About Me

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Just a simple gal living on the outskirts of Portland making ends meet. I have lived in Portland for over 20 years and I am happy to call it home. On this blog you will find everything from cooking to my crazy life. I hope you enjoy.

Friday, January 24, 2014

The Quiet of Mid-Winter

With Christmas in the not too distant past, yet safely tucked away in boxes in the garage. It is time to start working on projects for next Christmas. So last Sunday afternoon I slotted some time for a mug of my special hot cocoa and time to work on my little project. First things first my special hot cocoa.
Into a large mug empty a packet of your favorite hot cocoa mix.
Add the desired amount of hot water and then add two tablespoons of half and half or cream.
Then add a liberal shot of peppermint schnapps. Top with whip cream if you have it and dust with chocolate powder or crushed peppermint candy. Sadly I had none of those things, but it was still very good.
I love sending out Christmas cards and every year the list of people that I want to send cards to gets a little longer, but the cost of the stamp just went up and pretty Christmas cards are not a dime a dozen. I had to do something I did I little research on postcards. What the paper weight and size they had to be in order for the Post Office to accept them, and then I did a little shopping on my favorite website Etsy and found this shop that had what I was looking for. I made my purchase and then shopped for a couple of inexpensive stamps (after Christmas holiday stamps are usually on sale) and bought some ink. I wanted my postcards to be simple yet special. I think I did pretty good.
The front of the post card is blank.
Silver ink and a rubber snowflake stamp.
I put the snowflake in the center of each postcard...simple and very pretty.
Then I put a little accent stamp left corner bottom just for added cuteness. Now of course the initial cost of everything was more than a box of Christmas cards, but the stamps I can use over and over again, and the ink will come in handy for other non holiday stamping.
Happy Friday everyone!

Friday, January 17, 2014


Do you ever get frustrated over the cost of some of your favorite products? I mean you wouldn't think to quit using them because you love the product but they are a little pricey and the economy has you thinking maybe you should cut cost somewhere. Well I decided some time ago to email these companies and nicely ask if I could get some coupons for their lovely products and you know what...they sent me some coupons. Like for example I adore BonAmi cleaners, but you never see coupons in the Sunday paper for anything they make, so I emailed them and those nice people sent me an entire years worth of cents off on their powdered cleanser.
Another product you never see coupons for is Biokleen. I love their laundry soap and Bac-out and their dishsoap. I truly adore the fact that all of the products Biokleen has are safe for the enviroment. I email them and a nice lady sends me a bunch of coupons.
I also like Field Roast meatless products. I am especially fond of their sausages I use them frequently in dishes that call for actual sausage. The company is located in my old hometown, but again you seldom see a coupon in the Sunday paper for anything from Field Roast. Just a short and sweet email and they will send you a couple of coupons.
Kerrygold butter and cheese...how I love their cheeses. I try not to get carried away, but I love cheese and these guys know what cheese making is all about. If you ask nice Kerrygold will send you a nice coupon.
It is worth the time it takes to dash off a few quick emails just telling them you like or love the products they produce and ask for a few coupons. It will save you a few bucks throughout the year. I love all these products and have used them for years, and I hope they will be around for a long time to come. Have a wonderful weekend everyone.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

New Years Resolutions

I don't usually do New Years Resolutions...they generally don't work, but I found myself needing to start paying closer attention not to what I was eating, but how much I was eating. I have always had a problem with portion control (what can I say I love food). I signed up with this online program and started paying attention to how many calories I was consuming a day. Quite an eye opener I have to say. Now of course I hope to shed a few pounds on this journey of calorie counting, but we shall see. I also don't stick to my calorie counting on the weekends.
So the bf bought me a lovely 5 qt. braiser and I figured the best way to break it in was to make some delicious short ribs.
I seasoned these babies well with salt and fresh ground pepper and seared them in my shiny new braiser until browned on all sides.
Look at how pretty they are getting.
Pull the short ribs out when browned and set aside. Then to the hot pan I added a mirepoix plus garlic (bout 4 cloves) more salt and fresh ground pepper sautee til soft.
After the mirepoix cooked I added to the pan 2 Cu. red wine, 2 Cu. beef broth, 1 tsp. of liquid smoke (I adore that stuff) a little finde grind oregano and a few sprigs of fresh rosemary from outside my front door. I pulled the rosemary sprigs out after about 5 min. of steeping.
Cook the liquid down some (bout half)
Place the ribs back into the pan.
Put in a preheated oven (250 oughta about do it). Is that not a gorgeous pan?
Then after the ribs are almost completely cooked and tenderlicious (should be a word) you let the pan cool completely and slip it into the fridge over night until the grease raises to the top and hardens.
Remove the grease from the top layer. Yuck.
Then put the lid back on and slip those ribs back into a preheated oven (bout 300) for about an hour.
I served my short ribs up with cheesy polenta and some fried beans. They were absolutely amazing. Now if you decide to go with mashed potatoes you can take that lovely sauce in the bottom of the pan and puree it and use it for gravy. I assure you it is fantastic. Now remember if you want to have this for Sunday dinner you need to start it on Saturday afternoon. Have a blessed weekend.