Wednesday, December 31, 2008

29 in 09

I've been on blogging hiatus with the crazy holidays and a possible dying computer that I have only used for a few minutes a day because I am scared it is on its leg. So today I am actually blogging from my cell phone (so please excuse any typos or crappy format) so I can finally post my 29 in 09. I decided to do this instead of 101 in 1001.

*Italics means completed.

1. Make/start at least 4 cheeses besides mozzerella.

2. Plant a veggie garden.

3. Host at least one gathering a month can be big or small just must involve good friends.

4. Develop an accurate budget tracking system.

5. Workout at least 3 days a week at the gym or doing some kind of physical activity.

6. Start taking classes either towards my Masters or to learn something new.

7. Install a fence.

8. Get another dog.

9. Teach a friend how to cook.

10. Reorganize and deep clean the kitchen.

11. Write at least 3 blogs a week.

12. Organize all closets.

13. Buy a digital camera.

14. Cancel our cable.

15. Visit family more.

16. Use more natural cleaning methods.

17. Make homemade produce bags.

18. Do a blog makeover.

19. Get more then just a basic knowledge of Excel.

20. Start composting.

21. Finish the Twilight series.

22. Find a good church and actually go.

23. Try at least one new wine a month.

24. Organize recipes into binder.

25. Go camping at least 4 times this year.

26. Take a long weekend trip with Nathan besides camping.

27. Comment more on blogs

28. Keep my home office more organized.

29. Make a successful sourdough bread and stop buying sandwich bread from the store.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Christmas tag

Jen from Eggs over Medium passed on a Christmas traditions tag.

Ok, I don't have very many, but I am bored so I will play along....
Lets see...Teresa's Christmas traditions. Well, growing up I don't recall very many besides the usual. Mass, convincing my parents to let me open presents on Christmas eve, and putting up the tree with my parents (and sometimes sisters) always making sure my favorites were put up.

In the past few years of being married, Nathan and I have started a few of our own. We usually stay the night at his parent's house after going to a family gather and Mass. We wake up on Christmas day and celebrate with his parents and sister by opening presents and eat this crazy cinnamon bread concoction that his Dad makes every year. We then head South to see my family.
While that doesn't seem too exciting, we are both blessed to have wonderful families. I would say this is especially true for my mom's side of the family. Growing up she was very close with her sisters and brothers, so we are really tight knit, and very drama free.
Merry Christmas everyone!

Friday, December 19, 2008

The little things

Today I was truly touched by a Christmas gift I received. It was a bright yellow, small flashlight. No, seriously. I got it this morning, from someone I know that isn't rolling in the dough by any means.

As I was opening the gift, I was explaining to this person that it was truly unnecessary that they got me a gift. But they explained they just wanted to do something for me, and they knew it wasn't much, but they just wanted to get me something.

It was truly the thought that counted, and I seriously believe that this may be one of the best Christmas gifts that I receive because the person giving it didn't give me a gift out of obligation. It was just something this person wanted to do, for me.

I am sure there are some eye rollers out there, but I honestly don't care. One quality I truly like about myself is that I take the time to appreciate the small things that others do for me. When someone sends a nice email or asks me how my day is, I appreciate it. When Nathan does the dishes or cleans off my car without me asking, it makes my day.

That's all...thanks for reading!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sickness = cute Roxie keeping me company

Since everybody loves cute Roxie pics.......

Roxie has been keeping me company in the living room by curling up next to the space heater. She has barely moved from the spot in three days. It's nice to have a napping buddy right next to the couch.

If I hear one more time.....

Whoever: "Teresa, how you feeling?"

Me: "Still pretty crappy."

Whoever: "Yeah, you look like it."

It has already happened four times today and it's not even 7 am.

Thanks, now not only do I still feel like a$$, I can be self conscious that I look like a$$ too!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ok, ok, so I read Twilight

I had actually been wanting to read Twilight for awhile and I was finally able to get my hands on a borrowed copy. (Thank you Jenn!)

Let me first say, that I wasn't a skeptic of the books. I heard the storyline, and I loved it. A teen novel with elements of vampires and romance was all I read growing up. Um, RL Stine anyone? Yeah, I almost always had a Fear Street book in my backpack. Never the Goosebumps series, those were for losers.

But lets get back to Twilight, I started reading last night, and just finished. It wasn't so much that I couldn't put it down, I actually did, but I am a speed reader and I was able to pick it up between sickness induced naps.

The verdict: I liked it. I wish I could say that I loved it, but I would be lying. The last 100 (or so)pages after the baseball game were awesome, but up until that point I found a lot of Edward and Bella's conversations repetitive. I get that he was revealing new and scary stuff to her all the time, but I hated that he asked her every other page if she was scared.

I won't continue on with my review, because those of you that read it already have your opinion that will surely not be changed by mine, and those of you that haven't read it are sick about hearing about it. I know, I know.

However, I will continue reading as soon as I can borrow the next book. (Kristal, are you done yet???) I have a feeling that maybe I will get more involved in the story and change my like to love.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Not such a great day...

I think my winter sickness has hit. Yesterday should have been the first clue that I was getting sick, because I was able to successful take a nap in the middle of a loud TV, phone, and Roxie. Today I feel crappy and want to do nothing but go home and sleep. Work is slow, and everyone (but one person) made it in despite the terrible roads (that's sarcasm there, because as long as you aren't going 80 mph it wasn't that bad early this morning).

I finally have Twilight in my hands so maybe I will go home and read for a bit.

Have a safe drive home everyone, watch out for those crazy drivers!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Yummy stuff I don't know what to name

Last night I had the pleasure of cooking for Claire and her husband Doug. They brought some awesome wines, and we engaged in stimulating conversation while Roxie jumped all over them.

I made bread and cheese (of course) and I also made for them a very cool dish that I have been using a lot when people come over. It is a mixture of bacon, apples, Gorgonzola, and just a little onions and sugar. If I had a restaurant, it would be an appetizer on the menu. It is sooooo amazing on warm bread, it's not even funny.

So here it is, the nameless recipe:

4-6 slices thick bacon, diced (I use a pepper bacon and it goes fabulous)
1 green apple, diced
1/4 c. diced onion
a couple tsps of sugar
salt to tasted (pepper too if you don't' use pepper bacon)
A couple handfuls of Gorgonzola

Fry bacon until crisp, drain reserving just a little of the grease to saute the onions in. Saute onions, then add diced apples, saute for a couple of minutes (apples should still be a little firm). Add sugar, then salt, and let apples get soft.

Put in serving dish, stir in some Gorgonzola and voila!!!

Thanks for a great evening Claire and Doug!!! I appreciate the food compliments and you were wonderful guests!!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Oh, Christmas tree....

We finally finished decorating our first Christmas tree last night. I say first because the past couple of years, Nathan and I have sported the ultra cool Charlie Brown tree on top of the TV. This year we were finally able to upgrade, and utilize our guest book ornaments.

I really love the ornament guest book we came up with. Here's a little back story.....when Nathan and I got engaged, we originally planned a December 18,2004 wedding. That of course, had Christmas theme written all over it. After quickly picking my colors of red and silver, I started thinking of other tasteful ways to incorporate Christmas stuff. One of my first ones was instead of having a guestbook, getting paint pens and having guests sign glass ball ornaments.

A few months later, the wedding was pushed back to Thanksgiving weekend of 05, and even though some may view that a tad early for Christmas stuff at a wedding, we still kept the ornament idea, and I am so glad we did. Last night when we were hanging them up, we read the names and messages. So many thoughtful and funny things we didn't remember.

It was too cool.

I guess a pic of the tree would have been nice here, and I actually did take one, but it is a little too crappy to post. Boo.

Friday, December 5, 2008

What Nathan said last night.

We were arriving at the gym and I jokingly said, "Look honey, it looks like Yoga just started, you should go try it!"

He replied, "No, yoga isn't really a workout."


He kept trying to explain that it is more just to make you flexible, and I finally just had to tell him to stop talking. God forbid someone that actually does yoga would hear him.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Random Thursday

I had one, "Do it!" and no opposition, so here is the Random Thursday post:

1. I am sooo close to cutting our cable. Our rate went up, and honestly I am sick of paying for a service that I know cost 1/8 (if not lower) for what we pay for it. But since I am a TV addict, I still need something to keep up on my favorite shows. So my smart husband is buying a couple different cables to hook our computer up to our tv, so we can watch our addictive shows online for free. Plus, I have a feeling we will then be hitting up the gym more, since each machine has it's own TV with cable. And while that last statement is pretty pathetic, it is totally true.

2. I just found out I won't be getting the glorious 2 weeks paid time off that most of the managers in my district receive. I am going to have to work a few days before Christmas and mostly likely a few days prior to New Years. It sucks, but I am still thankful for the other days I will have off.

3. On my blog agenda is a post called 29 in 09. I love the idea of doing the 101 things in 1001 days, but I am having hard enough time with coming up with over 20! Plus, I like having a shorter time frame for some reason. So far the list is dominated by food and sustainability goals.

4. Pamela taught me how to make butter last night. It was yummy I took a video of some of the process on my cell phone, but I have yet to see if it is good enough quality to post.

5. I am so over winter already.

Anyone opposed to a Random Thursday post?

Anyone? Anyone?

I totally forgot....

Brea awarded me the Hot Blogger award!

Thanks Brea, I do appreciate the award!!! And I had totally intended on passing it on to 5, but it seems that almost all the blogs I read have gotten an award recently, and I don't want to do overkill.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I found a new blog

30 bucks a week

Two vegetarians from Brooklyn living off $30 a week for groceries by shopping at their local co-op.

Of course, this blog got me thinking about shopping at a co-op, which lead to me researching local co-ops. In case anyone is interested, St. Louis is home to City Food Co-op.

I'm not 100% sure I will become a member, because of the distance from home and the limited hours, but I am still going to throw the idea around.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

It's my anniversary!

Today Nathan and I celebrate 3 years of married bliss and we are still doing strong! Thanks everyone for your nice messages!

Monday, November 24, 2008

It's me, Roxie!

Hello blog readers!!! It's me, Roxie! Mom is finally letting me post something. Perhaps she felt guilty that so many requested more about me in this post or she is just to lazy to come up with a post that isn't related to work stress/and or cheese. Either way...I am taking over!

Speaking of mom, she had a few dogs come to visit me this weekend. Even though a lot of them were little guys, I still had a blast. The only one that wasn't little, was this really cute guy....he kept crawling onto my back for some reason. I am not really sure what he was doing, but I kept telling him I already have a boyfriend, because I am pretty sure whatever he was trying to do, my man wouldn't like. Mom didn't do much to stop the whole thing though....she always says that mixed breed is her favorite. Thanks Mom, way to make me feel like a bastard child.

I was so exhausted from all the hanging out with friends, I pretty much spent all of Sunday like this....

And even though I love to get my picture taken, Sunday I just wanted to freaking sleep. I kept turning away, and it only took Dad about 30 seconds to take the hint. It took Mom about 5 minutes and 4 failed pictures before she just gave up. Not to mention the fact that the crappy cell phone camera doesn't do my cuteness much justice.

Well, so long for now. But before I leave you here are some great pics of me!

The PERFECT work day

I guess that is kind of an oxymoron, but I seriously had a nearly perfect work day today. No, I didn't get a raise or even a nice email from a boss telling me I was a great employee.

Today I sat at my desk and did nearly 8 hours of mindless data entry breaking only to check email, GR, and help Boss #1 pick out a GORGEOUS gift for his girlfriend. And it was FABULOUS. After doing so much running around last week, it was so great just plug away at some applications that needed to be updated before the end of the month.

I can only hope that my short day tomorrow will be so sweet, and my long day Wednesday will go smooth as well.

Oh thank god

I spent about an hour yesterday reading the nearly 120 blogs on GR. Some of them I speed read, none of them I commented on (bad Teresa!) but it was drastic measure time....GR was totally out of control.

Other random stuff....

*Work was SO stressful last week. I can't believe I made it through without having a huge breakdown. If I can just get through this big event today I should be able to coast through Tuesday and Wednesday. Thank God for Thanksgiving.

*Nathan put up our new Christmas tree yesterday. We didn't put any ornaments on it yet, but Nathan just couldn't wait to put together the tree. I didn't point it out to him, but he seriously the most giddy I had ever seen him. It was too freaking cute.

*Nathan's parents called him last night to talk about my Christmas gift. Usually they buy Nathan one big gift and a couple smaller ones and a couple medium sized gifts for me. However, apparently this year they are switching things up and giving me the big gift. If I had to guess I would say it is a digital camera. And OMG I would love that. Before blogging I probably wouldn't have cared as much, but I really want to start adding more pics to my blog and my cell phone camera totally doesn't cut it.

I hope everyone has a great Monday! Hopefully for everyone it is a short work week!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Yay, I am a Kreativ Blogger!

Many thanks to Jenn from Living Life for my Kretiv Blogger award! I have never received a blog award, and I feel very blessed to receive this one. Thanks, Jenn, you are awesome and I am not worthy!

According to the rules, I am supposed to put 6 things I am thankful for and 6 blogs that are stalkworthy.

The awesome stuff I am thankful for:
(Please excuse the incomplete sentences, I didn't want to start all 6 out with "I'm thankful for blah, blah, blah.)

1. My family. Not just my husband, but my parents, sisters, and of course, Roxie. I am so lucky to have an incredibly supportive family that would seriously do anything for me.
2. My friends, especially the new ones that I have met via the Internet. I am reminded almost daily what an amazing group of women I have in my life. When I am down, they do everything they possibly can to bring me back up. I know that some of them are just using me for my cooking...but that's ok.
3. My job. That is a REALLY difficult thing to say this week, because I am officially having the worst week since I started with the company. But I am very thankful for having a steady paycheck, a great boss, and dedicated team members that bend over backwards for me daily.
4. The gym. As silly as it sounds, the gym has helped me through some stressful shit lately.
5. Talent. I don't want to sound full of myself, but I am so thankful for my talents because they tend to bring a smile to other's faces.
6. My space heater. If I had it in my office now I wouldn't be so damn cold. But, I am thankful it will keep me warm tonight at home.

The 6 blogs that are stalk worthy:

1. conversations with myself I love this blog. I am pretty sure Kritta and I have the exact same sense of humor. If not, she probably makes fun of me for saying lame stuff on her blog.
2. I paid less than you That a blog that updates frequently, but for those of you that love deals (especially from Target) you need to read this blog.
3. Little Homestead in the City One of my two new favorite sustainability blogs. If you are at all interested in the subject, run, don't walk to this blog.
4. Tiny Farm Blog The second favorite. Again, run, don't walk.
5. I have posted about Rachel's blog before. She really does some amazing stuff with budgets in a realistic way.
6. Write in my Journal I can't even describe the amazing stuff in this blog.

Just to show you how behind I am.....

I have 111 blogs to read on Google Reader. Seriously, 111 and I don't even subscribe to blogs that make more than one or two posts a day.

I am very behind, but I am going to try and do my kreativ blogger awards today or tomrorrow.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Reason #561 that I shouldn't use big words...

...I accidentially type distinguish instead of extinguish. should be making fun of me right now.

Random Thursday thought

Today I had an epiphany. If Nathan and I got one to two more dogs, could that possibly extinguish his desire to have children?


Oh, and I am happy to annouce I received a blogging award. I will post all the good details once I can get a nice, composed blog together.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Ah, what?

I just had a total out of my mind moment. I was at Hancock fabrics looking for cheesecloth. With making the mozzerella I go through a ton...sometimes 5 yards a week. So I go into Hancock looking for a larger amount then just buying the cheap packaged stuff in the baking aisle at the grocery store. I go up to the register to buy the whole box, which is 100 yards. The two cashiers looked at me a little surprised. Because really who in their right mind buys 300 feet of cheesecloth? The convo went a little something like this:

Cashier 1: "Wow this is a lot of cheesecloth, what do you plan on doing with it?"
Me: "Oh, I make cheese."
Cashier 1:(in a little bit of awe) "What!?! You make cheese, I love cheese! What kind?"
Me: "Mozzerella"
Cashier 2: "Really?? I used to make cottage cheese all the time, but that's easy. Do you sell it?"
Me: "Um, I hadn't really thought about it...."
Cashier 2: "Well would you consider it.."
Me: (still completely shocked): "Um, yeah, I guess. Let me give you my business card."
Cashier 1: (still in awe) "I love cheese!"
Cashier 2: "I will be calling you. How much do you charge?"
Me: "Uhhhh, I'll have to think about that. Just let me know when you want some."

The moral of the story...people LOVE cheese. And the are convinced they will love your homemade cheese even if they have never had it.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Power song

I was recently reading a blog where the reader talked about her "power song". My power songs help get me motivated through my workouts (and occasionaly through life).

At the moment, I have three favorite power songs, and as an added bonus here they are via You Tube! They might not be your cup of tea, but open your mind and give them a listen...I doubt you have many better things to do for 15 minutes. I mean, you are reading my blog after all.

1. "Here It Goes Again"

Who doesn't freaking love Ok go!? Really, come on, not only is the song as cool as hell, but the treadmills are awesome. For some reason everytime I flock to this song when I am working out. I can listen to it 20 times in a row and still want to hear it more. It is also an added bonus that I do my fastest mile time when hearing this song.

2. "Crazy on You"

Women with guitars generally know how to rock, and the ladies of Heart are no expception. My entire teenage life and most of my twenties I was obcessed with this song. I mean obcessed. I once convinced my friends that when I died I wanted a parade with a marching band to playing "Crazy on You" and my coffin to be in a float. Crazily enough (see what I did there?)I still think that would be awesome!

Even though that video isn't the best version of the song, it still gets me even time. If I am having a bad day and need to just belt out lyrics, that is the song I choose everytime.

3. "Suffragette City"

My newest power song comes for the lovely David Bowie. It starts out a little slower than some of my typical power song favorites, but it picks up. And come on, doesn't any song that says, "Wham bam thank you, ma'am!" want just to workout a little harder? David Bowie, my ass thanks you.

And for the record, this wasn't my psycho post, although I am sure I had some of your thinking that with the parade/coffin in the float thing.


I just wrote a blog that made me sound like a complete psycho.

Thank God I read it again before posting.

That is all.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Blogging (among other things) seems to be an incredibly difficult task lately. I have a lot on my mind with work and personal stuff, and while it isn't anything major, these things still seem to occupy my mind.

So today I ask you, readers, to tell me about how you handle stress. Because it is obvious to me that I am not a good stress hander. I knew this before and thought I was getting better but it seems like all of my progress has stopped, so feel free to post some suggestions.

Thanks in advance for your responses!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Something insightful for election day

When I get stressed out and tired I tend to say, incredibly...ah....insightful little tidbits. Nathan was off on Friday and he and I were out running errands and talking about some political websites that were focusing so much on taxes and tax breaks. And while tax breaks are great, I honestly don't mind paying taxes. I expressed this to Nathan by saying,

"Really without taxes we would be driving on gravel roads, putting out fires with garden hoses, and we would have to shoot to know, because there would be no cops."

Direct quote Teresa-ism. I bet you just felt yourself drop a few IQ points.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I'm in shock

Even though Nathan didn't get the promotion, we still got some awesome news this week. The person that did get the new position works on a different client project than Nathan, but is still in his department. Because that person is moving into the promotion, his project is now open. It won't be a promotion or more money for Nathan, but it is very likely he will go to this other project.

Why is this so great? Well, if you recall my major problem with Nathan's job is his schedule. Anywhere from 80%-90% of his schedule is working afternoon into the late evening. Thus me only seeing him Saturday and Sunday. With this new position he would be working mornings into mid afternoon 90% of the time.

This is HUGE for us. I mean, it will totally change our lives. We have been married for almost three years and we have never had similar schedules. I can't totally wrap my mind around the fact that not only we will be waking up together, but we will have all of our evenings. We no longer have to cram all of errands on the weekends. We can make plans to see friends Friday night, or have friends over for dinner on a weeknight. We can eat dinner together. We can take swing dancing classes again.

So thanks everyone for the good vibes, because in a round about way they worked!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The top secret culinary project revealed!

Anyone remember at the end of this post that I made mention of working on a new BIG culinary project? Well I am happy to say that after a couple trips to Whole foods, an Internet special order, and a random grocery store's done.

Are you on the edge of your seat?

Well, without further latest creation.....

Say Cheese!!!!! I present to you my first HOMEMADE fresh mozzarella ball!!!! Ok, so maybe if you aren't a foodie you aren't too excited about this, but how many people do you know that make their own cheese!?!

It actually wasn't too difficult...Nathan and I just followed the these instructions....making a few modifications on how we strained off the whey. I expected to mess up on the first batch since there are so many temperature and time specifics and we were just trying to figure it all out, but the first batch came out awesome!

Not only does it taste really was fun to make and it only cost about $3 to make 1 pound. Lower quality fresh mozzarella costs twice this amount, and the higher quality can be closer to $8 to $10 a pound!

Now all I want to do is make any volunteers to take some fresh mozzarella cheese off of my hands? I bet we could work out some kind of trade. ;)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Trying to be positive

Well, Nathan finally heard Thursday that he didn't get the promotion. But he isn't really too upset. The person that he interviewed with said that he knew that Nathan would meet all deadlines and get the job done, but when it came to communicating what the client would want to employees, the hiring commitee was convinced he wasn't going to enough of a jerk to say to the employee, "If you don't do this, I will find someone that will and that's it."

And they are right. Nathan isn't that kind of person. He isn't a hard ass, he believes in coaching people and giving them a positive outlook rather than a negative one. Nathan feels like even if they had offered him the position, once he found out this part of the job, he wouldn't of taken it.

I am glad he isn't upset, and I am proud of him for being so adult about the whole thing, but I am still a little upset. I wouldn't want him to compromise his values, but this job would have been a better schedule. Not all day shifts, but still more than what he has now.

When Nathan is on nights and I have a stressful week, it is REALLY hard for me to deal with it. I am not the world's best stress handler to begin with, and not having someone at home to give me a hug or listen to me vent really takes a toll on me.

But thank you to everyone for the good vibes! I guess it just wasn't the right thing for him!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

My Bella Vita review

A couple nights ago I had the pleasure of meeting newlywed Jamie for a drink. We were both somewhat indecisive on where to go, so I suggested we try a wine bar that I knew wasn't too far from either of us. I had secretly wanted to try Bella Vita ever since Claire posted a review about it on her blog.

I think Claire's review is pretty much dead on. And thank God I read it before I went, or else I think I would have driven right by the huge strip mall figuring it could never be home to such a cool little wine bar.

I quickly found out that I was going to get to taste some wines that I were a little on the higher end of what I am used to purchasing (which isn't a whole lot...I usually spend between $15-$20 on a bottle), so I was pleased that I was going to get to taste some new wines. I am a big fan of Italian wines and reds, so I immediately tried the Podre 414 Morelino. It was oh soo good. Jamie and I both tried a few others, and I was able to talk her into trying a couple other yummy Italian reds.

We also ordered the Baked Brie and Pepperoni Pizza (just a coincidence that it was just what Claire ordered!) and they were pretty tasty as well. A tad pricey for what you get, but still yummy.

So I am officially giving Bella Vita two thumbs up. Not a perfect place by any means, but still very nice. I am hoping Jamie and I (and maybe a few more ladies?) can return there in the near future.

If you decide to go in for a drink or a few tastes, just be sure to read Claire's review so you can learn about the cool endoline system and what you can expect to find at Bella Vita.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A little treat

I know that most of you dear readers really enjoy pictures in posts. Since I am usually pretty lacking in that department, I thought I would treat you all to a few pretty pics.

I was seriously stressing last week about these arrangements Boss #1 asked me to do for this event that he was hosting for clients. Now, I don't claim to be a florist or designer by any means, but I had some great finds that turned out some pretty nice arrangements.

Yes, those are real lemons, limes, and oranges.

Everyone was super impressed, which is always a good feeling even though I don't think the arrangements were overly impressive, they were just really pretty fall colors.

Monday, October 20, 2008

What a crappy weekend.

It really was a crappy weekend. I had a ton of family in town from Texas, Alaska, Florida, and Maryland that I was so excited to see, but only got to spend a couple hours seeing.

I was in pain. On Friday, I got home from work and immediately crashed on the couch. I started having chest pains and they were on and off all night and all day Saturday. I made it through our family wedding Saturday afternoon, and a couple hours of snacks and socializing at my mom's, but that was about it. I left my mom promising if I didn't feel better by today I would get to Urgent Care. And I never break a promise to my mom. I firmly believe that anyone that does, will go straight to hell.

Last night she called to gently remind me of this promise last night at about 6:30. After some talk with Nathan we decided that going last night would be much easier than going today. I changed and we had a brief visit to our local Urgent Care.

I was very happy when we arrived because I didn't even have to sign in, I went straight to check in, verified a few things, and then saw the nurse within 10 minutes of my stepping foot in the door. Both times I have been to this Urgent Care they have been fast, but this time the whole thing just MOVED, and it was probably due to the nature of my problem. My mom used to be an ER ward clerk, and she said that if you ever want to get moved quick into the ER, tell them you have chest pains, because short of bleeding out, this symptom is one of the more likely that you die in the waiting room (hello hospital liability!) from versus a simple flu or broken bone.

The verdict? My friendly doc ruled out anything heart or lung related, and says that I am probably just having some inflammation from muscle or something. He then thanked me for being so healthy (as in good oxygen levels= not having chest pains because of my heart) and sent me on my way with a prescription.

Today I still feel some chest pains, but not nearly as bad as they were this weekend. I am taking it easy, because if I am up moving around and lifting even a little bit the pain hits hard. Today should be a pretty boring day of "sitting at my desk" projects.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I'm alive

But just barely.

Raise your hand if you are getting tired of me not actually posting anything but just linking to other blogs? That's what I thought.

I hope to resume more exciting blogs in the near future. But this week has been crammed with work, family, and now I am sick with something other than a cold or the flu. That is, unless now colds or the flu come complete with chest pains, stiff necks and shoulders, a fever, and general exhaustion. I refuse to scary myself by looking at WebMD, so I am going to tough it out through my family wedding today, Sunday errands, and see how I feel on Monday.

On one more note, Nathan got some positive feedback about the interview, but probably won't know anything for awhile. Thanks everyone for your positive thoughts!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


In the last year, I've had many, many blessings. One of them has been an addition of some great friends. This morning I was truly touched by what one of these great friends wrote about the newest addition to her family.

I am sure most of my subscribers read Mary's blog. If not, just take two minutes to go here and read her latest post. And if you already read her blog, read the post again. I think even if you aren't a dog lover you can appreciate it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Quote of the week.

First off, lots of stress in Teresaland. Of course it is mostly work related.

One thing that really set me off this week, I was in the middle of a semi heated conference call with Boss #2 and #3. They were both concerned with my budget for one of my accounts for September. I could only provide limited information, because Boss #1 handles most of the financials for this account even though I manage it. I won't go into any more detail than that because I can already sense some of you falling asleep. Anyway, I promise them I will discuss the financials with Boss #1 and one of us will call them back. I quickly do so and warn Boss #1, "They are both kind of upset."

I sit in Boss #1's office while he calls 2 and 3 back. He proceeds to have a quick, light hearted conversation, gets off the phone and says in a strong questioning voice, "They were mad? They didn't seem mad."

I get pissed and say, "Of course they weren't mad at you! They never get mad at you! It's like you have fucking rainbows flying out of your ass!!!"

Boss #1 is laughing so hard he has tears in his eyes. "What the hell does that mean?"

Even though I didn't even understand what I said I reply, "They always do this, they get all pissed at me and then they treat you totally different!"

But regardless, apparently now rainbows flying out of someone's ass is a good thing.

Monday, October 13, 2008

A great quote from Write in my Journal....

If you aren't reading Write in my Journal, you should.

I really liked this quote from today's post:

"Sometimes through writing you begin to understand what you believe. You can’t decide what you believe, if you had to decide what you believe in you truly do not believe it."

Also the post right before it is full of good stuff from a man named Emilo.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Please put off the vibes....

...until Wednesday. They had to reschedule Nathan's interview due to a scheduling conflict.

So now we have a weekend and a few days to be nervous about it!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

This has to be quick....

but I just wanted to come on and post that....

Nathan is interviewing for a promotion tomorrow. It is a totally obtainable for him, but a few other well qualified people are going for it too. We really need all the good vibes we can get on this one. He has been through so many interviews, some with company his current company and others without and he has been passed by each time. He gets his hopes up so much, and each time his disappointment is really heavy on my heart. Plus, having him on day shift reminds me of how lonely I am when he switches back to nights and in this new position he would be mostly days. So, please, please send good vibes his/our way. Cross every finger you can, say a prayer (if you do), or think something positive for us.

Oh and I came home yesterday to a HUGE hole in our yard. If it isn't filled by the time I get home I will take a pic. I could explain it now, but if I can snap a few pics it is worth having a separate post about it!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Do you know how many readers you have?

In my last post a couple of people asked how I knew how many people subscribe to my blog. I don't know if this is the only way to find out, but I just added my blog to my Google Reader. Then you just look at the "show details" tab and you will see how many readers you have through GR.

It also shows you how many posts you average per week. Currently mine is 3.3. I would like it to be more like I need to keep getting suggestions on what you would like to be reading, so keep them coming!!!

Give the people what they want!

Ok, I will admit it...a couple times a week I check and see how many people are subscribing to my blog via the fab Google Reader. And this morning I noticed my subscribers jumped up. Not a lot by any means, but still a decent amount for my not very well known blog.

I am curious as to what you would like to see more of on blog. Cooking adventures? Wine musings? Random Teresa, Nathan, and Roxie life? My workout successes and fails? The quest to be more sustainable/budget stuff?

So feel free to post and let me know.

Everyone have a great weekend!!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Life is good

There are several reasons why life is good:

1. One of my favorite little towns within driving distance is getting another winery and brewery. Grafton Winery and Brewhaus is scheduled to open sometime next month and I could not be more excited. We already love visiting the Piasa and Aeries Wineries, not to mention one of my favorite restaurants of all time, the Rotten Apple. (home of the best homemade sweet potato chips ever!) As soon as I hear the opening date I am going to try and get a group together and plan a visit!

2. I was apparently light years ahead of my time when it came to my fashion sense. Because one of the hot new trends for fall fashion is freaking wing tips!!! I have been wearing mine since college and absolutely love them. When I was in DSW and saw several different styles and I am seriously thinking about adjusting the October budget and getting a new (dresser) pair.

3. Nathan and I had a very fun filled weekend. We got to see some friends and play Rock Band for the first time ever, spend some much needed time outside, and did plenty of relaxing/lounging around the house. Speaking of weekends, this weekend is going to be the bomb. Nathan and I are heading down to my hometown for our annual October winery day with friends. We always have a blast, eat way too much, and sometimes some of us overindulge in the wine just a little. :) My hometown group is tight, but we seem to be growing apart a little bit, so this will be a good weekend to catch up.

Just a few reasons why life is good!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

As promised, some recipes

Here are some recipes I have been meaning to post for a week.

First, a recipe I adapted from the What Can I Bring? Cookbook that the lovely Jamie gave me. Here is the Teresa version of the recipe which I ended up making double of:

Baked Boursin in Roasted Red Pepper Sauce:
2 c. Roasted Red Bell Peppers (I used a combo of jarred and home roasted)
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 cloves roasted garlic
a couple dashes Italian seasoning

1 pkg of Boursin or other herb flavored cream cheese (about 5 oz)

Put all ingredients except cheese in food processor. Pulse until chunky, not quite pureed. Put in baking dish and then add block of cheese. Bake about 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve with French bread.

Another requested recipe was for my hummus. First of all, I must say I hate tahini with a passion. I think the taste is overpowering, it is expensive, and it's shelf life sucks. So avoiding using tahini in this hummus but still getting a good flavor was important to me.

Easy hummus:
3 cloves roasted garlic
1 15 oz can garbanzo beans or chickpeas (drain)
1 tsp salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
dash cayenne pepper
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 tbsp olive oil

Combine all ingredients in food processor, pulse until you get a nice puree, adjust lemon juice and olive oil to taste. I also sometimes add in black pepper.

In case you don't know how to make the roasted garlic that I used in the two recipes...

Roasted Garlic:
Cut off the bottom and the top of the bulb, so that cloves are slightly exposed. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper and wrap in foil. Roast in a oven at 350 for about 40 minutes until cloves are soft.

And last but not least, the infused oils. I found out that making your own infused oils is actually very easy. For the garlic, just split open some cloves, and then put three times as much oil as garlic. For any with fresh herbs (like basil), just boil them for about a minute, cool them with ice or running water, dry completely, and again use 3 times as much oil as the ingredient. Close them up, and in a few weeks you will have flavored olive oil!

Did I miss any requests???? Please let me know. And a big thank you to everyone that came out last Saturday, you made my night so fun!

Oh, and I just must add that I am working on a BIG culinary project. I am not going to say yet what it is (I know I am terrible) because I am waiting on my local Whole Foods to see if they can special order me a few supplies. But if I can get everything I need I will soon be able to produce a delicious food staple myself that will really make me feel like I have accomplished a big milestone in my personal culinary life. Stay tuned.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Blogging hiatus

I am officially on blogging hiatus. Well, after this post anyway. Nathan is on days (yay!) and we don't know how long so I want to spend as much time as possible with him. Plus, I have not yet justified blogging at work for more than making a quick 2 minute post.

I will make one exception, I owe a recipe post that I am trying to compile per some readers requests.

I'll be back soon!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Food for Saturday

I am getting a little pumped for the Girls Night Out on Saturday. Not only is the company going to be great, but I am getting excited about the food.

Tonight I am finalizing the menu and shopping for most of the ingredients, which is always a lot of fun for me. Since most of the menu revolves around wine and my homemade bread I decided I would do some spreads and dips including olive oil. I love, love, olive oil with a fresh baked bread.

After browsing over the weekend at some of the high priced infused oils, I decided that I was going to create a couple of my own. I did a little research, cleaned out some bottles, and started my very own infused oils. One is Garlic and the other is Sun dried Tomato Basil. They are supposed to take close to a month to fully develop the flavor, but even if they aren't fully developed by Saturday at least they will be a pretty addition to the table.

I have also pulled out a few bread recipes, including my mom's famous olive herb bread, which is very much, the BOMB. When my mom had her cafe this bread was very popular. Customers would buy loaves and loaves of it. I don't even like olives and I think it is amazing.

Hopefully everyone is looking forward to Saturday!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tonight I am drinking...

A wonderful beer that you probably haven't heard of... Ray Hill's American Pilsner .

I don't know even how to describe this beer besides amazing. Not light, but, very very smooth and perfect for not only drinking, but also cooking. A few hours ago I emptied a bottle into my crockpot with a few brats, peppers, and onions which is going to result in a delicious meal.

The beer also earns some serious points because it's maker, Ray Hill is one of the nicest guys ever. Nathan, Jenn, and I had the privilege of meeting him and his fiance at a tasting a few weeks ago. He was anxious to tell us about his beer and didn't even mind when I asked him to autograph one of the bottles I purchased and pose with Nathan and I as Jenn took a picture. I am convinced that he will be the next big thing in the beer world, so I had to make sure that we got full documentation.

So next time you are in a beer mood it is one worth checking out. :)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Taking it easy....

I decided that today was going to be my one lazy day for the week. Since, yet again, the week seems to be filling up with tons of projects. Nathan is working tonight, but is on days the rest of the week so we are doing some much needed and long overdue house projects.

Speaking of house projects, I am trying to create some last minute, simple (and cheap of course) decor. So I had this idea to take photos, put them on some kind of canvas or something, and then put some kind of seal or adhesive over them. If any of you crafty bloggers have any suggestions/tips on doing a project like this, let me know!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The cliff notes version of last night

So much happened, here is the quick replay:

Everyone keep telling me I looked beautiful or wonderful. Jaws actually dropped. It was great to hear those compliments, I hadn't heard them in forever, and I probably received more last night than I did on my wedding day. Jenn is a master of make-up and even managed to spruce up my hair a little. Thank you Jenn! WTF was I so concerned about?

I wasn't overly impressed with my $150 a plate dinner. The veal with the apple chutney was great, but the fish course of scallops was terribly disappointing.

Sparkling cosmos might be my new favorite drink....they are the perfect combo of pretty and tasty.

I learned that I definitely have the biggest alcohol tolerance out of my co-workers/bosses and even though it sounds like fun to go to a bar, after leaving an event with an open bar, it probably isn't a good idea when they could potentially hit on your married friends or make them feel really uncomfortable. Um, yeah, sorry about that, friends.

Although Bar Louie doesn't have a dance floor, that won't stop your drunk co-worker from dancing and insisting you dance with him.

I got a free beer when I was on a mission to steal a catch bouquet from a girl across the bar. She was nice though, so I couldn't bring myself to steal it. I just smelled it and her friend gave me a yummy draft ale for some reason. I don't ask questions, I just take beer and walk away before they get a chance to change their mind.

A co-worker and a boss were out-ed, but I know that they won't remember they were out-ed so it may not count.

All in all, a great evening. :)

Friday, September 12, 2008


*My no commitment week ended up being super stressful. I was barely home at all because it seemed like things just started popping up. I guess I will try again next week.

*Part of my stress is coming from trying to find a good dress for this big work event Saturday night. I didn't find out about it until a week ago, and I really didn't have anything that would work for an evening cocktail dress. (My semi-new pink and lace dress wouldn't have been a good fit). I borrowed a few dresses from my sister and friends, and one of them I absolutely fell in love with. All black, even neckline and hem, very sharp looking even though it is not exactly the style of the season. It is very form fitting (and shows a little bit of bodily imperfection) which I am not used to, but now I think I can pull it off.

*I have been so paranoid about not looking good in the black dress for Saturday that I stayed up until midnight last night so I could try it on for Nathan. Even though he isn't very fashion knowledgeable, he still is always honest with me if he feels something doesn't look good. After me asking him 20 times, "Is it ok? Are you sure?" I finally went to bed. Less than 5 hours later I had already overslept for work. I was 10 minutes late....terrible, I know.

*I am totally crazy and did 12 miles on the elliptical Wednesday afternoon in addition to the three other times I had already been to the gym this week. I am not going to lie, a small part of me wanted to just tone a little more so I could look better in the black dress.

*I broke my no Target rule to go buy Assets to wear under the black dress. I didn't buy anything else though, so I guess that is good. This damn event on Saturday (and the dress) is taking over my life and it is sooo not worth it.

*Nathan and I might be buying a new couch on Saturday. I know you are gasping saying, "But, Teresa, what about your budget?" Well, I received another happy surprise in the mail yesterday...a refund for the deductible I paid in December after my car accident. I didn't plan on getting this money because the insurance companies were in a battle. Even though it was 100% NOT my fault, the other driver lied and I just figured I would never see the money. So we are going to look at a used couch this weekend. Even if we end up buying it, I will still be able to put the extra money towards so CCs. Woohoo!

*I have a huge weekend planned and I am pumped. Only 5 more hours until I am outta here!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A new blog to follow....

Not a lot of posts frequently, but still worth checking out and adding to Reader for an occaisional good read.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The project

Since March or April I have been working on this giant project at work. I mean this project was huge, massive, gigantic, whatever. My company started doing weekly inventory and instead of continuing to use our somewhat inaccurate Excel spreadsheet system, a web based system was developed that updated prices for roughly 90% of our inventory automatically.

Cool, right? Yes, it is cool. It is cool after you get it setup up. So for the past several months I have been working lots of hours each week inputting all of our inventory. All twenty six pages of items. 26 pages worth of checking order numbers, quantities, past invoices, and even if the products we had on the inventory were even still available to buy. Then each item had to be assigned an area and put in the order in which it appears in that area.

While the project didn't start out to bad, by yesterday I decided that it truly was hell on earth and that I was never going to be the same. I truly think I lost a little bit of my sanity. And yesterday I made the statement that if I didn't finish it today I might have to slap someone in the face just to relieve some stress.

About 10 minutes before I completed the inventory I started getting chest pains. I don't know if it was anxiety, nerves, or just plain being excited, but they were there. It was crazy.

As soon as I finished, saved, and hit print I walked into Boss #1's office. Clutched in my hands I said,
"It's done, oh my God, I can't believe it's done."
Boss #1 immediately fired back with, "Well, good job."
"Um, no wait, stop and think about this and be a little more sincere...."
"Oh, Teresa I am......."
"No, no, you aren't fully getting that I just completed this. It took me 6 freaking months! Sure, we will probably have to fix a few things this week after we try it out, but it is done! So don't give me some half assed "good job". Stop for just a moment and think about that, just....just think about it."
By this time, Boss #1 is laughing hysterically. He and I have a really good relationship, and I am constantly putting him in his place or at least trying to. Once he stopped laughing he said,
"Ok, ok, I get it. I sincerely am happy that it is complete and you did a great job."

The agenda for the rest of the evening is to drink sparkeltini and have my own little celebration.

Monday, September 8, 2008

No commitments

It seems like life is just getting a little hectic. Last week I was crazy busy at work and Nathan and I did nothing this weekend but run from place to place. While we had a blast because we saw a lot of family, hung out with a good friend, and tasted some great wines, I am exhausted and the house is not in good shape.

So I am going to try and make this what I call a "no commitment" week (ok, realistically this will only last until Friday afternoon). Where all I am really obligated to do is go to work and if I get little besides that accomplished it is not a big deal. While there is a ton to do around the house and about 5 million errands to run, I just don't want to stress myself out. Sometimes accomplishing so much is actually counter productive because I end up stressing myself out and not getting any rest. Plus, I have a big weekend ahead of me and I refuse to be all tired and not enjoy it.

Friday, September 5, 2008

What is that smell?

It's Fall. Does anyone else go outside this week when there was a slight chill in the air and feel like they could smell Fall? Well, if you didn't I am sure you think I am losing it. But I swear during this time of year I feel like I can smell the seasons changing and I absolutely love it!

I never used to be a big fan of Fall for some reason, but now it is by far my favorite season. From a cooking standpoint, Fall is great because I am obsessed with cooking with pumpkin. In the next month I will be anxiously moving into my kitchen to make pumpkin bread, cheesecake, bread pudding, and of course....pie with Mom's amazing crust recipe. I am also thinking about using fresh pumpkin for something and figuring out how to use the entire pumpkin as a serving bowl for whatever dish I come up with.

Making soups is also a mild obsession of mine, and the start of Fall is the perfect time to start new recipes. Next week I am going to attempt this spicy Asian style soup I just thought up and I will be spending lots of time in the bookstore and library browsing recipes to come up with ideas.

Oh, and who can forget that Fall is the best time to visit wineries or host a few parties with our fabulous fire pit?

I might even get a little crazy and plant some mums in the sea of weeds that is supposed to be our front flower bed. But lets not get ahead of ourselves......

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Ode to August

I think this past month was one of the greatest of my life.....seriously. Let's recap the events of August:

*I started working out again and even though the scale didn't show it, I felt myself getting more tone.

*I rediscovered my love of making homemade bread and how it delighted those that ate it.

*I had some kick ass short work days.

*Every weekend was fun, I saw so many of my friends.

*Even with slightly going over our budget, I/we still put almost $1000 towards CC debt.

*I branched out and read some great books, which not helped me rediscover my love of reading, but I also gained a lot from them.

*I stopped stressing when my Google Reader went over 10 posts. ;)

*I experienced one of the greatest and most memorable weekends with my husband.

In general, I just stop coasting through life. This year had been really stressful after I had gotten my promotion at work, and looking back I realize I had myself on "Auto Pilot". Now I feel like I am handling stress better, so there is a little more time to do more focusing on the good stuff of life.

Even with August being so great, I think September may top it. I already know I will be seeing lots of family and friends and continuing to work towards having little stress.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The weekend!

I am illegally blogging from work! Gasp!

Just a quick note to tell everyone that the weekend was fabulous. We ended up cutting the trip a day short and still managed to hit 8 (yes, 8) wineries.

I need to finish my roll of film then I will make a mega post about the weekend complete with reviews and pics.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

One more blog about the cake then I swear I will stop....

Ok, so Mary got a few good pics of the cake here. Sooo much better than my one single crappy pic.

I don't want to get a big head about the whole thing, but I am so happy with the job my sister and I did on it. I seriously couldn't have done it without her. Even though doing a cake that intricate is stressful, I had such a blast the entire time. And seeing Mary's reaction made the whole process even more worth it.

Alright, cake talk over. Well, at least until after we finish my cousin Kelly's wedding cake in about a week!!!


Today, Nathan and I were discussing our long weekend camping trip and were very close to canceling it. A long time ago we had made reservations at Babler State Park because it is very close and we had some friends that were meeting up with us on Saturday so we wanted to camp where it would be convenient for them. We didn't really care where we just wanted somewhere that was good for the four of us to just socialize and not worry so much about the actual campground. Well, they ended up canceling, which was fine, we totally understood, but all of the sudden Babler wasn't looking so hot. Besides sleeping and hiking, there isn't a ton more we could figure out to do, and while I want to be relaxed I also don't want to be bored.

So I ended up ducking out of work early to run some work errands and I came home early so Nathan and I could brainstorm on what we should do before he left for work. The site was already paid for weeks ago, but almost every park we wanted was full, at least the ones that had a few more options for activities like floating. Then we had the bright idea to try and find a site near a winery. Graham Cave not only has open sites, but it is fairly close to Herman! One quick phone call and a $5 change fee later, we are set to go for the weekend!

Neither one of us have ever been to Herman, so if anyone has any winery or brewery recommendations please let me know. I know we will definitely be visiting Tim Mill and Stone Hill. And while will be doing most of the cooking at the campsite, Nathan loves German food so I am convincing him that we need to at least do lunch somewhere, so pass along recommendations for that too!

I am very excited, it will be like a mini-vacation. And it couldn't come at a perfect time because I had a stressful few days at work. Because of the change of plans, Nathan talked me into putting just a little bit of my bonus towards the wine-o fund and not all towards bills. Putting less than one Benjamin towards my sanity is probably a good call.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tuesday randomness

It is quite surprising that I haven't posted some randomness in awhile, since after all, I definitely a member of the random blog post club. I tried to make this a Monday randomness post because after all Monday randomness is much better than Tuesday randomness. But anyway....

*I had just about the best weekend ever. Friday, my sister came over to help me with our favorite thing to do together... decorate kick ass cakes for people we love.

The picture is poor quality (you haven't heard that before, right?) because the old camera film hasn't been developed yet, but still isn't it awesome? The sea shells are actual chocolate candies that we made. And the "sand" is a mix of brown sugar and white sugar. After we finished the cake, Nathan and I made a last minute visit to one of our favorite places on earth, Dave and Busters. Yes, Nathan actually managed to get a Friday night off! We enjoyed an evening of games, shenanigans, and detective style questioning with Jenn and Phil.
Saturday was fabulous. Eating, drinking, and girlfriends poolside is always a good mix. Sunday I slept until about one and was pretty lazy all day. At about 8 pm I received a very last minute invite to have a couple glasses of wine with some of the coolest wine drinkers in the Lou. I won't name names, as I am sure you know who I am talking about.
*Work is back into full swing. Even though I have the super early mornings and full days again, I actually am pretty happy work is back to normal. Now I can focus on my own projects and clients. Sure I will miss strolling in whenever I please, leaving early to go to the gym, and taking casual days whenever the hell I please, but it is good to get back into a more steady routine. Plus, my new office is almost done! Hopefully tech will be finished with my computer tomorrow and my phone line should be in by the end of the week!
*I will get to see Nathan for four freaking days in a row!!! He managed to get off on Friday, so we are going to hit the road and take a small camping trip. I just want to hike some trails, relax, and spend some much needed time with the hubs.
*I was very excited to take a new Zumba class that started at my gym yesterday. But I was running late so I just stuck to the elliptical and some weights. I was able to observe the class and I am really glad I did because it is not at all what I expected. Wayyy different moves and motions, so I am not so sure if I will be on board with that next week.
*A happy surprise in the way of a bonus check came in the mail today. Only a few Benjamins, but better than what I was expecting which was nada. I have yet to fully decide how I am going to spend it, but I think it will probably not go to anything fun because I really want to get the credit cards paid off ASAP!
*The dvd player in our bedroom is toast and I am super bummed. Since Nathan works so many nights I like the distraction of a good movie or Family Guy episode as I drift off to sleep. We don't have cable in the bedroom, so now it is just kind of a useless TV.
*I actually have about 500 more random things I could post, but I am running out of evening. You may see a part 2 in the near future.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The budget wrap up....

Let me first start this post by saying that I hate failing. I mean I REALLY hate it. Even worse, I hate admitting when I fail. But here it is in print...I failed my budget. There it goes, I said it. We officially ran out of money at the end of last week and since I am not about to go make us go hungry, we went over budget.

On a positive note, I feel like this month I really put our spending into perspective. Paying cash for all of our groceries, entertainment, personal items, and stuff for Roxie was a real eye opener and definitely made me think twice about some of our purchases. So we are going to continue with that system of paying cash for anything that isn't a bill or gas.

I also discovered that my almond biscotti makes a great gift. A couple times this month I avoided buying gifts by making food. In each instance, the people that received the gift expressed that they felt it was much more heart felt than a gift card or something that took a 10 minute effort that I just picked out of the store.

I also have to say that August was one of the most activity packed, fun filled months we've had in awhile. We visited lots of friends at their homes and as a thank you for hosting we supplied food and drinks which the hosts appreciated and enjoyed. We played games we already owned, caught up on life, and enjoyed each other's company.

I didn't go to Target and don't plan on going for awhile. That is another rule that I want to stick even though we didn't completely succeed with this month's budget.

Even with going over our budget we still contributed over $700 to our cc debt (plus whatever I put in at the end of this week) which is the most we have ever been able to save. We also didn't use the credit cards once, expect for my work related expenses.

So overall, even though we didn't hit our magic number, I feel like we did succeed (in a way) in this month's budget. August was a fabulous eye opener and we have a great plan laid out for September.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I don't even know what to title this

Tonight at about 6 I was in the middle of relaxing/waiting for the spanish rice to finish when my cell phone rang.

Me: Hello?

Boss #3: Hey Teresa it's (Boss #3).

Me: Oh hey (Boss #3).

Boss #3: I don't suppose you are still at FP are you?

Me: No, what's up?

Boss #3: Well, I just got a call from the corporate office in KC campus police called and someone vandalized one of our vehicles. I don't know why they called KC or if it was a vending truck or the K-8 or how bad the damage is.

Me: (sigh) Alright, I will head over there and call you back.

Somebody broke into our vending truck. The good news is the mf-ers didn't get anything because we don't leave anything on the truck besides some chips and soda. Ha! Take that you little shits!

After talking to the campus police, securing the truck, making some calls, and doing a precautionary check of the vending machines, I headed for home. It was starting to just freaking pour down rain so I got off 44 and cut through Kirkwood to avoid some crazy highway drivers. As I am sitting waiting for the light to change, BAM! Somebody hit me.

Once the light changed we both pulled into a parking lot. The woman was practically in tears. I checked out my bumper and it just had a little dent and scratch from one of the screws of the license plate. I told her I wasn't concerned about it and she looked like she wanted to freaking kiss me out of sheer joy. Life is just too short to make a big deal out of one dent, plus I still have my pending insurance claim from December and even though neither accident was my fault, I don't think another claim would be much help at this point. Maybe (hopefully) some good karma will come my way? All I can really do is laugh.

One good thing.....somehow my Spanish rice came out freaking perfect! I had cut the heat off when I left and didn't move it from the stove. When I got home I expected it to be overcooked, but it was freaking perfect!

My new motto maybe, "It's ok to have a bad day as long as you don't ruin the rice!"

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Because I can't sleep a post about what will make your mouth water....

Lately I have rediscovered an old love of Actually, I have always enjoyed cooking, but for a really long time I just cooked as a means of necessity. In the past few weeks I have began to get more passion back for my old hobby that used to consume me not only personally but professionally.

Thinking back to my last couple of years of college, some of my favorite memories involved me baking bread. I seriously used to make a loaf of French bread from scratch just about every week. A couple of friends would flock to my apartment just to eat some bread dipped in olive oil and have a glass of wine or beer. We would just hang out and talk and it was absolutely fabulous.

Today I was thumbing through one of my recipe folders and was reminded even more of college. I stumbled upon all the recipes developed during my Quantity Food Production course. So many great recipes and ideas that I was so excited to prepare, and some that even worked their way into a couple catering menus (mmmm....Jerk Chicken) when I was a chef.

One of my favorite memories of my sister's wedding is the making of her cake. (Beth, if you have a pic send it to me so I can post it) The three tiered, purposely uneven, blue and white, Mad hatter inspired masterpiece was a great deal of stress at the time, but when I look back I think my mom and sisters would agree it was such a wonderful experience to make her unique cake. They may not agree about the pain-in-the-ass 350 mini wedding cakes I wanted for my wedding, but I still loved them and loved every long hour of icing all of those.

As I digress you are probably wondering if their is some kind of point to this post. And, no, I guess their isn't really. I recently found out I was doing a couple more cakes and cooking for a couple special events, so I have been thinking a lot about my own personal joy of cooking and creating and just felt like sharing. I feel like lately I have just been on coast a little bit, and I really need to get back to doing things that inspire me, and creating a rewarding dish is definitely one of them.

So over the next few weeks I have vowed to make more French bread, create a couple really cool cakes, and cook dishes that really have some heart and passion in them and aren't just something to do because I need something to eat. Because after all, isn't life so much better if you can find some way to take joy in everyday tasks?

The so many ways veggies

On one of my recent shopping trips I had bought an assortment of veggies that I roasted off while they were still pretty fresh. My mixture of zucchini, squash, green peppers, red peppers, and red onion more than filled a 9X13 glass pan before they were roasted, so we are really talking about a ton of veggies. I was going to put them in a marinade, but was concerned about making such a large quantity of veggies one singular flavor. Instead they just went in with a tad bit of olive oil and salt and pepper that way they are super adaptable.

Here are a few recipes/ideas that I am using for them:

Veggie wraps- (duh, right?) I have just thrown the veggies in a tortilla and used a little Italian or Balsamic vinaigrette to give them a little flavor.

Noodleless veggie lasagna- I am feasting on this currently. I reheated the veggies and just topped with some leftover marinara and cheese from the freezer (leftover from the little homemade pizzas) and added some dried Italian herbs just before putting it in the oven. Sounds really simple, but it is really good. I don't even miss the noodles! Plus, I went light on the cheese to save on some calories.

Loaded Spanish rice toppings- Just a quick saute with some cumin, chili powder and cayenne has made a wonderful addition the spiciness of the rice with black beans.

Fritta/omelet topper- I think most of my veggies will be used up by the other 3. But if not I am going to dice them up and throw them on top of a mostly egg white omelet or fritta with some salsa.

If I am totally burnt out by veggies before they are used all up I am going to throw them into a soup with some rice or white beans and freeze it. I have this great product:

That is a quick solution to making a quick and yummy soup. It is a little pricey at nearly $5.00 a jar, but totally worth it. The chicken base is also awesome and the brand even carries organic and vegan varieties too.
In case you were curious. Here is the cost breakdown:

Zucchini three pack from Aldi: $2.19
Squash three pack from Aldi: $2.19
Red/Green bell pepper pack from Aldi: $1.79 (I didn't use it all, but I will go ahead and round up)
The red onion was from Shop n Save and was by the lb so I don't have a price on that. But I only used a half so I will give a general over estimate that it was $. 50

Grand Total: $6.67 for some great fresh veggies that will provide 6-8 meals easy.

Speaking of money, I am sure you are all on the edge of your seat wondering how the budget is going. Another budget post is coming your way soon!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Fabulous weekend

I was really very lucky to have a totally wonderful weekend. Nathan and I slept in on Saturday, ran a few errands, and then took a pretty kick ass taco bar over to our friends Matt and Coley's house for a very awesome game night. The usual happened, we stuffed ourselves, played with their adorable son Seth and quite amazing dog Tucker, and the ladies beat the men to the point that they were embarrassed.

Sunday started out great with our long awaited float down the Meramec. It was great and relaxing until a couple hours in when I realized I forgot to put any sunblock on. Not a huge deal though, because last time this float took us just under three hours and we had already been out there almost two hours. I was oh, so wrong. Last time the river was moving fast, but yesterday was a completely different story. After five hours with virtually no stopping we were finished.

My face and legs were a tad pink , but I didn't think it was too bad. I was again, oh so wrong. I took a shower and started shaking because I felt so cold. Like, heavy, uncontrollable shaking. Nathan suggested I go lay down and about an hour later he checked on me and used some WebMD home treatments on me. They totally helped, but of course today I am still in freaking pain.

Now I look like a big red tomato. I don't think I will be forgetting the sunblock again anytime soon!

Friday, August 8, 2008

What a disappointing book

I am honestly, and truly bummed out. I found "Not Buying It, My Year Without Shopping" earlier this week at the library and I was sooo excited to read it. Unfortunately, it was very different than I expected.
Description from Amazon:
"Other than phenomenal willpower and maxed-out credit cards, what does it take to simply stop purchasing for 12 months? Levine took the plunge--and found it irritating, exhilarating, thought provoking, and humiliating--among many other conflicting emotions. What's an inexpensive substitute for Q-tips? How to best gift a soon-to-be college graduate without spending any money? How to avoid the consumption seduction that lurks in every corner? Levine chronicles her feelings in this almost-weekly diary of the year of nonpurchasing. Many of her points are intentionally provocative; for instance, not buying makes her feel vulnerable and having to ask for help."
What this description doesn't tell you is that 90% of the book is the author's feelings on politics that in a really backwards way relate to the economy and her spending. Now I love hearing other people's political points of view, but what I really wanted to read this week was a book about not spending money and how the author struggled. I mean, what DID they do without Q tips? What did they do when something broke and it needed to be fixed with something that weren't permitting themselves to buy? What affect did not spending have on her and her partner's relationship?
Hopefully "Frugal Luxuries" will be better.

Lets take a break from the budget for a minute

I realized today that I totally forgot to post that my playlist ended up winning one of the slots in the radio contest! It played last night and I almost forgot to tune in and hear it.

On a related note, when I submitted the playlist I included a little tribute to my Dad. It just said that he was one of the big reasons I started to listening to many different kinds of music and he is the coolest, blah, blah, blah.

The convo with my Dad went something like this:

"Dad, did you get my email about my playlist being on air next Thursday."
"Yeah, Teresa, that is pretty cool."
"So you are going to listen, right?"
"Well, you know, your mom and I have golf on Thursday nights."
"Uh, yeah, I know, but you don't have a radio in the golf cart or one that you can bring?"
"But I freaking dedicated it to aren't even gonna listen?"
"We have GOLF."

My father's life seriously revolves around golf. He has set playing days/leagues on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturdays. Plus, he usually goes every Sunday and at least one more day that week and that is even in the winter. As long as there isn't snow on the ground he is golfing.

When Nathan and I got married on a Saturday at noon my Dad was seriously considering golfing that morning. Which may not have been a big deal, but my mom, sisters and I did the food for all 350 guests as well as the cakes, and decorations. So on the day of their was a ton of stuff to do. When he didn't make it onto the course that day, and I think right before we walked down the aisle he said something about not being able to golf.

Of course, he was joking. And I wasn't seriously thinking he should cancel his Thursday game to listen to my "hour of fame" on the radio. I just wonder, when I eventually (in like 10 years) have a child will my Dad be at the hospital if I go into labor on a Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday? Or will I get, "We have GOLF."

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Presenting my $.38 lunch

You have probably noticed quite the increase in posting lately. Well, that has largely to do with the fact that I took vacation days today and yesterday. One of my favorite perks to being off during the week is that I can cook my lovely husband lunch. Today I was craving the french bread pizza I created over the weekend when I had the brilliant idea to bake a big loaf of french bread, cut it down the middle and top it with some yummy pizza toppings.

Here is the lunch sized version I made today with the mini baguette loaves I have ready to bake in my refrigerator:

It was about six inches long and a couple inches across...the perfect size for lunch. And because of my new found food budget I decided to cost out exactly how much this yummy little pizza cost. This was really easy to do because I had bought almost everything this weekend and I still have the receipt, plus I used to have to constant price out food at work so I have all those conversions in my head.
So here's the breakdown for one pizza:
The French bread half comes out to about .08 this includes the price of flour, salt, water and just a tiny amount of olive oil that I put on the dough while it is rising.
The generous tbsp of sauce is .02
The 5 slices of pepperoni are .08
The cheese is what was most expensive at .20
Grand total is $ .38! Too bad every meal can't be this cheap.
Tomorrow is back to the reality of work

Following up about the cleaning methods

My wonderful sister Beth asked about if the more all natural and cheap cleaning methods I was talking about actually worked. While I haven't used all the products I mentioned in the post because I haven't used up some of my other cleaners, the products I have used work.

Ever since Kristal posted this I have been experimenting with white vinegar and water. I have yet to use it on carpet stains because I still have carpet cleaner, but for general clean up it is great.

I have always used lemon juice when something greats greasy on our stove and it works well.

Some links that I found when I started researching cheaper cleaning methods:

Safer Solutions This one is great because it gives a couple helpful links about specific products
Vinegar Uses I had looked at a book at Borders yesterday while I was killing time that was completely dedicated to all the uses of vinegar. This site has a lot of similar ones, and it gives specific amounts of how much vinegar to use in specific cleaning situations.

I will post more as I find them! I am headed to the library today so hopefully I can get a few more tips this week.

Monday, August 4, 2008

The food budget

Ok, here is the big one....the food budget. The area that I feel like I should be able to do the most good. Because really, even though commercial food service is different then cooking at home for two people it has still helped me pick up some knowledge and skills that should make having a tight food budget easier.

First off, I am going to make sure that we are utilizing our staple items. These are the items I either buy every week or at least have some supply of 90% of the time. Our staple items are:
*Skim milk
*Bell Peppers
*A wide variety of salad dressings
*Lunch meat
*A wide variety of cereals
*Peanut Butter
*Olive or Canola oil
*A wide variety of dried spices
*Generic 100 cal packs or at least a cake mix or something to indulge our sweet tooth.
*Boxed Mac and Cheese
*Bread crumbs

Some of these items are more for Nathan than me. I think he could live on boxed Mac and Cheese. And while I don't mind it, it has sooo many calories that I try to steer clear of it. And although he loves my cooking, he also loves the convenience of being able to just throw a sandwich and a 100 calorie pack in his lunch bag for work. My big must haves are the produce and the variety of salad dressings. I try to eat a vegetarian diet as much as I can during the week, so having produce on hand makes that a lot easier.

We get all these items from one of my favorite grocery stores...Aldi. For those of you that have never been to an Aldi, they are a discount grocer that carries very limited stock at low prices. Most of the above staple items I have listed are 25-50 % less than the cost of a regular grocery store, even when the store is having a sale. And even though their selection is limited, I find it fairly easy to menu plan now that I know the layout of the store and what they regularly carry. I do occasionally stop at another grocer for some items, but I would say that 95% of what I need is at Aldi.

With that said, Aldi isn't the best grocery store for everyone. While they are starting to carry speciality products like organic and low fat, they are still very far from having the large variety that some people desire in their diet. And while the one I shop at is very clean, many discount grocery stores have the reputation for being dirty. Plus, if it bothers you to shop with rednecks, than Aldi isn't the place for you.

Often times when I talk about shopping at Aldi I am asked about the quality of food. I can honestly say their has only been one or two products I have bought their that I wasn't 100% happy with. Everything else has been great. A lot of their produce and meats move quickly because of having such a low variety, so I never have meat or produce that goes bad any quicker than from a regular grocery store.

Besides where I shop I really have about 100 ways to cut cost when it comes to food. When I started to write this post I was trying to figure out how to organize all this information without it being just too crazy. So I think I am just going to take it week by week and tell you what Nathan and I are eating and how I managed to save a few pennies.

Since Nathan and I don't eat together, we each have our separate menus. Unfortunately, Nathan doesn't enjoy a lot of vegetables and I do. I am done trying to make him eat stuff he doesn't enjoy because he just ends up being miserable and perfectly good food gets thrown away. This week Nathan's eating:
*Stuffed Chicken and Cheddar Mashed Potatoes
*Mac and Cheese

This week I'm eating:
*Veggie wraps with loaded Spanish rice
*Maybe some soup?

First Nathan's menu. The #1 thing I did this week to cut cost was turn 1.5 lbs (2 large, 1 medium) of chicken breasts into 8 servings by butterflying them. Nathan could easily eat 1.5 lbs in two sittings. So I had to work a little magic to make them into what he would find more substantial. I took my trusty mallet and pounded out 4 of the breasts into thin pieces. I made up a kind of Cajun style stuffing of toasted corn bread crumbs, spicy sausage (both leftover in the freezer), sauteed onions and bell peppers, garlic, Cajun seasoning, and just a little shredded cheddar and butter to kind of hold the mixture together. I put this mixture on the chicken, rolled it up (no toothpicks needed!) and baked it for a few minutes. A totally easy, yummy dish that Nathan told me tonight that he LOVES.

So I took what would have been a wimpy 2-3 oz chicken breast and turned it into a filling, tasty little concoction that was cheap. Really doing a stuffed chicken breast is so versatile. Another stuffed chicken recipe I use frequently has Italian bread crumbs, mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, garlic, Italian herb blend and just a little butter. Again, so cheap, but still yummy. And doing it this way really helps us cut costs through portion control.

One great and cheap item from my menu is my loaded Spanish rice. I bring 1/2 c. water and 1/2 c. salsa to a boil and add 1 c. instant white rice along with cumin, chili powder, garlic, cayenne, and sauteed onions and bell peppers. Once the rice is cooked I add some black beans. And that's it. Good by itself or sometimes I put it in a tortilla with cooked veggies like zucchini and squash. I love it, and you really can't get much cheaper than rice and black beans.

The other item on list this week that is super cheap is soup. I love making soup and it is definitely a good way to stretch a dollar. I usually try to get it on my meal plan once a week, but when it is hot outside it is really tough. However, this week might have to be an exception because of the cheddar mashed potatoes I made Nathan. I am thinking I may have made just a little too much, and mashed potatoes are an AWESOME base for a great soup. I will just cook a potato, make a roux of margarine and flour, saute onions, add the mashed potatoes, milk, more cheddar and some seasonings and I will have a very tasty and quick soup from mostly leftovers that need to get used up anyway.

So that is where we are going to save this week. Again, I have a ton of food tips up my sleeve, but I don't want this one post to get more massive than it already is. My mind is already thinking of another post about of how I meal plan with utilizing leftovers and what is already on hand. But to wrap up the budget series, here is the challenge:

As of August 1st we have $350 combined to spend on food, misc, and entertainment/going out. I combined everything because I think we may have some overlapping into each budget. I have decided that we are majorly dependant upon our debit cards so anything that isn't a bill or gas will be paid in cash so we can truly understand what we are spending. I am also keeping receipts so that at the end of the month I can get an exact amount on what when where.

Our first few days left me questioning if we could really meet our goals, but hey, it is totally worth a shot. Sure we could have some huge unexpected expense come up and we might fail, but I just want to try and see how it goes. Wish Nathan and I luck!