (see our press page). She has been an expert on numerous radio programs including Playboy Radio, KBUR, WCOJ Philadelphia and more for giving a young perspective on awesome parenting.



This article is by Vanessa Van Petten who runs RadicalParenting.com a parenting blog written from the kid's perspective with 20 teen writers. Their goal is to give parents a secret view into the world of kids and youth.

50 Best Mom Blogs According to Vanessa, "Parents always ask us “which websites should I read?” Here we did a complete overview of our favorite mommy bloggers across the net with reviews, favorite articles and descriptions."


*Some content from radicalparenting.com*

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Dieting and Boobage...




Diet? Cartoon


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Blog awards




Wow! I just got 2 blog awards from Veronica Lee !

This one....



"The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken - excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. "

And this one....


Wow! Thank you so much! I will be passing these on and hopefully make someone else's day too!

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What's in my pantry today? Chicken-flavored clouds

Perusing the veggie bins in my fridge this morning I realized I had some carrots and celery that were on their last legs. Not so limp that they needed to go down the garbage disposal but not peppy enough for anything but soup.

Which is a good thing.

The boy loves soup. Well, one kind of soup. Chicken noodle soup with matzoh balls... and I also had half of box of matzoh ball mix to use up so...perfect, right?

I don't know if you've had the pleasure that is matzoh balls before but you should.

You really should.

They are light and fluffy dumplings and I like them much better than any other flour-based dumpling I've tried to make for soup. I've tried other dumplings with chicken soup but they always have an odd, undercooked flour flavor. And they are heavy. Dense, really.

Now, matzoh balls are like clouds. Chicken-flavored clouds. What could be better than chicken-flavored clouds?

See?

chickendumplings

Light as clouds, I tell ya.

The other good thing that happened was I finally used my yard sale Score! Chantal Cookware so now I don't feel so guilty about buying it.


I'm not a big chicken soup recipe follower but I normally use the same things and do the same thing.

Big pot
Water
Twice the chicken I think I will need (like 2 whole chickens, instead of one).
Carrots (yeah, those limp ones from the veggie bins).
Celery ( The other limp looking veggie bin rejects)
Better than Bullion Chicken stock
Dill
Parsley
A sauteed leek or two or a few chopped scallions... (I don't really like onions, they are kind of blah).

All I do is fill the soup pot half full with water and turn on the gas.

I put the chicken in...

Put in a little of the chicken stock paste (or you can use a cube or two). You want to lightly flavor the meat but not make the soup as salty as you would want to eat it. You're going to be cooking down the soup and if you add to much now it will be like eating the liquid version of a salt lick.

Put the cut up carrots in (how ever many you have or like)

Put the celery in (I usually use 1 or 2 stalks, its a strong flavor)

And turn up the heat... It's best not to boil the soup with a hard boil. That's an any soup rule really... Hard boiling hardens the ingredients, makes them less tender, and less likely to infuse their flavor in the soups.

Did you know that?

When the soup starts to boil scum will rise to the top. Did you ever notice that? The scum is coagulated protein and fats in the soup released by boiling...

It's a lot like the foamy stuff that floats on the ocean... And while it's harmless and if you let it boil, it's incorporated back into the soup, if you skim it off you get a clearer soup.

Plus the thought of eating soup scum grosses me out.

I'm like that.

I skim the boiling soup (an easy boil, nothing raucous) every 5 or 10 minutes for about half an hour. Most of it's gone in the first few skims... The other good thing about skimming soup is you're taking off a lot of the fat.

When the soup is scum free I add some dill and parsley and ground black pepper. I do it now because if I did it before de-scumming I'd have skimmed off most of this by the time I was done skimming.

Does that make sense?

That's it, really. Cook it until the chicken is done. Remove the chicken, cut it into soup sized pieces and set it aside. I finish the soup by cooking it with the herbs and veggies for at least another hour. But that's up to you.

As to what to do with the cooking veggies - I mash up the cooked carrots and use them, discard the celery and and the used up herbs. If I'm going to serve it with celery I will add new cut up stalks... and I add new herbs.

Before serving I add the sauteed leek or cut up scallions, the egg noodles (only egg noodles per the boy) and the chicken-clouds.

And this is what you get....

chicken soup


I think that's the prettiest soup ever.

And who can resist chicken-flavored clouds?

'Cept maybe vegetarians....


And since I add twice the chicken I need to get a real chickeny broth, I also have extra chicken for another dinner.


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Want to drive a crazy mom, crazier? #1



Let her find this in the sink in the morning.

teflon

What's the big deal?

It's non-stick!


I just don't get it.

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Community Cookbooks - The good, the bad, and the terribly, terribly, ugly


I love community cookbooks. The older, the weirder, the better.

cookbook

(pictures are clickable for larger sizes)

I got this one at an Estate Sale a while back and finally sat down to look at it this morning. I don't know how old it is; there is no information about where Sunset Lake is, who those homemakers are (besides names), or when this was complied. But it's been a while. A real while since this book was put together.

First clue is the pages were typed. Not word-processed... You know what I mean? Typed as in an actual one-function no megabyte machine. Second, remember dittos? Long before Xerox... and laser printers...and even those awful dot matrix printers.... there were ditto machines. They produced a purpley-blue printed copy that this book has.

I love this kind of book. Granted, some recipes are painfully dated but usually there is at least one in each book worth the small price these books usually command. None of the recipes have the ...What do they call it on the Food Network?... the sophisticated flavor profile that is considered standard for today's recipes. But you know something? Simple flavor profiles are sometimes best for picky eaters, you can always 'spice' it up, and my lack of cosmetic surgery makes me an unlikely candidate for The Food Network anyway.

As usual I found a few to mark with my Post-it tags.

The good.

cookbook1

See the first one?

cookbook2

Okay, while this might need a bit more...something with regards to taste.... I think this is worth considering. It certainly is easy and perhaps perfect the way it is. It looks like a great pantry meal and if it needs something maybe it's just a little bowl of Bar-B-Q sauce on the side. Hey, did you check out the recipe authors name?

cookbook3

Gotta love it!

Now this one....

cookbook6

No, look closer...

cookbook7

This is the bad. I don't get it. I don't want to get it.

As to the ugly? I have this germ thing... A bad food thing, really. I'm sure it comes from the childhood trauma of eating bad hot dogs. My parents weren't all that good with cleaning out the fridge of old food. Actually, still aren't. A few years ago found green olives in their fridge. The conversation went like this:

Me: Oh wow! You have green olives?

Dad. Uh-huh.

Me: Can I have a few?

Dad: Sure.

I took them out and had a flash-back of my mother saying, "Oh my God, not again." As I threw up for the ninth time after eating hot dogs I'd been so excited to find way, way, WAY back in the fridge, behind an unidentified block of cheese and under a carton of eggs, when I was a kid.

Me: Um. How long have they been in there?

Dad: How long has it been since you lived here?

Clearly I come by my fear of bad food honestly. And sometimes when I read things in old community cookbooks, it rears it's Big-Bang sized head.

This for example...

cookbook5

Okie - dokie. I'll be going to shower now to try to wash away the thought of all the chicken breasts growing salmonella on top of dryers all over suburban NJ.








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A stange mix of wonder and shame...


I spend a lot of time and emotional energy, decluttering. I love to do it. I love having done it. I love everything about it. Decluttering makes me feel thinner. Weird, I know. But I'm convinced clutter makes my ass look fat....

But I digress...

My family goes to the Jersey shore for a week in the summer and I don't go. I stay home. It's my favorite week. I throw out all the stuff they have accumulated all year.

I've watched tons of decluttering shows and they always say not to throw out other people's stuff but in the ADD-fest that is my family, they are relieved. To be clear, I don't throw out anything with a real emotional attachment (like the 4th grade Hall Monitor patch the person I chose to spend the rest of my life with covets). But for my family, who can't make decisions... who ceases to see clutter once it's been around for 2 hours... who can't seem to find the garbage can in his own bedroom... My Week O' Decluttering is a blessing.

Recently, I had to ask myself if I'd contributed to the clutter with my yard sale/estate sale / thrift store addiction. I promise myself when I get in my car looking for a deal that I will not buy anything because it's a good deal. I promised myself I have to actually need what I get.

I promised.

I found this yard sale the other day and broke my rule. It was a normal garage sale and I only stopped because it was on my way home. Just a normal house... No especially special items... mauve and baby blue 80's paintings... boxes of kids clothes... Happy Meal toys...

I found one thing I wanted (linen kitchen towels, brand new from Williams - Sonoma) and when I was paying the woman took my email because she runs yard sales. So I said, you know what I'm really looking for? Hoping that she would call me if any pyrex came up.... When I told her I was looking to replace my new kitchen stuff with older kitchen stuff she said, Wait, I have something inside. And ran in the house.

I didn't think there would be anything she could bring out that I would want and than she came out with these...



Chantal cookware...  sigh.

Three Cantal Cookware pots, the color of my kitchen (The color of my kitchen!). I sort of melted. She wanted $35 for them and explained that 2 were new and one was used but in good used condition (it was).

And than I did it. What I promised myself I would never do. I bought this cookware because I was never, ever going to find it again. I bought this beautiful Chantal Cookware in Curry (a retired color) that I didn't need and don't have room for and is so nice that I'm afraid to even use it.

I have it out on my stove and everytime I see it I feel a mix of wonder and shame. And I love it so much my heart skips a beat.

So either I will reconcile all this in time... or I will have to stop thrift shopping.

Or maybe I just need a life....

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