If you do stuff, stuff gets done.......

If you do stuff, stuff gets done.......

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

How I make pizza crusts for the freezer

Traditional Pizza Dough - recipe from Zojirushi
1 1/4 C water
1 1/2 T olive oil
3 3/4 C bread flour
1 1/2 T sugar
1 1/2 t salt
2  t yeast

This will make 2 big 16 inch crusts or 4 smaller crusts, about 12 inches each.  

after you roll out the crusts,  let them rise a bit while the oven preheats
be sure to dock them -poke holes in them - so they don't puff up all over like a pillow
I used a big meat fork

bake the crusts at 500 degrees for just 5 minutes

wrap each crust in plastic wrap
or put in bags if you have bags they will fit in
Then just put them in the freezer.

When you want pizza,  get your sauce and toppings ready.
Unwrap your crust and top it as desired - no need to thaw.
Then just bake at 450 degrees until done.

I make this in a bread machine but I am sure it would be great done by hand or in mixer.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Barbecue chicken pizza for our lunch today

a prebaked crust from the freezer

I have been making pizza crusts ahead - just using my regular recipe - then rolling them  out, pricking all over and baking for just 5 minutes.
Then they get wrapped in plastic wrap and put in the freezer.

For a quick meal, just get a crust from the freezer - add toppings - and bake at 450 or so until done,  about 15 minutes.  

today,  we had a barbecue chicken pizza made like a restaurant in my town.
The crust was spread with Head Country barbecue sauce (that is an Oklahoma brand but you can use your favorite)
then add some red onion,  leftover chicken and top with cheese.
I used Monterrey Jack today but usually use Mozzarella.   

then just bake until golden

This was Gavin's plate

I like grapefruit and eat it most every day for lunch.
Gavin likes grapefruit too but Elizabeth has tried it 4 times and always makes a face then spits it out.

Today,  she noticed right off that her plate did not have that grapefruit like Gavin and she pointed at his.  He  gave her the first bite off his plate and I expected her to spit it right out
Nope!  she liked it today and ended up eating 2 helpings of grapefruit.

So,  if you think you or your children don't like some food,
be like Elizabeth and try it again!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Roku Channels

The posts I've done about Roku  have got more hits than anything else on this blog,  I think mostly from potential Roku buyers doing Google searches.  Several commenters have asked what channels are on Roku.
Well, there were hundreds, maybe thousands.
This video is long, about 10 minutes,  so I suggest you only spend time watching it if you are really interested in Roku.

I show some of the channels in this video but there are way too many to even start to show them all.

Questions?  just ask and I will try to answer.

last week's sewing and handwork

Crib sheet
this was so quick and easy to make!  I  read over a few online tutorials, then I got busy.
You need a length of fabric 69 inches by 44-45 width which is the standard width of most  fabric.
Then cut 8 inch squares from each corner of the fabric.
Now, sew those corners back together on the diagonal and finish the seams.
Then,  finish the edge all the way around and add elastic to the corners.

I got that cute redwork fabric from my Mom's fabric stash several years ago.  

I am not a very good blogger,  I should of taken this picture when the bag still had yarn in it for a before and after comparision
I got a bag of cotton yarn scraps at the thrift store on Friday,  50 cents for the bag.  It contained 3 skeins, partly used,  and  about 7 small balls of yarn.
I have been wanting some more crocheted dishclothes so again,  I looked at some online tutorials.

I don't really like to crochet or follow patterns so I ended up just crocheting circles because that is easy for me, no stress.  

I used almost all of that yarn and ended up with 6 scrappy dishcloths.
Not bad for 50 cents!

Some of the yarns were thin so I doubled them up if you are wondering about the parts that look variegated.
Nope, they are not all exactly the same size,  I just stopped each one when they looked about right or when I ran out of yarn.    

St Patricks day is coming up.
I got a very long length of this sweet shamrock fabric at a thrift store  about 2 years ago.
I used some of that fabric and some vintage bias binding to sew up a new tablecloth for the dining room.  

I really like how the binding looks on the hem.  

the last project was some plastic canvas bird plant pokes.
Doesn't every home need some?  

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

use your gadgets

To go with Sunday lunch,  I baked cornbread muffins in some miniature muffin pans that have been gathering dust in the cookie sheet drawers.  
The tiny cornbreads were so popular,  I used those mini-muffin pans again today 
and baked mini blueberry muffins with scrambled eggs for our breakfast.

The blueberry muffins were just as yummy and cute as the cornbread muffins.

I am going to look around my kitchen and pull out some other kitchen items I have not used lately.

Do you have any kitchen gadgets you  have not used in a long time?  

first round of breakfast eaters at Cafe Rhonda -
my parents were here for several days but left to go back to TX this morning.

Gavin and Amanda ate here too but they get here later than Nina and Elizabeth do.

 Toddler fun

 G and E had fun playing ring around a rosie this morning,  you can see in the last photo that they really like the  all fall down part.  

Walgreens and AARP

Frugal tip - if you shop at Walgreens and have an AARP membership - always hand your AARP to the cashier to scan when you check out.  The coupon machine will spit out some extra coupons for you,  usually one like $3 of your next $10 purchase of Walgreens items or $5 off your next $20 purchase as well as some discounts on other products.

The $2, and 2 $4 register rewards were from buying toothbrushes a few weeks ago.  I was expecting 2 of them but the 3rd one was a surprise.  I don't know if the AARP card triggered it or not.

I am not a dues-paying member of AARP,  I read about a sign up for a free membership a few months ago and got my membership card for free.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

(almost) Once a month grocery shopping

Doing a "big shop" once a month is still working for us.  It is a lot of work to make a long list, checking it twice,  then driving to Sams and maybe Aldis and Crest.  Putting away all the purchases is tricky too,  good thing I like to work puzzles!  
It is just really a big time saver all the rest of the month to not have to go shopping.
little fridge
We bought lots of oranges, clementines and grapefruit - they keep well.
full size fridge - more meat is in the small chest freezer
Can you see the bottom right drawer is full of romaine lettuce?  Each head is wrapped air tight in a plastic bag and should keep all month.  The grapes, strawberries and spring greens will be used first.
partial view of the pantry
Onions and potatoes are stored in crocks on the pantry floor.  I've been keeping the door shut on the pantry so it stays cooler in there and the root veggies have been keeping very well.

I still watch the local sales and have bought a few things.  One store had Pace salsa on sale for 99 cents for the Super Bowl and I got 24 jars.  That same store had butter for $1.99 a pound and I got 6 to put in the freezer.
I've also bought a few things at Walgreens but mostly I have stayed out of the stores.  I can't say I am really spending a lot less shopping this way but I am spending less time.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Dishwashers and Electric bills

a portion of our last utility bill
our water and electricity is on the same bill
notice that the previous months bill was about $28 higher than this months bill
we heat our home with natural gas and that bill is from a different company

I think I have heard at least a dozen times, from "energy experts" that automatic dishwashers cost less to use than old fashioned handwashing.   I have about decided that those experts must be paid off by the dishwasher and dishwasher detergent makers!  

Several years ago,  I did an experiment with my bill, trying to lower it and hand washed all dishes for a month.  
My utility bill was lower that month,  you can read about it on my old blog
A Home With A Smile 

I had pretty much forgot that until I got this last utility bill.  I was wondering why it was so much lower,  
then I remember I had not been using the dishwasher because it was not working correctly even before it flooded my kitchen.  

And have you priced dishwasher detergent lately?  None of them are cheap.
Liquid hand dishwashing soap costs a lot less than the automatic stuff too.  

So,  if you are really trying to lower your utility bills and grocery store bills,  you might want to switch to handwashing.  
As I type this,  my dishwasher is running- cleaning all the breakfast and lunch dishes-
I am not giving it up right now but I certainly could if needed. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine boxes 2012

Years ago, maybe around 1994,  we started making and filling Valentine boxes at home.  
Bobby, Jimmy and Nina were all at home for homeschooling for 2 years ( they started school at public schools and graduated from public school but need some intense instruction in weak subjects so we homeschooled them.)

Anyway,  we stayed really busy and they did not miss much about public school but they did miss the school parties.  
So that first year of homeschool,  and most years since,  we have made and filled boxes for Valentines.  

Not every family member participated this year but those of us who did last night had a great time.  

all the boxes on the table with the pink tree
quite an assortment, huh?
Mine is on the far right - an oatmeal box covered with vintage fabric
Nina's is beside mine - it is a giant cupcake, a little hard to tell because the lid is askew
Jeff's is on the back left

Elizabeth's box is a panda bear, she likes the Kung Fu panda and calls all pandas "Po"

Nina put sweettart conversation heats in Starbucks coffee bottles - can you see mine sticking out of the top  of my box?

These next 3 pictures are SIL John's box
Isn't he funny, using that grumpy photo of Elizabeth?

this was on one end of John's box - I think he use paint prints of his feet and Elizabeth's hands.  

Jimmy's box
lots of google eyes
yummy fruit pizza that Nina brought for our dessert

Thats one of our family traditons- it's really fun,  not expensive the way we do it and something we look forward to every year.  

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Valentine Decorating - use what you have

It's time to put out the Valentine decorations and since I don't like to shop,  I used what I had -

a small tub of Valentine decorations from years past,
a Christmas tree
lots of crocheted treasures from my Mom
a Christmas wreath 
and a cute little boy

this little pink tree is perfect for Valentines - most of the hearts were crocheted by my Mom
I made the felt and sequined ones. 

apothecary jars decorated with things from that tub
pink doilies from my Mom
and a cute little boy

the living room

the dining room 

frog candy dish
he wishes  he was filled with candy
thrift store cupid dish
and little cherubs that Nina used to collect

this may look silly to some people but I really like it.
This is the evergreen my brother made in December
It is still fresh and hanging by our entry way.
I found these cute red cupids in the tub and hot-glued them to the wreath.
so now,  it is a Valentine wreath!

 Do you have Valentine decorations in your home?
Please tell me in a comment , I would love to come to take a look.   

Monday, February 6, 2012

dishwasher woes and fixes

Good morning everyone!
My dishwasher has not been consistently cleaning the dishes all the way for a few months and I had just about quit using it.  
But last Sunday afternoon,  we had a lot of dirty dishes and I was tired so I loaded up the dishwasher, then  I sat down in the living room with my son and husband.  A little while later,  I went in the kitchen for a drink and saw that the kitchen floor was covered with water that was coming out of the dishwasher.
Thankfully my son helped dry up the water and my husband got the water shut off.

The appliance repairman came Monday morning, ordered a part and then replaced in on Weds morning - pretty fast service!
Anyway,  the water inlet valve was ruined as it was just full of alum that is in our water and it had corroded the fittings too.  That  part was so clogged, it was not letting enough water in the dishwasher 
After the repairman fixed the broken part,  I asked him about the not-clean-enough dishes.  

He told me several things to do and now,  I can happily report that the dishwasher is working right and yields very clean dishes!

clean dishes!

Lemi-shine ( bought mine at Walmart with the dishwasher detergents for about $3.

The appliance man said that all phospates were removed from dishwasher products about 2 years ago.  Phosphates are bad for the environment but were good for cleaning dishes and keeping the inside of appliances clean and free of buildup.
He told me to get some LemiShine.
I followed the directions on the back of the LemiShine.
First,  I ran the dishwasher, empty, on a hot long cycle with a full dispenser cup of LemiShine to clean the inside and all the spray holes, etc.
Then I ran a load of dirty dishes, again following the LemiShine directions.  I put detergent in the first cup, LemiShine in the second cup.
Those steps resulted in a really clean load of dishes.  yea!

I've been handwashing dishes lately and I think I mostly prefer anyway.  It is much quieter and does not take that long unless there are really a lot of dishes.
Even though my hand have been in dishwater a lot,  they are soft and not dry.
I think it is because of this  cream I found at Dollar Tree.
The tubes are big,  10 ounces,  and like everything at Dollar Tree,  they cost $1.  

Dermasil cream from Dollar Tree - $1 for 10 ounces!

I used to like that Blue Spa hand parrafin stuff from Bath and Body Works,  at about $12 for a little tube.
But I really think this Dermasil works much better.
I've bought 3 tubes to keep one in the kitchen, one in my bedroom and one in the living room.
And if I got back to Dollar Tree and they still have it,  I just might buy a few more tubes to have for later.

Another tip from the appliance repairman - he said any dishwasher or washing machine,  no matter the age or brand, could malfunction and flood your house during a cycle.  He said they should never be left running attended - either when we leave the house or go to bed.  I am taking his advice on this one.